:: Article

Nocturnal Emissions VI


By Ben Myers.

In an earlier column I wrote about how Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose was the only living rock star who actually acted liked a rock star. Excess, ego-mania, volatile behaviour, law-suits, corn-rows, a slow retreat into a strange world of its own making – Axl has done it all. He probably has a diamond-studded tortoise crawling about his home to match his décor.

That was ten months ago and though the rest of the rock fraternity have been given fair warning by yours truly, none of them have bothered to respond to my clarion call for a new wave of jumped-up little farts to make themselves known. There’s not been a single strutting, preening wannabe that’s worth giving a second glance too. This is not good.

Alas, also, once again, as 2007 draws to a close Axl has failed to deliver Guns N Roses long-awaited new album Chinese Democracy. The implications upon the world’s collective psyche are not yet fully understood, but it’s looking grim, people.

Axl’s prolonged absence leaves a massive void within modern culture which is waiting to be filled. So, it is with some reluctance, that I take on the mantle of attempting to fill the gap with nothing more than some beautiful poems concerning the strange world of the man born William Bailey, but who you and I affectionately call Axl.

Here they are.

The Bailey Trio

We had a little vocal group going
my kid sis Amy
my kid brother Stuart
and me.

We were The Bailey Trio
three-cute-as-hell kids;
innocent, driven by nothing
but a love of music.

It was gospel mainly,
sung proud and loud at recitals
through gaps in our gums
Damn man. It fills me up

just thinking about it .
I kinda wish it could be
that way now:
no lawyers

no contracts
no bullshit
no rules.
Just purity – and love.

The West Is The Best

Thumb cocked
bag on my back
here I stand at the road-side
like Tom Joad
like the Beverley Hillbillies
like Jack Kerouac
like every dustbowl pioneer who ever headed West
crossing the frontier
to the silver sea
and the golden shore.

I am a white man with a black soul
red hair, yellow teeth
greenbacks in my blue jean pockets
and emerald eyes on the shimmering prize.
Even now I know that this is significant
the first true phase of the dream,
but how can you truly dream
when your stomach is growling
you’re nicotine sick and
your bed is in a different direction?

To the sea, to the sea!
I want to see the sea
but I’ll settle for the city
with the swaying palms and
the nine white letters on the hill
and the rainbow futures
and the girls – the girls!
Oh, the girls, they won’t know
what’s hit them, they don’t know
poetry, freedom, success, immortality.

I am no longer William Bailey
I am Orson Welles
I am Arturo Bandini!
I am the sky upon which the stars will congregate
I am the bomb in the bag in the booth
at the bus station
I am the hundred dollar tip
the ice melting in your drink
the casting couch you fuck upon
the red carpet you delicately tread.

A car pulls up.
I get in.


Izzy’s in a typical trick’s motel when I finally track him down
living off Dunkin Donuts and really bad speed
and playing his guitar for twenty hour stretches.

He’s gotten good. Really good. If he can move
beyond the Keef affectations, this might just work.
That’s what I tell him, straight out. I say

“Dude, drop the fucking voodoo feather shit that’s
hanging from your ear, stop talking like Dick van
fucking Dyke and maybe we can do business.”

“Oh yes?” says Iz in this really fruity voice, raising an
eyebrow like he’s James Bond or something.
“Well, that would be just tremendous and delightful”

and we fall about laughing on the bed-spread illuminated
pink by the textbook neon outside that flashes intermittently
and I say “I guess we’re not in Kansas any more.”


I never liked the LA thing
the glam peacock thing.
I was always more of a Seattle guy
give me rain, coffee and reality any day.
I was in this band called
Ten Minute Warning
who then became The Fartz.
We made some good music for groovin’.
That’s how I described us on the flyer
“we make good music for groovin’”
but no-one was interested.
Then this English band Angelic Upstarts
asked me to join them
but England is worse than LA
the chicks are uglier for starters.
So I went on tour
roadie-ing for the Fastbacks
and in January ’85
I’m like, fuck it, LA is a living hell
but it’s still where it’s at.
I guess I wanted more from life.
Wanted a spotlight to call my own.
I lived in this crummy apartment
scoured the Classifieds
went to a few auditions
switched to bass
joined a band called Road Crew
with Slash and Adler
which last precisely five months
before we met Axl and the Guns guys
and a week later we debuted
at The Troubadour.

This was June 1985.
But don’t quote me on that.

Adler’s Early Tour Anecdotes

I remember screwing a girl who looked a lot like Billy Idol
but I don’t remember anything else except maybe her crying.

Signing To Geffen

We turn up late, separately.
We sign on the dotted line.
We shake some hands.
We get our pictures taken.
We get loaded.
We go home with $75,000.
We wake up with $69,000
Some girls.
And some loose change.

Typical Girls

We burn brightly nightly
for after hours is where
the action is, when all the
vampires come out their
studio apartment coffins
to feed and the lycanthropes
roam and the revenants breath
the metallic tang of fresh
meat on the scene and we prowl
in our leathers and trinkets the scent
of the kill strong in our trained nostrils
always looking for the next thrill
the next kill the next lean young
antelope with flexing neck
and wide wet eyes yet to be corrupted.

I spy two at the bar, break from
the pack and casually walk over.

“Hi. I’m Axl. I sing in the world’s
best new rock ‘n’ roll band. I’d really
love to fuck you both, what do you say?”
They look at each other, roll their eyes
then as if on cue throw their drinks into
my face and clip-clop away, laughing
as Cola drips down my chin, stains my
In less than twelve months I’ll have
to pay a Jewish attorney good money
to slap restraining orders on this pairs’
milk-white asses, but not before I’ve
passed them round the crew for
gobbles and noshes and other life-lessons
in what happens when you disrespect strangers.

Ben Myers is a novelist, poet, music journalist and regular contributor to 3:AM.

He has a new blog, yo: www.benmyersmanofletters.blogspot.com


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007.