Skrillex Is Opening for Guns N' Roses and It Makes More Sense Than You Think

The producer once called one of the "greatest guitarists of all time" is getting a chance to prove his mettle in Houston.
June 17, 2016, 2:32pm

Photo by Jason Nocito

Your parents may currently be excitedly preparing for the long-awaited reunion of the classic lineup of hallowed 80s hard rockers Guns N' Roses. But last night, some good news surfaced for whatever crossover audience there is between THUMP readers and those who are stoked for Axl Rose and Slash's caravaning into their town together once again. In addition to more expected legacy rock acts like Alice in Chains and Lenny Kravitz for some shows, Skrillex is set to open a date of the tour, August 5 in Houston, Texas.

It's baffling at first, the idea of Sonny Moore throwing down a stadium-cleaving dubstep set before some guys with guitars take the stage, but the dude's productions have always been as rooted in rock & roll's lineage of destruction as they have in the dancefloor. Skrillex got his start in music with the screamy post-hardcore band From First to Last, and like Guns N' Roses, Skrillex's most famous compositions have a tendency toward unapologetic bombast; his subwoofer-destroying bass bursts are as radical within the context of mainstage EDM as a ripping fuzz pedal would have been in the early days of that invention. Consider how easily the Grammys cottoned to his earliest work—even for that fusty institution, there was enough of a connection between Bangarang's sickened blasts and the more familiarly structured pop and rock songs they usually elevate. He swept the dance categories for several years running, because his music makes sense to older ears—or because his music, however sonically radical, was connecting with a lot of people.

Of course, that's ultimately what's at play here: a quasi-cynical attempt at audience synergy (Guns N' Roses want Moore's young fans no doubt) that'll have the side effect of exposing some olds to music that they've never heard before. A couple of years ago, the typically alt-rock leaning publication SPIN (which full disclosure, I spent several years writing for) trollishly named Skrillex one of music's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, despite the fact that he didn't really ever play guitar onstage. He does occasionally sling a six-string now, but even back then, the distinction on some level was understandable. At the time, and now, there's few producers pushing pop music's boundaries into more wonderfully aggressive territory. But award-winning guitarist or no, a typical Skrillex set will likely be puzzling at best for the drunken masses of a GNR crowd. Hopefully he's quick on his feet; unhappy rock crowds can get a bit lawless.