Why Simon Wright ‘Needed to Get Away’ From AC/DC

Former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright discussed the circumstances surrounding his 1989 departure from the group.

“I just wanted to play more,” Wright explained during a conversation with VW Music. “It’s a kind of a regimented style of playing with them. I found myself playing more when I was at home. I had a kid at home, and I’m just banging away to anything, and it really started to eat me. I mean, I knew I could…I’m not saying I could play better. I just wanted to play more.”

Wright joined the band in 1983 and played on three of their studio albums: Fly on the Wall (1985), Who Made Who (1986) and Blow Up Your Video (1988). Still, the drummer wanted further creative freedom than AC/DC’s material offered.

“I wanted more fills, so it started to eat away at me,” he admitted. “I love drumming, and it wasn’t the money or anything like that, I was doing okay with the money. I didn’t care about the money. I just needed to get away. So, I managed to jump off the ship.”

Wright noted that he had “no animosity” with the guys in AC/DC and maintained “total respect” for the band.

“It was a creative thing,” the drummer explained of his decision. “With AC/DC, it was restricted. I have total respect for Phil [Rudd], and the band, and everything they do. It’s got nothing to do with the music side of it. It’s just me personally. It sounds crazy, but, I just needed to get away, and do something else.”

Wright would soon latch on with Ronnie James Dio.

“I was lucky enough to meet with Ronnie, and I’d loved Ronnie with Rainbow, and Sabbath, and stuff,” the drummer recalled. “Ever since I heard his voice, I thought, ‘Oh my god, what a singer, and songwriter as well.’”

Wright played on Dio’s 1990 LP Lock Up the Wolves, an experience he described as “just incredible.” Years later, he’d rejoin the group, playing on the albums Magica (2000), Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004).

Wright now drums in Dio’s Disciples, a band assembled from the late frontman’s former collaborators. The group played on Dio’s polarizing hologram tour, and reportedly has plans to hit the road again in 2022.

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