Wilcox Commentary: Can Guns ‘N’ Roses Continue to Produce the Magic?

Guns N Roses - Photo by RAPH


It’s the day that parents around the world may well have been dreading: Guns ‘N’ Roses, once proclaimed the “Most Dangerous Band in the World,” are recording new material and, later in the year, will be going on the road. A leak on a sound technician’s Instagram account about dropping one of Slash’s amplifiers at Axl Rose’s home studio got fans’ mouths watering at the prospect of a potential new album. It’s no rumor, though, now, because the famous lead guitarist has confirmed that the band plan to record a new album.

While confirming this, Slash also mentioned that Guns ‘N’ Roses will be doing a “small” tour before concentrating on the album. On the official G ‘N’ R Instagram account, the band stated they’ll be playing at the Louder Than Life festival in September, and immediately the fans went into meltdown. Clearly, the band hasn’t lost their touch with the fans, but will they still be able to produce their magic on the road and in the studio?

How have the band remained successful for so long?

In their early days, there were comings and goings while the band found its feet. They recorded an EP which was a flop. Then they released ‘Appetite for Destruction’, a blistering album that celebrated booze, drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, and gave fellow bad boy rockers Motley Crüe something to think about. That was the moment Guns ‘N’ Roses had well and truly arrived. With their arrival they brought a new image to the rock scene and decimated the pretty boy look of bands such as Poison and Bon Jovi, and in an era when flashy, exotically shaped guitared ruled the Earth (musically speaking), they made Gibson guitars cool again.

One of the other reasons the band has stood the test of time could well be the one constant in the band throughout its existence: the lead singer, Axl Rose, who has remained with the band since its early days. Issues such as drug addiction — most (in)famously with former drummer Steven Adler — have threatened to rip the band apart. The band has taken timeouts on a couple of occasions before returning with a new (and improved?) lineup. Often, bands split, and the only talk of them ever reuniting comes from the media. It would appear that Rose is the surprising glue that manages to hold the band together.

Then there’s the sheer unpredictability of the Guns ‘N’ Roses experience. In the past, they’ve been notorious for turning up late to live gigs. When they do show up, you never quite know what’s going to happen. Many fans will remember the Use Your Illusion tour when Axl Rose rocked a kilt, something which he has become fond of wearing on tour since. And at reunion times, despite the fans getting excited about reunions, there’s always that underlying fear that Axl will put the kibosh on it and shatter everyone’s illusions.

There’s one more thing to consider: the fact that Guns ‘N’ Roses really know how to write songs. With “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, the band breathed new life into the power ballad genre and reminded the world that rock bands can remain write deep, emotional love songs and seriously rock at the same time. Let’s not forget, too, everyone’s favorite G ‘N’ R video, “November Rain,” which Axl Rose, originally, started writing as far back as 1983.

All in all, you have a band that seems to forever be on the verge of collapse, yet regroups, brings out new albums after a long spell away, and the world and the critics forgive them once they’ve hit the play button and checked it out. Is it deliberate? Is it the band’s secret formula for success?

The legacy

Guns ‘N’ Roses have built up a superb legacy so far and now you buy all kinds of merchandise, such as clothing, mugs, jewelry cases and more. In fact, even the world of online slot games is muscling in with the Guns ‘N Roses Slot. The game features a soundtrack of five epic Guns ‘N’ Roses tracks that players can choose. It’s a five-reeler, three row and twenty line slot and has rock-themed features, such as the Appetite For Destruction Wild, the Encore free spin, the Crowd Pleaser bonus game, the Legend spin and more. Naturally, since the band has such a huge fanbase, online operators have done all they can to attract them to their site.

To date, the band have six studio albums to their name:

  • Appetite for Destruction, featuring classics such as “Paradise City” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
  • Lies, which contains the hit acoustic ballad “Patience” and the controversial “One in a Million.”
  • Use Your Illusion 1, home to the memorable “November Rain,” the somewhat controversial “Bad Obsession” and the cover of Wings’ “Live and Let Die.”
  • Use Your Illusion 2, with anti-war song “Civil War” and, from the “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” movie, “You Could Be Mine.”
  • The Spaghetti Incident, featuring the poignant ballad “Since I Don’t Have you”
  • Chinese Democracy, where you’ll find the rumbling title track and also the atmospheric “Sorry.”

The band have a compilation album (that they didn’t actually want to release!), a live album (which was a flop) and various live video albums. Nearly 11 years have passed since the release of the band’s last studio album, Chinese Democracy. The release in itself is an achievement, due to the fact that personnel issues and financial complications plagued the making of the album. Eventually, Chinese Democracy album turned out to be the most expensive album in the world, costing a reported $13 million to make.

Thankfully, if you’re a Guns ‘N’ Roses fan — and maybe less thankfully, if you’re a parent — the new album will take less time to come out. Slash has commented in an interview that Axl already has a few songs up his sleeve. If you’d like to see the band on tour, you’ll find them at the following festivals in the fall of 2019: Louder Than Life, Austin City Limits Music Festival and Exit 111 Music Festival. You can look for tour tickets on the official Guns ‘N’ Roses website.