Remember when this band was the biggest band in the world? I was only ten but still aware of their massive popularity. That was one of my first memories of an artist truly being larger than life. The epicness of the music, the soaring vocals of Axl Rose, and who can forget the sincerity and craftsmanship when it comes to Slash’s guitar playing. The best representation of this is the once classic, now pretty laughable video for one of the band’s biggest hits, “November Rain.” This isn’t an overview of the band, but it might as well be, since I think of this video as a perfect example of a once great thing that just kept getting more and more extravagant and how it ultimately killed what was once an incredible band.
The video opens up with Rose chugging some pills in a blue, stormy room. The next scene quickly goes to a very nice theater and the band is flanked by a full orchestra. Oh look there’s a wedding with a little black girl throwing roses, even though there’s no other black people around. It’s very easy to understand… Then we get a crying jesus. My god, there’s so much happening at once I can’t even keep up.
Anyway, we then cut again to a very hot Stephanie Seymour walking down the aisle to meet an Axl Rose that looks equal parts bum on the street and fencing instructor to royalty. Trust me, it’s even sillier than I’m explaining. Also, why does Rose have all 4 other members of the band as groomsmen but Seymour only has one woman. This makes no fucking sense.
Next we get to see thet “hanging out being pals” part of every rock video of the time. The bands at a local bar, sucking down smokes like the world’s about to end. I’m assuming this is meant to showcase the happy times before it started raining once upon a time in November. So yeah the video isn’t even half over but you can tell things are gonna go bad soon enough, much like they did within the band.
Ok so back to the wedding where a drunken Slash can’t find the wedding ring, and everyone just snickers as if to say “ Oh that silly Slash! Always losing stuff.” Then I guess after feeling so bad about almost losing the ring, Slash walks out of the wedding and starts immediately playing guitar in a desert, even though moments earlier we were just in sunny downtown Los Angeles.
While the video has aged horribly, the song is still really good. They’re all around good musicians, and a craptastic video from the early 90’s isn’t likely to change that. After the epic guitar solo, the bride and the groom run out of the church and into a really nice Bentley, but something is going on with Stephanie Seymour. There’s pain behind her eyes, but we don’t quite know what yet. Is it lupus? Is it the fact that she’s acutely aware that she’s just married a soon to be washed up rocker who has a history of incredible instability? Time will tell….
So then, and this is one of the dumbest parts of the whole thing: Axl Rose is walking all forlorn in a deserted town from something out of Deadwood or Blazing Saddles. Why is he here? How’d he somehow find out about this abandoned western town? Back at the wedding, which is happening in a vacuum of time and space, Bride and groom are cutting the cake. Everything is going great! That is until the Rain part of the song title shows up and just shit’s on everyone’s lovely day. C’mon rain, things were going so well too.
Suddenly people are falling over, things are breaking, and all hell is breaking loose, because apparently no one in SoCal has ever seen rain in their goddamn lives! To top it all off, some colossal asshole decides he can’t take the rain anymore and jumps THROUGH THE WEDDING CAKE!!! Did you read that? This douche just leaps right through a wedding cake that probably cost thousands of dollars. I know this because I just got married recently, and the amazing cakes we got were not cheap at all. If someone would’ve jumped through our cake, the world would have literally stopped while 20 people took turns ruining that person’s life for the foreseeable future. Seriously we would’ve gone the route of Marsellus Wallace and gone “Medieval on his ass.” Alas I digress.
So now that that’s all over, the song takes a turn for the darkness and sees Rose’s bride dead in a very nice casket. I wonder how much that cost. So yeah she’s dead, and no explanation is given, but I’m gonna assume it was lupus. Axl is seen crying while looking up as if to say “ Why God?!, Why Me?!”
Anyone else picturing Nancy Kerrigan on the ground right now, or is it just me? The other thing to mention is that this church that was full for a wedding just 3 minutes ago is now half empty. What kind of friends are these people? Thanks everyone for coming to my wedding and celebrating but for leaving me in the cold “November Rain” when my wife dies 3 minutes after we say I do!!
Of course it starts raining at the funeral, and Axl Rose is left mourning his incredibly hot wife who just died. The video ends with him bolting up in bed, I guess to portray sadness, and his kneeling by her coffin as a rose that was once red slowly turns white and the video fades to black. All in all, it's a pretty ridiculous video and one that will go down as one of the worst examples of a work of art truly nuanced in the world of nonsensical things.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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