Guns N' Roses

It's hard to believe that Guns n' Roses' first gig played to a grand audience of 13. That was Seattle in June, 1985, however, and Appetite for Destruction put them on the map in 1987. It's more difficult to believe that vocalist/songwriter Axl Rose took clear talent and willing-to-play band mates that included Slash, Duff McKagan and Dizzy Reed on a control trip that eventually landed the band out of sorts, out of step and out of the picture. And that's the pity, for GN'R's early rock and roll was fierce, bluesy and limber, also acceptably ugly and violent, and was a keen foil to the soft sap out there. By July, 1988, the band was opening for Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation tour but still lacked the trappings and confidence of a band on the move. Tour date begat tour date, however, and crowds, cash and confidence grew as Europe, South America and the East became destinations from the early to the up-to-mid nineties. The Spaghetti Incident? In 1993 brought GN'R's hard rock sound full circle, after which splits led to new liaisons and Rose, who secured the GN'R trade name, turned recluse then scout and put together new lineups. In the spring of 2004, Rose sued unsuccessfully to prevent a Geffen Records Greatest Hits compilation and Slash and Duff went after Rose over rights to their songs as GN'R members. What was that phrase about "absolute power..."?

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