This is our truth, tell us yours
The news that AC/DC’s lead singer has had to step aside for fear he might go permanently deaf will no doubt provoke some people to muse on the possibility that perhaps there is divine retribution after all.
AC/DC have been around since forever it seems. Many of the music buyers who keep their albums charting today weren’t even born when the original leadsinger, Bon Scott, was checking out of life and into rock and roll legend by choking on his own vomit in a South London suburb. The power of the AC/DC brand then meant that the departure of Scott could be monetized via an album, Back in Black, from which AC/DC have never recovered or improved upon.
The idea that rock bands have an ideal lineup which defines them is mildly odd; the number of rock musicians who have a truly unique sound is remarkably small. The idea that there are musicians who are irreplaceable is almost bizarre. Nevertheless, some writers are musing that maybe, now, it’s time for AC/DC to collect the bus passes and hand in the backstage passes.
In the case of AC/DC, they’re into that odd world where they probably need a replacement for their replacement singer. That was the point, of course, at which Genesis imploded, when they needed a replacement for their replacement lead singer (Phil Collins). Replacing drummers, as AC/DC have had to do, is nothing new for rock bands – even if they don’t die in bizarre gardening accidents (as in Spinal Tap, and, ahemmm, Toto.) Bass players come and go (unless they’re Phil Lynott) and guitar players are practically ten a penny, but lead singers seem to be different, because they are the focal point of the band.
The point is, ultimately, that rock bands aren’t corporations. They exist as long as the musicians want them to, and the crowd want to pay to see them. The version of Dr Feelgood that tours now, with none of the original members, exists not because of cynicism, but because punters keep paying at the door. So it will be for AC/DC.