Get your bandana and leathers ready, get up around 7 and get out of bed around 9 to give Mr. Brownstone a call and get ready to head back into the jungle; Guns N’ Roses are back.
The Coachella Music and Arts Festival line-up announcement confirmed what had long been rumoured, the announcement validated by several members themselves three weeks ago via their social media.
Ok,ok… 🙄It's "confirmed!" Guns N' Roses is Headlining Coachella 2016!! 🍾🎉📰🌋🎯🎤🎛📡😎 See Everyone There!! ❤️😎
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) January 5, 2016
For months prior, there were ongoing whispers that the original line-up was reuniting, the worst kept secret in the music industry now a reality. In addition to their appearance at Coachella, Guns N’ Roses have also announced an additional two gig run in Las Vegas as an opportunity for a bit of a tune up before rocking the desert valley.
The news of their reunion was met with euphoria from long-time fans but an equal force of underlying resentment and cynicism could also be heard. If you find yourself asking why you should care about an angry ginger egomaniac and an Abraham Lincoln-impersonating guitarist who’ve barely grazed relevance since 1994 are getting back together, it’s simple: because they’re Guns N’ Roses.
Guns N’ Roses made their debut way back in 1986 on the infamous Sunset Strip in Hollywood in a time when bands like Motley Crue and Poison paraded those streets in sky high stilettos, tight shirts and a face-full of makeup. The poster that introduced the band to the LA scene? “A Rock N’ Roll Bash Where Everyone’s Smashed.”
After years of toil on this notoriously debauched strip where over 50 bands could be playing on any one night, Guns N’ Roses exploded into the public consciousness with the release of 1988’s all-conquering Appetite For Destruction. This was Guns N’ Roses arrival, a group of LA kids who glamourised the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle of their peers but choosing to shun most of the glam aesthetics of their contemporaries. They were debauched and dangerous. They were raw and despite their similarities to their peers, in many ways they were an antidote to the hair metal that had dominated radio waves for years prior, a precursor to the wave of grunge that would ultimately kill it off completely.
They outgrew the Roxy and the Whiskey very, very quickly.
Guns N’ Roses knew they were different and didn’t try to hide from this fact. They actually revelled in the difference and used it as a strength in an increasing pit of hair metal poseurs. They were all impossibly thin and just the very embodiment of rock n roll; the type of image over-protective parents would use to warn their children away from its perils.
Their legacy was one of short-burning intensity. They came, they conquered, they quibbled, they disbanded, and then they quibbled some more (for around twenty years or so). The relationship between the band members was famously fractious. It went through numerous incarnations as people were either fired or quit in unceremonious circumstances and with a dizzying frequency. Yet for a brief moment in time, Guns N’ Roses truly were the biggest band in the world.
There was something captivating about them all to a youthful observer, frontman Axl Rose in particular with his rakish figure fitted out in skin-tight leather pants and his iconic bandana gyrating his way across arena stages around the world. A man who seemingly delighted in causing trouble and controversy, he became the outspoken figurehead of the group and a hero to millions.
Unfortunately, Axl and his personality frequently clashed with the rest of the band, the final straw coming in 1994 following the release of lukewarm covers album The Spaghetti Incident? Axl retained the band name, drafting what seemed like a million replacement musicians for the next Guns N’ Roses album: Chinese Democracy. An album that took 15 years to finally be released and was a monumental disappointment. Axl and his version of Guns N’ Roses playing around the world and as a house act at the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas, but it was never the same.
Rumours of a reunion of the original lineup had ebbed and flowed over the years (the lead up to their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was rife with speculation) but always died down without anything eventuating. This time, however, the rumours proved to be true. The band will reunite and headline Saturday night on two corresponding weekends from April the 15th– 24th at Coachella. The reunion will mark the first time the original line-up, featuring Axl Rose, Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan will have played together since their demise. Use Your Illusion-era drummer Matt Sorum has also been rumoured to be participating.
At a time when the world seems to be losing a large proportion of its legendary musicians, Lemmy Killmister, David Bowie and Glenn Frey all passing away within mere weeks of each other, Guns N’ Roses undoubtedly possess some of that old school rock swagger that made them and continues to hold them as legends in the music industry. Despite their relative inactivity over the last two decades they have remained wildly popular and still stayed within the confines of public opinion. It doesn’t matter if you like their music or not, pretty much everyone has an opinion on Axl Rose and Slash, be it good or bad and so many pundits both fans and detractors have weighed in on whether or not the band should even be reforming in the first place.
Their visceral music is so reflective of their attitudes, which is what makes them such a fascinating band. Their reunion may all go according to plan and they may complete their headline slots to universal acclaim, but there is always the slight possibility of it all going catastrophically wrong. After all, these are bandmates that have called each other “cancers”, “drunks” and repeatedly dismissed the chance of ever getting back together again previously.There’s no telling if this reunion is even an amicable one or whether it’s money forcing the make-up.
For whatever the reasons and motivations may be though, you can be sure that an army of fans will be looking forward to seeing the old line-up again. And as long as there are fans who want it, who is anyone else to protest a Guns N’ Roses reunion? Rest assured the Gunners, who produced a staggering amount of hits in a short period of time, classic tunes like Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome To the Jungle, November Rain, Paradise City, Don’t Cry, Civil War and You Could Be Mine, will be welcomed back with open arms. Hopefully this will help put Chinese Democracy far, far behind us at the very least…