Axl Rose's first television interview in years aired on VH1's "That Metal Show" on Friday, and the Guns N' Roses frontman did not disappoint. The lengthy discussion with Eddie Trunk touched on the band's U.S. tour, its post-"Chinese Democracy" recording plans and collaborating with former members.
"The band's starting to fire on the right cylinders," Rose, appearing in a black top hat and dark glasses, said of the group's current U.S. tour. "We're having fun together as a band."
The rocker said the band's audiences have calmed down a bit since their early shows on the Sunset Strip.
"Back in the early days, our crowds were much more violent and rowdy," he explained. "There was also a sense of fighting for the songs as our songs and how we're putting them out there. I'm watching the people last night, it's also their songs and their memories and I really want to put as much into it as I can for them."
Beyond hits such as "November Rain" and "Welcome to the Jungle," the band's three-hour sets have also been heavy on the music of "Chinese Democracy," the long-delayed album some fans feared would never be released. Asked about new material, Rose stopped short of promising a sequel.
"We're working with new management," he said. "[We'll] be figuring out what we're doing with the label and feeling things out in the U.S. as we're going across the country."
Guns N' Roses are also in the running for the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, a moment that might reunite the group's original lineup. Rose is the last remaining member of the founding quintet.
"I don't know what it means in terms of me with the old band and the old lineup," he said. "If we were to be invited, I don't know what they would ask of me. It's up in the air."
One former Guns member has already reunited with the group: Duff McKagan, who joined the band for a UK show.
"Duff was in the hallway and then I invited him to the show, and then Tommy [Stinson] handed him a bass… It was fun, we had a good time," Rose said. "We're going to do some more shows with Duff."
He added that he's also been in touch with former rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. Slash, the band's former lead guitarist, told Billboard.com earlier this year that he hadn't yet spoken with his former bandmates about the possible honor.
In the meantime, though, Rose is just trying to keep his voice up to par -- and get to the stage at a reasonable hour.
"I do a lot of cardio when I can, or when I can force myself to," he said of his performance preparation, turning to address recent criticism of the band's late-night set times.
"A lot of that [criticism] goes way way back to '91, when we were super-late on stage. I should not have been on tour… The big thing was that the crew was having trouble and they weren't getting enough sleep, and I started figuring out a way to get there sooner," Rose said.
"I lived right behind my school and I couldn't get to my class on time in grade school," he added, laughing.