For months up to the release of Gun N' Roses' Chinese Democracy, Axl Rose has been out of sight, a recluse, unwilling to talk to the media to promote the album he's spent nearly a third of his life making.
Last night, however, Rose broke his silence in a manner of speaking, by answering questions on two Guns N' Roses fan sites. What follows are some of the choice bits, which have been edited for clarity.
How come you always come on stage so late at gigs?
"I've been an after-midnight type since I was sneakin' out of my house in junior high. With [the] oldGuns [lineup], we preferred [to take the stage at] 12:00am or so. When we moved to theaters etc., obviously that changes but it's never changed inside me. Doesn't matter what I do, so generally that's when I'm more myself. This isn't to mess with anyone that has an early schedule to keep, it's just personal preference.
Axl, do you really have two or three other albums of material?
"For now, we'll concentrate and keep our focus on this album, but I will say I've always thought of it as a double. And no offense, but no one's trying to talk in parables. The issues are a bit more complex than anyone would like."
Axl hearts Kanye
How do you feel about Kanye [West's new album] outselling Chinese Democracy? Do you like Kanye's music?
"I met Kanye at the Versace awards. He was very gracious. I love Gold Digger and told him so. I'm a big fan of his stage performance as he seems to go for it physically which I relate more to. Before our release, I sent him a message that any nonsense from the media had nothing to do with us and wished him the best. I'm humbled we've done as well as we have considering."
What up with the Bucket?
If you could work with [former Guns N' Roses guitarist] Buckethead again, would you have him just in studio, or also would you welcome him in the touring lineup?
"I have no issues with Bucket. He's more than welcome to tour with us in some form or other provided we're both interested at the time and come to some type of reasonable terms. Personally, I have a blast with Bucket on tour and get a big kick out of the guy. A lot of feelings were hurt on this side of the fence in how things went down, and unfortunately, others used our silence and the public's not knowing for their own purposes at both Bucket's and our expense."
I'm fixing to pack everything I own into my car and drive out to L.A. from Arkansas to give a career in music a shot. Any advice? Or should I just shit in my pants, dive in and swim?
"Follow your heart, don't sell out and read every book on the biz [music business] you can find."
Classic Guns N' Roses
What is your honest opinion on why the old lineup disintegrated? What is your honest opinion on why it took so long for Chinese Democracy to come out? I think that's what most people want to know but dare not ask.
"Two great but complicated questions. What I can say now is you've been told a lot of things in order for others to promote themselves that factually they cannot back up in regard to either. They are complicated legally, financially and have devoured a good portion of my life."
Have you been in contact with [original Guns N' Roses drummer] Steven Adler at all? Not as far as playing with him or anything, just to, like, lend him support? [Adler appeared this year on the reality television show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew during an attempt to get off drugs. He was subsequently arrested in Los Angeles on 18 July.]
"I do wish Steven the best and in my heart hope that he finds some peace and security. As far as direct contact, no. It, unfortunately, gets too messy too quick. In Steven's mind, I'm the one who holds the keys and power over his happiness, so I'm the bad guy pretty quickly."
What is stopping the fans from seeing you Slash, Duff and Izzy back on stage together?
"You've been lied to and misled for such a long time that sorting through all that here is virtually impossible. A lot will come out over time, but the truth has been out there for a long time as well but that doesn't give you what you want, so this dance just goes on and on."