In July, AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams suggested he planned to leave the Aussie hard-rock group after the conclusion of its current Rock or Bust Tour. Now, he’s confirmed his decision. “It’s time for me to step out, that’s all,” Williams said in a video statement shared by the band. “I’m just ready to get off the road, really, and do what I do. […] I just need family time, now. Just chill out and not do this.”
Williams, who joined AC/DC for their fifth album, Powerage, in 1978, has weathered a number of personnel changes in the band, particularly in recent years. Founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young left the band in 2014 because of health problems, and legal troubles forced drummer Phil Rudd from the group later that year. And Guns ‘N Roses singer Axl Rose has filled in on vocals for much of the Rock or Bust Tour after singer Brian Johnson left the band due to a hearing condition. (Johnson has since clarified that he’s “not retiring.”)
Earlier this summer, Williams had said that “losing Malcolm, the thing with Phil and now with Brian, [AC/DC is] a changed animal.” But in his latest statement, the bassist says he arrived at his decision independently and “not because we’ve lost Mal, Phil, or Brian.” Added Williams: “Everything changes. When [singer] Bon [Scott] died [in 1980], it changed then.”
AC/DC’s Rock or Bust tour concludes Tuesday at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, meaning the gig will also mark Williams’ final performance with the group. “Thanks to everybody that’s supported us on this tour,” Williams said. “It’s been a hell of a tour. […] The audience, the fans, the supporters have been brilliant. […] I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Watch his full statement below.