Monday, August 17, 2015
Guns N' Roses emerged from thicket of the hair metal jungle on Hollywood's Sunset Strip in the mid-80s and single-handedly reinvented rock and roll with righteous riffs and a real and present element of danger.
Songs like "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" were not merely rebellious anthems; they were autobiographical snapshots of a band that lived and worked on the edge. The band's exploits became as notorious as its music as members dabbled with drugs, booze and other forms of debauchery.
Guns' 1987 debut, Appetite for Destruction, struck a raw nerve - enrapturing teens and enraging parents. Thanks to arena-ready tunes like "Jungle" and "Sweet Child O Mine," the album would become one of the most successful debuts ever, selling more than 14 million copies worldwide. Led by vocalist Axl Rose, Guns were a magnet for controversy - be it album covers, song lyrics, or bad behavior. And even as the band was quickly rising up the pop music food chain, internal struggles always threatened to tear the band apart.
Original drummer Steven Adler was fired for his losing battle with heroin in 1990. Founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin would leave soon thereafter.
In spite of the turmoil, after the 1991 release of Use Your Illusion I and II Guns N' Roses were the biggest, baddest band in the world, with expensive videos and elaborate stage show to match. Guns stayed on the road to support Illusion for two and a half years, tours that were marred by tragedy - riots in St. Louis and Montreal - Axl showing up hours late or not at all. Founding members Slash and Duff McKagen dealt with Axl's unpredictable behavior by drinking the frustration away. Soon after they got off the road in 1993, Guns N' Roses disappeared into the world of rock myth. Band members came and went, with the only constant being the mercurial Axl Rose.
A decade later, the world still awaits the follow-up to Illusion. Behind the Music: Guns N' Roses tells the true story of this band of rock and roll outlaws.