LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The handful of optimistic Guns N' Roses fans still holding out for a reunion of the band's classic lineup can probably call it a day.
In a newly published interview, singer Axl Rose describes former bandmate Slash as "a cancer," elevating his distaste for the top-hatted guitarist to a new level.
Rose is the only original member left in Guns N' Roses, whose first studio album in 17 years, "Chinese Democracy," bombed badly last November. Slash quit the band in the mid-1990s, with both sides offering different reasons.
The mercurial singer barely promoted "Chinese Democracy," and has given just a handful of interviews.
In his latest public interface, published on Friday at AOL Music's spinner.com Web site, Rose sat down for a friendly interview with his pal, songwriter Del James.
The duo sidestepped the commercial failure of "Chinese Democracy," and the topic of a reunion inevitably came up. Rose said it was "highly doubtful for us to have more than one of the alumni up with us at any given time."
"I suppose (former bass player) Duff (McKagan) could play guitar on something somewhere but there's zero possibility of me having anything to do with Slash," Rose said.
"In a nutshell, personally I consider him a cancer and better removed, avoided -- and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters the better."
Rose was not even a fan of Slash's guitar playing, claiming he has lost his edge and seems to be more passionate about being "a whore for the limelight."
As for the other former bandmates, Rose said rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin's recent guest turns on stage with the band were fun, but that his old Indiana buddy was not the most reliable collaborator.
And drummer Steven Adler, who was fired in 1990 for excessive drug abuse, brings "assorted ambulance-chasing attorneys ... One gig or even a couple songs could mean years of behind-the-scenes legal aftermath." The drummer, who successfully sued the band for royalties, was recently seen on the VH1 reality shows "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "Sober House."
(Editing by Jill Serjeant)