Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Will Chinese Democracy ever come out, and is Guns N’ Roses still even relevant? —Nevin Martell, Takoma Park

No and no. But let’s look further.

GN’R has not released an album of original material since the end of the first Bush administration. Several of the allegedly finished songs are available at file-sharing sites, and they’re not particularly interesting. The tastes of today’s youth have changed, and unless early-’90s metal suddenly becomes the movement to emulate, American youth will not pay it any mind.

In Amsterdam, however, GN’R is huge. The band’s logo seems to appear everywhere, and “Paradise City” can be heard often in the nightlife district surrounding the Leidseplein. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has been in power since 1980. She appears to be in no hurry to abdicate her throne. The Bush and Clinton families have been in power since early 1981 and might conceivably be in power until early 2017. They appear to be in no hurry to cede their influence.

Conspiracy or coincidence? Let’s do the math. The production cost of Chinese Democracy is estimated at $13 million. The daily cost of the Iraq War is estimated at $177 million. The debt of the United States increases at a daily rate of $1.2 billion. The personal wealth of Queen Beatrix is estimated at $4.7 billion.

So: 361 Chinese Democracys = 26.5 days of Iraq War = 4 days of national debt = 1 Queen Beatrix.

With regimes or reassembled bands, it pays to be skeptical. Will the Police ever play anything off their first album in the manner in which it was originally recorded? Will this iteration of Smashing Pumpkins be viewed as greater or less than Zwan? Will people ever understand that they need to be careful about what they wish for? —Bob Mould

Bob Mould blogs at Send questions to