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RATE: Catcher in the Rye (1999) - Brian May Demo

RATE: CATCHER IN THE RYE  

219 members have voted

  1. 1. RATE: CATCHER IN THE RYE (BRIAN MAY)

    • GnR classic. Worthy of the original band. Feels like a lost Illusion III track. Axl ruined it with Bumblefoot.
      75
    • Love it. Not sure if it's worthy of classic GNR, but it's really good. The demo has a ton of potential.
      48
    • It's good. Nothing more, nothing less.
      19
    • Meh. Another Chinese song that is just...whatever.
      15
    • It sucks. Truly. Dizzy playing a 2 hr bongo solo is more interesting than this song.
      7
    • The final album version with Bumblefoot is way better. I like how it was changed into more of a hard rock song.
      25
    • GUNS N' ALIENS. Whether it's good or bad is irrelevant. STRADLIN'
      6


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Thoughts on the original unfinished demo for Catcher in the Rye that was recorded w/ Brian May for the "2000 Intentions" album w/ Sean Beavan?

Axl has mentioned before that May had recorded many great runs for this song and was ultimately horrified by what Axl and Beaven cut/pasted together as the solos for this track. Brian denies that and says he was proud of the way the song came out. 

This less produced, rawer version with the classy playing from Brian to me sounds like classic GnR. Did I mention that Brian's playing is CLASSY? CLASSY. You dig what I'm sayin' Bumblefoot?

It literally sounds like something that could conceivably go on Illusion 2 or the unmade "Illusion 3" from 1996. It feels like the evolution and refinement of songs like Civil War and Estranged. To me, this song captures Axl at his best post-Illusions. And I think unfortunately he ruined the song with the final version. It went from a classic even in demo form to "sort of...good, I think?". Too bad the guy ruins his own stuff with overproducing the crap out of them. As Slash put it (paraphrasing), "He overthinks everything. Sometimes Axl's ideas are classic, and sometimes they're...whatever.

In any case, imho...this would be a track that would absolutely be worthy of getting the Izzy/Slash/Duff remix. Give us a stripped down, less layered version and you have basically a lost classic from "Illusion 3". 

 

Edited by RONIN
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I love this demo a lot more the studio version.  The final version just sounds like a loud mess, especially the outro where you can hardly make out Axl's vocals over Bumblefoot's uninspired solo.

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I like the unfinished(?) sound of the demo. It personally prefer it to the record version, but will listen to either. 

I like the sound of this too. It's a bit more stripped down. They took away the vocals and one or two of the guitar tracks 

 

Edited by Gibson_Guy87

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3 hours ago, DieselDaisy said:

Only Axl Rose would have a solo by Brian May - I repeat Brian bloody May - only to decide to jettison the thing in favour of one of his dimwit hacks.

Wasn't just that -- apparently Brian himself didn't even recognize his own solo when he heard the demo! The solo everyone loves on the Catcher demo is copy and pasted to hell and is a mishmash of things Brian played when he was in the studio for a day with Axl. I still love it though.

 

(PS. i also enjoy Bumble's Catcher solo)

Edited by GNR 1991

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7 minutes ago, GNR 1991 said:

Wasn't just that -- apparently Brian himself didn't even recognize his own solo when he heard the demo! The solo everyone loves on the Catcher demo is copy and pasted to hell and is a mishmash of things Brian played when he was in the studio for a day with Axl. I still love it though.

 

(PS. i also don't enjoy Bumble's Catcher solo)

Copy and paste. How I hate those terms. If Rose's career went down the shitter for two reasons and two reasons alone it is copy and pasting.

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1 hour ago, DieselDaisy said:

Only Axl Rose would have a solo by Brian May - I repeat Brian bloody May - only to decide to jettison the thing in favour of one of his dimwit hacks.

His taste seems to have progressively gotten worse over the years. 

What did you actually think of the track? Surely this is up there with the best of Illusions?

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3 minutes ago, RONIN said:

His taste seems to have progressively gotten worse over the years. 

What did you actually think of the track? Surely this is up there with the best of Illusions?

Absolute wank.

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To be honest, never have been a fan of Catcher in the Rye. But that demo version really does sound much better than what ended up on the album. Maybe if this was on the album instead, I might have liked it. 

 

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Catcher’s demo was leagues better than the final version. I personally don’t like what we got on the album even if I do like Catcher as an idea, lyrically, and as structure...but I hate the overproduction on the album. Drum machine with a general weird sound and Bumble’s solo just wasn’t great.

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One of Chinese Democracy's inarguable high points, "Catcher in the Rye" contains every Axl Rose hallmark: swirling production, Taupin-esque lyrics ("On an ordinary day/Not in an ordinary way/All at once the song I heard/ No longer wouldn't play") and outrageous girth (runtime: nearly six minutes). But it's a shame he second-guessed the demo version he cut, which was buoyed by an ebullient solo from Brian May. The Queen guitar ace provided a soothing counterpoint to Rose's mercurial energy — it wasn't the first time the two collaborated, having played together at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992 — but the head Gun ultimately chose to excise May's contribution. During an online message-board chat in 2008, he said the final solo (played by Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal) was nonetheless inspired by May. "It's entirely constructed from edits based around one specific note Brian hit in a throwaway take," Rose wrote. "And though Brian seems to have warmed a bit to it, at least publicly, he was unfortunately none too pleased at the time with our handiwork. I remember looking at Brian standing to my left and him staring at the big studio speakers a bit aghast saying, 'But that's not what I played.'"

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/10-insanely-great-guns-n-roses-songs-only-hardcore-fans-know-20160408/catcher-in-the-rye-brian-may-demo-20160407

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1 hour ago, NicDwolfwood said:

To be honest, never have been a fan of Catcher in the Rye. But that demo version really does sound much better than what ended up on the album. Maybe if this was on the album instead, I might have liked it. 

 

Imho, all of the leaked demos were stronger than the final versions that ended up on Chinese Democracy. They had a good album ready to go in 2000. Too bad Axl second guessed himself and overbaked these songs.

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The final version was CD's biggest disappointment for me. When I heard the demo, I thought it would become a masterpiece alongside November Rain and Estranged. Instead, what it gained in overdubs it lost in feeling.

For the few times they've played it, the current line-up has done it justice even if Slash does shred for the sake of shredding. It's a Brian May solo through and through.

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5 hours ago, DieselDaisy said:

Only Axl Rose would have a solo by Brian May - I repeat Brian bloody May - only to decide to jettison the thing in favour of one of his dimwit hacks.

Bumblefoot is an infinitely better guitarist than Brian May.

Never had you down as a Queen fan, Diesel.

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1 hour ago, RONIN said:

Imho, all of the leaked demos were stronger than the final versions that ended up on Chinese Democracy. They had a good album ready to go in 2000. Too bad Axl second guessed himself and overbaked these songs.

It wasn't quite that cut and dry.  

In early 2000, Axl was ready to go and it was the label who held the album back, drafting in yet another producer, Roy Thomas Baker (Queen) delaying things further.  The previous producer, Beavan, also thought they were ready to go but the label told Axl he could do better - completely irrational move on the label's part. 

Quote

"Every time that we thought that we had the correct songs, then somebody [in the record company] thought that we could make it better." (Axl, Rock & Pop FM, 01/22/01)

Quote

 

"It was a bummer. Most of the songs that are on the record now were done 10 fucking years ago. But all the talking heads in the mix were saying, “Make ’em sound better! Make ’em sound better!” So we kept redoing this and that." (Tommy, AV Club, 05/19/11)

It didn't help that the label's latest A&R guy Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd producer) packed them up and moved them to another studio for no good reason, which created yet another delay, and then proceeded to tell Axl - who still thought they had a finished album - that there were two (2!) good songs out of the twenty or so.  Axl actually disagreed with Ezrin but pressure from the label and no doubt Axl's own self-doubt and lack of self-belief meant he ended up accepting Ezrin's assessment.  So the laborious process started all over again.

Quote

"It ended up coming back down to the same fucking songs that they were 10 years ago, except that now they were a super-dense mishmash of a bunch of instrumentation. That whole era pretty much sums up what happened to the record industry." (Tommy, AV Club, 05/19/11)

While Axl obviously has to shoulder most of the blame for the whole CD saga, there were undeniable label shenanigans which would have done nothing for Axl's flagging confidence.  After Ezrin's interference, Axl even revisits the old 95 demo he did with Izzy (Down by the Sea, or whatever it was called).  To me, that shows Axl was just bloody confused and had no idea how to move forward, how to please the label, how to stay true to whatever vision he had (which kept changing).  He says as much to Tom Zutaut - who comes in after Ezrin.  Far, far too many cooks in the kitchen for the making of CD. :facepalm:

Quote

"After a month of this the whole thing would get ugly and extensively interfere with getting anything productive done, and near the middle of the third month we'd arrange for Jimmy to come down again. They'd go away happy and the entire process would repeat itself over and over and over." (Axl, Billboard, 02/06/09)

As for the song, I actually like the album version.  :lol:

Edited by MyPrettyTiedUpMichelle
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  • GNFNR 1

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I much prefer Ron's Catcher solo and make no apologies for it. 

Just because it's played by OMGBrianMay, doesn't make it anything special. Hasn't Slash proven on the NITL tour when playing TWAT and TIL, that just cuz you're a legend, it doesn't mean you can randomly noodle over a song and create magic?

Edited by Towelie
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I wish that Robin could've played the solo instead of Bumble. 

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13 minutes ago, Towelie said:

Bumblefoot is an infinitely better guitarist than Brian May.

Never had you down as a Queen fan, Diesel.

Bumblefoot is just complete and utter shite compared to Brian May. I've always liked a bit of Queen.

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3 minutes ago, DieselDaisy said:

Bumblefoot is just complete and utter shite compared to Brian May. I've always liked a bit of Queen.

There is absolutely nothing remarkable about Brian May's playing on Catcher, other than the fact that it's played by Brian May.

Classic case of people judging the music by how much they like the musician, rather than what said musician actually creates. I could've played Brian's Catcher solo in the first six months of learning the guitar. Bumblefoots I would likely struggle to play even now, having played for over a decade.

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2 hours ago, Towelie said:

There is absolutely nothing remarkable about Brian May's playing on Catcher, other than the fact that it's played by Brian May.

Classic case of people judging the music by how much they like the musician, rather than what said musician actually creates. I could've played Brian's Catcher solo in the first six months of learning the guitar. Bumblefoots I would likely struggle to play even now, having played for over a decade.

It is not so much DieselDaisy being pro-May as anti-Bumblefoot or rather anti-GNR. 

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Everything about the '99 demo was much more interesting. The sound textures, while rough around the edges, were elegant (same thing as classy, right?).

Not only is the Brian May solo stupendous in terms of tone and feel, but if Axl wanted people to know Chris Pitman made his mark on the music, then he ruined it by castrating the synth solo towards the end.

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1 hour ago, SoulMonster said:

It is not so much DieselDaisy being pro-May as anti-Bumblefoot or rather anti-GNR. 

Brian May is one of my favourite guitarists of all time. Nugnr are still are wank stain though so you are not completely wrong.

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4 hours ago, Towelie said:

There is absolutely nothing remarkable about Brian May's playing on Catcher, other than the fact that it's played by Brian May.

Classic case of people judging the music by how much they like the musician, rather than what said musician actually creates. I could've played Brian's Catcher solo in the first six months of learning the guitar. Bumblefoots I would likely struggle to play even now, having played for over a decade.

Why are you acting like you've actually heard Brian May's solo on Catcher? Having heard a composited mess Axl made from 6 or more takes is not the same as hearing what Brian actually played, ya know.

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5 minutes ago, JoeyBananaduck said:

Why are you acting like you've actually heard Brian May's solo on Catcher? Having heard a composited mess Axl made from 6 or more takes is not the same as hearing what Brian actually played, ya know.

Well it's all we have to go on and many fans act as if that "composited mess" of a solo as you call it, is a masterpiece, just because it happens to be played by Brian May.

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