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

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

Registering is free and easy.



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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:21 pm



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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:22 pm


According to Zutaut, Beta Lebeis had gradually obtained more and more control over Axl and by the 2000s acted as Axl's gatekeeper in his self-imposed exile:

Beta – who started as his housekeeper – is now the gatekeeper. Everything has to go through Beta. You can’t talk to him without calling her and she has him call back from a blocked phone and she’s the one that gets everyone on the GN’R payroll paid – everything is running through Beta. Even Doug Goldstein, who’s the manager, doesn’t have access to his artist anymore – he has to go through Beta. She’s like the president of Axl Rose Incorporated.

Beta would refer to this as "ridiculous" and deny it:

Do you think if you wanted to phone Madonna you get put right through to her? Of course I take the calls. But if Axl wants to talk to someone, he talks to them. Merck [Mercuriadis, former manager] called him all the time – he talks to the band all the time. You know, before this I worked for a manager at Quaker as a PA. I took his calls too – there’s nothing sinister in that.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:23 pm

APRIL 2001

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]. According to later sources, it seems Big FD Management was acquired by Sanctuary.

Sanctuary’s U.S. chief executive, Merck Mercuriadis (Merck), 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 of the new entity [Billboard, May 5, 2001].

Later, in mid-2002, it would be confirmed that Goldstein and Merck were co-managers of Guns N' Roses [Tour itineraries for 2002 World Tour, 2002].

Around the same time, Sharon Osbourne, wife and manager of Ozzy Osbourne, would claim she had denied a request to offer Guns N' Roses career advice [The Guardian, May 25, 2001].

In 2009, Goldstein, who was now estranged from Axl, would send a letter to Axl where he would discuss the sale of Big FD Management to Sanctuary:

The sale of Big FD to Sanctuary......

Ax, I swear on my kids lives, when I was first propositioned by Merck, I immeadiately called Sharon. She told me to fly to England and meet with Rod Smallwood, Merck, and Andy Taylor. Furthermore, and most importantly, she definitavely "ORDERED" me NOT to tlk to you about it. She wanted me to ascertain the strength of the company, which at the time was magnanimous.

After my fact finding mission, I flew to Arizona to meet with Sharon and Elliot. They concluded that at this point in your career, you needed a powerhouse company with unlimited power and resources to help guide your career. Again, I was given the missive to "surprise " you with this information, as Sharon felt you would be PROUD that I was willing to give up Big FD to further enhance YOUR career. Ax, check with Elliot..if he denies this, he's flat out lying...I swear on my kids lives.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:23 pm

MAY 2001

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 Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:24 pm


As in previous years and which had been his way of doing things since after the Use Your Illusion touring, Axl stayed out of the spotlight and only emerged for some press in connection with touring, in 2001 and 2006. This means that for most part, Axl had kept silent since the mid 90s and other people had taken the opportunity to steer the narrative while media were left to conjecture and myth-making.

In 2009, Axl would explain this as a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation:

I didn't talk forever. If I talk I need to 'shut the f-- up.' If I don't talk, it's much worse.

This absence from the public eye resulted in a short movie called "Have You Seen Axl Rose" that was produced and shown at the Flicker Film Festival in Los Angeles in May 2001 and then later on other festivals:

[...]Other films include the likes of “Have You Seen Axl Rose?” by Los Angeles filmmaker Lowell Northrop, which treats the reclusive former Guns N’ Roses lead singer as if he were as hard to spot as Bigfoot [...].
Spokesman Review, October 9, 2003

Northrop would describe the movie on Vimeo:

In the year 2001, there were 236 confirmed Bigfoot sightings in the U.S. Yet, there were only 12 confirmed Axl Rose sightings. For the past ten years, one of rock's most recognizable figures has been in hiding. Only a few people have ever seen him in public. What does Axl Rose look like now? How does he dress? Where does he eat? Is he more afraid of us than we are of him? This short film is a collection of actual eyewitness accounts from those who have spotted this reclusive creature in recent years.
Introduction to video on Vimeo

For a VH1 Documentary that was aired in July 2004, Axl declined to participate despite Slash contributing, which would have allowed Axl to tell his side of the story. Initially, Slash had decided to not participate, but apparently changed his mind:

VH1 hasn't approached me about [a Guns N' Roses 'Behind The Music'], but I'm sure they have enough information that it will come around at some point. But I'm not gonna be one to stand behind it and say, "Yeah - go ahead. Do the Guns story." Please, I don't want to hear it.

Marc Canter would be asked by Axl's camp to not get involved, even though Canter would be partial to Axl and probably help present a more even-sided story:

Axl does not like any press that has anything to do with the old band. To say the least he was upset with a lot of the people they interview so there is no way he was going to be happy with [the VH1 documentary]. I was going to be interviewed for it and got a call from Del [James] at the last minute telling me not to do it. I said there is nothing that I could say that would be bad. I think that Axl didn't want anybody creditable speaking. I think he didn't want to help them in anyway. So in the end it ended up being a one sided story. I would have been the one that would have defended AXl if needed.


I was not upset with Axl I don't even know if he knew that my name was on the list to be interviewed. It could have been Del and Beta [Lebeis] doing what they thought was the right thing to do. Axl may have been upset that I helped them. A lot of times this kind of stuff gets intercepted before Axl even sees it. I would have liked to say some things about the band. I may have been the only one who would tell the story the right way. Everyone else was angry at each other and had a one side story to tell that only blames Axl. I would have gave both sides.
mygnrforum, Sept. 11, 2012

Tracii would also be interviewed for the documentary but ended up being cut out of the program and would refer to it as a "promo for VR":

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

Duff would decline to participate in the documentary [Blabbermouth, May 4, 2004].

It is possible that Axl was reluctant to give any attention to older version of Guns N' Roses, preferring instead to focus on the new version of the band, but in doing so he missed another opportunity to present his side of the story.

Explaining his low-key life:

The only time people ever write about me is when I go out to a strip club, because I don't chase the paparazzi down.

Despite Axl deliberately keeping out of the spotlight, the public interest in him and Guns N' Roses did not subside, prompting the following comment from Jon Bon Jovi in 2006:

You know what pisses me off? That motherfucker hasn't made a record in 13 years and gets all that attention, You know what I’ve done in 13 years? A lot. But they write about the freak show. Because he’s a recluse, that makes him interesting.

In May 2006, as Guns N' Roses would do warm-up shows in New York City in preparation for their summer tour, Axl would become much more public and even do a few interviews. Explaining why he had been away from the public eye for a long time and why he was now doing some press:

Well, it just kind of depends on – you know, different people have different agendas. It’s like, the last 12 years it’s just been more like a negative spin kind of thing, so I tried to avoid that.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:24 pm

JUNE 2001

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].

The reasons for this conflict could at least partly be due to Goldstein having booked the 2001 tour without Axl's authorization, as discussed in a later chapter.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:24 pm


I look back on the last 10 years fondly. Even with all the heartbreak involved. I wouldn’t trade anything for the last ten years I’ve had. I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to my 20s though, that was a pretty shit time, but 30 on has been great so far. I’m way happier and more inspired by writing music now than I’ve ever been. I’ve finally gotten to that place that’s sort of the sweet spot—I’m writing because I feel like writing, and I’m not worried about how other people are going to perceive it or who’s going to put it out. I’m just doing the music how I want it and by my terms. There are so many weird struggles that you have to go through to get to that spot. It was something that the Replacements were always struggling with. We couldn’t sort of rise to the occasion of exploiting ourselves to make the band famous and make other people a ton of money. We tried to go about it in a more rock ’n’ roll kind of way, and in the end, that’s probably how we fucked ourselves.

Tommy's solo record, Village Gorilla Head and his ongoing relationship with The Replacements will be covered in separate chapters.


First off, I've been writing songs and music for a movie called Catch and Release with Jennifer Garner for Sony Pictures. It's taken me a few years to land one of these and I'm stoked to be doing it. I'm told the movie will come out next spring.

Also been working on finishing the Bobot Adrenaline record. This has been a labor of love that's been going on since last summer and I'm just about done mixing it.

Talking more about Catch and Release:

I played on a track of Paul Westerberg for Open Season. The woman who hired him asked to hear some of my music, and they loved it. They couldn’t just give me the contract, since I was a new composer—it was a $40 million movie—so they had to pair me up with someone. I teamed up with BT [film composer Brian Transeau] because he’s a friend of mine, and we’ve worked together before. It was a good fit. The producers gave us ideas like, “We want something that sounds like Los Lobos.” I love Los Lobos, but I would never try to cop them—they are so good! So we’d come up with our own thing. It was a blast, writing things unlike anything I’d done before.

2005-2012: SOUL ASYLUM

In 2005 there were rumours that Tommy would replace the late Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum [Sp1at, September 2, 2005]. But Merck denied these rumours and said Tommy would only do two shows with the band:

Tommy has not joined Soul Asylum. They are longtime friends of his and he is doing two gigs with them in tribute to their late bass player Karl.

Tommy would also mention the shows in a mailing list update:

And lastly, but not at all leastly, I've been learning some Soul Asylum songs for a show in N.Y.C on Oct.26th at the Bowery Ballroom. Yep, I'll be filling in for Karl. I'm told he would have wanted it this way so this is for him as well as Danny, Dave and Mary Beth. At the moment, that's all I know for certain.

Tommy would contribute to Soul Asylum's Silver Lining which was released in 2006 and would occasionally tur with the band.

We’re all old friends from high school. After [bassist] Karl Mueller passed away in 2005 from throat cancer, his widow Mary Beth asked if I’d fill in for gigs the band booked before he died. When the band went to finish the record they’d started, she asked me to do that, too. Apparently Karl had a list of people he wanted to take his place in the band, and I was on it. I like those guys a lot—fortunately I’ve been available to do shows with them the past couple years.


In 2007, Tommy would add the song 'Light of Day' to the soundtrack for the TV series 'Californication' and would collaborate with Friends For Done To Death on a cover version of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for the same soundtrack [Billboard, August 23, 2007;].


There are a bunch of songs I’ve been working on for the last few years. I might just put them up as a free download—it’d definitely simpler that way. I can’t be bothered going the record label route; that’s a big pain in the ass, and they don’t seem to know what they’re doing right now anyway.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:25 pm



In June 2001, Goldstein would confirm that Tom Zutaut had been brought in to make sure the record gets done [CDNow, June 30, 2001]. Zutaut had been fired from Geffen in 1999 [Classic Rock, March 2008]. Axl had reportedly brought Zutaut back into the fold to act as a go-between Axl and Interscope/Jimmy Iovine [CDNow/Allstar, February 11, 2002]. According to Zutaut, he had been contacted in February 2001 by Iovine who wanted him back to get the record out [Classic Rock, March 2008].

Zutaut claims to have been very reluctant to involve himself with the band again, citing having had a fall-out with Axl and not wanting to move from New York to Los Angeles [Classic Rock, March 2008]. The next day Doug Goldstein called Zutaut and practically begged him to come and help them get the record out [Classic Rock, March 2008]. They next had a conference call where they agreed Zutaut would start with a meeting with Axl [Classic Rock, March 2008].

According to The New York Times, Zutaut was offered a roughly 30% bonus if he could finish the project by the end of 2001 [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].


According to Zutaut, the first thing Axl said to him at the meeting was that before they could continue Axl needed to know the truth about Erin Everly [Classic Rock, March 2008]. According to Everly, Zutaut had made a pass on Erin back in the early 90s when she was either Axl's wife or girlfriend, and this had caused a lingering distrust between the two men [Classic Rock, March 2008; and see earlier chapter]. Beta Lebeis would confirm the allegation:

[Zutaut] did [make a pass at her].

At the meeting, Zutaut told Axl that this wasn't true, and that Erin had lied about him having made a pass on her as revenge for him putting part of the blame for Erin and Axl's fights on Erin [Classic Rock, March 2008]. Zutaut also claims he had suggested to Erin that she sought therapy [Classic Rock, March 2008].

She got really mad at me. So her response was to go back to Axl and claim that I hit on her.


According to Zutaut, Axl was frustrated with the recording process:

Here was the Axl that I met in 1985 again. A guy that had a vision and wanted to make the best record that had ever been made. And we talked and he said, ‘I go to the studio I tell ’em what I want and they tell me that they’ve got what I want and then when I listen to it I’m bummed out’. He goes, ‘Nobody seems to understand my language.’

According to Zutaut, one of the issues was the drum sound which Axl wanted to sound like Dave Grohl in Nirvana [Classic Rock, March 2008]. After having talked to Axl, Zutaut claims he proceeded to buy a copy of Nevermind which he gave to the studio engineers and voila the issue was sorted out to Axl's delight [Classic Rock, March 2008]. According to Zutaut, Axl now stated that he wished he had called on Zutaut earlier and asked him to continue working with the band, something Zutaut did after negotiating with Interscope on salary [Classic Rock, March 2008].

At one point in 2001, Axl insisted they visited the psychic Maynard [see previous chapter]:

Axl felt it would be a good idea if we went to Sedona so Sharon could check on our physic energy health and cleanse us of any impurities that might be lingering on. Axl was picking up negative energy and thought it might be attaching itself to us. This was actually quite perceptive on his part as the studio crew was making fun of him behind his back when he wasn’t there.


Then, in early 2002, it was reported that Zutaut had been fired not long ago [CDNow/Allstar, February 11, 2002].

I really thought I could get him to deliver the record. And we got close.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:27 pm


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


In July 2001 it would be rumoured that Buckethead had left the band [CDNow, July 26, 2001] but in August it would be claimed that he was negotiating with Axl over his Guns N' Roses future [CDNow, August 2, 2001]. According to Zutaut, one of the first things he did after being hired to help get the record out, was to placate Buckethead who was indeed considering to leave the band [Classic Rock, March 2008]. It is unclear exactly when this happened, but the rumours about Buckethead being out was in July, so likely in the summer of 2001.


Zutaut would have a meeting with Buckethead where he stated that he had problems with Roy Thomas Baker and the sluggish progress of making the record, and especially Axl's absence from the recording studio [Classic Rock, March 2008]. The tension between Buckethead and RTB would be confirmed by Zutaut:

There was a bit of creative tension with Roy Thomas Baker. Not because Roy is doing anything wrong or isn’t a great producer or anything like that – but you know some people have friction. It’s like oil and water. It might have been cultural differences.

According to Zutaut, at the meeting with Buckethead he proceeded to call Buckethead a genius, vital to the record, and that Zutaut would be in the recording studio every day to help him get what he needs [Classic Rock, March 2008]. Zutaut also claim he then came up with the idea to build a chicken coop in the studio where Buckethead could record his parts [Classic Rock, March 2008]. The existence of the chicken coop would be reported in the press in 2002 [Spin, May 2002].

Describing the chicken coop:

It’s like an apartment within the studio that’s a chicken coop. He’s got his chair to record and a little mini sofa in there, and there’s, like, a rubber chicken with its head cut off hanging from the ceiling and body parts. It’s totally Buckethead’s world. It’s like Halloween in the chicken coop: part chicken coop, part horror movie. We built the coop and then he brought in all his props and toys and put straw on the floor! You could almost smell the chickens.

No one was allowed to go in there apart from the assistant engineers to adjust mics – you could not destroy the spirit and karmic vibe of the coop, his personal retreat. But – it’s chicken wire. You could stand outside and talk, looking through, but nobody was allowed in there with his hacked up dolls and rubber chickens and heads…

Beta would also comment on the coop:

In every band, people have their own ways of being creative – their own things that are personal to them, and Buckethead loved chicken coops. And he loved cemeteries – he just loved that shit. So it was just a fun thing to do…

It’s like Dizzy Reed – he loves drinking that drink, Jagermeister. So somebody made his this huge guitar and you open it up and there’s Jagermeister inside – just a fun thing. And [the coop] didn’t cost money or anything – think about it, it’s just wire. You buy wire and you do it yourself. People say ‘Oh my gosh, that’s part of the money we spent on the album.’ It has nothing to do with that. It’s something you do in three or four hours. Just for fun, to play a joke on somebody.

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.

Gary Sunshine would describe seeing the coop in the studio:

When I went to the studio to say hello and discuss the lesson thing at first, I was shown Buckethead’s recording “cage”,funny but cool.
Per5sonnel communication, September 27, 2020

And so would James Black, guitarist in the band Finger Eleven:

[...] we were in a studio called 'The Village' where Axl has been for the past ten months recording. There's this big theatre room that used to belong to the Maharishi. The Beatles used to go and pray in there and stuff. Now it's this big rehearsal space where Guns 'N Roses rehearses and there's this big man-sized chicken coop where their guitar player Bucket Head goes when they're jamming. And there's this big grand piano where Axl plays and so we just kinda snuck in there and mic'ed it up and started hammering away on the piano, figuring we could steal some of Axl's 'mojo.'
Much Music, July 5, 2003


For inspiration, Buckethead would watch hardcore porn in his coop:

So Bucket comes and says he needs a TV so he can sit in his chicken coop and watch porn. And that seemed to really inspire him to record some great stuff. He comes armed with whatever DVDs he needs and he is doing really great stuff…

According to Zutaut, Axl reacted to Buckethead watching and being inspired by porn in the studio:

Axl sees that Bucket is running this porn – and it is pretty hard core stuff, it’s not soft porn by any stretch of the imagination – and Axl is really disturbed by it [...] [Axl] said music is about energy and we are transferring a creative spirit and vibe within the music. He said, ‘I really can’t have the vibe of dirty depraved porn being a part of my record – it is really not what this record is about, you know?’

Axl is a firm believer that the energy or soul of everyone involved in the process comes through in the final artistic piece – so he works really hard to make sure what comes in and goes out is pure and right for his vision. Which is why Axl was always very disturbed about the former Gunners’ heroin use and what effect it had on their creativity.

Axl then had a talk with Buckethead:

Then Axl left and Bucket was pretty despondent. He disappeared for a few days because he was pretty torn up about it. Not because he was angry or because he thought he should be able to watch what he wants. I think it was more because of the emotional implications that Axl brought up to him: that it wasn’t right to be inspired by shit like that.


At one point Axl brought a wolf puppy into the studio that pooped in Bucket's coop.

And because no one is allowed in there, we wait for Bucket to come in so that we can get his permission to clean it up. So Bucket shows up later to work on his parts and he is mic-ed up so he can record and we hear through the speaker, ‘Oh I love the smell of dog poop…’

So we’re like, ‘Okaaaaaay…’ Roy Thomas Baker or one of the engineers says, ‘Well, Bucket we will get it cleaned up’ and Bucket says ‘Don’t take it away. I love the smell of dog poop – leave it right here, don’t let anybody touch it.’ Three days later, the studio stinks to high heaven of dog poop, and finally the studio could not bear it and had it cleaned up. When Bucket came in the next day, he was like ‘Where is my dog poop, man? I told them not to clean it up.’ And was generally bummed out that it had been cleaned up… And in the meantime, the wolf puppy poop had inspired him for a few days to do some great work…

In October, when the fall tour was rumoured to be cancelled, Buckethead's assumed departure would be cited as the main reason [Kerrang!, October 6, 2001]. But when the band hit the stage again on December 29, 2001, Buckethead was still in the lineup, suggesting that any issues there might have been had been sorted out by then.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:29 pm


In October 2001 the rumours started swirling that the 2001 fall 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 only 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

Axl would later likely reference this from the stage in Pittsburgh on November 22, 2002:

I was in this restaurant bar, and there was this girl and she was like - she seemed to be excited, and they wanted an autograph. Then I finished eating and then they wanted to talk. And then she proceeded to rip me into asshole. So I was like, “Where the fuck did you get this?!” and she was like “I read the internet, I know what’s going on!” (laughs). Yeah, there’s a fuckin’ reliable source there, you know... But then again, I find out what’s happening in my own band on the internet, so… I’m like, “Did you know this?” and then I call someone and I go, “Fuck, I didn’t know that” and the other guy goes, “Oh yeah, I knew that.” Happens all the time. It’s a handy tool, the internet…. This is song called “Patience.”

Axl would later likely hint at Goldstein having booked the tour without Axl's authorization:

But seriously...this is our tour. This is a collection of performances I've agreed to. That I have personally authorized not someone else's good intentions gone awry or a reckless promoter's personal agenda.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:29 pm


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 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.

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.

Axl at the Joint
December 2001


Before the show had suggested that Slash would attend the show [, 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 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.

And in mid-2002 Slash seemed to harbour no grudges against Axl and blamed Axl's management:

I'm not going to make any excuses for him, but I know he wasn't responsible for that. That was management.

In late 2002, Dizzy and Earl Gabbidon would comment on the episode and be asked if it was true Slash or other former band members were not allowed into their shows:

Personally, I don't know if that's true. I heard that he (Slash) might be there, and the general consensus amongst all of us, including Axl, was, 'Whatever. If he wants to come out...I mean, whatever.' I don't know what happened, but I saw a funny cartoon — in, like, FHM magazine or something — of a little caricature of Slash getting kicked out (laughs) of the House Of Blues, or wherever we were playing — the Hard Rock Cafe, sorry. It was probably just a big rumor. I don't know anything about that, to be honest.

More tabloid bullshit! Someone at the House of Blues said they saw Slash the night before and he said he was gonna come down. It made Axl a little uncomfortable so Dougie [Goldstein] decided to not allow Slash passes. He could’ve come and relaxed in the back. Slash milks that store too.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

And Steven would comment:

That's so fucking sad that he (Axl) has to be that insecure. That he can't even let a partner in life, 'cause it's not just a band, there's millions of Rock and Roll bands, but Guns N' Roses was the people's fuckin' band. What they did to me as a personal member was bad enough, but that's so wrong not to let him in, let him onstage. Not even let him play! I'm pissed that he didn't give me a call! I sent him a letter. I'd love to talk to him, it's only been 12 years. I have nothing against him, whatever he said, whatever happened in the past, happened, it's old. It was just fuckin' news, it's fuckin' over. We were young. We know how to rock, obviously. You don't need all these issues. But, I have to say, Axl was the greatest frontman ever, period.

In 2004 Slash would again be asked about the episode:

It’s not that big a deal. I went to go see - New Year’s of a year before last, I guess it was, or a year before that. I went to go see him in Las Vegas and I wasn’t allowed in. It was a big thing around my entire building, just like to make sure I didn’t get in. [...] I went because I saw it – I was actually in a hotel in Las Vegas like right before that, like in December. And I saw an ad for Guns N’ Roses with a new logo and all the stuff, and it looked exciting- [...] It was like, I’m gonna go see Guns N’ Roses, the band that I used to be in, you know? (laughs).

In an interview with Duff in 2004, the interviewer would say that Axl had "instructed the bouncers explicitly to keep you guys, his ex-bandmates, out of the venue", to which Duff would reply:

Yeah, what can I say? It hurts, it illustrates his incertainty and paranoia. It's a shame that it all had to end like this.

Slash would be asked about it again in 2007:

I went down to the Joint in Las Vegas. I knew that Guns was playing and I thought, “This will be interesting!” You know, [it was] New Year’s Eve, and me and the missus went down there, and management had made it so that nobody would let me in. Word got around that I was coming, and so I got there- [...] I got there and I got in my hotel room, and we're about to walk out the door, and there's a knock on the door. It’s security, going, “We can't let you in.” I was like, “Come on, it's no big deal. What am I gonna do?” You know, like, “What's the big problem?” And they said, “No, we've got strict orders not to let you back.” But it wasn't an Axl thing - I always stressed that. It was management, who thought- [...] Who thought it would probably be bad for the show if I sort of showed up, that it might distract Axl from what he was doing or… whatever (laughs). [...] The rumor was that I’d brought my guitar, I’d brought my top hat, and I was gonna get on stage and sabotage the night; which, you know, obviously I wasn't gonna do. I just wanted to sort of stand in the front of the stage and see Guns N’ Roses for the first time, because I've always seen it from the other side. You know?

What happened was, my wife and I saw an ad for Guns N’ Roses at the at the Joint at the Hard Rock, and so we made a plan to go there - it was New Year’s Eve. So I went down there, sort of got myself set up – I made a phone call, got set up, and then went down there, and I was forbidden to enter the venue. [...]  They just… the whole building knew I was coming. [...] They were saying, the rumor was that I had my guitar and my top hat, and that I was going to go in there, because, some, you know- [...] I just wanted to go see Guns N’ Roses, because I’d never seen them before.

Just with all due respect to Axl, he didn’t know that I was banned from the venue. It was a manager’s thing, which actually happened to be our old manager, who I hated with a passion. He thought Axl might not react positively if he knew I was there, so he decided to take it upon himself.

In 2009, Axl suggested that Slash bringing his guitar meant he not only wanted to watch the show as a spectator, and that Slash in some interviews had downplayed bringing his guitar with him to "save face":

[Slash] wrote that whole bit about not having his guitar in Vegas, I'd assume, to save face. I was told by both the Hard Rock and different Guns industry people who had come out to be supportive of the new band and were a bit surprised to see him there, especially guitar in hand, but just assumed it was a surprise for the show and we were in on the arrangement.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:30 pm


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]. According to To Zutaut, Axl, through Beta Lebeis, had said it would take away focus from the work on Chinese Democracy to record a new version of Welcome to the Jungle, while Zutaut meant they could use the version already recorded with the new lineup [Classic Rock, March 2008].

Part of Axl’s induction process for his new band was that they re-recorded every song off of Appetite. So we just had to spend a day mixing it.

This did not happen, and the soundtrack would not include any Guns N' Roses songs.


Despite the band not delivering a song for the movie's soundtrack, Axl had requested a private screening of the movie [Classic Rock, March 2008]. According to Zutaut, when Axl realized there were other people present at the screening, he had blamed Zutaut and fired him [Classic Rock, March 2008].

[Axl] said, ‘Who the fuck are all those people in there? I was told that this was my private screening and I don’t know who these fucking people are! I can’t believe you lied to me about this – you told me it was a private screening! You’re fired!’

Zutaut would also claim he had been set up by someone in the Guns N' Roses camp [Classic Rock, March 2008].

The movie was released in December 2001, suggesting that Zutaut was fired at the end of the year, before 2002.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:30 pm


While discussing Guns N' Roses in 2002, Dizzy would talk about being dedicated to the group and not having a "plan B":

I definitely believe in it a thousand percent and I have no plan B.

I really believe in what we were doing. I’m the kind of person that when I start something I want to finish it. I’m damned determined to stick this thing out. And also I have nothing to fall back on [laughs].

Dizzy's wife would release books:

And Lisa, my wife, has a new book out. Its called Embra's Flame by Lisa Reed, and its available on She also has another book out called Sabra's Soul. They're both kind of based in the rock world, so they're pretty cool. Check them out.

In 2004, Dizzy would talk about a solo record:

I do have plans to do the same [=release a solo record like Tommy] in the future. I will definitely be putting together some demos soon.

He would mention this again in 2005:

And I wanna put out something of my own material, too, pretty soon.

In 2005, the movie Charlie's Death Wish would be released featuring Dizzy in an acting role [Sp1at, May 3, 2005]. Sp1at would provide a summary of the movie:

When a stripper finds out that her sister has been murdered while in prison, she seeks revenge in this pulse-racing action-thriller. The cast features a glorious mixture of lawless rock & roll stars such as Lemmy (from Motorhead) and Tracii Guns, scream queen Phoebe Dollar, and acclaimed porn star Ron Jeremy in a rare fully-clothed role. As the stripper attempts to track down the evildoers who made mincemeat of her sister she enlists the help of a friendly cop. But her courage is pushed to the limits as she encounters a dangerous band of assassins in her tireless quest to avenge her sibling. Hugely entertaining, CHARLIE'S DEATH WISH is a fast-paced thrill ride designed to set pulses racing from start to finish.

Apparently, Dizzy was hoping for more acting opportunities:

I've been delving into a little acting, yes. i hope i do some cool things in the future- that'd be great... so... look for me in movies- yes.

Later, he would mention a movie called It's A Still Life:

You know what, I’ve been working on a movie called “It’s a Still Life” and it’s gonna be a fantastic soundtrack. I’ve been doing the score for that, as well.

As for still partying:

I've mellowed out quite a bit. There are more important things in life than partying all the time. But we manage to have fun still.

2009: EMPTY V

A new live TV station will launch in Los Angeles at the Dragonfly on June 3 for Totally Wayback Wednesdays with Empty V, the new trip down memory lane featuring Dizzy Reed (Guns N' Roses), Troy Patrick Farrell (White Lion, Pretty Boy Floyd), Scotty Griffin (L.A. Guns), and Eric Dover (Sextus, Jellyfish). The band will perform the first songs played on MTV (Music Television), mainly focusing on the songs from the early '80s. Special guest themes will include Max Headroom and the VJs of the past in some form or another.

According to a press release, "This is not your normal tribute or cover band. This is something special, time travel to a safe place we once loved, and now it's back."
Blabbermouth, May 27, 2009

2009-2010: DFR

Later in 2009, Dizzy would play with his club band DFR together with Richard:

DFR, the band featuring Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus (Guns N' Roses), Mike Duda and Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.) and Todd Youth (Danzig, D-Generation, The Chelsea Smiles), will perform this Saturday, September 26 at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood, California. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Ages are 15 and up. Tickets are $18.00 in advance. Tickets will be $22.00 at the door. Also appearing on the bill is Vains Of Jenna.
Blabbermouth, September 23, 2009

Dizzy's band would also do a show on April 30, 2010, at the Stockholm Rock Out Festival in Sweden, again joined by Richard [Blabbermouth, March 5, 2010; GN'R Daily, March 9, 2010].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:39 pm


Chuck Klosterman, writing for The Times Leader, would look back at the missed release dates of 2001:

Unfortunately, [Chinese Democracy] was rescheduled for June [2001], and then October [2001], and then it was completely taken off the schedule. There’s a rumor that Axl Rose won’t release this album until we’ve won the war on terrorism, but that’s probably just gossip. Oh well.
The Times Leader, December 28, 2001

Zutaut was out of the project in January 2002, and would later discuss the state of the music at the time:

There were probably 50 or 60 songs on four or five CDs with 12-15 songs a piece. I had to go through those songs and then sit with Axl and work with him directly to pick and choose which songs would be worth finishing. [...]

We were finishing tracks. Doing overdubs with Buckethead and Robin Finck and some stuff with Tommy Stinson. I felt we had a well finished version of The Blues, Madagascar, Chinese Democracy. Atlas Shrugged was pretty good.

Zutaut would also specifically talk about the "I Have A Dream" speech that was to be sampled in Madagascar, and how important it had been to Axl:

Axl feels that particular speech is at the core of the message that he is putting across in that song, and he told me that if the Martin Luther King estate would not give permission for that to come out on the final record that, that track would not be on it without it.

I subsequently found out that the recorded rights to that speech belong to Universal so I figure that – Coretta King [wife of Martin Luther King] is dead now – so unless her kids are violently opposed to him being associated with Axl Rose, Universal should be able to work that out.

With Roy Thomas Baker and Tom Zutaut being booted off the project, Kerrang! talked to a "spokesperson for [the band's] management" who would shed some light on the ongoing work in early 2002:

I went to the studio three weeks ago and heard 41 songs. You're gonna be blown away when you hear them. All this stuff in the papers is rubbish: Axl's got himself together and he's making an incredible, important record. […] [Axl is] completely immersed in making this record. The 41 songs I heard were from the 60 or 70 he's working on. […] This album will make a big impact on people. People think they have all the answers, but the music will do the talking.

Then in March, Robin would mention in an interview with Rock 101 radio station in New Hampshire that the album would be released this year [Blabbermouth, March 27, 2002]. Around the same time an "insider" at Sanctuary would claim the record was completed:

An album exists and we expect to have it released before the end of the year. Word is that it's an awesome record.

In June multiple media outlets would claim the album was to be released on September 2 [Drudge Report, June 23, 2002; Undercover, June 24, 2002;, June 24, 2002; The Courier Journal, June 29, 2002] but band management would soon deny this to be true [Launch, June 25, 2002].

In August Axl would mention that new songs recently written had replaced older songs but that it was time to complete the record now, but also that despite the record being more or less ready fans shouldn't spend time waiting and that the record might not come out at all:

There are a lot of new songs that were just done in the last year that we feel that ‘okay, well that bumps a lot of stuff off the previous list but it's time to stop that now and wrap up the baby. It feels right, the timing, and a lot of things. We've sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah. If you're waiting...don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility not mine. If it were not to happen you won't have missed a thing. If in fact it does you might get something that works for you, in the end you could win on this either way. But if you're really into waiting try holding your breath for Jesus cause I hear the payoff may be that much greater.

During the August 26 show in London, England, Axl would talk a little bit about the music they had and their plans:

Now, there's been some concern that if we play 5 or 6 new songs, then there can't be that many more on the album. Au contraire, mon frère! We're just playin' the songs we're not considering putting out as singles or anything. So you'll get 18 songs and about 10 extra tracks. And when that - when the record company feels that has run [it's] course, then you'll get it all over again. And by that time, I should be done with the third album! So we'll see if all goes well, boys and girls! And if Uncle Axl proves not to be an asshole - we'll have to see, the jury's still out...

On August 29, Kurt Loder would ask Axl when the new record would be out:

Umm, you'll see it, I don't know if soon is the word. But it will come out and we will, we'll go back, we'll do some more recording and then we'll start the American leg of the tour... And see how it goes from there.

And Axl, Richard and Dizzy would be asked again in November:

Sometime during the next year.

I've heard that it's coming out in March -- but then again I've heard a lot of things, so you never know.

And why it had taken so long:

I was just trying to put this monstrosity together. [...] it's also how do you rebuild something that got so big and replace virtually every person on the crew, every single thing. And how do you make a whole bunch of guys that are something else into something that already was. I don't know if it's exactly been done like this. And not with the intensity of these players wanting to play the material.

We had a lot of set backs and a lot of it had to do with people quitting... sort of like 1 at a time. And then having to be replaced... was like a 1 step forward 2 steps back kind of thing going on so. That's one of the main reasons you know there were some issues couldn't be resolved along the way and people quit on there own accord and once we replace them and try to move on. And during that time we been putting a lot of great songs down in the studio.

Right... I really can't answer it. It's just we want to make sure it's right. Yes we gone through a few different producers. That each person that come along has contributed something to sound you are going to hear when the record does come out, everybody has kind of put there stamp on it but... When you spend a few years on something, you want to make sure it's right. So that's what we been doing. Just making sure to give you guys the best record that we can.

Richard joined the band this year and after the August shows he would record his parts for the upcoming album:

I joined a few months back. We did the tour of Europe, and when we got back, I recorded my parts for the album.

This means that Richard recorded his parts in September-October.

Tommy would also discuss the record's release:

We wouldn't be doing this if it weren't going to come out -- are you kidding? [laughing] If it works out, it could be history making, 'cause no one's ever done this before. A lead singer's never taken the (band) name and continued on with an entirely new band and done that successfully before.

I kinda got into this for exactly that reason; if you're gonna try to do something really whacked, this would be the way to do it. I really don't think about the consequences either way; it's either gonna work or it's not, and in the meantime we're all having a good time trying to make it happen.

It's mostly done. We're doing some last-minute bits here and there on it that we're sowing up. [...] You've got a band that is pretty much done with making the record, a public that is trying to find out what it's all about, so you want to try and make your moves according to that. Also, you have to be careful not to let too much out of the bag before you are ready to do that.

There are just a few odds and ends left to do - a couple of finishing touches, a couple of vocals - and we need to mix it.

To be honest, I thought we were close a few times. And then something happened, someone quit or the bottom has fallen out in some way. Occasionally there's been a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of thing going on. But it's very close to being ready.

In December 2002 Tommy would say the record was ready to be mixed:

It’s gotten to the point where the songs have evolved over time, and they can’t be any better. It needs to be mixed now.

After fall tour of 2002 ended prematurely in December, the band went on vacation and planned to enter the studio in January 2003 to finish the record [The Launch, December 19, 2002].


It took a long time, but now it's working, and I think we'll have the right record. And when we do drop the record - the plan is to drop the record, have a bunch of extra tracks, about a year or so down the road drop another record, and drop a third record. This is a three-stage thing and we'll be touring for a real long time. [...] we've been collecting lots of songs. So there won't be lots of time off. We'll just keep touring.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:39 pm

JULY 2002

In a press release about the upcoming August 27 show in London, Richard Fortus was included in the setlist and not Paul Huge [CDNow/Allstar News, July 17, 2002]. No additional information would be given, but sources close to Richard would confirm that he had joined the band [CDNow/Allstar News, July 17, 2002].

Actually, Richard had been asked to join the band three years earlier, but Buckethead was chosen instead:

Actually, I first got a call like three years ago, but before that audition happened, Axl saw Buckethead play, and he decided to go with him instead. Fortunately, I got another call the next time they were looking for someone.

Axl would later explain the replacement:

Paul helped us a lot in the writing and the recording of this record and to me was a vital part of not only the band but also my life. The world tour really wasn't his cup of tea whereas he's much more comfortable in a studio setting. We're fortunate to have found Richard who has this vibe kind of like Izzy but with amazing feel. The first thing I heard Richard play was the beginning of "Stray Cat Blues" by the Stones and he did it with the right feel. Richard likes to play rhythm. He's an amazing lead player and very technically skilled. He really likes the pocket that Brain sets and the two of them click with Tommy so we finally have the real deal rhythm section, as Richard is a proven professional. Basically, Richard's the guy that we always were looking for. I think that we'll go on to write some very interesting things with Richard and he's already done some rhythm work and some leads on the album.

When we had Richard’s first audition with us and he’s on the plane, on flight out of L.A., some kid (?) asked him for his autograph and was like, “Izzy, could you sign this?” So I kind of thought that maybe it was a good omen.

Richard would later comment on Axl mentioning him playing 'Stray Cat Blues':

Yeah, I was getting the sound on my amp! It wasn't like, Okay, this is what I'm going to play. I was just getting the sound, and when you play something you play a riff or whatever. You're doing something familiar to get the sound in the amp the way you want it to sound. That's just one of those riffs. I was just playing the beginning of it, not even thinking about it. Then Axl was like, Whoa! He was like, Wow, 'Stray Cat Blues'! That's big points. [...] I walked in the room and it was the first time I played with them.

Discussing joining the band:

Tommy and Brain (aka Brian Mantia), I've worked with both of them before. Buckethead was there at that time, and I came in and was brought in to replace Paul, who had been writing with Axl and I guess he was a childhood friend of his. He was no longer there for whatever reason, and they were looking for someone to fill that spot.

In 2005, Dizzy would be asked what had happened to Paul, and respond:

He was dismissed.

Richard talking about joining the band:

I'm the newest guy. I joined a few months back. [...] Yeah [it was an easy decision to join]. Tommy's one of my best friends, and he has been for a while. We've done loads of recording sessions together. And with all of the other people that are involved with Guns N' Roses, it's a pretty unbelievable band.

I had decided to pretty much stay out [in California] and do my own stuff because there usually isn't any money in touring. At the same time I didn't like the idea of painting myself into a corner and never going out. But I'll tell you, the money on this one was too good to turn down.

After years of their begging, pleading and general groveling, I finally succumbed and joined the band. Okay, okay ... I had done a few sessions with Tommy Stinson and Brain. Tommy and I had been pretty good friends for awhile so when they were looking for someone, Tommy called and asked if I wanted to audition. At the time I was on the road in Europe so I had to fly from London to L.A. and then back to Ireland during a two day break. Got off the plane and went straight to the audition and then got back on a plane!

Later Richard would claim his somewhat mercenary motives for joining the band had been replaced by enjoyment:

I mean just think of it, to have Robin and Buckethead up there, I don't think you could put a better group together. We all split up the lead breaks pretty well.

Being asked if he was a Guns N' Roses fan prior to joining:

No, I didn't grow up a Guns N' Roses fan, really. I was sort of like a punk-rock kid, and they were one of those bands that was kind of marginal. You know: They had long hair. Certainly, "Welcome to the Jungle" is a pretty undeniable song, and I loved "It's So Easy," too, because that's right up my alley, fitting right in with bands like the New York Dolls, MC5 and the Stooges. But Guns N' Roses were so L.A., and I was a NYC kid. So it wasn't until much later that I really got into the band.

The kind of metal I associated them with at the time, well, I was vehemently opposed to it.


Although Paul would no longer be part of the touring lineup, he still worked for the band in other capacities:

Paul helps out all the time and is on a lot more material. Paul helped get a lot of the base credits etc together which were extensive. He's always had a good memory on that stuff and it's generally important to him to be as ethical as he's capable which is invaluable.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:40 pm


I've been playing guitar since i was about 12 or 13.

I grew up listening to Robert Fripp, Snakefinger, Adrian Belew, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Peter Green, Steve Howe, Brian May, Buddy Guy, Albert and BB King, God, i could go on forever.

I played violin and cello all through school, so all the way through college. That was my primary focus. It was the biggest part of my musical training when I was a kid. I didn't pick up the guitar until I was about 13. I played violin and drums all the way through grade school.

I started on guitar at around 12 and with great trepidation. I'd started on violin when I was about 4 and had my hands full with 4 strings and was very unsure about adding 2 more to the equation. However, I was in love with the rock and violin wasn't cutting it.

Talking about transitioning from the violin to guitar:

There were all these guitars around the house and they were always so intimidating to me just because there were 6 strings! My left hand was already strong, so it came very quickly.

Talking about his early musical influences:

From the time I was about 9 years old, I inherited my folks' record collection. So I got all The Beatles' and Stones' records. I listened to Humble Pie. That was very formative for me and probably why I started playing guitar. I used to love listening to that stuff. From there, I got really into prog rock, art rock stuff - some Crimson, Yes, early Genesis when I was 13 or 12. Then I heard The Clash and it was all over for me! It's funny because I never took to what was popular at that time, the rock thing with like Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne. I had no interest in it. Then when I heard The Clash, that's where I belonged! So I went from Yes and King Crimson straight into The Clash.

Richard knew Tommy from before:

I did end up playing with a lot of my favorite artists from that time, like Tommy Stinson from The Replacements. The Replacements were one of my favorite bands. I remember seeing The Replacements opening for X when I was 14, and Tommy was my age. You know what's funny is that I met Tommy on a session with Yoshiki years and years ago. After that we became like best friends.


Pale Divine was my first band. We toured and became very popular in the midwest and eventually signed with Atlantic records. We toured with the Furs and during that tour the Furs asked me to join them onstage everynight after our set.

At some point they changed the name to The Eyes, and at one point they independently released "Freedom in a Cage" [GN'R Daily, July 12, 2008].

In 2008, Richard would reunite with Pale Divine for one show of December 29th, 2008 at the Pageant in St Louis, MI, USA [GN'R Daily, July 12, 2008].

1994-1997: LOVE SPIT LOVE

Love Spit Love was founded with Richard Butler from Psychedelic Furs when the Furs were on hiatus, and Butler's brother Tim [CDNow/Allstar News, July 17, 2002].

Fortus initially co-founded Love Spit Love with Furs frontman Richard Butler and Butler's brother, Tim, when that band [=The Psychedelic Furs] broke up in the early-'90s [...]

[Pale Divine] toured with the Furs and during that tour the Furs asked me to join them onstage everynight after our set. I worked with Butler for the next 12 years.

Love Spit Love released two records, Love Spit Love (1995) and Trysome Eatone (1997).

I actually did 2 records with Love Spit Love. Richard Butler had asked me to help him write a "solo" record after we finished a Furs tour. We began writing and after a while he decided that it wouldn't really be fair to call it a Richard Butler album, since the 2 of us had written everything together and it had more of a band feeling. After all of the songs were written we signed a record deal and started auditioning drummers. We auditioned loads of drummers in NY.

I was walking down St. Marks and ran in to Frank as he was closing up a shoe shop. I remembered him from his old band the Beautiful. They had opened for my old band (Pale Divine). His band had just broken up, so I invited him down to audition and he got the gig. So we did the first LSL record and then toured to support it. After that, we switched record labels and signed with Maverick/Warner. That label was really hot at that time, but they really dropped the ball on our record. I thought that was a great record, but we toured and then Richard, Frank and I got together with John Ahston and Tim Butler and did a few more Psychedelic Furs tours.


Actually, right after the last LSL tour, Frank and I had been playing with a couple of friends from the East Village in NY in a band called Honky Toast. There was a huge buzz around that band in NYC. We ended up in this huge bidding war. All the majors were trying to sign that band. It was a band we were just doing for fun. We ended up signing this big deal with Epic and doing a record. We did a little touring, but we terrible management and we weren't a very healthy bunch at that time. After that, Frank and I did some more stuff with the Furs. Frank is a natural talent. He's one of the best rock drummers i have ever had the pleasure of playing with. We've played together so much, we know what the other is going to do before it happens. A sort of telepathic communication.

A few years back, i was in a band called Honky Toast with some of my closest friends in NYC. It was just a fun band that would play when we were all in town at the same time. We were just having fun with it and we played a few shows. Before we knew it, there were all these A&R; guys coming to the shows and a huge bidding war started. It was a great band, but didn't really happen for a variety of reasons.

Fortus has also worked with his own projects, including Pale Divine and Honky Toast [...]


At the time of joining Guns N' Roses, Richard was mostly known for being a member of The Psychedelic Furs [CDNow/Allstar News, July 17, 2002]. According to a quote above, Richard and his Pale Divine had opened for the Furs in the 90s, and Richard became a member of the band when it came off hiatus in the 2000s.


Pisser is the same singer and the same drummer from Honky Toast [=Frank].


Fortus [...] did extensive session work with acts like BT, Gravity Kills, 'NSync, and most recently, Enrique Iglesias.

Fortus, a seasoned session player who's worked on records by everyone from Ben Folds to ’N Sync’s “Celebrity" [...]

When I moved to NY, i began doing sessions. I did loads of different types of sessions. Movie scores, tv ads, pop records, hip hop, country, zydeco, etc... I love to play different styles of music. I love music and i love the challenge of playing styles I'm not as well versed in. I worked with loads of different types of artists. I just love to make music and I'm still amazed that I can make a living doing it. I feel incredibly fortunate.

Being asked how it compares to work with pop artists like Britney Spears and N'Sync to Guns N' Roses:

It's a very different experience when you go in to do a session. It's great to be able to take someone else's song and add something to it. it's very different than when it is your song. I enjoy them both equally.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:42 pm

AUGUST 17-26, 2002

Despite last year's touring being postponed and ultimately cancelled, in April 2002 it would be announced that the band would tour in the summer of 2002 [Metal Hammer, April 25, 2002]. The first show would be to headline Summer Sonic Festival in Japan on August 17-18 [Metal Hammer, April 25, 2002]. This announcement would be followed with additional dates: Hong Kong on August 14 [Rolling Stone, June 13], Carling Leeds Festival on August 23 [NME, April 27, 2002], Pukkelpop festival in Belgium [Rolling Stone, June 13], and London Docklands Arena on August 26 [NME, July 16, 2002] and 27 [Metal Hammer, June 19, 2002]. The band also planned to tour in Australia before Indonesia [Undercover, August 12, 2002]. The band then planned to return to USA for a fall tour from September to December [Rolling Stone, June 13]. The US tour in the fall was the postponed tour when the band expanded their tour to include more dates in Asia in the fall [CDNow/Allstar, August 5, 2002].

Axl was excited to start the tour in China and would say this would only be the beginning of a massive tour to continue for two or three years:

It's a dream realized. A dream come true. The right time, the right place and the whole thing came about by chance. I guess it's meant to be. This was something we could not turn down. The most exciting thing is getting the band out there to begin doing some shows and these are some big shows. It's a way for us to play for a lot of people and have a lot of fun. It's also a warm up so we can have an understanding of how to start our Fall tour. And that's a warm up for the Spring tour. This thing is starting now and much like Use Your Illusions that went for two and a half years, this thing is going to go off and on for the next two or three years and we'll see how it goes. We're really looking forward to seeing all the different people in the different countries and this is a great opportunity.

And discussing the lineup:

Okay, let's see. We have Mini Me and Nipsy Russell and Charles Nelson Riley and Colin Powell. Just kidding. It's nearly the same as it's been; Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Chris Pitman (keyboards), Brain (drums), Buckethead N' Robin (guitar), Tommy Stinson (bass), Richard Fortus (guitar) and myself. I'm very excited to do these shows. Being at the rehearsals with the guys was just really exciting.

People talk about player haters. Well, I don't think it pays to be a 'hater - hater.' You've got the haters out there but the guys in this band it just rolls off their shoulders because they take a certain pride in their work. They're hungry and they want to do this for all the right reasons. They want to get this material out there to the people. Now that we feel that we have clarity as to the album we're trying to make, we're wrapping it up. We've had every obstacle and every strange occurrence that you can have and for us to be playing Hong Kong in a few days is a big step. Everyone's excited and everyone's nervous. As Dizzy put it ‘Oh no, we're gonna have the Red Army between us and the plane…

Axl would also send out a message to the band's skeptics:

To the ones who are negative and want to see either myself or the new band fall on their faces, personally I can't pass up an opportunity to upset so many of them in one quick swoop. I get misty-eyed just thinking about it. I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside! But seriously...this is our tour. This is a collection of performances I've agreed to. That I have personally authorized not someone else's good intentions gone awry or a reckless promoter's personal agenda. These shows are important to us and for better or worse we'll be there. For those who've had my back and are down by us with even a modicum of understanding we hope to give you our best, and look forward to seeing you on this little intro jaunt.


The first show took place at the Summer Sonic Festival, Hong Kong, China, on August 14. This would be a fairly short set and the band played Madagascar, Chinese Democracy and Street of Dreams.

It was my frst outdoors gig and it was amazing.
Noise 11, December 2014

During the show Axl would show the audience a photograph that assumingly would be on the cover of 'Chinese Democracy' featuring a Chinese street with a wall with the words "Guns N' Roses" scribbled onto it [NME, August 15, 2002].

A fan at would provide more information:

Before he played the second one [new song], [Axl] told a little anecdote why the new album is called "Chinese Democracy". He said it was because he saw a photo taken in Hong Kong, which he's using as the new album cover. And then he showed it on the video screens, and it was a black and white picture of a bicycle with a basket, and in the wall behind it, someone had grafittied "guns n roses"!!! He said "I didn't paint that myself, so one of you motherfuckers out there must have did it!" The crowd went wild, and he launched into the song., August 14, 2002

The next show took place at the Summer Sonic Festival, Chiba, Japan, on August 17 before coming to the Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka, Japan, on August 18.

The two shows in Japan would break audience records, 35,000 in Chiba (Tokyo) and 25,000 plus in Osaka.

Both festivals were record breaking sell outs. We were very honoured to witness such spell-binding performances from Guns N' Roses.

Tommy would look back at the show in Chiba:

When it really comes right down to it, millions of people are going to come and see Axl Rose. In Tokyo, 35,000 people came to see us, and they knew they weren’t going to see Duff, they knew Slash wasn’t in the band. So I know that he’s sort of an enigma, so they’re gonna come and see him, and it’s cool to be a part of it. It’s actually cool for me to be anonymous and a part of it. I could walk through those 35,000 people and watch the other bands. I get to be anonymous, and put on a show of that level without all the nonsense.

Hanoi Rocks with Michael Monroe would also play at the Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka, and Monroe would be critical of the new GN'R:

Well, I was very friendly with [Axl] whenever we bumped into each other, but I haven't talked to him in a long time. I speak to Slash regularly. I'm closer with him than with Axl. A weird thing happened when we played in Japan a couple of years ago. Axl was headlining the show with the new Guns N Roses, the hired Guns N' Roses. I never realized how much chemistry the original band had until I saw Axl with those hired guns. They were just sort of lost on stage. When Axl heard that Hanoi Rocks was playing the same festival that he was headlining, he got nervous and said he would not play on the same stage as us on the same day. I checked it out with many different sources, and he thought that the audience would react more to us than to him. That was a great compliment and a good favor too because it leaked to the press and people were like "Hanoi Rocks must be really great if Guns N' Roses are shaking in their pants." I did get along with him and he was very nice to me. I didn't think we were that good of friends until he was nice enough to give us that kind of promotion. I watched him on the monitor on the second day of the show and the guitar player [Buckethead] was just so mediocre. It was like watching a cover band, and they looked ridiculous. They had no connection with the audience. I told Slash myself that you were really shining by your absence. They weren't even doing any new songs. It was all old ones.
Metal Sludge, March 2, 2004

[Axl]'s even beat Billy Idol for procrastination. Billy Idol used to be the king of that. Two million dollars later and you'd ask him, "When is the album coming out?" "Two weeks, two weeks" he'd say. There's probably different things holding up Axl. The guy got so much money so quickly, and you can imagine all the scumbags around him. It must be hard not knowing who your friends are. Let's put it this way, I don't envy him. It was funny, when I saw him play he opened the show with "Tokyo, do you know where you are?" Of course we're in Osaka, so I said, "Do you know where you are motherfucker!" Then he realized he messed up and tried to correct himself. Then a few songs later he’d say, "Alright Tokyo." I was like, 'maybe he should cut down on the Prozac or whatever.’ One time I was having dinner with Axl in New York City. I had a couple of white wines with orange juice. That's when I used to drink though. I don't drink now. Anyway, I was feeling good, but Axl thought I was really out of it. He's looking at me because I'm smiling and he says, "Mike, do you know where you are?" I said, "I'm in the jungle baby, I'm gonna die!" Oh yeah, I knew the answer to that.
Metal Sludge, March 2, 2004

The band then flew to Europe for a show at the Carling Weekend Leeds Festival, Leeds, England on August 23. Before the show, Noodles from The Offspring had expressed doubts about the show actually happening:

Those guys ain't gonna show, we were supposed to have played with them in Italy last year and they blew out [chuckling]. Man, there's so many rumours about that band, what with Buckethead being instutionalised and Axl's hair implants going wrong. And taking 18 years to make a new record - that's insane. But I'm looking forward to seeing the Prodigy again at Reading, and I hope Jane's Addiction will be on the same night as us.
Metal Hammer, July 20, 2002

During the show Axl would respond to a heckler who asked, "Where's Slash?," with "He's in my ass! Fuckhead!" [The Guardian, August 26, 2002].

The band would go on late for this show and by the scheduled end time, at midnight, only half of the set had been played. A review at would describe what happened:

How we rejoice when that legendary confrontational spirit emerges. Past midnight, they have only played half the set, but the promotors and city council want them offstage, because it is improper to enjoy oneself at such an hour amongst a large public gathering, don't you know.

"I didn't come all the way to England to be told to go home by some asshole!", fires Rose [referring to festival organiser Melvin Benn], "Tell you what - I don't want to be accused of inciting a riot, but if you stay here, we'll stay, and we'll see what happens." For a moment, there is an uncomfortable air of confrontation. After all, this sort of thing hasn't happened for nearly a decade. Live outdoor music events are now slick, respectable affairs. Axl's ear to ear grin suggests that he's missed all this as much as we have, and grown men are crying with joy.

As it happens, the council agrees to extend the festival's license so the band can play on. Not so much as a gesture of good nature, rather that a riot could prove rather expensive. So Guns N' Roses go down as the only band in history to mess with fearsome promotors Mean Fiddler and emerge victorious. What an amazing night this is turning out to be.

Guns N' Roses would comment on this in a press release:

Guns N’ Roses wish it to be known that Saturday night’s appearance in front of the massive sell out crowd was delayed through logistical problems beyond their control.

The band were contracted to play a 2 hour set and scheduled to take the stage at 10pm, at which point The Prodigy were still on stage. Despite concerted attempts from the festival organizers to make up time, the show continued to run late. The running delay was further compounded by the vast amount of equipment between the two bands. As a result the Guns N’ Roses crew were not able to take control of the stage until 10.30 pm to begin their preparations for the band’s set.

In consequence, Axl and band did not take the stage until just past 11.00pm – so the show overran the curfew set by local authorities [...].

Guns N’ Roses would like to thank the promoters, The Mean Fiddler, for making the correct decision in allowing the show to continue in the interests of public safety.

And Goldstein would make a statement:

I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know about the "behind the scenes" events at Leeds regarding GN'R. From the first band all the way through the day, the set changes kept getting longer and longer. Prodigy was supposed to go on until 9.30pm, but didn't end up leaving the stage until 10.10pm.

This letter is not to make excuses for Gn'R taking time to get to the stage. We had out normal 45-minute set change. This letter is to thank one man. Festival organiser Melvin Been. He risked going to jail - and they were not idle threats from the local authorities - if he did not shut down the show. Myself and my partner Merck, and our production manager were in his office during the GN'R set, and I saw this man, who had been a gentleman to us from the inception of our committing to play the event, in great emotional turmoil and unrest. He faced the very real threat for being prosecuted, and the very real possibility of losing any future chance of ever having another Leeds festival. He also knew that if we shut down the show, the fans would most likely riot, and another rock'n'roll tragedy would be the headlines today.

Readers, if you enjoyed the festival as much as I did, I urge you to do what you can to keep Leeds alive. The whole event was one of the best bills I've bee involved in. And to Melvin, thank you for making the choice you did. You took a huge personal risk to make sure your fans were firstly safe, and entertained. Thank You.

During the show Axl pulled a calf muscle and needed physiotherapy before the next who [The Guardian, August 31, 2002].

The next show happened at the Pukkelpop Festival, Hasselt-Kiewit, Belgium on August 24.

Review in KindaMuzik:

The first thing that hit me, when the chorus of 'Welcome To the Jungle' kicked in, was Axl's voice. Although the last time I saw him perform live was almost ten years ago, his strong voice sounded exactly the same. All the high notes came out perfectly, and he ran around the big stage just like in the old days. Unlimited mileage for the redheaded enfant terrible of rock music, and the only difference in his appearance was his dreadlocks and fresh love handles. This wasn't just a Guns N' Roses show. This was payback time, and Axl seemed to understand that concept more than we -— journalists and fans — did. Although the setlist was predictable and safe, Axl and his new band surprised me, due to their sheer lust for life and energy, and they claimed their stadium rock throne back from the likes of current dumb, million-selling rock icons with no future place in the history books.

The last show of the tour took place at the London Arena, London, England on August 26. For this show the band Weezer, on direct request from Axl, would be the opener [NME, August 22, 2002]. Guitarist Brian Bell from Weezer would comment:

He was on the stage watching us while we were playing [at Japan's Summer Sonic 2002 Festival]. I was actually a bit nervous about that. After the show, Axl and Rivers (Cuomo) talked, and that's how it happened. It takes me back to the days when I lived behind Hollywood Boulevard in 1988, hearing Appetite blaring out of Z28s. The songs are as good today as they were yesterday.

During the show Axl would reference a review in NME in a self-deprecating manner:

How you doin? I'm doin' pretty good, thanks for asking. It's good to be here in lively old England. See you didn't even think I knew where I was! I want to... I wanna say that I learned that I'm as big as a house! So I think I'm owed some rent money! I think that there’s a little pussy-ass writer over at NME that owes me some rent money... for livin' inside my ass! Just playin' around. This is 'Live And Let Die'.

Axl would also joke about his rumour for ranting:

Now, there's been some concern that if we play 5 or 6 new songs, then there can't be that many more on the album. Au contraire, mon frère! We're just playin' the songs we're not considering putting out as singles or anything. So you'll get 18 songs and about 10 extra tracks. And when that - when the record company feels that has run [it's] course, then you'll get it all over again. And by that time, I should be done with the third album! So we'll see if all goes well, boys and girls! And if Uncle Axl proves not to be an asshole - we'll have to see, the jury's still out... [Talking to Tommy:] Wait, was that a rant? Does that qualify as a rant or was that just nonsense? It was under 5? OK, it's - it doesn't qualify, wasn't long enough!

The Guardian would summarize reviews for the band's 2002 UK shows:

Minus guitarist Slash, Axl Rose brought his metal anthems to England for the first time in a decade. The NME revelled in the “sheer lunatic glory” of Guns N' Roses as they played the Leeds Carling Weekend and at London Arena. Rose's best songs, “like all great teen anthems, remain ageless”, reckoned the Observer.

The future is rosy, added the Times. “Guns-style hard rock acts such as Limp Bizkit dominate the teen market... Rose could well reclaim his vacant throne as the biggest brat on the block... This belated comeback was more fun than it had any right to be.


Just before the tour was about to start it would be reported that the band was cancelling a planned show in Korea in September to work on 'Chinese Democracy' and the media would speculate that more planned shows would be cancelled [Metal Hammer, August 12, 2002]. By September 25 it was clear there would be no shows before November [Press release, September 25, 2002].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:42 pm



There are going to be skeptics. If Slash was still in the band, there'd still be skeptics. But if Slash is what (audiences) want to see, then don't come. This band goes out and kicks a-- and if that's what you want than this will be one of the best concerts ever.

There's people in the audience who have 'Where's Slash?' banners or "We Love Slash' or whatever. Y'know, all those people, they don't leave. They must not be hating it if they don't leave. People seem to be pretty jazzed by the show that we put.

No matter what we do, there's gonna be some people that are just not gonna let go of the old band. But the majority of the people I see out there are having a great time; they're losing their minds and dancing and singing along. It doesn't seem to me like they miss the old guys.

People are really excited as (bleep) to see Axl out there singing the songs. They are a lot more accepting of the rest of this band. I don't think they walk away going, you know, Where's Slash?' at the end of the show. Well, a lot have, but I get a feeling that we have been accepted.

We saw signs like ‘Where’s Izzy?’ But they would be gone by the third song. There hasn’t been a lot of negativity.

Usually the skeptics are more open to the new Guns after seein' us live. I think... haha. It's all good, I mean, ya can't please folks that don't wanna be pleased, so I don't worry about it, I play for those who wanna have a good time and enjoy themselves.

There's nothing unreasonable about liking what you like, and wanting what you want. It's not difficult, and I have nothing against fans of the past line-ups. Unless someone's being a dick about it.  And if they are, that's because they're a dick, they're probably a dick about most things anyway, fuck 'em. But no, I have no problem with the past, and no problem with people that have their favorite era of any music, or any band that I'm somehow involved in.

[Joining the band] definitely had its challenges though, like learning the new songs and having to fill more than just one pair of shoes. That's another thing that was strange; it was a whole new experience being part of a band where a lot of followers of the band had this attitude of "You're not my daddy.. You're not my real dad (laughs)" - that whole thing of "You're not Slash, you're not Buckethead, you're not Gilby... you're not...". It's not just filling someone else's shoes - it was like filling a shoe closet (laughs). That surprised me as well, because usually when you're onstage, and people come to see you, it's because they want to see you. Getting used to the idea that there were people that might be wishing I was someone else made for a very dynamic situation where in the same moment you're being hit with that, along with fans that were just so grateful to see the band back on the road and so happy to be hearing it, and enjoying getting to know each other... It was extreme highs and lows that went along with the gigs in the beginning.

Man, I have so much good stuff going on in my own life, a lot besides GNR. I’m busy making music and getting things done, my only concerns are about giving my best with whatever I’m doing. When I’m touring with GNR I care about the show going well, and what special things I can do for fans, meet-n-greets or contests. When I’m visiting kids at a music school I care about inspiring them. When I’m in the studio laying guest solos on people’s albums or making songs for video games and TV shows I care about making it fun and intense, or whatever it’s supposed to be. When I’m with my family I care about them, nothing else. I’m about to release a transcription book of my first album from ’95 being re-released this year – when working on that my concern was the layout of every page, the quality of the paper, making it the best it can be. When doing lessons for guitar magazines I care about explaining the parts and writing out the music accurately and ready to be published. When I’m producing and collaborating with people in the studio I care about getting the best out of them, and making something unique. When I’m mixing and mastering people’s albums I care about making it sound better than they thought it could sound. When I’m having those rare moments of ‘me’ time, to exercise or play guitar, I care about staying focused. Then there’s hours of fan mail, and eating, shitting, showering, sleeping… So, when am I supposed to sit around crying about people that hope for a reunion? How’s Tuesday at 3pm? I think I might have 10 minutes free.

It's a change, it's like suddenly someone brings home to the fans, "Hey here's your new baby brother" and they're like, "What, I didn't even know you were pregnant, what the hell is this? Who's that?" So there's going to be a lot of skepticism, no matter who it was, there would be skepticism, there would be resistance and resentment. It's like "Hey, this wasn't my choice, and this is my band, I'm a fan. Where's my say in this?" So I think that some people were just happy, "Oh good, they got a new guitarist and they're going to be active again." Other people would be like "No, we don't want any more change. Go back to whatever time period I deem I like the most." So there's a lot of "You need to die, Slash needs to come back,", or "Bring back Bucket."

[Commenting on whether it had been different for Dj when he joined in 2009]: At first he got a lot of that until we started playing shows and they saw how much we had prepared and made sure he was ready to be out there. And he put on a great show and the band was tight and people couldn't deny that he was doing a great job. So at that point I think that his period of people fighting it wasn't as long as mine. We got to rehearse with him for a good year and work out gear and work out parts. I had two weeks, and they wouldn't even give me a fucking microphone. They said there was no room in the mixing board to include me. So that was my fucking experience coming into this.


New songs are received well, I see plenty of people singing every word in the front of the audience, real cool to see that.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:43 pm

AUGUST 29, 2002

On August 29, Guns N' Roses would do a surprise performance at the 19th MTV Video Music Awards, taking place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, USA [MTV News, August 30, 2002]. The band played 'Welcome to the Jungle,' 'Madagascar' and 'Paradise City'.

The Globe Globe writer Renée Graham was not impressed by the performance:

This wasn’t the lithe, sinewy Axl of 1987 but a middle-age man desperate to prove time hasn’t eroded his ability to whip an audience into a frenzy. Wearing his trademark bandanna — swaddling what had to be long, braided hair extensions — he huffed and puffed his way through “Welcome to the Jungle.” By the end of the song, and he only sang a snippet, he couldn’t have been more winded if he’d been running up Heartbreak Hill with a piano on his back. For someone who hasn’t' done much singing in public since the early 1990s, Axl wasn’t in good voice. Fortunately, he didn’t attempt “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” which, given the shakiness of his voice, would have been an unholy mess.

Kurt Loder from MTV would later reminisce:

Well, nobody knew about it. Really nobody knew about it. And then [MTV Executive VP] Dave [Sirulnick] came to me and said, ‘You should really come over to see this.’ It was the night before the show, and they were doing a rehearsal, and it was Axl. And you just thought, ‘Where’s he been? What decade are we in?’ And he had this big band — and they were a great band, you know — but he was doing Guns N’ Roses material, and they were great. It really was a surprise. And when he came out, it was like the Pee-Wee Herman moment.
MTV Newsroom Blog, November 21, 2008

Steven Adler was also not impressed:

I was expecting to be impressed [by GN'R at the VMAs]... Just watch the '88 performance, that was a real band...

Slash would say he didn't saw the performance:

You know, it was one of those things where I got a bunch of phone calls one morning, leaving me messages going, “What was that whole thing about on TV?” and I didn’t know what anybody was – you know, what it was. [...] I’d been gone for a while, Duff had been gone for a while, Matt had been gone for a while. It was over with. When it finally ended, it was like a no turning back kind of thing. So when I heard what it was, it was the MTV Awards and I heard the reaction from the people that saw it, I didn’t want to see something, I didn’t want to leave - you know, I have that memory of whatever Guns N’ Roses was. When I left it was still sort of cool.

Duff would complain about Jimmy Fallon's introduction:

On the recent Video Music Awards, even Jimmy Fallon was like 'I've always wanted to see them' and they kept saying 'them' and it wasn't...

Gilby didn't like it:

I’ve only seen the thing on MTV. And I watched it live, because I knew some people from the crew and they had told me it was gonna happen. I think it sucked.

Lars Ulrich would defend Axl:

In the last two weeks, there's been a lot of Axl bashing going on in various places. I'm psyched that Axl's back. I've always liked GUNS N' ROSES. My perception was that Axl was pretty psyched to be back on TV and back in front of an audience, because he had a lot of energy — maybe a little too much energy. [James Hetfield chuckles in background] But I thought the band sounded good, and what I heard of that new song sounded pretty interesting. I've always had a soft spot for old Axl. So no Axl bashing from me.

A couple of months later Axl would be interviewed and the interviewer would say Axl had looked great at the show:

You are too kind. But the MTV thing was a lot of fun. We just basically… We were working on putting that little medley together on that day, 'cause we didn't know we were playing it 'till a couple of days before it, 'cause it was still in negotiations. So we were really happy to be able to do that. It just blew all of our minds when we were out there and doing it. Like, when the curtain went up, it was like, 'Is this still really happening?' So we're excited to be doing this. This is still a prelim of trying to get some road legs with this lineup, with this band. We just did a mini-tour in Asia and in Europe a little bit, and now we're doing this, and we're also out to show people that this band rocks, this band can play, this band does justice to the old material, and it's a really exciting thing to watch in its own right.

And later he would talk more about the show:

It was really strenuous. I mean, MTV wanted us to do it, but we were in negotiations about what it is we were going to actually do, because I felt like, if we just do an old song, that’s not really the right way to go about this; if we just do a new song... So there was... There wasn’t complications, like, they weren’t being any problem or anything. I was just trying to figure out, “Well, how we do this so that it’s right.” And we were actually working on a medley in sound check that day of the show. And then everything, of course, goes wrong. For sound check, the police won’t let me down the street to the venue. And then, the day of the show the police won’t let me down the street to the venue, and I had to go running down the street past the cops. The best part was, I was running down the street to the venue and in front of, like, all the people lined up for MTV to go in, and somebody’s like, “That was Kid Rock!” I thought that was pretty good.

[...] there were negotiations about trying to figure out how long we could do something and where it would be at the show for, actually, somewhere near the beginning of that little mini-tour we did. And then we didn't have what we were doing on stage worked out until the day of the show. [...]  It’s like, cuz it wasn't for sure that we were playing until the day before the show. [...] People were pretty shocked. Yeah, definitely (chuckles).

Being asked if he had been a nervous wreck all day before the show:

Well, no, I wasn't that... But everything tends to go wrong in my world. Like, even going to sound check, the police wouldn't let me down the street to go to the building. And then, the day of the show, they didn't let us go down the street. I had to get out of the car, run past the police, they're telling me I have to stop, and I'm like, “I gotta sing” (chuckles). And the best part was, as I'm running down the street, I had to run past all the people lined up to get into the building. And they're going, “Hey, there goes Kid Rock!” I thought that was pretty funny.

Being asked why the police wouldn't let him down the street:

You know, just they are lost. Just confusion, lost, don't know what's going on, people not having people's names on the list, not knowing what passes to check, all that kind of crap. So, just usual stuff going wrong for no reason. [...] I had, like, police chasing me down the street (chuckles), and then our security and MTV had to clear with them, but… It was very interesting.

In 2006, when asked about his memories of the show, Axl responded:

Catastrophe (laughs). [...]  It was a lot of fun. It was a tough one. The crowd, though, was great. The audience was amazing and once we got rolling, it was good. But, you know, there was the whole new band thing and it took everybody a little bit to get going.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:43 pm


None of us were planning on getting together. None of us knew it was going to happen. But when we get together, there's a certain kind of click we have.



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].


In April 2002, Matt, Slash and Duff played at a benefit for Randy Castillo after his death [MTV News, November 15, 2002] together with Buckcherry's Josh Todd and Keith Nelson.

A tribute show in honor of Randy Castillo’s memory will be held at the Key Club in Los Angeles, April 29th. Scheduled to perform are current and former members of Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Montrose and many more special appearances are expected. All proceeds will help raise funds for charity.
Press release from the Randy Castillo Memorial Fund, 2002

Review from

Next on stage was the aptly named "Buck N’ Roses," (or "Cherry Roses," as it was later decided upon) which featured vocalist Joshua Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson (Izzy Stradlin was unable to attend), both of Buckcherry, and Guns N’ Roses originals, guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum. They spun the crowd into a frenzy, opening with GNR’s "It’s So Easy" then the Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen," as well as Rose Tattoo/ GNR’s "Nice Boys" and Buckcherry’s "Lit Up." The band then tore into GNR’s "Paradise City," in which Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog jumped up on stage to provide additional vocals. And then it came… Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler pounced onstage and blew out the place with an amazing rendition of the Aerosmith classic, “Mama Kin.” The floors were thumping and the place went wild! Tyler finished his appearance by holding his arms up and looking to the sky, and woefully screamed, “Raaaaannndyyyyyyyyyyy!”, April 30, 2002

Slash and Matt would indicate that the charity gig had been a decisive moment for their decision to form a band:

It was insanely cool. Steve Tyler said, ‘Wow, Axl should probably get his s— together,’ but it’s way too late for that.

The five of us played this gig, and it was just insane. It was just really powerful, and Steven Tyler got up with us, and it was just an amazing night. And so we all talked about it, the chemistry, and how that was the first time we had all played together, really played together, since Guns broke up. And so we started writing songs.

Well basically what happened… do you remember our friend Randy Castillo? He was the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne, he passed away a year and a half ago, so what happened was we put together a tribute gig for Randy down at the Key Club and Ozzy was supposed to play and he wasn’t available and you know we tried to get all of these bands, so they called me and they said Matt would you come play and who do you want to play with? blah blah blah, well I called Duff and then I called Slash, I said do you guys want to come down and jam for Randy, for the tribute? and Duff and Slash agreed and they said well who are we gonna get for a singer?, so we called Josh Todd from “Buck Cherry”, Slash thought hey lets try that guy from “Buck Cherry” out, so he came down and sang and when we were at sound check that night Steven Tyler had called and said I want to come down and do a song with you guys so were on stage rehearsing for the gig that night and Tyler calls and says he wants to do Mama Kin, so we learn Mama Kin, anyway to make a long story short, we play the gig, every thing is amazing, the chemistry is awesome you know me and Duff and Slash look at each other, Duff calls me the next day, says Matt, that felt really good, and I’m like yeah, that felt really good, lets do this, and we got into a rehearsal room and we asked Josh Todd and Keith from “Buck Cherry” to come in and work with us, to make another long story short that didn’t work out with them so at that point we moved on, probably about a month and a half we worked with them. [...] We were like… the time felt right for all of us we had all been through our own… you know things, personal things, and tried other projects, and I did my own album, Duff a couple solo records, Slash did a few Snake Pit records, it wasn’t like any thing like you know we got to get together because we got to make the band happen again or any of that, it just felt right.

I got a phone call from Matt. 'You wanna go jam at this thing?" [...] The chemistry that I have with Duff is not something you can emulate. I didn't have any intention of getting this whole thing rolling, but the day after the gig, Duff and I talked on the phone and were like, `Maybe we should do this!'


In mid-2002 it was reported that Slash and Duff had teamed up with Matt and Buckcherry vocalist Joshua Todd [Metal Hammer, July 9, 2002] and Keith Nelson, also from Buckcherry, and jokingly referring to themselves as "Cherry Roses" [Rolling Stone, June 13, 2002]. Media would report this as a new Guns N' Roses in the making [Metal Hammer, July 9, 2002]. Rumour would have it that they were trying to recruit Izzy to the band, too [CDNow/Allstar, July 9, 2002].

A little bit later it would be reported that it hadn't worked out with Todd (and presumably Nelson) and that the trio were now looking for another singer [, July 12, 2002] and that Izzy would not end up being a part of whatever it was that they were doing [Loaded Online, July 11, 2002].

Later, Josh Todd would explain what had happened:

[Josh Todd]: It was amazing, the band was slamming. And then Slash just came in one day and just shitcanned the whole thing. He said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ And we were like, ‘What?’ It was a real drag ’cause the energy in that room was so amazing, and it could have been a really great thing if the egos would have let it [be]. There were just too many chiefs in the tribe.”


All of a sudden [Slash] is in the press saying they’re auditioning singers now, and they auditioned me. And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about, man? You didn’t audition me? We did a show together!’ It was just so stupid.”

I don’t know what his deal is. I don’t know if he was not confident in the lineup ... I was just so pissed off that I wasted a month of my time.

How gay is [making the search for a new singer a TV show]? What the fuck? He’s turning to reality TV? It’s like American Idol with the Gn’R band, you know? I just think that totally takes away from what it could have been, but, whatever.
Rolling Stone, March 11, 2003


Slash had been giving hints of wanting to play with other former Guns N' Roses band members for some time [see previous chapters], but in September 2002 it would be confirmed that he was forming a new band with Duff, Matt and Dave Kushner (from Duff's Loaded):

I'm doing a fucking record with me, Duff and Matt Sorum. Dave Cushner [sic] is playing guitar right now, and we got the baddest fucking, be-all, end-all rock & roll band.

[...] so we started working on songs, Duff had the idea of bringing in Dave Kushner so we started working with Dave.

All through last summer we wrote every day five days a week we were driving over into the Valley to this rehearsal room, just like a job, we got serious and really focused, and before we knew it, we had fifty songs written, we had a board with all these.

Now we needed a bassist [for the Randy Castillo benefit show], and that's why we called Duff, and also Keith and Josh from Buckcherry, and we met at our rehearsal space. We practiced a Guns- and a Buckcherry song as well as a couple of cover songs. Nothing really special. But, what can I say: it had an unbelievable energy. Just cause of Matt and Duff being there, I suddenly noticed a force in me again, that had not been there for a long time - like a solid kick in the ass. And this vibe, I'll admit that honestly, I missed for a very long time - even without knowing it. When we came to the Key Club, the venue was loaded with people. Steven Tyler was there, and we played 'Mama Kin', which was unbelievably intense. The next day Duff and I spoke on the telephone and realized that we would have to try something together again. If only because of the incredibly great feeling we got on stage. So we worked with Josh and Keith for about three months, but for some reason that didn't really work out. That's when Duff brought in the guitarist of his other band Loaded - and I've known him since highschool. We're talking about Dave Kushner. He was supposed to be a quick fill-in but appeared to be the right man for the job. Especially since he gave us a brand new, own sound..


Then Izzy returned to the project:

Izzy showed up, all of a sudden, and so we wrote a whole bunch of songs with Izzy. Izzy's sort of in and out. He's not what you would call a permanent fixture in this thing, but we've just been writing a lot of really great songs with him. And we just decided to go the full nine yards.

Apparently, Izzy came after Kushner had started working in the band:

Izzy just came out of nowhere, as Izzy does [laughs]. Poor Dave. Izzy's sitting there, this ominous presence, and Dave's thinkin', That's the original guitarist from Guns N' Roses. Am I still gonna have a job? But we're real loyal people. It wasn't like, 'Hey, Dave, we're gonna work on some songs with Izzy; call us back in a couple of weeks!' When Izzy was there, we just played with three guitarists.

In October it would be reported that Izzy would possibly be writing songs with them but didn't want to tour, which was the reason Kushner had been brought in [Loaded Online, October 7, 2002]. This is not entirely correct since Kushner was there when Izzy returned. In December 2002 it would also be reported that Izzy would not have an official role in the band, and that Dave Kushner was definitely part of the lineup [Blabbermouth, December 10, 2002].

Duff and Slash would later discuss Izzy's short involvement with the band:

[Izzy] came in and wrote with us for a week or two, and it was great because it’s our bro, It’s Izzy, we got some songs out that we might use for the record.

There was one point when Izzy came in and we wrote a bunch of songs together. Izzy thought, Yeah we'll just sing ourselves , we'll go out book some clubs. Typical Izzy. It was a great idea but my aspirations were far more long term and a lot bigger. Izzy's always been like that. All the way up to when Izzy quit GN'R, when we were doing those stadiums, it was getting a little overwhelming for him. Just kickin' it in the clubs with a couple of beers, that was fine for him.

And Duff and Slash would mention that Izzy's idea had been that he and Duff would sing:

Well no… that was Izzy’s idea, he said, you know, why don’t Duff and I just sing, but you know you’ve got a world class drummer in Matt, you’ve got a world class guitar player in Slash, I could sing in “Loaded” because the expectations are… it’s a cool punk rock sort of whatever band, I’m not discounting “Loaded” because it was a great band and great guys, but I’m not gonna sing with Slash and Matt you know come on, give me a break, I can sing great back up vocals for something like that but you know to be the main guy.

I think we knew we needed a great front man and we really wanted to find… we were actually originally looking to find an unknown guy, you know, we wanted to find that guy out in Iowa who’s like standing in front of his mirror like… wanting to be the worlds greatest rock singer [...]

The Izzy thing probably got misconstrued a little bit. I think he wanted to come in, like, `Let's go out on tour right away! I've got eight songs, let's go! We'll do some covers; Duff and I will sing!' [laughs] But Matt and Slash and I were more like, 'If we're gonna do this, we're gonna have to do it so it's amazing.' I've heard a lot of fans saying, 'Why don't you have Izzy in the band now?' Well, this isn't cut out for him; he's more of a guy who will be here one day and be gone the next, and you won't know where he's gone to. But he added a new energy that we probably needed at that point.

You have to understand our relationship with Izzy. Izzy's always been the guy who's sort of there and sort of not there. Duff and I have seen Izzy periodically; I've played on his records a couple of times, and Duff has done the same thing. And then he called up right when we were in the midst of writing, and he actually came over and brought a couple of songs with him. And then we just started hanging out and jamming, and we wrote, like, 10 or so songs. It was just a lot of fun, but he didn't want to deal with the fuckin' long haul at all. As soon as we started to physically audition singers, we didn't see him again [laughs]. He's so fucking shattered from his experience [with Axl] that he refuses to ever do anything involving a singer again!

We joked about it. I mean that's what Izzy. There was a point when Izzy was hangin' out with us, we already had Dave Kushner, but Izzy called up one day and he goes: ,I've been writin' some songs - what are you guys doin'?' And we said: ,We're just lookin' for singers and jammin' down at the rehearsal studio. So he came down and we hang out for couple weeks and we wrote probably (pause) about ten songs that I think would probably make. It's sort of fantasy for some people but probably the best Guns N' Roses record (notice: by the way - this sentence broke my heart) . All the music was very sort of. Because me and Izzy and Duff playin' together obviously it's gonna sound like that. But it was cool, we had a good time, it was very nostalgic and all that kinda stuff and I remember at one point Izzy was goin': ,Let's just roll all the shit and I will sing and Duff will sing, we'll go out'. And it sounds cute and everything but my aspirations were a way higher. So when Izzy took off we just continued on doin' what we were doin'.

Izzy was never interested in joining. After Guns 'N Roses, he will never work with a lead singer again.

Izzy discussing why he didn't join the band:

I wanted it to be a quartet: Slash, Duff, Matt and I, but they really wanted a singer, and as we know, singers can be quite problematic sometimes. So I simply decided to follow my own path.

And on whether he wanted to trade vocal duties with Duff:

Yes. That would have been better. [...] I believe Duff liked the idea, but Slash didn't.

The songs written with Izzy would not end up on the band's record:

They all sounded a way too Guns N' Roses. But they might (??? - didn't catch this part) or might appear on Izzy's next solo record.

When we first put this band together, we were looking for singers before Scott came in the picture, and Izzy came down and hung out with us for two weeks and we wrote probably 10 or 15 songs together. It was like old army buddies sitting around the studio, exchanging war stories, and during that time we probably wrote the best instrumental Guns N' Roses record to date. Of course, none of that material will probably see the light of day, but it's really cool. At least I have it on tape.

The thing is that Izzy was so shattered by the whole Guns N' Roses experience that he'll never go back to being in [a band] situation again. He does music at this point, but that's just for the love of doing it, and recording stuff on his 8-track. When he makes records, he makes them real quick and just puts it on the Internet and moves on.


The name of the band had not been decided and Slash was also looking for a singer:

There are no rock & roll singers out there right now, and you know it as well as I do, except for the guys who have been around a long time. As far as new bands, there's not one. If I knew one, I probably would've stolen him by now.

Talking about trying to find a singer:

This is f---ing poor man's 'American Idol,' [laughing] I'll know it when I hear it. Right off the bat, I'll know. We're just trying to find a really great f---ing rock and roll singer, and it's really hard to find anybody that you'd consider genuine, and it's also somebody who's got to fit in with us. It's not impossible, but it's not easy. It could be somebody known, or somebody unknown, who's just a star and doesn't know it.

If we got a girl that sounded like Janis Joplin crossed with Joan Jett with a bit of Tina Turner, that would be rocking. That would be an unprecedented move, because no one would expect that. But just not that many girls have actually applied.

When asked if Courtney Love was a possibility:

It's funny, we were joking about that yesterday, but I just don't see her being into it, all things considered. But you know what? We haven't exhausted that idea, let's put it that way.

Slash would later claim he had been joking:

That was a joke. I mean, I love Courtney to death, but I would never start a band with her. You know, people always think that Scott must be God knows how difficult, but that's total bullshit. If you want someone who's difficult, take Axl or Courtney - she's probably ten times worse. That's how it was a joke. I'm a fan of hers, but I never thought of playing in a band with her.

On November 19 it would be reported that Sebastian Bach might become the band's singer [The Province, November 19, 2020]. And a few days later Duff would confirm that Sebastian Bach and Mike Patton were being considered [Star Tribune, November 22, 2002]. Just after Bach would say he was making music with Slash and Duff but wasn't sure if it would be used for one of his own records or a separate project [Blabbermouth, November 23, 2002]. As for whether he would join the new band with Slash and Duff:

Yeah, I would definitely do that if they asked me. We're writing songs right now, so you never know what's gonna happen. If I was to join them, it would be a new band.
Blabbermouth, November 22, 2002; originally from Metal Express [Sweden]

Bach would not get the job and in Slash's 2008 biography, Slash would say its a pity this had caused a rift between him and Bach, resulting in Bach retorting:

[Slash] wrote something like, 'Too bad Sebastian doesn't like me anymore.' It's like, 'Dude, when I try out for your band and you don't pick me it's not like I'm going to call you to hang out.'
Eye Weekly, April 16, 2008

Later it would be reported that Days of the New's front man Travis Meek was in consideration but this was quickly shot down by inside sources [Blabbermouth, December 10, 2002]. In early 2003 it would be rumoured that Todd Kearns had been invited to audition for the job [Chart Attack, January 3, 2003].

I was sent three songs to work on. Every singer on the planet has been sent three songs to work on. I am to write lyrics and record vocals to three instrumental tracks that the guys recorded… Appetite For Destruction is still in my Top 3 greatest rock records of all time, so I do find the entire thing amusingly surreal.

Duff would discuss the need for the right singer:

It's the exact same songwriting process as on Appetite for Destruction. With the right vocalist, it could be killer.

Slash had grand ambitions for the band:

I want to be the guy who spearheads the next rock & roll movement; I've done it before, so I want to do it again.

It's time for another really good rock and roll band. And we have the perfect canvas to do it on, and we're not going to stop until we get it done. That sounds very valiant, doesn't it?

It would be reported that the singer from Neurotica, Kelly Schaefer, was singing with them at the moment but that it wasn't clear if he would be picked as the band's singer [Loaded Online, October 7, 2002]. Around the same time it would be reported that in addition to Schaefer, Joshua Todd from Buckcherry had been auditioning [Blabbermouth, October 17, 2002]. And in November it would also be said that Lit’s Jay Popoff and Psychotica’s Pat Briggs had also auditioned [Entertainment Weekly, November 12, 2002].

In late October Duff would say they had 36 songs finished [Loaded Online, October 28, 2002] and Izzy would say he had contributed about 10 songs but wasn't sure if they would end up on the finished record [Methanol, November 1, 2002].

We've written a bunch of songs. That's why I have an apartment down here [in LA]. We've auditioned a couple of singers, names you'd know [one was Joshua Todd of Buck Cherry]. They didn't quite work out. We know that whoever comes in is going to have to be the master of what he does. He's going to have to be able to ride out the comparisons, he'll have to make it his own. We don't know him yet, but we will. We're going to spend the summer finding someone. I'm coming over to play the Loaded record in Europe in the first two weeks in September. Slash's wife is having a baby then, so it's a good time to do that. Then we'll get back to what we're doing.

I don't know what anybody would expect from me anymore. It's hard and fast. We know that we can't de-tune and do that stuff. We have to be who we are, and what we were in GN'R. It doesn't sound like GN'R, but we're not going to pretend that we weren’t there.

And talking about the music they will play live:

There's some [old Guns] material we would play, a couple of songs that are really indicative of the real hard rock side of what Guns N' Roses was. But it's in no way, shape or form a Guns reunion, or supposed to be labeled as the original Guns back together to rehash Guns material. We've written up to 60 songs at this point, and we're not really concerned about old sh--.

I don't think I'd ever go near 'Welcome to the Jungle' or sh-- like that because it's too Guns N' Roses, signature material that I think is better left off to Axl to do.

In January 2003, Matt, Duff and Slash would play together with actress Gina Gershon and Shooter Jennings at the Sundance Film Festival.

[Gershon] just came in for one night, but she came in with the attitude that we wish a thousand singers could come in with.

Gina only jammed once with us, simply because she is a good friend. The media have blown that really out of proportion again...

They did audition one girl, though:

We really tried out a girl - Beth Hart. Mike Clink, who already produced Guns N' Roses, thought at one point that he had found someone for us. But he didn't say who it was, and if it was a guy or a girl. Until she appeared in front of us one day, and that was very interesting. Cause it didn't really matter to us if it was a famous person or a nobody - it just had to click.

After the performance Matt would be interviewed on the progress of the new band:

When we went out and saw what Axl was doing with his band, we decided there was nothing standing in our way. We've written over fifty songs. We're ready. We're going to make a rock & roll album. [...] We had to take some years to heal from what happene. It was all so crazy. We're a little older, a little wiser, but we've still got the rock & roll in us. We've been rehearsing every fucking day, five days a week. Coming to Sundance was a good way to break up the monotony of it.

Slash would also update on the search for a new singer:

We started getting about 150 CDs a week [after MTV's last report in November]. After Christmas it dwindled a little bit, but we've been getting CDs from all over the place. [...] If I had a choice, if I could actually go, 'Let's go get [Chris Cornell] and steal him out of his band,' there is one guy I do want who's also taken, but until it's set in stone it's not done.

In January it would be reported that Steelheart's singer Mike Matijevic had auditioned for the position [Blabbermouth, January 29, 2003].


With Slash announcing that a new band of ex-GN'R members was being formed just when Axl was about to embark on the first GN'R tour since 1993, media started to speculate if the timing was anything but coincidental:

This is all very ironic timing, because it's been six or seven years since we all quit Guns, and we just started doing this in the last six months, and all of a sudden, Axl's got his Guns out right now, so it's almost comical.


In early 2003 it would be reported that VH1 was filming the band's efforts to find a new singer [Rolling Stone, February 7, 2003].

I was on my way to rehearsal and thinking about all these reality shows. I thought, 'You know what would be fucking cool? To show a band as it goes through all this bullshit.'

We were getting between 200 and 300 CDs a week. We listened to every single one of them. You have to, because you never know. That one that you throw away could be the shit.

But in March Slash would deny a reality show would be made out of the footage and claim someone else made that up:

No, no. Someone else made that up. Basically, what we're shooting is stuff. It's not... There's no reality concept or anything. We're just doing rehearsal and auditions and we're doing the writing process — everything a band goes through to get it together, and we're documenting it.

That sounds exciting, but realistically, 'documentary' and 'reality' are two different things, and when you say 'reality show,' it just sounds stupid, as far as I'm concerned. There's something inherently wrong with the whole concept of reality shows. With the whole slew of reality things that are going on right now, watching everybody's trials and tribulations, the stupidest aspects of everyday life, or whatever it is that goes on, usually border on stupidity. [...] What we're doing with VH1, is just documenting what we've been doing as far as looking for a singer, and then [we're] going into the studio and all that kind of stuff, basically — just the whole process of putting this band together. They're not going to our house and coming out with us to dinner and going with us to the gas station and watching us fight. So let's put that whole reality concept to rest. [...] There's only really a couple of guys shooting, and they sort of become part of the scenery so they're not real intrusive. So when somebody comes in, at first we don't really pay much attention to the whole shooting aspect because these guys really aren't in everybody's faces. They're really sort of at a distance. They're all over the place, but never right in your way. And so what basically happens is if somebody's coming in to audition, we sort of hint at the fact that there's cameras around, and ask if they're cool with that.

In 2004, Slash would talk more about the footage and suggest it would be included in a future rockumentary:

Yeah, they were there for a lot of it, documenting what was going on. And we're looking to do something with that. They've got this huge amazing story of how it started all the way up to Scott coming in. We're probably gonna add some more stuff to it. A lot of people thought it was some kind of reality TV thing because at the time there was a lot of that going on. But it was more that I wanted to do a really honest 'rockumentary' because it's been so long since anyone put something like that out. When I was a kid that was the coolest shit you could find, a Hendrix documentary, or Cream. To this day the only DVDs I buy are on groups that I love. So that's what we were thinking.

By the start of 2003 the band had listened to more than 500 singers and auditioned with 15 of them [Rolling Stone, February 7, 2003].

One of the singers that Slash called to ask to audition was Myles Kennedy, but after a few days Kennedy declined due to increasing and agonizing tinnitus  [The Spokesman Review, November 26, 2002]. Slash also expressed admiration for Rivers Cuomo from Weezer but admitted that he was "taken" [The Courier Journal, May 10, 2003].

Regarding Sebastian Bach getting the position:

He's busy on Broadway, isn't he? Seriously, we haven't found the one yet.

I absolutely love [Sebastian]. He's amazing, but we've just got to be really careful with who's going to front this thing.

There's been so many people since Sebastian. but I'm not going to name names. I'm trying to be discreet, just trying to be cool about who comes in and all that kind of stuff. That aspect of it is a bit private on both ends, you know what I mean? As soon as I get somebody, I'll make a long list. I'll mention a couple of people — with their permission — of who tried out. But as we speak right this second, we haven't chosen anybody.

Bach would also comment:

All I can say right now is that they’re pretty much trying out every singer who ever walked, and I’m one of them. I’ve laid down five songs with them in the studio, and they’ve given me another 14 songs with vocals that I’m trying to tackle.

But doing eight shows a week [at Broadway] and working on the songs is mentally challenging. I’ve got a lot of energy but I’m using it all right now, that’s for sure.
South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 22, 2002

Explaining why Bach didn't get the job:

[Sebastian Bach] did some amazing fantastic stuff on [the songs] and you know he’s an old friend of ours and I love the guy dearly, the problems we ran up against is it’s kind of with Bas, we sounded like “Skid Row” and we don’t want to go down that… were forging forward you know, we want to try to break some new ground that doesn’t mean that we want to be industrial or modern rock we just want to be something new and this whole time we’ve kept current with music I mean some of my best friends are the Queens of the Stone Age, or Navarro, or Chris Cornell, you know these are guy who have gone on and moved forward and that’s something that we are doing [...]

We all think Sebastian is the best, he’s a great friend and an amazing frontman, but he wasn’t the guy we had in mind for this band. We did a little work together, just to try things out, and a lot was made out of that by some people. But it was just some friends having fun, it was never anything serious.

Talking about the upcoming VH1 show:

Nobody had faith in this thing. The people around us were, like, it’s never going to happen…. I don’t know if the show will give a hundred percent taste of what we were going through, but it will give you an idea.


In April 2003 it would be reported that the two candidates in the lead were Sebastian Back and Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland, and that Weiland was currently in, or about to enter, a 30-day rehab program [MTV News, April 14, 2003; Billboard, April 15, 2003].

In May two songs with Weiland on vocals would be chosen to be used on soundtracks, "Set Me Free" and a cover of Pink Floyd's "Money" [MTV News, May 13, 2003]. Despite this, the band would still not confirm that Weiland was part of the band:

[Arlett Vereecke, Slash spokesperson]: Scott is not in the band. The management set up the presentation as a way to get the guys in the recording studio again, to have something going until they decide on a vocalist.

It's pretty darn close. We kind of set ourselves up for the right singer to come along, and I think so far this is good. It's a step in the right direction [doing these songs] with Scott.

Weiland would, though, in a comment to Rolling Stone when he and Matt attended a Marilyn Manson concert:

Yeah, I’m in the band. We signed the contract.

Although Matt would not confirm:

I need to ask my whole band before we can say anything. We left the studio tonight to come down here to see Manson

And the band would be right to be weary of Weiland's drug abuse because on May 18 he was arrested and charged with heroin and cocaine possession [Rolling Stone, June 3, 2003]. Weiland would later be sentenced to three years probation for this [MTV News, August 18, 2003]. Still, just a few days after his arrest the band would finally confirm that Weiland was indeed the new band's singer [MTV News, June 5, 2003; Rolling Stone, June 5, 2003].

I always liked his voice in STP. He’s got a great rock vibe, but also a cool, slinky thing going on. He’s one of those guys who’s got a dark side, which obviously fits with us.

Scott is an identifiable guy and he has the swagger of a great frontman. We have a lot of energy and we have our own identities. We want a guy who can keep up with that or be better than that.

As for Weiland's drug issues:

We’ve all been through it. We like Scott a lot and he’s come to terms with his own stuff. We’ve been around the block so many fucking times — whereas he might freak some people out, it doesn’t phase us.

I had my name on [the rock star death] list for a long time. I don't like to dwell on that whole thing. Once we found that chemistry was there [with Weiland] then [the drug issue] was just sort of, "OK, well we'll deal with that." And having been around it, it was no big deal.

I didn't get sober through any kind of rehab, but through my martial arts training. Martial arts has also taught me to give back help to those who need it, and Scott came to me seeking help. I mean, he's been to rehab 35 f***king times, and it hasn't worked for him. He told me about that, and he was very honest about it. He said, 'Obviously, rehab isn't working for me, and I know how you got sober and I've always thought that your way might be the final way for me to try kicking it all;. So, I said, 'If you're asking me for my help, that's a very serious thing. I'd have to call somebody, and for me to make that call, I'm putting my reputation on the line. I will call a martial artist, someone who won't give a f**k who you are, you know?'. And he said, 'I'm ready. Let's go'.

It was two-a-day sessions, starting in the morning with a run and tai-chi. And then a light training session in Wing Chun Kung Fu, and then a class working into a heavier session. And then lunch, and then later on in the day a harder training session. It was pretty intense, and I'm still involved in it.

I'm not gonna lie, there were moments of concern there, like, is he gonna be okay? Are we gonna be able to take this to the next level? But he wanted to do it so badly. He was so willing to do what it took to get through this. Plus he wanted to play so fuckin' badly, and write badly, it was fuckin' him up anyway. It was good timing for him to hook up with us when he did. For the most part there was no support from anybody outside of us. We've all been there and that helped.

In October Weiland would be caught while drinking under the influence, a clear violation of his probation, and a judge would send him directly to rehab at Grandview in Pasadena for a six month residential program [MTV news, October 30, 2003].

You know, there's everyone there from convicts to people who have committed crimes through drugs, you know. So it's a good system, you know. It seems to work. It straightened me out, let me put it to you that way.

Weiland would, though, be granted to leave the facility during "phase one" for a supervised four-hour block over a 10-day stretch between November 7 to November 17 to finish recording his vocals for the Velvet Revolver album, due next year [MTV news, October 30, 2003].

All this stuff, when this big machine cranks up, it's just too overwhelming for him. And being newly clean and everything, you know, he hasn't been handling it very well. It's a lot of pressure, and he just, you know, hasn't been handling it. So it's probably a good thing he's gonna go away, but when he comes out, he'll be feeling good, and we're gonna get back at it, and I know that's what he wants the most.

Weiland would praise his band mates for supporting him:

They fuckin' had my back. Totally, selflessly, those guys were there for me. None of these fuckers stab my back; there's no, like, 'You motherfucker, why do you do the things you do?' Like, I'm surrounded with a group of guys that are all fucking junkies, you know? They've done everything that I've done to the hilt, so there's no judgment there. After I got busted, my last fix was the morning after I got out of jail, just to get well. I went to the doctor and picked up some medication to kick with, and Duff and Dave flew me up to Seattle. We went up to the mountains, and I started kicking up there.

On joining the band:

I wanted to hear what the music was like [first]. I didn't want to sing for Guns n' Roses.

The first CD that Slash gave me had a lot of music that Izzy had written with them, and it was a lot more classic-based. I wasn't as excited about that stuff, you know? But when I got the next batch of songs, it was like, `Okay, there's a handful of songs in here that I definitely feel I can wrap my head around.' And one of the riffs was the 'Set Me Free' riff. It reminded me of a cross between a classic STP thing and a classic GN'R track. I think it was a good song for us to start with-not pushing the envelope too much. You couldn't come out with something too 'out there' or people would be like, `This doesn't make sense!'

Talking about how Weiland got the job:

[...] so Scott Weiland and his wife and my wife became friends during this whole time and their kind of plotting like we should get Scott in the band you know. [...] so they really were pretty instrumental in getting this thing together, we..., you know Scott and I we would go to dinner with our wives you know and Scott brought it up and he said you know I hear you guys are doing something and I’d be interested in hearing something, I gave him a cd, he was still out with STP and which I didn’t know, we certainly don’t want to break up Stone Temple Pilots you know, so we didn’t hear from him, fine we kept going, and I don’t know six months later, by this time we’ve got these managers a big management team and our manager David Kodicow called me, he says ok dude, you gotta call Scott Weiland again, I said hey man it’s you know it’s personal you know our wives are friends and he’s busy with Stone Temple Pilots, he goes Stone Temple Pilots are not around anymore, it’s done call him now, I’m like oh, alright alright alright, so I called him, he goes ok, we had a soundtrack to do, do you want to try it out, you know make a couple bucks and do these soundtracks it would be fun, he said Oh yeah, he came up.

I kind of got to know Duff because our wives had become friends. Both of our wives are models, and they'd gotten to know each other, so we went out to dinner a couple times. l'd known Dave, because the Electric Love Hogs used to play with my band when we were both playing clubs in Los Angeles, back in the day. And I knew Matt because we were in rehab together when he first got clean. So I knew those guys, and then Duff and I kind of got to know each other, and he mentioned that they were playing together again. And then I got a call from Slash, and they gave me a CD; I listened to the music, but at that time I was still kind of entrenched with STP. It was sort of unclear where we were going; we were trying to get out of our deal with Atlantic, and we wanted to sign a new contract with a new label. So I was unable to commit, but I kind of kept that thought alive. I waited around for things to start regenerating with STP, and it just sort of didn't happen. So I talked to those guys again and went down to their rehearsal place.

Well, [Weiland] was the first guy we thought of. But at that time, he still sang for Stone Temple Pilots. Even though he was interested and liked the music, he couldn't do it. So we tried out different singers for about eight months, and listened to about 200 people every week. Of all those people, only about two were so good that you would invite them back later. That was very stressful. Honestly: we were often at the point where we would throw the whole thing away cause it was so frustrating. But we worked on nevertheless, until Scott came back at one point and told us about the end of the Pilots. Ironically enough, we had some offers for various soundtracks at this point, which was a pretty good test to see if we fit together and how it would sound. So he came in, and we played. What should I say: It fit wonderfully - the classic combination of five guys who understand eachother immediately.

Cause it didn't really matter to us if it was a famous person or a nobody - it just had to click. And among the famous guys, there was really only Scott. He had the right voice, but appeared to be unavailable. Don't get me wrong: of course we found more than enough great singers - but they didn't fit the bill. Cause the weird thing is: when someone else besides Scott sings these songs, they sound very different. Only he interprets them the way we imagined them. And as soon as he was on board, we booked a gig. We played two original songs, one from STP and one from Guns, as well as a few covers. We performed those six songs at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, and that was just incredible. I had never seen Scott live and had no idea who I was dealing with. I was the only one of the guys in the band that didn't really know him, except for his songs that you hear on the radio. But when we finally were on stage, I only thought "That's it!, and I don't care if we have to go through hell - it's worth it.


The same day as Weiland was officially confirmed to be the band's singer, the band name was revealed to be Velvet Revolver [MTV News, June 5, 2003; Rolling Stone, June 5, 2003].

The Project was a moniker that was affectionately given to us by the public. I think it started on the Internet. It was a working name. Reloaded was just something that we'd been talking about that day. So it was funny when the next day we read that Scott had told you that. But, then we had a couple different names hanging around. Revolver was one of them, but Scott had this idea to put Velvet in front of it, and I thought that was cool.

It was a very last-minute thing. It started with the name “Revolver,” and then Scott came in with “Velvet,” and we put the two together and there you have it.

Slash came up with Revolver at one point. Nothing else. I then looked it up on the internet and it appeared that there were a couple of thousand bands with that name. And it seemed to be too expensive of a joke to buy them all off, so we wanted to give it our own twist. Scott came up with Velvet Revolver and we stuck to that. Don't look for any hidden meaning. The fact that both band names refer to a gun is a coincidence. It's a fine name, but the music is more important.

When confronted with the band name obviously being a play on "Guns N' Roses":

For a long time we didn’t want to have any name, at least until we finalized on who the singer was going to be. For a while we just referred to what we were doing as The Project, and that name almost stuck. But once Scott came on board, things began to take shape. We liked the name Revolver because of our past associations, but it seemed a little too obvious ... too in-your-face, if you know what I mean. So then Scott was the one who thought that Velvet Revolver sounded cool, and as soon as he said it, we all agreed.

Nah, it sounds more like the Sex Pistols. To me, it's all sexual. It's all phallic.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:44 pm


The new lineups of Guns N' Roses from 1996 and onwards had come together in unusual ways with most band members not knowing each other from before. Axl would later hints at difficulties getting everybody to get along and gel:

I was just trying to put this monstrosity together. [...] it's also how do you rebuild something that got so big and replace virtually every person on the crew, every single thing. And how do you make a whole bunch of guys that are something else into something that already was.

[...] this band did not come together by a bunch of guys meeting each other in a bar or down on a corner in their old neighborhood or anything like that.

Tommy, Richard and Dizzy would comment on what a weird bunch of musicians they were, but how well they played together:

That's really sort of the intrinsic kicker. [Axl] didn't go out and hire a bunch of Sunset Strip metalheads to fill the gap. He got the best of the worlds he was interested in.

It's funny - if you took any pair of us, none of us would've started a band together. We've had to work hard at the chemistry. But everyone is so talented, it works. You add Axl and it works even better.

Everyone is good enough. Each one of those guys is a great player in his own right and so its works no matter what. But as far as chemistry? Yeah you know we are a few shows into it now and you can tell, you can feel it. I think you can rehearse as much as you want but when you put something together like this, you need to go out and play and feel it. And some of us been working together for a while now in the studio and we're a few shows into it now and it's really starting to feel cool. People are losing their minds man, it's been going great.

Everyone comes from a different place, but when we get together it all seems to work. I think there’s a little more depth to the sound and what we’re doing.

This [band] isn't like some all-star team. We've all had time to work on Chinese Democracy, but we don't really have any public identity yet.

It’s a lot of fun. I won’t [kid] you. It’s a lot of fun to go up there and have cannons going off behind you, and having your rock dream come true. Not that I have that dream as of late, but as a kid that would have just made my day.

I think the new guys really put in a lot of what eventually will come out. I think it is amazing that we are going to pull this off. Because we are all coming from different backgrounds.


We have Robin Finck, he was in Cirque de Soliel, before he was in Nine Inch Nails. We also have this guy named Richard Fortus, who is phenomenal playing guitar. He actually just sat in with me at the Cat Club Thursday night with the Starfuckers. Brian plays drums. Tommy Stinson, who plays bass, was in the Replacements. That is the core of the GNR lineup now. Oh, and we have this cat named Mother Goose [=Chris Pitman]. He plays keyboards and does a lot of computer programming.

I think in a lot of ways its a better band than the old band. the best band... the lineup that we had in 2002 is the best band that I ever played with. [...] skill.. and yea... the whole performance- everything.

DJ is working out great. He's a great guy and is very easy to get along with. He's brought so much to the live show and has been really well received by the audiences.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:44 pm



In October 2002, composer Marco Beltrami would mention that he had recently been asked to provide orchestral arrangements for the Guns N' Roses songs "Seven," "Leave Me Alone," "General" and "Thyme" [Marco Beltrami website, October 17, 2002].

The suggestion to contact Beltrami had come from Mark Williams, A&R executive at Geffen:

[...] [A&R executive] Mark Williams suggested Marco Beltrami, among others, to play strings on the album.

Beltrami would later speak more about the work he had done:

That was sort of just work for hire. I guess they'd heard some of my orchestral music of mine. I met with Axl and he played me these songs, asked me my ideas about them, and I told him what I thought they needed. They gave me four songs to orchestrate. A couple of them I did more than orchestrating, I actually wrote some melodies and stuff. It was a fun project. I really enjoyed it. The music was eclectic and at the time that I was doing it there were no lyrics on the songs that I was working on. People ask me about the album and I really have no idea about the release. I thought it was coming out last September. I'm the wrong person to ask about that.

[Being asked if he'd been in the studio with the band]: No, they had finished tracks. On one song I actually wrote a guitar part, but they pretty much had the band tracks down and then I added orchestral stuff on top of it.

[Being asked which songs it were]: A song called "Seven," which is the one that I did the most work on, I actually did some writing on. There was one called "Thyme," one called "The General," one called "Leave Me Alone."

I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was different than doing film music, but it was a lot of fun. I would probably do it again. It would probably be more fun at some point, to do it as a more collaborative affair, starting more from scratch, working and writing stuff [together]. But it was definitely fun. [...] In fact I have plans for other projects as well, some operatic stuff and some concert stuff, and I like writing songs, too. To me music is music and it's not limited by the medium, it just encompasses everything.


In late 2004 it would be reported that orchestral arranger Paul Buckmaster had worked on the songs, "Blues", "Twat", "Prostitute" and "Madagascar" from Guns N' Roses forthcoming album [Blabbermouth, November 22, 2004]. Buckmaster worked on the songs throughout August and September 2002 [The London Times, March 18, 2005].

Buckmaster would describe meeting Axl:

Axl was supposed to be there at 3pm, but turned up at 5. He was apologetic and ran me through four songs that he wanted to put strings over.

Axl seemed quite upbeat; he’d recently returned from Malaysia or Indonesia and was carrying pairs of those baggy trousers that you see people from those countries wearing and started giving them out to people in the studio. At other times, his humour was sarcastic. We’d be listening to a guitar part and he’d say, ‘That’s not nearly loud enough’. Anyone else would have said that it was the loudest guitar sound ever recorded.

According to the London Times, Buckmaster "immediately set about organising a 32-piece string section, featuring ten first violins, eight second violins, six violas and eight cellos. Recording began on September 13. Rose, though, was absent. Like many others on the project, Buckmaster has yet to hear if his contribution will see the light of day" [The London Times, March 18, 2005].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:46 pm


In the following quote Dizzy would say that some of the new band members hadn't been able to put their egos aside:

It's been kind of a struggle at times, but everyone's professional and everyone knows what's at stake here, how big this could be, so everyone's come in ready to work, and most of the people have been able to put their egos aside when they need to.


Axl would also mention that Robin and Buckethead had problems playing together:

When we first did our first show in Vegas, Robin and Buckethead didn't know each other at all, and you've got two lead guitar players trying to kill each other. [...] Well, I mean, I think they’re like - they can be cordial to each other, that whole kind of thing. But when they're actually playing, it gets that kind of alpha male thing going, [like] who's the real lead guitar player.

The last sentence in the quote above could have been about Slash and Zakk Wylde playing together - it is not entirely clear from the context.


Later Tommy would say disparaging comments about Buckethead, indicating that they might have had problems:

Buckethead going away is the best thing that could've happened to the band. It's gonna be great.

I won't get too far into that, because I don't really like slamming people or getting into people's personalities or anything like that. It's a really good thing.

The same year he would also talk more about Bucket:

You know, he wears a bucket on his head. That’s all I can say about that. And there’s not a lot under it.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:47 pm

SEPTEMBER (?) 2002

As described previously, the relationship between Axl and Goldstein had been bad, particularly after the cancelled tour of 2001, and Merck Mercuriadis had now become a co-manager of the band. Some time in the second half of 2002 Goldstein was out and Merck took over sole management responsibility of the band.

In an article in Dallas Observer published in December 2002, an anonymous source said the following in an email to the newspaper:

I don't have much positive to say, and Axl has enough complications without me adding fuel to the fire. He's the one that turned on me after 14 years and I only recently got over the hurt. I'd rather try to take the high road. [...] [I need] to heal from finding out Axl and I weren't really friends.

It in not known whether this person was Goldstein, but it fits very well with the dates.


Some time in 2009, Goldstein would send a letter to Axl imploring him to consider rekindling their friendship and starting to collaborate again [Letter from Goldstein to Axl, 2009]. In the letter, Goldstein would outline a business plan for Axl that, among others, included an annual music festival in Australia called the "Rose Festival" and a charitable foundation in Axl's name [Letter from Goldstein to Axl, 2009]. Goldstein efforts were not met with success, though, and Axl and him would not work together again.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:47 pm


In late September 2002, the band would officially announce the 2002 North American Chinese Democracy tour, starting in November and ending in December 2002 [Press release, September 25, 2002].

The openers for the tour would be CKY and Mix Master Mike. Drummer Jess Margera from CKY would explain how it came to be:

All of a sudden, Axl picked us. We had to cancel two sold-out shows in California and turn right full rudder all the way to Vancouver. We were at least 2,000 miles out of the way when we got the call. We've been driving for three days, but this is an awesome tour so it's worth driving all that way. [...] I'm psyched because that's probably the biggest tour of this year. And we've all been fans of Guns N' Roses for a long time. I got Appetite for Destruction when I was 10 years old, so I've been listening to that for a while. And I'm a big fan of [guitarist] Buckethead and Brain is a really awesome drummer. I can't wait to hang out with him. I'm not worried [about the audience not liking us]. I'm sure a lot of people will be psyched to see Guns N' Roses, but we'll be raging hard enough that they can't just write us off. Our live shows are pretty gnarly and it's hard not to watch.

And Axl would discuss the choices:

[Yeah], [Mix Master Mike]'s done some work with them [BEASTIE BOYS]. He's actually worked with Brain and Bucket in the past. But separate from Brain and Bucket having worked with him, Tommy was the person that turned me on to Mix Master Mike by having me go see a scratch show when they had this movie out, 'Scratch', and go to a performance of that, and Robin and I went with Tommy down to watch, and it was really exciting to watch. He just moved the people in a cool way, and it was cool that Tommy and Robin really liked it so much. They didn't know that this guy already had a relationship with Bucket and Brain, so it just kind of seems natural, because of their enthusiasm, and the other guys already knowing him and being excited about it. And then we're also playing with CKY, which is kind of thing that people are into right now, and they have a really interesting attitude. So, it should be fun. We wanna give people a full show of a few different things to see.

Big respect to Axl for noticing and recognizing DJs are actually musicians in their own right and we can open up arenas. [...] [Axl] saw my parts in the movie [=Scratch] and got inspired. He actually came to one of my shows, and then his manager called my manager and got it all formulated.

Having a DJ opening for Guns N' Roses was a risky choice, and Mix Master Mike would be met with boos and indifference. Looking back at the first shows and describing his approach:

There were some skeptical earthlings out there, and they had to be converted. At first it was tough, but it only took five minutes. I just showed them that I'm here to have a good time, but also to make them have a good time and show them something they've never seen before. [...] I'm up for challenges. To this day, not enough people know what scratching is. So I'm on a mission to convert people and let them know what's going on.

Rock musicians have their guitars. These are our guitars right here [pointing to a pair of turntables]. [...] I'll juggle some stuff they know, but I'll make sure I manipulate it in a way they've never heard before so they go, 'Well, this ain't the way we know it, but we enjoy it.' Like, I'll take a Zeppelin record and decompose it and cut it up.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:48 pm


In 2002, Dizzy would be paraphrased talking about how the new record would be a band effort:

Reed stresses that "Chinese Democracy" is very much a band project, with all new members contributing and collaborating, and not just The Axl Rose Show, even though the singer is acknowledged as a benevolent dictator with ultimate veto powers.

And Tommy would describe the process of making new songs and how everybody contributed as in proper bands:

Axl doesn’t bring in a song and tell everybody how it goes. ... He’ll take one idea, then ask somebody else to finish it. He’s trying to draw the best out of each individual.

[Axl] likes to take all the members of the band and get the best out of each guy for each song. It's a brilliant process that gets everyone involved so everyone owns a piece of the song because they've put themselves into it. That way you don't have people going, 'Well, I'm not gonna play on his song if you're not gonna sing on my song.' And that's a lengthy process because you have to get eight people to basically write a song together that everyone likes.

Axl's idea is to take eight guys and make them write a song together. He'll like an idea of mine, say, and then want to see what the others put on it. ... He wants it so that everyone owns the song.

I think pretty much everyone's brought something to the plate that we've turned into one thing or the other. I don't know if the song or two I wrote is necessarily gonna make this record or the next record. But everyone's brought stuff together that we've worked out and turned into stuff and it'll probably used at some point one way or the other. We've all contributed to pretty much everything on it in some form or another, you know.

The cool thing about it, which was also the biggest learning experience for me, was the collaborative effort. It really was eight guys writing a record together, eight guys from absolutely different places with regard to their musical backgrounds. Axl really produced this record himself in that he got all of us to bring things to the table and put us in a position to write together.

I never knew the Nine Inch Nails camp, so I wouldn't have had a chance to work with people like [guitarist] Robin Finck and collaborate on what I think is going to be a really amazing record. Axl's obviously a great singer, but his real gift is the way he can pull people together and get the best out of them. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

And especially Axl's role:

[Comparing Axl with Paul Westerberg]: Well, Axl is definitely a better person to work for. He doesn't really act much like a boss, however. He's more of a bandmate, making it a we're-all-in-this-together kind of situation. Whereas Paul was definitely more single-minded. (Laughs.) Paul's got a bigger ego than anyone I've ever worked with. And he's more self-conscious than anyone I've ever known. Axl is definitely way more of a collaborator than Paul will ever be. With Axl, I feel like I'm actually part of a band. We're all writing these songs, and we're all playing them. I just feel more a part of it. Axl checks his ego at the door. He comes in and he gets involved, you know? That's a way better vibe to make music with.

I don't think anybody is in a position to question the way Axl writes and records. It might be a longer process, but it works. [...] [It] very much involves the rest of the band. Axl has a way of pulling out the best from each guy in the band, and that takes time.

[Comparing Axl with Paul Westerberg]: The difference is Paul was more of a dictator-type songwriter. It was his way and he wasn’t terribly open to outside input. Axl is more of a producer. He draws the best out of each guy and incorporates that in there, you know, more of a team player kinda thing. He really wants to have a band, not just be out there saying, ‘Hey I’m Axl Rose, I’m the (expletive) leader of this band.’ He doesn’t put up pretenses, sort of lets us do our thing and we end up sounding like band. Paul liked to be the band.

[...] there'll probably be compositions that started with each of us and were compiled by all of us, on the whole record, yeah. I would be willing to wager that that is how it turns out, because Axl is the kind of guy who is always looking out for the fairest way to do it so everyone's happy. Because obviously, that's the kind of thing that screwed up the old band. Everybody had songs they wanted to write, and have Axl sing, and then there got to be infighting, I think, with whose songs were going to be on the record. He's really conscious of that, so it ends up being a bit of everyone on there.

[Comparing Axl to Paul Westerberg]: Axl, by a long shot [is the easiest to work with]. I’ll tell you why, and I can explain this really well, actually. Paul liked to do it his way. He would hear things a certain way in his head but couldn’t tell you how it was going to happen. It would get kind of frustrating. He would have a vision and would fucking beat it to death trying to get there. With Axl, he doesn’t really have his own vision. He likes to take everyone’s two cents and throw it into the soup, get everyone involved and kind of mold it that way. Axl could really take production credit on this record because he took the best of each of us on each song and crammed it together and made it a musical piece. I can’t tell you how much I learned about collaborating with people while making the record, where Paul just kind of does it his way.


Paul would be way more of a dictator than Axl. Axl is more of a collaborator, maybe even to a fault sometimes. He wants everyone involved. Part of that may have come from the old band, where everyone wanted him to sing their songs but didn’t want to play the other guys’ songs. It would be like, “I’m not going to sing on your song unless you play on his song,” and then it becomes infighting and that kind of shit. That doesn’t really keep a band together. On the new record, everyone’s got a bit in there, their part of a song. It lends itself to us feeling a part of the whole record.

The long-awaited GNR record is a collaborative effort. That's how Axl likes to do things: involve everyone. You might not know it from what you read and hear about him but he's real keen at tooling individual talents, getting the best, most personal contribution from everyone involved.

Axl is very much into having a band. and he's one of the fairest, coolest, nicest guys that I've ever met... and that's just a fact. And I mean he treats us as band members but at the same time with any situation like that... there's always one person that's more important and you know is in charge and you have to know whose in charge. In every band, in every successful band, has a leader... he's the leader.

After the release of Chinese Democracy, Axl would explain why it wasn't a solo record:

I didn’t make a solo record. A solo record would be completely different than this and probably much more instrumental. I made a Guns record with the right people who were the only people who really wanted to help me try, were qualified and capable while enduring the public abuse for years. The songs were chosen by everyone involved.

And cite the inclusion of This I Love as an example of other members having power over the end result:

I didn’t want to do This I love in anyway shape or form and Robin and Caram insisted gaining Tommy’s and the others support.

Bumblefoot would also offer his views on this:

That's just part of the whole negative crap that's part of the baggage of being a new Guns N' Roses. That whole thing of blah blah blah, they're just hired guns... blah blah blah... they're not the original members blah blah blah you're not my real mommy, blah blah blah. (Laughs)

Considering there are guys in the band who have been there 18 years to whatever amount of time it is, and considering that we see each other on a daily basis, and when we're not, we're speaking to each other all the time, hanging out and doing things together, jamming and playing on each other's albums, and doing everything band members do... I'd say it's pretty much a band. Whether people want to acknowledge that or not, that's up to them, and whatever floats their boat. It doesn't change the truth.


I would say that it's more of a band than my own band. Absolutely. In my own band, it is everything that people want to say negatively about GNR. (Laughs) My band is really me, who writes all the songs, then Dennis comes in and kicks ass on them, but then I go and play bass and rhythm guitar and do everything else besides the drumming. Then when I do play live, I do hire friends or whoever to play bass and rhythm guitar. So in my case they are a bunch of hired guns, other than Dennis, who is really more of my right hand guy. We work together, and I do things for him as well. We just have a musical relationship that's gone on for years.

It has people that have been in the band for... I mean, Dizzy has been in the band for a good eighteen fucking years or so, going on nineteen years, and Tommy's been in for.. What? How long now? Eleven years is it? Or ten years? I don't know - I lose track. But you have people that have been there for a very long time, that have written songs, that have recorded songs, and have toured, people that have done everything a band does. Again, it's about entertainment and perception, not truth. The truth is it's a band, just like many other bands that write and record and tour, but if people don't wanna see that, it doesn't change what we are. It just changes how they look at it, and that's fine. It doesn't make any difference, because we're still a band going on tour, promoting the album of songs we wrote and recorded.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 12:07 pm

NOVEMBER 7, 2002

The first show of the fall 2002 tour was scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, on November 7, 2002. But when Axl failed to show up for the show it was cancelled before the doors had opened resulting in thousands of fans rioting [Canadian Press/Edmonton Journal, November 8, 2002; MTV News, November 8, 2002]. Police used pepper spray to disperse the rioters but there were no injuries [Canadian Press/Edmonton Journal, November 8, 2002].

Following the announcement of the cancellation, groups of ticked-off kids converged at the gates of GM Place. Fueled, in some cases, by strong drink and marijuana, they hoisted the long metal security barriers outside and rammed them through the glass entry doors. They threw bottles and rocks. They were angry about paying $80 U.S. for tickets and then getting blown off, and they yelled things like, "F--- Axl, I wanna see Buckethead!"

After about 20 minutes of all this, a phalanx of cops waded in with attack dogs, and things got really ugly. Those fans who escaped the police onslaught with nothing more than a faceful of pepper spray might be said to have been the lucky ones. Wielding their riot batons with seeming abandon, the cops walloped legs, arms, heads, whatever available extremity presented itself. They ganged up to pummel people even after they'd fallen to the ground. One young man was smashed in the face and had his teeth knocked out — he stumbled away in a daze, holding them in his hands, with blood pouring from his mouth.

Even as the crowd began to disperse, police continued to chase and hit and kick individual stragglers. As one young woman who claimed to have had no involvement in the rioting told a local TV news crew, "I thought, 'Oh my God, they hate every single one of us.'"

Chad Ginsburg from the opening band CKY would describe the riot:

Five minutes before the show it was like: ‘Axl cancelled, he’s not showin’ up.’ Then the riot just started, and we were like, ‘Oh shit!’ By the time we were alerted and able to get back on our bus, they [the angry fans] didn’t know whose buses were whose, and they were rioting at our bus as well. I mean, you gotta know that the cheap bus isn’t Guns N’ Roses, but they were throwin’ bottles and stuff, and our techs were terrified to load the trailer.

A band spokesman said poor weather conditions at Los Angeles airport made it impossible for Axl's plane to fly [Canadian Press, November 9, 2002].

The day after Axl would explain what happened:

We were going to play a show and the plug got pulled on us. We were fully able to meet our commitments and we don't really understand what happened right now, why the show was pulled. We have a legal team looking into it, to get to the bottom of it, and then I'll have to sort out things about the people that bought tickets and things like that. But basically, the building manager just decided - in all of our opinion, prematurely - that the show was just cancelled. And he didn't discuss it with anyone. He just announced it over… We found out… My guys found out over the public address system. [...] I was in the air, I was in a plane on the way to the show. It gets complicated. The manager of the building said that the doors wouldn't open 'till he had confirmation that we were wheels up, that the plane was in the air. And as soon as he had that confirmation, he cancelled the show without telling anybody. And not only did he cancel the show, he cancelled the show and before this - I don't know if it was a riot or a disturbance, whatever - started, they had police at the airport trying to find out what was going on with me. So, it's all kind of screwy.

Axl received massive criticism for scheduling to come to Vancouver so late for the tour's first show:

But the fact that Rose hadn’t planned an earlier arrival in Vancouver didn’t sit well with some concert industry veterans.

“This was the tour opener — why wasn’t he there a day early?” asked Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a concert-industry tracking publication. “It’s almost unconscionable for him to try to come into the country so shortly before show time... And the bad weather coming to California had been forecast for days. This was not a surprise storm”.

Later Dizzy, Tommy and Richard would discuss what went down:

The people who run the building pulled the plug. Some of us were already there, and we found out over the public-address speakers. It's unfortunate and sad that people got hurt. It sucks very, very badly, but hopefully we can make it back.

We could have easily played that show. We got the ... short end of the stick on it. I don’t think it's a good thing when fans trash the building and take it out on the band or the venue.... None of that is a good thing going around.

People jump to conclusions and say, Here we go again. Your reputation precedes you, as mine has for many years. [...] We had no idea what was going on. We, the band, were at the show interviewing with MTV. Axl was in flight to meet them as well. We were sitting there when they pulled the plug. We heard it over the loudspeakers. They didn't tell us. We were in the dressing room. [...] It made no sense to us ... the whole tragedy [=riot]. There was no point to it, no need for them to pull the plug. Axl was enroute to the gig and we were at the gig fully intending on playing.

The building was worried about getting the ice set up for the following day’s hockey game. We were all ready to play, then we heard it announced over the PA that the show was canceled. We knew [Axl] was on his way. He was delayed. We would have been done by curfew.

Axl was en route. It had little to do with us and everything to do with the owners of the building. They panicked and pulled the plug.

Well, I can tell you this. I was at the building and Axl was in route to the building. Well, the owner/manager of the building found out that Axl wasn't there yet, he like freaked out and pulled the plug and make an announcement saying "Tonight's show been cancelled, the band didn't make it to Vancouver" which I found pretty funny or ironic I guess, because I was sitting in the building when he make that announcement. That's what happened, a few kids decided not to leave and get rowdy with the police, unfortunately people got hurt and that's horrible, but whatever they showed on TV made it look a lot worse! It was really only a couple dozen kids that hung out and they were saying it was like a thousand and most of the people said bummer and went home.

The Vancouver show was not typical. It was entirely based on a decision by the manager of that building who panicked and without much discussion decided to shut the show down.

If I was somebody who had bought tickets to the [Vancouver] show, I'd be pretty upset, too. Personally, I think we could have still done the show and met the curfew, but [Orca Bay officials] were freaked about not having enough time to put the ice back in for a hockey game. I mean, it's not like we haven't always been late on this tour. It didn't seem any worse than any other day.

And Slash would answer when asked about it:

Nothing surprises me. When he really has all his sh-- together, Axl is brilliant, so it'll be happening. It just takes him a while to get around to it. As far as showing up to gigs? That's all par for the course. We've all seen that movie. What better way to kick off a Guns N' Roses tour than to miss the first gig?

Axl would later talk about how hard it is for him in general -- and not talking about the Vancouver show -- to get on stage:

It’s usually just a nightmare to get on stage. I don’t know why. It’s like, anything, the weirdest little things that can go wrong, go wrong. And then you have to go out there and act like everything’s fine.

Being asked how he felt when the show was cancelled:

Shock and dismay -- I mean, I didn't even know what the hell was going on. Tommy and Dizzy were doing an interview backstage with Kurt Loder from MTV, and they heard the announcement that the show was canceled coming over the PA system in the arena. No one could believe it. And it was Robin's birthday, too. It was such a drag. Apparently Axl had no idea, either, because he was on his way there. His plane was delayed, and we knew that he wasn't going to make it to the soundcheck, but there was never any question that he'd be there in time for the gig. Apparently, the venue just pulled the plug. It was pretty disappointing. And even worse, when you turn on the TV and see people getting their teeth knocked out, it's not something that you want to be a party to. So now the lawsuits will fly.

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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 12:34 pm


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].

[...] 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 Wed May 12, 2021 8:11 am


In November 2002, Axl would confirm he was single with no significant other [WRIF Radio Detroit, November 20, 2002]. In 2006 Axl would allegedly be dating Rosie O'Connor before Sophie Anderton [The New York Post, May 23, 2006: Gigwise, May 28, 2006].

Catastrophe (laughs). [...]  It was a lot of fun. It was a tough one. The crowd, though, was great. The audience was amazing and once we got rolling, it was good. But, you know, there was the whole new band thing and it took everybody a little bit to get going.


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.'

And Sean Beavan would also mention them:

[Axl] does throw quite a bash. It's really really fun for the kids.
Sp1at, April 8, 2005


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.


In October 2002, MTV News would report that Axl had been spotted in Shanghai [MTV News , October 10, 2002] and a few days later Blabbermouth would claim that the band was shooting a movie video there [Blabbermouth, October 14, 2002].

In 2006, Axl would talk about having spent three months in China:

Yeah, we went and stayed in China for about three months, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian. [...] Well, I didn't live there, we just went and stayed there a couple of years ago.

No it was before that but then I just thought I should go. I wanted to go before they banned me. So, you know, I mean Chinese Democracy that doesn't quite work for the government over there.

It is difficult to put three months of stay in China into the fall of 2002, though, since Guns N' Roses were in US for MTV VMA on August 29 and started their fall tour in Vancouver on November 7. So maybe two months in China - September and October? Or maybe those three months took place before this, and that Axl (and possible the band) returned to China again in October 2002 for a shorter trip?


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

Axl would also talk about drinking when visiting Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show in May 2006:

I didn't really drink that much, I just didn't... it was only like a couple of months ago that I started hanging out a bit in Las Vegas and then coming here and, you know, I want to get involved a bit with the club world and stuff like that so it was a bit fun, but...but alcohol really dries my throat out so that makes it a nightmare to try to tour... I can do okay, I was like kind of imitating Tom Waits tonight for fun. "I sit here on the stairs".


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.

Axl would himself say he liked doing average-guy stuff, like reading with his favorite book being Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly:

I was a little scared when I saw they were making it into a movie starring Keanu [Reeves]. But I guess if he can handle The Matrix, he can do this.

In 2008, Axl would be asked what hobbies he has:

Cars, checking out art, F1.

Axl and F1 racing driver Kimi Räikköseen


In April 2001 it would be reported that Axl and Alanis Morissette was considering doing a duet together for the upcoming Lord of the Rings soundtrack [The Province, April 3, 2001]. The recording was intended to be done in the summer of 2001 when both artists were supposed to tour in Europe [The Province, April 3, 2001].

In October 2002, right before the North American fall tour, Axl would be spending time in Shanghai, China [MTV News, October 09, 2002]. It would be rumoured that the band was visiting China to make a music video for the song 'Catcher in The Rye' [Blabbermouth, October 14, 2002; Metal Hammer, October 20, 2002].


[Axl is] just healthier, in a better space.

When asked if Axl's in good mental health:

Yes. Of course he is. Yes. Why wouldn't he be?


Axl had earlier expressed infatuation with New York City and considered moving there (1988-1989: AXL GETTING USED TO STARDOM).

Before the Hammerstein Ballroom shows in May 2006, Axl again spent some time in New York, saying how much he enjoyed it:

Another snow storm, right? A couple of months ago? I was here during that. New York's been really great to me lately. I've been out here, having a great time, everybody's been really cool... [...] ...checking out the pulp (?) scene and listening to different music. So it's been great. [...] I've been staying in a hotel but basically since I haven't left I would say I am living here.

In a break in touring in 2010, Axl would again spend time in New York City [The New York Post, July 29, 2010].


With the tour happening in 2006, Axl would be spending much more time in the public eye, including doing some low-key, impromptu interviews (including at radio KROQ and at Formula 1 Grand Prix) and media appearances like the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards where he presented The Killers with a trophy and being a spontaneous guest at Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show.

At the 2006 VMAs, Axl would also compliment Christina Aguilera:

Axl Rose was backstage in the greenroom at the VMAs, right near my glam squad, and I heard that he made everyone in the room quiet down so he could hear my performance. When I met him backstage, he shook my hand and said, 'You are one of the greatest vocalists of our time'. Isn't that sweet? Because in my day, Guns N' Roses were, like 'it.'


Axl was a huge fan of The Sopranos TV series and attended a season finale in New York City at the Museum of Modern Arts on March 7, 2006 [NY Daily News, June 14, 2007]. During touring in 2007, Axl also had the three latest episodes shipped to him overseas [NY Daily News, June 14, 2007].

Axl, James Gandolfini and unknown
March 7, 2006

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun Aug 22, 2021 7:19 am; edited 3 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 22, 2021 5:57 pm


I heard some of the stuff off Napster, and of course the song (Oh My God) from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Knowing Axl for as long as I have and knowing how brilliant he is, I cringe at some of it. But I’m probably the worst critic. I can still hear that brilliance at times. I’m proud of him. (laughs) And I could have played on that record.

I've heard a couple of things on Napster. […] From the little I heard, I don't believe I can tell [if Axl has taken the new music in the direction he wanted]. I haven't heard enough of the album to get a good representation of the whole record. But it sounded like more in the direction that he described to me. I'm one of the biggest fans of Guns n' Roses. It'll be interesting.

I haven’t heard them yet. I know they played at Rock In Rio, but the only think I saw about them was when I went into a record store and they were playing a video with someone talking, and I recognized Axl. I asked a guy, “What’s that?”. He told me: “It’s Guns N’ Roses in Rio”. He was sort of doing a speech, but I don’t even know what he said. I would like to hear them.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

[Being asked why the public still care about Axl]: They [the public] feel bad for him, they feel sorry for him like I do. I mean, I love Axl. It's just a shame that he can't, you know, get his head out of his tuckus long enough to realize it was the five of us who made him a star in the first place... He won't put his record out either, cause it'll flop, it'll suck, and it does suck, and then he'll have nothing to back up on.

I don’t know any more than you do. There’s only a couple of songs with vocals on it–I know that for a fact. But it will come out one of these days.

You would probably know better than I do. [...] the last thing I have time to do is get on the Internet to get the down-low on Chinese Democracy.

You know what? You probably know more than I would. I really have no idea. I've been so busy after leaving Guns N' Roses. I went up to Seattle, went to school and started having babies. And then this band popped up. [...] But I wish they would get it out after all this time.. [...] you know, spontaneity and rock 'n' roll go together. And chemistry. It comes back to the old adage: If it takes you more than five minutes to write a song, then just scrap it. I don't know. Axl Rose is a very, very fickle guy, and he changes his mind all the time. So who knows?

I’m pretty sure what they're doing now won’t sound like the Guns N’ Roses I knew. But despite all the sadness and heartache that Axl put me through, good luck to him. I still love him. It was all a decade ago, I’m over it.

Axl ruins it not for himself and for the rest of us (Slash, Izzy, Duff, Steven) but he ruins it for the fans. [...] If he puts it out he thinks he'll sell 20 million copies. Well, maybe he's lucky if he goes gold. There's no hits on it, it's crap.

It's not really my cup of tea.. and that's not to say it's bad, its just not my style. Axl is trying to go into a direction of like...shit, old Guns N Roses, mixed with Nine Inch Nails, mixed with the fuckin New York Philharmonic, mixed with Elton John. He's just really conflicted, one minute he wants to do some huge ass 10 minute epic song and the next he wants to do It's So Easy.

I know [Axl] recorded a couple of songs during several years, until someone from the company came in and thought they sucked.

[Being asked if he expects Chinese Democracy to be released in 2006]: I certainly hope so because I’m so over talking about it. This anticipation is ridiculous. Just get the fuckin’ thing out! Every interview I do I get two or three questions about it and I haven’t even been in that goddamn rehearsal room in 10 years. [...] I’ve always said [Axl]'s an incredibly talented guy. The things he writes about blows my mind. The music probably isn't going to have the same angst that it had, but there’s probably gonna be some really great stuff on there.

I heard a live track from a concert supposed to be one of the new ones, but it was so long ago I don't even remember what it sounded like.

Honestly, you probably know more about it than I do - I’d bet money that you do. That was the record we started working on in 1994, but that band was so splintered at that point that nothing got started.

I'm sure it's got some amazing shit on it cos I know Axl and what he's capable of. So I'm interested to hear it but patient enough to wait until he figures it out. Because I don't have anything to do with it. It's easy for me to say that [laughs].

I haven't heard anything on 'Chinese Democracy' and probably won't until it's released. I'm sure at some point it will be released, but your guess is as good as mine.

In 2007 Slash would he had been fine with Axl continuing with the band:

[...] you have to understand, when I quit, whatever he went on to do after that, was fine. And I knew he was going to continue on with the name, because that was one of the things that was leading up to the split anyway when it first came up [...]

In 2008, Slash and Gilby would talk about the forthcoming release:

[...] I’m probably less inquisitive than most. I’d be interested to hear it when it comes out, but I’m not sitting around anticipating its release. I don’t think it’ll be the holy grail that people might have been expecting after 14 years, or however long it’s taken. And I know it’s not going to be what you would consider a traditional GN’R record. But, Axl is, with all due credit, an awesome artist, so I’m sure it’s going to be a phenomenal record.

I hear through the grapevine bits and pieces of what's going on, and I'm interested to see what it sounds like because it will be such a huge statement. Although I wouldn't say we split up over musical differences, we did have some musical direction going toward the end there, and I'd be interested to see where it was headed. But I'm not holding my breath because I know Axl, and one of the problems with the band was sitting around (waiting for him) ..... It will come out when it's ready to come out, but I don't have the anticipation that everyone else has.

I want to hear it, but not until I can physically buy it in a record store. I don't want to be listening to some file-sharing download that may or not be the actual album. [...] I don't know about [it being strange to finally hear it], but one way or another it'll be great, because Axl in his own right is a genius. I'm intrigued, because the saga and all the procrastination behind him making that record has a lot to do with why he’s there in his world and I'm here in mine. I'll be interested to hear what Axl has to say these days. Music is the purest form of communication after all.

I am just like every other person and I am a fan of GNR's music but I have no idea. I have heard a couple songs just like everybody else and I am just as curious as everybody else. I am really curious to see what kind of music you break up a really good band for.

I mean, I'm glad if it's finally coming out. I'm glad for Axl, that probably that pressure is off him. I'm glad he's able to let the music go. He is a perfectionist, man. There's people that are just perfectionists and they can't let a single note, anybody hear a single note unless it's, you know, perfect. You know, some musicians will play everybody their demo in the band, and then they go with all the mistakes and they don't care, because they know that everybody else has got the vision to hear it. Axl is, you know, a different… he's a different breed. He's just a musician, man, and he's a caring guy. You know, I've always known him to be a good guy and a caring guy, and I'm glad he's able to finally get this thing out. But, beyond that, musically and all that, I don't really have thoughts or… It's not my band. It would be like me having thoughts on the new Tool record, you know, or something. I wouldn't have many thoughts. If it's good, kick butt, I hope I get something out of it, and if it's not, it probably wouldn't even come into my radar.

As far as Axl's new record, I'm sure there's probably amazing stuff on there, just know there. I've only got that one song and a listen at a gym to go off, so I can't really say that much about it. But how do I feel about it? Good for him that this record's finally coming out. Obviously, I wish him the best. I'm glad that people that have been waiting for this record have something to finally go get.

The band that we formed twenty-something years ago is a completely different thing, and that's been over for… wow, 15 years. But I know Axl; he's a perfectionist, in a good way, musically. So I know he's not gonna let something come out that sucks — at least in his mind. That counts for something with me. He and I, we shared a lot of good times, some crappy times, but when you look at the glass, it's definitely more than half full for me.
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