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Guns N Roses
To Those Who Are About To Rock….We Salute You!!!
In the late eighties a single band sounded tougher, rawer and louder than anything else out there on the radio. And even better, this band’s debut album turned out to be a perfect rock record in the tradition of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols. It was that most rock n' roll of moments - a brilliant new sound that made everything else in the top forty sound dead. For Guns 'N Roses were a kick in the teeth to the hair metal and 80’s pop bands around them. These guys were the real deal. By the time the band released the staggering double album opus Use Your Illusion I & II, their sound became more creative and expansive as their videos became more expensive. The epic album spawned no less than nine videos, with November Rain and Estranged becoming landmarks that changed the face of modern rock music forever.

And at this point most rock fans know whether they like Guns N' Roses or not. For many it's been a war of attrition – for what’s there not to like about their music? Born William Bailey on 6th of February 1962, in a small town in Lafayette, Indiana, USA – lead vocalist Axl Rose began his career at the age of five singing in the church choir. He changed his name to Rose at the age of 17 when he discovered who his real father was, the Axl prefix coming from a band with whom he had rehearsed in Indiana. In 1981, infused by the punk and metal scene, Axl left his hometown Lafayette for good. He and his girlfriend head off to Los Angeles and he begins shopping around for fellow musicians to play with him. With Tracii Guns (guitar) and Rob Gardner (drums), he formed a rock band called, in turn, Rose, Hollywood Rose and even L.A. Guns.
While Axl and Izzy were in Rose they wrote a song called My Way - Your Way. It turned up later as Anything Goes on Appetite For Destruction. Other songs from that period are Shadow Of Your Love and Wreckless (later renamed to Reckless Life). Meanwhile through an ad in a paper, future GNR drummer Duff McKagan met an upcoming guitarist called Slash (real name Saul Hudson, Born 23 July 1965, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) and drummer Steve Adler. They had started the band called . While in Road Crew - Slash came up with a riff that later turned up in a song called Paradise City. Soon afterwards, Guns and Gardner left, and were replaced by Steven Adler and Slash. After drummer Greg Gilmore joined Axl’s band, Duff switched to guitar. While House and Verwolf were in the band, and with a new name -10 Minute Warning - the boys evolved further from hardcore toward a semi-improvisational gothic feel that got people’s attention.

THE HELL TOUR: 1985-86
This line-up recorded an album's worth of material, unreleased, before they split at the beginning of 1985. After rejecting the names Heads Of Amazon and even AIDS – Axl decided to call his new band Guns N' Roses and name stuck after that. Duff had some connections in Seattle and booked gigs for the band. Tracii and Rob wasn't interested so Duff asked Axl if they could play the gigs with Slash and Steven. Axl agreed. The new line up of GN'R then rehearsed together for the first time for a couple of days and then started The Hell Tour. The trip to Seattle wasn't a success. After driving 100 miles their car broke down. They had to hitchhike and when they arrived in Seattle no one cared about them. Most of the shows had been cancelled and they only got $50 a show instead of the promised $250. Their first gig as Guns N’ Roses was at the Omni Room and only 13 people saw the show. The band then went back to Los Angeles and continued to rehearse. Their "home" on Sunset Boulevard was called The Hell House. They hadn't money so they lived on cheap wine and biscuits. Sometimes they even stole money from the girls that visited the Hell House.

You can read the rest of our feature on Guns N Roses in the March 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

Norah Jones
Brand New Music Alert
Sandesh Shandilya
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