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1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

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1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:27 pm

GUNS N’ ROSES
 
GUNS-A-BLAZIN!
 
by Bob Garon
 
Axl Rose, "bad boy" lead singer and co-founder of Guns N' Roses, sat down for this interview in Hollywood shortly before Geffen released "Sweet Child O' Mine" as a single and the band hit a cross-country tour opening shows for Aerosmith. The rest, as they say, is rock 'n' roll history.
 
You guys seem to be yourselves both onstage and off, yet you have this "bad boy" image. Do you think the record company kind of has you guys marketing rebellion?
Somewhat, yeah. It's kind of weird. We are just being ourselves, but at the same time, these "bad boy" images tend to sell. So there is the capitalizing on it. I think a lot of it, though, is because the people in the industry don't know how else to approach it. A lot of bands are like a packaged image, so that's what they've been used to for years. But then again, my friend works with Motley Crue, and they may have a theatrical image onstage, but then they have their wild antics offstage as well. But there's a lot of bands that profess to some kind of image that they lead and Jive and they write songs about it, but it's nothing that they actually do. They might just stay home and write songs. To be honest, I stay home a lot so I don't go out and get on a roll. Once I get on a roll, I'm on a roll-and I don't want that to necessarily lead me wherever it may.
 
Do you like to hear Guns H' Roses classified as a heavy metal band?
No, I don't. I read today a review of one of our shows, and the guy wrote something like "Yes, they've done good in the glam-speed-metal genre to which they rightly belong." What a crock of shit! Basically, we like a lot of forms of music. What came out on Appetite For Destruction were some of the songs we've written that we have the most fun with. But we write different types of music. We weren't planning any certain strategy or any­thing. We want to put out a record that we don't necessarily consider heavy metal. We consider it hard rock, kind of like ... well, I don't consider Aerosmith heavy metal, OK? And they were definitely part of our influence. And Led Zeppelin ­ maybe some of their songs might be considered heavy metal, but there were also songs they did that weren't heavy metal. There were just always loud guitars and a real strong, heavy feeling. And that's kind of what we were trying to get across with that first album.
I heard other bands recently-and I'm not going to name any names right now-but other bands have come out and they've used things off Zeppelin and things that sound like Zeppelin and they try to get the production just like Zeppelin, but there wasn't as much spirit and soul in the work. Maybe some of the guitar playing, but it's more capitalizing on this heavy metal thing. I mean, if that's what comes out for us sometimes, that's great. But if that's not what comes out, well, we like putting out a different kind of song and seeing what people think about that. When we do a headlining show, you can hear that. We did a headlining tour here on the coast, and in Anaheim, we happened to be on a roll, so we did two shows. One was like two hours and five minutes - and during that time, we did some country-type stuff. We just twisted things a little bit, because we have the ability to, and it went over really well. On our next record, we should have a pretty broad range of what we're able to give the public. But it won't be lack­ing the loud guitars because that's something I'm a fan of. On the other hand, on some of the Top 40 stuff, you'll hear loud guitars, but they sur­round it with synthesizers. I'm not against that, but I sometimes think it's not being played with a lot of orig­inality or heart. I don't want to do that. If we use synthesizers-which I hope we do on the next record - it'll be a bit more experimental.
 
You guys seem to have a lot of influences. You can hear everything from Bo Diddley to early Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath on Appetite For Destruction.
Yeah, well, we listened to early Black Sabbath to late Black Sabbath. You never know what you're in the mood for. I kind of go into a record store and just look around for whatever catches my eye. It could be the latest thing out, or it could be "Man, I used to listen to this record when I was seven years old!" You can end up buying some pretty weird things. Like Izzy once picked up an old Osmonds record because he wanted to hear "Crazy Horses" because he remembered that being heavy when he was little. And we go out and pick up Muddy Waters tapes, and you put them in and see what songs catch your attention.
 
The other guys have told me you're all into the early punk stuff, too, like The Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls...
Yeah. I saw David Johansen when he did his Buster Poindexter show at the Roxy. I couldn't get in because it was sold out, but I saw him walking out of the Roxy - and we got introduced to him as guys from Guns N' Roses, and he had heard of us. And I told him that we used to do the Dolls' “I’m A Human Being." We used to play that one a lot.
 
You're like a man of many voices. You seem to change your voice quite a bit when you sing from high to low pitches.
Well, it's just because it was a challenge to write a song that I could use the low voice in. Because sometimes we'd write a song and when I started singing it in the lower voice, it was like we'd stop and say "That's out. It's not going to sound right." Eventually, we came up with "It's So Easy," and it just happened to sound right. It reminded me of Iggy Pop and stuff. So that's how that came about. And
Mr. Brownstone" reminded me of the Stones, and I always liked making fun of Mick Jagger in the studio and playing around with it and stuff - and people seemed to like it. So it was like "Whoa OK, I'll work on this." So I worked on the vocal awhile until I was happy with it.
 
One of the songs sounds like early Alice Cooper on songs like "Desperado" and stuff.
We're very Alice Cooper-influenced. We re-recorded "Under My Wheels" with him (for The Decline of Western Civilization soundtrack).
 
That's right.
It was really cool because I'd originally heard that some other singer had gotten it. Well, we were on tour with Alice, and I didn't even know that we were going to get to do it, so I was really bummed out. And we heard that the singer from Cinderella had gotten it, and we'd become friends with those guys. In fact, we had the drummer from Cinderella out on the road with us because Steve had broken his hand. And he said, "Yeah, Tom got this gig." But then something didn't happen with that, and all of a sudden I get this phone call, and it was like "Do you want to do it?" And it was like "Yeah!!" Because "Under My Wheels" is more his rock 'n' roll type song - less of that horror type thing. And we were psyched to do it.
Slash and I also went onstage and did it live with him when he played in Long Beach. It was intense. It was fun being onstage with someone you'd looked up to since you were a little kid. We had toured with him, of course, but then to get up onstage with him in L.A. was phenomenal. He's such a mellow guy. Izzy and I had always done a lot of reading on Alice Cooper. Not only because we admired him, but also because we figured that anyone who could get this act off the ground had to be a genius ­ and that would be his manager (Shep Gordon). So we'd always read as much as we could about Shep, and we met Shep in Long Beach that night, and we told him about how we'd read about him. And he said, "Yeah? Well, that's great, man, because I always used to go in and pull out my book on Elvis when we were first starting out." He told us that Elvis had in his contract that when he put out a record, every piece of RCA stationery must have the title of his new record on it, no matter which act it was promoting. Shep wanted to do that, and the record company said it couldn't be done - and Shep got his Elvis book and said "It's right here on page 42."
 
Do you write the lyrics for Guns N' Roses?
The majority of them, but there will be a line or two in a song that some­one else will write. But like "Mr. Brownstone" was written totally by Izzy. I found that on the floor of the apartment we were living in at the time on a piece of paper wadded up on the floor in a corner, and I liked it so much - and he was like, "No, way! You like that?"
 
What influences you when you write lyrics?
Well, I try not to sit down and plan what I'm going to write the song about. I try to use whatever thoughts and emotional feeling comes to me, start writing, and then gradually piece it together. Once I get the first four lines done, or the stanza or whatever, then you have some idea of what the song's going to be about, so then I stay in that framework. And I try to write about things that have really happened in life.
 
It seems there's two sides to the stuff you guys do. There's the wild, street stuff, but there's also the more sentimental side that's in "Sweet Child O' Mine."
Yeah, and I think it's real hard to do that honestly. It's hard to write a pretty love song that isn't hokey. I mean, it might sound hokey to some people. But for me and the person I was writing about, it was very hard to come face-to-face with those emotions. That was very hard for me to do. But that's the sort of thing a lot of young .rock bands have to deal with ­ they have to learn how to write and not sound like a sap. On the other hand, a lot of bands seem to be scared to do that, to show that side, because they might get classified as a wimp or something. With us, it seemed to have the opposite effect - meaning it looks like we have more strength for showing that side. Which is basically the truth of it, but it didn't mean that people had to see it that way.
 
Did you write "Welcome To The Jungle" with Los Angeles - Hollywood, specifically - in mind?
Pretty much, yeah. But I'd hitchhiked the country, and I'd been in New York, and we went to Seattle, and I actually started writing it in Seattle. That was one of the first songs we wrote when Slash joined the band - and it was just when we were getting a firm grip on where we wanted to go with the music and stuff like that. It was originally "Welcome To The City," but then we figured later that we had "Paradise City" and "Move To The City." The line "Welcome to the jungle" is in a Hanoi Rocks song, but it wasn't taken from that as some people have said. It was like all of a sudden we came up with ''jungle" to replace "city" - and then the next day it was like, "Oh, man, there's a Hanoi song that says that,” but then we figured it would be OK. We don't like to rip things, and it definitely wasn't intentional.
But, yeah, I kind of wrote the song about L.A., and we were at a point in our lives - here we are, kids on the street or whatever and you just see so many things happening around you that it's like the jungle. If someone comes to this city looking for a decadent time, they can find it.
 
Now that you're rock stars, do you worry about the 'jungle" around you getting out of hand, that is, the drugs, the lifestyle...
No, I think we keep it under control because we all want what we’re doing. It does get out of hand sometimes – but then the guy who’s getting out of hand all of a sudden has the other four guys coming down on his ass.
 
You used to be in L.A. Guns?
Yeah.
 
Is it the same band?
Well, it’s the same guitarist. I was originally in a band called Axl a long time ago. I got the name because peo­ple said you live, breathe, walk, and talk Axl, so why don't you just be Axl. And this guy Tracii had L.A. Guns, and he eventually became Tracii Guns. We then had a band called Hollywood Rose together, and Izzy was living at Tracii's house at the time. And Tracii and Slash grew up as rival guitarists and friends in L.A. So it was always back and forth between the members all the time. When I left Hollywood Rose the first time, I joined L.A. Guns with Tracii. The rest of the band he had at the time, though, just didn’t seem to have the drive, and it fell apart. Izzy and I had had a falling out earlier, but then we got back together and wrote a song with each other. Then Tracii and I decided to bring Izzy into the band - and then we got Steve and Duff. And then Tracii wasn't into it because it wasn’t going quite the direction that he wanted to go. So he went his way and put L.A. Guns back together, and we brought in Slash.
 
So Guns Ν’ Roses is a result of the two names together?
Well, the first time Tracii and I went our own directions, we decided we’d still get together to write some stuff because we still appreciated each other. And we’d call it Guns N' Roses when we collaborated. I thought of the name. And when we put the band together the second time with Izzy, Duff and Steve, it was like “Yeah, we can use that name now.” And I just stuck with it.
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Last edited by Blackstar on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:30 pm

This interview probably had appeared originally in another publication earlier, because it was conducted in mid-1988. Or maybe it was a transcript of a radio or TV interview?
Some of the quotes look familiar, but some others I hadn't read before.
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 pm

Yes, I get the same feeling. Parts of it I have read before, other parts are new.

Good find, by the way!
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:10 am

I got hold of some magazines, including this one. I'll look which of the articles/interviews in them we don't have, and I'll scan and upload them.
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:15 am

Great. We should also try to identify missing interviews/articles. I am sure there must be some from 1985. All we have from that year is the radio interview. Surely there must have been stuff written about the band, too?
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:39 am

Yeah. I guess there must have been articles or show reviews in local L.A.  magazines or fanzines. I looked into the newspapers archive site I have a subscription to for other articles from 1985-86 and didn't find anything. But it's only newspapers, not magazines.

They also must have done more interviews with British media both times when they went there in 1987. There are quotes I've read in biographies that probably are from then.
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:55 am

I will be in Los Angeles next week. I could check out archives if I only knew where to go.
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:36 am

I don't have anything specific in mind for 1985-86. Maybe there is something in other issues of magazines/fanzines that [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] has on his site (L.A. Rocks, Rock City News, Scratch). Also in L.A. Weekly.

Other US magazines that had features on GnR and I haven't seen them being sold on ebay or anywhere else:

Music Connection December 1987
Hit Parader December 1987
Circus May 1988
RIP February 1990
RIP May 1990
Roogalator, May 1990
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:50 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:This interview probably had appeared originally in another publication earlier, because it was conducted in mid-1988. Or maybe it was a transcript of a radio or TV interview?
Some of the quotes look familiar, but some others I hadn't read before.

More to this: I have now found that they have lifted entire sections from Spin, May 1988 and Rock Scene Magazine, June 1988. I suppose that the entire "interview" is simply just made up of questions stolen from other publications at the time.
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:15 am

I've noticed that this was a common practice. I'm not talking about authorised reprints, which was also common, but cases like this one; magazines stealing interviews from other publications, paraphrasing the quotes and/or the questions and presenting them as their own, even as "exclusive".
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Re: 1989.09.DD - Creem Close Up Metal Magazine - Guns-A-Blazin (Axl)

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:29 am

It was much more common back in the day when people usually only had a few magazines and couldn't as easily compare as we can when everything is online.
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