Watch AXL ROSE And TRACII GUNS Perform LED ZEPPELIN's 'Rock And Roll' With SHARK ISLAND In 1986

January 9, 2023

Tracii Guns has shared a video of him and Axl Rose playing play the LED ZEPPELIN classic "Rock And Roll" with SHARK ISLAND at Gazzarri's in West Hollywood, California in April 1986. The full video, which has floating around the Internet for a number of years, was shot by Marc Canter, an amateur photographer and the owner and general manager of the legendary rock 'n' roll hangout Canter's Deli in Los Angeles, California. Marc has been friends with Slash for over four decades and, has had unlimited access to the formative years of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, GUNS N' ROSES.

More than two years ago, SHARK ISLAND vocalist Richard Black was asked in an interview with Misplaced Straws if there is any truth to the rumors that Rose "stole" some of his stage moves, including his signature "snake dance". Black said: "At first, I avoided it and didn't want to talk about it. And there was a reason for that because if you look at it from my perspective if I say anything at all, it is perceived as sour grapes. Well, you're just jealous because that happened and that happened, you know? So I had to keep quiet. Couldn't really say anything. Now, with so much dirty water under the bridge, it doesn't really even matter. And frankly, as far as what I see Axl Rose doing is not very attractive at all. It doesn't look good to me. I was a trained modern dancer, you know? I did that, too. I mean, I was a singer, a songwriter, a dancer. I spent a considerable amount of time training and doing all this and thousands of hours on stage. And then here comes a couple of people off the turnip truck and show up in town, and it's pretty obvious that my kind of stick was appropriated.'

He continued: "I'll tell you one of the things that really got me was we were there at Gazzarri's, like I said, every week, and at the time everybody didn't have cell phones and video cameras with them all the time. People were sneaking in, camcorders with VHS tapes. I mean, I don't know how you could; I don't know how they managed to do that. There were people in the back. The places were packed. I mean, the shows were packed shoulder to shoulder, and if it was wintertime, you had a big jacket, you throw it under you. Anyway, I went over to Axl's pad one time, like some kind of an after-party or something. And he had a TV going in the living room area and on top of the TV, there was I don't know, eight or 10 VHS tapes, all marked with SHARK ISLAND. He taped some shows verbatim, boom, and one playing as I walked in on TV, no bones about it, nothing was hidden. Well, you know, my heart sank when I saw that. Because I already knew at that time that GUNS N' ROSES were getting down with David Geffen and that whole thing. And I knew that the person with the biggest mouthpiece is going to be able to claim whatever, so what can I do? You know, what can I do?"

Richard added: "He wasn't able to do anything nearly as good as what I was doing. I'm not trying to boast or anything, but truly. So what happened is the first song that came out is 'Welcome To The Jungle', right. The video of 'Welcome To The Jungle', even by GUNS N ROSES standard, is largely different than what came after that for them. For Axl, for everybody. It was very much a different vibe; he was dressed differently, more glamour, after that and they decided to try to look like Hell's Angels or something. They kind of shifted gears to that. And we weren't that I was never into that. I was more into, like, elegance and decadence and a trifle raunchy. That's what I kind of tried to be. That was like what my intent was. So if you look, if one were to look at 'Welcome To The Jungle' and one were to remember the Gazzari's-era time, then the whole similarity is very obvious. but in the grand scheme of things, he ended up at best, getting kind of a jump start for some kind of image. Image [was] very important then. It is even now, but no one wants to admit it, but image is very important. How how do you want to be perceived? So it ended after that. I mean, and then when you see him now, you know there's virtually no similarity. But maybe there's little things that you can't maybe put a finger on.

"So I hate for it to sound like, again, like sour grapes," he continued. "And it's not, because good for him, you know? But I would have hoped… if it was me and something like that would happen, even inadvertently, I would've thrown somebody a bone at that point. I mean, I had I didn't have a record deal for several years after that, and by that time, grunge was already knocking on my door and things were changing. So it was, like, too late, but he could have at any time, any of them, said, 'Hey, I got this friend of mine', or said something in an interview or did something because he knows how desperate it was. He didn't have to cut his teeth as bad as I did for such a long time, because he was able to appropriate something and kind of move ahead of the line, so to speak. I don't have to do all that. All that spadework, dig that ditch. I've already dug the ditch, you know? So that's what that is. And I don't frankly care. My life came out in the grand scheme of things a lot different than I had planned, but I think it's probably, if I really look at it, it's probably a good thing because I think I might have been dead."

More than a decade ago, Canter also commented on the rumors that Axl "ripped off" Richard's stage moves. Addressing the video of Axl and Tracii performing with SHARK ISLAND at Gazzari's, he wrote on a GN'R online forum: "First off that video with Axl and Tracii was from April 26th 1986 and I shot it. The reason I was there is because I knew Axl was going to be going up on stage with them and I was filming everything Axl did because I knew it was important to have it. Since I was there I shot the whole show. I gave Axl a copy of it and that's why it ended up in Axl's apartment."

He continued: "Axl had plenty of moves before he had even heard of SHARK ISLAND. Axl liked Richard and thought the band was very professional because they used to play 200 gigs a year. The snake move was something that Richard did do and Axl must have been a bit influenced by it and picked up on it and at some point worked it in with all his other moves. It doesn't mean that Axl ripped him off. Lots of Rock Stars get influenced by something they see and use it somehow. Mick Jagger got a lot of them from Tina Turner. Axl is very natural and is mostly one of a kind in everything he does but I'm sure some of what he does came from something he saw somewhere and just starting doing something like it because it felt right. Joe Perry took a lot from Jeff Beck, Slash took a lot from Joe Perry that's Rock N' Roll and there are kids out there that took something from Slash. No big deal."

In a January 2007 interview with the South Wales Echo, Tracii stated about his early years as a member of GUNS N' ROSES, "If I had stayed with Axl, I don't know if GUNS N' ROSES would have been any better or worse but I think it would have been a very different band. We would have had a bit more fire. But the key to that band's success was Axl because at that time his singing really connected with people on a social level."

He continued, "I haven't spoken to Axl since 1988, but we still have a lot of mutual friends. I don't wish him ill, but it's hard because he never stops saying bad things about me. He was on my MySpace page doing that very recently.

"Axl's problem is that if people don't support him a hundred percent in what he's doing, he just doesn't want to know them anymore. He's so talented, but that talent comes from being a nervous wreck and some place in your head you need to be happy, which he isn't."

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