Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses (GN'R) is an american hard rock band whose dangerous reputation, controversial front man, and technical prowess have made them one of the most popular rock and roll bands ever. The band's 1987 major label debut, Appetite for Destruction, gained them world notoriety with its infamously self-destructive attitude while their 1991 second major effort, the simultaneous album releases of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, and subsequent tour cemented the band's place as a heavily influential and permanent member of rock and roll history. Their rapid fall from these heights, continuous personel change and a long period of inactivity has cemented their legendary aura.
Originating in Los Angeles in June 1985, Guns N' Roses' unique style incorporated punk, blues, thrash, and other genres of music into what was popular at the time: metal. The band was formed by singer Axl Rose, guitarist Tracii Guns, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Robbie Gardner . The name was derived from a combination of Guns's and Rose's pseudonymous last names.
Rise to fame
When Tracii Guns and Robbie Gardner could not attend the first Guns N' Roses show (in Seattle), Axl called guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler, who he had met recently, and asked if they would play. The two agreed and the band's original line-up was finalized.
The band released a self-produced EP, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, in 1986. Copies of the EP reached Geffen Records executives who soon signed the band. Appetite for Destruction, GNR's Geffen debut, was released on August 21, 1987. The album sold 20 million copies, had three top 10 singles, and hit #1 on the charts. Appetite For Destruction remains the best selling debut album of all time.
Guns N' Roses' next release was the acoustic cd G N' R Lies in 1988, which hit #2 on the music charts. The album was also a source of controversy when one song, "One In A Million", featured the words "niggers" and "faggots", resulting in many accusing the band (or Axl) of racism and homophobia, which Axl denied, saying his (then) lead guitarist was half black and that he was a big fan of homosexual singers such as Freddie Mercury and Elton John. Contributing Welcome to the Jungle to the soundtrack of the movie The Dead Pool (in the Dirty Harry series) gave the band a couple of seconds onscreen in the movie.
In 1989, Guns N' Roses were presented with the American Music Award for favorite Pop/Rock single for Sweet Child O' Mine. At the televised annual award show in 1989, Duff McKagan and Slash appeared intoxicated and used strong language while accepting the award for Best Heavy Metal Album for Appetite For Destruction, and Best Heavy Metal Song for Paradise City. Because of the incident, subsequent American Music Award shows have been broadcast using a five second delay.
Shortly after the release of "Lies", drummer Steve Adler was dismissed from the band, reportedly due to his unwillingness to address his heroin addiction. Other members addressed their addiction after Axl Rose spoke up about them "dancing with Mr. Brownstone" during their opening set for the Rolling Stones.
The Use Your Illusion Tour (1991-1993)
In 1990 Guns N' Roses returned to the studio with new drummer Matt Sorum and keyboardist Dizzy Reed to begin work on the band's most ambitious undertaking yet. On September 17, 1991 they released Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, which debuted as #2 and #1 on the charts.
After the release of the Use Your Illusion albums, Guns N' Roses went on a 28-month-long world tour which was notorious both because of its success and the many controversial incidents that ocurred during it. The most famous of these incidents took place in the summer of 1991, when Axl Rose jumped into the audience during a concert in St. Louis, Missouri. Rose hit one of the fans after taking away a video camera with which the fan was recording the show. After that, Rose left the stage and the angry crowd began a riot in which dozens of people were injured. Rose was charged with having incited a riot, but the police was unable to arrest him until almost a year later, because the band went overseas to continue the tour. During this time, guitarist Izzy Stradlin quit the band due to differences with Rose. He was replaced by Los Angeles-based guitarist Gilby Clarke. The tour also included The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. During this time, November Rain became the most requested video on MTV, eventually winning a VMA for best cinematography. During the awards, the band performed November Rain with singer Elton John.
In May 1993, Gilby Clarke broke his wrist in a motorcycling accident. The band needed a replacement for some shows in Europe. Stradlin briefly returned for a string of 5 shows before leaving yet again.
In 1993, Guns N' Roses released a collection of mostly punk covers entitled The Spaghetti Incident?. This album did not match the success of the Illusion albums and tensions continued to increase within the band. In 1994 Axl fired Gilby Clarke. That same year, a cover version of The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil was recorded by the band, joined by Rose's childhood friend Paul Tobias (replacing Gilby Clarke), for the movie Interview with the Vampire. The addition of Tobias seemed to be the spark that ignited the final disintegration of the band's original line-up. During the recording of "Sympathy for the Devil", Tobias played over the original solo that Slash recorded, and Rose deleted several contributions from the other members. The next member to quit was Slash in 1996, citing creative differences with Rose. A year later, Sorum was fired from the group after having a serious verbal dispute with Rose in the studio. Months later, McKagan opted out of his contract. This left Axl Rose as the sole original member of the band.
The new GN'R
In 1998 Axl Rose returned to the studio accompanied by drummer Josh Freese (of the Vandals), bassist Tommy Stinson (formerly of The Replacements), guitarist Robin Finck (formerly of Nine Inch Nails), guitarist Paul Tobias (aka Paul Huge), and keyboardist Dizzy Reed.
In 1999, the band released one new song, Oh My God, which was included on the soundtrack of End of Days. This song was intended to be a prelude for a new album: Chinese Democracy. GNR also released Live Era 87-93, which was a collection of songs the original lineup recorded on the road between 1987 and 1993. Later that year, Finck returned to Nine Inch Nails to perform on the "The Fragile" world tour.
The revised lineup returned to the stage in January of 2001 with two well-received concerts, one in Las Vegas and one at the Rock in Rio Festival in Rio de Janeiro. The band played a mixture of old hits as well as new songs from their forthcoming album. During the concert, Rose made several comments about the former members of the band:
- "I know that many of you are dissapointed that some of the people that you came to know and love could not be with us here tonight. Regardless of what you may have read or heard, people worked very hard (meaning my former friends) so that I could not be here with you tonight. I am as hurt and dissapointed as you that, unlike other bands, we could not find a way so that we could all get along."
The new lineup played two shows in Las Vegas at the end of 2001. During 2002, guitarist Tobias left the band because of his frustrations with the slow way in which the recording of the new album was going. He was replaced by Richard Fortus, formerly of the band Love Spit Love. The band then played several shows in August of 2002, headlining festivals and concerts in Asia and Europe, and then making their way to New York for a surprise appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
An American tour, the band's first since 1993, was organized as a prelude to the new Chinese Democracy album. However, the opening show in Vancouver was cancelled by the venue when Rose failed to show up in a timely manner. A riot ensued. The tour was met with mixed results. Some concerts in smaller markets did not sell out, while shows in larger markets such as New York and Boston sold out in minutes. Due a second abscence by Axl Rose in Philadelphia and the resulting riot by fans, Clear Channel, the tour's promoter, cancelled all remaining shows of the tour. As of February 2005 the band has not played a show since their December 5, 2002 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Reports issued by the band in 2001 and 2002 claimed that Chinese Democracy was to be released later that year by Interscope/Geffen Records, with whom they had apparently patched up their differences. It is set to release in 2005. Despite Rose's protests, legal and otherwise, Geffen released a greatest hits album on March 23rd. Similarly, Cleopatra records released "Hollywood Rose: The Roots of Guns N' Roses" in early summer. Again, Rose failed to stop its release.
In March 2004 Buckethead left the band, causing Rose to cancel their May 30th appearance at Rock in Rio 4 in Lisbon, Portugal. The band is currently in Los Angeles, auditioning for a new guitar player. There is still no date set for the release of the long-waited Chinese Democracy album.
However, on April, 2005, a demo of a new GN'R song called IRS spread through numerous internet sites. The management of the band responded that they have not leaked any new songs to the public, but that the song available on the iternet was only a "low quality demo." This event has stirred up more controversy about whether or not the new album will be available this year.2
The former Members
Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum formed the band Velvet Revolver with Scott Weiland (formerly of Stone Temple Pilots) in 2003. The band contributed a song to the Hulk's soundtrack before releasing their first album, Contraband, in June 2004. Contraband debuted at #1 on the music charts. The band toured briefly before the release of the album and in the winter of 2004/2005.
Izzy Stradlin continues to release solo albums and occasionally collaborates on songs with Velvet Revolver. Steven Adler tours with his band Adler's Appetite (formerly Suki Jones) and has plans to record with this band. In March 2005, Adler's Appetite parted ways with vocalist Jizzy Pearl. Joe Leste, lead singer of Bang Tango is being considered as a possible replacement.
Guns N' Roses is recognized as the band that changed the way the heavy metal industry was moving in the late 1980s. While most bands during the period produced simple songs and were dependent of their looks rather than the messages of their music, Guns N' Roses ushered in an era where facial make-up and spandex pants (typical of the late 80s bands) were no longer seen as popular.
Their peers in the music industry spoke highly of the band. Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Perry called GN'R "the next Rolling Stones." In 2002, Q magazine named Guns N' Roses in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die". Also, the television network VH1 ranked Guns N' Roses # 9 in the "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". All of their studio albums of original material appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time" list.
- Axl Rose-vocals (1985-)
- Tommy Stinson- Bass (1997-)
- Brian Mantia - Drums (2000-)
- Richard Fortus- Guitars (2002-)
- Robin Finck- Guitars (1996-)
- Dizzy Reed-Keyboards (1990-)
- Tracii Guns, guitar (1985)
- Robbie Gardner , drums (1985)
- Slash, guitars (1985-1996)
- Duff McKagan, bass (1985-1997)
- Izzy Stradlin, guitar (1985-1991)
- Gilby Clarke, guitar (1991-1994)
- Steven Adler, drums (1985-1990)
- Matt Sorum, drums (1990-1997)
- Paul Tobias, guitar (1994-2002)
- Josh Freese, drums (1997-2000)
- Buckethead, guitar (2000-2004)
- Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide (1986) EP, Live
- Appetite for Destruction (1987) Debut Album
- G N' R Lies (1988) Mini-Album; Includes tracks from Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide
- Use Your Illusion I (1991)
- Use Your Illusion II (1991)
- The Spaghetti Incident? (1993) Covers
- Live Era: '87-'93 (1999) Live Album
- Greatest Hits (2004) Compilation
- Chinese Democracy (2005)
- Patience from G N' R Lies
- It's So Easy from Appetite for Destruction
- Paradise City from Appetite for Destruction
- Sweet Child O' Mine from Appetite for Destruction
- Welcome To The Jungle from Appetite for Destruction
- Dead Horse from Use Your Illusion I
- Don't Cry from Use Your Illusion I
- The Garden from Use Your Illusion I
- Garden Of Eden from Use Your Illusion I
- Live And Let Die from Use Your Illusion I
- November Rain from Use Your Illusion I
- Estranged from Use Your Illusion II
- You Could Be Mine from Use Your Illusion II
- Yesterdays from Use Your Illusion II
- Since I Don't Have You from The Spaghetti Incident?
Appetite For Destruction- 15 million GNR LIES- 8 Million Use Your Illusion I- 7 million Use Your Illusion II- 7 million Spaghetti Incident- 4.5 million
- Wall, Mick (1992). Guns N' Roses; the most Dangerous Band in the World. Hyperion. ISBN 1562829513.
- Guns N' Roses On Tour
- Guns N' Roses Official Site
- Velvet Revolver Official Site
- Heretodaygonetohell.com - fan site
- ChineseDemocracy.com - fan site
- Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time
- GunsNRoses.us - fan site
- Ain't it fun?! - fan site
- NewGNR.com - fan site
- GnR Collectors Page/ Fan Site
- The band's newsgroup
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