"The Roots of Guns N'Roses" (Deadline; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"The Roots of Guns N'Roses" is just what its title implies - a collection of early Guns N'Roses demos recorded in 1984 by Axl Rose, Chris Weber, Izzy Stradlin and Johnny Kreis. The bad news is that there are really only five songs on the CD, appearing first in their original demo form and then in re-mixes by Gilby Clarke and and in yet another set of re-mixes by Cinderella's Fred Koury.

The good news is that even the original demos sound pretty good. Although Axl and company were still discovering their sound (and Slash was nowhere to be found), the recordings are very well done for demos, especially demos recorded in 1984. The songs are all strong rockers and a couple may even be familiar to you - "Anything Goes" (to be later recorded on "Appetite for Destruction") and "Reckless Life" (to appear later on "Lies"). Surprisingly, "Anything Goes" is probably the worst track on the CD, sounding more like an obnoxious screech-fest than the studio cut the band recorded later. The other songs are all passable rockers that give us a hint of what the band sounded like in the very, very beginning.

The ten remixed songs all sound much better than the demos but, of course, they have the luxury of modern technology and now experienced rockers (Clarke and Coury) on their side. An interesting addition: Tracii Guns makes an appearance in guitar overdubs on "Shadow of Your Love" and "Reckless Life" on the Clarke re-mixes. 

Whether or not you'll want this in your collection is simple enough: How much of a Guns N'Roses fan are you? If you're a longtime follower, you'll want this to complete your collection. If you're just curious, it's also worth a peek. But it's not a definite must have like "Appetite for Destruction."

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Jun 2022 15:54:50 -0400.