News Segment


November 10, 2006

Welcome to the dry jungle.

After being told state law prohibits them from imbibing on stage, Guns N’ Roses decided to call off Monday’s scheduled concert at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine.

In a press release, a band spokesman said the no-booze ban imposed on them by fire marshals for the Maine Public Safety Department made it “impossible for the band to perform their show to the usual high standards that their fans deserve.”

Frontman Axl Rose subsequently issued a statement on G N’ R’s official Website explaining the situation and offering an apology for those ticket holders left in the lurch.

“It was important for us to play there and it is a shame that what should have been a great night for all of us was not possible due to the actions of two people,” the 44-year-old singer explained Tuesday regarding the inspectors’ decision to bar them from drinking beer, liquor and wine while performing.

He continued: “I agree with, and ultimately take responsibility for, the end decision not to jeopardize the safety of the fans, the crews, the bands and myself as a result of the methods of these particularly draconian authorities.”

Though Rose and his mates usually rip through their two hour-plus setlist with the aid of alcohol, it’s hard to think that the safety of the audience would be at risk if they laid off the Jaeger for a night.

But such was the “Out ta Get Me” crooner’s reasoning. At the same time, he also denied that the cancellation had anything to do with supposedly sluggish ticket sales for the Maine show after local media outlets such as Maine’s WGME-TV reported that only half of the tickets for the 6,500-seat venue had been sold.

“We are not trying to get away or get out of anything or pull a fast one by combining ticket sales as has been speculated,” Rose said.

Clearing things up a bit, G N’ R’s management laid the blame for the concert’s axing squarely on the limitations placed on them by the fire marshals who turned up to scrutinize the band’s pyrotechnics, accusing them of discriminating in the way they enforce the rules that would make fans feel “harassed and threatened.”

“Our production manager and crew have been in this building with Clay Aiken and Green Day and none of the restrictions imposed on Guns N’ Roses were experienced by those artists,” the spokesman pointed out. “It is our opinion that they are going out of their way to target and single out Guns N’ Roses and the band’s loyal fans.”

Jeff Austin, supervisor of liquor licensing and inspection for the state Department of Public Safety, countered that Maine law does not allow performers to drink on stage, nor does it allow venue employees to partake while on the job either.

“It’s been on the books for years,” he told the Associated Press, adding that he’s already administered at least three citations this year for violations of the ban.

Rose noted that he and the rest of his new Gunners “hope to find another way to play for you in the future.”

While Guns N’ Roses continues its 2006 American tour in support of its mythological, but still unreleased Chinese Democracy album, the group has altered its lineup again–only this time it’s said to be temporary.

According to a post on the band’s Website by longtime pal, Del James, current drummer Bryan “Brain” Mantia has bowed out of the U.S. leg to spend time at home with his wife and newborn baby girl. Replacing him for the trek’s duration behind the kit is Frank Ferrer, a friend of axe man Richard Fortus, who previously supplied beats the Psychedelic Fur among other bands.

The Guns N’ Roses tour resumes tonight at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Courtesy of