Angus Young: Axl Rose Touring With AC/DC Was A “Lifesaver”
While vocalist Brian Johnson is happily back within the AC/DC ranks now, guitarist Angus Young has reflected on the moment the frontman had to temporarily step down during their Rock Or Bust World Tour – praising his replacement, Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music (watch the full interview below), Angus admits that the rock titans “could have just stopped and said, ‘We’ll cancel,’ ” after Brian suffered hearing issues, but instead he recalls that, “Somebody said, ‘Well, maybe we could get somebody who might guest. We might have some people who you could try out, who might be able to do the role and get you through.’ ”
Angus continues: “We had to look at those options. Then out of the blue, we got a message that Axl Rose would help. If nothing interfered with his commitments, he would gladly help us out. So, we got to a rehearsal place and tried out and he put a lot of effort in everything.
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“I’d only met him a long time ago in the ’80s. He had come to a show and he was, to me, very, very nice and everything. Basically, that’s how it came in to be, that allowed us to finish off those dates. So for us, it was a heaven-sent. It was a little bit like a lifesaver. Even though he had done his foot in before he started, he borrowed a chair. He was determined he was going to go, so I thought… The first show we had to do, I think it was in Portugal, it was a horrible day. It was raining and everything, it was open air.
“Everything was going wrong and then just at the last minute, the sky cleared, the storm went away. We got onstage and got through. He performed from the chair, gave it his best shot and we got through. So for the band, we’ll be forever grateful and he helped us get through all of those shows.”
Opening up about his hearing loss, Brian reflects that he “knew it was getting worse and worse”.
“And then it suddenly came to the point where it had to stop,” he says. “And then I was told to stop. And it’s horrible and it’s cruel. And you’re suddenly by yourself. You’re by yourself. You have family, your family’s gone. But at the same time I had to be realistic about it. I said, ‘Listen, this isn’t anything terminal. I’ve still got my health. And I’ve been very lucky to have got this far in life.’ I think I was 68 years old at the time, which is quite an age. I just thought I’d man up and just have to go through it. It was painful and horrible. But as I’ve said before, I just buried my head in a bottle of whiskey for a couple of months. And I did. And it was painless. And I didn’t take drugs or go and see a psychiatrist, do all that rock’n’roll, what you’re supposed to do.”
Discussing his return to AC/DC, he continues: “…It was only about 18 months after that, and I was just still missing and wondering what to do next, if anything. Because I’m like Angus; I’ve got to do something. I’m just an itchy kind of guy. And I got the call from Angus and the office management asking if I would like to do an album. And of course I thought that surely this couldn’t be another great chance in life to do what you love doing. And it certainly was.”
Check out the full Angus and Brian interview:
And watch Axl performing Shoot To Thrill with AC/DC at Madison Square Garden in 2016 below:
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