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 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Yet Another Big Deal

"Sanctuary Music Group has signed Axl Rose to a publishing deal. Until recently, Warner Chappell published the Guns N' Roses frontman's works." (Sanctuary Group, 01/24/05)

"The notoriously unpredictable Axl Rose signed with Sanctuary [...] in a deal believed to be worth £10 million [...] after months of negotiations through his lawyers. [...] Deke Arlon, Sanctuary's head of publishing, said: '[...] We spent years trying to find the right deal.' [...] Although rival publishers are believed to have offered more, Rose felt more comfortable with Sanctuary's business plan." (The Times, 01/26/05)

"Guns N' Roses' manager Merck Mercuriadis, who just so happens to be CEO of Sanctuary Group, said he didn't want to comment beyond the announcement of the deal. Industry experts have valued the 20-year deal at about $19 million." (Yahoo, 02/01/05)

Axl would've therefore leased his share of the GNR back catalogue (1/3 since the band formation up to 05/01/98 and 100% of whatever music released under the band moniker ever since) up to the year 2025. He would be 63 years old when the rights would revert back to him.

"The deal covers both future material and catalogue. Rose's contribution to such hits as 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' 'Paradise City' and 'November Rain' are covered under the deal, as are dozens of new tracks Rose has recently recorded for Universal Music." (Sanctuary Group, 01/26/05)

"[Sanctuary Group] revealed unexpected losses of £13.5 million just two days before it was due to release its annual results. The admission, which appears to have followed a row between the company and its auditor, Baker Tilly, knocked 15 per cent off the share price and will wipe out most of the group's profits for this year. [...] Sanctuary said that it did expect to generate about £50 million from exploiting Guns N' Roses hits through film soundtracks, cover versions and their use in advertisements." (The Times, 01/26/05)

Interestingly, Axl's ownership of these very publishing rights was contested by Slash and Duff in their 2004 lawsuit.

"McKagan's lawyer, Glen Miskel, expressed surprise when told of the Sanctuary deal. He said Rose, Slash and Duff were part of a partnership and 'neither Sanctuary nor Axl Rose have provided the remaining partners with a copy of that agreement.' He added Rose is trying to transfer copyright interests in songs which 'are not owned by Mr. Rose.'" (Yahoo, 02/01/05)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

April Fools Rush In

"[The music's] been done... For a while." (Tommy, Q104.3, 01/31/05)

"Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson told the Pioneer Press earlier this week that the long-awaited new GN'R album 'Chinese Democracy' is being finished as we speak." (Pioneer Press, 01/26/05)

"They're finishing up the mixing right now. Sorting out what songs are going on it and artwork and shit. And hopefully sooner than later, it'll come out. I understand there's probably some European dates booked in the summer." (Tommy, Creative Loafing Atlanta, 02/06/05)

"We have three CDs worth of songs. Everyone contributed and it all goes into the mill. [...] (Rose is) working hard to finish our first record in quite awhile." (Dizzy, Sentinel and Enterprise, 09/19/05)

"Next, [Tommy] says, Guns N' Roses is gearing up for a late spring CD release, hopefully followed by touring." (WCF Courier, 02/11/05)

"[Tommy] promised that GNR would be on the road this year after the release of Chinese Democracy in April." (South Philly Review, 01/20/05)

In late February, online retailer HMV UK began listing a 25/04/05 release date for CD.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Lex Axl

"According to, a lawsuit filed by former Guns N' Roses members Slash (guitar) and Duff McKagan (bass) against the band's lead singer, Axl Rose [...] has been delayed by an "ex parte" application until November 8, 2005.

The case, which was originally due to finalize this May, is expected to last five-seven days and could possibly feature court appearances from all the parties in person. The delay allows [...] Guns N' Roses to continue planning for the release of the their long-awaited new album, 'Chinese Democracy'." (Blabbermouth, 03/04/05)

While taking a break from their reciprocal court case, Axl, Slash and Duff continued to wage war against Cleopatra Records and their Hollywood Rose release.

"In November 2004 and April [13th] 2005, the court made two related rulings in favor of Cleopatra and against Rose on all of his other claims, and entered summary judgment in favor of Cleopatra.

[...] On May 23, 2005, Judge Gary Allen Feess, Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, awarded Cleopatra Records' request for attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $24,176.38." (Blabbermouth, 05/27/05)

Following the publishing deal with Sanctuary, Axl took steps to provide them with the means to license the back catalogue.

"[Axl] notified ASCAP on or around May 26 that he was switching over the publishing from Guns N' Roses to Black Frog Music Publishing (which he owns) and Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (which is a joint venture with and handles the administration of Sanctuary's publishing)." (MTV, 08/23/05)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

August Moon Rising

"[The Times reporter Burhan Wazir] mentioned that he had spoken to Sanctuary [while researching for his article on GNR, published on March 18th], who indicated that the new Guns N' Roses album would definitely be out later in 2005, probably around September." (Splat, 03/18/05)

A September release would indicate work on the album to be completed in the summer, in July the latest.

"Axl is still finishing up vocals on the record and I've heard rumours that it will be released before the end of the year." (Fortus, 06/23/05)

Harpist Patti Hood, who'd worked with Pitman's former band Lusk and toured with them for three months in 1997, was revealed to work on the project.

"I'm on a song called "This I Love".  It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard." (Patti Hood, 11/26/07)

"I did the session about 2 and a half years ago.  Axl was not present at the session." (Patti Hood, 11/30/07)

"I actually didn't meet Axl until well after I did the session." (Patti Hood, 11/26/07)

"Axl Rose has now moved out of Curt Cuomo's studio and Jason Evigan of the After Midnight Project has moved in." (GNRWire, 07/04/05)

"The release of 'Chinese Democracy', the much vaunted new album by Guns n'roses, is drawing ever closer, and could see a release as early as November/December of 2005. July of 2005 should see Caram Costanzo and Merck Mercuriadis meet up to decide the final credits on the completed 'Chinese Democracy' album." (Splat, 07/29/05) 

Sure enough, in August Axl did come around as if he'd completed his chores, only to backtrack before September rolled in.

"[A&R Man] John Kalodner is one of only a few people who have met Axl recently: 'I saw him in the Sanctuary office a month ago. This guy walked by and says: 'Hello, John'. It was Axl. And he looked great - like Axl The Rock Star again'." (Classic Rock, 09/05)

"John 5 has confirmed to us that he is being considered for the vacant guitarist slot in Guns N'Roses. He is yet to be interviewed though." (GNRWire, 05/21/05)

"Axl was seen driving in the direction of Curt Cuomo's Woodland Hills studio last month, at a time when the album was supposed to be done. [...] Horns were seen in the studio, instruments that are known to be on the new Guns n'roses, 'Chinese Democracy'." (Splat, 08/30/05)

"As of today, Sp1at understands that band members will find out at the end of August/start of September whether they can continue their solo exploits until the end of the year." (Splat, 07/29/05)

"Splat has learnt that Richard Fortus, guitarist with Guns N' Roses, has found out this week that he will now be able to do the November Nena dates, and that he is not required back in the GN'R camp this November." (Splat, 08/30/05)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Just Sue Me

The fourth separate lawsuit involving all Axl, Slash and Duff within one and a half years [the previous ones being ones on the Greatest Hits release, the GNR partnership, and Hollywood Rose] surfaced as Axl was coming out of hiding.

"Slash and Duff McKagan filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles on [08/17/05] [against Axl for] changing the publisher of the group's copyrighted songs without their consent and pocketing the royalties. [...] Though the Sanctuary deal was reported on by the press, Slash and Duff claim they weren't aware of the scope of Rose's dealings - which they say he "omitted and concealed" - until their expected royalty payments for the first quarter of 2005 [...] some $92,000 [...] didn't arrive in the mail." (MTV, 08/23/05)

"Howard Weitzman, Rose's lawyer, said the singer had asked to receive only his portion of royalties, and that the overpayment was due to a clerical error by the society. Weitzman said Rose had returned the extra funds to the organization." (LA Times, 08/26/05)

"Attorney Glendon Miskel has told Splat that Slash and Duff will be pursuing their new lawsuit against Axl Rose, despite the singer's recent response. Miskel told us, 'The money was returned to ASCAP. However, Axl has not withdrawn his claim that he has the right to control a portion of the songs which are registered to Guns N' Roses Music.'" (Splat, 09/08/05)

"The lawsuit was a nightmare that had gone on too long. For fear of further litigation, the easiest way to explain it is to say that since 2001 we were involved in a lawsuit over the rights and profits stemming from licensing and merchandise. It was a typical broken-up-bands litigation, where one party complains of underpayment by another party." (Slash, Autobiography)

"Unbeknownst to most of you, I was recently sued again by Duff and Slash for some murky Merckiness that I was unaware and not involved in. Fortunately, that was resolved but it got ugly and took a while going into arbitration.

Merck shifted our merch from some of our newer styles to incorporating more of the old with some scam that, actually and surprisingly, lost sales in comparison but that's old news." (Axl, MyGNR, 12/12/08)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Goes Around / Comes Around

"In October of 2005, [...] not appearing to be under the influence, [...] Slash made an unannounced 5:30 AM visit to Axl Rose's house." (Howard Weitzman, press release, 03/06/06)

"I did go by his house but I was drunk - Perla wasn't and she was driving. I walked up the door and delivered a note that said something like 'Let's work this out. Call me. - Slash.' But I didn't give it to Axl, I gave it to his assistant." (Slash, Autobiography)

"I was the one whom Slash spoke with when he came to Axl's house in 2005 and expressed his negative comments regarding the others in his new band." (Beta Lebeis, 05/09/07)

"Slash came to inform Axl that: 'Duff was spineless,' 'Scott was a fraud,' that he 'hates Matt Sorum' and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself 'the stronger.'" (Howard Weitzman, press release, 03/06/06)

The visit later became a much-publicized event, even though Slash never apparently met or spoke with Axl.

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

Greatest Hits Revisited

As in August 2003, Geffen Records apparently contacted Axl again to discuss another compilation release to fill in for the absence of a new studio album.

"I'm told there may be news on the GNR front coming soon, but til it's formal and written in at least pencil my lips are sealed." (Tommy, official site, 09/18/05)

"As far as 'Chinese Democracy' itself goes, it appears that Guns N' Roses have been set yet another November deadline by Universal, not in a threatening tone though. Basically, if Chinese Democracy is not released, then a Greatest Hits II package will be put together and pushed out next March. Jim Urie, President of Universal Distribution, has said that the situation regarding to the two albums 'should be clarified in a couple of weeks'." (Splat, 11/07/05)

"Brendan Morris, a tape researcher at Universal credited on the first Guns N'Roses Greatest Hits album, has confirmed to Splat that Universal are looking to put together a second Guns N'Roses Greatest Hits package." (Splat, 10/28/05)

"[Slash and I] discuss the two versions of Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits Vol II. One is done by Axel's management. Slash says the track listing is good but the politics from Axel's management leave a lot to be desired. The other is done by Universal. Slash tells me he hasn't approved either, so who knows what'll come out." (Ross Halfin, 11/19/05)

Sleeve artwork for GH2 by Bau-Da Design.

The GH2 release was up in the air for a good while, not unlike its 2003 predecessor, before being shifted off the Christmas slate altogether.

"I expected the before mentioned date for Geffen's Guns & Roses Greatest Hits, Volume 2 to shift from originally scheduled December 6 to another date." (Musictap, 10/27/05)

"Although the track list has yet to be announced, Geffen has set a Dec. 20 release date for the double-disc set 'Welcome to the Jungle - The Very Best of Guns N' Roses.'" (Billboard, 11/17/05)

"According to Kjell Petter Askersrud, head of Universal in Norway, the new GN'R Greatest Hits album will be released in March 2006." (Splat, 10/27/05)

As Geffen had been preparing for a late 2005 release, it's certainly feasible to assume the album was mastered into the year. The following mention was later found amongst Sterling Sound's senior mastering engineer George Marino's projects.


In the past, Marino has mastered all GNR album releases, aside GNR Lies and Greatest Hits.

As GH2 unceremoniously ended up being canceled in favor of CD, one of those informed would've likely been Slash, who'd already been kept in the loop in regards of the track listing.

"Axl's got got a record coming out, Guns I guess you call it, I think in March. Which is sorta cool, you know it's gonna be interesting to hear it. After all this time and after all this talk what's going on with him. [...] Judging by, I think Axl's record is finished." (Slash, WMMR, 01/04/06)

 Rep: 150 

Re: 2005: Chinese Whispers

sic. wrote:

The (Next) Year of Guns N' Roses

While GH2 was canceled for the year, Axl did seem to be on brink of finishing the album.

"I recorded a little bitty thing [for CD] last week, for like a, sort of a quick little interlude to another song." (Tommy, Rhinocast, 01/16/06)

As Tommy mentions a recent Soul Asylum show, the interview was likely conducted in late October/early November 2005.

"Richard Fortus has told members of (in person) that he will be flying to Los Angeles after his last Nena gig (07/12) to do some more work on Guns N'Roses forthcoming album, 'Chinese Democracy', which is still unfinished." (Splat, 12/05/05)

While Merck had alluded that 2005 would be the year of Guns N' Roses, it wasn't the year of Chinese Democracy. While it had been an eventful year, all things considered, Axl was still to return.

Maybe next year.

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