TIME TO CONTINUE BEING NOT EXCITED BY THE IDEA OF A GN’R REUNION
So long as Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Duff McKagan are all involved, no one would be more excited about a reunion of the original Guns N’ Roses than me. Yeah, I’d prefer if Steven Adler were the drummer instead of Matt Sorum, but that seems unlikely, and I’d be willing to settle. I’d be severely depressed about it, but I’d probably even be willing to settle for Gilby Clarke instead of Izzy if it came down to it. And I know there’s really no chance that the reunion would be great; Axl has turned into Yosemite Sam and Slash has a pacemaker and can’t run around the way he used to, so, at best, it would be a total nostalgia trip. But it would be a lot of fun, and given that Rose has completely failed to maintain a stable line-up of G&R (a.k.a. “Guns N’ Roses 2.0,” a.k.a. “Nu-GN’R”) anyway, might as well, right?
And now Guns N’ Roses are one of the fifteen finalist nominees for induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. And it seems like they have a pretty decent chance of being one of the five artists who will actually get in, despite the fact that they only made four albums of original material in four years and only toured for an additional two, because, well, those albums sold a gajillion copies, and inducting them would, frankly, be good for business. And so, of course, people are starting to get really excited, because if they get inducted, maybe that reunion we’ve all been dreaming about for almost twenty freakin’ years will finally happen, right?
Only here’s the thing: There is absolutely no chance in hell that the original band will reunite, even if they are inducted into a meaningless museum.
Look… I tend to believe that all disbanded acts will reunite eventually, especially when there’s a lot of money to made. And make no mistake about it — a reunion of the original GN’R would earn roughly a bajillion dollars*. The Slash-less GN’R has sold out Madison Square Garden twice, and the Axl-free Velvet Revolver has no problem selling tickets, either, so imagine what kind of business a reunion of the classic line-up would do? This band could probably single-handedly save the economy right now just by announcing that they’re gonna play Appetite for Destruction in full, and 99% of all Guns fans don’t even remember the song “Anything Goes.”
But I always say, and have always said, that Guns N’ Roses are the exception to the reunion rule, for one reason and one reason only: Axl Rose is completely fucking nuts. And not completely fucking nuts the way that a guy like, say, Nikki Sixx is, where, at the end of the day, some kind of reason and logic (read: desire for aforementioned piles of cash) seems to permeate his brain. Axl Rose is legitimately insane. This is a dude who broke up the biggest band in the world at the height of their popularity. A guy who routinely fires entire line-ups because he was in a cranky mood that night, then re-hires them an hour later. A guy who consults a physic named “Yoda.” A guy who spent fifteen years making the most expensive record of all time, and then refused to promote it. A guy who has cancelled entire tours based on the claim that no one told him about those tours until he read about them on the internet. A guy who is responsible for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR separate riots during the course of his career. A guy who willingly spends time hanging out with Sebastian Bach.
Axl Rose doesn’t have a screw loose; his brain never had any spot for those screws to begin with.
His nuttiness is part of the package deal, the reason he’s so great and so terrible at the same time. He didn’t write “Girls, Girls, Girls,” or “Nothing But a Good Time;” he wrote “Out Ta Get Me” and “Get in the Ring.” As Chuck Klosterman put it, there is something legitimately wrong with this dude’s brain, and it shows in his music and his performances, and it’s what makes him so exciting even though, yes, he is, undeniably, an asshole. But the fact that he is so bonkers means he will really never forgive Slash for whatever it is that Slash did to piss him off in the first place. And that means no GN’R reunion.
To wit: I was cynical that this Nu-GN’R U.S. tour was finally happening — and I still probably won’t believe it until the band is on stage performing — but last night Vince and I went to the Izod Center in New Jersey to see the Foo Fighters (who played for nearly three hours, every second of them fantastic… any band that has arena rock aspirations should be made to watch them and see how that shit is done), and there were posters for a GN’R show on November 17 all over the arena walls, so I guess the promoters at least think the tour is legit. And even if that tour is a massive financial failure — and I don’t think it will be (see: Slash-less band selling out MSG twice) — it’s hard for me to believe that Axl will suddenly go, “Okay, let’s call Slash and hug it out.” He’s just too fucked up in the head.
So, yeah, maybe GN’R will be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame next April, and maybe some version of the original line-up will even show up to accept… you know Adler will make room in his busy schedule, for one thing. But Axl Rose could probably give a fuck, and won’t be there. So don’t hold your breath for that reunion, okay?
*Estimate according to our CPA.