Better (Guns N' Roses song)

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GNR Better.jpg
"Better" cover
Promotional single by Guns N' Roses from the album Chinese Democracy
Released November 17, 2008
Format Digital download, promo single
Recorded 2001-2007
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 4:57
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Axl Rose and Robin Finck
Producer(s) Axl Rose, Caram Costanzo
Chinese Democracy track listing
"Shackler's Revenge"
"Street of Dreams"

"Better" is a song by American rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their 2008 sixth studio album Chinese Democracy. It was sent out as the second radio promo from the album, after "Chinese Democracy", but was not commercially released as a single eligible for international sales charts.


"Better" was written by lead vocalist Axl Rose and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Robin Finck between 2001–2007, before the band headed out on tour in 2006, by that time the song had already been recorded, later however, most of former drummer Bryan Mantia's drums on the track were edited by drummer Frank Ferrer. Prior to the song being released as a single, "Better" had been played live by Guns N' Roses on their Chinese Democracy Tour in 2006 and 2007.[1] In February 2006, the song, alongside a few other unreleased songs, was leaked onto the internet through a Guns N' Roses fan site.[2][3] The band's management requested that all links to the MP3 files and all lyrics to the songs be removed from forums and websites.[4]

Coinciding with the 2006 tour, the song "Better" was featured in an internet advertisement for Harley-Davidson in October 2006.[5] Keyboardist Dizzy Reed stated that the release was an accident, with two versions being made, one 'experimental edit' featuring a demo of Better and one with Paradise City.[6] The ad with Better was mislabeled and inadvertently uploaded online for a day before being replaced by the intended ad with Paradise City.[6] The 'final' version of the song was leaked online to positive reviews in February 2007.[7]

Who is Better?

Who is this woman?

Before January 14, 2001, she was just a 45 years old Brazilian woman from Sao Paulo, living in California, divorced and mother of 3 children. After that day, she also was known as "Axl's mom". When she was called on stage to be Axl's interpreter in Rock In Rio III and received ovation from the crowd, she became a great celebrity. Her picture appeared on every cover of Brazilian newspapers and magazines. Beta on stage Rock in rio 2001

Elizabeth "Beta" Lebeis is currently the personal assistant (and manager of the GNR) of Rose, and is his best friend, and was the person who accompanied him in recent years, the most difficult times Axl’s life. She has three children and eventually the original family from Brazil, became the family of Rose. Beta was born 03/11/1955 in Brazil, and spent much of her life here.

It’s as strong a relationship that is created between the two that he often calls her “Mommy” because, in his words, Beta was the person who gave him the support, protection and motherly love that the singer never had. “Axl’s friends are like my family, so that the band calls me ‘Big Mama’” Beta said. Today, they live together in a Rose mansion on the hill of Point Dume; and she is responsible for helping to plan their responsibilities and commitments. Also, Lebeis out: “I am like a mother he never had. He was impressed how I raised my children … he never had it. ”

She’s been so long with Axl, that you can even see Beta and her daughter Vanessa on Estranged video clip.

Beta Lebeis and her son Fernando that appears to fall somewhere between conventional management and familial support.

Little is known about the Lebeises. A LinkedIn entry for a Beta Lebeis has the job title ‘Personal Manager at Guns N’ Roses’. A Los Angeles KCAL TV station reporting on bush fires in Malibu in November 2007 that threatened Axl’s property interviewed Lebeis, who confirmed that she was resident on Axl’s property. In an undated online interview translated from Portuguese conducted in the city of Santos, Lebeis said that she had first met the singer after she began work as a nanny for the model [Seymour], who started a relationship with Rose soon after Lebeis’s appointment in 1990. After the couple split in February 1993, Lebeis remained with Axl. She confirmed that her son Fernando and a brother also worked for the singer. “I think Axl is very close to me and my children because he feels that we like him for what he really is, not for being a rock star,” she said. In a 2011 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Axl told the paper that Lebeis and her children were managing him, and said that other managers had been too keen to reunite the original line-up of the band. “They get their commission and don’t care if it falls on its face,” he said. The relationship between Axl and the Lebeises is shrouded in mystery. “I’m not going to speculate on that,” Arlett Vereecke says when asked about it. Tom Zutaut is also intrigued. “I’ve heard that her son Fernando is managing the band. Maybe with this reunion she has gotten her name on it [the job]. I really don’t know,” he says. “But the woman [Beta] was [Seymour]’s housekeeper and nanny…

Interview with Beta Lebeis

At the bar of Hotel Intercontinental, she gave me this interview where she talks about her personal life, her children and also reveals that Axl is a very romantic person. He was so passionate when he was dating Stephanis Seymour that "he showed up at her house, riding a horse and carrying flowers". This is Axl, according to Beta.

Mom? I always cook and bring meals to the studio. I make cakes, pies and I bind for them before show to wish them good luck. I always light candles for them. It's like, I am "a mother for GN'R".

Did Axl write a song for you? I don't know, I don't think so. He said one of the new songs was dedicated to me and my family. introduces Better with Beta

Beta in Axl´s house in 2007

Country Date
United States November 17, 2008
United Kingdom January 5, 2009

Music video[edit]

Breaking a two-month silence by posting on a message board on December 11, 2008, Axl Rose revealed that a music video for "Better" directed by Dale "Rage" Resteghini[8] would be released "soon".[9] Shortly after, Rose wrote that Lars Ulrich stated that he makes an appearance in the video saying, "There’s a shot of me and Axl embracing backstage at some concert, and I signed off that, and hopefully it’ll make it in the final cut.” Ulrich was later blamed by Rose's associate, Fernando Lebeis, to be the reason the video has been delayed, since "the Metallica drummer needed to sign a release". Ulrich responded by saying “I have heard about this, yes. There was a couple of clips of me in the video and they asked if I would sign off on it. When it got to me, I signed off on the one clip… I don’t know where [the rumor] came from. I’d love to be in a Guns N’ Roses video. It’s my favorite song on the record — I think it’s a great song." On December 30th, 2008, Rose wrote on the message board "Lars isn't holding anything up with our video. Our message board comments were meant casually, in fun and amongst friends...We hope to have our video out shortly." [10] On September 13, 2012, nearly four years after the single release, a workprint of the video leaked onto the internet. As of June 2016, over eight years since the release, still no official music video has been released.


"Better" debuted live on May 12, 2006 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. It has been played at almost every show since. During the Not in This Lifetime... Tour, a new version of the song was played, featuring an additional intro and the opening lines being sung by Duff McKagan, Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese.


The song has received a mostly positive reception from critics. Consequence of Sound has written, "While there’s the industrial-like swagger that’s prevalent in “Chinese Democracy”, the bite and harmony is classic GN’R. In fact, this might actually be the best song on the record, out of all three singles released from the record it has been considered to be the lead single." Rolling Stone concluded, "Like 'Chinese Democracy', 'Better' feels like classic Guns N’ Roses — Rose’s growling croon in the verses could have floated out of the Use Your Illusion sessions."[11] The song was officially released as a single on November 17, 2008. On Rolling Stone's "100 Best Singles of 2008" list, "Better" placed at number 19.[12] In a retrospective on the album, Steven Hyden of stated the song is "the album’s catchiest track" and "the poppiest song in the GNR catalogue next to Don't Cry".[13] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame blog listed the song as one of the 10 'essential' Guns N' Roses songs.[14]


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[15]

Guns N' Roses
Additional credits
  • Guitar solos - Buckethead, Robin Finck
  • Arrangement - Robin Finck, Axl Rose
  • Drum arrangement - Robin Finck, Caram Costanzo, Brain
  • Digital editing - Eric Caudieux, Caram Costanzo, Robin Finck, Axl Rose

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock 18


  1. ^ "Guns N' Roses On Tour!!!". Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  2. ^ "GNR Leak - antiMUSIC News". February 16, 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ Dave De Sylvia (February 17, 2006). "Another GNR Demo Leaks - Sputnikmusic". Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Guns N' Roses Tracks Leak". February 16, 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ Borivoj Krgin (October 24, 2006). "AXL ROSE And Girlfriend Hanging Out In Miami: Photos Available". Borivoj Krgin. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Borivoj Krgin (March 13, 2007). "GUNS N' ROSES Keyboardist Reveals 'The Truth' About The Leaked Song 'Better'". Borivoj Krgin. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ Tom Breihan (February 21, 2007). "New Guns N Roses Song: Pretty Good!". Status Ain't Hood. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Music Video News: SHOT: Guns N' Roses - Rage, director". Video Static. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  9. ^ Rolling Stone, Axl Rose Talks Chinese Democracy, Kanye, "Better" video in Late Night GnR Message Board Chat, December 12, 2008
  10. ^ (2008-12-30). "Guns N' Roses: News". Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  11. ^ "A Look Back at 1991 as New Guns N' Roses Single 'Better' Premieres". Rolling Stone. 2008-11-17. 
  12. ^ "Rolling Stone's 100 Best Singles Of 2008". Stereogum. Retrieved 2011-10-27. 
  13. ^ Building a Better Democracy: The secret influence of Guns N' Roses' most infamous album on 2013's most popular music
  14. ^ 10 Essential GNR songs
  15. ^ Chinese Democracy (Media notes). Guns N' Roses. Geffen Records. 2008.