Guns N’ Roses News Izzy Stradlin Reveals Inspriation Behind F.P. (Fighter Pilot) Money

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Today Izzy revealed the lyrics and meaning behind the song F.P. Money! Turns out it’s not about Guns N’ roses reunion at all.

There must be a German word for something that is both a little silly and a little awesome. For the past 20 years, the lame nightclub act still using the name Guns N’ Roses was merely the former: A ridiculous shadow of its former self, the “Axl plus hired guns” lineup ran through the group’s standards with all the conviction and appeal of a GNR cover band. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to make a living by trading on your once-great band’s musical output—it’s called the state fair circuit, and it pays the bills for lots of acts who no longer feel the creative itch but want to put on a show—but there was something unseemly about seeing such a legendary band devolve into the Axl Rose Cabaret Show. It didn’t help matters that the acrimony between the other founding members of Guns N’ Roses was so public, let alone that the decade-plus wait for Chinese Democracy became an easy punchline for the dangers of superstar megalomania. (Even at the height of their success, Rose’s diva behavior was appalling, which is the kind of thing that comes back to haunt you when falling out of the public’s good graces.)

But along comes the Not In This Lifetime… Tour, which finally restores that missing element of awesomeness to the Guns N’ Roses equation. The return of the founding members of the group (save for Izzy Stradlin and long-disavowed original drummer Steven Adler) is the kind of feel-good “burying the hatchet” narrative that makes fans feel like something near to their hearts has been restored to its proper place in the universe. I went to the concert Friday night at Soldier Field in Chicago, along with A.V. Club Editorial Coordinator Becca James, and a couple of unexpected things happened: First, the band not only started on time, but 15 minutes early; and second, we really enjoyed a Guns N’ Roses concert in 2016. I really didn’t think that second one was possible.

So what made it so entertaining? It certainly wasn’t the fans. If you’re wondering who attends a GNR concert these days, it’s pretty close to the stereotype you have in your head. White people in their 40s and 50s, many in from the suburbs, who pulled their old concert tees out of mothballs and decided to make a night of nostalgia as close to a time machine journey to 1992 as possible. Picture the kinds of college bros who crush beer cans on their foreheads and girls who sit on their boyfriends’ shoulders whooping at festivals, and add a couple decades. It reminded me of Joan Cusack’s perfect line from Grosse Pointe Blank, about attending her high school reunion: “It was just as if everyone had swelled.”

A lot of the people around us were, to put it diplomatically, objectively terrible. The guy next to me had a Tourette’s-like habit of screaming “Are you kidding me?!” every time the band launched into another song, or Axl exhorted the crowd to cheer, or even when someone on stage would mosey a few steps to the left, really. It was as if existence itself were some sort of impossible miracle he couldn’t wrap his mind around and had to continually scream to God herself to confirm this beautiful truth, because he feared it might all dissolve in a Matrix-esque digital blip the next instant. Which is annoying, but not as much as when he felt the need to involve me in his declamations. When Slash transitioned from a guitar solo into the opening lick of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” my neighbor grabbed me by the shoulders. “Are! You! Kidding! Me?!?!” he feverishly shrieked, spittle flying into my pores from his demented visage. I can still see it when I close my eyes. Three different people spilled beer on me, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that two of them reacted to the realization of what they had done by raising up the devil horns and shouting, “Yeah!” I didn’t know Miss Manners had changed the rules for spilling on another person to a celebratory satanic symbol. (This probably says more about my general stupidity regarding social codes than it does them.)

But not everyone was so bad. The people in front of us were clearly having the time of their lives. A husband and wife duo, there with a few friends, couldn’t stop taking selfies and yelling “Guns N’ Roses!”—which led me to theorize they had fallen in love at an Appetite For Destruction Tour date, and this was a reminder of everything good in their lives. At one point—I shit you not—he lifted her several inches in the air (I guess sitting on shoulders is out of the question after a certain age), so she could pull up her shirt to flash her breasts at the stage. Becca and I stared at them, then at each other, then back at them again. It was like going sightseeing in Rome and having the pope come out of the bathroom you’re waiting in line to use.


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