In his first interview with a U.S. publication (and not a message board in some nine years, Axl Rose engaged in an e-mail chat with Billboard‘s Jonathan Cohen in which he talked about his frustrations with his label (“at least in regard to the U.S., for the most part I don’t look at it like we have a record company”), the media, the leaks of rough Chinese Democracy mixes over the summer (“Having someone jeopardize your efforts so cavalierly is pretty much a nightmare”), and the difference between then and now (“It was just as ugly in old Guns, regardless of our success”). Speaking of the old days, he also noted that he’s willing to work with Izzy again (yes!), and maybe do some sort of one-shot deal with Duff. And there’s more! A rundown of the juiciest bits after the jump.
5. “Actually, our first leaks were from using a sound system in a strip club in the early hours when it was basically empty. I went there to play the tracks for someone I was interested in working with. I’d gone there with a guy who worked band security, who was allegedly somehow related to the owners, feeling it was a bit more of a protected environment than it turned out to be.” Presented for “the more you know (about the trustworthiness of people who want to meet you at strip clubs)” purposes. But what does this mean for Chinese Democracy tracks being serviced to other nudie bars?
4. “That said, most of the nonsense has been from the same or the latest batch of negative idiots, so it was to be expected and really doesn’t mean much. [I] did see some jump ship, and that’s always funny. Watching some douche waving a flag and then being the first punk in the water’s always great.” This quote is on the media response to the album, and I’m not sure what “jump ship” means. Jump ship to detracting the album or to embracing Axl again? I’m probably a “punk in the water” for even asking, huh.
3. “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 — I look at it for the most part like we have friendly but otherwise cutthroat loan sharks, and 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.” By far the best parts of the interview are the sections in which Axl discusses how frustrating his record company has been—their over- and underinvolvement, their lack of a marketing plan for the record at all (which was definitely borne out by the quiet thud the record made when it came out back in November), the anger on the part of the rest of the band toward the label. But I do think that last bit is also going to be taken out of context by the types who skulk around the Pirate Bay if the next record ever does come to fruition….
2. “I get freedom of the press, but I’m not clear in regard to their writers or those who choose to run their spin, why someone who no one’s ever heard of with so little “real” information is deemed qualified — let alone allowed so much corporate backing — to promote negative and often completely inaccurate and purely opinion-based (at best, if that) shots in forums with so much exposure at the public’s and our expense.” Speaking of being in the water. Cough.
1. “In regards to Slash, I read a desperate fan’s message about, what if one of us were to die and looking back I had the possibility of a reunion now, blah blah blah. And my thoughts are, ‘Yeah, and while you’re at the show your baby accidentally kicks a candle and burns your house down, killing himself and the rest of your family.’ “ What else is there to say, really—except I hope that particular bit of imagery shows up in a song soon.
Axl Rose Speaks [Billboard]