Let us look into the future at how the road to Coachella shakes out for Axl Rose and crew.
Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Guns N’ Roses were the unfuckwithable kings of their world. The band set the tone for what it meant to be a rock star for their generation—big hair, excessive partying, fuckloads of drugs, and even more women. But as members filtered out and the band fell from the top over time, the music landscape changed in their absence. Now, as they prepare to settle their differences and reunite for a headlining gig at Coachella this year, you can’t help but wonder: How ready is Guns N’ Roses for the social media-crazed music scene of 2016? Or maybe more appropriately, how ready is it for Guns N’ Roses?
Let us now take a look into the future timeline of this proposed GNR reunion to see how this thing will shake out for them...
Coachella announces its 2016 lineup on Twitter, confirming Guns N’ Roses as the Saturday headliner for the first time. Fans immediately begin Photoshopping the lineup poster with their hilarious jokes.
An official Guns N’ Roses press release confirms the rumors that Slash and Duff McKagan have rejoined Axl Rose for the Coachella performance, leading to further speculation about who else will participate to round out the band by the media, the fans, and Appetite For Destruction-era drummer Steven Adler.
Three full days after its announcement, Facebook users first hear about the Guns N’ Roses reunion. They are super psyched.
Three full days after its announcement, Facebook users first hear about Slash and Duff rejoining Guns N’ Roses for Coachella. They are super psyched.
Axl Rose posts a picture of a fan’s baby on the Guns N’ Roses Facebook page. Steven Adler hits the Like button.
Axl Rose flies into LAX where he is met by half a dozen paparazzi, who shout questions about the reunion and hope to get footage of him throwing one of his trademark photographer meltdowns. One cameraman even throws a half a pack of Certs at his shoulder to provoke him. The only thing they come away with are a few shots of him wheeling his bedazzled carry-on luggage through the terminal and ten minutes of him standing in line at Cinnabon.
A heretofore obscure music blog called MetalUpYourUrethra posts a scoop that Chinese Democracy-era member Frank Ferrer will play drums for the Coachella show, based on information found on Ferrer’s personal Facebook page. Despite the blog post’s poor grammar and seemingly off-topic remarks about Obamacare and European Jewry, the story is quickly picked up by less obscure music blogs.
Music blog MetalUpYourUrethra posts an “exclusive” that Chinese Democracy-era member Richard Fortus will play rhythm guitar for the Coachella show, based on information found while digging through the recycling bin behind Fortus’ home. Despite the blog post’s poor grammar and off-topic remarks about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Black Lives Matter, the story is quickly picked up by other music blogs and the New York Post.
A TMZ reporter approaches Steven Adler to ask about the reunion while he is leaving a rehearsal studio session with other members of the band Adler’s Appetite. Pulling out his cell phone, he smiles widely and winks at the camera, saying, “Wait and see, fellas” while apparently dialing Slash’s number. The call goes immediately to voicemail.
Following weeks of rumors, Guns N’ Roses releases an initial list of the North American and European concerts that the reunion lineup will play. The tour includes several summer festival appearances on both continents, such as Hellfest in France and Lollapalooza in Chicago. Pre-sale ticket options for the non-festival shows include a special blacklight poster (limited to 100,000 copies) and a meet & greet / photo opportunity with Frank Ferrer and Richard Fortus for $499.
Chinese Democracy-era member Buckethead first hears about the Guns N’ Roses reunion from a TMZ reporter. As his face is obscured by his trademark mask and KFC bucket, the reporter is unable to discern Buckethead’s reaction to the news.
Guns N’ Roses arrive in Burbank for their appearance on The Tonight Show, but upon realizing Johnny Carson is no longer the host, Axl grows furious. His handlers try to calm him down while he has a panic attack in the greenroom. “Is Johnny OK? Where is Johnny?” he says through hyperventilation. “Why won’t any of you motherfuckers just tell me what happened to Johnny?” Jimmy Fallon enters the room and Axl, believing him to be an intern, grabs him by the tie and tells him to “go and get that snake Jay Leno piece of shit” so he can “punch him right in the mouth.”
Axl puts his iPhone in his pocket along with a half-eaten protein bar which causes it to pocket-tweet a bunch of gibberish and random characters and black photos of the inside of his pocket. Music blogs make a news story out of it, with their headline phrases ranging from “Epic Twitter Fail” to “Lost His Mind” to “The Biggest WTFS.”
In an exclusive interview with MetalUpYourUrethra, founding Guns N’ Roses member Tracii Guns reveals he has never been asked to rejoin the band since his firing in 1985. Despite a strange line of questioning about Greece’s debt crisis and the Wu-Tang Clan, the story is quickly picked up by other music blogs and Newsweek.
Axl Rose posts a picture of a fan’s charcoal drawing of him on the Guns N’ Roses Facebook page. Steven Adler hits the Like button and comments with a winking emoji.
Steven Adler takes to Facebook to post a handmade Valentine’s Day card he made for Axl, Slash, and Duff. Done entirely with crayon, the drawing features Guns N’ Roses drummer Frank Ferrer surrounded by stink lines and seated in what appears to be manure.
Some security camera footage of Axl Rose casually flipping over a tray of hot sauce packets at Taco Bell surfaces online. Gawker is the first to post the video with the headline “Axl Rose Just Went Full Ariana Grande at Taco Bell.” All of the music blogs pick it up and the story trends on Twitter, prompting all of the “cool” brands to get in on the action. @DennysDiner tweets: “Axl, Denny’s will make it November Rain hot sauce on whatever you’re eating. Take the Night Train here anytime and have all you want.” Not to be undone, whatever recent marketing graduate manages IHOP’s account tweets “take me down to the paradise city where eggs are delicious and the hot sauce is plenty.”
Robin Finck, credited lead guitarist for most of the Chinese Democracy recording sessions, breaks his silence about the Guns N’ Roses reunion in a statement to MetalUpYourUrethra. In it, he laments that his co-written masterpieces like “Shackler’s Revenge” and “Madagascar” will likely not appear on the Coachella setlist, since “Slash can’t play nearly as well” as him. For some reason, MetalUpYourUrethra annotates the statement by circling the letters “b” “e” “n” “g” “h” “a” “z” and “i.” The story is quickly picked up by other music blogs and The Wall Street Journal.
Axl Rose posts a picture of a fan’s baby on the Guns N’ Roses Facebook page. Steven Adler hits the Like button and comments with a photo of a sad kitten.
In a rare Snapchat story, Chinese Democracy-era guitarist DJ Ashba announces that he will be joining Guns N’ Roses on select dates after Coachella, provided that his terms are fully met. His conditions include playing a solo from a Use Your Illusion song of his choice and ensuring that Slash’s hat is no more than one inch bigger than his.
Adler’s Appetite are the musical guest on Last Call with Carson Daly. Steven Adler wears a homemade bedazzled t-shirt that reads CALL ME, AXL. They perform several Guns N’ Roses cover songs until they are asked to leave.
Steven Adler takes to Facebook to badmouth Carson Daly and his producers for giving him the “bum’s rush.” He also announces that Adler’s Appetite are touring many of the same cities as Guns N’ Roses, albeit at more “intimate” venues. Curiously, these three announced Choose Your Illusion dates all occur the same nights as the corresponding Guns N’ Roses shows in these same cities.
Steven Adler cancels the cancellation of Adler’s Appetite’s Choose Your Illusion tour.
A leaked advance copy of the Guns N’ Roses Coachella setlist appears on MetalUpYourUrethra. The extensively marked-up document features three songs from Appetite For Destruction, seven cuts from covers record The Spaghetti Incident, and both versions of “Don’t Cry” intended to be played back-to-back. There are 14 scheduled Slash guitar solos timed with Axl Rose costume changes in his oxygen booth. Gilby Clarke, Josh Freese, and Matt Sorum are all scheduled to appear as guests for select Chinese Democracy songs despite the fact that none of them played on the album or its subsequent tours. Due to the unfortunate date of the leak, the actually legitimate setlist is quickly dismissed as an April Fools joke by all outlets except for Pitchfork, whose weekend news writer has never heard of Guns N’ Roses.
Chinese Democracy-era guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal is arrested for causing a disturbance on a commercial flight between New York and Los Angeles when his seatmate refused to believe he had ever been in Guns N’ Roses.
Conde Nast purchases MetalUpYourUrethra for an undisclosed sum.
On the eve of Guns N’ Roses reunion show, Steven Adler joins Jack Ü onstage at Coachella for a surprise rendition of “Welcome To The Jungle.” It lasts 45 seconds and features vocals by Justin Bieber mostly checking his iPhone.
Guns N’ Roses are scheduled to headline Coachella at 10 PM.
10:20 PM: Axl shows up sporting a straw hat, an unexplained wrist cast, and a knee-length Troy Polamalu jersey.
10:25 PM: Coachella handlers try to escort Axl to the stage but Axl is holding a bootleg copy of Mad Max: Fury Road on DVD and keeps asking where he can “plug this in.”
10:32 PM: Disclosure, who have just finished their set, knock on Axl’s greenroom door and Axl, believing them both to be actor Daniel Radcliffe, tells security to let them in and then spends ten minutes asking Hogwarts-related questions of the politely confused duo.
10:45 PM: Guns N’ Roses finally take the stage to a mixed crowd of roadtripping 45-year-old dental assistants from Paterson, NJ and some molly-trippin Zedd fans.
10:48 PM: Axl greets the crowd by grabbing the microphone and shouting, “What’s up, you Coachella bitches?” Music writers watching the livestream from their couches crack their knuckles and start thinkpiecing about the rock band’s problematic past in the context of today’s culture. The phrase "do better" comes up several times.
11:20 PM: In between songs, Axl engages with the crowd and asks the kids in the audience why their cigarettes are lighting up blue. Over the next four minutes, Axl learns what vaping is in real time. It is captured on video and Axl pronouncing it “vapping” will soon became a Vine meme.
11:48 PM: Slash gets so bored during the second encore of "Welcome to the Jungle" that he spends the entire guitar solo wondering whether that pizza place in town is still in business and if they still make that pineapple slice he likes.
11:56 PM: Guns N’ Roses come off stage and a Coachella handler congratulates Axl, saying, “Looking forward to doing it again next weekend.” Axl looks dumbfounded. “Next weekend?”