It's a bit disingenuous to paint Axl as the one thing holding the band back, when there were an awful lot of complicating factors snarling up the release of Chinese Democracy (and CDII).
There's more to the story, for sure. My remark was merely made in jest, referring to the UYI recordings, where the basic tracks were laid out quickly and Ax then spent a lot of time just tweaking (November Rain, anyone?).
We (pretty much) know Axl has all the songs from Chinese Democracy II ready to go bar some overdubs from Slash and Duff, which they could rattle out in a week if needs be.
Objectively, yes. This seems to be the case, for all we know.
Having said all that, Ax owns the band name, the assets, the works. He & Merck plunged into the 2006 tour to make money to cover recording costs and to hopefully push the label to an agreement. It was, all n' all, a gamble that left the fans high n' dry with a March 6th release date. That stalemate was only resolved by Azoff a year later.
And what happened in 2002? Ax had the RTB/Zutaut album version in the can, and he mounted the big comeback tour (in the works some time since the RIR3 show). Only there was to be no album and the tour was cancelled. Riots, poor ticket sales (partially due to bad routing), Ax deciding he's sick and (apparently) his handlers holding out hope until the warm-up acts wrapped up in Philly. Just another example of things getting out of hand in a lousy way.
Either Ax took some dodgy council, between Yoda and the yes-man(agement), or his anxieties got the better of him time and again, so that he repeatedly found the band effort compromised. The label has surely been a part of the problem with their one-eyed approach, but that hardly exonerates Ax for all the screw-ups and mismanagement that have surrounded this band for decades.
I believe things are different now only when another album drops or leaks.
Hard to gauge how someone really feels when there is no communication with the outside world.
No rants on stage, Twitter or in press releases? Axl surely makes his ire well-known. He's been a lot more appeased now.
"Not In This Lifetime is now widely believed to be the second-highest-grossing tour of all time, having generated more than $500 million since it began three years ago."
I wonder how he feels about the wonder twins and their focus on “side projects” instead of 100% Gnr like him?
Likely not much.
They'd need a week to record stuff which he'd tinker with from months to years. It's better for them to do their own thing while he muses on his next step.
As for Fortus, somebody should tell him Axl never knew if soon's the word
Bucket's involved in a pretty neat little project - a new megawad (or really, an episode) for the classic shooter DOOM, by original designer John Romero. Called SIGIL, the megawad will (supposedly) be available free of charge in April, whereas the commercial box set will include a soundtrack by Bucket. Regrettably, there appears to be no digital download for the SIGIL OST.
Slash is really channeling DJ Ashba.
ZEIT ONLINE: Until mid-August you're still on tour with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. What plans do you have for the time afterwards?
Slash: When I get home, I'm going to sit down with the Guns N 'Roses guys and we're going to focus on a new album together.
Ashba: Well, we hope so. That’s our main focus.
ZEIT ONLINE: You have not worked on it yet?
Slash: No, but I know everyone involved really wants to make this album.
We talked about it, and...
Ashba: And there’s been more and more talk about getting in there before the end of the year, which I’m really excited about.
Slash: Axl already has a lot of stuff he's produced on his own. I think we're in great shape to get started.
Ashba: Axl, of course, has, I believe, two complete albums worth of songs already recorded.
Do they actually get canned answers in Axlspeak?
I think it was less "setting up a side project" (hadn't Duff already put out a solo record?) than "Axl thought he should get first dibs on all the riffs".
It's one thing to put out a solo album. Duff had his own songs. Snakepit was different. Slash's riffs, offered to Guns. Axl waddles around it. Slash says, nuts. I'm gonna record this stuff anyway. He completes a record, without mentioning it to Axl. Then Axl comes back, having made up his mind. Slash says they're Snakepit songs now. Axl blows a gasket in disappointment; he'd already figured out three would-be Guns songs out of those riffs.
Then there's the BS Sympathy session, in which nothing goes right. Paul Tobias subbing for Stones fan Gilby, out touring his solo album. A quick try-out with Zakk Wylde and Slash goes on a press/concert tour with Snakepit. He gets drunk in front of the press more often than not and managed to appear less so. But the talks about Axl and Paul are there. Tensions arise in Malibu as the word filters back to Ax about his guitarist shooting his mouth.
Finally, Ax summons Snakepit back before their Asian/Oceanic tour leg, by informing the label that he's ready to work on a Guns album. Slash comes back and is handed the partnership disbanding letter. In Axl's mind, it definitely looks (to me, anyway) like he felt Slash was drifting away from Guns. Snakepit's fairly successful tour was feeding his insecurities as an insult to injury; they were playing some would-be Guns songs and Axl saw that they could be presented 'as is', without him singing on them.
So I think it started with the riffs, but escalated over 1,5 years into the less than amicable split because Slash built them into a show, with Axl fuming on the sidelines.
Axl needs to say yes. Then, plans come alive.
I actually think Ax would like to have an album out. Only it has to go through customs in his own mind.
Every Guns album has brought up new approaches. I think one of his goals is to expand the bands musical horizons on each release.
So even a confident Ax may be tardy, because then he goes out to listen to todays music to predict the next big thing, which he'll marry with the Guns sound.