OZZY VS. AXL: BATTLE OF THE SAD AGING ROCK STARS
I tried to land an interview with Slash when his solo album came out, but, alas, it was not to be. (Must be ’cause of all the nice things I’ve said about him over the past couple of years.) But one of the things I wanted to ask him about were how involved, or uninvolved, he was with the lyrics on the album. Each song is sung by a different celebrity singer who would be perfectly capable of writing his or her own lyrics, and the few times Slash has tried to lyrics, the results have been pretty disastrous. (Remember “Be the Ball,” the Slash’s Snakepit song about pinball? Yeah, no reason you would, but did I mention it’s about fucking pinball?) But the lyrics to at least one song in particular – the Ozzy-crooned “Crucify the Dead” – seemed so Slash-specific, I thought he might have had a hand in them.
See, “Crucify the Dead” features such lyrics as “Your ego cursed you till you bled,” “Decisions past leave you alone,” “Someday you look back and you wonder why you let it all slip away,” and a reference to – CAPTAIN OBVIOUS ALERT! – “A loaded gun jammed by a rose.” So, y’know. It seemed pretty clear that the song was aimed at one of Slash’s former collaborators. And I don’t mean Rod Jackson.
Well, Ozzy has answered my question – kind of – in a recent interview with VH1 Radio:
“Slash sent me the music of it and I worked on the melody and some lyrics for him and what I did with the lyrics, I thought, what’s always gotten me about the Guns N’ Roses guys and I say to Slash all the time, ‘Do you realize what you guys did? You’ll never understand. You guys could’ve been the next Rolling Stones, the next superband… And what I wrote in the song, ‘Crucify The Dead,’ is if I were Slash, what I would send in a message to Axl.
“I’ve never met Axl but I would be pissed off and the lyrics are about that.”
So it sounds like Slash didn’t actually have very much to do with the lyrics, but, yeah, no duh, they’re about Axl. (There’s even a line that goes “The thorns are knots around your head;” there’s another pretty obvious reference there, but it’s hard for me to hear that lyric and not think it could be a joke about Axl’s corn rows.)
Meanwhile, good of Ozzy to pick a fight with a dude he’s never met about an issue with which he wasn’t involved. Maybe he wants to come write for MetalSucks, since that’s what we do every day!
You can listen to the song in question above. Blabbermouth, where I first saw this story, has all of the lyrics, too.
And on a semi-related note, I like “Crucify the Dead” better than anything on Ozzy’s new album, Scream (which, kinda oddly, features a song called “Crucify”), probably since Slash wrote it, instead of just playing guitar over the umpteenth generic Kevin Churko or Zakk Wylde creation, as Gus G. was apparently forced to do. Take that as you will.