Indio (United States) (AFP) – Australian hard rock elders AC/DC announced Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose as their new singer as longtime frontman Brian Johnson suffers hearing loss.
AC/DC confirmed the move hours before Rose was to take the stage with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash at the Coachella festival in California as part of a reunion after more than two decades.
AC/DC, who broke off a North American tour last month after saying that Johnson was at risk of permanent hearing loss, said Rose would make his debut with the band on a 12-show European leg starting on May 7 in Lisbon.
Rose — known for his soaring range and raw emotion — 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 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.
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, 68, known for his punishing vocal style, is 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.