Axl Rose gave his first interview in nine years to Billboard, which they posted today. Why did he finally do one, and why did he finally give it to Billboard?
I liked the questions and I felt it was a good time to address some of these issues publicly. Also, because it's my understanding that these answers may be "considered" for use with Billboard.com and Reuters [with which Billboard has a syndication deal] and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to express myself accordingly.
With Reuters, I get their reach. That said, they've been particularly ugly toward me and this band for years, with nearly everything they've written being condescending or negatively judgmental with the cute little press trick of using negative adjectives across the board whenever they've written anything.
The interview betrays a Rovian flare for message control and a teenlike self-obsession that begs the question of whether Axl reads absolutely everything that is written about him. It would take a long time to go through an Axl Rose Google alert, but after reading this it seems highly likely that he puts in the effort (maybe that's what took Chinese Democracy so long.)
Still, it's too easy to dig on Axl, and you've got to admire the brass on a man willing to throw the record label that is still responsible for marketing his album directy on the mat in the industry's largest trade publication. For someone who clearly gives a f--k, moves like that that show that either a) he doesn't or b) doesn't have a clue what he's doing at all. Either way, the man who thought that a catcher's chest protector was a great item for a stage outfit is still a fascinating creature after all these years, and it's nice to see him in action.
Some other pearls:
Billboard: Some artists like to test out their new songs in their car stereos or invite friends to the studio to hear playbacks. How did you listen to the album when it was a work in progress?
Rose: My studio, car stereos, a CD Walkman, computers and different speaker setups, clubs, iPods. Actually, our first leaks were from using a sound system in a strip club in the early hours when it was basically empty. I went there to play the tracks for someone I was interested in working with. I'd gone there with a guy who worked band security, who was allegedly somehow related to the owners, feeling it was a bit more of a protected environment than it turned out to be.
And on his best known former bandmate:
In regards to Slash, I read a desperate fan's message about, what if one of us were to die and looking back I had the possibility of a reunion now, blah blah blah. And my thoughts are, "Yeah, and while you're at the show your baby accidentally kicks a candle and burns your house down, killing himself and the rest of your family."