David James Brock

playwright, poet, librettist

David James Brock is a Canadian playwright, poet and librettist. Author of poetry collection, Everyone is CO2. Librettist for Scottish pub opera, The Sloans Project. Co-creator of Breath Cycle, an opera for cystic fibrosis.

The Five Greatest Guns n' Roses Songs Countdown: Number 4...

I was not the coolest kid in elementary school if you can believe it.

Hi there.

Hi there.

The things I liked then are ostensibly the things I like now—things that might not be Queen-Street-cool (Pee Wee’s Playhouse, wrestling toys, Guns n’Roses….).  I’ve always thought to like a thing meant to collect it—and that means in the late 80s, I had an entire wall of my bedroom plastered with photos of Guns n’ Roses ripped from those metal magazines that were some weird combination of Teen Beat and Google Images, peppered with glamour shots of RATT, Hanoi Rocks, Dokken…etc.

Recreation of my Bedroom Wall c. 1989

Recreation of my Bedroom Wall c. 1989

I've always have a hard time getting rid of things that at one time meant a lot to me, though I’m now coming to grips with that since Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up found it’s way into our yuppie house and I’ve started selling and trading everything I own, but only after saying a quick goodbye and thank you for the joy to inanimate objects…

Thank you for the joy, old newspaper.

Thank you for the joy, old newspaper.

Okay, so there’s the cool group in grade 6, which essentially meant you got to play wall ball with a certain group of boys at recess and probably listen to Glass Tiger albums after school. I wasn’t in the group, and then one day, I was approached at recess by the group and its leader, let’s call him Glass Tiger Brett.

Glass Tiger Brett was a blonde haired blue eyed “tennis champion” (whatever that means for a 10 year old) who I am sure grew up to be nice guy, I guess, and certainly can’t be blamed for what he did as the elementary school alpha male. On a particular day, Glass Tiger Brett said to me, “You can be in our group….if…you stop listening to Guns n’ Roses.”

So I did what any grade 6 kid would do in this situation…I went home, and tore down all the Guns n’ Roses posters from my bedroom wall. The thin pages and tape congealed into this giant basketball sized item, which I took downstairs, and threw into the family fireplace. Though it surely was the “wrong move”, it was definitely the most dramatic. And I wish I could say I gave this decision required pause….but it was 1989, Glass Tiger Brett didn't come along everyday, and well, 2 Live Crew and the Dick Tracy Soundtrack would be my new soundscape now. So long as I was under the protection of Glass Tiger Brett and the Wall Ball Crew, life would be fine.

The Original Glass Tiger Brett and the Wall Ball Crew

The Original Glass Tiger Brett and the Wall Ball Crew

There’s no moral to this story. Grade 6 was smooth sailing for the rest of the year. A couple years later, I was in Junior High and Don’t Cry was played at every dance…so G n’ R was legit again…for about a year.

Well this memory took longer than I thought. Without further ado….the fourth greatest Guns n’ Roses song ever is….So Fine from Use Your Illusion II (1991).

So Fine was written and mostly performed by Duff Mckagan as a tribute to Johnny Thunders, and it is one of those songs which was probably out of place in 1991 (track 10 sandwiched between the blazing 8 plus minutes of Locomotive and the 9 minute Axl swims with the dolphins Estranged.) It feels like there would have been fight about this one, which makes me like the song even more.

DUFF: Hey, got this new song for the album. It's slow. It's called So Fine. And I'm gonna sing it. I'm really proud of it and I think this will be a nice compliment to some of our other ballads. Maybe this one can be on the radio?
AXL: Yeah, maybe, but I was thinking about this song called My World that we can put on the album with hopes that we can single-handedly destroy a musical genre for the rest of the 90s.

Favourite Lyric that makes me wonder where sweat comes from : When the lights went down in your house...Yeah that made me happy...The sweat I make for you....Yeah...I think you know where that comes from.

Most Axl’y Line/AKA "Huh?": This one is all Duff, baby, though Axl does pop in for a little Ohhing and Ahhing.

Slash Factor: Just after two and a half minutes, as though Slash hasn't really been doing much for most of the song, he interrupts with a lovely little note-for-note solo of the chorus, as though all this piano and Duff Seattle emotion was just too dang much...

Why this song is better than Sweet Child O'Mine: Duff was always the coolest guy in Gn'R (yeah, even more than Slash). Without him, they would've become Elton John way faster than they did, and this song is a sentimental beauty that I hope has been a first dance at a wedding before. Besides, who wouldn't rather be called "fine" by their life partner than a "sweet child". Though in both songs, Gn'R calls her "mine"...what's with the possessiveness, fellas? Let's just be each other's eh?

And with that, today's theme of possessions has been nicely tied up.

Don't tear me down, Glass Tiger Brett!

Don't tear me down, Glass Tiger Brett!

Sheesh, this was a bit of a long one. Thanks for getting through it...tomorrow...the third greatest Guns n' Roses song ever.