Axl Rose must have trouble sleeping. Or maybe he should take up a hobby. Whatever the case, something's up, because the man who has refused to do conventional press interviews to promote his much-ballyhooed album Chinese Democracy has yet again taken to a Guns N' Roses site for a late-night session of answering fans questions.
Most of the time, Axl seemed to have to explain and/or defend his decision to keep the name Guns N' Roses. Seems as though this is the single most pressing issue on the minds of fans. What follows are some choice tidbits, which have been edited for length and clarity.
Why did you choose to keep the Guns N' Roses name rather than create a new name?
"Why keep the name? I'm literally the last man standing. Not bragging, not proud. It's been a fucking nightmare but I didn't leave Guns and I didn't drive others out. With Slash, it's been nothing more than pure strategy and saving face while manipulating the public like he used to me.
"I earned the right to protect my efforts and to be able to take advantage of our contract I'd worked hard for where Slash's exact words were that he didn't care. I get that some like a different version or lineup the same way some like a specific team line up or a particular year of a specific car but because you and I are getting played I'm supposed to throw the baby out with the bath water?"
What do you think about people that say Chinese Democracy should have been a solo album instead of using the name Guns N' Roses?
"I didn't make a solo record. A solo record would be completely different than this and probably much more instrumental. I made a Guns record with the right people who were the only people who really wanted to help me try, were qualified and capable while enduring the public abuse for years.
"As far as a new name…this is who I am, not whatever else someone else thinks of. I don't see myself as solely Guns, but I do see myself as the only one from the past making the effort to take it forward, whether anyone approves or not, and giving beyond what many would or fight for to do so."
On the Rock Hall Of Fame
With regard to ownership of the name, how will this affect Guns' induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? The new band can't exactly go and accept the award.
"Never thought about that. Not to offend anyone, but personally I don't have an interest and other than inducting Elton [John] don't quite get what it is exactly and who decides what. It seems to mean more to some than others and more so amongst fans. It's nice to get recognition and have some form of acceptance, but in regards to joining others, the price is too high and just not worth it. It's a ways away and seems a bit presumptuous to be contemplating being inducted now."
Back to the name
How did the new lineup respond when initially asked to join Guns N' Roses? Did they ever suggest using a different name?
"No one ever talked about or suggested using another name. The guys are really respectful in regard to the old band and I'm not sure if they've said a paragraph apiece in all the years towards or about the old band whether I'm talking about whatever or not.
"Personally, I'm so proud of them I wouldn't know how to express it. I can't see me handing something like this as they have with so much class and maturity especially being shit on publicly to such a degree. 'Hey join my band, bring an umbrella!!'
"If I went solo - which I haven't - I wouldn't call it Guns."
Axl, what in your mind does Guns N' Roses represent? Do you feel that it is a vision?
"I don't exactly know what Guns N' Roses is, but I know it's my job in the sense of an obligation and I'm good with that."
Again with the name
Do you feel that if you hadn't have insisted on having full rights to the name would the band still be in its original lineup today?
"The name and rights have nothing to do with the breakup. That's all a created façade a decoy and a smoke screen. Now had what Slash said actually transpired then I'd say of course but in reality, no."
Were you in any way legally obligated to carry on with the name Guns N' Roses? To keep your (current, at the time) record contract etc?
"I wasn't legally obligated but we probably would have gotten dropped and I would have been driven into bankruptcy."
To read more of Axl discussing the name Guns N' Roses, click here.