Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Guns N' Roses' greatest ballad ever, "Patience," appears on their 1989 8 song EP, GN'R Lies (The Sex, The Drugs, The Violence, The Shocking Truth).

Lies seems to be often overlooked these days, overshadowed by Appetite and Illusions, but for me it's an essential part of the canon.

Writer Chuck Klosterman once likened the four acoustic tracks on Lies to the four Gospels of the New Testament, as they all tell a different story of who Axl Rose is.

The "LIES" are:

In "Patience," there is NO SEX (the lovers are estranged).

In "You're Crazy," there is NO DRUGS (it's psychosis instead).

In "Used to Love Her" there is NO VIOLENCE (the girl wasn't really killed and buried in the backyard - it's "a joke, nothing more." -blurb from the album cover.)

But "One in a Million" is like the fourth Gospel - John - the Wild card. There IS A SHOCKING TRUTH. "One in a Million" is still shocking, even 20 years later. No one's really sure why Axl Rose was so angry, but one thing is certain - his emotion wasn't contrived - it was for real. The old GN'R were 'the real deal.'

"Patience" is played using three acoustic guitars (Izzy, Slash, Duff), and was recorded in a single session by producer Mike Clink. The song reached #4 on the US singles chart in the Summer of 1989.

The music and lyrics were written by Izzy Stradlin, who also wrote "Used to Love Her." Izzy reportedly wrote the song about his doomed relationship with actress Angela Nicoletti McCoy.

A music video for "Patience" was shot and appears on the DVD, Welcome to the Videos. It was the last video in which Steven Adler (even though he doesn't play on the song) appeared.

In the video, the band members are shown at the Ambassador Hotel (in LA) where they are the only constant images. All the other people who appear are present for only a moment before they fade away.

In an ironic twist, the final parts of the video show Rose sitting alone watching the "Welcome to the Jungle" video in what appears to be a sad and lonely state. Footage of Slash is juxtaposed with the lines:
"And the streets don't change but maybe the name
I ain't got time for the game
'Cause I need you
Yeah, yeah well I need you
Oh, I need you


Anonymous said...

One In A Million is Guns N’ Roses best song and not for the reasons people may think. It’s not cool and never was cool to use the emotionally charged words he used but without question that emotion was coming from an honest place. And the place it was coming from was not from bigotry or intolerance but from fear, anger, naiveté and vulnerability. You better believe the words...”I’m just a small town white boy just trying to make ends meet…” These lyrics are an example of real writing, honest writing. Even if you don’t like the message you can not deny its authenticity. All of GN’R’s music was real but this song touched on subject matter that most people think but never say out loud. GN’R should be praised being at the top and STILL writing music their way. Best band of all time. To me, GN’R was cross between the New York Doll/Sex Pistols/Dead Boys and Led Zepplin/Queen/Rolling Stones. The best of ALL worlds!


Mack Arillo said...

Very well said C.T.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and still the question remains: who is this guy that sings one in a million about fagots while performing and assuming Elton John as one of his greatest influences; sings one in a million about emmigrants and yet, most of his personal thank yous on Chinese Democracy, are to people who are brazilian, asian or other nationalities, not to mention black people involved(hei, i'm european, i'm allowed to say black people!).

To me, that's an evidence that axl writes on whatever he feels at the moment, and so songs come from an honest place. And he doesn't mind how it is taken - or if he does, he doesn't change it.

The background story about one in a million is well documented on Stephen Davies biography on Guns n' Roses. Not subscribing any of the statements on the song, but it is understandable that a guy that has gone through what axl as gone through, felt that way at the time. A mystery to me though is why Gn'R chose to not play it live. Maybe the idiot assessment that a lot of supposed fans showed throughout the giggs (example: Axl adressing the David Duke's connotation, while people in audience were stupidly cheering), told the band people were not ready for it. Or maybe it was just Slash being uncomfortable (rightly so)...i don't know.

Anyway: i love gn'r lies, but i hate the exposure it gave the band as a "ballad band". So, most of the times, i skip the "patience" track. Love One in a Million, though, and Used to Love her and You're Crazy, in this version, shows somehow a complete band, that can think several formats and structures for the same song. AND I MISS IZZY SOOOOOO MUCHHHHHHH! Don't ya too, axl?!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mack!!

Side R of GN'R Lies is bad ass!!! Reckless Life and Nice Boys are punk as f*&k! They openned for Social Distortion back in the day and won that crowd over.

GN'R are and were the real deal without a doubt!!

Axl is Tom Waits meets Iggy Pop meets Freddy Mercury but totally original and Izzy is Johnny Thunders meets Keith Richards meets John Mellancamp and equally original!


Mack Arillo said...

C.T., along those same lines, how would you describe Slash, Duff, Steven?

Mack Arillo said...

C.T., You might enjoy these ;)

Mack Arillo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Mack,

I'd describe Slash as a cross between Joe Perry/Manny Charlton/Jeff Beck and Steve Jones

Duff: Sid Vicious/Lemmy/Nikki Sixx

Steven Adler: pretty non-descript imo.


Anonymous said...

The poignant part of the Patience video is that as Axl sits alone, watching the video, he's not watching Slash. He's watching himself and Slash together, rockin' out. Looking like friends, like family.

I love the moment when Izzy sits down beside him in that 2006 Rio Patience live video too...

Axl? Why ya gotta be a douche?

If he really wasn't on drugs back during that Illusion tour, though, being such a perfectionist, he must have felt like he was herding birds. I'm not sure I believe that's true, he was always late. Unprofessional bs there. If the junkies and drunks can get there on time, the straight frontman should be able to as well.