Say, boy, where ya comin' from? Where'd ya get that point of view?


Well, points for trying. Neil Shah at The Village Voice makes an argument that you don't hear many other rock critics making—that Axl Rose's laziness and refusal to release a damn album already is, in itself, a work of art.

Axl's idiosyncratic career confronts us with a kind of paradox: If being a rebel is your job, why work when you don't want to?

This sounds like overthinking. Rose's stage-and-recording studio fright doesn't seem as rebellious as it does scared. He's made attempts at comebacks before and gotten winded or scared before he had to meet the audience. At this point, I suspect Axl is less like Andy Kaufman—an artist who willfully pissed off his audience—and more like Syd Barrett.

NEXT: Pop Out

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  1. Ooh, a GNR reference. Yo’ fuckin’ crazy!

  2. David,
    You got to lay off the electric kool-aid dude. I get what you’re trying to say. But the suggestion that Axl is in the same fricking universe as Syd Barrett is just crazy talk. NO, it’s worse. It is downright blasphemy.

    Now for penance, go into a dark room put on headphones, hold a live cat in your lap, and listen to Lucifer Sam.

  3. Warren – I’m not comparing Axl and Syd artistically. I’m saying Axl’s creative block/meltdown/whatever is probably not an act, just as Syd’s nervous breakdown and subsequent disappearance from rock music was not an act.

  4. Every day without a new Axl Rose record is like a day with sunshine.

    Since The Replacements broke up, Tommy Stinson joined GnR and has made more records with Paul Westerberg than he has with GnR.

  5. Axl has never been the same since he discovered that his favorite rocker, from a band named Queen, might actually have been, you know, QUEER!

    Since he traditionally hated teh gay, I suspect that he wanders around in a daze now wondering if perhaps he is.

    I suspect that at Axl’s level of Karmic relation, he may never recover from the reassesments he has had to cover. Give him another twenty years to figure out who he is.

    Cause right now he’s still sort of like a Klan member who just found out his grandaddy was a negro. So of course he’s afraid of the audience, wouldn’t you be in his shoes?

  6. Reminds me of the Todd Snider anti-grunge song from the mid 90’s.

    Here’s a snippet:

    now to fit in on the seattle scene
    you’ve gotta do somethin’ they ain’t never seen
    so thinkin’ up a gimmick one day
    we decided to be the only band that wouldn’t play a note
    under any circumstances
    music’s original alternative
    root’s grunge

    well we spread the word through the underground
    that we were the hottest new thing in town
    the record guy came out to see us one day
    and just like always we didn’t play
    it knocked him out
    he said he loved our work
    he said he loved our work but he wasn’t sure if he could sell a record
    with nothing on it
    i said tell ’em we’re from seattle
    he advanced us two and a half million dollars

    Here’s a link to the entire lyrics:

  7. Ooh, a GNR reference. Yo’ fuckin’ crazy!

    They go so many goddamn ways
    It’s all Greek to me…

  8. I have long assumed there is no Chinese Democracy album, and that it’s just some kind of running gag. Every so often they’ll announce that it’s coming out, just to see how many people take the story and run with it. So i wouldn’t call it performance art, more like a joke.

  9. Every day without a new Axl Rose record is like a day with sunshine.

    Amen to that. Maybe the delays have been caused by unsuccessful attempts to reverse his weird plastic surgery disasters.

  10. I thought Axl was hiding cause in the (rebel rock) jungle, fat and bald don’t hunt

  11. i>I have long assumed there is no Chinese Democracy album, and that it’s just some kind of running gag.

    No doubt. If you do a search on the first page you find stories claiming it will finally be out in April 2005! No, by Christmas 2005! Wait, this time we really mean it – March 2006! Er, I mean fall 2006! Oh and we have enough material for 2-3 albums and we’re still deciding which stuff will go on Democracy and which stuff on the next(!) release… which will by Christmas… 2026… we swear!

  12. I have long assumed there is no Chinese Democracy album, and that it’s just some kind of running gag.

    It does dovetail pretty cleanly with the exhortation an old pal of mine used occasionally: “What’re ya waiting for, democracy in China?”

  13. Axl, whatever it is you’re doing…keep doing it.

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