House Speaker Paul Ryan has weighed in on AC/DC's decision to use Axl Rose as the the lead singer of the band's current tour, calling it "a little weird."
Ryan — who is known for his far-right positions on both economics and social issues — was previously described as a huge rock music fan whose playlist "starts with AC/DC and ends with [LED] ZEPPELIN."
Asked by Politico's Glenn Thrush for his thoughts on Rose stepping in for Brian Johnson, who was advised to stop playing live or "risk total hearing loss," Ryan said (hear audio below): "[It's] a little weird. The AC/DC voice is just so iconic, so known, it's strange.
"[The] Brian Johnson [era of AC/DC] is the one that most of us grew up with. Now, 'Dirty Deeds', I have that album… My kids love a couple of songs on that album. But the raspy voice of most of what people think of AC/DC — 'Whole Lotta Rosie', 'It's A Long Way To The Top', all the 'Back In Black' stuff — that is not Axl Rose. But you have to understand, that's what younger people think of AC/DC."
Ryan went on to express his doubts about whether Rose could do the job as Johnson's replacement. "Has he put gravel in his voice?" the House Speaker asked. "I mean, the question is, can he…? He's got more range in his voice… If he smoked a couple of packs a day for the last ten years, maybe he'd be better. And it [would] sound like AC/DC."
The former vice presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in 2014 denied that he was a huge fan of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE after he became the butt of jokes when his supposed fandom was flatly denied by the band's guitarist, Tom Morello. Ryan told the New York Times: "They were never my favorite band. I hate the lyrics, but I like the sound. LED ZEPPELIN has always been my favorite band. Again, these urban legends get going."
Two years earlier, Morello wrote an op-ed piece for Rolling Stone calling Ryan "the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Ryan claims that he likes RAGE's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics."
The guitarist went on to criticize Ryan for his "rage" against "women… immigrants… workers… gays… the poor… the environment" and support for "the super rich."
"But RAGE's music affects people in different ways," Morello admitted. "Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening."