Axl Rose: Rock and Roll Cliche
March 6, 2005 5:52 PM   Subscribe

"Chinese Democracy" - The Most Expensive Album Never Made (NY Times article)
posted by davebush (35 comments total)

 
He accompanied Buckethead on a jaunt to Disneyland when the guitarist was drifting toward quitting, several people involved recalled; then Buckethead announced he would be more comfortable working inside a chicken coop, so one was built for him in the studio, from wood planks and chicken wire.
posted by docgonzo at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2005


Axl Rose = Brian Wilson? Hmmm....

I wonder if GnR fans would be as geek-obsessive as Beach Boys fanatics in assembling a bootleg version of Chinese Democracy.
posted by jonp72 at 6:21 PM on March 6, 2005


Impossible, since they've played may be 2 or 3 of the songs live. And, well, we know how their last tour ended... I doubt you'll find many bootlegs.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:28 PM on March 6, 2005


True that, Dark Messiah. But I was also relying on the basic idea that Beach Boys fans are probably more anal than GnR fans.
posted by jonp72 at 6:35 PM on March 6, 2005


I've always thought Axl Rose had one of the best rock 'n roll voices ever, but I never cared much for their music.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:57 PM on March 6, 2005


I read a Rolling Stone article about this album (maybe 3 years ago?). In it, an old lawsuit was mentioned: apparently Axl had thrown his (at the time) girlfriend Erin Everly (the focus of "Sweet Child of Mine") into a closet and locked her inside for four hours, taking her out only to hold her down and anally rape her. Ever since then, I've had a problem reading or hearing anything about Axl that doesn't mention this information. I wish every article started with "Axl Rose, reclusive front man of Guns N Roses & vicious prison rapist of his loved ones (etc)" just in case the reader was tempted to mythologize this motherfucker a la Brian Wilson or Syd Barrett.
posted by jonson at 8:05 PM on March 6, 2005


Oh, but the album will be done any day now. Really. Honest.
posted by goatdog at 8:55 PM on March 6, 2005


in his defense, everybody does need some time on their own...
posted by pokeydonut at 9:42 PM on March 6, 2005


ha, yes.

This was some great writing.

I'm not so sure about the anal rape / Axl thing, I've never heard that. I'm sure he was abusive, but this sounds like an urban legend? I know he would throw pianos out the window and so on.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:55 PM on March 6, 2005


This angry letter to the NYT following the article is hilarious.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:55 PM on March 6, 2005


Yeah, I can't find mention of that rape thing anywhere. And the story strikes me as odd, because you'd think an allegation as serious as that would result in way more than just a lawsuit, and that a celebrity being charged with something that serious would be well-known news.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:15 PM on March 6, 2005


I mean I know Axl lashed out on UYI2 at Spin magazine and others, but all they did was question his authenticity and accuse him of being kinda nuts.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:21 PM on March 6, 2005


Holy flaming ballsack.

Even if this is, as that letter to the editor somewhat desperately purports, a heap of lies, it's one of the most entertaining heap of lies I have read in a long time.

And not that this is a crazy rock star contest or anything, but Axl Rose isn't fit to even think about looking at a picture of someone taking a picture of someone even sort of thinking about something even somewhat related to Brian Wilson.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:15 PM on March 6, 2005


The rape quote came from the Rolling Stone article cited in this NY Times piece. If it IS an urban legend, it was one that was reprinted as fact in the Rolling Stone article (a Google search for "Erin Everly" "Axl Rose" & rape turned up a couple mentions of it on various message boards). The article implied that Axl paid a vast sum to Everly to dismiss the charges & settle out of court.
posted by jonson at 11:21 PM on March 6, 2005


Why the hell is the album called Chinese Democracy, anyway? Is it another lame ass pop attempt to foist "noble" American values on other sovereign nations? Like all that Tibetan Freedom nonsense that the Beatie Boys yap endlessly about?
posted by randomstriker at 12:54 AM on March 7, 2005


I read that Rolling Stone article, and I don't remember ANYTHING about that anal rape stuff. He was accused of beating Stephanie Seymour, however. (For anyone who is unaware, Stephanie Seymour was the #1 Victoria's Secret model for a good long while.)

In other news: I heard he's working on an album with Kevin Shields called Any Day Now. [not the truth]
posted by shmegegge at 1:14 AM on March 7, 2005


I believe there was a typo in the followup letter to the article that inksyndicate linked to. The follow up letter ends thusly:

His only interest is making the best album he is capable of so that it can have a positive affect in 2005 on people who are enthusiasts of music and interested in Guns N' Roses. His artistic integrity is such that he has chosen to do so without compromise at great personal sacrifice which makes him a soft target for the sort of rubbish you have chosen to print. I believe he will have the last laugh.

I believe it should end thusly:

His only interest is making the best album he is capable of so that it can have a positive affect in 2005 2006 2007 later on people who are enthusiasts of music and interested in Guns N' Roses. His artistic integrity is such that he has chosen to do so without compromise at the great personal sacrifice of Geffen and Interscope Records which makes him a soft target for the sort of rubbish you have chosen to print. I believe he will have the very very last laugh.
posted by shmegegge at 1:26 AM on March 7, 2005


There was enough delusional rock star paranoia in 1991 era GNR - think what Chinese Democracy will be like after 11 years in an obsessive compulsive studio quagmire. I'd rather just read the article, at least that way I get all the juicy details without having to hear the decade old industrial flavourings and guitars solo from the chicken coup.
posted by fire&wings at 3:33 AM on March 7, 2005


And here I was thinking I was the only one who's more comfortable working inside a chicken coop.

As I read the NYT article I was wondering why it took Geffen eleven years and 8 figures before finally pulling the plug... and then I realized it was similar to what Donald Trump said about bankruptcy: If you owe the bank two hundred dollars, that's your problem. But if you owe the bank two hundred million dollars, that's the bank's problem.

At this point, 'Chinese Democracy' almost has to be a compromised vision, a cobbled-together could-have-been-classic like First Rays of The New Rising Sun...

Or maybe not. Maybe the final product will be very close to Axel's dream. After all, it took Brian Wilson 37 years to finish Smile. Maybe Axel's just getting started.

*sits back, puts feet up, looks forward to 26 more years of chicken coop guitar*
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:17 AM on March 7, 2005


I actually saw Buckethead perform while I was in college. He seriously did his whole thing with a big ol' KFC bucket on his head, with two eyeholes cut out. It was trippy, but I'll give him this-- homeboy knows how to play the guitar.
posted by norm at 5:21 AM on March 7, 2005


I can't figure out what's with the "Chinese Democracy" title except that I think Axl Rose has become obsessed with Falun Gong or something. He mentions it in the title track of the album, which has never been released.

Axl is like the prototype to Eminem: nasty, homophobic, really talented, a complete crank, spoke for the trailer park class, wrote songs about being sued by his ex-wife.
posted by inksyndicate at 5:21 AM on March 7, 2005


(I mean, the title track of the album has never been released but it was performed live a few times around 2000-2002.)
posted by inksyndicate at 5:22 AM on March 7, 2005


'Axl', that is. Not 'Axel.' Those extra 'e's were added in the studio at a cost of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars each.

And as for the title "Chinese Democracy", I think Slash sums it up in the NYT article: As Slash, the band's longtime guitarist, said recently, in reference to the singer's songwriting style: 'It seemed like a dictatorship. We didn't spend a lot of time collaborating.'
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:27 AM on March 7, 2005


I always thought the title was meant to be an oxymoron, as China knows about as much about democracy as Axl knows about deadlines.

/I'llbehereallweek. Trytheclams,they'redelish!
posted by haqspan at 6:14 AM on March 7, 2005


what the fuck is wrong with his face? the skin looks tight as a drum
posted by matteo at 6:23 AM on March 7, 2005


what the fuck is wrong with his face? the skin looks tight as a drum

Yes, it does. In fact, I'm pretty sure this:

And with just minutes to go in the broadcast, a screen lifted away to reveal the band and Mr. Rose, in cornrows and a sports jersey, looking strikingly young.

is NY Times-speak for confirming plastic surgery.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:44 AM on March 7, 2005


Am I the only one who thought it a crime against journalism that a five-page article about the recording of Chinese Democracy didn't mention Tommy Stinson even once?

Oh, and jonson, if you're gonna cull your record collection based on the worst rumours of the abhorrent behaviour (misogynistic and otherwise) of the people who created it, better also toss out everything you've got by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, James Taylor, Ike Turner and Miles Davis, just for starters. Oh, and don't even think about attending a Wagner opera - he was a bit of an anti-Semite, you know. Also any Hemingway or Salinger you've got corrupting your bookshelf must go. You should probably avert your eyes at Roman Polanski movies and Jackson Pollack retrospectives, as well.
posted by gompa at 11:10 AM on March 7, 2005


Just reread that. Came out harsher than I intended.

Sorry, jonson - you just accidentally bore the brunt of a longstanding argument I have with an aunt, who has refused for years to permit the Stones to be played in her presence (and seems to think less of people who want to hear them) based on some hearsay she once heard about the behaviour of Mick and/or Keef circa 1972.

posted by gompa at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2005


You should probably avert your eyes at Roman Polanski movies and Jackson Pollock retrospectives, as well.

"Pollock! You're a great AHHHtist!"

I hear Pollock painted inside a chicken coop while wearing a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:14 PM on March 7, 2005


Is it just me, or does Axl sing like he's got a ferret up his nose? A ferret in a bad mood, because it's been separated from the other ferret that is currently acting as a ferret shaped suppository? Surely 'rock and roll voice' doesn't necessarily mean 'nail gun to the eardrum'.

Ah, well. Thank God grunge relegated hair bands to the discount bin of history.
posted by Sparx at 12:16 PM on March 7, 2005


just in case the reader was tempted to mythologize this motherfucker a la Brian Wilson or Syd Barrett.

No anal rape that I can find, but didn't Syd lock a girlfriend inside a room for a couple of days? Rotten mentions it, but I can't find a better source at the moment.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:49 PM on March 7, 2005


I think he sounds like Janis Joplin and that's a good thing IMO.
posted by inksyndicate at 12:59 PM on March 7, 2005


James Taylor, Ike Turner and Miles Davis,

yeah, Davis bragged that he beat the shit out of all his girlfriends. he also bragged about his old career as a pimp.

that appalling, horrible behavior doesn't make "Kind of Blue" a bad record, though.
posted by matteo at 1:05 PM on March 7, 2005


that appalling, horrible behavior doesn't make "Kind of Blue" a bad record, though.

I've gone through various mental and emotional gymnastics on this one, and finally came to the conclusion, more or less, that expecting the artist to be as good as the work (okay, this is stretching it in the case of GnR, seeing as I'm not a fan) is just going up a blind alley. And further, that many, if not most, artists are selfish assholes. Doesn't stop me from finding the sublime in Bill Evans, though.
posted by jokeefe at 1:26 PM on March 7, 2005


Some bootlegged performance clips are around.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:30 PM on March 7, 2005


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