Notoriously press-shy Axl Rose has given his first print interview in nine years to my former Billboard colleague Jonathan Cohen. It’s a great interview, with the only drawback that it was conducted via email. However, Rose is very revealing. In the Q&A, he explain what took so damn long with “Chinese Democracy,” blasts his U.S. record label, Interscope, calling them “loan sharks” and reveals there is “talk” of a tour, but “no plans.”
Should a tour ever happen, Rose says there’s so much scorched earth between him and former G N’ R guitarist Slash that the two will never play together again.
“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. Those decisions were made a long time ago and reiterated year after year by one man,” Rose says. “There are acts that, once committed between individuals, they are what they are. To add insult to injury almost day after day, lapsing into year after year, for more than a decade, is a nightmare. Anyone putting his own personal entertainment above everything else is sickening.”
Much of the Rose’s answers are measured and thought out-if he’s not addressing Slash or Interscope. Of his relationship with the latter, he says, “I can say how the band feels, and that is that to a man they hate the record company other than Universal International with a passion. And that’s with me talking with them about the record company negatively hardly ever, if at all. They’re not blind: They hear the talk and see the results. Our involvement with Interscope has been more than frustrating for them. It’s not like anyone here wants to have any negative views, impressions or opinions. They don’t go around bitching about things all the time and they don’t let it get in the way of whatever they’re supposed to do here, but it is what it is.”
He also reveals that the first leaks of “Chinese Democracy” came after he played is over a sound system at an empty strip club.