Cliff Williams Back in AC/DC After a Bout With ‘Terrible Vertigo’
“To be quite frank, it was not an easy tour to finish,” he told Rolling Stone, referring to the band’s chaotic Rock or Bust trek. “I had some health issues that I won’t bore you with the details of. But I had stuff going on while I was on the road, terrible vertigo. For me, I just thought that it was my time.”
Williams announced his retirement in July 2016, noting the departures of Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd and Brian Johnson in quick succession for various reasons meant it was also time for him to stop. “It’s been what I’ve known for the past 40 years, but after this tour I’m backing off of touring and recording,” he said, admitting that the situation was now “a changed animal. I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”
Shortly before the tour’s conclusion, he clarified his comments: “It’s time for me to step out, and that’s all. Not because we’ve lost Mal, Phil or Brian. I mean, everything changes when something happens like that. When Bon [Scott] died, it changed then. You know, everything changes, so it’s not that.”
During the last stop of the tour, guitarist Angus Young pulled Williams out from the back of the stage during AC/DC’s closing number, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” and brought him to the front catwalk in recognition of his years of service.
But in February 2019, a photo of Williams and Johnson at a gym in Vancouver, where the band was recording, surfaced. AC/DC recently confirmed his return in a group photo as part of the ramp-up to the official announcement of their upcoming new album, reportedly titled Power Up.
Williams admitted the return of both Johnson and Rudd convinced him to come out of retirement. “It was like the old band back together,” he said. “It was not like starting over again, but as close to the band that’s been together for 40-plus years as we can possibly make it. I didn’t want to miss that.”