Former Guns N' Roses manager Vicky Hamilton, who's in the process of publishing her memoir, was texting with Slash last night. Here's what she had to say in a Facebook post about all those GNR reunion rumors you've been hearing: “OK … was texting with Slash who is on tour [in India] … he says the GNR tour isn't happening … so that's all I know … your guess is as good as mine …” Hamilton confirmed the text from Slash directly to the L.A. Weekly as well: “He said it isn't happening.”
Gossip blogs like Dish Nation and Blabbermouth don't like to verify sources and conduct real reporting. We did. In fact, we've talked to five different real sources (not “friends” or sycophants at the Rainbow Room), and here's what we know:
Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash, either through lawyers or managers, have been discussing the possibility of a GNR reunion tour. We've been told that Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin are not involved. Sources have told us that promoters like AEG and Goldenvoice have been courting the big kickoff show. But nothing is confirmed yet, and whatever talks may or may not be happening regarding a possible reunion could fall apart at any moment. Or, based on Slash's text to Hamilton, maybe they already have.
Not a single original member or legal representative has confirmed or denied the rumors, which has resulted in mass hysteria among fans, bloggers and half the music industry in general. When we asked a former NIN tour manager what he thought about the reunion, his reaction was to freak out and walk away from us, quickly — as if we'd asked him for missile launch codes. The tour manager, who's a close friend of bassist Duff McKagan, could have denied the rumors calmly; instead, his abrupt reaction sent a signal that something is happening. But it's unclear what that something is.
All this reunion drama really kicked into high gear when Uproxx released the first part of a three-part documentary titled “One Man's Plan to Reunite Guns N' Roses.” The title was click-bait, but it worked. Here's what Canter's Deli owner Marc Canter, a longtime friend of the band and the “One Man” in the Uproxx doc, told us in July, after the film's release: “My plan was to be a part of a cool documentary about my time with the band. But the question was something they threw in the last 20 seconds and spun it.”
Canter never had a plan to reunite GNR, but the huge response to Uproxx's click bait apparently got some of the former band members' attention. In August, Slash told a Swedish reporter that he had dispelled some of the negativity surrounding his relationship with Axl Rose. Instead of just reporting the facts, the media decided GNR was getting back together, and soon. But this is all Slash said: “It was probably way overdue, you know. But it's … you know, it's very cool at this point. You know, let some of that, sort of, negative … dispel some of that negative stuff that was going on for so long.”
The media then began to report that Slash and Axl were friends again. Which might be at least sort of true; the fact is former GNR members have been communicating through lawyers for years, so Slash's idea of “friendship” could be something as newsworthy as grabbing dinner with Axl for the first time since 1996. Or it just could mean that he and Axl and their lawyers had a meeting nobody stormed out of. Beyond that, nothing is confirmed.
To be clear: Vicky Hamilton isn't a direct source, either. She is no longer working for or directly associated with GNR in any formal capacity. She's a reliable source and very connected — a way more reliable source on this subject than, say, Scott Weiland. But for all we know, Slash could be trying to dispel rumors as details of an actual reunion are being hashed out.
From everyone we've talked to, the consensus is that Del James, a former GNR tour manager and close friend of Axl Rose (who once interviewed Axl for Rolling Stone), is the one person outside of Axl, Slash, Duff and their lawyers who might actually know what's going on. But he's not talking, and why would he? Would you? Axl could pull the plug on this at any time, because Axl is Axl, and nobody close to him wants to start a war with the man once nicknamed “Ayatollah” by his bandmates.
So everybody just calm down. There's no Guns N' Roses reunion. Unless there is. But there isn't. Probably.
“But you never know,” says Hamilton.