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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 Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:16 pm


- 2002-2004: AXL AND SLASH

Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Dec 18, 2023 9:45 am; edited 18 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:17 pm

NOVEMBER 8-21, 2002

Before the fall tour commenced Axl would talk about the new lineup:

Well, the biggest challenge is that, in working with these people, I developed kind of one-on-one, individual relationships and little groups, in putting this thing together. I mean, this isn't a band of a bunch of guys that met each other at a bar, or found each other through ads in a paper or anything. It's been… I carefully looked for these individual people and their personalities and how exciting each one of them is and what they bring to this project. So then the challenge was working with all those different personalities and bringing those personalities together - especially personalities that, when they have to learn how to play other people's material, then that's difficult as well. So it was a lot of challenges in bringing that together, but now everyone's pretty excited, everyone got really excited during the little mini-tour, and that brought us together more as a natural band rather than a studio band where everybody's kind of working separately, maybe even on the same songs, in little clusters here and there, but it's not the same thing as actually being a stage and road band. [...] With the guys, I do have a really positive relationship with the individual members, and each one of them excites me with what they bring to it, creatively or just as a person, and how each one of them works really hard. Because I think anyone that watches this project at all also sees the abuse that this project goes through, and these guys shoulder that really, really well, and they don't have a problem dealing with it, and I have to just respect the hell out of that with these guys.


The firsts how took place at the Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, USA on November 8.

Before the show Axl would be talking about what to expect from the show:

It's gonna be a big rock show, yeah. There's a lot going on in the staging of it. And pyro, and different things like that, so it will be a big show. But also, this show is something that is designed to be growing over the next couple of years. It's like, this is the start of something, but then remember, we will be putting out a record, and then, about a year or so after that, we'll be putting out another one, so there'll be a lot more material added into the set with a lot more things going on. This is the beginning, and we need to be showing people a lot of the older material, but it will grow.

This show was plagued with technical issues, including with Axl's microphone [MTV News, November 11, 2002; Rolling Stones, November 11, 2002].

Our first gig, as any first gig I’ve ever done on a tour, was getting it all sort of sorted out, technically speaking. A dry run, in a way. (But) it did go a lot better than a lot of first gigs.

There’s a learning curve on this sort of thing. It takes a couple of days. We’ll be smokin' by Moline.

After the show Dizzy, Buckethead and Tommy would talk about playing with the new lineup:

It’s amazing how things actually have fallen in place. I mean, one step at a time, one member at a time, and I think where we’re at now it’s the best band I’ve been in. [...] This band’s ability to play those older songs, it carries over into the newer stuff.

[Answering through his hand puppet]: Yes. It’s exciting, it’s fun.

There are no other rock stars left, are there? [...] There was a time for - a need to have, like, a big spectacular rock band kind of thing... I can see where people can be missing that right now, because there’s not really a lot of that going around. It’s not like – we have a pretty big production and it’s, you know... it’s rock.

And later Tommy would discuss playing the old GN'R songs:

We’ve played the old songs enough that they’re almost like ours, in a regard that we've taken them on and put our own spin on them. We feel, in a weird sort of way, that they are our songs. Physically speaking, they’re demanding rock songs, and you have to man up and put yourselves into them.

The next shows took place at the Idaho Center Arena, Nampa, USA on November 11 and at the Target Center, Minneapolis, USA on November 14.

In Minneapolis Axl would introduce the band:

My name is Fat Bastard and these are the Yes Men.

Star Tribune would be unimpressed and ask why this took so long:

Judging by the first 45 minutes, which also included covers of “Live and Let Die” and “Knocking on Heaven's Door” (songs the band played heavily in its 1988-92 heyday), the greatest thing that can be said of the new Gunners is that they do a great job of mimicking the old ones. “Sweet Child O' Mine,” in particular, raised the nostalgia level to bliss.

Even the two new songs played before this edition of the Star Tribune went to press sounded great but not altogether different from classic GNR. Which forces the question: If that's all there is, then what took so long?

And Saint Paul Pioneer Press would not be any kinder:

As the band ran through the songs from "Appetite" almost in exact order from the album, then cranked out a few of the biggest hits from the "Use Your Illusion" albums, I felt guilty. It was as if I were somehow letting down Duff, Slash, Izzy and the rest of the original group by watching these yahoos wearing KFC buckets and weird makeup playing GNR classics like some kind of sleazy lounge band.

It didn't help that atrocious acoustics inside the arena rendered the words (even though I knew every single one of them) incomprehensible, as if Axl were singing through a tin bucket. Give the man credit, though. He can still screech with the best of them, and those around me didn't seem to mind Axl running around at what seemed like half speed, fumbling words When the show was finished, I felt better, like I could go home and forget I ever came. This isn't how I wanted to remember Guns N' Roses, a band missing almost all of its ammo and replacing its once lovable characters with scary freaks.

The band then headed to Fargodome, Fargo, USA for a show on November 15, 2002 before coming to Mark Of The Quad Cities, Moline, USA for a show on November 17.

Before the show in Fargo Axl would summarize the tour so far, including the shows in August:

So far, the shows that we played – all the shows that we played, and especially (?), have gone really well and been really exciting. And it’s fun with the new stage and all the different lighting things.

And discuss the new lineup:

Well, you know, it took a long time finding all the right people and... I mean, and these people have stuck with this project that they are in this. I mean, there’s people here, you know, besides Dizzy, that have been in this project for like five years, in the development of... you know, behind the scenes and everything. So all of these people put on – they have a certain pride in their own performance when they go out there and [in] what they like to do. I don’t tell anybody how to move, what to do... I mean, there might be a part where I go, “Okay, I want people to move around more” or something. But, other than that, I was looking for the right performers that really get into their performances. It gets me off watching these people perform and then I figure, “Well, if it’s working for me, it might work for somebody else.”

Before the show in Moline Dizzy would again be asked to talk about the new lineup and compare it to the old band:

Both bands are great. I think with the band, the players, we have now, we have more depth. We are a lot deeper, and everyone comes to rock. It works. The old was then, the new is now. This is what it is. [...] With all of the changes, it was very painful and emotional. It was really up and down. We were taking one step forward and two steps back. But playing in front of 250,000 people (2001 in Rio) is a good way to come back.

A packed house is good for the ego. The people (overseas) were way into it from the first note to the last note of the songs. They were wanting for more. It was a great way to prepare for (North America).

The band then travelled to Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL, USA for a show on November 18 and then to The Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, USA on November 21.

In Rosemont Axl would again make fun of himself:

Psychologically, you could consider this a reunion tour, because I've managed to find enough pieces of my mind in order to be with you here tonight.

The reviews from the Rosemont show were mostly negative, but not all:

So it is with genuine shock that I can report that Rose not only took the stage promptly at 10 p.m., but that he and his band delivered an electrifying set that should—at least temporarily—silence the skeptics. As was to be expected, the band emerged to the familiar opening progression of “Welcome to the Jungle.” The lights flickered on to reveal an exceedingly odd assemblage of characters: Robin Finck, former guitarist for Nine Inch Nails, who sported a bizarre mullet (shaved to the skin on top and long at the back); Buckethead, an avant-garde guitar prodigy who proved to be equally adept at the nunchucks and the 80′s dance-style known as The Robot; Love Spit Love guitarist Richard Fortus; former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson; keyboardists Dizzy Reed (and lone surviving member of the Use Your Illusion-era tour lineup) and Chris Pitman; and Primus drummer Brain. Perhaps giving us time to adjust to the glaring absence of the top-hatted one, Rose sauntered onstage after a minute or so wearing an oversized football jersey and sweatpants. His formerly wild mane now hung in tight braids that reached to the middle of his back. Although some have speculated that the new loose-fitting garb serves to mask his weight gain, he did not appear too heavy or out of shape, ably running up and down the two-tiered stage throughout the evening.

Before the show in Auburn Hills, Axl and Richard would be asked how the tour was going:

It's going great, it's going great. I mean, it got started off exceptionally weird, but I guess GN'R style. And then, from that point on, we've been really happy. All the guys are happy, you can sense that the people in the band are getting excited about what they see that we can turn this thing into, because we know what the material is that we are working on. And right now you have people just kind of stunned and watching, but I'll be excited when there's newer songs out there so then you've got some of that frenzy happening.

It's going all right, despite the occasional riot.

Well, with the exception of the riots, yeah, the tour is a blast. This music is just so much fun to play live, and with this band, wow -- it's just unbelievable. By the time we get to Albany, the band is going to be pretty unstoppable. We're catching our groove again now, and once we get five or six shows under your belts, we'll be firing on all cylinders. It's a pretty good band live.

Richard would also share info on their three-guitar approach:

Well, Bucket comes out and does his bucket-ness, and we just make room for each other. When I go back and listen to "Appetite for Destruction" and the other early stuff, there are definitely three guitar parts there. There's Slash's rhythm parts and Izzy's rhythm parts, and then there's Slash's wanking over the top in between vocals. That's what we're trying to do live. And I think that's why Axl wanted to go with three guitars, because that was always missing from the live sound.

In 2004, Tommy would be looking back at the tour and highlight the show they did in Rosemont:

Oh it was a fucking huge crazy rock circus but it was a lot of fun. I don't know if you saw the show we did here in Chicago, but it was fucking off the hook. It was so fun, such a good show.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:22 pm


In July 1999, Lars Ulrich would also talk about the new Guns N' Roses and point out Axl's difficult position:

And [the absence of Slash, Duff and Izzy is] what a lot of people are just gonna like gripe about. But, at the same time, I think, if Axl made a record under a different name, and just put it out -- People would probably go: This is the fuckin' most amazing record for 1999 and 2000. But because it's not-- I mean, it's the same shit we've run into -- do you know what I mean? You know, he'll always have that cross on his shoulder.
Spin, July 1999

In 2002 Axl would be asked if he still thought Guns N' Roses were relevant:

Yeah, I think the relevancy, really… I mean, at the end of the day, it's gonna really depend on - well, for a bit of the nostalgia thing, you have the songs, we're playing a lot of the old material. For new excitement, you have the performance of these particular players. But at the end of the day, it's also really gonna stand on the new songs when we put out a new record, and if that's considered relevant or not, and if that's considered not selling out, you know, just to be relevant. So it'll really all hinge on that, and we feel really confident about the music that we're working on, and I think that when it does manage to find its way into the light, the timing will be perfect, cuz like this MTV thing and the touring right now, that's all working really well.

As the new version of Guns N' Roses started to do shows in 2002, a consistent criticism would be that they were just a cover band playing Guns N' Roses songs. Band members would comment on this:

We’re not the Guns N’ Roses cover band. I’ll accept the ‘Village People of Rock.’ No use pretending otherwise — this is something different from the old band. We didn’t want to sound like a cover band learning these songs, and you’ll hear it — we’re adding our own thing to them. If I could be so bold, we’re playing more aggressively than the old band.

Richard would later talk about the music still being relevant:

[Talking about playing in front of thousands of fans]: I mean, it just kind of hit me, how weird the scene was. There's 80,000 people out there, and I'm up there playing this old Guns N' Roses song, and Axl is really on it. I'm not sure if that stuff was ahead of its time, or even behind, but that music had something behind it. It's the real deal.

In 2010, Bumblefoot would talk about fans refusing to accept the new band as "Guns N' Roses":

They're right in their own mind if it isn't Guns N' Roses as they define Guns N' Roses. If you don't like calling it Guns N' Roses, call it G N' R, and if that makes you feel better, then good. That's what I like to call it - G N' R. If you feel Guns N' Roses is so strongly defined by the members that were on its debut album, fine, call this G N' R and find something else to cry about - something worthwhile. There's bigger problems in the world than what a band is calling itself. Jesus, it's fucking rock 'n' roll. We're just going out there, playing, and having a good time. Call it G N' R and enjoy it, that's all. That's my suggestion if the name's really a problem for anyone - if you wanna listen to Guns N' Roses, put on the 'Appetite' album, be happy, and if you wanna listen to G N' R, put on 'Chinese Democracy' and come to a show.

And in 2016, Dizzy would address the many lineup changes that the band went through, stating that with Axl singing it is Guns N' Roses:

It’s just drama in the workplace. No matter who is playing in the band, we work really, really hard to make it work. When [Rose] picks up the microphone, it becomes what it is: Guns N’ Roses. If you don’t believe that, you don’t have to be there.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm



[Axl] is a lot bigger than I ever really thought about when I got into this. He is such a huge star. Even 10 years after the last tour, people are still dying to see him up there. It's really impressive and crazy.

I'm probably way more of a control freak than [Axl] is. I know him as someone who's easy to work with, someone I like working with. If I were to compare him to anyone else, I would say he's one of the easier people I've had to work with in my years, you know what I mean...?

I'll tell you why I'm still with the guy: He's got my back. He's the most loyal guy you could ever meet. There's a lot of love in him. There's a real person there who goes way beyond his historical past, you know?

Most of what the public thinks about Axl Rose is misconceptions. I trust him with my life, and I definitely feel more a part of the band now than I ever did in any other situation. I think it’s an intrigue thing, where those misconceptions meet myth, and legend is what draws people to him. That’s the rock and-roll part. You want to see him fall apart. You want to see the car crash.

I had doubts at certain points [about the record coming out], and the thing that kept me going every time is that I would talk to Axl about this and that, his ideas about what we're doing and what we're gonna do and stuff like that. And every time, I just kinda had to stop and go, 'You know, he really, he's a smart f--kin' guy, knows exactly what he wants to get.' How to get there is another issue, but he knows what he wants, how he wants it to be. And every time I had a doubt, I would talk to him about stuff, and (would) totally be back in it. I mean, I never at one point thought, 'Oh, I'm gonna quit.'

I think just about fucking everything is a misconception about the guy, to be really honest with you. I know the guy, spend a lot of time with him on the road, at home, whatever. What I see people write, or hear what people write or think, is fucking so 180 degrees from what it really is. Most of the time. [...] And you know what? That’s part of the myth and why people still want to come see him is because no one really knows! Except what we know. But they [the media] don’t want to fucking hear that! No one wants to hear ‘you know what? He’s a really good guy, he’s funny as shit and he’s a really good friend [who] I totally fucking trust my life with.

[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.

[Axl] is the most misread guy I've ever known.

Not only do we have fun doing the (expletive) we do together, but Axl is super supportive outside of that. I couldn’t be in a (expletive) better spot.

[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.

People say I sold out when I joined Guns N' Roses. But I've never met anyone who cares less about what people think.

The one thing Axl Rose and Paul Westerberg have in common is that they have a hard time explaining what they're trying to get, musically.

We have a great relationship. He is very supportive. Hopefully some time soon the press will want to talk to him about the positive shit that is going on in his life now. Not just about drugs and drink like the way they always do. But when people come to see Guns N' Roses, they come to see one person, we know that.


He [Axl] is your best friend until you break the chain and then he doesn't want to know you. There are no half measures; you are either with him or against him.

I'm dead serious about this, but I think Axl is awesome. It's from working with him that I've got the guts to reach out and go beyond my limitations in my own music. He's one of the ballsiest people in that genre. He's not afraid to take chances musically.

I would say his strengths are definitely his heart and his loyalties. He's incredibly loyal and totally has your back if you're straight with him and are loyal back. Which is why him and I have gotten along so well. I'm the same sort of person. I don't fuck around or waste my time with people who waste my time, and I don't really take up people's time if they don't want it. I would say those are his strengths. Other than that, he's a fucking awesome singer and an amazing songwriter. The weaknesses part? Maybe he still thinks too much of what people are expecting of him. Maybe he could try just fucking exist, and not worry about the way people want him to be? Maybe a little bit of that? Might be hard for him, because he's got a lot riding on it. I've got a lot riding on it, but he's obviously got way more (laughs). What I see with the Guns N' Roses thing... you know, I've hung out with him so much to know that it's hard to be him, just because people are rabid. They get pretty weirded out. He's got some crazy fans, and people that have been there for a long time. And I think if he could just exist, if he could get up in the day and go cruise around like I cruise around and see the world in a non-stressful environment like that (laughs), it might do some good for his fuckin'... his self. He's a huge fucking rock star, man. He can barely go down the street without someone fuckin' throwing some curveball at him. It's a bummer.

[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.

I have a lot of admiration for what Axl does and how he does it.

Axl and I have a great friendship; he supports me and I support him. All I’m thinking about is going forward with it.

This guy can walk in the middle of a fuckin' cornfield and draw a crowd.

You figure out after a while what battles are worth fighting for. That's the big thing. A lot of times, whether it's Axl or Paul or just about anyone, they'll tell you they want to hear what you have to say, but they really don't. So you've got to walk a fine line. You have to play the moment for what it is.

It's not that hard for me to deal with Axl. It's a little harder [than with Westerberg] because I don't see him that often, but we're respectful enough to each other, so it ain't that hard. That's not to say we don't have disagreements. Everyone has those.

[Comparing Axl to Paul Westerberg]: They are both about the same to work with. There are things about both of them that I admire. They are both very similar. They have their way of doing things. Sometimes, things haven't worked out so good with either of them, and that is part of the deal.

[Being asked about Axl starting the band over with new musicians]: Here's the way it went down. He didn't start over. The other guys just kind of vacated the band. They said, "Fuck it, I don't want to work." Axl just decided to go on. He called me and asked me to do it and got the other guys to do it as well. Axl just wanted to keep working. He didn't want to start completely over after everything the band had been through. I think it was a pretty ballsy move.

We get along great, we really do. It ain’t perfect, it’s not great every day. We’re all cantankerous in our own right. But the reason I’ve played with him so long is that we do get along.

You have a front man who is a very serious and almost dogmatic type figure. Axl has a hard time taking it on the chin so to speak. Soul Asylum, Replacements, Guns; Good and bad they take it all home with them. They do focus on the negative too much at times. I had conversations with all three and heard all the crap. How can you sit there and blah blah blah and complain. Let’s stick with the positive.

[Talking about Axl and Paul Westerberg]: You know what: they are both very strong personalities. There are certain peccadilloes with each, but they are also pretty similar in certain ways. No one really ever tells me what to do at this point. I always kind of go by my own guidebook. Luckily, I show up and do what they want so it all works out. [...] They are both very serious and maybe read a little too much about what people say about them and think about them. I think they both carry a significant amount of baggage and they could really improve their quality of life by just letting go of it.

[Being asked to explain Axl]: You're asking me to (expletive) write 'War and Peace,' dude. [...] I think they're [=Westerberg, Pirner and Axl] hugely talented, a bit misunderstood in a lot of ways, and maybe I subconsciously think I can help them in some way. I guess I'm kind of used to that kind of personality; maybe I'm drawn to those kind of people and they work out good for me. Maybe I've got a yin and yang kind of thing about it.

[Comparing Axl and Westerberg]: Jeez, there are a lot of similarities. One is they're both the real deal, both without a doubt the real thing. Axl's the great singer, sold tons of fucking records, and Paul is one of the great writers of the era. They're both somewhat hard to deal with. They have definite ways they see things, and that's the way it's going to be. Not that it's a bad thing -- they both stick to their guns. Maybe sometimes to a fault. It's gotta be hard on both of them to be so immovable at times.

First of all Axl Rose is part of a dying breed, a real rock star. There just aren’t rock stars anymore. He’s a really good guy, great to work with.

He’s a singer of a band and he’s a friend ... we have, you know, a working relationship for 16 years now. He’s a lot of fun to play with, he’s a good entertainer and he’s a force to be reckoned with.

You know what though, the fucking most amazing thing about this guy, about playing with him, is that he gets up there and fucking does a fucking thousand percent of what he's got every time he shows up, and fucking people come out in the fucking thousands all over the fucking world to see that. And it's, you know, I think we put on a good show for him, you know, and stuff but when you really think about it, it's kind of all about Axl. And I'm just going to be, you know, be honest about that and it just still just amazes me how rabid they are to see him up there doing his thing and he puts on a fucking great show.

I don't think he's as erratic as people think, he's just real and you just don't know. He runs on his own field, man, and he does his thing the way he does it and that's all he's doing.

[comparing Axl to Paul Westerberg and Dave Pirner] They’re all completely different people but also very similar in a lot of very important key ways. They’re all very sensitive to everything, I mean music and on some levels they’re in another place than most people because of what they’ve experienced or where they wanna be in life, or whatever. Their similarities are pretty interesting and I’ve had to adapt to all three, of course.

Their similarities—and I can’t really get into it—are quite profound, just in the makeup of their personality and their genius. There’s a certain thing, I think Paul and Axl, and I think all three of them, have a genius quality to them. They are very bright and with that kind of genius comes a lot of mental hardship because you’re in this whole other mental capacity to get out of what you want to get out of your music that’s hard to convey.

It’s hard to accomplish because getting what’s in your head on a fuckin’ record is completely…[laughs]…it’s our hardest gig we’ve got as musicians is tryin’ to get the ideas in the brain on the fuckin’ disk.

All three of them have their own peculiar problems getting the idea from their head onto the disk. It just takes a lot to pull that out and get it where they want it, exactly where they want it, where they fuckin’ think it’s supposed to be, the way it’s supposed to sound. All that.

[comparing Axl to Paul Westerberg] They’re more similar than dissimilar. They’re both very much focused on how they see it in their head and how it needs to be, so you have to roll with that a bit. They’re both strangely perfectionists, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just part of genius involved with both of them. Other than the music being completely different in a lot of ways, it’s not derived from all that different of a place. Axl and [original GNR bassist] Duff [McKagan] come from the punk-rock school of things from a big degree, and the same records were probably on the turntables owned by Paul and Axl at one point or another, whether it was the Heartbreakers or the Sex Pistols.


You know, that guy has more integrity than any artist I have ever worked with, and I have played with a lot of people. But he has more integrity and that is really something that I find incredibly admirable. He is all about the music and that is all that matters to him, that’s what it’s about and that’s all it should be about. What matters is that it’s the best it can be. That is how Axl rolls. He’s not about the money. He is about the art of it and I think that is what I’ve learned more than anything.

And I’ll tell you what else, that guy listens more than any other singer I’ve ever worked with. He listens to musicians. When we’re onstage, and like I said the songs are different every night, so he’s listening to you for when you finish a phrase before he comes in. He totally pays attention and it’s really cool. It’s great to work with someone like that.

I’ve never had any difficulties with Axl. He’s far from a pussycat, but even further from what his reputation belies. I’ll tell you one thing, he has more musical integrity than any singer I have ever worked with. He also is a true musician. He is constantly listening and participating in the musical conversation. He’s not just waiting for his turn to sing his parts, he’s listening and then helps direct the conversation. It’s a pleasure to play with him. It can be an incredibly intense experience. I’ve never stood next to anyone on stage that is that intense. He is definitely excorcising demons at times!

I mean, Axl, you know, I've never met anybody that has so much genuine musical integrity. You know, he won't whore himself out, he won't do anything for business or money, it's just about the music. And he won't defend himself in the press because it doesn't matter, he doesn't think it matters. It's just about the music. That's all he cares about. And I've worked with a lot of people in this business and I've never seen or met anybody that would be motivated purely by that. By the desire to make art. And you can say whatever you want about it because he's not going to defend himself, but he is that and that's for sure. You know, otherwise there would have been a reunion. Because the offers for money have been outrageous, he would never do a reunion unless it was for something besides money.

Axl has always been cool with me and he's a hell of a musician. Some people are just really musical. They just are music and he is music personified, he really is. He's just one of the cats that just lives it. He always thinks musically. He listens - which is what makes him a great musician. Music is all that matters to him. I've never met anyone with as much musical and artistic integrity as Axl Rose.

People talk about not doing stuff for money, but he really will not do something strictly for money. He's all about the music. It's gotta be about the music. That's why he doesn't do interviews, because it's not about the music. And to him that's the only thing that matters. I think that's incredibly admirable. Axl encompasses in a lot of ways what's missing from rock n' roll now - his mystique and he's an enigma.

We get along really well. You know, I guess we come from a very similar place as far as our influences and definitely relate on that level. And I think, essentially, with Axl, ultimately, that's all that really matters to him — is the music. So if we relate on that point, then everything else sort of falls into place.

And you know Axl's very loyal, you know, and he really is very generous and very... He likes to have, you know, people who have his backing, he wants to feel like feel like...

When asked if Axl is misunderstood by the general public, Richard would confirm and explain this is because he doesn't defend himself in the media, something former band members had taken advantage of:

Oh, absolutely, because he doesn't defend himself in the press. There are a lot of people who take advantage of that, and ex-members know that's the way it is and they fully use that to their advantage.

In 2015, he would specifically name Slash as one of the guys who had taken advantage of it:

And he won't talk. He won't defend himself. People like Slash know that. They know Axl's not going to defend himself in the press. So they'll say whatever they want about him knowing he's not going to refute it. Because early on he got screwed over so much by journalists over and over again to the point where he won't do it. People are gonna say whatever the f--- they want to say. But he's at a place where it's not about anything other than the music. That's all he cares about and you don't see that anymore.

And on the biggest misconceptions about Axl:

That's he's a dick [laughs]. He's actually a really solid dude. But, like I said, he's got more integrity than anybody I've met, it's all about the music, it's not about...Let people talk and he's just about the music.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm


The next shows of the 2002 Chinese Democracy tours were at the Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, USA, on November 22 and the Gund Arena, Cleveland, USA on November 24.

Before the show at in Pittsburgh, Richard, Tommy and Buckethead would talk about the new Guns N' Roses:

It’s nothing like being in the Guns N’ Roses we knew growing up. The band is a new, whole different vibe. [...] It’s sort of a dream band. I don’t think I could have put together anything better than this. [...] [The sound is] not that far off. You don’t want to alienate people by changing it too much. Guns fans are very intensely into it You can’t deviate that much.

The new songs are working out great. The old ones are fun to play, too. We've taken some liberties, but you'll definitely recognize them. We don't do disco versions of anything. We've all just taken what was there and made it our own.

[Talking through his hand puppet, Herbie]: I think there’s lots of exciting things down the road. It’s like when you’re cooking, and you’ve got a nice loaf in the oven and it’s not quite done, and you’re just really excited for it.

In Pittsburgh, Axl would talk about the setlist:

For the most part this will be an oldies but goodies night. And, if anyone doesn’t understand why, well, that’s their problem, I guess, so... we’ll have a good time.

At the show in Cleveland, Richard took over playing the first solo in November Rain from Robin, per Axl's request:

Well actually, you know, when I started playing that first solo of November Rain, Robin was playing it and Axl had asked in the middle of the tour, he said, "Hey, can I hear Richard play that?" and that's when I started playing it.

Richard would now play this solo through various incarnations of the band until Slash retook it in 2016.

In Cleveland Axl would discuss his choice of sports jerseys and his singing:

Not too bad for a recluse, right? [...] Do you think I chose the right jersey tonight? Some people are like, “I don’t know what this trip is with the jerseys. I guess he’s just trying to join in the hip hop thing. And like, red is really not his color.” Oh no, I’m feeling pretty red tonight. Like I’m in the zone. Maybe we can stay in the zone.

You know, sometimes I don’t think this is exactly what they planned when they had me sing in front of the church.

Reviews from the show in Cleveland:

Despite his silly-looking shoulder-length braids and a 40-year-old stiffness to his trademark snake dance, Rose, when he needed it, was able to reach deep and belt out several of those patented throat-shredding squeals.


The band performed a healthy two-hour set, leaning heavily on Appetite for Destruction-era material and a few other fan favorites, including Patience and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Also performed were three serviceable, if not exciting, new tunes: drum-loop-driven Madagascar, the nu-metal-sounding Chinese Democracy, and The Blues, a power ballad.

As for the new band members, Rose has gathered a talented bunch. Besides former Nine Inch Nails member Finck, he’s acquired former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson; drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia of Primus and Praxis; longtime Guns touring keyboardist Dizzy Reed; second keyboardist Chris Pittman; guitarist Richard Fortus; and cult hero and guitar virtuoso Buckethead.

The group is unquestionably talented, and they tore into the set with a lot of energy. But part of the allure of the original Guns was watching a group of guys who came up together in Los Angeles clubs loosely banging out the songs they created out of their own blood, sweat, and drug- and alcohol-fueled experiences.

The replacement players were very professional and energetic as they played incendiary versions of Mr. Brownstone and My Michelle, and Buckethead (in the Slash role) displayed his amazing chops on the solo section of the encore Paradise City and many fast songs. But Bucket-head’s participation also is the main reason this group seems more like Axl Rose and Friends than Guns N’ Roses.

Ex-guitarist Slash and the band's other estranged members were barely missed as Rose and his new sidekicks (the only other holdover from the group's pre-grunge heyday is Dizzy Reed, who now shares keyboard duties with Chris Pitman) did justice to "Patience," the immortal "Sweet Child o' Mine" and other vintage GN'R tunes.

Brian "Brain" Mantia (formerly of Primus) and Tommy Stinson (Replacements) provided an airtight rhythm section. Even more impressive were the three new guitarists. Buckethead (he of the KFC crown) and Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails) speed-dialed frenetic solos throughout the performance. Richard Fortus (Psychedelic Furs) had his chance to shine during "Rocket Queen."

Some of the shows at this part of the tour has not been sold-out, something reviewers would often mention, and Dizzy would discuss this:

Some shows weren't sellouts, but I wouldn't call them half-full. The people who were there were having a great time. They were losing their minds. That's what counts to me.

The next show took place at the Nationwide Arena, Columbus, USA on November 25.

During this show Axl would talk about his choice of jerseys and joke about the lack of history between band members:

You know, actually, I do have fun wearing the different jerseys in the different towns. Actually I have been wearing a Buckeyes [Ohio football team] jersey for... let’s see... about six or seven years. I remember [reading] on the internet, “You know, that color doesn’t suit him well.” It’s like, fuck off! Some dump ass...
Oh, by the way, where’s my chicken loving friend? Hey, Chicken-man... See, and actually we do have a relationship here. We do have an involvement. It is relevant, it ties in. See, Bucket’s dad went to Ohio State. We have an alumni child here. So it does tie in. See, every little bit I can use I’m gonna pull out of the hat. I was, “Oh, wait a minute, your dad.” Yeah, okay, I’ll tell everybody about that.

Axl would also reference recent riots in Columbus and joke about it:

So, okay, alright, you have some explaining to do! What’s going on here, you know? I need to know. I mean, come on. A riot? Now, now, now... I would never, ever, ever be involved in such behavior or anything of the kind. This is wrong. Shame on you... I saw it on TV, and I said, “What, am I late already? Fuck! What day is this?” (laughs).

The band then traveled to Pepsi Arena, Albany, USA for a show on November 27.

At this show Axl would discuss Slash and Duff:

Now I was uh, perusing. I was reading all about my integrity, 'cause that's what I'm known for I guess - selling out my integrity. That's why I'm here with you tonight because I just don't give a fuck I guess. Yeah, that's why we worked real hard at this. That's why these guys worked real hard at being in a band that they can get abused for "because they're the guys in the way of stopping the old band from getting together." That's horseshit.

I'm not trying to bum anybody out, but, you know, I was thinking about it. I'm pretty blunt so people get real pissed. And I haven't done a lot of talking on this tour. I'll shut up real soon don't worry. You know, I've tried acting nice and that just ends up fucking me right up the ass. They take advantage of that. "Well, you see Axl said something nice, so how can we use that to our advantage?" ... The truth is they didn't want to be here for you at this level and they don't want to take it farther. I mean, that's their business right? But not at my expense or yours. You've been played. You've been lied to. You've been used. You've been manipulated so that they can ride around in limos and jam with Snoop Dogg or whoever the fuck. I don't care. That's their business, but they shouldn't really do it at your expense or mine.

Now as soon as I say this it'll be on an MP3, someone will transcribe it , and the next person will say "'Can you believe Axl said that? I mean my god. I mean he hasn't put out a record. I don't know why he would say that. I mean who does he think he is? That's not very nice. The other guys, they have gotten over it and they're his friend now and they're willing to be his friend and he just needs to grow up." .. I'm sorry. I'm a little bit more blunt. I mean, Slash may sound like a De La Hoya, but he's the fucking Vargas. That's just how it is. And just because you've got a bunch of guys agreeing doesn't mean shit. The truth is that they're a bunch of bad cops and I'm the fuckin' Serpico and they can "suck my dick!"

"You know without Axl and Slash we wouldn't have November Rain and Estranged" .. Well you don't know what the fuck I went through to get that guy to play those songs. You don't know about the argument we had at A&M studios, because Duff and Slash came to me going "We're not gonna do that song Axl, we're not gonna do this song, no, no, we're just not gonna do it." .. But I wanna do it. We'll do it right now. This song is called "Patience."

The band then traveled to Canada for shows at the AirCanada Centre, Toronto, Canada, on November 29 and at the John Labatt Centre, London, Canada, on November 30, before returning to USA and a show at FleetCenter, Boston, USA, on December 2 where they went on two hours late [Worcester Telegram & Gazette, December 3, 2002].

Before the show in Boston Dizzy would talk about fans starting to know the new songs:

Some people actually know the words to some of the songs, which is kind of strange. The magic of the Internet seems to have something to do with that.

During the show Axl would talk about the new songs:

I read a review. It was rather favorable, but it talked about a couple of songs (?) and they’re like, “You know what, it sounds a little dated.” It was like, “No shit, motherfucker.” What... God damn... (laughs) That’s part of the plan of some of them, you know.

The next show was at Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, USA, on December 3.

Again, Axl would joke about the lineup:

Let me introduce the band - as one critic put it, my “travelling circus of freaks” (laughs), my “freak show.” (Tommy asks: “Is that bad?”) I don’t think it’s so bad.

And about people wanting them to fail:

Well now, boys and girls... Tell me the truth, did you think we were coming? There are those who definitely wanted you to think that we weren’t coming.

Then the band travelled to Madison Square Garden, New York, USA, for a show on December 5, which would ultimately be the final show of the tour. The show had been sold out "in 15 minutes flat" [Classic Rock, February 2003].

We had a sellout at Madison Square and other big shows. . . . It's a huge credit to Axl that as many people showed up as did, considering there hasn't been a new album in 10 years.

Before the show Tommy would talk about Axl's vocals:

As we’ve gotten into the tour, he’s really put his groove on. His voice is sounding amazing — he’s just ripping through these songs.

During the show, Axl would take the opportunity to discuss a review from playing in New York an earlier time:

I remember when we played here somewhere in New York, and there was a writer - I don’t know if he still writes - a guy named Jon Pareles... You know what, I’m gonna save that story for the song that fits it.  

(A few songs later, before Patience) Now, back to my earlier story... We did Chicago on this leg and we had a great time in Chicago. [...] And then I read this review. An opinion is one thing. You can think it sucked, that’s... Fucking peace, man, that’s your business, that’s your... But if you’re gonna lie, then you’re a pussy. So this next song we’ve played, you know, with my old friends, my former friends, my thought-they-were but I guess they probably never were friends. But, this guy Jon Pareles then he wrote a review and I guess he must have been in the bathroom or getting a coke or some (?) or something, because he wrote, you know, that the crowd hated the song and everybody was bored, no one was into it... But I think he might have been able to enjoy himself. I’m not complaining, though. He might have been able to enjoy himself, if he just used a little more patience himself.

And again he would talk about the songs:

You know, I read a little review that some of these things were... “They sounded a little dated.” No shit! That’s kind of the plan...

During the show Axl would also hand out donuts and talk about Conan O'Brian, probably in response to Conan referring to the new Guns N' Roses as "Fatty McGoo and the guys who aren't Slash" after the MTV Video Music Awards appearance:

Is Conan here tonight? Okay, you know, Conan is Mr. Conan O’ Brien, my good friend Conan. You see, I read a little while ago that he was on a diet. And now and then, you know, you need to break from a thing like that, so I brought him some donuts. These are a special Krispy Kreme Conan O’ Brien dedication from me. [Hands donuts to the crowd] “Axl’s white trash bistro catering” has some Conan donuts here. He won’t mind, my good friend, he won’t mind.

Dizzy would later refer to this show as "one of the best shows we ever played" [Rock Journal, August 2, 2004]. And he would again mention the show in 2005 when asked about his favorite show:

hmm.. I'm gonna have to go with the new lineup. The last show that we did which was Madison Square Garden was definitely my favorite show although there's so many... I mean we're talking about hundreds of shows... you know there were some great moments.

Brain would say that it wasn't until Madison Square Garden that the band started to feel like a proper band to him:

[...] it wasn't until after the Madison, I think at Madison Square Garden, that show, I think that's where it felt like, "Whoa, I feel like this is a band," for, you know, like, Axl and Bucket and I, we were like, kind of doing our own thing. Like at one point, you know, we started like doing the little improv in the middle. And that was expanding and everything was happening. [...] But at that point, I remember even talking to Bucket and everybody and Mother Goose, and we were all just kind of hanging out and we were kind of like, "Shit, it's working." Like, you know, "This is kind of cool." Like, "That was a cool show we just played." And it felt like it was becoming a band and, you know, it was just sad to me at that point because I was like, "Oh, we never got to really take off." And then from there, that's after Bucket left, then, you know, it became something else. You know what I mean? Like I think for any real band to gel and become something you really got to get out on the road, play a bunch of shows, grind it out, start really feeling each other, and how they play and how it works.

In 2006, Axl would look back at the importance of the show at Madison Square Garden:

[...] but at the same time, what I'm saying is that we needed to do the shows that we did, back then, to feel like a band. And we did just enough shows for ourselves as a band, and especially, the way the show went down, and the performance at Madison Square Garden, it just helped solidify things for as long as it needed to, to keep that band together.

Reviews in New York Daily News and Spin:

Even the biggest brats eventually grow up. Look at Axl Rose.

In the singer’s first New York show in nine years, Thursday at the Garden, he repeatedly expressed gratitude to the crowd, made light jokes, put on a slick, professional set and even showed up relatively on time.

It was quite a change from the Axl of old, who liked to launch into wild-eyed rants, fight with his own fans, show up hours late and pace his performances with the discipline of a kid suffering from attention deficit disorder.

Then again, Rose has much to prove with this tour. By eluding the public’s view for nearly a decade, Rose had become the Norma Desmond of rock — a recluse and a rumor-magnet of legendary proportions. After so much time away, Rose has not only dared to try to fill the nation’s top arenas, he has billed the event as a Guns N’ Roses tour, even though his seven-member band features not a single other member of the original group.

Curiosity alone probably could have filled the Garden (it was sold out). But the band’s first tiptoe back into the pop pool — an appearance at August’s MTV Awards — sounded unfocused and desperate. It was “Welcome to the Bungle” time.

Here, Rose was in far better yowl, and his group seemed much more rehearsed. Rose did, however, cut an odd physical figure. At 40, the once-svelte star appears to have taken one too many trips to the dessert table.

To cover for it, he sported an array of muumuu-size sports jerseys, matched with pants large enough to hide Fat Joe. His cornrowed hair looked like something ripped off Bo Derek and ghoulishly sewn into his head.

Yet, in his classic role as cater-wauler, Rose was king. He hit all the right screeches in such songs as “Rocket Queen,” “Nightrain” and “My Michelle.”

And for the first time since... well, since forever, Guns N’ Roses went onstage early and played real fucking rock music for two fucking hours (19 songs, three of them new). Against seemingly unfathomable odds, the reinvented Guns N’ Roses were remarkably awesome.

What’s so surprising about the 2002 GN’R assault is that they’re less bloated than the lineup that packed arenas on the Use Your Illusion tours during the early ’90s. “November Rain” still runs in the neighborhood of 12 minutes, but it no longer seems masturbatory; “Patience” is still melodramatic, but that melodrama feels anthemic (and even a tad nostalgic). Instead of just being about attitude and reckless abandon and finding drugs, this neo-Guns is focused on the art of arena-size rock. What always made Rose so interesting was that he overtly strove to be hyper-epic, and that’s the one thing about him that hasn’t changed: On “Madagascar” (a new song), the band flirts with Zeppelin's “Kashmir” (sonically and sort of geographically): “The Blues” is like Side One of Houses of the Holy performed by mid-period Stevie Wonder; the track “Chinese Democracy” is akin to quasi-political White Zombie. If this ridiculous album ever comes out, I’m going to buy it three times.

The band would not tour again until 2006.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm


[Dizzy says to expect] a pretty intense musical journey. It takes you to some really interesting musical places.

[Tommy promises that] it touches on a lot of different elements of old Guns N' Roses in some ways; in other ways it touches with more current-sounding music. [And that Axl's lyrics are] a lot deeper [than on previous GNR releases].

For a GN'R record, it's pretty diverse. It's not straight down the rock 'n' roll road. It's all over the place, in a good way. It has a little bit of everything - the old Guns N' Roses vibe, ballads, a couple of pop songs.

[Axl delivers] more soulful singing. You really get to hear some different tones in his voice which don't lend themselves to traditional bluesy riff-rock. And the lyrics are a lot more in-depth, with deeper sentiment and emotion than some of the earlier stuff.

Like we were talking about earlier like how there are these different guys that come from different places, pretty much everyone has contributed to this record. It's definitely a band thing that we are doing and when you put the guitars on top of it and you put Axl on it, it sounds like Guns N' Roses. But it's a little more diversified and a little more spread out and there is a little bit of something for everybody. That's the only way I can really describe it, kind of like an adventure in music I guess.

There's something new around every corner, like an amusement park. When you add the guitars and you add Axl, that's what makes it work, and that's what makes it Guns N' Roses. There's a little something for everybody, and I think people will dig it.

In my opinion, every single song is great. When you add the guitars and you add Axl it sounds like Guns N’ Roses. Anyone who was a fan then should still enjoy this. And I think hopefully we’ll grab some new fans, too.

The band is unbelievable. It's like my dream band! Honestly, I couldn't have picked a better group of players. [...] It's a whole new thing. I never saw the old band. I never owned a Guns record till I got the gig. I think this is a completely different animal though. Don't know how to explain it, but I don't think there is a better guitar-band out there at the moment. How are you going to top Buckethead and Robin Finck? Playing with those guys has been the zenith of my career.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:28 pm

DECEMBER 6, 2002


The next show in the band's 2002 Fall Chinese Democracy tour was planned for First Union Center in Philadelphia on December 6, but when the band failed to show up angered ticket-holders started a riot:

Police said two people were sent to the hospital and several others were also treated after some in the highly charged crowd began hurling debris and slugging one another upon hearing that the band had stood up some 20,000 concertgoers.


Things went awry shortly after the opening act, Mix Master Mike, ended its set about 9:45. Witnesses said about a half-hour later, fans began to realize something was amiss when stagehands began packing up their equipment and leaving.

According to officials, the show had been cancelled when Axl became sick [Philadelphia Daily News, December 7, 2002]. As explained by Peter Luukko, president of Comcast Spectacor Ventures:

It's very simple. We were informed Axel was ill and wasn't going to appear in the building, and we made an announcement. We emptied the facility and everybody went home.

The announcement that the Guns N' Roses show was cancelled came an hour after the opening act was finished, at 11:15 [Philadelphia Daily News, December 7, 2002].

I guess I won't get in trouble for this stuff - but it's an amazing story, but during the time we, I think we just played like Madison Square Garden, everything went great and then we're supposed to play the Spectrum. And to make a long story short, you know, it just fell through. It was like one of those things where Bucket and I are in hotel room, and we're watching chairs being thrown on, you know, Channel 7, into the... they're like, "The Guns N' Roses show is not gonna happen." [...] and then Clear Channel calls and says the whole thing's over and we're flying home [...]

According to a report the band sustained damage to their equipment worth $ 2 million [Dallas Observer, December 19, 2002].

A commonly reported story was that Axl had been occupied watching a basketball game and hence missed the show, Gabbidon would deny this:

Here’s the real deal… The basketball game story is bullshit! We stayed in New York until the last minute, that’s true! But it had nothing to do with a Knicks game. Axl had some personal things going on that would have kept him from giving the fans their moneys worth. I personally told our tour manager at 6:30 that we weren’t coming. The promoter in Pilly chose to drag it out! Not our fault.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

Blender magazine would later claim that Axl had been sulking and refused to travel to Philadelphia after hearing critical commentary of the band's show at Madison Square Garden [Blabbermouth, February 10, 2003]. The review of the MSG concert came from Doug Goodstein, a colleague of Howard Stern at the Howard Stern Radio Show [Blabbermouth, February 10, 2003]. The New York Times would much later claim that Axl had reportedly been denied access to a club in New York after the pervious show at Madison Square Garden, for wearing fur, and that this rejection had caused him to skip the next show [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

In 2004 and 2005 Dizzy would be asked what happened in Philadelphia:

I really can't talk about that. There's still a lot of shit going on. [Legal stuff?] Yeah.

Sorry- I can't talk about that.

Tommy would also be prevented from talking freely about the incident due to legal issues, but make a small comment:

All I can say is that Axl had the flu, and that show could easily have been postponed.

He would repeat this in early 2005:

That's all still in litigation.

In 2006, Axl would not say what had happened when asked why the tour had ended after the show at Madison Square Garden in NYC:

And would later again say legal reasons prevented him from discussing what happened:

There are reasons that I have not spoken more about Montreal and Philadelphia that have been extremely complicated and are not legally resolved behind the scenes to this day and could have possibly jeopardized the future of Guns N' Roses.

Sebastian Bach would also be asked about what had happened:

I’ll have to check with Axl. [...] Who knows why Axl is playing anywhere. "He does whatever he wants to do. [...] You can say what you will about Axl, but he’s an original. He’s larger than life.
The Mercury, November 29, 2006

Then in 2012, as Guns N' Roses returned to Philadelphia, Axl would finally address what had happened and apologize while also blaming their promoter at the time and management:

We haven’t been back here in a long time, right? And I never talked publicly about what went down, and a lot of that was because there were a lot of legalities behind the scenes, so I had to keep my mouth shut for five years, or I would have got sued for about everything I owned by fucking corporate radio and shit that were backing our tour. So I had to shut up. I mean, I did cancel the first show at 6:00 in the morning. But my manager told me he canceled it and then didn’t. And then Clear Channel wanted us to fuck up, because they wanted to end the tour, because they had some shit going on in Florida or something, I don’t know, some… a whole bunch of bullshit. But I got really sick; it had nothing to do with fur coats or basketball games or... You know, and I love Philly. I came to visit here a few times and stuff, I really liked it. So on this we decided, “Okay, we’re gonna risk it, what if we can throw in a show in Philly, and we can get in Philly;" and maybe I could get lucky and not go to jail. So it’s good to be here with you people tonight. I want to apologize for my part of that, you know, so… I’m not saying I’m innocent.
The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, February 17, 2012

Looking back at the show:

When the band (now Axl and a bunch of ringers) returned after an eight-year layoff, its front man had hardly mellowed. At this gig, Larry Magid, one of the promoters for GNR’s Philly tour stop, started to worry when Mix Master Mike’s opening set went on well beyond its scheduled last song. “The managers weren’t able to persuade the band to go on,” recalls Magid. “Whatever psychological issues Axl was having, he just couldn’t get onstage.” By 9:30, Mike was finished, but GNR still hadn’t shown; near midnight, an announcer declared the band would not be performing. (The rumor was that Rose was in New York watching basketball on TV.) “The audience responded,” Magid says, “by wrecking the place — almost $200,000 in damages.” As the Philly papers reported, fans threw bottles, chairs, and (somehow) ceiling tiles. “They’re not my favorite band,” says Magid. Things were bad outside the arena, too: In the parking lot, somebody threw a trash can through a Toyota Camry’s windshield. “I did one show with them, and that’s all I wanted to do,” Magid says. “Why would you subject yourself to the promise of more punishment?”

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:28 pm


Following the cancellation of the December 7 show in Philadelphia, the December 8 show in Philadelphia was cancelled and Ticketmaster would also list five shows additional shows as cancelled [The Province, December 8, 2002].

As a result of the commotion there were signs of backlash against Guns N' Roses with rock station WMMR-FM (99.3) announcing that the weekend would be “Guns N’ Roses Free” and the webside of Albuquerque rock station KZRR-FM showing the band logo with a big red slash accompanied by the headline “No Guns N’ Roses” [The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 10, 2002].

On December 11 it was confirmed from the promoter Clear Channel entertainment that the entire tour had been cancelled [MTV News, December 11, 2002]. No reason for the cancellation was given [MTV News, December 11, 2002].

Although there had been no official explanation for why tour dates were being cancelled, media would speculate it was due to poor sales [The Sacramento Bee, December 10, 2002] or that Axl was struggling with mental issues [Chicago Sun-Times, December 11, 2002].

Immediately after the announcement that the tour was cancelled rumours would say that Robin and Tommy had quit the band, but this was later denied by a spokesperson for the band [The Launch, December 19, 2002].

Later Tommy would blame the tour organizer:

We had the tour pulled out from under us. In short, that’s all I can say. There were some legal things ... it wasn’t due to us not showing up or Axl not wanting to play.

Although Dizzy would not answer questions about the cancellation of the tour and infer there were ongoing legal disputes [Rock Journal, June 3, 2004].

Tommy would later shed a few more details:

There was a problem with the promoting aspect of that tour... They pulled the plug on it and I can't really go into it.  [...] it wasn't our fault. [...] [Axl's] slate and our slate is clean.

In 2018, an interviewer would mix the postponement of the tour in 2001 [see earlier chapter] - which was due to Buckethead being sick - with the cancellation of the tour in 2002, and ask if it really was due to Buckethead being sick, to which Brain confirmed Clear Channel had ended the tour due to the band missing shows:

Yeah, I don't know. I don't know if they really... You know, I think what happened was, you know, things were going good and Axl was still pulling his moves. And I think that Clear Channel was just getting kind of sick of it. So I think they were just like, "You keep [?] shows and we're gonna flip and pull the plug." And I think he just missed [?] those and they pulled the plug. And then I think that at that point they probably had to make an excuse or something. I know that Bucket was having some trouble at that point with his health. And so I think it was just kind of happened to be around the same time, he was very stressed out in it and getting worn out. And I think it was just kind of like, you know, a combination of both. So they might have said that, but, you know, I think it was just because [?] was like, "We're done," you know, you can't keep... We missed like three or four shows in a month.

In 2019, Brain would indicate that there had been some friction between Clear Channel and Axl:

I mean, it was confusing to everybody because we all thought everything was cool. And I think that it was Clear Channel decision. That's what I was told that they were just like, "Oh, we're having problems with some of the scheduling," or something like that, "of upcoming shows. And we booked too many," and you know, I think Axl wasn't happy with that or something and then, you know, something happened between them and they pulled the plug. I think, you know, I don't think it was anybody in the band. I mean, I don't know what everybody else was told, but you know, to me, I heard what they told me is, "Clear Channel is pulling the plug and everybody's going home tomorrow." And I was like, "Okay, whatever." [...] I mean, like I said, every time I do an interview, [Axl]'s always been cool to me. And I always see it as, you know, like, yeah of course, point the finger to Axl because without Axl, there's nothing. Obviously, he's the easy one to say if something fucked up. But there's so many things going on. It was such a big production but what they told me was they were just like, "Hey, Clear Channel's pulling the plug." I was like, "Oh, shit, okay. Well, I guess that's it."

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:28 pm


It started off a little rocky because it was our first run, but this one especially because it was such a big production. There’s a lot of chaos involved with a show like that, no matter who the fuck you are. It started out rough but spirited. As it went along, we started gelling as a band and it became fun. It wasn’t fucking easy. When you get to that level, there are schedules and entourages and technicians all working to make it happen. That was the hard part but also the satisfying part—to put your fucking all into a two-and-a-half hour show while being the people that no one fucking knows about. Fans showed up knowing Axl was going to be there but had no idea who the rest of these people were. To see their reactions to us having a good time, playing the new stuff and old stuff, it was really cool.

[Axl] was really, really excited at that time. You know, he was telling me “I’ve got the band together. Everything’s gonna be happening.” I was really amped about it because I was looking forward to going out on tour. And then, all of a sudden, it was gone.

In contrast to the above, Axl would later say the tour hadn't been his decision but that despite it ending too early, the tour had been really good for the band:

I mean, the last time when we did it it was like, a lot of people kinda pressuring to do it and thinking it was and stuff...and kinda talking me into it, you know, like, I psyched myself up. And, that US thing did really good for the guys in the band, I mean, they're all still there, I mean, Bucket's Bucket, you know, and he's kinda been in the same trip he's been before he was in, with us, and now he's out, he's kinda in a world of his own. But the rest of the guys, it did just enough that it helped everybody feel like a band and they stayed a band. So it worked out pretty good for us.

[...] but at the same time, what I'm saying is that we needed to do the shows that we did, back then, to feel like a band. And we did just enough shows for ourselves as a band, and especially, the way the show went down, and the performance at Madison Square Garden, it just helped solidify things for as long as it needed to, to keep that band together.

Talking about playing new songs for the audiences:

A lot of it didn’t go over that well because the crowd had never heard it before. It didn’t go off badly, but they were just listening to it and figuring it out.

Despite the tour being shortened, CKY would have good memories:

[Chad Ginsberg]: We got to play Madison Square Garden with Guns n' Roses. That's cool as shit! Axl gave us a great opportunity. He was really into us. [...] We went to a strip club in Toronto with Axl. This girl danced to 'November Rain,' and Axl just put his head down in embarrassment.
Rolling Stone, February 11, 2003

[Vern Zaborowski]: [...] there was a riot on the first show and the last show. That’s a perfectly symmetrical tour.
Rolling Stone, February 11, 2003

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:28 pm


In the aftermath of the cancellation of the tour, the press would speculate that this was the end of Guns N' Roses, that Axl couldn't possibly come back from such a failure. Rolling Stone tried to get comments from band members and roadies but none would talk [Rolling Stone, January 6, 2003].

In a rare interview with Axl's bodyguard, Earl Gabbidon would give an update:

We're on hold temporarily while we regroup and see what the $$ folks have to offer. Axl has been looking forward to this tour for 5 years now. We'll be back!
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

When asked if it was true that Axl is going to "check himself in to a psychiatric clinic due to exhaustion and other emotional problems", Gabbidon declined to comment [Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE].

Various industry professionals would give their advice to Axl:

In Axl's case, anything's possible. If this guy has a hit record, he's back. Rock & roll has always been anti-establishment. Part of Axl's anti-establishment is pulling this shit.

His options are to leave the business and have a nice life if he can afford it, or try to get someone to believe in him again somehow — or, in a year, put the real GN'R back together. He should do some soul-searching and realize that it's about the fans and not about him.

On March 9, 2002, the following update would be found on the band's webpage:

Stay Tuned for news and information on Chinese Democracy coming soon.

In 2003 and 2004 other musicians would talk about Axl and Guns N' Roses:

As far as Guns N' Roses, I have a lot of... in a weird way I have a lot of empathy and sympathy for Axl, because he has been grappling with his sense of unworthiness or whatever. What ever things he's been grappling with, he's been grappling with them for a long time. Is it possible for there to be a reunion between him and Slash? You know, there is a lot there.

I love the idea of Bucketthead in Guns N' Roses. Its an outrageous idea. The whole idea of turning Guns N' Roses into this kind of twisted carnival, kind of demented carnival thing. I definitely enjoy that, but at the same time its a difficult thing. There are a lot of expectations. Obviously he wants it to be a certain thing, and he's determined that its going to be this thing that he wants it to be. And at the same time, the fans, whether they say it or not, they want it to be a certain way. There is no right or wrong. Ultimately you have to find a language to bring that back to life or leave it alone. Either he is going to let Slash find a way to you know, really make music, or he finds a new way with Bucketthead, or whoever. But the demons of the past, all the expectations, and all the nasty things that people are going to say, whatever... The thing is, he is kind of doing... you know I can totally empathize with the fact that it is all kind of happening for him in public. And I really wish him well! You know, Living Colour and Guns 'N Roses haven't always been on the best of terms, but I really wish him well with it. You know, quiet as its kept, I was a fan of Appetite For Destruction as much as anyone. They are a great band. Whatever else has gone on good or bad or indifferent, if something positive would happen, I am all for it!
Metal Refuge, October 17, 2003

Lose the "hired guns" and get back with the real Guns & Roses - Slash, Duff & the rest.
Metal Sludge, March 2, 2004

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:31 pm


With the tour in the fall of 2002 coming to an abrupt end it was speculated that the band was over and done for, but in March the following message would be posted to the band's website:

Stay Tuned for news and information on Chinese Democracy coming soon.

In March 2003, an interview with Tommy would be released where he described the process of making music in Guns N' Roses:

[The song writing process is like] beating [a song] to death until we’ve spun it around and gotten it right. There’s a reason why it’s taken so long and it’s sort of the process of getting the songs to where Axl wants them and is inspired to sing them.

And speculate on the record's reception:

It could be a huge fucking success and historical in that no lead singer has undertaken the [band] name and the whole band has quit. So if it goes huge, we all win and we’ll have done something that hasn’t been done yet. And if it flops, it’s going to be a huge fucking flop. And I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s a lot of viable music that we’ve done and I have confidence in it that it won’t be the other extreme. Either way, it’s a biggie.

In April 2003, Richard would be asked if he could give a gift to the world what that would be:

Actually finishing and releasing "CHINESE DEMOCRACY".

In June, Axl would attend the release party for the new Led Zeppelin DVD [antiMUSIC, June 16, 2003]. when asked about the status of Chinese Democracy Axl would say he was hopeful it would be out this year, that he was co-producing it, and that he wanted it to be as perfect as possible before it was released [antiMUSIC, June 16, 2003].

Talking about work on the record and when it will likely be out:

It's been going great. It's closer to the end of the record being completed than it is the beginning. And we start back up in rehearsal mode in the middle of September, which is a good sign to me that the record's going to be ready to come out soon, and we'll be out on the road again touring behind it soon after that. [...] I'm not drinking the company Kool-Aid on all that. That's all straight info. I guarantee that the album's coming out. Hopefully, it'll be out sometime before the end of the year.

Tommy would also say that the work they were to do in the fall of 2003 would likely be the finalization of the record:

I think this is the final push.

There’s definitely a record, and it’s definitely close to being done. And Axl’s been super supportive. So hopefully the GNR album will be out early in the new year, and my album will come out in February or March, and then I’ll have all this new music to promote. Y’know, I’m pretty lucky with all this.

In early 2004, Studio Expresso, a newsletter about studio work in Los Angeles, would mention Guns N' Roses recording new tracks together with "producer/engineer Caram Costanzo and Pro Tools engineer Eric Cadieux" [Studio Expresso, February 2004].

Later in 2004, the Village studio website would post the following picture:

Eric Caudieux [ProTools operator], Dan Monti [Assistant Engineer],
Axl Rose and Caram Costanzo [Engineer]

In 2014, Robin would look back at recording his solos, including the solos to This I Love:

We had played  [This I Love] as a live and loud band. When I say live, I mean we had rehea-sed them (songs) in a room at top volume so many times and it was also the way it was recorded (laughs). [...] The recordings were loud and I was standing in the control room or in the live room. They (solos) kind of came pretty quick and then we'd just kind of hone in on what the first impression was and I don't know, kind of hammered away at it until we got it. I didn't really have a method. [...] When I knew I was gonna go in and record one of the lead parts on "This I Love," I would listen a few times without playing. I would listen to the track without playing guitar and just kinda try to hear what comes natural as far as starting low or starting high or where to begin and where to end up. I've always liked guitar players that play in phrases maybe like a horn player who needs to take a breath. I don't think about it - I'm thinkin' about it more now because you've asked me than I have ever thought about it (laughs). There wasn't a lot of thinkin' going on to be honest.


[Being asked when the next tour will start]: Probably not going to start till early Fall when the record is released.

But in August 2003, Tommy would say the tour would take place in the summer of 2004 [Detroit Metro Times, August 20, 2003].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:31 pm


In March 2003 Dexter Holland, singer of The Offspring (who had later hired the services of Josh Freese) would announce they would name their next record Chinese Democracy and make a joke about Axl's new dreads:

You snooze, you lose. Axl ripped-off my braids, so I ripped-off his album title.

But apparently this was a joke, because a few days later Noodles, the band's guitarist, would admit the new record did not have a name yet:

Josh Freese is playing with us on all the new material for this record. Josh is an okay drummer (you may have heard of him) and a longtime friend of ours. We are super thankful that he was able to help us out on what was pretty short notice. His playing sounds awesome and I know you're gonna love these songs. We don't have a (real) title for the record yet, but have been kicking around some ideas. The two new songs still don't have lyrics, so one of them, in keeping with tradition, will probably suggest the whole record's title.

In September the new Offspring record would be confirmed to be named Splinter [ Official Offspring Website, September 9, 2003].

I don't think we ever seriously considered using that name. But we could have if we wanted because you can't copyright or trademark an album title or a song title. Think of all the songs that are called 'I Love You' or 'Baby, Baby.'

In 2006, Axl would be asked what he thought of the Offspring and indicate that the whole thing hadn't been an issue to him:

It doesn't mean anything. I mean I'm not saying that they don't mean anything , it just doesn't matter you know? [...] But what I would say is like didn't they have a song for I think the movie Orange County or something? [...] But they had a song that I liked its message and everything and it was like "Well aren't you, you by the stuff you're talking, aren't you going against your own song?" You know I dug what there song was about standing up for yourself and this kind of thing and then they were turning around and being the opposite. That what I thought was interesting.

And a few years later, Holland would comment on the episode:

When the record's coming together, you try to seriously think of a title for ten minutes and then everyone in the band jokes around for the next two hours with ideas like 'Offspring Bloody Offspring.' One day, somebody suggested 'Chinese Democracy' and we couldn't stop laughing about it.


We got a lot more attention than we thought we would. I heard Axl [Rose] was looking into legal options but there aren't any, since you can't copyright an album title before it's released.
Spinner, March 12, 2009

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:32 pm


In early 2002, after having been denied entry to a Guns N' Roses - and a possible reconciliation with Axl - Slash would talk about not being negative towards Axl in the press:

I don't like to dwell on negativity, for one. And for two, I mean, all things considered, granted, yeah, I did quit the band because of reasons that were not too savory. But, at the same time, a lot of time has gone by and I don't have the time or the patience to, like, just make crap out of crap for no real reason. […] And I'd like to sort of just get on with things.

But make an exception after Axl had badmouthed Slash and Duff from the stage at the December 31, 2001, show at Joint, Las Vegas:

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 […]

Slash would keep getting questions about Axl:

He's one of the most brilliant lyricists. He's got so much going on, and he's really an intelligent, amazing guy. It's just… it depends how much of that [emotional baggage] you want to experience with him. A lot of it is stuff that not everyone in the band necessarily understands. So you try to understand, and you try to be a good friend and bandmate as you go through it. But when it negatively affects everything the band is doing, it's really hard to stand by him.

In 2002, in addition to restating that Slash had tried to wrestle control over the band, Axl would call Slash a liar:

Slash has lied about nearly everything and anything to nearly everyone and anyone. It's who he is. It's what he does. [...] For the fans to attempt to condemn me to relationships even only professional with any of these men is a prison sentence and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'd say my parole is nearly over. I'm practically a free man and if you don't like it you'll have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

On November 20, 2002, Axl would also discuss how the other band members never wanted to really make it big:

Well, it’s basically why Izzy and these guys – I mean, none of them really wanted to do the big shows. [...] from day one, Izzy always wanted to be about the size of The Ramones and do, like, 2,000 seaters. Okay? So there was always a little battle there. And then the other guys had to be on so many substances to really be able to deal with that crowd.

In 2004 Slash would be contronted with this statement from Axl and respond:

(Pause) I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think… You know, when we first started I think maybe it was like, you know, just success to us was just being able to play in front of an audience that was actually… basically appreciated… the band. And the good night would be a night that you just walked away feelin‘ like the crowd got off on it and the band got off on it and it didn’t matter, really, how big the place was. But as you sort of, you know, move along, you sort of tryin to move with forward motion. So you go from this size venue to that size venue to the next size venue and you just allow yourself to get bigger if you’re capable of doin‘ it you just go there but… You know, like sittin‘ and wishin‘ that you could be… somewhere else when you‘re doin‘ whatever as you doin‘ now… wasn’t a really big thing with me and Duff and Izzy and Steve or Matt. Where Axl might have been… but then once he got there then he fucked it all up, you know (laughs). We’re just happy doin‘ whatever it was that we were doin‘ and we just kept sort of goin‘ forward. You know what I’m sayin‘? So you just sort of take it as it comes.

Axl would also discuss Slash from stage:

Now I was uh, perusing. I was reading all about my integrity, 'cause that's what I'm known for I guess - selling out my integrity. That's why I'm here with you tonight because I just don't give a fuck I guess. Yeah, that's why we worked real hard at this. That's why these guys worked real hard at being in a band that they can get abused for "because they're the guys in the way of stopping the old band from getting together." That's horseshit.

I'm not trying to bum anybody out, but, you know, I was thinking about it. I'm pretty blunt so people get real pissed. And I haven't done a lot of talking on this tour. I'll shut up real soon don't worry. You know, I've tried acting nice and that just ends up fucking me right up the ass. They take advantage of that. "Well, you see Axl said something nice, so how can we use that to our advantage?" ... The truth is they didn't want to be here for you at this level and they don't want to take it farther. I mean, that's their business right? But not at my expense or yours. You've been played. You've been lied to. You've been used. You've been manipulated so that they can ride around in limos and jam with Snoop Dogg or whoever the fuck. I don't care. That's their business, but they shouldn't really do it at your expense or mine.

Now as soon as I say this it'll be on an MP3, someone will transcribe it , and the next person will say "'Can you believe Axl said that? I mean my god. I mean he hasn't put out a record. I don't know why he would say that. I mean who does he think he is? That's not very nice. The other guys, they have gotten over it and they're his friend now and they're willing to be his friend and he just needs to grow up." .. I'm sorry. I'm a little bit more blunt. I mean, Slash may sound like a De La Hoya, but he's the fucking Vargas. That's just how it is. And just because you've got a bunch of guys agreeing doesn't mean shit. The truth is that they're a bunch of bad cops and I'm the fuckin' Serpico and they can "suck my dick!"

"You know without Axl and Slash we wouldn't have November Rain and Estranged" .. Well you don't know what the fuck I went through to get that guy to play those songs. You don't know about the argument we had at A&M studios, because Duff and Slash came to me going "We're not gonna do that song Axl, we're not gonna do this song, no, no, we're just not gonna do it." .. But I wanna do it. We'll do it right now. This song is called "Patience."

In 2003, Slash would comment on the botched 2002 Guns N' Roses tour:

All these years later, he finally gets out there and they had two options: either go and prove us all wrong or screw it up. And he screwed it up. And that’s simple as that. It’s sort of par for the course.

In early 2004, Slash would say he still hadn't talked to Axl since he 1996, but that Perla sends him Christmas cards:

But my wife is sending him Christmas cards. She has not even met him, but she just wants to be nice.
Dagbladet, February 17, 2004; translated from Norwegian

I haven't talked with him since I left Guns. Can we change the subject?

The last time I talked to him was at rehearsal the day before we quit the band, and then I got a lot of nasty messages on my answer machine. I haven't tried to rekindle anything 'cos he really rubbed me the wrong way.

Around the same time he would also admit he had been bitter about how it ended:

We might have been bitter when we first left, because under the circumstances it wasn't a pleasant time. But we'll always be proud of the actual band that we started from the gutter and brought it to be a huge stadium band.

And that Axl "single-handedly ended" Guns N' Roses:

We spent our entire, actually, teenage to adult lives putting together a band and making a band that went from nowhere to becoming a superstar band, and he sort of single-handedly ended it, so we were pretty pissed off (laughs). So we haven't talked to him since, you know – no reason to.

In June 2004, Slash would talk about how bad he felt for the fans of Guns N' Roses and reluctantly blame Axl:

I feel bad about all the people who got ripped off by Guns N' Roses. [...] You know what I mean by that. The fans were so f---ing great. They embraced us, and a band couldn't have asked for more, and we let them down. [...] I would be a total assh--e if I didn't put some of the blame on me. But I'm not responsible for the band breaking up. I worked too hard, for too long, trying to keep things together. I don't like to blame Axl either. He seems to be the scapegoat for everything. [...] Nobody involved with Guns wants to blame Axl, but there's no one else to blame.

[Axl is] one of the most amazing, brilliant, sweetheart guys, and at the same time one of the most inconsiderate, nihilistic, unpleasant people you could ever meet.

Later in 2004, Slash would (partly) blame Axl for Slash's and Duff's alcoholisms:

In that band it was constant bummer after bummer. It was so unpredictable. When it was working it was great, but me and Duff ended up alcoholics partly because we never knew what was going to happen next.

A lot of drinking ensued because of the way he behaved, especially during tours.

The final years of GN'R had a constant black cloud hanging over them, so Duff and I just drank them away.

Slash would summarize his time with Axl and how Axl had become crazier over the years:

We made a big mistake with Axl. He was nuts when we first met him. He was too erratic and too violent and unpredictable, even for me. Hanging around with him was like being in a constant state of chaos with no point to it. As time wore on, he got more and more out there and we couldn't argue with him. It all got out of hand when Yoda and her fucking guards started coming on the road.

So Axl is difficult to deal with? Thanks for letting me know! It's no secret that Axl is completely crazy.
Rock Hard France, March 2004; translated from French

"Yoda" is Sharon Maynard , the guru that Axl had accompany the band during the Use Your Illusion touring.

And Slash would talk about how Axl hadn't wanted to do anything:

One of the biggest conflicts I had in my prior band is there was always one guy who didn't want to do anything, which made it difficult.

He would also comment on the long process to release Chinese Democracy:

He’s taking a little too long in order to… But it’s just a rock and roll record. Do it and get it out there, you know?

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:32 pm


In 2003 Richard bought his first apartment at the Lower East Side in New York City together with his girlfriend, Jennifer Teichman, who was described as a model and photographer [The New York Times, August 17, 2003]. Guns N' Roses had wanted him to move to Los Angeles, but Richard had been reluctant [The New York Times, August 17, 2003].

In 2005, Richard would announce that he was expecting to become a dad in November:

I am preparing to be become a father in November.

Richard and Jennifer's daughter, Paisley Piper, was born on November 5, 2005 [Blabbermouth, December 6, 2005].

Nothing will make you an adult quicker than parenthood. [...]  It just changes everything. It changes the whole structure of your life. Everything that was important to you before is not important to you now, you know?

At some point Richard must have moved from Los Angeles, because in October 2010 it was announced that he was selling his house in Woodland Hills for $549,000 [Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2010]. The house was apparently not sold immediately, because in April 2012, Richard was again listing the house for sale, now for $429,000 [San Fernando Valley Blog, April 30, 2012].

Richard would continue to have a studio and company in New York working on music composing for movies and video games, but he realized that working remotely from Los Angeles didn't work:

[...] I'd been in the band for a few years before I did move to LA. I thought I'd be able to continue my company - I had a company in New York that was doing TV and film and commercial work, and video games. And I had a studio there and I thought, "Well," you know, "I can do the same thing from LA." And I had a partner in New York and figured, "Well, we'll keep that open and I'll be able to work remotely." That didn't really work so well. You sort of have to be there.

By 2014, Richard had two daughters, Paisley and Clover [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 20, 2017] and had separated from Teichman as he revealed when he talked about what he missed when he was touring:

My daughters! As much as I love to play music, I miss them every day that I am not with them. It’s definitely the hardest thing about what I do. I have a very difficult time touring now because I split with their mom and things are very difficult. I feel that my girls need me, but this is how I have always made my living and I don’t really know anything else.

Richard now has the baby [...]

Talking about the greatest moment in his life:

When my daughters were born. [...] Well, I mean, being a parent definitely changes everything because you're living for somebody else, not for yourself anymore.

In late 2016, Richard married his girlfriend, lawyer Stephanie Howlett [St. Louis-Dispatch, December 14, 2016].

Howlett and Richard
December 10, 2016

In 2017 he would talk about his love for his daughters, Paisley and Clover:

You know, really, honestly, right now my life is primarily focused around my kids. [...] That's like really my first priority.

And whether it was hard to tour as a dad:

To be honest, it’s harder to be away from the kids [than Stephanie]. Stephanie and I have been together for two years, so not a whole lot is different. Being on the other side of the world is hard, but it’s easier now. Stephanie is here in the house when I’m gone.

Stephanie would also comment:

Would I love to have him home? Yes. Am I glad he’s having this experience? Yes. I wouldn’t wish it away from him. I don’t miss out on anything.

Paisley would also comment:

I just think of him as Dad, not a famous rock star.

In 2019, Richard would talk about Clover making music:

Like, my younger daughter now, she's 11, and she is recording all the time and writing songs. She sits in a room and plays guitar and write songs and plays piano and write songs. And she's just starting to record those on her own little setup. And trying to figure out how to get music out to people with YouTube channels and SoundCloud and stuff like that.


With plenty of times on his hands after having played his parts for Chinese Democracy, Richard got involved with numerous other musical projects. Despite this, he would consider Guns N' Roses to be his main band:

I'm still a member of Guns n' Roses and I still consider that my main band.

In 2004 and 2005 he collaborated and worked on numerous different projects:

I've been doing a lot of tv ads, movie scores, record sessions and video game scores over the last year.

He also worked with the German singer-songwriter Nena:

I started working with her after her drummer/MD (Van Romaine), reccomended me. I had known a few different players from NY that had worked with her in the past (Andy Hess from the Black Crows and Gov't Mule, Tony Bruno from Joan Jett, etc.), and they all had great things to say about her. She is the real deal. She has that ability to captivate a stadium full of people and have them all in the palm of her hand. She's an amazing talent and a real joy to work with.

I've been playing with Nena (yep, 99 Luft Balloons Nena), in Europe quite a bit over the last year. I've also been writing music for TV commercials, movies and video games.

And in 2005, Richard would tour with Nena:

The Nena tour is great. The record that i did with her has just gone platinum in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In March 2008, Richard would guest with the Japanese band X Japan at their three reunion show sat the Tokyo Dome [Blabbermouth, April 6, 2008]:

I'd like to thank X Japan and their fans for the kindness and generosity they showed me while I was in Japan. It was such an incredible honor to be asked to share their stage! This was an event that I will never forget. The last night especially was very magical and incredibly emotional.

Hide [X Japan's influential lead guitarist Hideto 'Hide' Matsumoto who committed suicide in May 1998] was a star of such magnitude that nobody will ever fill the hole he left. It was an honor to be able to pay tribute to him.

I hope that i am able to do more shows with X Japan in the future.

Japan is such a strange market, isn't it? I mean, they try and....everything is amplified, you know, and that's what X Japan was. They were metal band, but like they had the whole popcore thing going on, and they had that real heavy verses and super fast. And so it was faster and heavier than anything else. And the choruses were poppier and cheesier than anything else. And everything was just like amplified. Everything was [?] there, their hair was taller, their clothes were more outrageous. You know, it was times 10, everything is times 10. And their power ballads were more powerful, and more ballady. It's funny. I mean, to us a lot - and we look at it and some of the stuff is genius - and other  things you just, you stand back and look at it and go, "Oh my God, this is just so over the top." And the Japanese just eat it up. You know, they love it. Like it can't be too big or too fast or too, you know. And I think culturally that's the difference. [?] they've been singing English really-

Talking about how he got mixed up with X Japan:

I wouldn't say that I was necessarily a fan of X Japan but I love the spectacle of it and I seen videos of it because as a musician you always, whenever you go to Japan, Australia, you find out all the Australian bands and all the unknown bands to us, you know, the underground bands that we don't hear about, you go to South America, you do the same thing, you know, you search out, you're always looking for inspiration, you're always looking for something to inspire you in any way. And I had seen X Japan videos, then I met Yoshiki, the drummer, who's the star of the band, you know, he's like the genius. And I met him at.... Actually, no, he was producing an album that I played on and... Actually, this is funny, I was asked to audition for Guns N' Roses and I said, "Yes, sure," you know, "It works out because I'll be out in L.A. in a couple of weeks anyway, so I could maybe do it then?" And they said, "OK, great, that's perfect," you know, "We're gonna be doing auditions and we'll spot you in." And then I spoke back and forth with them and then I didn't hear anything more. I thought, "Well, that's weird." But I went out to do this album and the album was one Yoshiki was producing. And he was co-producing I think with Ted Nicely [?] or somebody else that had brought me in. Anyways, I ended up going to the session and on the session the bass player was Tommy Stinson and the drummer was Josh Freese. And they were both with GN'R at the time so I said, "Oh, this is crazy because I was supposed to audition for you guys this week," and they said, "Oh, you're the guy, right! Well, Axl found this guy Buckethead and called off all the auditions." He stopped auditioning people. So anyways, Yoshiki the producer ironically, you know, and then I ended up doing a few other things with Yoshiki as well and we became friends. And I was actually at his studio working on something, I think it's like a movie score or something like that that I was playing on, and he was there, he goes, "Oh man, what are you up to?" We're talking and he said, "You know what, I'm doing some X Japan shows. I'd love to have you come play with us. So that's how that happened.

In November, Richard would participate in Repo! The Genetic Opera, "a rock opera in which organ recipients need to pay their monthly medical bills or things get bloody" [Ultimate Guitar, November 26, 2008].

For the last part of 2008, Richard would tour with Rhianna [Ultimate Guitar, November 26, 2008].

I did do a tour with Rihanna, yeah. [...] She was great. I played with her and Chris Brown when that whole thing went down, I was in the band at that time. [...] I was [at the Grammys in February 2009]. We did sound check, man, we did the run through the night before, did sound check, she was at the run through the night before. Then we came, showed up and did the sound check and she didn't show up. And they're like, "Well, you know, she was in a car accident, but she's OK." It wasn't actually a car accident, it was an accident in the car. [...] You know what? They were kids. I'm not making any excuses for him at all. I mean, there is nothing tough about that guy whatsoever. Sort of like geeky little kid, you know. At that time he was 20 years old. And you know, all this money and fame and stuff.

Being asked what he was working on in 2009:

Right now I'm working on a piece of music for a new Swedish movie. I'm also going to be scoring a new horror movie that I'm very excited about. I'm currently working on a record with Toni Halliday from Curve. We are still writing it. Also doing a record with Angela McCluskey that is very cool. The whole record sounds like a 60's French pop record. Think Serge Gainsborg/Francois Hardy/Sylvie Vartan/Jacques Dutronc. She has one of the greatest voices I've ever heard. Very fun stuff. Also doing a country album with a band called Country Bones and doing a record with a very cool Norwegian band called Saivu. See, I told you my tastes were varied!

In early 2009, Richard recorded a version of the James Bond theme for Guitar Hero: World Tour:

Guitar Hero: World Tour is also getting some classic tunes this week, with a healthy does of Queen. "C-Lebrity," "Fat Bottomed Girls," and "We Are The Champions" will all make their debut for $1.99 each or $5.49 for the bundle. The game will also see the James Bond theme, as performed by Richard Fortus ($1.99).
Ars Technica, March 27, 2009

Richard would later go on to play this song as his solo guitar spot at Guns N' Roses live shows.

In mid-2010, Richard would give an update on what he was currently working on:

There is a band called Saivu from Norway whose album i played on. I'll be playing with them at a festival in Norway in July. I recently wrote some songs with Michael Monroe for his new record. I also worked a lot on Dizzy's new record. I hope that comes out soon, there is a lot of really amazing stuff on it. Fantastic songs and his voice sounds great. I'm also working on a new video game score and some other tv catalogs.

Richard also played on Pagan's Bitter [Blabbermouth, August 11, 2010].

In 2019, Richard would talk about having collaborated with the electronic artist BT on a project called Fortran:

I recently did this album that I'm super excited about. I recorded an artist named BT, electronic artist. I've done a lot of stuff with him in the past. We've done a lot of work, done a lot of movie scores together, and done a lot of different new outcomes and things like that. This is the first really collaborative band type of situation where it's really a collaboration between the two of us from beginning to end. Nothing like this has ever been done before. It's a really interesting project. What we did was we came in with ... we both had looping devices. We came into this, I don't know, 120 year old church, the Stone Church, beautiful room. And it's a recording studio now, but they specialize in immersive mixes. They do mainly classical stuff, so they'll make up the entire room with 30 something mics all over the room. What we did was, because it was electronic and I'm playing electric guitar, so I had two amplifiers and then we had ... What? 28 speakers, JBL speakers, monitors, all placed all over this room, this incredible church, right? And then mics everywhere. So it's the first acoustically recorded electronic album, really. And it's for the Dolby Atmos system, so it will be completely immersive. Yeah, I'm really excited about it. It was an amazing project and we're still going to be mixing that probably at Skywalker. [...]  I think BT was talking to the engineer that owns that studio, and it's not far from where he lives. It's actually in Virginia, and he lives in Maryland, so they came up with this idea. I think they were looking to work together, and then BT and I were looking to do something together, so it just sort of evolved that way. [...] The project's called Fortran.


Being asked why he is such a popular session musician:

I have been obsessed with music since I was really young. I breathed, ate, slept and dreamt music for as long as I can remember. I'm always searching out new music, anything that I can even get a spark of inspiration from. So I have a very good knowledge of music history and therefore, a lot to drawn upon. Plus, my tastes are very varied.

Talking about being a session musician in New York City:

It’s funny how small that whole scene is. It’s almost dead now in NYC, but it used to be very busy. I moved to NYC as a part of the Psychedelic Furs/Love Spit Love, so I was instantly accepted in to a circle of musicians and producers. Once you are in, you are in, and as long as you keep doing good stuff, you keep working.

Talking about and he had been asked to join but declined:

Alice Cooper. Bowie. That was one that really hurt. Iggy Pop was another one that really hurt. Those are two gigs I would have liked. Nine Inch Nails is another; Trent (Reznor) even released for a second that I was joining, but he was doing that to stir up shit with Axl (Rose). [...] Ministry’s approached me. The Mission UK, too, but I might still do some things with them. Ian (Astbury of The Cult), I have played with, a number of times. Does this sound arrogant? It doesn’t? Now, Jimi Hendrix, he never calls me.


In 2009, Richard would reveal he likes to do long distance running:

I love to run. I am a long distance runner. When I'm on the road, I run 10 to 20 k a day. Keeps me grounded.

Talking about what he does while on tour:

I go to a lot of museums and I run every day, which is a great way to see a city. That's my favorite part of touring, being able to get out and run for 10-20 k in a new city

And then, you know, not being a...not spending time with drugs or alcohol anymore I really have shifted my attention to things like running and being in the gym, and that's stuff that I do every day. You know, when I'm on the road and when I'm home. [...] that's what I do during the day. [...] I wake up and run. And I run between, you know, 6 to 10 miles, generally, when I'm on the road. And then I'll come back to the hotel, eat breakfast, and then go to the gym. And that's the start of my day, every day.


Being asked if every tattoo represents something:

Oh absolutely, absolutely. And I want it to represent different religions and different pathways. I was born a Presbyterian and I know all the stories cause they were forced upon me when I was a child. But that’s ok, I’m glad I know them. But all paths lead to God, that’s how I feel. It’s all the same message and there are many different prophets. The message is there in all of them. Whether it be Buddhism or Daoism or Hinduism, all paths lead to God. The essential core message is there in all of them. That’s exactly how I feel. Buddhism I think is the most adult religion. Do you know what I mean? It’s the most adult pathway. There are guidelines but it’s more about practicing spirituality and reaching that state within yourself and knowing God within yourself. And it’s in Christianity. Jesus said that as well. God is within you.

And discussing his chest tattoo which was done with bamboo at the Tiger Temple in the north of Bangkok, Thailand:

With the bamboo you feel the needle go in every time. You feel it pierce and pull out and pierce and pull out. But also with the bamboo, with the monks you’re meditating on the subject. So you’re in meditation so it’s not painful. [...] I don’t know [how long it took], maybe six hours. You get in a zone where your body is dealing with it. The color stuff is painful. The more detailed it is, the more painful it is.

Being asked if he regretted any tattoo:

No. Even this one [a segmented spider on his wrist] which was done by a friend of mine but I don’t regret it and I don’t cover it up. And this one [upper right arm] was my very first tattoo. It was the sun. You can see it underneath. Gordon was working and he said, “What does this one mean to you?” And I said it was my first tattoo. And he was like, “I need this space.” And I went, “Yeah, go ahead.” (laughs).

And future tattoos:

I want a traditional Japanese on my leg and then Gordon [the tattooist] wants to finish.

Discussing the sleeve:

[...] this is all color. This is the green Tara, mother of all Buddhas. And that’s Krishna, the Vishnu incarnation of Krishna. And Mary, Jesus and then my back is Kali.


In early 2019, Richard would do a show with the "funk/rock/electronica/jam-band collective Headtronics" in St. Louis:

I think it’s going to be awesome. But I’m curious to find out what exactly it’s going to be. [...] From what I understand, we’re starting off with a rough template and just letting things happen. [...] Generally, the stuff I do is all song-based, where there might be free sections (for soloing and jamming) here and there. But this is sort of the opposite of that. It’ll be a cool collaboration, and I’m excited to do it.

[...] when you have players of a certain caliber and maturity, we're all listening to each other. We're all thinking as writers and producers. So it's not ego-driven and it's not masturbatory. So it's more about listening to what other people are doing and then finding a simple line and developing that and then changing it. You know, seeing that for 16 bars and then letting that go and shifting on something else and listening to what other people. You know, it's really magical when it's right. And with this group of people, it's just absolutely phenomenal. And you know, my first show with them was last week and last weekend. And I was really not knowing what to expect as far as how people would respond. But then people were just blown away by it. And it's incredibly infectious. And there's something really magical about it because knowing that it's all completely unscripted and that it's very pure and very organic. And when it's working and it's magical, there's nothing else like it. And it's really phenomenal to be a part of that.

Talking about founding member Freekbass:

I’ve been a fan of his for a while; I love his playing. We’ve always talked about trying to figure out something to do together, and this opportunity just presented itself.

I was friends with Freekbass, and we've been looking to do something together and this project just came up, and yeah.

And member DJ Logic:

He is very, very musical. Everything I’ve heard that guy do is very organic-sounding and doesn’t feel forced.

By May, Richard had done some shows with Headtronics:

I've been doing these shows with this band called Headtronics, which is myself, DJ Logic, Freekbass, and Steve Molitz from Particle, from the band Particle. That's a total improvised freeform type experiment too that's a lot of fun. [...] It's amazing. We're doing shows on the east coast this weekend. We're doing, I think DC and Roanoke. [...] We've done a few shows already, and it was a lot of fun.


In 2019, Richard was again working with the Furs, but now as a producer for Butler's next album:

I'm actually working on it right now. I'm actually a producing their new album. [...] It feels like home. I mean they're like family. I co-produced the last Love Spit Love album, the second Love Spit Love album, so it's not that dissimilar to them. It's pretty much the same type of deal. And I love working with Richard, the singer. He's always been such a mentor to me, and really... My first band was supporting the Furs on tour, and he saw something in me and asked me to ... As we became closer friends, he asked me to come up and ... Because he knew I played violin and cello, so I would sit in with those guys and then started playing with them. Then he asked me to come up and help him write a solo album, which turned into Love Spit Love. [...] I mean that band was so important to me, not only in my career, but just as a music fan. They were one of my favorite bands when I was ... The first time I saw them, I think I was 15. And it was a really important band to me. So to be able to work with them and have such a close relationship with Richard, really ... I mean if he asks me to do anything, it's hard to say no, especially something so ... This is such an honor to be asked to do this, so I'm really putting everything I have into it. Because I don't want to let him down.

Talking about producing an album for a band that he loves so much:

It can go both ways because when you bring somebody on that is a fan or that has a history with the band, you run the ... Because, as an artist, especially in their case, they don't want to repeat themselves. They don't want to do Talk Talk Talk or Midnight to Midnight again. They want to do something new that's exciting that's where they're at now, that represents where they are at. Yeah, so when you do work with a producer that has had no history with the band, you can bring in something completely unique. I guess there's good and bad, so I'm trying to keep that in mind as I work on this to ... Because when I initially came onto the project, I had this vision of what I thought the record should be. And as we got into it, I realized that wasn't what their vision was, and it really needed ... So, I guess it's a combination of both, hopefully. So hopefully, we both create something unique through our own ideas.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:33 pm


In 2002 Tommy and his former band mate from the Replacements, Paul Westerberg, had a little spat about the reasons Tommy had joined Guns N' Roses [see previous section]. Despite this, in early 2002 there rumours about Tommy joining the Replacements for a reunion tour but Paul Westerberg would insinuate that Axl had put a stop to it:

I think Tommy was advised not to do it, if you can make sense of that. When I called him, he was anxious and interested in a wild idea like that, and then suddenly had a change of heart. So go figure.

Tommy would later likely refer to this:

[Westerberg]'s gone out on a limb to say a bunch of nonsense that's made me look bad, that's made Axl look bad, that's made him [Axl] feel bad... . It's just lame. It's really unnecessary, for one. I don't appreciate it, and Axl doesn't deserve any of it.

In 2003 Tommy would talk more about it:

It got as serious as one kind of funny phone call. We joked about it and I came back and said, ‘I really don’t have time to do it right now, but thanks anyway.’ And that was the end of it. Then somehow that turned into ‘Axl wouldn’t let him do it!’ and all this bullshit that [Paul] put out in the press. It was really fucked. I can’t say it made me real happy; it didn’t make Axl very happy either. But in reality it never got any further than the one conversation.

And talking about a reunion of the Replacements:

I just wish people would leave it alone. The only reason anyone does reunions is to make money, or because they’ve got nothing else going on. And that’s not the case for me right now. [...] Mainly, though, I just don’t have the inspiration to go hang out with Paul and Chris again and do the Replacements thing. To be very blunt, I don’t miss them in that way. I love Paul, he’s my oldest friend in the world. But my life is infinitely better than it was back then, and I like it that way.

I’ve never really been a strong proponent of bands reuniting. I’m in favor of bands like the Clash who knew when to call it a day and never re-formed, the idea of having to see a band like them or see the Replacements trying to relive a moment . . . there’s just nothing really sexy about that for me. You know for a little while I think we really had it, we captured lightning in a bottle, and you can never get back to that again.

I'd have to be pretty destitute to [reunite]. That's why people do those things, to make money, and I don't think I'll be that in need of money for quite a while. [...] Think about it. Would you really want to see that? A lot of people say they would, but if they think about what [a reunion] really would be like, I think they'd agree.

We try and keep in touch. I try to keep in touch with Paul. But ultimately, I don't see going back. I got so much going on in the next two years that I really don't have time.

We'll get together again one day. It will take a while, or it might take a few legal swipes of the pen, but we ain't over.

I can't see it happening any time soon. For me, the next couple years are booked, and from what I see, there's no need to do a reunion. Or at least no one's been banging on my door requesting it.

There are multiple issues and I don't necessarily think that Paul or I probably actually have the time to do it over the next couple of years. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago working on some track for some cartoon thing he's doing [the Sony Pictures animated feature 'Open Season'], and I've got my hands full with my record stuff and GNR coming up.

I'll be honest: If they were going to bandy around the kind of cash that they were throwing at the Pixies, I might have to think about it. But realistically speaking, I'm not overly keen on going back and playing 'I Will Dare' again. I've played that a thousand times, I don't really need to play it again. If people miss it, I'm sure Paul will play it when he comes to town.

If they were throwing the kind of money at us like they were throwing at the Pixies, I would have to look into it because I'm in this to obviously sell records and make a living, but they're not. And would it be fun even if they did throw that kind of money around? I don't know. It doesn't really entice me. Do I really want to go out and play 'Alex Chilton' again? I've done that. I don't know if I want to play with Paul live again because I've done that.

In 2005, Tommy, Westerberg and Josh collaborated on a project and Westerberg would discuss Tommy:

Tommy, [drummer] Josh Freese and I cut the opening song for the animated movie. It was fun, but it felt a little weird too, because he and I hadn't seen each other in about eight years. We were both a little uncomfortable. But I saw him in L.A. again last week, and we went out and hung out a little bit. I've got a few more things going on now, and he's turned a corner where he's realizing there's money to be made. It's a waste of his obvious talent and time hanging around with the other guy [=Axl].
Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2005

And discuss a Replacements reunion:

I think Tommy wants to get together again and play. I don't know if we could call it the Replacements if it was just me and him and two other guys. I'd be a liar if I said I wouldn't enjoy the adulation. But we were always the exception to the rule when it came to the way things were done. And I'd like to see us maintain that mystique. There's the great problem of us getting back together and sucking the bag, and ruining the reputation forever. Maybe we should just sit tight and let people think we were great. We were about youth and rebellion and fun and wildness, and all the things that don't necessarily sit well as we get older. We were never big jammers or played long, slow music that would make sense to revisit now that we're all better musicians. So I wouldn't look for any reunion soon. If I dropped dead, I think that's the safest bet you could make to see all of us in one place.
Chicago Tribune, April 8, 2005

And then in March 2006 it was official: The Replacements had reunited [Billboard, March 29, 2006]. The occasion was to record two new tracks for the upcoming retrospective release, "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements" due on June 13, 2006 [Billboard, March 29, 2006].

In February 2009, Tommy would again discuss the possibilities of a reunion with The Replacements and suggest it was unlikely:

You know what? I just don't know if we have it in us. We've played together and we have things to offer each other. But I think ultimately it's like, why would we do it? The question comes up every time. Why would we do it? Well, they'll pay us really great. Is that the reason to go do it or not? I don't know.

I think Paul probably struggles with it more than I, because I haven't played those songs in 20 years. He has. To me, it sounds more of a fun idea to get up and play those songs again. Not for the money, but hey, it would be fun. Let's go do it. I don't think he's got in him, to be honest with you.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:34 pm

APRIL 28, 2003

On April 28, 2003, long-time friend of Axl, Robert John, would sue Axl:

On April 28 in Los Angeles, photographer Robert John, 41, sued GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose, 41, for allegedly refusing to honor an earlier contract in which Rose agreed to pay $80,000 for hundreds of photos of the band that John has taken since 1985. John claims that Rose has been keeping the photos since January.

John would later discuss his fall-out with Axl:

[Axl] wasn’t happy with the way he looked in the pictures. But his looks had changed. People get older, right? He’d put on a few pounds. He criticized the brightness of the shots, but I wasn’t lighting the shows. He’d already fired Gene Kirkland, a terrific photographer who’d been shooting Guns almost as long as I had.

Then I started working with Marilyn Manson, and Axl was like, ‘The only reason Marilyn is working with you is, he’s taking my energy through you.’ You see, it always had to be about Axl, no matter what. It started getting on my nerves. Axl’s entire world was having his employees lick his ass up and down, and tell him he was right. But I wasn’t paid by him, so I could tell Axl what I felt. And I told him that the guy with the chicken bucket looked fucking weird, and that I just didn’t see any chemistry in this band. They just played the old songs, almost note for note.

Plus, now I was getting messages from Axl through his housekeeper. ‘We want this. We want that.’ She was the maid, the housekeeper, whatever. I didn’t remember her being part of the organization. I remembered her being his ex-girlfriend’s nanny. She never gave him my messages either.

At one point that year [2002], I didn’t see Axl for six months, and he’d changed. He looked different. People weren’t being treated right. He had a bunch of psychics telling him what to do. Sharon from Sedona was putting hexes on things so they couldn’t drain Axl’s precious energy. It was all so weird.
Stephen Davies, Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N' Roses, 2008.

In 2009, in Spinner Magazine, Axl would be asked what had happened to him and John:

Hmmm ... I don't know anyone who knows. Last I heard he was allegedly doing a lot of meth and sleeping on his mom's floor. Anyone whose opinions I trust seems to thinks he lost his mind, lives in a fantasy world and knows everything. [...] This is a guy that I got in the business, got him gigs, paid and treated well, promoted, etc. Helped him get a house, helped him keep his house, bought his photos, and when Merck [Mercuriadis, former G N' R manager], for whatever reasons took forever to pay him, Robert sues me ... but I didn't know anything about it. Next thing, I'm the Antichrist because I didn't like some photos. F--- if I know.

I called Robert out of the blue back when, because I felt I knew something was wrong. Finally, he says he was gonna kill himself. I put up about 60-something-K on the mortgage, got a couple payments, but that wasn't where the trouble started. It was that the bank was foreclosing on that money, so he was pissed at our accountant, who kept on him trying to sort out what we should do and Robert avoiding him -- who was the others' accountant as well. I only learned of any of this near the end. He and Robert knew each other for years.

Spinner Magazine would later remove this question and answer in its entirety from its website with a note that it had been edited on the request of the interviewer. Guns N' Roses would also post the interview on, but leave out Axl's comment on Robert John allegedly doing meth. This would suggest Axl was not happy with how this part of the Spinner interview had turned out, at the very least the reference to John doing meth, or that there had been some pressure to have it removed.

In March 2009, Adriana Smith would come with heated defense of Axl and basically reiterate Axl's words and then some, and claim John was threatening to sue Axl if Axl didn't apologize for what he had said in the Spinner interview [GNRTV, March 2009].


In December 2008, Robert John would launch a GN'R Home Movies channel on the Joost network with exclusive footage form his time with Guns N' Roses:

Because I was so close to Guns N' Roses, I had access others didn't — as we did everything together. When I wasn't shooting photos for Guns on tour, I would take out the video camera on downtime and capture the daily activities and antics on the road, more for memory's sake than anything. The main thing fans ask me is, 'What are they like in real life?' I think My GNR Home Movies channel on Joost will give fans an inside look at the unique personalities in the Guns camp, and what it is like to be friends with them. I'm starting out with just a few clips with interpreted details of my memories from each moment in time, and plan to add more content later. I held on to my video diaries for the past 14 years and, aside from a few glimpses on television, fans have never seen the majority of my GNR footage. So, this will be a real treat and I'm excited to share it with them. Also, I plan to launch other channels with other bands I work with in coming months, so check it out and stay tuned.
Blabbermouth, December 3, 2008

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:36 pm



In 2003 Richard would get himself a baritone guitar from Tom Anderson:

I wanted a baritone that had a longer scale and played in tune and had a humbucker in the lead position. [...] The longer scale is great! It keeps the low-end really tight, not floppy at all. There is nothing heavier sounding than that guitar! Every session I've used it on, the producers lose their minds. Plus, it actually plays in tune! That's a first for any baritone I've ever used.

And discussing its use with Guns N' Roses:

Haven't used it live yet with G n' R. I'm going to use it on "Oh My God" and "Silkworms" (from the forthcoming Chinese Democracy record) live.

Discussing his guitars:

I guess I own about 100 guitars

And being asked what his favorite guitars are:

I don't really have a favorite, but if I had to pick one electric guitar, I guess it would be one of my Les Paul Signatures. They were made in '73 and were only made for a short time. Nothing else sounds like them. I have 2 and they are both gold tops.

And how he has slowly transitioned from Strats to Gibsons:

I do tend to lean more towards Gibson, but I like a wide, sonic spectrum. I like to work with a large palette. [...] I guess it's the roundness. I go through phases, where I'm into different tones, but nothing beats their humbuckers' sound. I also love P-90s. I have a real soft spot for P-90s, I guess. I've been using those for years. I love the Les Paul signature, too, which is sort of my go-to guitar. That was made in '73 or '74, and I go to those a lot just because the electronics or the tone is so unusual and unique.

And what gear he uses for Guns N' Roses:

With Guns, I will be using assorted guitars (mostly First Act and Gibson). I will also be using the Cornford 100 watt stacks. I will also be using the Hermida pedals and the Sex Drive, as well as the Hiwatt tape echoes.

It's constantly evolving. There's a constant quest for the perfect tone. My tech and I are equally obsessed, so we're constantly looking for new stuff and trying to make it better. Recently what I've been using is the Divided By 13 and the Voodoos.

And being asked what gear who used when recording for Chinese Democracy:

Too much gear to remember or mention! I will tell you some of my favorite gear.....
Divided By 13 (ftr37 and rsa23)
My old '73 Jose-modded 100 watt Marshall (my favorite Marshall ever, and i have a lot). Voodoo Amps did an amazing job cloning this amp for me. They are incredibly meticulous. So now, I essentially have 4 of these!
Blankenship Vari-plex (even better plexi than my real plexi's!)
Tweed Gibson Explorer (beats my tweed Deluxe every time)
Tweed high power twin
Park Rock Head
Kelly Amps! They were an off-shoot of the old Selmers in the 60's. Even cooler than Selmers
GUITARS- (recent acquisitions)
'68 Gibson Trini Lopez
'73 Fender Starcaster 'white' (purchased from one of my favorite guitarists- Ted Turner of Wishbone Ash)
New Linhof tele (my favorite sounding tele I own. Even beats my '51 Nocaster!)
'60 slab board Strat
'62 white Jaguar
'71 Guild 12 string
PEDALS- oooohhhh jeez, I don't have enough time to even begin to get in to this!

And his favorite amps:

Right now in the studio I tend to use the Divided By 13 amps. I find myself always going back to those. It's sort of like the culmination of everything I love about all my favorite amps. [...] I also use a lot of old Marshalls. I have a favorite Marshall that's a 100-watt '73 Jose mod that I bought from Mick Mars. It is the greatest Marshall that I've ever heard. Most people agree! Whenever I use it on sessions, the producers always want to buy it from me. It's an amazing-sounding Marshall. I've been trying to get it cloned because I need a backup for it obviously. I also have a B rig, which we leave for different stages. Gear will go to Australia, some will go to Japan - that kind of deal. I needed a duplicate, so I talked to a few different people and they've tried. I couldn't find anybody to come close to it. I found this company Voodoo, and they made me a clone that is just amazing. They made me a few of them, and I even bought another 100-watt Marshall from the same month, thinking the transformer would be somewhat close. It's not. They built me a couple from the ground out that are just spot on, actually better. Voodoo is just incredibly amazing. They're unbelievable.

In 2012, Richard had cut down on his rig:

I've cut my rig way down. I used to use the '73 100-watt Jose (Arredondo-modded) Marshall and an Egnater preamp system. Now I'm just using a signature model Voodoo that they made for me. The clean channel is based on the [Marshall] 'Plexi I'm using with (support act) Thin Lizzy tonight. Then I also have the overdrive channel, which is beefier -it's a four-channel amp, basically. The other section is based on my Jose, my main amp for a long time, which I bought from DJ's buddy Mick Mars. That's a good amp, but the channel on this amp sounds even better. I've got a Fractal Axe-Fx II as well. So, it's basically the wet side. It's wet, dry, wet, with the real amp in the middle. Then I've got lots of drawers of pedals.


Discussing the equipment he used on Chinese Democracy:

I had an old Marshall JCM800 that I brought in for a lot of my stuff. My whole thing is that I’m on an eternal quest to get that classic Eddie Van Halen sound. And I know I’ll never get it, because I don’t have his fingers, his energy, his body. But I try. For guitars, I brought in my Les Paul, my Foot guitar and my fretless. The Paul is an ’89 reissue of a ’59, and it sounds really nice. The majority of my parts on the album are that guitar through the 800, and then sometimes I added a [Boss] Blues Driver or a wah in front of the amp.

For the most part, I kept a simple setup: Gibson Les Paul plugged in a Marshall JCM800. Sometimes I used a wah-wah (Vox or Dunlop) or distortion (Boss Blues Driver). I used a lot of the fretless guitar Vigier Surfreter.

We tried some amps and also different guitars and pickups setups for each song. We tried everything and we chose the best tones. Credit goes to the sound engineer guys and producers, they were amazing.

Les Pauls, the Vigier fretless, Vox or a Cry Baby wah pedal, Marshall heads and cabs, sometimes a Boss Blues Driver pedal for extra juice.  Brought down my old JCM800 for some stuff...

Being asked if he uses Gibson guitars:

I have a 1989 Les Paul that was a reissue of the 1959 for its 30 year anniversary. I played that one in the 2006 GNR tour. There was a real nice custom Flying V that I was using a lot in 2007. Then there’s Parkwood who are a really good acoustic guitar company. I use them for all the live stuff with GNR and on my acoustic album. They're a good company to check out.

And on whether he used Les Pauls on a regular basis before joining Guns N' Roses:

The Les Paul I used with Guns is a 1989, a reissue of the '59. I got it in '89, it has Les Paul's signature on the pickguard. I never put the pickguard on the guitar. I didn't use it often until Guns, only on special occasions.

And his favorite guitar and amplifier:

For clean stuff, old Fender Twins, Fender Reverbs...  they have a punchy clean sound like no other, and when they get a little bit of juice, the tone just pierces through anything.  A good ol' Marshall JCM800, maybe with a Tube Screamer.  I've been using Engl amps, they have what I like about a Marshall but with ridiculous amounts of energy behind them, very heavy sounding amp. Used an Engl Invader 100 head with Lita Ford for a few Summer shows in Europe, using an E580 tube preamp with an E850 100W power amp, both modified with little tweaks.  On Judas Priest's latest tour, one of the guys was using my personal preamp from my rig, that's pretty f**kin' cool...

Being asked if he is much of a gearhead:

In some ways I am and then I tend to reel myself in. If it sounds good and it’s workin’, don’t overthink it. Find myself starting to get too geeky, then I just say, ‘Screw it, just give me an amp and I’ll plug in and play.’ With G’n’R the rig is an ENGL setup that I sort of modified. There’s an E580 MIDI II preamp. I can change the patches as well as anything else MIDI just from foot pedals. I had it modified so it’s even smoother when you go from one channel to another. I had them come up with some kind of circuitry to make it even less of a gap. That’s going into an ENGL 100 watt E850 power amp. That one, I had tried one with EL34s which I personally prefer, but with G’n’R where you have drums, loops, bass, keyboards, another set of keyboards, two other guitar players, vocals and backing vocals, it was getting a little bit lost. The EL34s weren’t cutting through and I found that the 6L6s in the power amp were very biting and very tight and they would just cut through everything.The tone was very pointy and stuck out. But it wasn’t as warm and comfortable as the EL34s. So what I have is, the left channel is 6L6s and the right channel is EL34s, and the front-of-house engineer can blend the two to get exactly what’s needed that’s gonna work best.

Talking about the gear used for the 2010 tour:

On stage with GNR, I'm using the Vigier GV single-cutaway guitar, 2 custom-built Vigier fretted/fretless double-neck guitars, a Parkwood PW370M acoustic guitar, and a Godin nylon-string electric. The Vigier's go to an Engl Invader 100W head, with a Dunlop wah and a TC Electronic 'Nova' multi-FX unit in the amp's FX loop. From there the head goes to a 4x12 'Hermit' iso-cab ( loaded with Celestion speakers, mic'd with two AT4050's going to the Front Of House...

On stage with GNR, I'm using the Vigier GV single-cutaway guitar, 2 custom-built Vigier fretted/fretless double-neck guitars, a Parkwood PW370M acoustic guitar, and a Godin nylon-string electric. The Vigier's go to an Engl Invader 100W head, with a Dunlop wah and a TC Electronic 'Nova' multi-FX unit in the amp's FX loop. From there the head goes to a 4x12 'Hermit' iso-cab ( ) loaded with Celestion speakers, mic'd with two AT4050's going to the Front Of House... I use this in every country. In total I bring 7 guitars – the double-neck and a backup, the GV and a backup (the backup is a Gibson Les Paul '59 re-issue from '89), the acoustic and a backup, and the Godin nylon string. Depending on the order of songs in the set, I could sometimes use the same guitar for a few songs, other times I'm changing every song. (It would be possible to do all the electric guitar parts on the double-neck, if I drop-D tune for some of the 'Chinese Democracy' songs...)

Talking about his rig in 2012:

I am using mostly Vigier (guitars]. I've got a doubleneck, a fretless neck and a fretted neck and a backup of that, a single neck, a single-cutaway Vigier GV Rock model, and then I have my old '89 Gibson Les Paul reissue of the '59. That's it, guitar-wise. I have an Engl I00-watt Invader head going into four 65-watt Celestions [in a cab] from a company called Hermit. I've got two (Audio-Technica] AT4050s going to front of house from there. In the effects loop, there's a TC Electronic Nova system and I have a Dunlop Rack Wah. I have an expression pedal that I use for anything on the 'TC.


Talking about his setup when they recorded Chinese Democracy:

A 1x15 Matchless combo that’s a great-sounding bass amp – real dirty and beefy. We usually mixed that with a DI signal.

It’s cool – this is the only band where I’ve been able to play a Gibson Thunderbird. I used to have a ’63 Thunderbird that I loved, but it just broke too many times. I used a new Thunderbird on the song “Chinese Democracy.” I also played a StingRay on a few tunes. The StingRay didn’t sound right for the older Guns material, but I liked the tone for some of the newer stuff, like “Better.” It’s great for drop-tuned stuff – it’s got a nice, gritty tone.

And his live amps:

Around the time we played the Rock in Rio festival in 2001, I was using SWR amps. We were gearing up for a massive production, and I thought, If I’m going to be playing for 300,000 people, I should probably have a big amp! I bought three Megoliath 8x10 cabinets, six Big Bertha 2x15 cabinets, two Mo’ Bass heads, and a power amp. It sounded great – louder than balls! We had dress rehearsals and all, and then we found out we were going to use in-ear monitors [laughs]. Of course, the reason we’re using in-ears is so Axl can hear himself sing – one of his biggest problems with the old band was that they were louder than hell, and he could never hear his vocals onstage. Well, we didn’t really know that until we got down to Rio. Here we were with this huge wall of amps, all turned down to 1 or 2. [...] The only thing anyone could hear in our in-ears [in Rio] was the sound of the crowd coming through Axl’s vocal mic. It was like a jet engine. After that, I did make use of the 8x10s since the cabinets had a low end that translated well when miked. For most of Chinese Democracy, I used a DI, my Matchless amp, and the SWR as my big, loud amp.

After I realized our stage volume had to be a lot quieter, I had to make some real adjustments. I ended up talking to Ampeg, who was doing a reissue of the flip-top B-15 1x15 combo – all hand-wired and really nice. Now I put those behind the stage and crank them – they sound awesome – running that sound to my in-ears and the front-of-house. I keep a couple Ampeg 8x10 cabinets onstage at a low volume just to get a little low end.

And talking about modifying his Fender guitars:

I’ve used EMG pickups since I was in the Replacements. They give me a lot of growl and grit when they hit the preamp of an SVT.


DJ had a smaller gig than Richard and Bumlefoot and when asked to describe their gear, Richard would prompt: "DJ should go first because he'll be the quickest!":

All Les Pauls. I'm using a Fractal [Axe-Fx II] unit. There are no cabinets or anything - it's just direct out. That's my unit. That's it: it's simple. I have a couple of wah and Whammy pedals as well.

And in 2014 he would talk more about why he had such a small gear:

You know, it's very minimal. In fact, I went from having, you know, with Guns N' Roses, I tried ten different guitar rigs, the biggest, best heads, you know, cabinet combinations you could put together, a very, you know, extravagant rigs, and I actually ended up finding that less is more. So I just literally run through a Fractal unit and I don't use cabinets at all. I have no cabinets. I don't personally tour with any cabinets. So I go direct out right into the PA, right into [?], and it's the best tone I've ever had and it's [?] I don't have to deal with. You know, like, you know when you might [?] cabinets and you know from night to night, that was always a big thing with me is the tone would always vary from room to room, from arena to arena, and my placements would get bumped in... It really affected the tone. And I'm all about tone. You know, if any guitar player the tone is right, if it's perfect, there's really, you almost feel like Superman on a guitar. There's not a lot that you feel you can't play and play well because you're playing off the inspiration of the tone, you know? And it's very consistent playing and every night it sounds identical. So to me, that's the way for me to go anyway.


Talking about his first drum kit which he used all the way until he started in Guns N' Roses:

It was this old put-together thing my father found somewhere. Multicolored, made from spare pieces. I remember it had a red-sparkle tom, a Ludwig bass drum, cracked cymbals…. I might have had a rack tom as a floor. I worked that thing over until I finally got my first real kit. I was in a band called the Beautiful, and we got signed to Warner Bros., so I was able to buy a GMS set, which I had for over twenty years before I started using Pork Pie. [...] It had a 24″ bass drum and 8″, 10″, and 12″ toms, and I kept my old Slingerland 14″ tom. I did Love Spit Love, Psychedelic Furs, Robi Rosa, Frank Black. I toured and recorded with that same set until I started working with Guns about ten years ago.

Frank's setup from after 2016:

Drums: DW Jazz series in custom silver sparkle finish with satin chrome lugs and hardware
A. 6.5×14 Collector’s Metal series Knurled Bronze snare
B. 9×13 tom (on 9399 snare mount)
C. 16×16 floor tom
D. 16×18 floor tom
E. 14×26 bass drum

Hardware: DW 9000 series

Heads: Remo Coated Emperor X snare batter, Coated or Clear Emperor tom batters, and Powerstroke P3 bass drum batter

Cymbals: Sabian
1. 16″ AAX X-Plosion hi-hats
2. 20″ HHX X-Plosion
3. 22″ AA Rock ride
4. 20″ AAX X-Plosion
5. 21″ AAX X-Treme Chinese
Not shown: 19″ HHX X-Plosion (above hi-hats)

Accessories: ButtKicker Concert series

Sticks: Vater Signature Power 5B

Percussion: LP Rock Ridge Rider cowbell and tambourines [Modern Drummer, January 2017].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 17, 2023 8:02 am; edited 20 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:36 pm


When I got into GNR, I threw myself fully into it. And after being in it for a while, I realized that there was time to do other things, and I could do whatever I want and still be in GNR.

Buy Tommy Stinson's new record. Its amazing. Its beautiful. Its incredible. Its one of the best records of the year.


With his work done for Chinese Democracy, Tommy had idle hands in 2003:

The record is being completed. Other people are putting their final little touches on things, and then it goes to mix. [...] You know, I'm just gonna say, in September, that's when I've got to be back. All I know is that we're gonna finish the record up, get it out, and I've got some time on my hands to do some other s***.

So he decided to record a solo album and tour it in the US and England in June to August:

My physical presence wasn't really needed until September, so that's why I'm getting out and doing some shows. I've got my parts all done. [...] Basically, I had an opportunity fall into my lap that I couldn't refuse. I've been pals with Charles [Thompson, aka Frank Black] for a number of years, and [his band] the Catholics went on tour for the months of March and April, and basically Charles said, 'you can use my studio and all my gear and my place while I'm gone and make a record if you want.' [...] I'd been sitting on a bunch of songs for a number of years -- there's two of them that are probably 10 years old, at least. So, I just went in and recorded them using his stuff and it worked out great.

Yeah, Charles let me use his place and all his gear while he was gone, so I sort of seized the moment and called in favors from all my friends. I’d been writing stuff for the past few years and now I’ve got about 16 or 17 songs recorded. It all kinda fell into place and just made itself into a record.

The whole solo project kind of came up by accident. I had some songs laying around that I had recorded at home. Then Frank Black offered me the use of his studio while he was going to be out on the road. So I ended up having about two months to just fool around in Frank’s place and bring in different people. I played the bulk of the instruments on it. I’m not necessarily shopping it really, I don’t have a manager running around. I do have two labels that are interested in it and I’m talking to them. Something should be out by early next year. I spent the first 10 years of my life out here running around and trying to get a different kind of deal; it breaks you down mentally after a while. I’m actually in a spot now that I don’t have to put out the record, I can wait to do things with the right people and I don’t have to work with anyone I don’t want to.

I wouldn’t have been able to make it without Frank Black from Frank Black and the Catholics. Charles [Thompson, a.k.a. Frank Black] let me use his studio and all his gear for the two months they went to Europe. Without that I probably wouldn’t have done it.

My friend Dave Philips is the guitarist for Frank Black and the Catholics, and I’ve got friendly with Charles [Thompson, a/k/a Frank Black] over the years. When the Catholics went on their European tour last year, Charles let me use his home studio to make a record, as long as I took care of his engineer. So it was a great opportunity to record these songs that I’d been sitting on for a while, and I had fun with it. I don’t know that it’s terribly different from Bash and Pop or Perfect. It’s probably a little more experimental in places, a little more introverted, a little more eclectic. It’s all over the place, which is how I like records when I’m listening to them.

The 30 songs that Tommy recorded would feature Josh Freese, his brother Jason Freese on saxophone, Catholics guitarist Dave Philips, and  Richard and Dizzy [Billboard, June 11, 2003].

My friend Gresh [a member of Tommy's previous band Bash & Pop] played some drums on some stuff, too. All of my closest friends played on my record.

It’s really all over the place. There’s some left-field stuff and some real downer, sort of sissy songs on it as well. Mostly it’ll be the kind of thing I can translate with just an acoustic guitar, so that I can go to a coffeehouse in Denver and play the record by myself if I wanted to. Not that I’m gonna do that, necessarily.

Stylistically speaking, I think the album is not probably very different than anything that I've ever done -- be it Perfect, Bash & Pop or maybe even the Replacements, I suppose. But I think it's probably my most honest record. It's a little self-indulgent, and the songs are pretty introspective. It's the most freed-up that I've ever been making a record. It's just an eclectic bunch of little songs, you know? [...] I produced it, and I played most of the instruments on it except for drums and some guitar things.

Some of the songs are pretty down lyrically, [...] I've never had more fun making an album. It was the most at-ease I've ever been.

It’s not that different from anything I’ve ever done, maybe a little more introspective, a little self-indulgent at times. It’s definitely my most honest endeavor.

I think I’ve made a record that spans my last 10 years pretty well. I’m cool at 36 doing whatever I feel is right for me, and sticking to my guns.

Tommy did not have a name for the album nor a record deal:

I'm playing it on a day-to-day basis. And it's a lot of fun, because I don't really even have to get a deal. If I hated everything tomorrow, it would be like, 'OK, I did that.'

'm not about to go whoring it out. I made a record that I'm pretty close to. I like all the music. I'm going to go with the right arrangement; I'm not going to go door-to-door trying to sell it. I'm just going to find someone to put it out who seems right and who's on the same page.

After these shows were finished Tommy set out on a new tour in August-September together with the band Figgs [Billboard, July 23, 2003]. Talking about the tour reception:

The response has been great. I’m really surprised how people are taking it. I feel like I’ve finally gotten to the point where people are past the whole association with the Replacements and expecting a certain kind of music from me. People are just responding to what I’m putting out there. It’s nice to be wanted.

I’ve been pals with those guys [=the Figgs] for a long time, and I knew I had a little bit more time to fill in before the GNR thing kicked back in in September. I thought, why don’t I do some shows in the Midwest and East Coast? Then I thought, why don’t I call those guys up and use them? They can play some of my stuff. I tossed the idea around to them and they were way into it.

That was the only idea that didn’t just fall into my lap! I put that together myself. I used all of them—the band, their booking agent—to cook the whole thing up. The idea was to strip it back, make it a simple rock show. Get in the van with the guys and just go with the band and have fun.

Tommy's plan was to have a solo career parallel to his activities in Guns N' Roses:

It’s gonna be tricky, but if I can work it out I’ll be doing both GNR and my solo thing pretty solidly for the next couple of years.

I think that over the course of the next two or three years, I'll probably be busier -- doing Guns N' Roses and my own stuff -- than I've ever been before. And I welcome that.

Everything has fallen into place almost perfectly, timing-wise. I've got a good thing going on. I can totally immerse myself in Guns N' Roses when the time comes. And when we're off, I've been able to work on my own stuff.

If I play my cards right, I’ll be extremely busy in the next three years between GN’R and doing my own thing.

And Axl was supportive of Tommy's solo plans:

I can't tell you how supportive Axl has been in all this.

And I’m totally 100 percent grateful to GNR and Axl. He’s totally supportive of what I do, and I think that’s the [stuff] that’s making me so strong right now. Now I can grow in both directions, as a musician and as an artist. I’ve never been in that spot before. I’m in a position to do whatever I want and not have to worry about it.

As long as I’m not doing anything illegal, you know?

In January 2004 Tommy would announce that he had been signed to Sanctuary Records and that he had completed recording the record [Tommy Stinson website, January 16, 2004] and by February 20 he had finished mixing the record with Sean Beavan [Tommy Stinson website, January 26, 2004; Tommy Stinson website, February 20, 2004].

Village Gorilla Head
July 27, 2004

In August 2004, Tommy would plan to tour his record, with Seattle rockers Alien Crime Syndicate, in November [The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 8, 2004]. The tour started in September and ended in October, 2004. While touring, Tommy would be asked if he was surprised over all the Guns N' Roses fans that attended his shows:

I have been. The most impressive thing is just that they seem to enjoy it and not that I would expect that they wouldn't enjoy it necessarily, but it's a long line to cross from a Replacements fan or a Tommy Stinson fan to a GN'R fan. There's a lot of territory in the middle there.

So it's really awesome to have people come up, "Wow, I didn't know about you until you joined Guns N' Roses." It's really cool, I really, really dig the GN'R fans that are coming out and showing the support. It's been great. Because I work hard for that fucking band.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:36 pm

JUNE 2003

In the first half of 2003, MCA Records would be merged with the more successful sister company Geffen Records (both owned by Universal Music Group), with Geffen taking over MCA Records' roster of artists [antiMUSIC, June 16, 2003].

MCA Records

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:37 pm

JULY 16, 2003

On July 16, 2003, Axl would visit the strip club Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas and play songs off Chinese Democracy to the "nearly empty" club [MTV News, July 16, 2003]. Allegedly, to gauge the effect the new music had on teh dancers [MTV News, September 2, 2003].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:37 pm


It took, for me to realize what true Guns N' Roses was perceived as, by reading something in the press, or gaining response from some kid at a show, or something like that. I mean, I know what it's supposed to feel like, but I never put a label on it. So, right now it feels great, it feels better then it has in a long time.

But there's been so many changes and this and that and other, that I never knew what the fuck it was supposed to be. You know, the definitive Guns N' Roses. It would take, looking at the back of a compilation record, put together by the record company, for me to even get an idea of what that was suppose be. And then I would be, I'm sure would go:

'That's not fucking right at all.'
The Civil War EP, March 15, 1993


In October 2003, Amazon would list a new Guns N' Roses product for release on November 25 and fans would speculate if it was Chinese Democracy, a greatest hits record, or the rerecording of Appetite for Discussion [, October 2003]. Then the magazine Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles would settle the matter by reporting it was a greatest hits record containing the following songs:  ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Live And Let Die’, ‘Knockin' On Heaven's Door’, ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’, ‘November Rain’, ‘Patience’, ‘Paradise City’, ‘Civil War’, ‘You Could Be Mine’, ‘Don't Cry’ (original), ‘Yesterdays’, ‘Ain't It Fun’, ‘Since I Don't Have You’ and ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ [Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, October 20, 2003]. The very next day, a representative from Universal would state that the record had been pulled from the label's release schedule and would hence not be released on November 25 as originally reported [Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, October 21, 2003]. This would later be confirmed by MTV News [MTV News, October 27, 2003].

In February 2004 the release date had been pushed to March 23 but it would also be reported that the band had not given its consent for the record to be released and might pursue legal action against Geffen Records to block it [Billboard, February 18, 2004; Blabbermouth, February 18, 2004]. MTV News would cite a source claiming it was Axl who had a problem with the release [MTV News, February 19, 2004].


In March 2004 Guns N' Roses, together with Duff and Slash would file a lawsuit against Geffen Records to stop the release of the 'Greatest Hits' record [Press release from Sanctuary Group, March 15, 2004]. According to the suit, the band has not been given the opportunity to approve the choice of songs, the artwork, the release date, or the re-mastering done of the tracks included on the compilation [Press release from Sanctuary Group, March 15, 2004]. According to the press release from Sanctuary Group, Axl was "concerned that not only will their audience be misled into believing that the planned compilation is an authorized release, but that it will hinder the release of the band's long awaited new studio album CHINESE DEMOCRACY" [Press release from Sanctuary Group, March 15, 2004]. According to the press release, fans were also against the release for the aforementioned reasons, and "have flooded the offices of Geffen Records' senior executives with thousands of emails over the last few weeks expressing their dissent" [Press release from Sanctuary Group, March 15, 2004].

The lawsuit was dismissed for various reasons, including but not limited to the plaintiffs being Axl, Slash and Duff as individuals and not the partnership "Guns N' Roses" who held the trademark rights, the plaintiffs being unable to demonstrate irreparable damage from the record being released while UMG had been able to demonstrate significant loss from the release being stopped or delayed, the songs not being remastered as claimed by the plaintiff in the suit, and UMG having the right to release the record according to a license agreement signed between the parties, and that suit was submitted too late [Legal document, March 15, 2004].

Universal Music representative Peter LoFrumento would comment on the decision:

Fortunately, since the court has denied their application for a temporary restraining order, the album will be released as scheduled on March 23.

A source "familiar with the situation" would say that the only reason the Greatest Hits record was put out was Axl's failure to deliver Chinese Democracy as promised, and that Geffen had spend $13 million on the record so far [Reuters, March 15, 2004]:

Every year there’s been a new reason why Axl is not done with the record. Had he delivered this record like he promised seven years ago, this would not be happening right now.

Duff would comment on the court decision:

Am I pissed that the judge threw the case out? Too fucking right I am, man! It’s got five covers on it including ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ which was one of our poorer moments. Nobody asked us about the artwork or the track-listing, which when you’ve made the music and still care about it passionately, sucks.

It’s all about Geffen or Interscope or Universal or whatever the company’s calling themselves these days making their quarterly quota. At this point Axl’s in so much debt to them that they’re going to cross-collateralise his royalties off of this thing.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:38 pm

AUGUST 29, 2003

On August 29, 2003, the baseball player Mike Piazza would guest DJ Eddie Trunk's radio show "Friday Night Rocks ... With Eddie Trunk" at New York classic rock station Q104.3 and convince Trunk to play a track off a CD labeled "New GNR" [MTV News, September 2, 2003]. The song was I.R.S. and the CD allegedly also contained two other unreleased songs in instrumental form and with lyrics [MTV News, September 2, 2003].

It reminded me of Use Your Illusion-era stuff, with some modern flairs to it. The song had a loop track in the beginning, but then, when it kicked in, it was that same dramatic Guns N' Roses hard rock.

Trunk would soon get a call from GN'R management giving him a verbal cease-and-desist order [MTV News, September 2, 2003].

Speculating on why Piazza received a CD with unreleased songs:

People who listen to my show know that Mike is a fanatic about this stuff, as much as I am. They know he's a regular part of the show ... And someone must have thought that this would be a cool way to leak the track.

My friend and occassional co-host Mike Piazza paid a visit to the show close to Midnight. As you could imagine, Mike gets a tremendous amount of fan mail, and being a hard rock and G&R; fan, lot's of CDs in his mail. Mike came in with a CD that was labeled as new Guns. It was packaged anonymously. Mike wasn't sure if it was legit, but we put it on the air, and the phones went nuts. The song was called IRS and sounded like Illusion era G&R;, with a few modern touches (loops, samples in intro). I don't think it was 100% complete, but sounded pretty close. We took live calls about it, and people were blown away at the exclusive they just heard on my show (not to mention it was a star baseball player that came up with it!). I like G&R;, but I'm not a fanatic, but I must say, the song was really good. There were other tracks and music on the CD as well, but I only had a chance to listen to them on the ride home. Mike left the CD with me, so I could determine what to do with it from there. Questions of how legit this recording was were quickly squashed when I started to get calls and email from the bands management on Saturday. This was VERY legit! A few facts here:

It will NOT be played again! Now that I know it was legit, I have co-operated completely with the bands management, and have been asked to turn over the CD, which I did. I no longer have it. It was not labeled in anyway, it was just a burned CDR.

The song will not be included on the replay show. I have been forced to edit it out (another reason why my show is best heard live!). There are legal issues if you don't comply, and I will be served with papers to prohibit the repeated airing even if I still had it and wanted to!! It will not be heard again until it is an official release.

The rest of the CD was also cool. It sounded like a total of 3 songs, with instrumental versions of each of the 3, making a total of 6 tracks (I think). The last track, which I did not play, was the best. A great rocker, with tons of shredding guitar from Buckethead. I don't know what the title was, but I kinda wish I had the chance to play that one as well. Mike & I didn't really know what we had, so we just played the first track IRS.

We have no idea where this came from. Mike threw out the packaging when he went through his fan mail weeks ago. I would say it was somebody that works in a studio, or perhaps an intentional leak to build buzz. Of course I'm just thrilled they picked my show and Mike to send it to! If you remember, there were also reports a couple months ago of Axl playing this music in strip clubs, maybe another source? Again, we have no idea!

In June 2004, Dizzy would be asked if it really was a Guns N' Roses song:

Yes. Its a good song. [...] I think Mike Piazza was the guy [who leaked it]. How bizarre is that?

In 2005, media would report that a version of "IRS" was spreading over the Internet [UPI, April 12, 2005]. This is most likely the same version that was played on Mike Piazza's show in 2003.

In September 2005, Dizzy would again be asked about the song:

I heard something about Mike Piazza... playing it on a radio station. [shrugs] [...] it was so bizarre... like I don't know how he would've got ahold of it.

Being told that rumours say Axl had given Piazza the CD as a birthday gift:

... um.. that's possible. I don't know. I mean Mike seemed really cool when I met... really nice- he signed a baseball for my son...

In May 2006, Trunk would host Axl on his show and apologize for airing the song to which Axl responded:

Later during the same show, Mike Piazza would call in and profusely apologize for his role in the leak [Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks, May 5, 2006].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:38 pm

LATE 2003


In 2002, Buckethead together with Brain had hooked up with bassist Les Claypool and funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell under the name Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains (C2B3). Claypool and Brain had previously played together in the band Primus. Claypool would express dismay over Buckethead and Brain being unable to make music with C2B3 due to the touring schedule of Guns N' Roses:

We downplay [Brain and Buckethead being in Guns N' Roses]. Guns N’ Roses epitomized what we were rebelling against when Primus came up. That was what we made fun of.
Star Tribune, November 22, 2002

If Bucket and Brain weren't committed to another project, I probably would devote much more time to it. But I'm just not interested in being in a situation where my tour schedule or my release schedule is dictated by someone else.
MTV News, November 25, 2002

In June 2003, with the 2002 cancelled and no new tour shaping up, it would be reported that Buckethead would indeed team up with Claypool, Worrell and Brain to record an album with C2B3 [Rolling Stone, June 26, 2003]. The record, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, would not be released until 2004, after Buckethead had left Guns N' Roses.


In early March 2004 it would be speculated that Buckethead had left Guns N' Roses when fans noticed that the Guns N' Roses section had been removed from Buckethead's official website.

On March 17 it was confirmed by MTV News:

At the end of last year, Buckethead became fed up with Guns' inability to complete an album or tour and stopped working with them, his manager said.

This indicates that Buckethead left the band already in the fall of 2003.

Brain would later perhaps shed light on why Buckethead left:

But Bucket was, you know, at that point Bucket was like the third guitar player. So it was just like, "Oh, he's just playing parts." It wasn't like he ever looked at me and we got into a groove or a part or something, really. It was just like, "OK, you take the lead on this, and I'll take this." That's when I realized, like, "Wow, now I'm in corporate situation.

As far as Bucket, you know, I think he was just done with it the same way as like anybody else. I don't think there was any one particular thing. I think he was just like, you know, "I'm not having fun in this anymore," because with Bucket it's about, you know, fun. And I think that it just wasn't fun anymore for him. And he just, anytime, every band I've been in with him or anything I've done, when it's not fun anymore, I know he just doesn't like to be involved.

In March 2004, Axl would send out a press release to announce the band would not play on Rock In Rio as planned, and blame Buckethead:

The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure. During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment - despite being under contract - creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence. His transient lifestyle has made it impossible for even his closest friends to have nearly any form of communication with him whatsoever. Last time I talked to Bucket, he called to tell me he had bought a bootleg DVD off EBay and how proud he was to be in Guns and how impressed he was with everyone's performance. Then, in February we got word from Brain that Bucket had called him and said he was back in Guns!? Apparently, according to Bucket he had been "Gone" but had turned himself around and was really excited to do Rio-Lisbon and a European tour. Somewhere in the following month things changed once again. According to those who have actually spoken with Buckethead it appears his plans were to secure a recording contract with Sanctuary Records which I encouraged my management to make available to him, quit GN'R and to use his involvement in the upcoming Guns release to immediately promote his individual efforts...Nice guy!

There is not a member of this camp that is not hurt, upset and ultimately disappointed by this event, and more to the point - if not this individual, certainly this individual's choices. Regardless of anyone's opinions of me and what I may or may not deserve, clearly the fans, individuals in this band, management, crew and our support group do not deserve this type of treatment. We as a whole, definitely feel that we afforded Bucket every accommodation perhaps so much so that it may be that we or more precisely, I may have done Guns a disservice and unintentionally allowed Guns to be put in this position.


I would also like to express my gratitude to those who chose to embrace Buckethead's role in Guns and support our new line up. We greatly appreciate Bucket's contributions and remain open to "discussions" as there are obviously several issues to resolve.

Those "issues" were probably what to do with Buckethead's contributions to songs on Chinese Democracy.

Buckethead would not comment on Axl's press release, but his manager, David Lefkowitz, would:

Bucket doesn't speak to the press. But needless to say, Rose's accusations are false - and wrong. And with all the drama surrounding this matter, I'd better leave it at that.

And Brain would also later comment on the letter and suggest it might not even have been written by Axl:

At that time, I remember... you know, it might have not even have been Axl. That's the whole thing. I don't even know. That's how crazy it is.

In June 2004, Dizzy would be asked if Buckethead was really out of the band:

For the time being, yeah.

When asked if Buckethead would be replaced:

That I'm not sure about.

As far as I know, he hasn't been replaced, but we already have enough guitarists. We have Robin Finck and Richard Fortus, and Buckethead will be on the record, too. I really have no idea why he decided to leave, but it didn't come out of left field because he's always come and gone. Even when I do see him, I don't know what he thinks.

And on why Buckethead left:

I can just say its issues, issues, issues... that's it.

In late 2004, Tommy would be asked if the band was still together despite what had happened in the previous year:

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 Buckethead:

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.

In 2008, Axl would talk about Buckethead's departure directly to fans at

I have no issues with Bucket. It's hard to tell what was real or not in things we were told by Merck. He's more than welcome to tour with us in some form or other provided we're both interested at the time and come to some type of reasonable terms. Personally I have a blast w/Bucket on tour and get a big kick out of the guy. A lot of feelings were hurt on this side of the fence in how things went down and unfortunately others used our silence and the public's not knowing for their own purposes at both Bucket's and our expense.

Brain would talk about how he felt about Buckethead leaving:

Pretty bad... He's my friend so it was very hard... I felt like I was losing a friend more then a band mate.

Buckethead himself would not want to discuss his tenure in Guns N' Roses. Being asked how it was to work with Axl:

And whether it was frustrating that "you were a member of Guns 'n' Roses for four years and nothing really ever came of it besides a few concerts:

Looking back at Buckethead having been in the band and discussing his as a player:

Phenomenal talent. He's one of the greatest guitar players I've ever seen. He's fantastic.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:38 pm


Shit, this is going to be a long one... Definitely a work in progress.

Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Buckethead will release a set of albums, entitled "In Search Of The", on February 21. While not much is known about this collection, it has been confirmed that there are a total of thirteen albums that have each been personally numbered and monogrammed by Buckethead himself.

According to musician/producer and frequent Buckethead collaborator Travis Dickerson, "This is not a regular CD. It's hand-made, hand-burned. The cover is whatever is deemed to be written on it. This is not a manufactured deal; each one is different and will be numbered and monogramed. No two of these will be the same. I have never heard of an artist doing something like this. This is as direct from the artist to the fan as I have ever heard of.

"As far as the content, I don't know, but the mystery around it is no surprise. Again, I can't speculate because I don't want to mislead anyone, I just don't know anymore. My gut sense is this is a conceptual work, a piece of art. It could contain anything."
Blabbermouth, February 20, 2007

Together with Brain, Buckethead would join Bootsy Collins' band, Science Faction:

Bassist Bootsy Collins has always been out there, but he's pushing his next project, Science Faction, even farther than usual.

"We're looking at it like, 'What would happen if we wound up a situation down the line as we evolve, that our technology takes over and we are the ones that they're looking at as 'the scum of the earth'," Collins tells "It's kind of like 'Planet of the Apes.' What would they be like? What would that feel like? We're just trying to warn the world that that's comin', and we're having fun with that."

Joining Bootsy in the band are guitarist Buckethead and current Guns N' Roses drummer Brain (both of whom have previously played with Bootsy in Praxis), as well as DJ Botieus and producer/guitarist Greg Hampton, who will also be handling lead vocals. "We had a different vision that has morphed into a monstrous vision," explains Hampton. "Originally, we were going to do an old school sort of thing, referencing the elements that were part of Bootsy's career in the funk genre. One thing led to another, and it has turned into what it is today -- it definitely grooves, but it's definitely very rocking and very modern."

Science Faction's yet-to-be-titled debut (which is being co-produced by Collins and Hampton) is set for worldwide release early next year, with a tour to follow. Song titles include "L.O.A.F. (Living on Another Frequency)," "Fatally Flawed Flesh," "Neuro World," and a track with a working title of "Living in Eden."
Billboard, June 11, 2007

Buckethead would also continue collaborating with Brain on other projects:

He's the best! A true psycho. We never talk or think about what we are doing. Our motto when we play together is "Don't think... Feeeeel."

Yeah a little bit... Just recently hooked up with bucket again for that disk we did. He's awesome!!!!!!!

That "disk" would be the record "Best Regards":

we just recorded a five disk set called "Best Regards"

Bucket and I just recorded a 5 disk set entitled 'Best Regards'. We call it 'Binge' music!!!

The Best Regards discs would contain drawings made by Buckethead, Brain and the keyboardist Melissa Reese [NewGNRoldGNR, July 18, 2010].


You know, and then we met Dan [Monti] because he was working in the Guns.... He was the second engineer in the Guns stuff. [...] [Monti] was just the engineer and we became friends through that and then him and Bucket make all the albums.

Dan's the greatest. Yeah. I mean, he's, Dan's kind of like the master of everything, you know, and it's not like, you know, he can engineer, he can play bass, guitar, drums. I don't think there's anything he can't do in music. He sings. You know, there's any kind of weird technical question that I have. I call him up and he'll figure it out. You know, he knows everything.


I think he's feeling better, you know, he's really trying to work it out and, you know, I think the thing is what his medication is where, you know, if he takes the medication I think he feels better but I think it also has some side effects and shit like that. So I think that's where he, you know, bums out and gets down on, you know, and stuff like that.

Well, he had mentioned [his health problems] and I knew that he was having some trouble and you know, and stuff. Yeah, I mean, it really sucked. And, you know, I think that it was a tough time for him. [...] I think he's doing good [now]. I know he went back on tour and so, you know, he must be fine if he's out there playing and stuff, or he's pushing through.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:39 pm


In November 2003 Guns N' Roses would announce that they would play at next year's Rock In Rio, Lisbon edition, in May 2004 [Press Release, November 7, 2003; Billboard, November 6, 2003]. But in March 2004, Axl sent out a press release stating the band would not be there, blaming it on Buckethead's departure [see chapter below] [Press release, March 30, 2004]:

Guns N' Roses will not be performing as scheduled at Rock In Rio - Lisbon.


On behalf of Guns N' Roses and myself I apologize to the fans who planned to see us at Rock In Rio - Lisbon. The festival and its tradition mean a lot to me personally and I sincerely do not enjoy being robbed by one of our own of the opportunity to be the first artist to play it for the third time.

Robin would also express sadness over the cancelled appearance:

dear friends,
i want to make this opportunity to comment on gnr's recent withdrawal from the rock-in-lisbon festival. i was disappointed, as were the lot of us, to come to grips that we won't be performing there as anticipated. my bags have been packed for some time awaiting such an event. i'm chomping at the bit to get out and really shake things up with gnr and look forward to the release of the new album and ultimately to tour and to tour.
'til then - love, r ob i n

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:39 pm


On February 2, 2004, Geffen released a letter stating "[h]aving exceeded all budgeted and approved recording costs by millions of dollars, it is Mr. Rose’s obligation to fund and complete the album, not Geffen’s" [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

Brain would later talk about spending money on keeping his on a retainer while the band was dormant for two years 2002-2004:

So I went out with Tom Waits for like two years. And did his Real Gone album, it was that period. And then they asked us to come back to do it. And during those two years I was supposed to get paid, but I didn't know, I was making money somewhere else and doing that stuff. To make a long story short, they paid me for the two years when I got back in, which would be unheard of to write a check for somebody doing nothing, you know. But money was just like, "Oh, we need Brain-" [...] Yes. It was just like [a retainer], but on a ridiculous amount of retainer, like hundreds of thousands of dollars kind of retainer to just... You know, it was like they would just throw it at you, you know. So it was kind of like, nowadays you'd be lucky if you can, you know. I mean, I'm sure Paul McCartney or something still pays 15G of week or something. But, you know, to get to be getting paid, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars to just sit around.

According to The New York Times, the band now had to move out of the Village and finish recoding elsewhere [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

One source would later claim Geffen pulled out when they had recovered some of their expenses from the Greatest Hits release and Live Era:

I think they finally recouped enough of their investment by releasing the live album and the greatest hits package and weren’t really interested in making any new commitments.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:40 pm

MARCH 23, 2004

Despite Axl, Slash and Duff's efforts to stop Geffen Records release of the greatest hits album, it was released on March 23, 2004.

Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits
Match 23, 2004

They sent me a letter and a list of the songs and that was it. I guess it's a good pick of basic Guns N' Roses material. I'd be interested to know what the cover looks like, but that's just me.

Other than that, as long as they didn't remix it, it's fine. I'd like to have more control over my material because there's still shit going on to do with Guns N' Roses which is totally out of control. In Velvet Revolver the way it's put together is a lot more unanimous among members as to what goes on. As opposed to, if one of us left, the others would dictate what happens with the material. It's a bit more free and easy than the crazy tight reins that Axl has going on. But what he's doing isn't necessary... it's a long story, there's a lot going on on that one.

I dont have to much to say about it. When I initially heard about it, I was a little distraught, because we didn't have any say in it at all. None whatsoever.

They've put together a very typical Gunners record. It's not what we would have put out. We would have made it somewhat more special.

It's way to obvious. I would have included Rocket Queen, Coma and Patience. Oh no, Patience is on there. Sorry, I haven't looked at it for a while.

Well that came out without either Axl, Slash or myself knowing anything about it. We didn’t know they’d put it together and scheduled it. The company put it out to coincide with the release of the Velvet Revolver record, to sort of cash in I guess. They sort of did it against our wishes. They weren’t the songs we would have picked for the Greatest Hits. Interscope or whoever just decided that they needed to re-decorate their offices that quarter or whatever, and put the record out.

When asked if he was disappointed with the track list, Slash would reply:

A little bit. More than anything, it’s like having your kids raised by somebody else because we didn’t have anything to do with it. Axl tried to stop the record coming out and we actually supported him - that’s the only time that we’ve ever agreed on anything in 10 years.

There’s all these fucking cover songs on there, which just seems kind of bland. What do I particularly object to? Sympathy For The Devil is worthy in my mind of being brought up because that’s when I knew I just couldn’t take it anymore. No matter how hard I tried to talk to him, Axl could never look me in the eye - he had this new guitar player that Axl was sort of forcing on us (Paul Huge), he went and put him on top of my playing so the two were going at the same time. I just fucking flipped.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:40 pm


With Buckethead having left the band they needed a replacement to keep the three guitar approach going.

In April 2004, Ajax Garcia (Ajax Garcia Jesus Mendez Jr.), guitar player in The Napoleon Blownaparts, an LA punk band, claimed to have reached out to Guns N' Roses to offer his services and talked to Tommy [The Napoleon Blownapart's website, April 3, 2004]. Guns N' Roses band management would later deny that the band, including Tommy, had any contact with Garcia [, April 16, 2004]. Garcia would in response admit his original announcement had been part of a promotional campaign but insist he had talked to Tommy [The Napoleon Blownapart's website, April 23, 2004].

In October 2011, Dregen, guitarist in Swedish band The Hellacopters, would say he had auditioned for Guns N' Roses immediately after Buckethead left, but that the new Chinese Democracy material had not suited him [Café Magazine, October 24, 2011].

Nuno Bettencourt, from Extreme, would also claim he had been asked to join Guns N' Roses at some point, and according to "JoshRiot" from mygnrforum, he had been asked to replace Buckethead:

For many years people asked me to play with many bands. I mean, many bands like Guns N' Roses, I mean lots of bands. And I always say no, because, you know, Extreme is my band.
Cifra Club, November 3, 2011


In late 2004, Tracii would be asked about the position for the upcoming, expected 2005 touring:

I sent Axl and email. I let him know I had a year off and that I would be willing to go kick some ass with him. I got no reply Sad.
Brides of Destruction forum, December 10, 2004

Tracii would likely mention this again:

[...] when Nikki [Sixx, from the band Brides of Destruction with Tracii] had to do the Crue thing, I called Del [James] and told him I [had] a year-and-a-half off, but they were not done with the record yet; the timing was not right.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:41 pm


Despite Geffen haven stopped financing the record in February 2004, the record was allegedly close to being finished:

All I can say right now is the record is going to come out sometime sooner than later, and I will tour with them when they call me to do so.

There are just so many little aspects that are being finalized on that record that every once in a while someone will go, 'God, I just realized you hit a bad note in this one place. We just found it.' And I'll go in and sort it out.

I can tell you that when Chinese Democracy comes out—and it will come out because it’s almost done now—we’ll be touring behind it, and I’ll be fucking first in line to get back on board. It’s a good gig. I love Axl, and we have a really good thing going. Whether or not people buy it is the fucking $60 million question, but all I know is that we’re all proud of it and had a good time doing it—and also some troubling times doing it—but it was fun as shit. People always feel compelled to say to me, “Dude, are you stoked to get a paycheck?” If it were about that, I’d be an asshole. It’s never been about just getting a paycheck. I put a lot of work and heart and soul into it just like everyone else and got a great deal out of it. Axl has been more than supportive of me making [Village Gorilla Head]. To any naysayer out there, I say, “Fuck off.” I’m totally into it, and I’m definitely happy to be involved with Guns N’ Roses.

In June 2004 Tommy would say that he thought the record is almost done and that the only thing holding back the release of the record was legal issues [MTV News, June 9, 2004]. In July, The Guardian would quote Tommy saying that the album is "almost done" and that the delay came down to "legal and other issues" including "ego management" and the "psychological mindgame" of keeping a large band "simmering but pulling in the same direction" [The Guardian, July 15, 2004].

The real delay was just how it went down. Having an eight person band collaborating to write a record is a daunting task to begin with, but to have it, to do it in a way where none of the guys have really been in the band all that long together and trying to pull in all those different influences from each band member to make it have a cohesive songwriting thing. It takes time. It was a lengthy process, but it was definitely the best way to go about it, and certainly the best learning experience I've ever had as a musician. As far my musical years and all the cool stuff I've done, it was one of the coolest things in that aspect, of just collaborating with people from totally different areas, genres, what have you.

Dizzy would be asked why it has taken so long:

My opinion is that a lot of it has to do with people quitting and obstacles that are thrown our way, and just different things, man. There's always something. You never know what's going to happen. I really think its going to happen very soon. I really feel that now.

Being asked if there's a timetable for the release?

There isn't unfortunately.  I would say this year. [...]  Its extremely fucking frustrating.  And that's why I come do stuff like this [Hookers & Blow show], to keep me from going crazy.

Being asked if the track list had been decided:

Pretty much. [...] Some of [the songs on the record] have been around for five or six years. Others are fairly new.

Being asked if the older songs have changed much over time:

They change a little bit, yeah. And as is the modern way, some of the songs have two or three different versions. You know, remixes and what not. There's so many great players in the band now and there are so many great parts that have been laid down now for all the songs, unfortunately its impossible to put them all on there. The obvious thing would be to have a couple versions of each song. I don't know if that's going to happen, but its definitely possible. And I have heard several versions of some of the cooler songs, and they all sound great. All the players that have come in and out of this project are phenomenal players. So there's a lot of great stuff to choose from. Its an unenviable task for whoever is going to mix it. BUT THEY BETTER PUT MY SHIT IN THE MIX!

And on whether it can live up to the hype:

Yes. In my opinion, absolutely. I think it will actually exceed expectations.

And if there is a reason to assume a release will be coming:

I think it feels closer now than it did then.

In June/July 2004, Slash would also discuss the album and claim that he knew that there were only "a couple" of songs with vocals:

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.

This was not true, by 2004 they had multiple songs with vocals, including I.R.S., Atlas Shrugged, There Was A Time, Hard School, Eye On You, This I Love, and Madagascar.

In August and September, Tommy and Dizzy would again talk about how how close it was to be finished:

It's a hairs breadth from being finished.


Actually, Chinese Democracy is very close to coming out. I've heard a few of the tracks and it sounds amazing. There are a few more things to do then it'll be ready. They were originally shooting for November, but it may be February now. It's gonna be great.

In late 2004, Tommy would explain the process and why it had taken so long to finish the record:

Originally we had a fucking whole lot of songs we were working on. We kinda rolled around them and just kinda kept molding them as we went along.

The process of making the GN'R record is a long process to begin with. Because basically, Axl as a producer is trying to get the best out of eight guys and get them all in a song, like trying to pull everyone in. You know, mush it together like a fucking piece of clay or something. Trying to form a piece of art work out of it. It takes time.

It's not like when I was in the Replacements, Paul would come to rehearsal with a couple of songs. "Ok, this is how they go, watch me play the chords," we play it, go to the studio and knock it down in an hour. It's not like that.

He has a way of working with people and pulling them in. Get you to bring something to the plate that's gonna be special and cool for that song. And it just takes a long time. Because you got eight guys you know. So that process takes a while.

When you're working on 35 or so pieces of music that you're trying to finish. Trying to... Basically the cream of the crop of that, to make a record of. It's really hard to decide. Because out of 35 things, we might all like parts and bits of 30 songs. So then you gotta further narrow that down, and you know. It just takes a while. That's all I can say about that. It just takes a while and when it's done, it'll be done and when it comes out we're gonna totally tour behind it and fucking, and rock out.

It's really, to say to the GN'R fans that are waiting for that.

Axl ain't just sitting up there fucking, sitting there watching fucking TV, waiting for the fucking sun to come up. It's like he's been working on this shit for a long time, we've all been working on it sporadically throughout. It's gotta be right.

Tommy would also talk about his own contributions and bass playing on the album:

I think, I feel like I've, what I've contributed to the GN'R record in particular, I think I went above and beyond what I thought I could do. I've really pulled stuff out of me that I didn't know was there as far as a bass player. I mean, I never tried to fill Duff's shoes necessarily, but I definitely wanted to rise to the level he was at. Cause I think he's a great bass player, so I wanted to try and bring it up, you know, and do some special things, and do some different things. I think I got that, I think I got a lot of that.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:41 pm



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.


[Weiland is] a walk in the park compared to the other guy! I'll put it to you Scott's a sweetheart, and not that Axl wasn't a sweetheart sometimes, but..

[Weiland's] work ethic's amazing, and he's an amazing talent; he's been constantly blowing my mind. So at the point where we got together, it was like, 'The drug thing? We can work with that. We've been around that corner so many times.' It's not like the other guy, which is just irretrievably fucked-up and chemical-free!

What makes [Weiland] different [to Axl] is that he’s cool to work with and a good friend. At the end of the day, that might be the most important thing. Duff, Izzy, Matt and I have remained friends throughout everything we’ve been through. Axl was just too high strung and unpredictable for that. He didn’t need anybody... at least in his mind. Scott is a total pleasure, especially in comparison to that.

There's a big difference between having a guy in the band who's nuts and doesn't want to be there, and having a guy who's nuts and does want to be there.

Oh, [Weiland]'s doing much better now than in the last few months. Simply because he wants to make it with this band. He worked his ass off to record this album. And to be honest, the sessions were much easier than, say, the 'Use Your Illusion' records. I don't want to get to close to anyone, but that was really hard - and with someone who was fully sober. You can take that from me...

[Weiland]'s been great - there's a big difference between having a guy in the band who's nuts and doesn't want to do it and having a guys who's nuts but does.

Scott's a piece of cake compared to Axl [laughing].

They're two really extreme talents but two completely different people. So, really, when it comes down to it, the twain don't meet on the same ground except for the fact that they're both singers.

Scott always wants to work, and that's a change. With Axl, it was impossible to get him to do anything. Scott's whole problem is tangible—it's just a drug problem. It's not something completely insane that we can't understand.

(laughing) Where do you want me to begin? The differences are night and day. What makes him different is that he is cool to work with and a good friend. At the end of the day, that might be the most important thing. Duff, Matt and I have remained friends throughout everything we've been through Axl was just too high strung and unpredictable for that. He didn't need least in his mind. Scott is a total pleasure, especially in comparison to that.

One guy [Weiland] wants to work and go onstage, and one person doesn't want to do anything. There's really no similarities except that they're both great frontmen.


I wish them the best. If they want to go out and hit the road, cool. No one can stop them. They're great players in their own right.

Dizzy would also imply that Izzy was likely to quit soon:

I say good luck, and I hope they have a good time -- and they should enjoy it 'cause Izzy'll probably quit in a couple of weeks [...]

He would also indicate that the music would be old-fashioned and that they weren't willing to evolve:

[...]  I think some of those guys really go complacent. I know Axl thought we really needed to change, and in their mind we didn't need to change, we should just do what we do and everything will be cool.

But you look around and you see bands that did that, and they're trivial now. They're nostalgia. We didn't want to be that way ... and one by one, people started quitting. The old band was a little more hell-bent on self-destruction; this band, I think, is kinda headed upwards as opposed to downward.

Steven would be asked about the band and whether he was bummed to not be part of it:

Bummed!? Hell, no! I mean, I would never try to stand in their way... I wish the guys the best! Of course, I think it’s great. I think they are going to put out a record which is going to be pure rock n' roll. Personally, I’m looking forward to it, I know it’s gonna be great!

They’re all great players, I think that they can do something good, y’know?

But in early in 2005, Steven would be less kind:

The biggest thing I wanted to do with Slash and Duff and that jackass was revenge. The finest and greatest revenge is success. That’s all I wanted. Slash is gonna hear this record [=the Adler's Appetite record] we did and he’s gonna flip. It fucking blows that Velvet Revolver crap away. I love Slash and Duff. I wanna like it but it’s crap. I’ve gone from song to song and I can’t like it.

In another interview Steven apparently said Contraband sucks, because in February 2005 he would be eager to excuse himself:

And I gotta say this again. You probably heard that I said that their record sucks. It doesn't suck!!!! I was just excited because we just finished ours and I was just like "Theirs sucks and ours rule!" (laughs) It was just a fun thing! Everybody took it wrong! I was getting all this crap, but people didn't see the smile and the laughter, so I was just going "Sorry, it was just for fun!!!" I love those people and I always have. I've got history with those jackasses!

In 2007, he would again be confronted by allegations that he had said the band sucked:

I never said that. I said I love Slash and Izzy, or Slash and Duff, but I think they suck (laughs). I’m not a big fan of them. I’m fan of Slash and Duff.

And in April 2005, he had seen the band live:

Yeah, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. I love Slash and Duff. They’ve got such a presence. Scott [Weiland, singer], the snake boy, is a great performer as well. I don’t know Matt Sorum. He didn’t fire me, so I don’t hate him. I don’t even know him. Until he screws me over he’s fine with me!

Then, in late 2005, Steven would say he was hurt for not being part of it:

Yeah, but I'm not gonna comment on it because, actually, I would have liked to participate in that project. I'm hurt. They didn't let me participate of any song. But, yeah, I think it's a fantastic record.

Gilby would as always be gracious:

Number one, I'm really happy for the guys, because we're in the same position; we'll always be overshadowed by the GN'R thing, which is good and bad. It's great to have been a part of it, but you'll never do anything as big as that, so it's like chasing the dragon. I'm happy for them, because they have a great singer, and what music I've heard is by far the best any of them have done besides Guns N' Roses. If they do really well, it's like they're doing great for the team. It can only help everybody; it's 'one for rock'n'roll.

I’m very excited. It’s good for me, too. It’s a very good band. I think it’s great that they’ve been able to do what they have done and be as successful as they've been. They deserve it. Scott is a great singer, great frontman. And it’s encouraging for me, too. I’ve always been trying to find a good singer, so that I play guitar and he sings. But it’s been 23 years since Guns and I haven’t found one yet.

Yet, later in 2006 he would questions Slash's dedication:

I think.....(pauses) well I mean look, they are what they are, they are straight forward hard rock. What you see is what you get. They are definitely a great band.

When the interviewer pointed out that he sounded conflicted, Gilby responded:

Well it's just...(laughing) ah man, well I get the feeling they aren't really into it.. like Slash and Duff, mostly Slash. I mean Slash is playing, but he's not really PLAYING. Listen to the record dude, is that really Slash? I just kind of feel at times his heart isn't really into what that band is doing, like he's going through the motions. Man I'm gonna get myself into trouble (Laughing)


The band planned to release their first concert, from El Rey Theater in Los Angeles in June, as an EP:

It’s just to tide people over — and tide ourselves over — until the album comes out. The show sounds pretty good for a raw, rock ‘n roll representation of what we’re about, with mistakes and all.

The plans of releasing an EP or DVD of the El Rey Theatre concert was later scrapped [MTV News, August 18, 2003].

We were gonna take the live taping of that El Ray show and release it as an EP, and actually go on the road. That was the kind of buzz we had. We got more sensible about it and said well, we should write the record.


We went through a lot of stuff with Scott. We got him to come up to the mountains, to Washington State, and he was learning martial arts and learning how to live a different way. Whatever happens, he has some more tools that he didn't have before.

I feel like Scott is still struggling in certain areas, but that this is all meant to be. Down the line our hopes are that with this strong a positive influence — and his knowing where we've all been with the rock and roll indulgence — we will pull through this together.

I think [the problems] are [behind him]. Look, I don’t think it’s a big secret that we’ve all been through some of that stuff. We can relate to what Scott is going through almost too well. But he seems so excited about this band, and so focused on what we’re doing, that I can’t imagine him wanting to jeopardize it in any way. I have confidence that he’ll be able to keep it together, and he know that he has a major support group in the rest of us whenever he feels the need to call on us.

I'm not a saint. I don’t try to put on Mother Theresa’s head-dress. I still have one foot dangling over the precipice.


June 8, 2004

The band would sign with RCA [Guitar World, November 2003]. In a press release prior to the record's release, the band members would discuss the music:

Our music is very aggressive. There’s always that `Fuck you’ element to it. Really that’s all we know how to do. We can’t play nice…Slash, Matt and I were always that way in Guns, and Scott and Dave are very like-minded. To me, this is the first dangerous band that’s come around in a while–truly dangerous…We really hope to bring some chaos back into the whole world of rock.

This is the real deal. This is all of us firing on all cylinders.

And Slash would finally get to tour with a big band again:

We can’t wait. I’m just looking forward to fulfilling a touring thing that I never got to really finish with Guns. That’s what I love, but we never got to do a lot of things for reasons that still don’t make sense to me. I just want to play.

Being asked if Axl had heard the album:

You know, I don’t really want to put out Axl on the spot by saying that. The funny thing is, though, when we did that song, Set Me Free, and we put it out for the Hulk, our manager got a phone call from Jimmy Iovine wanting to get a copy, and I know [it was] because Axl wanted to hear it. But, I mean, he’s definitely the most critical of what it is that Duff and myself have been doing over the years - I know that much - and he’ll definitely be interested to see what it sounds like. But I don’t really care whether he’s jealous, or not jealous, or whatever the thing is (chuckles). We’ve spent so much time away from him that the Guns N’ Roses thing is sort of an old kind of thing. There’s no real resentment left anymore. It’s not really a bitter thing, it’s just something that we did. I’m very proud of it though (?).

You know what? When 'Set Me Free' was released, I got a call from Jimmy Iovine from Interscope and he really wanted a copy of the song. I wondered all the time what he wanted to do with it, but then I realized: "Oh, Axl wants to hear it too."

Duff would later say he hoped Guns N' Roses fans would be happy with the album:

I think we’ve made the right record, one that will let us tour for a year and a half and release three or four singles. We have a team at RCA that sees this as a global record, and management that wants to make this thing huge. That would be great, but for me the music always comes first. I’m proud of the record we made, and I hope it’ll satisfy the Guns fans who never got that lost, unreleased Guns N’ Roses record.

Looking back at the album:

But I mean, that record, the same feeling I have for Deadland Ritual is the same feeling I had going in and making Velvet Revolver's first album. It's a renewed energy, you do have to really step it up because you're unleashing something into the world that might or might not want to resonate towards, because number one, they think, 'Oh, it's just a bunch of guys getting together because they think they should put a band together or be a supergroup.' But that's not the intention at all. I mean, me, Slash, and Duff really needed to do a band. We were ready, it was time. We were, like, 'Look, Axl's gone out and has done the Roses by himself, so, we can do this.' If anyone ever saw the things about Revolver, it wasn't an easy process because the missing link was the lead singer. We went over and over that until the point we've finally settled on Scott.

In retrospect, all the energy that went into that band and what Scott represented, maybe different demography of rock 'n' roll coming from what we describe as the grunge era, but mixed with the GN'R sort of angst and a bit of a punky feel. It worked, but we were all fired up, we were in great shape, we were ready to take on the world like we had something to prove like a 20-year old kid, which at that time we were all approaching 40, you know.

2004-2005: TOURING

The tour started in St. Louis in May. Richard attended their May 26 show at New York's Roseland Ballroom [Blabbermouth, May 27, 2004].

At one of the shows the crowd would start a "fuck Axl" chant:

It’s not much to tell you. They just – all of a sudden I started hearing this, I think it was “F- Axl,” and so I just said, “I don’t think that’s necessary. Whatever.” (laughs) Something like that.

Velvet Revolver would regularly include a few Guns N' Roses songs in their set, and in 2008 Axl would be asked if it bothered him when former members played GN'R songs and give a general reply:

I don't have problems with whoever doing the songs but film or video gets into sync rights and I don't have an interest in anyone new, old or whatever trying to sell themselves as GN'R under another name that way.

While touring in Europe in 2004, Izzy would join the band for a few weeks and play shows with them:

So [Izzy] came out and played like, I don't know, six shows with us, kind of stayed with us for a while. That was fun. It's cool. But Izzy does that, he'll pop in and pop out and he really kind of does his own thing and I respect it all.

In around August 2005, Matt broke a finger while water skiing and he was to be replaced by Brian Tiskay for at least seven shows [The Albuquerque Tribune, August 19, 2005].


The VELVET REVOLVER band appears to have been split into two camps following the group's decision to fire their management team, Immortal Entertainment, on Sept. 17. VELVET REVOLVER guitarist Slash will be managed by HK Management (Howard Kaufman) while the rest of the band is going with Irvin Azoff (VAN HALEN, CHRISTINA AGUILERA), informed sources have told BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Dana Millman-Dufine and David Codicow, who were representing the band within Immortal, are believed to be trying to make a deal with Azoff to take them on. Since Dana Millman-Dufine looks mainly after vocalist Scott Weiland, she will probably be hired by Azoff for a while at least, while Azoff allegedly doesn't want or need David Codicow.


Already from the beginning there were signs of issues in the band:

We'll have some shows with him where we're 10 percent down but with Axl we had shows where we were 100 percent down.

In 2005 there were rumours that Weiland would be replaced with Mario Vasquez from American Idol. When confronted with these rumours, Duff recalled his response:

I said, 'What are you talking about?' 'Well the AP [=Associated Press] says you guys are getting the guy from "American Idol" and he's joining June 8,' I mean that specific. I started laughing.

Later in 2005, Slash would make this ominous statement:

Given all the experience that everybody in this band has, one thing we should know by now is how to keep a band together.

Weiland was still fighting with journalists he felt was treating him unfairly, in particular focusing on his addictions and not their music. In relation to an article which might have been interpreted as stating that he had auditioned for the position as singer in Velvet Revolver, and that the band ultimately "settled" on him [The Star-Ledger, May 13, 2005], he posted the following response:

Lately I have felt an increasing need to set the record straight since false information and gross distortions continue to get proliferated through the media in many forms by dishonest and disingenuous writers/journalists who are supported by their publications. It is not a crusade for the truth, it is a realization that the neo-tabloidism sells magazines, but also...wrecks marriages...wrecks families...wrecks careers...wrecks lives!!!

Yeah, there is probably some writer, critic or journarazzi that's saying to himself or among others, 'Oh, poor rock stars, oh, poor celebrities.' Well, fuck off! Does doing what I love to do give you a right to put a bull's eye on my 'back?' Does is give you the right to make it open season on anyone of notoriety? If you're a motherfucker and you still answer yes what about about the ones that really suffer from your selfish lies and deceit, the children, the wives, the parents, and the friends!? That can not be justified...period.

Dedicated to Mike S. You were the inspiration and muse for this little thought.

P.S. In regards to the article 'Beating the Odds - Velvet Revolver Sticks Together Despite Unstable Pasts' from the publication Newark Star Ledger written by Jay Lusting

I never auditioned for this band nor any other band. Nor was I ever settled on.

If you want to find out how I in fact did come to the band then do your homework instead of continuing to perpetrate bullshit.
Blabbermouth, May 14, 2005


In early 2005, there were reports that the band intended to start working on their second album this year while touring [MTV News February 24, 2005], or after touring [Billboard, March 4, 2005]. To tide fans over while waiting for the next studio recording, the band planned releasing a live album and a DVD [Billboard, March 4, 2005].

Talking about the DVD:

There's a DVD that we're putting together that should be coming out pretty soon. It's got some live stuff on it and a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff on it.

Talking about their second album:

We've got so much material it's ridiculous. We just write constantly, at sound checks or before shows or on our own, but usually together. So we've got tapes and tapes and tapes and CDs full of stuff. I think the hard part is going to be paring it down.

We've already got a lot of material, and there's more coming. We don't want to spend too much time dwelling on the next record. This band is evolving and growing and expanding. It just keeps getting better and better.

We'll we've been writing since last May, so we have a ton of stuff.

I'm really excited about making our next album. It's going to be so much more lush and creative as we have had so much more time to write it. We recorded "Contraband" after being together just five weeks. It was a really cum shot compared to what we are about to embark on. Now we can define ourselves and show people who we really are.

[We have been] working on new material like crazy because we have grown so much. When we got together, that initial spark was a killer, but we did ['Contraband'] really fast. Now there are so many aspects of our talent we haven't tapped into that we're going to be able to put into this next record, so it's really exciting.

There are probably 50 songs there and we have tons of songs left over from 'Contraband'. Now we're in the process of gathering the material and paring them down and concentrating on 12-14 songs and making them great.

I think it will take us longer to pick the songs out of what we've got than to record them. "Recording, that's the fun part. We're a rock 'n' roll band - we realize that's what we are - and spontaneity is the best way to capture us.

Oh, man, we have tons of new material. We've been writing since the beginning of the U.S. tour. We probably have enough for five records. The problem is paring it down to one record; it's a lot of stuff. We each have a CD and we each come back with the ones (songs) we like.

Being asked if the new album is coming out before the end of 2005:

It's too soon to tell. We are not going to have much studio time until September, now that we have added the Ozzfest dates.

[...] we could even be looking for a Christmas 2005 record depending on how much material we have.

We have so much material that it's more like paring it down then coming up with more stuff. We really evolved as a band, and became a band in that fourteen months.

And when they would start recording:

Hopefully sometime in July.

But recording and release dates would be pushed back:

We'll probably start work on it at the end of September, but it probably won't come out until March or April. We record real quick, in a matter of weeks, but it's all the other stuff (mixing, tracking, packaging) that takes time.

In December 2005, the forthcoming second album was said to be a concept album [MTV News, December 13, 2005] but this idea was later scrapped [Classic Rock, July 2007].

Studio time was now postponed till maybe February-March:

Hopefully we'll be in the studio in February or March. It would be nice to have something out by July.

Discussing the next album:

Our first album was very aggressive and just in-your-face. and we made it very quickly. And this album we just really want to, like, you know, we want to pull it back a bit, groove a little harder, [make it] a little more danceable. We've talked about working with people like [pop superstar] Pharrell [Williams] just for the… just to check it out. I mean, it's not rock and roll, but it might be different. Who knows?! I don't know.
Blabbermouth, February 16, 2006; originally from ABC News Radio

In March 2006, Duff would say they would start recoding on April 10 [Blabbermouth, March 10, 2006; originally from Launch], and again mention the abundance of material they had:

It's real close, you know. The thing is, we always have way too much material, so it's probably more a matter of just like picking the right ones. It's a quality problem. This second record will be just an exploration, as opposed to like, 'Let's crush it and put it out,' it's gonna be exploration and I think people will really dig it.
Blabbermouth, March 10, 2006: originally from Launch

In April, Duff would discuss the ongoing recording:

We've already started recording some stuff, and we're going to try out a few different producers on a few different songs, more piecemeal, here and there. It's not as conducive to doing it straight, like, 'We'll take this month to make this record.' It's more informal.

Some of the producers the wanted were Lenny Kravitz and Pharrell Williams:

We were at a party last night, and I went, 'Hey, Lenny, want to try and record some songs? Come on, let's go'

[Frontman] Scott [Weiland] and I met [Pharrell Williams] at a Clive Davis party in L.A. a year and a half ago. That's when it started. We said, 'Hey, man, want to do a track with us?' And he said, 'I'd love to.' [...] He was insanely busy, we were busy ourselves, but it's finally coming together. [...] I've always been a huge fan of early Motown and soul and Prince, so to explore something like that with Pharrell would be amazing. There's nothing like that out there. It's uncharted territory. Dude, it's going to be way cool. It's going to be stinky. Pharrell's a genius.


In June 2005, Associated Press would announce that the ongoing European tour was cut short resulting in media speculating that the band was breaking up [Associated Press, June 9, 2005]. An official spokesperson would deny these rumours and claim the band cut the tour short to start working on their second album and because of "family obligations" [Associated Press, June 9, 2005]. The spokesperson would also deny that Weiland was back on drugs [Associated Press, June 9, 2005].

We did knock a week off the end [of the tour]. Everyone is tired. We never planned on touring Europe more than five weeks but management and the agents kept adding dates and before we know it, it was up to seven weeks and after completing an eight-week run in the States with only a three-day break, we need a real break. So that's the story, other than that all is good, just need a break and some rest.

We kind of have a debacle on our European tour where they booked us for six weeks without us knowing. We thought we were doing seven gigs on the Ozzfest and that was it in Europe. Then Bob Geldof called to do the Live 8. We had to reschedule the whole Europe thing and make it four weeks long. After touring for a year, to go over to Europe and tour for six weeks and be away from your family for that long... It'll kill you.


But being away from your wife and kids or flying them out, or flying home for a night only to fly out at 4a.m. the next morning to get to a gig... it does get old after awhile. And it tears at the fabric of the band. You have got to stay healthy.

Weiland would also respond:

Christ! You people are like locusts! Every day there's more bullshit. I must be absolutely mesmerizing! You all seem to be enraptured and in need of your rock & roll fables.

1. A few days ago I was a Nazi.

2. Then the end of the Euro tour is cancelled because Slash and I hate each other.

3. Now I hear I'm going to rehab.

"Get a fucking life!!"

In 2006, rumors would spread that the tour had been cut because Duff needed to go to rehab, Duff would categorically deny these rumours [Blabbermouth, April 5, 2005].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu May 09, 2024 6:43 am; edited 10 times in total
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