In a recent interview with the U.K. digital rock Planet Rock, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson was asked when he was last seen or photographed without a hat on. He responded (hear audio below): "Oh, well, I wear them for things like this," referring to the press junket for the band's latest album, "Power Up". "When I'm home in Florida, I'm just one of the boys, swimming and plunging about and having a good time.
Johnson went on to say that he began wearing hats onstage after his brother lent him his during a performance, telling the singer they would help him keep the sweat out of his eyes.
"The hat thing started — I'll never forget, I used to play the working men's clubs in and around the northeast of England, and we would really rock," he said. "It was a grand little rock band called GEORDIE, and I used to sweat because they didn't have any air conditioning. And in the winter especially, the clubs were full and they'd have the heating full up, 'cause it was freezing outside. And I always used to sweat, and my hair, all the sweat used to go in the eyes and sting. And my brother Maurice was there one night; he was there and he's sitting. And he had just got himself a sports car, and he bought — God bless him — he bought one of them sports-car caps. You know, they're little caps. And we were halfway through the set, and I was sitting having a beer with him, and he said, 'Your eyes are red!' I said, 'I know, it's all the sweat.' He said, 'Yeah, put this on.' And I said, 'Oh, I'll try.' And I put it on, because in the north of England, everybody wore caps — you know, after the war and all that, it was a kind of uniform for the Geordies and Yorkshiremen and people like that. And I wore it for the second half [of the set] and I went, 'That's marvelous! It's brilliant!' I said, 'I'm gonna buy one of them!' And he says, 'You can keep that. I'm not putting that on.' So I did. And then people started remembering, 'Oh, it's a good band. The singer that wears the cap. Him.' And then straight away, we got instant recognition with things like that. And we got gigs, we got shows. 'We want that group. What are they called? You know, the singer wears the cap!' 'Oh, right. GEORDIE!' And it stuck. And I guess it's just part of us now."
Brian added that he still takes the hat off in public "when I don't want anybody to know who I am."
"Power Up" features AC/DC's 2020 lineup of Brian Johnson (vocals), Phil Rudd (drums), Cliff Williams (bass), Angus Young (guitar) and Stevie Young (guitar). The LP was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien, who also worked 2008's "Black Ice" and 2014's "Rock Or Bust".
"Power Up" hit the No. 1 spot in 18 countries, including in the U.S., where it sold over 117,000 copies in the first week. It is the fastest-selling album of 2020 in at least three of its biggest markets — U.S., Australia and the U.K.
Johnson was forced to leave AC/DC mid-tour four and a half years ago due to a dangerous level of hearing loss. He was eventually replaced on the road by GUNS N' ROSES vocalist Axl Rose.