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Answers to readers' questions about Guns N' Roses, Brit bands and more.


Hi Keith,

Both Axl Rose and his management have promised the long-delayed Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" will be released by the end of 2006.

Considering that it's the middle of November, is this still possible? How far in advance do retailers need in order to have product on their shelves? Every retailer I've contacted has said it's not "in the system" as having a release date this year.


Dan Elsenrath
Duluth, Minn.

Hi Dan,

Not surprisingly, "Chinese Democracy" still does not have a release date set yet... at least, not one that has been announced, or placed on Universal Music Group Distribution's release schedule.

But, let's pretend that Axl Rose and his management keep that promise of releasing the album before the end of the year. Can it physically be done? I consulted with Ed Christman, our Retail Editor, and he gave me a lot of insight.

If the album is complete and mastered and the album artwork has been completed, then the set could conceivably be manufactured and shipped to retailers within a month. Of course, a digital release could come even swifter - but I doubt that an album with such a high profile would opt to go the digital-only route.

So, even though the album's release date hasn't been announced, there is still a glimmer of hope that it could -- in theory -- see store shelves before the close of the year. (Though at this point, it's looking like it will come out the very last week of December at the earliest.)

Earlier this year, to compare, Neil Young rush released his "Living with War" album in three weeks time. His record label, Reprise, received the finished album in mid-April and was able to manufacture and ship the set to retailers in time for a May 8 release date. The significant difference here is that Young's album had a smaller initial shipment -- under 200,000.

Because of the small initial shipment, it didn't require as much time to manufacture and ship the album.

With a Guns N' Roses title, you can expect that the initial shipment would easily surpass 500,000. With that many CDs needing to be pressed and shipped, it would take longer to produce. Still, if Rose decided to flip the switch today, "Chinese Democracy" could still make a late December release.


Hello Keith,

Why do so many U.S. tours (like Rod Stewart's 2007 tour) begin in Sunrise, Fla.?

Gideon Mark
New York

Hello Gideon,

That's a fun question. I asked our touring editor, Ray Waddell, about this, and here is his response.

"A lot of fall and winter tours start in Florida (Lakeland is another example) because acts like to rehearse down there, the weather is nice and you can route in any direction. Tours typically take a route east to west or west to east."

Stewart's tour begins on Jan. 12 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. (which is right next door to Ft. Lauderdale.) The tour then travels to U.S. cities in the south east, then up the east coast, then to Canada and over to the West coast. From there he works his way down the coastline before heading to the south west and mid-west before finishing up in Milwaukee, Wis. on April 27.


Hi Keith,

I was wondering if you can shed some light on album sales for three great British bands that put out albums this year: Keane, Snow Patrol and Muse.

With the exception of Snow Patrol, the other two are less well known in the U.S. I know that Muse and Keane debuted in the top 10 but have disappeared over the summer. Snow Patrol, however, has hovered in the top 50 for some time. Have any of these bands had any gold albums in the past or present?


Yogi Mistry
Tempe, Ariz.

Hello Yogi,

Both Muse's "Black Lights and Revelations" and Keane's "Under The Iron Sea" debuted in the top 10 of The Billboard 200 earlier this year, but have fallen off the chart.

The Muse set has sold 185,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan, while the Keane effort has moved 270,000. Muse's last set, 2004's "Absolution," has sold 489,000 and Keane's last one, 2004's "Hopes & Fears," has shifted 906,000.

Snow Patrol is still hanging in there on The Billboard 200 because it has a multi-format radio hit with "Chasing Cars." The single has helped push sales of the "Eyes Open" album to 541,000. The band's last album, 2004's "Final Straw," has sold 537,000.


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