My Dad had this album on vinyl. I remember sneaking peaks at the really disturbing liner art when I was, like, five. And I remember him coming home from work and singing this song to my Mom. Appetite for Destruction is one of those very basic, quintessential albums that you have to listen to if you love rock, even if you don't like GNR. Though, if you really don't like GNR, don't tell me. 'Cause we can't be friends anymore. And I'm only sort of joking.
In middle school, my favorite song off of it was "Paradise City", and in High School it was, "My Michelle"(I loved trying to shock people; listening to this too loudly was my lame attempt at rebellion. Though, against the establishment, not my parents- who, to their credit, never censored anything I listened to.) And in undergrad it was, "Think About You". One time, after an embarrassingly low amount of alcohol, I was prompted (goaded) by JLM into performing the little head, side slide shuffle dance in public. It wasn't my proudest moment. Lately though, I keep hearing "Sweet Child O'Mine" and I realize, all over again, how epic it is. How pure and raw and honest. And I'm still angry that Sheryl Crow butchered this song in her version a few years ago.
They simply don't make guitar solos like this one anymore. They don't make bands like this anymore. They don't make rock stars ... anymore. For whatever may have become of them, when Guns N' Roses pounded onto the L.A. scene in 1985 they were just. so. badass. You don't get angrier than Axl, or cooler than Slash, or as stoned as Duff and Izzy. You just don't.
In the past few years, I have gobbled up any and all information I can get my hands on about the band, about the meanings behind the songs, about the drama and the whole crazy ride. Did you know that Axl Rose is the only one of the band members not to have attended rehab? That the original Robert Williams cover art (the one that was in the liner notes on my Dad's album) is on the Gold and Platinum versions of the album? That Slash hates this song?
Which is probably why they didn't play it when I saw Velvet Revolver in 2006. All of the band members own the rights to the songs (for both Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots) so they played a few GNR songs (and a few STP ones), including Mr. Brownstone. I'm pretty sure I was the only person under the age of 25 there that knew all the words. The battle for my heart continually rages between Scott Weiland and Axl Rose (circa 1988).
It actually breaks my heart to see Rose on appearances lately. My Dad, in his infinite coolness, actually downloaded Chinese Democracy before I did. It's not bad. It's just that GNR peaked with Appetite for Destruction and even though I do love "November Rain" and "Patience", most everything else they've ever done is a disappointment.
And yes. I can totally still do the slide shuffle dance. But, I only do it alone in my room now.