Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Guns N' Roses

File this under ... Remember When?

What a bunch of freakin' junkies, huh?


The Most Infamous Article Ever Written

(Jeff Leeds, New York Times, March 6, 2005)

Axl Rose began work on Chinese Democracy in 1994, recording in fits and starts with an ever-changing roster of musicians, marching through at least three recording studios, four producers and a decade of music business turmoil. The singer, whose management said he could not be reached for comment for this article, went through turmoil of his own during that period, battling lawsuits and personal demons, retreating from the limelight only to be followed by gossip about his rumored interest in plastic surgery and "past-life regression" therapy.

Along the way, he has racked up more than $13 million in production costs, according to Geffen documents, ranking his unfinished masterpiece as probably the most expensive recording never released.

A cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," would be the last addition to the original band's catalog. Slash quit the band in 1996; the drummer Matt Sorum and the bassist Duff McKagan were the next to go. Of the founding members, that left just Mr. Rose.

But instead of starting something new, he chose to keep the band's name and repopulate it with new musicians. Geffen wasn't in much of a position to deny him. The label was on a cold streak and wagered that fans would still flock to the singer, even if a band had to be rebuilt around him.

Around the start of 1998 Mr. Rose moved the band that he had assembled to Rumbo Recorders, where Guns N' Roses had recorded parts for its blockbuster debut, "Appetite for Destruction." The crew turned the studio into a rock star's playground: tapestries, green and yellow lights, state-of-the-art computer equipment and as many as 60 guitars at the ready, according to people involved in the production. But Mr. Rose wasn't there for fun and games.

"What Axl wanted to do," one recording expert who was there recalls, "was to make the best record that had ever been made. It's an impossible task. You could go on infinitely, which is what they've done."

You can read the entire article here.

SOURCE: New York Times

Slash Talks About The Creative Process recently conducted an interview with VELVET REVOLVER/ex-GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow: Last night I was listening to "Libertad" and I noticed that your sound has really broadened out, as far as use of effects and orchestration. I wanted to know how that came about and why you've made those decisions.

Slash: Well, I haven't listened to the record too recently, but I didn't really use a lot more effects. I actually used a lot less. But the places where I do use them, you can definitely hear them. Because it's a pronounced, "I'm using this effect for this," as opposed to making it sort of like, a hint of it. On this record if I use an effect, you definitely hear it. But most of it is just really raw straight guitar. So that's really more of a contrast to the last record as far as what I equipment that I used. But I think the places and times that I wanted to use effects and why I felt comfortable doing it is that when we were making this record there was a lot less rush involved. And everybody was a lot more comfortable and relaxed making this record. So if there was a sound I was trying to get, I didn't have a problem sitting down and going, "Ok, this is what I want to use." It's a very creative environment. If I wanted to express something in a defined way, I felt very comfortable doing it. Speaking of the creative process, what exactly takes place in the studio? How does VELVET REVOLVER write their music?

Slash: We do everything in the writing process and preproduction. That's where everything happens for us. When we go into the studio it gets done really quickly. But when we go into writing — what happens is — we just go into a room and jam. Sometimes if I have an idea, or Duff has an idea, or whatever, we will bring that to the table and jam on it and start to put it together. We usually put a song together instrumentally in about a day. It's a fucking force of habit. When we were working with Rick Rubin he was telling us, "Why don't you take that idea, tape it and move on to the next one." And we tried doing that. But every time we start jamming, we end up having to jam from, "This is the beginning, then this is a verse, then this is a chorus." And then next thing you know, we've written a whole song. It's hard for us not to do that because we get inspired to complete the song. And so that's basically what we do. We just go in with like whoever has got an idea, work on it, and if it works, you know if everybody goes for it, then it gets finished that afternoon. Then Scott will hear it and he'll start writing lyrics for it if it works for him. And that's basically it. So it definitely is a group effort. Nobody is coming in with songs going, "Ok. The song goes this way, then this way and this way."

Slash: It happens. Very rarely. But sometimes there will be a song that's almost completely written musically, and we'll find that in jamming, if we find that there is no real reason to change it or there are no new ideas that come to make it any different, and that does happen from time to time, but not in the norm.

You can read the full interview here.

SOURCE: Blabbermouth

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guns N' Excuses

The Onion

Slash Worried About Hall of Fame Induction

Rocker Slash fears Guns N' Roses' potential induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 could be a debacle if the bandmates don't put aside their differences by then.

The "November Rain" hitmakers will become eligible for induction in 2010 - but guitarist former Slash fears a Van Halen-type mess.

The rocker and former Guns N' Roses stars Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum joined forces with Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar to pay tribute to Van Halen last year when the band themselves failed to show.

Eddie Van Halen was in rehab and frontman David Lee Roth refused to perform with his successor, Hagar.

And now Slash fears his old band's big night in two years time could become be another classic anti-climax.

He tells "I never even thought about it until we had to do that. Somebody asked me, 'Do you think you guys will be able to show up for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (induction ceremony) in five years?'

"I was like, 'Oh, I guess we're eligible.' It never dawned on me before then. If this comes up, I'd hope we'd be mature enough to get up and do that, but I have no idea."

Slash, McKagan and Sorum currently perform together in Velvet Revolver while Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose is famously estranged from his former bandmates.

SOURCE: Ireland Online

Nikki Sixx: "10 Songs Done For New Crue"

MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx has issued the following update:

"10 songs done for the new CRÜE album so far, I'm very proud of the songs. I think we're onto some of the better songs weve had in years... Time will tell, of course. A couple of song titles on the CRÜE album are called 'A Scar On Hollywood Blvd' and 'The Saints Of Los Angeles'. As it's been leaked out before, this is no suprise... but the album is called 'The Dirt' and lyrically follows the story of the MÖTLEY CRÜE bestseller 'The Dirt'."

"It's challenging and exciting to have to write the songs into time capsules spreading over years... I've written a lot of songs with Mick Mars [guitar], of course, along with James Micheal, Marti Frederiksen and DJ Ashba... The chemistry in the studio as we're writing is unbelievable. I look forward to leaking some to you all in the next few months..."

"I haven't gotten anything tattooed in years except 'Tag Here' on my toe.... I think it's time to step it up, I'm feeling the itch. Kat's [von D] gonna do one probably this weekend. I've been wanting to get 'Los Angeles' tattooed on me for ages, and then the other day I noticed Kat has it on her left shoulder. We both have had so much happen in our lives in this city, why not make it permanent? The band started it here, I've died here, had kids, married and divorced here.... my life is in 'Los Angeles'..."

"Proudly not smoking still and still sober seven years this July... Amazing the desicions you make when you think of others first.... and you get that by becoming selfless and that is a huge part of getting to the core of your issues."

"What a fucking great year... I can feel it in my bones."

SOURCE: Blabbermouth

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew

This show is awe-inspiring.
Its on VH1 on Thursday nights, and I suggest that you check it out.
Former UFC Champ Ricco Rodriguez and former American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra are a couple of my favorite characters, along with former porn star Mary Carey.
Its really, really, really great.

Axl: "My Dad F----- Me In The Ass"

(Originally published in Rolling Stone, April 2nd 1992, RS627)

RS: What's your earliest memory?

My earliest conscious memory was of a feeling that I'd been here before and that I had a toy gun in my hand. I knew it was a toy gun, and I didn't know how I knew. That was my first memory. But I've done regression therapy all the way back, just about to the point of conception. I kind of know what was going on then.

RS: Can you talk about what you've learned?

Just that ... my mom's pregnancy wasn't a welcome thing. My mom got a lot of problems out of it, and I was aware of those problems. That would tend to make you real fucking insecure about how the world felt about your ass. My real father was a pretty fucked-up individual. I didn't care too much for him when I was born. I didn't like the way he treated my mother. I didn't like the way he treated me before I was born. So when I came out, I was just wishing the motherfucker was dead.

RS: Talking about being conscious of things that happened before you were born might throw a few people.

I don't really care, because that's regression therapy, and if they've got a problem with it, they can go fuck themselves. It's major, and it's legit, and it all fits together in my life. Everything is stored in your mind. And part of you is aware from very early on and is storing information and reacting. Every time I realize I have a problem with something, and I can finally admit it to myself, then we go, "Okay, now what were the earliest stages?" and we start going back through it.

RS: What have you figured out?

I blacked out most of my childhood. I used to have severe nightmares when I was a child. We had bunk beds, and I'd roll out and put my teeth right through my bottom lip -- I'd be having some violent nightmare in my bed. I had these for years.

RS: Do you remember what the nightmares were about?

No, I only remember one dream. I dreamt I was a horse. You ever see those movies of wild mustangs running and how heavy that looks? I dreamt about that. I dreamt I was caught and then put in the movies. And in some really stupid movies. And it was totally against my will, and I could not handle it, and I freaked. I didn't understand the dream. Back then, I was like "I was a horse, they tried to put me in the movies!" You know, all I could think of at the time was Mr. Ed or Francis. But I always remembered that dream, and now I understand it real well. I didn't know what my nightmares were about. My parents had always said something really tragic and dark and ugly happened. They wouldn't say what happened--they always just freaked out whenever anything was mentioned about my real father. I wasn't told I had a real father until I was seventeen. My real father was my stepdad, as far as I knew. But I found some insurance papers, and then I found my mom's diploma, with the last name Rose. So I was never born Bill Bailey. I was born William Rose. I am W. Rose because William was an asshole.

RS: Your mother married your biological father when she was in high school?

Yeah. My mom's eyes actually turn black whenever it's brought up how terrible this person was. And what I found out in therapy is, my mother and him weren't getting along. And he kidnapped me, because someone wasn't watching me. I remember a needle. I remember getting a shot. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and watching something horrible happen to my mother when she came to ge me. I don't know all the details. But I've had the physical reactions of that happening to me. I've had problems in my legs and stuff from muscles being damaged then. And I buried it and was a man somehow, 'cause the only way to deal with it was bury the shit. I buried it then to survive -- I never accepted it. I got a lot of violent, abusive thoughts toward women out of watching my mom with this man. I was two years old, very impressionable, and saw this. I figured that's how you treat a woman. And I basically put thoughts together about how sex is power and sex leaves you powerless, and picked up a lot of distorted views that I've had to live my life with. No matter what I was trying to be, there was this other thing telling me how it was, because of what I'd seen. Homophobic? I think I've got a problem, if my dad fucked me in the ass when I was two. I think I've got a problem about it.

RS: Yeah, I would imagine so. What happened later?

After I was two, my mom remarried, and I was really upset by that. I thought I was the man in her life or something, because she got away from this man and now she was with me. You know, you're a baby.

RS: She was yours.

Yeah. And then she married someone else, and that bothered me. And this person basically tried to control me and discipline me because of the problems he'd had in his childhood. And then my mom had a daughter. And my stepfather molested her for about twenty years. And beat us. Beat me consistently. I thought these things were normal. I didn't know my sister was molested until last year. We've been working on putting our lives together ever since and supporting each other. Now my sister works with me. She's very happy, and it's so nice to see her happy and that we get along. My dad tried to keep us at odds. And he was very successful at some points in our lives.

RS: Where is your real father?

His brother called me right around the Stones shows, and I had my brother talk to him. I didn't talk to him, 'cause I needed to keep that separation. I haven't heard from him since. But I confronted my mom, and she finally talked to me a bit about it, and they told me that he was dead. It looks pretty much to be true that he is. He was pretty much headed for that anyway. A very unsavory character. I've had a problem with not wanting to be him. I had to be macho. I couldn't allow myself to be a real man, because men were evil, and I didn't want to be like my father. Around the Stones shows, some paper in L.A. wrote this piece about how "The truth will come out about Axl's anger," and they were making it look like I was trying to hide something. I wasn't trying to hide it. I didn't know what had happened to me. I wouldn't allow myself to know. I wouldn't have been able to handle it.

RS: How do you deal with knowing now?

It's not about going, "Well, I can handle it, I'm a man." And it's not about going, "Well, I forgive them now." You have to reexperience it and mourn what happened to you and grieve for yourself and nurture yourself and put yourself all back together. And it's a very strange, long chain. Because you find out your mother and father had their problems, and their mother and father had problems, and it goes back through the ages.

RS: How do you stop the cycle?

I don't know. It's finding some way to break the chain. I'm trying to fix myself and turn around and help others. You can't really save anyone. You can support them, but they have to save themselves. You know, you can live your life the way you have and just accept it, or you can try to change it. My life still has its extremes and ups and downs, but it is a lot better because of this work. I'm very interested in getting involved with child-abuse organizations. There's different methods of working with children, and I want to support the ones that I believe in.

RS: Have you talked to anyone yet?

I've gone to one child-abuse center. When I went, the woman said that there was a little boy who wasn't able to accept things that had happened to him and to deal with it, no matter how many children were around him who'd had the same problems. And apparently he saw something about me and childhood problems, and he said, "Well, Axl had problems, and he's doing okay." He started opening up, and he's doing all right. And that's more important to me than Guns n' Roses, more important to me than anything I've done so far. Because I can relate to that more than anything. I've had such hatred for my father, for women, for ...

RS: Yourself?

Yeah. Myself. And it's just made me crazy. I'm working on getting past those things, and the world doesn't seem to be too tolerant of me doing that in public. It's like "Oh, you got a problem? You go away and take care of it." All these relatives knew little pieces of this puzzle, and nobody helped me with shit. I'm angry about that. I can't sit and think about Uncle So-and-So and enjoy it much. And if you're talking with any of these people, they try to get you to just tolerate it and take things back to the way they were: "Let's not get it public." My family did everything they could, thinking they were doing what was right, to bury it all. My stepfather was just adamant that he was going to protect Mom and himself: "Your real father does not get brought up." And he was also trying to cover his own tracks for what he did.

RS: Why are you talking about this publicly?

One reason is for safety's sake. My stepfather is one of the most dangerous human beings I've ever met. It's very important that he's not in my life anymore or in my sister's. We may be able to forgive, but we can't allow it to happen again. There's a lot of reasons for me to talk about it publicly. Everybody wants to know "Why is Axl so fucked up?" and where those things are coming from. There's a really good chance that by going public I'm gonna get attacked. They'll think I'm jumping on a bandwagon. But then it's just gonna be obvious who's an asshole and who's not. There are probably people that are jumping on a bandwagon. But I think it's time. Things are changing, and things are coming out.

RS: It's only been in the last few years that people have really been talking about what constitutes abuse. I'm not talking about molestation but emotional abuse.

All parents are going to abuse their children in some way. You can't be perfect. But you can help your child heal, if he's able to talk to you. Then he can say, "You know, when I was five, I saw this." I wear a shirt onstage sometimes that says, TELL YOUR KIDS THE TRUTH. People don't really know what that's about. Up until early this year, I was denied what happened to me, who I was, where I came from. I was denied my own existence, and I've been fighting for it ever since. Not that myself is the greatest thing on earth. But you have a right to fight for yourself.

(You can read the full article here).

SOURCE: Rolling Stone

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anonymous Group Declares War on Scientology

"For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell."


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reckless Road: Interview With Marc Canter

LAist recently got the opportunity to sit down with Marc Canter, author of Reckless Road; Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction.

LAist: So how did this all start?

Marc: I grew up as a big Aerosmith fan. I decided that I would document Slash the way I would document Aerosmith because I saw he had the talent and everything else. I always knew he would make it as a guitarist, I would tape record the performances even before GN'R, just because I wanted them. If he goes and plays a party, he’ll play and it’ll be gone, so if you record it, you’ve got it.

So for a dollar, you put a tape in, you got it. Taking pictures was just a fun thing that I learned how to do. I saw how it started to mold especially after we met Axl, and I saw more of the same coming from different sources. Then I knew if that if they would stay together they would make it. Now I got stuff or myself and for the world, because I wish someone would do for Aerosmith.

GN'R still sells about 5,000 records a week so we knew that there are some people who would be interested in this. We would raise some money since Jason’s company was new, and he calls me back 6 weeks later, saying that they raised the money and they want to make a deal. So I told him how I wanted to run it, and we did it.

LAist: That’s awesome. So to change the subject a little, what was the scene like in LA at the time?

Marc: Punk was hot in 81, 82 and then it started to disappear. By the times ‘84 came, punk was dead. Motley Crue may have been the only one left making rock, Stones weren’t doing anything, neither was Zeppelin or Aerosmith. And these guys were listening to all those bands, a 70’s with a bit of 60’s influence.

LAist: So did the guys consider GN'R a metal band?

Marc: They considered themselves an Aersomith/ Zeppelin / Stones type of band just doing their version of that. Slash has these dimensions that he can see, like 12 bars into the future. The first time you hear the lead from Welcome to the Jungle or Paradise City, it’s the same as the record. How could that possibly be? He would hear the song and come up with a solo just like that. It would end up being on the record the exact same way as the first. His guitar sings. There’s something about the sound; some people thought it was a special amp. Twice he played here (at Canters) where he just came up and plugged in with the band. Within 15 seconds he’d warm up and you’d hear that it was Slash. But it wasn’t him that made the band. You needed everyone involved to make what it was. You know they were young 21-23, living on the streets, some of them angry, tough, so they had things to write about. Not only did they have talent, but they had the lyrics. Later, they weren’t writing about the hard times on the streets so you lost something just based on the fact that they have houses and aren’t writing in the same room.

LAist: So were you into the partying scene with the band at all?

Marc: Not at all. Slash was always a drinker; there were a couple of them fooling around with stuff that they shouldn’t have. I mean once you fool around with them you’re married. They took a dark path down for a while. The funny thing was, whatever Axl experimented with, he was done with in 4 or 5 months. By June of 86, he was completely done. He just did it because everyone else was doing it. So it wasn’t like they were a bunch of drug addicts, but they did go out and have a good time.

LAist: I know that you were around all the time documenting the group, but how did the band deal with the real media?

Marc: They dealt with it. But for me, after they made it big, I still recorded their shows. Right around when they started touring with Metallica was when I stopped. I had what I wanted and the band had been captured. I just wanted to watch and enjoy the show.

LAist: Well being a young person born and raised in LA, its really great to be able to see what the scene was like.

Marc: It was totally an exciting thing because they started their own scene. Suddenly everyone started looking like they did. Everyone had that glam going on while they played rock and roll. There were always flyers all over the street. It just kind of took off. I mean at the time they had very little air play. But then MTV was ready to play Welcome to the Jungle one time at like 4 in the morning on a Sunday night, and the switchboard blew up. All the sudden Slash calls me and says that they’re in the top 10! Jungle stayed in the top 10 for months, then Sweet Child O’ Mine came out, and they showed what they could do as a rock band as well as show their softer side, which went onto the radio and TV. That’s what set them a mile ahead of everyone else. We have another Zeppelin, we thought, not just some band that would make one album and then disappear.

LAist: Which is what some of the Geffen people were starting to see, at this point.

Marc: Yeah they were late though, I saw that they had what it took at the first Street Scene when they were opening up for Social Distortion. Nobody knew who they were, they came there with makeup and so forth, looking like the New York Dolls. People were spitting on them, throwing beer, but they maintained the stage. They only played 4 or 5 songs but they finally broke through. That was when I saw the power of the band. Every time I saw them play I would get butterflies in my stomach. However, every time I went to a show to take pictures, you lose a little something.

LAist: So you basically made a sacrifice for all the fans. We should be thanking you for it!

Marc: At the time I didn’t see it that way because I couldn’t believe no one else was taping the shows. I just didn’t let it go. There was only one show that I missed. (Points to a map in the book) And this map will be online, where you can roll over the different spots and look at the history. The whole point is that I want this book to be relevant 100 years from now.

You can read the entire interview here.


Stone Temple Pilots REUNITE!

Stone Temple Pilots will reform for an American tour this summer. Less than a week after frontman Scott Weiland told fans in Florida of his plans to reunite STP, the band announced a handful of shows.

The news was released by Weiland's Velvet Revolver bandmate Slash. Full details of the reunion tour have yet to be announced.

STP split in 2002 but the break-up wasn't made official until 2003 when guitarist Dean DeLeo revealed, "It's time to move on to other things. Life and personalities and brotherhood took its course."

Weiland went onto to form Velvet Revolver with the former Guns 'N Roses star later that year.

And despite missing a Velvet Revolver show at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah over the weekend, Weiland has no plans to leave his new group.

Revolver dates are set until April and Slash tells there are plans afoot for a third album.

SOURCE: Starpulse

Jane's Addiction Reunion?

Former Jane's Addiction star Dave Navarro has given the strongest hint yet that a reunion tour could be on the horizon for the band.

The guitarist believes the band could overcome some of their differences and embark on a live tour for a few months.

He tells rock website,

"My love for the music outweighs any old baggage that might have been. As I have said in the past ... If Van Halen and The Eagles can get over their issues, I don't see why we can't ... I just think that if something like that ever happened, it should be shows only, with no new label, management, photo shoots, press and all that crap that clouds the experience. Simply a month or two of theatre tour dates to celebrate the music."

SOURCE: Contact Music

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chuck Klosterman 2006

Guns N' Roses
Chinese Democracy
By: Chuck Klosterman

April 1, 2006

The endless wait is over.

It's been a long time since Guns N' Roses have released an album of new material. Everybody knows this, but it's a fact that bears repeating. If you purchased a kitten on the day that Use Your Illusion I & II arrived in stores, it's probably dead by now. As a consequence, there has been a great deal of pressure on Axl Rose to deliver a record that would validate a 15-year, $13 million wait. There is really only one way for Chinese Democracy to avoid utter and absolute failure: It needs to be the greatest rock album ever made.

Chinese Democracy is not the greatest rock album ever made.

Oh, it's certainly awesome, but I don't think it's "15 years awesome." Had Axl released his album after a silence of, say, 11 years and two months (at a cost of, say, $11.5 million), Chinese Democracy would be an undeniable masterpiece, but considering the circumstances, some of this work seems shoddy. I get the impression most of the 13 songs were written between 1993 and 1999, and Rose merely spent six or seven years touching them up in the studio. One is forced to wonder if a track like "Madagascar" was only recorded 75 or 80 times, which calls Axl's alleged "maniacal perfectionism" directly into question.

Does Chinese Democracy offer glimpses of the paranoid, misogynistic genius we once heard on the soundtrack of Interview With the Vampire? Absotively. "The Blues" might be Rose's crowning career achievement: It's an epic combination of mid-period Stevie Wonder, early Elton John, and side two of In Through the Out Door. This is the kind of gutter-glam boogie ballad that makes "November Rain" seem like a bucket of burro vomit warming in the afternoon sun. Chinese Democracy is simultaneously propulsive and ponderous, and there are some electrifying guitar arpeggios on both "Silk Worm" and "Thursday Morning Strip Club" (performed, I assume, by either Buckethead, Robin Finck, Zakk Wylde, Johnny Marr, or Brian May -- all five are listed in the liner notes). But this transcendence is sporadic at best: All too often, Rose's sonic neurosis plunges into self-reflexive self-indulgence, most notably on the outdated 14-minute rap-rock anthem "Pound You (Good)" and an embarrassing "roots rock" duet with new buddy Dave Pirner titled "You're Still Too Sweet Not to Be My Baby Anymore." Several songs make thinly veiled references to the architect who designed Rose's backyard topiary garden, a move that may confuse casual listeners.

Obviously, the sexy albatross hanging around Rose's wiry jugular is simple modernity: Could he create an album that would sound contemporary -- and competitive -- in today's ever-evolving marketplace? As such, it is hard to understand why he elected to have Chinese Democracy coproduced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss) and Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand). Songs like "Catcher in the Rye" exhibit the sculpted sheen of Billy Joel's Glass Houses, and the LP includes several tracks on which GNR bassist Tommy Stinson appears to be playing a note-for-note replication of the bass line from "Another Brick in the Wall." Skeptics might also bristle at the anger that still resides in Axl's heart; his hairstyle and facial features have changed, but his inner intensity remains grizzly-esque. On the caustic rocker "Slash and Burned," Rose lashes out at his former bandmates now in Velvet Revolver with staggering specificity: "Your singer has cocaine eyes and a skeletonized trance / We'll see if RCA recoups their advance." Rose has also retained his pathological distaste for the media, lyrically attacking the editors of Vanity Fair, MTV personality Sway, numerous teenage bloggers, and the city hall reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer (who, curiously, has never written about pop music).

Still, Rose always possesses the potential to surprise us, as he does on a slightly reggaetón cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song" and a faithful (albeit befuddling) version of "Think About You," a tune actually written and recorded by Guns N' Roses in 1987. But a deeper quandary remains: Does Chinese Democracy accomplish its goal? After all this time and all that money, will this album truly bring democracy to China?

I don't know. I just don't know.


1. The album's working title for much of 1994 and '95 was Chinese Theocracy.
2. To capture a specific drum sound, Rose coated the walls of his home studio with four inches of wet adobe from the Sonoran Desert.
3. Two weeks before his death in 2002, ex-Clash frontman Joe Strummer contributed guitar for a song tentatively titled "Janky Holocaust." However, Rose eventually dropped the track, citing "dehydration."
4. The liner notes include Rose's complete voting record, dating to 1992.
5. This version of Chinese Democracy only exists in an alternative reality ruled by the fools of April.


Out of Patience, Give Us Chinese Democracy!

Over the last few months, the rumor machine has been working overtime as to why 'Chinese Democracy', the long awaited Guns N' Roses album, has yet to be released. Well, it's been one of the most talked about albums of all time, merely because of what it may or may not hold. Regardless, the rumor mill has kicked into high gear in recent months because it has been confirmed that Axl Rose has indeed turned the completed album into Universal Music. Something most people never thought would happen…has happened. There should be shouts of jubilation inside Universal Music, alas, there isn't. To set the record straight, I don't know anyone in Guns N' Roses and I don't have a personal contact at Universal Music. However, the same rumors appear to be popping up continually and it evolves around how to market the album and since Universal has sunk a large amount of money into this project already, there are rumblings that they are unwilling to set aside large amounts for promotion since they have yet to recoup their initial investment.

The first Guns N' Roses album in fifteen-years is a story in itself and this alone should be enough to sell copies out of the box, however, Universal apparently is holding the album hostage until some kind of agreement can be made. One of the things I keep hearing is that the label has "reportedly" spent $14 million in expenses for this album. Now, granted, I believe the 'Greatest Hits '87-'94' was released specifically to recoup some of these costs and that particular album has been a consistent and constant seller ever since (selling over 3 million copies) but let's say hypothetically that Universal wants to find the easiest way to recoup this $14 million, while simultaneously getting this album into the marketplace. Here are three simple, effective and profitable ways to recoup your investment, while allowing Axl Rose to release 'Chinese Democracy'

This melody inside of me, still searches for solution

Option #1-The Digital Release

My advice would be to go the Radiohead route and release the album digitally first. This is the easiest way to avoid having the album leak early from the pressing plant. Whether it happens two days before the album's release or two months, the key is to unleash it before it can be found everywhere for nothing. Now while Radiohead's model was admirable, it appears that many chose to not pay anything for the album. For the Guns record, why not institute a $3 charge for the album. But here is the kicker. Charge $3 for a mid level MP3 rip (192 or better) and do not release it until you have secured two million downloads. Some people are so fanatical about wanting to hear this album; they would potentially order multiple digital copies just so they could get their hands on the album sooner. For those of you in the music industry reading this, I am well aware of the irony of my idea since Universal Music appears to be doing everything in their power to not embrace the digital revolution. In some ways, I may as well be talking to a lifelong vegan about the nutritional value of a Superdawg Hot Dog and Al's Italian Beef (it's a Chicago thing). However, I believe this is the quickest road to profit.

My editor even thinks I've gone off my rocker and suggested a $5 price. However, as Trent Reznor recently found out with the Saul Williams produced record, $5 may be a bit too much. [No offense to Sal, but he is no Axl - ed] We have an entire generation of people who feel music should be free and even if they are wrong, you must play into what the market will allow and based on my observations, $3 is the magic number. My theory is that you want to get your customers in the habit of paying for music and pricing downloads too high, will frustrate them. Make it affordable so that you build trust and an ongoing relationship. I sincerely believe Universal could acquire 2 million downloads at $3 a pop in a very short period of time. Since they've cut out the middleman, processing packaging, etc this would largely be pure profit. Most importantly, there would be rampant anticipation since the album had not leaked.

Total Revenue: $6 million

Option #2–The Box Set

There will always be those who crave and will want the physical product. This is inevitable. The key is to provide them with the ultimate product. Think of being a car salesman and having a wide range of lines and vehicles. While I believe music in the future should be affordable, cheap and available in bulk, the key will be to market to the select die-hard fans. Radiohead did this with an $80 box set that included not just a physical CD, but a second CD of outtakes, a vinyl copy of the album and extensive packaging. For Guns N' Roses, the contents of this package could be exhaustive and maddening at the same time. Considering that it's taken years to bring 'Chinese Democracy' to fruition, I doubt Axl Rose would be willing to put alternate versions of songs out there. However, why not include a full concert DVD from the last tour? How about a short book written by Del James about the "Making of 'Chinese Democracy'"? Why not throw in a vintage Guns N' Roses concert on DVD to lure the fans to buying the more expensive set (although I believe this is highly unlikely).

The options are limitless; Include a concert ticket with every box purchase, offer an exclusive code that gives you access to a Pay Per View screening where Axl would give his first sit down interview, follow the interview with a live performance of the entire album. A Pay Per View could pull in a separate stream of income and it would allow Axl and the rest of the band to present the album they want. They wouldn't have to abide by the rules of MTV, NBC, of E!; they could write the book themselves. Promote it as a once in a lifetime event where Axl is interviewed by someone he knows, respects and is comfortable with. Allow him to dictate the proceedings as he needs to because he's the artist and the gestation of this album has been immense and he deserves a platform to showcase his art the way he wants. Not to mention, but the windfall from just 100,000 potential buying customers would add to the coffers.

The moral of my story is that if they deliver a stellar and unique package, aside from a potential Pay Per View, the fanatics will buy it. The revenue from a special box could reign in more money than a stand alone CD release. Include the CD, a DVD, a book, a reproduction of the original 'Appetite' album cover and a few other bonus items and a set like this could retail for approximately $65. Limit worldwide distribution of these boxes to 125,000. The total gross for this package would be $8,125,000.00 and if the $14 million budget for 'Chinese Democracy' is true, it immediately puts Universal in the black and this would potentially be before a Pay Per View or physical CD release or even a tour.

Total Revenue Combined from Options #1 and #2: $14,125,000.00

Option #3-The Physical CD

Once you get the download out of the way, send the album to stores. Include a live DVD of the entire album from the Pay Per View show, exclusive web content and assorted contests of vintage Guns N' Roses items and access to potential future live shows. This will make even those who bought the pricey box set want to buy it again. Once again, don't inflate the cost, make it affordable. When the 'Greatest Hits '87-'94' was released in 2004, most retailers were selling it at $7.99 and I believe this was one of the prime reasons it has continued to sell well over time.

These three options combined should easily put Universal back in black, give Axl Rose the drive to bring these songs to the world, get back on the road and will eventually open up the chances for more music in the not too distant future (Sebastian Bach alludes to the potential of two more albums in under three-years).

'Chinese Democracy' has been a decade plus in the making and despite what the cynics say, there are millions who want…no scratch that…NEED to hear this album and the key to its success is to deliver it to the masses in an favorable manner which will appeal to not just the longing and patient fans, but to the casual listener as well. Promotion should be a no brainer as any news magazine on television or in print would kill for an exclusive interview. However, I believe the album will sell itself, Universal just needs to think outside of the box and unleash it on a world that is beyond ready for it. The reason that 'Appetite For Destruction' sold sixteen-million records is because of its unabashed honesty. It cemented the band into an entire generation's consciousness. There are millions of lost souls out there looking for that next record that will open new worlds to them and help them seek refuge from a world that is at times far too real for our own liking. But albums like 'Appetite For Destruction', 'Use Your Illusion' and hopefully 'Chinese Democracy' help you deal with your grief, provide a ray of light and reminds us that the fight that life can be is worth fighting.

A broken heart provides the spark for my determination-"Better"

-Anthony Kuzminski

SOURCE: AntiMusic

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chinese Democracy Release Dates



CD Wow




The best is Woolworths, January 1, 2020


Duff: "VR Doesn't Define Me Anymore."

Duff McKagan on Weiland and STP re-formation rumours
Classic Rock just tracked down Duff McKagan, Velvet Revolver bassist, and quizzed him about VR singer Scott Weiland's recent 'antics'.

Here's what Duff had to say:

On the Sundance Festival:
“I sang It’s So Easy and I Wanna Be Your Dog and then we were panicking a bit over what to play so Matt [Sorum] got up and sang Patience, Matt’s a great singer, he really is. Why wasn’t Scott there? Scott missed his plane, yeah, let’s say that, Scott missed his plane…”

On Stone Temple Pilots re-forming:
“That’s the rumour that I’ve heard too, good for him. You can’t plan ahead in this thing and if you do you’re going to be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing live and we love this band, but I don’t have expectations any more. This is a great band and I’m proud to be a part of it, but it doesn’t define me any more.”

Stay tuned for further developments.

SOURCE: Classic Rock

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Axl Gets "Slashed" By Former Bandmate

Was guitarist Slash rubbing it in Tuesday when he announced that his band Velvet Revolver's next album would have a "quick turnaround"?

The string-shredder said he and his bandmates, including fellow former Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum and new singer Scott Weiland, would start on the record immediately after their tour - and he expected no trouble finishing.

"I'm really jazzed about doing it," Slash said. "I've been working on new ideas, and we've had a couple times where the guys all got together and worked on some stuff. I'm itching to see what this third record's gonna be, 'cause I think it's gonna be f- awesome."

Surely, Slash is aware that Axl Rose once again failed to release "Chinese Democracy," the $13 million Guns N' Roses album he's been working on for more than a decade.

Slash and Axl, who lives mostly as a recluse in Malibu, haven't spoken during that time - though Axl claimed Slash came to his house at 5:30 a.m. one day in 2005 and said "Duff was spineless," "Scott Weiland was a fraud," and he "hates Matt Sorum."

Slash denied the visit on an indie radio station show last year, saying: "It's just blatantly untrue. I have not talked to this guy in any way, shape or form going on 11 years."

Like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster, there have been hints that "Chinese Democracy" does exist. Baseball player Mike Piazza gave a CD of the song "IRS" to deejay Eddie Trunk, who played it on 104.3 until Axl's management stopped him. And Axl himself showed up at Stereo a couple of years ago in the wee hours and played 10 tracks at the Chelsea nightspot.

In "W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose," out next month from St. Martin's Press, veteran rock author Mick Wall quotes Stereo co-owner Barry Mullineaux: "Everybody was surprised at how good it sounded. The music sounded great. He wanted to play his favorite song over and over, like six times."

But will fans still order "Chinese" to go? Wall surmises that Axl has waited so long to release the CD that "it's not just Guns N' Roses that's changed beyond all recognition, but the entire music industry itself."

SOURCE: New York Daily News

Chinese Democracy Track List?

The internet is suddenly buzzing with rumors that the tracklist for the 15-years-in-the-making, sixth Guns N’ Roses album - Chinese Democracy has finally been revealed.

While there is, as yet, no confirmation, it seems promising that the album might actually come out this year!

As I reported here and here, it seems that the album has been handed in to Universal. The announcement of a tracklist is another good sign. Maybe we'll see the album art next!

Here is the rumored tracklist:

Chinese Democracy
Shackler's Revenge
The Blues
If the World
There Was a Time
Catcher in the Rye
The Lies They Tell
Rhiad and the Bedouins
This I Love

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Holy Mother of God!

It's True!

It's Really Done!

It's a fact!
Classic Rock recently tracked down Beta Lebeis, personal manager of Axl Rose, who confirmed to us that Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy album "was finished before Christmas".

She added: "Everybody knows that."

Lebeis said Axl is currently "in negotiations" with unspecified parties to arrange to album's on-sale date.

However, Classic Rock believes that Chinese Democracy may not be 'released' in the traditional sense - at least not initially.

We suspect that GN'R may follow the Radiohead route of pay-as-you-like downloads. But we stress this has not been confirmed.

Another source close to the GN'R camp also suggested that Chinese Democracy may gain a conventional release in late summer, with a view to it becoming "a big Christmas album".

SOURCE: Classic Rock

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Big Update From GN'R

Guns N' Roses have posted this "update" on their MySpace page:

(Guns N' Roses tech) Dan Druff's bike was stolen in front of club Tee Gee in Atwater Village Sat Jan 19 at around 12:30am. It is a 1950 custom Triumph, chrome frame, all custom parts. Any info regarding this please email Dan at
REWARD IF FOUND, thanks for your help...

Obviously, this was not the "update" fans were waiting on their head and shoulders for, but we should all be conditioned by now not to expect much from these flakes. I, for one, won't be combing the streets looking for this guy's bike.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lemmy Lambasts Labels

Motorhead frontman Lemmy has hit out at record industry bosses for taking so long to adapt to the idea of selling music online. The Ace Of Spades rocker insists the music business deserves its current sales slump - because executives have had years to figure out how to best promote music on the internet.

He tells Metal Edge magazine: "It's killing itself, isn't it? I mean, they (record companies) are too dumb to realize. I mean, it was f---ing years ago that this started, and they just carried on doing what they were doing, blind to any advice, blind to any sort of evidence.

"They just kept on overcharging and kept on f---ing people over, and now the chickens are coming home, you know? I think they're all gonna be out of business in 10 years."

SOURCE: Sleaze Roxx

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fan Beaten Up By Motley Crue

Motley Crue's concert promoters have been hit with a lawsuit by a fan who claims he was assaulted while attending the band's 2006 gig in Illinois.

The fan, Gerald Schneeman, is suing promoter Live Nation for damages after he was allegedly beaten up by an unidentified member of Motley Crue during a concert at the Ford Amphitheater on November 22.

The legal papers, which were filed in a U.S. court on Monday, state that Schneeman was standing directly in front of the stage when he was allegedly struck in the head with a guitar by the Motley Crue member - who was not named in the suit (Nikki Sixx or Mick Mars?). The musician is then said to have jumped down from the stage and knocked Schneeman to the ground, at which point security intervened and began assaulting the fan, before dragging him out of the venue.

Schneeman claims he suffered bodily injuries, scarring and disfigurement, although full details of his injuries have not been released. The amount of damages he is seeking has yet to be disclosed.

Rockers Aerosmith were co-headliners at the 2006 concert.


117 Degrees (1998, Geffen)


117 Degrees is a country album with some rockabilly influences.

Its got all of Izzy's signature hooks that we've come to rely on.

Duff plays bass. Taz Bentley on drums. Rick Richards on the other guitar.

The best part is that its still in print and you can buy it everywhere.

"Ain't it a Bitch"

A good, rockin' opener

"Gotta Say"

One of the catchiest songs Izzy ever wrote.

I think you have underestimated me

sings Stradlin on this tune - and he's damn right.


The Chuck Berry tune. Izzy plays it a little faster than the original. This one is a staple of his live sets.

"Old Hat"

Old Hat is one of my personal favorites out of Izzy's entire catalog of music.


Nice slide guitar, nice chorus. A little mandolin in the middle, and some jingling bells, make a lyrically sad song sound really playful and happy.


Izzy and Duff deliver a 97 second Punk Rock blast, complete with string scratching, a wailing guitar solo and "Animal" drums.

"Good Enough"

Think Soul Asylum meets The Jayhawks meets The Stones meets Sesame Street meets The Beatles. Great bridge, beautiful guitar solo. Could've been a hit. No idea why it wasn't. Listening to this song, it really strikes me how well mixed and mastered this album is.

"117 Degrees"

An up-tempo rocker with a cool guitar outro.

"Here Before You"

Country and Western, Izzy Stradlin style. Check out Duff's bassline on this one, its so much fun. This song is Part II of "You Ain't the First" from Use Your Illusion I.

"Up Jumped the Devil"

You can hear the Georgia Satellites doing this one.


A four and a half minute instrumental. I would have named it "Dick Dale Meets King Crimson." Needless to say, I like it.

"Freight Train"

One of the weaker songs on the album, I guess.


More driving bass from Duff. Another punk rock song about cars. The bandmembers influences really shine through on this track. Low-fi at its best.

"Surf Roach"

Grunt Part II?

I had alot of fun listening to this album to write this review. Thanks for reading, and see ya next time!

Duff McKagan - Last of the True Rockers

Since finishing up the their most recent album Libertad, McKagan has spent his down time doing, of all things, taking bass guitar lessons. "I mean I’m really confident with my bass playing. But I just got this new six-string guitar and I’ve just been sitting on my couch playing it finding all these new grooves I never knew I could get,” McKagan said over the phone “I’ve been in punk bands all my life but never really took lessons.”

McKagan believes that his music is something that has been evolving over time. “Part of me thinks it’s what I’ve been listening to. Part of me thinks it comes from some unknown mysterious place that I’d rather not know about. Part of me thinks that it is the collective. That it’s all about who I’m playing with.” Said McKagan “I’ve been listening to a lot of John Paul Jones, I’m going through a Led Zeppelin thing right now.”

“I’m lucky I suppose,” said McKagan “my passion is also my living. This band has allowed all of us who might have been relegated to ‘you were in a good band but it’s over now’ file to show that we are still musically viable.”

Despite having been a key member in what many consider to be one of the greatest rock bands of all time McKagan is still hesitant about what lies ahead. “I never try to plan out my future. I’ve learned from experience,” McKagan said “there are so many different lives going on within a band. Some people have to go back to a family and kids. I hope that we will make a third album I really do. But if we don’t at least I can say it was a good time.”

SOURCE: Lumino Magazine

New York Dolls To Tour

The New York Dolls, still riding high on 2006's One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, have announced dates for another North American run.

The trek kicks off February 12 at Rams Head Live in Baltimore and runs through mid-March.

Led by surviving original members David Johansen (vocals) and Sylvain Sylvain (guitars), the legendary, cross-dressing band - whose early '70s classic albums New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon presaged the later explosion of punk and glam-metal - now features a lineup that came together in 2005, featuring guitarist Steve Conte (Company of Wolves), bassist Sami Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks), drummer Brian Delaney and keyboardist Brian Koonin.

"It won't be very long that we'll be together longer than the original band was," Johansen laughs.

SOURCE: Pollstar

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Axl Kicked Me In The Head"

A security guard at a Guns 'N Roses concert is suing the band and lead singer Axl Rose claiming that Rose kicked him in the head while on stage.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on August 29, Gary Armijo claims that while he was working as a security guard stationed in front of the stage, Rose "intentionally kicked [Armijo] in the head ... causing severe physical injuries."

The lawsuit goes on to allege that unless Rose is stopped, he "will continues to commit willful assaults of the nature described herein on innocent members of the public and security personnel, both during and outside of Guns 'N Roses concerts."

Howard Weitzman, Rose's attorney, tells TMZ, "The allegations in this lawsuit are frivolous. There is video of this incident which contradicts the allegations against Axl. Axl vehemently denies he did anything wrong which will be proven via witnesses and the video. Unfortunately anyone can file a lawsuit whether it has merit or not. In my opinion this is a pathetic attempt to get money from Axl."

You can read the lawsuit here


Def Leppard Disc Due

Def Leppard has finished work on its latest disc of original material since 2002's X and announced the first sets of dates for a 2008 world tour in support of the new album.

The band will kick off the journey March 27 at Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina and make stops at 19 arenas across the U.S. and Canada before heading back to Europe for the summer.

Joining Def Leppard for all North American dates are Styx and REO Speedwagon.

Def Leppard's upcoming album, which is currently going by the working title of Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, is due for release some time in the early part of the year.

SOURCE: Pollstar

If Pop Stars Were Dogs ...

... They'd Look Like This

FYI - Check out Joey Ramone!

SOURCE: Blender

EMI Cuts 2000 Jobs

Guy Hands, the former bond trader who owns EMI, plans to cut 2,000 jobs and axe hundreds of artists.

Hands vowed to further clip the wings of unprofitable artists by offering them a day rate rather than shelling out huge advances.

"We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business."

His plan hinges on making existing artists more profitable by concentrating on single digital tracks rather than full albums and improving EMI's track record in signing new ones. But, without the big advances and trappings of a major label, many artists may prefer to sign with rival independents or put new material out themselves.

Before Hands's takeover, Paul McCartney had already quit the label for the new record arm of Starbucks, saying it had become "really very boring". More recent departures include Radiohead, who launched their own "pay what you like" release before signing to an independent and likened the Hands regime to a "confused bull in a china shop".

Hands, who has a string of turnaround stories to his name, admitted paying £40 for the deluxe box-set edition of Radiohead's In Rainbows.

Other big name EMI artists, including Robbie Williams, Coldplay and the Verve, are reviewing their options.

About 85% of what EMI does release never makes a profit, in part because of the cash spent signing bands and partly due to overestimating demand. For instance, the company is understood to have more than a million unsold copies of Robbie Williams's Rudebox album, which it will send to China to be crushed up and used in road surfacing and street lighting.

SOURCE: the guardian

Rolling Stones Sign Deal With Universal

The Rolling Stones announced Thursday they have signed a deal to release the soundtrack to their Martin Scorsese-directed concert film through Universal Music Group.

The move does not bode well for EMI Group, the label that has been the Stones' home for 16 years, raising the possibility that the band might follow Radiohead and Paul McCartney and leave the embattled record company.

"The band are looking forward to working with Universal Music and are excited about this new venture," The Rolling Stones said in a statement.

In a one-album deal, Universal Music's labels around the world will release the "Shine a Light" soundtrack in March. The album will be released in Britain by Polydor Records.

"We are really proud to be working with the Rolling Stones, and so is everybody in Universal Music globally," Universal Music Group International chairman and chief executive Lucian Grainge said.

EMI said its relationship with the Stones was unaffected by the announcement. EMI spokesman Andrew Dowler stressed it had been always understood Universal Music would release the soundtrack because its studio affiliate Universal Pictures was producing the film.

"It's good spin: Universal are suggesting this is a broader thing, but it's about one film, one soundtrack and had nothing to do with their relationship with the label," he said. "They're an EMI band."

EMI has lost McCartney and Radiohead, two of its biggest acts, in the past year, while others — including Coldplay — have expressed unhappiness with the label.

EMI was bought by Terra Firma Capital Partners last year, and on Tuesday, the private equity firm announced plans to cut as many as 2,000 jobs, about a third of the company's work force, in a restructuring plan aimed at reassuring its restless artists, countering plummeting CD revenue and saving $400 million a year.

"Shine a Light" was filmed during a Rolling Stones performance at New York's Beacon Theatre in autumn 2006. It includes appearances by Buddy Guy, the White Stripes' Jack White and Christina Aguilera, along with rarely seen archival footage of the band.

The film will open the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 7 and is expected to be released in cinemas in April.

SOURCE: Yahoo News

The Album is Done!

Chinese Democracy Starts ... Now!

A musician who calls himself teamaxl has given me reason to believe the rumors that the CD is finished.

He shared a bill with Dizzy Reed's band at The Double Door in Chicago on January 7th and Dizzy confirmed this to him.

You can read all about it here.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GN'R LIES - Chuck Klosterman

Guns N' Roses, GNR Lies (1988, Geffen):

When we first heard this eight-song EP, we all thought the live material on side one was tits and the acoustic stuff on side two was girlie crap. Over time, the conventional wisdom revolved into the opinion that the "R" side was brilliant and the "G" side wasn't worth listening to. Ten years later, I have rediscovered the value of the former without losing respect for the latter (or maybe it's the other way around).

Lies opens with "Reckless Life," an accelerated rocker that would seem to be the résumé for the whole GNR experiment. That blows into a cover of "Nice Boys," which works because Axl Rose really does seem like a boy. Of course, that makes everything a bit awkward on "Move to the City," because suddenly Axl becomes a girl who stole her daddy's credit card—but by the time they're halfway through a rote version of "Mama Kin," nobody cares anyway.

Logic would dictate that the lyrics on the flip side should seem less shocking as time passes, but I find them more spooky today than I did in high school. As I grow older, I'm still intrigued by what Axl was so angry about. His inability to replicate this kind of ferocious emotion on future releases makes me suspect it must have been genuine; if it had all just been a show, you'd think he could do it anytime he stepped into a studio.

There seems to be something obviously wrong with Axl Rose's brain, and it's the kind of three-act neurosis that ruins a man's life, makes a man famous, and then ruins his life again (and usually in that order). Side two of GNR Lies is the peak of Act II.

SOURCE: Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City

Chinese Democracy (In Their Own Words)

Axl: [When we started] we hadn't written songs or recorded for many years. There were band changes and there were many changes in the record company.
Axl: We tried writing songs in the old style of Guns N' Roses, [but] they sounded too old, they didn't sound so alive. We could not make that. And I think that that also passed with the old Guns N' Roses. The songs composed by the boys for another album many years ago, everything sounded old. Then we tried to explore to maintain the band alive.

Axl: People in the record company had many opinions and they wanted to make the best possible record. Every time that we thought that we had the correct songs, then somebody thought that we could make it better. We started over, we continued adding songs, continued recording and recording.

Moby: The music they're working on is really wonderful.

Tommy: It touches on a lot of different elements of old Guns N' Roses in some ways; in other ways it touches with more current-sounding music.

Axl: I think it is like old Guns N' Roses as far as, like, the spirit and the attempt to throw all kinds of different styles together.

Brian May: I think it's very good stuff. I was very impressed Axl singing fantastically.

Dizzy: Axl sounds amazing!

Dizzy: It’s a little more diversified and a little more spread out and there is a little bit of something for everybody. That is the only way I can really describe it, kind of like an adventure in music I guess.

Jim Barber (former Geffen A&R executive): The tracks reminded me of the best moments of Seventies Pink Floyd or later Led Zeppelin. There's nothing out there right now that has that kind of scope. Axl hasn't spent the last several years struggling to write Use Your Illusion over again.

David Wild: Imagine Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti remixed by Beck and Trent Reznor, and you'll have some sense of Axl's new sound. Song after song combines the edgy hard-rock force and pop smarts of vintage Guns n' Roses with surprisingly modern and ambitious musical textures.

Zakk Wylde: It fucking sounds like Appetite For Destruction on steroids.

Axl: Mainly, you know, it will be the new band and the new band that played the songs live.

Tommy: We're all writing these songs, and we're all playing them. I just feel more a part of it.

Axl: There may be a couple of other players. Brian May from Queen plays on a couple of songs. Umm, the drummer Josh Freese, umm who is in another band now, he plays on a lot of the songs.

Brain May: I think I played on 3 tracks, and messed around on various other things. But it worked out pretty well as far as I can tell.

Axl: I think that when we release the album, it's gonna be something that I'm gonna be proud of and confident in. Then, we will also have an extra heap of songs.

Axl: It is not industrial, the closest thing to that was perhaps Oh My God, but there are some songs that won't be on the album that were this way. There will be all kinds of styles, many influences as blues, mixed in the songs. But not so much inspiration of Aerosmith or AC/DC that was used on Appetite.

Tommy: Either way it goes, it’s going to be big. It could be a huge fucking success and historical in that no lead singer has undertaken the [band] name and the whole band has quit. So if it goes huge, we all win and we’ll have done something that hasn’t been done yet. And if it flops, it’s going to be a huge fuckin’ flop. And I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s a lot of viable music that we’ve done and I have confidence in it that it won’t be the other extreme. Either way, it’s a biggie.

Tommy: We wouldn't be doing this if it weren't going to come out -- are you kidding?

Doug Goldstein: [It's] updated nineties-rock sound with a little more technology thrown in.

Moby: I met with Axl last week to hear their new demos. They're writing with a lot of loops, and believe it or not, they're doing it better than anybody I've heard lately.

Brian May: Boy, is there a lot of energy there and his singing is outrageous. There's some great tracks on it.

Brian May: I had a great time playing, and interacting with the guys, and I was hugely impressed wihth the material they'd already put down.

Brian May: There is a whole album of vocal parts, infact 2 albums worth at least... There is some wonderful stuff there.

Chris Vrenna: I have a feeling it's gonna be more like Appetite [For Destruction] than people are expecting.

Richard: Not much of my writing style has been included on the new Gn'R as most of the songs had been written before I was in the band.

Richard: Axl has written all of the words on the new record. I think that they are the best lyrics he has written. Some really powerful and honest words.

Josh Freese: I would really like to see it come out. Everybody worked their asses off on the project.

Richard: I've been doing recording on the record pretty much since i joined the band. It's been an on-going process the entire time. I love the record.

Dizzy Reed: [It's] a pretty intense musical journey. It takes you to some really interesting musical places.

Tommy Stinson: For a GN'R record, it's pretty diverse. It's not straight down the rock 'n' roll road. It's all over the place, in a good way. It has a little bit of everything - the old Guns N' Roses vibe, ballads, a couple of pop songs.

Tommy Stinson: You really get to hear some different tones in his voice which don't lend themselves to traditional bluesy riff-rock. And the lyrics are a lot more in-depth, with deeper sentiment and emotion than some of the earlier stuff.

Tommy Stinson: On the new record, everyone’s got a bit in there, their part of a song. It lends itself to us feeling a part of the whole record.

Marco Beltrami: That was sort of just work for hire. I guess they'd heard some of my orchestral music of mine. I met with Axl and he played me these songs, asked me my ideas about them, and I told him what I thought they needed. They gave me four songs to orchestrate. A couple of them I did more than orchestrating, I actually wrote some melodies and stuff. It was a fun project. I really enjoyed it. The music was eclectic and at the time that I was doing it there were no lyrics on the songs that I was working on. People ask me about the album and I really have no idea about the release. I thought it was coming out last September. I'm the wrong person to ask about that.

Marco Beltrami: They had finished tracks. On one song I actually wrote a guitar part, but they pretty much had the band tracks down and then I added orchestral stuff on top of it.

Marco Beltrami: I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was different than doing film music, but it was a lot of fun. I would probably do it again. It would probably be more fun at some point, to do it as a more collaborative affair, starting more from scratch, working and writing stuff [together]. But it was definitely fun.

Richard: It is a truly amazing piece of work and I hope that the world has the chance to hear it. If not, the world will survive.

Slash: It's gonna be interesting to hear it. After all this time and after all this talk what's going on with him.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Jaya the Cat is my favorite band.

They have a new album out.

You can buy it here.

It really is too bad that they don't play more shows in the States, because they fucking rule.

Check 'em out, willya?

Gibson Tuning Up New Slash and Page Guitars

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Gibson Guitar will release eight new Slash-branded guitars on March 15, and is taking the current models affiliated with the Velvet Revolver guitarist off the market.

Why eight?

"Price points," says Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. "They're going to go from cheap to high-end custom, personally signed by Slash."

Also on tap for this year is a new Jimmy Page guitar. "The ink is still drying on the deal," Juszkiewicz says. "It's going to be a special guitar."


Monday, January 14, 2008

Rock of Love II

Last night I watched the Season Premiere of VH1's Rock of Love II, and I have to say I was entertained from start to finish. First of all, just forget about whether or not Bret Michaels is bald (he is), and get ready to cringe as he swaps spit with 20 drunk hoes in one evening. My favorites so far are Megan and Daisy. Its a great show, it really is. I'll keep you all posted in case you're not watching yourselves.

Here are some highlights from the premiere:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Axl: "Take business classes."

RS: Does the business end of rock & roll ever interfere with your creative attitude?

Rose: Not for us. This is music, this is art. It's definitely a good business, but that should be second to the art, not first. I was figuring it out, and I'm like the president of a company that's worth between $125 million and a quarter billion dollars. If you add up record sales based on the low figure and a certain price for T-shirts and royalties and publishing, you come up with at least $125 million, which I get less than two percent of.

I like being successful. I was always starving. On the other side. When it came to people with money, it was always "The rich? Fuck them!" But I left one group and joined another. I escaped from one group where I was looked down on for being a poor kid that doesn't know shit, and now I'm like, a rich, successful asshole. I don't like that. I'm still just me, and with a lot of people's help, the group was able to become a huge financial success. None of us were the popular kids in school - we were all outcasts who got together and pooled our talents.

RS: Is there any lesson you've learned that you wish you knew a few years ago?

Rose: What I'd tell any kid in high school is "Take business classes." I don't care what else you're gonna do, if you're gonna do art or anything, take business classes. You can say, "Well, I don't want to get commercial," but if you do anything to make any money, you're doing something commercial. You can be flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, but you're a commercial burger flipper.

SOURCE: Here Today... Gone To Hell!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chuck Klosterman 2000

Guns N' Roses, Appetite for Destruction (1987, Geffen)

Well, this is pretty much it.
Appetite for Destruction is the singular answer to the question, "Why did hair metal need to exist?" After all the coke and the car wrecks and the screaming and the creaming and the musical masturbation and the pentagrams and the dead hookers, this is what we are left with — the best record of the 1980s, regardless of genre.

If asked to list the ten best rock albums of all time, this is the only pop metal release that might make the list; it's certainly the only Reagan-era material that can compete with the White Album and Rumours and Electric Warrior. Appetite for Destruction is an Exile on Main Street for all the kids born in '72, except Appetite rocks harder and doesn't get boring in the middle. It bastardizes every early Aerosmith record, but all the lyrics are smarter and Axl is a better dancer.

Part of the credit for the success of this five-headed juggernaut has to go to Nigel Dick, the faceless fellow who directed all the videos for GNR's early singles. One needs to remember that Appetite was out for almost a year before it cracked the Billboard Top 10 in 1988. Most people assume that this was because of the single "Sweet Child 0' Mine," but the real reason was the video for "Welcome to the Jungle." The first fifteen seconds of that vid explain everything we need to know:

Axl gets off a bus in downtown L.A. with a piece of friggin' hay in his mouth (and evidently, he didn't do much chewing during the twenty-six-hour bus ride from Indiana, because it still looks pretty fresh). The first time I heard this song, I was riding the Octopus at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, and I had no idea what the fuck it was supposed to be about—but I still kinda liked it. When I saw this video two months later, I realized that Axl wasn't welcoming me to the jungle, people were welcoming him. Suddenly, the whole album made a lot more sense: Axl Rose was screaming because he was scared.

From the brazen misogyny of "It's So Easy" to the pleading vulnerability of "Rocket Queen," the album is a relentless exercise in high-concept sleaze. "Nightrain" is my personal favorite; Axl insists he's "one bad mutha," and he proves it by waking up his whore and making her buy four dollar wine with her Visa card. "Mr. Brownstone" is hard funk on hard drugs, and it cleverly tells us how rock stars are supposed to live — you wake up at seven, you get out of bed at nine, and you always take the stage two hours late. "Paradise City" is probably the musical high point; it has GNR's signature soft-heavy-soft vocal sequence and the best chorus in metal history. "Paradise City" still seems like a disco classic waiting to happen.

The flip side is a little dirtier, starting with the unsettling "My Michele" and the semisweet "Think About You." The material is dark and purposefully hidden (kind of like Slash's eyes, I suppose), and the drums are ferocious; it sounds like Steven Adler is setting off cherry bombs in his drum kit. And through it all, the guitar playing is stellar. On Appetite for Destruction, Slash invented a new style of playing that's best described as "blues punk." He simultaneously sounds raw and polished — the master craftsman who came to work loaded. It was a style that sold 15 million records, but almost nobody managed to copy it (including Slash, who never really got it right again — even when he consciously tried on 1993's The Spaghetti Incident?).

There are those who will argue that the best thing that could have happened to Guns N' Roses would have been death, probably in about 1991. They were certainly on the right path (in fact, the rumor persists that David Geffen wanted Use Your Illusion to be a double album because he suspected someone in the band would be dead before they could cut anything else). From a romantic (read: selfish) perspective, there's some truth to this argument; it would be nice if Appetite for Destruction was all we really knew about this band of gypsies; Axl would have never lost his hair and the Gunners would have never become such bloated disasters.

Since Rose legally obtained the rights to the name Guns N' Roses in 1991, GNR is Axl Rose for all practical (and impractical) purposes. Put Axl onstage with the starting five of the Quad City Thunder, and that qualifies as "the new Guns N' Roses." The group still exists, but it's almost like comparing Jefferson Airplane to Starship:

As I write this, the ever-evolving lineup consists of Axl, Dizzy Reed, former Replacements' bassist Tommy Stinson, Buckethead (a robot-obsessed guitar freak who wears a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his dome), Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails, Brian "Brain" Mantia (the drummer from Primus who replaced Josh Freese, the guy from the Vandals who played on the new Guns record but has also quit the band since the album's completion), and what amounts to Axl's buddies from high school.

The next album's working title is Chinese Democracy and it's rumored to be aggressive industrial metal in the spirit of Led Zeppelin, filtered through the sensibilities of Stevie Wonder; I can only imagine what this will be like, although it's safe to assume it will be twice as good as Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, three times as good Slash's Snakepit, and five hundred times better than anything Duff McKagan ever released. But it will never be as good as this, and I suspect Axle' knows it.

(This analysis was somewhat complicated by the May 11, 2000, issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which essentially described Rose as a nocturnal New Age freak who spends much of his time in Sedona, a pseudo-spiritual Narnia in the Arizona desert. The article implied Chinese Democracy will probably never be released, but I'm confident it will eventually come out—however, I have no clue when that will be. When I started writing this manuscript in 1998, I jokingly said I wanted to have it published before the next GNR record, and (at this point) I think I still have a legitimate shot.)

SOURCE: Chuck Klosterman, Fargo Rock City