By Annie Reuter
AC/DC’s Brian Johnson has written a heartfelt letter to his fans elaborating on why his hearing condition forced him to stop performing with the band. While he hopes to one day return to the stage, he admits that his hiatus might last longer than he had originally anticipated. He has since been replaced by Guns N’ Roses vocalist Axl Rose.
Earlier this year, AC/DC was forced to postpone ten shows of their U.S. tour after Johnson had “been advised by doctors to stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss.”
In a new statement he elaborates on why he had to cancel his performances with AC/DC. He says that on March 7 after examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing, he was told if he continued to perform he risked total deafness. He called receiving this news the “darkest day” of his professional life.
“While I was horrified at the reality of the news that day, I had for a time become aware that my partial hearing loss was beginning to interfere with my performance on stage. I was having difficulty hearing the guitars on stage and because I was not able to hear the other musicians clearly, I feared the quality of my performance could be compromised. In all honesty this was something I could not in good conscience allow. Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can’t deliver that level of performance I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC. I am not a quitter and I like to finish what I start, nevertheless, the doctors made it clear to me and my bandmates that I had no choice but to stop performing on stage for the remaining shows and possibly beyond. That was the darkest day of my professional life.”
As Johnson explains, several consultations with his doctors have led him to believe that he will be unable to perform on stage at any arena and stadium venue where the sound levels are beyond his current tolerance. He adds that he tried his best to continue despite the pain, but “it all became too much to bear and too much to risk.”
“I am personally crushed by this development more than anyone could ever imagine,” he says. “The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before. Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life’s work. I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice. The one thing for certain is that I will always be with AC/DC at every show in spirit, if not in person.”
After thanking his band and fans for their constant support, he promises that he is not retiring. His doctors have said he can continue to record in the studio.
“For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing,” he concedes. “I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic. Only time will tell.”
The 10 postponed dates will be rescheduled in the coming weeks with Rose on vocals.