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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

25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC

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25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC Empty 25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC

Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:47 am

CHAPTER INDEX

- 2004-2006: "THE AXL TAPES"/RAPIDFIRE 1983
- ARRANGING THE GUITAR PARTS FOR LIVE SHOWS
- OCTOBER 26, 2004: AXL IS FEATURED IN GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS
- OCTOBER 31, 2004: VELVET REVOLVER DRESSES UP FOR HALLOWEEN
- JANUARY-MARCH, 2005: WORK ON CHINESE DEMOCRACY - MIXING AND SOME VOCALS REMAIN
- "THE MOST EXPENSIVE ALBUM NEVER MADE"
- JANUARY 24, 2005: AXL ROSE SIGNS TO SANCTUARY PUBLISHING; SLASH AND DUFF PROTEST
- TOURING IN THE SUMMER OF 2005?
- APRIL-OCTOBER, 2005: WORK ON CHINESE DEMOCRACY - SOME VOCALS STILL MISSING
- 2005: RICHARD JOINING NIN?
- AUGUST 2005-MARCH 2016: SLASH AND DUFF SUE AXL OVER ROYALTIES; AXL COUNTER-SUES
- OCTOBER 2005: SLASH PAYS AXL A NIGHTIME VISIT
- 2001- : BRAIN'S PERSONAL LIFE
- OCTOBER 2005: GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2?
- DECEMBER 2005: RICHARD RECORDS FOR CHINESE DEMOCRACY
- DECEMBER 2005-FEBRUARY 2006: SLASH SAYS CHINESE DEMOCRACY IS COMING OUT IN MARCH 2006
- JANUARY-APRIL 2006: "AXL IS ALMOST FINISHED"
- FEBRUARY 2006: AXL PLAYS CHINESE DEMOCRACY AT THE CHELSEA NIGHTCLUB; MANY SONGS LEAK
- FEBRUARY 2006: A 2006 SUMMER TOUR IS ANNOUNCED
- FEBRUARY 2006: GUNS N' ROSES REUNITING?
- MARCH 2006: AXL ATTACKS SLASH
- 2003-2006: SCOTT WEILAND VS AXL
- APRIL 2006: PLANNING MAY WARM-UP GIGS AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
- APRIL 2006: JOSHUA CRAIG TO REPLACE BUCKETHEAD?
- MAY 2006: SLASH TO REJOIN GUNS N' ROSES FOR THE SUMMER TOUR?
- APRIL (?)-MAY 12, 2006: REHEARSALS IN NYC
- MAY 2006: AXL AND SEBASTIAN BACH RECONNECT
- MAY 2006: BUMBLEFOOT JOINS THE BAND
- BUMBLEFOOT BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES
- MAY 12, 2006: THE FIRST WARM-UP GIG AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROM
- THERE WAS A TIME
- I.R.S.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:48 am

2004-2006
"THE AXL TAPES"/RAPIDFIRE 1983


In august 2004, Keven Lawrence, founder of the band Rapidfire with Axl on vocals [see earlier chapter], launched the website theaxltapes.com with the following info:

COMING SOON

Before GNR there was Hollywood Rose.

Before Hollywood Rose there was RAPIDFIRE.

Who??

RAPIDFIRE

Yes, the REAL first ever recordings of AXL ROSE with his FIRST band RAPIDFIRE.

These demos have been stored for over 20 years and are now being prepared for release.

E Mail: kevin@theaxltapes.com
theaxltapes.com, August 2004


Lawrence would then discuss his plans of releasing a demo containing four Rapidfire songs with Axl on vocals, on the Guns N' Roses htgth.com, resulting in this summary:

Rapidfire update

According to Kevin Lawrence, the Rapidfire songs are currently being mixed and the cd will hopefully be out by Christmas. The tapes have been in storage for the past 20 years (in the original 8 track format). The tracks were transfered to digital.
The songs are:
Ready To Rumble
All Night Long
The Prowler
On The Run

The bandmembers were:

Axl Rose - Vocals
Kevin Lawrence - Guitar
Mike Hammernik - Bass
Chuck Gordon - Drums

There are plenty of pre-tattoo Axl pictures to accompany the cd.
htgth.com, August 27, 2004


In late 2004 or early 2005 the website would change from theaxltapes.com to rapidfire1983.com.



Artwork on rapidfire1983.com
April, 2005



In early 2005, Lawrence would provide updates on the project and state they were in talks with the Guns N' Roses camp:

We are still mixing the songs, but have not done much for the last 2 months or so. What has been mixed sounds really good, but not just right. While I realize that it was a demo, and analogue, I do want it to be the best sound that it could be.

[Being asked if they have been met with any reactions from the GN'R camp]: Yeah a bit, but it's all going to be fine.


And on the last time he met Axl:

About 5 years ago at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We just ran into each other, had a short chat and that's it.


In August 2006, Lawrence would provide an update:

I an sorry for the huge delay in releasing the Rapidfire 1983 Demos.

My attorney has been working with Axl's attorney for some time now trying to come out with a way to release these demos which is acceptible to Axl.

Regardless though of what he wants, the law states that I can release these at any time and have the full legal right to do so. Because at one time (and if I ever spoke to him now) I considered Axl a friend, I am trying to work beyond the scope of my legal rights with him, out of my respect and admiration for him. Regardless though, if in the future he chooses not to cooperate, the CD will come out commercially. Once again I am sorry to all of you for the delay, but the legal process moves very slowly.
Rapidfire Website - Update from Kevin Lawrence, August 31, 2006[/url]


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:49 am

ARRANGING THE GUITAR PARTS FOR LIVE SHOWS


After the touring of 2006, Bumblefoot would discuss how he, Robin and Richard split the guitar parts:

We play together, complimenting each other, harmonizing each other's solos and rhythms.


In early 2009, Bumblefoot would discuss how they worked out which guitarist would play what:

I wasn’t there when Bucket was there, but it seemed like whatever he played, that’s what I played.


Being asked if Robin and Richard are like Slash and Izzy and Buckethead or Bumblefoot then plays all the "stunt" guitar bits:

Yeah, I know what you mean. I can agree with that. But all I know is Axl has a vision, and I trust that vision. For a lot of things, especially earlier on, it was like, “All right, we’ll take care of the pretty stuff. You just shred.” But I think things have loosened up quite a bit. For instance, onstage I’ll play the pretty stuff in between the verses on “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Or the end solo of “November Rain.” Or the second part of the “Nightrain” solo.


And being asked how they decide who gets to play what:

There’s not too much thought behind it. During rehearsals we’ll be like, “Hey, you want this one?” It’s pretty relaxed like that. And me, I don’t really give a fuck. As long as in the end the song sounds good I don’t care if I’m playing freaking kazoo parts. Whatever the song needs.


In 2010, Bumblefoot would discuss how hard it had been for him to learn his parts when he joined the band immediately prior to the shows in 2006:

I should probably go back to the beginning when I first started playing with Guns... I jumped in, and I never had a chance to get my gear sounding right. I never had a chance to really learn the songs, and to get my parts where they needed to be. It was just a set of circumstances at that time where I had a lot of things stacked against me when I first joined the group, and it was hard for me to give what I could've given. It was a tough one. I was really just waiting for the moment when all the guitarists could sit down, work everything out, and do it the right way. Now, I finally have that double neck, and I have the right gear that I need to play the songs. Another thing is when I first joined the group, because leaks were such an issue they wouldn't give me the music. I didn't have any of their new songs, and the band would say to me "Just tell them you have to have it - you have to have the songs to learn them", but the management folks would not give me the music - they said "No".

The only way I could learn the songs was during rehearsals before we were on tour, like a week before. I would go into the other room, listen to the songs on the road manager's laptop with a set of headphones, write down notes, listen to them, try to remember all the parts, and do, as they say, the best I could. I would then go into the other room where everyone was waiting, and start playing. That's how I had to learn 'Chinese Democracy' (laughs) - on headphones with a laptop in half an hour. They didn't want me to have a copy, and I respected their wishes. Yes, I could've just gotten a hot copy from somewhere, someone, but I thought "Well, this is how they want it to be... I'm gonna respect their wishes, and when they want things to change, they'll change".

In the beginning, I didn't know what the hell I was really doing yet, and I wasn't getting much help (laughs). Even when we played live, I wanted to sing backing vocals and start doing that, but was told they didn't have enough room in the mixing board for me. I felt like the circumstances were minimizing and devaluing what I could bring to the group, and making it so much more difficult for me to do the right thing, and it wasn't helping anyone - it wasn't helping me, it wasn't helping the audience. But eventually, after more touring and laying my own guitar parts into 'Chinese Democracy', I had a better idea of what to play.


Clarifying his comments on being devalued:

It wasn't Axl or anyone in particular - it was the situation. It felt at times in the beginning like I jumped in at the last minute, and there wasn't room for me. There was no time for me to co-ordinate with everyone, so I almost had to play just with one hand tied behind my back in a way. I didn't have the tools I needed to do everything that I could've done.


Talking about how much better they got to prepare before the shows in 2009/2010, with Dj having joined the band:

In a general way, I do the most crazy stuff, Dj gets the melodic parts and Fortus plays something in the middle of all this. It's a good way of keep our identity in this wall of guitars. We do something like that in the rhythm, when I play the low tonic of the chords and riffs with the bass. Fortus fills up the rest of the chords while Dj puts something on top of that. This is the general idea, but it all depends on what sound better for each song. We're getting along well and working a lot on our guitar sounds. We tried different instruments and heads. We're polishing the sound that the crowd will hear, which is very important. Afterall, whats the use of getting a great guitar tone on stage if the sound that makes to the crowd is bad? Everyone, band and staff, worked hard to make sure that the sound that people hear will be the best.

Finally this year, I got my gear together how I wanted it to be. I had my guitar parts and a feel for which parts I should play, and we were able to co-ordinate it between me, DJ and Rich. We came out, and it sounds better than it ever did. Finally. It's something that I wish could have happened years ago, but... yeah (laughs).


As for sticking to the original signature solos and leads:

For a lot of the Guns stuff, the guitar melody is a major part of the song. Straying too far from what was originally recorded would be like changing the lyrics. So I like to respect the song. That said, with “November Rain” I tend to pretty disrespectfully go off and do whatever the hell I want! [laughs] In fact, I usually grab the fretless guitar for that one. But there’s just a lot of creative freedom. No one says, “Don’t play this,” or “Don’t wear that.”

In some I keep faithful to the original because there is solos that are more than just solos. They are an important melody and gives an identity to the song. Change it would be like change the lyrics. This is the case in November Rain ending solo. But in songs like Nightrain and Paradise City I can jam something different every night, playing with my inspiration.

When I first joined the band, I also had the feeling that I had to do something more. I felt like I was brought in to play all the wacky, noodly stuff, and I might've been overdoing it a lot of the time, instead of just being myself. What do I do now? Honestly, I just try to play them the way they were written, and the thing is, no two guitarists play the same way. You can take Eddie Van Halen and you can take Ace Frehley, and have them play the same riff, and you can tell who is who. It comes from the hands. I just play the songs as authentically as I can, and try to respect the way the songs were written, and the way people came to love the songs. That's it. I just feel that if it comes from your own hands, it has your own feeling to it. Sometimes I do things with the fretless guitar. With the slide parts, what I do is I jump onto the fretless neck and do the slide on that neck, and jump back down, little things like that. But as far as changing parts of the songs to make them my own, I would rather respect G N' R's music. On 'Chinese Democracy' songs, I play the parts that I wrote and recorded, and with everything else, I try to respect the songs as they were written and recorded.


Before the European leg of the tour in 2010, Dj would comment on how they split the guitar parts:

We shares the songs between us. I do 80-90 % of the Slash pieces, Ron does the Buckethead stuff and Richard does a lot of what Izzy used to do. Whatever fits each own's style. We are very different guitarists and do whatever feel natural.


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25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC Empty Re: 25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC

Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:50 am

OCTOBER 26, 2004
AXL IS FEATURED IN GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS


On October 26, 2004, the fifth installment of the popular computer game Grand Theft Auto was released featuring Axl as the radio DJ Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith on the fictive radio channel K-DST (or The Dust) [MTV News, October 26, 2004].



Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
October 26, 2004



Classic Rock Magazine would play the game and write about Axl's contributions:

Anyway, over on K-DST, you soon discover several recurring themes to Axl’s dazed-but-not-so-confused DJ commentary. One such theme concerns death:

“Who says rock is dead? No one in this morgue, that’s for sure,” Rose laughs.

“When I die I want ‘exhume at your own risk’ put on my gravestone, you know what I mean? And if not, you’re probably an asshole.”

After a rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’: “I remember singing that song on the way to put my wife down. Just joking, people - she survived, OK?”

The embittered male sexual schtick continues with statements such as:

“This song will put hair on your chest. It certainly did on my ex-wife’s.” (Spoken before Kiss’s ‘Strutter’.)

Following a shrill shriek from Ann Wilson midway through Heart’s ‘Barracuda’:

“Jesus, did someone screw their mother?”

Axl appears emboldened by such drugged-up jingles as, “If the police can’t stop you, you must be on The Dust” and, “When all your buddies from the 70s have gone to rehab, we strongly advise you to stay on The Dust”.

“I’ve said it before,” the singer intones with droll humour, “all you need to get through this life is a little patience - and a speedball.” (A speedball being a devastating cocktail of heroin and cocaine.)

Axl continues: “Music is like a drug, but listen to the same thing for a couple of days and you’re on The Dust.”

And his piece de resistance: “San Andreas, gotta love it. Move here for the weather but they hide the sun under a cloud of pollution. Look, I like to smoke as much as the next man, but you’re supposed to hold the smoke in!”

Were Axl’s DJ links scripted? Possible not, because the GN’R leader’s well-documented egomania shines through on at least a couple of occasions:

“Great Britain has produced a lot of great musicians but I doubt anyone with more gravitas, more importance, more significance than me - apart from this man. The one, the only Rod Stewart. This is ‘Young Turks’.”

“What makes K-DST special are two things - me mainly, but also these guys with the records.”

The ‘Nightmare’ Smith character appears to be a former member of a fake 70s band called Crystal Ship; presumably named after The Doors track on their 1967 debut album. Speaking after The Who song ‘Eminence Front’, the K-DST DJ offers:

“I love that track; blows me away every time. In the 70s there weren’t many others that could hold a candle to Crystal Ship but I would’ve shared a stage with The Who any time. If only they’d had the vision to ask.”

Interspersed between the tunes and Axl’s verbiage are some marvellous spoof advertisements. One has a body, Jimmy, phoning home to speak to his mother:

“How are you?” says a delighted mum. “Not good,” responds Jimmy. “I killed a man drunk-driving. I need bail money bad. Can you re-mortgage the house?” Then the voice-over goes: “Every day is Mother’s Day. San Andreas Telephone. For those difficult conversations.”

Back in Axl land, there’s some mock rivalry between K-DST and Radio X, the other rockin’ station you can listen to while you’re punching the buttons on your hand-held controller. “Tell you what,” snarls Rose on The Dust, “I really can’t bear that chick on, what is it, Radio X, Rock X, Rock, er ... look, sweetheart, get over it.”

(In light of the above, it’s ironic that GN’R are on Radio X’s playlist but not on The Dust’s; tune into Radio X and you can hear ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.)

Additionally, there are plenty of humorous asides. After Rod Stewart’s ‘Young Turks’ has finished, Axl says: “Young hearts beat free tonight. I love that track, it’s like opera only quicker and without all the fat Italians.”

Rose also offers the following sound advice: “If you’re planning on heading out to the beach this weekend, don’t bother. It’s really not that interesting. Sand, sun, a lotta nonsense about suntans. Go out to a nightclub, drink until you puke and act like a goddamn American. You’re on the home of driving rock radio.”

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been praised as a milestone release for the PlayStation console, and within the context of the game Axl Rose’s K-DST radio station is thoroughly believable; a mini-masterpiece of faux broadcasting by itself.

As Axl’s alter ego ‘Nightmare’ Smith puts it succinctly: “Love’s an old-fashioned word. So is the f-word. But I like that too. This is The Dust.”


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:50 am

OCTOBER 31, 2004
VELVET REVOLVER DRESSES UP FOR HALLOWEEN


For Velvet Revolver's show at Rocktoberfest in Little Rock, Arizona, USA, on October 31, 2004, the band dressed up, including Weiland dressing as Axl, Slash as Buckethead, and Matt presumably as Tommy [Blabbermouth, November 13, 2004].



The members of Velvet Revolver dressing up
October 31, 2004



I really enjoyed that, especially the fishnet stockings. It made me feel proud of my feminine side.

I was [Buckethead] for Halloween a couple of years ago.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:50 am

JANUARY-MARCH, 2005
WORK ON CHINESE DEMOCRACY - MIXING AND SOME VOCALS REMAIN


In early 2005, the record was being finished, according to Tommy, adding that what had been remaining was "[s]ome vocal parts and mixes" [St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 20, 2005].

You know, it'll come out probably sooner than later, I can just about assure you," he said. "I've been told as much, anyway. Without giving a date, it'll be sooner than hell freezing over.

[...] they’re pretty much 95 percent done with it. [...] But really, I think the album sounds great. What we’ve done is awesome. I heard it recently and was like – damn. I want it to come out.


The close release of Chinese Democracy would also be signaled with Axl's deal with Sanctuary Publishing [see later chapter]. This would be confirmed by Merck Mercuriadis who would also say that as soon as the release plan was finalized they would send out a press release [Sp1at, January 27, 2005].

And a little bit later:

The artwork, all those little things like that, getting all the, you know... The particulars, the little bits done... so they can actually get a release date and put it out.


And to emphasize that the music was done:

It's been done... For a while.


But in February, when asked when the record would be released, Dizzy answered:

I haven't heard anything.


Around the same time Tommy would say:

They're finishing up the mixing right now. Sorting out what songs are going on it and artwork and shit. And hopefully sooner than later, it'll come out.

There's nothing that I can divulge, but suffice it to say that when it does come out, we'll tour behind it.


And describing the music:

There are so many different musical textures and different things going on, you can't pinpoint it as just another drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll record, which is kind of what they celebrated back in the heyday. There's elements of that sort of a musical vibe in a way, but it's a lot more diverse.


And when it would be released:

That record's really close to being completed and put out. [...] It's been scheduled every month for the last 10 years, there will be a flurry of chaos that I'll be thrown into.


In March 2005, Merck Mercuriadis would be asked when the album would be released and evade the question:

Axl is one of the most extraordinary artists of all time. When people hear this album, they will realize what [Axl] did in this band, versus what Slash says he did. It will be evident to everyone who the heart, soul and passion of Guns N' Roses is.



BUCKETHEAD'S PARTS TO REMAIN INTACT


In early 2005, Brain would say that as far as he knew, Buckethead's contributions to Chinese Democracy would remain intact despite him leaving the band in 2004 [Sp1at, January 23, 2005].

Brain would also insist that there would be no "Buckethead influenced songs" on the album [Sp1at, January 23, 2005]. In hindsight, this last statement seems to have been wrong, because it is widely assumed that Shackler's Revenge and Sorry, off Chinese Democracy, are very much Buckethead influenced songs.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:51 am

"THE MOST EXPENSIVE ALBUM NEVER MADE"


In an article in March 2005, The New York Times would describe Chinese Democracy as having "racked up more than $13 million in production costs, according to Geffen documents, ranking his unfinished masterpiece as probably the most expensive recording never released" [New York Times, March 6, 2005]. In the article, the Times would also quote numerous sources, many of which spoke under anonymity, detailing the process of making Chinese Democracy, painting a less than flattering image of the project and especially Axl [New York Times, March 6, 2005]

Mercuriadis would respond to the article and its allegations in a letter to the New York Times:

Sir, I find it remarkable that the New York Times — a newspaper of some repute — has chosen to run an article on the making of the forthcoming GUNS N' ROSES album, 'Chinese Democracy', without even bothering to talk to anyone who has actually been involved in the making of the album. You quote five people on the record, all of whom, with the exception of Tom Zutaut, have been out of the picture for between six and nine years, and like the author of your article, have never even heard the album! Tom Zutaut himself has not been involved for three years and has heard virtually none of the actual record.

Your journalist Jeff Leeds — is this the return of Jayson Blair under a pseudonym? — contacted us last Thursday the 24th of February to inform us he had been working on an article about the 'process' of making the album. I explained that it was not possible for him to write such a story as he had not spoken to the band, our two engineers, myself or most importantly, Axl, all of whom have been working on the actual album for the last two years and enquired how he could write an investigative report with any integrity without doing so. I also asked why if he was reporting on the 'process' why we were the last people he was contacting, as it was obvious from the discussion that he had been working on this for a number of weeks.

Contrary to his blatant lie that he was told by 'management' that W. Axl Rose 'could not be reached for comment,' I made it clear that we could not consider his request for an interview with either Axl or myself until we knew who the other people involved in the article were, as we were not going to lend credibility to an article that was based on hearsay from people that have not only had nothing to do with the album but whose only agenda was to recapture their 15 minutes of fame in an industry that had cast them aside and left them unemployed many years ago. Mr. Leeds told me he would call this week once he had considered our position so that we could discuss it further. This past Monday the 27th at 6 pm he left a message with my office saying that his deadline to file the story was 12 pm the following day. I called him immediately on receipt of the message the following morning and reminded him that we had made an agreement that he would consider whether he was going to divulge the people involved in the article following which I would then contact Axl and we could consider whether to participate and asked why he had not mentioned that he was working to a tight deadline when we had previously spoken. I also made the point that this piece was not 'news' nor was it 'fragile' and that surely if his article was to genuinely be about the 'process'" then he must speak to someone who was involved. After much discussion with Mr. Leeds it was clear that both the writer and the Times had its own agenda and that it was not only not interested in presenting an accurate view but both he and his editor refused my request for 24 hours to discuss the situation with Axl despite the fact that the story was scheduled to run six days later! It should also be mentioned that during our initial conversation the writer was offered the opportunity to hear the album in the studio when it was finished and talk to people who were directly involved and declined in favour of the article you have chosen to run.

As one of the few people involved in the making of this album I can tell your readers the following: W. Axl Rose is not interested in fame, money, popularity or what the New York Times or any other paper for that matter might think of him. His only interest is making the best album he is capable of so that it can have a positive effect in 2005 on people who are enthusiasts of music and interested in GUNS N' ROSES. His artistic integrity is such that he has chosen to do so without compromise at great personal sacrifice, which makes him a soft target for the sort of rubbish you have chosen to print. I believe he will have the last laugh.
Blabbermouth, March 6, 2005


Tom Zutaut, despite being a named source in The Times' article, would also speak to the defense of Axl and in particular any accusations of him being motivated by money:

To the Editor:

Axl Rose was one of the only artists I ever worked with who was never motivated by money. He consistently put the quality of his artistic output above all. Whether you consider him to be a musical genius on hold, a poster child for the misunderstood, or a narcissist, all of his actions are motivated by a pure desire to make every recording count as a true reflection of his own high standards.

In a sea of musical mediocrity and generic voices processed into greatness by computers, Axl Rose achieved the American dream in music without compromising his integrity for the sake of fame or fortune. I am sure that Axl's new Guns N' Roses will impact popular culture with the same vigor and vitality that made "Appetite for Destruction" a part of musical history.
The New York Times, March 20, 2005


Still, Zutaut got a first-hand view of the financials of the making of the album in 2001-2002, and would later discuss where the money went:

One of the things that Interscope wanted me to do is was have a look at the budget, and try to figure out where all of this money was going. So you know, it took me about a month. One area where there was an astronomical amount of money being spent was in rented gear. There was a lot of gear being rented that was not being really used. It’s a bit of a luxury to have a ’59 Les Paul at however many thousands dollar a month when it isn’t even being used.

Maybe one day three years ago they needed this piece of gear, but now the track it was used on isn’t even still being considered, the gear is still sitting there and the rental company is still making the money. We’d paid enough in rental for it that we could have bought it! My recollection is that we were able to shave around $75,000 a month off the budget…

[Axl]’d come to the studio once or twice a week, and then we might be there for two weeks because he stays to work on stuff. Or he might come at four in the afternoon and work ’til midnight the next day. It didn’t bother me because this was how GN’R had always operated. Whether it’s Axl, Duff, Slash or Izzy or whoever – when these guys want to record, you record ’em. They are not on a calendar – this is not a 9-5 job for them. [...]

Musicians, engineers, Pro Tools guys, assistant engineers – in all honesty, these fucking people are getting paid shitloads of money and they’re sitting on their arse doing nothing because Axl’s not coming to the studio and they can’t get him on the phone. So you’ve got all these people sucking money out of him doing nothing. Spinning their wheels – they’re inventing ways to stay busy.


In April 2007, the costs of making Chinese Democracy would be estimated to between $13 and $15 million [Uncut, April 2007].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:52 am

JANUARY 24, 2005
AXL ROSE SIGNS TO SANCTUARY PUBLISHING; SLASH AND DUFF PROTEST


On January 24, 2005, Axl would sign an agreement with publishing company Sanctuary Publishing covering both Guns N' Roses back catalogue but also future music:

Sanctuary Music Publishing has signed Axl Rose to a publishing deal. Until recently, Warner Chappell published the Guns N' Roses frontman's works.

The deal covers both future material and catalogue. Rose's contribution to such hits as "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City" and "November Rain" are covered under the deal, as are dozens of new tracks Rose has recently recorded for Universal Music.


According to business insiders, the 20-year deal would be worth about $19 million [Associated Press, February 1, 2005].


SLASH AND DUFF CHALLENGES THE DEAL


Soon after the announcement, it would be reported that Slash and Duff challenged the deal between Axl and Sanctuary, arguing that Axl was transferring copyrights to songs which were not owned by him [Associated Press, February 1, 2005].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:53 am

TOURING IN THE SUMMER OF 2005?


The plan was still to tour in support of the release of Chinese Democracy, and in February, Tommy would go as far as to suggest they probably had dates booked:

I understand there's probably some European dates booked in the summer. Hopefully, that'll happen and we'll get over there and do it. Once it gets going, it's a lot of fun. There's a lot of fuckin' work involved with getting it going, but once it is going, it's a lot of fun.
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:54 am

APRIL-OCTOBER, 2005
WORK ON CHINESE DEMOCRACY - SOME VOCALS STILL MISSING; ADDING A HARP


As part of writing an article to be released in March in The New York Times, journalist Jeff Leeds got to hear some of the new music and Sp1at would describe what he had heard [Sp1at, April 14, 2005]. 'Atlas Shrugged' would described as "being somewhere between 70's glam rock and 'November Rain'", 'Quick Song' would be described as "a rock song with a riff similar to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'", and 'Zodiac' as "an electronic, industrial song" [Sp1at, April 14, 2005].

In June 2005, Mercuriadis would comment to Sp1at that "it is fair to assume that only he, Axl Rose and Caram Costanzo (engineer) know the full facts about forthcoming GN'R album, "Chinese Democracy", including details of the final tracklist" [Sp1at, June 13, 2005], indicating that not even other band members were fully informed.

And this seems to be correct since band members would typically admit they didn't know much details about Chinese Democracy:

To be clear, the request to refrain from emailing me about Guns n' Roses is not a diss to you or to the band or to anyone. I simply am not eager to instigate that conversation until an official release date for the album is made public. Otherwise, I'd go a little nutzo tossing "I dunnos" and "Can't quite says" in every direction.

But the thing is that I haven't heard of it in so long that... I don't know what changes its going through- what's happening. I'm not even sure what they're called [laughs].


Despite all allegations that the record was more or less done, by June 2005, Richard would state that Axl still hadn't finished adding vocals:

Axl is still finishing up vocals on the record and I've heard rumours that it will be released before the end of the year. Only time will tell.


In September, Dizzy would mention they had three CDs of material and that Axl was still working hard to finish Chinese Democracy:

I believe in Axl. We have three CDs worth of songs. Everyone contributed and it all goes into the mill. We did some touring about three years ago, but things are on hold for now. (Rose is) working hard to finish our first record in quite awhile.

I'm pretty excited about the fact that it might come out this year.


Being asked if they really have 32 songs:

Well... I actually thought that there are more... but if Axl says there are 32 then I guess. But what's already in the bank is unbelievable material. There's a lot. There's at least three dozen. There's a shitload of stuff. We've actually been doing stuff... we haven't been sittin' around. There really is a lot of stuff.


And describing the sound of the album:

Sound. You know... the thing about it is that there are so many different areas and the other thing is that through time guys have come and gone that as different members of the band- everyone brought 2 or 3 songs such that there are multiple musical genres and situtations. Umm.. it's kind of a smorgasbord. Everyone works on it and when Axl sings on it- it's magical. So... there's gonna be a little something for everybody on it. It mixes rock with all that modern... rock elements... to do this.


And on whether fans will appreciate the direction of the music:

You can't please everybody. The quality of the songs goes a long ways. If you can play the song on the piano or just on a lone guitar and it still sounds great- then the song stands out on its own. All the songs are like that so I think the songs will carry the record. You know what? There are probably already a million people who have their minds made up that there gonna hate the album. You know- fuck those people. They probably will buy it... who knows? And I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised too. Or you know... maybe noone will buy it- you know? You can't predict the future. It's the tunnel theory of ever-changing things- you never know.


Dizzy would also talk about the song Silkworms that had been played live in 2001, and whether it was really written by him and Chris:

Umm... it was passed back and forth on our computers. [...] you know, we do a lot of work now on computers. We pass it back and forth and I had a couple riffs so... yea.


And on whether it would be included on Chinese Democracy:

No. It kind of went away. I mean we actually played it a few times live... but... I'm sure it'll up at some point.


And talk about his favorite tracks:

Umm... I don't know... last year Brain had this song called 'the General' that was really cool... and another song called "we were lying" [?]


It is interesting that Dizzy refers to The General as being a song from 2004 since we know Beltrami worked on it already in 2003. Probably Dizzy is mistaken.

In October Dizzy would say the record would be out very soon:

From what I’m told and what I hear, there should be a record out very, very soon.



MID-2005: PATTI HOOD ADDS HARP TO 'THIS I LOVE'


In late 2007, the harpist Patti Hood would mention on her website having worked on the too-be-released record Chinese Democracy [Patti Hood website, December 2007]. After this was discovered by the fanbase Hood received numerous emails asking about her involvement with Guns N' Roses.

Chris reached out to Hood already in 2004, but the recording session took place in 2005 [insert quote from 2010 later]:

I did a tour with The Church last year (we played at The Belly Up), I toured with a band called Lusk (we played at The Casbah). The lead singer in Lusk is Axl's keyboard player [=Chris Pitman].

Paul who was the original bass player started a project called Lusk with Chris Pitman who is one of the keyboard players for Axl.I recorded and toured with Lusk.


Describing her working with the band and the song 'This I Love':

I actually didn't meet Axl until well after I did the session. I'm on a song called "This I Love". It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard.

I don't want to say too much about the song. I will say it's very special. I think everyone may have a different opinion of Axl but to me, he is wonderful. I think I should wait until the album is released to say anything. I think the album is close to being finished.

I did the session about 2 and a half years ago. Axl was not present at the session.

I do like Guns. Axl puts on an amazing show and is quite a performer. But you have probably seen him live and know this.

Out of respect for Axl, I really don't want to say much more at this time.

To answer your question, yes, I am on the track "This I Love". That is the only one I did. I actually did not meet Axl until well after I did the session.

I'm not sure if I should say anything else about this song with respect to Axl and his wishes. I can tell you that I did the session 2 years ago!

Also, this is really the only song I've heard.

As far as Axl goes, I believe he can be different in every situation. I had an extremely wonderful meeting and impression of him. But I know we really connected through his music and my arrangement. And yes, he is very down to earth. I really don't know when I will see him again. Hopefully, one day soon.

I heard the music on There Was A Time. I believe that Axl wants this one to be perfectly amazing.

I never met Bucket.

I can hope and pray to play with Axl live.

I am on the song "This I Love". First I heard the instrumentation that was already completely recorded without the vocals. The song completely moved and inspired me for my arrangement.




EXPLAINING THE LONG DELAY


Of course, I’d like it to have gone a lot faster. I think the reasons that it’s taken so long are very good reasons. For all intents and purposes, the reason that I had was that it was something that hadn’t been done before – eight guy collaborating together to make one album. It’s been one of the best musical experiences of my life, cos I learned how to do something with eight guys that I never knew how to do before. That process is a beautiful process. And I’d love to do more of it now.

You know... there is no primary reason... its really a variety of reasons. Umm.. there's just absolutely no one thing. I'm certainly not gonna go say that its all because Axl's a perfectionist or you know... things are just always coming and going... and the other thing is I guess there's never really been a deadline or any pressure. Axl and the rest of us will put the best thing out.


Craig Duswalt, Axl's former personal assistant, would also be asked why the record wasn't out yet:

I do not know the exact reasons the album has not been released yet, but I do know that Axl will only release what he is extremely happy with - he will never settle for less.


And Robert John would offer his theories:

I think the reason why Chinese Democracy has taken so long is because Axl is a perfectionist and he keeps working on things; and, as people have quit, he’s brought new people in and they’ve had to redo their parts. I just think it’s an ongoing process with him. I know he’s never satisfied, but you know what? Most true artists aren’t. They’re never satisfied with what they do.



POSSIBLE TRACKLIST


In July 2005, Sp1at would publish a gossip column speculating on the tracklist of Chinese Democracy, listing the songs, "Prostitute", "Madagascar", "The Blues", "Chinese Democracy", "IRS", "TWAT", "This I Love", "Catcher in the Rye" as highly probable, while "Rhiad and the Bedouins", "Leave Me Alone", "Seven", "Quick Song", "Zodiac", "Atlas Shrugged", "The General" and "Thyme" were less likely to be included [Sp1at, July 28, 2005].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:58 am

JANUARY 2005
RICHARD JOINING NIN?


In early 2005 the Nine Inch Nails fansite "NIN Hotline" would report that Richard was set to join Nine Inch Nails [Sp1at, January 20, 2005]. This rumour would be denied by Sanctuary [Sp1at, January 20, 2005] and it didn't happen.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:59 am

AUGUST 2005-MARCH 2006
SLASH AND DUFF SUE AXL OVER ROYALTIES; AXL COUNTER-SUES


On August 17, 2005, Duff and Slash would sue Axl in federal court for missing royalties [Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2005]. According to the suit, when Axl signed with Sanctuary and sold the publishing rights to the GN'R back catalog, the publisher was changed from Guns N' Roses to Axl's own Black Frog Music Publishing and Kobalt Songs Music Publishing [MTV News, August 22, 2005]. This resulted in publishing royalties being sent to Axl directly, bypassing Slash and Duff  [MTV News, August 22, 2005; Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2005]. The total royalty revenues per year was said to be about $500,000 and for one quarter of 2005 Slash and Duff have been excluded from their shares of at least $92,000 in royalties [Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2005].

According to the suit:

Suffering an apparent attack of arrogance and ego ... Rose recently decided that he is no longer willing to acknowledge the contributions of his former partners and bandmates in having created some of rock's greatest hits.

[...]

Rose's actions were malicious, fraudulent and oppressive, and undertaken in conscious disregard of [Slash and Duff's] property rights.


Slash and Duff sought "damages for fraud, copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things" [MTV News, August 22, 2005].

Howard Weitzman, Axl's lawyer, would state that Axl "had asked to receive only his portion of royalties, and that the overpayment was due to a clerical error by the society [=American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers]" [Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2005]. In addition, according to Weitzman, Axl had "returned the extra funds to the organization" [Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2005].

Weitzman would refer to the lawsuit as "frivolous" and imply Slash and Duff had ulterior motives:

This is a classic case of premature accusation. If someone had taken the time to investigate or ask about this situation before rushing to judgment they would have learned that ASCAP (the entity that collects money for songwriters) made a clerical error and failed to appropriately divide and distribute the royalty's owed for the first quarter of 2005 to Axl and the former Guns N' Roses musicians. The amount ASCAP mistakenly sent to Axl's publisher was never received by Axl nor was he ever made aware of the error. The publisher alerted ASCAP to the error, returned the money immediately and asked ASCAP to remedy the situation by distributing the funds appropriately.

[...]

Rather than pick up the telephone and contact Axl or his representatives, his former partners scurried to file a lawsuit that contained false statements about Axl rather then making an effort to learn the truth regarding ASCAP's mistake. Slash and Duff have an unfortunate pattern over the past few years of filing sensational but baseless lawsuits for the purpose of generating anti-Axl propaganda. It is clear that Slash and Duff are looking for another opportunity to spread untruths about Axl in an effort to hurt his reputation and to alienate his fans while at the same time creating a profile for themselves.

Contrary to allegations in the lawsuit, Axl has never denied that others made substantial contributions towards the success of Guns N' Roses, but there is little doubt as to who was the creative catalyst behind the group's success."


And:

When a band is very dependent on the personality of the group's leader, and that leader chooses to move on, it's not unusual for the members left behind to be hostile and mad. If you mention the Eagles, people remember Henley, not Felder. When you mention Guns N' Roses, everyone knows the leader was Axl.


Despite Weitzman's comments, in September it became clear that Slash and Duff intended to continue pursuing the lawsuit [Sp1at, September 6, 2005]. In the words of their lawyer, Glendon Miskel:

The money was returned to ASCAP. However, Axl has not withdrawn his claim that he has the right to control a portion of the songs which are registered to Guns N' Roses Music.



MARCH 2006: AXL COUNTER-SUES


On March 6, 2006, Axl would counter-sue Slash and Duff, seeking a federal judge's confirmation of Axl's "ownership of his own creative works" [MTV News, March 6, 2006]. A press release following the suit would state:

W. Axl Rose, on Friday March 3, 2006 responded to one of Saul 'Slash' Hudson's baseless lawsuits by filing a counterclaim asking the Federal Court to confirm his ownership of his own creative works. Slash and Michael 'Duff' McKagan had previously filed cases both in Federal Court and in the Los Angeles Superior Court making numerous false allegations about Axl. Mr. Rose believes that once apprised of the true facts the Judge or Jury deciding these lawsuits will rule in Axl's favor on every issue before them.

[...]

Mr. Rose's attorney Howard Weitzman commented, 'Axl regrets having to spend time and energy on these distractions but he has a responsibility to protect the GUNS N' ROSES legacy and expose the truth. Axl believes he has been left with no alternative but to respond to these lawsuits. It would have been Axl's preference to resolve disputes with Slash and Duff in private. The courthouse is not his choice of forum. However, Axl could no longer sit quietly and allow the continuing dissemination of falsehoods and half-truths by his former band-mates.'



MARCH 2006: PERLA MAKES A FAILED INTERVENTION?


In April it would be reported that according to rumours, Perla had intervened in ongoing attempts to settle the lawsuits through mediation causing the discussions to fail and causing a rift between Slash and Duff [Blabbermouth, April 5, 2006].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:03 pm

OCTOBER 2005
SLASH PAYS AXL A NIGHTIME VISIT


In early January Slash would imply that he had been in some contact with Axl, just not directly, and indicate there was no bad blood between them and that other people were creating animosity:

I haven't really talked to him directly, but we're not at each others throats or anything like that, just to kill all of that bad blood that people keep recreating. God, it's been going on for 10 years. He and I have never had a conversation, an argument...over that whole 10 years, and people have been generating all this animosity. But at this point there's no friction going on.
Blabbermouth, January 11, 2006; originally from VWWR Philadelphia Radio via Launch


In March 2006, Axl would perhaps shed light on what that contact had been when his lawyer Howard Weitzman disclosed that Slash had made a visit to Axl's home in October 2005, where he, allegedly, badmouthed his bandmates in Velvet Revolver and admitted Axl to have proven himself "the stronger":

In October of 2005 Slash made an unannounced 5:30 AM visit to Axl Rose's house. Not appearing to be under the influence, Slash came to inform Axl that: 'Duff was spineless,' 'Scott [Weiland] was a fraud,' that he 'hates Matt Sorum' and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself 'the stronger.' Based on his conduct in showing up at Rose's home, Axl was hopeful that Slash would live up to his pronouncements that he wanted to end the war and move on with life. Unfortunately that did not prove to be the case.


As far as we know, Slash would first address this rumour in May 2006, stating that he hadn't talked to Axl:

It was like all these rumors going around. So I just wanted to dispel that one. That one and the fact that I ever had a conversation with him [Axl] at all.


Later in the same interview Slash would claim that it was a "blatantly fabricated thing" to "promote the next GUNS record":

I'm not gonna go into the whole long thing. It was just something that he [Axl] decided he was going to… It was a lot of this stuff was built to promote the next GUNS record and the tour and all that kind of stuff, 'cause there was this blatantly fabricated thing in there that I'd gone to his house and that he and I had a conversation in which I said all this stuff about my bandmates. And it's just blatantly untrue. For one, I have not talked to the guy in any way, shape or form since 1996, so it's going on 11 years. [Laughs] So that's basically it. There's just no truth to it. And all things considered, it put lot of whatever in people's minds that I was that kind of a guy, so it's… there you have it. So it's not true.


Slash is correct in not having talked to Axl, he did, though, allegedly talk to Beta Lebeis:

I was the one whom Slash spoke with when he came to Axl's house in 2005 and expressed his negative comments regarding the others in his new band. Behind the scenes it is a very different story than what the public is sold.


Around the same time would Slash finally admit to having visited Axl's house but claim he only went there because of the ongoing lawsuit:

It's a long story. I actually did go to Axl's house at one point, but I never saw him. I never talked to him. I left a note with his person over there having to do with lawsuit that we were in. I don't know how it got turned into what it got turned into.


In 2007, Slash would mention a press release by Axl that had caused issues in Velvet Revolver because it had seemed so "factual" but that "none of it was true":

I was sitting at home writing songs when I heard Axl had a put out a press release saying in so many words I was going back. There had been a lot of sh*t going around, stories about me and Axl but what made this so bad was that it seemed so factual.

The guys were worried, angry even. I had to sit them down and tell them none of it was true.

They were still a bit sceptical as it seemed so detailed. We got through it but it was an unexpected bump in the road. I didn’t expect to go there with something that was so much part of my past.


What is strange about this comment from Slash is that he claims the statement from Axl had indicated Slash was returning to Guns N' Roses, something it didn't. It did, though, claim Slash had badmouthed his Velvet Revolver band mates and according to this quote from Slash above, it had naturally caused friction in the band.

In October 2007 he would admit he had initially lied about the visit:

I didn't really intend to lie for any other reason than that I didn't feel like explaining everything. Which is the reason most people lie, I guess [laughter].


To Rolling Stone magazine Slash would again admit visiting Axl's home but deny having slandered his band mates [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007].

And then to Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine he would indicate that he had visited to apologize for venting to the press and to end the ongoing lawsuit:

When Velvet Revolver started, we were promoting the new record and I was harbouring so much resentment about what happened at the end of Guns N' Roses that I vented all my feelings to the press. I had never got the shit off my chest. So I apologised for all that. Recently Velvet Revolver had to induct Van Halen into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame because they were fighting and couldn't do it themselves. It changed my view. Fighting with band members is so childish.

I went over to his house in the middle of the night drunk on JD. [...] It was the last time I tried to see him. I wanted to put the kibosh on this fucking lawsuit [in which they contested rights over profits stemming from licensing and merchandise], so my plan was to speak with him and say, "Here's my number, let's sort this out." I'm pretty sure he was at home that night, but he didn't come to the door. I gave the message to his live-in assistant. That was the closest Axl and I have come to any kind of communication since I quit.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:03 pm

2001 -
BRAIN'S PERSONAL LIFE


Brain would keep himself busy with other projects, especially computer music and programming:

I do a lot of programming for albums. I  just did a load of stuff for the new Vanessa Carlton album. I also just did an album with Buckethead, the guitarist from Guns n' Roses. His new album has a lot of programming.


Brain's involvement with Guns N' Roses created new opportunities and in 2005 he was also doing gigs with Tom Waits and Colonel Claypool’s Bucket Of Bernie Brains (CCBOBB):

It’s getting kind of hard. The other day I was saying to myself, “Is this worth it?” I mean, I’m happy to have the work – when it rains, it pours – and when the work comes in, I just take it. I figured I’ve kind of over-booked myself, but Tom [Waits] rarely tours, and we had a great time making Real Gone. He asked me to do some live dates, and it was in between the CCBOBB dates. We worked around Tom’s schedule in order to do the CCBOBB stuff. I decided, “Hey, let’s do it all.”
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:06 pm

OCTOBER 2005
GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2?


In late October 2005, media would start reporting that "Greatest Hits Vol 2" was in the works with a scheduled release date of December 6, 2005 [Musictap, October 26, 2005]. The supposed release date would quickly be changed to March 6, 2006 [Blabbermouth, October 27, 2005].

Then another greatest hits package would be announced, this would a double disc set with expected release date on December 20 with the title "Welcome to the Jungle -- The Very Best of Guns N' Roses" [Billboard, November 17, 2005].

The journalist Ross Haflin would meet with Slash and discuss the greatest hits records:

We discuss the two versions of Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits Vol II. One is done by Axel's management. Slash says the track listing is good but the politics from Axel's management leave a lot to be desired. The other is done by Universal. Slash tells me he hasn't approved either, so who knows what'll come out.


Then, in December, a Geffen spokeswoman would deny they had any plans of releasing a double disc titled "Welcome to the Jungle -- The Very Best of Guns N' Roses" [So Hood Magazine, December 9, 2005].
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:07 pm

DECEMBER 2005
RICHARD RECORDS FOR CHINESE DEMOCRACY


Despite all statements suggesting that all recordings of instruments were complete [see previous chapters], Richard would in December 2005 inform GUNSNROSESonline.DE on that he would return to Los Angeles (from Germany where he had been touring with Nena) to record new guitar tracks for Chinese Democracy [Blabbermouth, December 6, 2005].

The first record, everything was written [when I joined]. I went in and rerecorded parts, but it was all written before I got in. It's funny because that was a big part of why I was brought in. It was because of the writing. I think Axl, he wants a band that can write with him. That's always put into consideration.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:07 pm

DECEMBER 2005-FEBRUARY 2006
SLASH SAYS CHINESE DEMOCRACY IS COMING OUT IN MARCH 2006


Despite the revelation that Richard was called back to record more guitar work, in an interview in December, Slash would reveal that Chinese Democracy was set for a release in March 2006:

Axl's got got a record coming out, Guns I guess you call it, I think in March. Which is sorta cool, you know it's gonna be interesting to hear it. After all this time and after all this talk what's going on with him. [...] it's coming out in March... [...] That's what... I've been told a lot of things over the years, but it definitely sounds like it's coming out in March. [...] Judging by, I think Axl's record is finished.


The context of this announcement must be considered: Slash had recently visited Axl's home trying to reconcile [see earlier chapter] and Velvet Revolver were having issues [see earlier chapter].

Guns N' Roses management would quickly come out and state that they had no release date for Chinese Democracy [Blabbermouth, January 11, 2006; from Launch].

But Slash continued stating the record was due in March:

Yeah its going to happen, I’ve been made aware it’s been heard. [...] I’m really excited, it’s been a long time waiting to see what the next step around the corner was going to be for him (Axl), we know where everybody else is, but we were wondering what he was going to be doing. It’s coming out in March and apparently it sounds great.
NME, February 11, 2006; originally from Virgin Radio


In May, Slash would discuss his statements and claim that he hadn't realized it was "such a big deal":

I got a lot of flak for having said that, 'cause everybody through I was on glue. I'm the first guy to go… I would never have put out a date. But somebody who would know is who told me that, and that's somebody close to that side of the fence that told me, 'Oh, we got a March release date.' So I just repeated it, basically. It was somebody in the business. They made it sound like it is coming out on such and such a date. Really, I didn't realize that it was such a big deal. And I think some people were like, 'You've gotta be out of your mind.' But it was very sort of casual, in conversation.
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:09 pm

JANUARY-APRIL 2006
"AXL IS ALMOST FINISHED"


With Richard being called back to add more guitars to Chinese Democracy [see previous chapter], one wouldn't be at fault for fearing that hearing new music was far off, but at an announcement party for Korn, Axl reassured that would not be the case:

People will hear music this year.


Merck would come out and specify :

[Axl is] almost finished and he's confident that it will come out this year.


Axl would also discuss the elusive album:

It's a very complex record. [...] I'm trying to do something different. Some of the arrangements are kind of like Queen. Some people are going to say, 'It doesn't sound like Axl Rose, it doesn't sound like Guns n' Roses.' But you'll like at least a few songs on there.

We're working on thirty-two songs, and twenty-six are nearly done.


Furthermore, of these 32 songs, 13 would be included on Chinese Democracy with Axl's favorites being Better, There Was a Time and The Blues [Rolling Stone, January 16, 2006]. This is the first known mention of the song Better.

In hindsight we know that excluding songs that would end up on Chinese Democracy, the leaks of songs from 2000-2001 contained 27 additional songs in various stages of completion. This means that at least eight of these songs which they worked on in 2000/2001, were now not among those 32 they worked on at the start of 2006. It must be "at least", since it is likely that additional songs were written in the period after 2001 and were not being worked on.

According to The New York Post, at his 44th birthday party, in February 2006, Axl would play Chinese Democracy at the Chelsea nightclub Stereo [The New York Post, February 12, 2006]. This indicates that the record was finished recorded and mixed by then.
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:09 pm

FEBRUARY 2006
AXL PLAYS CHINESE DEMOCRACY AT THE STEREO NIGHTCLUB;
MANY SONGS LEAK


According to The New York Post, at his 44th birthday party, Axl would play Chinese Democracy at the Chelsea nightclub Stereo [The New York Post, February 12, 2006]. One of the club owners, Barry Mullineaux, would comment:

[Axl] was talking with everybody freely about how he's been off for 10 years, and how even though Slash and the rest of the guys [have moved ahead with their careers by starting] Velvet Revolver, he's been holding back. He was freely answering questions about his work, the band, what happened with the split, the direction he's headed in — and the music sounded great.


Mullineaux manned the DJ booth at the party:

[Axl] kept telling me to put back track #3 — I guess that was his favorite song. He wanted to play that one over and over, like six times. He was really getting into it and rockin' out. Everybody was surprised at how good it sounded. And that third track, that was the song where his voice sounded the best; the smoothest.


Later in February, Axl was attending a party after a Derek Trucks show in Hollywood where he ending up partying with Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band to whom he would play Chinese Democracy and sing along [Indystar Blogs, March 1, 2006]. In the words of Jayme Peyton from the Big Damn Band:

[Axl] heard us say that it was my birthday, and he came over and bought me a couple of shots of Patron (tequila). I thought that was real nice.

He still has the ‘Axl voice'. He was in the bus singing along. I couldn’t believe it was still Axl’s voice, all these years later.

After the show everyone was having a great time at the VIP after party at “on the Rox” above the Roxy. I know I was laughing pretty hard. Jayme was having fun! Axle Rose was there too.

At midnight it became Jayme’s Birthday. Axl Rose insisted on paying for drinks in honor of the occasion. He was really nice to us, and we spent a long time talking about Indiana. (He is from Indiana too). It was great to hear his stories.

[...]

We continued the party on Derek Trucks’ tour bus when the bar finally threw everyone out. This picture of Axl Rose, Breezy, and me was taken by Derek Trucks. I promised him I would credit him for the photo! Trucks had us listen to some great mix CD’s, and Axle played everyone tracks from his CD that will be coming out soon.
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band blog, October 6, 2006




Breezy Peyton, Axl and Jayme Peyton
February 22, 2006



In the same month the songs "There Was A Time", "The Blues", "IRS" and a "rough" 1 minute 20 second snippet of "Better" was leaked [MTV News, February 23, 2006]. The source of these leaks were unknown, but it seems like an odd coincidence that Axl in January had mentioned "There Was A Time", "The Blues" and "Better" as his favorite tracks off Chinese Democracy [Rolling Stone, January 16, 2006; and see earlier chapter]. On February 23, 2006, Tom Breihan, writing for The Village Voice Blogs, would claim the leaks originated from Mike Piazza [The Village Voice Blogs; February 23, 2006].

Rolling Stone would review the leaks:

AFTER A LOONY DECADE-LONG DELAY, it’s a relief just to know that Axl Rose really has been recording ­ and surprisingly enough, judging by three freshly leaked demos, Chinese Democracy could end up being worth the wait. "Better" is the strongest track: With robotic rhythm guitar, poppy verses, an aggro chorus and an exotic falsetto intro, it beats most of USE YOUR ILLUSION I and II. In contrast, "There was a Time" wants to be a "Don’t Cry"-style epic but sounds more like an overproduced mess. "I.R.S.," however, is an effective hard-rock tune, nimbly sliding drum loops underneath crunchy ascending power chords and Rose howling like he just got off that bus from Indiana. Hey, Axl, put the thing out ­ it already sounds better than Velvet Revolver.


MTV News would report that the songs "Catcher in the Rye," "Riyadh and the Bedouins," "Silkworms" and "Chinese Democracy" had leaked at an earlier date [MTV News, February 23, 2006] and in early March, Brian May would comment on hearing 'Catcher':

"Catcher in the Rye" is a great track .. I was pretty surprised to find a mix of it in my inbox this week .... after all these years. I wonder who leaked this stuff. Yes, my guitar is there, nice and crisply recorded. It was a blast doing the sessions. I had flown out to LA specially to play on the record for Axl. I've sat on whatever I have or know about these songs ever since that moment .... out of respect for Axl .... confidentiality is part of respect for me. So I will watch with interest. I like the track a lot and always did ... and it still sounds very fresh ... the thing that hits you first is that incredible, incredible voice ... we've been missing it for far too long. Axl is magic.


A "band insider" would suggest the songs had been intentionally leaked by the band to gauge the public's reaction, and if positive that there was a good chance the record would be released in 2006 [Total Guitar, June 2006].


AXL COMMENTS ON THE LEAKS


In May 2006, Axl would be asked if the leaks were of actual songs that were planned for Chinese Democracy:

No, it's stuff that's gonna be on the record. Except, it's still debatable like...there's songs we're still shuffling around, I mean we recorded about 2 and a half/ 3 albums worth of material. So, there's still stuff that's gonna bounce between one and two.


And in 2009, Axl would likely refer to having played unreleased tracks at the Stereo nightclub when discussing the first leaks:

Actually, our first leaks were from using a sound system in a strip club in the early hours when it was basically empty. I went there to play the tracks for someone I was interested in working with. I'd gone there with a guy who worked band security, who was allegedly somehow related to the owners, feeling it was a bit more of a protected environment than it turned out to be.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:10 pm

FEBRUARY 2006
A 2006 SUMMER TOUR IS ANNOUNCED


On February 20, 2006, Rick in Rio-Lisboa would officially announce that Guns N' Roses was set to play at their festival on May 27, 2006 [Press Release, February 20, 2006]. According to the press release, Guns N' Roses had been the most requested act "by the official site users, amongst all bands, by all fans, whether Portuguese or international" [Press Release, February 20, 2006]. The news from Rock in Rio-Lisboa would quickly be followed by Download festival confirming that Guns N' Roses would headline the festival on Donington Park on June 11, 2006 [NME, February 22, 2006]. In connection with the announcement, Axl would make a statement:

The UK and Europe have always been special for me. After our last great shows there, we are all very excited and looking forward to getting back over there and in front of such great audiences.

Donington has always meant a lot to me personally, way before I ever played there. To be asked to headline is for me an honour and a privilege that none of us take for granted. We look forward to seeing all of you at Download!


After more festivals announced Guns N' Roses on the bill, MTV News would summarize the band's expected summer concerts: "Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 27; Italy's Gods of Metal festival on June 3 and 4; Rock am Ring in Nurburgring, Germany, June 3 to 6; the NovaRock festival in Austria, June 15 to 17; and both GN'R and Metallica — a lethal combo, in light of their riotous co-headlining North American tour of 1992 — have been announced as headliners of this year's Download Festival in England, June 9 to 11" [MTV News, February 23, 2006].

The band are playing a mixture of headline Festival appearances including Rock In Rio in Portugal, Download at the UK's famed Castle Donington, Rock Am Ring in Germany, Gods Of Metal in Italy, Novarock in Austria, Graspop in Belgium, Roskilde in Denmark, and A Heavy Day In The Park in Holland as well as their own headlining indoor shows in Madrid, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Paris, Zurich, Stockholm, Oslo, and Helsinki, most of which have been instant sellouts.

Following their strongest ticket sales for the event ever Download promoter Stuart Galbraith of Live Nation enthused, "The comeback of GN'R into the UK live market place has been quite phenomenal. GN'R along with Metallica and Tool will be headlining the biggest Download festival ever at Donington that for the first time in its history will sell out and in addition will also play to a sell out audience at Download Dublin - it's been a very long wait but it's certainly been worth it - GN'R are back!"


Later, a US fall tour would be planned:

We’ll start the [US] tour around October 24th, but we’re doing some shows before that.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:11 pm

FEBRUARY 2006
GUNS N' ROSES REUNITING FOR SUMMER SHOWS IN 2006


In early February 2006, rock journalist/photographer, and friend of Slash, Ross Haflin would claim that the Appetite lineup of Guns N' Roses would reunite to play a show at the Download festival together with Metallica:

I have to write some copy this weekend on Guns 'N Roses for a feature to go with my photos. My mind is blank at the moment. The thing is if you tell the truth it sets off too many wars, or egos way out of control. The original line-up is supposed to play Download in June with their metal chums, Metallica, if Lars can be bothered to turn up.


Haflin would soon delete the post [Blabbermouth, February 4, 2006]. Later it would be announced that both Metallica and Guns N' Roses would indeed play at Download festival in the summer of 2006 [NME, February 22, 2006].

Despite Axl's harsh words towards Slash and Duff in March 6, 2006 [see later chapter], rumours about Axl, Slash and Duff reuniting would not die and later in the month Rolling Stone would mention that the rumour had been discussed during an after party at that year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 13 [Rolling Stone, March 24, 2006].

In May 2006, Adam Bomb -- who toured with Steven's Adler's Appetite in February 2006 -- would claim that Izzy had considered travelling to Portugal to jam with Steven (in late February) and to check what condition Steven was in for a potential Guns N' Roses reunion:

Funnily enough, Izzy Stradlin called me the same day the tour ended. We spoke for 2 hours. He wanted to come to Portugal to jam with us. [...]

To me he was more interested in checking, on behalf of Axl Rose, Steven's real conditions for an eventual Guns N'Roses reunion. I told Izzy that I had to leave the tour because Adler was out of control and probably he wasn't able to reach Portugal. And he didn't.


There are suggestions that Izzy considered touring with Adler's Appetite in 2005, too [Reality Check TV'S Dragon Dave, December 9, 2004].

In May 2006, Classic Rock magazine would cite a "Guns insider" who claimed that Axl had "approached the former members of GN’R with a proposal to reunite for two gigs" [Classic Rock, May 2006]. These former members were Slash, Duff, Izzy and Matt [Classic Rock, May 2006]. The shows had been 2006's Download festival and the following week's show at the Hammersmith [Classic Rock, May 2006]. Further more, "both would be filmed and recorded for a DVD and live album - and each band member would receive millions in payment" [Classic Rock, May 2006]. The alleged reunion fell apart, according to the insider, when "the small print stated that in agreeing to the terms and conditions, all rights to the Guns N’ Roses name and back catalogue would transfer to Axl" [Classic Rock, May 2006].

The same month as the Classic Rock issue, Axl would comment on the rumours about the band reuniting:

No, that's all nonsense. That's just people starting stuff for whatever reason. They'll hear the leaks, and they'll decide, who wrote the solo, you know because they don't like the guy that's playing it, they'll say someone else wrote it, people make up all kinds of stuff.


In 2008, Scott Weiland, the singer in Velvet Revolver, would claim the band had been very close to reuniting around the time of the Greatest Hits album (the second that was rumoured to be released in late 2005 (see previous chapter)), but insinuate that badmouthing in the press caused it to fall apart:

I think they should get Guns N’ Roses back together, to tell you the truth. I think that would be the greatest thing that they could do. I think the world would be very happy. If they could stop talking trash about Axl in the press. It almost happened. The pens were ready to sign. With the Greatest Hits there was a possibility but there was too much stuff being said. But it was a close call. I would love to see that happen, as a Guns N’ Roses fan. I’d pay to see it.


Duff would be asked to comment on Weiland claiming the band almost reunited:

I know [Weiland] was really paranoid about that and we had to allay his fears at one point, when we were writing for Libertad. He got wind that our manager at that point had been talking to Axl about bringing Axl over to what was our management company back then. And Scott freaked out that we were getting GN’R back together and we weren’t going to make the second record. I don't know where it came from - there was no contract on the table or pens ready to sign... Maybe now he’s convinced himself that’s what happened.


Later in 2008, Duff would be asked again about the reunion rumours before the release of Chinese Democracy in November 2008, and suggest they weren't true but not flat out deny them:

I think all of it's rumors. It makes for good, you know, talk around the water cooler, but I don't think much of it is based on any fact.


It is possible that Duff is here referring to rumours about a reunion closer to the release of Chinese Democracy, and not the rumours from 2005/2006.

In 2009, Jeb Wright, writing for Classic Rock Magazine, would tell Duff that Slash had told him that they three years ago were very close to reuniting with Axl [Classic Rock, April 2009]. This would place it around 2006. When asked about this this, Duff responded:

Slash was not back on the planet yet.


Thus suggesting Slash was under the influence when he said it, or that he was misinterpreting what was happening-

The quotes in this chapter strongly suggest that the Appetite for Destruction lineup members were indeed in discussions in 2005/2006 about a reunion, at least for a couple of shows in the summer of 2006, possibly to coincide with the release of a second Greatest Hits album.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:14 pm

MARCH 2006
AXL ATTACKS SLASH


LATE 2005/EARLY 2006: FRIENDS AGAIN?


By the end of 2005 and into 2006, Slash would strike a much more reconciliatory pose:

I haven't really talked to him directly, but we're not at each others throats or anything like that, just to kill all of that bad blood that people keep recreating. God, it's been going on for 10 years. He and I have never had a conversation, an argument...over that whole 10 years, and people have been generating all this animosity. But at this point there's no friction going on.
Blabbermouth, January 11, 2006; originally from VWWR Philadelphia Radio via Launch


This quote came not long after Slash had visited Axl's home [see later chapter]. Then in February 2006, Slash followed up with stating:

I’ve always been supportive over that thing [=Chinese Democracy], even though it’s been turned in to a big controversial blah blah blah thing.

When I left I was pretty pissed off for having to leave in the first place. After a while all the boo-haha that was stirred and all the negative press, sort of went in his direction, so I’m just waiting for the record to come out, so I’m glad where it’s got to the point that that’s happening.
NME, February 11, 2006; originally from Virgin Radio



MARCH 2006: AXL ON THE ATTACK


Any hopes that Axl and Slash were about to put their feud behind them was effectively squashed in March 2006 when Axl counter-sued Slash and Duff [see previous chapter] and his lawyer, Howard Weitzman, released an associated statement that discussed Slash:

More surprising to Axl are recent media reports that Slash (Saul Hudson) is claiming that he has always been supportive of Axl Rose and the new GUNS N' ROSES. Slash's actions in recent years have in fact been anything but supportive. Besides the lawsuits filed against Axl Rose, claiming, among other things, that Axl does not own the copyright in the songs that Axl co-authored with his former GUNS N' ROSES band mates, Slash has continually made negative and malicious statements about Axl in order to garner publicity for himself.

[...]

The [2005] lawsuit also attacks Axl's integrity as Slash and Duff, in a vindictive attempt to aggrandize their own stature, re-write history through false statements, which have been repeated by the media. Their attacks on Axl stand in sharp contrast to Rose's conduct. Axl has at all times worked diligently to maintain the artistic integrity of the band by choosing with great care which properties to license GUNS N' ROSES songs to and refusing to participate in what he believed were potentially embarrassing projects. He has fought to avoid the release of material that does not live up to the highest of standards demanded by the band's history and its followers. Axl chose not to respond through the media while taking the high road in the face of Slash and Duff's attacks. Hudson and McKagan, by contrast, have told ever changing — and false — stories regarding the formation of the band and its history and believe that the band's catalogue should be exploited without careful consideration — for the GUNS N' ROSES brand and their loyal audience — or Axl's input as if it were fast food by anyone willing to pay for it.

For over 10 years Slash, a consummate press, photo and media opportunist and manipulator, has attacked Axl Rose on a number of levels. Slash's actions whether in or out of GUN'S N' ROSES have been a complete betrayal across the board of his alleged friendship and business relationship with Axl and the so called brotherhood and band loyalties that are supposed to have existed. Instead Slash has publicly attempted, by soliciting public and media support, to take credit for something that was not his or anyone else's to take, notwithstanding that Slash played a major part in the success of the band as Axl has continually acknowledged.


The statement would also claim that Slash had made a visit to Axl's home in October 2005, where he, allegedly, badmouthed his bandmates in Velvet Revolver and admitted Axl to have proven himself "the stronger":

In October of 2005 Slash made an unannounced 5:30 AM visit to Axl Rose's house. Not appearing to be under the influence, Slash came to inform Axl that: 'Duff was spineless,' 'Scott [Weiland] was a fraud,' that he 'hates Matt Sorum' and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself 'the stronger.' Based on his conduct in showing up at Rose's home, Axl was hopeful that Slash would live up to his pronouncements that he wanted to end the war and move on with life. Unfortunately that did not prove to be the case.


Tellingly, Slash did not issue an immediate response or rebuttal, and instead it was Scott Weiland who decided to put words to paper and attack Axl [Associated Press, March 16, 2006; and see later chapter].


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25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC Empty Re: 25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC

Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:15 pm

2003-2007
SCOTT WEILAND VS AXL


Inevitably, as Velvet Revolver was formed and started to get media attention, Weiland would get many questions about Axl:

[Being asked what he does when singing Guns N' Roses songs so he don't fall into the way Axl does things]: You mean that I don't fall into the wig that he wears? [laughs] Actually, I have nothing against Axl. I hope that he makes a great record because he was very, very important. It just seems that he's going through his Brian Wilson phase right now.


And when asked if he was bothered about being compared to Axl:

I don’t think so. He’s a fat f***. I’m not here to talk about other singers. I’m here to talk about Velvet Revolver’s records. He’s got his own deal, his own band and his own issues. If people want to see Axl Rose, they’ll go see his version of Guns N’ Roses.
NewsRadio 938 (Singapore), July 8, 2004


From the stage in Sydney, February 24, 2005, Weiland would attack Axl:

During the second show [in Sydney], there was an incident where Scott angrily told some fans with an Axl Rose banner to leave the show. Scott said the banner insulted the band and other VR fans. Scott told them they were not invited, had wasted their money and to get out. "If you want to see a fat, bald guy who wears a wig, you'll have to wait another ten years."
Snakepit.org, March 3, 2005


Then in March 2006, Axl would claim that Slash had visited his home last October and referred to Weiland as "a fraud" [Press release, March 6, 2006; and see previous chapter]. This claim and any intrinsic implications of Axl claiming Slash had deserted his bandmates in Velvet Revolver to get back with Axl, likely prompted the following response from Weiland in-which Weiland seems to accuse Axl of lying about Slash's visit and what Slash allegedly said:

Get in the ring or to the gym motherf--ker, or if you prefer, get a new wig motherf--ker. I think I'll resist the urge to stoop to your level.

Oh shit, here it comes, you fat, botox faced, wig wearin' f--k! O.K. I feel better now. Don't think for a second we don't know where those words came from. Your unoriginal, uncreative little mind, the same mind that had to rely on its bandmates to write melodies and lyrics. Who's the fraud now bitch?

Damn, I couldn't imagine people writing for me. How many albums have you put out man and how long did it take the current configuration of this so-called band to make this album? How long? And without the only guys that validated the name. How dare you! Shame on you! How dare you call our bass player spineless.

We toured our album over a year and a half. How many shows have you played over the last ten years? Oh, that's right - you bailed out on your long awaited comeback tour, leaving your remaining fans feeling shall we say a trifle miffed?! I won't even list what I've accomplished because I don't need to.

What we're talking about here is a frightened little man who once thought he was king, but unfortunately this king without his court is nothing but a memory of the asshole he once was.

Yours truly,

Scott Weiland; from velvetrevolver.com


The rant from Weiland against Axl would result in Alan Niven coming to Axl's and Slash's defense (since Niven obviously trusted Axl's recollection of Slash's visit to his house):

I MANAGED GUNS N' ROSES FROM 1986 TO 1991, AND IN SO DOING, OVERSAW THE PRE-PRODUCTION OF 'APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION', 'LIES' AND 'USE YOUR ILLUSIONS'.

I WAS ALSO PRESENT AT SEVERAL REHEARSALS DURING THE FORMATION OF VELVET REVOLVER AND I HAVE SEEN THEM PERFORM 'LIVE'. [I PASSED ON AN INVITATION TO MANAGE THE BAND, PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYMENT OF SCOTT WEILLAND, FOR PERSONAL REASONS].

CATEGORICALLY, SLASH IS UTTERLY ACCURATE - MR WEILLAND IS, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, A CLUELESS POSTURING FRAUD, OF NO PARTICULAR OR OBVIOUS ABILITIES, INCLUDING, AND MOST APPARENTLY, COMPOSITION. THE BAND IS A THOROUGH WASTE OF A TRULY GREAT GUITAR PLAYER AND TERRIFIC RHYTHM SECTION. [THEIR OUTPUT HAS BEEN ENTIRELY FORGETTABLE AND ONE DIMENSIONAL].

AS FOR MR ROSE, I HAVE NO DOUBT HE IS STILL GENUINELY AND PROFOUNDLY GIFTED, AND IT IS SELF EVIDENT THAT HE HAS PROVIDED MORE INSIGHT AND MEMORABILITY IN A SINGLE LINE OF COMPOSITION THAN MR WEILLAND HAS MANAGED IN AN ENTIRE CAREER.

FOR THE RECORD, MR ROSE WROTE THE MAJORITY OF THE MELODIES AND LYRICS ON THE GUNS RECORDS, WHICH INCLUDE THE BEST SELLING ROCK DEBUT OF OUR TIMES, WITH 16,000,000 SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE.

HE SHARED THE SPOTLIGHT WITH INDIVIDUALS WHOSE EXCELLENCE IS REFLECTED IN SUCH SALES FIGURES.

WHAT MIGHT NOT BE UNDERSTOOD IS THAT HE, AND THE OTHER BAND COMPOSERS, EMPLOYED A COURTESY SHARING OF SO CALLED MECHANICAL INCOME - GRACE AND JUDGEMENT IN ACTION.

MR WEILLAND, OF COURSE, EXHIBITS NEITHER GRACE NOR JUDGEMENT IN HIS DELUSIONAL UTTERANCES, AND IN MY VIEW, NO DISCERNABLE TALENT EITHER.

I HAVE HELD THIS OPINION FROM THOSE VERY FIRST REHEARSALS, AND CONSIDER HIM BETTER EMPLOYED BY HIS FORMER BAND, WHERE HE COULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR COMPOSING ABILITIES ONCE MORE.

PERHAPS THEN WE COULD ALL GET DOWN TO THE VERY SERIOUS, AND BIG, BUSINESS OF REFORMING THE GREATEST, AND MOST RELEVANT, ROCK BAND, [DISPENSING WITH THE COURT SPATS THAT SUCK THE JUICE OUT OF LIFE ITSELF], FOR THE DELIGHT OF MILLIONS OF FANS, A MULTITUDE OF WHICH, THE SECOND AND THIRD GENERATION OF ADMIRERS, HAVE NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE FLORAL ARTILLERY IN LIVING MAGNIFICENCE.

THE INDUSTRY COULD CERTAINLY USE A SHOT OF GENUINELY TALENTED FIREPOWER.

SINCERELY
ALAN NIVEN


Niven quickly had to come out and dispel any notions that he hadn't written the letter, and stress that he did it both to defend Guns N' Roses but also in the hopes of a Guns N' Roses reunion:

In response to doubters, cynics and jaundiced web white noise, yes, I did indeed author the statement concerning Scott Whyslam and his remarks about Mr Axl Rose.

The primary motive was to counter an ignorant and rude diatribe; no one ought belittle Guns n’ Roses achievements or disparage their place in rock n’roll -number one is number one and 16,000,000 debut sales remain unmatched.

A secondary motive was to point out the obvious – time is now – and who wouldn’t get off the Internet to see a reunion?


In May 2007, Weiland would be asked about Axl again and claim Matt and Axl were in regular contact:

Oh, man. I have never spoken to him, but I've gotten messages from him through [drummer] Matt Sorum. They speak every once in awhile. I know that he was a fan of STP back in the early days of Guns. Well, I guess it wasn't the early days; it was just sort of mid-days, early-mid days. ... I think that -- depending on his mood -- he vacillates between being into the idea [of Weiland playing with former Guns members] and kinda diggin' it and then hating my guts.


After reading this interview, Jarmo, the admin at Here Today Gone To Hell, reached out to Beta Lebeis for a comment:

Though Axl spoke with Matt roughly a year ago, Scott doesn't interest Axl, there are no messages, no vacillating, no messages were given to Matt by Axl for Scott. In fact earlier on the same night that Axl ended up speaking with Matt when Scott saw Axl enter the same club that he and Matt were in, Scott immediately RAN out of the club which Axl's guests found mildly amusing, beyond that nothing.


In June 2007, Weiland would again talk about his inflammatory post and claim that he had heard through Matt that Axl had been hurt by Weiland's comments:

Well, you know, the reason why that happened was - and I forget how the whole thing came about, where he... [...] he had said some things about me first and it was… You know, if I was… I probably should have been more gracious and just left it alone, but I retaliated and I guess it got out of hand. And I actually ended up hearing, because Matt ran into him at a club, and Matt said his feelings were hurt by what I said (chuckles). And then I felt really bad.


Being asked if he seems similarities between himself and Axl:

Well, you know, what I do see is the inability to being in control of my temper at times. I’ve been known to sort of go on rampages. On stage, if something sets me off, I don’t really have any great control valve. […] When I blow a head gasket, it’s hard to sort of contain myself. I can’t really… I don’t have a great self-container. [...] But, ultimately, to tell you the truth, I think that… early in his career, I think that he was really on to something remarkable. You know? I think that – from what I know of the guy and I don’t know him personally. From what I know of him just from various – obviously, you know, I play in a band with guys who knew him very well for a period of time. You know, certain people that become very successful allow outside people to manipulate them; and that becomes your downfall, if you are not in control, in a sense, of your own destiny, and you don’t allow yourself to think freely and make of your own decisions, then, no matter how talented you are or smart you are, you are going to change and you’re going to start thinking the way other people want you to think. And, I think, it seems to me, that that is sort of what happened to him. But then again, you know, we have never been introduced. But just as far from what I’ve sort of heard, that’s my little take on the whole situation. But, as far as a fan of the old music and… a fan, definitely.



2008-2009: EPILOGUE - WEILAND TAKES A U-TURN


After the ugly departure from Velvet Revolver, Weiland would discuss Axl:

[Discussing Velvet Revolver just before he was fired/left]: Right now it’s like a relationship that’s dead in the water, where you need space to figure out if it’s important enough to last. The band need time out to sit back and let the creative juices flow, and also time away to realise what everyone’s part is in why things have gotten to the point that they’re at. Now, I’m not saying that I’m innocent in this, but everybody’s at this place where the fucking finger is getting pointed and they’re all pointing the finger at me. When you think about it, isn’t it ironic that the band is regurgitating the same story that they did with Axl Rose in their last band, where the lead singer was being demonised? Originally I thought: “What a troll he must have been. What an evil man.” But you know what? I have to say that I have an entirely different opinion of him today.

[Talking about his inflammatory attack on Axl in 2006]: But y’know what? That was a long time ago and I’d heard a lot of stories. But there are two sides to every story, and having been in this band I actually feel for the guy and understand him a whole lot more.

I was in a band where at the end, it was pretty much three against one. And so I'm pretty sure that it felt that way to Axl as well. I have to say this, and I'm not just saying this now because of my situation I went through, but I heard a lot of great Guns n' Roses stories you guys in the press will never hear. Everyone has made Axl out to be this horrendously crazy person, this bad guy, and I don't know him very well at all. He and I for whatever reason got almost tricked into this little media spat for a moment because one of our band members happened to run into him and said that he said something. So, my point being that having been in a band with Velvet Revolver now for five and a half years, I'm not quite so sure that it was all Axl's fault.

It's like, why does it always have to be the lead singer.

I'm not a difficult frontman at all. No. I actually was in the band with those guys and we had a great time until the end when we didn't have a great time, then I knew it was time to bail out. I heard a lot of stories about a certain singer who everyone knows about and sometimes I wonder if all those stories are all true or maybe there's another point of view.
Skinnie Magazine, November 2009

[Talking about Axl]: We came close to getting together one time. I had wondered if he was the center of all their problems or if it was a mixed bag—and it was definitely the latter.
Details Magazine, April 2010


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:15 pm

APRIL 2006
PLANNING MAY WARM-UP GIGS AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM


In April 2016, Live Nation would announce that Guns N' Roses were to play two shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York as preparation for their summer festival tour [MTV News, April 14, 2006]. The shows would be on May 15 and May 17 [MTV News, April 14, 2006]. In early May the two shows had been increased to four - on May 12, 14, 15 and 17 - and they had been sold out in three minutes [Business Wire, May 4, 2006].

Axl would comment:

New York has always been so great to Guns and myself. The response to our last show at Madison Square Garden was nothing short of amazing. I've spent the last couple of months here in New York. I've had a great time, met a lot of great people and the band and I are excited that we get to play New York City and play for the friends - both old and new - that we've made before we head to Europe.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:16 pm

APRIL 2006
JOSHUA CRAIG TO REPLACE BUCKETHEAD?


The search for a replacement for Buckethead was not over, and with shows lined up already in May, there was no time to loose. In April, guitarist Joshua Craig, from The Alien Blakk project, auditioned:

[I express my] complete admiration and respect for the opportunity to audition for such a great organization where everyone was the most polite and kind musicians and crew


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:17 pm

MAY 2006
SLASH AND/OR MATT TO REJOIN GUNS N' ROSES FOR THE SUMMER TOUR?


Despite Axl's press release in March, media would continue to speculate that Slash had left Velvet Revolver to rejoin Guns N' Roses, and Slash would be confronted with these rumours in May:

I saw a thing that was put out that said something to the effect that I won't be doing any gigs until after a certain point [referring to a May 8, 2006 Associated Press article which stated that 'Slash may end up back in the band as well, but probably not before the Hammerstein shows.' — Ed.] He put out some sort of… He [Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose] did a radio interview, I guess, in New York, and it said whatever city he was gonna be playing, it said it won't be until after that… And I was like, 'Where does this stuff come from?' But before that, the whole thing was, like, everybody just assumed that I'd quit Velvet Revolver and I was joining… Even you guys [speaking to Matt — Ed.] thought that. [...] It was like all these rumors going around. So I just wanted to dispel that one.


In June he would be asked what he'd do if Axl called him and mention that he has sent Christmas cards to Axl but received no reply:

Oh, I'd answer it. But I know he would never call me. I've actually sent him Christmas cards, just to be cordial, but he never returns anything.


He would also deny the rumours of rejoining Guns N' Roses:

I don't know where [the rumors come] from, but I haven't dealt with Guns N' Roses any more than I have in the last 10 years, which is not much at all. So it's not really a thing with me. I have, in the foreseeable future, no re-involvement with that band whatsoever.


Later in the year, Del James would mention how the band had been progressing without Slash and Duff, and how Axl had been the man with the vision:

When certain former members of Guns N' Roses quit, like Slash and Duff McKagan, had they had their way that would have sounded the death knell for GN'R. Guns N' Roses was never their original vision. It has always been Axl's vision and drive to try to make the band as successful as possible without compromising the integrity of Guns N' Roses. Fortunately for the fans, Axl has always been able to see outside the box of conventionalism, taking intelligent and calculated risks when it comes to the evolution of Guns N' Roses. This same forward progress is evident on the band's forthcoming album, Chinese Democracy. Some people out there have downloaded unmixed versions of songs like "IRS," "There Was A Time," "Chinese Democracy," "Madagascar," and "Better" and while it's unfair to judge an unfinished product, it's not that big of a stretch to say that Axl's vision is once again leading him in the right direction.


There would also be rumours that Matt was rejoining the band, to which Matt responded:

You know I haven't really thought about Axl in a long time to be honest. You know, I kind of left that behind me in 1996 (laughs). That's ten years ago. It was a whole lifetime ago. I was in that band, but I look at it like it was someone else's movie. We got off the road in 1993. That was the last time Guns N' Roses played. So it's been thirteen years since I've played in that band, really. I've done five or six albums since then, and ten tours and Axl hasn't done sh-t, so I don't know what to tell you.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:17 pm

APRIL (?)-MAY 12, 2006
REHEARSALS IN NYC


In preparation for the summer tour, Guns N' Roses played four warm-up shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, on May 12, 14, 15 and 17. The intention had been to do the warm-up shows in a small venue [Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks, May 5, 2006].

The May shows in NYC would be about 3.5 years since the band last played a show. The shows would also be Bumblefoot's first in Guns N' Roses and feature some new songs.

So yeah, I’m getting ready to go on tour and I hope all you fans out there of Guns N’ Roses, Primus or whatever, Brain fans – there’s about six of them, I think – come and check out the show. We start here in New York and then we’re headed over to Europe doing all the big festivals – I think we’re doing some shows, Metallica, the Stones... and, you know, all the freaks out there. So come and check out the show, and love you guys.


Axl would spend some time in New York City before the first show on May 14:

Another snow storm, right? A couple of months ago? I was here during that. New York's been really great to me lately. I've been out here, having a great time, everybody's been really cool...


The band would also rehearse in New York City before the shows and on May 5, Axl would call in to Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show during one of the rehearsals and let listeners listen in to the band rehearsing 'Nightrain' before they went on to rehearse 'Paradise City' [Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks, May 5, 2006].

Axl would also reveal that the band had a new guitarist:

It's pretty much the same [lineup] that we had in 2002 but it's, like, there will be somebody else there but I'm not gonna say who.

No, we have one, but I'm not announcing him.


Because of ongoing rumours that Slash had rejoined Guns N' Roses, and likely also because of Axl and Izzy hanging out together in New York, Axl had to dispel the suggestion that someone from a previous lineup was returning to the band:

No, no, it has nothing to do with the past.


Axl would also talk about the upcoming warm-up shows:

Yeah, I'm just doing four warm up shows to get ready for Europe and we'll see what happens, and it just feels great you know. Everybody's excited, the band is excited. They were rehearsing in L.A, and then they're out here, and they're all excited to be here. It just feels good.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:17 pm

MAY 2006
AXL AND SEBASTIAN BACH RECONNECTS


In early May 2006, Axl would reconnect with his friend Sebastian Bach. Axl was then spending time in New York City in preparation for Guns N' Roses' shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom while Bach was presumably living in New Jersey.

Eddie Trunk describing the moment Sebastian and Axl met again after many years on his Friday Night Rocks show on may 5:

Ladies and gentleman, Axl Rose has just walked into the studio. I am not kidding you! Axl Rose is here. Sebastian Bach and Axl are having an embrace and, this is absolutely an amazing moment. I am speechless right now, man. (everyone's introducing to each other) Axl Rose has just walked in...fresh from Guns N' Roses rehearsal. Let the man get to the microphone!


Bach and Axl would explain how the reconnection happened:

Here's how this happened: I was at home three night ago, I was in the basement mixing Edge of the World by Damnocracy and I don't know what I am doing - mixing. So it takes a long time. You don't know how many hours I spent doing that and it still isn't that great. [...] Can I tell you something? I honestly, probably like the rest of the planet, I never knew, I never thought, you know like the rest of the world, I didn't know if I would ever see him ever again in my life. Like, ever! He's the Howard Hughes of planet Earth!

[...]

He stays away for like over 10 years and then, like, People Magazine does a survey of like teenagers of America, "Who is the coolest person in the world?" and Axl Rose is like number 2 or something! Number 1, I think!

[...]

I am not a producer! So I come upstairs and it's like 11 o'clock at night and I'm kinda bagged out listening to you play guitar all day and I look on my phone and it says, text message, and it says, uh, some number I don't know, and it says, "Hey Baz, It's Axl. Are you still in New York City? What's going on?" I go, who is this doing this? Yeah right. Yeah, sure. So I just pressed, "Call". just watching TV, you know, not even thinking. I am thinking it is you or something. Chris Jericho, "Hey! It's Axl!" And the phone rings and it goes, "Hello," and I go, "It's you," and he goes, "Ah-ha-ha-ha!". Laughing!

I got this text saying, `Hey Bas, you still around New York? You want to hang out?' And I was like, 'Who's pretending they're Axl Rose on my cell phone?' So I pressed 'call sender,' and I hear this 'Hello.' I was like 'Holy f- - -!"

I sent a text...I didn't what you guys were doing, your thing, I didn't know what was going on, I was just going hey it's time to call Bas... [...] I just knew it was time to call Bas...It was like ok 13 years...and 40 days...(laughs)...call now!


Axl would explain why they had lost contact in the 1990s and indicate that Sebastian's partying had been a problem:

I was busy trying to save my life, he was busy trying to destroy his.

Well, I think, you know, if I would have been hanging out with this guy for 13 years, it’s like, I’m not sure if either of us would be here.


Bach would later give his opinion:

I think it was just Axl shutting out the world. So when he came back to the world, my old friend called me up.


Bach would also describe Axl:

Let me say this, everybody would always come up to me over these last 10 years and say "What's Axl like?" and first I say, "I haven't seen him in a long time, but he was just a really nice guy, like, to me, and it was always, a really good guy, you know? I have the same kind of mystique, I go on the Internet and read this stuff, and it's like, "He's an egomaniac!" "He's a crazy man!" "He's wild!" and stuff. Me and him. But I don't even, you know, people make up these big mystiques, and they create these mystiques about certain people and I have only seen Axl be like the nicest, coolest guy, the best singer...

Yeah, but we also hung out a couple of...you know, quite a bit, you know....Everybody has you know this image of him, you know, and me of like this mystique or whatever, and people always say like: "what does that guy like?", and I go let me describe to you Axl, ok. We get in the nicest car at that time I've ever seen, some Mercedes or something, I think it was black, or it could have been silver, I can't remember, but this beautiful car, and I'm like, we're driving around Hollywood, and I'm thinking he's gonna put in you know, some music on man, and I don't know what he's gonna put on, cuz, you know I'm intrigued about people's musical tastes... [...] ...and he grabs a CD, he looks through all the CDs and he goes: "I got it!", he puts it in, and, Axl cranks up W.A.S.P (laughs)...and he's rocking his head off... (Bach singing WASP)...and then I turned and I go: "I cannot believe, this is the choice of Axl Rose!" (Axl laughing his ass off). It's like this guy rocks man! And then, he's like, OK, Sebastian, I gotta...(radio playing WASP)...he's got a lot of taste, and then we stop, and he goes: "I gotta make one stop", so as the WASP is cranking, he pulls in some alleyway and he goes in the back of this restaurant and buys a tin of caviar, but $800! (everyone laughs) And he goes in the car and he goes: "Have you tried this man?" I don't know! He goes: "I paid 800 bucks for this man!" It's like: Geez!


Axl commenting on the story:

Everybody else was doing blow so I was doing caviar and champagne (laughs)


A couple of years later, and after having toured together in 2006, Bach would discuss Axl:

He’s a fascinating individual and he does things a lot differently to what I do. He doesn’t do any interviews at all and I do millions of them. It’s an incredible experience to be talking to him before he goes on stage. I’ll be backstage in his room and he carries on a conversation as we’re walking to the stage. The whole [arena] is going nuts and Axl will be telling me about what he did last night or the day before, and he doesn’t break a stride. I’ll be like, “Well, ok, you’re going on stage now,” and he’ll say, “Ok, I’ll talk to you later.” He’ll walk out there and all of Sydney’s Acer Arena crowd is like, “Ahhh, there he is. Oh, my God!” People can’t believe that he’s actually standing there. It’s such an intense moment every night.

[...]

I’m in the middle of all these huge rock icons who are calling me at the same time, and I’m sitting there thinking, “How does this f**King happen to me?” Axl said to me, “Dude, the way that you sing is rare.” The way that Axl sings is rare too. There’s not a lot of guys anymore that can sing in the range that we sing in.
With The Band, May 12, 2008

Axl is the most controversial lightning rod of a human being I've ever encountered in my life. He's so big that it's hard to fathom. I've walked down the street with him, and he literally stops traffic. No humans can speak the way that they normally speak, to Axl Rose. I watch people — smart, successful people — stand in front of him and try to figure out what he wants them to say so he'll like them. People think they know who he is, but they really don't. He's a very sensitive guy, and a lot of times, I wish people would just shut the fuck up about him.
Mouth4Music, July 2, 2008


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:18 pm

MAY 2006
BUMBLEFOOT JOINS THE BAND


ya never know when one of those moments are gonna happen, when life is gonna take a big turn, right?

_____________________________________________

Bumblefoot had been considered for the band already back in July 2004, but nothing came out of it [see earlier chapter].

It was through a recommendation - we started chatting in 2004, and it all came together by 2006. It's been a good year…

It was about four years ago that we started talking. Joe Satriani recommended me and then I got a funny email from Chris Pitman, the keyboard player, and we all just started talking. It took a minute for us to get it together but we started touring in 2006.

I got to know Joe [Satriani] after reading some interview he gave to a French magazine where he mentioned that he was a fan of my playing. I tracked him down and reached out to him, and we struck up a friendship. Then, in 2004, he invited me to jam with him at one of his gigs in New Jersey. It was him, Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy. I think we played [Freddie King’s] “Going Down” together. Anyway, a little later on he mentioned to me that he had dropped my name to someone in the Guns N’ Roses camp because they were looking for a new guy to replace Buckethead. He wanted me to know that if anyone from Guns got in touch it wasn’t a joke. And soon after that I heard from [Guns N’ Roses keyboardist] Chris Pitman. He sent me a funny email, real obnoxious. I wrote back, and we started talking. Then I began talking with management and then with some of the engineers working on Chinese Democracy. So we’re going back and forth, everything’s sounding good, and then there’s this long stretch of nothing. Until one day it was, “Hey, we’re rehearsing in New York. Wanna come down and jam?” So I went down and me the band, met Axl, and we hit it off. I came down again the next night, then the next week, and the week after that, and then before I know it [in May 2006] I’m onstage with the band at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

It was about 5 years ago. I got an email from Joe Satriani to tell me he recommended me for the gig (Guns N’ Roses) so if someone did reach out that I knew it wasn’t a joke or something. Very soon after, one of the guys from the band emailed me and we started talking. I started talking to guys working on the album about recording and then spoke to management. Eventually we hit the road and started touring and in between legs of the tour started recording tracks for the album, putting my 2 cents into it. That was it, and here we are.


In reality, the debacle in 2004 had resulted in a sour relationship between Bumblefoot and the band's management but they "managed to just talk it out":

It ended up causing a little battle between me and management, and that's why we didn't speak for a good year and a half (laughs). They then contacted me, and said "Do you want to work this out?". I was still all pissed off, because management really took it to extreme measures - that I won't even get into - trying to get me to say that I lied to get publicity, and I refused. I should also mention that that management is long gone - they're not around anymore (laughs). I was pretty pissed at them, but we managed to just talk it out, and come to an understanding.


And his relationship with the management improved:

Once I was in the group, then we were getting along fine. It was just before then, they were misunderstanding what I did, and they were assuming the worst. I tried to stop rumours from spreading, but I just made it worse. I just really didn't know just how guarded you needed to be with things when it comes to a band like Guns N' Roses, or any band with big name recognition. Once we chatted about it a year and a half later, everything was fine. I get along with everyone - you have to be a real dick for me to not like you (laughs). I'm pretty easygoing.


Reminiscing about the first auditions:

We started jamming late April, early May 2006. Each day we'd play a few more songs, after two weeks we started doing shows.

(Laughs) My memories of the original audition... I try not to remember. I try to block it out of my mind (laughs). What can I remember from it? Umm... I would just come down, park my car in the lot down the road, and just walk in. Everybody would be there. I think the band was pretty exhausted from the audition process they had gone through before I showed up; I think they had spent months checking out different guitarists, and were ready to get onstage. It was different. I had never played in someone else's band before, and I always did my own thing. Sure, I've jammed with tons and tons of people. I've played with all different people, but to be a member of someone else's band officially, I never really did that. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I would be welcomed and treated like family, or if I was gonna be treated like just some co-worker in the next cubicle. I didn't think about it. I didn't try to analyze what was going on, or how I was being treated or not treated. I just thought "Alright, look. I'm here to make music, and that's what I'm gonna do, and that's it", and that's all I focused on - to do the best I could.


It is possible Bumblefoot is here talking about the audition in 2004.

Talking about meeting Axl during those rehearsals in New York in 2006:

The thing I remember is that he walked in carrying a huge tray of hamburgers. At that point I hadn’t eaten red meat in a long time, and I thought, What a perfect way to break that streak and have some beef. So I had a burger with him, and my God – that was the best freakin’ burger I had ever tasted! Maybe it was because I hadn’t had red meat in a while, but it was fucking good. But what I didn’t know at the time, and I’ve since come to learn, is this: Wherever we are in the world, Axl knows where to find the best burgers. We’ll be in Japan and he’ll find these little Kobe steak burgers that are just… wow. So I trust him when it comes to ground beef. Oh – and I also remember we were jamming to one of the new songs and he yelled in my ear that it reminded him of “Hey Bulldog.” So I thought, All right, he’s a Beatles guy. Cool.


And being asked how much Axl knew of him:

He knew the stuff I had done on Shrapnel. He knew the song “I Can’t Play the Blues” [from Thal’s 1997 album, Hermit] and I think he said that was one of the things that made him want to check me out. But I don’t know if he really knew too much. I don’t think anyone did, other than real guitar freaks.


So Bumblefoot was hired a very short time before the band started rehearsing for the Hammerstein Ballroom shows in New York City in May 2006. Del James would also explain how it came about:

Guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal is also GN'R family. Prior to the European tour, auditions were held in Los Angeles but the band did not find the right guy to replace Buckethead. Truth be told, the band was hoping that Buckethead would come back and made very effort to make that happen. When it was apparent that Bucket would not be re-joining, the band had to move forward. Joe Satriani is how the Guns camp first heard of Bumblefoot. GN'R's Pro Tools engineer "French" Eric Cadieux has worked a lot with Satriani and Satch recommended Bumble to French Eric. One thing lead to another and prior to the band's four-night stint at the Hammerstein Ballroom back in May, Bumblefoot was part of the fold.


Before the rehearsals, Bumblefoot made sure to learn the music:

Oh, yeah. I believe that you have an obligation to not waste someone’s time. I made sure when I went in there I knew every guitar part, bass part and even vocal line. If I’m going to learn the song, I’m going to learn the whole song, not just my part. I want to be able to cover anybody’s ass.


Bumblefoot would later say he had only been playing with the band for a week before the first show of the tour took place [The Journal News, November 3, 2006].

On May 5, Axl talked to Eddie Trunk's Friday Night Rocks radio show, and wouldn't reveal that Bumblefoot had been hired:

It's pretty much the same [lineup] that we had in 2002 but it's, like, there will be somebody else there but I'm not gonna say who.


After it had been revealed that Bumblefoot was the new guitarist, Axl would discuss him:

We got from Buckethead to Bumblefoot (laughs).

The other guy had a chicken bucket and a mask. This guy has a guitar that’s, like, a bumblebee that’s a foot with wings. [...]  I did get him on a Les Paul for most of the songs. But he still pulls out this other thing.


Bumblefoot has been a bit reluctant to join Guns N' Roses:

I was actually pretty iffy on the whole thing. A big reason for that was because at the time I first started talking with the Guns organization, the whole Dimebag [murder] situation was still very fresh. And I was wondering, Will people blame me for the original band not getting back together? On top of everything else, do I have to worry about that? Also, I kind of liked where my life was at that point: I had gotten myself back on track; I was doing my solo thing, working in my own studio recording other bands, giving guitar lessons, licensing some of my music for TV, touring a little bit. I wasn’t rich and famous, but everything was on my own terms, and I dug that. My life was mine – my fuckups were mine, my successes were mine, and there’s something to be said for that. So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drop everything I had been working toward.

I had some concerns about things I'd inevitably have to give up – the teaching, producing; my own touring. I had my life on my terms, which was something that took a long time to make happen. But sometimes it's better to not over-think things; you can think yourself right out of meeting your own potential. It's better to just jump in, and life will figure itself out. I jumped in, and have no regrets.

I did have some hesitation at first, because I had just got my life where I was completely master of my own domain in every way. My life was totally mine, and I had it balanced perfectly between teaching music at the college, doing guest gigs, putting out my own albums and touring with that. Producing other people, doing things in the studio, I had a million things going on. I had it perfectly balanced, and I just knew that if I joined Guns that the majority of those things would have to stop because I wouldn't physically be there to do it, and it wasn't something I could do on the road.

It was a question of, do I want to give up all of these things? Even though playing with GNR is a much bigger thing, it's all about happiness, satisfaction and gratification. A lot of things that mean more than being on the map, fame or whatever else. Not that I ever did it for that. It was more like I met with them, we jammed and hit it off. Once that happened, I had a personal connection towards it, and we just kept it going.


Still, he decided to join:

Sometimes you just have to say, “What the fuck!” That’s the truth. It’s very easy to over think yourself out of anything. You can come up with a million reasons to not do something, when the reality is that you should just shut the fuck up and do it. You make it work. It’s like, these are your balls – juggle them. Of course, my balls are pretty lopsided right now. I have this little one over here that represents me, and then there’s this big one over there that’s Guns N’ Roses, which is, like, 10 times the size of a normal ball.


Bumblefoot was apparently not sure how long his tenure with Guns N' Roses would be, and would talk about returning to his job at Purchase College:

I would love to if they would take my crazy self back. I miss it. I miss the students ... and all the professors. It's just a great place to be. ... It's kind of a hiatus, but we're just not sure how long this hiatus is going to be. Every semester I'm like, 'Oh, Guns booked more shows.'


And talking about what he missed about his university job:

[...] I miss being in a room with a bunch of hungry minds where we share ideas and experiment and explore things ... reach new epiphanies, even if it's sitting in front of a computer screen and showing them a new technique for making a snare drum sound consistent and strong.


This suggests Bumblefoot had only been hired for the tour.

Bumblefoot had also auditioned for the band in 2004 [see previous chapter].

Being asked if he had been a fan of Guns N' Roses:

Right from seeing Welcome To The Jungle on MTV for the first time at three o’clock one morning, I knew they were special, that they would go on and do something magical. I felt the exact same way after seeing Vision Of Love by Mariah Carey, and Britney’s Hit Me Baby One More Time.



TOO QUIRKY FOR GUNS N' ROSES?


Bumblefoot would also say that at first he was unsure of whether his stage name, "Bumblefoot" fit with Guns N' Roses:

You know I spoke to them about that before joining the band. You know, "Does Bumblefoot match the coolness of Guns N' Roses?" If this was Primus or Mr. Bungle or a band like that it would work. But they were like, 'Naw man, that's you. Keep it.' ... It's not me, it's a side of me. It's a Ziggy Stardust, not a David Bowie.


Later he would discuss wearing various outfits while playing shows:

You know, there's not much that I wouldn't wear. I remember one time around Passover, I did a gig where I dressed up in all my old Bar Mitzvah stuff, and in between songs was just preaching all this stuff about building pyramids and 3,000 years of retribution; kind of like a militant rabbi. Another time, I did a gig where I wore a big pair of sweats and stuffed 20 sweaters into it all, and looked like I was 400 pounds. There's pretty much nothing that I won't wear. But as you know, I wouldn't want to embarrass (Guns N' Roses) the way I would be willing to embarrass just myself. But yeah, I would wear a space suit. I'd be cool doing that.


Looking back at getting hired:

Well, it was actually awhile ago. It was in the summer of 2004; I got an email from Joe Satriani, and he said that he had recommended me for Guns N' Roses. They were looking for someone to replace Buckethead, and told me in case someone got in touch, so I knew it wasn't a joke or anything. At that point, I really didn't know that much about Guns N' Roses and what they were doing, where they were at album wise, touring wise, so I took it lightly. I said "Ok... If they call and get in touch, I guess we'll be playing some bars... whatever's going on (laughs)". They got in touch, and it was about a year and a half before we started working together, and it was at the very last minute. I didn't think it was gonna happen at that point, and honestly, I was very happy with what I was doing - I had my own albums that I was putting out, and I was touring with that. I was producing a lot of people, I was teaching at a college and really enjoying that... My life was completely in my... not control as it were, but I was doing everything I wanted to do, and I was really happy with it. I knew that if I joined Guns N' Roses, I would have to give up a lot of things, so I wasn't really that quick to jump into it.

About a year and a half later, they had a tour ready, and they got in touch, and we started talking again. They said "Hey, do you know some of the songs?". I said "Yeah. Tell me what to learn", and they named three songs. I just came down with my guitar, and just plugged it into whatever they had there - a Marshall or whatever it was - and jammed with them, and just had fun. That was it. They then said "Hey - you wanna come back tomorrow, and do another three songs?". I said "Sure", and we did that. Every night, I would come down knowing three more songs, all of the older material and everything. Then while I was there, I would try to learn some of the newer songs.

At the time though, I had a tour booked. This was in April of 2006, and I had my own tour booked in May and June. I was gonna be going from Iceland to Russia with my band, and touring to promote the 'Normal' CD. I was talking to management, saying "Well, I need to know - either this is gonna happen, or it's not. I'm not cancelling anything until this is definite". Finally, at the last minute they said "This is definite". I told them even before I came down - I said "If you want me to come down, it's because I'm pretty much in the band, because you're hiring me, because you want me, because I'm in, and because we're doing it. Otherwise, I'm gonna be doing what I'm doing".


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25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC Empty Re: 25. AUGUST 2004-MAY 2006: FINALIZING CHINESE DEMOCRACY; LAWSUITS; RETURN TO NYC

Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:18 pm

BUMBLEFOOT BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


Ronald Jay Blumenthal, or Ron Thal or Bumblefoot, was born on September 25, 1965. Before becoming a guitarist in Guns N' Roses, Bumblefoot worked as a professor teaching music production at Purchase College [The Journal News, November 3, 2006].

According to The Journal News who had interviewed Bumblefoot's students and faculty, Bumblefoot was a "an amazing guitarist and a regular guy"; when confronted with this, Bumblefoot replied:

Maybe a regular guitar player and an amazing guy. (Laughs) I think I'm pretty regular. And as far as playing guitar, all that stuff is all a matter of opinion. If people like what I'm doing than great. If they don't? Then I guess I've got a little more practicing to do.



"BUMBLEFOOT"


Bumblefoot adopted his stage name when helping his wife prepare for a veterinarian exam:

In the early 90s, my girlfriend was in veterinary school and I was helping her study - one of the animal diseases was named Bumblefoot. One of the treatments was to rub hemorrhoid cream on a bird's foot. It was all so bizarre that I wrote a song about some kinda fucked-up superhero named Bumblefoot. I used the idea for the artwork on that instrumental CD, then named my band Bumblefoot, eventually it became my nickname. It fit the band, kinda quirky experimental sometimes-Zappa-ish Mr.-Bungle-ish sounding...

Yeah. And I can say she's now been my wife for 10 years, so she must have done good on the test. It was one of those sleepless nights and she had a thousand pages to memorize and one of the diseases in her book was called Bumblefoot and I thought it sounded like such a silly sounding name that I ended up writing a song about a superhero called Bumblefoot. And then it ended up becoming the name of my band and then my own nickname. Now, I'm stuck with it. And now I'm stuck in this cool band with the name of a Saturday morning cartoon character.

The name Bumblefoot happened about 15 years ago, my girlfriend was studying to be a veterinarian, one of the diseases she was learning about was something that birds and rats get, called Ulcerative Pododermatitis, also known as "Bumblefoot" One of the treatments for the disease was to rub hemorrhoid ointment on the bird's foot. It all sounded so fucking ridiculous, I went and wrote a song about a superhero called Bumblefoot, a few years later, started up my band and called it Bumblefoot, and it sort of morphed into my nickname. What the fuck was I thinking..........?

Kids, don't do drugs.

My wife was in veterinary school many, many years ago and she is a veterinarian now, she passed! Thanks to my help, of course! I was helping her study and one of the diseases was called Bumblefoot and I was like, “What the fuck is that? That is so stupid!” So I am reading about it and it said that turkeys get this disease and that one way to treat it is to rub hemorrhoid cream on their foot. I was thinking, “This is so idiotic! I am naming my band Bumblefoot!” It sorta became my nickname, which worked out to not being the best thing in the world. Especially following someone named “Buckethead” in a band. You get all the jokes like “Buckethead and now Bumblefoot? What’s next, Bumperdick?” Everyone has something to say, but whatever! At the time I guess I was more in a Monty Python state of mind where I thought being named after a giant fucked up foot might be funny and good for the rest of my life. So I wake up one morning and I am taking myself a little more serious or I should say that other people are taking me more seriously and the name is, I wouldn’t say a detriment, but it makes you scratch your head.

It was the early 90s, my girlfriend was in veterinary school and I was helping her study. One of the diseases was Ulcerative Pododermatitis, also known as Bumblefoot. It was a disease that turkeys get, and one of the treatments was to rub hemorrhoid creme on its feet. It inspired me to write a song for my band at the time about a superhero called Bumblefoot, and when I had my first record deal in the mid-90's, I called the debut album "The Adventures Of Bumblefoot", with an album cover showing this apocalyptic scene of mayhem and destruction with this winged striped foot flying overhead. When the deal finished I started my own band, called it "Bumblefoot", that was around '97, '98. Over the next 10 years of putting out albums and touring, the name 'Bumblefoot' was connected to everything I was doing musically, and it went from band-name to nickname.

That name goes back to the early 1990’s when my wife was in veterinary school. She was studying to be a veterinarian and one time I was helping her study and that was one of the diseases. It’s called Bumblefoot or the technical term “ulcerative podermatitis.” It was such a silly name and I was thinking to myself that would be a cool idea for a song. So I wrote a little song called “Bumblefoot.” Then when I had my first record deal in the mid 1990’s, my first record was called ‘The Adventures of Bumblefoot.’  It was this big apocalyptic cover of death and destruction with this big winged foot flying overhead. After that I started a band called ‘Bumblefoot’ and that’s kind of what did it. Having the band since 1997 and putting out ‘Bumblefoot albums’ it just became a thing where when people met me and I introduced myself as Ron, they would go oh yeah, “Bumblefoot!”  It kind of became the nickname from doing the band because the band was pretty much a solo thing. I wrote everything and it was my guitar and singing.


He would also emphasize that Bumblefoot was only one side to him:

[Bumblefoot's] not me, it's a side of me. It's a Ziggy Stardust, not a David Bowie.


And that in Guns N' Roses he would consider himself to just be Ron:

Ulcerative pododermatitis is its full, fancy name. 15 years ago I was helping my wife study for veterinary school when we discovered it. It was the stupidest thing I ever heard, so I used it for a song title. Then an album called The Adventures Of Bumblefoot [1995]. It’s well-suited to my solo work, which is quirky and Mr Bungle-ish, but personally-speaking I might’ve outgrown it. I don’t feel like Bumblefoot when I’m onstage with Guns. In that environment I feel like Ron. Does that make sense? [...] Well, I have this multi-personality disorder [laughs]. I put on my funny foot-shaped guitar and I’m being Bumblefoot. But I’ve got a Flying V and I’m playing with Axl and my name is Ron. It’s hard to explain.



BECOMING A MUSICIAN


Talking about wanting to become a musician:

When I was 5 years old I got the Kiss 'Alive' record and that's what made me want to be musician. That's what made me want to do this.

Oh man, this goes way back to when I was about 5 years old. All the older kids in my neighborhood were into KISS. Then I heard the KISS Alive album for the first time and it just blew my mind! I wanted to be a drummer and so did my brother. So we got into this contest where whoever had the faster drum roll got to be the drummer. Me being 5 and him being 8, he was a little bit faster, so he ended up being the drums. So I was like, “OK, I want to be a bass player because Gene Simmons is badass with the fire, the blood and the high shoes!” Bad shoes! [laughs] So, I went to a place to start taking bass lessons and at this point I was about 6. The bass was taller than I was and the strings were thicker than my fingers, so that wasn’t going to happen. So they lied to me at the music store and told me that by law you have to play acoustic guitar for two years before you can switch to bass. So I was like, “OK, if that is what I need to do I will do my time, man! I am gonna take it like a man, like a 6 year old man, and do it!” So I got into it and just stuck with it and forgot that I was supposed to switch to bass. Twenty years and I forgot! But I do play bass now too, but I play it like shit because I never did get those bass lessons when I was 6. So it all kinda worked out and I have gotten to do everything, although I am the world’s shittest drummer. So it is a good thing that I didn’t take the drum lessons!

It was the whole KISS thing. A lot of people from my generation heard the KISS Alive album for the first time and it got them so psyched up that they felt like they needed to experience that themselves – then spent the next 20 or 30 years working towards it. It’s the same kind of story. I was 5 years old and all the older kids in the neighbourhood got KISS Alive. Where I grew up there seemed to be two ages of kids: all the kids that were my age, and all the kids that were two or three years older. And the younger ones seemed to get exposed to a lot of the culture of the ones who were a little bit older. So I was five, six, seven years old and going out buying Boston’s first album, Yes’s ‘Going For The One.’ Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines.’ Ramones’ ‘Rocket To Russia.’ Really getting exposed at a much younger and maybe even more impressionable age. And KISS and the Beatles, those were my two favourites that made me really wanna make music. KISS made me wanna get up on a big loud stage and put on a crazy show, but the Beatles made me truly love music. That’s what made me want to lock myself up in a studio, splice up tape, turn it backwards. All that kind of stuff. That was the creative inspiration.

When I first began, I jumped right into band activities - I started writing songs, had a band logo, merch, started making demos, planning shows... only problem was I couldn't really play guitar yet, haha. But there's one philosophy I always believed in – you only need to be good enough to play your own songs... or whatever song you're playing. I wrote songs I could play, and did the most with my limited abilities. I started taking 1-on-1 guitar lessons, private lessons with different teachers and continued for 8 years. I started with reading, a lot of reading, then music theory, then classical and jazz, while always playing rock on my own and training my ears, learning songs just by listening. I would drop the needle on the record for a few seconds, remember the sound I just heard and would try to match it on the guitar. I would try to learn an album a day – the Scorpions, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy, Iron Maiden... then tougher things like Yes, Van Halen, Jethro Tull, even Tchaikovsky.  It was great for the ears, and great when I wanted to jam with people, because I'd know a lot of songs. After I stopped taking lessons, I kept studying on my own, and would try to find patterns that linked other aspects of life to music, try to see how music, math and emotions all connected. I even programmed my old Commodore64 computer to write random music, haha. Crazy kid...


And why he quickly became so skilled at playing the guitar:

I was just really, really focused. And I practiced a lot. And I was the kind of kid who was into things like music theory. I found it to be really fascinating. I was interested in the math behind it all. It was like food for the brain; it wasn’t just mindless stuff to me. But I needed to keep my brain occupied – otherwise I would do very bad things. And I did. I would vandalize the neighborhood in the most creative ways you could imagine.


And leaning to play Eddie Van Halen's Eruption backwards:

I had to – it was a challenge. And yeah, this was the early Eighties, and there was nobody like Eddie. Before that I was into Kiss, AC/DC, the Beatles. But the first time I heard Van Halen, it was like nothing else. I had “Eruption” on cassette, so I popped out the reels, flipped them over and popped them back in. I literally wanted to be able to play the song forward and backward. And at 12 years old, I could do it.


And getting hooked up with Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records:

I suppose that’s when I went “legit.” This was in the late Eighties. I had been gigging in bars and clubs around the New York area, trying to get a deal for my band, AWOL, and also playing in cover bands, doing, like, every Rush song known to man. But in addition to all that I started making these weird, strange instrumental songs, mostly for my own amusement. And a friend said to me, “Hey, you should submit this stuff to one of those guitar mags that showcases unknown players.” So I did. And the guy who got in touch with me as Mike Varney. He put me in his “Spotlight” column [in Guitar Player magazine], gave me a nice write up, and we stayed in touch. I wound up appearing on a few of his compilation CDs and also a few of the Guitar on the Edge compilation records his brother [Mark Varney] put together. Mike was also talking to me about doing a full instrumental album, but I always said no, because I wanted to be part of a band. I grew up on Kiss, the Beatles, Van Halen – I wanted it to be four names up there. I didn’t want to be known as the solo guitar guy. [...]  I never considered myself just a shredder. I’m more like a songwriter that tastelessly plays way too many notes for the song. [laughs] But that said, it’s still the song first. And as a guitarist, the most amazing thing you can do is come up with one of those riffs that every player wants to learn: “Smoke on the Water,” “Paranoid,” “Stairway to Heaven” and, dare I even suggest, “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” If you can come up with something like that, you’re golden. All the other bullshit doesn’t matter.


And his main influences:

Definitely Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. There were plenty of others, from Charlie Christian (old bluesy jazz) to Andre Segovia (classical) to Alan Holdsworth (fusion) to Yngwie Malmsteen (neo-classical) but the ones that had the most impact were definitely Eddie and Jimi.

Guitar-wise, I was always into Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen really opened my mind up to a different way of looking at things. For the most part, I really played a lot like Angus [Young] when I was a kid and was totally into that vibe. When I heard Eddie Van Halen for the first time, I was like, “What? What the fuck is he doing?” and that kinda changed the road that I was on. [...] Well definitely Eddie. Hendrix is there, for that feel and he had such a fucking vibe to him. It is so hard to say. Even Yngwie [Malmsteen] because, to me, I think of the ones that had such an impact on music or guitar players, or both. People started shredding because of him. He’s to blame for that because he inspired a lot of people that went on to take what he did and add it to their schooled, jazz approach that they had to things and suddenly you have all the shrapnel artist for next 10 years. So he has to be given a lot of credit for being a major inspiration for a lot of people. I could even throw in some people that you wouldn’t expect like Elliot Easton from The Cars because he was so fucking tasty in what he played. If you want to go down that road, you could even say Ace [Frehley]. You can sing his guitar parts more than you can even sing the vocal to a KISS song. You could go on forever, people were great for so many different reasons either by what they contributed or by how something hits you individually.


And his love of KISS:

I was 5 years old, and the older neighbors (they were around 8 or 9 years old) played me the KISS Alive! album, it had just come out. I was an instant KISS fan. Next memory, besides putting the KISS Army sticker on my bedroom door, or seeing an occasional commercial on TV for a concert or album and getting all riled up, was playing drums to Detroit Rock City for our 2nd grade talent show. (I wanted to be a drummer originally...) Then getting the KISS dolls, and seeing them live at Madison Square Garden in '79 - it was my first concert, and not much topped it. All this had an impact on my life, the direction it took, and why I'm doing what I'm doing today.


Bumblefoot would frequently use a fretless guitar from Vigier:

Vigier Guitars has been making one [fretless guitar] for 20 years, but very few people had embraced it. From the first time I heard it I thought it was the coolest thing and started using it. Been playing Vigier guitars since '97, got a fretless in '99 - gets such a unique sound, real fun to play.

Dig playin' both, each has somethin' about them. Fretted guitars you can really dig in and bend the strings till your fingers are chewed up, but fretless has a freedom you don't get from a fretted guitar. I kinda dig soloing with the fretless, Vigier makes the ones I use, with the metal neck. And they made the foot guitar. They gave me the fretless to check out, I think it was the NAMM show in 1999. The first 5 minutes were strange-but after an hour or so, it all started comin' together. CHEck 'em out at "www.vigierguitars.com",

Vigier Guitars has been making a fretless for 25 years, but none of their artists really jumped on it. I figured I'd give it a shot, and see what comes of it. Definitely a different approach - no bending strings, vibrato more like a cello - takes a minute to adjust, but after that it feels natural.


In early 2006, Vigier would release a Bumblefoot signature guitar:

Yes, Vigier just put it out in January 2006. Nothing crazy, not a flying foot or a chunk of cheese - a 'Normal' guitar, customized with the pickups and wiring I use (split coil and out-of-phase settings,) non-floating vibrato (stays in tune when you break a string,) and a hole to stick your thimble when you're not using it Razz

Yeah, about the thimble (metal cap used in sewing that you put over your fingertip so you don't get jabbed with the needle...), I keep it on the little finger of my picking hand and tap with it - after the neck ends and the string keeps going, I use it to get the higher notes.


Bumblefoot would also occasionally use a thimble for tapping:

I don't think I'm doing anything physically different from other players, maybe just the choice of notes and phrasing. Maybe the only difference is the metal cap or thimble on one of the fingertips so I can tap above the fretboard and still get sustained notes off the string. You can hear that in the song "Guitars SUCK", the real high notes, that's all tapping with the thimble.


At one point, Bumblefoot played in a cover band:

I did have a cover band back then. What cover songs were we doing at the time… We were doing covers of GN’R. [...]We’d do “Brownstone”, “My Michelle”, uh, what else… I think we did “Jungle”. A bunch of stuff off of Appetite. I had a band called Leonard Nimoy – you know, the guy on Star Trek? He played Spock – and we would do covers of AC/DC, Kiss and Aerosmith, Guns, and… It’s pretty funny, we would – no, I shouldn’t even get into that story, it’s too much! We just did some crazy shit.



1995: THE ADVENTURES OF BUMBLEFOOT


I had a band and got signed to a small indie label that released the two out-of-print albums. [...] So I signed the deal, part of the deal was the label wanted an all-instrumental guitar album from me - that was the first album, "Adventures..." [...] .


In 2010, Bumblefoot would re-release this album and he would be asked if he now when looking back at the album would have changed something:

I wouldn't change anything. Not now. I think I go through a pattern with every album I do - I finish the album, I'm happy with it, a week later I start hearing the things I'd change, I'm haunted by more and more changes... it's actually *me* that's changing, I start to feel like I've outgrown the album, like it represents who I am less and less as time goes on. Then after a few years I accept it as part of a previous chapter of life, and I'm ok with it, and feel good about it. The only thing I ever would have changed was some of the vocal screaming in the song 'Q Fever' – my voice was blown out from recent gigs, and couldn't deliver the intensity of what I wanted to do. I had a deadline, I couldn't wait a few days for my throat to heal and retry it with the vocal tone I pictured. But I'm ok with it. It's imperfect, as albums should be – they should be *human*, imperfect like a real person. Shrapnel Records is the label that released the album originally, and are re-releasing it. I worked with them on it, I updated the artwork and added bonus tracks from a videogame soundtrack I did back then, around the same time the album first came out. I'll be selling autographed copies of the CD at www.baldfreak.com - it's the official webstore for all my CDs & merch. And I'll be donating $5 from every autographed album to Multiple Sclerosis research. I also made a transcription book of the album - it took 6 months to write out, it's 200 pages. It has every detail of what I played on the album – notes, fingers, picking, tablature... that'll be at the webstore too.



1997: HERMIT


"Hermit" was released in 1997, it was the second album released under the artist name "Ron Thal" - it's out-of-print along with the first album in 1995, "The Adventures Of Bumblefoot."


Talking about the difference between Adventures and Hermit:

I had a band and got signed to a small indie label that released the two out-of-print albums. The band sounded like the stuff you hear on the "Hands" CD (debut Bumblefoot album released 1998). We were gigging in and around NYC, I was teaching music, playing in cover bands with friends and doing some photography on the side. [...] I guess that's the main difference - the first "Adventures..." album was all instrumental, the second "Hermit" album was more of what I do, singin' and band-oriented stuff. Never wanted to be a guitar hero, just wanted to make songs and be in a band.



1997: HANDS


This would be Bumblefoot's first album released as Bumblefoot. Being asked if there is any difference to album released by Ron Thal and by Bumblefoot:

Yes - you can find Bumblefoot CDs anywhere on the internet. You can't find Ron Thal CDs - I don't own the rights to the albums, the label won't re-release them, your only choices are to buy them for $100 on eBay when someone sells one, or "illegally" download them. Although it doesn't seem very illegal to download an album, if the record label makes it impossible for people to buy.



2001: 9/11


The album was half-instrumental and was gonna be called "Guitars Suck," but as I was finishing it up, the terrorist attacks in the US happened, and I felt I needed to do something helpful with the album, so I donated all the proceeds to the Red Cross. I changed the name so people would easily identify it as the benefit album.



2002: UNCOOL



2005: NORMAL


In the mid-2000s Bumblefoot got addicted to mood-altering medication, got overweigh ("Bumblefat", as he would refer to himself back then) and experienced a writer's block [Guitar World, February 2009].

At that point I knew things had to change. So I decided that it was about time I got my shit in order. I weaned myself off the meds, started exercising and finished my next album [2005’s Normal]

I went as long as could without making music, until it felt like I was denying myself something valuable to my soul,' he told me. 'For a year-and-a-half I was content, at peace – at its best it felt like a celebration with a slight buzz. I got past whatever I needed to, I was out of the hole, all healed up, ready to put the crutches down, so I did. I remember wondering if-and-when things would start to revert back to how they were before. It was weeks after stopping, I didn't feel any different yet, but people started to ask me 'what was wrong?' he recalled. 'They said I looked, I guess the best word would be 'conflicted'. My face was changing - people saw it, but I still felt fine. Not long after, it hit me, while waiting on line at the Post Office - I remember the feeling, it was like seeing the first dead leaf on the ground and knowing Summer's over. But ya know, I wouldn't change a thing. That’s what I meant before - it's about experiencing life and having something to share.


Explaining the title of the record:

Normal brings you into the world of an insane musician who takes medication and experiences what it's like to be 'normal' for the first time - but the medicine silences his ability to make music. Eventually he must choose which life he wants. The songs on Normal follow his journey, leaving you to ponder, "What's 'normal,' anyway?"

"Normal" is a true story of a musician who was suffering from depression. He starts taking medicine, and for the first time in his life, he feels "normal". The only problem, he soon realizes, is that the medicine is blocking his ability to write music, his head was once filled with music, and it's now silent. Through the album he evaluates different parts of his life from a new perspective. Eventually, he feels he must choose what's more important to him - the happiness with silence, or music. In the end, he chooses music, but takes with him everything he just experienced, everything he realized about life, that there is no "normal", there just is what is, and what we make of what is.

The album is about *balance*, realizing that good and bad are only ideas, they only exist in our perception, and they are interlocking pieces that complete each other, creating the whole. They're one and the same, a piece of one in the other, and they only exist as what we choose to see them as. Getting to experience the same life from two opposite points of view make you realize, there is no pretty, no ugly, it's how we choose to process what we see - the object doesn't change, how we objectify it is what changes. And it is something we absolutely choose. We can't control what we will encounter in life, we can only control our reactions to it.

The Normal album touched on making the choice, whether to continue on meds and sacrifice creativity, or get off them so I can do what I love, making music, at the risk falling back into Hell. In the end you realize you're not powerless, it starts with your perception of things and how you choose to react to everything. It's where life was at self-discovery-wise, learning to give up control and not try to change what we can't, and to just roll with it all, to learn, and draw from your experiences. I think an emotional charge can push creative moments, I think it's a personal expression, a look inside a person, I think free thinking helps creativity flow, but I don't think artistry completely coincides with mental disorder. But I'm the wrong guy to ask, haha.


Being asked if it is autobiographical:

Yes, for the most part. Some of the silly songs that break up the story a bit aren't completely autobiographical, but the overall concept is.

[...] the fifth Bumblefoot album "Normal" was recently released, we did a European tour in October/November of 2005, made a video for one of the songs, got some radio airplay, some TV shows played the songs as background music - always funny when that happens, ya don't expect it, suddenly ya hear it and I'm saying "What the...?" as if I'm hearing things...


With the release of "Normal", Bumblefoot had seven records out:

So there are seven albums released, the first two are "Ron Thal" albums and near impossible to find, the other five are
"Bumblefoot" albums.


And being asked where one can get his albums:

I release them myself on the internet, but not in stores. They're at my site, Cdbaby , Amazon, iTunes - you can get them anywhere in the world , as long as ya can get on the internet...


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