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AC/DC say reality shows poor path to success

Unlike Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, you won't find members of AC/DC on the panel of a singing contest: They're not exactly fans of the reality show route to success.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Unlike Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, you won't find members of AC/DC on the panel of a singing contest: They're not exactly fans of the reality show route to success.

"There's only one way to do it," said lead vocalist Brian Johnson. "You get on the stage, you learn your trade and you get out and play in front of people. You serve your apprenticeship just like anybody else."

Johnson added: "The shortcut ways leads to tears at the end of the day. It's all hype. And it's not fair on the kids to make them famous one week and then nobodies the next. It's just not right."

Johnson and Angus Young — who jokingly asked if Tyler was "hanging people or something" when told of Tyler's role as a judge on "American Idol" — reflected on the path to success last week in London before the premiere of their latest DVD, "Live At River Plate." It features performances from Argentina, where the band — which also includes Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd — performed to an impressive crowd of 70,000 fans each show for three nights last December.

As part of one of the biggest and most enduring bands in the world, Young and Johnson believe that early struggles got them to where they are today. Johnson said he started his singing career in British youth clubs in front of 30 people. And he took buses to get there.

It's a far cry from the large-scale concerts, which were filmed in Buenos Aires and marked AC/DC's return to the country after a 13-year absence.

Johnson, 63, said they got an extremely warm welcome back, and the footage shows over-excited fans flooding to the stadium.

"From leaving the hotel, the streets were lined all the way to the gig, three or four deep with kids and you knew there was something special going on in the air. You could almost feel it. The atmosphere was unbelievable," he said.

"It is quite an imposing stadium," Johnson continued. "They were as one, just jumping up and down to the music. And it's a sight I'll never forget as long as I live. All audiences really rock — but all together? I've never seen that. They just seemed so happy to see us. I remember the smiles — thousands and thousands."

Unlike other concert films by the likes of U2 and Justin Bieber, "Live at River Plate" wasn't shot in 3D. Instead, the band concentrated on getting 32 HD cameras into every conceivable angle they could imagine.

"Who wants to see my nose in 3D? They'll be running out the cinema," Johnson laughed.

In comparison to a jovial Johnson, Young, 56, seems slight and unassuming — a far cry from his powerhouse guitar performances on stage.

He suggests that his trademark school uniform stage gear possesses magical powers.

"It's got something," said Young. "Once I get it on I'm ready to go,"

As for new material, there's no firm news on the follow up to 2008's "Black Ice" just yet. The album, which was the band's first in eight years, sold millions around the globe.

There are no plans to retire either.

"I cannot think of anything as exciting," said Johnson. "I can't think of anything more that makes you feel more alive than that. It really does. You know you're alive when you're up there. Anything else would be second rate."

"AC/DC Live at River Plate," is out this week.