AC/DC’s Brian Johnson writes about his Cinderella lives in new memoir ‘Hells Bells’

Johnson, now 75, remembers by no means giving up on his dream of singing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s a Cinderella story.

Johnson, now 75, remembers by no means giving up on his dream of singing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s a Cinderella story.

Earlier than he started tearing the roof off arenas as lead singer of exhausting rock icon AC/DC, Brian Johnson was fixing roofs.

In his new memoir, the “Hells Bells” singer recounts how he went from being a vinyl automobile roof fitter within the northeast of England to main one of the hailed bands on this planet.

It is a Cinderella story. Solely Johnson, now 75, was a Cinderella at the least 3 times, by no means giving up on his dream of singing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.

“I don’t know what it’s, I simply by no means, ever form of gave in,” he mentioned just lately by telephone from his residence in Florida. “I used to be all the time keen to present one thing a shot when extra pessimistic folks wouldn’t have. I all the time thought the glass was half-full.”

“The Lives of Brian Johnson,” from Dey Road Books, goes chronologically by his ups and downs rising up close to Newcastle, ending with him becoming a member of AC/DC and recording the band’s seminal “Again in Black” album.

“It wasn’t a lot to validate my life,” he mentioned of the e-book. “It was to validate the lives of all of the fantastic those who I met that helped form my life — pals from faculty, pals on the factories, pals within the music.”

Music was his North Star and he remembers first listening to Little Richard sing “Awop bop/a-loo bop/awop bam growth” at 11 and freaking out. “Many have described that track, ‘Tutti Frutti,’ because the sound of rock ‘n’ roll being born — which is becoming, as a result of my dream of changing into a singer was born in that second, too,” he writes.

Johnson was an apprentice engineer who sang on the aspect and was a younger father and husband. To earn sufficient cash for a P.A. system, he joined an airborne infantry regiment of the British Military.

He attended one among Jimi Hendrix’s first exhibits in Britain, noticed Sting carry out when soon-The Police star was 15 and made pals with members of Slade and Skinny Lizzy. He would meet Chuck Berry however it did not go nicely. “By no means meet your heroes,” he writes.

Johnson, who would later pen the immortal strains “Neglect the hearse/’trigger I’ll by no means die,” made his stay debut within the deliciously named The Toasty Folks Trio, survived a horrific automobile crash and eventually discovered some success within the band Geordie.

The band made it to the “Prime of the Pops” — a present that was a crowning achievement for any nascent band. He gave up an excellent profession at his engineering agency, however Geordie had just one Prime 10 hit and shortly fizzled out.

“On the age of 28, I’d misplaced all the things. My marriage, my profession, my home,” he writes. He moved in along with his mother and father and remembers as soon as watching AC/DC on BBC. “I beloved each second of it. However, in fact, it was additionally a reminder that I’d had my shot and blown it.”

Johnson rebuilt his life, changing into a windscreen fitter — later a automobile roof fixer — and based Georgie II. He was joyful. He had just a little enterprise and just a little band. “I believed that was my second Cinderella story, however there was extra to return,” he says.

The e-book reveals the origin of his trademark cap: As soon as he rushed to a gig with no time to alter, sweating glue and shards of glass into his eyes. His brother, Maurice, lent him his material driving cap as safety, an addition the followers beloved.

Nonetheless, a part of Johnson was unfulfilled. It was a gathering with singer Roger Daltrey that proved pivotal. The Who’s frontman invited Johnson — then residing along with his band in an condominium with simply 4 mattresses on the ground — over for a meal at his manor home.

On the day, Johnson remembers Daltrey using towards him bare-chested and barefoot with no saddle, holding onto the mane of his galloping white horse (“If this isn’t a rock star, I believed to myself, I don’t know what’s,” he writes.)

“He mentioned, ‘I’m going to present you one piece of recommendation, Brian. By no means hand over. Do you perceive me? By no means, ever hand over.’ And I actually took that to coronary heart,” Johnson recalled. “He’s in all probability forgotten that he mentioned that, however I didn’t.”

Bon Scott, the unique lead singer of AC/DC died in 1980, and Johnson obtained an audition to switch him based mostly on suggestions, together with from Scott himself, who had heard him sing one night time. Solely years later did Johnson notice they’d met.

On the audition, co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Younger supplied him a Newcastle Brown Ale, a pleasant nod to Johnson’s heritage. And Johnson’s first track with the band on the audition was Tina Turner’s “Nutbush Metropolis Limits.” (“It was probably the most electrical second of my life,” he writes). Then they sang some AC/DC tunes. He obtained the job, in fact.

Johnson’s editor, Rowland White, an writer whose most up-to-date novel is “Into the Black,” mentioned the form of Johnson’s story is “extraordinary as a result of it doesn’t normally occur like that.”

“He was pleased with the concept that he’d given it a shot and he made his peace with that. And it’s what makes the shot at AC/DC in some way extra joyful as a result of it was now not one thing that he was straining for.”

The e-book ends simply as Johnson lastly achieves his lifetime purpose. If followers are hoping for extra in regards to the origins of AC/DC, he argues that is not his story to inform — it is for surviving members guitarist Angus Younger, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd. “That e-book belongs to the individuals who have been there from the beginning as a result of that’s what I need to hear,” he mentioned.

Johnson is a pure storyteller, and it was his supervisor who first instructed a memoir. Johnson resisted. “Each week there’s a e-book out by some outdated actor or musician. And I’ve all the time gone, ‘No, not one other one.’”

However inspired to write down just a few chapters, Johnson sat down with a yellow authorized pad. A couple of years later, he had a e-book, which he has devoted to his great-great-great- grandchildren.

Why? He remembers asking his father what his grandfather was like on their option to his funeral. He was “only a fella,” his dad mentioned. Then he requested what his father’s grandfather was like and the reply was “how the hell would I do know?”

“I believed, ‘What a disgrace, what a pity,’” mentioned Johnson. “No person is aware of anyone simply a few generations later. In order that’s why I wrote it for my grandchildren. I hope the phrases on this e-book assist to get to know me just a bit extra. And I hope there’s just a little little bit of me in you, and I hope you’ve got an extended and wonderful life.”

Leave a Reply