Axl Rose Speaks!

Last week, VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show aired the first televised interview that Axl Rose has done in five years. The actual backstory of how the show landed the interview is appropriately Axl-y: host Eddie Trunk and his crew came down to Miami’s American Airlines Arena, where Guns N’ Roses was playing, set up … and then just sort of hung around for a while, not knowing whether Rose would really come through as promised. He did — at 5:30 a.m., 15 hours after the crew set up. And if that makes it sound like Axl and GNR are the same exact traveling trainwreck of years past — well, that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. If there is any major reveal to be taken away from the Metal Show interview, it’s that Axl’s Guns n’ Roses 2.0 seem — somehow, someway — pretty stable. Amazing!

Trunk and his fellow interviewers are stuck somewhere between naturally obsequious and genuinely starstruck, meaning large swaths of the lengthy interview feature Axl pleasantly receiving dubious compliments. (Also, guitarist DJ Ashba is on hand, and pretty much the only time he talks is to commend Rose’s commitment to exercise). But it’s more than just the calm vibes keeping the prickliness at bay: With his lineup of mercenaries having apparently coalesced, and now a couple years removed from the Chinese Democracy uproar, Axl seems perfectly content becoming the best possible nostalgia-inducing live act he can be. He shares comical stories about interactions with his bandmates, admits he’ll skip tracks from Chinese if the crowd’s not responding, and takes personal responsibility for being late to the stage so often. (He also partially blames Slash’s heroin addiction, but, hey, come on. Baby steps).

He can still sound greatly self-deluded, of course, like this bit here: “A lot of people think I sue everybody. The reality is that I get sued a lot, and I don’t sue … nearly half as many [people] as I’d like to, or that I have time to.” For the most part, though, he’s reserved, amusing, almost self-deprecating. And when it comes to the band’s Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame nomination, he’s quietly diplomatic: “I don’t know what it means in terms of me with the old band, the old lineup. I don’t know what they would ask me. It’s an honor to be on the nomination or whatever. And I know that there’s definitely an element of the fans that really like that. For them I think it’s great.” The current Guns N’ Roses tour runs through December. At this point, barring the reveal of any new information, do not expect anyone to get punched in the face on stage.

Previously By Amos Barshad:
The Hunger Games Trailer: Death, Destruction, and Funny Wigs
Paul Bettany Gets Sexy
Songs of the Week: DMX Gets an Assist From Dr. Drew
Billy Crystal Is Your New Eddie Murphy

Follow Grantland on Twitter or check out Grantland’s Facebook page.

Read more of The Hollywood Prospectus, Grantland’s pop culture blog.

Contact us at

Filed Under: Axl Rose, Guns N' Roses, Music

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad

More from Amos Barshad

See all from Amos Barshad

More Axl Rose

See all Axl Rose

More Hollywood Prospectus

See all Hollywood Prospectus