Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Guns 'n' Roses Use their Illusion Pt. 1

Guns 'n' Roses have never been a band to do things by halves...well, at least that's been their intention.  They always wanted to be bigger, better and badder than the rest, and for a period they'd achieved that.  When they released their first LP in 1987, "Appetite For Destruction", it sold slowly at first, and then it sold more than any other rock act well into 1988.  Then, they drank more, took more drugs and were more debauched than any other band around at the time.  Pretty soon they were every mother's worst nightmare.

The follow-up to that LP was barely an album.  "G'n'R Lies" was more like a double EP.  It was a reissue of their first (fake) live EP "Live @#$% Like a Suicide" with 4 bonus acoustic tracks.  This was designed as a stop-gap before the real new album was released.

It wasn't much of a stop-gap - the gap blew out to four years, and that was a ridiculous timeframe between albums in the 1990s.  That should have been enough to kill the momentum of their career, but a strange and curious phenomenon least in my sphere of influence.

Two opposing tribes - the Westies, who listened to hard rock and metal and wore jeans and flannel shirts, and the Weeds: the surfies who listened to Midnight Oil and INXS - started to associate more positively for a change.  Once, they'd beat the crap out of each other.  But soon, the weeds were listening to Metallica, Sepultura, Iron Maiden and, of course, Guns n' Roses.  They'd devoured all of the back catalogs of these bands, so when Metallica released their self-titled LP in 1991, it went straight to number one.  It was almost dead certain that this new Gunners record would do the same, in whatever shape it would take.

And no one really knew what to expect.  There were little bits of information being leaked to the press as to what was happening, but no release date.  There were stories of 12 minute ballads called "November Rain", experiments with Sitars and Banjos, 8-minute epic anti-war songs, as well as talk of a Bob Dylan cover version.  It was even suggested it may be a double album!

To add fuel to the fire, they released their version of Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" in 1990, on the "Days of Thunder" soundtrack.  They issued another song, launched simultaneously with the film it was featured in: Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  The song was released as a single ahead of the album: "You Could Be Mine" backed with "Civil War", the aforementioned anti-war epic.

In September 1991, the new Gunner's record finally landed...

...To be continued.

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