Chris Weber recalls Hollywood Rose’s album ‘The Roots of Guns N’ Roses’ feat. Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin

Chris Weber recalls Hollywood Rose’s album ‘The Roots of Guns N’ Roses’ feat. Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin

Former Hollywood Rose guitarist Chris Weber was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music.

Back in the 80’s, Weber was in a band (which changed names from A.X.L. to Rose to Hollywood Rose) with singer Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin before the latter two ended forming Guns N’ Roses. Weber also co-wrote some of Guns N’ Roses‘ early songs such as “Reckless Life”, “Move To The City” and “Anything Goes.” Those three songs along with the tracks “Rocker” and “Killing Time” ended up getting recorded by Hollywood Rose as a five-track demo to use as a promotional tool to get gigs. Weber kept the recordings for a long time and eventually ended up releasing them along with some other songs under the band name Hollywood Rose with the album title The Roots of Guns N’ Roses via Deadline Music (Cleopatra Records) in June 2004.

Track List for The Roots of Guns N’ Roses:
01. Killing Time (original demo version)
02. Anything Goes (original demo version)
03. Rocker (original demo version)
04. Shadow of Your Love (original demo version)
05. Reckless Life (original demo version)
06. Killing Time (Gilby Clarke remix)
07. Anything Goes (Gilby Clarke remix)
08. Rocker (Gilby Clarke remix)
09. Shadow of Your Love (Gilby Clarke remix)
10. Reckless Life (Gilby Clarke remix)
11. Killing Time (Fred Coury remix)
12. Anything Goes (Fred Coury remix)
13. Rocker (Fred Coury remix)
14. Shadow of Your Love (Fred Coury remix)
15. Reckless Life (Fred Coury remix)

In terms of where he stored the recordings before getting them released as The Roots of Guns N’ Roses, Weber indicated: “Good question. It was in a safe deposit box. I mean, it was in there for a long time. Then I moved to England in the 90s and came back and then I got it out, and I just left it with my dad and went back to England. My ex-wife and I, nobody was paying for the safe deposit box, so I think they were saying, “We’re gonna throw your shit away unless you come and get it.” It was one of those things. So, we got it – didn’t think much of it – and just hung onto it. But then later, somebody sort of mentioned doing something with it, and I think I had all five of these songs – at least three of them – on a cassette. And they weren’t really worth listening to. It got passed around through Hollywood quite a bit, and people had certainly listened to it, but you wouldn’t have released anything like that. The quality wasn’t good enough. But this two-inch 16-track? That was a different story.

So, I went into a friend of mine’s studio – Craig Adams – and Craig and I mixed it down to get the music off before anything happened. Because when a tape gets that old and it’s not kept in a particular way, it starts to degrade. So, when I came into town and I was gonna do this, what I had to do is bake the tape, which is a term where they take a tape and then they put it in a particular – I would imagine something hot; I gave it to the person to do it. What it does is, is it does something to the particles that are on the tape that sort of adhering to it a little bit more. I think they developed this to save a lot of old – whether it’s music or tapes over the years – they developed this way of being able to do that. In this case, it was something digital because the technology was digital. So, I took this tape, and The Roots of Guns N’ Roses wouldn’t be a record if it wasn’t for the benefit of being able to extract the music from a two-inch tape, which was dubious at best at the time had it not been for the baking of it. So, I was pretty thrilled when we were able to get a digital copy of it after that.”

With respect to whether there was anything that influenced him to keep those early recordings, Weber stated: “I didn’t really think I’d do anything with it; I just didn’t wanna get rid of it. There was a time when Geffen really wanted it, and they offered me a very small amount of money for it. I guess they were just trying to do their best to kind of get any product off the market that somebody else, at some later date, would come back and want as a release because that’s kind of their normal policy. But at the time, the money wasn’t good enough; it didn’t make any sense. Which I’m glad I didn’t. That would have been in the 80s; maybe ’88 or something like that. Then the next ten years, it just sat in that safe deposit box until I got it and Cleopatra released it. That was fortunate, not just for me – it wasn’t the biggest moneymaker of all time – but I like listening to old Van Halen demos or early Zeppelin stuff that wasn’t released; so, I would imagine that although I don’t have the same experience because I was the one that was playing on it and wrote it, there’s probably a whole group of people who appreciate being able to listen to this older stuff.”

You can read the rest of the interview with Chris Weber at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.