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1986.08.04 - Music Connection - "Guns N' Roses vs Music Connection, The Sequel"

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1986.08.04 - Music Connection - "Guns N' Roses vs Music Connection, The Sequel"

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:27 am

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This is Axl's respond to the infamous Music Connection interview from April 1986. I believed it was published in August 1986. The interviewer, Karen Burch, also has a comment to Axl's letter.

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GUNS N’ ROSES vs. MUSIC CONNECTION: The Sequel
 
The magazine’s most talked-about story of 1986 was Karen Burch’s no-holds-barred feature on the young L.A.-based group Guns N’ Roses (April 14), which ran at the time of the band’s signing by Geffen. As it turned out, we were forced to run the piece “against the wishes of Guns N’ Roses, according to [lead singer] W. Axl Rose.” The story was published with this disclaimer because of a last-minute demand that we pull it, along with the “unacceptable” cover photograph (which had in fact been approved by then-manager Vicky Hamilton and at least one bandmember). Burch’s story elicited an unprecedented response from readers, all of it positive – until now.
What follows is the complete text of a letter the magazine has received from Rose. Because of the somewhat accusatory nature of its content, the letter is followed by a response from writer Burch.
 
My Dearest Music Connection:

In response to your interview, cover photo, comments, letters, review, and article on band managers titled “The Best Years of Their Lives” – I’m writing you this letter.
In my opinion a California-based magazine would be better off being an ally to the L.A. diversities as a whole, rather than riding the “I know the industry, I am the only way, and you will bow before me” attitude so many of the blind in the observation industry insist upon doing.
Did it ever occur to you that I am trying to do exactly as I choose by the only road I have found? The music I take part in is by choice, not by an adherance to another’s view on the quality or the sincerity of any given piece of material. Freedom of choice is a concept in which each member of Guns N’ Roses shares a commitment. We are our own political party within a government just as any small business.
I realize in a world or particular reality where the pen acts, and so often is in actuality, as the knife, we all fall beneath the blade of personal opinion. No one escapes hypocrisy.
The attitude of Guns N’ Roses in contact is relatively simple to understand. Honesty and fulfillment of commitments to the best of abilities within the realm of our survival hold the key. In an attempt to communicate with us you violated our basic laws of a well-balanced relationship with any outside organization, or individual for that matter. I will address these infringements individually and then proceed with my opinions of yours and others’ opinions re Guns N’ Roses.
We, Guns N’ Roses, agreed to an interview, and consented to be the subjects of a cover photo for the Music Connection. This was done on the basis of a verbal agreement made by both parties, Guns N’ Roses and the Music Connection. This agreement required the use of a tape recorder by the Music Connection in the interview. It also stated Guns N’ Roses was allowed to review and edit said interview before printing. The agreement demanded that no photographic material of Guns N’ Roses was to be used without the consent of Guns N’ Roses. Music Connection representative Karen Burch agreed to these terms before interviewing Guns N’ Roses.
With the exception of the use of the unfortunate tape recorder all promises were broken, leaving an “I got the story, I got the pictures, fuck you and your confindences” stench in the wake of the Music Connection in the lives of Guns N’ Roses. No considerations or respect for Guns N’ Roses was shown save for the sheer fact we were noticed and given an opportunity to be seen in the press. It’s a shame our first contact with a world as large as the press should leave such a foul taste in my mouth.
Regarding Guns N’ Roses attitude toward Karen Burch before, during, and after the interview, she received what she asked for. Karen was welcomed into our environment eagerly. Outside interest was considered, perhaps wrongly, as a compliment. In consequence our world was invaded, our requests for personal privacy ignored. The unrecorded sexual prodding of the band by Karen Burch resulted in the accidental breakage of the reporter’s tape recorder by Guns N’ Roses. Responsibility for this incident is a matter in which I ask myself if I should accept. Perhaps under different circumstances I would, but as of now I won’t.
The letter you printed from a Doctor Scappa (5/12) was quite amusing. I have never met this man but I venture to say the idea of such an unwitnessed occurrence frightens him. This “stamp out the object of fear” mentality without exploration frightens me. It tends to give the victim of its attention the choice of becoming dangerous for the purpose of survival. The situation as a whole is a double-edged sword.
In another letter (6/9) a Steve Beck claims to know a couple of the members of Guns N’ Roses. I don’t know him and neither do any of the members of this band. His comments are a farce. The editorial remark following Mr. Beck’s letter is another example of blind journalism.
The cover photo by Kristen Dahline is a hideous representation of the artist’s abilities as a photographer. His insincerity and lack of personability resulted in chaos in his studio. I do respect his ability to capture the attitude projected toward him on film. I apologize for not walking out, there is no acceptable excuse.
The photographs of the individual members of Guns N’ Roses used in the interview were taken by our photographer Robert John and used against our wishes by the Music Connection. The only photo approved for use in the interview by Guns N’ Roses was the black and white group shot also taken by Robert John.
In regards to the comments made by Vicki [sic] Hamilton in your article “The Best Years of Their Lives,” I would like to start by saying – Vicki Hamilton is a kind, good-hearted person. There is a sizeable list of tasks performed and duties completed by Vicki, none of which have been unappreciated. Vicki is exceptional in booking, promoting and as she says herself, babysitting a band. Without her the road would have been considerably rougher. Vicki, however, did not negotiate our record deal, plan or design band direction, or choose personnel in the Guns N’ Roses organization.
I would like to thank Screamin’ Lord Duff for his review of the band, it seemed pretty spontaneous and genuine! I appreciate the honesty of his opinion, and oh yeah... Geffen did sign Aerosmith, didn’t they!
I would like to thank you, the Music Connection, for your attention and your time. Rock and roll!
 
Sincerely,
W. Axl Rose
Guns N’ Roses
 
Karen Burch Responds:
 
I could relate facts that clearly display Rose’s less-than-personable spirit as well as numerous incidents which occurred after the interview took place. (For example: His wholly uncooperative conduct during the photo shoot, and daily threats made by him up until the date in which the story was printed.) But who really cares? I elected not to report those incidents as I felt they would be quite embarrassing to Rose, and thus, to his band. It is unfair to chastise an entire group for the actions of one individual.
I find Rose’s letter quite curious. What’s the big deal? He received what many bands would be thrilled to experience. His band got a great piece (“bitchen,” to quote Rose) for their press kit and a cover photo that’s a direct product and result of the band’s degree and professionalism – exactly what Rose expected. I got a great story and a broken tape recorder. I’m not complaining – these things happen.
I find Rose’s statements regarding the “unrecorded” portions of the interview just as puzzling. The only periods when the tape wasn’t rolling were those times at which the bandmembers wished to speak off the record. I turned off the tape in order to put the bandmembers at ease while they related some incidents and opinions not for print. This was purely out of consideration and respect for Guns N’ Roses personal and professional privacy, exactly what Rose purports he didn’t receive. I venture to say that the vulgar (and unprintable, in the interests of good taste) message recorded on my tape by certain bandmembers (while I was out of the room) suggests that Rose has attributed the “sexual prodding” that occurred to the wrong party indeed. And the only victim of actual prodding was an inanimate object.
As for the foul taste in Rose’s mouth – may I suggest he try a little soap to wash away what appears to be a severe case of sour grapes. And concerning any stench he’s left with – perhaps it’s merely the bad smell that plagues those who harbor a rotten attitude.

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Re: 1986.08.04 - Music Connection - "Guns N' Roses vs Music Connection, The Sequel"

Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:12 pm

Later in the same month, Axl and Steven would comment on the letter and the original Music Connection article this way:

Axl: Regarding Music Connection, I wrote that letter because I don’t want bands to get treated in a negative way by a paper. I personally do not have the time to lie. I can’t afford for someone to sue me. I can’t afford to write a letter with lies in it. I feel my letter doesn’t need much of a response. I know what happened. The band knows what happened, and we’re doing the best we can. If they’re going to print their opinions of me, I’m just going to print my opinions.  

Steve: Anybody who read those Music Connection interviews and who wrote those stupid fuckin’ things back don’t have a clue or an idea of Axl Rose or Guns N’ Roses. They don’t know what the fuck is going on.

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