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Should Axl change his vocal approach on certain songs?


Should Axl change his vocal approach on certain songs?  

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As Axl‘s voice changed quite a bit over the years and he cannot sing the way he did in the 90s or even 2016 (which is understandable of course), do you think he should rearrange some of his vocals, for example sing in lower octaves instead of the original range to make things more comfortable for him. I think Axl’s high pitched vocals and his raspy mid range are one of the things that make GNR so interesting so I can see some fans being put off if he doesn’t do them anymore. On the other hand, some songs would definitely benefit from not being sung in falsetto.

Whats your opinion?

Edited by SAU3R
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Yes, I think he should change approach for CERTAIN songs. For example, on the verses in YCBM I would 100% prefer lower voice over mickey. Go for highs with some rasp only in crescendo moments where it's absolutely necessary.

I understand it might not be the easiest thing to do for him, and it would require some serious work/rearranging, but on the other hand it could yield some better results than sticking to the current thing.

Generally, his low voice is still great, his super high register (Shadow of Your Love, ISE "Fuck off") has been usually good/acceptable (not during the last few shows in particular, but overall in past couple years). It's the mid register where his voice is shot, that's where he used to sing with a lot of rasp and now it's full on mickey fest

Edited by swirkh
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Another day, another Axl voice thread... 🙄 Maybe he should, maybe he shouldn't 🤷‍♂️ But let's be honest, if he sings certain songs in a lower register, all that'll do is invite a whole lot of criticism from an entirely different group of people instead.

All I know is he's an old(er) man that has had/still has vocal coaching so there's obviously a reason why he sings the way he does – I can't read his mind, and I'm no professional singer, so I trust his/his coach's judgement. He's not going to sound the same way he did in the 80s, regardless of his approach.

I'm just grateful we have anything at all at this point.

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I have no fucking idea and I trust Axl as a professional singer to make the best decision on that. 

Besides, except for Sweden perhaps, I think his vocals have been great for the start of the tour (except on a few songs).

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20 minutes ago, DoMw94 said:

Another day, another Axl voice thread... 🙄 Maybe he should, maybe he shouldn't 🤷‍♂️ But let's be honest, if he sings certain songs in a lower register, all that'll do is invite a whole lot of criticism from an entirely different group of people instead.

All I know is he's an old(er) man that has had/still has vocal coaching so there's obviously a reason why he sings the way he does – I can't read his mind, and I'm no professional singer, so I trust his/his coach's judgement. He's not going to sound the same way he did in the 80s, regardless of his approach.

I'm just grateful we have anything at all at this point.

It’s a valid question though. I’ll be seeing them in a months time and I’m well aware of what to expect - some songs will be killer and some will not be so great but the energy/adrenaline of the gig will help.

When Axl uses the lower part of his voice there is real power there and it can sound really cool. Thing is - if they played ‘the main hits’ like SCOM/NR etc he sounds OK….they could dip into UYI and play stuff like Bad Obsession with absolute ease?! Of course - some new stuff with present day vocals would be an option…..

Its not like there is no voice left - it can be used better IMO. I’m sure Roger Daltrey of The Who did something similar - totally changed his vocals to match his current ability.

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he should retire. He isn't even trying. I'm considering to see them live. His voice is bad. And lower octave doesn't sound good on songs like WTTJ, SCOM, You're Crazy (AfD), November Rain.

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Doesn't he also sing NR/YCBM/SCOM nowadays higher than back in the day ?

I'm a guitar player, not a pro singer, so I might be wrong. But I think we're not talking here about a need for him to go super low on these songs. Just going to his speaking-like voice (example chorus 1&2 in Don't Cry) would sound way better than how he sings right now ? There's no rasp there, it's also a clean voice, but not squealing.

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1 hour ago, swirkh said:

Doesn't he also sing NR/YCBM/SCOM nowadays higher than back in the day ?

They are the same notes. The technic is diffrent. In his prime he had a mix of barritone and head voice, which is pure strong (same with Freddie Mercury, compare "Mama...." from Bohemian Studio Version and Live Aid 85. First is pure head voice, Second is barritone but notes are the same. Only the "sound room" changes). Now he using only pure head voice. Maybe he can't use this technic anymore... Damage or what ever

November Rain with lover octave sounds lame and maybe too low for Axl.

The only thing they can do is change the key from F to G or something

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Is his clean voice falsetto though? I'm not a professional by any means, but surely you can't just add a load of rasp to a falsetto singing voice and sing the way Axl does in some songs? It is what it is at this point. I can't see him changing his approach as we've had similar discussions over the last 11 years.

My two cents - his voice on Big Shot should be the same for the verses on There Was A Time.

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7 minutes ago, Powderfinger said:

He should change his approach by stopping. Whatever may come from studio sessions will or won’t come, but live he’s finished. When you can’t sing it doesn’t matter what approach you take. 

I think this will regulate itself, don't you think? If his vocals are so poor people don't come to shows, they have to scale down or stop entirely. As long as the vocals don't prevent people from having a great time people will still attend teh show and then there is no reason to stop.

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13 minutes ago, Powderfinger said:

He should change his approach by stopping. Whatever may come from studio sessions will or won’t come, but live he’s finished. When you can’t sing it doesn’t matter what approach you take. 

Axl can still sing even if his vocal ability is not what it used to be. Would be easier for you to stop Gn'Ring instead of Axl retiring and by doing so, robbing many people of the chance to still enjoy the Gn'R live experience.

Edited by Rovim
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2 minutes ago, Powderfinger said:

He should change his approach by stopping. Whatever may come from studio sessions will or won’t come, but live he’s finished. When you can’t sing it doesn’t matter what approach you take. 

To say he should stop is harsh. I don't think most rock fans realize that in about 20 years or so all our favourite bands and artists will be gone, either retired or dead. Guys like Mick Jagger are approaching 80, Angus will soon be 70. Metallica might last a little bit longer, but the point being that we are witnessing the classic rock era withering away. Most of us will see the end of this era, and I don't think everybody realizes how much we will miss being able to go to a stadium concert. When he is really finished and all you can do is go see Greta von Fleet for a rock concert you'll probably regret those words :lol:. I'd rather have Axl mickeying the shit out of GNR songs for a few more years than no GNR at all. At least he is still Axl, some songs still sound decent etc.

With that said, there has to be a a way he can change his approach. The mickey thing worked to some extent from 2011 up to 2016, while he could still bring out the power at some spots and balance things out. It is not working anymore. Unless you are there, drinking etc, live versions of GNR songs are impossible to enjoy at this point. They range from passable for very few songs (Patience, ISE) to absolutely painful to listen to (YCBM, SCOM, Better).

I have this feeling that Axl is fully aware of his vocal decline and this is a huge factor in his lack of motivation to release new music. He used to be such a powerhouse, and with all its faults, Chi Dem really pushes the limits of his abilities as a singer, with songs like TWAT, IRS. Being such a shell of his former self is probably hard on him too. He isn't stupid, he is a trained musician with decades of experience, I'm sure he knows what's up.

Anyway, in 2019 I had a few beers with someone I know involved in organizing RIR here in Brazil. He shared a story about people from Axl's camp mentioning to RIR organizers that Axl had considered retirement in the past few years, the reason being that he felt he was losing his voice and was unsure if it was right to keep performing like that. 

This is just bar talk, a rumour that hasn't been checked at all. I'm by no means well informed on the topic and don't claim to be, but since it's on topic I tought I'd share it anyway.

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2 hours ago, axl666 said:

If gnr were to switch to acoustic gigs do people still think they'd sell out arenas? I think they could, and would take a lot of pressure off of axls voice.

 

Absolutely. Call it "An Evening With GNR" and open with 10~ acoustic songs, short intermission, then 10-15 hits and deep cuts.

There's no real reason to play for 3 hours, either. The 2016 NA shows were "only" 2 hrs 45 minutes, and could've been cut down to 2.5 hrs without the instrumental section. 

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1 hour ago, Pedrolg said:

To say he should stop is harsh. I don't think most rock fans realize that in about 20 years or so all our favourite bands and artists will be gone, either retired or dead. Guys like Mick Jagger are approaching 80, Angus will soon be 70. Metallica might last a little bit longer, but the point being that we are witnessing the classic rock era withering away. Most of us will see the end of this era, and I don't think everybody realizes how much we will miss being able to go to a stadium concert. When he is really finished and all you can do is go see Greta von Fleet for a rock concert you'll probably regret those words :lol:. I'd rather have Axl mickeying the shit out of GNR songs for a few more years than no GNR at all. At least he is still Axl, some songs still sound decent etc.

With that said, there has to be a a way he can change his approach. The mickey thing worked to some extent from 2011 up to 2016, while he could still bring out the power at some spots and balance things out. It is not working anymore. Unless you are there, drinking etc, live versions of GNR songs are impossible to enjoy at this point. They range from passable for very few songs (Patience, ISE) to absolutely painful to listen to (YCBM, SCOM, Better).

I have this feeling that Axl is fully aware of his vocal decline and this is a huge factor in his lack of motivation to release new music. He used to be such a powerhouse, and with all its faults, Chi Dem really pushes the limits of his abilities as a singer, with songs like TWAT, IRS. Being such a shell of his former self is probably hard on him too. He isn't stupid, he is a trained musician with decades of experience, I'm sure he knows what's up.

Anyway, in 2019 I had a few beers with someone I know involved in organizing RIR here in Brazil. He shared a story about people from Axl's camp mentioning to RIR organizers that Axl had considered retirement in the past few years, the reason being that he felt he was losing his voice and was unsure if it was right to keep performing like that. 

This is just bar talk, a rumour that hasn't been checked at all. I'm by no means well informed on the topic and don't claim to be, but since it's on topic I tought I'd share it anyway.

thanks for writing that. all the time I wonder when this change took place in Axl's voice? or what really happened? because for a while we heard clean voice, then suddenly big boom and end of his signature voice. I am a bit sad because I have never heard Axl singing live with his signature voice and somehow I miss that. But the thought that now Axl could give up singing because he lost his voice, finally after so many years of waiting for the reunion, it is also sad. I'll be attending show in Warsaw and I'll hope I have good time, but after reading posts about Sweden show and listening to few clips.. damn :(

Edited by Politania
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4 hours ago, Gordon Comstock said:

No, he should overhaul the setlist.

WTTJ, SCOM, PC, KOHD, NR, LALD and Estranged are the only "must play" songs with high vocals. They could easily still play a 25-song show that's built around his more natural voice.

ISE

Brownstone

CD

Slither (change vocal approach, remove Mickey)

WTTJ (requires high voice)

Estranged (requires high voice)

Locomotive (Axl does low melody the entire time)

Bad Obsession

LALD

TAY (clean voice is fine)

PTU

Sorry

Absurd

Perhaps (Let Melissa do the high notes in the chorus. If this band ever releases another single this would be a super nice one for Axl’s voice.)

SCOM

Wichita

You Ain’t The First

Patience

NR

KOHD

Dont Cry

(Slow) You’re Crazy

PC

 

Made this in a few minutes so not that thought out but this would be 10x better for Axl’s vocals. Still has most of the hits. It’s a lot slower sure but would be less embarassing and less taxing on his vocals.

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