Lee Kerslake, Drummer for Ozzy Osbourne + Uriah Heep, Dead at 73

Lee Kerslake, an English drummer who had performed with both Uriah Heep and Ozzy Osbourne, died on Saturday (Sept. 19) at the age of 73. Ultimate Classic Rock and TMZ each reported news of the death.

Last year, Kerslake revealed that he had been given months to live after battling cancer for several years. He stopped playing with Uriah Heep in 2018, four years after receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, according to TMZ. Over the weekend, Heep confirmed Kerslake’s death on social media.

Kerslake was borne in Dorset, England, in 1947. Playing drums from a young age, he performed with several groups such as With the Gods, Head Machine and Toe Fat before joining up with Uriah Heep in 1971. With Heep, he recorded on the bulk of the group’s studio efforts from 1972’s Demons and Wizards to 1998’s Sonic Origami. An early-’80s stint as Ozzy’s drummer only brought Kerslake further recognition in the rock world.

“Lee was one of the kindest men on earth, as well as being a brother he was an incredible drummer, singer and song writer!” Uriah Heep guitarist Mick Box shared on Saturday. “He had a passion for life bar none and was much loved by the fans, as well as anyone who crossed his path!”

In January 2019, reports emerged that Osbourne had given the terminally-ill musician a pair of platinum plaques for Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, classic Ozzy albums to which Kerslake had contributed.

“I really wrote a nice letter to them and I hope they will come to terms with it and say yes,” Kerslake said of his initial request, which was ultimately granted by Osbourne. “A platinum certification on my wall for these albums would be fantastic and it would say I helped create those albums.”

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Report: Leaked AC/DC Pics Show Band With Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd

Does a group of leaked photos show AC/DC newly performing with classic members Brian Johnson on vocals and Phil Rudd on drums?

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the photographs that appear to show a reunited AC/DC recently filming a music video were reportedly posted, then removed from the band’s official website earlier this week. See those images down toward the bottom of this post.

If legit, the pics are the best proof yet that the Australian rockers have professionally reconvened with Johnson, who left the band back in 2016, and Rudd, who parted ways with the group in 2015.

Since that time, of course, Guns N’ RosesAxl Rose replaced Johnson for AC/DC live performances. However, rumors have been building in the past couple of years that the band were getting both Johnson and Rudd back into the fold. Even Foo FightersDave Grohl weighed in on the issue in 2018.

Late last year, two other musicians confirmed that AC/DC were preparing a comeback with Johnson and Rudd in tow. According to one source, not only was a new AC/DC album in the works — but also a tour of the band’s native Australia with guitarist Angus Young joining Johnson and Rudd for the trek.

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Machine Gun Kelly Signed 13K Albums With Wrong Artwork

2020 is the year of pop-punk for Machine Gun Kelly, and his new album Tickets to My Downfall will be out a week from today on Sept. 25. He hasn’t had the greatest luck with the artwork for the album, though. Upon revealing the new cover art, he admitted he accidentally signed 13,000 copies of the wrong one.

The musician shared the story behind how the new album art came about in a video clip on Twitter.

“Are you fucking kidding me, because I literally just signed 13,000 of these,” MGK said defeatedly while sitting at a table surrounded by seemingly endless stacks of albums. “Today, ladies and gentlemen — everything got fucked.”

Earlier this month, Kelly revealed that he was being forced to change the artwork he originally had picked out for Tickets to My Downfall because the drawing copied a photo his label didn’t own the rights to.

The day after his brutal realization that he had just put all of that effort into signing thousands of the wrong album, he decided to do an improv photoshoot in an empty pool with a guitar that has the album title written on it. The video shows snippets from behind-the-scenes of the shoot, and the final product is displayed at the end.

Watch below, and pre-order MGK’s new album here.

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Smashing Pumpkins Announce Double Album ‘Cyr’ + New Animated Show

After the debut of their new songs “Cyr” and “The Colour of Love” at the end of last month, Smashing Pumpkins have officially announced their double album Cyr and a new animated series titled In Ashes.

Cyr was produced by frontman Billy Corgan and will feature 20 songs. Founding members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin joined Corgan in the making of the album, as well as guitarist Jeff Schroeder. The first two singles were synth, marking a whole new sound for the rockers. We’ll be able to determine whether the rest follows suit when it comes out on Nov. 27 via Sumerian Records.

Pre-order Cyr here now, and see the album art and full track listing below.

In addition to the album announcement, the Pumpkins have also shared the trailer for their upcoming animated series In Ashes. The first two episodes of the five-part show will be available Friday, Sept. 25, along with more new music from Cyr. Watch the trailer below.

Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr Album Artwork + Track Listing

Sumerian Records

01. “The Colour of Love”
02. “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict”
03. “Cyr”
04. “Dulcet In E”
05. “Wrath”
06. “Ramona”
07. “Anno Satana”
08. “Birch Grove”
09. “Wyttch”
10. “Starrcraft”
11. “Purple Blood”
12. “Save Your Tears”
13. “Telegenix”
14. “Black Forest, Black Hills”
15. “Adrennalynne”
16. “Haunted”
17. “The Hidden Sun”
18. “Schaudenfreud”
19. “Tyger, Tyger”
20. “Minerva”

Smashing Pumpkins – In Ashes Trailer

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Deftones’ New Song ‘Genesis’ Is Heavy as F–k

Deftones can do no wrong, and their newest song “Genesis” is one of the heaviest of their career. From the highly anticipated Ohms, Deftones mix fat grooves with the violent, yet etherial vocals of Chino Moreno.

The title track to Ohms was received with massive fanfare earlier this year, easily wracking up three million views on YouTube in a month. While “Ohms” fits into the more atmospheric, transcendental side of Deftones’ sound, “Genesis” is uncompromising and vicious, expertly balancing a simple, two-note main riff from a reinvigorated Stephen Carpenter, who sat out for much of the Gore writing sessions.

Check out the lyrics to “Genesis” below via Genius:

[Verse 1]
I reject
Both sides of what I’m being told
I’ve seen right through
Now I watch how wild it gets
I finally achieve
Balance, balance, balance, balance
Approaching a delayed
Rebirth, rebirth, rebirth, rebirth
I’m positive
There’s no sense to what I’m being sold
Yet here I go
I watch how wild we get
Oh, can you taste your life?
Balanced, balanced, balanced, balanced
How will you spend your time?
Reborn, reborn, reborn, reborn

Climbing out of the ashes
Turning time inside out
We’re miles beyond the sound

[Verse 2]
We’ll start again
Taste a lifestyle that never gets old
Yet here we go
Just watch how wild it gets
I finally achieve
Balance, balance, balance, balance
Approaching a delayed
Rebirth, rebirth, rebirth, rebirth

Climbing out of the ashes
We’re turning time inside out
We’re floating off in the ether
We’re miles beyond the sound

We’re everywhere
No need to return
I’ll show you the way
We’re everywhere
No need to return
I can show you where
No need to return
I can show you

Climbing out of the ashes
We’re turning time inside out
Floating off in the ether
We’re miles beyond the sound

Oh, can you taste your life?
How will you spend your time?

“Everybody gets together and we lock ourselves in a room and we write together, which I think that’s the important part, that we’re not just sending ideas over the Internet,” Moreno recently explained to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “We’re actually writing music together. But once we do that, everybody steps away and goes back into their own little worlds, and then we take a tally on what’s this and what’s that and then we can work that way. So it’s worked out for us.”

Ohms was recorded at Henson Studios in Los Angeles and Trainwreck Studios in Woodinville, Washington, reuniting the band with producer Terry Date. Listen to “Genesis” below and you can pre-order the album ahead of the Sept. 25 release at this location.

Deftones – Genesis (Official Music Video)

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Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Settles John Bonham vs. Neil Peart

When you’re discussing who the greatest drummer of all time is, it’s best to do so with someone who’s actually a drummer themselves. Howard Stern called up Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich to settle the long-standing debate over who the best drummer of all time was — Led Zeppelin‘s John Bonham or Rush‘s Neil Peart.

In a new snippet from Stern’s radio show, the host goes on about how Bonzo was the absolute cream of the crop and cited “When the Levee Breaks” as one of the most iconic, highly-sampled drum beats ever recorded. However, drummer Richard Christy told Stern he would place Peart right at the top with Bonham and pointed out the solo in Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.”

A few other guests went back and forth with their choices as well, but Stern bet $100 that Ulrich would choose Bonham — he called him to settle the score.

“It’s fucking hard,” Ulrich said, shaking his head. “Listen, I’ve been asked that question on and off for 40 years.”

After Stern also name-dropped Cream‘s Ginger Baker and the Who‘s Keith Moon as superior drummers, Ulrich added Deep Purple‘s Ian Paice and AC/DC‘s Phil Rudd. But that still didn’t answer the question at hand.

Ulrich then reflected on the first time he met Peart in 1984 because he had questions about drumming. “I was 20 years old with not a pot to piss in. I called him and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone and were geeking out on drums. The whole thing was like a fairytale. You can’t play drums and not love Neil.”

After a dramatic drumroll, the Metallica drummer finally came to a conclusion. “Between Neil and between John — no disrespect — I’ll have to go with John Bonham.”

Rest in peace to both. See the full video below.

Lars Ulrich Decides: John Bonham vs. Neil Peart

The 66 Best Metal + Hard Rock Drummers of All Time

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Your Name + 25 Bands Styled as Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’ Logo

This year marks 20 years since the release of Linkin Park‘s groundbreaking debut that re-shaped the trajectory of heavy music in the new millennium. In celebration of that two-decade mark (which officially comes on Oct. 24), the band has launched a Hybrid Theory logo generator, that transforms your name (or other rock and metal band names) into a Linkin Park-styled logo.

Below, you can see the Loudwire logo redone in Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory iconography, and further down the page are 25 newly-fashioned logos for bands such as Limp Bizkit, Pantera, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Cannibal Corpse, Foo Fighters and so many others.


To create your own logo, which you can download directly or share straight to social media, visit the Linkin Park name generator website.

It’s all leading up to Linkin Park’s 20th anniversary edition of Hybrid Theory, which will be released Oct. 9. This special reissue, which can be pre-ordered here (as Amazon affiliates, we earn on qualifying purchases), will include demos, B-sides and never-before-seen footage, and the group even recently dropped the previously unreleased song “She Couldn’t.”

25 Band Logos Styled as Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory Logo

See Linkin Park in the Most Streamed Spotify Songs for 66 Rock + Metal Bands

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MGK: You Don’t Have to Be Technical to Be Good at Guitar

Everyone has different opinions on what makes a guitar player good. Are their riffs heavy? Can they solo at the speed of light? Machine Gun Kelly doesn’t think being able to shred necessarily makes a guitarist good — he thinks it’s more about the feelings the playing invoke.

Explaining his stance to Kerrang!, MGK cited Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain as a major influence on him when he was growing up. “Some of us are just fuck-ups who look normal and wear shitty clothes because we can’t afford good ones, and we’re angry and we just wanna take out our angst and shit with a guitar,” he said. “I’m not inspired by how good you are, it’s almost like the opposite. I wanna feel you.”

“Kurt didn’t give a fuck how he sounded, he gave a fuck how he felt,” Kelly continued. “He was like, ‘Dude, my stomach hurts today. I feel like shit. I hate this song that you all love so much. I’m gonna play it terribly. I’m not even gonna sing the right lyrics to this shit. Fuck you!’”

The musician, who’s about to release his first pop-punk album Tickets to My Downfall, reflected on his own experiences growing up, and how he felt like an outcast. “Where the fuck was I going to learn how to play like Steve Vai? I couldn’t! I was broke. No-one gave a fuck about me. Give me three chords, though, and tell me to show you how I feel, and I bet you I will.”

“Fuck the people who think that your technicalities are what defines you,” he affirmed, comparing technical guitarists to robots. “You know robots can do things really fucking good, right? But a robot can’t make you feel.”

Tickets to My Downfall will be out Friday, Sept. 25 on Bad Boy and Interscope Records.

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Guns N’ Roses ‘Use Your Illusions’: 20 Facts Only Superfans Know

Appetite for Destruction may have been the best-selling debut album of all time, but some of Guns N’ Roses’ best masterpieces were found a few years later when they released the Use Your Illusion albums.

The albums, released as two double LPs on Sept. 17, 1991, are seen by many as the beginning of the end of the world’s most dangerous band. After going from five guys living in the same loft to absolute superstars within just a few short years, both success and excess started to tear the members apart.

In come the pianos, background vocalists, and million-dollar music videos and you have perhaps the final great work of Guns N’ Roses. Though they went on to release the punk-covers album The Spaghetti Incident?, the classic lineup of the band dissolved over the next few years.

Axl Rose released Chinese Democracy a decade and a half later with a new band behind him, but Duff McKagan and Slash have since returned to the band for the Not in This Lifetime tour, and new music is highly anticipated.. As heard in the Use Your Illusion II song “Breakdown,” “Everything was roses when we held onto the guns.

On the anniversary of the two albums, here are 17 facts only superfans would know.

1. They sold exceptionally well right off the bat.

According to a New York Times article from 1991, a spokesperson on behalf of Geffen Records said the two albums sold 500,000 copies in the first two hours of their release. That was without the help of major retailers like Kmart and Walmart, who refused to stock the albums due to their levels of profanity.

2. Both albums topped the charts.

Use Your Illusion II was the slightly more popular of the two albums, debuting at No. 1 with 770,000 sales in its first week. UYI I debuted at No. 2 with 685,000 copies. The two albums dominated the top of the chart at the same time the week of Oct. 5, 1991.

3. “Fuck you, St. Louis!”

After Rose’s casual stage dive during “Rocket Queen” at their show in St. Louis in July of 1991, “Fuck you, St. Louis!” was included in the liner notes for the albums. The band wouldn’t play in the city again until 2017.

4. Some of the songs were written before Appetite.

“Don’t Cry,” “Back Off Bitch,” “Bad Obsession,” “The Garden,” “You Could Be Mine” and “November Rain” were all written prior to the release of Appetite for Destruction, but were left off for several different reasons. “Don’t Cry” was often performed by the band during their early days on the Sunset Strip before they were even signed.

Rose had a skeletal, piano-only version of “November Rain” written years before he was in the band. A piano version and an acoustic version were both recorded during their 1986 Sound City sessions.

5. When “Civil War” led to a civil war.

“Civil War” was the first track recorded for the Illusion albums, and the last featuring original drummer Steven Adler. He had a longstanding battle with drug addiction, as did several other members of the band, but it affected his work more than it did for the others.

When it came time to record the song, he was nodding out in the studio and could barely play. The engineers had to layer the different segments Adler had recorded into one track. He was fired shortly after.

6. Where’s Izzy?

Izzy Stradlin didn’t stick around much longer either. He quietly left the band in November of 1991, just two months after the albums were released. The band was no longer the way he saw it during the Appetite years, so Gilby Clarke took his place. There’s a brief flash of a “Where’s Izzy” sign in the “Don’t Cry” video.

YouTube – Guns N’ Roses

7. “Without You”

The videos for “Don’t Cry,” “November Rain” and “Estranged,” played in that order, are viewed by Axl Rose as a sort of movie. The treatments for the videos are based on the short story Without You” by Del James, a friend of Axl’s, in the book The Language of Fear. James wrote the story based on the lyrics to “November Rain,” which were written years before the song was completed.

Victoria’s Secret model Stephanie Seymour was cast in the “Don’t Cry” video, and she and Rose immediately started dating. She also stars in the perplexing “November Rain” video, where her character dies. The couple broke up before the filming of “Estranged,” making the videos fit the theme of “Without You” even further.

8. Axl Rose put the pen to the paper.

The energetic, angry number “Don’t Damn Me,” featured on UYI I, is a direct response to the backlash Rose received in the years prior due to the controversial GN’R Lies track, “One in a Million.” Though the singer has since acknowledged the ferocity of the song, he stood by his beliefs when recording the Illusions.

So I send this song to the offended / I said what I meant and I’ve never pretended / As so many others do intending just to please / If I damned your point of view / Could you turn the other cheek

9. A synthesized masterpiece.

“November Rain” is the most epic ballad on the records, known for its orchestral and string section. But…they’re not real. Rose actually orchestrated the arrangement himself using keyboard tones. The only times a real orchestra played the song with Guns was during the recording of the music video, and the band’s performance of the song at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, where Rose was joined by Sir Elton John on the piano.

10. A little help from Hoon.

Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon offered guest vocals on “Live and Let Die,” “November Rain,” “The Garden,” “You Ain’t the First” and “Don’t Cry.” He’s even featured in the “Don’t Cry” video, and performed it live several times with the band. Also hailing from Indiana, Hoon’s sister knew Rose, which is how they developed a friendship and eventual collaboration.

11. Hidden message in “Locomotive.”

In the UYI II “Locomotive,” which was one of Slash’s personal favorites, Rose sings a set of lyrics that some have speculated were a message in response to the criticism he received when making the albums. Many who have worked with the frontman have admitted that he’s an absolute perfectionist, so the albums took much longer to complete than they would have if there weren’t so many extravagant elements included.

You can use your illusion / Let it take you where it may / We live and learn and then sometimes it’s best to walk away / Me I’m just here hangin’ on / It’s my only place to stay at least for now anyway / I’ve worked too hard for my illusions / Just to throw them all away

12. Zap him again!

UYI I’s closer, “Coma,” is the longest song Guns N’ Roses have ever released. The song is personal to both Slash and Rose, who wrote the lyrics based on a time he overdosed. “It’s Slash’s baby,” Rose told MTV in an interview in 1992. “But I started writing about when I OD’d four years ago. The reason I OD’d was because of stress, I couldn’t take it. I grabbed this bottle of pills in an argument and just gulped them down, and I ended up in the hospital.”

“But I liked that I wasn’t in the fight anymore. I was fully conscious that I was leaving,” he continues. Apparently, the anticipation of the album coming out and the tour is what forced him awake.

13. “November Rain” broke records.

Clocking in at just under nine minutes, “November Rain” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the longest song to ever crack the Top 10 of that chart. The video was also the oldest music video on YouTube to hit a billion views until 2019, when Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” beat it.

14. The Godfather of Shock Rock made an appearance.

Alice Cooper himself sang on “The Garden” after Slash mentioned that Rose’s vocal style sounded like him on the song. This wasn’t the band’s first rodeo with Cooper, as they had been invited to open for him in the mid-’80s. Rose never showed up for the show, so McKagan and Stradlin improvised on vocals instead. Luckily, he forgave them.

15. A head and an arm.

Found a head and an arm in a garbage can” is the opening line of the song “Double Talkin’ Jive,” and it’s based on a true story. Police found body parts in a dumpster near a studio when the band was recording. Stradlin sings that line and the rest of the verses, and Rose is on the choruses.

16. The Perils of Rock N’ Roll Decadence.

“Pretty Tied Up” was written by Stradlin after befriending a dominatrix. “She gave us some tequila or something and she goes in the bedroom and we walk in and there’s this big fat naked guy with an onion in his mouth. He’s wearing women’s underwear and high heels and he’s tied up with duct tape against the wall,” he told Musician.

There’s a play-on words later in the song, where “cool and stressing” is actually pronounced “kool ranch dres’ing” — specified in the lyrics.

17. A sociopsychotic state of bliss.

The final track of UYI II is the industrial, synth-rap track “My World.” The song is credited only to Rose, who apparently was on shrooms when he wrote it. The rest of the band didn’t know the song even existed, but the singer went ahead and made sure it was included in the new song catalog.

18. A story of a man.

“So Fine,” co-sang by both Rose and McKagan, was written entirely by the bassist as a tribute to New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders. McKagan was heavily influenced by punk, and Thunders was his idol.

19. Axl Rose played a little guitar on it.

Rose wrote and played the opening riff for the song “Dead Horse,” which appears on UYI I. He’s seen playing it in the music video and there is footage of him playing it live as well.

20. Its mission was to “bury Appetite.”

While Appetite for Destruction was responsible for skyrocketing the band into stardom, they knew they had a lot of work to do to live up to expectations. “I just want to bury Appetite. I like the album, but I’m sick of it. I don’t want to live my life through that one album,” Rose told MTV in 1988.

Guns N’ Roses Albums Ranked

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Afterlife’s Heavy ‘Wasting Time’ is a Metalcore Shot in the Arm

Florida metalcore rejuvenators Afterlife have a message for their fellow U.S. citizens: Wake up. That’s the basic thrust of “Wasting Time,” the band’s mindful yet raucous new single that arrived this week (Sept. 16). Hear it below.

The nu-metal-adjacent track gives a needed boost to heavy music as social concerns bare down on young people like never before. It’s Afterlife’s first new material since their 2019 debut album, Breaking Point, an effort that drew comparisons to rocking forebearers such as Linkin Park and Slipknot.

But this time around, the up-and-coming act is more acutely aware of the brutal atmosphere that surrounds them.

“Collectively we were frustrated with society and we all desired change,” explains Afterlife’s lead vocalist, Tyler Levenson. “We wanted this song to feel empowering and anthemic. We wanted it to be a statement that would encourage as well as inspire people.”

The musician continues, “We’re really excited to give everyone a glimpse of the new music we have been working on! While writing this song there was a lot going on within our country as well as the world, which created a powerful energy in the studio.”

That certainly shows in the tune’s heedful lyrics: “You can’t ignore what’s been done / I don’t wanna believe what the world’s put in front of me / I don’t wanna believe that everything is crumbling.”

Joining Levenson in Afterlife are guitarist Andrew McGuire, drummer Luke Walkinshaw and bassist Tristan Edwards. Currently signed to Hopeless, the group first emerged in 2017 with the EP Vicious Cycle on Stay Sick.

Stream and download “Wasting Time” now.

Afterlife, “Wasting Time”

Hopeless Records

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29 Years Ago: Guns N’ Roses Issue ‘Use Your Illusion I’ & ‘II’

In retrospect, the much revered “classic” lineup of Guns N’ Roses was together a relatively short time, with the first significant changes in the band coming in the early ’90s, but even with the initial alterations to the group, it was still one helluva ride the band was enjoying after monstrous success of their debut album Appetite for Destruction and the follow-up compilation Lies.

While it could have been easy to capitalize on the early successes and churn out another album quickly, the band instead chose to double down on their work and release an ambitious two-volume collection on Sept. 17, 1991 called Use Your Illusion.

Frontman Axl Rose told Rolling Stone in 1991 that the project was well thought-out and a calculated career move, choosing to challenge themselves to do something special rather than taking the easy road.

“People want something, and they want it as soon as they can get it,” Rose says. “Needy people. And I’m the same way, but I want it to be right — I don’t want it to be half-assed. Since we put out Appetite for Destruction, I’ve watched a lot of bands put out two to four albums, and who cares? They went out, they did a big tour, they were big rock stars for that period of time. That’s what everybody’s used to now — the record companies push that. But I want no part of that. We weren’t just throwing something together to be rock stars. We wanted to put something together that meant everything to us.”

But getting there was no easy task. The band had a tumultuous split with drummer Steven Adler after his hard-partying ways became too much for the band to ignore. Adler would later file suit against the group. Guns N’ Roses also bid adieu to manager Alan Niven amongst other key members of their crew.

Rose stated, “There’s a lot of desire to keep what we have together. I mean, we already lost one guy. Actually, we lost a lot of people. It would’ve been nice to stay with Alan [Niven]. It would’ve been nice to work with certain photographers, certain security, road crew, stagehands…. Whether you’re glad you’re in a situation or not, there’s always a part of you that goes, ‘I wish I could’ve been happy there, just stayed happy somehow.'”

Guns N’ Roses, “You Could Be Mine” — Live at Rock in Rio (1991)

But as one chapter closed, another began. In 1990, keyboardist Dizzy Reed was invited to join the group. And with Adler on the way out, the group needed a new drummer and found their man in Matt Sorum, whom the band had seen drumming with The Cult.  “Having a keyboard player in the band was something they talked to me about a long time ago,” Reed stated. “I never really thought it would happen.”

But Reed got the call at just the right time as he was about to be thrown out of his apartment right as he got the invite. As for Sorum, he took over behind the kit for a majority of the songs, though Adler still received credit on the song “Civil War.”

With the new lineup intact, Guns N’ Roses started putting together the disc in 1990, spending nearly a year on the recording. The band made use of numerous studios, including A&M, Record Plant, Studio 56, Image Recording, Conway Studios and Metalworks Recording Studios.

Guns N’ Roses, “Civil War”

Ever the perfectionists, the band also mixed 21 tracks with engineer/producer Bob Clearmountain, but later scrapped the mixes, starting from scratch with Bill Price handling the mixing. But when it came down to it, Guns N’ Roses had set the bar high with their previous work and were intent of maintaining that push for excellence.

“I’ve had a good understanding of where I wanted Guns N’ Roses to go and the things I wanted Guns N’ Roses to achieve musically,” says Rose, “And I can’t say that everybody’s had a grip on that. We’re competing with rock legends, and we’re trying to do the best we can to possibly be honored with a position like that. We want to define ourselves. Appetite was a cornerstone, a place to start. That was like ‘Here’s our land, and we just put a stake in the ground. Now we’re going to build something.'”

Released on Sept. 17, 1991, Use Your Illusion I and II arrived with much fanfare. The second volume opened at No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart, with the first volume finishing second.

As for the separation of the tracks, Rose told Here Today Gone To Hell, “We didn’t actually take into consideration that people knew more songs on II than I. We thought that ‘Civil War’ and ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door‘ would be old news, rather than people wanting to get them in their hands. We looked at it like the first half of Use Your Illusion I was more similar to the energy on Appetite for Destruction, and would be a lot more fun to skateboard to. We thought of it that way. We thought it would be more successful in the beginning and we’d have to work on II, but actually II took off harder so it gave us the time to work on I and also drive wide and push it.”

Guns N’ Roses, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” — Live in Tokyo (1992)

He added, “I’d say ‘Civil War,’ ‘Heaven’s Door,’ ‘Breakdown,’ ‘Estranged,’ ‘Locomotive,’ and the second version of ‘Don’t Cry’ are a bit deeper and more mature than some of the songs on the first side of Illusion I. Those are just as important to us, but were more fun and more raw expressions of emotions.”

The first song to arrive came from the Use Your Illusion II album. The propulsive rocker “You Could Be Mine” was used for their soundtrack of the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day after Arnold Schwarzenegger personally invited the band to dinner at his home to negotiate a deal. The song actually had a long history with Guns N’ Roses, with guitarist Slash revealing that the earliest origins of the song dated back to the first pre-production session for Appetite for Destruction.

Other Use Your Illusion II songs to hit included the band’s cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” the power ballad “Yesterdays,” the protest song “Civil War” and the powerful “Estranged.” While most of the Use Your Illusion II songs would not become major radio hits, they did become classics within the Guns N’ Roses catalog.

Guns N’ Roses, “Estranged”

Of “Civil War,” bassist Duff McKagan told Rockline, “Basically, it was a riff that we would do at sound-checks. Axl came up with a couple of lines at the beginning. And… I went in a peace march, when I was a little kid, with my mom. I was like four years old. For Martin Luther King. And that’s when: “Did you wear the black arm band when they shot the man who said: ‘Peace could last forever’? It’s just true-life experiences, really.”

As for “Estranged,” Rose would become particularly attached to the emotion evoked by the track. He told Here Today Gone to Hell, “There’s something really wild, for me, in performing ‘Estranged’ ’cause all of a sudden I realized I don’t want to be sitting at the piano playing this song to keep the energy of the song moving live. I need to be moving around and there’s something about being able to be up there moving around during it that’s actually a present, a gift or something. Being able to dance and rejoice in a song. That came from situations and emotions that were killing me. You know, we pretty much mean everything we say. We don’t put anything down that we’re not willing to stand behind or attempt to stand by for the duration. “Estranged” also has a video that’s part of a key trilogy for the band that also included clips for Use Your Illusion I songs “Don’t Cry” and “November Rain.”

Speaking of Use Your Illusion I, it had more success at radio, with the tracks “Don’t Cry,” “November Rain” and a cover of Paul McCartney‘s “Live and Let Die” all commanding the airwaves. Fans also latched on to such favorites as “Garden of Eden” and “Right Next Door to Hell.”

Don’t Cry” proved to be one of the band’s biggest hits and a key track in linking the two albums together as different versions of the song appeared on both discs. The Use Your Illusion I track became the hit, with the Use Your Illusion II version offering alternate lyric and a slightly different melody. Also of note on “Don’t Cry” is a backing vocalist who appeared on a number of Use Your Illusion tracks — Shannon Hoon — who would later rise to fame as the vocalist for Blind Melon. Hoon and Rose both hailed from Indiana and relocated to Los Angeles to pursue music and found a common bond in their journey. Hoon also appeared in the video for the song.

November Rain,” an epic power ballad, climbed all the way to No. 3 on the Billboard 100. It too was a long-in-the-works track, with Tracii Guns revealing that Axl had been working on it as early as 1983.

Guns N’ Roses, “November Rain” Music Video

Guns stated that Rose started the track on piano, adding, “It was the only thing he knew how to play, but it was his. He’d go, ‘Someday this song is gonna be really cool.’ And I’d go, ‘It’s cool now.’ ‘But it’s not done, you know,’ he used to say. And, like, anytime we’d be at a hotel or anywhere, there’d be a piano; he’d just kinda play that music. And I’d go, ‘When are you gonna finish that already, you know?’ And he’d go, ‘I don’t know what to do with it.'” With a killer guitar solo from Slash, orchestral backing and several shifts in tempo, the track would become a classic, well fleshed out from its earliest incarnation.

As for the touring cycle, it took it’s toll on the band. There was the incident in St. Louis when Rose was cited with inciting a riot after going into the crowd after a photographer. There was the ill-fated 1992 tour with Metallica where riots erupted. And during the run, Izzy Stradlin tired of life in the band and eventually exited, with Gilby Clarke eventually joining the group.

Amidst the fame and drive for success, it was a tough road to haul. But as Slash stated in an almost eerie Rolling Stone interview given what was to come, “You know, I love the band fucking with all my heart. I mean, there will be a point when this will all finish, the tour will end, the album will die and I’ll keep jamming with cats that I dig playing with. But then we’ll just go do another record. I don’t think anything’s really gonna break us up. The only thing that ever made it look that way was just our own fucking insecurity. We just flip out, because everything seems to be so much.”

He added, “Sometimes you go, ‘What the fuck is it for?’ Then you try to look where to escape to, and there’s nowhere to go. We’ve been doing it for so long that we really would all feel sort of lost and lonely if it fell apart and we had to go out and do solo records. Because it wouldn’t be Guns. None of us could reproduce that. Axl’s got so much charisma — he’s one of the best singers around. It’s his personality. He can go out and do something. What freaks me out is, if the band falls apart, I’ll never be able to shake the fact that I’m the ex-Guns N’ Roses guitar player. And that’s almost like selling your soul.”

Sadly, Guns N’ Roses would record one more album, the covers disc The Spaghetti Incident, with much of their “classic” core intact. Slash would exit in 1996, McKagan a year later, leaving Rose as the sole original member and a decade-plus process in putting together the Chinese Democracy album amidst numerous lineup changes took the band out of the spotlight for a good part of the latter ’90s and early 2000s.

But during the early ’90s, there weren’t many acts that could touch Guns N’ Roses and the Use Your Illusion albums were an example of a band on top of their game pursuing something special. Both albums would go on to be certified seven times platinum by the RIAA and the wealth of singles from the two discs remain staples in the band’s catalog to this day.

Guns N’ Roses’ Dizzy Reed Reflects on the Use Your Illusion Albums

Guns N’ Roses Songs Ranked

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Hawthorne Heights Tell Kanye West to Not Sue His Record Label: “Trust Us”

Hawthorne Heights have told Kanye West to not sue his record label.

Yesterday, Sept. 15, West posted a series of tweets where he expressed a desire to be released from his contract with Universal and Sony.

Replying to an associate of his, West stated that he “is not open to any form of business with Universal or Sony.” He further stated that “I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony. I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved. I’m putting my life on the line for my people. The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I’m the new Moses.”

Check out some of the posts below:

Among those to reply to Kanye were emo favorites Hawthorne Heights, who humorously poked fun at their own label beef with Victory Records.

“Dear @kanyewest Please don’t sue your record label. Trust us. It doesn’t work,” the band joked.

Hawthorne Heights sued Victory Records for breach of contract in 2006.

“Due to recent events we have decided to leave Victory Records,” the band said at the time. “Our departure is anything but amicable. We have decided to leave Victory, in part due to the actions of the man who sits at the head of the label, Tony Brummel. Tony Brummel is a man that cares more about his ego and bank account than the bands themselves.

“We’ve accomplished more in three years than most bands do in a lifetime and for that we are extremely grateful and consider ourselves very fortunate,” the band continued. “Our situation with Tony Brummel is indicative of issues that all bands on Victory Records encounter on some level or another.

“We have decided to remove ourselves from the negative situation so that we can continue to do what we love best and focus on writing and playing music to people that care about what we have created.”

Victory counter-sued, and the two parties eventually settled their dispute in 2008, with Victory releasing Hawthorne Heights’ third album, Fragile Future, the same year.

13 Emo Albums With No Bad Songs

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