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Sebastian: Guns N Roses18 Aug 2004 02:14
There`s so much to tell about them... anyway, just to get ready, some connections with Queen, by Axl Rose`s quotes:

"They meant everythin to me" (1992)

"The Queen gig was the most humbling experience of my life. It was fucking intense. When we first met Brian May last summer it was wild. None of us would let him out of the room. He's one of the nicest people I've met. When we did "Bohemian Rhapsody," that was unrehearsed. Brian asked me to do it that day, and it felt right. l spoke to Elton before the show, and he was kind of uneasy about meeting me, you know, I'm supposed to be the most homophobic guy on Earth. When we talked, l was excited, but serious, telling him how much his music meant to me. By the end he was like, "Whoa." Onstage I was trying to be as respectful to him as could. l was purposely vibing out, and if you look close, you can see it at times, how much love and respect I have for Elton. There was some heavy eye contact going down. It was amazing. MTV's John Norris kept saying, "This could be the last time you'll ever see Elton John and Axl Rose together onstage." Not if I have anything to do with it." (1992)

"Freddie Mercury's death was something I had been preparing for since I had heard of his AIDS...If I didn't have Freddie Mercury's words and lyrics to hold onto as a kid, I don't know where I'd be...I never really had a bigger teacher in my whole life."  (1992)


Brian May about GnR:

"It was brilliant opening for Guns 'n Roses.  They were great.  Theirs were fantastic audiences, as a matter of fact.  And it gave me a great feeling of satisfaction being able to get across to them... and the fact that they didn't want us to leave after we'd finished playing." (1993)

- Who's the better guitar player... you or Slash?  Who do you think is better?
BM:  Uhh.... he probably is. (1993)

"Okay - well I have a lot of history with those guys as you know, um, because, well I was on tour with them for a while - you know, my own band supported them - which was great fun. They also did the Freddie Tribute with us, and I think I regard them as great friends, Axl in particular. Um, and they just said "Come over and do some stuff." It's a long story to be honest and I won't bore you with all the details, but Axl was feeling that er he was in a difficult place because the guitarist that he'd been working with on this new album had sort of replaced Slash, because er they fell out, sadly. I think that is sad actually, 'cos they both, well you know, brilliant talents and great with each other, but the guitarist that had done most of the tracks had departed and Axl had a real emotional attachment to what he'd done, and yet he didn't want him on the album - and I hope I'm not saying too much here - he didn't really want him to stay on the album because he'd disappeared, you know - so he's feeling a kind of divided loyalty and he said: "Brian, can you come and do stuff which I WILL LIKE, (laughing) and I won't feel too bad about ditching this other stuff?" So I did, I went over there, and I think I played on three tracks, um and messed around on various other things, but it worked out pretty well as far as I can tell. Um, and its very strange cos most of the Guns'n'Roses people are not there cos Axl sacked 'em all, you know, so you're talking about Axl and the new Guns'n'Roses, but BOY is there a lot of energy there, you know, and his singing is outrageous. There's some great tracks on it." (2000)

"Well (sigh) Axl sort of holds Queen and, and our whole thing in a great deal of respect so I always figure as long as I tell my truth, he's fine - and, and its always held out so far. He's always been very good, you know, to me. He will tell you if he doesn't agree what, with what you say. I mean, I went in and immediately, you know, Brian May opens his mouth and "Blab, blab, blab" - and I told exactly what I thought of, of the stuff as it was and some of it he went "Yeah", and some of it he went "I couldn't do that" - you know like some of the suggestions you know and that's it, and Axl's a very emotionally kind of 'connected' person, I mean, to the point where he, he's so intense about EVERY single note that's on there, and the solos that I played, um, he was totally into it VERY much in the way that Freddie used to be. You know, Freddie used to go through my solos and, and say "You know there's this particular note here and I think if you did this and this and this", you know and I thought I would just go in there... I'd forgotten, you know, what Axl was like, and I thought I would just go in there and he'd like it. He did like it, but he wanted to get into EVERY single take of every single note, and sort of string, you know ... I would go in there and he, from, from one day to another, Axl would have been in there like from 5 o'clock in the morning to 7 o'clock in the morning, comping little bits of my solos and saying "Can you get Brian to try this?" You know, he's UTTERLY meticulous." (2000)

"Axl is a very persuasive guy you know. He's magic. Really he is, you know, and, and I think he's not always easy, as, you know, genius very often isn't. You know, Fred was not the easiest person in the world to get on with, but, um, you know someone who has that amount of passion and gives a million percent of themselves, you'll take any amount of stuff from, you know, and I would from Axl. I think he's that good, you know." (2000)

"They were such a great live band, you know. Its one of those moments in time when everything happened in the right way. I think really the last kind of dangerous, magnificent rock and roll band really, so far." (2000)
1.Sebastian 18 Aug 2004 09:39
I wish there was more information available about the GnR guys influences and songwriting background. Izzy is very versatile but there`s not so much info. Compared to them Queen is a very much well-researched band (even not counting this website). The cause is a combination of details: GnR is newer and still active (more or less), which results in a much lower level of documentaries, special releases (e.g. DTS tracks, karaoke mixes) and concrete analyses. I admit I left the analysis site about them in pause because of lack of enough sources (such as producer`s comments, for instance) and because of ethical principles (I can`t be objectively enough).

Also Axl & Co are less "gentle" in their interviews and somehow they`re not so often asked about music per se (e.g. construction of harmonies or songforms), it`s more about lyrics (particularly One In A Million), band problems (why Izzy left...) and drugs and stuff.

Interesting songwriting details in Axl:

- Almost exclusively uses natural chords (major or minor) and sevenths. Ocasionally some inversions (e.g. Am/E), but not so much

- A complete master of contrasts. `November Rain` surprised me in that sense: after the two F Dm C - phrases of the verse, it comes what can be the bridge, but later on there`s a section that can be the bridge of the bridge, and then the bridge of the bridge of the bridge, because they all make sharp contrast with the previous sections. Just great. `Coma` is another example

- Clever songforms

- Economic and precise use of variants (Duff more or less shares that as well)

His musical taste is more or less well-known: Sex Pistols, Electric Light Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Queen, David Bowie. U2 is also one of his favourite bands although I doubt he had any influence from them except perhaps in some Chinese Democracy track, who knows.

About the others not so much is known, as well as the songwriting process itself. Some more or less confirmed facts:

- Slash is the "riffer", although some important songs are reportedly completely his, musically (e.g. Jungle)
- Izzy is the true original rock n` roller, and a very mysterious person
- Duff`s a punk fan. He also had great respect for Johnny Thunders (who doesn`t)
- The drummers didn`t participate in songwriting, but (I think) the roadie West Arkeen did, for example `It`s So Easy`
2.Sebastian 18 Aug 2004 21:30

Civil War:

Intro -- Verse -- Spacer - Verse - Connector - Bridge I - Connector - Solo I - Bridge II
Chorus - Solo II - Verse - Verse - Connector - Bridge I - Connector - Solo I - Connector`
Chorus - Chorus -- Solo II-Outro

Intro, Verse, Spacer, Bridge I & Solo I--> AA` (1 or 2 times)
Connector --> Ab chord during 2 measures
Connector`--> More measures, and different rhythm pattern, same harmony
Bridge II, Solo II, Chorus --> BB`


Great masterpiece, that one. The songwriting credit is shared (McKagan, Rose, Slash). Duff confirmed the riff is something Slash used to do in soundchecks (I wonder which riff he meant though, I guess the first one). Tracy Guns (the original `Guns` in `Guns N Roses`) credited himself a lot of riffs that were supposedly ripped by Slash. Who knows who to believe.

Anyway the `Civil War` harmony, I`d say, must be Duff`s, considering his usual AA` approach (It`s So Easy, So Fine), and Axl must have been in charge of the songform. As for the lyrics, no idea. I can`t draw deep conclusions.

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