Ex-GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan has confirmed that he will be filling in for the band's current bassist, Tommy Stinson, during the group's South American tour. Stinson is scheduled to reunite with his original band, THE REPLACEMENTS, for two high-profile dates at Coachella in mid-April and is unable to make the GN'R shows.
McKagan will join GUNS N' ROSES in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the April 6 concert, then play Asuncion, Paraguay (April 9), La Paz, Bolivia (April 12) and two cities in Brazil — Recife (April 15) and Fortaleza (April 15).
GUNS N' ROSES will play the first two shows of the South American tour — on Tuesday in Florianapolis, Brazil, and on April 3 in Porto Alegre, Brazil — with Stinson, before hooking up with McKagan, who joined GN'R for rehearsals in Los Angeles last month and will likely run through the set again before the Buenos Aires show.
"I had those REPLACEMENTS shows come up the same time the (South American) tour came up, and it got to be a scheduling issue right out of the gate," Stinson tells Billboard.com. "I didn't want to fuck anyone up in GUNS by saying, 'Hey, I can't do this tour' or anything like that. Luckily someone was able to reach out to Duff and he was amenable to the idea and was into doing it. It's Duff being the kind of good sport he is, trying to help Axl [Rose] out. So I'm like, 'Thanks, dude, for covering my ass on this one.' I think people are gonna be really stoked about it. It's gonna be fun for everyone."
McKagan tells Billboard.com through GNR's publicist that, "It's pretty great to play these songs again, and looking forward to playing some gigs with my pal again. South America is always a radical place for rock n roll...and I'm honored to be doing this thing, in that place."
Adds Stinson: "[Duff is] a fucking great bass player. It's gonna be a breeze. The only bummer is I don't get to see one of the shows he plays, especially after playing his fucking parts for 17 years. It would be interesting to see how he plays them. There's a couple things I could use some pointers on."
McKagan joined Axl Rose onstage for the first time in seventeen years at GUNS' October 14, 2010 concert in London. He also performed with the current version of GUNS in December 2011 at shows in Vancouver and Seattle. All three appearances were for a few songs, not full gigs.
Rumors that the classic lineup of GUNS N' ROSES would reunite have been around for years, although any possibility of that happening seemed to end when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and Axl Rose declined to show up.
Rose told Billboard.com in 2009 that he doesn't ever expect to play again with guitarist Slash, saying, "One of the two of us will die before a reunion. However sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is." Slash stated about Axl: "He hates my guts. It's over a lot of different stuff; I don't even know. There's just no communication between us. I talk to Duff and Steven [Adler, drums], but when it comes to old GUNS N' ROSES, there really isn't anybody that makes decisions."