name: Axl Rose
occupation: Big Year Blimp and former frontman for GNR I
I saw this picture of Axl Rose on Yahoo tonight that nearly made me chuck my cookies (irony). Axl Rose must weigh in at a hefty 250lbs, easy, and none of it is muscle. I couldn’t believe my eyes. You must understand my shock and horror. I loved this man. He was my
idol for 20 years. I was all of 21 when GNR hit the big time with Appetite. The first song I ever heard the band play and Axl (the Angel) sing was Sweet Child O Mine. I was at a nightclub and had just come back from the dead. I’d suffered a wicked bout of mononucleosis and I’d been hospitalized for 8 days. It wasn’t for weeks that I ventured back into the world to party, and a girlfriend of mine and I went to a happening little club when I first heard Axl sing.
I remember thinking “my God! Who has that beautiful voice? And who wrote those angelic lyrics?” I wanted to marry Axl Rose, and that was without seeing him yet – a skinny, pretty-faced boy from Lafayette. I was staggered when someone told me I looked like his wife, Erin Everly. Darn it. If only I’d lived 20,000 miles south, who knows what Might Have Been? Anyway. Have you ever heard a wounded coyote cry? It would appear that Axl has not only eaten all the lard in his pantry in recent months, he has somehow managed to destroy that golden voice. He can’t pitch the notes and he can’t sing them anymore. At least he can’t disappoint GNR II: they suck. Their sound is acoustic, tinny, pathetic. In concert, they butchered Jungle so as to render it unrecognizable. “It’s gonna bring you down. Ha!” Axl barked and gasped. True that.
Axl is such a sad, wallowing, (fat) shadow of his former self that I can’t bear to reflect on him. When he made his comeback in 2006 or thereabouts, critics then were astonished at how he’d changed: definitely heavier, dreadful and entirely unnecessary plastic surgery on his once-beautiful face, and bizarre, woolen cornrows all combined to make him look like Carrot Top‘s older, saner brother, rather than the rock icon of the 80‘s. However, over time, his face seemed to settle from that tight, plastic mask into something more realistic and almost handsome, and it was relatively easy to overlook the cornrows when he belted out Welcome to the Jungle. He still had the Voice. Now when he has the chance to sit his old self down, and play the piano, Axl’s vocals make me cringe. Speaking of Voice, please Axl, promise me you will never guest star as a judge on The Voice. When you can’t keep up to incoming talent, you really have no business judging and bringing them down.
He huffs and puffs his way through a concert.. He frequently takes a breather between lines and has to pick up several beats behind. Yet thousands upon thousands of fans pack stadiums worldwide to see this man! He entertains a young, new audience now, which is wholly unexpected. Very few stars of yesteryear appeal to the Y generation (as in y would anyone go see GNR II?), but somehow GNR II and Axl have cracked the code. I don’t know how many fans my age from his early, hot years attend his concerts but I suspect the number is few compared to the 20-year-olds. This isn’t due to the current Axl Rose. His ongoing fame is a tribute to the earlier, hotter, talented Axl, who could rip up a stage with his body and voice. He was a serious shit-disturber in his personal life, and unpredictably unstable onstage. Somehow, those antics added a racy edge to his bad-boy image and lured in more and more groupies, fans, and admirers. Now Axl can barely waddle his way around stage. He often stops and leans again an amplifier for leverage while gasping for air. Seriously.
Axl is so god-almighty obese and unhealthy that he walks with a cane when he isn’t onstage. That’s no surprise: he looks unsteady without it onstage and that probably accounts for the amplifier assistance. Of course, when he released the utterly banal Chinese Democracy (no surprise there), everyone knew it was over. He was a wash-up after GNR broke up in the mid-1990s. There was no official announcement. Axl fired band members, or they quietly resigned. Slash hasn’t spoken to Axl since 1996 – seventeen years. Slash stated he and Axl didn’t exchange words. Slash was offered the opportunity to sign a new contract with Axl’s band, GNR II. This was no longer an equal footing, not an eager young band bringing a shared interest to the table. This was all about Axl, take it or leave it. Sensibly, Slash left it.
For reasons known only to himself and his publicist (who should be fired), Axl made his first television interview appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, in 20 years. He was charming and witty, and dressed in one of his middle-aged Axl get-ups that actually worked 3 years ago when he still had a good bod. When he spoke, his padded cheeks made him slur. Sad. Yet the audience screamed and whooped for several minutes after he walked onto the set. When Axl took his seat, Kimmel remarked “I’m excited.” In spite of the advancing years, the hefty pounds, the thinning hair, the broken voice, people love him. I’m convinced they simply Use their Illusion and worship the Axl of old (irony). He manages to cloak himself in that invincibility, almost as tightly as the Paddington Bear yellow raincoat he wore in a pitiful effort to hide his weight, during a 2012 concert in Rio.
Although I used to love him, Axl has always been an audacious, self-centered turd. In the 1990s, when hot Axl and GNR I rocked out, Axl caused a major riot during a Montreal, Canada performance, after he threw down his microphone and walked offstage. A major riot ensued, resulting in $100,000.00 of damages: police cars were overturned, bottles were thrown at buildings, fans assaulted one another. Later in interviews, Axl claimed it wasn’t the band’s fault (certainly wasn’t) but the fans wanted a show, regardless of “technical difficulties” (so it’s the fans’ fault). In reality, Axl the A-hole, felt upstaged when mere minutes before, Metallica, who opened for GNR, had to cancel their show after James Hedfield burned his arm and couldn’t perform. Such was the stunning psychosis of Axl Rose’s ego. He lied to reporters and, being at the peak of his career; nothing could stop that train. Well, almost nothing. At the same time, he’d criticize Kurt Cobain for thinking he was “too good and too cool.” When you’re 20 or 30-something with a gorgeous voice and a kick-ass stage performance, you can do that sort of thing if that’s what does it for you.
Sounds mean? Ask Slash what he thinks of Axl and GNR II when Axl stumbled and fell over his own feet during a concert while placing one foot on an amplifier. He can’t do that simple classic Axl move anymore; it throws off his balance. Oh, Ax. Or is it XXL? Still, Axl keeps on waddling and puffing in front of millions of fans because somehow, he still has them. They keep giving him reason to believe that he de man, when clearly, his time has come and gone. To the Axl Rose of the 1980s and early 1990s, I salute you. To the haggard, obese, aging man barely able to cross one side of a concert stage to another, I beg you to hang up your microphone and retire with what little dignity you have left, or it’s gonna bring you down. Hurl!