Guns N’ Roses is an influential American hard rock band founded in Los Angeles in 1985 that gained popularity in the late ’80s. The band was often referred to as “the world’s most dangerous band” due to their volatile live shows. Stemming from the LA rock & roll underground in 1986, the band signified a shift in rock from slick hair-metal back to gritty, dirty, street-smart rock & roll. The ugly lyrics matched the sleaze of the music—driven by heavy blues licks—covering misogyny, violence, city life, sex, liquor, and hard drugs. They also, however, had a tendency to show sensitivity and a desire to break free from the city. Subsequent albums revealed an influence from bands in the vein of The Rolling Stones and Queen.
Their 1987 breakthrough, Appetite for Destruction, (which is the second highest-selling debut album of all-time) 15 times platinum, coupled with the success of the hit single “Sweet Child o’ Mine” in 1988, took the world by storm. “Appetite” was full of raunchy hard rock with blistering anthemic guitar riffs and snarling vocals. It was unlike anything before, it was raw and real with no flaw at all.
A follow up EP was made in 1988 called GNR Lies which had 4 songs from their debut EP Live Like A Suicide and 3 new acoustic songs and an acoustic version of You’re Crazy. The album sold well and got into the top 10 alongside Appetite For Destruction. By 1991 they were one of the most popular bands in the world. Steven Adler(original drummer) was kicked out of the band due to his drug addiction making so blocked up that he was unable to play. Guns soldiered on and recorded Use Your Illusions 1 and 2 a double album that made history by making the number 1 and 2 spots on the American Billboard Album chart. The album was filled with songs that pushed Guns into a different direction, it was far away from the Appetite era and contained more “epic” tracks featuring Pianos, Brass sections, various effects and a new member to the band Dizzy Reed (Keyboard). Critics were a bit confused expecting 35 or so hard rock songs from one of the best bands in the world to hear around 17 or so rockers and many piano filled songs. The main vibe was that instead of releasing two albums that were a bit filler at times they could have released one CD and it could very well have been the greatest rock album of all time. Around this time Izzy Stradlin left the band saying that he felt the Guns N’ Roses were not Guns N’ Roses anymore.
When Guns N’ Roses ruled the world they were the most hostile band around. While doing a stadium tour with Metallica in Montreal, Metallica’s frontman James Hetfield sustained second degree burns after an accident on stage. Hetfield had to go to the hospital and Guns N’ Roses came on early to cover for Metallica. Not long into the set, Axl Rose threw his microphone to the ground and stormed off stage taking the rest of the band with him. The P.A. system had been acting up and the band could not hear themselves playing. This led to one of the largest riots in musical history, with riot squads called in and cars overturned. Another Incident took place in St Louis, a fan was taking footage of the band performing and Axl spotted the guy and asked security to take him away, the security refused so Axl jumped into the crowd and smacked the guy to floor and took his camera. He got back up to the stage and walked off causing one of the biggest riots in rock n roll history.
After dealing with acts like this from Axl for a long time the band parted ways.
Sole original member Axl Rose (vocalist) retreated into solitude around 1997 to record the long-awaited LP Chinese Democracy, the so-called “most expensive album never made.”
As of 2008, Guns N Roses are: Thomas Eugene Stinson (Bass) Robin Finck (Lead Guitar) Richard Fortus (Rhythm Guitar) Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Virtuoso Guitar) W. Axl Rose (Lead Vocals) Chris Pitman (Synth) Bryan “Brain” Mantia (Drums) Frank Ferrer (Drums, touring replacement) and Darren “Dizzy” Reed (Keyboard and Congas).
The band toured extensively in 2006/07, playing to over 750 000 people in over 23 countries.
Chinese Democracy had been given the tentative release date of March 6th, then reported September 17, 2007. However both dates passed with no sign of the album. Further release dates of February 11, 2008 and February 12, 2008 were set by HMV and Amazon, and now stand at August 25th, 2008. Acording to the official website the band is “in negotiations for the release of Chinese Democracy”, as of the 20th of April 2008.
Many of the other members of Guns N’ Roses (Slash, Duff McKagan & Matt Sorum) now play together in the hard-rock band Velvet Revolver with ex-Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and Dave Kushner. However, Izzy Stradlin, original GN’R rhythm guitarist and co-composer of many of the band’s most successful songs, has not joined them. He did however play a few dates with the new line-up of Guns N’ Roses in the summer of 2006, as a guest. Keyboard player Dizzy Reed, while not a founding member of the band (joining in 1990 in the Use Your Illusion period), remains with Guns N’ Roses in their current incarnation.
Appetite for Destruction (1987) #1 US Billboard, 15x Platinum
G N’ R Lies (1988) #2 US Billboard, 5x Platinum
Use Your Illusion I (1991) #2 US Billboard, 7x Platinum
Use Your Illusion II (1991) #1 US Billboard, 7x Platinum
The Spaghetti Incident? (1993) #4 US Billboard, Platinum
Live Era: ‘87-‘93 (1999) #45 US Billboard, Gold
Greatest Hits (2004) #3 US Billboard, 3x Platinum