|James Barber who has worked as an A&R at Geffen Records was recently interviewed by Poptones. Here's the GN'R part of the interview:
How did you get involved in Guns N’ Roses?
Nothing else had worked, so Geffen figured they’d send me in to talk to Axl after I moved to Los Angeles. We desperately wanted the new album for Christmas 1998 and I had a year to get it finished. Whenever anyone asks me about GNR, I think about Rutger Hauer’s line in Blade Runner: ‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.’
No expense was spared; they were the biggest band in the history of the label and, even though everyone except Axl was gone, Geffen Records lived and breathed for another GNR album.
The Robin Finck/Josh Freese/Tommy Stinson/Billy Howerdel/Dizzy Reed version of the album that existed in 1998 was pretty incredible. It still sounded like GNR but there were elements of Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails and Pink Floyd mixed in. If Axl had recorded vocals, it would have been an absolutely contemporary record in 1999.
People close to the project have since told me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that the current version of the record in no way resembles what I heard in early 1999. That’s too bad.
Do you think that Chinese Democracy is ever going to come out?
I have no idea. Seven years ago, the record just needed a lead vocal and a mix. The last time I was at the studio was two days before my daughter was born. Last night she read all of ‘Hop on Pop’ to me. Some mysteries passeth all understanding.