Billy Corgan Played Role In 90’s Legend Joining Guns N’ Roses

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Former Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson drummer Chris Vrenna discussed Axl Rose calling him to join Guns N’ Roses when Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan was putting him up on a hotel room in a new AL.com interview.

“Billy (Corgan) had put me up in a hotel in New York. And I had a message on my phone and it just said, ‘Hello this is Axl Rose I’m looking for Chris Vrenna.’ And I just kept hitting repeat on the voicemail over and over and I thought, ‘My God, it really is him.’

And he called because at that time Robin Finck, the guitar player from Nine Inch Nails had quite Nine Inch Nails and was playing in Cirque du Soleil. Slash is already out of the band, but Duff (McKagan, classic-era GNR bassist) was still there though. But (GNR) all came down to see Cirque du Soleil and I don’t know how they recognized Robin. And they waited after the show and tracked him down and he went and joined Guns N Roses. So, Robin was the new Slash. And the next person to leave (GNR) was Matt Sorum, the drummer, so that’s when I got the call.

Axl, I love that guy. His musical tastes were far more advanced than his fanbase’s. He loved Nine Inch Nails. He’s wearing the white SIN shirt in one of their videos that was one of our tour shirts. And he loved the Passengers (album ‘Original Soundtracks 1’) that U2 did (with Brian Eno). I got asked to go down and ended up sitting in and the next thing you know six or eight months later, I was still there.”

He also discussed how working with Billy Corgan influenced him becoming a teacher.

“That’s why I got into teaching, because I was lucky enough to have everything we just talked about, and worked with people like Flood the producer and be Billy Corgan’s MIDI programmer for six months and watch Billy work and become friends with Smashing Pumpkins.

And all the people I’ve gotten to work with along the way taught me things, and the way this industry propagates into the future, is it’s passed on from one to another.

You don’t go to college and hang out with Axl Rose or whatever.”