AC/DC’s first singer Dave Evans ready to return following Brian Johnson’s withdrawal

It may have been 43 years since Dave Evans briefly sung with Angus Young in the first version of AC/DC, but he says his fans would back him to fill the vacancy left by strutting lead singer Brian Johnson.

“When I perform around the world the fans love my music and my performances and I hear what they tell me,” the 62-year-old says.

Presumably that he is still the man to take the mic again for the rock giants?

“That’s what they all tell me. They’re pretty appreciative of my vocals and performances,” says Evans, whom rock legend has it refused to go on stage 10 months after joining and was duly replaced with a scruffy chauffeur by the name of Bon Scott.

Evans says he feels for Johnson, who was forced to quit on doctor’s orders or risk going totally deaf, because being a lead singer himself, he shares the same mentality and motivation.

“A lot of people make jokes about going deaf from listening to loud music,” Evans shrugs, then just in case Angus is reading, adds: “It’s never been a problem for me.

“I just thought it was sad news. It’s your lifeblood as a singer, live performances are so personal, without the crowd and the adrenalin it’s going to be hard for him. Performances are the big highs in our lives.”

Respected music database has described Evans, who sang on one release (Can I Sit Next To You Girl?): “In terms of rock could-have-beens, Dave Evans is one of the best, as in Pete Best.”

Pete Best was sacked by the Beatles and replaced with Ringo Starr in 1961, weeks before the release of their first single.

According to Evans, he departed AC/DC after a series of jealous rows, some possibly over girls but mainly personalities, and because the band was so poor they didn’t make enough money to pay for dinner. One fan site, acdccollector.comrecounts a different version: “[Evans’] ‘Gary Glitter’ image would not be something that the band would tolerate too much longer, and would be fired.”

Approved histories of the band have seldom been kind to Evans, frequently failing to acknowledge his part in the first line-up that included bass player Larry Von Kriedt and drummer Colin Burgess way back in 1973. Neither do they note Evans’ patchy post-AC/DC career that went from the band Rabbit to unsuccessful projects like Dave Evans & Hot Cockerel to The King of Badasses to fronting AC/DC cover bands.

His name and photo don’t appear on AC/DC’s official website, although Bon Scott’s does, something that has grated on Evans in the past. In 2012, he told Sweden’s NRK: “It annoys me and it annoys the fans too [that only Bon Scott and Brian Johnson are thought to have sung for AC/DC]. Without me there would have been no AC/DC.”

Maybe that’s why Evans is not counting on a call from Angus Young. “It’ll never happen, he says, before quickly adding: “But it would be nice to do one guest performance. [Former members] were all part of the band no matters what era they were from.”

Evans’ gut response to hearing of Johnson’s withdrawal from touring was that AC/DC can continue: “So long as Angus is there in his uniform … it’s a branding thing now, the name AC/DC is almost bigger than the [members of the] band itself. It’s a massive thing all over the world.”

He doubts Angus will be listening to early fan reactions to Johnson’s withdrawal, many of whom called on the band to retire.

“He’s his own man, it’s hard to tell someone to stop performing. A lot perform until they die – Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, all the greats.”

Plus Evans believes the demand for AC/DC to play live will continue.

“How many AC/DC cover bands are there? Millions, and as long as they play uncompromising hard rock and have someone dressed in a schoolboy uniform they pack in the people. Angus is the real deal… [he] will be thinking to keep the band going.

“The day Angus retires is the day AC/DC finishes.”

Evans is not considered a serious contender for the job.

According to poll of more than 9000 web users, conducted by Fairfax on Tuesday, 41 per cent believed nobody could replace Johnson. Jimmy Barnes was the favoured alternative until the band Dropkick Murphys asked its fans to vote for singer Al Barr via social media, leading to a wave of support for its singer. Dropkick Murphys regularly play Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap in concert.