The rumors have been swirling around for years, but have been picking up steam lately. Guns N Roses is on the verge of reuniting.
I haven't said anything on the subject because 1) it was always nothing but rumor mongering, and 2) I'm not sure I really had anything to say.
Guns N Roses was arguably the biggest band in the world, and they've arguably made the most important hard rock album in American history. I don't deny any of their greatness or influence, but is there actually any reason to be excited about them in 2016?
I was still on board when "Chinese Democracy" finally saw the light of day. While much of the music world wasn't going to give it a fair shake, because of its history, I found myself being in the minority that enjoyed the album. It wasn't in the same league as "Appetite For Destruction", and the more obviously Buckethead moments were laughable, but there was a core of about six songs that stood tall against Guns' previous work. Even today, I can put on "Better", "Street Of Dreams", or "There Was A Time", and forget that Guns has been a joke for longer than they were relevant.
But that brings us to today, where the band's latest lineup has imploded, and the rumors of a reunion have never been stronger. I get the instant appeal of hearing that an old favorite is going to come back to life, but when I take a moment to think about what it really means, I can't get excited.
First of all, I don't live in a major city, nor do I enjoy the live show experience, so I am never going to see the reunion. The one thing that seems clear to me is that while the band may get back together to make a fortune on the touring circuit, they aren't going to be making a new record anytime soon. And without new music coming our way, what are we really getting? All the reunion is going to amount to is a group of older guys rehashing music we've heard for most of our lives, and probably not nearly as well.
Axl's voice is spotty, to say the least. He is going to be terrible for much of the tour, and no amount of seeing Slash standing next to him is going to make them sound better. Guns will be a mediocre replica of what they once were. That's not to mention a fact we often forget; Guns was never as good as we think. "Appetite" was brilliant, but the "Use Your Illusion" albums have, between them, less than an album's worth of top quality material. They have to stretch into some mediocre songs just to fill a two hour set. So in addition to them not sounding good enough, they also don't have the material to justify the scale of the tour.
And if by some chance they decided to try to make a new record, we already know what we're going to get. The only way they could put one out in a reasonable amount of time would be for Axl to put lyrics to Slash's songs. Slash already has a band going with Myles Kennedy, so that's exactly what a new Guns album would wind up being. In all honesty, Myles is a better singer at this point than Axl, so Guns probably wouldn't be able to match his work anyway.
The whole idea of this reunion is to sell a fiction to people who want to relive their youths. The Guns N Roses they remember is long since dead and buried, and putting Axl and Slash on the same stage isn't going to change that fact. The only thing we're going to get from a reunion is an overpriced disappointment.