It has been over 30 years since the famous hard rock band Guns N’ Roses formed in Los Angeles. During that time, the charismatic lead singer and talented musicians have provided us with some unforgettable performances and quality albums. Despite the turmoil that accompanied Guns N’ Roses on some occasions, we want to remember the good things and the joy they brought. In fact, one could argue that no individual or group of people are bigger than their legacy.
Perhaps many fans would be perfectly happy to stick to the old times’ nostalgia, not having a care in the world. While those memories should be cherished and probably will always remain with us, most of us would love to be able to witness more history being made, beyond the golden era at the turn of the 1980s and 90s. Since the band members started coming and going, the lack of activity had us yearning for more. With the new Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose’s solo album and then the Chinese Democracy and Appetite for Democracy Tours in 2012-2014 without the presence of Slash, one couldn’t complain that nothing was going on. What everybody was waiting for, however, was to see the dynamic duo — the characteristic vocals and powerful guitar — back in action. Our prayers were answered back in 2016 with the Not in This Lifetime… Tour, featuring the famous two, but still not quite every piece of the original puzzle.
Photo by JürnC, CC BY-SA 3.0
All the things that in summary make up the history of the project named Guns N’ Roses have become much more than music. There should be little doubt as to the fact that the band and its members are massive and recognizable, with dedicated supporters all over the world. As such, it is bound to be capitalized on. Why not? We are used to situations where the most spectacular phenomenon in show business is exploited in every conceivable way. Just take a quick look at the Star Wars franchise… Of course, the brand associated with Guns N’ Roses have nothing on the scope of the famous movies, but there is no denying their presence in the world is well-established. You can spot the band’s motifs all over the internet, and even take a crack at their specially themed online game. That is, besides the typical items like T-shirts, hats, jackets, mugs, keychains, guitar picks and other memorabilia.
It isn’t that this scenario is somehow unique in comparison with the whole industry. Establishing a brand around successful musicians is a significant part of the music business and could be rewarding for the involved parties. Naturally, not everyone is able to make it happen on a larger scale. Would U2 be the same international phenomenon without the charismatic Bono and everything that comes along with his activities on and off the scene? On the other hand, some of the crowd’s favorites such as Guns N’ Roses seem to be less prone to radical shifting of sentiments, which is why they are more likely to maintain their popularity on a steadily high level, despite personnel changes and other issues. One of the reasons behind that is the carefully cultivated sense of acceptance and belonging, esprit de corps if you will. As the opposite to pop music, which is more focused on producing individual stars and celebrity public personalities from the business point of view, rock and metal are more about the logo and taking care of the community. Those are strong, uniting factors that can determine the success of the aspiring group and help the existing ones to keep on rocking. At least that’s the case for the good old Guns N’ Roses. It is perhaps true that their die-hard fans won’t settle for anything less than the electric collaboration between the two biggest ingredients: Axl and Slash. For some, even the absence of Izzy Stradlin in the group’s endeavors isn’t something they would easily come to terms with. Others, however, will most likely follow the band and attend concerts regardless of the lineup on stage.