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Why GN’R never appeared on MTV Unplugged


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easy, in terms of business, they're the worst managed band ever, and biggest waste of talent ever too. If they were managed well, and could keep the band in one piece, they'd easily have all the records in this business.

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On 7/24/2021 at 3:19 AM, Blackstar said:

Slash had mentioned in 1995 that Axl wanted to do MTV Unplugged (but Slash didn't want to?):

Slash: [...] We do what we do the best that anybody does. Let's just go out and do a club tour, a theatre tour, and fucking get back down to where we have some validity with an audience that we can relate to. But Axl was all fucking.. he wants to be on MTV, he wants to do Unplugged, he wants to be this, he wants to be that. So we didn't see eye to eye, and that's where a lot of that bullshit got started, and of course it was blown out of all proportion in the press [Metal Hammer, November 1995]

I like Slash but he really talks out of his ass sometimes. It's why I can't read a lot of his quotes from Chinese Whispers or A4D. Wasn't/Isn't Slash all about being a public figure and being featured? I think an Unplugged in 94/95 would've done wonders and took away that perception of excess form the band. It would've showed that their music was just as good when you strip away all the production and spectacle. 

Edited by mystery
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4 hours ago, mystery said:

 

I like Slash but he really talks out of his ass sometimes. It's why I can't read a lot of his quotes from Chinese Whispers or A4D. Wasn't/Isn't Slash all about being a public figure and being featured? I think an Unplugged in 94/95 would've done wonders and took away that perception of excess form the band. It would've showed that their music was just as good when you strip away all the production and spectacle. 

I agree it's a weird thing to say and it's not in keeping with how Slash operates at all. I put it down to them being in that entrenched stage of a major relationship breakdown where anything the other person says, does or wants is automatically bad or wrong. I think there's evidence of them both being somewhat in that mindset during that period. Sucks for everyone else though because I bet an Unplugged would have been great.

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41 minutes ago, alfierose said:

I agree it's a weird thing to say and it's not in keeping with how Slash operates at all. I put it down to them being in that entrenched stage of a major relationship breakdown where anything the other person says, does or wants is automatically bad or wrong. I think there's evidence of them both being somewhat in that mindset during that period. Sucks for everyone else though because I bet an Unplugged would have been great.

Agree with that. I know in that era he very badly wanted Guns to get rid of that opulent image they seemed to project. Ironically a low key appearance on MTV Unplugged could've helped. It probably could've helped Axl's confidence and maybe help him see that the older material was still viable.

It wouldn't even have to lead to anything necessarily. I just think that the endless hours of studio time and no live appearances was not at all healthy for the band and directly led to Duff, Slash, and Matt leaving. It's why I'm still fascinated with Axl's mindset at that time and wonder what exactly his plans for the band were. 

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I know the story of what went on. It seems like the biggest problem was the lack of what Axl brought, both with the old band and the late 90s version. Having 2 different bands record 1000s of hours of music in endless studio sessions with no end in sight sounds insane to me.

Slash could've handled things better then but  I think Axl was going through some serious issues then that will probably never be fully explained. Axl might've been open to doing an Unplugged in the early 90s but by 95 he seemed pretty done with public life.

 Guns n Roses should've went on a 4 or 5 year hiatus at this point. It would've been way better than trying to make something work that clearly wasn't and it might've kept the UYI band together.

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The discussion about MTV Unplugged most likely took place in 1994 ( I don't know if Axl would've been willing to do it in 1995). The context of the Slash quote is why he and Axl "didn't see eye to eye" over the musical direction and the band in general, and why he ended up doing Snakepit, saying that Axl supposedly wanted to be like Pearl Jam (whom Slash hated). 

Probably part of Axl's reasoning for doing Unplugged was that other bands did it so why GN'R wouldn't do it, too, and that reasoning pissed Slash off. He wanted GN'R to go back to "meat and potatoes" basics and just play for the people who still liked them.

But all that was the symptom. I think the deeper issue was the "taking over the band" power trip.

Edited by Blackstar
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3 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

The discussion about MTV Unplugged most likely took place in 1994 ( I don't know if Axl would be willing to do it in 1995). The context of the Slash quote is why he and Axl "didn't see eye to eye" over the musical direction and the band in general, and why he ended up doing Snakepit, saying that Axl supposedly wanted to be like Pearl Jam (whom Slash hated). 

Probably part of Axl's reasoning for doing Unplugged was that other bands did it so why GN'R wouldn't do it, too, and that reasoning pissed Slash off. He wanted GN'R to go back to "meat and potatoes" basics and just play for the people who still liked them.

But all that was the symptom. I think the deeper issue was the "taking over the band" power trip.

Thanks for the context. I wonder why Slash would hate Pearl Jam? Maybe it was more about having to adopt a similar look/souund which a few of the Sunset Strip bands ended up doing.

It's kind of cool how Axl genuinely liked the music of those Seattle bands. From liking Nirvana and wearing a hat to trying to get the band to open for them. Also wanted the drum sound on SLTS for Chinese Democracy. The band got Soundgarden instead and partly covered Big Dumb Sex on TSI and of course Black Hole Sun years later. Dave Abbruzzese was also briefly a member of Guns n Roses.

I'm surprised no one in this thread listed a hypothetical setlist.

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18 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

But all that was the symptom. I think the deeper issue was the "taking over the band" power trip.

do you mean Axl's power trip and the name thing? not sure cause maybe Slash was on a power trip of his own.

Edited by Rovim
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17 minutes ago, Rovim said:

do you mean Axl's power trip and the name thing? not sure cause maybe Slash was on a power trip of his own.

I mean power trip from both of them (although Axl was more aggressive after one point, I guess).

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2 hours ago, Blackstar said:

I mean power trip from both of them (although Axl was more aggressive after one point, I guess).

They both had (have?) massive ego's. Axl just had a bit of an advantage in being the frontman and having a more erm...robust...personality. :lol:

I've noticed over the years from all kinds of interviews with Slash that he used to 'hate' a lot of things without any kind of nuance. It was was a very fixed mindset, very black and white thinking and likely a knee jerk emotional reaction which ironically is something that more often gets associated with Axl. For good reason because Axl can be like that with many things but it isn't at all the case with his musical tastes and experimentation, on that score he's always been very open minded.

I sometimes think they were more alike than was ever credited at the time and it was maybe the similarities not the differences that broke the relationship down.

 

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2 hours ago, Rovim said:

seems like as soon as Axl and Slash became successful enough while not being in a musical process it became a problem and eventually made the difference in personalities and approach that was always there destroy the band. I think things escalated cause there was no momentum in the band anymore. Plays to gain control cause basically both can see it turning to something they want to avoid so the band's demise was maybe inevitable.

it still surprises me that Slash left (maybe a power play) or how Axl sometimes decided to do something without the band support or permission (PC synths, OIAM lyrics, Paul Huge, field trials)

I guess they both did what they thought was right cause they invested a lot in the band. maybe also misdirected sense of entitlement considering what they achieved together played a part. Seems like Axl wanted to make most of the decisions or at least have the final say on some matters but still with Slash in the band and Slash didn't want to be in a band that functioned like that anymore and wasn't open to at least some of the things Axl was interested in.

Yes, like I said in another thread/discussion, it seems that Axl saw malicious intent and a takeover attempt in Slash doing Snakepit (combined with what he said in the press, etc.), so he moved aggressively to take legal control of the band. In all that we have to factor in the role of third parties: management, "advisors" (we know that Axl in particular had some really shady "advisors").

Then it seems that there was intervention and pressure from the label and lawyers - to Slash to not expand his solo tour and then to Axl to take his legal takeover move back. Axl refused to completely take it back, so there were negotiations which led to the compromise of the "trial period" contract, which meant that if Axl and Slash had managed to make it work (e.g. successfully complete an album), Axl's legal takeover would've been effective, otherwise the contract would've been "null and void". So then Slash returned in 1996 having in mind that if he'd work with Axl, there would be the drawback of him not being legally equal anymore. He wrote in his book that Axl tried to convince him that it wasn't like that and that they were still partners etc, but to no avail. I think Axl didn't believe or expect that Slash would seriously quit the band. I also think that Slash's quitting was a power play - maybe it was spontaneous on that particular day, but then he expected that Axl wouldn't seriously continue without him, so after sometime he could be back under better terms, ie. the status before Axl's takeover (and this is also what Duff and Matt expected, and probably everyone else except Paul Tobias, maybe).

Edited by Blackstar
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14 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

Yes, like I read in another thread/discussion, it seems that Axl saw malicious intent and a takeover attempt in Slash doing Snakepit (combined with what he said in the press, etc.), so he moved aggressively to take legal control of the band. In all that we have to factor in the role of third parties: management, "advisors" (we know that Axl in particular had some really shady "advisors").

Then it seems that there was intervention and pressure from the label and lawyers - to Slash to not continue his solo tour and then to Axl to take his legal takeover move back. Axl refused to completely take it back, so there were negotiations which led to the compromise of the "trial period" contract, which meant that if Axl and Slash had managed to make it work (e.g. successfully complete an album), Axl's legal takeover would've been effective, otherwise the contract would be "null and void". So then Slash returned in 1996 having in mind that if he'd worked with Axl, the drawback was that wouldn't have been legally equal anymore. He wrote in his book that Axl tried to convince him that it wasn't like that and that they were still partners etc, but to no avail. I think Axl didn't believe or expect that Slash would seriously quit the band. I also think that Slash's quitting was a power play - maybe it was spontaneous that particular day, but then he expected that Axl wouldn't seriously continue without him, so he after sometime he could be back under better terms, ie. the status before Axl's takeover (and this is also what Duff and Matt expected, and probably everyone else except Paul Tobias, maybe).

Seriously, it is depressing talking/reading about this shit. What could have been if cooler/less stubborn heads prevailed.

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26 minutes ago, alfierose said:

They both had (have?) massive ego's. Axl just had a bit of an advantage in being the frontman and having a more erm...robust...personality. :lol:

I've noticed over the years from all kinds of interviews with Slash that he used to 'hate' a lot of things without any kind of nuance. It was was a very fixed mindset, very black and white thinking and likely a knee jerk emotional reaction which ironically is something that more often gets associated with Axl. For good reason because Axl can be like that with many things but it isn't at all the case with his musical tastes and experimentation, on that score he's always been very open minded.

I sometimes think they were more alike than was ever credited at the time and it was maybe the similarities not the differences that broke the relationship down.

And then Axl saw Slash playing with Dave Navarro, Dave Grohl, Weiland even. He said in 2008 that it was "a trip" for him to see Slash play with people whose music he used to hate and Axl was a fan of.  Maybe Slash became more open-minded later or he was just stubborn and playing it cool when he said that he hated this or that, but in Axl's mind it was probably an additional confirmation that Slash had a "strategy" all along, and that made him even more angry.

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1 hour ago, Blackstar said:

And then Axl saw Slash playing with Dave Navarro, Dave Grohl, Weiland even. He said in 2008 that it was "a trip" for him to see Slash play with people whose music he used to hate and Axl was a fan of.  Maybe Slash became more open-minded later or he was just stubborn and playing it cool when he said that he hated this or that, but in Axl's mind it was probably an additional confirmation that Slash had a "strategy" all along, and that made him even more angry.

Reminds of my teen kids and their pointless squabbling "Errr you like <insert band, movie etc...> that's shit, everything you like is shit...blah blah blah" :rofl-lol:

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