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Gn’R Tryouts Get Real on VH1

Rockers document the search for a singer to replace Rose

So you wanna be a rock & roll and TV star? The former
members of Guns n’ Roses might just have a job for you. Guitarist
Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum and newcomer
guitarist Dave Cushner are holding tryouts in Los Angeles to
replace Axl Rose — who splintered the original combo in the
Nineties — and VH1 is filming the proceedings for a new show.

“I was on my way to rehearsal and thinking about all these
reality shows,” says Slash. “I thought, ‘You know what would be
fucking cool? To show a band as it goes through all this

The band had placed ads in everything from local circulars to
Rolling Stone, reading, according to Slash, “Unnamed
artist looking for singer-songwriter somewhere in the realm of
early Alice Cooper/Steve Tyler, the harder-edged side of McCartney
and Lennon.”

“We were getting between 200 and 300 CDs a week,” Slash says.
“We listened to every single one of them. You have to, because you
never know. That one that you throw away could be the shit.”

In all, more than 500 singers sent demos, and the band has so
far auditioned about fifteen of them. Only one finalist, former
Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, knew the band beforehand, but he
doesn’t necessarily have the inside track. “He’s busy on Broadway,
isn’t he?” jokes Sorum. “Seriously, we haven’t found the

“I absolutely love [Sebastian],” says McKagan. “He’s amazing,
but we’ve just got to be really careful with who’s going to front
this thing.”

“This thing” started when Sorum asked Slash and McKagan to join
him in a tribute performance for late Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy
Castillo last spring. It was awesome,” Sorum told Rolling
. “We sort of looked at each other after that and said
let’s try and make something work.” The three then spent the summer
writing songs with a fellow Guns alumnus, guitarist Izzy

“We’ve written over fifty songs,” McKagan says. “There are
twelve great songs in there.”

McKagan, Sorum and Slash road tested their reunion last month at
the Sundance Film Festival, backing actress Gina Gershon and Waylon
Jennings’ son Shooter through a set of covers and old Gn’R material
— including a rip through “Paradise City” to close the night. The
three looked fresh and ready to rock again. And they’d be lying if
they said Axl Rose’s recent misadventures with a band he’s still
calling Guns n’ Roses weren’t motivation.

“When we saw what Axl was doing with his band, we decided there
was nothing standing in our way,” Sorum says. “We had to take some
years to heal from what happened. It was crazy. We’re a little
older, a little wiser, but we’ve still got the rock & roll in
us. We’re ready. We’re going to make a rock & roll album.”

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