BRIAN JOHNSON Explains 'Awkward' JUSTIN HAWKINS Mic Grab At TAYLOR HAWKINS Tribute Concert

December 19, 2022

Brian Johnson has explained why Justin Hawkins took the microphone away from him during the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at London's Wembley Stadium more than three months ago.

The mic handover occurred when the AC/DC singer and METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich joined the FOO FIGHTERS onstage at the September 3 event to run through a pair of AC/DC classics.

"Please welcome to the stage our good buddy Lars, and Brian Johnson from AC-fuckin'-DC," FOO FIGHTERS frontman Dave Grohl said, as the group kicked into "Back In Black". About a minute into the track, Johnson seemingly motioned to Hawkins, who has no relation to Taylor Hawkins, fresh off his performance with Wolfgang Van Halen earlier in the day. THE DARKNESS frontman then walked out on stage and took the microphone from Johnson, before swapping lines with the legendary AC/DC vocalist.

Earlier today (Monday, December 19),Johnson reflected on his "Back In Black performance with Hawkins during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Brian said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We were getting ready to go on. Justin came up, and he was going, 'Brian, I cannot believe I'm here.' He said, ''Back In Black' is my favorite of all songs in the world, and I'd love to be able to sing [it].' And I said, 'Come on and sing the second verse. Can you do that?' And he went, 'Oh, do you mean it?' And he turnedโ€ฆ Dave Grohl was there. He said, 'Dave, Brian has just asked [me] to sing the second verse of 'Back In Black'.' And Dave Grohl said, 'If Brian Johnson asks you to sing the second verse of 'Back In Black', you sing it.' And he did. And then he got on. And I think he chickened out halfway through and I forgot the fucking words. But the worst thing was he got so excited, he came out and he forgot to bring a microphone with him. [Laughs] So that's why it looked so awkward, trying to sing with one microphone. And he's, like, six-foot-fuckin'-two or something."

On September 4, one day after the London concert, THE DARKNESS subtweeted a video of Justin's performance with Wolfgang and included the following message: "Wolfgang Van Halen shredding 'hot for teacher' with Dave Grohl & Justin Hawkins @foofighters @MammothWVH @thedarkness #TaylorHawkinsWembley #TaylorHawkins EVH is [smiling] somewhere".

In response, one person tweeted, "[Justin] should've gotten his ass kicked backstage for his little stunt during Back In Black", while another fan defended THE DARKNESS's singer, writing: "Brian called him onto the stage!" Justin then got involved the discussion himself, tweeting: "Yeah, 10 seconds before the AC DC section Brian told me to get up for the second verse of BIB. I didn't want to do it, never sung that before but DG said 'if Brian tells you to do something, you fucking do it.' Haha".

A short time later, Wolfgang Van Halen, who received rave reviews for his performance of a couple of VAN HALEN classics, weighed in, writing: "You're goddamn right! And you killed it", to which Justin responded: "Haha I wouldn't say that ;) To be honest, I feel like BJ just wanted to drag me up for a laugh and to give his voice a few seconds to recover in time for the rest of the track. I thought he did an AMAZING job and I'm always happy to help out when needed."

On September 5: Justin released a statement explaining in further detail his involvement in the Johnson/Ulrich portion of the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in London, saying: "10 minutes before the AC/DC segment of the tribute, Brian Johnson asked me to come up and sing the second verse of Back In Black. I initially refused, I've never sung it before and I didn't want it to seem like I was gatecrashing. However, Brian really was insistent and Dave Grohl told me that 'if Brian tells you to do something, you fucking do it'.

"I had Rufus [Taylor, THE DARKNESS drummer] pull up the lyrics on his phone and I gave it a go, but in all honesty I think Brian just wanted to create a memorable spontaneous moment and have a laugh so he could really push on and smash the rest of his set. The stage manager scrambled to prepare a microphone for me, but I didn't know which one I was supposed to take and I ended up having to steal Brian's, which looked a bit awkward.

"Brian Johnson is an absolute legend and Dave was right, I couldn't turn it down."

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