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What if Axl had left the scene in 2001 until the reunion?


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No thanks. First of all, while I would have loved to have many more albums out by now, I wouldn't want to miss the one we have, plus there were plenty of enjoyable shows during those years and I don't think Axl would have even reunited with Slash/Duff had he gone underground again. About "legacy" and other bullshit stuff, those things are just that... Bullshit. If I could change one thing and one thing only is the number of albums released by GN'R during those years. I don't like the concept of Guns disappearing again. 

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4 minutes ago, AlterL said:

No thanks. First of all, while I would have loved to have many more albums out by now, I wouldn't want to miss the one we have, plus there were plenty of enjoyable shows during those years and I don't think Axl would have even reunited with Slash/Duff had he gone underground again. About "legacy" and other bullshit stuff, those things are just that... Bullshit. If I could change one thing and one thing only is the number of albums released by GN'R during those years. I don't like the concept of Guns disappearing again. 

Agreed.

And I'm in the minority that thinks he didn't tarnish anything, imho it shows he has balls and tenacity, and he didn't compromise for anyone. That's about the most RnR/punk rock thing any mainstream artist has done in decades. 

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No, history is history. Also the release of CD and the reaction is all bring reflected in the the reunion. 

The release of CD was definitely not widely accepted, but it was hardly completely unaccepted, this forum in itself is a example of that. There are people who love it, and there are people who absolutely hate the record.  The reasons for both are far reaching - everything from loving the grandiose arrangements, hating the grandiose arrangements to loving the new band or  blaming the new band for preventing the return of the old band... And many, many more reasons. 

The current success is entirely dependent on the 1999-2014 era gnr, people are now egstatic about gnr because of everything that went on in the in-between years. And the main reason besides people not liking what happened in the in-between years is the return of Slash. 

My hunch is that CD with Slash would not have got as harsh a reaction, and say what you want but I've looked at this board for years and the transformation of opinion in the last 2 years towards CD says it all.

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40 minutes ago, Order of Nine said:

Agreed.

And I'm in the minority that thinks he didn't tarnish anything, imho it shows he has balls and tenacity, and he didn't compromise for anyone. That's about the most RnR/punk rock thing any mainstream artist has done in decades. 

If you're talking about 1997-2001, I'd agree with you. Absolutely. Even 2002 - sure. 

But everything after that, for me anyway, felt like Axl had become a legacy act - no longer an artist w/ relevance. I didn't see anything punk rock about touring 30 year old songs endlessly in his new Gucci threads. Yeah, in 2006, Axl was in great form but to me, he felt more like a performer just going through the motions - choreographed and scripted. And the lineup changes just made it feel even more corporate and cover band-ish. It didn't feel like a band anymore. Just Axl hiring a bunch of randoms to tour every few years so that he could replenish his bank account quick.  The guys in 2001/2002 actually felt like a band. There was a level of integrity in those 2001/2002 shows, despite the trainwreck aspect, that felt genuine.

The last time Axl Rose seemed like the Axl of old imho:

BEF.jpg

Edited by RONIN
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1 minute ago, RONIN said:

If you're talking about 1997-2001, I'd agree with you. Absolutely. Even 2002 - sure. 

But everything after that, for me anyway, felt like Axl had become a legacy act - no longer an artist w/ relevance. I didn't see anything punk rock about touring 30 year old songs endlessly in his new Gucci threads. And the lineup changes just made it feel even more corporate and cover band-ish. Say what you will, the guys in 2001/2002 actually felt like a band. There was a level of integrity in those 2002 shows, despite the trainwreck aspect, that felt genuine.

It was punk of him to say F#@& you to the industry and not to buckle under all the pressure and demands. It was punk of him to take the music in new direction that he knew would largely not be embraced by diehard 80s nostalgic mullet/metal fans.

It would have been much easier for him to just do a solo album, no real pressure no real demand or expectations.  And I think it was wise of him to use the GNR name to fund the recording of that album. The attitude behind his motives is very punk rock, of course his musical direction contradicts that, but his constant push against the grain is something that I find criminally over looked, and misunderstood. 

 

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Sometimes you have to fall before you learn a lesson. I think playing half filled arenas in the USA did him some good. Half filled arenas to pretty full stadiums has shown him how important Slash is to the brand. I hope it showed him that having all the responsibility on himself wasn't as great as he thought it would be. Maybe the next album should be called GUNS N ROSES DEMOCRACY.

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23 minutes ago, gnfnrs1972 said:

Sometimes you have to fall before you learn a lesson. I think playing half filled arenas in the USA did him some good. Half filled arenas to pretty full stadiums has shown him how important Slash is to the brand. I hope it showed him that having all the responsibility on himself wasn't as great as he thought it would be. Maybe the next album should be called GUNS N ROSES DEMOCRACY.

If it was about playing arenas vs stadiums he would have jumped back with Slash after that first tour in 2002. 

 

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Ooooh, lol, if we all had the crystal ball ... I would definitely not be here! :facepalm: :lol:

Excellent post @RONIN :slash: 

Let's see....... Disappearing from 2001 until 2016? Nope. Such amount of time feels like retirement and people would have been way more shocked of seeing him returning old as fuck. I mean, the bridge is too long.

Idealistically, the best scenario would have been releasing CD in 1999-2000, because that was the right era for that album, then begin tour with RIR included and finish around 2002. After that, I have no idea if he should have kept releasing albums. That whole frame of time would have depended a lot on the success of CD, the tour, the lineup staying the same, etc.

If shelving CD would have been the plan, then his return with reunited GNR should have happened no longer than 2006. That would have been the perfect year and time. He wasn't that old and still had many years to rebuild the band and project a future.

I agree with you that everything that happened after 2002 was really bad, wasted time, wasted energy, wasted voice and wasted talent. I'm not even sure Axl was considered all that great and powerful after RIR. There were tons of die-hard disappointed to the bone, unhappy with Axl's look and with that whole band of freaks, after seeing them play in Rio.

Knowing now what CD really is, I wouldn't have minded to have never hear it. I would have preferred a GNR reunion 12 years ago and the chance of at least 2 real GN'R albums released since then.

However, I don't think the album itself is what tarnished Axl's reputation and mystic. What damaged him as an artist was the extreme hatred he felt for Slash, the years and years of eating and spitting venom, of doing things with the sole purpose of winning a stupid battle and being stubborn with making an album that didn't live up to any expectations and that was soon forgotten. His inability to transcend his darkest emotions and act with intelligence regarding his own career is what destroyed him.

If being punk means putting yourself in the darkest place of your soul, where several times you were found by your assistants crying in bed while holding a gun, then are we saying being suicidal is punk?

Oh lord, paleeeeese :facepalm:

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There was a lot Axl could have done to stay relevant after 2001. Acoustic gig Axl would have been incredible haha 

but what’s done is done and to someone’s point above the last time we’ve seen Axl the way we admire him wouldn’t be 2001. I think he’s shown flashes of his former self throughout the years. I’d say 09’s return brought a change in Axl. He seemed to have that edge back. 

The most recent gigs with Slash and Duff is a completely new Axl. Mainly what we saw with acdc and how he came into that role. He’s a totally new guy at the moment and 01 at Rio you could tell there was a lot of hurt, anger and pain still in him based on his speeches with the crowd that night. I think 01 Axl was as lost as he’s ever been and 2016 Axl is just the opposite. He’s in a great place at the moment. 

I will say that if he disappeared from 94-06 and returned with Slash and Duff in that form that may have brought about the most thrilling return and Best results/shows. 

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1 hour ago, Order of Nine said:

If it was about playing arenas vs stadiums he would have jumped back with Slash after that first tour in 2002. 

 

Your missing my point. It was about the whole time period without Slash. In the USA the new GNR versions were never accepted very well. Slash is equal to Axl in GNR. He is irreplaceable. When Axl runs off stage during a long solo Slash needs to be there to hold most of the audience attention. The other 4 guitarist were good or great players but they dont have that IT factor. They are not icons to a large group of rock fans. Axl was so full of his self that he thought that he was GNR. But it takes 2 baby, then every other classic member after that is a bonus but not necessary. If you think it didn't bother Axl to play arenas where the upper decks were curtained off and still looked a little empty after that I say HA, yeah right. People yelling Where is Slash. HE'S IN MY ASS THATS WHERE. Nah it didnt bother him, uh huh. Slash was on his mind all the time because he new his importance and no one else would let him forget about him either.

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It would have made the 2016 reunion even bigger than it's been. However, I do not like that idea one bit.

Some of my favorite moments in Guns N' Roses history come from the 'NuGuns' era.

Needless to say, other than the lack of new material over the years, and the ticket prices now, I'm happy with the way things have turned out.

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I mean all in all I am glad I at least got to see Axl live in 2011 and 2012 so I would say I am glad he didn't retire up until a reunion.  And for all the faults of the nuGNR era, I would rather that than nothing for years and years

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The Chinese Democracy era and all its faults are now part of the GNR legacy. Unfortunately, that includes the delays and the fact that when it came out there was no band left to promote it. A complete mess. It hasn’t tarnished the GNR brand because that was built on being dysfunctional, it’ll just be remembered as the episode where Axl completely lost the plot and went mad. Whether that’s actually true or not, it’s still marketable! The making of that album will make a classic documenatary one day if Axl allows it.

But with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that 2010-2015 were years completely wasted. For Axl, anyway. Not for Slash. I think Slash can be pretty satisfied with how his career has gone. He’s bigger than ever and didn’t have to share his reunion loot with his ex.

There’s also that bittersweet feeling that they left it too late, that in 2006-2010 it would have been so much better and that they still can’t get all five of them onstage together. That in itself is unfortunately very GNR, the way it’s meant to be. This isn’t quite the happy ending they could have given themselves. It’s just another what if. It’s what keeps us talking about this band. ’You wanted the best. Well, they didn’t make it. So here’s what you get.’

Edited by Stress Fracture
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Nice work @RONIN as always (outta likes).  There should be a sub-section in the forum for lengthier opinion pieces or feature articles if you will, that members post from time to time.  I really enjoy reading them.  Also, a reference section for all the interviews/articles that have been collected but get buried in the threads.  It'd be nice to have them to hand when everyone is engaged in some heated debate. ^^

Anyway, you know how much I love that album, but I agree the name was tarnished, there's no escaping the fact.  Even among casual fans who don't know about all the GNR baggage, it's all a bit, huh? Chinese What?  He did what? When?  Oh.  Never heard of it.  

Chinese Democracy, I am sorry to say, did not set the world alight.  I hate that it didn't, but it didn't.

Your question hinges on the notion that it's a bad thing to have your name tarnished.  Only if it stays tarnished.  I would argue what's happening now - redeeming the name - is much more enticing, interesting and as @Stress Fracture mentions, marketable, than had he simply vanished for a large chunk of his life, name in tact, and remerged newly reunited with Slash and Duff. 

Now what you have is the rise and fall and rise of Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses.  Who doesn't love a comeback story, right?  Someone here already mentioned Axl having to hit rock bottom before he could start the climb back up (I think the same goes for Slash and Duff in a way...both seem very much at home in the current stadium environment as opposed to pokey venues.  Money is alluring, but so too, is being adored by millions).

So no, it wouldn’t necessarily have been better had he disappeared and not put a foot wrong.  He's made mistakes, big ones, but I think that's all behind him now.  I have a hunch this comeback is just the beginning.  For whatever reason, fronting AC/DC seems to have been the making of Axl Rose, and hopefully, whatever he does in the future with the GNR name will finally win him recognition.

Edited by MyPrettyTiedUpMichelle
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6 hours ago, gnfnrs1972 said:

Your missing my point. It was about the whole time period without Slash. In the USA the new GNR versions were never accepted very well. Slash is equal to Axl in GNR. He is irreplaceable. When Axl runs off stage during a long solo Slash needs to be there to hold most of the audience attention. The other 4 guitarist were good or great players but they dont have that IT factor. They are not icons to a large group of rock fans. Axl was so full of his self that he thought that he was GNR. But it takes 2 baby, then every other classic member after that is a bonus but not necessary. If you think it didn't bother Axl to play arenas where the upper decks were curtained off and still looked a little empty after that I say HA, yeah right. People yelling Where is Slash. HE'S IN MY ASS THATS WHERE. Nah it didnt bother him, uh huh. Slash was on his mind all the time because he new his importance and no one else would let him forget about him either.

So he talks back to a heckler.. big deal. His actions clearly don't match up with what your suggesting for almost 14 years. If it was only about playing stadiums and money then this would have transpired a long time ago. Have you heard Steven Tyler's interview on Stern? The problems we're deep and personal. Not having "icons" in the same band is something that I think he took pride in, giving a new group of players a spotlight. If your out to promote something you believe in and can stand behind it with conviction then the whole stadium vs arena thing becomes irrelevant. 

If Axl only did the above for a short period of time then of course that would hold more weight to your claims above. This is not the case, he went completely against the grain. Imo he tarnish anything, that was the most RnR/punk thing anyone has done in the past 20 years in mainstream rock, and it was against odds stacked against him. 

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Indeed.

Chinese Democracy was never more interesting than when it consisted of a mysterious recording hidden away in the vault, being overdubbed-on sporadically by Axl Rose in the guise of a mad professor. That album was a masterpiece when it existed solely as myth, fable, rumour, speculation. 

The worst mistake Rose ever did was releasing Chinese Democracy

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Really interesting thoughts, @RONIN.   I think this alternate history would have a lot of positives.  I would add to it that if Rose just vanished in 01-02 that we'd now be looking back at how Slash and the gang maintained the legacy until 2016.  And that conversation, I suspect, would be uncomfortable to some degree.  For me I was really let down when I saw VR on Contraband tour because Slash was so messed up he wasn't playing most of the songs (it was in its way amazing to see him snap out of a nod, nail the solo, and then slouch back against his amp).  I would imagine things like that would be much more scrutinized - that Slash rather then Axl could be the scapegoat for fan frustrations?

But back to this alternate history.  Going out still as the Axl we knew and on top f the world in 2001 would've been ace.  I really love CD though.  So thats a tough one for me.  Because in that regards I still hold some mystique around the remaining unreleased tracks.  The Niven approach would be cool with me so long as the leaks were of high quality.

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CD would of  been very differently recieved in 2001 - a name like Guns would of pulled the (imo) better more experimental side of the nu/industrial metal scene (rather than the limp bizkit/pap roach rap metal - Honorable mention to Rage Against the Machine nailing it) to the fore. I feel it could of pushed music in general in a very different direction in terms of popular rock music.

Instead it released in 2008 at the height of the indie/alt/garage rock scene and just made no sense at all - the stream of popular music was moving to put electronic & dance into guitar bands and starting the move towards the extreme minimalism we have today. Instead we had a industrial rock album that had an extreme amount of layering that was going up against other bands that were moving to record with as little embelishment as possible (The garage rock & indie bands like Kings of Leon - the best example came a few years later with Foo Fighters wasting light recorded in a garage).

It was a record completly out of its place in time - I know that isn't always a bad thing but I feel its unique stylings would of translated so much better in 1999-2002.

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i enjoyed the 2002 show i saw and the 2012 london show only really because they had deep cuts like think about you and 14 years only for those reasons there is a lot of empty wasted time from 2006-2009 - not until japan don't cry and duff's appearance then izzy's - was beyond stale for gnr as a whole 

 

as soon as bumblefoot frank and ashba came on the scene the brand and sound went took a total nose dive

the 2002 band at least sounded really fucking good live and even the CD era songs sounded 10 times better 

Edited by double talkin jive mfkr
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