When Axl Rose Pulled Triple Duty on Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Dead Horse’
Axl Rose wore more hats than usual during the creation of Guns N' Roses' "Dead Horse," especially when you include the helmet camera he wore while filming the song's video.
The singer is listed as the sole writer of Use Your Illusion I's penultimate track, one of six such credits he earned on the twin Illusion albums. He also played the acoustic guitar riff featured in the opening and closing sections of the song.
When it came time to shoot concert footage for the video during the Sept. 17, 1992, Kansas City show of the band's co-headlining tour with Metallica, Rose went the extra mile by strapping a camera onto his skull.
"In case you might be curious about what this contraption is on my head," he can be seen telling the crowd at the two-minute mark of a Guns N' Roses Central video, "I'm filming a little video tonight."
Watch Guns N' Roses' 'Dead Horse' Video
A promotional CD featuring "Dead Horse" was sent to radio stations across the country in 1993, making it among the last of 13 Illusion tracks to be released as either commercial or promo singles.
Those tracks were released over a remarkably long two-and-a-half-year span, beginning with "You Could Be Mine" in June 1991 and ending with "Estranged" in December 1993. (The latter actually arrived the month after the band's next album, The Spaghetti Incident?, was released.)
When you factor in that two Illusion singles first came out in 1990 - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" appeared on June's Days of Thunder soundtrack, and "Civil War" arrived on the Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal charity album the following month - that brings the release schedule to more than three and a half years.
By comparison, the seven singles from Michael Jackson's Thriller were released during a 54-week period between October 1982 and November 1983, and the five tracks Metallica unleashed from 1991's Black Album arrived during a 17-month span.
By the time the Use Your Illusion tour and radio campaign ended, Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan were the only three original members left in the band. After a few more years of inactivity and infighting, the guitarist and bassist also split, leaving Rose to wear all of the hats as Guns N' Roses' undisputed leader.