Cliff Williams has said it is “time to step out” of AC/DC. In a video posted on the rock group’s YouTube channel, the bassist confirmed that he will be leaving the band.
Williams, 66, first signalled his departure in July this year, explaining that after the group’s current tour he would be “backing off of touring and recording”, and citing the ongoing issues within the band: in the last two years alone the lineup has been reshuffled as a result of guitarist Malcolm Young leaving through ill health, singer Brian Johnson’s hearing condition and drummer Phil Rudd’s convictions for drug possession and making threats to kill.

In his new statement, Williams says his reasons for leaving extend beyond recent incidents: “It’s time for me to step out, that’s all. Not because we’ve lost Mal, Phil or Brian, everything changes when something happens like that. When Bon [Scott, AC/DC’s former singer] died it changed then, everything changes, so it’s not that,” he said.

“It’s just I’m just ready to get off the road really and do what I do in between tours. We take a few years off, so I know how to do that, I know what I’m going to do and, again, it’s just my time.

“I’m happy I just need family time now, just chill out and not do this,” the British musician added.

The future of AC/DC has seemed tumultuous to fans, with Australian guitarist Angus Young the last original member performing with the group. As well as Malcolm Young’s dementia diagnosis, which forced him to leave the group, Johnson was also unable to play with the band for fear he would lose his hearing. The band have continued touring, with Young replaced by his nephew Stevie Young and Rudd by Chris Slade. Its most notable addition has been Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose, who has replaced Johnson for dates on the critically acclaimed Rock or Bust tour.