No. 16

October 01, 2014

It was earlier this year that the music world was shocked by the news that health problems had led to AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young having to sit out the rest of the bands tour. No one really knew for sure what ailment Malcolm was suffering and speculations began that it was issues with his heart. This past month his family has confirmed that Malcolm is suffering from dementia, an ailment associated with Alzeimers disease. His family have not released further details, leading to speculation that the 61-year old guitarist has been placed in a nursing home under 24-hour care. A brief statement was released saying: “Malcolm is suffering from dementia and the family thanks you for respecting their privacy.” Last week the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a source as saying: “If you were in the room with him and walked out, then came back in one minute later, he wouldn’t remember who you are. He has a complete loss of short-term memory.”

AC/DC announced last week that they will be releasing their new album titled Rock or Bust on December 1st without Malcolm. He has been replaced by his nephew Steve Young who will join the band on their 2015 world tour, rumored to be their last. On the announcement of their 16th album, AC/DC’s label said: “Unfortunately, due to the nature of Malcolm's condition, he will not be returning to the band.”

Dementia is a brain disease that appears in a number of forms, causing loss of memory and thinking functions, and leading to loss of body control. The most common variant is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for three-quarters of all cases. Very few forms of the condition can be cured. It is a shame to see one of rocks great icons suffering from this disease, knowing that it has robbed him of a great career and talent which has entertained the world for decades. It must as well be hard for his brother Angus Young, the two guitarists having been together since the beginning.

Alzeimers is a terrible disease. I know this personally as my good friend had cared for his grandmother who was suffering from this disease. Its progression is fast and its not just a matter of loss of memory, it can rob someone of the ability to perform basic daily functions like cooking food, going to the bathroom, bathing, etc. It can quickly led to someone needing full-time care and supervision. I remember my friend giving up his apartment to move in with his grandmother to take care of her. Along the progression he feared she would take a walk, wander off, and forget where her home was, so he had a customized alarm system installed so he could monitor all the doors in the house. When the disease had gotten really bad her memory was so impaired that she would aks for the time of day every fifteen minutes, would slam doors, scream and yell at he grandson, and sometimes forgot who he even was, demanded he get out of her house. Eventually the disease led to her not being able to care for herself at all and she had to be placed in a nursing home. The result of that was even more frightening as she was abused by the nursing home attendants who could not deal with her irradic mood swings. She suffered several questionable bone breaks in there, was left to sit in her own urine for hours and hours, and more. It was pitiful, the care she received.

I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone and my condolences go out to Malcolm Young and his family. May the rest of his days come with some degree of peace and comfort. We thank Malcom for the decades of great music that he has shared with us and if the rest of the band so choses to put the band to rest after this upcoming tour, we respect their decision. Long live the Aussie band AC/DC in our minds and in our hearts. Since 1973, they have given us seventeen albums of music, including the infamous Back in Black (1980) which went double Diamond selling more than 20 million copies, the second highest grossing album of all time. AC/DC have won the Grammy award in 2010 and 20 13, the ARIA award in 2009, the ECHO award in 2006 and 2009, the ARPA Award in 2009-2011, and much more. In May 2003, Malcolm Young accepted a Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Service to Australian Music at the 2003 Music Winners Awards, during which he paid special tribute to Bon Scott.

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