The next year (1989) caught the group in total chaos – Izzy, Slash and Adler fought their drug crisis and finally 4 shows (October ’89) as a support band to ROLLING STONES got them on the move again. Neither the audience was deprived of band’s disputes – on the first concert Axl announced that the group would stop working unless some members “stop dancing to Mr. Brownstone”. The only one who wasn’t able to stop that dance was Steven Adler, who was replaced with Matt Sorum (ex-CULT) in August 1990. Even though the band was in the top form, with key-board (Dizzy Reed) back-up and disappearance of drugs from their daily grocery list, the relations between members started complicating a lot. Later on the interview will show that Axl’s egoism was the basic problem. Izzy decided to leave the band first and it happened just before the release of 2 multi-printed albums “Use Your Illusion 1&2” and that was officially revealed a few months after the album was on sale. It’s unusual that Axl’s vanity towards his (ex) good friend so far that all sections that Izzy recorded on the first two albums were “slowed down” and a bit changed. These two “twins” had a bit softer sound of G’N’R, epic ballads as “Don’t Cry”, “Estranged”, “November Rain”, smartly embedded between nowadays classics such as “You Could Be Mine”, “Bad Obsession”, “Back Off Bitch”. We couldn’t say anything to deny the album and it went straight to the top of the most wanted records. G’N’R became the most popular band in the world, but strangely, exactly there was the beginning of their end. A giant tour headed after, G’N’R were the headline band at every concert, on every festival, their video-clips were on top of all most-wanted programs, money was coming in from all sides – but still, in the band members weren’t satisfied.
The real curiosity in the world music industry is seeking the replacement for Stradlin – in fact 2 guitarists (?) refused to take place of the rhythm guitar in, at that time, most popular band, despite support of their gold equipment partner, website called guitarcounsel.com, so obviously that wasn’t the reason. The first guitarist was Peter Wells from the (above mentioned) band ROSE TATTOO, who said, according to press gossips “I’m not interested in what you’re doing right now”. On the other side, David Navarro (ex-JANE’S ADDICTION) asked more than $2,000,000 previously offered! Ex-guitarist of KILLS FOR THRILLS, Gilby Clarke, took Izzy’s position succeeding to play entire G’N’R opus in a few days. The whole rock’n’roll epopee could be written about world’s success of that particular tour. But behind curtains, Slash sneaked out couple of times to jam with local bands in pubs, Duff was making his solo debut in his hotel room, and Axl, as a classical prototype of a “fresh superstar” started being pretty annoying that he even jumped into the crowd (concert in the St.Lewis) and beat up the photographer. “The Spaghetti Incident” is a cover album, which Duff originally wanted to make a tribute dedicated to punk groups. But that idea evolved to a complete album where, by plain hazard, NAZARETH and THE SKYLINERS and even a song by wicked murderer Charles Manson (which, you’re guessing, also made a scandal), found their place. We should mention that all covers were made at the UYI making era and that Stradlin’s sections were, by Axl’s demand, completely erased and played once again.
Downfall and new Guns’N’Roses
Duff published a good solo album in 1993 (called “Believe In Me”), Stradlin enjoyed working with his side band (Izzy and) THE JU JU HOUNDS and in 1992 they published an excellent altogether album. In the meantime, Slash played with whoever called him (Lenny Kravitz, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson, Michael Monroe, Duff…) and there wasn’t any news about G’N’R. In such atmosphere, the publishers started forcing the band to come back – there was exactly one place left for “Interview with the Vampire” soundtrack (1994). “Sympathy for the Devil” (THE ROLLING STONES’ cover) is the last track recorded in the, partly, old line-up: Instead of Gilby, who left the band ’cause he couldn’t stand the pressure, Axl (without any announcement) came up with the new guitarist, Paul Tobias (PAUL HUGE). It’s hard to say exactly when the band broke down – Rose, again without anyone’s acceptance, kicked out Matt Sorum; Slash found out in the papers he wasn’t in the band any more, Duff didn’t want to play songs after he had listened to Axl’s demo tape, and only Axl stayed in the group. In the court, Axl got the permission to use the name of Guns’N’Roses. In spite of logic in this situation, only fans got most of the profit: Duff and Sorum played together with Steve Jones (ex-SEX PISTOLS) and John Taylor (ex-DURAN DURAN) and made a great offside project – NEUROTIC OUTSIDERS. Sorum even initiated the reunion of CULT last year. Izzy Stradlin made a wonderful record “117 degrees”, Slash stayed faithful to hard-rock sound with his new band Slash’s Snakepit and Gilby Clarke made a couple of good solo albums.
From the official union of G’N’R, in 1994-1999 period, didn’t arrive much of information, but by pirate channels, the news about Rose’s negotiation with Zakk Wilde (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) as a possible replacement for Slash leaked out. At the end nothing turned out to be true. The line -up which has possibly been working with Axl in the last 2 years looks like this: Robin Finck (ex-NIN, lead guitar), Paul Huge (guitar), Tommy Stinson (ex-REPLACEMENTS, bass), Josh Freese (ex-VANDALS, drums), Dizzy Reed (keyboard). And according to Rose’s story, 70 new songs have been written and 16 or 17 of them should be on the new album. If you want to know how it might sound like, you can listen to “End of Days” soundtrack that showed up on sale at the end of last year. And there, after 8 years, you’re able to hear an original tune sung by G’N’R. “Oh My God” presents Axl in one heavy-industrial manner, somewhere between Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson who mix “My World” with UYI 2. Speaking about new album. Axl says: “I wanted to make a traditional record or to get back on Appetite for Destruction, but I failed. Slash is the reason. Simply, because no one who could possibly replace him in the right way didn’t show up on my radar”. The new style demanded a careful rearrangement of rich G’N’R heritage, so Axl &Co. recorded almost entire “Appetite Foe Destruction” album during last year, as well as “You Could Be Mine”, “Patience” which would, with those rearrangements, be performed on concerts. The new album should appear in stores a bit later than it was planned to, ’cause Robin Finck left Rose brigade and got back with NIN again (He was replaced with Dave Navarro) and Brian May (ex-QUEEN) accepted to play on the album.
Appetite for destruction (it’s not a phrase!) destroyed G’N’R from the very beginning, from one year to another, until only one original member left. Stardlin has been telling later on about that destructive instinct as one of the reasons he quit, aware that he refused fame&fortune. When he got back to replace injured Gilby, he recognized all what he ran away from. With bigger popularity, chaos, spontaneity, somewhat sincerity of what they did just disappeared. The wild beast got into the cage, but with its claws it could only reach the confusion of people around, or more often – itself. Publishing two albums filled with music at the same time (two and a half hours!) was the reason of creative artistic blank period/freedom during which they might have got back in the track – such a killing move was a good lesson to METALLICA in 1996 not to do the same mistake (see the parallel: they publish: “Load” instead of double album and then a year after they publish “Reload” and after that headed the cover record and finally – live album => the band still exists and kicks ass!) The thing that was leading them was an illusion which has turned to a nightmare. “On this live album”, says Axl “When I heard some live tunes from UYI tour…ah…I hear as the band dies”. And that was the end.
The resume is simple: G’N’R was a damn good band. Albums like Slash’s Snakepit (“Ain’t Life Grant”), Duff’s (“Beautiful Disease”), Izzy Stradlin’s (“Ride On”) or Axl’s (“Chinese Democracy”) can’t change our judgement toward what G’N’R left behind them. And it is wild, dangerous, good.