Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eric Weisbard's "Use Your Illusion I & II (33 1/3 Series)

Like the other books in the 33 1/3 series, a quick read. Also what is interesting is how the author looks at a record that he doesn't particularly like. This sounds like a disaster to read, but actually its an interesting way to walk through a work or record. The main interest in Eric Weisbard's study on "Use Your Illusion Parts 1 & 2 is not really the music itself but the concept of the big blockbuster album in the early 1990's. Especially when the young turks (Kurt Cobain) are literally around the corner.
Like a slow motion car wreck there is something absolutely fascinating about Axel Rose. One can say he's a villain of sorts, but he's more of an average joe with interesting traits or put in a very specific and strange situation - which is rock stardom. And Axel plays the rock star very very well. Its his performance that everyone finds intriguing - both off and on the stage. He has an unique voice and for me that what makes him stand out compared to the 'other' jerk rock n' roll guy.
The story has been told many many times. Elvis being one, of someone trapped in his culture. Axel wants to experiment, but he never lets himself free. The obsession of his records is that he takes so long to complete it - and that becomes the story itself. Which is fatal in rock n' roll terms. The fast, the speed of the music have to at least appear to be effortless and wild. When I hear a Guns n' Roses record, it seems to be an academic study on the making of "rock." And with respect to Axel and Co. it wasn't meant to be that way.
Weisbard's book is interesting when he writes about the business end of the last era of rock product, but its kind of a drag that he doesn't like "Use Your Illusion." I would have like to have him defend this work in that type of setting, but alas, his feelings for the album is not really blah, but more with a sense of strange passion on his part. Him going track-by-track at the end of the book was not necessary. In the back of this title it mentions that Weisbard is writing a book about crossover artists. That sounds fascinating and I will read that for sure
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