Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mr. Brownstone

If you had told me 20 years ago, that Slash and Steven Adler would be the two members of Guns N' Roses that would have a special spot in my heart in 2009, I would have called you a filthy liar. Adler just wasn't tough enough for my 12 year old fake bad-ass self, and Slash was just ugly. Yes, I can admit that I was that shallow in 1989. However, after my 32 year old self read Stephen Davis' Watch You Bleed, and watched a gut-wrenching season of Steven Alder on Celebrity Rehab, I think I know why you're not the filthy liar I would have accused you of being.

Steven Adler, now, is just like a sad, lonely stray dog. He was so young when it all started. If ever there was a victim of 80's metal, it's him. Young, dumb, and wanting to fit in - His body and mind have been through so much, that he seems to be the same, still to this day. The first episode of Celebrity Rehab started with him crying, high, on his couch. There was a fist-sized hole in the wall behind him, and he sobbed about wanting to talk to his friend Slash. It was such a sad scene. I hope that in a moment of sobriety, he sees it all, and it helps him. But, I doubt his mind has the capacity for that sort of clarity now. Any semblance of an adult mind is long gone. He's still a child, who just wants his friend; His friend who has long since moved on. His friend who very likely helped to make him this way. His friend who was just luckier in the long run, and could have easily ended up in the same state.

I can remember watching, gleefully, as Slash cursed and sloshed around on stage at the American Music Awards in 1990. I never liked him anyway, and he was making a fool of himself, but I thought it was great. At almost 13, it seemed so cool to me. He was making a stand against all the old fogeys (and Tipper Gore) and I loved it. In Stephen Davis' book, I got to read all the real truths, that I always knew about, but never knew the depths of. The amount of drugs and sex and harmful things these young men put themselves through is truly astounding. Somehow though, Slash seems to be the one who made it out alive. He became whatever likeness of a grown-up a rock star can become. He got his shit together, and made something of himself as a person.

Today, Slash keeps alive just a tiny bit of the feelings I had for that moment in time - My innocence to think that these guys were truly wonderful and that their existence was something great. I think a lot of us felt that Guns N' Roses might be akin to the Beatles, for our time. The Great Band that we'd all look back on with pride. I don't think we'll ever really have anything like that though, ever again. I know my generation doesn't. And, I'm pretty sure The Jonas Brothers aren't going to be remembered all that fondly in 40 years.

I was naive and so young then. Being born at the end of the generation, meant that I had no idea of the reality of what was going on. I couldn't even begin to imagine the amount of torture these people put their minds, bodies, and souls through. It honestly makes me sick to think about now. I may still get goosebumps when the opening cords of "Sweet Child o' Mine" come on the radio, but then I remember reading that Slash hated playing that part of the song. It ruins it for me a little, because it reminds me that they are real people, and not Idols. But then, I remember how it made me feel when I was young, and it just takes me back.