|By C. Bottomley
At the rate Axl Rose is going, he will have worked with every spare musician in Los Angeles before Guns N' Roses fans hear a note of the band's new album Chinese Democracy. Drummer Josh Freese is the latest to leave the band, vacating a stool that was once filled by founding member Steve Adler and then The Cult's Matt Sorum. MTV News also reveals that Rose is now collaborating with the avant-garde musician, Buckethead.
Freese's current status was very uncertain, with some reports saying he had permanently left the band and others suggesting he was only taking a sabbatical while he tours with A Perfect Circle. APC, led by Tool's Maynard James Keenan and also including a former G N' R guitar tech among its members, are supporting Nine Inch Nails on their American summer tour. Freese also plays with hardcore punk revivalists, the Vandals.
A Perfect Circle spokesperson said Freese's current G N' R status was "up in the air." He has already spent two years - recording, we hope - with Rose. According to G N' R manager Doug Goldstein, Freese had already completed the drum tracks for the forthcoming album. He expanded to Launch.com, "I'm hearing these rumors, and nobody has officially told me anything....[Freese] hasn't had an attorney or manager tell me he's out of the band."
MTV reports that Axl and Buckethead have been working on material and recording together Although Buckethead is renowned among guitar aficionados for his fried, funky fret-wanking, he's something of a mysterious outsider in the music biz. He lives up to his singular name by performing crowned with a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket.
Buckethead is best known for working with extreme jazz musicians like John Zorn and Bill Laswell. As well as guesting on albums by Funkadelic's Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins, he has also contributed to the soundtracks of The Last Action Hero and Street Fighter. His solo albums include 1999's Monsters and Robots.
It hasn't been specified whether Buckethead has become the band's official new guitarist. Principal songwriter Izzy Stradlin was the first guitarist to leave the band in late 1991, to be replaced by Gilby Clarke. Lead guitarist Slash eventually departed the band in frustration over delaying the follow-up to 1991's Use Your Illusion. Axl began working with Nine Inch Nails' Robin Finck, but in August Finck rejoined Trent Reznor's industrial combo.
In a January interview Rose said, "I'd like to take some of the old Guns fans along with me gradually into the 21st century." Why do we get the feeling there aren't going to be too many follow-ups to "Paradise City" on G N' R's new record?
A Perfect Circle's first album Mer De Noms [or Sea of Names - Quiche Ed.] will be released on May 23. And if you want to see them and Nine Inch Nails on tour, check them out at the following dates.
April 12 Cleveland, OH - CSU Convocation Center
April 14 Detroit, MI - Palace of Auburn Hills
April 15 Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center
April 17 Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
April 18 Milwaukee, WI - U.S. Cellular Arena
April 20 Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
April 21 Chicago, IL - UIC Pavilion
April 22 Madison, WI - Dane County Coliseum
April 25 Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena