Everybody believes Axl's criticisms of the label regarding the process & release of Chinese Democracy are down to his own seeming inability to accept responsibility for any GN'R inspired 'failures' (and there have been many as you all point out regularly). However it does genuinely seem the label played a wholly nonconstructive & maybe even regressive
role in those 14 years.
Let's consider the sentiments of Tommy Stinson, who is very frank about Axl & the way in which Guns N' Roses can sometimes operate:Source
We were working on the writing aspect of it, but it just kept going on. We had [Interscope Chairman] Jimmy Iovine intervening in a not-so-productive way, and we had other guys coming and going with nutty ideas. My summation of the whole thing is that Interscope, when they took over Geffen, really led Axl to believe that Jimmy Iovine would be involved, and would help get this record done and make it happen. But basically what he did was let it completely fall apart.
So the label advertised Mr. Iovine as Axl's potential savior yet he came in, with an ensemble of other label reps, and allowed everything to literally 'fall apart'. How... and why?
Then he brings in Roy Thomas Baker
, another catalyst for prolongment... & major reason why Bucket decided to leave the project (who other than Axl, was the most vital aspect of the whole NEW GN'R idea, the Slash character, as such):
Then he had this great idea to bring in [producer] Roy Thomas Baker to make it sound better. All he did was re-record everything three or four different times, trying to make it sound like something it didn’t need to sound like, and spend $10 million in the process.
Most of the songs that are on the record now were done 10 fucking years ago. But all the talking heads in the mix were saying, “Make ’em sound better! Make ’em sound better!” So we kept redoing this and that. And it ended up coming back down to the same fucking songs that they were 10 years ago, except that now they were a super-dense mishmash of a bunch of instrumentation.Source
"By the time Zutaut joined the Chinese Democracy project, Buckethead had left, frustrated by what he saw as the band's inactivity. Axl wanted him back. So Zutaut arranges a meeting with Brian/Bucket at a deli in LA and listens as the guitarist explains why he left: he doesn't get on with Roy Thomas Baker, he's frustrated at the whole situation - at coming in to the studio everyday when Axl's not even there, playing the same parts over and over.
'There was a bit of creative tension with Roy Thomas Baker,' says Zutaut.
Then when the album finally does drop:
- Botched record booklet (blatantly)
- Dismal promotion strategy which Axl refused to support
- Introduction of Azoff who circumvented a tour behind Chinese Democracy opting to try and coerce Axl into a Van Halen 'super tour' w/Appetite GN'R
On March 27, 2008, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose announced that Azoff and Andy Gould are the new management for Guns N' Roses.
In May 2010, Guns N' Roses-singer Axl Rose filed a $5 million lawsuit against former manager Azoff, saying that Azoff sabotaged sales of Guns N' Roses’ comeback album and lied about a potential “super tour” with Van Halen (which Azoff manages) as part of a scheme to force Rose to reunite with his former band members. Rose said in his suit that Azoff failed to promote his 2008 album, “Chinese Democracy,” and deliberately mishandled concert dates, “forcing Rose into a position where he would have no choice but to reunite with the original members of Guns N’ Roses for a reunion tour.
It's like everybody that comes into to help Axl 'realize his ambition for GN'R' are a merely label pawn ultimately trying to facilitate the latter's true want of the Guns N' Roses name; a reunion.
My two cents on the whole thing is that I really think Jimmy Iovine fucked the whole thing up.