A lengthy new article published by Billboard has revealed that the last full-length Guns N' Roses album, 2008's Chinese Democracy, was originally intended to be the first of three records that would help bring their sound into a new era.

Former Geffen Records A&R exec Tom Zutaut, who consulted with singer Axl Rose on the LP at one point, explained, "Axl's goal was to make a more modern record, to make GN'R a more modern band. But Guns N' Roses fans wouldn't accept that . . . not a lot of people know this: Chinese Democracy was going to be trilogy."

Bassist Tommy Stinson, who toured with Guns and played on the album, confirmed Zutaut's remarks, saying, "That record was not meant to be one disc." Although many of the musicians who worked on the project signed confidentiality agreements, it's believed that roughly 60 songs were recorded during the sessions. One anonymous source said, "All of the material that hadn't been released was coming out in 2016, then the reunion happened."

Zutaut added that he tried persuading Rose to put out Chinese Democracy as a solo record, but the singer "just wasn't ready to go there yet." Instead, Axl decided it would be a new beginning for Guns. Stinson recalled Axl telling him, "The other f**kers all quit, and I got the name and I'm going on. I'm going on as Guns N' Roses."

Rose is the only original member of Guns to appear on Chinese Democracy, although the band has played a number of songs live on the "Not In This Lifetime" reunion tour. Zutaut remarked, "One of the best things about the reunion tour is hearing the Chinese Democracy material with Slash and Duff (McKagan), and how much better it is with them playing on it, which only puts into my imagination what the record would have sounded like if they had played on it."

There have been rumors that Axl, Slash and Duff, along with the musicians who backed them on the reunion trek, may enter the studio to cut new material -- but whether any of that music will be drawn from the unreleased Chinese Democracy sessions has yet to be seen.