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SoulMonster

1988.06.XX - Interview with Axl

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1988.06.XX - Interview with Axl

Post by Blackstar on Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:37 am

Axl's Notes - Anaheim 2.10.88
 
From Rock Scene Magazine [June, 1988]
 
 
RS: What are some of the select gigs that stick out in your mind?
 
Axl: The Celebrity Theater in Anaheim, both shows, the second show especially because we were on top of it. We played better than I think we've ever played, and I don't know why. It just felt good, the people were into it, and it wasn't so much that we knew all the people in the crowd. Perkins Palace, the first couple shows were more that way. Anaheim was, like, the crowd we didn't really know. It was a crazy show and... we just felt good. We cranked it out for over two hours, and that means going over...
 
You're not really rehearsing on the road, you're just playing your set, and when you're an opening band you're only playing 45 minutes. Then you gotta remember how to play the other songs that you haven't played. We pulled a couple songs out of the hat, and did both versions of "You're Crazy." That was just really fun to do, cause it wasn't something we had done before, just pulling things out of the hat the way we did. I got a security guard thrown out of the building. The security guards were actually so rough that night, they lost the contract with the building... I liked that. Everything went real smoothly. We had good sound on stage, which is rare.


Last edited by Blackstar on Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1988.06.XX - Interview with Axl

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:17 pm

I have found the entire interview:

Guns N' Roses -- Ridin' That Night Train Through Musical History
by Beth Nussbaum

Guns N' Roses crooner Axl Rose sings "It's So Easy," but is it really? Times weren't quite that pleasant for them back when they were struggling to achieve notoriety on the local L.A. scene. They were condemned and mocked, but little by little their following grew by the hoards. It took them a long time to get signed, and to finally have their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, released, but after that it was almost as if it was handed to them on a silver platter. The buzz began, and suddenly their album was being bought up by the truckload. They couldn't keep it stocked in the record stores! In no time, the band that people had said wouldn't go anywhere were all over the place! And much to their dismay, they ain't leaving so fast, either. If Appetite for Destruction is any indication of what we can expect from these talented musicians, then watch out. I think they've just created a whole new genre of music for the 21st century. It may not have been "So Easy" back when they were just getting started, but now it seems like such a piece of cake. And this is one everyone wants a slice of.
Rock Scene: Let's talk about the next LP.
Axl Rose: There was a lot of stuff written before the last record, before we even went into the studio, in which case we picked 12 songs to go on the first album, and so that left a lot of ideas and material that we didn't use left over. This is stuff we care about. There's songs that Slash wrote guitar parts for, like, four or five years ago, and I just started writing words to one of them about a month ago. It was something I always liked but never found the right words for. There's a lot of stuff like that. There's other tracks that we decided we didn't want to put on the first album, we wanted to wait until we had a larger listening audience and spring it on them.
Just for the fact that, say you have a really good song and you think it can go really far, and really help push the band. It would be better to spring it when a million people like you than ten. With the ten you might gain another hundred, with this, we might gain an extra million. All those million that bought your record might go out and buy it again. There's a song called "Don't Cry" and one called "November Rain," either one of them would have possibly taken the place of "Sweet Child," but we opted for the latter, being what we felt was the weaker of the three, actually, where I don't think "Sweet Child" is a weak song at all!
RS: So, you're not at a loss for material?
Axl: Not really. Not now.
RS: Have you written some new stuff?
Axl: Yeah. I've written a bunch of stuff, and Slash has written a bunch of stuff, and Izzy's written a bunch of material, and we've just started putting it all together. Basically what we do is, everybody just writes a whole song on their own. Those guys might delete words. I might delete guitar parts, but I have an idea of how I want them to go. Then we get together eventually, throw it in a pot and see what we can pull out.
RS: How do you see Guns N' Roses being imitated five years from now?
Axl: I don't know. I just hope we're influential on people with the writing of their songs. I don't know, because there will be a lot of different styles of material that's gonna come out of us that I don't think people are really gonna expect. I'm not saying that the next record will do better or worse in sales, but I think it will really surprise people. Like the first record really surprised people, they thought there was more than one singer; there was a lot of variety in the songs... I think the next record will be much the same way, and even stronger.
RS: What's going on with your EP?
Axl: That's what we're doing next week (at press time -- Ed.). We've just been recording, and we might even leave it intact, as it is, or use it as a B-side. When we went into the studio initially, to do some test tracks and lay down some songs and see what we had together, we had about 27 songs together when Geffen first signed us. So we went in, laid that down, and we were in there for like two days, and at the end of the second day we just got into an acoustic jam.
Some of the songs, like "You're Crazy," were originally written that way. It was originally written slow and acoustic -- we did that on the Late Show and it went over great. We wanted to use that opportunity to show... where everybody thought we'd use the spot to show how hard rockin' and bad ass we were, we kinda wanted to show our versatility.
RS: Thinking about it, most of your songs seem to be directed at one person. Like "Think About You" for example.
Axl: That one doesn't have so much to do with me. Izzy wrote that one. There's a few parts of the lyrics that I put in there, and maybe gave it a little more flow, and worded it my way since I was the one singing it. Izzy does a lot of lyric writing.
RS: That song is pretty underrated. It's one of my favorites on the album.
Axl: I think it's kinda one of the ones that's a bit hidden. That's also with the way it was recorded. It's also very Hanoi Rocks-influenced, and the production on "Think About You" and the way it's done, is kinda like a tribute to all those old Hanoi Rocks records. It's something that Izzy was really into, and then he got me into it. It's kinda like a Hanoi Rocks song the way we looked at that.
RS: It's funny, you've been compared to a lot of people, but this is the first time Hanoi Rocks has ever been mentioned.
Axl: It's also that a lot of people don't know who Hanoi is. I thought that Hanoi Rocks was a lot bigger than they were, but it seems to be a lot smaller groups of people; it's a smaller circle but at the same time, that circle got very intense about the group. It was almost like a Sex Pistols type of following.
RS: "Welcome to the Jungle" sounds more like New York than Los Angeles.
Axl: I always hang out in downtown L.A. As soon as I can, I'd like to spend at least three to six months in N.Y., in the summer, just hanging out as much as possible, on the street. I like watching street people, and the people living on the street. Not even so much talking about hanging out in clubs. I'm talking about just like sitting at a bus stop and watching bag ladies and stuff like that, and listening to people talk, and what they think of. I don't know, it just fascinates me. Like when I was there recording, since I usually sleep in the day, I'll go out at like four or five in the morning, just stand across from the hotel smoking cigarettes, watching what people go in the deli, or whatever. Just to analyze the shit out of the situation. Plus the fact that New York is 24 hours. I like that. L.A. is like, 'what Jack in the Box is open,' a couple other things, there's some grocery stores, other than that it's pretty boring.
RS: What people do you wish had Appetite For Destruction in their record collections?
Axl: That's a good one. Everybody in China, that they bought and paid for it. A billion! I think it should be mandatory law that you have to go out and buy your Appetite For Destruction record in China. That would be real happening. I'd get to throw some killer parties. Now, I don't know. I can think of a few people I wouldn't want to have it in their collections, like the Atlanta police. I don't want them to even have listened to it at all. Other than that, I can't think of who I'd want to have it, I just want everybody to go buy it.
RS: What are some of the select gigs that stick out in your mind?
Axl: The Celebrity Theater in Anaheim, both shows, the second show especially because we were on top of it. We played better than I think we've ever played, and I don't know why. It just felt good, the people were into it, and it wasn't so much that we knew all the people in the crowd. Perkins Palace, the first couple shows were more that way. Anaheim was, like, the crowd we didn't really know. It was a crazy show and... we just felt good. We cranked it out for over two hours, and that means going over...
You're not really rehearsing on the road, you're just playing your set, and when you're an opening band you're only playing 45 minutes. Then you gotta remember how to play the other songs that you haven't played. We pulled a couple songs out of the hat, and did both versions of "You're Crazy." That was just really fun to do, cause it wasn't something we had done before, just pulling things out of the hat the way we did. I got a security guard thrown out of the building. The security guards were actually so rough that night, they lost the contract with the building... I liked that. Everything went real smoothly. We had good sound on stage, which is rare.
RS: Axl, I know you're very critical of your live performances, but you should never think that your're making a fool of yourself, cause you're too good to. Even if you're having a bad night, you'll still be great.
Axl: Thank you. It's so weird. It's like, I'm going through photocopies of all the press clippings, reading reviews of people saying that we'll never make it, or "they sold 100,000 and they might sell 200,000," and I just had a meeting with the head of sales at Geffen and he's talking about how the army just picked up our record and it's actually going out on some ships at sea, for sail. That was kinda strange. A lot of different stores didn't want to pick up the record for a long time cause they didn't like the cover or they didn't like the lyrics, or they didn't like this or that and now it's like -- top three in almost every major chain.
RS: You deserve it, that's all there is to it. Talent always wins out in the end.
Axl: Well, I've seen records bomb that I think are the best. Like the last Queen record didn't necessarily bomb, but it didn't sell as much as their others, and I think it's one of the best records they've ever released. You never really know what the public's gonna buy.
RS: I understand that you were possibly going to become a lawyer at one point.
Axl: That was something, it was like my choice of whether I wanted to do music, or do school, and I picked music. My brother just graduated pre-law. Law is something that interests me, cause there's always someone that wants to sue you, so I like to know everything I can about it. So, I'll be learning as much as I can from him and maybe, eventually, one day that's something that I'll turn to, just because it's something that I want to know about.
RS: Are you the only person in Rock & Roll that enjoys making videos?
Axl: I don't know. Why, doesn't anybody else? I really liked "Welcome to the Jungle." We did "Sweet Child" the other night and I wasn't thrilled with it. I like where we have the band playing live, and working on that. Other than that, I have to see what came out. We filmed a lot of stuff with us just hanging out, so I have to see that.
What we did, the filming, was pretty fun, but some things came up, like "Sweet Child" is used when they roll the credits to the movie Bad Dreams, and we had come up with this whole concept of how we were gonna film our video in an insane asylum, then when we went and saw the screening of the movie and no one, including our manager, knew that the whole movie was filmed inside an insane asylum! That kind of shot down all the fun. I really wanted to do the conceptual footage, and we really didn't do any for this video. So that's the part that I guess, that little bit of acting, that I like doing.
RS: What's this about a movie you're gonna be in?
Axl: Clint Eastwood's filming a new Dirty Harry which I think is called Death Pool. It's about people putting their money in the pot and betting on who's gonna live through that year, something like that. Then one of the guys takes it into his own hands and helps fix up the odds. The singer, who is supposedly singing one of our songs, either "Jungle" or "Nightrain"... We stood behind the family at the gravesite, that's about it. Then there's another scene where Slash, Izzy and Duff were hanging out on a tugboat and they're acting like they're filming a movie. So, it's the filming of the filming of a movie! And Slash is shooting off a harpoon gun.
Meeting Clint was great. He walks up and goes, "Great record." I don't know if he's ever heard it, but that was killer. I don't know if that was a political statement, or a real one. I'd like to think it was real. I was thinking about it and, you know, he's gotta have a really wide range of things that he gets into, because he's the mayor of a city, but then he's got certain language and things talked about in his movies. That's pretty intense.
RS: If you had to have a Guns N' Roses theme song, which one would it be?
Axl: It's pretty obvious that "Welcome to the Jungle" kinda hits it. That was gonna be the title of the record until the title of the original painting was Appetite For Destruction, and we really liked it, cause I break everything around me anyway. That was the title of the Robert Williams painting. He named it. We ended up deciding we really liked it, so we just went with it.
RS: Where did you find it? Do you know this artist?
Axl: He's like a major underground comic's artist, and paints like one oil painting the size of a window a week! That painting was actually the size of a wall and sold in 1978 for like $10,000 and we leased it from him. But I found it on the cover of a book that he had put out, in a place called the Soap Plant in L.A. I found it and I thought "Wow, that is an intense picture, man." I'd never seen anything like it, and then I went back to buy it and it was gone.
Then I found it on a postcard, submitted it as a joke, and everybody liked it. I wanted it as the cover, but I thought we could never use it even though it was so intense. I just wanted to show everybody, and we all decided to use it. It was really weird that I found it on the cover of a book to begin with, because it's something that's out of print and it's a co llector's item, and the Soap Plant shouldn't have had it to begin with. It goes for like $7,500 bucks now, and it was $11 dollars when I found it! When I met the artist and told him where I had found the book, he said it was impossible. So, it was really kinda like a coincidence that we found it. I think it was meant to be, cause even though it's been banned a lot of places, and Warner Brothers refused to print it, so we had to get an outside printer, but now they stockpile it in their warehouse because they get so many demands for it. Where at the time they were gonna make just a few, now and then. I feel that we've got this piece of art work, and some people just go "Wow, gnarly cover," but I think there's a lot of people out there that can really appreciate the artwork of it, and that's what I wanted to show them.
RS: Why are you doing this EP now, all of a sudden?
Axl: Well, it's something we always planned on doing. We always planned on releasing an acoustic thing and when the record starts to die off, it will do good for us there, financially, and keeping the buzz going about Guns N' Roses, while we take the time to make the next record. Also, it's a way to get out certain things that we don't necessarily want to put on our albums.
We've got so many other things we want to put on the record, so this gives us a way to get rid of excess material. Like we did the live thing, now we want to do an acoustic thing, and stuff like that, and so we don't have to spend like $50,000 dollars to go in and record this thing. This way we can get out a lot more of our material and I think it will help make us... with the EP, the record, and then the new EP, that will be like having two records out. So, that will give us a lot stronger base quicker. There will be a lot of stuff for people to pick from, in a lot less time than it would take to release three albums.
RS: What's relatively new in your record collection?
Axl: Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits Volume II. "My Way" -- a killer song. I had to go pick up a new copy of Fade to Black. Let's see, David Gilmour's No Way Out of Here, The Best of the Barkays, cause I really like the song "Holy Ghost," and Blue Oyster Cult's Agents Of Fortune.
RS: What tattoos haven't you gotten yet?
Axl: The "Nightrain." It's like my last tattoo. I've got the artwork, I've already had it all drawn up, and already paid for it. I had it painted by this girl who paints really well. It's the "Nightrain" logo with this naked girl riding the train, and a big snake on one side and a big tiger on the other, and that's gonna be on my other forearm. I have five right now. Once I decided I was gonna get one tattoo, I not only pictured it in my mind what I was gonna get, but I was gonna get two arms of tattoos.
RS: Anywhere else?
Axl: Not really. Unless I found the right tattoo, I don't necessarily like the way that looks.
RS: Would Appetite For Destruction have sounded very different if you would have produced it completely by yourselves?
Axl: There may have been a different track or two just because we're working with other people, and when you're working with other people they have their input on which tracks are the best, and stuff like that. It didn't really bother us, not a whole lot. If we had more time, I think we might have gotten a bit more of a better mix.
Actually, the record's pretty much co-produced, but we got a really good deal from our producer since he wanted to break into producing, and get credits for producing. If we gave him full credit on the record, it would help him a lot in the business. But especially Izzy, Slash, and myself were there every step of the way, so it was pretty much co-produced. We were in on the mixing and stuff, and usually the guys who mix the records never have anybody in the studio when they do that. We were there the whole time.
RS: Where were you when Appetite For Destruction went gold? (It's since went platinum -- Ed.)
Axl: San Francisco, getting ready to play our first show in Sacramento, and we were really happy. But at the time, I knew it was gonna happen. The day before, I got woken up in the middle of the night. And I was like, 'If this is about going gold I'm gonna be so pissed off.' God, if other people had my problems, right?
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