Monday, April 23, 2012

No Sweet Child of Mine…Gunning for the Rose in Cleveland

By Kimberly Johnson 

Axl Rose…grow up, man. For those who don’t know, Axl Rose refused to be a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction for Guns N’ Roses. Axl ranted and vowed not to show up for the festivities. And he didn’t. And he later apologized.

 It’s well-documented that bad blood runs through the veins of Axl and the boys: Professional jealousies. Back-stabbing. Money. Women. The usual stuff. Full disclosure -- I grew up jamming to the LA rockers belt out monster hits like Paradise City and November Rain. I had to read this letter. I went online and found it on the LA Times newspaper’s music blog. My goal was to just read it but, I found myself reviewing it using the techniques I learned from the SCWW critique sessions, Toastmasters and from my experiences as a newspaper reporter. Here are some observations:

Observation 1: Never lose the reader. 

Drawing on my reporter’s instincts, the first sentence should provide enough information to entice the reader to move beyond that sentence. Plus, I like shorter sentences. Axl, man, you lost me.
When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N' Roses were to be inducted it'd be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.
Observation 2: Get to the point. 

It was four paragraphs into the missive before the disgruntled front man announced:
That said, I won't be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
In Toastmasters, a writer needs to state the main point early in the text so the reader can gain an understanding. Axl, this should have been the introduction.

Observation 3: Think before you hit 'Send.' 

Welcome to the Jungle. Axl was PO’d at Slash, Steven and Izzy. Sure, there were coded references:
So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case, several others' expense.
Axl, everybody knows, once you put it in print, you can’t take it back.

Observation 4: Refrain from using “In closing.” 

After airing his grievances, the rocker ends it by using the overrated phrase. Try Toastmasters, Axl. The public speaking organization provides tips on implementing other words to close out a letter.

"In closing," Axl, try some Patience before you craft an open letter to your fans. Or better yet Try a Little Tenderness. It goes a long way.


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