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Guns N’ Roses Slap Mega-Fan With Lifetime Ban

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Rick Dunsford is what you would conservatively call “a big Guns N’ Roses fan.” He frequently posts on all the most popular GN’R message boards (the Guns fan community is one step removed from Trekkies in terms of obsessiveness). He’s seen the band live 32 times. He has the members’ autographs tattooed on his arm. Shit, he named his newborn son Axl! You might naturally assume he did that in my honor, but no, it was actually for Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose.

He’s also very publicly pursued GN’R bootlegs over the years, with an emphasis on the scores of unreleased material from the Chinese Democracy sessions. According to Tone Deaf – The Brag, as part of these pursuits, Dunsford “reportedly purchased a 19-disc collection” of Chinese Democracy demos. And it’s for this reason that he has found himself in trouble — some might say wrongfully — with the band.

This past Monday, October 7, the ever-devoted Dunsford traveled to Wichita, KS, to catch the band on their currently-in-progress mini-tour (tickets). He says he never even made it into the venue before reps for the band told him he’s no longer welcome at their concerts:

“So today I flew out to Wichita, KS to see my favorite band Guns N’ Roses! Today would be my 33rd time seeing them! Well I was just pulled from the line and told if I ever come to a Guns N’ Roses show again that I’ll be arrested! I was gonna escorted off the property and told I’m done.” 

He also shared video of the incident:

So why was Dunsford singled out? Well, apparently, a bunch of those Chinese Democracy demos leaked online earlier this year, and the band (or someone in their inner circle), having heard about his recently-acquired bootleg box set, believes Dunsford to be responsible.

And if Dunsford was responsible for the latest leaks — or even for making money from the leaks he has obtained — well, that would be one thing. But the consensus amongst other members of the obsessive GN’R fan community seems to be that he was not responsible for those leaks. And while one could easily argue that buying or trading bootlegs is just plain wrong, there’s an inherent paradox in that argument: the people who collect the most bootlegs of any given band are the band’s biggest fans. Right? Nobody buys nineteen fucking CDs of unreleased material unless they really fucking love that group. And my guess is, the same way studies show that people who download the most music also buy the most music, guys like Dunsford spend the most on the band they love. If GN’R ever released an official 19-disc collection, I’d wager Dunsford would be the first to pre-order it. I’m also gonna guess the dude has a closet full of official GN’R merch that has cost him so much over the years that he’s probably paying for Slash’s kids’ college tuitions.

So this whole ban seems ill-conceived. Dunsford doesn’t deserve this kind of punishment. But even if you think he does, what banning him has really accomplished is to alert people that there are more Chinese Democracy leaks out there. I’m not gonna post a link here, but they aren’t hard to find. So this whole thing has ended up being kinda like when Axl Rose tried to have all the fat photos of him yanked off the Internet: now everyone has seen those photos. Not a great plan of attack.

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