Why Justin Hawkins Grabbed Mic From Brian Johnson at Taylor Hawkins Tribute
The Darkness' Justin Hawkins has explained why he appeared to wrestle the mic away from AC/DC singer Brian Johnson during their joint performance of AC/DC's "Back in Black" with Foo Fighters at the Taylor Hawkins tribute show in London over the weekend. Metallica's Lars Ulrich sat in on drums for the song.
After some who watched the concert's livestream on Saturday (Sept. 3) commented on the awkward microphone handoff, The Darkness lead vocalist clarified the matter. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, of no relation to Justin, died at 50 in March. Saturday's tribute to him saw Foos leader Dave Grohl perform his first Foo Fighters song without Taylor.
See fan-captured video near the bottom of this page.
On Sunday (Sept. 4), Justin explained on Twitter, "[Ten] seconds before the AC DC section Brian told me to get up for the second verse of BIB. I didn't want to do it, never sung that before but [Grohl] said 'if Brian tells you to do something, you fucking do it.' Haha"
The Darkness singer also tweeted, "To be honest, I feel like BJ just wanted to drag me up for a laugh and to give his voice a few seconds to recover in time for the rest of the track. I thought he did an AMAZING job and I'm always happy to help out when needed."
In an additional reply, Justin stated, "Everybody involved would trade it all in to have Taylor back, but I think The Hawkins Family and [Foo Fighters] created something really special in his honour."
But why the mic struggle? The singer offered further explanation in a more substantial statement summarizing his remarks that he subsequently shared on social media.
10 minutes before the AC/DC segment of the tribute, Brian Johnson asked me to come up and sing the second verse of Back In Black. I initially refused, I've never sung it before and I didn't want it to seem like I was gatecrashing. However, Brian really was insistent and Dave Grohl told me that 'if Brian tells you to do something, you fucking do it.'
I had [The Darkness drummer] Rufus [Taylor] pull up the lyrics on his phone and I gave it a go, but in all honesty I think Brian just wanted to create a memorable spontaneous moment and have a laugh so he could really push on and smash the rest of his set. The stage manager scrambled to prepare a microphone for me, but I didn't know which one I was supposed to take and I ended up have to steal Brian's, which looked a bit awkward. [Face with tears of joy emoji]
Brian Johnson is an absolutely legend and Dave was right, I couldn't turn it down.
The show also included an emotional opening speech from Grohl, a Van Halen tribute set featuring Wolfgang Van Halen and plenty of other standout performances.