Honestly, as diehard a Guns N’ Roses fan as there is out there growing up in the late 80’s/early 90’s, there was no more fascinating band than the original act fronted by the zany unpredictable Axl screeching at the top of his lungs with Slash churning epic solo after epic solo while Izzy chiming in on vocals and rhythm guitar with Duff on bass and Steven Adler doing his thing on the drums for an amazing sound unlike any other.
They were such a great rock n’ roll group which explains why they didn’t last long together cause most big acts rarely do. Still, with the incomparable Appetite For Destruction featuring huge hits still played today like anthem “Welcome To The Jungle“-WTTJ known to Gunners, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Paradise City” and “My Michelle,” their legacy remains very much intact. It’s not often you find an album with no weak tracks on it. But that’s how strong Appetite was. You could rock out to any.
While so much is emphasized about that album, the two Illusions were hardly slouches bringing with it a different style of music fresh sounding producing hits like “Civil War,” and the memorable “November Rain.” There were also solid covers of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and The Beatles’ “Live and Let Die” while “You Could Be Mine” became extremely popular as the movie sound track theme of Terminator 2 prominently featured in the video. There also were songs like “Garden of Eden,” “Breakdown,” “Coma,”Â “Don’t Cry,” “Estranged” along with “Yesterdays,” and the now too ironic “14 Years.”
When you got lyrics like this, you have to ponder if Axl actually planned to wait this long with Chinese Democracy, which now looks as if it really will finally hit stores on the much rumored 11/23 and 11/25 dates:
But it’s been
14 years of silence
14 years of pain
14 years that are gone forever
And I’ll never have again
So, how do ya feel knowing that it took this long to finally officially release the first single which is fittingly the entitled album, “Chinese Democracy?” Radio stations finally began playing the digitally remastered track that now includes a fantastic intro befitting of such a song. I always felt it lacked something and was just a little too short. But the intro has a special vibe which drags you into a different dimension. Like we’ll ever live to see a Chinese democracy?!?!?!?!?!
Before we debut the new single here, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the underrated G N’ R Lies featuring the likes of “Patience,” “Crazy,” “Move To The City,” “Used To Love Her” and the controversial but very good “One In A Million” where Axl made references to “faggots and racists.”
Fast forward 20 years later and now, it’s Axl with basically a whole new cast of characters including lead guitarist Ron Thal (Bumblefoot), Robin Finck (lead guitar), Dizzy Reed (keyboard/piano), Tommy Stinson (bass), Chris Pittman (special effects), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitarist) along with drummers Bryan Mantia and Frank Ferrer.
Reed’s the only holdover from remaining with Axl since 1991.
Whether you’re pro or con on this new act, it’s quite understood that it shall never compare to the original Gunners because quite few bands could measure up to that legendary status. There’ll never be another Slash who has always been the main example as to why the old establishment loathes Axl and the new band. However, it’s also easy to say that there’ll never be another Izzy or Duff as well. The old Gunners will always have their own legacy.
The new band is quite good as I’ve seen it live a bunch of times including three great shows at Hammerstein Ballroom. They should be judged on what they produce and not compared to the old act. That’s always been the misconception. I say enjoy them for what they are.
And with that, here’s the brand new Chinese Democracy: