SLASH Was 'Blown Away' By AXL ROSE's Performance With AC/DC
January 25, 2022
GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash says that he was "blown away" by Axl Rose's performance as the fill-in singer for 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 frontman Brian 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 Classic Rock magazine, Slash said about Axl's pairing with AC/DC: "I came out to a gig in London, and it was phenomenal. I was blown away, especially when he sang the Bon Scott stuff. That was a very proud moment, actually."
Asked by Classic Rock writer Paul Elliott if it felt weird seeing Rose fronting another band so soon after GN'R launched its reunion tour, the guitarist said: "Not at all. It was AC/DC, man.
"The fact that he got asked to do that was very cool," Slash continued. "And he worked his ass off doing it, too. He really adhered to the whole AC/DC regimen and pulled it off.
"In the moment, when it first came up, it was a little jarring, I have to say," the guitarist admitted. "I was super-proud that he was doing it, but how that was gonna happen and go right into the GUNS thing, I really didn't know. But anyway, it worked out. So it wasn't like a big deal.
"In all these years that we've been apart, he's become super-fucking professional. And he's never missed a beat during this whole time. So it's been great. There has been a sort of synergy that's been happening this last six years that we never had in our first incarnation."
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.