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Dropping the Needle: Alan Niven talks GNR


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Alan always has something interesting to say. Here is an excerpt from one of his interviews (about Chinese Democracy):

BraveWords.com: For me, it was really more a question of is this what I waited fourteen years for? These songs could have been worked up in six months.

Alan Niven: “Here’s my pot shot about Chinese Democracy. Axl made two huge mistakes. One was releasing it and the other was Irving Azoff.”

BraveWords.com: Irving Azoff? Really? Why?

Alan Niven? “If I’d been in a responsible position to advise and counsel Axl, I would have done everything in my power to make sure that Chinese Democracy was something that people always talked about and wondered about, but never actually got to completely hear, that it would never be actually released. Recording went on for so long that there was no way in hell that the record he was putting together was going to meet expectations. The minute it was released Mitch, it became just one more record. Before its release it was a myth. It was fascinating. People talked about it. People wanted to hear it. The third mistake was that he should have made sure to keep all his tapes and all his discs under his wing and under his lock and key, so, that there wouldn’t have been any leaks. Then he could have released the occasional track and he could have worked them 'live' for another ten years. That would have been more mysterious, more engaging, more fascinating…”

Full interview: http://www.bravewords.com/news/146671

Oh, and there was a great, 6 or 7 page interview with him in Classic Rock magazine (2009). I have it in .pdf, so if anyone is interested, I can upload it. ;)

Keep in mind he's speaking as an observer and an outsider, "what if". Niven didn't even bring anything up about Interscope. Axl needed someone who was going to make GNR their #1 priority. McGhee and Azoff couldn't.

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Why should they have had to follow a formula of 3 AFDs then a UYIs though? Wasn't not following what others have done previously what set them apart and made them so big. By the time they got to a third AFD type album people would have lost interest to some extent and they would have been another Motley Crue.

I'm not saying they had to follow a formula of 3 afd, that's just a suggestion. I'm saying that the band still didn't have an identity strong enough to do a 360º turn on their first album.

It's not that there is a formula... but as an artist if you somehow pretend to have a certain image in your band, and you end up creating a different one, because some crazy guy decided to fuck with all of your tracks without your permission... i think that's pretty disrespectful and destructive as it is entitling yourself as being the band, and making yourself look larger than life and bigger then the band itself as Axl did, but that's only my opinion.

4 guys want the band to have a certain sound and image, then 1 guy wants a different sound and image... what gives the right to that 1 guy go against what the rest of the 4 want? Pretending that what Axl said was true, and that the Illusion records were 2 cds because there was so much material that Izzy has thrown in, Slash has thrown in, and then him as thrown in too, why mess with material that other guys have put in, when he put in his own material on the albums as well?

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Axl is not here to defend himself....anyway: i remember how he told Trunk in 06 how he was forced to do the 2002 tour. Speaking in an interview in summer 2002 Axl was qouted on saying "this is our tour, a dream come through etc etc. kida weird the whole thing

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Is anyone stupid enough to believe that Axl ruined UYIs ?

Yes, many people are that stupid.

We're not saying he ruined the Illusion albums. Like i said Use Your Illusion 1 is my favorite album of all time...but who knows if the album would be even better, without the changes. Other then that... the fact it was a success, doesn't change the fact that the whole attitude of "the band is mine, it's my life" you're only employees destroyed the band...

Also the Illusion records were good, but gave the fans a wrong perception of the band, it gave the band the image all members (except Axl) didn't want.

That's why Niven says Chinese Democracy started way before the band broke up... because Axl's "vision" was above everything and all else...

Alan always has something interesting to say. Here is an excerpt from one of his interviews (about Chinese Democracy):

BraveWords.com: For me, it was really more a question of is this what I waited fourteen years for? These songs could have been worked up in six months.

Alan Niven: “Here’s my pot shot about Chinese Democracy. Axl made two huge mistakes. One was releasing it and the other was Irving Azoff.”

BraveWords.com: Irving Azoff? Really? Why?

Alan Niven? “If I’d been in a responsible position to advise and counsel Axl, I would have done everything in my power to make sure that Chinese Democracy was something that people always talked about and wondered about, but never actually got to completely hear, that it would never be actually released. Recording went on for so long that there was no way in hell that the record he was putting together was going to meet expectations. The minute it was released Mitch, it became just one more record. Before its release it was a myth. It was fascinating. People talked about it. People wanted to hear it. The third mistake was that he should have made sure to keep all his tapes and all his discs under his wing and under his lock and key, so, that there wouldn’t have been any leaks. Then he could have released the occasional track and he could have worked them 'live' for another ten years. That would have been more mysterious, more engaging, more fascinating…”

Full interview: http://www.bravewords.com/news/146671

Oh, and there was a great, 6 or 7 page interview with him in Classic Rock magazine (2009). I have it in .pdf, so if anyone is interested, I can upload it. ;)

Keep in mind he's speaking as an observer and an outsider, "what if". Niven didn't even bring anything up about Interscope. Axl needed someone who was going to make GNR their #1 priority. McGhee and Azoff couldn't.

Wrong! Axl wants someone who he can control! Someone that is dependent on Guns and Axl for success in his career so he can manipulate the shit out of that person...Somebody who will tell him, yes sir, certainly sir, on its way sir, in a second sir, i will do it right away sir...

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Alan always has something interesting to say. Here is an excerpt from one of his interviews (about Chinese Democracy):

BraveWords.com: For me, it was really more a question of is this what I waited fourteen years for? These songs could have been worked up in six months.

Alan Niven: “Here’s my pot shot about Chinese Democracy. Axl made two huge mistakes. One was releasing it and the other was Irving Azoff.”

BraveWords.com: Irving Azoff? Really? Why?

Alan Niven? “If I’d been in a responsible position to advise and counsel Axl, I would have done everything in my power to make sure that Chinese Democracy was something that people always talked about and wondered about, but never actually got to completely hear, that it would never be actually released. Recording went on for so long that there was no way in hell that the record he was putting together was going to meet expectations. The minute it was released Mitch, it became just one more record. Before its release it was a myth. It was fascinating. People talked about it. People wanted to hear it. The third mistake was that he should have made sure to keep all his tapes and all his discs under his wing and under his lock and key, so, that there wouldn’t have been any leaks. Then he could have released the occasional track and he could have worked them 'live' for another ten years. That would have been more mysterious, more engaging, more fascinating…”

Full interview: http://www.bravewords.com/news/146671

Oh, and there was a great, 6 or 7 page interview with him in Classic Rock magazine (2009). I have it in .pdf, so if anyone is interested, I can upload it. ;)

Keep in mind he's speaking as an observer and an outsider, "what if". Niven didn't even bring anything up about Interscope. Axl needed someone who was going to make GNR their #1 priority. McGhee and Azoff couldn't.

Pretend you are the manager of a label. You're not a fan. It's your job to be objective as possible and make the most money for your company as possible. Ask yourself, Would making GnR a #1 priority be a smart move?? Keep in mind that it's 2008 and not 1994.

And really, you don't have to be a Business major to see this.

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Why should they have had to follow a formula of 3 AFDs then a UYIs though? Wasn't not following what others have done previously what set them apart and made them so big. By the time they got to a third AFD type album people would have lost interest to some extent and they would have been another Motley Crue.

I'm not saying they had to follow a formula of 3 afd, that's just a suggestion. I'm saying that the band still didn't have an identity strong enough to do a 360º turn on their first album.

It's not that there is a formula... but as an artist if you somehow pretend to have a certain image in your band, and you end up creating a different one, because some crazy guy decided to fuck with all of your tracks without your permission... i think that's pretty disrespectful and destructive as it is entitling yourself as being the band, and making yourself look larger than life and bigger then the band itself as Axl did, but that's only my opinion.

4 guys want the band to have a certain sound and image, then 1 guy wants a different sound and image... what gives the right to that 1 guy go against what the rest of the 4 want? Pretending that what Axl said was true, and that the Illusion records were 2 cds because there was so much material that Izzy has thrown in, Slash has thrown in, and then him as thrown in too, why mess with material that other guys have put in, when he put in his own material on the albums as well?

Q: How did axl managed to go against 4 people? (hint: axl's only one person)
A: Because they didn't disagree with him!
seriously this is stupid. Axl might be the mastermind but the whole band is responsible for the record and how things were done. cause it's their band and their record. If they didn't want to be employees they shouldn't act like one. That means they don't get to blame axl for everything. If they could never do anything against axl's wishes anyway they should have signed their contracts like good boys and stayed in the band.
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Why should they have had to follow a formula of 3 AFDs then a UYIs though? Wasn't not following what others have done previously what set them apart and made them so big. By the time they got to a third AFD type album people would have lost interest to some extent and they would have been another Motley Crue.

I'm not saying they had to follow a formula of 3 afd, that's just a suggestion. I'm saying that the band still didn't have an identity strong enough to do a 360º turn on their first album.

It's not that there is a formula... but as an artist if you somehow pretend to have a certain image in your band, and you end up creating a different one, because some crazy guy decided to fuck with all of your tracks without your permission... i think that's pretty disrespectful and destructive as it is entitling yourself as being the band, and making yourself look larger than life and bigger then the band itself as Axl did, but that's only my opinion.

4 guys want the band to have a certain sound and image, then 1 guy wants a different sound and image... what gives the right to that 1 guy go against what the rest of the 4 want? Pretending that what Axl said was true, and that the Illusion records were 2 cds because there was so much material that Izzy has thrown in, Slash has thrown in, and then him as thrown in too, why mess with material that other guys have put in, when he put in his own material on the albums as well?

Q: How did axl managed to go against 4 people? (hint: axl's only one person)

A: Because they didn't disagree with him!

seriously this is stupid. Axl might be the mastermind but the whole band is responsible for the record and how things were done. cause it's their band and their record. If they didn't want to be employees they shouldn't act like one. That means they don't get to blame axl for everything. If they could never do anything against axl's wishes anyway they should have signed their contracts like good boys and stayed in the band.

What do you mean they shouldn't "act like employees"?? Uhhh......they didn't. How do you act like an employee in a band??

Why should they have had to follow a formula of 3 AFDs then a UYIs though? Wasn't not following what others have done previously what set them apart and made them so big. By the time they got to a third AFD type album people would have lost interest to some extent and they would have been another Motley Crue.

I'm not saying they had to follow a formula of 3 afd, that's just a suggestion. I'm saying that the band still didn't have an identity strong enough to do a 360º turn on their first album.

It's not that there is a formula... but as an artist if you somehow pretend to have a certain image in your band, and you end up creating a different one, because some crazy guy decided to fuck with all of your tracks without your permission... i think that's pretty disrespectful and destructive as it is entitling yourself as being the band, and making yourself look larger than life and bigger then the band itself as Axl did, but that's only my opinion.

4 guys want the band to have a certain sound and image, then 1 guy wants a different sound and image... what gives the right to that 1 guy go against what the rest of the 4 want? Pretending that what Axl said was true, and that the Illusion records were 2 cds because there was so much material that Izzy has thrown in, Slash has thrown in, and then him as thrown in too, why mess with material that other guys have put in, when he put in his own material on the albums as well?

Q: How did axl managed to go against 4 people? (hint: axl's only one person)

A: Because they didn't disagree with him!

seriously this is stupid. Axl might be the mastermind but the whole band is responsible for the record and how things were done. cause it's their band and their record. If they didn't want to be employees they shouldn't act like one. That means they don't get to blame axl for everything. If they could never do anything against axl's wishes anyway they should have signed their contracts like good boys and stayed in the band.

What do you mean they shouldn't "act like employees"?? Uhhh......they didn't. How do you act like an employee in a band??

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By the time the UYI tour began they were no longer a band but a brand. When something gets that big the plan or vision becomes more complicated than individual creative desires. It is a money making machine for the stakeholders. I can see why on a personal level some of them wanted to retain their roots of gigging at small venues, creating punky underground stuff but GNR just got too big and the label wasn't going to let that slip away. Axl's grander plans for albums, videos and shows was a better match for what the label, media and public wanted them to be.

Slash has obviously found a comfortable hybrid these days between being a big star and still playing stripped down shows. Axl and GNR put on a bigger, more flamboyant spectacle and that works for them. IMO your average casual concert goer is more likely to pay the bucks to see GNR because people love the draw of a big show. London's West End is built on that premise.

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What's funny is that Izzy didn't do any gritty rock after leaving GNR. He basically did a bunch of Stones country albums. A lot of his songs could be considered gritty Jimmy Buffett songs, maybe. That's not a shot at Izzy, as I like a good deal of his solo stuff, but he didn't really stick with the gritty rock at all.

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Alan says that at one point Axl had a giant picture of GNR performing live above the mantle in his house with a gold-plate below it that read "MY BAND".

That kind of says it all.

Amazing interview.

Alan saying that most people get into Rock and Roll to mold and create families that they weren't afforded in childhood is a great way of looking at Axl and what he's done. But at the same time, Alan points out that everyone else from those days has moved on and got married/had children while Axl still hasn't moved past that phase of his life.

Sad but true.

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So either Axl outwitted everyone else in the band, or those other people didn't care enough about the band (or have the balls) to challenge Axl. It's funny, Slash's most ardent supporters care more about the name thing than he does. Which is some delicious irony if I do say so myself.

Slash can posture all he wants, deep down it stings to know he gave away the band to Axl.

Blame Axl all ya want. But Slash and Duff aren't the idyllic little perfect band members people make them out to be. There's plenty of evidence to suggest Slash's ego was every bit as big as Axl's. Axl was just a little smarter.

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So either Axl outwitted everyone else in the band, or those other people didn't care enough about the band (or have the balls) to challenge Axl. It's funny, Slash's most ardent supporters care more about the name thing than he does. Which is some delicious irony if I do say so myself.

Slash can posture all he wants, deep down it stings to know he gave away the band to Axl.

Blame Axl all ya want. But Slash and Duff aren't the idyllic little perfect band members people make them out to be. There's plenty of evidence to suggest Slash's ego was every bit as big as Axl's. Axl was just a little smarter.

This, they did n`t have have balls to challenge Axl and quit like little bitches they are

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So either Axl outwitted everyone else in the band, or those other people didn't care enough about the band (or have the balls) to challenge Axl. It's funny, Slash's most ardent supporters care more about the name thing than he does. Which is some delicious irony if I do say so myself.

Slash can posture all he wants, deep down it stings to know he gave away the band to Axl.

Blame Axl all ya want. But Slash and Duff aren't the idyllic little perfect band members people make them out to be. There's plenty of evidence to suggest Slash's ego was every bit as big as Axl's. Axl was just a little smarter.

This, they did n`t have have balls to challenge Axl and quit like little bitches they are

Some posters accuse me of being some rabid Axl defender, but the truth is much less dramatic: other band members need to be held accountable for their actions as well, not just Axl. It's not nutswinging to say "it wasn't all Axl's fault." But a lot of people around here who proclaim themselves to be fans of the old band seem to actively avoid holding Duff and Slash accountable for anything. THAT's what's irritating. Those two played their own parts, but they get a free pass. And even though Izzy is my favorite GnR member ever, his acquiescence and absence also contributed to the dysfunctional world of GnR. Let me be very clear: Axl is not to be excused for whatever he did that was detrimental to the band's dynamic, but neither should anyone else be excused either. S'all I'm sayin.

Edited by brainsaber
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Alan says that at one point Axl had a giant picture of GNR performing live above the mantle in his house with a gold-plate below it that read "MY BAND".

That kind of says it all.

Amazing interview.

Alan saying that most people get into Rock and Roll to mold and create families that they weren't afforded in childhood is a great way of looking at Axl and what he's done. But at the same time, Alan points out that everyone else from those days has moved on and got married/had children while Axl still hasn't moved past that phase of his life.

Sad but true.

I thought most people got into rock n roll for the girls, money and fame. Weird analogy from Alan IMO.

The picture doesn't say much really. I refer to my children as mine but I am still aware that someone else was involved. It could have been a jokey gift for all we know.

I agree it would be nice for Axl to have had a family but lots of people don't for many reasons. Marriage and parenthood are not indications of how mature and together a person is. See Jeremy Kyle or Rikki Lake for examples.

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So either Axl outwitted everyone else in the band, or those other people didn't care enough about the band (or have the balls) to challenge Axl. It's funny, Slash's most ardent supporters care more about the name thing than he does. Which is some delicious irony if I do say so myself.

Slash can posture all he wants, deep down it stings to know he gave away the band to Axl.

Blame Axl all ya want. But Slash and Duff aren't the idyllic little perfect band members people make them out to be. There's plenty of evidence to suggest Slash's ego was every bit as big as Axl's. Axl was just a little smarter.

This, they did n`t have have balls to challenge Axl and quit like little bitches they are

But how do you deal with a crazy person? How do you deal with someone who asks for photos to show to someone named Yoda? At one point it's normal to say fuck it. Slash, Izzy, Duff, they all moved on, while Axl's still bitching about the past. It's pathetic.

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When more truth is revealed about Axl, the only response is to start attacking Slash, Duff and Izzy. Nutless followers.

Even the Axl fans get attacked :D

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So either Axl outwitted everyone else in the band, or those other people didn't care enough about the band (or have the balls) to challenge Axl. It's funny, Slash's most ardent supporters care more about the name thing than he does. Which is some delicious irony if I do say so myself.

Slash can posture all he wants, deep down it stings to know he gave away the band to Axl.

Blame Axl all ya want. But Slash and Duff aren't the idyllic little perfect band members people make them out to be. There's plenty of evidence to suggest Slash's ego was every bit as big as Axl's. Axl was just a little smarter.

This, they did n`t have have balls to challenge Axl and quit like little bitches they are

But how do you deal with a crazy person? How do you deal with someone who asks for photos to show to someone named Yoda? At one point it's normal to say fuck it. Slash, Izzy, Duff, they all moved on, while Axl's still bitching about the past. It's pathetic.


Let me ask you... how do you deal with heroin junkies and alcoholics?

And I take issue your assertion that "they all moved on." Who showed up at Axl's house drunk wanting to be his friend in 2005? Who did interview after interview spreading negativity? Slash even admitted he caused a lot of the negativity. Dare me to post the video where he admits that. Go ahead, dare me. Do you think you should take a cue from Slash and maybe... move on? Also, Axl was asked a question in an interview. He doesn't actively bitch about that stuff- he responds to people inquiring about it.

Like I said: everyone needs to be held accountable, not just Axl. What's so funny is people like you are so bothered by what GnR has become, but you're not even honest with yourself to acknowledge that Slash and Duff and Izzy are partially responsible for what Guns is today. You're so hellbent on pinning it on Axl, but let's be honest: Slash just didn't have the balls to challenge Axl for the name. Slash gave it away. You care more about the name thing than he does.



When more truth is revealed about Axl, the only response is to start attacking Slash, Duff and Izzy. Nutless followers.

I didn't "attack" anyone, that's just you being a passionate drama queen (as usual). I just said that everyone should be held accountable. Interesting you didn't seem to notice where I said very clearly that Axl should be held accountable too. So I guess I was "attacking" Axl as well then, eh? derp

Slash didn't have the balls to challenge Axl. Not sure why you can't just admit that. I guess the truth hurts, doesn't it? :wink wink:

Edited by brainsaber
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