Thursday, May 14, 2015

Are You A Kurt Or Are You An Axl?

I was watching the fine but disturbing Kurt Cobain documentary A Montage of Heck last night, and something dawned on me during home video footage of Kurt Cobain mocking Axl Rose.  Just as English rock fans in the mid-1960s could be divided into "mods" and "rockers," Gen X rock fans in the early 1990s could just as easily be divided into Axls and Kurts.  There was plenty of crossover of course; I owned both Use Your Illusion II and Nevermind.  GNR was a hard rock/metal band with a distinct punk influence, while Nirvana was a punk band that borrowed heavily from metal.  That being said, there was no doubt that I truly loved Nirvana and idolized Kurt Cobain, and merely liked some of the Guns' songs while finding Rose himself repugnant.

If you aren't sure if you're a Kurt or an Axl, take the following quiz below:

1.  Should a rock front man wear a dress in concert and videos?
A. Yes
B. No

2.  Your stage act includes:
A. Smashing your guitar
B. Dancing like a snake

3.  Your ideal guitar solo is:
A. A junk-sick, feedback howling squall of noise
B. A virtuosic, searing experience bursting forth like the hammer of the gods

4.  If you are interviewed by Rolling Stone you:
A. Wear a t-shirt saying "Corporate Rock Magazines Still Suck"
B. Make paranoid demands to be able to copy edit your interview transcript

5.  Your ideal life partner is:
A. A fellow musician
B. A model

6.  If you get slagged by members of the media you:
A. Write a hand-written letter to the offenders calling them out
B. You write an unhinged song about how you want to "get in the ring" and beat them up

7.  You stop playing during a show because:
A. You see a young woman in the audience being harassed, and you call on security to remove her tormentors
B. Someone is taking a picture of you, leading you to storm out in anger

8.  You're super-excited that ______ is touring with you
A. The Melvins
B. Metallica

9.  When MTV plays a live cover version by your band, the song is:
A. David Bowie's "Man Who Sold The World"
B. Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door"

10.  Your band's album art is banned/restricted because it depicts:
A.  Fetuses
B.  A woman being sexually assaulted by a robot

11.  One of your songs is included in the soundtrack for:
A.  Beavis and Butthead
B.  Terminator 2

12. After your first hugely successful album your next major release is:
A.  A less poppy more edgy collection of songs made with an underground producer
B.  Two separate, indulgent sprawling albums with songs and genres ranging all over the place

13.  When you discuss your influences, you are more likely to mention:
A.  The Pixies
B.  Thin Lizzy

14.  Your biggest music video features:
A.  Students rioting and destroying a school
B.  A celebrity wedding and mysteriously deadly thunderstorm

15.  After your original drummer is out of the band, his replacement comes from:
A.  A hardcore punk band called Scream
B.  Hard rock band The Cult

16.  You take the stage wearing:
A. A tattered cardigan
B.  A white leather jacket

17.  Your drug of choice is:
A.  Heroin
B.  Heroin

If you answered 10 or more questions with "A" you are a Kurt.  If you answered 10 or more questions with "B" you are an Axl.  If you did not answer 10 or more with either "A" or "B" your are the lead singer kid from Silverchair.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, I too enjoyed both Nirvana and GNR in my youth. Now, obviously Nirvana and Cobain will be considered the cooler, hipper option here, but I'll say this for Axl and the boys - their music travels well. By that I mean that it crosses borders in a way that isn't really possible for a band like Nirvana. Over the last few years I've had a lot of contact with people from very different parts of the world - Brazil, Eastern Europe, Turkey, and I've come across A LOT of GNR fans (especially from Latin America and E Europe) and not many Nirvana fans. Of course, metal is probably more accessible than grunge, the latter was cultural phenomenon very much tied to the cultural milieu of early 90s America, ect. But it's still interesting to hear people refer to GNR as their favorite rock band after all of these years. - James W

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

I too have noticed the international appeal of Guns. I wrote about them a few years ago, arguing that they were really the last hard rock band to truly capture a central place in American pop cultural life. I will admit that they were a million times better than other mainstream rock bands of the time, even if I find the underground stuff more interesting.