You are not logged in. Please register or login.

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

apex-twin wrote:

September 16th, 1996.

Phoenix, AZ.

It had been a series of tribulations for the 'most dangerous band in the world', now washed out, out of fad, with the same problems as ever. Slash's drinking was an issue, which escalated whenever he was kept off the road. Axl had kept him off the road for the past year. The Snakepit album had been a source of contention between the two. Axl wanted have his pick of the litter to pick the songs apart and rebuild them. Slash said, no. He'd wanted the album done, so he'd recorded it with his own band. No more waiting on Axl. They'd been taken to record a Stones cover soon after. Slash delivered a bluesy solo, which Axl thought took too many liberties on Richards. Axl sang the same words as Jagger, one might say. Paul Huge did some overdubbing, there. Slash was furious, and Axl was probably aware of it.

The next year had been worse. Slash had toured with Snakepit for the first part of the year, before Axl told Geffen he'd be ready to work on the next album whenever Slash is. Axl passed out his letter of resignation from Guns and began a year-long legal tug of war with Slash. Into the summer, Duff and Matt had taken off with the supergroup, Neurotic Outsiders, and had everything going their way by Halloween. They had a record deal by playing weekly in Johnny Depp's bar. Guns was in absolute disarray, with Slash and Axl at odds and Duff and Matt with a good thing going.

Axl had spun his webs by creating a shadow group of musicians, who would pretty much Minecraft Axl an album, developing and recording musical ideas in a painstaking fashion. Earlier in the summer, Axl had summoned up Slash to finally share his vision of the band. It would be centered around them; Axl had in his mind an idea of a blues-rock-based album. That must've been a first for Slash in a while: his Snakepit album was rejected by Axl and Duff, because they saw it as overly-familiar ground. Musically cultured, they were wondering how they should adjust to the times. Axl'd wanted to do a solo album with Trent Reznor. Slash just wanted to play.

Last month, after what seemed like forever, Axl and Slash got into an agreement as to how to proceed with Guns. There was a contract, a trial period. Everyone was on Axl. There were rehearsals. Paul Huge played rhythm. Axl showed up late. Slash opted to get drunk in a strip bar next door while waiting for him. On most nights, he waited for hours. Axl provided with the songs, or at least, drafts of songs, melodies and structures by his shadow group. It was, to a degree, about filling the blanks. Axl wanted to hear the proper interpretation, the secret recipe of a Guns song.

Duff and Matt had dates happening with Neurotic Outsiders, as their band mate Steve Jones was available from the concurrent Sex Pistols reunion tour. They'd only be at it for September, but Axl wanted them to be around. The other week, they'd had a four-day break between Toronto and Detroit region. They had flown to LA for some more Guns rehearsals. Now, the tour had continued for a few days and landed them in the Electric Ballroom, a large venue with even a curtain to cover the stage. Slash might've seen the irony of a curtain call when he was prowling about there, cigarette in hand.

What was he even doing there? Playing one show with the mates, lending them a hand, having fun. On a Monday night in Phoenix. Why not have the same fun the coming Wednesday, when Neurotic would play at The Whiskey in LA? Why bother traveling to the desert to meet up with your friends? Before the next band meeting in LA. Or in Phoenix. Of all the places in the world where Axl could've been that day, a two-hour drive up north is a possibility.



The story of Yoda is perhaps best recalled by Peter Bradshaw.

Axl shouted at security personnel at Sky Harbor International Airport in February 1998 after a screener asked to search his hand luggage... He spent a couple of hours behind bars... Lost in the minor hoopla over the arrest was the matter of what, exactly, Axl was doing at the Phoenix airport. Was Axl coming back from a place where he often goes - Sedona, the New Age bastion in the red-rock canyons 115 miles north of Phoenix, where he sees one of the most important people in his world, a psychic known derisively in the GN'R camp as Yoda?

Though nobody knows precisely how he got involved, people who know him say Axl started visiting Sedona in the early nineties, sometimes travelling with Beta, his housekeeper, or Earl, his bodyguard. Many believers in past lives, channelling, UFOs and the predictive power of crystals pass through Sedona. The town is so tuned in, vibewise that certain canyons are understood to be vortexes for masculine energy and others for feminine forces. In the produce aisles of Sedona supermarkets, shoppers dangle crystals over the pints of strawberries.

... Yoda's real name is Sharon Maynard. A rather plain Asian woman of middle age, Maynard stands about five feet five and has a medium build and dark, curly hair. Since 1978 she has run a not-for-profit business in Sedona called Arcos Cielos Corp., which loosely translated from the Spanish means "sky arcs." The company, with assets of $241,602 in 1998, lists itself as an "educational" enterprise. Aricos Cielos operates out of Maynard's rural home in Sedona, which she shares with her husband, Elliott, a gently gray-haired man. "Dr. Elliott and Sharon Maynard" are both thanked in the Use Your Illusion liner notes.

Sharon Maynards keeps a low profile in town. "She is way under, low-key," says a local business man with ties to the psychic community. None of the New Age booksellers or silversmiths I talked to knew her, and she wasn't listed in the phone book or with the Center for the New Age, where a tick three-ring binder full of psychics and past-life therapists is available for perusal - and many of those listed are available for immediate consultation in booths upstairs. This is not surprising. Much of the more high-end psychic work in Sedona is done b quiet figures like Yoda who work out of private homes.

While it is customary for tour employees to submit a photograph for a laminated pass, with Axl other things seemed to come into play. Doug Goldstein is said to gather photos at the singer's instruction for psychic assessment. In Sedona, some think, Yoda would examine these photos. What does so-and-so want out of Axl? Does this person have his best interests in mind? What kind of energy do they emit?

Submitting a photo to Axl for evaluation by Yoda, some say, coincided with employment in the GN'R world. Band members, crew members, record-company executives - everybody did it. The procedure still goes on. Recalls one current employee, "I sent my picture in. Everybody gets a photo made for a pass. People made jokes about auras being read. What's this for? Nobody really knew. But I don't know anybody who got canned for anything other than not doing a good job." On occasion, according to a music-industry figure Axl recently worked with, Yoda even requests photographs of the sons and daughters of people in Axl's world.

   


Axl taking Slash to Phoenix is not all that far-fetched. Tom Zutaut, an A&R Man on all Guns' studio albums, accompanied Axl to Sedona in July, 2001. According to him, Axl felt the trip necessary as he felt they were "surrounded by negative energy". There was more than enough of that in the 1996 lineup. Paul Huge and Slash never really hashed out their working relationship, which had been enforced by Axl since the Sympathy for the Devil sessions almost two years ago. "Paul will play on the song, Paul will write songs, Paul will rehearse with the band..." Paul must've looked good on a photo that day.

Later that month, Slash admitted to have lapsed into a suicidal depression over his position in Guns. He quit the next morning, with a month-long resignation period. Axl had made up his mind, Paul Huge wasn't going anywhere. Axl might've thought his old buddy would made a wonderful replacement for Izzy, to have that Lafayette songwriting mojo back in Guns. He might've entertained the notion of dismissing Paul to appease Slash - but if Paul read well in Yoda's mind, he would benefit Axl's album, right?

It all went sour. The Guns rehearsals were stopped, dead on. Slash and Axl were at odds again. The album was, again, in disarray. Slash joined Neurotic Outsiders on stage that night, and the three that would be Velvet Revolver had their last night out as Guns.

There's no telling whether Axl was there that night.

Smoking Guns
 Rep: 329 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

Smoking Guns wrote:

Wow, great fucking find and score.. That was cool as shit to see and read.  I love the old band so much....

FlashFlood
 Rep: 51 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

FlashFlood wrote:

Apex-Twin - didn't see any links to an article, assuming you wrote it. Nice work!

The period of 1994-1998 is the most fascinating period of Guns to me. You have the whole Huge incident, sessions with Zakk Fucking Wylde (leaks of which I would gladly take over any additional ChiDem tracks), and sessions that were essentially the combo of new/old guns with Axl/Duff/Matt/Robin/Paul. Just this big black hole where I'm sure there were some unbelievable or at the very least interesting things that were recorded that never materialized.

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

apex-twin wrote:

Yeah, I wrote it, because I've always had a nagging feeling about that show standing in a lynchpin moment for the Old Guns. Slash being in Phoenix for no good reason and apparently, quitting Guns very soon after his guest spot... It raises an eyebrow. There's a French interview with Matt done a week after the show and while Matt's not giving any juicy details yet (Slash may had not formally quit at the time of the interview), there are some revealing moments.

Matt wrote:

Axl is real cool with the Neurotic, he loves the album and he doesn't say it to be polite. He criticized solo projects from other members : he hates Snakepit (laugh). It was hard for me to deal with it. Axl asked me not to go on tour with Slash.

...And I have to be honest, the Snakepit album won't change the music world! ...[Axl] doesn't want to make a shitty record. The Snakepit album could have been the new GNR album, but Axl didn't think it was good enough... There was some good songs, but it wasn't a band effort, it was Slash's songs. It had nothing to do with 5 guys working hard in a studio, what we are doing with Guns right now. When Slash says "I'd like to work on that riff" and Duff answers "Yeah, let's work on it", it's really GNR. This has nothing to do with "This is a Slash song, you will play like that and Axl will sing like that".

Matt's banging his own drum there (forgive the pun). He's pretty much setting himself on par with the other three when it comes down to significance, all the while toeing the Axl line. Slash had already said the preceding year that Matt staying home didn't make much difference, further suggesting the whole Snakepit thing was powerplay between Slash and Axl.

Matt wrote:

I didn't want to endanger Guns N' Roses. If I toured with Snakepit, it could have caused serious consequences. It could have divided GNR.... ...So, if a band as important as GNR would have broke up because I toured with Snakepit, I would have flagellate myself! I was in between, there was Slash "Come on , man, tour with us", but I told him "Slash, for 4 months, we will f*ck GNR up". So I stayed at home and I work a bit with Axl and Duff. I'm sure I took the good decision.

Slash wrote:

They were supposed to keep working while I was gone. That's why Matt didn't come on tour with us, because he was supposed to help keep that foundation for them to jam. Well they only jammed like twice since I was gone, so no one had really been doing anything." (Slash, Metal Hammer, 11/95)

Double standards on Axl's part. Neurotic was Duff's thing, and Duff was in good terms with Axl after being hospitalized and forced into sobriety. Axl got his friend back and made him a confidant on Guns' musical direction. Matt was simply a pawn, who could tour with Duff but not with Slash.

Matt wrote:

Once we will be in the studio, it won't be long. The only problem is to find a way to get together... There are so many people in this project. There's the friend of the friend of the friend... [The rhythm guitarist']s unknown. But I can't tell you his name because I don't know if he will tour with us. There will probably be several guitarists on this album, a lot of guests... 3 years ago, I had a real role to play. Now it's between Axl and Slash.

Apparently, Paul Huge wasn't considered as much a long-term solution than an instigator, to get the ball rolling on the new songs. Slash would lead and guest guitarists would be brought up to foil him. This would likely downplay Paul's presence on the album and focus the end result more into Slash's direction, as it would be him and a bunch of guys complimenting him.

Matt wrote:

[Axl] fired me 2 or 3 times and he called me back... We all have been fired at least 1 time! You never heard about it (laugh)? Seriously, it's true that he sometimes goes too far. Sometime I open my mouth and I say "Ok, Axl, f*ck off!", then he fires me. So? I know he will call me the next day. I feel I'm in security and I know I will be the GNR drummer for a long time.

polluxlm
 Rep: 208 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

polluxlm wrote:

I wonder what "Yoda" had to say about Slash' picture. How would Axl react if him or Duff got a bad reading?

misterID
 Rep: 469 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

misterID wrote:

Didn't Yoda pass away recently?

That's a great write up btw, apex smile

Smoking Guns
 Rep: 329 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

Smoking Guns wrote:

Matt is such a douche.

apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

apex-twin wrote:

One month later.

From allanr@udel.edu: What are the plans for GNR? When is the new album coming out and how about a tour?
Slash Says: Right now, Axl and I are deliberating over the future of our relationship... I have only been back in the band for three weeks and my relationship with Axl right now is sort of at a stand still. 

From affie_c@scsu.ctstateu.edu: What direction will the new album take? Will you do alot of different things like Use your Issulion or a more hard edge like Appetite?
Slash Says: I would like it to be hard edged like Appetite, but at this moment in time I have no idea what direction it's going in.

From elly@ukonline.co.uk: Are Guns N' Roses back together in the studio as a band, or are you recording your various parts separately?
Slash Says: At this point in time we have only been collaborating together. But we have been doing mostly Axl's material.

From rsadows@ibm.net: Slash, We(20 of us sitting in front of the computer)Want to ask .. who is playing rhythm for the next tour?
Slash Says: Off the top of my head, ...we don't know.

That one month might've consisted of the useless 'I go or Paul goes' tantrum from Slash and calls to Slash's family members and his bodyguard(!) from Axl, telling them how they should coerce Slash to come back into the band. Geffen had waited for a year for the album work to start, with Slash. In the summer, Geffen President Eddie Rosenblatt had personally pleaded Axl to have Slash back and get on with it. Guns were autonomous within the label and Axl was in charge. They were booking random studio time for a fair amount. But the most dangerous band in the world was now woodshedding.

Axl was probably after an industrial Appetite, which he felt he could accomplish by having Slash do his thing, and then spending a year in the studio adding effects and whiles, having Trent Reznor muck around with it, or something. Axl needed to get on with it, because he was feeling the heat from Geffen. He had to bend down and get Slash back. The same Slash, who had clandestinely recorded Snakepit, without telling Axl about it beforehand - robbing the songs back from Axl, one could say. This one thing burned Axl more than what he ever let out; not the music as much as Slash 'betraying' him. Slash felt the same after the Sympathy sessions, with a new guitarist in the mix.

As far as bad readings go, Axl's said to ultimately make up his own mind. He may be influenced and distracted by his hangers-on, but he's the one who wanted to meet Duff in 2010, despite his handlers saying otherwise. And nobody has a say otherwise, because all those people are under Axl. Axl would feel more alarmed by a bad reading on Slash or Duff, definitely, which would temporarily freak him out.

Below from here:

Apparently much land in Canada was bought with GNR $$'s, but her husband Eliott eventually had to sell a lot of it after Yoda's death in an effort to support other interests. Apparently after her death Elliot offered up a Yoda substitute in an attempt to keep the $$'s rolling in "Yoda" style. She was also oriental and coached no doubt.

I also heard that Axl got taken for seven figures by these charlatans in Sedona. I suppose with exorcisms at the discount price of $75,000 and weekend confabs at $25,000 per head it wouldn't take long for the $$'s to rack up. Apparently certain staff members around Axl were also required to pay a monthly retainer to Yoda of $10,000. I'm sure it was money well spent Dougie.

Even funnier I have heard that the Maynards themselves would occasionally let their loose lips disparage and mock Axl. Lovely way to have treated your cash cow!

That retainer checks out with former manager, Doug Goldstein.

Dougie wrote:

Oh...the $10k a month that Sanctuary claims THEY were paying Sharon, was MY fucking money. They took HALF of my paycheck every month...and paid Sharon..that was a huge hit for me to take, but I was trying to hold onto yours,and mines relationhip!!!

Goldstein on merging Axl's management company Big FD to Sanctuary Group in 2001:

Dougie wrote:

Ax, I swear on my kids lives, when I was first propositioned by Merck, I immeadiately called Sharon. She told me to fly to England and meet with Rod Smallwood, Merck, and Andy Taylor. Furthermore, and most importantly, she definitavely "ORDERED" me NOT to talk to you about it. She wanted me to ascertain the strength of the company, which at the time was magnanimous.

After my fact finding mission, I flew to Arizona to meet with Sharon and Elliot. They concluded that at this point in your career, you needed a powerhouse company with unlimited power and resources to help guide your career. Again, I was given the missive to "surprise " you with this information, as Sharon felt you would be PROUD that I was willing to give up Big FD to further enhance YOUR career. Ax, check with Elliot..if he denies this, he's flat out lying...I swear on my kids lives.

Phew... Yoda had some gravitas.

Me_Wise_Magic
 Rep: 70 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

FlashFlood wrote:

Apex-Twin - didn't see any links to an article, assuming you wrote it. Nice work!

The period of 1994-1998 is the most fascinating period of Guns to me. You have the whole Huge incident, sessions with Zakk Fucking Wylde (leaks of which I would gladly take over any additional ChiDem tracks), and sessions that were essentially the combo of new/old guns with Axl/Duff/Matt/Robin/Paul. Just this big black hole where I'm sure there were some unbelievable or at the very least interesting things that were recorded that never materialized.

Still waiting to hear that recording of Shaq rapping along with Paul, Tommy, and Dizzy's playing from the so called "vault".

Me_Wise_Magic
 Rep: 70 

Re: Curtain Call for the Old Guns '96

Smoking Guns wrote:

Matt is such a douche.

Somethings haven't changed.

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB