Oslo's Urban Sound Studios has shared a new photo of GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, apparently taken the day after the band's performance at the Tons Of Rock festival in Norway's capital city.
On Thursday (June 22),the picture was posted on the Urban Sound Studios Instagram account along with the following message: "We got to hang out with these 2 rock legends in the studio today. Really cool guys! (The two in the middle...). The band wanted a nice studio with a variety of speakers and headphones to listen to new mixes before they head for Glastonbury. It sounds awesome!"
During an October 2022 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" show, Slash was asked about GUNS N' ROSES' plans for new music in the coming months. He said: "I wanna go in and cut a whole brand new record at some point, probably sooner than later. But other than that, we have stuff that we've still got to come out. So that's gonna be coming out piecemeal over the next — I don't know — over the next few months or something like that. So that's basically it. We have one more tour left to do next summer, and then that'll free us up to be able to go in and work on a new record."
GUNS N' ROSES' most recent release was a four-song EP, "Hard Skool", which came out in February 2022. The effort, which was exclusive to the GUNS N' ROSES' official store, contained the two new songs the band released in 2021 — the title track and "Absurd" (stylized as "ABSUЯD") — as well as live versions of "Don't Cry" and "You're Crazy".
In September 2021, the guitarist and his bandmates dropped "Hard Skool", which came more than a month after their performance and subsequent official release of "Absurd", a reworking of GUNS N' ROSES previously unreleased "Silkworms".
According to Slash, several other older GUNS N' ROSES tracks have also been reworked during the pandemic. "There's a handful of those songs that we actually fixed up and did when we were in lockdown," he explained to "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". "So those have yet to be released. So those are gonna come out. They're really good, too. So I'm excited for those. We're just gonna put out like one or two songs, and another one or two songs. And I think that's gonna be pretty much all of 'em. I'm not sure exactly how many we did in total."
When host Eddie Trunk noted that "Hard Skool" in particular was a strong cut, Slash said: "These other ones, they don't have the same kind of amount of history, 'cause I know 'Hard Skool' seriously has… [it] goes way back. But there's a couple of epic ones coming out, so I'm excited about that."
If and when it happens, the new GUNS N' ROSES studio album will be the first under the GUNS banner since "Chinese Democracy" and the first to feature Slash, singer Axl Rose and bassist Duff McKagan since 1993.
Slash previously spoke about "Hard Skool", one of the first two songs he recorded with GUNS N' ROSES in more than 25 years, this past February in an interview with Rolling Stone. At the time he said: "'Hard Skool', in essence, was a completed song when I was first introduced to it. And Duff and I went in and redid the bass and the guitars. It's a simple song, so it didn't take a hell of a lot of thought and analysis. I think it was a lot of fun just because it was part and parcel of a bunch of stuff that we were working on that was all sort of new — at least to Duff and I — so we had a good time."
In October 2021, Slash told Audacy Check In host Remy Maxwell that GUNS N' ROSES had yet to begin writing new material after releasing the two reworked songs from the "Chinese Democracy"-era sessions.
"As far as new GUNS is concerned, we haven't even gotten to that point of really in earnest sitting down and writing," Slash said. "We've been doing a lot of material that's been sort of sitting around for a while. So that will be a whole focused endeavor unto itself."
As for how "Hard Skool" and "Absurd" came about, Slash said: "They both have a lot of history. What happened was Axl has all these songs that he recorded at some point along the way. And so Duff and I went in and re-did them, basically… Like, I wrote my own kind of parts to what else is going on, and [we] just sort of took the drums and re-did everything else."
Written by Rose and co-produced by Rose and Caram Costanzo, "Hard Skool", which had the working title "Jackie Chan", was originally recorded during GN'R's "Chinese Democracy" era but was eventually omitted from that album. Short clips of the song were later posted online and a full version was leaked in August 2019.
On "Hard Skool", Axl sings: "But you had to play it cool, had to do it your way/Had to be a fool, had to throw it all away/Too hard school and you thought you were here to stay/ If that were true, it wouldn't matter anyway."
"Absurd" came out on August 6, 2021, three days after GUNS N' ROSES performed the tune live for the first time during its concert at Boston's Fenway Park.
GUNS N' ROSES last performed "Silkworms", which was also reportedly written during the "Chinese Democracy" sessions, in 2001.
Photo credit: Katarina Benzova