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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

28. AUGUST 2008-FEBRUARY 2009: CHINESE DEMOCRACY IS RELEASED

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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:27 am

UNRELEASED SONGS AFTER THE RELEASE OF
CHINESE DEMOCRACY


According to people involved in the various recording sessions, and people who were invited to listen to some of the music while in development, there was a lot of material in various states of completion.

Axl would be asked if he had 2-3 albums of unreleased material after the release of Chinese Democracy, and respond:

For now we'll concentrate and keep our focus on this album but I will say I've always thought of it as a double. And no offence but no one's trying to talk in parables. The issues are a bit more complex than anyone would like.


In early 2009 he would claim they had less than Sebastian Bach thought:

Not as much as Baz [Sebastian Bach] thinks he heard! Really, it doesn't matter.


And when asked if this unreleased material was finished:

Depends how you look at it.


But would comment on what the unreleased music was like:

What I can say is if you don't like this, then you probably won't like that. Same people, lots more approaches, bit meaner in places and darker in some. Robin does a really great Stevie Ray Vaughan-type solo on one track.


Chris would also be asked about the amount of unreleased music they had:

Yes, we did have a large collection of songs recorded through the years, and many I don't even remember now! But to think of a favorite song right now as we speak, I would have to say its one called 'Beta's Barn'.


And Bumblefoot would mention that he had added parts to songs that weren't included on Chinese Democracy, and that these songs would be released on the next albums:

The songs released in Chinese Democracy weren't all of what we recorded. There's more and we expect to use it in the next albums.


When asked to talk amore about the unreleased songs (and the alternate Chinese Democracy covers and booklet), Bumblefoot got tight-lipped:

Ah man, I never get into things that haven't happened - it can affect the final outcome of things, ya can't do that. It's like going up to a stranger and saying, 'In 10 seconds I'm gonna try to steal your car.'  Guaranteed, the outcome won't be the same. So I never talk about plans, things that haven't happened yet - also, as I'm here typing this, managers could be walking out of a meeting in LA, and I don't know what's up until they tell me. Anything I'd say would be mis-information until it's so absolutely undeniably definite, in which case you'd probably find out from them soon after I did.  In my own band, there's less riding on things, it's ok to open the window and let everyone see inside. And I enjoy that, making videos in the studio as an album's being recorded, letting people know what I'm planning for myself - no biggie, if the plans don't happen, it's not like multi-million dollar companies have invested time and the work of hundreds of people are affected by the change. There's a need for protection and privacy when it comes to GNR bizz, or anything on that level. I know it can make you feel frustrated, invisible, abandoned - even though it sucks, I hope you understand that there's too much at stake to risk being irresponsible with information.


Still, a bit later in the same interview he would share some more information:

I played on a good handful of songs that weren't on Chi Dem. Can't predict what the fate of any of those songs will be. I haven't written any new songs with GNR, would like to see it get to that point.


When asked what his favourite GN'R song is, Richard responded:

It's one YOU haven't heard yet!


The following list song titles that have been confirmed to be real and have been confirmed to be bogus [to be updated]:

Confirmed to be real: Atlas Shrugged [htgth.com, December 12, 2008; chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Soul Monster/Elvis Presley and the Monster of Soul/Leave Me Alone [mygnrforum, December 12, 2008]; Silkworms [Leith FM 98.8, October 23, 2008; chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008; also played live], [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Ides Of March [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Oklahoma/Berlin [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008; chinesedemocracy.com, December 14, 2008], Down By The Ocean (Izzy) [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Seven [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], The General [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Thyme [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Quick Song [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008], Zodiac [chinesedemocracy.com, December 13, 2008]; Beta's Barn [htgth.com, March 28, 2009].

Confirmed to not be real: No Love Remains [htgth.com, December 12, 2008], Take That [htgth.com, December 12, 2008], When Love Collides [htgth.com, December 12, 2008].

Details of some of the unreleased tracks:

THE GENERAL


You may have heard parts of it somewhere.



ATLAS SHRUGGED


Song doesn't have all that much to do with the book other than trying to do what you believe in and a line about shoulders not being wide enough.


When asked if Brian May would be featured on the song:

Perhaps on an alternate or bits, on that track it has more to do with recording issues and getting the mix to a good level.



THE SOUL MONSTER


The bridge in "Elvis Presley and the Monster of Soul aka The Soul Monster (working title Leave Me Alone)" which will no doubt end up "Soul Monster". I think it's r most Black Sabbath moment. Sang it on a Christmas eve. Imo the meanest section of anything I've sung to date. Which having said that I'm sure when it's heard others may disagree but we felt it was a Christmas card of unadulterated venom so to speak. I felt a lot better afterward.



SILKWORMS


Chris being asked if Silkworms has "a future as a B-side or future release":

I hope so. That song in particular that you are talking about, ‘Silkworms’, it ended up being this incredible track that sounded like Guns N’ Roses 10 or 15 years in the future. It was so far removed from our other songs that we had to put it in this other place. Concept-wise, it didn’t fit with Chinese Democracy. We hope we will have other songs that match that kind of futuristic sound. It’s a really exciting track because it morphs into this crazy sound, but it was out so much in the other direction that we have to let time catch up with it.

has a lot of guitars, lots of different drum the chorus is gone.
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:30 am

FEBRUARY 2009
AXL REEMERGES FOR INTERVIEWS, BLAMES THE MEDIA FOR BEING "PRO-SLASH"


In February 2009, Axl would do his first interview after the release of Chinese Democracy, and do sporadic interviews throughout the year.

Axl would say that the reason he didn't do much promotion was due to bad relations with the media:

The opinions expressed or "jumped" on publicly regarding promotion seem to be [about] my or our involvement with mainstream media -- talk shows, rock magazines and dot-coms -- which have generally held negative public stances toward myself or the band for years, [and they] unfortunately have not been resolved. Efforts are being made to understand the relationships and evaluate how best to proceed.

I didn't talk forever. If I talk I need to 'shut the f-- up.' If I don't talk, it's much worse.


He would also explain why he chose Billboard/Reuters as the first magazine for an interview despite them having "generally taken a "pro-Slash and -old Guns position" in the past and having been "particularly ugly toward [him] and the band for years":

Lots of reasons I've gone into elsewhere, but I can say why I'm doing this one. First, because in all this time it's one of the first actually formally presented: I was asked to consider it, I liked the questions and I felt it was a good time to address some of these issues publicly. Also, because it's my understanding that these answers may be "considered" for use with Billboard.com and Reuters [with which Billboard has a syndication deal] and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to express myself accordingly.

With Reuters, I get their reach. That said, they've been particularly ugly toward me and this band for years, with nearly everything they've written being condescending or negatively judgmental with the cute little press trick of using negative adjectives across the board whenever they've written anything. In our regard they're one of the media outlets that appear to continually attempt to set a tone for a negative mainstream public perception regarding either us or myself, at least in the United States, if not the world.

I get freedom of the press, but I'm not clear in regard to their writers or those who choose to run their spin, why someone who no one's ever heard of with so little "real" information is deemed qualified -- let alone allowed so much corporate backing -- to promote negative and often completely inaccurate and purely opinion-based (at best, if that) shots in forums with so much exposure at the public's and our expense.

Billboard.com has generally taken a pro-Slash and -old Guns position as well, and I don't recall having been particularly negative toward them previously either. In my opinion it seems a bit less professional than tabloid in nature. This is an attempt to begin sorting these things out when more than shots across the bow have been taken by both of these organizations -- but obviously much more so with Reuters -- if not a deliberate public stating of both position and intention, in my opinion.


In February 2010, Axl would again talk about what he considered inaccuracies in the media and again claim that the media is more supportive of Slash than of him:

So in closing...Fuck the LA Times, TMZ, Contact Music n' Spinner. I don't need "forgiven" for alleged n' fabricated nonsense. I've no respect for mean spirited aholes gettin' paid talkin' shit at other's expense or irresponsible biased partisan politics wanna be journalism by dated hacks. Go on! Back ur boy! But when he says he never killed no one that ain't exactly true. Yeah, that's right, stone cold. So if we happen to play your neighborhood or for that matter anywhere at anytime regardless of the circumstances, presales, public sales, give aways, even free shows consider yourself uninvited. It's a free country but you're formally n' publicly not welcome.

Bottom line is we ain't makin' efforts to rain on ur parade why piss on or take cheap shots at r's. Oh that's rt...how u make ur livin's all that counts not others, whatever. U ain't above anyone regardless of who or what corporation u work for n' unfortunately most of u'll get to learn that the hard way.


"Back ur boy!" is highly likely a reference to the media being Slash-friendly. Around the same time as Axl made these comments, Slash had discussed his previous drug use and state he didn't regret it because "he never killed anyone" [QC, February 1, 2010], and Axl obviously suggests that isn't the case, likely having the overdose of Todd Crew in mind [see earlier chapter].

In the years leading up to the release of Chinese Democracy, media had often referred to the album as "Axl's masterpiece" and this probably resulted in Del James asking Axl if he had ever felt or told his band mates they had to make a "masterpiece":

Of course not -- more unaccountable nonsense. Obviously, media, elements of the public, fans and our detractors had all kinds of things going on such as high hopes, expectations, pressure, naysayers, etc. I don't think anyone would mind discovering a diamond mine and I don't think anyone in any competitive field would get very far if they didn't have dreams, aspirations or simply hope to do well. That said, these types of comments are more from our detractors, pulled out of their ass if not thin air.


And on whether he had set out to create the "best album ever made":

No. That's f---ing ridiculous and more negative media nonsense. We were all just trying to do our best for the fans and ourselves.


In July 2009, Lonn M. Friend, longtime friend of Guns N' Roses and former editor of RIP Magazine, would talk about Axl and his bad relationship with the press:

Well, Axl had a pathological aversion to the press. We reap the benefit of that, eh, of that illness, because he only trusted Del (James), and I hired (him) to be senior editor of RIP not long after he got here from New York, he was hanging out with Axl. But there's something to be said about that trust between a writer and a rocker, however it has been taken to almost pathological extremes with Axl because he really was so overly paranoid about how he was perceived. Kim Neely (?) did some fantastic stuff with him in Rolling Stone's, but when you think about it, man, Axl in 20 years has probably talked to three or four journalists and that is an astounding fact.
Used Bin Radio Show, July 14, 2009


Friend would then be asked why he hadn't done a long-form interview with Axl lately, and reveal that they were not friends anymore:

Okay, I will give you two facts, and this impacts that whole scenario. First fact is that Axl was angry with me for a line I said in the VH1 Behind the Scenes on Metallica in 1998. I said something to the effect that what Guns N' Roses is in radio and media has been erased from memory and Metallica to rule the world. That was trying to speak in context, that they hadn't found their classic rock format yet, this is 11 years ago. But he got really angry with me, he told his whole scene to cut off all ties to me and that was that. And the second point, which is pertinent, is, I wrote a letter to Axl at the behest of Jimmie Iovine (?) in 1999 when Jimmie was trying to figure out how to get the Guns N' Roses record out through Geffen. That was the only time I spent three hours with Jimmie Iovine and we talked about Axl.[Long digression on the Jimmie guy]. But I wrote a long letter to him and it was delivered to him and I never really got much of a response. I tried to explain myself, I though that that was an adequate explanation for that moment. I am also all about forgiveness too.
Used Bin Radio Show, July 14, 2009


The comments Friend had made in the VH1 special:

Isn’t it funny how history has almost erased Guns N’ Roses? One of the great frontmen in the past twenty years disappeared. Yet Metallica continues to play anywhere in the world in front of any mass of people, comes out with a new record which will always go platinum, they are the Led Zeppelin of this generation.
VH-1: Behind The Music episode on Metallica, November 28, 1998


Friend would also mention trying to meet with Axl at a recent show (likely in 2006):

The show that you guys attended, at the Universal Amphitheatre, I was taken to that show by, uhm, the junkman from KMNC.com (?). He said 'I wanna take you to the show', I said 'I don't think I will feel comfortable there', he said 'no man, you're going there as my guest, we've got second row seats right behind the (?) and we're gonna have a great time, you'll see lots of people you know', so we went. And I really kinda felt like...to me it was like Las Vegas Guns N' Roses and there were parts of it that I really enjoyed, but afterwards, we were waiting to see if Axl's gonna show and stuff and Del comes up to me and he goes, I swear, 'don't let him see you', and I go 'what?', and he goes 'Axl, he's still (?)', 'Del, you gotta be kidding?' and he 'no, man, he's got a loooong memory'.
Used Bin Radio Show, July 14, 2009


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:33 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:31 am

THE FOLLOW-UP TO CHINESE DEMOCRACY


With plenty of material having been worked on through the years and Axl having indicated he considered the project to result in at least two albums, there would be a tremendous amount of speculation on when the next album would be released among fans and press alike.

In December 2008, not long after the release of Chinese Democracy, when asked if he had a tentative release date, Axl would suggest a new album in about a year's time but that this was uncertain:

No, maybe same bat time, same bat channel next year but we'll have to see.


A couple of days later he would be asked when the next record was coming out and whether he was "still planning the multiyear thing":

No idea and that was someone else’s thoughts.


He would also restate his thoughts that the next album would be connected to Chinese Democracy like a double album:

[The follow-up has] a lot more different styles than on this one. As I’ve said it seems more like a double album to me meaning Chinese and the followup.


In February 2009, Axl would again stress that although they wanted to release another album, the focus was on Chinese Democracy:

We'd like to get another album out at some point, but for now our focus is on "Chinese."


And later the same month when asked when the next record was coming out he would pour cold water over anybody's hope of a quick release:

Have no idea and don't care. Hopefully, we'll be working 'Chinese' for a good bit. Of course there's the same idiots that have been around forever already demanding release dates. [...] If things go well enough, we'd like to get another out at some point in our lifetimes.


In Mid-2009, Bumblefoot would be asked if they planned a trilogy of albums:

I wouldn't expect for a trilogy because I learned that each album gets its own life and it doesn't matter if we want to plan this kind of thing. It doesn't work always.


And in early 2010 he would be asked what fans can expect about future albums:

Ya' never know what's gonna happen, and the thing about G N' R is just when you think you know what direction the storm is moving in, it does a 180° and just defies nature (laughs). You can never predict.


Bumblefoot would also share his thought son what Guns N' Roses should do:

What I would love to see happen is that we buy a big compound (laughs), our headquarters, somewhere to work - Metallica has a cool place like that. A place where we can record, where we can write, where we can rehearse, where we can take care of business, and can do everything. This is just my imagination, what I would love to see happen. I mentioned this to them before too, saying "We should get a studio". I think they looked into it years ago, but it didn't happen. A studio though where we can be our own record label, and put out G N' R albums as well as anything else that anyone else wants to do, and when we're on tour, make the studio available for whoever else - if Caram for example, the guy who did 'Chinese Democracy', wants to work with someone in there. I would just love to see a place where we can just make music, and just take care of things. That would be my happy little scenario, if I had one, kind of like what I have in New Jersey - just it's very small (laughs).

In New Jersey, I have this small house that is just a place to write, record, rehearse, and do anything I wanna do musically. It's my bat cave, my headquarters, my compound, my escape (laughs). My place to make music. It's just a hundred year old house that I've been improving, and making nicer and nicer. We did the bathroom, which is now beautiful, put in a tankless water heater, and now you have instant hot water that never runs out... an electric tankless water heater - it kicks ass. Just stuff like that. I would just love to be more independent, basically, and that's what I'm saying. I would love for G N' R to be very independent, where it just does its own thing its own way, and however it wants to. It's like that already, and I think conflicts come when you have such a unique situation that is in a cookie cutter record business.

I'm not a fan of the music business, or the music industry. I am very much not a fan of it, and I think that every musician should be self-sufficient, and do things their own way. I think G N' R kind of does that, but it ends up being a battle with a music industry that wants it to follow the same mould. I can't say for sure, because I have not been in meetings with management or the label, and I don't want to be. I just wanna play guitar and make music - everything else is a headache that I don't want (laughs). Just tell me when to get onstage. But that would be what I would love to see happen; I would love to see G N' R be very independent, and just do whatever the fuck it wants to do, however it wants.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:34 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:32 am

EXPLAINING THE LYRICS


In December 2008, Axl would discuss what influences his lyrics and whether the songs were about specific persons:

The whole whose it about bit w/songs doesn't work for me that much as in whether a line or whatever was inspired by a particular person or situation doesn't mean that in the end that's what or who the song's about. I could be working with clay and think of someone or something and somehow that could inspire me to take the work in a different direction at the moment but in the end it could just be a nice vase. I often wonder where the people who inspired so many songs are now and why it's only important with some songs such as Layla as opposed to others. I'm guessin' a fair # of beautiful love songs or otherwise were inspired by some that the artists and public might consider now or in hindsight to be the opposite of how they are depicted or allegedly represented. [...]
Also where possible I'd like to give people the opportunity to get what they can from the material for a while before clouding that with my inspirations. Of course that's not always avoidable.


Fans had speculated that the lyrics to Sorry was directed at Slash or fans, and Axl specifically addressed that:

With Sorry.. like a lot of the material is drawn from a lot of different situations. The main focus on the boards w/the track seems to be either Slash or "the fans" (and the collective of "the fans" is another thing that doesn't work for me) and is much too restrictive or narrow and limits what I feel I intended.
For me it's for anyone talking nonsense at mine and the public's expense and that many of those as well as the public don't know who to believe.


And which women had inspired the ballads:

Ha! We’ll get to these a bit later as they’re a bit more complicated than a simple answer of a few names but most are composites and became much more about the song than particular individuals. Also again I’d like people to have a chance to develop their own relationship with the material a bit. Not dodging as most of these answers will come out over time.


Axl would also be asked if the lyrics references the making of the album:

I'd say there's a lot in the lyrics regarding the journey to make the album, even if not in so many words.


When asked what the line, "Why would I choose to prostitute myself to live with fortune and fame?" from the song Prostitute meant, Axl replied:

In this business, someone is always telling you why to compromise on every issue imaginable. Generally ... it's just personal interests as opposed to what's best for the music or anyone involved, and least of all the fans, regardless of their preferences. It's about money in the short term. However you can be used to make whatever anyone can for whatever reason is important to them for the quick buck that's what you deal with 24/7.
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:33 am

CHINESE DEMOCRACY
THE REMIX ALBUM


In December 2008, Axl would mention that they had made a remix of Oh My God:

There’s a remix w/lots of new vocals and a wilder guitar intro but it’s not taken all that seriously.


And later Brain would talk about making a remix of Shackler's Revenge and that Axl wants to release a remix album:

Axl is really interested in having everybody bring what they do into the picture. I just did a remix of “Shackler’s,” made it kind of more club. And I think he wants to put out a remix album of some of the other songs we did. The great thing is he lets you do what you do. He still has the final say and wants it to work as a Guns N’ Roses cut. But he definitely will let you stretch it out in that way, and I think that’s where my influences come in. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and R&B. I listen to all of Questlove’s productions. Every time a Roots album comes out I’m in line at the store; I’m still a fan that way.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:45 pm

MERCHANDIZE


I haven't been involved much in any of our merch and the reasons are it's been a mess legally for years. Unbeknownst to most of you I was recently sued again by Duff and Slash for some murky Merckiness that I was unaware and not involved in. Fortunately that was resolved but it got ugly and took a while going into arbitration. Merck shifted our merch from some of our newer styles to incorporating more of the old with some scam that actually and surprisingly lost sales in comparison but that's old news. What I look forward to is incorporating the new artwork into our merch and getting some for myself. I think u'll like a lot of it. My vote's for the How Are You grenade and the Sorry automatic rifle artwork on shirts etc.
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