Another GNR Breakup? Yawn.


Guns or Roses?

Reports are that the volatile rock band Guns N’ Roses has divided into two feuding camps, with singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash at war.

The band has “broken up” regularly since it emerged in the late ‘80s as the world’s most celebrated hard-rock group. Remember when GNR opened for the Rolling Stones at the Coliseum and broke up one night . . . only to reunite the next?

This time it could be for real, though.

GNR guitarist Gilby Clarke recently told Kerrang! magazine in England that he was angered when Rose rejected demos for new songs for a GNR album, and that he and Slash have started a new band, SVO Snakepit, also featuring Guns drummer Matt Sorum.


Meanwhile, other sources insist that Rose and GNR bassist Duff McKagan are preparing their own new project.

Geffen Records executive Tom Zutaut, who oversees GNR’s work for the company, denies that the group has broken up, though he confesses to uncertainty as to exactly who is in the band right now.

“Those stories go round and round constantly,” he says of reports that Clarke has been fired. “I don’t think we’ll really know who’s (in the band) until they start recording. . . . I’ve learned with Guns N’ Roses since 1986 that you never really know what’s going to come out until it’s finished.”

A spokesman for the band’s management also dismisses the breakup reports and says that GNR, though officially on hiatus at the moment, is starting pre-production work for its next album. He does confirm that Slash is beginning work on a solo album with Clarke participating. Zutaut says that GNR, or some part thereof, was supposed to start work on a new album this weekend.

But will anyone care when (or if) it is finished?

“When Guns first came out it was fresh and exciting,” says Bryan Schock, program director of L.A. hard-rock radio station KNAC-FM. “But now Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam are the exciting things. If Guns N’ Roses puts together a solid record with an hour’s worth of great material, sure, there’s gonna be interest. But if they don’t, this could be it.”

If those sentiments are widespread, it signals a tremendous fall from favor for a band that once seemed on its way to becoming the top attraction in the world.

The reason, many observers feel, is that rock fans have tired of Rose’s antics. He started a riot by diving into the crowd after a photographer and then walking off stage during a 1991 St. Louis concert. During a 1992 tour with Metallica, he was booed several times after either launching into some tirade or angrily storming off the stage before the show was over.

And the antipathy has grown as lawsuits have been filed by his former wife Erin Everly and former girlfriend Stephanie Seymour alleging that Rose physically and mentally abused them. Those tales are recounted in the current People magazine cover story.

The image of Rose as a spoiled rock-star crybaby doesn’t wash in an age when the new heroes are such earnest if tortured figures as Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and the late Kurt Cobain.

“Guns N’ Roses alienated enough people that no one cares anymore,” says a concert promoter who asked not to be named. “You’ve got to pay a lot more dues than Axl has before you can do stuff like he does. He ain’t Keith Richards.”