A Bad Obsession: Guns N’ Roses

Get in the ring, please.With new dates announced in New York and an extended tour promised this year, can Guns N’ Roses fans be fooled again or is their patience running out?

So, the Axl Rose side show is set to play New York on May 15 and 17. Are you rushing out to get tickets or are you among the doubters who laugh at Guns N’ Roses fans who are let down again and again? Rose has taken what was a great rock and roll band and transformed it into the National Prank.

Always great for controversy, Rose has been stringing along fans and rock critics alike with promises of new material and tours for over a decade. The title of his band’s chronically pending album, Chinese Democracy, has now become a synonym for unrealized potential. The mere mention of it brings people to blows as the true believers defend their fatally flawed messiah in the face of increasing evidence that he’s nothing more than a sham. Choose your side: Axl v. Izzy, Slash, Duff and even the drug addled Steven Adler. Who held the soul of Guns N’ Roses? I know whose side I’m on.


And yet, I can’t help but fall victim to this never ending joke. Like Charlie Brown to Lucy’s football, I read every report on the “progress” of the album and wait impatiently for reviews of shows that are more likely than not going to suck. How can it not? The weakest link in what was an unstable chain throughout is now the driving force.

What gave Guns N’ Roses its fire was not the bloated production and pretentious lyrics and audacious video concepts, but the dirty, gritty rock and roll of a band near collapse. With Rose firmly in place as the sole creative authority, we can expect to see little room for the sloppy rock energy that made GNR awesome on Appetite for Destruction. Seriously, imagine how pristine and glossy an album that takes over a decade to produce is going to sound. Boston cranked out THREE albums in that time!

And so we wait. Will Axl actually show up for two dates in mid-May? Doubtful. Not for both shows, anyway. Chances are he’ll show up (very, very late) for the May 15 show and be disappointed with the set. After a day of rumors, the May 17 show will be cancelled and Rose will slide back into obscurity to concentrate on “finishing” the album—an album I’m betting never comes. This album is the only thing keeping Rose in the news. It’s the hope of this album that keeps his legacy from completely shattering. It can never live up to its potential and can only be the nail in Rose’s coffin. Remember, it’s better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it true.

The last time we pissed off GNR fans was after the disastrous 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.

34 thoughts on “A Bad Obsession: Guns N’ Roses”

  1. Your a moron,

    After New York, gnr go to Portugal under one week later for Rock in Rio then a European tour which will include nova rock, and rock am ring.

  2. The dates are scheduled, but will Axl actually show up? That’s the question.

    I would be willing to bet (at 10-to-1) that GNR does not play all 21 of their scheduled shows (according to 4tus.com):

    2006-05-15 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City

    2006-05-17 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City

    2006-05-27 Rock in Rio, Portugal

    2006-05-28 Madrid, Spain

    2006-05-31 Budapest Sportarena

    2006-06-02 Rock Am Ring

    2006-06-04 Gods Of Metal Festival, Italy

    2006-06-09 RDS Arena, Ireland

    2006-06-11 Download Festival, Donnington Park

    2006-06-13 Prague, Czech Republic Sazka Arena

    2006-06-15 Poland Warszawa Stadium

    2006-06-17 Nova Rock, Austria

    2006-06-20 POPB Arena Paris, France

    2006-06-24 Graspop Metal Meeting

    2006-06-26 Globen Stockholm, Sweden

    2006-06-28 Oslo, Norway

    2006-06-29 Roskilde Festival Denmark

    2006-07-02 Netherlands Goffertpark, Nijmegen

    2006-07-05 Helsinki, Finland

    2006-07-06 Helsinki, Finland

    2006-07-08 Oslo, Norway

  3. I have been waiting over a decade for Axl to deliver his album and I believe that he will. The new songs, especially “IRS,” “Better,” and “Catcher in the Rye” are fabulous, and “Chinese Democracy” will give music a much needed shot in the arm. I am so sick of these EMO dorks, they need a good kick in the ass by our “fatally flawed messiah.” And I don’t want another AFD. Axl isn’t 24 anymore.

  4. The title just gets more ironic with each passing year. Maybe it’s actually a practical joke on Axl’s part….that we’ll actually see democracy in China before this alleged album ever sees the light of day. Brilliant, but unfortunately I don’t think he’s smart enough to pull it off. What the feck is he waiting for anyway? A 7 album deal from Geffen? Why he doesn’t release it on his own label is beyond me, he’s got enough money to do it.

  5. maybe hes waiting til he can find a better hairdo than the bo derek mess hes rockin now…

    I think people like Dan will be very disappointed when this does come out but theyll probably say it rocks because they so so want it to, but if his voice is like it was at the MTV awards he is nothing without the rest of GNR. If I was a fanboy of theirs Id skip the show and see a GNR tribute band, theyd probably deliver better now.

  6. Yes!!!! I can’t wait for Axl to deliver some more 9 minute, piano driven, sophmore penned “rock” anthems that I can ignore just as much as UYI 1 and 2. And what’s a guy got to do to get some dolphins in some videos these days??? yup, can’t wait for this bloated, over-produced and self-indulgent shot in the arm.

  7. actually jake, it’s “nothing lasts forever, EVEN cold november rain.” nice to see that there’s an even crazier GN’R fan than me around. where’s dan been all this time? personally, i’m not completely convinced that chinese democracy, should it see the light of day, will beat out even the use your illusion albums, let alone appetite for destruction, but i’m still interested to hear it.

  8. I’m actually very curious to see what becomes of this mythic album. If you look at the progression of Axl’s self indulgent flights of fancy when he was on top, what can they possibly be after a decade in exile pocked with mislaid comeback plans? What does Axl’s satisfaction sound like and will it hold any revelence?

  9. Dan: has Emo even be relevant in the past four years? And you may not want another AFD, but the rest of us do and, really, that’s the only kind of album that will save them today. But the songs that have been leaked from Chin Dem seem to be getting some decent nods. I, for one, can’t understand why. There’s nothing there that grabs my attention and certainly nothing that would require over a decade worth of retooling. I’m curious as to why GNR fans feel the tracks that we’ve heard from C.D. are good. What are you hearing that I’m not?

  10. Ha Ha, all the pre-sale tickets have sold out and 2 more dates have been added on the 12th and the 14th

    Does this satisfy this article? Axl wouldn’t have put up 2 more gigs if he wasn’t ready.

  11. Matt, your confidence in your hero is cute, but aren’t you counting your chickens before they’ve hatched?

    You’re not allowed to act self-righteous until July when Axl has successfully finished his tour.

  12. it’s not confidence, it’s a personal laugh at this article, by adding 2 more shows it already proves this article wrong

    in the mean time, why don’t you guys slam something that deserves to get slammed in writing….

    like the fact that pop-punk is an oxymoron, i can promise you if you guys bash green day for being the biggest commercial sellouts since that incident where metallica sued it’s fans, i’ll support you guys

  13. Oh, Matt S. If you think booking shows is the same as playing shows, you must have been shafted by Axl a time or two before.

    That said, I hope for your sake he comes through and releases the album of the decade and has the greatest tour of all time. But I doubt he will.

  14. i just hope the album comes out soon if it comes out at all cuz all the shit these emo bands are coming out with is driving me crazy and anything axl comes out with will be amazing compared to all the shit people are listening to now – my dream is that slash and axl rose will reunite and the old guns n’ roses will be back but sadly thats never ganna happen

  15. The guy looks like death warmed over. Another candidate for the ‘fame has blinded me to the cold reality of life’ home. I disagree, and believe this album will see the light of day. Perhaps within the next 6 months. It will cement Axl’s place in history as a creative genius and be the groundwork for a film/documentary depicting such.

  16. you internet article writers are so negative, specifically seeing as last night’s show kicked the living ass out of all the expectations

  17. Okay, so Axl made it through the first two shows… That’s gotta improve his odds of completing the European tour, right? So what are the odds now, 8-1? Someone call their bookie and let us know!

  18. gnr are back, this will be the biggest tour of the summer. went to the second ny show im still in shock, awsome awsome, i lost my t shirt on the way out if anyone wants to sell a X/L, please email me, bill

  19. Wow, this sounds just like the response after the MTV awards show. I’ll believe that GNR are “back” when the records out and they’re selling out stadiums again, not just a few nostalgia shows at a ballroom.

  20. At no time did I state that European pop music fans aren’t crazy and will stand behind anyone. Bay City Rollers anyone…

  21. I’m just hopping and praying for Axl to show up with a good band and solid record. In my opinion we’re kinda too far down the crap hole to climb back out. The emo kids do suck slit wrist but we can’t for get the BS pop starlets and hiphop tools. If Axl can manage to be our saving grace I could imagine there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  22. im am 15. gnr used to be cool but axl is just a tryhard nowadays and in my opinion is wrecking the gnr image. even though this statement has nothing to do with your little debate.

  23. Guns n’ Roses Take New York: “Every few songs, Rose would exit the stage — for three or four minutes at a time — to catch his breath. (‘He’s building his stamina back up,’ says Bach, who recently hooked Rose up with his vocal coach.) At the final show, Rose’s voice was strong…”

  24. A year later and here’s where we stand (via Wikipedia):

    On May 5, 2006, Axl Rose appeared on the Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk radio show (during an interview with Sebastian Bach) and revealed that the new Guns N’ Roses album would be released before the end of the year. Later that month, the band launched a European tour, headlining both the Download Festival and Rock In Rio – Lisbon. Four warm-up shows preceded the tour at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and became the band’s first live concert dates since the aborted 2002 tour. The shows also marked the debut of virtuoso fusion guitarist and composer Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal on lead guitar, replacing Buckethead. During the course of this tour, former bandmate Izzy Stradlin and ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach made frequent guest appearances.

    Five warm-up shows before a 2006 North American tour were held in September 2006, two at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, two at Warfield Theatre in San Francisco and one in Devore for KROQ’s Inland Invasion 2006. The tour officially commenced on October 24, 2006 in Miami. The beginning of the tour was notable in that it marked the promotion of drummer Frank Ferrer from touring understudy to an official member of the band while Bryan Mantia took a leave of absence to be with his wife and newborn child.

    The song “Better” was featured in an internet advertisement for Harley-Davidson beginning in October 2006.[13] That same month, Rolling Stone published an article revealing that Andy Wallace would be mixing the final album.

    In December 2006, Axl Rose released an open letter to fans announcing that Merck Mercuriadis had been fired as the band’s manager. He revealed that the last four dates of the North American tour would be cut so the band could work on postproduction for Chinese Democracy. He also set a tentative release date for the album for the first time since the album’s announcement: March 6, 2007.

    On February 8, 2007, the band played a two-song set at the Rodeo Drive’s Walk of Style ceremony, held on February 8 in Beverly Hills, California. The band, with Chris Pitman on bass, blazed through “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” to close the event, which honored Gianni and Donatella Versace.

    Two days later, Guns N’ Roses announced that they will be hitting the road starting in April. The first leg of the Chinese Democracy World Tour 2007 will see performances in Japan, Thailand, South Africa, South America, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. The band was listed as Axl Rose, Robin Finck, Ron Thal and Richard Fortus on guitars, Tommy Stinson on bass, Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman on keyboards and Frank Ferrer on drums. Brain Mantia was not mentioned, leading many fans to believe that he has left the band.

    On February 23, 2007, Del James announced that Chinese Democracy’s recording stage was finished, and the band had now moved onto mixing the album. However, this proved that the March 6 release date was now impossible to achieve, and the album once again has no scheduled release date.[14]

    On April 2, 2007, lead guitarist Bumblefoot announced that the mixing stage was complete but did not know the final track listing or the number of songs on the album saying “I want to be surprised myself”.

    Chinese Democracy has been in production for almost 10 years at a cost of over $13 million,[10] making it the most expensive unreleased album ever recorded.

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