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apex-twin
 Rep: 199 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

apex-twin wrote:

I started picking up and picking apart what Axl had said about CD during the Sean Beavan era, and beyond, if relevant. Below is a speculated track listing, which replaces all post-Beavan songs with earlier counterparts. To begin with, after all these years we lack confirmed song titles to round up the original album.


"The record will be about, anywhere from 16 to 18 songs."

01. Chinese Democracy
02. Ides Of March ('98)
03. Berlin (Oklahoma) ('98)
04. Street Of Dreams
05. If The World
06. There Was A Time
07. Catcher In The Rye
08. Oh My God ('99)
09. Riad N' The Bedouins
10. Silkworms ('00)
11. I.R.S.
12. Madagascar
13. This I Love
14. Prostitute
15. Atlas Shrugged ('99)


"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."

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

"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."

"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."

"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."


CD

"It's a lot of different sounds. There's some other really heavy songs, there's a lot of aggressive songs, but they're all in different styles and different sounds. It is truly a melting pot."

"Imagine Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti remixed by Beck and Trent Reznor, and you'll have some sense of Axl's new sound." (David Wild, RS 01/00)


"There will be elements of blues-based things on the new Guns record. It's a very diverse record. There's a lot of hip-hop beats, there's straight-ahead rock."

"Song after song combines the edgy hard-rock force and pop smarts of vintage Guns n' Roses with surprisingly modern and ambitious musical textures." (David Wild, RS 01/00)

"I just wanted to be good enough [on guitar] to be able to contribute what was needed to this main album."

"The first one is definitely more guitar-based."


"We're still recording. I'm doing the vocals."


"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."

"Why I chose to do it that way is that, you know, I can sit and write poetry 'til hell freezes over, and getting attached to any particular set of words... I felt that I would write to those words in a dated fashion, and we really wouldn't get the best music."

"I'm about three-quarters of the way through [with the vocals], and it's a very difficult process for me.


"There's not a whole lot for [the rest of the band] to do at this time in regards to recording, as we've recorded [a] majority of material."

"Maybe if it were to get closer to, say, mastering or mixing, maybe there could be something someone else could add to it."

"You know, basically taking the advance money for the record and actually spending it on the record."


CD2

"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."

"We have material that we think is too advanced for old Guns fans to hear right now and they would completely hate."

"The second [album] leans probably a little more to aggressive electronica with full guitars."

"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 from scratch, learning how to work with something and not wanting it just to be something you did on a computer."

"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."


"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.""

"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."


Lyrics

If Axl wrote lyrics for a song, that song was considered an A-lister. That song likely had a name, unlike Instrumental #34.

"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."

"'I hope [Stephanie Seymour's son, Dylan]'ll hear it when he grows up, if he ever wants to know the story, to hear the truth,' Rose says a little quietly."

And what is that story? 'How I met (and parted with) your mother'?

There are such songs (Street of Dreams, TWAT, Prostitute...), but Uncle Axl also has more global concerns.


Riad and the Bedouins.

Lyrically, Riad's something else. It's actually a camouflaged hotspot on the album.

"This album wasn't made so much for myself, money, ego or fame. It was made because people like Riad and those like him exist, no-one seems to care or have any idea how to approach such a complex reality and, unfortunately, we all suffer."

"Riad is the name of my one-time momentary brother-in-law. The former brother-in-law of Erin Everly, he went by when I knew him. Of part Lebanese descent and a former student of the Pepperdine University, he claims to be an international arms dealer, billionaire with ambitions of being 'King of the World'.

...He claims his most prized asset is his anonymity. He also claims to be an expert in military strategy and was the inspiration for the Guns song Civil War, which was written per his request for a song how 'people were stupid and he could sell them anything because men love to kill each other.'"

With the backstory, the lyrics of Riad actually become sensible. It's about becoming aware of the arms smuggler's plan to take over, getting fed up and foiling their plane. In the end, they "crossed the line and lost again."


"[Riad] also claims to be an expert in global finance and money laundering, living tax free in Bel Air the last I was aware of, and claiming to launder monies for wealthy individuals in several countries, predominantly Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, with ties to the Bush/Reagan administrations and wherever there's a war in the world at any given moment."

IRS arguably follows along the same lines actually, juxtaposing tax evasion with a past relationship.


Chinese Democracy.

"The use of the two words, 'Chinese' and 'Democracy', was intentional, though perhaps not in the way many may think."

"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."

"I'd like to take some of the old Guns fans along with me gradually into the 21st century."

"I feel that the prejudice and closed-mindedness of, at least, many outspoken Guns N' Roses fans seems to warrant an awareness of the realities of a constantly evolving and ever-growing world, where China continues to play an ever-increasing role."

"The reality of life for an entire country, with the largest population in the world - and my particular focus - is that you would suffer... daily. Unless your mind and/or education could maneuver through the minefield of communist law enforcment and government bureacracy... You would see suffering and you may even choose to simply be suffering as a means to an end."


Read it sideways. There's a lot of CD movements, there's a lot to talk about, and it will be nice to see. Their band, their baby, got to rule the nation and bought Axl a whole lot of precious time in the process.

The flipside is that CD, as it is, is a paradox. The irony emphasizes the possibilty of its existence. The totalitarian government is your record company allegory. A frustrated creation process. A song downplaying and heightening the CD myth both at the same time.


Oklahoma.

"'I can't come up with any lyrics right now - they'd be about every other lawsuit I got going.'" (Zakk Wylde quotes Axl, Spin, 07/99)

One lawsuit song is enough, then?

"168 people just got killed... I'm sitting there [in litigation] with [Erin Everly], she don't care. Obliterating me is their goal."

Oklahoma would then be about obliteration, both viewed from afar and felt immediately. Like CD, it links personal issues with an ongoing, external event.


Atlas Shrugged.

"Song doesn't have all that much to do with the book other than trying to do what you believe in and a line about shoulders not being wide enough."

"I basically figured out a way to save my own ass. There was only one way out, and I found it. Otherwise, you know, I believe my career was just going down the toilet. I figured out how to save my ass and then tried to bring everybody with me."

Atlas Shrugged may be about the fall of the old band and how Axl hoisted Guns on his back, for better or for worse. Only his shoulders proved too narrow, and the others fell off.


Therefore, Axl's three main theses for the album were, supposedly, the relationship breakdowns, the global struggle - and making the album.

The Beavan album was reportedly mastered. It would be a curious thing to hear.

otto
 Rep: 81 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

otto wrote:

I've always thought the title "Chinese Democracy" was self-ironic... It's basically the current state of the "band"... A band (supposedly a democracy per definition) under a totalitarian regime (Axl as enforcer, the Chinese part).

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

Sky Dog wrote:

I've always thought that too Otto

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

Sky Dog wrote:

So are we thinking that Seven, Thyme, Soul Monster (Leave Me Alone), and The General are more Bucket/Brain concoctions? These are the Beltrami songs. We know Brain had a hand in The General.

misterID
 Rep: 467 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

misterID wrote:

Those songs are probably post 99. Brain said Seven was his favorite and so did Marco.

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

Sky Dog wrote:

The more I think about it, the lyrics to the album are pretty fuckin good. The foursome of Chinese Democracy, Riad, Catcher and Shacklers all have a theme of useless violence and simply show examples of how fucked up the world is. The Chinese government, individuals like Axl describes in his essay on Riad, Lennon's death, and Columbine with Shacklers.

Then, we got the theme of broken relationships on a bunch of songs (pick your poison as to who he is talking about but Seymour and Slash are obviously targets-I don't care if he sidesteps the question or not!). And, themes of defiance...Axl trying to rise above the turmoil of his outside world and his inside, personal world...move on with his life...be defiant (Madagascar, Sorry, Scraped).

Overall, really pretty brilliant. I am not a fan of all the music at times, but the lyrics are 100% solid.

misterID
 Rep: 467 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

misterID wrote:

Agreed. Great lyrics. He's a very underrated songwriter.

I really wish they had kept the Andy Wallace mixes for CD. The music sounds so smooth on them. But I have to say, Chinese Democracy sounds a bit flat without the double track vocals of the album version. They could have done without Ron who overpowers the song. If they needed a an added riff they should have used Robin, who would have sounded more organic to the music with his compressed industrial riffage, like his opening of the song... which is killer.

otto
 Rep: 81 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

otto wrote:

The only song which lyrics are poor for me is If the World.

Sorry has great, genius moments ("The truth is the truth hurts, don’t you agree? It’s harder to live with the truth about you than to live with the lies about me") with some bad, really bad moments ("You close your eyes All well an’ good I’ll kick you ass Like I said that I would") cringeworthy, to the best Get In the ring fashion...

To me, Street of Dreams, Madagascar, Better and Prostitute are outstanding poetry wise.

sandman
 Rep: 30 

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

sandman wrote:
otto wrote:

The only song which lyrics are poor for me is If the World.

Sorry has great, genius moments ("The truth is the truth hurts, don’t you agree? It’s harder to live with the truth about you than to live with the lies about me") with some bad, really bad moments ("You close your eyes All well an’ good I’ll kick you ass Like I said that I would") cringeworthy, to the best Get In the ring fashion...

To me, Street of Dreams, Madagascar, Better and Prostitute are outstanding poetry wise.

it's funny you reference Get In The Ring, because i posted a while back that i believe he is actually referencing Get In The Ring when he says that line. True or not, i'm more comfortable with that line now. because like you said, cringed the first several times i heard it.

but i agree....there's tons of great lyrics on CD.

Re: The enigmatic Beavan album ('98-00)

Sky Dog wrote:

nothing is as bad as Get in the Ring....

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