The Guns N’ Roses Song That Made Axl Rose Feel Insecure
The creative sessions for Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Use Your Illusion I’ was filled with ‘heroin deliriums’ as Slash once said, and that made things both easy and challenging for the band. Although the drug stirred their curiosity and creativity at times, it also led to mental and physical troubles and drained the young rock stars.
Their fragile state of mind also caused insecurity that made the all-time confident act doubt themselves and their talent to compose, write and arrange; and if you know a thing or two about Axl Rose, you’ll know how having low self-esteem might not sound like the singer.
Still, he felt especially insecure when penning down one GN’R track as the words seemed not to reach out to him. Slash would recall Axl’s troubles in his 2007 eponymous memoir stating how although the frontman loved the song, he was quite frustrated that the lyrics didn’t seem to form.
The guitarist’s words on how one particular GN’R track made Rose feel insecure:
“Axl loved it, but at first, it was the one song that he couldn’t come up with the lyrics for. He was very proud of his gift for lyrics, so he was pretty frustrated by it until one night months later when the words just came to him.”
So, if you’re wondering which song that might be, it was ‘Coma,’ a track 10 minutes long without any choruses. The track didn’t repeat itself in any way, and the inspiration came to Rose after he also decided not to repeat some substance abuse-related mistakes. The rocker recalled in 1990 how he decided to write the track after OD’ing and finding himself in a literal ‘coma.’
Axl’s words on how the inspiration came and how he almost OD’ed:
“There’s a song called ‘Coma’ that’s like 11 minutes 45 seconds long with no chorus. And I think there was only one verse that somewhere it repeats itself. It’s Slash’s baby. It’s his monster. The song used to be called ‘Girth.’
But I started writing about when I OD’ed four years ago. The reason I OD’d was because of stress. I couldn’t take it. And I just grabbed the bottle of pills in an argument and just gulped them down, and I ended up in the hospital. But I liked that I wasn’t in the fight anymore, and I was fully conscious that I was leaving. I liked that.
But then I go, all of a sudden, my first real thoughts were that ‘Okay, you haven’t toured enough. The record’s not going to last; it’s going to be forgotten. This and that, you have work to do. Get out of this.’ And I went ‘No!’ and I woke up, you know, and pulled myself out of it.”
The fear and his insecurity of being forgotten made Rose come out of his coma and fight back against draining feelings, which ultimately inspired the song, ‘Coma.’ However, writing the piece was another challenge in itself, as the words didn’t come to him for months, making the rocker feel insecure and doubt his writing talent.