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February, 2003
Welcome To The Jungle - A Timeline of Axl's return to the road
Classic Rock Magazine February 2003

A Timeline of Axl's return to the road.

June 2000

Just 250 lucky punters are on hand to witness Axl Rose unexpectedly jamming at the Cat Club with former Guns guitarist Gilby Clarke's band The Starfuckers. Rose's first live appearance since 1993 sees him guesting on two Rolling Stones songs, 'Wild Horses' and 'Dead Flowers', with The Starfuckers, the house band at the West Hollywood venue.

At around the same time, Rose grants Rolling Stone magazine a rare interview. Besides discussing the state of 'Chinese Democracy'-at this point reported to have cost an estimated six million dollars - the singer also reveals that his new-look Gunners have also re-recorded their 1987 debut album 'Appetite For Destruction', minus the songs 'You Could Be Mine' and 'Patience'.

"Why did we do that?" Axl said. "Well, we had to rehearse them anyway to be able to perform them live again, and there were a lot of recording techniques that subtly could use a little sprucing up".

December 2000

The first Guns N' Roses concert in seven years is confirmed, apparently to be followed by a full- length tour. Rose is to unveil his new line-up on January 14 at the Rock In Rio III festival in Brazil, as part of a diverse bill that also includes iron Maiden, Halford, Queens Of The Stone Age, Sepultura, Sting, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, Neil Young, Deftones, Britney Spears, Papa Roach, 5ive and REM.

This being GN'R, nobody so much as bats an eyelid when we learn that the new band will feature an individual who plays with an upside-down Kentucky Fried Chicken container of on his head. Oooh, the suspense!

December 2000

Rose breaks in his new grouping - the aforementioned Buckethead, plus ex-Nine inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, guitarist Paul Tobias, former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboard players Dizzy Reed and Chris Pittman and ex-Primus drummer Brian Mantia - with a pair of New Year shows in Las Vegas. A full house of 1,800 fans pay a whopping $180 per head to watch the band at the House Of Blues.

January 2001

Despite intense speculation that they will not turn up to fulfil their obligations at the three-day show, Guns N' Roses do appear at Rock In Rio.

An estimated 200,000 fans watch a two-and-a- half-hour set that comprises 'Welcome To The Jungle', 'It's So Easy','Mr Brownstone','Live And Let Die', 'Oh My God', 'Think About You', 'You Could Be Mine','Sweet Child O' Mine', 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door , 'Madagascar', 'November Rain', 'Outta Get Me','Rocket Queen','Chinese Democracy', 'The Blues', 'Patience', 'Nightrain', 'My Michelle', 'Silkworms', 'Paradise City'. These set is also peppered with various lengthy and furious rants from Rose. At one point he tells the crowd: "I know that many of you are disappointed that some of the people you know and love could not be with us here today. Regardless of what you have learned or read, my former friends [have] worked very hard to do everything they could so I wouldn't be here today. I say fuck that."

The verdict of Classic Rock's on-the-spot live reviewer is: "As Axl had promised, the new band can 'play the fuck out of these songs'... This isn't over quite yet".

March 2001

In the wake of their success of Rock In Rio, shows in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham in June are announced.

May 2001

On the eve of the European tour, there are widespread rumours that the shows will not take place. One US report states that Rose's refusal to perform is due to a secret batch of hair transplants leaving him with "big, scarred patches on the back of his head"; another report insists he's been undergoing liposuction.

Other mooted reasons for the trek's postponement-which is finally confirmed just as Classic Rock 29 goes to press - include a mystery stomach illness being suffered by Buckethead (strange, considering the enigmatic guitarist had played a solo show weeks earlier), and even that Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker has been brought onboard to help the band add the fmishing touches to'Chinese Democracy'. Official sources remain tight-lipped, except to reveal that the four UK shows will now take place between December 13 and 19.

November 2001

Ticket sales are frozen when the tour's fate once again plunges into uncertainty. Buckethead is now rumoured to have left the band. As Issue 34 is closing, GN'R's UK publicist acknowledges the enormous levels of conjecture, but claims to be awaiting an official update concerning the fate of the shows. Tipped off by various US sources, Classic Rock expresses its scepticism that the band will even board a plane. The abuse we receive in return comes from all sides.

In related news, Slash puts his Snakepit project on hold. The guitarist also informs a Canadian magazine that he and other members of GN'R's classic line-up are seeking ways to regain part , control of the Guns N' Roses name. He says: "Now that I know a little bit more about that stuff I'm trying to look for a loophole."

December 2001

We told you so. All 14 of the band's European shows fail to take place - once again. This time manager Doug Goldstein shoulders the blame.

Ludicrously, Axl later claims to have found our about his touring commitments via a spell on his PC. He says: "I was sitting at home on the internet and I found out the tour was cancelled. I had no idea that I [even] had a tour."

A statement from Goldstein says: "Following the euphoria of Rock In Rio, I jumped the gun and arranged a European tour, as our plan was to have the new album out this year. I'm very sorry to disappoint our fans. I made a plan, and unfortunately it did not work out."

Goldstein adds that Rose has spent "every waking hour of every day during the last five years" working on 'Chinese Democracy'. As Classic Rock points out, it's a shame that the frontman's manager didn't find the time to bring up the small matter of a UK tour. The GN'R fansite My Guns N' Roses (www mygnr.com) even apologises to Classic Rock for our no-nonsense coverage of this farcical situation. "Well take out any negative references to you guys," they tell us. "You were right all along."

December 2001

Perhaps in a bid to prove that the band do still actually exist, Guns N' Roses return to Las Vegas to play two further end of year shows, this time at The Joint and the Hard Rock Cafe. During the former show, Rose storms from the stage twice. Slash - who has just announced the demise of Snakepit attempts to attend the second gig, but at Axl's insistence the former GN'R guitarist is turned away at the door.

"I was trying to be discreet, but apparently Gu N' Roses' management found out and it was major pandemonium," Slash later comments. "It was like they sent out an all-points bulletin."

February 2002

Rose dismisses Roy Thomas Baker from the "Chinese Democracy project, just as his former bandmates move to block the inclusion of the new band's version of'Welcome To The Jungle' from the Black Hawk Down soundtrack.

Slash and bassist Duff McKagan are also linked with guest spots on a new solo album by former GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin.

May 2002

The Gunners announce an appearance at the Leeds Festival on August 23, though they decline the Carling Weekend's invitation to headline sister event the Reading Festival due to prior commitments at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.

July 2002

It's reported that the band will also play London's Docklands Arena on August 26 and 27. When Classic Rock calls the Arenas box office to determine whether these extra shows are actually taking place, we are told: "Allegedly those dates are happening. They are pencilled in, but the contract has yet to be signed." To further confuse matters, the Leeds Festival is also rumoured to have had its licence turned down after the organisers failed to make improvements to the site.

August 2002

Guns N' Roses promoters Clear Channel confirm the band's Docklands Arena appearance, a single show on August 26. Before the group fly to the Far East and then Europe, an interview with Rose is posted at the band's official website, www.gnronline.com (at press time the site still hasn't been updated since September). In it, Axl admits to feeling "misty-eyed" at the thought of disproving the sceptics, also expressing his desire to "wrap up the baby", a reference to the recording of 'Chinese Democracy', now estimated to have cost a whopping $8 million. But he also has a word of advice for those holding their breath during the wait: "Don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility, not mine."

The Gunners also find time for a surprise guest spot at the MTV Video Music Awards. They are critically mauled for their performances of 'Welcome To The Jungle , 'Madagascar' and'Paradise City', and Axl later admits: "We didn't have what we were doing onstage worked out till the day of the show. It wasn't even for sure that we were playing till the day." Astonishingly, the Leeds and Docklands gigs both take place. At the latter they are described in Classic Rock as: "The greatest Guns N' Roses tribute band in the whole wide world."

Meanwhile, Duff McKagan informs Classic Rock that he is working with Slash and former Guns drummer Matt Sorum on a new project. Duff reveals that the trio are seeking a suitable frontman.

Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach and Travis Meeks of Days Of The New have both cut demos with the band, which McKagan says "doesn't sound like Guns N' Roses". But the bassist does add: "Were not going to pretend we weren't there."

Intriguingly, McKagan adds that while there are no plans for a GN'R reunion, he wouldn't rule out the possibility "in a year, or in three years"

November 2002

Guns N' Roses' first North American tour in nine years begins on November 7 at the General Motors Place in Vancouver. The very first show is cancelled by the promoter, causing a riot. The next few shows pass without incident, but police are called once again when GN'R fail to appear in Philadelphia on December 6. As stage time approaches, it's alleged that Axl is still in his New York City hotel room watching a basketball game on television. After just a month, the tour is unceremoniously cancelled.

Thanks to Nightfall, Dilly_Bug and TCL(!)


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