Paul Stanley recently spoke with Classic Rock magazine for a special issue commemorating AC/DC’s 50th anniversary. He described his feelings when Brian Johnson took over as the band’s main singer after Bon Scott died. The lead singer stated: “When Brian Johnson joined AC/DC, I, like everyone else, was curious about how it would affect the band and the chemistry they had with Bon Scott.” But what they accomplished with ‘Back In Black’ was enormous. The way that album begins with ‘Hells Bells,’ it struck me like the first time I heard Black Sabbath – ‘Holy shit!'” He went on to explain how AC/DC’s sound altered with the new vocalist: “With ‘Back In Black,’ the band’s sound was somewhat polished. They were progressing by building on what they had done before. The bare-bones grit they had in the beginning was replaced with this driving sonic overkill. But that was really wonderful. “I believed that what was gained outweighed what was lost.” Stanley first heard the music of the ‘Thunderstruck’ group in 1977, when they supported KISS on a few tour dates.
So he added his thoughts on their performances: “I knew AC/DC were the real deal the first time I saw them. It was somewhere in the mid-1970s at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles. They were gritty, and the adrenaline was pumping. The amount of energy that Angus [Young] used on stage was incredible.” AC/DC opened for KISS on the Alive II Tour in North America a few months after those events. Not long later, their 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’ became a commercial success. Years later, at KISS Kruise, Paul Stanley discussed his band’s influence on the emergence of AC/DC and other industry heavyweights. He elaborated: “We’ve never made anyone famous, but we’ve given bands a shot.” When you put them in an arena, the audience either does this [thumbs up signal], but between Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Mellencamp, Tom Petty, AC/DC, and Rush, we have a pretty decent track record of bands who we liked and had us on their side.” AC/DC will celebrate its 50th anniversary by returning to the stage after a seven-year hiatus, headlining the Power Trip festival on October 7 at the Empire Polo Club in California. Meanwhile, KISS’ farewell tour, ‘End Of The Road,’ will begin in September.