The Time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Delayed a Guns N’ Roses Concert

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by Matt Edwards

In the early 1990s, when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a pop culture phenomenon, they were responsible for the resurgence of the popularity of karate. They introduced thousands of children to comic books and recreational reading. They highlighted environmental issues. They foiled the evil Shredder and Krang in their dastardly efforts to take over the world. And, in a roundabout way, they once delayed a Guns N’ Roses concert.

A recent report suggests that a show from the rock 'n' roll band’s Use Your Illusion tour was delayed because frontman Axl Rose was watching the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and refused to take the stage until it had finished.

Who could blame him? It’s a very entertaining film. Of course, for the tens of thousands of fans in attendance the quality of the film—which features a cameo from Vanilla Ice as part of an elaborate fighting and dancing sequence—was less likely the issue than the singer’s time management.

While details of which show was delayed are scant, the tour didn’t really kick off until May 1991. The Secret of the Ooze was released in US cinemas in March of that year, so it’s unlikely that it was still playing in theaters. This suggests that Rose was watching the home video release, which came out in July, and would have been available for the wily frontman to purchase throughout the majority of the tour. Fans might (rightly) wonder, then, whether the singer could have started the 88-minute-long film earlier, or perhaps even paused the tape and then continued watching it after the show.

Guns N’ Roses do have a reputation for lateness. The band incurred a fine for a performance at the Reading music festival that overran in 2010, the result of a late start caused by Rose napping backstage. The band’s response to a late performance in Rio in 2011? "When the time is right, the stage will ignite." For his part, Axl Rose does concede that “I’m not a ‘punctual’ type of person.”

Go ninja, go ninja, go!