something of a lengthy, possibly angry post lays ahead of this sentence. feel free to skip if you can't be bothered with it all - the best thing to do with something you don't like is, after all, to ignore it.
wow. just wow, look you see. I know this means that it’s yet another vibes related post on this blog this year, but I could not skip responding to the horrid article someone called Phil Hebblethwaite managed to get published on the BBC site.
Let’s get something quite clear – I am in that camp that says this so-called “classic” line up reunion of Guns N Roses is not a matter of excitement. As much as I love the band, the truth is they never were a band in the sense that the Stones, the Beatles, The Smiths, Oasis and – in particular as we go on – The Stone Roses were. The line up was always interchangeable, and there was never any sense at all that it was those people in that band that made the magic happen.
There are many reasons why a Guns N Roses “reunion” isn’t anywhere near as exciting or as interesting as marketers might like to think. Phil Hebblethwaite avoids all of them and discusses seven irrelevances instead. To go point by point, then….
Apparently We Are Sick Of Bands Reforming
That’s the title for his first point, yet all the comments under it relate to this “reunion” being all about money. As in he doesn’t dare say something like “oh we are sick of the chance to see bands like The Stone Roses perform again”.
I don’t get where the idea that musicians make music to make money is a bad thing came from. They work hard, make many sacrifices and entertain millions with their efforts. Why is it painted like a bad thing that they should profit from this? As for the comment that the “reunion” was delayed to ensure the ex-Mrs Slash couldn’t get her hands on any of the money. What can I say, Slash has clearly learned from his mate Ronnie Wood in this respect.
On money, it seems according to Phil that “many ordinary Guns N Roses fans” are priced out of seeing the band, with tickets costing between $80 and $350. Fans find a way. My (considerably) better half and I managed to make a plan and get to The Stone Roses in Manchester coming from Johannesburg, my sister did similar for Robbie Williams.
For some reason people are excited about seeing Slash and Axl on stage together. My experience of that is that they spend most of their time on opposite sides and there’s no dynamic interaction or interest, but if that’s what the people want, they will pay to see it. Similar amounts were charged for The Who and The Stones, and should McCartney and Starr decide to perform together you could multiply the cost of a Guns N Roses ticket by 10 or more and no one would bat an eyelid.
Apparently They represented the worst excesses of misogyny in rock music
Axl quite likes sex, and at times has not so much suggested as directly stated in lyrics that women should be subordinate to his sexual prowess. He and the band went though goodness knows how many supermodels and willing groupies. As raw sexual energy, desire and ambition as been at the heart of rock and roll since rock and roll was invented and why the vast majority of rock musicians are in bands, I don’t get the surprise element here that they do stuff which can either be interpreted as, or blatantly be, sexist in the sense that they are showing off how awesome at sex they believe they are.
The controversial, withdraw “robot rape” artwork for the Appetite For Destruction album? Not so much challenging and artistic as stupid and ill-advised, and there is a massive clue about that being widely accepted as the case in the use of the word “withdrawn” just there.
I think if Phil Hebblethwaite had done a bit more research, and saw things like Jimmy Page’s oddly celebrated abduction of a 14 year old girl, or what according to A Year And A Half In The Life Of Metallica Metallica used to do with groupies and drumsticks, or many other tales and legends, he might find there are far worse cases of misogyny in rock music than what Guns N Roses managed to muster.
Not everyone does, of course, but let me not shock you – there are many millions of women around the world who get quite turned on by and are attracted to the gents of Guns N Roses. Under no circumstances should it be said that all or most do, and many are quite understandably horrified and appalled by them, but it’s very silly, patronizing and pompous to casually ignore the fact that oh so many of them do.
Apparently, Ha Ha, Guns N Roses (Or Any Band) Are Supposed To Have A Conscience?
The song One In A Million. Unpleasant lyrics, written by someone wishing to express and evoke exactly what they felt and experienced at a specific time in their life. To my knowledge (I stand to be corrected) the band have never performed it live, and yet here we are, some 30 years after its one and only performance.
If you really, truly hate Guns N Roses then it is oh so easy to grab this song, ignore why it was written or what it is about, ignore the fact that artists of all colours and sexual persuasion have, before and after the release of G N R Lies, used the same words without reprisals and say it is a reason why everyone should absolutely hate the band just like they do.
Does Axl Rose like or dislike black people or gays? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever as he has not made any sort of public statement or issue of it. To think that this song in some way is would be to entirely miss the point of the song .The song did, of course, see many crusaders say that Axl shouldn't nbe playing at the Freddie Mercury AIDS awareness concert due to his use of the word "faggot". which, you know, implies that all those people believed that AIDS was strictly an issue for gay people. I leave it to you to spot the ignorance or prejudice on either side.
Do I like One In A Million? No, I had forgotten it and the fuss long ago. I’ve said this before and no doubt will have to say it again – the cost of freedom of speech in this world is that everyone has it, not just the people who say things you happen to agree with. I’d rather an artist said what they wanted to say, whether I agree or disagree with it, than produce a clean, sanitized version that ruffles no feathers and ultimately says nothing at all. The song uses ugly words to describe an ugly feeling and an ugly sense.
Finally, a particularly interesting point of the criticism brought forth here is that the New York Times elected to attack the apparent prejudice of this song with.....prejudice. Can we move away from this thinking that saying something is "for white people" is either valid, acceptable or a perfectly fine statement to make when objecting to something? Yeah, some white people have done bad things over the years, but not all of them and certainly not all the time. Why is it a bad thing that us of the honky / vanilla fraternity get some entertainment once in a while, exactly?
Apparently They Moved Hard Rock Backwards Not Forwards
Christ. This section is based on the “wisdom” of The Quietus. I do not get why people rate The Quietus at all. Factual inaccuracies are not uncommon in their articles, and everything about what they do screams they are aloof, indulgent sixth formers with a massive superiority complex.
Why the hell does heavy rock have to be progressive or move forward? Why can’t music just be good music?
I don’t get the comments that Appetite For Destruction was “reactionary”. If the bloke from The Quietus reckons that the lyrics weren’t interesting I feel sorry for him, for it means that his copy of Appetite For Destruction was missing insightful songs like Welcome To the Jungle, Mr Brownstone and My Michelle. The bloke from The Quietus seems to reckon that through a combination of not being as unsuccessful as Cro-Mags and having the audacity to sell millions of records Guns N Roses somehow managed to destroy music in 1987. And, as I said, for some reason people still read The Quietus and take it seriously.
Slash is not a great, revolutionary guitarist like Clapton, Jimmy Page, Hendrix or John Squire. He has a cool name and a very carefully cultivated image that makes the idea and concept of Slash seem awesome. That said, if that makes him a bad guitarist, then I really, really wish I was just as bad a guitarist as he is. As does, deep down, him off of The Quietus and him that wrote the article for the BBC.
Apparently The World Had Moved On By 1991
A bit more bad headline work here from our man Phil. A tip, Phil – if you are going to say the world had moved on from something by 1991, then it’s probably not a good idea to in the next sentence say that in 1993 they were still a huge band.
The world was “over” Guns N Roses because Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991? Really? Might it not be that people who bought and listened to Appetite For Destruction 4 years before then were mostly the same who bought Nevermind, and listened to Nevermind a lot more as it was new and they hadn’t been playing it for 4 years?
Phil’s idea that Kurt Cobain made Axl Rose look “even more sexist” is undoubtedly true, but I am not sure that’s a reason anyone has ever given for either listening or not listening to either band. Mostly, I would think, it’s down to the music.
Also, I must be thick. I have read his comments a few times, and I don’t get how a documentary released in 2015 (Montage Of Heck) which revealed footage of Kurt mocking Axl meant that retrospectively we had knowledge of this and promptly in a presumably revisionist way had “moved on” 24 years earlier.
Apparently they are a decade too late for an 80s revival
Phil does know that Guns N Roses have been an ongoing thing, yeah? Not prolific by any means, but they did not cease to exist. It is hard to work out how Phil thinks that we all think two former members coming back into the band is a reunion designed to cash in on the last few waves of 80s nostalgia.
It seems that Phil believes this style of Guns N Roses would have worked better a few years ago when The Darkness were popular. Yeah.
Like them, love them, loathe them, hate them, but what you cannot do to them is deny that Guns N Roses is established as one of the most well known and iconic names in rock music. They don’t need any sort of 80s revival or anything to be a success beyond their many, many fans around the world.
Apparently no one has “any truck” (?) with lateness in the social media age
This is going to be quite a shock to Phil and many of them f****** millennials with their vast sense of entitlement, but at no point at all was anyone accepting, understanding, tolerate, keen or “had truck” with the proclivity of Axl Rose to be late for gigs or not turn up. Several riots at gigs where this happened and a few (proper, well written, researched) articles over the years kind of shows this. To say that Guns N Roses should not play with the so-called “classic” line up because Axl might / probably will turn up late and some 18 year olds with Twitter accounts will express their totes displeasure about this is a fascinating way to govern who should do what.
From what I recall of seeing the band, Axl pretty much was on stage at the time the band was supposed to be. I guess I was lucky, or he just happened to know I was in the audience and didn’t want to put me out.
For me the idea of the “classic” Guns N Roses line up returning is not exciting because no incarnation of the group ever carried with it a sense of camaraderie or being a “band of brothers”. In that sense they were never ever a Stones, a Who, a Van Halen, a Metallica or, to cite the most exciting actual reunion of the century, a Stone Roses. Whilst I have no doubt at some stage that bonding must have existed within any or all of the line ups of the group, there was never any sense of unresolved or unfinished business with Guns N Roses; in particular due to the fact that the band have at no stage ceased to exist.
Would I say don’t do this classic line up stuff? No, absolutely not. You go, boys, make a pile of coins of money. The trick is they will be doing it by giving many millions of fans what they want, which is the sight of Axl and Slash together on stage. Everyone gets what they want, then, and I don’t see the problem.
Me? I just like living in a world where big massive rock stars exist. I like the idea of Guns N Roses, a band who went through tough times that I would not dare contemplate suffering in order to become huge, successful and live a massive life of excess that I could only dream of. It makes the world more interesting to have bands like that in it.
If you have for some reason read all of this, thanks for doing so! Should your thing in this world be to see Axl, Slash and them others on stage once again, may it be all that you want. For those with no interest at all in that, not sure why you read this but nice one.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!