Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wow! A new post!

The current lineup of G n' R

OK, it has been over six weeks since I last made a post here, and my one lone reader long ago stopped checking for updates. What can I say, a combination of a heavy workload and a severe mental rut left me with little energy or desire to communicate with, well, anyone really. Hopefully I'm starting to pull out of that, so PERHAPS there will be more frequent updates here.

So, on to the news. At midnight tonight, in what is sure to be the definition of "anti-climactic", the "new" Guns n' Roses album Chinese Democracy debuts. Actually, when I go back and re-read that sentence, the words "Guns n' Roses and "debuts" are also deserving of their own set of quotation marks.

Let's examine:
"new" - work allegedly started on this album in 1994. Axl Rose has promised a finished version for at least the last nine years. Rumors suggest that well in excess of 13 million dollars has been spent on the recording of this record.

"Guns n' Roses" - The only member remaining from their superb 1987 major label debut "Appetite for Destruction" is lead singer Rose. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed remains from the "Use Your Illusion" albums released in 1991. The current G n' R lineup is Axl Rose: vocals, Dizzy Reed: keyboards, Tommy Stinson: bass, Bumblefoot: lead guitar, Richard Fortus: rhythm guitar, Frank Ferrer: drums Chris Pitman: instrumentalist. And yes, you are forgiven for saying "who?" Bumblefoot is actually the third lead guitarist used on the project, following Buckethead and Robin Finck. If you want to hear what classic Guns n' Roses should sound like today, pick up either of the releases from Velvet Revolver, which feature original Guns guitarist Slash, original bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer from the "Use Your Illusion" era Matt Sorum, along with vocals from Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland. Alas, Weiland has rejoined Stone Temple Pilots, and Velvet Revolver is on indefinite hiatus after recently being dropped by their record label.

"debuts" - It is possible that a few of these new songs may stimulate a feeling of deja vu in some people. A recording of the song "I.R.S" was leaked in 2003, and again in 2006, along with demos for three other songs on the album: "Better", "Catcher in the Rye", and "There Was a Time". In addition, G n' R has been playing some of these songs in their infrequent concert appearances since 2001.

So, all that said, this record actually doesn't suck. I was prepared to hate it, but surprisingly I don't. None of the songs sound like they would fit on "Appetite for Destruction", but "Street of Dreams", with its piano riffs and orchestral backing, and the aforementioned "I.R.S" would both sound at home on "Use Your Illusion". The title track, which has been released as the first single, is a decent rocker. "Shackler's Revenge" bears no resemblance to the G n' R of old, but carries more of a new metal vibe with it's detuned guitars and industrial rhythm. Some of the songs are outright misses. On "If the World" Rose sounds like he is channeling Rik Emmet, singer for the 1980's Canadian power trio Triumph.

Chinese Democracy is currently streaming on Guns & Roses Myspace page. At midnight it will be available as a download from Itunes, and probably elsewhere. However, if you want to buy a cd, you will have to go to Best Buy, as that is the only place they will be sold. Oh, and back in March, Dr. Pepper stated that they would give everyone in America a free Dr. Pepper if Chinese Democracy was released in 2008. So starting at midnight and lasting 24 hours, you can get a coupon for a free 20 oz Dr. Pepper on the Dr. Pepper website.

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