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.

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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!
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Hard Skool

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Post by Soulmonster Sat 24 Aug 2019 - 20:31

Hard Skool Newbor11
HARD SKOOL
Albums:
Digital single (September 24, 2021), 7'' and CD (January 2022).


Written by:
Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Robin Finck, Tommy Stinson, Josh Freese and Paul Tobias.

Musicians:
Axl Rose - vocals
Slash - lead guitar
Duff - bass guitar
Richard - rhythm guitar
? - drums

Information:
A song worked on and recorded in the Chinese Democracy era but that didn't make it onto the 'Chinese Democracy' album. Short clips of the song had been leaked but a full version leaked first in August 2019. One of the first leaks were given the name 'Checkmate' but Axl would mention that the working title was 'Jackie Chan'. The leaked full version went by the name of 'Hard School'. The song was released in September 2021.

Live performances:
'Hard Skool' was played live for the first time at the Royal farms Arena in Baltimore, MD, USA, on September 26, 2021. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {HARDSKOOLSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

All cautions made
Every chance was given
No effort spared
To save what we had
All in good faith
I would not hesitate
To extend myself and lend you my hand

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that were true
it wouldn't matter anyway

As tempers fade
And lies forgiven
No cause embraced
Could break what we had
And in its place
A storm is lifting
I would've thought you could be more of a man

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that were true
it wouldn't matter anyway

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway


Quotes regarding the song

And Checkmate is a bogus title. The working title is Jackie Chan

The only reason I know about the track Hard Skool at all is [that] my publishing company emailed me about it, maybe a week ago or a week-and-a-half ago, and said, “Do you know anything about the song Hard Skool? Did you have anything to do with the writing of it? Because it’s coming out” or “it just came out and we want to know what the splits are.” Because I guess it was done when I was in the studio with them. But we recorded so much material, and after I left they worked on so much stuff post me being there. And it was 20 years ago – over 20 years ago now – that I was there [...] So when Hard Skool came out and I listened to it, I went “God, maybe that is one that I wrote that they’ve since… you know, later put lyrics to.” [...] So, once again, when I went, “Okay, Hard Skool, let me listen to that, because maybe that’s what this song turned into or that song turned into,” I listened to it and I didn’t recognize hardly any of it, you know… That being said, maybe I did write some of it (laughs) - I mean, because, once again, it was 22 years ago. But there was two or three things that I brought in where I really wrote the majority of the music and I would definitely recognize instantly. As a matter of fact, before the track started playing, I’m like, “I wonder if it’s going to be this one, or this one, or this one,” because there were a few that were pretty cool that didn’t end up getting used, but that wasn’t one of them.

[Asked about the origins of Absurd and Hard Skool] They both have a lot of history. What happened was, Axl has all these songs that he recorded at some point along the way, and so Duff and I went and redid them, basically (laughs). [The interviewer comments that Slash’s stamp is all over them]  You know, I write my own parts to what else is going on, and just sort of… just took the drums and redid everything else.

I played on recordings [of ‘Absurd’ and ‘Hard Skool’], but then we redid everything. [...] When Slash and Duff got on ‘em, it felt like a GNR track, you know? I recut my guitars as well. [...] With “Hard Skool,” it was more what people were expecting or wanted [compared to Absurd].

[Asked about the gear he used for recording the song] I think I used my '63 Firebird III into a '73 100 watt Marshall; oh, and a stereo Magnatone on the bridge.
Instagram, September 26, 2021

I think [Hark Skool] sounds good [...] A lot of [the new material] was done [during the pandemic], yeah

[Talking about recording Absurd and Hard Skool] The bass and the guitars are all re-done, for the most part, but the original drums are still intact, and the vocals. Basically, the material was there, and I just got in there during covid and re-did the guitars, Duff did the bass, and we went from there and just put it out. And there’s some more stuff coming out too. But there’s not sort of a mental trajectory. It’s just that Axl wanted to get this material done because it was sitting there. He said: “Okay, we can rehash it.” So there you go.

One of the things Axl wanted to get off his chest was a bunch of material he’d recorded. So we thought, ‘Well, that’s a good way to wet our feet.'

“Hard Skool,” in essence, was a completed song when I was first introduced to it. And Duff and I went in and redid the bass and the guitars. It’s a simple song, so it didn’t take a hell of a lot of thought and analysis. I think it was a lot of fun just because it was part and parcel of a bunch of stuff that we were working on that was all sort of new — at least to Duff and I — so we had a good time.

This is a new song - I wrote it twenty years ago.

These other [re-recorded tracks], they don’t have the same kind of amount of history, because I know Hard Skool seriously has… [it] goes way back.


Quotes about the "Jackie Chan" song that the band was working on in 1996 (and may or may not be related to Hard Skool):

We're writing new songs. [...] And actually today I was gonna have to fly back right after this. [...] We're gonna start recording for this Jackie Chan movie, the next one. [...] Axl's a huge fan [of Jackie Chan].

I thought I’d go crazy, and I was just about to throw in the towel when producer Rick Rubin suddenly showed up. We had previously agreed that he would produce our next record, and he had been waiting a long time to hear what we had come up with. “Okay, so let me hear what you guys got… Where’s Slash?” I glanced at the others and then quickly said, “Uh, he’s not here right now.” We then played a couple of tracks. Axl had one track he wanted to use for a Jackie Chan movie, and Rick [Rubin] really seemed to like that one. He turned to Axl after listening to it, and said, “Do you have any lyrics or melody?” Axl gave him a surprised look. “No.” Rick scratched his head. The atmosphere was weird. “Okay,” he said. Then he left. After the door swung shut behind him, Axl said, “I never wanna see that guy here again. He’s fired, fuck that guy.”
Matt's Autobiography, "Double Talkin' Jive," 2022


Hard Skool Newbor11


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon 15 Aug 2022 - 19:16; edited 11 times in total
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Post by Blackstar Sun 25 Aug 2019 - 8:44

Lyrics (most of it - maybe one or two mistakes):

All cautions made
Every chance was given
No effort spared
To save what we had

All in good faith
I would not hesitate
To extend myself
And lend you my hand

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway

As tempers fade
And lies forgiven
??????
? break what we had
And in its place
A storm is lifting
I would've thought you could be more of a man

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway

(Solo)

(Bridge)

But you had to play it cool
Had to do it your way
You had to be a fool
Had to throw it all away
Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway

(Solo)

Too hard-school
And you thought you were here to stay
If that weren't true
it wouldn't matter anyway
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Post by Soulmonster Mon 26 Aug 2019 - 9:26

I really like the frenetic drumming throughout the song. Very sharp fill by, I assume, Josh Freese. And I don't agree with those who say this is obviously a demo. I think it is ready to be released, although Axl know no bounds to tinkerings and may disagree. Someone on mygnrforum had analysed the song and pointed out it was compressed and this and that, also indicating it has been finalized.

Anyway, love the song. I actually like the breakdown in the middle with Finck and Huge's guitar interplay. Nice melodies. But especially the ending with the simple guitar riff that goes upwards while Freese is drumming away in the back, and then Axl's singing of the last chorus with Finck's high, melodic tones in the back. Could have dropped Bucket's tapping at the end to make it a bit less "crowded".
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Post by Soulmonster Tue 19 Nov 2019 - 19:48

Interestingly, in this interview from July 1996, Duff talked about the band (likely minus Slash) working on a song for a Charlie Chan movie: https://www.a-4-d.com/t4304-1996-07-25-the-howard-stern-show-interview-with-duff-and-steve-jones

As you know, when Axl in 2008 was asked about the song 'Checkmate' he said the working title was "Jackie Chan." Of course, in 2000 when the song leaked its title was "Hard School", but it could be that Axl remembered it by its first, working title, "Jackie Chan". That the song was worked on very early is also implied by the fact that it seemed to be completed by 2000.

The May-July sessions of 1996 was without Slash, he played with them for a few weeks in August/September as the last thing he did before he left the band. The vocals of the song seems to be about Slash, so maybe Axl wrote them when Slash left?

Any thoughts?
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Post by Blackstar Tue 19 Nov 2019 - 21:06

Soulmonster wrote:Interestingly, in this interview from July 1996, Duff talked about the band (likely minus Slash) working on a song for a Charlie Chan movie: https://www.a-4-d.com/t4304-1996-07-25-the-howard-stern-show-interview-with-duff-and-steve-jones

As you know, when Axl in 2008 was asked about the song 'Checkmate' he said the working title was "Jackie Chan." Of course, in 2000 when the song leaked its title was "Hard School", but it could be that Axl remembered it by its first, working title, "Jackie Chan". That the song was worked on very early is also implied by the fact that it seemed to be completed by 2000.

The May-July sessions of 1996 was without Slash, he played with them for a few weeks in August/September as the last thing he did before he left the band. The vocals of the song seems to be about Slash, so maybe Axl wrote them when Slash left?

Any thoughts?
I think all this is very likely. It must have been one of the "12 rockers" Duff had referred to in other interviews of that time. It's possible that Axl had written it with Paul Huge/Tobias during the band's unofficial hiatus.

Unless Axl referred to it in 2008 just jokingly like that because he was a fan of Jackie Chan and it had nothing to do with the song Duff was talking about.
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Post by Soulmonster Tue 19 Nov 2019 - 22:24

I like to think it is a Paul Huge song, too. But who knows?
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Post by Stiken Sat 20 Jun 2020 - 3:07

An interesting fact is that the band actually rehearsed the song for Mexico's show on March 2020.
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Post by Blackstar Sat 20 Jun 2020 - 3:23

Stiken wrote:An interesting fact is that the band actually rehearsed the song for Mexico's show on March 2020.
Yes, thanks for mentioning it. Let's hope they'll play it whenever they tour again and Axl will tell us something about it.

And welcome Smile
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Post by Soulmonster Sat 20 Jun 2020 - 7:34

In Matt's biography he mentions them working on a track for a Jackie Chan movie. According to Matt, it was played for Rick Rubin and he liked the song. Unfortunately, Matt doesn't say much regarding who worked on the song, only that the meeting with Rubin took place the day after Matt had had a fight with Axl/Paul Tobias, and that Slash was touring with Snakepit at the time.

Slash went touring in late February 1995 and was back in late August/September. But Matt says he was gone with Snakepit for something like 18 months, putting his absence from GN'R to February 1995 to late 1996 (when he quit the band). So if we are to trust Matt and his timeline, and Hard School really is the song intended for the Jackie Chan movie, then the song minus instrumentals existed in a sort-of finished state (at least finished enough to be plated for Rubin) in 1995/1996.

I dont' know exactly when Rubin considered working with GN'R, but it was reported in the media in March 1997, but that it had been a "while ago". This fits well with it having happened before Slash was officially out of the band, e.g. before October 1996.

The day after the meeting with Rubin, Matt says he got in a fight with Paul and quit/fired. This means that Matt left before Slash officially was out, which doesn't seem to be the case from other sources. Matt likely quit the band in 1997. So it looks like Matt is conflating timelines a bit for the purpose of making the book more readable. Anyway, since Matt was present when the song was played for Rubin, and Slash wasn't officially out at the time, we can safely say that it must have happened before October 1996, at least.

Who was part of the writing sessions back then? Duff, Axl, Matt, Paul. Anyone else? It was a bit too early for Robin.
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Post by Stiken Mon 22 Jun 2020 - 19:48

Soulmonster wrote:In Matt's biography he mentions them working on a track for a Jackie Chan movie. According to Matt, it was played for Rick Rubin and he liked the song. Unfortunately, Matt doesn't say much regarding who worked on the song, only that the meeting with Rubin took place the day after Matt had had a fight with Axl/Paul Tobias, and that Slash was touring with Snakepit at the time.

Slash went touring in late February 1995 and was back in late August/September. But Matt says he was gone with Snakepit for something like 18 months, putting his absence from GN'R to February 1995 to late 1996 (when he quit the band). So if we are to trust Matt and his timeline, and Hard School really is the song intended for the Jackie Chan movie, then the song minus instrumentals existed in a sort-of finished state (at least finished enough to be plated for Rubin) in 1995/1996.

I dont' know exactly when Rubin considered working with GN'R, but it was reported in the media in March 1997, but that it had been a "while ago". This fits well with it having happened before Slash was officially out of the band, e.g. before October 1996.

The day after the meeting with Rubin, Matt says he got in a fight with Paul and quit/fired. This means that Matt left before Slash officially was out, which doesn't seem to be the case from other sources. Matt likely quit the band in 1997. So it looks like Matt is conflating timelines a bit for the purpose of making the book more readable. Anyway, since Matt was present when the song was played for Rubin, and Slash wasn't officially out at the time, we can safely say that it must have happened before October 1996, at least.

Who was part of the writing sessions back then? Duff, Axl, Matt, Paul. Anyone else? It was a bit too early for Robin.

I rember, not long ago, seeing an interview of Duff around 1997 and saying that they where recording something for a movie. I don't remember what he said exactly. That interview was with Howard Stern
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Post by Soulmonster Mon 22 Jun 2020 - 21:20

Stiken wrote:
Soulmonster wrote:In Matt's biography he mentions them working on a track for a Jackie Chan movie. According to Matt, it was played for Rick Rubin and he liked the song. Unfortunately, Matt doesn't say much regarding who worked on the song, only that the meeting with Rubin took place the day after Matt had had a fight with Axl/Paul Tobias, and that Slash was touring with Snakepit at the time.

Slash went touring in late February 1995 and was back in late August/September. But Matt says he was gone with Snakepit for something like 18 months, putting his absence from GN'R to February 1995 to late 1996 (when he quit the band). So if we are to trust Matt and his timeline, and Hard School really is the song intended for the Jackie Chan movie, then the song minus instrumentals existed in a sort-of finished state (at least finished enough to be plated for Rubin) in 1995/1996.

I dont' know exactly when Rubin considered working with GN'R, but it was reported in the media in March 1997, but that it had been a "while ago". This fits well with it having happened before Slash was officially out of the band, e.g. before October 1996.

The day after the meeting with Rubin, Matt says he got in a fight with Paul and quit/fired. This means that Matt left before Slash officially was out, which doesn't seem to be the case from other sources. Matt likely quit the band in 1997. So it looks like Matt is conflating timelines a bit for the purpose of making the book more readable. Anyway, since Matt was present when the song was played for Rubin, and Slash wasn't officially out at the time, we can safely say that it must have happened before October 1996, at least.

Who was part of the writing sessions back then? Duff, Axl, Matt, Paul. Anyone else? It was a bit too early for Robin.


I rember, not long ago, seeing an interview of Duff around 1997 and saying that they where recording something for a movie. I don't remember what he said exactly. That interview was with Howard Stern

Yes, it is this: https://www.a-4-d.com/t4304-1996-07-25-the-howard-stern-show-interview-with-duff-and-steve-jones

I actually wrote about this interview a bit further up in this thread Carefree
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Post by Soulmonster Mon 13 Sep 2021 - 19:40

From someone at Facebook:

Hard Skool O0gqaf10
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Post by Soulmonster Wed 15 Sep 2021 - 11:41

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Post by Soulmonster Thu 23 Sep 2021 - 15:13

Hard Skool is being released today (or at 00:00). Already out in New Zealand.

Hard Skool Otivh810
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Post by Soulmonster Fri 24 Sep 2021 - 7:50

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Post by Soulmonster Fri 24 Sep 2021 - 7:53

I have always loved this song. I loved the 15 second clip that surfaces years ago. I liked the demo from the Village sessions and I love this version.

What I particularly like about this version is that it is more punchy than the demo. More in your face. Short and sweet. A good rocker. Head banger. I also like that they have extended the very last chorus. And brining in Slash's leads make it more GN'R sounding. I also absolutely love the drums after Axl's scream when the breakdown ends.

What I liked about the Village demo in comparison is primarily Josh's drums that drove the song. I really miss his drums. I also liked the melodic guitat in the breakdown (Robin) and prefer them over Slash's solo.
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Post by Uli Fri 24 Sep 2021 - 11:24

Soulmonster wrote:I have always loved this song. I loved the 15 second clip that surfaces years ago.

Ha ha, the first few lines Axl sings do sound soooo familiar to me (because I do remember the 15 second "leak" so well)! Very Happy

All in all, this is more like "it", i.e. what fans would expect from this line-up of GN'R.
Hope there'll be more new stuff to come. Cool
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Post by Soulmonster Fri 24 Sep 2021 - 20:33

I talked to someone close to Axl and apparently the song was never intended on the soundtrack to a Jackie Chan movie. The working title, Jackie Chan, was chosen simply because Axl was watching a Jackie Chan movie at the time.
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Post by Shackler Fri 24 Sep 2021 - 20:51

The radio edit was played today on Duff's show. It has a different mix with a more prominent left-channel lead guitar in some spots. The intro is a bit shorter as well, I think they cut out a lot of parts when it comes to the solo/bridge as the song lands on roughly 2 minutes and 55 seconds; that's 46 seconds skimmed off.
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Post by Blackstar Sat 25 Sep 2021 - 4:50

Press release (source: Appetite for Distortion on twitter - thanks to "Haters Gonna Hate" at GNREvo). According to it, the song was written by Axl.

Hard Skool Faf4rz10
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Post by ludurigan Sat 25 Sep 2021 - 18:03

Blackstar wrote:According to it, the song was written by Axl.

That is very interesting info.

Do you think that he wrote the music parts as well (guitar chords etc) like he (apparently) did on Shotgun Blues?
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Post by ludurigan Sat 25 Sep 2021 - 18:07

Shackler wrote:The radio edit was played today on Duff's show. It has a different mix with a more prominent left-channel lead guitar in some spots. The intro is a bit shorter as well, I think they cut out a lot of parts when it comes to the solo/bridge as the song lands on roughly 2 minutes and 55 seconds; that's 46 seconds skimmed off.

Very interesting info.

Axl famously refused to edit "November Rain" for the video so it is interesting that he is "allowing" this one to have a radio edit.

Do you know if this radio edit is available for streaming somewhere?
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Post by Shackler Sat 25 Sep 2021 - 18:42

ludurigan wrote:
Shackler wrote:The radio edit was played today on Duff's show. It has a different mix with a more prominent left-channel lead guitar in some spots. The intro is a bit shorter as well, I think they cut out a lot of parts when it comes to the solo/bridge as the song lands on roughly 2 minutes and 55 seconds; that's 46 seconds skimmed off.


Very interesting info.

Axl famously refused to edit "November Rain" for the video so it is interesting that he is "allowing" this one to have a radio edit.

Do you know if this radio edit is available for streaming somewhere?

If you're a member of SiriusXM you can stream Duff's radio show on demand. If not, I have a rip of it, I'll send you a link in PMs.
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Post by ludurigan Sat 25 Sep 2021 - 19:07

Shackler wrote:If you're a member of SiriusXM you can stream Duff's radio show on demand. If not, I have a rip of it, I'll send you a link in PMs.

Thanks!
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Post by Blackstar Sun 26 Sep 2021 - 21:44

ludurigan wrote:
Blackstar wrote:According to it, the song was written by Axl.
That is very interesting info.

Do you think that he wrote the music parts as well (guitar chords etc) like he (apparently) did on Shotgun Blues?
Yes, I believe so - that's what the press release suggests. I assume he wrote the main part of the song (the music for the verses and chorus). The best guess is that he wrote the music and the vocal melodies in 1995/96 and added the lyrics in the early NuGnR era.
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Post by ludurigan Mon 27 Sep 2021 - 1:07

that is interesting...
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Post by Toxic34 Mon 27 Sep 2021 - 1:11

What's the difference between this version and the 2019 leaked version?
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Post by ludurigan Mon 27 Sep 2021 - 1:41

I noticed these differences:

They mostly changed the arrangements

Slash re-recorded some (or all) of the guitar parts and changed some of it.

Duff re-recorded some (or all) of the bass parts and changed some of it.

The intro was completely different on the first version.

Verses and chorus didn't change much

Apparently they added a "breakdown" part (?) where the song basically "stops" but I am not sure I could be mistaken

Not sure also if Axl changed the lyrics or re-recorded some of the vocals, I didn't notice any change on them.

I believe @Soulmonster mentioned some of the key changes on previous posts in this thread. I believe he can give you a more proper answer regarding the changes
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Post by Toxic34 Mon 27 Sep 2021 - 2:39

That's certainly fascinating. If this and "ABSURD" are signs that the "new old Guns" are indeed working on the album, I'm quite hopeful about where things will go.
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Post by Blackstar Mon 27 Sep 2021 - 3:03

Hard Skool 0e597e10
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