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1996.11.15 - News Pilot - Slash and Burn: Real GN'R Story

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Post by Blackstar on Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:44 am

1996.11.15 - News Pilot - Slash and Burn: Real GN'R Story 1996_122




And so the war of the Roses has ended. Guitarist Slash has officially exited, leaving Axl Rose with the rights to the band’s name and little chance of mounting a comeback with it.

Regular readers of this column might recall that in October of 1994, I reported that Rose was pushing for a hometown friend from Indiana. Paul Huge (pronounced Oo-gee), as the replacement for rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke. (Clarke had just been fired by Rose after replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991.)

I also reported that Huge — described by my source inside the GN’R camp as a "thinner, lighter-haired Axl" — was roundly detested by Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, to the point that work had ground to a near halt.

Since filing that report I’ve been informed that Slash had been appearing at the studio to work on new GN’R material, but only when he knew Rose and Huge would not be there. Three weeks ago he was told by Rose to remove his guitar gear.

Of course now that the mainstream media has picked it up, this two-year-old stalemate has become breaking news.

“Rolling Stone’s" online site claimed the split — made official by a fax Rose sent MTV — “ends months of rumors." I guess that’s what they call accurate reports from local newspapers that beat them to a story — rumors — until they can personally confirm them with the record label or until Kurt Loder receives a fax from Axl Rose. (Until recently, Geffen Records claimed everything was fine with GN’R and the album was progressing.)

Incidentally, "Rolling Stone’s” report misspelled Matt Sorum’s name “Sorem," misstated that Axl is threatening to end GN’R, and wrongly reported that Slash will be reviving Snakepit, his 1995 solo band featuring Imperial Drag frontman Eric Dover.

Consider yourselves well-informed by this column. Although I don’t have the resources of a multimillion-dollar publication, I have consistently delivered such stories to you before anyone else, and more accurately.

With that off my chest, let me also say that Rose is as wrong as most of the breakup reports if he thinks anyone will be the slightest bit interested in a Slash-less GN’R. (His fax claimed a 15-track GN’R album will be out by summer, regardless of who’s in the band. Significantly, the missive contained an ultimatum to McKagan and Sorum, warning that if they don’t put an end to their “pseudo-studio musician work ethic," they, too, will be history.)

Rose would be worlds better off moving forward as a solo act, indulging the gratuitous but commercially promising Elton John fetish we saw emerge with 1991’s “November Rain.”

Either Geffen Records or possibly even Rose himself seems to secretly doubt the viability of a GN’R with personnel changes. At Ozzy Osbourne’s Oct. 26 “Ozz Fest" concert at San Bernardino’s Blockbuster Pavilion, someone dispatched an anonymous market-research booth with surveys asking such questions as "Would you see Guns N’ Roses with Axl but not Slash?” and "...with Axl and Slash but not Duff?” Most of the possible scenarios were explored, including “without Axl."

Even with Slash, a new GN’R album in today’s post-alternative rock world would be a rickety prospect at best. GN’R’s original teen-age fans from the ’80s are either working in banks or dead. And the band’s early, vainglorious image is about as out of fashion as Rose’s cowboy boots.

"Axl’s a wuss," Butt-Head proclaimed years ago.

GN’R’s most recent new original material appeared on the double-set “Use Your Illusions" in 1991, when Poison still choked the charts and grunge was what got under your shirt collar. A 1993 album of cover tunes barely earned a tenth of the receipts logged by the band's debut album, "Appetite For Destruction."

In the past year even the formation of splinter GN’R groups has generated more interest than what’s happening on the mother ship. I'm referring specifically to the Neurotic Outsiders, Matt and Duff's collaboration with Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Duran Duran’s John Taylor. The toast of L.A. last summer, the Outsiders deliver a sonic punk wallop unfelt since Jones’ original band split up 20 years ago. (My exclusive interview with Taylor ran here Sept. 6.)

And I have another splinter group with major potential to report here first: Gilby Clarke and former GN'R drummer Steven Adler are currently rehearsing in a Burbank studio. (The two fired Guns have never played together before.)

Tentatively titled Freaks In The Room, and also featuring former Coma-Tones guitarist Joel Soul and bassist Stefan Adika, the new outfit is only an informal jam at the moment. But I’m particularly jazzed by how well Clarke and Adler are getting along and how kick-ass they sound, since it was through me that they got together.

Slash is now gearing to audition singers for his second solo band, which he has yet to name.

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