For months, Guns N' Roses ringmaster Axl Rose has been saying — in radio interviews, at press junkets and even at journalist-thick parties — that Chinese Democracy would surface this year. The band's decade-in-the-making LP would also be its first album of original material since the 1991 dual releases of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.
Rose has been adamant that 2006 would see the much-anticipated LP's release, and in February, several songs said to be from the Chinese Democracy sessions leaked online (see "Are Guns N' Roses Finally Coming Back? The Signs Are There...").
But after many broken promises, it's possible that this time, Rose isn't fibbing. In a press release issued Friday morning (September 29) regarding the band's upcoming Chinese Democracy North American tour — which is scheduled to launch October 20 in Jacksonville, Florida — Guns N' Roses' management, Sanctuary Artist Management, cryptically hints that Axl's opus might surface before year's end.
"The only comment at this time is that there are 13 Tuesdays left between now and the end of the year," reads the release, referring to the day of the week new albums hit stores.
While the fate of Chinese Democracy remains uncertain, one thing's for sure: Axl's current incarnation of Guns will be rather busy for the remainder of this year, with a total of 36 U.S. and Canadian dates mapped out as part of the tour's first leg. The lineup includes keyboardists Dizzy Reed (the sole holdover from the Use Your Illusion-era lineup) and Chris Pitman, ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, former Primus drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia and three guitarists: erstwhile Nine Inch Nails member Robin Finck, ex-Psychedelic Furs axeman Richard Fortus and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, who was hired this spring to replace long-departed virtuoso Buckethead.
In May, Rose and the rest of his Guns took the stage at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom for the first time in more than three years (see "Guns N' Roses Live: No Reunion Of Classic Lineup, But Great Anyway"). GN'R played four sold-out warm-up gigs at the iconic venue before heading overseas for a summer's worth of European festival appearances.
During the fourth and final New York concert, Rose shocked his fans by orchestrating a much-rumored reunion with former GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin (see "Izzy Stradlin Rejoins Guns N' Roses — For Three Songs During New York Gig").
On Saturday, Guns N' Roses headlined Los Angeles radio station KROQ's sixth annual end-of-summer Inland Invasion festival at the Hyundai Pavilion in Devore, California, delivering a set that included an instrumental cover of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" (see "Guns N' Roses Take On Aguilera, Chester Bennington Joins Alice In Chains At Inland Invasion"). The show featured a few guest appearances, including a cameo by ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, who joined Axl for "My Michelle."
Bach has been tapped to open all the upcoming tour dates, with Papa Roach taking the stage just before Guns N' Roses on eight of the trek's stops between the October 20 launch and the November 3 date in Huntington, West Virginia. Additional bands will be recruited for Roach's slot, but an official announcement concerning those openers has not been made yet.
"We had an amazing tour in Europe this summer and last week's shows here in the U.S. were great," Rose said in the press release. "It's been a long time getting here, but we look forward to coming to your town and having a lot of fun."
Tickets for most of the run's gigs go on sale Saturday.
Guns N' Roses tour dates, according to the band's management:
- 10/20 - Jacksonville, FL @ Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
- 10/22 - Nashville, TN @ Gaylord Entertainment Center
- 10/24 - Sunrise, FL @ BankAtlantic Center
- 10/25 - Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum
- 10/27 - Estero, FL @ Germain Arena
- 10/29 - San Juan, PR @ Coliseo de Puerto Rico
- 11/2 - Greensboro, NC @ Greensboro Coliseum
- 11/3 - Huntington, WV @ Big Sandy Superstore Arena
- 11/5 - East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena
- 11/6 - Portland, ME @ Cumber County Civic Center
- 11/8 - Worcester, MA @ DCU Center
- 11/10 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
- 11/13 - Baltimore, MD @ 1st Mariner Arena
- 11/15 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
- 11/17 - Ottawa, ON @ Scotiabank Place
- 11/18 - Quebec City, QC @ Colisee Pepsi
- 11/20 - Halifax, NS @ Halifax Metro Centre
- 11/24 - Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
- 11/25 - Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
- 11/27 - Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena
- 11/29 - Milwaukee, WI @ Bradley Center
- 12/1 - Ames, IA @ Hilton Coliseum
- 12/2 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
- 12/4 - Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
- 12/6 - Calgary, AB @ Pengrowth Saddledome
- 12/7 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
- 12/10 - Everett, WA @ Everett Events Center
- 12/11 - Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena
- 12/13 - Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Center
- 12/15 - Oakland, CA @ Oakland Arena
- 12/17 - Universal City, CA @ Gibson Amphitheatre
- 12/19 - Universal City, CA @ Gibson Amphitheatre
- 1/10 - Sacramento, CA @ ARCO Arena
- 1/11 - Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Arena
- 1/13 - Reno, NV @ Reno Events Center
- 1/16 - San Diego, CA @ iPayOne Center at the Sports Arena