• Axl Rosenberg

GET TO KNOW YOUR NU-GN’RI’ve been getting a lot reader e-mails this week about the various goings-on with GN’R’s current South American tour, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to write about them. It’s all the usual bullshit that seems to follow Axl Rose wherever he goes: he doesn’t show up for a gig, and chaos ensues; he does show up, but stops the show and threatens to leave because some attention-starved fan throws a bottle at him; he cancels a show because his precious stage collapses during a storm. Okay, so that last one is actually pretty unusual and obviously not at all Rose’s fault, but the fact remains that this dude is some kind of drama magnet, and for whatever reason, I’m just not feeling it this week. (Good to know that “Rage” is getting plenty of good photos out of the whole thing, though.)

What does interest me about this tour is the series of video diaries that two of its members, bassist Tommy Stinson and guitarist Dj Ashba, have released.

While it’s nice to think that the various rotating cast members of Axl Rose’s Rock N’ Roll Circus are all doing it out of some legitimate love of GN’R and/or artistic desire to prove that it really can be Guns N’ Roses without the actual members of Guns N’ Roses, I’m sure the insanse amounts of moolah Rose is rumored to paying these guys doesn’t hurt. And neither does the fact that you can now put the words “Guns N’ Roses” on all your future projects. (Stinson’s excellet 2004 solo album, Village Gorilla Head, had a sticker on the cover advertising his involvement with GN’R; ditto the eight thousand solo albums Buckethead released during his tenure with the band). Maybe it’s because they’re not original members, or maybe it’s because word is that they’ve all signed confidentiality agreements that prohibit them from discussing working with Rose in any kind of detail, but the media seems to have by and large shied away from throwing the spotlight on any of the nu-GN’R musicians (I may be the only writer in the world who’d be more curious to interview Robin Finck than Rose himself at this point). But I find these behind-the-scenes glances into one of the world’s most bizarre and enigmatic rock bands to be pretty fascinating.

First up is Stinson’s video diary, which features the band rehearsing for that acoustic NYC gig they did awhile back. No shock: Rose is nowhere to be seen, and keyboardist Dizzy Reed is handling vocal duties for the rehearsal. But these fellas do legitimately seem to like one another. And peep drummer Frank Ferrer brooding in the background. Poor dude has nothing to do at an acoustic gig I guess.

And here are two more video diaries, both from Ashba. It won’t shock anyone to learn that they’re less informative and much more obnoxious (Ashba seems like he might wither and die if he’s ever out of the spotlight for even a second). Still, it’s the closest to being behind the curtain of Axl’s increasingly weird world that most of us will ever get.


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