When Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose enjoyed a brief stint fronting AC/DC in the wake of Brian Johnson’s hearing issues which forced him off the Rock or Bust tour, there was wide speculation the two would inevitably work on new music together. Angus Young has confirmed the opposite, however, in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
During the spell Rose was singing for his lifelong heroes, the band dusted off classic songs that had either never been played live before or hadn’t been performed in a very long time, many of them from the Bon Scott era.
When asked if revisiting these old songs provided a fresh sense of appreciation about the depth of the AC/DC catalog, Young replied, “He always reminded me of songs, and at that time, I’m going, ‘Yeah, I think we played it somewhere.’ And the trouble was he’d usually do it on the day of the show.”
“He’d say, ‘Can we do that?’ And I’d go, ‘Oh, all right. I’ll try,'” recollected AC/DC schoolboy guitarist. Young didn’t have a memory bank of how to play these tracks, so he had to turn to a reliable pal for some assistance. “I was lucky. I’ve got a guitar tech that played in a cover band,” he explained, “And I would go, ‘Tell me the first chord, and then I’ll pick it up.”
Of that experience, the rocker said, “It was fun. It kept us on our toes, too.”
Rose, at the time, presented the idea that perhaps a collaboration was in store and fans were quick to dub this proposed effort ‘Axl/DC.’
“Nothing really came out solid,” admitted Young, who noted Rose is a busy person. “I know that he has a lot of things he’s involved in. I don’t even know if you would say it was music. But he had a lot of things that he was involved in,” he professed.
While the world may never hear a collaborative song between the GN’R singer and AC/DC legend, fans were graced with last year’s Power Up, which seemed to defy the odds after the tumultuous events surrounding the band over the last few years.
Not only was Johnson forced offstage so he wouldn’t risk permanent hearing loss, bassist Cliff Williams announced his retirement following the tour’s conclusion and questions remained about drummer Phil Rudd, who was replaced by returning skinsman Chris Slade on that ill-fated run. Rudd had endured a wealth of legal issues, but returned to the fold, alongside Williams, Johnson and Angus’ nephew Stevie on guitar for the well-received new record.