Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade has praised Axl Rose's performance with the band, saying that the GUNS N' ROSES singer's addition to AC/DC's touring lineup "reinvigorated" the group.
AC/DC postponed the last ten dates of its North American tour nearly three years ago after doctors told singer Brian Johnson he faced a total loss of hearing if he did not stop touring immediately. AC/DC completed the tour in the summer of 2016, with Rose as a "guest vocalist."
Slade, who played drums for AC/DC's "Rock Or Bust" world tour after Phil Rudd was arrested for drug possession and threatening to kill an employee, told Eonmusic in a new interview that Axl fronting AC/DC definitely re-energized the band. "Yes, absolutely," he said. "Angus [Young, guitar] was running around like a schoolboy, you know?! It did reinvigorate the band. Brian is great, as we all know; he's a great personality and a great guy. Axl brought his voice to it. Like, I couldn't believe the notes he hit; it was staggering. And I actually had no hope at all. When I heard that Axl was going to be in the band, I thought, 'Oh, what?!' Because I'd only ever heard that GUNS N' ROSES voice, but all great singers, they can change the timbre of their voice, and wow, he hit notes that dogs can only hear. It was unbelievable! I thought he did an amazing job. I could hear him very clearly because I use in-ear monitors, and it's the best I've ever heard the band."
Asked about the rumors that AC/DC is recording a new album with both Johnson and Rudd back in the lineup, Slade said: "If it works, good luck. It's great. And why not? There's all sorts of rumors; Axl's going to be doing a track, Brian's going to be doing a track; there's so many variables here. And I've learned with AC/DC also not to believe the rumors, because even fans fake things; things just get faked. But Angus is now over 60, I think, so he's still got a few years to go, if you go by me and Brian. That's all he does; he relaxes by painting, and he smokes fags, and that's about it, so the rest of the time, he's playing guitar."
Pressed about who he thinks is playing bass during the latest AC/DC recording sessions, since Cliff Williams decided to retire at the end of the "Rock Or Bust" cycle, Slade said: "I'm not sure about that. But Stevie [Young] and Angus both play bass. Would Cliff come out of retirement? It depends on if he's bored or not, because all he will want to do these days is go fishing with his son, who is a professional fisherman. So, I don't know. It's possible, of course, but there again, it's all rumors. But Angus is very big, family-orientated, a la Stevie, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's a nephew or a cousin or something who plays bass So, that's just a thought."
Slade followed Simon Wright in AC/DC's lineup, joining in time to play on 1990's "The Razor's Edge" album. When Rudd returned in 1995, Slade was shown the door and harbored some bad feelings about that for a while. Although he's 72, he still hits the drums as hard as ever.
Slade has been busy touring with his band THE CHRIS SLADE TIMELINE, which finds him performing selections across his five-decade career.