Today, we start a special, multi-part series on the “roots” of glam metal.
The lovely Hairball John was kind enough to ship me a package full of CDs and more. In that package was Hollywood RoseThe Roots of Guns N' Roses.
This is a great little album for any diehard GnR fan.
The album includes five previously unheard tracks, three ways. First, there’s the original demo version, then the same songs are remixed by Gilby Clarke. These same five demos are also remixed by Fred Coury, so the album includes 15 tracks in all.
People, this album is raw and you can really hear the basis for Appetite for Destruction. What’s even cooler is that the Gilby Clark remixes of “Reckless Life” and "Shadow of Your Love" include a guitar overdub by none other than Tracii Guns. It’s important to note that all tracks on The Roots of Guns n’ Roses are performed by Axl Rose, Chris Weber, Izzy Stradlin and Johnny Kreis.
If you’re not familiar with the roots of Guns n’ Roses, let me take you back to the beginning.
The band was formed in Los Angeles around the dawn of 1985 by Axl Rose and guitarist Tracii Guns, merging the bands Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns. Hollywood Rose played several club gigs around Los Angeles earning quite a following of devoted fans. When it was time to get more exposure, Axl helped organize a shoestring budget tour in Seattle that would eventually change the line-up of the band and create rock n’ roll history. When Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner couldn’t travel to Seattle to perform, Axl asked guitarist Slash and drummer Steven Adler to fill the vacant spots. Soon thereafter the lineup was set with Axl, Slash, Adler, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan.
Before Appetite for Destruction there was Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide and manager Vicky Hamilton. She was very young and inexperienced but she pulled off management deals with GnR, Poison, Faster Pussycat and Stryper. Hamilton would work magic, securing club gigs for her boys, an income, and typically money to support “recreational” habits. Of course, Vicky didn’t just wake-up one morning and decide she was going to manage some of the biggest bands in the world. My dear Nikki Sixx actually helped Vicky land her first job, working under Motley Crue’s original management team. While she was with Motley’s first managers, she helped promote Too Fast for Love. Hamilton helped Guns n’ Roses land their deal with Geffen Records, allowing the boys the ability to produce the magnificent Appetite for Destruction. Hamilton writes the liner notes for The Roots of Guns n’ Roses and it’s an interesting read, chronicling her Hollywood story and how it intersects with so many famed musicians we love today.
Now, you might be wondering why drummer Fred Coury remixed some of the tracks on The Roots of Guns n Roses. Dear glam readers, the webs we weave in life are often confusing. You might recall a few months back I wrote about the band London (which also featured a young Nikki Sixx). Fred Coury played drums for London (please see article “London Bridge is Falling Down”) and substituted for Gn’R stickman Steven Adler back in 1988. Coury also played in Stephen Pearcy’s post-RATT project Arcade (please see article “Arcade Fire”). Of course, he's most famous for playing with Cinderella.
Fast forward to 2007, and we’re still waiting on Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose is the only original member of Guns n’ Roses and there’s been way too many member changes for me to name here without giving myself yet another headache. If you’re sick of waiting on Chinese Democracy and want some new, raw, GnR material, maybe you should check out The Roots of Guns n Roses, just don’t expect to hear anything even resembling “November Rain.”
Hollywood Rose The Roots of Guns n’ Roses track listing:
- Killing Time (demo)
- Anything Goes (demo)
- Rocker (demo)
- Shadow of Your Love (demo)
- Reckless Life (demo)
Plus remixed versions of the above tracks by Gilby Clarke and Fred Coury.