Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose slams record label in first Chinese Democracy interview

In his first Chinese Democracy interview, the GNR frontman slams his record label for the album's mediocre sales and says he'd sooner die than reunite with former bandmate Slash

Axl Rose has conducted his first interview in nine years, slamming his US record label as "friendly but otherwise cut-throat loan sharks".

Speaking to Billboard, the Guns N' Roses frontman also quashed any rumours of reconciliation with Slash, the band's former lead guitarist. "One of the two of us will die before a reunion," Rose said. "Those decisions were made a long time ago and reiterated [by Slash] year after year."

Chinese Democracy, released in 2008, was Guns N' Roses' first album of original material since 1991. In development for almost 14 years – with a reported $13m in studio costs – fans weren't the only ones who feared it would never be finished, Rose has confessed. He was worried "not ... that it wouldn't come out but that we could in some way be forced to release it incomplete."

Ultimately, Rose said, the Chinese Democracy that was released was the album he hoped for. "It's the right record and I couldn't ask for more. Could have been a more enjoyable journey, but it's there now. The art comes first."

When it comes to sales, however, the album has not exactly lived up to expectations, boasting only modest chart success – a circumstance Rose blames mostly on his label. "Unfortunately, I have no information for me to believe [that] there was any real involvement or effort from Interscope," he said. "To a man, [the band] hate the record company ... We've never been anything more than a throw it at the wall, see if it sticks, no real ground work, something to take advantage of … In light of pirating and the mess the major labels are in, I have no sympathy for the record companies."

And yet despite these bruises, Rose soldiers on, despite the "blood bath" of reviews and the scepticism of fans. The band has "no plans" to tour, "but there's talk". And he might even entertain reuniting with former bandmates Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan.

But when it comes to Slash, don't hold your breath. "To add insult to injury almost day after day, lapsing into year after year, for more than a decade, is a nightmare," Rose said. "Anyone putting his own personal entertainment above everything else is sickening."

Slash won't, in other words, be receiving a valentine.

Contributor

Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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