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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2002.11.20 - 101 WRIF Radio, Detroit - Interview with Axl

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2002.11.20 - 101 WRIF Radio, Detroit - Interview with Axl Empty 2002.11.20 - 101 WRIF Radio, Detroit - Interview with Axl

Post by Soulmonster Thu May 10, 2012 9:03 pm


Axl: Hello?

Meltdown (Deejay/interviewer): Hey, Axl!

Axl: What’s happening?

Meltdown: Hey, how are you doing, man?

Axl: What’s going on?

Meltdown: Nice to talk to you, bro.

Axl: What’s happening?

Meltdown: Welcome back to the world of rock ‘n’ roll.

Axl: Yeah!

Meltdown: (Laughs) Seems like you’d been gone for a long time.

Axl: Yeah, definitely.

Meltdown: It was definitely a shocker to see you there on the MTV Video Music Awards. How long did it take to get that whole thing rolling?

Axl: The MTV?

Meltdown: Yeah.

Axl: Well, there were negotiations about trying to figure out how long we could do something and where it would be at the show for, actually, somewhere near the beginning of that little mini-tour we did. And then we didn't have what we were doing on stage worked out until the day of the show.

Meltdown: Oh, is that right?

Axl: Yeah.

Meltdown: So that whole, like, Guns N’ Roses medley you guys – is that what you had worked out or just the whole…?

Axl: Yeah, that thing. It’s like, cuz it wasn't for sure that we were playing until the day before the show.

Meltdown: Uh-hah. Now, tell me about the reaction from people. They must have been blown away there, huh?

Axl: People were pretty shocked. Yeah, definitely (chuckles).

Meltdown: Yeah, so you must have been pretty fired up. How did you feel going back out there on stage, live TV and all that stuff? You must have been a nervous wreck all that day, huh?

Axl: Well, no, I wasn't that... But everything tends to go wrong in my world. Like, even going to sound check, the police wouldn't let me down the street to go to the building.

Meltdown: Is that right?!

Axl: And then, the day of the show, they didn't let us go down the street. I had to get out of the car, run past the police, they're telling me I have to stop, and I'm like, “I gotta sing” (chuckles). And the best part was, as I'm running down the street, I had to run past all the people lined up to get into the building.

Meltdown: Right.

Axl: And they're going, “Hey, there goes Kid Rock!”

Meltdown: (Laughs).

Axl: I thought that was pretty funny.

Meltdown:  Now, why wouldn't the police let you on? I'm kind of lost on that.

Axl: You know, just they are lost. Just confusion, lost, don't know what's going on, people not having people's names on the list, not knowing what passes to check, all that kind of crap. So, just usual stuff going wrong for no reason.

Meltdown: So what you're telling me is, Axl Rose had to sneak into the MTV Video Music Awards?

Axl: Yeah, basically. I had, like, police chasing me down the street (chuckles), and then our security and MTV had to clear with them, but… It was very interesting.

Meltdown: I guess the big question is, where have you been? Where has Axl Rose been for the last ten years? What have you been doing? Just mellowing out, getting stuff ready to go, or...? I mean…

Axl: No. Just, basically, I just don't go looking to promote myself on every little thing until there's some kind of product, or something to put out that I think is worth it. And we've been working on this band and trying to get things right for a long time. If I go to, like, do interviews or anything like that, it just gets turned around by so many people around the world who don't have anything better to do than to try to shoot anything down, and that was just too draining to deal with everybody else. It's interesting… In L.A., there's places that I go to all the time, but since I did the MTV thing, I go to the same place, and suddenly there's paparazzi, and it's like, “Axl's out!” And it’s like, well, I was here last weekend and you didn't care.

Meltdown: Right, right, right.

Axl: You know? I just wasn’t going - I used to live behind Tower Records on Sunset and I lived right behind Spago. And if you wanted to, you could go down and stand there and all the paparazzi would take your pictures and stuff — it's just dependent on if you wanted to. I mean, I never did that, but you drove by it every day. There's other people there that would purposely go there to get their photos taken and stuff. It's not my world.

Meltdown: Yeah, yeah. You tried to stay out of it. I was searching some websites – actually I listened to an interview you did with some deejay in Chile last year or something like that. You've played a couple of gigs here and there – I mean, you’ve played some huge ones down in South America, if I’m not mistaken.

Axl: That’s true.

Meltdown: And you've done some small ones here in the States in Vegas, right?

Axl: Yes. Well, it’s taken - this band did not come together by a bunch of guys meeting each other in a bar or down on a corner in their old neighborhood or anything like that. So it's taken a long time to pull these guys together and then have them develop a chemistry with themselves. When we first did our first show in Vegas, Robin and Buckethead didn't know each other at all, and you've got two lead guitar players trying to kill each other.

Meltdown: (Laughing) Is that right?

Axl: You know, with their abilities. It's like when I tried to bring Zakk and Slash together. That didn’t go too well (laughs).

Meltdown: Oh, really? You tried to bring Zakk and Slash together once?

Axl: Yeah, that was... it was fun to watch.

Meltdown: Really?

Axl: It was like, you know, watching a giant snake with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. So it was pretty exciting – I mean, we had a good time, I don't know if they did.

Meltdown: When was this?

Axl: That was about '95.

Meltdown: Is that right?

Axl: Yeah.

Meltdown: Now, (?) if I should ask this, but do they ever talk at all now or you don't know?

Axl: Well, I mean, I think they’re like - they can be cordial to each other, that whole kind of thing. But when they're actually playing, it gets that kind of alpha male thing going, [like] who's the real lead guitar player.

Meltdown: I think I vaguely remember this now, back in ’95. We’re talking seven years ago.

Axl: Yeah.

Meltdown: Man, no question about it. Axl Rose on the phone with us. He’s playing a show tomorrow at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Another question I have for you, and I think about this one… Do you still think Guns N’ Roses are still relevant after a long layoff? Because, I mean, obviously the shows are going, you're selling tickets for the shows, people are really jonesing for Guns N’ Roses still, and you haven't done anything in, like, at last seven or eight years, huh?

Axl: Yeah, I think the relevancy, really… I mean, at the end of the day, it's gonna really depend on - well, for a bit of the nostalgia thing, you have the songs, we're playing a lot of the old material. For new excitement, you have the performance of these particular players. But at the end of the day, it's also really gonna stand on the new songs when we put out a new record, and if that's considered relevant or not, and if that's considered not selling out, you know, just to be relevant. So it'll really all hinge on that, and we feel really confident about the music that we're working on, and I think that when it does manage to find its way into the light, the timing will be perfect, cuz like this MTV thing and the touring right now, that's all working really well.

Meltdown: I guess the reason I asked you that is because I see younger people, early '20s, late teens, fired up to see Guns N’ Roses.

Axl: Yeah, they are. And also, the new performers... I mean the band and the show is a really exciting thing. It’s like, I like the soundchecks and the rehearsals before the shows watching this thing, because watching these guys is amazing. I mean, Guns N’ Roses, I was in that band 'cause it was my favorite band –

Meltdown: Right, right, right.

Axl: I loved watching all the players in that band. And watching this band is just as exciting, or more, for me, you know? Plus, them having what I feel is a better personal relationship with the individuals in the band makes it more exciting for me. And people have commented on noticing that on watching the shows a lot.

Meltdown: Now, you said just a couple of minutes ago, "when the new record comes out", I mean, “if”. You're a little skeptical about that?

Axl: No, I'm not skeptical about, like “if”. I'm just saying the “when” thing is when we decide that it's completed. There's a lot of things that - we come up with new ideas that we're working on as we go, and it is a really, really slow process, because it's kind of left more to ourselves in trying to figure it out; where, you know, what I've seen in this industry is that, if a record company… I don't know. There seems to be a lot more support for getting things done with newer bands, and it's got a lot to do with contracts being, you know, they don't have to spend as much money on the band and they're trying to get it out there, and the next thing you know, they've sold a couple of albums and then they don't care about that band anymore and they move on, and that band falls apart. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of support for bands that have been around. That's my experience. So in putting this thing together, in a lot of ways I've had to do way more jobs in it than I'm supposed to — I've had to be manager, A&R man, producer, sole lyric writer and a lot of things; where Guns N’ Roses to me, what I worked really hard at was making it a collaborative effort, and it was a lot of people involved. This is a collaborative effort with the players, but the players aren't exactly sure what it should be to try to win over the world Guns N’ Roses style. So that's kind of my responsibility. Anyway, but it's all working.

Meltdown: Well, there you go. I guess if it works for you, you might as well...

Axl: It took a long time, but now it's working, and I think we'll have the right record. And when we do drop the record - the plan is to drop the record, have a bunch of extra tracks, about a year or so down the road drop another record, and drop a third record. This is a three-stage thing and we'll be touring for a real long time.

Meltdown: Really?

Axl: Yeah.

Meltdown: Wow! So the time off didn't affect you — you didn't like it too much, you don't wanna keep more time off, huh? (laughs)

Axl: Well, we've been collecting lots of songs.

Meltdown: Right.

Axl: So there won't be lots of time off. We'll just keep touring.

Meltdown: Axl Rose on the phone with us. A couple more quick things I wanna touch on here. Since we last heard of Guns N’ Roses, there's been just – I mean, a new President, reality TV, Kid Rock, Eminem, Linkin Park — I mean, things have changed so much. Has any of this stuff influenced you at all?

Axl: Well, basically, life, yeah (laughs). Yeah, everything that's going on, you know, you think about it. And there's a lot of different influences in music, so we try to move the music forward. There's a lot of misconceptions, because I wasn't gonna get in a one-on-one war with the old guys, because I felt that all that would do was gonna promote their albums and bring attention to that, and I didn't want to help that at all. The reality was that I was basically going to do most of Slash's songs in particular, and work on those with him, but basically any time we got anything that would be halfway near something that was gonna be either successful, because it completely kicked ass or it was just strong in any way, then it was backed away from. And I believe that this has a lot to do with trying to keep the material down - for his own personal reasons, keep his own material down.

Meltdown: Oh, I see, yeah, okay.

Axl: There was a lot of stress… Well, it’s basically why Izzy and these guys – I mean, none of them really wanted to do the big shows.

Meltdown: Is that right? What kind of shows did they wanna do?

Axl: Well, from day one, Izzy always wanted to be about the size of The Ramones and do, like, 2,000 seaters.

Meltdown: Right.

Axl: Okay? So there was always a little battle there. And then the other guys had to be on so many substances to really be able to deal with that crowd. I mean, to his credit, Slash could play great guitar on a lot of drugs.

Meltdown: Yeah (laughs).

Axl: You know? But there was a reason he would be that whacked out to get on stage and there was a lot of stress to deal with.

Meltdown: Axl Rose on the phone with us, from Guns N’ Roses. Man, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen GN’R. Tell me one of your fondest moments from the Metallica/Guns N’ Roses tour, because that was probably one of the biggest tours of the 1990s. What’s one of the fondest thing you remember?

Axl: I was definitely very excited about how that went — I mean, as far as how it went for us. And we got to see a lot of people backstage, we threw some really huge parties that were a lot of fun.

Meltdown: I was at one, one time, and you walked right by me and you went right into a hot tub with all these chicks.

Axl: (Laughs)

Meltdown: So that ain't too bad, huh?

Axl: (Laughing) No, that's not too bad.

Meltdown: (Laughs) I remember some of the parties. You guys had a different theme in every city, if I'm not mistaken, right?

Axl: Yeah. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

Meltdown: I heard in Indianapolis you had, like, cars, and the one I was at was like, you had go-go dancers and psychedelic, or something like that.

Axl: Yeah, we had a casino with ice sculptures somewhere.

Meltdown: Is that right?

Axl: Yeah.

Meltdown: So what are your plans for this year? You're doing the tour. You’ve got a New Year's Eve date yet or what?

Axl: Yeah, I think we're doing San Jose — San Francisco, basically.

Meltdown: Okay. Cuz I heard something about the Las Vegas thing again.

Axl: Yeah, well, we are doing Mandalay Bay right before then.

Meltdown: Oh, okay.

Axl: But basically, the larger venues in Vegas wanted to stay dark on New Year's, cuz they don’t want people – they want people in there gaming. So we wanted to play a larger place in Vegas, so that's why we ended up doing San Francisco.

Meltdown: I guess this is kind of a generic question, but how's the tour so far?

Axl: It's going great, it's going great. I mean, it got started off exceptionally weird, but I guess GN'R style.

Meltdown: (Laughs)

Axl: And then, from that point on, we've been really happy. All the guys are happy, you can sense that the people in the band are getting excited about what they see that we can turn this thing into, because we know what the material is that we are working on. And right now you have people just kind of stunned and watching, but I'll be excited when there's newer songs out there so then you've got some of that frenzy happening.

Meltdown: Are you doing any new stuff on the tour?

Axl: We do about 4-5 songs that we've done at the various shows, but we're still holding our big guns back.

Meltdown: Oh, is that right? (laughs)

Axl: Oh yeah.

Meltdown: Well, listen, Axl, it’s great to talk to you. Somebody here at the station wanted to ask me if you are dating anyone. I don’t know, these girls here at the station. Do you know what I’m saying?

Axl: No one in particular, no.

Meltdown: No one, not yet?

Axl: No significant others, yeah.

Meltdown: (Laughs) Hey, well listen, Axl, thanks for taking the time. Tomorrow at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Stay out of trouble, okay?

Axl: Yeah, man. Thanks a lot.

Meltdown: Can you do that for us?

Axl: Oh yeah, definitely.

Meltdown: Axl, thanks. We’ll talk to you soon.

Axl: Alright, man. Have a good one.
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