Erin Marsz once met Guns N’ Roses in an elevator. During a family stay in a hotel when she was a kid, a fire alarm pulled by perturbed Guns N’ Roses fans after a cancelled show led to a brief evacuation. “We come back into the building, and we get into the elevator. As the door is closing, these guys had walked out of the bar in the main lobby of the hotel. This one guy sticks his arm into the elevator, and he turns to his friend and says “welcoooome to my offiiiice.” It was Slash, and Axl stumbled in with him. He tapped into me.” It was a moment of awe for a girl who had been secretly listening to the band at her friend’s house and felt nothing but shock and fascination with how many dirty words and devilish phrases the band could utter in a song. All grown up, Marsz has found a way to utilize her musical training and admiration of the legendary band and Governors Ball headliners–she started an all-female Guns N’ Roses tribute band.
From a party joke to reality, Guns N’ Hoses brought together a group of friends and frontwomen who love “making out, brown liquor, short skirts, and dirty jokes,” as their Facebook page proudly declares. The band is comprised of Marsz (Axl Hose), Charlene Kaye (Gash), Mia Swier (Muff McKagan), Emmy Wildwood (Lizzy Stradlin), and Gina Ilasi (Stephanie Adler) who tote the tagline “Welcome to the Vajungle” and consistently promise to turn every show into a veritable ’80s hair metal party. They also take the art of rock ‘n’ roll as seriously as possible–Kaye locked herself in her room during Hurricane Irene in 2011 to master Slash’s intricate solos, and Marsz has seen her range broaden dramatically while preparing her voice even though she’s an operatically trained singer. “I think metal is hard to play. I don’t think it’s easy,” says Marsz. “I feel sometimes people don’t realize that. We work really hard for the musicianship to be there. That’s number one. Number two is definitely good showmanship. It’s a show. We want to have fun.”
On and off stage, the Hoses have become true experts on what it takes and what it means to perform as Guns N’ Roses. Having been the surprise final announcement for Governors Ball, G N’ R–more specifically Axl, who is the last standing of the original line-up–have a lot of pressure from fans and haters alike. We let Marsz (Axl Hose) and Kaye (Gash) serve as the leading predictors of how to prepare and what to expect from Axl Rose & Co. this weekend on Randall’s Island.
Axl Hose: I watched a lot of [Guns N’ Roses performances]. I danced in mirrors a lot. I put on the bandana. I put on my whole outfit. I walk around like I have fucking three million dollars in the bank, and I don’t fucking give a shit about anything. I just like own the place. That’s how I prepare. The music part is I’m actually backstage warming up and stuff, BUT that is not what Axl Hose does. Axl Hose is in the back drinking Jack Daniels, sexting, posing in the mirror, putting on more eyeliner, doing some push-ups, making sure I’m looking hot, get out there and fucking kick ass!
Gash: I usually rat and curl my hair and have it in my face. I wear a top hat. We all wear leather and chains. Sometimes I have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.
I feel like people are just going to show up late knowing maybe Axl’s going to be late. And I think that once he feels like he’s going to do it, he’s going to fucking do it. He’s going to melt faces, and people are going to cry. They’re going to throw up and cry and laugh and love him. Then they’re going to walk away and be like “Wow, I saw that.” So that’s one way that can go. The other scenario is that they’re going to look at who else is on stage and maybe be a little bit confused. I think the current lineup is good. I feel like it’s going to be great. It’s going to melt faces. It’s not the ’80s anymore. It’s different. He’s got something else. He still has that something.
There was something so kinetic about the relationship between Axl and Slash, and I think that’s what people love when they come see our band because when we interact on stage it’s something, like, almost anachronistic. I really think it was the combination of those two, their talent [and] energy that made that band so unique. Definitely the dynamics between those two will be missed. Beyond that, Slash is just one of a kind. There’s no mistaking that talent or that style of playing. Beyond how he sounds, he has such a distinct personality and energy on stage. He’s so fearless and not afraid to be himself.
Axl Hose: I feel like my advice to him would be: bring it back like you did, man. Come out with that energy and remember there are so many people who are rooting for you and love you so hard and will be drooling and crying the minute he hits the stage. Do it like you love it because you do love it. That’s the only reason you get into in the beginning and that’s because you fucking love it.
Gash: Just please don’t assault your audience members! I think that would be my biggest piece of advice. I hope that they’re on time and nobody gets hurt.
Catch the ladies of Guns N’ Hoses at Pianos NYC on June 21 and The Rock Shop Brooklyn on June 28. And of course, catch Guns N’ Roses at Governors Ball this weekend during the Saturday night headlining spot.