|WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
A Timeline of Axl's return to the road.
Just 250 lucky punters are on hand to witness Axl
Rose unexpectedly jamming at the Cat Club with
former Guns guitarist Gilby Clarke's band The
Starfuckers. Rose's first live appearance since 1993
sees him guesting on two Rolling Stones songs, 'Wild Horses' and 'Dead Flowers', with The Starfuckers, the house band at the West Hollywood venue.
At around the same time, Rose grants Rolling
Stone magazine a rare interview. Besides discussing the state of 'Chinese Democracy'-at this point reported to have cost an estimated six million
dollars - the singer also reveals that his new-look
Gunners have also re-recorded their 1987 debut
album 'Appetite For Destruction', minus the songs
'You Could Be Mine' and 'Patience'.
"Why did we do that?" Axl said. "Well, we had to
rehearse them anyway to be able to perform them live again, and there were a lot of recording techniques that subtly could use a little sprucing up".
The first Guns N' Roses concert in seven years is
confirmed, apparently to be followed by a full-
length tour. Rose is to unveil his new line-up on
January 14 at the Rock In Rio III festival in Brazil, as part of a diverse bill that also includes iron Maiden, Halford, Queens Of The Stone Age, Sepultura, Sting, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Neil Young, Deftones, Britney Spears, Papa Roach, 5ive and REM.
This being GN'R, nobody so much as bats an
eyelid when we learn that the new band will feature an individual who plays with an upside-down Kentucky Fried Chicken container of on his head. Oooh, the suspense!
Rose breaks in his new grouping - the aforementioned Buckethead, plus ex-Nine inch
Nails guitarist Robin Finck, guitarist Paul Tobias,
former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson,
keyboard players Dizzy Reed and Chris Pittman
and ex-Primus drummer Brian Mantia - with a pair
of New Year shows in Las Vegas. A full house of
1,800 fans pay a whopping $180 per head to watch the band at the House Of Blues.
Despite intense speculation that they will not turn
up to fulfil their obligations at the three-day show,
Guns N' Roses do appear at Rock In Rio.
An estimated 200,000 fans watch a two-and-a-
half-hour set that comprises 'Welcome To The
Jungle', 'It's So Easy','Mr Brownstone','Live And Let
Die', 'Oh My God', 'Think About You', 'You Could
Be Mine','Sweet Child O' Mine', 'Knockin' On
Heaven's Door , 'Madagascar', 'November Rain',
'Outta Get Me','Rocket Queen','Chinese Democracy', 'The Blues', 'Patience', 'Nightrain', 'My
Michelle', 'Silkworms', 'Paradise City'. These set is
also peppered with various lengthy and furious rants from Rose. At one point he tells the crowd:
"I know that many of you are disappointed that
some of the people you know and love could not be with us here today. Regardless of what you have learned or read, my former friends [have] worked very hard to do everything they could so I wouldn't be here today. I say fuck that."
The verdict of Classic Rock's on-the-spot live
reviewer is: "As Axl had promised, the new band
can 'play the fuck out of these songs'... This isn't
over quite yet".
In the wake of their success of Rock In Rio, shows
in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham
in June are announced.
On the eve of the European tour, there are
widespread rumours that the shows will not take
place. One US report states that Rose's refusal to
perform is due to a secret batch of hair transplants
leaving him with "big, scarred patches on the back
of his head"; another report insists he's been
Other mooted reasons for the trek's
postponement-which is finally confirmed just as
Classic Rock 29 goes to press - include a mystery
stomach illness being suffered by Buckethead
(strange, considering the enigmatic guitarist had
played a solo show weeks earlier), and even that
Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker has been
brought onboard to help the band add the
fmishing touches to'Chinese Democracy'. Official
sources remain tight-lipped, except to reveal that
the four UK shows will now take place between
December 13 and 19.
Ticket sales are frozen when the tour's fate once
again plunges into uncertainty. Buckethead is now
rumoured to have left the band. As Issue 34 is
closing, GN'R's UK publicist acknowledges the
enormous levels of conjecture, but claims to be
awaiting an official update concerning the fate of
the shows. Tipped off by various US sources, Classic Rock expresses its scepticism that the band will even board a plane. The abuse we receive in return comes from all sides.
In related news, Slash puts his Snakepit project
on hold. The guitarist also informs a Canadian
magazine that he and other members of GN'R's
classic line-up are seeking ways to regain part ,
control of the Guns N' Roses name. He says: "Now
that I know a little bit more about that stuff I'm
trying to look for a loophole."
We told you so. All 14 of the band's European
shows fail to take place - once again. This time
manager Doug Goldstein shoulders the blame.
Ludicrously, Axl later claims to have found our
about his touring commitments via a spell on his
PC. He says: "I was sitting at home on the internet
and I found out the tour was cancelled. I had no
idea that I [even] had a tour."
A statement from Goldstein says: "Following the
euphoria of Rock In Rio, I jumped the gun and
arranged a European tour, as our plan was to have
the new album out this year. I'm very sorry to
disappoint our fans. I made a plan, and unfortunately it did not work out."
Goldstein adds that Rose has spent "every
waking hour of every day during the last five years" working on 'Chinese Democracy'. As Classic Rock points out, it's a shame that the frontman's manager didn't find the time to bring up the small matter of a UK tour. The GN'R fansite My Guns N' Roses (www mygnr.com) even apologises to Classic Rock for our no-nonsense coverage of this farcical situation. "Well take out any negative references to you guys," they tell us. "You were right all along."
Perhaps in a bid to prove that the band do still
actually exist, Guns N' Roses return to Las Vegas to
play two further end of year shows, this time at The Joint and the Hard Rock Cafe. During the former show, Rose storms from the stage twice. Slash - who has just announced the demise of Snakepit attempts to attend the second gig, but at Axl's insistence the former GN'R guitarist is turned away at the door.
"I was trying to be discreet, but apparently Gu
N' Roses' management found out and it was major
pandemonium," Slash later comments. "It was like
they sent out an all-points bulletin."
Rose dismisses Roy Thomas Baker from the
"Chinese Democracy project, just as his former
bandmates move to block the inclusion of the new
band's version of'Welcome To The Jungle' from the
Black Hawk Down soundtrack.
Slash and bassist Duff McKagan are also linked
with guest spots on a new solo album by former
GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin.
The Gunners announce an appearance at the Leeds Festival on August 23, though they decline the Carling Weekend's invitation to headline sister event the Reading Festival due to prior commitments at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.
It's reported that the band will also play London's
Docklands Arena on August 26 and 27. When Classic Rock calls the Arenas box office to determine whether these extra shows are actually taking place, we are told: "Allegedly those dates are happening. They are pencilled in, but the contract has yet to be signed." To further confuse matters, the Leeds Festival is also rumoured to have had its licence turned down after the organisers failed to make improvements to the site.
Guns N' Roses promoters Clear Channel confirm
the band's Docklands Arena appearance, a single
show on August 26. Before the group fly to the Far
East and then Europe, an interview with Rose is
posted at the band's official website, www.gnronline.com (at press time the site still
hasn't been updated since September). In it, Axl
admits to feeling "misty-eyed" at the thought of
disproving the sceptics, also expressing his desire to "wrap up the baby", a reference to the recording of 'Chinese Democracy', now estimated to have cost a whopping $8 million. But he also has a word of advice for those holding their breath during the
wait: "Don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility, not mine."
The Gunners also find time for a surprise guest
spot at the MTV Video Music Awards. They are
critically mauled for their performances of 'Welcome
To The Jungle , 'Madagascar' and'Paradise City',
and Axl later admits: "We didn't have what we were doing onstage worked out till the day of the show. It wasn't even for sure that we were playing till the day." Astonishingly, the Leeds and Docklands gigs both take place. At the latter they are described in Classic Rock as: "The greatest Guns N' Roses tribute band in the whole wide world."
Meanwhile, Duff McKagan informs Classic Rock
that he is working with Slash and former Guns
drummer Matt Sorum on a new project. Duff
reveals that the trio are seeking a suitable frontman.
Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and Travis
Meeks of Days Of The New have both cut demos
with the band, which McKagan says "doesn't sound
like Guns N' Roses". But the bassist does add:
"Were not going to pretend we weren't there."
Intriguingly, McKagan adds that while there are
no plans for a GN'R reunion, he wouldn't rule out
the possibility "in a year, or in three years"
Guns N' Roses' first North American tour in nine
years begins on November 7 at the General Motors
Place in Vancouver. The very first show is cancelled
by the promoter, causing a riot. The next few shows pass without incident, but police are called
once again when GN'R fail to appear in Philadelphia on December 6. As stage time
approaches, it's alleged that Axl is still in his New
York City hotel room watching a basketball game
on television. After just a month, the tour is unceremoniously cancelled.
Thanks to Nightfall, Dilly_Bug and TCL(!)