I’m not much of a TV watcher, so I never know whether my mind-blowing TV “discoveries” are authentic discoveries, or old hat that everyone has known about for years. But I stumbled on a find yesterday that sort of did blow my mind, so forgive me if I’m bringing the TV equivalent of coals to Newcastle, but here it is.
Turns out that back in 2017, AC/DC’s lead singer, Brian Johnson, did a series of interviews with some of the greats of classic rock for a TV station in Britain. The series was called “Brian Johnson’s A Life on the Road,” and after two seasons on British TV, the series made it across the pond last summer to AXS TV. It now seems to have escaped from TV to the Internet, which is where I managed to encounter it. Here’s the link to the YouTube channel where you can find a bunch of episodes.
It rocks. Check out the lineup (not sure how complete it is):
- Sting (The Police)
- Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
- Roger Daltrey (The Who)
- Joe Elliott (Def Leppard)
- Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
- Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)
- Billy Joel
- Joe Walsh (The Eagles)
- Dolly Parton
- Paul Rodgers (Bad Company)
- Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)
- Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
I’ve so far managed to see all of the Billy Joel episode, and parts of the ones for Sting, Robert Plant, and Lars Ulrich. Johnson, who’s a bit of a history buff,* is a great interviewer who’s done his homework: he knows his interview subjects, knows their music, and knows the historical and sociological context surrounding their work. Even die-hard fans will get something out of Johnson’s avuncular Geordie routine with their favorite artists.
I can’t quibble with any of the selections, but what makes its way onto a list like this inevitably leaves you wishing for what didn’t. It is, one has to admit, a rather white- male-heavy list that might have been improved by the addition of some women: Debbie Harry, Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, and Joan Jett come to mind. And though I’m not about to blame Johnson for his failure to conjure the dead, I couldn’t help fantasizing about possible-world interviews with Neil Peart, B.B. King, Lemmy, and…Bon Scott! I’m inclined to think that Ozzy might have been fun, too (not to imply that he’s dead). Then again, Ozzy interviews might have been expensive: between Johnson’s Newcastle brogue and Ozzy’s drug-addled ramblings, you’d probably need a team of translators to write the subtitles.
Anyway, take a look and a listen. I can’t think of a true classic rock fan who’d be disappointed.