In a new interview for Brazil television, Axl Rose reveals how the Guns N’ Roses reunion came together in the past 18 months.
"It had a lot to do with Paul Tollett of Coachella,” Rose tells Globo TV’s weekly news magazine Fantastico. “He started talking about it. It seemed real. So at that point, I just told my people that they could go ahead and start talking to people and see what's going on. And then as it became more real, I texted [my assistant] Fernando [Lebeis] and asked for Slash's number. And then Fernando texted his mom [Beta Lebeis, from his management team], and he was, like, 'If this is a joke, I'm gonna kill you.'"
As the Coachella discussions in early 2015 naturally expanded into talk of a possible tour, Rose re-connected with Slash for the first time in more than two decades.
"In October, we got together and we had a dinner at my house,” the singer explains. “And then Duff and I went and hung out right after that – like a week or so after. And then it was just kind of talking and planning."
Slash and Duff connected with longtime GNR drummer Frank Ferrer early on to get a setlist together and work things out in rehearsal – including material from 2008’s “Chinese Democracy.”
"I didn't have anything, really, to do with that,” says Rose. “They stepped to songs on 'Chinese'. They asked, 'Which ones are you interested in us doing?' and stuff, and they stepped to that on their own. They started working with Frank, 'cause they had their own way of working with the drummer, and working with the rhythms, and kind of picked up the tempo on some of the old songs a bit, and things like that, and got their communication working. So they spent a good while with that on their own."
"I really got to discover – in the best of ways – the album 'Chinese Democracy' that Axl made, and it was these songs he had worked on,” adds McKagan. “And I had listened to the record, but when you start to play the songs as a player, you really discover all the layers in the songs. But really kind of how you hear it and how I'm hearing the songs are maybe a little bit different. And when we went into rehearsals, we wanted to really own that… like this is gonna be what we're doing."
The band’s live lineup is rounded out by guitarist Richard Fortus, and keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese.
Guns N’ Roses wrapped up their Not In This Lifetime North American summer tour at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA on August 23.
The group will next play a series of South American shows beginning in Lima, Peru on October 27 and then start 2017 with dates in Japan in January followed by treks in New Zealand and Australia in February.
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