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

RIAD N' THE BEDOUINS


During the show at the House on Blues on January 1, the band debuted songs that would later be released on Chinese Democracy. One of these songs were Riad N' the Bedouins.

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 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





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



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


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 18, 2021 5:35 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

____________________________________________

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.


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.


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.


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].

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


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

MADAGASCAR


During the show at Rock in Rio on January 14, 2001, the band the song Madagascar which would be released on Chinese Democracy in 2008.

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



Madagascar
From the alternative Red Hand album artwork
Credit to troccoli



Madagascar
From the alternative Grenade album artwork
Credit to troccoli




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


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

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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