Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses is an American rock band that were formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985. The band, led by frontman and co-founder Axl Rose, has gone through numerous line-up changes and controversies since their formation. The band has released six studio albums, three EPs and one live album during their career.
The band has sold an estimated 150 million albums worldwide,including over 43 million in the United States. The band's 1987 major label debut album Appetite for Destruction has sold in excess of 30 million copies and reached number one on the United States Billboard 200. In addition, the album charted three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Sweet Child O' Mine" which reached number one. The 1991 albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II debuted on the two highest spots on the Billboard 200 and have sold a combined 14 million copies in the United States alone. After over a decade of work, the band released their follow-up album, Chinese Democracy, in 2008.
Their mid-to-late eighties and early nineties years have been described by individuals in the music industry as the period in which "they brought forth a hedonistic rebelliousness and revived the punk attitude-driven hard rock scene, reminiscent of the early Rolling Stones.
The band's first album, Appetite for Destruction was released on July 21, 1987. In the US, "Welcome to the Jungle" was issued as its first single with an accompanying music video. Initially, the album and single lingered for almost a year without performing well, but when Geffen Records founder David Geffen was asked to lend support to the band, he obliged by personally convincing MTV executives to play "Welcome to the Jungle" during their after hours rotation. Even though the video was initially only played one time at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, rock and punk fans took notice and soon began requesting the video and song en masse.
Overseas, countries were often treated to material that never saw release to the US market, and went unexposed to US fans. The original UK "Welcome to the Jungle" single was backed with a Marquee Club performance of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" and a 12-inch (300 mm) single included live renditions of "It's So Easy" and the Bob Dylan classic "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (which would later be covered by the band in the studio on Use Your Illusion II). In Japan, an entire EP entitled Live from the Jungle was issued, containing the album version of "Sweet Child o' Mine" along with a selection of numerous Marquee Club recordings.
The album underwent an artwork change after the original Robert Williams cover design (a surrealist scene in which a dagger-toothed monster vengefully attacks a robot rapist) spawned complaints from religious groups and caused some record stores to brown bag, obscure, or refuse to sell the album.The revised cover was a design by Bill White, a tattoo artist, who originally designed it for Axl's tattoo on his right forearm. It was a picture of a cross with each of the five band members featured on it. Axl's head was in the middle with Izzy Stradlin' above and Slash below, Steven Adler and Duff McKagan were on either side of Axl. Rose later insisted that the Gold and Platinum plaques issued by the RIAA be set using the original cover. The artwork from the original cover can be found in the booklet of the CD release.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" was the album's second US single co-written by Axl Rose as a poem for his girlfriend and future wife, Erin Everly. Due to the growing grassroots success of the band and the cross-gender appeal of the tune, the song and its accompanying music video received heavy airplay on both radio and MTV, and became a smash hit during the summer of 1988. Slash stated on VH1's 100 Greatest songs of the 80's "it was actually my least favorite song we ever wrote..I hate it, but it turns out to be our greatest song ever". "Welcome to the Jungle" was then re-issued as a single, with new pressings of records and tapes and new artwork. The UK re-release was backed with an acoustic version of "You're Crazy", recorded much earlier than the one featured on the G N' R Lies EP.
By the time "Paradise City" and its video reached the airwaves, the band's touring success and fame had catapulted the album to #1 on the Billboard charts. "Welcome to the Jungle", "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Paradise City" were all top ten singles in the U.S. To date, Appetite for Destruction has sold over 28 million copies.
Guns N' Roses began opening shows for major acts, but as their fame began to take hold, a world tour in support of Appetite for Destruction was scheduled. The band traveled across the United States, and in spring 1988 were invited to the notorious Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington in Leicestershire, England, where they shared the bill with groups like KISS and Iron Maiden. At the start of the Guns N' Roses set, the capacity crowd of over 100,000 began jumping and surging forward. Despite Rose's requests that the crowd move away from the stage, two fans were trampled to death. The media largely blamed the band for the tragedy, and reported that the band had continued playing even when there were dangerous crowd conditions. In fact, the final report on the Donington incident filed by the head of security at the venue noted that the band had not been aware of the extent of fan injuries, had immediately halted their set when requested to do so, and had attempted to calm the crowd. Nonetheless, events such as these during the Appetite for Destruction tour earned the group the title of "the world's most dangerous band". In addition, the behavior of the band members also garnered negative attention from the media. Duff, Slash, Izzy and Adler were often seen intoxicated both on and off stage.
The band's next release was G N' R Lies in 1988, which reached #2 in the Billboard music charts. The album included the four Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide recordings on one side and four acoustic songs on the other. The song "One in a Million", which included the words "niggers" and "faggots" among other such obscenities, led to controversy in which critics accused the band, and specifically Axl Rose, of racism and homophobia.Rose responded (in a 1990 interview with MTV) by saying the claims were unfounded, particularly considering Slash himself is half black. He went on to explain that the words were those of a protagonist and not a personal statement, and that the lyrics reflected racial and prejudicial problems within society rather than promoting them. Rose also cited that he idolized gay/bisexual singers like Freddie Mercury and Elton John. The band had played gigs alongside the all-black metal band Body Count, and lead singer Ice T wrote in his book, The Ice Opinion, that Axl had been "a victim of the press the same way I am".
Even after the release of GN'R Lies, Appetite for Destruction continued to be popular for the rest of 1988 and 1989, which resulted in them winning both Favorite Heavy Metal Artist and Favorite Heavy Metal Album (Appetite for Destruction) at the nationally televised 1990 American Music Awards, where Slash and McKagan appeared visibly intoxicated and used profanities on the air. The members finally took steps to deal with their addictions after Rose threatened to end the band if they continued with their heavy drug abuse. He even spoke publicly about the situation, specifically the heroin addictions, while opening for The Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1989 by stating that if certain members of the band don't stop "dancing with Mr. Brownstone", Guns N' Roses was finished -- mainly referring to Slash and Adler.
In 1990, Guns N' Roses returned to the studio to begin recording their most ambitious undertaking yet. During the recording session of "Civil War", drummer Steven Adler was unable to perform well due to his struggles with cocaine and heroin addiction—his difficulties in the studio caused the band to do nearly 30 takes.As a result, Adler was fired in July 1990, and was replaced by former Cult drummer Matt Sorum, who Axl credited for saving the band. A few months prior, keyboardist Dizzy Reed became the sixth member of the group when he joined as a full time member. The band fired their manager, Alan Niven, in May 1991, replacing him with Doug Goldstein. According to a 1991 cover story by Rolling Stone magazine, Rose forced the dismissal of Niven (against the wishes of some of his bandmates) by refusing to complete the albums until he was replaced.
With enough music for two albums, the band released Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II on September 17, 1991. The tactic paid off when the albums debuted at #2 and #1 respectively in the Billboard charts, setting a record as they became the first and only group to date to achieve this feat. The albums spent 108 weeks in the chart.
Guns N' Roses accompanied the Use Your Illusion albums with many videos, including "Don't Cry", "November Rain" and "Estranged"—some of the most expensive music videos ever made. The hit ballad "November Rain" became the most requested video on MTV, eventually winning the 1992 MTV Video Music Award for best cinematography. During the awards show, the band performed the song with Elton John accompanying on piano.
Both prior to and after the release of the albums, Guns N' Roses embarked on the 28-month-long Use Your Illusion World Tour. It became famous for both its financial success and the many controversial incidents that occurred at the shows, and is still currently the longest tour in rock history.
The Use Your Illusion World Tour included a Slash guitar solo incorporating The Godfather theme, a piano-driven Axl Rose cover of "It's Alright" by Black Sabbath and an extended jam on the classic rock-inspired "Move to the City" where Rose showcased the ensemble of musicians assembled for the tour.
Many of the successful performances during the tour were equally matched, and often overshadowed in the press, by riots, late starts and outspoken rants by Rose. While the band's previous drug and alcohol issues were seemingly under control, Axl was often agitated by lax security, sound problems and unwanted filming or recording of the performances. He also used the time in-between songs to fire off political statements or retorts against music critics or celebrity rivals.
On July 2, 1991, at the Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis during a performance of "Rocket Queen", Rose jumped into the audience and tackled a fan who was filming the show with a camera. He had a heated confrontation with the fan before physically assaulting him. After being pulled out of the audience by members of the crew, Rose said: "Well, thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home!", slammed his microphone on the ground and left the stage. The sound the microphone made caused some fans to think he shot someone, so Slash quickly told the audience, "He just slammed his mic on the floor. We're outta here." The angry crowd began to riot and dozens of people were injured. The footage was captured by Robert John, who was documenting the entire tour for the band. Rose was charged with having incited the riot, but police were unable to arrest him until almost a year later, as the band went overseas to continue the tour. Charges were filed against Rose but a judge ruled that he did not directly incite the riot. In his defense, Rose stated that the Guns N' Roses security team had made four separate requests to the venue's security staff to remove the camera, all of which were ignored, that other members of the band had reported being hit by bottles from the audience and that the venue's security had been lax, allowing weapons into the arena and refusing to enforce a drinking limit.Consequently, Use Your Illusion's artwork featured a hidden message amidst the Thank You section of the album insert: "Fuck You, St. Louis!"
After a repeat of the St. Louis incident nearly unfolded during a concert in Germany, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin abruptly quit the band, citing a combination of Rose's personal behaviour (he would consistently delay the start of shows by hours at a time) and his mismanagement of the band and difficulties being around Slash, Sorum, and McKagan due to his new-found sobriety and their continuing alcohol and substance addictions. Axl Rose originally wanted Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro to replace Stradlin, but Stradlin was eventually replaced by Los Angeles-based guitarist Gilby Clarke whom Slash credited for saving the band. During many shows throughout the tour, Rose introduced Clarke and had him play "Wild Horses", a Rolling Stones cover with Slash. Clarke also plays the opening guitar part of "Don't Cry" as well as part of the infamous "Nightrain" riff again with Slash. In late 1991, Rose added a touring ensemble to the band which included a horns section and several background vocalists despite the rest of the band's refusal.
In 1992, the band appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performing a two-song set. Slash later performed "Tie Your Mother Down" with the remaining members of Queen, while Axl Rose performed "We Will Rock You" and duetted with Elton John on "Bohemian Rhapsody". Their personal set included "Paradise City" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door". When they returned to the U.S. for the second leg of the Use Your Illusion tour, Queen guitarist Brian May opened the shows with a band that included Cozy Powell on drums. Axl had originally wanted the grunge band Nirvana to open their Use Your Illusion tour but frontman Kurt Cobain refused. He also made some negative comments about Guns N' Roses infuriating Rose and started of one of his many feuds other than the ones with his bandmates.
Later in the year they went on the mini-GNR-Metallica Stadium Tour with American Metal band Metallica. During a show in August 1992 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Metallica frontman James Hetfield suffered severe burns after stepping too close to a pyrotechnics blast. Metallica was forced to cancel the second hour of the show, but promised to return to the city for another show. After a long delay, during which the audience became increasingly restless, Guns N' Roses took the stage. However, the shortened time between sets did not allow for adequate tuning of stage monitors, resulting in musicians not being able to hear themselves. In addition, Rose claimed that his throat hurt, causing the band to leave the stage early. The cancellation led to another riot by audience members, reminiscent of the rioting that had occurred in St. Louis one year earlier. Rioters overturned cars, smashed windows, looted local stores and set fires. Local authorities were barely able to bring the mob under control. This can be seen on video in A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica. On MTV's Rockumentary about Metallica, the band spoke about this tour and how they learned from Guns N' Roses what not to do.
The historic tour ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 17, 1993. The tour set attendance records and lasted for 28 months, in which 192 shows were played. The show in Buenos Aires marked the last time original members Slash and McKagan as well as newcomers Clarke and Sorum would play a live show with Rose.
On November 23, 1993, Guns N' Roses released a collection of punk and glam rock covers entitled "The Spaghetti Incident?". Despite protests from Rose's bandmates, an unadvertised cover of the Charles Manson song "Look at Your Game Girl" was included on the album at his request. Years later, Rose said he would remove the song from new pressings of the album, claiming that critics and the media had misinterpreted his interest in Manson. Axl can be seen wearing a black Manson shirt in the video for "Estranged" from Use Your Illusion II. He also can be seen wearing a red Manson shirt in footage from thier show in Milton Keynes, England in 1993. This version of the shirt had addional text on the back, "Charlie Don't Surf'. "Look at Your Game Girl" is still on the album. The Spaghetti Incident? did not match the success of the Illusion albums and tension increased within the band.
Interviews with Guns N' Roses band members suggest that between 1994 and 1996, the band sporadically began to write and record new material, most of which, according to Slash, had been written by Axl. At the time, the band had intended to release a single album with 10 or 12 songs.
Regarding the dysfunction of the band's recording at that time, Axl is quoted as saying "We still needed the collaboration of the band as a whole to write the best songs. Since none of that happened, that’s the reason why that material got scrapped."
Slash and Duff McKagan later left the group, and as such all of the original members (aside from Axl Rose) had departed from the band. 1994 was the last year Axl held a press conference or performed until the 2002 MTV awards with his new cast. Axl's only performance in 1994 was a duet with Bruce Springsteen on a cover of the Beatles song "Come Together". An actual break-up of Guns N' Roses never occurred, as new players were brought in as the old ones left. (For more information on the personnel changes over the years see the article: "List of Guns N' Roses band members")
McKagan was the last of Rose's original bandmates to leave; in 1997 he was replaced by Tommy Stinson (formerly of The Replacements.) By the end of 1998, a new version of Guns N Roses had emerged: many musicians have come and gone from the new band, but the core group has included Rose, Stinson, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, multi-instrumentalist Chris Pitman, and guitarist Robin Finck.
In 1999, the band released one new song, "Oh My God", which was included on the soundtrack of the film End of Days. The track featured additional guitar work by Dave Navarro and Gary Sunshine, Rose's personal guitar teacher. The song's release was intended to be a prelude to their new album, now officially entitled Chinese Democracy. Geffen also released Live Era: '87-'93, a collection of live performances from various concerts during the Appetite for Destruction and Use Your Illusion tours. Also in 1999, during an interview with Kurt Loder for MTV, Axl said that he had re-recorded Appetite for Destruction with the then-new band, apart from two songs which he had replaced with "Patience" and "You Could Be Mine".
Chinese Democracy had reportedly been in the works since 1994, with Rose the only original member still in the band. According to a report published in 2005 by The New York Times, Rose had allegedly burned through $13 million in the studio by that point.
In 1999, guitarist Robin Finck departed the band in order to rejoin his former band, Nine Inch Nails, on tour. In 2000, avant-garde guitarist Buckethead joined Guns N' Roses as a replacement for Finck. Drummer Josh Freese was replaced with Bryan Mantia (formerly of Primus). Robin Finck returned to Guns N' Roses in late 2000, to complement Buckethead on lead guitar.
1.guns and roses-paradise city
2.guns and roses-welcome to the jungle
3.guns n roses-yesterdays