The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has yanked down a city-wide ad for the historic (sorta) Guns ‘N Roses concerts taking place in Las Vegas this month after a bunch of anger/complaints from the citizens of Las Vegas. The poster, which incorporates artwork from painter Robert Williams* bizarre sci-fi painting titled “Appetite for Destruction,” has a lecherous robot in a compromising position with a defenseless, splayed woman. Oh, and her shirt is ripped open and her panties are around her ankles. You know, typical Disney stuff.
This is not the first time that the band’s use of this painting has caused controversy. Back in 1987, retailers refused to stock GNR’s debut album APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION because Axl & Company wanted to use it as the cover art. In the end, the band fell to label pressure and alternate artwork was used. The painting is more batshit-stupid than rocking. At least, that’s my opinion. I don’t understand GNR’s continued insistence on using it to represent themselves, to be honest.
I’m astounded that the bean counters over at the Hard Rock actually agreed to run the ads. What better way to convince people that your brand is fun for the whole family than a leering, rape-y robot? To be clear, I hate this painting and I wish GNR/Axl would get over their massive hard-on for it...however Las Vegas is known the world-over as “Sin City.” We’re not talking about Orlando, Florida or Branson, Missouri. We’re talking about the smutty-ist, gambling capital of the country. A place where shady looking dudes hand out flyers of chicks you can legally pay to know (like in the Biblical sense).
I can’t imagine the ad was the most misogynistic thing the fanny-pack wearing masses of Las Vegas are being subjected to in a city where selling women is mostly legal. I was recently in Times Square and that place was stuffed to the gills with super-porny clothing ads. I know it’s not the same because none of the Gap ads were violent, but as we all know sex sells and this shit is everywhere these days. Again, I’m not saying I think this ad should be plastered at the airport, welcoming families to Las Vegas (which it was), but I think Las Vegas needs to check itself. I mean, this is Las Vegas we’re talking about. And this poster is a drawing. It doesn’t depict actual human beings, unlike the prostitute ads.
In the end, I can’t help but think that this is just a publicity stunt. This controversy was not only foreseen but wanted, I suppose to generate interest in the concerts and get us all talking–in which case: mission accomplished. Las Vegas should take a long look in the mirror and GNR should put “Appetite for Destruction” (the painting) to rest.
Look, I like what I like. I’ll be the first to admit that I have great taste…and I also love the worst shit. One of the nice things about being a mature adult, as opposed to a scared little boy, is that I just don’t care what people think. Which is why I’m able to speak openly about so-called “guilty pleasures.” You know, those things we all like but wouldn’t necessarily admit.
Well, no one’s twisting my arm, here are 5 of mine:
1. ROBBIE WILLIAMS:Britain’s most popular entertainer is also one of my all-time favorites. The bravado. The ego. The amazingly catchy (and increasingly kitchy) songs. The positives are also the negatives when it comes to Mr. Williams. Though he started out in a dopey boy-band, Robbie’s been realeasing consistently great pop records since the late 1990’s. Too bad his fey, anglo-saxon schtick didn’t catch on over here in America. Oh well, I guess it’s just another example of Europe’s superiority.
Robbie Williams, man-above-town
CHECK OUT: 2002’s ESCAPOLOGY is probably the best “mature” Robbie record to date. You should also pick up THE EGO HAS LANDED which is an American-only compilation of hits from first few British releases.
AVOID: The over-the-top dance/techno record RUDEBOX is awesome, but will probably turn most people off.
2. GENESIS: Everybody agrees that after Peter Gabriel left Phil Collins ran Genesis into the ground. Well guess what? I find myself listening to “I Can’t Dance” way more than “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” There’s a reason that Genesis went double-mega-ultra platinum after Collins took the helm: I only sometimes want to hear a 7+ minute prog-rock song…but I always want to hear a 3 minute pop song.
Gabriel took all the pink hearts and blue horseshoes.
CHECK OUT: INVISIBLE TOUCH and 1983’s GENESIS are pretty much the gold-standard when it comes to Genesis. Sure, they’re mostly Phil Collins solo-records, but who cares?
AVOID: STATION TO STATION the record the band released after Phil Collins left in 1996. No Collins? No Gabriel? No dice.
3. LADY GAGA: This one surprise you? Well it shouldn’t. Lady Gaga’s first two records are pretty damn good. “Bad Romance” and “Paparazzi” are great, catchy songs. The production alone is fantastic, period. I’m seeing a pattern here with these guilty pleasures: they’re all “pop” music. What is it about a good pop song that makes us love it despite ourselves?
This is the stupidest cover for this album I could find.
CHECK OUT: THE FAME and THE FAME MONSTER.
AVOID: BORN THIS WAY. My how the mighty have fallen.
4. METALLICA: Alight, now we’re getting to embarrassing. I think I’d rather tell people I like Lady Gaga before I told them I liked Metallica. Why? We’ll besides being pretty meat-headed, Metallica has cultivated a reputation over the years as pretty much hating their fans (see Metallica vs. the Internet and LULU). That said, once upon a time Metallica WAS metal. To this day I get goosebumps listening to “One” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Sure, “Enter Sandman” has been overplayed, but that’s because it’s an awesome song. It sucks to admit it: but I like Metallica.
A graveyard. How prophetic for Metallica's future artistic endeavors with Lou Reed.
CHECK OUT: MASTER OF PUPPETS and RIDE THE LIGHTNING.
5. BREE SHARP: This is totally random. I almost didn’t put her on the list because she’s pretty obscure. I decided I liked Bree Sharp after hearing her do a cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” on an all-covers podcast a few years back. I downloaded her album MORE B.S. and thought it was fantastic. Songs like “Everything Feels Wrong” and “Morning in a Bar” are melancholy yet kinda dreamy at the same time. I then proceeded to do a little research and found out that she’s mostly known for her semi-novelty song “David Duchovny” which is about her infatuation with the former X-Files star. Yikes girl.
Look at that front-end! Oh, and there's a nice cab too.
CHECK OUT: MORE B.S. and her live album LIVE AT THE FEZ (if you can find it).
AVOID: Her 1999 debut record, A CHEAP AND EVIL GIRL, is pretty lame and dated. A song about Agent Mulder, seriously?
(DIS)HONORABLE mentions must also go to:Van Hagar/Sammy Hagar, Jay-Z, Duncan Sheik, 14:59-era Sugar Ray, Lilly Allen, Sade, Mick Jagger (solo), and Ben Folds rapping.