Guns N’ Roses Finally Debut ‘The General’ After 16 Years of Fan Anticipation

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Power Trip - Day 1 - Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Power Trip - Day 1 - Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Guns N’ Roses played the penultimate show of their 2023 tour at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl on Thursday night, and they used the occasion to debut “The General.” “This could be very interesting,” Rose told the crowd. “If there’s ever a better place to fall on your face, I think this fuckin’ counts.” Check out a fan-shot video.

“The General” is one of many Chinese Democracy-era songs fans learned about long before the album came out. Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach raved about it in a series of interviews. “It’s by far the heaviest metal tune I think I’ve ever heard Axl do,” Bach told Metal Edge in 2007, “this slow, grinding riff with these high, piercing vocals, screaming vocals. I was like, ‘When is this coming out?’ And he said, ‘2012.’ I was like, ‘Dude, you’re killin’ me!’ He goes, ‘Well, this comes out on the third record. It relates to this song. It’s a trilogy. This goes with this lyrically.’ He’s got it all figured out. He’s just different than other people. He does things on his own time, in his own way, but you know…the world’s not prepared for what I’ve heard from this guy.”

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The following year, Bach told Rolling Stone that he was told by Rose that “The General” is a sequel to “Estranged.” “He’s like the George Lucas of rock,” Bach said. “I know for a fact it’s not him saying, ‘Let’s wait and work on [Chinese Democracy] some more. He has a whole new business team. Irving Azoff is in control, along with Andy Gould. They are trying to figure out the best way to put the music out.”

When Chinese Democracy appeared later that year, “The General” wasn’t on it. Over the years, it’s taken on mythical status in the Guns N’ Roses fan community. Some fans even created fake versions you can find on YouTube. But this is the first time the full, legit song has ever been heard by the public.

There hasn’t been a new Guns N’ Roses record since Chinese Democracy, but the reunited version of the band has released new recordings of “Absurd,” “Hard Skool,” and “Perhaps” over the past couple of years. All three songs date back to the Chinese Democracy sessions. A 7″ vinyl of “Perhaps” is slated to come out December 8 with “The General” on the flip side.

Guns N’ Roses wrap up their 2023 tour at the Hell and Heaven Fest in Toluca, Mexico, on November 5. They’re topping a bill that also includes Muse, Slipknot, and Billy Idol. GN’R have been on the road steadily since reuniting with Slash and Duff in 2016. They have yet to announce any 2024 plans, but they’ll need to work around Slash’s schedule. He’ll be on the road with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators from January through late April.

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