|A spokesperson for Guns N' Roses confirms that noted producer Roy Thomas Baker is currently in the studio with Axl Rose.
Baker has only just met the singer, the spokesperson cautioned, and at this stage, he is only supplying additional production which may or may not make it onto the next GN'R album.
This also does not mean the band plans to hand over production duties to Baker, as GN'R manager Doug Goldstein told MTV News that Sean Beavan is still on the job.
Mike Clink, Moby, Youth, and finally Beavan have all been names attached to the project to date, but Beavan, on board since early 1999, has been the only one who has logged any serious time.
"He's been the only producer," Goldstein told MTV News. "The others were people we met with or tried out on some tracks [with]. With Moby, we just had a meeting with him. Axl tried out Youth; he was great, he just wasn't the guy."
Best known for his production work with Queen, Baker follows in the wake of guest guitar tracks that Queen guitarist Brian May recorded for GN'R with Beavan last Christmas.
Baker's other production and engineering credits include classic material from the likes of The Cars, Journey, Foreigner, T-Rex, Devo, Be-Bop Deluxe, and Cheap Trick.
The new GN'R album, underway for much of the past decade, still has no projected completion date.
Meanwhile Buckethead, Rose's most recent guitar cohort, is currently concentrating on his other projects.
The guitarist performed live in Santa Barbara and at L.A.'s Troubadour last weekend with The Hook And Pull Gang, a band fronted by Maximum Bob, who also plays with Buckethead in The Deli Creeps.
Buckethead also played a solo show in New York Thursday night at the Electric Church. He had originally been scheduled to appear with Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell, but Worrell failed to appear.
As expected, the reclusive Rose did not attend the any of the shows.
Goldstein declined to comment on Rose's reaction to a recent story in "Rolling Stone" magazine which paints the singer as a somewhat eccentric individual, to say the least. According to the piece, Rose's life is dictated by a spiritual adviser named Yoda who determines if the people around the singer have appropriate auras, and who even had a say in the venues booked by GN'R when the band was on the road.
-- Sorelle Saidman