Guns N’ Roses: The Story Behind Hard Skool
The story behind Guns N’ Roses new song ‘Hard Skool’ has been released on YouTube. Check it out below!
If you guys have been following Guns N’ Roses the past several years then you would know the one thing fans including me have been clamoring for has been new music. A few years ago a number of Guns N’ Roses songs from the Chinese Democracy era fell into the hands of one fan named Rick Dunsford who purchased a locker from smoeone who used to work for the band’s record label. In that locker were a number of demos fromthe early 2000’s. Those songs would find their way online resulting in that fan getting banned from future Guns N’ Roses concerts. One of those songs he allegedly had possession of was called Hard School, which the band finally released as a proper recording. Let’s explore the history of the song.
It is thought that the song Hard School actually dates back to the mid 90’s. During a September 1996 interview with Howard Stern bassist Duff McKagan revealed that at the time Guns N’ Roses were back in the studio working on a song for a new Jackie Chan movie.
Snippets of the song would leak ahead of Chinese Democracy coming out in 2008, During the time of it’s leak it was thought that the song’s name was “Checkmate.” with Axl Rose confirming in a fan chat in 2008 Checkmate is a bogus title. The working title is Jackie Chan” [htgth.com, December 12, 2008].. The full song wouldn’t leak until after the whole Dunsford locker story came out. At that time the name of the song’s name was Hard School. Some believe the lyrics may have been written about Slash as it’s likely it was written after he left the band, but the music seems to have been written in 1995 during the time Slash was still in Guns N’ Roses but was out on tour for his first Snakepit reocrd. In Sorum’s book he would recall working in the studio with Axl during that time and how things were deteriorating. Sorum would recall his frustration in the book saying how he would normally show up drunk to the studio resulting in Rose screaming at him over the phone about his work ethic. Sorum would write in his book
“I was just about to throw into the towel when Rick Rubin showed up
We had previously agreed that he would produce our next record, and he had been waiting a long time to hear what we had come up with. “OK, so let me hear what you guys got. . . . Where’s Slash?” I glanced at the others and then quickly said, “Uh, he’s not here right now.” We then played a couple of tracks. Axl had one track he wanted to use for a Jackie Chan movie, and Rick really seemed to like that one. He turned to Axl after listening to it, and said, “Do you have any lyrics or melody?” Axl gave him a surprised look. “No.” Rick scratched his head. The atmosphere was weird. “OK,” he said. Then he left. After the door swung shut behind him, Axl said, “I never wanna see that guy here again. He’s fired.”
Let’s talk about the Dunford connection
Strangely enough after the leak Guns N’ Roses were set to play mexico city in march of 2020 and a setlist that showed up online showed Hard School as an alternate song. Since then it’s been on every setlist as an alternate song but hasn’t been played live until recently.
Dunsford would recall to the Dwyer and Michaels show
About two and a half months ago, I drove to Virginia, and there was a storage locker that belonged to Tom Zutaut [former GN’R A&R Rep],” “He didn’t pay his bills or something and it was auctioned off. The individual that bought the locker, there was about 20 CDs in this locker of unreleased Guns N’ Roses music from around ’99 to 2000 or 2001.” Dunsford and several others fans raised $15,000 to purchase the music from the owner of the storage locker. When this news came out Guns N’ Roses management reached out to Rick offering him the money he paid for the locker in return for the music, but the agreement fell through. A number of songs from that very storage locker would leak and Dunsford was blamed for it by Guns N’ Roses management. Dunsford would add in the same interview
“I know the seller that I bought them from was continuing to sell to other individuals, and there was a massive leak. So pretty much, I’ve been blamed for this,.” As a result DUnsford would be banned from any future Guns N’ Roses shows after he was confronted by security at a show in Wichita Kansas afterbing denied entry into the venue.
“[The ban] is pretty much for the rest of my life, is what the head of security in that video was telling me,” he concluded. “They made it clear that if I am spotted at all, I will be arrested on the spot…I was supposed to go see them this Sunday.” Dunsford would maintain his innocence saying he wasn’t the one wh oleaked the tracks and i want to clarify that even though it was reported there were 20 cd’s worth of material and around 97 tracks they weren’t complete songs. Some had vocals, some were instrumental tracks, while others were isolated tracks like drum and guitar parts. It was also reported in January of 2020 that the band was possibly going to take legal action against Dunford while also blaming Tom Zutaut putting out a statement that read