The Spaghetti Incident?

Guns N' Roses

Geffen Records, 1993

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It was bad enough that heavy metal bad boys Guns N' Roses took more time between albums than it takes an elephant to have a baby - but even the diehard fans were left scratching their heads with the 1993 cover album The Spaghetti Incident?


After unleashing two albums of originals (save for two songs I can remember), Axl Rose and crew turned back to the music that shaped them and did it with their own flavor mixed in. They needn't have bothered.

This album became more famous not for the twelve tracks it credits, but the cover of Charles Manson's "Look At Your Game, Girl," that Rose tacked on the end of the album. You know you're in pretty deep dog shit when a track like this is a freaking high point to an album. I still don't understand why the band would choose to include a song like this... count it as yet another bean-ball between the eyes that Guns N' Roses had been lobbing at people's heads their whole career.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But the bulk of The Spaghetti Incident? shows how sloppy this band had become since the breakthrough success of Appetite For Destruction. Their cover of The Skyliners' "Since I Don't Have You" almost sounds like a garage band - the tightness this band once had was gone. (And while I am no prude about language, I can't defend adding the word "fuck" to an almost-40 year old song, I don't care who is performing it.) For that matter, their half-ass cover of Soundgarden's "Big Dumb Sex" (leading out of T-Rex's "Buick Makane") hardly stays close to the original - wasn't that the whole point of this project?

Rose's vocals make it sound like he really didn't want to do this project (maybe this is why members of the band have been dropping faster than overweight people on a treadmill) - the sole exception being on the cover of Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog". When it comes to covers, I still prefer Britny Fox's (remember them?) cover, but Guns N' Roses almost captures the essence of it. It's depressing when your bassist (Duff McKagan) does a better job as lead singer than your actual lead singer. McKagan shines on "New Rose," "Attitude," and "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory".

So the question remains: What the hell was with this album, anyway? It wasn't a contractual obligation album, so far as I can tell; Geffen is still looking forward to a new studio album from Guns N' Roses. However, the way things have been going for the band, I think there's a better shot of Elvis and Jim Morisson forming a supergroup and touring in 2000 than G N' R coming out with anything more. (Trivia question: Another metal band released an album of punk covers, and has since disappeared. Can you name them?)

I would dare to call The Spaghetti Incident? as a studio goof gone terribly wrong. This one shouldn't have seen light outside of the vaults. If Guns N' Roses wants to screw around in the studio like this, that's fine, it's their money. But why should we have to suffer through the end result?

Geffen has recently re-released this disc in their economy line. It's still overpriced - The Spaghetti Incident? is to heavy metal and Guns N' Roses's past what Alpo is to fine cuisine.


Rating: D+

User Rating: C+



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.