There's a great great article in Sunday's New York Times: The Most Expensive Album Never Made. Ah, Chinese Democracy - the long awaited, heavily anticipated and now punch line of jokes album. The one Baseball Crank refers to as "the Waterworld of rock." At least Waterworld actually made it to the theaters.
My history with Axl and company is a long and complicated one. I imagine that most metal fans who hooked on to the early GnR bandwagon followed the same path I did. Think of the seven stages of grief in reverse. From acceptance (Appetite for Destruction = welcome to my record collection!) to denial (I swear to you I never owned The Spaghetti Incident), we watched - and in some ways participated in - the slow death of a once great band. But it wasn't their years of putting out head banging, fist pumping music that was the greatest show. No, it was watching Axl Rose trying in vain to raise the Phoenix from the ashes that offered the most jaw dropping, car-wreck kind of entertainment this side of the November Rain video.
Real music fans don't just buy an album, get their groove on and put the album away until later. We invest a part of ourselves in each record we buy. And, by extension, we invest a piece of ourselves in the bands we love. We form a relationship, so to speak, with the band as a whole. And it's a tenuous sort of relationship, because the only thing that ties us together is the actual music. A new album comes out, you listen for the first time and each perfectly crafted song is tantamount to being embraced by a passionate lover. Every lyric that resonates, beat that you feel in your bones, hook that captures your soul - it's like making love to the music and those who made the music (metaphorically speaking, of course). The better the anticipated album or single, the more intense the action is. So each new album we wait for is like the promise of hot, dirty sex after your partner has been away for a while. And in that essence, Chinese Democracy has been a years long cock tease.
My real lust for the band kind of faded right around Civil War. It was then I realized that GnR was the equivalent of the girl who teases you with her perky breasts for years and when you finally manage to get under the hood, you grab hold of three inches of padded bra. All that music before Use Your Illusion II was just a ruse to get us to this point. They gave us the good stuff first so they could later on sit back and make this pretentious, melodramatic drivel that they called art. There was nothing left to them. Empty D cups.