Guns N’ Roses‘ singer Axl Rose has given a rare interview in advance of his impending 12-date Rock or Bust tour singing for AC/DC, which launches on Saturday in Lisbon, Portugal. In the BBC 6 Music Breakfast show interview, which airs on Friday, Rose said he is a fan of AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson and “wants to do it justice.”
Johnson, who has been AC/DC’s singer since 1980, was forced to quit touring with the group on doctor’s orders or he would risk “total hearing loss.” Rose was tapped to step in for the singer. Rose told BBC 6 that he was the one who proposed he fill in for Johnson. “I called the day I read about it in the news, that there was a situation going on with Brian’s hearing,” he said, adding that he wanted to help if they were interested.
“I wasn’t looking at it like, ‘I’m singing for AC/DC.’ I was looking at it like, you know, if I can, and if they think I’m able to do it.”
Rose acknowledged he has big shoes to fill. “A lot of the Back in Black stuff is really challenging,” he admitted. “I’m not here in any way out of any disrespect to Brian. I can’t take anything away from his singing at all.”
He went on to further compliment Johnson. “He’s a great singer and it’s really challenging to sing it,” he said. “I’m just trying to do it justice for the fans.”
AC/DC’s Angus Young told BBC 6 that despite reports that Johnson’s leaving was contentious, he said he spoke with Johnson at length before Johnson made the decision to leave the tour. “In his heart he wanted to finish [the tour,] but because of that hearing factor, he had to make the decision,” Young said, adding, “The last thing you want to do is walk away from something, but you don’t want someone in a tragic situation; being deaf, or any other affliction.”
Rose, who will be splitting his time with AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses while both bands tour, is looking forward to his time on the road, but he understands his replacing Johnson is a sensitive issue.
“I’m happy and excited in one sense, but I think it would be inappropriate to be celebrating, in a certain way, at someone else’s expense,” he said. “That’s not what I’m here to do. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
The AC/DC and Axl Rose interview airs on the BBC 6 Music Breakfast Show on Friday at 7 a.m. BST, which is 2 a.m. ET.