I'll just start my own Guns N' Roses

Dear Axl,
You probably don’t remember me because we’ve never met. I’m writing to tell you some things that I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while now, you know, if we ever meet. I know we probably won’t, since you only seem to come out of hiding on only the rarest of occasions in order to say some douchey thing and then disappear again. Or to play a concert with the “New GN’R”, which nobody gives a shit about.

I remember when I first heard about Guns N’ Roses. I was a gorgeous 16-year-old long-locked lad with an insatiable hunger for heavy metal music and steak and cheese subs. In that order, unless I was hungry for actual food. I used to steal borrow copies of heavy metal magazines from the local convenience store, conveniently named Convenient, where my sister worked. Sorry, Donna. Every month I would walk out of that place with my kick ass jean jacket (with patches and pins) bulging with all the latest issues of  Hit Parader, Circus, Kerrang!, Tiger Beat, etc. I would read every article and then I would cut the pictures out and hang them up in my room like an adorable pre-teen girl. An adorable pre-teen girl with a penis. (I wonder how many hits I’m gonna get off of that search term?)

Motley Crue was my favorite band back in the day. I so badly wanted to be in the Crue, my lack of musical ability be damned . I drank Jack Daniels because that’s what Nikki Sixx drank. I was sixteen and stupid. One day I was reading an article about Motley Crue in Hit Parader and it mentioned how this hot new band from Los Angeles, Guns N’ Roses, was going to be opening shows on the Girls, Girls, Girls tour. I had never heard of such a band but I had to find out about them. Nikki Sixx said so, then he dared me to chug boilermakers until I blacked out. Challenge accepted, good sir.

When I came to, I reread the article so I could remember the band’s name. Then I cut their picture out and hung it next to Leif Garrett’s. Their debut album was still a month or two away from being released, which was painful. Today, you hear about a band and you can just go on iTunes, or Pandora, or Amazon or any other of the million online options available to anyone with an internet connection and see if you like it. Back then you had to travel to the record store. This usually involved putting on pants. Although it’s not specified on the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service sign, not wearing pants is frowned upon and will also greatly diminish your chances of getting served. They should have to tell you that up front. Right? It’s not like I keep a spare pair of pants in the car. Oh wait, yes I do.

I bought Appetite For Destruction the day it came out at the record store at the Hanover Mall in Hanover, Massachusetts. I bought it on cassette tape, because those were the wave of the future. Stupid, stupid future. I remember leaving the mall in my friends 1970-something Monte Carlo, and popping Appetite into the tape deck. As the opening skull-fuck of Welcome to the Jungle kicked in, I remember thinking, “What the fuck is this shit?”. But in a good way, like the way the kids say it when the shit’s crack-a-lacking. They say that, too. I was completely blown away by the whole album. I have probably listened to that album more times than any other I’ve owned. I know they’re not called albums anymore, but I still call them that. Appetite is my favorite album of all time. There, I said it.

I love the Use Your Illusions albums, too. I know some people say there’s only one albums worth of good songs mixed with a bunch of filler, but I disagree. There are a few songs that I’m not totally crazy for, but I think the majority of both Illusion albums are ballsy. This was the point you started adding more people to the band. What started as 5 guys was now 7 or 8. I was cool with it.

Somewhere along the way, you lost it. Constantly showing up on stage HOURS late, shitting on the people paying their hard-earned money to see you perform. That shit is bush-league, man. Storming off stage like a petulant child who doesn’t like the game so he’s taking his ball and going home. Complete bullshit. But what you have done with this whole “I’m Guns N’ Roses” nonsense is comical. Just because you found 7 guys at the VFW in Indiana that can play Sweet Child O’ Mine doesn’t make them GNR, and just because your guitarist wears a top hat doesn’t make him Slash.

Now I don’t want to bash you completely, because I think there’s still hope for you. Listen, it’s confession time. I actually like Chinese Democracy. I’d even go so far as to say I love it. That disc spent over two straight months in my car stereo. Yes, I own it. No, I didn’t pay for it. A friend burnt me a copy. I refused to buy a fake Guns N’ Roses album. He apparently did not. But it’s good. If you had just called it The Axl Rose Project or some such thing, I bet it would have done far better than it did. The opening scream on the title track made me realize I missed you. But now you’re making me realize I didn’t.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has come calling for those 5 boys who made the world take notice so long ago. Now, whatever your thoughts on the R&RHOF may be, it’s still a pretty big honor, or honour, for my transcontinental peeps. But once again you have taken the low road and turned down the invitation to appear, perform, acknowledge, look at, speak to, wink at, break bread with, give the common courtesy of a reach around to, the band mates that made you famous

I don’t want your Guns N’ Roses. I want my Guns N’ Roses.

Hey you’re one fifth of GN’R, and that’s only one fifth more than I am. Fuck this, I’m gettin’ the band back together.

Who’s with me?

20 responses »

  1. free penny press says:

    Let me get this off my chest before I explode.. Somebody take his tired, old & ratty bandanna away so we can see the receding hairline for God’s sake.. Geesh.
    and as for “rockers”, past their prime? they all need to get down on their rocked out knee and thank the Lord we still attend their shows and such.. ungrateful heathens..

  2. PETE says:


  3. I immediately remembered the first time I heard Appetite too. I had a similar reaction and thought, “Mom isn’t going to let me play this in the car.”
    I also had a similar reaction the first time I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit.

    • billmcmorrow says:

      I vividly remember the moment I first heard it. Which is kind of amazing 25 years later. I listened to the whole Appetite album again today. Hahaha, I can’t stop. Thanks for checking it out.

  4. John says:

    <<< Also keep a spare pair of pants in my car.

  5. I love this post. And I love 80s metal (was it the 6+66 Reasons to Love 80s Heavy Metal post that turned you onto my blog?). And I love that you have Le Clown and Sweet Mother on your blogroll. So now I have to follow you back. Thanks so much for YOUR follow, but beware, the title “Gemini Girl in a Random World” is telling. I post some indiscriminate shit.

    • billmcmorrow says:

      Thanks Stacie. I actually found you through Le Clown. I just read the 6+66 Reasons and it was kickass. Oh how I want to twist fattys and play quarters all day. Good times.

      • Don’t you love Le Clown? He’s my favorite read right now, but don’t tell him. Le Clown has a HUGE ego and we Gemini are fickle. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

      • billmcmorrow says:

        He’s pretty okay, but Lord Evil Poppy rules. I also shall be perusing your writings as well. And indescriminate shit is my middle name. Oh no, wait, it’s Leo.

  6. Jay says:

    Wiliam Bruce Rose needs to grow up or shut up and go away forever. I call him William cause in my mind Axl Rose is dead and has been for a long time.
    RIP Axl Rose

  7. I think they’re just another story of ego, drugs and fame gone awry.

  8. […] An Open Letter To Axl Rose « bill mcmorrow […]

  9. […] Hoarders. Hey, Bill McMorrow, you’re lucky number one! Why, because of this, this, this and this… Oh, and Bill… Fuck Terry O’Reilly… […]

  10. Mike says:

    Good stuff Bill. I enjoy your way with words. I remember the Jackson square posse and the GnR shirts in tha 80’s. Good times

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s