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DATE: Nov. 15, 2006

SOURCE: Toronto Sun

Don't Look For Gunners CD

Band here tonight, but no date for album

By Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

There's good news and bad news about the arrival of Guns N' Roses at the Air Canada Centre tonight.

First of all, there has been increased anticipation about this Gunners road trip, because their years-delayed new album, Chinese Democracy, was supposed to finally hit stores next Tuesday.

That's where the bad news comes in.

Universal Music Canada said this week: "We have no indication that a Guns N' Roses record will be released this year."

Now, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the Chinese Democracy saga, wonderfully documented in a lengthy New York Times article last year.

The Times reported that frontman Axl Rose had been working on the album in fits and starts since 1994 and racked up US$13 million in production costs.


But the article's best bit of news was that one-time band guitarist Buckethead, who wears a mannequin-like mask and a KFC bucket on his head, asked that a chicken coop be built in the studio for him to play in. And it was. Out of wood planks and chicken wire.

You can't make this stuff up.

The good news about tonight's show is that Rose -- the last man standing from the L.A. hard rockers' original lineup -- and his eight-piece-band have been getting mostly rave reviews on their latest tour, which began in May.

The lineup remains heavy on rock veterans. Among the three guitarists are Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails fame and Richard Fortus, formerly of the Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love. Ron Thal of Bumblefoot completes the guitar lineup, while the rhythm section comprises bassist Tommy Stinson, who helped in the development of The Replacements, and drummer Bryan 'Brain' Mantia, who has played with Primus and Tom Waits.

All of these players, with the exception of Thal, were with Rose when he last played in Toronto at the ACC four years ago. (In those days Buckethead was still in the lineup).

The only major hiccup on the latest GNR tour occurred last week when the group cancelled a show in Portland, Maine. There are discrepancies as to why.

Both Rose and band manager Merck Mercuriadis issued a statement saying that "harassment" by state fire marshals was to blame.

"The marshals made it clear that they intended to harass our fans, crew and the band through enforcing rules and regulations that are 200 years old, to an extent that has not been applied to other artists and that we believed would make the gig a potential time bomb that would explode," their statement said.


An AP story said the fire marshal's office told the group they could not drink on stage -- their taste ran from beer and wine to Jagemeister (a sweet, if foul-tasting, herbal liquer) -- during a pyrotechnics inspection before the show.

Both Rose and Mercuriadis denied the cancellation was a result of low ticket sales, with the show reportedly only half-sold.

Promoters in Toronto weren't revealing exactly how many tickets the Gunners have sold for tonight's show, other than to say tickets have been "selling well" and are still available.

Opening for the Gunners tonight are Peterborough's own Sebastian Bach of Skid Row fame and Suicide Girls, who began as an indie-minded porn site and apparently have graduated to a touring act.


What Guns N' Roses played at New York City's Madison Square Garden last Friday:

- Welcome To The Jungle

- It's So Easy

- Mr. Brownstone

- Live And Let Die

- Robin Finck guiitar solo & jam

- Sweet Child O' Mine

- Knockin' On Heaven's Door

- You Could Be Mine

- Dizzy Reed piano solo (Angie)

- The Blues

- Better

- Richard Fortus & Robin Finck guitar duet (Beautiful)

- Out Ta Get Me

- November Rain

- Ron Thal guitar solo (incl. Ace Frehley solo & Don't Cry)

- My Michelle (with opener Sebastian Bach)

- Used To Love Her


- Patience

- Nightrain


- Chinese Democracy

- Paradise City


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