AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson recently sat down with Q on CBC in an interview that saw him discuss overcoming his hearing issues, reuniting with his bandmates, and AC/DC’s landmark 1980 album, Back in Black.
Back In Black marked the first Acca Dacca release with Brian Johnson on vocal duties — following the tragic death of Bon Scott in 1980. Prior to his work with the Aussie hard rock titans, Johnson cut his teeth fronting British rock act Geordie.
Johnson has recalled the feelings he was experiencing during the album’s recording, admitting that after not hearing a peep about the record after laying down vocals, he assumed that “It must have been crap.”
“We did it [recorded Back In Black] in the Bahamas, in this wonderful posh recording studio, and I’ve never been here before in my life! I was still just a working boy,” Brian Johnson admits.
“And after about six weeks [of waiting after the recording was done] I said, ‘It mustn’t have been that good…’ Because we’ve never heard it.
“We did it so quickly, we just moved from song to song, especially me, and Cliff [Williams, bass], and Phil [Rudd, drums].
“Malcolm and Angus were putting on different bits and all of this and stayed there for the mix; we couldn’t afford that, we had to get us back out of this, so it wouldn’t cost money for hotels and stuff.”
Johnson continued, “And so we went back, and after about six weeks, I was going, ‘It must have been crap.’ Because I haven’t heard anything. And then one day, the mailman came in with a big old vinyl.
“And I was staying with my mother and father at the time and they didn’t have a record player so you cannot hear that, and I was like, ‘Aw, shit…’
“I just couldn’t play it and it was strange; I had to go to our lead guitarist’s house, he had a record player, and we heard it there.”
When asked if he felt any anxiety about stepping up to the plate as the new vocalist, Johnson acknowledged that he “wasn’t so much worried.”
He explained: “I was ignorant of the whole big business and all of that. I just thought these guys were really good, and they liked what they’d heard from me, so I’ll just give it the best shot.”
On November 13th, AC/DC released their seventeenth studio album, the excellent Power Up. Check it out below.