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  • Guns N' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus said in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is looking forward to recording a new studio album with the current lineup of the band, which now features three of the original five members. Fortus explained, "Everyone is excited about it. There's a really magical thing now with the band. It feels like a new band. It feels like the best version since I joined, and it's the most fun for me. There's so much excitement around it."

    • The last Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, featured just founding singer Axl Rose and a shifting cast of musicians. It came out in 2008 after taking 13 years to produce, and was considered a sales disappointment.
    • Original guitarist Slash, who is now back in the band, told us a while back that he left in 1996 partially because Axl was taking so long to get a new album going: "Something with Axl was very insecure and it just kept the band from sort of functioning properly. Although he was wanting to do things, I never to this day really understand exactly what he was getting at, and because it took so long to ever get anything done, I always attribute it to some sort of fear factor."
    • The current reunion tour, which also features founding bassist Duff McKagan, has grossed $230 million and counting since launching in April 2016.
    • Fortus, who joined the band in 2001, said, "It's bigger than anything I've ever experienced. Doing multiple nights at a stadium is a mindf**k. It's hard to get your head around that level of craziness. Fans are just so rabid for it."
    • There has been speculation over whether this version of Guns N' Roses will record new material at some point.
    AUDIO: SLASH ON AXL CAUSING GUNS N' ROSES DYSFUNCTION

  • Metallica frontman James Hetfield has slammed reality TV stars Kylie and Kendall Jenner for selling "vintage" T-shirts with the pair's faces superimposed over some of rock's biggest icons, including his band. The T-shirts were unveiled at the sisters' online shop late last month, and featured images of Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Notorious B.I.G. overlaid with Instagram shots of the model/reality star siblings.

    Asked by ET Canada about the shirts, Hetfield said, "I guess what they were thinking is, 'We can do whatever we want.' To me, it's disrespectful. We've spent 36 years working hard, doing our best to keep a really close connection with people, make every note count, and someone just throws something up over something that we feel… Not that it's sacred or anything, but show some respect."

    • Hetfield told us a while back that Metallica prides itself on the connection between the band and its fans: "You know, when I see three generations out in the crowd, and they're all three singing, like, 'Master Of Puppets,' it's like, 'Really? You guys really like this? Okay.' I've got to believe them at some point (laughs). But it still blows my mind to go out there and, no matter what country you're in, they are trying hard to sing along with it, and they just want to be a part of, man."
    • The shirts. which were being sold for $125 each and featured the logo "Repurposed in the USA," did not go over well with others either. Voletta Wallace, mother of the late Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. She slammed the girls on Instagram, calling the shirts "disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!"
    • The Jenners quickly withdrew the shirts from sale, explaining in a statement, "These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists."
    • Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's wife and manager, also made it clear that she and her husband were not pleased with the shirts, saying on Twitter, "Girls, you haven't earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know…lip gloss."
    • Sharon later said on her program The Talk that the Jenners created the line of shirts "for press, like they do everything . . . they know exactly what they're doing. They're not kids. They were brought up in this industry."
    AUDIO: METALLICA'S JAMES HETFIELD ON FAN LOYALTY

  • The surviving members of Linkin Park posted an open letter online on Monday (July 24th) to the band's late singer, Chester Bennington, who was found dead last Thursday (July 20th) after hanging himself at his Los Angeles home. The letter read in full:

    "Dear Chester,

    "Our hearts are broken. The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened.

    "You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we've seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world. Talinda and the family appreciate it, and want the world to know that you were the best husband, son, and father; the family will never be whole without you.

    "Talking with you about the years ahead together, your excitement was infectious. Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled — a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing. We're trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.

    "Our love for making and performing music is inextinguishable. While we don't know what path our future may take, we know that each of our lives was made better by you. Thank you for that gift. We love you, and miss you so much.

    "Until we see you again, LP."

    • Bennington was found dead in his home in Palos Verdes by one of his employees shortly before 9:00 a.m. last Thursday. A Los Angeles County coroner confirmed that the cause of death was "suicide by hanging."
    • A half-full bottle of alcohol was found in the room, but it was reportedly not near the body.
    • Linkin Park canceled plans for a North American tour and the band's future at the moment remains unclear, while fans and musicians worldwide reacted to the death of the singer.
    • Bennington told us a few years back that he and the rest of Linkin Park were always willing to work hard for the band's success: "Any success story that you've ever heard about is the willingness to just put everything you have into it. And that's something that, I think, this band has been blessed with. There's six people in this band and to find that many guys that can get along creatively and write songs together and tour together and play and accomplish the things we've done without any problems, you know, is something pretty special."
    • But Bennington had been candid about mental health battles in numerous interviews over the years, saying he grappled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse.
    • Linkin Park released its seventh studio album, One More Light, in May. It debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 album chart.
    AUDIO: CHESTER BENNINGTON ON LINKIN PARK SACRIFICING FOR SUCCESS

  • Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor met with a terminally ill fan of the band named Paula this past weekend at the FYF Fest in Los Angeles on Sunday (July 23rd). A GoFundMe campaign was launched last month to raise funds so that Paula could attend the concert. The campaign's mission statement read in part, "Paula (most commonly known as Peedro Paula in the NINiverse) has been given a prognosis of 6-12 months to live. We would love for her to be able to see her favorite band, Nine Inch Nails, one last time!"

    Donations from the campaign, which met its goal, covered the cost of the ticket, airfare, hotel, transportation, food and spending money while Paula was in Los Angeles, and while at the show she also had the opportunity to meet with Reznor.

    • Nine Inch Nails released an EP titled Add Violence last Friday (July 21st). The five-track project was the second installment in the band's three-part EP series. The first, Not The Actual Events, arrived last December.
    • The third is yet to be titled but is expected to arrive by the end of the year. Reznor has said that all three EPs will connect to tell one story.
    • The last full-length NIN album, Hesitation Marks, came out in 2013.
    • Nine Inch Nails began a string of live shows last week with a warm-up gig in Bakersfield, California on July 21st, followed two days later by the FYF Fest. Other concerts are scheduled throughout the summer and fall.

  • Passion Pit frontman and founder Michael Angelakos has revealed that he's taking a hiatus from music to concentrate on the issue of mental illness, in terms of both his own ongoing struggle with it and raising awareness. Angelakos has been open for years about his own battle, saying in a series of tweets on Sunday (July 23rd), "Until it is safer and healthier for us to be advocates, to be . . . writers, producers, and performers, I simply cannot continue making music."

    Angelakos added, "You're either committed to it or not. To raise awareness one moment and announce a show the next doesn't help me. It hurts me. And others."

  • Angelakos also said that treating and living with something like bipolar disorder -- which he has -- is much more complicated than people think.
  • He responded to one fan by saying he will "only release music if it is to benefit the work I am doing to improve the environment in which it is made."
  • Earlier this year, Angelakos launched an artist support network dubbed the Wishart Group, which has raised $250 million in funding to provide legal, educational and healthcare services to artists, with an emphasis on mental health.
  • He also posted an open letter online last March in which he discussed his continuing struggle with his disease, how being bullied and molested as a child impacted him, and how his disorder affected his music and his ability to perform and promote it.
  • Angelakos released half a dozen new songs online in early 2017 that were reportedly from a new album, although the rest of the LP has not surfaced.
  • The most recent Passion Pit LP, Kindred, arrived in 2015. The band scored a Top 10 Modern Rock hit in 2012 with the song "Take A Walk" from Gossamer.

REPORT: JOHNNY DEPP WANTS DESCRIPTION OF HIS 'PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES' STRICKEN FROM COURT RECORD

The battle between Johnny Depp and The Management Group continues. Now, Depp is demanding that his business mangers' allegations about his "psychological issues" and "compulsive spending disorder" be stricken from court records, according to a report in The Daily Mail. Court documents obtained by the publication reveal that Depp, 54, believes his former business managers are disclosing information in an effort to humiliate him. He claims that they are adding "irrelevant and improper" statements and "inflammatory material" to "viciously attack" him. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor filed a $25 million lawsuit in January accusing Robert and Joel Mandel of financial misconduct and fraud. He claims their negligence has resulted in $5.6 million in tax penalties and interest. The firm countersued, claiming he lived an extravagant lifestyle that included an $18 million yacht and monthly $30,000 wine tabs. Other extravagances included a $7,000 couch featured on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and $17,000 worth of Prada handbags and luggage. Last week, a judge ruled that Depp’s spending habits were irrelevant in the case. On Thursday, TMB went back to court with an amended cross-complaint that added more details of his spending, including an $18 million yacht, $200,000 per month on private plane fees and $500,000 in rental fees for his Hollywood memorabilia. In the court documents obtained by the Daily Mail, Depp is demanding that the judge amend their countersuit and strike 100 paragraphs of allegations and "irrelevant" details from the record.

NICOLAS CAGE'S KAZAKH FILM FESTIVAL PHOTO GOES VIRAL

Inconceivable actor Nicolas Cage posed for a photo opp in Kazakh costume at the 13th Eurasia International Film Festival, and man, was it a doozy. Cage was photographed wearing a traditional Kazakh coat and hat, usually donned by nomadic horsemen of the steppes, at the festival opener in Kazakhstan’s futuristic capital Astana. He was photographed standing next to the country’s first lady, Sara Nazarbayeva, who seemed blissfully unaware of his discomfort. The combination of the unusual attire and his inexplicably befuddled expression of silent suffering caused a minor tempest on social media. The 53-year-old didn’t seem miserable the entire time at the Eurasia International Film Festival, noticeably perking up while attending a children’s film competition and meeting with disabled children. The festival runs from July 22nd-July 28th.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

GAL GADOT COMFORTS CRYING FAN IN WONDER WOMAN COSTUME: Gal Gadot won a whole new batch of fans after footage of her comforting an overwhelmed fan emerged. The young girl was dressed in classic Wonder Woman gear (the cape and tiara), but became overwrought when faced with Gadot at the Comic-Con Justice League fan signing on Saturday. While it’s unclear why the girl was distressed, Gadot can be heard comforting the girl, while holding her hands and saying, "There's no reason to cry...we are together." In other inspiring Wonder Woman news, Warner Bros. confirmed at Comic-Con that there will indeed be a sequel to the blockbuster. LEONARDO DICAPRIO, KATE WINSLET AUCTION THEMSELVES OFF: A private dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will be up for grabs at this year’s Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala held on July 26th in St. Tropez, France. A lucky bidder will have an opportunity to dine with friends and former Titanic costars in the fall at the place of their choosing in New York City. Proceeds from the gala and auction will support the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which, since 2008, has made more than $80 million in grants to environmental causes. BACHELOR IN PARADISE STARS AMANDA STANTON & ROBBY HAYES SPARK DATING RUMORS: A new photo of Amanda Stanton and Robby Hayes holding hands is circulating, sparking speculation that the Bachelor in Paradise stars are a thing. Both were down in Mexico shooting the upcoming BIP season, and likely had plenty of opportunities to get to know each other better. Stanton finished forth on Ben Higgin’s Bachelor season and was briefly engaged to Josh Murray before calling it quits in December of 2016. Would you root for this pair? LENA DUNHAM SHUTS DOWN JACK ANTONOFF MARRIAGE RUMORS: Lena Dunham acted quickly in response to a marriage rumor she inadvertently started in an Instagram caption. On Monday, the Girls star shared a shot of herself modeling a dress made by her boyfriend Jack Antonoff’s sister, referring to Rachel as her "sister-in-law." Her followers immediately started asking whether she was secretly married. The 31-year-old commented: "I've called Rachel that for years. No ring." Dunham and Antonoff may not be official yet, but Dunham has spoken out about what their wedding would be like, telling PrideSource last summer: "Jack and I have talked about it and we've always said that when we get married we want our wedding party to just be our two sisters in tuxedos. Jack has a straight sister, I have a queer sister; they'd be our best men / women and we'll call it a day. That's our dream." ALEXA CHUNG POSES TOPLESS FOR LOVE: British model Alexa Chung is posing topless for Love magazine, along with models Ashley Graham and Doutzen Kroes. In the black-and-white photo, Patrick Demarchelier captures her in nothing more than a pair of simple dark jeans cinched with a jeweled belt. The arresting image comes a week after reports of Chung splitting from actor Alexander Skarsgard surfaced. TOM STURRIDGE EXITS 1984 ON A STRETCHER: The Broadway version of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 has claimed another victim. Theater-goers have reportedly been vomiting and fainting due to the intense nature of the show, and last week, Jennifer Lawrence was spied tossing her cookies in the lobby (her rep told reporters it was a stomach bug). Now, Tom Sturridge, one of the stars of the show, exited the show in need of medical attention. "Sturridge collapsed over the weekend onstage during a torture scene. It was wild. He was dehydrated and taken out on a stretcher," spy told The New York Post, adding, "Two ladies fainted in the audience." After the incident Sturridge returned to the show for the final two performances of the weekend, but co-stars Olivia Wilde and Reed Birney made sure there was plenty of water for him this time backstage.

ARIEL WINTER SHARES NEW BUTT TATTOO

Ariel Winter is almost as famous for her social media takedowns of trolls and body-shamers as she is for her role on Modern Family. The 19-year-old took to Snapchat to share a new tattoo written across her backside that seems to speak to her penchant for self-acceptance and baring all: "Love risks everything and asks for nothing." This tattoo joins several (at least 10) other tattoos on her body. One, a wedge of cheese on her finger, she got with her boyfriend Levi Meaden, who has a tattoo of a peanut butter jar on his finger. They call themselves "PB&C" for, you guessed it, peanut butter and cheese. She has another with Meaden as well: they each got half of a red heart last month. Discussing her love of tattoos with Entertainment Tonight in October of 2016, she said: "I love getting tattoos. I think it's a super fun way of expressing yourself. I only get tattoos that are really meaningful to me and I love it."

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