G N' F'n R
by Matt Worley
I didn't like Guns N' Roses at first. I liked "Paradise City." My older brother was DJing at his college radio station, so he heard and started playing Appetite For Destruction right around when it came out. He sent us a mix tape with four songs from the album along with other songs and bands. I remember there was some Kiss on it, too.
In December of 1987, us three brothers got together to rank our favorite songs of the year. I was still unimpressed with G N' R, so all the songs my brothers ranked pretty high, I ranked low (or not at all). It's probably the one big drawback of ranking songs using only three people's opinions. One guy can sink the poll easily.
But I did decide around that time that I should really take a listen to these guys. Maybe my brothers were on to something. The music was scary and messy (I didn't know punk at all, so I couldn't say it was punk). Axl's voice took a lot of patience for me to appreciate. However, I sat in my room one afternoon and basically made myself like these guys. Then I loved them. Not in time to fix the year end poll, but well before most of the world started listening to them.
In the following summer (1988), I saw them open for Aerosmith in Bonner Springs, Kansas. My dad and I were on a week or two vacation from Clovis. And most of the time I was staying with friends, but when I found out this show was happening, we got tickets. Dad wasn't a fan of G N' R, per se. He liked the Aerosmith show (and songs) better. But still, pretty good hipster credit for the old man to see Guns with their original five guy line up before they became HUGE.
No one gets to see the original five guy line up playing together anymore.
Last night three of the five showed up to accept their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Axl, as promised earlier in the week with an open letter in the L.A. Times, did not show (and, like the Sex Pistols, said he didn't want to be inducted). Axl owns the Guns N' Roses name, and tours under it. With about fifteen guys who aren't the other four original guys. Tommy Stinson, who was in the Replacements, is the musical director of the band. Which means, I think, he's the guy who runs the band through rehearsals while Axl does whatever Axl does when he's not rocking (a surprisingly huge amount of time). Izzy didn't show either. He's apparently a rich gypsy and doesn't have a good concept of time, either.
I'm not one for reunions. I've skipped every one my class has done, and I don't live extremely far from where they take place (about 3 hours drive). I don't publish an open letter explaining my non-action, I just don't show.
It's not surprising Axl decided to skip. He would have a really hard time getting there within a three hour period of when he'd have to be on stage. He might have shown up on the wrong night. He might still be holed up with Lana Del Rey. News of this strange hook up was weirder than Axl's non acceptance letter.
Because, even though it's about music, it's not about music. And this column isn't really about music. You either know what I'm talking about with Guns N' Roses (and what your personal feelings are about the music and the band), or this is just a bunch of useless information.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kinda useless, too. It might be a reason to go to Cleveland (there's not much of a reason to ever do that), but it's a museum. Rock and roll is alive like everything else behind the glass in that building isn't.
Which is why we can all have our own little original Guns N' Roses reunion anytime we want. Listen to Appetite For Destruction. Listen to Lies. And, if you don't mind the additions and subtractions, the Use Your Illusions. That's what they sounded like back then. They will never be that way again. For one thing, I think they're all off the smack now.
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