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I've always thought Tommy was one of the more likeable members of the Nu GnR period and so watched the Eric Blair interview to get an idea of his character. He comes across really well, a humble and thoughtful dude. Here are some of my observations on the conversation: 

-He denies being a 'musical director' for GnR but says he played a role of keeping all 6 together, being 'the general'. So is the song of the same name a reference to that?

-He mentions the revolving door of guitarists they had and that some of them were not so easy to get along with. Who is he talking about? 

-He says Rock in Rio was an epic experience but that he and the band could barely hear anything in front of the immense crowd. Could this be a fair explanation for why some of Axl's Rio performances have been total shit? 

-He looked kinda drunk/high possibly on some opioid, scratching himself etc (not judging him for that, just observing) 

- He is very commending of Axl, describes him as highly talented and loyal. 

So, 'all things considered' I can see why Axl was drawn to Tommy and brought him into the band, I think he was the best person for the job during this time and would be interested in listening to some of his work outside GnR.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

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Chicken? 

Ok so it's a Buckethead song, not Tommy, ha. 

 

Anyone see see that moment in the China Exchange interview where Axl mistakenly says "Bumblehead" instead of Bumblefoot (or Buckethead?)  

Now that was rad

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16 minutes ago, Nice Boy said:

Chicken? 

Ok so it's a Buckethead song, not Tommy, ha. 

 

Anyone see see that moment in the China Exchange interview where Axl mistakenly says "Bumblehead" instead of Bumblefoot (or Buckethead?)  

Now that was rad

Yeah and then as a joke he said “bucketfoot,” which is funny cause that’s the username of one of the forum users, I think.

And just to clarify: General’s Chicken is a brand of chicken, and Brain said in an interview that he and his buddy were eating that chicken when he came up with the synth loop for the song. That’s why it’s called The General. Then, backstage at the House of Blues 2001 show, Axl told Brain that he had heard his demo of The General, and asked if it was about Tommy (cause his nickname at rehearsals was General), and Brain told him “No, dude. It’s not about Tommy. It’s about General’s Chicken.”

Regarding some of the other OP questions:

-Tommy admitted in a 2009 livestream that he didn’t like Bucket, and felt that Bucket was trying to take over the whole band. Also, Bumble mentioned in a 2014 interview that he felt “harassed” by most of the other band members when he joined in 2006, so it’s highly possible that Tommy didn’t like him either. Tommy also made “angry” faces at Ashba once or twice during shows, when Ashba wasn’t looking, so I’m gonna assume that they also weren’t really the best of pals.

-Rock in Rio shows probably don’t have the best sound system, but I don’t consider that to be the sole reason why Axl usually sounds like shit at those shows. It probably has more to do with the fact that they’re usually the first shows of each tour, so he’s almost always out of practice.

-Tommy had a drinking problem for many years. This has been publicized a lot. He probably still has issues, but idk. Haven’t kept up with his career since The Replacements broke up again.

Edited by rocknroll41
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Thanks, an informative reply there dude 🙂

 

So The General's Chicken is presumably a rip off of The Colonel's KFC. (Colonel Sanders.) 

I think I recall seeing a vid of Tommy making 'angry faces' at Ashba, maybe that's when I started to like him, lol. 

Rio being first show of the season would explain Axl's shitness, though bad monitoring would not help this. Tbf he sounded pretty good in 91 there, despite it being a patchy year for him vocally with a lot of rough performances that he later said he was unprepared for but blamed Slash for making him tour before being ready. The mic goes completely dead during YCBN on one of those Rio 91 shows and only Izzy can be heard singing. It's interesting actually as you can sort of hear what it would have been like as an Izzy led song. 

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5 minutes ago, Nice Boy said:

Thanks, an informative reply there dude 🙂

 

So The General's Chicken is presumably a rip off of The Colonel's KFC. (Colonel Sanders.) 

I think I recall seeing a vid of Tommy making 'angry faces' at Ashba, maybe that's when I started to like him, lol. 

Rio being first show of the season would explain Axl's shitness, though bad monitoring would not help this. Tbf he sounded pretty good in 91 there, despite it being a patchy year for him vocally with a lot of rough performances that he later said he was unprepared for but blamed Slash for making him tour before being ready. The mic goes completely dead during YCBN on one of those Rio 91 shows and only Izzy can be heard singing. It's interesting actually as you can sort of hear what it would have been like as an Izzy led song. 

No problem! And yeah GnR has always had an interesting relationship with Rio lol.

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6 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

I've always thought Tommy was one of the more likeable members of the Nu GnR period and so watched the Eric Blair interview to get an idea of his character. He comes across really well, a humble and thoughtful dude. Here are some of my observations on the conversation: 

-He mentions the revolving door of guitarists they had and that some of them were not so easy to get along with. Who is he talking about?

I have always struggled to like Tommy after I heard that he bullied Bucket and was one of the reasons he left. That killed NuGuns and any element of creativity. Tommy just seemed to be a typical stereotypical rocker along for the fun of it. Bucket was an inspirational and original force. If Tommy can't get on with multiple guitarist's then it suggests the problem was Tommy, not everyone else. Not to mention that Bucket plays bass much better than Tommy.

So I always blamed him for one (of the many) missed opportunities in Guns - Axl, Bucket and Brain should have just locked themselves in a room a month and cranked out multiple riff driven albums.

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My opinion:

8 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

-He mentions the revolving door of guitarists they had and that some of them were not so easy to get along with. Who is he talking about? 

Ron Thal

Source 1: In a 2013 interview, Thal mentioned that when he first joined the band, he was not welcomed by other members who didn't want a third guitarist in the band.

Source 2: Thal later clarified on his first months in the band, stating in a 2015 interview "it wasn't the warmest welcome. I kind of had to earn it. I think it was just more of a situation like a new family member was brought home without the other siblings' consent."

 

8 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

-He says Rock in Rio was an epic experience but that he and the band could barely hear anything in front of the immense crowd. Could this be a fair explanation for why some of Axl's Rio performances have been total shit? 

No. Generally Axl's performances has been mostly shit since 2009 (except few first shows of 2009 & 2016) and it gets worst and worst.

 

8 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

-He looked kinda drunk/high possibly on some opioid, scratching himself etc (not judging him for that, just observing) 

He's been always like that. Maybe it's his body language. refer to his past interviews.

 

8 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

- He is very commending of Axl, describes him as highly talented and loyal. 

Loyalty and Talent is what everyone who has worked with Axl talks about. Except Steven Adler maybe. However there's no productive outcome from it lol

Edited by ©GnrPersia
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I think the only guitarists Tommy got on with are Finck and Fortus. Both of whom have a 'cool kid' rock credibility that the others lacked, with NIN and the Furs. It seems he and Huge found their path towards mutual respect eventually though.

And yeah, Tommy has struggled with the drink. Sometimes he looks really rough. Hope he's doing well, for his sake and his daughters. 

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1 minute ago, soon said:

I think the only guitarists Tommy got on with are Finck and Fortus. Both of whom have a 'cool kid' rock credibility that the others lacked, with NIN and the Furs. It seems he and Huge found their path towards mutual respect eventually though.

And yeah, Tommy has struggled with the drink. Sometimes he looks really rough. Hope he's doing well, for his sake and his daughters. 

Yeah I guess he wasn’t into the “wacky virtuosos” like Bucket and Bumble or the “big showmanship” type like Ashba. Oh, well. Not everyone is meant to get along with everyone.

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5 hours ago, ToonGuns said:

I have always struggled to like Tommy after I heard that he bullied Bucket and was one of the reasons he left. That killed NuGuns and any element of creativity. Tommy just seemed to be a typical stereotypical rocker along for the fun of it. Bucket was an inspirational and original force. If Tommy can't get on with multiple guitarist's then it suggests the problem was Tommy, not everyone else. Not to mention that Bucket plays bass much better than Tommy.

So I always blamed him for one (of the many) missed opportunities in Guns - Axl, Bucket and Brain should have just locked themselves in a room a month and cranked out multiple riff driven albums.

Yeah I’ll admit it’s weird that there are multiple cases of Tommy specifically having issues with other band members.

On one hand, I would’ve liked to have seen ChiDem be released while Bucket was actually still there, but on the other hand, I think everything just happens for a reason and you can’t mess with fate.

As annoying as Bumble seems to me in interviews, I do like the more “classic rock” elements he added to the final version of the album (fretless guitar on the title track, the extra guitars on IRS, etc.), so at least there’s that, I guess.

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12 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

-He mentions the revolving door of guitarists they had and that some of them were not so easy to get along with. Who is he talking about?

 

 

Bumblefoot has said a couple of times he was bullied for quite some time after he joined the band. Also, Tommy has been very rude in the past when it comes to talk about Buckethead.

Pretty sure this guy is a fucking bully.

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I understand how people like Ron and Buckethead can get on the nerves of someone like Tommy - and vice versa.

I met both Tommy and Ron briefly but not  together, they both seemed like really nice people but they are from totally different planets both personally and musically.

Sadly bullying is a thing in many bands and in companies. Sometimes you can't choose your co-workers, so it's a matter of professionalism to get the job done. But it's different when you are on the road together and see these guys more often than your own family. Also to be a good artist/performer you have to maintain some kind of sensitivity - and that can get in the way of sucking up and shrugging off whatever might not be to your liking in your work environment.

I don't think Richard and Slash are having a beer together often either, but they are pro enough to get the job done.

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Tommy bullied a few members...bucket and Ron are the only ones known, but i guess there are more....in general i think He was just pissed with the whole situation around GnR. Like us.

The General might be still about him. Melodically. The lyrics might be about Axls abusive father/stepfather though.

His daughter Ruby has a better voice than Melissa btw

 

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2 hours ago, RONIN said:

Going by all the interviews, rumors, and behind the scenes chatter that found its way onto this forum over the past 17 years - here's my impression of nuGnR dynamics w/ Tommy:

*Axl recruits Tommy as a replacement for Duff - he has the same punk background but with more indie cred than Duff which was a perfect hire in Axl's mind. Axl in the 90's was a slave of trends and trying to align himself with every hip band's talent that he could poach. Tommy is thrilled to get a high paying steady gig as he was apparently working as a telemarketer to make ends meet. It's a perfect fit.

*Axl and Tommy grow very close during the early years of nu-guns (97-2003). Tommy ( a domineering force like Axl), assumes the #2 position and leads the band as Axl is usually MIA. Tommy also becomes tight with Axl lackey Del James during this time. He has no issues with Freese, Pittman, Dizzy, or Finck as none of them challenged his dominance in band politics. Dizzy and Pitman were sycophants, Freese was a paycheck gunner who had no intention of sticking around long-term, and Finck's loyalties were more with NIN than GnR. Paul Huge on the other hand may have had friction with Tommy - lack of talent + serious entitlement issues would have put him on a collision course with the 2nd biggest ego in the band. 

*Enter Buckethead, Axl's new muse. Bucket was serious about the job in a way that none of the others were - he was here to stay and assume the position Slash had held with Axl. He wasn't there to collect a paycheck or play band politics. Soon enough, Axl, who recognizes how much of a talent Bucket is, starts to shape the creative decisions of the band around him in a semi-collaborative way - a courtesy likely not extended to the others. Buckethead is getting more attention and face time with the boss than the others who have to jockey for attention. This annoys Del James and Tommy who resent Bucket's talent, commitment, and dedication. Naturally, they bully and alienate him from the band. Tommy also behaves like an ass with Bucket's friend, Brain - the band's new drummer.

Bucket's immense talent and taking over lead guitar duties creates a rift with Finck. Finck was used to being the solo lead guitarist of the band. Hence you get the clusterfuck of the '02 nu guns shows where Bucket, a virtuoso, is playing second fiddle to a b-list talent like Finck.  Del James, Finck, and Tommy essentially drive Buckethead out of the band. The final straw comes with Axl missing the album release date and the disastrous 2002 tour - Bucket has had enough. Axl throws Buckethead under the bus in a press release in 2003 which effectively ends any chance of Bucket's return to GnR. To this day Buckethead does not speak of GnR/Axl publicly and dislikes being asked about his time in the band.

*After a 3 year lull where they've been working as a 2-guitar band, enter Ron Thal. Even though he doesn't enjoy the vaunted position Buckethead had with Axl, he's still perceived as a threat by Tommy, Finck, and Fortus and is given a hostile welcome. Thal's talent, like Bucket, far exceeded what they brought to the table and hence he was the odd man out. 

By 2009-2014, there's a general cooling off in Tommy's relationship with Axl. They weren't as tight as they used to be in the early days. The realization that the nu band was in a death spiral and that they had missed their moment is the vibe I get from his post-CD interviews. GnR was a paycheck gig for him from the start but he was no longer invested in the band. Needless to say, the redhead himself had stopped giving a shit by that point.

Excerpt from a Thal interview:

Does that play a part anymore, after seven years? Like Tommy would go, “pfff, you're a kid!”.

- I've always just felt like me in the band. But now I think that the other guys in the band feel like I'm actually part of the band and not the outsider-new-guy. Whether they would admit it or not, or agree or not, you know, I wasn't made. I was Morrie in “Goodfellas”. They were all made. I could have been as nice as possible and gone along with the business - but I was never gonna be made. I think now, at this point, I'm more accepted. I don't think I'll ever fully be accepted, honestly.

Really?

- I don't think so. The way I came into the thing, the way I was brought into it, and the things that transpired in the beginning - and even previous relationships that I inherited - everything about it... If I'm gonna be completely honest - and maybe it's not them, maybe it's me, maybe it's how I feel about it, and maybe it's just me passing that onto them and saying this is how they feel - but in my opinion, my thought is that, I don't know if I'll ever fully be part of it. I don't think I'm a guy they're gonna call and say, “hey, you wanna hang out?”, or “hey, I'm working on my solo stuff - you wanna lay a track?”, or “hey, I'm going out to dinner - you wanna join?”, or “hey, I'm coming to town, let's get together!”. I don't think I'm ever gonna be the first guy in the band that they call. And you know what? Maybe it's because I've been such a pain in the ass in the band! Maybe if it was the other way around, I wouldn't call me either. Because I haven't been the easiest.

In what way?

- Well, when I first joined the band, they did not want me in the band. And it's not me - they just didn't want a third guitar player. ‘Cause at the time they had worked it out for two guitar players. Then suddenly the old manager at the time hits them up one day, and the tour was, like, two weeks away. He said, “your new guitar player is coming down”. And they're like, “what the hell - who the fuck is this?”, and I showed up, and they wouldn't even look at me. For that first tour, you know, I was treated like shit. Like absolute shit. They wouldn't really talk to me. If I spoke, they'd roll their eyes and walk out of the room. I was made to feel as unwelcome as possible. Until, finally, I had to get a little violent. And then they started realizing that I'm not gonna leave. They're gonna get hurt.

In what way?

- Physically.

Really?

- Yeah. Then they realized that they couldn't bully me, and that I was gonna fight at a level they weren't prepared for. And then they started loosening up how nasty they were. It was about three years before they would really start warming up and start talking to me. Even about things back then. ‘Cause I didn't know why they were so cold to me, and I realized that they would have treated anybody that way. It was a set of circumstances, a lack of communication from the management that was there at the time, that set it up so it was almost like a stranger thrown into a crowded cage.

https://htgth.com/news/shownews.php?newsid=2302

What shameful! Grown-up people bullyng like high school kids. Poor Ron.

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Having a read of ronins post what was axls obsession with having 3 lead guitar players?.

Axl didnt like slashs mid 90s input because the musicc was to southern but wanted to have 3 guitarists in the band ala lynard skynard..

..

Also incredible that del seems to have a high opinion of himself. Hes just a bag handler, if if wasnt for axl del wouldnt have the life he has.

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