Thursday, May 13, 2010
Slash v Axl
Slash was born in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire in the mid 1960s, raising the possibility that, had his parents not moved to LA when he was 11, he could have ended up as a guitarist for Midlands contemporaries Ned's Atomic Dustbin or the Wonder Stuff. Axl's hometown of Lafayette, Indiana may not be much more glamorous but at least it sounds real pretty.
Who's got the best headgear?
Slash's top hat is one of the most iconic items of headgear in rock 'n' roll. Axl's piratical bandanna never quite matched up but at least he was trying. Sadly, the frontman has never recovered from his decision to put braids in his hair. Ultimately he was forced to play alongside a man with a KFC bucket on his head just to draw attention from it.
Who's got the best name?
One of them chose his name because it's an anagram of "oral sex," the other sounds like an incontinent Flash Gordon. Neither are dignified monikers for men of their advanced years but somehow "Slash" has worn better than "Axl Rose." You can't help feeling they'd get on a lot better if they were simply Saul and William, though.
Slash hasn't had much luck with frontmen. After leaving Axl he ended up, in Velvet Revolver, with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland who has since departed in a huff. However, at least he's never played with anyone called "Buckethead" or, Axl's new, Hobbit-channelling guitarist, "Bumblefoot."
"It was the perfect Axl record," Slash told the New York Post of Chinese Democracy, adding that "he's fucking phenomenal." Unfortunately Axl’s last comment about his former guitarist was less magnanimous "I consider him a cancer." We might have to wait a while before the classic Guns N' Roses line-up reforms, then.
Knowing a great song when you hear it
Slash and Guns N' Roses drummer Steve Adler were just messing around when the guitarist came up with the famous opening riff of "Sweet Child O' Mine." However, Axl overheard them and began writing lyrics about his then girlfriend. "It was actually my least favourite song we ever wrote, I hate it," Slash said later, "but it turns out to be our greatest song ever."
Rock 'n' roll behaviour
All of Guns N' Roses had somewhat clichéd run-ins with drugs and booze so Slash's vodka-induced "cardiac myopathy" and pancreas problems are hardly worth celebrating. Axl's grandiose plans for Chinese Democracy set a new standard for rock megalomania, though. Say what you like about him but there aren't many frontmen who'd make such a good James Bond villain as Axl Rose.
Who's better live?
Guns N' Roses, at their peak, were the last band to play classic rock 'n' roll without sounding like some kind of heritage act. Slash, with the cigarette permanently draped over his lip and the hat and / or hair hiding his face, was the epitome of cool but Axl was the supreme frontman, Freddie Mercury crossed with Freddie Krueger in one snarling, squealing body.
Who's had the best career post-1996?
As the one who kept the Guns N' Roses name Axl had a big advantage but, ironically, Slash has played with more of the classic line-up in recent years than Axl. There are five of them on his pretty good new solo album Slash. Velvet Revolver, too, at their best, were better than Chinese Democracy era Guns N' Roses.
And the winner is ... Slash
At least Slash seems to have had fun over the last 15 years or so, while Axl's been obsessively fiddling with Chinese Democracy and complaining about the press. They'd both be better off, though, if they forgot about their differences and got the old band back together.
posted 9:36 AM