|With the release of the song "Oh My God" on the End of Days soundtrack last November, Axl Rose fans had some hope that the fabled new Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, might soon see the light of day. Better keep hoping.
"There's not a release date right now, not that I'm aware of," says Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck, who teamed with Rose for much of the album before quitting in frustration. "And I would know."
A publicity spokesperson at Interscope Records, GN'R's label, confirmed that the album does not currently appear on the schedule of upcoming releases for 2000, even as a title TBD (with release date "to be determined").
Finck laughs at a comparison to Brian Wilson's legendary Beach Boys album, Smile, and notes the similarities. (Wilson worked feverishly on the record throughout the mid-'60s but was never able to coherently complete it. It remains one of the great lost albums of rock.)
"Yeah," Finck chuckles. "It was great for a while, but then it became terribly frustrating not seeing anything completed because no lyrics were finished." Adding to the frustration was that Finck had passed on the chance to work with Trent Reznor on NIN's latest, The Fragile, in order to do the Rose sessions.
"It's one of the reasons I'm not there anymore. No one song was ever completed — and I was there for two and a half years."
But even after working endlessly on the GN'R album, Finck is unable to speculate on how it's going to turn out.
"I'd helped write and arrange and recorded enough songs for several records," he says. "Honestly, we recorded so many different song ideas and completed so many different types of songs — from quiet, very simple traditional piano songs to 16 stereo tracks of keyboard blur and everything in between."
But, he notes, "most of the stronger songs that ended up on A-lists when I was there were huge rock songs, built for the masses, really guitar-driven."
Finck has heard little since then from Rose, who is the only remaining member of the Guns N' Roses lineup after buying the rights to the name from former guitarist Slash.
"When he finishes the lyrics, I assume [the songs] are going to be released," Finck says. "I hope they turn out great. There's a lot of potential there."
- Mark Brown