Axl Rose says he means no disrespect to departed frontman Brian Johnson by participating in upcoming concert dates with AC/DC, adding that he just wants to do justice to the material. Johnson was sidelined in March by a hearing issue.

The first AC/DC show with Rose is Saturday in Lisbon, Portugal. Rose's comments came in a talk with BBC 6 Music, his first in-depth interview in five years. "I'm happy and excited in one sense, but I think it would be inappropriate to be celebrating, in a certain way, at someone else's expense," Rose said. "That's not what I'm here to do. It's an unfortunate situation."

Rose confirmed that he reached out to the band after learning of the singer's ailment. "I called the day I read about it in the news, that there was a situation going on with Brian's hearing," he recalled. "I called a guy who's their production manager right now ... because I knew there was going to be a problem with having dates on sale and dates sold and stuff like that. So, if I could help, and if I was able to do it, and they were interested, I'd love to help. And that's how it started. I wasn't looking at it like, 'I'm singing for AC/DC.' I was looking at it like, you know, if I can, and if they think I'm able to do it."

He admitted to some difficulties along the way. "A lot of the Back In Black stuff is really challenging," Rose said. "I'm not here in any way out of any disrespect to Brian. I can't take anything away from his singing at all. He's a great singer, and it's really challenging to sing it. I'm just trying to do it justice for the fans."

AC/DC have offered refunds to fans who aren't interested in seeing the band without Johnson, who took over for the late Bon Scott in 1980. Several thousands tickets have reportedly been returned.

Co-founding guitarist Angus Young says the decision to sit out was completely Johnson's. "In his heart he wanted to finish [the tour] but because of that hearing factor he had to make the decision," Young told the BBC. ""It's a hard thing to do, and he'd had the problem since we kicked off touring. It was his call. It was a shock to us too. The last thing you want to do is walk away from something, but you don't want someone in a tragic situation; being deaf, or any other affliction."

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