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Dave Dominguez's Chinese Democracy Experiences

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'Chinese Democracy' Engineer: This Is What Happened the One Time Axl Got Upset During Recording Process...

 

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"I'm sure you've heard the famous stories of Axl just being out of control, and being rude, yelling. I never really got any of that personally," Dave Dominguez says.

 

During an interview with GN'R Central, Dave Dominguez - who worked as an engineer during the early stages of GN'R's "Chinese Democracy" - recalled his experience of working with Axl Rose and co.

 

You can check out the conversation below (transcribed by UG):

 

Was the original idea that Guns were just going to come in for a few weeks and get some ideas together and then record immediately?

"Yeah, the idea was that they were going to come in for four months and rehearse - or three months - and then they were going to start writing a record for three months, but they didn't have a producer at the time. It was supposed to be six months long."

What was it like working with Axl?

"I'm sure you've heard the famous stories of Axl just being out of control, and being rude, yelling. I never really got any of that personally. He always treated me great and treated my family great, and he was always awesome.

 

"The only time he ever did really get upset with me was during one session - at the end of the song 'This I Love' he had said he was repeating the Stephanie scene one, like 'I love you, Stephanie,' or, 'This I love Stephanie.'

 

"And he heard it and goes, 'Just erase all that.' I was like, 'Do you want me to back it up?'.

He was, 'No, erase it!'. He yelled and walked out of the room.

 

"The assistant comes in, and I said, 'We're going to erase something GN'R fans are never ever going to hear. This is crazy, this is a GN'R song that no one's ever heard, and no one is ever going to hear this again.'

 

"I looked at him and said, 'Are you ready?'. And I put the tracks in and erased it."

 

During those sessions, did Axl have a really good idea of what he wanted the album to sound like? Or was it just people throw out ideas and then they share the CDs?

"He was listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails at the time, a lot of industrial stuff, so I remember that vibe, that was what he was going for."

In one interview, you talked about going to Axl's house for one of the parties he had. Was it a Halloween party?

"It was awesome. I got the call real quick before that we would take weekends off, and I would do sessions on the weekends. I get bands - it was extra money - and I get bands in the studio because it was down-time, there were two rooms, so I'd get bands in whenever I could.

 

"My ex-wife had to work, so I had to take my two young kids with me to the studio, and it was only half a day, it wasn't a whole day so there's like six hours.

 

"Once we got there, my kids were like, 'Hey dad, we're hungry,' and I was like, 'Okay, we'll order pizza in a few minutes.' I start working - I've never taken them to work with me before, I forget they're there, and it's like, 'Three hours later,' and I'm like, 'Shoot, the kids are here!'

 

"So as I walk out of the room, I hear this deep voice talking, and I look up and it's Axl. He said, 'I hope you don't mind, the kid said that you're going to order them pizza, so I'm ordering pizzas. Is that okay?'. So he bought them pizza, he's talking to them, he's hanging out with them for an hour.

 

"So, he called me up and said, 'Bring your family.' My ex and I have four kids, so I brought only three because the youngest was only two years old at the time. So, we get to the house, it's up in the Canyon in Malibu, a really beautiful area, park the car, tell the kids not to touch anything, just being a dad...

 

"So we walk in, and they have a Barney who's greeting all the kids, and there's Barney dancing and he greets the kids and also goes, 'Hey Dave' in a deep voice, and he takes the head off and it's Axl in the Barney costume.

 

"He rented a bunch of busses and rented out the Universal Studios - he was taking everybody down there. I got my kids, so I can't go."

 

You said that he had a big game room, so was he a big gamer himself?

"He never mentioned it, he just had one push-down projector screen, and he had a couple of gaming systems. I'd never heard him talk about gamers, ever."

So when the album came out in 2008 and you heard it, did you recognize a lot of the stuff you worked on?

"Not a thing, the only thing were the titles, but at that point, I had already been off for 10 years, so I couldn't remember any of the loops. I remember 'I.R.S.', 'Oklahoma'... 'Better.' kind of remember some of that."

What exactly is the role of an engineer on an album?

"The role is to get tones and record the sound and to lay down the bands' instruments.

 

"The producer will come in and make arrangement ideas and it could be - they could carve out the tones together, this is what the engineers job is to sit there and mic it, make sure it's not distorted, make sure it's clear, it's all on the technical side, as opposed to the producer which is on the artistic side."

 

Was it difficult to leave the GN'R project and move on?

"Not at all. They were going to rehearse for three months and then record for three months and then the record would be out. I left it in August. I think we started on January 3rd - I left in August, and nothing had been written, nothing had been recorded, it was just like ideas."

 

At that point when you left in August, you weren't with a lot of different musicians, I've always heard that everything was so expensive and grandiose in the studio, like no expense was spared compared to some other bands.

 

"For the first three months, there was FedEx or UPS every single day. Keyboards, guitars, from what I understand, Axl has a studio in his place, all the keyboards were being delivered to Axl's, so there was a ton of money spent. A ton of money. I think I saw paperwork, and at when I left, and it was in the millions."

 

 

Full article here:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/chinese_democracy_engineer_this_is_what_happened_the_one_time_axl_got_upset_during_recording_process.html

 

 

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This I Love Stephanie.......I love you....Stephanie.....

 

 

 

Kinda gonna call partial bullshit cause he was still (happily?) dating her when he wrote the song.  It's corroborated in a few interviews in the 90s.

 

Still.  Crinnnnnngeeey.

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7 minutes ago, GnRLiars said:

Axl is weird

No he is not !😤

 

He has been happily married for years to a hard working Brazilian older woman 🐵 

 

He is very happy 😊 and well fed and enjoys his open marriage.

 

shame on you all !

 

SHAME

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Release big Chinese Democracy box set with a long ass documentary and I`ll be done with this band untill new music is on the horizon which seems a far cry from now.

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Axl has said he didn’t really want to do that song. 

 

I still don’t get the title. This I Love. Korm have a song Alone I Break. Which has a similar vocal. 

 

I thought the song was more about Erin. 

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To be fair to Axl and CD, I probably would have written sad sack songs too if I went from fucking Steph to fucking Beta.

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46 minutes ago, magisme said:

To be fair to Axl and CD, I probably would have written sad sack songs too if I went from fucking Steph to fucking Beta.

Oh buddy it went from Erin 😍 to Steph 😋to da Beta 🤮

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On 1/24/2019 at 1:43 AM, wasted said:

Axl has said he didn’t really want to do that song. 

 

I still don’t get the title. This I Love. Korm have a song Alone I Break. Which has a similar vocal. 

 

I thought the song was more about Erin. 

Wasn’t that because he submitted it to the Robin Williams movie back in the day and they said “thanks, but we are gonna pass.”

 

So at one point he was proud of it and wanting to share it. 

 

Axl doesnt take rejection well. 

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10 hours ago, Skeeter said:

Wasn’t that because he submitted it to the Robin Williams movie back in the day and they said “thanks, but we are gonna pass.”

 

So at one point he was proud of it and wanting to share it. 

 

Axl doesnt take rejection well. 

I just don’t think he saw it as part of the new Guns thing. It was sort of on the back burner. 

 

But he did say he was most proud musically of a certain part of it. 

 

I’m not sure why it wasn’t used. 

 

It’s basically the only Axl solo song on the album. Considering it joined Chi dem and Better as mainstays in the set list, This I Love should have been like the third single.

 

I suppose putting things out on soundtracks was a way to get material out without the pressure of a full release. Civil War kind of tided me over from AFD and UYI. Oh My God did that too. This I Love seems like a single though. It’s the Don’t Cry of CD. 

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6 minutes ago, wasted said:

I just don’t think he saw it as part of the new Guns thing. It was sort of on the back burner. 

 

But he did say he was most proud musically of a certain part of it. 

 

I’m not sure why it wasn’t used. 

 

It’s basically the only Axl solo song on the album. Considering it joined Chi dem and Better as mainstays in the set list, This I Love should have been like the third single.

 

I suppose putting things out on soundtracks was a way to get material out without the pressure of a full release. Civil War kind of tided me over from AFD and UYI. Oh My God did that too. This I Love seems like a single though. It’s the Don’t Cry of CD. 

Lol. I was reading this and going “Wasted didn’t compare TIL to another song, breakfast cereal or move”......then you slipped it in with your last line. 

 

But naw on that. Don’t Cry is a GnR classic balled. This I Love shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. 

 

But great observation about it being more of an Axl soundtrack song as opposed to an album track. That makes perfect sense. Sort of the same deal with If the World. Probably would have been better as a one off song....and replaced with The General on CD. 

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Just now, Skeeter said:

Lol. I was reading this and going “Wasted didn’t compare TIL to another song, breakfast cereal or move”......then you slipped it in with your last line. 

 

But naw on that. Don’t Cry is a GnR classic balled. This I Love shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. 

 

But great observation about it being more of an Axl soundtrack song as opposed to an album track. That makes perfect sense. Sort of the same deal with If the World. Probably would have been better as a one off song....and replaced with The General on CD. 

Don’t Cry is the only GNR I never really liked. It’s a type of song, prefer Sorry. I guess you need this kind of unrequited love balld and TIL is it. It would have worked as a second single. 

 

If the World is Axl collabing with Pitman and Bucket solo. I guess this is what Axl wanted to do somewhere. Once Slash was gone he must have felt free to explore everything. I guess the rec comp or whoever must have been worried about it not sounding like GNR. This I Love must have had them salivating in 2000. But then Axl was with holding it. 

 

I sense there was an emotional element to TIL that he didn’t want to do. Like OIAM, this is real, but do I want to say it, I mean he’s hanging his balls out with it. It’s like a pocket sized Nov Rain. So they should have put out Chi dem or Better then hit the MTV nostalgia with a TIL video. But it wasn’t the 90s. So they just kept dropping catchy rockers like Chi dem, Better, Shacklet’s. 

 

CD has 3 batches of singles

 

AFD suite - Chi dem, Better, TWAT

UYI suite - Shackler’s, This I Love, SOD

CD suite - Scraped, If the World, Prostitute

 

Scraped is an Out Ta Get Me for the 2st Century. Like Bad meets My Michelle played by the Prodigy and RATM. 

 

Sorry could be a CD era single but think If the World was the possible hit. If anything was going to crossover that was the song. It’s kind of the only love song, the end of the world is kind of romantic. 

 

But maybe Sorry is the perfect anti-single. The ultimate statement, a power ballad that tells the haters to go fuck themselves. Axl casts himself as Brando in On the Waterfront feeling sorry for those that let him down. 

Edited by wasted

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