Guns Go Clink

May 22 [10:00 EST] -- Guns n' Roses have confirmed Mike Clink to produce their next album and sources close to the band say former Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck will be the new primary axe-slinger. Finck is said to be replacing Slash who left the band last year over creative differences.

Clink produced the successful Guns n' Roses records "Use Your Illusion I" and "II" and most recently was at the controls for Sammy Hagar's "Marching To Mars." Sources at the band's label, Geffen, say the inclusion of Clink doesn't exclude involvement from Moby, the techno-rock solo artist and producer who has previously acknowledged to the media that he's been talking to the band. "There's no confirmation," says the source, "but I expect he'll be working on a couple of tracks.

Finck's reportedly been jamming with Rose for several weeks. He officially took a leave of absence from NIN, which utilizes its members primarily as a road band, to play with Cirque Du Soleil. Finck has also

been a live member of the theatrical drag queen band, the Impotent Sea Snakes, primarily playing a chain saw.

Insiders say Rose has been writing with his guitarist friend Paul Huge, but as expected, Huge will not play a part in the album.

The drummer's chair remains a mystery. Ex-Pearl Jam member Dave Abbruzzese has been in rehearsals with Axl Rose, the name of former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna keeps surfacing as a contender, and Guns n' Roses management says Matt Sorum is still in the picture.

Two weeks ago at the Music West conference in Vancouver, Canada, Sorum said Rick Rubin was also involved in the project but a spokesperson for Rubin says it had been under discussion some time ago, but "it didn't work out." It was also denied by G n' R manager Doug Goldstein who said in effect that as much as the band loved and respected Rubin, he would not be producing the record.

Sorum also said that Guns n' Roses had recorded "4,800 hours of music"

(we assume over several years) and have "15 really strong songs" which will be ready "hopefully by next year." He added that the sessions were leaning towards a Soundgarden style of rock although there were tracks where the Nine Inch Nails influence was evident. He told the small crowd that Rose's new favorite saying has been "loop it, loop it!

Duff McKagan, speaking at the same convention but in a separate interview, told his audience that things had come together in the studio for Guns n' Roses just over the last month and a half, but also confirmed MTV Online's earlier report that he was recording a solo album. "We've tracked 8 songs on it this week," said McKagan. He went on that since he's cleaned up his personal habits, "I'll probably be able to sing a little fuller.

Much of McKagan's interview centered on his past drug use. "I know I was in Czechoslovakia, its on my passport. But I don't remember it," he said straightfaced. He also said he's been occupying

himself with martial arts and college courses including some business classes. "My accountants are sh****** their pants.

Meanwhile Slash has certainly not dropped out of sight. He's on records just released by both Sammy Hagar and Michael Jackson and he's been touring with his fun band Bluesball. Slash has told interviewers he plans on finding a vocalist and reforming Snakepit, the project that kept him occupied during the oft off days with G n' R.