FROM THE STEREO TO YOUR SCREEN: Guns N’ Roses and TERMINATOR 2

Guns N’ Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” from Terminator 2: Judgment Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze3xhgbyMqs

When Terminator 2: Judgment Day came out in the summer of 1991, I did not see it in the theater. My mom dropped my brother and I off at the theater some afternoon, and while my brother saw T2, I went to see The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, and then killed time at the comic shop down the street during the remaining hour between when my movie let out and his did.

This is really strange, because I’d buy the novelization and try to collect all the trading cards and between my brother and I, I think we even managed to get most of the toy line. I was a big fan of novelizations, actually; Robocop 2 is a definite highlight in my memory.

Anyhow.

While I didn’t see the movie until it came out on video, I had watched the video for Guns N’ Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” about half a million times, as well as wearing out the cassingle of the song. Why a cassingle? Three reasons: I didn’t have a CD player for another two years, Use Your Illusion II wouldn’t come out until September, and every time I tried to tape it off the radio, they cut down the intro, which is the best fucking part.

The line, “With your bitch slap rappin’ and your cocaine tongue, you get nothin’ done,” I had no fucking clue as to what it meant. I was 11 years old and in a medium-sized Kansas town. How the hell would I have even been able to figure it out? However, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that it’s “about band member Izzy Stradlin’s failed relationship with his girlfriend.” Sure.

The intro with the phased bass is, as I said, the best part of the song. It’s one of those ’90s hard rock songs wherein the intro is arguably good enough to be played over and over again, and while the song itself is pretty average. “You Could Be Mine” is only eclipsed by Aerosmith’s “Eat the Rich” for a contemporary rocker with a better introduction.

The video, though, is superlative. That it basically takes the trailer for the movie and intercuts it with footage of the band performing live is fine, but the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger appears as the T-800 in the video, tasked with hunting down the members of Guns N’ Roses, made this a capital “BFD” Big Fuckin’ Deal when the video first appeared. Arnold in a music video? Holy shit.

Granted, as we discussed in an earlier column, the entire concept would be copied completely for 1993’s “Big Gun” from The Last Action Hero, although inverted from badass to comical. Still: Schwarzenegger wasn’t exactly the sort of dude to just randomly pop up in a music video, and given that the video for “You Could Be Mine” is basically T2 in compressed form, this was a pretty big deal. I’m a big fan of any video that ties in with a film properly, even it’s just to the extent of characters popping up to walk through a scene, but the fact that Arnold and Axl are in the same fucking shot, and that these weren’t two shoots edited together still has me giddy, even decades later.

Also a big deal is the fact that video has never gotten a proper, modern release. It was part of the 1993 Terminator 2 Special Edition double VHS, but that’s it; no DVD, no Blu-ray, not even a drop to YouTube. Hell, even “A Nightmare on My Street” finally saw release last year, and that was basically considered an urban legend. That VHS is seemingly where the above video was taken, which is a shame, because I’d love to see what it looks like remastered. There’s still a certain grimy charm to it, nevertheless.

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek
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