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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.


2007.11.30 - Fuse - Videos That Rocked The World: Welcome To The Jungle

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2007.11.30 - Fuse - Videos That Rocked The World: Welcome To The Jungle Empty 2007.11.30 - Fuse - Videos That Rocked The World: Welcome To The Jungle

Post by Blackstar Thu 15 Apr 2021 - 8:12


Sebastian Bach: Welcome to the jungle, you're gonna die!

Voice-over: A real danger was lurking in America's  cities.

Contessa Brewer [MSNBC]: Cities were scary places to be.

Voice-over: Most bands were still playing at safe.

Alan Light [Music journalist]: It was an era where rock and roll was Poison, Whitesnake and just crappy bands.

Voice-over: Until one bold new video put the sex and drugs back into rock and roll.

Penelope Spheeris [Filmmaker]: Guns N' Roses comes in as King Kong and just kicks everybody's ass.

Voice-over: And thrust five bad asses into the middle of the decency debate.

Slash: I didn't know that it was gonna hit such a nerve.

Voice-over: Now, a video that rocked the world: Welcome to the Jungle.

Julia Boorstin [CNBC Business News]: Welcome to the Jungle was shot in 1987, right around the time of the big stock market crash.

Kathy Kristof [Los Angeles Times]: Now all of a sudden the gritty realities of the world at large were beginning to come home.  

Contessa Brewer: People were scared of being in the cities. Crack cocaine was an epidemic  that it seemed like city authorities could not get a handle on. Homelessness was up, crime was up, it had jumped nearly two percent in just one year.

Dr. Casey Jordan [Criminologist/Professor]: We had on average in New York City five homicides per day.

Contessa Brewer: You saw families, when they could afford it, ditching the cities and moving to the suburbs because cities were scary places to be.

Voice-over: And while urban America was in chaos, popular music was blissfully celebrating glam escapism.

Alan Light: It was an era where rock and roll was Poison and Whitesnake and just one after another of these just crappy bands.

Ian O'Malley [Q104.3 FM New York]: There was a lot of really bad pop. A lot of one-hit wonders, that we all know and love, that we can tap our foot to, but there's no longevity to it. 

Matt: I think a lot of what happened at that point was kids in middle America didn't really have anything to sort of grasp onto that was real.  

Voice-over: But a gritty aggressive and dangerous new sound  was beginning to rise up from the streets of L.A.

Tom Zutaut: Here we have these five crazy, authentic, real, degenerate, drug addicts that make dangerous music

Alan Light: Guns N' Roses were a bunch of street rats from Indiana, from Seattle, from native L.A. drawn to, you know, the rock and roll scene.

Steven Smith [fuse host]: So with Guns N' Roses you had Izzy Stradlin, and you had Steven Adler, Duff "Rose" McKagan, Slash and Mr. W. Axl Rose.

Slash: We were just the real deal, you know, we were everything that we were influenced by in rock and roll, you know, turned up to 15. There was no other five guys that could have made up that band. So those five personalities drew from everything that, you know, we were influenced by and then we just cranked it way the [ __ ] up.

Ian O'Malley: I can remember interviewing Slash and the first time I ever met the guy I go backstage at this concert to interview him and he didn't even look up and he goes, "I do two things before a concert, I tune my guitar and I get drunk".

Brian Hiatt [Rolling Stone]: This is a really intense rock and roll band on every level. They had this house that they lived in that was rented for them by this prospective manager and they they tore it to pieces. They threw the toilets out the window. They caused damage like you couldn't even imagine.

Duff: We were raging at that time. Absolutely raging. We would have parties at this house every night and we lived there and we did kind of live like animals.

Lorraine Ali [Newsweek]: Plus Axl was dangerous. We just never knew he was gonna do. I remember seeing him outside, you know, some guy came up and was talking to him and he just got pissed and he smashed a beer bottle over his head. And so I was like, "Wow! Rock and roll is back!"

Voice-over: While recklessness simmered in L.A.'s rock scene an equally potent force was at work in Washington DC. Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center was out to protect children from everything Guns N' Roses was about, and Guns N' Roses had few allies.

Slash: A lot of people were very scared of us and a lot of people didn't want to like us and we were just too dangerous, too volatile, too unpredictable.  

Contessa Brewer: You had radio stations maybe pulling back a little bit. They didn't want to lose advertisers, they didn't want people threatening to boycott the advertisers because of the songs they were playing.  

Tom Zutaut: Radio really wouldn't play it. They just said, "There's no way, these guys are too scary," so the only thing that we could think to do was to keep the band out on the road and keep them touring.  

Alan Niven: In that period of time the record actually sold a quarter million copies. Which was pretty good in six months off just touring.

Tom Zutaut: If you can sell records with no help other than opening for people and stealing their audience, imagine what you could do if people could really find out about it.  

Slash: I think Welcome to Jungle was probably the flagship song for the band, to be the first single and the first video.

Tom Zutaut: I fought really hard to get that video made because I felt like this is the most visual band in rock music. But Guns N' Roses was a living, breathing, walking car wreck. The guys were so screwed up and, you know, high on drugs and, you know, could barely focus on things. 

Voice-over: Geffen still okayed the video shoot for Welcome to the Jungle but a drunk and drugged out Guns N' Roses was hanging on by a thin thread.

Tom Zutaut: There was always this worry that one of them might destruct before you finish making the video.

Voice-over: Guns N' Roses was deemed too violent and intense for radio and their album sales suffered, but their first video would do nothing to soften their hardcore image.  

Slash: The main premise of the video was really sort of an introduction to the band as people.  

Tom Zutaut: Guns N' Roses wanted to make a statement about their philosophy and their crazy rock and roll life.

Duff: It would have to be something that represented us.

Tom Zutaut: This wasn't going to be Tawny Katane strutting her stuff in a Whitesnake video. It had to capture the mayhem of Welcome to the Jungle which was inspired by Axl hitchhiking through Harlem in neighborhoods that at that time, really, you know, no white kid from Indiana should set foot into.

Sebastian Bach: One of the first things some guy said to him on the street is, uh, Welcome to the Jungle, you're gonna die!

Voice-over: The vision for the video was a vivid recreation of Axl's real-life urban experience.

Slash: It starts off with Axl coming in on a bus from greater America, you know, the Midwest kind of deal, getting off a bus with a corn stalk in his teeth and then Izzy's there at the bus stop dressed in black leather and looking like a street cover and he's trying to sell him some drugs and that's how he gets introduced, more or less, to L.A.

Nigel Dick [Director, Welcome to the Jungle]: He's gonna be in a room and there's all this stuff he's being shown. you know. people beating other people over the head with truncheons and riots. I think the first thing we did was Axl in the chair. He's going to have the head brace on, you know, the rest of it.

Tom Zutaut: When he snapped into that mode in that straight jacket, part of me was wondering is he going to come out of that role or not because he's really crazy at this very moment. 

Nigel Dick: Of course you turn on the music and he just goes berserk. Check! Got the screaming? Yep, got that good.

Slash: I was like, "Okay, yeah, we're shooting a video," and our sort of attitude was like, it was like an unnecessary evil. It was part of the process. And we tried to make as much fun out of the process.  

Duff: It was our first experience in making a video and and having an actual crew there. I think we were semi-professional about the whole thing.

Tom Zutaut: I think Nigel learned very quickly in that shoot that this was the real deal, you know, guys getting pretty [ __ ] up in the middle of the shoot and you're just hoping that they can pull 
off their scenes.

Slash: The thing about this band, for the most part, is very, very impatient. Especially me, all right, I can't sit still. And, uh, you know, the thing about shooting 
videos and a lot of other stuff is a lot of hurry up and wait. I had one incident where I just got sick of waiting around and got really drunk one night and after that started some trouble.

Tom Zutaut: There was this motorhome being used as sort of a dressing room area.

Duff: We're not around very many nice things at all. It's got a refrigerator in it. I mean, it's a great place to drink and it's got wheels on it. Killer!  

Nigel Dick: Slash was spectacularly drunk and could hardly stand up. Suddenly i see the motorhome like lurching into gear and just doing an incredible U-turn in front of four lanes of busy Saturday afternoon traffic.

Slash: I mean, I'm a troublemaker so I would find anything, you know, harmless but at the same time, you know, annoying probably to the people that were just trying to do their job. And I guess, yeah, I did, I stole the trailer and took off with it and that started a lot of ruckus.

Tom Zutaut: It disappeared, and we couldn't find Slash and we couldn't find the motorhome, and then it suddenly reappeared and Slash apologizing profusely and making a comment something along the lines of, "Well, I hope there's not too much damage."

Nigel Dick: It's like, you know, a bag full of kittens all trying to get out, but these aren't fluffy kittens, these are, you know, tiger cats waiting to explode and they're all on meth amphetamine and that's just crazy.  

Steven: That was us. That was our lives we put, tried to put in a four and a half minute video.

Alan Niven: I thought that Nigel had really delivered on something that had a gritty sense to it, that it looked like GN'R.

Nigel Dick: We shot the video in August and I guess it was probably delivered two or three weeks later, you know, early September and then you hear... nothing.

Alan Niven: The video outlets at the time did not respond favorably.

Slash: I was aware that they weren't playing it, but that didn't really shock me either because I don't think that they were ready. A band like us didn't really fit into the nice squeaky clean vein that everybody was pumping at the time.

Michael Azerrad [Music journalist/Author]: The video was a little edgy for the time, [?] has a little suggest some drug dealing and I guess this little sequence of the drummer in bed with his girlfriend. This is the PMRC era and music television in general is very touchy about things and very susceptible to claims of things that would pervert the minds of America's youth.

Ian O'Malley: Because of the reputation, the channels themselves said, "No, no, no, no, this is, this is not us. Parents are going to freak out. There's too much of a danger aspect to this."

Slash: That sort of pissed me off. It was like, I think they were complaining about the video being too hardcore and it wasn't.

Alan Light: It was do or die for Guns N' Roses at a certain point. Things were not selling. The label really had sort of walked away from the project.

Tom Zutaut: Finally one day I got a call from the president of the company. He said, "Tom, this record's done," and I looked at him and I said, "You're out of your mind, this record's just beginning. We've only just begun the fight. I respect that you're the president but I just disagree with this decision so I'm gonna go to the guy who owns a company." So I went to David Geffen, said, "You know, if you could just get them to play that video I think we could sell millions of records."

Brian Hiatt: And then finally David Geffen, who was a very powerful mogul as he was then, as he is now, made a phone call.  

Tom Zutaut: I'm waiting in my office and I'm wondering when am I going to hear back, get the call from his assistant to go up to his office and I get up there and he   looks at me and he goes, "They're going to play the video," and I'm like, "All right!" I'm like jumping up and down, he's like, "Wait a minute," he goes, "They're only going to play it one time."

Voice-over: Could just one airing of one music video take Guns N' Roses out of music's dark alleys and on to the charts?

Voice-over: After all the obstacles Guns N' Roses encountered, their debut video Welcome to the Jungle would finally hit the air but there was one catch.

Tom Zutaut: They're only going to play it one time. It was on a Sunday morning 4 am... 1 am L.A time 4 am New York time.

Alan Light: If you get one shot at four o'clock in the morning it's not exactly a, you know, prime time fair swing.

Alan Niven: The most important thing was the door was cracked open.

Tom Zutaut: I go to the office the next day and Al Corey was the head of promotion at Geffen Records, I walked through his office, he goes, "That video, man, they got so many phone calls and the the switchboard blew up!"  

Brian Hiatt: It's like one of those fairytale stories that doesn't sound true, but it played at one time and kids across the country went nuts.

Mike Shinoda [Linkin Park/Fort Minor]: Everybody caught it at the middle of the night and the reaction was so strong that they were forced to play it more often.

Slash: Anybody from 13 to 20 years old seemed to relate to it across the board and I think also that rebellious attitude that we had, people realized that it was genuine and people dug that.

Voice-over: Despite the network's fears and threats of censorship, music fans hungry for something real and raw had finally found it in one music video.

Tom Zutaut: From the day that we released the album the word of mouth was probably good for like 10,000 a week. All of a sudden they put it into heavy rotation and that ten thousand a week jumps to a hundred thousand a week and now in almost no time we're over a million.

Alan Niven: Guns N' Roses caught the main vein on a global basis because they were utterly believable. It was a band forging a remarkable connection with its 
audience very quickly.

Keith Nelson [Buckcherry]: It was the kind of video that you couldn't stop watching. You waited for it to come on again because nothing was like that before. It not only looks reckless, it sounds reckless and everything about it just says danger.

Scott Ian [Anthrax]: It had edge, it had aggression, it had attitude. It was dangerous, it was exciting.  

Penelope Spheeris [Filmmaker]: It was such a metaphor for what was going on in the world at that time, you know, and and finally a band was telling us of some sort of, you know, substance. And we could all relate to it back then.

Riki Rachtman [TV and Radio Host]: When Guns N' Roses came out all of the bands, like the Def Leopards and to an extent even the Motley Crues, were like, "Whoa!" This is something that's coming not from the streets of Hollywood, this is coming from the sewers of Hollywood.

Michael Anthony [Former bassist, Van Halen]: I remember when I saw the video though I thought, "Oh boy, here we go, these are some contenders right here. I'm gonna have to worry about these guys."

Rob Tannenbaum [Blender]: All those other bands said, "Oh shit! We have just been revealed for the lying deceitful pussies that we actually are."

Slash: Our band was the release that we needed to fill the void in music at the time.

Alan Light: You know, it's hard to imagine that Nirvana, that Pearl Jam, that Alice in Chains, that any of the Seattle stuff, you know, really would have gotten the response it did without Guns N' Roses putting this, you know, much nastier, much purer and raw, rock and roll sound out there.

Michael Azerrad: The rock world was spring-loaded for Guns N' Roses. It was just the perfect setup and they came at the right time. 

Slash: I think probably, looking back at the Welcome to the Jungle video, it's significant because it was the first step towards what we ended up becoming.

Last edited by Blackstar on Thu 24 Jun 2021 - 16:31; edited 1 time in total

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2007.11.30 - Fuse - Videos That Rocked The World: Welcome To The Jungle Empty Re: 2007.11.30 - Fuse - Videos That Rocked The World: Welcome To The Jungle

Post by Soulmonster Sun 13 Jun 2021 - 11:55

Transcribing this now and got to this quote:

Lorraine Ali [Newsweek]: Plus Axl was dangerous. We just never knew he was gonna do. I remember seeing him outside, you know, some guy came up and was talking to him and he just got pissed and he smashed a beer bottle over his head. And so I was like, "Wow! Rock and roll is back!"

She's in her 30s at the time of the quote, I believe, so she must have been in her teens when Guns N' Roses was breaking through in Hollywood. Was she part of the LA music scene? A groupie? I have never heard of her before. I don't necessarily doubt she hung around the band back in the 80s and saw Axl fight someone -- it happened Very Happy -- but did she really think, "Wow! Rock and roll is back"?

Generally speaking, I hate pieces like this where people are brought in to give great one-liners that are then put together to form some narrative. It's inherently revisionist crap, maybe not intentionally but definitely in hindsight everything is 20/20 and it is so easy to make it all seem to obvious. Even Slash and Duff playing their part, exaggerating stuff to be part of the narrative and build on the mythos. There is something cheap about it all.
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