As a lifelong die hard I tend to enjoy that which the casual listener avoids. Below describes two stunning examples of songs the critics failed to praise as if they forgot that our vices are the shining light of the human condition.
A lot has been written about this song, very little is positive. Most critics found themselves taking moral stands against the bigotry portrayed, completely ignoring the brilliant composition. From the opening whistle to the interplay of Izzy’s seething electric guitar and Slash’s spanish-esque solos you barely notice the lack of heavy percussion or bass. The layer of piano that seeps in near the end of the song is a gunner first, symbolically marking the end the band’s democracy and gradual decline from the hardest band in the world. Axl wrote this song solo and it is rumoured he did so on a guitar that he barely knew how to play, an astonishing feat to say the least. I should probably tell you to ignore the “racey” lyrics but to do so would be a travesty. One in a million is a rare look inside the then 26 year old W. Axl Rose’s psyche and its numerous demons. The violence and anger exuded is woven delicately into sentimental and melody rich blues song. The stark contrast of subject in the chorus compared to that of the verses reflects the volatility and duality of his infamous mental struggles. One tells the compassionate story of watching a loved one falling deeper into drug dependency, the other a ferocious assault of angst, contradiction, and hate. At the very least one must respect the level honesty the tortured genius wrote with. Although roughly half the lines make me cringe, Axl’s roaring climax is a flood of talent and passion that can’t be ignored. Goethe once wrote that “Boldness has genius power and magic in it” and I can’t disagree.
Hey Negrita is like breakfast wine, a one way ticket to decadence. The reggae, latin, and funk influences are sewn together into a playful jam perfect for impromptu afternoon dance party on a desolate beach. Like all great Stones songs the blues are the foundation and amidst the writhing rhythms lazily complex guitar riffs weave in and out of old west era piano trills. The intention was clearly to have the piano fill in for a steel drum, but to their credit the saloon feel better suits both the song and the band. “Hey Negrita” may be my favorite vocal performance from Mick on a non-live album. He is normally so calculated it is refreshing to see him let loose in screaming scat like improvisation as if his pipes were just another instrument. The lyrics were considered controversial, though the deep redundancy of puritanical objections to passionate music began well before even the delta blues were created. Hats off to Mick for creating this lyrical gem, “See the gleam in your mouth. See the steel in your thighs”, every bachelor worth his weight in testosterone can relate. The song is clear inspiration to many that followed, most easily noted the above mentioned Guns N’ Roses. Try listening to “You’re Crazy” from the GNR Lies album and not see the direct influence. In 1976 it seemed the entire rock world was consumed by the influx of reggae, and although many made attempts to infuse rock with the jamaican melodies only the Stones and to a lesser extent Led Zeppelin (D’yer Mak’er) really pulled it off. Just try to keep your hips still while this one blares…no need to ask why they are in fact the greatest rock and rollers of all time.
For those of you that don’t know me, it is no secret that I often play on the cusp of both the glorious and the fatal. The old adage goes that nothing is more enthralling than a life that constantly stares death straight in the eyes. To say such things of my existence would be a gross understatement. I have indecently kissed death on numerous occasions and it seems only a matter time before temptation wins out. Although many believe I am in fact immortal, I find it prudent to share my final wishes as they are too lurid and bizarre to be lost.
To begin I refuse my final rights on this earth to be performed on any other day but the summer solstice. Please cryogenically freeze my body as is appropriate. Second, the setting for the event can only be on a peninsula shaped grassy cliff overlooking the ocean. Specific location is yet unidentified, but note that like everything I do, aesthetics take precedence over practicality.
The invitations to the great send off shall be written on aged parchment with burnt corners and sealed in black wax with my crest pressed on it. The content within is a treasure map to the location and the specific details of the affair. The invitations are to be hand delivered by men in full formal tailcoats without explanation besides a simple “compliments of Keenan”.
The affair is black tie with accents of the wild (I expect fur, leather, feathers etc to add flare to everyone’s outfit). There is no need for a rain location, it simply will not rain.
The site will have thirteen massive bonfires raging in a triangular shape. The thirteenth will be located at the point of the peninsula (and will be the largest) and pairs of bonfires will line up on opposite ends of the peninsula moving away from the point. On each of the twelve paired bonfires different game will be roasting (venison, bear, bore, geese, antelope, elk, pheasant, rabbit, duck, crocodile, elan, bison) in the center of these fires a massive dark banquet table will be set for a feast. The center pieces on the table will be elaborately adorned chainsaws of my own design.
Holographic screens will be placed to display images of me, my photographs and inspirations. A massive concert quality sound system will also be erected in order to ensure sound integrity. The ceremony begins at 9 pm and will continue until dawn. Guests will be informed to hydrate and rest well prior to arrival.
As the guests arrive they are separated by sex and handed both a flaming torch and a glass of Krug vintage brut 1996 champagne. Women will proceed to the peninsula first in procession while the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s song “40 Day Daydream” as the reach their place on the left side of the table (staff will ensure it is clear) they will push their torch into the ground and be offered a decadent assortment of bites from the sea (caviar, seared scallops, assorted ceviches, lobster tacos, razor clams, cockles, oysters, Sea Urchin). The men will proceed after in exactly the same manner only to the right and with the Warren Zevon song “Werewolves of London” blaring.
Once all are in place they will be asked to shout out the heavens and rustle the gods as the live version of Oasis’s “Fucking in the Bushes” blasts over the sound system. As a sufficient decibel level is reached, a sound clip of Axl Rose screaming “wake up time to die” will play followed by “Welcome to the Jungle” in it’s entirety. All will applaud as my ebony and gold casket is carried to its place at the head of the table. The casket itself will have the head of wolf and be lined in coyote fur, designed by Peter Gronquist. I will be dressed in a tuxedo with mink collar and lapels and lined in purple silk (in death we are all royalty).
As instructed no glass will be left empty, and all servers will be beautiful nubile young females dressed in fur, leather, and flowers. The party will proceed and guests will mingle until a live drum session summons them to be seated at their marked place at the table. Once seated the Orphic Hymn to Dionysus will be recited in order properly evoke he who provides us with both ecstasy and sorrow.
“I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus,
primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord,
wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped.
Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure,
You take raw flesh, you have feasts,
wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters.
With your fair-girdled nymphs breathe on me
in a spirit of perfect agape.”
The week before the ceremony the guests will be asked to give a speech about a time I made them laugh, smile, cry, or made them angry. Essentially a time I stirred true emotion in them. If they are not comfortable speaking publicly they will be asked to submit their story in writing. At each person’s place setting a leather bound and gold leaf book will be set. Its contents will include images of me, excerpts of my writing, and inspirations I’ve cited.
The only time sorrow will be allowed is following the seating when Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” is played. It is the most beautifully melancholic song I have ever heard, but I will ask my guest to imagine the love spoken about in the song to be understood as life itself. It is my belief that life is in fact love and every moment can provide a warm embrace if you perceive it the correct way. While the song plays the stories of those that chose not to speak will be displayed. Directly after the rolling stone song “loving cup” will be played with the same understanding of word love, but with an entirely more joyful tinge. The remaining written stories will be displayed.
The feast itself will be served as all the roast beasts fill the table and are accompanied by Brussels sprouts in xo sauce, smashed curried cauliflower, candied artisanal carrots and roast parsnips in goose fat. All the china and flatware will be made of horn and bone, and and all place settings will be leather with feathered accents. To accompany the Krug, guests will have their selection of 1997 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2009, Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal, Victory Brewing’s Golden Monkey Ale, Guinness (draft), Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe. Dessert will consist of roasted and caramelized fruit over the fire, Pierre Hermé Macarons, and Bilboquet chocolate mousse.
As the feast progresses the guests who would like to verbalize their story about me, shall be able to do so at will. A combination of live and recorded music will play to my exact specifications, I will release the list to a number of confidants in the near future. Once the feast is ended the table will be separated and moved to the sides with the chairs in order to make more room for my favorite pastime, ferocious dancing.
An hour into the party progression Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” will play as my funeral vehicle is revealed, a navajo print seaplane with the words “Victory is Death” written on the wings. The guests will be encouraged to leave gifts within or write messages on the plane for my journey to the next world. The procession to do so will be accompanied by The Doors “The End”, specifically the seventeen minute live version from the second disk of their box set.
When dawn approaches my plane will be lowered to the sea by crane, and thirteen M60 machine guns will fire three thousand rounds into the sky each to clear my path. Guns N’ Rose’s “Paradise City” live in Tokyo will be played as the engines on the airplane are fired up with me in it. The controls will be set to automatic and the crowd will roar and cheer uncontrollably as I take off on my last ride into the sun.
All guests will wait until the plane is no longer visible, then begin to leave as the sun is fully risen. Sigur Ros’s “Glosoli” will play as each is handed custom machetes and tomahawks of my own design as keepsakes. The entire night will be recorded in video and photo, to be edited and sent out to every attendee. My possessions and estate will be distributed as I have specified to my attorney, their notice for collection will arrive in porcupine quill jewelry boxes the evening after the vicious event.
“Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess.” -Oscar Wilde