The post Hollywood Rose/LA Guns GunsnRoses in late ‘85, source of the MK 1 songs.
Appetite For Destruction is thirty. Use Your Illusion is twenty-five. It's not illusive - they really were that damn good. For five years, the hype was justified: this was the best rock and roll band in the world. So to complement my '66 series, when the former band to claim that regnant title, The Rolling Stones, made the first of their best recordings, I'll Locomotive to '86 and '91 and the next band to be worthy of another superlative: most dangerous rock and roll band in the world.
BEATING A DEAD HORSE
A couple years after another iconic hard rock/heavy metal (depending on who you ask; the late Lemmy, RIP, would have just called it rocknroll) legend, Black Sabbath, perpetrated a fraud by reuniting with all the attendant fanfare, pomp and circumstance but without Bill Ward, GunsnRoses begins the cliched long awaited "reunion" tour that isn't. Oh - and this comes as AC/DC concludes their tour featuring none other than Axl Rose on Brian's Johnson and in his place in front of a band that doesn't include bandleader of forty-two years Malcolm Young.
I don't buy any of this.
This will not descend (ascend?) into an Eddie Trunk versus The Rock Hall Of Fame worthy vituperative jeremiad against in name only halfassed, half cocked band reunions that tarnish once mighty acts' legacies. But even though a great band is indeed worth more than the sum of its parts, don't expect new music from a once great newly reunited band to be worth anything if its parts haven't produced anything worth hearing on their own. I'm looking at you, Stone Roses. So even if Axl, who either blackmailed or held hostage his bandmates into signing over to him the GnR name (brand by this time), deigned to bring back Slash/Duff/Izzy/Steven (all still alive and playing, astonishingly) for a new album, consider first Slash and Duff's - and second GnR drummer Matt Sorum's - empty chambered Velvet Revolver. And who can forget the forgettable but decade in the making monstrosity that was Chinese Democracy.
So it may be illuminating as to the original four songwriters' merits to compare and contrast those credits back when, to paraphrase George Harrison, they was fab.
*MK 1: 1984-86
Please allow me to disabuse all of the notion that Appetite For Destruction was the debut album. Full length, yes - but it was preceded by the limited edition EP (I still have the original cassette, worth I don’t know how much) - "Live" Like A Suicide, first word parenthetical because it was recorded in a studio in October 1986, along with "Welcome To The Jungle" as it would appear on the long player. Album sessions proper proceeded. So here's the early arsenal:
IZZY STRADLIN: "Shadow Of Your Love", "Reckless Life", "I Think About You", "Anything Goes"
SLASH: "Back Off Bitch", "Welcome To The Jungle", "Paradise City", "You're Crazy"
AXL: "My Michelle", "You’re One In A Million"
DUFF: "It's So Easy"
SLASH/IZZY: "Don't Cry", "They're Out To Get Me", "Mr Brownstone", "Sweet Child Of Mine"
Advantage? Ladies and gentlemen we have a draw.
*MK 2: 1990-91/Use Your Illusion
Ah, the perils of rocknroll decadence. The old trope "it would have made a great single album" arguably doesn’t apply to this two and a half hour double plus as there are arguably two or three sacrificial filler tracks at best. Of course some titles dated back to the pre GnR Hollywood Rose/LA Guns era of 1984.
BAND: "Bad Apples" (filler?), "Dust And Bones" (hell no!)
SLASH/DUFF: "Civil War", "Don’t Damn Me" (filler), "Get In The Ring"
AXL/SLASH: "November Rain", "Estranged"- Axl at his epic best, with devastating guitar melodies by Slash
SLASH/IZZY: "Perfect Crime" (filler?)
IZZY: "Right Next Door To Hell", "You Ain't The First", "Doubletalkin Jive", "You Could Be Mine", "Fourteen Years", "Pretty Tied Up"
AXL: "Dead Horse", "The Garden", "Yesterday", "Shotgun Blues" (filler?), "Breakdown"
SLASH: "Garden Of Eden", "Bad Obsession", "Coma", "Locomotive"
DUFF: "So Fine"
Advantage: Izzy. And not just for prolificness: of his six, only "You Could Be Mine" is not among Illusion's highlights. Duff again has only one contribution, but this time it's a quiet gem, especially as sequenced between the somnificent, unstoppable "Locomotive" and breathtaking, modular "Estranged".
Pay no attention to Rose's latest ego show. You're tired of most of Appetite and have been since it was overplayed in the late eighties. Go back and rediscover the penultimate of the four original GnR records (the final The Spaghetti Incident was a fun collection of covers recorded mostly on the endless tour of mid 1991- late 1992).
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