Indio (United States) (AFP) – Axl Rose brought a reunited Guns N’ Roses to the Coachella festival as he was announced as the new frontman of an even more veteran hard rock group — AC/DC.
In one of rock’s most long discussed reunions, Rose appeared on the festival stage in the California desert with guitarist Slash, who until this month had not performed with his former bandmate since 1993.
Yet Rose on his day of triumph projected an awkward image: a recent injury confined him to a chair, with his leg in a cast. The singer famous for his emotional intensity moved agitatedly in a kind of seated dancing.
Hours before the band took the stage at the lucrative festival, AC/DC — the Australian group that was among Guns N’ Roses’ influences — named Rose as its new singer.
AC/DC broke off a North American tour last month after saying that singer Brian Johnson, 68, risked permanent loss of hearing if he kept performing with the notoriously loud band.
The band said Rose would front AC/DC on a 12-show European leg starting on May 7 in Lisbon.
Rose — who shares Johnson’s high pitch but enjoys a much more diverse vocal range — will then return to North America for the arena tour of the reformed Guns N’ Roses, with the 10 postponed AC/DC dates in the United States to be rescheduled later.
AC/DC kept open whether Rose would stay permanently. The band previously only planned to tour until June, the latest stretch of its global shows to promote its last album, “Rock or Bust,” released in 2014.
But the band made clear that Johnson, known for his punishingly forceful vocals, was out.
“AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years,” the band said in a statement.
“We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures. As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian’s decision to stop touring and save his hearing,” it said.
– Sudden change for AC/DC –
Johnson, however, has been quiet in public and has reportedly voiced dismay at his swift exit. US comedian and radio host Jim Breuer said he spoke to Johnson, who felt “kicked to the curb” by his bandmates and did not believe his hearing problems were as serious as announced by the group.
Johnson was not an original member of AC/DC, joining after singer Bon Scott died in 1980 after a night of heavy drinking.
Rose’s entrance into AC/DC was first reported by radio station WNNX in Atlanta after the singer was spotted with the band in the city.
The loss of Johnson is the latest major change for AC/DC. Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and brother of co-founder Angus, retired before “Rock or Bust” as he suffers dementia.
Drummer Phil Rudd was pushed out after he was arrested on charges of ordering a murder in New Zealand, where he lives.
– Long-awaited reunion –
Guns N’ Roses became global sensations with 1987’s “Appetite For Destruction,” which remains the best-selling debut album ever.
But friction was rarely far from the surface and the original lineup called it quits after closing a tour in 1993 in Buenos Aires.
A reunion had long been thought impossible, with Rose a few years ago calling Slash “a cancer.” But the band had long enjoyed offers reported to be in the millions of dollars to reunite.
While the reunion was announced for Coachella, the band’s classic lineup on April 1 played a surprise show at the Troubadour, a small Los Angeles club wherever the group was discovered, and then two shows at a new arena in Las Vegas.
In a noticeable break from the past — the band opened its Coachella set on time.