Sunday, October 24, 2010

Then and Now

On the Paris Review's website, John Jeremiah Sullivan writes of his efforts to research a story on W. Axl Rose, the singer of Guns N Roses, for GQ Magazine. During the research, he managed to uncover this shot, of an 18 year old Rose being booked in his hometown in Indiana. As Sullivan puts it, "It’s the shots of him at eighteen that move me, though. He isn’t pretty yet, he hasn’t begun to think of himself as a rock star. He’s a boy-man, with a trace of fear in his pugnacious stare." 

Rose is an interesting person, in so many ways. There was a time when I wanted to be him, like millions of other young men. Would I trade his path for mine? He's never seemed happy, despite all the money, fame, and worship. Then again, neither have I.

Here's Rose, the 2010 vintage, performing Bob Dylan's "Knockin On Heaven's Door".


  1. I was never a big GnR fan, but there's no denying Rose's magnetic pull. Every artist should do this song at some point in their career, it's human and humbling. The Dead covered a lot of Dylan songs and Knockin' was always one of my favorites, Jerry would really shine on the guitar solos.

  2. Wasn't Axl Rose the last real rock star?

  3. You may have a point there, DM. I might nominate Cobain, but he clearly didn't want to be the star of anything. Rose loved (and loves) being a star, and had a menace that Katy Perry et al have never had.

    I will often read about the Rolling Stones and try to imagine what it was like-they clearly were debauched in some ways, but they were also genuinely frightening to parents for a while there.

  4. How weird to see Rose like that! He's cute though!

  5. You have a good point about Cobain.

    I heard someone say that of Axl a while ago. I wonder if it was too long ago.... another argument might be made for Kid Rock being an actual 'rock star'

    To be a rock star, to me, they have to have the attitude, and it has to be rock (not hip hop, soul, country, etc).


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