Former Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson drummer, Chris Vrenna, talked about his brief 1997 tenure with Guns N’ Roses, during which he was involved in the early stages of “Chinese Democracy.”
Vrenna told AL:
“[The early ‘Chinese Democracy’ material] was a little all over the place. And Paul [Tobias, GN’R guitarist from 1994 to 2002] made it change a little bit.
“By that time, everything was so fractured, and everybody had an opinion of what the band should do. After Duff left [in 1997], that really bummed me out. Because Duff was a good hang and he was the last thread to the first record.
“After he left, I even had a talk with Axl one time like, ‘You know, you’re changing the sound of the band and it’s really just you and we’re all new dudes and we all come from cool places. But have you ever thought of just saying, ‘Fuck Guns N Roses – that name is dead, the band is over. We are now called blank.’?'”
“And he goes, ‘Yeah you’re not the first person who’s told me I should probably do that. But Guns N’ Roses is an international brand name, and to start over when I can just use the brand name that everybody knows, I can’t sacrifice the branding that’s already been established.’
“And I got his argument for not changing the name. But I also firmly believed in what I was saying. If Axl Rose came out and said, ‘Look, man. Everybody’s quit the band. If I call this Guns N’ Roses, you guys are going to laugh at me,’ which a lot of people did because it’s not what we know as Guns N Roses.
“So call it something new. You’re Axl Rose, it will be big and people will know that new logo and that new name and that new whatever.”