Reclusive GUNS N’ ROSES singer Axl Rose broke his silence last night (Thursday, December 11) by answering fan questions on the message boards of two of the most popular GUNS N’ ROSES fan sites on the Web — MyGNR.com and Here Today… Gone To Hell!
BLABBERMOUTH.NET has collected some of the more interesting bits from the question-and-answer session and is re-posting them here for your reading enjoyment. (Note: Some of Axl‘s responses were slightly edited for clarity.)
Q: How come you always come on stage so late at gigs?
Axl: “I’ve been an after-midnight type since I was sneakin’ out of my house in junior high [school]. With [the] old GUNS [lineup], we preferred [to take the stage at] 12:00 a.m. or so. When we moved to theaters etc., obviously that changes but it’s never changed inside me. Doesn’t matter what I do, so generally that’s when I’m more myself. This isn’t to mess with anyone that has an early schedule to keep, it’s just personal preference. And in regard to the size [of] venues, I’m on record as preferring whatever venues allow for our schedule, but management and promoters can do a lot in their own interests behind the scenes that can rarely be avoided and their greed or whatever leads to a lot of double talk and ugly behind nonsense that generally eventually ruins things for everyone. Translated: once a tour is scheduled, however, it’s like parting the seas to change. As far as being late, I’ve been that way my whole life. It drove Izzy [Stradlin] crazy but he would check himself and freely admit I was generally actually doing something that had to get done rather than watching basketball, etc.”
On a video for the new GUNS N’ ROSES song “Better”:
Axl: “The ‘Better’ music video will be out in a week or so. Monumental promotion will start very soon!”
Q: Who do you listen to for hardcore blues? I’m a blues singer and I can tell from your work that you have at least got way into a couple of blues records.
Axl: “BESSIE SMITH, ZEP 1, ROBERT JOHNSON, TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION, JANICE [presumably referring to JANIS JOPLIN — Ed.].”
Q: Axl, do you really have two or three other albums of material?
Axl: “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 offense, but no one’s trying to talk in parables. The issues are a bit more complex than anyone would like.”
Q: Hey, Axl, is the [unreleased GUNS N’ ROSES] song “Atlas Shrugged” as epic as the book? Who is your favorite character from the book?
Axl: “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.”
Q: Axl, was there ever a cover B and cover C for “Chinese Democracy”?
Axl: “Yes, there are. There are two more covers/back-cover combos and the real booklet that is all artwork that will be out shortly in some form. It’s been an ugly battle that hasn’t made any sense to anyone and whether anyone cares about such things the booklet or artwork has always been something I’ve been passionate about and to release the album with unapproved and unseen final artwork with a first work-only error-filled draft when others more recent were readily available still has not been explained but is finally getting cleared up. My fave is the ‘How Are You’ grenade cover.”
Q: Axl, how do you feel about KANYE [WEST‘s new album] outselling “Chinese Democracy”? Do you like KANYE‘s music?
Axl: “I met Kanye at the Versace awards. He was very gracious. I love ‘Gold Digger’ and told him so. I’m a big fan of his stage performance as he seems to go for it physically which I relate more to. Before our release, I sent him a message that any nonsense from the media had nothing to do with us and wished him the best. I’m humbled we’ve done as well as we have considering.”
Q: Just wanted to ask if you had any fond memories from the U.K. leg of the tour from 2006, particularly the concert in Glasgow in July?
Axl: “Glasgow was great. I think that’s where I got to do a lot of slides on the stage. Was like a race track or something, right?”
Q: Axl, thanks for “Chinese Democracy”, which I personally think is your best work. What’s your pick for album of the year? And have you heard the new METALLICA album [“Death Magnetic”]?
Axl: “Ours, of course!! Yes, [I have heard the new METALLICA]. I like it.”
Q: Axl will you tour Australia next year, and when are you looking at doing so? If you could work with [former GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist] Buckethead again, would you have him just in studio, or also would you welcome him in the touring lineup?
Axl: “Austrailia’s great and the crowds are really alive. No plans [to tour there] yet but I’m sure there will be.
“I have no issues with Bucket. It’s hard to tell what was real or not in things we were told by Merck [former GUNS N’ ROSES manager Merck Mercuriadis, who was fired by Axl Rose in December 2006 — Ed.]. He’s more than welcome to tour with us in some form or other provided we’re both interested at the time and come to some type of reasonable terms. Personally, I have a blast with Bucket on tour and get a big kick out of the guy. A lot of feelings were hurt on this side of the fence in how things went down, and unfortunately, others used our silence and the public’s not knowing for their own purposes at both Bucket‘s and our expense.”
Q: Now that you said that, please tell us if Robin‘s [Finck, GUNS N’ ROSES guitarist who is currently on the road with NINE INCH NAILS] out or not… because, otherwise, we’ll be reading several “Axl wants Bucket back and Robin/Bumble/Richard out”-type of threads for the entire ’09 year and these threads annoy us, the new lineup fans.
Axl: “It really is what it is. No decisions have been made by either him, I or us that I’m aware of. When we’re touring or working in the studio, or there’s social things like a friend’s dinner or party, whatever, we would hang. But as people get older, they have their own lives. The STONES aren’t going bowling every Tuesday, etc.
“Robin leads one of the most different lives I know of, starting with the trapeze in his backyard to the TV in his closet.
“Robin‘s work on the next is done so there’s not lots for him to do here except the elusive promo and he’d rather be on stage. It’s more about seeing where things are when GUNS decides it’s right for a tour and if we’re able to make agreements we both are comfortable and can live with at that time.”
Q: As a native Colombian, I must ask: In 1992, while performing “November Rain” in Bogota (in November), it rained. Wait no….it poured. How weird was that, eh?
Axl: “Very surreal and religious feeling. So was being chased by the military in our plane down the runway gettin’ outta Dodge there!!”
Q: Just wondering what stops you from playing more guitar live?
Q: Axl, I’m fixing to pack everyhting I own into my car and drive out to L.A. from Arkansas to give a career in music a shot. Any advice? Or should I just shit in my pants, dive in and swim?
Axl: “Follow your heart, don’t sell out, and read every book on the bix [music business] you can find.”
Q: “Catcher N’ The Rye” is one of the best songs on the [“Chinese Democracy”] album. Why no Brian? [QUEEN guitarist Brian May recorded a guest appearance on the track back in 1999, but his contributions were removed from the final album version of the song.]
Axl: “There’s a few reasons, and none of them all that big and definitely not in spite or to slight anyone.
“First off, obviously I knew people liked the song, but the Brian appreciation really only showed up in force publicly after we had moved on in GUNS. In fact, not many seemed to care and most comments were aimed at why Slash, in their opinions, should be here.
“Brian‘s solo itself is a personal fave of mine and I really couldn’t understand, as he’s such a rock legend, why it wasn’t openly appreciated more at the time.
“In actuality, all that feel and emotion referred to now had a lot to do with Sean [Beavan, one of the producers who worked on ‘Chinese Democracy’] and I and the parts I chose out of Brian‘s different runs, versions, practice runs, etc., to make sure we had those elements in one version. It’s entirely constructed from edits based around one specific note Brian hit in a throwaway take. And though Brian seems to have warmed a bit to it, at least publicly, he was unfortunately none too pleased at the time with our handiwork. I remember looking at Brian standing to my left and him staring at the big studio speakers a bit aghast saying, ‘But that’s not what I played.’
“Sean Beavan and I were not in any way tring to mess with Brian, we just did what we do and then try and do our best to stand up for our decisions.”
Go to this link at Blabbermouth to read the rest!