Axl/DC?: Five Reasons Why Axl Rose Fronting AC/DC is Great News For Fans

  
Axl Rose is to replace Brian Johnston as AC/DC’s chief shouter in a move that has caused the sort of Earth-shattering consternation amongst the chattering classes not witnessed since the producers of “Call The Midwife” controversially staged a scene where someone was slightly rude to someone else. 

There’s no truth to the rumours that new AC/DC / Axl Rose songs have been written, including “Ain’t No Fun Waiting Around To Watch A Millionaire”, “(I’ve Just Missed My Last) Rock n Roll Train” and “You Kept Me Waiting All Night Long”. 

But why the fuss?

I have tickets to see AC/DC at the Olympic Stadium in June and I am delighted at the news.

I bought tickets for my 10 year old son – his first ever gig – as a Christmas present (for him, honest) as I thought this would probably be the last chance either of us would get to see AC/DC live. (I have seen both AC/DC and Guns n Roses before, but he hasn’t). 

As it turns out we now have a unique chance to see one of rock’s greatest frontmen with one of rock’s greatest bands. 

Here’s five reasons why this is fantastic news. 

1. Given Malcolm’s illness, this is surely a last hurrah. Having Axl onstage is a fine send-off. It isn’t forever. 

But if these are to be AC/DC’s last shows, then I don’t want to see the fella from Rhino Bucket or Krokus, as much as they might do a great Bon Scott impression. I want to see one of Rock’s Greatest Frontmen (as Axl surely is) chisel his own unique and charismatic style on rock’s most impermeable unit. 

More selfishly, it’s also more interesting for me, as my memories of a vibrant Brian Johnson on the Blow Up Your Video and Razor’s Edge tours will remain intact. 

Rather than seeing the last few shows of a limping, contractually bound, Malcolm-free AC/DC, we will see a fresh new version of the band. 

2. The set list may have a long overdue revamp, with Axl doubtless having a view on which songs he’d like to sing – and this will bring a freshness to AC/DC’s shows. For example: Axl sang “Riff Raff” at the Coachella Festival when Angus Young joined Guns n Roses onstage this weekend. The Powerage classic has long been missing from Brian Johnson era AC/DC concerts: Setlist.fm lists just three plays in the 36 years since Bon Scott died. Having Riff Raff returned to the set list is worth the entry price alone. 

3. Only Angus Young is irreplaceable. We have known for more than 25 years that even Malcolm might not be missed on tour: Stevie Young was a stand-in in the late eighties whilst Malcolm took time off. 

I saw AC/DC around then – both Angus and Brian are not quite as energetic as they used to be, whereas when I last saw Axl, at Hammersmith Odeon with GnR a decade ago, he had plenty of fire in his belly, even if he didn’t go onstage until after 11pm. He is, in some ways, an upgrade on Brian. 

But replace Angus? Put it this way: you really wouldn’t want to see Steve Vai or Yngwie J. Malmsteen wearing a school uniform onstage…. 

4. Axl is doing this for the right reasons. 

Being AC/DC’s singer is the greatest job in rock n roll. Who wouldn’t want to sing alongside Angus Young in full spasm? Guns n Roses used to cover Whole Lotta Rosie in their early years – the London Marquee shows being one example, so we know he’s a fan. And he’s about to launch a new Guns n Roses tour which has already sold out, so it’s not as though he needs the publicity. We can therefore conclude he’s living out a lifelong dream. 

Wouldn’t you in his shoes?

5. It’s not the first time a band has replaced a singer. We’ve all been here before and survived. David Coverdale replaced Ian Gillan in Deep Purple and Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy in Black Sabbath. Dio was replaced by Gillan in Sabbath and by Graham Bonnet in Rainbow, who was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner, who also replaced Gillan in Deep Purple in the eighties. For any more examples, you’ll need a copy of Pete Frame’s Rock Family Tree and a degree in in-band fighting…

So there’s been a lot of replacing of singers generally. Even The Replacements replaced members of their band. 

So I shall be there in June, genuinely excited about seeing AC/DC with Axl. 

It is probably going to be their last ever tour in the UK. It’s probably going to be brilliant. 

Just as long as he turns up on time….

 



Categories: Hard Rock

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19 replies

  1. It’s an interesting one this, and I can’t help but wonder whether this will be the final AC/DC tour and maybe they’ll be no more albums? Who knows. The members of these classic rock bands really are getting quite old now, and have earned loads of money, so some have got to be thinking about hanging up their mics and guitars and retiring. Although some may not want to. The combination of AC/DC and Axl Rose is very intriguing though, and I look forward to reviews of the gigs. One thing I do remember to which I can perhaps draw a comparison, I remember at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert being unsure of the different singers taking the stage to belt out Queens classics. The surprise one for me was George Michael, he sang ‘Somebody to Love’ requiring considerable vocal skills to pull off well, and I thought he did a great turn at the song and it would have been interesting to see him front the band for a few concerts to see how he did. Whilst GM was arguably too ‘big’ as an artist in his own right to join the band at that time, I think he’d have made a good job of singing Queens songs and entertaining us. So lets hope Axl will do that same, and I would say to all who perhaps fall into the ‘negative’ about this camp, at least give the guy and chance and see what falls out of the bag.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We hope it’s the last hurrah, but I don’t put it past Angus to stick with his 10 year plan before retirement.

    I still think an Angus solo album is a better move than an Axl/DC album as rumoured.

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  3. As a fan of AC/DC for five decades, the constant about this band is that you have never seen them splashed across the newspapers. All problems were dealt with in house- a family problem. They stayed true to their working class roots. It now seems that we have the tabloid favourite Rock n Roll bad boy singing for them, known for his un-working class traits of hissy fits, lateness on stage and general prima-donna cock womblery. Don’t get me wrong, I like GnR, will probably go and see them if they grace Europe. But if I wanted to see Axl I would go and see GnR not AC/DC. Would have liked to see them do it with Jimmy Barnes, Angry Anderson or as a last resort, don’t bother with a frontman, there’s 65000 people at most gigs who know all the words. Turn it into the biggest sing a long ever!
    Still don’t know if I can be bothered to go to Manchester to see them. I don’t feel its AC/DC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of objections are around Axl’s not fitting in to that working class ethos, and I can understand that. (To an extent: I mean none of them are exactly poor!) Having seen both Jimmy Barnes and Axl Rose a couple of times, whilst both are great singers, I think Axl will be the most intriguing. Whether that’s the same as being the best fit, I’m less sure.

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  4. Saw AC/DC in September based on a last-minute decision, and I am glad that I did. Brian Johnson, though, had a decent amount of recorded support for his vocals. You bring up some great points. It’s essentially the Angus show and having a performer who can handle the vocals and the stage presence requirements wouldn’t detract too much, I don’t think. But that prima thing that Axl has going, per Ian Mac’s point — not sure how much it’ll jive with the down-to-earth spirit of the band.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have read a few comments elsewhere along those lines – is Axl really a down to earth kind of AC/DC guy?

      I suspect there are reasons behind his odd behaviour. I think he was just an urchin growing up like the rest of them. If he can put the prima donna antics behind him (and I think he will – famous last words) for just a few dates we could have some great shows on our hands.
      I can see that you would be glad you saw Brian Johnson last year though! I wish I had seen Bon, but I’m too young!

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  5. Interesting point of view. Regarding reason #5: While it’s certainly not the first time a band has replaced a singer, replacing a lead singer usually works to the detriment of the band. In addition, the examples given here don’t really support the argument (in my opinion), and some of them are inaccurate. For example, the Coverdale-led Deep Purple arguably only generated one decent album: Burn. The Gillan-led Sabbath (Gillan replaced Dio there, not Ozzy, by the way) produced a single lackluster album, Born Again. Dio didn’t replace Gillan in Sabbath, he replaced Tony Martin (in 1991). The Bonnet-led Rainbow managed only one album, Down to Earth, which did just OK (in the US). The Turner-led Deep Purple produced only one (poorly received and hit-less) album, Slaves and Masters.

    That said, I think a better example here would be AC/DC themselves. They did great with Bon Scott, and arguably even better with Brian Johnson. Another good example is Van Halen. Yes they lost a lot of fans when they replaced David Lee Roth with Sammy Hagar, but they also gained a lot of new ones and did quite well, despite apparently only being able to sing about love. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments – you’re right of course about the various Purple / Rainbow / Sabbath line ups showing deteriorating returns, albeit not necessarily in the case of Dio’s Heaven and Hell line up (for some at least).
      A question might be whether that was the fault of the lead singer?
      And yes, I had my Dio and Gillan timeline wrong (funny – I always thought Gillan was earlier). I’ll correct it now.
      Your example of Van Halen is a good one.
      The big difference with all of these is that I’m not seeing Axl as anything other than a temporary fix for a few shows, (I don’t want to hear an Axl / AC/DC album particularly) and in that context I think this is going to be a fascinating tour!
      Thanks again!

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  6. You put out some valid arguments for Axl but I still can’t help thinking that “It’s just not AC/DC.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with pretty much all that. Living in Australia, although English, I can be sure the public here are glad to have seen a Johnson led band at our venues before the diagnosis.

    While Axl seems at odds with the AC/DC ethic, they are sensible enough to know they have one chance to place a singer to complete the tour. If they mess this up, it’ll be such a let down for the band and fans.

    Really enjoying the terms “Angus Young in full spasm?” and Axl/DC

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s good news for his accountant. Not say it’s going to be awful, but reckon it’s going to be bizzare. Rob Haliford for Motorhead next…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Have to say that sounds truly gruesome. Maybe because I’ve never got AC/DC. Apart from a couple of classics they seem plodding and unoriginal to me. Whereas, for a brief moment Guns’n’Roses were special.

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