In Tune - Kings of Chaos
The room erupts in applause and screams. People jump to their feet. The shorter ones stand on their tippy toes to see. Some are holding guitars and CDs, hoping to have them autographed. Eight of the world's most hard-rocking rockstars walk into the room. Black leather pants or tight blue jeans. Converse Allstars or boots. Most wearing sunglasses.
Slash, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum were all members of Guns N' Roses and formed Velvet Revolver after its demise. Glenn Hughes played with Black Sabbath for a stint but is most well known for being part of Deep Purple. Ed Roland is the voice from Collective Soul. Dave Kushner has played with Danzig, Dave Navarro and Velvet Revolver. Myles Kennedy tours with Slash but is also lead vocalist of Alter Bridge.
Wait, there's someone missing. The head count shows only eight rockers... where is number nine? Two minutes later Joe Elliott strolls in. Tall, English-looking, feet-length leather jacket. The front man of multi-platinum Def Leppard. We look at the nine stars on stage. The room is starstruck. All of us. Every one.
The Kings of Chaos supergroup is in South Africa to play four concerts over the next week - two in Cape Town and two at Sun City. I interviewed them for 30 minutes live on the air, interspersed with questions from the audience: 20 listeners won the chance to be part of the experience. Most wore Appetite for Destruction t-shirts... the shirts looked as old as the album itself (26 years). One fan had a picture of Slash tattooed on his bicep.
Settings like this are unpredictable. Nine millionaire rockstars are hard enough to keep focused on a good day, nevermind fatigue after flying in from Los Angeles just the day before.
Some of the highlights included the following:
Matt Sorum was hungry. Very hungry. He asked twice for an omelette and eventually settled for a nearby-placed bowl of fruit.
Joe Elliott, when asked what the story was behind his Def Leppard hit-ballad Two Steps Behind, said he couldn't remember.
Dave Kushner tweeted a picture of Table Mountain and Cape Town Stadium during a jog the previous day. When asked if he enjoyed it he replied that he didn't remember the run or the views. He was too jetlagged at the time.
Slash was classic Slash. Sunglasses on. A knitted hat/beanie thing. A little distant and uninvolved. But incredibly cool. When asked which song he enjoyed playing most the answer was Paradise City, the Guns N' Roses smash hit from 1987's breakthrough album Appetite for Destruction.
Glenn Hughes was on top form. The oldest member of the line-up, Hughes looked great. He might be 61 but looked the part in tight jeans, blazer, purple sunglasses and rock 'n roll hair. During an off-air moment I briefed bassist Duff McKagan that I would be asking him about his new bestselling autobiography. Glenn leaned over and said to me "I have a book out too!".
There were only two taboo topics: don't ask if Guns N' Roses would ever reform... and only ask them about Axl Rose at your own peril.
The Cape Town shows are mostly sold out. I'm the MC at tonight's show in front of 7000 fans who've waited for more than 20 years for their first taste of the Guns N' Roses-inspired magic. No hipsters or trendy-nerds allowed. Tonight is pure red-blooded rock 'n roll only. See you in the snakepit!
Tweet me: @IanBredenkamp