In the realm of rock and roll, the legacy of Guns N’ Roses holds a distinct place, colored by the intricate experiences of its former bassist, Tommy Stinson. A luminary figure in both the iconic Guns N’ Roses and the revered indie/punk legends, The Replacements, Stinson recently shared insights into his remarkable 16-year tenure with the LA-based hard rock phenomenon and his deep admiration for the band’s enigmatic frontman, Axl Rose.
As reported by Louder Sound – The journey commenced in 1998 when Stinson, spurred by his friend Josh Freese, then the drumming force for GN’R and presently a luminary with Foo Fighters, decided to heed an audition call as a lark. Fate took a turn, and Stinson found himself accepting Axl Rose’s invitation to join the ranks, driven by the singer’s unwavering determination to preserve the Guns N’ Roses legacy despite the departure of former comrades. Rose’s vision, resonating with a punk rock ethos, resonated deeply with Stinson, solidifying his commitment to the cause.
“His relentless determination to uphold the essence of Guns N’ Roses, despite the abandonment by other band members, struck a chord with me,” Stinson reflects in a conversation with the versatile writer, podcaster, and DJ, Matt Stocks. “It was a punk rock spirit that I couldn’t turn away from. I was all in.”
Stocks duly acknowledges the undeniable tenacity that fueled Rose’s resolve. “You had to respect that tenacity,” he rightly points out.
“Fuck yeah, I did,” Stinson affirms with conviction. “Totally.”
Reflecting on his tenure, Stinson attests to the positive aspects of the journey, emphasizing the valuable experiences garnered despite occasional clashes and challenges. The musical landscape shifted notably around the 2008 release of “Chinese Democracy,” an album emerging after a staggering 17-year hiatus following the band’s last original albums in 1991. Stinson fondly characterizes this period as “a crazy, beautiful mess.”
However, one regret lingers – the poignant moment when music executive Jimmy Iovine wrested the album from Axl Rose’s grasp at the eleventh hour before its release. Stinson laments this pivotal incident, recognizing the potential impact it could have had on Rose’s perspective. Yet, despite this setback, Stinson stands firm in his belief that “Chinese Democracy” remains a testament to the band’s artistry and dedication.
“We accomplished something remarkable, a labor of love orchestrated by Axl,” Stinson acknowledges. “He orchestrated a symphony from a diverse ensemble, a true testament to his artistic prowess.”
In the tapestry of rock history, Tommy Stinson’s narrative stands as a compelling testament to the intricate dynamics and unyielding spirit that defined Guns N’ Roses during a pivotal era.