For anyone who was around in 1987 and 1988 when Guns N' Roses were blowing up, the initial burst of hysteria and excitement surrounding the band and Appetite for Destruction remains absolutely unforgettable. Back then, us GN'R fans scoured every record store, head shop and magazine rack for any cool new scrap of music, merch or info we could find from our new heroes, before running home to (hopefully) catch one of their videos on MTV.
That same sense of exhilaration comes immediately rushing back upon opening the new Appetite for Destruction: Locked N' Loaded Edition Box Set. To call it a treasure trove for GN'R diehards would be to drastically understate the case, as it contains enough music, merch and memories to get lost in for days, if not weeks. Limited to 10,000 copies globally, it's truly the Holy Grail for any serious fan. The embossed, faux-leather-covered wooden cabinet that houses everything is pretty sweet in itself, but let's open it up and take a look at some of the goodies that are inside it.
1. A 2-LP Edition of Appetite for Destruction
For the first time ever, Appetite has been remastered for 180-gram heavyweight vinyl from the original analog tapes. For maximum audio fidelity (which means it will sound even better when you crank up the volume), the album has now been expanded to a double-LP set, with music on three sides and a cool hologram of the band's logo on Side 4. Comes in a special plastic slip-case, too!
2. Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide and More
Once Appetite exploded, Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide — the band's first EP — became a highly sought-after item. The band did their fans a solid by including the four tracks from it on one side of 1988's G N'R Lies, but it's included here in its original vinyl form, albeit with the addition of the previously unreleased "Shadow of Your Love," a song cut in December 1986 during their sessions at Sound City. As a companion piece to Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide, the box includes an additional vinyl EP containing tracks from Lies and various B-sides from the era, including live versions of "It's So Easy" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
3. Sound City Sessions 3-LP Set
Never released before, this three-LP set of demos that the band recorded in late 1986 at L.A.'s famed Sound City studios. In addition to early versions of almost every song that would eventually end up on Appetite for Destruction, there are some interesting early stabs at "November Rain" and "Back Off Bitch," both of which wouldn't see the light of day until the Use Your Illusion albums in 1991, and two different versions (acoustic and electric) of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
4. 7-Inch Singles
Yes, there's still more vinyl! All of the band's Eighties singles are here on tasty new 7-inch, 45 rpm vinyl pressings: "It's So Easy" b/w "Mr. Brownstone," "Welcome to the Jungle" b/w a live version of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie," "Sweet Child O' Mine" b/w "Out Ta Get Me," "Paradise City" b/w "Used to Love Her," "Patience" b/w "Rocket Queen" and "Nightrain" b/w "Reckless Life," as well as the aforementioned "Shadow of Your Love," which has the 1988 acoustic version of "Move to the City" on the flip.
5. Turntable Mat
Look, if you're gonna take all that vinyl for a spin, you'd better treat it with respect. To keep you from defiling those LPs and 45s by plopping them down onto your fuzzy old turntable mat, the Locked N' Loaded box provides you with a new one, which also happens to be emblazoned with the image of the "monster" from Robert Williams' original Appetite for Destruction painting. (The box also comes with a large-hole adapter for the singles, and a microfiber vinyl cleaning cloth to keep those pesky dust particles away.)
6. Concert Tickets
Nothing will make you want to fire up ye olde time machine quite like the three replica GNR concert tickets included in the box: One from the band's early days at West Hollywood's Troubadour (back when it only cost $4.50 to see them live), one from the first leg of the Appetite for Destruction tour in the fall of '87, and one from the second to last show of the tour in December '88. Good times!
7. Gig Flyers
OK, we take that back — the six replica gig flyers included in the box, all from the band's early years, really make us want to get ahold of Marty McFly's DeLorean! These are the same flyers the band members (or their stripper girlfriends) handed out on the Sunset Strip to promote shows at the Whisky, the Troubadour and the long-gone Music Machine, gigs which featured such now-obscure supporting acts as Vain, Jet Boy and Tex and the Horseheads. You can practically smell the Strip just looking at 'em!
8. Buttons, Pins and Patches
It was always a great feeling to walk into school on Monday, proudly sporting the new Guns N' Roses button or patch you'd scored over the weekend. You can relive that thrill with the band logo buttons, skull-face lapel pins and iron-on patches included in the box — there are five of each, and any of them would look awesome on your favorite leather or greasy denim jacket.
9. Skull Rings
Remember the skulls on the "alternate" cover of Appetite, where each one looked like a different member of Guns N' Roses? The Locked N' Loaded box comes with five custom hand-sculpted metal-cast rings bearing the same GNR skull faces. Depending on how you look at it, that's one for each day of your work week, or one for each finger on your fist.
These days, it's harder to find a band without any tattoos than it is to find an ink-covered band. But back in 1987, tattoos were still considered pretty edgy, and Guns N' Roses' tattoos were seen as emblematic of their status as rock n' roll outlaws. The Locked N' Loaded box contains two temporary tattoo sheets with life-size replicas of the band members' tats, which means you can now sport the same designs on your arms — though we'd also understand if you'd prefer to keep them intact in the box!