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Axl's voice after the Illusions tours


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Axl having a long layoff and coming back in 2001 with a changed singing voice always made me wonder about the recluse period. It's sad in a way. Truly lost years of what should have been his prime.

How did his voice hold up after Illusions and what do you think he'd have sounded like in the mid to late 90s? When did it morph into the ChiDem voice? I think the only things we have to go on are the leaks, Live Era, and a few other bits.

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He did Sympathy in 94, they did sessions in 95/96 (although we don't know to what degree Axl was involved), and he did OMG in 99, plus the studio work on CD started that year. So if we disregard SftD and the Zakk/Slash sessions, his pause was during 94-98. Still, he may have been doing some studio work. Of course, it's different than doing 3 live gigs a week. 

He sounded awesome on Sympathy (I'm omitting Live Era, as I consider it unreliable in terms of evaluation of his voice; what with all the mixing and editing etc.), yet he was a very different guy in 2001 - both visually and vocally. My theory, which I've said here a few times, is that something regarding health happened to him around 99. And it took him years to recover (2006). Cause that 2001-2003 dude looked and sounded like his own distant cousin from a different country. 

God knows how he sounded in those "wilderness" years; maybe we'll get to hear something from that era some day. 

Edited by jamillos
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4 minutes ago, jamillos said:

He did Sympathy in 94, they did sessions in 95/96 (although we don't know to what degree Axl was involved), and he did OMG in 99, plus the studio work on CD started that year. So if we disregard SftD and the Zakk/Slash sessions, his pause was during 94-98. Still, he may have been doing some studio work. Of course, it's different than doing 3 live gigs a week. 

He sounded awesome on Sympathy (I'm omitting Live Era, as I consider it unreliable in terms of evaluation of his voice; what with all the mixing and editing etc.), yet he was a very different guy in 2001 - both visually and vocally. My theory, which I've said here a few times, is that something regarding health happened to him around 99. And it took him years to recover (2006). Cause that 2001-2003 dude looked and sounded like his own distant cousin from a different country. 

God knows how he sounded in those "wilderness" years; maybe we'll get to hear something from that era some day. 

I remember reading either here or elsewhere that his voice was already breaking down at the end of the Skin 'Bones tour. It seemed kind of thinned out by that time.

One thing that I've noticed since 2001 is that even his speaking voice has changed. It has a nasally tone to it now. Watching interviews from back in the day and his voice was noticeably deeper.

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I think having a long layoff is exactly what he needed, from a vocal standpoint. I'm a singer and from personal experience I know that vocal rest is a necessity at times. When a person strains or damages their voice and seeks medical advice, inevitably they are prescribed complete vocal rest. Provided that there's not an underlying or more serious issue such as nodules or hemmoraging. Which Axl might've had to deal with also, I don't know.

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8 minutes ago, mystery said:

I remember reading either here or elsewhere that his voice was already breaking down at the end of the Skin 'Bones tour. It seemed kind of thinned out by that time.

One thing that I've noticed since 2001 is that even his speaking voice has changed. It has a nasally tone to it now. Watching interviews from back in the day and his voice was noticeably deeper.

You’re right that it sounded thinner and higher than in 92, but it also depends on the particular footage. E.g. this was more prominent in Argentina but less in Saskatoon IMO. But SftD still sounded great, whereas the 99 leaks and the 2001 shows… the shift was vast. And yes, I would barely recognize his voice or looks e.g. in that 2001 NBA interview. 

8 minutes ago, lame ass security said:

I think having a long layoff is exactly what he needed, from a vocal standpoint. I'm a singer and from personal experience I know that vocal rest is a necessity at times. When a person strains or damages their voice and seeks medical advice, inevitably they are prescribed complete vocal rest. Provided that there's not an underlying or more serious issue such as nodules or hemmoraging. Which Axl might've had to deal with also, I don't know.

This may be exactly what happened. Doesn't explain the looks though. But yeah, could be it. 

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From interviews with zakk wylde, axl wasnt around much because he was in lawsuits from bandmates, erin and stephanie, so from 94 to 96 he was in court. Slash leaves in 96 , duff leaves in 97 followed by matt so 97 to 98 are the kinda wilderness years. 98 to 99 he was assembling CD lineup and was working on tunes, as he handed the first completed copy of CD by what 99?.

The braids and facelift, is a kind of WTF period.

Edited by Sydney Fan
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18 minutes ago, mystery said:

I remember reading either here or elsewhere that his voice was already breaking down at the end of the Skin 'Bones tour. It seemed kind of thinned out by that time.

One thing that I've noticed since 2001 is that even his speaking voice has changed. It has a nasally tone to it now. Watching interviews from back in the day and his voice was noticeably deeper.

Having a listen to saskatoon, especially YCBM his voice is rough and scratchy as fuck.

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44 minutes ago, gnrjanus said:

Well. 

Not singing for over 6/7 years, not training the vocal chords.. 

He was dealing with lawsuits of former band mates so depression.. 

It can kill the mood etc

There were definitely reports about all of this. Even sitting in his kitchen with Youth (Killing Joke) and not wanting to sing.

I think the Illusions tours were the apex of their touring schedule. I don't think his voice could handle a schedule like that again.

I think its just a missed opportunity they didn't play a few shows in 95/96 or 98/99 with the early Chinese band.

The closest I heard was possibly Woodstock 99. I think it would have really brought back his confidence like the 01 shows did.

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4 minutes ago, mystery said:

There were definitely reports about all of this. Even sitting in his kitchen with Youth (Killing Joke) and not wanting to sing.

I think the Illusions tours were the apex of their touring schedule. I don't think his voice could handle a schedule like that again.

I think its just a missed opportunity they didn't play a few shows in 95/96 or 98/99 with the early Chinese band.

The closest I heard was possibly Woodstock 99. I think it would have really brought back his confidence like the 01 shows did.

Well the band, were in their nid 20s when axls pipes were at their peak. At 56 or so now, theres no way they could do the touring schedule on par with the pace of the illusion tour. Axl voice couldnt handle it.

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3 minutes ago, Sydney Fan said:

Well the band, were in their nid 20s when axls pipes were at their peak. At 56 or so now, theres no way they could do the touring schedule on par with the pace of the illusion tour. Axl voice couldnt handle it.

Looking at their touring schedules; some of their heaviest years are from 06 on. 2017 being one of their longest tours.

The early 90s imo were different. That was the start of longer setlists, Axl singing all out sprinting around the stage, press turmoil, parties, riots etc.

Taking all that into account Axl might not have made it out alive with another tour at that level.

He was one of the biggest rock stars in the world and public enemy no.1 by the music press. The latter tours have seemed much more relaxed by comparison. 

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2 hours ago, jamillos said:

He did Sympathy in 94, they did sessions in 95/96 (although we don't know to what degree Axl was involved), and he did OMG in 99, plus the studio work on CD started that year. So if we disregard SftD and the Zakk/Slash sessions, his pause was during 94-98. Still, he may have been doing some studio work. Of course, it's different than doing 3 live gigs a week. 

He sounded awesome on Sympathy (I'm omitting Live Era, as I consider it unreliable in terms of evaluation of his voice; what with all the mixing and editing etc.), yet he was a very different guy in 2001 - both visually and vocally. My theory, which I've said here a few times, is that something regarding health happened to him around 99. And it took him years to recover (2006). Cause that 2001-2003 dude looked and sounded like his own distant cousin from a different country. 

God knows how he sounded in those "wilderness" years; maybe we'll get to hear something from that era some day. 

Bono experienced a serious health concern and almost lost his voice. Axl’s health affecting his voice is a stretch. 

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For me, the Live Era/Chinese sessions (which overlapped) show Axl at the very top of his game. Even the House of Blues show that his voice was in top form for the most part. I'd say it was around '98 when Axl went out his way to get his voice really 'clean'. His whole vocal approach sounded much healthier than what it was during the Illusion era and closer to what he sounded like live in '86/'87

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42 minutes ago, The Holographic Universe said:

Bono experienced a serious health concern and almost lost his voice. Axl’s health affecting his voice is a stretch. 

Whatever it was, something was going on. 

16276104491_3c818d86f2.jpg

 

Edit:
We've talked about it here:

 

Edited by jamillos
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2 hours ago, jamillos said:

Whatever it was, something was going on. Ij

16276104491_3c818d86f2.jpg

 

Edit:
We've talked about it here:

 

Im no surgeon but,  that really looks like a facelift. If so why? It does not look normal. Seems like axls MJ phase. But his jawline also looks completely different 

Edited by Sydney Fan
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21 minutes ago, Sydney Fan said:

Im no surgeon but,  that really looks like a facelift. If so why? It does not look normal. Seems like axls MJ phase. But his jawline also looks completely different 

Exactly, and that would be the question - why? He looked normal around 1998, like himself. It is a mystery. 

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9 hours ago, mystery said:

I remember reading either here or elsewhere that his voice was already breaking down at the end of the Skin 'Bones tour. It seemed kind of thinned out by that time.

One thing that I've noticed since 2001 is that even his speaking voice has changed. It has a nasally tone to it now. Watching interviews from back in the day and his voice was noticeably deeper.

On Gilbys Pawnshop Guitars which was recorded after the Illusions Tour, Axl is using a higher, thinner and more nasaly sounding voice too. But maybe just because it suited that song?

Then again, to my ears, he uses the same voice on Come Together with Springstein. During the first verse he reaches for his chest voice and it just aint there. Could be the first Mickey on the word "Oh!" after his first verse even? Same year, 94 iirc. He does find a midrange chest voice for the chorus, but its thin.

So Id say you are onto something there.

 

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9 minutes ago, soon said:

On Gilbys Pawnshop Guitars which was recorded after the Illusions Tour, Axl is using a higher, thinner and more nasaly sounding voice too. But maybe just because it suited that song?

Then again, to my ears, he uses the same voice on Come Together with Springstein. During the first verse he reaches for his chest voice and it just aint there. Could be the first Mickey on the word "Oh!" after his first verse even? Same year, 94 iirc. He does find a midrange chest voice for the chorus, but its thin.

So Id say you are onto something there.

 

I'll have to give it a listen again. However, let's not forget he hadn't been touring that year and even hadn't prepared his voice prior to this, as it was an impromptu (he wasn't supposed to sing there at all). 

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Maybe a lot of it had to do with the anger and hunger.  He had so much pent up anger and aggression, where as by 2001 he was a totally different person.  Probably hard to sing like he used to when he had matured and gotten older, come to grips with the "Nu Gnr" band etc...

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14 hours ago, mystery said:

I remember reading either here or elsewhere that his voice was already breaking down at the end of the Skin 'Bones tour. It seemed kind of thinned out by that time.

One thing that I've noticed since 2001 is that even his speaking voice has changed. It has a nasally tone to it now. Watching interviews from back in the day and his voice was noticeably deeper.

You just need to listen to the boots from the whole tour. His singing style softens massively over the 3 years. A prime example is Jungle. In 91 he had a massive rasp which disappeared by 93. Longtime member Indian's from here gives a brilliant example when referring to Jungle on Live era.

The best example is at 2:03 the voice changes after the line "welcome to the jungle" which is more 93 style and is completely different for "it gets worse here every day" which is more 91

Edited by ssiscool
typos
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I've finally listened to Anxious Disease and have to say that the shift to the higher voice undoubtedly begun there in 1996 or possibly earlier. Yep, and there I was thinking something happened only around 98/99. I guess he really got worn out back then. 

Edited by jamillos
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