AC/DC is a rock band that formed in Australia in 1973, featuring the brothers Angus and Malcom Young. AC/DC is known for a heavy, grinding blues-rock sound that prides itself on basic instrumentation and the rasping vocals of the band's lead singer Brian Johnson. According to Rolling Stone, AC/DC's 2008 tour was one of the top five drawing acts for the year; the band's website totes it as one of the top five grossing bands in American music history.
Brian Johnson's whiskey-soaked vocals power AC/DC songs. Brian replaced lead singer Bon Scott, who died in 1980. Scott took over for original lead singer Dave Evans in 1974. Brian's vocal talents (vocal tone and range) resemble Bon Scott's.
One of two guitars in AC/DC is Angus Young's Gibson SG. Angus uses a 1968 version of the guitar, which has become Angus' signature guitar for providing the blistering solos in AC/DC performances. The Gibson Guitar Company describes this instrument, which has a very thin neck, as "... superbly playable, equally suited to grinding power-chord rhythm work and speed-freak soloing."
Of his playing, Angus states on the AC/DC official website, "I don't like to play above or below people's heads. Basically, I just like to get up in front of a crowd and rip it up."
Angus Young's brother Malcom plays a Gretsch Jet Firebird. Malcom typically holds down the rhythm guitar parts that help drive AC/DC's hard-rocking sound. Gretsch describes Malcom's guitar as a "...heavily customized early '60s double cutaway Firebird electric guitar."
The bass foundation of the AC/DC sound has been provided by a number of bass players over the years, with Cliff Williams being the main bass player on most of AC/DC's output. He plays a Gibson Reverse Firebird, Fender Precision or a 1976 Music Man bass, among others.
More than one drummer has fueled AC/DC's pounding rhythm over the years. The most frequent drummer, Phil Rudd, plays a five-piece Sonar drum kit with Paiste cymbals. He uses Easton Ahead sticks. Rudd's playing style is a straight-ahead rock style, heavy on the bass drum, that delivers a steady, recognizable rhythm to the AC/DC sound.
- Paul Kane/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images