Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Required Reading: Axl & Kurt
1991 might be remembered as the year of Nevermind, but no band was bigger at the time than GN-effin-R, and no rock star had more power than Axl Rose, a man that made wearing a bandana and spandex biker shorts in public credible by sheer force of personality.
Guns N’ Roses’ 1987 debut, Appetite For Destruction, ranked among the best-selling rock albums of all time, and it was the soundtrack for countless coming-of-age moments for teenagers in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Kids everywhere were getting laid, drunk, and beat up for the first time to the sounds of “Welcome To The Jungle” and “Paradise City.”
By 1991, Axl was so powerful that he was able to essentially coerce his record company, Geffen, into releasing two maniacally ambitious double-albums on the same day — Sept. 17, 1991 — rather than a year or two apart, which is what the label wanted to do because it happened to make a lot more sense. The dual release of the Use Your Illusion albums was an act of hubris so brazen in its arrogance and yet strangely admirable in its artistic stubbornness that nobody had been fucking crazy enough to try anything like it before, or attempt to copy it in the nearly two decades since. (Yes, there was Bruce Springsteen’s little-loved Human Touch/Lucky Town experiment the following year, and Nelly’s Sweat/Suit dual-release in 2004, but at least those weren’t double albums.)
We can debate about the greatness and importance of Nevermind — I’d rather we didn’t, but go ahead if you want — but there’s no arguing against the Use Your Illusion saga being a unique and historical event in rock history; in terms of excess, it planted a flag at the end of the world.
You can read the entire (fantastically well-written) piece here.
posted 9:52 AM