News Segment


March 30, 2004

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Guns N’ Roses has canceled its scheduled May 30 headlining appearance at the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon. In a statement, sole original member Axl Rose places the blame on guitarist Buckethead, who has apparently exited the lineup.

“The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure,” Rose said. “During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment — despite being under contract — creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence.”

Rose cited Buckethead’s interest in furthering a solo career first established with the 1992 release of a self-titled album on the Avant label. The masked artist, who is never seen in the flesh or without a KFC bucket on his head, will kick off a solo tour tomorrow (March 31) in Milwaukee supporting jam band Particle.

“It appears his plans were to secure a recording contract with Sanctuary Records which I encouraged my management to make available to him, quit GNR and to use his involvement in the upcoming Guns release to immediately promote his individual efforts,” Rose said.

“There is not a member of this camp that is not hurt, upset and ultimately disappointed,” Rose added. “We as a whole definitely feel that we afforded Bucket every accommodation perhaps so much so that it may be that we, or more precisely, I may have done Guns a disservice and unintentionally allowed Guns to be put in this position.”

The Rock in Rio appearance was to be the group’s first since a disastrous 2002 comeback tour that was canceled with 13 dates remaining.

“On behalf of Guns N’ Roses and myself I apologize to the fans,” Rose said. “The festival and its tradition mean a lot to me personally and I sincerely do not enjoy being robbed by one of our own of the opportunity to be the first artist to play it for the third time.”

Rose admitted that “there are obviously several issues to resolve” regarding Buckethead’s longtime involvement and the band’s long-awaited Geffen album “Chinese Democracy.”

“In the meantime rather than dwelling on the negative, Guns will be moving forward,” Rose said, “and surprisingly (without giving away any details) this unfortunate set of circumstances may have given us the opportunity to take our recording that one extra step further. Regardless we hope to announce a release date within the next few months.”

Courtesy of Billboard