Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose will join AC/DC to finish the band’s tour commitments in Europe and the US, following Brian Johnson’s exit due to hearing issues. The move, announced yesterday by AC/DC, has already horrified fans, with many saying it’s time for the Aussie rockers to hang up their guitars. Axl’s notorious reputation for temper tantrums and keeping fans waiting at shows for hours certainly seem at odds with AC/DC’s down to earth, working class image. Naturally it’s good news that the band are honouring the their tour dates but it seems fans would prefer just about anyone else but Rose.
The Rock or Bust Tour is a six-leg world tour that began in April 2015 and is now winding up with 12 dates in Europe from May 7 to June 12, 2016.
“AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures. As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian’s decision to stop touring and save his hearing. We are dedicated to fulfilling the remainder of our touring commitments to everyone that has supported us over the years, and are fortunate that Axl Rose has kindly offered his support to help us fulfil this commitment. AC/DC will resume their Rock Or Bust World Tour with Axl Rose joining on vocals.”
Brian Johnson reportedly unhappy treatment by AC/DC
Brian Johnson, who fronted AC/DC since 1980, has not publicly commented yet. However US comedian Jim Breuer revealed in his podcast that in a private conversation with Johnson, the singer revealed he felt “kicked to the curb” by the band. Breuer also stated Johnson was “really depressed” and felt the band had overstated his issues with hearing loss. The health issues, surprisingly, were caused by the rocker forgetting to put his earplugs in during a session at the race track and puncturing his left ear drum. He was advised by doctors to cease all touring commitments immediately.
Axl Rose and Angus Young hit the stage with Guns N’ Roses
AC/DC announced the replacement shortly before Rose hit the stage at Coachella festival in California alongside classic Guns N’ Roses members Slash and Duff McKagan. Sadly the reunion shows didn’t include original rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin or drummer Steven Adler.
Ironically Rose isn’t without his own health issues. He performed at Coachella seated with his leg in a cast, after breaking his foot at a surprise early reunion show earlier this month. Rose went in for surgery before continuing his commitments with the band. Onstage Rose thanked Dave Grohl for lending him the throne that the Foo Fighters frontman used under similar circumstances last year. Rose made light of the issue, saying:
“This is what can happen when you do something you haven’t done in nearly over 23 years.”
AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young appeared at the show in Coachella, playing AC/DC tunes Riff Raff and Whole Lotta Rosie. Guns N’ Roses have previously covered the songs a number of times. You can see Young in action in the videos above. To my ears Rose puts in a very respectable vocal performance for both songs, although I’m sure many will disagree.
After completing his European tour commitments with AC/DC, Rose will head across the pond for the 21-date Not in This Lifetime stadium tour with Guns N’ Roses. The tour will kick off on June 23 in Detroit and continue into July and August. Following this, AC/DC’s US tour dates, previously cancelled due to the exit of Johnson, will be rescheduled with Rose on the mic.
Neither party has addressed what will happen to AC/DC, with or without Axl Rose, after the band’s current tour commitments have been completed. Angus Young is now the band’s only original member after the departure of rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young in 2014 due to dementia. The band have had a rather dramatic past two years. Longtime AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was ousted from the band in 2015 while he dealt with legal issues. He was initially arrested and charged with threatening to kill, attempting to procure a murder and possession of cannabis and methamphetamine. The first two charges were later dropped although he pleaded guilty to the latter two charges. With such an ongoing exodus of longtime members, no wonder fans are starting to discuss the possibility of retirement.