Blog battle: All hail Brian Johnson
AC/DC is finally getting around to playing Tampa Bay on their Black Ice tour this weekend. So Stuck in the '80s co-host and Dixie Chicks fan club treasurer Sean Daly and I decided we were long overdue for a mud-slinging blog battle.
Today's topic: Who is/was the ultimate AC/DC frontman: the late Bon Scott or the still-kicking and screaming Brian Johnson. Do you even have to ask which side I took?
TOP 5 REASONS BRIAN JOHNSON TAKES THE CROWN:
5. HE'S STILL ALIVE: At 61, Brian Johnson dons his signature flat cap, slips on a muscle T-shirt and then sings every night for two hours with a voice that sounds like he just downed eight shot glasses filled with white-hot charcoal. Classics that Bon Scott first recorded -- Highway to Hell, Dirty Deeds, TNT -- have grown legendary with Brian at the helm. Especially when the inflatable hooker takes over the stage for Whole Lotta Rosie. (Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six ... you could say she's got it all!)
4. THE PAGEANTRY: In these days of over-choreographed, Auto-Tuned pop nonsense (aka - whatever is on Daly's top 10 albums of 2008 list), don't you yearn for the grandiose symbols of full-tilt, booze-infused rock-and-roll thunder? Just wait for that magical moment Sunday when Brian lifts Angus Young onto his shoulders for a jog around the arena. Brian Johnson and AC/DC are THE REASONS people flick their Bics during rock shows.
3. THE ATTITUDE: Bon Scott was a whiskey-drinking, bare-chested party god -- on and off stage -- and he knew it. And we all love him for that -- even though it eventually killed him. But Johnson remains humble. During an interview we did a couple years ago for the Stuck in the 80s podcast, every kind word said about him was greeted with an enthusiastic "Aww, Steve, me boy!" And when AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, Johnson kept it short and simple, quoting Bon Scott's Let There Be Rock, giving a nod to the legend who held the mike before him.
2. HE'S ONE OF US: Johnson is now a Florida resident, making a home in Sarasota. (Bassist Cliff Williams also lives in southwest Florida.) Hang out at a local pub any given night and you might get to pound a beer or two with the spritely frontman, who has also been known to take the stage and belt out a tune or two when the spirit(s) hit him.
1. BACK IN BLACK: A closing argument? Those three simple words: Back in Black. Johnson joined the band in 1980 and immediately was assigned the gargantuan task of penning lyrics for the album. He sat down in a dingy hotel room on the beach, watching an approaching storm batter the coast and wrote down these words: I'm a rolling thunder, pouring rain. I'm comin' on like a hurricane. Yep, Hells Bells. The entire album remains a masterpiece, from the title track all the way down to Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution. Case closed.
Click here to read Daly's argument, and to see whatever Family Circus crisis has struck the Daly mansion today. But then come back, lighter held high, and demand another thunderous encore from Mr. Brian Johnson.