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1988.06.10 - L.A. Weekly - Bad Boys, Great Noize (Axl, Slash, Duff)

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1988.06.10 - L.A. Weekly - Bad Boys, Great Noize (Axl, Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:48 am

Many thanks to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for sharing with us the rare articles and interviews he has collected, as well as many other amazing GN'R memorabilia.
The original pictures of this article can be found on his site here:
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Bad Boys, Great Noize

GUNS N' ROSES: Shooting From the Lip
 
One press release for Guns N’ Roses had a Geffen worker stating something to the effect of “If they don’t self-destruct by their second album, they’ll be superstars.” They are the bane of publicists and record-company employees, the boys who won’t behave. Rumors circulated widely, after the group signed, that part of the deal included Axl Rose going to some kind of therapist, and one Geffen worker confided, “We now know not to call him too early in the morning – that way he doesn’t become disoriented and start freaking out.” It took this paper more than two months to set up an interview with the band, and Rose even wanted to be interviewed separately by phone (though he later showed up at the interview location and was completely personable).
Is Axl Rose crazy? Or is he just a sensitive, high-strung kid whose band wants to be successful without compromising what made them so good in the first place: attitude and street credibility. The group is not necessarily articulate about its music or its message. Heavy questions met with blank responses. There is no need for them to intellectualize what they do. They just are. But if you can read between the lines, you’ll feel the current of frustration, rage and longing that fuels that rebel urge that’s always been at the heart of the best rock & roll.
 
WEEKLY: What sort of response is the record getting?
 
SLASH: There’s been all kinds of different shit. Evidently, we’re like a major kids’ band, something they can really flip out their parents with. There’s also a lot of people that hate us, for whatever reason. And then there’s the record industry – they’ve all got their hair blown back by the fact that we’ve gone as far as we’ve gone. I don’t pay much attention. All I care about is the kids’ reaction, and the people who just like us for us.
 
WEEKLY: Were you kind of amazed at how well the album has done?
 
SLASH: When I get phone calls saying it’s here on the charts or there on the charts, it completely blows my mind.
 
WEEKLY: What’s your reaction to people who say, “They’re hot now, but they’ll self-destruct within a year”?
 
SLASH: I don’t give a shit.
 
DUFF: They’ve been saying that since we started touring! They were waiting for it – they still are!
 
SLASH: If we self-destruct within the next five minutes, we’re still No. 7 on the charts! It’s a lot more than most of those assholes will ever do.
 
WEEKLY: Do you detect just a bit of jealousy there, perhaps?
 
DUFF: I think it’s a couple of things. One is that we got signed so quickly. We were only together for about six or seven months. I mean, we didn’t mean for it to be perfect timing, but the way rock & roll was going at the time, it was failing miserably. Then we came along, with something a little bit different...
 
WEEKLY: It’s not that much different.
 
DUFF: Well, sure, but at the time, there were just all these stupid bands that weren’t doing shit, y’know?
 
SLASH: We were willing to go out and sweat and bleed and do the whole fucking bit, really do a show. We weren’t playing it safe. Which is why we’re so bitter about being lumped in with all this L.A glam shit.
 
WEEKLY: It’s not your average L.A. glam band.
 
AXL: Well, we were glam at one point.
 
WEEKLY: You have sort of redefined the alleged “L.A. Sound.”
 
SLASH: It’s like “Losers From L.A. Make Good.” I think Guns N’ Roses is popular because it’s real. There’s no bullshit. We just do whatever we get off on and force it down their throats. If people like it, great. If not, that’s okay, too.
 
WEEKLY: You seem, intentionally or not, to have filled some sort of a void.
 
AXL: That void is something I was looking at for a long time. The punk movement was dying out, and there were all these metal bands starting up, so [guitarist] Izzy and I put out these ads for a guitarist for a “punk metal glam thrash band.” So we were looking to fill this void. Now it’s starting to get across in a big way. For a time there, we didn’t think it was going to. I thought after Poison we’d be welcomed with open arms as the logical next step. It didn’t quite happen the way we thought it would. But now it’s starting to explode. It took a lot of patience. When we first started out this band was banned. No one wanted to book us, manage us, take us on tour or play us on the radio. Now our video’s been in the Top 5 on MTV for nine weeks.
 
WEEKLY: What probably put you over is the basic honesty with which you guys approach everything you do.
 
AXL: What did Al Pacino say? “I always tell the truth, even when I lie.”
 
DUFF: The image thing is, like, we’re just all ourselves. We were like this before we ever had this band. Most bands – like, say, Whitesnake or something like that – put their image together and then go out. This band, however, was like, “Okay, let’s go play” after, like, three days.
 
WEEKLY: Considering the dope-crazed, oversexed demon monsters you’re generally portrayed as, you seem like kind of regular guys.
 
AXL: We are regular guys. But people will start shit just to start shit, and we’ll get in somebody’s face rather than back down, where a lot of people would go “Oh my God, something’s happening, we’d better bail.” Like if that waiter came back and started some shit with our table, we’re gonna go off. And then in the papers, it d’ say, “Guns N’ Roses Total Restaurant For No Reason.” Yeah, right. So what if they got charged triple for their bill and there was crap in their food?
 
WEEKLY: What are some of your favorite Guns N’ Roses rumors?
 
AXL: One time Geffen got a call from the Long Beach police department because they had a body in the morgue and it had been identified as Izzy. But the best story I heard was, after having to cancel a show in Phoenix, everyone there knew that the matter was that I died of AIDS.
 
WEEKLY: Your lyrics, though, are basically pretty close to your actual lives.
 
AXL: It’s not something that for me, personally, is easy to do. There are a lot of bands where the guitar player or someone else writes all the words, like Cheap Trick, where Rick Nielsen writhes most of the lyrics. Robin Zander’s able to put this heart and soul and feeling into it, but I don’t think it really rips up and destroys his life. Because it’s not really him. Me, it’s like I put exactly where I’m at into every song. There’ve been times when I’m singing a certain song onstage and it’s, like, I get all chocked up and I’m havin’ a problem singin’ the next line, because I’m so emotional about it. Maybe something happened that day that I feel relates to that song, or whatever. Nowadays, I’m trying to work out some problems, like why I want to grab somebody by the fucking neck, and instead of just doing it, trying to understand it. So I’m writing, not necessarily nicer words, but ones that I can read and sing in my head. And they’ll, like, help calm me down or whatever.
 
WEEKLY: There is a definite gospel quality in your singing, and it doesn’t seem like something you just picked up last week.
 
AXL: I’ve been singing since I was five. I sang in church. My brother and sister and I – sometimes just me – we’d get up and sing whatever the latest gospel hit was. I just cut “Amazing Grace” at the Broadway, in one of those little sing-along centers, just to see what it would sound like.
 
WEEKLY: Your parents were Pentecostals, right?

AXL: Fanatics. Although now they’re very against what they were into at that point. Extremely against it.
 
WEEKLY: Was it weird growing up like that?
 
AXL: Yeah! I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere, do anything. I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio. It’s, like, one week you’re able to watch TV, the next week all the TVs have been sold, a month later there are TVs again – it was back and forth, you know. They couldn’t decide what was a sin and what wasn’t. Everything was so back and forth in this church.
 
WEEKLY: What’s “It’s So Easy” about?
 
AXL: Well, it’s like you’re doin’ well on the L.A scene, and you go into a fucking club, and there’s some girl you told to fuck off last week, and she’s in your face again, going, “Hi, how ya doin’,”, and it’s like, you get bored, ‘cause you’re looking for something a little bit more real. It’s not about rape so much as being aggressive. You’ve got some little girl in your apartment, running around without a clue, a full airhead, and it’s, like, “Turn around, you got nothin’ better to do.”
 
WEEKLY: You guys aren’t real popular with the feminist contingent.
 
AXL: We’d probably get along great, but if they want to get in our faces and act like they’re men and push things to a certain point... You can only go so far.
 
WEEKLY: You do a lot of anti-gay stage patter. Do you hate gays?
 
AXL: I don’t hate gays. I’m just not pro-gay whatso-fucking-ever. I’m not into AIDS, I’m not into gay activity. It doesn’t do anything for me, and like now that there’s AIDS, it really pisses me off.
 
WEEKLY: Actually, it’s spreading a lot more these days through intravenous drug use.
 
AXL: You hear a lot of weird stories. Say you have a girlfriend, and you break up and hate each other’s guts, and she goes out and meets some guy and has sex. Two weeks later, you get back together, and then two years later all of a sudden she has AIDS and so do you. Just because she was with this guy, who was a Haitian bisexual drug addict. It’s like, we’re not anti-homosexual by any means. It just kind of turns us off. Plus, with long hair and stuff, you always get this “Ooh, he’s a fag” shit. Plus coming from Indiana, there’s a deep-rooted prejudice.
The only people I deal with that are gay are [Cathouse DJ] Joseph Brooks and [DJ-about-town] Henry Peck, and I try not to offend them. Their sex life doesn’t come into any view of mine, ‘cause I’d just flip out. So it’s not like some kind of aggressive-against-gays shit. I made a comment before one of our songs at a recent Perkins Palace show. I said, “I changed the words so I don’t sound like a fucking faggot.” Maybe I personally don’t want to sound like a faggot, you know? Other people could think that’s unnecessary, and that’s their business if they want to sound that way or not, but I don’t feel there’s anything bad about making a comment against it.
 
SLASH: We’re real fucking conscientious about our music. We don’t do it for anybody else but us. We do it because we want it to sound like we want it to sound.
 
AXL: We’ll write a song, we’ll all learn it, everybody likes it, then we’ll sit down, and five minutes later we’ll all decide, “Man, that sucks! I don’t want to represent myself that way,” and everyone will get up and destroy this song, or play it a completely different way. Or I’ll write some lyrics and they’ll be fine, but then I’ll look at them and go, “That really doesn’t say what I was trying to say,” and the only person who would know is me, but I can’t live with it. And this has paid off. There are some albums out with some great musicianship and great playing, but you can read right through the lyrics. The lyrics are, like, paper thin. And I do not want that to happen to us. I get really upset with lazy lyricists.
 
WEEKLY: Are you getting what you wanted out of the band?

AXL: Artistically, with the album, I got exactly what I wanted. I wish we would’ve had a little bit more time to do some mixing. The guys were mixing our record, and one of them had heart problems and had to go to the hospital, which knocked off three days. Financially, it’s getting there, but I’m still tied up in knots thinking about how I can’t achieve the next record until I actually go in the studio and make it. But in terms of success, it’s starting to get there.
 
WEEKLY: It’s a really adrenaline rush of a record.
 
SLASH: That’s because it’s the angriest fuckin’ record out!

WEEKLY: I hope you’ve got some new stuff to be pissed off about for the next album.

SLASH: We always have something to be pissed about. We thrive on it!

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Reactionary Rock: GUNS N’ ROSES

By Don Bolles

These are not nice kids ripe for consumer packaging, nor are they rebellious in fashion acceptable to the old breed of “politically correct” revolutionaries. Nor are they punks. They are young, hot, angry, sexy, often misogynist, homophobic and reactionary. They’re selling lots of records and are part of a growing scene in which authenticity of attitude is a statement in itself.

Another Tuesday night at the Cathouse. A girl dressed in lingerie is giggling tipsily as she stumbles down the stairs. Asked what she wants out of this club, she responds by grabbing me around the waist and sliding her crotch forcefully up and down my leg, insisting that if I ever speak to Stevie of Guns N’ Roses, “Tell him this is what I wanna do to him!”

A line of duck-tailed, full-dress Harleys is growing nearly as fast as the line of Frederick’s-clad blondes and leather-and-concho rock-star types, all vying for entrance to what has become the hippest meat rack in town. The girls are hot, and the guys are the epitome of cool – and why not? The cards are stacked in the men’s favor. The ratio of girls to boys is as awesome as it was in Jan and Dean’s Surf City (“Two girls for every boy”). We’re still in Southern California, with the same groin-ruling impulses. And the fellas know that any of these young ladies, failing in their task of netting an actual rock god for the night, will gladly settle for anything that looks and acts like one.

Actually, there’s no dearth of rock superstars at the Cathouse. Aside from the reigning kings of this scene, Guns N’ Roses, on any given night stargazers can find members of Zodiac Mindwarp, the Cult, Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Ratt, even the Cure. Any English band that comes through town ends up here, as well as all the local bands – Faster Pussycat, Jetboy, Junkyard, you name it. Every guy in the place is in a band, or will at least say he is, or is trying to start or join one. And who can blame him when, unless the guy is a recognizable star, a girl’s opening line will invariably be “Are you in a band?”

The Cathouse was opened two years ago by occasional fly-by-nightclub entrepreneur Riki Rachtman and his partner, Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe. The club came along with the surge in popularity of various so-called glam bands. Spurred on by the success of the likes of Motley Crue and Ratt, groups like Poison were rising from local lipsticked glory into the cockles of record execs’ hearts, while more streetwise hard-rock groups like Guns N’ Roses were starting to pack ‘em in at the Troubadour.

Advertising “Free street parking for Harley-Davidsons,” the Cathouse quickly became the favorite hangout of the fledging glam-metal scene as it crawled up from the L.A. underground. Originally located at Osko’s on La Cienega, and now at the Probe on Highland, every Tuesday night finds the club packed to capacity. By 10:30 the line in front stretches almost a block, and once inside, it’s strictly standing room from 11 p.m. to closing time, around 4 a.m.

The crowd outside, aside from the ever-present superstars of the rock contingent, are all pretty young, early 20s or late teens (though one does have to be 21 with ID to enter). The guys look like rock stars, or bikers, or both, and take longer to get dressed than most women, oftimes spending hours to get that perfect big-hair haystack effect. “See that guy with his hair a complete mess,” a young lady points out. “He’s my roommate, and it took him three hours to get it that way.” The girls likewise dress to kill, X-ray spex having been rendered useless by the “underwear is outerwear” style adopted by most of the female patrons. At the Cathouse, sex sells and everyone’s buying.

“When I moved to L.A.,” complains a transplanted Easterner, “I thought this was a scene where people are totally dedicated to the music. I soon figured out that the only things these people are dedicated to are looking a certain way and sex, sex, sex.”

Once past the enormous bouncers and up the stairs, you enter a world in which rock is king and bimbo queen. The music is loud, with Guns N’ Roses, Zodiac Mindwarp and Motley Crue the most prevalent, along with a sprinkling of old Aerosmith, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, the roots of this “new” rock & roll: The atmosphere is like an oversized backstage bacchanal.

“The girls’ only place in this scene is to fuck the guys in the bands,” says Taime Downe, lead singer of Faster Pussycat, adding with a nudge nudge, wink wink, “and we kind of like it that way.” In fact, the only “women’s movement” at the Cathouse is on the dance floor, where, at any given moment, the dancers are almost exclusively girls, dancing alone or with each other (prompting more than one greenhorn to ask the DJ whether he’s found himself in a lesbian bar by mistake), while the boys talk among themselves about music, or just lean coolly against the nearest vertical solid, doing their best to ignore the girls so frenetically competing for the limelight. Usually the only guys on the floor are the losers who haven’t figured out that the rules here are almost the reverse of what they are in the outside world. Besides, everyone knows that musicians don’t dance, and if you’re a guy and not a musician, you’d best not admit it – the girls will avoid you like the plague.

When there are rock stars in attendance, the buzz gets around faster than a speeding amphetamine, and most of the girls here wouldn’t hesitate to kick their best friend’s ass if said friend got in the way of meeting her favorite rock hunk. “Do you come here to check out the rock stars?” I ask one sprightly young woman. “Hell, yes! What else is this dump good for?” she replies. I decide to try an experiment and, while talking to some young ladies, casually mention that Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue is in the other room playing pool (which was true). “I wanna see if his cock is really as big as they say,” says one. The other squeals, “I’d like to wrap my legs around him! Whooo!” while still another just screams, “Where? The pool table?!” and takes off so fast she leaves skidmarks. All three are in the pool room within the space of 10 seconds. One girl seems completely uninterested, and when I ask why, she tells [interrupted]
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