GUNS N' ROSES' new album, "Chinese Democracy", was officially certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 3, 2009 for shipments in the United States in excess of one million copies. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the CD has shifted 537,000 units since it was released on November 23, 2008 as a Best Buy exclusive after a wait of more than 15 years.
As previously reported, GUNS N' ROSES frontman Axl Rose broke his silence again, this time via an email interview with Billboard.com published on Friday (February 6). In the chat, Rose launched into tirades against his record label, his former bandmates in GUNS and the rumors that have swirled around him during the decade and a half it took to complete and finally release the latest GUNS album, "Chinese Democracy", this past November. The record's less-than-spectacular sales as a Best Buy exclusive have led industry analysts to ask whether the label was to blame or Rose himself for not doing any promotion or touring.
On his label, Interscope Records, Rose says bluntly that the band members "hate the record company," adding, "At least in regard to the U.S., for the most part I don't look at it like we have a record company — I look at it for the most part like we have friendly but otherwise cutthroat loan sharks, and we were lucky to get what we got but feel we could have done more if they were at least, especially with some of their backgrounds, a bit more involved creatively. So . . . I have no sympathy for the record companies, based on our experiences in the U.S." He does, however, praise the international operation.
Rose claims that Interscope never submitted a marketing plan to him for the record, saying, "We feel that, unfortunately, we've never been really anything all that much more other than a 'throw it at the wall, see if it sticks, no real ground work, something to take advantage of, last quarter, cook the books, write-off, fuck this headache, hoping to get lucky 'scam."
The singer also shot down rumors that there are two more collections of material waiting in the wings, saying, "We'd like to get another album out at some point, but for now, our focus is on 'Chinese'." He also said the band is working on a video for the single "Better" but has no plans to tour.
Regarding the inevitable question of whether he would ever reunite with the original members of GUNS N' ROSES, Rose writes, "I could see doing a song or so on the side with Izzy (Stradlin, guitarist) or having him out (on tour) again," adding that he could possibly envision playing with bassist Duff McKagan as well. But when it comes to lead guitarist Slash, Rose's animosity shines through. He writes, "What's clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and, however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is."
Although Rose squarely blames Slash for the unspecified issues between them, Slash told The Pulse of Radio a while back why he would be open to a reunion. "It would be worth doing for the fans," he said. "The fans would be the greatest thing about it because I think they really deserve it — I think they got the short end of the stick on the whole thing. But the hurdles that one would have to jump in order to make that happen are insurmountable, as far as I can say right at this moment. But I can't speak, you know, for the future to the point of going, 'It'll never happen,' 'cause I think I would sound sort of ignorant."
Aside from the Billboard interview and answering a number of fan questions at a GUNS N' ROSES message board, Axl Rose has done no promotion of any kind for "Chinese Democracy".
Slash, McKagan, Stradlin and representatives for Interscope Records have yet to comment on Rose's statements.