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 Rep: 11 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

Blackstar wrote:
James wrote:
elevendayempire wrote:
James wrote:

This late in the game, most interesting time period IMO is 2005- early 2006 where a reunion of some sort was clearly taking shape until it imploded for reasons we'll never know.

I'd like the full true story on what really went down during the Beta all went to shit after that.

The big question for me is, what would've happened if that 2006 reunion went ahead? Chinese Democracy was basically in a finished state at that point, and Axl has historically shown himself to be keen to honour the work that musicians have put in (hence Buckethead being all over Chinese Democracy).

Which means that the 2006 tour wouldn't have been in support of an album, 'cos there's no way that the record company would permit it to be released without wholesale re-recording from Slash and Duff. And knowing Axl that would've taken at least a couple of years.

Still, though. The likely configuration of that band would've been 2006 Axl on top form, with Slash, Duff, Fortus, Brain, Dizzy and Pitman. Which would've been a hell of a show.

2006 tour would have been in support of the 2 disc GH that was supposed to come out in March but wound up getting shit canned.

It even contains the obvious single....

Yes, this is probably the biggest GN'R mystery and we can only speculate. My theory, combining all the available bits and pieces of information regarding that and everything else that was happening then (the two pending Slash and Duff lawsuits, the Greatest Hits 2 albums, Axl seemingly being confident that CD was coming out soon and Velvet Revolver being about to start working on Libertad):

- It was going to be only a temporary reunion - an one-off or a handful of shows, not a long tour - because it wouldn't have made sense for either Axl or Slash and Duff to put their respective projects in limbo at that time (although Slash had started growing unhappy with VR).

- But then, what would have been the purpose of a reunion of that sort? I think that the reunion talk was part of the negotiations to settle the lawsuits. The dispute was over publishing rights and copyright ownership of the back catalogue (which, at the same time, was the only remaining asset that kept the old partnership active). The first lawsuit had already dragged on for about two years, a second one had been filed, and neither party seemed to want the publicity of a jury trial, so they were both seeking an out of court settlement. Slash stated that this was the main reason he visited Axl's house that night: an effort to reach out so that they could sort out the legal issues directly and a first step to reconciliation.

- So what would the deal be and why it fell apart? I think that there was some truth to that Classic Rock article from May 2006 (putting the sensationalized wording about "fine print" etc. aside:

Classic Rock (May 2006) wrote:

According to our insider, Axl approached the former members of GN’R with a proposal to reunite for two gigs. One was this year’s Download festival, the other the following week in Hammersmith. Both would be filmed and recorded for a DVD and live album - and each band member would receive millions in payment.

Our source claims that Slash, Duff, Izzy and Matt Sorum were all up for the idea - not only was it good money, it was a perfect way of marking the 20th anniversary of GN'R - until someone’s lawyer had a good look at the contract.

It's alleged that the small print stated that in agreeing to the terms and conditions, all rights to the Guns N’ Roses name and back catalogue would transfer to Axl. Negotiations ended, but rumours persist that GN'R will play Hammersmith in the summer, and that there could he a new live album from Guns N’ Roses before Chinese Democracy.

So the reunion would have served as a buyout of the copyright of the back catalogue.

It's also interesting that the reunion rumours persisted for a little while even after the press release from Axl's lawyer (which "aired" Slash's visit) in early March 2006; e.g. Lars Ulrich and Kid Rock were talking about it. I think that press release was less a "vindictive act" on Axl's part and more a publicity stunt from his lawyer to strengthen their position after the reunion negotiations fell apart.

- Another question is who were the parties in those talks besides the Axl and Slash camps. It seems that Izzy (he and Axl had recently reconnected) became part of the conversation after one point, because he reportedly had been checking on Adler to see if he would be in shape for the reunion shows.

But it also seems that Slash initially acted behind everyone's (in VR) back - and, of course, no one knew about his visit over at Axl's house. According to one of the rumors of the time, the negotiations to settle the lawsuits fell apart after Perla got involved, which caused a brief rift between Slash and Duff. That would also explain why (as per Marc Canter) Axl didn't like Perla (even though he most likely hadn't known her, as Slash's actual relationship with her started after he had quit GN'R). In what way could Perla have interfered? I guess either by prompting Slash to ask for more or by prompting him to reach out to Axl. It was probably the latter, because, while the lawyers were negotiating, that visit in the end resulted to everything going to shit.

The way Duff tried to refute the whole reunion story when he was asked about it in interviews a few years later is interesting:

Classic Rock, June 2008 wrote:

Weiland says you should reform GN’R - that 'the pens were ready to sign’, the contracts on the table... “I know he was really paranoid about that and we had to allay his fears at one point, when we were writing for Libertad," says Duff. “He got wind that our manager at that point had been talking to Axl about bringing Axl over to what was our management company back then. And Scott freaked out that we were getting GN’R back together and we weren’t going to make the second record. I don't know where it came from - there was no contract on the table or pens ready to sign... Maybe now he’s convinced himself that’s what happened.”

Classic Rock Revisited, April 2009 wrote:

Jeb: I was backstage at Rock Honors with Slash a few years ago. He told me that Guns almost got back with Axl. Do you have the same recollection of that happening?

Duff: No. How long ago was that?

Jeb: It was about three years ago.

Duff: Slash was not back on the planet yet.

So Duff basically tried to say that both Weiland and Slash were out of their minds and didn't know what they were talking about.

Regarding the first quote about the management company, I think Azoff's company was then managing VR. At one point Merck was looking at leaving Sanctuary and taking Axl with him, and was in talks with Azoff's Front Line company - but that was in the press in late 2006. (Merck eventually did leave Sanctuary - without merging with Front Line - but Axl had already fired him).

By the way, Merck did an interview three years ago and all but confirmed that Axl would have done a reunion back then:

Merck (April 2019) wrote:

“The reunion was always a possibility because Axl was open-minded to it," said Mercuriadis. "All he ever wanted was for Slash to apologise for certain things and while Slash was in a position where he maybe didn’t understand that was what was necessary, then the band were never going to come together.

"But at some point it was inevitable that they would have that conversation and Slash would be able to have his say, because there were things that he wasn’t happy about."

 Rep: 220 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

polluxlm wrote:

There's one thing you mention here that makes me think Axl could have been open for a limited, one time type of deal reunion, and that is getting the rights to the back catalogue. If this was offered to Axl back then or at any time, I'm sure he would be either tempted or willing.

But if that was his criteria there was never any chance of that happening anyway.

What is odd about the whole thing is the nature of Slash's visit to Axl's house. Why did he throw his current band under the bus? Why would he feel the need to do that? I think there is only one answer to that question and that is for Slash to rejoin the band, with or without the other members.

Getting the lawsuits settled is obviously something you want, but I don't see Slash putting himself on the spot and groveling to Axl's housekeeper just for that.

Slash thinking he might as well be with Axl when Weiland is just as bad, that makes a lot of sense to me.

 Rep: 43 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

sp1at wrote:

There was not even a hint of a reunion in 2006. It was very anti Slash that year. I think Merc had a plan of a 3 album release then to reform the band for some anniversary later on. Pipe dreams

 Rep: 1 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

davegnfnr2k wrote:
sp1at wrote:

There was not even a hint of a reunion in 2006. It was very anti Slash that year. I think Merc had a plan of a 3 album release then to reform the band for some anniversary later on. Pipe dreams

What was the year that Slash went to Axls house and Axl didnt get the door? that wasnt 2006? was that like 04 then?

 Rep: 55 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

FlashFlood wrote:

The fact they used a hybrid logo to promote the tour and the fact they didn’t announce BBF as part of the act leads me to believe at least Slash was close to rejoining.

 Rep: 475 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

misterID wrote:

I honestly don’t think he was. Scott was a liar, and the photographer was repeating Blabbermouth bullshit. Axl said he was misquoted when he said he “loved Slash” which he meant as in past tense. That might have been what made Slash go to his house. And there’s no way he’s showing up at his house unannounced if there were serious plans in place. At this period, Axl was still trying to get Bucket back.

I do think every manager he’s had was planning to get the original band back together, and that’s why he doesn’t have a real manager anymore.

 Rep: 55 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

FlashFlood wrote:

I would say the best counter to the belief that a 2006 reunion of *at least* Axl and Slash is that it took another decade to happen, despite Robin leaving and the impending end of Velvet Revolver. Honestly Axl needed it more (Slash stayed mainstream with pop acts and even played the Super Bowl with Black Eyed Peas) but I imagine Slash would have traded it for a 2010 reunion after CD came out and ran its course (if it ever ran a course at all).

 Rep: 475 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

misterID wrote:

I think if Axl had wanted it to happen, it would have happened. I do think the likely scenario was that his managers were negotiating behind his back with Slash. The never ending Chinese Democracy tour did seem to pay off well. I’m pretty sure Axl claimed that Robin (and maybe Bucket too?) was sabotaged by management to try and force a reunion.

I think it got to a point that he knew the CD era was over and there was no future, especially once Tommy left. What was the point? Duff was no doubt going to be a full time member anyway. DJ and Ron were out the door. There was so much more money to be had… I don’t think there was any serious possibility of a reunion until it was ready to happen.

 Rep: 55 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

FlashFlood wrote:

Yeah but by then it was 2014. I don’t think Axl ever envisioned doing “up close and personal” tours or vegas residencies. I think what we don’t know is to what extent negotiations got. Also, conspicuous that it was after Slash’s divorce from Pearla that the reunion happened.

 Rep: 11 

Re: Hard Skool: Does it date from ‘96?

Blackstar wrote:

A timeline:

February 2004: The label shuts down operations on Chinese Democracy.

March 2004: Buckethead leaves. Rock in Rio Lisboa is cancelled. The band is practically on hiatus until late 2005 - Buckethead is not replaced, although there are tryouts and auditions during that period, including Bumblefoot. Axl, Slash and Duff jointly sue Geffen/Interscope trying to block the release of Greatest Hits - they lose.

Late April 2004: Slash and Duff sue Axl over publishing rights.

May 2004: Contraband is released. Velvet Revolver goes out on tour. Axl counter-sues Slash and Duff.

January 2005: Axl signs a 20-year publishing deal with Sanctuary - reaction from Slash and Duff's lawyers. (Eventually Sanctuary was bought out in 2007 by Universal, which still has Axl's publishing).

July 2005: The Velvet Revolver tour in Europe is cut short. Rumors about problems in the band, particularly between Slash and Weiland (it was later known that Duff had relapsed on pills).

August 2005: Velvet Revolver play shows in the US and announce that they'll begin recording the second album in September (which didn't happen).

Late August 2005: Slash and Duff sue Axl for a second time (while the first lawsuit is still pending) claiming that Axl's publishing deal caused them to lose money. Axl's lawyer issues a short press release saying it was just a clerical error from ASCAP and that the money was returned to Slash and Duff as soon as the mistake was found out.

Early September 2005: Duff's lawyer says that, although the money has indeed been returned, they'll proceed with the second lawsuit because there are other unresolved issues.

October 2005: Slash, accompanied by Perla, pays a night visit at Axl's house.

Late October-November 2005: News about the upcoming release of Greatest Hits 2 appears in various outlets. Photographer (and Slash's friend) Ross Halfin posts a recap of a conversation he had with Slash regarding GH 2. Billboard reports a release date for Dec. 20.

December 30, 2005: During a radio interview, Slash announces the release of Chinese Democracy in March, saying that he knows it's finished and adding that he and Axl "are not on each other's throats" and "there's no friction" "at this point." He also says that the new VR album (the recording of which was supposed to start "soon" after being pushed back a few times) might come out around the same time, maybe a little later.

January 11, 2006: GN'R management says there's no release date set, although CD "is coming."

January 13, 2006: Axl attends Korn's tour launch party and talks about CD. He is quoted by Rolling Stone saying about Slash, "I love the guy" (three years later, Axl would claim that he had been misquoted and he had in fact used past tense = "I loved the guy"). He also mentions that he has been talking to Izzy.

February 3, 2006: Ross Halfin posts on his website that reunited GN'R and Metallica are going to headline Download Festival in June. He deletes the post a few hours later, but the sites have already picked it up (Blabbermouth picked it up from Halfin, not the other way around).

February 10, 2006: The jury trial for the first lawsuit, which was going to start in March, is postponed to May. Axl plays CD during a private after party.

February 11, 2006: Slash announces the release of CD again (!), saying he knows that "official sources" have heard it and it's coming out next month, and adding that he's excited and has always been supportive of Axl's effort.

February 22, 2006: GN'R festival dates in Europe are announced, including Download with Metallica.

February 23, 2006: Axl plays CD during another party after attending a Derek Trucks show in Los Angeles.

February 2006: Izzy calls his old friend Adam Bomb, who is currently touring with Adler's band in Europe, to check what condition Steven was in for a potential Guns N' Roses reunion (Adam Bomb made that claim that during an interview in May 2006). Songs from the CD sessions leak.

March 6, 2006: Axl's lawyer issues an extended version of the August 2005 press release in response to Slash and Duff's second lawsuit, which includes the revelation that Slash had visited Axl's house, unannounced, last October and badmouthed his bandmates in VR. Hell breaks loose. "A spokeperson for Velvet Revolver" says that Slash's response is expected "soon."

March 10, 2006: Duff is the first to respond to the press release, making a neutral comment.

March 13, 2006: Weiland posts his well-known online rant against Axl. Later that night, during an after party following the RRHOF ceremony, Lars Ulrich and Kid Rock talk about the GN'R reunion (reported by Rolling Stone a few days later).

March 22, 2006: While Slash is still silent, Alan Niven chimes in defending Axl (!) and attacking Weiland. Interestingly, Niven takes as given that Slash really said what was claimed in the press release by Axl's lawyer, and says that Slash was correct to call Weiland a "fraud."

Late March 2006: Rumors about strife in Velvet Revolver and Perla's involvement while the attorneys were trying to find a solution regarding the lawsuits. Slash reportedly was telling people that he was still in the band and had not quit.

April 12, 2006: Axl and Matt Sorum run into each other at a party in New York. Matt posts about in his blog the next day, saying that it was great and Axl gave him a ride in his limo.

April 2006: Reports on auditions for Buckethead's replacement. Finally, Bumblefoot is brought in just two weeks before the Hammerstein shows. An article in the May 2006 issue of Classic Rock (released in April) claims, citing an anonymous "insider," that a GN'R reunion for two UK shows almost happened, but fell apart at the last minute because Axl had put a clause in the contracts according to which Slash and Duff would have to give up their copyright ownership of the back catalogue.

May 4, 2006: The Rolling Stones announce that GN'R will open for them at two shows in Germany. The shows would be cancelled in June.

May 8, 2006: An Associated Press report about Axl's Eddie Trunk interview includes a bit about the possibility of Slash's return to GN'R (although Axl had clarified during the interview that Buckethead's replacement was not an old member).

May 13, 2006: While GN'R has played the first Hammerstein show, Slash finally addresses the night visit issue on Matt Sorum's Camp Freddy radio show. He denies everything, saying more or less that Axl fabricated the whole story to promote his band, and also downplays his CD release announcements. Matt mentions his encounter with Axl in NY last month saying that it went well only because they were both drunk. On the same day, though, Slash tells a journalist backstage at an awards show that a reunion with Axl came very close to happen.

May 26, 2006: Just before it was about to go to trial, the first lawsuit is dismissed "without prejudice" (which means that the parties retained the right to open the case again in the future), probably after the two camps agreed to mutually withdraw the suits.

May 2006-May 2007: Axl tours until December, CD is not released, Merck is fired, the new release date for March 2007 is not met. Nothing much is heard from the Velvet Revolver front until late 2006 (it would be later known that Slash went to rehab in August), when they announce that they're working on the new album and later the release of Libertad.

May 7, 2007: Weiland claims that Axl has sent him "messages" through Matt Sorum. Beta denies the claim on Axl's behalf (saying that Axl has no interest in Scott at all) and also says that it was her Slash had talked to that night in October 2005.

May 10, 2007: Three days after Beta's clarification that it wasn't Axl who Slash had talked to, Slash speaks again. This time, he admits going to Axl's house, but says he only left a note to Beta regarding the lawsuit and denies everything else. In his book (that was released later that year) he would add that he was drunk that night and Perla was driving. And in later interviews (from late 2007 to mid-2008): he would imply that Axl was behind the Associated Press report; he would say that he (Slash) had lied because he hadn't felt like explaining; that he had also wanted to reach out to Axl and that he apologized for some comments he had made during promo interviews for Velvet Revolver.

July 30, 2007: Slash and Duff sue Axl again, this time over the use of elements of the classic logo on the 2006 tour merchandise. (Axl said in 2008 the forum chats that it was some "murky merckiness" that he had no idea about. That lawsuit was settled in August 2008).

April 2008: A little before he was kicked out of VR, Weiland says that a GN'R almost reunited around the time of the GH (2) album. Duff responds that Weiland had been paranoid. Weiland would repeat his claim as late as 2015.

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