Why was Guns N’ Roses dubbed a ‘dysfunctional soap opera’ by Joe Elliott?

Guns N’ Roses have had their fair share of feuds and disputes over the years, from Axl Rose accusing Slash of sabotaging him to Izzy Stradlin leaving the band in the middle of a tour in 1991. Because ‘any press was good press,’ these ‘issues’ undoubtedly helped the act make frequent headlines. Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott was also thinking about the’spotlight’ GN’R received from all the ‘chaos,’ as he referred to the band as a ‘dysfunctional soap opera’ during a Get Signed interview in 2001. The leader was talking about how ‘chaos’ and’dysfunction’ made bands great, while also arguing that bands like the Ramones, Oasis, and GN’R profited from their ‘issues.’ Joe stated:

“We [Def Leppard] came together because we shared a common interest and worked hard to achieve it.” U2 did as well. In the big scheme of things, the Ramones couldn’t play; they weren’t musicians’ musicians, but what a band! They were anti-establishment, but groovy and did their own thing.” He went on to explain how Oasis’ toxic dynamics had been in the spotlight for nearly two years: “The last band I can think of that came along and kicked the industry in the face was Oasis.” For 18 months, they were on the front page of the newspaper every day. They had the terrible attitude that kids enjoy. Music to irritate their parents. As a result, the youngsters go out and buy it. Every now and then, music need that.”

Then Elliott talked about how GN’R’s ‘chaos’ in the industry couldn’t be replicated: “As good as Train and Matchbox 20 are, they’re not the type of artists you end up talking about the way we did with Axl [Rose] and Slash, that dysfunctional soap opera that Guns N’ Roses are.” However, there was substance to it. They had it all: attitude and songs. We never had the attitude of Guns N’ Roses, nor were we the bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll, but we had substance in our lyrics.” Joe’s thesis that ‘chaos brings soul into music’ may be correct, as Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx revealed in a prior interview that his band utilised their troubles and ‘chaos’ to guarantee that all the attention was on them. So, any publicity is good publicity, right?

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