In a word, Axl Rose (ok, that’s two words). More specifically, the point of this blog is to serve as a sort of Snopes fact-checker about Axl Rose. All new posts will be on the Lose Your Illusions page (link on the right), but if you’re new here, read this first.
For starters, I hate it when people spread false information about anything. I’m the person who will reply to all 200 recipients of that stupid email forward just to squash the lies and misinformation. Life’s too short to be ignorant, peeps. And there’s definitely no sense in damaging someone else’s life because of your ignorance and propensity to gossip. So knock it off. Axl is a negative press magnet. Some of it he brings upon himself, a lot of it is hearsay, sensationalism, and biased reporting looking for an easy scapegoat to villainize. But despite (or because of) all his quirks and faults, he is still human and just because he’s famous doesn’t make defamation cool.
Why choose Axl?
On a November 2011 interview with VH1’s “That Metal Show,” Eddie Trunk asks Axl if there are any misconceptions about himself that he’d like to address. With a weary sigh he answers, “There’s too many things. There’s too many things that… it’s like two decades of people talking.” There are plenty of people out there ready to rag on Axl, but there aren’t too many who are willing to give him a fair shake. So I decided I would. Everybody needs a champion, even the flawed people (and really, aren’t we all?).
How did it come about?
I was in junior high/early high school when Guns n’ Roses were in their heyday. I was aware of them and of Axl, but I didn’t listen to their music (I was listening to CCR and Three Dog Night). One of my best friends had her bedroom plastered with heavy metal band posters but the only two that I still remember were the Motley Crue one — because the umlauts bugged me, and one of a sultry Axl Rose staring defiantly out from under his blue bandana. I heard about him at school and I heard about him on the news and developed the impression that most people tend to have of him: He’s an angry, violent jerk. And that was the impression I carried of him for years. Whenever his name came up, inevitably linked to trouble of some kind, I’d roll my eyes and declare him a baby like everybody else.
I didn’t really care a thing about Guns n’ Roses’ music until a couple years ago when a song would come on the radio and I’d go, “Huh. I kind of like that.” I would watch the occasional music video on youtube, but I still held my same impression of Axl.
Until about six weeks ago (late April/early May 2012). My four-year old daughter has a strange fashion sense; we aren’t even sure where it comes from, especially since it inevitably reverts to the ’80s. One day in late April, she came to me with a blue bandana and asked me to tie it on her head. I put it on her, kerchief-style, and she immediately pulled it down low on her forehead. The resemblance to Axl’s iconic look amused me and we started teasing her. I asked her if she was headed to Paradise City and my husband called her Sweet Child O’ Mine. How could we not? She began to get grumpy about it, but still insisted on wearing the bandana everyday. She even slept in it. Finally, I decided to show her what all the fuss was about and found the “Sweet Child” video on YouTube and let her watch, saying, “Look, that’s Axl Rose; he likes to wear bandanas like you.”
She was smitten. “Sweet Child” led to “Paradise City” which led to “Welcome to the Jungle” until we were watching pretty much the whole catalog (well, all that are fit for a 4 year old). I noticed one of YouTube’s suggested videos was an early interview with Axl and Slash and I was curious what his speaking voice was like, so I clicked it. Twenty minutes later, I was finding that my impressions were beginning to change. Over the next couple of weeks, I ended up watching hours of interviews, concert footage, news reports, Axl’s famous onstage rants and raves, not to mention reading every print interview, transcript, article and review I could find of him. When something takes my interest, I want to understand it thoroughly. Once I dug deeper, it became apparent that Axl is not the 2-dimensional villain that he is always portrayed to be. My husband suggested this blog as a way to return some humanity to him.
What’s the goal?
On a small scale, it’s to make the case that there is more to Axl Rose than what makes the press. On a larger scale, I hope it will open your eyes to the way media can distort our perceptions without us even realizing it. Be discerning, check the facts.
- I am not affiliated with Guns n’ Roses (old or new) or Axl Rose in any way. I’ve never met the man; he is unaware of my existence; I’ve never been to a GNR concert and, in fact, I’m not sure Axl and I have ever even been in the same state at the same time.
- I fully understand that Axl is not a saint and my aim is not to defend his every action, but to present as fair and accurate a picture as possible.
- I am not a journalist nor a psychologist, but I can be a vicious editor (of both facts and grammar) and I feel that I do have an aptitude for understanding where people are coming from.
- Comments and discussion are welcome, but I will not tolerate profanity or flamers. If all you want to do is tell me “Axl sucks!” then you can go hang out with the other trolls on YouTube. They eat it up.