by Alisha Jackson
Leading up to Guns N’ Roses‘ Not In This Lifetime… tour, the band took a quiet approach to their reunion news. Aside from a few video promos featuring footage of Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan rehearsing together, the band didn’t really address the public about their comeback. Partially for mysterious rock n’ roll reasons, and partially because they really didn’t have to.
Now that they’ve completed the North American leg of their Not In This Lifetime… tour, Axl and Duff are sharing how the reunion came to be, and what the future holds for the former and current members of Guns N’ Roses. The rare interview took place in Brazil on the television station Globo TV in late July.
Need more reasons to love Coachella? Here’s one. According to Axl, the festival’s organizer, Paul Tollett, propelled the reunion idea. “It had a lot to do with Paul Tollett of Coachella,” Axl explained. “He started talking about [booking a reunion of the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup for his festival]. 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.”
When it came time to talk to Slash, Axl had to ask his management team for his former bandmate’s number. “I had called [Slash] and he was on tour or something, and then we set up when we were gonna see each other, and I think something happened to both of our plans and that didn’t happen,” Axl said. “And then eventually in October, we got together and we had a dinner at my house. 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. We initially were gonna do some kind of promos and stuff, and then other things came up that got in the way of that. And then it was rehearsals. And I went down to rehearsal, and everything just sounded right. And we just went to work. It was time to sing, see what the sound sounded like and stuff and get ready for the show, and it was all working.”
“Getting into rehearsals, it was really just kind of one day at a time,” Duff added. “I don’t know that I thought too much about how far ahead. It was just really cool to play some of the music with the guys that I was playing it with.”
Speaking of the guys Duff originally played with, Axl Rose also commented on Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin‘s future with the newly reunited band. “Steven did join us [on a couple of dates]. At the same time, I have no idea,” Axl admitted. “When this started, Steven had just had back surgery and stuff, so I don’t have any idea about that. And with Izzy, that’s just something that… I can’t really describe to say… I don’t really know what to say about Izzy. It’s, like, you could have a conversation and think it’s one way and the next day it’s another way. And I’m not trying to take any shots at Izzy. It’s just his thing is kind of his thing, whatever that is.”
While Axl and Duff didn’t give any insight on the future of Guns N’ Roses, Axl did comment on his gig with AC/DC. According to the lead singer, he won’t necessarily be leaving the band once the Rock or Bust U.S. tour dates wrap. “I’ll do that as long as Angus [Young] wants to do it and as long as we can make it work,” Axl said. “Guns is really supportive about it. I love that it’s my job. I love that Angus is my boss, and singing the early Brian [Johnson] songs — the first couple of albums with Brian — those are something else to sing, so it’s physically a different animal and another kind of work. And I take pride in doing it.”
Watch Axl and Duff’s full interview below: