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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!
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The General

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The General Empty The General

Post by Soulmonster Thu Jul 13, 2023 10:54 am

The General Newbor11
THE GENERAL
Album:
Released on streaming platforms and on the b-side of the "Perhaps" 7'' single on December 8, 2023.



Written by:
Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Brain, Steve "Extrakd" Freeman and Marc "Mirv" Haggard.

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose
Guitar: Slash
Bass, background vocals: Duff McKagan
Guitar: Richard Fortus
Drums: Brain
Keyboards: Dizzy Reed
Keyboards: Chris Pitman
Keyboards: Caram Constanzo
Strings: Marco Beltrami
Guitar: Marc "Mirv" Haggard

Produced by Axl and Caram Constanzo

Information:
Written and originally recorded during the Chinese Democracy era. One of the songs Marco Beltrami worked on in the summer of 2002. Speculated to be about child abuse. The new version of the song leaked in October 2023 after the official release was postponed to December 2023.

Live performances:
Parts of Marco Beltrami's orchestral arrangement had been played as an introduction to Chinese Democracy during live shows in 2006 and 2010 [see below]. The song got its live debut at The Hollywood Bowl on November 2, 2023. It was then played at the following show the Hell and Heaven Open Air Festival in Toluca, Mexico, on November 5, 2023.
Lyrics:

Daddy, don't
I swear I won't
I'll be good from now on
And I'm awful sorry

Daddy, don't
The hell I won't
I won't be good anymore
And you'll all be sorry

Can anybody tell me
Why the pain, it just won't stop?
Can anybody help me?
This pain, it just won't stop

My only regret
Is that I never took the time to forget
All those unspoken feelings
That were never spared
At those who understand
That love deserves respect
And not distorted meaning

Daddy, don't
I swear I won't
I'll be good from now on
And I'm awful sorry

Daddy, don't
The hell I won't
I won't be good anymore
And you'll all be sorry

Can anybody tell me
Why the pain, it just won't stop?
Can anybody help me?
This pain, it just won't stop

My only regret
Is that I never took the time to forget
All those unspoken feelings
That were never spared
At those who understand
That love deserves respect
And not distorted meaning

Don't know what to tell you now
It's never really what they tell you now
Don't know what they tell you now
And not really what they tell you now
Don't know what to tell you now
It ain't really what they tell you now
Don't know what to tell you now
It ain't really what they tell you now

My only regret
Is that I never took the time to forget
All those unspoken feelings
That were never spared
At those who understand
That love deserves respect
And not distorted meaning

Is that I never took the time to forget


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

In 2002, composer Marco Beltrami would mention the songs he had worked on, and include The General among them:

[Being asked which songs it were]: A song called "Seven," which is the one that I did the most work on, I actually did some writing on. There was one called "Thyme," one called "The General," one called "Leave Me Alone."


The General was a song that Brain had started writing two years earlier, in 2000:

Because we were talking about Tommy and you just mentioned the song, The General and it’s funny, because I have a story. Because, you know, this album that I’m making right now with some old friends, we just decided to kind of… it started out as bowling night out type thing, where I have a friend that has this rad studio in Berkeley, and he was like, “Hey Brain, I’m taking off to Mexico or something for a couple of months to work on this project. You can just have the studio, and come in and jam, and do stuff”. So I called up my friend Mirv [Marc Haggard] who was part of the Limbomaniacs with me and stuff like that, and my friend Extrakd [Steve Freeman], who was kind of like a dj who worked on this El Stew album that Bucket actually played on also along with this dj Eddie Def and dj Disk, and then Bucket was on it and stuff. So, it’s funny, because how The General came about was, we were supposed to – you know, this was like building up to that show [House of Blues]. We were supposed to – well, not supposed to, but everybody was like, “Hey, if anybody’s got songs and shit, you can bring them in”. And so that song, The General, was a song that… you know, Extrakd and Mirv and I, when I wasn’t doing Guns stuff, we’d just jam in my living room type of thing. You know, we had, like, a ProTools setup and we were jamming, and we were trying to come up with songs for Guns. And, you know, we had this song called… we called it “The General” because we were eating General’s chicken. [...] But when I turned it in to Axl, he thought it was called “The General” because I was kind of making fun of Tommy, as Tommy was the band's, you know, kind of like the MD, he was like the musical director when we’d have rehearsals. And he thought I was poking fun at Tommy as being like a general, you know, like, “Okay, we’re rehearsing at this time” and that kind of shit. And I was like, “No, dude, it was because we ate General’s chicken.” You know, it’s funny, because you said “General” and it all comes back around. Because, you know, we were writing all these crazy songs to try to turn in and these were coming from, like, you know, Extrakd is an old school dj type – he’s a bass player, but he loves old school break beats and, you know, cratedigger type of guy – and so this shit we were putting together was crazy. You know, we were just kind of going like, “Okay, what samples should we find for Axl?” Like, “Well, he’s kind of like Julius Caesar”, so we were sampling Julius Caesar, looking for albums, you know, and old school crazy shit. And I think we sampled, like, Ben Hur and chopped it up and cut it up, and that became a jam called “Seven” – I think we called it “Seven”. And I remember bringing that to the studio to have – I think Roy Thomas Baker was producing at that point and, you know, we’d be playing the stuff and he’d be in. Like, one of the songs that actually is called – the album that we’re making now is called Mars Mechanics and one of the songs we have on the album, we put that on the album, and it was one of the ones that I played for Roy, and, you know, he was like, “What is this, reggae?” And I was just like, “No”, because it was like a Neil Young old school jam that, you know, Mirv was just going off on. But the whole thing was just like, you know, I was turning in all these weirdo songs that were coming, like, way far to the left or whatever, and it was just kind of a crazy story of how that’s… one of them was The General and I think Axl actually sang on The General.


The House of Blues show happened on New Year's Eve of 2000, and with Brain joining the band around April to August 2000, it means that the start to The General happened in the second half of 2000.

Dizzy would mention the song in early 2006 when asked about his favorite track from the then unreleased Chinese Democracy album:

Umm... I don't know... last year Brain had this song called 'The General' that was really cool...


In 2007 and 2008, Sebastian Bach would talk about the song, which now had vocals, after having heard it with Axl:

One of my favorite songs — I asked Axl if I could mention the song titles and he said "Fine" — and one of my favorite songs is this song called "The General", which is so… it's by far the heaviest metal tune I think Ι've ever heard Axl do, this slow, grinding riff with these high, piercing vocals, screaming vocals. I was like, "When is this coming out?" And he said, "2012." I was like, "Dude, you're killin' me!" He goes, "Well, this comes out on the third record. It relates to this song, it's a trilogy, this goes with this lyrically." He's got it all figured out, he's just different than other people. He does things on his own time, in his own way, but you know... the world's not prepared for what I've heard from this guy. It's got the grandness and the epicness of "November Rain" but with the snarl, the attitude of "Appetite". Because the album that I've heard, a lot of the drumming is by Brain, who plays so heavy and mean. It's a really... grand is the word for it, but its still got that attitude. There's some great music comin' your way.
Metal Edge (via Blabbermouth), November 5, 2007

[Bach] says Rose told him that a slow, grinding track called “The General” is “the sequel to [Use Your Illusion II’s] ‘Estranged,’ that goes to the parable that Del James wrote of the trilogy”.


In 2008, Axl would suggest people might have heard parts of the song already, probably hinting to it having been played as an opener at live shows:

You may have heard parts of it somewhere.


And in 2010, this was confirmed when someone on Twitter asked what intros they play at live shows and the official Guns N' Roses account replied:

there are several.. "the General" is probably most played before CD
Guns N' Roses twitter account, December 11, 2010


In 2010, an interviewer would mention to Brain that he (Brain) had written The General, and Brain would not deny this and instead talk about the song:

it's an awesome jam... i hope it's released soon!!!!!! [...]  it will come out... the shits to good!!!!!


When the release date of October 27, 2023, was announced, Fernando Lebeis, Axl's manager at Team Brazil, would comment on the song briefly on Reddit:

Perhaps is a great song; the General is a monster. [...] Axl and the guys made it possible! Axl is quite the human.
Reddit, August 18, 2023


Introducing the song at its live debut at Hollywood Bowl on November 2, 2023:

Okay, so we're gonna try a new song... one I haven't sang since this tour started somewhere this spring. This could be very interesting. If there's ever a better place to fall on your face, I think this fuckin' counts... This is called The General.


Talking about re-working songs from the Chinese Democracy era:

What happened was, Axl has all these songs that he recorded at some point along the way, and so Duff and I went and redid them, basically (laughs). [...] You know, I write my own parts to what else is going on, and just sort of… just took the drums and redid everything else.

A lot of [the new material] was done [during the pandemic], yeah.

Basically, the material was there, and I just got in there during covid and re-did the guitars, Duff did the bass, and we went from there and just put it out. And there’s some more stuff coming out too. But there’s not sort of a mental trajectory. It’s just that Axl wanted to get this material done because it was sitting there. He said: “Okay, we can rehash it.” So there you go.

One of the things Axl wanted to get off his chest was a bunch of material he’d recorded. So we thought, ‘Well, that’s a good way to wet our feet.'

Official music video:



The General Newbor11


Last edited by Soulmonster on Tue Nov 14, 2023 6:46 pm; edited 15 times in total
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The General Empty Re: The General

Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 18, 2023 6:31 am

Ooooooh, looking forward to getting to work on this page.
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The General Empty Re: The General

Post by Stiken Fri Aug 18, 2023 7:43 am

Been thinking about this the last couple of hours...is The General an instrumental song?
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Aug 18, 2023 9:36 am

Stiken wrote:Been thinking about this the last couple of hours...is The General an instrumental song?

There is a soundclip someone recorded at a party where the song was allegedly played, and vocals can be heard.
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Post by ludurigan Fri Aug 18, 2023 7:16 pm

it is so hysterical how all the axl yes-people have been saying for years that song A is great and song B is a monster etc

and then song A and B are released
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The General Empty Re: The General

Post by Blackstar Mon Oct 23, 2023 1:35 am

Writing credits from SESAC



https://www.sesac.com/repertory/

Marc Haggard and Steve Freeman, who have a writing credit, have worked with Brain and Buckethead.
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Post by ludurigan Mon Oct 23, 2023 5:47 am

Blackstar wrote:Marc Haggard and Steve Freeman, who have a writing credit, have worked with Brain and Buckethead.

Just did some online search and found some tunes by Marc Haggard a.k.a. M.I.R.V.





(Brain guests on this album)






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Post by Soulmonster Mon Oct 23, 2023 7:16 am

So is The General and Monsters the song's real name?
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Post by Blackstar Mon Oct 23, 2023 7:22 am

Soulmonster wrote:So is The General and Monsters the song's real name?
Maybe, or maybe "and Monsters" is a supplement to the name like "Locomotive (Complicity)" and "Pretty Tied Up (The Perils of Rock 'n' Roll Decadence").

But sometimes these databases are provided with working titles and doesn't necessarily mean that that this is the exact name of the song.
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Post by Soulmonster Mon Oct 23, 2023 7:57 am

Yeah, I think I will go with just "The General" since that's how it is named on the GN'R website.
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The General Empty Re: The General

Post by Blackstar Mon Oct 23, 2023 8:23 am

It's possible that the addition of "monsters" in the title is a rebranding of the song for Halloween. We'll find out soon, I guess.
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Post by ludurigan Mon Oct 23, 2023 8:59 pm

Blackstar wrote:It's possible that the addition of "monsters" in the title is a rebranding of the song for Halloween. We'll find out soon, I guess.

Monsters?

Halloween?

Hopefully The General is as catchy and groovy as this one by Buckethead and Bootsy Colllins!

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Post by Soulmonster Thu Oct 26, 2023 10:32 pm

The physical release is delayed to some time in December. That's a bummer. I hope a streaming version comes out sooner.
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Post by ludurigan Fri Oct 27, 2023 2:25 am

Soulmonster wrote:The physical release is delayed to some time in December. That's a bummer. I hope a streaming version comes out sooner.

any reason given for the delay?

maybe the lyrics are about war and axl doesn't want to release the song now that there is yet another war going on?
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Post by Blackstar Fri Oct 27, 2023 3:22 am

ludurigan wrote:
Soulmonster wrote:The physical release is delayed to some time in December. That's a bummer. I hope a streaming version comes out sooner.
any reason given for the delay?

maybe the lyrics are about war and axl doesn't want to release the song now that there is yet another war going on?
I would guess just pressing issues.
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Post by ludurigan Fri Oct 27, 2023 6:47 am

has the song ever been played at soundchecks?
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Post by Blackstar Fri Oct 27, 2023 7:01 am

ludurigan wrote:has the song ever been played at soundchecks?
It was in the setlist when this tour started (which means that they had rehearsed it - also Fortus said in an interview that they might play it at some show), but hasn't been played at soundchecks as far as we know. To me that was an indication that they didn't intend to release it before the tour ended.

I think that regardless of whether it's been released on streaming platforms, the physical copies will probably be shipped out earlier than Dec. 8 but not before the tour ends.
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Post by Blackstar Fri Oct 27, 2023 9:58 pm



Last edited by Blackstar on Fri Oct 27, 2023 10:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Blackstar Fri Oct 27, 2023 9:59 pm

Meanwhile, two separate tracks titled "The General" and "Monsters" have leaked. Most fans agree that they are legit. I'm not 100% convinced yet.

Real or not, they both far removed from classic Guns N' Roses, so I'm not sure how they will be received by casual fans. I think "Monsters" is very good - it's the song from the phone clip. I can't say I'm impressed by "The General". I suppose they're combined into one song, since that's how it's registered on SESAC. So a two-part song.


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Post by Blackstar Fri Oct 27, 2023 11:03 pm

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Oct 27, 2023 11:33 pm

Blackstar wrote:Meanwhile, two separate tracks titled "The General" and "Monsters" have leaked. Most fans agree that they are legit. I'm not 100% convinced yet.

Real or not, they both far removed from classic Guns N' Roses, so I'm not sure how they will be received by casual fans. I think "Monsters" is very good - it's the song from the phone clip. I can't say I'm impressed by "The General". I suppose they're combined into one song, since that's how it's registered on SESAC. So a two-part song.

I like them both.

Has anyone compared The General to that homemade version based off of that recording? Are they similar?
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Oct 28, 2023 12:01 am

If I were to guess I would say Monsters is likely Leave Me Alone/Soul Monster. Beltrami worked on both of these (is there orchestration on Monsters?). Maybe they were intended to go together already from the beginning. Of course, I hope Monsters is different to Soul Monster because it would be fantastic to have one more song to look forward to.
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Post by Blackstar Sat Oct 28, 2023 12:04 am

Soulmonster wrote:
Blackstar wrote:Meanwhile, two separate tracks titled "The General" and "Monsters" have leaked. Most fans agree that they are legit. I'm not 100% convinced yet.

Real or not, they both far removed from classic Guns N' Roses, so I'm not sure how they will be received by casual fans. I think "Monsters" is very good - it's the song from the phone clip. I can't say I'm impressed by "The General". I suppose they're combined into one song, since that's how it's registered on SESAC. So a two-part song.
I like them both.

Has anyone compared The General to that homemade version based off of that recording? Are they similar?
Monsters is kind of similar to the fanmade version by Evader, which in turn was based off the poor quality phone recording at the party in Vienna in 2010. So it was actually Monsters on that cell phone clip.
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Oct 28, 2023 12:04 am

I really like the distorted guitars underneath Axl chorus on The General. I have always been partial to simple rawk.
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Post by Blackstar Sat Oct 28, 2023 12:06 am

Soulmonster wrote:If I were to guess I would say Monsters is likely Leave Me Alone/Soul Monster. Beltrami worked on both of these (is there orchestration on Monsters?). Maybe they were intended to go together already from the beginning. Of course, I hope Monsters is different to Soul Monster because it would be fantastic to have one more song to look forward to.
Yes, I believe Monsters is most likely Soul Monster. If that's the case, I would guess that The General and Leave Me Alone/Soul Monster/Monsters started as two different tracks, which by 2010 were merged into one two-part song.
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Oct 28, 2023 7:26 am

Lyrics added to the General part.
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Post by Blackstar Fri Nov 03, 2023 4:59 am

Okay, so we're gonna try a new song... one I haven't sang since this tour started somewhere this spring. This could be very interesting. If there's ever a better place to fall on your face, I think this fuckin' counts... This is called The General.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Nov 03, 2023 9:09 am

I wonder why Axl kept the name "The General" for the song when it seems quite irrelevant to the lyrics.
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Post by ludurigan Fri Nov 03, 2023 11:42 am

Soulmonster wrote:I wonder why Axl kept the name "The General" for the song when it seems quite irrelevant to the lyrics.

"I wonder why Axl kept the name..."

For a second you got me there

Very Happy
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Post by ludurigan Fri Nov 03, 2023 11:44 am

So is it one song or two?

Did they play both songs/parts or just the "General" song/part?

The Monsters song/part is quite listenable
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