Remember the Time When… Axl Rose Cheated Me Out of 15 Free Tickets to See GnR


Nice shorts, douche

Per Monsiuer Grez, who started this column back in January:

Welcome to a new rotating author column entitled “Remember that time when…”.
How it works:

1. I’ll start with a story from my past.
2. I’ll leave it open to the next author (whomever would like to continue) to recall “That time when…”
3. The only catch: it has to relate somehow to the previous story. It could in a number of ways. For instance, Joe’s original column recounted his seeing David Bowie’s Outside tour in 1995 at the World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois. So, as he suggests in his own preamble to that column – which my own preamble is a bastardization of – I am using the World Music Theater as connective tissue, because in 1991 when I was a Freshmen in high school I won 15 free lawn seats to go see Guns and Roses at the World. FIFTEEN FREE TICKETS. FIFTEEN! To see G-n-Fucking-R baby!

What a time to remember, eh?

The impetus for my entry into this new column comes unexpectedly this morning, as I arrive at work and settle into my coffee. I check my email and then spend a little time surfing the sites I try to check on a regular basis. Heaven is an Incubator, Bloody Disgusting, Latino Review, and Brooklyn Vegan. And it’s on Brooklyn Vegan – which I hit first today – that I see a write-up, review and tons of gorgeous pictures of Guns and Roses’s sold out show in Las Vegas last night. My scoff is curbed as I scan the set list and see that indeed, as someone on facebook pointed out last night, they played Coma.

Coma. Holy shit. I can hardly believe it. That single bullet point on the set list – and not a bad set list either – tells me that my knee jerk reaction to this being a soft, greatest-hits-circle-jerk-only-ordained-to-make-money may have been off. Coma would take work. Coma would take… re-immersion. Frankly I didn’t think Axl had it in him. Why? ‘Cuz since 1991 I’ve thought he was a douche. Surely the premature break-up of what could have been, nay what SHOULD have been the next Rolling Stones, followed by the subsequent DECADES of posturing for an album that only arrived after a soft drink made a public joke at Mr. Rose’s expense only seemed to prove my assessment correct.

Now, the question you might have at this point in the tale is why, in 1991 when I was 15 years old and GnR was one of my favorite bands (and arguably the biggest band in the world), why when I lived and breathed their flawlessly iconic debut record Appetite for Destruction, did I think Axl was a douche?

He robbed me of those 15 free tickets to see his band. Again, fifteen. Free. Tickets. Robbed.

So how did this happen? Was I leaving the White Hen pantry my friend Gags and I regularly frequented as we walked his neighborhood high on ditch weed when the amber-headed squealer jumped out with a switchblade and made me empty my pockets? Did Axl accost me in the parking lot of the World Music Theatre, pre-show, and shake me down for the tickets so he could bring in 15 more groupies without having to put them on what I would imagine was an already gargantuan guest list filled with Kelly Bundy look-a-likes? No, he robbed me of those tickets simply by acting like a douche. I defer to the following hysterical footage:

Yep. Because of that incident in Ohio Axl was locked up and the show at the World never happened. My fifteen free tickets disappeared in a mournful teenage cry; I wasn’t the most popular kid and had suddenly found myself adding friends with the leftover tickets my immediate crew didn’t accounted for. I even privately thought that maybe I’d be able to *gasp* ask a girl or two to accompany us.

Nope. Thanks Axl.

Now, of course I don’t in any way shape or form think that acquiring friends or inviting females to that concert would have changed anything for me socially. And really, even at the time I was weary of actually doing so – I never wanted to be ‘in’, was more interested in having long hair that hung in my face, wearing Megadeath t-shirts and vandalizing property under the influence of stolen whiskey. However, to this day I still harbor a resentment toward Axl, not because of my aborted social prospects – which again were nil – but because he cost me the one chance I’m ever likely to have had to see what was then a truly great band. And even if, as I’ve aged I’ve realized the unique affectations Axl applies to his vocals are just as grating as our parents always complained they were, well, I just spun Use Your Illusions 1 on my iPod at work and it holds up. Mostly. Not sure about parts of Illusions 2 (My World, and Get in the Ring are definitely embarrassing at the very least).

Like it or not G-n-R are a pretty big part of Rock n Roll history and unless I’m going to pony up a couple hundred bucks to see them at a stadium in the present day – I’m NOT – Axl cheated me out of my chance to see them.


Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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