There are some beautiful, unifying moments in rock and roll that are sadly overshadowed by drunk, chaotic antics. When the stars align just right and the universe is in perfect sync, these moments can be drunk, chaotic, unifying, and beautiful at the same time.
One of these rare occurrences happened on November 4th of 1990 at the Hollywood Palladium. Lonn Friend, the exuberant editor of RIP Magazine, threw a party to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the publication.
The highlight of the evening was a one-off set by an impromptu supergroup called the Gak. The band featured members of Guns N’ Roses – Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan, Metallica – James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett, and Sebastian Bach of Skid Row.
Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, indeed it was, and we’ve got the footage to prove it!
After a warm introduction from the evening’s master of ceremonies and Headbangers Ball host Riki Rachtman, the band break out into a series of high energy renditions of material from each of their catalogs, including “You’re Crazy” (Guns N’Roses), “Piece of Me” (Skid Row), and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Whiplash” (Metallica).
In the spirit of chaos, the band does “Whiplash” twice (once with Bach on vocals, another with Hetfield). To top it off, we’re granted with a blazing cover of Nazareth’s classic “Hair Of The Dog.”
As ramshackle and thrown together as it was, it was a unique snapshot of a period in time where heavy metal ruled all and metal magazines were a dominant cultural force. The Gak would never perform again, and RIP Magazine would slowly fade away.
Two years after this performance, Guns N’ Roses and Metallica would join forces for an ill fated stadium tour that saw riots and constant mayhem galore… but that’s another story for another time.
Check out the footage below and prepare to be amazed!