5 Bass Players Who Could Replace AC/DC’s Cliff Williams

They're not all primarily known as bass players, but they all do play bass.

By Brian Ives 

Let’s all raise a glass for Cliff Williams; AC/DC’s longtime bass player announced his retirement from the legendary hard rock band back in July. And earlier this week, nearly 40 years after joining, he played his final gig with the band. Given that guitarist and leader Angus Young has chugged on in the wake of the firing of longtime drummer Phil Rudd, in the retiring of his brother and AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young (who now suffers from dementia), and the dismissal of longtime frontman Brian Johnson, it seems likely that the band will go on, and simply find a new bass player.

Back in the spring, we suggested a number of singers who could fill in for Johnson (and yes, Axl Rose was one of them), we thought we’d help the band out with finding a new bassist.

Related: Slash Sees Axl-Fronted AC/DC, Loves It

Scott Ian of Anthrax: Yes, he’s known primarily as one of thrash metal’s greatest rhythm guitarists. But he can also play bass, as he proved in a KISS tribute supergroup that also featured Rob Zombie, Slash and Tommy Lee that played a VH1 award show. And we know he’s an enthusiastic AC/DC fan, as he proved by getting an Angus Young tattoo. Might it be weird to play in a band when you’re such a fan got inked with their guitarist? You can ask Dave Grohl, who has Led Zeppelin tattoos and played in a band with John Paul Jones.

Dave Grohl: Speaking of the head Foo Fighter, he can play any instrument, in any band. Yes, he plays drums and guitar. But he also plays bass, and he proved it when strapped on the four-string for a few songs during his tour leading the Sound City Players. (He also played bass on the first Foo Fighters album.)

C.J. Ramone: Album after album of stripped down, no-b.s. rock and roll? Sure, that describes AC/DC, but it could also describe the Ramones, the band C.J. Ramone (real name: Christopher Joseph Ward) joined in 1989, replacing founding bassist Dee Dee Ramone.

Tommy Stinson: Another guy with more of a punk rock pedigree than the obvious choices is former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson. And if Axl Rose sticks with AC/DC, he’s probably enjoy playing with the bass player again: Stinson was in Guns N Roses from 1998 through this year, when Duff McKagan rejoined the band.

Duff McKagan: But if Axl Rose sticks with AC/DC, that means Duff McKagan will have downtime during those tours. Duff’s a guy who loves to stay active, and surely he’d enjoy playing with Angus night after night. Over the years, all the GNR members could gradually join AC/DC.

 

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