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Tim Chester over at the English music scenes answer to a cheap gossip rag, New Musical Express has posted a question based piece entitled, ‘Axl Rose – Asshole or Hero?’. Now normally the NME isn’t worth reading, replying to or taking any notice of at all, well not unless you want to know which shop Pete Doherty just walked out of or what brand of cigarettes Amy Winehouse smokes (Thanks Daily Gossip!). But this time Tickets There is taking the liberty of branding the author, the magazine and their staff a bunch of over the hill, raised on camp indie bullshit-artists, with as much right to write about Rock N’ Roll as a Nazi has to a fair hearing.
The Facts: Reading 2010
Guns N’ Roses played Reading on Friday night. In the week leading up to the event, NME spearheaded reporting a speech from Reading /Leeds organizer Melvin Been that the Guns had been issued a warning that their stage times must be adhered to after local councils and police made a similar warning to Melvin a co.
The band were scheduled to arrive on stage at 09:30pm, eventually arriving at 10:30 -an hour late. Their original cut off time was 11:30pm and they managed to play on until 12:00. When the band tried to return for an encore, their sound was cut so the band staged a sit in protest after leading the crowd through an ‘acoustic’ rendition of Paradise City, which saw nearly 90,000 fans singing along and chanting ‘Let Them Play‘ and ‘Fuck You Reading‘(Not a secret, watch the videos). They eventually left the stage after Axl made a comment the band would not play Leeds after the treatment they received at Reading by ‘those responsible’
Coming on Late Ain’t right is it?
For the past twenty years, Guns N’ Roses have had a very obvious, very public, well documented and very much lampooned and hated reputation for showing up late by heritage fans and the music press. In fact, the writer shows a knowledge for this by highlighting (as usual) the low points and incidents of previous GN’R tours, in no great detail or context off course as that might involve some real journalism on their behalf – God forbid. For anyone to act surprised or angry at the group for turning up late has a vendetta because Axl Rose and the band have never done anything to make you think they’ve changed.
Do these people still act surprised when they get wet in the shower? Because they seem to have no comprehension for the flippin’ obvious.
Our Response – Axl Rose – Asshole or Hero?
Rock music has lost it’s way – Rock is now dead. Rock N Roll hall of fame, award shows – heritage bands reuniting, greatest hits set-lists, staying together for the ‘career’, money, album after album of repeated glory day styles, follow the rules, adapt to the industry’s expectations, the fans expectations, pander to the press, bad mouth your band mates and still stick together because there’s no-where else to go. Bands are old, rock is old and it’s fans, it’s bands and the industry built around them to exploit and drain what ever profits it can has finally destroyed what was once a perfect machine for encouraging rebellion. A style designed to give kids a voice to express their views, their difference of opinion and the things the mean the most to them.
Rock N’ Roll, Punk, Rap, Heavy Metal all evolved in each generation to suit new fans, new young people and their lives but the spirit of rock n roll has always been carried over and that message is simple – Don’t Follow The Rules and fuck society, fuck the industry, the government and fuck you, I’ll do what I want.
That message has become a cliché, a punch line for the marketing and advertising industry every time a twenty two year old college grad is given the new Motorhead album to push. The people running things, the bands involved and the new breed of fans, raised on ageing fogies playing greatest hits tours every year while struggling younger bands repeatedly get passed up so rich musicians can make more money. These days bands have to sound like Coldplay or Arcade Fire to get ahead, music that your gran, neighbours and teachers can sit back with, sip wine to and discuss the banking crisis. Very rock n’ roll eh.
Then you take Guns N’ Roses. Old Guns N’ Roses. Slash, Duff, Axl, Izzy and Steven and Appetite for Destruction. Sweet Child O Mine, Welcome to The Jungle and Paradise City. massive. Then Later with Don’t Cry, November Rain, Live and Let Die, You Could be Mine…just as massive. They had it all and could still be out there today, like every single other heritage rock band making money, touring Appetite for Destruction and a choice selection from what ever Appetite rip off they released that year and pandering to the fans every whim and wish. The so called ‘Most Dangerous Band‘ could be there in the O2, top hat, American flag shorts and all, like nothing ever changed in the past twenty years.
Wake the fuck up, things change and people move on.
Slash is gone, playing American anthems to stadiums, selling guitars for Gibson, living up in every respect to the stereotype cast on him. Discussing reunions and his love for Axl. Duff is around, playing in second rate punk bands, writing for Playboy (he’s a journalist now don’t ya know) and still playing with Slash and Matt Sorum in Guns N’….sorry, I mean Velvet Revolver. He likes to discuss reunions occasionally aswell. Steven, poor Steven plays in Adler’s Appetite, a band that until recently exclusively played Appetite For Destruction at every show. Again, he mentions the idea of a re-union at every given opportunity.
Axl does not discuss reunions, he does not give interviews, he does not play national anthems to baseball stadiums full of 40/50 year old Americans who point and remember he was the guy who sang Sweet Child O’ Mine. He keeps the band fresh. He works on his music in his own time, he tours and plays shows ranging from 2.5-3.5 hours with a new band of incredibly tight musicians playing half hits and half new material. He goes on stage when he’s ready, he releases his music when he’s ready and he does what he likes, when he wants to do it. Not when people tell him he should do it.
He makes no secret of this and anyone that tries to argue that is an opinionated, but faceless moron following the sheep and the lead taken by people set out against Axl for personal grudges. Ya see, musicians who don’t pander to the press become enemies. People who won’t do what they’re told become a nuisance. and people who tell you to fuck off after you’ve devoted yourself to them for years on end get pissed off.
Axl Rose does what he likes when he likes. He doesn’t set out to piss off fans or anyone else but anyone turning up at a Guns show expecting to see the band on time is a straight up retard and fuck knows where they’d get the idea that was going to happen. It might, it’s not like they never turn up on time but you only hear of the occasions when they don’t. It’s not like every other band in the world always turn up on time, but then again – they don’t make as interesting reading as Axl.
He doesn’t pander to press, to fans, to x-band mates, to record companies or to anyone who else who tells him what he should be dong. He’s nearly 50 years old and he knows very well what he’s doing and how he wants it done. he knows when he’s ready to walk on stage to give the best performance he can and he knows when his musics ready. The Press, managers, fans and no-one else knows this because they all suck off the ‘product’ he’s giving the world. if you don’t like it – fuck off, if you question it – fuck off and if you have a problems guess what – Fuck Off!
Rock N’ Roll is rebellion and Axl Rose rebels against pretty much every rule in the book, whether it’s the industry making them, Society making them, the fans making them or his band making them. He will give you a fantastic show as long as you don’t throw shit at him (by the way, how many of you would remain in your chairs at work if customers came along throwing bottles and coins at you with a spot light in your face blocking your view?? Ya, fuck off!).
Axl Rose is the last true hero of rock n roll because he’s the only one famous enough still telling pressure and rules to go fuck themselves and anyone that can’t see that has no business being a fan of rock in the first place. Fuck off and listen to Radiohead and leave Rock N Roll alone for people with some balls.
Guns N’ Roses play Belfast on Tuesday, Dublin on Wednesday. Don’t go if you want Slash, don’t go if you have somewhere to be after. Go if you want to see the last true icon of a rotting genre, that once gave people alot of hope before it’s originators, it’s fans and it’s spokespeople were absorbed back into the system the movement set out to defy in the first place. He might also play a few cracking tunes while you’re there.
NME – Stick to reviewing The Kings of Leon, The Libertines and The Klaxons. That seems to be as much danger as ye can handle. I hear there’s a fat, squirrel eating lesbian naked somewhere – go quick, there’s a cover due!