Thursday, December 4, 2014

Axl

My first arena rock concert was Guns N' Roses on their "Use Your Illusion" tour. I was fourteen and in ninth grade. It was 1991, and GNR was playing a double-bill with Sound Garden at Madison Square Garden on a three night stand. (Faithful readers of this blog will recall my lack of parental supervision, so naturally I was alone at this concert with one of my best friends who was in tenth grade at another high school). To say that GNR's front man, Axl Rose (nee William Bruce Rose-Bailey) has not aged well would be a bit of an understatement. He went from this ...



To this ...



And it ain't pretty my friends. Dude has abused himself with booze, drugs, women, and Lord knows what else lo these many years, and boy does it show. That's why I didn't find it hard to believe when the interwebs lit up last night with news of Axl Rose's death. It turned out to be a hoax, which was a big relief. Because although Axl looks BEYOND tore up from the floor up, he'll always hold a special place in my heart, and his untimely demise would mean the death of a certain youthful exuberance and nostalgia for me. 

I'll never forget the sight of Axl Rose marching out on stage in his tiny little union jack boxer briefs, mesh tank top, six-pack abs, and bandanna, screaming "Welcome to the Jungle" at the top of his lungs, hair and sweat flying everywhere. Half my high school was there, and notwithstanding the 56,000 person crowd, we somehow kept running into a crew of popular mean girls who got off on being stank to everyone else and making them cry all the time. (Every high school has that, right)? Still, nothing could rain on the parade of Slash and his crazy top hat and curly black hair busting out the opening riff to "Sweet Child o' Mine" in front of 56,000 screaming teenagers. 

The Axl Rose death hoax has given me a new lease on life nostalgia. After all, if he really had died yesterday, I wouldn't have realized how much I missed him! Now that I spent ten horrifying seconds thinking he was dead, it was like a new day of appreciation for Axl Rose has suddenly dawned over here. 

Don't worry Axl. I know you are (and always have been) a dirty, disgusting, damaged, and all-around completely fucked-up scum bag, and now you are 52 years old and finally look the part. But I will always love you anyway!

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