Wednesday, November 26, 2008

chinese ... er ... democracy

i've had in my hands the new gnr record for a day. i normally wouldn't give a crap ... i'll be honest, i think gnr is a pretty tepid experience. a decent hard rock band with a shitty lead singer (sweet child is a fine enuff single but the middle section is horrific). i listened to the first album and was amazed at what peeps thought ... "this is gonna show the poisons of the world where they stand" ... wow, you beat up on hair metal. ROAR!!! "use yr illusions" were silly (those vids were beyond amazing), and that "punk rock" record showed em for what (most of em) were, dude's who listened to punk in retrospect. fuck, even metallica got their punk record right. in the meantime via behind the muzaks we've gotten to learn what a shithead axl was, whatever ... then we got a listen to the muscle of the band as velvet revolver (possibly the most tuneless band i've ever heard). but you know what, i'm going in with an open ear. takin it for a walk tonight.

(written at 6:30pm ... aren't you dying???)


Rambler said...

Of course, I disagree with much of what you wrote.

Think back to what music was in 1986-87 when they came on the scene. Much like Nirvana, G `n' R was real. Now, they became a fake a hell of lot faster than most bands, but "It's So Easy," "Mr. Brownstone," "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child" were (to me anyway) as powerful an explosion as "My Generation" was in 1965 and "Born to Run" in 1975. Suddenly you remembered why you listened to the radio.

OK, maybe I'm being a little over the top here. But they could rock and they were edgy.

The one element you don't mention that was key to their success (and whose departure ultimately set the stage for their downfall) was Izzy Stradlin. He wrote or co-wrote most of their best songs, was a great rytham player and even had a decent voice. Yes, he was the Keith to Mick's Axl (not Slash, as most would think) and yes he tried to hard to be the Keith of G `n' R but when he left, the soul of the band left.

Axl's voice isn't the greatest but it has its momements. Listen to "Dead Horse," "Coma," "Breakdown," or even "Patience" and "Used to Love Her," and tell me his voice isn't perfect for those songs.

What pisses me off is why Axl just doesn't release this under his own name. It's not G `n' R and it doesn't have to be.

OK, I'm done. Attack away.

Xmastime said...

Xmas has ruled:

"Finally, the Axl Rose appearance, I dunno…I mean, were we supposed to lose our shit about this? “OMYGODAXLSCOMINGONSATGE!!!!HOLYSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” He was introduced like we were supposed to have heart attacks as we spooge ourselves. What the fuck. I realized as he’s walking out you know, this guy made one album that anyone gives a shit about….and it was 20 years ago. 20 years! I dont remember watching these things as a kid and losing my shit if they trotted Norman Greenbaum out on the stage. Camon. Since then he’s been famous solely for canceling concerts and growing dreadlocks. Let’s step back and reign in this G n R worship we’re all supposed to have. It was a fine record, but completely overrated throughout the years. Yes, it looks better when stacked up against its genre contemporaries Poison and Skid Row. Wow. Not exactly The Beatles and Beach Boys trying to top each other, is it? "

Rambler said...

ya know, the two illusion discs weren't bad. True, they could've been combined into one great one, but they were good.

Agree on everything else about axl post 1993

Kiko Jones said...

If you recall, the magic of Appetite was not only in the songs but in its timing. This album arrived when rock of the heavy persuasion held only two basic options: the Slayer-Metallica-Anthrax contingent or the Winger-Warrant-Poison nonsense. Now, while many may have respected the former, it was a bit much for them; the latter they found to be a joke. Bands like Black Sabbath had run out of gas and the likes of Rainbow and Aerosmith were embarking on respective streaks of insipid mainstream bullshit. GnR's debut album saved the day; made hard rock cool again and delivered an album chock full of classic tunes. (Even the filler rocks!) Axl and co. may have subsequently become the real-life Spinal Tap but their place in rock history is secure thanks to a batch of timeless songs released in 1987. (Switch "Axl" for "Rotten" and make the year 1977 and the previous sentence applies to the Sex Pistols as well.) That's not fanboy worship; it's fact.

As for key elements in the band's sonic makeup, in addition to Izzy's departure, the nimble but powerful drumming of Steven Adler being replaced by the plodding thuds of Matt Sorum was incredibly detrimental to the GnR sound.


PS: In these days of overly self-conscious, pre-fab, researched-to-the-core, beer-commercial-soundtrack rock albums, the over-the-top Chinese Democracy is a reminder of a time when--however self-indulgent--artists had true ambition and were willing to take risks and follow their muse, no matter what. And for that, but not exclusively, Axl will get my $15.

As David Fricke states in his Rolling Stone review of the album, "To [Axl], the long march to Chinese Democracy was not about paranoia and control. It was about saying 'I won't' when everyone else insisted, 'You must.' You may debate whether any rock record is worth that extreme self-indulgence. Actually, the most rock & roll thing about Chinese Democracy is he doesn't care if you do."


jay tony bennett said...

I thought adult alt hipsters were supposed to ironically love GnR.

Rambler said...

True about Adler and Sorum although they didn't have much choice when it came to dumping Adler but yeah, they should have gotten a less heavy drummer.

Xmastime said...

you guys are out of your minds. Appetite's big hits are pretty good, but the filler does not "rock", it's awful. Why does everyone have to insist on blowing up how "amazing!" G 'n R were? Were you this BLOWN AWAY!!!! by them at the time, or is this revisionist history, wherein you get to look cool by claiming you knew Poison was a joke back then and GnR was "real!!!"? Camon. And the band I'd compare them with would not be the Sex Pistols, it'd be Aerosmith: a band that will long be remembered for their sappy, stupid ballads instead of their "rock!" numbers, an asshole lead singer and a second life that will have them singing Hallmark commercials (believe me, it's coming.)

Give it up!!! Enough already!!! G n' R was an okay band that wasn't as bad as Warrant. WOOOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!

godihateyourband said...

i appreciate your comments ... but

if you wanna scope GnR in the framework of commercial radio/80s major label hard rock, then all the best. i still find it a hard sell. to echo xmastime, it's an update of aerosmith-- a great band at one time, but nothing earth-shattering. if you want the grime, listen to "53rd and 3rd". i'll be the first to admit, i don't know shit about hair metal. i ignored it.

i vividly remember the first time i heard appetite. i was kinda interested, given the dolls comparisons. i was amazingly underwhelmed. c'mon, when you've got "raw power", "damaged" and "sister" on constant rotation, a kick in the ass to corporate radio-- which meant NOTHING to me, was of little consequence (though I like alot of major label music). i thought they were kinda silly. and once the soap opera started ... well

conversely, i was totally struck when "nevermind" hit. at least i understood where they came from. i don't give that record the "genius" tag, but i do see that record as a monumental moment (wow, that sounds gay) ... think i'm done.

Xmastime said...

thats a good point...if you thought Appetite was SO FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!?!!? what the fuck were you listening to in the first place?....I don't go crazy comparing G n R to Poison, Warrant, Metallica, Motley Crue et al at the time. Do you wanna know why? cause I WASN'T LISTENING TO POISON, WARRANT, METALLICA AND MOTELY CRUE AT THE TIME!!!! Of COURSE G n R sounds like the Beatles next to the Crue - but guess what? I never listened to the fucking Crue!!!

The revisionist bullshit re: G n R needs to stop. You guys (Kiko & Rambler!) have your heads up your asses. They're a shitty band, held together by People Magazine for 20 years. If you think G n R rocks so hard, maybe you shouldn't have been "rocking out!!!" to the Eagles in the first place.


Woody High said...

I can't believe I'm agreeing with GIHYB and Xmastime. I also checked out GNR because of the Dolls comparisons but was underwhelmed. I always found GNR to be watered down Hanoi Rocks (a band I was never too excited about in the first place). Even GNR's Rose Tattoo cover was pretty weak.

In the 80's if you were listening to mainstream radio, you were listening to complete junk - hair metal, Whitney Houston shitty r&b, Phill Collins/Huey Lewis style pop/rock, etc. GIHYB was listeing to college radio crap like R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. If you wanted real hard rock of any kind there were TONS of better options. Here's a small sample of some of the bands I saw live in 1986/87: Motorhead, Ramones, SNFU, The Cramps, Raunch Hands, Circle Jerks, GBH, Crumbsuckers, Necros, Butthole Surfers, C.O.C., Buddy Guy, Sun Ra, Replacements, Robert Gordon, Anvil, Overkill, etc.

GNR has ALWAYS been way over rated. Slash is the definition of mediocrity and Axl tries to sing like Dan Mcafferty from Nazareth but usually sounds like Edith Bunker.

So let's leave this BS behind and get back to something we can all agree on - WILCO SUCKS!

godihateyourband said...

no SST package shows??? and funny, i don't remember running into you at the "city baby's revenge" tour (the lamesters played 5 songs before quitting at the concert i saw) ... but as a token of solidarity, a jay bennett outtakes cdr is in the mail

Xmastime said...

Wilco blows. at least I know Kiko and I agree on that!! (and that list of Zep rip-offs was pretty awesome)

Woody High said...

Plenty of SST shows - DC3 at Tramps (the old one near Irving Plaza), Universal Congress Of at Knitting Factory (the only people in the crowd were me and Lee Renauldo, I refused to speak to that putz), etc.

I saw GBH in upstate NY and they were good. Discharge, however, was atrocious! It was the Grave New World album tour. You probably still like that tape.

As far as GNR's punk credentials - you can't deny Duff's history. He was in the Fartz. He also based his whole look and personal on Randy Rampage of D.O.A. and proudly admits it. His music still stinks whether its GNR, VR, Loaded, etc,

Kiko missed a good one on the Zep list. "Immigrant Song" has a lift from "Ride The Sky" by Lucifer's Friend. LF's song was about a year before LZ's.

fashion herald said...

even i knew GNR was Aerosmith rehash way back in the 80's. then they had back up singers & keyboards on tour and SUCKED.

godihateyourband said...


you know wood-yi. discharge might be one of the worst bands of all time. i think i taped over their cassette with an ill repute record. now that's a footrace.

Kiko Jones said...

X, despite you making it personal, I won't.

I own records by Buena Vista Social Club and Black Sabbath; Pavement and Phish; Jean Luc Ponty and Juan Luis Guerra. I may have my biases but I know my shit. And for the record, while Jeff Tweedy may be insufferable and I loathe the Wilco worship, I own EVERY SINGLE ONE of their albums--yes, even Being There; so lame a record--and especially love Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. (Saw 'em on that tour with Sonic Youth opening, natch. Great show.) In the end, I can call bullshit on hippies, hard rockers, hipsters, and other holier than thous, for I know their tunes and refuse to drink their Kool-Aid. Capice?

As for GnR, I don't have my head up my ass, thank you very much; nor am I being revisionist: I can recall exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard GnR and Nirvana, respectively. The latter I still enjoy, years removed from the hoopla and hype; and I remember thinking in '87, the former was picking up where Aerosmith had left off. I was blown away by "Jungle", "Brownstone", "Michelle", "Crazy" and enjoyed the rest in varying degrees. You don't like it? Fine. But your disparaging of it doesn't make it one iota less of a classic. Live with it and move on.

I came to GnR on its own, not via the Dolls, which would've turned me away, seeing as I consider them to be INCREDIBLY over-rated. And like I said before, GnR came around at a time when the heavy shit I liked (Sabbath, Van Halen, AC/DC, Maiden, Priest, etc) was going thru a lame period; I didn't get into the heavier shit (Slayer, Metallica, etc) till later; with the exception of the Crue I despised the hair bands; and the NWOBHM never appealed to me. And then came Appetite...

I wasn't into Winger, Warrant, Poison, Ratt, etc, but I LISTENED so I could have an informed opinion and not talk outta my ass. You see, I like to know what I'm talking about before I open my big trap about it. I'm silly that way.

Woody, if you say "Slash is the definition of mediocrity" post-GnR, I'll agree. But otherwise, that's just sour grapes. Then again, I'm not one to talk: you described how I feel about The Stooges. (Btw, did you just admit to going to a Replacements show, Mr. “Death to Alt-College-Indie Rock”?! Repent, the end is near.)

Oh, and my review of Chinese Democracy is a positive one, boys. Surprise!

Let the hating begin!

Xmastime said...

G 'n R....tearing us apart. sigh. ;)

Xmastime said...

and oh yeah...your loving the album doesn't make it any more of a "classic" than my disparaging of it doesn't.

as Bayonnne Mike would say: boing!

Kiko Jones said...

You’re right, X: my saying so doesn't make Appetite a classic, for I am just a lowly scribe. But a respected critical consensus sure does.

Xmastime said...

im just glad the Chinese are finally getting some metal cred. They're due.

dr. know said...

Ill Repute - getting all Nardcore on the scene!

Rambler said...

I echo Kiko. And the new Bruce song blows and he's a wuss for doing the super bowl. Now give my my fucking dr. pepper!

godihateyourband said...

this vid is so digusting, i hope no one watches, but jesus, how corporate rock are these dudes that slush/slash claims that they ain't? this ends my major label hard rock insight

Kiko Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiko Jones said...

- Yeah, Slash was talking out of his ass. (He also needs to get rid of the top hat once and for all.)

- Speaking of corporate, that show aired on MTV?! I've seen better production values on community access cable shows. Seriously.

- $27.50 for a ticket? Not bad. Of course, that was more than a tenth of my paycheck at the time.

- Damn, Metallica's been around almost as long as U2!

- Wasn't that tour the one with the infamous riot in Montreal?