Monday, October 12, 2009

Former musicians

The latest update in the ongoing story of Slash defiling his legacy is that he’s re-recording “Paradise City.” Covering an indisputable rock classic is unwise, and re-recording your own hits is even worse. However, enlisting the most unbearable Black Eyed Pea (which is like picking the worst Chevy Chase movie) to partake in the slaughter is really unforgivable.

A Wikipedia entry on Slash's upcoming solo album lists under "confirmed artists" a Pussycat Doll, Maroon 5's lead singer, Travis Barker, some clown from Avenged Sevenfold and former talents Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Cornell. As much as I can't tolerate any of Barker's bands, his appearance here is probably the most appropriate. Like Slash, he's a former musician who decided that he'd rather be a rock star. There's nothing wrong with being a rock star--David Lee Roth is no musician, but he's perfect for his role in Van Halen. But who'd want to see someone like Angus Young act like that?

Angus is charismatic, for sure. He's got a look and mannerisms that are all well known and often imitated. But for as long as he's been dressing like a U.K. public school troublemaker, he's always been Angus Young the guitarist. For all his style, Angus has stayed foremost a musician, much like the charismatic, instantly recognizable Slash during his years in Guns N' Roses.

Sadly, in the 21st century Slash has appeared on more TV shows than I can count and written fewer good songs than I can remember. He's become a cool name with great hair and a top hat who happens to play guitar. Like Dave Navarro and Tommy Lee, he comes across as a formerly great musician who'd rather play up his reputation on game shows and reality TV than apply himself artistically.

Of course this does nothing to deface the incredible music he made with Guns N' Roses, but it's sad to think that someone who could write the riff to "Sweet Child o' Mine" would rather be on American Idol than working with the musicians he deserves. Besides, we all know that there's really only one "Paradise City."

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