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1992.07.17 - MTV Special - Guns N' Roses: Past, Present N' Future

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1992.07.17 - MTV Special - Guns N' Roses: Past, Present N' Future Empty 1992.07.17 - MTV Special - Guns N' Roses: Past, Present N' Future

Post by Blackstar on Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:38 am


Voice-over: Guns N’ Roses roots go all the way back to Indiana, home-state of both Axl Rose and guitarist Izzy Stradlin. Unappreciated in his hometown, Rose eventually made his way to Los Angeles, where he hooked up with Stradlin again and with an Anglo-American guitarist who called himself Slash. With bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler rounding out the group, Guns N’ Roses started scuffling on the L.A. club circuit, and in 1986 released their first record, an EP on an independent label. A major label, Geffen Records, quickly snatched the group up and in the summer of 1987 released the first Guns N’ Roses album, Appetite for Destruction, which slowly climbed its way to the top of the pop charts and also spawned the group’s first #1 single, Sweet Child O’ Mine. Appetite for Destruction also yielded two other Top 10 singles, Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City. In the summer of 1988, Guns N’ Roses toured the country with Aerosmith. By the fall of that year, more than a year after the release of Appetite for Destruction, the group had only an EP’s worth of new material ready for release. Packaged together with the tracks off the band’s first independent EP, these songs appeared on the market under the name GN’R Lies, an album that spawned another Top 10 hit, the uncharacteristic ballad Patience. Beleaguered by drugs and other personal problems, Guns N’ Roses kept a very low profile throughout most of 1989, allegedly trying to put another album together. Then, in September of that year, the band was called upon to open a series of concerts in Los Angeles by The Rolling Stones.
[cut to Famous Last Words interview with Axl, August 1990]
Axl:  It was great playing with them. It was a definite dream. I mean, it was something that we told people we were going to do and people were going, “No, they broke up.” “I don’t care, we’re going to open for the Stones, you wait. We’re going to do this, I don’t know how, but we’re gonna do this.” And then, you know, I told Keith Richards that and he's like, “Well, you've made it, mate. Let me have a cigarette.”
Voice-over: For more than a year after that, Guns N’ Roses continued trying to complete their second album. Drummer Steven Adler had to be dismissed for drug abuse. And then, in January of this year, with former Cult drummer Matt Sorum recruited to take Adler’s place and another new member, Dizzy Reed, added on keyboards and percussion, Guns N’ Roses bounded back into the spotlight at Brazil’s big Rock in Rio festival. Pumped up by the Rock in Rio experience, Guns N’ Roses committed themselves to launch a tour on May 24th, by which time the group’s long delayed follow-up to the four-year-old Appetite album was expected to be ready for release. As that date drew near, the band mounted a trio of surprise warm-up dates at rock clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
[cut to interview with Duff in East Troy from May 24/25, 1991]
Duff: New York was the best. San Francisco was a bit wild – I’m about to read a review on it - because, you know, it was the first time Axl sang with us in... two years, maybe? And L.A. was rocking. And New York was the best.
Voice-over: By the time May 24th finally rolled around, the band’s new album – or albums, since there were now to be two of them, still weren’t ready for release. But Guns N’ Roses, itching to get back on the road, launch their tour anyway. By June the two new Guns N’ Roses albums, both called Use Your Illusion, were still two months away from released. Fans were appeased somewhat, however, by the release of a new single, a song off the soundtrack of Terminator 2, called You Could Be Mine. Over the course of their current year-long tour, Guns N’ Roses have lost another member, founding guitarist, songwriter and singer Izzy Stradlin.
[Cut to interview with Matt from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Matt: Izzy decided he wanted to leave and go do his own thing. And we had, like, two weeks to find somebody. So Slash, and Duff and myself just started throwing around names, you know. And Gilby was an old friend from the club days in L.A., and we thought it was a perfect choice.
[Cut to interview with Slash from  the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Slash: So I called him up and he was the only guy that we physically auditioned.
[Cut to interview with Gilby from  the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Gilby: I had two weeks to learn, like, 40-plus songs. Two weeks. So it’s like, I didn’t have any time to think about anything, you know. Izzy and I are from the same school. They all kind of like the same kind of music, so I think that’s one of the things that - the reason why I’m doing it is because there was a certain style that they wanted and that was what I play.
Voice-over: Rounding out the live Guns N’ Roses experience these days are backup singers, an all-female horn section, and utility player and singer Teddy Andreas [sic], who previously worked with singer-songwriter Carole King.  
[cut to interview with Matt in Paris, June 1992]
Matt: We got a guy named Teddy, Teddy Andreas [sic] and he does harmonica, which is on songs like Bad Obsession, and he plays organ, he’s a great organ player and he’s just a great background vocalist.
[cut to interview with Slash in Paris, June 1992]
Slash: And it’s fun having this, like, this whole, you know, entourage out on the road. You know, like, five girls, and Ted, and the rest of us. It’s a circus, you know?
Voice-over: A circus indeed. With only three full albums to their credit, Guns N’ Roses have already stirred up enough controversy to fuel a 20-year career. And while the band continues to grow and change, its members remain scruffy and stubborn, and determinately true to the musical beliefs that inspired them in the first place.
[cut to interview with concertgoers in East Troy, May 24/25, 1991]
Concertgoer: They are artistic, you know. They’re their own world.
Concertgoer: They don’t care what anyone thinks. They don’t care about anyone, they’re doing their own thing.
Concertgoer: They’re kind of rebels, so, you know, we kind of dig them pretty much.
Concertgoer: We totally idolize Slash as a guitarist.
Concertgoer: I love their attitude, I love Axl Rose, he’s my idol. I want to grow up to be Axl Rose.
Concertgoer: Why is Axl Rose awesome? Look at the guy. Just look at the guy.
Concertgoer: The most notorious band in the world! Number 1!
Concertgoer: In the world! Worldwide!
[cut to interview with Axl in East Troy from May 25, 1991]
Axl: I have to usually somewhat keep it a bit controlled and stuff, so things don’t get crazy and stuff. But, you know, I was out signing autographs and talking with a lot of people tonight.
[cut to interview with Slash in East Troy from May 25, 1991]
Slash: I’ve always been, you know, the type to take the time to talk to people. ... It’s like, when it comes down to it, that’s where we are happening.
[cut to interview with Axl in East Troy from May 25, 1991]
Axl: With Guns N’ Roses fans there’s a lot of “Axl!” you know. But it’s like, this a band and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do the way I do it, and I wouldn’t be able to get the recognition, if I didn’t have the band I have being supportive and playing the music they play that makes me run around and stuff, you know. We all pretty much get off on each other a lot.
Axl: Right now we don’t use a setlist. We just pick song to song on how it feels and what we think we can perform best; and, when I think vocally, [what] I can do best.
[cut to interview with Duff in East Troy from May 25, 1991]
Duff: Our shows, we’ve never had, like, a perfect show. You know, like a lot of bands I was in the 80s or whatever. They have, like, the setlist and say the same thing between songs every night. This is equivalent to a 9-to-5 job to me.
[cut to interview with Dizzy in East Troy from May 25, 1991]
Dizzy: My first live show with Guns N’ Roses was Rock in Rio (laughs).
Loder: What was that like?
Dizzy: It was like a blur, it was like, no, I can’t believe this. You know, I mean, I would be, like, completely lying and ridiculous if I said I wasn’t nervous for that.
[Cut to joint interview with Slash, Duff, Matt and Gilby – unknown date in 1992]
Slash: We go out and it’s real for us. It’s like, the first couple of songs we feel what the crowd’s like, and it’s not an easy thing to do to be able to – you can’t fake it, you know. So we go out there and do it the way we do it.
Duff: When it comes down to it, I mean, we really are just a touring band. And that’s what we’re geared toward, and that’s what we should be doing, and that’s what we gotta do.  
[Live footage]
Voice-over: Having conquered the hard rock precincts of their native land, Guns N’ Roses next set out to whip the rest of the world in July with its nonstop three-hour live show. During the start of its second year on the road, the band played a massive combination AIDS benefit and tribute concert near London for the late Freddie Mercury, frontman for one of Guns’ all-time favorite bands, Queen.
[cut to interview with Slash in Paris, June 1992]
Slash: The idea behind the whole concert, the fact that it was completely sold out before they knew who was on the bill – talking about the public – and it sold out in the way to give a sort of certain kind of energy to the AIDS awareness thing, especially in the rock ‘n’ roll circle. And losing Freddie to it was, you know, like a catastrophe. And it turned everybody’s heads around. Having everybody show up at the concert for that cause was great. And then all the bands that were there. There was none of that sort of rock star – you know, who’s who of rock vibe going on. So we all had a basically good time and it was really well organized.
Voice-over: Following the Freddie Mercury tribute, Guns N’ Roses set out to see the rest of Europe, from an opening date in Dublin to concerts in such formerly restricted areas as Hungary and Czechoslovakia, where the group performed in the historic capital city of Prague. 
[cut to interview with Duff in Paris, June 1992]
Duff: Prague, it was – the crowd was great. And the people were very interested in the American culture and talking to us. They spoke English very well.
Voice-over: Claiming frustration at the fact that the band couldn’t play for every fan who wanted to see it, Guns N’ Roses scheduled a pay-per-view cable concert to be shot at the Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris and broadcast to 14 countries. Special guests on the bill included members of Aerosmith, Guns’ buddy Lenny Kravitz and legendary guitarist Jeff Beck. 
[cut to interview with Jeff Beck in Paris, June 1992]
Jeff Beck: Well, I just got a phone call from my manager saying, “Guns N’ Roses called. Would you care to step on stage and do a number of them?” And I said, “Where?” “In Paris.” I said, “Yep, let’s go.” They told me Locomotive was the song. And it’s pretty – there’s a lot of changes in it. I guess they thought that I’d be alright for that, for a guest spot.
[Footage from rehearsal of Locomotive]
Voice-over: Beck and the band roared through rehearsal for the Paris show and may have overdone it. Beck, who suffers from a loud music induced hearing disorder called tinnitus, had to bail out of the concert itself due to pain in ears, leaving this rehearsal footage as the only suggestion of what might have been.
[Footage from rehearsal of Locomotive with Jeff Beck]
[Footage from rehearsal with Lenny Kravitz]
Voice-over: And Lenny Kravitz joined the band for a rendition of his own song, Always On The Run, a tune for which Slash composed the guitar riff.
[cut to interview with Slash in Paris, June 1992]
Slash: It was a riff that I wrote. Initially, I mean, I write everything for Guns, you know. And, sometimes, especially when Steve was in the band, some stuff was definitely too funky. And so we just didn’t use it and put it on the back burner. So now, having Guns play it, I was like, you guys don’t even realize how funny this is (laughs).
[Footage from rehearsal with Lenny Kravitz]
Voice-over: For a jam on the old Yardbirds’ classic Train Kept-A-Rolling, the band brought on singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith, a group for which Guns N’ Roses have been an opening act only a few years earlier.
[cut to interview with Matt in Paris, June 1992]
Matt: So they just showed up to watch Jeff play, you know, and then we just got and went out there. And we had never really rehearsed it or anything, but it sounded cool.
[Footage from rehearsal with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry]
[cut to interview with Gilby in Paris, June 1992]
Gilby: It’s kind of a great position to be in, to be able to ask, you know, people like that, and they go, “Yeah!” And they’re into it, you know. They did it because they want to jam, you know.
Voice-over: Next up on the unending Guns’ itinerary was a co-headlining summer tour the with band’s hard rock pals in Metallica, an outing that kicked off on July 17th in Washington DC.
[cut to joint interview with Slash and Lars Ulrich of Metallica, May 1992]
Lars: I mean, basically how we hooked up was that we both had the same lawyer back here in LA in, like, ’87-’88, and – Hi, Peter! – and he said to me, “There’s these guys in this new band called Guns N’ Roses,” before the record came out, before Appetite came up. “There’s these guys in LA that you got to hook up because they have the same attitude and you guys will get along with them really well.” So we hooked up with Slash and stuff, way before they even – their first record came out, you know.
Slash: There is something very Spinal Tap about it all.
[cut to interview with Matt in Paris, June 1992]
Matt: We’re good friends with those guys and stuff, and we’ve got it worked out, so it’s gonna be a cool thing for everybody. It’s not gonna be, like, Guns N’ Roses is headlining and Metallica is opening. It’s gonna be, you know, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. And, you know, they’re gonna do their full set, we’re going to do our full set. And then, you know, what will happen after the end of that, it will be probably something cool.  
Voice-over: With Metallica doing its normal three-hour show and Guns doing three hours plus, plus an opening set by Faith No More, this was a show designed for hardcore rock addicts only.
[Cut to interview with Slash from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Slash: And they play three hours and we play just over three hours, so it’ll start early (laughs).
Voice-over: In actual fact, just starting on time would be an accomplishment for this chronically tardy group.
[Cut to interview with Matt from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Matt: On the ticket they just write “around 9:00”.
Loder: Yeah, right.
Matt: Not at 9:00. Around 9:00. Somewhere. You know, that could be anywhere.
[Cut to interview with Gilby from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Gilby: The first night that I played with them, you get your little sheet, you know, it says “Set time: 9:30” and stuff. And I was all ready at 9:30 and stuff. You know, 11:30 comes around.
Gilby: So I learned quick.
[Cut to interview with Matt from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Matt: I’ve learned to deal with it and I can understand where Axl is coming from. Because he wants to give his best performance, and until he’s ready and he doesn’t feel up to it, he won’t – he doesn’t like to go on.
Voice-over: Despite the band’s non-stop roadwork, the individual members of Guns N’ Roses have managed to find time to work on solo projects.
[Cut to interview with Slash from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Slash: I’ve been doing, like, one-offs with different people like crazy. And I’ve got a Stevie Wonder thing I’m doing and I just did Carole King. Well, I didn’t do Carole King, I mean... (laughs).
Loder: With Carole King. What have you been doing with Carole King?
Slash: I did a song with her. And the Michael Jackson stuff...
Voice-over: Duff McKagan recruited some of his band mates, along with Lenny Kravitz and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach and Dave Sabo, to record an album that should demonstrate for all to see that he’s much more than just a bass player.
[Cut to interview with Duff the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Duff: I play drums on most of the tracks. Matt played on one track. And I played bass, obviously, and I play guitar, and I sing, sort of.
[Cut to interview with Matt from the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, April 20, 1992]
Matt: He’s got a rock tune with a rap in the middle. And it’s - you gotta hear it. It’s different, man. It’s definitely Duff.
Voice-over: Aside from its members’ various solo endeavors, Guns N’ Roses also have another band project in the works.
[cut to interview with Duff in Paris, June 1992]
Duff: We’re making a movie. I can’t really tell you too much about it because we’re kind of sworn to secrecy a little bit, but it’s a documentary, also videos will be intertwined. Okay... If you’ve noticed, some of our videos don’t really make sense. They will. For me to really tell you everything would really kind of spoil the fun of the anticipation.
[cut to interview with Gilby in Paris, June 1992]
Gilby: Yeah, I just see the cameras all over and stuff, and, you know, after a while you just forget about them. I don’t know if it’s gonna be like the Madonna thing or anything (laughs). I hope not.
[cut to interview with Slash in Paris, June 1992]
Slash: I pray for the guys that have to edit it, because there’s a lot of stuff to take out, you know? (laughs)
Loder: Like what?
Slash: Just stuff. You know, stuff that we don’t want to have. Nothing bad, you know. Nothing as far as you know. Basically right now we’re just trying to do the shows. And then when it’s all said and done, we’ll get together and start going through the video stuff, and putting out the punk record and, you know, getting all that out of the way, and then concentrating on the next album. 
Voice-over: The Guns N’ Roses’ punk album is actually a collection of covers recorded in true punk fashion.
[cut to interview with Matt in Paris, June 1992]
Matt: Well, we recorded it after the epic Use Your Illusion I and II albums. Duff gave me a call and he says, “Hey, let’s do a punk record.” I’m like, “I was thinking of going maybe in Hawaii or something,” but...
Loder: But no.
Matt: (Laughs) But... So we went into the studio one day and we did a bunch of covers, about four or five songs. New Rose, and a song by Fear, which I can’t say the title on the air... (laughs). And a bunch of stuff.
Voice-over: Given all the activity in their various lives, a fan might well wonder when they’ll ever find time to write material for their next album. 
[cut to interview with Matt in Paris, June 1992]
Matt: Well, we do that when there’s a chance in soundcheck. We usually try to, like, just jam, you know, come up with riffs. So we’ve got some good stuff going in. We tell the sound man to hit the tape player. And then, later on, we’ll compile some of it and maybe we’ll have another Guns N’ Roses album in... five years (laughs).
[cut to interview with Slash in Paris, June 1992]
Slash: We haven’t gotten together as a band per se and, like, started to put songs together, although we’ve been jamming a lot. You know, cuz we always jam. And so I sit around and, you know, come up with ideas and I just keep it in my head. And when, you know, everything is over with, we’ll probably get together and start trying to complete some of the ideas.
[cut to interview with Matt in East Troy from May 24/25, 1991]
Matt: This band writes the kind of songs that it wants to write. I mean, you know, our A&R guy is cool and he works with us, but he’s not, like, saying, “Hey, you gotta do this and do this”. It’s mainly what we feel, you know. And Axl has cool lyrics. I mean, he isn’t... obviously from some of his lyrics. You know, it’s like, someone’s not going, “Hey, you can’t do that”.
[cut to interview with Axl from unknown date in 1989]
Axl: I feel I have responsibilities to myself and to the music, and things I want to do with it, like, you know, trying to relate to as many people and help open their minds up and at least make them think. I'm not telling them that we can save the world but I can kind of describe the world, and, you know, just at least let them think about it, you know.
[cut to interview with Duff from unknown date in 1992]
Duff: We really have only just begun. We’ve only have what we have - what, four records out. We’re still babies, you know. We’ve got a lot to achieve.
[cut to interview from May 1988]
Axl: Writing music and songs is the most important part of it to me. Everything else is, like I said, it’s a benefit and we’re really glad to get those and we want all of those we can get. But at the same time if we have to really compromise on the music, then it’s not really worth in the long run.

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