Brian Johnson Didn’t Want to ‘Cheat’ AC/DC Fans
Former AC/DC singer Brian Johnson looked back on the hearing problems that forced him out of the band in 2016, and said he didn't want to “cheat” in the delivery of his performances. He left suddenly during AC/DC’s world tour in support of 2015 album Rock or Bust, and was eventually replaced by Axl Rose.
“Onstage it was getting harder and harder to hear the guitars, even hear the keys, and I was basically going on muscle memory,” Johnson told the Sunday Times in a recent interview. “And I’m not the kind of guy who likes to cheat. The way I look at it, I had a great run.”
After his departure, he vowed to find a way to keep performing, and he’s returned to the stage a handful of times since then. However, he didn’t address the possibility of rejoining AC/DC. The band’s future remains in doubt with the death of co-founder Malcolm Young (who retired a few years ago because of his own health problems) and the departures of Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams in recent years.
In December, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott criticized the way AC/DC dealt with Johnson’s issues. “I wouldn’t have done it like that,” he said. “I can’t speak for Angus [Young] and his team as to what their reasons were for doing what they did, but considering that we had a drummer lose an arm and we waited for him, the way that they dealt with it was not the way I would have done it. Put it that way. ... But it’s not really AC/DC anymore, is it? It's basically just Angus and the other four now – so I don't know that Brian's ever gonna come back.”