Guns N Roses

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1987 - None More Black (Francis)

The top 25 songs of 1987 featured massively popular performers (George Michael, Bon Jovi) and even more acts that subsequently disappea­red (Robbie Nevil, Gregory Abbott, Billy Vera and the Beaters).  In the summer of that year, Heart (“Alone”), Bob Seger (“Shakedown”), and a Los Lobos cover of a Ritchie Valens song all held the #1 spot. Whitney Houston released her second album in June. Def Leppard released Hysteria on August 3, and Michael Jackson released Bad on August 31. Madonna was in the midst of a music tour to support her movie (?) Who’s That Girl.

But those headlines do not begin to tell the story of 1987. It was a year that saw that saw hugely influential bands like Husker Du and The Smiths break up in spectacularly public fashion. Conversely, here in Washington DC, a guy from Minor Threat and a couple of guys from Rites of Spring formed a new band called Fugazi. And U2 were catapulted from mid-level fame to super-stardom with the release of The Joshua Tree, which would cause many people listening to their local top 40 stations to wonder what else they might be missing on college radio.

For this trip back to 1987 we’re going to focus on three albums. Three albums by then-unknown bands that would have a massive imprint on both popular and alternative music for years, and went largely unnoticed by most listeners only to be rediscovered later.

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1985 - 1.21 Jigawatts of Rawk Aid!!

Fire up the Delorean, Goonies, because today we’re going back to 1985, the year Marty McFly wore a life preserver vest and ordered Pepsi Free without anyone barking for payment or accusing him of jumping ship. Ship, you say? I’ve got just the map to lead you to the treasure. Because down here, it’s our time; it’s our time down here!

Much as the once-pint-sized adventurers who discovered One-Eyed Willie’s loot are today just a bunch of grown-ups with day jobs in an age where plutonium’s still not available at every corner store, so too are we, holding out patiently for a respectable mode of future-forward transportation, all but willing to trade in our flying car fantasies and hoverboard dreams for a safe and green Mr. Fusion. If you’re as unprepared as I am to face the fact that we’re now only three short years away from The Future as Marty knew it and much of it has come to bear, and you still haven’t found your own buried fortune or even written your way (spiritually) out of Saturday detention, then let us take you back -- down here -- where the ‘80s revival happening “up there” pales in comparison to the real thing, Cold War and all. Because down here, Rocky’s been training in Siberia, and he’s gonna take Drago DOWN!!!

Wow, where to even start??

I suppose with the hits:

We Are The World. Take On Me. I Want to Know What Love Is. Shout. Into the Groove.

THIS JUST IN: Axl still doesn't quite "get it"

So yesterday a letter was sent out by Axl's PR firm in what we're assuming was nothing less than an attempt to draw even more attention to his, well, let's just say "special", musical adventures of the past few years (decades??). I went back and forth as to whether we should even engage this sort of crass attempt at image manipulation and ultimately landed on "Fuck It! Let's do this!", so here we go.

In his letter, which is reprinted in it's entirety below, Axl raises some pretty good points about the relationships that musicians have with each other, and the expectations that the public puts on them. He elaborates further on that by saying "People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case several others', expense." And you know what? He's ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. There's no reason he SHOULD get back together with the original GNR lineup. That ship has long sailed, and people need to accept it.


Rocktober Day 15: Guns N Roses - Use Your Illusions I & II


Oh where to begin?

In 1991 Guns N' Roses were perhaps the biggest band in the world. Though at the time they had only released one album proper, that record, Appetite For Destruction turned out to be one of the biggest, baddest and best albums of all time. Here was a record that kicked open the door to “hard rock” for the masses that previously eyed the art form as something that was a) for kids and b) maybe even a little bit scary. More importantly though, even though it would go on for a little while longer, and even though mountains of hair most definitely had their place in GNR, it effectively sounded the death-knell for the hair metal movement of the 80’s. It was raw, gritty, and dangerous, and the band that created it deserved every comparison to the Stones or Led Zepplin that it received

Needless to say, expectations where high for the next record...which would take almost 4 years to make.

That’s a long time between records back then. Hell, that’s a long time between records now. But logic would dictate that if you’re going to take that long then your going to come away with some sort of masterpiece, right? Well Guns N' Roses came away with a masterpiece alright, but not really in the way they envisioned.