Brian Johnson Shares His “Despair” After Leaving AC/DC In 2016

Brian Johnson Shares His “Despair” After Leaving AC/DC In 2016 | Society Of Rock Videos

Brian Johnson says he felt “despair” after being forced to leave AC/DC during their 2016 tour because of hearing issues.

In Johnson’s upcoming memoir, The Lives of Brian, he admitted that he felt despair after being forced to leave AC/DC during their tour due to his hearing issues. It has gotten to the point wherein he couldn’t even watch performances by Guns N’ Roses frontman, Axl Rose, as his replacement and he wouldn’t have minded during that time even if he died during one of his own motor races.

It was hard for him to accept his situation, especially when he was told by a medical expert that if he didn’t stop performing immediately, he’d lose what was left of his hearing. He remembered calling their tour manager, Tim, saying that “I just couldn’t continue.”

As far as he could remember, “It was one of the most difficult conversations of my life – the pain of it made worse over the weeks that followed when the tour simply went on without me. It was a sheer cliff. I didn’t tumble down; I was in free fall.”

For Johnson, “part of the pain of it was that I blamed myself. For most of my career, I’d been in the loudest band in the world. I’d flown constantly. I’d flown even when I knew I wasn’t well,” he added. “For a while, people would ask me if I was depressed, but depression is treatable. My hearing loss wasn’t. What I was feeling wasn’t depression. It was something closer to despair.”

When Rose stepped in for the rest of AC/DC’s Rock or Bust world tour, Johnson said that he couldn’t watch him even though he was good. He cannot take it “especially when you’ve been doing it for 35 years. It’s like finding a stranger in your house, sitting in your favorite chair. But I bear no grudges. It was a tough situation. AC/DC co-founder, Angus [Young, and the lads did what they felt they had to do. That said, after the band released a statement confirming that I was leaving the tour and wishing me all the best for the future, I couldn’t relax or concentrate on anything. It was just always there.”

Johnson said that the support he’s getting from friends and fans got him through. Eventually, he learned to shift his focus to other things he also loved. Later in the year, Johnson met a technician who introduced him to an in-ear monitor that addressed his particular hearing issues. Fortunately, it worked for him.

Most recently, Johnson performed on stage at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in London.

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