Tuesday, September 30, 2008

James Blunt: "Pay Me Enough and I'll Stop"

James Blunt has reportedly promised to end his singing career if he is paid enough cash.

The singer allegedly told Uncut, "If someone is prepared to pay me enough, I'll stop."

The 34-year-old former British Army officer said he remains bemused as to why he is the target of so much aggression.

"If someone puts some chocolate cake in front of you and you don't like it, but there's some cheesecake to the right, would you start screaming at the chef? Just eat the cheesecake without calling the chef the Antichrist," he said.

The singer-songwriter hit the number one spot in both the singles and album chart in 2005 with "You're Beautiful" and Back To Bedlam respectively.

He recently described press interest in his personal life as "unhealthy".

Digital Spy

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Everything to do with Guns N' Roses is My Idea

Craig Duswalt is America’s RockStar Business Coach and is the founder and author of the RockStar System For Success and the RockStar Business Seminars.

Craig's background includes touring with Guns N' Roses, as Axl Rose's personal assistant/manager, and Air Supply, as the band's personal assistant. Craig decided to combine his backgrounds of music and marketing into a system that he calls, The RockStar System For Success, where he teaches people across the United States how to achieve RockStar status in their industry.
The (tongue-in-cheek) quote at the very top of this page comes from Craig in the Making of Estranged video (embedded below).

The other two videos contain some really great insider stories from the Use Your Illusion Tour.

I'm certain you will enjoy them.


Craig Duswalt

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Official: Best Buys Snags CHINESE DEMOCRACY Exclusive

Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer for Guns N' Roses decade-plus-in-the-making new album Chinese Democracy before year's end(!), sources close to the situation tell Billboard.

Some details of the deal are still being worked out, including the release date.

The news brings a semblance of closure to the bizarre history of Democracy, which Guns N' Roses has been working on since the mid-1990s. Since then, every original member of the once mighty group has left besides vocalist Axl Rose, and millions of dollars have been spent working on the new material.

Democracy was most recently on the Interscope release schedule in March 2007. The endless delays encountered by the project reached comic levels this spring, when soft drink manufacturer Dr. Pepper offered to send a free can of the beverage to "everyone in America" (excluding ex-GNR members Slash and Buckethead) if Chinese Democracy were to arrive anytime during the calendar year 2008.

In June, nine purported "mastered, finished" tracks from the album were leaked online, prompting an FBI investigation into their source. A sign Chinese Democracy was perhaps finally nearing release came in July, when the band agreed to debut new track "Shackler's Revenge" in the video game "Rock Band 2," which hit stores earlier this month.

Guns N' Roses is now managed by Irving Azoff's Front Line Management, and Azoff is a well-known proponent of issuing albums exclusively through retailers. He released the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden through Wal-Mart in 2007, much to the chagrin of other merchants, but the album was a runaway hit, having sold 3.1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Running with this Rumor

I would like to pass on the following info.

Today at the Best Buy media holiday kickoff event in Dallas TX, it was apparently announced that the Best Buy exclusive release was official!

The deal was done within the last 48 hours. GN'R management was on hand,(Azoff or Gould, apparently an english man) they played the group three songs, Chinese Democracy and two others.

I wasn't there, so I couldn't confirm which songs. But management stated one song would play for the credit roll in the new DiCaprio flick Body of Lies.

The album will be released on November 25th - only at Best Buy.


Oh ... and check out the music at the end of this video, embedded below.

Kind of sounds like Bucket and Brain, doesn't it?

***EDIT*** According to a Best Buy employee, Guns N' Roses co-manager Andy Gould introduced "If the World" as a song to be played during the credits of the new Leo Dicaprio and Russell Crowe film, Body of Lies.


Best Buy to Acquire Napster

A Little Birdy

Chinese Democracy to be Retail Exclusive?

Wal-Mart Strikes Again


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This I Love?

Kelly - I heard that you all were making a home video, explaining the trilogy and other past videos. I was just wondering what it contained and when it'll be released.

- That… that's expensive.

Axl - We released a making of… One for "Don't Cry" and one for "November Rain" and we're making one for "Estranged"… Actually "Estranged" isn't… in some ways a part of the trilogy. It's more like part four. Part three was a mutual self-destruction of the couple that was in "November Rain". And… well, someone had other plans and we were in a position, where something we had worked on for five years had to be rewritten to kinda transcend it. So, it's a video about transcendence of a real life situation, that didn't have a whole lot to do with the story that was intended. And actually I'm kinda glad we made this video instead of the one we were going to make. To know about the story that was in "November Rain", you have to wait on Del's book. It's a story called "Without You".

Steve Downs - Cool. Look forward to that. Thanks for the question Kelly.

Axl - "The Language Of Fear".

Slash - [laughs]

Steve Downs - I'm confused. You talked about the video for the song a little bit earlier. Originally, if I understood it correctly, it was supposed to be part of a trilogy and it didn't necessarily end up that way, or did it?

- Umm, my friend Del James wrote a short story called "Without You", that was influenced by me and my ex-wife, in some ways. And then I ended up writing a song that fit that story, which was "Estranged". And so… You know, that was about, I don't know, four or five years ago and… The story started, then a couple of years later the song came about and then we started working on this project. And then in the middle of the project, or two thirds into the project, real life kind of changed all the plans. And we had to make something else and figure out how to rise above… As an artist, I had to figure out how to rise above my own creation that meant a lot to me. That I was kinda stop dead in my tracks and had to figure out how to make something else and… Like, write a whole new thing on top of something I'd been living to make, that I liked even more. And it was a really hard challenge and myself and the director, Andy Morahan was involved in this whole thing all along. And so was Del James and the band and… For all of us, it was a really hard challenge to rise above. Plus, we've spent 2.5 million dollars and we had to put it out.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Watch You Bleed - Ch. 12 [PART TWO]

by Stephen Davis, 2008 Gotham Books

0n March 16, 1999, Guns N' Roses was presented with a Diamond Album award by the record industry's trade association, commemorating sales of fifteen million units of Appetite for Destruction. This award was accepted, in New York, by Steven Adler.

Jimmy immy Iovine made some headway with Axl in 1999. That summer, Guns N' Roses released their first new song in eight years. The industrial-sounding "Oh My God" was destined for the sound track of End of Days, another Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, and was even introduced by Axl on MTV. Hopes for Chinese Democracy rose in a flurry of publicity, but the song was boring, barely got on the radio, and was slagged in the press as another disappointment from a band that had let its fans, and itself, down.

Late in the year, Axl previewed a dozen Chinese Democracy tracks for Rolling Stone. The magazine was politely unmoved by early versions of new songs "I.R.S.," "Catcher in the Rye," and "The Blues." It duly reported that the new album was tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2000.

Guns N' Roses' much-anticipated live album came out in November 1999. Live Era '87—'93 was a double CD containing twenty-two tracks. Axl and the ex-Gunners mixed and overdubbed the old tracks separately, communicating through managers and staff. Cushioned with ambient South American stadium noise, a future distant echo of "Benny and the Jets," it leaned heavily on the Illusion tours —Guns' bombastic late period— and missed some of the frenetic violence of the young band in a sweaty club. (The art director tried to compensate for this with reproductions of 1985 GN'R street flyers.) Again, despite some blistering performances of the Appetite songs, there was no radio airplay, and reviews for Live Era were less than raving.

Axl had decreed that no ex-members of Guns could help promote the album, and he didn't bother to either, so sales in the crucial Christmas market totaled less than a million units, a shocking slap from their old fans. To many, it looked like the midnight hour had passed, and that the GN'R audience had moved on.


In 2000, Sean Bevan quit trying to produce Chinese Democracy. Interscope got Axl to agree on Roy Thomas Baker, who had produced Queen's major albums. Baker had Guns rerecord everything of any significance with a new drummer, Brian Mantia, formerly of Primus. Then Axl hired Buckethead, the shy, virtuoso metal guitarist who appeared in public wearing a plastic mask and a commercial fried chicken bucket on his head. Axl had this version of Guns N' Roses re-record the tracks they had done for producer Baker.

Izzy Stradlin's Ju Ju Hounds and Slash's Snakepit both toured Japan and Europe in 2000, playing to audiences who yelled for the old Guns songs. Axl Rose performed in public for the first time in six years when he joined Gilby Clarke's Starfuckers at the Cathouse on June 22. The audience of maybe 300 erupted when Axl walked on stage, which spurred him to dance through renditions of "Wild Horses" and "Dead Flowers." Afterward, Axl seemed genuinely relieved that people still wanted to dig his serpentine act.

Guns N' Roses played the House of Blues in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve. Buckethead and Robin Finck fronted the band with Axl a few hours into 2001. Paul Huge played rhythm guitar. Chris Pittman contributed effects. Dizzy Reed anchored the whole thing. "I have traversed a treacherous sea of horrors to be with you here tonight," Axl told the audience. The band blasted into "Nightrain" and the whole building shook. They played a lot of Appetite, including "Think About You" for the first time since 1987. They played a bunch of new songs: "Oh My God," "Silkworms," "The Blues," and "Chinese Democracy," which Axl explained he had written after seeing the film Kundun. Buckethead had a big solo feature, and then threw roses from a Kentucky Fried Chicken container into the crowd. At the end of the show, Axl thanked the 1,800 delirious fans and wished them a happy new year.

Two weeks later, GN'R played for 200,000 at Rock in Rio III. After thousands of people had yelled for the absent Slash, Axl responded: "Yeah, yeah. All right. I know that you're disappointed that some of the people you know and love could not be with us tonight.... But, regardless of what you heard, my former friends have worked very hard ... to do everything they could ... so I wouldn't be here today! .. . And I say, FUCK THAT!"

A European tour was then announced and tickets for some shows sold out with no promotion; but the tour was then canceled without explanation. A planned DVD of the Las Vegas show was also shelved. Later that year, the rescheduled Euro tour was canceled again.

March 2001. Interscope brought in Tom Zutaut to try to get Chinese Democracy finished. Zutaut was the only recording executive ever to get any original music out of Guns N' Roses, and he was offered a major bonus if the album was ready by the end of 2001. CDs of alternate instrumental takes were driven to Axl almost every day. Buckethead then threatened to quit, and had to be coddled.

He made Axl take him to Disneyland, and then demanded that the studio build a chicken wire coop, in which Buckethead then recorded his solos. Producer Greg Wattenberg was hired to work on Axl's vocal tracks, which seemed to be Chinese Democracy's final stumbling block. Greg Wattenberg waited six excruciating weeks to meet Axl, and then was granted only a twenty-minute interview in the studio, at four in the morning. Wattenberg went home. The World Trade Center towers were knocked down, and everything changed, but there was no cracking the carapace of isolation surrounding W. Axl Rose. Both Tom Zutaut and Roy Thomas Baker were out of the picture by Christmas.

Guns N' Roses played two Las Vegas shows at the end of 2001. Axl: "We're doing four or five of the new songs, but we're holding our big guns back." Slash and his new wife, Perla Ferrar, tried to see the New Year's Eve show but were rudely stopped at the backstage door — a serious affront. Doug Goldstein was quoted about this in the press: "We didn't know what [Slash's] intentions were. It would have been a distraction. Axl was really nervous about these shows, and we decided not to take any risks." There were sound monitor problems during these shows, and Axl kept leaving the stage. When everything was working, "Uncle Axl" (as he introduced himself) would crouch at the side of the stage and watch his band work through the old songs, like an invisible spectator.

In early 2002, Axl had the band rerecord all the new songs — again. Paul Huge left the band and was replaced by guitarist Richard Fortus. That summer, Guns N' Roses played sold-out (and well-received) shows in Japan and Europe. Forty-year-old Axl Rose appeared onstage in sports jerseys and a cornrow hairdo under a bandanna. He looked younger than forty, and rumors were published that he'd had plastic surgery on his face, as well as hair transplants. At the Leeds Festival in England on August 23, Axl protested an early curfew:

"I didn't fucking come all the way to fucking England to be told to go back fuckin' home by some fuckin' asshole. [Big cheer] All I've got for the last eight years is shit after shit after shit in the fuckin' press — Axl's this,' and Axl's that' So if you wanna stay, and if I wanna stay, we'll see what happens. Everybody ... Hey, nobody try to get in trouble or anything. Try and have a good time!"

During "Patience," Axl saw someone wearing a Where Is Slash? T-shirt. "He's in my ass," Axl yelled. "That's where Slash is! Fuckhead! Go home!"

They finished the tour at London's Wembley Arena, with Weezer opening, completely sold out. Uncle Axl told the audience that Guns had two new albums, ready to go. He ranted for a while and then asked Tommy Stinson if his remarks qualified as a rant. Then he felt too sick to continue, so Sebastian Bach took his place for "Nightrain" and "Paradise City" and finished the show.

On August 29, 2002, Guns N' Roses made a surprise appearance at MTV's Video Music Awards. After "Jungle," the band premiered the new song "Madagascar" and closed with "Paradise City." Axl finished the mini-set with closed eyes and lifted hands, described in the press as a messianic stance. He did a short interview with MTV's Kurt Loder, and left the building.

Robert John had been taking photographs of Guns N' Roses since the beginning of the band, but now he started getting complaints from Axl. "He wasn't happy with the way he looked in the pictures," Robert said. "But his looks had changed. People get older, right? He'd put on a few pounds. He criticized the brightness of the shots, but I wasn't lighting the shows. He'd already fired Gene Kirkland, a terrific photographer who'd been shooting Guns almost as long as I had.

"Then I started working with Marilyn Manson, and Axl was like, `The only reason Marilyn is working with you is, he's taking my energy through you' You see, it always had to be about Axl, no matter what. It started getting on my nerves. Axl's entire world was having his employees lick his ass up and down, and tell him he was right. But I wasn't paid by him, so I could tell Axl what I felt. And I told him that the guy with the chicken bucket looked fucking weird, and that I just didn't see any chemistry in this band. They just played the old songs, almost note for note.

"Plus, now I was getting messages from Axl through his housekeeper. `We want this. We want that' She was the maid, the housekeeper, whatever. I didn't remember her being part of the organization. I remembered her being his ex-girlfriend's nanny. She never gave him my messages either.

"At one point that year [2002], I didn't see Axl for six months, and he'd changed. He looked different. People weren't being treated right. He had a bunch of psychics telling him what to do. Sharon from Sedona was putting hexes on things so they couldn't drain Axl's precious energy. It was all so weird."

Robert John made a deal with Axl to sell him all his photographs—thousands of images dating to 1984. Robert took the archives to Axl's house and then waited for the check. It never came, and eventually Robert John had to sue Axl Rose to get paid for his years of work with Guns N' Roses.

November 7, 2002. Guns N' Roses' first North American tour in ten years started with a riot in Vancouver when Axl's plane was late and the promoter canceled the first show. The kids smashed some windows, and the riot cops arrived with dogs and beat the crap out of people. Buckethead was upset seeing kids getting their teeth knocked out.

But the rest of the month went well, despite some sparse crowds at smaller venues, and the band played a letter-perfect show at sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York on December 5. Afterward, Axl went out with an entourage, but he was rudely turned away from ultra-chic, model-ridden nightclub Spa because he was wearing a fur jacket and the club had a strict no-fur policy. Humiliated, mad as hell, he stormed back to his hotel.

Instead of playing in Philadelphia the next day, he stayed in and watched a basketball game on television. After both opening bands had played, with Axl still in Manhattan, the Philadelphia show was canceled at eleven P.M. Chairs flew through the air. Trash fires were set. The riot cops arrived. The rest of the tour was canceled by the promoter.

In 2003, Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum began rehearsing a new band they were calling Reloaded. They asked Sebastian Bach if he wanted to sing, but Bas declined. In May, Scott Weiland, former Stone Temple Pilot, was confirmed as the group's singer. In June, guitarist Dave Kushner was added, and the band was renamed Velvet Revolver. They played their first show in L.A. with a snarling set of covers that blew people away. Duff McKagan said Velvet Revolver was the band he'd always wanted to be in.

That summer Geffen Records told Axl Rose it was releasing a Guns N' Roses greatest hits album. Axl didn't want this to happen and got Doug Goldstein to promise them Chinese Democracy by the end of the year if they held off. The label agreed, but they still didn't get the new record. In February 2004, Geffen finally pulled the plug on the band's studio sessions. The Chinese Democracy recording budget was reported to have ballooned to more than $11 million.

Buckethead quit the band.

In March 2004, Geffen released Greatest Hits over Axl's heated objections and despite a court challenge that was dismissed by the judge. Guns' final album shocked everyone by quickly selling two million copies. It got to number one in England and many European markets, and entered the Billboard chart at number three. Sales of Appetite for Destruction also picked up, as well as the single-disc Use Your Illusion compilation Geffen had released in 1998. (This version deleted all the cursing so it could be sold at Wal-Mart and other conservative retail outlets.)


Velvet Revolver's first album, Contraband, came out in the spring of 2004 and the new band started touring, putting on club-level rock concerts that started on time. The music on Contraband (and its successor, Libertad, three years later) was unremittingly grim, perhaps reflecting the tenuous physical and mental health of ex-junkies and alcoholics now in their forties — heavily compromised musicians whose big fun was years behind them and wasn't coming back.

Steven Adler revived his own band, Adler's Appetite, and toured in Europe. Steven Adler lived in Las Vegas, his speech slurred by a cocaine-induced stroke. He admitted (to the Metal Sludge fan Web site) in 2005 that he still sometimes smoked crack but was trying to stop, and was living comfortably on his GN'R royalties.

Izzy Stradlin was living in Indiana, to the surprise of those who remembered the contempt with which he used to describe his home state.

Slash lived with his wife, Perla, and their two kids (London and Cash) in the San Fernando Valley. After years of addiction, Slash had serious heart problems, and a pacemaker-like device was installed in his chest in 2000 to keep him alive.

Duff McKagan lived in Los Angeles with his wife, Susan Holmes, and their two daughters. The rigors of the Velvet Revolver tours sent both Slash and Duff back into drug dependency — Matt Sorum also went to rehab with Duff — but then they got clean again.

In January 2005, Axl Rose announced he had moved GN'R's song publishing business to Sanctuary Records, a recent contender for Industry Heavy status. Sanctuary executive Merck Mercuriades was also managing Guns, since Doug Goldstein had resigned or been fired by Axl for reasons unknown. Eight months later, Slash and Duff McKagan sued Axl after they stopped receiving royalty payments from Guns N' Roses. Axl's lawyers claimed it was all a mistake, and Axl countersued Slash.

Guns N' Roses of the twenty-first century played a week of blazing shows in New York in May 2005—intense theater-size concerts that were hailed by both critics and fans.

The band played "Madagascar" and other new songs, but mostly stuck to carbon copies of the old records. Axl made newspaper headlines in New York when he got punched at a downtown nightclub by fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

In early 2006, a bunch of Chinese Democracy songs were leaked onto the Internet via a fan club Web site. The new songs — featuring drones, robotic rhythms, organlike keyboard variations — sounded tense, grandiose, and unfinished. "Better" was the best of these, although some radio stations downloaded "I.R.S." and began playing it in February — until the band's management put a stop to it. None of the songs matched the greatness of the early band, and people began to understand why the new Guns album was taking so long.

The feud among the original band members continued to simmer in 2006. After Slash paid a contentious nocturnal visit to Axl's house, Axl had his attorney release a public statement claiming that Slash had admitted that Axl had been right about everything over the years. This statement also claimed that Slash had told Axl that Duff McKagan was a wimp, and that Scott Weiland wasn't happening. A furious Scott Weiland in turn attacked Axl on Velvet Revolver's Web site: "Get a new wig, motherfucker! ... Oh shit, here it comes—you fat, Botox-faced, wig-wearing fuck."

May 2006. Guns N' Roses announced a world tour, beginning with four warm-up shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York (formerly the Ritz, where Guns had often played). These four shows-16,000 seats—sold out in three minutes. The opening-night crowd learned that Guns now had three guitar players, for Buckethead had been replaced by Bumblefoot, aka Ron Thal, who joined Robin Finck and Richard Fortus. Axl opened the evening with "Welcome to the Jungle," wearing a leather shirt and a large silver cross, his hair in cornrows and pulled back. His red beard and moustache made him look fierce, like an Irish warlord. The crowd roared the lyrics with him, word for word.

They roared again when he brought out Izzy Stradlin for five songs. Izzy had short hair under a bandanna, and he seemed as amazed as anyone else that he was standing onstage with Axl Rose again. The people in the crush down front saw that Izzy seemed to have tears in his eyes as the band launched into "It's So Easy." The whole crowd sang along to every familiar song, described in The New York Times as "an astonishing spectacle."

They listened carefully to the new songs, trying to figure out "Madagascar" and "The Blues." Later on in the show, Axl brought out Sebastian Bach, who then functioned as a second lead singer, taking over the vocal on "My Michelle" when Axl left the stage. Axl thanked Bas onstage for persuading him to tour again. From then on, Bach often stayed with Guns N' Roses on the road, serving as an adjutant or relief rock star, filling in whenever needed.

Guns played in Europe next, beginning in Spain. In June they played a sold-out show in Stockholm, after which Axl partied with a bunch of leather-wearing blondes at the Café Opera. Back at the Hotel Bern, really drunk at three A.M., he got into a shouting match with a young woman. A security guard tried to intervene. Axl smashed a mirror, then bit the guard on the leg. The police dragged him off to jail.

International headlines followed the next day, along with a $5,000 fine.

The seven-piece Guns played a successful North American tour beginning in September 2006. Rap-rockers Papa Roach opened many of the shows. Drummer Brian Mantia was replaced by Frank Ferrer. The tour was undertaken to raise cash to finish the album and keep the band alive, since their label refused to renegotiate or discuss marketing and video treatments until they had the master tapes of Chinese Democracy in hand.

The L.A. show (actually in San Bernardino) in September was their first in fourteen years. They sold out the venue and earned respectful if somewhat bemused reviews, as if they were the best Guns N' Roses tribute band in the world. Afterward, Axl threw a lavish party at his Malibu compound and played the full Chinese Democracy album for guests in his billiards room. He said that veteran engineer Andy Wallace, who had mixed Nirvana's Nevermind, was working on the Guns album in New York.

Merck Mercuriades told Rolling Stone that the record would be out by the end of 2006. The following month, Axl told Mercuriades that he was out instead. Chinese Democracy stayed in the can.

Tower Records closed at the end of the year, bankrupt because kids didn't pay for records anymore, preferring to download or copy them instead. Axl was shocked by this, and wondered if there would be any stores left to sell Chinese Democracy — if he ever let it out. Late in 2006, in an open letter to Guns fans on the band's Web site, Axl wrote: "To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement." He also hinted it would be released in March 2007.

It didn't happen. Two months after that, more tracks were "leaked" on the Internet.

Most were remixes of previously downloadable music, and the critics yawned. Guns spent that summer playing shows in Mexico, Australia, and Japan. Axl worked with Sebastian Bach on his solo album, Angel Down, which came out late in 2007. The three duets Axl performed with Bas were his first recordings in years.

Late in the year, as the Santa Ana winds roared from the east, Axl manned a garden hose as his Malibu mansion narrowly missed being consumed by wildfires that scorched thousands of acres in southern California. Part of the roof burned, but the house, and its wily and ruthlessly determined owner, survived to fight again another day.

In the spring of 2008, Velvet Revolver imploded when Scott Weiland — out on $40,000 bail after a drug arrest on a freeway ramp — left the band to return to Stone Temple Pilots. Weiland and Matt Sorum had been publicly feuding, and Slash released a statement that they were fed up with Weiland's "erratic onstage behavior and personal problems." No replacement was announced, and tongues began to feverishly wag that Axl Rose, who was rumored to have serious cash-flow issues, would re-form the original Guns N' Roses for one final stupendous tour.

The press wanted to speak with Axl about this possibility, but they couldn't find him, and no one returned their calls.

To many, Axl Rose remained an enigma. Almost anything he did made headlines in American newspapers. Others saw him as a poster child for narcissism and neurotic deliberation. His obsessive tinkering with Chinese Democracy left some convinced it would never come out.

Some longtime Guns fans - those left emotionally exhausted after hearing Appetite for Destruction for the first time — expressed the fervent desire that the Democracy album not appear, on the theory that it was better just to let a great band die with some measure of dignity.

Others didn't see it that way. To them, Axl was a heroic artist, uninterested in money or fame, aiming for musical perfection at any cost. Tom Zutaut publicly defended Axl against his critics, maintaining that Axl Rose's artistic decisions were, and always had been, "motivated by a pure desire to make every recording count as a true reflection of his own high standards."

Everyone who had ever loved Guns N' Roses waited to see what would happen next.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Girl Loves Distortion - Earth Beings on Exhibit

"Could you be more original?"

With their debut album, Earth Beings on Exhibit, Girl Loves Distortion has managed to accomplish quite a feat.

The band is impossible to pigeon-hole.

The've managed to create music that has a wide appeal - without sounding wartered-down.

Once someone says: "they sound like this band or that band," they've taken something away from the music. With that in mind, I won't be comparing them to any bands you've heard - but if you really want to check out their influences - they list them on the bio pages of their website.

As I've said before, their sound is a fusion of everything that is good about rock today.

The band consists of Jenn Izza (percussion, vocals) Steven Rubin (bass, guitar, organ, vocals) and Chris (guitar, bass, organ, vocals).

If you're ever in the DC area you should catch one of their heroic live shows - they're known for being as fun to watch as they are to listen to.

The album is mixed really well - with the guitars LOUD (the way they should be).

The album opens with "Transition and Resistance." Right away the fuzzy guitars kick you in the face and the band does the loud-quiet-loud thing just right. They say if you want to be a great writer you need to read alot - well, the same goes for making great records - you better listen to alot of them - and these 3 have.

The second cut is "Luminance (We Don't Dance)." This song has everything. It starts off with a killer bass hook and some deep vocals. Throw in some talkbox guitar and you've got a song that feeds your head but also makes you shake your hips.

But, it's "Shock to the System" that's my favorite track on the album. It's glorious. A triumph.

You can buy (and listen to) the album here.

Girl Loves Distortion

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slash Still Working on Solo Project

Slash recently told Rolling Stone that working on his forthcoming solo album has been “cathartic” because “I’m totally on my own. A buddy of mine has got a mini-studio in his house and we stay until two or three in the morning just recording the basic demos,” he says. “I’m used to a band situation where I’m one fifth of the input no matter who brought the song or whatever it is. Every band I’ve ever been in we all just sort of tear it apart, put it back together, and it comes out however it comes out. This is interesting for me because I’m just doing my thing and I have no one to answer to.”

Eventually, Slash will bring in different singers for every song, though he won’t name names. “There’s a wish list and so far I’ve managed to get pretty much everybody on that wish list to commit,” he says. “At the pace the Velvet singer search is going I’ll probably get this done before then.”

Until then, you can amuse yourself by watching this video for "Neither Can I" from Slash's Snakepit.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Rick Wright Dead

Richard Wright, a founder member of Pink Floyd, died today at the age of 65 after battling cancer, his spokesman said.

Wright played the keyboard with the legendary band and wrote music in classic albums like the Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here.

His spokesman said: "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

"Any Colour You Like"

"On the Run"

Best Buy to Acquire Napster

Best Buy Inc. has agreed to buy Napster Inc. for $121 million, a deal that the consumer-electronics giant said it will use to reach new customers.

The deal, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books, values the provider of digital music at $2.65 a share, nearly double Friday's closing price of $1.36.

The acquisition, which is set to close in the fourth quarter, includes Napster's 700,000 digital entertainment subscribers, Web-based customer-service platform and mobile capabilities.

"Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and other digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Dunn.

Best Buy has been expanding its wireless products and services, rolling out cellphone departments to all of its U.S. stores. In May, the consumer electronics retailer paid $2.1 billion to form a joint venture with U.K.-based Carphone Warehouse Group PLC.

Napster said Chief Executive Chris Gorog and the company's senior executives will remain in their posts. The company does not plan to relocate its Los Angeles headquarters.

In late May, Napster began selling songs in the unrestricted MP3 format, a move the company hoped would bolster its position against Apple Inc.'s iTunes and Amazon.com Inc.'s online store. Napster also continued selling restricted tracks via its subscription service.

I believe this is a great move for Best Buy. Remember when Blockbuster began renting movies online? They effectively killed Netflix.

By having 'bricks-and-mortar' retail outlets as well as a strong online presence, Best Buy should be able to compete with Amazon (no bricks-and-mortar) and Wal-Mart (not a destination for online music downloads).

Hopefully they'll be releasing Chinese Democracy as a physical and a digital product sometime in the next 10 weeks.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Watch You Bleed - Chapter 12

by Stephen Davis, 2008 Gotham Books


Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.

—Winston Churchill


At the beginning of 1994, Guns N' Roses was still intact, but the fissures among the band's personalities were getting too wide to straddle. Axl was sequestered in his Malibu estate, almost completely reclusive. But in mid-January, he flew to New York for the induction of early inspirer Elton John into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Axl joined the celebrity jam late in the program, singing the Beatles' "Come Together" with Bruce Springsteen.

It was his last public appearance (except in courtrooms) for six years.

Geffen Records was panting for a new Guns N' Roses album. David Geffen had sold the label to MCA (Music Corporation of America) in 1990 for a billion dollars, and in 1994 had one year remaining on his employment contract. Geffen had offered Guns an album advance reported to be worth 10 million dollars.

So, in the spring of 1994, the crew set Guns up in a big room at The Complex, an L.A. studio, equipped with pool tables and a GN'R pinball machine. But the band almost never showed up, and the engineers—who were on call permanently—never had all six Gunners in the room at any one time.

It didn't matter, because Guns didn't really have any new songs, only some fragments, riffs, and barely sketched ideas. The expenses began to build up as the studio sat buzzing, ready, and usually empty.

Duff McKagan collapsed in April. Duff recalled, "The end of my drinking career came when my pancreas burst, which was not fun. It lets out the bile, which gives your stomach and intestines third-degree burns. Usually they slit you open to let some of the steam out, which relieves the pain before you die." Duff was in the hospital for ten days, scared shitless, upset not that he had lived fast and died young, but that his corpse would be less than exquisite. "I looked like bloated Elvis," he said.

The doctors explained that if he went home and drank vodka, he would die right away since his burst gland was still exposed. They had left his pancreas in place, and Duff was relieved he didn't have to become diabetic. "It may sound corny," he told an interviewer, "but my doctor said, 'There's a reason you're still alive. Make good use of it, because this doesn't happen all the time."

Duff retreated to Seattle to recover. Kurt Cobain was on the same flight, having checked himself out of a rehab program. The doctors put Duff on morphine for the pancreatic pain and other drugs to control delirium tremens from alcohol detoxification. Kurt Cobain put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, sending his fans and many in his generation into shock. "Then I was sober," Duff recalled, "and everything seemed like I was on acid, because it was so real."

Duff started to exercise and worked with a martial arts teacher. To keep busy, he began going through the band's financial statements, which he found impossible to understand. When he returned to L.A., a changed man, Duff started taking business classes at a community college downtown. Later, McKagan entered a Jesuit business college in Seattle and would eventually graduate with a degree in finance (with a minor in accounting).

June 1994. Guns was silent as Axl prepared to defend himself in court against the two abuse lawsuits filed by his former lovers. He reportedly had Erin Everly's graphic bondage scenes erased from Guns' unused "It's So Easy" video, and then the tape was burned.

Meanwhile, Gilby Clarke had been working hard on a solo album that featured Duff, Slash, and Axl along with some guest stars. Gilby's record was released (by Virgin Records) as Pawnshop Guitars in June (and is still considered by fans to be the strongest of the Guns-associated solo albums). It also got Gilby fired.

Actually, Gilby Clarke had been fired, and then rehired, three times in the early months of 1994. Then Clarke did interviews to promote his record, and some mild, faintly critical, supposedly off-the-record remarks Gilby made about Axl's control-freak issues were published in Kerrang! that month. Axl was furious.

"Axl fired Gilby without consulting anyone," Slash said later. "His rationale was that Gilby had always been a hired hand, and that he couldn't write with him."

Gilby went quietly. Then the royalty checks stopped. No one would return his calls. Reluctantly, Gilby sued Guns N' Roses. An undisclosed settlement was reached in 1995.

In the summer of 1994, Slash got more serious about a side project, a band originally conceived as SVO Snakepit. (SVO stood for Slash's Very Own.) This was Slash, Gilby, and members of other local bands working out some of the ideas Slash was trying to develop for the next Guns album.

Slash: "We booked ourselves a tour across the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia—clubs and theaters. We shot two videos and released a single, 'Beggars and Hangers On.' There was no drama. We booked gigs, showed up, got up there, and played. It helped me rediscover why I love what I do."

Gilby's dismissal left a huge hole in Guns N' Roses. Slash was unable to communicate with Axl. Izzy Stradlin had been the bridge between Axl and the rest of the band. Slash: "Izzy was the last one in the band able to get through to him, creatively." Slash said that neither he nor Duff had the social skills to get through Axl's wall of silence, which was a problem because the band had agreed to record a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" for the new Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt movie, Interview with the Vampire.

Then Axl hired Paul Huge to replace Gilby in Guns N' Roses.

Huge was Axl's old pal from Lafayette, and the cowriter of "Back Off Bitch," arguably Guns' worst song ever. The others were appalled. They all hated Paul Huge. Slash said that Huge had zero personality, no music skills, and was the least interesting guy holding a guitar Slash had ever met. They begged Axl, through Doug Goldstein, to reconsider, but Paul Huge was now in the band. They tried to work with him in Slash's home studio, but nothing came of it but toxic vibes and general negativity. Slash sent Axl tapes of songs he'd been working on, but never heard back. Slash didn't speak to Axl for a long time after that.

This version of Guns cut "Sympathy for the Devil" with Mike Clink at Rumbo Sound in the fall of 1994. Tom Zutaut had hoped this would get the band together in the studio again, jump-start the new Guns album, and give the Geffen-released sound track a shot at the sales charts. Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum showed up for work every day. Axl stayed away, and recorded his vocals and Huge's rhythm guitar when the others had left.

Slash: "Axl never showed up, so everybody lost interest." Once Slash crashed one of the vocal sessions to try to speak with Axl. He waited for hours. When Axl finally arrived, they sat in the lounge. "He talked to me from behind a magazine," Slash said, "without looking me in the eye once." After fifteen minutes of disrespect, Slash could stand it no longer and took off.

When the tracks were done, Bill Price was flown in from London to mix them. They sent Slash a DAT of the new mix with the vocals, and he went into shock because there was another guitar laid on top of his, to make it sound more like Keith Richards's 1968 creation. Slash was angry. "Axl had gotten Paul Huge to double over me.... It was like really bad plagiarism."

The rest of Guns were embarrassed by their version of "Sympathy for the Devil," which was released as a Guns N' Roses single in December 1994. It was, according to Slash, "thoroughly average." It was also the last recording by the tattered remnants of the shambolic rebels of 1985. Slash, in his memoirs, said it was the final blow. "If you've ever wondered what a band sounds like when it's breaking up, listen to our cover of 'Sympathy for the Devil.'"


It was the worst of times for W. Axl Rose in April 1995, as he listened in court to his two former lovers and their witnesses testify against him. Erin Everly said he had sodomized her against her will. She said that he put her in the hospital with injuries from beatings. An ex-girlfriend of Slash's testified that Axl had brutalized Erin and had smashed her things, and she bitterly called Axl a pig in front of the jury. All this got into the press, so it was a total disgrace. Stephanie Seymour said that Axl had dragged her, barefoot, through glass bottles he had broken. She said he had hit her in the face and kicked her in the abdomen. Hearing all this, with more testimony to come, Axl's lawyers called it a day and settled. (Maybe he shouldn't have sued a rich man's wife.)

Parade magazine reported that an insurance company paid Seymour $400,000. The amount of Erin Everly's settlement was undisclosed. Axl Rose refused any comment. His publicist said that Axl was concentrating on his work. He later said he wrote a new song during the trial called "Oklahoma," about the concurrent bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City in revenge for the FBI's siege of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, where everyone had died in a holocaust of snakepit religion and exploding ammunition.

February 1995. Slash's Snakepit released the album It's Five O'Clock Somewhere on Geffen Records, and carried the swing for Guns-style hard rock for the rest of the year. Gilby, Duff, and Matt Sorum played on the record and in the Snakepit lineup that played the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England that summer. Then the group broke up, pulled off the road by its record company after the album had sold a respectable two million units and recouped the label's costs.

But Geffen was dry, with few hit records, and the label needed Guns N' Roses back in the studio if it was going to survive. David Geffen had retired from the record business in 1995 and formed the multimedia empire Dreamworks SKG with two movie moguls. Geffen Records, somewhat reduced, now functioned as a semi-independent label under the aegis of the Universal Music Group, which had subsumed MCA. Then Universal was sold to Seagram, the Canadian liquor conglomerate.

As the corporate dust settled, and as Guns' back catalogue continued to bring in serious revenue amid the cultural doldrums of the mid-nineties, Axl Rose was left alone to record at his own pace.

The band actually rehearsed at the Complex a few times that year, but Axl wouldn't show up until two in the morning. He wanted to move the band in an industrial-techno direction to stay current. Slash didn't want to deny Guns' blues-rock roots. "We didn't spend a lot of time collaborating," Slash recalled. The band would play some things for Axl. Slash: "He'd sit back in the chair, watching a riff here, a riff there. But no one knew where it was going." The band then got bored or tired and went home, leaving Axl alone.

Back in 1986, they used to make fun of Axl and call him the Ayatollah, but now it really was a dictatorship. Axl and Doug Goldstein made all decisions for the band, who were later notified via fax or telephone. Then Axl presented Slash and Duff with a new band contract. Slash: "It stated that Axl retained rights to the band name and could start a new band called Guns N' Roses. Duff and I could be members, but only on his terms, which felt like we were defined as hired hands." Slash and Duff hesitated. Axl sent them a letter on August 31, 1995, informing them that he was leaving the band and taking over the brand. Slash and Duff capitulated, and signed Axl's new deal.

"I signed it and let it go," Slash said. He was worn down by all the bullshit, and the lawyers were making fortunes going to meetings about all this. "I wanted to move on, and see if we had anywhere left to go together."

When news of this leaked out, Slash and Duff were widely criticized for bending over for W. Axl Rose. Even Slash agreed. No one was more amazed than he that they "had allowed Axl the freedom, over all those years, to transform what we had into some morbid reality that existed only in his head."

Shannon Hoon's OD affected Axl Rose deeply. The Blind Melon singer was found dead in his tour bus, before a gig at the legendary New Orleans club Tipitina's on October 21, 1995. The parish coroner ruled the death a cocaine overdose. Shannon, whom everyone loved for his saucer-eyed innocence and angelic voice, was only twenty-eight years old. He left behind a baby daughter named Nico Blue.

Slash spent much of 1996 working on personal business. He played at James Brown's birthday party, and wrote more songs for his own band. His wife, Renee, left him.

Meanwhile, Duff and Matt Sorum joined Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor in a (mostly) sober, one-off band, the Neurotic Outsiders, which cut a generic supergroup album (read: no good songs) for Madonna's Maverick Records.

All work on the next Guns album had stopped by September 1996. Axl Rose's mother, Sharon Bailey, died suddenly at the age of fifty-one. Fires fanned by California's devil winds burned through Malibu and threatened Axl's canyon. Slash put together a short-term band, Slash's Blues Ball, and said (in an online chat) that he and Axl were "deliberating over the future of our relationship."

The Rolling Stones were in L.A., working on the Bridges to Babylon album. Slash attended some of the sessions and noticed the atmosphere of mutual respect despite fairly intense personal differences. Slash told Keith Richards his problems, and Keith sternly advised Slash that it was a sacred trust never to leave your band. Others reminded him that Slash and Axl had created the greatest front-line collaboration of their era. This just made Slash's problems even worse.

Then there was a final, secret dinner between Axl and Slash in an Italian restaurant in Brentwood. Axl laid out his new plans for Guns, trying hard to draw Slash into his vision, a vision that Slash thought was totally whack.

Slash was tired of being manipulated. After a sleepless night of despair and suicidal thoughts, Slash called Doug Goldstein.

"That's it," Slash said. "I quit." Goldstein tried to respond, but Slash had already hung up.

Axl fought back, according to Slash. He called Slash's father, called his wife, called his bodyguard, called anyone who could get to the recalcitrant guitarist. Axl said that Slash was making the biggest mistake of his life, and that he was pissing away a fortune. Slash didn't care. He felt an immense burden had been lifted from his shoulders. He called Duff, Matt Sorum, and guitar tech Adam Day to tell them, and they all said they understood.

On October 30, 1996, Slash announced via his publicist that he had left Guns N' Roses. Axl shot off a fax to MTV News claiming that Slash hadn't been in the band since 1995, and that there would be a new Guns N' Roses album soon.


A 1997, Geffen executive Todd Sullivan was given the job of prying the next Guns N' Roses album out of the clutches of the band's sole owner, W. Axl Rose. The label thought that fresh ears might help, and they wanted to team Guns with a new producer. So Sullivan sent Axl a box of CDs by different producers to see if anyone appealed to him. A few days later Sullivan learned that Axl had thrown the CDs in his driveway, without listening to them, and then ran over them with his car until they were just bits of crushed plastic. Todd Sullivan then met with Axl, who played him some of the sketches the band had been trying to develop. Sullivan responded with enthusiasm, and suggested that Axl try to bear down and complete some of these songs. Axl stared at Sullivan and then said, "Hmmm, bear down and complete some of these songs." The following day, Sullivan got a call from Geffen chairman Eddie Rosenblatt, informing him he was no longer working with Guns N' Roses.

In February, Axl flew to Arizona to visit his spiritual advisors in Sedona. On February 11, he was arrested at the Phoenix airport and charged with threatening a security worker searching his luggage. He later pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and was fined and given a day in jail.

The new album now at least had a title, Chinese Democracy, which was Axl's flip acknowledgment that Guns was indeed a dictatorship. Axl brought in turntable guy Moby to audit some tracks and maybe add some techno-style production. Moby wasn't there for long. He said later that Axl seemed reserved and suspicious—"like a beaten dog." It was impossible to discover any logical pattern to the song sketches Axl had on tape. Axl became defensive when Moby asked him about the vocals. "He just said he was going to get to them eventually." Moby walked out, and later said he would be surprised if Chinese Democracy ever came out at all.

Then the sessions stopped for a long time. West Arkeen, who had helped write some of Guns' best songs, died in May 1997 of a heroin overdose, at age thirty-six. Then Duff McKagan, unable to justify the band's existence any longer, quit Guns N' Roses in August, which left Axl as the sole remaining original member.

In early 1998 the Democracy sessions moved to Rumbo Sound, where the crew installed tapestries, colored lights, and the usual rock star amenities. Matt Sorum was fired and replaced by drummer josh Freese. Slash's replacement was Robin Finck, late of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Dizzy Reed and Paul Huge stayed in the band. Duff was replaced by Tommy Stinson, late of the Replacements, on bass guitar. The new producer was Youth (Martin Glover). Geffen was desperate for a hit record, as the label was about to be fed into the corporate meat grinder. They told Axl that their jobs were at stake, and then advanced him a million dollars, with the promise of another million as a bonus if the album was finished by March 1999.

They promised Youth bonus royalties also, which was unusual, but none of this got Axl into Rumbo Sound. Youth would visit Axl in Latigo Canyon, would notice the complete isolation in which he lived, would be told by Axl that he wasn't really ready to make an album right now. So Youth walked out, and was replaced by Sean Bevan, who'd done Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.

He began working with the band, trying to build sketches and fragments into coherent instrumental tracks. Operating expenses were stratospheric as they bought or rented every new computer system on the market. Five days a week, couriers ferried DATs containing new mixes of the various songs to Axl in Malibu, where they were mostly received without comment. Weeks sometimes passed by with no studio activity at all. But by the end of the year, they had more than a thousand DATs and CDs of recorded music, all carefully labeled.

The pressure on the Geffen execs intensified. Universal Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman was calling Geffen executives every other week and was getting more and more annoyed at being told the label had no release date for an album they'd already spent millions on. Doug Goldstein suggested that Geffen put out a live Guns N' Roses album to release some of the pressure on Axl. A lot of energy now went into sifting through concert tapes as far back as the London club shows of 1986.

This wasn't enough to save more than a hundred Geffen employees, who were fired in January 1999 when Universal folded Geffen Records into Interscope Records, whose president, Jimmy Iovine, then took charge of Guns' recorded output. Axl Rose was reportedly upset by the mass exodus of people he had worked with at Geffen for ten years and more, and he stayed away from the recording studio in mute protest. The March 1999 delivery deadline for Chinese Democracy passed without much notice.

Friday, September 12, 2008

IGN Reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

Guns N' Roses grabbed the music world by the balls with their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and then gave those balls a gentle squeeze with the two-disc follow-up Use Your Illusion. GNR was a band overloaded with talent and ego, the latter of which caused a split that would have seemed to mean the premature end to one of the great rock bands of the past 20 years. Somehow, Axl Rose and the GNR name survived. For more than a decade GNR has been working on Chinese Democracy, an album that could help the group regain its mantle as one of the kings of rock 'n' roll.

It's been rumored that GNR has written more than 100 songs for consideration on the album -- an album that with each passing year seems less and less likely to be released. But it appears Chinese Democracy may yet see the light of day. And the strongest evidence is that the first GNR single in a long, long time has made its debut… in a videogame.

While most of the 84 tracks on Rock Band 2 are previously released ditties, "Shackler's Revenge" is brand new from Guns N' Roses. Forget the GNR you remember from when you were in high school. "Shackler's Revenge" is a brooding, industrial riff with a catchy chorus and only a hint of Axl's classic high-pitched vocals that gets buried at times under heavy distortion. Once you get past the first 30 seconds, "Shackler's Revenge" picks up quite a bit, with one good hook that will keep it bouncing around in your head for at least a couple of weeks.

Everyone wants to know if the new GNR song is any good. I would say that it's an acquired taste and that the opening half-minute feels a tad self-indulgent. But the song gets better from that point. The more I listen (and play) "Shackler's Revenge" the more it grows on me. Plenty will be turned off by the fact that this doesn't sound at all like classic GNR, but if you want a classic, just go buy Appetite for Destruction. This is the new Guns N' Roses, deal with it or get off the planet.

Track Difficulty Ratings
Band 4 | Guitar 5 | Bass 4 | Vocals 2 | Drums 2

Of course, this is a music game we're talking about, so our real concern is what it's like playing "Shackler's Revenge." A word of warning: amateurs need not enter. While GNR's latest won't put you to the test to the excruciating level of Judas Priest's "Painkiller" or Dream Theatre's "Panic Attack," it is a definite challenge on Expert difficulty. You need your A-game here from all parties.

Though Slash is long gone from the band, the lead guitar proves a finger workout. There's really no respite from start to finish, so save your star power for when you're on the precipice of failure. Better than the guitar, though, is the surprising bass play. This is one of the fastest, slickest bass lines in the entirety of Rock Band 2. The drums are equally up-tempo, but are the easiest instrument for the song. The backbeat in general is pretty killer, both in terms of sound and gameplay challenge. And, of course, one member of the band has the unenviable task of trying to emulate Axl Rose. It's not as difficult as it might sound. At least, it's not that tough to do well in the game. Actually sounding like Axl? Well, it's hard to imagine many in the world will do his vocals justice.

Guns N' Roses' "Shackler's Revenge" is a great addition to the Rock Band 2 library. Whether or not you love listening to the song, is irrelevant. It's fun to play. And with Rock Band, that is ultimately what matters most.

Editor's Note: We're sorry we can't give you a sampling of the song. It remains under wraps until Rock Band 2 becomes available this Sunday.


New Info on "Shackler's Revenge"

Here is the track info for "Shackler's Revenge" which appears on the Rock Band 2 video game:
“Shackler's Revenge” as performed by Guns N’ Roses courtesy of Sony BMG Music.

Music writers Rose, Carroll, Costanzo, Mantia, Finck, Scaturro.

Published by Kobalt Music Publishing.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the names listed above - here's how it breaks down:
Axl Rose (vocals),
Brian "Buckethead" Carroll (guitar),
Caram Costanzo (engineer),
Bryan "Brain" Mantia (drums),
Robin Finck (guitar), and
Pete Scaturro (?)
In September 2008 "Shackler’s Revenge," the first single from the highly anticipated Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy that Pete co-wrote with Buckethead and Brain, will be featured in Rock Band 2.

Laura Alice.com
SO HOOD Magazine

On Down The Road - Izzy Stradlin

Izzy Stradlin, On Down The Road (Japan 2002)

Izzy Stradlin: Guitar, Vocals
Rick Richards: Guitar, Vocals
Duff McKagan: Bass
Taz Bentley: Drums
Ian "Mac" McLagan: Keyboards

The Songs:

"You Betcha" - A quick and humorous little breakup song. Not quite as tongue-in-cheek as "Used to Love Her" or "You Ain't the First," but I love how he says
"Bye bye you betcha, so long
Bye bye you betcha, don't call"
"Gone Dead Train" - This is a pretty cool song, too. The song barrells along (like a train) until it gets to the line: "gone ... ... dead ... train" and then it dies. I love it.

"Monkeys" - I'm still not really sure what this song is about. I guess it's a "drug song." I dunno. The guitar solo in the middle is good, but too short. The guitar solo at the end kicks ass though (before it fades out).

"On Down The Road" - I don't know why this is the title track as it's one of the weaker songs on the disc. It is saved by a great chorus, but the rest of it is a little dull. If this song was slowed down a little I could imagine it being a lost Grateful Dead track. I think Iz must have been depressed when he wrote this album. Lyrically hee seems very disillusioned.

"Sweet Caress" - I really, really love this song. I've embedded the video here for you so you can judge for yourself.

"Coke'n" - This is my favorite song. Definitely more Grateful Dead than Guns N' Roses. Pretty much a perfect track. What can I say? I can't "do" cocaine anymore, so at least I can "listen" to it.

Embedded below is a video that I made for "Coke'n."

"Got Some News" - This one is just Izzy and an acoustic guitar - nothin' else. It's probably a demo that Iz just decided to leave 'as-is.' A sad little 'breakup' song.

"Way To Go" - Could've been on Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. Classic Izzy (The Stones/Faces).

"Please Go Home" - From the Stones' album, Flowers, "Please Go Home" features the famous Bo Diddley Beat and some more 'kiss-off' lyrics.
"I don't want to be on my own
Cause I can't talk much better alone
But I don't have to ring like a phone
Won't you please go home"
"Lot To Learn" - Is this song about Axl?
"Ya go paranoid
Try'na take my coin
Fuckin' up the deal
Makin' it unreal

Yeah you've got ta lotta learn
But ya never gonna get it from me
Yeah you've got ta lotta learn
Guess ya bit off more than your piece"
Probably not. I guess it could be about any fucker (male or female) that crossed Izzy. Like I've said before - this is definitely Izzy's angriest record. I'd be curious as to what was going on with Iz's personal life back in 2002.

Anyway, "Lot to Learn" is a blistering track. Richards absolutely tears up the middle and outro solos and the Izzy's vocals are raw and nasty.

In short, On Down the Road is one of Izzy's better albums - unfortunately it's still pretty hard to find in it's entirety.

The last time I checked - iTunes was selling an 8-song version - but I've been told that even that collection is unavailable sometimes.

Please leave any comments you have below.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Even Duff Has His Own Blog Now

Score one for The Seattle Weekly.

Duff is now writing a weekly blog for the 'Reverb' section of their website.
"Duff McKagan, formerly of Guns N' Roses, plays bass in Velvet Revolver. His column appears every Thursday on Reverb."
Here's just a sample of the kind of prose you can expect from Mr. McKagan (the coolest guy on the planet).
I was fortunate enough in my teens to see the Clash on their first U.S. theater tour. This was before the major recognition they received on the London Calling record, but they were still larger than life to me and truly exotic.

If the term ‘rock star’ could have been used at any time in my youth-driven lingo, it would have been then and it would have described the true awe that I felt of being in the same room as these erstwhile trend setters.

About 200 people showed up at the Paramount in Seattle to see this gig and it was, simply put, mind-blowing. During the show, a big yellow-shirted security guy up front punched a fan and broke his nose. Blood was everywhere. The Clash stopped the show.

Bassist Paul Simonen appeared from the wings of stage right wielding a firefighter’s axe that he must have plucked from the wall. He jumped down in the pit and proceeded to chop down the wooden barrier separating the fans from the band while guitarist Joe Strummer dressed down the security gorilla and went on further to say that there was no difference between the fans and the bands…"we are all in this together!

There is no such thing as a Rock Star, just musicians and listeners!" That moment remains static in my mind to this day.
Duff's Weekly Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

John Corabi Turns Down Velvet Revolver

Guitarist and singer, John Corabi, formerly of Motley Crue and Ratt, was interviewed on the Classic Metal Show this week (9/6).

Among other things, he mentions that Velvet Revolver sent him tracks, and asked him to write lyrics, and come into the studio to record vocals over them.

John turned them down saying that he "doesn't want to replace another established singer."

In my opinion, that's too bad, because I think John would have been a perfect fit for VR.

It seems like there's really only one vocalist who belongs with Slash and Duff.

Gavin Rossdale? No! W. Axl Rose, duh.

You can listen to the entire interview here, and you can watch John Corabi in action at the bottom of this page.


John Corabi on the web: john-corabi.net


Bach: "I Never Booked These Shows"

Sebastian Bach has stepped into the row over a string of shows in Canada which were allegedly cancelled - insisting he was never booked to play the dates.

The singer was recently reported to have scrapped a series of gigs in Canada next month, including a concert in Vancouver on October 30th.

Bach is adamant that although he was considering a Canadian tour, none of the bookings were ever confirmed.

He writes on his MySpace page, "I do not ever cancel any shows. I have no idea why any of these shows went on sale. I never announced them on my site because they were never confirmed. We wanted to do the tour, we were gonna do the tour, but the offers that we got made it impossible for us to actually do the tour. No show or tour was ever cancelled - because no show or tour was ever booked! I have no clue why any of these shows went on sale, but there are no shows at all planned at this time."

Contact Music

Saturday, September 6, 2008

David Bowie Tops Gayest Record Poll

David Bowie's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust has been voted the gayest record of all time.

The list, which features in Out magazine, was compiled by 100 gay actors, musicians and critics.

Boy George, Rufus Wainwright and Jake Shears were among the artists voting.

Bowie's seminal 1972 release beat The Smiths' self-titled debut to the top spot. Other acts in the top ten included Elton John, Judy Garland and Madonna.

The top ten in full:

1. David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
2. The Smiths - The Smiths
3. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
4. Indigo Girls - Indigo Girls
5. Judy Garland - Judy At Carnegie Hall
6. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
7. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
8. Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
9. Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
10. Antony And The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now

Digital Spy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Big Black - Atomizer

After reading that Steve Albini is producing the new Scott Weiland solo disc, I dug out my copy of Atomizer and reveled in the awesome screech of Steve's seminal guitar work.

Atomizer is, no doubt, the band's finest offering. It was recorded in 1985, but sat unreleased until a year later. Supposedly, this was because the cover art originally featured Marvin the Martian.

Another rumor that floated around was that the album was recorded over the phone from jail. I can't see how this could be true, but it was an awesome story.

Needless to say "Bazooka Joe" made its way on every mixtape I made in 1986.

You can download Atomizer here.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This Song Does Not Suck.

If you don't "get" Kid Rock than you are probably too hip for your own good.

Yes. This means you.


What Lars SAYS About the Death Magnetic Leak and ...

Yesterday, Metallica's new album, Death Magnetic leaked to the torrent sites. Here's what Lars told Radio Station KITS (105.3 FM) San Francisco.
"Listen, we're ten days from release. I mean, from here, we're golden. If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days. Trust me. Ten days out and it hasn't quote-unquote fallen off the truck yet? Everybody's happy. It's 2008 and it's part of how it is these days, so it's fine. We're happy."

That's what Lars said "on-air."

Here's the memo that Metallica sent to to radio stations and media outlets.
We know it has leaked on some bit torrent sites. So what, that happens all the time and we are not changing our plan.
Please tell radio NOT to play other songs, even if they stole the record. We are vigorously fighting to get it off the internet the best we can.
They are our partners and we have a ton for them that could be in jeopardy if they play other music. ( other than My Apocalypse or Cyanide)
Am Ex spent a bunch of money in the majors, per our direction.
ATT spent a ton of money based on our direction.
Clear Channel has a "Sneak Peak". All with CONTENT.
We have a premiere EXCLUSIVE for radio hosted by Dave Grohl and Taylor.
We have a tour and pre sale that many many stations are part of.
We have the biggest marketing plan for a record ever happening RIGHT NOW and they need to be our partner. Its that simple.

PS There are 2 other songs, My Apocalypse and Cyanide that are floating out there and on iTunes....
we are considering servicing those tomorrow morning to promote the premiere and also to let radio know we care about their needs... but for now PLEASE explain this as need be. Thanks.
Bob Lefsetz

I'll be back with a new Guns N' Roses story tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chinese Democracy is the Hey Jude of Breakfast Cereals

• Industry Guru, Bob Lefsetz, and ne'er-do-well/legend Mister Saint Laurent both believe that that Best Buy has secured the exclusive rights to sell the long-awaited, fifth Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy.

• Smashing Pumpkins will debut their new single via Guitar Hero: World Tour.

Chinese Democracy leaker Kevin "Skwerl" Cogill has set up a Paypal account for his legal defense fund.


Dead Planning Obama Benefit in PA

Sources confirm that the surviving members of the Grateful Dead -- guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann -- are planning to tour in April and May of 2009.

There's no word yet on the band's configuration -- previous configurations of "The Dead" and The Other Ones have included singer-guitar hero Warren Haynes, guitar ace Jimmy Herring, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi, singer Joan Osborne, keyboardists Bruce Hornsby, Jeff Chimenti and Rob Baracco, saxophonist Dave Ellis, drummer John Molo and bassist Alphonso Johnson, as well as guitarists Mark Karan and Steve Kimock.

Also in the works, likely for October 13, is a second Deadheads For Obama concert, planned for the swing state of Pennsylvania.

The first Deadheads for Obama concert took place at the Warfield in San Francisco -- with Weir, Hart, Lesh, drummer Molo, keyboardist Steve Molitz, pedal steel player Barry Sless, singer-guitarist Jackie Greene, and Karan -- on the eve of the California Democratic primary.

The Dead allied with Obama after Lesh's son began volunteering for Obama's campaign.

"This is the real deal," Lesh said of Obama then.


Rock 'n' Roll Train

It's a great single.

It really is. It's a song made for the jukeboxes.

But, ultimately, AC/DC will only win the Bronze this Fall.

They're not covering any new ground, and if Black Ice sounds as much like Back in Black as I think it will, then it begs the question: Why not just listen to Back in Black?

My answer to that is that is that at least Black Ice is NEW.

Anyway, let's not OVERANALYZE this thing. It's AC/DC after all. You know, the bad that brought you "Big Balls."

Yes, it's the same 3 chords as all their other songs. Yes, the lyrics are about "rocking." But like I said, it's still a great single to listen to at the pub.

-Mack Arillo

Bas Has Been Unusually Quiet Lately

Hang on one second," Sebastian Bach says. "I'm gonna take my shirt off."

"Ahhh, all right," he exhales deeply and with great satisfaction moments later, sounding like a dude who's gone from a jail cell to an open bar in a matter of seconds. "I'm outside. It's beautiful out here."

"I couldn't be happier," he continues, sounding the part while basking in the glow of a sold-out show in Pittsburgh the night before. "This is one of the best summers of my life."

And with that, Bach lets loose with the first of many mischievous cackles that roll out of chest with the loud report of a drunken marching band.

The guy is skilled at cracking himself up -- it's as if the world is his whoopee cushion -- and he speaks with such volume and enthusiasm, he's like a heavy metal cheerleader with a megaphone for a larynx.

Basically, he sounds exactly like Sebastian Bach should.

The dude's a banshee-voiced hell-raiser who doesn't cut his hair, doesn't shut up and doesn't take himself too seriously -- as evidenced by his latest hit single, "(Love Is) A Bitchslap."

This summer, Bach's opening up for Poison, playing packed gigs and loving it, though once upon a time, making the rounds with Brett Michaels and Co. would have seemed abhorrent to a guy who hates being associated with the '80s hair metal scene after having initially came to fame fronting Jersey rockers Skid Row.

Since splitting with that group over a decade ago, Bach has hit the road with brutes like Pantera and borrowed half his band from Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo outfit.

Bach's latest disc, Angel Down, is the hardest and heaviest thing he's ever done, a brash and snotty hard rock call-to-arms that's miles removed from the glam rock set.

"Ten years ago I wouldn't have done it," Bach says of touring with Poison, "because every interview I ever did it was, 'Nirvana's here, it's over for Poison and Skid Row.' I was having a tough enough time defending my band and myself, I didn't need to defend 100 other bands that I had nothing to do with.

"But that's a long time ago," he continues. "I'll tell you one thing, America loves Poison with Sebastian Bach. We are selling more tickets than the Monster Mayhem Tour with Slipknot and Disturbed. We're bigger."

Part of this is undoubtedly attributable to the fact that between Bach and Michaels, the two have done more reality TV shows than just about all of their well-coiffed peers.

Last year, Bach tried his hand at becoming a rapper on MTV's "Celebrity Rap Superstar," and more recently, he's taken part in "Gone Country II," which debuted on CMT Aug. 15.

"I moved into Barbara Mandrell's mansion in Nashville. My roommate is Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five -- I mean, how do they think this (expletive) up?" Bach snickers at the thought of the show's lineup, which also includes Lorenzo Lamas, Sean Young and others. "It's nuts. Lorenzo is really nice -- they're all nice. Sean Young is wild. She's just off her rocker. She's great TV, as they say. Dude, just wait til you see this."

According to Bach, the honky tonk set suits him a little better than the hip-hop ranks did.

"Country was easier," he booms. "The one thing about my voice is that I want to go up and down with it, and rap is like one note. That was just so frustrating for me. Why would I just one to sing one note in a row?"

Of course, in these parts, Bach is best known for his role on the VH1 series "SuperGroup," which paired him up with fellow rockers Ted Nugent, Scott Ian, Jason Bonham and Evan Seinfeld to form the new band Damnocracy. The show was filmed here in Vegas in early 2006, though Bach still isn't too fond of the way it turned out -- probably because he was largely portrayed as a drunken, self-centered prima donna.

"I loved living there. I loved being in Vegas. I wasn't totally happy with the show," he admits. "I didn't think it was very good. I didn't think it was about music. I don't know what they were trying to do. It was more fun to shoot the show than to watch the show."

Still, Bach never seems to tire of the limelight. He's a rock star who plays the part with all the relish of a teen boy raiding his father's stack of "Playboys."

So what if he occasionally gets a little sunburnt in the spotlight?

"When you ask why I do these shows, it's to promote my name for rock 'n' roll," Bach says. "I'm using those television shows to make the name Sebastian Bach as big as the name Skid Row. That's one of my biggest challenges in my career. Great rock 'n' roll names are so rare, like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest. And Skid Row is right up there with the best names ever.

"So, I own the name Sebastian Bach. I've got a trademark with the U.S. government," he chuckles. "My apologies to the classical pianist."