AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has released a statement following the news that Axl Rose will take over as singer of the hard rock band for the remainder of their touring schedule.
The news confirmed last week after previous reports that Johnson had been advised to quit touring amid fears of hearing loss.
While previous reports suggested that Johnson had felt “kicked to the curb” by the band, the singer has now released a statement (via Rolling Stone), saying: “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.”
Johnson says that while he is “not a quitter and I like to finish what I start” that “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.”
“The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before,” Johnson adds of his decision to quit touring. “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. My thanks also go to [bandmates] Angus [Young] and Cliff [Williams] for their support.”
Despite not touring any longer, Johnson adds that he “can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that”. He continues: “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.”
Brian Johnson had been AC/DC’s frontman since 1980, joining the group following the death of previous singer Bon Scott.
AC/DC currently have 12 European live dates booked in for May and June, including two UK shows: London’s Olympic Stadium on June 4 and Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on June 9.
Rumours linking Axl Rose to the band had been circulating for several weeks. Meanwhile, the band’s Angus Young joined Axl Rose onstage at Coachella over the weekend for Guns N’ Roses’ headline set.