Now Playing

Alice Cooper - The Sound Of A

Guns N Roses: It's Not So Easy

The most interesting thing about Guns 'N' Roses' induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last weekend was NOT that they did or didn't play. It was NOT who would turn up, what they would say to each other if they DID meet or whether the singer would spontaneously combust if he came within 20 yards of the guitarist.

No, what was so fascinating about this pantomime was our interest in it. The hyperbole, the intrigue, the rumours, the lies and the speculation. There may have been ten other inductees into the Hall Of Fame, but there was only one real story here - and it was, fundamentally, a non-story.

So, just why are we still so caught up in the ongoing soap opera of the whole thing?

You have to remember that Guns N Roses have released just proper five albums in twenty five years - two of those on same day, and one was the Spaghetti Incident. So, that's essentially three and a half proper albums and Spaghetti Incident.

Their whole legend was born of one truly great, truly groundbreaking album, an outrageous reputation and what is fundamentally an unfinished story and we take a look at the legacy of one of rock's most enigmatic bands.


THE PAST

The band may have started their journey as part of the glam metal scene in LA, but they certainly didn't whimper into insignificance like so many of their contemporaries just a few years later. Certainly in their early days and on their debut album, their sound was more akin to AC/DC's riff heavy rock n roll rather than the pomp and glam of bands such as Poison or Hanoi Rocks. They may have looked a little too friendly with the mirror, but they undoubtedly meant business.

But Guns N Roses didn't so much explode into the world as knock on the door really loudly until someone (MTV) let them in. Upon its release Appetite was a slow burner. It took an enormous 50 weeks to get to the top of the US album charts and go properly international, but once it got there it never really left. It remains one of the biggest selling albums of all time, with a whopping 28m sales.

Their full follow-up to Appetite was the bloated Use Your Illusion albums. Two records with probably too little to say over a gargantuan 150 minutes. If the band had taken care over the tracklist (and probably taken less drugs) they may have ended up with their second classic album in a row. That's not to say that the Use Your Illusion albums are bad. Far from it, in fact. Within those 30 tracks are at least 10 truly outstanding songs which stand up against the band's first album.

However, the making of the album and then the gruelling Use Your Illusion Tour, which would break all manner of touring records, cost the band the essence of what made them so special. Both Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin were casualties of the band's lifestyle, with Adler being fired for his drug abuse and Stradlin quitting the band in the early stages of the tour. Rose's increasingly erratic reputation was also a problem, with the tour beset by riots and extremely late stage times that have been attributed to the singer.

By the time the tour wrapped in Buenos Aires in July 1993 the spirit of the band was essentially shattered. Rose's firing of Stradlin's replacement, Gilby Clarke, had been unexpected and then the remaining members recorded Spaghetti Incident. The album, made up of covers, was met with general apathy and derision and it sold considerably less than its predecessors. 

The band spluttered along for a couple more years. Slash, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan survived one more recording (a cover of 'Sympathy Of The Devil') before they left the band and their golden age was effectively done and dusted.

In the latter part of the 20th century and in the past decade Axl Rose just about kept the Guns N Roses name alive with the occasional tour and a revolving door of musicians.

THE PRESENT

Axl Rose takes a lot of staggeringly unfair flak for continuing the Guns N Roses roadshow. Part of that

THE FUTURE

THE ALTERNATIVE GUNS 'N' ROSES PLAYLIST

It's easy to skim the surface of GNR's back catalogue. Firstly, there's not a lot of it. Secondly, pick up any bog standard rock compilation on the market and you're pretty much guaranteed to get one of the following: 'Paradise City', 'Sweet Child O Mine', 'November Rain' or 'Welcome To The Jungle'. Great songs one and all, certainly, but they are everywhere.

So we've put together a list of songs that delve a little deeper into the band's short, momentarily brilliant, occasionally self-indulgent back catalogue which we think represent the side of the band that most people are missing.

You'll need Spotify to listen to the

Comments

Add a comment

Log in to the club or enter your details below.