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Read Axl Rose’s Vicious 1992 Letter to a Rock Critic

Axl Rose
Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Axl Rose made headlines recently when he sat down and wrote a letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — but it wasn’t the first time he’s used the format to share his innermost thoughts with someone who had offended his delicate sensibilities.

As the indispensable site Letters of Note demonstrated earlier this week, Axl has a long history of passive-aggressive correspondence. The letter in question arose from Guns N’ Roses‘ disastrous performance at the Indianapolis stop on its 1992 tour with Metallica — a set that found the band taking the stage nearly two hours after Metallica finished, and featured some vintage diva behavior from Rose.

The critic who was present for the Indianapolis Star was less than enthused, and expressed his frustration in a lukewarm review (albeit one that gave Guns more love than Faith No More, who earned the writeup’s deepest scorn).

Not willing to settle for a 2.5-star review, Axl dashed off a contemptuous missive that began, “You don’t get it… Wait, that’s too easy… Maybe you don’t want to get it — or you’d have to face yourself and oh my God that’s just too scary.” Not surprisingly, Rose had a different point of view of his performance — as he described it in the letter, “Indiana needs to wake up and hey if that takes a little taunting and 2 and half hours of music + a fireworks show + cartoon for a total of 2 hours and 50 minutes to wake up maybe 5% of a 48,000 plus crowd then so be it.”

Lest the critic in question forget who had the microphone that night, Axl reminded him that “you nor anyone will ever dictate my actions, attitudes, comments, and musical performances on stage. Don’t kid yourself and act above, better than, or even comparable to me or G N’ R. If that were true there’d be no reason to censor my language in your basic Indiana attempt at journalism.

“I came here to enrage,” continued Axl. “Thank you, you have helped me know I succeeded.”

After ranting for another paragraph, Rose bid his nemesis adieu with some parting words of wisdom: “That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate your anger, hostility and general ignorance. It shows me my so called ‘RANTS’ are a much needed, missing piece in our puzzle of society. Stay away from microwaves — Love, Axl.”

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