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Guns N' Roses

At a time when pop was dominated by dance music and pop-metal, Guns N' Roses brought raw, ugly rock & roll crashing backinto the charts.They werenot nice boys; nice boys don't play rock & roll. They were ugly, misogynistic, and violent; theywere also funny, vulnerable, andoccasionally sensitive, astheir breakthrough hit, "Sweet Child O' Mine," showed. While Slashand Izzy Stradlin ferociously spit out duelingguitar riffs worthy of Aerosmith or theStones, Axl Rose screeched out his talesof sex, drugs, and apathy in the big city. Meanwhile, bassistDuff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler wer ...read more

At a time when pop was dominated by dance music and pop-metal, Guns N' Roses brought raw, ugly rock & roll crashing backinto the charts.They werenot nice boys; nice boys don't play rock & roll. They were ugly, misogynistic, and violent; theywere also funny, vulnerable, andoccasionally sensitive, astheir breakthrough hit, "Sweet Child O' Mine," showed. While Slashand Izzy Stradlin ferociously spit out duelingguitar riffs worthy of Aerosmith or theStones, Axl Rose screeched out his talesof sex, drugs, and apathy in the big city. Meanwhile, bassistDuff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler were alimber rhythmsection who kept the music loose and powerful. Guns N' Roses' music wasbasic and gritty, with a solid hard, bluesy base;they were dark,sleazy, dirty, and honest -- everything that good hard rock and heavy metalshould be. There was somethingrefreshing about a band that could provokeeverything from devotion to hatred, especially since both sideswere equally right.There hadn't been a hard rock band this raw or talented in years, andthey were given added weight by Rose's primalrage,the sound of confused, frustrated white trash vying for his piece of the pie. As the '80s became the'90s, there simply wasn'ta moreinteresting band around, but owing to intra-band friction and the emergence of alternative rock, Rose's supportingcastgradually disintegrated,as he spent years in seclusion. Guns N' Roses released their first EP in 1986, which led to a contract with Geffen; the following year, the band released itsdebut album,Appetite forDestruction. They started to build a following with their numerous live shows, but the album didn'tstart selling until almost a yearlater, when MTV startedplaying "Sweet Child O' Mine." Soon, both the album and single shotto number one, and Guns N' Roses became oneof the biggest bands in the world.Their debut single, "Welcome to theJungle," was re-released and shot into the Top Ten, and "Paradise City"followed in its footsteps. By the end of 1988,theyreleased G N' R Lies, which paired four new, acoustic-based songs (including the Top Fivehit "Patience") with their first EP. GN' R Lies' inflammatorycloser, "One in a Million," sparked intense controversy, as Rose slipped intomisogyny, bigotry, and pureviolence; essentially, he somehow managed todistill every form of prejudice and hatred into one five- minutetune. Guns N' Roses began work on the long-awaited follow-up to Appetite for Destruction at the end of 1990. In October of thatyear, the band firedAdler,claiming that his drug dependency caused him to play poorly; he was replaced by Matt Sorum fromthe Cult. During recording, the bandadded Dizzy Reedon keyboards. By the time the sessions were finished, the new albumhad become two new albums. After being delayed fornearly a year, the albums UseYour Illusion I and Use Your Illusion IIwere released in September 1991. Messy but fascinating, the albumsshowcased a more ambitious band; whilethere were stilla fair number of full-throttle guitar rockers, there were stabs at Elton John- styleballadry, acoustic blues, horn sections,female backupsingers, ten-minute art rock epics with several different sections, and a good number ofintrospective, soul-searching lyrics. In short, they were nowmaking art; amazingly, they were successful at it. The albums sold verywellinitially, but while they had seemed destined to set the pace for the decade tocome, that turned out not to be the case atall. Nirvana's Nevermind hit number one in early 1992, suddenly making Guns N' Roses -- with all of their pretensions,impressionistic videos,models, androck star excesses -- seem very uncool. Rose handled the change by becoming a dictator,or at least a petty tyrant; his in- concert temper tantrumsbecame legendary, even going so far as to incite a riot in Montreal.Stradlin left by the end of 1991, and with hisdeparture the band lost its bestsongwriter; he was replaced by ex-Kills forThrills guitarist Gilby Clarke. GNR didn't fully grasp the shift inhard rock until 1993, when they released analbum of punkcovers, The Spaghetti Incident?; it received some good reviews, but the bandfailed to capture the reckless spirit of not onlythe originalversions, but its own Appetite for Destruction. By the middle of 1994, there wererumors flying that GNR wereabout to break up, since Rose wanted topursue a new, more industrial direction and Slash wanted to stick withtheir blues-inflected hard rock. The band remained in limbo for several more years,and Slash resurfaced in 1995 with the side projectSlash'sSnakepit and an LP, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. Rose remained out of the spotlight, becoming a virtual recluse and doing nothing but tinkering in the studio; he also recruitedvariousmusicians --including Dave Navarro, Tommy Stinson, and ex-Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck -- for informal jamsessions. Remainingmembers were infuriated byRose's inclusion of childhood friend Paul Huge in the new sessions when bothStradlin and Clarke were excludedfrom rejoining the band. And a remake ofthe Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" wasessentially the straw that broke the camel's back,as Rose cut out some of the other members'contributions and pastedHuge over the song without consulting anyone else. By 1996, Slash wasofficially out of Guns N' Roses, leaving Rose theloneremaining survivor from the group's heyday; rumors continued to swirl, and still no newmaterial was forthcoming, though Rosedid re-record Appetitefor Destruction with a new lineup for rehearsal purposes. The first new originalGNR song in eight years,the industrial metal sludge of "Oh My God" finallyappeared on the soundtrack to the 1999 Arnold Schwarzeneggerfilm End ofDays. Soon after, Geffen issued the two-disc Live Era: '87-'93. The year 2000 brought the addition of guitarists Robin Finck (of Nine Inch Nails) and Buckethead, and 2001 was greeted withGuns N' Roses'first livedates in nearly seven years, as the band (which consisted of Rose plus guitarists Finck andBuckethead, bassist Stinson, formerPrimus drummer Brian"Brain" Mantia, childhood friend and guitarist Paul Huge, andlongtime GNR keyboardist Dizzy Reed) played a show onNew Year's Eve 2000 in Las Vegas,playing as well at the mammothRock in Rio festival the following month. On New Year's Eve 2001, theband played almost the exact same set as theyearbefore. An appearance at MTV's 2002 Video Music Awards helped garner interest in the new lineup, but a rusty performance fromRose and aninterview where hesaid his new album wasn't coming out anytime soon didn't do much to further their cause.That summer, GNR started ontheir first tour in almost eightyears, and they managed to fulfill all of their commitments inEurope and Asia. Sadly, they caused a violent anddestructive riot in Vancouver when Rosefailed to show up for the firstdate of their North American tour. While he was up to his oldshenanigans with the retooled lineup, former StoneTemplePilots vocalist Scott Weiland, Slash, Sorum, and McKagan formed the successfulVelvet Revolver in spring 2002. And so years passed and still no new GNR album, to the point where it became one joke too many. The album was long billedas ChineseDemocracy, andoccasionally session recordings would leak and make their way onto Internet file-sharingnetworks. A fascinating articlewritten by Jeff Leeds for The NewYork Times, published in March 2005, revealed how tangledand costly the making of the album hadbecome. According to the article, titled "The MostExpensive Album Never Released,"Rose began work on the album in 1994 and racked upproduction costs of at least $13 million dollars. Producersinvolved withthe album at one time or another included Mike Clink, Youth, SeanBeavan, and even Roy Thomas Baker. (Curiously, Mobyclaimed to havebeen offered the job as well.) Marco Beltrami and Paul Buckmasterwere allegedly brought in for orchestralarrangements, and there was a revolving doorof guitarists. In 2006, the album seemed closer torelease, as Rose begansurfacing in public and even took his band on the road for some shows. Themusic industry's biggest boondoggle finallyborefruit in 2008 when Axl unveiled a record that was well over a decade in the making. While ChineseDemocracy received manyravereviews, and the critical response was positive overall, the record underperformed (its almost impossible)expectations,debuting at numberthree on the Billboard 200 when it came out in November. A worldwide tour followed. « hide

Similar Bands: Skid Row, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Slash

LPs
Chinese Democracy
2008

2.7
1,345 Votes
"The Spaghetti Incident?"
1993

2.4
802 Votes
Use Your Illusion II
1991

3.7
1,465 Votes
Use Your Illusion I
1991

3.7
1,488 Votes
Appetite for Destruction
1987

4.1
3,009 Votes
EPs
Civil War
1993

3.5
20 Votes
G N' R Lies
1988

3.4
826 Votes
Live from the Jungle
1988

3.6
15 Votes
Live Like a Suicide
1986

3.5
114 Votes
Live Albums
RITZ 1988
2015

5
3 Votes
Appetite for Democracy (Video)
2014

3.2
7 Votes
Live Era '87-'93
1999

3.8
277 Votes
Compilations
Appetite For Destruction (Super Deluxe)
2018

2.4
16 Votes
Greatest Hits
2004

3.7
521 Votes
Welcome to the Videos
1998

4
15 Votes
Use Your Illusion
1998

3.7
175 Votes

Contributors: manosg, Doctuses, snakebite1480, arcane, rockandmetaljunkie, Perplexion, MYMOM143, AleksiS, Counterfeit, shartdartfart, Nagrarok, Observer, bigdctherock, AnotherBrick, younggun13, TNY, jars80, SylentEcho, tom79, metalhead17, synyster1, Talos, Shadows, Damrod, Alex101, SlashRose, jhed13, Dave de Sylvia, Rudd13, Med57, Jom, cor22222, Satellite, MrSirLordGentleman, voltairesangryglove, Green Baron, BMDrummer, Nagrarok, Lebren, danielcardoso, creatures200, JoseMex24, KILL, FictionalFlames, AleksiS, Deviant., Voivod, rockandmetaljunkie, RattleheadGA, Dave de Sylvia,

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