Brian Johnson says that he couldn’t bring himself to watch Axl Rose filling in for him at the end of AC/DC‘s “Rock Or Bust” tour.
After being advised to stop performing or risk total hearing loss, Brian was forced to sit out the last 10 dates of AC/DC’s spring 2016 North American trek. However, the band got by with a little help from their friends and managed to complete the trek with GUNS N’ ROSES frontman Axl Rose filling in for Brian.
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Johnson writes in his autobiography “The Lives Of Brian” that he has never seen any of the widely circulated videos of Rose‘s performances in the band.
“I’m told that he did a great job, but I just couldn’t watch — especially when you’ve been doing it for 35 years,” Brian said. “It’s like finding a stranger in your house, sitting in your favorite chair. But I bear no grudges. It was a tough situation. [AC/DC guitarist and co-founder] Angus [Young] and the lads did what they felt they had to do. That said, after the band released a statement confirming that I was leaving the tour and wishing me all the best for the future, I couldn’t relax or concentrate on anything. It was just always there.
“Part of the pain of it was that I blamed myself,” he continued. “For most of my career, I’d been in the loudest band in the world. I’d flown constantly. I’d flown even when I knew I wasn’t well.
“For a while, people would ask me if I was depressed, but depression is treatable. My hearing loss wasn’t. What I was feeling wasn’t depression. It was something closer to despair.”
Brian also wrote about the circumstances that led to his decision to withdraw from AC/DC‘s tour nearly seven years ago.
“I called Tim, the tour manager, on my mobile right there in the room to tell him that I just couldn’t continue,” he said. “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.”