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Estranged Empty Estranged

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:19 pm

Estranged NeWborder_zpsk3uwcgt1
Estranged 1

Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 11.

Written by:
Axl Rose.

Drums: Matt
     Bass: Duff
     Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
     Rhythm and Lead Guitars: Izzy
     Vocals, Piano: Axl

Live performances:
'Estranged' was played live for the first time at Maracana Stadium, Brazil, on January 20, 1991. It had not been played since 1993 when it was added to the setlist of Rock in Rio IV on October 2, 2011, and has since then become a staple in the setlists. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {ESTRANGEDSONGS} times.

When you're talkin to yourself
       And nobody's home
       You can fool yourself
       You came in this world alone

So nobody ever told you baby
       How it was gonna be
       So what'll happen to you baby
       Guess we'll have to wait and see
       One, two

Old at heart but I'm only 28
       And I'm much too young
       To let love break my heart
       Young at heart but it's getting much too late
       To find ourselves so far apart

     I don't know how you're s'posed
       To find me latelyAnd what more could you ask from me
       How could you say that I never needed you
       When you took everything
       Said you took everything from me

     Young at heart an it gets so hard to wait
       When no one I know can seem to help me now
       Old at heart but I musn't hesitate
       If I'm to find my own way out
     Still talkin' to myself and nobody's home

     So nobody ever told us baby
       How it was gonna be
       So what'll happen to us baby
       Guess we'll have to wait and see

     When I find out all the reasons
       Maybe I'll find another way
       Find another day
       With all the changing seasons of my life
       Maybe I'll get it right next time
       An now that you've been broken down
       Got your head out of the clouds
       You're back down on the ground
       And you don't talk so loud
       An you don't walk so proud
       Any more, and what for

     Well I jumped into the river too many times
       to make it home
       I'm out here on my own, an drifting all alone
       If it doesn't show give it time
       To read between the lines
       'Cause I see the storm getting closer
       And the waves they get so high
       Seems everything we've ever known's here
       Why must it drift away and die

     I'll never find anyone to replace you
       Guess I'll have to make it thru, this time
       Oh this time
       Without you

     I knew the storm was getting closer
       And all my friends said I was high
       But everything we've ever known's here
       I never wanted it to die

On [...] 'Estranged' I take the tone knob and turn it all the way down on that particular pickup [Guitar For The Practising Musician, April 1990]
'November Rain' is about not wanting to be in a state of unrequited love, 'Estranged' is about acknowledging it, and being there, and having to figure out what the fuck to do. It's like being catapulted into the Universe and having no choice about it and having to figure out what the fuck you are going to do, because the things you wanted and worked for just cannot happen and there's nothing you can fucking do about it [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I wrote the song basically about who I am and how I feel, and the breakup of my marriage with Erin and how I didn’t want it to die. But I also apply it to a lot of other situations, or friendships, or family things, where you knew it had to end [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I actually had a dream of the piano in this song. There’s another person I know that plays piano, and they’re really good and they make jokes out of it, and they sit there and crack jokes, and play all over the piano like a double time, double speed, and make jokes. And I was wondering why they never took that seriously and somehow I started having a dream about this song I could write for this person to play; and I woke up, and I went, “Well, I may go try and start playing that.” And I went and started playing it, and realized I was on to something, and I felt the emotions it was bringing out of me. I started actually writing the words to it as I started the playing of it [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I heard the piano. I heard it over and over, and over and over again. And Axl would sing it, so the first day that the band rehearsed it, it was the first thing that came to my mind. So when we did the takes, it was all first take. So I think it was whatever the piano inspired. It just came out naturally [Making fucking videos, 1994].
But when we started to record the song, I brought it in, to the band, and no one really quite had a concept of what it was or what we were gonna do with this thing, and it was a very long piece with a lot of changes. So it was really exciting to start working on it and finding all the parts, and the band trying to figure out what to do with the parts. It was – everybody was very inspired [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It took a long time, and maybe we were a little bit afraid of the song [Making fucking videos, 1994].
When we did this stuff, I was, “Hmm, this is really different” for Guns N’ Roses, in the same way I feel about November Rain. These two songs really are similar, in the fact that they’re a really emotional release on Axl’s part [Making fucking videos, 1994].
The songs that he’s written are great. They’re classic tunes to me. He’s just – you know, his style is very strange. It’s very different, which makes it that much cooler but also that much difficult to, like, learn, to figure out [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It took us a long time to actually make a song out of it, because piano - the way Axl brings something or plays something on the piano, then how Slash and myself at the time kind of decipher it into guitar language. You know, it’s two different languages. So with piano you go soft and hard within a second, and with guitars you’ve got to be more subtle and – [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I feel like it was a significant answer to what the piano was doing. I really do. And even when we were getting the recording together and all that kind of stuff, it was like I had a definite idea. There was no notes, no changing notes. That was the original idea and it was the best one [Making fucking videos, 1994].
He just took the song very seriously, and the song means a lot to me, and certain things he did with the guitar he had to work on to do, you know, and really put himself in the right space to find the right guitar parts [Making fucking videos, 1994].
The first time I heard the song itself was at rehearsal, when Slash leaked out that guitar riff. I was like, “Wow!” like blown away. I mean, I knew right then and there that this is classic tune [Making fucking videos, 1994].
Afterwards, when it was done and recorded, I was like, “Ax, okay, I got to get credit on this for the guitar stuff” (laughs), because it was like a big part that went on top of what he’d already wrote. I was pretty proud of it, because it’s hard to write to somebody else’s music [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I really was sincere about thanking him for doing that, and the work that he did on this song is really special and really special to me; and I was very appreciative of him doing that [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I thanked Slash because, after it was done - it was hell to do, I hated him. I totally grew to hate the song even though I knew I liked it, and then when it was done, I felt so good inside, because it pulled all the stuff out of me [Making fucking videos, 1994].
You know what, but it’s not even one of those things that deserves a special thanks, really, because I think it has more to do with the kind of relationship in the band that we have. So that it just happened to be the right piece of music at the right time that I had the right guitar thing for, so I don’t think it needs all that much credit - you know, all things considered. It was more just like a relationship, the spontaneity of the relationship and just – I had it because that’s why we play together [Making fucking videos, 1994].
When I first heard the song, the first thing that I thought was cool about Slash’s guitar playing [was that] it was just so – it’s real unusual and it’s something new. It’s so hard to, like, reinvent rock ‘n’ roll guitar and stuff, and when I heard it I was like, how the hell you get the guitar to feedback for a 12 minute song or however long it is (laughs). I thought it was unbelievable. And then, when I read the liner notes, and Ax put the “thanks” to him and stuff, I thought that was cool [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It’s quite a challenge to play it live. It took me a while to learn it, but it’s a great song live, I think. Unless you’re in Utah; they don’t get it there for some reason – just kidding [Making fucking videos, 1994].
We didn’t do it a lot live. We did it earlier on, when Izzy was in the band (?). And then all of a sudden we stopped doing it for a while [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It’s an intense song to do, because it’s a battle through things, and it’s a battle that it’s not necessarily over yet. It’s still in a period of, like, “will he transcend this or not?” [Making fucking videos, 1994].
Playing it live isn’t that much fun. I mean, it really isn’t. It’s a really good song to listen to and everything, but for, like, a musician to play – I mean, I stop and start a lot in it, just for the part that I play in it, and I really don’t play that much, just a couple of power chords. There’s parts that really get you going and stuff, you get into it, you go to the front of the stage or something, and then you gotta stop and I gotta take a rest for about two minutes (laughs) [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I don’t play piano that often - or hadn’t for the last couple of years, only on stage. I’m starting to now that we’re done touring. I don’t even know how to play the song anymore. Dizzy plays it [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I didn’t play on it in the studio - you know, it’s pretty much Axl’s tune - but I was there when it was being recorded. I do play it live, though [Making fucking videos, 1994].
The middle change, kind of the piano solo area that when we’re on stage I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, Dizzy Read,” that was really intense, but just kept growing and flowing [Making fucking videos, 1994].
When I had to learn it, I was, like, really mind-blown. I tried to chart it out – I never do that – and I actually had the song taped to the front of my piano - the chords, right? You know, because I was really insecure about playing it, because it’s all of a sudden – [Making fucking videos, 1994].
A lot of the guys had problems with some of the chords and stuff (laughs) [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It’s always scary, because even though we all know the song and stuff, it’s like, if one person fucks up, we throw everybody off [Making fucking videos, 1994].
And he needs to go through this little routine, like, “Please, get me through Estranged without making a mistake,” right? (laughs) [Making fucking videos, 1994].
It’s just one of those songs that I just never really got, and we’re playing it, and both me and Duff are just doing the worst job. It’s like, I’m trying to watch Duff’s hands, Duff is watching my hands, and neither one of us were playing it right [Making fucking videos, 1994].
I’d be like, “Nobody noticed it.” Wrong. Slash in the dressing room: “What happened?” [Making fucking videos, 1994].
And he’s just, like, screamed at us, “Get it together, man!” (laughs), and you guys were all going, “Wow!” (laughs) It was really that bad, huh? But we got it together pretty quick. But it was just one of those things. We just sounded shit (laughs) [Making fucking videos, 1994].
Yeah, Gilby’s looked at me and I’ve looked at Gilby a few times like, “Okay, what’s up next?” [Making fucking videos, 1994].
If you still have emotions and feelings, not wanting something to die, caring about another person and not wanting them to destroy themselves - I mean, the song can be applied to Steven Adler; the song can be applied to a lot of people, members of my family; it can be applied to the relationship I had with Erin, to the relationship with Stephanie... And there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it and trying to figure that out. So to me, at the present time, sitting here right now, this and Coma are the two heaviest songs I’ve ever written [Making fucking videos, 1994].
This is a personal little baby of mine [Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI, USA, May 24, 1991]
Estranged started getting developed when I had a relationship with my ex-wife Erin. And, you know, it just got really dark and, basically, writing the song was one of the only things that kept me together. And I really tried to put into words how I felt in the situation and how much I wanted things to work, you know. And, really, the song helped me to get in touch with my real feelings besides all the arguments and whatever was going on. Like when you get in an argument with somebody and you’re screaming, and yelling, and whatever, and then you go sit by yourself and you go, “That’s not what I wanted to say.” […] And so it was my way to express to myself how I felt [Rockline, November 27, 1991]
There's something really wild, for me, in performing 'Estranged' 'cause all of a sudden I realized I don't want to be sitting at the piano playing this song to keep the energy of the song moving live. I need to be moving around and there's something about being able to be up there moving around during it that's actually a present, a gift or something. Being able to dance and rejoice in a song. That came from situations and emotions that were killing me [Nadler (1992) Axl Gets In The Ring, Metallix - 1992]
The songs that are more subtle are the ones where I really have to buckle down and make sure I've got it, especially if the guitar part's the main voice of the song. On songs like "Estranged" and "November Rain," I have to stop for a second and slow myself down, make sure that I hit the notes correctly so that they don't go out of tune, or the vibrato's not too hectic. [Guitar For The Practising Musician, November 1992]
It's one of Axl's babies, where he sat down and he had something he really wanted to express, and he wrote it on piano. And so there came the time when the band had to figure out where the bass is gonna come in, where the guitar is gonna come in. This and that. And so, I did all the guitar arrangements on it and wrote the guitar melodies, which are pretty important to the song now, I would say. 'Cause you recognize 'em, you know. That's that. That's why I have credit on it [GN'R on WNEW 102.7 - September, 1991]
We released a making of… One for "Don't Cry" and one for "November Rain" and we're making one for "Estranged"… Actually "Estranged" isn't… in some ways a part of the trilogy. It's more like part four. Part three was a mutual self-destruction of the couple that was in "November Rain". And… well, someone had other plans and we were in a position, where something we had worked on for five years had to be rewritten to kinda transcend it. So, it's a video about transcendence of a real life situation, that didn't have a whole lot to do with the story that was intended. And actually I'm kinda glad we made this video instead of the one we were going to make. To know about the story that was in "November Rain", you have to wait on Del's book. It's a story called "Without You" [Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994]
Talking about the video for 'Estranged': My friend Del James wrote a short story called "Without You", that was influenced by me and my ex-wife, in some ways. And then I ended up writing a song that fit that story, which was "Estranged". And so… You know, that was about, I don't know, four or five years ago and… The story started, then a couple of years later the song came about and then we started working on this project. And then in the middle of the project, or two thirds into the project, real life kind of changed all the plans. And we had to make something else and figure out how to rise above… As an artist, I had to figure out how to rise above my own creation that meant a lot to me. That I was kinda stop dead in my tracks and had to figure out how to make something else and… Like, write a whole new thing on top of something I'd been living to make, that I liked even more. And it was a really hard challenge and myself and the director, Andy Morahan was involved in this whole thing all along. And so was Del James and the band and… For all of us, it was a really hard challenge to rise above. Plus, we've spent 2.5 million dollars and we had to put it out [Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994]
'Estranged'  was a song that Axl had been working out on piano for a long time - he'd been playing the same parts over and over in Chicago and afterward; it was clear that it was working itself out in his head. I had started writing guitar parts for it back in Chicago, so it came together in no time once we focused on it [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, p. 298]
There were a few songs that were very involved guitar-wise on those albums. 'Estranged' was a big, long song. I used a Les Paul Gold Top on it; I recorded all of the melodies on the rhythm pickup with the tone turned all the way down. 'November Rain' was tough, too, as was another Axl song called 'Breakdown.' Those were all piano driven and they needed accompaniment; the guitar and bass parts had to be thought out and done precisely. Those songs were all pretty fucking cool, I have to say, but they took some work [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 316]
It was hard to arrange [November Rain] and Estranged, because they were so open-ended and we had to cut November Rain. But those were Axl's epic piano pieces and they were both breakthrough guitar solos for me. Real melody solos, y'know? I had some good sounds and they were melodically very spontaneous [Music Radar, September 2011]
Being asked about the highlight of the shows: You know what, it has become 'Estranged', because for years everybody would just badger me, on the Internet, they would badger me [laughs]. They would just badger me on twitter, Facebook, "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!", "Play Estranged!". I just don't like blocking people [?]. They would just badger me. So finally we got to play it [TMS with Eddie Trunk, November 2011]
It’s kind of a beast for me, and for everybody, but it’s such a great song. At the end of the song, you look out and people seem really appreciative to hear that again, so that’s been very cool. When we first started playing that way back when, before even “Use Your Illusion” albums were out, it was almost kind of the opposite; people were scratching their head going, “What the hell?” But so many years later, they seem really into it and seem to really appreciate that we’re doing that song. It’s a lot of fun to play now [, December 2011]

'Estranged' performed on January 20, 1991 at Maracana Stadium, Brazil:

'Estranged' performed on October 2, 2011 at Rock In Rio IV, Brazil:

Estranged NeWborder_zpsk3uwcgt1

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:39 am; edited 15 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:00 pm

Definitely one of my favourite songs from the Use Your Illusion records. It was also one of the songs that stuck with me upon hearing the records for the first times. I guess it was the haunting guitar melodies and Axl's words. I was 15 at the time. It was powerful stuff. I used to listen to the records in bed before falling asleep. With a CD player and a big headset, there in the dark, with the sound on maximum just to completely immerse myself in the music. And I played the first part of Estranged over and over and over again until sleep caught up with me.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:06 am

A review of the video:

After the albums Appetite for Destruction and Lies, Guns N Roses released two albums at the same time titled Use Your Illusion I and II. From this double release would come three intertwining videos known as ‘The Trilogy’. The third video released was for the song "Estranged."

The third (and final installment) shows Axl hiding in a crawl space. Initially it is unclear if it is because he has lost his mind or is still thinking about his decision to wear that blue blazer to the wedding. Probably a little of both. Matt Sorum is back to wearing his bandana and women are now watching members of Guns N’ Roses performing on television. As mentioned before this video sort of takes on a life of its own and doesn’t flow as well as the first two. My solution would have been to create this as the fourth video and use “Coma” as the song for the third video which could have transitioned Relationship Axl into Crazy Axl much easier. Of course, the big problem with this is that the collection would no longer be referred to as The Trilogy.

Back to the video Axl is having an out of couch experience that leads to a shower scene (fully clothed) and then he is dressed in white walking around a mental hospital. For those lost already, hold on! On a crazy scale of 1 to 10 we are treading around 3, but are heading to 10!

Back to the girls watching the television screens: When not watching Guns N’ Roses perform they are watching dolphins. While this is happening we are on Sunset Boulevard (band actually shut down part of West Hollywood to shoot this video) and Slash is floating through the streets during one of his guitar solos. Is this strange? Not compared to Axl who is walking along streets that have turned into rivers containing dolphins swimming along the side.

Time Out. So at any point did anyone stop here and go “This is too much?” The answer is no, in fact, someone green lighted THIS ENDING: Axl jumps onto an OIL TANKER, jumps off into the Ocean and sinks. Axl is swimming with the Dolphins as Slash RISES OUT OF THE WATER to play a solo and levitate on top. A HELICOPTER has to come and rescue Rose who loses one of his Converse shoes that actually have the name AXL on them and then the video concludes with a message that reads LOSE YOUR ILLUSIONS. I remember watching this the first time and I have the same reaction today. I have no idea if what I just watched was genius or garbage, but to this day I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:14 pm

Answering a question on how he makes the whale sounds in Estranged, before the second solo

Rob, with a little delay, my volume knob is bending a string downwards.
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