Album: Use Your Illusion I (1991)


  • A little over 10 minutes long, this is the closing track on Use Your Illusion I. It's credited to Axl Rose and Slash, but Axl described it as Slash's "baby" in an interview with MTV. Axl said he wrote the song about when he overdosed, which he says was brought on by stress. "I just grabbed this bottle of pills in an argument and gulped them down," he said. "I ended up in a hospital, but I liked that I wasn't in the fight anymore. My first real thoughts were, 'you haven't toured enough, the record's going to be forgotten, you have work to do, get out of this,' and I woke myself out of it. But in describing that, people could take it wrong and think it means go put yourself into a coma."
  • "I wrote 'Coma' in my heroin delirium," Slash told Guitar Magazine in 2011. "That's a song that I'm still proud of. There's not a lot of 'technique' – it's a pretty straight up kinda Slash approach. But the thing that's really interesting was the vamp-out, which was this circular rotating chord progression that never ended: the same chord progression every time, but it just kept changing key. That was my mathematical musical discovery. I just stumbled on it and it's very much me doing my thing… but it worked." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 18

  • Liv from St. Louis, MoIn my opinion, one of Guns n' Roses best songs. They really have authentic sound that I've really never heard been quite replicated. Axl's voice really supports the song, but we all know that is far from the center from attention in this piece. Let's take a moment for Slash! Hell, that song was even hard for Axl to make lyrics. That's undoubtedly what makes Coma sound so pleasing. The overall drums and piano are of course awesome as usual, but that guitar! Slash's choice of notes, and placement, it's what makes Guns n' Roses, Guns n' Roses. I don't think Axl was joking when he said it was Slash's baby. That man carried that song on his back. Used to think it was about Axl's notorious overdose but I've come to believe that it's really about Slash. While back, he actually was dead for a little while. Scary shit. It explains the lines of a doctor describing losing a patient. Really tells a story. You don't even have to listen to the lyrics to feel the emotion. Remains to this day one of my favorite songs.
  • Bri from Hartford, CtGotta love a song using all 12 keys and not chromatically.
  • T from Honolulu, Hi

    Axl wrote "Coma." Explanation by Axl starts at about 30 seconds in. Its slash's "baby" because its a long song so it was challenging to figure out the guitar parts. It's about when Axl overdosed. Watch and learn.
  • Matt from Jackson, NjI absolutely love this song. It has been, and will always be my favorite song of all time. Not even just by guns... just anyone. Axl....... such an amazing artist. Slash too. When he says "I'm climbing through the wreckage of all my twisted dreams, but this cheeap investigation just cant stifle all my screams"..... i am reborn everytime i hear it. And the end of the song? Pssshhh.... forget about it. This song is nothing short of perfect. Lyrically and musically. Everything about this song is 100% completely perfect.
  • Kenny from Remsenburg, NyAxl struggled to write the lyrics to this Slash compsition...At 1 point passing out before finishing..
  • Julie from Sacramento, CaBest. Song. EVER !!!!! Absolutely unbelievable. It boggles my mind how Axl's mind works. I don't try to understand it, I just am a grateful G'n'R freak. Glad to be among fellow freaks.
  • Marisa from Littleton, CoComa is an amazing song i love the end after his girlfriend talks that part is amazing...stop with the interpratations...they wrote the song and it rocks who cares what its about i love GnR
  • Rubygirl from Brooklyn, NjFirst, I think all opinions are valid, and yes the song is epic. BUT, in an interview about the illusion albums Axl himself says that Coma was "Slash's baby" and he wrote just about the whole thing. This disappointed me because I naturally assumed this was an insight into Axl much like is talked about here. However, this statement in the interview makes much sense looking back on it, it is echoed by Slash in his biography, and in the song creds Slash appears BEFORE Axl, which is telling. Also, Slash had a notorious overdose where he died for 8 or 9 minutes, so that lifts some of the mystery about the obvious themes of the song. Who knew Slash was so deep and eloquent, wish we could give this epic achievement to Axl, but credit where credit is due people.
  • Jason from State Of Fitz, Njgreat song. great lyrics. Izzy helped write the song(not credited on the album though), big surprise. Axl, Slash and Izzy wrote some of the gretaest hard rocks ever.
  • Robert from London, EnglandI thought this was about Axl's own destruction, and wanting peace, but never ever getting it, due to him feeling isolated, out of the loop, yet called upon at the same time from a world that he could no longer set foot in, so I guessed, that this song was his only way to ever show that, THAT'S WHY I RATE AXL FOR DOING THIS SONG, AND REALEASING IT... It's always rocked! :D.
  • Robert from London, Englandthis is PURE...
    (standing ovation required here)
    but, this is PURE! PURE! PURE! PURE!
    genius from Axl.
    I wonder what his IQ is...
    how creative yet honest, I LOVE THIS SONG!
    it deff apeals to me... wow!
  • Bill from Allentown, PaGreat dark tune to jam to. Estranged still takes the title though this one is up there. Slash is amazing. too bad we'll never see an Illusion 3..
  • Pascal from Hilversum, NetherlandsAbsolutely one of the best songs ever, deserved to be a hit but sadly (gladly), written and composed for G'nR insiders and people who appreciate almost monumental Rock ballads I guess.
    This song takes you through all aspects of music and Rock and Roll in particular. Leaves you with a mixed feeling of being used and refreshed at the same time, after listening. Screaming, almost crying, guitar parts from Slash and heartbreaking lyrics from Axl. A piece of very rare quality. Way to go Guns..!
  • Danny from Des Moines, IaThis song is so great. I love the transitions to different parts of the song. I especially love the part right after all of the comments by Axl's girlfriend(s) when the song goes back to the original stucture of the song. This is a great song to listen to when you feel like some deeper Guns songs rather than the straightforward good timery on "Appetite." Oh, and quit the interpretations. The song means whatever you want it to mean.
  • Rochel from Paris, FranceAxl has said in an interview it was about something happened to him. Slash had composed these awesome guitar lines and made him listen to it, Axl thougth about this experience he went through when he used to take drugs and wrote these lyrics.
  • Aaron from Tigard, OrThe ending part of this song is awesome. This song is killer. Lets keep the interps simple: how about it actually being about a guy in a coma and not wanting to come back?
  • Derek from Sarnia, CanadaThis is guns n roses only song over 10 minutes's an all right song but nowhere near as good as their other epics like November Rain and Estranged
  • Maich from Toronto, CanadaThis is by far my favorite GnR song. Having said that, these interpretations suck. It is definatly not about some guy looking back on his life; Axl never had a near-fatal overdose-- Slash did; but it could likely be about Adler. More likely, however, it's one of those songs that every band eventually makes about how bad their drug life was.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Zakk Wylde

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.

Christmas Songs

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"They're Playing My Song

It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.