It has been confirmed. Axl Rose shall be the new lead singer of AC/DC. It may have appeared to be the kind of rumour that you would laugh about in the pub chuckling into your pint before bemoaning the stupidity of the internet, however, somehow it has come to be, and it makes no fucking sense.
Not from a technical point of view. Axl Rose – if he is fit and on form – can easily sing AC/DC songs. In fact, if he’s really on form it could be pretty damn good. Even from an AC/DC point of view it’s not that big a deal. It’s hardly the first time they’ve replaced a lead singer. Where it is a problem is the idea that Axl Rose and AC/DC even exist in the same world.
Which may cause you to raise an eyebrow. Axl Rose is the lead singer of an incredibly famous rock and roll band. AC/DC are an incredibly famous rock and roll band. Where’s the difference? Well go and turn on ‘November Rain’ and then put on ‘Highway to Hell’ and you will see the difference.
Guns ‘N’ Roses – and in particular Axl Rose – represent rock and rolls excess. They are LA, tight jeans and big hair. Cocaine and groupies. On the flip side, AC/DC are the sweaty side of rock and roll. They are packed pubs and strong beer. It’s excess, but a very different kind of excess. While you imagine Axl Rose swanning around the world like a diva you’d only be slightly surprised if the bumped into Brian Johnson drinking a pint in your local.
Then there’s the fact that very few rock bands have the work ethic AC/DC have. Since the day they started they’ve barely stopped. Axl, on the other hand, is more likely to turn up late than on time. How do you think that will be viewed? How long until he begins to get on people’s tits?
None of which is as bad as the way they have treated Johnson. The man who stepped into a pair of shoes that people thought were unfillable and took part in one of the biggest rock and roll albums of all time, the guy that has toured the world with them for years. To push him to the side as callously as they have destroys the idea that AC/DC are our gang and reforges as them as a money making machine. Look, don’t get me wrong, I love AC/DC and if I get a chance to see the Axl-led version I will take it, but it doesn’t the change the fact that this is one weird ass move. Axl Rose and AC/DC may seem similar but they couldn’t be further apart. Until now.