|A party-hopping media whore, he ain't. Heck, next to Axl and whomever he's calling Guns N' Roses these days, Weezer and Tool are positively social butterflies. Yes, it has been that long ten years and counting since GNR last graced us with some hearty American rock 'n' roll. Some fans particularly those in outlying, rural areas characterized by trailer parks, gun racks, and crew-cab dualies have felt the withdrawal more keenly than others. But it's fair to say that we've all been craving a fix from one of L.A.'s finest for far too long.
Frankly, we're not in a position to say what made Axl come out of his cave. But we're not about to question the lad, lest he return before he drops the rock. Here's what we can say: The album's entitled Chinese Democracy. It's been some five years in the making, the handiwork of more collaborators than we can list without crashing your computer.
As for the group: People, there is no more Guns N' Roses, at least not as we remember them. (Repeat after us: "There is no more Guns N' Roses, at least not as we remember them." Take it in. Remember, acceptance is the first step toward healing.) It's now all Axl, all the time and, well, Dizzy Reed, but he was always an afterthought in the GNR pantheon, wasn't he? Still, our man Axl does need music, and to that end he has assembled a new line-up, one that we will learn to accept . . . however begrudgingly: W. Axl Rose on the screech; the six-string troika of former NIN axe man Robin Finck, Buckethead (he of the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket as clothing accessory), and Paul Tobias; onetime Replacement Tommy Stinson rockin' out on the four-string (God bless you, kiddo. You deserve it); used-to-be Primus beat-keeper Brian Mantia; and the keyboard combo of Dizzy Reed and former Replicant Chris Pittman.
The music? We have absolutely no idea. Put it this way, the contents of Chinese Democracy will once and for all prove Rose to be one of two things: 1) a genius above trend, fame, and Carson Daly; 2) a once-inspired young man who, sadly, lost his way and now spends his days stumbling around his mansion, muttering to his stable of French maids, "What the hell are the kids listening to nowadays?" Either way, the jury's out 'til June