When AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson earlier this week announced that he was quitting the band because he was going deaf, suggested replacements included Axl Rose, Jimmy Barnes, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and even Dave Evans, the band’s original singer.
But the first name that came to us was the "Snake Venom Guy."
A couple of years ago Steve Ludwin visited our VICE Melbourne office to chat about Getting High Injecting Snake Venom, a documentary we’d shot about Steve and his 20 year love affair with snake venom. At the time, there was brief talk about doing a version here with Australian snakes but the idea was scuttled for a number of obvious reasons.
We remembered most of the things Steve said that day but one thing that stood out was his dream of one day replacing Brian Johnson as lead singer of AC/DC.
Steve’s moment has arrived.
Steve has decades of experience as a rock vocalist and has written with Ash, Placebo, and snake lover Slash who took interest in his misanthropic rock group Little Hell.
Steve first got into snake venom, or snake venom first got into Steve, at the age of 17 when sitting home alone listening to AC/DC he felt compelled to stick some snake juice into his blood. Since then he’s been injecting what would for any normal human be fatal amounts of venom. He claims to not only never get ill, but that cobra venom is the ultimate pick me up, much like blasting Dirty Deeds Done Cheap at high volume.
We got in touch with Steve at the University of Copenhagen where he’s working with a team in developing a new antivenom that will help save thousands of lives, to discuss a possible new career move.
Noisey: Hey Steve, why are you are the best replacement for Brian Johnston in AC/DC?
Steve Ludwin: I love injecting venom to AC/DC’s “Inject The Venom"! It's a match made in hell.
So the venom makes you more powerful?
My immune system is so strengthened by 28 years of venom use, I will never have to cancel shows. Snake venom may prevent cancer and Alzheimer's disease. I will share my snakey secrets with the whole band and they will long out-rock The Stones well into their 150s!
What about snakes on stage or is that considered a bit too gimmicky?
No. It’s been done better before with Alice Cooper and Britney Spears. Be kind to snakes would be my only message and no I don't wear snakeskin.
Rock and roll has long been blamed as a corrupting influence on the young but never for influencing them to inject snake venom.
AC/DC's real rock sound infected my soul as a young teen. By the time I reached 17, I knew my future was snake venom and music, and have definitely used AC/DC records to give me strength and confidence to cheat our old friend death. Friends call me "The Stevil Dead" which is apt for sure.
A health risk of the profession is hearing loss. A health risks in your profession is death by snake venom. Is rock and roll that much safer than snakes?
Snakes don't shoot guns at gigs. Snakes don't get crushed to death in mosh pits. Sure snakes can stop your heart and breathing fairly quickly but I'd rather that than having to suffer a Nickelback song on the radio. Rock is far more of a dangerous beast than any snake I've ever met. A tiger snake is a pussycat next to an Angus riff.
Does dosing yourself with venom give you a higher tolerance to Jack Daniels?
Alcohol is a poison. There’s a massive fucking difference to venom that can be safely consumed. I rarely drink alcohol because of the destructive nature it has on important internal organs. Also I learned from Bon's untimely death that it can happen easily to anyone on that shit.
Watch Getting High Injecting Snake Venom.