3/15: MY THOUGHTS ON LATEST BRIAN JOHNSON AC/DC STUFF
Lots of news today made by my friend Jim Breuer and his podcast stating that Brian Johnson was pushed out of AC/DC. Notable that the podcast has since come down and Jim has softened some of his story. Read into that what you will. In light of all of this I’ve been asked about my thoughts by many. I’ll say this; it does seem strange that a hearing issue could come on so quick that it would end a tour. It does seem strange that something like this couldn’t be managed in some way. I am no sound engineer but there must be some protection that can be taken I would think? As I’ve said all along what direction AC/DC goes next will tell you a lot about all of this. If they go get a younger guy Angus (who is youngest in the band) may keep this band going 10 more years. If they get a few celeb singers and do a sort of Farewell then Brian’s situation may be very real and they bow out gracefully.
I know Brian. I am not going to tell you I know him well and hang with him. But we have spoken from time to time and he has done my radio show several times as well as TMS. He is one of my favorite people. A real guy for sure. I had never heard of him having hearing issues or needing to raise my voice around him as was the case with others. I can also tell you he always at times almost talked about AC/DC like he wasn’t in the band. “Whatever Mal and Ang say..” was a familiar line. He is a good guy, was great in the gig, and will be hugely missed if this did not happen on his terms. In the last week it has been STUNNING to me to see how many fans are already talking about who the next singer is without asking questions and worrying about Brian. This is BRIAN JOHNSON! 36 years in AC/DC! Singer in one of the biggest bands and on one of the biggest albums EVER! It’s not like another drummer change (and I say that with all respect to drummers, but you get it).
I also know Brian was getting tired out there. In his late 60’s that is understandable. This is a high energy show and tough stuff to sing. I know the band were only able to play no more than 3 times a week max because he needed rest. This is not uncommon for older singers. Same goes with Steve Tyler these days. But it is expensive for a band to sit around in hotels off that many days. All of this plays in to the equation I think. It could be that Brian had some hearing issues and there was other stuff brewing. Angus saw it as a chance to do a third AC/DC and do another 10 years of more activity by using this as the vehicle to make a change. We have seen the very familiar move in music these days where bands are selling a logo and maybe one original member. The name AC/DC is one of the biggest on the planet. With that logo, those songs, and Angus, if they find the right guy they will find an audience. But it’s tricky and these are huge shoes to fill. So I think there are a combination of things at work here. And what AC/DC do and say going forward will be telling. They have always been a very close knit quiet camp. So until there is something real to announce everything is speculation for sure. But it will be interesting to watch. Most importantly if Brian is having any issue I hope he is well. I left him a voice mail today with my regards. He is a class act all the way and it would be greatly disappointing if this did not happen on his terms given how much he has put into this band over the decades.
I do hope Brian’s ok. Hearing loss, especially in his profession, is a game changer. Not to mention in general day to day life.
Having said that, I know that the band has notoriously been a hush hush camp. For as long as I can remember, they’ve really only been talked about if there’s a new album coming out and they’re discussing the tour. Yes, there is the odd headline now and then, but compared to all the click bait bands doing their laundry in public, ACDC has remained fairly quiet. Not a lot of direct coverage on Malcolm or Phil – most has been from a source.
If the news on Brian being kicked to the curb is true, then this is kind of like knowing a married couple that you get Christmas cards from and visit regularly, only to suddenly find out that they’re splitting up. We don’t know what has happened in their house when we’re not there to get them to that point. All these years, I thought Angus and Brian were damn near best friends, just watching how they interact during interviews. Maybe they just keep their infighting hidden pretty good. Maybe this is all one big misunderstanding.
If it’s not a misunderstanding, then as a fan, I have to say that I hope they hang it up. Obviously, some bands have made the dreaded singer change and continued to be successful – Van Halen got a completely different singer (twice) and musically speaking, made more good music. Journey got a carbon copy, and is now what I refer to as Diet Journey. Crue, Priest, Maiden … the list goes on and on. But ACDC is different. Brian Johnson is as much a part of their sound as Angus is – or more accurately, Malcolm. No offense to Cliff Williams, but Angus, as the last man standing, is already playing with spare parts. To make such a change now, at this stage in their career, just for the sake of keeping the machine running will (in my opinion) be disasterous.
I love ACDC. Always have. Hopefully I always will. I just don’t want to see them roll the dice on a new singer and fall flat on their faces. It would be heartbreaking.
You are saying Gary Cherone was a good move? I have to disagree. That album was total crap.
On paper, I think Gary Cherone was a very good move.
I really liked Extreme, and he has the vocal chops to pull off Dave and Sammy stuff in concert. After recently watching the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert from 1992, I think Gary could’ve toured with Brian May and Roger Taylor too.
It’s just a pity that the album with Gary was a terrible album.
I agree with that – on paper, it must’ve looked like it would work. In Cherone’s defense, I listened to an interview with him about that album and he is still amazed that people blame him for how it turned out, basically reminding everyone that “aboslutely nothing happens in Van Halen without Eddie’s approval, so if you want to complain…”
I still say it was horrible in the Van Halen catalogue, but all in all, for what it is, there are some good songs on that album.
Could you imagine if Eddie Van Halen had his way and Patti “The Warrior” Smyth became the singer? Ponder on that one. 🙂
Yes, I agree, the album was garbage. But not because of Gary. Gary is one of the greatest singers/frontmen in the history of rock music. I have no reservations espousing this. If anything, Gary doesn’t need VH. Ever. He has his audience, we love him, and that’s that.
not necessarily the best possible move, no. I hated it at first. I can listen to it now, because in my own opinion, it’s good music, just not good Van Halen. There’s a difference.
Bon died so you gotta find someone new. Brian is still here. What an insult to him if they weed him out. I’m done if this happens and I hope people are out by the scores. No one buys music anymore so the only way to hurt them is by not buying a concert ticket.
Not sure how this tour was actually doing, but full seats doesn’t necessarily mean sold out at top dollar. I saw them at Gillette on the “Black Ice” tour and got my tickets the day before for $10 and change, not from a scalper or 2nd hand but legit. Supposedly they had a lot of unsold tickets and did some kind of last minute deal with a radio station promo and sold them dirt cheap. When I got the call from my friend asking if I wanted to go I hesitated thinking they’d be very expensive (I like AC/DC but I’m more of a casual fan), but it was a no brainer for under 11 bucks. I’ve paid more to see AC/DC tribute bands than I did to see the real thing that night! So glad I did too, I had never seen them before and now no Malcolm, no Brian Johnson, no Phil Rudd (not as bummed about that one). Sorry to say but I don’t think I’m very interested in a new incarnation of them with a new singer. I kind of need Johnson and Angus to feel like it’s really them. I’d say Malcolm too but that’s obviously not possible.