After a long period of media silence, Axl Rose is suddenly everywhere. Last week, the Guns N' Roses frontman gave his first televised interview in 20 years to Jimmy Fallon. It was as entertaining and strange as you'd hope. And today, just in time for the start of GnR's 12 show residency at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, another interview with the reclusive rock legend was published in USA Today. In it he discusses Chinese Democracy's delays, his songwriting dry spell and, most importantly, the fact that he owns a zoo. Here are some highlights.
Original GNR guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan were sort of mean: ... Slash and Duff said, 'You're an idiot, you're a loser.' I didn't write for years. I felt I was hindered for a very long time. I was also trying to figure out what I wanted to say, when it's right to be venting and when you're digging a bigger hole. Lyrics on Chinese took a long time.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not a big deal: I try to be respectful about getting an honor or recognition, but I don't really know what the Rock Hall actually is. In my experience with the people who run it, I don't see it having to do with anything other than them making money.
On dealing with psychological issues: I worked out a lot of them. It was strange to get successful and lose almost your entire family. Then you end up with daytime TV talk shows. All of a sudden, things considered horrific when I was growing up were so what? You were abused? Who cares? There should be more of a public acknowledgement of reality. When I talked to Rolling Stone about it, I thought people would take a harder look at my stepdad. Instead, they came down harder on me. That's still confusing to me. But surviving at any level is good. I'm a lot better than a lot of people predicted. They were rooting for the opposite. There were things on the Internet about how I'd be found dead. I had a very dark attitude.
On what he misses about the old GNR: Here's what I miss about old Guns the most. And this is really before we got Appetite out. In the very beginning, you had three people (Rose, Slash and guitarist Izzy Stradlin) on the same page for a short period looking out for the best interest of that band and its goals. We were trying to get signed from the beginning. We were figuring out the right attorney, the right label. I had two other guys I could rely on. I don't necessarily have that now because it is more my thing, but I do ask everyone's opinion about everything.
On not giving a damn about fan criticism: They can think whatever they want. I'm not interested in their opinions.
And, most importantly, Rose owns his own zoo: I have a zoo. My animals (wolves, parrots, dogs, cats) are my buddies. They need lots of love and attention.
In case you missed it, you should check out Rose and his hired Guns mangling their classic "Welcome to the Jungle" at Neil Young's recent Bridge School Benefit.