When Axl Rose failed to appear at his band’s December 6th show in
Philadelphia, he may have ended any chances of a Guns n’ Roses
comeback. A riot ensued that night, the tour was cancelled and
serious questions were raised about the group’s future. After nine
years of near-seclusion, no new album and an aborted concert trek,
is this the end of Gn’R?
A source close to the tour said the decision to pull the plug
was made primarily by the promoter, Clear Channel, who stood to
lose millions, given that Philadelphia was Rose’s second no-show
(Gn’R also canceled the tour’s first date, November 7th, in
Vancouver) and the tour suffered from soft ticket sales. Gn’R were
selling an average of 7,500 seats in 15,000- to 20,000-capacity
After the tour was shuttered, Rose sent musicians and crew
packing, with no plans to reschedule the remaining sixteen dates.
The band’s label, Interscope, continues to maintain that Gn’R will
soon put the “finishing touches” on the infamously delayed
Chinese Democracy CD, though no release date is set.
“There’s every chance that he’ll be so pissed by what’s happened
that he’ll finish the album immediately,” says one source familiar
with the band. Insiders concede that it’s also possible the tour’s
public meltdown will drive Rose back into hiding.
As always, Gn’R remain shrouded in mystery. Everyone who works
with the group — from roadies to band members — have signed
confidentiality agreements and would not talk for this story.
Still, some disgruntled crew members have come forward. According
to one source, Rose kept to himself most of the tour, traveling in
limos and in a private jet. He was repeatedly late to shows, and
his tardiness often forced crew members to work up to twenty-one
hours a day. “Axl’s not a demonic bad guy,” says a source. “He just
does things his way, and that doesn’t work for the rest of us.”
The Philly debacle ended with a few fans in the hospital and
thousands of dollars in damage. Can Gn’R mount another tour despite
this track record? Surprisingly most insiders say yes. Jess Margera
of opening band CKY became a supporter of the troubled singer
during the tour, especially after Rose went with CKY to a strip
club in Toronto.
“Axl was really cool to us,” Margera says. “I’m sorry everybody
else didn’t get treated as well by him.” Legendary rock manager
Irving Azoff also remains optimistic. “In Axl’s case, anything’s
possible,” Azoff says. “If this guy has a hit record, he’s back.
Rock & roll has always been anti-establishment. Part of Axl’s
anti-establishment is pulling this shit.