At midnight on September 17, 1991, a rock band released two albums simultaneously. The release was one of the most anticipated in rock history. The band is still revered by the fans and so are these two albums. Guns N’ Roses is the band and the albums were named ‘Use Your Illusions 1 and 2’.
For this week’s Album Talk, fellow cowboy Narendra Kusnur and I invited one of India’s best guitarists/composer Koco, from the band Agnee, to discuss the ‘Use Your Illusions 1′ album.
Note: Language maybe altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Koco: I have played a lot of Guns N’ Roses songs on stage from all their albums including this one. In all these years that I have played music, I have listened to a variety of genres. But the perception is that as I played in rock band, I should be an encyclopaedia about rock music.
(Guns N’ Roses : Coma)
Koco: We used to cover 10-12 Guns N’ Roses songs along with our originals. We never attempted to play ‘November Rain’ as it required a lot of string section but we did cover ‘Don’t Cry’. In fact for one of the shows at Rang Bhavan with my earlier band, Agni, we got a live string section consisting of 3 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos on stage.
Me: I was at Rang Bhavan during the performance you are talking about. I am sure my fellow cowboy also must have been there.
Kusnur: I wasn’t born then!
Me: Koco which is your favourite track from the album.
Koco: November Rain. The song has a dynamic range, the way the composition flows and the string section is incredible. It has that vastness of a soundscape. It is something which bands like Aerosmith did earlier. I don’t know but I think Guns N’ Roses draws a lot of inspiration from Aerosmith.
Me: Axl Rose did say that they were inspired by Aerosmith.
Kusnur: It’s pretty obvious in their music.
Koco: I think Slash is one of the most underrated guitar player when it comes to the top ten guitarists list. He is pretty famous no doubt. But when it comes to being revered like how David Gilmour, Mark Knofler or Steve Vai are, he isn’t. Slash’s melodic style of playing is mind blowing. I am a huge fan of his.
(Guns N’ Roses : Live And Let Die)
Me: You never played ‘Live And Let Die’?
Koco: We did play it. *starts singing the lead* I remember playing it. When Guns N’ Roses first came on the scene, they were huge. I think they released ‘Appetite For Destruction’ album in 1989 or 90. Mr. Encyclopaedia please help!
Kusnur: It was released in 1988.
Koco: ‘Use Your Illusions’ was released in 1992.
Me: Both the parts were released on the same day.
Koco: Ya. As I was saying when Guns N’ Roses came up with their sound, it was almost like re-visiting the good old melodic Rock n Roll. At that time there was a lot of metal and grunge. Their melodic song writing was refreshing from the clutter that was mainstream. Guns N’ Roses caught the big wave and reinvented the wheel again. They brought Rock n Roll into mainstream again by topping the charts with melodic songs like ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘November Rain’.
(Guns N’ Roses : November Rain)
Me: They got a piano on stage, no rock band did that.
Kusnur: There is a song on the album called ‘Bad Obsession’ which sounds like an extension of Rolling Stones.
Koco: There you go! Bands like Rolling Stones and Aerosmith did these things. Aerosmith brought a lot of orchestral sound in their music.
Me: Arent most the songs on the album about drug and alcohol abuse?
Kusnur: Ya most of them.
Koco: When you look at the Rock n Roll lifestyle and I am not talking about Indian Rock n Roll, most of the stars came from humble beginnings. So the money and fame get into their head. One starts taking themselves too seriously.
That’s the sad reality of life.
Anyways until we meet, be good and safe.