Steve Luongo On Convincing Brian Johnson To Work With Him And Cliff Williams

AC/DC has had several turbulent periods, hiatuses, line-up changes, and years of silence. One of these silences would reveal an exciting collaboration bringing Cliff Williams and Brian Johnson together with Steve Luongo. In an interview with ‘Interviewing the Legends: Rock Stars & Celebs,’ Luongo, the originator of this collaboration, told the story of the emergence of Forklift in 2007.

“It’s exactly what was going on,” Steve Luongo said, confirming that AC/DC was in some sort of limbo at the time. “What happened was we had another one of our famous hurricanes. Right? So, I said, we got to do a ‘hurricane relief’ concert down in Jermain Arena.”

To actualize his plans, the musician reached out to several people. Luongo said, “I called the people at K-rock, and I called all my friends and said, ‘Guys, we got to raise some money,’ and the head of the radio station said, ‘Do you know Cliff Williams?’ and I said ‘No.’ ‘He’s the bass player from AC/DC; he’s a neighbor of yours.’ I said, ‘Okay,’ and he said, ‘Here is his number; give him a call and see if he’ll do it.’”

He continued, “I figured okay, I rang him, and I said, ‘Hey Cliff, it’s Steve Luongo from John Entwistle band, and blah blah blah.’ And I said, ‘Brad gave me your number, the guy from the radio station.’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, yeah.’ [I told him] and he said, ‘Yeah, we’ll do it, I’ll call Brian, and we’ll see what happens.’”

“So, Brian came down, and they played the show,” exclaimed Steve cheerfully. “And you know, it was backing bands with, the guys in front, you know, Xander was there. The only full band was Lover Boy. Lover Boy’s whole band, they came down and opened the show. And it was great. But so, that’s where my friendship with Cliff began.”

Their coming together for this concert, which also marked the beginning of the friendship of Steve Luongo and Cliff Williams, would later evolve into a band called Forklift. After Cliff Williams brought Brian Johnson to the band, Luongo invited his guitarist friend Mark Hitt from Rat Race Choir, thus completing Forklift’s quartet. Although it was an exciting collaboration, they only created one song, ‘Chain Gang on the Road.’