The Classic Rock Opinion: We Hate Axl. Or Love Him.
Following today’s news that Guns N’ Roses may be coming to play in Europe this summer, Classic Rock’s Editor In Chief Scott Rowley offers his viewpoint on the band’s current status.
I might love Axl Rose. It’s either that or I hate the despicable, contrary, miserable ginger twonk.
I really can’t decide but it’s definitely one or the other. One minute I’m in thrall to the genius of Chinese Democracy tracks like Better or Madagascar, punching the air to ballads like Street of Dreams and There Was A Time, and ready to argue the toss that Chinese Democracy shouldn’t just have been CR’s album of the year in 2007, it should have been album of the year in 2008 too (c’mon: it out-gunned, out-crafted, out-ambitioned, out-emoted, out, er, song-ed Black Ice by a country mile and you know it in fact we should make it album of the year every year until someone makes something better).
The next minute, I see an article about him, read his comments online, see a picture of him, or consider the Michael-Jackson-in-training freakshow his life is in danger of becoming and I realise that, actually, he’s how to put it a bit of a dick.
That’s the weird impact the former William Bailey has on the world of rock.
And as the band currently known as GN’R look like they will come out of the woodwork this summer, the question has gotta be: Does anyone care anymore?
Well, yeah. The new GN’R have the most passionate internet fan community out there. The CR office is bombarded daily with updates on every rumour, whisper, movement and he-said-she-said from Axl and his enormous guitar army. Every posting on our website about GN’R is followed by postings from normal people saying, “Yeah, tell someone who cares” immediately followed by 30 posts from assorted lunatics who wrte n txt spk and thnk ChinDem is the tits and bthead is god.
But what about those normal people? Do they care? Well here’s the thing.
Recently I heard a great story about the Steven Adler trial (Adler sued the band for wrongful dismissal). The story went that the GN’R camp offered to settle out of court for a relatively small amount. The Adler camp at first accepted but then Axl stepped in. Axl didn’t want to settle he wanted his day in court, he wanted JUSTICE! (Read: he wanted to humiliate that motherfucker.)
So the band went to court and while Adler allegedly didn’t have a very strong case, as the days worn on and especially after Axl took the stand (see footage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqNW2z4kvyY) a strange thing started to happen: everyone realised that the court battle had turned, as they tend to, into a personality contest. And the cuddly, dumb-ass, shaggy-haired drummer bloke who’d been sacked was much more likeable than the horrible, arrogant millionaire rock star bloke in the pale blue suit wot had sacked him.
So before things got out of hand, the band settled out of court for a considerable amount more than had been originally offered.
And here we are. Today we’re the jury and in the big pop culture popularity contest, Axl slippery, evasive, arrogant, weird-looking old Axl is losing out. And as much as we might say that it’s not about the people, it’s about the music, when we look up to those guys onstage we want to just do
that: look up to them. And Axl is a hard man to love.
But I love him. Or hate him. I dunno. It’s one of the two. So let’s hope he does make it to Europe. It’ll be brilliant. And if it’s not it’s a good excuse to chuck stuff.