‘Most expensive album’ sees light of day

By Calum Fraser

A 17 year wait was over yesterday (Monday), as Guns N’ Roses released their new album, labelled the most expensive ever made.

‘Chinese Democracy’ is the first album of original material from the LA rockers since the simultaneous release of Use Your Illusion I and II in 1991, and estimates have put it’s costs somewhere near $15 million.

Many fans believed the album would never see the light of day, after singer/songwriter Axl Rose failed to deliver on release dates set in 2000, 2002 and early 2007, but now hope it will signal a rebirth for the band once considered the biggest in the world.

High street chains have prepared for high demand, and staff at Edinburgh’s HMV report “both Chinese Democracy and the new release from the Killers are flying off the shelves.”

The two albums are likely to hold the top two slots in the album chart come the end of the week, but Chinese Democracy has already been setting records online. It was streamed in its entirety on Myspace prior to its launch and attracted around 25 listens a second. The title track alone received over 1.5 million plays.

Rose is the only member left from the line-up of debut “Appetite For Destruction”, and recording sessions have taken place since around 1997 with a revolving door of members and producers. The main reason for the extreme costs involved in the project.

When drummer John Freese left the band in 2000, £200,000 was spent re-recording his parts alone.

On a single track there are five guitarists given credits for playing parts, one bassist, two drummers, three men on keyboard and four given editing credits. And that is just on lead single ‘Better’.

Record company Geffen decided that they had had enough in 2004, releasing a statement stepping away from the astronomical costs involved in Axl’s quest for perfection:

“Having exceeded all budgeted and approved recording costs by millions of dollars, it is Mr. Rose’s obligation to fund and complete the album.”

The record company should make its money back as long as Guns N’ Roses heyday fanbase remains loyal. The album has an expectation about it that is almost unparalleled, only Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ comes close, but reviews have been surprisingly positive about an album that could well have been the most expensive never made.

Listen to clips here