It was called “So Fine”, and it was So Boring. Apparently somewhere in the middle somebody shouts (to wake you up), and that is the high point of the song, only I never heard the shout, as I had gone back to listening “Sorry” and “Estranged”.
Duff was the pretty one with the dandelion hair and too much blusher on his cheeks. Long ago, in a different land far away from here, when I was less angry, I actually used to prefer Duff to Axl- he has more pretty good looks and a more conventional dress sense. While others were screaming hysterically about Slash and Axl, I looked at Duff, although sometimes I confused him with Axl.
And then there was Slash, he of the unknown face. What he looks like, nobody knows, but it’s clear bet that in the looks department, he can’t compete with the Guns N Roses lineup- not then, not now. Just as well he knows how to play the guitar- so they say. And his other claim to fame? He shot a bazooka in a Clint Eastwood film, with Duff looking on, cheeks bright and rosy, eyes hidden under Ray-Bans, blond locks ruffling in the wind. That was back in 1987-8. The film was the top ten of the time, and its theme song “Welcome To the Jungle” was up there too. The directors say that it is the only instance they know of -at least at that time- that a film and its theme song were both in top ten at the same time. Lucky timing. But who has heard of The Dead Pool and Inspector Harry Callahan these days?
Axl appears for five seconds in that film- and not in the bazooka scene with Slash. He appears and vanishes at the edge of frame, scowling under his bandana. He wasn’t famous then, didn’t know if he would make it. I had to rewatch the scene five times before I actually saw him, standing uncomfortably in the corner in a crowd, clearly wishing he was anywhere else than in this funeral scene, with Clint Eastwood walking up and away.
In Farsi they say- “Are you evil? or do they speak evil of you?”
Axl has the bad publicity. He is the cursed one, called an egomaniac, a douche, a whatever. He can’t play the guitar, and he can barely play the piano either. He doesn’t bother to explain, and he wears terrible yellow sneakers. And makes bad jokes on stage. And comes late. Still, he’s angry. He can’t even forgive a video-game charcter of Slash. And that anger magnifies into a huge terrible anger at the universe and all its wrongs. For ever and ever.
Who gave an interview to the Guardian- the Guardian! of all apologetic, lefty liberal newspapers! For a rocker to give an interview to the Guradian is like, is like… let me see… it’s like Dawkins bending over for the Friday prayers at his local mosque in his old age. Who was talking about his addiction recovery and his kids and enjoying performing with artists who were not “prima donna ego maniacs”? Not Axl.
Who sounds happy and forgiving and bourgois? Not Axl.
Who played at Superbowl with a disasterous white-trash prima donna pop star- and played badly, at that? Not Axl.
There’s an old Guns n Roses poster out there- the only one in our local poster shop, as the proprieter explained patiently to me, about a thousand times. It shows Slash lying in front, almost full length, looking huge, like a seal. The others, Duff and the other Nameless Ones are grouped proudly behind him. Axl is standing back in darkness, away from the group, turned away from the camera, but looking over his shoulder. You can’t tell if he’s looking at the little posed group or at the audience. In any case, he doesn’t look happy.
Not then, not now. Not ever.