Dave - 1987. Hard rock and heavy metal were hitting the airwaves and the time was ripe for new bands to explode onto the scene. One of those bands got the prime gig of opening for Aerosmith. That band is Guns N' Roses. The downright brutal assault of "Appetite for Destruction" was making a lot of noise on the radio and MTV and quickly making this LA band a worldwide success.
Dave - The chart-topping success of that record, made their independent EP "Live Like a Suicide" a hot commodity fetching some outrageous prices. So, the band cut 4 new acoustic songs and rereleased that EP on "Lies". The acoustic side brought a new sound to the band. "Patience" was nothing like anything on "Appetite".
"Use Your Illusion 1 & 2" brought another change in tempo for the band. Incorporating some piano and keyboards and an influence of blues on several songs kept things fresh and kept fans guessing. This was one of the first times I can remember a record store having a midnight sale at the day of the release for diehard fans. Songs were getting more epic too. "November Rain clocked in at almost 9 minutes. "Coma" comes in at over 10 minutes. Even though its the longest song on the record, its one of my favorites. Those 10 minutes have about 4 tempo changes, keeping things fresh. If it had been the same repetitive rhythm for 10 minutes, it could have been boring.
Dave - "The Spaghetti Incident?" is definitely a WTF moment for most fans. An album of cover songs but not really with the typical GNR stamp. A perfect example of this is "Down on the Farm". It was originally by a punk band called the UK Subs. GNR covered it at Farm Aid 4 in 1990. At Farm Aid, it sounded much more rocked out. This studio version sounds more punk. Everything sounds like the original style it was done in by the original bands.
This was 1993 and the beginning of the long drought and a lot of changes for the band. Everyone was gone except for Axl and the controversy started about name changes since "the original members" weren't there. Well, if you want to get technical, Slash wasn't an original member either. Tracii Guns (went on to form L.A. Guns) was the original guitarist (hence the name-- GUNS N' Roses).
1999 brought us the first new song since 93, and first original GNR song from 91. "Oh My God" brought a heavier, more industrial sound as it was featured on the "End of Days" soundtrack. The eagerly awaited new GNR CD has a name. "Chinese Democracy". Of course, it wont actually be released 2008. But I'll get to that in a bit after I rant a little. OK, maybe a lot. Thus begins my defense.
Comments can run rampant and fans and fandoms can become so toxic. The second that something is different or changes, the assaults come rushing in. Complaining that isn't GNR. Its just Axl and some hired guns. This doesn't sound like GNR. So called fans want to pull apart every bit of originality. You could just as easily say Velvet Revolver was just GNR with a new singer. But that’s beside the point.
First things first.
1. "This isn't GNR". Ummm, yes, it is. Look at the label. Says it right there. Guns N Roses.
So, as I said, 2008 brought the release of "Chinese Democracy" the end to the 15-year gap of new GNR music-- and the start of fans crying about it. With as many songs that have been worked on for this record over the years, they only gave us 14 new songs. But clocking in at just over 71 minutes, that was just about the limit for one CD unless they wanted double release. It's a very diverse record. Different influences and keeping the shift in momentum. The title track, "Better", There Was a Time", "Madagascar", "Catcher in the Rye". But one of the sickest burns is in "Street of Dreams"-- "What I thought was beautiful, don't live inside of you anymore". OUCH!
In the years since then, Slash and Duff have re-joined Axl for the reunion tour. I kinda have mixed feelings about this. I love seeing them together but they went right on the road. It seems like a quick money grab to me. If you are going to regroup, hit the studio first. Record new music so you have something to market. I will say one thing that is surprising about this reunion. Something that is separates it from other reunion tours is they are not ignoring the time that the other members were out of the band. They actually had Slash and Duff learn some "Chinese Democracy" so they can play them live. With the new release of the single "Absurd", a reworked version of "Silkworms" from the "Chinese Democracy" demos, maybe we'll be hearing a full record soon.
Dave Christy loves horror, music, documentaries and more. He is also the co-runner of several fan based groups including Morningstars (THE Lucifer fan group also run by Melanie), and now is a member of the VIPers Spotlight Lounge team for Melanie's Muses. Other than "In The Spotlight" Features -check out his "31 Days Of Halloween Movies"
The Code Word For This Article Is November