News Segment


February 22, 2006

For Guns N’ Roses fans still wondering when frontman Axl Rose will ever release the legendary rockers’ forever-in-the-works Chinese Democracy album, your patience is finally paying off.

Three studio-quality tracks found their way onto the Internet this week, perhaps not so coincidentally just days after a reclusive Rose, 44, made a rare appearance Friday at a tour kick-off party hosted by Korn in Los Angeles and told that “people will hear music this year.”

The leaked tunes have generated big buzz since various Websites began posting them and prompted some radio stations, such as Boston’s WAAF, to put them into heavy rotation until cease-and-desist orders arrived from Rose’s lawyers.

Early response has so far generally been positive with fans describing the song “There Was a Time” (aka T.W.A.T.) as recalling such Use Your Illusion-era power ballads as “Estranged” while the other two, “I.R.S.” and “Better,” stick to the hard rock we’re used to hearing from the Gunners with some modern emo and techno-infused touches such as loop tracks laid over Buckethead’s intricate guitar work and Axl’s trademark squeals.

On his morning show on Sirius Satellite Radio, even shock jock Howard Stern got in on the act, critiquing the opening to “I.R.S.” after jokingly asking how Rose went “from so cool to being a douche.”

“It seems like they are trying to put his voice all the way in the back in the mix,” Stern said, noting that while the MP3 was pretty good the mix needed work.

Rose’s manager, Merck Mercuriadis, could not be reached for comment but initial reports indicating he had ordered the websites to take down the tracks appear to be true as many of the links have since been removed.

However, the unexpected leaks are fueling speculation that after nine years spent working on Chinese Democracy, the flame-haired singer is finally close to putting the wraps on the magnum opus and has an appetite for touring again with his revamped Guns N’ Roses lineup (original members Slash and Duff McKagan are suing Rose, claiming he cheated them out of royalties from the iconic group’s song catalog)

2002’s ill-fated Chinese Democracy trek, which was touted as the Gunners’ comeback tour, was scrapped largely due to Rose’s shenanigans, including his penchant for swaggering onstage hours late, the occasional riot, and sluggish ticket sales mainly due to the fact that they had no album to promote.

As if on cue, news broke Monday that G N’ R has booked several performances across Europe in May and June, including a gig at Dublin’s Arena on June 9 with fellow rockers Motley Crue as the opening act, plus appearances at the U.K.’s Download Festival, Austria’s NovaRock Festival, with headliners Metallica and the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal.

While Rose has remained mum on the leaks, Lisa Reed, the wife of longtime Gunner keyboardist Dizzy Read, posted a message on her hubby’s website saying “all signs point to [the release of Chinese Democracy] getting closer and closer” and pleaded with fans not to leak any more tracks.

“It’s like shaking all your Christmas presents on the 23rd of December and figuring out what they are,” she wrote. “No surprise and you ruined the fun for the giver. I just as much as anyone want this record to com out, but BE PATIENT!”

Guns N’ Roses’ last official studio set was 1993’s underwhelming collection of covers, The Spaghetti Incident.

Courtesy of