Angus Young is setting the record straight on Brian Johnson’s exit from AC/DC. In a video to the band’s Facebook page, Angus Young said the decision to replace Johnson, the band’s lead singer of more than 30 years was out of the band’s hands.
“You get a lot of rumors out there; a lot of people think Brian was fired. [But] that’s not the case,” Angus Young said.
Young went on to reiterate that it was Johnson’s call to quit the band’s “Rock or Bust” tour due to his hearing issues and that AC/DC was in a lose-lose situation no matter what they did.
“It was mainly his hearing,” Angus said of the longtime AC/DC singer’s exit. “He already had a very bad ear, and the good ear that he had left was dropping rapidly. I mean, it was an ongoing [issue]… all the way pretty much through the tour from the beginning.”
Angus Young added that it was not AC/DC’s decision to replace Brian on the upcoming tour, saying it was “out of our hands,” and “it was [Brian’s] call” on how to proceed after his doctor gave him the dire news that he was at risk for total deafness if he continued to tour.
Angus also said AC/DC’s decision to continue the tour with Axl Rose on lead vocals was not something the band took lightly. No matter what they did, he knew there would be some unhappy fans.
“We wouldn’t win in a lot of situations because if we just stopped, there would have been a lot of people unhappy,” Young said.
Angus Young also spoke to rock website NME about the situation, saying the band was in a “crisis” and had to act fast when Johnson made the decision to stop touring.
“We had to act,” Angus said. ” We were in Miami at the time, when all of this came up, and unfortunately, when you’re in that situation you got to make decisions pretty quick, because there are a lot of people waiting… Because of the nature of Brian’s deafness, we knew that there was no easy fix. So you’ve got to then say, ‘What do we do here?’ The options were very limited and you think, if we just stop with all of this machinery it’s going to be a hell of a lot of legal entanglement.”
Young’s comments come after AC/DC’s official announcement about Johnson raised some eyebrows. The curt announcement posted to the band’s website thanked Brian for his contributions to the band and wished him the best “with his hearing issues and future ventures.”
Johnson later issued a lengthy statement regarding his departure from the Aussie rock band, revealing he was devastated by the turn of events but that he knew he had to step away from the tour.
“I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC,” the singer wrote. “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.”
Johnson also apologized to fans and thanked Angus Young and Cliff Williams for their support, so it seems that there is no bad blood between any of them.
There have been plenty of mixed reviews on AC/DC’s decision to continue touring without Johnson: Thousands of fans have reportedly asked for refunds for the previously scheduled shows. But Young and his new lineup of bandmates seem to be ready to rock — or bust.
Take a look at the video below to see Angus Young and Cliff Williams talking about Johnson’s hearing problems.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)]