"The Spaghetti Incident?"
|"The Spaghetti Incident?"|
|Studio album of cover songs by|
|Released||November 23, 1993|
|Studio||A&M Studios, Record Plant Studios, Rumbo Recorders, CanAm Studios, Sound Techniques, Triad Studios, Conway Recording Studios, Ocean Way Recording|
|Guns N' Roses chronology|
|Guns N' Roses studio album chronology|
|Singles from The Spaghetti Incident?|
"The Spaghetti Incident?" is the fifth studio album by the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. The album is composed of covers of older punk rock, hard rock, and other songs. "The Spaghetti Incident?" is the only studio album to feature rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke, who replaced original Guns N' Roses member Izzy Stradlin during the band's Use Your Illusion tour in 1991, as well as the last album to feature guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan (until their return in 2016) and drummer Matt Sorum. It is also the only Guns N' Roses album not to be accompanied by live performances.
Many of the tracks were recorded with original Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin during the Use Your Illusion I and II sessions and then were later re-recorded with Gilby Clarke. Those tracks were previously intended to be included in a combined Use Your Illusion album, consisting of three (or possibly four) discs, instead of the two separate discs they ended up being.
In 1992, the band prepared to release the leftover cover tracks as an EP, with Clarke replacing Stradlin's guitar tracks. They later decided on making the album a full release and recorded several more tracks for it. Bassist Duff McKagan sings on many of the album's tracks and Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe appears on "Ain't It Fun" as a guest vocalist. This was the last Guns N' Roses album to feature lead guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum, and the only album to feature Clarke. It was also the band's last studio album for 15 years until Chinese Democracy, and its last album until the live compilation album six years later with Live Era: '87-'93.
During the studio sessions the band also recorded instrumental tracks of the song titled "Beer and a Cigarette", originally by Hanoi Rocks. The vocals were not recorded and the song was left off the record because the band didn't want songwriter Andy McCoy to receive any money. The band also did an instrumental version of the song "Down on the Street" by The Stooges which also was never released.
Titling and release
The title references an incident Steven Adler had in 1989; while the band was temporarily staying at an apartment in Chicago. Adler stored his drugs in a refrigerator next to the band's takeout containers, which contained Italian food. McKagan explained that Adler's code word for his stash was 'spaghetti'. In his lawsuit against the band, Adler's lawyer asked the band to "tell us about the spaghetti incident," which the band found amusing and used as the title of the album.
During a discussion between Rose, Slash and the album's cover designer in the "Making of Estranged" video, it is made clear that the correct form of the title is within quotation marks and with a question mark.
The album was released shortly after the conclusion of the Use Your Illusion World Tour which had lasted until mid-1993. The vinyl copy of the album was released on orange vinyl, and the CD was released with a design to mimic vinyl, with black concentric rings around the outer edge, and a central circle of a cartoon jack-o-lantern eating spaghetti out of a shocked head in the center. (This would be later changed with the 1997 reissue to simple plain silver CD.)
An unadvertised cover of the Charles Manson song "Look at Your Game, Girl" was included on the album. The track was kept secret, including not being on advance tapes sent out to reviewers. Band manager Doug Goldstein stated "There is a bonus track on the album, but Axl wants it to speak for itself." and that "It wasn't done for the critics or anybody else. It was a bonus for the fans." The inclusion of the song caused controversy, with law-enforcement and victims-rights groups expressing outrage over its inclusion.
Rose claimed "the reason we didn't list that song on our album is we wanted to downplay it. We don't give any credit to Charles Manson on the album; it's like a hidden bonus track." The band considered removing the song from new pressings of the album, with David Geffen stating in a phone interview, "I would hope that if Axl Rose had realized how offensive people would find this, he would not have ever recorded this song in the first place. The fact that Charles Manson would be earning money based on the fame he derived committing one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th Century is unthinkable to me". Slash mentioned that the song was "done with naive and innocent black humor on our part". Rose stated he would donate all performance royalties from the song to a nonprofit environmental organization. Slash stated that the group intended to remove the song before deciding to keep it once they learned that royalties from the song would be donated to Bartek Frykowski, the son of Wojciech Frykowski, a victim of Manson during the Tate Murders. Geffen Records released a statement mentioning their share of royalties would be donated to the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau. Years later, Rose said the song would be removed from new pressings of the album, claiming that critics and the media had misinterpreted his interest in Manson. Rose can be seen wearing a Manson shirt in the video for "Estranged" and during a concert in Milton Keynes, England, in 1993. Rose explained wearing the shirt as "trying to make a statement" because "a lot of people enjoy playing me as the bad guy and the crazy. Sorry, I'm not that guy. I'm nothing like him." Despite the statement that the track would be removed, "Look at Your Game, Girl" is still featured on pressings of the album.
Although Guns N' Roses never toured in support of "The Spaghetti Incident?", some of the songs were performed live prior to its release. The first track, "Since I Don't Have You", was performed a few times as an intro to songs "Sweet Child o' Mine" or "Paradise City" in 1992 and 1993. "Down on the Farm" was performed once in its full length during the 1990 performance in the Farm Aid IV show. It was also played a few times during the Chinese Democracy Tour in 2006. The band performed "Hair of the Dog" once in 1988, and again in 1990, during the only known "The Gak" (band featuring members of Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Skid Row) performance. "Attitude" was performed frequently during the Use Your Illusion Tour, and Duff still plays it in Loaded and his solo career. Other songs played live by Duff McKagan are "New Rose", "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" and "Raw Power". The other songs were never played live by Guns N' Roses, but might have been played by some of the members' side projects, like Matt Sorum's supergroup Camp Freddy, that plays cover versions of famous songs, as well as Neurotic Outsiders, the supergroup Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum were part of. Guns N' Roses played "Attitude" and - for the first time - "Raw Power" live in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in April 2014 with Duff McKagan on vocals. "Attitude", "Raw Power" and "New Rose" were played during the Not in This Lifetime... Tour.
Commercial performance and reception
"The Spaghetti Incident?" debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, selling about 190,000 albums in its first week of release, significantly less than their previous releases. The album was certified platinum by RIAA on January 26, 1994.
In his review for AllMusic, music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that, "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".
Guns N' Roses
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||1|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||4|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||4|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||5|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||3|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||2|
|Spanish Albums (AFYVE)||2|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||2|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||3|
|US Billboard 200||4|
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- "Review: 'The Spaghetti Incident?'". Entertainment Weekly. New York: 62–3. November 26, 1993.
The Spaghetti Incident? scales everything back a notch ... Guns 'N' Roses aims to prove it doesn't need two padded CDs, a horn section and a bevy of backup singers to make a joyful racket...
- "Review: 'The Spaghetti Incident?'". NME. London: 31. November 27, 1993.
...a bizarre mixture of swagger, nihilism and bad attitood which is as funny as it is exhilarating...
- "Review: 'The Spaghetti Incident?'". Q. London: 92. February 1994.
...relatively faithful cover versions...
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