Angry Axl

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

One of the past few decades’ most famous ‘angry young men’ is a heavy metal singer by the name of Axl Rose. Rose, who was arrested over twenty times in his teens on charges such as assault and public drunkenness, gained notoriety as the frontman for American rock band Guns ‘n Roses. Rose is as famous for his onstage antics, rants and profanities as he is for his musical abilities. The influential rock magazine Hit Parader ranked him 11 in their list of Top Metal Vocalists of All Time.

But there is another accomplishment of Rose that few people are aware of. As a youngster he won prizes not for musical achievements but for his knowledge of the Bible. Raised in a strict Pentecostal home Rose attended church 3 to 8 times a week, taught Sunday School and memorised Bible verses. He sang in church from the age of five and his first musical performances took place with his brother and sister during services.

Anyone who has ever caught a glimpse of a Guns ‘n Roses concert will realize that Axl is clearly no longer singing for the Lord. Why? What went wrong? We’ll never know the full story, but here’s a clue: As a youngster he once sang along with Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” and got walloped by his religious stepfather. He tells of other instances of abuse, a mother who was never there for him and a church “filled with self-righteous hypocrites”. And so Axl became angry.

Hmm. There is a lesson here for us who are parents. A legalistic “touch not, taste not” upbringing might seem godly, but ultimately it will only provoke anger if not accompanied by love.


2 thoughts on “Angry Axl

  1. Chris Lovie-Tyler August 3, 2011 / 9:52 am

    Yes, I wonder what might have happened with Bob Dylan (and so many other artists) if their church and ‘Christian family’ experience had been different.

  2. naturalchurch August 3, 2011 / 10:37 am

    I wonder, too. But I am always consoled by the testimonies of people like Kansas’ Kerry Livgren (who wrote Carry On Wayward Son), Grand Funk’s Mark Farner, Rick Wakeman and so on. So even though I will not call myself a Calvinist, I think we can never rule out God’s sovereignty in this regard. Some rockers convert, others don’t. And some, like Bob Dylan, converts with a bang and then unconverts (?). Thanks for the comment, Chris.

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