Four ex-Guns -- N' no Roses -- plan a new CD. Bandmates writing songs, auditioning singers
Credit: Slash: Luca Del Pia/Vanit.De/Retna

Who are these guys claiming to be Guns N’ Roses? That’s what many asked when a seemingly face-lifted Axl Rose jumped on stage at August’s MTV VMAs with some unfamiliar faces to perform GN’R classics. For those wanting more GN’R in their GN’R, help is on the way. Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Matt Sorum — a.k.a. Guns N’ Roses minus Rose — are recording a new CD, set for next year.

The project was conceived when Slash, McKagan, and Sorum played with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at a 2001 benefit. ”It was insanely cool,” says Slash. ”Steve Tyler said, ‘Wow, Axl should probably get his s— together,’ but it’s way too late for that.” Soon after, Stradlin and Wasted Youth guitarist David Kushner joined the trio to write songs. One problem: no singer yet, though Buckcherry’s Joshua Todd, Lit’s Jay Popoff, and Psychotica’s Pat Briggs have auditioned. There’s also no name so far, but it won’t be Guns N’ Roses.

”Before a gig one night in ’92, [Axl] hands us a contract saying that if the band breaks up, he’s taking the name,” says Slash. ”Unfortunately, we signed it. I didn’t think he’d go on stage otherwise.”