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Guns N'Roses, Back in Fighting Form
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Harrington, Richard
Date: Sep 15, 1991
Start Page: g.01
Section: SHOW

That's a line from "Get In the Ring," one of 30 songs on the new, double-barreled Guns N'Roses sophomore release on Geffen. Two separate CDs, titled "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II," are due in stores Tuesday; some record stores will open at 12:01 a.m. to serve those diehard fans who will immediately rush home to make enemies of their parents and neighbors. After all, Guns N'Roses are hard-rocking head bangers who draw from punk and blues and embody the proposition that adolescent energy, anger and attitude fuel the best rock-and-roll - even at 2 in the morning.

Which doesn't mean the band has lost its appetite for distraction: "Get in the Ring" is a raucous and speedy "Dead Roses on Your Grave" for critics of the band, a number of whom are named and vilified: The printable part goes, "I don't like you/ I just hate you/ I'm gonna kick your {expletive}, oh yeah! oh yeah!" It's pug silly, though Spin editor Bob Guccione Jr., the most vilified, has offered to get in the ring with [W. Axl Rose], as have Motley Crue's Vince Neil and Damn Yankees' Ted Nugent. The Gunners take aim at Motley Crue elsewhere, on "Shotgun Blues," which is loaded with scattershot cliches, and on guitarist Izzy Stradlin's "Double Talkin' Jive," which ends with some sprightly flamenco guitar from the band's foremost guitarist, Slash.

This is not to suggest that Guns N'Roses are angling for sainthood, not with songs like "Back Off Bitch" and "Pretty Tied Up," which is not about overbooking one's appointment schedule. It's more about in-your-face social resistance, ill-tempered and ill-mannered rock-and-roll mantras. The terse "Back Off Bitch" sounds as if it was written right after a major marital row and of course everyone knows that Axl Rose and Erin Everly had a sweet and sour marriage lasting less than a year but longer than "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," with which it vied for abusive drama. Not surprisingly, then, a number of "Illusion's" songs seem defined by the ups and downs of that relationship: "You Could Be Mine," the MTV trailer for "Terminator 2," is equally terse and angry, while "You Ain't the First," a Stones-ish acoustic country/blues riding an offhand shuffle, includes a classic put-down, "but you been the worst." Axl has an ex to grind, and he does just that.

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