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(Credit: Denis Pellerin)

Music

Brian May recalls "odd experience" working with Axl Rose

Guitarist Brian May is best known for his work with Queen, having written such seminal anthems as ‘Now I’m Here’, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Hammer to Fall’, but he’s also a formidable musician, having contributed to several sessions as a guest musician. One of the most interesting additions to his c.v. is a guest spot on a Guns ‘ N’ Roses track.

He worked on Chinese Democracy track ‘Catcher In The Rye’ although he later conceded that vocalist Axl Rose chose not to use his contributions and now the guitarist has reflected on the “odd” experience of working with him.

“It was an odd experience,” he admitted to Classic Rock magazine. “I think it was about midway through the whole thing. By that point Axl [Rose, frontman] was pretty much a recluse…He was working in his house, and I was working in the studio at the bottom of the hill with his engineer at the time, and he only rarely came down.”

The Queen musician said that the singer would flit from enthusiasm to reclusiveness in a short period of time, and May had to adjust himself to the working methods Rose used. By this point, Rose was the only founding member still performing with Guns ‘N’ Roses, as bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan had left in the 1990s. Some describe Chinese Democracy as a Rose album in all but name, but Slash and McKagan have both spoken favourably about the album. McKagan and Slash rejoined Guns ‘N’ Roses in 2016, and the three men are reportedly working on a new album.

Guns ‘N’ Roses released their first album, Appetite for Destruction, in 1987, and continued to harness their craft into the 1990s. The band were among the most celebrated in hard rock, and later covered Paul McCartney and Wings’ ‘Live and Let Die’. Interestingly, Guns ‘N’ Roses performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.

In other May related news, the guitarist revealed his deep love for The Beatles, feeling that they represented the pinnacle of writing, performing and recording in the realm of rock music. In his interview with Far Out, the guitarist said that he didn’t consider ‘Driven By You’ to be a Beatlesque tune, but felt flattered by the comparison nonetheless.