By Jeff Johnson
The sad irony of Axl Rose’s broken foot is that now that he finally wants to tour with the dudes he feuded with for 20 years, he can’t. Well, he can, and he will, but the show is a snooze — and between the Guns N’ Roses tour and his new gig as frontman for AC/DC, there’s like 90 dates left.
Yup, 90 hot summertime stadium dates. With impatient fans and a guy melting into a fucking chair onstage.
It’s not crazy to think that Axl's foot will never heal. And that he's never going to actually burn any calories. That he’s just going to bloat up under the sun like Sebastian Cabot and not even be able to sing. He’ll get mad at the foot and fidget and hobble around and break the other one. Or pull his groin. I expect to see him suspended from one of those rubberized toddler truss swings with the leg holes by July 4.
The other sad irony is that Axl’s using the very same "show must go on!" injury chair that belongs to Dave Grohl — originally famous as the drummer from Nirvana, the band that helped bury Guns N’ Roses in the early ’90s.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Axl can ditch that stupid chair, make a few simple tweaks, engage the crowd, and open up new revenue streams along the way. Here's how.
WHEELED HOT TUB
Let’s start with the best idea first: Get a hot tub. Put wheels on it. Put Axl in it. Let fans in the crowd “drive” the hot tub with an app. (Download the app for $7.99, place it in the Top 10 in your market in simulated-hot-tub-driving video games — with in-game ads — bring your ID to the concert, sign the waiver, and get to control the “real” hot tub for four minutes during the actual concert.)
That’s not good enough? OK. Make the hot tub big enough for a few lucky fans to climb in with him! Corral ’em in and out of it throughout the show for $10,000 a ticket.
Better? No? Try this: Drain the water out of the hot tub a few times a night, then bottle it and sell it as energizing Axl Water to fans leaving the event.
“Can you come to Jeremy’s baptism? We’re dunking him in Cincy Axl Water tomorrow!”
“Then the cops tried to pull me over. I was on, like, a gallon of Axl Water from the Georgia Dome, so I didn’t feel shit. Tried to fight ’em all!”
Or simply fill it with Lipton tea mix. Get a huge endorsement. Sell Axl Tea on the way out. Or carbonate it and get Rande Gerber to sell Gin & Axls around the country.
“Shaq and Toby Keith were seen throwing back Gin & Axls at Denim Escapes in Fort Lauderdale.”
Cryotherapy is usually for blood vessel repair. I don’t really think it helps broken bones. But let’s get that foot in there and see what happens!
Upside: The chilly temps might keep Axl focused.
Downside: You’d only be able to see his head.
HANNIBAL LECTER DOLLY
This, minus the face mask, is a natural progression from the straitjacket in 1987’s “Welcome to the Jungle” video. Thematically, it allows the group and its fans to properly come full circle.
“We’ve always been too crazy. That’s why we took that 24-year break!”
Upside: Gut and diaphragm not compressed like in the Grohl chair. Easier for Axl to belt out high notes.
Downside: Unless the dolly is tilted backward, weight remains on Axl’s busted foot. And when the dolly is tilted backward, the crowd mainly just gets a two-hour under-selfie starring Axl’s jowls, plus he’s forced to look up into the burning lights. No one signed up for that.
This is a shit idea, with the potential for the dolly tender to get berated and fired every night.
It’s easy to poke fun at the Rascal scooter until you appreciate that this vehicle actually brings Axl closer to you. It returns to Axl full autonomy over his own body. And in terms of memorable reunion performances, unless they reschedule every GNR and AC/DC tour date for when he can walk again (thereby dooming all of it for sure), right now you can either embrace the fact that you blew $138.50 on tickets to see a guy tremor on a glorified La-Z-Boy, or you can start pushing for solutions.
So let’s slap a few Monster energy drink stickers on one of these, give Axl a couple of driving lessons, and get ready for some fun.
Ramps could extend way out into the crowd like the Yeezus tour or any massive U2 gig. He could even drive off the back of the stage and into elevators in stadiums, then zoom up to Section 304 and be like, “Do you know where you are? I know where I am! Right underneath this Arthur Treacher’s sign. And they told me to tell you that with your ticket stub you can get a Shrimp Basket for $5.99!”
Back onstage, there’d be little skate-park hills and stuff. No rails — you don’t want to tip the fucker over. The wire basket in front could be filled with knickknacks to throw to fans, or it could be replaced with a solid basket and filled with chips and nacho cheese.
Finally, Axl could “haul” around a flatbed with dancers or a trailer filled with old hockey jerseys.
There’s no way to pull off a real or fake magic carpet in time for the tour, even if Elon Musk were in charge.
Also, there’s not substantial structural support to ensure Axl’s safety. To be ready for AC/DC’s European dates, which begin in like 19 minutes, we’d ultimately wind up with something akin to a throw rug on a zip line. And if you’ve got a broken foot already, can you imagine adding a couple of pulverized vertebrae?
I’d love to see Axl explaining that Buckethead and Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum are in fact on the GNR tour ... as his Cleopatra chair handlers. I’m sure a clause allowing this can be found in their old contracts somewhere.
This is less bad than the dolly idea, but it still ropes in a lot of distracting personnel who’d trip over guitar cords and likely injure someone else in the band.
Liberace made dramatic stage entrances in a Rolls-Royce, but then he got out to perform.
You could put Axl in a convertible and drive him onto the stage, but this idea isn’t much of an upgrade from the chair, and it doesn’t really benefit anyone ... unless, of course, you sign on a car sponsor and for half a million a night Axl comes out and performs in a FORD MUSTANG convertible.
Like the Rascal scooter, a lawn tractor gives Axl the kind of autonomy the broken foot tried to take away.
It’s a little more badass than the Rascal, but the Rascal’s breezy, stealth silence is far superior to the engine rattle and fumes of a lawn tractor. This would probably cause the band to resume fighting. Or they’d all have to have tractors, too. It’d be a mess.
These things don’t handle smoothly, either. Lurching while shifting gears is likely to aggravate Taco Bell–consumption–related indigestion, souring Axl's vocals for days at a time.