Why Brian Johnson Has ‘Hope’ To Replace Axl Rose In AC/DC

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Former AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson met with Asius Technologies’ Stephen Ambrose last week for two days. Ambrose is making the Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens, an improved version of the in-ear monitors that he previously marketed before realizing they could cause hearing loss. Ambrose shared two photos on Facebook yesterday from the meeting, including Brian Johnson signing a book with the message: ‘Thanks for the hope! Stephen you’ll do it! Brian Johnson AC/DC.’ Johnson was in good spirits, and signed ‘AC/DC’ under his name. Johnson recently left AC/DC and was replaced by Axl Rose due to his hearing issues.

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Ambrose reached out to Johnson to help him get back on stage, and he discussed the meeting last week on Facebook, “All, thank you so much for your support and patience on our outcome. Since hearing issues are also medical matters, they are therefore subject to certain standards of confidentiality, and I am currently working to release an authorized statement. All I can say now is that I just spent two of the best days of my life with two of the finest people I could ever hope to meet, and there is no writer/vocalist in rock I respect more. The man is a prolific genius whose talents extend FAR beyond any of those already known to the public. Please stand by, Stephen. ‪#‎BackInBlack‬ ‪#‎64Audio‬ @acdc”

Johnson spoke to Doron Levin, host of “In The Driver’s Seat,” on SiriusXM last week about his hearing issues. Read quotes below via Blabbermouth.

“[About eight years ago], I was at Watkins Glen [automobile race track located in Watkins Glen, New York], and I was getting ready to race. I think I was number three on the grid. And I just bought a brand new helmet, and I stuck it on, and the boys were going, ‘Brian, quick, you’re gonna miss the thing.’ So I ran over. And I stuck this helmet on, and for the first time ever, I forgot to put my eargplugs in. And what happened was, off I went, and after about thirty-five minutes, my left ear just [let out] a little pop. And I went, ‘What the heck was that?'”

“But it was fine. All that happened was I suffered tinnitus for about six or seven months, but it cleared up and then I was fine again, because we did another tour after that and I was fine. But, unfortunately, on stage, you don’t have any defense. So when we started the tour, I was just fine; we were just rolling along and rolling along. And I think just age and that industrial noise every night on stage… I mean, you’re in a rock and roll band. What the hell do you expect?”

He also discussed his hearing issues returning.

“In Sydney, before Christmas, I was in the hospital on nine different occasions working with this wonderful doctor called Doctor Chang, and he had perceived that one night, we were playing Winnipeg at this huge stadium outside and it was raining cats and dogs, and it was absolutely freezing cold. And I caught a fever, and so did… well, Angus [Young, AC/DC guitarist] already had a fever. We were dripping wet, soaking wet, [and it was] absolutely freezing, and then straight after the show, we had to get on an aircraft and fly straight to Vancouver, which was a two-and-a-half-hour flight, and unfortunately, the fluids went up into my sinuses and then around my ear. But we had to carry on. We did a gig there, then we did San Francisco, then we did Los Angeles, and then we came home for a two- or three-week break, and then off we went to Australia. And my ears still hadn’t popped. And I was getting worred because my right ear, my good ear is just about totally deaf. And when I got [to Australia], that’s when Doctor Chang found out that the fluids had crystallized and had been eating away at my ear. So my good ear, I lost… I don’t know what percentage, but it was enough to make things very difficult. So they worked on me. They had tubes in my arm, I was getting liquids and steroids into the system to try to break it down and clear it up. But he did look me in the eye with that horrible look that doctors have when you know something bad’s coming [laughs], and he just said, ‘Yup. I’m afraid you’re not gonna get that back. But we can work with you, and we’ll try it.’ So we did. And we did all the gigs in Australia — that was great — and then we came back and I did ten shows in America, but I’m afraid after that, when I went for my second check, that’s when they said, ‘You’re killing your ears.'”

“The [other members of AC/DC] saw the chart, ’cause I’d been getting checked regularly, and they saw there was a massive dip, and if I had kept on going, there was every possibility that I would never hear again,” Brian said. “And Angus and Cliff [Williams, AC/DC bassist], they just said, ‘Jonno, you’ve gotta think of your health.’ And everybody else said, ‘Brian, your health comes first. You’ve done a whole year on the road, you’ve done everything. We wanna finish.’ And that’s what they did.”

“What people don’t understand is, it is what it is,” he said. “It’s like a young sports player getting an injury. I feel sorry for them [when they’re] 24 or 25 and they have an injury and it ends their career and it’s an awful thing. But I’m lucky. I’m 68 — I’m 69 later this year — and I’ve had a pretty good run. I’ve been in one of the best bands in the world. [The doctor] didn’t tell me I had cancer or something terminal. And I had so many good times with the boys and I’ve had such a lucky and great life, and I’m just thankful, really, that I came out of it in one piece.”

  • Valhalla

    Nice to hear Brian is in good spirits. Hearing is priority. Thanks for the update/extended article.

    • Felonious Punk

      Seconded. Not an AC/DC fan but hope the guy gets better soon, regardless.

  • After 100 years in ACDC the man is entitled to write ACDC in the book with his autograph. Their quality went down after Ballbreaker. The new albums are shite.

  • Jeff

    I hope Brian can get back with the band. Although Axl sounds alright doing Bon’s songs, he does not sound good with Brian’s songs, and he certainly doesn’t look like he fits in with the rest of the boys. Just a bit too flashy for the lead singer of AC/DC.

    • Micah Carey

      Axl is a perfect fit for AC/DC. His voice blows Brian’s away. If this doctor could also fix Brian’s voice then maybe!

      • Jeff

        Axl in his prime was nothing in comparison to Brian in his prime. Being that Brian in 68, his voice has deteriorated, but even just the remnants of it are more pleasing to my ear than Axl’s. Axl also has more of a hair-band persona to him than a blue-collar band, and thus, does not seem a natural fit on stage with the rest of the group. This would be my compromise…if he is able, let Brian record one final farewell album with the band, and if he is unable to perform on stage with them, then let Axl do the subsequent tour.

  • moi

    I really hope Brian will come back to the U.S tour. AC/DC is not the same without him literally and figuratively. Axl is doing a good Job but the fun is not there and the timing is not there. I was lucky enough to see them with Phil and Mal and I wish to see them again with Brian as the Vocalist as it should be.

    • Micah Carey

      It won’t happen. Angus was already disenchanted with Brian and this gave him the heave-ho! Brian’s voice has been horrible for decades. Axl blows him away!

    • Jeff

      I saw them a few times back in the 1980’s. Best band on earth. I was supposed to see them in Philadelphia this year, but then, Brian had to pull out, so I returned my tickets. I feel like you. Although Axl sounds alright, more so with Bon’s songs than with Brian’s, the band just does not have the same flavor without Brian. Angus will always be the main attraction, but both Bon and Brian complimented him well. Axl…not so much.

  • Jack Daw

    Anyone else noticed that the guy who is hoping to help Brian out with his new ‘invention’ (not yet tested, patented or in existence it seems) had to withdraw his last ‘invention’ as they actually caused hearing loss? I know a little bit about the physiology of the ear. My understanding is damage to hearing is irreversible. What little he has left is worth preserving, not giving over to the whims of a quack.

  • John

    Permanent hearing loss is exactly that, permanent.
    I played in a bar /original music band for 20+ years with the documented proof of permanent hearing loss. Save it while you can.