TOMMY STINSON - "I Left The GUNS N' ROSES Camp Because I Had To..."

May 31, 2023, 5 months ago

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TOMMY STINSON - "I Left The GUNS N' ROSES Camp Because I Had To..."

Tommy Stinson has played with some of the biggest (Guns N' Roses) and most respected (the Replacements) bands throughout his long-and-winding career. And for his latest project, Cowboys In The Campfire, the bassist/guitarist/singer opted to strip it all down to a back-to-basics sound and approach.

Stinson spoke to AllMusic shortly before the release of Cowboys In The Campfire's debut Wronger, and chatted about his latest project, if a reunion with Paul Westerberg is a possibility, and his thoughts on Chinese Democracy. An excerpt follows...

AllMusic: Do you keep in contact with anyone from the Guns N’ Roses camp?

Stinson: "Yeah actually, funny enough - I got texts from Richard Fortus and Duff the other day. I left the Guns N' Roses camp because I had to - I had to get off the road at a particular time because of my little one. I couldn't leave her with the things that were going on. So, I left in a good way.

"Axl was pissed off at me, but I think all things said, after everything that transpired after that - him joining AC/DC for a while, and him getting the old band back together in a way - I think things worked out pretty good that I left, if you know what I'm saying. I hear from them every now and again. We stay in touch. I'm actually going to go with a buddy of mine to see them in Kansas City."

AllMusic: What are your thoughts on the Chinese Democracy album today?

Stinson: "Y'know... it seems to be a hot item right now. I wonder if it's bumped in sales. People talk to me about it a lot - outside of my Wronger/Cowboys In The Campfire thing, I'm getting a lot of chatter about it. It was a good record. I have nothing but solid feelings about it. What it did for me on a professional level is monumental - I'd never worked with a group of guys like that, where we're all from different places, different backgrounds, but we forged a record together in a particular way. I think we spent too much time on it, but I think ultimately, Axl producing it with the group of guys - like I said, who come from all different backgrounds - was a huge, monumental task. And I think it turned out really good for that.

"There's a little bit of each of us in every one of those songs - which is great. It could be overkill for some people, and for some G n' R fans, it's going to be like, 'What the fuck is this?' But to me - as an artist and musician guy - there's some really solid stuff on there. I think Axl got a lot out - there's a lot to that record, with him personally involved in it both lyrically and emotionally, that I think it gets understated. I think people really need to consider what a task that was. I think it's a great record for him... a great record for us."

AllMusic: Do you regret that not more music was released during your time with Guns N’ Roses?

Stinson: "No, not really. When you're dealing with something at that level... and Axl Rose is a particular character. I think he has a hard enough time just being Axl Rose - let alone being the 'the artist Axl Rose.' And I think sadly, that comes with a price. And when it's all up to you - Axl Rose, that is - I think it's hard to sit there and go, 'Oh, I want to make a new record. I've got these songs ideas, let's try this.' It's a whole different bunch of backgrounds and things that go into it. It's a hard bit. There's nothing easy about being him. It takes a lot of work to be in Guns N' Roses."

Read the full interview at

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