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1992.07.21 - Journal and Courier - Lafayette teens reflect on city’s most infamous favorite son

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1992.07.21 - Journal and Courier - Lafayette teens reflect on city’s most infamous favorite son

Post by Blackstar on Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:02 am

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Lafayette teens reflect on city’s most infamous favorite son

By DAVE BANGERT
Journal and Courier


Getting an idea why Guns N’ Roses rules in Lafayette is kind of like trying to take your pulse with your thumb — you’ll get a reading, but chances are it might not be all that accurate.

“Why does a kid love pizza? I don’t know,” says Dane Stafford, a 14-year-old Sunnyside student. “They play good music.

“I think it’s kind of cool that the best singer’s from Lafayette. They always think of Indiana as a corn state. I guess I think there’s more than corn in Indiana,” Dane says, laughing and rolling backward on his skateboard until he falls off.

That’s exactly what Axl Rose has made clear in no uncertain terms. This is a corn state. Lafayette — the place where he grew up as Bill Bailey, went to high school and where he says his big ideas were run down by small town values — wasn’t his kind of place. Like a vendetta, he made it big.

It’s nothing the Chamber of Commerce is plastering on billboards outside of town: “Lafayette: We made Axl Rose dis-functional! Now he’s a star! Make Lafayette work for you!”

But the kids are all right on that. They aren’t holding a grudge against Axl Rose. If anything, they understand what he’s saying. They’re just as bored as he was. Or at least they think they’re just as bored.

Those are the kind of inexplicable ties that bind.

Just regular kids looking for things to do — “Don’t you think Lafayette gets boring?” Dane asks, not really joking around now — they’re into Guns N’ Roses for the crunching rock ’n’ roll, the big sound and the leave-us-out-of-it lyrics. That Axl Rose is from here is a bonus.

“Look around the country,” Dane says. “They don’t like him because he’s from Indiana or Lafayette. They like him because he’s a great singer and it’s a great band and they’re great artists. You know what I mean?” Dane and Richard LaFon, his skateboarding bud, aren’t going to the show. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they can’t scrounge up the cash and a way down to Indianapolis.

“No, but you giving away a ticket? They’re $27.50 or something like that,” says Richard, who wears a Guns N’ Roses patch on the back of his Buffalo Bills baseball hat.

Twenty-seven-fifty is on the money — if you forget the extra four-buck service charge. That kind of cash would go a long way toward a new deck for their skateboards.

But plenty of people were willing to chunk out the change for the Guns N’ Roses/Metallica double bill, billed as the ultimate hard rock show of the year. The 60,000-seat Hoosier Dome nearly sold out a week before Wednesday’s show.

“Most heavy metal fans, one of them — Guns or Metallica — is your top band and the other isn’t too far behind,” says Mark Siemers, 18, a Central Catholic High School graduate. He waited in line at Ayres to buy tickets at 6 a.m. the morning tickets went on sale.

And then, as always, there’s the Axl’s-from-here quotient.

“Everybody just talks about him and how they used to know him and how they used to work with him or go to school with him when he was here,” says Robin Olson, 20, of Lafayette. “I just want to see him in person for myself.”

Olson sugar-loaded and stayed up all night calling WKHY radio for tickets. She finally won on the third night.

“I just like the music and the way they act,” she says. “All the trouble they get into, that doesn’t bother me. That’s their business.”

Siemers adds: “Being teenagers in a little town like Lafayette, you think if Axl could make it, then anybody could. I like how he says what he thinks and he says it in his music. I don’t know, everybody gets all uptight about it, but I think it’s cool.”

***

Izzy Stradlin update

Wednesday’s Hoosier Dome show marks the first Guns Ν’ Roses appearance in Indiana without Lafayette native Izzy Stradlin.

Stradlin, who graduated from Jefferson High School as Jeff Isbell, is working on a record in Chicago with his new band.

Stradlin quit as Guns Ν’ Roses’ rhythm guitarist shortly after the Use Your Illusion discs came out. Stradlin, who wrote much of the GN’R material, left reportedly because he was tired of touring and all the hype surrounding the band.

Stradlin’s band is planning to tour clubs and smaller concert halls when the new record comes out.
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