AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has been forced to stop touring with AC/DC, effective immediately.
The iconic gravel-throated, flat-capped, 68-year-old has been told by doctors that if he continues playing live with the band he will go completely deaf.
As a result, AC/DC have been forced to put a hold on the American leg of their current world tour.
A statement on Tuesday from the band’s record label said: “AC/DC are forced to reschedule the 10 upcoming dates on the U.S. leg of their Rock or Bust World Tour. AC/DC’s lead singer, Brian Johnson, has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.
“Tomorrow’s show in Atlanta through Madison Square Garden in New York, NY in early April will be made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist.”
Is this the end for AC/DC?
Let’s not be too hasty. Like their music, AC/DC are a resilient bunch and a very valuable brand indeed.
Johnson himself was the replacement for original frontman Bon Scott who died aged just 33 in 1980.
More recently, in 2014 the band overcame the loss of linchpin guitarist, songwriter and founder Malcolm Young, who is suffering from severe dementia, by recruiting Stevie Young, nephew of Malcolm and Angus.
Then last year, drummer Phil Rudd was sentenced to home detention in New Zealand on drugs convictions (the charge of attempting to procure murder was withdrawn) and he was left behind by the band as they embarked on the current tour with a new skin-thumper. Of Rudd’s behaviour, Angus Young said, “He’s got to sort himself out, I think.”
Finding another drummer and rhythm guitarist to play some of the most covered rock anthems in history is one thing, but replacing the singer? Of course, in the short-term they are saying they will have a rollcall of guest singers, but what about someone long-term and permanent? Well, just ask the band who already managed to pull off that feat better than any other, some 36 years ago… AC/DC.
Also see: AC/DC, we salute you