The band Axl Rose called “the biggest sell-out”

Axl Rose

The act of selling out could be regarded as a cardinal sin in rock and roll. All of the money made touring around the world comes at a cost to one’s credibility. This is because they enter the studio trying to chase whatever trend is fashionable to keep in good standing with the public. While Guns N’ Roses have faced criticism for selling out, Axl Rose believed that one of the titans of 1980s hard rock had long since sold their souls.

Rose was never a music snob. Rose has praised punk bands, Todd Rundgren’s pop-rock, and Elton John’s all-out balladry from the band’s inception. Despite diverse preferences, he incorporated them into the melodic framework for the band’s debut album, Appetite for Destruction.

When Guns N’ Roses began to make money, Rose decided that the next step should be to distance themselves from their beginnings as much as possible. To bury his previous work, Rose went all over the map sonically while creating the Use Your Illusion albums. He put harsh rockers like ‘Right Next Door to Hell‘ and ‘Garden of Eden‘ next to sweeping epics like ‘November Rain‘ and ‘Estranged.’

While the band may have jumped the shark, the goal was to outperform the other musicians trying to make it at the same time. For all of Rose’s macho posturing onstage, the fundamental purpose was to leave every glam metal band in the dust. He wanted them to feel as if they had mocked what made rock and roll so appealing.

Although seen as the antithesis of Sunset Strip hopefuls, Guns N’ Roses gained popularity and recognition in contrast. Many musicians were eager to conform to the norm. While Aerosmith saw a career resurrection by embracing the styles of the MTV age, Coverdale’s career received a boost. This came from the reinvention of Whitesnake.

After Deep Purple disbanded in the late 1970s, Coverdale formed his exalted solo band to carry on the blues lineage. Although the band produced many outstanding songs in their early years, their MTV makeover made them network pin-ups. This garnered them big successes with songs like ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Is This Love?‘.

Despite Coverdale’s huge success at the time, Rose was unimpressed when he saw their videos everywhere. Rose felt Coverdale’s makeover flew in the face of what true rock and roll bands should aspire to. This was in contrast to what the rootsy rock band Guns N’ Roses sought to be.

When discussing modern bands, Axl Rose would single out Whitesnake as sellouts. He stated, “I don’t call Whitesnake crunch guitars; I call Whitesnake the biggest sellout I’ve heard in a very, very long time.” Rose would also analyze their rise to prominence, including polishing their old songs to develop their new identity.

Despite Rose’s criticism, Whitesnake continued to dominate the 1980s. This continued until the grunge revolution stopped every hard rock band in their tracks. While Coverdale was anxious to make his mark on rock history, Rose questioned if he was in the business for the right reasons.

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