John Moe’s Pop Song Correspondences
John Moe writes and collects letters to and about some of his favorite musical performers regarding some of their more notable songs.
Attention, Mr. Axl Rose: We Did Not Feel Welcome in the Jungle.
BY JOHN MOE
Dear Mr. Rose,
I am writing on behalf of my wife, Thelma, and myself to demand a full refund of the $6,500 paid for our recent “Welcome to the Jungle” safari. I know you sensed our unhappiness during the trip, but I bet you wondered if we’d actually demand our money back. Oh, yes, we certainly are, mister. You bet we are.
I must admit we had our doubts when we first signed up. But the price was dramatically lower than any other safari we looked into and, since we’re seniors on a fixed income, we figured this would be our best chance to see rhinos and the like. You and your colleagues, particularly Mr. Slash, were cagey about where specifically we’d be traveling. Thelma says she thinks some of the assistant tour guides might even have been on the drugs. You might want to look into that.
Just as I did at the time, I object to your blindfolding us for the entire trip to Africa. It was uncomfortable and frightening. After looking into it and calling some other tour companies, I’ve learned that you were wrong about everyone doing it that way. In fact, nobody does it that way, Mr. Rose. Nobody!
The trip was a disaster from almost the beginning. True, you welcomed us to the jungle. And that was hospitable. And right off the bat you promised fun and games. But there were never any fun and games! Would it have been so hard to put together a bingo or a quick trivia thing? Then you promised that you and the other fellows could find whatever we might need. Well, we needed food and somewhere to lie down for a while. And all you offered was some stale pretzels and an old futon. Your offer to somehow acquire new diseases in exchange for extra money was very unsettling. I don’t know if that’s what the kids do these days, catch new diseases for fun, but that’s not our idea of a good time! If anything, we were going to need extra medicine, not diseases.
Thelma and I thought right then that we should try to get out of there, but we didn’t know how to get around in the jungles of Africa. You were all we had, Mr. Rose! Well, we should have just left anyway. Any encounter with a hippo or lion or monkey would have been better than staying with you. Your “learn to live like an animal” program was very hard on Thelma and me. And painful. I still don’t understand why, if we were really in the jungle, we couldn’t just see real animals instead of having to live like them. Also, I love my wife very much, Mr. Rose, but she is not “a very sexy girl.” She is an elderly woman! And I don’t think she is very hard to please; she just wants a pleasant vacation and some water occasionally.
Of course, then things got out of hand. All that business about us getting on our knees? Why, Mr. Rose? And why were you saying you were going to make us bleed? That was horrible! And I absolutely can’t imagine why you would tell people in the jungle that they’re going to die! That was mean and frightening! And through it all you kept saying, “Welcome to the jungle.” Screaming it, really. But, frankly, I came to doubt your sincerity. I don’t think you were really welcoming us at all. It was like you were trying to threaten and seduce us at the same time. That’s not welcoming, and that’s not what we signed up for, Mr. Rose!
One more thing: We have shown pictures of our safari to friends and relatives back here in Minnesota. And they think we were never in the jungle at all but rather in Los Angeles the whole time! It’s not just the lack of animals (how could they all be sleeping, Mr. Rose?) that makes people think this; it’s all the buildings, the cars with California license plates, and the people at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go nightclub. We suspect that those weren’t native people dancing to tribal music, as you claimed, but “heavy-metal supporters” at a “rock show.”
Please send us a full refund immediately. My best to Mr. Stradlin, Mr. Slash, Mr. McKagan, and Mr. Adler.
Fergus Falls, MN
SUGGESTED READSJohn Moe’s Pop Song Correspondences: Notes on “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” as Delivered to Axl Rose by His Editor
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