Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Latest Spin on Chinese Democracy

It's a running joke with my brother to say, "I hear the new Guns N' Roses album is coming out," followed by uproarious laughter. We've been hearing about Chinese Democracy for how many years now? Six? Eight? And Axl Rose has had more guitarists than Spinal Tap had drummers, though at least Buckethead and the others escaped with their lives.

Well, Gunners, your long wait is over. Check out the special preview of Chinese Democracy in the latest issue of Spin magazine. Go ahead and read it now. I'll wait for you... (spoiler ahead)...

Interesting, eh? I hope you figured out before you got to the bottom that this isn't a real review. The funniest thing about it is that Axl is such a wacko that one can actually believe much of this satire. Hmm, maybe Axl would refer to the architect who designed his topiary garden. Maybe he would tell bassist Tommy Stinson to replicate the bass line from "Another Brick in the Wall." But Bob Ezrin and Phil Ramone as producers? Well, maybe sometime in the past decade. After all, it seems like everyone else has worked on this album, and Axl has fired several producers.

Oddly enough, I found out about this review on a Soul Asylum e-mail list. Someone was excited that Chinese Democracy was going to include "an embarrassing 'roots rock' duet with new buddy Dave Pirner titled 'You're Still Too Sweet Not to Be My Baby Anymore.'" Another list member noted that Soul Asylum and GNR toured together in Europe years ago. Then someone pointed out that it's an April Fool's Day joke. You would think fans of a band that did a song called "April Fool" on their best-selling album Grave Dancer's Union would catch on, but instead they argued that it just couldn't be a fake. More amazing to me was that no one was incensed that their favorite band's lead singer had become the butt of a joke. Incidentally, Soul Asylum has taken a GNR-like eight years to come out with a new album, due this summer. In the interim, their original bass player died, being replaced by -- oh, the irony -- GNR's Stinson.

In defense of those Soul Asylum fans, the review originally ran online without the obvious "Fast Facts" clue: "This version of Chinese Democracy only exists in an alternative reality ruled by the fools of April." And the original URL and date on the story didn't reflect April 1; apparently a date shift into the waning days of March was enough to give the review credibility in their eyes. But if the magazine's date doesn't naturally fall on the first, they're going to use whatever issue date is closest to April 1.

Another red flag is that this is Spin magazine. Anyone who has heard "Get in the Ring" from GNR's Use Your Illusion II knows that Axl hates that magazine. Why on earth would he give them exclusive access to his new album?

In related news (not April fool's), the Chinese won't be reading about Chinese Democracy in Rolling Stone -- government regulators are shutting down the magazine's Chinese edition after just one issue. The chief editor there hopes to get things ironed out soon. Maybe he'll get the magazine going before Axl puts out the album, which some sources say will be July 2006. My brother and I will believe it only when we see it.

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