Connect with us

Stevie Young: Who is AC/DC’s replacement for Malcolm

Stevie Young, guitarist of AC/DC


Stevie Young: Who is AC/DC’s replacement for Malcolm

After more than four decades, the AC/DC founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was forced to retire from music due to his battle with dementia. He was the one who created the band’s AC/DC alongside his brother Malcolm Young and they were crucial to make the Hard Rock group one of the best-selling of all time. In the same year the group announced his retirement a new guitarist was announced, his name: Stevie Young.


But who is Stevie Young? He is related to Malcolm and Angus and what he had done in his career until he became AC/DC’s guitarist?

Stevie Young: Who is AC/DC’s replacement for Malcolm:

Stevie Young is the son of Stephen Crawford Young, who is the eldest brother of Angus, Malcom, George and Alex Young. Like his brothers, he emigrated with his family from Scotland to Sydney in 1963, returning to Scotland in 1970, three years before AC/DC was formed.

Stevie is curiously almost the same age as Angus. He was born in 1956, Angus in 1955 and Malcolm in 1953. So although Stevie is Angus’ nephew, they are almost the same age. They had a close relationship since the 60s when all of them attended the same school while growing up in Sydney.

But unlike his uncles, Stevie started his musical career much later, in 1979, playing in bands in Scotland, which were called The Stabbers, Prowler and Tantrum. One of his later bands which were called Starfighters was formed in 1980 in Birmingham, England and became AC/DC’s opening act during their “Back in Black” tour in the United Kingdom. They also had the chance to open for Ozzy Osoburne two years later.

They split up in 1983 and returned in 1987 but quickly came to an end again. Not long after, Stevie formed another group called Little Big Horn, which had a demo tape produced by Malcolm Young. That group also didn’t manage to get a record deal and Stevie formed another group which was called Up Rising, which also failed to get a record deal.

More recently, a few years before joining AC/DC he was a member of the Birmingham band Hellsarockin. Curiously his son, who is called Angus, like his famous uncle, also is a musician and was briefly a member of the tribute band AC/DC UK.

He had already substituted Malcolm Young in 1988

Stevie and his brother Fraser occasionally traveled with AC/DC during their tours when they were younger. Both were photographed with their uncles in the 70s during those trips. But it was in 1988 on their American tour to promote the album “Blow Up Your Video” that Stevie first filled in for Malcolm. His late uncle was struggling with his growing alcohol dependency and needed some time out of the band to recover.

So Angus felt almost two decades later, in 2014, that Stevie was the right choice to be Malcolm’s replacement. He already played on “Rock Or Bust”, an album released by the band in that same year.

What Angus Young and Brian Johnson said about Stevie Young

The only bad thing that Angus Young and Brian Johnson have to say about Stevie is that he is a little bit taller than them. In an interview with Absolute Radio back in 2014 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Angus praised his nephew and that he was the obvious choice.

“Stevie is a great player, he filled in for Malcolm once in the 80s. It was Malcolm who said: ‘You get Stevie (to replace me)’. It was obvious to go to him to see if he could do the role. (Like Malcolm Stevie also has a strong personality). He is a lot taller than me, so I have to look up to him,” Angus Young said.

Malcolm Young knew that he wouldn’t be able to continue with the band and told them to keep making music. That’s what Brian Johnson told Loudwire in 2014 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “Malcolm did say and when Malcolm says things you usually listen, I’m not kidding. He said: ‘Keep making music’. He knew what was happening to him, he knew, he’s the hardest man I’ve ever met in my life.”

“I’m talking hard, the straightest shooter I’ve ever talked to in my life. He didn’t stand fools gladly, he just said what he meant. So when he said, it usually meant a lot. (…) (Stevie) worked his tail off in the studio to make sure he did it right. He wanted right, he’s a bit like Malcolm, a very straight lad,” Brian Johnson said.

In that same conversation Angus said that he played like Malcolm, having the same playing style as his brother.

Stevie Young said that he tries to keep the spirit of Malcolm did when he plays

In the year he joined the band, a special interview with him was posted on the band’s Youtube channel (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) and he said he doesn’t try to imitate or copy Malcom Young. He said he tries to keep the spirit of what his uncle did alive.

“My dad played accordion. He had a guitar lying around in the house and I was always just picking it up. I tried the accordion but it was huge and I was only about 10. So I used to get my brother pulling on one end of it and I was playing it like a keyboard. That never really worked out.”

He continued:

“I come from a musical family. My dad and all of his brothers played instruments. Parties were always good when we were kids, non-stop music. So there was always instruments knocking around. You picked it up and played away and there was always people to show you how to get on with it.”

“I listen and try to find bits that I’ve missed or something that Malcolm did that would help with what’s going in the tunes. I’m not trying to imitate or copy him. (I am) trying to keep the spirit of what he did in the band,”

As the AC/DC guitar tech said in the same interview, Stevie plays so hard that he usually breaks the guitar pick in every song he plays. That makes him use 30 to 35 picks per show. About that musician made a joke, saying: “The picks are usually destroyed. They don’t make them as they used to (laughs)”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

To Top