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1991.05.DD - Hit Parader - Guns N' Roses Out Of Control

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Post by Blackstar on Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:14 pm

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Controversy builds as the Gunners battle with cops and themselves as they finish new album, Use Your Illusion.
This is going to be a different kind of Guns Ν' Roses story. By now each and every one of you have read countless tales concerning the on- and-off-stage excesses of vocal­ist Axl Rose, guitarists Izzy Stradlin and Slash and bassist Duff McKagan. You've heard the music contained on their multi-platinum record­ings, Appetite For Destruction and Live Like A Suicide. You've seen the band's videos for Wel­come To The Jungle, Paradise City, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, etc. And you've read the inter­views with each and every band member wherein they've espoused their always controversial positions on everything from drugs, to women, to rock and roll, to the state of the universe as we know it.
But what is the real story of Guns N' Roses? Beneath the hype, the sold-out tours and the merchandising empire there is a reality which some have called "a disaster waiting to hap­pen." As the band finally gets ready to unleash their long-overdue new album. Use Your Illusion, upon an anxious rock world, what can we expect from these Top Gunners in the months and years ahead? Have they begun to take heed of the painful lessons already learned by such influen­tial groups as Aerosmith and Motley Crue — bands whose careers (and lives) were almost cut short by a morbid fascination with the so- called "fast lane" lifestyle? Some close to the band state that the problems the group has suffered through over the last year, where internal conflicts and personal problems led to the departure of drummer Steven Adler and the hiring of Matt Sorum in the midst of recording, have greatly matured the Gunners. Others, however, feel that until at least one band member pushes the limits of his own mortality to the very edge, there will never be true peace within Guns N' Roses.
"I’m not about to tell people to use drugs or not to use drugs,” Rose said. "That’s their decision. I just want to make sure that nobody goes too far. That's where the danger comes in. I've had friends who O.D.'d so I know what I'm talk­ing about. People in this band have had some problems too. But drinking is more our thing. Slash can get wasted at times, but I know when I start drinking I can get kind of nasty. I know I’ve got to watch that.”
Certainly nobody's about to hold Guns N' Roses up as a model for the children of America to follow... but then, the band never set them­selves up as pillars of virtue. From the moment Appetite For Destruction was released in 1988, featuring a cover showing a woman in an alley, apparently about to be gang raped by a group of thugs, many have had their claws out, ready to attack the Gunners. The blatant drug references in songs like Mr. Brownstone, and Rose's later controversy with both blacks and homosexuals over lyrics contained on the band's EP, proved that these boys weren’t about to take any shit from anyone.
But perhaps it took the notorious appearance by Slash and Izzy at The American Music Awards, where the obviously drunk pair man­aged to utter the no-no word "fuck" twice dur­ing the live national broadcast, to fully awaken mainstream America to the "danger" of Guns Ν' Roses. After selling over seven million copies of Appetite and appearing before more than three million fans on tours with the likes of Aerosmith, Motley Crue and the Rolling Stones, the "menace" that was and is Guns N’ Roses finally became a household phenomenon.
"I don’t think that anything the band has done has really hurt them,” a spokesperson at the band's label, Geffen Records, stated. 'Their credibility with the kids is just overwhelming. But the fact is that when a kid knows a parent is going to be turned off or shocked by something, that makes that band all the more appealing."
Still with a list of arrests (including Rose's recent run-in with the law over an alleged fight with his next door neighbor) that would do John Dillinger proud, one must wonder what kind of appeal Guns Ν' Roses really possess for the youth of the world. Are the band’s fans getting off on the music, or are they relating more to the Gunners' outrageous image? Unquestiona­bly, Guns N' Roses ranks among the most crea­tive, inventive and insightful group to have hit the hard rock scene in a decade. Yet, one is forced to ask if they ever would have enjoyed their astounding level of success if these tat­tooed beat messiahs didn't battle convention seemingly with every breath they take.
"We're still a street band," Rose said. "Everyone forgets how much money goes back to a record label and back into a band. It took a long time before we started seeing any of the money we were making. But the money hasn't changed us — if anything it's made us hungrier."
That hunger comes through loud and clear on the group’s latest LP, Use Your Illusion, a mas­sive 31-song collection that's taken over two years to write, record and polish to perfection. Along the way there have been no less than five different studios used, countless fights between band members and rumors that the group would never complete the recording process in one piece. In fact, after a particularly nasty run-in with Slash prior to a show opening for the Roll­ing Stones last year. Rose publicly announced that he was leaving the band. He quickly re­canted his statement, but it's one of the worst kept secrets in rock and roll that forces within the band have tried to keep Rose and Slash out of each other's way whenever possible. For the new album, Rose wasn't even present during the recording of most backing tracks, preferring to hear what his bandmates had come up with at a later date, just prior to adding his vocals. While such a system has deprived the new songs of some of the over-the-top energy that charac­terized so much of the group's debut LP, this time songs like Back Off Bitch, November Rain and Don't Cry display greater maturity and depth, a sure indication that a certain amount of growing up has taken place within the group.
"They've learned to live in the limelight," a band confidant stated. "It wasn't easy for Axl in the beginning when he suddenly was being hassled at clubs when he went out for the even­ing. He really didn't expect it or want it. Now he's more or less come to the realization that he's Axl Rose, rock star, whether he wants that kind of off-stage attention or not. It's just some­thing he’s got to live with. Actually, I think he’s handled it a lot better than some of the other guys in the band."
So what is the long-term prognosis for Guns N' Roses? Many have surmised that if it wasn't for an incredible amount of babysitting by folks at the group's management and record label, the band would be history already. But having survived the rough period of transition from rock upstarts to world-renowned anti-heroes, are the band's darkest days finally behind them? Of course Adler's departure last summer gave an indication that the group wasn't about to put up with more self-destructive behavior than it had to. While the band's members pride themselves in being able to live in the fast lane yet main­tain all of their composure, they've obviously begun to feel the heat of living up to their own legacy. Where does a band go from up? How do you follow the most successful debut album of all time? If you're Guns N' Roses, you just try to wise up a little and put the pedal to the metal.


Duff McKagan: Many believe his easy-going personality helps keep the Gunners on track.
Izzy Stradlin: His guitar work shines on the band's new album.

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