The title track to Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy hits radio today, and with the album officially slated for release on Nov. 23 (through an exclusive deal with retail giant Best Buy) comes the beginning of the end to a 15-year GNR drought. But at what cost to the band's label, Interscope?
Music industry veteran Matt Pinfield, a former MTV VJ and Columbia Records VP of A&R who now hosts New York station WRXP's morning show, estimates the recording process alone easily ran in the millions. "I would imagine it's the most expensive rock record ever made," he says. But according to GNR's current manager, Azoff's Andy Gould, you can't rush the magic of rock. "Art and commerce have always made strange bedfellows," Gould tells EW.com. "When they asked Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, they didn't say, 'Can you do it in the fourth quarter?' so they can make their numbers. Great art sometimes takes time."
Indeed, as recently as 2002, the same year singer Axl Rose closed out the MTV Video Music Awards with a surprise performance, some 300 DAT tapes sat in a studio cabinet — bits and pieces of Rose's "masterpiece," according to an ex-Geffen Records staffer: "As the dollars got bigger and bigger, there was even greater hope [to get the album finished]. But it got to the point where that hope went over the edge, like 'This will never happen.'"
Pinfield says, "Working on records at Columbia, I'd come across people coming off the project or going on, and they would say that Axl was just taking his time — that he wasn't satisfied with certain things."
With less than a month to go until fans can judge the final product for themselves (pending approval of the album's artwork, which, Gould hinted, could have its own complications), the anticipation — and pressure — is most certainly high, especially considering early predictions that AC/DC's new album, Black Ice, could top 250,000 in first-week sales. "Rock music has always been strong when there’s turmoil and unrest," offers Pinfield, "whether it’s the voice of reason, an accompaniment to what’s going on or a form of escapism. And look at the situation we're in now with the economy and the world. The game has changed, with artists like AC/DC selling through Wal-Mart and Guns at Best Buy, but Chinese Democracy, without a question, will be a No. 1 record."
Link to the article here: GNR Article 'great art takes time'
I was personally intrigued about the possible 'complications' regarding cover art. Could it have to do with issues within China? As in, its kind of hard to release an album called 'Chinese Democracy' in, well, China who kind of frowns on those things. Intriguing, anyway..