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 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Deal With Me

With the album finished and initial talks begun with BestBuy in late 2007, the decade-old dirty laundry with the record company turned into another stop-gap.

"The latest rumor swirling around Guns N' Roses is that the long over-due 'Chinese Democracy' is complete and with the label but a new battle has emerged that is causing further delay." (Antimusic, 01/10/08)

"I hear the new G&R CD is actually done, but the delay in release is not the bands issues but the label. There is so much money tied up in this record that in todays business it will be virtually impossible to be profitable, meaning the label might want to sell it off but can not find a buyer since nobody buys CDs anymore. Problem might not be Axl this time around and might keep this CD in limbo for more years to come. Hopefully it gets resolved." (Eddie Trunk, 01/14/08)

"According to The Pulse of Radio, recent reports have indicated that Guns N' Roses' long-awaited new album, 'Chinese Democracy', is finished and the group's frontman W. Axl Rose is negotiating for more money with his record label before he will release the masters." (Blabbermouth, 02/07/08)

In early spring, a heavy-weight tiebreaker was brought in to orchestrate the final details surrounding the release.

"Axl Rose announced Thursday that he and Guns N’ Roses are now represented by the management team of Irving Azoff and Andy Gould." (, 03/27/08)

Azoff, the legendary Eagles manager, had been linked to GNR back in 2006, but a deal came never came to pass at the time.

"Word is it was Azoff who initiated the push to resolve all the issues at once, in a negotiation led on the Universal side by the corporation’s president, Zach Horowitz." (Idolator, 11/20/08)

"Guns N’ Roses linked with managers Irving Azoff and Andy Gould, and [Best Buy] then continued structuring the deal with the new management team." (LA Times, 11/20/08)

"After months of back and forth, a deal was worked out to resolve all of Axl’s disputes, with Chinese Democracy — and a nice 'thanks for the retail exclusive' check from Best Buy — underwriting the peace agreements." (Idolator, 11/20/08)

Even the publishing right controversy was resolved amicably, through a financial settlement.

"Slash and Duff are receiving a little payback for their troubles from Axl’s Sanctuary deals, and Axl himself received a new advance, though the currently undisclosed figure is said to be somewhat less than it would have been if he didn’t have to give something up to settle the outstanding debts." (Idolator, 11/20/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

The Mad Doctor

Back in January 2001, the shows were opened with an animated short film, in which Axl enjoyed a Diet Coke. Seven years later, he was about to trade off.

"Tired of a world in which Americans idolize wannabe singers and musicals about high schoolers pass as rock ’n roll music, Dr Pepper is encouraging (ok, begging) Axl Rose to finally release his 17-year-in-the-making belabored masterpiece, Chinese Democracy, in 2008. In an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl, everyone in America, except estranged GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead, will receive a free can of Dr Pepper if the album ships some time — anytime! — in 2008." (Dr. Pepper, press release, 03/26/08)

"We are surprised and very happy to have the support of Dr Pepper with our album "Chinese Democracy," as for us, this came totally out of the blue. If there is any involvement with this promotion by our record company or others, we are unaware of such at this time. And as some of Buckethead's performances are on our album, I'll share my Dr Pepper with him." (Axl,, 03/26/08)

In his response, Axl made a few promises in a typically vague fashion:

* Buckethead would be featured on the album
* The album would be released in 2008, as Axl'd share his release-day soda with Bucket

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Make You Hurt


On 04/05/08, published a recent picture of Robin Finck at the studio, with the caption, 'Welcome Back!'. He'd arrived just in time to begin recording parts for Reznor's new studio album, The Slip, which was released in the following month as a free download.

"I am thrilled to announce that I will be playing with NIN." (, 04/11/08)

“[The initial] conversation [with Trent Reznor] happened [in around March 2008],” Finck says. ... Actually it started in an email and then a telephone conversation and eventually we had an organic conversation about what was going to happen - he shared with me the plans he had with NIN and asked if I would like to be a part of it, and I agreed to join the band again.

“[Trent] had just finished Ghosts, I believe, and ... he had a batch of songs that became The Slip and invited me to play in the studio for a few days on those songs. That was a real charge for me and I ended up playing with him not just on the album but also on this tour.” (Time Off Australia, 02/09)

Robin leaving Guns may have happened as early as late 2007, given what DJ Ashba has mentioned regarding his audition.

“What happened is that I got a call, basically saying - I got a call at Sixx: A.M., and we had a number one hit at the time, and it said: 'Listen, Guns has been auditioning guitar players for about a year and a half on the down low. They can’t seem to find the right guy.'" (DJ Ashba, Westword Backbeat, 12/09/11)

Ashba's audition was held by or on March 2009, which suggests the auditions would've been ongoing when Robin and Trent reconnected.

As was the case in 1999, Robin left the band after completing work on several albums.

"Robin's work on [CD 2] is done, so there's not lots for him to do here, except the elusive promo, and he'd rather be on stage." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

"Robin does a really great Stevie Ray Vaughan -type solo on one track." (Axl, Spinner, 02/27/09)

Del James was the first from the GNR camp to comment on the matter.

"Only Robin knows what the hell he's doing." (Del James, 04/06/08)

"Robin's plans caught everyone in Guns, as well as our fans, a bit off-guard. Really, Del James' private e-mail that someone took upon themselves to post publicly is the best way for us to address things at this time: 'Only Robin knows what Robin's doing.' [...] When we begin to put tour plans together, we'll see where things are." (, 04/20/08)

"Last I was aware, [Robin] had some interest in touring, though I can't say what that means until then. In our opinion, he's made things a bit awkward publicly, but that's just his way." (Axl, Spinner, 02/27/09)

Incidentally, Josh Freese, who played with Robin in GNR in '98-99 and toured with him in '00 (while Robin was in NIN and Freese in their opening act, A Perfect Circle), played the drums on the album and also joined NIN for the 2008 tour.

In the fall, Reznor confirmed that Freese was to leave the live band following the December shows. This fueled speculation that Robin would do the same, making himself available for GNR in the process.

"Josh Freese fans be sure to check out a show on the upcoming North American leg of the tour, as sadly they will be the last ones he's playing with us. He informed me he's leaving the tour at the end of this year. Yes, we are still dear friends. No, I'm not sure what we are going to do." (Trent Reznor,, 10/08/08)

"Despite numerous reports and submissions, [...] Robin Finck is not leaving Nine Inch Nails at the end of the tour to rejoin G n' R. This should clear up any rumours that the Finckster will indeed be "pulling a Freese" any time soon." (The NIN Hotline, 11/12/08)

As for Finck himself...

“Look, I’m not really [doing a NIN interview] to talk about the Guns n’ Roses guys,” he counters, with the sort of diplomacy one might use when discussing a notoriously litigious former employer who likes to start feuds at the drop of a hat. “I certainly wish them the best, though.” (Time Out Sydney, 02/09)

In March 2012, over four years after leaving the band, Robin was reunited with GNR onstage.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

W.A.R. on TV

"A major music-oriented television channel has pitched an idea for a reality series to Axl Rose, according to sources close to the project. The show, which would appear on a cable channel that asked not to be identified, would follow the troubled rocker as his continues his decade-long effort to release the Guns N' Roses project "Chinese Democracy."

[...] The new (still untitled) reality show would follow Rose and his band as they prepare for release of the album. It would include behind-the-scenes rehearsal and studio footage, as well as interviews with a number of the participants. 'There is a lot of footage to choose from,' said a network source. 'Some of it is incredibly personal and revealing about Axl's life.'

According to the network source, the deal for the show is 'close, but not signed.' Part of the holdup seems to be the timing, as the particpants want to integrate the show into a timeline with the leadup to the album's release, along with the announcment of a limited number of concert dates." (All Your TV, 04/08/08)

Del James was quick to jump on the matter, delivering an unsurprising response.

"Despite rumors floating around the Internet, Guns N' Roses will not be appearing on any reality TV program to promote their forthcoming album, Chinese Democracy, or for any other reason." (Del James,, 04/14/08)

The network might've just as well consulted the unofficial GNR spokesperson.

"I would bet my life you won’t be seeing the Axl Rose reality TV show. [...] We were gallivanting across Europe [in 2006]. We are sitting [at a restaurant] and I go, 'Dude, I just shot this reality show for VH1 and they paid me this amount of money, man. [...] They’d pay you like a million bucks for 10 days of some shit.'

He’s looking at me with this look on his face and he's all quiet and he goes, 'Sebastian, you don’t understand. [...] I will pay VH1 $2 million to leave me the fuck alone!'" (Baz, Rolling Stone, 06/23/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Falun Gong for Christmas?

While touring was apparently grounded while waiting on Robin to fulfill his NIN commitments, GNR apparently looked into working their way around it.

"[Axl and I have] actually discussed very deeply about doing some more gigs, maybe around Christmas time. Anytime he’s hinted at anything like that it’s come true, so that could happen. I know he’s extremely busy working on the release of his record and getting it out to the people." (Baz, Subba-Cultha, 07/08)

NIN would, in fact, go on a break after their last North American show on 12/13/08. As for GNR, a return to China might've been in the cards.

"GN'R promoters in China dropped plans for two shows this year, says Ms. Lebeis." (Beta, Wall Street Journal, 11/22/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Slackers Return

On July 6th, a song listing for the upcoming video game Rock Band 2 was unveiled at Among others, it featured an unreleased GNR track called Shackler's Revenge.

A faux promotional image for Shackler's Revenge.

"We really wanted to have GN'R included in RB2 and Paul DeGooyer, our music guru and all-around good guy at MTV, worked directly with the GN'R folks to make it happen. Everyone involved decided that it'd be ultra fab to have something from the mysterious 'Chinese Democracy.' And Axl himself took an interest and chose 'Shackler's Revenge.'" (Eric Brosius, IGN, 08/16/08)

A week after the song listing came out, the matter was confirmed by the band.

"Get ready for 'Shackler's Revenge.' The track from the upcoming Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy will appear on the video game Rock Band 2, slated for release for the Xbox 360 platform in September." (, 07/14/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

The Antiquiet Nine

A few days from the Shackler's Revenge announcement, versions of nine songs from the album were leaked.

"Nine purported 'mastered, finished' tracks from Guns N' Roses' 14-years-in-the-making album 'Chinese Democracy' were leaked online yesterday (June 18) by the Web site, prompting a quick cease-and-desist from the band's handlers and the removal of the links.

Six of the songs have already leaked in one unfinished form or another: 'Better,' 'The Blues,' the title track, 'Madagascar,' 'IRS' and 'There Was a Time.' [...] The three previously unheard songs are 'Rhiad and the Bedouins,' 'If the World' and a track whose title is unknown." (Billboard, 06/19/08)

The unknown track was later revealed to be Prostitute, a song worked on since 1993.

The leaks were outstaged only by the showmanship with which the leaker was brought in.

"The FBI busted into the California home of one Kevin “Skwerl” Cogill at 6:59 yesterday morning, hauling the blogger off to U.S. District Court over charges that the 27-year-old violated copyright laws by posting nine tracks from the catastrophically-delayed Guns ’n’ Roses album Chinese Democracy to his blog, Antiquiet, back in June." (The New York Observer, 08/28/08)

Apparently, media attention was guaranteed on the get-go.

"We weren’t going to make a big spectacle of this, since it’s obviously a pretty serious situation, but the plankton hacks over at the Los Angeles Times managed to pick up on the story and run it a highly suspicious impressive two hours after the incident went down." (Antiquiet, 08/27/08)

"'Guns N' Roses representatives have been made aware of the arrests and are leaving the matter to the authorities,' said band spokesman Larry Solters." (, 08/27/08)

Shackler's Revenge was leaked roughly a month after the 'Antiquet Nine'.

"Basically, for us [the leaks are] devastating across the board. And when you have such a majority openly justifying their actions and throwing out nonsense such as it's not actually stealing as the original is still with whomever, it's unbelievably insane." (Axl,, 12/13/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Exclusive Leaks

The leaks, as well as the well-publicized arrest, coincided with an apparently critical period in the album release negotiations. Apparently, Azoff had requested a competing offer from Wal-Mart, a retail chain with which he'd made a 1-year exclusive distribution deal for The Eagles' comeback album Long Road out of Eden in 2007.

"According to sources, negotiations are underway for "Chinese Democracy" to come out as an exclusive at one of the big boxes - either Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Negotiations are also ongoing to have conventional record company distribution, another source says." (Billboard, 08/15/08)

"The current intended release date for Chinese Democracy is November 25, 2008. It is Azoff's strong preference that the release be done through Best Buy and not Wal-Mart. [...] I was also told that the story was leaked by Azoff to put pressure on Best Buy to up their offer and close the deal. (Mister Saint-Laurent, 08/19/08)

"A source tells Rolling Stone that a November release date has been selected in case the [GNR] decides to put [the album] out." (Rolling Stone, 08/28/08)

"A little birdie told me the deal with Best Buy is done. All that's left to do is sign the contract." (Bob Lefsetz, 08/31/08)

"I hear that the deal with Best Buy is 99% done. The plan is for Best Buy to have an exclusive on Chinese Democracy, which will be released the Tuesday before Thanksgiving [namely, 11/25/08]." (Mack Arillo, 09/01/08)

All this a few days following the arrest of Kevin Skewrl.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

BUY Product

On September 14th, Rock Band 2 was released. The accompanying GNR track, Shackler's Revenge, was the first piece of officially released new music from the band since Oh My God. OMG was premiered at the Video Music Awards event on 09/09/99, nearly nine years prior to date to the Rock Band 2 release.

"[Shackler's Revenge on Rock Band 2] is the beginning of what is expected to be a series of announcements about Guns N' Roses, the main point being that the album will be finally released and before Christmas.

[...] By getting the album out in November, Guns N' Roses will have a chance to claw back some of the control of the distribution [in response to the recent leaks] and finally put this long overdue release in the hands of the fans." (Undercover Press, 09/13/08)

First of the announcements was the big one.


"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 hrs. [Andy Gould of] GNR management was on hand, they played the group three songs, Chinese Democracy, [If The World and There Was A Time.]

But management stated [If The World] would play for the credit roll in the new Di Caprio flick Body of Lies [opening wide on 10/10/08.]. The album will be released on Nov 25, only at Best Buy." (MyGNR, 09/25/08)

"Best Buy is set to 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." (Billboard, 09/26/08)

"The retailer paid $14 million for 1.6 million copies of the GUNS N' ROSES album, according to Hits." (Blabbermouth, 12/11/08)

And so, Irving Azoff succeeded in covering both major US sales for Chinese Democracy, as well as Axl's monumental studio bill - both Axl and Geffen were now set to profit.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Such A Perfect Day


As If The World premiered over the closing credits of Body of Lies, the final release date was announced.

"Guns N' Roses' long-awaited Chinese Democracy album on Geffen/Interscope finally has a release date. The album will hit all Best Buy stores, where it is an exclusive, on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, giving it a full seven days on sale before entering the chart on Dec. 2. Best Buy's sales week runs from Sunday through Saturday night." (Hits Daily Double, 10/08/08)

"A music video is in the works, and the band - in which Rose is the only remaining original member - is expected to tour in 2009, according to a source close to GNR." (Rolling Stone, 10/17/08)

"The title track from Guns N' Roses' new album, "Chinese Democracy," will be available to download by U.S. radio outlets at 5 a.m. ET tomorrow morning (Oct. 22). Although some album tracks leaked this summer, this is the first authorized new music from the group in nine years." (Billboard, 10/21/08)

20 months after the previously announced tentative release date, the album was finally set to come out.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Out for Cover

The mythical bicycle album art, previewed by Axl in 2002.

" is currently taking pre-orders for the long-awaited Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" at this location. According to the site, the album will be released on November 25 and will be made available on CD and vinyl format. Furthermore, fans have a choice between three different CD and LP covers, although exact details have not yet been revealed." (Blabbermouth, 10/15/08)

The third cover may possibly be the 'Sorry' automatic rifle, another visual design mentioned by Axl.
"There are two more covers/bk cover combos and the real booklet, that is all artwork, that will be out shortly in some form. It's been an ugly battle that hasn't made any sense to anyone, and whether anyone cares about such things, the booklet or artwork has always been something I've been passionate about." (Axl, HTGTH, 12/12/08)

The additional covers never reached wholesale. Axl himself commented the matter later on.

"To release the album with unapproved and unseen final artwork with a first work-only error-filled draft, when others, more recent, were readily available still has not been explained, but is finally getting cleared up. My fave is the 'How Are You' grenade cover." (Axl, HTGTH, 12/12/08)

"According to industry scuttlebutt, the negotiations for the Best Buy deal were frantic and down to the wire. 'These guys didn't have finished music until a month before,' says one source. 'It was insane. In all honesty, Axl was working on everything - the art, everything - right to the end.'" (Nashville Scene, 01/29/09)

"Atlas Shrugged, I was going to tell a little story about that song. Right now on my laptop, I actually have the old guitar solo that I played for that song, when, two days before the album was going to be mastered, I was like, let's see if we can squeeze it on to the album. I busted out some guitar tracks for it, I have my own studio...

But, because the CD could only be 74 minutes max, and it would've taken it past the limit of what a CD can store, we couldn't put Atlas Shrugged on Chinese Democracy. It wasn't worth making a two-CD album with just one song on the other CD, so hopefully, on ChiDem 2, it'll have Atlas Shrugged on there. Interesting song." (Bumblefoot, Eat More Heat, 03/02/13)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

The Master Arrives

As the Best Buy deal was signed, the final mixes were taken to Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine, where they were put into the established hands of audio engineer Bob Ludwig.

"In October, when I first heard some of final mixes which were incredibly multi-layered and dense, I was surprised by two things: The mixes were so finally honed that doing the smallest move sounded like I had done a lot and also that adding the typical amount of compression used in mastering these days took the life and musicality out of the recordings in a big way.

The trial disc I submitted to the producers had 3 versions: The one I personally liked had no compression that was used just for loudness, only compression that was needed for great sounding rock and roll.

Then, knowing how competitive everything is these days, I made two more masterings, one with more compression and another with yet more compression, but even the loudest one wasn’t remotely as loud as some recent CDs.

Hoping that at least one of these would satisfy Axl and Caram Costanzo, the co-producers of the record, I was floored when I heard they decided to go with my full dynamics version and the loudness-for-loudness-sake versions be damned." (Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, 11/25/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:


As the release date crept closer, the amount of stateside promotion was put into question.

"'The release of Chinese Democracy marks a historic moment in rock n’ roll,' said co-managers Irving Azoff and Andy Gould. 'We’re launching with a monumental campaign developed by Gary Arnold and the Best Buy team that matches the groundbreaking sound of the album itself.'" (Best Buy, Press Release, 10/22/08)

"The new Guns N' Roses album, "Chinese Democracy", has been streamed nearly two million times on the band's official MySpace page since it was first uploaded early this morning (Thursday, November 20). The stream will be available until the LP is released on Sunday, November 23." (Guns N' Roses, MySpace, 11/20/08)

"Thus far, Best Buy has run a relatively restrained marketing campaign for “Chinese Democracy.” Just a few days before its release, there were no signs announcing the album inside the West Hollywood location (there was a sign outside the store). The album is now up for streaming on MySpace, but not playing into the hype was the design, says Arnold. 'It all starts this weekend,' Arnold says. 'We're trying to time everything for the grand release this Sunday. There wasn’t a giant buildup, in terms of over-promising. We wanted the music to stand on its own.'" (LA Times, 11/20/08)

All n' all, pre-release promotion was scant, aside some thirty-second advertising clips, consisting of text, album artwork and a brief sound clip from one of the songs. Stateside listening parties were held in nine cities, in between November 17th and 20th. On November 23rd, the album was featured as the official soundtrack of the 2008 Grey Cup, the Canadian equivalent to SuperBowl.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:


"Chinese Democracy has finally arrived. One of the most highly anticipated albums in rock history, Chinese Democracy will be in stores this Sunday, November 23rd. Guns N' Roses is ready to rock once again. Chinese Democracy (Black Frog/Geffen Records) will be available on CD and vinyl (accompanied by a free digital download of the tracks) at Best Buy and Best in the U.S., and digitally through iTunes." (Black Frog/Geffen Records, Press release, 11/22/08)

The album debuted at number 3 at the Billboard 200 chart on December 2nd, having sold 261,000 copies on the first week of release. It did, however, top the global sales with a result of 640,000 copies.

"Many are expressing surprise that Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy sold only 255k in its first week as a Best Buy exclusive. [...] IGA and Best Buy were handicapped on a number of levels, due in large part to Rose’s refusal to participate in the setup—dramatically reducing the ability of the label and Best Buy to market the release." (Hits DailyDouble, 12/04/08)

"With our team we were able to negotiate through a mountain of issues to be able to release the album. Within those negotiations, I believed I had secured agreements, commitments and assurances that would have allowed a promotional strategy to be implemented that obviously I've had a fair amount of time to consider." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

"Bosses at label Geffen are blaming unpredictable Axl for the disappointing sales after he went AWOL for two months before the release date." (The Sun, 12/02/11)

"Once the record was closer to release, the biz went about things in their standard business as usual mode." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

"According to a marketing executive familiar with the deal, this minimalist-seeming strategy was all that was arranged up front: 'They're kinda just doing what they can do with what they've got. The only thing [Guns N' Roses] had to deliver was a video and the record.'" (Nashville Scene, 01/29/09)

"Rose submitted to no TV or press interviews, nor did he choose take his band on the road behind the release, while no official video has yet surfaced." (Hits DailyDouble, 12/04/08)

"There will be proper interviews and some are already scheduled for much later intentionally." (Axl,, 12/14/08)

"Some are asking whether Best Buy had sufficient time to do its own setup, given the fact that Rose didn’t approve the final artwork until a few weeks prior to the release date." (Hits DailyDouble, 12/04/08)

"The stupid thing was, it was pulled out of [Axl's] hands. He was already ready to give it up, but there were a few minor things that meant a lot to him artistically, but they pulled it out of his hands anyway. What was another couple fucking weeks waiting for the artwork? I mean really? That's what it came down to. That's just too bad." (Tommy, Phoenix New Times, 12/16/11)

"In fact, [Geffen] failed to make contact with [Axl] from the day he delivered the final cut." (The Sun, 12/02/11)

Axl had vanished on the eve of his victory.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Peppers Ghost

As Chinese Democracy did come out, Dr Pepper was to make good of their promise.

"According to, Dr Pepper's web site appears to be having a hard time keeping up with demand for a soda following the soft drink manufacturer's announcement earlier in the year that it would give a free drink to everyone if GUNS N' ROSES' long-awaited new album, "Chinese Democracy", album actually dropped in 2008.

Interested fans are being asked to visit today (November 23), the day "Chinese Democracy" is released in the U.S. exclusively via Best Buy. After registering online, fans will receive a coupon redeemable for a 20-oz. Dr Pepper wherever the drink is sold.

The twist: the coupon is only available for 24 hours and will expire on February 28.

Repeated attempts by staff to reach have resulted mainly in a longtime "loading" message on the main page. When has managed to get in, the coupon location wasn't immediately clear. It's apparently behind "Promotions" and then "Free Dr Pepper" — but then that page wasn't loading for either.

Then tried 1-888-drpepper (1-888-377-3773), as recommended to the site by a company spokesman. called midday and got an operator after a 15-minute wait. The spokesman also said the company was working to add more servers to handle the web traffic — this also around noon, 12 hours into the 24-hour promotion." (Blabbermouth, 11/23/08)

The band were quick to jump on the bandwagon.

"Guns N' Roses' and Axl Rose's lawyer has castigated Dr Pepper, accusing the soda maker of failing to deliver on its "Chinese Democracy" (Black Frog/Geffen) free soda promotion, which the band was never involved in.

[Beverly Hills-based Alan Gutman]'s letter makes clear his view that the original campaign was an 'exploitation of my clients' legendary reputation and their eagerly awaited album' and 'brazenly violated our clients' rights.' He is also seeking an 'appropriate payment... for the unauthorized use and abuse of their publicity and intellectual property rights,' with the threat of further action if an acceptable offer is not made. 'Now is the time to clean up the mess,' says Gutman." (Billboard, 11/26/08)

"Bosses at soft drinks giant Dr Pepper have refused to apologise to Guns N' Roses for the debacle over their recent giveaway with the rockers' new album Chinese Democracy. [...] A statement from Dr Pepper reads, 'We are disappointed that GN'R's lawyers are turning a fun giveaway into a legal dispute. We simply commented on the delayed release of Chinese Democracy and openly encouraged the band to release it before the end of the year.'" (Yahoo, 12/03/08)

In a long series of good intentions gone bad during the making of the album, the closing note would be a legal battle with a soft drink company. Who would've guessed?

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

All Quiet in the Western Front

Following the album release, tour rumors picked up again. Perhaps the most burning question was the would-be lineup.

"The latest changes made [on GNR MySpace] are to the current band members information, where guitarist Robin Finck and drummer Bryan 'Brain' Mantia are no longer listed." (GNR Daily, 11/13/08)

Everything looked good for a quick start in 2009, after Robin'd return from the road with NIN.

"The next tour will be... I don’t know if I should talk about it. I don’t think we’re going to be doing dates this year, either. I think we’re supposed to be starting back up in January." (Richard Fortus, Ultimate Guitar, 11/26/08)

"I get home on the 20th of December, and then get the family and go to St. Louis [for a Pale Divine show]. And then the day after we play, I'm flying to Dubai for New Year's; they're still trying to figure out where the [Rihanna] New Year's show is going to be. GNR's not doing anything until next year, in January." (Richard Fortus, The Pageant, 12/09/08)

In December, though, it appeared the tour had been postponed. A possible reason might've been Robin's commitment to an Oceanic tour with NIN in February.

"'There has been talk of us doing a Love tour, a tour of all the cities where there have been riots, and doing free shows,' Fortus said in a recent telephone interview. [...] Regardless, he said, late March should bring the GN'R tour, which likely will last at least two years." (Richard Fortus, The Telegraph, 12/26/08)

As these offhand comments were picked up by Rolling Stone and given an added emphasis, Fortus was no doubt asked to correct himself.

"OK, it seems that I am being misquoted once again. I never said that Gn'R would be playing St. Louis, nor did I say that we will be doing free shows or that we are starting a 2 year tour in March! Selective hearing. Never said it." (Richard Fortus, HTGTH, 12/30/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

A Better Video

An apparent snippet of a rough-cut live video for the albums second single, Better.

As with the Black Sheep / Harley-Davidson promo, Better was again considered a prime canditate for a visual representation. Axl even went on to mention the video would feature footage from the recent live performances.

"I think [the red bike from the Melbourne show on 06/16/07 is] in the Better vid. Not sure if we cut it." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

A release date was also thrown into the air - will he ever learn?

"[Regarding the video's release,] soon is the word as in a week or so." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

While the video never came, some dubious accusations did surface - this time, they were even more ridiculous than the case of the mistaken Harley promo.

"Tell Lars [Ulrich] to OK the vid and it's done. [...] We are pending his release form to be signed." (Fernando Lebeis, MyGNR, 12/29/08)

"Lars isn't holding anything up with our video. Our message board comments were meant casually, in fun and amongst friends. [...] We hope to have our video out shortly." (Fernando Lebeis, Blabbermouth, 12/30/08)

Ulrich later commented the Better issue in a backstage fan interview.

"I have heard about this, yes. There's a couple of clips of me in the video and they asked if I'd sign off on it. When it got to me, I signed off on the one clip and that was something that happened. I don't know where it came from. Someone else asked me about it the other day... I'd love to be in a Guns N' Roses video.

[...] It's my favorite song on the record. I think it's a great song and I can't wait for the video to come out. There's a shot of me and Axl embracing backstage, and I signed off on that. Hopefully, it'll make it into the final cut." (Lars Ulrich, The Hog, 01/12/09)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2008: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Dexter Calling


By December 17th, Chinese Democracy had sold 1,156,000 copies worldwide, with BestBuy sporting a stateside result of 365,000. As they'd bought 1,6 million copies on behalf of their exclusive, the actual amount of sold copies was, by then, a little short of 2,3 million. Rather fittingly, the album therefore has two separate sales results.

On November 18th, Tom Zutaut, the A&R Man who originally signed Guns to Geffen Records and worked on the bands all releases up to the Sympathy for the Devil single in late 1994, and almost got Chinese Democracy made during his year with Axl in 2001, was escorted out of the albums listening party at The Roxy in Hollywood, California. As Zutaut stood on the sidewalk, French horns kicked in and Madagascar played out. On some level, he must've appreciated the irony of it all.

Between December 12th-14th, Axl made a series of appearances at the three major Guns N' Roses message boards, delivering answers to various matters in a rather open and verbose fashion. The reputed Howard Hughes of Rock had released his album and finally made the distance towards those who'd stayed up and waiting.

In mid-December, Classic Rock published an abridged version of Chinese Whispers as a 20-page supplemental booklet for their January 2009 issue. The chronicle which had started as a collection of quotes, mostly from printed sources, had succesfully made the transition to the original medium, becoming a Chinese Democracy article by its own right.

In January, a new journey begins.

Thank you for your patience.

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