Isn’t that where it all started, all those years ago? Appetite for Destruction had been out for a few years before I bought it on cassette. It was the first cassette purchase in my “rock n’ roll” education. I bought it at age ten in 1992.
Today, I had the hankering urge to break out “Lies” on cassette just to listen to “You’re Crazy” because I was assaulted with some crazy business on a Saturday morning. I can tell you that it was terribly therapeutic. Axl may have seen his day, but in the mid-to-late 80s, the day belonged to him. First, he has a really unique voice. That scratchy and surly whine complements whatever angst you might be feeling, whether you’re 30 or ten.
He undoubtedly speaks to the angst and anger of frustrated teenagers. I won’t lie: my first day of fifth grade I wore my G ‘N R shirt and it scared kids, but I wasn’t a scary kid. I was just looking for people to enjoy the soothing, amazing power of rock n’ roll with me. (The concert tee is an invitation to talk about music, is it not?) Axl was one of the million brilliant rock gods (Trent Reznor, Pearl Jam, Henry Rollins to name a few…) that could articulate the frustration, alienation and angst that puberty brings. Some of the content was a bit much, yes. There are naked ladies on album covers, illicit drug references, and bleeding roses. You wouldn’t think that a ten-year-old girl would be at all attracted to that. But the power of rock does some strange things to us.
Look at Beatlemania. Women fainted when they were in the same vicinity as the Fab Four. Is it really good looks? Fame? Maybe for some. But mostly, for me, it’s the raw power of rock that drives me. The message they send. The way that a power chord can draw you to your feet, a drum solo can command you to pound on the dash at the stoplight, the profound lyric can raise goosebumps where you never realized you had them.
So it’s only natural, when something is upsetting, that we turn to the magic of music. It’s there that we find our patience. Just a little patience.
Be well and rock on,