Guns N' Roses Enter Studio To Record New Album

Addicted To Noise Toronto correspondent Peter Howell (who is rock critic for the Toronto Star) reports: Guns N' Roses is back working together again, according to bassist Duff McKagan. The multi-million-selling Los Angeles hard rock act had been rumored to have broken up, a casualty of bandmember lifestyle problems and changing musical tastes. But the group members recently reconvened after a long time apart, and they're back in the studio, recording their first album of original material in five years. "We've been in for two weeks as a full band with Slash and Axl (Rose) and me, and we go from midnight to five in the morning," McKagan said from L.A. "With Guns, there's no problems with material. The problem has always been getting us in the same room. So now that we're in there, it's rockin'."

The record will be all up-tempo rock songs ("No ballads," McKagan said firmly) and it will be just 12 songs, with a release planned for next spring. A summer tour would likely follow.

The Gunners were among the biggest rock acts in the world in the early '90s, selling millions of copies of their double-album 1991 disc, Use Your Illusion, and filling stadiums worldwide. But lawsuits arising from singer Rose's penchant for confronting obnoxious audience members, and various drug and health problems for the others, kept the band off the road and out of the studio since 1993, the year the band released a collection of cover tunes titled The Spaghetti Incident?


McKagan said he very nearly killed himself through alcoholism...


Use Your Illusion was a big one for the band.


McKagan saidhe very nearly killedhimself through alcoholism, which he has helped keep in check by taking up martial arts training. "I had to,'' McKagan said of cleaning up his act. "My pancreas blew up. It was pretty black and white for me there when I was in the hospital: 'If you drink, you die.' But I didn't know how to stop. I really didn't."


Part of getting his life back in gear was joining new band Neurotic Outsiders with fellow Gunner Matt Sorum, Sex Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor. The four Hollywood buddies originally started the group last September as a charity fund-raiser lark, but it's grown into a serious side project. which McKagan is juggling with his Guns 'N Roses duties. "On this tour we're doing, Matt and I fly back from Toronto and then we do four days with Guns (recording) and then we go back out, so Matt and I are playing every single night with one or the other (bands) in September," McKagan said.


Keyboard player Dizzy Reed is also back in the GN'R lineup, but there's been a big change up front: Rose is now playing rhythm guitar. "For the last couple of years, he started to go, 'Okay, I'm going to play guitar and actually learn what these notes are.' It's an innocent guitar, not unlike Izzy (Stradlin, ex-GN'R guitarist) was, but Axl's got a lot more musically than Izzy ever did.''


McKagan said he feels great from his time off and his work with Neurotic Outsiders, and there's a good feeling in GN'R, too - but also some problems. "There's a certain tension with this band and there always has been, and there's some issues that haven't quite been cleared," McKagan said. "Just little things. We've been together 10 years. We're not unlike brothers. So there's tensions, but that's how we thrive." -END


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September 11th 1996