“Yesterday’s got nothin’ for me
Old pictures that I’ll always see
I ain’t got time to reminisce old novelties”
As a fan of Guns N’ Roses, I have long wished for a reunion. However, considering the animosity between Axl and Slash I figured there was as much chance of a full on reunion show as there was of pigs flying over a ski slope in Hell. But then the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame had chosen GNR to be inducted into the 2012 class and I allowed myself a glimmer of hope. The hope was false though, there will be no reunion of what was once the most dangerous band in the world.
Over the years, Axl has been the primary scapegoat for the band breaking up and considering he is the only one that still parades himself around under the Guns N’ Roses banner, it is easy to pin the blame on him. Things are certainly more complicated than simply blaming Axl for being an egomaniac but people believe what they want to believe. That said, he is to blame for the destruction of this possible dream come true, no matter how much he wants to pin the blame on the iconic gunslinger in the top hat.
The reason Guns N’ Roses is being inducted into the Hall of Fame is because their music is great. I recently went to see Axl Rose and his band of hired guns at the Guns N’ Roses concert in Philadelphia, it was a great show but the reason Axl could even do that show as because the music, most of which was from the 1987-1991 era, was great and people still love it. 25 years since Appetite for Destruction, the music still resonates with people and I have a feeling that 25 years from now, it still will, great music is just like that. It is that great music that allows Axl to continue to go on tour and it is that great music that deserves to be honored.
Axl obviously does not want that honor. Nor, I suppose, does he want his fans to have the honor of seeing that music given the honor. For close to 20 years, since Slash left the band, I have remained a fan of Axl Rose. He does not owe me anything for those years, I gladly gave them despite the lack of return on my investment. But being a fan of his is not an easy task, and often times he seems to actively despise those of us that support him. It is of course his prerogative to decline his induction into the Hall but in doing so he spurns the fans that have stood by him all these years.
This was Axl’s chance to step out as the bigger man, to step up as the star he is and lend his current lineup a credibility it never has had the chance to earn on its own. One night of being cordial to his old bandmates with three or four songs performed on stage with them was all it would have took to set the old GNR to rest and allow the new one to rise up. Slash, Duff, Izzy, Adler and Sorum have all moved on but Axl has too much pride, too much anger, and too little sense to see that being an adult and burying the hatchet has more advantages than being a petulant child and holding onto his grudge.
One day I hope Axl tells the fans his side of the Guns N’ Roses story, I just fear he has blown his last chance at redemption and no one will be around to hear his story should he choose to tell it.
lyrics from Yesterday’s on Use Your Illusion II (1991)