AC/DC guitarist Angus Young has paid tribute to Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose for stepping in to cover for Brian Johnson when the Geordie singer was forced to quit touring due to issues with his hearing. But Young says that, whatever rumours might suggest, Rose never recorded any new music with the Australian rock legends.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Young is generous in his praise for Rose, and states that he will be “forever grateful” to the vocalist for filling in for long-standing frontman Johnson on the Rock Or Bust tour, at a time when there was huge speculation as to what might happen next for AC/DC.
“Sometimes when you’re in the thick of something, it is hard to make decisions,” admits Young, “but you try and go, ‘Well, I’ll try and do the best with a bad situation.’ And when Brian got his hearing problem, he was advised he shouldn’t be continuing [touring]. We had a few commitments that we were locked into and I didn’t want to sit in a room full of lawyers and battle [cancellations] out with a lot of people. So the suggestion was, ‘OK, maybe somebody might be able to fill in and do those dates.’ And Axl Rose contacted us. I’ll be forever grateful for him for doing that. He was very pro about doing it. He really gave a great performance.”
When Rolling Stone writer Kory Grow says to Young ‘Axl said that he thought you and he might work on some music together. Did that ever come about?’, Young says “No, no. That never happened.”
“Nothing really came out solid,” the guitarist says. “I know that he [Axl] has a lot of things he’s involved in. I don’t even know if you would say it was music.”
When Grow asks whether Young has any regrets over the way in which AC/DC handled Brian Johnson’s sudden exit from the group, the guitarist responds by saying, “AC/DC has never been in the PR business.”
“We were just trying to inform people of what we knew, and we didn’t want to put anyone under an illusion,” he says. “To be honest with you, Cliff [Williams, ’DC bassist] and I thought, ‘Well, at least we can end what we had signed on to do.’ I get it that a lot of people would be looking at something like this as a train wreck [laughs].”