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Guns N Roses

Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide

A series featuring albums that, for whatever reason, are considerably undervalued and show investment upside

“Do you know where you are? You’re in the jungle baby. You’re going to die!!!”

Axl Rose has been screeching some version of these iconic words live for decades, seconds before Guns N’ Roses bursts into the familiar riffs of “Welcome To The Jungle” and drives the assembled masses into a frenzy.  The song is just one of the several mega-hits off GN’R’s debut album from 1987’s Appetite For Destruction, which has sold over 30 million copies worldwide (the best selling debut record ever).  AFD even debuted with a controversial cover, containing sexual violence, aliens, robots and cartoon nudity, but was discontinued and replaced by the much tamer, and now iconic, “skull and cross” logo.

By all accounts, Appetite for Destruction could top any list of desirable albums. But AFD wasn’t actually the first publicly available disc in the GN’R vinyl collection.

1987 – Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

guns n' roses appetite for destruction with uncensored and replacement cover

GN’R’s vinyl catalog does not actually open with Axl’s now familiar death threat, but instead a vulgar insult from guitarist Slash just before bursting into the far less familiar chords of “Reckless Life”.

“Hey f*&%ers! Suck on Guns N’ f*&%in’ Roses!”

This opening salvo, and the opening track that follows, kick off from their debut EP, Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide, released seven months before Appetite for Destruction set the rock world on fire.  The 1986 EP was originally only published on vinyl and cassette, but was later released as part of GN’R Lies in 1988.  The original release was limited to just 10,000-25,000 copies, making it relatively rare for a band with over 1 billion YouTube views of their “Sweet Child O’ Mine” video.

While the tracks on the EP are seemingly live, they were actually recorded in a studio, with crowd noise from a Texas Jam show from the 70’s overdubbed to give the impression of a live audience.  The EP was also released on the UZI Suicide label, a purportedly small indie label, mimicking the history legend of Mötley Crüe’s Too Fast For Love, which was released on Leathür Records. One major difference separated these two releases, however.  UZI Suicide was not a real label.  It was a facade from Geffen Records designed to make the release appear as if it were associated with a cool independent label.

Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide never reached the commercial success of the subsequent GN’R albums, which actually lends to its present collectibility. It is an under the radar choice for a band whose popularity is still surging among middle school and high school students. According to Discogs.com, only 1100 people have the album in their collections compared to 178,000 who have AFD in their collections. (Note – one might assume that some of those 1100 owners might be mistaking a bootleg or the GN’R Lies back cover for an actual 1986 Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide EP.) This is GN’R’s true rookie.

A less popular, but perhaps more valuable, rookie offering of a Hall of Fame act recalls the basketball card history of perhaps the most iconic athlete in American sports. Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls in 1984, and the 1984 Star Michael Jordan rookie card is his true rookie.  However, 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan is one of the most recognizable and collected cards on the planet. His Star card is not only earlier, it is exponentially more rare. PSA only started grading Star cards recently, bringing validity and attention to the card.  The Star card has outperformed the Fleer card since PSA started grading and authenticating it. Expect Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide to increase similarly as more people want to add a GNR rookie to their collections.

michael jordan rookie cards slabbed from psa one from star and the other from fleer

If you see the album graded by VMG then you can buy it with confidence. If you are buying it raw then you must be cautious, as there are known counterfeits.  The first thing to look for is black vinyl.  Anything released on colored vinyl in the 1980s was not officially licensed by the band and is an easy sign of a bootleg.

guns n' roses live like a suicide from cover

The second easy thing to identify is a barcode on the front cover.  If there is a barcode then it is simply the back of GN’R Liesnot Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide.

guns n' roses live like a suicide deadwax "sterling" stamp

More subtly, look for the word STERLING machine stamped in the run out like the matrix code. This is often omitted from the counterfeits.

You cannot go wrong with either of these great GN’R albums but if you want the most upside, add Live ?!★@ Like A Suicide to your collection while you still can.


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