In a recent episode of the Justin Hawkins Rides Again vlog, he offered more insight into the moment when he ran onstage to duet on the AC/DC classic “Back in Black” with Johnson, just after they’d met for the first time. (You can watch the video below.)
“I was just standing in the wings waiting to watch the AC/DC section because I love AC/DC,” Hawkins said. “He just tapped me on the shoulder – I didn’t realize he was standing behind me – and I turned around and he was like, ‘Justin, Justin, how you doing?’ He was so friendly and really, really cool.
“And he goes, ‘You’ve got to come out and sing the second verse of “Back in Black” with me.’ I was like, ‘I can’t do that, Brian – I don’t know how it goes; I’ve never sung it before and I’ll just make a pig’s ear of it.’ And he said, ‘No, no, you’ve got to. Don’t be shy!’”
Watch Justin Hawkins Discuss the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert
Hawkins noted that Dave Grohl told him to follow Johnson’s instructions. “I’d checked in with the stage manager to tell him what Brian was planning, and they were trying to get me a microphone,” he recalled. “And they did actually … but in the furor, I just ran out and didn’t know which mic I was supposed to take, so I just shared Brian’s.”
That led to the “two lead singers fighting over a microphone bit, which some people think looked a bit awkward,” he said. “But it was so funny. Afterwards he was saying that we should do an album of cover versions in our [different] singing styles. He described us as the new Everly Brothers and referred to me as his ‘new cohort.’ It was really, really good fun and it was brilliant to meet him.”
He added that the “second verse when I was cocking it up for him, it was just like, I think, it gave him a moment to gather his strength and push on. And I just thought he smashed it. It was brilliant to see an actual legend really kicking arse in the name of Taylor Hawkins.”
The Darkness singer also owned up to feeling nervous about performing “Under Pressure” with Queen and the Foo Fighters later in the show. He said the pre-show run-through amounted to “standing in the room with this microphone, feeling pretty discombobulated by the whole experience. … I was really worried about that one – there was a lot at stake and it was a big night.”
But, he added, “Once we did the soundcheck I realized that it was going to be great. And it was great.” He also noted that it was of the “utmost importance” to do justice to Hawkins’ solo songs, which he performed with the later drummer’s side project the Coattail Riders.
Taylor Hawkins London Tribute Show Photos
Rock’s biggest stars gather to pay tribute to the fallen Foo Fighters drummer.