2016 Preview: Guns N' Roses

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On Swedish television last August, Slash revealed that after nearly 20 years of bitter estrangement he and Axl Rose had worked out their differences.

A wildfire of speculation ensued – could this mean a classic Guns N’ Roses reunion would at last be possible? [UPDATE: Yes. The reunion gig at Coachella was confirmed on January 5.]

The revelation came shortly after Slash’s split from wife Perla Hudson, who was known to criticise Axl on social media. There were assertions that this was a factor in the renewed association. But debate among fans raged – from whether Slash’s comment was taken out of context to whether the dispelling of bad blood meant anything at all to the state of Guns N’ Roses. Shortly after, sources in both Australia and Portugal claimed that promoters were approached about adding a reunited GN’R to 2016 festivals. The Isle of Wight and Download Festivals joined the rumour mill, reportedly for 2017. Yet nothing was confirmed.

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Then, any doubts that a Axl/Slash reconciliation had not only occurred but was affecting the Guns N’ Roses brand were all but put to rest in November when casino games developer NetEnt announced its official GN’R-themed Slot Machine – licensed and thereby approved by Axl – featuring predominantly the likenesses of Slash and former GN’R bassist Duff McKagan. Besides the iconic frontman, they appear to be the only members from any incarnation of the band visible in the custom game of chance.

So what’s the chance of a reunion? No one has expressed a more desperate and sincere desire for it than Steven Adler. Though it’s unsure if he’ll be on board as the primary drummer, information relayed by rock critic/personality Eddie Trunk suggests that Adler may serve in a guest capacity. If such is the case, the drummer could seize the opportunity, and the door is likely open to Izzy Stradlin, a key GN’R songwriter and childhood friend of Axl’s, though he is not one to compromise if circumstances aren’t to his liking. Disillusioned by politics within the band, Izzy left at their height in 1991 and he later refused to participate in GN’R’s 2012 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, after Axl declined the honour. The fates of Steven and Izzy were further questioned when PulseofRadio.com reported that current GN’R members Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer would round out the line-up in their place.

Will the fans accept a reunion of which the core is Axl, Slash and Duff? They did in 1992, when they were the biggest rock act in the world. And what of new music? A new album from the Appetite For Destruction line-up is certainly the ideal. But though we could see a GN’R reunion of some sort in 2016, it may not be all aboard the Nightrain.