That Time Guns N’ Roses and Metallica Members Joined Forces in the Gak
No one covered hard rock and heavy metal's decade of decadence quite like RIP Magazine — and no one threw a party like the magazine's editor, Lonn Friend.
As a perfect case in point, watch the above footage from RIP's fourth-annual party, which took place Nov. 9, 1990, at the Palladium in Hollywood and featured a once-in-a-lifetime set from an all-star combo calling itself the Gak. Not the most dignified name, perhaps, but this was a band with an impressive pedigree, including members of some of the era's biggest and heaviest-hitting rock acts.
Onto the Palladium stage filed three members of Guns N' Roses — singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan — joined by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, frontman James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. Rounding out the impromptu septet: Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach.
As you can see from the footage, the Gak didn't have much material prepared. They ran through one cover song, performing the Nazareth classic "Hair of the Dog," and teamed up for renditions of material from their respective songbooks, playing GNR's "You're Crazy," Skid Row's "Piece of Me" and Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Whiplash" — the latter of which they tackled twice, once with Bach on vocals, then with Hatfield at the mic.
Messy as it might have been, the set proved a highlight from one of RIP's more legendary nights while unwittingly adding a capstone to the magazine's defining era. Though RIP continued to publish for some time, the rock landscape underwent some major changes in the ensuing years; at the magazine's next party, performers included Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
The Gak, of course, have never reunited. But this show did serve as a prelude of sorts to Metallica's stadium tour with Guns N' Roses in 1992 — a run of shows that sometimes made the chaos of the RIP party look tame by comparison.