Brian Johnson says he ‘couldn’t watch’ Axl Rose sing with AC/DC

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Brian Johnson joined AC/DC back in 1980, replacing their original vocalist Bon Scott, who died at the age of 33. Brian has made AC/DC one of the greatest rock bands in the world but had to step down during their 2016 tour because of hearing issues.

In his new memoir, The Lives of Brian, he revealed he couldn’t bring himself to watch Guns N’ Roses frontman, Axl Rose perform the songs. AC/DC postponed the last 10 dates of its 2016 North American Trek and that’s when Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose took the mantle as a ‘guest vocalist’. Johnson was advised to stop playing live or he could go deaf.

According to UCR, Johnson writes in his autobiography.

“Part of the pain of it was that I blamed myself. 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.”

“I’m told that he did a great job, 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. Angus 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.”

During the interview, he also revealed that he had been receiving treatment for quite some time. He was also warned by medical experts to stop performing immediately but kept on arguing that he had contracts to keep singing. But, during the tour, he finally accepted his fate. Brian disclosed it, was one of the most difficult decisions of his life.

“I called Tim, the tour manager, on my mobile right there in the room to tell him that I just couldn’t continue. It was one of the most difficult conversations of my life – the pain of it made worse over the weeks that followed when the tour simply went on without me. It was a sheer cliff. I didn’t tumble down, I was in free fall.”

Johnson said that the messages of his friends and fans made him strong. He revealed, “the other thing I’ve always loved: racing cars. I found myself winning more than usual. People would come up to me afterwards and say, ‘Brian, you’re fearless!'”. Johnson added, “but I wasn’t fearless. I just didn’t fucking care any more. I’d always thought that the best way to go out would be at 180mph, flat-out around a corner. You’d hit the wall and boom, it would be over, just like that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to die. … I just wouldn’t have minded all that much.

To his luck, Johnson also found technician Stephen Ambrose who developed ADEL in-ear monitors for Johnson. This allowed Johnson to perform without causing further damage to his eardrums. After three years, Johnson said the technology allowed him to tour again. He revealed,

Whatever magic he used, it worked. I could hear again — even in my deaf ear, meaning I was able to enjoy stereo [again]. Suddenly, I felt something that I hadn’t felt in what seemed like an eternity: Hope.” 

Two months later, the band issued their comeback studio LP, Power Up. And everyone loved it. The autobiography ‘The Lives of Brian’ is out everywhere. Be sure to get it and take yourself on a rollercoaster ride cause Brian is a legendary rockstar.

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