Features

Rock or Busted?

Elmore Considers the Uncertain Future of AC/DC

Brian Johnson at Chicago's United Center by Laura Sedor
Brian Johnson at Chicago’s United Center by Laura Sedor

 

By Ira Kantor 

 

[A]re AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson’s days with the landmark hard rock group numbered for good?

From the way news and media outlets are talking, it would certainly seem so. First we get wind of the fact that once Johnson announced his tinnitus diagnosis to the band, they allegedly left his bags on the curb of his Florida home. It seems the band wants to fulfill remaining tour date obligations come hell or high water.

That’s why everyone is now salivating over the prospect of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose – already flying high over the fact he’s reuniting with former band members – showing up and taking the microphone from Johnson.

Someone’s been drinking way too much with Mr. Brownstone to think this is a good idea…

Let’s look at precedent, shall we. When it comes to concept promptness, let’s just say Mr. Rose has more than a few tardies to his name. I feel in AC/DC’s case, they’d be lucky if their shows with Axl start two hours late, let alone happen at all.

Now let’s examine Axl’s voice. Sure, Brian Johnson is known to shriek occasionally, but it’s more of a muddy growl than anything. Rose just takes the banshee persona and runs with it. While he may attempt to channel the spirit of AC/DC’s former frontman – the late Bon Scott – with his singing, Scott’s spirit is liable to open his grave and tell him to shut the hell up.

Comedian Jim Breuer has previously indicated that Johnson’s tinnitus has stopped his rock n’ roll train completely in its tracks, but you got to give the latter credit. Ever the musical trooper, he’s claimed he can find ways to press on and end the tour with a series of bangs even when he’s hurting.

What really hurts though is Johnson’s statement that even after 36 years, he’s never really felt like a member of AC/DC. It would be a tremendous loss for the music community for the band to toss Johnson aside, especially considering longtime guitarist Malcolm Young’s departure from the group because of ongoing dementia.

Yes, Johnson was a replacement band member. Even so though he has come to define the group’s sound and image. When we visualize Angus Young in his schoolboy outfit, we see Johnson in his black T-shirt and grey cabbie hat right alongside him. As one of the best-selling groups of all time, AC/DC should forgo rumors entirely and simply end. If the group opts to neglect Johnson and seek an alternative – like Rose – their only destiny is to be slashed to pieces by the razor’s edge.

 

Elmore photographer Laura Sedor caught AD/DC in late February before Johnson left the tour. Check out more photos here

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