What made the original [artist id="846"]Guns N’ Roses[/artist] so intriguing was how dangerous they truly were. At the height of their career, they were a force to be reckoned with — an unruly gang of wild-eyed kids from the seedy streets of L.A., who churned out gritty rock and roll and always partied as if it were their last night on Earth. They lived for the moment, abused all manner of substances and had more than their fare share of the ladies.
Of course, Guns N’ Roses existed during a completely different time, long before grunge got us depressed and emo made us nearly suicidal. Today, there’s just aren’t many bands who’ve even come close to matching the level of debauchery achieved by [artist id="1322928"]Axl[/artist], Izzy, Duff, [artist id="509605"]Slash[/artist] and Adler back in their heyday. (Kurt Loder reminisces about his many encounters with Axl Rose in the MTV Newsroom.) But [artist id="2017482"]Hinder[/artist] are trying their darnedest.
On Wednesday, less than a week before the November 23 release of GN’R’s long-awaited Chinese Democracy, we reached out to the hardest-living rockers we know to gauge their thoughts on the new LP from one of their biggest influences.
“The original Guns N’ Roses inspired us — not Axl Rose being an a–hole,” drummer Cody Hanson clarified.
“We’ve heard some of the earlier stuff that’s leaked, and the single, and I was just kind of like, ‘Eh,’ ” frontman Austin Winkler said. “Axl’s voice sounds great, but that was never a problem. It was him going onstage and working with those other guys that was the problem. I think somewhere Axl’s got all these other different guitar players he’s tried to work with and he was just whipping them, going, ‘More like Slash! More like Slash!’ That’s what I’m picturing in my mind.”
After hearing the first leaks from the record, Hanson said he knew it wasn’t going to live up to the hype.
“I heard the stuff that was leaked, and I know the mixes weren’t there, but, being musicians, you can hear through that stuff — you still hear the songs, and to be honest, the songs just aren’t there,” he said. “It almost sounds too artsy; there’s something about it. It’s not what it was. It’s just missing something, and it sounds overproduced. … I guess that’s what happens whenever you’ve got 20 years to sit in the studio.”
Hanson admitted he was surprised to discover a release date had finally been set for Democracy, but he was still excited for Axl’s return.
“It is great to hear that voice on the radio again,” he said. “Without the band, though, to me, it’s not really Guns N’ Roses. It was all about that energy that that group of guys had together, and without that, I don’t know, man. It’s kind of pointless and a wasted effort. Axl was never GN’R by himself. Look at the other guys — they’ve moved on, and Slash is still one of the biggest icons in rock and roll. So, GN’R definitely wasn’t just Axl.”
According to Winkler, Hinder were approached to open for Guns on a recent tour, but they decided to turn down the offer. “We knew what would happen,” he said. “Axl wouldn’t go on stage if he didn’t have his lamb or something. We didn’t do it, and it turned out way better for us.”
Looking back on Rose’s numerous tour cancellations and hasty moves to boot bands from the bill, which happened to the Eagles of Death Metal in 2006 , Hanson said they decided against the tour for the sake of their fans.
“Our fans are extremely important to us, and if we had to cancel a bunch of dates and leave them hanging, we would have been pretty pissed off,” Hanson said. “So, we decided it was not in our best interest to do the tour.”