AC/DC has had a major setback for the remaining dates on the North American leg of their Rock or Bust tour. The Australian rockers announced on their website that lead singer Brian Johnson has been ordered to stop touring immediately. Johnson has been told that he is at risk for “total hearing loss” if he continues to perform in the stadium tour. But while AC/DC fans are upset over the news, a former frontman for the band offered to step up to the plate.
Only diehard fans would remember Dave Evans. AC/DC founders Malcolm and Angus Young recruited Evans as their first lead singer in 1973, and he briefly fronted the band until he was replaced by Bon Scott. Johnson took over after Scott died in 1980.
Ultimate Classic Rock quoted Evans’ interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, in which he said he would love to take Johnson’s place for the remainder of the U.S. tour—or even for just one guest gig. And the singer sounds pretty confident that he could fill Johnson’s shoes.
“When I perform around the world the fans love my music and my performances and I hear what they tell me. They’re pretty appreciative of my vocals and performances.”
When asked if he could see himself fronting AC/DC again, even temporarily, Evans revealed that he would love to be asked.
“It would be nice. [Former members] were all part of the band no matter what era they were from.”
Evans admitted that he doesn’t actually expect to get a call from Angus Young, but he did hint that are many suitable singers who could do the job, given the many AC/DC cover bands out there. Evans also said even if Johnson has to go, the band will stay intact as long as Angus Young is willing and able to take the stage in his famous schoolboy uniform.
“How many AC/DC cover bands are there? Millions, and as long as they play uncompromising hard rock and have someone dressed in a schoolboy uniform they pack in the people. Angus is the real deal… [he] will be thinking to keep the band going. The day Angus retires is the day AC/DC finishes.”
Dave Evans’ history with AC/DC was brief. He was recruited by the Young brothers in 1973, but within a year they decided he wasn’t a suitable frontman for the group because he was too much of a glam rocker. In addition, Dave reportedly butted heads with original AC/DC manager Dennis Laughlin, so he left the band in 1974. Evans was featured on the lesser known early AC/DC singles “Can I Sit Next to You Girl” and “Baby Please Don’t Go.”
Brian Johnson’s hearing scare is just the latest bad news for AC/DC. Founding guitarist Malcolm Young is currently battling dementia and can no longer play, while drummer Phil Rudd is under strict house arrest over drug charges. With Johnson now out, it’s hardly the AC/DC of the ’80s.
Johnson previously revealed that his hearing loss has nothing to do with music. In an interview on Howard Stern’s radio show, the AC/DC singer said he damaged his hearing while racing cars.
“I didn’t get it from music. I got it from sitting in a race car too long without earplugs. I heard me eardrum burst, because I forgot to put me plugs in under my helmet. That’s how it happened. Music had nothing to do with it.”
AC/DC has not yet announced exactly how they will handle Brian Johnson’s absence. An initial note on the Aussie rock band’s website said they will reschedule the remaining 10 tour dates and will be back with a guest vocalist.
Check out the video below to see Dave Evans performing an AC/DC classic.
[Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images]