Don’t Count Me in for Guns N’ Roses. . .
It was recently announced or speculated that the original line-up of Guns N’ Roses will reform and tour in 2016. I dont know. . . regardless of how good Appetite for Destruction was, it was thirty years ago now. A lot of water has passed under that bridge. They are talented folks. Slash is a great guitarist, and Axl is an excellent vocalist. Further, they are not only more than competent, they just brought their mix of styles and fancies to the stage. No one really sounds like Axl. He just has a unique voice and likewise with Slash with his top hat and his Les Paul.
The band definitely had something back in the day but I just am not feeling a tour at this point. Slash has been routinely working on various projects. Axl of course has to some degree been maintaining the Gun N’ Roses brand, though literally it seems like a Chinese Democracy. I know Izzy and others have had explored various projects.
It is interesting, you go to their Wikipedia page and it is claimed that they saved rock and roll in the late 80s. I don’t know about that. I think a band called Metallica might have helped out on that score, and perhaps Nirvana and maybe some others out of Seattle. No doubt they get some recognition here, but it always comes back to that old question of “what have you done for me lately”?
I think the answer is . . . not much. Some jokes about plastic surgery, folks wearing buckets, and comparisons to actual Chinese democracy. Basically it has become Axl Rose’s band and for me it really does go back to that first album. That said that is who is being promised here – the original lineup. Add to this, however, the price of a stadium priced show. I do not care who it is I am just a dinosaur who remembers going to the Ticketron and buying Sabbath tickets for $15. And I was upset way back then about the Stones tickets being $23!
What is above, however, is just the negatives. Why I won’t do X. What really compels is what is on the positive. As I was writing the above I pondered that I cannot just write about what sucks, what I do not like, etc. And happily I realize that my last post though I complain about the revival of vinyl, does end with a focus on new I act I tripped over at Arlene’s, Crush of Empires. I do not want to be the grumpy old man but someone with opinions and suggestions.
My suggestion here – is LA Guns. Yes LA Guns, which began I guess when Axl lost the original guitarist, Tracii Guns, who put the Guns in Guns N’ Roses. Always seen as a bit heavier than Guns N’ Roses, LA Guns likewise has gone down a long and winding road, which includes Tracii Guns not being a part of the band since like 2005. So today LA Guns, like Guns N’ Roses, is also largely a singer / frontman driven effort. In their case it is Phil Lewis who has been with the band much of it’s 30 year existence.
The differences, aside from the above, are many. The first is that the music is heavier, which for me is a good thing. Phil Lewis is just as good a front man with more a sense of humor, and less drama and likewise with an expressive voice. The musicianship is there, just as in Guns N’ Roses, but there is also more a band. With LA Guns it is not just a personality. And they have released a steady flow of material, granted that flow may have slowed a bit. That said the last three or four albums since 2001 have been pretty damn good.
Now you might suggest that I just like LA Guns more than Guns N’ Roses. Everybody has their favorite band. And no doubt I do like LA Guns. There is another reason I will go see them and it in part goes back to cost. In part. . . Guns N’ Roses is the Garden or Barclays at $100 a pop. So the beer, any food, any swag. . . is on top of that. With LA Guns I will spend maybe $20 for a ticket and the rest is beer and etc.
Forget the dollar comparison. That is all true but that is not why you go see LA Guns. You go to see LA Guns for two reasons – the band and the show. LA Guns has been touring the last ten years and granted guitarists have changed, but there is continuity – they are out there at Sturgis and down in Florida and over in NJ-routinely. They are out there performing nightly. For me there is something to be said about a band that is living and performing like that on the road.
Lastly there is the show. There is something very appealing about just having such band on a small stage with some lights and some Marshalls behind them, and all feet away from you versus the 100s of feet or even levels or sections away at the big arenas. Now I wish LA Guns were playing larger venues when they hit NYC. Regardless, it is simply amazing to be able to watch such artists perform and you are right there. For me that is a live event. It is not the pyrotechnics, nor the lasers nor whatever, but being right there and being able to watch Phil sing or Michael tear up the guitar, or Steven on the drums. It is very cool being able to get up off one’s barstool and move down to the stage to in front of Kenny or Phil, perhaps with a little bit of work but still doable.
And that is why I am looking forward to December 9th at Blackthorn 51.