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May 15, 2006



Suppose, in other words, that the band Rose fronted on Friday night at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom had been called, say, Chinese Democracy?

Is that even an option for him? At this point, aren't Universal committed to maintaining the fiction that the $13 million (and counting) they've sunk into this project is for "the new Guns N' Roses record," and absolutely, positively not an Axl Rose solo record?

Steve Smith

I'm sure you're probably correct, Darcy, although in January 2004, Universal declared that funding and finishing the album would from that point forward be Rose's responsibility -- reported by Jeff Leeds near the end of an enormous New York Times piece that appeared in March. Is that position legally actionable? Who knows?

On the other hand, I honestly doubt that much of the label's "investment" is going to be recouped by a Guns N' Roses record filled with this particular new material, little of which was warmly greeted by fans who were there to hear Appetite for Destruction and little else. I don't expect those fans left saying, "Hey, the new songs are really interesting," I figure they left saying, "Man, I really wanted to hear 'Rocket Queen.'"

Unless one is of the opinion that Guns N' Roses is Rose, it's basically misrepresentation*. I do think that, if and when the disc actually stands to see the light of day, it would be better accepted under a different name, perhaps even by people who weren't fans of the original group.

But I also expect that no major label is going to see it that way.

* And yes, I know how hypocritical this might seem, coming from a King Crimson fan...



I think you're absolutely correct that, overall, the record (and the prospects for the revitilization of Axl's career) would be much better served if he were allowed to release Chinese Democracy under a different band name. But, as you say, labels will be labels... They are clearly banking on a block of guaranteed sales to all the people who would not necessarily pick up an Axl solo record but will line up to buy "the new Gn'R record," purely out of nostalgia or curiosity, regardless of what the music actually sounds like.

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