Jump to content

Why the UYIs sound different from AFD and Lies

Recommended Posts

There is a major stylistic difference between AFD, Lies and the UYIs.

Mainly speaking, there is a distinct lack of groove on the Use Your Illusion records. Whereas AFD and Lies are basically Aerosmith and the Stones meet The Sex Pistols, the UYIs are heavy metal records in large measure. Consider songs like Garden of Eden, Perfect Crime, Right Next Door to Hell, Coma, etc--These are metal songs.

Even on the more hard rock tracks, there is a lack of groove. On AFD and Lies, songs like Brownstone, Nighttrain, Rocket Queen, (the live version of) Used to Love Her, etc all have a bouncy sort of groove.

People blame the absence of Steven Adler, the introduction of Matt Sorum and the presence of Dizzy Reed for the UYIs not being AFD II. Some, even including Izzy, claim Matt Sorum changed GN'R from a hard rock band to a heavy metal band; Others say the reason there's no groove is because Slash dominates the sound and he lacks the Stonesy groovy edge that Izzy had; Still others blame Dizzy Reed and say he watered down the songs.

I think the real reason is much more simple than that.

In 1985-1986, when the bulk of AFD was written, the guys were very close; they were even living together all under one roof. When you have a bunch of highly creative guys in close proximity, it's easy for ideas to gel and come together in a very free, organic fashion. Izzy and Slash could be sitting around on the floor with their guitars, and Izzy might strum a rhythm part or riff, and Slash might get something out of it and play off that little riff with a riff of his own, and from there, a song could be written based on these two guys playing off and complimenting each other.

Add to this the fact that in 1985-87, Slash and Izzy didn't much like each other: Slash has stated for the first few years, he wanted to be the only guitarist in GN'R, and Izzy felt it was his band--You had a kind of dynamic tension that fueled the two guys to sort of compete and outdo the other. Thus you get the twin guitar assault of AFD, where a groove is created by the two guitars playing off, complimenting and weaving against and with each other, in a sort of dance similar to the sound of the Stones.

From 1985-1988 approximately, all these guys were truly a band, all in tune with each other, all the guys on the same page living very close, very similar lives: Mostly poor, hungry guys who wanted to get out of the slums.

Flash forward to 1990-1991. Guns N' Roses are all now millionaires living very separate lives. Slash is battling a growing alcohol and heroin addiction, and beginning to slowly become a star and icon in his own right. Izzy has come to the apex of his own heroin addiction in 1990 and has become addicted to sobriety, to the point that he isolates himself from the band and rarely contributes in the studio. Axl has a big house with a pool and is battling various inner demons and has his relationship with Erin Everly fall apart throughout 1990. Duff is becoming to sink deep into alcoholism, which will almost kill him, and gets married.

No longer did you have five guys sitting around a floor tossing ideas and riffs back and forth. Now, the music is created by phone, with Slash sending tapes of guitar playing to Axl, who writes lyrics to the music he's getting. Izzy works very separate from everyone else and sends in his own bare bones riffs. It's very likely that Izzy and Slash never sat down together and wrote during the UYI sessions. Izzy refuses to attend any of the recording sessions outside of the basic tracking sessions and as such much of his parts are not usuable and Slash has to dub over him in the final recording and mixing.

There is nothing organic about the recording process for the UYIs--a band should not create music by telephone. How can we expect a natural flow and groove when the 'band' barely even plays together outside of concerts? Even if they had brought in the grooviest, loosest drummer who ever lived and Dizzy Reed was never born, I do not think the UYIs would've sounded much different then they ended up sounding.

Where you once had two guitars playing in tandem and off each other, now you have three or four guitars, most double tracked and overdubbed. Where once was an Izzy rhythm, an Izzy lead, and a Slash lead and Slash rhythm, now is a Slash rhythm, Slash rhythm, Slash lead, Izzy rhythm. And Slash is a much different, less subtle rhythm player than Izzy.

It isn't Matt or Dizzy's fault that the UYI's sound different. It's that, in essence, by 1991, Guns N' Roses was a one guitar band, where before it had been a two guitar act.

Edited by Rick Deckard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can say the change of sound, if there was one, was due to the fact that Slash was/is a metalhead. He liked stuff like Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, etc and you can hear some of those influences on select songs, but honestly, I don't agree that GN'R became a metal band on the Illusions albums. There's too much blues rock all over them to be considered metal. And it's not like NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) blues-based stuff either. It's Stones/Aerosmith blues rock. Matt's drumming was much tighter and that of course added to the viewpoint, but I just don't see it. I will say however that Coma can be considered metal and Perfect Crime, to me, is a speed metal song.

I think Izzy wanted to seperate himself because he was afraid he'd fall back into addiction. He didn't want to be surrounded by addicts anymore. He couldn't be if he wanted to stay clean. This is where Slash's influence becomes larger and his writing style is much more involved than Izzy's laid back, simple rock n roll riffs.

So yeah, I wouldn't call the Illusions 100% metal records, but there is more metal in them than on AFD for sure.

Edited by SlashisGOD
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I blame the change in sound on the desire to have a dolphin in a video

They did not intend to have a dophin in it...Stephanie would be in it, but they broke up, and the firdt tahat came up was a whale, but since they are not easy to work with, they choose a dolphin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UYI is at least as good as AFD; soundwise it's better recorded, produced, much more complex, I prefer the band's sound in UYI, much mor modern. The best would be to have Steven Adler playing on the UYI records; there are some amazing demos of Steven Adler playing songs like Locomotive - just youtube it , the groove's there!

AFD and UYI are different but it doesn't mean one's better than the other for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...