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2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary

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2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary Empty 2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary

Post by Blackstar on Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:00 am



Transcript:
---------------

[Introduction - preview of interviews]

Part 1

Voice-over: Guns N’ Roses: the story behind the music.

Voice-over: It’s August 2002. In seven years after the implosion of the world’s most dangerous band, the reclusive Axl Rose finally emerges with Guns N’ Roses at the MTV Video Music Awards. The man’s name was familiar, but the faces were not.

[Clip from MTV 2002 performance]

Slash: A lot of people think it’s almost sacrilege, you know, to do it that way, but he doesn’t give a fuck.

Voice-over: Axl’s hired Guns bore no resemblance to the rock ‘n’ roll outlaws that had enraged parents and enraptured fans in the 1980s. Their menacing sound fueled by lines of extreme decadence and danger.

Slash: Me and Duff were drinking at least half a gallon of vodka or Jack Daniels a day, just trying to sort of keep ourselves, you know, like on an even keel (laughs).

Gilby: They lived it and that’s why, you know, they were one knot above everybody else. They were the real deal.

Voice-over: But Guns would ultimately choke on their own excess. Less than a decade after shocking the rock world with their seminal debut, Appetite For Destruction, drugs, booze and runaway egos tore the band apart.

Arlett Vereecke: Everything was falling apart. Everything was wrong that was going on there. I mean, it was trouble, after trouble, after trouble. You know? It didn’t stop.

John Reese: You didn’t know from one minute if it was gonna end because of a drug overdose, because of a riot, because of it just imploding... But at the same time you didn’t know if that same day you were going to see the greatest musical performance of all time.

Voice-over: Guns N’ Roses’ rebellious roots were planted on the grimy streets of Hollywood in 1982. With two local misfits, named Steven Adler and Saul Hudson aka Slash, began amping up their hard rock dreams.

Slash: Steven started playing drums and I started playing guitar, and we started a band. And that’s where Guns starts for me.

Voice-over: In late ’84, the struggling musicians checked out a band called Hollywood Rose at an L.A. gig. The group was founded by Jeffrey Isbell and Bill Bailey, Indiana transplants, who’d renamed themselves Izzy Stradlin and W Axl Rose. To Slash and Steven, Axl’s hypnotic performance was nothing short of magic.

Vicky Hamilton: After the show I introduced Axl to Slash - who knew that was, like, history in the making. But that was the first time Slash met Axl.

Steven: I said to Slash, “If we get that singer and that guitar player, we’ll have a kick-ass band.”

Voice-over: By March of ’85, Steven and Slash had joined forces with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin. That same month, bassist Michael “Duff” McKagan cemented the lineup. They called themselves Guns N’ Roses.

Axl [from the after show interview at CBGB’s, Oct. 30, 1987]: We went through so many different people and this ended up the people that we most believed it. We’re like a family, we believe in each other.

Steven: We were a game, that’s how we thought it was up: we play rock ‘n’ roll music to kick your ass.

Voice-over: Guns were finally cocked and loaded. And their combustible onstage chemistry quickly offered a dangerous alternative to make up metal groups like Cinderella and Poison.

Steven: All these other bands, you know, they had all these spandex, and makeup, and crap, and we didn’t. We just went out there and played rock ‘n’ roll.

Arlett Vereecke: They looked like outlaws - that’s number one. And the music was to me like nothing I had ever heard.

Slash: We just didn’t really give a fuck about anything else going on around us. We just had this edge, this sort of unpredictable, scary thing about what it was that we did, and there was no holds barred.

Voice-over: And from the beginning, Guns’ hunger for success was matched only by their appetite for excess.

Barbi Von Greif: Quite often it was a 24-hour day party. Tupperware’s flew (?). Literally, Tupperware’s. Everybody was completely strung out and using ecstasy.

Riki Rachtman: Nobody drank as much as Slash, and nobody has talent as much as Slash.

Slash: We were just following in the footsteps of all the guys that we grew up – you know, were our heroes growing up. And then we just took it that one step further.

Voice-over: Virtually homeless and constantly migrating from one squalid crash pad to another, Guns were single-minded in their pursuit of just two things: partying and rock ‘n’ roll.
Robert John: These guys were living off of biscuits and gravy from Denny’s, you know, from friends...

Barbi Von Greif: There was usually at least a few bodies on the floor you had to step over when you walked in. There was always a song written on a pizza box and empty liquor bottles everywhere.

Slash: We were always scrounging to find a place to practice, to find a place to crash; and, in fact, in those days, the best people to know were strippers, because they were the ones that were empathetic to you needs (laughs).

Voice-over: Once on stage, the band served up bludgeoning riffs and Axl supplied the menacing lyrics. The product of an abusive household, Rose was an explosive frontman who used his songs to tackle his demons.

Slash: As volatile he is, all the things that you might find complicated or difficult about Axl is what fuels him to be such an amazing performer and such an amazing songwriter.

Axl [from MTV interview May 14, 1988]: You know, it’s like I have to balance out when I can destroy everything around me to when I have to be nice to everybody.

Voice-over: Axl’s volatility was both a blessing and a curse. By early ’86, Guns N’ Roses were the hottest band in L.A. But record labels wouldn’t touch them.

Slash: Nobody wanted to sign us. I mean, even the people that wanted to sign us they didn’t want to deal with us. Nobody wanted to produce us, nobody wanted to manage us (laughs), and, you know, the club owners were scared of us...

Voice-over: Guns N’ Roses were a powder keg that could blow at any moment. But in the spring of ’86, Geffen Records exec Tom Zutaut saw the band at an L.A. club and thought their hard rock sound was worth almost any headache.

Tom Zutaut: I basically went to David Geffen and I said, “I just saw the biggest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. They’re gonna sell more records than any band except for, maybe, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.”

Voice-over: Guns N’ Roses signed a record deal with Geffen, but few believed they were destined to redefine rock ‘n’ roll, or even survive at all.

Part 2

Voice-over: By the summer of 1986, Guns N’ Roses had navigated the thicket of Hollywood hair metal to bag a multi-album deal with Geffen Records. But the label was worried that their explosive investment could combust at any moment.

Zutaut: Well, I was worried about them surviving, because you can’t tell junkies or drug addicts to stop taking drugs. They probably laughed when I said, “Guys, I mean, be careful. You’re gonna be the biggest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. You don’t need to destroy it with this crap.”

Vicky Hamilton: They always kind of thought that there would be, like, the explosion, and that it would all be over, one of them would die or something would happen.

Steven: Oh yeah. We were the bad boys.

Voice-over: In August of ’86, Geffen got Guns into the studio. But the band never allowed a rigid recording schedule to cramp their untamed style.

Slash: On any given night [bleep] terrorizing Hollywood, every morning we’d have to get up and somehow manage to be in the studio by 12:00.

Mike Clink: They came in many, many times well hungover.

Voice-over: But amid all the chaos, Guns N’ Roses were about to make musical history. One of the songs that emerged in those early sessions was a disarmingly sensitive ballad called Sweet Child O’ Mine. Ironically, Slash came up with its classic opening riff as a joke.

Steven: We were rehearsing and the guitars started playing like a circus kind of thing. You know? And I was, “Do that again.”

Slash: What started out as a joke guitar riff for me, turned into a huge anthem for Axl as far as that relationship that he was in at the time. So it was a very heartfelt moment in his life.

Voice-over: Axl’s unusually affectionate lyrics were penned as a love letter to his girlfriend, Erin Everly, with whom he had a tumultuous five-year relationship.

Robert John: When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was horrible. There was a lot of turmoil between those two. And that’s all I want to say.

Arlett Vereecke: Erin was a very nice girl. She was cute as could be. She was just the opposite as Axl. But it also shows a side of Axl, Sweet Child O’ Mine, that you wouldn’t necessarily – when you hear all these nasty things about him.

Voice-over: But Sweet Child was a rare tract of tenderness on an album dominated by incendiary anthems, like Welcome To The Jungle. And when Appetite For Destruction was released in July of ’87, it bombarded fans with a brutal sonic diary of five musicians hanging on the edge by a thread.

Dave Navarro: They were living hand to mouth, and they were just all about the rock and the girls and the drinks, and that’s what they sang about. That’s what they did. And they lived it.

Slash: It’s pretty much a storybook of everything that Axl and the band was going through from, say, the beginning of the ‘80s all the way up until the record was finished.

Voice-over: In August of ’87, Guns hit the road for a world tour to support the album, taking their never-ending Hollywood party to inebriated extremes around the globe.

Slash: We were just a bunch of crazy kinds that had just been given the key to every city in the world, basically (laughs).

Vereecke: There were photo sessions when Slash literally was propped up. You know, they had somebody behind him to hold him up so he wouldn’t fall down for the photo session.

Robert John: Slash is a very dedicated player. He would go and throw up behind the amps, come back out and keep playing. He smoked on the stage and the cigarette would drop down in between his pants and his stomach. And I’m sitting there watching, going, “Dude, you’re burning up,” and he’s just doing the solo in pain.

Voice-over: The Guns’ outrageous antics and graphic lyrics were infuriating parents, but delighting fans. And in July of ’88, Appetite For Destruction climbed to number 1 on the charts.

Slash: It was the right band at the right time with the right message. It just happened to hit the youth of America in a certain way that everybody related to it - which is fuckin’ great.

Voice-over: But just as the band reached multi-platinum heights, tragedy brought them crashing back to earth. On August 20th 1988, during the Guns’ set at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donington, England, two fans were crushed and killed by the frenzied audience.

Slash: And so we finished the gig, our manager didn’t tell us about it, so we met up at a pub later on. And I found him at the bar sort of crying, and he told me about that. It’s like, that was when the reality kicked in, that you can get to this all-time high, something that you can’t compare to anything, and then have a go to an all-time low.

Duff [from unknown interview]: It really screws with your head. He drove to the show with his friends, they were having a good time, they got in and he didn’t walk out.

Voice-over: The deaths at Donington added fuel to a growing critical fire against the band and to the sentiment that GN’R were headed for premature destruction.

Part 3

Voice-over: By the end of 1988, Guns N’ Roses had launched a multi-platinum blast of dirt and grime onto the airbrush face of rock ‘n’ roll. Just one year after the release of their debut album, they were one of the most popular bands in the world.

Steven Tyler: They were the baddest thing on the block at the time.

Joe Perry: They had a certain genuineness to them that I think people really attached themselves to. They were what they were, and what you saw is what you got.

Slash: I had no expectations for it to be such a global event (laughs).

Voice-over: In November of ’88, Guns released the EP GN’R Lies, a collection that included four new tracks knocked out in a single inspired studio session. Driven by the top ten ballad Patience, the record would go on to sell two million copies.    

Mike Clink: Basically it was a live session. I recorded everybody in the same room in a circle and they all played together, and it was pretty magical.

Slash: We did the Lies record and it was, like, a real easy, quick thing to do, which was really successful. It was sort of a shock, one day’s work and it sells all these copies (laughs).

Voice-over: Despite their success, controversy constantly threatened to disarm the young Guns. Another of the tracks on GN’R Lies was One In A Million, a divisive tune with racially charged lyrics, that put the band under fire.

Axl [missing clip from interview at Robert Williams’ exhibition, November 1988]: The word was used [bleep] on the record, but that didn’t necessarily mean all black people. It just, you know – it meant, basically, lowlifes, people that were stealing to supply their drug habits...

Slash: It hit home with me on a bad level, because I’m half black for one, so when we started saying the word [bleep], it got me very unsettling (laughs).

Voice-over: But the storm of protest only fueled album sales, and in February of ’89, as GN’R Lies joined Appetite For Destruction in the top 5, the band decided to take a break from recording and the road. But their downtime quickly became an endless succession of wanton days and wasted nights.


Slash: That’s where we really went down. That’s where I got lost, Izzy got lost, Steven got lost, Duff even got lost, and Axl disappeared somewhere.

Vereecke: Slash didn’t know how to entertain himself, unless he was onstage, or going to a gig, or doing something. So what did he do? Wake up, drink, and drink more.

John Reese: I love Slash to death, but his drug abuse was out of control, Steven’s drug abuse was out of control, you know, Duff’s drinking and Axl’s wild-eyed vision of reality was out of control.

Voice-over: In October of ’89, Guns got an offer to open four shows for the Rolling Stones in L.A. It seemed the perfect opportunity to bring the band back together. But on opening night, Axl made a shocking announcement on stage.

Katherine Turman (journalist): He implied, if certain members don’t stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone – meaning Slash and drugs –, the band was over.

Riki Rachtman: They were all messing around there, but somebody had a real big problem, and if they didn’t stop doing it, that was the end of Guns N’ Roses.

Slash: I know it was directed at me, because I was all strung out at the time. That was one of the things that probably made me hate Axl more than anything. It’s something I probably never, ever forgave him for, without really even thinking about it.

Voice-over: At the time the tirade seemed to galvanize the band. In the spring of ’90, Guns entered the studio to begin work on their most elaborate project yet: a double album of all new material.

Slash: We all managed to sort of straighten out, with the exception of Steven. Steven was so locked up that he just couldn’t get it together.

John Reese: He was so messed up with junk that he couldn’t pull off the tracks.

Voice-over: The band had lofty ambitions for the new album, but Adler’s debilitating heroin addiction made him a liability in the studio and the sessions came to a grinding halt.

Slash: He couldn’t play. He would lie to us, and we’d go over to his place and find [bleep] behind the toilet and find stuff underneath the sink...

Axl [from MTV Famous Last Words interview, Aug. 31, 1990]: He couldn’t leave his drugs, but there’s other things beside the band that he was involved in with his drugs that are very dangerous and scary, and I want nothing to do with him.

Voice-over: In July of 1990, frustrated by their lack of progress, the band fired Steven Adler, only worsening the drummer’s depression and drug abuse. He would eventually suffer a cocaine induced stroke.

Steven: I did everything I possibly could to try and kill myself. I had nothing to live for. I mean, everybody that I knew, that I thought were my friends, took everything they could from me and disappeared. I would drink a whole bottle of vodka, just down it, (?) just I could pass out.

Voice-over: As Steven spun into a deadly narcotic abyss, the band recruited former Cult drummer, Matt Sorum, and in September of ’90, Guns began laying down the tracks that would make up the epic double album Use Your Illusion I and II.

Axl [from MTV interview, 1989]: I just want to bury Appetite. I don’t want to live my life through that one album. I have to bury it. So, rather than throwing just a bunch of songs together that we think are fun, we’re going over it, you know, with a fine-tooth comb.

Zutaut: His creative idea of moving forward was, “We can’t remake Appetite, the next record has to be in another direction.”

Voice-over: But the impoverished gang of five, who’d lived through the turmoil that inspired Appetite For Destruction, had drifted apart. And from the start, sessions were literally phoned in.

Axl [missing part from MTV Famous Last Words interview, Aug. 31, 1990]: Slash and I do a lot of our communication by phone. You know, “What do you think about the end note? That’s okay, we’ll change that to this. Hold this note a little bit longer,” dah dah dah.

Slash: It was impossible to get us into one room, all of us, at one time.

Matt: It was very dark and there was a lot of just toxic sort of a feeling in the room, and sightings of Axl Rose were few and far between.

Slash: Use Your Illusions was all over the place. It was sort of like the Guns N’ Roses version of The White Album, so to speak, maybe not quite as good. It was, like, all this material coming from all different directions.

Voice-over: Despite all the turmoil, Guns’ double album was destined to become a phenomenal success. Few could have guessed that it would also serve as the band’s last artistic gasp.

Part 4

Voice-over: By early 1991, Guns N’ Roses were both finishing up their ambitious double album and planning a massive world tour. But as they hit the road, concert crowds discovered that the look of the band had drastically changed.

Slash: We had a horn section, and pianos, and all this other kind of crap, which we didn’t necessarily want as a band, but it’s something that Axl still wanted.

Matt: I remember feeling a bit like, “I didn’t really sign up for this.” I was kind of hoping to join a badass rock ‘n’ roll band, you know? “What’s with the piano?” (laughs)

John Reese: It just got bloated. Plain and simple.

Voice-over: Always the dominant Guns man, Axl Rose now seemed hell-bent on seizing control of the band. Soon after the tour began, he gave Slash, Izzy and Duff an ultimatum to sign over the name Guns N’ Roses or the group would be history.

Zutaut: In his mind, the name belonged to him and, if something disintegrated, you know, he wanted to ensure Guns N’ Roses ultimate survival even if this version of the band broke up.

Slash: If we didn’t sign, the band was gonna break up right then and there, so we just did what we’d always done, just kept the [bleep] thing going.

Voice-over: But as tensions mounted within the group, the strain began to show on stage. In July of ’91, a concert in St. Louis spun out of control, after Axl dove into the crowd and tried to grab a camera from an overeager fan.

Axl [from MTV interview, July 12, 1992]: I jumped offstage and, yeah, things went haywire after that. And, maybe, I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do.

Voice-over: Within minutes, tens of thousands of people were enveloped in chaos.

Slash: The whole place just [bleep] collectively destroyed everything. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. We were in the dressing room, and I remember opening the door, and it’d be like people on stretchers, and they were all bloody and just like gnarly...

John Reese: I told the driver just to get the quickest way out of the state line and get us out. And we drove – you know, here’s the biggest band in the world laying down the back of a van to escape arrest, to get and drive to Chicago. It was insane.

Voice-over: As the tour rolled on, fans could never be sure what they would get from the Guns. Sometimes Axl walked offstage or he didn’t show up at all. But at other gigs he delivered mesmerizing performances that all but overpowered the crowd.

Steven Tyler: He had that way of talking to the audience and speaking his mind they could relate to. But he also had this swagger like a lizard, you know, and the girls loved that.

Vereecke: I cannot recall one show I’ve seen that he didn’t give me goosebumps.

Matt: I mean, he was like the greatest rock ‘n’ roll frontman ever.

Voice-over: Guns concerts had become larger-than-life spectacles. But even that could not prepare them for the hysteria that greeted the release of their long awaited double album.

John Reese: There has been nothing like the anticipation of Use Your Illusions ever. They SoundScanned 1.6 million records the first week and it was just this juggernaut that had not been seen since The Beatles, really.

Voice-over: Released in September ‘91, Use Your Illusion I and II was an imperfect masterpiece, running the gamut from grandly epic ballads to down-and-dirty rock.

David Wild (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone Magazine): It just had a lot of everything, and it was the good, the bad and the ugly of Guns N’ Roses.

Axl: [Missing part from MTV Famous Last Words, Aug. 31, 1990]: With this one we’re gonna pull all the stops, everything we could think of what we want to do, we’re gonna do it.

Voice-over: Guns were both more popular and more divided than ever. As the group began shooting videos for the new album, Axl outlined elaborate big-budget visions with minimal input from the rest of the band.

Vereecke: Everything had to be bigger and better, and more grandeur, and more majestic, and more money (?). And that he did.

Rachtman: For me the biggest change in Guns N’ Roses, I think, was the video when Axl decided that they needed an aircraft carrier, and he’s gonna jump over an aircraft carrier and swim with dolphins. Okay? (laughs) That was a part that I said, you know, that’s not so street.  

Slash: That’s where we sort of completely separated. This group of guys is here and this other guy is on this page.

Voice-over: By November of ’91, Izzy Stradlin had had enough of Axl’s iron fist. Just as Guns was amping up for another tour, the newly sober guitarist abruptly quit the group.

Slash: Izzy felt dictated to and quit, you know?

John Reese: Everybody wished they could go with him, but then you have your balancing – you know, your livelihood with “Do I put up with this crap?”

Voice-over: Just weeks before Guns was to hit the road in December ’91, L.A. guitarist Gilby Clarke stepped into Izzy’s shoes. He knew he wouldn’t be filling them for long.

Gilby: It was just, you know, “Here. Learn the songs, to play the songs, here’s your paycheck.” I knew from day one that it could end tomorrow.

Voice-over: The Guns got on the road. But from the beginning, the band had little contact with Axl offstage and even less of a clue when he might turn up for gigs.

Slash: It was hard, you know? So we had a lot of canceled gigs, we had a lot of gigs we almost didn’t play, we had a lot of walking of the stage and all the stuff that happened. It was all very trying, you know.

Matt: I would be like, “Come on, you guys, I mean, we gotta deal with this. Let’s be a band.” And every time I’d go out to deal with Axl, I’d turn around and they’d all gone the other way. I’m like, “Dudes, you said you were backing me up.”

Gilby: We would go down to the show and, you know, you have a cocktail at the show, then another cocktail... (laughs). And by the time he’d show up, we were hammered, you know, from sitting and drinking so much.

Voice-over: And soon the heavy drinking and drug abuse began taking a physical toll on the band.

John Reese: I got a phone call at 5:30-6:00 a.m. at my room from the front desk saying, “Mr. Reese, one of your band members is passed out in front of the elevator on the sixth or fifth floor.” So I throw on some pants and run out of my room, and Slash is dead. I mean dead, blue dead. He had no pulse. Paramedics show up and bump the adrenaline right into his heart.

Voice-over: Slash had dodged the bullet. But Duff was killing himself slowly with booze.

Gilby: Duff was in terrible shape. Terrible shape. He could barely speak.

Matt: I’d be on stage and I’d hear “brrrhh!” I’d look over and Duff would be laid down, his bass guitar on the stage and him passed out.

Voice-over: In the summer of ’92, despite the offstage fireworks, Guns N’ Roses joined Metallica for a stadium concert tour. But on August 8, at a gig in Montreal, Metallica frontman, James Hetfield, was severely burned in a bizarre pyrotechnic accident, leaving the Guns to deal with an incendiary crowd.  

John Reese: Axl could have probably saved the day, but his voice was messed up.

Teddy Andreadis: He just couldn’t hear himself and chose to leave.

Gilby: I went out to the stage and they’re shredding the place. You know, I saw bonfires, and this is an enclosed stadium. And they just looted everything, there are cop cars overturned and... I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. Well, you know, that was my first riot.  

Slash: That was a really sort of embarrassing moment for everybody, cuz it was like [bleep] and we have no control over this, you know?

Voice-over: The Guns soldiered on until July of ’93. Their final performance was for 70,000 fans in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was the last the world would see of the original band.

Part 5

Voice-over: On July 17, 1993, Guns N’ Roses completed a two-and-a-half year tour that was the longest in rock history. But, as the band touched down in Los Angeles, their future was more uncertain than ever.

John Reese: Even though the family was dysfunctional, they were still family on the road.

Gilby: Nobody wanted to come home. You know, nobody really wanted it to end, because I think everybody in the back of them thought it was gonna be over.

Voice-over: In November of ’93, Guns released a collection of cover tunes called “The Spaghetti Incident?” But as they began working on a new album of original material in early ‘94, Axl’s dominating demeanor was stifling the rest of the band.

Matt: It’s not [beep] brain surgery. I mean, I [bleep] said it a million times. “Dude, what are you doing over there?” Who he is, (?), doing a 72-piece [bleep] orchestral masterpiece?    

Voice-over: In December of ’94, GN’R managed to cobble together a cover of The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil for a movie soundtrack. It would prove a sonic farewell for Matt, Slash, Duff and Axl.

Slash: That’s the sound of the band breaking up right there (laughs).

Bryn Bridenthal: Slash and Duff had much less patience for eating the amount of [bleep] they had to eat to keep everything going.

John Reese: A band is a marriage and they were bound for divorce court.

Voice-over: In October of ’96, Slash finally quit the Guns, and Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan soon followed suit. In the aftermath, Axl virtually disappeared for half a decade attempting to reinvent Guns N’ Roses with a brand new cast.

Kurt Loder [from interview at the MTV Awards, Aug. 29, 2002]: This has taken a long time.

Axl [from the same interview]: Yeah, but it’s also how you rebuild something that got so big and replace virtually every person on the crew, every single thing.

Voice-over: Axl took his new Guns on the road in 2002, but the North American tour was fraught with cancellations and unraveled after only 15 shows. As for the new album, that’s been in the works for nearly a decade.

David Wild (Rolling Stone Magazine): I think the guy has really fought hard to make Guns N’ Roses relevant to whatever was going on, but he’s waited so long, and whatever was going on has changed a few times. I think he just, in his head, wants to achieve a sort of mythic perfection that may be impossible.

Voice-over: Axl’s album, Chinese Democracy, is finally slated for release in November of 2004. As for Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum, they formed the supergroup Velvet Revolver with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman, Scott Weiland. In June of 2004, they released their debut album, Contraband, touted by critics as a scathing blast of righteous rock.

Matt: I’m out on the road, I’m touring. I’m on stage with some of the greatest musicians around me. And that’s the most important thing.

Slash: I’ve been in enough bands, and done enough sessions, and played enough gigs. After all these years, now I do understand what it is, and finally have that come around a second time is real blessing.

Voice-over: Despite these separate projects, the public’s hunger for the original Guns remains insatiable. In April of 2004, a Greatest Hits collection debuted at number three on the charts, but a full-scale reunion seems highly unlikely.

Slash: No matter how much money they stick in our face, there’s no reason for us to get together to do anything, unless we have some sort of mutual understanding or respect, and we’re way, way far from that (laughs). So I don’t see it any time in the foreseeable future.  

Voice-over: Whatever the future holds, the band’s legacy will live on. For six unforgettable years they pillaged the music world and remade rock ‘n’ roll in their own decadent image.

Matt: That was a great [bleep] experience, a great time. Will it ever be the same again? No. Ever. That kind of [bleep] will never happen again.
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2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary Empty Re: 2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary

Post by Blackstar on Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:48 pm

Background for this program, Blabbermouth, May 4, 2004:

GUNS N' ROSES: Ex-Bassist DUFF MCKAGAN Declines To Participate In VH1 Special
Former GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan has declined to participate in the upcoming VH1 documentary covering the early days of GUNS N' ROSES, BLABBERMOUTH.NET has exclusively learned. McKagan's non-participation in the "Behind the Music"-style show leaves Slash (guitars) and Steven Adler (drums) as the only original members of the group who have opted to actively co-operate with the show's producers. As previously reported, other people that are expected to contribute to the project are Tom Zutaut (former A&R executive at Geffen Records), Josh Richman (video director), Teddy Andreadis (keyboard player), Dave Navarro (JANE'S ADDICTION, ex-RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), Warren De Martini (ex-RATT), Gilby Clark (ex-GUNS N' ROSES) and Mike Clink (GNR producer). The documentary is scheduled to air first week in June, followed a week later by "The Making of Velvet Revolver", a behind-the-scenes look at how Slash and Duff's new band, VELVET REVOLVER, got constructed, from the songwriting process to the singer search and studio sessions. More information will be made available soon.
Many of the interviews conducted for the documentary were not included eventually.
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2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary Empty Re: 2004.07.05 - VH1- Behind The Music: Guns N' Roses Documentary

Post by Blackstar on Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:44 am

More background from Tracii (from a Q&A on Metal Sludge, November 2008):
Recently in 2005 I was interviewed for the GnR behind the music,, before i did the interview I called [Slash] and left a message to see if he was doing the interview. He called me back and said Tracii? I said "Yes" he said " Oh I have the wrong number" and hung up on me,,, What a fucking dick ,,, hahahahahahahahaha... I then reluctantly did the interview(Which cut into my only day off in NYC) becasue my manager insisted that I do it,,, Then they ended up not using even one second of my interview so, VH1 has about 2-3 hours of me talking about GnR and nu GnR and all things GnR, that no one will probably ever see probably because I had some really good things to say about AXL and if you saw it, it ended seeming like a promo for VR,,,,, GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Post by Blackstar on Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:46 am

And from Marc Canter (mygnrforum, Sept. 11, 2012):
Axl does not like any press that has anything to do with the old band. To say the least he was upset with a lot of the people they interview so there is no way he was going to be happy with [the VH1 documentary]. I was going to be interviewed for it and got a call from Del at the last minute telling me not to do it. I said there is nothing that I could say that would be bad. I think that Axl didn't want anybody creditable speaking. I think he didn't want to help them in anyway. So in the end it ended up being a one sided story. I would have been the one that would have defended AXl if needed.
[...]
I was not upset with Axl I don't even know if he knew that my name was on the list to be interviewed. It could have been Del and Beta doing what they thought was the right thing to do. Axl may have been upset that I helped them. A lot of times this kind of stuff gets intercepted before Axl even sees it. I would have liked to say some things about the band. I may have been the only one who would tell the story the right way. Everyone else was angry at each other and had a one side story to tell that only blames Axl. I would have gave both sides.
http://www.mygnrforum.com/topic/192619-vh1-behind-the-music/
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