In 1993, Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose famously, and controversially covered ‘Look at Your Game, Girl’ by cult leader Charles Manson.
The psych-folk ballad chronicles the story of a woman gone insane. It featured on Manson’s debut studio album Lie: The Love and Terror Cult, released by Phil Kaufman in 1970.
The band featured a cover of ‘Look at Your Game, Girl’ as a bonus track on their 1993 covers album The Spaghetti Incident? Rose was adamant that the album include the track, much to the dissent of his bandmates.
“Personally I liked the lyrics and the melody of the song. Hearing it shocked me and I thought there might be other people who would like to hear it,” Rose said of his decision to cover the track.
“The song talks about how the girl is insane and playing a mad game,” he said. “I felt it was ironic that such a song was recorded by Charles Manson, someone who should know the inner intricacies of madness.”
The cover was universally panned. With many critics slagging off the move as tasteless and hackneyed.
Gilby Clarke, who played rhythm guitar for Guns N’ Roses between 1991-1994 tenure in Guns N’ Roses, recently sat down with Ultimate Guitar to delve into the recording process of The Spaghetti Incident?.
Love Classic Rock?
Get the latest Classic Rock news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
When asked how the Charles Manson song made its way onto the record, Clarke recalled: “I have no idea. I got a phone call one day – because as far as I knew, the record was done.”
He continued, “Axl did that song completely on his own. As far as I know, I don’t think that any of the actual band members were on that track.
“I think that was something that was just important to him, but yeah, I have no idea how that happened. Sometimes, that’s just the way things happened in GN’R – the record would come out and you’d go, ‘Wait a minute, where did that song come from?'”
When asked if there were any members of the band that opposed to the cover featuring on the album, Clarke shared: “Yeah, I think when we all heard about it; I think every one of us didn’t think it was a good idea.
“But once again, when the singer of the band… if it’s important to him, you’re going to lose that fight.”