Axlin08, it's interesting what you said about Slash. In my view - and bear in mind, I love GN'R in all its incarnations - the general public percieves a band as having two key members. Usually they're the frontman and the lead guitarist (but not always - see Flea in RHCP, or Jimmy Chamberlin in the Pumpkins). Queen without Freddie Mercury isn't Queen; try and imagine the Stones with Mick or Keef missing. You could just about imagine three of the Beatles reuniting in the 70s under the name, as long as two of them were Lennon and McCartney.
For the general public, Guns N' Roses is Axl and That Bloke in the Top Hat. If Slash came back to the band - even if it was the exact same fucking band Axl's touring with at the moment - you can bet your ass that the tabloid press and your mate at the office watercooler would be calling it a reunion. Even though it'd be missing the real essential member of the original lineup, Izzy.
But then, rock trades in icons, and Izzy was always the quiet one. Slash is the sort of character you can recognise from his silhouette alone. Buckethead's another, and it's one of the reasons why there was such buzz around the band before that fucking disastrous, wheezy VMAs performance in 02. I'm not sure that Ron - who I dearly love in all other respects - quite measures up to those two in the iconic stakes.
Assuming Finck has buggered off - at the exact moment when TWAT and Better were poised to make him a genuine guitar hero - then Axl would do well to invite Buckethead back to the fold. I'd be inclined to say "invite Slash", but I don't think his ego would allow him to fit into the new three-guitar setup.
The killing irony for all those who keep wittering on about Slash is that if you put Axl and Slash together at any time from 1996 to now, I don't think you'd get a very good album out of it. Take the uninspired riffs Slash has been coming up with since It's 5 o'Clock Somewhere, and Axl, minus the songwriting of Tobias and Pitman, and you'd end up with a donkey of an album, a real dated clusterfuck.
A brilliant observation. Bottom line, those guys were artistically spent after the Illusion albums. GN'R were just not destined to be a Queen or Stones, putting out great albums every friggin' year.
I think Democracy, by the time it's said and done, will pass the Illusion albums in my eyes (both of which are classics mind you), but even though this album was probably 95% done in 2001, it still took this long, 2008, 17 years, to be able to put out an album of this quality.
I'd love to see Axl reteam with the Illusion-studio lineup, and put out old school GN'R records, that still recapture the artistic brilliance of the hey day.
I just question how possible it is. The old band went off and made some really crappy solo albums (with the sole exception of Izzy who's still a genious), and VR was mediocre on it's best day. New GN'R still has the brilliance of Axl, but being surrounded by a new cast of great artists (Bucket, Chris, Tommy), it's really only Guns N' Roses in name-only. The music is great, but it's totally different.
Chinese Democracy is like the Batman Begins of that brand name. Great, but really a totally different beast from the classic stuff.
Axlin08, I'm not a fan of the Batman Begins comparison. Appetite For Destruction is one of the holy grails of hard rock. Batman '89 and Returns are good but nowhere near the best of their genre. Batman Begins blew them out of the water. And I say that as a person who literally grew up on those two movies. I have a ton of nostalgia for them but Begins and TDK both kick the hell out of them. The same cannot be said of CD. It doesn't kick the shit out of the old GN'R material. I think it is on the same level as the best of UYI except that the album overall is more solid than the UYI's. It does not stand up to AFD though. Very few albums do in fact.
I agree with tejastech. Nothing on this album lives up to AFD. But some songs do live up to the top songs from the UYI records but not all of them.
And as I said, this album is more solid than the UYI's. There are no garbage songs like "Shotgun Blues," "Bad Apples," or...the worst song in GN'R history..."My World."
Hey hey I like Shotgun Blues lol. But these new songs def are better than a lot of the Illusion material.
Shotgun Blues has good music but Axl's lyrics are incredibly immature. Same goes for Get In The Ring, but for some reason I like that one.
let's not start ridiculous arguments this week. we all have different tastes in music. there's no way to truly say one piece of art is better than another. it's all opinion.
with that said, one measuring stick is what do the masses believe. i think it's safe to say that the best songs on CD are better than the worst songs are UYI. but going any further than that is silly, IMO. i've recently given the illusion albums good straight through listens and they fuckin rock.