Prior to the GUNS N' ROSES show at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washinton last night, Axl Rose called Seattle radio station KISW and gave his first radio interview in ten years. During the 10-minute interrogation, Rose talked about the cancellation of the previous night's kick-off date in Vancouver, the new members of the band and the release date of the group's much-anticipated studio album, "Chinese Democracy".
The following is a transcript of the conversation between Axl and KISW's Ditch, as posted for listening in streaming audio via the station's official web site:
Q: Do you wanna address [what happened] last night [in Vancouver] at all?
Axl Rose: "Sure. We were going to play a show and the plug got pulled on us. We were fully able to meet our commitments and we don't really understand what happened right now, why the show was pulled. We have a legal team looking into it, to get to the bottom of it, and then I'll have to sort out things about the people that bought tickets and things like that. But basically, the building manager just decided — in all of our opinion, prematurely — that the show was just cancelled. And he didn't discuss it with anyone. He just announced it over… We found out… My guys found out over the public address system."
Q: I had read that you were stuck in L.A. or something…
Axl Rose: "I was in the air, I was in a plane on the way to the show. It gets complicated. The manager of the building said that the doors wouldn't open 'till he had confirmation that we were wheels up, that the plane was in the air. And as soon as he had that confirmation, he cancelled the show without telling anybody. And not only did he cancel the show, he cancelled the show and before this — I don't know if it was a riot or a disturbance, whatever — started, they had police at the airport trying to find out what was going on with me. So, it's all kind of screwy."
Q: Well, let's look ahead to tonight. Tonight will be the kick-off, and tonight I know will be an exciting night for a lot people, because, you know, other than your appearance on MTV… [Axl laughs] You looked great on that, dude, you looked really, really good. Like, you know what, Axl has not lost a step, he has not lost a beat, you were on it, and tonight, people have been waiting, dude. This will be the biggest night in a lot of people's lives in nine years, bro.
Axl Rose: "You are too kind. But the MTV thing was a lot of fun. We just basically… We were working on putting that little medley together on that day, 'cause we didn't know we were playing it 'till a couple of days before it, 'cause it was still in negotiations. So we were really happy to be able to do that. It just blew all of our minds when we were out there and doing it. Like, when the curtain went up, it was like, 'Is this still really happening?' So we're excited to be doing this. This is still a prelim of trying to get some road legs with this lineup, with this band. We just did a mini-tour in Asia and in Europe a little bit, and now we're doing this, and we're also out to show people that this band rocks, this band can play, this band does justice to the old material, and it's a really exciting thing to watch in its own right."
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you, and actually on the other side, the best thing for you in getting the new lineup together and getting out there?
Axl Rose: "Well, the biggest challenge is that, in working with these people, I developed kind of one-on-one, individual relationships and little groups, in putting this thing together. I mean, this isn't a band of a bunch of guys that met each other at a bar, or found each other through ads in a paper or anything. It's been… I carefully looked for these individual people and their personalities and how exciting each one of them is and what they bring to this project. So then the challenge was working with all those different personalities and bringing those personalities together — especially personalities that, when they have to learn how to play other people's material, then that's difficult as well. So it was a lot of challenges in bringing that together, but now everyone's pretty excited, everyone got really excited during the little mini-tour, and that brought us together more as a natural band rather than a studio band where everybody's kind of working separately, maybe even on the same songs, in little clusters here and there, but it's not the same thing as actually being a stage and road band."
Q: It sounds like you've really nurtured relationships with these guys, and the new disc, "Chinese Democracy"… Do you have any idea when the fruits of those labors will come to harvest?
Axl Rose: "Sometime during the next year. With the guys, I do have a really positive relationship with the individual members, and each one of them excites me with what they bring to it, creatively or just as a person, and how each one of them works really hard. Because I think anyone that watches this project at all also sees the abuse that this project goes through, and these guys shoulder that really, really well, and they don't have a problem dealing with it, and I have to just respect the hell out of that with these guys."
Q: Have you made a conscious effort over the years to remain out of the public eye, or does that just come natural to you?
Axl Rose: "No, no… It didn't exactly come natural. I would say that originally, I was shy, and we would fight through it, and a lot of substance abuse would get you out there in front of those cameras. You get like, 'Hey, I can do anything.' And that was like in the past. But also… a lot of this has had to also do with… There's a lot of really difficult legal situations that have gone on over the years. I haven't been quite the recluse that people make it out – I just don't go places were people are taking my pictures, or I know that's gonna happen, or there's gonna be interviews, or looking for the public spotlight – I have stayed out of that. There is also talking in interviews… Anything I would say would then turn around and be used against me in these various, behind-the-scenes court cases and they're all very, very complicated – things lasted for years in all kinds of cases that the public doesn't really know about yet — and little by little there'll be more time to talk about those things, but I'm more interested in having the music talk first, and I'll say what happened later."
Q: You've got Mix Master Mike from the BEASTIE BOYS opening tonight.
Axl Rose: "[Yeah], he's done some work with them [BEASTIE BOYS]. He's actually worked with [GUNS N' ROSES drummer] Brain and [GN'R guitarist] Bucket [a.k.a. Buckethead] in the past. But separate from Brain and Bucket having worked with him, [GN'R bassist] Tommy [Stinson] was the person that turned me on to Mix Master Mike by having me go see a scratch show when they had this movie out, 'Scratch', and go to a performance of that, and [GN'R guitarist] Robin [Finck] and I went with Tommy down to watch, and it was really exciting to watch. He just moved the people in a cool way, and it was cool that Tommy and Robin really liked it so much. They didn't know that this guy already had a relationship with Bucket and Brain, so it just kind of seems natural, because of their enthusiasm, and the other guys already knowing him and being excited about it. And then we're also playing with CKY, which is kind of thing that people are into right now, and they have a really interesting attitude. So, it should be fun. We wanna give people a full show of a few different things to see."
Q: Is this gonna be a typical, in-your-face, lots-of-explosions, lots-of-loud-rock GUNS N' ROSES show that we've come to expect…?
Axl Rose: "It's gonna be a big rock show, yeah. There's a lot going on in the staging of it. And pyro, and different things like that, so it will be a big show. But also, this show is something that is designed to be growing over the next couple of years. It's like, this is the start of something, but then remember, we will be putting out a record, and then, about a year or so after that, we'll be putting out another one, so there'll be a lot more material added into the set with a lot more things going on. This is the beginning, and we need to be showing people a lot of the older material, but it will grow."
To listen to the entire interview in streaming audio, click here.