Hey Brian Johnson, We Have A New Gig For You!

Top Gear: The future?

These are turbulent times for the UK. Following last week’s surprise Brexit vote, the nation is in meltdown, with our leading politicians resigning and our financial markets crumbling. To pour salt into this bloody gash, now we’ve learned that the BBC’s flagship motoring show Top Gear - surely Britain’s greatest cultural contribution to the world this side of Led Zeppelin – is on the slide, with plummeting audience figures prompting smart-arse host Chris Evans to leave the show. Ye Gods, is nothing sacred? In this darkest of hours then, we need a new hero, a streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds, etc,. And we think we’ve identified the man for the job. Shuffle forward, Brian Johnson…

After 36 years of loyal service to AC/DC, the summer of 2016 finds the 68 year old singer at something of a loose end, as the Aussie rock legends, with Axl Rose at the helm, continue their Rock Or Bust world tour without him. Though a recent trial of new hearing tech has offered Beano hope of a return to the band, there’s been precious little indication from Angus Young that the door remains open for the popular Geordie. Basically Brian, what we’re saying is, don’t hold your breath man… And while presenting a TV show might not offer quite the same thrill as flying first class around the world to sing Highway To Hell to 100,000 ‘DC fans a night, for a committed petrolhead the Top Gear gig surely has to be the next best thing.

Let’s be honest, Brian could piss this. He presents a TV motoring show already (Quest TV’s Cars That Rock), he races cars, he has that rare ability to make a discussion about camshafts, fuel injector nozzles and exhaust flange gaskets sound as exciting as a rimjob from Kim Kardashian, he’s been on Top Gear before (appearing in the A Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment in 2009) and most importantly, he’s not Jeremy fucking Clarkson, and therefore isn’t likely to punch any of the production team’s lights out if his Newkie Brown is served up chilled.

In fact, in terms of temperament, Johnson could bring a dry wit and affable, everyman charm to the show, without resorting to insulting women, cyclists or ‘foreigners’, as his predecessors liked to do. Also, as the frontman of a band who’ve sold over 200 million albums worldwide, like current Top Gear co-presenter… er, Joey from Friends, he actually has a profile outside London media enclave the Groucho Club, which is fairly helpful for a TV show watched by an audience of 350 million in 214 territories.

Brutally hurled onto the unemployment scrapheap in April, we’d normally recommend that Brian simply put his feet up and concentrate on pottering around his Florida home with some Tonka miniatures at his time of his life, but these are extreme times. So come on Beano, grab your flat cap and start your engines please, your country needs you…

For more on Brian Johnson and AC/DC check out our archive….

Brian Johnson: I've had a pretty good run with AC/DC

AC/DC: The End Of The Road For Brian Johnson?

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.