While some optimists thought Axl Rose’s 2016 tenure with AC/DC was perhaps a good enough fit to be considered permanent … it was never going to happen.
To be clear, Rose himself hasn’t ever given any indication that he expected or desired to continue pulling double duty between AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses, but in a recent chat with Total Guitar, AC/DC co-founder guitarist Angus Young said that he never expected Rose to be more than a superstar fill-in who saved the band’s ‘Rock or Bust’ tour after Brian Johnson bowed out due to medical issues.
Young said that while he was incredibly grateful for Rose stepping in, the idea of him becoming a full-time member “never really came up.”
“Axl was really very generous, and he helped us out to get through our touring side at a difficult spot,” Young told the magazine.
“He had contacted us and said he could help if it didn’t interfere with his own commitments of what he was doing. …He wanted to come in and try songs that he himself liked, and he was suggesting songs I hadn’t played in a long time.
“I’m definitely grateful that he volunteered, and that had helped us finish off our commitment. But he has his own life.”
Drummer Chris Slade, who filled in for the embattled Phil Rudd on the ‘Rock or Bust’ tour, later credited Rose as being a “revelation” to AC/DC, who energised the band with his “enthusiasm.”
AC/DC looked to be at the end of the road when ‘Rock or Bust’ ended. Co-founding guitarist Malcolm Young had left the band two years earlier due to rapidly advancing dementia. He passed away in the fall of 2017. Johnson left during the ’16 tour due to hearing problems. Bassist Cliff Williams retired at the tour’s conclusion due to a host of issues, including vertigo.
Angus admits he didn’t know at the time whether the band would ever emerge from its “limbo.” But two years later, it didn’t take much convincing to get Rudd, Williams, Johnson and Malcolm’s replacement Stevie Young back in the studio to create the band’s forthcoming PWR/UP album.
The refreshed five-piece is also looking forward to getting back onstage together if – and when – it’s possible, Angus added.