If you’re a Guns n’ Roses fan, you don’t often get new music to buy from your favorite bad. Albums from the legendary metal band come out at a rate of around one for every three Presidents of the United States of America. The last one was “Chinese Democracy” in 2008, which itself came out almost two decades after its predecessor. There’s allegedly a new album in development at the moment – some of which might even already have been recorded – but based on their past form, we know better than to hold our breath waiting for it.
There are, of course, other ways you could spend money on Guns n’ Roses. They might not record very often, but they do at least tour – and they’re arguably a better live act now than they were a decade ago. Back then, the band performing as Guns’ n Roses was little more than frontman Axl Rose and a gaggle of session musicians performing hits from the band’s back catalogue. Today, most of the original line-up is back together after Rose and guitarist Slash eventually kissed and made up after a long, bitter feud. They’re touring this year despite the difficult problems posed by the seemingly endless pandemic. They might even make it to Australia before the year out, thanks to a bold new proposition in the country for creating “live music bubbles.” You’ll hear more about that idea in other articles on our website.
With the next album some way off and the tour difficult to get to, the band are keen to find other ways to persuade you to spend money on them. That’s why they’re among the best in the world when it comes to merchandising. Profiteering via slapping the band’s name and logo on just about anything that comes to mind might not be the most rock and roll idea in history – in fact, it’s about as capitalist as it gets – but that’s never worried Rose and the gang. They make millions of dollars per year from t-shirts and posters, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any band or musician can make t-shirts and posters. Guns n’ Roses make just about everything.
There are too many strange pieces of Guns n’ Roses merchandise out there for us to make an exhaustive list, but we can fill you in on some of the highlights. Two years ago, there was a limited-edition Guns n’ Roses cheese. The year before that, the band launched a limited-run whisky collection. In 2020, a special “Guns n’ Roses” pinball machine was built that came in three different styles. The most exclusive and expensive of the three tables would set you back more than ten thousand dollars, but that didn’t put fans off the idea of buying it. You might even find some of the increasingly rare Guns n’ Roses action figures if you’re willing to go digging through eBay far enough to find them. Just as they were trailblazers for thrash metal, they’re also trailblazers for band merchandise.
Arguably the most successful piece of merchandising the band has indulged in within the past twenty years is their incredibly successful online slots game. The idea of creating an online slots game disguised as a musical jukebox is increasingly common for musicians, but it was Guns’ Roses that started the trend. Their slot came out in 2016 and is still comfortably the most popular music-themed online slots game at OnlineSlotsUK.com. Peers like Motorhead, Alice Cooper, and even British rockers Megadeth have since followed suit and had their own licensed online slots published through a range of partners, but none have made as much money for as the Guns n’ Roses slot. It’s likely that the band will eventually release a sequel as the technology behind slot games becomes more advanced, but that still won’t be the weirdest piece of merchandise they’ve ever come up with.
If the online slots game is their most successful merchandising adventure (other than t-shirts) to date, their latest idea must surely be considered the strangest. Aimed at cannabis smokers in states where it’s legal to partake in the habit in the United States of America, Guns n’ Roses have released an official branded bong. The highly unusual move comes as part of a partnership with American company “Famous Brandz” and will also see a range of Guns n’ Roses branded smoking paraphernalia hit the market. As well as the bong, the band (or at least its logo) will appear on hand pipes and grinders. Two different bongs have been made available, one of which is more expensive than the other. The goods are advertised as coming with “exclusive artwork” in six different designs, thus giving collectors an expensive task to complete.
The theme of the smoking goods is the band’s album “Appetite for Destruction,” which features prominently on the artwork. The more expensive of the two bongs is listed at $99, with the cheaper model coming in at $70. From there, you’re paying between $25 and $30 for each item, depending on which design you want. Ironically, the news comes as Slash celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of his decision to go sober and cut himself off from all drink and drugs. It’s therefore to be assumed that he didn’t play any role in the design or testing of any of the new merchandise.
Anybody who’s interested in making a purchase should first check whether it’s legal to purchase or own any cannabis-related items in their home state or country. The same could also be said of the online slots game. The collectables are available for purchase immediately in the United States of America and can theoretically be ordered for delivery abroad, although additional charges would apply in those circumstances. It goes without saying that it’s nothing like having new music to listen to, but if you’re of the mindset that there’s nothing better than listening to a classic Guns n’ Roses album while having a smoke, we can certainly think of worse things to spend money on!