Let’s call it like it is. Axl Rose is not well remembered for being the nicest guy in the 80s and 90s. Thankfully, not only for fans, but for past members alike, this has seemingly changed if you were to look on the surface level of it all.
The word of what the antics were like with Axl Rose and the way things just happened to work in the band back in the day comes from Josh Freese who was the drummer for the band for a bit.
In a recent interview with Let There Be Talk on YouTube (video below), Josh speaks on thee ins and outs of it all and how he truly felt snubbed for some time.
The interview asks if some tracks that recently dropped from Guns N’ Roses were tracks that he (Josh) played on. Special thanks to Ultimate Guitar for the transcription.
Josh: “Possibly. I mean, in the end, though, the only recording I think that exists of me playing drums for GN’R was a song that was used for a film about a year before the ‘Chinese Democracy’ album came out. It’s a song called ‘Oh My God,’ it’s the name of the track. I played drums on that.”
Josh continued: “But when I left, Axl’s situation there, he got a new drummer, and to make him feel more of a part of the whole thing, he had him redo the drums. My feelings weren’t hurt, I didn’t care, but the interesting part is that, and I’d hear rumors about this, but then you can see online, Brain [Bryan Mantia, drums] talking. Brain tells a story, and I’d heard about it, but not until I saw him interviewed about it, I went, ‘Oh my god, this is true!'”
Josh goes deeper: “I guess when I left, they hired like a transcriber that worked for Sony Pictures, they did all the scores for their movies and whatever, and Axl was like, ‘I really like what Josh played, but I want your flavor on it.’ So he had some guy map out every last note that I did, and Brain redid the drums, note for note. But for me, the thing I take away from the time that I spent with Axl that I’m proud of, and kind of in a funny way is, I wrote the song ‘Chinese Democracy,’ I wrote the music.”
Josh: “And Axl wrote the lyrics and the melody, but so, still, to this day, I’ll walk into a room of people, sometimes it’s people I don’t even know, I’ll be backstage at a gig, and some people are talking, really animated about something, like, ‘What do you guys talk about?’ They go ‘Dude, we’re talking about ‘Chinese Democracy.” And I go, ‘I wrote ‘Chinese Democracy…” They go, ‘Huh? The whole record?’ ‘No, no, no, the title track.'”
Josh closes: “It’s the only thing I wrote on that record. Of course, it came out right when records weren’t selling anymore. I wish it came out in 1987 and not in 2007, but anyways, I like that I’ve got that co-write on that record, and it’s that track, it’s not like, ‘Well, it’s track No. 8,’ or something.”