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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:37

CHAPTER INDEX

- MAY 14 AND 15, 2006: WARM-UP GIGS AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROM
- MAY 17, 2006: IZZY RETURNS TO PLAY FOR THE FINAL SHOW AT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
- MAY 19, 2006: AXL FIGHTS TOMMY HILFIGER
- MAY 19, 2006: THE PLUMM, PLAYING AT ROSARIO DAWSON'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
- LOOKING BACK AT THE MAY 2006 WARM-UP SHOWS
- THE FANS' LOYALTY
- GUNS N' ROSES AND ITS FAN FORUMS
- MAY 25-JUNE 8, 2006: THE EUROPEAN TOUR
- JUNE 11, 2006: A DIFFICULT RETURN TO DONINGTON
- JUNE 13-20, 2006: THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES
- JUNE 21, 2006: BRAIN LEAVES THE BAND
- BRAIN AFTER GUNS N' ROSES
- JUNE 21, 2006: FRANK FERRER JOINS THE BAND
- FRANK BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- JUNE 24-26, 2006: THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES
- JUNE 27, 2006: AXL BRAWLS AT BERNS HOTEL IN STOCKHOLM
- JUNE 28-JULY 12, 2006: THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES
- JULY 12, 2006: THE FLYING FOOT GUITAR IS BROKEN AND SCRAPPED
- JULY 14- 30, 2006: THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2006 EUROPEAN TOUR
- SETLIST DISCUSSIONS
- MAY-NOVEMBER 2006: CHINESE DEMOCRACY TO BE RELEASED IN 2006? "13 TUESDAYS LEFT"
- OTHER ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD COMING OUT IN 2006
- SEPTEMBER 9-23, 2006: WARM-UP SHOWS BEFORE THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
- OCTOBER 2006: GN'R LICENSES 'WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE' AND 'BETTER' FOR A HARLEY-DAVIDSON COMMERCIAL
- OCTOBER 24-NOVEMBER 8, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR STARTS
- THE LATE STARTS II
- NOVEMBER 6, 2006: THE PORTLAND SHOW IS CANCELLED
- NOVEMBER 8-10, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES
- NOVEMBER 11, 2006: MERCK AND GUNS N' ROSES LEAVE SANCTUARY
- NOVEMBER 13, 2006: AXL ATTENDS PARKINSON'S DISEASE FUNDRAISER
- NOVEMBER 13-21, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES
- NOVEMBER 24-25, 2006: "PIGEONS OF SHIT METAL"
- AXL IS ILL, NOVEMBER 29 MILWAUKEE SHOW CANCELLED
- DECEMBER 1 AND 2, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES
- DECEMBER 4-15, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES; GUNS N' BUBBLES
- DECEMBER 2006: CHINESE DEMOCRACY IS STILL NOT FINISHED; A TENTATIVE RELEASE DATE OF MARCH 6, 2007
- JANUARY 10-16, 2007, SHOWS ARE CANCELLED TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY
- DECEMBER 14, 2006: MERCK IS OUT
- DECEMBER 17-20, 2006: THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONCLUDES; RETURN OF IZZY
- LOOKING BACK AT THE 2006 TOURING
- 2005-2007 VELVET REVOLVER, PART III
- TOMMY COMPOSES MOVIE MUSIC


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:39

MAY 14 AND 15, 2006
WARM-UP GIGS AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM


MAY 14: HAMMERSTEIN BALLROM


From a review in The Washington Post:

The guy hasn't lost many steps, though he hasn't added any new ones, either. Guns N' Roses seems like a band that has become a nostalgia act against its will, which is perhaps inevitable given the dearth of new material and the durability of the hits it recorded nearly 20 years ago. A good chunk of the crowd wasn't born when "Appetite for Destruction" was released in 1987 and turned GNR into the last great heavy-metal phenomenon.

[...]

But Rose, 44, has lost some decibels. At times the music all but smothered his voice, and whenever there was a break in vocal duties he bolted offstage, adding to the sense that he was struggling. Sunday was just the second night of the band's tour, which is supposed to head to Europe this summer. Rose explained halfway through the show that he could sing only after the miraculous intervention of a throat doctor.


And from a review in New York Daily News:

Someone must have given Axl Rose a personality transplant. At a rare Guns N' Roses show at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sunday, rock's most celebrated loon often acted like the perfect gentleman. He smiled broadly, cracked jokes, thanked the crowd incessantly and even saluted his mom for Mother's Day.



MAY 15, HAMMERSTEIN BALLROM


Before this show, Axl apparently got a good-luck call from Izzy [Reuters/Hollywood Reporter, May 16, 2006].

From a review in Reuters/Hollywood Reporter:

In the third of four immediately sold-out shows at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, Axl and company delivered a solid and vigorous performance that was all the more remarkable for the fact that it went on at all. Of course, some things haven't changed. The band didn't hit the stage until after 11 p.m., 3 1/2 hours after the doors opened. Presumably, because they went on at exactly the same late hour every night, it was less about unavoidable delays than about building audience anticipation. What, 10 years isn't enough?


And from a review in NME:

As amazing as it is to hear set-closer ‘Paradise City’ played live amid clouds of yellow and pink confetti, it’s the quieter moments throughout the night that resonate the most. Seeing Axl nervously sit at his piano and pound out the opening notes to ‘November Rain’ behind a wall of floor-to-ceiling sparklers, it’s hard not to marvel at the long-lost power of the rock ballad. This generation of art-school punks may have the Gang Of Four riff down, but the potency of the badass rocker wailing his heart out for a girl is totally unparalleled. In many ways the current version of Guns N’ Roses is a pastiche, a cheap approximation of the original, with every swivel of Axl’s hips and every would-be Slash solo trying valiantly to measure up to the originals we all secretly love, but frankly the songs are so epic and transcendent and undeniable that it doesn’t matter.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:39

MAY 17, 2006
THE FINAL SHOW AT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM; THE RETURN OF IZZY


While spending time in New York before the Hammerstein Ballroom shows, Axl would hang out with Izzy [Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks, May 5, 2006], including eating dinner with his on Izzy's birthday om April 11 [Sp1at, May 3, 2006], and in an interview on May 5 Axl would indicate that Izzy might show up at one of the gigs:

[Izzy is] probably gonna be out here. He might show up for the shows or something, we'll see. [...]  I don't know, I don't mean like being vague. I have no idea. Izzy does what Izzy does. I mean, it's like, you talk to Izzy one day and then you think hey we're gonna go over here to this record store but whatever. The next day you find out he's in Trinidad you know...or he's like, no I just had to go to the desert and do donuts in Nevada, you know. He races like hardcore racing trucks in Baha. He does stuff like that, so...


Later, Izzy would talk about how it came to happen:

Axl and I connected via cell phone [digital] this year [...]

I don’t know... It’s been two years since we did that tour in Europe… I don't remember … I think they gave me his number... No, now I remember: I went to his house, then he called me because they were going to do some shows in New York, and I said to him: “Hey, why don't I play with you? It could be great." And we did it. And then we toured Europe.


Being asked if he had patched up with Axl before the shows:

See, I’ve known him for so many years that there's a familiarity between us. We grew up in the same place, the same atmosphere, and I believe that part of our friendship will always be there.


And for the fourth and final warm-up show at Hammerstein Ballroom, on May 17, Izzy would join the band, taking the stage for the songs Think About You, Patience and - together with Kid Rock - Nightrain.

Izzy joined us, Kid Rock joined us, Sebastian Bach joined us... Izzy was great, except he was supposed to do the last song, Paradise [City], with us, but he left because he had to get up early. [laughter] [...] We couldn’t really understand it. Like, one more song. Wow, dude. And, I mean, you know, I had an after-party planned, then I had an after-after-party planned, then I had the after-after-after-party planned. And he had to leave just before the encore.


Talking about having to re-learn the songs:

[...] I had forgotten them almost completely. I had to learn to play them again. [...] Nightrain [was the hardest]. I kept forgetting the part in the middle. I don’t know why... after all I wrote it!


From a review in MTV News:

On Wednesday night, during the band's fourth and final warm-up show at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, the much-rumored reunion of Axl with erstwhile GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin finally came to pass.

[...]

Rose introduced Stradlin before "Think About You" — although his comments were almost immediately drowned out by screams from the audience as the guitarist strutted onstage. The two hugged before launching into the number, and one eyewitness reported seeing Stradlin's eyes welling with tears during "Patience."


And Philadelphia Daily News:

As for the show, it ruled. It took us long into the 140-minute set to get past the fact that it wasn't the real Guns N' Roses, meaning no Slash, nor Duff McKagan who were in the band when we saw them three times between 1991-1992. But to our delight, Axl Rose and his hired guns played all but two songs from the classic "Appetite for Destruction," and were joined on three songs by original Gunner Izzy Stradlin. Kid Rock came out to sing "Nightrain" and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach also helped Axl out on "My Michelle ." We were glad they showed up for the Hammerstein Ballroom gigs, which they failed to do at a 2002 show at the Wachovia Center, which inspired a melee.

Axl still sounds great but he should really lose the crazy-looking cornrow weave he's rocking. His locks, as it happens, are now in the hands of Liz Jacobs, a local hair makeup artist who'll tour Europe with the band as Axl's hair stylist through July. Jacobs, a CAPA grad, says her friend Michael Kuhn, of Salon Thalia, who styles Daryl Hall's hair, hooked her up with the gig.
Philadelphia Daily News, May 22, 2006


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:40

MAY 19, 2006
AXL FIGHTS TOMMY HILFIGER


MAY 13: BETA IN A SCUFFLE


On May 13, Axl's assistant Beta Lebeis would get in a scuffle at the Tribeca Grand with some other partiers:

I was having a conversation with Sean Penn when these girls bumped into us. At first we ignored it, but they seemed fixated on my assistant, and did it again.


According to the Village, Beta had chalked it up to a bunch of "drunk girls and name calling" [The Village, May 14, 2006]


MAY 19: AXL FIGHTS TOMMY HILFIGER


Right before the band was about to play an acoustic show at the club The Plumm in honor of Rosario Dawson's birthday, Axl got in a fight with Tommy Hilfiger:

[Hilfiger], like, called me out. It was insane. It was, like, the most surreal thing, I think, that’s ever happened to me in my life. [...]


Explaining what had happened:

Because I moved his girlfriend’s drink so that it wouldn’t spill. [...] Well, he first, like, smacked me in the arm to put it back. I said, “I don’t want it to spill,” and he said, “It’s not gonna spill,” and I said, “Well, I don’t wanna sit on it,” and he said, “You’re not gonna ‘blanking’ sit on it.” Then he just kept smacking me. I tried to ignore him and I told him to leave me alone. Then he grabbed my arm and I told him, you know, to let go of my “blanking” arm, and he said he doesn’t have to let go of my “blanking”- [...] I haven’t experienced more hatred and twisted – whatever – from a cop! I was jazzed. They go, “Hey, this is your booth and Tommy Hilfiger’s there,” and I’m like, “Okay, I don’t know him from Adam. But hey, cool.” I mean, I’ve never – I don’t know that I’ve met anybody more twisted in the last... [...] His own security beat his ass and threw him out of the door.

Kid Rock was there. And Kid Rock is telling me, he goes, “Dude, I was sitting there, man, and it was so Detroit. I couldn’t believe it.”


An anonymous witness would describe the incident:

First [Axl and Tommy] were sitting. Then they were pulling on each other . . . It got so out of control. [...] A bunch of security ran over – but Tommy would not back down. He was just out to take him down.


During the following performance, Axl would dedicate 'You're Crazy' to "my good friend Tommy Hilfiger" [Associated Press, May 20, 2006].

Owner of the nightclub, Noel Ashman, would say the fight had only consisted of Hilfiger taking two swings at Axl before being restrained, and that he was happy Axl had shown professionality:

There was an issue between the two of them. [...] I was very happy that Axl showed restraint. He went on and performed anyway.

Axl was a gentleman and had the good sense not to retaliate, as he would have done some serious damage to Hilfiger.


Co-owner of Plumm, Michael Ault would claim Lenny Kravitz gave Axl boxing lessons at the club after the fight:

Tommy H. was able to land more than a few punches against Axl -- presumably the boxing lessons may help prevent that in the future.


Other media would claim Kravitz left the club together with Hilfinger after the fight [New York Post, May 20, 2006].



Front page from The New York Post
May 20, 2006


According to the New York Post, Axl would later talk to Mark Kostabi (the artist behind the Use Your Illusion cover artwork) and state that he was amused over the picture above:

I don't hold any grudge against him. I just don't understand him. I loved the way the photo in The Post made it look like [Hilfiger] was doing karate chops!



The same day, Guns N' Roses would send out the following press release:

Tommy Hilfiger was carried away by his own security people kicking and screaming after attempting to pick a fight with Guns N' Roses main man Axl Rose at The Plumm on Thursday night.

According Ashman, Hilfiger who took two swings at Rose, was fortunate that he found Rose in good spirits and a forgiving mood. Ashman said "Axl was a gentleman and had the good sense not to retaliate as he would have done some serious damage to Hilfiger."

Rose, who was at the club to play a surprise acoustic set with his band Guns N' Roses for actress Rosario Dawson's birthday party, filled out a police report and later dedicated the song "You're Crazy" to "My good friend Tommy Hilfiger" during the band's scorching performance, which left the way beyond capacity crowd screaming for more and gasping for air well into the wee hours of the morning. Said birthday girl Dawson of Rose: "They've never played all acoustic, this is history in the making, how much does this fucking man rock?!"


A few days later, The New York Post would speculate that the reason Hilfiger had attacked Axl was that Axl was dating Hilfiger's brother's (Michael Hilfiger) ex-wife Diane O'Connor, at the time [The New York Post, May 23, 2006]. Michael Hilfiger would lately deny this rumour and suggest neither Axl or Tommy knew who they were fighting at the time [Vogue, May 26, 2006].

In August, Axl would be asked if he had been able to "put the East Coast-West Coast feud behind you and Tommy Hilfiger":

Yeah, that’s just still an odd thing.


And in March 2010, Hilfiger would comment on the incident:

Axl pushed me, and I said, 'That was rude.' . . . [He] had a huge ring on. He wears all this jewelry. [I'm thinking], if I get hit, it's over. No teeth, no eye. So I hit him before he hit me. It was self-protection. Now we're friends.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:42

MAY 19, 2006
THE PLUMM, PLAYING AT ROSARIO DAWSON'S BIRTHDAY PARTY


On May 19, Guns N' Roses would play an acoustic surprise show at the Plumm to celebrate Rosaria Dawson's birthday. Right before the concert, Axl would get in a fight with Tommy Hilfiger, and this is detailed in an earlier chapter.

[...] and then we just did an impromptu acoustic set birthday party for Rosario Dawson, and we decided to just go off, and we played for over an hour; and it was insane. [...] That totally rocked. This guy just goes, “Hey, do you have an interest in doing, like, four or five songs for Rosario Dawson’s, and I was like, “Yeah.”

It’s like, Tommy’s talking about bar mitzvahs now. I don’t know if Rosario’s having a bar mitzvah or not.

You know, you don’t really get offered that kind of thing, and it turned out to be – in my opinion, it was the smartest thing I’ve done in, like, at least ten years.

We also did a little private party, a birthday party for Rosario Dawson, and did a lot of the old kind of acoustic-electric thing, and that was new for all of us to do, so that was really fun. It was like, you know, standing-room only, and people were trying to shove onto the stage, so that was pretty fun.


A visitor to Blabbermouth would post a review of the show:

Like I said, the place was packed, but we managed to find another good friend who had a table up front near the stage. The joint was crawling with celebrities: Kid Rock, Mickey Rourke, Eric Balfour, and God knows who else. [...]

The band finally came a little after 1 a.m. I think. The stage was incredibly small and everyone surged forward to the point where tables were knocked over; my legs and feet are currently soaked in champagne and God knows what else. [...]

But Axl, Robin [Finck], Richard [Fortus], Tommy [Stinson], Bumblefoot, Dizzy and Chris [Pittman] all took the stage. Everyone played acoustically except Robin who played a semi-hollow Gibson, and Tommy, who played his usual bass; for 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', Robin and Richard switched instruments. Chris and Dizzy played maracas, congos, tambourines, and occasionally the keyboard, which was crammed in the corner. Axl introduced the show as the 'karaoke version' of GN'R as a movie screen-sized monitor with all his lyrics was behind him.

Everyone seemed to be in a great mood; they played some old tunes from 'Lies' that they haven't done since Slash was in the band, and Axl said they had learned the songs just 20 minutes before arriving at the club.

Before 'I.R.S.', Axl asked the band if they felt like trying it even though they hadn't rehearsed it, and Tommy screamed out 'I'm fucking fearless, I'll try anything!' The three solos in 'November Rain' were handled as they have been (Richard Fortus does the first one, Robin Finck does the second one, and Bumblefoot does the big closing one) except that Richard and Bumblefoot played their solos acoustically, which sounded pretty awesome.

"Needless to say, the whole place went apeshit... it was a really intimate, really amazing show and a nice way to close out the week after the four Hammerstein gigs. [...]

At the end, Axl came back out and said, 'I forgot to do something because I'm a fucking idiot,' before bringing Rosario Dawson out on stage and leading the audience in a rendition of 'Happy Birthday.' Then Rosario grabbed the mike and went nuts — 'THEY'VE NEVER PLAYED ALL ACOUSTIC, THIS IS HISTORY IN THE MAKING, HOW MUCH DOES THIS MAN FUCKING ROCK,' etc."


Explaining that they partly did this show to give back to certain people in New York:

Yeah, actually, absolutely. I mean, we did this New York thing; we didn’t know how it was gonna go. We thought about shows at different places, we scheduled these four shows here, and it’s been so much fun. We’ve been so involved with the people - with the club scenes, and the radio scenes, and the fashion scene and stuff, and bringing all these different people to the shows. And they’ve been so supportive to make everything happen, because they want it to succeed. And that’s been really, really exciting. It’s been really, really fun. That’s also why we ended up doing this birthday party, because a lot of these same people were gonna be guests at this thing; it was like a payback to them. And then it was really fun for us. I mean, our new guitar player started playing Van Halen’s... I don’t know what the title of the song is, but I think [sings] “you are headed for a whole lot of trouble...” He started playing the song, so I sang the whole song. I mean, we never rehearsed that. We pulled the whole song off, and we’re singing James Brown and stuff live.


And how in some ways these shows in New York had been similar to shows GN'R did in New York in the late 80s:

So it’s kind of like – I had this weird thing, like new Guns becomes old Guns. It’s like, it was very similar to experiences when we played, like, CBGB’s and, like, certain television shows years ago with old Guns. Then this kind of new thing happened with us last night that we haven’t experienced yet.
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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:43

LOOKING BACK AT THE WARM-UP SHOWS


After the four shows at Hammerstein Ballroom, Guns N' Roses place a full-page add in the Village Voice to thank the fans for attending the New York shows:



The Village Voice
May 31, 2006



They would also release a statement:

Guns N' Roses - whose shows at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom sold out in less than 3 minutes - have reclaimed the throne that was always theirs. From stellar reviews to audience adulation, Guns N' Roses' New York shows proved that they are back in a big way.

Concert goers weren't let down as Axl Rose and band mates Tommy Stinson (bass), Richard Fortus (guitar), Robin Finck (guitar), Chris Pitman (keyboard), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Brain (drums) and new guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (who has only been in the band for two weeks!) burned through Guns N' Roses classics such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," "My Michelle," "Mr. Brownstone," "November Rain" and "Sweet Child O' Mine." The final show at Hammerstein found the band joined by one time Guns' guitarist Izzy Stradlin on "Think About You," "Patience" and "Night Train," which also included an enthusiastic Kid Rock coming onstage to join the band.

Over the four nights, audiences were also treated to nearly half of the band's upcoming new album, Chinese Democracy, with live performances of "Chinese Democracy," "Better," "There was a Time," "Madagascar," "IRS" and "The Blues."

The four shows, which took place on May 12, 14, 15 & 17th, were the talk of New York City, with fans and famous faces such as Matthew Perry, Mickey Rourke, Drea De Matteo, Lenny Kravitz, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Fred Durst, Sebastian Bach, Ethan Hawke, Jay Z, Jimmy Fallon, Maxwell and Sean Penn to name a few, paying homage to one of the greatest bands in Rock n' Roll. Each night was a celebration on stage, which would then continue off stage with parties at Sixes and Eights, Bungalow 8, Butter, G Spa, The Marquee Lounge and The SoHo House.

The band ended their New York jaunt with a surprise acoustic performance at The Plumm for actress Rosario Dawson's birthday party. The band's scorching performance, which left the way beyond capacity crowd screaming for more and gasping for air well into the wee hours of the morning, had birthday girl Dawson commenting of Rose: "They've never played all acoustic, this is history in the making, how much does this fucking man rock?!"

The N.Y concerts were warm up shows for the European leg of the band's forthcoming tour, which starts May 25th in Madrid at Juan Carlos Arena.

For the upcoming tour, Guns N' Roses are playing a mixture of headline Festival appearances including Rock In Rio in Portugal, Download at the UK's famed Castle Donington, Rock Am Ring in Germany, Gods Of Metal in Italy, Novarock in Austria, Graspop in Belgium, Roskilde in Denmark, A Heavy Day In The Park in Holland as well as their own headlining indoor shows in Madrid, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Paris, Zurich, Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki, most of which have been instant sellouts.

But nothing beats the home turf of the US or New York City. W. Axl Rose commented, "We've just finished our 4 shows in New York and had an amazing time. New York has always been special and it feels great to be doing this again particularly in front of so many friends. I am very excited about Europe and getting back over here in September."


In addition to the quote from the press release above, Axl would also talk to radio station KROW about having enjoyed his time and the shows in New York:

Yeah, actually, absolutely. I mean, we did this New York thing; we didn’t know how it was gonna go. We thought about shows at different places, we scheduled these four shows here, and it’s been so much fun. We’ve been so involved with the people - with the club scenes, and the radio scenes, and the fashion scene and stuff, and bringing all these different people to the shows. And they’ve been so supportive to make everything happen, because they want it to succeed.


Sebastian Bach would talk about the parties Axl did in New York:

I mean Axl throws these parties that would make Sodom and Gommorrah blush. He's like Caligula! He throws these incredible parties. In New York he did four shows at Hammerstein ballroom and threw these giant parties every night and everybody from Sean Penn to Lenny Kravitz to... I mean, you name it, they were there, just everybody famous just comes to see him play. It's just a lot of fun, you know. Axl definitely knows how to throw a fuckin' party, that's for sure.
The Metal Forge, September 15, 2006


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:44

THE FANS' LOYALTY


In connection with the successful shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom in May 2006, Axl would be asked why Guns N' Roses fans are so loyal:

I think it’s a strange thing to explain, that I don’t really understand. Except that, like, if you have different people that you thought that there was a potential for them, and then they came up short more than a few times, whatever the excitement was for them wears off; and whatever it is about me, I haven’t really, you know, taken my shot yet, so people still think that there’s a potential for something that they would like to experience for themselves. I think it’s kind of got something to do with, like, hope and a fascination of hoping that there’s something there that they can latch on to – maybe something, you know, through me or whatever helps give them that to have a good time with.
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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:45

GUNS N' ROSES & FAN FORUMS


With the Internet came discussion boards and chat room where the most passionate fans could congregate to discuss Guns N' Roses. Guns N' Roses and its band members have had a conflicted relationship with the various fan forums and the opinions of hardcore fans on social media.

In May 2006, Axl would be asked if he keeps himself updated on rumours floating on the Internet, and say he did so he could shoot down anything too damaging to the band:

I have to keep up on it, because, there's a lot of the stuff sometimes you need to shut down, you know...so you like, have to be on top of what the people have...the people are doing the nonsense of what they're doing, so you can kinda stop some of it. Otherwise it would be a lot worse.


And when asked if he cared about speculation in the media, Axl would answer sarcastically:

No, Oh no, not at all never, Um mmm.... never, I'm unfazed. [...] When have you ever known me to be reactionary?


Del James would specifically comment on online discussions:

I've noticed that during our first week on tour, there's a lot of pissing and moaning on the Internet by people who aren't even at the shows. This vocal minority are not what I consider real GN'R fans. They are obsessive pests (go ahead and flame) in need of a real outlet other than GN'R chat rooms and posting on fan sites because the real fans are at the shows having fun. When someone overanalyzes something as petty as Robin's beard, what Axl says to the audience, the set list from one show to the next, or the tuning of Bumblefoot's fretless guitar, it's time to get a life. Disconnect from the Internet and reconnect with the real world.


In 2008 after the release of Chinese Democracy, Axl would choose to make his first public appearance by talking directly to fans on various of the largest fan forum, thus scorning numerous larger magazines and newspaper that would have paid for his interview [see later chapter for more information].

Interestingly, in 2009, Duff would share his experience with fan forums:

Back in 2004, when Velvet Revolver put out our first record, a great fansite popped up with our tour dates, recent photos, birthdays, and a fan forum (a place where fans could write in). Back then, I would read everything fans had to say, and certain veins of conversation did turn VERY opinionated, if not downright vitriolic. I would find myself taking some of this stuff to heart, until one day on tour, I met one of these people who often railed in the forum. He was 14 YEARS OLD!!! I realized then and there that KIDS were the ones mostly responsible for the maddening text. I was letting little kids get into my head, and they were just testing their boundaries as many teenagers do. I felt instantly enlightened and foolish, and I no longer read that kind of thing.



GUNSNROSES.COM, THE OFFICIAL SITE


In 2006, the band would set up its own site, GunsNRoses.com, which they would use to post comments and statements as well as glowing reviews of Guns N' Roses concerts. The admin at gunsnroses.com was Doug Miller.


GNRONLINE.IT


In December 2006, it was reported that the Italian fan forum gnronline.it had "gone on strike" to "protest the lack of official information regarding the band and the "phantom" album "Chinese Democracy"" [Blabbermouth, December 11, 2006]. Admins at gnronline.it also claimed the band were playing favorites to the two large US forums [Blabbermouth, December 11, 2006]. The Italian forum would not be updated or moderated, and would be closed down at the beginning of 2007, according to Blabbermouth [Blabbermouth, December 11, 2006].

In response to this story, Bumblefoot would release the following comment:

Ron here — this is not a statement on behalf of GN'R, just speaking for myself, me to you.

For whatever it's worth, I love you guys and appreciate all the support you guys have given the band. I haven't been in the band very long, but long enough to experience how great it is to have fans that care as much as you. Maybe it's too-little-too-late to let you know that, but that's how I feel, and it hasn't changed.

From what I've seen, if ya give out info before it's 100% confirmed, and things don't happen as planned, it leads to people feeling betrayed, so info should only come at the final moment when all the piece are in place. That's not a GN'R thing, it's everything, every business or band or anything else.

If you're looking for daily or weekly updates on things that are in the works, it'll become a big mess for everyone. Meanwhile, we're touring. It's been fucking great.

Since my first show with GUNS in May, we've played nearly 70 shows, in 20 countries (if I counted right, at 3am after being up 30 hours... [***]) The way I see it, for two-and-a-half hours each of those nights, it's our time to connect with each other — we get to say *fuck it* to everything else in life and enjoy ourselves — that's what it's about. It's not about business or setlists or critics or anything else — it's about saying FUCK IT and gettin' high off it from beginning to end and a long time after.

Hope y'all have been enjoying it to the fullest. Life's too damn short to be upset about what you don't have — enjoy what you do have.

Not trying to change anything by writing ya, not answering the questions you want answered, just letting ya know that your support hasn't gone unnoticed, and I just wanna say *thank you* to the moderators and members of your forum. For the years you've devoted to the band, and hopefully years to come...



HERE TODAY... GONE TO HELL, HTGHT.COM


One of the more popular fan forums became Here Today... Gone To Hell, run by the Finnish fan Jarmo. From Merck Mercuriadis post below, it is obvious that Guns N' Roses was not only monitoring the activity on the forum but also took steps to moderate the content posted at Jarmo's site:

I see a number of people flaming Jarmo and the moderators for removing posts at our request. I understand that you feel that we are using our influence to censor you. We are not. If someone wants to express their opinion or critique the band and its performances, recordings, actions etc that does not bother us but when you spread lies and disinformation about everything from ticket sales to release dates to how Pollstar calculate their chart we will use our relationship with Jarmo to shut you down because you cause chaos and confusion and you try to take something good and turn it into something ugly. When GN'R gets on stage every night for two and a half hours it is a positive force. The thousands of fans who are there every night lose themselves and have a great time. That is what rock n' roll is all about but unfortunately the 300 of you that aren't even at the gigs spread a negativity that does not reflect the reality at all as evidenced by the original thread on the Meadowlands show. We were there. We saw 11,000 fans having a great time. We had a great time. For the people in the room it was a great night but it wasn't to be for those of you at home sitting around your computers.

Jarmo is your greatest ally and he has a proximity to us that is to your benefit. No one else in the online community has it. He has credible information for you directly from the source. We are not looking for any negative favours. It is not how the band has ever operated. It is not how Axl operates and it is not how I operate.


At the touring in 2007, Jarmo would be travelling with the band.


GNREVOLUTION.COM


Being asked what the band thinks about this particular fan site:

Couldn't tell ya what everyone else thinks about the boards or any specific one. To me you're all GNR fans, I don't divide you guys into specific boards - when I talk to one of ya, I'm talking to all of ya.  The boards are your playground, have fun in them  smile  Just don't do any illegal, you crazy fuckers, lol.  What do I think? Like any cluster of people, there are good people, and there are jerkoffs. I'll leave that to you guys to decide who's who, haha. Maybe make a poll, 'Biggest jerkoff on the board', haha.  I've actually met some great people through these boards, all over the world, people anyone would be blessed to know.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:45

MAY 25-JUNE 8, 2006
THE EUROPEAN TOUR


Before the European tour started, Axl would talk about the difference between playing in Europe versus USA:

Yeah, actually, it's a lot less stress. [...] I think it's just, uh, a tougher road about old Guns N' Roses here than it is in Europe for us.


Izzy, who had played with the band in New York, commented on whether he expected to join the band for the coming European tour:

I dont have any concrete plans at this moment to join them in Europe but i will let you know if it changes. Please let people know nothing is confirmed at this point for Europe. NY was pretty cool........so.......talk later, izz"
izzyontour.com, May 26, 2006


After the successful warm-up shows in New York, the first show of the European tour kicked off at the Auditorio Parque Juan Carlos I in Madrid, Spain, on May 25, 2006. The band then travelled to Lisbon, Portugal for Rock In Rio V on May 27.

At Rock in Rio, Bumblefoot would play Don't Cry as his guitar solo, and he would continue doing this afterwards:

I pretty much make up some guitar version of whatever song off the top of my head, kinda like the Don't cry solo. Never planned out what I was gonna do, just busted that out at Rock in Rio without ever playing it, just made it up on the spot.


Shows then followed at the Budapest Sportaréna in Budapest, Hungary on May 31, Rock Am Ring, Nürburgring, Eifel, Germany on June 2, Gods Of Metal Festival, Idroscalo, Milan, Italy, on June 4, and to the Hammersmith Apollo, London, England, on June 7.

Tommy would later talking about partying and mention a story involving Lars Ulrich and Sebastian Bach which likely happened around the Rock am Ring show:

But with Guns, I've played with Metallica. Lars Ulrich vomiting in your dressing room, that's pretty nasty. Him taking one shot more than he should have, then having Sebastian Bach singing, "Exit Lars! Exit Laaaaars!" as his assistant is carrying him out of the building. But that's a whole other story.


Brian May has initially been scheduled to feature at the Hammersmith Apollo show:

AXL IS MAGIC

Yes, it was on the cards for me to play with Axl and his boys last night - but I was unable to get to their sound-check, and, without that kind of preparation, I felt that going on 'blind' might have been a risk. Now I totally don't mind taking risks, but not if it's a risk of messing up someone else's show !! The up-side was that because I was not going on, I could sit out front, and totally relax and enjoy the show, without having to think about my own stuff. (Also it did occur to me later on that probably 3 guitarists is more than enough ! ha ha! Great band, though. ) I thought Axl was stunning .... riveting .... I have seldom seen Hammersmith Odeon in such a state of electric hyper- energy. Just before the band went on, I thought I could actually see sparks in the air !! There have been very few performers in the world, ever, who could elicit that kind of response. And just hearing that voice, drinking it in, letting it drench the soul, was pure therapy - enough to keep the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end the whole night. Axl, as ever, is magic. Cheers

bri
Brian May website, June 8, 2006


Sebastian Bach, on the other hand, did join the band onstage, sharing vocal duties with Axl on My Michelle [Rock Radio, June 8, 2006].

Excerpts from Rock Radio's review of the Hammersmith Apollo show:

But when Guns N' Roses eventually showed up at 10:41pm local time, they were phenomenally good for three reasons. Firstly, because Axl's voice was as good - if not better - as it used to be 20 years ago. Secondly, they played a killer setlist that included most of the hits - exactly what fans wanted to listen to. And, thirdly, the musical interaction between the GNR members was very good. Shame about the uninspired guitar solos that served no purpose other than force fans to rush for more beer.

All in all the gig was very enjoyable. But make no mistake. GNR without Slash is like a World Cup football tournament without Brazil.


The band continued to RDS Arena, Dublin, Ireland, on June 9. Ten years later, in 2016, the Irish Mirror would recall this show:

Ah, the corn-row era… Unfortunate hairdo aside, Axl firing on all cylinders at the RDS. It was a rare daylight show – and the notoriously tardy band even made it onstage by 8pm!

This was only the second time G’n’R had played on our wee island and we were over a decade into new album rumours. Chinese Democracy was finally released two years later, but fans at this Dublin show were treated to two tracks (Street of Dreams and Madagascar) from the long-awaited release.

Those who’d been at the Slane Castle gig 14 years earlier might have been disappointed by the lack of Slash, but with a line-up including three solid guitarists (Bumblefoot, Robin Finck and Richard Fortus, who’s still with them) there was nothing to complain about in terms of performance.


Sebastian Bach would again join Axl on My Michelle.

Bumblefoot would later talk about Dublin:

Walking around the streets of Dublin outside the venue, very lively, lots of pubs, streets were filled with people. Groups would be sitting on the sidewalk all around, they'd ask me to stop and join them for a drink, everyone was very open and social.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:47

JUNE 11, 2006
A DIFFICULT RETURN TO DONINGTON


The next show took place on June 11 at the Download Festival, Donington Park, Donington, England. For this show Izzy would again join the band playing on Think About You, Patience, Nightrain, Used to Love Her, and Paradise City. This was Izzy's second show with the band since he stepped in for Gilby in 1993.

I arrived at the Heathrow airport, got in a van and they took me to the Donnington Festival. I had horrible jet lag, but I went on stage and I felt better right away. It’s like magic.


At the show Bumblefoot would have a solo spot were he played an instrumental version of Don't Cry to a fairly hostile crowd. Being asked about this a few years later, Bumblefoot replied:

Was it tough? Fuck no, I was even laughing at one point during it. Don't remember if it was my idea, I think I went backstage and got the 'Foot' guitar said 'I'll go out there and keep it goin'. Either that or they said 'Bumble, take a solo' and I said 'No prob' and got the guitar. Whatever it was... I'm a 'shit or get off the pot' kinda person, either do it or don't. And if you do, you better swing with everything you got or don't bother.


In an interview from 2008, Bumblefoot would be asked if he had ever seen aliens and refer to people throwing bottles of piss at this show:

I thought I saw UFOs two years ago while at the Download Festival in England. Then I realized it was just people throwing piss bottles.


In October 2008, Richard would be asked about having the audiences throw things at them and mention this show as a rare example of that happening:

No, we've never had any of that. I mean, actually we did have that in one festival in England, at Donington. [...] But I think we walked out feeling pretty victorious, I mean we really… You know, people are very skeptical: new members, a new band… But reception has been really great. I mean, by the end of the show things are always good.


Excerpts from review at the BBC:

After being over an hour late on stage at Hammersmith earlier in the week, Gn'R are on-time and on-form, opening with flashbombs and the one-two-three suckerpunch of Welcome To The Jungle, It's So Easy and Mr Brownstone.

Live And Let Die and Knockin' On Heaven's Door follow, before guitarist Robin Finck picks out the signature riff to Sweet Child O'Mine.

But you can tell from the giant screens flanking the stage that all is not well on the braided, goateed visage of Axl Rose. He's been carping about the stage being too slippy and, during a front-of-crowd walkabout, appears to aim the 'c' word at an over-zealous steward. As the band's most famous song dies, he abruptly announces: "We're having some technical problems, so we're gonna take a break."

I was on this Leicestershire soil in 1988 when the over-exuberant response to Guns' debute Donington appearance led to the fatal crushing of two fans. With tonight's restless crowd, semi-delirious on three days of booze, guitars and 30-degree heat, this could all turn nasty. Just as it seems as though Axl's well-documented appetite for self-destruction is about to consume another comeback appearance, guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal saves the day, appearing alone, stage front, to crank out a guitar-only version of Don't Cry which quells the bottle-fight in the crowd enough for normal service to (almost) be resumed.

You Could Be Mine claws back more ground but then Axl's gone again, leaving Finck and Richard Fortus to widdle their way through a (frankly excruciating) guitar instrumental version of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful". That's followed by the night's first new song (The Blues?) in which the level of chatter in the crowd, followed by booing and chants of "sort your f****** head out" , have seasoned Axl-watchers on alert yet again. When bassist Tommy Stinson grabs the vocal mic and threatens to go home if he's hit by one more flying bottle, the rainclouds gathering above Download for the first time all weekend seem an apt, if ominous, portent of a coming storm.

Maybe Axl needs this danger, this threat of impending violence, to really get the adrenaline racing. And as the band rips defiantly in to Out Ta Get Me, the whole dynamic shifts. Dizzy Reed's solo piano version of Ziggy Stardust is  warmly received, another new song (Better?) sounds loads, erm, better.

The tide has turned, and it's time for Axl's coup de theatre: "I'd like to welcome a very good friend of mine…Mr Izzy Stradlin…" and out trots his former sidekick to roars of approval. There are now as many members of prime-time Guns n' Roses in this band as there are in Velvet Revolver, and the performance of Think About You that follows throws down a gauntlet for all pretenders.


Sebastian would later recall touring with Guns N' Roses and in particular the show at Donington:

Thus [in 2006] began a rekindling of our friendship that proved to be extremely helpful to my solo career. Axl does not let many people into his world. But when he does, he treats you like family and is as generous and giving as can be. He began inviting me to cities around the globe, to jam with him onstage at the end of Guns N’ Roses shows. I would get a call and it would say: “Baz, get to JFK. You have a First Class ticket to Dortmund, Germany. You’re going to be on stage with Guns N’ Roses in 12 hours at Rock AM Ring in front of 70,000 people. Get your ass to the airport.” The expense and effort he would go to, just to have me sing one song with him in a foreign country, was astonishing to me.

One night, at Castle Donington in England, the insanity was palpable in the air. Axl had been late going to some of his shows and his then-manager, Merck Mercuriadis, pleaded with me in any attempt, however vain, to somehow get him to the stage on time. Axl’s vocal warm-up, even in 2006, was on a cassette. Even with the advent of recordable CDs, and by that time digital music players, the biggest rock star in the world was warming up his voice to a cassette. There was no cassette player in the hotel room that day. Merck and Fernando were frantically scouring the local area around the hotel for an analog cassette player, to no avail.

Somehow a tape player was located and the show went on. We all took a helicopter to the concert site. We were late for the show and the crowd was restless.

Axl’s friend, a girl named Diane from New York, was on the side of the stage. Her fun, happy demeanor changed when she, along with everyone else, felt the crowd turn a black mood. Axl came onstage, only to stop the show after a couple of songs due to the stage being slippery. He refused to go back on until it was made “safe,” and he would not slip, while performing. Diane burst into tears as the crowd started to boo. I told her this was all part of rock ’n’ roll. She did not understand how heavy this shit could get. Having been on the road with Axl Rose for decades now, I fully understood the volatility and intensity of how the situation could get. Diane didn’t understand that Guns N’ Roses fans expected danger.

The band went back onstage and finished the show. Near the end of the set, bass player Tommy Stinson took his instrument off and proceeded to smash a cameraman over the head who got too close to him near the front of the stage. The cameraman was part of the GNR crew and did not understand why he was being attacked for simply doing his job. Tommy was so drunk, I bet he didn’t even know he was attacking his own employee.

The show finished. Axl was in a rotten mood. “Come on. With me. Right now.” He demanded that I get on the helicopter with him and Diane. He was so mad at Merck, that he refused to let him on the helicopter ride back home. Merck was completely incensed that Axl would take me on the helicopter, instead of him. He was left to drive hours back in a car, along with the 70,000 or so concertgoers, the considerable distance back to London from the Donington festival site.

We took off in the helicopter back to London. Axl was in foul spirits and refused to put his seat belt on. I had been drinking and I had a pretty good buzz on by now. Axl was despondent about the show, and kept talking about how bummed out he was and what a shit mood he was in. His hand fidgeted nervously on the door handle of the helicopter. I looked at him, thinking to myself, Oh my God. He is going to open up the door and jump right the fuck out of here. To his death. It’s up to me to save him. I spent the rest of the flight with my eyes affixed to his every movement. Like a laser beam. I was not going to let my friend die. Axl was just crazy enough to make me think this was a possibility.
Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row; Harper Collins, 2016


Axl would later talk about refusing Merck to come along on the helicopter:

[...] but leaving Silverstone and no fault of our pilots, I saw another helicopter coming towards us blades 1st out of the corner of my eye, yelled watchout and our pilot jerked us out of the way of an idiot who was unauthorized to be where he was and came out of nowhere. W/out our pilots skill and quick reflexes it would've been over rt then for real. It was also great to read how "Merck took the keys to the copter so Axl couldn't leave" Donnington like I'm James Bond or something. I did make him drive bk to London though!! ;D


Sebastian would also tell a story from after the show, when he and Axl got back to their hotel in London and they met Jon Bon Jovi:

We got back to the hotel, which happened to be the Mandarin Oriental, on London’s prestigious West End. Sat down at the bar downstairs and started inhaling bottles of red wine. Axl started getting into a good mood. The waitress approached us. “Hi! Axl! Sebastian! Do you know who is sitting over there?” she whispered to us. We both shook our heads. “Jon Bon Jovi.” I couldn’t believe it.

Jon and I had had a falling-out about Skid Row royalties back in 1990. We traded barbs in the press. I said some extremely immature things that I had regretted years later. Jon took a chance on me, and our band. I had achieved the impossible, which was to make a living playing the music I love. At the end of the day, I will always be indebted to him for that.

Fuck it, I thought. I stood up and walked over to Jon. He looked up from his glass of wine and stared at me. What was I gonna do? He was trying to read me. Was I going to be cool? Was I going to be a dick? The ball was in my court. Maybe it was the wine talking. I had no desire to quarrel with him, or anybody at that moment. I stretched out my arm and we shook hands. Jon stood up. “Hey man!” We hugged each other like old friends. Which we were.

I invited him over to Axl’s table and we all sat down. The Italian wine flowing, we discussed the business of rock ’n’ roll, what we were all doing. Axl had told me he admired Jon’s business acumen. We talked about the tour and had a great conversation. At one point, I congratulated Jon on his latest single, which was a country crossover track called “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” It was a hit, and based on that, I congratulated Jon on his success. Jon said “thanks a lot” and looked over at Axl. Axl did not say a word.

The next day, I was with Axl. “Hey man! That was really cool of you to congratulate Jon on the success of his song!!” Axl turned to me and snapped. “I never fucking congratulated him on the success of his fucking song! That was you! I never said anything! I never said that!!” Evidently, Axl wasn’t a fan of the song.
Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row; Harper Collins, 2016

Bon Jovi took us on our first tour and we signed some papers with him that he got a cut of, if we made it big, that he would get compensated for helping us out. Nobody expected us to get as big as we got. Nobody thought that we would become a big band. That happens all the time in the music industry. Jon was like, 'We'll take you on tour, but if you guys make it big,' then he gets a cut of it. So I was bitter about that for awhile, but then I realized that we probably wouldn't have made it as big, or maybe at all, if he didn't take us.

I actually had dinner with Jon a couple of years ago. We were staying at the Mandarin Oriental in London — me and Axl — and we were sitting there. And the waitress says, 'Hey, guess who's over in the corner.' And me and Axl go, 'Who?' She said, 'Jon Bon Jovi.' And I go, 'Get the fuck out of here.' He was in the corner. And I didn't know what to do. 'Cause we had had words… Most of them were mine. [laughs] So I go, 'You know what?! Fuck this. I'm gonna go over there and say 'Hi' to him.' 'Cause we used to be great, great friends; I had Christmas dinner at his house and stuff. So I stood up and walked over towards Jon, and Jon was looking at me, going, 'Are you gonna be a dick or are you gonna be nice?' He's looking at me, like, 'What are you gonna do? What are you gonna say?' And I was like, 'Hey, man, how is it going?' And he was, like, 'Hey, man?' And we stood up and we hugged and then he came over to me and Axl's table and we drank about 15 bottles of red wine, had a great time. He gave me his phone number and I've texted him a couple of times. He's a good guy. We're friends again.
ArtScenics TV/Blabbermouth, August 19, 2012


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:47

JUNE 13-20, 2006
THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES


After Donington the band travelled to Sazka Arena, Prague, Czech Republic, for a show on June 13 and to Legia Stadium, Warsaw, Poland, on June 15. At both these shows Izzy joined the band onstage for Think About You, Patience, Nightrain and Paradise City, while Sebastian joined in on My Michelle.

Things that stand out… First thing that popped into my head when you asked me that was when we were playing in Poland. It was a little Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel, and me and Frank and a bunch of us went. We sat down at the table and they brought Frank a nice bowl of black beans, and usually black beans are just the beans in a little bit of sauce. But this time they pureed the beans, and it was the most delicious black beans I’ve ever eaten! And he was saying that’s how his mom used to make them. That’s the first thing that popped into my head – the pureed black beans at a Mexican restaurant in Poland.


Next up was Novarock, Pannonia Fields II, Burgenland, Austria, on June 17. This time Izzy joined for Think About You, Used to Love Her and Patience, while Sebastian came on stage for My Michelle again.

The band then continued to Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris, France, on June 20, for what was - unknown to the audience -  Brain's last show with the band. Again, Izzy joined in on Used to Love Her, Patience, Nightrain, and Paradise City.

Review in Le Parisien, June 21, 2006:

When Axl Rose, the singer of Guns N 'Roses, took the stage for the first time in France since 1993, he had a lot to make up for. Expected around 9 p.m., he finally showed up at 10:40 p.m. - a record of its kind.

While waiting for him to turn up, all kinds of rumors were flying around, between beers, in the aisles of a packed Bercy. "He's going to sing just for half an hour, like a few weeks ago in London,” some said. "He fired his guitarists and his drummer yesterday. Eventually only the drummer came back and they’ve been rehearsing, if not learning, the songs all afternoon. That’s why the opening bands couldn’t rehearse and why they’ve been so late,” affirmed others... This version, in line with rock 'n' roll romanticism and the man’s notorious instability, was the most popular among the soothsayers.

And then, at 10:40 p.m., as the boos and the gestures of discontent were multiplying, Axl Rose, the only original member of the hard rock band known in the early 1990s as Guns N’ Roses, took the stage. "I've been preparing three years for this tour”, he stated after “Welcome to the Jungle,” an appropriate show opener for the occasion, followed later by: "I feel better. Five songs ago, I still felt bad.” Miraculously, his old hits, sung in a beautiful high-pitched voice, still worked: "Live and Let Die," a Paul McCartney's Wings cover, as well as the iconic “Sweet Child O 'Mine" (despite the awful guitar solo intro).

"Tell the truth, you didn't think we were coming, did you?” he said at one point, without even getting an angry reaction from the – dulled by the wait and the heat - audience. After an extended version of Bob Dylan’s "Knocking on Heaven's Door," the pianist went to cover Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust". Would Axl Rose come back to sing? Fortunately, he did. At 12.50 a.m., he was still on stage.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:47

JUNE 21, 2006
BRAIN LEAVES THE TOURING BAND


On June 21, 2006, the band would release a statement saying that Brain had needed to return to the USA earlier than expected to be with his pregnant wife:

Guns N' Babies!

Guns N' Roses have been forced to postpone their show in Zurich at the Hallenstadion this evening the 21st of June, 2006. Their drummer Brain aka Bryan Mantia has had to return to San Francisco earlier than scheduled to be with his pregnant wife. The band have been travelling with understudy drummer Frank Ferrer and he will be ready to step in when the tour continues as scheduled on Saturday with their next show at Belgium's Graspop Festival.

It is expected that Brain will return to the tour in approximately 2 weeks time. The band had a phenomenal show at Bercy in Paris last night which they consider to be the best of the tour to date. During the exuberant performance guitarist Robin Finck pulled his hamstring but will benefit from the extra day of rest and will be ready for Saturday. The Hallenstadion show in Zurich will now take place on the 1st of July and all tickets are valid.

Guns N' Roses apologise to their Swiss fans for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing them in a couple of weeks.


This caused the rescheduling of one show and Frank Ferrer taking over as a temporary replacement drummer [see later chapters].

In the end, Brain would not return to the band as a touring member and Frank became the band's permanent drummer.

That Brain was permanently out was not clear in June, though, and even after the five September warm-up shows for the 2006 North American tour, press releases and posts on gunsnroses.com, would indicate Brain was still the band's drummer [Press Release, September 28, 2006; GunsNRoses.com, September 30, 2006].

On October 31, Del James would make it known that Frank would be touring with the band for the North American tour while Brain stayed home with his newborn daughter, indicating that Brain would replace Frank again for later touring and that the band still expected Brain to be the band's drummer in the future:

First things first, the drummer for the 2006 US tour is Frank Ferrer. Frank filled in for Bryan "Brain" Mantia for a good portion of the European summer tour when Brain went home to be present for the birth of his daughter, Kei. Prior to the U.S. run, Brain asked if he could sit this one out so he could be with his newborn baby. Had it come down to not being able to do it without him, Brain would have done the tour but management and the band support his decision to be with his family.


Then, in November 2008, it seems Brain's name was removed from the band's MySpace page [Talking Metal, November 21, 2008].

Still, when asked if Brain was still in the band, Axl replied:

Last I checked. Brain works on several things with Guns either from his home or in the studio.


And when followed-up with the question if this meant they had two drummers in the band now [Frank and Brain] and if they would tour together, Axl replied:



In May 2009, an interview would be released where Brain would talk about leaving the touring lineup:

I was having a baby girl at the beginning of a tour in ’06, and I told them before I started that I would have to leave early. I got Frank Ferrer, who had played with [Guns guitarist and bassist] Richard Fortus and Tommy Stinson, to fill in, and that was cool. When I got home, I was kind of diggin’ being home. The album wasn’t out yet, and Frank was doing a great job and I was getting a lot of production gigs just staying home. I’m really into computers and music, and I have my own studio. I rent a room at Studio 880, and I built this MIDI studio with all these MPC’s and outboard gear, and I just started doing production – commercials for TV, that kind of stuff. And I kept getting more and more gigs and making almost as much money doing that as I was from touring and being a drummer. I also started taking theory lessons, piano lessons, ear training, computer and music lessons, going that route.

When I left I was only supposed to be gone for two weeks, and then that turned into a month, and then that turned into three months, because I was getting a lot of studio work: “Hey, can you do this Gatorade commercial?” “Hey, we’ve got this Best Buy commercial.” “Write the music or make the beat for this….” I do a lot of work with Bootsy Collins on that side of things – the commercials and stuff. “Hey, Brain, can you put a beat to this?” We’re working on a Gatorade commercial right now. I’ve been a Bootsy fan for years, so I’m just honored to be working with him on any level. Anyway, I started doing more of that, so I was like, “Hey, Frank, I’m kind of doing this and they’re digging your playing. Would you mind hanging out and staying?”

He was thrilled – “Oh, man, this is the greatest gig in the world. I’m so happy, this is awesome.” And nobody else in the band was complaining, though they were like, “Well, are you ever coming back?” I told them, “Well, yeah, we’ll see what’s going on, but right now let Frank do it.” Frank is more rock. He’s more like the original Guns N’ Roses drummer [Steven Adler], which is more like straight-up rock – open hi-hat, bashing, hitting as hard as you can.


In 2010, Brain would be asked if the plan to have him play the new songs and Frank play the old songs for the tour starting in 2009, didn't happen:

I guess they couldn't pull it!


This could suggest that Axl considered Frank more suited to play songs where Steven and Matt had been the original drummers, or that he simply wanted Brain to play the songs he had recorded. Regardless, it indicated that Brain had been considered a return to the touring lineup.

And when asked if he was now out of the touring lineup Brain confirmed this but also that he hoped to be included on recordings in the future:

i'm out of the currant touring band. i hope i can still be a part of the recordings!!!


And also mention that he missed the touring:

the live shows were always a highlight for me!!! i'm just bummed i'm not a part of that anymore.


A month later Brain would be asked if becoming a father had been preventing him from touring:

Naw not really... I just don't dig touring that much!


And in 2012 he would talk more about his decision to leave:

[Axl’s] always treated me really good. Even when I left and Frank [Ferrer, current GN’R drummer, pictured above] took over because I was having a kid, they were pretty accommodating. I think Axl was a little freaked out with another drummer coming in but I did it, he let me do it and it was kind of my decision not to come back because I was getting into other stuff like producing and film soundtracks.



DOING TOP SECRET SHIT FOR GUNS N' ROSES


Brain was obviously still connected to the band and when asked what he was up to, he answered:

i'm doing some top secret shit right now!!!!!!!!


This "top secret shit" is likely to have been remixes of songs from Chinese Democracy [see later chapter].

And when asked what his status with the band was:

Gettin paid and gettin laid!!!!!


And in 2012 he would say he was still "doing stuff" and that he had done some remixes:

But I’m still doing stuff, I’ve done some remixes for [Axl].


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:49

BRAIN AFTER GUNS N' ROSES


SCIENCE FACTION


Together with Buckethead, Brain 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 Billboard.com. "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



SOCIALIBRIUM


In 2009, Brain was involved in a project called SociaLibrium with Bernie Worrell, T.M. Stevens, and Blackbyrd McKnight:

Blackbyrd is the closest thing to Jimi Hendrix that you’re going to run into. And Bernie is the Jimi Hendrix of the keyboards. I don’t know who’s heavier than Bernie as a musician, or anybody that I could pick right now other than Prince that I’d like to play with. We did a gig in San Francisco and we were learning some old songs and revamping them. Everybody brought in some jams that they had played before, some Praxis ones that Bernie and I had played, T.M. brought in some, Blackbyrd brought in some of his stuff. We listened to it very quickly and decided: Let’s make this a band. Don’t copy…don’t learn “Super Stupid” or “Red Hot Mama” the same way they were played on the albums. It would be more about, Which way would you play it, what is your favorite beat right now, or what are you listening to? Just play a beat.

So we just made up new grooves, and then those started morphing into more jamming – almost like the jam-band thing, but more Miles-y. I love the ‘70s Miles stuff. Agharta – I’m a huge fan of that. Al Foster – I love the open hi-hat rawness, and the fact that it’s these jazz people trying to play rock and twisting it in a weird way. So anyway, it started to get more into that, and I can’t tell you how awesome it’s been. Musically I’ve been so happy…I hope we can make an album and continue it. Because I really see this thing stretching into that Miles side, and that’s my favorite stuff.



BRAINBEATZ.COM


I started the Web site BrainBeatz.com, and before that I made a beat DVD with Big Fish Audio, Pro Tools 24-bit. I just went to a studio, played all my grooves, and did a deal just selling it for producers, people who want to have the tempo. Now with time stretching and stuff, it can pretty much be any tempo, but back when I made it I had specific tempos and specific grooves. Now I’m trying to do that on my own through my site, just because I have a whole HD Pro Tools rig in my studio and a place to play the drums. So every time I get bored I just make a new beat. I flip it, do some weird stuff to it, and then try to sell it. I’ll probably make another DVD set, hopefully through Big Fish, and try to sell that to producers and stuff. I’m really trying to get more into the production side.

My heroes in drumming have been the John Bonhams, the Keith Moons, the Tony Williamses. But in terms of longevity and having a career it’s been more about Stewart Copeland and Narada Michael Walden – the people that have gone from drumming into production, and into doing soundtracks and writing songs. So during that whole Guns period I was studying up on technology, reading every music magazine that I could get my hands on that had to do with Logic, taking private lessons, and just learning everything I could about that stuff.

I’m just starting to do what Questlove is doing, but I really enjoy that. I enjoy tweaking on a kick drum for six hours, playing with sounds and synths and learning how synthesis works. After taking the two years off from playing live since my kid was born, I kind of miss playing now. The SociaLibrium thing was kind of like, “Man!” – you know, getting that rush, that kind of Zen feeling of being on stage and just being comfortable in what you’re doing. I don’t know if I want to just be a road dog the rest of my life. Doing a little bit of both is where I’m trying to head.



OTHER PROJECTS


Talking about himself in 2011:

I am Brain. I like to think of my musical background as more of a "movement" so to speak. The evolution of a drummer into a composer…. Metamorphosis… Emotional, spiritual, and visceral… Real life. I began drumming in high school (egg stage). The drums and I had respect for one another and worked together for many years to establish an understanding (larva stage). This resulted in my having a desire for higher learning, attending college to hopefully become one with the drums (pupa stage). Later on down the path I had the good fortune of playing in bands like Primus, Guns n' Roses, and for Tom Waits (adult stage). Now, having gone into composing, I like to think of the current state of my life as "backstage."


And what he was working on:

Currently I am working on a number of projects, most notably on scoring a film (with my writing partner Melissa Reese) called Detention. It is directed by music video heavy Joseph Kahn and stars Dane Cook and Josh Hutcherson. I am also preparing to run a marathon.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:50

JUNE 21, 2006
FRANK FERRER JOINS THE BAND


With Brain having to return home earlier than expected [see previous chapter], his "understudy", Frank Ferrer had to step in:

Guns N' Babies!

Guns N' Roses have been forced to postpone their show in Zurich at the Hallenstadion this evening the 21st of June, 2006. Their drummer Brain aka Bryan Mantia has had to return to San Francisco earlier than scheduled to be with his pregnant wife. The band have been travelling with understudy drummer Frank Ferrer and he will be ready to step in when the tour continues as scheduled on Saturday with their next show at Belgium's Graspop Festival.


As explained in the press release, Brain's absence was anticipated and Frank was ready to step in. The replacement was originally intended to only last for two weeks until Brain returned, then for the North American tour while Brain stayed home with his daughter, but became permanent [also see previous chapter].

With Brain not taking part of the North American tour, Del James made it clear that Frank was part of the "Guns N' Roses family":

Frank Ferrer is not a replacement drummer or some backup playing because of an injury. Like Brain, Frank is part of the Guns N' Roses family. He came into the fold through guitarist Richard Fortus. Frank and Richard were in Honky Toast together, which for those of you not living in New York was the best band to come out of that city since D-Generation. When GN'R were making arrangements for someone to fill in for Brain, both Richard and bassist Tommy Stinson knew what the perfect fit would be when they recommended Frank. After one rehearsal, everyone else in the band knew they were 100 percent in the right. Frank's resume includes Honky Toast, The Psychedelic Furs, Perry Farrell, The Beautiful, Wyclef, and many others. Along with the ability to bend cowbells, Frank brings a positive vibe that always lights up the room.


Brain would later discuss the transition from him to Frank:

When I left I was only supposed to be gone for two weeks, and then that turned into a month, and then that turned into three months, because I was getting a lot of studio work: “Hey, can you do this Gatorade commercial?” “Hey, we’ve got this Best Buy commercial.” “Write the music or make the beat for this….” I do a lot of work with Bootsy Collins on that side of things – the commercials and stuff. “Hey, Brain, can you put a beat to this?” We’re working on a Gatorade commercial right now. I’ve been a Bootsy fan for years, so I’m just honored to be working with him on any level. Anyway, I started doing more of that, so I was like, “Hey, Frank, I’m kind of doing this and they’re digging your playing. Would you mind hanging out and staying?”

He was thrilled – “Oh, man, this is the greatest gig in the world. I’m so happy, this is awesome.” And nobody else in the band was complaining, though they were like, “Well, are you ever coming back?” I told them, “Well, yeah, we’ll see what’s going on, but right now let Frank do it.” Frank is more rock. He’s more like the original Guns N’ Roses drummer [Steven Adler], which is more like straight-up rock – open hi-hat, bashing, hitting as hard as you can.


Before the shows in 2009, Brain would be asked if the plan to have Brain play the new songs and Frank play the old songs, didn't happen:

I guess they couldn't pull it!


This could suggest that Axl considered Frank more suited to play songs where Steven and Matt had been the original drummers, or that he simply wanted Brain to play the songs he had recorded.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:50

FRANK BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


Some of Frank's previous band include The Beautiful and Love Spit Love (with Richard):

I knew Frank because he used to be in a band called The Beautiful, Frank Ferrer, they opened for my old band Pale Divine and then I saw him on St. Mark's Place in New York City and I said... I asked him what he was doing, The Beautiful had just broken up and I'd just started a new band called Love Spit Love with the singer of the Psychedelic Furs- [...] And Frank joined us, so I've been playing with Frank since like '93.


Josh also knew him from when Frank had been playing for The Psychedelic Furs and Josh was playing for Devo:

I met Frank before he got the gig. [...] He was playing with someone....fuck. He was playing some gigs with The Psychedelic Furs and they were opening up for Devo like four years ago. Five years ago? Five years ago. In 2006, or 7 or something. The way I met Frank... he's was playing The Psychedelic Furs. [...] Devo was playing some shows down in Texas. The Psychedelic Furs were opening up for Devo and the night before the string of shows, like 4-5 gigs, Jerry from Devo and I are sitting at the hotel bar. And there's this guy sitting kind of across the bar, and L-shaped bar. He is sitting down and he comes up and he goes, "Hey Jerry, what's going on, man?" And he was like, "Oh, hey!" And I saw the guy sitting there, but I don't know who he was. He was like, "Hey I got this here," he had like a old, old program, like you got concert programs, right? From like 1983, Devo from the, like, New Traditionalist Tour. "My mom took me to see you guys play when I was ten. This is the program. I'm a huge fan." He was like, "Oh shit, cool, man!" And, "would you sign it?" "Sure", so he signs it and he turns to me and I go, "Okay, he's some old fan and he's pissed the original drummer is not here." He turns me to me and goes, "Hey, Josh!" I go, "Yeah, hey, man" again. "Would you sign it, too?" And like, "Yeah, sure!" And then he said, "I'm friends with..." he had a name, I don't know, he knew someone that I knew. "Oh yeah, someone told me about you." "Alright, that's cool." "Funny that we were going to meet." [?] that week and the next thing I know he's playing with Guns N' Roses. It's just funny how shit works out, man.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:50

JUNE 24-26, 2006
THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES


After a brief stop to replace Brain with Frank, the tour continued with a show at Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, Belgium, on June 24. This show was the first with Frank in the band, initially planned as just a temporary replacement for Brain. After this show the band travelled to Sweden for a show at Globen, Stockholm, on June 26.



Graspop
June 23-25, 2006, 2006
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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:54

JUNE 27, 2006
AXL BRAWLS AT BERNS HOTEL IN STOCKHOLM


After returning to his hotel in the early morning of June 27, some hours after having finished the set at Globen in Stockholm, Sweden, Axl got in a fight with a hotel guard at Berns hotel where he was staying [Associated Press, June 27, 2006; Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006]. Axl had been partying at the nightclub Café Opera from 2:20am [Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006]. The party had allegedly continued at Berns hotel [Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006].



Berns Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden



The fight, which included Axl biting the leg of the guard, led to Axl being arrested [Associated Press, June 27, 2006] at 7:52am [Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006].

According to a witness:

[Axl] broke a mirror in the hotel reception and was very upset. It is somewhat unclear as to why. He was also about to get into a scuffle with another hotel guest.


According to police officer Tove Hägg:

[Axl] bit him on the leg and then the hotel staff called the police and we came and apprehended him.

[...]

He was drunk, and in the police station they took him to a cell to sleep for a few hours.


Early reports suggested the fight had broken out when the guard had tried to calm an argument between Axl and a woman [Associated Press, June 27, 2006; Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006]. According to a source, Axl, who was accompanied by his bodyguard in the hotel lobby sometime before 8am, "was not pleased with the rooms at the hotel" and "he had seen several and was pissed off" [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. Allegedly, he has been screaming, "Where is everyone? Where's the party? I was promised a big party!" [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. To calm Axl down, his tour manager and assistant were woken up and a hotel security guard was called for [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. The hotel guard asked Axl to quiet his voice but he allegedly "continued screaming and suddenly attacked the security guard" [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. According to the anonymous source, "[Axl] pushed [the guard] in the chest hard enough to cause him to almost lose his balance" and "in response, the security guard grabbed Axl's braids and pulled them to the floor" where Axl bit him in the leg [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. After this, Axl allegedly threw a vase into an 18th century mirror worth approximately $2,000 [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006]. The hotel staff called the police while the guard tried to get control over Axl, even - according to the source - asking Axl's bodyguard to help out which prompted Axl to threaten to fire the bodyguard if he intervened [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006].

Some days later, the security guard, aged 25 and a previous bouncer only on his fourth day as a guard at Berns hotel, would tell his side of the story, again stating that Axl had been accompanied by Beta when the brawl started:

Axl came alone to the hotel and went up to his room. He came back again in the company of some sort of coordinator — an older woman, who was his 'mom.' Axl was pissed off because people had left him alone at some party. He was loaded, in a bad mood and started cursing at the woman. When he started banging on the walls, I approached him and asked him to lower his voice. [...] Then Axl turned around and pushed me in my chest and neck. [...] I totally lost balance. I wasn't prepared and I had to kneel for a moment in order to be able to remain standing. Then he jumped me and started fighting. I had to fend off a few punches, on my arms, for instance. Then I got hold of his neck and got him down on the ground. We wrestled for about a minute; he was strong.


Being asked if that's when he was bitten:

Yeah, but it wasn't until afterwards that I felt it. When you get such a rush of adrenaline, you don't feel anything. He could have had Hepatitis B or something. It was very uncomfortable. In general, it's disgusting to bite people.


And why he couldn't control him:

No, it wasn't possible. He was wild. He was totally wild. He was gonna kill me. 'I'm gonna fuck your life up,' he screamed.


According to the guard, it was at this time Axl's bodyguard arrived:

Axl was stark-raving mad. The bodyguard tried to calm him down, but Axl threatened to fire him if he intervened. That's when he threw a vase into an antique mirror.


The guard was sent to a hospital to check for tetanus [The Local, June 27, 2006] but the bite hadn't penetrated the skin [Aftonbladet, June 30, 2006].



Aftonbladet
June 30, 2006



Axl was arrested for "damaging property, assaulting a security guard, and threatening police in the squad car on the way to the station" [Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006]. According to the police, Axl had been deemed too intoxicated to be questioned the same day [Associated Press, June 27, 2006], and had been "aggressive and acting out" and was still drunk in jail at 11am [Blabbermouth, June 27, 2006]. According to the anonymous source, Axl had been screaming at his bodyguard as he was taken away by the police [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006].

Axl was released from jail later that day after admitting to the charges and agreeing to pay a fine of $5,000 to Berns hotel which had suffered damages and $1,360 to the hotel guard [Associated Press, June 27, 2006].

The same day, Axl released the following statement:

We had a great gig in Stockholm and I am not going to let this incident spoil that. My assistant Beta and I were talking in the lobby of the hotel when security started to give us a hard time. My only concern was to make sure she was OK.


Later, Merck Mercuriadis would claim that Axl had been pressured to admit to the charges:

We are very unhappy about Tuesday's events in Stockholm. To put this in context, we are in the middle of a tour - with sold out shows last night in Oslo, tomorrow in Copenhagen, and Saturday in Zurich rounding out this week alone - and continuing until the beginning of August.

The Swedish authorities were very aware of this, yet continually threatened us over a 12 hour period with between 5 days and 3 weeks incarceration without bail if Axl did not "cooperate." They were fully aware that there were millions of dollars at stake, not to mention the hopes of tens of thousands of fans who had paid for tickets to see Guns N' Roses.

The point is, the police report should not be taken at face value, and if one were to be explicit, this experience is tantamount to being held for ransom. If the context were any different, Axl would probably have preferred to spend the time in jail in order to ensure that all the facts were a matter of public record.


Mercuriadis would also claim Axl had been mistreated by the police:

In addition to this, we are also not happy at the treatment he received. He was arrested after being accosted by a security guard in his hotel, following which he was physically mistreated by the arresting officer in the process of which a valuable bracelet went missing not to be returned. While in custody, he was held down by 5 police officers while a doctor tried to take blood to administer a drug test 3 different times. This illustrates not only the level of incompetence, but malice involved. The results of the test were negative, but the exercise was a clear example of an authoritarian approach trying to flex its muscles. This is the same draconian approach that assumes the security guard in question is telling the truth just because he has a badge.

Here you have a situation where authorities are skewing information their way, with the media all too ready to run with the biased reports. I did not receive a single phone call Tuesday to verify or comment on any of the reported events. There is a long history of claims by law enforcement, media and others against Axl that have not held up against scrutiny, legal or otherwise. He has had countless baseless lawsuits brought by numerous attorneys and nothing of any merit has ever held up.

This is not a criticism of the people of Stockholm. The 15,000 people at the show Monday night were amazing, and everyone we met before and after were terrific, until the encounter with the over exuberant security guard. That is where encounters with real people stop and the authorities attempt to take over. There were a number of people involved who treated Axl well, while the conduct of some was questionable and others still deplorable. Regardless, Guns N' Roses will return to Sweden where they will play once again for the people, not the authorities.

Love him or hate him don't get it twisted.


Axl would make many references to the incident in Sweden at the following shows:

It’s good to see you tonight. I think some of your European neighbors like me so much, they love me so much that they wanted me to stay there. But I said I’ve got some other friends and have to go, because I’ve got to see my friends. [...] Law enforcement everywhere. Especially in Sweden. [...] Straight out of Sweden (laughs). I’m an A.W.A.: an asshole with attitude. [...]  This next song [Patience] is one of the ingredients you may find yourself in need of when rent-a-cops go bad.

Make sure you say that [=the "Guns N' Roses" chant] loud enough, so Sweden can hear you (laughs). [...] All I can say is, when I got arrested, it’s a good thing I hadn’t been hanging out with Lars or I probably still wouldn’t have made it here tonight (laughs).

Calm down... I’ll tell you what the Swedish police told me. They said, “Calm down.” Then they said: “You are going to be arrested.” And I said, “You’re a fucking asshole” - or something like that.


Duff would comment on the event:

Yes, I heard about that. I'll definitely bite someone during my stay in Sweden, too haha.


And in 2010, Bumblefoot would be asked to comment:

Nothing unusual to me, I've seen worse, haha. We had just left the place we were hanging at, and that's when that bullshit happened. A shame I wasn't there - I wouldn't have bitten the guard. I would have eaten him. I have a special hot sauce I take on tour with me, would have been perfect with Scandinavian guard leg.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:56

JUNE 28-JULY 12, 2006
THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES


Axl left the jail at 7pm in Stockholm and was drove directly to the airport to fly to Oslo, Norway, for the next show of the tour on June 28. According to Blabbermouth, Axl did not leave the plane immediately after landing in Oslo, but continued partying in the plane for four hours - even having ice cubes delivered to the plane by car - before leaving at 1am [Blabbermouth, June 28, 2006].

Next thing that pops into my head would be backstage when we were playing in Oslo, Norway. They had this salad that had cashews and hot red peppers in it. It was a spicy, Thai-style cashew salad. It was very good. That’s the second thing that popped into my head. In case you’re wondering, yeah – I am a little bit hungry!

It was before a show in Norway, we're all hangin' out backstage getting ready, and we hear a crashing sound. A security guard opens a door to one of the other rooms and there's a guy standing there covered in dust and debris, the guy just says "Hi." He was crawling through the air ducts of the venue trying to get backstage, and fell through the ceiling, haha!

I think it was in Norway, a fan was crawling through the air ducts in the ceiling and fell through the ceiling into the room, opened the door and was like "hi." [...] At the venue, he was trying to get back stage. I don't know, nothing surprises me anymore.

So many things happen on tour - I remember playing in Norway in 2006 and hearing this loud crashing noise from one of the rooms backstage.  Someone opened the door, and this guy covered in debris just smiles and says "Hi!".   The guy was trying to get backstage and was crawling through the air ducts of the venue, and fell through the ceiling into one of the rooms!   I think the road manager gave him some passes for his efforts, haha.


After this the band travelled to Denmark for a show at Roskilde Festival on June 29.During this show Axl commented on the charitable aspect of the gig:

They tell me that the proceeds of this show go to the abused children all over the world. That means this [song], and this performance, is dedicated to all of those who have the potential to become as fucked up as I am.


The band then travelled to Hallenstadion, Zurich, Switzerland, July 1 before Goffert Park, Nijmegen, Netherlands, on July 2. From Goffert Park and all the remaining show son this tour (with a possible exception of the surprise show at the Cuckoo Club on July 30) Izzy joined the band onstage for a few songs, usually Think About You, Patience, Nightrain and Paradise City.

At Goffert Park Axl introduced Better with these words:

This is a song that is put together by Mr. Robin Finck. I'm sure a lot of you, motherfuckers, have already downloaded that shit.


The next shows were at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland, July 5 and 6, they then returned to Spektrum, Oslo, Norway, July 8, before playing at Rockwave Festival, Greece, on July 10.



Rockwave Festival, Greece
July 10, 2006



Bumblefoot would talk about visiting Greece:

I remember them all [=all the shows], but not for what happens on stage, for everything else. The people you meet, everything surrounding the actual gig. I can tell you stories about little things from every gig. In Greece there was a dog at the venue. I laid my jacket on the ground so he could sleep on somethin' soft. After the gig we were by the sea and the moon was reflecting so brightly on the water, it's stuck in my brain. I stayed friends with people I met there; we meet up in LA or New York once in a while.


After Greece the band travelled to Istanbul, Turkey, July 12.

Axl and Bumblefoot would reminisce about the show in Istanbul:

Istanbul was great and the venue with the river, the bridge, the boats and the moon, the outdoor clubs and getting chased by the cops, and almost being kidnapped...

That was a fun show, the audience was real good to us. Turkey has such deep history and diversity, beautiful architecture, and *great food*, haha! Love the food... People were very welcoming, they made us feel at home... would love to come back.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:57

JULY 12, 2006
THE FLYING FOOT GUITAR IS BROKEN AND SCRAPPED


While playing in Istanbul, Turkey, in July 12, Bumblefoot's "Flying Foot" guitar broke:

While on tour with Guns in July 06, I think it was in Istanbul, I was in the middle of my solo, hit the vibrato bar and some splintered black and yellow wood hit the floor. After 8 years of touring with it, it finally took a hit. The guitar still plays fine, just the body needs repair.

haha, I was playing and hit the bar, and suddenly little strips of yellow and black wood hit my feet. That guitar had been through 8 years of tours, it was a matter of time before it gave out. It was time to put it to rest. The whole time I'd be soloing, a certain singer would be breaking my balls, saying stuff in my in-ear monitors like "Get a real guitar, that thing's a toy...", HAHA! Man, he fucked me up good sometimes, haha!

Actually, [Axl] hated that foot guitar. [...] I would be doing solos, playing live and the whole time he would be saying stuff into my ear monitors that only I could hear. He was like “when are you gonna get rid of that fucking toy?! Get a real guitar!” and just like fucking with me, trying to make me trip up and screw up (big laugh).

[...]

I didn’t even know that he hated it until about two years later! Someone told me and I was like “dude! I wouldn’t have used that guitar if you told me you hated it so much!” and he was like “nah, it’s your thing. Do your thing”. That’s what people don’t want to know about him you know. Everyone wants to think of his as this kind of dictator just because he’s the last man standing from… I mean he started the band and he’s still there and he’s not going to end the band no matter who leaves until he decides that he wants to stop. You can do anything. I’ll wear whatever I want, I’ll play whatever I want and he’s got no problem with it. He’ll come on stage and I will quickly change my shirt, he’ll walk on, he’s about to start singing, I just open my jacket and show him a funny shirt and he will just start laughing (big laugh). It’s good man! It’s fine. But I know that because we don’t do a lot of press as a band, people don’t see that side of things. They don’t see us joking around or having fun. Either that or they don’t want to see it, because it’s more fun to talk about the character that people have in their own minds about others than the people that they truly are. It’s interesting you know, I could probably give a good psychology course after playing in G’N’R, just on so many different aspects of life and interaction (laughs).


Whether it was Axl's teasing or Bumblefoot's own decision, after the tour he would not play the foot guitar more while in Guns N' Roses.

With Guns I played a lot of Gibsons - they fit the vibe more than a guitar shaped like a Monty-Python-esque giant foot, ya know?

I brought that thing out in the first year of touring. It’s the kind of guitar you either love it or you hate it. It’s probably best to leave it out of the GNR thing and use it for my own wacky bizarre music where it makes more sense and is more fitting. The company Vigier, they are good. They made a new doubleneck guitar for me with a fretless neck and a fretted neck. I'll be using that a lot on the new GNR tour.


In 2014, Bumblefoot would suggest it didn't fit with GN'R:

I used to bust it out but I don't know, that whole Saturday Morning, that whole Monty Python kind of thing, didn't really go with all the Les Pauls and everything. So yeah, I just got to save it for my own thing.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:57

JULY 14- 30, 2006
THE EUROPEAN TOUR CONTINUES


The band then travelled to Bilbao Live Festival, Spain, July 14. In Bilboa Izzy sang lead vocals on You Gotta Move with Axl and Del James singing background vocals.

The band then continued to Natural Music Festival, El Ejido, Spain, July 15; Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield, England, July 18; and to the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England, July 19.

In Newcastle Izzy again joined the band for the songs You Gotta Move, Think About You, Patience, and Nightrain; and Sebastian Bach joined on My Michelle. The show ended early after Axl was hit by things thrown by members of the audience:

Newcastle was one of the best gigs of the entire tour. I had puddles of sweat underneath my keyboards and loved every second of it except when some idiots decided to throw things at the stage. When Axl got hit the first time, the audience pointed out who threw the object and security tossed him out so we came back. Then Axl got hit in the mouth with another object, so thanks to the behavior of two morons who obviously don't know how to behave at a rock concert, the show ended with no encores. I've been in this band for sixteen years and stupid shit like throwing stuff at the stage is something we won't tolerate. We're not targets, we're musicians.

We had a great time Wednesday night and Axl sang his ass off but you do not wait around to get hit in the mouth for a third time.

Getting hit wasn't a big deal. We stopped the song and gave a warning. We came back and started the song over and completed it. We then said goodnight. The house lights went down and I got hit a second time, in the mouth, by a solid object thrown by someone in the audience. After having warned the crowd that we would leave, and having played more than two hours, we left the stage and called it a night with the full support of everyone in the band, our guests and Management. Izzy was the first to immediately support the decision verbally to me personally before I had physically left the stage area. Tommy and Frank came to my dressing room to say how much they appreciated the decision to not continue under those conditions, and express their support for not tolerating anyone throwing items at the stage with a negative intent. This has been GNR's policy since playing Donnington in 1988. We thank everyone for coming, we hope everyone got home safely and we hope to play Newcastle again - hopefully without those looking for enjoyment at others expense. Cheers!

[...] the whole throwing shit sucks and is pretty cowardly but the leaving I got at Donnington from Lemmy. When we 1st played Donnington I was so happy I had knocked a bottle of piss out of the air when Lemmy gave me a lecture how if another band got hurt because I allowed people to throw things at our shows I'd be responsible for other bands getting hurt. Whether real or there's an argument against that, I've never been able to have anything override that in my head, not even a riot and I don't know why. If you're working hard and some cunt throws something so he can tell his buddies I don't see where it's worth it.


A few days later Richard would also release a statement in response to various media reports:

To my knowledge, there was never a bottle thrown at the stage while we were on it. Newcastle (in my opinion), was one of (if not the), best shows of the tour. It was also the hottest! It was a steam bath! The fans were amazing, and seemed 100% with us the entire show. It was a really magical show for me, until the very end.

During 'Night Train', someone threw a coin and it hit Axl and he stopped us and we walked off. We made an announcement that we weren't going to keep playing if anything else was thrown. Unfortunately, we came back, started the song again and the same thing happened. So we left. That's what this band has always done when people keep throwing shit. Maybe people were booing in the back. If they were, I sure as hell didn't hear it nor did I see it. Except for some asshole that ruined it for everyone, it was one of the greatest shows of my life. The Newcastle audience was amazing.

The press reports that I've read made it sound as though we were bottled and booed off the stage, but as usual they are full of shit. That includes the story about Axl refusing to go on until he got a roast duck dinner. Complete bullshit. I know, I was with him. Blatant lies. Don't believe what you read kiddies!


The band continued to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, July 21. Izzy joined again.

In 2012, Dizzy would reminisce about the show in Glasgow:

Last time we did Glasgow, it was like a heatwave and it was crazy hot. It was the hottest show I can ever remember. Everyone was packed in, and I'm surprised there weren't people fainting. After the first number I remember looking down and going, 'Who spilt stuff all over the stage?' And my tech was like, 'Nobody, that's just sweat'. So I drank a lot of water, I was back in my hotel, with a fan on, and the windows open. I was eating some room service, and this big giant seagull lands on my windowsill and just looked at my sandwich. It was like a seahawk, and I was worried about my food. But I love Scotland, my great-grandmother's from there and I feel at home there.
The Herald Scotland, May 2012

The one time that I actually was in Glasgow with Guns N’ Roses, it was hotter than shit [laughs]. [...] It was so strange. When we performed it was in the middle of a heat wave, a record setting heat wave throughout the UK and Europe that year, and I just remember not being able to cool off anywhere. The hotel rooms never had air conditioning which was weird for me and the show, it was by far one of the hottest shows I can remember ever playing. At the same time it was really cool to play there and the people were great and they managed to stick it out. I know how hot it was for us so I can only imagine how hot it was for them. I do love Scotland; my ancestors are from Scotland so it is like a little homecoming for me.


The tour continued with shows at the MENA, Manchester, England, July 23; NEC Arena, Birmingham, England, July 25; Nottingham Arena, Nottingham, England, July 27; Wembley Arena, London, England, July 29; and then a surprise acoustic show at the Cuckoo Club, London, England, July 30. It is unclear if Izzy joined at the Cuckoo Club.

The audience at the Cuckoo Club had partially been chosen from audience members at the preceding Wembley show, with Axl reading out their names at the show [Blabbermouth, July 30, 2006].

The next day the band returned to Wembley Arena, London, England, July 30 for the last show of the tour. On this final show, Axl left stage during Nightrain, leaving Sebastian Bach to finish the song and to sing Paradise City as the set's closer. The band would explain what happened and why in a press release the next day:

Rose became ill a couple of hours after the 75 minute performance ended, with a doctor being called to his hotel room. The Physician advised that Rose should be hospitalised and not perform Sunday evening. Rose's response - "fuck that, I have a show to do and I am not missing it." He made it through the two hour performance to the final song of the evening - Nighttrain - before collapsing. The mic was handed to his friend, Sebastian Bach, who completed the performance with an encore of Paradise City.

Axl Rose commented, "We have had an amazing tour and it has been fantastic for the band and I to experience this. I approached this last show with equal parts determination, obligation, responsibility and insanity. It was an amazing night."


Axl would later talk about being ill at the last show:

[...] it was just a little bit of exhaustion near the end [...] just overdoing it.


And Sebastian Bach would talk about having to fill in:

There's only been two singers that've ever been the singer in Guns N' Roses, and I'm one of 'em. That's crazy, dude! I was sweating so much, just thinking, 'I can't mess this up!' that I was soaked when I came off. All I can say is, thank God for the TelePrompter.

Yes I did [fill in for Axl] and that was the most surreal experience of my life. 'Cause, Axl just had like a low blood-sugar thing happening and it happens to everybody. So they just ran up to me - the management and the road crew guys - and they go 'Baz! Finish the set!'. I go 'Finish the set?! What the fuck, finish the set?'. So I run out there, I do Night Train with Izzy Stradlin and the rest of the guys. And it was insane, I thought I was done: I walk off the stage; I thought I was finished and then they go 'Paradise City, dude'. I go 'Jesus Christ!' And there's so many words in that, it's like, 'Rags to riches or so they say, you gotta..."

And there's so many words in that; and I know the melody just like everybody but to nail those fuckin' words, it's like...thank God for tele-prompters. 'Cause I just sang it and I read it at the same time and I think I did pretty good but it was like being thrust right into the fire, you know. And then I turn around and there's like midgets dancing all around me waving British flags. And then at the end I jump up in the air and when I hit the fuckin' stage all these bombs go off like boooom! And I'm like, 'Goddamn!' So that was really cool. Yeah, it was heavy, dude. It was the best tour I've been on since the Use Your Illusion tour. I've played a lot of gigs with Axl, I'm very fortunate.
The Metal Forge, September 15, 2006


Bumblefoot would later mention the little people when recalling a great "Spinal Tap moment ":

A great Spinal Tap moment was when we were playing in England two years ago. We’re doing “Rocket Queen” and as we are doing the intro we see a bunch of guys bringing out these little, foot-high platforms behind us. As they are bringing them out, we are looking at each other like, “What the hell is going on?” and we go into the song and they quickly take them away. We had no idea what that was about. We found out later that we were going to have a bunch of “little people” dancing on these platforms for an extended intro to “Rocket Queen,” but we were never told, so we had no clue. So we are arguing about the communication breakdown after the show, so I of course in the middle of it have one question to ask in a British accent, “Will we be doing ‘Rocket Queen’ tomorrow night? [instead of “Stonehenge”] And one of the guys says back [in an English voice], “No, we won’t be doing fucking ‘Rocket Queen’!” So that was a Spinal Tap moment. Little things like that can happen and when they do you just have to laugh. We try and make a rule of not mentioning anything from Spinal Tap before a show because it will jinx the show. It’s all in good fun.

A true Spinal Tap moment was when we performed at Wembley in London (UK) back in July 2006. We’re doing the intro to “Rocket Queen” and we suddenly see the crew bringing out these low long platforms on either end of the stage and we’re looking at each other like “What the hell are they doing?”. We head into the main part of the song and the crew comes back out and takes them away.  We were a bit baffled by that. Then we noticed there were about two dozen ‘little people’ dressed up in red and blue outfits hangin’ out along the wall back stage. Turns out that management wanted us to play an extended intro to “Rocket Queen” and have all the li’l folks get on the mini-stages behind us and dance throughout. Just nobody told us. A little breakdown in communication, so yeah that’s a Spinal Tap moment, haha.


Bumblefoot would also mention having played an acoustic show later in the night:

After playing Wembley in London, going to a club and playing an acoustic show, walking back to the hotel when the sun was up...lots of little memories.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:58

LOOKING BACK AT THE 2006 EUROPEAN TOUR


During the European tour, Richard would release the following statement praising the European fans:

The fans have been amazing here in Europe. It's pretty overwhelming.

I'd like to personally thank all the fans that have come to the shows. Especially the ones that didn't come as fans, but left as fans. Your emails and all the posts on the websites have really meant a lot.

[...]

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that has helped make this tour so much fun.


Richard would also mention playing with Izzy:

Oh yeah, one more thing. Izzy Stradlin is one of the coolest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. It's a pleasure to play with him and to hang out with him.

I really love Izzy. He's a real talent and it's easy to see where a good 90% of the song riffs on Appetite came from after having played with him. I had the oppourtunity of getting to know him while we were in Europe, and he's probably become one of my favorite people. He's very genuine. We have a lot in common and he is someone that i can really relate to. It's an honor to call him a friend.


After the tour, the band would release the following statement:

Guns N' Roses Win Big In Europe

Guns N' Roses completed their European Tour last night with their second consecutive sold out show at London's Wembley Arena. The tour, which started May 25th in Madrid, Spain, played to 700,000 plus people over 32 shows in 18 countries, making it one of the biggest tours of the year on the continent and in the UK.

The final show at Wembley almost didn't come to fruition as vocalist Axl Rose was diagnosed with low blood pressure and low blood sugar Sunday morning. He became ill after performing two concerts on Saturday night - the first was the band's scheduled sold out show at Wembley Arena which lasted two and a half hours - and the second an unannounced surprise semi acoustic set which thrilled as many fans as could be jammed into London's Cuckoo Club at 4 am on Sunday morning with hundreds left standing outside. Rose became ill a couple of hours after the 75 minute performance ended, with a doctor being called to his hotel room. The Physician advised that Rose should be hospitalised and not perform Sunday evening. Rose's response - "fuck that, I have a show to do and I am not missing it." He made it through the two hour performance to the final song of the evening - Nighttrain - before collapsing. The mic was handed to his friend, Sebastian Bach, who completed the performance with an encore of Paradise City.

Axl Rose commented, "We have had an amazing tour and it has been fantastic for the band and I to experience this. I approached this last show with equal parts determination, obligation, responsibility and insanity. It was an amazing night. I want to thank everyone in Europe and the UK for inspiring us and for giving us the opportunity to play for them. We are now looking forward to the US in September."


And Axl would praise the tour:

It went great. We played for over 700,000 people, 32 shows, and really it was a lot of fun. [...]  I mean, it’s been very fun, very exciting, and the people have been so great everywhere at the shows. The shows have gone over really, really well, and we had a lot of fun working the shows - I mean, everybody going and putting everything they got into it. So yeah, it’s kind of like erased the time, in a way, and feels new.


Axl would also mention he got injured early on in the tour:

That happened pretty quickly, getting in shape to be able to do the shows. But I did most of the European tour injured. When I came here, the very first show, I somehow had muscle spasm in my hip that took almost the whole tour to get rid of. And when I finally got rid of it, and I was on stage going, “Yeah, it’s gone!” - basically, to do all these stretches and make it look like you don’t have a problem, which I think I did for the most part.


Izzy would also shares his thoughts about touring with the band:

I spent my summer vacation touring with Axl`s new gnr and had some fun playin live again. Amazing fans out there.... It's hard to believe at times. Fantastic! GnR tour: Axl and I connected via cell phone [digital] this year, I stopped bye to see if he looked as old as he might be............same age as myself, you know and he looked great!, and it was nice to reconnect with an old friend/war buddy/fellow musician. I told him later I`d like to join the fun in some way and he said I was welcome to come and play something, so I did! Took me about 3 weeks to recover from the 6 weeks of touring!


And Bumblefoot would point out that it had been good for making the band cohesive:

Everyone is doing great, the European tour was a great way for the band to come together. I had only been playing with the band a week before the tour started. The fans were very welcoming and we got a lot of love. ... We got a chance to feel out a lot of songs. ...


Sebastian Bach would rave about Brain:

To me, Brain is one of the best drummers I've ever seen in my life. I love drummers that kinda play behind beat, with that cool, sleazy groove like John Bonham, Joey Kramer, or Steven Adler on 'Appetite', and to me, Brain plays with that swagger and cool factor. And I watched this guy with GUNS, and I couldn't believe how incredible he was. Then I bought the new Tom Waits record, and I look at the credits... Drums: Brain. I go... this guy! Tom Waits, Primus, GN'R — he's amazing.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 7:58

SETLIST DISCUSSIONS


Being asked how many new songs they are playing:

It varies. Sometimes [we do] four to six new songs, maybe seven right now, and that’ll grow as we begin touring, more songs or new songs. That varies every night. It kind of depends on just the vibe of the crowd and other circumstances, how we feel, what’s going on with... We don’t change it too much, but we vary what we throw in and what we don’t. We try to just change it up a bit for ourselves, so that it keeps us excited. I mean, my favorite thing that we do is, we move the piano in and out for a couple of songs, and when we’re doing that and goes into, like, an impromptu jam that we just make up on the spot.


When asked if he occasionally goes, "I don’t wanna do this" and changes the setlists on the spot:

Absolutely. I’ve always done that and I do it now. And the band is good with it. They don’t have a problem with that. They like that, as well. We usually are all kind of in joint unison about what song we’re gonna go into next. Sometimes we get confused...


And on whether he is getting bored playing the old hits:

You know, we don’t... we’re not bored with it. I’m not bored with it, because at least these shows, as soon as we walk out on stage, the crowd erupts. [...] And we bash out three or four songs, or maybe five, in a row with really no pauses and, like, go at it a hundred percent. It just feels great when we do it and the crowd is into it, so I don’t have any problem with doing the songs. I did for a few years, as I was trying to find where I wanted to go with the record. And, you know, I’m not exactly “on the nightrain.” [...] But doing that song, to do it well and to do a lot of these songs well live, it is a real big physical thing. So I like that sense of pulling it off and I think the crowd responds to that really well.


Similarly, in 2013, Dizzy would be asked if he ever thought they would have such a large discography that they wouldn't play songs like Sweet Child O' Mine and Paradise City:

Songs like ‘Sweet Child’ and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and so on are powerful, iconic songs that it would be really tough to get through a show and not play them. I don’t know if there’s enough time for us to build up a back catalogue as big as say the Stones for example. Although I couldn’t name you a Stones song from the last 20 years… It’d be pretty interesting to see what would happen if we didn’t play one of those songs actually. I imagine there’d be a riot.

I don’t get tired of it. Some of these songs put food on the table. If you cannot play that song anymore, then it’s time to get yourself in a different line of work. To see the fans reactions when we play “Welcome to the Jungle” is amazing, even though I wasn’t there when the band initially recorded it.


Before the North American tour, the band rehearsed some old songs:

A few songs that fans haven't heard in a while have been worked up and when the time is right, may be added to the set. Telling you now what the songs are would be rude.


As the North American tour began the band would occasionally be criticized for the setlists and on October 29, on stage in Puerto Rico, Axl would shoot back:

I haven’t done what they call a “rant” in a long time, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I mean, I wanna say that I’m thankful to be here and I’m thankful that you are here tonight. We do our best to come out here, and put everything we got into it, and give you the best show we can. [...] You know, I don’t have anything necessarily against some of the bootlegs, and photos, and tapes, and all this kind of deal. But the people that are bitching about, “The setlist, is that the same setlist?” and you have some fuckhead from Iowa that doesn’t even go to a show, I don’t care about them. I don’t do one song for them, not one note, not one goddamn thing. They can bitch forever, and you can have every little newspaper pissed off writer and magazine writer talking out of his ass, as he doesn’t get what he wants to get, but we’re just gonna try to have ourselves a good time tonight, right? Thank you. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.  


In 2010, Bumblefoot would talk about wanting to mix up the Chinese Democracy songs in the setlist:

I'd love to play more Chinese songs. We played almost the whole album in Tokyo last year, would love it if we mixed it up and changed the variety of songs in the set.


Bumblefoot would also talk about the setlists and variations:

We have a list of songs that's the foundation of the set, and we fluctuate a little here n' there, usually spontaneously. As long as we don't leave out the big hits, Jungle, Sweet Child, November, Paradise, Nightrain, I'm fine with adding anything and everything. I'm full of ideas, haha... one time for a tour of my own in France, I had people vote for what they wanted to hear out of 75 songs – I picked the most popular 25 and that was the set list. Would love it if GNR did something like that, would be pretty fkn cool.


In 2012, Bumblefoot would be chatting with fans at the official forum, Nightrain, and come up with the idea of letting fans pick the setlist:

What I'd like to do is do an online poll to pick our setlist for a night. Smile [...] I did that for a solo tour once, was a cool way to pick a set list Smile [...] Gonna email Team Brazil right now about it. [...] Email sent. [...] I called it a "Have It Your Way" night, we play the most requested 24 songs. Will see if it's doable Smile


Nothing came out of this.

In 2014, Dizzy and DJ would talk about how the setlists change and how important it is to play the hits:

You know, we have a list, and I wouldn't call it a setlist. It's a list of songs to choose from and it's a lot, it's probably about at least four hours worth of music. So once we get past the first couple songs, it's usually, you know, sort of anything goes. If we ever do fall into sort of a groove, I always tell people, "Don't get used to it because it's gonna change." So you never really know what's gonna happen. But as far as... it's gonna be some kick-ass rock'n'roll from beginning to end and we're gonna play the classics, of course you have to. And shame on any band who have a hit song and they don't want to play it anymore because that's not who they are, well, that's how they got to be who they are. So, you know, you always gotta play the big hits and the classics and if you have too many, then now that's a problem most people would like to have it. We're gonna play most of them. And we're just gonna whatever feels right.

We don’t have set lists onstage. We might have a rough idea of the way the show will go, but Axl’s great at feeling out the crowd. I always get the next song right after we finish (the previous song), it’s like, ‘OK, “Brownstone.” ’ And then the whole crew switches — lighting, pyro, everybody switches from song to song. That’s what makes it so exciting. I don’t know many bands who really run their ship that way.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:01

MAY-NOVEMBER 2006
CHINESE DEMOCRACY TO BE RELEASED IN 2006?
"13 TUESDAYS LEFT"


In May, Axl was a guest on Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show, and would again repeat that the record was close to being released:

Some time this fall or late fall. [...] It will be out this year.


And when asked if he was happy with the record:



A few days later, he would compliment fans for waiting:

It's obvious that many of you can hold your breath a lot longer than David Blaine. I thank you for that.


And a few days after that he would again be asked if the record was coming out this year:

Yes. Absolutely.


After the successful tour in Europe in the summer, Axl would be asked about Chinese Democracy:

It is this year.


And when asked if he would specify the month:

Of course not. Of course not (laughs).


Explaining why it has taken so long:

It’s not about being a control freak. It’s about being maybe smart enough to go, ‘No, that’s a bad idea.’ That’s all it’s about—keeping the ability to at least have a shot as opposed to something that’s just an obvious disaster. I want to make a good record. I don’t want to throw a brick. This cannot be Shaq at the free-throw line.


In September 2006, Marc Canter got to hear the finished record and Axl would say the record would be out in November:

In 2006 I heard the finished and mixed album totally finished with vocals and everything. This was after the gig at Hard Rock in August [Ed note: this is wrong, the show too place in September] and Steven and I both were up in Axl’s room while he was blaring the new album for us. Steven had originally been thrown out of the gig by Del but Axl was like “Why? I wanted to talk to him” so we both were up there enjoying it; it was friendly between Steven and Axl. Axl was telling me that it should be ready to come out and packaged by November so I was like “Oh, ok cool”.


On September 23, 2006, after the band's gig in San Bernardino, Axl threw a party at his mansion where he played the entire Chinese Democracy [Rolling Stone, October 18, 2006]. Sebastian Bach was present at the party:

It was mind-blowing. It’s a very cool album — it’s badass with killer screams, killer guitar riffs, but it’s got a totally modern sound. The word for it is ‘grand.’ It’s fucking epic. He’s reinvented himself yet again.

I've heard some incredible music. He's got like 30-some songs.


But Bach had also heard part of the record previously:

[Axl]'s getting the album out. [People] don't know the work it takes. And Axl, when he disappears, all he's trying to do is make something incredible. There's no big mystery to it. He's trying to make an album that can bear the name Guns N' Roses. I've heard a lot of the music, and it's incredible. And you know, I'm telling the world, the man has never had plastic surgery or Botox. When I read that, it's aggravating, 'cause I'm his friend. That's the way he looks. He looks young, dude! It's so crazy all the [stuff] that's said about him.
TV Guide (via Blabbermouth), June 30, 2006


Bach would specifically describe the song Sorry:

There’s this one song called ‘Sorry’ that’s almost like doom metal with Axl singing really clean over this grinding, slow beat that is fucking mean. I cannot get it out of my head.


A few weeks later Bach would be asked if Chinese Democracy was really coming out this year:

What I've heard is awesome. And Axl's always been a man of his word with me. So if he says it's coming out, I believe it's coming out.


Rob De Luca, bassist in Sebastian Bach's band that toured with Guns N' Roses in 2006, would also mention having heard the album:

I have heard a lot of the record at the after parties when it's just kind of private and Axl decides to play some stuff and it's great, it's absolutely great. I've heard a bunch of stuff Bumblefoot's on, amazingly beautiful stuff and Frank (Ferrer) the drummer has been put on some stuff, but I have no idea when it's gonna come out.
Metal Moment Podcast via GN'R Daily, June 4, 2008


In 2008, Marc Canter would mention he heard the record in August 2006, and that Axl intended to release it in November:

Two things happened in 2006. Axl played me Chinese Democracy in August and he told me it should be out by November [...]. I’ve heard Chinese Democracy and it’s great.


Bach would muse on why it takes so long:

[Axl] doesn't explain that to me because he doesn't need to. It's his album and his art. Rock 'n' roll is filled with stories of musicians that have gone crazy trying to live up to expectations, like Syd Barrett. At the end of the day, Axl has managed to stay pretty damn level-headed. But he is trying to create a record that lives up to 'Appetite for Destruction,' one of the best albums of all time, and that's taken a long time.



"13 TUESDAYS LEFT"


In a press release regarding the forthcoming North American tour, the release of Chinese Democracy would be hinted at:

As for Guns N' Roses forthcoming "Chinese Democracy" album the only comment at this time is that there are 13 Tuesdays left between now and the end of the year.


Tuesdays are industry standard [MTV News, November 29, 2006]. In October, Rolling Stone magazine would cite an anonymous retail source stating that the album would be released on November 21 (a Tuesday) [Rolling Stone, October 5, 2006].

Then Merck Mercuriadis would restate the Tuesday release plan:

The album will come out this year. There are ten Tuesdays left before January — it will come out on one of them.


But when pressed for a release date, he responded:

I don’t know that we will announce a release date. You just might walk into your record shop one Tuesday and find it there.


In October, Del James would imply that both Bumblefoot and Frank had recorded parts for Chinese Democracy:

Recently, Bumblefoot and Frank played on a few tracks that will appear on Chinese Democracy.


This must indeed have been recently given that both Frank and Bumblefoot had just become members of the band. It also begs the question whether Frank and Bumblefoot were adding additional tracks or replacing other band members' contributions.

When asked about the release, Bumblefoot vaguely implied they had prepared to tour the record:

(Laughs) I was politely asked that I decline answering any questions regarding the album ... but there are about nine songs that we have worked up to play live, but we usually do four.


In late November with only four more Tuesdays left, MTV News doubted a release before the end of the year [MTV News, November 29, 2006]:

Unless an ultra-top-secret marketing plan is in the works, the album would have to be released without the major promotional push such a hot-ticket item would normally have — an approach that failed dismally with Limp Bizkit's stealthy 2005 release of The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1, which debuted with a thud at #24 on Billboard's album chart with just 37,000 copies sold.

None of the national retailers contacted by MTV News said they were aware of an official release date, and several major-label personnel declined even to speculate on the possibility of such a release happening before the end of this year.



ENOUGH MATERIAL READY FOR 2,5-3 ALBUMS


In May 2006, Axl would discuss if the tracklist was entirely decided:

Except, it's still debatable like...there's songs we're still shuffling around, I mean we recorded about 2 and a half/ 3 albums worth of material. So, there's still stuff that's gonna bounce between one and two.


In the same interview he would specify that they didn't have two records ready with both music and vocals:

I mean, there is, there's 2 records that the majority of the music's done, and the majority of the vocals are done. And there's another half of a record that's being worked on. We were actually working on a song a little bit tonight that's not, even on the first two records.


Axl would also say that Chinese Democracy would be a regular CD [Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks, May 5, 2006].


PRO TOOLS AND OVERPRODUCTION


Axl would also discuss the use of Pro Tools when asked by Sebastian Bach what he thought of such software for manipulating vocals:

I think that there all types of different ways to do it, I mean you can definitely overproduce it and make it too perfect that it's a nightmare and it makes it sterile. Or you can use a little bit of everything. You can push it every way possible using the technology and doing it, everything you can do. We.... the only thing you have heard has been the leaks but there's different things where its just like.... I don't like to stretch things with Pro Tools or anything like that. I don't like that kind of cheating...It's a lot faster. [...] It depends on the quality of the sound. [...] But like, the whole auto tuning kinda thing...


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:01

OTHER ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD COMING OUT


M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold:

Everyone knows the name. It's already more famous as a record that hasn't been released yet: Everyone knows of Chinese Democracy, but no one has heard it. That's kind of crazy. [...] When you've got as much money as Axl, and with as many records as he's sold, he's probably just sitting there going, 'I don't need to release this record.' It does seem closer, though. A couple years ago, when people were saying it was coming out, I knew it wasn't. But now that the demos have been leaked, and I heard [go-to mixer] Andy Wallace is mixing it — you know when you've got Andy Wallace mixing stuff, it means it's getting closer, at least.

I think after you take a certain amount of time, you might start feeling a little insecure about it. You feel like it's never quite done. To me, it doesn't really matter at this point how good it is. A lot of people are going to say it wasn't worth the wait. I think it will be a great record, and I think for people to embrace it, they're just going to have to take it for what it is. It's just a rock record, and they need to listen to it like that. You can totally overthink sh--.


Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine:

Will it come out? Hard to say. Axl is clearly talented ... and troubled: a combination often found among the best lead singers. If he can overcome his fears about the album's relevance or commercial prospects or whatever the underlying problem is, and just release it, then we would all be glad to hear it and can get on with our lives.


Shawn "Clown" Crahan from Slipknot:

Do we really care at this point? No disrespect, but I stopped looking at my calendar when the real [original] band was done. That was the real excitement. That was the real magic. That was the real truth. I'm kind of bored with it.


Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks:

Perhaps by the time there’s democracy in China. Axl Rose has always been nice to me and I wish him good luck, but I wish he had the old band today. Those guys had a great chemistry. It’s what happens when big money gets in the way. It’s what destroys bands. People start talking to each other through lawyers. I don’t envy Axl’s situation. Doing the same record for ten years is not normal anymore”
FREE Magazine, June 2007


Lars Ulrich from Metallica:

I wait with baited breath just like everybody else does. And, listen, I can relate to - I mean, the record is gonna come out when Axl wants it to come out.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:05

SEPTEMBER 9-23, 2006
WARM-UP SHOWS BEFORE THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR


Before the band was to embark on their North American tour on Cotober 24, the band did four warm-up shows in Las Vegas and San Francisco before headlining at KROQ's Inland Invasion festival.

The first two shows tour took place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, USA, on September 16 and 17.

From stage Axl would indicate that they had asked Izzy to be part of these shows, too:

We asked Izzy to come here. But I think he's somewhere in the desert, driving around in a truck. But it's all good. He sends his mojo.


Excerpt from review in Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 19, 2006:

"All we need is just a little patience," Axl Rose sang, and the Guns N' Roses frontman wasn't lyin': His band's padded set at The Joint on Sunday came coated in so much lard that you could feel your arteries clog as the group played. In addition to a pair of piano jams, there was not one, not two, but three extended guitar solo interludes by the band's trio of guitarists — the worst of which was by Richard Fortus, who actually turned in an instrumental rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" for some reason. All these detours took a wrecking ball to the considerable amount of momentum that Rose and company had worked hard to establish.


But Axl's performance was applauded:

Rose was a commanding presence from the start, spinning himself in circles with arms outstretched as he sang, holding the mic stand above his head triumphantly, like a prizefighter who had just KO'd some stubborn foe. [...] Through it all, Rose proved to still be strong of voice, shrieking through "Sweet Child O' Mine" like nails were being pounded into his wrists. He would occasionally get winded though, and his voice was frequently lost in the mix on songs like "Live and Let Die" and "You Could Be Mine." Still, Rose seemed to be in good spirits, smiling broadly and bounding about the stage like an aerobics instructor.


At these shows Steven reconnected with Axl:

I saw Axl, talked with him from, shit, what was it? 10 or 12 at night to 8 in the morning, we talked. We resolved a lot of fucking shit! It was wonderful! Just wonderful. I was the same happy-go-lucky person that I've always been to him, and he enjoyed it. Dude, we talked 'till 8 in the morning! [...] It was at The Hard Rock when he played there. [...] Yeah…three people in his band all look like Izzy! I told him it sucked. I was kidding. I said, "You know the five of us have to get back together! That's when it will really fucking take off again! Nothing will be bigger. It would be the biggest reunion ever in history." [...] You know how [Axl] is. He just grinned and giggled a little bit. Everybody in his band came up to me, "You're the greatest fucking drummer! We tell Axl, 'You gotta get the band back together!'" That's what they said to HIM! It was wonderful!

About three years ago in Las Vegas. He was doing a show there so I wanted to come and maybe, hopefully try to get to see him. So I went to the show. It was at the Hard Rock. I walk in and a hundred people realized I was there and came and wanted autographs. So Axl's manager, he comes over and says, "I don't want Axl to get upset. I think maybe you should leave." I said, "No problem. Tell Axl that I love him, and that I miss him, and that he looks great."

So I go back home, I'm opening my door and my phone's ringing. I answer and it's [Axl's manager]. He says, "Stevie, I'm so sorry. Come back. Axl wants to talk to you." So we hung out 'til six in the morning drinking a three thousand dollar bottle of tequila. We talked and we apologized, we made amends with each other. It was great. Nobody blamed anybody.

First off, I walked into the venue and I saw three guys playing guitar that all looked like Izzy. It's funny that [Axl] needs three guitar players to take the place of one. He's got three guitar players to take care of [Slash's guitar duties]. That just shows how great Slash is. . . At first, his manager told me to leave. I walked in and he said, 'Dude, you better leave. I don't want Axl to get pissed off.' So I left, and I'm opening the front door to my house and my phone is ringing and I answer it and it's his manager, Del. He goes, 'Dude, I'm sorry. He wants to see you.' So I got in the car and went right back.

In 2006 I heard the finished and mixed album totally finished with vocals and everything. This was after the gig at Hard Rock in August and Steven and I both were up in Axl’s room while he was blaring the new album for us. Steven had originally been thrown out of the gig by Del but Axl was like “Why? I wanted to talk to him” so we both were up there enjoying it; it was friendly between Steven and Axl. Axl was telling me that it should be ready to come out and packaged by November so I was like “Oh, ok cool”.


After Las Vegas the band travelled to the Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, USA, for two shows on September 20 and 21.

Contra Costa Times provided a mixed review (September 21, 2006):

If you don't want to hear comparisons to the old GNR, stop reading now. That's what's going to happen when a one guy hijacks the name of a legendary band, doesn't tour or make records for a decade, then comes back resting squarely on the deeds of years past. [...] While Rose is still a dynamic frontman with a unique voice, so much of GNR used to depend on the laid-back coolness-that-could-explode-at-anytime vibe of the former members. It's hard to even call the new GNR anything but an Axl Rose solo band, featuring some nice backing players. [...] That's the thing guitarists Robin Finck, Ron Thai and Richard Fortis are all very good players (though we could've done without three guitar soloists taking up so much of a 21/2-hour set). All three try damn hard, running about, striking the right rock poses, sneering ... all the standard stuff from Rockstar 101. But that in itself was strange, as GNR never had to try so hard. The new guys are doing their best, but when it comes down to it, they painfully lack by comparison. It takes three guys bashing about to equal the absolute coolness of Slash and Izzy, who never had to resort to punching strings and doing windmills to make a point. [...] Maybe old fans need to get over the fact that it's a new century for GNR. But until Rose and his new crew can forge an identity with a new record one of these years, Guns N' Roses won't be able to escape the shadow of its former greatness.


The band then continued to KROQ's Inland Invasion, Devore, CA, USA on September 23, 2006.

During the show Axl would joke about Internet leaks:

You downloading ... -- you're responsible for putting us on this gig!


Bumblefoot would later reference this when he was about to speak to fans who attended a listening party for Chinese Democracy:

I'm going to greet these "downloading motherfuckers" and thank them for being here and for celebrating this occasion, and, yeah, we're going to have a damn good time.


Again, the reviews were mixed and more focused on the band's history and the absence of new material and old members, than reviews in Europe.

Excerpt from review on MTV News:

Guns N' Roses treated the sold-out Hyundai Pavilion audience to a 19-song, hit-filled set featuring all but three tracks from Appetite for Destruction and only four new songs. There were a few surprises — guitarists Robin Finck and Richard Fortus played an instrumental version of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," and Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach joined in on "My Michelle" — but it was mostly Rose doing what he does best: wailing, posing and snake-dancing to songs from "Sweet Child O' Mine" to "You Could Be Mine."


Mike Catherwood, DJ at KROQ, would later recall the show:

Very recently, Guns N’ Roses was slated to play, to headline a huge concert that this station, KROQ in Los Angeles, puts on every year. So, about 15 or 20 minutes after the last band plays, Guns N’ Roses, the band, shows up; Axl is nowhere to be found. KROQ management is furiously on the phone with Axl Rose’s management: “He's in the air right now. Is there any chance he can get a police escort?” And it wasn't even as if there was any question about it. There is superstars, then there is Axl Rose. 30 or 40 minutes later, after the crowd is sure that they're not gonna see Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose burns into the backstage area. And he walks out, he lights up a cigarette, he smokes it, he starts talking to himself, he throws it down, and he goes out and commences to destroy the crowd. It was right on the verge. I mean, the stitches were about to break, but somehow, instead of it falling over into complete chaos, that night it leaned back over to utter perfection. And if it didn’t once in a while fall into that destructive area, where things go totally wrong, I don’t think we’d be sitting here talking about them today.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:05

OCTOBER 2006
GN'R LICENSES 'WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE' AND 'BETTER' FOR A HARLEY-DAVIDSON COMMERCIAL


Guns N' Roses has reportedly licensed music to Harley-Davidson for a TV spot entitled "Black Sheep". The standard version, which launched nationally on October 8, features the track "Paradise City", while the alternate version, launching late October, premieres the new, previously unreleased Guns N' Roses track "Better" from the band's new album, "Chinese Democracy", which will hit stores later this year. According to a press release, the "Black Sheep" spot is shot in black and white (similar to the overall "Live By It" campaign) and uses the well-known metaphor of black sheep to show the rebelliousness and individuality of Harley-Davidson riders. The spot closes on a motorcycle rally scene, the Harley-Davidson logo and the "Live By It" tagline. To give the spot another layer of attitude, Harley-Davidson approached Guns N' Roses and requested to use the song "Paradise City" as the background music track. GNR frontman Axl Rose viewed the spot himself and quickly agreed. This is the first time Guns N' Roses has agreed to license one of their songs for a commercial.


Something went wrong and a demo version of 'Better' ended up being leaked:

Here’s what I know. We were doing a commercial with Harley-Davidson. Harley was going to do a version using 'Paradise City' and another version using 'Better.' Their Web site even had a version up for like one day with 'Better,' but the version of 'Better' that they had was an unfinished, unapproved demo. That’s why it was removed. The version that’s getting airplay is that same demo.

Our understanding of how that happened is that an experimental edit using 'Better' in place of 'Paradise City' was somehow accidentally mislabeled as the 'Paradise City' Harley-Davidson video/commercial and was inadvertently released on the internet. We believe the 'leak' came from this source tape and someone with access to it.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:05

OCTOBER 24-NOVEMBER 8, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR STARTS


The band sent out a press release before the North American Tour started, informing that Sebastian Bach would open for the entire tour, a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and the release of a new website, gunsroses.com:

GUNS N' ROSES ANNOUNCE "CHINESE DEMOCRACY" NORTH AMERICAN TOUR AND STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP WITH MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ADVANCED MEDIA

Hot on the heels of their sell out shows last week in Las Vegas, San Francisco and KROQ's Inland Invasion in Los Angeles Guns N' Roses announce the first leg of their "Chinese Democracy" North American Tour.

The tour which will kick off on the 20th of October in Jacksonville, Florida finds the band in top form having spent the summer in Europe playing to 700,000 plus people over 32 shows in 18 countries, making it one of the biggest tours of the year on the continent and in the UK. Concert goers were not let down as Axl Rose and his band mates Dizzy Reed, Robin Finck, Richard Fortus, Tommy Stinson, Chris Pitman, Brain and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal burned through classics such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," "Nightrain," "Mr. Brownstone," "November Rain" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" as well as highlighting soon to be favourites from the forthcoming "Chinese Democracy" album.

Just this week, the Hollywood Reporter's concert review of KROQ's Inland Invasion observed, "when headliner Guns N' Roses took the stage everything old became new again - and everything new on the bill, just couldn't hold a candle in comparison... the night belonged to Guns N' Roses!"

Axl Rose commented, "We had an amazing tour in Europe this summer and last week’s shows here in the US were great. It's been a long time getting here but we look forward to coming to your town and having a lot of fun."

Sebastian Bach who has been guesting with Guns N' Roses on "My Michelle" will open the entire tour with the Special Guest slot going to a number of great bands starting with Papa Roach for the dates through the 3rd of November. The shows have been planned to cater to a Guns N' Roses rock n' roll party atmosphere with Sebastian hitting the stage every night at 8 pm followed by the Special Guest at 9 pm and Guns N' Roses shortly after 10 pm and lots of great music in between.

Guns N' Roses are also delighted to announce that they have partnered with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLB.COM) to provide their fans with premium ticketing opportunities and up to the minute information on the tour and the band's other activities via gunsnroses.com which will be launched as of tomorrow.


As can be seen in the press release, the intention was for Bach to go on at 8pm, the second opener to go on at 9pm, and then for Guns N' Roses to go on "shortly after 10 pm". This does not seem to have been the case for every show of the tour, because a frequent gripe from reviewers were the late starts.

The first show of the tour took place at BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, FL, USA, on October 24, 2006.

Del James would describe the band hanging out before the show:

Some time last week, GN'R flew into Florida for production rehearsals at Miami Arena. The place was sweltering hot and somehow we managed to temporarily lose one out of the two band buses en route.[...] After Monday night's rehearsal, Axl and Guns N' Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis went over to catch some of the Eric Clapton concert because as it turns out, Axl's friend, guitarist Derek Trucks, is playing in Clapton's band. From there, Axl met up with most of Guns N' Roses at a South Beach hotspot called Snatch. For the uninitiated, Snatch is a club that blends hard rock and funk with classics. Snatch also has a mechanical bull, performance artists, drag queens, and super fine go-go dancers all getting their freak on. Now some people might frown upon a rock band staying out all night, drinking up a storm and dancing before the very first show of a tour but this is Guns N' Roses. Conformity will never be a part of the equation. No one in this band got into the music business to punch a time clock or worry about hangovers. It's not rocket science, it's rock n' roll, and seeing Dizzy Reed, Robin Finck, Axl, Tommy, Frank, and Bumblefoot drinking, mingling, and dancing until the sun came up was a beautiful scene of a rock band bonding. And that's what Guns N' Roses 2006 are -- a band!


Axl himself would refer to having partied in Miami:

Last time we were here a few years ago, I don't remember a whole lot. The next day I found out something about tackling a mechanical bull... that's Miami.


And the show itself:

Oh yeah, there was a show on Tuesday night, 10/24, at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. and judging by the reaction of the 10,000-plus people in attendance, they had a kick-ass time.


Excerpt from review in Palm Beach Post, October 27, 2006:

The relaxed, friendly and cheerfully profane Rose admitted to being a little worse for wear following some debauched evenings in Miami ("I'd like to know where I was in the wee hours of this morning"), which may have explained his many departures from the stage to allow various band members solos that occasionally slowed the evening down.

But those solos, including a strong guitar jam by former Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck and an almost Jim Brickman-esque piano piece by longtime keyboardist Dizzy Reed, still couldn't zap the energy of Capt. Axl and his still-seductive stage snakiness.

The concert started strong and mostly stayed that way. After the hideous wait (and there's still no excuse for that), the lights went down on a stage flanked by the letters G N' R in Chinese-like characters. Ominous storm trooper-type music began to play as the restless fans began yelling things like "Come on!"

And BOOM!, just like that, the staccato strains of Welcome To The Jungle greeted geysers of pyrotechnic flare-ups and the appearance of the strutting Rose, his multicolored braids tied back behind his head.
"You know where you are?" Rose screamed along with the crowd. "You're in the junnn-gal, bay-BAYY!"
Why, yes we are. Grab that pith helmet and stun gun and elaborate, my friend.

Rose's voice has always been something of a contradiction - a pleasant raspiness that turns into a seductively dangerous shriek. It was in evidence during Jungle, as well as the intense You Could Be Mine, Mr. Brownstone and It's So Easy. By the end of the show, he sounded like he'd over-extended himself, but he never stopped throwing himself into it, even with the probable hangover pounding on his cornrows.

The band did pretty much everything you'd think they would - the strongest bits included the expert bombast of Wings' Live And Let Die (and did you remember how good that thing was?), the welcome whistle of Patience and a gleeful Sweet Child O' Mine.

Oddly, for a tour named "Chinese Democracy," there was very little evidence of the still-unreleased album that lends it its name. Toward the end, before the stomping encore of Paradise City, Axl and company did the title song, a loud and solid number that invokes the importance of thinking for yourself and not letting them fool ya and what-not.




Axl
October 24, 2006



Next up was St. Pete Times Forum, St. Petersburg, USA, on October 25.

This show got great reviews. Excerpt from review in St. Petersburg Times Blogs, October 26, 2006:

It's weird to accuse someone of being professional, but that's what Axl Rose has become: an efficient showman. After an explosive cover of Live and Let Die, he greeted us like a game-show host: "Hello, Tampa. It's very, very, very nice to be here." He gave faithful, loving renditions of all the hits: Sweet Child O' Mine, You Could Be Mine, Patience and an epic November Rain, the latter of which he played on a baby grand.

Throughout, he was efficient and sweet and normal. When bassist Tommy Stinson (of the Replacements) made a whispered request, Axl even obliged with "a love ballad": the murderously funny Used to Love Her. His new songs from the umpteen-years-in-the-making Chinese Democracy album (out any day now....really!) were even tame, save for Better, which has legit switchblade edge.


The band then travelled to Germain Arena, Estero, FL, USA, October 27.

After the show in Estero, Bumblefoot would be asked if it was strange to be part of a rock act where it was expected of him to do "rock star bullshit" like running around more while playing:

It aint BS, haha - the intensity and energy of the music and the audience - you'll fucking explode if you don't run and move. After every show you're covered in bruises and ya have no idea how ya got them. I got a chunk missing out of the side of my thumb, a black and blue on my wrist and shredded skin around a fingernail - that means we played Florida yesterday. If ya don't bleed, ya didn't really play a show.


And being asked if he finds it hard to hold back:

Sometimes I need to hold back, because I'm singing more backing vocals now, and it's hard to take a long sprint and stop dead to sing without taking a breath for half a minute. Sometimes, I'm just closing my eyes and listening, other times I'm running around - don't think about it, just go with whatever ya feel. Oh, do ya mean musically? Well, the song is what matters, not yourself, you have to do what's right for the song. Ya can't act like you're the focal point of the music throughout the entire song, stepping all over vocals and grooves. Be the best support - that doesn't mean playing more, it often means playing less and being more profound when ya do play. It's the space in-between that gives meaning to the moments you play. Don't be afraid to explore that space. The next time ya jam, instead of thinking about what you'll play next, experiment with *when* you'll play next. And since we're talking about "space, the final frontier", haha, keep in mind, the song is Kirk - you're Spock. Spock didn't pull a power trip - be the best Spock you can be, don't try to be Kirk.


The band then travelled to the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 29.

In Puerto Rico Axl would rant against people complaining about the setlists:

I haven’t done what they call a “rant” in a long time, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I mean, I wanna say that I’m thankful to be here and I’m thankful that you are here tonight. We do our best to come out here, and put everything we got into it, and give you the best show we can. [...] You know, I don’t have anything necessarily against some of the bootlegs, and photos, and tapes, and all this kind of deal. But the people that are bitching about, “The setlist, is that the same setlist?” and you have some fuckhead from Iowa that doesn’t even go to a show, I don’t care about them. I don’t do one song for them, not one note, not one goddamn thing. They can bitch forever, and you can have every little newspaper pissed off writer and magazine writer talking out of his ass, as he doesn’t get what he wants to get, but we’re just gonna try to have ourselves a good time tonight, right? Thank you. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.  


The band continued to Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, USA, October 31. This show was originally scheduled for October 20. According to the local promoter, the reason that this show was postponed and another one scheduled for Nashville was canceled, was because Axl was putting the finishing touches on Chinese Democracy [The News-Press, October 24, 2006].

Excerpt from review in The Florida Times-Union, November 3, 2006:

At its best, the concert was very good. It was, after all, Axl Rose up there singing some of the better songs in rock. And in the full two-hour set, he did just about all that you could ask for. At its worst, there were too many long guitar solos by guitarists who are not as good as Slash and who threw in too many silly theatrics.


The next shows were at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, USA, November 2 and Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Huntington, USA, November 3.

Before the show in Huntington, Sebastian Bach would comment on the opportunity to open for Guns N' Roses:

Dude, I've been waiting so long to do a big huge arena tour. So long. That, for me, is the most fun you can have.


And so would Jacoby Shaddix, singer of Papa Roach:

You've got some really, really young kids, like 15, all the way up to people in their fifties, so it's a very diverse audience. Really, it's just a rock n' roll crowd, and they want to rock. We're the underdogs on this show. We have to get up there and bring the raucous. We turn it out every night. [...] We've had [about] seven singles under our belt now, and we're bringing them out throughout the set. By the end of the set, we've got them in a hot frenzy.


Bumblefoot would also discuss how Axl was doing:

Axl is fine and he's better than ever and anyone who's been to the shows will agree.


The next show was at the Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, USA, November 5.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:07

THE LATE STARTS II


As the band started touring North America in the fall of 2006, journalists writing reviews of the shows would again complain about the late starts. Del James wouldn't have it:

I've read a few reviews where the reviewer says something along the lines of 'the band came on late but the show was great.' WHOA, WAIT A MINUTE -- who decides what late is? Every single press release for the tour specifies that Sebastian Bach will be going on sometime AFTER 8pm, Papa Roach will be going on AFTER 9pm, and Guns N' Roses will be onstage AFTER 10pm. This is supposed to be an all night party. When the f*ck did rock n' roll -- and the last time I checked rock music was supposed to be a non-conformist, rebellious, art form -- get a Flavor Flav-sized time clock wrapped around its neck like a hangman's noose? Rebellion and punctuality do not go hand in hand and for those of you too young to remember, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin rarely went on before midnight in their hey day.

Here's a little insight for you -- a rock band has to do certain things in order to be prepared to hit the stage. It's a lot like a sports team warming up before hitting the field. Axl has to do his vocal warm ups or else he will blow his voice out. Guitarist Robin Finck has to do yoga-type stretching or else he's going to pull or tear a muscle again. Some of the band members need chiropractic adjustments or massage therapy. Others need to warm up on their instruments. The list is endless and every night something unexpected always occurs. There's a lot more to it than showing up, grabbing an instrument, and walking onstage. No one is interested in wasting your time or keeping you waiting, but the band goes on when it is 100 percent ready to go on and give it all that they have for that evening and not one minute before. The show starts when the band hits the stage and ends when the final encore is over.

If, back in the day, Thin Lizzy or Humble Pie or Queen came on at whatever time and gave me two hours of blistering "rawk" like GN'R does every night that would have been a magical evening. A rock concert is supposed to be a celebration where for a few hours people can escape from the pressure of everyday life. Jobs and taxes and homework and traffic are all still going to be there when the show ends so what's the hurry? I mean, GN'R ain't some play by the rules, shake hands and kiss babies for public approval type band. It's Guns N' F*ckin' Roses so please feel free to raise your middle finger with GN'R because Axl, Dizzy, Robin, Richard, Tommy, Chris Pitman, Bumblefoot, Frank, and Brain will always stand defiant against conformity while doing their best to thoroughly kick every audience's ass. As Axl says onstage from time to time, "This isn't McDonald's or Burger King - it isn't 'Have it your way.'" Anyone who doesn't get that should really just stay the hell home.


The singer of Papa Roach, Jacoby Shaddix, one of the opening bands, mentioned how Axl was the reason the band started at different times:

Every day our set time changes, depending on when Axl [Rose] wants to show up to the gig. It's like, f*** it. It's an opportunity to play.


And answering the question what he had learnt from the experience:

What I've learned is to show up on time [laughs].


This is similar to the touring in the 90s [see previous chapter].

In October 2008, Richard would have to comment on the late starts:

We don't have to go on late, and sometimes we don't, sometimes we do. Yeah, it's just one of those rock and roll things. It takes Axl a certain amount to get himself ready to go on stage, get his head together, get, you know, in the game. And, you know, he's always there and… I don't know, it's been getting – it’s changed a lot since when I first joined in 2002.  You know, we just did the last tour we did at the end of last year, we were in Australia and Japan, and all those shows were pretty prompt. But, you know, it's amazing, it's an amazing thing - when I first joined the band - to be sitting backstage in an arena or a stadium and have people chanting… (laughs)… you know, profanities, and stomping their feet, and throwing things, and this whole huge negative energy, and, as soon as you walk on the stage, all of that energy just completely shifts and goes just… it's amazing. And for a while I thought, “Man, he's doing this on purpose.” Like, “It's just genius,” he’s like… you know. But don't know, I'm not convinced of that anymore (laughs).


Gene Simmons from Kiss held a keynote address at the Billboard Touring Conference in November 2008, and would mention Axl and late starts:

I don't care if you're Axl Rose, forgot to tie your shoelaces or your father molested you when you were three -- you're a bitch if you don't show up onstage when it says 9 o'clock. You need to have the integrity and self-respect to respect the promoter who paid you the money in advance, the hall and the people who makes all our lives possible.
Billboard, November 20, 2008


Not much later, in December 2008, Axl would answer why he was always late:

I've been an after midnight type since I was sneakin' out of my house in Jr. High. With old Guns we preferred 12am or so. When we moved to theaters etc obviously that changes but it's never changed inside me. Doesn't matter what I do so generally that's when I'm more myself. This isn't to mess with anyone that has an early schedule to keep it's just personal preference. And in regard to the size venues I'm on record as preferring what ever venues allow for our schedule but management and promoters can do a lot in their own interests behind the scenes that can rarely be avoided and their greed or whatever leads to a lot of double talk and ugly behind nonsense that generally eventually ruins things for everyone. Translated once a tour is scheduled however it's like parting the seas to change. As far as being late, I've been that way my whole life. It drove Izzy crazy but he would check himself and freely admit I was generally actually doing something that had to get done rather than watching basketball etc.


Axl being in the "Axl time zone" would also be described by Bumblefoot in an amusing anecdote that took place in September 2010 when the band was touring Europe:

Then we went to the room of Axl (Rose), the frontman of our band, and talked for about 20 hours. The only reason I had to leave was because I had to get on the plane to get to the next country for a gig. Then Axl arrived, he was miffed and said, 'I thought we had two days off between the gigs', and I was like, 'You did man, you talked through both days! The shades were down, so you didn't see the sun rise or set!' With him, you are in the AXL time zone, an odd vortex where time and space defy the laws of physics.


During the touring in 2010, Frank would have to answer the question why the band is so frequently late:

Well, uh, about the delays...there's a lot of reasons why there's delays, but the main thing is, when the band is ready to play, we play. So we're not gonna go one second before this band is ready to play. And when we are ready to play, we're gonna play a great show.


And so would Bumblefoot and his answer would echo those of Gilby back in the 90s:

Hmm.  Okay. I can only say that I was at the venue ready to play on time and would have been more than happy to play on time.  When the fans were waiting, I was waiting too.  I'm not going to speak for anyone else and I won't say anything else ... I'm just saying that: I would have loved to take the stage closer to the time we were announced and not make people wait.
Vuelta en U (Costa Rica), May 2, 2010; translated from Spanish


The late starts caused massive problems at the beginning of the European tour in September 2010 [see later chapters]. Some weeks later, Bumblefoot was asked about what caused the late starts:

Sometimes there are technical reasons, sometimes there´s a problem with traveling in and that throws everything of.


And in December DJ would joke about it:

It isn't even Axl that's late, it's always our room service that's late, we're waiting to eat before we go on [laughs].


Bumblefoot, who struggled with the late starts himself, would discuss this again in January 2011:

Well first thing, people don’t realise that it is such a big show with so much going on that at minimum there has to be 45 minutes between bands. Because the previous band has to clear off everything off of their stage and then we have to get everything ready on ours. Even though the stuff is already on the stage, they have to test everything, they have to fix any problems and there is always something that breaks at the last minute like suddenly the Teleprompters aren’t working or it’s the video screen. Something will happen like the mixing board for the monitors shuts down or whatever it is. Things happen. So it’s always a good 45 minutes of just tests and getting everything ready to go so that we can come on stage and the show will run right. That right there alone is 45 minutes. What happens after that? I don’t know! (laughs). I mean I’m there. I get there early. I take the earliest van that I can take to get to the venue from the hotel and I eat dinner with the crew or the other band members that arrived there early. I play my guitar, I warm up and I watch the opening act. That’s it and then I just make sure that I’m ready and that I’m there. Then I just wait to get on stage.

As far as what delays the show? I know where the finger is pointing but I’m not going to get into that! (laughs) I mean sometimes it’s for stupid reasons! There have been times where Axl is on his way over and the driver got lost for like a half hour. He gets there and everyone is pissed like “what the fuck! How does that happen?” You can literally see the venue from the hotel and it’s a five minute drive but the driver got lost for a half… fucking… hour. So he delays him getting there and then once he gets there… You know if you plan on getting there early and doing all of your warm-ups, exercises and prepping for the show at the venue, and then the driver makes you late and then you first have to do all that at the venue so it delays the show. You can’t go on stage when your voice is not feeling elastic because you haven’t warmed it up and your body is not elastic either as you haven’t warmed it up. If you hurt yourself, then you are jeopardising the next twenty shows. So you have to make sure that you are taken care of and ready, but then you think “damn, I could have done that at the hotel if I knew the driver was going to get lost!”. I mean random things happen, it doesn’t explain twenty years of it (laughs) but in our times stupid things happen where we are at the mercy of someone else and get screwed. So yeah things do happen, I’ve seen it!


And in 2013:

Being on time is a sign of respect. I had the hardest time with Axl. It's been more than once when I walked out because I was so angry!


After this interview was published, Bumblefoot would post a disclaimer on Facebook possibly referring to the quote above:

These are NOT all word-for-word quotes in this interview!! Just sayin'...
Facebook, June 2013[/url]


And be asked why Axl was late:

I don’t know. All I can tell you is that I’m ready to go, and whenever Axl’s ready to go, I’m ready too. As far as what controls the time he gets to the stage, only he can answer that.


DJ did not seem to mind the late starts, and as the touring continued in 2011 with the occasional late starts, he gave his opinion:

And that’s one thing, just me as a fan /outsider, I give a lot of props to Axl. Cause he takes a lot of heat for going on an hour late here or there or whatever but what people dont really point out is the guy goes on and sings his balls off for three hours solid…and not one Guns song is easy to sing. So I just think the world of the guy, I think he’s the real deal.


In late 2011, Axl would again comment on the late starts:

Well, you know, not complaining or to be a wuss or whatever just a lot of times day of show for some reason everything starts going wrong, people are making mistakes that you have no... you're making mistakes, they're making mistakes and nobody even knows why. You know, it's like things that you go, "Well, I should know this," you know. It's like everybody gets hit by ADD or whatever and so you're trying sort through that and get yourself in the right headspace and physical whatever that you got to, you know, work through. It's more like sports, you know, and and having to play the big game. And, you know, I think we're doing better, you know, as far as that goes.


And talk about how it had always been difficult for him to be on time:

And then I just... I lived right behind my school and I couldn't make it to the class [laughter] I had a job at the grocery store down the street and I'm running down the street with wet hair trying to tie my ties, a sandwich in one hand.


A couple weeks later, Tommy would also discuss the late starts when he was asked what was happening during the time people are waiting:

You know what? I don’t even know. I just know that some days my boy gets [expletive] derailed. I know he does his best to get out there on time. He doesn’t want to make people wait and bum out on him but, again, he can’t play before he’s ready either.


And when the interviewer suggested Axl should start getting ready earlier so he wouldn't have to pat overtime fees and fines:

You’ve got a good point there. You know, that’s never been something he’s ever given a [expletive] about. When he’s ready to put on his best show that’s when he’s going to put it on, and if it’s on the late side so be it. He’ll gladly pay the extra money.


For the North American tour in the fall of 2011, the band improved and cut down on the late starts:

I don't know if we're necessarily going on late. We're coming off late, because it's a long show. That's more the issue, as far as I can tell. As far as I'm concerned, we're on time. I'm not being cheeky about that. We've been going on pretty close to right on time... for most of this run, anyway.

Actually timing-wise we have been going on pretty early. We have been starting earlier but we play for a long time. We play between three and three and a half hours.

I mean, (expletive), (Rose) was more notoriously bad with that before. I think to his credit he’s gotten better at that whole issue. Ultimately, when he’s ready to play, that’s when we’re gonna play. I wouldn’t want to play with him one minute before he’s ready. He ain’t (expletive) ever gonna change because of you or me or (expletive) anyone.

I haven’t been to a concert in so long I don’t know when the normal time is, but we’ve been starting not late, and we give a pretty long show. It’s a good three hours of rock ’n’ roll. That’s how it’s been going down. But we’ve been going on stage on time.

Actually, we been pretty good about starting on time during this tour. But, y'know this is Guns N' Roses so you can never be certain. [chuckles]

It is and a lot of times we don’t even go on ‘an hour and a half late’. I’ll look at the sheet and it’ll say ‘10:30PM start time’ and we’ll go on latest by 11:30PM. Axl’s been doing really great. Since we’ve hit the US tour, I feel he’s really made a great effort to get on, but it has nothing to do with Axl. The show is massive and a lot of times you just don’t know. There are 92 people on our crew. It’s a massive engine to move, but we’re ready as soon as we get the call. They want to make sure the stage and everything is good to go, so that we can pull off a safe show. All we can do is go out and give 200% and I think people are finally starting to look past that (late starts) and go ‘wow, you have to go see this new line-up because it’s going to blow your mind’. That part is refreshing to us.


But for the European summer tour of 2012, the band would again start frequently the shows 1.5-2 hours after the previous opener, resulting in press articles criticizing the band for having contempt for fans [Classic Rock, May 29, 2012].

Before the Las Vegas residency in 2012, Axl would be a guest at Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Kimmel would mention that Axl has a quote from Oscar Wilde, "Punctuality is the Thief of Time", hanging in his house [Jimmy Kimmel Live! October 24, 2012]. Kimmel would also ask Axl about starting times during the residency:

We're probably really go on what time we're supposed to really go on, as soon as I find out what time that is. Or as soon as it's negotiated. [...] We've been doing a lot better lately.


In late 2012, Bumblefoot and Richard would be asked if it isn't disrespectful towards fans to start late:

I think fans understand that to see that guy do what he does, that comes with it. Some fans are real fans who follow everything the band does, then there's a casual fan who just knows Appetite... and just wants to hear the songs. For those, yeah, I guess it can be tough.

People have work the next day, they've paid a lot of money and they have to choose, "Do I leave now and lose money and only see half a show or do I stay and I'm completely unproductive and pissed off tomorrow?' It's like if you go to see a movie and the movie ends up being five hours long. You think, 'I wanted to see this movie, but it's reaching the point where it has become too much of an intrusion on my life.' Maybe that can happen for people who are more casual about it. They just wanted to go see a movie - they didn't want to go on vacation in GN'R land for a whole night into the next day!

I think I might have one of the hardest times [out of the band] with the long waits. You don't know until minutes before. It's, 'All right, were going on.' Everyone suits up, slides down the pole and puts out the fire!


When giving advice to aspiring musicians, Bumblefoot would typically say they should 'be on time' as in this interview from January 2013:

1 - be on time. By ‘on time’, I mean be early. Make sure you’re there for when you need to be – wait in your car, *communicate*, let them know 10 minutes early that you’ll be there in 5 minutes, and walk in 5 minutes later. 2 – be prepared. By ‘prepared’, I mean overly-prepared. Know more than you need to. If you’re gonna lay guitar parts, know the drum grooves and where all the accents and up-beats and fills and breaks are, know the bass lines... when the bassist doesn’t show and they freak out and you say ‘I know the bass part, I can lay it down’, you’ll be the MVP. 3 – be cool. And by that I mean, be a calm, relaxed, easy-going, soothing presence in the room. When everyone is contagiously breaking into panic and stress-mode, you’ll be their voice of reason without even trying. Players can be replaced – people are chosen by who others want to spend their time with.


This was picked up by NME who made a story of Bumblefoot advising bands to be punctual, obviously interpreted as criticism of Axl [NME, January 2, 2013] This resulted in Bumblefoot having to explain himself:

Well, no, it's just, you know, people are always looking, you know, if you get some rag that doesn't have any credibility and can get people to read their shit, you know, based on how good they are, they just look for bullshit that they can twist in other people's work that they can steal. So I did a really nice interview, it was very positive, and it was talking to young musicians about what is important [when] starting out. So I told the three things that I usually give is advice, which is to be early and make sure that you're on time, don't make anybody wait, which yes Guns N' Roses blah blah blah, you know, I know... you know what, when you're waiting, I'm waiting too. I don't want to fuckin' wait three hours to get on stage, I want to give you guys a show and I want you to be happy when we're doing it, yeah. But hey, it's out of my control.


Before the Australian shows in early 2013, DJ would talk about the late starts:

We have a huge rig and pyrotechnics so often it's the case of fitting all that into the venue. Our number one priority is to make the shows safe. [...] [Unhappy fans] kills us as a band because we're not doing any of this on purpose. Our main goal is to go and give the fans a show they will never forget and we understand how expensive tickets are. We take that into account and when we do hit the stage it's almost impossible to get us off.


Then in March 2013, Axl would in depth discuss the late starts when asked if he could provide any hints to the reasons:

Ok this is a multiple choice answer.

Answer #1: Do we really have to go there?

Answer #2: No comment

Or...

Answer #3: In answering I would like to say that I have no intention or desire to take "shots" at either the old band or anyone from any of our lineups. That said, to answer some questions factually and honestly it may appear that way to some. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that's just the nature of the beast.

I could choose to say nothing or no comment but I feel 1.) These particular questions in this interview don't exactly deserve that response and 2.) I have a right to have my side, perspective and what I not only believe, but know to be the truth regarding several issues with old Guns and our time together out there.

The Illusions' lineups comments that I've read in media or Slash's book were, in my opinion, predominantly public gamesmanship, strategy and politics on their part. Pretending to be unaware or innocent to the public has been a common deceptive tactic often used in regard to what was happening with the band and our relationship with each other. As I've said before, I shouldn't have been on tour when we started in '91.

That had a lot to do with Alan Niven, our then manager, and Slash. In my opinion Alan wanted money and Slash wanted the touring to get the better of me given my circumstances at the time. My safety and well-being were not their concern.

After the first few months things got a little better and primarily for not wanting the crew to be injured for not having enough rest but the damage, especially with media, had been done. Those who wanted to throw stones have had ammo they've used for years whether it's real, hyped, a non-issue, reasons beyond our control, justifiable reasons such as injuries or technical difficulties or just life, doesn't seem, and hasn't seemed, to make a difference. (And all of these issues have been addressed previously elsewhere.)

Another issue has been that each time I have agreed to a tour, I've also had agreements on our show times and start times. Often in dealing with former managers and agents, these weren't reality. It's not something said or explained, it's a show day thing they do for their own reasons which we'll get into a bit similarly with your next question.

And often tours or dates are booked without my having formally given my consent or having authorized them. That's pretty much how this business works.

All of that said I'm not a "punctual" type of person, never have been. I apologize to anyone I've inconvenienced or put out in any way. And for those who've felt they've lost money with any cancellations in the past perhaps you'll find some comfort in that I'm sure I've lost tens of thousands, if not millions, more - especially in the long run. In general I usually don't really go by or live my life by a clock and outside of touring I don't really ask anyone else to. It's not out of lack of respect for anyone or intentional.

I can say I haven't been late because I was watching a sporting event or something equally as ridiculous. The reasons have all been in one way or another show-related or having to do with those involved with the show in some fashion. It's just my reality and I try and work on it. It's been getting better with our tours, especially over the last three years.

In the last three years we've done three Asian runs including Taiwan, Jakarta and a hugely successful record breaking, sold out India run, three European runs including four sold out nights at London's 02 Arena, five shows in Russia, headlined several sold-out festivals such as Reading and Leeds, Rock In Rio, two record breaking, sold out South American tours, an Australian tour (this will be our 2nd), a sold out tour in Central America, a Canadian tour, a sold out US arena tour, a sold out US club tour (that included The Ritz/Webster Hall in NY, The Electric Company in Philadelphia, The Fillmore in Detroit and The Palladium in Los Angeles), New Year's and a sold out month residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, the Middle East, Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, NY Fashion week gigs w/Varvatos, The Rose Bar and the Hiro Ballroom and a few one off club and private party shows such as at L'Arc in Paris, The Zep in Tokyo and recently for Tommy Hilfiger at LA's The Soho House.

In a concerted effort to make things up to our fans, friends and associates we've gone back to various cities where things have in the past gotten... ahem... "complicated" such as Vancouver, Montreal, Atlanta (twice), Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Dublin and had extremely successful shows without incident.

We've been fortunate to be able to play everything from the smallest clubs to giant stadiums and huge outdoor audiences for a total of 185 shows in 48 countries, in 147 cities with approximately over 500 hours of stage time with an average full show time around three plus hours, performed for over 2,000,000 fans with our current lineup of DJ Ashba, Ron Bumblefoot Thal and Richard Fortus on guitars, Tommy Stinson on bass, Frank Ferrer on Drums and Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman on keyboards, worked with over 200 bands and artists from Motorhead to Black Label Society, shared bills with Elton John, Aerosmith, Rhianna, Queens Of The Stone Age and Metallica with minimal promotion, minimal to zero label support, minimal nonsense and often with serious management challenges.

And in our defense addressing the nonsense, the relatively small majority of which percentage wise being in general what we feel are at least somewhat reasonable or justifiable such as technical difficulties, crowd control issues, health or injuries, managerial/agent nonsense or simply beyond our control and often as the case may be more hype than reality which again (and definitely not taken for granted) with all things considered, eventually has seemed to work out fairly well.


And when asked if he is informed in advance of venue curfews, Axl again answered in detail:

More multiple choice!

Answer #1: We still goin' there?

Answer #2: No comment

Answer #3: Sometimes

Or...

Answer#4: This is another one that's a bit of a long answer and kind of a continuation of the last question (and I'm not aware of this being an issue currently) but, in my opinion, the question opens up a lot of issues. I feel it's an important subject I don't want to be vague or appear too cavalier.

It depends, generally no. If I get told in advance rather than the show day it's extremely rare, and always has been. I agree to shows under various agreed upon conditions. Those conditions often change as if they never existed or are changed by others without notice or warning prior to show day or show time. There's not a lot you can do on show day about that and being forced into what you feel is an uncomfortable situation. A situation you hadn't agreed to nor would have approved in advance, sucks. It makes something that was supposed to be fun into something else.

Unfortunately it happens a lot (though it has been getting a bit better) and there is generally a lot of finger pointing. Getting to the bottom of things takes longer than it's worth and you still have a show to do. It could be anyone's fault. None of that really matters publicly as it'll ultimately end up at my door whether we had a successful show or not. It's what happens and you try to avoid it (the lack of communication, show day surprises) as much as possible. When you're not getting the facts it could be because of one of any number of reasons or any number of people from all sides. Often it's simple misunderstandings and unintentional human error.

With curfews and transportation etc law enforcement in the various countries and cities at the venues usually have their orders dictated by city councils and city ordinances. Public transportation has their schedules and the times they stop service and they all have their budgets and various regulations.

Getting new information on show day usually means getting it close to, if not right before, going on stage. The reason can vary: no one knowing about the curfew or public transportation issue in advance, new rules, new laws, new schedules, people not knowing I wasn't informed or negligence. In some cases people don't want to inform me for fear if I'd known about the restrictions I may not have agreed (when booking the tour, not on show day) to do the show... and someone somewhere felt it was in our, or whoever's, best interest for us to do that particular show.

I don't have any issues with a venue wanting things to be done in a way they know, that makes sense and works for them, it's their venue. I get that workers, traffic and transportation, law enforcement for a large audience and overtime for a large venue are real issues. There are real safety concerns, expenses and public transportation for a significant number of fans is important to take into consideration. That said, I ask about transportation etc. but 1.) I don't personally know the various cities public transportation timetables (though we have been better at getting some of that info in advance) and 2.) It still doesn't mean I'll get real info until show day and 3.) Unfortunately often when we are in that type of situation and there's suddenly a previously unknown curfew or a public transportation issue we're already short on time which is extremely frustrating.

If I find out on show day, or even right before a show, and I feel we need to play longer to appease the audience, we begin negotiating with the promoters, building managers, law enforcement etc. with my involvement through either my stage assistants, tour manager or manager. This negotiation continues during the course of the show often all the way through to the last couple songs. Before a show there's a lot of stress and tension for everyone involved. Venues and officials may not know what to expect so there is a bit of hardball and wanting to see how things go. Usually as long as the crowd is happy and things are going well, people aren't too out of control or bored off their ass and we're doing our job, it's worked out fairly well for all sides.


In 2013, Bumblefoot would talk about how happy he is the band has started to be punctual:

I like to be at the venue early, spend some time with the crew, be at the meet-n-greets, be warmed up and ready.  And the times when the audience’s patience was pushed to their limit it crushed me.  I’ve always had the hardest time of everyone when it came to the fans waiting.  I’m sooooooooooooooo happy that since Oct last year we’ve been starting shows on time, just about every show, some *early*.  I know the fans are happy, and it’s about *them*.

Also, the GNR shows have been doing well lately, and Axl's mostly been on time. In fact, in one of the shows, he turned up a couple of minutes early. I remember, we were to start from 8 pm and he turned up at 7.58! That's huge, right? (smiles).

That hasn't happened for a long time. But it did for a long time. And that's not something that I can ignore and pretend hasn't happened or didn't happen. I absolutely had the hardest time out of anybody in the band with that stuff — with 'late' stuff. I'm always in touch with one very simple thing: you make music to make people happy. You put on a show, you entertain — whatever you wanna call it — you do it to make people happy. And to be happy, and to just share this great moment together. And anything that takes away from that or undoes that or creates the opposite of that is completely just anti why you're doing what you're doing. So if there are 20,000 people that are pissed off, 'cause we just left them… I mean, hell, if I have to wait five minutes longer in a doctor's office, or in traffic or something like that, I'm starting to get annoyed. So imagine, if that's five minutes, imagine two hours. Yeah, I get it; I totally get it. It's not like I don't care, it's just… there's nothing I can do. But that was something I had a very hard time with, and there's been times when I just walked off stage and just started throwing a fit on the side. I had a really hard time with that, and I understand, and I know. And it's not just that, it's not just the waiting, it's the fact that... if you're gonna do that to someone that isn't expecting that and has a babysitter waiting, or you have to be up in four hours for work, or whatever it is, or the buses are gonna stop running soon, or whatever it is... It's, like, you didn't go out that night and buy those tickets and do us the honor of having your presence there just to stain our existence so that we could completely fuck you and inconvenience you and put you in this position where, alright, 'My life is gonna be really annoying, and I have to choose between missing the show after waiting for it, or seeing it.' I've gotten so much resentment over that from people. And they have the right. And I'm just happy that that's not happening anymore. And I'm really, really happy that we've been going on time, close to on time, sometimes early. And I know the fans are very happy; the people that come to the show are much happier about that. There's always the fans that are, like, 'Nah, it's a rock concert. They should be three hours late.' Maybe for you, but not for the other 20,000 people… Everyone's got responsibilities. Rent isn't what it was in the '70s. There's a lot more living hand to mouth, and you can't fuck with that. And I get it. And this is not some kind of, like… I'm not trying to bash Axl or anything. I get it. And I'm just glad that we've been doing better with that.


And in 2014, DJ would talk about how the band was still criticised for being late despite that not being true:

I think that's an old stigma. I mean, you know, because since I've been in the band, you know, granted we went on a few shows were late and whatever, but for the most part, the last year and a half, he's been dead on and in fact, you know, some of the shows we've gone on early, you know? So but you'll never hear about that, you know?

The last year we've been going on pretty much dead-on. Axl has made a very big point to be on stage on time. It's funny, 'cause it's nothing that media races out and reports. They tend to get the bigger hits when they have something negative to report. So you don't really hear about that so much. But yeah, I've been really happy. Everybody has been really on it, and the fans are happy, and it's really cool.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:07

NOVEMBER 6, 2006
THE PORTLAND SHOW IS CANCELLED


On November 6, the band's show in Portland was cancelled just 2.5 hours before it was supposed to start, with many angry fans left outside the venue [The Portland Press, November 7, 2006].

Axl and the band are very unhappy about not being able to play for the fans in Portland but have been advised after several meetings with local fire marshals Nelson Collins and Bob Cadigan that they have made it impossible for the band to perform their show to the usual high standards that their fans deserve.

More importantly, we have been informed that officials intend to enforce rules and regulations that should not and do not apply in this venue. Our production manager and crew have been in this building with Clay Aiken and Green Day and none of the restrictions imposed on Guns N' Roses were experienced by those artists. It is our opinion that they are going out of their way to target and single out Guns N' Roses and the band's loyal fans. Following consultation with the band's manager, agent and promoter, it was felt that it was best to cancel the show. It is a regrettable decision, particularly at this late notice, but it is of paramount importance that our fans have the best experience possible without being harassed and threatened.

We look forward to continuing the tour in Worcester on Wednesday.


The media would speculate that poor sales, with only 3,000 out of a capacity of 6,000 tickets sold, was part of the explanation for the cancellation [Blabbermouth, November 7, 2006].

Axl would release the following statement:

I would like to apologize to all of the fans in Maine for the show not happening last night. It was important for us to play there and it is a shame that what should have been a great night for all of us was not possible due to the actions of two people.

I agree with, and ultimately take responsibility for, the end decision not to jeopardize the safety of the fans, the crews, the bands and myself as a result of the methods of these particularly draconian authorities. We are not trying to get away or get out of anything or pull a fast one by combining ticket sales as has been speculated.

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.

We have chosen to take the public heat for these events in order to have another shot at the future today with a new album.

The professionals around me felt that Portland was a potentially explosive situation that could have had a somewhat similar result based on the behavior of the two aforementioned fire marshals (it's not my first barbeque!) had the fans been given entry to the building and the show started. In respect of these opinions, our fans, the people of Portland, and the bands scheduled to play with us that night, unfortunately the only sensible decision was not to take that chance.

We hope to find another way to play for you in the future. Thanks for even trying to see us. It sincerely is much more than appreciated.


And Merck Mercuridis would post on the fan forum Here Today... Gone To Hell:

I normally do not respond on HTGTH but a number of your posts have been brought to my attention today and I feel it is right to take the time to dispel the negative speculation through a statement of facts:

1. The show in Portland was cancelled last night because the fire marshall made it impossible for us to believe we could do our show without putting at risk the safety of the fans and the band. They made it clear that they intended to harrass our fans, crew and the band through enforcing rules and regulations that are 200 years old to an extent that has not been applied to other artists and that we believed would make the gig a potential time bomb that would explode. Our Production Manager Chris Gratton is a seasoned pro who has worked with everyone from Korn to R Kelley and has terrific relationships with Fire Marshalls and authorities all over the world. This is the first time he has ever come to us and said this is a dangerous situation and these people intend to use their authority in a negative way against our fans, our band and our crew and I need you to do something about it.

The cancellation had nothing to do with pyro or ticket sales. Putting our fans, band and crew first cost $200,000 last night so we did not make the decision without great thought and care and it was made in consultation with our agents and our promoter both of whom lost money as a result and both of whom supported our decision 100% as they too could see that the authorities were more than overzealous in their approach. For all of you to be speculating without any knowledge or credible information that the responsibility for this is Axl's or the band's is nonsense. This band has performed more than 50 shows this year without incident and had every intention of performing last night. They did not perform because we - the professionals around the band - stopped them as we did not feel it was safe for them or for the fans. We take our responsibility to the band seriously and we take our responsibility to the fans seriously. Now if you want to vent your spleens about this do it to the people responsible ie the fire marshalls. We named them for a reason. They are the reason why the Cumberland County Civic Center did not rock last night.

[...]

3. Ticket sales.

Guns N' Roses have sold almost 200,000 tickets already for this run and we still have 7 weeks to go. We have sold almost 50,000 tickets in the New York area alone this year between Hammerstein Ballroom, the Meadowlands and Madison Square Garden on the back of one interview with Ed Trunk and before the album has come out. Most bands do not go to Portland, Maine because it is what the music business calls a "soft market" but we had a lot of letters from fans in the area and we were determined to play there regardless of whether it was "only" 3500 people. We are doing something positive in a negative world. If you are with us fantastic. If you want to live your live in an adverse way stay at home.


Nelson Collins, supervisor of licensing and inspections at the State Fire Marshal's Office, would claim the main reason the band had cancelled the show was the state's restrictions on alcohol consumption on stage [The Portland Press Herald, November 8, 2006]. This explanation would then be picked up by other news media [Associated Press, November 10, 2006; Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 11, 2006].


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Sat 1 May 2021 - 8:08

NOVEMBER 8-10, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES


After the cancelled gig in Portland, the tour continued with a show at the DCU Center, Worcester, USA, November 8.

Excerpt of review of the DCU Center show in The Boston Herald:

Rarely is a show so good and so disappointing. In the first moments, as the spotlights swarmed the crowd and the opening chords of "Welcome to the Jungle" echoed around the arena, a fighting-weight Rose screamed, "Do you know where you are?" and it looked like he was going to pull it off. The years and hours of waiting (G N'R didn't go on until 11:45) suddenly seemed worth it. But the moment faded fast.

As the band wailed through favorites from "Appetite for Destruction" - "Jungle" was quickly followed by "It's So Easy" and "Mr. Brownstone" - cracks started to show. Rose was unhappy with the sound and complained he couldn't hear his vocals. At this point in G N'R's career, sound problems are inexcusable, but perhaps not surprising.

Rose's thin yet still unique voice barely made the list of problems. When you've got a band with no charisma and no personality, mediocre vocals aren't what hold you back. With only Rose left from the original G N'R lineup, the band is a bloated octet of soulless virtuosos.


The tour continued to its second show in New York, this one at Madison Square Garden on November 10. Bumblefoot would comment on playing this legendary venue which had been a lifelong dream for him:

It's a dream come true. When I was 5 years old I got the Kiss 'Alive' record and that's what made me want to be musician. That's what made me want to do this. Then, the first concert I saw when I was 9 was Kiss at Madison Square Garden. And my goal was to some day play Madison Square Garden that same way - with all the bombs and the pyro. And now we're playing Continental and MSG. So, after 30 years of busting me ass, not giving up, I'm finally there.

One of the places I was dying to play was the Madison Square Garden in NYC. Grew up in NYC, first band I saw was Kiss at MSG, dream was to play there someday...happened in November. Same for Frank. We played a tribute to Kiss that night, Ace Frehley's solo from the Kiss Alive! album-what a great feeling to play that at the Garden.

It felt like climbing a mountain for years, and finally reaching the top. And then you start looking for the next mountain...
The Telegraph Calcutta, June 2013

It's one of those things where as a child you see KISS there, with the makeup, and the bombs, the spitting of blood and everything, the fire, the smoking guitar, and you say to yourself, "Man, someday I want to do this." Then after decades of life kicking your ass, your goal is more of, "I just want to pay my rent and it'll be cool." (Laughs)

Then when it finally happens, and you set foot on that stage playing, and you've finished the show, you're like, "Alright, I did it". I pretty much remember saying that I could retire now happily. If it all ended here, I would be okay. Because it was that one lifelong thing that every New York musician wishes for. "Someday I'm going to play The Garden." To finally do it was one of those things where you feel like you've been climbing a mountain for 30 years, then you finally reach the top, and you get to stick a little flag in it.

I would have to say playing Madison Square Garden [was my crowning glory moment]. It was where I saw my first KISS concert, and that was back in '79. I always wished that someday I could do that...and sure enough many, many years later I got to do it...what I had aspired towards...what I had envisioned...the pyro, lights sound, etc.. it had finally happened. After that show, I thought if I had to retire I wouldn't feel completely, like I didn't get it done. [...] The whole time I was worried something would happen to screw it up ...thinking to myself please don't let anything screw this up! I just wanted to make sure we completed the show! Please, people don't throw anything at the singer, please for me... I just wanted to finish the show...and do my guitar solo.

I think it was playing at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The story behind is that when I was a little kid about 5 years old all the other kids came “We just got the Kiss-album. Kiss Alive” and I was a real fan of kiss and that was the album that excited me most and that made me want to get on stage and play. And the first concert I went to was Kiss at Madison Square Garden. And some time I thought, it would be amazing to do that one day. And years later 2006 we did it. And it was amazing what was going on, the pyro, the lights. And to be there was like a childhood dream that had become true. [...] The only thing I was nervous about was that it could not happen. So I thought “Don´t let anything fuck this up.” But there were no problems.

It felt like climbing a mountain for years, and finally reaching the top. And then you start looking for the next mountain...


The show at the Garden was also special to Frank:

Well that night that Guns played a Garden was a big, big deal for myself and my family. Yeah, my dad, Cuban immigrant, didn't speak, doesn't speak any English or didn't speak in his past, and I was bugging him to go see KISS and KISS was playing Madison Square Garden. He went out and got me tickets. And it was my dad, my sister, and I in 1977, December, was our Christmas present and we saw Alive II at the Garden and it changed my life. The reason I'm sitting here now with John and with everyone here is because I saw KISS that night and I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And then 30 some odd years years later I got to play Madison Square Garden so it was awesome.  


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