Wel­come To The Jun­gle

Guitar Techniques - - Contents -

One of GN’R’s great­est ever tracks tabbed. In­cludes su­perb au­dio and back­ing track. Steve Allsworth dons top hat and shades!

Wel­come To The Jun­gle was Guns N’ Roses’ sec­ond sin­gle re­lease ( af­ter It’s So Easy) from their de­but al­bum, Ap­petite For De­struc­tion ( 1987). It flopped in the US ini­tially, but was re- re­leased to wide­spread crit­i­cal ac­claim af­ter the huge suc­cess of Sweet Child O’ Mine.

What hasn’t been said about this al­bum al­ready? It re­mains one of the most iconic rock- gui­tar al­bums of the last century, one of those rare mo­ments when the stars align and a group of mot­ley mu­si­cians gets to­gether and cre­ates some­thing big­ger than the sum of their parts. Much of the al­bum was about the

Tech­nique Fo­cus String Skip­ping

String skip­ping is a great way to speed up the move­ment of your pick­ing hand, de­velop its ac­cu­racy and your own in­stinc­tive feel for where the strings are. It’s im­por­tant you avoid al­ter­nate pick­ing on the in­tro to Ap­petite... as this will ob­vi­ate awk­ward ‘ in­side’ pick­ing; you al­ways want to be trav­el­ling in the di­rec­tion of the next note, as this will be the most ef­fi­cient and ac­cu­rate method, es­pe­cially when faster speeds are in­volved. To help avoid any un­due ‘ clunk­i­ness’ in the pick­ing hand, en­sure that your fore­arm mus­cles don’t tense up, and in turn do the same for the mus­cles be­tween thumb and fore­fin­ger. If you stay re­laxed, you’ll also avoid the dreaded ‘ pick­ing through trea­cle’ that of­ten comes with play­ing ex­er­cises such as this. band’s per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences ( in Los Angeles in par­tic­u­lar), deal­ing with the murkier side of life: sex, drug ad­dic­tion, money and cor­rup­tion. Wel­come To The Jun­gle was no ex­cep­tion, nar­rated from in­side the seedy nether­world that the band in­hab­ited. Typ­i­cally, a lot of myth sur­rounds the lyri­cal mean­ing in the track, al­though it’s widely

I was at my house and I had that riff hap­pen­ing and Axl came over and he got those lyrics to­gether, and then the band sort of ar­ranged it… It was ar­ranged in one day. Slash

be­lieved the in­fa­mous lyrics from this song orig­i­nated when Axl Rose spent a night in a New York school­yard be­fore join­ing the band.

Axl elab­o­rates: “This black guy said, ‘ You’re in the jun­gle! You gonna die.’” Such was its pop­u­lar­ity, this line later formed part of the open­ing to ev­ery sub­se­quent show that the band played.

As well as elec­tri­fy­ing stage pres­ence, the band had great song­writ­ing chem­istry. Many of the songs fea­tured on the al­bum had been writ­ten while the band was per­form­ing on the Los Angeles club cir­cuit. A num­ber of songs that would be fea­tured on later Guns N’ Roses al­bums were con­sid­ered for Ap­petite For De­struc­tion, such as Back Off Bitch, You Could Be Mine, Novem­ber Rain and Don’t Cry. Af­ter sev­eral weeks of re­hearsal, the band en­tered the stu­dio in Jan­uary 1987 and set about record­ing the ba­sic tracks.

Pro­ducer Mike Clink ( who went on to col­lab­o­rate with the band for five re­leases and an in­cred­i­ble 90 mil­lion copies) spliced to­gether the best takes, of­ten work­ing 18- hour days for the next month. Slash tended to over­dub his gui­tar parts in the af­ter­noon and evening, spend­ing hours with Clink par­ing down and struc­tur­ing his so­los. This way of work­ing is cer­tainly more ev­i­dent here than many of the ‘ off the cuff’ so­los that came on later al­bums.

Ini­tially, Slash strug­gled to find the killer gui­tar sound he had in his head, be­fore hap­pen­ing upon the mag­i­cal combo of a Kris Der­rig- built replica of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul plugged into a Mar­shall am­pli­fier.

The ‘ down a semi­tone’ trick that play­ers such as EVH favoured also added ex­tra rich­ness in the low end ( al­though I’ve recorded it at con­cert pitch for ease of use). Ac­cord­ing to drum­mer Steven Adler, the per­cus­sion was done in just six days, but Rose’s vo­cals took much longer as he in­sisted on do­ing them one line at a time, with a per­fec­tion­ism that drove the rest of the band away from the stu­dio as he worked - per­haps a hint of the fric­tion that was to come later on. For now, though, revel in the greasy rock ’ n’ roll per­fec­tion in this clas­sic track.

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