on being Axl Rose
I had to get this down in writing before the 'tour' started. Guns & Roses is touring. I have put the over/under on the tour cancellation within five shows. Point being, within five concerts, Axl's lateness will cause enough of a problem that the rest of the tour will be scratched.
Here is how it goes, and has gone since 1994. Opening band goes on at 9. headliner should go one between 10 and 10:30. Axl doesn't show up until 2:30 am for almost every show. Gee, I hope you didn't have to work in the morning. So, the press finally got on his ass about being late for EVERY SINGLE CONCERT HE HAS EVER PLAYED - and his response was not an apology to his fans. Quite far from it. His response was basically to call his fans a bunch of pussies for not wanting to wait 6 hours until he comes on.
"Love it Hate it Accept it Debate it — You want 8 o'clock shows go find F-R-I-E-N-D-S or hit a cinema somewhere…or you wanna be informed go catch the 10-o'clock news.. this is Rock N' Roll! Treat yourself don't cheat yourself thinking you're gonna go to school or work or whatever you 'normally' do the next day. Oh and remember before you get high and never want to come down. 'you can have anything you want but you better not take it from me!' This is Guns N’ Roses and when the time is right the stage will ignite. Looking forward to sharing that with rockers soon!"
The show is now over about 5 am. Gee, hope you don't have to work tomorrow. Oh, and the venue stopped selling beer at 10. So, you aren't even drunk. Now, if you are seeing the band in every venue I have been to, they close down between 11 pm and 12 pm due to various curfew and union issues.
So, why did I bring you here? Are we here to wonder why he fired the band that made him rich and successful and beloved? Not now. Are we here to discuss why it took him 18 years to stitch a record together? Not yet. We are here to discuss why he makes his fans, and band, wait 4 to 6 hours before he will play. I have a theory. He is interested in crowd control and crowd dynamics. Jim Morrison was the same way. Jim's passion was seeing what it took to get an audience to riot. He also made people wait, but no one has does what Axl has done. Well, except Hitler.
Hitler would make people wait hours for a speech. Why? I would guess that when he finally did arrive, people went apeshit. The anticipation made it all that more intense... making the figure mythic in his absence. Is this what Axl has been doing for the last 30 years? I think so.
Hitler began each speech in low, hesitating tones, gradually raising the pitch and volume of his voice then exploding in a climax of frenzied indignation. He combined this with carefully rehearsed hand gestures for maximum effect. He skillfully played on the emotions of the audience bringing the level of excitement higher and higher until the people wound up a wide-eyed, screaming, frenzied mass that surrendered to his will and looked upon him with pseudo-religious adoration.
Why Axl do this? Well, I genuinely think for the reasons above. Perhaps not consciously, but that is what is happening. I mean, there is NO other reason. when he does this, they lose fans, lose money, lose promoters, and have actually been arrested for inciting riots. There is NO upside to making your audience wait 4 to 6 hours... unless you are a psychopathic narcissist.
The good news is the promoters are WAY onto his bullshit. All his European contracts make him forfeit roughly $100,000 per hour he is late. So, when he went onstage in Rio (effectively a day late... completely unable to sing)... the band had forfeited their money. See, that isn't enough to get Axl to play, though. He knew about the terms a year in advance, and still opted to play 4 hours late. how long before the band turns on him when they get no payment for gigging? How many more stadium riots will happen when folks are sent home from venues at 11 pm before the headliner plays a single song?
That is why every Guns and Roses tour has been canceled. Some earlier, some later, but every single tour has been aborted at some stage. Tickets aren't selling well, either. You know how usually there is a 4 or 6 ticket limit for ticket sales? Well, if you are willing to plunk down $100 a ticket, you can buy in blocks of 49... which are still available. Not a good sign, since the show is in a week. The good news is, they will likely make that show. it's the second night.
So, was all this to call Axl Rose a fat Hitler wanna be? Yes. Yes it was. Also, why do I write this? Because I think Axl was the greatest rock singer of all time. He was up there with Robert Plant - swagger, talent, danger, looks... everything. He had EVERYTHING, and he frittered it away.
And here is where it gets weirder? Axl threw it all away for: drugs, booze, girls? None of the above. Basically, he lost everything because he is a fucking dick. There is no other way to describe his behavior. He called Slash a cancer. Really? First off, Slash is well known as a kind a decent person. Secondly, he wrote the songs that made Axl the megalomaniac that he now is. So, maybe a 'thanks' would have been a better idea.
What did we get? An album and a half of amazing material. I know this is bad, but I kinda wish Axl would have joined the 27 club (we would still have Appetite and Lies, but nothing further). Then, we could have talked about how he was going to be the greatest ever. Instead... we got the truth. He fired his band and took 18 years off. Never recaptured that glory again. What's worse? sadly never even tried.
Here is a clip from last week