Chris Slade Revealed Quitting AC/DC for 'Stupid Pride'

Ex-drummer admits he'd react differently to 1994 phone call that led to his departure.

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Drummer Chris Slade has revealed he quit AC/DC in 1994 as a result of "stupid pride" – and he'd react differently if the situation rose again.

As Classic Rock notes, the Welshman was with the Aussie giants for five years, appearing on 1990 album "The Razor's Edge" and playing their headline set at Monsters of Rock the following year.

But he resigned just as the band were gearing up to record "Ballbreaker" in 1995 after an argument with mainman Malcolm Young, which led to Phil Rudd's second stint behind the kit.

Slade tells Music Radar: "I'd been doing demos with the guys in London for two months, when Malcolm called and said they wanted to give Phil a try. I said, 'That's me out then - I'm gone.' Mal said, 'No, we want to keep you on. We don't even know if Phil can play.' I told him that was his problem now."

He recalls his attitude at the time was "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and adds: "They wanted to keep me on for months and months, and that didn't feel right. I resigned the next day."

But he wouldn't make the same decision now. "If that was my son I'd say, 'Just sit there - they'll come back to you.' To be honest I think they would have. But they're very proud themselves, and they wouldn't come back now."

Slade has warm memories of his time with AC/DC, and remains friends with them. "It was an honour and a privilege to play with those guys," he says. "People always ask me what I did when things went wrong on stage, but nothing ever went wrong. They were like clockwork, like a machine. What a wonderful experience."

During his 50-year career the drummer has played with members of Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, David Gilmour, Uriah Heep and Asia, among others. He now leads his own band, Chris Slade Timeline, and says the secret of his longevity is "a combination of your people skills and your drumming skills.

"You've got to get on with people," he insists. "If you're an arsehole you won't get work after the first tour. Look at Jimmy Page - he's a very humble guy. He doesn't walk around thinking he's Jimmy Page; he's just a nice guy."

AC/DC have just completed work on the follow-up to 2008 album "Black Ice," although Malcolm Young has been sidelined by illness. Current drummer Rudd last week said: "We're happy to have it done, and it's all very good."

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is how it should always be. None of that name calling and grudge holding and constant bickering for years and years. I also can't blame him. That would definitely hurt a guy when they bring in someone else to try out.
    Also in his fifty-year career, he has played with Manfred Mann's Earth Band and played the best he ever did. Anyone interested in this guy should hear the album Nightingales & Bombers. What a terrific drummer he was!
    Sammy Mantis
    I'd have done the same really. Obviously they were having some reservations about moving forward with him as a member, so why sit around waiting for them to decide with your career hanging in the balance?
    'Just sit there - they'll come back to you.' To be honest I think they would have. I'm not so sure about that - ACDC with Slade is simply a different feel than ACDC with Rudd, and I think it was a good move to bring Rudd back. Nothing against Slade, though (and The Razor's Edge is a great album), but I prefer Rudd's groove with ACDC.
    He laid down some good tracks. Razor's Edge is a great album to have in your credits.
    I think 95% of people would walk in that situation , those who would stay would be doing so for financial reasons . Chris is a hell of an underrated drummer , people think because he's worked with so many people that he's some kind of high end session drummer , he ain't , he's old school , give it 100% all the time .
    He made the right decision, they would have pushed him out once they knew it was going to work again with Phil.
    Phil just seems to fit in better with AC/DC. I remember Slade was with Page and Paul Rogers in The Firm. He had to be awesome to get that gig!