The Rockstar Ramblings: Guns N Roses on Biography
Band Photo: Guns N Roses (?)
Last week I was flipping through the channels when I found an older Guns N Roses biography on the BIOGRAPHY channel. For those unfamiliar with this cable program it is usually located around channel 327 between FOOD and other channels you have never watched.
What pulled me in was of course the opening which included Axl wearing his “big hair” only seen in the “Welcome to the Jungle” video and a man who suspiciously looked like Axl. Here are my thoughts as I watched my first biography, on BIOGRAPHY.
A brief childhood story is told of the members: Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, Steven Adler, and Axl Rose. Focusing on their upbringings we find that Izzy Stradlin was the only member to receive a high school diploma. So if I understand correctly…Izzy was the smart one, Slash the creative one, Duff the punk one, Axl the crazy one, and Steven the pretty one?
Duff and Steven are apparently the only ones giving live interviews in this documentary. Steven these days is barely audible (he had a stroke due to drug use years ago), but his hair still stands the test of time. When looking at the band as a whole, it is shocking that Steven may still be the pretty one.
Interesting is how much music the band made during a short time period. Much of the Illusion music was completed prior to the release of Appetite For Destruction album including “Don’t Cry”, “November Rain”, “You Could Be Mine”, “Back off Bitch”, and many more. Take into consideration the number of covers on the Use Your Illusion records and you can see how much, or less was created by this group after the perfect storm during the Appetite rehearsals.
Over the years of experience (and becoming sober) Duff has become quite insightful looking back, remembering specific trips (Seattle for example) and how they came up with many of their songs. His take on the Appetite days versus the Illusion days is pretty straight forward: “Before Appetite we scratched off McDonald’s coupons hoping for a free French fry, after each of us had drug dealers on call.”
The camera continues to come back to Adler who struggles to speak. His hair? Immaculate.
The shocker for me comes thirty-five minutes into the hour long program. It is when we are introduced to Guns and Roses photographer Robert John. He’s a dead ringer for a young Axl Rose. Maybe twenty pounds heavier, but his look is dead on. It would be nice to find out more on how he got his job and whether his look was part of the hiring process.
The show ends with the usual discussion of Chinese Democracy, Adler’s “angry and determined” attitude, and a disturbing shot of Slash in very short shorts.
As with most GNR documentaries it is lacking the insight from Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin. Very little new information is given outside of Axl’s look alike. For me, that was worth it.
David S. Grant is the author of books Corporate Porn, Bleach|Blackout, Hollywood Ending, Emotionless Souls, and The Last Breakfast. His new novel, Blood-the New Red, will be available Spring 2010. For more information please go to http://www.davidsgrant.com.
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