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I have an Axl to grind

Axl Rose: I thought an elaborate joke was being played when AC/DC announced that Rose was going to replace vocalist Brian Johnson.
Nanjing Night Net

Nowadays I like to watch the bands of my youth on YouTube – often for a laugh.

While some have stood the test of time in terms of their music and aesthetic, many have become awkward, clichéd caricatures of themselves. Or at least of how I used to see them.

Guns ‘n’ Roses are right up there with the bands who give me a good chuckle these days.

Google a live performance of Sweet Child O’ Mine and you’ll see what I mean. The hair. The leather. The songs:

“Whaair dow waee ga-ow-waw?

Whaair dow waee goww nyaoiw?”

Since he’s virtually gone nowhere since their heyday, the Gunners’ moody and recalcitrant singer Axl Rose has become something of a hair metal punch line in recent years.

Once the baddest of bad boys, he’s now, well … not so much.

So naturally I thought an elaborate joke was being played when AC/DC announced that Rose was going to replace vocalist Brian Johnson – who apparently risks deafness if he continues performing – for their current world tour.

However a quick check of the band’s website showed the news was announced on April 14 – a full two weeksafterApril Fool’s Day!

“As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian’s decision to stop touring and save his hearing,” the statement read.

“AC/DC will resume their Rock Or Bust World Tour with Axl Rose joining on vocals.”

They’re serious! As for the dilemma to rock or bust, I believe the decision to hire Rose makes the answer self evident.

I don’t know about you, but I reckon AC/DC is well and truly busted. Let’s consider the facts.

* Original singer Bon Scott died 36 years ago after a massive night on the grog.

* After a massive lifeon the grog, founding member Malcolm Young has dementia and is no longer able to play.

* Long-standing drummer Phil Rudd bowed out after being charged with drugs offences in New Zealand.

* Brian Johnson quit because he can barely hear himself think.

If that ain’t a busted band, then AC/DC is sure doing a terrific impression of one.

With only two bona-fide members left standing (legendary lead guitarist Angus Young and bass player Cliff Williams), it could be argued that AC/DC is in worse shape than INXS was after Michael Hutchence died.

And we all know how that ended, don’t we Terrence Trent D’arby?

Yet diehards will say AC/DC is all about Angus Young’s guitar playing and as long as he doesn’t drink himself to death, develop dementia, get locked up or go deaf, people will continue to pay to see him shredding with “AC/DC”.

But Axl Rose on vocals? I think they’re stretching the friendship – even for the fans with Dirty Deeds tattoos. Every single AC/DC fanatic I know (and there are a few) have laughed at the idea of handing over money to see a surly red-headed American sing the Acca Dacca canon.

To quote my mate Ed (veteran of five AC/DC tours): “Pffblblthppp.”

The way I see it, AC/DC has two choices; either refund the dosh for their latest tour, go home, fill the bath with Crystal and retire. Or they can commit to truly becoming Spinal Tap in the ultimate act of life imitating art imitating life.

All that’s needed is for Cliffy Williams to die in a bizarre gardening accident and be replaced by Derek Smalls on bass. And of courseAngus will need new amps that go to 11.

* * *I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who gagged while watching60 Minutesa few weeks back.

And I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who tuned in just to see what explanation the program might offer about its foray into child-snatching which led to four of its employees being banged up in a Lebanese prison.

In a special address to viewers on April 10,60 Minutesreporter Michael Usher assured viewers everything was being done to help free reporter Tara Brown and her crew, adding, “The last thing our team wanted was to become the subject of their own story.”

That was the part where I gagged. While theproducer, the cameraman and the film recordist may not have wished to become the subject of their own story, it’s a bit rich to say that of Tara Brown.

Like every60Minutesreporter before her, Brown has been made into a bona fide network star – a celebrity in her own right. This is why she and her fellow60 Minutesreporters spend almost as much time on-screen as the people they interview. This is why each Sunday night viewers must sit through pompous, self-congratulating introductions: “I’M CHARLES WOOLEY! I’M MICHAEL USHER! I’M LIZ HAYES! And I’M TARA BROWN!”

The program as a whole is largely about them.

On Sunday night, I tuned in again to see what Nine might do with the fallout of the saga, now that Brown and her crew, plus Brisbane woman Sally Faulkner (whose children were at the centre of the botched child “recovery”) have been freed. Meanwhile the child “recovery” operatives they allegedly hired remain behind bars in Beirut.

I was hoping Channel Nine had learned a lesson and would just apologise and leave it at that. But no – not content with helping create a situation which cost Faulkner all hope of having her children back –60 Minutesfurther cashed in on her misery by broadcasting teary reunions back in Australia plus an interview with Brown.

If the latter was meant to be a mea culpa, it failed dismally when Brown appeared to place some responsibility for the saga on Lebanese authorities.”I thought, ‘We’re journalists, we’re doing our job –and [Lebanese authorities] will see reason, they will understand that’,” Brown told Michael Usher in a classic slow-pitch interview that’s only possible when you interview your buddies.”We [were in Beirut] just to do a story on a very desperate mother, and I thought that reason would prevail –and it didn’t.”

Imagine that! Lebanese law enforcement failed to understand that60 Minutes– by apparently paying for and abetting the forceful abduction of two children from their grandmother – were just doing their job! The only way that makes sense is if helping to illegally snatch little kids off the street is one of your KPIs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.