|Released November 23, 1993|
Release date 23 November 1993
Artist Guns N' Roses
Label Geffen Records
|Studio A&M Studios, Record Plant Studios, Rumbo Recorders, CanAm Studios, Sound Techniques, Triad Studios, Conway Recording Studios, Ocean Way Recording|
Producer Mike Clink, Guns N' Roses, Duff McKagan, Jim Mitchell
"The Spaghetti Incident?" (1993) Chinese Democracy (2008)
Genres Hard rock, Heavy metal, Punk rock
Similar Guns N' Roses albums, Hard rock albums
"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 and hard rock 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 and drummer Matt Sorum. It is also the only Guns N' Roses album not to be accompanied by a supporting tour.
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 Gilby 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 Gilby Clarke. It was also the band's last studio album until 15 years later with Chinese Democracy, and its last album until the live compilation album six years later with Live Era: '87-'93.
During studio sessions the band recorded a cover of "A Beer and a Cigarette" from Hanoi Rocks but the song never came out. The band also did an instrumental version of the song "Down On The Street" by The Stooges but just like the Hanoi Rocks song it was never released.
On the bottom of the cover art of the album, there is a code written with the Zodiac Killer's symbols, which has been deciphered as "fuck'em all".
Titling and release
The title is an inside joke referring to a food fight between Axl Rose and Steven Adler. Much was made of this food fight during Adler's lawsuit against the band in 1993, in which Adler's attorney referred to it as "the Spaghetti Incident". The meaning was explained by drummer Matt Sorum in a 1994 interview with Much Music and confirmed by Slash in his autobiography, Slash.
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 in clear plastic orange, and the CD was released with color designs and markings: black concentric rings around the outer edge, and an indigo and blood-red depiction of an evil jack-o-lantern eating spaghetti out of a hollowed-out, decollated head in the center, which would later be changed in the 1997 reissue to simply a plain silver colored 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 they decided 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.
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". Song Added to recent plays from the album. Friday, August 19, at Dodger Stadium, Duff McKagan sang "Raw Power" from The Stooges with an intro from "New Rose", by The Damned.
"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".
1Since I Don't Have You4:19
3Down on the Farm3:29