It may not be a Guns N' Roses reunion per se, but it's the closest thing to having the original lineup back together again in quite some time former GN'R guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan are collaborating with fellow former Gunner Izzy Stradlin on his upcoming solo album.
It's not the first time that former GN'Rmates have joined forces since leaving the group McKagan played bass on Stradlin's last two solo albums (see "Izzy Readies Second Post-GN'R Solo Effort"), and Slash has jammed over the years with Stradlin (see "Slash: Making His Mark Without Guns") but the three haven't played together since the Use Your Illusion albums in 1991, when Stradlin left the band.
"The thing with Izzy's [solo] record," Slash said, "is that I got involved with him because we talk on the phone a lot, and he's just always doing these anonymous projects in his own quiet little fashion. It's just nice to get together and write again.
"We got together to work on songs, and they sound like Izzy, like Izzy and Slash, so they're easy to recognize that way," he continued. "They have a sense of humor about them, but they're loose and laid back. They're not heavy-duty, arrangement-oriented songs. They're just basic ideas that we thought were cool, so we threw it down."
Slash said that he wrote and recorded a total of five songs with Stradlin in November around the holidays, but the songs still require about a day's worth of "fixing," as well as background vocals. Meanwhile, McKagan said that he's laid down the bass tracks for an album's worth of songs in two different sessions in November and December at a studio in Los Angeles.
"Me and Slash are just the session guys, man," McKagan said, laughing. "I just went in and did bass tracks for the first three songs in an hour and kept at it."
As with his previous three solo albums, Stradlin penned the bulk of the material and performs lead vocals. The LP is currently untitled and there is no target release date other than late summer, with Internet sales being the main focus, according to his management and label, SFV Records.
Stradlin was unavailable for comment, as he is still in the studio working on the album. His camp did stress that since the record is unfinished, there's no telling what will make the final cut.
Still, Slash and McKagan are optimistic that the sessions will see the light and could perhaps lead to more. "I'd never rule out the idea of us three doing something with somebody singing," McKagan said. "That possibility is always there. Everything just sounds better than it ever has, but we'll see. We also realize that there's a bit of history involved, and no one wants to screw it up, not for nostalgic purposes. Only for artistic purposes.
"We wouldn't want to be that band in 'Rock Star,' or be silly," the bassist continued. "It's great to be able to afford to say that, that we're not doing this to make a bunch of dough, and we would only give back for the right purposes.
"We're just so intertwined," McKagan added. "It's not unlike a relationship with brothers. We've lived through a lot together, all through our 20s and early 30s. You know how a lot of people have college buddies? We're like that. We'll never not be friends. Music is a part of that, but it's beyond that. We're family."