Having just listened to a re-mastered version of Captain Beefheart?s “Safe As Milk,” it occurred to me that The Dude was very much part of the music scene sporadically throughout his career of relaxation, exemplified by a career-high stint with the road crew of those “bunch of assholes” Metallica. My mind wandered further, “What kind of album would The Dude write?”
The Dude seemed to have a fairly wide and eclectic taste. From the folk rock of Dylan, to the acid-infused blues chants of Beefheart, to the more classic early rock sound of Mickey Newbury, who?s song “Just Dropped In” was masterfully performed by Kenny Rogers. I wouldn’t doubt that The Dude’s proclivities might not be loath to peruse the musings of Autobahn’s seminal Nagelbett, for curiosity’s sake, if nothing more.
Sadly, as to the musical content of such an album, we are left wanting. We can never truly know if The Dude has any musical talent himself, or whether or not he plays an instrument at all (although that fact hasn’t stopped many of today’s throwaway pop minstrels). Whatever it might sound like, there is one thing we can count on; the way it would be made.
Any production would require a certain limberness of mind that can only be provided through a healthy prescription of caucasians and time set aside to “Do a J.” Any studios used would have to be fitted with a rug appropriately selected to “tie the room together.” And, most importantly of all, the record would almost definitely be compiled at such leisurely pace as to breathe in and exhale whole passages of various musical genres. Needless to say, the pace would have to be tuned to allow plenty of time for bowling, lest the recording implicitly, through The Dude’s absence, contravene any number of league bylaws.
It was this one essential property of what I shall fancifully call “The Dude Sessions” that made me realise something truly amazing: W. Axl Rose may indeed be one of our most prominent and recognised modern day dudes! I’m sure this is not a suggestion that sits very well amongst most readers. Tantrums, fights, law-suits, accusations — these are not the primary characteristics of any would-be dude. Indeed, taken alone each of these quirks would be enough to disqualify, but scratch the surface and we reveal one crucial factor; time.
Guns N’ Roses released their first album in early 1987, which was toured right into 1990. The next full studio album followed in 1991: Use Your Illusion I and II. This leaves a gap of four years between releases. Whilst the gruelling schedule and pace of touring an album could be seen as very un-dude, it must be put into context.
Led Zeppelin, for example, never let such a period of time slip away in between releasing studio albums, saving injury or death. Releasing their first album, the self-titled Led Zeppelin I, on January 12th 1969, it was hardly half a year later that they released their second offering to the public, Led Zeppelin II, on the 22nd October. Then, it was less than a year till their next release.
This followed in the pattern of many bands in the late 60s and 70s. Mickey Newbury himself was one such workaholic artist, often releasing two albums a year in the late 60s after Harlequin Melodies in January of 1968. An example of a more commercial band is KISS, who released two albums a year from 1974 to 1978. The Eagles were similarly unrelenting in their pursuit of business, releasing an album every year from 1972 to 1976. Some of us fuckin’ hate The Eagles man, and no wonder! What an extremely un-dude workload.
So, put into context we can already see how Axl and his Guns N’ Roses cohorts (whoever they may currently be) undoubtedly like to “take ‘er easy dude?”. But the period between 1987 and 1991 pales in comparison with the number of years it took to release their next full and original studio album.
Chinese Democracy was released only a few days prior to the composition of this essay on November 24th 2008. That’s an astonishing 17 years later. Whatever its content, and however it was made, one thing remains without doubt; Axl Rose is a man who clearly takes his work very, very lightly. This is why I would like to suggest W. Axl Rose be given an honorary Priesthood of the Dudeist Church.
I for one would like to think that it is in exactly this vein that The Dude would create and record a studio album all of his own; minimal effort, maximum time. Perhaps, on second thought, there may be just one difference between the recording methods of Axl and El Duderino himself. Maybe he would have done what so many thought Axl would do: never release it at all.
And he certainly would not have used a video artist with a cleft asshole to direct any of the subsequent videos.
Incidentally, the Dude’s avatar, Jeff Bridges did record an album recently: Be Here Soon and it’s purty damn good. We don’t know how strictly Dudeist the sessions were, but we’d like to imagine he recorded some of the tracks in his bathrobe.
It’s true, on face value I would disagree with Axl being very dudely. He was the reason his band broke up in the first place. I’ve always assumed Axl was the fascist in the group, but it’s not like I know any of the guys personally.
On second thought, you do bring up a good point though. He does take his time when it comes to producing any new albums. I can’t really argue there, however, at the same time I feel he has a little Walter in him – am I wrong?
The Arch Dudeship says
That one concert where Axl tore into a fan who was taping the concert was definitely Walteresque. “What’s mine is mine.”
Still, it does appear as though Axl has a very laid-back approach to producing his music.
Musically, while the Dude’s taste is very eclectic with CCR at the top of his playlist, I see The Grateful Dead as being more in synch with him philosophically and temperamentally. I could see him checking out some GnR, though…”Welcome to the Jungle” is thematically similar to “Run Through the Jungle” in some ways. There’s no literal connection, though.
Irish Monk says
That had not occurred to us, dude. You make a very interesting argument, but, in my humble opinion, William Bailey is more un-dude than Walter, Uli, Woo, and Jesus combined.
If Axl had taken umpteen years to record his solo album (it ain’t Gn’R without Slash and Duff) because of laziness, I would be the first to second your nomination. But I think Chinese Democracy would have come out at least a decade ago if he was a bit more laid back. How many producers, engineers, and band members did he go through to make the album? The number is up in the twenties. Pardon my french, but the man is a Maude-damned control freak.
Also dude, let’s not forget- let’s not forget that beating a Victoria Secret supermodel and using “demon-possession” as your legal defense…that ain’t legal either.
Even if Axl got a lobotomy, chemical castration, apologized to the world, and spent the rest of his days recording whalesong, he’d still have a few decades of negative karma to atone for.
But, well, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion, man. Sorry for dragging all this negativity into your comment section, Reverend Bro
Irish Monk – that’s exactly what I was hinting at, I just couldn’t remember all the details.
The Arch Dudeship says
I did not know that.
I haven’t really heard much about Axl since Use Your Illusion came out. I always liked Sweet Child of Mine and Welcome to the Jungle. His version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door is nice…beyond that, though, I don’t know much about Axl beyond some of his sensational fights that made headlines a while ago.
Swedish Jeff says
Ok, so the guy takes alot of time recording albums, but hes also known as one of the biggest assholes in the world. Sorry Rev. Aaron but we have to agree to disagree here.
The Dudely Lama says
Man, I’m afraid Axl is going to come kick all of our asses soon. Here’s a trick if he does: yank his new pink and yellow corn-row hairdo as hard as you can, and run.
I have to agree with Irish Monk, according to numerous articles where the new shit has come to light, the length of time to produce this album was not so much due to Axl’s laziness, but, in the parlance of our times, his very UN-Dude attitude. Mainly, his need to control every aspect of the albums production. I can’t see The Dude being that obsessed. Am I wrong?
Irish Monk says
No, you’re not wrong, 67Dude, Axl’s just an asshole
The Arch Dudeship says
Okay then. :-)
I hope Axl doesn’t go Jay and Silent Bob on us, hunting us down and beating us one by one. I’ve started sleeping with a bat next to my bed just in case. I got Walter on speed dial.
The Arch Dudeship says
He von’t hurt you, Chalupa. He’ll just take ze money you haf on you und call it eefen.