Axl Rose Opens Up About Chinese Democracy


February 6, 2009

‘I have no sympathy for the record companies, based on our experiences,’ Guns N’ Roses frontman says of his label’s treatment of the album.

Axl Rose is breaking his silence. Needless to say, he more than made up for lost time.

In his first major interview in nine years, Rose came out firing to Billboard, taking aim at his record label, the rumors about him, and his former bandmates.

Through a series of e-mails, Rose took the efforts of the Universal Music Group (which owns Interscope Records, which released Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album last year) to task, saying that their handling of the album was disorganized and less than ideal, and compared them to “friendly but otherwise cutthroat loan sharks.”

“Unfortunately, I have no information for me to believe [that] there was any real involvement or effort from Interscope. I’m not saying there wasn’t. But in my opinion, without [Interscope Geffen A&M chairman] Jimmy Iovine’s involvement, it doesn’t matter who anyone talks to or what they say — virtually nothing will happen from their end,” Rose wrote. “I can say how the band feels, and that is … they hate the record company — other than Universal International — with a passion. And that’s with me talking with them about the record company negatively hardly ever, if at all. They’re not blind — they hear the talk and see the results. Our involvement with Interscope has been more than frustrating for them.”

Rose said that, despite his insistence, Interscope never submitted him a marketing plan for Chinese Democracy — which, to date has sold 537,000 copies in the U.S. (but more than 2.6 million worldwide) — and blamed them for early leaks of the Democracy liner notes and early shipping of album pre-orders through

“We feel that, unfortunately, we’ve never been really anything all that much more other than a ‘throw it at the wall, see if it sticks, no real ground work, something to take advantage of, last quarter, cook the books, write-off, f— this headache, hoping to get lucky’ scam. And, unfortunately, for all their nice words and assurances, nothing that’s happened since the week or so before the release has shown us much of anything to the contrary,” he wrote. “So at least in regard to the U.S., for the most part I don’t look at it like we have a record company … we were lucky to get what we got, but feel we could have done more if they were — at least, especially with some of their backgrounds — a bit more involved creatively. So in light of pirating and the mess the major labels are in, I have no sympathy for the record companies, based on our experiences in the U.S.”

Rose also quashed Internet rumors that he has plans to release two more volumes of Chinese Democracy, writing, “We’d like to get another album out at some point, but for now, our focus is on Chinese,” and said that while he has no firm plans to tour in support of the record, he is “finalizing” a video for the song “Better.”

And as for any die-hards out there waiting for a reunion of the original GN’R lineup, well, Rose would advise them to stop holding their breath, because he has no intentions of ever reuniting with the core of his group — particularly guitarist Slash.

“I could see doing a song or so on the side with Izzy [Stradlin] or having him out [on tour] again. I’m not so comfortable with doing anything having more than one of the alumni,” Rose wrote. “In regards to Slash … what’s clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and, however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is. Those decisions were made a long time ago and reiterated year after year by one man. There are acts that, once committed between individuals, they are what they are. To add insult to injury almost day after day, lapsing into year after year, for more than a decade, is a nightmare. Anyone putting his own personal entertainment above everything else is sickening.”

Courtesy of and