What the...??


  • Axl Rosenberg


As you are no doubt aware by now, Chinese Democracy was released last week to what are generally considered disappointing sales figures. Here in the States, the album sold 261,000 copies to land at number three on the Billboard charts; that’s a little more than Velvet Revolver’s debut, Contraband, sold in its first week back in 2004, when the industry was actually in better shape – but Contraband didn’t take fifteen years and didn’t cost thirteen million dollars. So that number just ain’t really cutting it in most people’s eyes.

But the number actually strikes me as being kind of impressive, when you consider how little promotion was actually done for the record. At the Best Buy where I bought my copy of the album, not only was there no floor display or posters announcing its release, but when I couldn’t find a copy on the shelves (in either the “new release” section of the “Guns N’ Roses” section), one employee actually tried to tell me that they weren’t carrying the disc – despite the fact that Best Buy is the only store in America that are stocking the record (Another, slightly less retarded store worker was able to find the album for me no problem. As it turns out, I could have walked ten blocks to the Virgin Megastore, who are selling Canadian imports of the CD at a slightly higher price.). And if reports are any indication, I’m not the only one who experienced a Best Buy blunder.

And that’s on top of the fact that, as we’ve noted, the man himself, W. Axl Rose, hasn’t come out of hiding to grant interviews, shoot a music video, tour, or in any way acknowledge that his masterpiece is finally seeing the light of day after years of waiting. I think this fact struck most Axl fans as a typically bizarre/enigmatic/just plain dumb move on Rose’s part – I don’t think it actually occurred to anyone that Rose might be, y’know, actually missing, as Music-News.com is now reporting.

A source says, “‘People have been trying to contact Axl for two months and he’s completely AWOL.”

SERIOUSLY? This dude works with some of the biggest managers and record execs in the business, and no one can find the guy? Assuming it’s true and not just another bullshit GN’R rumor, that is completely and utterly FUCKED.

So what’s going on? Is Rose running from the spotlight because he can’t handle the pressure? Has he finally gone way off the deep end (I mean even further off than he already was) and had a total fucking nervous breakdown? Or is he just enjoying a nice, long vacation, and trying not to worry about business, the way George Lucas apparently does every time he release a movie and retreats to Hawaii?

Whatever the case, I don’t think it’s too late to turn Chinese Democracy‘s numbers around. For one thing, industry insiders are saying that Best Buy purchased roughly three million copies of the album, at least half of which they are contractually obligated to keep whether they sell or not. That means that it’s in the chain’s best interest to do everything they can to move 1.5 million units of the album – which, again, would place its sales in the Contraband neighborhood (and way above Velvet Revolver’s sophmore effort, Libertad). Add to that international sales and the fact that the Chinese Democracy sessions are allegedly going to bring about two more albums in the next two years, and suddenly recouping the sizable investment it cost to make the album doesn’t seem like such an impossible dream.

But even if Best Buy does get their shit together, I don’t know how much they can do without Rose’s support. There have been rumblings of a music video and a tour in January, but if Rose is really, truly AWOL, than that’s obviously not going to happen.

I really thought that with its release, the myth of Chinese Democracy would come to its conclusion. How foolish of me. Leave it to Axl Rose to outdo himself, even now.


[via Metal Underground]

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