I grew up on classic rock. My parents made sure that my younger sister and I knew all the greats: The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, The Clash, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Queen…you name it, I knew all the words by the time I was five years old.
I can distinctly remember sitting in my backyard with my dad, around the time that I was going into kindergarten, and him teaching me the opening lines to Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin, which I would repeat over and over to his amusement.
Another time in my early childhood, I can remember my parents not being able to find the cassette tape for my favorite song at the time, Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones, and not being able to calm down until I listened to it when they found the tape about an hour later. (And I still firmly believe that Wild Horses and Under My Thumb are the two best driving songs of all time, period).
But as I went through elementary school, WPLR or The Fox always on in my car, one band stuck out in particular.
For my 10th birthday, I received Guitar Hero III for the Wii. I loved it because it came with the incredibly cool guitar console, and my parents loved because instead of hearing my sister and I play Wii Sports or Mario Kart for the 10,000th time, they would get to hear some of their favorite music.
As I played the game for the first time, trying to unlock all the songs, I was really drawn to one of the “battle” songs. At the end of each level, there would be one song in which you would have to guitar battle against the guitarist of the band you were covering, and this song happened to be Welcome to the Jungle, in which I battled against the one and only Slash.
As I played the song, I fell in love with the electrifying guitar playing, the raspy sound of Axl Rose, and the incredible energy that the song created for everyone listening, and I was hooked.
I immediately bought the album off of the early iTunes and listened to it on repeat–I became obsessed.
That year, I was Slash for Halloween, hung up posters of Guns N’ Roses all over my otherwise 10-year-old-girl-appropriate room, and listened to it on repeat as soon as I got home.
I even picked up playing the electric guitar after being inspired by Slash, one of the first songs I learned being the chords to Paradise City (albeit the very, VERY simplified version).
The next year, I got tickets to see Slash perform at Terminal 5 in New York City with my dad, in which I was easily the youngest person there by 30 years. Looking back, this might not have been the greatest idea, as there were 4 people kicked out for punching people in mosh pits, I was told not to go into the bathroom because “people would be doing drugs in there”, and I got a couple drinks spilled on me at the ripe age of 11. Yet standing against the railing and looking down at my idol playing my favorite songs is still one of my favorite memories from my childhood.
And now, as a college student, I still find myself gravitating to this album. I play at least 1 Guns N’ Roses song every week on my radio show, and my go-to karaoke song is still Sweet Child O’ Mine. Even though my music taste has changed over the years, Appetite For Destruction has remained a staple ever since my Guitar Hero days.
In looking back at how the album shaped my life, I realize how much good this album has brought me.
It’s shaped the career I want to go into, the instruments I play(ed), and has been a staple in my life for nearly a decade. So thank you, Appetite, and thank you, GNR, for all the good you’ve brought into my life, and all the memories I’ve created because of your music.
While I haven’t been able to see the whole GNR band play together, hopefully with their upcoming shows in October at Madison Square Garden and The XL Center, I’ll be able to make the trek up from D.C. to see them, and come full circle.