The second half of 2015 has been dominated by stories on the possibility of a reunion by the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses. Although there has been no official word from any of the band’s members that either confirm or deny that this is happening, there have been enough signs to at least suggest that, this time, there is some degree of credibility to the rumors.
One of the recurring notions is that, if they are to reunite, it would likely take place during the summer festival season. So, with some of the major festivals getting set to announce their lineups in early 2016, we decided to assemble this timeline that retraces the steps of the potential Guns N’ Roses reunion.
July 17, 1993: Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke perform for the last time as members of Guns N’ Roses at the Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although the group never technically broke up, all four would leave the group — voluntarily or not — by 1997.
1999-2014: Various “mini-reunions” of several members, including Izzy Stradlin, take place. These range from one-off guest appearances at concerts to Slash, McKagan and Sorum’s five-year stint with the late Scott Weiland in Velvet Revolver. Meanwhile, the Axl Rose-fronted group returned to the road and, after considerable delay, released Chinese Democracy in 2008.
2012: Guns N’ Roses are given the perfect opportunity to reunite when they’re inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But it never comes to pass. Slash, McKagan, Sorum, Clarke and Steven Adler performed three songs, but Rose refused to show up, penning an open letter saying that it was a “no win, at least for me, ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ scenario all the way around.”
May 7, 2015: Slash, who once banned reporters from asking about a Guns N’ Roses reunion on account of it being a “dumb question,” seems open to the idea on CBS This Morning. “I think the fans would love it,” he said. “I think it might be fun at some point to try and do that. […] Never say never.”
July 27, 2015: DJ Ashba quits Guns N’ Roses after six years with the band. He cites his desire to focus his attention on Sixx:A.M. as the reason for his departure.
July 31, 2015: After word spreads that Rob “Bumblefoot” Thal had left in 2014, the guitarist’s hand is forced. Although he said he is “honoring a request to not make any public statements about anything related to it,” he suggests that “there’s enough clues out there for you to figure out what I’m up to now.”
Aug. 22, 2015: Slash drops a huge bomb on Swedish TV, saying that he and Rose have buried that hatchet and are friends again. But when the natural follow-up question of a reunion came up, he asks to change the subject.
Aug. 26, 2015: Following Slash’s revelation, a bar owner in Australia claims he heard from reliable sources that the Appetite for Destruction lineup — Slash, Rose, McKagan, Stradlin and Adler — would perform at the 2016 Soundwave Festival, although they were soon quashed by the promoter.
Sept. 2, 2015: Bassist Tommy Stinson, who replaced McKagan in 1998 after spending the ’80s with the Replacements, admits that, while he wasn’t fired or didn’t quit, there had been no activity from the group since their Las Vegas residency ended in the spring of 2014. “I really have no idea what’s going on,” he said.
Sept. 4, 2015: Adler declares himself to be in favor of the reunion, saying, “We owe it to the fans to do it,” before adding, “If we played together, the whole arena would cry with joy.” As for the question of whether he or Sorum, who replaced him in 1990, should play drums, the duo had already been on record as saying that they wanted to do it together.
Sept. 8, 2015: Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit claims that he and his band are reponsible for Rose and Slash resuming their friendship. “We had a meeting, and it went really well,” he told a crowd at the Reading Festival.
Sept. 11, 2015: Dizzy Reed, who joined the group as a keyboardist in 1990 and remains in the current lineup, is rather blase about the idea of a reunion. “Sure, you wonder those things,” he said. “Whatever. Whatever happens, happens.”
Sept. 11, 2015: The potential reunion almost got derailed before it happened. In a Facebook post, Slash’s brother Ash Hudson said that fans need to “grow up. Get a life,” while calling Rose “a fat bastard.” Ash quickly apologized for his words, saying he has since learned that “Axl is on a strict diet and losing weight.” Hudson also acknowledged that “my post was very offensive and upsetting to my brother.”
Sept. 15, 2015: Stinson wants a reunion, even though it would be at his expense. “There’s a reward that comes with that,” he said, “and I had that with the [Replacements]. It’s a good thing; it’s a good thing to do once in a while. And I hope it works out for ‘em, if it actually happens.”
Sept. 16, 2015: Slash and McKagan perform “It’s So Easy,” “Paradise City” and AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell” at a benefit.
Sept. 24, 2015: Although he’s skeptical that the original lineup will get back together, Corey Taylor says he “would retire from touring” if Slipknot had to battle for ticket buyers’ attention against Guns N’ Roses, “because I wouldn’t want to go up against that.” Instead, he would “follow them like I was a Deadhead – like I would just go to every show.”
Sept. 29, 2015: Adler says that he hasn’t heard from the others about a reunion. He believes that it’s because they don’t think that he’s sobered up. The drummer added that he’s been clean for 21 months.
Oct. 7, 2015: Sorum admits he has no idea what’s going on, while Clarke doesn’t think they’ll get back together. And if they do, Clarke adds, he doesn’t expect to be involved. “The fans want the original five guys, and I do too,” he said. “It was a great band, [and] it would be great to see that.”
Oct. 16, 2015: A Portuguese music magazine says that a promoter has extended an offer for them to headline a music festival in Portugal.
Nov. 12, 2015: A lot of small chatter could equal a lot. First, an unnamed “music insider” says that Guns N’ Roses are looking to headline festivals in Europe and the U.S. in 2016. Then, the group’s official Twitter account releases four cryptic tweets. Finally, a friend of McKagan’s wife says, in her presence, “Guns N’ Roses is coming back, motherf—ers!”
Nov. 13, 2015: On Twitter, Nikki Sixx is asked if Guns N’ Roses should do a reunion tour. His answer: “They are. Everybody knows.”
Nov. 16, 2015: A new report says that the reunion will only consist of Rose, Slash and McKagan. The rest of the lineup will probably be filled by the other current members, Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer.
Nov. 26, 2015: The merchandise section of Guns N’ Roses’ website is updated to include holiday-themed gifts bearing their classic logos. A search of public documents show that those trademarks are co-owned by Slash, Rose and McKagan.
Dec. 2, 2015: Guns N’ Roses are rumored to be headlining Britain’s Reading Festival in August. However, the band were not named when the initial list of bands was announced a few days later.
Dec. 25, 2015: Guns N’ Roses change the homepage of their website to the Appetite for Destruction-era “bullet” logo. The group are also being linked with the Coachella Festival, which is held in April in Indio, Calif. The lineup will be announced Jan. 5, 2016.
Dec. 26, 2015: Teasers featuring “Welcome to the Jungle” and black-and-white shots are seen in pre-show videos in movie theaters screening Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other films.
Dec. 29, 2015: The latest rumor says that Slash will join Rose on a 25-city tour. This includes a stop at Coachella in April, followed by dates at football stadiums across the U.S.