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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

Chinese Democracy

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Chinese Democracy Empty Chinese Democracy

Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:29 pm

Chinese Democracy Pbucket
CHINESE DEMOCRACY
Album:
Chinese Democracy, 2008, track no. 1.

Written by:
Axl Rose and Josh Freese.

Musicians:
Axl Rose – lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards, piano, guitar
Robin Finck – lead guitars, keyboards
Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal – lead guitar
Buckethead – lead guitar
Paul Tobias – rhythm guitar, piano
Richard Fortus – rhythm guitar
Tommy Stinson – bass, backing vocals
Dizzy Reed – keyboards, piano, synthesizer, backing vocals
Chris Pitman – keyboards, programming, sub bass, backing vocals, bass, 12 string guitar, mellotron
Bryan "Brain" Mantia – drums, percussion
Frank Ferrer – drums, percussion

Live performances:
The song was played for the first time at the House Of Blues, January 1, 2001. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, been played {CHINESESONGS} times.
Lyrics:
It don't really matter
You're gonna find out for yourself
No it don't really matter
You're gonna leave this thing to somebody else

If they were missionaries
Real time visionaries
Sitting in a Chinese stew
To view my dis-in-fat-u-ation

I know that I'm a classic case
Watch my disenchanted face
Blame it on the Falun Gong
They've seen the end and it can't hold on now

'Cause it would take a lot more hate than you
To end the fascination
Even with an iron fist
All they got to rule the nation
When all I've got is precious time
It don't really matter
Guess I'll keep it to myself
Said it don't really matter
It's time I look around for somebody else

'Cause it would take a lot more time than you
Have got for masturbation
Even with your iron fist
All they got to rule the nation
When all we got is precious time
All they got to fool the nation
When all I got is precious time

It don't really matter
I guess you'll find out for yourself
No it don't really matter
So you can hear it now from somebody else

You think you got it all locked up inside
And if you beat 'em enough they'll die
It's like a walk in the park from a cell
And now you're keeping your own kind in hell
When your great wall rocks blame yourself
While their arms reach up for your help
And you're out of time


Quote:
The movie Kundun was on [television] about the Dalai Lama. I was getting ready to leave...and it was the end of the movie. And the Dalai Lama is about to cross over the border, to you know, be in exile for the rest of his life from his own country. And he looks back at the men who helped him, and you know he's escaped the Chinese government. And he looks back at them and he waves and they wave at him. And then they show a scene where he looks back at them again and he sees every one of them dead. Because he knew they would be killed, and they knew that in helping him they would be killed. And you know the emotion in this next song, that's all that's about. It's not like an intelligent song. It doesn't have the answer to anything. And it's not necessarily pro or con  about China. It's just that right now China symbolizes one of the strongest, yet most oppressive countries and governments in the world. And we [Americans] are fortunate to live in a free country. And so in thinking about that it just kinda upset me, and we wrote this little song called 'Chinese Democracy.' [Las Vegas, House Of Blues, January 1, 2001]

Our song, "Chinese Democracy," in its irreverence, is for positive purposes and communication with all segments of society; music fans (Guns N' Roses fans in particular) and, especially, the western media, to open a dialogue in areas not necessarily focused on both current events and global social responsibilities.

When I was fortunate enough to visit both Hong Kong and Mainland China, I experienced different levels of fear at all times in relation to the particular area I visited. I did not experience the fear in the sense of having feared for myself, I witnessed it in others everywhere around me, and kept my demeanor calm, observant and extremely polite. What I felt was emotional heartbreak. I've never witnessed so many individuals going about their lives in such a degree of visible fear, especially the average citizen in the spectrum of social, economic or social position. The military were nearby in some form or another, from one lone sentry to marching drill teams. It was not like a movie as it was much more extreme in the sense that this was real. I did not ask or talk about any of these issues with anyone in public.

The use of the two words "Chinese" and "Democracy" was intentional, though perhaps not in the way many may think. I do not purport to know what system of government is best for the people of China. 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.
[Excerpt from alternative album cover sleeve, unknown date]

That's a wacky feather in my cap. After 10 years I was ready to see [the song] have eight different writers on it, but it didn't get convoluted and fucked up. [...] I think they made the intro longer. I'd have 'em cut right into the thing. It's a simple bonehead rock song with a big riff that I'm assuming will be perfect for 'Guitar Hero' one day [Spinner, March 27, 2009]
About his favourites to play live: The [title] track to Chinese Democracy is one of my favorites [LA Weekly Blog, December 21, 2011]
About his favourites to play live: I think 'Chinese Democracy' is pretty much fun to play, [...] that is just a barn burner, really fucking in your face [fanpass.tv, May 2014]
I added the fretless riffs behind the verses and that was really the main contribution to the song [Ultimate Guitar, July 2014].
One of my favorite strange feathers in my cap that I have is that whenever I walk into a room of people and they’re talking about [whispers] Chinese Democracy, just this whole debacle of a record that took 100 years to make and cost a million dollars—I’ll walk into a room full of people and go, “What are you guys talking about?” They go, “Chinese Democracy,” and I raise my hand and go, “I wrote ‘Chinese Democracy,’” because I wrote the music to the song. I didn’t write anything else on the album. I wrote a couple other things that didn’t make it on the album. When I left, there were still another seven or eight years before the album came out. But it always makes me laugh. It’s not like I wrote Track 10 or something; I wrote “Chinese Democracy.” Some people told me I shouldn’t brag about that. Actually, I like that song. And it’s not just because I wrote it; it’s because it’s a really dumb, simple, dirty guitar riff. It’s cool. I think it’s one of the better ones on that record. [noisey, August 21, 2014]

'Chinese Democracy' performed live in Osaka, Japan, December 16, 2009:


'Chinese Democracy' performed live on Rock In Rio, 2001:

Chinese Democracy Pbucket
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:12 am

Here's all Axl wrote about China from the alternative booklet and would, to some extent, pertain to the song:

Axl wrote:What if you lived in constant fear... knowing that you could be arrested at any time without cause; without warning; thrown in prison; tried and convicted; sentenced with virtually no chance for appeal or reprieve; even executed without representation by a jury or family?

What if you were informed by the government that you and your family were allowed to visit your loved one in prison, but before you were allowed to do so, you were suddenly informed that without notice the State had them executed?

What if the degree of force brought against much less than minor misdemeanors - or outright innocence - was as extreme as for the strongest offenses and nearly a part of your every existing minute? What if you knew that a friend or a family member, a loved one, could be ripped from your life instantly with little or no recourse?

What if nearly everyone and anyone could literally be a government informant for information regarding remedial discussions in areas of human rights; Buddhism, Tibet, the Dali Lama, different systems of government, religion or spirituality or conversing about and with anything other than disdain for the way of life, government and commerce in western society? If you were born into such a predicament and circumstance, what would you do?

What if you felt so helpless and afraid that you were compelled to sell your own child you love because you cannot afford the financial penalty and other consequences due to China's 'one-child' rule?

What if your contact with the world outside your country was controlled by your government to the degree that you had no real awareness of even basic global current events? What if you lived in a country where the discussion of a word associated with the name of your country, such as "democracy," in any manner but disdain could bring severe consequences, what would you do?

In my opinion, on some level what obviously is an understatement, is that the true core of a multifaceted perception, and 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 enforcement and government bureaucracy, where the risk is so real and psychologically devastating that living in obvious fear and denial are nearly positive forms of action, reaction, and daily survival or protection for yourself and loved ones... You would see suffering and you may even choose to simply see suffering as a means of survival.

I have no disrespect for the People of The Republic of China whatsoever. In fact, for reasons I can't explain, I have a deeply rooted and firm respect, compassion and love for the Chinese people.

Our song, "Chinese Democracy," in its irreverence, is for positive purposes and communication with all segments of society; music fans (Guns N' Roses fans in particular) and, especially, the western media, to open a dialogue in areas not necessarily focused on both current events and global social responsibilities.

When I was fortunate enough to visit both Hong Kong and Mainland China, I experienced different levels of fear at all times in relation to the particular area I visited. I did not experience the fear in the sense of having feared for myself, I witnessed it in others everywhere around me, and kept my demeanor calm, observant and extremely polite. What I felt was emotional heartbreak. I've never witnessed so many individuals going about their lives in such a degree of visible fear, especially the average citizen in the spectrum of social, economic or social position. The military were nearby in some form or another, from one lone sentry to marching drill teams. It was not like a movie as it was much more extreme in the sense that this was real. I did not ask or talk about any of these issues with anyone in public.

The use of the two words "Chinese" and "Democracy" was intentional, though perhaps not in the way many may think. I do not purport to know what system of government is best for the people of China. 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.

China, whether anyone likes it or not, will become more and more a part of our daily lives and an integral force to the future of our planet. To that, without acquainting ourselves to severe realities of China as a super power, with all she has to offer and brings both to the future and into our lives, this continuing transition will be less than pleasant and can go in diverse directions most would feel are either inhibiting, unacceptable or unconscionable. Yet, economics and government position could force us into accepting these conditions, as is the case now.

There is no way I can touch on all the issues important to such a subject here. Nor do I claim to be an authority or even knowledgeable of all the facts of China. What I do claim, as an ibhabitant of our world, that through my own eyes I have perceived a deep level of pain not evident in the average citizen in western society that is directly related to how the people in China are governed. Why would a government want their people to be under such a level of fear, stress and emotional bondage?

I do not entertain delusions that change will happen overnight. What I do know is that whether anyone likes it or not, China is coming and she brings an oppressive force with her beyond anything we have experienced in our daily lives and until we familiarize ourselves, it will be increasingly difficult for many. Tensions may prove much more taxing than need be and have many unsatisfactory conclusions.

Basic human rights are at the forefront of these concerns, not just for China but for the planet. The obligation to offer and maintain these rights for ourselves and all citizens of this planet is a responsibility shared by all. The request and plea is for the government of China to recognize that her people love her and give all that they must to see her survive. China can prosper, grow and thrive without the unnecessary level of fear instilled by the government and the intolerable degree of oppression, social and basic human rights abuse exercised by those in power.

Religious freedoms, those chosen by the people and not the government, and the recognition and respect of cultures and religions of others is imperative to both the health of the nation and the planet as a whole. Those who rule with fear in my opinion have a deeper and greater fear that rules them from inside (which must be addressed, diminished and steered in alternate directions), than those that form the basis for governing people who willingly seek to follow, fight for and love their country.

Please forgive me if I've said too much or you feel this is not my place or my business. As an inhabitant of our planet, I respectfully disagree as in my opinion this is our obligation to each other.

These are merely a few thoughts out of many to keep in mind as we move forward in this century. Thank you for taking the time to read some of mine.

All the best and God Bless,
Sincerely, Axl Rose
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Chinese Democracy Empty Re: Chinese Democracy

Post by Blackstar Fri May 28, 2021 12:21 pm

Review of the single in Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2008:
Snap judgment: Guns N' Roses' 'Chinese Democracy' (single)

By Ann Powers

"Chinese Democracy," the first single from the ridiculously long-awaited Guns N' Roses album of the same name, is out, and can be heard below.

Here are some thoughts the song inspired early this morning.

No pop star has built a fortress as maze-filled and iron-clad as one W. Axl Rose. Not Michael Jackson, whose retreat was forced by scandal as much as by artistic crisis, and who seems ever more weakened by his reputation's slide. Not Zack de la Rocha, who (like Rose) went down countless collaborative roads before revamping the Rage Against the Machine template with his new project, One Day As a Lion. Not Garth Brooks, who also turned hermit, but craved the crowds too much to stay inside.

Rose, the most ambitious hard rocker of the late 20th century -- shout-outs to your Trents and your Bonos, but Axl is the most vividly driven -- essentially quarantined the Guns N' Roses brand for 15 years -- unable, perhaps, to reconcile the sounds in his head with what is humanly possible. "Chinese Democracy," the title track from the album finally coming out in a month, hits like an offering pushed through a crack in a locked gate, hinting that those sounds, never completely apprehended, have now coalesced into something Rose can face.

The sound is murky, ugly and evocative of a dark cityscape; you could call it "Blade Runner rock," because like that 1982 film, it's a very dirty vision of the future. Siren-like effects kick off the track, and then a slicing guitar riff (courtesy of Robin Finck, perhaps, or Buckethead -- the credits should be clarified whenever Rose deigns to do so) punctuated by squiggling, pedal-heavy licks, sets up Rose's multiple-tracked vocal.

"It don't really matter," he sings. "You'll find out for yourself." As the cryptic verses unfold, it becomes clear that this is one of Rose's songs from inside the cage of fame, attacking external forces he despises but can't ignore or repel. Like "Get in the Ring" or "You Could Be Mine," this is Rose as the nastiest kind of punk.

On one level, it's a protest song about Chinese state oppression. More important, it's a spit back at the audience that's been waiting for what has to be a masterpiece, if Rose is to survive artistically.

The song builds like bile. It doesn't behave the way radio-friendly singles usually do. The chorus is just an extension of the verses, rising a little in pitch and compression. There isn't really a proper hook; the sweet release that Slash's solos always brought to the mix never comes. But the refrain sticks after several listens.

"It would take a lot more..." is the key phrase, the one that Rose sings in still-powerful mid-range. More hate, more time. (There's a weird reference to masturbation too, that will have critics and possibly 12-year-olds snickering for a while.) These are the points when the song sounds the most like Nine Inch Nails -- a shot of aggression that somehow contains its own alienated retreat.

"Chinese Democracy" also recalls "I'm Afraid of Americans," David Bowie's 1997 foray with NIN. Both songs have a suffocated quality, as if their makers are pushing through smoke to express these thoughts. It's the sound of florid, romantic rockers aiming for something cold and modern.

But Rose can never really be cold. He's a Heat Miser -- whatever he touches starts to melt in his clutch. That's why these paranoid rockers never quite satisfy the way his grandiose ballads can. As real as Rose's anger may be, in song it starts to feel overly put on, in need of a sweeping chorus (or Slash-like ringing solo) to relieve the tension of the pose.

Still, for all the pooh-poohing this song will inevitably earn because it's just been too long in coming to fulfill all hopes, "Chinese Democracy" brings back a passionate weirdness that the hard rock airwaves have lacked. However overwrought or undercooked the whole album may be, it's good to have this mad king venturing forth over his moat.
https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2008/10/no-pop-star-has.html
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Chinese Democracy Empty Re: Chinese Democracy

Post by Blackstar Fri May 28, 2021 12:25 pm

Review of the single in Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch Blog, October 22, 2008:
Vote for (or against) Guns N' Roses' 'Chinese Democracy' single

“Finally. ORGASM!”

This response, posted on a very active Guns N' Roses message board, was in reference to the official release this morning of GNR’s “Chinese Democracy,” the group’s first official single since “Oh My God” in 1999, and the title track of their first album of original material since Use Your Illusion I and II in 1991. Yes, we do use the word “group” loosely for what has essentially been a decade-and-a-half–in-the-making Axl Rose solo project, but why parse language at a climactic time like this?

Except, for some of us, the track is more of an anticlimax (not that even the greatest GNR song ever conceived could possibly be worth so sustained a buildup). You can hear the track here and judge for yourself and share your verdict in the comments section below. Our first impression? (Well, not really first, if you count the time we spent listening to leaked versions months ago.) It’s a pretty terrific blueprint for a hard-rock song in search of a chorus that never actually arrives.

Chris Willman reviews the track, after the jump.

The first minute of the 4:40 running time consists of get-the-juices-flowing sound effects; finally, a minute and a half in, we get an abridged version of that patented Axl scream, and then what feels like the buildup to a great refrain,but turns out to really be the refrain, which is moderately memorable at best. Some nice Slash-Who? soloing kicks in at just past the three-minute point, but it’s not nearly the catharsis the song seems (or needs) to be building toward.

The track isn’t yet available for official download, though it's been released to radio—where, we’re hearing, the reaction among morning jocks and their listeners this morning has been very mixed. What’s yours? Does this whet your appetite for the album any more or less than “Shackler’s Revenge,” another teaser track that came out a few weeks back as part of the Rock Band 2 game (and which has even less in the way of a hook, but a lot more gonzo guitar)? Share your finally realized hopes for Democracy or still-thwarted GNR dreams below. And if you have the slightest idea what the cryptic, vaguely-but-not-really-political lyrics mean—we're pretty sure it's the first time the Falun Gong and masturbation have come up in the same song—do share.
https://web.archive.org/web/20081024100916/http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/10/vote-for-or-aga.html
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Chinese Democracy Empty Re: Chinese Democracy

Post by Blackstar Sun May 30, 2021 2:17 am

Review of the single in Spin, Oct. 22, 2008:
First Listen: New Guns N’ Roses Single Reviewed

SPIN's Steve Kandell weighs in on the official first release from the most-delayed album EVER!

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m listening to it on my computer and not, say, in a car, that makes it feel less than real. After all, we’ve been here before: (alleged) tracks from the mythic, Sasquatch-like Chinese Democracy leaked last year, and we downloaded them, tentatively, straining to hear some sort of genetic connection to the Guns N’ Roses we all remember and romanticize. It seemed as if this long story was going to come to an end with a whimper. And a shrug. And here we are again, only without the shady back-alley torrent-site-dealings or fear of RIAA reprisal.

“Chinese Democracy,” the first single from the actually-existing Guns N’ Roses album of the same name, was released today. Officially. Legally. (The album is available November 23, exclusively from Best Buy. Unless of course, it isn’t.)

Once that weird shock wears off, there’s the small matter of, you know, whether or not it’s any good. Which is to say: Is it as bad as we all assume it’s gonna be?

Answer: Kinda, but then again, not really!

Those fearing/expecting an overly synthesized, 1999-vintage techno-metal can rest easy-ish. Once the overture of muffled voices, ominous drums, and plinky Edge-ish guitar gives way to a thick, muscular four-chord riff and that Axl banshee wail, only the most stubbornly jaded will manage to suppress the goosebump reflex. The verses are double-tracked: half high-pitched Axl, half guttural, growly Axl. But then a funny thing happens before the song gets to the chorus: IT FUCKING ENDS.

Sure, there’s some suitably Slashy wankery from, oh, I don’t know, Bumblefuck, the guy who plays with a honey-coated beehive on his head, or whichever other guitarist is currently under contract, but it’s a bit confounding that the first (official, legal) taste of the Most Anticipated Album, Like, Ever — and from the human who wrote “Paradise City,” no less — is utterly and completely hook-free. I’ve listened to it 12 times in one sitting and cannot hum a bar.

Then again, I was able to listen to it 12 times in one sitting. Maybe we should take our victories small, and wherever we can get them.
https://www.spin.com/2008/10/first-listen-new-guns-n-roses-single-reviewed/
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