Dr Pepper offers free soda for GNR's Democracy in 2008

Guns 'N Roses
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Sometimes love for a particular kind of art transcends all societal boundaries and expectations. Case in point: It seems even employees at soft drink conglomerates are becoming frustrated over the wait for the next Guns N' Roses album. Speculations for the cost of the still-forthcoming followup to the GNR 1993 covers collection The Spaghetti Incident run in the $13 million range. Entitled Chinese Democracy, it's had several rumored and announced release dates, the most recent of which was March of last year, but no album has actually followed. After more than a decade, Axl Rose, the man responsible for Paste's #8 greatest scream in rock, and the only still-standing original member of GNR, hasn't set another release date for the album.

In what they themselves call "an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl," the executives at Dr Pepper announced earlier this week that they would give a free can of the soda to every man, woman and child in America if Chinese Democracy releases before the end of the year. "It took a little patience to perfect Dr Pepper’s special mix of 23 ingredients, which our fans have come to know and love,” said Jaxie Alt, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. “So we completely understand and empathize with Axl's quest for perfection – for something more than the average album. We know once it's released, people will refer to it as 'Dr Pepper for the ears' because it will be such a refreshing blend of rich, bold sounds - an instant classic.” Whether or not the phrase will be coined as Alt predicts, Dr Pepper has created a blog to follow the (probably not-very-high-risk) promotion, to be found at ChineseDemocracyWhen.blogspot.com. It follows "one beverage's journey to convince Axl Rose that this year is the year to deliver the greatest album known to all things."

Still, it's not all positivity and inclusion from the Dr Pepper camp. The press release stipulates that estranged GNR members Slash and Buckethead will not be eligible for free soda. Bummer. Undeterred apparently, Rose had this to say today at GunsNRoses.com: "We are surprised and very happy to have the support of Dr Pepper with our album Chinese Democracy, as for us, this came totally out of the blue. If there is any involvement with this promotion by our record company or others, we are unaware of such at this time. And as some of Buckethead's performances are on our album, I'll share my Dr Pepper with him." We're sure Buckethead will be tickled pink (or perhaps some prune-ish color) if and when that time comes.

One thing's for sure. After this kind of publicity stunt, Dr Pepper and Guns N' Roses have the potential to become as intertwined in our collective consciousness as flowers and firearms.

Related links:
ChineseDemocracy.com: a Guns N' Roses fan forum

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