With their first official show, tomorrow night in Lisbon, Portugal, AC/DC with Axl Rose have released more promotional material following yesterday's reveal of a new promo photo and short message. The interviews offer some interesting insight into how the collaboration came to be.
Of course, the whole reason for the collaboration was because of previous (?!) vocalist Brian Johnson's potential total hearing loss. When the announcement of Rose joining the band was revealed, Johnson made it clear he might still record with the band, while fans assume he was just fired. In a new video interview (all the videos embedded at the end), guitarist Angus Young says that Johnson was not fired:
"You get a lot of rumors out there; a lot of people think Brian was fired. [But] that's not the case," Angus said. "It was mainly his hearing. He already had a very bad ear, and the good ear that he had left was dropping rapidly. I mean, it was an ongoing [issue]… all the way pretty much through the tour from the beginning."
Bassist Cliff Williams elaborated: "He had an instance where there was a marked drop in that one good ear and it came back, but not completely. The doc told him this can happen again and it may not come back. So, you know, you kind of… What do you do with that?"
Angus added that the decision to have Brian replaced for the upcoming tour "was out of our hands," insisting that "it was [Brian's] call what he felt" the best way to proceed was. "We wouldn't win in a lot of situations because if we just stopped, there would have been a lot of people unhappy."
Talking to NME, Young was asked if he could foresee Johnson returning to the band:
“He has to be very careful of what hearing he’s got left. This is what he told us – he was gutted about not finishing [the tour] because he says he would have loved to have gotten through. It was his call, what he wanted. He made that decision himself. He didn’t want to be deaf. And I perfectly understand that – when you stop doing this, you want to walk away with all your pieces! I don’t even want to leave without my fingernail!”
It seems like there are a lot of people unhappy regardless, and some who still believe Johnson was kicked out, but the band has commitments to keep. Interestingly, Axl Rose revealed it was he who approached the band offering his services, and not the other way around as was assumed in the past.
"I called the day I read about it in the news, that there was a situation going on with Brian's hearing," Axl told BBC News.
"I called a guy who's their production manager right now… because I knew there was going to be a problem with having dates on sale and dates sold and stuff like that. So if I could help, and if I was able to do it, and they were interested, I'd love to help. And that's how it started. I wasn't looking at it like, 'I'm singing for AC/DC.' I was looking at it like, 'Y'know, if I can, and if they think I'm able to do it."
Axl also noted "A lot of the Back In Black stuff is really challenging. I'm not here in any way out of any disrespect to Brian. I can't take anything away from his singing at all," he said. "He's a great singer and it's really challenging to sing it. I'm just trying to do it justice for the fans. I'm happy and excited in one sense, but I think it would be inappropriate to be celebrating, in a certain way, at someone else's expense," he said.
Rose implied he wouldn't mind sticking around AC/DC for the long haul saying “Whatever they’re doing with Brian, that’s not my place to talk, that’s their business. Anybody else, I will slowly poison them!”
All eyes will be on the band tomorrow night, and as soon as footage starts surfacing, we will keep you posted with clips.