The 23 musicians who played in Guns N’ Roses

Few bands have had as many line-up changes as Guns N’ Roses. They have officially been a band since 1985, and there have been a total of 23 musicians who have been in and out of the band since then.

Most of us like to think about our appetite for destruction lineup of Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler as the “original” lineup, and he is often referred to as such. However, when the band became Guns N’ Roses, it was an amalgamation of two Los Angeles bands – LA Guns and Hollywood Rose.

Rose’s right-hand man at the time was guitarist Tracii Guns, and their names were combined to form the band name. Therefore, the “original” lineup actually consisted of Rose, Guns, Stradlin, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner. Beich didn’t last very long – some sources say he was only in the band for one or two sessions – but he was still part of their history, so he matters. McKagan, who had played in another Los Angeles band called Road Crew with Slash and Adler, was hired in place of Beich.

The band was scheduled to play a handful of gigs in 1985, and Guns and Gardner quit at the last minute. McKagan suggested they call Slash and Adler, and thus the lineup they became known for was born.

But it only lasted Appetite and its sequel, 1988 GN’R Lies. When they entered the studio to start working on the Illusion albums in 1990, things really started to fall apart. Throughout the 90s more and more members were fired or quit, and it got a bit chaotic in the second half of the decade until the early 2000s when they were working on Chinese democracy. The band basically had a revolving door of musicians in and out, with W. Axl Rose as the only original member throughout it all.

Slash and McKagan were the last members of the Appetite lineup to leave the band in 1996 and 1997, respectively, so when they reunited with Rose in 2016 for the highly anticipated Not in this life tour, it was the trio’s first time on stage together in 23 years.

And they are still together today.

Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about the 23 musicians who have been official members of Guns N’ Roses.

The 23 musicians who played in Guns N’ Roses

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