AC/DC singer Brian Johnson spoke to Yahoo Music about how he managed overcome his hearing loss to record a new album with the band and prepare for an upcoming tour.
The legendary hard rockers postponed the last ten dates of their North American trek in 2016 after doctors told Johnson he faced a total loss of hearing if he did not stop touring immediately. He was eventually replaced on the road by GUNS N' ROSES vocalist Axl Rose.
"Technology comes along," Brian said about his new top-secret hearing device. "It's a wonderful world. Now technology moves faster and faster. And this fabulous man had an idea he wanted to share with me. And we got together, worked for about two and a half years on this thing."
Earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, AC/DC got together in Holland to film a video for the band's new single "Shot In The Dark". "Angus very kindly said, 'Let's rehearse while we're shooting the video,'" Brian recalled. "And we got together and Angus said, 'Let's go!' And I said, 'Right, do full-field conditions, full lineup, and whack it out. 'Cause if it doesn't work, I don't want to waste anyone's time.' Well, it did work, and it was smashing; what had such a wonderful time doing it, what a crack. And I said, 'Okay, this is good!'"
"It was a case of Brian working [with the hearing technology] even before we got together for the album; he'd been working it out with these people and he was getting a lot of great results, and kept us updated," Angus said. "Brian was really happy with the technology, and he'd tested it in different environments. … So, when we said we were going to get together in the new studio, I knew straight away that if he was saying that, he was ready."
In a 2014 interview with Howard Stern, Johnson said that his hearing loss wasn't entirely caused by his exposure to loud music.
"I've obviously had some hearing loss," Johnson told Stern. "I've got hearing loss in me left ear. I didn't get it from music. I got it from sitting in a race car too long without ear plugs. I heard my ear drum burst, because I forgot to put me plugs in under my helmet. That's how it happened. Music had nothing to do with it."
Johnson also revealed his first hint at hearing loss came when he forgot to put earplugs in when racing at a New York State track more than a decade ago. Five minutes into the race, Brian said felt "a little pop" in his ear and suffered tinnitus for more than six months.
AC/DC's long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", is due on November 13. The follow-up to 2014's "Rock Or Bust" was recorded over a six-week period in August and September 2018 at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien, who also worked 2008's "Black Ice" and "Rock Or Bust".