With some of these pop pieces, partly what you’re doing is writing your way out of a confused admiration for the subject. But Axl retains his power to disturb, always his greatest weapon. I don’t remember there being much resistance from the Quarterly. Which suggests either a level of confidence for which I’m grateful, or a level of drug abuse that is worrisome. Granted the brakes did screech a little when I called Joel from Bilbao asking if we could put Axl on the cover. His manager had said it was the only way we’d get an interview. (We didn’t do it.) In retrospect that was dumb of him/them, as it would have been killer PR for Axl and that incarnation of the band to grant us an interview, PR that didn’t really materialize further down the road; but Axl is not always focused on the smart thing to do; he asks himself instead, what is the most “Axl” thing to do?

“Pulp Fever.” — Daniel Riley, GQ

See #longreads by John Jeremiah Sullivan