The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After all that noise

What takes more than 20 million dollars and 10 years to make (you don’t even know if its done yet), and keeps one anxious to the point of you gathering the patience to wait for yet another decade' What could have otherwise blasted off with pride some light years ago, but yet awaits take off even though you don’t know whether its parts are in place' What could have been termed the joke of the century (in some cases it has) but yet looks poised to become a dead serious take-off moment for millions the world over' A rocket ship' A nuke deal' Hell, no! A brand old Guns’N’Roses album.

The blind leading the blind through the dead of the night' Some things can’t be reasoned with ' either you have to be a lunatic or Axl Rose, to give it all up and become a recluse. You just have to be either a self-assuming king of the world or an individual with balls of shiny steel to disintegrate the biggest rock band in the world, make the world wait till kingdom come and yet expect to sell out like you did before. You have to be either mindless or a freaky enigma to screw up your mental state to the point of it making you drown so much of the wealth you created. And the fans ' you guys just have to take the cake.

Okay, let’s give you the double thumbs up for now, for you just have to be unbelievable to be waiting for Chinese Democracy (even the name sounds as though Axl’s grand mom puked on a bad Oriental meal). Let’s just wait till the album arrives (if it does at all) and then look at your faces. Oh yeah, we would love to see you smile. We all do.

The current lineup
AXL Rose
Lead vocals, piano
Dizzy Reed
Keyboards, piano
Robin Finck
Lead guitar
(1997-1999, 2000-present)
Tommy Stinson
Chris Pitman
Richard Fortus
Rhythm guitar
Brian Mantia

Just how many records will fly off the shelves is anybody’s guess, but given the hype, the initial count is expected to be phenomenal. The next slated release date is not yet disclosed (there have been countless appointments) but since old buddy and current enemy Slash himself went on quote in February, the drama should be ending anytime soon ' “I’m really excited, it’s been a long time waiting to see what the next step around the corner was going to be for him (Axl), we know where everybody else is, but we were wondering what he was going to be doing,” Slash said. “It’s coming out in March and apparently it sounds great,” he adds. Not too many know but the Offspring nearly named their new album Chinese Democracy with an aim to ‘jab’ the Gunners (even this effort sounded rather late in the day). This is what Dexter Holland, The Offspring’s lead vocalist had to say before scrapping the title ' “You snooze you lose. Axl ripped off my braids, so I ripped off his album title.”

That’s just one of the many digs taken at GNR ever since the band came under the shadow of their own might. Ex-members Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum continue to rock with a fair amount of respectability with their new outfit Velvet Revolver selling out tours, whereas Axl and his re-issue GNR are currently battling the evils of the Net among other things. At least four tracks TWAT (There was a time), Better, The blues and IRS (all supposedly slotted for the new album) leaked over the Internet, giving an insight to what the world could expect from their age-old secret jukebox. The songs have been met with mixed reports and the safest thing to say about them has been to bring them under the ‘change of direction’ spotlight. For instance The blues instantly reminds us of November rain with its piano driven intro and poignant vocal delivery ' a typically soulful Guns and Roses tune. But the absence of you-know-who, takes the cheese and meat away from the burger. IRS opens with a delightful tinge of blues paving way to a characteristic Axl vocal onslaught, but the venom is missing from the riffs. It’s hard to imagine GNR without Slash and that just might prove to be the band’s nemesis.

In a very recent development, Axl Rose came close to shaking up the very foundation of Velvet Revolver when he quoted that Slash had paid him a visit last year in the wee hours of the morning and called current VR members Duff “spineless” and vocalist Scott Weiland “a fraud”. Duff refused to be a part of the controversy but Weiland tore into Axl by publicly calling him a “fat, Botox-faced, wig-wearin’ f**k.” Further he added that Rose had an “unoriginal, uncreative little mind, the same mind that had to rely on its band mates to write melodies and lyrics ' who’s the fraud now'”

Chinese Democracy, the favourite punching bag took the regulation beating as well ' “How many albums have you put out, man, and how long did it take the current configuration of this so-called ‘band’ to make (the album)' We toured our album over a year and a half. How many shows have you played over the last 10 years'” The last Guns and Roses tour, in 2002, ended abruptly after just a few shows.

Mudslinging and all that noise is good for business, but it’s also great to hear Axl’s voice again. Going by the tracks that got leaked, the ghost of Appetite for destruction as well as that of the Illusion set will make it that much harder for the band to pull it off. But one thing’s for sure, if GNR is up against something, it’s themselves. And they know what it might mean to fit into boots that have ironically, become too big for them. In the meanwhile, the world is watching, waiting'.

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