Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Download Festival Booker Wants Classic Guns N' Roses

"Never Say "Never"

Download Festival booker Andy Copping says there is a handful of legendary bands he’d love to hand a headlining slot to but admits they are usually impossible to secure.

Copping did buck the trend and shock the music world last year by landing one of the bands on his list in AC/DC and insists he would "never say never" to any of the bands on his wish list as he believes the historic rock tradition of the festival site gives him a trump card.

He tells RockAAA, "some bands get big offers for festivals all the time. AC/DC - who we were fortunate to get and we were the first festival in the world in the past 10 years to get them - Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Classic Guns N’ Roses.

Guns N' Roses are an atom bomb waiting to go off. Axl is an enigma and does his own thing but if you book them then you know what you’re taking.

But I would like to book the old line-up of Axl, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and either Steven Alder or Matt Sorum – as close to the original classic-era line-up as possible.

The whole world has put offers in the past for that to happen and any festival worth their salt would try and get them.

I stuck my neck out to get Aerosmith last year while I was also told Faith No More would never play together again but I got them too. It is often the way we sell to the bands.

Of course the money we offer is a huge amount but another reason is the heritage of Download – the Donington Park site – means they look at it seriously.

I’d say never say never for any band."

Copping also says there are also no bands he wouldn’t book on account of personal reasons or for past misdemeanours as he stresses the Download Festival is all about the music the paying public want.

He says, “I struggle to tell you of any band who I wouldn’t book for Download. There are some bands I might not want to book one year as they have played the year before or if they have no real profile.

Some bands do play repeat years but that is only because their profile has been raised over the year and more people want to see them.

There are no bands I wouldn’t book and even Kid Rock (who pulled out in 2008 on the day of his scheduled set) I’d take as I think he should play.

I’ve spoken to him twice since and he has admitted he made an error in not playing as if he had played he’d have blown people away as he is great live.

Pennywise smashed up a dressing room but I’d book them again as you have to look forward.

And the guys from Jackass came for a show and did a few stupid things but again I’d still book that kind of thing for the festival.

Download is not about me. It is about the people who buy the tickets and I have to try and put on a strong enough festival to make people want to buy the tickets and come."

In addition to securing AC/DC to the bill last year Copping stunned the rock world by unveiling Aerosmith as third headliner which he laughs caused arguments in the music community with many doubting whether the whole band would play the festival.

He continues, "the beauty of signing Aerosmith was people were saying to me ‘You don’t have Aerosmith,’ while I was insisting I had.

An article in Classic Rock magazine had just come out saying Steven Tyler wasn’t in the band anymore and nobody believed I had the band with Tyler in it.

They were on-off, on-off and then on again but I was adamant when I made the deal that I would not commit to signing them to the festival unless I had a cast-iron assurance the band would play together.

I had the privilege of being in their dressing room prior to them going on stage and I saw Tyler and Joe Perry interacting with one another about how they were going to perform, which songs they wanted to play and when to play them.

Getting to watch these guys in the same room as me working out their show was mesmerising to watch and a privilege.”


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