Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guns N' Roses Nominated to Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame

New York Times
Guns N’ Roses, the hard rock band whose glory days were in the 1980s, and Eric B. & Rakim, one of the most influential rap groups of that era, were among the 15 artists nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, the hall announced this morning. Both were nominated in their first year of eligibility.

The other artists who are receiving their first nominations include Freddie King, the Cure, Heart, the Spinners and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The list also contains several acts that have been nominated before, among them the Beastie Boys, Donovan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and War.

The nominees were chosen by 40 critics and musicologists who serve on the hall’s nominating committee. The ballots will now be sent to a larger group of 500 critics, musicians and industry professionals who vote on them. Every year, the hall inducts at least five artists or groups from the list. The choices are announced in late November and a ceremony will be held to honor the inductees on April 14. Next year, the ceremony will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center, as it was in 2008.

The nomination of Guns N’ Roses did not come as a surprise. The Los Angeles hard rock band brought a raw sound back to the charts in the late 1980s when pop was dominated by dance music, laying the groundwork for the grunge movement that followed. They were superstars when the original band stopped touring in 1994, having left behind a large catalog of hits, including “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Eric B. & Rakim –- the rap duo from Queens — are credited with raising the bar for rappers when they released their debut single, “Eric B is President,” in 1986. It was a hard-hitting James Brown sample over which Rakim rapped dense lyrics, packing lines with internal rhymes, meters and wordplay that have influenced most of the top rappers since then. Only two other hip-hop acts are in the hall of fame — Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and Run-D.M.C.

Artists become eligible for the hall of fame 25 years after their debut album or single. Many musicians have careers that span more than three decades, so some hall-of-famers are still touring and recording.

Related discussion: http://www.gunsnfnroses.com/index.php?/topic/8057-gunsnroses-nominated-to-rock-n-roll-hall-of-fame/

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Celebration Continues ...

Really, the biggest problem with the Use Your Illusion albums was that they weren’t Appetite For Destruction. Appetite was the sort of debut album that leaves a blazing hole in the universe, and it’s easy to see why GN’R went for grand sweep in the follow-up; it’s not like they could’ve exceeded that album’s wild-eyed abandon. (It’s fun to imagine what could’ve happened if GN’R had tried to go harder and dirtier, like Nirvana did with In Utero. Maybe they’d still be around today, or maybe Axl would be dead; I have no idea.) The Use Your Illusion albums are huge and silly and ultimately meaningless where Appetite was a snot-rocket straight to your soul. The only Use Your Illusion songs with clear points are the ones where they get pissed. I can tell you all the whos and whys of “Get In The Ring,” for instance, but to this day I only have the fuzziest notions of what “Civil War” is even about, and I suspect that Axl feels the same. Another, smaller issue is the absence of Appetite-era drummer Steven Adler, an absolute walking disaster of a human being who nevertheless had the inventive glee to turn songs like “Rocket Queen” into funked-up disco-metal throwdowns. His replacement was Matt Sorum, imported from the Cult, whose wallop was sturdy but who never seemed to be having that much fun.

And yet the Illusion albums still succeeded way more often than they failed. They aimed for grand majesty, and they achieved it. And who even tries for that anymore? Radiohead, maybe? Lady Gaga? Have the ensuing 20 years produced a single musician who could ride on the back of a dolphin and make it seem cool? And in a way, Guns N’ Roses willing themselves out of the hair-band ghetto through sheer talent and spiteful determination and transforming themselves into Pink Floyd heirs… it’s as powerful a story, in its own way, as Nirvana upending the cool-kid lunch table (Sterogum).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Road Recovery Benefit Concert Honoring SLASH - SOLD OUT !!

Photos: CMZ Photography

Photos: CMZ Photography

Last night, Road Recovery, an organization that helps teens fight addiction with guidance from big-name rockers, honored Slash, with help from Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, Wayne Kramer (MC5), Dave Kushner, Matt Pinfield, Jeremy Piven (drums), Jesse Malin, Miggs and others.

Soundcheck: Slither, It's So Easy, New Rose, Mama Kin, God Save the Queen, Kick Out the Jams, Wish You Were Here

Birthday (Beatles)
Miss You (Stones)
Dead Flowers (Stones)
Tijuana Jail (Gilby Clarke)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Always on the Run (Lenny Kravitz)
Hey Joe (Hendrix)
Mama Kin (Aerosmith)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Slither (Velvet Revolver)
It's So Easy (Guns N' Roses)
Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan)
God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols)
Kick Out the Jams (MC5)


Thursday, September 8, 2011

November Rain: The Comic Strip

funny OR DIE
In 1991, Guns N' Roses completely blew their load, simultaneously releasing two albums, Use Your Illusion I and II. They (Axl, at least) would then spend the next 15 years working on a piece of shit Nu-Metal wankfest that came out to universal reviews of "It's an album." Anyway, what was at the forefront of 1991's double-opus? "November Rain." So let's take a look back it, but with a twist. Let's reimagine it as a comic.

Read the whole comic here.

9th Date Added to Greatest Hits Tour

October 28 - Orlando, Florida
October 29 - Miami, Florida
October 31 - Halloween, Greenville, South Carolina
November 2 - Atlanta, Georgia
November 5 - Dallas, Texas
November 12 - Kansas City, Missouri
November 13 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
November 15 - Chicago, Illinois
November 19 - Hartford, Connecticut

2 Hours of Their Greatest Hits!!!
First GN'R U.S. Date Appears
GN'R American Tour 2011

Ticketmaster - Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses Facebook - Events

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SLASH: 'Made In Stoke - 24/7/11'

Concert DVD and Blu-Ray Due in November

Slash's "homecoming" gig on July 24 at the Victoria Hall in the British town of Stoke-On-Trent, where he was raised until he was five, was filmed for a DVD and Blu-ray release, "Made In Stoke - 24/7/11", due on November 15 via Eagle Vision.

Slash's setlist was as follows:

01. Been There Lately
02. Nightrain
03. Ghost
04. Mean Bone
05. Back From Cali
06. Rocket Queen
07. Civil War
08. Nothing to Say
09. Promise
10. Starlight
11. Doctor Alibi (with Todd Kerns on vocals)
12. Speed Parade
13. Watch This
14. Beggars & Hangers-On
15. Patience
16. Guitar Solo / Godfather Theme
17. Sweet Child O' Mine
18. Slither


19. By The Sword
20. Mr. Brownstone
21. Paradise City

Source: Blabbermouth
Related Discussion: GunsNFNRoses

2 Hours of Their Greatest Hits!!!

Guns N' Roses will perform live at AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday, October 29th at 9:00 PM.

THEY'RE BACK!!! Guns N' Roses will return to the concert stage after five years and play two hours of their greatest hits!

Don't miss Guns N' Roses classics such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," "My Michelle," "Mr. Brownstone," "November Rain" and "Sweet Child O' Mine."


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Second Look: Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion I

From: OneThirtyBPM

Written by John Ulmer

“Now when you hear this on the record, I put a lot of symphony to it… I’ll be lucky if I can remember the words.”

This warning from Axl Rose, lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, preceded the first-ever live performance in 1991 of “November Rain,” a track that became a chart-topping single later that same year. (You know this song: it broke both production budgets and MTV viewing ratings for its time, and even today, in the Bieber era, it has 50 million views on YouTube alone.)

Rose’s words back then said a lot. When he declares that he, specifically, had added a symphony to the studio version of the track, and that he would be lucky to remember the words, it isn’t incidental; by this point in time, the band, for all practical purposes – at least in Rose’s eyes – belonged to him. The rest of the group was too drugged-up and complacent to realize what was happening until it was too late, musically and legally. And that distanced, fragmented nature is part of what makes the Illusion records so great: everyone’s functioning on their own level, in their own world, some of them barely hanging on. The result isn’t remotely cohesive, but it’s never boring.

Of course, it’s no wonder why the group members were doing their own thing: In 1986, on the cusp of their historic debut album, the band all lived together in a squalid townhouse. By the turn of that decade, they were featured on every magazine cover, their lives under a microscope. As bassist Duff McKagan later remarked, they went from existing as a family to suddenly having their own mansions, their own limos and their own lives.

But it was Rose, in particular – perhaps due to his overtly rebel image, or maybe just because he was the singer – who was most immediately established within the music industry, flying the world by private jet (even when the rest of the group flew together) and adorning the cover of Rolling Stone.

The yes-men were already surrounding him, whether it was wannabe writer Del James (whose short novella was a supposed inspiration for “November Rain”) or the greedy record label executives (probably the same responsible for allowing Chinese Democracy to gestate for nearly two decades). So that little seed of excess that could be heard in bloom on Appetite for Destruction (the synth keyboards on “Paradise City,” for example, which Rose added unbeknownst to his bandmembers) soon blossomed into completely overblown theatrics – inspired in part (ironically enough for an alleged homophobe) by Elton John and Queen.

Conceived wholly as a double album but released as two separate volumes, the Illusions’ first chapter is its angriest. The record begins with the blistering “Right Next Door to Hell,” the lyrics written by Rose in response to his then-neighbor’s accusations of assault.

It’s that intrinsically personal ranting that makes Use Your Illusion so memorable. Yet Rose also has a penchant for writing in ambiguities – he obviously has specific targets in mind for some songs, but as on tracks such as “November Rain,” the general themes can be applied to anyone: unrequited love, bitterness, envy, hate, despair, loneliness, addiction. (And, conversely, that’s precisely why “Get in the Ring,” from this album’s sequel, turns into such an awful track: built upon a promising, boozy blues-riff by Slash, the song leads into an embarrassing bridge where Axl, shrouding his lead guitarist’s solo, begins rambling off a list of names: magazines, pop culture figures. Listen to this in 2011 and none of it matters; most of the people/publications named aren’t even relevant anymore. For the most part, however, UYI I is thankfully spared these embarrassing moments.)

Other bandmembers manage to take the spotlight at times. “Dust N’ Bones” features the underrated Izzy Stradlin on vocals, but the song itself is ultimately one of the less memorable here. (For what it’s worth, his solo albums have been generally solid.) Stradlin takes over vocal duties again (with Axl in tow) for “You Ain’t the First,” a tongue-in-cheek (maybe?) ballad that sounds like something cowboys would sing around a campfire. A fun track, but not really substantial enough to stand ground against some of the other material.

“Don’t Cry” achieved notoriety not just because it’s a great ballad, but because of the death of Shannon Hoon, the singer of Blind Melon. Rose and he were close friends; Hoon was invited to record backing vocals for multiple tracks on the Illusion albums, and Rose, in return, helped him achieve more mainstream recognition. The song is one of the band’s best, if you can appreciate their ballads. (It’s also worth noting that it was during the music video shoot for “Don’t Cry” that Stradlin, who bailed prior to Guns’ Use Your Illusion World Tour, first abandoned the rest of his band, declining to appear on set and instead sending along a brisk note informing Rose that he was unwilling to further cooperate unless certain terms were met. They weren’t, and so he is absent from the video.)

Then, of course, there is “November Rain.” The music video was the most expensive of all time; it hit the top of the charts and stayed there for ages, and – over the years – almost became symbolic of the band’s peak and subsequent demise. It represented the furthest removal from their Appetite for Destruction style, and is often the punchline to jokes about the group (or, more specifically, Axl – perhaps because he linked the music video so inherently to his personal life, even going so far as to cast then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour as the bride-to-be).

But the song is simply great. For all its excess, it’s bold and beautiful and has a couple absolutely killer guitar solos. It’s been favorably compared over the years to epic rock ballads like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Layla,” and can comfortably share the same space with them on best-of lists. And Slash has pretty much built his entire brand around his iconic image from this video; it wasn’t long after this that he basically refused to ever remove his top hat.

Despite a couple softer ballads, Use Your Illusion I is, as has been mentioned, the harder, angrier and more vitriolic of the two Illusions. You have dirty, uncomfortably catchy tracks like “Back off Bitch”: originally recorded for Appetite, re-recorded here, and backed by the band’s most Stonesy riff, there’s nevertheless something both nastier and more abrasive about it than any of the spiteful or misogynistic lyrics on Appetite (but maybe that’s just because the polished production qualities clash against what should instinctively sound rawer and grittier). You also have tracks like “Don’t Damn Me,” which once again reflect the paranoid mindset of a singer who previously railed that the world was out ta get him.

And that’s Use Your Illusion in a nutshell: frustratingly brilliant. Flawed. Sprawling. Grandiose. Self-indulgent. Indecisive. Songs veer between near-perfection and utter disaster. There is not a single album in existence that perhaps sums up the perils of rock n’ roll decadence as these two volumes – you can practically hear the band rising and falling, exploding and imploding, coming dangerously close to a parody of the rock n’ roll cliché without ever fully embracing it. And with the traditional music industry dead and music stars as fleeting as the headlines they’re courted by, there will probably never be another album like it, because very few artists will be afforded the opportunity to achieve such excess.

(The review should close there. But one thing must be noted: the album’s final track, “Coma,” is also one of the band’s most underrated cuts – ever. It is both the signature sound of the Illusion records – sprawling, over-produced, overlong, bombastic – and the signature sound of its authors, Rose and Slash. Rose’s lyrics – wordy, ambivalent, vague, and borderline nonsensical in their phrasing at times – are at their most pained and introspective, and the verses after the last guitar solo are some of the most powerful he’s written. And Slash’s solos are two of his most creative and emotive. The song is a monster, perhaps not as well-regarded as it should be simply because of its long running time.)