Today in Guns N’ Roses Reunion Rumors: New Version of Band to Be an Appetite/Chinese Democracy Hybrid?

  • Axl Rosenberg

Nothing about Guns N’ Roses has ever been normal. So why should their heavily rumored reunion be any different?

The latest: Blabbermouth says that The Pulse of Radio says that the reunion will actually only be a semi-reunion; while Slash (lead guitar) and Duff McKagan (bass) will return to the fold, Chinese Democracy-era members Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar) and Frank Ferrer  (drums) will remain part of the band. The rumor doesn’t mention anything about the fates of keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman, I’m assuming in this scenario that at least Reed would get to keep his job — he’s been in the band since the Use Your Illusion albums, after all.

There are three ways I can think to describe this rumor:

  1. Weird. I get that at the end of the day Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff are the members of the band about whom the general public cares the most, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only members of the band who were/are important. Original rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin (the band’s unsung hero) is nearly as reclusive as Rose, so it’s not hard to imagine him passing on the reunion (he passed on being part of Velvet Revolver)… but still. Did they lose Gilby Clarke’s number? Also, does this mean that Slash and Duff are gonna be playing material from Chinese Democracy? It’s not that hard to imagine Slash wailing on “Street of Dreams” or “Catcher in the Rye,” but I can’t imagine him playing something like “Shackler’s Revenge,” can you? And if they get Slash to play “Sorry,” will anyone acknowledge that the song is about Slash???
  2. Cruel. All Steven Adler has talked about since he was fired from Guns N’ Roses in 1991 is getting back into Guns N’ Roses. For whatever reason, though, it seems clear that Slash and Duff prefer working with Adler’s successor, Matt Sorum, and I think the general consensus was that Sorum would be the band’s drummer again if they were ever to reunite. That probably would have broken Adler’s heart, but at least he would have seen it coming. Not being able to get his old gig back from Ferrer — who appears on only five of the fourteen songs on Chinese Democracy — would surely feel like a slap in the face, no?
  3. Fair. It’s important to remember that a) Axl Rose is fucking nuts, b) he still owns the name “Guns N’ Roses,” and c) a big part of the original split between Rose and Slash was that they couldn’t agree on a replacement for Stradlin. Letting Rose keep a couple of his guys allows him to save face (i.e., not completely disown Chinese Democracy, which took tens of years and tens of millions of dollars to make) and sidestep the rhythm guitarist debate. Which isn’t as good as having Stradlin and Adler or Sorum back in the band, but, hey, I’ll take it. It’s not like Fortus and Ferrer aren’t talented dudes — they’re great. They’re just not the original players.

ANYWAY, this is obviously all still very speculative. As with all things GN’R, I strongly advise you not to get too excited until you see it with your own two eyes.

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