AC/DC Auditioned Four Big Name New Singers


Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade has served the band on two terms and he gained popularity with the band. Slade recently took the time with me to recount his winding journey with AC/DC, which had been a winding road of stops and starts over the course of thirty-three years. He talked about hiring of Axl Rose in the band.

Chris Slade talks about Axl Rose

In one of the most polarizing moments of that tour, Guns N’ Roses legend Axl Rose was hired to fill in for Brian when he went down with hearing issues. Slade was asked how the band came to that decision and if anyone had auditioned prior to that. He also shared the initial reaction of the band when Rose was brought in.

He said[via Ultimate-Guitar]:

“Yes, there were four other singers who auditioned. Some known, and some unknown. Just as it is with the first audition, I had with the band in 1989, I am sworn to secrecy about who those singers are. But when that all went down, I was told we would be having a sudden, unplanned day off, and I said, ‘Why do we have a day off tomorrow? What’s going on?’ And they said, ‘Brian can’t perform. It’s Axl Rose tomorrow. We need today to get ready.’ … ‘What? Axl Rose? You mean from Guns N’ Roses?’ … ‘Yeah, that Axl Rose.’

So that’s how quick it was. I was told that day, and then Axl turned up the next day. He came in, I shook his hand, he told a joke, and I thought, ‘This guy’s alright.’ [Laughs]. And when he started singing, it was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it. He sang his heart out, and it was fantastic.”

It was noted that despite the polarizing nature of the move, it seems that he linked very well with the band ultimately. Slade responded saying:

“Yeah, I’d only ever heard his Guns N’ Roses voice, you know? I had no idea he could sing something like that, or that he could sing that way. You know, I don’t care what anyone says, Axl Rose is a hard worker. He used to warm up for two hours every day before each show, and then warm down for two hours after every show. I know that to be a fact because he was next door to me. I heard it every night.

So, when people listen with their eyes, instead of their ears, that’s where the problems come in. It’s those internet trolls. They cause so many problems, and yeah, it’s not Brian Johnson, but that’s what the band had to do, and it sounded incredible. When Axl came in, people say, ‘Why bother? Why are you still going?’ We did it because we wanted to. We wanted to play the shows, and we wanted to finish the tours, but the trolls made it awfully hard.”