Guns N’ Roses kick off a dozen-night stand at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino tonight, so frontman Axl Rose has been making a rare trip around the media circuit. Last week he sat down for a good-natured chat on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that was revelation-free except for the statement that if he bothered to vote, he would lean toward Obama. (Former GNR guitarist Slash’s wife was quick to respond with fat jokes). And today, USA Today has published an interview that promises us new GNR music… sometime before 2024.
If the album does arrive anytime soon, it’ll probably be more crowd-pleasing than 2008’s Chinese Democracy, which came out 15 years after GNR’s last studio album. “Appetite for Destruction was the only thing written with lyrics and melody fitting the guitar parts at the same time,” Rose told USA Today. “After that, I got a barrage of guitar songs that I was supposed to put words to, and I don’t know if that was the best thing for Guns. I do want to lean more toward lyrics and melody.”
The material, it seems, is there: “All the guys are writing, and we recorded a lot of songs over the years,” Rose said. But it’s unclear how soon we might actually expect the mythical follow-up to the once-mythical Chinese Democracy. Rose is quoted as saying the next one “will come out sooner,” but when the current bar is 15 years, that isn’t saying a whole lot.
Don’t hold out too much hope for a reunion of GNR’s original lineup, either. “I feel that ball’s not in my court,” Rose said. “I’m surviving this war, not the one who created this war.” Still, he did reflect warmly on the band’s pre-Appetite days, when it was all for one and one for all, and he speculated that the band might’ve lasted if they had still “worked together in the way Appetite was put together.” If GNR is like every other band not named the Smiths, the possibility of an eventual reconciliation continues to glimmer, if faintly.
Anyway, why did Chinese Democracy take so long in the first place? In the USA Today interview, Rose blamed the delay partly on industry hacks. But he also said supermodel girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan had squashed his lyric-writing ability. “To those three, it was all crap,” he explained. So, maybe there are still some bridges that need rebuilding.
Rose was brutally forthright when it came to his decision to skip GNR’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. “I try to be respectful about getting an honor or recognition, but I don’t really know what the Rock Hall actually is,” he said. “In my experience with the people who run it, I don’t see it having to do with anything other than them making money.” Shots fired!
Most of all, Rose came off as alienated from the music industry and yet happy within himself. He dismissed the business as “ugly,” “horrible,” and a place where “you’re just a commodity,” which certainly seems to line up with music industry’s increasingly oligopolistic corporate ownership. But he said he “worked out a lot of” his psychological issues. And in his spare time, the guy who sings “Welcome to the Jungle” owns a zoo. “My animals are my buddies,” he told USA Today. “They need lots of love and attention.”