16 Years is a long, long time…
As time went on, and no Gn’R material came out, I was seriously in need of a shot of whatever it was that I got out of Gn’R – so I bought and listened to just about everything Slash made or was on – and nothing, nothing – nada zilch. I mean – sure, if you’re just looking for good rock, etc. – it was that, but it was just that. It was generic, maybe good – but overall fairly generic. I personally LIKE hearing something I’ve never heard before, and Slash was not providing me with that, and therefore – the tracks were all forgettable to me. The same applies double to all the Velvet Revolver.
I WANTED to like the material. I TRIED to like it – No cigar.
I went out and hunted down the Izzy Stradlin’ material – and I love Izzy, but again – the songs were good, but none of them had that ‘holy shit, I can’t believe this song is this good’ feel that I got from the best GN’R work.
It’s about the music, and I love that Axl wanted to vary his sound. It’s kind of about the words because – by god – Axl plumbs a lyrical mine that I personally resonate to very strongly – he is quite easily at his best with brain-shape songs – songs that are almost psychological examinations, introspective voyages through mind-fucked terrain.
But more so – it’s about the words AND the music – it’s how the song moves and shapes to mold the particular sentences into angry, wrathful, hopeful, desolate, loving, painful, pangs of meaning.
In cinematic terms – it’s almost as though Axl were the film director and Slash was an actor – and without direction, he is devoid of meaningful context – and I know this may bring flames – but Weiland (am I even spelling it right) cannot provide the kind of context that I’m talking about here.
Axl gave Slash a context in which he could do the best work Slash has ever done. In the context of Axl’s songs, and with the emotional thrust and depth that Axl’s lyrics and melodies provided – Slash was magical. Truly magical. I have no doubt in my mind that the guitar parts in Estranged could not have been pulled off by ANYBODY else – and I don’t mean that from a technical standpoint. Axl himself suspected this – which is why he specifically thanked Slash for his work on Estranged in UYI II’s CD insert.
Axl’s no fool. He knows damn well he provided the context, but he also knows that what Slash pulled off within that context was magic, soul-searing magic.
And I know for a fact, and history has demonstrated that Slash cannot travel that valley without Axl there to lead him across it.
And so here we are today – deal with the facts. Slash is NOT a member of GN’R – and I believe the work he did with Gn’R will remain unmatched unless he unites with somebody else who can provide him with the caliber of direction and vision and the depth of feel and meaning that Axl provided for him. People used to that particular combination will always feel betrayed almost by the fact that this particular coupling no longer exists – tough shit. I, for one, no longer cherish the guitar solo in and of itself. I am much more interested in songs as a whole. When a song gives me the emotional and lyrical rush that I can get from the likes of Better, Prostitute, etc. – I don’t go around wondering where the guitar solo is – and whether Slash might’ve/could’ve/would’ve played it better.
I just love some of the new stuff.
Some tracks, I still haven’t quite made up my mind about, namely Shackler’s Revenge and Rhiads & Bedouins (and I hope it isn’t about what I think it’s about)…but overall – in my mind – Axl is back and is back with a vengeance, and I’ll buy whatever that guy throws onto a cd.