It was the late 90s. Not sure how I obtained my cassette, “Appetite for Destruction,” but it really spoke to me. Maybe it was Slash’s killer guitar riffs, Axl’s 6 different voices ripping through the radio, Steven’s on point drum beats, or Duff’s blonde ever-changing hair that reeled me in, but I fell in love with that album & Guns N’ Roses, immediately.
I love every member. I love the lyrics and the album. It is my favorite album of all time. I love that Guns never tried to fit into a mold or be something they weren’t. They didn’t follow the popular crowd, didn’t care about record sales, or how many attendees they had at concerts. They were all about the music and using music as a way to express the hardships of their drug infested lives and crazy ass upbringings.
I decorated my bedroom with a huge poster of G N’ R above my bed and listened to Appetite over and over again on my walkman. My mom didn’t share the same love that I did. She had become a born again Christian and the artwork in Appetite was in no way Godlike. It’s a rape scene, but I’ve read it is simply artwork that Axl appreciated and wanted to put on the cover, but was not allowed to. Slash, being the amazing artist that he is, created the cross and cartoonish badass characters on the front. G N’ R did not care about popularity, publicity, celebrity status, fashion, or anything else except music.
I listened to Appetite so much, I’m surprised the tape still worked. I looked at that poster admiring those members for being true to who they were and not afraid to express themselves. That resonated with me because I’ve never followed the popular crowd, dressed to fit in, or tried to be someone I’m not. I keep it real. I was the gal that wore the bright-colored retro zipper tops & skintight black pants to school. I couldn’t care less if I fit in or not, just wanted to be expressive, bright, & creative.
My mom came in my room one day and demanded that I rip my G N’ R poster off my wall and rip it in half. Apparently my born again Christian mom didn’t like the rape scene art inside the cassette cover of Appetite.
Then, she took my Walkman and forced me to eject my beloved Appetite tape. She made me stomp on it. I cried as the plastic flew into shreds across the floor.
I love my mom and for the record, she is not mentally well. No hard feelings, but I have a very clear memory of that day and that incident and it was difficult because the anger in that album spoke to me and still does. Axl’s anger gave me permission to be angry, too.
When I’m mad, I blare my Appetite album & sing at the top of my lungs. I do this when I’m alone in my car, as it gets me through my anger. I love love love my album and no one, today, can take it away from me.
My sister, Joy, is also a Guns fan and swears up and down that she is in the Dallas filmed video “Paradise City.” I have yet to find her, but she says when they scan the crowd she’s on someone’s shoulders rocking out as Axl slithers across the stage dressed in head to toe white, with his whistle and dark shades. Love that man.
90’s Axl was my crush. He was so damn sexy. Not sure what it is about him. Maybe it’s that he couldn’t care less about what the media thought or what others thought of him. Maybe it’s because I got to reading about Axl Rose, in his memoir, “W.A.R.” I got to know him a bit & learned about his roots and realized he is from Indianapolis. I’m from Indiana, too!
He had a super-duper awful and traumatic childhood, as he was raped by his father at the innocent age of only 2 years old. It really fucked him up, as he was never shown true love by his parents at all, as he was not wanted in the first place. He was a mistake. What a beautiful & talented mistake he was!
He was in and out of jail as a teen and sang in the choir and was told he was talented, as he could sing in 5 or 6 different voices. Pretty awesome. I admire him because he came from such trauma and he turned that trauma into triumph. He used his gift of singing to express himself and get through his tumultuous life. He doesn’t like a lot of attention or performing or the spot light. He once lived in an all black apartment for several months. Every single thing was black and he sat in the dark and was a recluse of sorts. He’s had a fucked up life and he had to change his name because he didn’t want to have the name of his father because he hated him. His mom died of cancer and he had a hard time connecting with women. He put them through hell.
He was suicidal a lot and high maintenance and loud and rebellious and disrespectful and yet, today, he is an advocate for sexually abused children. He turned his tragedy into being a spokesman for troubled youth. Bravo, Axl, bravo! & if you close your eyes at the concert, his aging voice has not aged a single bit. He’s freaking awesome!
I admire that man. Yep, he’s late and a no-show and he talks a lot of shit and he’s not the friendliest fellow, but there is a reason for it all. He had to work through a lot of shit to get where he is, today. He worked with a therapist, a hypnotist, a masseuse, a palm reader, and more. He suffered physical injuries from the molestation and because his performances are so highly physical, they take a huge toll on his muscles, ligaments, & overall body. Axl does everything full throttle or not at all. His talents are unreal to me, he can play piano beautifully, perform, sing like no one I’ve ever heard in my life, and entertain and engage the hell out of any crowd. He’s a hard worker and he’s picky and particular and argumentative and bold and always real and genuine and outspoken.
Axl & I would make great friends, I believe. Hmmmm, I wonder if he’d be willing to come to my 39th 90’s birthday bash and sing for me in June. I’ve literally dreamed about it!
We all do things for a very particular reason. Now I know why he was so rebellious and loud and late and hard to work with. He was not shown the way, taught how to properly treat others, not shown love or proper affection with boundaries and limits. He was not unconditionally loved.
Brian got us tickets to see Guns for the “Not in this Lifetime Tour.” I was beyond excited and was determined to look like a female Axl Rose. In the depths of my heart, I would be a rock star and sing Guns songs and rock out at clubs. Ha! My friend Mandy and I were obsessed with singing “Welcome to the Jungle.” We’d rock our snake-skin pleather pants and put on our black eyeliner and head to (ironically) “Brownstone’s” to sing karaoke. We were so into it and we had some fans. I still love singing that song, but my mouth gets really dry when I sing it alone because I get a little nervous. I need my sidekick! I enjoy singing it with abandon the way Axl does.
I read that Slash’s mom dated David Bowie and was a wardrobe creator for some of the biggest names in the world. Slash was a huge alcoholic and had a psychotic episode in AZ. at a resort and went streaking through the hotel lobby and on the golf course. That was the last straw. He no longer drinks and is one of the most talented guitarists I’ve ever heard in my life. At the concert, he put the guitar above his head and played the shit out of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” He, too, didn’t care about being popular or fashionable. Slash is shy and hides behind his infamous amazing curly locks.
Duff almost died from drinking himself to death and used to suffer from bad anxiety attacks. He was rushed to the hospital & the doctor told him if he didn’t stop, he would die. He replaced drinking wine with riding his bike and eventually got clean in LA. He’s married to a beautiful blonde and has a couple of girls. He’s big into marshall arts and is very disciplined. His guitar skills are to die for and Guns would not be Guns without Duff McKagan.
Adler’s heroin addiction truly got him kicked out of the band. He would fall asleep and forget how to play drums because he was too fucked up to play and Axl just couldn’t have that in the band. He got booted and then he sued the band and caused a shitload of drama and went to rehab. He has his own band now. Guns would not be Guns without Steven Adler.
I will always be a rock n’ roll fan and will love G N’ R until I die. I will sing my Guns songs and be a proud Guns fan. What I learned most from listening to and reading about Guns is that you have to be true to you and do what is best for you and do what makes you happy, even if it’s not popular or pretty.
I’ve also learned that drugs are bad and they will kill you and break people apart and ruin your life if you let them.
Be proud of who you are.
Turn your trauma into a calling for others as Axl has.
Guns N’ Fucking Roses For Life!
Rock the fuck on!