Q Magazine - March 1994
Bring Out The Manson
Statement from W. Axl Rose concerning the unlisted
bonus track, Look At Your Game, Girl by Charles Manson, on Guns N' Roses'
new album, The Spaghetti Incident?
to my attention that some people have taken offence to a particular song,
Look At Your Game, Girl, on our new album The Spaghetti Incident?.
What it all boils down to is this: The Spaghetti
Incident? is 13 historical and musical gems that may have been overlooked.
For instance, New Rose was one of The Damned's main songs but for whatever
reason a lot of the world didn't hear it.
In Indiana, I was ridiculed and physically
attacked for my musical tastes, tastes that I never made any effort to
hide. I thought it would be interesting for the so called mainstream and
the people who were against this material when I was a teenager to actually
hear these songs. Maybe they'll hear something they like, and more importantly,
maybe they'll go and find the originals better, including Look At Your
Game, Girl. The reason we didn't list that song on our album is we wanted
to downplay it. We don't give any credit to Charles Manson on the album;
it's like a hidden bonus truck.
It's my opinion that the media are enjoying
making a big deal out of Guns N' Roses covering a song that Charles Manson
recorded, but if another band had recorded that song, it probably wouldn't
have been of interest. The media need their "bad guys" to guarantee
some ratings, so they use Manson's name coupled with mine to promo their
However, when I do something positive, like
contribute to charity, it's hard to get the news to pick up on those stories.
The media is an interesting beast.
Why did I choose to cover that particular
Oddly enough, one of the things we do up
at my house is have "Name That Artist" contests where we play
obscure songs and everyone tries to name the artist. My brother Stuart
found Look At Your Game, Girl at a large record chain and, needless to
say, he won that round. Personally, I liked the lyrics and the melody
of the song. Hearing it shocked me and I thought there might be other
people who would like to hear it.
I like the words because, to me, it's about
a woman who has thrown things away. She thinks she's gaining love but
basically she's gaining sadness. It was very fitting for a personal situation
I happened to be in. The song talks about how the girl is insane and playing
a mad game. I felt that it was ironic that such a song was recorded by
Charles Manson, someone who should know the inner intricacies of madness.
Manson is a dark part of American culture
and history. He's the subject of fear and fascination through books, movies,
and the interviews he's done. Most people hadn't heard anything Charles
A lot of people can say I wear the "Charlie
Don't Surf" T-shirt for shock value, but I've worn that shirt for
the past year on tour, all over the world. Yes, I was trying to make a
statement. I wore the T-shirt because a lot of people enjoy playing me
as the bad guy and the crazy. Sorry, I'm not that guy. I'm nothing like
him. That's what I'm saying. There's a real difference in morals, values
and ethics between Manson and myself and that is "Thou shalt not
kill," which I don't. I'm by no means a Manson expert or anything,
but the things he's done are something I don't believe in. He's a sick
individual. Look at Manson and then look at me. We're not the same. Plus,
I like the black humor of the "Charlie Don't Surf" line for
the movie Apocalypse Now.
I think people think I'm crazy because I
believe in telling the truth. I'll admit sometimes I don't do a perfect
job of it, but my efforts are true.
It is my understanding that the song was
written by Dennis Wilson. To what extent Charles Manson is involved in
the publishing, I'm not aware. However, I am donating all my personal
profits from having that song on our album to a charity, an environmental
group to help protect wildlife and our oceans. In our video for Estranged,
which will be the last video for the Use Your Illusion albums, we used
dolphins, and this is my way of giving something back to the dolphin,
which are endangered and threatened with extinction.
Unfortunately I Don't Surf Either.