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Alternative History

The Origin and Meaning of The “Guns N’ Roses” Name

The Origin and Meaning of The "Guns N' Roses" Name

In addition to its undeniably iconic songs, Guns N’ Roses has created a Los Angeles-born brand that is well-established in every corner of the globe. The band’s name and logo are inscribed on merchandise proudly worn by fans from Europe to the Americas and from Asia to Australia. Music fans or not, there are few oblivious to the band’s existence.

And while the name is certainly famous, what does it mean exactly? Is it a cleverly poetic ploy on the band’s sound that mixes hard rock and power ballads? Maybe not exactly! Today, I am looking at the meaning behind the name “Guns N’ Roses” and finally laying the mystery to rest.

The Origins of Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses were, before Nirvana, the band that openly set out to jeopardise the existence of so-called hair bands. But Gn’R was also a product of the Los Angeles Sunset Strip, the birthplace of the vast majority of these melodic hard-rock bands with a love of debauched living and excessively grandiose hairdos.

Even worse, the soon-to-be christened “Guns n’ Roses” were transplants, would-be rockstars who had come to the Strip to chase fame and fortune. They knew the lifestyle that they wanted and were semi-competent musicians when they started. The rest, however, was a mystery to them as much as anyone else.

Out of Indiana came Izzy Stradlin, decked out like a member of Johnny Thunder’s The Heartbreakers, and his friend William Bailey, who’d sung in the church choir. He rebranded himself W. Axl Rose and set about reinventing his vocal approach as well.

Out of Seattle appeared Duff McKagan, a teenage veteran of punk bands. He’d played guitar before. But with a love of Prince’s funky bass line and the need for a job, he was willing to try his hands at bass guitar.

Two other childhood friends would later become part of the mix. Slash was a skateboarder who’d fallen in love with Joe Perry’s Aerosmith solos. Steven Adler was a good hang, a lifelong member of The KISS Army, and in enough time, a serviceable, funky drummer.

But, oh, let’s not forget Tracii Guns. Not only would he help name the band, but he was the hotshot guitarist on the scene.

Christening the band Guns N’ Roses

First, there was Hollywood Rose, a band formed in 1983 by Axl, Stradlin, and their buddy, guitarist Chris Weber. Other musicians came and went, and so did the name. For a while, they were called Rose.

Band members came and went. And, for a while, Axl was the singer of Tracii’s L.A. Guns. But Izzy was friendly with Tracii as well, so it only made sense that the two bands should merge. Keep the name Rose, or stay with L.A. Guns.

None were particularly established at that point. Just blend the bane members and the band names together, I guess, and you get Guns N’ Roses. It had a ring to it. And once Slash and Adler joined from the band Road Crew, they didn’t seem to mind the name. In fact, Slash would help design the first band logo, the two guns and covered by roses.

Yes, yes, many people think that the band’s name is an analogy for personal growth, for the internal struggle to find balance, a clever alternative to being called “sweet and sour.” Those many are true, but in the beginning, Guns n’ Roses were simply the stitched-together names of the singer and the guitarist of a band lineup that never existed for long.

The True Meaning of the Lyrics and the Video to “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses

A Rose by Any Other Name, A Band with Any Other Band Members

From 1987 until the early 1990s, Guns n’ Roses was one of the most successful rock groups in the world. Their albums sold millions, and they played arena tours around the world. They were veritable successors to Queen, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin, their heroes.

They enjoyed tremendous hits with songs like “November Rain” and further proved their artistic merit with tunes like “Estranged.”

But things soured between the band members. Izzy Stradlin left first. Steven Adler was fired. Slash and Duff McKagan left in the early 1990s.

Axl Rose worked on an album called “Chinese Democracy” and eventually set about touring with an almost entirely new line-up for players. Only keyboardist Dizzy Reid was a familiar face.

The band kept its name, occasionally altered its logo and remained famous around the world. But the seemingly impossible happened in 2012 when Guns N’ Roses once again included three-fifths of the original lineup – Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan. They toured the world, made millions, promoted the Guns n’ Roses brand and set about working on a new fabled album, also years in the making.

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website www.alt77.com. Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
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