It’s Friday, May 6th 2016 and tomorrow night one of the craziest pages in the history of rock and roll will be written. Tomorrow night will see one of the world’s biggest rock bands AC/DC take the stage with arguably the world’s most infamous rock vocalist, Axl Rose. Until now I have remained pretty quiet on the entire issue, unlike my very vocal opinion on the whole return of Guns and Roses late last year. So on the eve of this historical show, I decided to share my observations and feelings about the whole “AXL/DC” scenario.
In early March it was announced that AC/DC would have to postpone 10 shows when vocalist Brian Johnson was forced to stop touring immediately or risk the total loss of his hearing. The band at that time announced that they would look to complete those 10 shows with a “guest vocalist”. That news alone sent music fans into a tizzy, many fans demanding the bands retirement as others began to speculate (often loudly) at who could or should possibly fill such big shoes.
As far as demanding the retirement goes, I get it. The band has rocked the globe over and over since the mid 70’s, they honestly owe us nothing more. It would seem almost a noble gesture to call it quits in support of their ailing vocalist and let’s face it they certainly don’t need the money. I thought about this hard and I just don’t agree. Who are we to tell someone to stop doing what they love because of our own romanticized, emotional connection to the band? If AC/DC still have more rocking to do then as a fan, I am not about to write them off as dead.
When I first heard the rumour that Guns and Roses vocalist Axl Rose was one of the names being considered for the gig, I actually laughed out loud. It seemed absolutely ridiculous especially in light of the new re-formed “G n R” about to launch their world tour this year that Axl would go from the jungle down to sin city. I brushed it off and continued on with my life.
As the rumours persisted I started to think about it and I realized that utilizing the talents of Mr. Axl Rose would actually be a brilliant business decision for both parties. Obviously no matter who comes in to sing for these shows, AC/DC are going to have to deal with certain number of refunds. Hiring an unknown would be a complete 100% risk on the financial hit, by going with Axl the refunded tickets may just be snatched up by GnR fans interested enough to check this out.
It’s a promotional dream come true for Axl and Guns and Roses as they prepare to embark on the semi-reunited Guns & Roses tour. If Axl delivers the goods with the AC/DC, it could swing a lot of extra turn stalls at the “Not In This Lifetime” Tour this summer. Certainly just the tidal wave of mainstream press that this high profile union has created is an absolute gold mine for both AC/DC and Guns and Roses PR.
So the question remains, is Axl Rose the right guy for the job? I have had a few conversations about this and could name a number of singers that would more closely match the sound of Brian Johnson but that really is not the point here. I personally feel that Axl is an incredible vocalist with a style and power that could indeed do AC/DC’s catalogue justice. It wont sound like Brian, it wont sound like Bon Scott, but I think he is capable in capturing the vibe and energy of AC/DC. One thing is for sure, I couldn’t think of a better replacement in terms of creating a bigger buzz around these re-scheduled shows.
Keep in mind people, this is only for ten shows. Axl has not been named a permanent replacement singer and I would love nothing more to see Brian Johnson get well and reclaim his spot on stage. Look, Axl takes tremendous amounts of abuse, some of which he most likely deserves but Axl is admittedly a huge AC/DC fan and I honestly think this gig is a thrill for him. I can only imagine what it would be like to be asked to try out for one of your rock and roll heroes, as a true fan it wouldn’t be any less cool just because you too are world famous.
I love AC/DC and I’m also a big fan of Guns and Roses and the fact that in the year 2016 we actually still have both of these bands to talk about is a blessing. It may not be the perfect situation but I will absolutely accept the guitar driven rock and roll of “AXL/DC” over the auto-tuned mind numbing sounds of the Biebers, the Beyonces, the Drakes and the Kanyes that seem to clog up our daily newsfeeds. Long live rock and roll people!