Fargodome, Fargo, ND
November 15th 2002

Guns ’n’ Who? Axl returns with hired Guns
- John Lamb, The Forum

When Guns ’n’ Roses exploded out of Los Angeles in the late ’80s with “Appetite for Destruction,” no one could have guessed how prophetic the title would be.

On stage, the band raged through their collection of hits, thrashing out blues and punk-inspired heavy metal riffs.

Back stage they raged on booze and drugs, setting new standards for the life of rock star excess.

It didn’t take long for things to unravel. After just three albums of original material, the entire lineup had either burned out or faded away.

Except for lead singer Axl Rose. The mercurial frontman gained rights to the name and carries on as the only original member in the group.

Axl leads a new posse of hired Guns to the Fargodome Friday night for the first G’n’R tour in nine years.

While the lineup may be new, some things never change.

The tour’s first scheduled show in Vancouver, British Columbia, was cancelled when Axl failed to show up. Conflicting stories had the singer grounded in Los Angeles because of bad weather or mechanical failure, in the air at show time, and stuck at customs.

Upset fans went wild, smashing windows, making it the third time a riot erupted at a Guns show.

Rose made the concert the next night in Tacoma and put on an electrifying show, though MTV.com reported he blew out his vocal chords.

Some unfamiliar faces will back Axl as the new Guns ’n’ Roses play some familiar tunes on Friday. Here’s a look at some of the Gunners on the Roses family tree.

Axl Rose
William Bruce Rose

The sole member of the original line-up, Axl owns the name Guns ‘n’ Roses and disbanded the original lineup in the mid-’90s, when he wanted a more industrial sound. Axl insists the release of the highly anticipated “Chinese Democracy” will be out next year, 11 years after the last studio G’n’R record of originals.

Saul Hudson

The original driving force behind the band, the guitarist has been the most prolific and visible since leaving. He formed Slash’s Snakepit and has recorded with former gunners Izzy, Duff and Matt Sorum. Slash was banned from attending a G’n’R show earlier this year, not for his ever-present cigarette or drunken antics, but because management feared it would upset Axl. He hasn’t spoken to the singer in six years.

Izzy Stradlin
Jeff Isabelle

A primary songwriter in the group, the rhythm guitarist left after recording the “Use Your Illusion” albums, prompting the band to carry a sign asking, “Where’s Izzy?” in the Video for “Don’t Cry.” A high school classmate of Axl’s, he is the only original member to get his diploma.

Duff McKagan
Michael McKagan

The bassist released two solo albums and recorded with Slash, Izzy and Matt Sorum. Duff finally sobered up after his pancreas exploded in 1994.

Steven Adler

The group’s first drummer attended high school with Slash and played with Duff before G’n’R. He was fired in 1990 for persistent drug problems, and, presumably, for never giving himself a cool nickname. He sued the band claiming they were responsible for his addictions, but reportedly sobered up after a stroke in 1996.

Matt Sorum

Brought in to replace the drug-addled-Adler, Sorum played with the Cult before G’n’R. After Guns, Sorum hooked up with Slash’s Snakepit and Neurotic Outsiders with Duff.

Dizzy Reed
Darren Reed

The only surviving member of the “Illusions” sessions, the keyboardist has now spent more time in the band than any founding member other than Axl.

Gilby Clarke

Taking over rhythm guitar after Izzy, Clarke has gotten more mileage in his life after Guns playing with Slash and releasing five solo albums.

Brian Carroll

Little is actually known about this finger-pickin’-good avant-garde guitarist other than he always wears a bucket of KFC and a plain white mask in public.

Robin Finck

A former guitarist for Nine Inch Nails, Finck was hand-picked by Rose to add an industrial edge to the new songs.

Chris Pitman

An unofficial member (does that mean Axl can’t kick him out?) Pitman is the second keyboardist and serves as an atmospheric specialist adding sound effects to the live show.

Richard Fortus

When G’n’R added a keyboardist, fans balked, so in order to add Pitman, Axl added a third guitarist. Fortus is the fourth in the line of rhythm guitarists following Izzy, Gilby and Paul Huge – Axl’s friend and G’n’R’s answer to George Lazenby.

Tommy Stinson

Minneapolis’ most famous bass player, Stinson helped form the Replacements before he even started high school and carries on a proud tradition of G’n’R members who never graduated.

Brian Mantia

Finally, a G’n’R drummer with a nickname. A former Primus basher, fans can only hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate as a Spinal Tap drummer before the tour finishes.

If you go:
Who: Guns ’n’ Roses with CKY and Mix Master Mike
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Fargodome
Info: Tickets start at $38.50. (701) 235-7171

Fargo scheduled as Nov. 15 stop on Guns N' Roses tour
- Forum Staff Reports, The Forum

Welcome back to the jungle.

Guns N' Roses, the popular rock band, is slated to play the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 15, according to the group's official Web site, gnronline.com, and pollstar.com, an online concert industry listing.

Sara Granger, sales and marketing manager at the Fargodome, would neither confirm nor deny the concert date.

The scheduled tour would be the group's first American tour in nearly nine years. The band previously played the Fargodome in September 1993. Since then, however, mercurial singer Axl Rose has parted ways with the rest of the original lineup.

The tour might indicate a release of the long-anticipated new album, "Chinese Democracy." That album would be the first full-length studio release since "Used Your Illusion" parts one and two were released in September 1991.