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Guns N' Roses Vol. 2
Axl Rose, now donning frizzy hair that looks like he was hit by electric shock, is worried to death. Axl knows he's doing alot more then trying to make it big at something he loves, he knows he's battling the concept of being overrated in order to get everything and more he could ever want. Axl Rose, like all young men, knows that according to some people, the key is to be good...sure...but to be known as great. According to the forces that held his family down and makes musical geniuses have to live like callous mooching slobs in order to not lose what little respect from people they command, there's no room for people who are actually great...and waiting for people to call them great. Sounds like a magnificent thing to live by, right? Well one problem...
Axl Rose WAS great.
Over the span of a year, the L.A. Guns members would quit one-by-one, replaced by Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, and finally Slash.
John Lennon, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Axl Rose it is very very very hard to get other people who can play with these guys.
The Gunners release their first album, "Live Live A Suicide". It has four songs, and has a crowd track dubbed over it to make it seem like they're playing in front of a ton of people. They're not. It's a studio effort. Axl would admit it many years later.
"Appetite for Destruction" is released to very meager sales. But Geffen Records likes this group. David Geffen is apparently one of those people who is very loyal to people he hires because to replace them would seem like a slight against his own managerial competence. He was ruthless in trying to get Guns N' Roses sold...
It was a Saturday morning, roughly 5 A.M. The switchboards at MTV are lighting up left and right with callers requesting information as to who that group was who they saw in that video earlier with hairspray AND dead cops. Why that band is Guns N' Roses, and the song was Welcome to the Jungle. Thanks for asking. And thanks to all you good listeners who watch MTV so late at night...for that band is now millionaires...
The gamble paid off. David Geffen had the video for "Sweet Child O Mine" he could have fought for instead but he was worried that it would soften up their image with the public. But there was always the possibly of $$$$$$$$ if he marketed them to women with Sweet Child in the spirit of Aerosmith. Geffen's gamle paid off with "Jungle". Now that their traffic was rising, NOW he would release Sweet Child.
Later that year they released "G N R Lies" which features "Patience", a better version of "You're Crazy", a song called "One in a Million" with references to "n-words" and "f***ts" that pissed Slash off because he's mixed.
Summer, 1989 -- Appetite for Destruction is the biggest album in America. The songs "Sweet Child of Mine", "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" are on the hard rock stations all day long, the problem is that Paradise City sucks. It sucks big rhino balls. The real gems on the album are "My Michelle", "Mr. Brownstone", "It's So Easy", "Rocket Queen", and "Think About You".
Mid-summer, 1989 -- Izzy Stradlin is told on a commercial plane that he has to wait to use the bathroom because the seat-belt light's on. And so Izzy Stradlin goes and pisses on the floor. It was not a full plane, and alot of people are sleeping. Almost nobody knows what just happened until the plane goes through a bit of turbulence...and a strange liquid is literally oozing down the aisle, splashing against their dress-shoe-clad ankles. It would
Late fall, 1989 -- "Patience" is on the radio all the time.
Christmas, 1989 -- G N R Lies is the biggest selling Christmas album in the world next to Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl, according to Casey Casum. Everyone had Appetite, everyone asked Santa for the second album, and thus the second album was what they had. It's important to note that alot of their fans were kids, which explains why they had to ask someone else to buy it for them.
1990 -- Replacing them with Matt Sorum, Gilby Clarke and Dizzy Reed, Axl fires Steven Adler for drug abuse and consequentally getting into a lot of shady stuff, and then tells off Izzy Stradlin...who walks. Axl couldn't give a god damn that the songwriting nucleus is gone, because Izzy already helped write an entire load of songs for their new album. There's so many in fact that there's enough to make two of them. Axl was at that plane of fame I was telling you about. He had everything short of a Simpsons episode, and that's only because the Simpsons were still an end segment on the Tracy Ullman Show. Unlike Duff and Slash who were hired to be musicians of hard-rock with internationally famous faces, who girls climbed over the way little kids tried to mount Barney the dinosaur, Axl Rose was turning into Paul McCartney...half ruthless businessman and half piano-playing suite singer. With the whole world and even many asteroids watching, Axl Rose made an extremely sincere attempt to be a serious musician.
And somehow...Guns N' Roses's songs...got even BETTER?!!!!!!!!!!!
Early July, 1991
With the release of the film Terminator 2, Guns N' Roses releases the video for "You Could Be Mine" that appears on it's soundtrack. The video was a fat 12-year old boy's wet dream. It had Terminator clips. It had Axl. It had a good song. It had the Terminator get all ready afterwards to shoot down Axl...but then determine that he would be a waste of ammunition.
The third Saturday of September, 1991
We're here live at your local shopping mall, and no, those lines of people that have jammed the elevators on the way to record store are not about to see Rock N Roll Santa. For it is the day that Guns N' Roses releases Use Your Illusion I and II. They are side-by-side, CDs over here, cassettes available over here. One is yellow, one is blue. Not surprisingly, the evolution of Axl Rose would confuse the hell out of the rest of the band. There was no telling Axl anything. Anything. They would do things like put November Rain on the hard rock album (I) and then My World and Get in The Ring in the melodic part II, but predominantely, Part I was for the 15% that was there when they made Live Like A Suicide, Part II was for everyone else. Why else would Axl Rose be in a video syncronize swimming with a dolphin and kissy kiss?
By now Guns N' Roses had released four absolutely stoic albums that are being played right now in homes and cars everywhere, twenty years later. But it figures they would...after all, this was the only way to properly absorb the Guns. I mean to actually see Axl live in concert from this point on, was a god damn nightmare...
The Gunners hit their peak with the release of the Use Your Illusion concert album that they taped live from Tokyo. At the end of "Double Talking Jive" is a miraculous guitar solo by Slash that detours through a Jimi Hendrix rendition before gliding into the absolutely outstanding "Civil War".
But one of the most intriguing things one can watch when they're a kid are old concert tapes from when the Gunners were trying to go on tour like they were still amateurs with something to prove and struggle to endure because there was no luxurious alternative. Axl gets a broken finger during "Welcome to the Jungle" one day because of something somebody threw...and he continues to play but double and triple take the finger. But he finishes. Axl was the Bear Bryant of rock stars.
Able to buy anything, Axl struggled with the idea of the concert-going public. Why nobody knows. These people would have done anything in the world before giving their hero a hard time. But the fact was that Axl, who two years before went after Vince Neil of Motley Crue for daring to even look at Izzy Stradlin wrong, now had something to lose if he ever did it again. He thrived on the kind of behavior that was necessary and even a privilege when you were already broke and abused. Now he had to shape up. Now he had to act like Stephanie Seymour's next boyfriend.
And so Axl would mentally say to himself hey...I'll go out there and play. But there is no GOD DAMN WAY I'm going to exert the slightest bit of effort if they allow an environment comfortable enough for a jackass in the crowd to throw a bottle.
So after the Use Your Illusion stuff set them for LIFE...Axl didn't try ever again. He toured, but he took his time. Guns N' Roses would have two or three opening bands. Who the hell does that? Well if Axl Rose didn't feel like going on at 8:15, he took a nap. It was not uncommon for Axl to come out long after each of these opening bands' songlists had been played.
A riot starts in Montrael because during a hugely anticipated concert with the two biggest hard rock bands in the world, Metallica sets themselves on fire, and the other band on the ledger, Guns N' Roses, was too busy backstage having fun to bother picking up the slack.
Out comes a great album. It's called "The Spaghetti Incident?" and features a bunch of old punk covers, as well as a hidden track in the end written by Charles Manson called "Game Girl". Axl Rose thanks "Charles" at the end. And then for some reason says "Jack". I don't know why.
Everyone leaves Axl, he throws them out, nobody gets back together, Slash and Duff both release crappy solo albums, the whole thing sucks. But there would be some "good news" -- a new album was coming out. It's going to be called Chinese Democracy, and it should be out anyday now.
Axl, after six hours of sleep, finally comes out at midnight to meet the 23,000 people that showed up at the Rosemont Horizon to see him at 7:30. He has long cornrows and a Raiders jersey and tight shorts, and he sways, and Buckethead is a great great GREAT guitarist, but the only new songs that are any good happen to be by INXS.
But Axl does an AWESOME rendition of them...
Chinese Democracy comes out finally. It's okay.
- Guns N' Roses Vol. 2
Late 1985 Axl Rose, now donning frizzy hair that looks like he was hit by electric shock, is worried to death. Axl knows he's doing alot more then trying to make it big at something he loves, he knows he's...