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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS

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23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS - Page 2 Empty Re: 23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:59 am

2000-TODAY
AXL'S PERSONAL LIFE

Beta and Fernando Lebeis would 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.


In 2016, Axl would become a "friend" to the watch maker company HYT, as Vincent Perriard, HYT co-founder and board member, would explain:

Axl is a huge fan of watches in general but when he came across HYT he was really blown away. Axl and HYT share the same unconventional attitude. I can feel this partnership is going to be very rock 'n' roll!




Axl sporting a HYT watch
Unknown date



He did not attend many concerts, though:

Not lots, no. I'm not - oddly I guess - I'm not really a live performance guy. I'd rather watch sports on TV rather than most of the time than go to an actual game. I'd rather, because like the close-ups and all of that. So I'll watch some things if it's film, but I'm not so much seeing things live a whole lot.



AN AVID READER

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 2018, Doug Goldstein would also mention that Axl was an avid reader:

[He is] very well read. He reads and reads, his vocabulary is incredible, he’s very verbose. Everybody knows he’s a genius. Back when I was working with him, he loved reading and stayed on top of it, and I think that’s what set his mind.



MOTORSPORTS

In 2008 and 2012, Axl would be asked what hobbies he has:

Cars, checking out art, F1.

I go to movies, go out with friends, go to car shows. I have a zoo. My animals (wolves, parrots, dogs, cats) are my buddies. They need lots of love and attention.




Axl and F1 racing driver Kimi Räikköseen
2006



Talking about his interest in motor sports:

We were in the middle of a tour of Brazil and Mercedes invited us to come and watch the São Paulo GP. We didn’t need much convincing. Myself and Slash are total petrol heads. [...] Of course I do [remember who won] – Lewis Hamilton won it. He’s done some great things in the sport and he’s one to watch in Abu Dhabi.


And being asked if he is a "real F1 fan":

Totally – I have so much respect for those guys and what they do. I love watching it – I’ve been to the Brazilian, Malaysian, and British Grands Prix and now we’re all looking forward to Abu Dhabi.


And his friendship with Kimi Räikköseen:

We’ve known each other a lot of years now. I think it was in 2006 when he invited me to be his guest at the British Grand Prix. He’s a great guy, a great driver, and we always have a lot of fun when we hang out.



ANIMALS

Talking about his animals:

I love animals and I have all kinds of different animals and... I like the way that sometimes an animal will know if… say someone else in the house is sick or something, the animal stays by that person. [...] [I have d]ogs and cats and wolves and birds. [...] A couple wolves, a couple- what five or six- had five or six birds [chain, of what, Chihuahuas]

[...] what I mean though is, um, say like with cats, if you do not keep yourself open to some degree to being sensitive they're not going to be around you. So if you want to be friends with your cat you'd have to be more sensitive than the world may make you or you make the world.



MUSIC PROJECTS

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].


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 31, 2022 9:52 am

FORMER BAND MEMBERS DISCUSSING THE NEW GUNS N' ROSES MUSIC

With new Guns N' Roses music leaking and being played at live shows, former band members were frequently asked to voice their opinion on the new material:

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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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jan 22, 2023 9:03 am

DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTED FANS

I am your second daddy. Not your first. But guess what, daddy left. So either you can go on without a daddy or you can put up with me. That's life.

___________________________________________________

FANS WANTING OLD BAND MEMBERS

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.

Oh no, no, [Slash's contributions]'ll never be forgotten about. I mean, that legacy is far too strong and he's genius, Slash is amazing, you know? I don't think that it will ever be forgotten. [...] Some [fans] have [accepted the new band] and others, you know, I'm sure that… I mean, I read stuff on the internet and there's people that love it or they hate it. They either accept it or they don't and, you know, fair enough. And it's definitely a different band, so… It's a different sounding band, but it's a kick-ass band (laughs). I think that's pretty undeniable; I mean, this band is amazing.

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.

Those opinions matter to me about as much as a vegetarian's opinion matters to the owner of a steakhouse. With the new music, I *do* cover the guitar parts I wrote and recorded, in songs written and recorded by the people in the band I'm playing in. So yeah, there ya go. A lot of the issues are about the name – there are those who take offense to keeping the name with all the line-up changes, I get it. That's why I call this band "GNR". I acknowledge the changes, and also think the current band deserves to be recognized as its own band and not be in the shadow of the past. But really, aren't there bigger things in life to worry about? This kind of stuff is so trivial. Go to a show, and have fun. Or cry into a pillow and try and build a time machine. Your choice how ya wanna spend your day. This band, any band, exists for those that like it – if you don't like it that's totally ok, it's simply not for you, the world is full of music, listen to something else. But complaining about it is pointless. If you don't like meat, shut up and eat your vegetables.

They can think whatever they want. I'm not interested in their opinions.

"You're not my real dad!" It's like most are trying to undo the past or raise the past or challenge the past. You know, if you have a problem with Axl still calling [?] Guns N' Roses, well, you know, talk to fucking Tracii Guns about it. What do you want me to tell you? I don't know. Talk to... I mean, how far do you want to go back with that? It's shit. Who cares? Talk to Ole Beich!

I get it, I understand people want what they remember the band as being. A lot of times people have a hard time accepting. Fans of Fleetwood Mac before they got Stevie Nicks, if they were fans of Peter Green, they didn’t get it. Most of those people, it took them a long time to accept Fleetwood Mac as a different band because it wasn’t Peter Green. The same deal with the Santana band and all the changes that band went through. For people to accept Van Halen with Sammy Hagar singing, even though that was their most successful time and they sold more records with Sammy Hagar, a lot of people that liked Van Halen from the beginning didn’t want to hear anything but David Lee Roth on it. Same thing with Genesis. I have a hard time listening to Genesis with Phil Collins singing after Peter Gabriel. It just goes on and on, the list is quite long.

And I think it’s harder when you change singers because it’s such a huge voice of the music and really that’s like the most personal aspect and connection to a band is generally through the singer. And when you change that it changes the character of the band. And in the same respect, changing anybody else makes it different as well. And it’s a different band. A lot of people accept it and a lot of people don’t. And that’s ok.

It's like, "You're not my real daddy!" I mean, come on.

[We are] the real Guns N’ Roses. [...] Those people [that make accusations] obviously haven’t seen the band and I think people who do feel that way, when they come see the band will definitely change their tune. [...] This is Guns N’ Roses, therefore it is the real Guns N’ Roses. There’s not two Guns N’ Roses out there playing anymore. People can choose to live in the past as much as they want, it’s not going to change anything. This band is the best band I’ve ever been in, and we go out and we kick ass every night, give a thousand per cent.

There’s always going to be people that align themselves with one or more band person. People quit the band. No one got fired that mattered. I think if the fans knew that, they might change their mind. To me this is GNR now and if someone quits, they get replaced. I think the line-up that we have now it’s one of the best bands of all time. I say thank you to all the fans who stuck by us and still support us.

They look at it like suddenly a new addition to the family was brought in without their consent. Or they look at it more like sports teams or superheroes - good versus evil and deciding, "Which is good? Which is evil?" [...] I think the fans forget we are all one family of musicians and people's times come and go in different things they do. It's almost like I guess you could say different sports that are also playing the same game and have the mutual respect for each other. It's just the fans are gonna root for one team or the other or favor one team over the other or maybe they like both. But it's a different perspective I think that fans have than the actual people have. They see the superheroes. They might see the guy with the doubleneck and the beard and the guy with the iconic tophat and the mane of curly hair. They see not the objects but just the personas.

If I was a die-hard fan, I wouldn't want Tommy Stinson (on bass) and Brain on drums and Robin Fink and Buckethead (on guitar).


Being asked if it is annoying when people compare him to Slash:

You know, it’s not that it’s annoying. There are different types of mentalities in the world. There’s the ‘and’ mentality and the ‘or’ mentality and that’s how I look at it. When people think so black and white, they’re missing out on a whole gray area that they could enjoy and that’s just like a general philosophy of life.

I find that when people do that, it’s ‘You or Slash,’ it’s kind of a bummer, because I would rather people think ‘Me and Slash’. That’s the thing about music is you can have as much as you want and there’s enough room for everybody out there.

To me, I think of like 1977 when everything was big. Everything was huge. Hard rock was huge. Disco was huge. Think of all the albums from then, between bands like Zeppelin and The Who and Queen and Fleetwood Mac. [...] And all the good funk out there, and all the punk. Ramones, there was so much good shit and it was fantastic. It wasn’t that ‘one or the other’ mentality. There was enough music where you just felt so, what’s the word, enriched. Wherever you turned, there was something good. It was really just very gratifying and satisfying, that’s how I think.

So if somebody goes, “Who do I like better, you or Slash?” That’s personal. What do you like better, a hamburger or a hot dog? It doesn’t really mean anything. I like to think that even some of my crazy guitar geek fans from before I joined Guns, just doing my own music, a lot of them may start to appreciate things about Guns that they didn’t.

Like it opened their eyes to things and that sounds kind of silly, I guess, but I’ve seen it happen. I had people say to me, “I was really bummed when you joined Guns, but honestly after listening to you guys together, it’s really something different and it’s cool. I like it.”


And if it is frustrating to live under the shadow of Slash in many fans' view:

It’s kind of frustrating, but the reason that it is, is not because of other people, it’s because I feel that we could do more to establish the current band as its own band. It shouldn’t be in the shadow of the past. If a reunion ever happens, I would hope that they would give me some free passes so that me and my wife could go (laughs). You know, that doesn’t bother me. I have no problems with anybody. I mean shit! I just did a signing last week end with Duff! I mean, on my end there’s no problem. Of course I don’t have the history that Axl has with these guys, where he has been through things that… you know… They’re been through war together and for me it’s more like “hey! How are you doing? Let’s go sign some autographs together” and there’s a big difference. So it’s not for me to speculate or say what can happen and what can’t.

So does it bother me that people want a reunion? No! You know what? I love Kiss, I love a whole shitload of bands and if there was a line-up that did an album that I totally loved, I would love to go see that line-up do those songs. It’s normal. And it doesn’t mean that I hate what’s going on now. When I grew up, it was part of the time stamp of my life, for that moment and part of my memories and something that I would love to feel again. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t fault people for feeling that way. What that has to do with my contributions to G’N’R’s current history? It’s two separate things you know. I don’t know, I mean honestly, I don’t think about it much. I’m too busy! I’m making music! (laughs) I’m getting things done. And I don’t think about people wanting a reunion. That’s like the farthest thing from my mind. I’m thinking about putting my new song out and everything else that I have to do this week.

I don’t care. It’s like getting mad because I own a seafood restaurant and somebody’s talking about how much they hate lobster.  I don’t do what I do for them, it’s for the people that like lobster (laughs).  We do shows and people who come to the shows, enjoy it and we’re doing it for them. We’re not doing it for people that don’t like it, we’re doing it for the people that do. [...] How many guitar players have been in Red Hot Chili Peppers? How many people have been in Whitesnake? How many drummers have been in Judas Priest? It happens. Break-ups happen. A family can’t always stay together. People die, people get sick, people get angry. Either you can end everything or you can re-build and move forward. So, we move forward and fight. Some people look for reasons not to like things. Their loss, there are plenty of reason why you can like it. Ok, you don’t like it that it’s called “Guns N’ Roses”, just call it  “GNR” . You don’t like that an ex-member isn’t there, then go see that person when they tour. It’s ok. If you go to a GNR show, you’ll listen to Axl and 25 years of his music in the show, and everything we do, and you’ll most likely have fun. If you want to have fun.

They only ever focus on one guitarist who's been in the band! Its completely understandable. He was such a part of what made the band huge.

There are a couple things about this. To some people Guns N’ Roses may be all about Axl and to some people maybe not. To some people it may be all about some of the guys that used to be in the band that aren’t here anymore so they won’t like what we’re doing now. But what can I do about that? Nothing. The people that aren’t in the band now aren’t here because they quit or whatever. Personally I think we’re a great band that’s been put together over time and the line-up we have now is probably the best we’ve ever had and at the end of the day to the people that say, ‘It’s not Guns N’ Roses, it’s some other band,’ I would say, ‘Well, this is Guns N’ Roses and when we play our songs, be they old or new, and Axl sings them it sounds like Guns N’ Roses.’ I’m sorry, that’s just how I feel.


In 2017, Bumblefoot would mention having received a death threat:

Well, I’ve never had a 16-year-old girl sending me death threats, because I’m not an original member! Things like that took getting used to.


DJ would take a pragmatic approach:

It is what it is. If people come to the concert with an open mind and accept that this isn't the original lineup, but this lineup is unbelievably kick ass and come out with that, you're going to love it.

If you come expecting to see Slash, well...

Times change people change and bands change. People have a hard time with change, but I love change. It's what keeps the world interesting.

You can't really worry about it. You'll wear yourself out if you try.


Bumblefoot would talk extensively about this in early 2013:

That we are not wrestling characters that are good guys and bad guys when it comes to the past and the present versions or different members of the different chapters of the story of Guns N’ Roses. People are surprised to know that Izzy (Stradlin) came out and jammed on a couple of songs with us for some of these shows. And Duff (McKagan) did. Things like that. It’s not all this past versus present, one versus the other. It’s all part of the same story. Guns N’ Roses is like this big book filled with so many chapters that are so unique and a story within themselves but they’re all part of the same book, part of the same history. It’s all part of the same life span of the twenty-five year life of the band. It’s a continuing story.

People tend to look at it like, ‘That’s not Guns N’ Roses’. Well, in a sense, a butterfly isn’t a caterpillar but it’s the same life, the same creature. It just goes through changes. It started off as one thing but slowly morphed into another.  That just happens – whether people die or quit, technology change, music styles change, or whatever happens.

It’s the same band but you have to look at it like one is the child, one is the adult, one is the gray haired wise dude. It’s the same life and the child isn’t the same person that he is when he is going to be fifty. But it’s the same life and the sum of the same experiences in the end.  People say, ‘Well, it’s not the same band.’ You’re right, it’s not the same band. Different people. Different sound. Different world. Different century. Different everything. But it’s part of the same story and if you want to not acknowledge any aspect of that story, you’re just missing out on a lot of it you might enjoy if you let yourself.

Every life has its peak, its part that someone is going to favor. That’s fine. Appreciate and enjoy the whole story. There’s a lot to it. It’s very interesting and I’ll even say that there’s been no band in the history of rock that has a story as crazy as Guns N’ Roses is. So, enjoy it! Why fight it? Enjoy it!


Also see later chapter specifically about DJ and his relationship with the fans.

Brain would later talk about how hard it had been to deal with the expectations:

And then it just crazy because of the level it has to work on is so big. And we had such big shoes to fill that it just creates this chaos. And then it wasn't even music anymore. It was just about, you know, "They're wearing Bucket out," "Oh, they're wearing me out, "Oh, Robin's upset, "Oh, Tommy's quitting," "Oh, you know," you know what I mean?



HOW THE NEW MUSIC WAS RECEIVED

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

It's been great. It's been really positive. Tons of people are holding up signs for different songs off the records every night. It's really good. I'm really happy.

Some of the newer stuff people actually know now that the record has been out for a while. Like, last night (in Toronto), we played a bunch of the stuff off that record and the crowd seemed to know it and respond to it. It makes it more fun to play that stuff when the audience wants to hear it.

I came in right after Chinese Democracy was released and I've seen a huge difference over the last four years in how fans react to those songs. A lot of people are singing along to them now that they're more familiar.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Mar 29, 2024 12:18 pm; edited 3 times in total
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23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS - Page 2 Empty Re: 23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS

Post by Soulmonster Thu Mar 28, 2024 7:20 am

HAVING TWO KEYBOARD PLAYERS IN THE BAND AT THE SAME TIME

When touring started in 2001, Chris would be the band's second keyboard player in addition to Dizzy.

In 2005, Dizzy would be asked how he felt about a second keyboardist:

Uhh... you know.. [Chris] adds so much to the band. He's a good guy to get along with. I've never had a problem with him of any kind. I'm a team player man... I'm always up for whats best for the whole raw picture. on tour.. you know... he just accents what we do so... I'm all for it.


Dizzy would also talk about working out keyboard parts between him and Chris:

Chris (Pitman) has been in the band for a long time now. I have a lot of respect for what he does and vice versa. We figure out who's going to do what, you know? I think it's important for people to look at the big picture, to put your ego aside at the door and do what's best for the band. Chris and I both have that capability.

As far as the older stuff, I do all the piano stuff, and there's a lot of that. I think the main thing is we kind of look out for each other so we're not blown up by the pyro. It's good. We spot each other, basically.

I think if you go through the songs we`ve done over the years, especially the newer songs but also the Use Your Illusion material, then you would realize that I only have two hands.  Chris brings an incredible amount of himself and creativity to the songs.  It`s a good thing to look over and see him doing his thing on stage.
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23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS - Page 2 Empty Re: 23. JANUARY 2001-NOVEMBER 2002: RICHARD REPLACES PAUL, TOURING STARTS

Post by Soulmonster Fri Apr 05, 2024 7:39 am

2001-2003
THE PROJECT (VELVET REVOLVER, PART I)

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.

___________________________________________________________________________

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2001: IZZY, DUFF AND SLASH WORKING TOGETHER

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

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

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

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

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


Slash would talk about working with Izzy again:

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

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


Slash would claim the music they worked on would be used on his upcoming solo record [Guitar One, June 2002].


APRIL 29, 2002: BENEFIT SHOW FOR RANDY CASTILLO

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 KNAC.com:

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!”
KNAC.com, 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!'



JULY 2002: DUFF, MATT AND SLASH WORKING TOGETHER

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 [Snakepit.org, 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



SEPTEMBER 2002: IT IS CONFIRMED; THEY ARE FORMING A NEW GROUP, "THE PROJECT"

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..



IZZY GETS INVOLVED, TOO

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, Matt 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.

We worked with [Izzy] on a bunch of songs but he just has always done his own thing


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.



ALAN NIVEN IS ASKED TO MANAGE

At some point, Alan Niven was approached to manage the band-in-making:

I came into L.A. with my daughter and we had a dinner with Slash and Duff. Duff looked across the table and said ‘how about it Niv?’ I was very flattered to be asked, but it seemed to me that it wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t like the prospect of everybody, but Axl being involved. I thought that would raise an unfair bar and unreasonable expectations for everybody, so that was something I felt very very nervous about.

I actually had dinner with Slash and Duff one night, and they asked me to get involved as the manager of the project, but for a number of reasons, I thought it was a bad idea. The level of expectations was just too high.

Duff... the last time I actually saw Duff was when The Project was being put together which became Velvet Revolver and Duff and Slash very kindly invited me to be involved with that but for a number of reasons I thought it was a bad idea, not least of which I thought we were placing an extremely high bar of expectation in every aspect to convene everybody except Axl and I didn't think that was appropriate. And  to be perfectly honest, at the time there were one or two things that I wanted to do myself and I didn't have the sense or drive and focus that they would have required. I was also a little apprehensive about Izzy's commitment which I thought would be essential because to me Izzy is the... he's the heart of the soul of Guns N' Roses. [...] [Axl and Slash] might be the big two big boobies on the front but Izzy was the heart beating in the chest.



THE MISSING SINGER

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.

I’m working with Duff, and Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner, and we’ve got this amazing band. We’re trying to find this amazing singer to go with it.


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.


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


SEBASTIAN BACH?

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 that, 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]


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


Bach would not get the job and Slash and Duff would explain why:

We auditioned countless singers and Sebastian was probably one of the most famous and popular. He kicks ass. He came to the rehearsals, he gave half of what he had in him, but he really killed it. Besides, I don't know if you know him, but he's an extravagant guy, completely crazy, full of energy - in short, he’s a killer frontman, the real deal. The problem is that aside from all these qualities, it just didn't work. It's hard to put into words, but Sebastian has such a charisma, such an aura, that he was eating away at the identity of the band. We enjoyed playing with him, the feeling was mutual, but there was a sense of shortfall on our side, as if his extravagant personality was going to devour the collective effort we were trying to put together.

[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.


And in Slash's 2008 biography, Slash would say it's 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


In 2011, Bach would talk more about his involvement with the band:

It wasn't an audition, I didn't walk in and sing some songs -- it wasn't like that. I worked with them for a month or a little over. The guys gave me five songs with no vocals so I wrote lyrics and melodies and then we went into the studio to record it. So you see it was a little more than an audition. I still have those songs on my iPod.

What happened was that I was in the play 'Jesus Christ Superstar', on a national tour, they were paying me and Velvet Revolver was not. I had to take care of my family so I went on the road with 'Jesus Christ Superstar.'
Sleaze Roxx, September 7, 2011



THE TIMING OF THE ANNOUCEMENT OF THE NEW GROUP TO UNDERMINE THE ONGOING GN'R TOUR?

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.



FEBRUARY 2003: VHI DOCUMENTS THE SEARCH FOR A SINGER

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].

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.
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