5 Questions We Desperately Want Answered About The Guns N’ Roses Reunion

It’s taken two decades of healing and rumours of many, many millions of dollars to make happen, but the once unthinkable is now a reality. But there…

5 Questions We Desperately Want Answered About The Guns N’ Roses Reunion

Words: Sam Coare (Features Ed)

Here’s what we know… Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan will be onstage together for the first time in 23 years. It once seemed almost impossible, but that’s the reality we’re facing here. When Guns N’ Roses arrive for a pair of shows at California’s Coachella festival in April, they do so with their three main pillars supporting the iconic name.

It’s taken two decades of healing and rumours of many, many millions of dollars to make happen, but the once unthinkable is now a reality. Guns N’ Roses as we knew and love them are back. And fuck, are we excited. But there are still some questions we want answering…

1. Where’s Izzy?

With the Big Three of Axl, Slash and Duff locked in, the man fans most want to see involved next is Izzy Stradlin – the musician with whom Axl first formed Guns. The rhythm guitarist left in 1991, shortly after the completion of the Use Your Illusion epics, and is the most media-shy of all the former Gunners, rarely speaking to the media or making public appearances, even going as far as to dodge GN’R’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2012. Yet past form would indicate there’s nothing stopping his involvement than his own personal desire to – Izzy remains friends with Slash and Duff, with the pair even asking Izzy to join Velvet Revolver many moons ago, while he’s stepped out onstage with Axl and his new GN’R on numerous occasions, including at Download 2006 and in London in 2012.

2. In fact, where’s anyone else at all?

Exactly who is in Guns N’ Roses at any given moment has long been a tiring joke, given how readily people have come and gone in the past two decades. And the reunion makes things no clearer. Buried deep in the announcement, issued to media across the world, was the interesting description of the reunion as that of the ‘iconic’ line-up. Not the ‘original’ line-up, not the ‘Appetite’ line-up, not the ‘Illusion’ line-up… So, who exactly is in this reunion? Outside of Axl, keyboardist Dizzy Reed has been the band’s sole constant since joining the ranks in 1990, so you can likely count him in. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess, especially when it comes to the face behind the drum kit – with neither Appetite drummer Steven Adler nor Illusion drummer Matt Sorum giving any indication as to their involvement.

Steven has long campaigned for the reunion, stating last September that if he wasn’t involved, “I would probably feel like I would wanna kill myself.” Yet his recent addiction problems (Steven, nearly two years sober, has also claimed his former bandmates don’t believe he is free of his former vices) and the relative inactivity of his band Adler count against him, should the reunion turn into a physically demanding world tour, while many would question his ability to play to the level of Matt Sorum, who replaced the sticksman in 1990 and would certainly be considered the safer pair of hands.

3. What will the setlist look like?

An interesting one, this. A reunion setlist is spoiled for potential material, even if we were to discard anything released under the Guns name since Slash and Duff departed the band. Yet that is material Axl spent a lifetime working on, which he remains proud of, and which still retains a place in the hearts of many diehard fans. Then there’s the arena to consider: a festival appearance usually demands a festival set of greatest hits. So would Coachella fans want material from Chinese Democracy – and would Duff and Slash want to play it at all?

4. What’s next?

The announcement of the Coachella set was widely expected to be accompanied by that of a U.S. stadium tour, but nothing has surfaced – yet, anyway. Given it’s taken this long for that April festival show to be confirmed, it’s little surprise, either. While the next two years are predicted to take Guns all over the world, putting the logistics of that in place will be no easy feat, so just a little patience is the order of the day – especially for UK fans. Bookmakers are offering odds on Guns popping up everywhere from Download to Reading & Leeds to Wembley Stadium. With Reading & Leeds still yet to announce two of their three 2016 headliners, most people are understandably looking in their direction, with a Donington return more likely for 2017. And just how many Wembley Stadium shows would need to be laid on to meet the demand of fans?

5. Will there be a new album?

Okay, now we’re getting into the land of fantasy. 2008’s Chinese Democracy took a bank-breaking 15 years to see the light of day – and that was with Axl having full control in the studio. Let’s face facts: a new Guns album featuring Axl, Slash and Duff isn’t going to be on the cards any time soon. The best we can hope for is that the reunion sparks a deeper friendship, connection and creativity to stoke the fires of Guns and edge them back towards writing new material.

Don’t forget to read Sam’s blog on Why Axl Rose Is Still The Greatest Rockstar In The World.

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