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Does Axl exemplify the essence of punk more than people give him credit for?


saber_

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Axl never participated in a punk band before Guns n Roses. Hollywood Rose and Rapidfire have elements of shred/glam/British steel, but not punk. Although GnR did some covers of punk songs, Guns has never been associated with punk. Contrastingly, you could make a case that Axl embodies some of the very essences of punk. Can you think of any examples? Stopping shows, issuing rants, throwing out audience members, arriving late, being controversial... if you view Axl through a "punk" lens, does he make more sense to you?

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Punk when he was young

Diva when he got rich.

I can see how that perception has some plausibility and as such has perpetuated itself. What if, however, his financial success simply allowed his inner punk to blossom? The success has enabled him to continue exhibiting some true punk behaviors. What you call "diva," I call " consummate non conformist." Okay that was partially a joke, but is it true? Certainly money could fuel the evolution and development of his inner punk, could it not?

Okay okay... I only ask that you consider he's not a diva. He's more off-the-radar than a diva, and therefore not one.

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Duff: Axl appeared both more punk and more metal than the whole L.A. scene put together [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 88]

Duff: Talking about the early days: Axl is punk rock without that true hardcore guy. He was just born that way [Youngstown News, April 2012]

Duff: Axl's unpredictable mood swings also electrified him - a sense of impending danger hung in the air around him. I loved that trait in him. Artists are always trying to create a spark, but Axl was totally punk rock in my eyes because his fire could not be controlled. One minute the audience might be comfortably watching him light up the stage; the next instant he became a terrifying wildfire threatening to burn down not just the venue but the entire city. He was brazen and unapologetic and his edge helped sharpen the band's identity and separate us from the pack [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 96]

Tommy: I got into Guns 'n' Roses because I looked at Axl and thought, "This guy's the embodiment of punk rock." I've gotten strength from seeing how determined he is [Tommy Grows Up, Harper Magazine, October/November 2003]

Tommy: By the time I joined, I walked in going, ‘This sounds kinda punk rock what [Axl]’s trying to do and thinking of doing.’ You know, everyone quit, and [Axl] was like, ‘I wanna work. I didn’t spend 10 years on this to let it go now. Fuck you guys! I’m going to keep it going.’ I thought that was pretty fucking ballsy. I said, ‘I’m down.’ … I still think it was a good idea. [Chicago Sun Times, November 2011]

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Guest Len B'stard

No, not on any level whatsoever. There is literally nothing about this man that has anything to do with punk. If anything he's the antithesis of punk.

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...his financial success simply allowed his inner punk to blossom? The success has enabled him to continue exhibiting some true punk behaviors.

this x1000. Plus Duff's quotes.

I've always thought that. Yes, his financial success allowed him to do simply whatever the hell he wanted. "I use the best, I use the rest."

And to this day, the same goes. "Everybody wants me to reunite with the old lineup. I don't want to though, so I won't." Even for tons of money.

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People accused Lydon of betraying his punk sensibilities when he did the butter ads.

Thing is though in that scenario, he did exactly what he wanted despite other people (even huge fans of the man) giving him all sorts of grief and "sell out" type chat for it.

Whilst it's a totally different set of circumstances for our W. Axl, there's some parallels in the way that he does exactly what he wants and pretty much sticks 2 fingers up at anyone who tells him he shouldn't.

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I think 'punk' is such a fuzzy and vague term to most of us that unless someone actually makes a clear definition of it we can never come to an agreement on whether Axl's behaviour follows that pattern or not.

From wikipedia:

Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Common punk viewpoints include anti-authoritarianism, a DIY ethic, non-conformity, direct action and not selling out.

I think one can successfully argue that Axl fits most of these, at least in his youth.

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Axl has a lot of stuff in him. Some good and some bad. I would say he has some punk in him.

Hitch hiking from Indiana to L.A to start a sleazy rock n roll band was a good punk move.

Edited by J Dog
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Punk when he was young

Diva when he got rich.

Yup. By '92 he was more Whitney Houston than Johnny Rotten. Still loved him, but that's what he became.

He always had this diva thing inside him. Whe he got rich it just became more apparent.

No, not on any level whatsoever. There is literally nothing about this man that has anything to do with punk. If anything he's the antithesis of punk.

Why? What would be the antithesis of punk, exactly ?

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I think 'punk' is such a fuzzy and vague term to most of us that unless someone actually makes a clear definition of it we can never come to an agreement on whether Axl's behaviour follows that pattern or not.

I always viewed "punk" as pissed off disempowered kids who rebelled against anything and everyone for the sake of shock and attention. Anything remotely associated with power and money and the status quo...then that was suspect to be against...if only for that few minutes when you have the energy and the time to do so. The whole punk scene in the late 70's was a power fuck you to the establishment, to big bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen and Pink Floyd and it went hand in hand with the economics of the day. It took on the aging hippy generation and shit on its pacifist flower power, disco and the cocaine snorting swinging of the 70's, the countrified rock sounds of the Eagles etc and spit on them . At its heart it railed hardest against the hypocrysy of society. Anarchist in nature, violent as a nessessity and callous to the social norms of the day.

The essence and the dress of "punk" is a statement. THe true punk era was dedicated to tearing everything down...just utterly destroying society as it was. Punk wasnt just about muscians that couldnt play thier instruments well who ranted and raved about the world and life in the shitbowl ,it was about the angnst and the anger of being trapped inside the cliche' . If ever there was a generation that needed "punk" its certainly THIS millenial Generation now!

Somehow...punk became a costume , just like goth and long hair and spiked leather pants and shitty tattoos are...something you play at when your trying to figure it all out. Drugs sex and rock and roll... self destructive hellbent misfits perhaps . In the world now.. nothing is really shocking(trya s he may..Miley...that VMA act is so cliche' now) But it made her a millionair all ove again and that is all that really matters...money.

The rage is there...or the energy of the rage showed up in GNR...it reminded the world what a pissed off angry band sounded like. Even by the late 80's standards...when political correctness was just getting going and the thought control that accompanies it ...GNR was like a breath of fresh air next to bands that were going all corporate and sensitive. Grunge at best is the 90's version of punk only with better equipment and more talented players who...had the costumes and the cliche attitudes intact as well. But it wasnt about burning down society.. just whining and pissing and moaning about it.

The big slag on GNR was the confusion that came about when UYI's hit. Suddenly that street urchin/hayseed fresh on the SunSet strip was being led out of his mansion into a limousine ...and many thought that GNR had sold thier souls out because of it.

Axl i believe saw through that though.. think about his chicago 92 rant.

All money did for Axl was buy him the life he wanted to have but would have never had if he would have stayed down on the farm.

" Axl" is his stage persona...his rocket ride to fame and fortune. Axl being a punk now ...no fucking way... absolutely no fucking way. He plays by the rules and allows himself ..like all of us to protest and insist that we in fact are calling our own shots... but in reality .. reluctant though it may be.. we play by the rules. Big brother sees to that.

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