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1989.08.DD - RIP Magazine - Slash, For The Record (Slash)

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Post by Blackstar on Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:12 am

Many thanks to @troccoli for sharing this with us, and for the amazing collection of GN'R memorabilia he has made available on his site. The original image of the article can be found on his site here:



To Tony W. of Fairfield, California, and whomever else it may concern:

I've never written to a publication before and never really expected to do so, but in this case I felt that it was well in order to make a sincere effort.
A letter printed in the Static section of the May issue of RIP caught my attention. The letter was written by Tony W. of Fairfield, California, and was more or less addressed to the rock and roll band Guns N' Roses. l am the lead guitarist and a cowriter for GNR, so it was fortunate that this particular issue came my way, especially since the bulk of GNR material that bypasses us is the usual carousing, chemical-abusing sexual highlights that comprise most of our pub­licity. This issue, though, contained a letter that shed some light on a more important subject. This was done by a legitimate fan of the band, rather than by an opinionated journalist with a quota to fill, thus deserving a response from someone in GNR without question!
All this aside, the purpose of Tony 's letter, I think, was to find out whether or not GNR is actually racist (referring to the content of one of our songs) or prejudiced. The song in question is off our EP, GNR Lies, and is called "One in a Million." The lyric that prompted Tony's curiosity as to our racial standing goes, "Police and niggers, get out of my way.” The term "niggers" being the case in question.
I think that down inside Tony knows the answer but it would satisfy a certain something to hear it from us. The answer is. NO! Not in any way is Guns N' Roses racist, prejudiced, bigoted or subject to any other title of racial discrimination. I cannot stress this strongly enough. I’m sorry that anyone would even start to think that about us in the first place, but I will add this much to em­phasize and clarify.
The word nigger, by way of original defi­nition (albeit slang), is a low-grade, lazy in­dividual. An individual with no regard for anyone else. Low-class upbringing and moral standards. Human trash, if you like, but not a label for any particular ethnic group. A nigger could be a Caucasian. Asian, Italian, Latin or Black. It is from this definition GNR used the word nigger, not from the stereotypical one that is exclusive to blacks only. It’s a drag that some asshole somewhere, sometime, decided long ago that the word nigger and its meaning was deserved by the Black race Now it’s a household word used by racist morons the world over. And since it’s been this way for so long, it seems there's not much to be done about it. Being part black myself, I take offense to hearing the word nigger as well.
Anyway, I'll briefly summarize “One in a Million," and you can decide for yourself what we’re getting at. "One in a Million" is Axl’s autobiographical look back to when he picked up his bags and hitchhiked from smalltown Lafayette, Indiana, to downtown Los Angeles. The harsh contrast of L.A.'s fast pace, concrete, dog-eat-dog motif to Axl's middle-class, conservative background created the verses for "One in a Million," with “I'm one in a million," echoing the aspi­rations of kids everywhere to become some­body in the entertainment biz, being the chorus. The combination of verse and cho­rus should spell out the point of the song. Axl's reference to niggers was directed towards the characters one would encoun­ter on the streets in downtown L.A., i.e. mug­gers, pimps, hookers, thieves, drug dealers, etc. . . . Not a common sight in Lafayette, for sure. But also very intimidating to a teenager coming from there and landing smack in the middle of LA. for the first time. Get the picture?
All the mentions of particular groups of people in this song are referring to the radi­cal extremes (ex.: "immigrants and faggots." etc.). Hollywood is a radical extreme in it­self. The words to "One in a Million” are not meant to insult. They are meant to verbal­ize the most decadent examples of every­day life in the big city.
In closing, I would like to add that the bot­tom line is, if anybody thought that we were bigots—DON'T. Nobody in this band is, nor is anyone in our whole organization. So if we offended anyone, it wasn't intentional.
Thanx for Listening,
P.S. This isn't an excuse, just fact.

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