What were the releases of the UYI albums by GNR like? Also, their rep in 1993-1994?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Roger Wilco, Aug 5, 2022 at 5:16 PM.

  1. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Who was around the long wait / highly anticipated release of the Use Your Illusion records?

    They technically hadn’t released a full album in 4 years (1987, AFD). Lies was a small, controversial fun mini album, but nothing more than a stop gap

    They had missed deadline after deadline…1989, 1990, most of 1991 came and went without a new record. Steven was gone, Dizzy was in, and Izzy was on his way out just as the albums finally dropped.

    Suddenly they’re finally out in mid September 1991. 30 new songs.

    What was it like? What were perceptions out of the gate?

    They had reached a second height of popularity when November Rain was #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late summer of 1992. It was their second highest charting single after Sweet Child O’ Mine back in 1988.

    but after that, in 1993 and 1994, what was the perception of them?

    What was the thought on the video “trilogy”, the then inglorious ending with the weird Since I Don’t Have You video and Sympathy for the Devil cover?
     
  2. laether

    laether Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phobos
    Yes, was eager to hear the albums back in 1991 after listening to appetite for two years. We have to remember that at this point information wasnt as easily available so basically you had to rely on MTV and magazines. You could be mine was utterly strong first single! They did play two shows in my home town Helsinki but was too young to even consider. This was august 1991 and they performed wealth of material from UYIs. Both shows were also taped & bootlegged.

    Come September I got the albums and it was just a joy to listen to all of these songs!
     
  3. JamieLang

    JamieLang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    First, while Izzy was out AFTER they dropped, he's ALL OVER the Illusions records.

    I remember I HATED "You Could Be Mine", which was the lead single/video...so, my expectation was it was going to blow if that was "the best they had". I got a pleasant surprise in that I like them--still like them today. Izzy saved it. The first side of UYI2 is my go to....Civil war....Yesterdays....14 Years...sometimes I take it off before the obligatory Dylan blandness is done.

    In general, it was a LOT of material. I remember a lot of "which do you like better?" from people I guess who only wanted to buy one...and I was sort of confused why they put them out separately, rather than "here's the new GnR: 4 LPs or 2 CDs"...I guess some marketing person figured people would choose a side, which seemed unfathomable to me.
     
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  4. JamieLang

    JamieLang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Also-I don't remember which came first, but this and the Black Album (same year) were the first times the store I worked at opened at midnight to sell releases for the next day.
     
  5. Python

    Python Forum Resident

    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    1. I was certainly around...I was 22 years old, and they were my favorite band.

    I wouldn't say they were "suddenly" out in September '91...we'd been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and reading about them being in the works in Rolling Stone and other rock magazines (amazingly, our only source of music news! Well, along with MTV, but I didn't watch it much during my college years...). I'm sure the release dates were announced months in advance, there was all sorts of hype and buildup, "You Could Be Mine" was the lead single, released that summer, then "Don't Cry" was the next single that first month of release.

    But as to the band's "perception" in the years right after, well, of course the music world was changing dramatically in '91 and '92, a lot of the metal bands got dropped by their labels while "alternative" rock or "grunge" or whatever you want to call it pretty much took over, GnR was big enough to still get airplay and video play and sell out concerts, but the times were definitely changing.

    By then, Pearl Jam and the Black Crowes were my favorite bands, GnR had turned into a joke. Izzy got out at the right time in late '91, Axl and Slash were having their problems...it all just went to hell. There was the covers album in '93 that still did okay, but then the band fell apart as Slash and Duff left and it just became Axl and his hired hands.

    The video "trilogy" was just pure Axl ego weirdness, which was of course behind the worst/dumbest excesses of the UYI albums ("My World," "Shotgun Blues," "Get In The Ring," etc.) and ultimately the demise of the band. I've often wondered what could have been if they'd had a strong manager or people at the label or other band members to balance him out, obviously they made one of the greatest albums ever with the debut and they put on a decent live show in recent years now that they're sober (though I know that's gone sour just recently), but all those years between, albums that could have been made, tours that could have happened. Who knows?
     
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  6. DocWatsonSees

    DocWatsonSees Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    I was in middle school when the Illusion albums came out. I was also a huge fan. Had both Appetite and GNR Lies on cassette and played them to death. I was also taking guitar lessons because I wanted to be Slash.

    My Dad, bless his heart, and after much begging from me, took me to the midnight sale at a local record store on a school night! I only had enough money to buy one of the two Illusion so I purchased Use Your Illusion I. All I did was listen to Use Your Illusion I constantly. At first, the album was a bit weird - why was Izzy singing songs? why are some songs so aggressive? What's up with the 9-minute ballad with piano and orchestra? But it really grew on me. I loved it. I didn't purchase Use Your Illusion 2 until about five months later. To this day, I still prefer Use Your Illusion 1 to 2.

    In Slash's autobiography (worth a read if you're a fan), he says the Illusion albums were like GNR's 'White Album' and I get what he was saying. Both albums were a bit weird, experimental, and had a lot of tracks that would have been shelved if they were recording a single album, but that's why those albums are so interesting. The Illusion albums should have been released as a combined double album. Corporate greed split those albums into two.

    By 1994, I was pretty much over them. Axl's overall attitude was pretty lame and Spaghetti Incident wasn't great. As for aggressive music, I had already moved on to other bands who were at their peaks: Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, etc... GNR seemed a bit burned out and archaic by then.
     
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  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    It seemed like a hugely mixed response from memory.

    Many absolutely loved them.
    Many said their heads had swelled and they bit off more than they could chew, or something like that.
    Many said it would have made one great album....

    It really was a mixed bag when the Use Your Illusion stuff came out...
    After that they just seemed to get in their own way, and they seemed to just fade to nothing.
     
  8. DocWatsonSees

    DocWatsonSees Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    Them turning into a joke is how I felt too. The videos played a big part in that. Oversaturation. All of a sudden, I just didn't think they were cool anymore.
    Black Crowes were one of my fav bands around this time too!
     
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  9. enro99

    enro99 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Agree with everything you said, but I don’t think anyone - manager, label, friend or otherwise - could’ve reigned in Axl back then.

    As to my response when finally, finally hearing both Illusions albums, I’d have to say I was kind of vaguely let down. Even though I played them both non-stop, the feel was “off” somehow, though back then I couldn’t articulate why exactly.

    Now I guess it’s because of Sorum’s robotic drumming, and Izzy’s buried guitar on most songs (his lead vocal songs excepted). I think Slash either stated, or I read somewhere, that they purposely put Izzy’s guitars way low in the mix. It totally lost that dual guitar, Keith rhythm vibe as featured on “Appetite”.

    How exactly has it “gone sour” recently? Just curious, I haven’t been following closely.



     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022 at 5:48 PM
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  10. DocWatsonSees

    DocWatsonSees Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    Izzy was the heart of that band. His songwriting contributions were great - Dust n Bones, Don't Cry, You Ain't the First, Double Talkin' Jive, Pretty Tied Up - Love those tunes!
     
  11. Bottjer713

    Bottjer713 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Agreed. While they have certainly made heaps of money, I consider the reunion to a bit of joke without Izzy. They should have brought him back along with Adler/Sorum or a better drummer than the guy from the GNR cover band.
     
  12. DocWatsonSees

    DocWatsonSees Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    I'm sure they asked Izzy and he told them to **** off! lol
     
  13. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Black Album was out in August 1991, UYIs out in September
     
  14. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    What happened with Izzy was he only showed up for the first round of recording sessions, MIA for the rest and MIA for the mixing sessions.

    A lot of his parts are “bare bones chords” according to Slash with the exception of the opening guitar on Back Off Bitch. Per Slash, he had to “double up” for Izzy on most tracks.

    It’s not really widely known, but one of the more immediate reasons for his quitting was Axl had Izzy demoted to a hired hand status because of him being MIA for these moments, as well as not moving around on stage enough and not showing up for video shoots. Izzy didn’t react kindly to being demoted. It was basically the last straw
     
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  15. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    I loved Appetite For Destruction as a kid, GNR were a bonafide nasty, dangerous band at that time. I think grunge stole their thunder a bit. I’ve still never made it through the entirety of either Illusion album.

    MTV played several of their videos around the clock as well at that time, they must have gotten a dozen singles out of those two records. I swear the “November Rain” video was showing every hour on MTV at one point.
     
  16. Graham

    Graham Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    But they didn’t fall out that badly as when Gilby Clarke broke his arm or hand in a bike accident, Izzy returned to fill in on some dates. Including the gig I saw at Milton Keynes Bowl in late May 1993.
     
  17. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Izzy did those only because 1. They offered him the chance to play in places he’d never been and 2. He did the gigs not as a favor but for money he felt he was owed.

    Per everything I’ve read he was pretty happy once it was over, the whole experience of being back for a week was upsetting. He said Slash and Duff were zombies, drugged out, and that Axl had gotten even worse as had Slash in terms of ego.
     
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  18. musicfan37

    musicfan37 Senior Member

  19. enro99

    enro99 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I remember reading somewhere that Axl had told Izzy he could only move around within a certain area on stage, or something ridiculous like that. Izzy resented the whole ego trip Axl was on and I guess he started checking out of the band mentally well before he left.
     
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  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    IIRC Volume 1 seemed to do better than Volume 2 with the fans. I ended up winning a copy of Volume 1 in a radio station contest along with the local hard rock station's t-shirt. Unfortunately I didn't have a CDP to play it on at the time!

    By '93 or '94 GNR was old news and seemed to be imploding. I knew a lot of people that still listened to their recordings up to that point but had also moved onto other music. The covers album GNR put out as a stopgap only had one big hit on the radio/MTV, IIRC. I didn't know anyone that actually rushed out to buy it as they were still listening to the old stuff and weren't excited about a covers album.
     
  21. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Fun fact: The Spaghetti Incident? was the first CD I ever owned, having just gotten my older sister’s hand me down CD player at that time. I listened to that album a lot, but not much since admittedly.

    If I could have gotten the Illusion albums on CD and been able to skip through the tracks I didn’t like, I’d have maybe appreciated them more.
     
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I remember talking to someone at the time, and he said the band should have just taken the best songs from each album and put them on one CD. I don't really listen to GNR anymore, but he probably had a point there.
     
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  23. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    I think that’s what people have said about every rock double album ever made! It was certainly true in the case of the Illusion albums.
     
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  24. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    The release was a huge event. G'nR had exploded, first from Appetite then with small releases that kept them in the spotlight. Let's put it this way. Today people wait for software stores to open at midnight to get copies of video games before they are are released even as a download. Sure this kind of thing is less of a thing because video games can be downloaded ahead of release, but it's still a thing for console releases. Well, this whole concept really started with the release of the UYI albums. People waited in lines and MTV covered it nationally.

    As far as the albums go, I'm not going to say they were a let down. But Appetite for Destruction for a tight single LP with no filler. And UYI was 4 sides with a lot of bloat. I don't think there are any horrible songs on the album, but a 5 minute version of a Bob Dylan song was a bit much. And Civil War was over 7 minutes. I'll just say it was bit much for most to take in. But it gave them songs to tour in stadiums without sounding like they were just doing a live performance of AfD.
     
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  25. JamieLang

    JamieLang Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Except that Appetite was too long for a single LP-lousy sounding, IMO….and UYI was FOUR discs, 8 sides. Sounded better one vinyl, worse on CD, again IMO.

    but, yes—sure plenty of bloat. 7min Civil War NOT included. IMO. Love that track, which is also a STARK reminder of what they lost not having Adler play.
     
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