Former AC/DC bassist Paul Matters has died. Matters joined the classic rock group after the release of 1975’s High Voltage, replacing original bassist Larry Van Kriedt.
He was only the bassist for the Australian rock legends for a matter of weeks, however, after he was sacked by lead singer Bon Scott shortly after joining the group and replaced by Mark Evans. Matters was originally the bassist of Newcastle band Armageddon until parting ways with the group in 1974 over what drummer Les Gully described to AC/DC biographer Jesse Fink as “musical differences”. After leaving the band, Matters lived out a reclusive lifestyle for the rest of his days, living off his disability pension.
Matters was then hired by AC/DC and then went on to perform live on tour in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney, but was then sacked from the group. His former bandmate Gully went on to say that AC/DC fired him because he “didn’t fit the values of the Young [brothers] oligarchy. … He didn’t really fit, had strong opinions and sensitivity, and played just what he liked”.
Announcing the news of his death, close friend Rod Wescombe said: “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. When I was living in Toronto he would drop into the house in the late hours to party and he loved to party.”
He added: “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 leaving New South Wales I lost contact with him as did many other people over the years. From all reports he lived a reclusive life in his later years and his early rock n’ roll lifestyle led to ailing health. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Matters only gave one press interview following his sacking by AC/DC in 1975, to Fink for the book Bon: The Last Highway, in which he claimed that he was “a bit lazy” and “a bit cranky” but did not have enough money to eat: “I didn’t have any food in my stomach. They [management] didn’t give us any money to buy food or anything.”
Fink also commented on Matters’ death, adding: “Another former AC/DC musician has died: bassist Paul Matters. RIP, mate #acdc”.