The thought of never again being able to rock took a heavy toll on AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson when, back in 2016, the frontman needed to be replaced on the band's Rock or Bust tour.
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In his new memoir The Lives of Brian, out today, October 25, AC/DC's Johnson describes how the band’s decision to remove him from their Rock or Bust tour due to persistent hearing issues, and their choice of Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose as fill-in led him into a dangerous depression.
Blaming himself for his involvement in what he and millions of fans would agree is “the loudest band in the world,” Johnson says he would have preferred to continue while receiving treatment, however under doctors’ orders he needed to quit immediately or risk going completely deaf. “I called Tim, the tour manager,” he explains, “to tell him that I just couldn’t continue.” Johnson adds, “It was one of the most difficult conversations of my life – the pain of it made worse over the weeks that followed when the tour simply went on without me. It was a sheer cliff. I didn’t tumble down, I was in free fall.”
Johnson was told that Axl did a “great job,” but he couldn’t bring himself to watch his substitute perform, saying in the book that would be akin to “finding a stranger in your house, sitting in your favorite chair.”
The singer adds that he endured what some may perceive as a deep depression during this time, but he felt it was “something closer to despair,” revealing he, “just didn’t f***ing care any more. I’d always thought that the best way to go out would be at 180mph, flat-out around a corner. You’d hit the wall and boom, it would be over, just like that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to die... I just wouldn’t have minded all that much.”
Taking fans on a journey from his early days growing up in Dunston, England all the way through his time fronting one of the world’s biggest bands Brian Johnson's The Lives Of Brian is out now.