GN'R Chronicles Part III "Welcome to the Jungle"...It's OK.
“Mr. Brownstone” is the first Guns N’ Roses song I ever remember hearing, though I didn’t know it was them. It was the summer of 1987, and Appetite for Destruction had not been released, but KNAC had a couple of songs that they played on a constant rotation. For those of you unfamiliar, KNAC on 105.5FM out of Long Beach fulfilled the radio dreams of local rockers and was the only station playing Metallica, which once upon a time were one of the least airwave friendly bands.
That summer, I was looking for a knew #1 band to pledge my allegiance to. I had been fairly obsessed with Motely Crue for the previous four years, but my devotion had waned after the lackluster Theatre of Pain was released in 1985. While Girls, Girls, Girls was certainly an improvement, it hadn’t completely won me back. I needed a new band.
I had in fact been on the lookout during the preceding months, even launching into a brief but intense infatuation with Bon Jovi, something my mom still gives me crap about. At one point, my brother Cory proclaimed that I was on the verge of becoming completely, hopelessly, and obsessively devoted to a band other than Motley, and it would be…Dokken. Well, he got one part right.
I can recall hearing “Mr. Brownstone” enough times that I really started to dig it, even though I didn’t know who the band was. At some point, the radio station also started playing “Welcome to the Jungle.” The first time I heard it, I did catch the introduction identifying the next song as being from that shitty band Cory had seen at the L.A. Street Scene the prior year. I was actually surprised they were still around and had a record label. I was also curious to finally hear them. I settled in and listened to “Welcome to the Jungle” for the first time…it was ok.
At some point that summer, Cory and I were in the car and “Jungle” came on. I had heard it many more times and the song had really started to grow on me, though I was still undecided about the screamy-mimi singer.
“Did you know this is that crummy band you saw at the Street Scene?” I said to my brother.
“Yeah! That Mr. Brownstone song is also them.”
“No it’s not”
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Really? Then they have different guys in the band singing? Kind of like Kiss?”
“No it’s not.”
“YES IT IS. I think those are the two songs I saw them play.”
For some reason, I could not wrap my head around that array of vocals coming from one human being, However, there was no Googling in those days to verify such things. The album wasn’t out to closely scrutinize the songs. I just needed to take my brother’s word for it and wait until KNAC got around to playing the song again. The one thing I could confirm is that I was rapidly becoming mesmerized by Guns N’ Roses.
I had found my band.