Last week, the Internet was rocked when California blogger Kevin Skwerl posted nine newly leaked Chinese Democracy tracks, including three previously unheard songs allegedly from Guns n’ Roses long-awaited album. Skwerl — who used to work in the distribution department of Universal Music and is now a Web designer — runs the blog Antiquiet, and says he received the tracks from “an anonymous online source.”
Yesterday Skwerl was surprised to find himself face to face with two FBI agents who paid a visit to his day job. “It was kind of an ambush,” Skwerl tells Rolling Stone. “When I came back from lunch they were waiting in the lobby for me. It’s a little creepy they know where I work.” Two young FBI officers, who Skwerl describes as “Mulder and Scully types,” questioned him for 15 minutes about where he got the tracks and made plans to visit his house at 7:00 a.m. this morning.
“I wasn’t sure if they were going to come by with a warrant and trash the place, like in the movies,” he says. “It was nothing like that.” The FBI officials wanted to see the original files, but Skwerl erased them last week per instructions from Axl Rose’s attorneys. Skwerl ultimately gave them second-hand files that are now widely available on the Internet.
Last week Skwerl’s blog crashed from the traffic flood that resulted from his controversial posting. “My host contacts me and says, ‘What the fuck did you do?'” I go, “Uhhhh. I posted some music.” He goes, “What exactly did you post?” I go, “Uhhhh. [Meek voice] New Guns n’ Roses.” He goes, “Motherfucker.” Before long his cell phone rang with an unfamiliar 323 number. “It was a really cool guy from the Gn’R camp that was a middle man between someone who was very angry and me. He was trying to reach out and see if I’d go without a fight, which is more or less what I did.”
Skwerl agreed to take them down, but a cease-and-desist letter soon followed threatening possible legal action. “I’m not so worried about that,” Skwerl says. “It’s a legal grey area since it wasn’t for download, it wasn’t a finished product. We aren’t sure who owns the recordings. I feel like I might survive this.”
Update: Skwerl wants to make it clear that he’s unsure whether or not he broke the law, but he will cooperate with the feds in any way he can. “If legal proceedings come my way, I’ll face them 100 percent. I’m not afraid of that. I did what I did, and I’ll face the music if I have to.”