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1988.08.12 - The Baltimore Sun - Guns N' Roses (Slash)

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Post by Blackstar on Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:17 pm

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Transcript:
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GUNS N' ROSES

Survival instinct helps 'street band' prove its sincerity

By J.D. Considine
Sun Pop Music Critic

Back when Guns N’ Roses was trying to break out of the Los Angeles club scene and make a name for itself nationally, the band had something of an image problem. As guitarist Slash put it, he and his band mates were considered “just some scummy rock band."

How so?

“I think there’s a stereotype, as far as rockers go," he said over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. "Being a street band, people like to go, ’Oh, they're just disgusting, they drink and smoke and [have sex] all the time, and they're always getting into trouble. They have an attitude.’ You don’t think anybody pays attention to how sincere the band really is about what it's doing as far as music and stuff goes."

Well, maybe not when Guns N’ Roses was getting started, but these days few people question the band’s sincerity. Where once Guns N' Roses was scrambling after club dates, now the group is on the road with Aerosmith (and will be at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Wednesday).

Even better, its debut, the chart-topping “Appetite for Destruction," has sold more than 2 million copies.

In all, that’s not bad for a band that, only a few years ago, was literally living from hand to mouth. According to Geffen Records' Tom Zu-taut, who discovered the group, singer W. Axl Rose lived for a while by sleeping in construction sites when he first arrived in L.A. “When he came out here,” Zutaut said during a recent telephone interview, “he didn’t have money for rent or anything, so he and a group of street nomads would move into some half-finished building when the workmen left. And they survived."

As Zutaut saw it, that survival instinct was part of what made the band's sound so vital. “It’s as if the only thing they have in life is to make it with their band," he said. “That’s why these bands are credible. The kids feel the sincerity, because the kids feel the desperation. Most of these bands don’t think about being famous, they think about surviving."

Which is exactly what Slash means when he calls Guns N’ Roses a “street band."

Musically, he said, the band’s ambitions were simple. “When we came out, we just wanted to be like the same thing that we were into when we were coming up," he explained, mentioning ’70s hard rock acts such as Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.

“But the difference between us and other bands here in Los Angeles is that we were always very much straightforward or honest about what we were doing. We never really messed with our image or anything like that. It was never really that much of a concern. We were just a bunch of street kids, probably a lot worse than most of the bands around at that time."

But what Guns N’ Roses might have lacked in instrumental assurance, it made up for in spirit and groove. "The things you hear are not just the hooks and stuff," he said of the band's material. "There’s actually a feel to it, which I think people are sort of losing at the moment.”
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