The Unreleased Guns N’ Roses Song About Vince Neil
Drinking and driving have never been a good pair, and the case was no different on the night of December 8, 1984. After a long day of partying, Mötley Crüe‘s frontman Vince Neil decided they needed to make a quick trip to the nearest liquor store to keep the party spirit. Hanoi Rocks‘ Razzle thought it was a good idea to join Neil. The two musicians were drinking throughout the evening as they celebrated Hanoi Rocks’ first tour in the United States.
Soon after they left, Neil’s drunk driving resulted in him losing control of his vehicle and smashing into another car. Both musicians were heavily injured, but Razzle was less fortunate than Neil. He was taken to the South Bay Hospital, but the young man was declared dead on the way to the hospital. It was a tragic accident that affected not only Razzle’s family and friends but other musicians as well.
One of those fellow musicians was Axl Rose. Upon hearing of the young musician’s unfortunate death, Axl Rose decided to write a song about the incident. The GN’R frontman collaborated with his longtime friends to compose the track. Rose then recorded a demo but ultimately decided not to release it. However, the song’s journey wouldn’t end there. As art imitates life, let’s take a look at the GN’R song that was inspired by an untimely death and where it eventually ended up.
Which Song Did GN’R Write Based On The Unfortunate Incident?
When Axl Rose decided that a song should be written on the matter, the name of the track revealed the content in a sublime clarity. The single was called ‘Crash Diet‘. The pun Rose and his co-writers chose for the song seems apparent, and it pointed to the incident the song was dedicated to. Axl teamed up with Asphalt Ballet guitarist Danny Clarke and Axl’s longtime friends West Arkeen and Del James to write the track.
The lyrics that pointed to the tragic events of 1984 were complemented by power chords and heavy guitar riffs, and Axl sang about the sinister reality of substance and alcohol addictions. GN’R agreed to record a demo featuring the song, but they eventually decided not to release it. Since the initial demo belonged to West Arkeen, he decided to sell it to other bands. So, the song’s journey began.
It was glam-metal band WildSide who would first record the song in 1990, but the release of the band’s version was prevented by Capital Records since Axl stated his disapproval of WildSide’s take. Later, Asphalt Ballet recorded the track in 1993, and it was featured on their second studio album ‘Pigs.’ WildSide eventually managed to release their own version, in 2004’s compilation album, ‘The Wasted Years.’
Rose and his co-writers emphasized the fragility of life and showed how alcohol and substance addiction played a major role in destructing lives. Even though it wasn’t a didactic song that aimed to educate the audience, the lyrics intended to display how addictions brought misery and sorrow. Tragically enough, the song’s co-writer West Arkeen died due to an opiate overdose in 1997. Essentially, Arkeen wrote the song without knowing that it would also foreshadow his end.
You can listen to the song below.