Trivia / Guns N' Roses

For the band itself:

  • Banned in China: The title track and album of Chinese Democracy is banned in China thanks to the lyric "Blame it on the Falun Gong, They've seen the end and you can't hold on now".note 
  • Breakthrough Hit: "Welcome to the Jungle".
  • Fake Brit: "Down on the Farm" has Axl attempt an English accent so dire, it makes him a prime contender for the Dick Van Dyke of hard rock.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Good luck trying to acquire an authentic record of their Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP, and that goes triple for the cassette release; count yourself lucky if you pick up an authentic copy (especially of the cassette) for less than a hundredth of what they usually go for (usually triple digits for the vinyl record and quadruple digits for the cassette).
  • One of Us: Slash, who is addicted to Rock Band, is a fan of Phineas and Ferbnote , and designed the GNR pinball machine.
  • The Pete Best: The original line-up was Axl, Tracii Guns, Izzy, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner. Yes, only two of them are in the image atop of the main page.
    • After being thrown out of Guns N' Roses, Tracii Guns restarted his band L.A. Guns. They actually didn't do too badly for themselves: Their first two albums went gold and their song "The Ballad Of Jayne" made the Top 40. But once the curtain fell on hair metal, they were one of the first bands to be quickly forgotten. They're now better remembered as a footnote in Guns N' Roses history than for their perfectly decent career back in the day.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A year before the release of the first Blind Melon album, Shannon Hoon contributed backing vocals to six songs on Use Your Illusion I note , where he's credited in the liner notes simply as "Shannon". He's probably most recognizable on "Don't Cry", "You Ain't The First", and "The Garden". The "Don't Cry" video also featured Hoon performing alongside the band.
  • Revival by Commercialization: Word has it that the one big push for the release of Chinese Democracy was the inclusion of "Shackler's Revenge" in Rock Band 2. And then later the rest of the album was put up for Downloadable Content. This opens space for some What Could Have Been if Harmonix had not considered them.
  • Throw It In!: Producer Spencer Proffer suggested adding a breakdown after Slash's solo in "Sweet Child o' Mine". The band agreed, but didn't know what they wanted to do. Axl started saying to himself "Where do we go, where do we go now?" while listening to the demo in a loop. Proffer said he should sing that, and the rest is history.
  • Troubled Production: Chinese Democracy. Eleven years of development, millions of dollars spent, at least eleven musicians involved, and much pressure on getting the album released. The joke for much of that time was that actual Chinese democracy would likely come before the album was released.
    • After the extensive Use Your Illusion Tour wrapped, the band was unsure on their future. Their album "The Spaghetti Incident?" (which consisted entirely of covers) did not sell as well. To make matters worse, Axl Rose was still missing guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who was his primary songwriting partner and an old childhood friend. Stradlin had left in the midst of the last tour due to his recent sobriety and his anger at Axl's behavior. He had been replaced by Gilby Clarke (though Izzy was brought back to some UYI concerts after Clarke injured himself). However, in the midst of this upheaval, Clarke was fired and Axl's old friend Paul Tobias was hired without consulting anyone else. Slash in particular hated Tobias, but Axl stood by him. The final straw came when a cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" for the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack had Tobias' guitar part mixed on top of Slash's. Slash officially quit two years later, but was pretty much done with the band at that point.
    • The band did try to record a new album, but it never went anywhere. Axl and Slash both have stated that the other tried to take over all writing and have the other fired. Slash in particular has repeatedly stated that Axl took the rights to the Guns 'N' Roses name by force (refusing to go onstage until Slash and Duff signed the name over to him - which actually wouldn't work at all legally) and treated all members as session musicians. Axl denies this and claims he was the one repeatedly shut out and threatened with dismissal. He does own the rights to the name, but this was apparently after a complicated legal battle.
    • After Slash's departure, Nine Inch Nails guitar player Robin Finck was hired as the new lead guitarist. Tobias stayed on, but eventually drove drummer Matt Sorum and bassist Duff McKagan away. This left Axl and keyboardist Dizzy Reed as the last two members from the Use Your Illusion tour. Tommy Stinson, Chris Pitman, and Josh Freese joined the band around this time and officially started work on Chinese Democracy. However, after cycling through many different producers and recording for a full year, the band only released one song in 1999. That song,"Oh My God," was only ever featured on the soundtrack to End of Days and was not critically or commercially well received (eventually being left out of the finished album despite some live performances of the song).
    • Finck quit for the first time before 2000 to rejoin NIN. When he returned to the band, Buckethead had already been hired as a replacement. The two toured together starting in 2001, and they didn't get along, because Buckethead was mad that he had to "share the spotlight" with Finck. Freese also quit and was replaced by Bryan "Brain" Mantia of Primus.
    • Buckethead was also hard to work with in the studio. Among other things, he demanded a chicken coop be built for him to record his parts in and when a puppy had an accident in the studio, Buckethead demanded that the feces not be cleaned up as it gave him inspiration. He also tried watching hardcore pornography while recording until Rose forbid it. Also, after several festival performances, Paul Tobias announced he would stop touring with the band and was replaced by Richard Fortus. Tobias did remain as a recording partner of the band and still appears on several tracks on the finished album.
    • Despite these problems, the album was mostly finished by 2002, but a terrible performance at the 2002 VM As and a North American tour that imploded after only half the promised dates had been performed set everything back. It's also rumored the album was rejected by the record label for not having any potential "hits."
    • The album was then tentatively set to be released in 2004, with an accompanying tour. Right before the tour was supposed to begin with a performance at the Rock in Rio festival, Buckethead left the band. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal was hired to replace him in 2006 and would end up rerecording many of Buckethead's parts, while Frank Ferrer replaced Bryan Mantia on drums during the 2006 tour. (Mantia said it was because he wanted to take some time off to spend time with his newborn daughter.) The album again was to set to be released in 2006, but didn't happen due to the line up shift. However, a number of leaks from 1999-2006 came out that year.
    • Weeks before the album was finally released in 2008, lead guitarist Robin Finck again quit the band, which cancelled a hopeful tour. Axl Rose did zero promotion for the album for the next year, barring a few message board fan interviews. The band hired DJ Ashba (who played with Nikki Sixx in Sixx AM) as the new lead. A year after the album was released, the band continued the Chinese Democracy Tour (which had been going on since 2001) with a band that only had 3 contributing song writers left. To top it all off, the booklet and promotional materials were rife with errors and some have said the album was actually intended to be a TRIPLE album (Axl Rose has said he always thought of it as a double. Skid Row's Sebastian Bach claims to have heard four albums worth of material at one point). Instead, one record with the majority of the songs being nearly 10 years old was released with no further albums in sight. The band would continue to tour for Chinese Democracy until 2012. A whole decade of (mostly successful) touring on one album that took 12 years to be released as 1/3rd of the intended content. And that doesn't mention the multiple law suits, including one over plagiarized ambient music before a track (a track that was completed and performed live in 2002, yet had the offending sample added shortly before release in 2008), and a major one with a former manager of the band.
  • Vaporware
    • Chinese Democracy, the musical equivalent of Duke Nukem Forever, took 15 years to be released.
    • The music video for the second single, "Better".
    • The constant delays for Chinese Democracy eventually led to the fans joking about when the next album will be released. At a clinic in 2013, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, one of the current guitarists, even made fun of this himself!
      Bumblefoot: So yeah, the funny thing about making an album, 'cause we were just talking about it before, 'cause people always ask me: "When's the next Guns N' Roses album coming out?" I'm like "2095"! (Proceeds to talk about the process of making an album).
  • What Could Have Been: If the band hadn't essentially disappeared off the face of the planet in the mid-'90s despite being one of music's biggest rock bands at the time, there's no telling just how much bigger they could have become. Gene Simmons from Kiss once commented "If it wasn't for Axl's ego, Guns 'N' Roses could have been the American Led Zeppelin."
    • According to Axl, "Chinese Democracy" was done and ready to be released in 1999/2000. They even had enough for a double album. However, when a new producer was brought in, he told Axl that it all needed to be rerecorded. In 2006, Rose remarked that the band had thirty two songs in the works. Come 2008, when the record is finally released, we end up with only fourteen. One has to wonder how the "lost tracks" would have affected the album, especially since there are anywhere from 30-40.
    • Additionally, one has to wonder how much more successful the record would have been if it was released when it was intended to be. If the album was released in 2000-2002, the market for it would have been much better, especially with all of the hype. Then you have to consider how different it may have sounded. The final product is the combined work of around a dozen musicians, but how would it have sounded if they had released it in 2001, with the lineup of Rose, Buckethead, Finck, Tobias, Stinson, Brain, Pitman and Reed? Or in 1999/2000, with Rose, Finck, Tobias, Stinson, Freese, Reed and Pitman?
    • Also, if the record had been released in a timely manner, Buckethead may have stayed on board. One has to wonder what Guns N' Roses with Buckethead as a mainstay would resulted in.
    • Forget Buckethead; when Slash left the band, guitarists who were auditioned or spoken to about replacing him included Zakk Wylde, Dave Abruzzese and Dave Navarro. Just imagining a Guns N' Roses line-up with Zakk Wylde is amazing.
    • Steven Adler's involvement with the Not In This Lifetime Tour was supposed to be much larger, but an ill timed back injury during his second rehearsal with the band messed things up for him. The original plan was for Steven to play during the first third of the shows, Frank Ferrer to play the middle (the songs Steven was never involved with), and finally Steven coming back out to do the rest.
  • Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: Axl has been known to threaten this on misbehaving fans.
    • One time he did follow through on his threat, it didn't end well. Just ask the people of St. Louis.
    • An early case of physical projectile-based abuse during a show in Argentina caused him to stop the show twice and threaten to go home if it persisted.
    Axl: [first time around, during "Nightrain"] We have some really fucking stupid people here tonight, who think that throwing stuff at the stage will relate into a better show! It won't happen that way, because we will fucking go home! Don't try me. Now, shall we continue, or shall we go home? OK.
    Axl: [second time around, during "You Could Be Mine"] Do you think...? [to the videographer] Camera on this fucker.
    [the camera zooms in on the stone Axl is holding while the interpreter offers a Tactful Translation]
    Axl: Do you think that this is funny? If you see somebody beside you throwing something, beat the fucking shit out of them! All they are going to do is rip every one of you off! If one of us gets hit by something like this, or if I see someone in the crowd get hit by someone... something like this, unfortunately the show will be over. We want to have a nice time tonight. We don't want anyone to get hurt—any of you, any of our crew, any of the people working the show, or ourselves. This... could hurt someone real fucking bad. This will be the last time I talk about this. We'll try one more time. Thank you.
    Interpreter: Somos amigos, no enemigos.
    [Axl gives the stone to a crewman]
    Axl: [to the crewman] Save that.
  • Write Who You Know: Three in their debut, "My Michelle" (a friend of Axl), "Sweet Child o' Mine" (his then-girlfriend) and "Rocket Queen" (a girl who Axl knew and wanted to have a band by this name).

For the pinball game:

  • Cut Song: "Ain't Going Down," which was cut from the Use Your Illusion album and debuts here instead.
  • Directed by Cast Member: The original idea and initial layout for the game came from Slash himself, who is a major pinball fan and collector.
    "You know, there hasn't been a good rock 'n' roll [pinball] machine in, like, 15 years... I thought, well, Guns is a well-enough known name that we could probably do one. So I started drawing out the game, then I started sketching, writing down the rules..."
    —Slash, Rip magazine, January 1995
  • Executive Meddling: Discussed by Slash, who said he took his proposal to Data East over the larger Williams Electronics to avoid this trope.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Not surprisingly, the game plays nine different Guns N' Roses hits, including "Welcome to the Jungle," "Night Train," "Mr. Brownstone," "Sweet Child O' Mine," and "Ain't Going Down" (advertised as a "world-wide debut"). Also, Slash confirms that the game has eight more original Guns N' Roses recordings which were taken off the masters.