A few days after a Canadian journalist claimed that Stevie Young and Phil Rudd were spotted in downtown Vancouver, we now have the first photographic proof that something is brewing in the AC/DC camp.
According to Steve Newton of Straight.com, Vancouver resident — and hardcore AC/DC fan — Crystal Lambert has an apartment located near Warehouse Studios, where the band's last three albums were recorded, and she and longtime friend Glenn Slavens have been keeping an eye on the studio's outside deck, where various bandmembers seemingly retreat to get some air and get a drink.
As you can see from the photo below, taken by Glenn two days ago, Rudd appears to be sharing a laugh with none other than singer Brian Johnson.
The assumption is that AC/DC is in the midst of making — or at least planning — another album, with Rudd and Johnson both back in the lineup.
Ever since AC/DC completed the tour cycle for its 2014 album "Rock Or Bust" nearly two years ago — a turbulent trek that weathered the forced retirement and eventual death of co-founder Malcolm Young, plus the departures of Johnson, Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams — fans have wondered whether sole remaining founding member Angus Young would keep the band going or decide it was time for AC/DC to pack it in.
Johnson was forced to leave AC/DC mid-tour due to a dangerous level of hearing loss, and was eventually replaced on the road by GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose, while Williams decided to retire at the end of the cycle.
Rudd's spot behind the kit for AC/DC's "Rock Or Bust" world tour was taken by Chris Slade in 2015 after Rudd was arrested for drug possession and threatening to kill an employee.
Angus has not said publicly what he has planned for the future of AC/DC.
Rudd told Kaaos TV in a 2017 interview that he "would like to be involved with Angus again, maybe on the next [AC/DC] album or something. But I still have some traveling restrictions, and I'm not sure if I can go to America or not," he said. "I've got some lawyers doing some work so I can go back to America, but I'm not too sure. So I have some limitations on what I can do, and I'm just making the best of my situation at the moment."
Asked if was is in contact with his former bandmates in AC/DC, Phil said: "I am. Yes, I am. I talk to Brian, and we just talk about cars, and I talk to Cliff, and we just talk [about] anything. It's just old friends talk. But I'm sure Angus has got a few ideas. He did a great job on the 'Rock Or Bust' album. I think it's a great album — one of the best ones we've done, for sure. [It was] very well produced by Brendan O'Brien, who understands guitarists. And he did a really good job. And I was pleased with my work on that as well."
Johnson joined AC/DC in 1980 following the death of vocalist Bon Scott. He made his debut with the band on that year's "Back In Black" album, one of the most successful LPs of all time.
The rock legend spoke to The Sunday Times about the hearing problems that almost ended his 36-year career with AC/DC. "On stage, it was getting harder and harder to hear the guitars, even hear the keys, and I was basically going on muscle memory," he said. "And I'm not the kind of guy who likes to cheat. The way I look at it, I had a great run."
Two years ago, Johnson said in an open letter to fans that he intended to solve his hearing problem and continue recording and touring, although he pointedly did not say whether he would be rejoining AC/DC.
The vocalist wrote: "My entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic."
The Warehouse has been AC/DC's studio of choice for the band's last three albums: 2000's "Stiff Upper Lip", 2008's "Black Ice" and the aforementioned "Rock Or Bust".