Friday, December 17, 2004
It's 1987 and Guns N' Roses is the biggest rock band on the planet.
The raw, turbulent, misogynistic, hard-drinking and hard-rocking act is pulling up to The Bottleneck.
As their black limousine skids to a stop, a darkened window rolls down and a harem of jiggly strippers pop their heads out.
A film crew following the vehicle documents every move as the musicians -- decked out in headbands, ripped jeans and leather vests -- hustle into the venue.
Actually, it's 2004. And that's not really singer Axl Rose. It's Eric "Slick" Seedman of the GNR tribute act, Sweet Band O' Mine.
"We basically take what they did and copy it to a certain extent," Seedman says. "But we take it one step further. We play the way and act the way everybody WANTS Guns N' Roses to actually be. It's how they were for a very short amount of time. But to keep that violent pace, it's tough."
The pace is apparently demanding enough that the Lawrence-based group only performs once a year. And for this upcoming gig, Sweet Band O' Mine is really raising the ante. In a move that the notoriously surly and narcissistic Rose himself would appreciate, the troupe is not only arriving in a stripper-filled limo but actually carting around a film crew.
"We have filmmakers coming in from Chicago who are associated with Blank Action Productions, which is actually my movie production company," Seedman explains. "Our cinematographer is going to be here with a small crew, and they're going to 'paparazzi around' with us."
Seedman isn't sure what themes the documentary will explore or even where it might be shown, but he thinks the project will yield interesting results.
(Note: There's an amusing doc running on cable called "Tribute," which focuses on a number of subjects who mimic groups such as Kiss and Queen-- and who are WAY too into it.)
"What's interesting and cool about Sweet Band O' Mine is we seem to have a lot more attitude and personality," he says. "That's the other thing about our cover band: We're better than any other original act, ever."
Despite the bravado about his own talents, Seedman doesn't consider the actual GNR to be that special.
"I don't think anything separates them from other bands," he admits. "I don't really find them very original. They were able to put out one album that was really key. But there were obviously other bands that put out great albums also."
Seedman considers the veteran indie rock outfit Guided By Voices as his favorite band. Although he has no plans on cobbling together a tribute.
"That would be a tough gig," he says.
For Saturday's Bottleneck performance, Sweet Band O' Mine -- which also includes Ken Pingleton, Doug Minner, Eric Melin, Jo Jo Longbottom and Cameron Hawk -- will play all of the 1987 record "Appetite for Destruction." But for the first time, the ensemble will deliver a few other random tunes from the GNR cannon.
- Saturday, December 18, 2004, 10 p.m.
- Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence
For Seedman, who in addition to singing and directing movies has also pitched professionally in baseball's Frontier League, imitating Rose is a simple task.
"I naturally act and dress like him anyway, so it's kind of second nature to me," he says.
Although he considers the once-preeminent Rose to currently be washed up, Seedman doubts the 42-year-old rock star would appreciate what Sweet Band O' Mine is trying to accomplish.
"He would probably say it's garbage," Seedman speculates. "Anything that's going to intimidate him -- he's going to see himself and realize it's not like that anymore. I'm sure he would say it's no good."