Lenny Kravitz is ready to celebrate Guns N’ Roses’ reunion and upcoming tour this summer, and he’ll have a front-row seat. Kravitz, along with Alice In Chains, has been announced as an opening act for the reunited rock group for four of their dates on their Not In This Lifetime tour in July. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lenny Kravitz said he knows it’s unusual for him to be an opening act, especially for a band like G N’ R.
“I don’t normally do gigs like this,” Kravitz told Rolling Stone. “But sometimes you’ve got to do things for the fun of it, for the experience. I’m looking forward to playing with them and celebrating them coming back together.”
Lenny Kravitz is an old friend of the Guns N’ Roses bandmates, and he actually attended Beverly Hills High School back in the ’80s with Slash, the band’s guitarist. Lenny and the G N’ R guitarist have also collaborated on music together several times in the past.
“I went to high school with Slash,” Lenny said. “I’ve known Axl, Slash, and Duff from the beginning. We all came up together, and we worked together. I wrote ‘Always on the Run’ with Slash and he played on ‘Fields of Joy,’ both on my Mama Said album.”
While he jammed with Slash at a tribute for boxing legend Muhammad Ali a few years ago, it has been nearly 25 years since Lenny Kravitz has joined the entire G N’ R band onstage. In 1992, he teamed up with the rockers to perform the song “Always on the Run” at their Paris stadium concert. At the time, Kravitz said the rest of the hard rock band initially thought the song was “too quirky for them,” but he and Slash arranged it with a riff that “ended up being a really great blend of rock & roll and funk.” You can see a video of the performance below.
In an interview posted on Radio.com, Slash talked about how he came to collaborate on “Always On the Run” with Lenny Kravitz. After running into each other at an awards function, Kravitz invited Slash to his recording studio to help him work on his second album. Slash began to play around with a riff that he had been working on — a riff that was “way too funky” for Guns N’ Roses — and Lenny asked him if he could use it. A few months later they met up in Hoboken, New Jersey, to record “Always on the Run.” But the Sunday recording session was prefaced by the two musicians knocking on strangers’ doors to round up some alcohol so Slash, who was then a serious alcoholic, could get through the session.
As for the upcoming shows as Guns N’ Roses’ opening act, Lenny Kravitz plans to fill his set with songs that are more on the rock ‘n’ roll side of his catalog. But fans should also expect some surprises.
“We’re definitely going to jam and improvise and get loose, and treat it like a festival,” Lenny said. “Summertime always makes me think of festivals like the Isle of Wight, when Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix played. I love the summer, outdoor concert vibe, so we’ll rock out and improvise and go deep and get psychedelic and out there.”
Lenny Kravitz will open for Guns N’ Roses at their shows in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on July 19-20, as well as the East Rutherford, New Jersey, gigs July 23- 24.
[Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images]