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SoulMonster

1996.MM.DD - Kerrang! Guns N’ Roses: Together Again?

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1996.MM.DD - Kerrang! Guns N’ Roses: Together Again?

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:28 am

GUNS N’Roses is back from the dead. Five years after the release of their last new material — the epic Use Your Illusion I and II— the band that’s spent more time in the gossip columns than it has in the studio have all got together in the same room for the first time in three years, to get down to work on a new album.
Well, almost all. The rhythm guitar situation is still up in the air, what with the last recruit Paul Huge joining Gilby Clarke and Izzy Stradlin in the ranks of unemployed ex GN’R guitarists. Gilby was out because he fell foul of Axl; Huge, an old friend of Axl’s from Indiana, was out because Slash couldn’t stand him; Izzy was out because he couldn’t stand any of them — though he’s been hanging around Los Angeles recently, staying with Duff and reportedly writing with Axl. Various people, their names a closely-guarded secret, have been trying out for the full-time job. Meanwhile, according to Duff McKagan, "Axl is playing second guitar." Axl can play guitar?
"He taught himself. He knows what he wants to play, so that makes the difference. Otherwise it’s still up in the air. But it’s not detrimental, as far as the writing goes, not to have a rhythm guitar player. That’s coming along real well."
They’re currently working on "15 different things", says Duff, "some just riffs, some bodies. But it’s moving quickly, the spirit’s hot and there’s an excitement there that I haven’t felt in, God, I don’t know how long. It was getting to be like, ‘do I have a band?’. I was actually starting to forget. I have a studio in my house and I would go in and record a song, but our records are just so far apart — as you know, my band doesn’t exactly find that easy. And playing with a band — fuck, I need to play!"
In fact, everyone but Axl seemed to share the sentiment. Duff and Gilby released solo albums. Right after the two-year Use Your Illusion tour, Slash went into his home studio with Matt, Dizzy and Gilby to get straight back to work on a new album; Axl hated the songs and fired Gilby. Slash put together a sideband, Snakepit, asked Matt and Gilby to join and released his own album too. Axl threatened Slash with a lawsuit for the return of the songs; Slash just went on the road. Absence makes the heart grown fonder, and when he finally got back home after playing the Castle Donington Festival last year, Axl said he wanted to make a Guns record. But it didn’t get too far too fast. Meanwhile Duff and Matt, left with " a lot of down time", formed their own sideband, Neurotic Outsiders, with Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and John Taylor of Duran Duran, and played a weekly residency at the L.A Viper Rooms, attracting a large number of guest musicians, from Iggy Pop to Ian Astbury — and Slash!
Once again, it seems to have been watching his colleagues having fun without him that’s spurred Axl into this new onset of activity.
"Getting Guns back together again has been an ongoing process for a while", says Matt, "but it might have had a little bit to do with the Neurotic Outsiders! Because it seems like every time we all try to run off to do something on our own, because we’re just sitting around waiting, it all happens. When it rains," he laughs, "it pours! I really think a lot of the reason we’re getting back together as a band is because he heard we were so good, huh Duff?"
Says Duff, "After all this starting and then stopping again, there’s finally been real rehearsals, which started two weeks ago. We’ve been rehearsing ungodly hours and there’s a real air of excitement. We’re not playing any of the old stuff — not even playing ‘Brownstone’ or something to warm up — we’re just going in and doing new stuff. It’s moving fast."
As for actually going into the recording studio, "We’re going in soon", says Duff, "very soon — a month and a half, two months maybe. We don’t have a producer lined up yet. Mike (Clink)’s awesome, but we haven’t even talked to him yet."
"Right now", says Matt, "we’re just trying to get back on track. Remember it’s been three years since we’ve all been in the same room together! Axl’s really great, he’s in really good spirits. He just wants to make a record. Axl’s playing a little guitar and writing some cool songs. Slash is coming around. And we’re just trying to figure out what we’re going to do about the other guitar player. It’s a good thing; we really need to do it. I’m sick of walking down the street and people go, ‘What are you guys doing? Are you together?’ And now I can say, ‘Yes we are.’ I’m happy about that."
Apart from cover songs — The Spaghetti Incident? album, most of which was recorded at the same time as Illusion, and ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, which appeared on the Interview With The Vampire sountrack — it’s been half a decade since we’ve heard any new GN’R music. Rock has gone through a lot of big changes in that time. When they finally do come out with an album, is everyone going to shrug and say ‘Who cares?’
"Maybe", says Duff. "But, in my heart I think all those kids who bought our records before... there’s so much history with this band. And I think in a way, with all this time off and coming back like this, it will add, you know", he grins, " a bit more chaos. Either way, we will make a record. If nothing else, I want to make one great record for them."
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