Guns and Roses and… Dr. Pepper?
December 3, 2008
The very last “45” recording I ever bought in my life was “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” by Guns and Roses. The year was 1988. I’d heard the song on the radio numerous times and I had to have it. I have no idea why I didn’t just buy the entire CD… or was it cassette? Appetite For Destruction would become one of the most important rock albums of the 20th century. Like them or not, Guns and Roses obliterated from the stage glam and hair metal groups like Ratt, Poison and, of course, Motley Crue. Unlike these poseurs, singer, Axl Rose and guitarist, Slash brought genuine swagger to rock. In the day’s vernacular: They kicked ass. Totally. Don’t believe me? Don’t want to believe me? Download “Night Train” or “Welcome to the Jungle,” preferably off their live album. Guns were dangerous. Go deeper into their catalog and it gets even harrier. Alas, by the early nineties, the band imploded on it’s own hubris, made worse by drugs and alcohol -in other words: the usual.
An then this, from Adpulp:
“Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses is taking legal action against Dr. Pepper. The singer is upset about the soda maker’s botched giveaway associated with the release of his band’s Chinese Democracy album. According to Ad Age, Rose’s lawyer Alan Gutman ‘pounced on the soft-drink marketer, claiming it failed to deliver on its promise to give out the free sodas, turning what began as a great public-relations stunt into a public-relations mess for Dr Pepper.’”
Before commenting, I should add Chinese Democracy was 17 years I the making. Between egos and lawsuits (and Axl’s growing nuttiness), the thing turned into an obsession more than an album. For its part, Dr. Pepper figured to cash in on the massive hype by offering free sodas if and when the album ever came out. When the album finally did drop, the website Dr. Pepper created quickly became overwhelmed and crashed. And then came the lawsuit.
Axl Rose is pissed about his fans not getting a free soda as promised. Puh-lease. He waited nearly 20 years to provide his “fans” with a new song. And since when do hedonistic rock stars care about their fans? Frankly, aren’t “artists” supposed to reject such cheesy promotions anyway? Whatever happened to street cred? But my favorite part is the lawsuit, with all its fancy language and mock sincerity. This from a crisis manager: “Unfortunately, Dr Pepper has now magnified the damage this campaign has caused through its appalling failure to make good on a promise it made to the American public.”
The whole thing is surreal. Guns and Roses aren’t supposed to hire lawyers, unless it’s to keep them out of jail. Dr. Pepper is not supposed to promote heavy metal, unless they’re coming out with a new can.
Look, I recognize our world has become utterly commercial. I get it. People don’t care if artists sell out. We’re all consumers and brands -not human beings. I get that. Hell, my industry is responsible for it! Sometimes I just think it’s funny. And this is one of those times.