Guns N’ Roses is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1985, the group originally featured vocalist Axl Rose, guitarists Tracii Guns and Izzy Stradlin, bassist Ole Beich and Rob Gardner, although Guns, Beich and Gardner were quickly replaced by Slash, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler, respectively. This lineup released the band’s most critically and commercially successful album, Appetite for Destruction, in 1987, followed by the acoustic album G N’ R Lies in 1988. On July 11, 1990, Adler was fired due to drug addiction.
Also in 1990, keyboardist Dizzy Reed was added to the group. Adler was replaced by former The Cult drummer Matt Sorum, who was initially only brought in to perform on new studio recordings (it was planned that Adler would continue to perform at live shows). The new lineup with Sorum and Reed recorded two albums for release in 1991: Use Your Illusion I and II. However, just a few dates into the Use Your Illusion Tour in November 1991, Stradlin left the group and was replaced by Gilby Clarke, formerly of Kill for Thrills.
The band’s show on July 17, 1993 was the last at which all members except Rose and Reed would perform as members of Guns N’ Roses. After not being involved in the recording of the cover version of “Sympathy for the Devil” in 1994, Clarke’s involvement with the band ended. He was replaced by Paul “Huge” Tobias. Slash left the band in October 1996, reportedly due to disagreements with Rose and issues with lineup changes. He was followed in 1997 by McKagan, who left, and Sorum, who was fired, leaving only Rose, Reed and Tobias.
In 1997, Slash was replaced by Robin Finck and Sorum was replaced by Josh Freese, while Tommy Stinson was brought in as McKagan’s replacement the following year. Chris Pitman also joined as second keyboardist. In early 1998, the new lineup of the band began recording Chinese Democracy. Finck left in 1999 to return to Nine Inch Nails. His replacement was Buckethead, who joined the following year, while Freese was also replaced by Bryan “Brain” Mantia. Finck later returned to the band alongside Buckethead, while third guitarist Tobias was replaced in 2002 by Richard Fortus. In 2004, Buckethead left the band.
Buckethead was replaced in 2006 with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, while in the same year Frank Ferrer was brought in to replace Mantia. 15 years after the last studio album, Chinese Democracy was released in November 2008, featuring contributions from most band members since 1997. Shortly before its release, Finck left to rejoin Nine Inch Nails again; almost a year later, he was replaced by DJ Ashba. This lineup remained stable until after the Appetite for Democracy tour, when Thal, Ashba, Stinson and Pitman left the group. Both Slash and Duff McKagan returned to the band in 2016. Keyboardist Melissa Reese joined the band in 2016, replacing Chris Pitman.