Guns N’ Roses have plenty on their plate this fall. The rockers will play Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, which runs October 20th and 21st in Mountain View, California, and then take to Las Vegas on Halloween for a 12-date residency through November 24th at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Joint club. The band’s guitarist, DJ Ashba, believes these dates will bring the band closer to releasing some of the plentiful new material they have.
“[Axl Rose] has tons of stuff done [and] recorded that he’s played for me and wants my input on,” Ashba tells Rolling Stone. “Axl’s put together such a talented group of musicians and there are so many songs that are already worked out. So we’ve got a good jump on it, for sure.”
Guns N’ Roses’ two concert experiences will be ambitious as well, promises Ashba. For the Bridge School Benefit, Guns N’ Roses will perform an entirely unplugged set in tribute to the event’s founder. “A lot of the acoustic shows in the past, I would still play on the [electric] Les Paul – but for this, we’re going all acoustic, no electric anything. That’s how Neil kind of envisioned the whole thing, so we’re gonna stay true to that, for sure,” Ashba explains. “We’re gonna add a couple [songs] that the band’s never played… I know Axl is really excited to do it.”
This year’s Bridge School bill also features Jack White, k.d. lang, Steve Martin’s bluegrass act and Lucinda Williams. “I think Jack White’s a brilliant musician and Steve Martin, k.d. lang [are] really good live. It’s just gonna be a fun day,” enthuses Ashba. “I’ll be a little kid that day.”
For the group’s plugged-in Sin City run, Ashba claims, “It’s gonna be a different experience for sure. The whole entire stage looks different.” Their Appetite for Democracy residency will include new live production and set lists and is timed to this year’s 25th anniversary of their landmark debut album, Appetite for Destruction.
“We’re playing three shows a week and our main goal is to make every show unique and really change it up because we do realize there are going to be a lot of people flying from all over the world to see maybe one, two, three shows,” says Ashba. “But there are the local people that we do take into consideration that may show up to every single show. That’s kind of what’s been cool about Guns: it’s so spontaneous live, we’ve never followed a set list.”
The Vegas residency may also prove the most fruitful period for creating new material, notes Ashba. “This is the first time we’re all gonna be in the same place for a month solid and that will be, and already has been talked about, our main focus. So I think we’re gonna get a lot of done,” he says. “There’s a lot of stuff recorded and I think it’s just a matter of sitting down and working together as a band, putting together what we feel is gonna be the next best Guns N’ Roses record. And I can’t wait; I’m so excited to dive even deeper into that.”