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Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 - 30 Years Later


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7 minutes ago, Voodoochild said:

I didn't know Bad Apples leaked. Imagine if it was today, and people would judge the Illusions just by that song. :lol:

Yes, Bad Apples had leaked in June 1991 and Geffen had accused a rival record company employee:

"We have sworn testimony from radio station staffers saying the Guns N' Roses tape came from a Mercury Records national promotion staffer named Douglas Burton," explained Al Coury, general manager of Geffen Records.

"It's bad enough that we had radio stations playing a rough mix of a song that wasn't finished--and was months away from release. But then to have the leak come from an employee at another record company, who tried to use it to get airplay for one of his acts, is just outrageous. It's like falling off a bridge--and then have someone run you over too!"

According to Norman Beil, Geffen's general counsel, the label sent a letter Monday to Mercury Records, saying it had "definitively linked" Burton to the GNR tape leak. "We've asked Mercury to provide us with information explaining who he obtained the tape from and who he distributed copies to," Beil said. "We are also asking Mercury to reimburse us for legal fees and any expenses incurred in obtaining the cooperation of the radio stations."

Asked what Geffen would do if Mercury refuses to cooperate, Beil responded: "We'd sue them--and we'd sue them very quickly."

Mercury co-president Mike Bone refused to comment on the Geffen charges, except to say that as of Wednesday, he had not received any letter from Geffen about any Mercury links to the leak.

https://www.a-4-d.com/t3155-1991-06-09-los-angeles-times-to-geffen-the-leak-of-bad-apple-has-a-rotten-core

Edited by Blackstar
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15 hours ago, downzy said:

59bfd718b7f0c24b109c77cc?ops=contain(148

September 17th (tomorrow for those still in North America) marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Use Your Illusion 1 & 2.

Figured it appropriate to start the discussion now since 30 years ago there were kids across North America lining up to buy their first copies at midnight.

Curious how people perceive the albums 30 years on. 

Did you buy both on the first day?  Did you buy one and a friend buy the other?

I didn't get my first two copies (in CD form) until six months later in April of 1992 (they were birthday presents from friends).  I relied on the radio to hear new songs and some mixtapes I made with some friends.  

GNR was always something I was aware of, but it wasn't until these two albums that made me become a huge fan.  People often cite Appetite as their best creative output, but for me it was the Illusion albums.  They are still my favourite Guns albums to date.

For the many reasons people criticized the records are the reasons why I love them.  They were an attempt to be something more than your typical blues-based rock band.  Both albums helped cement GNR's company amongst their legendary predecessors.

Hearing and watching Axl play November Rain made me want to learn how to play the piano.  I've been playing for almost 30 years now, still play an hour almost every day.

For me, Axl's legend grew to almost mythical like status with UYI1&2.  I couldn't understand how one man could have so many different voices.  His vocals sounded so different on so many songs.  How he would weave melodies over long and sustained chord progressions (like Coma and Locomotive) was stellar.

The videos for each single were astonishing, if not insane.  These albums and their accompanying videos helped to create an otherworldly aura around the band.  I truly feel bad for the fans of the band who were born too late have experienced this period.  

These albums made them feel larger than life.

It was a great time to be a Guns fan.

#wheresizzy

Thanks for this. I agree with everything you stated. The over-the-top double album was the BEST way to follow Appetite and Lies. Both Illusions I & II had everything anyone would need from a great rock-n-roll band. A little punk, blues rock, metal, hard rock, ballads, and even a little country (You ain't the first) and southern rock (Yesterdays, Breakdown). I never understood the "it should have just been 1 album of the best songs" stance. That makes no sense at all to me. GnR gave us all their best in one setting. Why spread it out over a few years?!?! And as it turns out they were not together long enough to make another GnR album with that particular band line-up. Can you imagine if either I or II never got made?!?! You talk about a "vault" debate! You know like hell Axl would have never let those songs see the light of day! Also at the time I never heard the debate of a double album being "too much". We were all jacked as mfr's to get 2 albums! That Friday after the release we threw a listening party and we never once said "hey, this is too many songs!"

 

So to your point of the post...A best bud and myself went to Sounds Familiar at midnight at our local mall (it was such a big event that even the mall allowed the corridor where Sounds Familiar was located to be open at midnight). The plan was that he would buy Illusions II, and I would buy Illusions I (on cassettes as we had just graduated high school and had not established a good enough cash flow for a CD player or CD's as of yet). He wanted II because it was supposed to have Civil War (and Knockin' on Heavens Door) on it which had been playing on the radio all summer, and I wanted Illusions I so that I could first listen to ALL new songs. Turns out more people wanted II for the same reasons as my buddy. We both had to buy Illusions I. I was blown away by the viciousness of I, and couldn't wait to hear all of II. That's where the listening party came in. One of our friends lined up two kegs, a large outside garbage can full of PJ (Ever clear and fruit juice/fruits), and invited anyone/everyone we knew who bought either I or II to come out. Must have been about 20-25 of us all together. Between all of us we listened to I and II all night into the morning one after the other on repeat. Everyone had their favorites, but I just remember saying "man these are all GREAT!". In fact we started planning our concert trip for the Illusions tour that night. Took another year, but about 15 of us snagged tickets for the big tour with Metallica (Faith No More opening leg) that was supposed to be in August for ours. However was pushed back to Labor Day weekend (might have even been Labor Day?) because of Hetfield's burn incident (among other things...).

 

So yeah this was a big event for everyone around the world, not just US. I imagine there will be very similar posts to follow so again thanks for posting. It brings up some great memories! I also agree in that I really do feel for the fans that were too young (or not around yet) to experience this. There will NEVER be anything like it again! That is unless GnR do it again...

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2 hours ago, Blackstar said:

Yes, Bad Apples had leaked in June 1991 and Geffen had accused a rival record company employee:

"We have sworn testimony from radio station staffers saying the Guns N' Roses tape came from a Mercury Records national promotion staffer named Douglas Burton," explained Al Coury, general manager of Geffen Records.

"It's bad enough that we had radio stations playing a rough mix of a song that wasn't finished--and was months away from release. But then to have the leak come from an employee at another record company, who tried to use it to get airplay for one of his acts, is just outrageous. It's like falling off a bridge--and then have someone run you over too!"

According to Norman Beil, Geffen's general counsel, the label sent a letter Monday to Mercury Records, saying it had "definitively linked" Burton to the GNR tape leak. "We've asked Mercury to provide us with information explaining who he obtained the tape from and who he distributed copies to," Beil said. "We are also asking Mercury to reimburse us for legal fees and any expenses incurred in obtaining the cooperation of the radio stations."

Asked what Geffen would do if Mercury refuses to cooperate, Beil responded: "We'd sue them--and we'd sue them very quickly."

Mercury co-president Mike Bone refused to comment on the Geffen charges, except to say that as of Wednesday, he had not received any letter from Geffen about any Mercury links to the leak.

https://www.a-4-d.com/t3155-1991-06-09-los-angeles-times-to-geffen-the-leak-of-bad-apple-has-a-rotten-core

Thanks for the info. You either have amazing memory or a very good skill to search for specific GNR details. :heart:

Did this rough mix ever surfaced as mp3? Got me curious. 

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16 minutes ago, Voodoochild said:

Thanks for the info. You either have amazing memory or a very good skill to search for specific GNR details. :heart:

Did this rough mix ever surfaced as mp3? Got me curious. 

Don't know if it's the same one, but I've listened to a rough mix of it years before. I remember because I liked how big the backing vocals were in the mix compared to the finished version.

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Was a great time to be 18 years old.  I remember being glued to MTV NEWS for reports on the albums and tour -Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion tour Backstage Videos- 

Edited by downzy
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1 hour ago, Original said:

Was a great time to be 18 years old.  I remember being glued to MTV NEWS for reports on the albums and tour -Guns N' Roses - Use Your Illusion tour Backstage Videos-

Oh wow this is awesome. At some point there's a video I had never seen before of Duff rehearsing his song Fuck You (from Believe In Me) with Rob Affuso from Skid Row (who also played drums for that song on the album). Super cool.

EDIT: I had never seen the video with Duff & Izzy playing New Rose either. Goodness, this stuff is so awesome.

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Think it's safe to say there is no actual music celebration planned (at least in foreseeable future) for Illusions I & II. Just received an email from Guns n Roses store about 30th anniversary. Looks like just god awful shirts, some hoodies, and a mug is all probably the most quintessential hard rock albums ever will receive from the band that produced them.:facepalm:
 

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Unfortunately the words "Shop Now", rather than some look back at the making of or the tours or the music itself is pretty rubbish tbh

I also recently bought a GnR hoodie for $100, received one with an off center front print and the logo was squashed so not even round..

Edited by swishtz
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Like many I've had some "what-ifs" and "wouldn't it be cool" hypothetical scenarios with the Use Your Illusion albums (what if they made a great one-disc album, what if it was the "rawer" sounding mixes before Axl added all his weird shit, wouldn't it be cool if Matt's drum sound did not sound like a wet pool noodle hitting cement), but ultimately, they are the albums we got and the albums that satisfied the public at the time. Much like getting an official mix of "...And Justice for All" with bass at this point, it's best just to enjoy what we got: warts and all. 

Ultimately, much like The Beatles' self-title album, the Use Your Illusion fractured mess showing a band in complete disarray that should be complete disasters, yet the disorganization and variety somehow work in the albums' favor. Like the aforesaid album, the most fun has been seeing how my preferences have changed over the years. Songs that I used to love for being in your face with their bad attitude ("Get in the Ring," "Shotgun Blues" and "Back off Bitch") now make me cringe a little. Despite not getting mentioned as much, I feel "You Could Be Mine" remains as great a single for the band as "Welcome to the Jungle" and low key one of the best hard rock songs ever. The Izzy songs that slipped into the background for me in younger years are now the highlights ("Dust n' Bones" might be a "top 5" for me). And of course the performances and emotion behind songs like "Coma" and "Estranged" were those "once in a career" type moments. 

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5 minutes ago, themadcaplaughs said:

what if they made a great one-disc album, what if it was the "rawer" sounding mixes before Axl added all his weird shit, wouldn't it be cool if Matt's drum sound did not sound like a wet pool noodle hitting cement),

The "weird shit" and the drumming are key ingredients to making the albums perfect.

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1 minute ago, themadcaplaughs said:

I have no issue with Matt's actual performances. He's a monster drummer. They just sound awful in terms of mixing. 

I could've written "drum sound" too. Probably my favourite albums to "drum to" while listening. Best drum parts might be November Rain outro and YCBM intro.

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Got taped copies of both within a week of them being released. Listened to 2 first then 1.

It took like a week to digest it really. No lyrics on my blank cassette and a lotta titles. I thought the don’t cry thing was pretty cool. I listened to 2 more than 1 at first. 

It’s hard to make any comment now years later that would do justice to these albums. Sprawling, Epic, Genius, emotive, evolved, angry, laid back, sad, sleazy, paranoid, romantic.... The 2 covers the same but different colours and the naming of them as 1 & 2 was pretty cool. 

Those albums soundtracked the next 18 months of my life basically. 

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There was an insane amount of great music being released at this period, but still the following comment is true....

On 9/17/2021 at 11:53 AM, Beto 22 said:

I'm almost 42  and I don't remember any other record being so anticipated than the Illusions record! Not before and not even close after. 

The end of 90 and 1991 Guns N' Roses had its share of Beatlemania

It was GNR mania time for sure. It had been for 2-3 years previously anyways, but the illusions albums just pushed it into the stratosphere. 

 

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On 9/17/2021 at 7:12 AM, RussTCB said:

I've got a video about UYI coming to my vinyl YouTube channel tomorrow but I thought I'd share some memories that are not in that video. I'll make a thread for the video tomorrow when it's live :)

My two favorite memories involve just before and the day the albums were released. One memory is the first time I heard You Could Be Mine. 

My dad was a truck driver, so he had a car phone. And by "car phone", I mean the big black box thing that barely fit between the two front seats of our family van. My dad took the phone with him when he drove truck, but it would be in the family van when he wasn't on the road. We were reminded constantly to never touch it because calls were outrageous in price. So my mom was shopping in a store once and I was just sitting in the car listening to the local pop station. The car phone rang and I when answered my brother was yelling "TURN ON WRIF! TURN ON WRIF! THEY'RE PLAYING THE NEW GUNS N ROSES!". So I flipped over to WRIF and caught YCBM around the first chorus. My brother and I sat on the line together being like "THIS IS AMAZING! WHAT A JAM! OH MY GOD!". It was only after the song that we both realized we were going to be executed by our parents because of a $50 phone call lol. 

My second memory sucked when it happened but it's funny to look back on now, especially since my mom has passed away. The day UYI came out, I got my mom to take me to Sound Warehouse. There was a big floor standee with both CDs on it. I grabbed both and went to the register. When we got to the register, my mom noticed the Parental Advisory stickers. My mom HATED the F word and immediately asked me if they said it on the album. I was like "well they didn't say it on their first album" lol. 

She asked the guy at the register if they said the F word on the album and he looked at me while I was standing behind my mom. I gave him this look of desperation like "please say no, please say no, please say no". He said "they're really not my thing so I haven't heard these albums but I know Axl swears a lot in concert, so maybe that's what they mean". My mom confirmed that she could return them if they said the F word and the guy said no problem. 

BOOM. I finally owned UYI. 

Here comes the problem. When we got in the car, I was dying to hear new GN'R music. I'd already heard Civil War at some point. So I put UYI I in...... what a stupid decision LOL. 

So you know what happened about half way through the song. As it was happening I was like "noooooooo" and my mom said "this is FILTH" then she did a U turn right there in the middle of a very busy road. Like......action movie car driver style U turn LOL. The tires on the car were squealing lol. 

Back to Sound Warehouse we went. My mom went in, slammed the CDs down on the counter, confirmed for the sales person that they were, in fact, filth, then got her money back. 

So I owned UYI for approximately 2 minutes on the day of release. This was devastating on that day but again, I can totally look back and laugh at it now. I had a friend from school tape his CDs for me a couple days later, which I promptly labeled "Paula Abdul" and "Pebbles" (two current pop artists at the time) and only played with my headphones on.

Long winded post, but hopefully someone finds it entertaining. I'll post the video about the albums in general tomorrow :)

My Mom read the lyrics on Illusion 2. She never mentioned "Get In The Ring" but was quite upset for some reason about kids listening to "Pretty Tied Up".

I tried to explain that he's talking about BDSM and that it's consensual between both parties, but I don't think she understood. :shrugs:

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On 9/17/2021 at 9:12 PM, RussTCB said:

I've got a video about UYI coming to my vinyl YouTube channel tomorrow but I thought I'd share some memories that are not in that video. I'll make a thread for the video tomorrow when it's live :)

My two favorite memories involve just before and the day the albums were released. One memory is the first time I heard You Could Be Mine. 

My dad was a truck driver, so he had a car phone. And by "car phone", I mean the big black box thing that barely fit between the two front seats of our family van. My dad took the phone with him when he drove truck, but it would be in the family van when he wasn't on the road. We were reminded constantly to never touch it because calls were outrageous in price. So my mom was shopping in a store once and I was just sitting in the car listening to the local pop station. The car phone rang and I when answered my brother was yelling "TURN ON WRIF! TURN ON WRIF! THEY'RE PLAYING THE NEW GUNS N ROSES!". So I flipped over to WRIF and caught YCBM around the first chorus. My brother and I sat on the line together being like "THIS IS AMAZING! WHAT A JAM! OH MY GOD!". It was only after the song that we both realized we were going to be executed by our parents because of a $50 phone call lol. 

My second memory sucked when it happened but it's funny to look back on now, especially since my mom has passed away. The day UYI came out, I got my mom to take me to Sound Warehouse. There was a big floor standee with both CDs on it. I grabbed both and went to the register. When we got to the register, my mom noticed the Parental Advisory stickers. My mom HATED the F word and immediately asked me if they said it on the album. I was like "well they didn't say it on their first album" lol. 

She asked the guy at the register if they said the F word on the album and he looked at me while I was standing behind my mom. I gave him this look of desperation like "please say no, please say no, please say no". He said "they're really not my thing so I haven't heard these albums but I know Axl swears a lot in concert, so maybe that's what they mean". My mom confirmed that she could return them if they said the F word and the guy said no problem. 

BOOM. I finally owned UYI. 

Here comes the problem. When we got in the car, I was dying to hear new GN'R music. I'd already heard Civil War at some point. So I put UYI I in...... what a stupid decision LOL. 

So you know what happened about half way through the song. As it was happening I was like "noooooooo" and my mom said "this is FILTH" then she did a U turn right there in the middle of a very busy road. Like......action movie car driver style U turn LOL. The tires on the car were squealing lol. 

Back to Sound Warehouse we went. My mom went in, slammed the CDs down on the counter, confirmed for the sales person that they were, in fact, filth, then got her money back. 

So I owned UYI for approximately 2 minutes on the day of release. This was devastating on that day but again, I can totally look back and laugh at it now. I had a friend from school tape his CDs for me a couple days later, which I promptly labeled "Paula Abdul" and "Pebbles" (two current pop artists at the time) and only played with my headphones on.

Long winded post, but hopefully someone finds it entertaining. I'll post the video about the albums in general tomorrow :)

The story of returning the CDs with your mom two minutes after she bought them for you absolutely cracked me up! 

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