Doctors tell the veteran frontman that if he stays on the road he risks total hearing loss
Could AC/DC’s Rock N Roll Train finally have reached the end of the line? That looks likely to be the case, with the news that singer Brian Johnson has been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately, or face “total hearing loss”,according to a statement on the band’s website.
The band – due to perform in the UK and Europe this summer – have postponed the remaining 10 dates of their US tour, though the band say they “will be made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist”. What happens after that is unsure, though tour dates through to June 12 are still listed on their website.
Johnson has been AC/DC’s singer since 1980, when he joined following the death of Bon Scott. His first record with the group, Back in Black, became the second best-selling album of all time, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He became a firm favourite with fans for his apparently boundless goodwill, and for a voice that seemed as though it could probably pierce armour.
The news caps a troubling couple of years for the band. In September 2014, it was announced that rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young – the group’s founder and de facto leader – had been forced to leave the group owing to the onset of dementia.
In an interview with the Guardian, Johnson and lead guitarist Angus Young revealed that Malcolm had played through the group’s world tour in support of their Black Ice album with the symptoms already apparent, and was having to relearn the set between shows.
Just before the release of the Rock or Bust album in November 2014, Phil Rudd – AC/DC’s drummer for 40 years – was forced to leave the group after being charged with attempting to procure a murder and threatening to kill, as well as possession of drugs. He pleaded guilty to the drugs charges and one count of threatening to kill and in July 2015 was sentenced to eight months’ home detention.