Founding Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan will reunite with the band for a run of South American gigs this month while the group's current four-stringer, Tommy Stinson, plays his own reunion shows with the Replacements. Stinson called McKagan "a good buddy" to Billboard and offered up his thanks for "covering my ass on this one." Both bassists had been rehearsaing with the band last month.
McKagan had tweeted out a hint to the reunion on Monday, listing the countries he'd be visiting – Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil – along with a snap of some GN'R set lists and the teaser, "See y'all in the next few weeks, Si?" Stinson is due back in the band for GN'R's May 13th gig in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
"I didn't want to fuck anyone up in Guns by saying, 'Hey, I can't do this tour' or anything like that," Stinson said. "Luckily someone was able to reach out to Duff and he was amenable to the idea and was into doing it. It's Duff being the kind of good sport he is, trying to help Axl out."
McKagan said he was just happy to be involved. "It's pretty great to play these songs again, and [I'm] looking forward to playing some gigs with my pal again," he said. "South America is always a radical place for rock & roll, and I'm honored to be doing this thing, in that place."
McKagan was a member of Guns N' Roses between 1985 and 1997 and played on all of the groups' albums other than 2008's Chinese Democracy. After he quit the group, he stayed friends with Rose and reunited with the band in 2010 in London to play the Use Your Illusion II track "You Could Be Mine." When his band Loaded open for GN'R in 2011, he played the same song with them at two different shows, as well as a rendition of "Civil War." He also performed with former members of the group – with the exceptions of Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin – at the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012.
"I don't know that Duff and Axl ever even had bad blood," Stinson said. "I don't really know the whole story. But he came up and played with us a couple years back, and they got along great. Whatever their history is, they're certainly fine now – I mean, as fine as you can be after knowing someone for 30-plus years."
In other Guns N' Roses news, the group will be headlining the Revolver Golden Gods Awards later this month, when Rose accepts the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award in Los Angeles. The group is also playing the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and headlining the Rock on the Range festival on May 16th. Later that month, the group will begin its second residency at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Stinson also expressed hope to Billboard that the band would record some new music soon. "I hope we would fucking throw ourselves in the studio and make another record," he said. "A bunch of us have been writing stuff, so hopefully we'll get something going."