Back in 1987, the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses rose to fame with the release of their first album, Appetite For Destruction. Following which, songs like Sweet child o’ mine, November rain and Paradise city from their repertoire comprising all of six albums, attained cult status. In the 25 years since they’ve been in business, the band’s success story has also been punctuated with frequent line-up changes and long intervals of no releases.
Ahead of the Guns N’ Roses Mumbai concert this Sunday as part of their debut tour of India, the band’s iconic frontman Axl Roses talks about life, music and more.
Your concert is going to fulfil the dreams of many diehard Guns N’ Roses fans. What took you so long to get here?
I’ve always wanted to play in India. We’ve tried to make it happen, but for whatever reasons, it just wasn’t working out. We’re all very excited and looking forward to performing for everyone.
It’s been four years since your last release, Chinese Democracy. Are you working on something new now? When can fans expect your next release?
Yes, in the future! Ha!GN’R has been in business for almost three decades. Like many other bands, it has also seen many line-up changes.
How challenging is it for a band to stay united despite such creative differences?
In order to simply survive, make a living and to be able to tour and do shows like these, creative differences aren’t the only differences that are challenges. I don’t feel most of the differences or challenges with Appetite’s (GN’R’s debut album Appetite For Destruction, 1987) or other lineups had anything to do with musical differences or GN’R’s music. In my opinion, our issues had to do with control, public perception or misperception and who’s in the lineup’s music, and not the particular style, sound or genre.
Any advice to upcoming bands on how to stay a cohesive unit?
I’d say we all learn the hard way, whether we want to or not, that you have to protect yourself individually in business and then you can work at being as fair and democratic as possible. But without having your house in order first, you won’t have the tools or foundation to make things work between each other when the going gets tough.
Since this is going to be your debut concert here, what are you looking forward to the most?
Giving a successful show, having the fans feel good about the concert and their time there and... I love Indian food!
Any cultural experiences you’d like to indulge in while you are here?
I’m sure the rest of the guys and crew will visit some places. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to. Mostly, I’ll focus on the shows, but if I have time, I’m excited to explore India.
Are there any Indian artistes you follow or would like to collaborate with in the future?
It’s something I want to explore. Yesterdays Band vocalist Axl Rose is the only remaining member from the original line-up that comprised Slash (lead guitarist), Izzy Stradlin, (rhythm guitar), Duff McKagan (bass) and Steven Adler (drums). This 1986 line-up was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this year. While the other members reunited and even jammed at the event, Axl chose not to attend it.
In their 25-year-old career, the band has released six albums, the most recent being Chinese Democracy, in 2008.