AC/DC are set to release a brand new studio album, which will get an accompanying world tour – just in time for the Aussie rock legends’ 40th Anniversary.

After taking significant time off, singer Brian Johnson has confirmed that AC/DC will be back in a big way for 2014, telling a Florida radio station of the band’s plans to hit the studio to record new material.

The AC/DC mouthpiece spilled the beans in an interview with 98.7 The Gater, as Ultimate Classic Rock reports, telling the radio host “well, you’ll be the first one to know” in reply to a question about a follow-up album to 2008’s Black Ice. 

Johnson said that recording had been delayed owing to “one of our boys [being] pretty ill,” but that the five-piece were now ready to enter the studio later this year.

“We didn’t like to say anything, and we’re very private about things like this,” explains Johnson of the fact that the ill AC/DC member’s identity and health issues never disclosed. “Really, because we’ve been denying anything, ’cause we weren’t sure… But I think we’ll be going in the studio in May in Vancouver. Which mean, we should be getting ready.” “I think we’re gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty.”

Johnson’s comments are the first bit of concrete confirmation of a new album since bassist Cliff Young revealed last year that Angus and Malcolm Young had begun working on new material.

The singer also told the station that the band’s 40th birthday in 2014 will see the seminal Aussie rockers celebrating their four decades with another world tour.

“It’s been 40 years of the band’s existence,” says Johnson. “So I think we’re gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty. I mean, honestly, our fans are just the best in the world, and we appreciate every one of them. So, like I said, we’ll have to go out, even though we’re getting a bit long in the tooth,” he says.

“You know what?! It’s been four years [since the last tour], and I’m really looking forward to it.”

AC/DC’s last global trek stretched across nearly two years and saw the band playing to over 5 million fans in 108 cities over 28 countries worldwide in support of their last studio LP, Black Ice. The album debuted at #1 in over 29 countries including America’s Billboard 200 albums chart – the first time they’d achieved such a feat since 1981′s For Those About to Rock We Salute You.

The Black Ice tour also spawned AC/DC’s first live album in 20 yearsLive At River Plate, its release coinciding with the band allowing their entire discography being made available on Apple’s iTunes store for the first time ever.

Speaking of their 40 years in resisting letting their body of work go digital, the band said that letting fans ‘cherry-pick’ individual tracks compromised the integrity of the album format. “It’s like an artist who does a painting,” guitarist Angus Young said in 2008. “If he thinks it’s a great piece of work, he protects it.”

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