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THE HISTORY - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Mar 20, 2020 3:03 pm

FEBRUARY 2000
LOOKING FOR A PRODUCER - ROY THOMAS BAKER STARTS WORKING WITH THE BAND


Apparently, the quest for producers for the new record was not over because in April 2000 media would report that Axl had been in talks with Roy Thomas Baker, who is best known for his work with Queen [MTV News, April 28, 2000]. A spokesperson for the band would confirm that Baker was in the studio with Axl but that he at this stage was only supplying additional production which may or may not make it onto the next GN'R album [MTV News, April 28, 2000]. Doug Goldstein would confirm that Sean Beaven was still a producer for the project [MTV News, April 28, 2000]. Brian May would later state that Baker had been in the studio with Guns N' Roses around the same time May laid down tracks for three songs, which was in late January or early February 2000.

Still, in April 2000 it was not clear what baker would do, or at least it would not be disclosed to the public:

[Beavan has] been the only producer. The others were people we met with or tried out on some tracks [with].


Then in May 2001 media would again report that Baker was intended to help producing the record, and that he had been charged to sift through 72 tracks that the band had recorded [Metal Hammer, May 11, 2001].

Baker would later talk about working with Guns N' Roses:

This is not like the old band. This is a major progression from the old band. I loved the old band; I've always been a fan of Axl and Guns N' Roses. When I think of 'November Rain' off the second set of albums, and 'Welcome to the Jungle' and stuff on the first album, these are tracks that go down in history. These are tracks that you remember exactly where you were when you first heard them. That's very, very rare that you ever get into that situation where you can actually remember what you were doing the first time you heard something.


Chris Vrenna would comment on what Baker would bring:

I can't imagine Roy Thomas Baker's making an industrial record, so I have to somehow believe it's going to have a more classic sound to it.


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:09 pm

GUNS N' ROSES TO TOUR IN THE SUMMER OF 2000?


As late as in May, some press sources would suggest that Guns N' Roses were considering to tour with Testament and Dio [TotalRock! Radio, May 30, 2000; Edmonton Journal, June 11, 2000] and that it was Del James, who was doing songwriting with Testament's vocalist Chuck Billy, who had "put in a good word" about Testament to Axl [RockReport mailing list, May 30, 2000].
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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:47 am

JUNE 22, 2000
AXL JAMS WITH GILBY


On June 22, 2000, Gilby did a concert at the Hollywood spot the Slim Jim Phantom's Cat Club with his side-band Starfuckers [MTV News, June 23, 2000].

Slim Jim Phantom would describe the meeting:

I wasn't sure [it was really Axl]. So I took Gilby over and tapped the guy on the shoulder. He turns round and Gilby says, 'That's not him!' But Axl grins and says, 'Hey, Gilby, how're you doin'?


Axl, who had attended a Roger Waters concert earlier in the night, joined Gilby onstage to sing vocals on the Rolling Stones songs 'Dead Flowers' and 'Wild Horses' [MTV News, June 23, 2000; Q, July 2001] and allegedly other songs [Q, July 2001]..

I guess he ran into some friends of mine at the Roger Waters show at Universal Amphitheater, and they told him that we were playing down there and he came by. Maybe he just wanted to have some fun.



Axl, Gilby and Richard Hayhurst, June 22, 2000


After the show, Gilby and Axl allegedly talked for hours, mostly about Axl's new band and album:

He was really excited about it. He was explaining it to me. We didn't rehash anything. We had a good time.

When everything went down, him and I never got into any arguments, any fights or anything. It's kind of strange 'cause like I never quit. I never got fired. People always put you up like everybody hates each other, but . . . we never got in a fight. […] [Axl is] very, very excited about his new record and the new [GNR] band.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:46 pm

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS?


In an article in February 1999, the first indication came that previous band members from the new Guns era would not be free to publicly discuss every aspect of their tenure in Guns N' Roses, when Tommy said he couldn't talk about the albu in production [Star Tribune, February 26, 1999].

This would indicate that the band, or label, wanted to keep aspects of the forthcoming music secret to the public.

That band members were reluctant to talk about the music-in-making could also be gleamed from other article and interviews [KNAC.com, March 28, 2000]. Josh would say it explicitly:

I’m not really able to talk about [the new record].

I can't really answer questions about them.

[When asked, 'On the advice of lawyers?']: Not necessarily.


But Josh would also explain that "a friendly agreement is in place" [Calgary Herald, September 2, 2000]. This would indicate a verbal agreement between Josh and Guns N' Roses, more than signed non-disclosure agreements.

Not only band members would be subjects to NDAs, as Joey Quackenbush, a friend of Josh from the Vandals would realize when he met Axl:

Beside, I got to go to Axl's house, where I was made to sign a contract of confidentiality. So now I can't talk about the fact that I saw Axl in a dinosaur suit on Halloween or that I saw him push his piano into his swimming pool.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:14 am

2000
WORK ON THE NEW RECORD


With Josh leaving the band, a UK spokeswoman for the band would be asked about the release date:

(The album could be) released this year, but I’ll believe it when I see it to be honest. We’ll all just have to wait and see. At the minute it isn’t even on our releases pending list.


Josh leaving meant that Brain would initially replace some of Josh's parts:

Not on the whole record, but yes, I made some recordings.


This could indicate that at this time the record was intended to contain drum parts by both Brain and Josh. As it turned out, Brain would end up replacing all of Josh's parts.

Brain would talk about how much effort went into setting up the perfect drum kit:

I had my drum tech [Gersh] bring in over 30 different kits from the Drum Doctor, Drum Paradise, and Drum Fetish. I literally slept in the rehearsal space for three days, looking at angles. I just sat there staring at the stage. I was on the ground looking at angles to see how the kids are going to be looking at it from this angle. And then I would climb up on the stairs and get on a ladder and look at it from above, and say, 'Okay, the people in the balcony are going to be looking at it from this angle. What's going to be the right vibe? What's going to work for this situation?'

I have an idea of what I want when I go in. And since there are 50 snare drums and 40 kick drums, or whatever, you know it's kind of like, 'Well, this song would be great if we start with a 26" kick, 14", 16", 18" toms, because it's a huge sound - a very slow, huge, grunge-type of sound. Let's get some big hi-hats in there. Where's that really deep snare? Let's get a 7" or an 8". Let's try it.' It usually works right away.

And sometimes we get bored and we're like, 'Let's set up in that corner up in the balcony and get a little baby kit. Let's get an 18", and a 12" snare, and 12" hi-hats, just for something to do. Let's put it in the chorus.' This is probably one of the most creative things I've been in, because I've just been allowed to experiment so much.


In contrast to Josh who had only done acoustic drumming, Brain would bring in drum programming:

I'm totally into using a computer-based sequence setup. I use Logic and Pro Tools, and I have a G4 titanium laptop. I have this bag where I keep a nice DAT machine with a nice mike, or I have those toy samplers that you buy at Toys R Us. And I just sit there after whatever session I'm in, whether I'm even at the rehearsal space or at the studio, and I just hit my drums, make weird sounds, make weird loops, and then I take them home. I get home at about 2:00 in the morning and from 2:00 until 4:00 in the morning I sit at my laptop, cut up all my beats, make more beats, more sounds, and then bring them into the producer and say, 'Hey, check this out. Are you into this?' That's what I spend most of my free time doing.

What I've noticed with this situation is that I've kind of made it my own, tow here I'm getting what I want out of it and what I want to do. It's really been inspiring in that way. At first it was different. It was hard for me to get into this process. But I kind of turned it around. I said, "Wait. I've got access to the studio and to do what I want. I'm going to start calling the shots to say, 'Let's try this or let's do this.' I want to add what I want to this project. I'm looking at this as a musical education.


In May 2000, Rolling Stone would publish an article where Jim Barber, "a former Geffen A&R executive who worked on the project", described the music he had heard:

The tracks reminded me of the best moments of Seventies Pink Floyd or later Led Zeppelin. There's nothing out there right now that has that kind of scope. Axl hasn't spent the last several years struggling to write Use Your Illusion over again.


The album was scheduled for a release in July 2000, but have been postponed indefinitely without even being listed with TBD [Launch, May 20, 2000; Wall of Sound, May 24, 2000]. The postponement might have been connected to Robin and Josh being out of the band.

There's not a release date right now, not that I'm aware of. And I would know.


In August 2000 Josh would be asked about how the music sounded and whether it was "better than the old stuff"

It's Guns and Roses.


In late 2000, rumours would have it that the band hoped to release the album early in 2001, to time it with their appearance at Rock in Rio 3, in January 2001 [Rolling Stone, October 27, 2000]. And in November 2000, according to The New Journal, GN'R's management had stated that the record would come out in January 2001 [The News Journal, November 4, 2000]. Then, in December, it was reported the band management had stated the record would be out in June to correspond with the summer tour [MTV News, December 11, 2000]. In another report, Doug Goldstein would be said to have told Los Angeles radio station KROQ, that the album could be out as early as June [Rolling Stone, December 12, 2000]. Interscope, on the other hand, would not confirm a June release date and only refer to it as "to be determined" [Rolling Stone, December 12, 2000].

In December 2000, Chuck Klosterman writing for The Akron Beacon Journal, would write an article where he claimed to have heard two new songs from Guns N' Roses, 'Strip Bar', but more likely to be called 'Just Another Sunday', and 'Livin' Loud' [The Akron Beacon Journal, December 14, 2000]. 'Just Another Sunday' was a West Arkeen song dating back to the 80s. It could be that 'Livn' Loud' was also not a new GN'R song.

In late 2000, Buckethead would talk about his general approach to decorating recording studios to create a special physical environment:

Bring a box of stuff, lay it around. Couple dummies, some chicken feed if it's away. At the coop it is, there is tons of stuff. The video goggles have changed everything now. Anywhere anytime with the goggles.


And talking about how it was to be part of Guns N' Roses:

It has been fun like a ride never been ridden. Every turn is new, it will be interesting to see where this ride goes.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:17 am

GUNS N' ROSES TO PLAY ROCK IN RIO 3 IN 2001


In October 2000, the news would break that Guns N' Roses would return to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to again play at Rock in Rio [MTV News, October 25, 2000]. The festival was scheduled for January 12 to 21, 2001, and Guns N' Roses was said to end the day on January 14, 2001  [MTV News, October 25, 2000; Rolling Stone, October 27, 2000]. The lineup was expected to consist of Axl, Paul, Buckethead, Tommy, Dizzy and Brain, and it was rumoured that Robin would return to the band for the show, too [MTV News, October 25, 2000]. At the time, neither the band's management or its label would confirm the rumours  [MTV News, October 25, 2000].

A few days after the rumours started to spread in the media, Doug Goldstein, at Big FD Entertainment, would confirm that Guns N' Roses would play at Rock in Rio in 2001, and that Robin would be part of the lineup [MTV News, October 30, 2000]. A few days later, the festival promotor, Robert Medina, would state that Guns N' Roses were to play on January 14 [E! Online, November 1, 2000].

Talking about the decision to play at Rock In Rio:

Well, South America has always had a place in my heart since I first came here, and it’s very emotional for the people, and myself, and my management to play here.


From the following quote it is clear Axl wanted the Rock In Rio date to be part of a larger series of shows, including two shows in Argentina:

The idea was, I wanted to play Buenos Aires and Santiago. And for us. For some reasons that did not work out right now.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:43 am

AXL WANTS IZZY BACK?


In 2001, Izzy would say that around the time when Guns N' Roses was planning the Rock in Rio show, Axl called Izzy and asked him to return:

Axl called me when he had the plan to play Rock In Rio. I don't believe that he hoped to reform the group as a whole because I am the only one that he called, but, in any event, I declined the offer. Maybe he estimated that his group was not good enough […]. […] Axl is really a special type, he's too hard to manage. […] I already had this album in preparation and I prefer to leave on the road with my group, I find everything I need there without problems that occur when you're with Axl...
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:46 am

PLANNING 2001 TOURING


In October 2000, a statement from Doug Goldstein at Big FD Entertainment, would announce that the show at Rock in Rio 3, in January 2001, would be followed by a summer tour [MTV News, October 30, 2000]. And in January 2001, it would be reported that the first of these shows would be at the German Rock Am Ring festival on June 1-3 [NME, January 7, 2001]. Further European dates would be confirmed and rumoured: two shows in the UK, a show in the Netherlands, one more show in Germany [NME, January 10, 2001; KNAC.com, January 22, 2001].

Later the following shows would be confirmed [MTV News, February 9, 2001; NME, February 27, 2001; NME, March 1, 2001; Allstar News, March 7, 2001]:

6/1 - Nuremberg, Germany @ Rock IM Park, 6/3 - Nurburgring, Germany @ Rock Am Ring, 6/5 - Berlin, Germany @ Waldbuhne, 6/9 - London, Italy @ London Docklands Arena, 6/10 - London, Italy @ London Docklands Arena, 6/12 - Glasgow, Scotland @ SECC, 6/13 - Manchester, England @ Manchester Arena, 6/14 - Birmingham, England @ Birmingham NEC, 6/17 - Imola, Italy @ Jammin Fest, 6/23 - Arnhem, Holland @ Gelredome, 6/25 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Globen, 6/26 - Oslo, Norway @ Spektrum, 6/28 - Roskilde, Denmark @ Roskilde Festival

When asked if the tour lineup would be the same as for Rock In Rio in January:

It’s difficult to say, but I believe so.


Apparently some of the uncertainty was in regards to whether Robin would be back also for the tour:

Well, I don't know yet, we just got together to do this show [=Rock in Rio].


Brain, on the other hand, would say he was not playing in Primus anymore and when asked if he was a permanent member of Guns N' Roses:



In early January Axl would also discuss the possibility of touring South America after the European summer tour:

Yes, it's very possible. It's very possible that we will play in November or January. Um, you know, November this year or January of next year. Um, I'm very excited to play here. I want to come back and play Rio again. And play, you know, Buenos Aires and Santiago and hopefully other South American countries, you know. As soon as we can.


A show in Argentina at the Buenos Aires Hot Festival in November would later be confirmed by local media [Clarin (Argentina), February 2001].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:49 am

OCTOBER 2000
ROBIN IS BACK IN THE BAND


In addition to confirming that Guns N' Roses would play on Rock in Rio in January 2000, and that this show would be followed by a US summer tour, a press release from Doug Goldstein at Big FD Entertainment would also confirm that Robin would be back in the band for these shows [MTV News, October 30, 2000].

From the quote below it is obvious it was not Axl's intention to have three guitar players:

And even now, this band has only fully played together for six weeks before Rio. So it’s still very new for them all playing together as a band, you know, with Robin and Bucket. That was a surprise and that was, obviously, to me, the right decision to make, but it was not something originally planned having three guitar players.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:20 am

OCTOBER 2000
BOB EZRIN TO WORK WITH THE BAND


In addition to all the other news announced in late October 2000, it would also be stated that producer Bob Ezrin was involved as an A&R person to help Guns N' Roses complete Chinese Democracy [MTV News, October 30, 2000].

Slash would likely allude to Ezrin's entrance:

There’s just been a lot of, like, so-called Guns N’ Roses shows that were supposed to happen, even when I was in the band (laughs). And it never did, so it’s just like, we’ll wait to see when it happens [regarding the planned shows in 2001]. You know, I hope it does and I hope it goes on. I hope he gets a record out and – you know. And there’s some pretty heavy people at the helm right now working on the Guns record, so I don’t think anybody’s fuckin’ around, because I think too much money and time has been spent, you know, so they have to do it (chuckles).


But in December 2000 it would be reported that according to an industry source Ezrin had only had one meeting with the band and had not committed to anything [Rolling Stone, December 12, 2000].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:52 pm

NOT ONE BUT TWO RECORDS


In August 1999, it would be rumoured that the band was not working on one record, but two records, and that it was expected that both would be released in October 1999 [Metal Hammer, August 13, 1999].

When Axl finally did speak in late 1999, he revealed that not only had they worked on enough music for two records, but that they also planned for two records:

We've been working on, I don't know, 70 songs. […] The record will be about, anywhere from 16 to 18 songs, but we recorded at least two albums' worth of material that is solidly recorded. But we are working on a lot more songs than that at the same time... in that way, what we're doing is exploring so, you know, you get a good idea, you save it, and then maybe you come back to it later, or maybe you get a good idea and you go, "That's really cool, but that's not what we're looking for. Okay, let's try something new." You know, basically taking the advance money for the record and actually spending it on the record. […] and I don't want to be in a situation again where I have to depend on other people and have [to] start all over. So we have material that we think is too advanced for old Guns fans to hear right now and they would completely hate, because we were exploring the use of computers [along with] everybody really playing their ass off and combining that, but trying to push the envelope a bit. It's like, "Hmm, I have to push the envelope a little too far. We'll wait on that." So we got a list of things.


Axl would also indicate that the substantial costs of making the record wouldn't be so bad if they got two albums out of it [Rolling Stone, January 2000].

So the plan was to let the first record be more guitar-driven while the second would contain more aggressive electronica:

It took working on the majority of these things and at least the couple albums' [worth] of material to figure out what should be on the first official Guns album. I wouldn't say it's like, you know, that we recorded a double album, or that we have all of our scraps to be the second one. There is a distinct difference in sound. The second leans probably a little more to aggressive electronica with full guitars, where the first one is definitely more guitar-based.

I'd like to take some of the old Guns fans along with me gradually into the twenty-first century.
Rolling Stone, February 3, 2000; interview from November 1999


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:46 pm

PLANNING A "SECRET" SHOW IN LAS VEGAS


In November 2000, Shoutweb, who claimed to have spoken to Axl, would report that Axl was planning a secret show in Las Vegas to debut the new version of the band [Shoutweb, November 22, 2000]. With the band already confirmed to play at Rock in Rio on January 14, 2001, this meant that this secret show would haver to take place within the next two months. According to Shoutweb, the band intended to play this secret show under another name [Shoutweb, November 22, 2000].

The show would be confirmed to a new year's show and take place at the Las Vegas House of Blues [MTV News, December 3, 2000].

I heard them in rehearsals. ... [The old material] sounds substantially more powerful. With two lead guitars, it just sounded so powerful.

We've been rehearsing and recording — we just wanted to blow some smoke. What better place to do that than New Year's Eve in Las Vegas?


A week later it would be reported that the setlist at the Las Vegas show would closely resemble the setlist planned for Rock in Rio, and that the show would last up for up to two hours [MTV News, December 11, 2000].


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:56 pm

CHRIS PITMAN JOINS THE BAND


On December 20, 1999, on the band Lusk's internet blod, it would be stated that Chris Pitman was now "working for Axl Rose, doing engineering/writing work on the new GUNS 'N ROSES album" [http://www.nmc.siu.edu/~beckham/lusk/news.html; December 20, 1999].


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Apr 21, 2020 7:01 pm

2001
WORK ON THE RECORD


During the band's show at House of Blues on January 1, 2001, Axl would describe the the story behind the title track for the forthcoming record:

This next song is something new. You know, right before I came here, when I left L.A., the movie Kundun was on about the Dalai Lama. I kind of like the idea that we’re playing the House of Blues, because it’s kind of associated with that. That came about as I was at the House of Blues in Chicago, and Vegas called, “Do you wanna do a warm-up gig for Rio at the House of Blues?” “Sure.” So, you know, I was getting ready to leave, and the TV was on and it was the end of the movie. And the Dalai Lama is about to cross over the border, to you know, be in exile for the rest of his life from his own country. And he looks back at the men who helped him, you know, escape the Chinese government. And he looks back at them and he waves, and they wave at him. And then they show a scene where he looks back at them again and he sees every one of them dead, because he knew that they would be killed and they knew that in helping him they would be killed. And, you know, the emotion in this next song, that's all that's about. It's not like an intelligent song. It doesn't have the answer to anything. But it’s the title track of the record – which, God willing, we will finish (chuckles) - and it's not necessarily pro or con about China. It's just that right now China symbolizes one of the strongest, yet most oppressive countries and governments in the world, and we are fortunate to live in a free country. And so in thinking about that it just kinda upset me, so we wrote this little song called “Chinese Democracy.”


In early January, Chris Pitman would also be asked if the record would be coming out in June:

Yes, it should probably come out on that date.


Axl would also mention that the record would contain 18 songs one of which would be a tribute to John Lennon and one about child abuse [O Globo, January 16, 2001]. The song about Lennon would likely be 'Catcher in the Rye' whereas there doesn't seem to be a song about child abuse on 'Chinese Democracy'. Beta Lebeis would also say that one of the new songs would be about her and her children [Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001].

Doug Goldstein would state they had 48 new songs ready and that the band, the record company and the producers are selecting from to compile the new album, but with no release deadline [O Globo, January 16, 2001]. Beta would later confirm that they had 48 songs and that it would come out in June or July [Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001].

There will be 12 or 18 songs, they’re still sorting it out. He writes, most of the time by himself and sometimes with the other members of the band.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese


Around the same time Axl would say they wanted to predate the album with a single in the spring, and would then reiterate the possible June release date of the album, but add that it was a "hope":

Um, hopefully we will put out a new single, sometime this spring and then the record gonna be done in June or shortly thereafter.


Axl would also shed light on who would be featured on the record:

[Being asked if the Rock In Rio lineup was the same as would be featured on the record]: Yes, that is who will be on the new record and there may be also a couple of other players. Brian May from Queen plays on a couple of songs. The drummer Josh Freese, umm who is in another band now, he plays on a lot of the songs. Umm, and... but mainly you know it will be the new band and the new band to play the songs live.


And talk about the musical style of the upcoming record:

It’s not industrial. The closest to that was, maybe, Oh My God. But there are some songs that are not on the album now that may have leaned that way, but there will be all types of styles and a lot of influences. There’s still, you know, blues influence mixed into the songs, but it’s not so much with the Aerosmith or AC/DC type of feel that was used on Appetite so much. Even though Buckethead, his first influence was – the reason he picked up a guitar was Angus Young and AC/DC, and both of these guys like to play AC/DC, it’s just that, you know, we wanted to play other styles. When we tried to write songs in the older style of Guns N' Roses, for some reason they just sounded very old, it didn’t sound as lively -you know, we couldn’t quite make that happen. And I think that’s true for even old Guns N' Roses. Any other songs that were written - you know, by the other guys to try to make a record a few years ago -, everything just sounded very dated. And so we tried to explore, so we could stay alive as a band.


And discuss why it had taken so long:

We were writing and recording for several years, and there were band changes, and the record companies had - many changes in the record companies and, you know, many different people’s opinions. And the record companies also kept wanting to help to make the record better, and so every time we'd think we would have the right songs or the record, then somebody would say that – you  know, someone would think that we could maybe make it better, and so then we would start over again. So we kept collecting songs, and kept recording and recording... And I think that when we do put out the record, we will put out something that we are very proud of and everything that we feel very confident about. And then we will have a lot of extra songs also.

It's like, every time [Axl] tries to do something, something always goes wrong. Like everything was going well, but suddenly the guy who's responsible for some technical detail makes a mistake, for example. I can say it because I was with him in the studio and it's unbelievable, it's like something tries to pull him away from this project. I've listened to the new record, and I can say that all the songs are beautiful, not even one track is filler. The record may have 16 or 17 songs and they're all very strong. I don't say this because I work for him, or because I'm his friend. My friends, for example, whenever they listen to any of the songs, they always say it’s very good. "Catcher in the Rye," "That's Called the Blues," "Chinese Democracy," they are all very beautiful.


In May, Merck Mercuriadis, CEO of Sanctuary Group, would say the album would be finished in the fall [Billboard, May 5, 2001].

Later in the same month it would be rumoured that there was a conflict between Axl and the label, with the label wanting the record out while Axl wanted to work more on it [New York Daily News, May 11, 2001]. It would also be rumoured that the record had cost $ 10 million and that Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine wanted the record out this month [New York Daily News, May 11, 2001].

The band's spokesperson, Laurie Earl, would reject the price tag and say:

There was never a scheduled release date. The tour wasn’t meant to support the album. Jimmy and Axl are completely in sync on this album. When it’s ready, it will come out.


In June, media would report that Tom Zutaut had been brought back into the fold to help finish the record [CDNow, June 30, 2001].


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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:42 am

JANUARY 1, 2001
GN'R IS BACK! HOUSE OF BLUES, LAS VEGAS


I have traversed a treacherous sea of horrors to be with you here tonight.

____________________________________________________________

Then, on January 1, 2001, more than seven years since the last Guns N' Roses show, the new version of the band would finally enter the stage again. The event was The House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV, USA, and the band would take stage at 3:30 am in the early morning [New York Times, January 2, 2001].

The show would start with a cartoon called "It's A Sorta Kinda Wonderful Life" of Axl making fun of his own public image.

The band's performance was preceded by an animated feature that poked fun at Rose's media-perpetuated persona. The mercurial frontman was depicted in bed — presumably having spent the last seven years in Brian Wilson-like seclusion — carrying on conversations with Buddha and the odd alien, with a music magazine used in lieu of toilet paper following a bedpan sequence. Footage depicting a journey through a birth canal was also presented, among other esoteric endeavors.


This self-deprecating style would continue during the show:

Ah, good morning. I just woke up, I’ve been taking a nap for about eight years (laughs).

Let’s do Patience. Because that’s what I’m going to try to experience right now... Or should I, like, have a tantrum or something? (chuckles) Now we’re talking, huh? Break some shit, fuck things up... have them write in the paper what a dick I was... (mocking laughter) So Thursday night was the first night I ever, like, sang a set with these guys. It was the first time I sang a set in eight years. I have a little bit of emotional problem doing the old stuff that I had to work through... I don’t know, it’s a little worrying, because, see, there was a rehearsal, then we had some kind of setlist, then I actually went to soundcheck. That’s a first for all three of those in 15 years. I was afraid that might jinx the show. You know, like baseball players wearing different socks or something. I could fuck things up. Alright. We’ve got some acoustic guitars? So people are on crack. [Shouts from the crowd] Say what? (laughs) [The crowd chants “Welcome back”] Thank you. Now you’re embarrassing me...


The lineup would feature Axl, Paul, Robin, Buckethead, Brain, Dizzy, Tommy and newcomer Chris Pitman.

The 20-song setlist would naturally be dominated by old Guns N' Roses songs, but the band would also play the following new songs: "Oh My God", "Rhiad and the Bedouins", "Chinese Democracy", "Street of Dreams" and "Silkworms".

During the show, Axl would take time to praise Paul for his role:

I’d like to introduce a couple of people now. Someone who’s worked very hard to be here, and through all the opposition, and worked very hard with the former band to try to help things work out, and has worked solidly, basically every single day for the last seven years to try to help me have a god damn band. The original guitar player that I’ve worked with, that I met when I was 12 years old and we’d argue about who’s cooler, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Kiss or Aerosmith. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mr. Paul Huge, the question mark and “who the fuck is Paul,” and “what does he look like” and... Well, now you all know him and you can write home to everybody how it just doesn’t work and it’s not – it just sucks (laughs).


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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:25 pm

JANUARY 14, 2001
ROCK IN RIO III


In Brazil we have an acceptance that we can't get in any other place in the world. The Brazilian people came to Rock In Rio without knowing the new band and without knowing if we would play the old songs. This is something we need to thank a lot.
O Globo, January 16, 2001; translated from Portuguese, possible paraphrased

____________________________________________

The band would rehearse extensively before the Rock in Rio show:

At the moment we are just very tired, as we’ve been rehearsing continuously for the past two months. I'm kind of tired of music right now.


Axl would indicate Tommy was taking a leader role in the rehearsals:

And the bass player, Tommy Stinson, did really good leading the band through the rehearsals for Vegas and Rock In Rio.


When Chris was told that the show was sold out and that 250,000 people were expected:

Really? I think it’s going to be a good show.


Brain would later talk about nerves before the show:

So, ya know, warming up is a big.. for me, especially in a rock sit..situation, ya know, playing these big shows.. especially now if like.. Guns N' Roses doing this last show in a.. Rio in front of like 200,000 people.. ya know, I mean I was so nervous, I'd warmed up for like 3 hours.


As for the House of Blues show on January 1, the Rock in Rio show would start with the cartoon "It's A Sorta Kinda Wonderful Life."

This show would feature yet a new song, Madagascar, in addition to include Oh My God, Chinese Democracy, Street of Dreams and Silkworms.

During the show, Axl would comment on why they played many of the old songs:

We've done one show before this and already we have been criticized for playing old songs. But I have no intention and I never did of denying you all something you enjoyed. And I thought it was only fair for you to see that this new band can play the fuck out of these songs. It's very hard to ask a musician to learn to play the part or parts played by other musicians before that. These guys here have worked very hard.


Like at the House of Blues show two weeks prior, Axl would talk about the new band and praise Paul and this time also Dizzy for his loyalty:

I know that many of you are disappointed that some of the people that you came to know and love could not be with us here today. Regardless of what you have heard or read, people worked very hard – meaning my former friends – to do everything they could so that I could not be here today. I say fuck that. I am as hurt and disappointed as you that, unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to all get along. So I will begin to introduce the new band, who have worked very, very, very hard to come and see you today. This is my friend, Paul Tobias. He has worked through the darkness, underground, for the last seven years to be able to be here today. I think this makes it his fourth of fifth show altogether in his life. Without Paul there would be no more Guns N’ Roses. Along with Paul, the only man from the old lineup that stayed loyal and worked hard every day is on the keyboards, Mr. Dizzy Reed. Well, so much for the past. This is Live and Let Die.


Axl would also talk about rumours on the Internet:

You know, I used to go on the internet, but the internet seems to be a big garbage can. So I don’t read the things that they say on the internet anymore. And that goes for your comments too, Renato, and Xozi and anyone else who likes to think that they know what’s going on but have no idea. We have a lot of Brazilian fans and we love them very much. We also have a lot of fans in the rest of South America and we love them very much, too. So I hope that you can try and get along, and that both you Brazil and you from Argentina don’t kill each other at the next soccer game. We love you very much.


Near the end of the show, Axl would bring out Beta Lebeis an emotionally thank her for being there for him:

[Beta translating Axl's words to Portuguese]: In closing, I would like to say, without the love and support of one person, above all others, I would not be here today. In America, for the last seven years... [Axl hugs Beta] ...I have been supported by, and taken care of, and looked out for... [Beta (crying): Go ahead] This is very hard for her... The band has been taken care of. She has worked every step of the way to the rehearsals, recording, contracts and what a pain in the fucking ass I am. I’ve been taken care of for the last seven years by a Brazilian family. This is Elizabeth Lebeis, Beta, my assistant, and her three amazing children, Alex, Vanessa and Fernando. She has been a mother to me, to my manager, to my other assistants and anyone in the band who ever needed her at any time. I thank her, and I thank all of you for her. Peace, I love you, and we’ll be here next summer with a whole bunch of new songs. Be good to each other, and we’ll see you then. Goodnight.

I didn't think it would happen. I'm translating what Axl is saying, you know? Suddenly, he comes back again and calls me to the stage. I thought he would thank the audience, and then when he said, “Seven years ago...” I started to choke, I couldn’t speak. I went away and his manager pushed me back to the stage, right? Then I was translating everything wrong, I saw that nothing came out. The most difficult thing is to translate someone talking about you. Nothing came out. I know everything went wrong, I was nervous. There is no way to explain what I went through at that moment, in front of all that crowd...
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


The press would universally praise the show:

Before long. it's back to Axl who seems to have mellowed out and found love after seven years in the wilderness to implore all the people of S. America that no matter if they are from Brazil, Argentina, or Chile, not to fight anymore and that Love is the only way. People aren't sure what to make of this new compassionate Axl but they sure as @#%$ love the show and really and really dug the four new songs the band played from their soon-to-be-release album. […] The set closes after two encorers with axl introducing the woman that has been his saviour / friend / manager /a gent / everything for the past seven years who turns out to be the woman who has been translating for him all night. We don't quite catch her name as she gets all emotional and breaks down crying in Axl's arms in the middle of the stage. Its quite a surreal way to finish off a rock show, but it's been a damn long seven years and this wasn't an ordinary gig, it's the return of Guns n' Roses to the World stage. But there was no leather and no spandex, although the red bandana did make an appearance, reports that Axl is now a tubby bastard are untrue, he looked like he did seven years ago and is still choc full of attitude. FORGET TRENT, MARILYN, AND FRED, AXL IS BACK TO SAVE ROCK!!!!!

As much as G n’ R’s performance was about spectacle, it also proved to be one of the most engaging musical moments of Rock in Rio. Highlights were the kicking “Chinese Democracy” and “Madagascar,” a ballad (not played at the Vegas show) that blended organ, a looped drum-machine backbeat and spoken-word samples before working itself up to Rock in Rio fest a “November Rain” crescendo. Rose’s vocals remain strong, and he commanded the entire stage, even occasionally running into the audience. The new band had enough chops and freak-show appeal to make the crowd forget about the beloved original model. Buckethead provided the most “Slash who?” moments, as he busted out a pair of nunchucks, made his eyes glow and soloed mercilessly.

So it was an exciting show — not only for the unusually high level of musicianship, but also for the unflagging spirit and intelligence of the music itself, and what that seems to promise for the future.


Axl and Brain were also happy with the show:

[…] it was amazing. And it was amazing to play for the people, it was amazing that the people were that, were so happy and so excited. Um, it was. It worked for the band and I was very proud of them. I thought that they did very well. And it was very fun for me to play with the new band.

The whole show was very special. The crowd was so warm and receptive. Sound and music wise everything went wrong for the band, but it was a very exciting show for us to know that we could do a show that big, and it was very new for everybody. So it was a very big and important thing for our new band.

[…] it was, you know, an honor to be able to play Rio. I mean, now there was no new songs, the people didn't know the band, it’s not the old band... And they came anyway and that was very special. And the show brought the new band together.

It was very hard for me, emotionally and mentally, to want to play the older songs, because of the hard times or experiences that I’ve gone through with the old band and playing those songs. But the new guys made it exciting, so it was good to get out there. But we will put together a much bigger show and be more prepared. I feel that we did okay in Rio and it was a lot of fun, but we all want to be much more prepared when we actually do a real tour. This is what’s the band know what it is we have to do.

[…] I did play one of the biggest shows of my life, Rock in Rio, with this new situation, and it was awesome. It was one of the best things I've ever experienced. It was so huge and such a great experience that when I came back I was kind of depressed for a while, because I was kind of like, 'Wow! What's next?' I went to the tenth floor.


And Beta would describe how important the show had been to Axl:

It was [Axl's] dream to come back to Brazil. When we first met, our first conversation was about Brazil. He was talking about the favelas, the diseases and his dream of building a hospital where poor people would receive treatment for free.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


During the show Robin had played a famous Brazilian song, Sossego, and Fernando Lebeis would later discuss how important that had been:

[Robin] was criticized for playing Sossego, but do you know any other person who would do that? He learned that song one day before the show. Axl... Guns loves Brazil, they feel a connection with the fans, they really love it, without any pretense. Robin noticed that and saw Brazil in the same way. He learned to play it and sing it by himself.



LOOKING BACK AT THE SHOW


Immediately after the show, Axl would say his singing hadn't been good enough due to lack of sleep and that the band needed to adjust the sound to the large venue [O Globo, January 16, 2001].

We did the first show at Rock in Rio. We rehearsed for probably two or three months without Axl. Our first show’s Rock in Rio and I thought, ‘Wait, what’s it going to sound like with Axl? Where is Axl? Oh here’s his helicopter coming in.’ The first time I ever played a real show with him was in front of 250,000 people! I was thinking, ‘How’s this song supposed to start again?’ Because some he was supposed to cue but we never had a verbal conversation on whether he would or I!

You look to your left and there was the Foo Fighters, Oasis and Sting! We were headlining that day and everybody was anxious to see what we were going to do because Axl had put this motley group of people together.
musicradar, October 2012


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Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:14 pm

BETA LEBEIS AND HER FAMILY


In May 2000, Rolling Stone would publish a large feature on Axl Rose, titled "Axl Rose: The Lost Years" [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000]. In this article the name Beta Lebeis would be mentioned for the first time as Axl's "housekeeper" [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

Beta (Elizabeta) Lebeis, from Santos in São Paulo, moved to the USA in around 1990 together with her three children, Fernando, Vanessa and Alexandre (Alex), in search of a better life [O Globo, January 16, 2001]. Back in Brazil she had worked as an executive assistant at Quaker in Itajai [O Globo, January 16, 2001].

I worked at Quaker, in Itajaí, Santa Catarina. I was an executive secretary. I moved to the U.S. because the situation in Brazil was difficult and I was a divorced woman with three children. I thought I wouldn't be able to raise my children the way I wanted to if I stayed in Brazil. There were three children. I raised some money and left by myself. I left the kids with my mom and then brought them to the U.S. one by one.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I lived twelve years with the father of my children, in Santos. In the last four years of our relationship, I didn't know that he had married another woman. It was a huge shock. Today he owns Santos Nave, a shipping company. I suffered a lot with his family. I left for the United States, and I got remarried with an American. After six years, he realized that he was not yet ready for marriage. He didn't know how to say he wasn't ready for a relationship, so he packed his things in the car and drove away. This was my second separation.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


After a two-month stint in Delaware the family moved to Los Angeles where she soon got a job as nanny to Stephanie Seymour's son Dylan [O Globo, January 16, 2001].

I was going to get married there just to get a visa, but I gave up. Then I met an uncle of Stephanie's and I liked him. We were married for six years, but he lived in Northern California. Today we respect each other.

I started as a nanny to Stephanie Seymour's son. She was a Victoria's Secret model. That was 11 years ago.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


Through her work for Seymour Beta and her children would meet Axl:

I started working for Stephanie in February and she started dating Axl in May. It seems that we were connected before.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

The first time he walked through Stephanie's door, it seemed like we had known each other forever, there was a very strong connection. He was very worried about the poor in Brazil.

The first time I met [Axl] I was 13, and I was at my cousin Stephanie's house (Beta was married to the model's uncle). I was washing the car when he stopped, grabbed my hand and spat the water he had in his mouth on me. Since then, he has always joked with me. He sees in me someone close to what he'd like to have been when he was a child.


Beta would shed light on this "connection":

I do [believe in past lives], and so does he. As a Brazilian, I believe in this. I think it’s impossible that I would have felt such an affinity with him if I’d never met him before. I don't know what happened at the moment I opened the door for him. It was like I’d already known him for a long time.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


After Axl and Seymour's relationship ended, Beta, and later Fernando, would start working for Axl:

[Axl] asked me to stay with him when they were breaking up. But I was the boy's nanny and I was worried about him. He was two years old and Stephanie was always traveling, she was never home.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

Then [Seymour] moved to New York and Axl asked me to work with him. So then I accepted, because there was never doubt in my mind that, between the two of them, Axl is the better person 100% […]
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I accepted right away. Our relationship was always good, it seemed that we had known each other for a long time.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese

My mom worked for Stephanie, and when she was fired she went to Northern California and Axl called  the next day saying he had liked her and our family. Three or four days later, she started to work for him. So I began to listen to his songs.


Beta and Fernando would live with Axl at his house in Malibu:

[Being asked who lives in Axl's Malibu house]: Me and him. My younger son sometimes lives there and sometimes at my house. I have a house in California, in another neighborhood. But I stay at Axl’s house.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


In addition to working as Axl's housekeeper, Beta also travelled with him and acted as his chauffeur [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000]. Beta herself would describe her role:

I don't know if I can define my position, being as involved as I am in his life. We have become best friends. Sometimes I'm an employee, sometimes I am his confidant. I cook for him, I supervise the employees.

(Laughs) I think that word is more appropriate because everyone asks, "What do you do?" Well, I'm his personal assistant, okay? Then I organize everything that has to do with the house: I coordinate the employees, the gardeners...
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I give him advice when he asks me to. He listens to my opinion a lot, you know? I never see just the bad side. I try to look at a person from every angle. You’ve got to have a 360-degrees view of people; there is always a little spot that is good. So, if he’s going to do a contract or whatever with the new band, that’s his decision. He does ask me what I think, he wants to know if he should do this or that, if it’s too much... He asks if he's being unfair. He’s very concerned about being fair. He doesn't like to do anything that isn't right. He wants to do things right, because he’s very worried about what they’ll say about him.  He wants everything to be right. So I think that I influence him a lot, but I'm a little worried about that because I feel it’s a big responsibility. It’s kind of scary.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


Fernando would discuss hacing Axl as his boss:

Everybody loves him, he's always willing to hear what you have to say. He pays very well, and always wants to know what's happening. But don't lie to him. If you do it, he says: "Well, if you're gonna lie to me, better go somewhere else." Even more if the lie has something to do with Guns.


And Doug Goldstein would comment on Beta and her work:

She works 22 hours a day, and she both cooks and reads his contracts.


Beta would also discuss her relationship with Axl and indicate that it was a deeply personal relationship and not only a business relationship:

I never saw him as a bad boy. He is timid. I think that, being Brazilian and coming from a large family, I am patient. If we fight and he gets mad, I know that it doesn't mean he doesn't love me. But most people just walk away. He was raped (by his stepfather as a child), abused, beaten. He never really had a family. He sees my relationship with my children and it’s something he never had.

According to [Axl], I am the mother he never had. He was impressed by the way I raise my children, the concern ... He never had that. He calls me Beta and, sometimes, mama. […]  I always make food and take it to the studio, I make pies, cakes... I call before the show to wish them good luck. I light candles for them. It’s like I am the mom of the whole band.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

[Axl] has nothing against his mother, but the only thing he doesn't understand is why he didn't receive motherly protection and what he sees in my relationship with my children. Now he understands that a mother should be protective, and he never felt protected.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

He’s very shy, he’s a very decent person, he’s honest, he says exactly what he thinks, he’s very ethical.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese

At first my children were jealous and thought that I was dedicated to him a lot, but they understood with time, and now they’re there all the time. Fernando and my brother also work for him.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese

Sometimes I feel very lonely, I think it would be nice to have a boyfriend, but I don't have time for anything and it will be difficult to find someone who understands this crazy lifestyle.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I think [Axl] ended up becoming another child for me.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese


After witnessing the affection between Beta and her children, Beta would claim that Axl had said he wished he had had a mother like that [O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001].

Beta would also talk about how devastated Axl had been after the relationship with Seymour ended, and that all Axl wanted was a family and children:

In my mind he’s what many women would dream of having. I would never let something like this go. Stephanie, being beautiful and sexy, can have any man she wants. Men are like toys for her. Have you seen a child with a new toy? She plays with them and then she doesn't want to play anymore, she gets tired and decides to change. I always told her that she would affect Axl more than she ever imagined. The other guys she left may not have gone through the pain that Axl went through in his life, you know? So that's why he suffers so much. He wanted to do things right, and he thought he was doing everything right. He took it very seriously. She practically killed him. When the band was over, he thought he would have his family, he would get married and have children... He thought of that as the second part of his life. He had already worked hard to earn enough money, and now he could dedicate himself to a family. His dream is to have a family, children, the things he never had. I think that with me he has started to believe that he really has someone who cares, who is devoted to him and who really likes him. When he talks in relation to me, we have our differences, opinion differences or background differences. And I'm a very patient person, you know? I have confidence in him and he didn’t have confidence in himself. It’s much more difficult with an adult than with a child. I’m not a psychologist. He needs someone to listen to what he has to say and that's what I do. In our relationship I’m a friend when I have to be a friend, and an assistant when I have to be an assistant. I don't mix things. When I'm his assistant and I have to work, I don't mix our friendship with my work. I don't take advantage of our relationship. I have respect like I would with any other employer. That’s our professional relationship.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I'm sure that, for everything he suffered, he will make a great father. He jokes about it, saying that when his child is born I’ll cry big-time. I think it's funny that many fans want to see him angry, because it’s not his normal character. He’s unable to start a fight, he only reacts when he’s provoked.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese


An anonymous source would seem to describe this close relationship:

Beta moms him. She's as close as she's ever had to a real mother.


Near the end of the Rock in Rio show on January 14, 2001, Axl would bring out Beta and emotionally thank her for being there for him:

[Beta translating Axl's words to Portuguese]: In closing, I would like to say, without the love and support of one person, above all others, I would not be here today. In America, for the last seven years... [Axl hugs Beta] ...I have been supported by, and taken care of, and looked out for... [Beta (crying): Go ahead] This is very hard for her... The band has been taken care of. She has worked every step of the way to the rehearsals, recording, contracts and what a pain in the fucking ass I am. I’ve been taken care of for the last seven years by a Brazilian family. This is Elizabeth Lebeis, Beta, my assistant, and her three amazing children, Alex, Vanessa and Fernando. She has been a mother to me, to my manager, to my other assistants and anyone in the band who ever needed her at any time. I thank her, and I thank all of you for her. Peace, I love you, and we’ll be here next summer with a whole bunch of new songs. Be good to each other, and we’ll see you then. Goodnight.

Oh my God, I was very nervous. I always felt that my work was appreciated, but I didn't expect that.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:15 pm

2001 -
PERSONAL LIVES


AXL


At his estate in Malibu, Axl had a mating couple of wolves, parrots, twelve snakes, and a tarantula [O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001].

Fernando Lebeis would discuss Axl's Halloween parties:

He throws two kind of parties: the first one is during daytime, for children, friends' kids and poor kids, abused by their parents, blind... About a hundred kids come to the party, and when they arrive they get amazed. He makes like an amusement park with toys and everything else. The other one is for adults, and [Rolling Stone magazine] said people were hating the party, that we're serving Jose Cuervo when in fact we're serving the best tequila, we serve the best one can buy. We even rented a tequila fountain, but RS didn't mention that. The people who came were the same as every year, they always call a few days before the party asking about it. This is one of the few parties Axl does. People think his house is surrounded by booze and loud music, but that's not true. He only drinks tequila and never gets drunk or mad, he's the most kind person I know. He's always kind to my friends, and every time trouble comes close, he turns around and walks away.


Dave Quakenbush, the singer of the band The Vandals, attended the Halloween party in 1999:

[Axl was] wearing a dinosaur outfit. When some kids approached him and asked if he was Barney The Dinosaur, he said, 'Nah! Barney's a fag!' Then he stopped himself and said, 'Oh, uh, I mean Barney's a pussy.'


Axl had wanted to do more tours in South American in early 2001, but with these not happening Axl still traveled to Chile and Argentina on vacation after Rock in Rio:

So I wanted to come anyway. I wanted to experience and feel what it was like to be in Argentina and feel the people. […] I went to Las Tacas [Chile]. Um, and basically here in Santiago I went to different places. I went to museums here in Santiago. And some different places, but just to meet different people and see what they.

I wanted to play here. I wanted to play here and play Chile, and that didn't work out for us. And since I was in Brazil, in Rio, I still wanted to come to Argentina, because it had been so long since we were here last, and I just wanted to come to feel Argentina.


Axl was still not escaping the band's bad boy reputation and even in 2001 would people be curious about whether he was using drugs:

He doesn't use drugs. I’ve known Axl for ten years and I’ve worked with him for seven and a half. There has been nothing, no drugs ever.  He has quit smoking, too. Absolutely nothing. […] He has a drink every now and then. […]  Axl doesn’t accept [drugs] in his house or in his band, not anywhere. Not even smoking is allowed in the studio, no one smokes near him. You have to go out if you want to smoke. I’ve never witnessed anyone doing drugs.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


Beta and Fernando would also talk about Axl's day-to-day routines:

We have a nutritionist who tells us what to eat. Axl exercises all day long. He runs between three and five miles every other day. He works out for three or four hours. He doesn’t go out much. We go to the movies a lot, he loves watching a movie. He doesn't like bars. […] He eats a lot of healthy food, turkey breast, chicken breast, plenty of salad, and drinks a lot of water... He also likes Brazilian food a lot. He even tried cabbage and liked it. […] His grandmother says that he was never a day person. He writes a lot at night. There is no phone, no interruptions. This is the time when he is most creative.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I'm the one who cooks at the house, but it's easy. He really likes grilled meat and fish, he has a very healthy diet and drinks a lot of water.
O Estado de S. Paulo, July 1, 2001; translated from Portuguese

He likes to surf [the Internet], he could spend hours, but when he reads lies about him and can't do anything, he gets upset. The fans read the public chats and the stories are repeated so many times that they start to believe them.



BUCKETHEAD


In January 2001, Buckethead would sign a multi album deal with Stray Records [Stray Records Press Release, January 2001]. According to the press release, Buckethead was "expected to begin work on the first of his Stray releases after conclusion of tour support for the latest GNR release" [Stray Records Press Release, January 2001].

[I am excited about] the opportunity to work with a cutting edge label which allows me to deviate from formulaic rock guitar


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:02 pm

APRIL 2001
SANCTUARY GROUPS MOVES INTO USA


In April 2001 is was reported that UK-based Sanctuary Group, an entertainment company involved in among other offering management services to artists, would be strengthening their position in the USA [Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2001]. Rumours would have it that Doug Goldstein would be named as the co-president of the company's US management division [Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2001] and this would then be confirmed [Billboard, May 5, 2001].

Sanctuary’s U.S. chief executive, Merck Mercuriadis, said:

America is a place where there’s tremendous opportunities for management. I don’t think the demand for quality management by superstars has ever been bigger.


Mercuriadis and Goldstein would be co-presidents [Billboard, May 5, 2001].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:30 pm

MAY 2001
THE SUMMER TOUR IS RESCHEDULED TO THE FALL


In May it would be reported that the planned summer tour in Europe, to start in less than a month, had been cancelled [CDNow/Allstar News, May 10, 2001; MTV News, May 10, 2001; NME, May 10, 2010]. According to the press the reason was Buckethead suffering from illness [CDNow/Allstar News, May 10, 2001; MTV News, May 10, 2001; NME, May 10, 2010].

A source close to the band told allstar that Buckethead, a.k.a. Brian Carroll, has been too ill to rehearse with the group and that medical experts have yet to determine the source of some reported internal hemorrhaging. They say that more tests are required.

It's thought that the guitarist is being treated on an outpatient basis at home in Southern California and is not currently hospitalized. According to a note from the guitarist's official Web master, "Buckethead is OK at this point in time. The problem is still being looked into."


The band's agent would issue the following statement:

It is with great regret that I must notify you that the upcoming Guns N’ Roses June tour of the UK and Europe is cancelled.

Lead guitarist Buckethead has undergone extensive medical tests to determine the cause of internal haemorrhaging, a condition that has caused him to recently be absent from band rehearsals. Management are waiting to be informed of his prognosis. Then Merck Mercuriadis from Sanctuary Music Management would state that Buckethead had been diagnosed as having a gastric ailment by one doctor and tuberculosis by another [Billboard, May 31, 2001].

Discussions are currently taking place to determine when the tour will be re-scheduled and I will update you further on this aspect in due course.


The next day media would report that it the tour wasn't cancelled but that the band was awaiting results of Buckethead's medical tests before making a decision about the tour [Billboard, May 11, 2001], or that the tour was postponed [Metal Hammer, May 11, 2001].

Around the same time media would speculate on alternative reasons for the tour being cancelled, including Axl wanting to stay home and finish the record [Metal Hammer, May 11, 2001; CDNow, May 11, 2001] to Buckethead and Robin not getting along [CDNow, May 11, 2001], and that Axl was in a conflict with the label and refused to promote it unless he got time to work more on it [New York Daily News, May 11, 2001].

Later in May the first reports would come that the tour would be rescheduled for later in the year, with new dates for Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden (December 5 and 7, respectively) [MTV News, May 29, 2001]. The the following new dates were listed [CDNow, May 30, 2001]:

12/2 - Arnhem, The Netherlands; 12/5 - Oslo, Norway; 12/7 - Stockholm, Sweden; 12/13 - London, England; 12/14 - London, England; 12/16 - Glasgow, Scotland; 12/18 - Manchester, England; 12/19 - Birmingham, England.


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon May 11, 2020 12:57 pm

JUNE 2001
AXL TAKES A BREAK FROM GOLDSTEIN


As shown in previous sections, Merck Mercuriadis had seemingly been taking over management duties for Big FD Entertainment and Doug Goldstein.

In June 2001, the press would report that although Axl had not fired Goldstein, they were "taking a break from each other" [CDNow, June 30, 2001]. A source would claim that Axl knew Goldstein was the only person who would put up with him [CDNow, June 30, 2001]. The month thereafter it would be rumoured that Axl and Goldstein were not talking to each other [CDNow, July 26, 2001].


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Post by Soulmonster on Tue May 12, 2020 5:19 pm

JULY 2001
RUMOURS THAT BUCKETHEAD LEFT THE BAND


In July 2001 it would be remoured that Buckethead had left the band [CDNow, July 26, 2001] but in August it would be claimed that Buckethead was negotiating with Axl over his Guns N' Roses future [CDNow, August 2, 2001]. In October, when the fall tour was rumoured to be cancelled, Bucket's departure would be cited as the main reason [Kerrang!, October 6, 2001]. But when the band hit the stage again on December 29, Buckethead was in the lineup.


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Post by Soulmonster on Wed May 13, 2020 5:32 pm

AUGUST 2001
GUNS N' ROSES TO RELEASE A LIVE DVD OF THE HOUSE OF BLUES SHOW?


According to CDNow, in August 2001 the band planned to release a live DVD of the Las Vegas House of Blues show in Japan on September 21, including the four new songs that were played [CDNow, August 11, 2001].
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 15, 2020 6:59 pm

OCTOBER 2001
THE FALL TOUR IS CANCELLED - GOLDSTEIN TAKES THE BLAME


In October 2001 the rumours started swirling that the tour, which had already been postponed from the summer to the fall, would be cancelled altogether [Metal Hammer, October 3, 2001]. The reason was claimed to be that Buckethead had left the band [Metal Hammer, October 3, 2001; Kerrang! October 6, 2001] and the "global situation" [Metal Hammer, October 3, 2001] which alluded to the war in Afghanistan [The Province, October 9, 2001].

Then in November the band's European agent together with Doug Goldstein would issue a statement cancelling the European tour, in which Goldstein would claim he was at fault:

To ensure Guns N’ Roses fans get the album they deserve, Axl Rose has spent every waking minute of everyday during the past 5 years writing, recording, and producing Guns’ first album of all new material since 1991. Following the euphoria of Rock in Rio, I jumped the gun and arranged a European tour as our plan was to have the new album out this year. Unforntunately, Buckethead’s illness not only stopped the tour but it also slowed down progress on ‘Chinese Democracy’.” As a result, touring right now is logistically impossible. I am very sorry to disappoint our fans but I can assure them that this is not what Axl wanted nor is it ‘Another page from the Howard Hughes of rock’ as some of the media will no doubt portray it. I made a plan and unfortunately it did not work out.

The good news is that everyone is ecstatic with the album and we will be meeting with our label to schedule its release following which we will announce the rescheduled tour dates to coincide. Guns N’ Roses look forward to seeing everybody next year and once again please accept my apologies for the way this has played out.”


Remarkably, at the December 29, 2001 show at the Joint, Axl would state that he hadn't been involved in the planning of the tour at all, and heard about its cancellation on the Internet:

One day I was sitting at home on the internet and I found out that the tour was cancelled and I had no idea that I had a tour.
NME, January 1, 2002; as retold by an audience member


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 16, 2020 12:43 pm

DECEMBER 2001
PLANNING TO PLAY IN LAS VEGAS AGAIN


Despite the tour in December being cancelled, the band decided to play two shows at the Joint at Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas [Gnronline, December 3, 2001] on December 29 and 31, 2001 [MTV News, December 4, 2001].

We've been cooped up in the studio for so long, that we have to release some energy. Since we had so much fun playing Vegas last year, we've decided to do it again.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 16, 2020 5:05 pm

DECEMBER 29 AND 31, 2001; THE JOINT
SLASH IS TURNED AWAY AT THE DOOR


These are the first two shows I’ve wanted to do in 10 years.
Gnronline fan review, 2002; as retold by an audience member

_________________________________________________

Despite having recently cancelled a postponed tour, Guns N' Roses would return to play two more shows in 2001, both at The Joint at Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, on December 29 and 31.

The setlist at the first show would contain 19 songs, five of which were new (Oh My God, Madagascar, Chinese Democracy, Street of Dreams and Silkworms). The setlist at the second show would contain 20 songs and with the same five new songs. No new songs that hadn't been played previously (at House of Blues or Rock in Rio) was debuted.


SLASH IS TURNED AWAY


Before the show Snakepit.org had suggested that Slash would attend the show [Snakepit.org, December 29, 2001].

After all, I have never gone to a GNR concert before.


According to review, Slash had been seen walking around in the casino with guitar in hand [CDNow/Allstar News, January 2, 2002] after having been refused entry to the show on orders by Axl [NME, January 1, 2002].

Speaking briefly with ABCNEWS Radio, Slash said he tried to get in, but couldn't. A security guard confirmed his account, blaming band frontman Axl Rose for the exclusion.

Axl allegedly told the venue he would walk offstage if he saw any of his former bandmates in the audience.


Slash would describe what happened:

They said no way. I knew things were being blown way out of proportion. It was like being grabbed by my hair and being ripped back into the days of when I was in Guns N’ Roses.... I was going to see the show just like anybody else, and to be supportive, for what that’s worth. I spent the last six years trying to stay out of the nastiness that does go on. If Axl had heard I was there and sent somebody down to go, ‘You want to come up and jam on “Paradise City” or “Welcome to the Jungle”?’ I would have done it.

I've never actually seen Guns N' Roses from that perspective, and I was curious. And I wanted to go in a supportive capacity as well. ... I was trying to be discreet about it, but apparently Guns N' Roses' management found out and it was major pandemonium. It was like they sent out an all-points bulletin.


Slash would say that a representative from the band's management company, along with hotel security officers, came to his room and told him to stay away from the show, "to spare me the embarrassment of being turned away at the door" [MTV News, January 4, 2002].

Slash tried arguing that he would not be seen by Axl and had no ill intentions:

I even found a security guard who said he would sneak me in, but the promoter found out about that and nixed that. Basically, if they found me inside, they said, someone would get fired.

Really, I just wanted to go to the show, not cause a scene. If I had wanted to cause a scene," Slash said, "I could have called the head of security on my cell phone and said I was in the middle of the venue and to come and get me, just to f--- with him. I even thought about doing that, but that's just my mischievous side. It shouldn't have been a big deal. And if, even after all this time, if Axl had wanted to do a song, any number of our old GN'R songs, it would have been way cool.


A few days later Slash would call in to the Cane and Cabbie show and explain exactly what happened:

This thing in Vegas, it’s just... It’s amazing how much controversy, you know (laughs) - I don't even know what to call it, Guns N' Roses or Axl and myself or the combination of any one of us. […] Well,  this whole thing started cuz my wife and I went to Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago for the opening of the Whisky Skybar  in Las Vegas. And in our hotel room they have one of those Las Vegas entertainment “what's happening in Las Vegas  this month” kind of magazines and I was flipping through it, and I saw... You know, I mean, I see GN'R, Guns N’ Roses at the Joint and, all things considered, it did catch my attention. And it says that they were playing on the 29th and the 31st. And I was like, “Honey, that would be sort of cool, you know, come back over here in a couple of weeks and go see Guns N' Roses. Now that I think about it, I've never seen Guns N' Roses”... (laughs). […] You know? I've never seen them from that perspective. So I booked a flight to Las Vegas and made a couple of phone calls to people I know in and around the Hard Rock Hotel and... to get tickets, so that I could go in and check it out. And no sooner had I made those plans that the entire – all of Las Vegas knew that I was going to go to a Guns N' Roses show. […] Well, somehow it got out, because whoever it was that I was talking - well, whoever it was that I  talked to in Vegas letting them know that I was coming and when I was booking the room, it’s just, you know, someone couldn't keep their mouth shut. I should have gotten into a 007 mode. […] Anyway, but... So what happened is, as soon as I got to the VIP section of the Hard Rock Hotel to get my room key, and it was like, you could just like feel the vibe. Like, everybody knew something that I didn't know. And it’s like, I’ve been around the block enough times to know this vibe, but I'm not gonna, like, dwell on it. Just give me my room key and basically I'll be on my way. And so no sooner had I gotten my room key and gotten in my room, there was a knock on the door and I think it was, like, four security guards and one of the management company's - you know, one of Doug Goldstein's cronies - and they came to, you know, so as not to embarrass me in front of anybody, in front of The Joint’s entrance. They came to my room to tell me that I was not allowed in the Joint – the Joint is the name of the gig, the name of the venue. […] That I was not allowed in there. And I was like, “Okay, explain to me why is this” and they said, “Because for one, if Axl finds out that you are there, he might not go on stage or he might just trip out and we just don't want that to happen.” And I was like, “Well, then, all things considered, I just really came down to see the show with all of good intentions, with - for one, just I'm curious. I didn't come there to cast any stones or anything like that. […]  I went to go see how my boy was doing, how the band sounded and so on and so forth, and, you know, have a good time and that was it. If I ended up inside the Joint that people were going to lose their job… […] as pissed of as I am about the whole thing, or at least I was at the time, I don't think they... They made sure not to tell Axl that I was there. I know they didn't tell him. […] So he didn't find out till afterwards. So I'm not going to blame the initial distress on Axl. But then, you know, what pisses me off is that the little bastard had the fucking gall to badmouth me and Duff on stage the next night. For riding on the Guns N’ Roses name.  I mean, that's so hypocritical. […] I haven't been riding on the Guns N' Roses name. […] And I’ve been working, you know ( laughs). […] I’ve been doing  all kinds of crazy stuff. I’ve been working, so that sort of hurt my feelings, cuz then I was like, you know - and I knew, I knew that he was going to say something on stage – […]  So that's basically what's up.  And the reason I wanted to let you guys know what the real story was, is because of all these phone calls that I was getting and it was starting to get blown out of proportion. I figured if I could tell anybody who could get it right and convey it properly it would be you guys.


Goldstein would later explain the decision and confirm it was not Axl's decision but a decision made to protect Axl:

We didn’t know what his intentions were. If nothing else, it would have been a distraction. Axl was really nervous about these shows. We decided on our own not to take any risk.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 17, 2020 7:38 am

JANUARY 2002
'BLACK HAWK DOWN' SOUNDTRACK WITHOUT GUNS N' ROSES


According to a fan who talked to Axl after the shows at the Joint, Slash had refused to sign off on including a new version of 'Welcome to the Jungle' on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie 'Black Hawk Down' [CDNow/Allstar, January 8, 2002]. The movie's music producer, Kathy Nelson, would confirm that they had tried to get the song included on the soundtrack, first the original version then a re-recorded version, but that they weren't successful [CDNow/Allstar, January 8, 2002].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 17, 2020 9:51 am

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2001
IZZY, DUFF AND SLASH WORKING TOGETHER


As described in a previous chapter, in October-November 2001 Duff and Izzy had been working on Izzy's next solo record, but this time Slash was also involved [MTV News, January 23, 2002]. In June it would be stated that the record would not include contributions from Slash [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002].

Duff would open up about the three of them possibly doing something with another singer:

I'd never rule out the idea of us three doing something with somebody singing. That possibility is always there. Everything just sounds better than it ever has, but we'll see. We also realize that there's a bit of history involved, and no one wants to screw it up, not for nostalgic purposes. Only for artistic purposes.

We wouldn't want to be that band in 'Rock Star,' or be silly. It's great to be able to afford to say that, that we're not doing this to make a bunch of dough, and we would only give back for the right purposes.

We're just so intertwined. It's not unlike a relationship with brothers. We've lived through a lot together, all through our 20s and early 30s. You know how a lot of people have college buddies? We're like that. We'll never not be friends. Music is a part of that, but it's beyond that. We're family.


Slash would talk about working with Izzy again:

It's the kind of thing where no matter who comes up with the initial idea, I never really have to go, "Izzy, play this part this way." He just plays his thing his own way, and we never really talk about it much.

Last night, we went in and took two songs from scratch - just basic chord changes - and worked them into full songs. That's one of the things about me and Izzy working together - he knows where I'm at, and I know where he's at. And that's the way it's always been. I make up something that accompanies his part, and at the same time accents it, and he does the same with my parts. We have that kind of chemistry. We've always been good friends, so for us to get in a room and play is a very easy thing to do.


Slash would claim the music they worked on would be used on his upcoming solo record [Guitar One, 2020].


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Post by Soulmonster on Mon May 18, 2020 8:06 am

FEBRUARY 2002
ROY THOMAS BAKER IS FIRED?


Baker's involvement with Guns N' Roses seemed to have been short-lived, because already in early 2002 rumours were spreading that he had been fired [CDNow/Allstar, February 11, 2002].
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon May 18, 2020 8:09 am

JUNE 2001
AXL DRAFTS IN TOM ZUTAUT


In June 2001, Goldstein would confirm that Tom Zutaut had been brought in to make sure the record gets done [CDNow, June 30, 2001]. Axl would reportedly bring Tom Zutaut back into the fold to act as a go-between Axl and Interscope [CDNow/Allstar, February 11, 2002]. Then, in early 2002, it was reported that Zutaut had been fired not long ago [CDNow/Allstar, February 11, 2002].
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