Brian Johnson says he’s “crushed” to no longer be fronting AC/DC and insists he’s not retired.
The vocalist was ordered to stop touring last month or risk going deaf. AC/DC have since confirmed Axl Rose will perform with the band as a guest frontman on their remaining Rock Or Bust world tour dates.
Johnson has issued a fresh statement outlining his health issues in greater detail, saying he can’t imagine a future without being in the band.
He says: “I am personally crushed by this development more than anyone could ever imagine. The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before.
“Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life’s work. I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice.
“The one thing for certain is that I will always be with AC/DC at every show in spirit, if not in person.”
The 68-year-old singer adds that he feels terrible to have disappointed AC/DC fans who were looking forward to seeing him with the band on tour – and has vowed to keep working as a musician if he can.
“I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring,” he says. “My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that.
“For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances.
“While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic. Only time will tell.”
He goes on to thank guitarist Angus Young and bassist Cliff Williams for their support, and adds: “I was having difficulty hearing the guitars on stage and because I was not able to hear the other musicians clearly, I feared the quality of my performance could be compromised. In all honesty this was something I could not in good conscience allow.
“Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can’t deliver that level of performance I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC.
“I am not a quitter and I like to finish what I start, nevertheless, the doctors made it clear to me and my bandmates that I had no choice but to stop performing on stage for the remaining shows and possibly beyond. That was the darkest day of my professional life.”
AC/DC’s tour with Axl Rose gets underway in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 7 and 10 US dates cancelled as a result of Johnson’s hearing problems are to be rescheduled.
AC/DC European tour dates with Axl Rose
May 07: Lisbon Passeio Maritimo De Alges, Portugal
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