Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Axl Rose: Arrogant Asshole, or Misunderstood?


     Go ahead and say, Nah, asshole, and this chick is wasting her time looking for nice things to say about him. 
You read some of my previous stuff and you'll see that I am inclined to back up unpopular rock stars, like Ritchie Blackmore. I'm not spending my time defending these guys for argument's sake, or just because they made good music. I know there are jerks in the music industry, don't think that I'll get mad at anybody who calls a rock star an asshole. I'm writing this because Axl Rose really, really needs somebody out there supporting him, and telling the world that he really was an amazing person, because he's not getting enough of that and honestly, it's sick.
The general perception most people have of Axl was that he was crazily egotistical and would treat others around him like dirt, and that he was completely heartless. Now, I'm not going to say that Axl was the sweetest guy out there. He definetly wasn't. But a lot of the things Axl was known for really weren't the way they seemed, and I would like to step back and look at some moments from Axl's career.
     Like the incident in which he attacked an audience member and broke his camera. Come on, that guy was asking for it. He was distracting Axl while he was on stage, and being rude to him. He provoked Axl very deliberately and he only got what was coming to him.
     How about the way he would keep the audience waiting for hours before a show? Steven Adler said it himself in his book: Axl wanted an emotionally charged atmosphere. He was such of passive fans who didn't seem to care much about seeing the band, he wanted to make sure everybody was good and ready. And remember the timeslot too. The early 90s were all about non caring. Axl was an extremely sensitive and emotional guy, and he hated that.
      The way Axl would make his band wait for him in Chicago, or the way he would have them play songs they weren't familiar with, well, no excuses so far for that. Like I said, he was no saint, and the main purpose of this article is not to make him seem like one, but just to let you know he was all right. 
     Here's a perfect example of this. In 1989, GNR made guest appearances in the Clint Eastwood movie The Dead Pool. All the band members were featured, except Axl. Most people assumed he had snubbed the movie. You know what really happened? While his scene was going to be filmed, he was in the hospital, keeping Steven Adler company. Steven wound up there after a stripper snuck some heroin in his tea, and he overdosed. There you have it- Axl really was human. He missed a big chance to be there for a bandmate who really needed his help.
     A lot of Axl's erratic behavior can really be described- not necessarily justified, but explained, by one simple fact: Axl was manic-depressive. Or so I read in Steven's book. That explains the moodiness and the unpredictability for sure. Manic depression is a severe, clinical mental case and is not something to be shrugged off and ignored. 
     Axl Rose was an extremely smart guy, easily one of the smartest guys the music industry ever saw. He also had a very unique perception of the world, and a poor home life. All those things can have a profound impact on how you live your life and treat others. I really understand this in Axl, cause I am the same way myself. He saw things in a way others didn't, and he sometimes became frustrated because others couldn't understand what he was seeing, and couldn't understand him.
     If some of this isn't convincing you, well, I have one major argument left, and that is a song called Estranged. That is Axl's work through and through, and it is one of the most epic, haunting, emotional and soulful songs ever written. There is so much feeling in the vocal performance and only a supremely intelligent, perceptive, real human being could have written it. To me, that song expresses so perfectly what human emotions go through during the loss of a relationship and a large, painful change in your life. Axl wrote it personally about his marriage to Erin Everly, and the pain and struggle it put him through. No mere arrogant jerk could have created such a powerful, important, and heartfelt song. It took a beautiful person and deep genius to create it, and it showed the world the side of Axl which is just that. To all GNR fans or just good-hearted people out there, I want you to see that person when you look at Axl. Not the guy who started riots and held people up, but the soulful small town boy who found himself coping with a situation he couldn't handle, that of fame, and went over the top a couple times, but who always had a big heart and left a legacy behind him that no artist has done since. And I say, God bless Axl Rose.


  1. Axl was in The Dead Pool ..just one early on and a bit far ....aside from that I mostly agree with you and Axl.....w/e pll say He rocked Tons , also performed with some other Great's.

  2. I met Axl Rose before Guns and Roses was officially formed. A few months before at at state fair in LA. I spent 30 minutes talking to him and he seemed to be very nice, intelligent, and quick witted.