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THE HISTORY - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:22 pm

1996
'SLASH'S BLUES BALL' AND OTHER PROJECTS


Things were not progressing speedily with Guns N' Roses after Slash's return from his tour with Snakepit, so he filled his time with other projects [see other chapters]. One of these were blues music. In February 1996, it would be reported that he had jammed blues tunes with Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora and actor Steven Seagal at the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues [New York Daily News, February 5, 1996; Kenosha News, February 7, 1996].

In July 1996, Slash would announce that he would going away to play in a new blues band:

Gun has been trying to get the next record together and in the meantime, i've been working on soundtracks and just jamming arount town. i'm playing in Budapest on the 14th of Aug with a Los Angeles based blues band.

Well I'm on my way, actually this evening, well tomorrow morning, it is a three o'clock in the morning - I have to get ready and fly out to Budapest. So I'm doing this sort of band that I threw together to do like a whole bunch of old blues covers and we're just playing a festival.


Talking about hos the band was founded:

I didn't have a band together at the time, so I went down to this club called the Baked Potato, where I jam on Tuesdays, I put the band together […].


This blues band was originally called Slash's Blues Balls or Slash's Blue Balls, but it would be changed for later shows [WAAF, May 28, 1997]. One of the members of the band was Teddy "Zigzag" Andreadis, and the first gig would be in Budapest, Hungary, on August 14, 1996 [Netscape Online Chat, July, 1996].

Talking about the gig in Hungary:

It was like a throw-together bar band in front of 23,000 people [laughter]. We had a great time.

[…] we flew to Hungary and played in front of 20,000 people. It went over well and was a lot of fun, so we decided to take it on the road.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:27 pm

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1996
SLASH'S FINAL SESSIONS WITH GUNS N' ROSES


EARLY AUGUST - "WORKING TOWARDS WORKING"


In early August Slash had not been part of any earlier sessions by the band but they had been trading tapes amongst themselves [Kerrang! September 21, 1996; but interview from early August 1996]. At the time they were "working towards working":

The reason I’m talking to you now is that Guns are working towards working. We’re looking for a rehearsal situation that’s compatible. But who f**king cares anyway? People just want the record.

In the last three months, Duff and Matt have started rehearsing every night, and I’m coming in when I get back from Hungary. We all have tons of material, and we have a lot to work out.

I just want us to make a simple, kick-ass hard rock record.

We're definitely getting geared up to do another record. […] It sounds like the band again. Everybody's in good shape and Duff's looking really good and healthy. It was good that we took the time off, because at the end of the tour Duff was one foot in the grave. I mean it was like we were all drugged out. We just all stepped back out of the whole rock and roll debauchery for a while and just sort of mellowed.


This quote from Duff is likely from either August before they started working or in September when they did work together:

We’re back in. We’re writing new stuff, and we’re going to make a record and tour next summer. The two years apart actually took the edges off some of the issues, and we’ve handled the other issues flat out - maybe not in the best way, but they were handled. Now the amount of tension in the band is perfect for creating what we do.


As for how it would work out when they started playing again together, Slash was unsure:

We'll see where it goes. I haven't rehearsed with them, or even been in the same room with them, since before the Snakepit record came out [February 1995].
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996

The records that Guns have left behind are great. But we haven't blown our f**king wad yet.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


The same day when asked by MTV if they had any songs ready already, Slash would mentioned they had about 80 songs between themselves:

We have tons of songs. Between the three existing members, you know, like Duff and Axl and I, we've got probably about 80 songs, you know.


Describing the songs on the tapes they had shared:

It's amazing stuff. The songs are really good, and I have a good vibe about it. I wouldn't want to go out and do a bad Guns N' Roses record.


And what the record would be like:

Well, I think everyone's so pissed off and frustrated at this point that it's inevitable [the new record will be a modern equivalent to Appetite for Destruction]. It's gonna be an angry record, but that's what we were built on.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996



LATE AUGUST-SEPTEMBER - ACTUALLY WORKING


Then, likely not long after Slash returned from his festival show in Budapest on August 14, the band started playing together with Slash finally being part of it:

We've been in for two weeks as a full band with Slash and Axl and me, and we go from midnight to five in the morning. With Guns, there's no problems with material. The problem has always been getting us in the same room. So now that we're in there, it's rockin'.

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.

We started up again two weeks ago – you know, we started the record. And it’s a big deal, you know? It’s in the newspapers, everybody wants to ask me about it. And it’s like, “Wow, just let us go play,” you know? But we can’t [because of the media interest]. […] You know, we’ve been apart for two years. […] That’s really going great, you know. It’s really fuckin’ rocking and it’s really loud. We are the loudest band in the world. Yeah, it’s great, man. I mean, I can – I just can really tell you my life is going really good right now (chuckles).[…]  What can I say? Guns N’ Roses is really rocking. I’m really happy. I’m very satisfied with what we’re doing. And the chemistry with Guns, I mean, you know, it’s electricity.
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish

I must agree with [Axl], because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


Duff would also talk about the efforts to WYSP-FM (94.1) and state that although they were working, a new record was not likely before the middle of 1997 [Courier Post, August 8, 1996].


EXPLAINING THE DELAY - "POLITICAL CRAP"


And Slash would offer an explanation of why it had taken so long to finally start working together, by pointing to "political crap":

We just haven't sat down and actually done it because there's been so much political crap going on and I know that kids don't want to know about it but it does go on in this business and sometimes you have to deal with it directly because you can't, there's no other way around it and so, you know, we finally, you know, took the bull by the horns and just said, "look, we don't want to around anymore, let's just do it."


When asked if this political crap came from inside or outside of the band:

They come from everywhere [laughing]. They really do. You know, anybody that's young and starting a band at this point, because when I when I first started, I don't know if anybody cares, but when I first started people used to say, like, "how do you get about doing all this stuff?" and, like, I don't know, it's no big deal. But when it comes down to it eventually down the line it becomes something that you weren't expecting and it comes out of the blue and it's just like, and you have to deal with it. If you're gonna function as a working band you have to, you know, confront it.


Duff would also talk about outside pressure:

There's a lot of BS that went down. The media had built up this pressure. Some people know how to deal with it, some start believing their hype. But now we've grown up a little bit. ... There’s a natural angst now at rehearsal, but it’s great. Just try to put yourself in the shoes. It's like you’re brothers, and all of a sudden it’s like you’re married to each other, too, and you’ve gotta deal with life together. You can get a divorce, but it doesn’t make much sense, because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hear another record.



EXPLAINING THE DELAY - MENDING FENCES WITH AXL


One of the reasons Slash was back in the band was having worked out the differences with Axl:

Axl and I are on civil terms. At this point, we’re partially sober.

You know and then as far as Guns N' Roses is concerned, as of yesterday we've actually - I don't know - we've sort of concealed our contract so we're in working order as they say. […] Well...in contrast to everything that's been going on in the press, which I've been hearing a lot of, it's like "Guns is in the studio" or "Guns is this" or "Guns is that" or "I'm hanging up by handcuffs in a hotel room" [chuckling]. I mean, basically we've all been working and so now at this point we're actually going to formate [?] ourselves and get to work.


Part of this was having long talks with Axl, but Slash didn't seem entirely confident their differences had been all sorted out:

Well at this point now that Axl and I are really civil. We went out to dinner recently and had a bottle of wine together and like sat and talked about what we were interested in and so on and so forth. You know, more complicated I guess than it normally would be, but Axl is a very complicated guy. He does like to talk about the stuff, I like to just plug in and jam and that's sort of the thing that's the difference between guitar players and he is sort of a visionary - and it sounds like Spinal Tap - and I just like to play my guitar. But we did sit down a couple times and have a really good meeting and so at this point I start rehearsal in a week and a half or so and we just take it from there. That's the way I see it. If you were to talk to him it'd probably be like a little bit more... yeah, I don't know, planned out than that but I'll just show up and we'll go from there. It'll work out, though.


And neither did Duff, who would admit there were tensions but that they were "little things":

There's a certain tension with this band and there always has been, and there's some issues that haven't quite been cleared. Just little things. We've been together 10 years. We're not unlike brothers. So there's tensions, but that's how we thrive.

It’s rockin’. The problem’s never been the material; it’s getting us in the same room. There’s tension - good stuff.



EXPLAINING THE DELAY - AXL IS A PERFECTIONIST


Around the same time Matt would explain that the reason it takes so long time comes down to Axl's personality:

I had very difficult moments with Axl, but he's extremely intelligent, he's a very emotive guy who writes great songs. Sometimes, I have the feeling he's a genius. Right now, he's playing guitar and it's like he plays that instrument for 10 years. He had very difficult moments, when we toured in stadiums, sold millions of albums, when everybody wanted to tell us how great we were. Axl, as the leader of the band, had a lot of responsibilities. I told him many times: "Relax Axl, don't take things to heart like that". But he can't. You can feel those difficulties in his music. What he's doing is eating him, he's living it too intensively. That's why the new album is not done yet, he doesn't want to make a shitty record.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French



THE LINEUP - PAUL HUGE STILL OUT IN THE WINGS


Duff would state that Dizzy was also part of these sessions in addition to Slash [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and that Axl would still be the rhythm guitarist [The Michigan Daily, September 12, 1996]. Yet, Matt would claim they were working with another unknown rhythm guitarist:

[Being asked if Axl would replace Gilby on rhythm guitar]: No, there's someone, but I can't tell you his name. […] He's unknown. But I can't tell you his name because I don't know if he will tour with us.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


Matt would also say that the record would likely feature many guitarists:

There will probably be several guitarists on this album, a lot of guests.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


Later, in an article released in November, it would be implied that Paul Huge was still part of the rehearsals [Metal Edge, November 1996], so it was likely Paul that Matt had been referring to.

Curiously, Matt would also talk about a "friend of a friend of a friend":

[…] there are so many people in this project. There's the friend of the friend of the friend. 3 years ago, I had a real role to play. Now it's between Axl and Slash. It' working well, so it's cool.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French



TALKING ABOUT THE SONGS


At some point, likely in August, Duff would describe what was happening:

[We are working on] 15 different things, 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.


The plan was to release the album in the spring of 1997 consisting of 12 songs with no ballads [Addicted to Noise, August 30, 1996] and then do a tour in early 1997:

We're already starting to make tour plans. We've got a possible tour starting in South America in January and then we're going to stop and finish the record and probably tour next summer.

We are working on rock songs that last only 4 minutes (laugh). We already did 7 songs and we will write 7 others.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

[The album] will be a single album with 10 or 12 songs.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


Despite the band diligently working on the next record, Slash took time to travel to Arizona's Blockbuster Desert Sky show on August 25 to play with Foreigner [Arizona Republic, August 28, 1996].

In August and September, Duff would describe the music they were working on:

Some songs are almost finished. […] It's only work titles, it's very stupid. I don't want to mention them to have bad luck!
Hard Rock, August 1996; translated from French

[Being asked if the new material is more like Appetite ot Use Your Illusions]: Appetite. It's normal. We haven't played together in a long time and our collaboration in fresh, just like in the beginning.
Hard Rock, August 1996; translated from French

[Being asked if the music was like Appetite or the Illusions]: I would say that it's in between. This is not as sophisticated as Illusion, but not as wild as Appetite. It's in the middle. Maybe more groovy. Musically, we are all better. I never heard Duff play like that.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

It rocks; it's heavy. With Guns, with what the chemistry of the band is, you're going to be able to tell it's Guns -- even if we're playing a polka, you would be able to tell it's Guns.

I really feel like we've just started. The last 10 years was [?] used to it, learning the tricks, and now it's time to apply 'em.

We’re making a 12-song record — no ballads, nothing slow. We’ve got to crush on this record. And there’s no better judges of our music than ourselves, so we really cut ourselves apart: We’re basically taking 40 songs and finding 12. But you’ve gotta watch each other’s feelings, so we never use the term ‘that sucks.'


And as for when it would be out:

[It] shouldn't be out any later than next spring.


Just a few weeks later, a staffer at the band's Los Angeles management company would be less optimistic:

[…] we’re hoping to have an album out by the end of ’97. But then, we’ve been waiting awhile. What people should know, though, is this is the first time they’ve rehearsed together in quite some time. Everybody’s finally showing up. So it is important.


At the same time these sessions were happening, Duff and Matt would be busy with their side-project, The Neurotic Outsiders [see previous chapter]:

On this [Neurotic Outsiders] tour we're doing, Matt and I fly back from Toronto and then we do four days with Guns (recording) and then we go back out, so Matt and I are playing every single night with one or the other (bands) in September.


Matt would also suggest that it was the activity in Neurotic Outsiders that had spurred Axl into action:

"I think Neurotic Outsiders is single-handedly responsible for Guns N' Roses being reunited. It seems like every time something good starts happening, I get a phone call from Axl, `We're going to start rehearsing tomorrow.' But seriously, when Axl heard that me and Duff had gone out and gotten this multi-million-dollar record deal and we're going to go out on the road, he started getting a little nervous.

And now that we got this band together, GN'R decides: "Ok, we're gonna do a record". So, hopefully, you know, we're gonna come out with a GN'R record soon as well. It's kinda thrown a little bit of a quality problem in the Neurotic Outsiders because, you know, we got a lot going on, me and Duff.

Getting Guns back together again has been an ongoing process for a while, 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, 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?


In September 1996, Slash would be asked about the new record and say he had been in the studio working on it for the last three and a half weeks:

You know what, we're working on it. […]  I've been [in the studio] for the last three and a half weeks.

Well, I’ve been back in Guns N’ Roses for the last three weeks. So we’re just, like – just writing stuff and reacquainting each other, with each other. […] [Axl's] healthy (laughs). […] he’s fine. I mean, we really haven’t gotten to the point – I mean, first thing first is to do an album and finish that. And then the touring plans come later.


Slash would also say the studio was in Los Angeles and that the whole band went there [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]:

We get there at 11 o'clock at night.  And then we go to a local....[bar, "or something like that"]…around the corner and about 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock we get working. We work till about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning.


In an interview likely from September 1996, Duff would also confirm that the entire band was rehearsing, but that they also included a "friend of Axl":

We rehearse every night and I play bass! Axl is playing the rhythm guitar, and it works very well! We work from Monday to Friday, ha, ha! There's me, Axl, Slash, Matt, Dizzy. There's also a friend of Axl who helps him to learn to play guitar. But we play, and it works!
hard Metal, 1996; translated from French


This friend was again likely Paul Huge.

And when asked if they had any songs completed:



Some time, likely start of October, Duff, would be optimistic:

It's fun and the energy is there. It's awesome now, everything's killer, so I guess things like the time off do happen for a reason. I would hope, at the latest, Guns can have an album out by spring.


The band was hooping to hit the recording studio in 1.5-2 months:

We’re going in soon, 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, 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.



OCTOBER - AXL AND SLASH AT IT AGAIN


But things must have turned sour, because in mid-October Slash's comment on the new music and their work wasn't exactly promising:

I would like [the new record] to be hard edged like Appetite, but at this moment in time I have no idea what direction it's going in. I have only been back in the band for three weeks and my relationship with Axl right now is sort of at a stand still.


And from an interview published in January 1997 but likely conducted in October:

Right now we're in sort of a trial and error period. To me, the group is actually Duff and Matt and Axl. Where I stand is not etched in stone. I can't say it's all working out perfectly. That's part of the illusion of looking at five different personalities onstage and seeing them actually get on. It's not as easy at it looks. Over the last year, everybody has gone in different directions. Putting us all back together in one room is not simple.


And when discussing what they had done so far, Slash would emphasize that they had only been "collaborating":

At this point in time we have only been collaborating together. But we have been doing mostly Axl's material.


Although Duff would express - what in hindsight would seem misplaced - optimism:

I hope [a new record] happens, and I think it will. But I’ve gotten my hopes up before only to see everything kind of crash in around me. But I honestly believe that everyone wants to make a new Guns N’ Roses album now, and I think that everyone knows that if we don’t do it now we may not get the chance. It’s amazing to all of us to realize that five years have passed since Use Your Illusion, and that a whole new generation of fans has come along. But it kind of presents some new challenges to us, and that’s one thing we’ve always enjoyed. Whether it’s with Guns N’ Roses or the Neurotic Outsiders, when you place a challenge in front of use, the odds are that we’re going to take on that challenge.



STATUS AT THE END OF THE SESSIONS


Based on the quotes above, it seems the band had at least 7 songs recorded, and that there were no ballads among them. The musical style was described as closer to Appetite than Illusions, and, according to Slash, it was mostly Axl's songs they had worked on.

Slash would later look back at their efforts at working together again:

I went back for like ten rehearsals. It just didn't work out. It was worse than before I left […]

I went back to Guns for like 12 rehearsals on the forthcoming Guns N' Roses record to re-establish the band and where it was headed. And realistically from Use Your Illusion all the way up until now, Axl's been holding the reigns on taking it in his direction, and I just went, 'You know what? Fuck it then, you do it.' I would have suggested just do a solo record and let Guns do what it does naturally, but he insisted that Guns was his solo project anyway, so why did he have to do a solo project? So I just went, 'Fine, I'm gonna leave while the band's still cool, 'cause I don't know what you're gonna do with it.'


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:28 pm

1996
TRYING TO REPLACE GILBY, AXL PICKS UP THE GUITAR


In relation with Gilby's lawsuit against the band [see separate chapter], a Geffen spokeswoman, likely Bryn Bridenthal, would say that a new record was due in late 1996 with an unnamed new guitarist [Billboard, December 16, 1995]. In July 1996, the press would report that this unnamed guitarist could be Axl [New York Daily News, July 11, 1996].

Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

Axl figures he’s going to play some guitar on the next album. Though I don’t think he’s up to lead-guitar quality.


Other band members would confirm that Axl had been taking lessons and was now playing guitar on his own songs:

[…] Axl is rythym guitar on his own songs for the time being.

He’s really rockin’ — and it’s great. It brings a whole new element to our writing process; now we’re all there together.

For the last couple of years, he started to go, 'Okay, I'm going to play guitar and actually learn what these notes are.' It's an innocent guitar, not unlike Izzy was, but Axl's got a lot more musically than Izzy ever did.

Axl is playing second 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.

That tripped me out when I first came back. I figured 'Okay, that's where his focus has been. I haven't really talked to him about it, to tell the truth. I guess he's just been sitting at home, figuring out chords or something. Maybe he's been taking lessons.

[Being asked 'How is he?']: How's Izzy? [laughter] I'm avoiding the question. [Being asked if he is better than Mick Jagger]: I've never paid attention to Mick Jagger playing guitar, so I couldn't compare them. Rose's sound is a lot more synthetic than anything I would get anywhere close to. That's about all I can say.


Some of the lessons apparently came from Paul Huge:

We rehearse every night and I play bass! Axl is playing the rhythm guitar, and it works very well! We work from Monday to Friday, ha, ha! There's me, Axl, Slash, Matt, Dizzy. There's also a friend of Axl who helps him to learn to play guitar. But we play, and it works! […] Believe me man, it kills!
Hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French


In September when the band was back in the studio working on the new record, Duff would be asked about Axl playing guitar:

Oh, he’s great, man!
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish

In an interview likely from September 1996, Duff would also confirm that the entire band was rehearsing, but that they also included a "friend of Axl":

This friend was likely Paul Huge, and it seems his role had been reduced to teaching Axl how to play.

In October Slash would say he didn't think Axl intended to be the rhythm guitar player:

As far as I know, Axl's intention is not to be the rhythm guitar player.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish


And when asked who would be playing rhythm guitar:

[…] we don't know.
Online Chat, October 16, 1996; translated from Spanish


From the answers it can be alluded that Slash was somewhat in the unknown regarding the plans of the band.

Later, after Slash had left the band, Duff would be asked if Axl intended to replace Slash on lead guitar and whether Axl would be interested in that



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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:26 am

SEPTEMBER 27, 1996
THE MOVIE 'CURDLED' IS RELEASED FEATURING MUSIC BY SLASH


In September 1996 Quentin Tarantino would release the black comedy crime movie Curdled. Slash had been involved in making the music and to New York Daily News, he would say he had done on a couple of tracks for the movie [New York Daily News, July 24, 1996]. In a later interview, he would indicate it was only one track:

I've been doing a soundtrack for a movie called Curdled -  that's a Quentin Tarantino movie. I wrote a song for that.

“My music appears during the murder scenes, which is cool.


The song was 'Obsession Confession' with vocals by Marta Sanchez, and it would feature in two version on the soundtrack, an acoustic and an electric [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]. He spent one night recording each song [Online Chat, October 16, 1996].

[Talking about his inspirations]: Different kinds of music, and also, as an example, for the "Curdled" soundtrack, visuals. Like the lead actress in Curdled, Angela Jones. The movie has a latin theme, so that helped. And the twisted, bizarre, bloody mess that the movie is based on.


To Slash's surprise the song reached the no. 4 spot on adult contemporary music lists:

To tell you the truth, I haven't really grasped that whole medium of music where you end up on The Wave [an LA radio station]. […] I wrote this song for the movie soundtrack and that was basically it. I don't know exactly how to receive No. 4 in the adult-contemporary charts. Obviously that's a little left-field for me.

My mom called me and told me she heard me on the radio. I was like, 'What are you talking about?' She goes, 'That music you did on the radio.' I was like, oh God, now I'm adult contemporary? But I'm proud of the song regardless..


Talking about his playing:

I don't think it's really radical fusion jazz or anything [laughter]. There's something about blue-style guitar playing that fits into a lot of ethnic music. The Spanish chord changes are more of less the same basic style, so it feels very natural to me. It's not like I'm playing advanced flamenco guitar; I'm not that technically proficient. But I have a feel for it, I think.


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:46 pm

AUGUST 1996
TRYING TO REPLACE GILBY, SLASH WANTS RYAN ROXIE


In early August Slash would indicate Paul Huge was still in the picture but that Slash had another guitar player in mind that he hoped could be brought into the band:

Axl’s playing guitar now, so I have to deal with that. There’s also another guitarist, who I don’t want to work with. This whole thing started because of him. But there’s someone I do wanna work with.


When asked who this guitar player was, Slash wouldn't say but mention he had been in Alice Cooper's band:

[…] Izzy was an idea, but there’s a guitar player I worked with who was in Alice Cooper's band. He’s really good.


This would likely have been Ryan Roxie who would later he recruited by Slash's for the second Snakepit album.


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:47 pm

1994-1996
THE PRESS


From 1994 Axl had stopped doing press. This could be because he was busy with personal work like his ongoing legal battles, that he felt there was nothing to say since the band was fragmenting and with no clear future, or because he didn't like the press and doing interviews. Regardless of the reason, this meant that the rest of the band members' opinions and statements would dominate, particularly Slash's.

Slash was doing interviews continuously and when asked if all the rumours about the band was allowed to run rampant due to their silence, he would say:

Well, I’m communicative. I’ll talk to anybody.
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:11 pm

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1996
THE END BETWEEN SLASH AND AXL


[Being asked if he can see himself leave the band]: Not really. I don't look at things in those terms, much. I'm not the kind of guy that has a secret Plan B ready to swing into operation if anything should ever go wrong with this band. We love each other too much as friends for me to worry my ass off about whether we might split up one day

The bottom line is that nothing can come between Slash and I, and as long as we have that bond we have Guns N' Roses.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992

Guns will be around forever, trust me. They know how I feel. They know I'm not going anywhere. I don’t have the inclination to quit Guns and think I’m cool.


____________________________________________________________

PREMONITIONS


As described in previous chapters, there were significant incompatibilities in the personalities of Axl and Slash and these had been obvious from early on.

The volatile chemistry between [Axl and Slash] puts them in the highest class, yet their inherent passion and pyromanic personalities will inevitably blow the partnership assunder sooner or later.


At times Slash would try to minimize the seriousness of these, and suggest that opposites attract, at other times it was obvious it caused a severe strain on the function of the band.

Sometimes you go 'What the fuck is it for?' Then you try to look where to escape to and there's nowhere to go. We been doing it for so long that we really would all feel sorta lost and lonely if it fell apart and we had to go out and do solo records. Because it wouldn't be Guns. None of us could reproduce that. Axl's got so much charisma - he's one of the best singers around. It’s his personality. He can go out and do something. What freaks me out is if the band falls apart, I'll never be able to shake the fact that I'm the ex-Guns n' Roses guitar player. And that's almost like selling your soul.

No, my bond with this group is pretty much in my blood. What can I do? It's like if I have to put it down to, 'Well, do you want to keep playing? Or, 'are you gonna get out?' I want to keep playing and that's what keeps me alert and dealing with some of the really crazy shit that goes down.

The only thing that is really, really secure is the relationship between the members of the band and with the people that we work with.



THE END


In early August 1996, just before Slash would do his last sessions with Guns N' Roses, it was clear that things between Slash and Axl still were shaky. This despite Slash and Axl having had some long talks:

Well at this point now that Axl and I are really civil. We went out to dinner recently and had a bottle of wine together and like sat and talked about what we were interested in and so on and so forth. You know, more complicated I guess than it normally would be, but Axl is a very complicated guy. He does like to talk about the stuff, I like to just plug in and jam and that's sort of the thing that's the difference between guitar players and he is sort of a visionary - and it sounds like Spinal Tap - and I just like to play my guitar. But we did sit down a couple times and have a really good meeting and so at this point I start rehearsal in a week and a half or so and we just take it from there. That's the way I see it. If you were to talk to him it'd probably be like a little bit more... yeah, I don't know, planned out than that but I'll just show up and we'll go from there. It'll work out, though.


And at the same day as the quote about, Slash would talk about their differences:

[…] the only thing that really draws us together is once we get in synch as players. Then you get to that earthy, 'all for one, one for all' thing, where you start hanging out together. I don't care what Axl might say - this band was formed on the camaraderie between a little gang, against all odds.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


When Kerrang! pointed out that they clearly were not a gang anymore, Slash responded:

Well, we have to re-establish that. We have to say, 'We're gonna do this, because nobody else is'. It's almost like starting over again. "Guns is like a family thing, but we've gone through so many changes - just going through the monstrosities of the business. Contracts, legal stuff, management... This whole huge conglomeration dealing with a stupid bunch of punk kids. It gets over the top.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996

The plan is for Duff and Matt to take off their band, Neurotic Outsiders, for a while., leaving me and Axl to write stuff. If that spark gets rolling, then great. If it doesn't and we get into a fight, I'll just carry on playing gigs and jamming -with Snakepit or whatever. It's not complicated. At least, I don't see it that way. Axl and I could've done this sooner, if we'd just made a few compromises. But I guess that when bands get so big indecision becomes everything. There's no sense of, like, finite reality with Guns. It's just a matter of everybody coming together and the magic happens. I hate to sound silly about it, but I've found it's the same with a lot of the older bands I've got to know over the years. I talked to (Rolling Stones guitarist) Keith Richards, and he said he'd had more drastic but similar problems with Mick Jagger.
Kerrang! September 21, 1996; interview from early August 1996


In September 1996, to Howard Stern, Slash said that he and Axl had just got reacquainted and that they hadn't seen each other in "like three years" [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996]. In the same interview Slash would describe his conflict with Axl as a "conflict of interests" and "not having a meeting of minds" [The Howard Stern Show, September 30, 1996].

One major issue for Slash was the continuous presence of Paul Huge:

So now, I’ve come back and Paul’s still there. Now, I’m dealing with this.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996

[Whether he was willing to compromise regarding Paul]: No, I’m going to confront it. Either Paul goes, or he... Well, this is personal, I don’t want to get into this. But during this whole period, Axl’s been geared to get up and do it.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996


Slash would also indicate he had suggested for Axl that he should do a solo record:

That’s what I told him to do [= do a solo record]. Get it all off his chest... Well, you're starting to pull stuff out of me now. In Axl’s mind, Guns is his solo project. He didn’t see any reason, as far as I know, why he should do a solo thing.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996

For any younger bands reading this, you’ve got to watch the beast in this business that stops you from talking to each other.

Nowadays, when the tail-end of my generation gets confronted with it, they either die or disappear into drug-dom. That’s not where we come from. So we will fight and struggle through it.
Kerrang! September 14, 1996; interview from early August 1996


In October Slash would do an online chat that would result in an very ominous comment:

Right now, Axl and I are deliberating over the future of our relationship.


And:

I have only been back in the band for three weeks and my relationship with Axl right now is sort of at a stand still.


And:

There's no animosity between the guys in the band, put it that way. But I've been out if it for so long, and there's a reason why that hasn't changed all that much. I'm trying right now; if it works out I'll be ecstatic...And if it doesn't, I don't want everybody to think it's a done deal and everything is fine. If they turn around and I'm not in the band, I don't want everyone to say 'He Lied'. […] I have no regrets. It was basically a really good time.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:22 am

OCTOBER 30, 1996
SLASH IS OUT OF THE BAND


[Being asked how he would react if he suddenly got a fax saying Slash had been fired]: It would be difficult.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

_______________________________________

AXL SENDS A FAX TO MTV


As mentioned in previous chapters, Axl had stayed low for a long time, since their tour ended in 1993, giving very few comments to the press and allowing his band mates (mostly Slash) to keep the media updated on what was happening. But then, in October 30, 1996, Axl sent out a fax to MTV commenting on many on the ongoing rumours:

LIVE!!!! From "Burning Hills", California...

Due to overwhelming enthusiasm, and that "DIVE IN AND FIND THE MONKEY" attitude....

#1. There will NOT be a Guns N' Roses tour.

#2. There will NOT be an official Guns N' Roses web site.

#3. There will NOT be any NEW Guns N' Roses videos.

#4. There will NOT be any new Guns N' Roses involved merhandise.

#5. There will NOT be a Guns N' Roses Fan Club.

#6. There will be a new Guns N' Roses 12 song minimum recording with three original "B" sides.

  NOTE: If all goes well this will be immediately repeated.

#7. However*******Slash will not be involved in any new Guns N' Roses endeavors, as he has not been musically involved with Guns N Roses since April 1994 with the exception of a BRIEF trial period with Zakk Wylde and a 2 week trial period with Guns N' Roses in the fall of 1996. He (Slash) has been "OFFICIALLY and LEGALLY" outside of the Guns N' Roses Partnership since December 31, 1995.

                   ***************************************************

             Nothing here is Subject To Change
             Without A PERMANENT SUSPENSION
             Of the "Pseudo Studio Musician Work Ethic"


                             SINCERELY,
                             
                             W. Axl Rose

c.c. Big FD Ent., Inc.
Michael "Duff" McKagan
Matt Sorum


The text of the fax is copied from a blurry screen shot and may contain mistakes.

In addition to denying rumours surrounding a tour, web site, fan club and merchandise, but confirmed the band's plans to release a record, Axl officially announced that Slash was out of the band and had indeed been so since December 31, 1995.

Interestingly, although in the words of Axl, the press release also came from Big FD Enterprise Inc. and Duff and Matt, indicating that this wasn't a solo decision by Axl but had band backing.

COMMENTS FROM THE MEDIA


Naturally, the media would report on Slash being out of the band and the label would be quick to confirm that Slash was indeed out [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996]. The press would report that Slash had quit to focus on his band Snakepit [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996]. It would also be reported that it was a mutual decision between Axl and Slash [The Orlando Sentinel, November 1, 1996]. The mutual nature of the break-up would also be confirmed by a spokeswoman from Geffen who insisted on anonymity [Associated Press/The Daily World, November 13, 1996].

A label representative would also comment on the break-up:

They had been rehearsing together in Los Angeles, but couldn’t work out their differences.


Later it would be reported, based on band sources, that musical differences between Axl and Slash was at the core of their problems [MTV, November 8, 1996].

There was also concern over the financial outcome of the break-up, with Malcolm Dome, editor of Kerrang! saying:

[It is] total bloody suicide. Axl's new band could very easily come out and die the death. From what I can tell you, from our readers' reaction, they just don't care that much about Axl anymore.


And an anonymous French promoter:

In 1992 Guns played to 30,000 people on Paris, in '93 to less than half that number. If Slash were still in the band, he'd book them into a 60,000 seater.


And the general interest in Guns N' Roses was waning, as explained by an American promoter:

In his years away from the stage, Axl Rose's thunder has been stolen by younger performers. If the kids want a bad-ass hellion to admire, Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Jonathan Davis of Korn, and the singer from Tool do the whole 'I'm a fucked-up child and now you're going to suffer' routine. And if you want the beer-swilling drug-taking hooligan with charisma who sometimes doesn't turn up to gigs - look no further that Oasis's Liam Gallagher.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:12 am

OCTOBER 1996-OCTOBER 1997
WORK ON THE NEW ALBUM


Despite Slash being out of the band, media would report that the band was aiming for a summer 1997 release [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996; The Orlando Sentinel, November 1, 1996].

According to a band representative, the band expected to work more efficiently now:

Things will move faster now, because working out the differences between Axl and Slash has been a major issue, so it’s reasonable to expect that Guns N’ Roses will move along at a quicker pace. Axl wants something out by summer.


Duff would also concur that he thought the band was better off now than a year previously [Online Chat, December 17, 1996].


WHAT ABOUT PAUL?


Paul Huge was still out in the wings, and it would be reported that it wasn't only Slash who was opposed to Paul, but also Matt and Duff [News Pilot, November 15, 1996]. Allegedly, Axl had been working with Paul continuously and Slash had refused to enter the studio to work on the new album if Axl or Paul was there [News Pilot, November 15, 1996].

From an earlier interview in August, while Slash was still in the band, it would be implied that Paul's role was only to help teach Axl guitar:

We rehearse every night and I play bass! Axl is playing the rhythm guitar, and it works very well! We work from Monday to Friday, ha, ha! There's me, Axl, Slash, Matt, Dizzy. There's also a friend of Axl who helps him to learn to play guitar. But we play, and it works!
hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French


That Paul was indeed still in the picture would be indicated from other sources too [Metal Edge, November 1996]. But the fact that Paul wasn't immediately and officially part of the lineup now that Slash was out [Daily Press, November 22, 1996], could be explained by Duff and Matt also not being warm to him.


DUFF LEAVING, TOO?


Rumours would also be claiming that Duff was leaving the band, which he would deny:

I will not elaborate, but yes I am [still in the band] & everything is going to be cool as far as that is concerned.



STATUS


It would be reported that Axl had "seven works in progress" and that he was considering which producer to use [Daily Press, November 22, 1996]. Duff would later briefly mention the songs in progress:

We have song titles, but no album title. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag.
[url=We are starting the record in February]Online Chat, December 17, 1996[/url]


Yet, when asked in December, Duff would imply that they would be entering the studio first in February, 1997:

I will not elaborate, but yes I am [still in the band] & everything is going to be cool as far as that is concerned.
[url=We are starting the record in February]Online Chat, December 17, 1996[/url]


And Duff would also state he had started working on his second solo album [Online Chat, December 17, 1996], something he had just a short time before, in September, claimed to be too busy to do [Rockline, September 9, 1996].

Duff would also be asked about the rumours that Axl wanted a different musical style for Guns N' Roses, to which Duff would prevaricate:

There are a lot of rumors going on. […] I don't know [if we will change our style]. We progress naturally. As far as the rumor that one person wants us to change, that's just not true.
Online Chat, December 17, 1996


In early 1997 it would be reported that Steve Jones, from the Neurotic Outsiders, would guest on the record [Rolling Stone Magazine, January 12, 1997], at the same times it was reported Jones might take Slash's place [see later section].

In an article published in October 1997, Moby who was now working as the producer, would comment on the mood in the band and recording studio:

Whenever I hang out in Guns N' Roses' studio - it's in some big warehouse in Los Angeles - the atmosphere there is just so nice. Everyone involved really likes one another. There's no rancor and they're all totally clean-living young adults. As far as I can tell, they're all completely straight now. You're not even allowed to smoke in the studio!


Around the same time a "source close to the band" would describe the music:

I wouldn't feel comfortable describing the music at all. There's going to be a techno influence, but it will still be recognizable as GN'R. It's not Axl's intention to make some wholly new cloth.


And the GN'R source would also claim that at the moment they had 300 DAT tapes with "ideas, loops and sketches" that was not "that different from the sound you know" and "electronic influenced" [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].

And:

There's a huge closet filled with DAT tapes, but there isn't one final song for the record. Everybody brings their sketches, but the person who is most concerned with refining things is Axl. But he wants other people to bring a lot to the table too - he loves the fact that Dizzy is down there every night working with him. Axl gets agitated when people don't show up and contribute.


In May, Matt talked about the progress while attending Music West conference in Vancouver, Canada, and claim they had recorded "4,800 hours of music" and that they had "15 really strong songs" which will be ready "hopefully by next year" [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. Matt would also state that the music was leaning towards a Soundgarden style of rock although there were tracks where the Nine Inch Nails influence was evident [MTV News, May 22, 1997].. He told the small crowd that Rose's new favorite saying has been "loop it, loop it!" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Duff was attending the same conference and would say that "things had come together in the studio for Guns n' Roses just over the last month and a half" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Moby would not be afraid to try to describe the music:

The music they're working on has a very dramatic quality to it. They're using some modern technology. Axl's really excited about sampling. He loves the DJ Shadow record and Nine Inch Nails. The stuff I've heard is much more concise than, say, 'November Rain.' Not bombastic. Very stripped down. Very intense. It's not hard-rock music in the way that 'Welcome to the Jungle' was.


The lineup at this time would be comprised of Axl, Robin, Paul, Duff and Dizzy, with Mike Clink being involved [Icon Magazine, October 1997].

In October 1997, spokesperson at Geffen Publicity would indicate that the record wouldn't be out until 1998, at the earliest:

They haven’t even begun recording any new songs and the soonest it will happen is the fall of next year.

At the moment Axl is far too busy learning to play guitar and doing lots of reading.



THE LONG WAIT


Media was quickly speculating on when the new record would be released, Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

All I can tell you is there will be an album when Axl says it's done.


The quote above indicates Axl had no intention of rushing the process.

There would also be suggestions that Axl wouldn't be able to pull it off and release a new Guns N' Roses record. Alan Niven would muse on the reasons:

I still say he has a remarkable voice, and he has an intense analytical focus that allows him to write with insight. I think him quite capable of creative excellence. His problem was always balance and self-editorial. If he can effect some balance, he could produce a good record. At the same time, I tend to think of Sly Stone, of how he self-destructed and compromised his creativity. Maybe Axl requires hate to drive his muse. David Bowie once told him that this drove his creativity, and the comment made a big impression on Axl. Maybe now he needs a new source of inspiration.


When asked when the band would be ready to release the album, an anonymous source close to the band would say:

That's the funniest thing I ever heard. They've been hoping to release this record every quarter for the last few years. So it could be a couple more years. Anything's possible when it comes to Axl.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:18 am

1996-
SLASH AFTER GUNS N' ROSES


SLASH'S BLUES BALL


Immediately after leaving Guns N' Roses Slash would return to playing with his blues band, Slash's Blues Ball and would embark on a five-date tour [Associated Press/The Daily World, November 13, 1996]. Slash would describe the band as "really just a good-time band" and:

It's mostly all covers--and not necessarily a lot of blues. There's a lot of old-style rock in there as well. […] this isn't like the traditional blues cover band you see in clubs these days. There's definitely a hell of a lot more decibel levels going on. Nobody should be expecting a nice, quiet B.B. King type of thing. It's more of an approach of, say, like a Johnny Winter.

And no two shows are ever the same.


Slash would be occupied with Slash's Blues Ball throughout 1997, touring the USA.


SNAKEPIT


Immediately after the announced break between Slash and Guns N' Roses it would be reported that he would now focus on Snakepit [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996] and that he would be rehearsing new singers for the band [The Orlando Sentinel, November 1, 1996]. A source "close to Slash" would say that Slash wanted to "collaborate this time, instead of the way he made the first Snake Pit album with Eric [Dover], where Slash basically laid down all the music and then Eric came in and sang afterwards" [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997]. Early in January rumours were spreading that Sebastian Bach would join Slash's new band, after having jammed with Slash at a Slash's Blues Ball gig in Philadelphia on December 7, 1996 [Rolling Stone, January 12, 1997].

Sebastian Bach would seem exciting about the prospect:

Slash invited me to stay at his place for three weeks back in '92 or something and he put me in a room with a bunch of snakes and shit and a black velvet Aerosmith poster. I mean he's just a great guy! You wouldn't have to twist my rubber arm, I'm ready to sing.


But then a source "close to Slash" denied that Bach would be involved [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997].

It would also be stated that Slash would likely change the lineup and moniker of the band [The Hollywood Reporter/The Record, November 2, 1996]. He intended to release the second Snakepit album as soon as his home studio was finished [Addicted to Noise, January 30, 1997].

Slash would later say that Soundgarden's singer, Chris Cornell, had an open invitation to play with him:

I fucking think he's awesome. If he wanted to sing for a band outside of Soundgarden I would play with him in a heartbeat.



OTHER PROJECTS


In early 1997 it would be reported that Slash was doing a collaboration with Insane Clown Posse:

Things just pop up all the time. As long as you're out there, you take advantage of whatever cool opportunities there are.

There's so many things out there that you can do, if you just make yourself available to go check out what they are.


Some of the other projects Slash was involved with, but not a complete list: a soundtrack for a Nickelodeon pilot called Fathead, and a solo on the song Fix by Teddy Riley and BLACKstreet [MTV News, July 11, 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:32 am

MANAGEMENT'S ROLE IN THE BREAK-UP OF AXL AND SLASH


Shortly after it was announced that Slash would be leaving Guns N' Roses, rumours started to swirl that the band's management had had a role [The Baltimore Sun, December 6, 1996].
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:01 pm

THE CHANGING BAND DYNAMICS AFTER SLASH'S DEPARTURE


Being a member of Guns N' Roses wasn't always easy. Matt would allude to this when he in September 1996 talked about his relationship with Axl:

I think [Axl] has respect for me, he thinks I'm a good drummer et it's cool. I heard him say that and I was happy. You know, humm, he fired me 2 or 3 times and he called me back… […] (Laugh) You never heard the rumors? Yes, we all have been fired at least 1 time! You never heard about it (laugh)? Seriously, it's true that he sometimes goes too far. Sometime I open my mouth and I say "Ok, Axl, fuck off!", then he fires me. So? I know he will call me the next day. I feel I'm in security and I know I will be the GNR drummer for a long time.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


In a Rolling Stone Magazine issue from presumable late 1996, and which we don't have in our archive, it is implied that Axl was now completely in control of the band and that the other band members would have to jump when he said so. Duff was confronted by this and replied:

Absolutely not when it comes to AXL's permission. What was printed in Rolling Stone is incorrect & I'm pissed off about it.
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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:44 pm

LATE 1996-EARLY 1997
ROBIN FINCK JOINS THE BAND


STEVEN JONES?


Immediately after the announcement that Slash was out of the band media would report that the band was looking for a guitarist to replace him [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996]. In early 1997, the rumours had it that Steve Jones, band mate with Duff in the Neurotic Outsiders and previously of the Sex Pistols, would take Slash's place, but this was denied by a source at Geffen [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997].


AXL?


Duff would be asked if Axl intended to replace Slash on lead guitar and whether Axl would be interested in that:



In March it would be said that the band was still looking for a new guitar player and had worked with a few to record "sketches and ideas for guitar parts on the demos", according to a band source [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997]. One of these guitar players was allegedly a young and unnamed player who Axl particularly liked [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].


ROBIN FINCK


Then, in May, on MTV News on May 22 would be confirmed that Robin was replacing Slash [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. Just a few days later, MTV News would report that GN'R spokespeople refused to confirm the hiring of Robin [MTV News, May 28, 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:44 pm

ROBIN BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:10 pm

THE BREAK WITH SLASH ONLY TEMPORARY?


Slash would comment on the break-up repeatedly and often indicate that he and Axl might find back together again:

Axl and I have not been capable of seeing eye to eye on Guns N' Roses for some time. We recently tried to collaborate, but at this point, I'm no longer in the band. I'd like to think we could work together in the future if we were able to work out our differences.


Slash's manager, Tom Marr, would also echo this:

You don't want to close all the doors. Right now, though, Axl and Slash just aren't seeing eye to eye.


Somewhat later, Slash would claim he hadn't officially quit the band, even implying it was exaggerated by the media:

For some strange reason, Guns N' Roses is like the catalyst for controversy, even before we had any kind of record deal. We were always the band in town that everybody liked to make up stories about. It's more of the same, only on a bigger scale. […] Axl and I have just not been able to have a meeting of the minds of such that we can actually work together. We've been through this a dozen times. It seems like a big deal now, but to me it's more of the same. I haven't really gone anywhere. I haven't officially quit the band. It's just that we're not seeing eye to eye on where Guns should be going. It's just such a pain in the ass. […] let the smoke clear and maybe we can talk about it later, rather than try and force something unnatural and have everyone go 'We waited around all this time for THIS?' Axl's whole visionary style, as far as his input in Guns N' Roses, is completely different from mine. I just like to play guitar, write a good riff, go out there and play, as opposed to presenting an image.


And again he would indicate this could be just temporarily and that it was a disagreement over musical direction that caused the split:

In a nutshell, Axl and I aren't really seeing eye to eye as far as musical direction is concerned. Where he's taking on a visionary direction, I'm still rooted in the original concept [from] when we first got together. We're sort of butting heads on that.

When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals [with Rose] to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out.

If we ever decide at some point that we need each other, that we want to get back together, if we ever get back in a room together and it clicks, that would be great. In the meantime, I'm not gonna sit around and play rock star. I want to work. […]


And later:

It's not a real big concern with me right now because if it gets together, you know how I always put it, if we get together we get together, and in the meantime there's so many other things to do. […] [Axl] does [want to have the band back together], but he wants to... I don't know. For me personally we're just not...uh, let's put it, like a more civil kind of way of putting it, is we're not seeing eye-to-eye on the direction point of view and it's a lot of friction and it's just worth it. […] Once it falls together, it will. We've been through this so many times.


In April he would state that, despite Axl's fax to MTV, he wasn't officially out of the band [San Antonio Express-News, April 4, 1997].

I am not officially out of the band. […] I'm tight with the band; it's just that there's this thing with me and (lead singer) Axl (Rose). If we can have a meeting of the minds and put out a good rock 'n' roll record, I'll be there. I'd be more disappointed putting out a (lackluster) Guns album than none at all.



In May, Slash would indicate that the decision to go their separate ways wasn't necessarily mutual between him and Axl:

Uhm, it's real simple. Me and Axl had more or less a musical... difference of opinion as far as musical direction. Simple as that. You've heard it a million times. It's a rock n roll cliche. And instead of going where I didn't feel comfortable, I just said, "You know what, you do what you're gonna do, I'm just gonna go out and jam, and then, whenever we meet on the same ground, I'll be around." Simple as that. […] It wasn't necessarily mutual, you know [laughing] It's my way of looking at it and then his is probably a lot different, but...


And in December he would admit it wasn't at all amicable:

Um, no, it wasn’t really amicable, but it was sort of inevitable. This is a better way of putting it, you know (laughs).


Interestingly, in an interview published in December 1997, Slash would disregard the most recent problems with Axl from late 1996 entirely when discussing when he left the band, and say he left the band three years ago, in other words in 1994 when he started focusing on Snakepit [Fuzz Magazine, December 1997]. This sort of aligns with Axl's fax to MTV [see earlier chapter] where Axl, too, would say that Slash had been out of the band for a while except for a few weeks of rehearsal trials.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:29 pm

EARLY 1997
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - MOBY?


According to a GN'R spokesperson, in March and April 1997 it would be reported that Axl had met with several possible producers for the band's next record [MTV, April 18, 1997]. One of these was Moby [Allstarmag, March 18, 1997; MTV, March 18, 1997; Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997]. Apparently, according to the sources, Axl and Moby had "spent time together, and gotten along well on a personal level, and now they're going to see if they can make some musical magic together" [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].

Moby had earlier talked about Guns N' Roses and was said to like the band and had also defended Axl Rose for speaking his mind [New Musical Express, October 26, 1991].

The news that Moby was working with Guns N' Roses was first announced by Moby himself on a panel at the SXSW festival [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997], which lasted from March 8-17, 1997.

At the risk of sounding like a sleazy music biz guy, I met with Axl last week to hear their new demos. They're writing with a lot of loops, and believe it or not, they're doing it better than anybody I've heard lately.
Allstarmag, March 18, 1997; quote from SXSW, 1997


Another newspaper would present Moby's quote slightly different:

[Axl is] writing with loops and experimenting with electronics. Strangely enough, they’re doing it better than everybody. It completely blew my mind.
Hartford Courant, March 23, 1997; quote from SXSW, 1997


In May, MTV News would report that Moby is "producing some tracks for the next Guns n' Roses album" [MTV News, May 28, 1997].

Later, in October ad November, 1997, Moby would talk about his role and indicate that he likely wouldn't do the job:

They've asked me to be the producer, but I'm not sure I'm capable of doing that because, if nothing else, making this record is going to be a long, long process.

I went out and met with (Axl Rose) a few times, but I don’t think I’m going to work on that record, because it would mean working on it at the exclusion of my next record. I don’t want to spend a year in Los Angeles just working on Guns ’n’ Roses.


Moby developed a strong relationship with Axl and would defend him from criticism, particularly from Alan Niven who would publicly lambast Axl for what happened to Guns N' Roses [see previous chapter]:

[…] the ruthlessness that these people attribute to Axl, I can't relate to it. I've never seen it in him. Since I've become involved with him, I've developed this weird sort of protective, paternal feeling with him.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:34 pm

APRIL 1997
IS MATT OUT OF THE BAND?


In early April 1997, reports would surface saying Matt left the band and was replaced by Igor Cavalera, former drummer in Sepultura [News Pilot, April 4, 1997]. And at the same time rumours would have it Matt had been replaced by Chris Vrenna [Rolling Stone, April 4, 1997; MTV, April 18, 1997]. Vrenna was a friend of Robin and had played in Nine Inch Nails previously. Then, not long thereafter in late May, Dave Abbruzzese was said to be rehearsing with the band while the band management refused to confirm Matt was out of the picture [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

In an article from October 1997, when listing the band members, neither Matt or Vrenna would be mentioned [Icon Magazine, October 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:10 pm

1994-
THE TRANFORMATION OF AXL ROSE


With Axl leaving the public life in 1993/1994, the media would speculate about his looks and life. In particular would Axl's old enemies take the opportunity to ridicule him, like Courtney Love who would spread the rumour that Axl was balding. Moby would be asked about this and say:

Axl's always worn a hat when I've been around him. I don't even know if he has long hair anymore. He has a beard that's clearly not been groomed. If you passed him on the street, you wouldn't stop and say, 'Oh, there goes one of the most successful rock stars on the planet.'

The way I'd characterize him right now? He's really striving. He wants to make a great record. He wants to e a healthy, happy person. And he's certainly making very positive steps towards achieve those goals.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:09 am

WHY CONTINUE WITH GUNS N' ROSES?


As discussed in previous chapters, Axl had at different times considered releasing a solo album. Why then did he decide to continue with Guns N' Roses when the personell had changed so significantly since Appetite and the Illusions?

Moby would be clear that Axl didn't consider Guns N' Roses his solo band, but wanted the entire band to contribute:

I don't think this new music is just a vehicle for him as a solo performer. He wants this to be a band where everyone contributes. On the music I've heard, you can hear everyone's distinctive voice coming through. Honestly, they're the nicest bunch of people I've ever worked with.


And an anonymous source close to the band:

You were talking about the way Axl tarnished his image. I think it's consistently the more interesting figures in music, or in cultural in general - they tend to be ambiguous. They're creative people who want to explore other elements of themselves. Sometimes they make mistakes. But I'd much rather a public figure make mistakes than just end up making Phil Collins-type records one after another.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:22 pm

1997
DUFF ATTENDS BUSINESS SCHOOL


Duff was said to have done really well in school as a kid [see previous section]:

"McKagan's bull in a China shop manner gives the impression that he doesn't put much thought into anything but he'll surprise you. For starters he's not stoopid. McKagan was an honor student before he dropped out of highschool to tour with various punk bands, opening for acts like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys; he says he intends someday to pick up where he left off. "I talked with a counselour, "McKagan says, "I have to take one year of junior college. But if I ace junior college, get up in the high threes or a four point figure, I can get into Harvard, because they like weird people at Harvard these days." McKagan says, he'd like study law; as hard as it is to picture him hobnobbing with the ivy leagers in his leather pants, it appears he's serious." [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

Being asked what happened to his plans of going to law school:

Duff: "I got accepted at Harvard just a couple of years ago. Actually, I was really good in school. I was like in the gifted program and shit. But I really see what lawyers are all about these days, so I really fell out of love. Because I was going to. I thougt, 'This is what I'm going to do. Mom - check it out!' But I'm not going to do it any more. I've been sued so many times - I might as well have just given all the money to you. Like I beat up two guys one time, okay? Two guys who asked for it, and they were stupid, and I ain't saying I'm a karate expert or nothing - I just know how to hold my own. And I broke both their noses, and BOOM! 400 thousand dollars later. You know, if I got in a fight and I lost, I wouldn't go around and suck dick and fucking sue the guy. That's so unmanly" [Metal Hammer, December 1993].

In 1997, it was reported that Duff was taking business college courses [Music West in 3-D, 1997].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:25 pm

1997-
PERSONAL LIVES


DUFF


In 1997 it would be reported that Duff was working on a new solo record with Al and Kurt Block, from Wool and Fastbacks, respectively [Music West in 3-D, 1997; MTV News, May 22, 1997].

In May, Duff was having a role in the TV series "Sliders" about rock and roll vampires [The Vancouver Sun, May 8, 1997; MTV News, November 25, 1997].


AXL


Axl was keeping a very low profile and was rarely spotted. As Gerri Miller of "Metal Edge" would say:

He's a recluse. I haven't even seen the guy. I live in L.A. I've lived here for four years. I've not run into him once. He doesn't go out.


Tommy Lee from Motley Crue would also have a theory:

I would imagine that he's maybe avoiding going through some of the painful things that we've actually been through. When you release a record, and it's just a different time and just a whole new wave of music and a lot of changes took place. Maybe Axl's got his storm windows up and they're all boarded up and he's waiting 'til it passes.


Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

Well, he's been doing a lot of reading and learning a lot of new instrumentation, he's been learning how to play guitar.


In November 1997, 39-year Karen McNeil who had been stalking Axl, was sentenced to jail for one year for violating a 1997 court order to stay away from Axl's Malibu home [People Magazine, November 29, 1997]. She had attempted to enter Axl's house on May 16, 1997 [People Magazine, November 29, 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:30 pm

SLASH EXPLAINING WHY HE LEFT


DISAGREEING WITH AXL OVER MUSICAL DIRECTION


After leaving Guns N' Roses, Slash would stress differences in opinion on the direction of Guns N' Roses, as the reason.

It's just that we're not seeing eye to eye on where Guns should be going. It's just such a pain in the ass. […] let the smoke clear and maybe we can talk about it later, rather than try and force something unnatural and have everyone go 'We waited around all this time for THIS?' Axl's whole visionary style, as far as his input in Guns N' Roses, is completely different from mine. I just like to play guitar, write a good riff, go out there and play, as opposed to presenting an image.

In a nutshell, Axl and I aren't really seeing eye to eye as far as musical direction is concerned. Where he's taking on a visionary direction, I'm still rooted in the original concept [from] when we first got together. We're sort of butting heads on that.

It's not a real big concern with me right now because if it gets together, you know how I always put it, if we get together we get together, and in the meantime there's so many other things to do. […] [Axl] does [want to have the band back together], but he wants to... I don't know. For me personally we're just not...uh, let's put it, like a more civil kind of way of putting it, is we're not seeing eye-to-eye on the direction point of view and it's a lot of friction and it's just worth it.

Uhm, it's real simple. Me and Axl had more or less a musical... difference of opinion as far as musical direction. Simple as that. You've heard it a million times. It's a rock n roll cliche.


On may 30, he would describe that direction as "techno-grunge" [The Boston Globe, May 30, 1997].

I just quietly walked away and told him, ‘When you want to do a rock ’n’ roll record, let me know.'



PAUL HUGE


Despite Slash stressing the differences between him and Axl, rumours would also have it that Paul Huge's continuous presence in the band, with Axl now wanting his as a writing partner, was annoying Slash [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:24 pm

MAY 1997
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - MIKE CLINK?


Despite Moby recently being confirmed as the producer select, an MTV News report from May 1997 would claim the band had settled on Mike Clink [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. This did not exclude Moby, and a source at Geffen refused to confirm that Moby would participate but state that "I expect he'll be working on a couple of tracks" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:33 pm

MAY 1997
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - RICK RUBIN?


At the same time as Mike Clink was said to be the producer of the next record, or at least parts of it, Matt would say that Rick Rubin was involved in the project [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. This rumour was quickly shot down, though, when a spokesperson for Rubin said it had been discussed a while ago but that "it didn't work out" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:39 pm

MAY 30, 1997
WEST ARKEEN DIES


On June 2, 1997, the following story would be published by MTV News:

June 2 [8:35 EDT] -- West Arkeen, best known for co-writing a number of Guns n' Roses songs, died suddenly at his home in Los Angeles on Friday. Sources close to Guns n' Roses as well as posts on the Internet suggest that he possibly died of a drug overdose.

Arkeen co-wrote "It's So Easy," "Patience," "Bad Obsession," "The Garden" and "Yesterdays" for Guns n' Roses and also penned "Make Your Play" and "Pressure" for Brother Cane. He's not known to be involved in the G n' R material currently being composed and about to be recorded.

Arkeen had been working on his own project, The Outpatience, a band he formed two years ago with vocalist Mike Shotton, bassist James Hunting, guitarist Joey Hunting, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Gregg Buchwalter. The band just released their debut album, Anxious Disease, in Japan and were shopping the record to labels in the States. The album boast strong G n' R connections: Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan appear as guests (Rose sings backup on the title track), and former G n' R member Izzy Stradlin co-wrote one of the songs.

Stradlin and McKagan are among those mostly closely associated with Arkeen. The trio played in the The Drunkf**ks side project together; Arkeen co-wrote two of the tunes on McKagan's solo record and he played bass on Stradlin's Ju Ju Hounds CD.


The next day it would be reported that West's manager, Dan McConomy, confirmed it was an opiate overdose and that West had been using opiates as a pain killer after suffereing severe burns from a barbeque accident [AP/The Sacramento Bee, June 3, 1997; MTV News, June 3, 1997].
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:31 am

AUGUST 1997
DUFF QUITS




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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:22 am

SEPTEMBER 1997
SLASH WANTS TO PUT TOGETHER A BAND OF FORMER GN'R MEMBERS


As described in a previous chapter, various band members had played and/or written music with Izzy in 1995-1996, this continued in 1997.

In April it would be rumoured that Izzy had written music with Axl [MTV, April 18, 1997]. The same month Slash would talk about working with Izzy while in Spain (where Slash went to partake in a music video for "Obsession" [The Index Journal, March 26, 1997]), and that he had then involved Duff and Matt. Duff was still in Guns N' Roses at the time, but it would be around the time Matt was leaving the band.

The day before last, me and Izzy worked on two new songs in Spain. We came back with Duff and then got Matt to come in.


In late 1997 it was rumoured that Slash wanted to put together a band of former GN'R members [MTV News, September 29, 1997]. The rumour got wings earlier in September when Slash and Steven joined Gilby's band on stage at Billboard Live in Hollywood for one song [MTV News, September 29, 1997].

In an interview published in December 1997, Slash would say he had been working with both Izzy and Duff recently [Fuzz Magazine, December 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:24 am

FORMER BAND MEMBERS VIEW ON AXL CONTINUING WITH GUNS N' ROSES


I'm sure whatever [Axl] ends up doing will be brilliant. But it won't sound like what I would consider a fucking hard rock band that's all gritty and shit. But, you know, what do I know? I could be wrong.

[Axl] basically worked me out of the band and Slash out of the band, and now Duff and Matt have left. He wants it to be his band. We wanted a band where we play together.

So I left Axl to do whatever, and he’s still doing it. The rest of us quit, so that’s that. You have to ask him about what the future of the Guns N’ Roses thing is.

So now it’s Axl by himself. He's got a whole new band together. They’re going to do a record. It'll say ‘Guns ‘N Roses’ but it won’t be Guns N’ Roses.


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:12 am

MATT AFTER GUNS N' ROSES


In November 1997 it would be reported that Matt would have a role in an indie movie called "The Sound Man" [MTV News, November 25, 1997].


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:12 am

DUFF AFTER GUNS N' ROSES


TEN MINUTE WARNING


In late 1997 it would be reported that Duff would release a debut EP with his old Seattle band, Ten Minute Warning [MTV News, December 31, 1997]. Duff had played with the band back in 1995, too [see previous chapter], but now being out of Guns N' Roses he probably had more time to release something with them.
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