Axl Rose didn’t speak to Brian Johnson before fronting AC/DC

Axl Rose performing with AC/DC
Axl Rose performing with AC\/DC (Image credit: Getty)

Axl Rose didn’t speak to Brian Johnson before taking over the role of fronting AC/DC.

But the Guns N’ Roses leader says it was only because he couldn’t find the time to make perfect arrangements before the Rock Or Bust shows kicked off at the weekend (May 7).

He was confirmed as stand-in vocalist for the Aussie giants after Johnson was warned he’d suffer permanent hearing loss if he continued to perform. The band experienced negative reactions over the way they dealt with the split, but they’ve insisted they didn’t fire Johnson.

Rose tells NME: “I have not spoken with Brian. We haven’t spoken much about Brian.

“There hasn’t been any negative talk with the guys or anything – it’s just the time schedule of having to get things together for the shows, while I also had Guns N’ Roses commitments, and then breaking the foot.

Axl Rose makes AC/DC debut in Lisbon

“The day I found out it was broken I left the hospital to rehearse. My only day off was the surgery day, and the next day was back to rehearsals.”

The singer feels it was worth the effort. “There’s been about 20 rehearsals,” he says. “If I really screw up, they can blame me for that, because I did have good rehearsals.”

Rose previously revealed that he’d made the first move when AC/DC were faced with replacing Johnson at short notice.

Guitarist Angus Young says: “A lot of people were putting people forward. You get a lot of people. The modern world being what it is, everyone’s, ‘Well, I can sing a song.’

“You’ve got to be fair – you’ve got to listen to anyone who said something. You’ve got to do the right thing.”

Last week a statue of late AC/DC frontman Bon Scott was unveiled in his home town of Kirriemuir in Scotland. But Young says he’s being careful to keep his distance, explaining: “I always check with his family.

“Sometimes thing are done and they’ve not been informed. Some people use their name and they’ve not been told. They’ve been unhappy with a lot of things that have gone down – people have done stuff and ignored their wishes.”

AC/DC and Rose continue across Europe, with the rearranged dates in the US still to be announced. The band are cover stars of the current edition of Classic Rock, on sale now in print, digital and via TeamRock+.

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AC/DC European tour dates with Axl Rose

May 10: Seville Estadio De La Cartuja, Spain
May 13: Marseille Stade Velodrome, France
May 16: Werchter Site, Belgium
May 19: Vienna Erns-Happel Stadium, Austria
May 22: Prague Letnany Airport, Czech Republic
May 26: Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Germany
May 29: Berne Stade De Suisse, Switzerland
Jun 01: Leipzig Red Bull Arena, Germany
Jun 04: London Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, UK
Jun 09: Manchester Etihad Stadium, UK
Jun 12: Aarhus Ceres Park, Denmark

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.