The rumours of a proper Guns ‘N Roses reunion–and by that I mean a lineup that features Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steve and/or Matt (let’s not even go down the Gilbey Clarke road)–have been swirling for close to a decade despite repeated denials from everyone involved.
I’ve spoken to Slash a couple of times about it and each time he was emphatic about any reunion as impossible. Duff and Matt gave me the same answer. Only Steve Adler remained optimistic, but he seemed overly eager for something to happen, perhaps to redeem himself after being fired from the band over drug and alcohol issues. (Sidebar: How bad of a drug and alcohol habit was necessary to get kicked out of 1990-era GNR? It boggles the mind.)
But something has changed in the last year. Axl and Slash have “reconciled,” whatever that means. Stories of an Australian warm-up tour keep circulating. I’ve heard one or two breathless suggestions that mention “Coachella” and another couple that use the word “Glastonbury.”
Now there’s a new rumour. Loaded magazine reports that “megabucks offers” have come in from organizers of the Isle of Wight and Download festivals in the UK. I don’t doubt it.
I’m convinced that this reunion will happen–but not in 2016. Slash and Axl have commitments that must be fulfilled, which will take another 6-9 months. Then there will be at least six months of planning and set-up for any reunion tour. Meanwhile, negotiations will continue in the background to ensure that everyone reaps the megabucks that are just sitting there.
These kinds of reunions are vital to the health of the music industry. Promoters need to sell tickets to festivals. Arenas, amphitheatres and stadia need to put bums in seats. Record labels are desperate to exploit their catalogues. And with fewer and fewer new acts able to draw like legacy artists, there’s a constant need to get the bands back together.
We can thank the organizers of Coachella and Arthur Fogel at Live Nation for creating reunion-mania. Every year, punters await the announcement about which band will reunite in the desert for Coachella. Its track record is good. The festival has already delivered Rage Against the Machine, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain and half a dozen others. Arthur managed the impossible by convincing the Police to go on tour again, grossing $360 million USD for a few months’ work. And the despite not including original drummer Bill Ward in the lineup, the Black Sabbath reunion has been a huge success.
Next to an ABBA tour–which is never gonna happen–a GNR reunion is the Holy Grail for promoters worldwide. Make no mistake: the deal-making is happening right now. The original Gunners will perform together again. It’s just a matter of sorting out the details.