not a member? click here to sign up
Days of Guns N' Roses
Court cases! Vintage wines! Smack! Bad craziness! A burst pancreas! And a chart-topping album! It can only be the posthumous but never-ending saga of the defining rock band of the ’80s and ’90s. Stuart Clark gets the latest from Duff McKagan
Stuart Clark, 27 Apr 2004
Nirvana fans can argue all they want but when it comes to units shifted, outrage caused and people hospitalised, Guns N’ Roses were the defining rock ’n’ roll band of the late ’80s/early ’90s. They’re still a big deal today with their posthumous Greatest Hits forcibly removing Norah Jones from the top of the Irish album chart. Four weeks later it’s still there, a two-fingered LA dirtbag riposte to the bland jazz brigade.
You’d have thought that the Gunners would be delighted with this turn of events but, nope, last month saw founder members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan reuniting in court to try and prevent its release.
“Am I pissed that the judge threw the case out?” says a clearly aggrieved McKagan. “Too fucking right I am, man! It’s got five covers on it including ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ which was one of our poorer moments. Nobody asked us about the artwork or the track-listing, which when you’ve made the music and still care about it passionately, sucks.
“It’s all about Geffen or Interscope or Universal or whatever the company’s calling themselves these days making their quarterly quota. At this point Axl’s in so much debt to them that they’re going to cross-collateralise his royalties off of this thing.”
Abortive or not, the court case is the first time Duff and Axl have done anything other than hurl abuse at each other since 1997 when McKagan quit the band and Rose set about turning it into a dictatorship.
“Axl isn’t somebody Slash and myself particularly want to talk to, so it was done through lawyers,” the
40-year-old bassist resumes. “You’re right to call the Greatest Hits ‘posthumous’ because in the same way that Paul McCartney and three session guys aren’t The Beatles, Axl Rose shouldn’t attach the Guns N’ Roses name to what he’s doing now. Commercially I understand where he’s at, but morally and artistically he’s desecrating what G N’ R achieved and stood for. It was five people in a band, not a fucking solo project.”