Former Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven reckons cash is the motivation behind the band’s partial reunion tour – and he says reuniting without Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler means it will be more of a Velvet Roses show rather than a classic GNR show.
In an exclusive interview with Eric Mackinnon of New Rock Times, Niven spoke frankly and openly about his thoughts on the forthcoming shows which will see Axl Rose and Slash join musical forces again for the first time in 22-years.
“We live in what the Chinese might call call 'interesting times', began Niven when asked why now? Why this year for Guns to mend the fences which divided and eventually splintered the Most Dangerous Band in the World.
“I wish I could tell you that it is incontrovertible that Ax called Iz and said "I have a handful of songs that we have to record and perform. I have some observations about the world I wanna get out there. I have titles like Demagogue. Illuminated. Armageddon. My Better Life. Think of it as Masonic Democracy. Lets get them done and, fuck it, lets get the old crew back together to take them on the road. Lets put that to bed at the same time."
“Unfortunately, all things considered, I can only assume that its only for the money. How else to explain the lack of statements about creativity, or even who the band is? “How else to explain a ticket price of $1250 for row H.”
A signed drum head being auctioned off for charity in Michigan looks to have let the cat out of the bag at last on a confirmed line-up for the new era of Guns N’ Roses. Axl, Slash, Duff, Dizzy Reed are joined by more recent members of the new Guns line-up Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer on drums.
The emission of classic-era stick-man Steven Adler, Illusion-era drummer Sorum and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who Niven has openly described as ‘the heart of GNR' in the past has been the subject of much discussion amongst fans.
And Niven agrees with the thinking all could, and should, be involved in some capacity.
“For that matter, without Izzy and Steven can it be called a Guns n Roses re-union?,” he asks.
“Without them it’s really just Velvet Roses. Why aren't those two included? Maybe there is not enough money to go around - after all, rumour has it that AEG are only paying $26,000,000 for two Coachella shows and two shows in Vegas.
“I can only guess at Izzy's position based on his Twitter postings ... and knowing him to a certain degree I'd say you'd find his answer in the lyrics of the two songs he posted.
“What is clear is that he was, originally, amenable. After all, he tried to get Axl to come to the RRHOF event. But if he's not going to be treated with equality and respect he's not going to be involved. Sad really, since he was, to my memory, the most crucial member of the band - the most adept at expressing the band attitude and character in song. No Izzy, no Guns.”
He adds: “The obvious solution would have been to have Matt play the UYI material in the initial set, along with a couple of Democracy songs with Frank [if they made the set list], and then save some AFD songs for an encore with the original five together. That way you would let everyone contribute and guarantee two moments of extreme excitement in the night.
“It’s probably a financial decision.”