Rumors of a Guns N’ Roses reunion have been swirling for months, but things went semi-nuclear earlier this week when an article on Dish Nation flatly said it was happening and Brandi Glanville, a friend of Duff McKagan’s wife, blurted out “Guns N’ Roses is coming back, motherfuckers!” in a video interview. Tweets from the official Guns N’ Roses account fueled speculation: “Surely they’ll read between the lines,” “If only they could read lips …,” “Of course today everyone is a jouranlist [sic]” and “What ever happened to no news is good news?” And yesterday, Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe chimed in with his own two cents.
To be very clear, none of this resembles confirmation. We aren’t disparaging the good people at Dish Nation, and it’s possible they have the rock scoop of the decade, but we’d like to know a little more about their reporting. Also, a random outburst from one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills never tends to mean much of anything. There’s also that interview Slash gave a few months ago to a Swedish TV station where he was asked about a supposed report that he was speaking to Axl Rose again. “It was probably way overdue, you know,” he said. “But it’s very cool at this point to dispel some of that negative stuff that was going on for so long.” Call us cynical, but the video looks a little fishy. It’s possible the quote was either out of context or Slash didn’t quite hear the question right.
So are G’NR on the verge of announcing a 200-date stadium tour, or will Axl Rose never appear in public again? Here are five compelling reasons why the reunion is a go and five just as sound reasons why it’s not.
Why It’s Going to Happen
1. The most recent lineup is kaput.
The new version of Guns N’ Roses haven’t played a concert since their Las Vegas residency ended in June of 2014, and in the interim, guitarists DJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal have left the band and bassist Tommy Stinson has said he has absolutely no idea what’s happening with the group. Axl has let the latter-day lineup fall into tatters, which seems to suggest he’s gearing up to bring back the classic configuration.
2. New Guns N’ Roses had toured itself into oblivion.
When Guns N’ Roses went out in 2002 and 2006, they packed arenas all over America, but eventually they were reduced to a theater and club act. You simply can’t do the same show over and over and expect people to keep seeing it. Their last shows were part of a Las Vegas residency, and even that was starting to grow stale. The only logical move at that point is a reunion.
3. They’d get a nine-figure payday.
Axl Rose may not be the most rational person on earth, but even he would presumably have trouble turning down the insane money he’d get for a reunion tour. The guys in Aerosmith aren’t exactly best friends, but they suck it up night after night and make a fortune in the process.
4. Nearly every band eventually reunites.
How many times did the Stone Roses, the Police and Van Halen say they’d never do it? It’s simply the fate of nearly every band to re-form, especially when all the members are living. There are just simply too many forces pulling them together and nothing keeping them apart other than stubbornness and bitterness.
5. Nobody has truly denied it.
The Slash “probably way overdue” interview was in August. Since then, he hasn’t stepped forward to dispute anything. The guy isn’t exactly media-shy, but he’s been suspiciously off-the-grid these past three months.
There’s more than enough evidence to think that something is happening in the world of Guns N’ Roses. Any tour will involve a small army of lawyers, managers, promoters, more lawyers, publicists and even more lawyers. It might take a year-plus to hammer everything together, but this is going to happen.
Why It’s Not Going To Happen
1. Axl hates Slash more than he loves money.
Nobody quite understands why Axl feels such venom towards his former guitarist, but it’s undeniable that he does. Guns N’ Roses played a ton of concerts during the past decade, and they put a ton of money into Axl’s pockets. He might very well feel he’s got enough cash to live comfortably for the rest of his life.
2. There’s not a single credible report out there.
Despite the countless articles written about this over the past few months, nobody has produced anything concrete. That explanation could be pretty simple: There is nothing concrete about this. It’s just rumor, irresponsible journalism and the fevered wishes of hardcore fans.
3. A legit reunion is no easy task.
The band is more than just Axl, Slash and Duff. That lineup would be enough to fill arenas, but the fans want the whole Appetite for Destruction lineup. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin is just about the least reliable man on the planet. He hasn’t gone on a real tour in well over 20 years. Something like this might be enough to make it happen, but we have our doubts. Then there’s the drummer situation. Anyone with access to VH1 knows the Steven Adler story. He could certainly play the Appetite songs, but he’s never done the Use Your Illusion material in concert and we can’t imagine Axl letting him try. The obvious move would be to use Illusion drummer Matt Sorum, but Axl (for reasons that remain unclear) seems to hate him more than Slash. It makes all of this very complicated.
4. Axl has said he’ll never, ever do this, and we should take him at his word.
Led Zeppelin never reunited for a tour. Joe Strummer went to his grave without a Clash reunion. Morrissey will certainly never re-form the Smiths. Sometimes we need to believe these guys when they say, “Never, ever, ever, ever.”
5. We’re talking about Axl Rose here.
He’s never taken the easy path or done what everyone wants him to do. The guy had the biggest rock band on the planet, and he pissed the whole thing away after, essentially, two albums. He doesn’t play by the rules, and a Hell Freezes Over tour with his old buddies Slash and Steven Adler isn’t something he wants to do. In fact, he’d quite possibly rather die.
It ain’t happening. No matter how much we all want to see this show, it simply isn’t going to happen. Axl is Axl, and he doesn’t care about our happiness. There will probably be another 10,000 articles about this over the next few months, but it doesn’t matter. It isn’t happening.
Then again …