Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Axl Rose, looking like the devil child of Kathleen Turner and Truman Capote these days, has already cancelled the first appearance as the Guns 'N' Roses reunion begins. It may be ending sooner than later. The GNR tour will most likely implode before ever catching fire.

I am not a fan of this band. But that's not what this is about, so I will refrain from spewing all the reasons why. (One of the great mysteries of life though,  is how "Sweet Child Of Mine," one of the most annoying songs ever recorded, with its Interpol siren guitar intro and Axl's caterwauling, and those incessantly horrible "Where do we gos," is beloved my so many. But I digress.)

If you are a fan, tell me, how can you stick with this band for as long as you have, waiting for something to happen? This is far more appalling than the Davies Brothers bickering. Can you really be excited at this point of the game? (I do love Izzy Stradlin, who put out some very good rock and roll records on his own, post G'N'R, and apparently, he's not taking part in the reunion. Maybe he's having a few lattes with John Deacon.)

It's been...what...25 years of this crap? 

Has the well not been poisoned for all you fans? I'm curious.


Anonymous said...

you're assuming that most of us have paid attention to the GnR circus the past 25 years. I haven't, so I retain a soft spot for the last hurrah of hair metal, Z-Rock, Decline of American Civilization II, and White Lion's "Little Fighter."

At the same time, I'm not excited by this reunion. Too much water under the bridge and, like the Replacements, not enough original members. The Ride and Lush reunions are more interesting to me.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I would rather hear "Hotel California" again than "Sweet Chil Of Mine" anytime. Times ten.

Jobe said...

Gotta agree about Axl's voice. Talk about nails on a chalkboard, and then he's been named one of the best vocalist by the bible of R&R (Rolling Stone) However when Appetite came out I sure was happy that it meant less time on radio for Motley Crue, Ratt, Great White, Whitesnake etc, but that was the first 1000 times I heard it. Now that album is like Stairway To Heaven inasmuch as if you ever play Stairway or Welcome to The Jungle again I will unleash the flying monkey's to eat all of your music. And Axl's musing's about how his songs are his children is just absolute horseshit, as Alice Bowie said "And I Only Know Three Chords"

William Repsher said...

Well, compare and contrast with The Replacements (thanks to the Tommy Stinson link, I'll now often think about both bands simultaneously). Replacements regroup recently for highly successful summer tour, all goes well, although it's only two guys, one has no interest, the other suffering from debilitating stroke, original guitarist long since passed.

And I had zero urge to see them, although I'm sure I would have enjoyed it. Why? I'm not the same person anymore, and The Replacements were inextricably tied into that "rock" time of my life (late teens/early 20s) in ways that R.E.M. wasn't. It just doesn't seem like Paul has changed all that much, and I mean that as a mild insult. I'm sure he has, dealing with family passings, being a father, simply aging, etc. But the musical style still seems roughly the same. He just put out a few feeler singles for his project with The I Don't Cares (with Juliana Hatfield). They're OK. I'll buy it. Thank God he roused himself out of his basement to record himself properly, finally.

But I'm not getting any sense of the artist moving with me through life. I get the feeling a lot with most rock acts. Whatever made them famous, that's what they stick with the rest of their days, generally with middling to lowered results. And The Replacements feel, their essence, is pure late teens/early 20s pessimism and gallows humor. That shit doesn't work after awhile.

Guns & Roses? Actually, I'm glad to hear nothing has changed in terms of the grandstanding and self importance. But again, when that stuff sort of made rock star sense in one's 20s and the late 80s, now it just seems lame. If you genuinely care at this point, you have way more patience than I do!

kevin m said...

The demon child of Kathleen Turner and Truman Capote? Sal, it's only Jan and that might be the line of the year.

No, I'm not interested in watching a bloated Axl and a 10 piece band w/o Izzy play stadiums.

Perhaps if they played Chinese Democracy in from start to finish...

Shriner said...

For me, AFD was not a "life changing" record -- but a remarkable dose of freshness in what was a pretty stale "rock" scene in the late 80s. There's a reason AFD is one of the best selling albums of all time -- because it really is that good and one of the few 80's rock albums that still holds up 30 years later (like "Back In Black"). Use Your Illusion I and II are dynamite follow-up records and I thought I took balls for a band to release a double-album as their second release (and, yes there is bloat on both discs, but it's more wheat than chaff).

Chinese Democracy? I have it. I've played it. I remember thinking it was OK at the time (all the history behind it notwithstanding), but I can't remember the last time I played something from it. I should probably dig it out again. As a big fan of the Replacements, the fact that Tommy is involved with it was a vote of confidence for GNR mark 2 (and the Replacements reunion tour show I saw in Detroit -- even though Paul was sick and couldn't crank out the vocals for the whole show -- was transcendent But that's another story...)

All that said? I'm looking at this reunion tour for G'N'R -- even if it is just Axl, Slash and Duff and some hired hands (not including Tommy, probably -- they don't need two bass players, but who knows?) -- with anticipation.

I would never pay $250 for a ticket to see them live (or anybody, frankly) , but -- like the Presidential Primaries this year -- I'm *sure* it will be awesome theater if nothing else and looking forward to the youtube captures/bootleg recordings of some of the live shows.

dogbreath said...

I concur with Kevin; the Turner/Capote analogy is yet another classic (on a par for me with your summation of Wilco's last outing as "a tossed off piece of wanking" and I'm still getting a lot of mileage from that one)! The GnR reunion had passed me by and will continue to do so - but I do admit to a sneaking fondness for "Sweet Child of Mine" (any lingering credibility I may have had now lost).

Anonymous said...

once you've heard a bad (in a good way) small town Texas bar band deconstruct (intentionally or not; I confess I fear not) "Sweet Child of Mine" you can safely put it down or away or whatever...great guitar bits aside (Izzy can play), what a joke.

Sal Nunziato said...

"For me, AFD was not a "life changing" record -- but a remarkable dose of freshness in what was a pretty stale "rock" scene in the late 80s."

Shriner, I couldn't agree more. Seeing that band live, up close, back then, was something special. But for me, it doesn't hold up 30 years later. The bloat you mention when referring to Use Your Illusion I & II, is again, for me, all over this band. I find it very difficult to separate what amounts to about 60 minutes of good music in 30 years from 30 years of bullshit.

Shriner said...

The "bloat vs. bullshit" concept: The bloat -- I can understand (though I might disagree on the amount of it -- somebody might think a song like "The Garden" on UYI 1 is filler -- I think it's one of the best tracks...) "The Spaghetti Incident" is forgettable, sure... But I think it's a pretty decent 6-album (so far) studio output. 6 albums in 30 years is hard for a fan, sure -- I get that.

But the bullshit? How is GNR worse than any other band that went through public break-ups/drug issues and members that slagged each other in the press?

What if The Jam reunited for a similar payday? Van Halen with Mike Anthony? The Kinks? The Smiths? Same feelings?

Or is there just something about Axl Rose as a person that pisses you off more than Paul Weller/EVH/Dave Davies/Morrisey? I can completely understand that position. ;-)

Chris Collins said...

I actually love Gn'R. i know you can't wrap your head around it. But "Appetite" is still one of my favorite records. That said, I could care less about seeing an old, fat Axl bleat over whatever version of the band is assembled onstage.

Sal Nunziato said...

@Chris Collins-Of course I could wrap my ahead around it. I get it. It simply doesn't hold up for me. And it's not because I'm "older" or that my taste in music has changed, because I can still listen to Rush and Motorhead and not feel like it was of a time.

Sal Nunziato said...

"But the bullshit? How is GNR worse than any other band that went through public break-ups/drug issues and members that slagged each other in the press?

Or is there just something about Axl Rose as a person that pisses you off more than Paul Weller/EVH/Dave Davies/Morrisey?"

I will admit, I don't like Axl Rose, but I swear on a stack of Mojos, it's because I think he is a horrible singer. Period. I guess you're right. GNR's bullshit is no different than any other band's bullshit. It may just seem like it is, because I don't like the band and it may not seem like it is because you do.

As for 6 good records- "Lies" is fun, but it's hardly a record. And I guess you're counting Chinese Democracy as GNR.

Shriner said...

And I agree to disagree about Axl's voice. I think it works for the band. I never got Lemmy's singing voice, either...

Yes, I count "Lies" as a record (at 34 minutes it's as long as any early Beatles album...) And yes, Chinese Democracy counts.

But your initial question was "how long can you stick with this band?"

FWIW, I keep hoping there will be a new XTC album. I keep hoping for a one-off Jam reunion concert now that Weller and Foxton appear to have buried the hatchet (though the problem is apparently with Buckler and Weller...) I had always hoped for a reunion show with all 4 living Monkees in the past few years before Davy Jones died unexpectedly. I mean now that Phil Collins is apparently recording again, there's still hope for a Genesis reunion show with Peter Gabriel. Right? RIGHT? There's nothing really stopping anybody from doing something if somebody waves enough money at them.

If you are a fan, you may never stop sticking with the band. Even if they all hate each other.

To flip the question around -- are there bands -- of which you are a fan -- that you'd *never* want to see a reunion of? Even for just a one-off concert? New recordings being optional, obviously...

(Assume for this premise that illness hasn't debilitated any of the members -- Levi Stubbs post-stroke comes to mind...)

Jobe said...

Mr. Repsher

I always love your comments, however I must disagree with your assessment on Mr. Westerberg. I've always felt his good has always outweighed his bad. I too am glad that he has finally come out of his basement to release a full fledged CD. But there are some very good songs on Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys amongst his basement recordings. I don't expect him to release a "White Album" I do expect him to release a CD that will have songs on there that the first time I hear them I will want to hear them again due to hooks, catchy choruses and musical structures that I didn't anticipate. I do feel he has moved with me as I have gone through life. In my opinion Paul Westerberg, Steve Earle, and Tom Waits have continued to evolve and are still making music that I can relate too. I relate the scenario to an oldies station, would I rather hear Elvis or Fabian? Please I mean absolutely no disrespect to your opinion at all, I just think in this day and age instead of spending 15-20 dollars on an aspiring artist who is still trying to find his footing and in the long run will have used up all his/her good ideas by their second CD I will stick with something I'm sure has merit to me.

Sal Nunziato said...

So much to address, Shriner.

First, I wasn't referring to the length of "Lies." It's a previously released live EP and four studio tracks. "Magical Mystery Tour" isn't really considered an album in the Beatles own country and that's seems far more cohesive than "Lies." As for "Chinese Democracy" counting. It's Axl Rose backed by 6 different guys. If the Who are gonna get trashed for calling themselves The Who, when the original singer and the original guitarist and songwriter are in the band, I don't see "CD" as anything bu an Sxl vanity project.

You say, "I never got Lemmy's singing voice, either..."

No one, not even Lemmy thought he could sing. I think that's the difference. Yes, Axl may be right for GNR and Lemmy for Motorhead, but that's doesn't make them good singers.

As for sticking with or not sticking with a band, this has been discussed here before. Again, I think there is a big difference between waiting around for a band to implode versus a band that consistently releases music that may no longer interest you. Elvis Costello is a great example. So many people on this blog alone, have admitted to giving up as early as Spike. That's almost 30 years ago. I personally think EC has been hit or miss since then, but so much has been quality. Even if a classical record or an opera is not for everyone, he tries and puts his heart into it. Same with Joe Jackson.

As for never wanting to see a reunion? Hands down, Led Zeppelin. I love that Robert Plant won't give in. The one-off for Ahmet was exciting, but it was not great musically. Not to me. And we are now ten years ahead. Do you think Page has gotten better on guitar? Or Plant's voice has gotten back its power? It would be a mess.

William Repsher said...

Jobe, all those great Westerberg songs fron "the basement years" are dead to the world! In some cases, that first digital album that was completely deleted due to copyright issues with a snippet form one track, the music no longer even exists. I don't like this. Not how you build a legacy at all, which I'm assuming he has no interest in, given how he's handled himself musically over the past decade. I just don't get a sense of him growing as an artist, which is no crime, how much has the Stones grown in the past x number of decades. I wouldn't be so hard on the guy if I didn't expect something more of him! Then again, much like Axl, he made it clear years ago, he's going to do things on his own terms and no one else's.

Jobe said...

If it helps I can post all "the basement years" stuff. I managed to get it when it first came out and before it was deleted.

M_Sharp said...

I never cared for them, never thought Axl or Slash were all that great, and I didn't like "Sweet Child Of Mine" either.

mpjedi2 said...

I'm with Shriner, here....

I think AFD was a real epoch change, and it really rests as that moment when Glam/Hair/Whatever Metal started losing ground, and what became Grunge/Alternative/Whatever began it's rise. I truly feel like it has a foot in each world. That makes it an important record, in my book. Your mileage may vary.

The Illusion records would've been a killer single disk, but ended up a mixed bad double release, but, also agreeing with Shriner, I think the high points are pretty damn high.

I do think that Axl's voice fits the band, which is all it really needs to do. Ultimately, Axl Rose is a truly damaged human being who's surrounded himself with people who protect and shield him from the reality of his actions. Chinese Democracy isn't a great record, by any means, but it's also not the disaster that it's reputation has grown into. I still think Klostermann's review is the smartest commentary that's ever been put down about the record.

However, I am not that excited about this "reunion."

1 - It's not really a "reunion." It's two guys re-joining, essentially.

2 - It seems to be all about money. If they couldn't work out the HOF induction for posterity and burying the hatchet, I don't see how this can be anything but trying to pump a few more bucks out of the tank.

3- Having seen the band a few times, they're the most blindingly inconsistent live act. I saw them twice on the Illusion tour, one show was an utter nightmare, and the second was transcendent. It all comes down to Axl's mood, and I don't think there's anybody within this organization who's got any clue as to how to deal with that.

But yeah, I do like "Sweet Child." To each his own.

mpjedi2 said...

And I SO SO SO agree about Zeppelin. I mean, I love Celebration Day, and I listen to it often, despite the problems.

However, I thank God that Plant has refused to give in. I think he's pointedly aware of how hard they had to work to do as well as they did, and that the ravages of the road would only mean diminished returns.

As it is, the fact that it was a one-off, and that I have a document of it, it what makes Celebration Day special to me.

Plus - and I have friends who'd rap me in the mouth for this - I don't need Jason Bonham getting any more convinced he was in Led Zeppelin.

Noam Sane said...

Slash is a really uninteresting guitarist. He does all the stuff he learned from records, fine, but he's got nothing to add except a snake and a tophat (both of which, we should note, he also borrowed from better artists.) His playing is excruciatingly unoriginal. We could go on to discuss his intonation issues, which are legion, but why get technical, i guess.

Axl? Holy shit. Does he have anything to offer beyond offkey bleating and dime-store melodrama? The snake-dancing is the draw, maybe? Why would anybody give this assclown the time of day?

Signed, Just Don't Get It.

Sal Nunziato said...

Well, I did agree with Shriner, and now you mpjedi2, about AFD. The only difference being I can't listen to it now.

And I was up close and center for the UYI tour at MSG in NYC and I would have killed for an "utter nightmare." It was the most unpleasant concert experience I can recall. Soundgarden opened at 8:15 and sounded horrible for an hour. Then an 1:50 later, because (I was told by a friend who was working the show that evening) Axl wouldn't go on without a massage first and then Wendy's fast food. Then, it was a noisy and sloppy mess. So maybe my memories attached to those two records make me fail to see the bits of good in the music.

RE: Jason Bonham.

I've played drums for almost 50 years. My two favorite drummers are Ringo Starr and John Bonham. Jason Bonham is NO John Bonham. Michael Lee was a better John Bohnam. Another reason I don't want the reunion.

mpjedi2 said...

I that's what I get for writing without reading the whole comments section, Sal...