Now that there’s a real possibility of Chinese Democracy actually being released this year — Rock Band 2, coming out in September, will feature a song from the notoriously delayed project — can we please stop referring to it as a Guns N’ Roses album?
I’m as curious as any Use Your Illusion II fan to hear what Axl Rose has been blowing his millions on for the past decade, but I’m not going to be fooled by the words “Guns N’ Roses” on the CD cover. It’s nothing more than an Axl Rose side project (or solo album, if you don’t think Axl and Slash will ever settle their differences and get back in the ring).
I realize the hype machine revs into full gear for this kind of thing (see: Jimmy Fallon’s uncontainable excitement announcing the “band” at the 2002 MTV Music Awards), but the musical papers don’t need to play along. It’s one thing for, say, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to continue calling themselves The Who — Keith Moon is long dead, John Entwistle was part of the band until his 2002 death, and the remaining duo are just classic rock dinosaurs at this point anyway.
But Slash and Izzy Stradlin were central to GNR’s sound and success, and they shouldn’t be punished in abstentia for Axl’s craziness-slash-eccentricities. Anybody who writes about Chinese Democracy should call it what it is.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping that if I refer to Chinese Democracy as a “Guns N’ Roses” album (note the scare quotes) or an Axl Rose vanity project enough times, Axl might get so pissed off that he calls me out by name in a song.
(Incidentally, I’ve always been curious about how you can blow $13 million-plus — or twice that, if you’re Michael Jackson — making music. The last time I checked, there are no expensive CGI scenes on a CD. The figure is all the more ridiculous considering Axl must have done a lot of his Chinese Democracy noodling in the era of Pro Tools and cheap home studio setups.)