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AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson is back and he's opening up about recovering from the hearing loss that forced him into a hiatus in 2016.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the 73-year-old rock legend details how a medical specialist helped him restore his hearing through experimental treatment after he suffered from significant hearing issues during the band's Rock or Bust tour.
"It was pretty serious,” Johnson told the magazine. “I couldn’t hear the tone of the guitars at all. It was a horrible kind of deafness."
"I was literally getting by on muscle memory and mouth shapes. I was starting to really feel bad about the performances in front of the boys, in front of the audience," he added. "It was crippling. There’s nothing worse than standing there and not being sure.”
Johnson explained that when the specialist first came to treat him, he brought a small device that looked like a car battery.
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“I went, ‘What in the hell is that?’ He said, ‘We’re going to miniaturize it,'" the singer said.
“We’d sit there and it was boring as s--- with all these wires and computer screens and noises. But it was well worth it," he added. "The only thing I can tell you is that it uses the bone structure in the skull as a receiver. That’s as much as I can tell you."
Sure enough, the device helped Johnson sing again, which has now led to his reunion with AC/DC for their upcoming 17th studio album POWER UP.
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The new LP reunites the four surviving members of the band — Johnson, lead guitarist Angus Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Phil Rudd. Malcolm Young died in 2017, and his nephew Stevie Young has been playing in his place since 2014.
“It’s been a long, long road,” Angus, 65, told Rolling Stone. “But it’s good that everyone came on board and we get to pump out a bit of new rock & roll for the world. At this time, with the pandemic, hopefully it gives people a few hours of toe-tapping enjoyment.”
According to the band, much of POWER UP was recorded in late 2018 and early 2019, but Angus said he also went through the AC/DC vault of unreleased songs before they began and that the group is using this album to honor his late brother.
“This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother,” said Angus. “It’s a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott.”
AC/DC first announced they were reuniting this past September, sharing the new album cover for POWER UP.
The project's first single "Shot In The Dark" is out now.