AC/DC’s Impossible Test Looking For Someone To Fill In For Brian Johnson

AC/DC’s Impossible Test Looking For Someone To Fill In For Brian Johnson | I Love Classic Rock Videos

ACDC performs Let There Be Rock, 1977 - TheMudpunk / Youtube

In 2016, AC/DC’s thunderous rock machine hit a snag. Longtime vocalist Brian Johnson was forced to step down due to hearing issues, leaving a gaping hole in the band’s future.

It seemed like an impossible task to find a replacement who could capture the raw energy and signature snarl that Johnson brought to classics like “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black”.

But fate, it seemed, might have had a surprise in store. Jet frontman Nic Cester, known for his own brand of high-voltage rock, received a call that could have changed the course of his career – a chance to fill the massive shoes Brian Johnson left behind.

A shocking call

Cester recently shared a surprising story on Triple M. He described waking up one morning in 2016 to the news that Brian Johnson was leaving AC/DC.

“I remember saying to my father-in-law, ‘Holy sh*t, you would not want to step into those shoes,'” Cester recalled. Little did he know, fate had other plans. Just 20 minutes later, his phone rang.

The caller offered him an incredible opportunity: to fly to Atlanta, Georgia and audition to replace Johnson for AC/DC’s upcoming tour dates. Cester, overwhelmed by the suddenness of it all, admitted he wasn’t expecting to land the gig. But the chance to experience such a legendary band from the inside was too good to pass up.

The ultimate rock gauntlet

Nic Cester’s audition for AC/DC wasn’t just about belting out tunes. It became a grueling test designed to find not just a great voice, but the right kind of rockstar.

Cester described the experience as a constant evaluation of his stamina, attitude, and ability to handle pressure. “Everything was a test,” he said. One tactic involved throwing unfamiliar songs at him on the spot.

“‘Right let’s do this song, let’s do this song,'” the band would say, leaving Cester scrambling.  With the entire band waiting, the pressure was immense. “I didn’t know,” he admitted, “So he just goes over there and learns it and all whole band waiting there for 10, but I’m just going, ‘Oh f*ck.'”

You can watch the Triple M interview below.

A sudden deafening silence

March 2016 brought a dark turn for AC/DC. Their frontman, Brian Johnson, received devastating news from doctors. Continued touring could lead to complete hearing loss. This forced Johnson to step down amid their Rock or Bust world tour, leaving a gaping hole in the band.

Determined to keep the tour alive, AC/DC embarked on a secretive mission. They held auditions for a select group of singers, hoping to find someone who could fill Johnson’s iconic role. The pressure was immense, and the entire process was shrouded in silence to avoid media frenzy.

For Johnson himself, the news was a crushing blow. He later described the feeling as “close to despair,” highlighting the emotional toll this unexpected turn of events took on the legendary vocalist.

The lingering echo of loss

Johnson, in a previous interview, shed light on the emotional turmoil he faced after leaving AC/DC. Part of the pain stemmed from self-blame. Years of performing with “the loudest band in the world,” combined with constant travel even when unwell, took their toll.

Johnson acknowledged inquiries about depression, but for him, this wasn’t the right fit. “Depression is treatable,” he explained. “My hearing loss wasn’t.” While he acknowledged Axl Rose’s success as his replacement, watching AC/DC perform without him was simply too difficult.

“It’s like finding a stranger in your house, sitting in your favorite chair,” the iconic singer shared.  Despite harboring no grudges, Johnson admitted struggling to move on. The abrupt shift, coupled with the constant reminder of his absence, left him unable to relax or focus.