In a recent interview with Music Is Win's Tyler Larson, Thal pointed out that the conversation around Chinese Democracy had been tainted for years before the album actually arrived. But that doesn't change the fact that the music is good.
"At the time, people were still just going on about how it took this long to make and it took this much money and all that nonsense. And I always said, 'Wait 20 years. People are going to forget about all of this stuff, all of this baggage that they're trying to attach to this record.' And they're just going to listen to it for what it is and just listen to it as music," Thal said.
Axl Rose was universally cast as the villain in Guns N' Roses' mid-'90s breakup. While his former GNR bandmates went on to success with other projects, the singer was seemingly marooned in the studio for 10 years working on the album, scrutinizing every aspect, determined to create a masterpiece.
Repeated delays in Chinese Democracy's release and changes in Guns N' Roses' membership only added to the pressure and the eventual toxicity of the album's reception. Thal was in GNR from 2006 to 2014 and recorded guitars for every track on Chinese Democracy.
He's certain the album will continue to grow in popularity, especially as the revamped version of the band continues to perform the Chinese Democracy material in its live shows and the fans' hard-feelings about the album further subside.
"They're going to hear so many layers of things and such an interesting combination of parts and people and changes in style and technology that was happening over the course of ...10-ish years from when they started writing to when it was actually on the shelves in stores," Thal added. "I don't think any album in the history of rock went through those kinds of changes. It's a very special album with a lot of history just within each song that has layers to it. I'm grateful that they had me on it."
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