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"When did Guns N' Roses became so fashionale?"

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"When did Guns N' Roses became so fashionale?" Empty "When did Guns N' Roses became so fashionale?"

Post by Soulmonster on Thu 26 Aug 2010 - 13:25


When did Guns N' Roses become so fashionable?

It used to be that you'd never admit to liking Axl Rose's gang. But their appearance at this weekend's Reading and Leeds festival proves they stand alone as hard-rock hellraisers

There was a time in the early 90s when nobody liked Guns N' Roses. Well, obviously some people did, on account of the millions of records they sold and hundreds of arenas they filled, but it was a bit like weeing in the shower; no one ever admitted to it (aside from Manic Street Preachers, but let's face it, back then they'd have admitted to shooting JFK if it put them on the front of music papers).

So what changed? Perhaps it's the absence of St Cobain, Axl Rose's greatest sparring partner (sorry Slash), and the void created by the demise of the heavy-rock template which saw Nirvana demonstrate that the genre could be visceral and dangerous without having to write a song slagging off "immigrants and faggots".

Perhaps time is a great healer – it's easy to forget Bowie's Nazi salute, Eminem's Tom and Jerry take on domestic violence and Macca's The Frog Song as the decades roll by – especially when Axl Rose has spent the last 15 years essentially saying, "about that homophobic stuff? I was a prick".

But I'd hazard it's more to do with contemporary hard rock being so insipid and mumsy – a place that is significantly more boring without an insane ginger tyrant screeching about snakes and guns and making clumsy metaphors for heroin use. In such company, Foo Fighters don't really cut it.

The recent internet hoax that appeared to suggest Guns N' Roses would not be appearing at Leeds and Reading festival this coming weekend was an effective gauge in measuring the change in attitude towards the band. Many friends I wouldn't have thought of as metal fans seemed genuinely upset they might not get to see them play; when festivals offer the opportunity to see a zillion bands you've seen a zillion times before, a Guns N' Roses headline set is the sole moment of risky programming within a format that so rarely books anything that isn't Kasabian or Kings of Leon.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the modern Guns N' Roses ("modern", because one look at the lineup will tell you this is not "the classic" GN'R). Firstly, they're not a nostalgia act – if you've got a ticket, you're going to get Welcome to the Jungle, yes, but you're probably going to get Chinese Democracy's gleefully lunatic six-minute pseudo rock-opera This Is Love too. And anything that reinstates proper rock shows to festival headline slots (not two hours of getting foot rot in a grassy puddle while listening to a Greatest Hits CD) is just fine with me.

Secondly, there's a chance they may not even turn up, or at the very least go onstage late, like they did at Leeds in 2003 – which is disrespectful to fans, sure, but it approaches the thrills and chaos you should demand from rock'n'roll bands (besides, what kind of person complains about going to bed late at a festival?). But it's not even that they may not turn up. It's that they may turn up and machine-gun everyone in the first 100 rows! Or set themselves on fire and play Chas and Dave songs! Or arrive via helicopter, descend to the stage on a rope ladder and just stand there sucking mints for two hours! They probably won't, but they could, and in a world where even the Libertines play a comeback show and turn up on time, I can't think of another touring band with such potential to surprise.

So if you're wondering why you're so excited about seeing Guns N' Roses play Reading and Leeds, try asking the modern hard-rock bands on the bill: who made the genre so boring?
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