Nov 182008
 
Authors: Ryan Nowell

I guess this isn’t really an opinion as much as it is a public service announcement, but when we’re talking about a nationwide 20-oz. Dr. Pepper giveaway, you have to drop the shtick and do your journalistic damnedest.

Dr. Pepper, the company, declared a while back that they would give a Dr. Pepper, the soda, to everyone in America, the country, if Axl Rose, the jerk, completed the near-mythical Guns n’ Roses album, “Chinese Democracy,” by the end of 2008.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with said album, allow me to fill you in: Saying you would do the insane, the inadvisable or the impossible if “Chinese Democracy” came out this year or any other has been, up until now, a pretty safe bet.

Sasquatch has a more credible track record than this album, not to mention there are space programs with smaller budgets.

For 17 years now, there’s been a steady stream of delays, leaked tracks, cryptic teasers, tantrums, firings, hirings and release dates whizzing by like a Mobius strip of booze-fueled arrested adolescence. It’s a small mercy the diehard fans have, by this time, lost all the hair they’d surely be tearing out in frustration.

Seventeen years is enough time for all the original members save Axl to drift or storm off and their initial replacements to follow.

Enough time for the hard rock landscape to shift from metal to grunge, nu-metal to garage, emo to screamo to tweemo and then back to metal again.

Enough time for the band to be considered cool, then seriously uncool, then ironically cool, and then that distinctly modern place we’re at where we acknowledge how heinously lame something is while spending very hip amounts of money on it.

And while the band’s music hasn’t been relevant since Kurt Cobain overdosed on 12 gauge aspirin, its buzz has subsisted on the promise of this phantom album, that, like some hair metal “Sgt. Pepper’s,” will lift both band and genre out of the perpetual tailgate party they’ve been relegated to, onto greener critical pastures, or some higher, metal-er plain of existence, or something. I guess.

So, here we are today, and by all accounts it looks like the thing is actually getting released next week.

I’m unsure what the portentous cosmic happening was that got it out the door (planetary alignment? Virgin sacrifice? Did someone shank the Golden Child?), but regardless, the unthinkable has happened, leaving Dr. Pepper with foot firmly in mouth.

But here’s where the free soda comes in. Dr. Pepper has parlayed this potential gaffe into a huge marketing ploy, and they’re making good on their promise to grant everyone in the country a free can of soda to mark the occasion. Well, everyone with the exception of ex-guitarists Slash and Buckethead.

Personally, I think if you’re calling yourself Buckethead, your life’s been hard enough, but apparently one of Dr. Pepper’s 23 flavors is cold, hard malice.

On Sunday, log onto Dr. Pepper’s Web site, fill out the address slip, and in four to six weeks you’ll get a voucher good for one soda anywhere Dr. Pepper is sold.

Yeah, all that may seem like more effort than it’s worth for a lone can of soda, but it’s the principle — they’re willing to give away up to 300 million soft drinks because Axl Rose n-n-n-n-n-n-needs to make his mortgage payment.

I just find it very odd that of all the bands for corporate America to try and goad out of retirement with strategic product placement, they went with Guns n’ Roses.

The Pixies have a stick named after them, for God sakes. The McCain campaign could’ve done wonders for a new White Zombie album.

And I’m certain a perfectly-timed marital aide giveaway could garner a Big Black reunion.

But I guess we’re stuck with Axl. Be sure to sign up for your free soda, and pray Whitesnake isn’t out there somewhere, nodding slowly while contemplating a can of Mountain Dew.

Ryan Nowell is a senior English major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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