12th September 2004 - TOMMY STINSON - New GUNS N' ROSES Album Is "A Lot More Complex"
Bassist TOMMY STINSON is best known for being one of THE REPLACEMENTS - start of the band to finish - but he's beginning to be a regular in the metal press given his now long-standing relationship with Axl Rose as part of the aggregate GUNS N' ROSES. If all goes according to plan (and there's no assurance that it will), the eon-awaited Chinese Democracy will be out this fall and GN'R will be touring "for the next year and a half or so."
Stinson was in Toronto recently to promote his new solo album called Village Gorilla Head, a collection of quirky hard and soft pop songs with an appropriately artsy, even Replacements-like flair. "I think the hardest thing was to just finely get it done," says Stinson of the lush yet emotionally edgy album. "I worked on it for about a year, toured a little bit in between, and I wasn't really under any pressure from anyone to finish it in any particular amount of time. But after awhile, after you've done all the instruments yourself, you start to burn out. You get to a point where you go, 'I really wish I were done with this now, because I'm kind of tired.' It got a little much. Because I was recording everything in my home studio, which is basically in my apartment, in my bedroom, in Burbank, California. So the idea of recording and living and sleeping and breathing all in the same three or four rooms was a little bit much after awhile."
Well, rest up, because it sounds like life is gonna get complicated soon. Tommy offers a few elliptical remarks on the looming Chinese Democracy opus.
"Stylistically speaking, if I were to take a stab at it, it would probably be something more focused than Use Your Illusion. I think Use Your Illusion was going in a couple of other musical directions, but not fully realized. I think there were some limitations to where the band was maybe willing to go? That has been taken out of the mix. More focused, but also more diverse. I think the music on the new GN'R record will be a lot more complex, a little more far-reaching probably? As well as there will be some rock there that will be reminiscent of the older records. But for the most part, stylistically speaking, there's a lot more going on. And I would say lyrically, definitely there is a lot more going on than old Guns. There's a lot more introspection, a lot more social commentary involved."
After intimating that most of the lyrics and vocals are Axl's, but that he and Dizzy Reed do a lot of the back-up vocals, Tommy states that songwriting-wise, "there'll probably be compositions that started with each of us and were compiled by all of us, on the whole record, yeah. I would be willing to wager that that is how it turns out, because Axl is the kind of guy who is always looking out for the fairest way to do it so everyone's happy. Because obviously, that's the kind of thing that screwed up the old band. Everybody had songs they wanted to write, and have Axl sing, and then there got to be infighting, I think, with whose songs were going to be on the record. He's really conscious of that, so it ends up being a bit of everyone on there."
Stinson also says that he listened to the final mixes recently and "added his two cents," noting that the songs were mostly quite long and epic, but "mind-blowing and fucking huge."
In closing, I had Stinson reflect on Axl's personality these days, his state of mind, his strengths and weaknesses...
"Wow. I would say his strengths are definitely his heart and his loyalties. He's incredibly loyal and totally has your back if you're straight with him and are loyal back. Which is why him and I have gotten along so well. I'm the same sort of person. I don't fuck around or waste my time with people who waste my time, and I don't really take up people's time if they don't want it. I would say those are his strengths. Other than that, he's a fucking awesome singer and an amazing songwriter. The weaknesses part? Maybe he still thinks too much of what people are expecting of him. Maybe he could try just fucking exist, and not worry about the way people want him to be? Maybe a little bit of that? Might be hard for him, because he's got a lot riding on it. I've got a lot riding on it, but he's obviously got way more (laughs). What I see with the Guns N' Roses thing... you know, I've hung out with him so much to know that it's hard to be him, just because people are rabid. They get pretty weirded out. He's got some crazy fans, and people that have been there for a long time. And I think if he could just exist, if he could get up in the day and go cruise around like I cruise around and see the world in a non-stressful environment like that (laughs), it might do some good for his fuckin'... his self. He's a huge fucking rock star, man. He can barely go down the street without someone fuckin' throwing some curveball at him. It's a bummer."
Source : bravewords.com