|Each month we bring you an incredible feature direct from the voluminous Hit Parader vault- an article that appeared on these hallowed pages exactly ten years ago! Without changes, editing or updates, these stories pro-vide an amazing glimpse into this thing we call rock and roll,
dealing with the form's most famous- and in some cases, infamous- stars. So direct from our July 93 issue is this "vintage" interview with the inimitable Guns N' Roses.
Attending a Guns N' Roses concert is somewhat akin to going the the Indianapolis 500- you know there's gonna be plenty of highspeed entertainment, and maybe if you're real lucky you'll see a death-defying crash too. By now it's no secret that Guns N' Roses rank among the more, shall we say, unpredictable bands that
have graced the rock stages of the world in recent years. You never know exactly when Axl Rose and the boys are gonna show up- and you never know exactly what's going to transpire once they do. Will there be a riot, as happened to the band in St. Louis and Montreal? Will Axl throw a hissy fit because somebody in the front row is pissing him off? The only way to find out is the show up!
"I really like general admission more than the situation where you've got a lot of people who don't really care sitting in the front row, Rose stated. "It pisses me off when you've got people right in front of you with their arms crossed and a "show me something" look on their faces. I don't need people to sit there and test me. I'm up there, I know what I'm doing. I know how much effort we're putting into it. I don't need someone sitting there saying "impress me". I feel like saying, "no, you impress me "
After more than 19 months on the tour trail, Rose and his band of top gunners still seem to bring as much fire to their on-stage performances as they did way back in the initial stage of their historic Use You Illusion road jaunt. In fact, if anything the on-stage camaraderie between the band's six members (vocalist Rose, guitarists Gilby Clark and Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, drummer Matt Saturn and keyboardist Dizzy Reed) has grown markedly during their long stint on the rock and roll highway.
And while Rose's manic on-stage behavior marked the first leg of the tour (prior to their precedent shattering summer outing with Metallica), he now seems a much more calm and in-control personeven when things go a little haywire.
"It still gets to me when I see a crowd where a 17 year old kid acts like he's bored," he said. "I want to ask him 'Hey, what do you want? What do you have to do tonight that's better than this?"
It was certainly evident from the opening note of that evening's performance that there were few people acting bored and even fewer sitting with their arms crossed in the front row. It was the sixth night of the "Skin And Bones" leg of their American tour, where they had cut down the number of musicians, the size of the stage and even the length of the show, and Guns N' Roses were cooking. It became quickly apparent that there were to be no tirades, rantings or grievances from Axl on this night- he was there to rock, as were the 20,000 fans who packed the arena to its rafters. Having stripped the band down to its main six components (putting aside the backing vocalists and accompanying musicians who filled their stadium stages), Guns N' Roses was a lean, mean rockin' machine determined to prove (as of they had to) that they're the best pure rock band on earth.
With Slash leading the way with his burning guitar leads, and Axl focusing his abundant energy on the songs rather than the crowd, such tunes as You Could Be Mine, Civil War and Paradise City rocked with an intensity that bordered on the perilous. Mixing a few familiar tunes with a number of more obscure songs from their four albums, it seemed as if G N' R was taking their musical passion to a new frontier- providing each song with a special energy rush that filled it to the bursting point. If ever there was a band that had no concept what the term "going through the motions" meant, it's Guns N' Roses.
"We put everything we had into each of those songs when we first recorded them," Rose said. "That's put a lot of pressure on us when we play them live, because each night, whether we're into playing a particular song or not, we have to rise up to the level we presented on the album. But that's what keeps us going. Every night we go on stage caring really deeply about every song we do. We've played the hits, because we felt kind of obligated to do that, but the whole point of the "Skin And Bones" tour is to play the other songs, give them a chance to be heard live. This is when we have some fun."
Thanks Gypsy for the scans