Good covers that Axl and the boys do with gusto.
Should have let Charlie Manson and his music rot.
Not a bad album at all. Actually a lot of fun.
The title refers to a food fight that happened between lead singer Axl Rose and drummer Steve Adler. When Steve sued the band his attorney referred to the fight as "The Spaghetti Incident" and the name stuck.
Much of the material was done while the band was recording Use Your Illusion I, II. They were planning on releasing a combined set of both those albums and the cover songs they did as an added bonus. This never happened so they went back into the studio and did enough material to make a full length CD.
Although this album is universally panned as being the worst offering by the band, it is still a lot of fun as Axl and the boys return to the world that they were born out of with a wild collection of mostly obscure punk rock covers with a few noteworthy exceptions. This album is raw and reminds me of the Guns N' Roses from back in their Appetite For Destruction days. No lavish production, just a very talented garage band playing the music they love.
The first song off the album goes back to 1959. Originally a hit for the group The Skyliners, GN'R (Guns N' Roses) turns the doo-wop classic "Since I Don't Have You" into a hysterical piece of rock and roll. Axl as a crooner is about like Pat Boone as a heavy metal vocalist, but he manages to pull it off. As a genuine piano doo-wop rhythm is laid down by Dizzy Reed, Axl screeches and wails through this number while Slash adds a terrific guitar solo that brings this song from the early days of rock and roll into the present. It is a lot of fun and one of the best versions of this song that I have ever heard.
Duff McKagen takes over the lead singing duties on the bands cover of the very first punk rock single ever released. "New Rose" which was originally done by the English group The Damned is a furious piece that helped to bring the world of punk to the masses. GN'R gives it an updating but doesn't quite pull it off. Even though guitarist Slash and Gilby Clarke do their best, they should have pulled Duff away from the mic! He doesn't have a bad voice but it is too smooth for this type of song. Where was Axl when you needed him?
I was rolling on the floor when I first heard the GN'R version of "Down On The Farm." The U.K. Subs also had to be laughing their respective butts off listening to Axl's version of an English accent. The thing is, I think it is intentionally done this way. To give a laugh or two to those that hear it. I bet the band could barely keep it together watching Axl sing like this. I think they do a good job of the song and Slash is dynamite as usual with a simple but wicked little solo. All in all this one is a lot of fun and a good representation of the early days of punk.
I hope the band didn't take the stage persona of David Johansen and the rest of the New York Dolls when they did their remake of "Human Being." The idea of Slash in drag, well I don't even want to think about it. Axl, he wears that kilt a lot anyway. Glam brought us a lot of good music and GN'R really tears through this one with a gusto that makes you think it was a song of their own creation. It does sound like it could have come out of the Use Your Illusion sessions. Slash is terrific as usual and Axl is in fine voice, for him. They all seem to be in their element as the song gets transformed into a very heavy piece of metal. No saxophones on this one. Just gritty guitar work that is as frenzied as any they have ever done.
A Detroit native is responsible for the next song that Axl and the gang tackle when they take on Iggy Pop's "Raw Power." Raw is the word for the original song but GN'R adds a little studio magic and cleans up the rough edges in their version. Duff and Axl harmonizing the vocals makes a strange but not unappealing mixture as they do seem to complement each other. The band throws as much into it as they can. Gilby and Slash never let you forget that this is a metal band as they fill your ears with a savage guitar attack that is relentless through the whole song. I don't see where anyone can have a problem with these guys doing punk covers if this is the outcome. Just listen to Slash's solo work on here. It is fantastic.
The song "Ain't It Fun" by The Dead Boys is the next one to get the GN'R treatment. They enlist the help of one of Axl's idols, Michael Monroe from the group Hanoi Rocks to help with the vocals. On this one they take a really cool rock song and turn it into a really cool metal tune! Although they do not vary too much from the original version, it is the guitar work that makes the difference. Louder and more predominant than on the Dead Boys take, Slash makes this one another good solid piece of work. I still have not been able to find what is so bad with this album, no matter how hard I have tried so far.
I don't know if it was intentional or not but somehow I think it was, when the band misspelled the title of their remake of the T-Rex song Buick Mackane and called it Buick Makane. The original is a slow dreamy piece with the smooth vocals of Marc Bolan, it becomes a blazing bit of heavy metal with the combo of Slash on guitar and Axl on the growling and screeching vocals. This is a great song! I am sorry but all you have to do is listen to Gilby Clarke with the wah-wah and you got to love what they did to this one. T-Rex was a band a little ahead of their time. It sounds like now is the right time thanks to GN'R.
From the opening when you hear Axl say "Yeah turn the volumn up on this," you know that what is coming is going to be a treat. Not to disappoint, the band delivers a blistering version of the Nazareth classic "Hair Of The Dog." There is no doubt that Axl was made to sing this type of song. He is dead on with his unique vocal style which comes very close to the original version. This one is a little more pumped up then the way you remember it but that is not a bad thing as you can tell that Slash is having a ball with this one. Right down to the little bit of Day Tripper that he adds to the end of the song. I am glad they left the tape running to catch the laughter after he does that. It tells me that they were just out to have some fun and that is what they created for all who listen.
For about a minute and a half Duff McKagan makes you realize why Axl is the lead singer of the band when he gets the mic once more on the cover an old Misfits tune called "Attitude." This time they play it real close to the original and it fits into the album well, but I take it that it was done on Axl's day off. That is the only reason I can think of that he wouldn't be singing this song that is made for his vocal style.
It wouldn't be complete to do punk covers without including The Sex Pistols. These guys chose a song that is not as well known one of the Pistol's calmer efforts, "Black Leather." With more of a rock and roll attitude than punk, this is a good choice by GN'R. Without much of an effort, they blaze through this one with both guitars drawn. It is loud and brutal and done with all the grit that has made this band such a force in rock and roll. I still haven't found where the problem lies with this record. Maybe it is yet to come.
It is basically Duff Mckagan who does the song "You Cant Put Your Arms Around A Memory". With a little help from Richard Duguay on lead guitar, Duff plays all the other instruments in this tribute to the talented but very messed up Johnny Thunders. I wonder why the rest of the band decided not to touch this one. I think using this song was more of a marketing tool than anything else. Duff does a real good job with it, that's for sure, and it is a good tune, but it just doesn't seem to fit with what else is on the album. It isn't one to skip over, but not the best effort on here.
The band gets back on track with the closer of the album, sort of, when they pull out a cover from the band Fear called "I Don't Care About You." This one is all about attitude and the GN'R has more than even the original but then again, who has more attitude than Axl Rose? It is a perfect song for him as it sums up his outlook on life anyway.
On my CD there is a hidden song that on later releases was just listed as another track. It is one that caused a lot of controversy and that is why I think it is on there in the first place. Why else would you put on a crappy song like "Look At Your Game, Girl?" I am glad it is a hidden track on my disc as I can shut it off without missing a beat. This song belongs in a grave somewhere just like it's writer Charlie Manson.
Well it might not be the greatest album in the world, far from it, but even trying to be critical of it, I can't find that much wrong! All in all it is a lot of fun and a good disc from start to almost the end. It has it's weak points but so do many albums that are now considered classics. When I sat down to write this review, I listened to all the original versions of the songs and compared them to the remakes. It is surprising how well GN'R did with these songs. It is even more surprising that so many regard this album as junk. It is far from that and actually quite good in many ways. Listen to it again, you might be surprised.
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