This page is the accumulation of several years’ research, hard work, frantic panic, image comparing, fact re-re-re checking and the near collapse of my better half’s admirable patience. If you’re in the market for a copy of this record or you’re close to someone who’s searched for it, you’ll understand.
So you know who Guns N’ Roses are and more than likely you know what Live Like A Suicide is. If you didn’t you most likely wouldn’t have found this page. Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide is a mini-album released by Guns N’ Roses back in 1986. It’s a fake live record and was recorded in a studio with audience sounds added after. It contains four tracks, Reckless Life, Nice Boys (Rose Tattoo song), Move To The City and Mama Kin (Aerosmith cover). It was released by the band on their own Uzi Suicide label under the guidance of Geffen Records who were worried about the band’s instability and they wanted to test the market before pushing a full studio album. Reportedly 25,000 copies were pressed but only 10,000 copies were sold. It never appeared on CD so legit formats only include 12” vinyl and the rarer cassette; but we’ll talk about that later on. Originally I was going to write a handy point by point piece, but feck it. If you’re in the market and have the cash, then take the time to properly research your future purchase and avoid getting ripped off.
(DISCLAIMER: The information contained within this guide is based on my own research and may not be 100% factual. Tickets There does not guarantee everything in this guide is true and the only reason we’re saying that is because psycho-bitches sue everything in sight.
Due to the rarity of this release and also the fact it’s an official album release in the bands discography, Live Like A Suicide is a must have for all Guns N’ Roses collectors. Normally this would be handy enough, fork out a couple of hundred dollars and bob’s your uncle, but like everything else GN’R related, there’s a complication. If you like seedy Russian tricksters, deceit, worry, exploitation and more worry; then read on.
Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide is not a highly difficult record to find, despite some collectors insistence that it is. At almost every minute of everyday a copy is being sold on Ebay. As for the records high price tag, this is entirely dependent on how much a fan is willing to pay. Factory sealed, undamaged copies have been valued by long time reference guide Ladydairhean @ $300. However it’s rare you’ll find a factory sealed copy for less than $400, especially on Ebay, Eil.com, Discogs..etc Again, the value will only go up and if you have the cash, Tickets There says ‘go for it!’. Unless of course it’s a fake which brings is to the real point of this page.
I started looking for an original printing of this EP about three years ago. Like everyone else who does a little research, I was introduced to ‘the myth’ which scares 100% of all LLAS buyers away from immediately parting with cash for a copy. The myth goes as follows; in the early nineties, some chap in Russia bought a vinyl cutting press and reproduced several hundred / thousand copies of Live Like A Suicide in an attempt to cash in on Guns ‘Use Your Illusion’ success. Whether or not this is still going on is unknown. If it ever happened like that at all is also unknown. One thing that is guaranteed, not every copy of Live Like A Suicide sold is an original and there are some very obvious, some very difficult and some un-guaranteed methods of checking if the copy you’re buying is an original or not.
LIES is the second album release by Guns N’ Roses. It came out in 1988 and as well as featuring the classic Patience, the notorious One In A Million and the savage Used To Love Her, it also includes the four Live Like A Suicide tracks. Technically the album is an E.P., but what can you do. The front cover was a take on all the bad press the band were generating with their off stage antics, the back cover was a re-print of the original Live Like A Suicide art work and that’s were the trouble begins.
People looking to buy LLAS will generally run into the LIES problem first. This is when a seller posts an image of the back cover of LIES and advertise it as LLAS. Most sellers will generally slip a note in somewhere saying it’s actually LIES you’re buying, but some miserable bastards won’t. Fortunately you’ve found this guide and we can help.
LIES Front & Back Covers: Spotting a copy of LIES is very simple. First of all, there’s a bar code in the top right hand corner and some writing and logos at the bottom. These do not appear on the actual Live Like A Suicide. The more adventurous tricksters will try to hide these using paint or photoshop so always ensure you ask the seller for several clear images and close-ups taken in daylight if you have doubts. As for back cover images, these are generally taken from the back of the LIES inner sleeve as this was also re-produced from the original LLAS artwork.
There are two main give-aways to look out for. First, the original LLAS does not have G SIDE 1986 printed after the Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide name. Again this can be edited out with paint and photo-shop so look for the second main give-away, the shading. While some sites will tell you there is no white text on the original LLAS, there is (the song titles appear in white); but not as much as there is on LIES. Checking the shading around the LLAS logo (especially the words LIVE & LIKE A) On Lies the shading will be white, on the original it’ll be a purple colour. Also check the overall quality of the record as the back cover of Live Like A Suicide is glossy and hard, the LIES inner sleeve is darker, plainer and paper. Here’s an image of the covers side by side for reference. (Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide is on the right)
When it comes to spotting a fake, things get a little more difficult, especially using pictures. Time of day / artificial lighting and flash photography all change the particulars of the art work which some use as the basis for spotting a fake. Ladydairhean puts a lot of emphasis on colour in her guide but a lot of her points are not correct as far as I’ve been able to tell. The examples she uses are based on pictures she’s found and used to write the article from rather than using a genuine copy of the record. Unfortunately, colour is still one of the key factors in judging your copie’s authenticity. Fake copies generally have a darker front and back cover. The real Live Like A Suicide has a fairly dark front cover, but the back has a strong red tint that’s visible in the light. Since it’s hard to get a side by side image of the front cover, you’re best off asking for a photo of the back cover from a slanted birds eye view to verify the red tint.
As for the colour of the labels, the red side is a dark toned red, not blood red or bright. In certain lights the label can also appear slightly orange, pink and bright red –that makes things nice and easy don’t it? Here’s a few images of the official release’s label in different lights (All images taken of the same copy in different lights)
It’s reported that the Live Like A Suicide vinyl’s matrix engravings were also reproduced on the fake copies (I know, bastards!!!). So checking these is necessary, but again it’ doesn’t guarantee authenticity. The LLAS matrix numbers are,
- USR-001-A/B-SH1 USR-001 A/B-SH2
There is good news though, one crucial stamp is reported to not have been included on most of the bootleg copies!! Engraved along the same lines as the matrix numbers you should see the world ‘STERLING’ machine stamped on both sides of the record. One final thing, there’s also a raised ‘A’ within the inner circle on both sides of the label, but like the STERLING stamp is sometimes impossible to photograph and won’t appear in 90% of the images you see of this release.
Again, some of the fakes are reported to have this stamp included, however it doesn’t appear as prominently as it does on the genuine copies. Considering the difficulty in photographing the stamp on the genuine copies, this will be difficult to assess on-line and would best to check in person. We are working with one of the forum users on HTGTH to get a photograph of the fake ‘STERLING’ stamp for comparison.
A special thanks to Rubber Soul Records in Stoke-On-Trent, England (yes, the home of Slash and Lemmy!) for allowing us to use this image. I may have gone overboard on the branding, but this is a very difficult picture to take on most camera’s and I’m sure no-one wants it stolen by some **** on Ebay. Thank you guys!
One very obvious way to see a fake is the colour of the record itself. If you see anything other than black vinyl – stay away. There is no such thing as an official copy printed on red, yellow, see through or any other kind of vinyl other than black. Despite the fact that these pressing are fake, some collectors still view them as collectable and have been known to pay upwards of £70 for a copy. These are surprisingly rare these days but can be found from time to time on Ebay.
There is one problem that is difficult to find a resolution for, stolen pictures. Sellers can quite easily steal pictures from guides like this and others; or simply steal them from other on-line sellers. There’s little you can do to avoid this but if you’re wary of this, request specific images from the seller from various angels. If the item is legit, the images should be mailed and you’ll notice if the environment & lightening changes. If it does, be careful as it could mean the seller has hunted down the images from other sites. If all remains the same, then they most likely have the record to hand. Remember: If you’re paying £100+ £100+ €100 for an item, it is OK to ask for photos and receive them – do not deal with any seller that refuses to provide these.
On Ebay you can check if a seller has sold copies of the EP before and this is another way of spotting fraudulent items. If you see a seller is selling the album regularly, do not buy. If you see a seller only selling privately, do not buy. If you see one or two occurrences, check other items for sale and see if 1, everything is high priced (rare for a private seller to only sell high priced items. Items like Live Like A Suicide should be gems in their collections and much more expensive than their other items) and 2, if there’s any trend to the music they’re selling. If they have rare Guns N’ Roses LP’s, then most likely they’re hard rock / metal fans and other items should sync with that. Shops won’t be good for this but private sellers will.
UPDATE: I just saw a LLAS cassette for sale on Ebay. Thing is, they’re using thumbnails from the copy I bought last week!!! The seller has 3 pieces of feedback (one of them negative) and has taken the pictures and description from the cassette I purchased a few days ago – FAKE!. The way I’ve gone about re-checking my items authenticity is simple, I went to the seller I purchased the cassette from, went into his feedback as a seller. Clicked through the recent ‘View Items’ from recent feedback and checked the background of the photos he’s been using. Fortunately, they’re consistent with the background from the LLAS cassette meaning he has the tape, the other seller doesn’t. This is another handy trick when buying any copy of LLAS but again, people don;t necessarily photograph their item in the same place.
Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide was officially released on cassette in 1986. Like the LP, it came factory sealed and included the same four tracks on both A&B sides. The art work differed slightly from the 12” version due to the fact that the 12” graphics were printed on the front side of the sleeve while the credits were printed on the back against a dark grey background.
Tickets There has not been able to work out how many of these cassettes are in existence but the original overall figure of 10/25K copies printed of the EP seems to include both vinyl and cassette; however there were much fewer pressing of the cassette format than the vinyl one making it harder to find, but surprisingly enough, cheaper.
The cassette is valued at around £100 for a factory sealed copy, but chances are you’ll pick it up for a lot less than this. While researching it, I found copies going between $50-$90 (sorry for all the currency jumps, depends on the value I see). Because the value isn’t as high, the cassette has managed to avoid the counterfeit craze so copies sold are genuinely authentic…unless the seller is stealing images like the story above. Again, always request pictures, always ensure the pictures are clear and all sides of the cassette are re-taken with matching back grounds and no paint touch ups have been carried out.
Lots more pictures of the cassette can be found below in the gallery.
Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide was never originally released on CD. Around 2003, it was released in CD format with Appetite For Destruction (original cover) as part of a Guns N’ Roses boxset. Bottom line, any CD of LLAS is not from the original 1986 pressing.
Do not despair, you’ll find a copy. The majority of the versions I’ve seen (that aren’t LIES) are generally originals and the so called counterfeit scare does not seem to be as prevalent as most people assume. A lot of the scares are false and as long as you look out for the following on the 12”, you can’t go too wrong.
- Make Sure you’re not buying LIES. Remember – Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide does not have any bar-codes any where on the cover or record. If you see a bar-code, it is not LLAS
- The only white text on the back cover should be the song titles, any white shading on the E.P.’s title is LIES and not legit.
- Matrix Numbers & STERLING machine stamp: Although they’re hard to photograph, you should try to buy a copy that you can see the matrix numbers and STERLING stamp printed. Collectors of the EP have reported fake copies do not contain the STERLING stamp so this is a great indicator to go by.
- Ageing: Personally, I stay away from shrink wrapped, unopened versions of the EP because you’ll pay roughly $400 for one and there’s no way of telling what’s inside without opening the shrink wrap which instantly devalues the record. A lot of sellers provide the original shrink wrap and if it’s been opened, you can request photos. The record should appear aged (well it is 25 years old, going on 26 (as of Nov, 2011). Perfect pristine copies should be avoided when possible (unless you really need that mint condition look)
- Back Cover Fold: According to some sources, official copies have a fold on the bottom left hand corner where you can see the image from the front. This is not 100% accurate and we do not endorse this a strict ‘must-have’ for buying this album. You should see part of the image folded under the back cover, but it should not be visible when staring at the back cover from a birds eye view.
- Thumbnails: Do not buy from a seller using thumbnail (small) images. Make sure you at least get decent high-grade pictures before purchasing. Also remember to check the consistency of the background in each image. If they’ve photographed a genuine copy for sale, they won’t move it around the world for each snap so the background should be the same in each picture. When requesting new pic, ask for them to be taken in the same location the first batch were to make sure the seller has the item.
I hope this guide helps you find a genuine copy for your collection. I took a long time to gather this information and will provide updates if and when I have them. It’s a wonderful piece to own and every GN’R collector should have it, just a shame some bastards have made it so difficult. There are always people waiting to take advantage of you but if you put in the work and ‘have a little patience’, you’ll be fine. Good Luck!
Update: 15th Nov 2011.
As a safety check, I’ve posted a link to this article on Heretodaygonetohell.com ‘s message board. User ‘williambailey‘ has kindly sent on some detials about the Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide EP’s release that he got from former Guns N’ Roses manager, Alan Niven which you’ll find interesting. Thanks williambailey for sending this on!
Live Like A Suicide was only manufactured on vinyl and cassette, total number of both items was, to my best memory 25,000 units, which I sold to Important records, an indy distributor of the day. They were manufactured by Warner Bros on my request, with care to ensure there were no markings whatsoever to link the discs to Geffen or their manufacturer. [Of course, the fact that the band were already signed to a major was somehow overlooked as I got these out in the guise of an indy record. The $40,000 I got from Important funded the first foray into Europe, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and the first three Marquee shows - and the momentum was thus begun].