Don’t bank on punctuality from Axl.
In the past, the band has either started without Axl, or, as when opening for Alice Cooper in 1986, played the entire set without him. In 2010, fans in Townsville waited 75 minutes for the Guns n Roses show to start. Pacifier’s Jon Toogood told reporters he’d heard that Axl was “out looking for a florist that would open at 10 at night so he could get the right coloured roses in his hotel room.” Although who knows. Clearly a lot has changed.
Drummer Steven Adler, who is awesome and a big part of Guns n Roses’ sound, has struggled with substance addiction since the late 80s and was fired from the band in 1990 because heroin was preventing him from being able to play properly. (As in, he faceplanted on his drum kit at his last performance). Adler was still working on his sobriety in 2013 and although he joined the band for a couple of numbers last year, he’s unlikely to make it to New Zealand. Izzy Stradlin, the band’s reclusive co-founder, is also not part of the reunion.
Night Train is hooch
For nerdy fans unaccustomed to such pursuits, they’re singing about Night Train Express, a cheap but highly alcoholic (17.5%) fortified wine aka “bum wine”, that wine critics have described as having “a heavy, syrupy consistency” with notes of rubbing alcohol. Also, “Mr Brownstone” is heroin.
They were almost called “AIDS”
Formed in 1985 by combining members of LA hard rock bands LA Guns and Hollywood Rose, the new band briefly considered calling themselves AIDS.
Slash is black and British
His mother is African-American costume designer Ola Hudson and his father is British artist Anthony Hudson. He was born in Hampstead and lived in England until he was five.
The video for “November Rain”, among the most expensive videos ever made at US$1.5m, was not without its frustrations for director Andy Morahan, who would later describe it as “Spinal Tap with money”. Axl Rose turned up late as he’d had an appointment at the dentist that day. And in make-up, guitarist Slash, possibly hungover, refused to remove his sunglasses, telling the makeup artist, “just dust around the accessories”.
If you’re a Chinese Democracy fan, you’ll be pleased to learn that, although Slash and McKagan had nothing to do with the $13 million, 14 years-in-the-making album, the newly reformed band has been playing songs from it.
Although Donald Trump is reportedly a fan of Axl Rose, the feeling’s not mutual. Rose has tweeted a few shots at the new President of the USA, invited fans in Mexico to smash up a Trump pinata, and has been amending the lyrics to “Civil War” to enjoin us to “Look at the fear Trump’s feeding”. If you’re not a fan of Trump, listen out for the line so you can raise a fist in solidarity.