It's certainly not easy being Axl Rose these days: Forced into a role of constant defensiveness, simply because he's spent decades tyrannically micromanaging Guns N' Roses and refusing to allow anyone, whether they're fans or other band members, to have any influence over its direction, he's had to suffer alone life's slings and arrows (and tossed bottles and unflattering photos) whenever he deigns to show his face on stage, shouldering the terrible burden of aging in rock 'n' roll all by his lonesome. That even goes for when Axl Rose tries to do good things, as when he selflessly donated his time to Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit this weekend, arriving (on schedule, no less) to perform a set of acoustic numbers to raise money for disabled kids. Even when he does so while—according to the accounts of his hired Guns—suffering from the onset of strep throat that reduced his already-weakened yowl to a mocking mewl.
And yet, because he is Axl Rose, and because he labors under his very unique (some-might-argue karmic) curse, even those good intentions pave the flagstone-path to musical hell. Someone releases the tapes of songs like "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Better"—which sound so strangled, so unbelievably off here, many will believe they're secretly one of those overdubbed "Guns N' Roses Shreds" videos, although they are apparently not—and here we are again, watching Axl Rose strain against the sadness of a legacy slowly being squandered and the many cruelties of time. Welcome to the jungle, everyone. We're all gonna die. [via Consequence Of Sound]