Late as Usual, Axl Rose's Earliest Known Studio Recordings Surface

Guns N' Roses singer recorded a 1983 demo with Rapidfire

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Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

Axl Rose's lateness problem is the thing of legend. The Guns N' Roses frontman famously took 17 years to issue 2008's Chinese Democracy, the proper follow-up to 1991's two Use Your Illusion LPs. More recently, the "Patience" singer lost a $20 million lawsuit because he can't fill out paperwork on time. And here's the latest long-overdue news: A 54-second snippet of Axl's pre-Guns N' Roses band, Rapidfire, has surfaced online (via Consequence of Sound).

Before GN'R's classic lineup was solidified, Axl was a member of Hollywood Rose, the group that eventually became the band that welcomed us to the jungle. But in 1983, before Hollywood Rose, the man born William Bruce Rose Jr. served two months as the vocalist for Rapidfire, a group that featured a guitarist by the name of Kevin Lawrence. On May 25, 1983 — reportedly just three days before Axl met Izzy Stradlin, the future guitarist for GN'R — Rapidfire recorded a five-track demo with Rose behind the microphone. Lawrence has now made a clip of that tape available online. 

The brief sample is part of a song called "Ready to Rumble." In a 35-page essay titled "The Story of the Rapidfire Recordings," Lawrence's lawyer, Joshua Solomon, deep-dives into Rapidfire's history and the various legal entanglements surrounding the band's tunes. He describes "Ready to Rumble" as "a 'call and response' style rock anthem which was Rapidfire's signature song... In it you will hear the first recorded example of Axl's signature rising, multi-octave wail."

Regarding the rest of the "Rapidfire Recordings," Solomon teases that the material's future will be determined by the level of fan interest. "The five songs I described are not available to the public," he writes. "There is no website you can visit to download them. There are no CDs waiting to be shipped. Then again, that could change. At this point, I cast the decision out to anyone and everyone who has read my narrative and commentary and has an interest in what happens to the tracks laid down by Rapidfire in 1983. Speak up and speak out about what you would like to have happen. Kevin and I will listen and see what we can do." 

Read "The Story of the Rapidfire Recordings" in its entirety here.

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