As inevitably as summer’s swift exit and post-Olympic comedown in the UK comes the news that perennial rock punchline, Guns N’ Roses, are bowing to their destiny and playing a residency in Las Vegas.
What passes for G’N’R these days. Nice hat, guy who isn’t Slash.
Oh, the bitter, bitter irony of it all. It’s as though they’ve given up on any pretence at relevance and are content to throw out softball pitches for snarky bloggers and hipster music scenesters. Cheers, Axl – well-played.
They are, of course, in good company – Motley Crue, former architects of public outrage and groupie-despoiling rock pigs of no small reputation have recently done a lucrative residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and it hardly seems like a huge stretch for Axl’s elite unit of anonymous studio musos to ply their hit-stuffed back catalogue in such a theatrical, glitzy and surface-level locale as Vegas.
And it’s not as if I begrudge musicians from finding creative ways to leverage their reputation to bring in revenue – with the music business being the walking corpse that it is, who can blame any established band for finding a way to pad their pension funds a little? – but surely there’s a better way to do that than plying one’s trade in a haven of douchery, captive tourists and investigative forensic medicine?
Is Axl really smart or just trolling us all at this point?
Filed under Geekery, Music
Oh, Axl, must we go down this road again?
The maxim would have it that time heals all wounds but clearly that slice of home-spun wisdom hasn’t reached the lead singer of what currently passes for Guns N Roses, as this week Axl Rose Forced Fans To Remove Slash T-Shirts at their London 02 Arena show.
Not content with starting gigs several hours late, writing his former band mates out of history in lengthy online screeds, storming off stage regularly and generally behaving like the kind of caricature that you could chuckle at if his behaviour wasn’t so pitiable, he’s now telling fans what they can wear when they’ve spent £56.25 to see his current backing band plow dutifully through the back catalogue and the absurdly overblown sonic mulch which was “Chinese Democracy“.
Being as charitable and equitable as Rose now seems unable to be, one might argue that the act of wearing a Slash shirt to a gig where the former G’N’R guitarist is now persona-non-grata could be construed as an act of minor, passive aggressive trolling. But the point would be somewhat hard to sustain – Slash is, whether Axl chooses to acknowledge it not, an integral part of the Guns story and has carried himself with far more dignity than the defacto protector of the G’N’R legacy cares to.
How about that new Slash record, by the way? Really looking forward to what Slash, Myles and the boys have cooked up this time…
Awards and award ceremonies ultimately don’t mean anything – when was the last time that you bought an album because it won a Brit Award or Grammy? And have the Academy Awards made you rush out to see a film lately? Probably not.
With that in mind, it was refreshing today to come across this story with former Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver axe lord Slash ruminating on what his former band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame means to him.
Speaking as somebody whose musical taste skews inexorably towards the loud, the hairy and the be-Marshall Stacked, I too find it bewildering that Deep Purple and Rush haven’t yet been venerated for their role in forging the kinds of sounds that later bands (and 2012 inductees) like G’N’R and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have drawn from and iterated upon. If you’re going to laud the influenced before you show props to the originators, then where’s the logic in that?
Of course, that would mean going back to the pioneering Blues and R&B artists whose early work gave white suburban rockers a jumping-on point and giving them their due. Which is, of course, something that the American and British recording industries have never wanted to do as it would lead to awkward questions about how, at best, these artists endured decades of shabby treatment and, at worst, were outright ripped-off by the largely white, largely middle-class and morally questionable recording industry establishment.
It’s difficult not to wonder about how much the implosion of G’N’R and its gradual metamorphosis into Axl Rose’s touring band may have soured Slash on the idea of the band being awarded this industry honour – the Guns ‘N’ Roses operating currently doesn’t really resemble the classic line-up and it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Axl pulling some kind of diva stunt to generate press inches before the ceremony proper on Saturday April 14th…