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SoulMonster

2011.11.26 - Interview with Tommy - Detroit Free Press

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2011.11.26 - Interview with Tommy - Detroit Free Press

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:27 am

Unless you're Axl Rose, being a member of Guns N' Roses just might be one of the riskiest jobs in rock.

When bassist Tommy Stinson was welcomed to the GNR jungle in late 1997, you couldn't have blamed him for figuring it was a short-term gig. At that point, the band's other founders had all split or been given walking papers, and Rose's control-freaky personality made job security an oxymoron.

So how's this for longevity? As the group sets its sights on a Thursday show at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Stinson is at 14 years and counting -- making him the third-longest-tenured player in Guns N' Roses history, behind Rose (26 years) and keyboardist Dizzy Reed (21).

"It's been a good run, and I still have fun with it," says the 45-year-old Minnesota native, who made his name in the 1980s as the Replacements' teenage bassist. "This trip in particular has been one of the more enjoyable, one of the least stressful we've had."

This year's tour has been streamlined and near seamless -- no small feat for a band whose legacy is notoriously loaded with late starts, infighting, canceled gigs and albums that can take a decade to complete.

"The group vibe has been pretty good," Stinson says. "Nothing to derail the train."

One stabilizing influence, he says, has been lead guitarist D.J. Ashba, the versatile musician and entrepreneur who joined in 2009, rounding out an eight-man lineup that includes drummer Frank Ferrer, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, guitarist Ron Thal and utility man Chris Pitman.

"D.J. made a good addition because he has fun with the gig and he doesn't take himself too seriously off the stage, which is important," Stinson says. "You can't compete with each other. You can only do your own thing and have fun with it, and if you do that, you're ahead of the game."

Thursday's show is the band's first Michigan appearance since the 2008 release of "Chinese Democracy," the long-delayed, much-mythologized album that aimed to return Guns N' Roses to its creative heights.

Whether it successfully captured the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of "Appetite for Destruction" or epic valor of "Use Your Illusion" remains a topic of fierce fan debate. But Stinson is a believer, and he has been lobbying for even more of the new songs in a 2 1/2-hour set that features several of them already.

"I think people have had time to sit with that music," he says. "Now I want to go out and play it."

Fourteen years in, Stinson is confident he's got a voice in GNR. There's a collaborative dynamic now that didn't exist when he joined, and he describes his relationship with Rose as one of mutual respect.

But when all is said and done, Stinson says, he knows who still calls the shots.

"If I feel something is a really terrible idea, or there's something good we're not getting to, I feel compelled to say something," he says. "But for the most part, Axl tells us what he wants, and it's: 'OK, cool. That's it. Make the dream real.' "

Stinson gets to stretch his artistic legs when he's not on the road with GNR or Soul Asylum, which took him aboard in 2006. Since the Replacements disbanded two decades ago, he's led the bands Perfect and Bash & Pop, and his second solo album -- "One Man Mutiny" -- was released to glowing reviews in August.

The Replacements' scruffy, spiky rock and GNR's ambitious glam-metal may seem to inhabit distinct corners of the pop-culture kingdom. When he joined Guns in '97, Stinson certainly raised a few eyebrows -- and Replacements main man Paul Westerberg publicly criticized his former bandmate.

"It didn't really occur to me to look at it in those terms," Stinson says. "The funny thing is, as I've talked to people over the years, it turns out there's not actually much of that cultural difference. There are a lot of people who are fans of both bands, which was striking, because it's the last thing I would have expected."

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Last edited by Soulmonster on Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 2011.11.26 - Interview with Tommy - Detroit Free Press

Post by Johan on Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:18 am

Cool interview. Very realistic.
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Re: 2011.11.26 - Interview with Tommy - Detroit Free Press

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:31 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Cool interview. Very realistic.

If only he'd agree to answer my questions...I am still annoyed by that.
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