PHIL LEWIS Says AXL ROSE 'Nailed It' Filling In For BRIAN JOHNSON On AC/DC Tour
November 17, 2021
L.A. GUNS frontman Phil Lewis says that Axl Rose did a "fantastic" job filling in for Brian Johnson 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 the "Talk Louder" podcast, hosted by veteran music journalist "Metal Dave" Glessner and lifelong hard rock/metal vocalist Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS),Lewis told McMaster (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Your voice is legendary. When Axl stood in for Brian in AC/DC, I was rooting for you. I think you would have done a much better job, personally."
After McMaster said that Rose "kicked it in the ass" singing for AC/DC, Phil concurred. "He's fantastic," he said. "Axl is a singer's singer. And people that don't sing don't get it, because they think he sounds nasally and he has got that funny vibrato. But he's a singer's singer. We're talking, like, seven octaves. He did that AC/DC stuff on his head; it was effortless for him. And you can't help feeling bad for old Brian puffing around up there. I've toured with him, and after about the third or fourth night, he's hurting. And it's a tough gig for anyone, especially somebody at that age. But, yeah, Axl just came in and nailed it." Lewis then once again praised McMaster, saying: "But you could have done it too, though."
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 released its long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", in November 2020.