|After spending the last ten years transforming himself from the rock world's most notorious star to its most puzzling recluse, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose emerged this week to speak with MTV News' Kurt Loder.
While personnel changes and rumors from the recording studio have kept a steady stream of news flowing from the GN'R camp, sightings of Rose have been virtually nonexistent since the band finished touring behind 1991's "Use Your Illusion" albums.
"[I've been] trying to figure out how to make a record," Rose told Loder with regard to his whereabouts for the last several years.
Rose's resurfacing comes as the group releases its first new music in eight years, the song "Oh My God" on the "End Of Days" soundtrack. The cut gives fans a small taste of what lies ahead on "Chinese Democracy," the long-awaited upcoming effort from the revamped Guns N' Roses.
The song is a multi-layered affair, thick with samples, distorted vocals, and in Rose's own estimation, "a disco beat." The singer is quick to note that these aren't the only elements fans will find when "Chinese Democracy" finally arrives.
"It's a lot of different sounds," Rose said of the album. "There's some really heavy songs, there's some really aggressive songs, but they're all in different styles and different sounds. It is truly a melting pot."
"I originally wanted to make a traditional record or try to get back to an 'Appetite' thing or something, because that would have been a lot easier for me to do," Rose told Loder of his original plan for the album. "I was involved in a lot of lawsuits for Guns N' Roses and in my own personal life, so I didn't have a lot of time to try and develop a new style or reinvent myself, so I was hoping to write a traditional thing, but I was not really allowed to do that."
Rose pointed to the departure of original Guns guitarist Slash as the main reason that an "Appetite For Destruction"-style effort wasn't in the cards this time out. Gunners Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan have left the fold as well, of which Rose said, "That was their choice to leave. Everybody that's gone did it by choice."
The GN'R camp now includes keyboard player Dizzy Reed, ex-Vandals drummer Josh Freese, and former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson. The lineup has re-ignited a spark or two for Rose.
"To be honest, it was a long time for me since Guns N' Roses, as the old lineup had been fun, and the new guys have been a breath of fresh air," Rose noted.
While Rose broke his silence in an exclusive interview with Loder on Monday night, the frontman maintained his air of mystery, opting to call in to MTV Studios rather than appear in person. Axl spoke with Loder on the eve of the world premiere of a new Guns N' Roses video (a live version of "Welcome To The Jungle" that appears on the band's upcoming "Live Era '87-'93").
During his conversation with Loder, Rose also said that legendary Queen guitarist Brian May has agreed to appear on "Chinese Democracy," and that he and his new GN'R stable have re-recorded "Appetite For Destruction."
Rose also denied (with a Master P-like string of "Na-nah-na-nah"s) that GN'R will be playing a New Year's Eve show, though he went on to say that he and the rest of the band will surface next year.
"We'll be around," Rose promised. "I'm not working on all this to keep it buried. We plan on getting out there and doing it right."
Portions of the interview aired during Tuesday's "Total Request Live," and you can check out much more from our exclusive interview with Axl during this weekend's edition of "MTV News 1515" and in a feature that will turn up here on MTV News Online.
-- Robert Mancini, from an interview by Kurt Loder