Given Guns N' Rose's contentious history, there was some speculation as to whether the band's original line-up, especially frontman Axl Rose and his main nemesis, guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson), would perform during the group's '12 induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame - their first year of eligibility.
"It's not up to Slash or Duff (McKagan) or Izzy (Stradlin), who wouldn't do it for the money but for the fans," drummer Steve Alder told BostonHerald.com. "It's all an Axl deal. He's got to be the one to say OK. But I won't pray to God to talk to Axl because if God tried to talk to Axl, he'd make Him wait."
That statement speaks volumes. Rose passed on the Hall of Fame ceremony writing, rather bitterly, on Facebook, "I won't be attending ... and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized, nor may anyone be permitted, to accept my induction or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should imply, whether directly, indirectly, or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of Guns N' Roses." When GN'R performed at the ceremony it was Slash's vocalist, Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), who filled in for Rose.
Rose was the frontman of one of the most powerful '80s bands. But with members leaving or being driven out, each replacement took the band down a notch. Over time Guns N' Roses seemed more a tribute band (with Rose being the only original member left) than the real deal. Then there was the fourteen year odyssey recording "Chinese Democracy" - a good album but hardly a great one. That fiasco turned Guns N' Roses into joke. So how did it all happen?
Rose was born (02/06/62) William Bruce Rose, Jr. in Lafayette, IN. Two years later, Rose's twenty-two year old father, also named William, abandoned the family - in '84 he was found murdered in Illinois. His mother's second marriage was to Stephen L. Bailey. It was a very devout household that required weekly church attendance and Sunday school. For Rose, that religious environment was countered by his stepfather's physical abuse. A psychiatrist concluded that Rose's delinquent behavior was evidence of psychosis. Blessed with a high IQ, he was later diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder. After more than twenty arrests for public intoxication and battery, which led to jail time, Rose moved to L.A. in '82.
With a "day job" that was actually working as the night manager at the Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard and being a virtual guinea pig for a scientific study at UCLA, Rose rolled in and out of bands, including the first incarnation of L.A. Guns with Tracii Guns. Rose formed Hollywood Rose with childhood friend and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who had immigrated to L.A. in '80. Eventually, Guns N' Roses came about through the merger of Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns.
Their major label debut "Appetite For Destruction" was a monster selling six million copies before the dust settled. "Sweet Child O' Mine," written about Axl's girlfriend and future ex-wife, Erin Everly, rode heavy-duty vocals and a blistering guitar solo straight to the top. They followed that up with the Metal frenzy of "Welcome To The Jungle" and a tour supporting Aerosmith. Soon Guns N' Roses were headliners. "GNR Lies," an EP-plus, sold over five million copies in the United States alone.
Rose won Rolling Stone magazine's Worst Male Rock Singer and Worst Dressed awards. He "contributed" to a riot during a Maryland show that resulted in arrests, property damage, and the cancellation of a couple Guns N' Roses shows.
'91 saw the arrival of "Use Your Illusion I & II." The two CDs were released simultaneously and held the #1 and #2 album spots in the U.S. No other Rock artist had ever accomplished that. Each moved seven million copies. "November Rain" was the obligatory Rock ballad hit. Next up was the covers CD "The Spaghetti Incident."
With guitarist Slash, drummer Alder and bassist Duff McKagen out, Axl countered with a new line-up and talk of creating the greatest Rock album ever - "Chinese Democracy."
Despite the extended wait and high (too high) expectations, the reviews for "Chinese Democracy" were generally favorable. Many critics were simply expressed relief that the album wasn't another GN'R disaster. But leave it to the Chinese government to have the final word. "As far as I know, many people don't like this kind of music," said Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Qin Gang. "It's too noisy and clamorous." That says it.
After a short break following their "Chinese Democracy" supporting trek, GN'R launched the Up Close And Personal Tour at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. The club tour offered an experience thought long gone.
"If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine you were seeing Guns N' Roses on the Sunset Strip in 1987," wrote Andy Greene for Rolling Stone magazine. "Then you open your eyes, and see a 50-year-old Axl in a black cowboy hat and sunglasses singing alongside some guy named (GN'R guitarist) Bumblefoot and you're brought right back to reality."
1987 Appetite for Destruction
1988 GN'R Lies
1991 Use Your Illusion I
1991 Use Your Illusion II
1993 "The Spaghetti Incident?"
2008 Chinese Democracy