D Generation's reunion year recently culminated with two opening dates for Guns N' Roses. It's the type of show the band would have scoffed at back in the day, but frontman Jesse Malin looks at it differently now that he's older.
"We used to hate all these bands," Malin tells Rolling Stone. "When D Generation first came out, we were just at war with everything, especially the California hair bands and stuff. Now it all seems to make sense, that we should be a band that should open up for GN'R."
So what's changed? "I realized that Axl's probably treated my friends, like Richard [Fortus] and Tommy [Stinson], really well these last bunch of years," Malin says. "He's out there doing it. He's an outlaw, a misfit, like a lot of us grew up. You could see that with Axl. So I kind of respect it, in some newfound way."
For D Generation, the supporting gigs were also a way of getting back to arenas for the first time since they opened for bands like Green Day and the KISS reunion of the mid-Nineties. At the time, the song "No Way Out" had made D-Gen a buzz band.
Opening for GN'R was also a great way to cap off what has been a very successful reunion thus far. Asked what brought the band back together, Malin says it's familial. "We all grew up together since we were 12 or 13. There are two brothers in the band, and these guys were all at my mother's funeral," he says. "It's people that I really love. We were always in each other's lives, even when we weren't playing together."
Interestingly, despite the strong bond, Malin wasn't convinced the original five guys would ever play together again as a band. "There were long periods where I thought, 'I'm not gonna go back to that, I'm happy with my solo career, people are happy with what they were doing with their lives,'" he says. "And I really just wasn't expecting this. I thought maybe we'd do something, get up a song or two, that kind of thing. When it really came to getting it back out there and getting on stage in New York or the Troubadour, it was a little surreal. But once you're there, it's really comfortable, and you kind of fall right in."
Just like in a family, there is still a lot of unpredictability in the band's dynamic. "Someone can sneeze the wrong way and we have fights," Malin says. "It's still pretty volatile. In Spain, we were having a huge fight right before we went on stage, and we played one of the best gigs. We didn't go to a Metallica-fancy therapist. We just kind of went on with our lives, and hopefully we grew up a little bit, and maybe some of the things won't drive us nuts." Still, he admits there are moments when he thinks "this could just explode at any minute."
Yet the band plans to forge ahead with new music in 2012. They're set to go into rehearsal in January, Malin says. "We plan to do it. We just gotta make sure we like the stuff. I don't think people want to hear new records unless they're present and relevant and not trying to recapture something in the past."
D Generation have already had offers from producers interested in the new material, says Malin, though he doesn't want to say who just yet. "There are some people that are definitely fans of that band that have had big lives," he says. "There are a lot of people that have been courting D Generation, which you wouldn't expect."