Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why I Like -- and Hate -- Guns N’ Roses

(Part 2)

Michael vs. Axl: This time it’s personal.

Except I never met the maniac. So what could he have done? How could this be personal, if he never crossed me?

Well, he fucked with my family, and that’s practically the same thing.

My sister Julie is a litigator; she focuses on environmental law, looking to protect the planet. Although she did represent the “bad guys” in the PG&E case. Y’know, from that movie Erin Brockovich. A good film, she admits, even though they completely simplified and distorted the facts.

She does that. Ruined all the attorney shows on TV for me. You mean “Ally McBeal” wasn’t realistic?

I now know how much Hollywood spices up the legal stuff for entertainment’s sake: A lot. Most of what my sister does is pretty mundane. Complex business disputes that take years to resolve. Even the smaller, personal proceedings are usually kinda dull. Hardly anyone asks Julie about work… and she’s relieved not to have to explain it. But every now and then she gets a case that’s got a little glamour to it.

Like the time she represented one of the many people suing Axl Rose. I won’t say who it was or what it was about. You can guess that he was being a schmuck again. And my sister got to meet the Guns N’ Roses frontman. Face to face. Attorney to asshole. Julie to jackass.

My sister was co-counsel with her boss, Tom, at a deposition in one of those high-rise office buildings in downtown Los Angeles. Facing off with another couple of lawyers, and their client, the deposed Axl Rose. I’m sure it’s no fun to be stuck in some conference room with a buncha suits, especially when you’re used to pissing your days away backstage getting loaded and schtupping groupies. But these protracted pow-wows are a small price to pay for acting like a violent dipshit.

And Axl Rose -- at 30-something years old -- was still an overgrown baby. Fidgeting and muttering under his breath about how fucking stupid this bullshit was, couldn’t believe he had to motherfucking fuckity fuck shit fuck. Tom told the other attorneys to please control their client. Axl settled down. For a moment.

Julie proceeded to discuss some basic stuff. Nothing even personal or accusatory, just going over the previous points raised, legal mumbo-jumbo… when the dipshit started muttering again, shooting daggers at my sister and calling her “a fucking bitch”.

I don’t know what I would’ve done if I was there. Reached across the table and grabbed Crackerboy by his goldilocks? Slammed the scrawny schmuck’s skull against the office window, made him apologize or pray the safety glass held?

Bam! Take you down to the Paradise City? Bam! Sure, it’s only thirty stories down there. Bam! Oh, won’t I -- bam! -- please -- bam! -- take you home -- bam!

Tom was a lot more dignified than I woulda been. He closed his briefcase and simply said the deposition was over. They wouldn’t sit there and be insulted. The opposing counsel obviously couldn’t control his client and --

“Okay, okay,” the other lawyer said. “Axl, why don’t you leave the room?” There were still things to be ironed out among the lawyers, and since the deposed was feeling distraught… perhaps he should step outside and try to calm down…

The crybaby stormed out of the room. My sister later discovered:

Axl marched out of the attorney’s offices, into the lobby by the elevators. He slumped down onto the floor, sulking. Then he opened up his guitar case and started strumming some chords on the acoustic. Some young dude from another office passed by, unaware of why the fuming little fucker was in the building in the first place. If it were anyone else, he’d probably toss a buck into the open guitar case. But this was the famous Axl Rose, so the dude thought he was at his own “Unplugged” concert. “Whoa! Aren’t you the guy from Guns N’ Roses? Cool!”

So Axl got the attention he wanted -- for being a rocker with platinum records -- instead of for being a redneck with a police record.

And Julie and Tom’s client got what they wanted when they ultimately settled the case out of court. This was probably best for Axl, too. If he threw a tantrum like that on the witness stand, well, it wouldn’t exactly help Crackerboy’s case.

Today, I can separate the man and his music. Whenever I hear “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Sweet Child of Mine”, I can enjoy it. But the tunes are always tainted by knowing about the schmuck singing 'em. Yeah, sure, Axl Rose recorded some great rock n’ roll, but I never forget:

That asshole called my sister a bitch.


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