"The Spaghetti Incident?"

Since I Don't Have You
New Rose
Down On The Farm
Human Being
Raw Power
Ain't It Fun
Buick Makene
Hair Of The Dog
Black Leather
You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory
I Don't Care About You
Look At Your Game Girl

Working title(s)
: The Punk-Cover Album

Album sales
: "The Spaghetti Incident" sold over 1 million copies in the US. In Britain it sold more than 100,000 copies. Worldwide the number is probably somewhere around 4 million copies.

Chart Positions: #4 in USA.
Title: "The Spaghetti Incident?"
Released: November 23, 1993
Label: Geffen
Tracks: 12
Running Time: 45:48
Produced by: Mike Clink

Mastered by: George Marino
Mixed by
: Bill Price
Mixed at: Skip Saylor Studios

Videos: Since I Don't Have You
Singles: Since I Don't Have You, Ain't It Fun
Biggest hit: Since I Don't Have You [#22 in USA]

Additional Information: The track "Look At Your Game Girl" was written by Charles Manson, and it's a hidden track on the cd.

Notable mentions in the thank you list: Doug Goldstein, John Reese, Amy and Stuart Bailey, Beta, Daniella Clarke, Adam Day, Tim Doyle, Craig Duswalt, Dylan, Earl Gabbidon, Renee Hudson, Del James, Robert John, Gene Kirkland, Linda McKagan, Mike Mayhue, Tom Mayhue, Andy Morehan, Lisa Reed, Kai Sorum, Teddy "Zig-Zag" Andreadis, 976-HORNS, Roberta Freeman, Diane Jones, Traci Amos, Carlos Booy, Dave Lank, Gianni Versace, companies who worked with them, Eddie Rosenblatt and everyone at Geffen, the promotors worldwide and the world, "except for the asshole".

Recording Info

Recorded at: A&M Studios, The Record Plant, Rumbo Recorders, Can Am Studios, Sound Techniques, Triad Studios, Conway Studios, Oceanway Recording
Recorded between: Some tracks were recorded during the "Use Your Illusion" sessions. Others were recorded while on tour. "Since I' Don't Have You" was recorded in March, 1993.
Assistant Engineers: Ed Goodreau, John Aguto, Craig Brock, Allen Abrahamson, Shawn Berman

Other songs recorded: "Too Much Too Soon", "Down On The Street"

Other songs considered
: The Hanoi Rocks song "A Beer and A Cigarette"

The Cover & Cover Sleeve

The cover of "The Spaghetti Incident" features a picture of - well, spaghetti?

The cover photo is taken by Dennis Keeley, the design is done by Kevin Reagan, Slash and Axl. The inside photos are taken by Robert John and Gene Kirkland.

In Their Own Words

Slash: The kids who have grown up with us probably don't know some of the material. Then there are going to be some people who will go, "No fucking way! 'Raw Power' is on there?1

Slash: It wasn't supposed to be taken that seriously in the beginning. There were some songs we were jammin' [on] and we were gonna make an EP of, and then we started adding more songs into it and eventually its turned into a 13 song record, which is obviously the result on the cd.

Axl: We had an idea of this; there were some songs that we wanted to record a long time ago. We wanted people to hear [those songs] we liked a lot. There is songs that Izzy and I liked, there's songs that Slash and I liked and songs that Duff and Izzy liked, things like that... and then it turned into... we had a collection of over 10 songs, and we realized we could make an album, instead of just a EP.

Axl: The energy of the songs and stuff, it's some of the influences that I don't think main stream radio and a lot of like Mid-west and things like that, those people haven't really heard these songs

Slash: The funny thing about it though is that when we started doing this, it was just to alleviate the pressure of making the Illusions records (laugh) I mean really when it comes down to it, we were jammin' stuff in the studio on the off time and that's how it started.

Axl: I was going like, well, jam on these songs, kinda like, trying to steer it into a project for later.

Slash: One of the things about "The Spaghetti Incident?" is that all the songs were pretty spontaneously picked, it was about a two or three minute decision on any one of the songs, that didn't just come up, doing that would have taken thought and

: The main thing, we didn't do what we call a punk comeback or anything like that, we just took a bunch of the songs, that I thought of, and the rest of the guys thought of, which showed where we came from, you know that had a certain amount of attitude. Punk didn't last all that long, it was all about a vibe and a certain attitude directed towards, hum, I don't know, it's the way that the band plays a lot of different types of music that forms the way that we sound. So, that's really what is was all about.

Axl: It's the energy and the defiance that punk rock had and that it didn't really hit the main stream all that much, and we are, whether we like it or not, in some ways in the main stream, so we've got to bring certain songs to people's attention. For me it was like some of those songs I liked, I got ridiculed and criticized for at the times those songs were out, so it was like, well now maybe some of those people will listen to it.

Slash: The album is pretty harsh, you know, it's pretty explicit lyricwise and attitude wise.

Slash: It's a crime that some of the bands we did cover and other bands we didn't cover if we had all the time in the world to do, didn't, they're almost forgotten now. You know out of print, out of mind.

Gilby: It wasn't like we went to make an album, we did it as different things. they had seven songs already recorded, then I went in and re-did all Izzy's guitars or put on guitars where he didn't play on them. While we were on the road, we'd go and record a couple more songs here and there. (...) We recorded a bunch of stuff over a year, every now and then. It was cool.

Axl: Yeah we wanted to call the record a "Pension Fund", coz we're kinda helping some of these guys pay the rent.

Slash: There was only a handful of bands that were what you'd call really good rock n' roll bands and as far as the style of music goes, it doesn't really matter, it was like a real heart felt kinda rebellion thing that we picked up on.

Gilby: I thought we were making a Punk Rock cover album. And then it turned into being not a Punk Rock cover album!2

Slash: Basically these are songs that we liked when we grew up and we just wanted to record them because it was fun.3

Slash: We'd worked on a lot of those trackes here and there over the previous two years. We'd recorded "Buick Makane", "Ain't It Fun" and most of the others at the Record Plant, but a few, like "Since I Don't Have You" were recorded on days off on the road, probably during the "Skin and Bones" tour, because they feature Dizzy on piano. That record was released in November 1993, and the single, which wasn't the best idea at all, was "Since I Don't Have You", though it was a stellar version of that song.4

Album Reviews

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

(2/5) As punk albums go, The Spaghetti Incident? lacks righteous anger and rage. As Guns N' Roses albums go, it's a complete delight, returning to the ferocious, hard-rocking days of Appetite for Destruction. The Gunners play Stooges and New York Dolls songs exactly as they do Nazareth — as straight-ahead, driving riff-rockers. After the epic Use Your Illusions, the band sounds like it's having fun, not caring about making "art" like "November Rain" or "Estranged." Unfortunately, the tacked-on Charles Manson song leaves a bad aftertaste, but not because of the song itself; the inclusion of the song seems like a publicity-seeking stunt, a way to increase their sales while trying to regain their street credibility. And as The Spaghetti Incident? proves, they didn't need to stoop so low.

Highlights: "Human Being", "Buick Makane", "Hair Of The Dog", "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory"

Rolling Stone
by Jonathan Gold

The mid-'80s Los Angeles rock scene that gave birth to Guns n' Roses was a curious thing, neither quite punk scruffy nor given to glam excess, largely populated by hip kids who were too young to remember that Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith had long been completely passé. In retrospect, the original Guns n' Roses formula seems obvious enough, but no one had ever before successfully crossed the grungy street attitude of the underground Hollywood bands with the polished, riffy sound of the pouf-haired Sunset Strip popmetal bands, and the result was a giant paradigm shift in rock & roll.

But although the tremendous success of G n' R may have all but erased the few vestiges of the underground rock scene that still existed in Hollywood, the legacy of punk rock continued to thrive, at least as a hip influence: Punk rock codified the underground anti-establishment groove that is now mandatory for any artist harder edged than Whitney Houston, and rock groups as unrelievedly mainstream as Skid Row and Mötley Crüe now consider it more or less obligatory to include Sex Pistols songs in their sets. And with the rise of punk-rooted "alternative" music in the last couple of years, it has become apparent just what that music was an alternative to: G n' R, who had grown to represent this generation's ultimate in bloated rock excess.

In The Spaghetti Incident?, an album of mostly punky cover versions of drunkrock classics, Guns n' Roses reassert their roots in hard-edged rock & roll – some punk rock, some not – the way that U2 tried to with Rattle and Hum when their "authenticity" had become suspect. But in recording half an album's worth of punk-rock songs, Guns n' Roses reveal themselves as a glam-rock band, and a good one, as if T. Rex and the Dolls had come out of early punk rather than the other way around.

"Black Leather," a post-mortem Sex Pistols song written by Steve Jones, sounds better than the original – more bounce, heartier groove – and the tough swagger of G n' R on this track may be what the original Pistols aspired to before Malcom McLaren pushed Johnny Rotten on them. There are quick, goofy versions of the Damned's "New Rose" and U.K. Subs' "Down on the Farm," which Axl delivers with an English accent as contrived as that of any Orange County hardcore singer; there is a loose, sloppy version of Iggy's "Raw Power" that would be a hit at any Whisky Jam Night.

Punk rock is sometimes best read as a vigorous howl of complaint against one's own powerlessness, but Axl doesn't quite connect to the punk-rock material on Spaghetti as anything but a conduit for pure aggression. He can't even seem to curse right. In his version of Fear's punkrock chestnut "I Don't Care About You," his is not the fuuuuuuck youuu of Fear's Lee Ving, the epithet of the misfit yelling at the cop car after it has safely rounded the corner, but the fuck you the tavern bully says as he shoves you hard in the chest. When Chris Cornell sings, "I want to fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck you," in the Soundgarden anthem "Big Dumb Sex," Cornell's voice is filled with longing and desire; Axl, reprising that Soundgarden chorus as a tag to the T. Rex song "Buick Makane," sounds like a guy reading cue cards on the set of a porno movie.

But the Nazareth anthem "Hair of the Dog" is almost a primo Guns n' Roses song to begin with, muscular riffing, forged-iron arpeggios, enraged lyrics just built for Axl's manly scream, exactly the sort of thing G n' R are best at – hipwiggle music, '70s sounding without being explicitly retro – powered by the sort of glam-groove Slash guitar and oddly baroque Matt Sorum drumming that seem merely overwrought elsewhere on the album. "Buick Makane" works the complex riff until it screams.

Punk-rock virtues are most apparent in the Duff-sung version of Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory," which features irregular arrangements, wavery vocals, even a splash of vulnerability. It's also the one song on the album you will probably fast-forward through in the car.