In the latest episode of “AC/DC Beyond the Thunder,” Greg Billings, who happens to be Brian Johnson’s favorite singer, opens up about his enduring friendship with the fellow Floridian rock legend. They dive into their extensive history of singing duets, shedding light on some of the darker days Brian Johnson faced during his tenure with AC/DC.
Billings shares, “I just spent the week with Brian, and he’s all fired up about the Power Trip show.” He’s quick to remind us that the AC/DC frontman will celebrate his 76th birthday just two days before taking the stage at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, next month. “He’s been getting in shape, he’s excited, and they’re going to rehearse for a solid five weeks, doing nothing but playing.”
The Power Trip festival, slated for October 6-8, boasts a lineup featuring heavyweights like METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN, GUNS N’ ROSES, TOOL, JUDAS PRIEST, and AC/DC, marking the band’s first live appearance since 2016. However, Ozzy Osbourne had to bow out due to ongoing health concerns, which Billings briefly addresses.
Billings reflects on his remarkable journey with Johnson, recalling how people began drawing comparisons between his voice and the legendary Bon Scott’s. He fondly recounts the pivotal moment when Brian’s wife, Brenda, an ardent fan of Billings’ former band STRANGER, introduced them, leading to a lasting friendship.
During the episode, Billings shares insights into their collaborations, including a touching ballad penned by Johnson about forgetting Valentine’s Day for his wife. Billings highlights, “It revealed a side of Brian that many hadn’t seen before—a soulful, heartfelt side.”
Additionally, Billings provides a glimpse into a challenging period in Brian Johnson’s life, revealing, “Brian was really struggling. He was in a tough spot, couldn’t hear properly, and had undergone surgeries.”
After persistent encouragement from Billings, the AC/DC icon eventually mustered the courage to return to the stage and record a song that perfectly encapsulated his situation, titled “Old Friends Don’t Come Easy.” Billings passionately encouraged him, saying, “You need to step out of your shell and show the world that you’re still here and capable of doing this.”