WASHINGTON — In heavy news for metal fans, rockers AC/DC announced on their website Saturday that Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose will pick up lead vocals, replacing longtime singer Brian Johnson.
Johnson, 69, who has lent his distinctive growl to the iconic Australian rock band since 1980, was reportedly told by his doctor he was going deaf after years of touring. This did not come as a terrible surprise to the rock world, as the band is known for its unusually loud performances (one fan describes their shows as “standing in front of a freight train, for two hours”). A number of American tour dates were postponed, while rumors of his replacement swirled.
A report in The Daily Mail in March indicated that his imminent departure may have not been his own decision, and that he allegedly felt betrayed by his longtime bandmates,
None of this was reflected in the AC/DC’s announcement, however:
AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures. As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian’s decision to stop touring and save his hearing. We are dedicated to fulfilling the remainder of our touring commitments to everyone that has supported us over the years, and are fortunate that Axl Rose has kindly offered his support to help us fulfill this commitment.
The band said it will resume their “Rock Or Bust World Tour with Axl Rose joining on vocals.” The European tour dates begin May 7 in Lisbon. Previously postponed U.S shows will be rescheduled and “announced imminently, also with Axl Rose.” Rose, for his part, has been performing his most recent shows, including the Coachella music festival, with a broken foot.
Immediate reaction on Twitter appeared mixed:
@acdc Only thing worse than replacing Brian Johnson? Replacing him with Axl.
— Anthony Bialy (@AnthonyBialy) April 17, 2016
Axl Rose already has a band who needs a front man, Guns N Roses. So glad I saw ACDC last year with Brian Johnson. — TØM.B (@TomBallinger1) April 17, 2016
Not sure what to make of Axl joining ACDC – potential for huge car crash! Feel sorry for Brian Johnson pic.twitter.com/vRigwoON6Y
— Jamhot (@JamHot) April 17, 2016