Drummer Chris Slade recalls Axl Rose never being late for any AC/DC concert while in the band
Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music. Slade was handling the drums for AC/DC when Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose ended up replacing long-time AC/DC member Brian Johnson on lead vocals in order for the latter band to complete its Rock Or Bust Tour.
In terms of how Rose ended up in AC/DC, Slade recalled: “Yeah. Well, for me, it was quite a long time. Me and my Mrs. had to spend a lot of time in Miami, Florida. Towards that break, which ended in Florida, Brian was really unhappy with what he was doing. And I could hear him perfectly; I was using in-ears and I could hear the band, and him, perfectly. To me, it didn’t sound as bad as he thought it was. I kept saying to him, “Brian, you’re doing fine.” But he didn’t like it. I don’t know the circumstances, but all I knew is that Tim the tour manager said, “Brian’s not here anymore. We just gotta hang around.” I went, “Oh, okay.” It took some time; maybe a month or more. Then we went to Atlanta, Georgia and there was some auditions. I said to Dick Jones, “What’s tomorrow? Is it a day off?” He said, “No. It’s Axl Rose tomorrow.” I went, “What!?” I couldn’t believe it; I heard all the stories about Axl. The next day, there he is. I shook his hand and thought, “This guy’s not bad at all,” and he was telling jokes. And then he sang and I didn’t know he had that voice. I really had no idea he could sing like that. It was tremendous from the start. Within the next day, he was in the band.”
When it was noted that it seemed that Rose had meshed with AC/DC rather seamlessly, Slade indicated: “In my opinion, yes. People may disagree with me, but again, I could hear him perfectly, too. Some of those notes he hit were unbelievable. He used to warm up for two hours every day. And I know he did because we were either on the same floor or very close. You could hear him on his piano, doing the scales and everything. And as I say, he was quite a funny guy. I know it’s not the opinion that a lot of people have of it, but that’s my experience of Axl.
I know in the past, he’s had his problems, but the guy that I met was a really nice guy, really talented on the case. He was never late, ever. That’s what I was afraid of, more than anything, because AC/DC is never late, not even to the second. If it’s an 8:30 show, it’s an 8:30 show. On that tour, by the way, there was one night where there was a glitch. I don’t know what it was, exactly — a guitar wasn’t working properly — and we were about a half an hour late going on. I found out afterward that was the only time that AC/DC were ever late for a show. They’re pretty conscientious like that; everything has to be spot-on.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Chris Slade at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.