Nine purported “mastered, finished” tracks from Guns N’ Roses’ 14-years-in-the-making album “Chinese Democracy” were leaked online yesterday (June 18) by the Web site Antiquiet.com, prompting a quick cease-and-desist from the band’s handlers and the removal of the links.
Six of the songs have already leaked in one unfinished form or another: “Better,” “The Blues,” the title track, “Madagascar,” “IRS” and “There Was a Time.” But these versions appear to be much further along on the path toward completion, and feature new touches like organ and tambourine on “IRS” and a beefed-up chorus with multi-tracked vocals on “Madagascar.”
The three previously unheard songs are “Rhiad and the Bedouins,” “If the World” and a track whose title is unknown.
“Rhiad,” which was played live by Guns N’ Roses in 2001 and 2002, is a pounding rocker with a trademark down-and-dirty main guitar riff and a flashy solo. “If the World” is a head-spinning blend of flamenco guitar, industrial synth tones, bluesy piano licks and Rose at the top of his vocal register, while the unnamed track is an even more unusual melange of piano-led crooning, orchestral bombast and a serene instrumental outtro.
“Chinese Democracy” was last on Interscope’s release schedule in March 2007. In late March of this year, the Axl Rose-led band signed a new management deal with industry heavyweights Irving Azoff and Andy Gould and began what it described as “negotiations” with Interscope to release the album.
But even if its release is drawing near, “Chinese Democracy” will likely go down as the album with the most troubled birth in rock history. Work began on it way back in 1994, and since then, Rose has burned through a reported $13 million in production costs as well as every lone original member of the group.
The endless delays reached comic levels this spring, when soft drink manufacturer Dr Pepper offered to send a free can of the drink to “everyone in America” (excluding ex-GNR members Slash and Buckethead) if “Chinese Democracy” arrives anytime during the calendar year 2008.