Johnson has big, bulging tonsils to fill but ... there is another

 


An AC/DC tour with a guest singer isn't the end of the world. It could be a blessing

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has big, bulging tonsils to fill but there are a plethora of candidates queuing up for the opportunity to give it a shot – should the band follow through on their suggestion to hire a guest vocalist to fulfil a string of summer US dates.
The Scots-Aussie rock Gods have postponed a string of dates on the other side of the pond after  Johnson heeded doctors advice and pulled out of the tour to preserve his hearing.
There are conflicting reports on the severity of the issues with Johnson's hearing but a temporary break with the band could hand an up and coming vocalist the gig of their lives and give long-time AC/DC fans a new take on the tracks they love.
The group have confirmed that 10 US dates would be rescheduled, “likely with a guest vocalist”, and that was all the info we have so far.
Some of those clamouring to fill Johnson's boots, temporarily, seem an odd fit. Like The Hives' Pelle Almqvist who modestly declares himself to be 'the best rock frontman in the world.'
'Aye, alright there Pelle pal, the phone's ringing here for you, Corey Taylor, Axl Rose, Dave Grohl and James Hetfield are on the line.'
Others to chuck their musical hat in the AC/DC ring are Krokus' Marc Storace and even the band's own first singer, Dave Evans.
He didn't last too long in the band with just ten months on his CV but he did release a single with Angus Young in 1974 before the split although its unlikely Young would return to someone he booted out of the band in the first place.
Providing this is only someone keeping Johnson's seat warm and they shift themselves sharply and orderly when commanded to by the big Geordie when he is full healed then I have no problem with it.
But who would be a good fit for AC/DC?

Karaoke fears

With AC/DC now missing their founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, health issues, and drummer Phil Rudd following his well publicised brush with the law which led to him being binned by the band, fans are fearful that without Johnson on the mic the shows could become a karaoke version of AC/DC classics.
Living off past glories and somehow dimming the light of the glorious triumphs of the band.
Fans could look at this another way. Angus Young remains, and has always been, the iconic image of the band. The deadliest, fastest fingered schoolboy in either hemisphere. He will remain the figurehead for the band and with him on the throttle there is no chance of the band continuing in any other fashion than at full pelt and in top gear.
As such, to avoid karaoke fears of a rock singer singing Rock N' Roll Train, Highwall to Hell or For Those About To Rock, as if they are Brian Johnson, I'd suggest going total left-field to give the AC/DC songs a different spin.
Instead of having a singer riding the coat tails of a legendary band for their own self promotion with a carbon copy effort, why not give a singer the chance to do things their way and to a different sound?
This would be an interesting summer for the band before Johnson, all being well, returns to his rightful place at the front of the AC/DC live stage.

Perfect pipes


There are plenty singers who could fill the role but if this were an election, I'd get on my bike and pedal my ass to the ballot box and stick a big X in Lzzy Hale's box.
She has the pipes to sing the shit out of anything and in all my gig-going years in which I've seen almost every rock band I've been able to, she has had the best live voice I've ever heard.
The kind of voice which gives you actual goosebumps. 
But she's a chick I hear you state? That's right, well spotted, and that's the point.
Lzzy Hale fronting AC/DC would be something completely different to that with Johnson, or with any other male stand in singer that it could work.
It would be obvious to all it was a guest singer and Johnson could rest up, heal up and rock out to his band enjoying an unusual and unexpected spin.
The Halestorm frontwoman is no stranger to AC/DC tunes having covered Shoot To Thrill on one of her own band's covers E.P.
Surely such a scenario is better than the ever-so-humble Almqvist or someone else doing their best Brian Johnson impersonation? 
And for AC/DC fans who waited so patiently for so long until Black Ice hit the shelves in 2008 it enables them to see their band on the road with a singer who would revel in the opportunity and would do justice to Johnson, and to Bon.

Legacy


Johnson's health issues has begun to cast a shadow over the band with recent reports from comedian Jim Breuer, a friend of the singer who claims the health concerns have been overplayed and the AC/DC man has been cruelly and ruthlessly discarded by the band.
He says that Johnson was keen to fulfil the scheduled dates but without discussion the decision was taken out of his hands and he has been reading information on the tour and plans in the media.
It isn't clear how much of this is true as Johnson hasn't spoken publicly or been quoted directly and there is no doubt he has earned his place amongst the rock front-men God's.
After all, he took on the impossible task of replacing Bon Scott where he overcame early doubts and murmurs of discontent to become as equally beloved as anyone in the band.
Following Scott's sad death AC/DC didn't just carry on, they soared to far greater heights than even they imagined.
Back In Black, which was Johnson's first act with the band, is the second-biggest selling album of all time.
Some fans will of course, and rightfully so, say they paid for an AC/DC show with Johnson and Angus Young. Not Young, some stand in's and a stop-gap singer, Hale or otherwise, on the mic.
That is fully understandable and should any fans want a refund then it should be offered. I doubt how many would take a refund though if the band do honour the shows with a guest vocalist. 


Future


AC/DC are far more than a band. They have long since reached legendary, deity level status in rock n'roll. They are as much a brand now as a band but adding someone like Hale into the mix could draw in some new fans and reinvigorate the AC/DC name. 
Hale, for the record, not been suggested to me as a contender by anyone, nor have I read any public flirtation by her to see her name added to the ever-growing short list.
It's just an opinion and rock n' roll is full of those.
Hale is not Johnson. Nor would she try to be. She has carved out her own reputation and her niche with her own band but seeing her stomping her leather boot to the sound of Hells Bells, and screeching 'Back in Black' to a stadium full of rockers with Angus Young dancing across the front of the stage is an image which could work. 
I hope they do fulfil the shows, with or without Johnson. If he is fit, fantastic, I'll be there at the Etihad when they visit us in June dancing like no one is watching like the rest of us.
But if Johnson has to take a break then I hope Hale is considered. There's not a high note that Lzzy hasn't hit, not a song she hasn't nailed, and not a stage she hasn't owned.
AC/DC's legacy is assured and will never, ever be in doubt. 
The tour may be Rock Or Bust. But AC/DC don't have to be.