It wasn’t quite The Day the Music Died, but when word leaked earlier this month that AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson had been ordered to “stop touring immediately” because of severe hearing loss, metal heads everywhere began mourning the imminent death of one of rock’s greatest bands.
Now, those same metal heads can lift their heads back up — and then lower them, and raise them, and keep repeating in a head-banging motion — because according to Ultimate Guitar, the band will continue touring with a new lead singer. Oh yeah, that singer just happens to be the frontman for another great rock band of metal’s late-’80s/early-’90s heyday … W. Axl Rose.
“This is what I’m being told,” Atlanta DJ Jason Bailey revealed on his radio show after Rose was spotted in the city. “Axl was meeting with the AC/DC group, because it’s all but a done deal that Axl will front AC/DC for the 10 remaining shows. All 10, including Atlanta.”
With Johnson permanently sidelined, it sounds like 10 lucky cities may soon see AC/DC on tour with Axl Rose belting out such classics as “Thunderstruck” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Sure enough, the AC/DC website would seem to back it up, with a statement that says “AC/DC are forced to reschedule the 10 upcoming dates on the U.S. leg of their ‘Rock or Bust’ World Tour,” and that shows in such cities as Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia “will be made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist.”
According to Bailey, founding member and schoolboy-suit enthusiast Angus Young is in a business-first mindset that contrasts with the anything-goes rock aesthetic. “From what I was told, this was all kind of new inside information to me, Angus is a very black-and-white guy,” the DJ says. “He’s like, Brian, for health reasons, can’t continue fronting the band.”
There are no details about who else could possibly be auditioning but it seems like if Axl Rose wants the gig, he’s likely to get it — even if this further complicates the Guns N’ Roses reunion that Rose has reportedly been planning.
“They wanted to continue going out on the road and continue making music, so if you can’t do it, we appreciate your services, but the show must go on,” Bailey says of AC/DC’s resolute determination to finish their tour without Johnson. “They’re in town, they were auditioning people for the job, and then they flew Axl in.”
The team-up wouldn’t be completely out of left field, as Rose is a longtime AC/DC fan who has been known to cover such classics as “Whole Lotta Rosie” in the past.