Art Tavana has up a new article on Billboard describing Guns N’ Roses being ‘sabotaged’ by their record label with the release of Chinese Democracy, and leaked 2014 Axl Rose audio.
There’s an audio clip Billboard reviewed; it’s allegedly from June 2014 and includes Axl Rose from behind his grand piano telling a story to a group of friends. Some of those who knew him then describe him as “Twain-y” because of his gift for gab. “Listen, listen, you gotta’ understand,” he says. “When you see the real artwork from my album, not what you see (inaudible), there’s a reason I didn’t promote it, because the real artwork is what I will promote.” Axl then begins to play a medley of Elton John. The grand piano from the recording is described to have custom artwork on the lid that most uninitiated fans have never seen. Initially, Chinese Democracy was scheduled to be released with three different covers (a grenade, a red hand, and a bicycle), but only the minimalist bicycle art made it to the mass-production phase and became ubiquitous with Chinese Democracy, a record that was the antithesis of minimalism. “They ripped it away from him,” says Stinson. “Right at the last second, when he wasn’t ready….”
The general public essentially never saw the “Red Hand” album booklet, which is said to have been Axl’s preferred version, with a cover designed by Chinese artist Shi Lifeng. It would be released in limited quantities, but the digitally haunting “Red Hand” cover never appeared on the rack for the Best Buy exclusive, which failed to move units at a substantial rate.
Tommy Stinson later said Chinese Democracy was ‘sabotaged.’
“I think he [Jimmy Iovine] never gave it a chance. I think he was like, ‘Ok I’ll sponsor this, and then the band will get back together, and I’ll have that.’ I think he was always waiting for that ball to drop,” says Stinson, a theory that was mostly corroborated by Wild. “I think to some degree, he [Jimmy Iovine] sabotaged the thing. There were a lot of missteps, and they were all record company related, which had everything to do with the failure of that record,” says Stinson.