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Is Guns N’ Roses’ Comeback A Formula For Others?

13 Mar

In December, Guns N’ Roses wrapped up a tour that had stunned the music world. From a Coachella reunion show to a full-fledged trek around North America and Europe, the hard rock group unexpectedly erupted into a full resurgence, reigniting fans’ passions, roping in a lucrative amount of money, and leading up to inevitable teases of new material. For anyone with even a remote interest in the band, or in classic music in general, it made for a wild couple of years.

Now that the “Not In This Lifetime” tour is finally over though, music lovers may have a simple question on their minds: Will any other older or “classic” groups follow GNR’s lead and launch full-blown resurgences? Can any other group do it? It’s really a game of pure speculation, but we can at least look at some bands with some similar potential to follow something approximating the Guns N’ Roses model.


AC/DC

AC/DC is the first band that will come to mind for a lot of people, even though it hasn’t had the sort of prolonged core hiatus that Guns N’ Roses had before 2016. That is to say there is no dramatic reunion between members to use as a launch point for a comeback (as there was with Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N’ Roses). That said, AC/DC does appear to have some renewed energy, in large part thanks to Rose. The Guns N’ Roses frontman has replaced Brian Johnson in the AC/DC lineup and appears to be ready for full-fledged membership in the rival group. He has both toured and worked on new material with the band. It still feels somewhat temporary – but less so as time moves along.


Black Sabbath

Call this one wishful thinking, perhaps. Many people may not even realize that Black Sabbath was still playing shows until recently, Ozzy and all. In fact, the band was active on the stage for nearly 50 years by the time they confirmed their split a little over a year ago. The final show in Birmingham marked the 49-year mark for the band, which appears to have stepped away from the spotlight in peace. That said, guitarist Tony Iommi indicated they could still make more music together, and this is definitely a group that could conceivably be inspired by Guns N’ Roses’ success. That is to say, we could see an effect by which other supposedly over-the-hill groups take a look at what happened with GNR (or even the ongoing success of a tireless band like U2) and decide to give it another shot. Let’s not count Black Sabbath out until they’re actually out for a few years.


The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are significantly older, and likely don’t have the energy for a two-year international tour. That said, they have a clear desire to retain popularity. One of the earliest hints of Guns N’ Roses’ comeback two years ago in fact was a band-themed slot game online. Ironically many Americans may not have noticed the game, save for in New Jersey where some of the modern slots that have incorporated pop culture themes are available to play. However, the game did subtly get GNR back in front of people, and more significantly hinted that they were active in pushing their image once more. The Rolling Stones are one of the few classic groups that’s still active and which has also put out a game of this kind, indicating a similar interest in expanding visibility. That doesn’t mean everything else will work out the same, but it does show the Stones employing similarly innovative approaches to staying relevant. We also know that the group is still very much interested in touring. There’s at least a chance that, inspired by a group like GNR’s renewed energy, the Stones get rolling once more.

Rage Against the Machine 

This would actually make for one of the more shocking and exciting reunions we could think of in the music industry. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 18 years, but Rage Against The Machine disbanded all the way back in 2000. They were mentioned in a piece on 10 bands that should make comebacks, wherein it was noted that they did have brief reunions in 2007 and 2011, though there’s never been a hint of a full-fledged comeback. The only thing that makes this seem at least somewhat possible has nothing to do with Guns N’ Roses or other comeback groups though. It’s simply that RATM was a very political group, and these are turbulent political times. If there’s ever been an environment ripe for a Rage return, this is probably it.