I stopped holding my breath years ago!

Fans’ appetite for new Guns album is undiminished
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Axl Rose’s fans are hoping for a miracle this Christmas — the release of “Chinese Democracy,” the first album of original Guns N’ Roses music in 15 years.
Rose, 44, the only original member of the combustible rock group, vaguely told MTV in late August that the album would hit store shelves “this year,” 12 years after work started. The band is currently on a U.S. tour, its first since 2002, but the album still has no official release date.
With only a few weeks left in 2006, most Guns N’ Roses fans now believe the only music they will hear on Christmas morning will be “Silent Night.” During a sold-out performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden last month, Rose was mum about the album, which has cost roughly $13 million to make, according to a New York Times story in March 2005.
“Believing ‘Chinese Democracy’ is coming out this year is the same as believing in Santa Claus,” said a fan on the popular HereTodayGoneToHell Web site ( earlier this month.
Rose’s manager, Merck Mercuriadis, who further stoked fan anticipation in early October when he told Rolling Stone magazine that fans “might walk into (their) record shop one Tuesday and find it there,” declined to comment for this article. Interscope Records, the band’s label, referred inquiries to Mercuriadis. (Albums usually go on sale on Tuesdays in the United States, a day earlier elsewhere.)
Most of Rose’s bandmates on Guns N’ Roses’ last album of new material, the two-volume “Use Your Illusion” set, either quit or were fired as the singer took control of the group, and then took his time recording a followup. Several waves of replacements also came and went.
Fortunately, the die-hard fans have more staying power. In January, they were sent into a frenzy when a casual Rose broke his silence to talk to Rolling Stone about the album, describing it as “complex.”
That was followed in February by Internet leaks of four new songs, “Better,” “I.R.S.,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and “There Was a Time.” Two months later, Guns N’ Roses announced a summer European tour, and then played four sold-out warm-up shows at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in May.
“For the first time, we had proof that there was new material,” said Eric Romano, 33, a Montreal computer technician and webmaster of
Finally, on August 31, Rose appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York, where he said “it is this year,” in response to a question about the “Chinese Democracy” release.
“That’s what did it for a lot of fans,” said Brian Sharma, 28, a Philadelphia lawyer and owner of two cats named “Axl” and “Rose.” “Axl (had) never said that before.”
“This year the excitement level hit an all-time high,” said Mark Strigl, 37, co-host of “Talking Metal,” a pod-cast about heavy metal. “I don’t know if that excitement will ever be topped again with the hard-core fans.”
Disappointed fans now expect the album to arrive sometime in 2007, possibly timed with the 20th anniversary of “Appetite for Destruction,” the band’s 1987 blockbuster debut. Some expect an official announcement in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Guns N’ Roses’ global audience remains formidable. The band has sold 38.5 million albums in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, while worldwide sales are estimated at more than 90 million. Guns N’ Roses’ “Greatest Hits,” released in 2004, has sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S.
In a way, however, the absence of “Democracy” makes the online fan community that much more cohesive, Strigl said. It “gives them something to hope for.”
And Rose’s dependable unpredictability is part of Guns N’ Roses’ lasting appeal.
“He’s doing it his way, which is the rock n’ roll ethos,” Sharma said.