Thursday, January 31, 2008

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

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