Axl Rose – A victim of ego
By guest blogger Mike Brown
With the Take That reunion in full swing, with Robbie and Gary appearing on television and radio with their new single, Shame, and all the other reunions and rebirths of the last year or two (many of which have been featured here on Radio Crème Brulee,) another “reunion” burst forth this month, with considerably less success.
Whilst the Robbie and Gary single has an element of forgiveness and regeneration, in which the two young boys that used to work together, split acrimoniously to varying levels of success in solo careers, only to reunite again as adults. They look happy, healthy and the video itself even has some slightly suspect undertones concerning the nature of their relationship.
However, in a much less successful outing for the “used to be famous” club, was the Guns’N Roses headline slot at the Reading and Leeds festival in the UK. More accurately, Axl Rose and a group of beleaguered session musicians.
It’s interesting that British festival bosses haven’t yet learned their lesson when Axl Rose and a group of slightly different, but no less beleaguered session musicians played at the Download festival a few years ago. The band arrived late, keeping the crowd waiting, turning gradually from cheers to boos. The boos soon turned into bloodlust as Axl appeared for roughly half an hour and then stormed off again, allegedly because the carpet on which the piano was placed wasn’t properly pinned down to the stage.
Guns‘N Roses were listed to headline the world famous Reading and Leeds festival. After arriving on stage an hour late, Axl Rose came on to a wall of baying from the impatient crowd. In Welcome to the Jungle, when Axl threw the line, “I want to hear you scream…” he was greeted by screaming of an entirely different kind.
After appearing late, the band overran their curfew and the organizers had to turn the sound and lights off. Axl staged a sit-in protest on the amp and using a microphone to abuse the festival organizers.
In the days that followed it appears that Axl Rose sacked his entire tour crew after the fiasco of Reading, but upon realizing that there wouldn’t be enough time to hire a new crew before their show on the second leg of the festival in Leeds, he re-hired the entire crew. The reason behind Axl’s rage? He overslept and his crew didn’t wake him up in time, in spite of his extremely strict self-imposed rule that nobody is allowed to wake him up for any reason.
It is worth remembering that earlier this same year, Slash and a group of considerably better treated and undoubtedly “better received” session musicians were given a warm welcome and were one of the highlights of a “highlight filled” festival.
This seems to prove that the music of Guns’N Roses transcends the egotistical frontman. It almost serves as a warning to musicians who feel that they are the sole provider of entertainment. The fact of the matter is, that if your music is good enough, it will speak for itself, whether it is session musicians on a huge stage at a festival, or whether it is a group of teenage boys playing covers in the local community centre.
Axl rose is an egomaniac, but unfortunately he’s probably back to the USA right now thinking that everybody in England are clueless philistines who don’t appreciate his unique musical style. He will never have the insight to examine the part he plays in his own downfall.
Musicians, big and small, could learn a lesson from Axl Rose. Be big, be successful, but use dignity or you will fall foul of one of the oldest platitude in the book, “Pride comes before a fall.”