AC/DC singer driven to write about cars in memoir

Mon Jun 6, 2011 9:00pm EDT
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By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - AC/DC fans will learn a lot more about frontman Brian Johnson's relationships with cars and auto racing than with music and the band in his new book, "Rockers and Rollers: A Full-Throttle Memoir."

And that's not by accident.

"I hate autobiographies," Johnson told "I think they're boring and rotten, and I'm not interested. It's usually some bitter old git doing a tell-all to get back at everybody."

The book was published in the United States two weeks ago, more than 18 months after it came out in Britain, where it is now available as a paperback.

Johnson, 63, fills "Rockers and Rollers" with what he calls "short stories that are funny and positive," mostly about his lifelong fascination with cars -- including youthful misadventures and even a remembrance of his teenage driving test.

"I just love cars," said Johnson, who was working in an auto shop when he was recruited to replace late frontman Bon Scott in 1980. "It's probably because we were born with no money, and it was always something you dreamt of when you saw it driving past -- 'I wonder what it would be like to have one of them?' But it went beyond that. I just loved these things, these motor cars, these things that you could get in and do anything. You could go anywhere. It becomes personal, you know?"

Johnson has parlayed his passion into a collection of four vintage race cars -- his "biggest prize" is a 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter -- that he races regularly when he's not on the road with AC/DC. "I don't tell (the band) anything," he says with a laugh. "I just go out and do it, because otherwise they wouldn't let me."

Johnson says another set of stories is possible -- "Man, I've got a million," he notes --- but if he ever does dip deeper into his music career for a book, he promises it will be of the same anecdotal style as "Rockers and Rollers."   Continued...