- I had been a freshman in college for less than a month.
- The first George Bush was President, and the first Gulf War had only been over for a few months.
- It would still be three more years before Rick Rubin would revive Johnny Cash's career with the first installment of the American Recordings series.
- O.J. hadn't killed anyone yet.
- The Big Lebowski was still 7 years away.
- The Chicago Bulls had just won their FIRST NBA championship.
- The interwebs didn't really exist yet. No Facebook, no MySpace, no Wikipedia, no blogs, no Strongbad, no porn. Just a handful of BBSes that only a few hardcore nerds even knew about.
- The term "former Soviet Union" was just coming into the collective vocabulary.
- Freddie Mercury was still alive.
- Hex Games (now celebrating 10 years of QAGS--buy your copy today at www.hexgames.com) wouldn't be founded for another 6 years. In fact, I hadn't even met co-founders Leighton Connor and Dale French yet. I hadn't learned the fine art of the cheap plug yet, either.
Dr. Pepper is a powerful motivator (especially Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, which I'm reasonably sure contains crack cocaine), and in order to collect their share of the syrupy goodness, Axl and the boys (whoever that was at the moment) finished the album and announced it would release on November 23 at Best Buy (and only at Best Buy, but I think you can all guess my problems with that). I'm sure you can also buy the album online, but this is a case where I for one need the real thing. I'm fine with just a digital copy of the newest Kid Rock or whatever, but when it comes to serious music (or at least something as long-awaited as this), I want liner notes and album art and all that good stuff. So I dug out my portable CD player, picked up the CD at Best Buy, and hit the interstate, fully intending to (as Jon Bon Jovi might say) have my face rocked.
I had heard from a few sources that this album was supposed to be classic G N' R, and the first few tracks were promising, if not quite up to the Appetite for Destruction level of dirty rock goodness. After that, the album veers into Use Your Illusion territory and pretty much stays there. This is clearly the Axl rose show--not that there's anything wrong with that. Once you accept the idea that Chinese Democracy isn't going to kick your ass with anything approaching Welcome to the Jungle or My Michelle, it works pretty well as Use Your Illusion III--overproduced but very listenable. It's not the new Guns N' Roses album you really want, but when you think about it, Chinese Democracy is the new Guns N' Roses album that you probably should have expected.
As for the free Dr. Pepper, the company tried to make good on the offer, but the sheer number of responses crashed their site. They've extended the offer and supposedly increased their bandwidth, but so far I haven't been able to make it through. As you might expect, there are already several net forums where people are bitching and whining about how Dr. Pepper "scammed" everyone by not beefing up their website beforehand. I'm not sure how failure to anticipate participation in an offer for free product counts as a scam, but I guess idiots like that are the price we pay for porn and Strongbad.