Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’ Was Supposed to Be a Trilogy
As word spreads about the possibility of new music from Guns N' Roses, a new article sheds considerable light on their last record. According to sources, Chinese Democracy was intended to be one of three records that would help bring their sound into a new era.
"Axl [Rose]'s goal was to make a more modern record, to make GN'R a more modern band," former Geffen A&R man Tom Zutaut told Billboard. "But Guns N' Roses fans wouldn't accept that. ... But not a lot people know this: Chinese Democracy was going to be trilogy."
Then-bassist Tommy Stinson confirmed Zutaut's statement, saying, "that record was not meant to be one disc." Others involved with the record don't speak publicly, possibly because Axl Rose had many of them sign confidentiality agreements. But it's believed that roughly 60 songs were recorded during the sessions, with an anonymous source adding, "All of the material that hadn't been released was coming out in 2016, then the reunion happened."
Zutaut added that he tried persuading Rose to put out Chinese Democracy as a solo record, figuring it would be less-alienating to Guns N' Roses' core fanbase, but "he just wasn't ready to go there yet." Instead, Rose doubled down on the idea that it was a new beginning, telling Stinson, "''The other fuckers all quit, and I got the name and I'm going on. I'm going on as Guns N' Roses,'" the bassist recalls.
But the keyboards, electronic beats and samples -- coupled with Rose's decision to not tour or give many interviews upon its release -- hurt its commercial prospects. Still, Zutaut feels that the performance of some of its songs on the Not in This LIfetime tour offers a bit of vindication for it.
"One of the best things about the reunion tour is hearing the Chinese Democracy material with Slash and Duff [McKagan]," he said, "and how much better it is with them playing on it, which only puts into my imagination what the record would have sounded like if they had played on it."