The Reason Why AC/DC’s Brian Johnson Always Wears That Iconic Cap
So many things about AC/DC are iconic: the lightning bolt, that sturdy logo, Angus Young's schoolboy outfit and duck walk as well as Brian Johnson's ever-present cap atop his head. So, why did the singer start wearing that hat anyway? And why did he stick with it?
Johnson answered those questions when Planet Rock asked him when the last time he was seen or photographed without his trademark cap. They traced the origin of Johnson wearing it onstage back to before his days in AC/DC when he was a member of the U.K. group Geordie.
The singer confessed that he wears them while on the press circuit, which was the case here as he was discussing the band's new album, Power Up, but, "When I'm home in Florida, I'm just one of the boys, swimming and plunging about and having a good time."
Looking considerably further back than fun times splashing around in his pool as of late, Johnson recollected, "The hat thing started — I'll never forget, I used to play the working men's clubs in and around the northeast of England, and we would really rock."
A fevered onstage performance meant perspiration was assured, which proved to be trouble for the frontman for a number of reasons.
"It was a grand little rock band called Geordie, and I used to sweat because they didn't have any air conditioning," he continued, "And in the winter especially, the clubs were full and they'd have the heating full up because it was freezing outside. I always used to sweat, and my hair... all the sweat used to go in the eyes and sting."
Meanwhile, his brother Maurice had, at the time, just bought a new sports car. To round out his appearance for his new wheels he also purchased a new cap, which came in handy one sweat-soaked night.
Elaborating on the night that ultimately made rock history, Johnson went on, "We were halfway through the set, and I was sitting having a beer with him, and he said, 'Your eyes are red!' I said, 'I know, it's all the sweat.' He said, 'Yeah, put this on.' And I said, 'Oh, I'll try.' And I put it on, because in the north of England, everybody wore caps — you know, after the war and all that, it was a kind of uniform for the Geordies and Yorkshiremen and people like that."
Speaking to the immediate effectiveness of this cap, the singer praised, "And I wore it for the second half [of the set] and I went, 'That's marvelous! It's brilliant!' I said, 'I'm gonna buy one of them!' And he says, 'You can keep that. I'm not putting that on.' So I did."
The cap eventually became synonymous with the band and actually provided a bit of a boost for Geordie's career. "And then people started remembering, 'Oh, it's a good band. The singer that wears the cap. Him.' And then straight away, we got instant recognition with things like that," said Johnson, "And we got gigs, we got shows. 'We want that group. What are they called? You know, the singer wears the cap!' 'Oh, right. Geordie!' And it stuck. I guess it's just part of us now."
As for when fans will have the opportunity to see Johnson, his cap, and the rest of AC/DC onstage, that questions remains unanswered. The singer did recently suggest an eventual return to the road, so that sounds promising.
Brian Johnson Interviewed by Planet Rock
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