So, as we all know by now, Slash and Duff have joined Axl’s Guns N’ Roses wagon. How long for is anyone’s guess, as is the question over why they bothered (while not exactly my cup of coffee, Slash is doing really well with that Myles Kennedy chap. So much so, that I reckon his ‘brand’ is stronger than GN’R these days). There have also been some articles zipping around the information super-highway about them recording. As someone who loved GN’R when I was a tad younger, I’ve been surprised by how indifferent I feel about this whole thing. Kinda the same way I felt about Chinese Democracy. Perhaps I’ll pick up the Record Store Day 2034 double LP.
But seriously, what happens when they’ve played Appetite For Destruction? What then? Cause that’s really what folks want. And this isn’t even Guns N’ Roses. Isn’t it just Axl Rose with guest stars Slash and Duff?
Anyhoo, to celebrate the ‘return of GN’R’, I’ll be highlighting a couple of my favourite GN’R related projects. Reasons not to bother with ‘The Most Dangerous Band In the World’ (© GN’R 1986). So, despite the GN’R fever gripping the world of rock n’ roll, put away your GN’R sweatbands, Charlie Manson t-shirts, red bandannas, and GN’R records / CDs / tapes (most likely Appetite For Destruction, right?).
Not that I’m anti-Guns N’ Roses or anything.
10 Minute Warning – 10 Minute Warning
Sub Pop, 1998
Duff returned to his pre-GN’R outfit at the request / suggestion of Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard. See, Ten Minute Warning were one of Seattle’s finest before they split in 1984. You could say they were one of the scene’s most important bands. They took punk and hardcore and slowed it down; played it heavier and sludgier than folks had considered doing before and their influence can be heard in the likes of Soundgarden, Green River, Alice In Chains, and even Pearl Jam (Stone Gossard credits them as the band that inspired him to learn guitar, Jeff Ament was also a fan -“we were in such awe of that band”, and Mark Arm “couldn’t believe that Duff quit Ten Minute Warning and moved to L.A. for this” when he saw GN’R “butcher the Stones” in 1985).
Though an album was recorded for Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label, nothing was released prior to their break-up. However, following the band’s reunion, they headed in with Jack Endino and recorded their debut for Sub Pop. Despite being absent for a good 14 years and needing to recruit a new singer, the music still flows with all that good stuff that made the Seattle scene special. There’s the muddy Soundgarden-esque riffage and Alice In Chains-ish grind in the likes of Pictures and Earthe, while the opener Swollen Rage has the swagger of five guys walking down a street on a cold winter evening. Buried might be something Axl Rose would have liked to rant over, while you can hear their Black Flag influences on No More Time and Is This The Way? (Henry Rollins once called them the “punk rock Hawkwind”).
Unfortunately, the band went their separate ways (again) a few months after releasing the album. But it’s a belter. A heavy, grinding punk-rock force.
Steve Varewolf (vocals 1982-1984)
Christopher Blue (vocals 1996-1998)
Paul Solger (lead guitar)
Duff McKagan (guitar)
Greg Gilmore (drums)
David Garrigues (bass)
Quotes attributed to Jeff Ament, Mark Arm, and Henry Rollins from Greg Prato’s Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History Of Seattle Rock Music.