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polluxlm
 Rep: 208 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

polluxlm wrote:

This is something I wrote last year on the old board. Many found it useful then so I'm putting it up again for new and old posters. Thanks to Neemo for making me aware of it's existence.


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I realise this is an extremely tiring and extensive way to start a thread, but I felt it needed to be summarised what Axl has actually said. When reading these interviews I noticed how many misquotes that are being used as arguments around the boards. I hope this will instigate a discussion on CD which has more roots in reality than just pure memory. If not, well then all of you newcomers has the chance to read everything Axl has said about CD over the years without going through all the other stuff.

Below is a summary of all the quotes I could find regarding the making of Chinese Democracy. The quotes I found the most important and interesting are elevated in bold text. I have made a shorter summary of everything in another post which I want to use as the main source for discussion.



November 8th 1999

Loder: What have you been doing for the last six and a half years, since the last tour ended?

Rose: Trying to figure out how to make a record.

Loder: Who are the musicians who have re-recorded "Appetite?"

Rose: Josh Freese on drums, Tommy Stinson on bass, Paul Tobias on guitar -- you guys know him as Paul Huge, that's how it's been written everywhere. It's Paul Tobias on guitar, and Robin Finck was on lead guitar, but that... that will stay on some of it. Robin's guitar will stay on some, but not all. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, exactly, when I would be putting that out. But you know, it has a lot of energy. Learning the old Guns songs and getting them up, you know, putting them on tape, really forced everybody to get them up to the quality that they needed to be at. Once the energy was figured out by the new guys, how much energy was needed to get the songs right, then it really helped in the writing and recording process of the new record.

Loder: How much stuff have you got for this new album? You've been working on this for a long time. Is there just tons of material?

Rose: We've been working on, I don't know, 70 songs

Rose: The record will be about, anywhere from 16 to 18 songs, but we recorded at least two albums' worth of material that is solidly recorded. But we are working on a lot more songs than that at the same time... in that way, what we're doing is exploring so, you know, you get a good idea, you save it, and then maybe you come back to it later, or maybe you get a good idea and you go, "That's really cool, but that's not what we're looking for. Okay, let's try something new." You know, basically taking the advance money for the record and actually spending it on the record.

Loder: [Laughs] Not always the case, obviously.

Rose: No, and I don't want to be in a situation again where I have to depend on other people and have [to] start all over. So we have material that we think is too advanced for old Guns fans to hear right now and they would completely hate, because we were exploring the use of computers [along with] everybody really playing their ass off and combining that, but trying to push the envelope a bit. It's like, "Hmm, I have to push the envelope a little too far. We'll wait on that." So we got a list of things.

Loder: How's your guitar playing coming along now?

Rose: It's all right. I just wanted to be good enough to be able to contribute what was needed to this main album. It took working on the majority of these things and at least the couple albums' [worth] of material to figure out what should be on the first official Guns album. I wouldn't say it's like, you know, that we recorded a double album, or that we have all of our scraps to be the second one. There is a distinct difference in sound. The second leans probably a little more to aggressive electronica with full guitars, where the first one is definitely more guitar-based.

Loder: Are you thinking now about a stage show? Is it close enough to be thinking how you're gonna present this live, or is that still pretty much still in the future?

Rose: In ways. What we're doing is we're rehearsing with different guitar players, and we're still recording. I'm doing the vocals. I'm about three-quarters of the way through, and it's a very difficult process for me.

I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it. That's kind of tough. It's like you got to go in against these new guys who kicked ass. You finally got the song musically where you wanted to, and then you have to figure out how to go in and kick its ass and be one person competing against this wall of sound.

Rose: [Laughs] I just, you know, I pretty much work on this record and, and that's about it. It takes a lot of time. I'm not a computer-savvy or technical type of person, yet I'm involved with it everyday, so it takes me a while.

Loder: You're going to call this album "Chinese Democracy." What is the meaning of that, since there is no Chinese democracy, of course?

Rose: Well, there's a lot of Chinese democracy movements, and it's something that there's a lot of talk about, and it's something that will be nice to see. It could also just be like an ironic statement. I don't know, I just like the sound of it.

Loder: When do you think we will actually see this album? Is it possible to say early next year?

Rose: We're hoping. Yes, definitely, everything seems to be going well. Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden, you know, not expected...

Loder: He just wanted to get back to Nine Inch Nails, right?

Rose: [continuing] ... but at the same time, it's turned out to be a good thing. We've been able to push some of the guitar parts a step farther, that had he been here, it's not something that would have been considered, and I wouldn't have been rude enough to attempt to do that. Robin did a great job, but we've been able to up the ante a little bit. Dave came in and did something great on "Oh My God," and we've had a few other people come in, so that was a setback for a while, but then it's turned out to be a good thing.

Loder: Have you actually brought in any hip-hop guys to sort of, like, examine the roots of the rhythm now? Has Dr. Dre stopped by or anything?

Rose: No, we haven't done anything like that. It's been thought of, but it's kind of [like] we would really be wasting somebody else's time, as we're trying to figure out how to develop this ourselves. Maybe if it were to get closer to, say, mastering or mixing, maybe there could be something someone else could add to it.

Loder: So we'll see you some time this new year, right? You will be around?

Rose: Yeah, we'll be around. I'm not working on all this to keep it buried. We plan on getting out there and doing it right. The new guys are a lot of fun, and like I say, we will be continuing to look for and or decide who the official new guitar player will be, but it's not that important to the band at this time, as that person's not really needed. There's not a whole lot for them to do at this time in regards to recording, as we've recorded [a] majority of material.

Loder: But you continue to audition, right?

Rose: Yes, we do. Yes, we do, and there's some people who have done a really great job. It's just not something we're prepared to make a complete decision on at this time.

January 2000

It is 2AM in dimly lit recording studio deep in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. Sitting back on a couch in the control room is a once omnipresent rock figure who has been out of the public view for most of the last decade. The music he's been playing on this long night has been the focus of his obsessive perfectionism since 1991, when Guns N Roses last released an album of new material.

But in late November, Axl Rose plays nearly a dozen tracks from the long in the works Guns N` Roses album for Rolling Stone and gave his first substantial interview in more than six years.

He was only an hour late to do so. Occasionally getting up to whisper details about what still must be done to complete the tracks- ''I gotta put some guitar here!'' - Rose comes across as intense but hardly humorless as he speaks at length about his music and the fate of his former band mates.

He's dressed tonight in Abercrombie & Fitch, with his reddish hair intact and cut to a Prince Valiant-ish mid-length. Having failed to deliver a new album by the end of the twentieth century, is Rose ready to commit to releasing a record sometime during the twenty-first?

''Yes, I think that would definitely be the right time,'' he answers, a slight grin coming to his face.

The new Guns N Roses album is tentatively titled Chinese Democracy and loosely scheduled for summer 2000.

''As far as I can tell,'' says GnR's manager Doug Goldstein, ''we are now 99% musically done and 80% vocals done. I see the record being done Feb or March for a summer release.''

But time is of little consequence in the world of Axl Rose.

From time to time, Rose gets up to pace the studio where he has spent the last year recording and re-recording material (his workday tends to start around midnight and run through the early daylight hours). ''What we're trying to do is build Guns N` Roses back into something,'' Rose explains quietly as he stands in front of a sunken isolation booth.

Furthermore, because the new material has been composed collaboratively with the new players, he insists, ''It's not an Axl Rose album, even if it's what I wanted it to be. Everybody is putting everything they've got into singing and building. Maybe I'm helping steer it to what it should be built like.''

Throughout the night, Rose seems anxious to finally have his say but wishes he could wait until the new album is released and can ''speak for itself.''

According to Rose, part of the delay in building the new model of Guns N` Roses has been ''educating myself'' about the technology that's come to define rock in the nineties: ''It's like from scratch, learning how to work with something and not wanting it just to be something you did on a computer.''

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 music textures. In addition to the album's almost grungy title track, tentative song titles include ''Catcher in the Rye,'' ''I.R.S,'' ''The Blues'' and ''TWAT,'' which he says stands for ''there was a time.''

Another song, called ''Oklahoma'' - heard tonight only as an instrumental - was inspired by a court date with ex-wife Erin Everly. ''I was sitting in my litigation with my ex-wife, and it was the day after the bombing,'' Rose remembers with a wince. ''We had a break, and I'm sitting with my attorneys with a sort of smile on my face, more like a nervous thing - it was like, 'Forgive me, people, I'm having trouble taking this seriously.' It's just ironic that we're sitting there and this person is spewing all kinds of things and 168 people just got killed. And this person I'm sitting there with, she don't care. Obliterating me is their goal.''

Rose repeatedly speaks of ''building something''.

The rebuilding - and ongoing reinvention - of Guns N Roses has been a difficult and, quite obviously, slow and expensive process. Rose does point out that the expense will be less glaring if, as he expects, he gets another record out of the hours and hours of material he's committed to tape, possibly one that's even more industrial and electronica-influence than Chinese Democracy. ''I'd like to take some of the old Guns fans along with me gradually into the twenty-first century,''

Having stayed publicly silent so long, Rose appears to view the album as a final offering-up of his side of all his myriad battles - notably with his estranged band mates and, even more painful, with his one time fiancee, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, with whom he had an ugly split. He speaks of his desire for Seymour's son to someday be able to come across the new record. ''I hope he'll hear it when he grows up, if he ever wants to know the story, to hear the truth,'' Rose says a little quietly. Rather than simply create a work that's negative and vengeful, though, Rose seems anxious to make something ''positive.''

As for his reputation as a recluse locked away mysteriously at his Malibu estate, Rose says, ''The reality is that I'm not clubbing because I don't find it's in my best interest to be out there. I am building something slowly, and it doesn't seem to be much out there as in here, in the studio and in my home. So many times, I have come down here and I had no idea that I was going to be able to. If you are working with issues that depressed the crap out of you, how do you know you can express it? At the time, you are just like, 'Life sucks.' Then you come down and you express 'Life Sucks,' but in this really beautiful way.''

January 2001

Although this, the performance at Rock In Rio was the target of some criticizism from Axl. According to him, his voice was not at his best because of lack of sleep and the band needs to adjust the sound to these great shows. The expectations of the band turns now to the new album, "Chinese Democracy", which will be released in June. The leader guarantees his fans that they will be rewarded for the long wait.

With 18 songs, the group's next album (they haven't released anything since 1993's "The Spaghetti Incident?") is a collection of songs, which in Axl's opinion are as good as "November Rain". Among them "Madagascar", included in the show on Sunday. The CD will include a tribute to John Lennon and another about child abuse

January 2001

DJ: When is it gonna be the new album? Is it possible that we're gonna have a new record from Guns N' Roses?

Axl: Yes, I've heard. Um, hopefully we will put out a new single umm sometime this spring and then the record gonna be done in June or shortly thereafter.


DJ: OK, now we can hear you clearly clearly clearly. Umm, we were talking about the things about the fans expecting the new band and the new record. Are you gonna work with the same people that are playing live with you here in South America?

Axl: Yes, that is who will be on the new record and there may be also 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. Umm, and... but mainly you know it will be the new band and the new band to play the songs live.

January 22nd 2001

R&P: We know that Chinese Democracy will be released in June, but we wanted to know what the reasons are for taking so long before releasing the album?

Axl: We hadn't written songs or recorded for many years. There were band changes and there were many changes in the record company. 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. 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. This band has played only been together for six weeks before Rio. So it is still very new for them to play together as band, with Robin (Finck) and Buckethead. That was a surprise. Obviously, that was the correct decision to make, but it was not originally planned to have three guitarists.

R&P: Is your new material more industrial? We hear that it is not very similar to that of your old band.

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. Buckethead, his first influence and the reason why he grabbed a guitar for the first time was Angus Young of AC/DC. Several of the boys love to play AC/DC. It is only we will play other styles. When we tried writing songs in the old style of Guns N' Roses, 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.

August 14th 2002

Guns N' Roses will go back into the studio immediately following the aforementioned dates to put the final touches on the forthcoming 'Chinese Democracy'  album.

Regarding the work in progress Axl commented as follows:

'I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns and externally in the press, those albums suffered as a consequence, it's not something I'm too excited to have to live with again. There are a lot of new songs that were just done in the last year that we feel that '˜okay, well that bumps a lot of stuff off the previous list but it's time to stop that now and wrap up the baby. It feels right, the timing, and a lot of things. We've sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah. If you're waiting...don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility not mine. If it were not to happen you won't have missed a thing. If in fact it does you might get something that works for you, in the end you could win on this either way. But if you're really into waiting try holding your breath for Jesus cause I hear the payoff may be that much greater.

On Richard Fortus replacing Paul Tobias:

'Paul helped us a lot in the writing and the recording of this record and to me was a vital part of not only the band but also my life. The world tour really wasn't his cup of tea whereas he's much more comfortable in a studio setting. We're fortunate to have found Richard who has this vibe kind of like Izzy but with amazing feel. The first thing I heard Richard play was the beginning of "Stray Cat Blues" by the Stones and he did it with the right feel. Richard likes to play rhythm. He's an amazing lead player and very technically skilled. He really likes the pocket that Brain sets and the two of them click with Tommy so we finally have the real deal rhythm section, as Richard is a proven professional. Basically, Richard's the guy that we always were looking for. I think that we'll go on to write some very interesting things with Richard and he's already done some rhythm work and some leads on the album.' 

Finally Axl had the following to say about the many rumors surrounding Guns N' Roses:

'People talk about player haters. Well, I don't think it pays to be a '˜hater - hater.' You've got the haters out there but the guys in this band it just rolls off their shoulders because they take a certain pride in their work. They're hungry and they want to do this for all the right reasons. They want to get this material out there to the people. Now that we feel that we have clarity as to the album we're trying to make, we're wrapping it up. We've had every obstacle and every strange occurrence that you can have and for us to be playing Hong Kong in a few days is a big step.

August 29th 2002

Kurt: What took you so long?

Axl: I was just trying to put this monstrosity together

Kurt: What's gonna happen now? Is Chinese Democracy going to come out? Are we gonna see it soon?

Axl: Umm you'll see it, I dont know if soon is the word. But it will come out and we will, we'll go back, we'll do some more recording and then we'll start the American leg of the tour... And see how it goes from there.

Kurt: This has taken a long time.

Axl: Yeah, but it's also how do you rebuild something that got so big and replace virtually every person on the crew, every single thing. And how do you make a whole bunch of guys that are something else into something that already was. I dont know if it's exactly been done like this. And not with the intensity of these players wanting to play the material.

March 30th 2004

The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure. During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment - despite being under contract - creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence. His transient lifestyle has made it impossible for even his closest friends to have nearly any form of communication with him whatsoever.

I would also like to express my gratitude to those who chose to embrace Buckethead's role in Guns and support our new line up. We greatly appreciate Bucket's contributions and remain open to "discussions" as there are obviously several issues to resolve. In the meantime rather than dwelling on the negative, Guns will be moving forward and surprisingly (without giving away any details) this unfortunate set of circumstances may have given us the opportunity to take our recording that one extra step further. Regardless we hope to announce a release date within the next few months.

October 12th 2004

There have been numerous reports over the last few weeks from various sources claiming that one person or another has been invited to join Guns N' Roses. To set the record straight no one - we repeat no one - has been invited to join the band.

January 17th 2006

Gn'R mastermind talks "Democracy" at L.A. party: "People will hear music this year," says Axl Rose, puffing on a cigar in the early hours of Saturday morning at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The notoriously reclusive rocker is of course referring to Guns n' Roses' decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy, arguably the most anticipated album in rock & roll history. "It's a very complex record," says Rose, a surprise guest at Korn's tour announcement bash. (Others in the house: Jessica Alba, cast members of The OC, and members of Linkin Park, Good Charlotte and the Used.) "I'm trying to do something different. Some of the arrangements are kind of like Queen. Some people are going to say, 'It doesn't sound like Axl Rose, it doesn't sound like Guns n' Roses.'" He then smiles and adds, "But you'll like at least a few songs on there."

After all, before he lends his talents to others' projects, Rose has one of his own to finish, and he says it's getting there. "We're working on thirty-two songs, and twenty-six are nearly done," he says. Of those, thirteen are slated for the final album. Among Rose's favorites are "Better," "There Was a Time" and "The Blues."


September 11th 2006

So what's the holdup with Chinese Democracy, Axl? 'It's not about being a control freak. It's about being maybe smart enough to go, '˜No, that's a bad idea.' That's all it's about'”keeping the ability to at least have a shot as opposed to something that's just an obvious disaster. I want to make a good record. I don't want to throw a brick. This cannot be Shaq at the free-throw line.'  Rose promises the album will be released by the end of the year.


December 14th 2006

Because of the scheduling of these particular shows, valuable time needed by the band and record company for the proper setup and release of the album 'Chinese Democracy'  would have been lost. Rather than delay the album yet again, all involved have decided to remove these shows from GN'R's schedule.

To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement. Overcoming the endless and seemingly insane amount of obstacles faced by all involved, notwithstanding the emotional challenges endured by everyone -- the fans, the band, our road crew and business team -- has at many times seemed like a bad dream in which one wakes up only to find that they are still in the nightmare. Unfortunately, this time it has been played out for over a decade in real life.

The true, ongoing, behind-the-scenes triumphs and casualties are much more complicated than any negative speculation that the media or otherwise has managed to hit upon. For much of the time, various legal issues have arisen, demanding that the best way to deal with these things publicly, quite frankly, was to keep our mouths shut in an attempt to ensure the best outcome-- especially one that wouldn't jeopardize the band or the album. It's easy for people to point out how others have handled similar situations or how they would have dealt with these issues themselves if they encountered them in their own lives. But again, without full knowledge of the various dynamics and circumstances involved, these types of comments or commentary are just uninformed, disassociated, generally useless -- and often hindering --speculation.

When I agreed to do our recent North American tour, I did it with the understanding that my manager, Merck Mercuriadis, and I were in full agreement regarding our strategy and touring plans and, most important, that any and all things needed to release the album by Dec. 26 at the latest were in place. Unfortunately, it turned out that this was not the case, and I regret to say that the album will not be released by the end of the year. Although many things went extremely well and were very exciting, there were, in our opinion, unnecessary and avoidable complications on our tour having to do with the tour routing, scheduling and album and video plans that wreaked havoc on all involved. This was compounded by an overall sense of a lack of respect by management for the band and crew and each individual's particular expertise that has resulted, unfortunately, in the end of both Guns' and my managerial involvement with Merck Mercuriadis.

In regard to a release date for the album itself, certain minor - and I do mean minor -- additions, as well as contract negotiations, need to be completed. Barring any unforeseen complications, these things have now been adequately scheduled. The band and I, along with our record company, feel that this record deserves the proper setup and promotion, not the '13 Tuesdays left'  and 'It may just appear in your record store'  approach offered by management. We believe this strategy may have been used as a tool by management to sell this latest tour to the various promoters, and if this was the case, this was obviously unfair to them. The stress of dealing with this situation has been considerable for everyone, including the band, but more important, in our opinion, it was something utterly insane to do to our fans. You have our apologies, and please know we have been laboring over this with management for the entire North American tour.

It takes approximately eight weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company. For whatever reasons, it appears that it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this time period could be condensed to three weeks. With that being said, this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee, but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6. This is the first time we have done this publicly for this album. Others have made up all the other dates for their own reasons. We would like to assure the fans that everything in our power will be done to meet this date. Once it is finalized and official, you will be notified. If we are delayed for unseen reasons, you also will be notified as soon as possible in regard to a new date, and the album will be released as shortly thereafter as is possible. We thank you for your patience.

December 15th 2006

The reality is all of this year's touring was planned and agreed between Axl and myself, with a view to the album being in the stores before the 31st of December '06. This was confirmed by Axl in numerous interviews - most famously at the MTV Video Music Awards. We planned the tour in February, just after Axl's birthday and we were supposed to finish the album in May, before it started. We sent our engineers to New York, where we all waited, for over a month, for the muse to come but she never arrived. We then scheduled sessions in London in August and had our engineers meet us there at the end of the English tour. August came and went and once again the muse did not show. We postponed our proposed radio date of Labour Day for the first single and we came back to LA and tried to finish before the San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles shows but yet again she eluded us. Axl then asked me to postpone the North American tour which was due to start on 24th of September by a month and finally, early in that period after the euphoria of Inland Invasion, Axl made a break through and got two or three very productive days under his belt.


At this point we were very excited as Axl's feeling was that we had two or three days of work left to tidy things up and we still had three weeks before the tour started, so we were in good shape. Unfortunately the muse disappeared just as fast as she came and the tour started with no single at radio to support it and the album still needing two or three days of work. Despite this, it was a break through period as Robin, Bumblefoot and Frank had all made important contributions to the album that made it even stronger. By the way none of the above is meant as a criticism of Axl. It is the reality of trying to create something special under incredible pressure from the public - that wants and DEMANDS the record - and the record industry - that NEEDS it. The creative process is not something you can dictate and Axl is a true artist.


At this time I seriously considered postponing the start of the tour, again, as the album was of paramount importance but the reality was that our historic track record left us with very little good will with you, the fans, and we needed the money to be able to complete the album and keep the band alive. We scheduled sessions in New York and once again sent the engineers there for the first two weeks of November while the tour was based there - but the hectic touring schedule meant nothing got done. The record company refused to conclude the renegotiation until we were ready to hand over the finished album and refused to prepare a marketing campaign or commission video treatments until they had it in their hands. This is still their position as of this week.

This is the "short" summary of the above post. I've posted my comments at the bottom of each 'theme', the ones that are neither in cursive, underlined or bold text.

On songs

November 8th 1999

We've been working on, I don't know, 70 songs

The record will be about, anywhere from 16 to 18 songs, but we recorded at least two albums' worth of material that is solidly recorded. But we are working on a lot more songs than that at the same time...

I wouldn't say it's like, you know, that we recorded a double album, or that we have all of our scraps to be the second one. There is a distinct difference in sound. The second leans probably a little more to aggressive electronica with full guitars, where the first one is definitely more guitar-based.

August 26th 2002

So you'll get 18 songs and about 10 extra tracks. And when that... when the record company feels that has run [it's] source, then you'll get it all over again. And by that time, I should be done with the 3rd album! So we'll see if all goes well boys and girls!

January 17th 2006

"We're working on thirty-two songs, and twenty-six are nearly done," he says. Of those, thirteen are slated for the final album

As we can see the number of available songs increased from 1999 to 2002, but seems to have decreased again at the time 2006 rolled around. I take this as they since 2002 have been producing less new stuff and started concentrating more on the absolute best songs. The 3 album plan seems to still be somehow alive, but it will in that case be 13 songs on CD and then 10 and 9 songs on the following 2 albums. Or it could be they're planning 2 albums and releasing b-sides, but I doubt that.

The number of songs on the album has also decreased, which seems to indicate alot of additions making the songs more complex, epic and longer. TWAT is a good example.

On the process

November 8th 1999

Loder: What have you been doing for the last six and a half years, since the last tour ended?

Rose: Trying to figure out how to make a record.

But we are working on a lot more songs than that at the same time... in that way, what we're doing is exploring so, you know, you get a good idea, you save it, and then maybe you come back to it later, or maybe you get a good idea and you go, "That's really cool, but that's not what we're looking for. Okay, let's try something new." You know, basically taking the advance money for the record and actually spending it on the record.

In ways. What we're doing is we're rehearsing with different guitar players, and we're still recording. I'm doing the vocals. I'm about three-quarters of the way through, and it's a very difficult process for me.

I write the vocals last, because I wanted to invent the music first and push the music to the level that I had to compete against it. That's kind of tough. It's like you got to go in against these new guys who kicked ass. You finally got the song musically where you wanted to, and then you have to figure out how to go in and kick its ass and be one person competing against this wall of sound.

I just, you know, I pretty much work on this record and, and that's about it. It takes a lot of time. I'm not a computer-savvy or technical type of person, yet I'm involved with it everyday, so it takes me a while.

January 2000

According to Rose, part of the delay in building the new model of Guns N` Roses has been ''educating myself'' about the technology that's come to define rock in the nineties: ''It's like from scratch, learning how to work with something and not wanting it just to be something you did on a computer.''

Rose repeatedly speaks of ''building something''.

So many times, I have come down here and I had no idea that I was going to be able to. If you are working with issues that depressed the crap out of you, how do you know you can express it? At the time, you are just like, 'Life sucks.' Then you come down and you express 'Life Sucks,' but in this really beautiful way.''

January 22nd 2001

....what the reasons are for taking so long before releasing the album?

Axl: We hadn't written songs or recorded for many years. There were band changes and there were many changes in the record company. 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.

August 14th 2002

Regarding the work in progress Axl commented as follows:

'I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns and externally in the press, those albums suffered as a consequence, it's not something I'm too excited to have to live with again.

We've had every obstacle and every strange occurrence that you can have and for us to be playing Hong Kong in a few days is a big step.

August 29th 2002

Kurt: What took you so long?

Axl: I was just trying to put this monstrosity together

Kurt: This has taken a long time.

Axl: Yeah, but it's also how do you rebuild something that got so big and replace virtually every person on the crew, every single thing. And how do you make a whole bunch of guys that are something else into something that already was.

March 30th 2004

The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure. During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment - despite being under contract - creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence.

September 11th 2006

So what's the holdup with Chinese Democracy, Axl? 'It's not about being a control freak. It's about being maybe smart enough to go, '˜No, that's a bad idea.' That's all it's about'”keeping the ability to at least have a shot as opposed to something that's just an obvious disaster. I want to make a good record. I don't want to throw a brick. This cannot be Shaq at the free-throw line.' 

December 14th 2006

To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement. Overcoming the endless and seemingly insane amount of obstacles faced by all involved, notwithstanding the emotional challenges endured by everyone -- the fans, the band, our road crew and business team -- has at many times seemed like a bad dream in which one wakes up only to find that they are still in the nightmare. Unfortunately, this time it has been played out for over a decade in real life.

The true, ongoing, behind-the-scenes triumphs and casualties are much more complicated than any negative speculation that the media or otherwise has managed to hit upon. For much of the time, various legal issues have arisen, demanding that the best way to deal with these things publicly, quite frankly, was to keep our mouths shut in an attempt to ensure the best outcome-- especially one that wouldn't jeopardize the band or the album.

Although many things went extremely well and were very exciting, there were, in our opinion, unnecessary and avoidable complications on our tour having to do with the tour routing, scheduling and album and video plans that wreaked havoc on all involved. This was compounded by an overall sense of a lack of respect by management for the band and crew and each individual's particular expertise that has resulted, unfortunately, in the end of both Guns' and my managerial involvement with Merck Mercuriadis.

December 15th 2006

At this point we were very excited as Axl's feeling was that we had two or three days of work left to tidy things up and we still had three weeks before the tour started, so we were in good shape. Unfortunately the muse disappeared just as fast as she came and the tour started with no single at radio to support it and the album still needing two or three days of work.

As we can see the album was still pretty much at a prelimimenary level in 99/00. Personal struggles, problems with the label and uncertainty is the red thread in Axls quotes. He's not even sure about how the lineup will be in an eventual comeback.

In 2001 however the mood seems to have changed. He talks about his problems more in a past tense rather than as an ongoing process. He even talks about release dates with a certain amount of confidence. We now know nothing materialised that year, so there must still have been some problems, at least in Axls mind.

In 2002 he says pretty much the same, but with a different tone. The recording is now described with very big words. His view on the struggle has obviously changed from 'problems' to 'immense problems'. Dealing with the aborted comeback and tour in 2001 is likely to have brought these feelings on. He speaks with certainty regarding alot of issues, but then contradicts himself in the next sentence. Obviously the words of a very conflicted man.

The blame in 2004 is put on Bucketheads departure, although it's more likely the lack of progress was more due to the lawsuits and depressions following the previous tour abortion and increasing problems with the label. And although he paints the picture of an unbearable situation he still manages to claim all of it as a good thing. Still a highly conflicted man.

2006 doesn't deliver much new to the table. Once again he's confident, although he is still not finished. The little difference is that he seems more sure about a completion than before, and the problems seems to have grown even bigger than ever before in his mind. He seems to have dealt with alot of shit since 2002.

I gather from his quotes that the recording has always moved forward, but the process in doing so has gotten increasingly worse.

Who will be on the album?

November 8th 1999

Loder: Who are the musicians who have re-recorded "Appetite?"

Rose: Josh Freese on drums, Tommy Stinson on bass, Paul Tobias on guitar -- you guys know him as Paul Huge, that's how it's been written everywhere. It's Paul Tobias on guitar, and Robin Finck was on lead guitar, but that... that will stay on some of it. Robin's guitar will stay on some, but not all.

Loder: Have you actually brought in any hip-hop guys to sort of, like, examine the roots of the rhythm now? Has Dr. Dre stopped by or anything?

Rose: No, we haven't done anything like that. It's been thought of, but it's kind of [like] we would really be wasting somebody else's time, as we're trying to figure out how to develop this ourselves. Maybe if it were to get closer to, say, mastering or mixing, maybe there could be something someone else could add to it.

January 2001

DJ:Are you gonna work with the same people that are playing live with you here in South America?

Axl: Yes, that is who will be on the new record and there may be also 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. Umm, and... but mainly you know it will be the new band and the new band to play the songs live.

August 14th 2002

'Paul helped us a lot in the writing and the recording of this record and to me was a vital part of not only the band but also my life.

Basically, Richard's the guy that we always were looking for. I think that we'll go on to write some very interesting things with Richard and he's already done some rhythm work and some leads on the album.'

March 30th 2004

I would also like to express my gratitude to those who chose to embrace Buckethead's role in Guns and support our new line up. We greatly appreciate Bucket's contributions and remain open to "discussions" as there are obviously several issues to resolve.

December 14th 2006

In regard to a release date for the album itself, certain minor - and I do mean minor -- additions, as well as contract negotiations, need to be completed.

The big question: Who will feature on the album? For me, and alot of other people, this question mainly revolves around Buckethead.

Reading these quotes really give me alot of confidence. Robin, Josh Freese, Brian May and Buckethead are all wanted by Axl on the album although they're not around. He mainly wants to use the current band, but it seems he understands the value of certain contributions. All good signs.

He also talks about resolving issues around the use of BHs music, and in 2006 he talks about 'contract negotiations' regarding a release. Could they be connected? I think it's very possible. Notice how he never even mentions BH in the 'letter', but that he adresses almost every other concern from the fanbase. I believe the use of his music is one of the things that are yet to be resolved.

I put in the hip hop quote as I feel it might, just might, apply to Frank and BBFs work on the album. We've heard from Ron that he only made 'additions'. This could be interpreted as being little fills and percussion elements to go in the background.

It's also nice to know that we might be hearing Brain May (perhaps on future albums), Paul Tobias and Josh Freese on the album. It will be diverse to say the least.

The release

November 8th 1999

Loder: When do you think we will actually see this album? Is it possible to say early next year?

Rose: We're hoping. Yes, definitely, everything seems to be going well. Robin's departure was abrupt, sudden,
you know, not expected...

January 2000

Having failed to deliver a new album by the end of the twentieth century, is Rose ready to commit to releasing a record sometime during the twenty-first?

''Yes, I think that would definitely be the right time,'' he answers, a slight grin coming to his face.

The new Guns N Roses album is tentatively titled Chinese Democracy and loosely scheduled for summer 2000.

''As far as I can tell,'' says GnR's manager Doug Goldstein, ''we are now 99% musically done and 80% vocals done. I see the record being done Feb or March for a summer release.''

January 2001

The expectations of the band turns now to the new album, "Chinese Democracy", which will be released in June.

DJ: When is it gonna be the new album? Is it possible that we're gonna have a new record from Guns N' Roses?

Axl: Yes, I've heard. Um, hopefully we will put out a new single umm sometime this spring and then the record gonna be done in June or shortly thereafter.

August 14th 2002

Guns N' Roses will go back into the studio immediately following the aforementioned dates to put the final touches on the forthcoming 'Chinese Democracy'  album.

There are a lot of new songs that were just done in the last year that we feel that '˜okay, well that bumps a lot of stuff off the previous list but it's time to stop that now and wrap up the baby. It feels right, the timing, and a lot of things. We've sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah. If you're waiting...don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility not mine. If it were not to happen you won't have missed a thing. If in fact it does you might get something that works for you, in the end you could win on this either way. But if you're really into waiting try holding your breath for Jesus cause I hear the payoff may be that much greater.

August 29th 2002

Kurt: What's gonna happen now? Is Chinese Democracy going to come out? Are we gonna see it soon?

Axl: Umm you'll see it, I dont know if soon is the word. But it will come out and we will, we'll go back, we'll do some more recording and then we'll start the American leg of the tour... And see how it goes from there.

March 30th 2004

Guns will be moving forward and surprisingly (without giving away any details) this unfortunate set of circumstances may have given us the opportunity to take our recording that one extra step further. Regardless we hope to announce a release date within the next few months.

January 17th 2006

"People will hear music this year"

September 11th 2006

Rose promises the album will be released by the end of the year.

December 14th 2006

It takes approximately eight weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company. For whatever reasons, it appears that it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this time period could be condensed to three weeks. With that being said, this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee, but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6.


This is truly where we can see how contradictive and unstable Axl really is. This must be one of my favorite quotes, and the most absurd one I've ever read.

We've sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah. If you're waiting...don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility not mine. If it were not to happen you won't have missed a thing.

First he begins to explain how little is left and how much is done, then immediately in the next sentence he tells us not to wait, and that it might not happen at all. I can fathom most of what Axl says on some level, but this here just goes off the charts. How can anyone say what he said there? It goes against all logic.

But the main point here is that although he's given tentative release dates or 'periods' before, 2006 seems to be the first time he's really sure, at least on paper. The contradicting statements are also to some degree gone. There's some obvious bullshit in the 'letter', but mainly he sticks to the fact that even though the albums not finished he seems sure to be able to finish it soon.

polluxlm
 Rep: 208 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

polluxlm wrote:

Man, how did I ever come around to composing all of this back then? I truly have an addictive personality.

Oh well, hope you enjoy it. I'll get back to getting that life people keep telling me.

A Private Eye
 Rep: 77 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

Thanks for reposting, it's useful to have all this CD information in one place 5

Neemo
 Rep: 483 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

Neemo wrote:

awesome dude! thanks for reposting that here! 9

mitchejw
 Rep: 128 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

mitchejw wrote:

Very detailed and everything right from Axl's mouth or directly related to it...no way to misinterpret here

Robman
 Rep: 5 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

Robman wrote:

So he had 2 or 3 days of work left, and in the last 365 days he hasn't put in a weekends worth of work?

After reading that again now, I find that hard to believe.

DCK
 Rep: 207 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

DCK wrote:

We've sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah. If you're waiting...don't. Live your life. That's your responsibility not mine. If it were not to happen you won't have missed a thing.

About this quote. You can clearly tell how insecure he is. He tells us it's almost ready but then he frantically backpaddles and makes sure that if it doesn't happen then that part is covered too. He's not being unstable IMO, he's being very insecure.

Will
 Rep: 225 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

Will wrote:

Thought I would do a few conversions on the facts given above sad I don't have the exact date that Axl originally mentioned the album title as "Chinese Democracy", however given that Kurt Loder/Axl referenced the name on November 8th 1999 above I'm using this as "day one"....

Start Date : 11/08/1999
Today : 04/26/2008

Total : 3092 days = 74208 hours

I'd love to know how many of the ~75,000 hours that us fans have wasted online have seen Axl in the studio actually doing something tongue

mitchejw
 Rep: 128 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

mitchejw wrote:

that is incredibly scary...he spends more time spinning shit than he does on anythinge else...I'm sad that the once bad ass Axl Rose is now scared and insecure...success doesn't mean you have to sell out 80,000 seat venues.

You aided in killing the machine that was taking over the world in 1993...what happened to that guy?

buzzsaw
 Rep: 423 

Re: Chinese Democracy Breakdown

buzzsaw wrote:

He was always scared and insecure.  That hasn't changed a bit.

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