May 20, 2018 – 4:57 am


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Paul Sinclair of Super Deluxe Edition weighs Guns N’ Roses’ Locked N’ Loaded Box and finds new meaning to the term “value added”.

Let’s talk about Guns N’ Roses… The reissue of Appetite For Destruction has been announced and the big talking point is the massive Locked N’ Loaded set that costs £850 (retailing US$1,450).

But before we get into that, I think the marketing of this reissue has been interesting. Once an announcement is ‘out there’ the record label loses control of the ‘message’ and there are all sorts of confusion.

So to be clear, only the massive set that comes in a wooden cabinet is called the Locked N’ Loaded edition. Despite how some retailers are labelling the various editions, there is only one Locked N’ Loaded set.

Also, while the audio content is undoubtedly impressive, some of the claims are a little misleading. The official site talks of the super deluxe edition and Locked N’ Loaded edition having 4CDs with 73 tracks, with “49 tracks previously unreleased”. That’s not actually true, there are 51 tracks on the four CDs and 27 of those audio tracks are unreleased.

How the official Guns N’ Roses site describes the contents.

The ‘missing’ 22 tracks are on the blu-ray disc, so the claim is true over five discs, but not four. Or is it?

On the blu-ray, the 12 album tracks counted towards the ‘previously unreleased’ tally, because they’ve never been issued in 5.1 surround sound before. Same goes for the five bonus audio tracks on the same disc. It is not common to refer to the individual songs from a new 5.1 mix of an album as ‘previously unreleased’ tracks, but I guess, technically, they could argue the case.

The five videos are definitely stretching the definitions to breaking point, however. It’s So Easy is new, so that’s fine, but the four very well known promos (Welcome To The Jungle, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Paradise City and Patience) are also part of these “49 Tracks Previously Unreleased”. Really? The reason is because the video has a 5.1 mix soundtrack, which is new. However, they’ve already counted the 5.1 mixes of those four tracks as previously unreleased in the audio-only section of the blu-ray, so does putting a familiar video to the surround mix really create another previously unreleased track? Not really, I would argue. And anyway, since when has a video been called a ‘track’?

Nitpicking? I don’t think so. 27 unreleased tracks on a reissue of a 12-track album is superb, but massaging the figures to make this sound even more impressive is both confusing and unnecessary.

Locked N’ Loaded – tat-fest, or superb celebration?

Record companies seem to be convinced that when it comes to big, expensive box sets – and perhaps this is particularly true of ‘metal’ bands – that fans want all sorts of ‘stuff’ in them, such as posters, patches, replica flyers, guitar picks, ticket stubs, lithographs (posh posters), buttons, slipmats, rosettes, plastic bags… and so on. The question is DO WE? Despite the Pink Floyd marbles fiasco of 2011, this kind of content continues to pad out box sets, seemingly with no other task other than creating the perception of ‘value’. Perhaps they can get away with it for a £75 box set if the core content is good enough – how we laughed at the marbles, scarves and coasters in The Dark Side Of The Moon – but Appetite For Destruction ‘Locked N’ Loaded’ is $1,000! [Ed: It is listed as US$1,450 on the GNR site.]

Okay, it looks like some effort has gone into the wooden cabinet and handmade cross, and the volume of content in Locked N’ Loaded is truly astonishing (the planning and manufacturing of such a set must have been a logistical nightmare), but for the money being asked once you put aside the vinyl and CDs we are still getting ‘faux’ this and ‘replica’ that.

You are paying £850 and the band aren’t even signing it. How about some content of genuine quality? Something that will last. REAL leather-bound book packaging with debossed or embossed logo. A personalised and signed-by-the-band certificate or print for each purchaser. The entire contents of the four CDs of audio replicated on the blu-ray audio along with the 5.1 mixes and videos.

These are just suggestions, because we are seeing the prices of box sets rising, and with the odd exception, I’m not noting the quality of the product rising. And you could argue that labels have fallen into a pattern of just bunging in the same old tat that often wouldn’t be out of place on the shelves of a pound shop. I remember, there was a Rolling Stones Some Girls set a few years ago that included a lipstick USB stick. Nothing on it, but it was a lipstick USB stick! Really?

As alluded to back in February, perhaps labels have given up trying to persuade the discerning physical music buyer to spend a lot of money on box sets because those fans will spend a fortune on VIP tickets to gigs (an ‘experience’), but not physical music box sets (a tangible product). As a result, they are really going for it – and I don’t mean this unkindly – with deep-pocketed undiscerning fans who will buy anything at virtually any price. Of course, this represents a TINY fraction of the fanbase of a given artist, but if the fanbase is big enough, you might just sell 10,000 copies of a thousand dollar box set which creates many millions of dollars worth of income for the reissue project.

It feels to me that we need fresh ideas and some new creativity when it comes to enhancing and adding value to expensive physical music box sets. There will always be a demand for signed items, coloured vinyl and truly limited packages, but please, let’s dump the checklist of posters, flyers, badges, marbles, coasters, scarves, postcards, patches, etc, and think about a new generation of box sets that offer true quality, with a less-is-more mindset.

Nothing, I feel, has come close to Imogen Heap‘s Sparks box set. That was £200 and early pre-orderers got to go to a big party at Imogen’s house (!) and the box was unbelievable in terms of audio and video content and contained a book where Heap had handmade her own paper!

Appetite For Destruction will be reissued on June 29, 2018.

4 CDs
73 Total Tracks – 49 Tracks Previously Unreleased
First Ever Album Remaster from Original Analog Tapes
12 Tracks from B-sides N’ EPs Newly Remastered from Original Analog Tapes
25 Unreleased Recordings from 1986 Sound City Session
2 Unreleased Recordings from Mike Clink Sessions:
“Shadow Of Your Love” – from December 1986 Mike Clink tryout session
“Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)” – from GN’R LIES sessions

1 Blu-ray Audio Disc
New 96kHz 24-bit 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes from Original Analog Multi-tracks
Original Album Mixed by Elliot Scheiner
5 Bonus Tracks Mixed by Elliot Scheiner & Frank Filipetti
All songs feature brand new animations
4 Original Music Videos in 5.1
Unreleased 1989 “It’s So Easy” Video in 5.1

Seven 180-gram Audiophile 12-inch LPs
All Vinyl Cut from 192kHz 24-bit Remastered High-Resolution Audio
Original Album Expanded to 2-LPs for Maximum Audiophile Playback
Limited Edition Foil Art Slipcase
Side 4 Extra Bonus: Hologroove Hologram of GN’R Logo
LIVE LIKE A SUICIDE EP (1-LP) with Extra Track “Shadow Of Your Love”

6 Replica 7-inch Singles + New 7-inch for “Shadow Of Your Love” on Yellow Vinyl
“It’s So Easy” b/w “Mr. Brownstone”
“Welcome To The Jungle” b/w “Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)”
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” b/w “Out Ta Get Me”
“Paradise City” b/w “Used To Love Her”
“Patience” b/w “Rocket Queen”
“Nightrain” b/w “Reckless Life”
“Shadow Of Your Love” b/w “Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)”

32GB Metal Cross USB Stick with High-Resolution Audio Formats from All 4 CDs
192kHz 24-bit AIFF Files
96kHz 24-bit AIFF Files
44.1kHz 16-bit AIFF Files

12 New Illustration Lithos – Visualizing Each Song on the Album
5 Metal Band Skull Face Rings
5 Metal Band Skull Face Lapel Pins
5 Metal Guitar Picks with Band Skull Faces & Signatures
5 Previously Unseen Band Member Lithos
5 GN’R Logo Buttons
Robert Williams Painting Litho 12”x24”
Replica ‘85/’86 Gig Banner 27”x40”
“Welcome To The Jungle” Video Invite Flyer – Originally Drawn by Slash
Turntable Mat
Microfiber Vinyl Cleaning Cloth
7-inch Large Hole Adapter
6 Replica Early Years Gig Flyers
6 Iron-on Stitched Logo Patches
2-inch Collectable Coin
Bandana with Silver Metallic Ink
2 Wall Posters 24”x36”
Temporary Band Member Tattoos
3 Replica Ticket Stubs
Numbered Certificate of Authenticity

Welcome To The Jungle
It’s So Easy
Out Ta Get Me
Mr. Brownstone
Paradise City
My Michelle
Think About You
Sweet Child O’ Mine
You’re Crazy
Anything Goes
Rocket Queen

Produced by Mike Clink
Mixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero

Reckless Life
Nice Boys
Move To The City (Live)
Mama Kin
Shadow Of Your Love (Live)
You’re Crazy (Acoustic Version)
Used To Love Her
You’re Crazy
It’s So Easy (Live)
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live)
Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)

All Previously Unreleased
Welcome To The Jungle (1986 Sound City Session)
Nightrain (1986 Sound City Session)
Out Ta Get Me (1986 Sound City Session)
Paradise City (1986 Sound City Session)
My Michelle (1986 Sound City Session)
Think About You (1986 Sound City Session)
You’re Crazy (1986 Sound City Session)
Anything Goes (1986 Sound City Session)
Rocket Queen (1986 Sound City Session)
Shadow Of Your Love (1986 Sound City Session)
Heartbreak Hotel (1986 Sound City Session)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986 Sound City Session)

All Previously Unreleased
Shadow Of Your Love
Move To The City (1986 Sound City Session)
Ain’t Goin’ Down No More (Instrumental Version – 1986 Sound City Session)
The Plague (1986 Sound City Session)
Nice Boys (1986 Sound City Session)
Back Off Bitch (1986 Sound City Session)
Reckless Life (1986 Sound City Session)
Mama Kin (1986 Sound City Session)
New Work Tune (1986 Sound City Session)
November Rain (Piano Version – 1986 Sound City Session))
Move To The City (Acoustic Version – 1986 Sound City Session)
You’re Crazy (Acoustic Version – 1986 Sound City Session)
November Rain (Acoustic Version – 1986 Sound City Session)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic Version – 1986 Sound City Session)
Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)

96kHz 24-bit 5.1 Surround Sound & Remastered Stereo
5.1 Surround Sound mixed by *Elliot Scheiner and **Frank Filipetti
All Previously Unreleased

Welcome To The Jungle
It’s So Easy
Out Ta Get Me
Mr. Brownstone
Paradise City
My Michelle
Think About You
Sweet Child O’ Mine
You’re Crazy
Anything Goes
Rocket Queen

Produced by Mike Clink
Stereo mixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero

Shadow Of Your Love**
Used To Love Her**
You’re Crazy**
Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)**

Welcome To The Jungle
Sweet Child O’Mine
Paradise City
It’s So Easy – BRAND NEW VIDEO FROM 1989

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  2. All these reissues…how many times do I have to buy an album to be considered a fan? And they release these with demos, live cuts and such that were not good enough for release originally, you listen to once and move on. Do I really need to hear a poor quality demo version of a song that was recorded better later and released on the album?

    By Crack on May 21, 2018

  3. We do have to consider that it is much harder to sell product for musicians today, and to me this this type of repackaging everything to entice us to drop wads for a few unreleased or special remixes pretty much sucks.

    We also have to acknowledge that prior to the age of CDs a group or individual had to come up with a maximum of “only” 45 minutes for both sides of the standard 12 inch 33⅓ rpm lp records while those of the modern era have to dig deep for nearer to 70 or even 80 minutes of content.

    Since Floyd was already ripped into for their marbles, I’ll add that in the ‘Which One Is Pink?’ video David Gilmour gave a short rant on people praising the performance after a show, when the band itself felt otherwise. With ticket prices soaring performers should realize that their nights shitty show may be the only live concert they might afford in their lifetime and still rings in as a perfect once in a lifetime experience, made doubly more memorable as they are too young to have seen a group in their prime and quite possibly the last as the years go by.

    It just makes more sense to me that if a band wants more money they should simply make more music.

    But, what do I know? I’m just whundhumfuqh

    By Whundh Umfuqh on May 22, 2018

  4. And I think I have already heard some of these Sound City Session songs on the .44 Caliber Horticulture, an early bootleg, and apart from the piano version of November Rain (which is so stripped back and I think is pretty cool) the other versions are so-so.
    Again, they weren’t initially released for a reson, so why are they choosing to release an inferior product??

    By Crack on May 22, 2018

  5. Great read..I see Shadow Of Your Love (Live) is listed .the Live and Let Die UK CD single had the studio version as the b side. Its the true studio version with no fake audience overdub like the lies tracks….that’s not listed on the B-sides…..time to spin some Izzy Stradlin…I like by Guns without Roses.

    By Nirob on May 22, 2018

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