|Welcome back to the jungle boys.
Yup, Axl Rose and a bunch of new sidemen passing themselves off as Guns N' Roses are on the verge of a comeback.
The band has announced through its management company, Big FD Entertainment, that it will play a summer tour next year. This will apparently follow a warm-up gig at Rock in Rio for a Better World concert in January. Although the band hasn't confirmed that appearance, the festival's promoter, Roberto Medina, tells Brazilian television GN'R is slated to perform on January 14.
If the band takes the stage (that's a big "if" considering the group's less-than-reliable history and the fact GN'R failed to materialize for a much-rumored Woodstock appearance last year), it will be the first time the seminal hair band has taken the stage in seven years.
Back in 1991, at the end of the band's run on the record charts, the old Guns crew--Rose, guitarists Slash, Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, piano player Dizzy Reed and drummer Matt Sorum (who had replaced Steven Adler)--played the first Rock in Rio even.
This time out Rose, who owns the rights to the band's name, will be joined by Reed (the lone holdover from the band's glory days), former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, guitarists Robin Fink from Nine Inch Nails, Paul Tobias and Buckethead, an avante-garde instrumentalist known for his work with Primus and Praxis.
Other acts scheduled to perform at the monster festival, which runs from January 12 through 21 in Rio De Janeiro, include: the Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Neil Young, Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Sheryl Crow, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and James Taylor, among others.
The big question is: Does anyone really care that GN'R are back in this boy-band dominated music world?
"I'm sure they'll go over well at Rock in Rio," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert trade magazine Pollstar.
Of course, whether the new Guns N' Roses can reel in their old fan base depends on how well metalheads and critics receive their forever-in-the-works album, Chinese Democracy--the first studio effort from GN'R since 1993's The Spaghetti Incident?. There's still no word on when the new record will be released.
"The degree to which they'll sell tickets in America will depend on the success of the new record," adds Bongiovanni. "Absent a hit record, touring amphitheaters could be a risky proposition."