So Sebastian Bach saved Axl Rose from being attacked by a maniac with a blade the other night at the Gramercy Hotel’s Rose Bar. “Nobody is getting anywhere near my man Axl Rose with a knife,” said the one-time Skid Row frontman, and from his position atop a banquet, he summoned security to cast what may in fact have been a very sensible individual out into the cold. It was Valentine’s Day at the Purple mag afterparty, and the band of misfits who call themselves Guns N’ Roses were blasting the assembled celebrities with a two hour set not unlike the one the band had visited on an unsuspecting crowd inside a John Varvatos store last week. Fashion Week ends tomorrow and with any luck, it will take Axl Rose with it.
Because even as various comparatively youthful fashion mafia members like the Opening Ceremony kids and Erin Wasson are sensible enough to fill their events with guests like the Dirty Projectors and Yeasayer–bands that whatever you might think of them, are at least having a real moment of their own–the venal and dark heart of Fashion Week’s grown-up contingent is laid bare by the industry’s compulsion to fete a washed up, fake band, over and over and over again. And make no mistake: if Chinese Democracy and the stooge-filled line-up (sorry Tommy Stinson) who parade around pretending to be Guns N’ Roses didn’t convince you that it’s past time for Axl Rose to abandon this charade, allow the videos to change your mind. They are awful. Even in a world of fucked up YouTube audio and blurry cameraphone footage, we can calibrate. We can make these distinctions. And anyone who is being honest with themselves knows that this band’s two stops in the city have been long and abysmal.
But of course this is a spectacle that belongs to Fashion Week, an event that can’t help but gravitate toward the most ostentatious, cynical, and exclusive displays of so-called glamour and nightlife. Which is fine: nobody is asking Oliver Zahm to hang out at Death By Audio. But enough with the excitable sightings of a band who basically exists at this point to make the hordes of models and magazine editors surrounding it feel special, like they’re living some sort of magical moment. They are not.
They are chasing the myth over the reality, the thing they held dear in their youth over whatever might be vital and real today. This isn’t a sin–fashion is all about this stuff, as we heard over and over again the wake of Alexander McQueen’s suicide. But there is genuine escapism and then there is an overweight and physically taxed band calling themselves Guns N’ Roses playing bad versions of decades-old songs, to audiences so exclusive that Axl Rose couldn’t have gotten anywhere near the door, circa 1986. Where is the magic in that?