Axl Rose Has A Lot To Say Before Heading To Hong Kong

A few hours before his flight to Hong Kong, Axl conducted a brief interview
from which the following excerpts are provided courtesy Guns N’ Roses official

On launching the tour in China:

“It’s a dream realized. A dream come true. The right time, the right
place and the whole thing came about by chance. I guess it’s meant to be.
This was something we could not turn down. The most exciting thing is getting
the band out there to begin doing some shows and these are some big shows.
It’s a way for us to play for a lot of people and have a lot of fun. It’s
also a warm up so we can have an understanding of how to start our Fall
tour. And that’s a warm up for the Spring tour. This thing is starting
now and much like Use Your Illusions that went for two and a half years,
this thing is going to go off and on for the next two or three years and
we’ll see how it goes. We’re really looking forward to seeing all the different
people in the different countries and this is a great opportunity.”

For those who may not be familiar with the new band lineup:

“Okay, let’s see. We have Mini Me and Nipsy Russell and Charles Nelson
Riley and Colin Powell. Just kidding. It’s nearly the same as it’s been;
Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Chris Pitman (keyboards), Brain (drums), Buckethead
N’ Robin (guitar), Tommy Stinson (bass), Richard Fortus (guitar) and myself.
I’m very excited to do these shows. Being at the rehearsals with the guys
was just really exciting.

Regarding those who are skeptical as to whether or not Guns N’ Roses
will actually be performing:

“To the ones who are negative and want to see either myself or the new
band fall on their faces, personally I can’t pass up an opportunity to
upset so many of them in one quick swoop. I get misty-eyed just thinking
about it. I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside! But seriously…this
is our tour. This is a collection of performances I’ve agreed to. That
I have personally authorized not someone else’s good intentions gone awry
or a reckless promoter’s personal agenda. These shows are important to
us and for better or worse we’ll be there. For those who’ve had my back
and are down by us with even a modicum of understanding we hope to give
you our best, and look forward to seeing you on this little intro jaunt.”

Guns N’ Roses will go back into the studio immediately following the
aforementioned dates to put the final touches on the forthcoming “Chinese
Democracy” album.

Regarding the work in progress Axl commented as follows:

“I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns
and externally in the press, those albums suffered as a consequence, it’s
not something I’m too excited to have to live with again. There are a lot
of new songs that were just done in the last year that we feel that ‘okay,
well that bumps a lot of stuff off the previous list but it’s time to stop
that now and wrap up the baby. It feels right, the timing, and a lot of
things. We’ve sorted it down to what songs are on the record. What the
sequence of the songs is. The album cover art is ready. Blah, blah, blah.
If you’re waiting…don’t. Live your life. That’s your responsibility not
mine. If it were not to happen you won’t have missed a thing. If in fact
it does you might get something that works for you, in the end you could
win on this either way. But if you’re really into waiting try holding your
breath for Jesus cause I hear the payoff may be that much greater.

Regarding Paul Tobias Axl said:

“The public gets a different story from the other guys – Slash, Duff,
Matt – who have their own agendas. The original intentions between Paul
and myself were that Paul was going to help me for as long as it took to
get this thing together in whatever capacity that he could help me in.
So when he first was brought into this, he was brought in as a writer to
work with Slash. At the time those guys never suggested one name. Nobody
else. Ever.

Paul was one of the best people we knew who was both available and capable
of complimenting Slash’s style. You could bring in a better guitar player
than Paul. You could bring in a monster. I tried putting Zakk Wylde with
Slash and that didn’t work. It brought out some interesting things in Slash
but it was a different approach that ended up being overpowering and didn’t
bring out the best in Slash. It brought out some interesting things and
it would’ve worked to do some songs. But Paul was only interested in complimenting
Slash, laying down a foundation of a riff or something. That would accent
or encourage slash’s lead playing. Now whether or not Paul was going to
be officially on the album or on the tour that really wasn’t an actual
consideration at the time. It was in the air as a possibility but Paul
was a friend trying to help us and he had a huge respect for Slash. He
is and this is the bottom line a good man and that’s the reality behind
things. That doesn’t change what took place with old Guns. I feel that
some of the recordings we did in that limited amount of time had some of
the best playing that Slash had done at least since Illusions. I was there.
I know what I heard and it was pretty exciting.”

On the subject of Slash Axl commented:

“Originally I intended to do more of an Appetite style recording but
with the changes in the band’s dynamics and the band’s musical influences
at the time it didn’t appear realistic. So, I opted for what I thought
would or should’ve made the band and especially Slash very happy. Basically
I was interested in making a Slash record with some contributions from
everybody else. There’d still be some chemistry and some synergy happening
and whatever dynamics anyone else could bring in to the project. It seemed
to me that anytime we got close to something that would work, it wasn’t
out of opinion that Slash would go ‘hey it doesn’t work’, but it was nixed
simply because it did work. In other words, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. That
actually might be successful, we can’t do that.’ People like to call me
paranoid. It has nothing to do with paranoia; it was to do with reality.
If the material were strong enough for me to sink my teeth in then I would
still be in a certain public position in regards to Guns, we’d have possibly
still held a certain popularity with the public as I have previously been
fortunate enough to have had. Slash and his ex-wife Renee and his security
guy and closest confidant at the time, Ronnie Stalnacker could not live
with that. It’s not something Slash could live with. Slash chose not to
be here over control issues. Now people can say ‘Well Axl, you’re after
control of the band too.’ You’re damn skippy. That’s right. I am the one
held responsible since day one. When it comes to Guns n’ Roses, I may not
always get everything right but I do have a good idea about getting things
from point A to point B and knowing what the job is that we have to do.
Within those parameters, I give everyone as much freedom to do what they
want something Slash has verified in several interviews. Had Slash stepped
up and written what we captured glimpses of, it would have created an environment
that was beyond Slash’s ability to control. He did not want to do that
or put himself through the rigors of taking the band to that level even
if he was capable of writing it. Was he capable of doing it? Absolutely
100%. I think that some of the riffs that were coming out of him were the
meanest, most contemporary, bluesiest, rocking thing since Aerosmith’s
Rocks. The 2000 version of Aerosmith Rocks or the 1996 Aerosmith Rocks
by the time we would have put it out. I don’t know if I would have wanted
to even do a world tour at the time but I wanted to put that record together
and could we have done it? Yes. It’s not something I would want to approach
(without Slash) because at the time there was only one person that I knew
who could do certain riffs that way. We still needed the collaboration
of the band as a whole to write the best songs. Since none of that happened,
that’s the reason why that material got scrapped. If one were to say well
then why not do it now there are several reasons.1) My band, too much time,
too much effort and hardship. Confidence in our material. Excitement in
watching this grow and being a part of the whole experience. 2) Money.
You get what you play for and nothing’s free. Can you cover the cost of
this venture and its financial potential that I am just supposed to walk
away from and for what? To where? I do not believe in any true effort or
potential regarding most of my past relationship from the other party or
parties, creatively or emotionally. Without that the money from a reunion
doesn’t mean much and though I’m sure the alumni is up for it for me it
would be as or more lacking than it was during our attempts to work together
previously. As a friend and former friend of Slash said to me in regards
to working with Slash, “you can only do so many pull ups.” This is my shot
and you can root for me to fail all you want, but there is simply way too
much put into this to cater to someone else’s selfish needs and destroy
peoples dreams I truly care about including my own. Not too mention that
though I’ve fought what feels like the heart of the nature of this entire
industry, my own people would probably eat me alive if I opted for a lesser
course. 3) Slash has lied about nearly everything and anything to nearly
everyone and anyone. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. Duff’s support
for the man though understandable in one sense in regard to his circumstances,
is inexcusable, and furthers my distance from the two of them. For me Matt
doesn’t figure into the equation and for as much as I was a friend to him
he was incapable of reciprocating and life is much better without such
an obvious albatross. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away
from the alumni in regard to their prior performances on record or touring
to support the albums. I know how I was treated and more importantly I
know how they treated others during both of these things, it’s not a way
anyone should be forced or even asked to work. And for the record I’m referring
to Slash and Matt in regards to their actions and behavior, Duff played
more of a supporting role (for reasons I’ve never understood). For the
fans to attempt to condemn me to relationships even only professional with
any of these men is a prison sentence and something I wouldn’t wish on
my worst enemy. I’d say my parole is nearly over. I’m practically a free
man and if you don’t like it you’ll have plenty of time to get used to
the idea.”

On Richard Fortus replacing Paul Tobias:

“Paul helped us a lot in the writing and the recording of this record
and to me was a vital part of not only the band but also my life. The world
tour really wasn’t his cup of tea whereas he’s much more comfortable in
a studio setting. We’re fortunate to have found Richard who has this vibe
kind of like Izzy but with amazing feel. The first thing I heard Richard
play was the beginning of “Stray Cat Blues” by the Stones and he did it
with the right feel. Richard likes to play rhythm. He’s an amazing lead
player and very technically skilled. He really likes the pocket that Brain
sets and the two of them click with Tommy so we finally have the real deal
rhythm section, as Richard is a proven professional. Basically, Richard’s
the guy that we always were looking for. I think that we’ll go on to write
some very interesting things with Richard and he’s already done some rhythm
work and some leads on the album.”

Finally Axl had the following to say about the many rumors surrounding
Guns N’ Roses:

“People talk about player haters. Well, I don’t think it pays to be
a ‘hater – hater.’ You’ve got the haters out there but the guys in this
band it just rolls off their shoulders because they take a certain pride
in their work. They’re hungry and they want to do this for all the right
reasons. They want to get this material out there to the people. Now that
we feel that we have clarity as to the album we’re trying to make, we’re
wrapping it up. We’ve had every obstacle and every strange occurrence that
you can have and for us to be playing Hong Kong in a few days is a big
step. Everyone’s excited and everyone’s nervous. As Dizzy put it ‘Oh no,
we’re gonna have the Red Army between us and the plane…’

Guns N’ Roses are currently in Hong Kong.


Full information on the “Chinese Democracy” World Tour dates is as follows:


Wednesday 14 – Hong Kong Exhibition Hall

Saturday 17 – Japan Tokyo Chiba Marine Stadium, Summer Sonic festival

Sunday 18 – Japan Osaka WTC Open-air Stadium, Summer Sonic festival

Friday 23 – England Leeds Festival

Saturday 24 – Belgium Pukkelpop Festival

Monday 26 – England London Docklands Arena

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