Seven months ago, the 44-year-old rock recluse emerged from seclusion and claimed "Chinese Democracy" would be out before the end of the year. Rose affirmed the 2006 release plan during the MTV Video Music Awards in late August, and Rose's manager, Merck Mercuriadis, indicated the same to Rolling Stone in October.
But disillusioned fans began questioning the prospects of a 2006 release when the band's North American tour, which kicked off in October, rolled into December with no mention of the album. A Harley-Davidson commercial that used a track from the unreleased album was abruptly and inexplicably pulled. Music gurus began wondering if the 2006 date was a cash-grab aimed at selling more concert tickets.
On Thursday, Rose issued a statement on his Web site apologizing for the delay.
"To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement," he said. "Overcoming the endless and seemingly insanity of the obstacles faced by all involved, not withstanding the emotional challenges endured by everyone — the fans, the band, our road crew and business team — has at many times seemed like a bad dream in which one wakes up only to find they are still in the nightmare."
Rose went on to blame legal issues, "complications" with tour scheduling and album/video plans, and a "lack of respect" by the band's management. He announced that manager Mercuriadis had been fired, and he canceled four concerts scheduled for next month.
Mercuriadis, who has coddled and motivated Rose out of his decade-long, hermit-like hiatus, issued his own statement, blaming the missed deadline on Rose's creative juices drying up. He said recording sessions were booked in London, Los Angeles and New York during the tour, "but the muse did not show."
He said he opted to press ahead with the tour without a single or album because "we needed the money to be able to complete the album and keep the band alive."
Still, Mercuriadis appeared to take the high road.
"Until you have walked a mile in his shoes you cannot begin to comprehend the pressure he is under," Mercuriadis said of Rose.
"In the end the album will speak for itself," he said, "but our relationship could not survive the pressure."