Best Of '99: Guns N' Roses Leader Breaks Silence, Disses Former Bandmates

Axl Rose explains 'Oh My God,' band's first new song in eight years.

[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at 1999's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Wednesday, Sept. 22.]

Two weeks after fans heard a snippet of his band's first new song in

eight years, Guns n' Roses leader Axl Rose broke a long public silence

Wednesday (Sept. 22) by issuing a statement that discussed the comings

and goings of various bandmembers, and the inspiration behind the new

track.

The song, "Oh My God," will be on the soundtrack to the upcoming Arnold

Schwarzenegger action movie "End of Days." It "contemplates several

abstract perspectives drawing from personal expression as well as from

the film ... and its metaphors," Rose wrote in the one-page, single-spaced

statement, which was signed "Axl" and distributed to reporters by

Interscope Records.

According to Rose, the song was written by a longtime friend, guitarist

Paul Huge, and features a patchwork of musicians: Huge, ex-Jane's Addiction/Red

Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, ex-Vandals drummer Josh Freese,

Guns keyboardist Dizzy Reed, ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson,

guitarist Robin Finck — who recently left Guns n' Roses to rejoin

the touring lineup of Nine Inch Nails — and Gary Sunshine.

"Former member Duff McKagan (Guns n' Roses' original bassist) as well as

former employee Matt Sorum (who had replaced original drummer Steve Adler)

failed to see [the song's] potential and showed no interest in exploring,

let alone recording the piece," Rose wrote. "When the demos were played

for the new band, Josh, Tommy and Robin were, as they say, 'all over it.' "

A spokesperson for Sorum could not be reached for comment by press time.

McKagan could not be reached either.

A 15-second slice of "Oh My God" was unveiled Sept. 9 in a televised

commercial for the film. Though it's clearly a rock song, its production

has the sheen of electronica, and Rose's vocals were saturated with

effects. The snippet was punctuated by horns and a thumping bass drum.

A wash of distorted guitars played while another guitar sliced through

the sound with wah-wah pedal effects.

"Oh my God, I can't delay this," Rose appeared to sing in an almost

incomprehensible, acidic sneer.

"I've been tried ... like nobody wouldn't know!" he shouted.

The song is the recorded debut of the band's revamped lineup, with Rose

the only remaining original member. The soundtrack is due Nov. 2.

Rose's statement begins: "So here's the story behind this music ...

"The chorus: OH MY GOD etc. deals with the societal repression of deep

and often agonizing emotions — some of which may be willingly accepted

for one reason or another — the appropriate expression of which (one

that promotes a healing, release and a positive resolve) is often discouraged

and many times denied.

"Musically the song was primarily written by Paul Huge over two years ago,"

Rose wrote. "With Dizzy Reed writing the musical hook of the chorus.

"Robin's part," he explained, "was written by Paul and extensively

manipulated by our producer, Sean Beaven. Robin was not involved in the

writing of the final recording though did participate in the arrangement.

All lyrics were written by myself. Additional programming (jack boots,

screeching tires, etc.) was by Stuart White."

It will be the first original work from the "Welcome to the Jungle"

(RealAudio

excerpt) rockers since the albums Use Your Illusion I and

Use Your Illusion II were released on the same day in 1991. An

album of covers, The Spaghetti Incident?, followed in 1993.

"Once the opportunity was presented [to place 'Oh My God' on the

soundtrack], the song was given priority in our recording process," Rose

wrote. "As the verse, performance and lyrics were decided on, for us

(that especially includes Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine) the choice

became obvious."

The "End of Days" soundtrack is also slated to feature new songs from

hard-rockers Korn, Creed and Limp Bizkit, as well as hip-hop folkie

Everlast, according to a Geffen spokesperson who requested anonymity.

The film is scheduled for a Nov. 24 release.

"Oh My God" also is expected to appear on the next Guns n' Roses album,

which so far has no title or release date.

"The fight of good vs. evil, positive vs. negative, man against a seemingly

undefeatable, undeterrable, unrevealed destiny, along with the personal

and universal struggle to attain, maintain and responsibly manage freewill

can be and often is frustrating, to say the least," Rose concluded. "In

America our country's constitutional right to freedom of expression gives

us a better chance to fight for that expression than many in other

countries enjoy. It can be a big gig, like kickin' the crap outta the

devil!"

He signed off by writing, "Power to the people, peace out and blame

Canada," an apparent reference to the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer

and Uncut."