Paul Matters, a bassist who played with AC/DC during the group's early years, died earlier this week. His death was announced Wednesday by his friend, Rod Wescombe. Matters never appeared on AC/DC's recordings but toured with the band in their native Australia after they released their first album, High Voltage. Matters was fired from AC/DC in 1975 and was suffering from poor health in recent years.
"Shocked and sad to hear of the passing of Paul Matters," Wescombe wrote on Facebook, alongside photos of Matters with the group. He first met Matters in 1973 when Matters played bass for the Newcastle group Armageddon. Matters visited Westcombe in Toronto "in the late hours to party and he loved to party." Wescombe continued, "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."
After Westcombe left New South Wales, he lost contact with Matters, as did others who knew him in the 1970s. "From all reports, he lived a reclusive life in his later years and his early rock n' roll lifestyle led to ailing health," Westcombe wrote. "He will be missed by all who knew him. R.I.P. Mr. Paul Matters."
Matters joined AC/DC during 1975 after they recorded the original High Voltage album. After playing with the group on the road, Bon Scott fired him a few weeks later and Mrk Evans replaced him. After leaving AC/DC, Matters retired from the music business.
Although Matters lived outside the public spotlight, he did speak with author Jesse Fink for Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC's Back in Black, which was published in 2017. "Bon got out of the back of the truck and told me I wasn't going back to Melbourne with them," Matters explained of his firing, reports The Independent. "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."
AC/DC is best known for their hard rock hits "T.N.T.," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," "Highway to Hell," "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Back in Black" and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution." The group plans to release their 17th studio album, Power Up, in November. It is their first album since guitarist Malcolm Young died in 2017.