News Segment


May 28, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Guns N’ Roses will hit the stage in a European tour this week in singer Axl Rose’s latest bid to return to rock paradise, but fans are still waiting for the band’s long-promised new album.

The success of GNR’s comeback concerts rests on the reclusive and controversial Rose, whose absence at a show in Canada in the American band’s last tour in 2002 led to riots. The disastrous tour ended prematurely.

In a warmup to the 30-date European tour that starts in Spain Thursday, the band, which soared to superstar status in 1987 with hits such as “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City”, recently played four nights in small New York venues.

“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 for 11 years.

Guitar virtuoso Slash and bassist Duff McKagan quit the band a decade ago, leaving Rose as the band’s only original member.

Despite losing the creative axemen, Rose has retained a legion of fans who long for the release of “Chinese Democracy”, an album in the works for nearly 10 years.

“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 GNR 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.

The revamped Guns N’ Roses have yet to release their new album.

In a recent impromptu radio interview, Rose announced that the long-awaited “Chinese Democracy” would come out later this year. Constantly delayed, it has been derided by the New York Times as “the most expensive album never made.”

It would be the band’s first studio album since “The Spaghetti Incident?”, released in 1993, which was a compilation of mostly punk covers.

That last album came on the heels of the hugely successful “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” albums, which included mega-hits such as “Don’t Cry,” “November Rain” and “You Could be Mine.”

Guns N’ Roses became one of the most popular hard rock bands after the 1987 release of its first album, “Appetite for Destruction,” which introduced the world to Rose’s hard-edged voice and Slash’s ripping guitar solos.

But after selling more than 90 million records, Slash left the band in 1996 and was followed by McKagan and Sorum. GNR has since struggled to regain its hard rock crown with Rose alone at the helm.

Slash, McKagan and Sorum, meanwhile, revived their careers with the successful band Velvet Revolver, which includes another controversial singer, former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland.

Courtesy of