Rumors continue to swirl that Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose is recording a new album tentatively titled “Dolphin Autocracy,” based largely upon his underwater adventures depicted in the 1993 video for “Estranged.” Here is a sneak peek at some of recordings thus far. Album slated for release in December 2023.
GNR Story in a Nutshell
I must admit, I was a Guns N’ Roses fan at one point in my life. The year was 1988. Hollywood’s Sunset Strip was littered with feathered hair, spandex, and bitchin’ Camaros as far as the eye could see, polluting the nation with a brand of rock and roll that championed a philosophy of attracting the maximum amount of women while dressing to impress by…looking like a woman. Bands like Warrant, Poison and Ratt were the taste du jour and most of us willingly lapped up every drop possible (in my defense, I was 11-12 years old at the time, so my naivete in distinguishing good from bad must be excused…please?).
Along came a band called Guns N’ Roses, who resembled less of a typical 1980s L.A. rock band and more of a drunken gang of angry castoffs who were bent on reflecting the ills society had bestowed upon each of them in a concerted, emphatic middle finger to the glam scene and world at large.
More punk than cheesy arena rock, GNR stormed the scene the night MTV aired their first video, “Welcome to the Jungle,” which immediately launched them into the consciousness of the American public. From that point on, the band never looked back and quickly harnessed the surrounding hype to become arguably the biggest rock band in the world by the beginning of the 1990s.
Success took its inevitable toll on each member in different ways, mostly by inflaming individual faults and weaknesses by virtue of substance abuse. Original drummer Steven Adler welcomed the blindsiding fame by indulging in more heroin than any of his bandmates; enough to eventually get him booted from a group of guys notorious for their sky-high levels of intoxication.
Level-headed rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin left the band at the height of their popularity, just before the release of Use Your Illusion I and II, later citing that the hoopla of being in GNR was too much to handle.
Slash, the notoriously hard boozing lead guitarist, seemingly enjoyed the roller coaster ride by indulging in even more firewater (admitted to tanking down an average of a half-gallon of vodka each day…before going out to hit the bars) and other illicit substances, ultimately landing him in a self-induced coma (for which he wrote an aptly titled song on Use Your Illusion I called “Coma”).
Duff McKagan, bassist, added to the party and GNR folklore by imbibing the required amount of alcohol needed to burst one’s own pancreas. Literally. In all, the actions of Guns N’ Roses exemplified a good deal of what we expect — and love — about rock and roll musicians, endearing them into our hearts and into the fabric of rock history.
Axl Rose handled the stress of being in the spotlight much differently than his bandmates. Less like Mick Jagger and more like Michael Jackson, he became aloof and withdrawn. He began traveling separately from the rest of the Gunners, and on many occasions, could not bring himself to enter the stage on time, if at all. Demands for special treatment and backstage luxuries spiraled out of control, rendering Rose more of a diva than a hard-nosed rocker.The disconnect that would ultimately sunder the GNR juggernaut of the late 80s and early 90s began to manifest itself during the Use Your Illusion World Tour.
He also apparently lost his mind somewhere along the way. Those videos of him visiting a shrink to cure his mental issues and trembling hands (“Don’t Cry), and running away from everything to board a gigantic ocean liner bound for the deep sea, plunging into a watery grave only to be saved by dolphins (“Estranged”), was not mere acting or theater — it was reality TV. Axl, unable to handle real life, ran off to sea, jumped off a large ocean liner (a metaphor of the band Guns N’ Roses as it existed then), and gave himself up to the mercy of dolphins (metaphoric for, uh, dolphins).
The band eventually grew tired of Rose’s antics and, one-by-one, departed the band. Without missing a beat, Axl carried the GNR banner alone, hiring many fill-in musicians to help him create a magnum opus of Titanic proportions. Fourteen years later, Axl was forced to release his so-called masterpiece, Chinese Democracy, in 2008. The album was released exclusively through Best Buy, received no promotion from the record company or
Howard Hughes Axl Rose, and allegedly sold around one million copies (maybe half of that figure has actually heard any material from that album; which, for the record, does not include me).
Fast forward to 2011
To follow up the enormous success that was Chinese Democracy, Axl has an ace up his sleeve. He plans to deliver a new album on the heels of Chinese Democracy to a dwindling fan base in an effort prove once and for all that he — and only he — was the heart and soul of Guns N’ Roses all along. In essence, an about face to show that he was right, and Slash, Duff, Izzy, Steven, Matt Sorum, and millions of former GNR fans were wrong.
Summoning the spirit that caused him to jump overboard into the ocean in “Estranged,” Axl has drawn extensively from that experience to create his undisputed magnum opus, Dolphin Autocracy — a marked contrast from the idea of democracy in China. The video preview illustrates just how far Rose has come as a musician, penning his first concept album about the mysterious mammal we know and love: dolphins.
Tentatively due for an exclusive release through Walmart outlets in December 2023, Dolphin Autocracy is sure to change the world and restore the legacy of Guns N’ Roses circa 1988.