Matters, a native of Australia, is best known for his brief stint in the Australian rock band AC/DC.
The bass guitarist was fired by the band soon after joining in 1975 but remains an interesting footnote in the history of the timeless rockers. He becomes the second former member of AC/DC to pass away after the loss of original member Malcolm Young, who passed away in 2017 after spending more than four decades with the group.
Breaking the News
The news that Paul Matters has died was delivered via Facebook by close friend Rod Wescombe. According to Wescombe, Matters suffered from multiple health ailments that may have been exacerbated by the lifestyle of a rock musician.
He eventually retreated from life in the public eye after his time in AC/DC, ultimately living a “reclusive” life in his later years while living only off the money from a disability pension.
“Shocked and sad to hear of the passing of Paul Matters”
”I first met Paul in 1973 when he was playing bass in ‘Armageddon’ at a gig in Hamilton, Newcastle N.S.W. [New South Wales, Australia]. When I was living in Toronto he would drop into the house in the late hours to party and he loved to party. In late ’75 after he departed AC/DC we played together in a one-off band called ‘Miss Australia Band’ at a gig on a ferry on Lake Macquarie. I moved to Sunshine on the lake further south and Paul would drop in to chill whenever he was in the area. I recall he could always make me laugh when he was in the mood”
A Brief History
Only purists of the band and rock historians will have a good memory of former AC/DC guitarist Paul Matters. He joined the group in 1975 after the release of their first studio album High Voltage. Jazz musician Larry Van Kriedt was AC/DC’s original bassist.
However, his time in the group was short, as the bass guitarist was fired by the band and replaced by Rob Bailey. When Bailey didn’t last long, Matters took over as the AC/DC bass player.
However, Matters also had a brief and largely unmemorable stint in AC/DC. He never actually recorded any songs with the band. Matters was used to play several shows during the group’s tour of Australia between January 1975 when Bailey was fired and March 1975 when Mark Evans replaced Matters.
Of course, Evans only remained in AC/DC for two years until he was replaced by Cliff Williams, who has remained the band’s bass guitarist ever since.
What Went Wrong?
It’s hard to understand where things may have gone wrong for former AC/DC guitarist Paul Matters in his career. Before he joined AC/DC, Matters was part of another Australian rock band called Armageddon. He left the group for what has been described as “musical differences.”
“He didn’t really fit”
Armageddon drummer Les Gully once explained why Matters was removed from the band.
“[Matters] had strong opinions and sensitivity, and played just what he liked”
Matters then had such a short stint in AC/DC that he never had a chance to gel with the other members or help create any new music.
In his only publicized interview after getting kicked out of the band, he admitted to being “lazy” and “cranky” during his time in AC/DC. However, he also complained the band’s manager didn’t give them money for food, leaving him and the others to go hungry.
“[AC/DC lead singer] Bon [Scott] got out of the back of the truck and told me I wasn’t going back to Melbourne with them”
Matters recalled of when he was fired from the band.
“We were up in Sydney doing a concert for school kids. So I didn’t play that day. I just turned around and didn’t say a word to him. I turned around and walked out”