Axl Rose — Beating A Dead Horse

** Who’d have thought that almost 4 years later (from my original post) rock fans would be counting down the days to an actual Guns N Roses reunion.  Crazy.  Hell has frozen offer, and pigs can in fact fly.  Do you count it as an actual reunion though?  I’m less concerned with the lack of Steven Adler, and more disappointed at the lack of Izzy.  Izzy is such a backbone of the early material, that I was really hoping he’d be involved too.  Will the remarriage last?  Will Axl’s voice hold up?  Will the magic still be there?  Beats me, but I’m looking forward to finding out. **

Originally published April 12th, 2012

It’s so easy…  I mean, really.  It’s so easy to jab Axl Rose on his letter to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last night.  I almost went with It’s So Easy as the title of this post, but Duff gets dibs on that one with his book.  Other possible titles I considered?  You’re Crazy.  Yesterdays.  Get In The Ring.  Estranged.  Oh, and of course Don’t Cry.

I get it.  You’re mad because Axl is throwing up a big middle finger, taking his toys, and going home.  But how is this any different than the Axl we’ve had for over 20 years?  Anyone that expected Axl Rose to suddenly throw away over 16yrs of anger and resentment towards Slash (and vice versa by the way) is pretty naive.  “Hot Shot” Scott’s podcast and (@ScottSoden on Twitter btw) put it best when he said sometimes a guy is “just an asshole”.  It’s clear Axl is the ultimate control freak.  He’s shown that during years of touring with Guns N’ Roses.  It’s on his terms or not at all, period.  The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was the kind of event that was quickly becoming less about Axl Rose, and more about the rest of the band that got the short stick back in 1996 and 1997.  Axl was suddenly losing control.  But is it that big of a deal?

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame already has a history of famous no-shows or tense situations.  Outraged bout Axl Rose bagging out of Saturday’s event?  It’s not the first time, or have you forgotten about Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony accepting on behalf of Van Halen?!  How about members of Blondie begging to play with Debbie Harry, or did you forget that Blondie was a band and not a person?  Not every band is Metallica (who invited former-bassist Jason Newsted to play with them during the show.)   But, there’s a distinct possibility that Saturday just got a lot more interesting.  The R N’ R HOF just got a ton of attention to the museum (which I’ve been to by the way, it’s cool, check it out) and it puts the “rest of the band” in the spotlight — but will they perform?  That might be the better question.  With Axl out of the way, maybe we’ll see another reunion of sorts.  Would there be a better way to reintroduce a revised Velvet Revolver to the world, complete with a new lead singer that they’ve been teasing for a few years?

In a way I can see where Axl Rose is coming from.  Sure, he’s a complete whack-job, but he has a semi-legitimate point.  Who is Guns N Roses?  Well, it’s Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy, and Adler right?  If you came in a few years late, you get Matt Sorum instead of Adler on drums and Dizzy on keyboards, but it’s the original lineup that’s still the heart of GNR to fans.  To fans, but not Axl Rose.  Or Slash.  Or Duff.  Or… well, you get where I’m going with this.  You have to realize that Guns N Roses has been around longer without the original lineup, than with it.  Slash said as much when he commented a few months back that they hadn’t been together for over 15yrs.  He didn’t understand why it was still such a big deal.  Duff’s moved on to his band, Loaded.  Izzy has volumes of solo work, and Adler has been in and out of rehab.  The Guns N’ Roses I loved in high school is gone, they divorced a long time ago. 

If you’re going into the “Marriage Hall Of Fame”, do you want to get inducted with your ex-wife?

You can argue that today’s Guns N’ Roses is a cover band.  80% of what they’re playing is someone else’s instrumental work, but I think most fans would agree that at the end of the day, Axl Rose is the face of GNR.  Van Halen just wasn’t Van Halen with Gary Cherone.  There’s a reason that Velvet Revlover never saw Guns N’ Roses success with Scott Weiland on vocals.  I saw GNR in Seattle earlier this year and had a great time.  They had a ton of energy, Axl sounded awesome, and they played for close to 3 hours.  It was an event that played almost like a Vegas stageshow, which is a compliment.  It was an awesome show.  Would I have preferred to see the original lineup?  Of course.  But be realistic.  A GNR reunion would have only ended one way.  Badly.  I’m sure the shows would have been awesome… and shorter.. and maybe a little bitter, or late, or cancelled. 

Guns N Roses made some awesome music.  Throw it in and blast it in your Camaro like I did in high school (and do now in my family car, when the kids aren’t in it).  But it’s not gone, and neither are the guys that made the music great!  If you like Guns, then check out their other projects.  Slash’s last solo album is pretty good.  If you want Slash back, buy it!  Like Duff McKagan?  Check out his band Loaded.  They have some good stuff out there, be sure to see them when they come through your city.  Guns N’ Roses divorced in the 90’s.  They’re all remarried now, and all seem pretty happy about it.  It’s time to stop beating the dead horse… 

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