Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dissecting Brian Johnson's statement about AC/DC and the future

Just three days after AC/DC released their statement on Axl Rose filling in for Brian Johnson, Brian Johnson has issued a statement of his own. For this blog post, I will dissect Brian's statement and give my opinion. After reading it once, I still don't think we have a clear answer to what's going to happen to AC/DC after this tour is over.

 "As many AC/DC fans know, the remaining shows for the 2016 AC/DC 'Rock Or Bust' world tour, including 10 postponed U.S. shows, are being rescheduled with a guest singer. I want personally to explain the reason because I don't believe the earlier press releases sufficiently set out what I wanted to say to our fans or the way in which I thought it should be presented."

What really sticks out here is that Brian remarks that he didn't like the press release that came out on Saturday. This is what we've been waiting for: did Brian agree to this statement or not? It looks like he didn't. 

"On March 7th, after a series of examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing loss, I was advised that if I continue to perform at large venues, I risked total deafness. While I was horrified at the reality of the news that day, I had for a time become aware that my partial hearing loss was beginning to interfere with my performance on stage. I was having difficulty hearing the guitars on stage and because I was not able to hear the other musicians clearly, I feared the quality of my performance could be compromised. In all honesty, this was something I could not in good conscience allow. Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can't deliver that level of performance, I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC. I am not a quitter and I like to finish what I start. Nevertheless, the doctors made it clear to me and my bandmates that I had no choice but to stop performing on stage for the remaining shows and possibly beyond. That was the darkest day of my professional life."

Brian makes it known here that he really didn't want to bow out from the tour or the band. With something as serious as hearing loss and considering the man's job is singing for a rock band, the guy's hearing and health is more important. It must've been a very difficult decision for Brian to make. 

"Since that day, I have had several consultations with my doctors and it appears that, for the near future, I will be unable to 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. Until that time, I tried as best as I could to continue despite the pain and hearing loss but it all became too much to bear and too much to risk."

From what it sounds like, the doctors are telling him that if he had to perform- he has to avoid arena and stadium shows. So what's the next level? It looks like Brian could still perform at small sized theaters and venues. However, that seems highly unlikely since AC/DC are the kind of band that plays only arena and stadium shows. I just don't see them going back to where they started. 

"I am personally crushed by this development more than anyone could ever imagine. The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before. Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life's work. I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice. The one thing for certain is that I will always be with AC/DC at every show in spirit, if not in person. Most importantly, I feel terrible having to disappoint the fans who bought tickets for the canceled shows and who have steadfastly supported me and AC/DC these many years."

This is pretty self-explanatory. With text and writing, it's hard to pick up on the tone sometimes when reading something. In this case, it's very clear that Brian is devastated.

"Words cannot express my deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks not just for the recent outpouring to me personally of kind words and good wishes, but also for the years of loyal support of AC/DC. My thanks also go to Angus and Cliff for their support."

Aww, we love you to Brian. But wait! Brian only thanks Angus Young and Cliff Williams for their support. Two things come to mind, the first being that Brian didn't mention Stevie Young or Chris Slade. However, Stevie and Chris have only been in the band for a year or so each since rejoining. The second thing that comes to mind is that Cliff might have a bigger role behind the scenes. However- until 2014, the two constant members of AC/DC were Malcolm and Angus. Almost 20 different people have been in the band. Aside from the Young brothers and Brian, Phil Rudd and Cliff have had the other longest tenures. With Malcolm and Phil no longer in the band, Brian is probably just being a gentleman and thanking Angus and Cliff for their 36 years together. This makes me think that Brian is no longer in the band. 

"Finally, I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring. My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that. For the moment, 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. Only time will tell.
Once again, my sincere best wishes and thanks to everyone for their support and understanding."
Okay, now I'm confused again: the guy isn't retiring and says he can still record in the studio. On top of that, he wants to go back and perform again. With AC/DC? If so, then how long will we have to wait? 

I've already shared my opinion about what I think AC/DC should do. In a nutshell, I think they should have a one-off concert with guest lead singers and Brian comes out at the end for a few songs. With that, the band can call it a day. However, I have a feeling that AC/DC will continue without Malcolm, Phil or Brian and instead with Angus, Stevie, Cliff and Chris. I highly doubt Axl will be a permanent member of the band. I'm also convinced that the band are going to continue because a report from Blabbermouth claims that Darren Caperna, singer for AC/DC tribute band Back in Black, was auditioned. With Caperna was guitarist Mike Mroz and according to Mroz, Angus told Mroz that Caperna had done a great job in his 21 song audition. Other reports say that the shows with Axl were "financially motivated." I'm thinking once these shows with Axl are complete, the band might consider taking Darren under their wing. 

Overall, I'm really surprised by the turn of events in the last two months or so. While people claim that Angus and Malcolm weren't nice to everybody, I'm still surprised. When Brian joined to take Bon's place, people weren't sure of what was going to happen. It turned out that Brian was the perfect choice and the band were able to continue. At this point, the band have been together for over 40 years. I don't see them going on for another 40. 

We'll just have to wait and see.  

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