Okay, let's just get this out of the way up front: There's probably no way on Axl's green earth that we're going to get a new full-length album from Guns N' Roses in 2012. But we do know the band is at least starting to get focused on new material, so it's at least a possibility, and in the name of staying positive for the new year, we decided to go ahead and take a look at what we might end up hearing from GNR's next record. Here's what we know so far.

As recently as this month, (Jan. 13), guitarist DJ Ashba was talking about the seventh Guns record, saying "I can say making a new album absolutely is our main priority. And I cannot wait to get working on it."

The band hasn't officially started yet, but according to Ashba, "Axl has tons and tons of stuff recorded as it is. I mean, he sits there in his hotel room and he'll play me hours of stuff. And I've written over ten songs, I think 12 songs now, for him that he really likes."

Even with all that material, Guns are still Guns, and Ashba cautioned that fans shouldn't start holding their breath. "I can't give anybody a definite date, because I'm not going to give anybody false hope. But it's absolutely everybody's goal to get out an album within a reasonable amount of time."

Vague as they might be, those statements are a good deal more optimistic than those expressed by bassist Tommy Stinson in November. Back then, Stinson was only willing to say he hoped the band would reconvene soon. "I’m not going to say a whole lot about that, but I tell you right now that I certainly hope we do another album," he said. "I would love to get everyone back into the studio and make some more stuff happen. I think we have a good band, and each of us has something interesting to offer. I hope we get on this project sooner than later."

It's easy to understand Stinson's caution -- Axl Rose did take an eternity to finish the last Guns record, 2008's 'Chinese Democracy'  -- and it bears mentioning that Ashba has been promising new music in the pipeline for over a year. But after spending several years in flux, the band has been relatively stable for the last decade or so, and that can only help Rose when it comes to laying down tracks for the follow-up to 'Democracy.' Why not this year?