GUNS N’ ROSES
Welcome To The Jungle
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.