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Guns N' Roses
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GN'R Monthly Special
GN'R Monthly Special

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The original GN’R Monthly Special was released on May 10th, 2006, as the only up-to-date extensive biography of the band on the web. As of this date, it is still the only up-to-date bio, and the new information added will help you be even more knowledgeable as new GN’R news surfaces. The information on this page is guaranteed up until June 18th, 2006. It will be updated periodically whenever more GN'R news surfaces.

The Original Only-Rock Exclusive:

Guns N’ Roses are set to play at the Hammerstein Ballroom on May 12th. Their unreleased album, Chinese Democracy, has been in the making for 10 years, and nobody knows who is in the band. The last GN’R gig date was in 2002, and Axl Rose, lead vocalist, was photographed for the first time in Feb. Slash, ex-GN’R guitarist, said that Chinese Democracy would surface in March, but it didn’t. What is happening with the missing album and the new tour? Is the tour a sign that GN’R fans may hear music for the first time in 12 years? With the ever-changing line-up and dramatic history, it’s about time you learn about GN’R. This informative article will tell you all you need to know about the Guns N’ Roses band. Check back on May 13/14 to find out who’s in the band, what’s up with the album, and what material they played at their first concert in over 3 years

Guns N’ Roses. The name lives in rock ‘n roll history, supporting the main credo of 80’s Glam: Sex, drugs, & rock ‘n roll. Originally formed in the early 1980’s by Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, Guns N’ Roses was originally known as Hollywood Rose, Rose, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, and eventually, GN’R. Lately, GN’R has been in the news so often, it’s hard to know what to believe. With the “mystery” album Chinese Democracy ten years in the waiting, GN’R touring this summer, and Axl sightings for the first time in three years, it’s hard to believe that the band is not up to something. Many believe that Slash may have rejoined the band (though unlikely), and even more believe that Chinese Democracy is finally mastered and mixed (many Axl sightings have taken place at Sterling Sound, NY, which is a major mastering business). To fully understand what is going on with Axl, Dizzy, Slash, Duff, and Izzy, you need to know the history---and the story.

Hollywood Rose was formed in Hollywood, 1983. Started by overly ambitious and egotistical William Bailey (later to become A. X. L. Rose), Axl merged his previous band A. X. L with members from a regular Hollywood band, Faster Pussycat. Though the stories vary, the actual band Guns N’ Roses was started when L.A. Guns merged with Hollywood Rose sometime between 1984-5. The name Guns N’ Roses comes from the names of the two leaders of the previously listed bands: Tracii Guns (ringleader of L.A. Guns) and Axl Rose (ringleader of Hollywood Rose). When Tracii got into a feud with the band and left to reform L.A. Guns, Saul Hudson (who was previously turned down from a previous audition with the band Poison) replaced Tracii as lead. The new formation of the band recorded their first EP, which led to a contract with Geffen Records in 1986. Their first album, Appetite For Destruction, was released in 1987. Current line-up: Axl (vocals), Slash (lead guitar), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitar), Duff “Rose” (bass), Steven Alder (drums).

Guns N’ Roses recorded and toured peacefully (or what it seemed to the public eye) until Steven Alder was fired by the band because of his cocaine and heroin addictions. During this time, the band switched management, and arguments between band members (Aug. 1990) eventually resulted in hiring a new management. The band released Use Your Illusions I & II, and embarked on a 28-month tour (late ‘92 - ‘93) to advertise their new records. This tour may be the most famous tour in the history of Rock ‘n Roll.

On July 2nd, 1991, Guns N’ Roses preformed in St. Louis, Missouri. During the show, Axl jumped into the crowd and attacked a fan in the audience recording the show. He then went back on stage, grabbed his mike, and said “thanks for the [bad] security, I’m going home.” A riot resulted, and dozens of fans were injured. Later that month, GN’R left for their European branch of the tour; when they returned Axl was arrested for causing the riot. The judge found him not-guilty, but it became a sign for things to come. Izzy Stradlin left the band halfway through the tour, and was replaced by Gilby Clark, who had played for Axl in Rose.

August 1992 resulted in more trouble for the band. At Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, Metallica was performing a set. Guitarist James Hetfield burned himself on pyrotechnics, and after a long wait, GN’R took the stage. Unfortunetly, the crowd had grown restless, and the band had not had proper time to set up (the monitors that allowed the band to hear themselves perform weren’t working). On top of that, Axl was beginning to lose his voice. Axl began to get angry at himself and the crowd, who had been booing the band. After a big “boo” from the crowd, Axl said, “This will be our last show for a long fucking time.” After their ninth song, Axl said “Thank you, your money will be refunded, we're outta here.” The biggest post-show riot in musical history began when fans overturned cars, attacked policemen, robbed stores, and set fires to surrounding areas.

Axl was a fan of Nirvana in 1991, and asked Cobain to open for GN’R during the second leg of the Use Your Illusion 1992 tour. Kurt replied by calling Axl a homophobic loser with no talent. Axl shot back by telling the media, “They would rather sit home and shoot heroin with their fucking bitch wives than tour with us." This led to a rivalry between both the frontmen and fans. Later that year at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, Courtney Love jokingly asked Axl to godfather their daughter, Francis Bean. Axl challenged Kurt Cobain to a fight onstage, and he began to try to assault Kurt. Cobain tried to explain the incident. "They fuck things up and then they sit back and look at what they fucked up and then try to figure out how they can fix it, whereas we fuck things up and just dwell on it and make it even worse," he said.

Axl was also in a little feud with Motley Crue singer Vince Neil. Pervious to Izzy leaving the band, Izzy had supposedly assaulted Vince’s wife, Sharon. At the Video Music Awards, Vince ran off stage to fight Izzy (Gilby Clarke had injured his hand in a motorcycle accident and Izzy was playing for him during Gilbe’s time off). Axl broke up the fight, but later challenged to fight Vince in public. Neil agreed, and they named a time and place. Axl didn’t show up, and later Vince was seen with a t-shirt reading “FUCK AXL.”

Current line-up: Axl, Slash, Clarke, Sorum, Dizzy Reed (keyboards).

At the end of the tour, GN’R began to record material for their 1994 album The Spaghetti Incident?. Axl wanted to turn the band in a more industrial rock direction, while Slash and the rest of the band wanted to stick to their roots. The result was an album full of punk covers, which was the beginning of the decline of the band. Slash formed his side-project Slash’s Snakepit in early 1995.

Axl, who was irritated with Slash for forming his side-project and not spending time with the band, began to recruit guitarists like Dave Navarro, Tommy Stinson, Paul Tobias, and ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck for jam sessions with the band. Without telling the band, Axl had Tobias (a childhood friend of Axl’s) re-record Slash’s guitar part on a remake of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. This version of the song was the one released, and when Slash realized it wasn’t him playing, he quit the band. This was in 1996. For the next four years, the band completely disappeared.

Skip ahead 4 years. A new formation of the band had been supposedly recording a new record to be called Chinese Democracy. The only original member of GN’R left in the band was Axl. The new GN’R, with new logos and management [see Original v. New logos, below], played their first show in years at Rock In Rio and then in Las Vegas. The band played both new songs from the upcoming record and old songs from the days of the original band. At Rock In Rio, Axl stated: "I know that many of you are disappointed that some of the people that you came to know and love could not be with us here today. Regardless of what you have heard or read, people worked very hard (meaning my former friends) to do everything they could so that I could not be here today. I say fuck that. I am as hurt and disappointed as you that, unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to all get along." The point of this tour was to support Chinese Democracy, the about-to-be-released album. Current line-up: Axl, Buckethead (guitars), Robin Fink (guitars), Paul Tobias (rhythm guitars), Tommy Stinson (bass), Brian Mantia (drums), Dizzy Reed (keyboards).

For two years, GN’R would play scattered shows to support their new upcoming album. The opening show of the tour, however, was cancelled when Axl didn’t show up. A violent riot ensued. Later in the tour, Axl failed to show again. The tour was cancelled with no Chinese Democracy being released. It was confirmed that the album, now 8 years in the making, would not feature the original band since Slash, Izzy, and Duff were in a band with former STP vocalist Scott Weiland in a band called Velvet Revolver, and Steven Alder began to tour with his new project named Alder’s Appetite. Guns N’ Roses, frozen in time as a joke fronted by an angry genius, began to fade from the media yet again.

In 2004, GN’R came into the front light again when Duff and Slash sued Rose over the rights to GN’R songs. In August 2005, Slash and Duff filed another lawsuit stating that they were not being paid royalties and their share was being collected by Axl. Axl blamed it on a non-intentional error, and it has since been corrected. In September 2005, Axl told fans that GN’R would put some songs on the soundtrack for the movie the DaVinci Code to be released in late 2006. On Feb. 13, 2006, Axl was photographed for the first time in 3 years, where he told fans and the Rolling Stone magazine that his fans would “hear music this year.” .

Early February, 2006: Slash tells a radio station during an interview that he heard that Chinese Democracy would surface sometime around March, but that he had not talked to Axl directly. Also, demo tracks of new material such as Better, I. R. S., There Was A Time (TWAT), and Catcher In the Rye were leaked on the internet through a fan forum. Within a few hours, the GN’R management had removed most of the songs from forums and sites. Dizzy Reed’s wife, Lisa Reed commented: “All signs point to (the album) getting closer and closer," and she pleaded with fans not to leak the rest of the album. “It's like shaking all your Christmas presents on the 23rd of December," she wrote, "and figuring out what they are."

Then, on February 23, 2006, the Guns N’ Roses management team announced that GN’R would perform a small tour in England. Nobody knew who was in the band, who would be performing, or what songs would be played. Then, on April 14, 2006, it was announced that GN’R would play 4 dates at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York before their European tour. The first date is May 12th. However, the Rock In Rio website states that there is a surprise line-up. Talking Metal podcast host and Ostronomy bassist Jon Ostronomy said, “For a surprise line-up… it must mean that someone from the classic band is going to play the gig.” Mark Strigl, also host of Talking Metal and regular on VH1’s metal shows, believes Slash is going to walk out on stage. “Wouldn’t that be awesome if at the second set Axl says, ‘Let me introduce you to an old friend of mine’, and Slash walks out on stage.” The likelihood of this, however, is pretty small. Slash claims (Axl says differently) that he hasn’t talked to Axl since he left the band.

The New Information:

On May 8th, Axl Rose appeared on Eddie Trunk’s radio show for an interview. He stated that the mysterious Chinese Democracy will hit stores this fall, and the shows at the Hammerstein would be the same line-up as the 2002 comeback tour except for a new guitarist, who he wouldn’t name.

On May 12th, 2006, Guns N’ Roses took the stage for the first time in four years. The new guitarist was Bumblefoot, and there were many great reviews for the concert (see the Rock News Blog). Ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach sang a duet with Axl on My Michelle, and the crowd favorite was Robert Fink, who would do occasional stage dive into the crowd. The next two shows were almost exactly the same, but it was the last show, May 14th, that a truly special thing happened. Kid Rock also sang a duet with Axl, and before Think About You, Axl introduced Izzy Stradlin to the stage. His comments were drowned out by screams from the fans. One person at the concert said that he saw Stradlin’s eyes swell up with tears during Patience. Though Slash did not return to the band, the warm-up shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom was good news for everyone.

The European tour was set to start on June 2nd, 2006. Excitement from GN’R fans began to grow. “For the majority of fans, as long as Axl Rose is there, it is still Guns N' Roses, even though other members of the group are no longer playing," Romano, a Canadian, told AFP. But not all Guns N' Roses fans accept the absence of Slash, McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, a founding member who quit the group in 1991. "They're a good band and everything, but I don't think they have the chemistry the original GN’R did," said photographer Robert John, who took pictures of the band from 1985-2002. "I think some of the songs I heard them play are heavier and some don't have the same feel, because Slash isn't on the guitar," John said. And another issue also occurred: Axl’s temper might be the downfall of the band once again. "As long as there is no concert at which Axl Rose doesn't show up, then I will have to say that everything is going well," said Eric Romano, who has run the fan website www.mygnr.com for 11 years. And just two days before the start of the tour, Sebastian Bach announced that Axl had invited him to sing with GN’R on the tour. Sebastian said in a press release, "Sometimes, in life, you make true friends. A true friend is someone whom you can see & then not see, but when you see them again, it is like no time has passed at all. A true friend is someone whom you can laugh with, talk with, hang out with, rock with, & confide in. Then there is the friend who gives you so much, you can't express in words how much they mean to you. When I look back on my life, I have to say that one of my true friends is Mr. W. Axl Rose. As everyone now knows, when Guns 'N Roses made their triumphant return to New York City a few weeks ago, Axl was cool enough to invite me onstage all 4 nights to sing with him the Guns 'N Roses song of my choice, which happens to be 'My Michelle'. During the NYC shows Axl asked me if I wanted to fly with him to Europe to duet with him in England at Donington & Hammersmith. Of course I said YES & then I mentioned to him the recording of the new CD 'Angel Down' & how much it would mean for our band to open some Guns 'N Roses shows. And Axl's response was to offer the band the whole European tour.”

All was going well until June 10th, 2006. Axl did not show up to a show in Britain until many hours after the set start time. The arena was almost empty by the time he arrived. Then on June 11th, Once again, Stradlin took the stage, but Axl said the band was experiencing “technical difficulties.” Axl had a series of walk-offs and made threats to leave the concert, but he never did. Also on that same day, The Sun reported that Axl has been leaving the stage between songs to get oxygen, and ambulances have been waiting by in case of trouble.

What will be the fate of Guns N’ Roses? Will Chinese Democracy, which has been delayed many times, actually be released in fall, or will it just be shelved again? Stayed tuned to Only-Rock to find the most up-to-date news about Guns N’ Roses.


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