Axl Rose on Joining AC/DC: ‘I’m Happy and Excited,’ But It’s ‘Inappropriate to Be Celebrating’ At Brian Johnson’s Expense
It was one of the more surprising stories of the year. In the midst of touring, AC/DC revealed that they were canceling dates and that Brian Johnson was told by doctors that if he continued touring, he was subject to potential total hearing loss. Even more surprising, the band snagged Axl Rose as their new vocalist, helping them fulfill their remaining scheduled shows for the year. Now Rose and the band are speaking about his joining AC/DC.
In an interview with BBC 6 Music, Rose said he was a huge fan of Brian Johnson and that he just "wants to do it justice." "I'm happy and excited in one sense," says Rose, "But I think it would be inappropriate to be celebrating, in a certain way, at someone else's expense. That's not what I'm here to do. It's an unfortunate situation."
During the interview, Angus Young also addressed Brian Johnson's exit. "In his heart, he wanted to finish [the tour] but because of the hearing factor, he had to make a decision," said Young. "It's a hard thing to do, and he'd had the problem since we kicked off touring. It was his call. It was a shock to us too. The last thing you want to do is walk away from something, but you don't want someone in a tragic situation, being deaf, or any other affliction."
As for how Rose came to join the band, he revealed, "I called the day I read about it in the news, that there was a situation going on with Brian's hearing. I called a guy who's their production manager right now ... because I knew there was going to be a problem with having dates on sale and dates sold and stuff like that. So if I could help, and if I was able to do it, and they were interested, I'd love to help. And that's how it started. I wasn't looking at it like, 'I'm singing for AC/DC.' I was looking at it like, 'You know, if I can, and I they think I'm able to do it.'"
Rose admits that he finds a lot of the band's Back in Black material really challenging, adding, "He's a great singer and it's really challenging to sing it and just trying to do it justice for the fans."
Rose welcomed Angus Young to the stage during Guns N' Roses' Coachella appearance last month, giving audiences their first taste of what it might sound like with Axl singing AC/DC songs. His first official full performance with the band will take place this Saturday (May 7) in Lisbon, Portugal.
See Where Axl Rose + Brian Johnson Rank Among the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Frontmen of All Time
12 Unforgettable Axl Rose Onstage Moments
10 Unforgettable Brian Johnson Moments