AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson feels like he’s been “kicked to the curb” by the band after suffering problems with his hearing, says a friend of the singer.
The Australian band recently rescheduled a handful of US live dates after Johnson was advised by doctors to “stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss”.
The group issued a statement on their official website confirming that the remaining dates of their US tour will be “made up later in the year, likely with a guest vocalist”.
Following speculation over Johnson’s replacement, comedian Jim Breuer spoke about the situation on his The Metal In Me podcast. However, he later backtracked on his comments, saying that he got “carried away”.
During the episode, Breuer described a conversation he allegedly had with Johnson recently where the singer said he was feeling “really depressed” and like a “hired gun” whose been “kicked to the curb” by the group.
Breuer says Johnson “didn’t say he wanted to quit and “didn’t say he was done”.
Johnson also allegedly told Breuer that he believes the band has already hired his replacement to continue touring and releasing music.
NME has approached press representatives of the group for a comment.
Breuer and Johnson are close friends and have worked together several times in the past, with the AC/DC singer even recording vocals for the comedian’s rock album.
Breuer has since clarified his comments, writing on Facebook: “I have seen some stories circulating about my podcast. As a friend, I saw Brian withdrawn for the first time in my life. He’s not a quitter, he seemed hurt by the situation of being between a rock and a hard place. I spoke as a true fan and friend, simply venting as if he was a brother of mine. I hope to see him Rock Out one more time. You have to remember I’m a comedian & a storyteller. I definitely exaggerate and sometimes I get a little carried away!! And this was one of those times!”
On Twitter, he added: “As far as the podcast – I was not quoting Brian Johnson’s words- he was down & out – hoping to finish the tour! It’s mostly me venting… I had no clue that story would go so viral- but people need to understand . I’m just a friend & fan – with hopes they all finish the tour!”
Johnson has been AC/DC’s lead vocalist since 1980, joining the group following the death of previous singer Bon Scott.
AC/DC had also been set to perform stadium gigs in Manchester and London during June, although it is not currently known whether these shows will continue to go ahead with or without Johnson.