Latest News: Guns n' Roses

Raging Strings: Aerosmith vs. Guns N' Roses

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Who can forget the first few measures of Aerosmith's monster ballad "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing?" Orchestrally robust, the song became the unforgettable theme song to the '90s blockbuster summer film Armageddon as well as one of Diane Warren's biggest hits. However, the strings in Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" definitely helped define the hair ballad era in the '80s. Both tunes are dripping with melodramatic romance (yet rocking with bad boy attitude)  — but which song uses strings best? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing"

Guns N' Roses' "November Rain"

Also, check out the following releases if you're a fan of either band:

Available at VSQ's online shop, iTunes and Amazon Available at VSQ's online shop, iTunes and Amazon

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Halftime Shows Are Weird

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America's sporting events provide some of its biggest and best spectacle. But what would a spectacle be without a musical interlude for the half-time show? The most recent one that had people talking was Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown at the NBA All-Star Game. However, the granddaddy of them all is and always will be the Super Bowl. This year saw controversy yet again with the half time show featuring Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and MIA; a big brouhaha generating the most significant chatter since that thing with Justin Timberlake & Janet Jackson. But you know what? At least it's something to talk about. It's better for a halftime show to generate some controversy to add to the spectacle than for it to be just plain bad. Case in point, the halftime shows of Super Bowls past. Although the game itself has always been a major event, it was not always such a prestigious venue for the biggest acts in pop music. At its worst, it was awkward and poorly-chosen filler. It was January of 1989 and the San Francisco 49ers were taking on the Cincinatti Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. In the months before, the likes of Bon Jovi, Phil Collins, Guns N' Roses and Whitney Houston were tearing up the charts. But superstars like these were not scheduled to perform. Instead, a singing magician/ Elvis impersonator, by the name of Elvis Presto, performed a giant card trick. Check this out: There is absolutely no reason for this guy to have to sing his magic tricks – or, rather, lip sync his magic tricks. He doesn't really look like Elvis, either. As far as I can tell, the only possible reason for his shtick could be that he came up with that Presley/Presto pun, and justified it by building his entire career around it. But the ultimate legacy of bad halftime performances has to be that of Up With People, which Wikipedia insists is an educational organization, yet they keep on dancing and singing. Seriously: Up With People performed during the Super Bowl halftimes for '76, '80, '82 and '86. One man with a narrow sense of entertainment must have been booking the show for the better part of a decade. If you watch the performances today, it is amazingly dated, yet somewhat entertaining in a bewildering, ludicrous nature. The tacky fashions of the day, the decidedly uncool choreography, the complete absence of youth; it is the type of pop culture time capsule that makes you think “I can't believe that people once considered this to be the pinnacle of entertainment”. Of course, it's possible that you're just not jaded or cynical. Maybe you see these Up With People shows as good, old-fashioned, harmless fun. That's okay. But you have to think about this: Why, at America's biggest sporting event, was it decided that the musical entertainment would be an educational organization (sporting bad mustaches and bell bottoms, no less) doing musical theater renditions of other artist’s hits? Halftime shows, in whatever sport, are always going to tread into some weird territory. Because of the one-time crossover audience, they often book acts that are irrelevant to the average sports fan. I doubt many NFL die-hards are big Madonna fans, let alone enjoy spending their off-nights watching Elvis Presto dazzle the crowds at the local VFW. Still, it's better to do it big and bold, rather than bad and butt-ugly.

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For Your Consideration

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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you: The 2012 inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This recently announced bunch features a few uncharacteristically modern acts, namely, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns N' Roses. You might read this as a grab for headlines in music publications, or garnering more interest. If this is a trend they want to continue, there are plenty of candidates that would turn heads:

Pixies - It's hard to imagine this not happening eventually, but next year when their debut album Come On Pilgrim turns 25, they'll officially become eligible for induction. The Pixies have had a tremendous influence on many of the bands in alternative and indie that came after; It was 1988's Surfer Rosa that directly led to Nirvana's Nevermind. Their successful mid-decade reunion tour shows that there's still plenty of love and enthusiasm for the band, which makes their candidacy the perfect blend of historical importance and modern relevance.

Public Enemy - If the Foundation is serious about including hip-hop in their broad definition of rock and roll as modern popular music, they will need to honor Public Enemy in 2013. There's a certain symbolism to inducting someone as soon as they're eligible, and after rejecting Eric B & Rakim this year, it would do them well to include the seminal rap group when the light turns green. I refuse to make a pun about a nation of millions holding them back, but it would be an inexplicable misstep to snub Public Enemy.

Bad Religion - I wouldn't be surprised if this never happens, and if it does, I'm sure there would be plenty of reasonable dissent. But in my eyes, Bad Religion is the band that took the political aspect of punk rock the farthest in mainstream spotlight. Their induction would be a recognition of their long career, prolific output and impact as a band and as businessmen in independent music. As of now, the Rock Hall has only recognized punk's original pillars in the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and The Clash. As we get on in our years, they're going to have to look past the first generations of young genres eventually.

Be sure to check out:

The String Quartet Tribute to Pixies Available at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet to Bad Religion: History Repeating Available at iTunes and Amazon

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Longest Wait Between Albums

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Call us impatient, but it can be frustrating when our favorite artists take a vacation from the studio and create years of hang time between new albums. These are the artists from whom we’ve had to wait the longest for new material, and whose back catalogs we listened to on repeat in the mean time. Bruce Springsteen Wait Time: Seven Years The seven years that elapsed between 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad and 2002’s The Rising represented the longest gap between new studio album releases in Bruce Springsteen's storied career. Since that September 11th inspired LP, there has been a comparative flood of new Springsteen material:  Devils & Dust, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, Magic and Working on a Dream – which all came out between 2002 and 2009. Incubus Wait Time: Five Years It took SoCal based Incubus five years to record 2011’s appropriately titled If Not Now, When?, the long-awaited follow-up to their 2006 album Light Grenades. In the half decade between albums, the band went on a hiatus, during which lead singer Brandon Boyd enrolled in art school, guitarist Mike Einziger studied music composition at Harvard and drummer José Pasillas had a baby. Said Boyd, “There's a lot of normal life stuff going on right now—school, babies, mortgages. I'm of the mind to say it wouldn't be a bad thing to disappear for a year or two years. A lot of people would say culture moves too fast and you need to remind people, but I would argue there's not any rush." Guns N' Roses Wait Time: Fourteen Years The prize for longest wait for an album goes to Guns N' Rose’s fourteen years in the making of Chinese Democracy. Axl Rose, (the only original member of GNR involved in the recording process), delayed the follow-up to 1993’s The Spaghetti Incident with a production style described by many overseers as “obsessive.” It was no surprise then that when the album was finally released, many reviews called the album “overproduced.” In an open letter to fans, Rose wrote: “To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement.” We feel the same way about the wait. Be sure to check out: Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Incubus Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Incubus Vol.2 Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Guns N' Roses Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Songs of the Month

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The Vitamin String Quartet’s gorgeous renditions of songs by The Decemberists is scheduled for release this month. The album includes Decemberists favorites including “O Valencia” and “The Mariner’s Revenge Song.” In honor of this release and the imminent change of seasons, we give you our five favorite month-of-the-year themed songs. “November Rain”: This iconic, multi-movement epic from Guns n’ Roses 1991 album Use Your Illusion I was released a full eight years after Axl Rose began working on it. The music video for the eight minute 57 second song cost a cool $1.5 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive music videos ever made. The video was done twice, as Axl was dissatisfied with the first attempt. Rose’s then girlfriend, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, plays his girlfriend/wife and wore an $8,000 gown in the video’s wedding scene. “Wake Me Up When September Ends”: This 2005 Green Day hit was rumored to be about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong has stated that he wrote the song about his father, who passed away when Armstrong was ten years old. The song became a tribute to the victims of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and was the first song performed at the Superdome in New Orleans after the storm. “Month of May”: Arcade Fire closed the 2011 Grammy Awards with this heavy rock anthem immediately after the eight member Canadian indie act won the Album of the Year award for The Suburbs. “A Long December”: This melancholic Counting Crows hit comes from 1996’s Recovering the Satellites. Crows singer Adam Duritz wrote the song while splitting between the recording studio and a hospital where friend who had been seriously injured in a car accident was recovering. The song’s music video features “Friends” star Courtney Cox, who Duritz was dating at the time. “4th of July, Asbury Park, (Sandy)”: This 1973 songs appears Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, the Innocent at the E Street Shuffle. The romantic ballad has been described as the “perfect musical study of the Jersey Shore boardwalk culture” and was one of the two Springsteen songs drummer Max Weinberg knew when he auditioned for a spot in the E Street Band in 1974. Be Sure to Check Out: The String Quartet Tribute to Guns N' Roses Available now at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quartet Performs Green Day's American Idiot Available now at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quartet Tirbute to Arcade Fire's Funeral Available now at iTunes and Amazon Hometown: The String Quartet Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Corey Taylor Rumored to Be Joining Velvet Revolver

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Ex-Guns’N’Roses axe man Slash has admitted certain rumors about Slipknot and Stone Sour front man, Corey Taylor, joining Velvet Revolver are true, however the band has yet to make it’s final decision on this topic.

It seems that with Slash’s recent touring commitments for his solo album, the band ran out of time to decide whether to bring Taylor on board as replacement for Scott Weiland, who was thrown out of Velvet Revolver in 2008. Slash told the Charlotte Observer, “There was truth to the rumor that we were looking at Corey – but then I left for tour. So there’s nothing being done at the moment. No decision has been made.” This seems to be a trend for Slash, who’s been notoriously cautious about working with certain people. When referring to his front man problems, he noted that it’s been “just bad luck.” However, he’s changed his tune recently, telling the Observer,
“Beggars can’t be choosers. The most important thing is to find people who are musically capable, and then you have to take their personality into account. It’s something you need to accept within reason if they play the way you want them to play. A lot of musicians are crazy – that’s what makes them great musicians.”
Fellow Revolver, Duff McKagan spoke out about the Taylor rumors to ESPN.com. The musician/sports columnist was asked what the most important quality in a front man is, besides having a good voice. He explained,
“Any good artist has to have the ability to tap the dark stuff and have it be real. Great lead singers have the ability to tap that. No inhibitions help as well. Axl [Rose] and Scott [Weiland] are two of the best front men ever. Corey Taylor is one of those guys as well. He can tap it.”
However, when asked if Taylor would be joining the band straight out, he noted, “I can neither confirm nor deny. He is a bad dude though. I like him as a human being and a singer. He is the voice of a whole new generation.” Be sure to check out: The String Quartet Tribute to Velvet Revolver Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Guns 'N Roses Available now at iTunes and Amazon The Scorched Earth Orchestra Performs Slipknot Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Stone Sour Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Slashing the Band…Lead Guitarist Slash Finally Goes Solo

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Since Guns and Roses rocked onto the music scene and shot their way into our cassette players and musical memories, the word Slash has gone from a violent verb to a noun for “kick ass guitar player.” After decades of leading Axl and the boys and gaining notoriety as one of the world’s best guitar players, in the spirit of rock and roll, Slash has finally come out from behind his hair, aviators, and top hat, and released his first solo album. In order to prevent confusion, the album is simply titled, “Slash,” and the concept stems from the guitarist’s attempt to take lead and quote, “get a bunch of different people to guest on my record, as opposed to me appearing on everybody else’s record.” Born Saul Hudson, the guitar guru plays lead axe on the album for thirteen songs and a slew of notable guest singers including: Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Adam Levine from Maroon Five, Iggy Pop, Kid Rock. Ozzy Osbourne, and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden. As number two on Time Magazine’s list of “ten best guitar players of all time,” some may be surprised to see the legend join hands with a pop star like Fergie…but he calls her a closet rocker, and since the album has been released, the most downloaded song so far is the tune she performs, “Beautiful Dangerous.” Slash split with Axl back in the 90s, and has since started the successful hard rock band Velvet Revolver. While he may not completely impress his die-hard followers with his solo “Slash,” upon my review of the album, the top hat wearing axe swinger has once again NAILED IT. With this album the rock icon proves that while his career has spanned several decades, he certainly has more musical love to give. Just a few days fresh, “Slash” is sure to be one of the biggest rock albums of the year. The first single off the album is “By the Sword,” performed by Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, and while his tune with Fergie is initially more popular, I would not be surprised if this song receives the most critical acclaim. Slash’s solo attempt differs from his past work is many ways, but mostly because there is essentially something for everyone. I haven’t had enough time with the album just yet, but so far my favorites include: 1. “Hold On” featuring Kid Rock (yep. I am a total Kid Rock fan and not afraid to admit it) 2. “Beautiful Dangerous” featuring Fergie. (Hey, Slash is right…she IS a closet rocker!) 3. “Promise” featuring Chris Cornell (there is just SOMETHING about his voice…)

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Pump Up The Volume: Ten Songs For Anyone’s Playlist

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Not only can music bring people from different backgrounds together, but those from different generations as well…the best way to come together may be over music.

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