UPDATE: Izzy Stradlin has rebutted singer Axl Rose's characterization of the former Guns N' Roses guitarist. "It's like you could have a conversation and think it's one way and the next day it's another way," Rose said in the above interview. "Bullshit," Stradlin tweeted. "They didn't want to split the loot equally. Simple as that. Moving right along........"
Ahead of the South American leg of Guns N' Roses' Not in This Lifetime, Axl Rose and Duff McKagan sat down for a rare interview – and the group's only interview since their unlikely reunion – with Brazil's Globo TV. During the chat, Rose and McKagan discussed how the reunion happened, Rose's reconnecting with Slash and the singer's future, both with Guns N' Roses and AC/DC.
In the interview (via Blabbermouth), recorded in late July, Rose credited Coachella organizer and Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett as the catalyst for the Guns N' Roses reunion. After Tollett's desire to reunite the classic GN'R lineup at the California fest "seemed real," Rose reached out to his management team to put him in contact with Slash.
"I had called [Slash] and he was on tour or something, and then we set up when we were gonna see each other, and I think something happened to both of our plans and that didn't happen," Rose said of the guitarist. "And then eventually in October, we got together and we had a dinner at my house. And then Duff and I went and hung out right after that."
McKagan added, "Getting into rehearsals, it was really just kind of one day at a time. I don't know that I thought too much about how far ahead. It was just really cool to play some of the music with the guys that I was playing it with."
While the Not in This Lifetime tour features the "classic era" lineup of Rose, Slash and McKagan – with the occasional Steven Adler cameo – Rose isn't optimistic about guitarist Izzy Stradlin rejoining his former band mates. "I don't really know what to say about Izzy. It's like you could have a conversation and think it's one way and the next day it's another way," Rose said. "And I'm not trying to take any shots at Izzy. It's just his thing is kind of his thing, whatever that is."
Rose added that it was Slash and McKagan who approached him about playing Chinese Democracy songs live. The bassist was complimentary of the 2008 LP, which Rose recorded without the input of any of the "classic era" members. "I really got to discover, in the best of ways, the album Chinese Democracy that [Axl] made, and it was these songs he had worked on," McKagan said. "And I had listened to the record, but when you start to play the songs as a player, you really discover all the layers in the songs."
As for Rose's side job as the fill-in AC/DC singer, he said his role with that band won't necessarily end with the fulfillment of the Rock or Bust U.S. tour dates. "I'll do that as long as Angus [Young] wants to do it and as long as we can make it work. Guns is really supportive about it. I love that it's my job. I love that Angus is my boss," Rose said. "And singing the early Brian [Johnson] songs — the first couple of albums with Brian — those are something else to sing, so it's physically a different animal and another kind of work. And I take pride in doing it."
Rose admitted that, despite currently pulling double duty as a lead singer, he's "not actually a live music guy." "I'd rather watch sports on TV rather than go to an actual game," he said.
Watch Guns N' Roses bring down the house opening night.