While Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott acknowledges that he has no insider knowledge of why AC/DC parted ways with frontman Brian Johnson, he doesn't think Def Leppard would have handled the situation the same way.
“I wouldn’t have done it like that,” he told the "Life in the Stocks" podcast. “I can’t speak for [Angus Young] and his team as to what their reasons were for doing what they did, but considering that we had a drummer lose an arm and we waited for him, the way that they dealt with it was not the way I would have done it. Put it that way.”
Johnson was told by his doctors in March of 2016 that he would quickly go deaf if he continued touring. AC/DC postponed about 10 shows and Johnson was forced into retirement. The following month, AC/DC regrouped with Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose to complete their touring obligations.
Johnson later said that he was essentially fired from AC/DC and that his hearing loss wasn't as critical as his doctor feared.
Elliott added that he thinks Axl Rose did an admirable job filling in for Johnson and acknowledged that Rose's contribution allowed the band to stay on the road.
"But it's not really AC/DC anymore, is it?" he added.
Bassist Cliff Williams — a member since 1977 — retired after AC/DC's most recent tour. Drummer Phil Rudd, who did two lengthy stints in the band, beginning in 1975, has been out of the band since 2014.
Co-founding guitarist Malcolm Young died in November after retiring from the band in 2014.
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