At long last, the second musing about the mighty GN'FN'R as experienced by a teenaged girl in suburbia.
My initial encounter with Guns N’ Roses had been through my brother’s first-hand account of bearing witness to their disastrously abbreviated set at the 1986 Los Angeles Street Scene. The next time I met them would be up close and personal – via a magazine rack at the Thrifty Drug Store in Azusa.
Like any good rocker kid in the 1980s, I maintained a large stack of music magazines; Circus, Cream, Hit Parader, Metal Edge, Faces, Kerrang (if someone took me to an import record store), and of course the gold standard of all metal magazines – RIP. In the pre-Internet world, these rags were a lifeline between fans and their rock gods. How else could I have possibly known that Nikki Sixx’s favorite movie was The Godfather, or that Mick Mars had a penchant for red wine? (I may or may not be remembering that last one accurately). I needed to maintain my reputation as Sandburg Middle School’s resident rocker chick, and in a world without official websites, fan websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., etc, etc., memorizing the content of these magazines was a necessity.
It was probably February or March of 1987 when my mom and I were at a Thrifty Drug store (my mom worked for the company, so we frequently shopped there for the employee discount and 5 cent scoops of ice cream). While she engaged in the latest company gossip, I sauntered up to the racks, hoping to catch a glimpse of Nikki Sixx. Instead, the cover of the new issue of Hit Parader caught my eye for a very different reason.
THE NEW METAL EXPLOSION was the headline that screamed out at me in black and hot pink. Below that, the cover was divided to feature the four bands leading this new metal explosion; Megadeth (hell yeah!), Cinderella (um, ok), (Stryper (huh?), and…
Guns N’ Roses (what the hell??)
I guess could buy into Megadeth and Cinderella being a part of this “explosion.” True, they couldn’t have been more different, but they were each decent enough andI did own albums (cassettes actually) by both of them. Stryper, the self proclaimed Christian rock band weren’t highly regarded in my limited circles, but hey, at least they had a record deal. But Guns N’ Roses? If my brother had not derided them a few months earlier, I would have been even more confused.
I peered at the cover, mystified by the inclusion of this band whom my brother said had sucked to high heaven. It wasn’t difficult to spot the lead singer with the teased hair who was the biggest asshole my brother had ever seen (his words). And right there before me was the dick guitarist with the T Rex hat (again, his words). I was not impressed, though I did still get my mom to buy it for me.
At home, I read the one-page article on Guns N’ Roses which, as a recall 30 years later, was the typical sex, drugs, and destruction blathering. I was 13, jaded, and at that point had read enough Motley Crue interviews to be completely bored with such nonsense. Even though I had not heard their music, I was starting think that my brother’s assessment this had not been too far off. As I closed the magazine and threw it on the top of the pile, I remember looking at the photo of sneering young men and thinking to myself, “What a bunch of dorks.”
Within mere months, my entire universe would revolve around them.