Tag Archive | Guns n Roses

Unsolicited Whammy Barrin’ On The Decline Of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years

– yes, this celebrated 1988 rock-umentary boasts several manufactured scenarios, but so does the first (and ostensibly more authentic) Decline of Western Civilization from 1981; in fact, the breakfast Ozzy “cooks” in this chapter is a callback to the breakfast Darby Crash “cooks” in part one

– no, Guns N’ Roses do not appear in Decline II, and while I’m sure they’d like us to believe they were just trying to set themselves apart and/or avoid chagrin let’s not forget this same year they decided to portray Jim Carrey’s backup band in The Dead Pool; I’d call that a draw

– hard rock figureheads like Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Bret Michaels, and Dave Mustaine have become so calcified in their personas (human zebra, sexy Easter Island statue, sexy Botox disaster, and self-defeating chemtrail truther, respectively) that it is easy to forget they were once real people; how endearing to watch Tyler and Perry, a year or so after Aerosmith’s comeback, aware and appreciative of this second act, expressing genuine humility (Tyler mostly targets himself when cracking corny jokes, all of which are followed by an embarrassed chuckle; when asked if Aerosmith reunited for money, Perry can’t say yes quickly enough); same for Bret Michaels, here oozing the kind of jittery enthusiasm you’d expect from a rookie Scientologist

– on the other side of this grime-laden coin are Alice Cooper and Lemmy from Motörhead, evergreen / even-keeled icons who never underwent any bizarre metamorphoses; this is because, one would assume, their art is so impenetrable and they know it (you’d be confident too if you authored all six thousand of those Motörhead albums); what’s the most embarrassing thing Alice Cooper’s ever done, praise Green Day? Meanwhile, you could fill two museums with every dubious move Dave Mustaine’s made over the years

– Chris Hemsworth could play Chris Holmes in a W.A.S.P. biopic

– Margot Kidder could play the one guitarist in a Faster Pussycat biopic

– the Chris Holmes bits in Decline II aren’t as worrysome as they used to be because Holmes has yet to allow alcoholism or anything else defeat him (at least in terms of being above ground); far more depressing are the endless anonymous interviewees barely in their twenties who are convinced they’re gonna make it as heavy metal stars—where these kids are today, no one knows, but I don’t recognize a single one from even the more obscure articles what’s-his-face tacked up on Metal Sludge

– the scene where Odin singer Randy O. Roberg admits he’ll kill himself if his band isn’t successful is the hardest to watch, mostly because this declaration is made as Roberg luxuriates in a hot tub surrounded by adoring women; the girls’ expressions go sour while the singer remains ardent; I hate to suggest an amateur rocker may have been talkin’ dog shit while several beers deep in a hot tub, but (spoiler alert) Randy O. Roberg is still alive

– speaking of using women as props, Kiss clown Paul Stanley looks like he’s trying extremely hard not to laugh every time they cut to him in bed caught in a triangle of gaga-eyed blondes; at another point, Ozzy refers to Kiss as the ultimate in theater, and though he was talking about their stage show by now we all know Kiss is never really offstage

– the je nois se quoi of punk rock outlined in Decline I is only present here during the Megadeth concert footage where carefree stage divers routinely take flight and bassist David Ellefson uses an instrument decorated with a Dead Kennedys sticker; of course, Megadeth incinerated their punk cred around this time by recording that awful epileptic take on “Anarchy in The U.K.”; thank god Rust in Peace was just around the corner

– Riki Rachtman is in this thing and he is deliciously obnoxious

The Top Tunes Of Guns N’ Roses

According to me, some guy.

“Night Train”

Only the grit-streaked bark of ’87 Axl could sell lyrical bits like “space brain” and “west coast struttin'” and “rattlesnake suitcase.” This song boogies like a career drunk taking his final sobriety test. Accurately conveys whatever we believe about the “the rock n’ roll lifestyle.” Also, there’s cowbell.

“Rocket Queen”

Frosty nihilism thaws into an earnest ballad. The nakedly emotive second half is just Wagnerian enough to retain the dark thrust of the first. Features a slide guitar break so good it distracts you from competing sex noises. Who needs the Meatloafery of “November Rain” when “Rocket Queen?” exists?

“It’s So Easy”

Best exemplifies the Guns N’ Roses mission statement of “we are Aerosmith by way of the Dead Boys.” Also includes the more literal mantra: “come with me, don’t ask me where ’cause I don’t know.” If we’re to believe Appetite For Destruction killed hair metal this was the fatal stab.

“Welcome To The Jungle”

The band’s star turn, wherein they drag sugary pop harmony through a greasy, rust-laden junkyard. Even the dubious moves work. “Jungle” is the “Search & Destroy” of whatever genre GNR were claiming. They sort of invented their own here. Chainsaw glam? Dive bar punk?

“Civil War”

The best “message” song in the Guns catalog. Too bad civil war is exactly what tore this band apart (which makes Slash’s Snakepit the Reconstruction Era). Too bad this illustrative and anthemic display is forever in the shadows of the Use Your Illusion video trilogy MTV rammed down our dry throats.

“Don’t Cry”

Sincerity cloaked in gloom. Walks right up to the border of overblown ballad and flips the bird. It’s not hard to imagine Nirvana performing this one, which is why it managed to slip through the apex of grunge unscathed. Slash’s slow-burn solo is one of his absolute best.

“You Could Be Mine”

Keeps you on the edge of your seat for six goddamn minutes. The most cinematic of GNR rockers; no wonder it ended up in Terminator 2. Closes with that fantastic breathless Axl rant, which includes one of my favorite non sequiturs—“don’t forget to call my lawyer with ridiculous demands!”

“Right Next Door To Hell”

If a bar fight were a song…you can almost feel the pool chalk being shoved up your nose. The bass line sounds how I imagine cocaine tastes. So full of piss, vinegar, and acid it’s hard to believe they didn’t bang it out they night the band formed. Maybe they did?

“Garden Of Eden”

Could be a parody of the Appetite aesthetic, could be a pure adrenalin shot. Either way, I’ll take it every time, if just to burn off paranoia / nervous energy. The sound effects almost turn the whole thing into a “Far Side” cartoon. That’s not a complaint.

“Coma”

More an experiment than a song, like a free form poem with chunks of heavy metal improv (and, of course, on-the-nose hospital reenactments). Maybe that makes “Coma” the precursor to the Lou Reed / Metallica album. I’m not even sure it works, but man do they commit. Boredom never arrives.

Axl Rose’s Tracey Walter Tribute Is Apparently Permanent

You’re my number one guy, Axl. I didn’t actually watch this landmark television event that placed the author of “Mr. Brownstone” mere inches from the guy who used to co-host “Win Ben Stein’s Money” but I heard it was barely worth it ’cause Kimmel didn’t ask Axl a damn thing about the “Estranged” video or why it took a decade to record all the drums for Chinese Democracy. COME ON JIMMY, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.

Crazy-Ass Dream: McDonald’s Guns N’ Roses Shrine

I went on a severely long road trip with a handful of friends to parts unknown; on the way back, we stopped at a McDonald’s in the Midwest noted for its immense shrine to Appetite For Destruction era Guns n’ Roses. Five massive obelisks had been erected in a grassy field next to this McDonald’s—one for each member of the band, each decorated with something unique to the personality of the band member in question (Slash’s obelisk had a top hat, obviously; Axl’s had a kilt and a bottle of Night Train; etc).

It was cool gawking at this GNR memorial but eventually I craved chicken nuggets. I went into the McDonald’s to discover the kitchen was being sublet to a group of sorority sisters from a nearby college. Thus, no one really knew how to make the food. I wandered back outside where I saw Sean William Scott taking his shoes off so he could meditate in front of the Axl obelisk.

Guns n’ Roses Drummer Issues Lengthy Statement About Guns n’ Roses Three Days After Announcing He Was Done Talking About Guns n’ Roses

The Matt Sorum of Saturday was all, “I don’t wanna talk about Guns n’ Roses anymore.” The Matt Sorum of today is all, “LOL, here’s eight hundred words about Guns n’ Roses I just wrote.” What’s up, bro? Sounds like you need some time to just chill out and think about things. Why don’t you plop yourself on the sofa, tear open a Schlitz, and just take a few hours to contemplate the mess in your head. You’ll feel better afterward, trust me.

I Didn’t Want To Know Slash’s Shoe Size Anyway

Today is April 16th, 2012, and we are now living in a world where Guns n’ Roses is a museum exhibit. It was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s their fault for living beyond forty. Can you believe every single member of Guns n’ Roses is still alive? None of them died! Three Ramones are dead, and they drank Yoo-Hoo. Axl Rose ate large blocks of cocaine like coffee cake in the late eighties and somehow he sashayed his way into the Ed Hardy era. Of course, Axl and the rest of Guns have been culturally condemned for a while now. The only question anyone’s had for anybody on that totem pole since the release of Chinese Democracy has been, “Hey, when’s the real Guns n’ Roses getting back together?”

Perhaps this is why Use Your Illusion era GNR drummer Matt Sorum announced shortly after the carbonite freezing process induction ceremony that he’ll no longer be “commenting” on his former band in interviews or on Twitter or down at the tattoo parlor (or anywhere else, ever, I guess). Okay, Matt, but that doesn’t leave a whole lot to discuss.

I’ll admit I could read a healthy magazine article about that Neurotic Outsiders record you made, and sure, maybe I have some questions about Y Kant Tori Read, but where do we go after that? I’d be lying if I said I gave a tinker’s damn about your performance on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song. I have even less interest in your bandana collection.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, Matt, I know, but look at Axl. He did the most logical thing he could after he fired all of you: He assembled a rag tag crew of MVP musicians to constitute the “new” Guns n’ Roses, and the world still sniffed with massive, crushing indifference. The whole thing came across like those final seasons of “Happy Days” where they had Ted McGinley and Crystal Bernard. It’s not that Ted McGinley and Crystal Bernard aren’t great, it’s just that we grew up with Ron Fucking Howard, and goddammit, that’s who we wanna see getting the business from Potsie and Mr. C. Yes, I am equating Tommy Stinson with the chick from “Wings,” and neither one of them should have any issue with that.

But I digress. Let me know how that whole “not commenting” on GNR thing goes after you’ve been stuck at the Kansas City Airport for thirteen hours amongst a gaggle of weary travelers who don’t follow your Twitter. If you didn’t want to spend the rest of your life fielding questions about a potential reunion with Axl or Slash’s shoe size or the cymbal hiss on “Don’t Cry,” maybe you should have just stayed in the Cult.

The Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers also went into the Rock Hall over the weekend, which means the nineties might be over, the eighties are definitely over, and those socks the Chili Peppers wore on their genitals are probably being delicately handled by a RNRHOF intern as I type this. Make sure the decades-old sweat stains are visible in that display case, Mortimer! That’s what the people are paying to see!