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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

22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN

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22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Empty Re: 22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN

Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:24 pm

22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: RIAD N' THE BEDOUINS
Albums:

Chinese Democracy, track no. 9, November 2008.


Written by:
Axl Rose and Tommy Stinson.

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:
'Riad N' The Bedouins' was played live for the first time on January 1, 2001, at the House of Blues, USA. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {RIADSONGS} times.




Riad N' The Bedouins
From the alternative Red Hand album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Riad N' The Bedouins
From the alternative Grenade album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Lyrics:

Oooooh oh oh
Oooooh oh oh oooh (2x)

Riyadh and the Bedouins
Had a plan and thought they’d win
But I don’t give a f@$k bout them
Cause I am crazy

All my salvation
and all my frustration
Caught in the lies
And if your at home as well
Somewhere in time
Where only I can tell Ooooh

Oooooh oh oh
Oooooh oh oh oooh

Riyadh and the Bedouins
So that’s the world that you gave him.
I have had enough of them
Who can blame me?

Half the time you never win
Nomads or barbarians
I won’t bend my will to them, you aggravate me

My salvation
And all my frustrations
Caught in the lie
No one at home is well
Somewhere in time
Where only I can tell

Oooh with salvation
Like my frustrations
Caught in the lie
If you’re at home as well
Somewhere in time
And only I can tell .. ooooh

Oooooh oh oh
Oooooh oh oh oooh (2x)

All with salvation
And all my frustrations
Caught in the lies
If you’re at home as well
Somewhere in time
Where only I can tell .. oooh

oh oh … oh oh .. oh oh oooh oh
Riyadh and the Bedouins
Had a plan and thought they’d win
Riyadh and The Bedouins
Talked to God and thought they can


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Axl would talk about the person behind the lyrics:

Riad is the name my one time momentary brother-in-law of Erin Everly went by when I knew him. Of part Lebanese descent and a former student of Pepperdine University he claims to be an international arms dealer, billionaire with ambitions of being "King of the World". He claims to fund several medical organizations and underground Nazi organizations around the world who says his heroes are Napoleon and Adolph Hitler. 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 people love to kill each other." He also claims to be an expert in global finance and money laundering living tax free in Belair last I was aware 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.
Excerpts from the Chinese Democracy CD cover

The first time I met [Axl], he came down to a rehearsal and we jammed to the song "Riad" and he was yelling in my ear, "This part of the song reminds me of 'Hey Bulldog' from the Beatles." I was like, "Yeah, you're right."
Ultimate Guitar, July 2014


And Tommy would mention the sone when talking about his favorites to play:

It's hard to say, but 'Riad N' The Bedouins' is probably one of them. The riff is pretty nutty, and I think people either love it or hate it, but it's a groove that's really fun to play. It's aggressive and note-y.
Bass Player Magazine, March 2010


While Dj would mention it as one of the hardest:

I think one of the hardest, definitely one of the hardest, on Chinese would be Riad. It's an insane song to play and probably one of the hardest ones to sing, too. [...] It's a fun song but it is definitely...at least the guitar part that Richard and Bumble gave me was not very easy to play [laughter]
Nightrain chat, November 2013


22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Newbor11


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:35 pm

22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: CHINESE DEMOCRACY
Albums:

Chinese Democracy, track no. 1, November 2008.


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.




Chinese Democracy
From the alternative Red Hand album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Chinese Democracy
From the alternative Grenade album artwork
Credit to troccoli



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


Quotes regarding the song

When debuting the song at the House of Blues on January 1, 2001, Axl would talk about the meaning of the song:

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.'
House Of Blues, January 1, 2001


He would also talk about the song in 2016:

But my thing with China itself isn't about… With the term Chinese Democracy it isn't- wasn't about trying to tell them to have a democracy or anything like that. I'm not… really a… I don't really have an opinion of what type of government they should have. My thing is that I went and stayed there for about three months and everywhere I went the people are so shielded from what's going on in the world. And if you stay in the hotels there… you're from western society or something you don't realize that the stuff you're seeing on TV the average person isn't seeing. They aren't seeing that version of CNN or whatever. But the biggest thing to me was that… everywhere you went people were scared. They were frightened for their lives to have an opinion that deviates from the government's about the simplest thing. Things we take for granted you know, sitting in a car and someone going "Oh what Obama did today" if you say "Oh, I don't know about the… communist party is doing…" Your translator all sudden is terrified and for good reason. And that- [...] I do feel that people should be free to have their opinions and develop their thoughts and to move forward rather than have someone just completely dictating.


Axl would also describe the song and album title in the alternative booklet for the album, which was never officially released:

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


Bumblefoot would discuss his additions to the song:

In the case of “Chinese Democracy,” the fretless thing was one of the millions of things I was fucking around with, and everyone dug it. But I’m only on the rhythm track in that song. The solo is a mix between Robin and Buckethead.

I added the fretless riffs behind the verses and that was really the main contribution to the song.
Ultimate Guitar, July 2014


And Josh, who was credited as one of the song's writers, would describe it:

That's a wacky feather in my cap [laugh]. After 10 years I was ready to see [the song] have eight different writers on it, but it didn't get convoluted and f---ed 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.

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


Later, Brain would discuss how both he and Frank are playing on the track:

So I think Axl was like, “Hey, Frank plays this way – let him play the chorus to ‘Better,’ because that’s supposed to be open. Let’s see what it sounds like.” So I think it’s me playing all the way up to the chorus, then it’s Frank in the chorus, and then it goes back to me. We never actually played together. It was all done after the fact. I asked the engineer how much Frank is on it, and he said, “It’s mainly you, with Frank playing a chorus here or a bridge here.” So that’s why I’m listed first on those tracks. [...] That song was brought in after Josh and was written by the band. It was Robin Finck’s song. We jammed it for a couple weeks and then went into the studio and recorded it. So that tom part was kind of written by me more than Frank, but it could be Frank playing it because he plays more bombastic. Or…oh, who knows.


Here, Brain seems to be mistaken because Josh was one of the writer's of the song.

Later, Tommy would mention the song would be one of his favorite songs to play live:

The [title] track to Chinese Democracy is one of my favorites.
LA Weekly Blog, December 21, 2011

You know, I'm just trying to think of, you know, off the new record, I think Chinese Democracy is pretty much fun to play. That's just kind of a barn, you know, kind of a double barn burner, real fucking in your face, you know.


In the alternative booklet Axl would write about China:

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
Alternative Chinese Democracy booklet


Reactions from former band members:

That sounds cool. It's good to hear [Axl Rose's] voice, you know?!

Yeah, I think it's cool. I heard the single ['Chinese Democracy']. I haven't heard the album. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the single. I like the way it was mixed. Axl's voice sounded great. It wasn't a song I worked on 15 years ago. I don't remember that riff.

I just heard the single, 'Chinese Democracy', and I heard it at the gym when I was working out. So I didn't give it… It wasn't like I sat down in a quiet room and listened to it and analyzed it. And I probably wouldn't. I think Axl's… obviously he's a really talented guy and I shared a big part of my life with him, but that was a long time ago for me.

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Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat May 20, 2023 12:23 pm; edited 11 times in total
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22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Empty Re: 22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN

Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 18, 2021 6:20 pm

JANUARY 14, 2001
ROCK IN RIO III

In Brazil we have an acceptance that we can't get in any other place in the world. The Brazilian people came to Rock In Rio without knowing the new band and without knowing if we would play the old songs. This is something we need to thank a lot.
O Globo, January 16, 2001; translated from Portuguese, possible paraphrased

____________________________________________

REHEARSALS

The band would rehearse extensively before the Rock in Rio show:

At the moment we are just very tired, as we’ve been rehearsing continuously for the past two months. I'm kind of tired of music right now.


Axl would indicate Tommy was taking a leader role in the rehearsals:

And the bass player, Tommy Stinson, did really good leading the band through the rehearsals for Vegas and Rock In Rio.


Because Axl wasn't there:

We did the first show at Rock in Rio. We rehearsed for probably two or three months without Axl.


Talking about how everyone except Dizzy was surprised Axl didn't rehearse with them:

Nobody knew [Axl] was never gonna show up, you know. Except Diz, because Diz has been through both things, you know. He was through the very first time and then this time, in the Matt Sorum era, too, right? I think he was. [...] So he kind of knew. So everybody would kind of look to Diz and just be like, "So really, this is how it goes?" He's like, "Yeah, whatever," you know, he'd keep drinking his Jagermeister and eat his powerbar and be like, "Yeah, what do you mean?" And I'll be like, "Oh shit," you know.


For Brain, this was also a period where he had to really learn the back catalogue of GN'R, and developed an admiration for the drumming of his predecessors:

And then I had to start, you know, getting my shit together and really learning, and getting even better, you know, and stuff like that. That's what I was getting talking about earlier where you're asking me, 'do I refine myself?', you know, 'do I think about it and make a setup for it?' and, you know, yeah, I do, like in that particular thing I was like, "Okay, I get who I got to become now." And then I really listen to the songs, especially Appetite and I was like, "Shit, this is orchestrated shit!" like, "This is," like, you know, "this is good," like, "shit, the way it's moving and the way the drummer moves with every..." it's not just like, "Okay, somebody play one groove and you're just gonna jerk off over it [?]." There's parts and there's things, you know what I mean? And I remember I always had trouble with Out To Get Me or whatever that's the name of that song or whatever, because it had so many different parts I was like... you know. I don't know, and then from then on I took it serious and was like, "Oh okay, I get it," you know, "it's a different game now." [...] I really started listening to the album and the intricacies and I started kind of going, "Oh shit, okay, no wonder they're huge," you know what I mean? It's like, you know, "These are fucking great songs!" and, you know, they're timely[?], you know, so I was just kind of like, "Uh-huh," you know. [...] It's like, "No, they want to hear the fill the way it was done on the album," and, "They'd like to hear the feel," you know, "the way it's done on the album because that's the way they grew up listening to it or are still listening to it." So those were the things that I was trying to cop, you know. The challenge became like, "Damn! He's like rushing the verse but he's laying back the chorus instead of the opposite," you know where people like Stewart Copeland rushes the chorus and, "Oh shit, he's laying the snare back, you know, just a little, you know, 20 milliseconds, you know, behind the kick and the hi-hat is cushioned on this one and it's stiff, he's not playing like 8th notes that accented a certain way, all accented the same." And, you know, those are the things I started writing down in my head and, you know, because I was schooled so I can see music going by as I'm playing, I started concentrating on I was like, "Okay, the goal here now is to kind of recreate what he did because, you know, there's maybe five fans out in the audience that give a shit about me but they're drinking, they want to hear the song the way it was on the album." So that became the challenge, you know. I started thinking like, "Okay, I want to play it exactly how he played it, you know, especially like on, you know, the first album." Matt Sorum's more of a metronome so his stuff was easier because, you know, I can do You Could Be Mine and it was like a drum machine, you know, [making drum beats], it was a straight, and his groove was straight, it sounded like they even played it to a click, you know. [...] I was brought up on the click, you know, schooled, practice through the drum click, and that kind of stuff. So his songs were easier to play. But the intricacies of, like, you know, and in the way the beats were played on Appetite, way different. You know, especially, you know, like it was so hard for me to get the feels, like Sweet Child O' Mine, I don't even think I still have it right, you know. It seems like the easiest beat but, you know, it is an easy beat if you just want to play it and be generic but to give it the swing and the flavor that it has on the album's is hard shit, you know. That's the stuff that made it interesting to me because I was like, "Well, this is what makes it great," you know, "these are the things that make it great."


And discussing the difference between Matt and Steven:

Where on the Illusion I was like, you know, Matt Sorum, it is kind of the same and it's great playing and it's solid but it's just a different feel. It's easier for me to do that because that's naturally... it's, you know, I could pick up on it and do it. Where, you know, Steve, I guess, with Adler he's just playing who he is. you know. It's like Zeppelin or something, you know what I mean? I mean, like, yeah, I think [?] never be the same as Bonham because I guess I'm not a fucking bad-ass drinker that has a cool car, you know.


At the very final rehearsal before the gear was shipped to Brazil, Axl came to see the show and insisted that all the pyros would be used as well:

[...] we were getting ready, I think it was Rock In Rio, and I think we rented out the Sony where they did like the Wizard of Oz, so it was like the Sony lot, it was like this huge lot, and he wanted the whole stage set up, that we were going to have at Rock In Rio somewhere, so we had to go there because they had to mark it out. So we're there rehearsing and rehearsal started at 12 midnight. [...] At mignight. He didn't show up. We'd always get that call around like 4 in the morning, like, "Oh-uh, he might come," we have to all be like ready to play.

But I think it was the day before the gear was supposed to leave. I think the crew had been there since like maybe 8 in the morning, you know, setting up, making everything... You know they have to break it down and the gear has to leave, like literally the next morning. Well, we're there and on this particular day we rehearsed the set, 2 1/2 hours, did the whole set. It's probably 3 in the morning now, Axl from Malibu called, he's coming, and he wants to see the whole set again. He wants to, you know, watch the show. Everybody's like, "Okay." [...] He wants to watch the show. [...] We've rehearsed only the music. He would never sing with us. [...] So he wants to come and watch it, so they put a couch out. You know, we're on this big sound stage and there's just a little couch out there next to the soundboard, right in front of the sound guy. We had already played for 2 1/2 hours. He's coming to check it out. Well, an hour goes by. "Is he really coming?" You know, the road crew's now, everybody's literally asleep, everybody's sleeping like, you know, next to their gear.

Yeah, he wants to come but the problem is he wants to see the whole show, pyro and everything. So we're like, "Wait." I think each time the pyro guy hits the fucking thing, it's like $3000 for like each bomb or something, you know, just going off. We're gonna do it in this sound stage but in order to make that happen, they gotta get the fire department down here because, you know, just in case. So now the fire department comes down, but I think they're digging it, they're thinking, "I get to watch Guns N' Roses rehearse, so whatever." So they show up, we play the set from like by now it's probably 5, so we're playing the set. All I can remember is, I am playing like November Rain and they have the rain, the... What is it called? Like the fire rain? [...] The curtains of spark are like bouncing off my cymbals, like burning my face and like getting on my, like, shorts and shit like that. And I'm playing, the door opens, it's daylight. People are going to work like, you know, just like walking. Like I can see, you know, it's totally black but you see the door open for a second, one of those sound stages, you see people like coming to work. And we're playing now, we've been up since like 12:00 o'clock, the road crew has been up since like 8, now they've been up for 24 hours. He's in the chair with his cross [or arms crossed]. Just watching. [...] We're playing the whole thing, bombs, fireworks, everything's fucking going off. We end with Paradise City. [humming the song] You know, doing the fucking shuffle thing. They blow the confetti shit, the shit that they do at the Super Bowl [laughter], like goes all over and has like six inches on the ground of a football field, so you can imagine how much it filled this place up. And dude, I am not joking, it's like 7:38 in the morning and in my mind I'm doing this, it's the most surreal moment, I'm just going like, "Who's got to fucking clean the confetti?" Like, "What are we doing?" Like, "Some poor guy has to sweep 6 inches of confetti!" [...]

But we hit the last not, he gets up, walks out, didn't say a word, didn't see him. We just get up, everybody goes home and the next time we saw him was in Rock In Rio. I mean, that's sort of Guns in a nutshell. Like, that's the chaos and what happens. [...]

"Yeah, alright, we're gonna blow confetti at 7:30 in the morning, playing a shuffle." [laughing] You know, a fucking shuffle. And Buckethead's doing fucking break dancing in the side while the shuffle's happening, you know, he's moonwalking. "This is it, huh? This is as good as it gets." [...] Fucking shuffle, 7:30 in the morning, just the boogie woogie shuffle is I think what took me out. The [makes drumming sound] and then going like this stupidity and me going like, "Shit! I wonder if I can really do at 7:30 in the morning what Adler was doing on the album, which is three notes in a row?" [claps how Steven drummed on Paradise City] Not [claps a different rhythm]. He's fucking doing [claps the first rhythm again]. With fucking one foot. I couldn't do it. 7:30 in the morning with the confetti, not good enough.



EXPECTATIONS

When Chris was told that the show was sold out and that 250,000 people were expected:

Really? I think it’s going to be a good show.


Brain would later talk about nerves before the show:

So, ya know, warming up is a big.. for me, especially in a rock sit..situation, ya know, playing these big shows.. especially now if like.. Guns N' Roses doing this last show in a.. Rio in front of like 200,000 people.. ya know, I mean I was so nervous, I'd warmed up for like 3 hours.


And the wait before the show:

And those were the longest, that was the longest hour and a half that I've ever had to wait for a show, you know, because it was just like, I was like, "Wait a second," you know, "there's like," you know, "all these 250,000 people out there," you know, we don't know what's going to happen. We've never done the full set with [Axl].


And how weird it was to do his first show with Axl in front of so many people:

Our first show’s Rock in Rio and I thought, ‘Wait, what’s it going to sound like with Axl? Where is Axl? Oh here’s his helicopter coming in.’ The first time I ever played a real show with him was in front of 250,000 people! I was thinking, ‘How’s this song supposed to start again?’ Because some he was supposed to cue but we never had a verbal conversation on whether he would or I!

And Axl had never showed up and played with us, you know, first time I ever heard him sing was at Rock In Rio. [...] So I was actually nervous, for the first time I was nervous playing the drums because I was like, "Wait a second, we never even heard his voice and we gotta go up there and like." You know, we would just play the songs as is, you know, like in everybody's heads thinking, "Okay, well, this is where Axl says this," "Okay, we'll come in here," "Okay, hit that then, then Axl will sing this," you know, that kind of thing.

Well, [Rock In Rio] was scary because we had never really played with Axl. You know, we had never... He never came to any of the rehearsals. And so we had never heard him in our monitors or in-ears. [...] He came once, sang for about 30 seconds and left. You know, so go to this show and it's, you know, it's literally like, we're about an hour late. You know, there's like 200 and some thousand people waiting and I was nervous because I was like, "Wait a second, like, we've never heard his vocals. We're gonna go play this show in front of all these people." I have to say, dude, I was I was scared. I mean, you know, Primus was one thing when I first joined because it was kind of like "[?] Alexander," you know, he just won Early Modern Drummer, Rock Drummer of the Year type thing. And then now I'm playing with Guns at Rock in Rio and had never played with the lead singer. And we're late and there's a little tension and he's in a whole other area doing his thing. There's no camaraderie with like, "Okay, let's do this." It's just kind of like, "Where's Axl?"


Brain is wrong here, the band had played with Axl a couple of weeks earlier at the House of Blues [see previous chapter].


THE SHOW

As for the House of Blues show on January 1, the Rock in Rio show would start with the cartoon "It's A Sorta Kinda Wonderful Life."

This show would feature yet a new song, Madagascar, in addition to include Oh My God, Chinese Democracy, Street of Dreams and Silkworms.

During the show, Axl would comment on why they played many of the old songs:

We've done one show before this and already we have been criticized for playing old songs. But I have no intention and I never did of denying you all something you enjoyed. And I thought it was only fair for you to see that this new band can play the fuck out of these songs. It's very hard to ask a musician to learn to play the part or parts played by other musicians before that. These guys here have worked very hard.


Like at the House of Blues show two weeks prior, Axl would talk about the new band and praise Paul and this time also Dizzy for his loyalty:

I know that many of you are disappointed that some of the people that you came to know and love could not be with us here today. Regardless of what you have heard or read, people worked very hard – meaning my former friends – to do everything they could so that I could not be here today. I say fuck that. I am as hurt and disappointed as you that, unlike Oasis, we could not find a way to all get along. So I will begin to introduce the new band, who have worked very, very, very hard to come and see you today. This is my friend, Paul Tobias. He has worked through the darkness, underground, for the last seven years to be able to be here today. I think this makes it his fourth of fifth show altogether in his life. Without Paul there would be no more Guns N’ Roses. Along with Paul, the only man from the old lineup that stayed loyal and worked hard every day is on the keyboards, Mr. Dizzy Reed. Well, so much for the past. This is Live and Let Die.


Axl would also talk about rumours on the Internet:

You know, I used to go on the internet, but the internet seems to be a big garbage can. So I don’t read the things that they say on the internet anymore. And that goes for your comments too, Renato, and Xozi and anyone else who likes to think that they know what’s going on but have no idea. We have a lot of Brazilian fans and we love them very much. We also have a lot of fans in the rest of South America and we love them very much, too. So I hope that you can try and get along, and that both you Brazil and you from Argentina don’t kill each other at the next soccer game. We love you very much.


Near the end of the show, Axl would bring out his assistant Beta Lebeis and emotionally thank her for being there for him:

[Beta translating Axl's words to Portuguese]: In closing, I would like to say, without the love and support of one person, above all others, I would not be here today. In America, for the last seven years... [Axl hugs Beta] ...I have been supported by, and taken care of, and looked out for... [Beta (crying): Go ahead] This is very hard for her... The band has been taken care of. She has worked every step of the way to the rehearsals, recording, contracts and what a pain in the fucking ass I am. I’ve been taken care of for the last seven years by a Brazilian family. This is Elizabeth Lebeis, Beta, my assistant, and her three amazing children, Alex, Vanessa and Fernando. She has been a mother to me, to my manager, to my other assistants and anyone in the band who ever needed her at any time. I thank her, and I thank all of you for her. Peace, I love you, and we’ll be here next summer with a whole bunch of new songs. Be good to each other, and we’ll see you then. Goodnight.

I didn't think it would happen. I'm translating what Axl is saying, you know? Suddenly, he comes back again and calls me to the stage. I thought he would thank the audience, and then when he said, “Seven years ago...” I started to choke, I couldn’t speak. I went away and his manager pushed me back to the stage, right? Then I was translating everything wrong, I saw that nothing came out. The most difficult thing is to translate someone talking about you. Nothing came out. I know everything went wrong, I was nervous. There is no way to explain what I went through at that moment, in front of all that crowd...
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese



REVIEWS AND RECEPTION

The press would universally praise the show:

Before long. it's back to Axl who seems to have mellowed out and found love after seven years in the wilderness to implore all the people of S. America that no matter if they are from Brazil, Argentina, or Chile, not to fight anymore and that Love is the only way. People aren't sure what to make of this new compassionate Axl but they sure as @#%$ love the show and really and really dug the four new songs the band played from their soon-to-be-release album. […] The set closes after two encorers with axl introducing the woman that has been his saviour / friend / manager /a gent / everything for the past seven years who turns out to be the woman who has been translating for him all night. We don't quite catch her name as she gets all emotional and breaks down crying in Axl's arms in the middle of the stage. Its quite a surreal way to finish off a rock show, but it's been a damn long seven years and this wasn't an ordinary gig, it's the return of Guns n' Roses to the World stage. But there was no leather and no spandex, although the red bandana did make an appearance, reports that Axl is now a tubby bastard are untrue, he looked like he did seven years ago and is still choc full of attitude. FORGET TRENT, MARILYN, AND FRED, AXL IS BACK TO SAVE ROCK!!!!!

As much as G n’ R’s performance was about spectacle, it also proved to be one of the most engaging musical moments of Rock in Rio. Highlights were the kicking “Chinese Democracy” and “Madagascar,” a ballad (not played at the Vegas show) that blended organ, a looped drum-machine backbeat and spoken-word samples before working itself up to Rock in Rio fest a “November Rain” crescendo. Rose’s vocals remain strong, and he commanded the entire stage, even occasionally running into the audience. The new band had enough chops and freak-show appeal to make the crowd forget about the beloved original model. Buckethead provided the most “Slash who?” moments, as he busted out a pair of nunchucks, made his eyes glow and soloed mercilessly.

So it was an exciting show — not only for the unusually high level of musicianship, but also for the unflagging spirit and intelligence of the music itself, and what that seems to promise for the future.


Axl and Brain were also happy with the show:

[…] it was amazing. And it was amazing to play for the people, it was amazing that the people were that, were so happy and so excited. Um, it was. It worked for the band and I was very proud of them. I thought that they did very well. And it was very fun for me to play with the new band.

The whole show was very special. The crowd was so warm and receptive. Sound and music wise everything went wrong for the band, but it was a very exciting show for us to know that we could do a show that big, and it was very new for everybody. So it was a very big and important thing for our new band.

[…] it was, you know, an honor to be able to play Rio. I mean, now there was no new songs, the people didn't know the band, it’s not the old band... And they came anyway and that was very special. And the show brought the new band together.

It was very hard for me, emotionally and mentally, to want to play the older songs, because of the hard times or experiences that I’ve gone through with the old band and playing those songs. But the new guys made it exciting, so it was good to get out there. But we will put together a much bigger show and be more prepared. I feel that we did okay in Rio and it was a lot of fun, but we all want to be much more prepared when we actually do a real tour. This is what’s the band know what it is we have to do.

[…]  I did play one of the biggest shows of my life, Rock in Rio, with this new situation, and it was awesome. It was one of the best things I've ever experienced. It was so huge and such a great experience that when I came back I was kind of depressed for a while, because I was kind of like, 'Wow! What's next?' I went to the tenth floor.

You look to your left and there was the Foo Fighters, Oasis and Sting! We were headlining that day and everybody was anxious to see what we were going to do because Axl had put this motley group of people together.


And Beta would describe how important the show had been to Axl:

It was [Axl's] dream to come back to Brazil. When we first met, our first conversation was about Brazil. He was talking about the favelas, the diseases and his dream of building a hospital where poor people would receive treatment for free.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese


During the show Robin had played a famous Brazilian song, Sossego, and Fernando Lebeis would later discuss how important that had been:

[Robin] was criticized for playing Sossego, but do you know any other person who would do that? He learned that song one day before the show. Axl... Guns loves Brazil, they feel a connection with the fans, they really love it, without any pretense. Robin noticed that and saw Brazil in the same way. He learned to play it and sing it by himself.



LOOKING BACK AT THE SHOW

Immediately after the show, Axl would say his singing hadn't been good enough due to lack of sleep and that the band needed to adjust the sound to the large venue [O Globo, January 16, 2001].

I didn't know Rio was so beautiful and when we played Rock In Rio, there is almost 300,000 people, and it was our first show, kind of, with the new lineup and it was the greatest thing ever, you know, it was just mind-blowing. I was like, you couldn't, I couldn't explain it in words.

We did the first show at Rock in Rio. We rehearsed for probably two or three months without Axl. Our first show’s Rock in Rio and I thought, ‘Wait, what’s it going to sound like with Axl? Where is Axl? Oh here’s his helicopter coming in.’ The first time I ever played a real show with him was in front of 250,000 people! I was thinking, ‘How’s this song supposed to start again?’ Because some he was supposed to cue but we never had a verbal conversation on whether he would or I!

You look to your left and there was the Foo Fighters, Oasis and Sting! We were headlining that day and everybody was anxious to see what we were going to do because Axl had put this motley group of people together.
musicradar, October 2012


In 2017, Richard would be asked if it was true Buckethead had sunbathed in Rio while still wearing the KFC bucket:

I've never heard that about the sunbathing but totally believable.


In 2018, Brain would look back at this show and talk about how nervous he had been and the fact he hadn't played with Axl before (which wasn't true, Brain forgot about the show at the House of Blues a few weeks prior). He would also talk about messing up the intro to You Could Be Mine, and that Axl had got angry with him but later apologized:

Well, it was one I think similar to what I heard, I think, Matt Sorum's experience was when I read a couple things, Axl had never sung with us for those three and a half months of rehearsal. You know, I think he showed up once and just kind of, you know, said a couple lines and I think he was just like, "That's enough," you know, or whatever. I heard it's different now but there it was like, "Yeah, man," it was like, "Okay, here we are, Rock In Rio, there's like 250,000 people out there." I had hung out with Axl a little bit, you know, in the studio, talked to him, you know, maybe two or three times during that three and a half months of rehearsing, short conversations, nothing serious, so it's like, "Here we are about to play our first show, the biggest show," and I'd never heard him sing with the band ever. So it was like half the shit, you know, I was like, "Hmm, I have to get queued on this, I wonder how he's going to queue it." So I was nervous, man, probably more nervous than I've ever been, you know, I remember that night at four in the morning just fucking punching the pillow trying to go to sleep. I wished I had Xanax then because I probably would have popped one. So you know, I was nervous, I was like, "Ah shit." We get there, you know, he's not with us so we're sitting back there and, you know, I'm talking to Diz and just going like, "Dude, fuck! I'm nervous, dude," and he's like, "Oh yeah, so am I," you know. I go, "Yeah, this is crazy," like, you know, "Where's Axl?" you know, like, he's not even there, he's on a helicopter coming in, you know. It's just a heavier...You're just like, "Okay, of course," you know. And then, you know, as, you know, we're walking up, you know, there again I see Taylor Hawkins, because they were opening earlier, I guess, or whatever, you know, and, you know, and he's like, "What's up, dude, you're gonna go play?" I'm like, "Yeah, I'm fucking nervous," you know, that kind of a thing, they're all watching, you know. We get up there and, you know, as soon as you hear his voice everything went away, I was just like, "This is awesome," like, "I'm in it, I got it, it works now, I hear it." Because before then you just didn't know, you know what I mean? Nobody's sung the lyrics we were rehearsing. It was just all, you know, like in my head, you know. I just hear Welcome To The Jungle as we're playing the part in the verse and, you know, in that part, whatever. And I remember fucking really I only fucked up one thing, I think it's even on the Rock In Rio video, it's on You Could Be Mine, the build-up after I do the [makes drumming sounds of the intro to the song], that part. I fucked it up - I didn't fuck it up, I'm gonna say this and I guess if he hears that, I don't know, maybe he'll never talk to me again. I didn't fuck it up, it was just he didn't come in right on the way we rehearsed it because I think he just maybe live he does it a different way but it was never discussed because no one discussed it. So I came in and I came in wrong and I'll never forget the fucking look, he turned around and he just looked at me like gave me the fucking evil eye and I was just like, "Dude, I've just been doing it like we rehearsed it, you're the one who fucked it up," like that's what I was thinking on stage but I was just like, "Oh my god, I fucked it up!" and he just looked at me like, "You fucking dick!" Like, that was funny. So that was sort of my first experience. I mean, it was pretty trippy not to hear any lyrics, you know, and be headlining the show and to play for like, I think we played for about two hours then or two and a half. It wasn't for three and a half hours they're doing now or whatever.

I'll never forget, it was the first one and it was my biggest nightmare because it was actually on You Could Be Mine, the one where I started, and it was the first time, Rocki In Rio, and we had never played it with him, so we didn't know, you know, there's a cue when I have to start the backbeat hits. So it starts off, you know, he announces me, "Hello ladies and gentlemen, we got Brain on the drum" [humming the drum intro to You Could Be Mine] and then there's a part where I have to go [continues humming]. And I usually cue it, I think there was a vocal thing, that I usually cue it by, and in rehearsal it was easy 'cuz Tommy would just look at me and say, "Here we go". But at the show we're supposed to cue it to a vocal thing. So Axl never did the vocal thing. So the song is going [humming the intro], and I think it's even on the video, and I'm just, you know, it pans to me and I look like a fish out of water, my eyes are like fucking huge, you know, and I'm just like panicking, you can almost feel the panic through the fucking video, and I'm just like, "Wait, when do I come in?" You know, like, no one's telling me, you know, "I can do it anytime, but someone fucking do it." And so, you know, Axl blamed it on me and he kind of looked back and he gave me that stare. And I just was like, "That's not my fucking fault, dude! You're the one who was supposed to fucking do..." you know, one of those things and then it went away. But, he called me the next day in the hotel room and it was a message and it was crazy. And I remember it because he was whistling at the beginning of the message and it was the most beautiful whistle melody I'd ever heard in my life, like, that guy could fucking whistle like nobody's business. Like, it was incredible. It was just like [whistling] it was like a bird or something. I was like, "What is this?" And then it was like, "Hey, man. Hey, this is Axe, you know hey, man, it wasn't my... you know, it was, yeah, I think I was the one who fucked up that beginning," he said he was the one and I was like "Oh, okay, I'm cool."

Yeah, that was in the Rock In Rio show where I was playing where there's a signal in order for me to do the [humming] In my mind I know it through the album. But live, hey, he might be running around or be at the other side of the stage, "Hey, it's gonna take me some time to get to the mic" and [?] he'll cue it, you know, when he's ready. It was like I was in rehearsal, I was hearing it within my head and I was like, "Oh, I'm hearing his vocals the way it's supposed to be." And I started the part, but he wasn't there. So he gives me this, you know, like, "You mother effer," you know, I'm just like, "Ah, shit." Like, you know, "you're supposed to wait for me, dude." And I was like... But he never said anything after, I just realized, "Okay, I get it. I just wait for him. He's controlling it, he's the vocalist."


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22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Empty Re: 22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN

Post by Soulmonster Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:53 pm

22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: MADAGASCAR
Albums:

Chinese Democracy, track no. 12, November 2008.


Written by:
Axl Rose and Chris Pitman.

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:
'Madagascar' was played live for the first time on January 15, 2001, at Rock in Rio, Brazil. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {MADAGASCARSONGS} times.



Madagascar
From the alternative Red Hand album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Madagascar
From the alternative Grenade album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Lyrics:

I won't be told anymore
That I've been brought down in this storm
And left so far out from the shore
That I can't find my way back, my way anymore

No I won't be told anymore
That I've been brought down in this storm
And left so far out from the shore
That I can't find my way back, my way anymore

No, I...
No, I...

Forgive them that tear down my soul
Bless them that they might grow old
And free them so that they may know
That it's never too late

For the many times, what seemed like a memory
I searched and found the ways, you used to lure me in
Oh, I found the ways, oh, why it had to be
Mired in denial and so afraid

If we ever find it's true
That we have the strength to choose
Oh, freedom or the chains
We held together.

I'm gonna tell you a story
Stand up for righteousness
What? (Stand up for justice)
What? (Stand up for truth)
How can a person grow up with all this around them?
You got to call on that something
Where does it come from?
That can make a way out of no way
All this hatred?
What we've got here is
(Fear)
That power that can make a way out of now no way
Failure to communicate
I tell ya I seen the lightning
I've heard the thunder roll
Everybody's acting like we can do anything
And it don't matter what we do
Maybe we gotta be extra careful
Because maybe it matters more than We even know
Sometimes (hatred isn't somethin' you're born with)
I feel discouraged, it gets taught
Sometimes I feel discouraged, I felt this fear
He promised never to leave me
Never to leave me alone, no never alone, no never alone
Let's get something straight, alright?
Promised never to leave me
This whole thing was fucked up
Never to leave me alone
All men betray all lose heart
I don't want to lose heart, I want to believe
Black men and white men together at the table of brotherhood
I have a dream
Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last

I won't be told anymore
That I've been brought down in this storm
And left so far out from the shore
And I can't find my way back, my way anymore

No I won't be told anymore
That I've been brought back in this storm
And left so far out from the shore
That I can't find my way back, my way anymore

Quotes regarding the song

Axl, introducing the song at Rock in Rio:

This is a brand new song. Hopefully it will express my sentiments, and I will dedicate this song to the love that you have shown us. This is a new song called 'Madagascar'
Rock in Rio, January 15, 2001


Chris would discuss how the iconic French horn intro came about:

I was up at [Axl's] house for about a week or two, and I was setting up rack mounted samplers, and you had your fake orchestra with synthesizers. One would be the strings, one would be the brass, and I was setting that up for him, and I was going "now this module here, we’re going to us this for brass instruments and here you have horns…", and he was playing while I was switching the sounds, and I switched the sounds to French horn sound and he was playing this chord progression and I went to another sound, and he goes "oh no, go back to that one". We went back and it was the French horn sound and he kept playing this progression and it sounded really cool and I turned around and turned on the tape machine and that ended up being the very intro for the song 'Madagascar'. And that’s just how that evolved and he just had this chord progression and all of the sudden it married with the French horn and it was their super-moody song and that was the start of that song. We actually recorded it really quickly up there at his house and he just sang unbelievably on it
Talking Metal, November 2008


And Axl would be asked why he chose the specific singing voice for the song:

I remember seeing on the web, somebody said, "Why'd he have to sing that song with, like, an old man's voice?" It's like, maybe 'cause one of the influences was Hemmingway's "Old Man and The Sea", fucking, y'know, just by chance, I don't know. But you know, on the web, they know everything
Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris, France, May, 2012


Brain would later discuss his drumming on the song:

[...] it’s got that Bonham thing too, the big long fills. The loop at the beginning I just created from the MPC. Then we went into the main parts where Axl comes in, and that’s when we added the drums, played live. It was the first time we had the drums set up in that theater, and it just sounded really Bonham-esque. In the spoken-word section we took away the baffles and had it completely opened up because we wanted it bigger. That’s totally my style and the way I like to play; I was just biting off Bonham the whole time on that track.


And mention it was one of his favorites:

I like "Madagascar." It's got that huge Bonham thing going on.
Steve Sun-Angell, November 2008


22. NOVEMBER 1999-JANUARY 2001: LINEUP TURMOIL BUT A TRIUMPHAL RETURN - Page 2 Newbor11


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:51 am

DID ROBIN AND JOSH LEAVING THE BAND POSTPONE THE RELEASE?

With Josh leaving the band, a UK spokeswoman for the band would in early 2000 be asked about the record's release date:

(The album could be) released this year, but I’ll believe it when I see it to be honest. We’ll all just have to wait and see. At the minute it isn’t even on our releases pending list.


The album was then scheduled for a release in July 2000 only to be postponed indefinitely without even being listed with "TBD" in release schedules [Launch, May 20, 2000; Wall of Sound, May 24, 2000]. The postponement of the release for July 2000 might have been connected to Robin and Josh being out of the band. Robin would be asked about the release date in May 2000:

There's not a release date right now, not that I'm aware of. And I would know.


In late 2000, rumours would have it that the band hoped to release the album early in 2001, to time it with their appearance at Rock in Rio 3, in January 2001 [Rolling Stone, October 27, 2000]. And in November 2000, according to The New Journal, GN'R's management had stated that the record would come out in January 2001 [The News Journal, November 4, 2000]. Then, in December, it was reported the band management had stated the record would be out in June to correspond with the summer tour [MTV News, December 11, 2000]. In another report, Doug Goldstein would be said to have told Los Angeles radio station KROQ, that the album could be out as early as June [Rolling Stone, December 12, 2000]. Interscope, on the other hand, would not confirm a June release date and only refer to it as "to be determined" [Rolling Stone, December 12, 2000].


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:55 am

AXL'S HALLOWEEN PARTIES

Based on quotes from different sources, it is clear Axl hosted elaborate Halloween parties every year. In 2001, Fernando Lebeis would discuss the Halloween parties:

He throws two kind of parties: the first one is during daytime, for children, friends' kids and poor kids, abused by their parents, blind... About a hundred kids come to the party, and when they arrive they get amazed. He makes like an amusement park with toys and everything else. The other one is for adults, and [Rolling Stone magazine] said people were hating the party, that we're serving Jose Cuervo when in fact we're serving the best tequila, we serve the best one can buy. We even rented a tequila fountain, but RS didn't mention that. The people who came were the same as every year, they always call a few days before the party asking about it. This is one of the few parties Axl does. People think his house is surrounded by booze and loud music, but that's not true. He only drinks tequila and never gets drunk or mad, he's the most kind person I know. He's always kind to my friends, and every time trouble comes close, he turns around and walks away.




Allegedly from Axl's Halloween party in 1994



Dave Dominguez, the studio engineer who worked with the band in 1998, would get invited to the Halloween party in 1998 and be asked to bring his family:

So I had to take my, I had two young kids, I had to take them with me to the studio because I had a session. I'm like, "I've got to do this." And it was only half a day. It wasn't a whole day. So it was like six hours. So I was like, "You gotta go with dad, you gotta hang out, you gotta watch TV." And as we get there, like, he's like, "Hey dad, we're hungry." And like, "Okay, we'll order pizza in a few minutes." I start working. I've never taken them to work with me before. I forget they're there and it's like three hours later. And I'm like, "Oh, shoot, the kids are here. They're hungry." So as I walk out of the room, I hear this voice, deep voice talking. And I look up, we had runners there and it's Axl. And he said, "I hope you don't mind, the kid, they said that they're your kids and they said you're going to order pizza, I ordered them pizza. Is that okay?" Like, "No, I apologize. Thank you." And I started giving him, like, "No, no." It's like, "I just like talking to them." So he's talking to my kids. He bought them pizza and he's talking to them. He's hanging out with them for like an hour with the runners. He was out there just talking to them for like an hour. And they're young, they're like nine and eight and five at the time. So it's like, "That's great. Okay. Thanks, Ax. All right." So I get invited and he goes, "Hey, bring your family too." I had my first son at 17. So like, you know, my ex-wife and I had four kids. So I took three of them, cause the youngest was like two, like a year and a half or two. So I'm like, "Let's go." And he said, "It's a family thing, bring them." So we get to the house and it's up in a Latigo Canyon in Malibu, really beautiful area. I parked the car I'm walking with the kids. I tell the kids, "Don't touch anything," you know, I'm being the daddy, "Don't go anywhere you're not supposed to go, stay by me."


At Axl's house they would be greeted by Axl dressed up as Barney the Dinosaur:

It's a rockstar party, I don't know what's going on so I'm like, "Just stay close to dad." So we walk in and they have Barney who's greeting all the kids, and there's Barney dancing, and he greets the kids and he's playing with the kids and all of a sudden I hear, "Hey Dave," a deep voice, and he takes the head off and it's Axl in the Barney costume. [...] And I was like, "Yeah, Axl!" He's like, "There's a kids area in the back, there's food over here, help yourself. You can go in the house," you know. So it was awesome. There was a lot of people. And I guess at whatever time it was, six o'clock or so, the party's culled because he's taken everybody who's over the age of 18, he rented a bunch of buses and rented out the Universal Studios, the Halloween thing that they do. He's taking everybody down there. And I got my kids so I can't go. So I'm like, "Oh, I'm sorry." It's like, "Oh, no problem." It's like, "Oh, no problem, let's go." So I'm trying to find my oldest son. I'm sorry, I asked Beta, like, "Did you see my son? He's dressed as this and this." And she's like, "I think he's in the game room." And I'm like, "Oh my God, I told him not to go in the game room." I go back there and it's my son and this other kid are playing games with Axl. And I was like, "Hey, I'm sorry," "No, no, no, no," like, "I told him him could come back and play," you know, I was like, "I have to get away."

I was so flustered that my kid was in the house where he shouldn't be. And Beta said [?] I came out and I said, "Oh, Beta," I apologized and I apologized to Beta too. And she's like, "Oh, no, no." It's like he was in there, I think it was her nephew or someone's nephew, Beta's like, "Oh, yeah, they're here all the time." It's like, "Oh, okay, great. Thank you."


Dave Quakenbush, the singer of the band The Vandals, attended the Halloween party in 1999:

[Axl was] wearing a dinosaur outfit. When some kids approached him and asked if he was Barney The Dinosaur, he said, 'Nah! Barney's a fag!' Then he stopped himself and said, 'Oh, uh, I mean Barney's a pussy.'


Dominguez would attend the Halloween party in 1999, too, and bring his friend, Dave Buckner from Papa Roach:

When I took Dave down for the Halloween party, which was the next year after I left, I took him down. So it was probably two years. I think it was in '99 or 2000. I think it was '99 that I took Dave. I think Papa Roach's record came out in 2000. It was '99. So I'd already been in off a year. Like he played me a bunch of stuff. [Axl] played me... he has a version, I don't know if anybody else told you or it's been released, I couldn't say - he had a version of the Elvis Presley song that he did all himself. Guitar and everything. And it was a ballad. [...] Yeah, it was an industrial, Nine Inch Nails style that he did all completely himself. So like he took me into the Pro Tools room and, "Hey Dave, check this out," and played me a bunch of stuff. I'm like, "Oh cool." Yeah, and then he took me in. And he was really nice to Dave, the drummer. I think like a year later, because after Papa Roach hit pretty big, they played Rock in Rio together.[...] But yeah, but he played, Dave and I, he was really polite, played Dave and I a bunch of stuff that they had been recording.


And Sean Beavan would also mention the Halloween parties at Axl's house:

[Axl] does throw quite a bash. It's really really fun for the kids.
Sp1at, April 8, 2005


In October 2012, as Axl guested Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel would show a picture of a "Halloween tree" from Axl's Halloween parties:

Yeah, this is one of the most evil things I've ever done. Because... We have these Halloween parties and I decided let's have a Halloween tree... So we did the tree, put the presents, families come with their little kids and the little kids stand there [staring] and then I'll go "Wow, you don't have a Halloween tree?" "No...." And then I would give them a present. And then their parents will call me for about three months "you son of a..." [...] It's just really fun to have the Halloween tree because their little faces [opens mouth and stares] and then they're pulling on their parents "Why do they have it?"




Allegedly one of Axl's Halloween trees



Talking more about Halloween:



And on whether he dresses up:

Sometimes. [...] But once I was a giant ear of corn. Because we have a saying in Guns N' Roses... When somebody's gonna get yelled at, they're gonna get the corn. So one year I was the corn.


And on whether he has "adult parties or is it just to torment the parents in your neighborhood":

Umm, it was like for kids during the day, and then more adult in the evening.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jan 30, 2022 5:25 am

AXL'S LOVE OF SOUTH AMERICA

Axl had wanted to do more tours in South American in early 2001, but with these not happening Axl still traveled to Chile and Argentina on vacation after Rock in Rio:

So I wanted to come anyway. I wanted to experience and feel what it was like to be in Argentina and feel the people. […] I went to Las Tacas [Chile]. Um, and basically here in Santiago I went to different places. I went to museums here in Santiago. And some different places, but just to meet different people and see what they.

I wanted to play here. I wanted to play here and play Chile, and that didn't work out for us. And since I was in Brazil, in Rio, I still wanted to come to Argentina, because it had been so long since we were here last, and I just wanted to come to feel Argentina.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Aug 07, 2022 7:39 am

JANUARY 15, 2001
AXL IS INTERESTED IN SLASH ADDING GUITARS TO THREE SONGS ON CHINESE DEMOCRACY

In 2012, Marc Canter would talk about Axl being interested in Slash being featured on three songs on Chinese Democracy:

The day after Rock In Rio 2001 Axl and I were at the pool and he mentioned that there was a possibility that Slash could have played on a few tracks for Chinese Democracy [...].


The condition was that Slash must apologize for things said in the press:

[...] if he were willing to apologize  in the press for the things that he said about Axl publicly.  Axl was cracking the door open and saying to me  “If  Slash apologizes publicly for the things he said about me in the press I have three songs that he could play on the new album”.  They were three songs that Slash had written on and Axl wanted to do something with them and include them on Chinese Democracy which would have been cool.


But according to Canter, Slash would never have been willing to do such a thing:

 That was never going to happen because Slash was too “cool” to apologize publicly first of all and second of all because half the things he wanted Slash to apologize for never happened, at least not in Slash’s recollection.


Most likely Axl never contacted Slash about this.

Except for the song that became Velvet Revolver's Fall To Pieces [Marc Canter, Personal communication, January 30, 2022], it is not clear what the other two songs were, but since Slash had already written on the songs, they likely stemmed from sessions in 1996 before Slash left the band.
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