AC/DC’s Johnson slams TV talent shows; Tyler and Depp collaborate; A Perfect Circle, Lamb of God, Foo Fighters and more

Brian Johnson

Not fair: Brian Johnson

AC/DC singer Brian Johnson has slammed Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler’s role as a judge on TV gameshow American Idol, insisting the concept is no way into a proper career in music.

“There’s only one way to do it,” Johnson says. “You get on stage, you learn your trade and you get out and play in front of people.

“Serve your apprenticeship just like anybody else – the shortcut ways lead to tears at the end of the day. It’s all hype and it’s not fair on the kids to make them famous one week then nobodies the next. It’s just not right.”

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Tyler has re-activated actor Johnny Depp’s musical ambitions by inviting him to collaborate in the studio.

Depp says: “We’ve been hanging out here and there. He’s someone I’ve admired greatly for such a long time. Writing songs with him is a dream come true.”

The Aerosmith frontman has suggested Depp could play him in a movie version of his autobiography, to which the actor says: “I would give it a shot. Why not?”

* * * * *

A Perfect Circle have now agreed to work on a new album after reuniting on a trial basis with the intention of just playing live shows.

Guitarist Billy Howerdel says: “We’re going to have at least one new song on the tour. It’s very close to being done, and from there, things could come together. Once we’re on the road and start hashing through our ideas, they could quickly become a song and make it onto the stage.

“So there’s an album in the works, but not for this summer. The idea was to get the juices flowing a bit and get back into A Perfect Circle mode, and go from there. But we do intend to record new material.”

* * * * *

Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler reports the band have two dozen song ideas for their next album – and fan can expect a more solid and groove-based performance from the sticksman.

He says: “We’ve got 24 ideas and we’re up to about ten of them in a line, although we’re really just getting started. But we have more material than we could ever use, so we’re pretty happy.

“On any day of the week, style and groove are more important than speed. In the past, like a lot of guys, I got wrapped up in that world of speed and lost the flavour and love in the music.

“I was so aggressive and trying to be the fastest and hit the hardest. But all the songs that elevated our career happened when we got out of the individual mode and started looking at the song as a whole..

“Just because you can play something doesn’t mean you should play it – and that’s been a very important lesson for me.”

* * * * *

Bathory will release a limited-edition vinyl box set on July 18. It includes three gatefold double LPs, a 48-booklet, a poster and a recreation of the band’s 1984 debut picture disc.

* * * * *

Alex Skolnick says he chose not to join Savatage full-time because the move didn’t feel right – but he’s still proud to have played with a band he looked up to as a young man.

He left Testament in 1993 and replaced Savatage guitarist Criss Oliva, who died in a car crash the same year. But the band didn’t last and later morphed into Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Skolnick, who still plays on occasion with Testament but is more focused on his jazz career, says: “I found playing with Savatage appealing, but I knew I was heading in a different direction from the band, even though I didn’t know where.

“It was a very bittersweet situation. On one hand I got to do an album with a band I liked in high school. The flipside was it had come about because of tragedy. Joining Savatage didn’t feel right – I’m not sure why. Maybe I felt I needed to be one of main creative voices in a band. I wouldn’t have been in that band.”

* * * * *

The Strawberry Field gates made famous by the Beatles track Strawberry Fields Forever have been removed from their century-old location.

Landowners the Salvation Army have become concerned about wear and tear on the Liverpool landmark, and have replaced the ironwork with modern replicas.

Director Major Ray Irving says: “Care has been taken to ensure the gates have remained in good condition, but inevitably time has taken its toll.”

It’s thought the originals could be actioned in the future.

* * * * *

Dave Grohl says the Foo Fighters remain his most important musical outlet, and he could never consider leaving them for another project.

He comments: “Whenever I go to do something else, it usually re-energises me to come back and do the Foos. Whether it’s Them Crooked Vultures or jamming with Paul McCartney, it always makes me want to come back to the Foo Fighters.

“I can’t not be in this band.”

* * * * *

Legion of the Damned have unveiled Twan van Geel as their new guitarist, following the departure of Richard Ebisch three weeks ago.

Mainman Maurice Swinkels says: “The day after Richard quit I already planned to call Twan. A week later we met in our rehearsal room and he’d prepared at home, and we decided to take him on as permanent guitar player.

“Although it’s sad Richard left, Twan will only turn out positive.”

Van Geel adds: “Richard made the band what it is today. Replacing him won’t be an easy task but I’m ready to strike with full force.”

* * * * *

Brian Wilson has finally ruled out any chance of a Beach Boys reunion by stating his intention to retire from touring in the coming year.

He says: “When I’m sitting down at the keyboard and my band’s behind me I can do it, but it gets harder as I get older.

“I’m going to miss it, but I’m getting a little old for touring.”

* * * * *

Warner Music have seen income from digital sales jump by nine percent in the last quarter, leading the company to announce lower than expected losses.

Analysts had predicted income of $598.4m but the actual figure was $682m, including $220m from new media.

While physical figures are still dropping, legal online transactions are continuing to increase – once again putting doubt over the industry’s constant insistence that filesharing is single-handedly responsible for trade problems.

Warner has been bought by Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, who’s thought to have paid £3.3bn in cash for the now private company.

Related stories: