Get Your Jackets Its Time To Go Home: Part 2 – Guns N Roses
Now let’s talk about Guns N Roses.
No band carries as much weight with such a small body of work as “GNR.” In all honesty, they really have just three studio albums. They have the groundbreaking Appetite For Destruction and the bloated, inflated, vastly overblown Use Your Illusions double albums. GNR Lies was a compilation album, Spaghetti Incident was a cover record and Chinese Democracy, well, the less we talk about that the better. Guns exploded on the scene in 1987 with an album that will forever go down as the best debut record in history.
Appetite For Destruction was the kick-in-the-ass everyone was looking for. Those of us who couldn’t relate to Poison, Whitesnake and Warrant finally had a band we could call our own. The members of GNR were angry. They were ugly. They wrote their songs with middle fingers extended. They played their live shows with reckless abandon. Guns N Roses changed everything for me as an individual and changed the world of rock as we knew it.
As much as Appetite was a calling card for me, The Use Your Illusion albums were a major disappointment. The raw anger and emotion of AFD was replaced by piano ballads, Gospel singers and one radio-friendly song after another. What happened? How did this band go from Metallica to Air Supply in the span of just a couple of years? And those videos….are you kidding me? The rebels from Los Angeles were now mainstream darlings. I was appalled by the transformation. The last straw for me with Guns was bassist Duff McKagen comparing designer outfits with model Cindy Crawford on some MTV show. That was it. See ya! Appetite grabbed me by the balls as a teenager and will never let go. That record will always be one of my desert island necessities. What followed, however, was something that, to this day, I refuse to recognize.
Around this time last year, we found out that the classic Guns N Roses line up were about to reunite and do a stadium tour. Axl Rose has been touring with a version of GNR made up of session musicians. Other original band members were off doing a myriad of projects. A GNR reunion was something that none of us thought would ever happen. Then, it was announced. It really was going to happen. The appropriately described, “Not In This Lifetime” tour was happening. It was official. I could not believe it. I was finally going to see the band in concert that wrote the album that changed my life. I was going to rock out to It’s So Easy and Out Ta Get Me. I was going to head bang to Welcome to the Jungle. I was going to dance to Paradise City. I was going to sing Sweet Child O’ Mine to my fiance. Before my tears of joy could dry on the table in front of me, I found out it wasn’t a full reunion. Only Axl, Slash and Duff would be touring. Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin were not part of the deal. Instead, hold overs from the Axl Rose solo project would be on drums and rhythm guitar. Just as they had done with the Illusion albums 25 years earlier, they let me down. How could they call it a ‘reunion’ when only 3/5 of the original line-up was involved?
I bought tickets to see their show anyway. I figured maybe Izzy and Steven would do a surprise performance of some of my favorite Appetite songs. I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I nixed the show and those two showed up. I went in to Met Life Stadium in New Jersey last July with an open mind. The show was great. I take nothing away from the musicianship and abilities of the band but, for me, it was another major disappointment. Adler and Stradlin did not show up. This band had let me down for the last time. They are doing another round of shows this year. I won’t go. If they record new material, I will not buy it. I did not recognize the Use Your Illusions era of Guns N Roses and I refuse to capitulate to what has become, like Kiss, a money-making machine. If touring with Adler and Stradlin is not feasible, to keep the legacy of band in tact, I implore the band to grab their leather jackets, pick up the keys to their Porsche’s and BMW’s and go home.
Last and certainly not least is AC/DC. The lads from Australia are my favorite band of all time. I saw them at Madison Square Garden in New York City on July 12th, 1991. Never in my life did I have an experience like this. I was in a stupor for several days after the show. It was like standing in a wind tunnel for two hours straight. As soon as I could scrape enough money, I started buying their albums. I was introduced to a man who would become my hero. Ronald “Bon” Scott made an impression on me that, to this day, resonates. His lyrics, passion, voice and take-no-shit attitude helped me transform from a shy teenager with no friends to a strong adult with no friends (I like to keep to myself). I could write an entire blog about my affection for Bon and my adoration for the band but I will stick to the topic at hand.
Two of my biggest passions are sports and rock music. Both of which, I have many strong and at times provocative opinions on.
My favorite bands are AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Pantera, and 80s Metallica and well, I have to admit I listen to a lot of Kiss, too.
My teams are the Mets, Jets and Rangers(I know, they all suck)
I've never met a place for buffalo wings that I didn't like.
I am a customs house broker by trade but I have this yearning to express my views on a variety of topics and blogging has become a great outlet for my voice.
In the words of the immortal Bon Scott, "Lock up your daughter and lock up your wife. Lock up your back door and run for your life. The man is back in town, so don't you mess me around"