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Axl Rose gives rare interview to Jimmy Kimmel: Recap - 12 things we learned

10/25/2012 by Corinne Heller

Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose, one of rock's most notorious "bad boys," recently gave his first network TV interview in about 20 years, chatting with Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night ABC talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!."

Viewers got a taste of a kinder, gentler Rose, known for largely avoiding the press despite a rare appearance on VH1's "The Metal Show" in November. On "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," he talked politics, answered questions about his past hairstyle, explained what makes him feel like an idiot, poked fun at his himself with regard to his tardiness at his own concerts.

The notoriously reclusive singer also signaled that he has had a lot more fun during recent years with his band - which features mostly new musicians following years of bickering and has not yet enjoyed the same level of popularity that it did in the 1980s and 1990s.

Check out 12 things viewers learned about Axl Rose from his interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," which aired on Wedneday, October 24.

1. Axl Rose's late-night attire - rock star chic, with a Hulk Hogan twist.

During his interview with Kimmel, Rose kept his shoulder-length strawberry blond-hair neatly brushed and donned a vertically-striped white dress shirt with sleeves folded over a black cordoroy jacket, multiple rings, braclets and necklaces, including a crucifix, a black hat with shiny studded band and leather boots. And a horseshoe mustache.

2. Why did he do the interview? Simple answer.

"I was asked to and you wanted me to come here," Rose told Kimmel.

3. He DOES use Twitter.

He initially joked about Guns N' Roses' Twitter account, saying "We have one of those?" but when asked if he is involved in the Tweeting, he told Kimmel: "Sometimes, yes I am."

4. Don't expect Axl Rose to vote in this election - but he does have a political opinion.

Kimmel read to Rose several questions from fans on Twitter. One of them, rabott, asked: "Who r ya gonna vote for?"

"I haven't really voted," Rose said. "Well, I'm in California, and it usually means Democratic and that's usually where I'm leaning anyway. It's not like, 'Let them do it,' it's usually going, for the presidential stuff, it's usually such a landslide anyway."

"This would make a great 'Rock the Vote' commercial right here," Kimmel joked.

"I'm not helping. But I would lean Democratic, I would lean Obama," Rose said, adding: "I was afraid of that question."

5. And here's your obligatory "Oh, snap!" moment.

Another Twitter user, Maggiemae, asking: "Hey Axl if you could go back and re-do a year which year would you pick??"

"Hmmm. It'd be somewhere within the last five or six," Rose said, adding: "I kind of have a little more fun now."

Guns N' Roses rose to fame in the 1980s with hit commercial singles such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine," and later, power ballads "November Rain" and "Don't Cry." Guitarist Slash and other members later left amid a feud with Rose. About 15 years later, in April, he declined an invitation to join his former band mates when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Six years ago, Rose was already been performing and recording with the new Guns N' Roses musicians and the band was also working on several tracks for the album "Chinese Democracy," which was released in 2008. At least 1 million copies have been sold in the United States.

By comparison, at least 18 million copies of the 1987 album "Appetite For Destruction" have been sold, while the 1991 record "Use Your Illusion" - parts I and II - sold 7 million copies each.

The group continues to record music and tour. Guns N' Roses is set to begin a 12-date residency at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on October 31.

During his interview with Kimmel, Rose introduced the current band members, which includes one other musician from the old lineup - keyboardist Dizzy Reed. The others are guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, DJ Ashba and Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Chris Pitman.

"And of those guys, which one is going to be the first to go?" Kimmel asked jokingly.

"Probably Pitman," Rose said, smiling.

6. Guns N' Roses is working on its punctuality problem.

Rose and his band have a reputation for being late to their own concerts. In some instances, they never even showed up.

In 2002, the "new" Guns N' Roses began a North American tour - the band's first since 1993 - but Rose was a no-show at the opening concert in Vancouver, which sparked a riot. A similar incident and result occurred at a Philadelphia gig and the rest of the dates of the tour, which was not as well as promoters had hoped, were canceled.

In 2010, Rose angered thousands of fans at a Guns N' Roses concert in Ireland by showing up nearly an hour late and then walking off the stage after several members of the crowd hurled bottles and other objects at the band.

During his "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" interview, Kimmel showed viewers an object he said Rose keeps hanging in his home - a framed photo of a quote by Oscar Wilde - "Punctuality is the thief of time," which is from the late author's 1891 novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

"What time will you guys go on and what time will you guys REALLY go on in Las Vegas?" Kimmel asked Rose, regarding the group's Hard Rock Hotel residency.

"We'll probably really go on about the time we're supposed to really gone on," Rose said, adding jokingly: "As soon as I find out what time that is. Or as soon as it's negotiated. But we've been doing a lot better lately [with punctuality]."

7. He feels stupid on stage when he doesn't have to sing.

Twitter user sean n jackie slater asked: "I always wondered why Axl always ran backstage all the time during a song."

"Well I don't like to stand out there during the [musicians'] solos," he told Kimmel. "I feel like an idiot just standing there to the side. So there's that. I'll change clothes and anything that needs to be taken care of, or whatever, figure out what we're doing [for] the next song."

8. He worked as a manager in a video store before Guns N' Roses became famous - and exercised nepotism.

Rose told Kimmel he moved to Los Angeles when he was about 19 years old and hitchhiked his way there. Before his band became famous, he played with other groups, including one with now-ex Guns N' Roses member Izzy Stradlin, and worked at the Hollywood store Tower Video, which is now closed.

"I became a manager for a very short amount of time," Rose said. "I let everybody have beers after work. I hired everybody else too I hired people from the old lineup, I hired all my other friends. We had a good time for a while."

9. His favorite music artists and musicians include Queen, Elton John and Neil Young.

Guns N' Roses recently performed with Neil Young at a charity event - the Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California.

"It was great to meet him. And then he came out and did a song with us, because I've always liked a song of his, 'Don't Let It Bring You Down,' and he agreed to sing it with us and then when he came out singing, he's just a powerhouse. It was just amazing," Rose said, adding: "Plus, he's just so the real deal and so strong."

Kimmel asked the singer who he liked listening to as a kid.

"Well my favorite band was Queen and Sweet and stuff like that, but I listened to The Beatles and the Stones and everybody that I can," Rose said. "I was raised on Elvis. Elton John was probably my favorite or one of my favorites, and as a band, it was Queen and Elton, and Bernie Taupin's lyrics are still my favorite lyrics."

In 1992, Guns N' Roses performed at a tribute concert for Queen singer Freddie Mercury, who died almost five months before. John joined Rose for a duet of the classic Queen anthem "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the iconic pop and rock singer also performed "November Rain" with Guns N' Roses at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.

10. He LOVES Halloween.

Coincidentally, Guns N' Roses will begin its Las Vegas residency on the day of the annual holiday. Rose told Kimmel: "[I] Love Halloween" and that he dresses in costume "sometimes."

"Once I was a giant ear of corn," he said. "Because we have a saying in Guns N' Roses - when somebody's going to get yelled at, they're going to get the corn. So one year, I was the corn."

11. ... and likes to mess with Trick or Treaters' parents.

Kimmel showed viewers a picture of an orange-colored decorated tree similar to a Christmas tree.

"This is one of the most evil things I've ever done. Because we have these Halloween parties and I decided, let's have a Halloween tree," Rose said. "So we did the tree, put the presents, families come with their little kids and the little kids stand there [mimics a child staring], and then I would go, 'Wow, you don't have a Halloween tree?' And they'd be like, 'No..' And then I would give them a present."

"And then their parents would call me for about three months - 'You son of a ...'" he joked. "It was just really fun to have the Halloween tree 'cause their little faces ... [gasps] and then they're pulling on their parents - 'Why do they have it?'"

12. Speaking of corn ...

Another Twitter user, Ah___b, had asked Rose if he regretted the cornrows he once sported. He was heavily mocked when he showed up with the hairstyle at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.

"No, no," Rose replied.

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