Duff McKagan Says Axl Rose Was ‘So Nervous’ Before AC/DC Audition

March 12, 2024 - News

Axl Rose said he was “so nervous” before his AC/DC audition back in 2016, according to his Guns N’ Roses bandmate Duff McKagan.

Guns N’ Roses had just announced the long-awaited return of McKagan and Slash a few months before AC/DC broke the news that they had to postpone their tour due to Brian Johnson‘s hearing loss. Then, in April, they revealed that Rose would fill in for the singer for the remainder of the tour.

McKagan recently appeared on the Life in the Stocks podcast, and he described how Rose felt prior to trying out for the role in AC/DC. He noted that he and Slash had played in other bands with other musicians, but save for a couple of guest appearances on other musicians’ songs, Rose had only ever been with Guns N’ Roses, so it was a completely new feat for the vocalist.

“That AC/DC thing was really was like his favorite band, he went and tried out. [Rose said] ‘I’m gonna try, I hope they…'” McKagan recalled. “I’m like, ‘You’re not gonna need to try out. I wouldn’t worry about it.’ [Rose then said] ‘I’m so nervous.'”

“It was really great. We knew — me and Slash knew — [we said] ‘You’re gonna get the gig,'” he continued. “And it was so good for him.”

McKagan and Slash then flew out to London to see one of Rose’s shows with AC/DC to support him, since it was his first real venture with another band. But not only was the gig good for Rose, it was good for Guns N’ Roses’ reunion, as being a temporary member in another group meant he had to play by their rules instead of his own.

“I think it did really help, I think he saw how that organization was run, too. It’s like, ‘Yeah, we can go on on time,’ and all this stuff because, you know, ‘They’ll go on if I’m ready or not. They’re gonna go on,'” the bassist said, obviously referencing Rose’s infamous show delays back in the ’90s.

“But he was really already… Like for me, he’s done this amazing — he’s a great leader in a band situation. He’s [got] a lot of levity, takes it very seriously, warms up for an hour and a half, warms down for an hour and a half. We go on on time, we play forever.”

READ MORE: 10 of the Nicest Things Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose Has Ever Done

Check out the full podcast episode below.

For the first time since their 2016 reunion, Guns N’ Roses don’t have any shows booked for the year. McKagan’s latest solo album Lighthouse just came out in October, and Slash has a blues album titled Orgy of the Damned coming out in May.

Axl Rose Said He Was ‘So Nervous’ Before AC/DC Audition, According to Duff McKagan

Every Song Guns N’ Roses Have Played Since They Reunited in 2016

Every song Guns N’ Roses have played since their reunion.

Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner

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