APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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SoulMonster
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

35. 2015: AXL AND SLASH MAKE PEACE, DJ LEAVES THE BAND, WILL 2016 BE THE YEAR OF THE REUNION?

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35. 2015: AXL AND SLASH MAKE PEACE, DJ LEAVES THE BAND, WILL 2016 BE THE YEAR OF THE REUNION? - Page 2 Empty Re: 35. 2015: AXL AND SLASH MAKE PEACE, DJ LEAVES THE BAND, WILL 2016 BE THE YEAR OF THE REUNION?

Post by Soulmonster Sat Mar 16, 2024 6:09 am

LEARNING AND PLAYING THE CHINESE DEMOCRACY MATERIAL

Whereas re-learning the Appetite and Illusion songs was easy [see earlier chapter], Slash and Duff were more challenged in making the Chinese Democracy songs "their own":

So I think Slash and I were, like, challenged with thinks, like, "How do we make these kind of ours?" Because we're gonna play these, so we're gonna take ownership of these and we went in and started, like, we learned them first and then went in and started playing with Frank, and then Richard came in but, like, "Let's tear these songs down first to really know them." So it was just Slash and I and Frank. Playing songs like Better and Chinese Democracy songs- [...] We do, we know a bunch of [the Chinese Democracy songs], it depends in the set. "But let's tear these songs down and really get to know them and then build it up from there." [...] but any other than all the Illusion stuff and Appetite, it didn't take long at all. It took a day.


Axl would also pop into the rehearsals to see how it was going:

And then it was rehearsals. And I went down to rehearsal, and everything just sounded right. And we just went to work. It was time to sing, see what the sound sounded like and stuff and get ready for the show, and it was all working, you know, so.

It was just, you know, getting into rehearsals, it was really just kind of one day at a time. I don't know that I thought too much about how far ahead. It was just really cool to play some of the music with the guys that I was playing it with.


Richard would talk about how important the rehearsals were for the band since "the world was watching":

I've been in the band for 14-15 years. You know, we were preparing for this tour, we knew how important this was going to be historically, you know, this is a big deal and we had to make it as perfect as we possibly could. And we really put a lot of time in rehearsing and more than we'd ever done before, for this tour. We knew how important it was. There's an air of importance. We knew it had to be great, the world was watching.


Duff would talk about his desire to do good on the Chinese Democracy material:

I really got to discover, in the best of ways, the album Chinese Democracy that he made and it was these songs he had worked on. And I had listened to the record, but when you start to play the songs as a player, you really discover everything under, all the layers in the songs. But really kind of how you hear it and how I'm hearing the songs are maybe a little bit different. And when we went into rehearsals, we wanted to really own that… like this is gonna be what we're doing. This is what we're doing.


And Axl would mention that playing songs off Chinese Democracy had been Duff and Slash's initiative:

I didn’t have to tell Slash anything about embracing the… working on the Chinese Democracy songs or how to play them he just embraced them and worked really hard- I had no idea how they were going to sound. I've never heard him play certain ways. The last times we talked, you know, he was saying "I don’t want to work that hard, duhduhduh." So, for him to take on Buckethead and Bumblehead's part… "Bumblehead". "Bucketfoot" . Buckethead and Bumblefoot's parts. And just stepped to it on his own and work at it and liked it and enjoyed it. That helped a lot. They worked really good in rehearsals together.

I didn't have anything, really, to do with that. They stepped to songs on Chinese. They asked, "Which ones are you interested in us doing?'" and stuff, and they stepped to that on their own. They started working with Frank, 'cause they had their own way of working with the drummer, and working with the rhythms, and kind of picked up the tempo on some of the old songs a bit and things like that, and got their communication working. So they spent a good while with that on their own.


Richard would also describe how Duff and Slash had approached the Chinese Democracy material:

We all threw in ideas and then played through everything. The ones that were working the best were the ones we went with. In terms of Slash and Duff tackling the Chinese Democracy material, they took a straightforward approach. They both have such strongly unique musical personalities and they insert those personalities into the songs. I love the way we’ve been doing those songs on this tour.


In December 2017, Arlett Vereecke, the band's former publicist and close friend of Duff and in particular Slash, would claim that "somebody in the band" had said they played the Chinese Democracy material better than "Axl's band":

Well let me quote somebody in the band who said, "Well, at least we play it better than Axl's band did it on the record" [laughs].


In 2018, Slash would talk about his approach to playing the material and praise the guitarists on Chinese Democracy:

You know, it’s very different… it’s really cool stuff, but it was played by guitar players that are very different from me style-wise. I’ve sort of adapted my own way of playing those songs to where I feel comfortable with them, but without losing the integrity of how the guitar parts go. So it’s been a lot of fun to do, like, the song “Chinese Democracy,” which I love playing. And there’s a song we’ve been playing lately called “Madagascar,” which, I don’t even know exactly what the guitar parts are on the original at this point because I’ve changed it so much. [laughs] That said, I also want to give credit where credit’s due — the guitar players that played on Chinese Democracy, Buckethead being one of the main ones — are fucking amazing guitar players. I have to give those guys a shout-out because that stuff was cool. Very different from what I normally do. So it’s been interesting learning some of the stuff that was on that record. I definitely had to figure out ways to adapt to it.

The other side of it was figuring out what my version of The Chinese Democracy stuff would be like, because that was a whole different Guns N’ Roses animal in terms of the musicians involved. A lot of it I thought was really cool, like Buckethead did some cool shit so I would stick to that but do it in my own way so it didn’t feel too foreign or like I was squeezing a round peg into a square hole. That was interesting and fun… more fun than it was intimidating.

And so, you know, when we started doing the rehearsals for the Guns tour and you know, we started looking at the different songs from Chinese Democracy. They're great songs and you know, there was sort of an interesting thing for me to sort of figure out how to play them my way, you know, but still keep the integrity of the guitar parts and all that kind of stuff. And it was a lot of fun and, you know, just the the way that they sound is really, I mean, the songs are intact and we didn't change anything but there's an element of of input of Duff and I that sort of was added to that and I think it's cool. It makes it really fun to play. And like I said, the integrity of the songs is intact. So it's cool.


And discuss how Richard helped him learn the parts but that he came up with his own spin on them:

If there’s something specifically that needs to get worked out, like with Richard—because a lot of that Chinese Democracy stuff, obviously, I didn’t have anything to do with writing it, so it was sort of foreign to me—he definitely had his parts and he showed me what some of the other parts were. We would jam the stuff and I would come up with my own interpretation of what those other parts were. But for the most part, Richard just does his thing and I do mine.


When specifically asked about his changes to Better:

Some of the stuff I won’t do note-for-note because it doesn’t have a serious melodic significance to the song. It sounded like they were making it up...

Any of the 'Chinese Democracy' stuff, the way that that stuff evolved was really Duff and I sort of learning the songs and the integrity of the songs and playing it the way that we would play them. They're such different musicians that actually recorded, so they ended up sounding the way that they ended up sounding, but the arrangements are more or less the same. We did change the intro... that was actually just some idea, something that came actually from another piece of material, and it just somehow morphed into the intro for that song because it was so cool.
Soulmonster
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