|Here's a 2003 review written by Andreas from GN'R N.I.R. Enjoy reading it and happy new year!
Guns N' Roses (and some other people) in 2003
Another year in the waiting... At least if you're still a GN'R fan. As usual, there hasn't been much official GN'R info this year. The best sources have been fans asking questions at concerts which the members have done on their own. The news about the ex-members 2003 have mainly been about Slash, Duff and Matt's band, Velvet Revolver. When I think about it, maybe it's better to say that the news has nearly always been singer-related...
In the beginning of the year fans were anxious to hear anything from the GN'R-camp about the aborted tour, but nothing came. Actually, something came. A Welsh fan, Kirsty Omerod, who were to see the show in Chicago, disappeared and GN'R issued an appeal for her to contact her family. This was renewed later in the year. Apart from that, there were only some stories concerning arrests in association with the Vancouver riot that started the tour.
March saw Axl suing an Axl impersonator who's been posting at GN'R internet message-boards.
In April Offspring were trying to be funny again by naming their album "Chinese Democracy". They later scrapped the title.
Axl was spotted in Las Vegas, NV on June 8 and on the 15th in Hollywood, CA when he attended a Led Zeppelin release party (DVD) at the Cat Club.
On June 9 everyone's favourite website, gnronline was updated. It had the following text: "Stay Tuned, Stay Tuned for news and information on Chinese Democracy coming soon., [posted 3/9/2003 U.S.A.]". Guess what? I did stay tuned and nothing happened. Surprise of the summer!
At July 16th Axl walked into the nearly empty strip club Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas, NV, and played some tracks from Chinese Democracy. He really knows how to promote himself, doesn't he?
One thing we seem to be able to trust is that when GN'R is scheduled to play Rock In Rio, they do play. This fourth version will take place in Lisbon, Portugal in 2004, and GN'R has been confirmed as one of the headliners. There have been rumours about gigs in Germany, so hopefully we'll see GN'R back on the road next year.
Richard Fortus, Tommy Stinson, Buckethead, Brain and Dizzy have all been doing some solo shows. Not together, except for Buckethead and Brain who continued with their Col. Claypool's Bucket Of Bernie Brains (and we've been complaining about the names "Reloaded" and "Velvet Revolver"?).
We finally got DVD-releases of "Welcome To The Videos" and the "Use Your Illusion" videos. Of course it couldn't work totally well with that either and the European releases are still delayed due to production problems.
One of the truly old-timers in the GN'R world, photographer Robert John, sued Axl over photos that Axl had kept.
On to Velvet Revolver and its members Slash, Duff, Matt, Dave Kushner and Scott Weiland. The first months of the year was mostly about who had auditioned with the band. After about a million names, Scott Weiland's began to surface in early April. It took another month before he was confirmed by himself. He also said the band's name would be Reloaded. Fortunately Scott was a little early with the info, and the band later settled for the name Velvet Revolver, which is better but still sucks, in my opinion.
Rewind a little and we had the whole thing about the reality show. At first it sounded horrible; a TV-show with Slash, Duff and Matt searching for a singer. The latest about this (which was a long time ago, it seems), is that VH1 filmed the band and that it will be a part of a show on the channel.
In the summer the band had two songs in movies. The Pink Floyd-cover "Money" in "The Italian Job" and their original number "Set Me Free" in "The Hulk".
On June 19th the band took the stage of the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, CA for their premiere as a live-band. They did six songs, including FOUR covers. On August 25, they signed to RCA and the most recent reports say that the album is finished and will be released during the first half of 2004.
They did another mini-gig on November 15 during the Los Angeles fashion week, playing Rolling Stones' "Angie" and a new number of their own. Izzy played guitar alongside Slash and Dave. Izzy had earlier been involved in the band but chose to "quit" before he was in. Sort of.
The late summer and the entire fall hasn't all been about recordings and live shows, though. After trying out all the different singers, the ex-Gunners settled for a notorious junkie beyond rescue. Scott Weiland was arrested May 19 on suspicion of drug possession. He appeared in court on July 25th to request his case to be diverted into a drug court program. On August 14 he was sentenced to three years probation. He was forced to enter rehab. On his birthday, Scott partied a little too much and went driving. Smart guy. He crashed into some cars, and then fled the scene. Later he tried to smuggle drugs into rehab. Slash and the others must really like this guy.
Except for his involvement in Velvet Revolver Izzy's been his usual quiet self. He's got a solo album called "Like A Dog" ready, but no word on release yet. Then there's actually been some talk about an Izzy biography coming out in 2004, something at least I am really looking forward to reading. Izzy surely have had one of the more interesting lives of the GN'R members.
On February 10 he sued Big FD over money that he'd been paying when he shouldn't (according to Izzy).
Matt's all-star band Camp Freddy's been doing some more shows this year. The guest lists have been more than extensive. They seem to do pretty cool shows, although I have a hard time forgiving them for letting Kid Rock sing "Paradise City" at New York's Roseland Ballroom on February 22nd.
Matt also released his solo album "Hollywood Zen" in the fall.
Do you remember Slash's interpretation of the theme from The Godfather that he played during most of the Use Your Illusion tours? In 2003 his studio version that appeared on the soundtrack of "The Kid Stays In The Picture". The movie is about the life of the Hollywood producer Robert Evans. The song is only on the soundtrack, as I sadly noticed when I saw the movie. But overall I enjoyed it.
Slash co-hosted the Jimmy Kimmel show in late March. One of the nights featured the TV-debut of Camp Freddy, and Slash guested.
Guns N' Roses has seldom been about politics, maybe apart from some mentions from Axl in his rants of the early 90's. This year saw Slash of all people, appearing at two peace marches.
Steven's been playing with his band, which is called Adler's Appetite or Suki Jones or The Happy Has-Beens Of Hollywood. The band's been doing some small club tours. Seriously, I think it's good to see that Steven's playing and seems to be having a good time. But please let us forget the Metal Sludge tour.
Izzy and Slash actually joined the band on October 21 at the Key Club in Los Angeles, CA to play "Mr. Brownstone", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and "Paradise City".
Gilby's old band Candy did a reunion show in 2002, and this year there were some talk about a collection of rare material to be released, called "Teenage Neon Jungle" but I have no information about release dates and such.
This year's guest appearances from GN'R and ex-GN'R members:
Dizzy - A number of live shows with Happenin' Harry and the Haptones
Buckethead - Viggo Mortensen
Brain - Kimya Dawson, Viggo Mortensen
Richard - The Compulsions
Slash - Yardbirds, Elan, Peter Tosh tribute [with Duff and Matt, not released], Kid Rock [live at the Kentucky Derby], Camp Freddy [live], Steve Lukather, Matt Sorum
Izzy - Mark Lanegan
Duff - Mark Lanegan, Peter Tosh tribute [with Slash and Matt, not released], Alien Crime Syndicate, Camp Freddy [live]
Matt - Pre)Thing, Peter Tosh tribute [with Duff and Slash, not released]
Gilby - Did a successful tour as guitar player in Heart.