I have a strange relationship with Axl Rose. Perhaps relationship is the wrong word since he has no idea of my existence, but neither fandom, nor obsession, nor interest quite encapsulate how I feel. Everyone has artists who’s music they enjoy, but never, ever want to hear the artist speak beyond their art. I am the exact opposite with Axl.
I never got into Guns and Roses. I don’t flip away when I catch them on the local classic rock station, but their music drifts too far into the jock-rock realm for my tastes. Plus, I once listened to some friends play “Sweet Child of Mine” on Guitar Hero from the hours of 6 to 9 AM. With few exceptions, I haven’t heard one of their tracks on purpose in years.
I remember the day I read about Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer, punching Axl in the face. It was then I discovered that Axl’s personality is one thousand times more entertaining then his music.
Axl once started a bar brawl after some one called him Bon Jovi. He recorded a song to challenge the publisher of SPIN magazine to a fight. He promised an album for 14 years, spent over two million dollars recording it and then actually delivered. He threatened Kurt Cobain while Cobain held his infant daughter. He dyed his hair red and got cornrows.
And just this week, not only is he rumored to be dating Lana Del Ray, but he wrote a rambling, prepositional-phrase-abusing letter explaining he wouldn’t be attending Guns and Roses’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the highlights I’ve presented below.
To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N’ Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,
A solid starting line, even if ‘whom it may concern’ is apparently only addressing snarky music fans like myself.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
A reasonable response. Given the hard feelings between the band members and Axl’s disposition to starting fights, his decision to not attend may be seen as a bit of a blessing.
The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of “for the fans” or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and DJ Ashba.
Here Axl reaches both his main line of reasoning and the height of his prepositional mania, because apparently dependent clauses are directly proportional to importance. Also worth noting, while Dizzy and Bumblefoot seem like some great rock names, the earlier line ups included the names of Slash, Izzy, Duff, Buckethead, and Ole Beich. GNR has a way with names.
So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn’t owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another’s, or in this case several others’, expense.
Axl begins his closing by dispensing wisdom, while butchering a widely known adage, seemingly taking pride in his refusal to look it up. This is rock and roll.
If I understood the letter correctly (a big if), the only member of the current Guns and Roses who was also in Guns and Roses when they made music warranting their inclusion in the Hall of Fame is boycotting that inclusion because appearing with former members of Guns and Roses would be disrespectful to current members of Guns and Roses. In conclusion, Axl Rose is my favorite has-been.
In the end, I have learned one valuable lesson from this rock god turned easily-winded mediocre vocalist: Bands should end when they break up. Sure, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd managed to weather the loss of a key member, but when one member of the formerly biggest act in the world goes through the court system to control a band name, it’s time to let go. You’re already famous. You’ll sellout concerts on your own name, not the bands. And you won’t have to write a letter explaining how attending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony with the original members would hurt the band’s current line up.
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