In an interview with his official fan site, Axl Rose confirmed that Guns n' Roses' long-awaited Chinese Democracy album remains unfinished, but that he hopes to release it by the end of the year.
Rose did the interview with longtime friend and associate Del James, before the singer flew to China; Guns perform tonight in Hong Kong. In the conversation, Rose revealed that he expects to return to the States, following a brief tour of Europe and Asia, in order to finish the new album. He claimed that Chinese Democracy's tracks were picked, the sequence chosen and the artwork completed. He also called the band's current tour a warm up for a fall outing. Rose also speculated that Guns n' Roses could be on the road for the next two to three years.
Gn'R's new guitarist, Richard Fortus (Love Spit Love, the Psychedelic Furs), has been recording lead and rhythm tracks, which could account for the most recent delay in the seven-year project, but Rose said that it was "time to stop that now and wrap up the baby," though he also attributed the delay to imperfections on prior projects. "I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns and externally in the press. Those albums (Use Your Illusion I and II) suffered as a consequence. It's not something I'm too excited to have to live with again."
Fortus' entry followed the departure of Paul Tobias, a boyhood friend of Rose's who was brought into the fold in the mid-Nineties, at the expense of GN'R members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. "Paul helped us a lot in the writing and the recording of this record," said Rose, "and to me was a vital part of not only the band but also my life. The world tour really wasn't his cup of tea, whereas he's much more comfortable in a studio setting. We're fortunate to have found Richard, who has this vibe kind of like Izzy (Stradlin) but with amazing feel."
From Hong Kong, the band travels to Japan, Belgium and England before heading home. A U.S. tour is being eyed for November with more dates to be scheduled abroad next year.