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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:19 am


Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 11.

Written by:
Axl Rose.

Drums: Matt
     Bass: Duff
     Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
     Rhythm and Lead Guitars: Izzy
     Vocals, Piano: Axl

Live performances:
'Estranged' was played live for the first time at Maracana Stadium, Brazil, on January 20, 1991. It had not been played since 1993 when it was added to the setlist of Rock in Rio IV on October 2, 2011, and has since then become a staple in the setlists. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {ESTRANGEDSONGS} times.

When you're talkin to yourself
       And nobody's home
       You can fool yourself
       You came in this world alone

So nobody ever told you baby
       How it was gonna be
       So what'll happen to you baby
       Guess we'll have to wait and see
       One, two

Old at heart but I'm only 28
       And I'm much too young
       To let love break my heart
       Young at heart but it's getting much too late
       To find ourselves so far apart

     I don't know how you're s'posed
       To find me latelyAnd what more could you ask from me
       How could you say that I never needed you
       When you took everything
       Said you took everything from me

     Young at heart an it gets so hard to wait
       When no one I know can seem to help me now
       Old at heart but I musn't hesitate
       If I'm to find my own way out
     Still talkin' to myself and nobody's home

     So nobody ever told us baby
       How it was gonna be
       So what'll happen to us baby
       Guess we'll have to wait and see

     When I find out all the reasons
       Maybe I'll find another way
       Find another day
       With all the changing seasons of my life
       Maybe I'll get it right next time
       An now that you've been broken down
       Got your head out of the clouds
       You're back down on the ground
       And you don't talk so loud
       An you don't walk so proud
       Any more, and what for

     Well I jumped into the river too many times
       to make it home
       I'm out here on my own, an drifting all alone
       If it doesn't show give it time
       To read between the lines
       'Cause I see the storm getting closer
       And the waves they get so high
       Seems everything we've ever known's here
       Why must it drift away and die

     I'll never find anyone to replace you
       Guess I'll have to make it thru, this time
       Oh this time
       Without you

     I knew the storm was getting closer
       And all my friends said I was high
       But everything we've ever known's here
       I never wanted it to die

On [...] 'Estranged' I take the tone knob and turn it all the way down on that particular pickup [Guitar For The Practising Musician, April 1990]
'November Rain' is about not wanting to be in a state of unrequited love, 'Estranged' is about acknowledging it, and being there, and having to figure out what the fuck to do. It's like being catapulted into the Universe and having no choice about it and having to figure out what the fuck you are going to do, because the things you wanted and worked for just cannot happen and there's nothing you can fucking do about it [Making fucking videos, 1992?].
This is a personal little baby of mine [Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI, USA, May 24, 1991]
Estranged started getting developed when I had a relationship with my ex-wife Erin. And, you know, it just got really dark and, basically, writing the song was one of the only things that kept me together. And I really tried to put into words how I felt in the situation and how much I wanted things to work, you know. And, really, the song helped me to get in touch with my real feelings besides all the arguments and whatever was going on. Like when you get in an argument with somebody and you’re screaming, and yelling, and whatever, and then you go sit by yourself and you go, “That’s not what I wanted to say.” […] And so it was my way to express to myself how I felt [Rockline, November 27, 1991]
There's something really wild, for me, in performing 'Estranged' 'cause all of a sudden I realized I don't want to be sitting at the piano playing this song to keep the energy of the song moving live. I need to be moving around and there's something about being able to be up there moving around during it that's actually a present, a gift or something. Being able to dance and rejoice in a song. That came from situations and emotions that were killing me [Nadler (1992) Axl Gets In The Ring, Metallix - 1992]
The songs that are more subtle are the ones where I really have to buckle down and make sure I've got it, especially if the guitar part's the main voice of the song. On songs like "Estranged" and "November Rain," I have to stop for a second and slow myself down, make sure that I hit the notes correctly so that they don't go out of tune, or the vibrato's not too hectic. [Guitar For The Practising Musician, November 1992]
It's one of Axl's babies, where he sat down and he had something he really wanted to express, and he wrote it on piano. And so there came the time when the band had to figure out where the bass is gonna come in, where the guitar is gonna come in. This and that. And so, I did all the guitar arrangements on it and wrote the guitar melodies, which are pretty important to the song now, I would say. 'Cause you recognize 'em, you know. That's that. That's why I have credit on it [GN'R on WNEW 102.7 - September, 1991]
We released a making of… One for "Don't Cry" and one for "November Rain" and we're making one for "Estranged"… Actually "Estranged" isn't… in some ways a part of the trilogy. It's more like part four. Part three was a mutual self-destruction of the couple that was in "November Rain". And… well, someone had other plans and we were in a position, where something we had worked on for five years had to be rewritten to kinda transcend it. So, it's a video about transcendence of a real life situation, that didn't have a whole lot to do with the story that was intended. And actually I'm kinda glad we made this video instead of the one we were going to make. To know about the story that was in "November Rain", you have to wait on Del's book. It's a story called "Without You" [Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994]
Talking about the video for 'Estranged': My friend Del James wrote a short story called "Without You", that was influenced by me and my ex-wife, in some ways. And then I ended up writing a song that fit that story, which was "Estranged". And so… You know, that was about, I don't know, four or five years ago and… The story started, then a couple of years later the song came about and then we started working on this project. And then in the middle of the project, or two thirds into the project, real life kind of changed all the plans. And we had to make something else and figure out how to rise above… As an artist, I had to figure out how to rise above my own creation that meant a lot to me. That I was kinda stop dead in my tracks and had to figure out how to make something else and… Like, write a whole new thing on top of something I'd been living to make, that I liked even more. And it was a really hard challenge and myself and the director, Andy Morahan was involved in this whole thing all along. And so was Del James and the band and… For all of us, it was a really hard challenge to rise above. Plus, we've spent 2.5 million dollars and we had to put it out [Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994]
'Estranged'  was a song that Axl had been working out on piano for a long time - he'd been playing the same parts over and over in Chicago and afterward; it was clear that it was working itself out in his head. I had started writing guitar parts for it back in Chicago, so it came together in no time once we focused on it [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, p. 298]
There were a few songs that were very involved guitar-wise on those albums. 'Estranged' was a big, long song. I used a Les Paul Gold Top on it; I recorded all of the melodies on the rhythm pickup with the tone turned all the way down. 'November Rain' was tough, too, as was another Axl song called 'Breakdown.' Those were all piano driven and they needed accompaniment; the guitar and bass parts had to be thought out and done precisely. Those songs were all pretty fucking cool, I have to say, but they took some work [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 316]
It was hard to arrange [November Rain] and Estranged, because they were so open-ended and we had to cut November Rain. But those were Axl's epic piano pieces and they were both breakthrough guitar solos for me. Real melody solos, y'know? I had some good sounds and they were melodically very spontaneous [Music Radar, September 2011]
Being asked about the highlight of the shows: You know what, it has become 'Estranged', because for years everybody would just badger me, on the Internet, they would badger me [laughs]. They would just badger me on twitter, Facebook, "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!". I just don't like blocking people [?]. They would just badger me. So finally we got to play it [TMS with Eddie Trunk, November 2011]
It’s kind of a beast for me, and for everybody, but it’s such a great song. At the end of the song, you look out and people seem really appreciative to hear that again, so that’s been very cool. When we first started playing that way back when, before even “Use Your Illusion” albums were out, it was almost kind of the opposite; people were scratching their head going, “What the hell?” But so many years later, they seem really into it and seem to really appreciate that we’re doing that song. It’s a lot of fun to play now [, December 2011]

'Estranged' performed on January 20, 1991 at Maracana Stadium, Brazil:

'Estranged' performed on October 2, 2011 at Rock In Rio IV, Brazil:


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:44 pm; edited 10 times in total
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Re: Estranged

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:00 am

Definitely one of my favourite songs from the Use Your Illusion records. It was also one of the songs that stuck with me upon hearing the records for the first times. I guess it was the haunting guitar melodies and Axl's words. I was 15 at the time. It was powerful stuff. I used to listen to the records in bed before falling asleep. With a CD player and a big headset, there in the dark, with the sound on maximum just to completely immerse myself in the music. And I played the first part of Estranged over and over and over again until sleep caught up with me.
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Re: Estranged

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:06 pm

A review of the video:

After the albums Appetite for Destruction and Lies, Guns N Roses released two albums at the same time titled Use Your Illusion I and II. From this double release would come three intertwining videos known as ‘The Trilogy’. The third video released was for the song "Estranged."

The third (and final installment) shows Axl hiding in a crawl space. Initially it is unclear if it is because he has lost his mind or is still thinking about his decision to wear that blue blazer to the wedding. Probably a little of both. Matt Sorum is back to wearing his bandana and women are now watching members of Guns N’ Roses performing on television. As mentioned before this video sort of takes on a life of its own and doesn’t flow as well as the first two. My solution would have been to create this as the fourth video and use “Coma” as the song for the third video which could have transitioned Relationship Axl into Crazy Axl much easier. Of course, the big problem with this is that the collection would no longer be referred to as The Trilogy.

Back to the video Axl is having an out of couch experience that leads to a shower scene (fully clothed) and then he is dressed in white walking around a mental hospital. For those lost already, hold on! On a crazy scale of 1 to 10 we are treading around 3, but are heading to 10!

Back to the girls watching the television screens: When not watching Guns N’ Roses perform they are watching dolphins. While this is happening we are on Sunset Boulevard (band actually shut down part of West Hollywood to shoot this video) and Slash is floating through the streets during one of his guitar solos. Is this strange? Not compared to Axl who is walking along streets that have turned into rivers containing dolphins swimming along the side.

Time Out. So at any point did anyone stop here and go “This is too much?” The answer is no, in fact, someone green lighted THIS ENDING: Axl jumps onto an OIL TANKER, jumps off into the Ocean and sinks. Axl is swimming with the Dolphins as Slash RISES OUT OF THE WATER to play a solo and levitate on top. A HELICOPTER has to come and rescue Rose who loses one of his Converse shoes that actually have the name AXL on them and then the video concludes with a message that reads LOSE YOUR ILLUSIONS. I remember watching this the first time and I have the same reaction today. I have no idea if what I just watched was genius or garbage, but to this day I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
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