The last time Guns N' Roses had a new album out, the Internet was barely a reality. What was your response to the nine-song leak this summer?
Having someone jeopardize your efforts so cavalierly is pretty much a nightmare. I don't know that it hurt us though, at least as one might think. Hard to say. That's not to imply leaks don't hurt artists, but that they were earlier roughs and the level of sound quality is much higher with the finals. That said, you have those who become emotionally attached to how the leaks sound, which, for better or worse, usually isn't so great to contend with. And it seems that those who often do so and complain publicly, oddly and coincidentally, have a history of basically being detractors as well even if they're somehow considered part of a "fan" base.
What's your take on the media response to the album?
It's been a mixed bag. Some has been great, others a blood bath. That said, most of the nonsense has been from the same or the latest batch of negative idiots, so it was to be expected and really doesn't mean much. [I] did see some jump ship, and that's always funny. Watching some douche waving a flag and then being the first punk in the water's always great.
Observers are interpreting some of the songs on "Chinese Democracy" as being about the process of making the album. Is this valid?
I'd say there's a lot in the lyrics regarding the journey to make the album, even if not in so many words.
Can you give an example of a song that the band nailed on an early take and didn't change that much?
The basic concept of most songs stayed the same. "Riad [N' the Bedouins]," "Sorry," "Better" and "Prostitute" are probably closer to their original demos in ways than others.
How many other songs were completed and considered for "Chinese Democracy"? There are rumors that there are two full albums done.
We'd like to get another album out at some point, but for now our focus is on "Chinese."
Some artists like to test out their new songs in their car stereos or invite friends to the studio to hear playbacks. How did you listen to the album when it was a work in progress?
My studio, car stereos, a CD Walkman, computers and different speaker setups, clubs, iPods. Actually, our first leaks were from using a sound system in a strip club in the early hours when it was basically empty. I went there to play the tracks for someone I was interested in working with. I'd gone there with a guy who worked band security, who was allegedly somehow related to the owners, feeling it was a bit more of a protected environment than it turned out to be.