Axl Rose and Slash, on stage together, playing music. Who would have thought such a thing would ever happen again? Last night at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles, the two feuding men buried their respective hatchets for a few hours and entertained fans along with original bassist Duff McKagan. Izzy Stradlin was replaced by Richard Fortus, and Steven Adler by Frank Ferrer, but there can be no denying the magic that was created by 3/5 of the original band last night.
I wish I had been there.
The fortunate rock fans who saw Guns N’ Roses last night did so for only $10. A limited number of tickets were made available to fans on a cash-only basis yesterday at noon. Cameras (including those that are sometimes used as cell phones) were not allowed in the venue, and there were reports of audience members being escorted out because they tried to snap a few shots or take video. A handful of photographs were posted on Twitter (like the one above, and I have no idea who originally posted it), and there are some twelve-second videos floating around Instagram.
Several questions were answered at last night’s show. First, as already mentioned, Adler and Izzy are not taking part in this reunion tour. It was already confirmed that Izzy would be a no-show, but rumors persisted that Adler would at least sit in for a few songs. That never materialized.
Second, songs from Chinese Democracy were a part of the setlist. The title track and “Better” were both performed by the band last night, and I would assume they will be a part of the set this summer since Slash and Duff took the time to learn them.
Third, Axl smiled. You can see it in the photo posted above. Whatever bad blood existed may still be there, but it is not boiling as hotly as before.
Will this lead to new music from Axl and Slash? I certainly hope so. While I plan to go to a show this summer, what I really want is new studio music from the bad boys of rock and roll. I love new music, and I can’t wait to hear what 3/5 of the original Guns N’ Roses has to offer fans after a 23-year hiatus.
How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions)
by Duff McKagan
Da Capo Press, 2015
In 2011, Duff McKagan’s first autobiography, It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) hit the bookshelves. In it, the bass player recounts the highs and lows (because of being high) with Guns N’ Roses, and his journey to recovery from drug addiction. On Friday, McKagan’s story continues in How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions), touring with a new band (Walking Papers), playing shows with Axl Rose in South America, being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, sitting in with Slash for one song when the guitarist opened for Aerosmith, and raising two teenage daughters.
In between tales of his life, McKagan throws in nuggets that he thinks every man should know, such as one hundred essential albums and more than forty books you should read. He explains the rules of sharing a hotel room (or other small space) with another person. He gives tips on international travel. And he explains the importance of loyalty, using the example of his BlackBerry.
McKagan is an entertaining character, and his second memoir made me chuckle several times as I read it. While he has sobered up, he has not cleaned up his language, so the book is not recommended for younger readers. McKagan briefly reminisces about his time in Guns N’ Roses while discussing the South America gigs with Axl, but the majority of this volume deals with 2012 to the present. Fans of McKagan’s columns on ESPN.com and SeattleWeekly.com will enjoy the witty banter of How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions).
(December 13, 1965 – March 9, 2014)
Before Axl Rose fronted L.A. Guns, there was Michael Jagosz. Rose would take the job while Jagosz spent a week in jail following a bar fight. With Jagosz, L.A. Guns released a four-song EP entitled Collector’s Edition No. 1, which included the above song. Jagosz passed away March 9.
If not, too bad. It’s already been removed from YouTube.
The track, called “Going Down,” featured Tommy Stinson on lead vocals and was confirmed by guitarist Ron Thal via (a now deleted) Tweet that it was, in fact, Guns N’ Roses.
Was it great? Not really. But it was new GNR, and that’s something.
It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)
by Duff McKagan
Touchstone Books, 2011
Over the past few years, rock fans have been treated to the life stories of some of the biggest names from the 1980s Hollywood scene. Last year Duff McKagan, original bass player for the legendary Guns N’ Roses, decided to join the fray with his own autobiography. If you have read Slash’s book, many of the GNR stories will sound familiar, but McKagan’s Seattle backstory shows a different dimension to the punk influences that shaped the band’s sound. Duff recounts his move to Los Angeles, the formation of one of the greatest hard rock groups ever, and the parts of the tours that he can remember. McKagan was so lost in a haze of illicit drugs that he didn’t realize he had been to the Czech Republic until he saw the stamp on his passport. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only member of the band in that condition, and Axl Rose took advantage of the situation to secure rights to the Guns N’ Roses name.
McKagan briefly talks about his solo records, his time with Neurotic Outsiders, Loaded, and Velvet Revolver, and his health struggles, much of which stemmed from his drug and alcohol use. He writes about getting sober, getting healthy, going back to school, and starting a family. His story is one of rags to riches, financially, physically, and emotionally.
Talk about mixed feelings. Honored, but confused. Wanting to do the right thing for himself without insulting others, but that seems impossible. Who didn’t see this coming? Did anyone really expect Axl to be present with Slash? Of course, no one really thought they would actually perform a song together. That was a fantasy. There were some who held out hope the two could put aside their differences for at least one night, but not even that will happen.
Further, Axl says he doesn’t even want to be inducted now.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of “Guns N’ Roses”.
So be it. Honestly, how credible is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anyway? No Rush, no KISS, and how long did it take for Led Zeppelin to be recognized? Okay, so it was only one year, but if the Zep isn’t first-ballot material, no one is.
Axl does not want to be included in the Rock Hall as a member of the classic lineup of Guns N’ Roses. Good for him. Perhaps if the current incarnation releases some more material the powers that be will offer a new induction for the new lineup…which rocks pretty hard, by the way.
Voting is open for the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods. I’m not crazy about all the nominations; I feel a lot of deserving artists were left out. Here’s how I voted…
- Best drummer: Charlie Benante (Anthrax) – Anthrax and Foo Fighters were the only bands mentioned here that I was really familiar with. If I could have written in a vote, I would have given it to Alex Van Halen.
- Best guitarists: Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick (Megadeth) – Again, the only ones that I know anything about. I’ve seen Five Finger Death Punch in concert, but I was not impressed.
- Best vocalist: Sebastian Bach – His latest album was not that great, but I didn’t like any of the other nominees. Honestly, I’m not sure who I would have written in on this one. Most of my favorites are way past their prime.
- Album of the year: Anthrax, ‘Worship Music’ – “The year” is evidently 2011. While this made my list of best releases of the year, it wasn’t at the top. Alice Cooper and Sixx:A.M. tied for the best of the year in my book.
- Best live band: Guns N’ Roses – I only saw two hard rock concerts last year: Judas Priest (with Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society), and Guns N’ Roses (with D Generation). Both were nominated, and as great as Priest was, GNR was better.
- Most metal athlete: Evan Longoria (MLB baseball) – The only baseball player on the list.
- Comeback of the year: Van Halen – As if there was any question.
- Riff lord: Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) – Best hard rock guitarist ever.
- Best bassist: Wolfgang Van Halen (Van Halen) – This was a difficult category. Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot) was also nominated, but I really don’t like Chickenfoot that much. Nikki Sixx (Sixx:A.M.) was also nominated, and as I already mentioned, they released a great album in 2011. But after seeing Van Halen in concert last week and hearing what Wolfie can do on record, he’s the winner.
- Best international band: -blank-– Not familiar with any of the bands, so I decided to leave this one blank.
- Most dedicated fans: -blank- – I don’t understand this category at all. I don’t like any of the bands, so why would I vote for their fans?
I attended the Guns N’ Roses concert in Cincinnati last Friday night, and had the opportunity to take photos of both GNR and the opening band D Generation. Simply put, they were amazing. If you would like to read my review and see the photos, click on these links: