During an appearance on this past Monday's (December 19) episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", AC/DC singer Brian Johnson was asked if he and his bandmates will ever play live again. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm not answering that. Why should I? First of all, there's five members in this band, and to ask one member isn't fair."
When asked by host Eddie Trunk if he personally would like to play with AC/DC again, Johnson: "Eddie, I cannot answer that. I've been told not to by everybody. It's the official line."
Pressed about whether he would like to make another AC/DC album as a follow-up to 2020's "Power Up", Brian said: "It's gettin' tabloidy here. You're gettin' tabloidy."
He continued: "If I say one thing, it'll be blown out of all proportion. You just can't afford to talk now. There's too much blabber on the Internet. And I'm not on any kind of Face-thing or social media at all — never have been. It's just gossip."
Johnson hasn't performed with AC/DC since he departed mid-tour in 2016 amid revelations he was suffering from hearing loss. He was replaced on the remainder of that tour by Axl Rose.
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." At the time, Johnson had been AC/DC's singer for 36 years, ever since replacing the late Bon Scott in 1980 and making his debut on the classic "Back In Black" album.
Johnson wrote in his recently released autobiography "The Lives Of Brian" that he has never seen any of the widely circulated videos of Rose's performances in the band.
"I'm told that he did a great job," Johnson said, "but I just couldn't watch — especially when you've been doing it for 35 years. It's like finding a stranger in your house, sitting in your favorite chair. But I bear no grudges. It was a tough situation. [AC/DC guitarist and co-founder] Angus [Young] and the lads did what they felt they had to do. That said, after the band released a statement confirming that I was leaving the tour and wishing me all the best for the future, I couldn't relax or concentrate on anything. It was just always there.
"Part of the pain of it was that I blamed myself," he admitted. "For most of my career, I'd been in the loudest band in the world. I'd flown constantly. I'd flown even when I knew I wasn't well.
"For a while, people would ask me if I was depressed, but depression is treatable. My hearing loss wasn't. What I was feeling wasn't depression. It was something closer to despair."
"Power Up" was released in November 2020. 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".
To enable him to perform live with AC/DC again, Johnson worked with audio expert Stephen Ambrose, who said he could help resolve the singer's hearing problems.
Ambrose, who invented the wireless in-ear monitors that are widely used by touring artists today, claimed to have invented a new type of ear-bud that would allow Johnson to perform without causing further damage to his eardrums. After three years of experimenting and "miniaturizing" the equipment, Johnson previously said the technology could allow him to tour again.