Did you get your free Dr. Pepper?
The journey to get Chinese Democracy was a wonderful journey and provided the proper backdrop for the album to become what it has become. It is one of the few times where I can honestly say, ‘It’s about the journey, not the destination.’
About 10 days ago I ran out of coffee and I haven’t had any since. It’s been a long week and I am missing the taste and smell (aka Odor -lol) of the fine coffee beverage. However, it is also kind of nice to break away for a bit while I try to figure out what coffee I want to buy for my very first coffee purchase. You see, for the past 11 years, basically my entire coffee drinking life, I have worked in cafes. Working in cafes has provided me with a never ending stream of free coffee and now that I no longer work in a cafe, I also no longer have free coffee. This is a strange new territory for me and I haven’t felt the strong need to replenish the empty coffee jar yet, so I am waiting until I cannot wait any longer.
I do like me some caffeine though, so on Thursday when I was feeling a bit tired and not ready for my evening class, I grabbed myself a Viso and consumed its delicious energy! Unfortunately, it also kept me awake most of the night because my body wasn’t ready for that much caffeine after not having any for a week. I got about 2 hours of restless sleep and then decided that I might as well be productive around 5 in the morning and started prepping for my radio show. I started listening to some of the yet-to-be-released-at-that-time Guns N’ Roses album for play on the show. I found a few tracks that might be okay for the radio, and then I got some breakfast, another Viso, and did my show.
After the show was over I enjoyed my afternoon and then went to a friends house for some social company and to do my homework. I wrote a paper and emailed my homework to my teacher then consumed another Viso. Then I proceeded to be up all night drinking various beverages, breaking into my friend’s house to raid their fridge and watched tons of South Park. All in all, it was a great night of action, adventure, good conversations, building bonds and strengthening relationships and some excellent head-fuckery.
The sun was rising and the two of us were still awake, so my friend and I decided it was bacon and mimosa time. We went to the store, bought fixings for awesomeness and enjoyed a nice walk back home. Shortly after returning, with the scent of bacon permeating through the air, the front door swung open and two new friends, also having been awake all night and feeling the energy, stormed through the door and began singing.
Day 3 had just begun.
The morning turned into afternoon.
The afternoon led to more craziness, eventually bringing us to PSU’s 5th Ave Cinemas for The Quay Brothers movie of shorts. This movie was awesome and my delirium from being awake for so long (2 hours of sleep in 60ish hours) was becoming more pronounced. Add to this more exciting brain activity and, obviously, it was time to go clubbing.
We went to Mt. Tabor to hear some techno and dubstep. Did some dancing, drank some more beverages and stopped drinking Viso. This was a bad idea. After the show ended and the security booted us all onto the streets, a small group of us found a ride back to a house. It was then that I noticed I was out of alcohol, so I -again- let myself into my friend’s place and raided their fridge.
At this moment in time, I have absolutely no memory of anything. In fact, I am trying to figure out how the 4 of us made it to the house. Did we all cram into the backseat of the car driving us? That would be intense. I dunno. I should have drank more Viso. lol.
I blacked(passed) out around 4 and slept. I woke up a few times to the sounds of my phone, then slept again. Around 1030, it was time to get up. And that is when I was reminded that CHINESE DEMOCRACY had been released. It was time to make the future become history and move forward with our lives. I gathered the troops of still delirious friends and we went on a mission to Best Buy. As we pull up to the Best Buy that I knew existed, it was brought to our attention that it was closed for business. Scared of having to drive to Gresham, I called for support. My phone call was well placed, because we were informed that the Best Buy had simply been moved across the street to where the Ikea is. We drove across the street, wandered in and began to look for signs of CHINESE DEMOCRACY. What we found was a pathetically small display. Size doesn’t matter though, so I grabbed my copy on vinyl, friends got their copy on CD. We talked with the checkout person and he informed us that he had no idea what CHINESE DEMOCRACY was, nor did he know anything about the promotion with Best Buy. The Best Buy staff didn’t even know about their exclusive CHINESE DEMOCRACY deal. Sad.
Upon leaving the store, it was time to go get lunch, Red Robin was the obvious choice for such times. Red Robin is an amazingly strange place to be under circumstances of less-than-regular feelings of the head and mind. It is like an adventure into the real world. The real world of normal society is creepy. I am glad to be away from it most of the time. As we sat down and began checking out the menu for shitily named drinks, we got Rick Rolled. And we laughed. Then we ordered our crappy drinks and discussed the various differences of their EXTREME GOURMET BURGER action and noticed 4 Non Blonds were playing. So we sang along. Rather loudly. As the staff was seating a table of 6 next to us. Whom seemed to question our sanity. Then we laughed. Then we asked our delightful server if she had made her way across the street to get her copy of CHINESE DEMOCRACY yet. To which she replied, “What?”
It appears that our server, age 24, had no idea, no care, no feeling, no nothing/anything/something. To her, none of it mattered. To us, we wanted our free Dr. Pepper. Considering where we were, I didn’t think it would work. Hell, she didn’t even know or care about CHINESE DEMOCRACY, why would she give us free Dr. Pepper? Well, my sleep deprived friend had confidence in the idea and he asked. To which our waitress said, ‘Sure! I’ll give you a Dr. Pepper’ and walked away before we could even explain why we earned free Dr. Pepper. Then she came back with free Dr. Pepper. And we laughed. By this point, it was time to pay our bill, steal the awesome glass tiki cup my terrible beverage came in, and leave. We got into the car to come back to real civilization and started blasting CHINESE DEMOCRACY.
We stopped into our favorite 24-hour Adult Themed store and procured some entertainment for our soon-to-be-happening CHINESE DEMOCRACY listening party and chatted with those employees too. None of them seemed to know anything about, or care about the glory of CHINESE DEMOCRACY. We made it over to other friend’s house and started the journey of what is known as CHINESE DEMOCRACY.
So the 5 of us are sitting there, excitement and tension building, and we start rocking.
After the final note of the last song ended, we began revisiting tracks from Use Your Illusion’s 1 and 2, Lies, and Appetite for Destruction. Then we watched all 75 minutes of their music videos. Then we were done.
And how was it?
Well, it was, is, and always will be, CHINESE DEMOCRACY.
CHINESE DEMOCRACY is about the journey, not the destination. CHINESE DEMOCRACY is about the cashier at Best Buy not knowing about it. CHINESE DEMOCRACY is about the 24 year old waitress at Red Robin who had no idea what we were talking about and still gave us free Dr. Pepper. CHINESE DEMOCRACY is about the employees at an adult themed store who couldn’t have cared less about its release. CHINESE DEMOCRACY is about all of this and none of it.
Upon revisiting the old music after hearing CHINESE DEMOCRACY, one thing is incredibly noticeable; CHINESE DEMOCRACY is sorely missing Slash. Robin Fink, Buckethead, Bumblefoot and the rest are great players, but they are all lacking in the soul and blues style that Slash used in his solos. The solos and songs on CHINESE DEMOCRACY are almost entirely forgettable because there is nothing that separates them. There are no bridges and no breakdowns. There is just a lot of music and a lot of noise and a lot of instruments.
Tracks with 6 guitarists, 2 bassists, 2 drum arrangers in addition to the actual drummers, a person playing sub-bass, a symphony, a list of guitar soloists, and more, all on one track. And each track is like that. There is so much done and done and done. But there is never a break.
Their old songs had breakdowns and bridges. Points where the song paused and reformed. Moments where the memorable hook is effectively used to . . . wait for it . . . hook you.
But none of that stuff matters. What matters is that there are people who were conceived, born, went to school and got their drivers licenses, all during the time it took Axl Rose to record this album. The music industry has died. The radio market has moved on. We went from buying cassettes and CDs to downloading mp3s for our cell phone ringtones. CHINESE DEMOCRACY has been made during all of this. The lack of focus and the feeling that this album is an outdated relic, a travel through time to a point in history that will never been seen again. We’ve seen Limp Bizkit pay off KUFO to become famous and destroy the free radio market, and then watched them fall far from the spotlight during the recording of CHINESE DEMOCRACY. We’ve been through multiple President’s of the USA and read the entire Harry Potter series during the time it took Axl to record and release CHINESE DEMOCRACY.
CHINESE DEMOCRACY cannot be judged on any level that other albums have been rated. It is a solely unique album that is in a world of its own. This doesn’t mean that it is a great album. It isn’t. It isn’t really a terrible album either. It is just an album. But it is an important album. It is something that should be recognized for the simple fact that it does exist. There has never been an album this expensive (13 million by some estimates) nor has there been an album that has been worked on for this long (17 years since the UYI albums, 11 since Spaghetti Incident). This is an album that stands alone.
So should you spend money on it? I dunno. That’s up to you. Buying it or not buying it won’t really change anything or affect much. But I am glad that the album is released. Even if it doesn’t hold a candle to the older releases, the sheer fact that CHINESE DEMOCRACY is released is amazing. And that, is awesome. The most expensive, over produced, lengthiest recording duration, and ego-filled album has finally been released and the employees at Best Buy, Red Robin and Fantasy Adult Video didn’t care. In a way, that sums up the album. Well, that and the fact that we all got free Dr. Pepper for it too.