AC/DC or Axl/DC or a close proximity to either version of the band might be recording in Vancouver right now. No facts are involved in that statement, only rumors, so take it all with heavy grains of salt… but it does look like something is happening.
About a week ago the rumors began to fly with the sighting of AC/DC’s current rhythm guitarist Stevie Young with none other than on/off/on/off and no now maybe on again AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd in Vancouver, the city in which the band recorded their last three albums.
Interesting indeed, but a guy telling another guy that he spoke with two band members is hardly solid reporting. But now… we have a blurry photo of Phil Rudd in Vancouver to go along with it.
The photo is taken by someone who lives by the studio AC/DC is known to record in, waiting to snap a photo of a band member hanging outside for a break. Yeah, it’s creepy… but without this creep we would not know who is hanging with Phil right now. None other than AC/DC’s on/off and now maybe on again lead singer Brian Johnson!
Whoa! Wasn’t expecting that one! I mean, I hoped for it. But after Brian’s relationship with lead guitarist/founding member Angus Young, hit a wall in March of 2016 I was certain he would not be coming back. Brian seemed to have a hearing problem that would not allow him to perform live… but then he didn’t… but Angus abruptly showed him the door to an early retirement anyway.
Having just come off the departure AC/DC’s co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young due to illness, then the bizarre case of Phil Rudd’s “procuring a murder” scandal of 2015 (The charges of which were quickly dropped, but at the time the accusations were still in the air), you then had to deal with Axl Rose of all people filling in for Brian.
To the casual fan, Axl Rose, the long time temperamental lead singer of Guns ‘n Roses would seem like a natural fit. Both G ‘N R and Acca Dacca have similarities in the style of music that they play… but to a “hard-core” fan like myself, the two bands are worlds apart.
To me, AC/DC is a hard-working band. Sure, with their 40 plus years in the biz they have had their ups and downs, but they were usually due to circumstances beyond their control. At the end of the day, they showed up on time, did the gig, and were always professional about it. Gunners, especially Axl, came of as a bunch of self-destructive prima donnas.
Now it was possible for this attitude to be injected into AC/DC. It was a weird time to be a fan, for sure.
So, I’m truly excited to see the strong possibility of Brian coming back, especially after several circumstances leading up to now pointed to him being finished as a member of AC/DC.
First, Brian Johnson did have something going on with his hearing. How he would walk his voice up to get the right pitch when he performed live during the Rock or Bust tour was the most telling sign. Here is an example from their live show in Sydney, Australia from 2015. Cue to 1:09 to the a little build up to the example at 1:12:
Is it enough that Angus should fire Brian over it? I’d say no, but Angus is a perfectionist, and that part of his attitude a reason why AC/DC has become so successful.
Second, Brian had already signaled his departure from the band in May of 2016 to Rolling Stone.
He claims to have had a “good run” and he is “happy to have made it out alive.” Comments that you can chalk up to his sense of humor, but he is speaking about his time with AC/DC in the past tense. Not a good sign.
Third, Axl was a total pro about the gig and did a bang up job.
Axl made his AC/DC debut with a broken foot while on tour with Guns ‘N Roses at the same time. He never missed a show and didn’t make any waves with some off stage antics. He showed that he was wanting, willing, and able. He pulled tunes from the catalog like ‘Riff Raff’ and ‘Rock ‘n Roll Damnation’ which we haven’t heard live in 40 years. Respect, as my good friend Joe would say. So, as the tour began to wrap up it was natural for more rumors to start flying about how Angus wish to record a new AC/DC album with Axl.
I had held out hope that this wasn’t true and if Angus did decide to carry on with another album, Brian would be involved. And now I am getting psyched as it appears my hopes are coming true! Here is why:
Brian still rocks. This is all the proof I need:
This is from this past November. Brian’s distracting beer gut aside, what ever hearing problem he has/had, he is dealing/dealt with it.
To be clear, I was and always have been OK with Angus filling the remainder of the Rock or Bust tour with another singer. The band has always been a working machine with a hard conviction in the belief that “the show must go on” . Now, the choice of Axl was concerning for the before mentioned reasons, but they all turned out to be moot ones. I am happier for it.
But now after Brian has shown he has still got it, and since his departure from the band was… awkward… recording another AC/DC album without his presence while he is still able to contribute would not sit well with me.
Regardless if you do or do not enjoy Brian as a singer, you cannot deny how his contribution to AC/DC’s biggest album, Back In Black, was a huge stepping stone for them in terms of sales and popularity. You could argue that they were on their way there anyway with former lead singer Bon Scott, but how often have you seen band roster changes get completely cocked up? If Angus does have AC/DC recording in Vancouver right now, Brain is the singer who deserves to be their more than anyone else.