Last month Guns N' Roses surprised fans at their Los Angeles by casually dropping a previously unreleased song, The General, into their set. While the tune originally dates from from the band's Chinese Democracy sessions, it's now been released onto streaming platforms as a new studio track, having been recorded, mixed and mastered this summer.
The General is also available as a physical release, occupying the b-side of the limited edition Guns N' Roses single Perhaps, which is also released today. The pairing will also be available as a Japan-only SHM-CD, which is due for release next month.
The chorus of The General, a slow-burner that features one of Axl Rose's more anguished vocals, opens with the lines, "My only regret is that I never took the time to forgive all those unspoken feelings" while the pre-chorus finds a him singing, "Can anybody tell me why the pain, it just won't stop?"
The General was produced by Axl Rose and Caram Costanzo (who also contributes keyboards), while the line-up of musicians featured on the song includes Rose alongside original members Duff McKagan (bass) and Slash (guitar). The rest of the lineup includes current touring members Richard Fortis (guitar) and Dizzy Reid (keyboards), and is rounded out by guitarist Marc Haggard, keyboardist Chris Pitman and and drummer Bryan Mantia. Strings are provided by Marco Beltrami.
Availability of The General on streaming platforms in timezone-dependent, so it may not be available in all territories at the time of writing.
According to former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, The General dates back to 2007.
“It’s by far the heaviest metal tune I think I’ve ever heard Axl do,” he told Metal Edge magazine, “This slow, grinding riff with these high, piercing vocals, screaming vocals. I was like, ‘When is this coming out?’ And he said, ‘2012’.” The following year, Bach told Rolling Stone that Rose had written The General as a sequel to the Use Your Illusion-era classic Estranged.