The Wild Story Behind Guns N' Roses 'Chinese Democracy' Leak

How did one young man end up being arrested at gunpoint by the FBI then end up working in intelligence, just for sharing their album? Find out now his story is finally revealed.

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We all remember when Guns N' Roses long-awaited "Chinese Democracy" finally emerged online in 2008, but few people know the real story behind what happened to a young man called Kevin Skwerl when the FBI arrested him at gunpoint for sharing the tracks.

Now Skwerl has written his side of the story from start to end, on his blog Antiquiet where the songs first appeared before crashing under the weight of fans trying to hear the new material.

At the time, fans had been waiting ten years since Axl Rose first went into a studio to start writing material for the record, making it one of the most eagerly awaited albums of all time. The leak, allegedly stolen from Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine, were passed anonymously to Skwerl who put them on his little-known music blog.

Few people got a chance to hear the result before it crashed, but it was enough to catch the attention of the FBI who put Skwerl through years of legal hell.

His amazing story is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in the dark side of the music industry. What makes his nightmare experience even more astounding is that leaking albums has become the norm for major artists, and perhaps his leak of Gn'R (and the resulting press and hype) did a lot of good for their album sales. Who can tell?

What do you think of Skwerl's move to leak Guns N' Roses? Did it help or hinder the band in the end?

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I must be the only one that thinks this album is masterpiece. It IS NOT a Guns album. It IS Axl's best solo work so far, I cant wait to see what that crazy bastard puts out next. That being said, make the damn phone call already and get over your egos and get the band back together...
    I'm a huge fan of Chinese Democracy. As a standalone album it's fantastic, and shouldn't be compared to previous GnR releases.
    I thought this was going to be an ad for a book..."Do you want to learn what happened before, during and after this guy leaked Chinese Democracy? Then read his new book, 'How I Gave Democracy To China'"
    Rebel Scum
    Chinese Democracy is a great album. I consider myself fortunate enough to have avoided these leaks and saw some songs performed live in 2006. 'Better' blew my mind.
    Jacques Nel
    I'm not a Gn'R fan, but this was quite an interesting story to read. Kudos to this guy. But I must say I'm a little disappointed in his recount of Slash's reaction, but I guess Slash can't go around promoting piracy either so his standard response probably had to be something to the tune of "this guy belongs in prison". But I digress, good article.