Paul Warner/
Kyle Anderson
September 21, 2011 AT 04:33 PM EDT

Remember back in 2008 when Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy finally stopped being a punchline to jokes about waiting endlessly for unfinished albums (the ball remains in your court, Dr. Dre) and actually became an album you could purchase in a store?

You don’t, do you? Is that because it was a mostly-forgettable collection of tepid hard rock tunes unworthy of the legacy of the band who gave the world Appetite for Destruction? Or is it because you never got the opportunity to catch the band on an American tour so that songs like “Better” and “Madagascar” could live and breathe in an arena near you?

Axl Rose is counting on the latter being the truth; he’s taking his band on the road in the United States for the first time in five years, and the trek begins October 28 in Orlando and will hit more than 30 cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver.

In addition to Rose, the group currently features Tommy Stinson (formerly of the Replacements and also of a phenomenal just-released solo album called One Man Mutiny), DJ Ashba (not actually a DJ but a guitar player who is also in Nikki Sixx’s band), Dizzy Reed (the second-longest-tenured member, as joined the group just before the recording of 1991’s Use Your Illusion I & II), Richard Fortus (previously of Richard Butler’s post-Psychedelic Furs band Love Spit Love), Bumblefoot (filling in the “silly-named guitarist” post vacated by Buckethead a few years back), Chris Pitman (do they really need a second keyboardist?), and Frank Ferrer (another survivor of Love Spit Love).

Among hard rock aficionados, some don’t think Guns N’ Roses should be allowed to be called Guns N’ Roses unless both Rose and Slash are involved. But even despite the goofiness surrounding Rose’s legacy (the epic wait for Chinese Democracy, the weight fluctuations, the arrests, the hair), isn’t he less tarnished than Slash at the moment?

Rose’s band of goofballs will be headlining the Rock in Rio Festival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in a few weeks, in front of 75,000 people. Last we checked, Slash was helping open up the Charlie Sheen roast and recording a new version of “Paradise City” with Fergie. Looking at that stat sheet, isn’t Rose the clear victor, even though he’s still sort of a tool?

Look, ultimately Slash has more dignity and integrity, and some of those Velvet Revolver songs are pretty good (and that one Slash’s Snakepit album is pretty boss too). But no matter how many collaborators Slash finds or cool events he shows up to, the gigantic aura of Guns N’ Roses still belongs to Axl.

And because of that, the staggering number of people who keep Appetite for Destruction in the Billboard charts every week will tend to gravitate toward the singer. It’s a lot like the divide between Megadeth and Metallica. In a lot of ways, Metallica are not as good as Megadeth. But Metallica is just better, you know?

Will you be buying tickets for the Guns N’ Roses show coming to your city? Does the prospect of Rose singing “Welcome to the Jungle” and “November Rain” trump all other criteria? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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