Chris Slade Recalls Axl Rose’s AC/DC Audition, ‘I Had No Idea He Could Sing Like That’
AC/DC drummer Chris Slade recently opened up about the time when the band was joined by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose during an interview with Vinyl Writer Music, and apparently, Axl Rose surprised Slade with his vocals as well as his behaviors despite his reputation among other musicians.
After releasing their 16th studio album ‘Rock or Bust’ on November 28, 2014, AC/DC went on a supporting concert tour, ‘Rock or Bust World Tour‘ between 2015 and 2016. However, the tour was filled with unfortunate incidents from Malcolm Young’s departure due to his health to Cliff Williams’ announcement of retirement upon completion of the tour.
In addition to these, one of the most disappointing and concerning incidents happened when the band announced that the final ten dates of the tour would be rescheduled on March 7, 2016, due to lead singer Brian Johnson’s hearing loss which was stopping him from completing the tour as his doctors had ordered him to stop touring immediately in order to prevent him from going completely deaf.
That’s when Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose stepped in to fill Brian Johnson’s shoes as the band’s vocalist and performed with AC/DC for the rest of their Rock or Bust World Tour dates in 2016. While the pairing was highly unexpected, Axl Rose surprised his fans in the most thrilling way since the rest of the tour went smoothly.
During a recent interview, Chris Slade was asked about the band’s tenure with Axl Rose back in 2016 and he revealed that the announcement of Rose taking the place of Brian Johnson came as a surprise to him after everything he heard about the Guns N’ Roses vocalist since he has a reputation when it comes to working with other artists.
However, Axl Rose proved Chris Slade wrong as his actions were unexpectedly welcoming and warm while he was making jokes, and had a great time with all the AC/DC members. In addition to his attitude, Guns N’ Roses singer also impressed AC/DC drummer with his vocals and incredible ability to sing which is why he’s often regarded as one of the greatest frontmen in rock history.
During an interview with Vinyl Writer Music, Chris Slade stated:
“Yeah. Well, for me, it was quite a long time. Me and my Mrs. had to spend a lot of time in Miami, Florida. Towards that break, which ended in Florida, Brian was really unhappy with what he was doing. And I could hear him perfectly; I was using in-ears and I could hear the band, and him, perfectly. To me, it didn’t sound as bad as he thought it was. I kept saying to him, ‘Brian, you’re doing fine.’
But he didn’t like it. I don’t know the circumstances, but all I knew is that Tim the tour manager said, ‘Brian’s not here anymore. We just gotta hang around.’ I went, ‘Oh, okay.’ It took some time; maybe a month or more. Then we went to Atlanta, Georgia and there were some auditions. I said to Dick Jones, ‘What’s tomorrow? Is it a day off?’ He said, ‘No. It’s Axl Rose tomorrow.’ I went, ‘What!?‘ I couldn’t believe it; I heard all the stories about Axl.
The next day, there he is. I shook his hand and thought, ‘This guy’s not bad at all,’ and he was telling jokes. And then he sang and I didn’t know he had that voice. I really had no idea he could sing like that. It was tremendous from the start. Within the next day, he was in the band.”
Regardless of the expectations of him as a person, Axl Rose is a one-of-a-kind musician who leaves dozens of different first impressions to every other artist which is one of many other significant assets of him and apparently, Chris Slade was one of those musicians who get to see a different side of the Guns N’ Roses icon.