My first Guns 'n' Roses album was Appetite For Destruction. I didn't buy it - I swapped it for Michael Jackson's Thriller. It must have been sometime in the early nineties. Nevermind was all the rage, Kurt Cobain was still alive, and I was just becoming musically aware. Nirvana was the background music of my early teenage years, but GNR was souffle to my ears.
The deep affection I felt for this band hasn't waned over time, but it has morphed. When I was not yet a teenager I found the unbridled energy of the driving guitar solos thrilling. Each song was a wild ride of testosterone-fuelled excess. As my musical tastes developed, I began to notice the almost comically ridiculous nature of the band's antics. And lyrics. And hair. And everything else about them. But the shine has never worn off.
In 2007, I had the good fortune to go and see the band live in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia. Actually, it was not GNR, but Axl Rose was the swaggering frontman, and all the classics were played. Middle-aged, carrying a few extra kilos and some ridiculously plaited long dyed blonde hair, he wouldn't be out of place in certain seedy areas of Bangkok. But he belted out the music with the force of a sonic tsunami - even if he did pant a bit in between songs. Jumping and swaying in between bearded bogans* - and their equally bearded bogan mothers, I fell in love with Gunners all over again. This time as something that was almost as a parody of itself. Music, and an image that is sublime in its ridiculousness, and proud of it.
And so it is with considerable bogan relish I would like to announce that the final musical fruit of the band is about to be released to a record store near you.
Unless you are in China. I just can't see the album name getting past the censors.
Guns N' Roses' long-awaited, endlessly delayed new album, Chinese Democracy, finally has a release date. According to the music industry site Hits Daily, the CD will drop at all Best Buy stores, where it is an exclusive, on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, November 23. This will give the album a full seven days on sale before entering the chart on December 2. Best Buy's sales week runs from Sunday through Saturday night.What were they thinking when they came up with this album name 12 years ago??
*A bogan is southern Australian slang for white trash. More or less.
AXL: On a crusade for democracy.