Atlas - Trackside with Axl Rose

Trackside with Axl Rose

He’s gone off-road – accidentally – in Dubai, and hangs out with Kimi Räikkönen. So who better to entertain the Yas Marina crowd than Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses?

November 2018

Abu Dhabi won’t be your first taste of a Formula 1 race – didn’t you attend the Brazilian GP in 2016?

We were in the middle of a tour of Brazil and Mercedes invited us to come and watch the São Paulo GP. We didn’t need much convincing. Myself and Slash are total petrol heads.

Do you remember who won?

Of course I do – Lewis Hamilton won it. He’s done some great things in the sport and he’s one to watch in Abu Dhabi.

So you’re a real F1 fan then?

Totally – I have so much respect for those guys and what they do. I love watching it – I’ve been to the Brazilian, Malaysian, and British Grands Prix and now we’re all looking forward to Abu Dhabi.

Have you ever played in the region before?

We played in Dubai last year and it will be one of those performances that I will always remember. The crowd had so much energy – they were amazing – but it was the journey to the stadium that really sticks with me. There was an accident so we were stuck in traffic that literally wasn’t moving. The driver went off road and we got stuck in the sand – so we had the full proper UAE desert experience.

You have a long-standing friendship with a former F1 Champion, Kimi Räikkönen. Can you tell us more about him?

We’ve known each other a lot of years now. I think it was in 2006 when he invited me to be his guest at the British Grand Prix. He’s a great guy, a great driver, and we always have a lot of fun when we hang out.

GNR has been headlining and playing stadiums all over the world for over 30 years now – and you’re considered to be one of the greatest frontmen ever. But who do you think deserves that accolade?

For me, it’s easy – Queen is the greatest band and Freddie [Mercury] is the greatest frontman of all time. The band are the greatest because they embraced so many different styles.

You have been playing live for so long.Is there anywhere left you haven’t played?

We’ve toured the world a few times over, but there are always places where we still haven’t performed. We played Iceland for the first time this year and we’re playing Hawaii for the first time this December – there are always places left to go.

Out of all the cities you have played in across the world, which is your favourite?

New York will always be special for me. When we were in LA we were playing the Hollywood club scene, but New York is where we wanted to be. We have done so many performances there over the years – the city holds a lot of memories.

Talk to us about Vegas. You’ve had some epic shows there, including one where you were wheeled out in a wheelchair after breaking your foot…

Vegas is a cool place. In the years when people thought I wasn’t doing much, I spent a lot of time in Vegas. Not partying or gambling – just walking around at night people watching. We have played a lot there – we had a residency there. I’m sure we’ll be back.

After all this time, all these performances, how do you all keep performing with so much energy?

We all want to do the best we can for the fans – they come wanting a big performance and that is what we want to give them. We all push each other to go further in terms of our performance and commitment. It doesn’t matter how many performances you do, every crowd is different and you feed off that.

You’ve mentioned before that you would like to write music for film. Is that something that still interests you?

Listening to movie soundtracks is a big thing for me. When you listen to stuff like Pirates Of The Caribbean and you get that blend of orchestra and modern instrumentation – it’s very clever. I have a lot of respect for the guys who do that. It is something that I would like to do at some point in the future.