Disclaimer: I told myself that if I were doing a column pertaining to Guns N' Roses that I would force myself to limit the number of fat Axl Rose jokes to just one. I know, I know, he makes an easy target and all, but this is simply a matter of preserving SYFFAL's journalistic integrity. Now, without further adieu, here it goes:
TAKE ME DOWN TO THE PARADISE CITY WHERE THE PLATES ARE CLEAN AND THE STEAKS ARE PHILLY'D
Just last week I was rapidly scrolling my mouse wheel through the seemingly endless lists of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area and found myself involuntarily performing a legitimate double take. Let me add that this was the double take to end all double takes. It was of the magnitude to where I quite honestly felt like I owed a significant sum of royalties to the Looney Tunes intellectual property holders over at Warner Brothers Inc.
The double take in question was in response to reading that Guns N' Fuggin Roses was playing a show IN MY AREA next week.
A typical reaction to a particular concert piquing my interest would've been me at least investigating the price of tickets to the show, but instead I simply kept going my merry way. You see, deep down inside I knew it was for my own good that I avoid seeing Axl Rose in his current state by any by any means necessary. Like many other "still active" (and I use this term quite loosely) bands from the 80's, Guns N' Roses has been stripped down to a meager shell of its gloriously sleazy former self.
I'd like to come clean and say that as much as I have a distaste for the entire "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll... bro" schtick, Guns N' Roses was a band which became quite favorable to me. Despite the fact that they indeed took the rock star cliche to the moon and back, they are a considerably guilty pleasure of mine. Their ability to somehow perform straight-up ballads which I can actively listen to without gagging is a feat upon itself. Even the bluesy guitar wanking, something I cannot bring myself to tolerate, is something I've made an exception for with this band.
I'm no historian, but looking back, the Los Angeles hard rock and glam metal scene during the 1980's was clearly an embarrassing ordeal for the majority of the parties involved. Just about any song you hear stamped with this genre is most likely going to be used for comedic value these days. Guns N' Roses, on the other hand, managed to artfully capture the essence of exorbitant living and package it into memorable music worth listening to while even partially sober. The kicker is that I'm obviously not the only one to have realized this and, as a result, their music is entirely overplayed to the point where it has become nearly an incessant jingle for anything even remotely "rebellious".
The way I see it, there are only two legitimate downsides to having your band's record(s) go multi-platinum:
Problem #1: Without the aid of expensive, black market bio-medical augmentation (something about extracting and extrapolating parts of David Lee Roth's DNA, those are the only details I got), the human body can only consume so much cocaine and Jack Daniels before imploding.
Problem #2: The number of physical copies of your record is now in the millions and thus everyone is going to hear that shit until the end of time.
I'll be the first to profess that just about every "hit" appearing on Appetite for Destruction has arguably earned its acclaim fair and square, however, having personally heard literally hundreds of awful renditions of "Sweet Child o' Mine" by amateur guitarists over the years has taken its toll. Not unlike Ivan Pavlov's dogs salivating at the sound of a dinner bell, my face will briefly, yet autonomously, contort into a tortured grimace every time I hear Slash's famous intro riff of the song. The icing on the turdly cake was the inclusion of many Guns N' Roses songs in the recent fad of "Guitar Hero" video games (which are probably worthy of an Old Yeller'd column on their own), furthering my irritation of such overexposure. I will forcefully pay a handsome bundle of unmarked bills to anyone who can occupy a sports bar for more than ninety minutes without hearing something off of Appetite for Destruction.
What truly sours any enjoyment of the band is the fact that they went through the all-too-familiar downward spiral of internal feuding and consistently burning through band members. It should come to a complete lack of surprise that what little was released under the GNR name post-Use Your Illusion has been entirely unremarkable.
Every band, no matter how legendary they once were, needs to know when to draw the line. The decision to disband shouldn't be a tough debate when your only founding member remaining is the singer and everyone is all porky and melted-looking (oh, Slash, whatever happened to your beautifully slender, sunkissed bod?!?!). The severity of this matter is increased ten-fold when the focal selling point of your music was to colorfully preach a lifestyle of youthful excess. Guns N' Roses have earned their moments of fame and left their mark as rock icons, but their currently sad state of clinging on to the deflated egos of their former selves is too much to bear.