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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 May 01, 2021 7:08 am

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:

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.


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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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:08 am

NOVEMBER 11, 2006
MERCK AND GUNS N' ROSES LEAVE SANCTUARY


On November 11, 2006, it was announced that Merck Mercuriadis was leaving Sanctuary Group and taking some of his clients with him, including Guns N' Roses [Billboard, November 6, 2006]. Media had for months speculated in Merck leaving and that he intended to join Irving Azoff's Front Line Management [Hits Daily Double (via Blabbermouth), Sept. 7, 2006; Hits Daily Double, October 19, 2006; Hits Daily Double, October 31, 2006; Billboard, November 6, 2006]. In the end, Merck did not join Front Line Management [Hits Daily Double (via Blabbermouth), November 17, 2006].


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:08 am

NOVEMBER 13, 2006
AXL ATTENDS PARKINSON'S DISEASE FUNDRAISER


On November 13, Axl would attend a fundraiser to support Michael J. Fox' Foundation for Parkinson's Research [People Magazine, November 13, 2006]. During the Beatles-themes event, Axl sang 'Live and Let Die' [People Magazine, November 13, 2006].

When asked why he performed at the event, Axl replied:

Michael had asked. We actually used a sample of Michael J. Fox from (his film) Casualties of War in one of our songs that will be on the new album. So I felt, one, I've always been a fan of his. And I also feel for the guy and his situation. I'm for stem-cell research, so I just thought it would be wrong not for me to come when I was asked.




Michael J. Fox and Axl
November 13, 2006. Image copyright: Getty images.



My thanks to Michael, Mohammed and Martin Scorcese for having me.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:08 am

NOVEMBER 13-21, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES


The tour continued with gigs at the 1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, USA, November 13; the Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada, November 15; and Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Canada, November 17.

After the show in Baltimore, Sebastian Bach would talk about the touring:

I just can't believe that I'm on the road with Axl again fifteen years later. That's really crazy. [...] It actually feels a lot more the same [=as in 1991]. There's a lot more similarities to talk about than differences, because there's nothing like music that transports you to where you were when you first heard it. So when I'm in a big arena like I was last night in Baltimore, and there's thousands of people in front of me, and I'm singing '18 & Life,' the only difference is that in 1991 people held up lighters and in 2006 they hold up cell phones. [...] It is fun [doing My Michelle], but it's also challenging vocally to do my whole set and then wait through Papa Roach and then come out at the end and scream at the top of my lungs again. [Laughs.] [...] I thank God for Axl Rose for bringing me on tour. Welcome to the jungle of the youth gone wild; we're gonna tear it up. Rock & roll is back, mother trucker — that's what I want to say.
Riverfront Times, November 22, 2006


And after the show in Toronto, Bach got a bad review resulting in him claiming that if it wasn't for him giving it his all, Axl wouldn't even tour:

Then I see a review in the Toronto Sun that makes it sound like I'm the worst thing to ever happen in the history of music. Meanwhile, the only reason Axl is even on the road is because he's watching me on a monitor backstage every night giving him motivation to do it, too.
Eye Weekly, April 16, 2008




The Ottawa Citizen
November 19, 2006


The band continued to Colisée Pepsi, Quebec City, Canada, November 18; Metro Centre, Halifax, Canada, November 20; and to Harbour Station, Saint John, Canada, November 21.

Review of the November 20 show at Metro Center in Halifax in Infomonkey.net (Halifax entertainment site):

Once 11:50 pm rolled around, I'm sure many of us were convinced he wouldn't show. We've all the heard the horror stories. Even recently, it was reported Guns N' Roses cancelled their show in Portland Maine because they weren't allowed to drink alcohol onstage. I must say, I was worried.

But after all the waiting, the jeering, and the cheers of anticipation, once the first few bars of "Welcome To The Jungle" came through the speakers, the place erupted. For the next two hours, Axl Rose would have every one of us in the palm of his hand.

Through most of 'Welcome to the Jungle,' it was difficult to even hear Axl's voice over the noise of the crowd. The explosions popped at just the right moments, the crackling noise blasting everyones eardrums as Axl bounded frenetically across the stage. The onslaught of the guitars was even greater than expected, since the band chose to have three guitarists on-stage all at once. Robin Finck and Tommy Stinson were in top form, infusing each song with flashy, screaming solos that screamed 1983.

The concert did have a certain nostalgic feeling throughout, as I guess that's warranted being a Guns N' Roses show. During the sonic, 'You Could Be Mine,' a video screen above showed retro drag racing clips set against changing neon backgrounds. The video illuminated the stage completely as Axl screamed the lyrics to the crowd.

A personal highlight for me was "Mr. Brownstone," a song so obvious in its statement on the struggles of heroin addiction, its almost odd the song has such a raucous feel. The live version was even better than I could imagine. Axl, with his trademark howl blowing through the chorus "No, no, now-oh-oh, he won't leave me alone."

But I'm sure many people who attended this show will say their fondest moment came during the classic 'November Rain,' the rock ballad everyone knows the second it starts. The lights went down and the lighters went up, and the grand piano became the focus of everyone's attention. The crowd sung along with every word too, their hands swaying back and forth. The scene was exactly how I pictured it would be.

It appears for right now at least, Axl Rose and company are exactly where they need to be.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:09 am

NOVEMBER 24-25, 2006
"PIGEONS OF SHIT METAL"


The next show on the North American tour was at the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, USA, on November 24. For this show, the band had Suicide Girls, Sebastian Bach, and Eagles of Death Metal (EODM) as opener. EODM was not well received by the fans waiting for the headlining act [Cleveland Leader, November 25, 2006; The Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 27, 2006; MTV News, November 27, 2006; Akron Beacon Journal, November 30, 2006].

During Guns N' Roses' set, Axl, who was described as being in a foul mood [MTV News, November 27, 2006] and would allegedly fire the soundman during the show [Cleveland Leader, November 25, 2006], would make the following comment on EODM:

So how'd you like the Pigeons of Shit Metal? Don't worry, that's the last show they're playing with us.


John Soeder, pop critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, would comment:

My impression was, and I don't want to belittle the GN'R fans, but they didn't really get the inside-joke quality of the Eagles ... or the facial hair. [...] Sebastian Bach ... they ate up his hair metal hits from the '80s and the new stuff, which sounded like the old stuff. But the audience seemed to be confused [during the Eagles' set] as to who the joke was on. They like their metal unironic. Numerous songs slipped into falsetto, and if you're a purist heavy-metal fan, falsetto isn't good.


On November 27, EODM would respond to being kicked off the tour in a press release:

At first the audience refused to welcome us to the jungle, but by the time we took our final bow, it had become paradise city. Although Axl tried to November rain on our parade, no sweet child o' mine can derail the EODM night train. We say live and let die.


A few days later, Jesse Hughes from EODM would talk about the incident:

I saw people booing the Suicide Girls. A rock show booing hot naked chicks is not a rock show — it's a freak show. And now I'm just sorry we won't be touring with the Suicide Girls every day.

I've been really thinking about this because, to be honest with you, I don't know what happened. I think he's just jealous of my mustache.

I can't take this personally. I'm disappointed that Axl Rose presents himself as sort of a knighted person in the pantheon of rock and roll and behaves so poorly. People want to see him freak out. And that's just not the place for the Eagles of Death Metal.

Axl Rose is fucking out of his mind. He wasn’t even there when we played. He got there about 30 minutes after we got done playing. He waltzed on to the stage and went nuts.


Commenting on the audience booing them:

It had nothing to do with us. That sh-- doesn't faze me, and we turned it around and we had a f---ing kick-ass show and we walked off the stage to a cheering crowd. When you're not the headlining band, you've got to win them over, which we did.

When we first walked out there the crowd were jeering but it was because we weren’t Axl Rose. These kids had been waiting there since seven o’clock for the second coming of Christ and Axl wasn’t there yet. So a bunch of happy go lucky sincere and real deal rock and rollers came out and started playing. The jeers only went on for a little bit. By the end of the set we’d won those fuckers over.

That was one of the most bizarre nights in my life. We played in an arena that seats 20,000 people and there were barely 5,000. First some strippers climbed on stage and the audience started chasing them off the stage. That was the first time I saw anybody chasing away strippers from the stage.

When it was our turn, they also started driving us off the stage, screaming that we suck, but after a few songs, they evidently liked us. We played what we had planned and left satisfied.
Javno, February 19, 2007


Reagan from Suicide Girls would also talk about the booing:

The first night that EODM played they played a really good show but they went on after Sebastian Bach and the crowd response was really really negative. It just wasn’t the right kind of music for the crowd that came out to see Guns n’ Roses. They were getting boo-ed through all their songs and they cut their set twenty minutes short and stormed off the stage. We [the Suicide Girls] went back out and did a second set to fill time. But the crowd hated us too and just wanted to see Axl.


And when discussing Axl's comments, Hughes would claim it had made Tommy angry:

When [Rose] called us the 'Pigeons of Sh-- Metal,' Tommy Stinson took his bass off, threw it down and went, 'F--- you, that's it!' to Axl. And then Axl picked [Stinson's] bass up and threw it at [him].

He had a couple of fans thrown out for pissing him off. Then when he called us The Pigeons Of Shit Metal, Tommy Stinson, their bass player took his bass off and goes: 'Fuck you, that’s it'. And then he threw his bass down. But then Axl picked up his bass and fucking threw it at him dude. It was a fucking circus up there.

Then Axl came on who did not actually see us play because he was an hour late for the concert.

Then he began playing and after two songs he completely lost control. In the middle of the concert he fired several technicians, his personal assistant with whom he has been friends for 25 years and then he said to the audience “How did you like the ‘Pigeons of Shit Metal’?”.

At that moment his bass player just threw the bass guitar on the floor and left the stage. Axl picked up the bass guitar and threw it at him. It was crazy. I think you can see that on YouTube.
Javno, February 19, 2007


Merck Mercuriadis would deny this:

There is no truth to either claim [that Rose fired a crew member or that Stinson threw down his bass] as evidenced by the fact that our crew remains identical to when the tour started almost six weeks ago, and to say Axl threw a bass at Tommy is pure fiction. The Eagles of Death Metal were asked to leave the tour not only because Guns N' Roses' audience hated them and tore them apart but because they could not handle the response. They were supposed to play a 60-minute set but left the stage after 42 minutes due to the hostile reception. The facts do not support the image they are trying to portray, which is why they are attempting to put this spin on it.


And Tommy would later respond to the accusations:

As a matter of fact, Eagles of Death Metal were a suggestion of mine a while ago. Turns out they were the wrong band for our crowd. They were booed and did not play for as long as they were scheduled to.

As for all of the inaccuracies that have been said since, I would like to say that’s all they are -- inaccuracies. In the past I have thrown my bass. I have never thrown it at Axl or anyone else in the band nor has anyone thrown my bass back at me ... yet. Axl has been a dear friend to me for nine years. We have no problem communicating and wish that people would stay the fuck out of shit they don’t know anything about. There was no GN’R mutiny or any such thing after the Cleveland gig and as far as I’m concerned this tour has been the most fun yet. The band is playing great and getting along better than we ever have. With that said, either get on board or fuck off.


Reagan from Suicide Girls would also give her opinion on why EODM was fired:

Axl fired them for storming off stage without completing their set in a very public manner. Axl is great. He keeps to himself for the most part but gave us a ride on his private jet one time . . . [He] sent champagne and flowers to our dressing room all the time and was so gracious to us and we’d love to tour with him again in the future.


Hughes would also claim they were invited back on tour early in the morning after the show:

By the end of the night that guy [Rose] had caused a giant uproar. It was like a total mutiny on the part of his band and everyone. I could hear screaming in the dressing room, 'Those are our friends and you’ve insulted our friends'. Then at 4am in the morning our tour manager gets a phone call which essentially amounted to: 'Axl’s thought about it, he thought you guys were a band getting shoved on his tour from the label. He’s really sorry and you’re more than welcome to finish the tour'.

When my manager told me that, I just said, 'You can tell that motherfucker to go and fuck himself because I will never go through that again'.

[Being asked if it was true Axl had called to get them back on the tour, and how Hughes responded]: “Go fuck yourself”.
Javno, February 19, 2007


Later, Hughes would say the tour had not been right from them:

When we showed up it was a 25,000 seat arena with 5,000 kids there; not a single one of 'em born when 'Appetite For Destruction' came out. And I remember looking at my manager going, 'Dude, I think we made a mistake, man, apparently the rock went to [former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash's group] Velvet Revolver.' This band lost the 'uns' and the 'roses' and they’re just 'g' and 'r', you know what I mean?
NME, February 3, 2009


Hughes would also suggest the reason Axl had been so negative was due to Hughes' friendship with Dave Grohl:

I really do believe it has a lot to do with the fact that he [Axl] hates Dave Grohl with a passion and we're in the same gang. Because he blames Dave Grohl for ending their [Guns N' Roses] career, and that famous MTV Music Awards when they got into a fight and Dave was on stage going, 'Hi Axl!', taunting him from the pulpit, so to speak.
NME, February 3, 2009


In another interview, Hughes would mention he had got a tattoo celebrating Axl's insult:

[It was] the most wonderful insult that anyone could ever ask for. That insult, in and of itself made my career.
Kerrang! Podcast (via Blabbermouth), February 10, 2009


After Cleveland, the band continued to the The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI, USA, November 25; and then to Chicago and Allstate Arena, Rosemont, USA, November 27. After the Chicago show the band had planned an acoustic gig, but this was cancelled due to Axl's illness [see next chapter]:

We had a great show in Chicago tonight and had hoped to do a surprise acoustic show afterwards. I have been fighting this off for a long time but the doctor told me tonight that the only way not to jeopardise the balance of the tour is immediate rest.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:09 am

AXL IS ILL,
NOVEMBER 29 MILWAUKEE SHOW CANCELLED


After the November 25 show in Chicago, two gigs were cancelled due to Axl being sick:

WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S GUNS N' ROSES SHOW IN MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN IS CANCELLED

The Guns N' Roses concert scheduled for Milwaukee's Bradley Center on November 29 has been cancelled due to illness. Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose is suffering from an ear infection and strep throat.

Rose was first diagnosed with the ear infection on the 20th of November in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was seen again by a doctor last night following the band's show in Chicago and ordered to rest for a few days.

The tour will continue as scheduled Friday night in Ames, Iowa at Hilton Coliseum.

Axl Rose commented, "We had a great show in Chicago tonight and had hoped to do a surprise acoustic show afterwards. I have been fighting this off for a long time but the doctor told me tonight that the only way not to jeopardise the balance of the tour is immediate rest. We will now have 3 days off before continuing Friday. We are sorry to miss the fans in Milwaukee."

Ticket refunds are available at point-of-purchase locations.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:10 am

DECEMBER 1 AND 2, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES


After a short break due to Axl being sick, the tour continued with a show at the Hilton Coliseum, Ames, USA, December 1. For this show the band started unusually late, as this review in The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 3, makes a point of:

When fans buy tickets for a show on Friday, they usually assume that the show will start on Friday.

Apparently not in Guns N' Roses' case.

For reasons that were never fully explained, the legendary band didn't take the stage at Hilton Coliseum until 12:32 a.m. Saturday, more than four-and-a-half hours after the concert's listed start time.

By the time things wrapped up at 2:40 a.m., many in the crowd of more than 5,000 had walked out early.


The band would explain the reason for being late at gunsnroses.com:

Guns N' Roses had a great night in Ames, Iowa last night. It was fantastic for everyone to get back on stage with Axl, on the road to recovery from the ear infection and the strep throat that caused their Milwaukee show to be cancelled. It was also really positive to have Helmet join the band alongside Suicide Girls, Modern Day Zero and Sebastian Bach after the disappointment that was The Eagles Of Death Metal.

Axl and the band would also like to thank everyone for staying extra late in Ames. They left Chicago in the morning but what was supposed to be a 1 hour plane flight turned into a 12 hour bus ride due to the severe weather that hit Chicago and most of the country. The bus was diverted several times by the police due to major accidents and for a time there was real concern that the band would not make it. In the end it was all good and once again they would like to thank everyone for their patience and willingness to stay up late as well as apologise to anyone that had to leave! They look forward to seeing you over the next few weeks and wishing you Merry Christmas!


After this explanation, The Cedar Rapids Gazette would comment:

Still, I have to ask: Why did we only hear this after the show?

The crew must have known what was going on. There is no way Guns N' Roses members don't have cell phones. The info should have been passed along to the crowd. Maybe something like, "Their bus just passed Tama, so hang in there, everybody."

Instead, the fans got a wall of silence. And strippers.

People were booing. Fans were walking out. A guy behind me was calling for them to burn the place down.

Still, officials said nothing.


The tour continued to Target Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA, December 2.

Before this show, Sebastian Bach would talk about the tour:

It was the most amazing thing for Axl to ask my band to join the tour. It's something I've waited for for a long time. I get offers to do those package tours, the nostalgia-oriented ones, but I always say no. But Guns N' Roses, that one I'll do. I'm very, very lucky. There's a lot of firsts on this tour for me. We got to play a sold-out Madison Square Garden. There have been a lot of places I've never played before, and for an old guy like me, it's great.


And on having to wait for hours from his own set until it is time to sing My Michelle with Axl:

Well, I've been on the road since June. And, you know, that whole 'My Michelle' thing is great. I sing my own stuff, then wait two or three hours and jump up there and scream even harder. I've been doing that every day. It's good work if you can get it. The one thing I've learned about myself -- and I learned this when I did 'Jesus Christ Superstar' -- is that my voice is probably the strongest part about me. It's the rest of me that gets tired. My legs and my eyeballs and my arms and my brain. But my pipes are fine.


Bach would also talk about Axl's voice:

He likes to laugh. He likes to joke around, like, a lot. And he's got the most unique voice I've ever heard. His speaking voice is this low baritone, Clint Eastwood kind of a voice. And then when he laughs, it's like a boy soprano's highest note that comes out. You know, he's singing better than ever now, and that's a fact. That's one thing about Axl people forget. He is one of the best rock 'n' roll singers that ever lived.


Excerpt from review in Star Tribune where Axl would, like in many other reviews from this tour, be complimented on his good mood and professionality:

Alas, Axl never made the nearly 2 1/2-hour gig. The guy who did emerge on stage to scream, "Do you know where you [expletive] are?" sounded like Rose. He even looked like him, although, thanks to Axl's reclusiveness, no one really knows his look nowadays besides cornrows and pale skin.

But this fill-in guy - let's call him Rose's Bud - was too congenial and way too professional to be the ne'er-do-well Axl we've all come to know. He seemed happy to be back, and he looked to be in better shape than Rose did in 2002 at Target Center, when his 12-years-in-the-making "Chinese Democracy" album was supposedly almost done (it's still not out).

Rose's Bud even generously shared stage time with his bandmates. We all know that the real Axl - who long ago split with GNR's original players - would never do that.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:11 am

DECEMBER 4-15, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONTINUES;
GUNS N' BUBBLES


At the Canadian leg of the tour, the character Bubbles from the TV series Trailer Park Boys would come on stage to sing his song Liquor and Whores with the band [MTS Centre website, December 5, 2006; Winnipeg Sun, December 5, 2006]. Sebastian Bach had been a fan of Trailer Park Boys and had asked Axl at Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks in May 2006 if he was a fan of the show, to which Axl joked:

Uh, you know, I stay out of that section of the video screen.


The shows were MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Canada, December 4, Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Canada, December 6 and Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB, Canada, December 7.

Then the band returned to USA for Everett Events Center, Everett, USA, December 10 and Rose Garden Arena, Portland, USA, December 11.

The next show in Fresno was cancelled:

Live Nation and Guns N' Roses have announced that the Guns N' Roses show at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA has been cancelled. Sincere apologies go out to all the fans in Fresno who bought a ticket. We hope you can make it to the band's show in Oakland, CA at the ORACLE Arena (formerly Oakland Arena) on Friday night the 15th of December, which will proceed as scheduled. Refunds for the Fresno show are available at point of purchase.


The band then did a show at Oracle Arena, Oakland, USA, December 15. At this show the band donated tickets for the show to a local gun-exchange program with people handing in guns or ammo potentially receiving tickets for the show in return [East Bay Daily News, December 1, 2006; The Oakland Tribune, December 1, 2006; The San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 1, 2006; East Bay Express, December 2, 2006].

During the show, Lars Ulrich would join the band to drum on Out Ta Get Me:

Guns N’ Roses fans were given a rare treat during Friday night’s show at Oracle Arena when Metallica drummer and Bay Area resident Lars Ulrich joined the band on stage for a raucous performance of the classic rocker "Out Ta Get Me."

Ulrich was greeted with a standing ovation from the packed house and got right to work, bashing the drum kit in trademark Ulrich style.

When the song ended, a smiling Ulrich leapt off the elevated drum riser and hugged his old buddy W. Axl Rose in the middle of the stage before bowing to his frenzied local brethren.

It was a monster rock reunion of sorts for Ulrich and Rose, whose legendary bands toured together in 1992 when GN’R was enjoying the success of their Use Your Illusion albums.


Review in East Bay Express, December 20, 2006:

Brawls, leather, and $35 T-shirts: What more could you expect from a Guns N' Roses show at the Oracle Arena? Certainly not that the resurrected group would rock as hard as it did. The band has done nothing but plant itself firmly on the butt of a giant joke through the interminably delayed release of Chinese Democracy. And Axl Rose, the only remaining original member, made headlines recently for the rude move of booting the talented Eagles of Death Metal from the current tour. Even diehard fans must've admitted expectations were modest going into the night.

Six hours and 45 minutes later, when the packed concert finally let out at 2:45 a.m., it was a different story. Axl and his new crew of seven musicians -- including one guy on bongos and three lead guitarists needed to take Slash's place -- worked the Roses catalogue from every angle. Skeptics at 8 p.m. were surely singing "Live and Let Die," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and "November Rain" as they emerged into the cold and dark Oakland night after GN'R's two-plus hours onstage. Any lingering tension from a series of fights on the floor during the break between Guns N' Roses and opener Sebastian Bach had long since evolved to joy.

Axl's voice may not be as strong as it was at the band's peak fifteen years ago, but he can still dance, and all his trademark moves came out to play. Wearing jeans and a black leather shirt, his red hair tied back in tight cornrows, he disguised his age well. Let's not mince words: Backed by a stable of able musicians, including bassist Tommy Stinson of the Replacements and drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica, who made a one-song guest appearance, all Axl had to do was sell Guns N' Roses' many hits. And that he did. Three video screens, pyrotechnics (whose heat blasts could be felt a hundred feet away), and an impressive lights display added to the arena rock spectacle. Instrumental covers of Jimi Hendrix' "Angel" and the Rolling Stones' "Angie" rounded off the set with a touch of old-fashioned integrity.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:11 am

DECEMBER 2006
CHINESE DEMOCRACY IS STILL NOT FINISHED;
A TENTATIVE RELEASE DATE OF MARCH 6, 2007


On December 14, Axl would post the following statement to gunsnroses.com and confirmed what had become increasingly clear over the last months: Chinese Democracy would not come out in 2006. In the letter Axl would talk about the difficult process of making the record and mention behind-the-scenes hurdles, including legal issues:

To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement. Overcoming the endless and seemingly insane amount of obstacles faced by all involved, notwithstanding the emotional challenges endured by everyone -- the fans, the band, our road crew and business team -- has at many times seemed like a bad dream in which one wakes up only to find that they are still in the nightmare. Unfortunately, this time it has been played out for over a decade in real life.

The true, ongoing, behind-the-scenes triumphs and casualties are much more complicated than any negative speculation that the media or otherwise has managed to hit upon. For much of the time, various legal issues have arisen, demanding that the best way to deal with these things publicly, quite frankly, was to keep our mouths shut in an attempt to ensure the best outcome -- especially one that wouldn’t jeopardize the band or the album. It’s easy for people to point out how others have handled similar situations or how they would have dealt with these issues themselves if they encountered them in their own lives. But again, without full knowledge of the various dynamics and circumstances involved, these types of comments or commentary are just uninformed, disassociated, generally useless -- and often hindering -- speculation.


Axl would also suggest that the band's management, and Merck Mercuriadis in particular, had made mistakes that caused the touring to intervene with the record launch:

When I agreed to do our recent North American tour, I did it with the understanding that my manager, Merck Mercuriadis, and I were in full agreement regarding our strategy and touring plans and, most important, that any and all things needed to release the album by Dec. 26 at the latest were in place. Unfortunately, it turned out that this was not the case, and I regret to say that the album will not be released by the end of the year. Although many things went extremely well and were very exciting, there were, in our opinion, unnecessary and avoidable complications on our tour having to do with the tour routing, scheduling and album and video plans that wreaked havoc on all involved. This was compounded by an overall sense of a lack of respect by management for the band and crew and each individual's particular expertise that has resulted, unfortunately, in the end of both Guns’ and my managerial involvement with Merck Mercuriadis.


Yet, the record is close to being completed and Axl would suggest a tentative release date of March 6, 2007:

In regard to a release date for the album itself, certain minor –- and I do mean minor -- additions, as well as contract negotiations, need to be completed. Barring any unforeseen complications, these things have now been adequately scheduled. The band and I, along with our record company, feel that this record deserves the proper setup and promotion, not the “13 Tuesdays left” and “It may just appear in your record store” approach offered by management. We believe this strategy may have been used as a tool by management to sell this latest tour to the various promoters, and if this was the case, this was obviously unfair to them. The stress of dealing with this situation has been considerable for everyone, including the band, but more important, in our opinion, it was something utterly insane to do to our fans. You have our apologies, and please know we have been laboring over this with management for the entire North American tour.

It takes approximately eight weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company. For whatever reasons, it appears that it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this time period could be condensed to three weeks. With that being said, this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee, but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6. This is the first time we have done this publicly for this album. Others have made up all the other dates for their own reasons. We would like to assure the fans that everything in our power will be done to meet this date. Once it is finalized and official, you will be notified. If we are delayed for unseen reasons, you also will be notified as soon as possible in regard to a new date, and the album will be released as shortly thereafter as is possible. We thank you for your patience.

In the end, it’s just an album, but it’s one that I, the band, our record company and all involved believe and feel is a true Guns N’ Roses album. Ultimately the public will decide, and regardless of the outcome, our hearts, lives and our passion has been put into this project every step of the way. If for no other reason, we feel those elements alone merit your consideration. We do hope you can hold on just a bit longer, and if not, please take a break and we’ll be more than glad -- if you so choose -- to see you again later.

Once again, we offer our sincere apologies and our deepest thanks. Guns N’ Roses also would like to thank all the fans who attended the 70 concerts in 21 countries for their support in 2006. All the best to each and every one of you over this holiday season, thank you and God bless.


The day after, Merck responded in his own letter where he clearly blamed Axl Axl's muse for the record not being finished:

The reality is all of this year's touring was planned and agreed between Axl and myself, with a view to the album being in the stores before the 31st of December '06. This was confirmed by Axl in numerous interviews - most famously at the MTV Video Music Awards. We planned the tour in February, just after Axl's birthday and we were supposed to finish the album in May, before it started. We sent our engineers to New York, where we all waited, for over a month, for the muse to come but she never arrived. We then scheduled sessions in London in August and had our engineers meet us there at the end of the English tour. August came and went and once again the muse did not show. We postponed our proposed radio date of Labour Day for the first single and we came back to LA and tried to finish before the San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles shows but yet again she eluded us. Axl then asked me to postpone the North American tour which was due to start on 24th of September by a month and finally, early in that period after the euphoria of Inland Invasion, Axl made a break through and got two or three very productive days under his belt.

At this point we were very excited as Axl's feeling was that we had two or three days of work left to tidy things up and we still had three weeks before the tour started, so we were in good shape. Unfortunately the muse disappeared just as fast as she came and the tour started with no single at radio to support it and the album still needing two or three days of work. Despite this, it was a break through period as Robin, Bumblefoot and Frank had all made important contributions to the album that made it even stronger. By the way none of the above is meant as a criticism of Axl. It is the reality of trying to create something special under incredible pressure from the public - that wants and DEMANDS the record - and the record industry - that NEEDS it. The creative process is not something you can dictate and Axl is a true artist.

At this time I seriously considered postponing the start of the tour, again, as the album was of paramount importance but the reality was that our historic track record left us with very little good will with you, the fans, and we needed the money to be able to complete the album and keep the band alive. We scheduled sessions in New York and once again sent the engineers there for the first two weeks of November while the tour was based there - but the hectic touring schedule meant nothing got done. The record company refused to conclude the renegotiation until we were ready to hand over the finished album and refused to prepare a marketing campaign or commission video treatments until they had it in their hands. This is still their position as of this week.

At this point despite the success of many of the dates on the tour the pressure on all of us became unbearable. While some of Axl's letter is disappointing - As John Lennon once asked Paul McCartney "How Do You Sleep?" - until you have walked a mile in his shoes you cannot begin to comprehend the pressure he is under. I know I sleep well at night in the knowledge that when Chinese Democracy hits the streets in March that it is in large part down to my efforts over the last almost 5 years. I found the money and the motivation to keep Axl and the band alive and get the record made when everyone else had given up and walked away. We worked as a team united to make Chinese Democracy a reality. In the end the album will speak for itself but our relationship could not survive the pressure.

I have no regrets. I believe Chinese Democracy is one of the best albums ever made, Axl Rose is one of the greatest vocalists and front men and the new Guns N' Roses (which kicks the shit out of the old) is one of the greatest bands. What we accomplished in 2006 only hints at what is to come.

I believe in Axl Rose. I am the artist's manager and it is my responsibility and job to take the heat. I promise you Chinese Democracy is worth it and you should keep the faith. I will walk away knowing I have done my best and that next year will see Axl recognized not only as a great singer and rock icon but as one of the greatest artists of all time.

[...]

PS I apologize to all the fans irked by my facetious comments regarding the release date to Rolling Stone magazine. They were meant to poke fun at a magazine that had announced a definitive release date, causing us all lots of grief, when none had been set. Unfortunately many of you took them to heart and for that I am sorry.


Merck would also attach a copy of an email he sent to Axl on December 12, 2006, where he discussed releasing the the album on February 6 or March 20, 2007, and concluded that the latter date would be better [An Open Letter To Guns N' Roses Fans From Merck Mercuriadis, December 15, 2006]. As seen above, Axl opted to go for March 6, instead.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:11 am

JANUARY 10-16, 2007
SHOWS ARE CANCELLED TO FINISH CHINESE DEMOCRACY


In his letters to the fans, Axl would also announce that January shows had been cancelled so Chinese Democracy could be finished:

Guns N’ Roses regrets to announce that the following concert tour dates have been canceled:

January 10: Sacramento
January 11: Bakersfield
January 13: Reno
January 16: San Diego

Because of the scheduling of these particular shows, valuable time needed by the band and record company for the proper setup and release of the album Chinese Democracy would have been lost. Rather than delay the album yet again, all involved have decided to remove these shows from GN’R’s schedule. We hope our fans understand and we apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused. Tickets may be refunded at point of purchase.


Duff responding to hearing Axl had cancelled the shows:

(Chuckle) Oh, he did? That's not surprising.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 7:12 am

DECEMBER 14, 2006
MERCK IS OUT


As was clear in Axl's open letter to the fans from December 14, 2006, Axl blamed Mercuriadis for the record not being ready and for various problems during the touring, and announced they would go their separate ways:

When I agreed to do our recent North American tour, I did it with the understanding that my manager, Merck Mercuriadis, and I were in full agreement regarding our strategy and touring plans and, most important, that any and all things needed to release the album by Dec. 26 at the latest were in place. Unfortunately, it turned out that this was not the case, and I regret to say that the album will not be released by the end of the year. Although many things went extremely well and were very exciting, there were, in our opinion, unnecessary and avoidable complications on our tour having to do with the tour routing, scheduling and album and video plans that wreaked havoc on all involved. This was compounded by an overall sense of a lack of respect by management for the band and crew and each individual's particular expertise that has resulted, unfortunately, in the end of both Guns’ and my managerial involvement with Merck Mercuriadis.


This did not come as a surprise to Merck, who in his response letter from December 15, attached a copy of an email he had sent to Axl on December 12 where he mentioned "the issues that exist between Axl and myself" and "any change in Management etc which may be made to be made" [An Open Letter To Guns N' Roses Fans From Merck Mercuriadis, December 15, 2006].

Later, Axl would also blame Merck for releasing merchandize based on old styles that resulted in a lawsuit from Duff and Slash:

I haven't been involved much in any of our merch and the reasons are it's been a mess legally for years. Unbeknownst to most of you I was recently sued again by Duff and Slash for some murky Merckiness that I was unaware and not involved in. Fortunately that was resolved but it got ugly and took a while going into arbitration. Merck shifted our merch from some of our newer styles to incorporating more of the old with some scam that actually and surprisingly lost sales in comparison but that's old news.


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Post by Soulmonster Fri May 28, 2021 1:49 pm

DECEMBER 17-20, 2006
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR CONCLUDES;
RETURN OF IZZY


For the three remaining shows of the tour, Izzy was back playing selected show. He had hinted this would happen earlier in an interview with TuneCore Podcast:

I may do some shows with Axl out here on the West Coast around Christmas.


The three shows took place at the Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, USA, on December 17, 19 and 20, 2006.

After the first show, Guns N' Roses' official site would have an update from the band:

The surprises keep coming for Guns N’ Roses, and the crowd at the Gibson Amphitheatre in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles was in for a big one Sunday night.

For the first time on the North American portion of the latest tour, original Guns member Izzy Stradlin joined the reformed band on stage for five songs.

Stradlin played guitar and sang harmonies with lead singer W. Axl Rose on classics “Think About You,” “Used to Love Her,” “Patience” and “Nightrain,” and he came back for the last song, “Paradise City.”

Stradlin hasn’t exactly been a stranger to GN’R.

He appeared on stage with the band in May in New York shortly after Rose brought GN’R out of the woodwork with a new eight-piece lineup that features three guitarists –- Robin Finck, Richard Fortus and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.

Stradlin also played with GN’R on a European swing shortly before they began gigging in the United States.

Sunday’s show at the Gibson was the penultimate performance of the two-month North American tour featuring some of the material from the upcoming album Chinese Democracy, which Rose has slated for a tentative March 6 release.


Review of the first night in Live Daily, December 19:

If there are any questions regarding the return of Guns N' Roses, any cynics who still want to doubt frontman Axl Rose, or any suggestions that the current band is but a shell of the former lineup, they can all be laid to rest after Sunday night's (12/17) performance at the sold-out Gibson Amphitheater, in Universal City, CA.

Lay them to rest alongside grunge, rap-rock and emo, and in the vicinity of every other fad that has come and gone since Guns N' Roses last ruled the planet rock more than a decade ago. From top to bottom, the band's first of three nights in Los Angeles offered a two-hour-and-20-minute primer in rock-and-roll retribution, cementing the return of Axl Rose and showcasing a lineup poised to vault Guns N' Roses back atop the hard rock pantheon.

From the moment Robin Finck's truncated guitar riffs shot through the amphitheater like shards of shrapnel introducing "Welcome to the Jungle," a standing room-only crowd of more than 5,000 hinged on every note. Notes that Rose nailed with increasing--and remarkable--proficiency as the late-night set progressed into early morning.

While the iconic frontman has never been known for his range, his performance Sunday demonstrated a vocal maturity that surpassed even the most optimistic of expectations, running the gamut from the seductive color of "Sweet Child 'O Mine," through the pissed-off vehemence of "Out ta Get Me." While he hasn't transformed into a crystal-esque crooner, there was barely a sour note throughout the 20-song set. Clearly, Rose has markedly increased his command over his voicesince the band's L.A.-area show in September (at the KROQ Inland Invasion, their first So-Cal appearance in more than a decade).

"You Could Be Mine" offered an early highlight, the normally sedate L.A. crowd ripping through every word like it was 1992 and Nirvana never existed. Rose offered ample reason to revel, as he cut through a repertoire of now-classic hits like he'd been rebuilt and recharged in his time out of the spotlight, with his comeback, until now, serving as little more than fine-tuning.

It seemed as if nothing would rival the mid-set, epic build of "November Rain," but the fine showings kept mounting, Rose whistling the intro to "Patience" before putting in one of his more memorable performances of the night, then ripping through set closer "Nightrain" as if he had crossed the Hollywood Hills and returned to the Sunset Strip circa the late-'80s. All but the final three songs on Guns' "Appetite for Destruction" debut were performed.

It can be presumed that the five previously-unreleased songs will be heard on the upcoming and long-awaited "Chinese Democracy," which Rose announced last week will be hitting stores March 6. The encore-opening title track was a turbo-charged adrenaline rush befitting of the heaviest "Use Your Illusion" moments, while the Asian-tinged intro to "Better" and the mid-tempo flow of "Madagascar" demonstrated an understanding that while the punk rock madness of the band's early appetites may have been tempered by time, the residual grit is still resounding.

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" proved a fitting segue into new ballad "The Blues," while "I.R.S." did the same leading into "My Michelle." Opener Sebastian Bach has become a tour fixture on the latter, but the manic, metallic onslaught of the duo sharing lead vocals was quickly overshadowed by the introduction of original GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who joined the band for "Think About You," "Patience," "I Used to Love Her" and "Nightrain," then returned for the encore-closing "Paradise City."

Of the current band--which features "Illusion"-era keyboardist Dizzy Reed, ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, guitarists Finck, Richard Fortus and Bumblefoot, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Chris Pitman--Finck, Fortus and Reed each received time in the solo spotlight.

Reed manned a center stage piano as he bled a solo run through The Rolling Stones' "Angie" into the new ballad, Finck did a commendable job of making people forget about founding member Slash with a blues-hued solo that led into "Sweet Child," and Fortus merged an arena-rock shredfest into a blues duet with Finck, and finally into "Out ta Get Me." As could be said of the entire band, each paid dutiful respect to the GN'R legacy without sacrificing their individual flair and unique personalities.

In an era where nostalgia would be just fine, Guns N' Roses circa 2006 deliver much more. Sebastian Bach, meanwhile, knows the power of nostalgia and played it to his advantage in an hour-long opening set that was heavy on Skid Row hits.

Opener "Slave to the Grind" was delivered in double-time, and followed by "Big Guns" and "Here I Am," proved more than capable in engaging the packed house. A handful of new tracks fit nicely with the more recognizable material; "Stuck Inside" and "American Metalhead" (think Judas Priest crashing head-on with Accept) embraced his band's heavy metal mindset, while new ballad "By Your Side" fit better alongside "I Remember You," which proved his strongest vocal showing.

Has it been mentioned that Guns N' Roses went onstage on time, to the minute? Don't bet on that becoming an everyday occurrence, but take this much to the bank: Judging from Los Angeles' response to "Chinese Democracy," another era of Guns N' Roses domination is imminent.

All hail, the triumphant return of Axl Rose.


As his solo in the last show, Bumblefoot would play The Grinch theme as a sing-along:

[...] there was a show around Christmas time with Guns where I had a sing-a-long of The Grinch theme as my guitar solo, haha - had the words on big screens for the audience to sing along. Anything where ya really connect with the audience is special, that's the stuff I think back on and smile...


Review of the last show in Crave Online, December 26:

Axl and co. achieve the impossible December 20th in Los Angeles

Walking into Wednesday’s tour-closing Guns N’ Roses show in Universal City, I had good cause for the skepticism I felt. With only one original member, no new material released in over a decade and a tornado of negative hype surrounding the mere name, the modern version of Guns N’ Roses should, by all accounts, be a recipe for colossal failure. How do you replace the dirty swagger, the serpentine energy, the explosive chemistry of the band that brought an endgame to hair metal? The vacancies left by the original members seem too vast to be occupied by anyone else, and it’s been the upside of a decade since Axl Rose’s signature wailing dominated the rock landscape. I fully expected the same ugly disappointment and vicarious embarrassment I felt while watching G’N’R’s “big comeback” performance on the 2002 MTV Music Awards, where my attention was split between Axl’s surgically altered wax-museum face and his embarrassingly off-key performance.

The sleaze was on ten in the Gibson Ampitheater as openers Suicide Girls slithered through an attempt to pass themselves off as erotic art. Nineties rockers Helmet followed offered a spot-on performance, providing the night’s more biting, darker shades, but were met with a surprisingly lukewarm reception. Third preshow act Sebastian Bach, every bit the venerial Skeletor frontman he was in Skid Row, dominated the stage as if it were his band headlining the bill, swinging his shampoo-commercial hair like it was 1989. With a set clocking in at just over an hour, Bach bled the eighties nostalgia out of the room, but I’ll admit with surprisingly little shame that I rocked the hell out to set-closer “Youth Gone Wild.”

Minutes after midnight, the revving intro to “Welcome to the Jungle” began as the crowd roared their ecstatic approval. We found ourselves strapped in and screaming down memory lane before any of us knew the engine was even running. A focused, happy-looking Axl ran around the stage like he was on fire, howling the theme song to Los Angeles as fists pumped throughout the crowd. Yes, the man actually shows up to his own concerts these days.

The setlist played out less like the “Best of G’N’R” mixtape you made in middle school and more like a greatest-hits collection, flavored with scattered gems from each album and even a few impressive selections from Chinese Democracy, the near-mythical "comeback" Guns N’ Roses record Rose has labored over since the split of the original lineup. Of the new songs presented, the most impressive by far was the tremendous “Better.” Delivered with jaw-dropping power, it’s a classic waiting to happen; beginning as a muted nursery-rhyme melody, it explodes into a fierce, immensely addictive rocker with the blood of Use Your Illusion.

The heat of the pyrotechnic blasts could be felt to the rafters as the band tore through ferocious renditions of “It’s So Easy,” “Mr. Brownstone” and “You Could Be Mine” with sharper and more layered intensity than the original lineup possessed; the trademarked slutty, throbbing energy soaked in Jack Daniel’s replaced with the slick mile-a-minute riffs and technical prowess of the finest musicians money – and the biggest name rock has seen in twenty-five years – can buy.

Axl’s hired hands, the latest entrants in a revolving door of names facing the impossible mission of honorably reviving the G’N’R sound in the 21st century, respectfully did justice to their roles with faithful, colored renditions of the songs that made me believe in rock n’ roll when I was a kid. In what was perhaps a passing attempt lend legitimacy to the atmosphere, original member Izzy Stradlin made an appearance, joining drummer Frank Ferrer, bassist Tommy Stinson, Illusion-era keyboardist Dizzy Reed and guitarists Richard Fortus and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal on a handful of songs. Despite looking out of place and being out of tune onstage, Izzy was warmly welcomed as he contributed an unnecessary third rhythm guitar to a stage already brimming with six-string virtuosos.

A third guitarist stood apart from the others both visually and sonically, effortlessly tearing through every riff and solo like a man possessed; think Jimmy Page on ecstasy. Even after Rose introduced the bearded, sunglass-wearing phenomenon by name, dressed like a cross between Jim Morrison and Chris Robinson, I still couldn’t believe I was looking at Robin Finck. Having proficiently handled axe duties for several years with Nine Inch Nails, Finck looked back then to be something out of the circus of the apocalypse, but the man played like the devil himself. Exuding a confidence no amount of posturing can imitate, he brought a searing intensity to each Guns song with impassioned intricacy and soul. His beautifully shredding five-minute solo following "Better" was a standout performance in a night full of highlights.

Finck was great before his apparent bohemian awakening, but this was something else entirely. He was essentially running through a gallery of world-renowned portraits and landscapes, the best of their time and sacred to many, casting his own colors and impressions onto each canvas. Somehow, blasphemy be damned, he made improvements.

Bumblefoot’s solo instrumental take on “Don’t Cry” was gorgeous enough to substitute for the real thing. However, the pace of the evening stumbled during his failed, entirely- too-long attempt at turning “Mr. Grinch” into a sing-along during one of Axl’s many departures from the stage. How many verses are in that damn song, forty? Points for the green smoke effects, but it would’ve gone over better as just a ten-second teaser.

Visually, the years may have done strange things to Axl Rose, but his signature wailing has never been better. Polished, commanding and in high gear from the start, his delivery only grew stronger as the band moved through an impressively solid set. The infamous temper tantrums of old weren’t at all present; Rose actually laughed at himself for slipping and falling on his ass early on. This man knows he has something to prove, and for a reputation such as his, it’s remarkable to see him actually behaving himself. The guy actually comes off as likable.

Sebastian Bach returned to the stage to share vocal duties on a blistering rendition of “My Michelle,” a appropriately shiteating grin on his face as he traded lines with Rose; after his set earlier in the evening he was offered a major-label record deal. Watch out world, hair metal returns…or something.

The gritty jive of junkie-anthem “Nightrain” closed the first set, explosive and supercharged. Axl’s vocals were again undeniably perfect as he soared through the highest registers without so much as a strained note. The band exited the stage to thunderous applause, but for a production of this scale, nobody expected the night to end there.

Three of the four encore songs were new, presumably a part of Chinese Democracy (due to hit stores on March 6 – allegedly - you know the drill). The first was the grinding, not-quite-epic title track, while “IRS,” another new overdrive-rocker, was more energetic and fun than the studio version circulating around the net. It gives exactly the impression that Rose likely wants: it’s a logical step forward from Use Your Illusion, Rose’s narrative landscape and dramatic flair pushing the envelope just enough to avoid alienating fans. The magnetic pulse of “Madagascar” was irresistible, building steadily toward an epic climax with a “Civil War” vibe.

Red confetti filled the Gibson Ampitheater as the sticky-sweet “Paradise City” brought the show to a close, a wall of sparks showering down behind Axl while he wailed into the mic as if it were only yesterday that he ruled the rock world, white spandex shorts and all. There’s never been any shortness of theatrics associated with G’N’R, but these days costume changes and pyrotechnics replace concert no-shows and childish fits.

The band took a final bow to ear-splitting cheers, every one of them smiling genuinely. The only true, classic Guns N’ Roses was buried before the turn of the century. Nobody’s denying that. Short of a seemingly-impossible reunion of the original members, this is the very closest Rose can come to bringing justice to the name while keeping these songs, these living legends, alive. It’s close enough for me.

Having canceled what was intended to be the remaining four dates of the tour to put the final touches on Chinese Democracy, Axl’s apparent new urgency is a good sign. It would seem that this is the last stretch before we finally hear what’s been in the works for a decade, but don’t hold your breath – it’s been said before. The new tracks are a very promising taste of things to come, and should he finally deliver on this latest deadline, one thing is certain:

2007 will belong to Axl Rose.


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26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS - Page 2 Empty Re: 26. MAY-DECEMBER 2006 - TOURING; IZZY RETURNS AND AXL FIGHTS

Post by Soulmonster Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:53 am

LOOKING BACK AT THE 2006 TOURING


In 2010, Bumblefoot would mention how he had not been prepared for the size of the shows:

We then just quickly hit the road [after Bumblefoot had been hired], and I had no idea that the shows were gonna be that big. I didn't know that their following was so hardcore. We were playing shows, and headlining festivals with a hundred thousand people. I thought "Wow, that's cool". I was happy that people cared, it was a good thing. I was prepared in my head to be playing in front of a few hundred people, and wherever it was, it really didn't make a difference.


And talking about pre-show routines and handing out pastries to fans:

We try not to quote any lines from the movie 'This Is Spinal Tap' (laughs.) I don't wanna tempt fate, you know? When I first started playin' with Guns, I'd take cookies and pastries from catering backstage and go out into the audience before the show start saying, "Assorted pastries, courtesy of Guns N' Roses" holding a big tray of them (laughs.) A few daring folks would take some. But most people probably thought I was just some nut. They were right! A few hours later they'd see me on stage ... (laughs.)



CAMERADERIE


The only time anyone ever gave me shit for something I wore on stage was this one time, I was gonna wear this bright yellow shirt that said "Hi, my name is Ronald! And your name is DOUCHEBAG!" Frank (GnR drummer) talked me out of it.


And Sebastian Bach:

Oh man, what can I say, so many... but I shouldn't, haha! They’re too funny and… You just had to be there! He’s a fun guy. On the last tour, we went out to dinner a lot, Sebastian and his band, hanging out… And, he’s a very funny guy. He’s like a light switch that’s always on! And if you try to shut it off – it has two settings, on… and on! He’s just non-stop. Love the guy, and his band!



SEBASTIAN BACH


Next thing you know [Axl] was flying me around the world just to do this one song [=My Michelle]. It was like Led Zeppelin territory, where I go all the way to Milan just to sing 25 words. But, from that point, I was hooked.
Eye Weekly, April 16, 2008



DIE MANNEQUIN


The Canadian indie band Die Mannequin had opened for Guns N' Roses during the North American tour, and in an interview in early 2007, the lead singer Care Failure had the following to say:

There were just so many rules about Axl! He used to show up 45 seconds before their set and wouldn't really hang around, so we barely saw him. Once, Tony (Useless, the Die Mannequin bassist) tried talking to him and got pinned against the wall by a guard.


This allegation would be contested by the Guns N' Roses crew. Tom Mayhue said the following:

This is how I remember it. Guns had just finished doing their two-hour set and were getting off the stage to go to their dressing rooms, and some drunk guy goes up to Axl.

Now, no one knows who this guy is or what the hell he wants. Our head of security, Gio Gasparetti, is probably the best in the business at what he does, and he intervened. Later on, Gio went up to the guy and explained to him that what he did wasn’t too bright, and that was that.

I mean, when Care Failure’s amp was fucked up, my crew fixed it. When their crew was late or drunk, sleeping in the dressing room at set change, our crew was there to set them up. This band was given more sound checks, extra guests, and whatever they needed from our production management, so I don’t get why she felt the need to talk shit.


Chris Gratton, Guns N' Roses' production manager added:

I hate it when I read or hear about things that never occurred. The only rules are the ones I set in terms of the show schedule, like when the first band goes on, how long a set change is, et cetera.

For most of the North American tour, Axl traveled in a tour bus and he would be at the gig several hours before Guns went on and watch the openers.

Axl often had people partying in his dressing room -- I’m talking about everyone from his friends to the guys in Helmet to Sebastian Bach to the Suicide Girls -- until the wee hours in the morning.

We had a lot of good times on that tour.



BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE


Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine had a similar experience to Care Failure:

When we were on tour with Guns N' Roses, that was a prime example of how not to fucking act on tour. Then with Maiden and Metallica it was the complete opposite. They made us feel so welcome, and anything we wanted, they were more than happy to give us. It was nice to see that though they've established godlike myths about them, when you actually get them one-on-one in a room, they're just Mr. Average. It was inspiring to see that our heroes weren't dicks.
Revolver Magazine, March 2008



LAWSUIT FROM STARLIFT LOGISTICS


Starlift Logistics alleges they were hired to provide transportation and touring services for the band by Black Frog touring and LL Management -- both companies that arrange touring on behalf of Guns N' Roses. Starlift also supplies sets, stage production items and musical instruments.

According to the court document, founding member Axl Rose, and others owe Starlift over $107,000 in unpaid bills.



PARTYING


I spent a better part of a year on the road with [Axl] getting fucking crazy! Axl is like a one man Led Zeppelin. You wanna talk about partying ’til 2PM the next afternoon and showing people how it’s done! This motherfucker is like Jack Nicholson on the microphone. I don’t even know what the fuck that means! We had Avenged Sevenfold out with us and they’re a great band. We were in Europe. We’d do a show at the arena and Axl would go on around midnight. Then he’d go and rent out a club starting at like 5AM every fucking day! I don’t know how he found those places! I was like, “Where the fuck are we going to go at 5AM in Prague, Czechoslovakia?” Sure enough he gets a club as the sun is coming up and our busses roll in. We stumble up these stairs as the sun is shining in and he says, “Time to start the party!” I can’t even begin to describe that tour. The Avenged Sevenfold guys did their best, bless their hearts. They’re a little younger than us! The drummer was the last one standing in that band and he’s a fucking alcoholic! He reminded me a lot of Duff McKagan from the Use Your Illusion tour. The way he walked, talked and the way he slurred every other word. I love the guy!

Man, the Suicide Girls were a fucking blast to have on tour. Hot chicks who party harder than the fucking rock stars? Do the math. I rode on a bus with Dizzy Reed and Tommy Stinson and on a few occasions we kidnapped a few of the gals. They belonged on our bus dancing to old school Aerosmith or Sly and the Family Stone! There was one pretty gal in particular that I clicked with and I miss her.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:54 am

2005-2007
VELVET REVOLVER, PART III


2005-2006: SLASH TO LEAVE VELVET REVOLVER? INTERNAL CONFLICTS


Axl's claim that Slash had visited him in October 2005 and badmouthed his bandmates in Velvet Revolver [see later chapter], is likely to have caused some friction inside the band. And in March 2006, rumours would have it that Slash had quit the band [Blabbermouth, April 2, 2006]. Interestingly, the main issue wasn't Slash's possible betrayal, but his wife Perla's intrusion in band matters and in late March, Slash allegedly picked up his gear and vacated the band's rehearsal studio [Blabbermouth, April 2, 2006]. When asked if he was out of the band, Slash responded that as far as he knew, he was "still in the band" [Blabbermouth, April 2, 2006].

In May, Slash would talk more about the rumours and indicate that even his band mates had thought he was leaving to join Guns N' Roses:

I saw a thing that was put out that said something to the effect that I won't be doing any gigs until after a certain point [referring to a May 8, 2006 Associated Press article which stated that 'Slash may end up back in the band as well, but probably not before the Hammerstein shows.' — Ed.] He put out some sort of… He [Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose] did a radio interview, I guess, in New York, and it said whatever city he was gonna be playing, it said it won't be until after that… And I was like, 'Where does this stuff come from?' But before that, the whole thing was, like, everybody just assumed that I'd quit Velvet Revolver and I was joining… Even you guys [speaking to Matt — Ed.] thought that. [...] It was like all these rumors going around. So I just wanted to dispel that one.


Slash would also express amazement that people would start such rumours:

When we were on the red carpet last night [at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in Hollywood], that was the first thing that I went and talked about to what's-her-face from CNN, and just so inundated with questions about what's going on with Velvet Revolver, supposedly all this in-band fighting going on, and then all these rumors about Guns N' Roses, and this and that and the other, and I was just like… I've been minding my own business, sitting at home, working on the songs [for the new Velvet Revolver album]. I mean, the fact that people even care enough to start rumors or keep regurgitating them… it's amazing. [...] I think this is the first time, though, that it's actually been so intrusive that I started, like, going… 'Cause I don't read… I don't get on the computer and read everything that's going on, so it's always by word of mouth. 'Oh, I heard this,' or 'I heard that.' 'Where'd you hear that?' 'Oh, it's online.' [Laughs]


And admit it had caused issues inside Velvet Revolver:

In this case, though, it started stuff with my band.

And there was a lot of negative s--- going on at the time, because there were rumors about me joining Guns N' Roses and Axl had his f---ing press release that came out, which started friction between myself and the other guys.


In early 2007, Slash would again talk about internal conflicts and mention that "some old Guns N' Roses things [...] came up":

Oh, everything's great. We went through a lot of stuff from, we toured for 19 months on the last record. We had a lot of business issues that we had to deal with. We had a lot of personal issues we had to deal with. We had people come out of the woodwork trying to sort of wreck the band, and issues that were sort of...we hadn't predicted. We didn't things to happen. There was some old Guns N' Roses things that came up, that reared its head, that was really ugly. But we hung in there and that makes us stronger as a group. Basically everybody survived it, and we're that much stronger for it, and we've made an amazing record, so it's all good.


In 2007, Slash would mention a press release by Axl that had caused issues in Velvet Revolver because it had seemed so "factual" but that "none of it was true":

I was sitting at home writing songs when I heard Axl had a put out a press release saying in so many words I was going back. There had been a lot of sh*t going around, stories about me and Axl but what made this so bad was that it seemed so factual.

The guys were worried, angry even. I had to sit them down and tell them none of it was true.

They were still a bit sceptical as it seemed so detailed. We got through it but it was an unexpected bump in the road. I didn’t expect to go there with something that was so much part of my past.

They thought I had quit the band and joined Guns n’ Roses. I would do my best to convince them that I’ve never even en­tertained that idea, and they’d be looking at me like, ‘Maybe you’re full of shit.'


What is strange about this comment from Slash is that he claims the statement from Axl had indicated Slash was returning to Guns N' Roses, something it didn't. It did, though, claim Slash had badmouthed his Velvet Revolver band mates and according to this quote from Slash above, it had naturally caused friction in the band.

Matt would insinuate the rumours about Slash badmouthing his band mates came from Axl being jealous of Velvet Revolver:

Axl is so jealous of our band. Even though he’s going out with his Guns n’ Roses fucking bullshit, he’s just fucking jealous and he’s trying to tear us down. Fuckin’ Slash is out playing rock n roll and he don’t like it. It’s sad.


Duff would also talk about how they had been fed up with each other:

We went through a lot of crap the last year and a half. We'd been touring for 15 months, Matt had broken his hand and we were at each others throats because we were so tired. Then when you add in the pressures of being in the public light its going to get [to] you. When we finally got done touring we didn't want to see each other. [...] It was really, really tough getting us back together into a place where our headspace was right to be able to start a new record. We were all pretty fragmented, writing off in different camps but what we do best is write together [...]


Later in 2007, Slash would finally admit having visited Axl's house [The Naperville Sun, May 10, 2007] and say that the ensuing media articles had caused serious conflicts in the Velvet Revolver camp:

From the end of the ("Contraband") tour to the beginning of the (new) record, there was a lot of that going on. It was actually pretty detrimental at one point because it just got to be so overwhelming we couldn't seem to escape it. But it was just a matter of sticking together and getting through it, and we did.


It is hardly surprising that rumours about Slash badmouthing his bandmates would cause tension...

We had so many f**king conflicts internally and externally that the band was dealing with throughout the last leg of the tour. On a creative level that's one thing I can say about when we get together, we don't really have a lot of issues standing in our way. When we write or perform or record then all the bullshit seems to be alleviated, but it's about getting us into that room to write in the first place. There was just a lot of shit going on that made it hard for us to start doing that. A lot of rumours flying around, a lot of Guns N' Roses bullshit that really didn't help anything, there were lots of personal issues, there was just stuff that was going on that wasn't lending itself to getting everyone in the same room as each other and we had to get through that.


In late 2006/early 2007, both Slash, Matt and Duff had problems with addiction again:

Everyone is really good right now. But a few of us lapsed back into some old habits. The only one who stayed completely sober actually was Scott. Dave doesn't count because he has been clean for years.

I was clean and sober for two years and then I started drinking. And that all seemed cool for about a year, but then it started escalating.

During that time is when the guys started falling off the wagon. Matt relapsed and went into treatment, then Duff relapsed and went into treatment, and then Slash had his situation. So everybody in the band ended up falling off, except for Dave, of course. At that time I was maintaining my problem in a sane way and I really didn’t fall off intensely until my brother died.


More on this in each band member's individual chapters.

Matt and Weiland were often in fights:

We barely talk, let alone kiss . . . I’ve always been the ‘I’m going to beat the fuck out of the lead singer’ guy.


As the touring started in 2007, the band would still get into occasional fights:

We're getting along pretty good right at this moment. We have days here and there where we have a beef just like anyone else who might be in a working relationship or like a relationship with a husband and wife. It's about 10 million times better than when it used to be when Guns N' Roses was running back in the day where everything was so dramatic all the time.



2006-2007: LIBERTAD


In April 2006, Rolling Stone would reveal that the band's second album would be called Libertide [Rolling Stone, April 18, 2006].

The first one was definitely a rocking, punky, bashing record. We really want to make a deeper album this time. The other record was more of a collaboration -- now we want to see what everyone brings to the table on their own. It's cool when people come in with an idea without the usual collaborators, 'cause it can totally spark.


Slash explaining the name:

I don't want to say [anything specific about] the songs, but the name for the album is Libertad, which is Spanish for 'liberty.' It's something that we feel strongly about: liberty, freedom, you know ...


In June they would be  in pre-production [MTV, June 22, 2006]:

We're in preproduction and it sounds amazing. I'm just really excited 'cause hopefully we'll get this thing out before the year's over. The material is amazing and ... we've grown so much as a band.


In early 2007, Weiland would discuss the new record and their touring plans:

[Producer Brendan O'Brien] has really helped the guys challenge themselves on a musical level. [Libertad] definitely still rocks, but it's incredibly more musical. There's a lot more textures, and Slash and Duff [McKagan] have really sort of risen the bar. It just goes places that the first album didn't go. [...] We toured for two years," Weiland said. "And [because of that] we've really gotten close during the making of this record. [...] We're actually going to do a short American tour of some intimate clubs and small theaters, just to warm up," Weiland said. "Then we're going to South America and Europe, then back for a big American tour at the end of the summer.


For the summer 2007 tour, the band expected to tour with Alice in Chain [MTV News, May 22, 2007].

And Duff would talk about Velvet Revolver being a "dangerous band":

We've never been very good at trying to play nice and fit in with everyone else. We've always been much better at rubbing everyone's face in the mud and just doing our own thing. This is a very dangerous band on a number of levels- and we may be the first dangerous band that's come along in a long time. Our goal is still to go out there and cause as much chaos possible.


Apparently, just listening to the music was dangerous:

The music is very aggressive, almost vicious in the way it just explodes on every track. We grab you right in the beginning and we don't let you go! You should feel like you need to lace up your boots real tight and get ready for a fight.


The release date would be set to July 3 [Billboard, April 17, 2007].


Libertad
July 3, 2007



JUNE 2007: MELODY AND THE TYRANNY (EP)


As previously reported, Velvet Revolver will release an EP titled Harmony and the Tyranny a month before Libertad.

The EP will contain two tracks from Libertad, as well as the TALKING HEADS cover 'Psycho Killer' and a video documentary about the making of Libertad.


The EP was released on June 6, 2007, and was titled Melody and The Tyranny.


Melody and The Tyranny
June 6, 2007



2007-2008: WEILAND TO REJOIN STP


I 2007 there would be rumours that Weiland might reunite with Stone Temple Pilots [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007].

Matt would address the rumours in August:

We don't know anything about it. I'm sure our managers and agents and everybody else probably have got something up their sleeves. We're so in Velvet Revolver right now; we're booked on this tour for another year. [The reunions] are not going to happen anytime soon. There's never been any mention of it between us.


And Duff would comment on them in January 2008, basically implying it wouldn't be a bad thing if Weiland left Velvet Revolver:

That’s the rumour that I’ve heard too, good for him. You can’t plan ahead in this thing and if you do you’re going to be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing live and we love this band, but I don’t have expectations any more. This is a great band and I’m proud to be a part of it, but it doesn’t define me any more.


In late January 2008, it would be confirmed that Weiland was to tour with Stone Temple Pilots in the summer [Entertainment Weekly February 12, 2008], but Slash would say it was just a temporary thing and that Weiland -- probably --  would be back in Velvet revolver afterwards:

It won't impact Velvet Revolver, not unless something more than that happens. Velvet Revolver is all-consuming.

Yeah, this is something that has been common knowledge to us. There was some offers to do some shows. Scott said, "We will get together and do some shows." I think one of them is booked. There is like a handful of them this summer. So it is not really that big of a deal. I think that it probably sounds like something that it is not.


Being asked if they get along:

You know, we got along musically, that's all that really matters, we get along famously on stage and yeah Matt and I are good friends, and Slash and I, of course, are good friends. We have such a long history together that I guess you could say have music in common.
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