Monday, 7 March 2011

An Open Letter To Axl Rose (originally written for Artrocker Magazine)

Dear Axl Rose.

Let me start off by saying I am a fan of your work. You have many fine songs. I also like the fact that you tell everybody to fuck off all the time. My younger brother found this inspiring growing up - it helped him find his voice in the world.

Unfortunately, I'm writing to you with regard to your recent appearance at the Reading Festival. I was in attendance with my brother and his best friend Tom. It was the first time either of them had seen you play. Although they enjoyed it (they were perhaps the only two people singing along to songs from Chinese Democracy), I felt the performance a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I still think you rocked the fuck out, but you have some of the world’s greatest songs in your arsenal and you left them unused or played them in a state of disrepair.

Do you know the other bands that were playing at this festival? Weezer, The Libertines, The Arcade Fire. These bands are a fucking joke compared to you. They all dream of having a song as good as November Rain, You Could Be Mine, Welcome To The Jungle, Estranged, Night Train, or Paradise City – songs which you just threw away with stadium rock posturing.

So Axl, let me tell you what you need to do. Put your house in order. You don't need that many guitarists. Pick a couple of your favourites and size down a bit. Once you have a more manageable-sized band (make sure to keep Tommy Stinson, as he was in The Replacements), start playing small secret shows and learn to enjoy yourself again. You will soon realise that you don’t need big gongs, fireworks or bizarre covers of Pink Floyd’s The Wall to have a good show. Take it from me, your songs stand up on their own.

Basically Axl, what I'm saying is that you used to be in the best rock and roll band in the world, and you still can be. You just need to remember where you came from. Once you've got yourself in order you can start telling everybody to fuck off again and I will have your back.

Oh and one other piece of advice, one that my brother was shouting at you at the festival: When you use a megaphone you have to hold the button down to make yourself heard.

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