Guns N’ Roses meets Pandora Peroxide

Wanna know the truth about Guns N’ Roses, Slash and Axl Rose? Ask Pandora Peroxide

You know all those stories about Guns N’ Roses being right scallywags back in the day?? Yeah, you know the ones about how those little scamps would beat journalists to Paradise City and back for so much as looking at them funnily? How those crazy urchins were permanently spoiling for a fight? Well, I never fully believed it, especially about loveable old Slash. Sure, there was the occasional time when Axl Rose forget to have his Snickers, but that was only because his watch kept breaking.

Then the other way I read a piece about Guns N’ Roses from our pals over at Classic Rock and as well written as you’d expect, it all sounded a bit like one of those gnarly old soldiers telling anyone that would listen about ‘Nam and how “you wouldn’t understand man, you weren’t there” except by a guy whose only experience of ‘Nam was getting dragged around Deben ‘nam by his mum. So we asked our friendly visitor from the Planet Zell on his thoughts…

Pandora, Friend of the Stars

I GOTTA hand it to Guns N’ Roses – they always make me look good! Back in 1987 when Guns N’ Roses was on the British leg of their classic “Appetite For Destruction Tour”, Axl dedicated a song to my Kerrang! comic strip character Pandora Peroxide!!!! K! scribe at the time, Malcolm Dome, had seen them play the Manchester Apollo, and, days later, when I was in the office, was feverishly relating how the Pandora dedication was the cherry bomb on the cake of a gig that was already incendiary! Turns out Axl said to the crowd, ”Check out Kerrang! this week – we made the Pandora Peroxide strip. This one’s for her.”

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“What did they play?”, I asked excitedly, before instantly hushing Malcolm. “No, no,” I said, “lemme guess! It was somethin’ big an’ brassy like, oooooh… ‘Rocket Queen’ or ‘Back Off Bitch’!” “Neither, ”responds Malcolm, “it was ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.” Wooooooow! I mean, c’mon, how literally sweet is that!! Without a doubt, the single coolest moment in the history of the Pandora Peroxide strip! Go Axl! And cheers, mate!!

Zell, Friend of the Stars

Then, years later, around, I guess, 2003 or somethin’, I was asked to do a Q&A thing with Slash, that would take place up at Kerrang! HQ, then based at London’s Carnaby Street. Slash’s press officer was on the phone to me beforehand, insinuating that me an’ Slash must obviously know each other or our paths have crossed. This sounded ultra-cool and very rock ’n’ roll, but, I stressed, not to my hazy knowledge.

I think I might remember a minor detail like meeting the Cat In The Hat. Yet, the press officer insisted that I must have. And, I was like, erm…okaaaay. So, yeah, on the afternoon of the Q&A, even staff in the K! office were goin’, “You obviously must know Slash”….!? I mean, I had zero idea why people were comin’ to this conclusion! Next thing, Slash strolls in with his press officer, beams straight at me, before giving me the biggest familiar man-hug you could imagine! I’m now totally confused! Have we met!?

Anyway, we found a corner to do the biz, while, natch, drinkin’ Jack. Cos, that’s what me an’ my ol’ pal from way back, Slash, do….! Q&A completed, everybody in the office, except me, has their pic takin’ with the great man. Meanwhile, people are sidling up to me, muttering stuff like, “Ooh. Friend of the stars”. I am now just grinning inanely an’ shrugging at these comments. But, whatever, for a second time – a member of ‘the most dangerous band in the world’ made me look very cool. How do I do it? Fuck knows. Maybe I use my illusion. Nah, more like a spaghetti incident – a legend in my own lunchtime!*

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(*Ray is being way too modest here. But hey, he does that)

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