Axl Rose and AC/DC are reportedly close to a deal that would give the former Guns ‘N Roses frontman the job of lead singer for the remainder of the legendary Australian rock band’s current tour, the Guardian is reporting.
Atlanta radio DJ Jason Bailey got the Axl Rose-AC/DC rumors flying when he reported that he had spotted the 54-year-old in Atlanta, at the same time that AC/DC was in town to audition new singers. Citing an unnamed source, Bailey said that Rose stepping in for retired frontman Brian Johnson is all but certain.
“This is what I’m being told, Axl was meeting with the AC/DC group, because it’s all but a done deal that Axl will front AC/DC for the 10 remaining shows. All 10, including Atlanta.”
Former AC/DC lead vocalist Brian Johnson, who had been with the band since 1980, left the band earlier this month under murky circumstances.
According to a statement released earlier this month by AC/DC, the 68-year-old was taking some time off from touring with the band because he was losing his hearing.
“AC/DC’s lead singer, Brian Johnson, has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.”
However, according to comedian Jim Breuer — a longtime AC/DC fan who claimed to have met with Johnson personally — Johnson was “pushed out” of the band after revealing his health problems to them. Specifically, Breuer said, the band unceremoniously shipped all of Johnson’s equipment to home, even as Johnson was confident that he would be able to perform at least some of the band’s remaining shows on the Rock Or Bust tour. According to Breuer, Johnson said the band had already picked his replacement.
Breuer later backtracked from his statements, saying on Facebook that he had exaggerated, and that he was unaware if any current members of AC/DC played a role in Johnson’s departure.
However, in his radio program, Atlanta DJ Bailey suggested as much, saying that guitarist and AC/DC founding member Angus Young wanted Johnson out as soon as he started having problems.
“From what I was told, this was all kind of new inside information to me, Angus is a very black and white guy. He’s like, Brian, for health reasons, can’t continue fronting the band. He was supposed to retire after the last tour, so they wanted to continue going out on the road and continue making music, so if you can’t do it, we appreciate your services, but the show must go on.”
Axl Rose, meanwhile, is scheduled to reunite with most of the original Guns ‘N Roses lineup, according to MSN, where the group will headline the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California. That means that Rose will be sharing the stage with guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson) — Rose and Slash have been at odds with each other throughout their careers.
If Axl Rose is indeed going to take over for Brian Johnson for the remainder of AC/DC’s tour, his duties with the Australian band won’t interfere with his duties at Coachella. The AC/DC tour will end ten days before Coachella is to begin.
Of course, whether or not Axl Rose actually performs with his old band at Coachella remains to be seen: Rose is almost legendarily temperamental, and his ego has gotten in his way far too often throughout his career, according to Blabbermouth.
As of this writing, neither AC/DC nor Axl Rose have publicly responded to the rumors that Rose is taking over for Brian Johnson.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]