When Zakk Wylde Almost Joined Guns N’ Roses

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Guns N Roses in the late ‘90s was slowly turning into the Axl Rose and Friends show.

After the tour for Use Your Illusion wrapped up, no one was getting along, and it wasn’t long before Duff McKagan, Slash, and Matt Sorum wanted out.

The band needed fresh blood, and there was a good chance that Axl could have gotten a heavy replacement behind the fretboard.

When going through replacements, Rose called up Zakk Wylde to see if he’d be interested in going. While Wylde was still rolling with Ozzy Osbourne, he agreed to come down for a few sessions to see how it all worked. 

Zakk had mentioned being excited to jam with GNR, but was tore between leaving Osbourne for this new gig saying,

“I went down there and I loved Slash’s playing. But Ozz was asking me ‘Are you doing this thing or not?’ and I said I’d try to get an answer out of them. I ended up telling the guys that I couldn’t let the boss [Ozzy] hang.”

Rose is known to take his time though, and Wylde wasn’t keen to wait around saying,

“It came down to are we going to work or not? What are we waiting on? Let’s get to work. I don’t like going on vacations. I’m just like ‘chop chop, let’s get it rolling.’ And that’s when Ozz said ‘I can’t be waiting around for you.’ and that’s when he ended up letting me go.”

Even though got things rolling on his own with Black Label Society and Pride and Glory, he doesn’t have any ill will towards Guns either and complemented Slash’s playing saying,

“There’s nobody who could play ‘November Rain’ and ‘Sweet Child O Mine.’ They’re masterpieces. Like Jimmy Page type stuff. It’s perfect.”

The timing wasn’t right, but we also might have missed out on some of the best jam sessions in rock history. 

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