ANGUS YOUNG Treated BRIAN JOHNSON’s Exit From AC/DC ‘Like WALMART Replacing A Cashier,’ Says JIM BREUER
AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson‘s close friend, comedian Jim Breuer, says that the singer “came off classy” and the band’s co-founding guitarist, Angus Young, “came off cold” when the announcement was made that AC/DC would reschedule shows without the vocalist.
The legendary Australian rock band postponed the last ten dates of its recent North American tour after doctors told Johnson he faced “total hearing loss.” AC/DC has since announced that it will use GUNS N’ ROSES singer Axl Rose as a “guest vocalist” when it resumes its tour this weekend, with Johnson apparently not returning to the band at all.
During an appearance on a recent edition of the “Talk Toomey” podcast (hear audio below), Breuer stated about Brian‘s exit from AC/DC: “As a fan, I will say I don’t think he was treated well at all. At the end of the day, Brian is a huge, huge entity, and he is just [as much of] a part of AC/DC as the [Young] brothers, whether they wanna realize it or not. And as a fan, and I think I could speak for a lot of fans, it was a little awkward that, here’s a man that’s been with you for 36 years, he took you to a new stratosphere, he put you in the stratosphere. When you first heard ‘Back In Black’ and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, no one said, ‘Wow, that Angus Young is amazing.’ They went, ‘Jesus! Who is this guy? How did this guy replace Bon [Scott]? How is this possible?’ And to tour and to be part of that band, and after that long, you hear Brian‘s hearing is going and he can’t really tour, me as a fan — and I think most fans — would think you’d see the band together in a press conference. And they [would be] all, like, ‘We feel horrible for Brian here. We put so many years together. But Brian‘s gonna try to get help. And he’s gonna come with us and introduce… And we’re gonna look for a singer and we’re gonna move on. But we all love Brian, and this is kind of a goodbye-to-Brian tour.’ And to not see that and just read a headline that says ‘We’re replacing… looking for new singers,’ and you don’t hear anything from Brian until Axl is official… me personally, it’s a little weird.”
Breuer went on to say that, as a longtime fan who considers AC/DC to be his “all-time greatest band,” he was “hurt… to watch just the way that was [handled]. I mean, you could have made a celebration. And it seemed like, at the end, when it was all said and done, Brian came off very classy, and Angus came off cold, like Walmart just replacing a cashier… like he’s replacing a cashier. Which, again, that’s right, but he needs to know his audience, and he needs to know how much love, time, investment and money we put into Brian Johnson. And he is a huge, huge voice and part of AC/DC and rock and roll, period.”
Johnson issued a statement on April 19 in which he detailed the hearing problems that forced him to stop touring. While he promised to continue recording, he couldn’t say whether he would ever perform onstage with AC/DC again.
Johnson said his hearing problems were interfering with his ability to perform and he added that he has continued to consult with doctors, and was told that he could not “perform on stage at arena and stadium size venues where the sound levels are beyond my current tolerance, without the risk of substantial hearing loss and possibly total deafness.”
Looking forward, he said, “My entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic.”
Breuer made headlines in March when he said on his podcast that Johnson felt “kicked to the curb” when the band announced it would reschedule shows without him.
In his original comments, Breuer said he saw Johnson in Sarasota, Florida on March 11, where the singer told him that his doctor had confirmed some hearing loss during the first, mostly outdoor, leg of AC/DC‘s world tour. Breuer said at the time that Johnson told him: “The doctor said, ‘Now you’re gonna go out and do indoor shows? I do not put my name on this. You’re a grown man. You make a decision, but I would not mess around with this at all.'”
Johnson then went to Angus Young and AC/DC management to explain the situation, according to Breuer, who said: “Brian said that he called and let AC/DC and Young know, ‘Hey, this is what the doctor said, but let’s try to figure this out. I don’t think it’s as bad as he said it is.’ Literally the next day in the press, it was ‘Brian Johnson, tour canceled, he’s losing his hearing.'”
Breuer continued: “Johnson said he just called and gave that information. He didn’t say he wanted to quit. He didn’t say he was done. He called with that information, and two days later, he read in the papers and heard on Twitter and everywhere else, ‘Brian Johnson going deaf canceling tour.’ A day later, and it was, ‘Oh, we’re gonna have guest singers.'”
Breuer said that Johnson still felt like a “hired gun” after 36 years, and that Angus Young as the band’s youngest member wants to keep going for another decade and at least one more album and tour.
Johnson has been AC/DC‘s singer since 1980, when he replaced the late Bon Scott. He made his recording debut with the group on the classic “Back In Black”.
AC/DC has been on the road since last year in support of its 16th studio album, “Rock Or Bust”.