Have you noticed that for the past decade or so that there has been at least one major reunion? The Police. Black Sabbath. Blur. Fleetwood Mac. Take That. The Eagles. Soundgarden. Jane’s Addiction. New Kids on the Block. And those are just the big ones. We could also include The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Replacements, Sleater-Kinney…the list goes on and on.
What’s the motivation here? Money. Lots and lots of money.
With sales of recorded music cratering, royalty cheques aren’t as big as they use to be. Replacement income must be found if lifestyles are to be maintained. Sure, you can reissue old material as expensive box sets or license your tunes to ad agencies, but the biggest payday will come from playing live. A tour or two can do wonders for the retirement fund.
Then there are the promoters who need to fill arenas, amphitheatres and stadia. Since the music industry has done a lousy job of cranking out new stadium-level superstars over the last dozen years, the only option is to go back to legacy acts with big bags of money. “I know you guys are pensioners, but we really, really need to put bums in these seats. Baby Boomers have plenty of cash and are willing to relive their youth through your music. What do you say? You want to leave some cash for the grandchildren, right?”
And so, after a little cajoling and ego-soothing, many an act is persuaded to hit the road yet again.
It’s for these reasons that I’ve long held that a Guns ‘N Roses reunion is inevitable. Promoters worldwide view such a reunion as a Holy Grail, the most lucrative concert business opportunity still out there. Pressure has been building for years and it’s only a matter of time before the classic Gunners lineup is forced together again by the power of Big Money.
Slash and Duff McKagan certainly don’t need the financial help. Slash has done well with Velvet Revolver, as a hired gun (no pun intended) as well as a solo artist. Duff had a run of success with Velvet Revolver–plus he has an MBA in finance and runs a company that helps entertainers invest and manage their money. Matt Sorum should be okay, too, since he’s close with Duff and was also in VR. But the other guys probably could use a little extra cash.
Axl has been burning through money for years. Izzy Stradlin has basically been MIA. And drummer Steve Adler (Hmm. Two drummers. Awkward.) has been begging for a chance to redeem himself with his old bandmates.
With no new major reunions on the schedule for 2016–and with fewer acts able to fill those stadiums–thoughts turn to Oasis, The Smiths (again!), Led Zeppelin (never gonna happen) and Gun ‘N Roses. And the rumours that an announcement is imminent are once again very strong. Hey, when a wife of an original member starts talking about it…
Will it happen? I think it will. It’s just a matter of time. If not in 2016, then 2017. There’s too much riding on this.
Meanwhile, please enjoy this version of “Welcome to the Jungle.”