Can’t Slash Be A Pepper Too?
Last month, Dr Pepper issued a press release that stated it would give everyone in America a free can of their sweet, delicious beverage if Axl Rose finally unleashes Chinese Democracy, the long-awaited sixth Guns n’ Roses studio album, this year. Unfortunately, Axl’s a Mr. Pibb kinda guy. No, I’m kidding. The mercurial Rose quickly responded to this strange offer by stating that he was pleased to have Dr Pepper’s support; unfortunately, he said nothing about the album or the probability that you or I will have eight ounces of free soda in our hands by the year’s end.
For those keeping score at home, the legendary Chinese Democracy has been well over a decade in the making. Axl’s burned through $13 million making this puppy so far. That’s nearly as much as it cost George Lucas to make the first Star Wars movie (the one with Mark Hamill from 1977). In addition to contributions from uber-drummer Josh Freese and Academy Award nominated composer Marco Beltrami, Chinese Democracy also allegedly boasts guest performances by the likes of Brian May, Shaquille O’Neal, and Sebastian Bach. I think I can accurately sum up humanity’s response to all that with a quick and simple “God damn!”
Since work began on Chinese Democracy, every original member of Guns n’ Roses except for Axl has quit, a few of the people Axl hired to replace the original members have quit, a Pope died, we figured out who Deep Throat was, the Red Sox broke their ninety year old curse, the telegram has been phased out as a viable form of communication, the McRib has come back at least twice, New Kids on the Block reunited, three Batman movies been made, three Spider-Man movies have been made, new Rocky and Rambo movies have been made, scientists have seriously started talking about colonizing the moon, and Tim Meadows finally left “Saturday Night Live.” I don’t think there are any other cultural milestones left to wait for. Come on, Axl, turn this bad boy in and get me a Pepper.
The only thing that kind of sticks in my craw about this strange cross promotion is that Dr Pepper’s offer excludes two people: former GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead. In Axl’s cheery response to Dr P, he said he’d have no problem sharing his free can with the latter six string wizard, as some of his work will be featured on Chinese Democracy. That leaves poor ol’ Slash out in the cold with nothing but his top hat to warm him, and I hardly think that’s right.
Dr Pepper, I think in your attempt to be cute you lost sight of something extremely important: without Slash, there’d be no Guns n’ Roses. His chaotic, bluesy guitar work was a cornerstone of the band’s original sound, just as integral as Axl’s chainsaw vocals or Duff McKagan’s slithering bass. You can’t tell me Appetite for Destruction would have been the same landmark rock album had Tracii Guns stuck around in the lead guitar slot. If you did, you’d be a self-delusional fool and, much like Mr. T, I would pity you.
Indeed, without the facially-obscured, alcohol-soaked fretwork of Saul “Slash” Hudson, we wouldn’t be sitting here eagerly awaiting a new Guns n’ Roses record this late in the game. Besides, it’s not like he or Buckethead are personally responsible for Chinese Democracy’s lengthy delay. That’s all Axl, baby. If you’re going to arbitrarily exclude former Gunners from this promotion, shit, I say Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke should be on the outs (they know what they did).
So relent already, Dr P. Get into the ring and give the man who first welcomed us to the jungle a can of your Mr. Brownstone. I’m sure he’ll be in Paradise City once he hears you’re no longer using your illusions. It’s so easy. The two of you will no longer be estranged, he’ll be your rocket queen again, and this spaghetti incident will be water under the bridge.