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James Dean Bradfield On Guns 'N' Roses 'Appetite For Destruction' - Classic Rock Magazine, August 2017

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ARTICLES:2017



Title: James Dean Bradfield On Guns 'N' Roses 'Appetite For Destruction'
Publication: Classic Rock Magazine
Date: August 2017
Writer: Polly Glass



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"I was eighteen in 1987, and I'd just come home to do my A-levels because I'd taken a year out. That summer, I was trying to earn money through busking and bar work, and I heard a couple of Guns 'N' Roses songs on the Tommy Vance show. I remember going out and buying Appetite For Destruction on vinyl and utterly falling in love with it straight away. Which was strange for me because I'd been an indie kid, a Motown kid, a punk kid... I was into everything."

"But Appetite brought me back into the fold of hard rock. Even though there was a lot of hairspray, it quickly gave way to a kind of scuzzy street glamour. You realised there was something different about them. There was something malcontent about the whole thing, something sexy, and it just rolled with some kind of danger—it had a roll and a groove to it. "I was obsessed with the guitar at that point, obsessed with The Clash, or trying to get Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols' guitar sound. But then Appetite came along, and even though Slash is supremely unpassable technically, there was something to aspire to; there was a rough edge, a hangover from the Jimmy Page-esque style. There was an accessibility about Slash's playing that you could try to copy if you worked hard. When I think back to that summer of learning Appetite on guitar, I was gloriously happy to be listening to something that communicated to me in such visceral terms. It was probably one of the best times of my life."

"Production-wise its a very crafted record. Mike Clink was producing, and the drum sound is very strange. If you listen to the start of Rocket Queen, it's quite boomy, almost like the controlled essence of a canyon. And you can hear the interplay between lzzy and Slash —on something like Sweet Child Of Mine you can hear what Izzy's doing and what Slash is doing. "You can tell they were fighting against the Warrant Cherry Pie era that they were in—they wanted to reintroduce real rock'n'roll back into music. Of course, the engineering and production is very up to date with the 80s, but they moulded it into something quite authentic.

"There were parts of [Manics' 1992 debut] Generation Terrorists where I tried to do Slash stuff: Condemned To Rock 'N' Roll has Slash on it. He was the new guitar god for me by that point."

"So I'd spent these years adoring Guns N' Roses, and then for our first American gig we were playing the Limelight in New York and Blind Melon were supporting us. He [singer Shannon Hoon] had a link-up with Guns N' Roses by then. We were on stage three hours late, and he suddenly said: "Oh, Slash is in the crowd." It was an awful gig. We were truly awful. As we went on, all we could see was Slash's top hat, and ! could see him leaving through the back entrance as we went on stage."

"These days ! listen to the album in the car, in the house. I dust down the vinyl once every three months or so. And it doesn't sound like an eighties record. They escaped that era of hair straight away. They went: 'Fuck that, we're fucked-up street urchins, we are rock'n'roll: They don't sound like any other band. It's just timeless."