Video Hangover: Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“November Rain”
Guns ‘N Roses, 1992

If you have nine minutes to spare, Axl will tell you a tale of woe.

Close second to The Crying Game for “Biggest Mystery of ’92” (Hint:
she’s a dude)

So, how does Axl’s bride (played by real-life gal-of-the-moment Stephanie Seymour) die? Lightning strike? Self-inflicted gunshot wound? Lung cancer? Some GN’R fans have looked for clues in “Without You,” the relentlessly hackish Del James short story referenced in the end credits, and in “Don’t Cry” and “Estranged,” the other parts of the unofficial tortured-Axl “trilogy.” But be warned: The story is a slog, and the video cycle plays like a super-pretentious, unfunny “Trapped in the Closet,” with nary a midget, alien, old person, homosexual, or closet to redeem it. There is, however, a firearm involved, lending credence to the theory that she offed herself after hearing the early “Chinese Democracy” demos.

GN’R budget-buster quiz
Fifteen years after it blew out the request lines at MTV, November Rain continues to maintain its standing as one of the most expensive videos ever made. Guess which of the following was an actual line-item from the production budget:
a) Axl’s wispy wedding moustache ($800/hair for 45 hairs)
b) Slash’s “formal” leather chaps ($65k/leg)
c) Desert church made entirely out of cocaine ($150k — $6m street value)
d) Cake diving stuntman (8 takes at $300/hr)
e) Dom Perignon rain ($600/gallon)

2007: Saul good
With Appetite’s 20th, a newly-released Velvet Revolver album, a star turn on the upcoming Guitar Hero III, and fall drop date for “Appetite for Deconstruction” (what, no love for “James Joyce’s Saulysses”?), Saul Hudson is making a surprisingly strong ‘n late bid for rocker of the year (40+ division). People have rightfully touted the extreme awesomeness of his groundbreaking solo-on-the-plains, and his even more extreme, even more awesome solo-on-the-piano, but his uncredited turn as “Best Man” remains one of the iconic video performances of the 1990s. Witness the way he holds the lighter in the bar, the self-obscuring smoke. And later, at the ceremony: comic grappling, tempered with existential dread. Does he have the ring? Has he lost the ring? Fuck, dude, who has the ring? Oh, McKagan has the ring. Thank God somebody was paying attention during the rehearsal dinner.

BONUS: Best Slash-related video ever.

Got a candidate for Video Hangover? Email tips at stereogum dot com.