Appetite For Destruction; 30 years on
Considered by many as the ultimate debut album, Appetite is an album of its time. A defining slice of LA life captured in a 42 minute switchblade snapshot. The album reeks of sex, drugs, booze, danger and above all some of the most exciting rock n roll ever produced. In honour of this momentous album I'm going to take a look back at my top 5 tracks from it and hopefully give you guys a little insight into them; my qualifications apart from being a super fan is my involvement in some of the biggest GNR tribute bands the world has ever seen playing the part of slash. Let's just say I did my homework.
An ode to the bands favourite drink, a cheap n' nasty drink that they liked to fill down in huge quantities. At just a couple of dollars a bottle it was all the guys could afford back before the record deals and worldwide success. A bluesy bar romp that escalates into full blown rock meltdown that goes off the rails sounding like the Stones beating up the Stooges.
Featuring a guitar feedback that's cuts like a copsiren and sounding like a dangerous L.A night, Rocket Queen features some steady riffs and some dubious sexual lyric content. Inspired by Axl's bizarre sexual encounters it's no surprise that the woman heard moaning and groaning on the guitar break was actually being pleasured for real. This track closes the album and personally for me is one of the best things they ever done.
This wah drenched ditty about drug addiction is about the closest GNR ever got to funk. Whilst other bands eluded to drug use Guns just came out and freely admitted it, and with lines like " I used to do little but the little got more and more" they didn't hold back from the dangers of their own excesses. Despite its narcotics references the song is solid and Axls vocal changes tone throughout the song and Slash’s chuck berry style guitar still sound as sweet as they ever did.
Sweet Child O Mine
Based on a poem and written largely by accident when a jam between Slash and Izzy shaped up into what we now know as this monster rock anthem. Certainly the sweetest thing on the album, the record company was reluctant to release this song first as it's probably not the best example of what the band stood for but eventually when it was released it hit he number one spot in the USA. The video features the band shot in black and white with friends, girlfriends and hangers on littering the scene and some great band interplay. This is a track I still play most weekends with my 80s band Popgun and I'm sure in 50 years time bands will still be playing it even then.
Welcome to the Jungle
Allegedly the first song written by Slash and Axl together, it’s the tale of a small town boy arriving in a big and dangerous city. This track examines the sleazy underbelly of a contradicting city where he wealthy and the wasted mingled under the same neon lights. This track with its edgy video lit up the MTV switchboards and helped the band on their stratospheric rose to global stardom.
There isn't a bad track on the whole album and it's remarkable to know they left off Patience, Don't Cry, You Could be mine and November Rain. The album itself still sells 100s of copies a week and is one of the top 5 selling albums of all time. Opinions vary and I hope you enjoyed my fav cuts from this album but go give it a spin and I promise you that you can't miss whatever track you pick.