Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Look: Guns N' Roses "Appetite for Destruction"

One Thirty BPM
Written by John Ulmer

Bruce Springsteen, in the liner notes of his Essential Series compilation wrote: “In any body of work there are obvious high points. The rest depends on who’s doing the listening. Where you were, when it was, who you were with when a particular song or album cut the deepest.”

When I read this as a young teen after purchasing the CD, I wondered how it hadn’t hit me before: the great albums, the ones that stand the test of time, aren’t just those that are objectively “classic.” They’re the ones that connect with us. The ones that came into our lives at a certain time and take us back to that place again when we listen to them; the ones that remind us of a mood or an emotional experience or a relationship that is long gone. Everyone has his or her own life’s soundtrack.

I was fourteen years old when I heard a Guns N’ Roses song for the first time. This was just before the dawn of high-speed Internet and YouTube, when downloading video files was a matter of leaving the connection active overnight and tying up the phone line (much to the irritation of one’s parents). So there was some effort that had to be made, and thus an appreciation for the final product, which perhaps eludes some in the broadband era.

I had decided to check out one of the band’s videos after hearing a song I liked on my older sister’s laptop. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was the first that popped up when I searched, and when it finally finished downloading, I initially found humor in the video’s dated approach: the ‘80s MTV logo, the leather pants, the frizzy hair and generally amusing fashion styles. This was not quite what I expected after hearing “Patience,” whose laidback acoustics had been appealing.

But not even midway through, I was unexpectedly struck by something I couldn’t quite place. There was something real and raw about the music, and goddamn, that guy could hit the high notes, and shit, who was this guy in the top hat going wild on guitar?

Indeed, one of the largest misconceptions that has pervaded over the years is that Appetite for Destruction is a “hair metal” album. That the band arose during the era of Motley Crue, Ratt and Poison is not incidental – they started out playing the grimy clubs of the Sunset Strip alongside those very groups – but the album was a decidedly more self-loathing creature. Crue sang about girls, girls, girls and partying all day; GN’R partook in such debauchery but didn’t seem to enjoy it much, whether evidenced by the pining for home in “Paradise City” or the general excoriation of the hedonistic lifestyle that permeates the entire album.

And while it’s easy today to criticize Axl Rose, the sole survivor of the original lineup, it seems he and Izzy Stradlin might have been the only ones who really understood that element of the music. Rose’s lyrics were at once angry, spiteful, misogynistic, confused, lonely, tender and heartfelt. Steven Adler happily pounded away at his drumset with a big grin on his face, but did he even really understand that “Welcome to the Jungle” was the anti-L.A. anthem? That “Paradise City” is about wanting to escape the sleaze of the big city and return home to “where the grass is green and the girls are pretty”? (That he ended up on “Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew speaks for itself.)

This, of course, is not an attempt to undermine the contributions of the other bandmates, nor a mockery of Adler’s addictions. That’s what made this band so great, after all: its chemistry. Each member contributed something integral and unique to the recording process, and that one-in-a-million combination resulted in a masterpiece. When the lineup became fragmented, and when the egos began to run out of control, the balance was upset and that all began to change. But for a moment in time, Guns N’ Roses was that rarity: a near-perfect union of musicians whose talents created a near-perfect work of art.

Some will roll their eyes at the words “Guns N’ Roses” and “art” existing in the same sentence. These are probably the sort of people who judge a book by its cover – or, in this case, an album on its image. It’s easy to laugh at the hair-sprayed Rose, clad in leather and makeup, as he struts around onstage for the music video to “Welcome to the Jungle.” But it says something that by their next album proper the band had already killed off glam and helped usher in the alternative rock image (Rose often in torn jeans or shorts, Slash in plaid t-shirts).

Every song here is very good, 11 of the 12 tracks great, and 10 of the 12 nearly flawless. The worst song is “Anything Goes” – a modified carry-over from Rose’s previous band, Hollywood Rose – which is the emptiest song on the album, a sleazy portrait of dirty sex, but even here you can sense a kind of spite and vileness to the delivery of the lyrics: if Crue had sung this it would have sounded celebratory, but instead, you get the feeling that Axl’s just going through the motions and sick of it – utterly disgusted by sex. (A theme that would pop up repeatedly throughout his career as a musician.)

“Think About You” is the other track that isn’t quite great enough to stand out amongst the rest of playlist, but it is admittedly overlooked by many fans. The live performances over the years have particularly highlighted the song’s strengths, some of which, for whatever reason, aren’t immediately apparent during the studio cut. The chorus grows more infectious with time.

Everything else is fantastic. “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child” and “Paradise City” need no introduction – you’ve heard them at just about any sports event you’ve been to, and we all know how fantastic the lead guitar solos are – but the lyrics and more subtle interplay between Slash and Izzy Stradlin are far too often ignored. Slash, an accomplished blues-rock-based guitarist, had far more in common with the boozy sleaze-riffs of Keith Richards, Joe Perry and Angus Young than Mick Mars or whoever the dude from Winger was; Stradlin, then, was his perfect counterpart, a man who knew his way around a guitar neck and had the musical chops that so many other rhythm guitarists sorely lack.

And, as aforementioned, these ostensible party songs are anything but; coming back to Springsteen again, it’s analogous to how “Born in the USA” was used as Reagan’s campaign theme. That song criticized the Vietnam War but was chosen merely for its anthemic chorus; similarly, GN’R was savagely attacking the Los Angeles lifestyle through their music while being rotated on the city’s most popular radio stations.

And that, perhaps, is why this record tends to connect with so many teenage males. (It still sells over 2,000 copies per week.) Sure, a lot of the content here is misogynistic and confused and hypocritical, but that’s part of the appeal, in a way: it’s a painfully honest album. The anger – some of it pointed, some of it aimless – and frustration and passion and naivety sums up the male experience. “It’s So Easy” is the sound of your balls dropping, while “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is your first tumultuous love. (As is now an E! True Hollywood Story staple, the song was written about Axl’s then-girlfriend, Erin Everly, the daughter of Don. Their relationship, by almost all accounts, was far from ideal; but the song captured the high points of a sour relationship in a way that a track such as “Love the Way You Lie” can only attempt to convey.)

The album concludes with one of the best closers in rock n’ roll history, “Rocket Queen.” The first half of the song in itself is great – but it’s after the (literally) orgasmic solo that the pace completely changes, as if it has transformed into an entirely different song altogether. In a way, it channels the experience of angry sex – aggressive and rough until the climax, then the come-down.

The outro features some of the most desperate and honest lyrics of Rose’s career. After bragging about his “tongue like a razor” and sexual experience, he basically tells the object of his affection that if she sticks with him, even though he’ll screw her up and leave her strung out, he’ll never leave her side. She’s probably not buying it, though, because he’s forced to plead: “Don’t ever leave me / Say you’ll always be there / All I ever wanted was for you to know that I care.” The lyric itself isn’t particularly deep or awe-inspiring on paper, but the earnestness and desperation in its delivery is something no artist could ever replicate on a cover version.

Rose and his crew of misfits might not have fully realized what they were creating in 1987, but Appetite for Destruction is one of the best and most emotionally forthright albums ever recorded. The title, accurate as it is, doesn’t refer to physical violence – as is still the case with Axl Rose today, the songs all come down to the emotional experience. Listening to Appetite today still brings me back to when these tracks cut the deepest: as a teenager, filled with all that typical hormonal rage and confusion, angry for no reason — and with no clue just how much this record would still mean to me a decade later.

Friday, April 29, 2011 says "Chinese Democracy, to put it plainly, sucks"

It took over 14 years for ­Chinese Democracy, the much-anticipated Guns N' Roses album, to be publicly ­released. There were a lot of things for singer Axl Rose to take care of as the sole original member of the band, but he took a mighty long time to make one measly album. Was it worth the wait? It's overdramatic, it's overly ambitious, and over one hour long, but excess of this sort is expected from the band that caused riots and controversy while other '80s era “rock” bands teased their hair and ­applied their makeup.

Chinese Democracy was released in 2008 and in my opinion, was a horrendous album, which really let down my high hopes for new GN'R. I wrote this review quite a while ago for my journalism class and I thought it turned out pretty well, so I figured I'd share it.

GN'R's first album, Appetite for Destruction is considered one of the greatest of its time. Raw aggression pounds out in every note. Their 1991 releases, Use Your Illusion I and II include several sweet love songs like “Don't Cry” and “November Rain” that show musical maturity. Nevertheless, GN'R was still the meanest rock band in the country.

Chinese Democracy, to put it plainly, sucks. It sounds like Rose couldn't make up his mind about what kind of record he wanted to make, so he threw together a colorful array of genres. “Shackler's Revenge” is pure heavy metal, a head-banger's anthem. And the next track, “Better,” is pop, with several corny melodies. When the album takes a sharp turn from pop to Broadway-rock in “This I Love,” there's only one logical conclusion for listeners: “I guess Axl really is bipolar.”

They say a singer will find only one guitarist he has perfect musical chemistry with in his lifetime. Slash, the original GN'R lead guitarist, was Axl's musical soul mate. He put as much expression into his licks as Rose did in his trademark vocal flourishes – which, on a side note, are missing from this album.

In the old GN'R, every solo fit the mood of the song, emotion poured out of every bend and pull-off. Izzy Stradlin, the original rhythm guitarist, dueled harmoniously with his awesome riffs and progressions. Most of the solos on this new album don't have Slash and Stradlin's passion, partly because Rose couldn't even manage to keep a consistent lineup during the recording.

Granted, “Sorry” has an extremely fitting guitar solo. It also has relevant lyrics that relate to the less-than-flattering image of Rose the media has created. However, once the song kicks into the chorus, it takes a turn for the worse. Rose's voice sounds jaded, and the bizarre use of vibrato makes him come across like a bitter old man.

Tracks four through six are basically the same, with a lot of piano and Rose singing like Justin Timberlake trying to be rock n' roll. However, “I.R.S.” shows that Rose still has the ability to write butt-kicking rock tunes. The song is reminiscent of Appetite for Destruction, complete with gritty instrumentals and a flawless display of Axl's vocal range. But no one should suffer through the endless drone that is the rest of the album.

How Chinese Democracy ended up such a failure is a mystery when it had so much potential. But maybe it's too early to put GN'R in the ground. I guess we'll see in another 14 years.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Duff McKagan Performs "It's So Easy" with Avenged Sevenfold

via Blabbermouth
Video footage of Duff McKagan performing the Guns N' Roses classic "It's So Easy" with Avenged Sevenfold at the third annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which took place this past Wednesday night (April 20) at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles, California, can be viewed below.

In a 2006 interview, MTV News asked Avenged Sevenfold singer M. Shadows if Guns N' Roses was his band's biggest influence. "GN'R is my favorite band of all time," he said. "It's funny 'cause we just did a thing for the [Los Angeles Times] and the guy's like, 'People compare 'em to GN'R and Shadows walked out with a GN'R shirt,' and he thought that was weird that I would, but the thing is, I'm not ashamed of the bands I love. I love that band. You can compare us all you want they're a huge reason why I'm even in a band and even write music. My dad gave me Appetite for Destruction when it first came out; he saw [GN'R] on Headbangers Ball, and they're a huge inspiration. Metallica and Megadeth and GN'R, those are bands that I'll never deny loving … those are bands that kind of made me and made this band kind of what it is. We don't try to be like, 'Oh, we're becoming a big band, so we're gonna pretend like we don't have any influences.'"

Highlights from the Revolver Golden Gods Awards will be broadcast on VH1 Classic on Saturday, May 28. Revolver will release a special Golden Gods issue of the magazine on May 24. The Golden Gods issue will include exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and interviews.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Gun was jumped on that one

Erm..........No, that's not what happened now though is it. Oh and before you or any of the mods hit the panic button, I would suggest you read the whole post and see if anything I say breaks any of the forum rules. The answer is no, obviously, so it will be interesting to see if this gets deleted/moved, etc. Mind, I would strongly urge that it doesn't.
Eric, I will not disclose any specific quotes from our conversation via emails and PM's - I will not ever disclose the purchase price, nor the monthly fees. I have morals and dignity and I would not do that to you. Wether or not you deserve such respect is, in my opinion at least, highly subjective. Maybe we should leave that decision to our forum members?

"Jumping the gun" - I'll start here I think.

You post a thread in the newswire telling everyone that the forum is closing in 24 hours time. Just so everyone is aware, this was the first I was hearing this news - No update in the mod section. Well, in your defense it's your forum you can do what you want I guess? I contact you and ask could I either help support the monthly fees/part fund the forum for a partnership as admin with you and you were clear. It wasn't the money and you would not consider me part funding and completely dismissed the opportunity for me to pay any fees towards the forum - which of course is strange because we now have learned that you have now accepted this offer from - wait for it, not someone who's been on this forum for over 7 years and had put huge amounts of effort and support into the place, not to mention my own donation(s) around 4 years ago - but from a "anonymous" person. Brilliant! You couldn't make this up, oh wait a minute, unless? No forget it, doesn't matter..

You then invite a bid to buy the forum, whilst you didn't specifically give me a figure you were looking for, you were kind enough to give me a figure for 'a similar venture' - So, a day or so later I offer a purchase price and a day later you accept. I also agree to pay all monthly server costs, licenses, etc, etc, the whole lot. Now here's the important part, at absolutely no stage did you ever indicate that you need either further thinking time or that you were open to other offers. It was just 'I accept your offer' - To further cement my strong security of your intentions it was made specifically clear to me that unless GNR bought the forum 'the next person I would only want to sell it would be you' - So, if I give you an offer and you accept and you only want to sell it to me, I think it's fair to say that was more than a decent and solid verbal agreement, no?

At no stage did you ever give me the view (either expressly, or even by suggestion) that you were considering my offer or that you needed time to think, or that you were considering other offers - That would have made perfect sense to me if you had done so by the way, I would have completely understood (and wouldn't be writing this post right now),that was until a few hours before you formally announced on the forum that the forum was no longer closing down and that an anonymous person had stepped forward to pay the monthly fees. I asked for 10 hours to finally put a few things into consideration before organising payment to you - One of which was to declare to our members that someone, who I later confirmed to be me, was prepared to keep the place running but we needed donations to see if the forum was going to be sustainable long term. I fully expected to loose money but I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to loose a significant amount and frankly given my offer of support to you and our forum members, I don't think that was an unreasonable request. You weren't keen but when I stated to you that without this insurance then the deal was going to be off, you quickly agreed to allow it to be posted. Another example, if needed, to show how keen you were on the deal (a deal, which never changed direction at all).

Of course I know now that by posting that thread it actually did me more harm than good - You became aware of the generous donation amounts posted publicly and this (at least in my honest opinion) 'turned your head'.

I was not free from guilt myself of course, I must at least admit that (you see, integrity actually means something to me). I did get excited and passionate at the thought of taking the forum over - I saw an exiting opportunity to change this forum positively for the better; More transparency, some exiting options for our 'supporters' (particular given their generous donations to keep the forum alive). With my un-named co-admin, we were coming up with some new and inventive ideas and through it all, I was determined that not only would I publicly inform members if I was "earning more than $1usd per month" and therefore asking them to STOP donating. If the site was going to turn profitable in the long terms, I would have paid members back their donations (largest to smallest in priority order). Again, honesty and transparency was the key strategy for me - The driver and motivation was the forum, our members, the band (new and old), would have finally put a stop to the bickering. So yes, I posted passionately on the forum and even then Eric, I stated in every single post I made was made up of the following statements:

"It's not confirmed yet"
"I'm waiting on Eric"
"I have not taken over yet"
"Offer accepted, waiting for confirmation"

So, how do you think I feel when I read I had "jumped the gun"? Well, that's now for our forum members to decide I suppose, right? I'm not perfect for certain and I respect every view good or bad and if any anyone agrees with the way you handled this situation, then I respect that view.

I know intentions were good, and appreciated..

Oh it's appreciated? Really? because that's news to me - You never once had a basic decency to thank me for the offer of keeping the forum alive (or least trying to do so). I don't know who this other person is (if indeed there actually is another person)? You haven't got back in touch with me since telling me the deal was on hold, so I apologise if this very public expression has upset you but you know what Eric, I did everything by the book in complete privacy (even when questioned by certain mods) and I still get screwed, so....?

There are two pieces of good news for you though! If you don't alter or try to defend this post, this will be my only post on this subject, both publicly and privately. Try to censor, burry, or defend your actions will result in further shit storms and potential further revelations - Your choice? Tick tock Eric, the karma clock is ticking!

Oh, the second is please accept this as formal notice of stepping down as a moderator on mygnrforum.
Mods and members thanks:

Far too many to mention, it's only right I thank Eric for the opportunity to post on this forum - That said, it was really madison that promoted me, whilst building up a firm relationship with her - That's another subject right there.

High', monty, zint and ER - Thank you guys so much. Don't want anyone to follow, just be happy and do what you're comfortable with.
God, received over X150 PM's and emails this week with so much support, thank you so much!! I did reply to every single one, personally and I promise I didn't copy and paste a single one!

Difficult to single any out but I guess, PM's which were particularly supportive were from: Spoon, Black Sabbath (who I never spoke to before this week!), Username, Mysteron, ron mexico, Leddy and so so many more - really touched, thanks again!

Finally (and I know this sounds desperate and slightly explotatious but still); in a week where I feel badly done to, reality kicks in as I continue to care for two sick parents. If you can find it in your heart to donate to the following charity: you'd be doing me a HUGE favour - They do such a FANTASTIC job!!! Alternatively, please sponsor or donate to your local cancer charity at home, perhaps? If nothing else, just click on the Website and read what an amazing job they do, please.

Thank you for reading, it was from the heart.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Duff McKagan on Celebrity Rehab: "There's a reason it's anonymous"
Duff McKagan is best known as the bassist and founding member of Guns N' Roses. He is also a founding member of Velvet Revolver. McKagan has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, won a Grammy and an American Music Award.

In 1999 the musician formed Loaded, which saw him move front and center on guitar and lead vocals. On Tuesday, April 19 Loaded released its second album The Taking, and in an interview with Sterling Whitaker of to promote the record, McKagan also spoke of his disdain for Celebrity Rehab, the popular reality TV show that portrays celebrities undergoing treatment for various forms of addiction.

McKagan's former Guns N' Roses band mate Steven Adler appeared on the show, and when asked if he found that exploitative, the musician answered, "Yes. Absolutely. And the same with [Alice in Chains bassist] Mike Starr. I cringe, I think it's the worst thing for so-called sobriety. 'Hold on, we're having a breakthrough . . .wait, we've gotta do makeup.' You know?

"There's a reason it's anonymous, because if you fail, you're failing on camera," he noted. "You're failing after you've been on this rehab show."

McKagan himself has gotten sober, and said that anonymity is crucial to success. "Somebody didn't just come up with it because it sounds good," he stated. "Anonymous, you don't have to succeed all the time. You can fail, and you can still come back and nobody's gonna judge you. I wouldn't have wanted to try and get sober in a public forum. I don't think it's right so . . . whatever. That's how I feel. It's not cool."

The Taking is available now from Armoury Records and Eagle Rock Entertainment. Due in the coming months is the accompanying film to The Taking, shot by Northwest director Jamie Chamberlin and Armoury’s reissue of Sick along with a bonus DVD.

You can stream "Dead Skin" here.

Duff recently talked to about his reunion with Axl Rose this past October. He said, "the cool thing about that, was Axl and I got to reconnect. We're grown-ups, you know. There's been a lot silliness. Lawyers and (expletive). You know, lawyers like to create a situation so that their jobs go on. And I know that. But it was just nice to reconnect. We had a nice dinner. That was much more important to me than actually getting up and playing. It was fun playing with those guys, there are some really good players in that band.”

Monday, April 18, 2011

Duff McKagan Gives Us the Lowdown on Reuniting with Axl Rose, his Band's New CD, and How to Invest Your Poker Winnings

Duff McKagan is best known for playing bass for Guns N’ Roses in their Appetite for Destruction heyday—a period during which McKagan abused his body so badly that his pancreas ultimately exploded.These days, McKagan’s extracurricular activities are of a more sober stripe: He has written about finance for Playboy; regularly contributes columns to both and Seattle Weekly; and is even now available for hire as a public speaker.“I spoke to a bunch of businessmen in Seattle,” says McKagan. “Titans of industry. The thing is that business and success, and how hard it is, doesn’t look any different whether you’re playing a gig at eleven o’clock at night or you’re going to work at nine in the morning at a law firm. So I talk about that. But ultimately all those guys want to know about is how many chicks I’ve f—ed!” The man is also still rocking hard as the frontman for his band, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, whose latest CD, The Taking, is out tomorrow. After the jump, McKagan talks about his new release, his forthcoming memoir, his recent reunion with Axl Rose, and why he is very much not “the Bernie Madoff of metal.”

Entertainment Weekly: A lot of the lyrics on The Taking are quite bleak…

Duff McKagan:
Yeah. Fairly sinister. [Laughs] A band like us, we’re on a bus and we’re together all the time. So within your bus, it’s very public. There’s no secrets. And one of the guys on our bus was going through a very heavy marriage dilemma. We knew both of them very well. We saw all the stages of it falling apart and couldn’t comment on it either way.
So when you’re just sitting there, witnessing the deal, it affects you. [It's about] the kind of anger that happens right before [people split up] and right after and then the sort of reconciliation and the victory of getting through for both of them.

What’s the track “Cocaine” about? Or is that a dumb question?

It’s the one sort of autobiographical song on there. It’s about my year of 1993. 1993 was when I quit cocaine: “F— this stuff.” But of course my alcohol level went even higher. My mantra was, “At least I quit cocaine.” Everybody else was, going, “Yeah, but…” I wouldn’t hear it. “I quit cocaine! I’m drug free!”

You’re also making a film based on the CD?

We came up with the idea on too much coffee one morning: “This album’s cinematic. We gotta make a movie!” The premise is really oddball and screwy. Our drummer gets kidnapped and we have to pay ransom and the gig’s that night. We’re referencing a lot of films like The Warriors. It’s supposed to be a good bit of fun.

And you guys are acting? Because you were in an episode of Sliders, right?

Exactly. Um, there’s a little bit of dialog. But really the musics going to do most of the talking.

You’ve been writing your autobiography. What has that experience been like that?

It’s not really an autobiography. It’s about how does a guy become completely f—ing addicted. My career and drugs and stuff started pretty early and then escalated. I take the reader through that process and then my fall and then the hospital and then, way more important than all of that, is my coming out [of it]. I wouldn’t want to write the book again. Some of it was painful, some of it was pretty f—ing funny. But at least I was honest.

Did you remember it all?

You don’t have to remember it all. It’s not like gig by gig. It’s actually my memories. But the editor would go, “Um, you weren’t there then. You were actually in Greece. You weren’t in f—ing Japan!”

Have you read Keith Richards’ book?

No, it’s on my Kindle waiting list. I’m deep into Suttree by Cormac Mcarthy. It’s bleak!

You also written a lot about money matters. I won a bunch of money at poker last week. What should I do with it?

Give it all to me. It’s not lost, it’s just with me. You see? You understand that, right?

You’re like the Bernie Madoff of metal!

No, I am not! God, that guy. More of those guys should be in jail, those Wall Street guys.

So what should I do with my money?

At this very moment? You want to save it for how long?

Maybe a year.

Oh, just put it in a treasury bill, then.

Not stocks and shares?

You don’t know where it’s going to be in a year. I would say if it was 20 years, ten years, yeah, the stock market. But if you’re talking about a year, it’s too risky, too volatile.

What’s the current status with Velvet Revolver, now that Scott Weiland has left?

I don’t know. Quite honestly, I don’t know. There is no status. The status is no status. Still, we’ve played with some really good singers.

You mean you’ve tried some new singers out?

Yeah. We had written a bunch of songs right around the era when Scott was on his way out, and right after that. So we’ve got stuff that we can give the singers to sing on. Like, “Show us what you got. Write a lyric and a melody.” Because that’s more than half the battle with singers.

You don’t want to name names?

No. A lot of them you wouldn’t know who they were. Just a bunch of different guys.

You played a surprise show in London with Guns N Roses last year. What was that like?

I was so jet-lagged. I was there on financial business. The cool thing about that was Axl and I got to reconnect. We’re grown-ups, you know. There’s been a lot silliness. Lawyers and bull—. You know, lawyers like to create a situation so that their jobs go on. And I know that. But it was just nice to reconnect. We had a nice dinner. That was much more important to me than actually getting up and playing. But it was fun playing with those guys. There are some really good players in that band.

And you were in Jane’s Addiction somewhat briefly last year.

Yeah. Well, I was never in it. I was just writing songs. I played a couple of gigs with them. We were making our record, so that’s my focus and in no uncertain terms have I been unclear to any parties I played with that Loaded is my focus.

With all the bands you’ve now been a part of, do you have a certain outlook on the idiosyncracies of frontmen?


Let me put it another way: You’re a frontman, now. Is ‘Lead Singer Disease’ contagious?

I do play with a guitar, so I’m still a full step away from being a singer with just a microphone. So I don’t know what that’s like. But there’s no excuse for being an a—hole. There’s no excuse in the world for being a dick to your band mates or your crew. I’ve seen some stuff. I’ve been playing for a long time and I still haven’t found an excuse for being a f—king dick. I keep looking for it! No, being the lead singer in a band is just fine and dandy.

Adler's Appetite Rehearsing With Aces 'N' Eights Singer

via Blabbermouth
Adler's Appetite — the band led by former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler — has been rehearsing with singer Patrick Stone of Aces 'N' Eights following the recent departure of Rick Stitch.

Related: Slash and Steven Adler at the Viper Room

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slash: "Nothing Is Going To Happen With VR For At Least A Couple Of Years"

Slash was interviewed by Vorterix while on tour in Argentina. He says this regarding Velvet Revolver's future:

Slash: What happens is with Velvet Revolver, when we parted ways with Scott Weiland - I was so frustrated because Scott was such a pain in the ass. And I thought ya know I just wanna sorta have some quiet time and just write some music - and then the idea of writing the solo record came out. And in the mean time, no new singers for Velvet Revolver, that were really good enough for Velvet Revolver have popped up. So I just started working on the solo record and put it out and went on the road. But the whole time very conscious of who was going to sing for Velvet Revolver - but know one has turned up. So in the mean time I just keep doing what it is that I do.

So ya know with Velvet Revolver, it's like Duffs got his own thing, I've got my thing, Matt's got his thing. If a great singer comes and says I want to sing for Velvet Revolver and we all go yeah, we'll make a Velvet record. But I can do my own thing - I don't have to go back and do that. Unless it's good enough to do it, you know what I mean.

So next year I definitely will make another Slash record with Myles Kennedy - and go on tour. So at least for the next couple of years nothing is going to be happening with Velvet Revolver - that I can see because I'll be focused on this. And after that's over if something happens - I'm not really concerning myself with it right now. We had all these different guys try out, all really good singers - but nobody has fit the thing so, ya know, I have to move on.

[Regarding Corey Taylor] Because of the social networking, the way information gets out so quickly now. We did work with Corey Taylor, as soon as that rumor, next thing you know everybody is saying Corey's the new singer. All we were doing was just rehearsing with him, trying him out - auditioning him so to speak. So in order to do that, our process is we take a lot of music we wrote and we give it to him, and he writes his lyrics and he comes in and we just perform it and record it. It's just an audition process. So he did come in and do all that. But I just wasn't - it just didn't seem to fit right to me. And he's great and I love Corey, but it didn't seem like the answer the Velvet Revolver problem.

Thanks to FunkyMonkey at HTGTH

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Settlement Efforts Between Axl Rose And Former Manager Hit Sour Note

Beverly Hills Courier
Efforts to settle dueling lawsuits involving Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose and his former manager have hit a sour note, but attorneys told a judge today they will continue their mediation efforts.

During a brief hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rita Miller, the lawyers for Rose and Irving Azoff said they plan to meet with the mediator, a retired judge, on April 25. Trial is scheduled the next day.

Azoff sued Rose in March 2010, claiming the musician owes his company, Front Line Management, more than $1.8 million and broke a verbal agreement to pay the company a 15 percent commission for performances by the band in Taipei, Seoul, Japan, Canada and South America.

Rose countersued last May 17, claiming the manager tried to force him to reunite with the original Guns N' Roses band members and failed to properly promote the band's Chinese Democracy CD.

The suit also claims Azoff lied about a prospective Van Halen super tour and mishandled the band's tour dates.

The countersuit refers to the US Justice Department's recent antitrust lawsuit that sought to stop Ticketmaster and Live Nation from merging over concerns the new entity would have too much control over artists and venues.

Afterwards, Ticketmaster entered into a consent decree with government regulators that allowed the merger to go forward under certain operating provisions.

Court papers submitted on behalf of Azoff state that Rose has refused to take part in the settlement talks and has not given his lawyers permission to make commitments on his behalf.

However, Rose's lawyer, Sasha Frid, denied the musician is the stumbling block in resolving the case.

Copyright © 2011 City News Service

Monday, April 11, 2011

It Was 23 Years Ago Today ...

Released in the US on August 18, 1988, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was Guns N’ Roses’ third single from their blockbuster debut album, Appetite for Destruction.

It would go on to become Guns’ first and only #1 single in the US, as well as rack up countless high rankings on a plethora of “all-time best” lists, including #1 on Kerrang’s list of “100 Greatest Riffs,” #1 on Total Guitar’s “Greatest Riffs of All Time,” #37 on Guitar World’s “100 Greatest Guitar Solos,” and so on. The list is long.

By most accounts, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was little more than a song born out of chance, boredom and no small amount of sheer luck. Slash, the creator of the song’s signature riff, has even been quoted as having a smidge of loving disdain for the song, relegating that classic riff into little more than a “string skipping” exercise.

During a VH1 special, the Chapeaued Shredder admitted that the riff was joke, a “circus” melody he came up with while warming up with former GN’R drummer, Steven Adler. Co-guitarist Izzy Stradlin soon joined the jam with bassist Duff McKagan, while upstairs Axl Rose heard the boys and started writing lyrics, which he based on his girlfriend at the time, former Whilhelmina model (and daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers) Erin Everly.

The song originally had three verses, but producer Mike Clink convinced the band to use only two, while also including Axl’s “Where do we go? Where do we go now?” mid-song breakdown.

McKagan told Hit Parader, “It was written in five minutes. It was one of those songs, only three chords. You know that guitar lick Slash does at the beginning? It was kinda like a joke because we thought, ‘What is this song? It’s gonna be nothing. It’ll be filler on the record.’ Slash was just messing around when he first wrote that lick.”

On this day in 1988, Guns N’ Roses and their girlfriends at the time (and Izzy’s dog) went into a Huntington Beach, CA ballroom and shot the video for “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Axl later told radio show host Eddie Trunk that his original vision for the video was one revolving around drug trafficking, where, at some point, a dead baby is involved. Good times! Geffen Records nixed that idea in a hurry.

Eventually “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was trimmed from 5:56 to 4:12 to make it more palatable to both MTV and radio, a move that bummed Axl out.

The singer told Rolling Stone in 1989, “I hate the edit of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine.’ Radio stations said, ‘Well, your vocals aren’t cut…’ My favorite part of the song is Slash’s slow solo; it’s the heaviest part for me. There’s no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of ‘Paradise City’ or half of ‘Sweet Child’ and ‘Patience’ cut, you’re getting screwed.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Slash Smokes South America

Slash wraps-up a 13-month tour this Sunday, April 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

in their own words 3

"I want to do five records in two years"

-Slash, 1989

"I really think the next official Guns N' Roses record, or the next thing I do at least, will take some dramatic turns that people didn't expect and shows the growth. I don't want to be the 25-year-old misfit I was."

-Axl, 1992

"You can stay in the most expensive hotels and you can be a huge rock band and have a lot of fame and recognition and all that stuff, but when you get into the rooms, toilet paper is still toilet paper."

-Slash, 1989

"We were all sitting around with bits of paper trying to figure it out. Everyone came up with different numbers, but basically, we stopped counting after we got past $100 million."

-Axl, March 1990

"It was success that screwed us up."

-Slash, 1992

"What do I think of Guns N' Roses chances of surviving? Hey, it's not my gig to weigh up other people's chances of living or dying, baby... that's what people do to me.

I used to be number one on the list of the next guy to turn into a zero, so I wouldn't dream of doing it to them. I ain't gonna judge 'em... I wish 'em all the luck in the world. they're good guys.

What can I tell you? I really feel for those guys right now 'cos it ain't the Baby Doll Lounge they're playing anymore.

Where they're dealing from, it's like Jaws out there every night."

-Keith Richards, October 1991

"I'm getting more and more confused about who's in Guns N' Roses and it's blowing my mind.

There's Dizzy and Iggy and Lizzy and Tizzy and Gilby and Giddy ... shit man, onstage now there's a horn section, two chick back-up singers, two keyboard players, an airline pilot, a basketball coach, a coupla car mechanics ..."

-Roddy from Faith No More

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Something from Keith Richards' Book"

The following except from Keith Richard's book - about the Stones mid '80s breakup period - is interesting, especially in the way that what Keith says could very easily be applied to Axl's version of Guns post 1998:

Said Mick, 'The Rolling Stones ... cannot be, at my age and and after spending all these years, the only thing in my life ... I certainly have earned the right to express myself in another way.' And he did. The way he expressed himself was to go on tour with another band singing Rolling Stones songs.

I really believed Mick wouldn't dare tour without the Stones. It was too hard a slap in the face to deliver to us. It was a death sentence, pending appeal. And for what? But I was wrong and I was outraged and I was hurt. Mick was touring.

So I let him have it, mostly in the press. An opening shot was, if he doesn't want to go out with the Stones and then goes out with Schmuck and Ball's band instead, I'll slit his fucking throat. And then Mick responded loftily, "I love Keith, I admire him ... But I don't feel we can really work together anymore." I can't recall all the jibes and barbs I let loose - Disco Boy, Jagger's Little Jerk Off Band, why doesn't he join Aerosmith? - That's the kind of stuff I fed to the grateful tabloids. It got really bad. One day a reporter asked me, "When are you two going to stop bitching at each other?" "Ask the Bitch", I replied.

Then I thought, let the guy have his way. I took it like that. Let him go out there and fall flat on his face. He'd shown a total lack of friendship, of camaraderie, of everything that's necessary to hold a band together. It was a dump. Charlie felt even worse about it then I did, I think.

I saw a clip of Mick's show, and he had a Keef look-alike guitar player stepping in tandem, doing guitar hero moves. When it was on the road, I was asked what I thought, and I said that it was sad that a high percentage of his show was Rolling Stones songs. I said, if you're going to do something on your own, do stuff off the two albums you did. Don't pretend you're a solo artist and have two chicks prancing around doing "Tumbling Dice." The Rolling Stones spent a lot of time building up integrity, as much as you can get in the music industry. And the way Mick handled his solo career jeopardized all that, and it severely pissed me off.

Mick had misjudged something by a hundred miles. He took it for granted that any bunch of good musicians would be as compatible with him as the Rolling Stones. But he didn't sound like himself. He had great players, but it's kind of like the World Cup. England's not Chelsea or Arsenal. It's a different game, and you've got to work with a different team. Now you've got the best hired hands around and you've got to form a relationship with them. Which is not Mick's forte. He could certainly strut around and have the star on his dressing room door and treat the band like hirelings. But you don't get good music that way.

Thanks to: "Mr. Miser"

Steven Adler Reveals the Secret Formula to Guns N' Roses Success

via Blabbermouth
Gerry Gittelson of the North Hollywood - Toluca Lake Patch conducted an interview last week with Steven Adler.

When asked what he thought the "secret formula" to Guns N' Roses success was, Adler replied, "Guns N' Roses' success, I believe, came from the fact that the five of us liked five different kinds of music.

I always liked the '70s kind of pop, disco — I was really influenced by Queen.

You've got Izzy Stradlin, who was influenced by the Stooges, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols.

And you've got Duff, who was into Black Flag... punk, real hardcore punk.

And then you've got Axl; he was into Queen, Elton John... bands like that.

And Slash was into Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin...

So it was a mixture of all of our different things. We all just meshed together really well. And believe me, it's so hard to find... Look, I'm going through it right now with my new band, Adler's Appetite. It's the hardest thing in the world to find four or five guys that you can actually live with and work with and make magic with."

In a recent interview with The Jewish Chronicle, Adler stated about his former band, "Why do you think we were so successful? Because it was the five of us. We had something special. We had a bond. No matter how much bullshit there's been all these years, there's one thing that Axl and his lawyers can never take away, and that's that we were five brothers who achieved the goals we had since before we were teenagers. And what do brothers do best? They fight with each other! I don't hate them now. My wounds are healed. It's a shame that Axl and Slash won't talk. Every day they don't talk is a day that magic isn't being created. Even if we just did one tour, one record, one song together, the gods want to hear it."

Regarding why he thinks a reunion of Guns N' Roses' classic lineup should happen, he said, "There's all the love I receive around the world. I have heard Appetite For Destruction is the soundtrack to my life' in so many languages. And there's the money we could make. The whole thing could make billions of dollars. All we have to do is get on stage with each other for 90 minutes. And I want to finish what I started. Thank God for putting these jackasses in my life."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Richard Fortus to replace Viv Campbell in Thin Lizzy


Rock News Desk
GN'R guitarist Richard Fortus played a few tracks with Thin Lizzy in Chicago last week – and he’ll join the band next month when Vivian Campbell returns to Def Leppard.

Campbell revealed the news after his final US appearance with Phil Lynott’s reactivated band, currently starring original-era members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton alongside Campbell, ex-Whitesnake bassist Marco Mendoza and ex-Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick.

Fortus will take over after Lizzy play at Slaine Castle, Ireland, on May 28. Campbell reports: “Well, that was it: my last US show with Lizzy – and it was a great one to end on. New guitarist Richard Fortus came and played a couple of songs.

“I have one final gig with them in Ireland, and the very next day we start Def Lep rehearsals.”

Leppard are going back to work after a year’s break, and planning to write a new album while they tour for the rest of 2011. The band will play two shows with Thin Lizzy and special guest Alice Cooper in Ireland, on June 7 and 8, ahead of their appearance at the UK Download festival on June 10 – but Campbell has already ruled himself out of playing two sets on those nights, saying: “My allegiance has to be to Def Leppard.”

Meanwhile, Fortus’ day-job band Guns n’Roses will face a hefty fine if they start their Rock in Rio festival headline slot late on October 2.

Frontman Axl Rose is well-known for keeping audiences waiting up to two hours. Although many of his fans feel it’s part of what makes Rose unique, it’s led to negative reactions from some quarters in the past, and can be a headache for event organisers who have to pay fines themselves if they break curfews or manage a show which could be seen to risk crowd safety.

GnR last played Rock in Rio in 2001, and hit the stage two hours late, although there were no heated scenes during the delay. But festival vice-president Robert Medina says: “It was the hardest show to arrange in our history.

“No other artist has a late clause. Bands are usually on time, but Guns is a different case. Lateness like the one in 2001 can make the public feel uncomfortable and possibly start a riot.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Slash: Mexico City Press Conference Footage

via Blabbermouth
Slash took part in a press conference prior to his March 28, 2011 performance at José Cuervo Salón in Mexico City, Mexico. You can now watch video footage from the question-and-answer session below.

Although Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy sang just two tracks on Slash's self-titled solo debut, Slash recently confirmed that Myles will sing everything on the guitarist's next solo effort.

Speaking to Triple M during his appearance at this year's Soundwave festival, Slash said, "I'm touring around with a sort of mobile studio and we're working on material that I'm gonna do with Myles for the next record. And I'm looking at, probably... It'll be early next year."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chinese Democracy 2 Rumoured For 2011

Ultimate Guitar
Before its eventual release in 2008, it was said that there would be democracy in China before Axl Rose got around to putting out Chinese Democracy. Now, a mere three years after the original volume was released, the internet is awash with rumours after telltale comments from guitarists Dj Ashba and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal hinted to a sequel.

In a surprise appearance on a Mid-West American radio talk show, the pair confirmed that the band were back in the studio. When asked if fans could expect another Chinese Democracy, Bumblefoot responded with this cryptic comment: "all I’m saying is that fans should expect some noise from the GN'R peace corps in 2011"

Rumored tracklisting follows:

The General
Quick Song
Ides of March
Cuban Skies
Jackie Chan
Soul Monster
Blood in the Water