Angus Young - AC/DC (© Tim Mosenfelder, WireImage)
Angus Young – AC/DC (© Tim Mosenfelder, WireImage)

by Matt Bishop with Matt Christine (SightofSoundMagazine.com) | March 11, 2016

Heavy metal icons AC/DC have been forced to cancel the remaining dates of the North American leg of their Rock or Bust Tour due to lead singer Brian Johnson’s hearing issues. Sadly, it seems that the mighty members of AC/DC have been bowing out one by one, but lead guitarist Angus Young continues to serve as the ship’s anchor.

After AC/DC’s 2008 album Black Ice hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and garnered the band a Grammy Award, rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retired from the band last year due to health issues. The band decided to carry on, pursuing a new album and world tour as planned with nephew Stevie Young handling the rhythm duties.

Next, drummer Phil Rudd brought a slew of legal problems onto himself, forcing him to sit out the band’s performance at the 57th Grammy Awards and the subsequent tour. Now, vocalist Brian Johnson has been forced by doctors to cease touring immediately at the risk of losing his hearing completely.

Left standing in the spotlight are Angus, Stevie, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Chris Slade, who toured with the band from 1989-1994 and played on their hit record The Razor’s Edge in 1990). It begs the question – how do they carry on?

Whether or not Brian Johnson simply needs rest and custom earplugs, or needs to retire completely, we can’t help but think if Angus Young would follow a similar path of another guitar god – Slash. After Guns N’ Roses historic break-up in the 90’s, Slash embarked on a solo career. His first outing was Slash’s Snakepit, who coincidentally served as AC/DC’s supporting act on their Stiff Upper Lip Tour in 2001.

Slash - Guns N' Roses
Slash – Guns N’ Roses

More recently, Slash has found a model that works. In 2010, he released star-studded self-titled album. Every track featured a different special guest vocalist, including Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), and many more. After his guest appearance on the album, Slash tapped Alter Bridge’s gifted Kennedy for the tour. Today, Kennedy has become the permanent vocalist for Slash’s solo efforts, officially named Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Are Williams, Slade, and Stevie Angus Young’s Conspirators?

Slash performing with Myles Kennedy in 2015
Slash performing with Myles Kennedy in 2015

Even if it’s just to pass the time until Brian Johnson is road-ready again, we think it would be absolutely awesome for Angus to tour as a solo artist with the assistance of a new vocalist. With that being said, here’s our list of singers we wouldn’t mind hearing attempt to fill Brian’s big shoes and belt out some AC/DC classics alongside Angus:

Before you get to the list, here’s a two-part disclaimer. First, we wish Brian Johnson a very speedy recovery and we hope that AC/DC can reschedule their remaining Rock or Bust Tour dates ASAP. Second, while some of the singers listed below are already in established (and awesome) bands, we’re not suggesting they leave their current homes but simply make it work with their schedules. Myles Kennedy is still a driving force in Alter Bridge, and the band is currently working on a much-anticipated new album. This is all in theory, anyway. So, in no particular order, the nominees are:

1.) Joel O’Keefe (Airbourne)

2.) Cormac Neeson (The Answer)

3.) Sammy Hagar (ex-Van Halen, Chickenfoot)

Sammy Hagar
Sammy Hagar

4.) Joshua Todd (Buckcherry)

Joshua Todd
Joshua Todd

5.) Danny Bowes (Thunder)

6.) Mike Howe (Metal Church)

7.) Jay Buchanan (Rival Sons)

8.) Brandon Yeagley (Crobot)

Brandon Yeagley
Brandon Yeagley

9.) Walt Lafty (Silvertide, The Like Magnets)

Walt Lafty

10.) David Coverdale (Whitesnake, Deep Purple)

11.) Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest)

12.) Marc Storace (Krokus)

13.) Dave King (ex-Fastway, Flogging Molly)

14.) Justin Hawkins – The Darkness

Dave King
Dave King

*Honorable Mention: Chris Antos (Live Wire – The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute Band)