The Guns N’ Roses frontman lent his voice and likeness to Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? after a member of the production team suggested him during a meeting and he agreed to the request. The result was seen on the Boomerang cable network on Feb. 25.
“Mike Milo, the director of the episode, he just said, ‘How about Axl Rose?’” Chris Bailey told Rolling Stone. “He’s a huge Axl Rose fan. We were like, ‘Yeah, that would be great. Would he do it?’ He was like, ‘I don’t know. He did that Bugs Bunny thing. Maybe he’ll do this.’ Our executives said, ‘Great,’ and most importantly, Axl said yes. It was literally that simple.”
Rose is well-known for preferring to work at night, and asked if he could attend the recording studio at 11 p.m. Bailey was concerned he and his staff would be “wrecked” by that time of day so reached a compromise of 9 p.m. When Rose arrived he was “so professional and easy-going,” Bailey said. “He was just like, ‘Yeah, however you want to do it, man.’ That’s great because I like working with people and connecting with people. But in the back of your mind you’re like, ‘Wow, it’s Axl Rose.’”
He continued: “Usually when I work with actors for the first time, I’ll ask them if they want me to read the voices with them… the next question is, ‘Do you want me to do the voices or not do the voices?’ Some actors are distracted by it. And so Axl read his passage and then I jumped in with my best Shaggy and Scooby, and he busted up laughing. He must have laughed for 30 seconds. He was like, ‘Man, I was not expecting that.’ I was like, ‘Should I not do that?’ He was like, ‘No, no. It’s great. I just did not know that was coming.’”
Bailey was pleased to report that Rose closed the session in good spirits. “At the end of the recording, we ask people to make a bunch of silly noises for the episodes,” he said. “A simple one might be like, ‘Give me five seconds of walking a tightrope and you’re afraid to fall.’ Or I’ll go, ‘…the sound you make when you’re punched in the stomach or picking up a heavy object and throwing it.’ Some people are like, ‘You’re kidding me, right?’ But he was like, ‘I’m in!’ Whatever we asked for, he was like, ‘Great!’ … A bunch of people get self-conscious about making silly noises, but not him.”
The showrunner added that Rose didn’t ask for story approval, and wasn’t offered it either. “We always let the stars sign off on their likeness,” he said. “But there’s no real approval of story or anything like that. What [writer] Mike Ryan does is look into the personal lives of some of the guests we have on. That hooks our story up with an interest or something to make it more personal. We just read that Axl was into archeology and motorcycles. And so it was like, ‘Alright, let’s have some ancient Mayan ruins in the middle of the desert and some big Mudmen Scooby-Doo monsters in there that are trying to steal the gold.’”
Sadly, Rose didn’t sing for the show. “That would have been our holy grail, but no,” Bailey reported.”We would love to have had a song or original piece, but it wasn’t something that was worked out, for whatever reason.” But the vocalist “totally got” the idea behind the show, having grown up watching the original Scooby-Doo series. “He got all the jokes. He knew who they were. Somehow, it made sense to him that he was acquainted with Shaggy and Scooby and they bonded over their love of diner pie. Shaggy and Scooby were the only ones that could keep up with him. And in the episode, Axl carries around these tiny, little tasting forks and he has them for Shaggy and Scooby. It’s very silly, but they played together very nicely.”
Axl Rose in ‘Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?’