The first time it hit me. The riffs of Welcome to the Jungle and the screeches over it. A chord was rather literally struck and somehow it became the subtext of our lives. It was an entirely communal activity to listen to GnR and to air guitar it as often as possible and for the few of us we actually took the trouble to learn the songs. It was heady stuff. The songs grabbed us and so we wanted clutch them back in return.
Chords and basslines were discussed and debated upon. Slash was guitar god and Axl presence god. I for the first time got interested in the bass guitar from Duff’s lines. And Izzy’s rhythm guitars showed such good taste and texture that it opened music up like never before. Yes they were an important part of my music education and music life. The girls liked them too. We tolerated that.
The ‘Use your illusion’s came and the madness got deeper. But we saw the first fissures as Izzy left. I know he liked Adler but we didn’t really care about him. But since Izzy had contributed to the song writing the songs still had their potence.
Spaghetti Incidident? was something we forced ourselves to like. But it was just too much spaghetti and no sauce. And we came to the realisation that the band weren’t really there anymore.
We left school and saw crappy cover versions and even when pro bands performed the songs we knew when each note was out of place. And of course then the band all fought and left.
GnR was a nice pitying memory. I decided jazz was my thang. I think I can count on my fingers how often I heard a full GnR song in the last 10 years.
And now they’re back. They? Well it’s Axl… and a few others. But somehow when I listen to the songs it feels like a them. And they’ve come back at a time when I don’t pretend to be a proper jazzer anymore. A confusing time. But I’m sure of my rock roots. that’s what comes naturally to the fingers.
And this album is an encouragement. Yes it’s not like the old GnR. I would’ve been very disappointed if that was even attempted. It’s a new sound. And some senses it’s still searching for that sound. My view of Axl has definitely changed. I think he’s a real artist someone who kept prodding and pulling and prodding and pulling finally putting together a piece of artistry that will sell and make an impact.
Pink Floyd lost important members at various points in it’s life. But they restarted and came back as a stronger and more powerful Floyd. According to some of course.
Maybe that’s what this GnR album is about. Another GnR, feels like them, tastes like them but looks and sounds different. It’s not like them but it is them. And it’s so good to hear the familiar and the new.