Axl Rose "volunteered" to help AC/DC complete 2016 tour

Publish Date
Friday, 6 November 2020, 9:58AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Optimists considered Axl Rose's 2016 tenure with AC/DC a good fit and an exciting once-in-a-lifetime shakeup, pessimists maligned it as an affront to the band's glorious history, but everyone agreed it should be only temporary.

Rose himself has given no indication that he expected or desired to continue pulling double duty between AC/DC and Guns N' Roses. And AC/DC co-founder guitarist Angus Young confirmed in an interview with Total Guitar that he never expected Rose to be more than a superstar fill-in who saved the band's 'Rock or Bust' tour after Brian Johnson bowed out due to medical issues.

Young says the idea of Rose becoming a full-time member "never really came up."

"Axl was really very generous, and he helped us out to get through our touring side at a difficult spot," Young told the magazine. "He had contacted us and said he could help if it didn't interfere with his own commitments of what he was doing. ...He wanted to come in and try songs that he himself liked, and he was suggesting songs I hadn't played in a long time. I'm definitely grateful that he volunteered, and that had helped us finish off our commitment. But he has his own life."

Drummer Chris Slade, who filled in for the embattled Phil Rudd on the 'Rock or Bust' tour, later credited Rose as being a "revelation" to AC/DC, who energized the band with his "enthusiasm."

AC/DC looked to be at the end of the road when 'Rock or Bust' ended. Co-founding guitarist Malcolm Young had left the band two years earlier due to rapidly advancing dementia. He passed away in the fall of 2017. Johnson left during the '16 tour due to hearing problems. Bassist Cliff Williams retired at the tour's conclusion due to a host of issues, including vertigo.

Angus admits he didn't know at the time whether the band would ever emerge from its "limbo." But two years later, it didn't take much convincing to get Rudd, Williams, Johnson and Malcolm's replacement Stevie Young back in the studio to create the band's forthcoming PWR/UP album.

The refreshed five-piece is also looking forward to getting back onstage together if and when it's possible, Angus added.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission