Some people thought “Chinese Democracy” would never come out. Were there times during the making of the album when you felt that way yourself?
Axl Rose: Not so much that it wouldn’t come out but that we could in some way legally be forced to release it either incomplete or with so many business areas unresolved that the beginning would be the end as well.
Without sounding presumptuous, what took so long to get the album out?
And without sounding facetious, what didn’t? There aren’t too many issues of the hundreds [we ran into] that happened as quickly as anyone would have preferred, from building my studio; finding the right players; never did find a producer; still don’t have real record company involvement or support; to getting it out and mixed and mastered.
All that aside, it’s the right record and I couldn’t ask for more in that regard. Could have been a more enjoyable journey, but it’s there now. The art comes first. It dictates if not the course [then] the destination artistically.
For me, once the real accompanying artwork is there with a few videos and some touring, the package was achieved and delivered.
And to do so at this level in terms of quality, both artistic and performance-wise, both on record and live, is something that’s a miracle at minimum and something that wouldn’t have happened, no matter how anyone tries to convince others, with old Guns, regardless of anyone’s intentions. It was just as ugly in old Guns, regardless of our success.
What were your expectations in terms of what Best Buy would do to promote the album?
Best Buy has been great. Going with Best Buy was a way to work out a deal with Universal and we were fortunate enough to work with Irving [Azoff, as manager] and deal more directly with Universal. I’ve asked for information regarding their role in working the record but that hasn’t come yet so I’m not able to tell what Universal has or hasn’t done, although Zach [Horowitz, Universal Music Group president/COO], or whoever’s behind the international efforts, is doing great. It’s more than appreciated and a welcome relief.
Unfortunately [going with Best Buy] didn’t change us having to rely on Interscope as much as we’d hoped. 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.
Our focus was in getting the record deal done while finishing the album, which hit many an unexpected bump or sinkhole in the road right up until the actual release. We never intended a huge public rollout, especially without resolving certain issues, and no one ever suggested us doing so, though Interscope’s communications with Best Buy in these areas may not have been as clear as anyone would have preferred.
Our approach, for better or worse, has always been to work the record over the course of the following tour cycles, with attempts to forge new or better and hopefully redefined relationships with the different forms of media that may be interested along the way. In regard to our promotion, it was based around certain agreements with Universal, Interscope, our management and legal [teams] that unfortunately never happened. I won’t get into specifics but am beginning to address some of those issues in my own way as opposed to “working together,” and we’ll see how that plays out.
Read the rest at this link: Billboard.com Axl Rose Interview