Wanna hear about the time I recorded with Guns n' Roses?
In June 1987 I went to see Guns n' Roses play their first two UK shows at the legendary Marquee Club in London's Wardour Street. It was about a month before the release of their debut album, but word-of-mouth had meant that queues developed by noon, comprised almost entirely of cool-looking Japanese girls and blokes with spandex trousers and huge hair. Several things stuck in my mind about the two evenings, the first of which was getting a two-minute audience with guitarist Slash in the bar before they played, and noticing that he had the DTs ("it's OK, man... I just drink another pint of vodka and everyting is cool by showtime..."). Secondly was an photograph that later appeared in the now defunct Sounds magazine showing Axl Rose sceaming into his microphone while there, at his feet, was I, head buried in the monitor. What I remember most, however, was that for the second show a mobile studio had appeared outside in the street, and the realisation that the band were probably recording their set. This show was better than the first as the group relaxed a little and found their feet, and out came the cover versions; Aerosmith's "Mama Kin," AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" and Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." Recognizing that the latter was probably my best chance at musical immortality, I waited for the two quietest parts of the song, and screamed, screamed as loud as I possibly could. Two months later the band released Welcome To The Jungle as a single, and on the b-side of the 12" you'll find my contribution, nice and high in the mix, a permanent record of the night I recorded with Guns n' Roses.
Anyhow, the two shows were brilliant. I vowed I'd never see the band again, assuming that it would all be downhill from that moment, and history proved me to be entirely correct. While "Appetite For Destruction" was a brillliant, angry, punk rock monstrosity of a record, everything that followed was increasingly bloated and rediculous as Axl descended into paranoia and pomposity, and the others declined into various levels of substance abuse.
And now they're on the road again. Axl has surrounded himself with a new set of sycophants, the old members are barred from all shows, and the band are still up to their old tricks. And why have I bothered mentioning any of this? Because tonight I'm going to see them again. I'm really not sure why - the biggest reason was that the ticket was free - but I am kind of intrigued. I suspect it'll bit a bit like rubber-necking at the scene of a car accident, one where think you've met the passengers before, and then realising it's not who you thought it was, and being uncertain as to whether you should feel relief that it's not or guilt for the way you keep staring. But I could be wrong.
I'll probably file a report when I get back tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, but in the meantime, if anyone has an mp3 of that version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" from the Marquee in 1987, I'd really love to hear it again.
I travelled from Manchester for all 3 of the dates at the Marquee and they were all truly outstanding shows as far as i can remember. It was great to see a band who would become so massive, in such a small venue.
I was one of the fans outside drinking and talking with the band. Over the 3 dates i became fairly friendly with Duff, and he was handing me cans of Carling from the stage. Happy days, i can tell you!!!
TOUCH1980's 6.19 review
I was a regular London gigs in the mid to late eighties and had already bought the Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP several months before and was well aware of the infamy/quality of this band. When going to gigs in London I would usually travel up in the morning and make a pilgrimage to Shades record store (R.I.P. - two minutes up the road from the Marquee) and then on to the Virgin and HMV megastores and grab a few imports (those were the days). For those of you who never visited Shades, it was a magical place, yes it was a bit dark & dingy. The magic was walking down those steps and the anticipation of what treasures awaited up on the new release wall.
Anyway back to the gig. Just after lunchtime we were walking down Wardour St and most, if not all of the band sitting on the pavement outside the venue talking to fans and shooting the shit. We commented to each other at the time "Ooh they look scary", I'm gutted I never plucked up the courage to go over and talk to them. A few hours later after meeting a friend at the Ship pub we made our way to the queue for the Marquee, which wasn't that long. Inside the venue there was a medium-sized crowd, certainly not sold-out. The support act was Monterrez from Horsham, Sussex (near-ish my hometown of Hove) and not Little Angels as so many reviews/articles seem to think. Guns N' Roses played an absolute blinder of a gig and totally lived up to their reputation. I'm particularly looking forward to hearing this recording as I must admit I do not remember much in the way of the often mentioned hostility directed towards the band. From what I recall the band went down well with the crowd.