BRIAN JOHNSON Praises AXL ROSE's Work With AC/DC: 'I've Got A Lot Of Respect For What He Did'
November 12, 2020
Brian Johnson has commended Axl Rose for doing a "fantastic" job filling in for him at the end of AC/DC's "Rock Or Bust" tour.
AC/DC postponed the last 10 dates of its spring 2016 North American trek after Johnson was advised to stop playing live or "risk total hearing loss." The band went on to complete the European and North American legs of its "Rock Or Bust" tour with the GUNS N' ROSES frontman as a "guest vocalist."
In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Johnson said: "He jumped into a tough, tough vocalist gig. You've got to be on top of your game for that. There's not many resting places. You've really got to go in full chop, all of the time. And for him to do that at such short notice was pretty fantastic. I've got a lot of respect for what he did, you know. A lot of respect."
AC/DC's North American tour ended in Philadelphia in September 2016, and despite initial fan trepidation, Axl got generally good reviews for his performances. Guitarist Angus Young said at the time: "I mean, under the situation that we had, it was very good that he volunteered and said, 'Hey, if I can help, let me try.' So he's been very good. And he had to learn a lot of songs very quickly, and he's done a great job."
Duff McKagan, who is one-third of the reunited partial classic lineup of GUNS N' ROSES, got a chance to watch Rose and AC/DC play in June 2016 in London, England and in September 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Duff spoke about Axl's collaboration with AC/DC during a 2019 appearance on "The Church Of What's Happening Now" podcast. He said: "The way [Axl] did that was amazing. He was, like, 'If you guys don't mind, I'm gonna go try out. They need a hand here.' [Late AC/DC frontman] Bon Scott's his all-time [hero]. [We said], 'Dude, you know you don't really have to try out for AC/DC.' But he was really nervous. 'I'm gonna go try out. It fits in with our touring perfect.' And Slash and I were, like, 'You've got the gig.' But he went to Atlanta and tried out, quote-unquote, and got the gig. I saw him twice on that tour. I flew to London to see him, and I flew to Cleveland to see that. It was great."
McKagan added: "I think what it did for [Axl]… We got to know Angus through that. Angus has now come out and played with us a bunch of times. That was that thing when he was 14 or 15, 'Man, one day, if I ever got to be in AC/DC…' He was singing with a broom, and he finally got to do it. Amazing."
AC/DC will release its long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", on November 13. The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust" 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".
Although AC/DC originally planned on releasing "Power Up" earlier this year, the pandemic forced the band to reconsider.