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Axl Rose Says He’s Writing for Guns N’ Roses, Wants to Continue with AC/DC

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Axl Rose says he’s written new music for Guns N’ Roses and is also open to making new music with AC/DC.

The singer’s comments came during an informal chat with fans at the China Exchange in London this week.

Currently on tour with AC/DC as a replacement for longtime singer Brian Johnson, who is suffering from hearing loss, Rose offered fans insights to his musical tastes and interests, as well as his hopes for the future of the current Guns N’ Roses lineup. Following a lengthy estrangement, Rose and GN’R founding members Slash and Duff McKagan teamed up again this past April for a much-anticipated reunion. The band performed a few shows in April and will hit the road in earnest on June 23 for a summer tour.

Speaking at the China Exchange, Rose told fans he’s happy with the current GN’R lineup and hopes to keep it “going for quite a while.” He said he was especially impressed by Slash’s work ethic, noting that both Slash and McKagan took it upon themselves to learn songs from Guns N’ Roses’ 2008 album, Chinese Democracy, on which neither played.

Most promising, though, was his announcement that he’d begun writing new material for Guns N’ Roses, which he said had been well received by Slash and McKagan.

Previously, Rose had publicly expressed interest in continuing to work with AC/DC once the band’s Rock or Bust tour wraps up this month. (The band will perform another 10 shows in the U.S. in August and September to make up for dates it couldn’t perform due to former singer Brian Johnson’s hearing problems.) Rose confirmed his interest again at the China Exchange, saying he and Angus Young have good chemistry and that he is open to a future working relationship if the band is agreeable to it. Young has said he has no interest in retiring the group. Separately, Johnson announced recently that he has tested a new in-ear monitoring system that will allow him to perform again without causing further damage to his hearing. It’s unknown if AC/DC will resume working with Johnson, continue with Rose, or find another singer.

A musician named Sahir was in attendance at Rose’s talk and shared additional notes from it, including:

• Rose has always been keen to work on a film soundtrack and may do so in the future, saying, “I was more interested in that than staying in Guns N’ Roses.”

• He does regular vocal exercises and has resumed work with a vocal coach that he had stopped working with 20 years ago. Rose was prompted to do so due to the demands of singing songs from AC/DC’s Back in Black album .

• He has varied taste in music and particularly enjoys Frank Sinatra, but doesn’t see himself branching into other genres.

• Rose apparently made a conscious effort to make his voice “clearer” for the Chinese Democracy album, which he feels people did not respond to.

• He has no plans for a solo album but may release his own book.

• Rose believes Slash fabricated some details in his book and told him so over the phone when they patched things up in 2015.

• In retrospect, he believes he should have self-released more music rather than use a large record label.

You can read Sahir’s complete report at his website. Sahir also recorded the event, which you can listen to below. Though it begins with video, he switched to recording only audio a few minutes in.

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Christopher Scapelliti
Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.