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1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

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1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:47 am

July 2, 1991.

Riverport Amphitheatre.

St. Louis, USA.

01. Perfect Crime
02. Mr. Brownstone
03. Live and Let Die
04. Dust N' Bones
05. You Could Be Mine
06. Patience
07. Double Talkin' Jive
08. November Rain
09. Welcome to the Jungle
10. Civil War
11. 14 Years
12. Rocket Queen (stopped)

Axl Rose (vocals), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitarist), Slash (lead guitarist), Duff McKagan (bass), Dizzy Reed (keyboards) and Matt Sorum (drums).


I regret what happened last night [KSHE-FM, July 3, 1991]
Fuck you St. Louis and God bless America! [Onstage Dallas, July 8, 1991]
Everybody thinks it is just because we were wimped out on photos being taken But you can only put up with so much shit from one or two members of the crowd. It's distracting to have flashbulbs go off in your face. They're not supposed to bring cameras, right? There was a handful of security guys who weren't paying attention to the audience at all. They were turned around - watching us. Axl told one guy, "If you don't take care of this, I will!" But the guy didn't react. I don't know if it was miscommunication or if he was just not interested. We've been jumping into crowds our whole career - that's how we do things. So Axl dived in to go after the flash. When we finally got him back onstage, he just walked off. We had already played an hour-and-a-half kick-ass set, but a couple of people started throwing things, and then someone jumped onto the stage - that brought out a few security guys. At that point, the crowd got off on rushing the authority and tearing up the amps - the whole fucking grandness of it. [...] We decided we were the only people who could take control, so we started to go back onstage. But by then the kit and all my cabinets were gone. These people were fucking ripping into the metal MESA/Boogie grilles to get to the speakers! Some guy ran off with a lot of guitars - they caught him. Our crew and our own security were the wall defending our equipment. Some of our guys got stitches. Backstage, there were people on stretchers, bleeding, and cops coming through on stretchers. It was real intense. [...] They rushed us out in a van, all huddled together. We saw cop after cop going in the opposite direction. They're trying to blame us for it, and in a small way, I'll say it was our fault, but there were so many other factors involved [Slash - The Hands Behind the Hype, December 1991]
That was something stupid. I won't comment on that because I don't want to be negative. It happened and it was ridiculous. There was people injured and that pissed me off a lot. I can't enjoy people being hurt in a show. That was bullshit! It was one of the worse nights, like the Donington show were those kids died. That was horrible [Popular 1, July 2000]
Y'know everybody is trying to pick on us because of the taking of the picture. But it wasn't about that really. It was one of those things that sorta built up. Okay, there were some security guys- we're talking about the front line house people right? And the guys are fucking standing there with their arms on the stage watching the band, okay? And there was this gang of guys, and they're taking pictures and shit. And Axl says to the security 'are you gonna do anything about it?' And the security are like 'Oh, yeah dude, rock 'n' roll man!' That's security. So Axl just decided to take care of it himself. He says, "Well, if you're not, I will!' That's Axl- bam, right in there. "We kept the suspense beat going, but when he got backstage, it was like "Fuck this" and he threw his mike down and walked off. That's just the way he is all right? It makes us look like a bunch of fucking pansies and that's not the case. It's like 'C'mon, there's a fucking rule. No cameras. Everybody's bootlegging us. Get the fucking guy and stop it.' I mean, there's enough people taping us and shit. They make a fortune. "I used to bootleg shit, I used to scalp tickets- I know! If we don't see it, then we don't see it. I don't give a fuck. I ain't crying. But if the guy's in the front row and it's like click, click, click, this flashing going on, you gotta tell the security to get the guy. "St. Louis turned into such a violent situation, y'know, we lost all our equipment. Like one of Izzy's cabinets we found out by the concessions stands! My amps were out on the lawn, monitor boards... I was wondering what the fuck would make anybody sit there and dig into a metal grate to get into the speakers in a speaker cabinet. And when we say the lighting truss, they stole half the guns logo. "There were cops. There was blood everywhere. And we had to sneak outta the gig. Y'know we tried to go back on, but the kit was down and that made us realize... it's just the band and the crowd. The more authority you stick in front of the crowd, the more cops and SWAT guys, even though they're doin' their job, the worse the crowd gets. Because we're a rebellious band and our fans are like "Fuck this! We'll kick your ass and we'll kick that guys ass and we'll storm this fucking thing", right? So we have to say 'OK, listen, just don't be an asshole okay? We're only a band, y'know We're as weak as the next guy and, y'know we're up here playing and it's a sensitive subject anyway [Metal Masters, 1992]
That was the most violent act I've ever witnessed in my life. But I could feel that something was going to happen long before the riot broke out. There was an unmistaken ugliness in the air that night. It broke out so fast that there were no way we could have stopped it. We were afraid that someone was going to die, ourselves included. We had hardly gotten off the stage when people started to tear the place apart. They brought down these huge stacks of speakers and completely ripped my amps to shreds. We had to hide in a van to escape from the parking lot, and even then we weren't sure that we were going to make it out of there[Guitar World, January 2000]
Axl had a beef with a guy in the first few rows who had a video camera. Axl mentioned it to the venue security and they did nothing about it. Their attitue and the guy's blatant disregard really set Axl off, so he jumped out into the crowd to take his camera away. When he jumped down, it was great, we kept playing that suspenseful riff that starts of "Rocket Queen," and I thought the whole moment was killer. When Axl got back onstage, everything felt triumphant for a second...then he grabbed the mike, said something like, "Because of the bullshit security, we're going home," slammed the mike own, and walked offstage.

The band kept going. We'd gotten good at improvising to fill dead space - drum solos, guitar solos, jams - we had a bag of tricks to keep things moving whenever Axl made a sudden exit. We kept jamming, and I went over to the side of the stage. "Where is he?" I asked Dough.

He looked at me with a pained expression. "He's not coming back."

"What do you mean he's not coming back?" I shouted, still playing the riff.

"There is no way he is coming back, " Doug said. "There's nothing I can do."

We were about ninety minutes into our set, which was our minimum, contractually, but the plan was to play a two-hour set and the crowd wasn't close to satisfied. They knew there was a lot more lfet. I would have done anything to get Axl back onstage at that point.

"Ask him again!" I yelled. "Find out if he's really not going to." I should have by Doug's expression that there was no use.

Once it was final, we had no choice: the band put down our gear, and it was like pulling the plug on the stereo - the song just ended on a question mark. That entire arena sat there expecting something to happen, but instead we walked offtstage without a word. And that set them off. We had no idea how much that set them off.

We all gathered in the dressing room, Axl wasn't there, and the mood was pretty solemn, to say the least. And that's when the racked started. We could hear this pounding; even through the doors, it sounded like mayhem. Axl suddenly came into the dressing room and said, "Let's go back on."

We went down the hallway toward the stage and it was like the scene in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine where they're walking through a hall and it's normal but every time they open a door there's a train coming at them or a cat screeching: we'd open a door and there was yelling, we'd open another and see people on stretchers, cops with blood all over them, gurneys everywhere, and pandemonium. At the time we were shooting a documentary, so we have a lot of it on film.

The St. Louis locals weren't having our cancellation - they tore the entire building apart; they did things that I didn't think were possible. It was daunting, if anything - we learned not to fuck around with crowds to that extent. Axl, at least, should have been more wary from that point on not to take an audience to that level of agitation ever again
[Slash's autobiography, p 339-340]
The show started about an hour late - which by this point almost counted as on time. We played about an hour and a half, and were in the middle of "Rocket Queen" when all hell broke loose. For reasons that don't matter - they were immediately eclipsed not only by the coverage of the incident but also in the moment, onstage, as events unfolded - Axl dove into the audience to try to address something the house security had not. His foray didn't last long, and I helped him upright as he lunged back onstage. He then strode to the mic and announced that because security hadn't done their job, he was leaving. He slammed the mic down and stormed off. We quickly followed.

For about ten minutes, we waited in the wing, unsure what to do. Since we all had our own dressing rooms and staff and Axl had hurried off to his, we didn't know whether or not he was planing to return. We thought he probably would. The crowd seemed to think so, too.

Unlike a lot of venues, this one had a huge set of sliding doors at the back of the stage tat could be closed and locked with chains. Most of the equipment not visible from teh audience was already in a position to be locked backstage. After that first ten minutes, the tone of the crowd changed and people began to throw stuff at the stage. The crew started to shift some of the items in front of our set out of harm's way - guitars, amp racks.

Every time crew members went out now to grab something, all sorts of shit rained down. It was coming steadily. Most dangerous of all were the venue's plastic chairs with pieces of their metal frames still attached. Those were heavy. I could hear the thuds and they landed on the stage and bounced off the walls. [...]

Axl re-emerged from his dressing room and we offered to go back out and play to calm things down. It was too late.

Security tried to push the crowd back from the stage with a fire hose. But the crowd got the hose and backed our entire crew, the house security, and all the local cops behind the sliding doors. Kids were climbing our hanging speaker towers, destroying our monitors, smashing lights.

We hunkered down backstage. We were lucky. In a lot of venues there is no chained door and the crowd would have taken over the entire venue. Once the gates were closed and the kids had the stage, the crew did not go back out - there was no reason for anyone to risk opening a door and poking their head out to see what was going on.

But we could hear it all. Screams, crashes, the thunder of thousands of feet. Boom, boom, boom, WHOOSH. Rumble, rumble, boom, AAAAAAAAAAAH! Shouts, more thunder, the scraping groan of large objects being pushed around.

Another twenty minutes went before forty or fifty police cars came screaming in and backup police stormed and retook the venue.

The band was shoved into a small van and told to get on the floor so we weren't visible. Slash's hat was sticking up. The driver asked him to take it off. When the van drove our of the enclosed part of the venue and into the parking lot, I could hear the mayhem had spread outside. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I peeked out the back window - I could see speaker cabinets and pieces of our pianos. Kids had gotten tired of carrying them or dumped them when the cops showed. Clots of cops ran around with batons and pepper spray. Kids ran this way and that. Medics rushed around treating bloodied fans. Police had people in cuffs. It looked like a war zone
[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 186-188]
The riot happened because we left the stage after we had done an hour-and-a-half show, which we were contracted to do. The people want a lot more out of Guns N' Roses and usually they get it, but that night they were upset because they weren't getting it. The place allowed bottles and knives and whatever else inside, which is evident from looking at the videotape. It was all over the stage. (...)The rights that I have and the band has are written all the way through our contract. Nobody has really ever questioned it. Nobody has said, 'No, these are my rights and I'm claiming them right now.' (...)
And they think I did it just because I wanted to stop somebody from taking my picture. The camera was the last straw, the final thing. I was sick of, at that point, with the security in the front. There was a weird space in my mind the entire night. I was thinking, "Something isn't right up here. Why is there this weird attitude, this passiveness, in the security?" There was no feeling that they were on the same team as us. Their feelings towards the crowd wasn't right. A young boy and a girl were getting shoved over here while rowdy bikers are being allowed to do whatever they want. What is going on? I was very confused. (...)
When someone says, "Axl didn't want his picture taken," they are not considering the big picture. We are the most bootlegged new band in history. There are over 47 albums out. Even songs that are on the new record. When I play "November Rain" people cheer. They know the song. It's already sold a few million copies on bootleg. When people aren't working together to help avoid that, it really gets me mad. (...)
They don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. I dived into that crowd. And when I dive I'm aware of what can happen. I wasn't aware that they were going to tear the place down, but I'm aware of all the legal things that can happen with me. Someone getting hurt or whatever. But I've got a videotape of people destroying our equipment. It wasn't the building's equipment. I think people got ripped off of a good show. When my audience is denying me the right to call my show for reasons that don't have anything to do with them, that's not fair. We realized the police were not handling the situation. Their method was not working.(...)
A lot of people don't realize that we tried to come back, but we found out the drums were damaged while the police were on the risers, so we couldn't. We felt we had a better chance of calming everybody down than the police, but by that time everything was too far gone. We were told to leave and now people are saying they don't remember that. (...)
That night in St. Louis I got hit in the eye when I jumped off the stage. When I did I lost a contact. I wear these experimental lenses and I didn't know I had another set. So I am half blind going, "Okay, I can't see. The show is over. As a matter of fact my next few shows are over." I was really upset. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know that I had anymore lenses. But once I realized I had another contact I got the band together and we were going to go back out because now they know there is a problem with security and stuff, so things are going to be handled differently. But by that time the riot had already started and there was nothing that could be done. The police were trying to figure out whether they should just arrest me and let the crowd do whatever they wanted to do. It's really hard to handle the frustration I get, and the anger, at being portrayed consistently so negatively. There are certain areas of the media who do that to me all the time.(...)
I was a part of a very unfortunate night for everybody. It wasn't a good time for us. I wasn't Mother Theresa that night.

[“There’s a riot going on”, Musician, September 1991.]
The reason it happened was because the promoter just didn’t really care about the people in the crowd or the band on the stage. And, you know, there were a lot of problems going into the show and during the show with the way the building was being run, and once I realized we fulfilled our contract and... I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop because he was their friend, it was like it was over. And I went backstage, got a new contact, came back and it was too late, you know.
And my problem with that situation is that... there’s a lot of fingers pointed at Guns N’ Roses, a lot of fingers pointed at me, and I’m going to take responsibility for what I did in that situation and why I did it and pay whatever the consequences are. But a lot of people in that crowd that, you know, they tore up our equipment, they tore up the building, and I don’t see anybody going “Umm, I apologize for throwing that chair through your amps.”... you know, I don’t see that, and that really bothers me.
But then I also look at it like, you know, Spin magazine said that it was a great show of solidarity, you know, with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. The same time I went “well that’s our audience and that’s what I used to do if things went wrong, I’d just tear something up” (laughs). So, I went, well, I guess that was our crowd, you know, and it’s like when emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know, and... also respect that, you know, it is the artist who has control over a lot of things and if that isn’t respected by the building, or the security, or even the people in the crowd, the artist has the right to leave.

[Rockline radio interview, November 27, 1991.]
I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened. [MTV interview with Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992.]
With the St. Louis thing, you know, that was Axl’s deal, and I don’t want to conflict anything with whatever it is, however he settled that situation. Some of the shit that went on was [messed up] because a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon with it. But as far as the actual situation was concerned, I do firmly believe that there were a couple of security guards that just weren’t paying attention to what Axl was trying to communicate to them. And Axl will do that. He just jumps in the crowd.
And the reason we’re sensitive about the camera shit is because we got bootlegged. I mean, from the public’s point of view, I don’t think they understand the financial impact that bootlegging has on a business like, say, Guns N’ Roses or even back to Led Zeppelin or anything.
So I know where Axl was coming from. It was a little bit dramatic, and I don’t think leaving the stage is necessarily correct. I don’t condone that or anything, but from where I was standing, I was still just playing my guitar. I just looked over and all of a sudden Axl’s not there and I see this commotion go on.
Then, of course, what happened after that was a fluke. I’ve never seen anything like that, the retaliation aspect of it, because there was a point there where Axl and I went to go back on stage. And we didn’t know it had gotten started because we were back in the dressing room.
So we got up and went to the side of the stage and looked, and there were like riot cops and everything was broken and people were bleeding. There were like stretchers and shit, and I was just like ‘Jesus Christ!’ And then they whisked us away in a van, and I had my top hat on. They said, ‘Get that [bleeping] thing off! Duck!’ And we got out of there. There were cops pouring in. I mean, the whole thing was a nightmare.
I have a videotape of it that someone took, and I can’t watch it. I watched five minutes of it and went, ‘Jesus, I just can’t, I just don’t want to be reminded of the whole thing’. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and play in St. Louis. I was trying to get Axl to do a club gig there because that would be cool. We have the [guts] to be able to come back and do that. It’s like a getting-back-on-the-horse kind of concept.

[St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 28, 1995.]
We were all headed out and there was a lot of violence, there was the riot squad coming in, helicopters, tear gas, the whole thing. It was a full-on riot. It was pretty serious. We knew we were either going to be arrested for the situation or... Inciting a riot. We were, like, running from the law. It was pretty awesome. So we went in this van. I'll never forget it, ‘cause we were going through the crowd and people were banging on the van, and Slash had his top hat on. I remember reaching over and going, "Take your hat off. It's obvious that it's you," you know? We stopped at a waffle house. Axl was still in his skirt. It was like... We went in, people just looked over... "Holy shit." You know? We got up to Chicago and... Everything was on the news. These riots, huge fires and 600 people injured. Holy shit, right? Record sales are going through the roof. It was...amazing.
So the next day
[he probably means the next year] it comes on the news that they're going to extradite Axl. They're going to arrest him for inciting a riot. We sent two decoys out of the hotel. We dressed them like Axl, and we had this other guy named Ronnie that worked for Slash. He had really curly hair like Slash. So we dressed him up like Slash. And the cops were coming in the front, and Axl went out the kitchen. And they arrested those guys, thinking they were Axl and Slash. [“The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016.]
There would have been no destroying of the place if I was there. ‘Cause if Axl left and they started getting crazy, I would have started playing my drums, and I would have got them excited. I would have done something to stop that. [“The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016.]
Next concert: 1991.07.08.
Previous concert: 1991.06.30.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Wed May 07, 2014 6:40 am

GNR Tour Disrupted After Melee : Axl Rose Apologizes for Missouri Concert Riot

Guns N' Roses canceled a concert tonight near Chicago after the rock group's sound equipment was destroyed during a melee Tuesday night following an abbreviated performance outside St. Louis.

"It was a full-fledged riot," Carl Middleman, a reporter for St. Louis radio station KSHE-FM, said Wednesday.

The disturbance erupted at the Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., about an hour and a half into the concert when Axl Rose, lead singer for the best-selling Los Angeles rock band, stormed off the stage.

Moments before, Rose--one of rock's most controversial and impulsive figures--dove from the stage in an effort to grab a concertgoer's video camera himself, according to an eyewitness. But the fan eluded him.

Rose then climbed back on stage. After chastising the security guards for allowing the camera in the arena, the rock singer threw down his microphone and walked away.

Police said that about 2,500 of the 19,000 fans then stampeded the stage, destroyed the band's drums and amplifiers, tore down chain-link fences, ripped shrubs out of the outdoor theater and demolished two large video screens.

"It was a total melee," said Middleman, who witnessed the incident from the 12th row of the amphitheater. "I don't know if Axl was provoked or not, but he seemed to fly off the handle. I think he could have handled himself better."

Maryland Heights (Mo.) Chief of Police Neil Kurlander was conducting an investigation Wednesday into the matter, but no charges against Rose or the band had been filed, according to the St. Louis County Prosector's office.

An estimated 60 people were injured, several having to be carried out on stretchers, according to Maryland Heights Police.

The number included 13 law enforcement officers, whose injuries ranged from a broken kneecap to cuts. Sixteen people were booked on suspicion of riotous behavior and released. Physical damage was estimated at more than $200,000.

According to the police report, it took an estimated 400 police with nightsticks and fire hoses about an hour and a half to bring the rioting fans under control.

But Rose, who left the amphitheater with his band as the disturbance grew, called KSHE-FM about two hours after the incident to express his concerns about the riot.

"I regret what happened last night," Rose told KSHE-FM deejay Jim Ellis.

In a statement to Associated Press after the incident, Maryland Heights police Sgt. John Wachter said, "This is the first incident we've seen in which a bandleader attacked someone in the crowd, and that is what precipitated the riot," Wachter said. "I know groups don't like to have (their pictures taken), but they should have exercised a little more judgment."

Along with numerous other bands, Guns N' Roses has frequently complained about unauthorized camera operators and photographers at concerts.

The band, whose first two albums have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, has often made headlines on stage.

Two weeks ago, the band showed up 2 1/2 hours late for a performance at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum. An angry Rose then went into a tirade against the group's record label, Geffen Records, and various publications, including Rolling Stone magazine.

Last month, the hard-rock group was fined $5,000 when it ignored a curfew at an Indiana arena. Authorities said they acted mainly because of Indiana-native Rose's remarks to the crowd, in which he berated the "scared old people" of Indiana, and compared the state to a Nazi concentration camp.

Opening two years ago for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Rose threatened to quit the band, claiming drugs were destroying the group.

Earlier, some of the band's lyrics were criticized for being anti-homosexual and racist, though Rose denied the charges, insisting the lyrics in question were simply "social realism."

Rose was arrested last October for allegedly bashing a neighbor with a bottle, although prosecutors later dropped the case for lack of evidence.

Holly Huetter, spokeswoman for Chicago-based promoter JAM Productions, said the Guns N' Roses' show planned for tonight in Tinley Park, Ill., will be rescheduled.

The band hopes to have new equipment in place in time for its Kansas City date Friday, a Geffen spokeswoman said.

Guns N' Roses is scheduled to headline the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on July 25 and the Forum in Inglewood on July 29, 30, Aug 1 and 3.

"We have every intention of going on with the Guns N' Roses shows as scheduled," Claire Rothman, general manager of the Forum, said Wednesday."

Despite its controversial reputation, Guns N' Roses has been widely praised by some rock critics as the best entry in the long line of bands that deal with youthful aggression and rebellion in the tradition of the Rolling Stones and the Doors. Its tunes, ranging from "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Mr. Brownstone" to "Sweet Child o' Mine," touch on both the temptations and consequences of "fast-lane" behavior.

The group's snarling new single, "You Could Be Mine," is featured in the film "Terminator 2."
Source: Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1991.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:19 am

No St. Louis gig on the 2016 "Not In This Lifetime" tour:

Guns N’ Roses Won’t Make Up With St. Louis Just Yet

In 1991, Guns N’ Roses played an infamous show at the Riverport Amphitheatre, just outside St. Louis. While the band was performing, Axl Rose noticed a fan in the audience taking pictures. He tried to send security out to kick the fan out or to confiscate the camera, but he kept seeing the guy taking pictures. So eventually, Rose jumped into the crowd to attack the fan, and he ended up fighting with both audience members and security guards. When he got back onstage, he promptly stormed off, and the rest of the band joined him. The crowd that night, in what’s been dubbed the Riverfront Riot, tore the arena to pieces, resulting in 60 injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Rose was later charged with inciting a riot, though the charges were dropped.

After that show, GN’R continued to blame the city and the security for the riot. Rose wore a “St. Louis Sucks” shirt onstage, and the band included “FUCK YOU, ST. LOUIS” in the Use Your Illusion liner notes. Last week, the band announced the dates for its quasi-reunion tour, with Slash and Duff McKagan back in the fold for the first time in decades. When the band first announced the cities they’d visit on this tour St. Louis was on the list. But when they announced the actual dates, there was no St. Louis stop.

When it looked like they were actually coming, the city’s Riverfront Times wrote, with mixed feelings, about the idea that the band might return to the city. It won’t happen. The Riverfront Times now reports that the band wasn’t able to find a suitable venue in or near St. Louis:

Most tours of this magnitude are planned well in advance, but we’re working on GN’R time. GN’R has every intention of coming back but can’t make it happen on this tour… When Guns N’ Roses teased the 2016 tour last Friday, the actual tour routing was still in development, and the expectations was that all 21 cities would be included. Over the subsequent days as the routing and logistics were being finalized it became evident the calendar would not allow for the tour to make a stop in St. Louis.

A quick personal story here: My first concert was a year after the Riverfront Riot, and it was Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and Faith No More on the Washington, DC opening date of what would become a massive and ill-fated stadium tour. I don’t know how I convinced my dad to take me to that; it involved something like straight A’s on my seventh-grade report card. My dad basically hates all rock music. This was a major coup.

Guns N’ Roses came onstage an hour and a half late, which was a thing they always did at the time, though I didn’t know that when I was 12. My dad kept itching to leave, saying they weren’t coming and there was about to be another riot. When they did finally make it onstage, the last Metro trains were about to leave, and we only got to stay for four or five songs. (I heard the opening notes of “Welcome To The Jungle” as we were walking across the parking lot. It was heartbreaking.)

But three songs into the show, I did get to see one classic, vintage Axl Rose moment, one that’s deeply inscribed on my memory. “They told me not to say anything derogatory about St. Louis,” Rose said. “Well, St. Louis can suck my dick.” He then went off on a long rant about how the city doesn’t know how to host a rock concert. My dad happens to be from St. Louis. And I just sat there, on pins and needles, watching his blood boil. It’s amazing to think that, 25 years after that St. Louis show, those tensions might still remain.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by denitza on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:41 am

[quote="Soulmonster"]No St. Louis gig on the 2006 "Not In This Lifetime" tour:

2016 is correct :-)

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:17 am

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:37 pm

Because of the riots at the St. Louis gig, the next scheduled gig on July 4 was cancelled:

Cancelled show, after St. Louis riot

It wasn't the first Chicago area show the band canceled over the years, but this show at the then-named World Music Theatre had to be postponed after the lead singer incited a riot at a St. Louis show two nights earlier, which injured 64 people and caused $200,000 in damage to the theater. This show wasn't canceled due to police fears of another riot, however, but because the band didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform, according to a July 4, 1991, Tribune article.

Tinley Park
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:51 pm

Daniel Durchholz wrote:A letter to Axl Rose from a survivor of the ’91 riot

By Daniel Durchholz Special to Go! Magazine

Hi, Axl.

It’s been a long time. Twenty-six years. Twenty-six!

The last time I saw you, I was in the eighth row — what was left of it — at what was once called Riverport Amphitheatre. You were in the crowd, too, six or seven rows ahead of me, starting a fight with a motorcycle gang.

I think we can both agree that that is never a good idea, right?

Since we’ve never had the opportunity to talk, I wanted to write a note just to say thanks, because that night — as crazy and dangerous as it was, with all the injuries, destruction of property and psychic damage it wrought on your St. Louis fans and the city in general — was a great night for me.

At the time, I was an arts editor at the Riverfront Times and attended along with Thomas Crone, one of our staff writers. I wasn’t even covering the show, per se, but something told me I should be there and that I should bring along a reporter’s notebook, as well.

Those are common instincts for journalists, of course. Showing up is 80 percent of life, as Woody Allen reminds us. And though I was never a Boy Scout, I’ve always taken their motto, “Be prepared,” as gospel.

When the [stuff] hit the fan, though, and the concert erupted into a riot, the thing I was not ready for — because who would have expected it? — was that Crone and I would simply hang in there and report the story. Other journalists fled, leaving us as the only reporters on the inside of a major story that was unfolding right in front of us.

I can still remember certain details vividly: rioters swinging from cables under the light and speaker rigging on the stage, the sound engineer warning me there would be “massive death” if it fell down; police trying to hold the stage by shooting a fire hose at the crowd, though it lacked sufficient water pressure; a man jumping into the stream, then pulling down his pants and waving his penis at the cops.

Ah, good times.

There were other things, too: a man with a gash on his shoulder and blood on his face running madly up the aisle; another, his head strapped down, being carried out on a stretcher; Crone being viciously jabbed in the kidneys by police trying to clear the lower bowl as I shouted that we were members of the press.

The cops’ response was a string of vulgarities unfit for publication — here, anyway.

“We’re reporters, I pleaded.

“That’s nice,” another said, as they dumped us down a steep staircase.

He was right. It was nice, though it didn’t really seem so at that moment.

Because the RFT was a weekly newspaper — still is — and I’d have nowhere to publish my account of the riot until days later, I spent the rest of that night calling everyone I knew at Rolling Stone, MTV News and other media outlets. Breaking news just wants to be free, but this was in the pre-internet, pre-cellphone era, and I couldn’t just put it out there on social media.

In a long and convoluted way, which I won’t trouble you with here, I can say that the fact of my staying on the case that night and then fighting so hard to get the story out led to pretty much everything that has followed for me — a job editing a music magazine, writing books, doing radio and continuing to cover music even to this day. It’s been great.

What have you been up to since that time?

Oh yeah: “Chinese Democracy.” Well, nice going on that.

On the upside, I do have to say congrats for getting St. Louis’ own Richard Fortus in the band. He’s one of the best, which is something we knew even before you did. Well done.

And Tommy Stinson! A rock ’n’ roll hero if there ever was one. I’m sad he’s no longer with the group, but I was always glad to see him get a regular check courtesy of you. He deserved it.

Also, I’m glad to see you’re back with Slash, Duff, Dizzy and the other guys. This is how it should have been all along. There’s no recapturing those wasted years, but there’s still now, and we have to do the best we can with that, right?

I do have to say we’re still a little sore about that “(Expletive) you, St. Louis!” that you put in the liner notes of “Use Your Illusion.” But at the time, the feeling was probably mutual. So let’s just forget about that.

Meanwhile, welcome back to town. I trust the same thing won’t happen again. I know you said back in ’91 that people were throwing bottles at the band, and that’s what upset you. Fair enough. But it was someone taking pictures with an instamatic camera — remember those? — that actually set you off, and that’s why you dived into the crowd and started a riot.

Well, it’s a new century, and now everybody has a smartphone, which means everybody has a camera.

So … smile, Axl! We’re glad to see you again, more or less.

All the best,


Daniel Durchholz is a freelance music writer in St. Louis.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:04 am

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:51 am

Review in Southern Illinoisian:

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) - Axl Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal rock group Guns N' Roses, yelled at security guards to take a camera from a fan before leaping into the crowd and touching off a riot, witnesses said Wednesday.
About 60 people were injured, including 15 police officers. The new Riverport Amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damage Tuesday night, Police Chief Neil Kurlander. An estimated 3,000 rioters rampaged at the concert attended by 15,400 people, Kurlander said.
Kurlander said 13 adults and two juveniles were arrested on charges including assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, destruction of property and failure to disperse.
Police also were considering filing charges against Rose, who left town shortly after the disturbance. But Kurlander wouldn't speculate on what charges, if any, might be sought. "We're not going to be stampeded into making criminal charges," he said.
Conflicting reports said it was either a video camera or a still camera with flash that angered Rose. All cameras are banned at the theater.
"He was yelling about it and then he said, 'If security's not going to do anything about it, then I will,' and he just dove, like three rows back," said Jason Lester, 29, who was about 20 feet from Rose.
"I couldn't believe he would be so stupid. It was such a dumb thing to do."
Security guards moved in and lifted Rose, who was swinging his arms, back on stage, but the angry singer slammed his cordless microphone and stomped off.
"Then all hell broke loose," said security guard David Boelhof.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:22 am

From USA Today:

Edna Gundersen wrote:Rose blames lax security for riot

"I don't think the blame would have come down on the band had the crowd gone crazy at a Barry Manilow show," singer Axl Rose says of the Guns N' Roses concert that ended in a riot Tuesday night. "I'm an easy scapegoat."
But not a willing one. Rose blames lax security for the destructive rampage at the show outside St. Louis. At least 64 concertgoers and 15 officers were injured, and the new Riverport Amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damages.
Police are mulling charges against Rose, whom the promoter claims incited the riot.
Rose says there's evidence to the contrary: "We have the whole thing on videotape."
Near the show's end, Rose grew agitated when security guards, who he says tolerated rowdy, disruptive bikers near the stage, failed to confiscate a camera from one of them.
"I asked them three times, 'Get that guy.' Nobody did anything. Finally, I went in after the guy, to restrain him while someone else got the camera." (GNR's contract forbids cameras, knives and bottles, all in evidence, he says. Though the band discourages alcohol sales, the venue sold beer.)
Citing "lame security," the bruised Rose (who lost a contact lens) ended the show. A GNR spokesman announced that the band would return if calm prevailed. It didn't.
Rose says he wanted to continue playing, but "the drums were damaged, and the police and promoter did not want us to go near the stage.
"I would have liked to go out there and calm the crowd down. We weren't given the opportunity."
Guitars were salvaged but most of GNR's equipment was destroyed or stolen, forcing postponement of Thursday's show in Chicago and possibly Saturday's in Kansas City.
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:06 am

USA Today, July 8, 1991:

Guns N' Roses' Saturday concert in Bonner Springs, Kan., was canceled because the band hasn't yet replaced equipment destroyed during a concert riot last week in St. Louis. The melee began when singer Axl Rose leaped into the audience to grab a fan's camera. Meanwhile, the Damn Yankees are inviting fans to bring cameras to their concerts Thursday in Tinley Park, Ill., and July 19 in St. Louis. Says Yankees guitarist Ted Nugent: "If I was as ugly as Axl Rose, I'd be pissed off about cameras going off in my face, too.... The Damn Yankees are damn photogenic."
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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:29 am

@Soulmonster wrote:Because of the riots at the St. Louis gig, the next scheduled gig on July 4 was cancelled:
Cancelled show, after St. Louis riot

It wasn't the first Chicago area show the band canceled over the years, but this show at the then-named World Music Theatre had to be postponed after the lead singer incited a riot at a St. Louis show two nights earlier, which injured 64 people and caused $200,000 in damage to the theater. This show wasn't canceled due to police fears of another riot, however, but because the band didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform, according to a July 4, 1991, Tribune article.

Tinley Park


The original Chicago Tribune article:
Laurie Goering wrote:GUNS N` ROSES CANCELS

Fireworks are still expected Thursday night in Tinley Park, but one potential keg of dynamite has been defused, much to the relief of village police.

Following a melee at a Guns N' Roses concert near St. Louis Tuesday night, Chicago promoters canceled the group's 4th of July show at the southwest suburban World Music Theatre.

It wasn't because of fears about a repeat of Tuesday's violence, which left 64 people injured and heavily damaged a new theater, promoters said. It was because the rock band - known for its hit album "Appetite for Destruction" - just didn't have enough undamaged equipment to perform.

"They expect to tour again as soon as possible," said Holly Hutter, a spokeswoman for Jam Productions, which books acts for the Tinley Park outdoor theater. But "it's not going to happen tomorrow."

She asked would-be concertgoers to hold onto their tickets, saying the show is "in the process of being rescheduled."

Tinley Park police, who had planned to call out extra officers for Thursday's concert, said they weren't sorry to hear about the cancellation.

"We're relieved, definitely," said acting Police Chief Charles Montgomery, whose officers will now patrol only the regular fireworks show in town.

At Tuesday's concert in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, Axl Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal rock band, leaped into the audience and toward a front-row fan who had been taking his photograph against his wishes, authorities said. That touched off the riot.

Though the band quickly left the Riverport Amphitheatre, more than 2,000 of the 19,000 fans at the show remained for an hour to uproot shrubs, set fires, knock over fences and destroy some of the band`s amplifiers and large video screens. The amphitheater sustained $200,000 in damage during the riot, authorities said.

The 64 injured included 13 police officers. Sixteen people were arrested. Rose left town soon after the trouble.

Rose shouted at security guards to take a camera from a fan before leaping into the crowd, witnesses said Wednesday.

"He was yelling about it and then he said, `If security`s not going to do anything about it, then I will,' and he just dove, like three rows back," said Jason Lester, 29, who was about 20 feet from Rose.

"I couldn`t believe he would be so stupid. It was such a dumb thing to do."

Security guards moved in and lifted Rose, who was swinging his arms, back on stage, but the angry singer picked up his cordless microphone, slammed it to the stage and stomped off, Lester said.

The six-member band had been on stage for more than an hour and had just finished a song when Rose jumped from a section of stage that extended into the audience, he said.

"Then all hell broke loose," said security guard David Boelhof.

When police brought out fire hoses to try to quell the violence, some fans scrambled onto the stage, wrestled the hoses away and began shooting water into the air, witnesses said.

Fans were seen rolling amplifiers up a grassy hill and leaving the area carrying seats.

Lester said he crawled under the stage, but fans began ripping it apart and he decided to try to escape.

"I had to punch and kick my way out," he said.

Hundreds of police officers were called to the theater, and witnesses said they acted with restraint in trying to calm things down.

The theater 20 miles west of St. Louis opened just last month. Its owners said they had to cancel a 4th of July laser show because of the damage. After the riot, the band returned to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and quietly checked out, said Jennifer Massey, a hotel spokeswoman.

The band's lyrics have been criticized for being homophobic and racist, and two band members created an uproar in January 1990 when they accepted honors at the nationally televised American Music Awards with obscenity-laced speeches.

Rose was arrested last October for allegedly bashing a neighbor with a bottle, although prosecutors later dropped the case for lack of evidence.

The band was fined $5,000 last month when it ignored a curfew at an Indiana arena. Authorities said they acted mainly because of Rose's remarks to the crowd, in which he berated the "scared old people" of Indiana, and compared the state to a Nazi concentration camp.

Doug Goldstein, from a Geffen press release, July 10, 1991:
[...] Yesterday GNR manager Doug Goldstein denied allegations the band precipitated the St. Louis riot and cited a breakdown in security at the new venue as the cause.

“I don’t think their security people were trained in how to deal with a spontaneous rock show. It wasn’t just about an illegal camera, as has been widely reported.”

Goldstein said there was a proliferation of bottles, cans, knives and cameras in the audience – all items banned at the Riverport Performing Arts Center. Duff McKagan, GNR’s bassman, was hit by flying bottles twice and Goldstein himself observed a fan jump on stage in the melee, wielding a six-inch knife blade over his head.

“The primary problem at Riverport in St. Louis was a motorcycle club that was intimidating people in the audience. One of them also happened to have a still camera. Axl could see them from the stage and he kept asking local security to get rid of them. I found out after the show these guys were all friends with local security, which could explain why security wouldn’t deal with the problems they were causing. Axl has never been one to stand by and just watch an injustice being done to his fans.”

Goldstein also noted lax controls on liquor sales at the Riverport venue, both in carding people and in limiting the number of drinks they could purchase.

“We don’t like to condone or condemn the use of alcohol at the shows, and in fact, in our contracts with all promoters it specifically states that if the building or promoter decides to sell alcohol at the venue, they assume complete responsibility for all damages and actions because we really feel alcohol has a tendency to accentuate problems at a venue.

“We don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” declared Goldstein. “Toward this end, in the future, GNR’s own security director will be advancing all our shows to meet with each promoter about security provisions. If we feel the promoter is not properly equipped, we will bring in professional security people.” [...]

From the Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1991:
Rockers Roll On as Probe Continues : * Pop music: Guns N' Roses prepares to resume its tour as police and a promoter dispute Axl Rose's claim that the group was kept from returning to the stage during a July 2 riot.


Guns N' Roses' tour is due to continue tonight in Denver after a pair of trouble-free performances Monday and Tuesday in Dallas.

Meanwhile, police and a concert promoter in Maryland Heights, Mo., Wednesday disputed a statement to The Times by the band's lead singer, Axl Rose, that the hard-rock group was kept from returning to the stage July 2 at the Riverport Amphitheatre in the St. Louis suburb.

The issue of why the band didn't go back on stage may prove to be important in any lawsuits growing out of the disturbance that caused an estimated $200,000 in damages and left more than 60 people injured. Some observers believe the band's failure to return to the stage after its abbreviated 90-minute set sparked the unrest.

Band manager Doug Goldstein re-affirmed to The Times on Tuesday night Rose's allegation that the band wanted to go back on stage to help calm the crowd but was ordered to leave the building.

Steven Schankman, president of Contemporary Productions Inc., the show's producer, disagreed.

"Axl Rose was not asked to leave," Schankman said Wednesday. "In fact, the senior vice president of our company asked him to return to the stage, but he was not at all responsive to that idea until it was too late."

Neil F. Kurlander, chief of the Maryland Heights Police Department, also disputed Rose's account.

"None of the officers at the scene report having had any contact or conversation with Axl Rose at all," said Kurlander, who is soliciting statements from hundreds of witnesses--including accounts from all the members of Guns N' Roses' entourage--before making a decision on filing criminal charges.

A fan who claims he was assaulted during the riot by a member of the band's security staff at Riverport filed suit Monday in St. Louis seeking an unspecified amount of damages from Rose, other unidentified members of the band's entourage and the concert promoter. The fan's attorney said Wednesday that he expects to file additional claims next week on behalf of others who were injured at the concert.

Rolling Stone article (August 22, 1991):

A GUNS N ROSES CONCERT ON JULY 22ND AT the Riverport Performing Arts Center, in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights Missouri, ended in disaster after some 2500 fans, angry that the band had abruptly halted its show after ninety minutes, staged a full-fledged riot. Sixty people were injured and sixteen were arrested in the melee, which resulted in an estimated $2,000,000 in damages to the new amphitheater and the loss of most of Guns n' Roses gear.

From what was apparent to most of the audience, the trouble started when Axl Rose asked venue security to confiscate a camera he saw near the front of the stage. (Like most bands, Guns n' Roses don't allow cameras to be brought inside venues.) When the guards failed to comply, Rose dived into the crowd. Following a scuffle he was pulled back onto the stage, announced, "Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home." and disappeared. The other band members played on for a few seconds, then left the stage as well.

The riot started about ten minutes later, when the houselights were turned on. Sporadic fights broke out, and then concertgoers went on a rampage, hurling bottles, destroying seats, pulverizing shrubbery, setting fires and laying waste to the band's equipment. Police officers used fire hoses and CapStun (an aerosol cayenne pepper similar to Chemical Mace) on the mob to no avail and were forced to retreat; according to one fan, the carnage continued for an hour before officers in riot gear arrived and got the situation under control. Though Rose has been roundly criticized in the media for his actions - the most widely quoted contention being that the riot occurred because 'Rose didn't want his picture taken - he says that the camera was simply "the final straw" and that he decided to halt the show because of a series of events, all of which stemmed from lax security.

Rose says he began feeling uncomfortable about the venue's security staff early in the show. "I could see bottles, I could see cameras, and I could see that security really didn't have a clue what they were doing," says Rose. "I remember watching this one security guy shove somebody around and then beam up at me like 'Look how powerful I am."

As the show progressed, Rose says the problems mounted. Fans, unchecked by venue security kept grabbing his ankles. Bassist Duff McKagan was hit twice by bottles. Through all of this, several members of a motorcycle gang called the Saddle Tramps were making their presence known in the first row, allegedly intimidating other concertgoers., Rose claims that the G n' R staffers tried to have one of the bikers ejected and were met with indifference by the venue's security staff.

"I found out later that these guys ere all friends with local security" says Guns n' Roses' manager Doug Goldstein, "which would explain why security wouldn't deal with the problems they were causing." Both the police and Steve Schankman, the president to Contemporary Productions, the concert's promoter confirm that the Saddle Tramps are regulars at arena shows and are indeed known to the venue's security staff but deny that the bikers were causing any problems and say that they hadn't caused problems in the past. However five of the concertgoers interviewed by Rolling Stone, who attended St. Louis area shows regularly, say otherwise. One fan, who asked not to be identified, says: "They always cause problems. I see them at every show. They're always pushing people around. And the thing is, the security guards are intimidated by them. They security guards have never, at least in my experience, gone in and said, 'Listen guys, calm down' " Early in the show, Rose says, another of the bikers, who the promoter says goes by the name of Stump, began bellowing to get Rose's attention. "You have people yelling and screaming during the whole show," says Rose, "but this guy just wouldn't stop, and he was loud - almost as loud as my monitor. He's holding up a card, and I'm like 'Okay, yeah, that’s great.' But he still won't stop yelling."

Rose finally stopped and asked the biker what he wanted; Stump handed over a card bearing his name and affiliation. (Lee Phillips, Guns n' Roses' attorney, says the exchange was captured on videotape by a member of Guns n' Roses crew. Daniel Durchholz, a reporter for the Riverfront Times who was there to review the show says, "I did see somebody hand him a card.")

"I read his card," says Rose, "and I said, 'Okay, your Stump from the Saddle Tramps - was that worth interrupting the show for?' " Rose says he asked what he was supposed to do with the card and that Stump told him to 'remember it."

Unfortunately, Rose did - a few minutes later, when he spied the "fan" with the camera - Stump.

Rose claims he asked venue security guards to take the biker's camera three times. When they did not, Rose decided to take matters into his own hands.

Though it has been widely reported that Rose began pummeling Stump, Rose says that he dived in, hit the chairs and "got a hold of the guy and wouldn’t let go of him," and that the only person he remembers striking was a venue security staffer; he adds that several guards hit him Most of the fans interviewed by Rolling Stone say they saw some sort of fight, but could not describe what took place.

Babu Brat, 24, editor of a local pop-music tabloid, who witnessed the incident from the floor, says: "He never hit the guy. I saw him hit a security guard, but he didn't hit the guy. It didn't even look like he made it to the guy when he initially jumped. He looked like he just grabbed him and held on to him." Stump could not be reached for comment.

"When I got back on the stage," says Rose, "I'd lost a contact, and I couldn't see. My first thought was 'I'm out of here. I'm paying these guys' salary, I don't need to be treated like that by them.'

"I went backstage," Rose continues, "and found a new lens. It was getting crazy, and we decided we were going to go back out and try to play, because we didn't want people to get hurt."

Though various reports have quoted the Maryland Heights police as saying that Guns n' Roses "snuck out of the venue" during the melee, Chief Neil Kurlander says he never made that statement and confirms that the band did offer to play a few more songs to calm the crowd. "By that point," says Kurlander, "it was too late, and it was too out of hand."

Guns n' Roses' management says that the band left the amphitheater on the orders of the police and the promoter. Kurlander wouldn't confirm that, but he did say that the band's leaving the venue "was probably a wise thing for them to do."

Contemporary Productions and the owners of the Riverport Performing Arts center have filed a lawsuit against Guns n' Roses, accusing the band of violating a contractual agreement to refrain from "provocative" and "dangerous" conduct. But Phillips says he feels that the lawsuit is a good example of "the best defense is a good offense" and that appropriate legal action against the promoter for numerous breaches of contract - among other things, the lack of adequate security."

A representative for B&D Security, which handled the event, declined comment. Kurlander and Schankman both deny that security for the event was inadequate. Schankman claims that the venue's staff was told before the show that the band's security would handle any crowd problems near the front of the stage. (The promoter also goes so far as to compare the inside of the facility prior to the camera incident to the inside of a church, and say that "the only bottles we saw were bottles that were backstage that the crew had brought onstage".) But other witnesses say that security was particularly lax at the venue.

"As we went into the amphitheater, I was not frisked at all.", says Melodee Lang, 24, "To me, that was unusual because at every other concert I've been to, I have been frisked," Lang says that she saw numerous patrons with bottles and cameras in the venue. Daniel Durccholz - who says he and his associate were not frisked before entering the venue either - claims to have given his business card to at least three amateur photographers during the concert, on of whom had managed to smuggle a camcorder.

Lee Phillips has indicated that even without taking into account the alleged breaches of contract on the part of the promoters, Contemporary Productions may not be able to hold Guns n' Roses liable for any damages, since alcohol was sold at Riverport and the first page of Guns n' Roses performance contract contains a clause indemnifying the band from damages at a venue where alcohol is sold. Kurlander says that the police will not make a decision on whether to file charges against Rose until a thorough investigation has been completed and that he has not reason to believe that Guns n' Roses will not cooperate fully.

"This is not a witch hunt," Kurlander says. "We will not be stampeded by people who would like to have seen Axl Rose arrested immediately. It is not the intention of this police department to charge people for what is reported in the press."

Rose says he had no idea that his decision to abort the show might prompt fans to riot, adding that it is not something he would like to see happen again. But he denies that his leaving the stage was an irresponsible act.

"I didn't have a choice," Rose says, "I couldn’t' even see, and was injured, and did not feel safe on the stage. I was concerned that people didn't get more of a show. But some fans don't take responsibility that they should take. There's a lot of people not taking responsibility for the damage they did at that place."

Kurlander agrees with Rose. "The people that rioted are ultimately responsible for their own actions," Kurlander says. "No matter what Axl Rose did, they cannot escape the fact that they violated the law. They were the ones hitting people and throwing chairs, and bottles and whatever else they could get, I don't think there's any excuse for their behavior."

Last edited by Blackstar on Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:17 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:27 am

Reports from the St. Louis Post Dispatch

July 3, 1991:

Police Called To Quell Riot At Riverport

By Michael D. Sorkin and Susan K. Brown of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Hundreds of police were called out Tuesday night to quell a riot that broke out at the Riverport Ampltheatre In Maryland Heights during a concert by the heavy metal rock group Guns Ν' Roses.

The police chief of Maryland Heights requested tear gas and fire hoses to help disperse the crowd. The St. Louis County police helicopter was dispatched to direct police movements. There were reports of people being trampled, and numerous ambulances were sent to the theater.

Police supervisors were directing officers to use searchlights on areas of the theater that had been secured to help authorities find Injured and trampled concertgoers.

By 1 a.m. today, police still were calling for reinforcements.

Witnesses said the trouble began about 11 p.m. when Axl Rose, the lead singer of the rock group, suddenly stopped singing and began yelling repeatedly at someone in the crowd, "Get that away from him," then said, "Never mind, I’ll get it from him," and dived head-first into the audience. What he was referring to, was undetermined, witnesses said.

Rose and a member of the audience exchanged blows until security surrounded them. Rose returned to the stage, then shouted that because of the lame security, he and the band were leaving.

One witness said she thought Rose became upset after someone in the crowd began spitting at him.

The crowd then chanted obscenities.

At least 40 police officers got on the stage and began removing people from it, witnesses said.

Police from the Missouri Highway Patrol, Chesterfield, Bridgeton, St. John, University City, Overland, St. Ann, Berkeley, Bridgeton and other municipalities were sent to aid Maryland Heights police.

Riverport Amphitheatre opened June 14. The 500-acre complex holds 20,000 people. The crowd Tuesday night was said to be near-capacity.

July 4, 1991:

Star, Beer, Guards Blamed For Melee

By Christine Bertelson, Brian Wallstin and Kim Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

In the sober light of day Wednesday, it seemed clear that a rock concert the night before had assembled a critical mass of mischief — a recipe for a riot:

- A brash rock star.

- Hundreds of rowdy, drunken fans among the thousands on hand.

- Security guards under pressure.

- A hot, humid night.

When the explosion came, it resounded for two hours of bedlam at a rock concert by the heavy metal band Guns Ν’ Roses at the River-port Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

More than 500 police officers from miles around poured into the 500-acre complex shortly after 11:15 p.m. to quell what they described as a “full-fledged riot."

At least 45 people, including a dozen police officers, suffered gashes and bruises. The lead singer of Guns Ν' Roses, Axl Rose, 29, might be charged with inciting a riot, police said Wednesday. Sixteen people were arrested and released Wednesday morning and may be charged with disturbing the peace and destruction of property.

Hundreds of seats were yanked out and hurled at the stage, trees were uprooted, grass was set afire and a security fence was trampled. Speakers, video screens and electronic sound equipment were destroyed. Fans sprayed each other and security guards with fire hoses.

Between $200,000 and $300,000 worth of damage was done to the new 500-acre complex, according to Riverport officials. About 15,000 seats were sold for the Guns N’ Roses concert, they said.

Steve Schankman, president of Contemporary Productions Inc., Riverport’s developer, said its attorneys would try to collect damages from Guns N’ Roses. Police have asked band members to turn over videotapes of the concert.

Riverport buzzed with activity Wednesday morning as Insurance adjusters, work crews and trash collectors dealt with the aftermath.

A laser light show scheduled for tonight has been canceled. Concerts will go on as scheduled Friday and Saturday nights.

Rose and his band flew to Chicago early Wednesday, but a concert there today had to be rescheduled because of damage done to the band's equipment.

Witnesses gave this account of how the riot started:

A man in the crowd began videotaping Rose's performance about 11:15 p.m. In the middle of a song, Rose screamed for security guards to get the camera. When they did not respond immediately, Rose dove off the stage into the audience.

Rose exchanged punches with the man with the camera and a security guard before jumping back on stage.

Shouting obscenities about the security at the concert, Rose slammed down his microphone and stomped off the stage with his band in tow. They didn’t come back.

“Rose never gave security a chance to do anything," said Lori Webb, 29, of St. Charles County, who was in the audience. "Rose just pointed down at the guy, said, 'I'm sick of this [expletive],' leaped off the stage, whomped the dude, jumped back on stage and was gone."

A Riverport security guard said, “He didn’t give us enough time [to remove the camera]. He jumped down, hit the security guy, then they got on a bus and were out of here.” The guard asked that his name not be used.

In the confusion that followed, no one from Rlverport came on stage or announced what had happened, whether the concert was over or whether people should begin leaving, several witnesses said.

Angry at being shortchanged after paying $28 for their tickets, many in the crowd began chanting obscenities, booing and throwing beer on stage. When stagehands began removing the band's equipment and turned on the house lights, violence erupted.

Fans surged toward the stage, uprooting chairs and the metal poles on which they were mounted. Chairs, rocks, trash and a hail of bottles and cans pelted the stage. Some fans climbed on the stage and began tearing apart sound equipment and carrying it off as souvenirs.

By the time the riot reached fever pitch, Riverport's blue-shirted security guards were nowhere to be found, witnesses said.

"The security guards just gave up, and the fans took over the stage, tearing it apart," said Warren Mays, 36. "It was two hours of bedlam. I never thought anything like that was possible in St. Louis.”

Ambulances, police in riot gear with dogs waded through snarled traffic leaving the amphitheater to get to the disturbance. Armed with nightsticks and flashlights, police herded people to the exits.

Randy Schmeink said he had seen police strike a women on the head with a flashlight.

"The cops were beating people,” he said. "There were tons of ambulances, people walking by with busted heads, gashes.”

But Schankman praised police for their handling of the crowd, saying "It was the only thing that kept this from becoming a tragedy."

Maj. Thomas O’Connor of the Maryland Heights Police called in tear gas and fire hoses to disperse the crowd when the riot began. He said no tear gas had been used.

“We formed a protective ring around the stage until we had sufficient manpower to address the crowd,” O’Connor said. "Then we flanked them and moved them out."

Stagehands turned fire hoses on the crowd, but the crowd quickly wrested the hoses away and sprayed the police, each other and the stage, witnesses said.

Irv Zuckerman of Contemporary Productions blamed Rose for provoking the riot.

“He created the problem for himself," Zuckerman said in an interview with J.C. Corcoran on KSD-FM Radio Tuesday morning. "In 23 years, I've certainly never seen a singer dive into an audience."

But some fans blamed inexperienced Riverport security guards for failing to take action quickly enough to prevent the riot and for not bringing it under control once violence erupted.

"There was a lot of overreaction by the crowd," said 15-year-old Keelan Conroy, of St. Louis. "But it started with the Riverport security people not knowing what they were doing.”

Some witnesses charged that River-port management had contributed to the rowdiness of the crowd by flagrantly selling beer to minors and not enforcing the limit of two beers to a customer.

"When they sell alcohol at a concert ... to minors they are inviting trouble," said Rebecca Pitts, 23, of St. Charles. "People were walking around drunk, setting fires, and urinating in front of God and everyone.”

Zuckerman denied that inadequate security had contributed to the problems. Guards are instructed to keep drugs and alcohol out.

"If you want to rip up your own seat, it's hard to fully prevent that," Zuckerman said. "We had more than 100 security guards. People are searched ... but you can only do so much if they hide things to a point of stupidity.”

Schankman added that all security guards had been trained in crowd control by the Maryland Heights police department.

Schankman said he was concerned that concertgoers would be afraid to return to the amphitheater, which opened June 14.

“I can’t see that it's going to happen again," Schankman said. "But if it does, we are going to be ready."

Kim Bell, Brian Wallstin and Bill Bryan, all of the Post-Dispatch staff, contributed information for this story.

Bad Vibes

Violence Follows Heavy Metal Band

By Jim Mosley
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Guns N’ Roses, the band that helped Ignite a riot late Tuesday night at the Rlverport Amphitheatre, has an aptly named debut album: “Appetite for Destruction."

The band — and lead singer Axl Rose in particular — seem to be as good at generating controversy as selling music.

Two young men were trampled to death while Guns N’ Roses played in 1988 in England. In Atlanta, Rose jumped from the stage to grab a security guard. And in Philadelphia, Rose fought with a parking-lot attendant.

Millions of Americans heard two of the band’s members utter profanities last year on the American Music Awards, and ABC later apologized. Rose has been arrested on a charge of hitting a female neighbor with a wine bottle. Another band member — a guitarist known as Slash — is a recovering heroin addict.

In a new, unauthorized biography of the heavy-metal band, author Danny Sugerman said adjectives used to describe Guns N’ Roses include “white trash, reprobates, scoundrels, uncouth and loathesome street rats," The book, “Appetite for Destruction,” is published by St. Martin's Press.

"Successful" also aptly describes the heavy-metal band. "Appetite for Destruction" sold more than 10 million copies, making it the highest-selling debut recording ever. At one time, two of the band's records were In the top five on Billboard’s chart.

Rose, 29, grew up in Lafayette, Ind., but moved to Los Angeles about 10 years ago.

The trouble Tuesday night is the latest in a string of controversies involving Rose and his colleagues.

Sugerman's new book recounts that:

- Two men — 18 and 20 — were trampled to death while Guns Ν' Roses performed in 1988 at a "Monsters of Rock" concert in England.

- In Atlanta, Rose jumped from the stage and grabbed a security guard who allegedly had "manhandled" one of Rose's friends.

- In Philadelphia, Rose fought with a parking lot attendant minutes before a Guns N’ Roses concert was scheduled to start.

Other incidents include:

-  Rose was arrested last year, accused of hitting a woman neighbor over the head with a wine bottle. Rose denied the charge.

“Frankly if I was going to hit her with a wine bottle, she wouldn't have gotten up," People magazine quoted Rose as saying.

- In May, fans who grew restless during an unexplained 65-minute delay of the start of a Guns Ν' Roses concert in Wisconsin tore up sod at the outdoor theater and began throwing it.

- Rose’s neighbors in Southern California said Rose had scrapes with his former wife, according to Entertainment Weekly. Once, while she ran down the street in the middle of the night Rose followed her in a Jeep shouting obscenities at her.

And his former wife once threw her wedding ring into the front yard during an argument. The next morning Rose was seen in the yard with a metal detector.

- The band’s song "One in a Million" has drawn criticism because its lyrics include language derogatory to blacks and homosexuals.

"I don't like boundaries of any kind," Rose responded in an interview published in Rolling Stone magazine. “I don't like being told what I can and what I can’t say."

Nearly 24 hours before the riot broke out, a group including Rose, members of the opening band, Skid Row, and the road crew had a limousine take them to P.T.’s, a topless bar in Illinois. They stayed for about three hours early Tuesday morning.

"They were pretty well behaved," said their driver, James Brim of Mid-Rivers Limousine Service & Sales.

July 6, 1991:


Another Heavy Metal Group To Sing; No Trouble Expected

By Fred W. Lindecke
Missouri Political Correspondent

"Blood Sweat and Beers" said the huge banner hanging over the River-port Amphitheatre stage in Maryland Heights.

It was the name of the Friday night show by the heavy metal band Warrant.

But Steve Schankman was feeling something like that sign after spending $200,000 to $300,000 to put his 3-week-old theater back together after the last visit from a heavy metal band.

Schankman, president of Contemporary Productions Inc., had to replace 1,000 seats, as well as sod, shrubbery, lights and signs as a result of a riot after the Guns N’ Roses appearance Tuesday night.

Neil F. Kurlander, police chief of Maryland Heights, said he anticipated no problems with the crowd for the Warrant concert.

He said only "a few extra officers" were assigned to the normal force of off-duty police officers hired by Contemporary Productions.

Kurlander said a crowd of about 7,000 was expected, compared to 15,000 for the Guns Ν’ Roses concert.

In addition, Kurlander said Warrant was "a younger group, and it draws a different type of crowd” than Guns N’ Roses does.

He said the Warrant troupe "knows what happened Tuesday; and they seem to be responsible and don’t want that to happen again."

Kurlander said his investigation into whether to file charges of inciting a riot against Axl Rose, leader of Guns N’ Roses, “is still being conducted. A lot of people have to be interviewed, and statements have to be taken." He said he expected a decision on filing charges to be announced next week.

Even though his losses are covered by Insurance, Schankman said he, too, was considering legal action against Guns N’ Roses.

"We wanted publicity, but not this kind. We wouldn’t have booked them if I thought they were going to cause violence. The only word we had on them was that they were sometimes late going on stage," Schankman said.

Schankman said the American Desk Co. of Temple. Texas, began working around the clock on Wednesday and delivered 1,000 seats that were installed on Thursday. The amphitheater, at Earth City on Interstate 70, has 7,000 fixed seats and room for 13,000 more on a sloping lawn behind the seats.

Jack Beckman, business manager of Stagehands Local No. 6, said the stagehands who were caught in the fighting Tuesday night were "nonunion kids crossing our picket line.”

Members of Local 6 and Restaurant Employees Local 74 have been picketing Riverport Amphitheatre since it opened because of the use of nonunion workers.

Beckman said that the picketing caused some union craftsmen to refuse to work on repairs and that beer truck drivers had refused to deliver beer.

But Schankman said that union electricians, landscapers, plumbers and carpenters helped repair the theater and that beer truck drivers had been entering the grounds.

July 10, 1991:

Police Seek Rock Group’s Version Of Riot At Riverport

By Kim Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The Maryland Heights Police Department will mail letters today to the Guns N’ Roses crew, asking for their side of what happened in the riot last week at Riverport Amphitheatre, said Police Chief Neil F. Kurlander.

Members of the heavy-metal band, stage hands, sound technicians and others will have two weeks to send Kurlander written statements about what they saw at the concert. If nothing arrives, Kurlander said, “We'll close the investigation without them.” The Police Department’s case will then be turned over to St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who will decide whether charges will be filed.

Investigators already have interviewed more than 100 workers at Riverport, members of the audience closest to the stage and police officers.

"The missing component, of course, is statements from the stage hands, sound technicians.” Kurlander said. "We want to make sure we’re not stampeded into conducting a hasty investigation without doing our homework."

A second civil suit alleging injuries in the riot was filed Tuesday in St. Louis Circuit Court. Jim Dunning, 23, of Fenton, is seeking more than 315,000 in damages for injuries he said he suffered to his nervous system, head and an arm. The suit names as defendants Rose and the promoter, Contemporary Productions Inc.

A similar suit filed Monday sought unspecified damages.

Guns N’ Roses played in Dallas Monday night for the first time since the riot. The show was peaceful, although fans had to wait two hours because singer Axl Rose was late.

Dallas police said 41 off-duty officers, 10 more than usual, were hired to provide security. A security firm provided more guards.

Rose apologized for sound problems; he blamed equipment damaged in the riot.

Rose told the audience in Dallas that he had jumped into the crowd at Riverport Amphitheatre "because the security was beating on some kid." At the time, authorities and witnesses said he had gone after a concertgoer who had a video camera.

The concert’s promoters call Rose’s claim untrue. "If he says that security was beating up someone, he’s the only person who saw it,” said Steve Schankman, president of Contemporary Productions.

The Associated Press contributed information for this story.

No one at the Guns Ν’ Roses concert on Monday would call it quiet, but at least it was peaceful.

The heavy-metal band played in Dallas at its first concert since the riot at its show here last week. The only hitch: Fans had to wait two hours because lead singer AXL ROSE was late.

Rose told the audience that he had jumped into the crowd at Riverport Amphitheatre “because the security was beating on some kid." At the time, authorities and witnesses said he had gone after a concertgoer with a video camera.

The concert’s promoters call Rose’s claim untrue. “If he says that security was beating up someone, he’s the only person who saw it,” said STEVE SCHANKMAN, president of Contemporary Productions Inc.

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:33 am

Letters from concert-goers and other readers to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

July 9, 1991:

Revamp Riverport Security

The security at Riverport Ampitheatre is clearly not up to par.

I am a 27-year-old professional female. I attended the Guns N’ Roses concert at the River-port Amphitheatre with my best friend, a housewife and mother of three. Guns Ν’ Roses, along with the opening group Skid Row, are our favorite bands. Our expectations were high.

We left at 6 p.m. for an 8 p.m. concert, but due to traffic at the ampitheatre, we missed the first two songs by Skid Row. When we got to our seats, several females two rows in front of us were standing on their seats and completely blocking our view.

I said something to security and a young man told me that he could ask the girls to sit down, but that would not mean they would stay down. However, he said he would go to his supervisor and see what he could do. I decided to take a chance and ask the girls to get down. Fortunately, the two girls directly in front of us were very polite, apologized and got down. A couple of minutes later, the security officer returned and asked the remaining girls to get down. I enjoyed the rest of Skid Row’s performance; they put on an excellent show.

When Guns N’ Roses took the stage, the crowd went wild. Guns N’ Roses was doing a superb job. Axl Rose, lead singer for the group, said he was upset about the Guns N’ Roses bootleg tapes that exist. Then, moments later, he spied a concertgoer in the front row videotaping the concert. He yelled to security, but he saw no immediate action so he jumped into the crowd to solve the situation himself.

When Rose returned to the stage, he said, that thanks to the security, he was going home.

I am not going to tell you that Rose handled the situation in the best way possible. But I do not blame him for what he did. I had no doubt that the band would be back out had it not been for the behavior of the crowd.

I was embarrassed to be a part of it. People started booing and hissing and shouting obscenities at the stage. It is obvious that a security system that could not ensure that people stand on the ground instead of on their chairs was not prepared for the riot that ensued.

Riverport Amphitheatre has billed itself as the only venue in St. Louis that has been built solely for concerts. The sound quality is excellent. But the security is clearly not up to par. I have been to many concerts. The level of security varies from group to group. The harder rock groups get much tighter security.

If the Riverport Amphitheatre hopes to ever be the concert venue in St. Louis, its management must learn to deal with such bands. Security must be tight in every respect. Traffic control must be improved. The sale of alcohol needs to be reconsidered.

I hope that rock fans will realize where the fault lies in this unfortunate occurrence and that the concert industry in St. Louis will study what has happened and make corrections. I love St. Louis, and I want my favorite bands to love it as well. All we need is a little cooperation.

Denise L. Wood
De Soto

July 13, 1991:

Fans Are Rocked By Guns N’ Roses Concert

As a witness to the violent events that took place at the Riverport Amphitheater July 2, I was disgusted by the behavior of many of those present. In the end, I am afraid that fingers are being pointed at some parties who were not responsible for the incident.

The two primary offenders were singer Axl Rose and the approximately 2,000 fans who rioted after the show. Of course, the individual who saw fit to ignore the rule barring cameras from the premises also endangered himself and others.

The real trouble started, however, when Rose dove off the stage to battle the offending fan without allowing Riverport security to have a chance to remove him. Known for his short fuse, Rose once again proved that his reputation is well earned. After Rose was dragged off the fan, he stormed back onto the stage, made a vague insult about the security crew and stormed into the backstage area.

This insolent behavior was topped only by what followed. Fans anxiously awaited the band’s return, still hoping to hear at least a few more songs before the evening's end. After what seemed like an eternity, the crowd realized that the night's music was over, and the vast majority made their way toward the nearest exit. But a scattered few made their move toward the stage and were soon joined by hundreds more.

And it is here that blame is heaped upon the wrong group. Riverport security did its absolute utmost to contain the mass of humanity that charged them. Riverport had more than 140 guards on staff and had brought in several more off-duty police officers and security guards as temporary help. Even this force was outnumbered by more than10-to-1 when the violence broke out.

What happened at the Guns N’ Roses show was appalling and hopefully will never be repeated in this city. But if you are looking to heap blame upon someone, look no further. Rose and a group of intoxicated, brainless fans were the cause of this incident, not heavy metal music and certainly not the valiant performance of the Riverport security crews.

Tom Henkey St. Charles

Riverport Ampitheatre and Contemporary Productions had their first taste of violence July 2 with Guns Ν' Roses, a white, heavy-metal rock band of questionable talent and taste. Isn’t it interesting that this brawl was caused by young, white, drinking teen-agers? I thought only young, black, drugged out, tanked up, gang members and other such degenerates caused such melees. At least that’s what Contemporary Productions, the police and the press would have us believe.

Why else has Contemporary resisted bookings such as the Reggae Sun-splash World Peace Tour '91, the Sisters of Mercy, Public Enemy and C & C Music Factory? Could it possibly be they were concerned about security problems and didn't want to attract Ote undesirables (African-Americans) to their lush grounds?

No, that couldn’t have been their concern. At the Black Uhuru show at Westport Playhouse in February 1990, ail they had to do was call out the canine unit. So what is the reason for Contemporary Productions ignoring blacks? I don’t consider the bookings of Diana Ross and Johnny Mathis to be major attractions for blacks.

Jai Reneia St. Louis

The riot at the Guns Ν' Roses concert at the Riverport Amphitheatre has affected us all. Not only has it made some fans of the group change their minds, but now some people, including me, think that the group should be banned from St. Louis!

This is one reason that I hate modern heavy metal groups like Guns N’ Roses. I asked my mother not to buy the album "Appetite for Destruction" for my cousin as a birthday present. The album name reflects what the group has — a genuine appetite for destruction. Axl Rose and Co. showed that on July 2 at Riverport.

I no longer consider the Rolling Stones the bad boys of rock 'n 'roll. I think that title should be given to Guns N’ Roses: Lead singer Axl Rose can’t even stand being taped. Part of being a star is being videotaped, and Rose apparently forgot that.

I think that the Board of Aldermen and the County Council should consider legislation banning the music of Guns N’ Roses from city and county stores — and even order the surrender of any Guns N’ Roses album owned by area residents. If they can’t do that, then at least they should ask stores to slap stickers saying you must be "18 to buy” on adult albums, like officials have done in Texas.

Rose tests the limits of music censorship with the profanity he uses in his music. If I were a music cop, I would order Rose to clean up his act or be forced to break up the group.

Adam E. Dean Spanish Lake

The Post-Dispatch’s July 4 articles on the riot at the Guns N’ Roses concert smack of yellow journalism. The basis for the lead article, "Bad Vibes,” was an unauthorized biography. It superficially reported alleged incidents of trouble in the past about Guns N’ Roses and implied pollyannishly that:

(1) There is something wrong with Axl Rose's comment that he doesn’t like being told what he can or can't say. I believe that is a freedom we have here in America — freedom of speech.

(2) There is something wrong with the band going to P.T.'s, a topless bar in Illinois. I believe topless bars are legal in Illinois and that many mainstream Missourians go there regularly.

The article kept harping about all the obscenities lead singer Axl Rose and his group use. Excuse me, but I've worked in a newspaper’s newsroom and what Rose and his group can come up with obscenity-wise couldn't possibly top what I’ve heard at so-called respectable newspapers!

We in the music industry lose billions of dollars in income from people who illegally record and sell our works! Rose did nothing wrong when he stopped the videotaping of his performance. He was trying to protect the income from his work. If the fans rioted after that, that’s not Rose's fault. The fans should have supported Rose. These are the people who scream daily about how the Japanese have robbed them of American jobs!

Brian Ironhorse St. Louis

I am, alas, a middle-aged rock 'n’ roll fan who remembers fondly the 1972 Mississippi River Festival Who concert, as well as many others over the years. I still try to keep abreast of popular music through MTV and other outlets. There are quite a few more recent groups I find entertaining, especially U-2 and R.E.M.

Guns N’ Roses, however, I do not. After speaking with quite a number of somewhat younger fans of the genre who had attended the Guns N’ Roses non-concert at Riverport, I have a clearer understanding of why. In addition, the letter in your July 9 issue reinforces this judgment and prompts this response.

Why was Axl Rose so obsessed with someone videotaping the concert?

Oh, sure, they’ll pirate the tapes and make some money, and poor Rose won't get royalties. But just how much is Guns N’ Roses being hurt by someone selling poor quality tapes out of the back of his car? Just how much money does Rose want out of rock ’n' roll? I know. Every penny he can squeeze out of his fans. And the fans definitely come second, or third, for all we know.

And why are those pirated tapes selling so well? Why, when MTV broadcasts videos of the band regularly and their records, tapes, CDs and videos are readily available?

Low price? Or is it, just maybe, not the low price that is selling those poor quality tapes out of car trunks but the high price of the slightly better quality professional tapes found In record stores.

Maybe Rose would do better not to worry so much about pirating and strive more diligently to satisfy his fans with performances, music and recordings that justify the high prices — or cut the prices and drive the copiers out of business. After all, that Is what a free market maintains, and Isn’t Guns N’ Roses all for capitalism?

Has rock n’ roll gone from sex, drugs and rock'n’roll to greed, sex and occasional rock n' roll? And if Rose doesn't like that idea, there'll be, another rock 'n' roll band with a skinny lead singer along any minute. Welcome to the jungle, baby.

George O. Heth III
Granite City

I keep myself well informed on the behavior of Guns Ν' Roses’ lead singer Axl Rose, so I was not surprised that the July 2 concert at the Riverport Amphitheater ended so abruptly. Rose’s reaction appeared to be a normal response to the circumstances it hand. But I was surprised by some of the responses offered by police officers, spectators and Riverport personnel.

Channel 4 began its 6 p.m. newscast on July 3 with a report on the destruction that followed the concert. During this report, pictures were displayed on the screen that were taken by spectators, and these spectators acknowledged on camera that they had taken the pictures at the July 2 concert.

I did not hear anyone clarify that cameras and video equipment were not allowed on Riverport grounds. Instead, these reporters were describing how Rose betrayed the photographers by attacking someone who was only trying to commemorate the event.

I know about the controversy that has made the band famous. I have read several accounts of band members jumping into the audience for various reasons, and I find it difficult to believe that Contemporary Produc tions did not know it might happen here.

I cannot blame Rose for damage done by people from St. Louis and the surrounding area. Just as Rose is responsible for his quick temper and any damage he personally causes, each person who chose to destroy something at Riverport should be held responsible for the damage. Of course, it is impossible at this point to find and accuse 3,000 people for dam-ages, but I don’t see how that justifies' passing the buck. Isn't insurance coverage available for that?

Finally, there is evidence that the security was not adequate for the concert. During the Channel 4 report, a spectator and a security guard admitted so. I and the three people who were with me were not frisked by security upon entering the facility, even though I was wearing a very large T-shirt that I could have easily been used to conceal a camera, knife, tape recorder or bottles.

I still cannot fully blame security for what the unruly crowd did. I think they did the best job they could considering the situation. One of them approached our party and suggested that we leave because it was going to get nasty in a few minutes. We took his advice.

Teah L. Sloan
Woodson Terrace

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:13 am

Lawsuits filed:
St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 9, 1991:

Area Concertgoer Sues Over Guns N’ Roses Riot

By Andre Jackson
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

A man from St. Louis filed suit Monday against rock singer Axl Rose and two St. Louis companies, alleging that he was assaulted during a riot at a performance by Rose's band last week at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

Jerome Harrison is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal group Guns Ν' Roses; Contemporary Productions Inc., promoters of last week’s concert; and Sverdrup Building Corp., which designed and built the amphitheater. A total of 50 unidentified members of the band, its entourage and the promoter's security staff were named as defendants in the suit.

About 75 people, including more than a dozen police officers, were injured in the riot.

In the suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, Harrison said he had had a front-row ticket to last Tuesday night’s concert. Harrison said he had been assaulted during the riot by ''unknown individuals," including a person believed to be a band security officer.

Harrison suffered bruises and swelling and continues to suffer pain and dizziness, the suit says. His attorney, James C. Brandenburg, said the extent of Harrison's injuries was yet to be determined: "He’s still receiving medical treatment," he said.

Neither Rose nor officials of Contemporary Productions could be reached for comment. Officials at Sverdrup referred inquiries to Contemporary.

July 10, 1991:

Meanwhile, a second civil suit was filed Tuesday in St. Louis Circuit Court, alleging injuries from the Riverport fracas. Jim Dunning, 23, of Fenton, is seeking more than $15,000 damages for injuries he said he suffered to his nervous system, head and an arm. The suit names Rose and Contemporary Productions as defendants.

July 11, 1991:

Riverport Amphitheatre Owners Sue Guns N’ Roses Over Riot

By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The owners and promoter of River-port filed suit Wednesday against Axl Rose and his heavy-metal band Guns Ν' Roses, accusing them of causing a public-relations nightmare and damaging the Maryland Heights amphitheater in a riot July 2.

The suit seeks judgments against the band equal to any judgments that may be awarded to injured concert-goers.

Two individuals already have filed suit against Riverport, alleging they were injured during the melee.

Plaintiffs in the suit filed Wednesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court are: Riverport Performing Arts Centre, a joint venture of Contemporary Investment Corp., Sverdrup Investments and McDonnell Douglas Realty Company; and Contemporary Productions Inc., the booking agent and pro-moter of concerts for the amphitheater.

W. Axl Rose is named individually as a defendant, along with MOGOBO Inc., the corporate name for Guns Ν' Roses. Rose and MOGOBO list addresses in Los Angeles.

The suit alleges that the band agreed in its contract with Riverport "to refrain from conduct which defendants knew ... would be provocative and dangerous to members of the audience....”

The suit says Guns 'N Roses violated the agreement by:

- Using insulting and profane language.

- Confronting members of the audience.

- Interfering with security.

- Ceasing the performance.

The petition says that the amphitheater was damaged and that the riot left the public with the false impression "that it is unsafe to attend events" at Riverport. The suit asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages.

Guns N’ Roses could not be reached for comment. Previously, Rose blamed security personnel for the melee.

July 12, 1991:


A third suit has been filed on behalf of people claiming to have been injured in a riot July 2 at a heavy metal rock concert in Maryland Heights. The latest suit was filed Thursday on behalf of concertgoer Raymond Morris "and all other persons injured” at the concert by Guns Ν' Roses at the Riverport Amphitheatre. The suit names as defendants: Axl Rose, lead singer of the group; Contemporary Productions Inc., promoters of the concert; and Sverdrup Building Corp., which designed and built the facility. “Every injured individual will have to prove the merits of his or her own injury claim on their own,” said Michael Korte, the attorney representing Morris. Korte said that as many as 80 people may have been injured at the riot.

November 20, 1991:

Furthermore, Riverport Amphitheatre security guard Eric Molos has amended his first lawsuit against rocker Axl Rose, et al., in St. Louis County Circuit Court by adding the David Geffen Co. as a defendant. Through his attorney, Norman A. Seiner, Molos added the exclusive recording company for Rose, alleging that the company has for four years encouraged the rocker's anti-social, violent behavior by falling to exert any pressure on him to moderate it.

In the previous lawsuit against Rose, Molos alleged he was injured as a result of the riot July 2 that was provoked by Rose's assault on a member of the audience and Rose's taking his band off stage In the middle of the performance. Molos is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

December 3, 1991:

Rocker Axl Rose has plucked some dandy legal types to defend him in the lawsuits filed as a result of the melee at Riverport Amphitheatre last summer. Former U.S. Attorney Barry Short will focus on the misdemeanor matters; Allen Boston will prepare defense against the claims that cite alleged injuries. Both lawyers are with Lewis Rice & Fingersh. However, first in line will be the lawyers representing the insurance companies...

February 27, 1992:

St. Louis: A woman claiming she was hurt in July when Axl Rose jumped off the stage at the River-port Amphitheatre is suing the rock singer in St. Louis Circuit Court.
In a suit filed Tuesday, Diane Bailey of St. Louis alleges that she suffered a back injury when Rose, lead singer of Guns Ν' Roses, landed on her. Her suit seeks unspecified damages.

June 24, 1992:

St. Louis County: In a suit filed Monday, security guard Bruce Olsen accuses Axl Rose, lead singer of the band Guns Ν' Roses, of negligence and of inciting a riot in a concert last summer at the Riverport Amphitheater. Olsen says he was punched by Rose and others in the midst of a melee that started after Rose lunged at a spectator who had a camera. Olsen also names the band, the owners of the Riverport and the concert promoters as defendants. Rose also faces three similar lawsuits and four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage.

July 10, 1992:

Lloyd’s Of London Sues Axl Rose

The underwriters argue that the band could have performed at the concerts.

By Fred Faust
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Axl Rose and his band, Guns N’ Roses, whose appearance last year at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights ended in a riot, have been sued by underwriters at Lloyd’s of London.

Rose and the band tried to collect on an insurance policy that insured against cancellation of a performance for any reason “beyond the control of the insured," the suit states.

After the nationally reported incident at Riverport on July 2, 1991, Guns Ν’ Roses canceled concerts scheduled for suburbs of Chicago and Kansas City, Kan., because of damage to their equipment.

The underwriters argue that the band, which they also refer to as the Stravinsky Brothers, could have performed at the Chicago and Kansas City concerts. And they say the defendants "directly caused the loss of civil control."

During the concert at Riverport, the insurers’ suit states, Rose and the band “incited the crowd to riot against authorities and security and, in the midst of the performance, left the stage after urging the crowd to destroy the stage and equipment."

Rose and Guns Ν' Roses could not be reached for comment on the suit, which was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court. Peter B. Hoffman of St. Louis filed the suit, in conjunction with a law firm in Los Angeles.

Hoffman declined to disclose the amount of the insurance claim or to explain the reference to Stravinsky Brothers. The suit asks the court to rule that the concert cancellations are not covered by the Lloyd’s policy.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County prosecutors still want Rose on five misdemeanor counts. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dan Diemer said Thursday that Rose was supposed to turn himself in by May 11.

If he doesn't show up by July 17, Diemer said, "we'll seek to have him arrested at each concert venue this summer."

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:18 am

Brilliant! How do you get hold of all these clippings? I used to buy access to online news magazines and then checked local papers the days after GN'R had a show there, but it was such a load of work to do it.
Tour plane captain

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:23 am

Criminal charges pressed:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 3, 1991:

Prosecutor Seeks Tape Of Guns Ν’ Roses Riot

By Kim Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The St. Louis County prosecutor said Friday that he would like to see another videotape of the Guns N’ Roses concert before pursuing criminal charges against Axl Rose, a heavy metal singer.

"If there are more [tapes], we’ll sit down and take a look at that," said the prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch. “I don’t know if it exists or what it would show."

McCulloch’s office expects to decide next week whether to file charges against Rose over the riot July 2 that injured nearly 80 people.

McCulloch has watched a videotape
that shows Rose jumping into the crowd at the Riverport Amphitheatre. Police say several members of the audience and at least one security guard claim to have been hurt by that action or assaulted by Rose.

But the videotape of that act — taped by a member of the band’s entourage — does not provide McCulloch with the best angle.

"Once they’re down below head level [on the floor], you can’t see," McCulloch said. "People around them are standing up on chairs."

A lawyer for Rose in Los Angeles was trying to find out if another videotape exists that might provide McCulloch with a different angle.

August 8, 1991:

Axl Rose Charged In Riot

Musician Accused Of Misdemeanor Property Damage, Assault In Clash At Riverport Concert; Arrest Sought

By Kim Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Heavy metal musician Axl Rose, whose leap into a rock concert crowd sparked a riot here last month, now faces misdemeanor charges of assault and property damage.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch filed five misdemeanor charges against Rose on Wednesday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Rose, lead singer of the group Guns Ν' Roses, allegedly hit a security guard and hurt three concertgoers at a concert July 2 at the Riverport Amphitheatre.

The three concertgoers were Bill Stephenson, 26, Tammy Beckemeyer, 22, and Diane Bailey, 26, all of St. Louis.

He also smashed a mirror in the dressing room and damaged a wall, Maryland Heights police say. Police said about $280 was spent to replace the mirror.

If convicted, Rose, 29, faces up to a year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the four assault charges. For second-degree property damage, the maximum penalty is six months in the county jail and a $500 fine.

McCulloch said none of the Injuries — “primarily bumps and bruises” — was serious enough to warrant felony assault charges.

After Rose jumped in the crowd, he and his band left the amphitheatre. Then, about 3,000 of the 15,000 concertgoers rioted, hurling chairs, destroying equipment, uprooting trees and setting grass on fire. About 65 people, including 25 police officers, were injured in the melee.

Rose isn’t charged with rioting because Rose "was long gone” when the riot broke out, McCulloch said. While police believe that Rose "lit the fuse” that sparked the riot, charges of inciting a riot are not part of Missouri law, McCulloch said.

Those who took part in the riot might be charged with assault and property damage later, McCulloch said. To charge someone with rioting, prosecutors would have to prove that six or more people had an agreement to riot.

The trouble at the concert began about 11 p.m., when Rose apparently became irked that Stephenson, who was standing in the second row of seats, was snapping photographs of him.

In an interview Wednesday, Stephenson said Rose starting yelling at security to grab the camera. But before security could respond. Rose “threw off his hat and dove at me,” said Stephenson, 26, of St. Louis.
"It happened so fast,” Stephenson said. "We went down into the chairs. I was struggling to get loose from him. He had a hold of my hair and my vest... he was repeatedly hitting me."

Rose apparently bumped Beckemeyer and Bailey when lie jumped after Stephenson, police said. Rose also is charged with hitting a security guard, Bruce Olsen, in the head. Olsen, 29, lives in Fenton.

Although a warrant has been issued for Rose's arrest, McCulloch said an attorney may enter his appearance for Rose. Then a judge here would decide if Rose has to come back to Missouri for a court date.

Guns N’ Roses is scheduled to leave Saturday for a concert tour in Europe. Rose’s lawyer in Los Angeles declined to comment, and the band's publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Caption: Stephenson, who angered Axl Rose by taking pictures at Axl Rose’s concert at Riverport Amphitheatre, showing one of the photos Wednesday.

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:26 am

@Soulmonster wrote:Brilliant! How do you get hold of all these clippings? I used to buy access to online news magazines and then checked local papers the days after GN'R had a show there, but it was such a load of work to do it.

I have a subscription to a newspapers collection site and I've been searching with keywords by date range, location and newspaper.

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:38 am

While all this was happening, the Use Your Illusion albums were released in September 1991.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 12, 1991:

Guns N’ Roses Is Returning ...Sort Of

By Jim Mosley
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

St. Louis is bracing for the return of Guns Ν’ Roses next week.

But this time it will be clerks at music stores and not police who will be busy.

The band has two new albums scheduled for release Tuesday, and demand is expected to be heavy. Several stores plan to adjust their hours so die-hard fans can buy the record at the earliest possible time: midnight Monday.

“There’s very much demand for it — regardless of their performance here,” said Erik Voeks, the assistant manager of the Music Vision store in south St. Louis County. Guns Ν’ Roses helped ignited a riot July 2 at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

The 10 Music Vision stores in the area plan to close at 9:30 p.m. Monday, then reopen at midnight for two hours. West End Wax, a store in the Central West End, plans to be open from midnight Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“People want this," said Pat Tentscher, the store’s owner. “They have to have it right away — ASAP."

And disc jockey Danny Wright of radio station WKBQ is scheduled to broadcast from 11 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday at the Streetside Records store at 9901 Watson Road in Crestwood.

Radio station KSHE plans to broadcast both albums in their entirety Sunday night, beginning at 9 p.m.

The two new albums are called “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II.” The compact disc of each album will have a list price of $15.98, but stores can offer it at different prices. The list price of the cassette version is $10.98 each.

Guns Ν’ Roses' first album — “Appetite for Destruction" — has sold 14 million copies since its release in July 1987. That makes it the highest-selling debut album in history.

The group's next album after that — “G N’ R Lies” — has sold 6 million copies since its release in November 1988.

In August, the band’s lead singer, Axl Rose, was charged with five counts of misdemeanor assault and property damage in connection with the Riverport riot. A warrant was issued for his arrest; the charges are pending.

Rose allegedly bit a security guard and hurt three concertgoers. He also smashed a mirror in the dressing room and damaged a wall, police said.

The band has not forgotten St. Louis in its new albums. In a list of people thanked in the liner notes to the album, a mention of St. Louis is preceded by an obscenity.

September 17, 1991:

Hot Disc
Fans Snap Up LP By Guns Ν’ Roses

By Donald E. Franklin
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Enthusiastic rock fans waited until one minute after midnight Tuesday to purchase two new albums by Guns Ν’ Roses.

Several Music Vision and Streetside Records stores in the St. Louis were among an estimated 1,000 record stores across the United States that started selling the long-awaited records shortly after midnight.

“It’s somewhat chaotic in here," said Dave Cummings, a clerk at the Streetside store at 9901 Watson Road in Crestwood. "Everybody is excited about it. There are some pretty big lines.”

Cummings said about 50 customers were in the store when the sales embargo was lifted. He said he expected to sell up to 200 compact disc albums on the first day.

Rock fans in their teens and 20s began lining up for the albums at Watson Road by 10 p.m. They wanted to be among the first to buy the albums “Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II.”

Music store operators say the albums are expected to hit the top of the charts and make the band one of the biggest-selling of all time. Their first album, “Appetite for Destruction," sold 14 million copies.

A riot erupted after Guns N’ Roses left the stage July 2 at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. In August, the band’s lead singer, Axl Rose, was charged with five counts of misdemeanor assault and property damage in connection with incidents that night.

September 18, 1991:

Like Hotcakes: Guns Ν’ Roses Albums Draw A Crowd

A two-word obscenity directed at St. Louis is in small print in the liner notes.

By Linda Eardley
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Hundreds of heavy metal music fans flocked to area stores Tuesday to snap up new twin albums by Guns Ν’ Roses, several music stores said.

“About every other person wants Guns N’ Roses,” Johnny Tompkins, shift manager of Sound Warehouse, 3801 Hampton Avenue, said Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first day of release for the albums, "Use Your Illusion I" and “Use Your Illusion II." Some stores opened for an hour or two after midnight for customers who just couldn't wait until regular hours.

Fans seemed undaunted by the local controversy involving the group.

A riot erupted at a Guns N’ Roses concert July 2 at Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. In August, misdemeanor charges were filed against the lead singer, Axl Rose.

The band retaliated in its new albums. The liner notes contain a two-word obscenity directed at St. Louis.

“You've really got to search for it," said Jim Varvaris, manager of the Streetside store at 9901 Watson Road in Crestwood.

The Music Vision store at 10874 St. Charles Rock Road, St. Ana, sold 150 to 200 tapes and compact discs right after midnight, said manager Cindy Cessna. During the day Tuesday, the new Guns Ν' Roses albums made up two-thirds of the sales volume.

Cessna said while some people may be upset about the band's attitude toward St. Louis, "The fans are going to purchase it, regardless."

Not all stores were seeing a mad rush. “We sold more of the new Metallica," said Re Mormino, a clerk at Sound Revolution. 7751 North Lindbergh Boulevard, Hazelwood.

The heavy metal band Metallica released its new album last month.

Geffen Records said it shipped 4 million copies of the new Guns Ν' Roses albums to stores. The band's 1987 debut album, “Appetite for Destruction,’’ sold 14 million copies.

The band’s lyrics have been criticized for being homophobic, sexist and racist.

Obscenity abounds on the new albums. The band advises listeners offended by the language to shop for New Age music.

About 2,000 people showed up Tuesday evening at radio Station WKBQ-FM to return the liner-note obscenity, said Todd Goodrich, promotions director.

The group formed a giant obscene gesture on the station's parking lot. A photographer in a cherry picker took pictures, which will be blown up and sent to Rose and his management company, Goodrich said.

The Associated Press contributed Information for this story.

[Replying to a caller from St. Louis, who said that the loyal fans there were upset with the  "Fuck you St. Louis" in the liner notes]
Well, I feel that the loyal fans shouldn’t take that to heart. They don’t have anything to do with it, and, you know, I wasn’t talking to them. If you look really closely in the Don’t Cry video, I have a 1940 St. Louis baseball and a St. Louis hat on. [Rockline radio interview, November 27, 1991]

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:15 am

Criminal charges (cont). - Axl avoids surrender and arrest:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, March 26, 1992:
By Nordeka English
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The Missouri Police Chiefs Association is giving the 1991 Outstanding Chief Award to Police Chief Neil F. Kurlander of Maryland Heights.

Kurlander, 48, was chosen from 15 nominees across the state and will get the award at the association’s annual conference May 6 in Columbia.

Last year, Kurlander was the incident commander in what is considered by many to be the largest civil disorder in the history of St. Louis County. That was the riot at the Guns N’ Roses concert at the Riverport Auditorium on July 2.

The band’s lead singer, Axl Rose, was charged in August with four counts of assault and one of property damage, all misdemeanors. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Tuesday, "The charges are still pending, and Mr. Rose is still at large."

McCulloch said that the county eventually would have Rose taken into custody, unless he surrenders himself to authorities.

Rose allegedly hit a security guard and hurt three concert patrons. He also smashed a mirror in the dressing room and damaged a wall, police said.

April 4, 1992:

Rock Star Evades Long Arm Of Law

By Fred W. Lindecke
Missouri Political Correspondent

St. Louis County Police say Axl Rose can keep running, but they will catch up with him sooner or later.

Rose, lead singer of the Guns N’ Roses rock group, ducked out of town in Chicago Friday night to avoid being arrested on charges stemming from a disturbance last July 2 at the Riverport Amphitheatre in northwest St. Louis County. The band canceled the Friday night concert and shows scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, said Rose "is easy to find. Wherever he goes, we’ll be waiting for him. If he wants to cancel his whole schedule, fine. If he leaves the country, we’ll notify Customs to get him when he comes back."

McCulloch said he had given Rose time to answer the charges voluntarily, but now that time had run out.

Bryn Bridenthal, a spokeswoman for Geffen Records, the label for Guns N’ Roses, said Chicago police had told Rose "they were coming to arrest him, so the band acted accordingly. Axl has always been where he had to, and this seemed extreme. Why arrest and extradite someone on a misdemeanor charge?"

Rose was charged with assault and property damage after a disturbance that followed a Guns Ν' Roses concert at Rlverport. He is accused of hitting a security guard, hurting three concert-goers and damaging a dressing room.

Cook County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sally Daly said the department had been asked to enforce a bench warrant posted by the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office. Daly said officers had contacted the band's management, told them Rose would face arrest and gave Rose the option of surrendering before or after the show.

Instead, the band canceled Friday’s concert about 30 minutes before it was set to start in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont. Fans dispersed peacefully, band management and police said.

The Associated Press provided information for this story.

April 15, 1992:

Dodging County Is Costing Axl Rose

By Kim Bell
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Axl Rose has avoided arrest at a Chicago concert and on an Oklahoma highway, but life on the run is costing the heavy metal rocker,

Rose’s band, Guns Ν' Roses, canceled a concert in Chicago and two in Michigan after learning that St. Louis County had asked local authorities to arrest him.

He is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage stemming from a melee at the Rlverport Amphitheatre in northwest St. Louis County last summer.

Canceling the concerts was "humongous-ly costly," Bryn Bridenthal, Rose's publicist, said Tuesday. She estimated that they had generated $1.5 million in ticket sales.

Bridenthal said, “Axl felt he should retreat to a neutral corner.”

Rose’s bond has shot up 10-fold to $100,000 because prosecutors told a judge that Rose had not surrendered yet and had plans to travel in Europe.

The band is scheduled to perform next week at an AIDS benefit in London. Dan Diemer, an assistant prosecutor in St. Louis County, said U.S. Customs had agreed to stop Rose on his way back into this country.

Robert P. McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecutor, said that a warrant had been issued for Rose’s arrest in August when the charges were filed but that Rose had been told he could surrender at his convenience.

Eight months passed, and McCulloch said he decided to take action now because Rose was performing near St. Louis. Last week, police were asked to stop the band’s bus as it left a concert in Oklahoma City and headed for Chicago. Oklahoma police stopped the bus but were told Rose had gone to Little Rock, Ark.

Rose skipped out of a concert in Chicago on Friday before the Cook County Sheriff's Department could enforce a bench warrant posted by the St. Louis County prosecutor's office.

Bridenthal said Rose had offered to perform a concert for the charity of McCulloch’s choice, but McCulloch said he won’t negotiate the case until Rose surrenders. Besides, McCulloch said, another concert might not be a good idea.

April 21, 1992:

Margulis To Defend Rocker Axl Rose

FROM THE BERGERMEISTER: Criminal attorney Arthur S. Margulis has confirmed he has been retained to represent rocker Axl Rose in his legal difficulties in St. Louis County (as in Riverport). While Margulis declined to comment further, we turned to a County Courthouse source who predicted: “Efforts will probably be made to resolve the continuing saga of Rose’s fugitive status”....

June 4, 1992:

Rock Star Axl Rose To Confront Charges

Singer Axl Rose will surrender here to face charges stemming from last summer’s riot at River-port Amphitheatre, but probably not before July, his attorney said.

Rose is on tour in Europe with his group Guns Ν' Roses. Rose’s attorney, Art Margulis, said surrendering is “the only practical, realistic way to resolve the matter” but doesn't expect it in the next two to three weeks.

Margulis said Rose would come to Clayton to be booked on misdemeanor assault and property damage charges and appear before a judge. Rose had planned to surrender on May 11, but he canceled three days before, prosecutors say.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County authorities say they won’t recommend that the heavy metal rocker go to jail if he is convicted. The penalty could be up to $4,500 in fines and 4 1/2 months in a county jail.

“Axl’s not going to get off with a slap on the wrist and a fine," said Dan Diemer, an assistant county prosecutor. "We consider a fine for Axl Rose a slap on the wrist because he has millions.

“We’re thinking in terms of probation,” combined perhaps with a fine and community service, Diemer said. Rose has offered to perform a concert for charity, but prosecutors won’t negotiate the case until Rose surrenders.

June 10, 1992 (from another Missouri newspaper, The Springfield News Leader):
Guns Ν’ Roses cancels

W. Axl Rose, lead singer of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses, is suffering exhaustion and canceled a sold-out performance, the band said Tuesday.

A prosecutor in Columbia, S.C., meanwhile, said that if Rose turns up for his scheduled Aug. 2 concert there, he would send him packing to St. Louis, where he faces charges over a riot there in July 1991.

The concert Tuesday in Manchester for 30,000 fans was called off so the 30-year-old Rose can rest, said band spokesman Bernard Doherty. Rose was in Paris and planned to fly to Britain on Friday, he said.

The day before and across the Atlantic, Circuit Court Solicitor Dick Harpootlian said he would serve Rose with a warrant as a fugitive from justice, "the minute he sets foot in South Carolina.”

Rose was charged with assault and property damage in Missouri.

June 11, 1992 (Plaintiffs' lawyers in civil suits are also looking for Axl):

Other Thorns Await Rose

Personal-Injury Attorney Also After Guns N’ Roses Star

By Joan Little
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

If rock star Axl Rose appears here in court next month as expected, the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney's office won’t be waiting for him alone.

An attorney who represents three people suing Rose has asked St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to make public the date and time of Rose’s court appearance so that Rose can be served with summonses for civil suits by three people who say they suffered injuries at a riot last summer at the Riverport Amphitheatre.

“I thought as long as he was going to grace St. Louis with his presence, that the people who are injured ought to be able to communicate with him,” the attorney, Frank J. Kaveney, said Wednesday.

The county prosecutor’s office has been trying for months to get Rose to appear here to surrender on charges stemming from the melee at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. Rose is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage.

Arthur S. Margulis, Rose’s attorney, said Rose will appear here in court either the first or second week of July — probably the second week.

But Kaveney said he was afraid that Rose would be here and gone without anyone knowing it. Rose is currently on a concert tour of Europe with his band, Guns N’ Roses.

“I would hope that the prosecutor’s office doesn’t let him slip in and out of town without letting anybody know about it and leave these people just holding their lawsuits,” Kaveney said.

Kaveney said it would be even better if Rose filed a memo with the court that would designate his attorney to accept service of the civil suits.

So far, Kaveney said he has been able to serve the rock singer on behalf of only one of his clients. In that case, Kaveney said, he hired a private process server in Los Angeles who followed Rose home from a concert to his condominium and served him with the suit papers in the lobby of the condominium building.

“It’s expensive and time-consuming and difficult,” he said.

Dan Diemer, an assistant county prosecutor, said Wednesday that he had not heard of Kaven-ey’s request. He said Prosecuting Attorney McCulloch, who is currently involved in the murder trial of Dennis A. Blackman Jr., would review the matter.

Rose “won’t come to town for at least a couple of weeks,” Diemer said.

July 10, 1992:

Axl Rose Planning To Surrender Here

ORDER IN THE COURT: Rocker Axl Rose will surrender early next week on the warrant that was issued for the off-stage ruckus last summer at the Riverport Amphitheatre. The matter will then rest with St. Louis County Associate Court Judge Ellis Gregory. Rose hopes to begin his national tour next Friday....

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:30 am

Criminal charges (cont.) - Arrest and setting of trial date:

July 13, 1992:

Axl Rose Arrested In NY; Extradition Sought

By Nikhil Deogun
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Tired of tapping their toes waiting for Axl Rose to turn himself in, St. Louis County prosecutors are trying to extradite the rock star so that he can come here to face the music.

Acting on the request of prosecutors, U.S. customs agents arrested Rose, lead singer for Guns Ν’ Roses, Sunday morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Rose was charged last August with four counts of assault and one of property damage, all misdemeanors, after a Guns N’ Roses concert at Riverport Amphitheatre ended in a riot.

Rose dived into a crowd and is accused of hitting a security guard and hurting three concertgoers. After that, he walked offstage, band in tow, ending the concert.

Customs agents handed Rose over to Port Authority Police on Sunday morning, said Allen Morrison, a Port Authority spokesman. Morrison said Rose, 30, was cooperative in the three hours he was in the custody of Port Authority Police. He was turned over to the New York City Police Department at about 3:15 p.m..

Rose was released on $100,000 bond at about 7:10 p.m., said Gerald McMahon, Rose’s attorney in New York.

Meanwhile, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said he has told Rose’s attorneys that he plans to have the singer extradited.

Rose already had told St. Louis authorities he would surrender this week to face the charges, said Bryn Bridenthal, a spokeswoman for Rose.

“He’s been saying that he'd turn himself in, but he hasn’t," McCulloch said. “We decided to not take any more chances; we decided not to take him at his word anymore. He’s had a year to show up on his own."

McCulloch said that in March he was even given a specific date when Rose said he would come to St. Louis. He didn’t. That’s when McCulloch told customs officials in New York to arrest Rose when he came into the country.

Rose flew in on an Air France Concorde from Paris with Stephanie Seymour, a model who is his girlfriend, and her young son and a nanny, Bridenthal said.

Arthur S. Margulis, Rose’s attorney in St. Louis, said he expected the arrest. “He’s been on the customs' computer for months," he said. "We knew he ran the risk of being arrested anytime he entered the country."

McMahon, the New York attorney, said he expected Rose to arrive in St. Louis by Tuesday morning, “but I don’t know his travel plans."

If Rose doesn't come to St. Louis this week, McCulloch said Rose would be arrested Friday at a concert in Washington.

Earlier, his spokeswoman said, “We're being told the authorities will try to extradite him to St. Louis and, of course, Axl will fight that every step of the way ... It would be much nicer to go voluntarily, without handcuffs."

Some information in this story came from The Associated Press.

July 14, 1992:

Axl Rose Expected Here Today

Singer May Enter Plea At Courthouse

By William C. Lhotka and Virgil Tipton
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Rock star Axl Rose is expected to surrender to authorities in St. Louis County today — 48 hours after his arrest as a fugitive at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Rose, 30, the lead singer for Guns Ν' Roses, may also enter a plea before a judge at the courthouse in Clayton, where he faces charges stemming from a riot at Riverport Amphitheatre last summer.

Whether Rose pleads innocent and is tried at a later date — or pleads guilty of four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage — will depend on the entertainer’s acceptance or rejection of recommendations by Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch.

McCulloch met Monday afternoon with assistant prosecutor Dan Diemer to work out the state's proposal. McCulloch declined to say what the state would seek from Rose in exchange for guilty pleas.

Diemer is handling the case. He had met earlier Monday with Rose’s attorney here, Arthur S. Margulis. Diemer said he and Margulis had preliminary talks about a plea agreement.

At McCulloch and Diemer’s request, Rose was arrested Sunday by U.S. customs agents when he got off an Air France Concorde from Paris with his girlfriend, model Stephanie Seymour. For a total of seven hours before he posted $100,000 bond, Rose was detained first by customs, then by New York Port Authority police and then by New York police.

Margulis said Rose had been expected to arrive in St. Louis Monday or today with a lawyer from Los Angeles.

"I don't know how they’re getting here, or when," Margulis said. “I feel confident that he’s going to appear and he’s frankly looking forward to it because he wants to get this matter resolved."

McCulloch was less confident than his counterpart. Rose was supposed to surrender to county police in March but didn't show up, McCulloch said.

That failure prompted McCulloch to ask customs officials to arrest Rose whenever he returned to the United States.

If Rose surrenders voluntarily to police today, the state will drop extradition proceedings against him in New York.

July 15, 1992:

Axl Rose Denies Guilt; Trial Set For October

By William C. Lhotka and Virgil Tipton
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Rock star Axl Rose, who has performed before millions, dodged a crowd of 50 fans by sneaking into the government center at Clayton Tuesday afternoon to surrender to St. Louis County authorities.

An hour later, the entertainer made a nine-minute appearance before Associate Circuit Judge Ellis Gregory. Rose's attorneys pleaded not guilty on his behalf to four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage. The charges stem from a riot at Riverport Amphitheatre last summer.

The only glitches in the brief ritual were confusion over Rose’s name and finding a date for Rose’s trial that didn’t interfere with his attorneys' other cases.

Gregory noted the initial arrest warrants said: State of Missouri versus William Bailey.

“Is your name William Bailey?” the judge asked the rock singer, who was dressed in a bright salmon-colored suit with string tie.

Rose briefly bewildered the judge by firmly replying, “No." Rose said he has legally changed his name to W. Axl Rose.

Gregory then set Rose's trial first for September, then for August and finally for Oct. 13. One of Rose’s attorneys, Arthur S. Margulis, objected to the date in September; another of Rose's attorneys, Barry Short, objected to the date in August.

Rose is free on $100,000 bond — $10,000 cash — and will be allowed to conduct rock concerts outside the country.

Rose posted the bond and was fingerprinted and photographed by police after he entered the police building through a basement door.

Fans, news photographers and radio station disc jockeys had gathered in front of the nearby Commerce Bank Building as early as 7:30 a.m. to get a glimpse of the star of the Guns Ν' Roses band as he crossed Meramec Avenue from Margulis' offices to fugitive processing.

About 2 p.m., a half-dozen police officers crossed Meramec to the bank, presumably to get Rose and his attorneys. But they never returned by the route they took.

In an arrangement worked out by Rose's attorneys and St. Louis County police, the returning group drove a car from the back of the bank across the street to the police garage and Rose entered through a basement door.

Rose's teen-age fans, meanwhile, raced across the street into the government annex building and milled about elevators. They were told Rose wasn't coming out. Later, fans and reporters gathered on the plaza hoping to see Rose. But Rose used a street exit from the police building to the courthouse.

Another group of fans squealed as Rose entered the courthouse for his brief appearance but most of the fans were shut out of the courtroom because lawyers, court employees and reporters had taken all the seats.

One of the lawyers waiting in the courtroom was Frank Kaveney, who had a stenographer record the brief proceedings. Kaveney represents three people who say they were injured at the rock concert last summer.

Also on hand Tuesday was Norman Seiner, who represents eight plaintiffs in other lawsuits. Seiner held an impromptu news conference in front of Commerce Bank. He said the issue wasn't free speech, as some of Rose’s supporters maintain.

“What we’re complaining about is their conduct," Seiner said. He added the suits “will be hard and long but we will be successful."

Another spectator awaiting Rose was process server Bill McAvoy, who was ready to hit Rose with a counter-suit by Lloyds of London. Rose has sued Lloyds for failure to pay claims. Rose alleged he had to cancel concerts in Chicago and Kansas after the Riverport riots. The countersuit says Rose's own actions caused the cancellations.

In court, Rose was flanked by four lawyers, his business manager and two bodyguards. Rose spoke quietly and infrequently. He kept his hands crossed in front of him as he stood before the bench. After the brief appearance, he hugged his business manager Doug Goldstein, then left through a back door and made his way quickly from the courthouse.

Margulis said later that Rose would be prepared to go to trial in October. Earlier this week, Margulis suggested that a plea agreement would be reached with prosecutors. But those negotiations fell through.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said; "We met. We had talks. We didn't reach any agreement."

An interview of Rose on MTV Monday probably didn't help. In the interview, Rose called McCulloch a liar and also claimed he had a videotape showing a man with a knife on stage at Riverport, said Dan Diemer, the assistant prosecutor handling the case.

Diemer said the state has no such evidence. If any such tape exists, the state might reconsider the charges. The allegation that McCulloch had lied by reneging on some sort of agreement is totally false, Diemer said. All of the previous negotiations depended on Rose showing up in St. Louis and Rose never did, Diemer said.

Kaveney and other lawyers noted also that a guilty plea in the criminal case — even though the charges are misdemeanors — could be used as admissions in the plethora of civil suits pending against the entertainer.

The bond setting and arraignment wipes out fugitive warrants against Rose, who was arrested Sunday as he got off a plane from Paris at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

July 16, 1992:

Rose Case Attracts Limelight

By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

The misdemeanor case of rock star Axl Rose prompted more media interest than any other case — including murders and a courthouse shooting — since St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch took office 18 months ago, McCulloch says.

"I would describe the attention as more widespread but aimed at a limited audience,” McCulloch said Wednesday, a day after Rose spent two hours at the government center in Clayton being booked, posting bond and pleading not guilty before flying to New York.

McCulloch said most of the interest outside of St. Louis had come from rock radio stations, including stations from both coasts. The prosecutor also was interviewed by the New York correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corp.

Rose’s visit here also attracted about 50 fans to the county building.

One of them, Tad Wolf, 18, of South County, may be Rose's most ardent follower.

Wolf said he had attended about 40 Guns N’ Roses concerts, including the ill-fated concert at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights last summer. Wolf laminated his ticket from that concert.

Rose is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage.

He is accused of diving into a crowd, hitting a security guard and three concertgoers, and damaging Riverport property.

Plaintiffs in a dozen civil suits say Rose's actions triggered the ensuing riot that left several people injured.

McCulloch said he expects to meet with Rose’s attorneys before Rose’s trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 13, to discuss a plea agreement.

“I’m sure we will be talking again," said McCulloch in reference to the plea negotiations. “One of our conditions was that he had to be here. When he got here, there were time constraints in working something out."

One of Rose's attorneys, Barry Short, said a guilty plea to the charges has never been a consideration.

That position could leave open the possibility of a no-contest plea coupled with probation, a fine and some sort of community service, say lawyers who have followed the case.

Now, I’ve been advised not to say anything -or anything derogatory- about St. Louis... Well, St. Louis can suck my dick. You saw the news; I was arrested... “by some unexpected guest”. It wasn’t unexpected! I knew that the motherfucker lied and was gonna have me arrested. And the only way we would be here tonight to do this tour was to let that asshole have his fucking way and shove it back down his motherfucking throat (?)!
Now the son of the bitch, after they dropped the deal and we’ll do the tour and I plead not guilty, he doesn’t “want to go to court now with Mr. Rose, I want to work it out with his lawyers.” Too late, little fuck! Because... I’m not fighting just for my own shit. I’m fighting for what I believe in or what I feel it’s the truth. And I’m fighting for (?) 60 fuckin’ people whose lives were threatened in that fucking riot, because that place doesn’t know how to have a rock concert. ... I mean, what... we played some place the last show they had was Jimmy fuckin’ Buffet. Give me a break!
So now, it will come down in October to one of two things: either his career or my career. And fuck him!
(?) You don’t wanna another St. Louis (?)? Stop doing shit.
So (?) there’s a certain attitude required; I think it’s called “Live and Let Die”!  
[Onstage at RFK Stadium, Washington D.C., July 17, 1992]

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:18 am

Criminal case trial

St. Louis Post Dispatch, September 17, 1992:

A Rosy Scenario For Axl Rose

A XL ROSE, CONT.: Had you glanced at the Sept, 12 Issue of the Boston Globe, you would’ve spotted rocker Axl Rose on stage in that burg's Foxboro Stadium, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a vulgar description of our town.

Even so, Rose may be on the way to resolving his differences with St. Louis gendarmes over his fight-filled debacle last year at Riverport Amphitheatre. Those-in-the-know say his case involving criminal charges of assault and property damage may end with a St. Louis County judge suspending Rose’s sentence and placing him on probation. In lieu of community service, he’ll make a substantial (about $50,000) contribution to area charities...

November 7, 1992:

Agreement Allows Axl Rose To Avoid Trial

Charges against rock star Axl Rose stemming from a riot at Riverport Amphitheatre in the summer of 1991 will be submitted to a judge for a ruling instead of going to trial on Monday.

The agreement frees Rose from having to appear in court for the proceeding.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said Friday that agreement had been reached with Rose's attorney to submit the evidence to Associate Circuit Judge Ellis Gregory.

Rose is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage. The performer, star of the rock group Guns N’ Roses, is accused of jumping into the crowd at Riverport and assaulting fans.

Rose is free on $100,000 bond. Several civil suits also are pending.

McCulloch said agreement was reached on submitting the case to Gregory because he and Rose’s attorney, Arthur S. Margulis, had no disagreement on the evidence.

McCulloch said Gregory would review the evidence, and hand down a ruling. If Rose is found guilty, McCulloch said he then would recommend a sentence.

November 10, 1992:

Plea Bargain For Axl Rose Has A Twist

By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

If a judge convicts Axl Rose of assault today and puts him on probation, the rock star will be granted a special dispensation unavailable to other people in Rose’s straits: He will be allowed to consort with felons.

The reason? Two members of Rose's band, Guns Ν' Roses, are ex-convicts.

The issue came up Monday at a hearing in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

Rose's attorney, Arthur S. Margulis, and prosecutor Dan Diemer submitted stipulated facts relating to the riot in July 1991 at a Guns Ν' Roses concert at Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. Rose is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage.

Under a plea agreement that Associate Circuit Judge Ellis Gregory Jr. can accept or reject, Rose would be put on two years' probation and his probation would be transferred to California. The singer also would pay $50,000 lo five area charities.

Margulis and Diemer told Gregory that another condition of the agreement would allow Rose to associate with any felon "in and around the band."

“Wait a minute," Gregory said. "What do you mean? ‘In and around the band’ is too vague.” Diemer responded, “Well, actually, members of the band.”

Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch confirmed later that two band members have prior felony convictions, though McCulloch was uncertain of the nature of the offenses.

Gregory agreed to the exemption. But he pressed Margulis about Rose’s understanding of probation.

“Does he understand that if he violates probation, I can send him to jail?” the judge asked.

Margulis said Rose understands the situation.

The judge also contended that the proposed donation of $50,000 was a “pittance” of the rock star's earnings.

Margulis defended the donations. “Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money," he said.

Margulis said in an interview later that the alternative would be community service. “In that context, it is an outstanding service,” Margulis said.

Gregory said he would decide the case today. If the judge approves the agreement, the following charities would get $10,000 each:

- The Child Abuse Detection and Prevention Program, an agency that teaches professionals how to detect child abuse.

- Court-Appointed Special Advocates. They provide legal counsel to juveniles.

- Backstoppers, a group that provides services to families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

- Youth Emergency Services, an agency that provides a suicide prevention hot line and counseling for teenagers.

- Marian Hall, a Catholic Charities shelter for young women.

Margulis said Rose had suggested a preference for programs for abused children. His attorneys then recommended some agencies, Rose approved them and they were submitted to McCulloch.

McCulloch said a trial would have “lasted several weeks and turned into something of a circus."

The prosecutor said Rose would suffer adequate punishment. McCulloch noted that four concerts by Guns Ν' Roses were canceled after the River-port riot; that Rose was arrested as a fugitive in July in New York and briefly jailed; and that he would have to pay the $50,000 fine.

Rose also faces a dozen or more civil suits relating to the riot, McCulloch said.

Diemer, the assistant prosecutor, gave the judge five volumes of Maryland Heights police reports. He also played for Gregory a 3-minute videotape that showed Rose diving into a crowd after complaining about a video recorder, and showed Rose striking a man.

Rose got back on stage, and yelled: “Thanks for the lame-ass security; I’m going home." He then smashed a microphone and stormed off the stage.

The property damage count stems from the smashed microphone; the assault charges stem from Rose's dive onto people in the front rows and his swings at concertgoers.

November 11, 1992:

Axl Rose Found Guilty, Faces Civil Suits

By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Although rock singer Axl Rose resolved criminal charges against him Tuesday, he will not be able to get St. Louis County out of his long blond hair for a long, long time.

Courts here could still levy millions of dollars against Rose and his band, Guns N’ Roses.

Consider that:

- Rose still faces civil suits from 17 people who say they were injured after Rose leaped into a crowd at Riverport Amphitheatre on July 2, 1991. A riot ensued shortly after Rose jumped into the crowd.

- The owners of Riverport, in Maryland Heights, also are suing the rock group. They contend the incident caused a public-relations nightmare, damaging the fledgling outdoor theater's reputation and its property.

- Lloyd’s of London has gotten into the act as well. The insurer served Rose with a counterclaim when the rock singer was in Clayton in July. Rose had sued Lloyd's for failure to pay claims, alleging he had to cancel concerts in Chicago and Kansas after the Riverport riot. The countersuit says Rose’s own actions caused the cancellations.

On Tuesday, Associate Circuit Judge Ellis Gregory Jr. found Rose guilty of four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of misdemeanor property damage. Gregory wrote:

"This court finds beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the evidence contained in the police reports and videotapes, that Axl Rose recklessly caused physical injury to Tammy Beckemeyer, Diane Bailey, William Stephenson and Bruce Olsen."

The four were fans near the stage. Videotapes show that alter the band performed for 42 minutes and played eight songs, Rose got angry over a flash camera used by Stephenson and leaped off the stage into the crowd on top of Stephenson and the two women. Rose then threw a punch at Olsen.

The judge approved an agreement reached Monday by the prosecutor, Dan Diemer, and the defense attorney, Arthur S. Margulis. Under the agreement, Rose must pay $50,000 to five area charities. He will be on probation for two years.

Gregory allowed two special conditions: Rose can travel outside the United States with his band, and he can associate with band members who are felons.

Diemer and Margulis had told Gregory that two band members had felony convictions.

But Bryn Bridenthal, a publicist for Guns N’ Roses’ record label, David Geffen Records, said she was unaware of that.

Bridenthal said neither Rose nor his business manager, Doug Goldstein, would comment on the case. "Everybody is just glad it’s resolved,” Bridenthal said.

But it isn't, say Frank Kaveney, Norman Seiner and Robert Blitz, attorneys who have sued the singer and the band. The three lawyers said the separate civil suits can now go forward.

Rose's attorneys contend the rock star cannot be held liable because he left the stage and was driven off in a limousine 15 minutes before the eruption of the melee of angry fans, security people and police.

But the attorneys for Riverport — Blitz and Joseph P. Conran — say in their suit that the band had agreed in its contract "to refrain from conduct which defendants knew ... would be provocative and dangerous to members of the audience.”

Kaveney put it more bluntly Tuesday: "It’s like shouting fire in a crowded theater and then being the first one out."

Kaveney said, "His knowledge of the volatility of rock concert crowds would be relevant in determining what actions an entertainer should take in dealing with that crowd. He wasn't entertaining a group of nuns." Kaveney represents four injured fans.

Seiner, who represents eight injured fans, said he can now seek to take Rose's sworn statements.

“I'm told that Rose is in Europe and won't return until March," Seiner said. "We'll probably have to wait."

November 12, 1992 - the newspaper's opinion on the outcome:

The Axl Rose Case

Though the arrangement under which the charges against performer Axl Rose were disposed of was unusual, justice was served. In accordance with an agreement worked out between Mr. Rose’s lawyer, Arthur S. Margulis, and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, Mr. Rose was placed on two years’ probation and fined $50,000 by Associate Circuit Judge Ellis Gregory Jr., who found him guilty of four counts of assault and one count of property damage. Though Mr. Rose presumably can easily afford the fine, $50,000 is a very large sum of money. Five charities will share it.

For his part, Mr. Rose was able to avoid interrupting his concert schedule to come here for an appearance before the judge or for a trial, the two sides having agreed to the facts in the case. Prosecutor McCulloch noted that, given Mr. Rose’s celebrity, a trial would have turned into a circus, which both sides wanted to avoid. And Mr. McCulloch would probably be the first to say that his office has better uses for its resources than devoting a week or two to trying a boorish rock star for starting a fight with a spectator at the Riverport Amphitheatre in July 1991.

Besides, had Mr. Rose been convicted of the charges after a trial, it is unlikely that he would have been sent to jail. Courts generally prefer fines and probation in misdemeanor cases, as this one was, especially when the defendant has no criminal record. Thus in all likelihood a trial would not have produced a result very different from the one obtained Tuesday.

Mr. Rose now knows that he can’t break the law with impunity, five charities are richer by $10,000 each, prosecutorial time and energy have been conserved for more pressing needs, and Mr. Rose still faces a myriad of civil actions. All in all, a satisfactory resolution of the case.

November 18, 1992 - a reader had a different opinion:

And another (belated) "opinion" (June 26, 1993):

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:45 am

Civil cases: Pre-trial depositions

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 1st, 1993:

Axl’s Day In Court, Album 2

Civil Suit Papers Detail 1991 Riot

By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

When a half-dozen St. Louis lawyers descended upon Los Angeles two weeks ago to question rock star W. Axl Rose about his role in the Riverport riot two years ago, they were stood up for six days.

Finally showing up for his videotaped questioning, Rose had a message for the lawyers.

The heavy metal star wore a T-shirt that said: "St. Louis S- - -

Rose; his band, Guns Ν' Roses; his corporate entity, Mo-gobo Inc.; and his producer, Geffen Records Inc., are being sued in St. Louis and St. Louis County Circuit Courts for injuries to security guards and spectators.

If that weren’t heavy enough, Rose is also being sued for damage to the Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights. At the peak of the riot, even the grass was set on fire.

Authorities estimated that 3,000 fans took part in the disturbance, which left 65 people injured, including 25 police officers.

The lawsuits are independent of the criminal case against Rose. Convicted in November of four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage, the rock singer was given two years on probation.

The first civil case is set for trial in St. Louis on Oct. 3. William "Stump" Stephenson, an admitted rock concert fanatic, seeks damages for injuries he says he suffered at Riverport.

Stephenson's attorney, Mark Bronson, orchestrated the questioning of Rose in Los Angeles for several hours on May 17 and again on May 19.

Except for the T-shirt, Bronson said, Rose "was surprisingly restrained, reasonable and not obnoxious. He answered the questions. I have nothing to criticize."

Bronson and other lawyers say they cannot discuss their questions to the rock singer or what Rose had to say about St. Louis, the concert at River-port or the events of that night.

That's because Rose's attorney here, Laura Allen, got a protective court order on May 6 barring any disclosures.

“The incident which is the subject of these lawsuits has generated a great deal of publicity locally," Allen argued. “It is likely that the local media would have an interest in disseminating at least to some extent a videotaped deposition of this defendant.

"Such a likely use of the depositions will greatly prejudice this defendant's right to a fair and impartial jury.”

But a study of court documents that have piled up by the foot in the myriad civil cases as well as legal responses by Rose’s battery of lawyers reveal the rock star's position. The paper trail also lays out the claims of the guards, fans and the local promoters.

Camera Starts Melee

On July 2, 1991, about 15,000 fans paid up to $30 each to attend the concert of Guns N’ Roses at Riverport in Maryland Heights.

The band was only 42 minutes into its act and midway into its ninth song when Rose complained about a man with a camera near the stage.

The man was Stephenson, 27, who was taking pictures of the band with a pocket-size 35-millimeter camera.

A videotape played by prosecutor Dan Diemer at Rose's criminal trial shows the rocker belly-flopping into the crowd. He landed on top of Stephenson and two other fans — Diane Bailey and Tammy Beckemeyer.

Rose appeared to scuffle with members of the crowd and to throw a punch at a security guard. Bruce Olsen, before rejoining the band.

Rose then lambasted local security and took his band off the stage, destroying a microphone. For several minutes, nothing happened. The crowd grew restless, waiting for the return of the band.

Fans then began pelting security guards on stage with bottles and debris. Rose's own security people, some witnesses say, fired debris back.

The melee was on.

Diemer said his review of concert footage and stacks of police reports showed the violence began about 15 minutes after Rose left. Within 30 minutes, the stage was engulfed, he said.

Eric K. Molos, 32, of St. Peters, is now a chef at a restaurant in Creve Coeur. Two years ago, he was a security guard for B & D Concert Services. Molos is one of nine people suing the band in St. Louis County.

Under questioning by Rose’s attorneys, Molos described the initial confrontation:

“W. Axl Rose jumped off the stage and over my head. He pushed his way through the crowd. He hesitated a moment, then punched Bruce Olsen in the face. I grabbed Rose and escorted him back to the stage.

"After returning to the stage, Rose announced the show was over, threw the microphone down, and left the stage. The stage personnel tore down the stage and struck the crowd with equipment. Guns N’ Roses Security kicked, punched, and pushed the crowd off the stage.

"The crowd threw bottles and other debris toward the stage. A bottle struck me in the head. I was taken to the hospital."

Unable to control the crowd, security called in Maryland Heights police, who were overwhelmed. Reinforcements were sent from other police departments. In all, about 270 police officers eventually responded.

Fans turned fire hoses back on police, hurled chairs, destroyed video screens, uprooted trees and set the grass ablaze.

Of the fans and guards who have sued Rose and the band, several have claimed they suffered substantial injuries and were traumatized.

Molos claims medical bills in excess of $3,900. He says his face was cut by the thrown bottle; he feels people constantly stare at his facial scar.

Dennis Pettit, another plaintiff, was an off-duty security guard at the concert but then joined his co-workers at B&D when the riot started. Pettit claims medical bills over $2,400.

"I still feel traumatized when I see videos and books about Guns Ν' Roses, when they almost killed me," he said. "I have to leave the room to calm down when Guns Ν' Roses songs come on the radio."

Stephenson, the initial target of Rose's anger, suffered a permanent back injury when he was jammed against a concrete chair by the rock star, said Bronson, his attorney.

Stephenson also sustained traumatic hearing loss from a blow to the head by Rose, Bronson alleges.

Rose Blames Riverport

In sworn statements in one of the suits, Rose said he left the stage that night "to retrieve a camera which a biker in the audience had been using to take photos of the performance and which security personnel had refused to confiscate."

In addition to poor security and violations of the no-camera ban, Rose claims that promoters were freely selling alcohol to minors, an allegation the promoters deny.

"The band saw very young people drinking and others who seemed intoxicated," Rose said.

During the concert, thrown bottles hit band member Michael “Duff" McKagen twice and Jeffrey "Izzy" Isbell once, Rose said.

Rose's attorney, Allen, argues that Rose and the band had left the amphitheater before the riot broke out. Rose never hurled a bottle at Molos or anyone else, or encouraged such conduct, she said.

To the allegations that Rose's departure caused the riot, Allen said: "we do not know how any termination of the performance breached a duty to anyone."

One of the civil allegations is a charge that Rose incited a riot.

But Allen said no such law exists in Missouri. In Molos' case, Allen said Molos was "trying to invent a theory pursuant to which he can subject these defendants to civil liability for action or word, however unrelated in time, place or circumstance.”

Accused along with Rose and the band are David Geffen and Geffen Records, the producer of the group’s heavy metal records. Geffen is charged with ratifying the group’s "outrageous behavior."

Geffen knew the band's anti-social episodes would “enhance their image as gurus of rebellion and increase current ticket sales," the suits allege. They also claim that Geffen “aided and abetted the anti-social image ... and reaped huge profits therefrom.”

Geffen's lawyers say: “No duty existed on the part of Geffen Records Inc. to exert any moderating influence on Guns N’ Roses."

Norman Seiner, attorney for eight plaintiffs, says the defenses are absurd.

"You can’t come in here, charge $20 to $25 a seat, start a fight, blame security and not be responsible yourself," he said. "That is not the law in any civilized state that I am aware of.

"They knew what to expect. It had happened before. There had been riots at other concerts where Guns Ν' Roses failed to finish a show. To say: 'We are going to come into St. Louis, cause a riot, and walk away from it, is a pretty blatant affront.'"

Promoters To Plaintiffs

For 20 years, concert promoters Steve Schankman and Irving Zucker-man of Contemporary Productions dreamed of having their own arena.

On June 14, 1991, that dream became a reality when Riverport Amphitheater opened on a grassy plain south of Interstate 70. It was a joint venture between the promoters, and subsidiaries of Sverdrup Corp. and McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Seventeen days and six events later, the dream turned into a nightmare when the riot heavily damaged Riverport.

Worse, promoters say, was the potential public relations fallout. They worried the incident would leave the public with the impression that fans would be in danger.

The joint venture, Riverport Performing Arts Centre, is suing Rose and Guns Ν' Roses for actual damages to its property — estimated in six figures — as well as for damage to its reputation.

The venture also alleges that Rose has made false statements about Riverport and St. Louis in various publications and national broadcasts.

At the same time, the venture is defending itself against suits by security guards and fans who were injured. Riverport denies liability, saying Guns Ν' Roses was responsible for overall security.

In one of the venture's questions to Rose, the rock star is asked if fans have thrown objects at the band or attempted to touch band members at prior concerts.

“Yes," said Rose, "at virtually all of the band’s shows, the fans attempt to touch the band members, throw things at the band, and/or photograph the band members, all of which required the band to alter its performance."

Rose estimated that six to 12 of his band's shows had to be halted “because someone threw something at one of the band members."

Flaps Boost Sales

Just two weeks before the Riverport riot, Guns N’ Roses showed up two hours late for a concert in New York. Earlier that year, violence erupted when they performed at a concert called “Rock in Rio."

In the wake of the riot at Riverport, the band canceled appearances in Illinois and Kansas, blaming the cancellations on equipment damage at Riverport.

In April 1992, Guns Ν' Roses canceled three concerts in Illinois and Michigan because Rose had ignored the criminal indictment here and sheriffs deputies had planned to arrest him.

In August, parts of a crowd of 53,000 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal rioted, damaging the stadium and setting fire to cars on the parking lot. Ten people were injured; 12 arrested.

The reason: the opening band, Metallica, stopped playing when its lead singer was injured. Guns Ν' Roses took the stage but cut short its performance because Rose claimed he had a voice problem.

The band’s albums have been praised by critics for their powerful sounds, but ripped for lyrics described as homophobic, racist and sexist.

Yet the violence, the riots, the lawsuits and the controversy hasn’t stemmed the popularity. The band remains one of the best-selling groups in America.

Says Kim Hayes, data processing manager for the 11-store Streetside Records here:

“I think the controversies do nothing but boost sales."

Caption: AP - Singer W. Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses performing in April 1992 in London. Local lawyers recently interviewed Rose in Los Angeles about a riot at a concert here two years ago.

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:30 am

The "Stump" civil suit trial (the biker with the camera at the concert):

St. Louis Post Dispatch, October 15, 1993:

Subdued Axl Rose A Spectacle In Court

Rocker Lets Lawyers Do Talking In Trial

By Tim Bryant
Of the Past-Dispatch Staff

Axl Rose took center stage in St. Louis Thursday without saying a word, singing a note or leaping into the crowd.

Heads turned as Rose, leader of the rock band Guns N’ Roses, entered a crowded sixth-floor courtroom from the side door and sat down with his back to spectators and news cameras.

He wore a gray suit, white shirt — no tie. His straight, reddish hair fell far below his shoulders.

Large men who escorted Rose in and out of the circuit court building described themselves as part of the rock star’s "management team.”

Rose, 31, is in court because of the riot at the Guns N’ Roses concert July 2, 1991, at the Riverport amphitheater in Maryland Heights. The rocker is the main defendant in a civil suit filed by William "Slump” Stephenson of St. Louis.

Stephenson, 28, alleges that he hurt his back when Rose dived off the stage and landed on him. Defense lawyers said Rose was trying to get a camera that Stephenson used to take unauthorized photographs. The trial was expected to last about a week.

Rose ignored the courtroom spectators, whose numbers rose and fell during the trial's first day. But the singer chatted amiably with his lawyers, particularly Barbara Wallace, as they watched a videotape of the concert. His lawyers say Rose will testify.

The jury of seven men and five women watched the concert videotape. About 90 minutes into the event, Rose pointed and shouted: "Take that! Take that! Get that guy and take that. I’ll take it,... ”

Rose then belly-flopped off the stage. The video shows what appears to be scuffling. When Rose returned to the stage, he grabbed the microphone and told the crowd: “Thanks to the ... security, I’m going home.”

In parting, he flung down the microphone and stalked off the stage.

A friend of Stephenson, Jeffrey Banks, testified that he owned the camera. Banks and Stephenson are members of the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club.

Banks, 27, said he took his camera from Stephenson when he saw Rose pointing at his friend. Rose then dived onto Stephenson, and both of them fell over chairs bolted to the concrete floor, Banks said.

Stephenson appeared dazed and injured.

"He was straight as a board, laying there,” Banks said. "It seemed to me he was hurt.”

Stephenson claims the incident left him with a bulged disc in his back. His lawyer, Mark I. Bronson, said Stephenson has under- -gone extensive physical therapy.

Stephenson can no longer carry' heavy items and wears a back brace when he rides his motorcycle, Banks said.

Bronson asked jurors to award his client actual and punitive damages.

At the concert — minutes after Rose and his band left — the crowd began pelting security guards with bottles and debris. Some witnesses said Rose’s own security people threw things back.

The riot was on. Authorities estimated that 3,000 of the 15,000 people in the crowd took part in the disturbance, which injured 65 people.

One of Rose's lawyers, Allen S. Boston, told jurors that Stephenson’s back problems likely resulted from weight lifting, riding a motorcycle and performing heavy labor.

Boston added that Rose had been worried about security at Riverport. The singer tried to get the camera because some magazines had run false stories about the band using photos taken at concerts, Boston said.

When he plunged off the stage, Rose hit an empty chair, not Stephenson, Boston said. The rocker grabbed Stephenson by the back of his shirt as he was “trying to scurry away on his hands and knees,” the lawyer added.

Stephenson’s suit is a "simple case” between “two healthy young men falling to the ground,” Boston said.

Guns N’ Roses fans and the curious drifted in and out of the courtroom. Sharon Turlington, a public defender, was among them.

"It’s a courthouse novelty,” she said. “He’s famous. I thought I’d come to check it out. If it were Joe Schmoe on trial, who’d care?”

Melody Caldwell, a secretary in the public defender's office, said she attended the concert but sat far from the stage. Up close, Rose was taller than she expected, with red-, der hair, she said.

In November Rose was convicted in St. Louis County of four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage as a result of the riot. A judge put Rose on two years' probation.


William “Stump” Stephenson waiting outside a St. Louis courtroom for his civil trial against Axl Rose to resume.

Rock star Axl Rose (center) leaving the circuit court building downtown Thursday with a group of men described as his management team. Rose is a defendant in a civil suit filed by William “Stump” Stephenson of St. Louis.

October 16, 1993:

Rose Landed On Spectator, Guard Testifies

‘It Looked Like A Jab Or Two Was Thrown’

By Tim Bryant
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Stump came out on the short end when Axl rolled over him.

So testified a security guard who said Friday that he saw rock star Axl Rose land on top of William "Stump” Stephenson and begin throwing punches after the singer made his famous leap from a concert stage.

Steve Stewart, a guard at River-port, told a St. Louis Circuit Court jury that Rose hit Stephenson as the two fell.

"It looked like a jab or two was thrown," Stewart said.

Rose, leader of the rock band Guns N’ Roses, briefly held Stephenson in a headlock, threw a punch at another Riverport security guard and then scrambled back on stage, Stewart said.

Rose announced he was “going home” and ordered his band from the stage.

Minutes later, restless fans among the 15,000 who attended the Guns N’ Roses concert the night of July 2, 1991, began a riot that caused extensive damage.

Sixty-five people were hurt, including Stephenson, who is suing Rose for actual and punitive damages.

Stephenson is alleging that he hurt his back when the singer landed on him.

Rose sat with his back to the small number of spectators Friday at the Civil Courts Building.

He wore a white suit with a dark tie and dark suede cowboy boots.

Rose, 31, was expected to fly home to Los Angeles this weekend and return to St. Louis when the trial resumes Monday.

Under cross-examination, Stewart, 32, of De Soto acknowledged that Rose might also have landed on an empty chair when he dived off the stage, chasing a small camera Stephenson held.

The rock star’s lawyers have said Rose was angered when fans took unauthorized photographs at his concerts.

Stewart also told Stephenson's lawyer, Mark Bronson, that people “were falling over” and that Rose could have hit the chair after he landed.

Stewart added that as he tried to restore order, members of the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club hit him. Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis is a club member.

Thomas J. Dohack, head of Dohack Air Conditioning & Heating, also testified.

Dohack said he had to fire Stephenson as a truck driver and laborer because Stephenson was unable to say when he could return to work after his back injury.

He said Stephenson had been a good employee with no sign of back trouble before his encounter with Rose.

The Springfield News Reader, Oct. 16:

'I didn’t land on’ plaintiff, rock star says

Axl Rose is being sued by a former fan, who says the singer’s appetite for destruction damaged his hearing and his back at a St. Louis concert.

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Jurors on Friday saw rock star Axl Rose, in a videotaped deposition, say he did not attack a fan photographing his 1991 concert in suburban St. Louis.

William "Stump" Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis, is seeking actual and punitive damages from Rose, lead singer of the band Guns N’ Roses.

Stephenson claims Rose, apparently angry because Stephenson was taking unauthorized photos of the concert, dived onto him from the stage, knocking him backwards over a row of chairs.

Stephenson also claims that Rose struck him and that Rose’s bodyguards slammed his head against a concrete floor. The incident ended the concert and led to a riot at Ri-verport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

In a deposition videotaped in Los Angeles in May, Rose said he left the stage to take the camera away from Stephenson and held him until security guards could get there. But he said he didn’t strike him.

“I dived off the (stage), into the chairs,” Rose said. “I didn’t land on Stump.”

During the deposition, Rose wore a T-shirt that read, “St. Louis Sucks.”

Stephenson’s lawsuit claims he suffered temporary hearing loss in his right ear and a permanent back injury. Earlier Friday, ear specialist Norman Druck testified that tests four months after the concert showed some hearing loss.

But Rose’s attorneys said Stephenson is a frequent concertgoer, shoots shotguns and once had a firecracker go off near his right ear. During cross-examination, Druck said any of those could have been responsible for the hearing loss.

The concert on July 2, 1991, escalated into a riot in which about 60 people were hurt. The amphitheater suffered thousands of dollars in damage.

In an agreement with prosecutors last November, Rose agreed to two years probation and a $50,000 fine for his role in the riot. If he abides by his probation, the four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of property damage will be dismissed.

October 17, 1993:

Fans Here Take Little Notice Of Rock Star Axl Rose’s Trial

By Tim Bryant
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

St. Louis sheriffs officials were braced for the onslaught. Heavy metal rock star Axl Rose was in town, perhaps followed by a legion of his notoriously rowdy fans.

Deputies were detailed to clear a path for Rose and his entourage to a sixth-floor courtroom at the Civil Courts Building. Top Sheriffs Department officials stood watch at the back of the courtroom with walkie-talkies.

To see the leader of a band that has sold 100 million albums, throngs of fans were expected to storm the courthouse.

It didn’t happen. The fans were a no-show.

No groupies rushed Rose, even though his band, Guns N’ Roses, is world famous. No crowds gathered at his hotel.Only a few people — two dozen at most — actually arrived for a courtroom peek at Rose.

And then they could only look at Rose’s back and his long red hair as he sat with his lawyers.

Rose, 31, came to St. Louis last week because of a lawsuit that grew out the Guns Ν’ Roses concert July 2, 1991, at the Riverport amphitheater in Maryland Heights.

The event ended in a riot after Rose dived off the stage, allegedly threw some punches then stormed off, taking his band with him. Within minutes, angry fans began pelting the stage with debris.

Before police restored order, 65 people were hurt, including Billy “Stump" Stephenson, the focus of Rose’s anger.

Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis is suing Rose. Stephenson says his back was injured when the singer jumped off the stage and landed on him. The civil suit seeks actual and punitive damages.

Rose’s attorney say the singer was trying to get a small 35mm camera Stephenson had used to take unauthorized photos.

Rose belly-flopped into the crowd to get the camera after security guards ignored his calls to seize it, defense lawyers said. Rose is expected to testify when the trial resumes this week.

Sheriff James Murphy said Friday that he didn’t want a riot in the courthouse like the '91 debacle.

As a result, Rose got special treatment. Private guards were allowed to hustle Rose into a basement door, sheriff's officials said. To get to the courtroom, Rose and his managers were allowed to use an elevator usually reserved for judges.

Husky guards with walkie-talkies walked ahead to make sure all was clear. Twin Lincolns were parked at different doors. One was for Rose. The other was a decoy to throw off fans. Officials said Rose had stayed at the Hotel Majestic a block from the courthouse.

Murphy said most defendants, “if they have any notoriety,” are allowed to use a basement entrance.

“The star that Rose is, we’re trying to avoid any problem in the lobby,” the sheriff added. Some courthouse employees groused about that.

"We couldn’t get our prisoners here for court appearances because all the deputies were involved with Axl Rose,” one employee said.

Said another, "They're just catering to him.”

Rose looked straight ahead as he walked from courthouse to car, speaking to no one.

During a break near the start of the trial on Thursday, however, he took a moment to greet a daughter of one of his lawyers, Allen S. Boston.

The daughter, Beth Boston, 16, and a friend, Mary Kuhl, also 16, cut school to meet the rock star.

Rose smiled and shook their hands. They smiled back, then scurried away, grinning at each other.

October 19, 1993:

Axl Rose In Flight ‘Freaked Out’ Biker

By Tim Bryant
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Billy “Stump” Stephenson testified Monday that when he went to the Guns Ν' Roses concert here two years ago he never expected to be hit by a flying Axl.

Stephenson contends he suffered a back injury when Axl Rose, leader of the heavy metal band, dived onto him off the stage at River-port Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

The concert was July 2, 1991.

Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis, is suing Rose, 31, in St. Louis Circuit Court.

Rose hurled himself off the stage after pointing at Stephenson and screaming at security guards to grab the small camera Stephenson was holding. Stephenson told jurors he had responded by handing the camera to a friend.

“As I’m turning back, I look up and Axl Rose is in flight, coming toward me,” Stephenson said. “He hit me on my right side, headfirst in a dive position.”

The two tumbled over the second row of chairs from the River-port stage and fell into an aisle, Stephenson said. He added that Rose had grabbed him with his left hand and started punching him.

“I was just freaked out,” Stephenson said. “I had been going to concerts so long, nothing like that ever happened to me.”

The tussle between Rose and Stephenson prompted the rock star to pull his band off the Riverport stage. The departure led to a riot that involved an estimated 3,000 people.

Under cross-examination Monday, Stephenson said he had not noticed signs banning cameras and other recording devices from Riverport concerts. But he acknowledged that he had assumed cameras were among items sought by security guards who patted down people entering the amphitheater.

In retrospect, Stephenson said he wished he had handed over the camera to security guards.

“I would’ve given up the camera rather than go through what I went through,” he said.

Stephenson testified he lost his job as a delivery driver because of his sore back and must now wear a brace when he rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He is a member of the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club.

Stephenson’s attorney, Mark I. Bronson, played for jurors a part of a videotape of the Guns Ν' Roses concert July 8, 1991, in Dallas. Rose told the audience there that several thousand people had "tried to kill” his crew the week before in St. Louis.

Rose sat quietly through Stephenson’s testimony. The rock star wore a purple jacket, black pants, black shirt and a purple tie.

October 20, 1993:

Doctor Says Rose Didn’t Cause Injury

A doctor testified Tuesday that Billy “Stump" Stephenson appeared to have no lingering back trouble that could be laid to being flattened by singer Axl Rose.

Dr. Edwin E. Carter, an orthopedist at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, told jurors that the slight bulge in one of Stephenson’s spinal discs was likely a “degenerative phenomenon" resulting from an arthritic condition.

Carter was a witness for Rose, who is being sued by Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis. A damage suit against Rose alleges he dived onto Stephenson at the Guns Ν' Roses concert July 2, 1991, at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights. Rose. 31, is the band’s leader.

Stephenson is seeking damages for what he contends are back and knee injuries resulting from his encounter with Rose.

Carter, the doctor, said his review of Stephenson’s medical records showed "no real good evidence of significant injury."

The trial began last week in St. Louis Circuit Court. Rose might testify today.

Earlier testimony indicated that Rose had plunged off the stage to get a camera Stephenson had used to photograph the rock star.

October 21, 1993:

Plunge Wasn’t Roses, Rock Star Testifies

“When I watched the video, I thought, ‘White men can’t jump.’ I didn’t get very far out there."
AXL ROSE, testifying on his leap into Riverport crowd

By Tim Bryant
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

His deep voice filling the courtroom, Axl Rose testified Wednesday he had a right to dive off a stage to snatch a camera from a fan who scurried away "like a rat.”

The leader of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses also told jurors he came up short in his running leap.

"When I watched the video, I thought, ‘White men can’t jump,’ ” he said. "I didn't get very far out there.”

Rose drew laughter from courtroom spectators when he described how he interrupted the song "Rocket Queen” with a head-first “belly-smacker” off the stage at the Riverport Amphitheater.

Security was poor the night of a concert that ended in a riot, Rose said. Authorities estimated 3,000 people took part in the disturbance after Rose pulled his band off the stage July 2, 1991.

Rose, 31, of Los Angeles testified for nearly four hours in St. Louis Circuit Court.

The rock star was the final witness in the trial of a lawsuit that alleges he hurt Billy “Stump” Stephenson by diving on him. The case was expected to go to the jury today.

About 60 spectators were on hand to watch Rose in court. Wearing a bright green suit, he frequently sipped water while matter-of-factly describing his encounter with Stephenson, 28, of St. Louis.

Guns Ν' Roses was two months into a world tour when the band played at Riverport in Maryland Heights. About 90 minutes after the concert began, Rose noticed Stephenson with a small camera.

“I looked at the security at the front of the stage and said, 'Get that guy!’ ” Rose testified.

A guard only stared back at Rose, the rock star said. “This man made it obvious to me they weren’t going to do anything,” he said.

Rose said he wasn’t trying to land on Stephenson. He didn’t know that Stephenson had handed the camera to a friend.

Rose insisted the dive was no stunt.

"I wanted to get the camera,” he said "All I was going to do was detain” Stephenson "so he could be ejected.”

Cameras at Guns N’ Roses concerts are “a threat to my principles,” said Rose, adding that he worries about people selling unauthorized photos. Such pictures are "disrespectful to Guns N’ Roses.”

Rose said Stephenson was a moving target and that he should have looked more closely before leaping.

“I wasn’t sure where he was when I left the stage. On the way down, I saw him,” he said.

Stephenson testified earlier that Rose slammed him into some chairs, injuring Stephenson’s back and knees. He also alleges he suffered ear damage when Rose hit him in the head.

Rose admitted he landed on some chairs. “It hurt,” he said.

He lunged forward to grab Stephenson by his black leather motor-cycle vest. Stephenson is a member of the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club.

When he finally caught Stephenson, he was "squatting and scurrying like a rat," Rose said.

Describing how he burrowed through the crowd after Stephenson, Rose chuckled and said, “I was like a rat."

Spectators watched Rose stand in the middle of the courtroom to show jurors how he crouched over Stephenson and held him with one hand.

"Axl, did you strike the plaintiff?” asked Rose’s lawyer, Allen S. Boston.

"No, I did not," Rose said.

The fracas ended when security guards grabbed Stephenson and Rose's bodyguard took the star back to the stage. Rose then announced he was "going home” and left.

Rose said Wednesday he had been angry at Riverport security guards during much of the concert. He claimed he saw a guard shove a girl, then smirk at him as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?”

“The security wasn’t protecting us or the audience or anyone else that night,” Rose said.

Stephenson’s lawyer, Mark I. Bronson, played in slow motion the videotape of Rose’s 38-second foray into the crowd. Stephenson can’t be seen on the tape, but Rose is clearly shown slapping a security guard.

Bronson asked Rose about a recent Forbes magazine article that the lawyer said listed Guns N’ Roses as among the nation’s top-drawing entertainers. It ranks only behind only Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Bill Cosby, the article said.

Rose replied that keeping the band going takes lots of money. He said when he learned of the article, “I was like, 'Where’s the cash?’ ”

Rose Tickles Ivories For Lunch Crowd

SIGHTEM: Lunch-time diners on the second floor of McGruder's Pub and Grub on Pine Street were treated to several classical piano selections on Monday from none other than Axl Rose.

A bevy of lawyers and staff members from the public defender’s office were there to celebrate boss Kevin Curran's natal day, when the infamous rocker appeared, surrounded by bodyguards and lawyers. While waiting for his food. Rose got up and played a piano near his table.

October 22, 1993:

Axl Rose Settles Suit On An Upbeat Note

By Tim Bryant
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

Billy "Stump'' Stephenson wanted more than $2 million in damages from rock star Axl Rose.

When his suit was settled Thursday. Stephenson got what Rose, the leader of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses, called "a very minimal figure" — and an autograph.

Both men said they were happy with the agreement and declined to reveal the terms. The court settlement ended yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of Axl Rose and his riotous concert two years ago at the Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights.

Stephenson. 28, of St. Louis, had sued Rose for injuries to his back and ear, which he claimed he suffered when Rose dived onto him from the stage at the Guns Ν' Roses concert July 2, 1991.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours Thursday before Judge Anna C. Forder announced the case was settled. Afterward, several jurors crowded around Rose for autographs.

Stephenson got one, too.

Inside the back cover of Stephenson’s rock concert scrapbook, Rose scrawled, “Stump Axl Gn’R 93.”

As he left the Civil Courts Building, Rose, 31, said he “didn’t know what to think” of Stephenson’s request for an autograph.

“It was pretty wild to me," Rose said.

Stephenson testified at the six-day trial that Rose had hit him.

Rose testified he went after Stephenson to get a small camera that the fan had used to take unauthorized photographs.

The concert ended in a riot after Rose criticized security and pulled his band off the stage at Riverport. Authorities estimated that 3,000 people had taken part in the disturbance, which heavily damaged the amphitheater and the band’s equipment.

Rose said Thursday that he and his band were “trying to figure out how to come back to St. Louis to play.” That’s a change from the pretrial days when the singer criticized the city.

Rose, of Los Angeles, said he might cut back on his concert antics. Rose’s stage dives usually are choreographed to end in the outstretched arms of security guards.

“I won’t be diving so much,” Rose said, smiling. “I can’t have as much fun, like the kids.”

Stephenson said he was glad it was all over. He and Rose “can now get on with our lives,” Stephenson added.

Rose heads one of the world’s biggest entertainment draws. Stephenson drives a forklift for a distillery.

One juror, Richard Marler, said that jurors had decided to award Stephenson some money but had not settled on how much. “We were going hot and heavy there,” Marler said.

Stephenson started out demanding more than $2 million. His lawyer, Mark I. Bronson, asked jurors in his closing argument Thursday to return a judgment of $160,000.

About a dozen Axl Rose fans showed up for the last day of the trial.

When some approached the singer for an autograph, sheriff’s deputies shooed them away.

Guns N’ Roses was two months into a world tour when the band played at Riverport. About 90 minutes after the concert began, Rose noticed Stephenson with a camera.

Rose testified Wednesday that he dived to get Stephenson’s camera, not to hurt him.

The singer said Thursday that he did not know how the settlement might affect the approximately 10 additional civil suits that grew out of the riot. The plaintiffs include a security guard who testified for Stephenson.

Rose got two years’ probation in a criminal case last year in St. Louis County Circuit Court. A judge found Rose guilty of four counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of misdemeanor property damage.

The judge accepted an agreement between prosecutors and Rose’s lawyer, Arthur S. Margulis, for the rock star to pay $50,000 to five local charities. Margulis said Rose had sent $10,000 to each of the charities.

Caption: Rock star Axl Rose leaving the Civil Courts building Thursday afternoon. Rose expressed relief that the suit against him was settled. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

October 29, 1993:

Rose’s ‘Minimal’ Sum May Exceed $160,000

What strikes Axl Rose as a "very minimal amount" may seem otherwise to Billy "Stump" Stephenson, the fellow who sued the lead singer of Guns Ν' Roses.

Mark I. Bronson, Stephenson’s attorney, initially asked for $2 million for his client, who alleges that his lower back and ear were injured when Rose dove off the stage in a concert in July at Riverport Amphitheatre.

Bronson says now that Stephenson got "somewhere between $160,000 and $2 million." Bronson said he was bound by the agreement not to disclose the specific amount. Rose said on Oct. 21 — the day of the agreement — that the settlement was a "very minimal amount."

Allen S. Boston, Rose’s lawyer, said Thursday that the amount of the settlement was "confidential and cannot be disclosed."

The civil case, in St. Louis Circuit Court was settled three hours after the jury began deliberating.

When I returned to St. Louis with the Snakepit in 1995, the night before my show, I was walking from my hotel down to this row of bars nearby. I wasn’t going far, so I didn’t bring security because I knew that I was meeting our crew down there, but as I walked up this main drag, I saw five bikers in front of me and no one else around and for a moment I got worried. It was a pretty dark night on a pretty dark street, where tall streetlamps illuminated spots of ground every few yards. I got closer to them and they were looking at me; and I was looking at them. One of them got off of his bike and came at me and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down.
“Hey, man,” he said, grinning wide. “I’m the guy who Axl hit.” Like I was supposed to pat the guy on the back. He had this attitude like, “Hey, we’re both anti-Axl, right?” He seemed to think we had something in common, but I don’t work like that; if any of you talk shit about Axl I’m going to get up in your face. Only I can do that; because I have that right, not some punk on the street who doesn’t even know him. Things got tense in that moment, but the guy started in with his own story, almost apologetically.
He had just won all of his money in the lawsuit; I think he’d been awarded his damages by the court like two days before. It was a tense situation: it was obvious to me that this was a guy who was riding high on that cash he’d just gotten and he wasn’t going to spend it wisely. His “friends” seemed to be enjoying his good fortune with him, that was for sure, because all of them were clearly out on the town. He was the shortest of the bunch, and as all small guys do, he was trying to impress everyone in sight. He had earned his bragging rights—and a decent amount of our cash—but as he told me in the few minutes I paused to speak with him, in the days after the incident, he couldn’t even leave his house. He received death threats by phone, hate mail, all of it. Only after the city won the lawsuit—after which he won as well—did the whole tide turn for him.
I was totally not impressed with this guy. I told him so and that I had to go and that was that.
[Slash's autobiography, 2007]

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:03 am

Other civil suits settled:

St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 28, 1994:

Settlement Won In Axl Rose Case

NOTES ON MY CUFF: Barrister Gary Sarachan says he has obtained an out-of-court settlement for his client, Bruce Olsen, the security guard who alleged that he was struck in the face by rock star Axl Rose. Sarachan got lock jaw when asked what the settlement was. He insisted there’s a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement.

In 1993, in a confidential settlement, Billy “Stump” Stephenson settled for an amount said to be between $168,000 and $2 million in damages from injuries after Rose dived on to him in the audience.

Both lawsuits were filed after the now-historic 1991 Guns N’ Roses concert at Riverport Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights....

August 3, 1994:

8 Fans Reach Accord After Axl Rose Melee

WINSOME/LOSE SOME: Three years later and the dust is just beginning to settle on the Axl Rose mess at Riverport Amphitheatre. Attorneys Corey Berger and Norman Seiner say they’ve reached an out-of-court confidential settlement with Rose on behalf of eight clients who claim they were injured in the melee at the Guns ‘N Roses concert in July of ’91.

Four of the plaintiffs were security guards at River-port and alleged they were injured while protecting the stage during the riot. They are Eric Molos, Ron Gamble, Bob Hyatt and Norman Benne.

Concert-goers participating in the settlement were Sandra Meyer, Doug Meyer, Timothy Bacon, and Dennis Pettit, who was an off-duty security guard.

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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:28 pm


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Re: 1991.07.02 - Riverport Amphitheatre, St. Louis, USA

Post by Blackstar on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:23 pm

Feature article in the Riverfront Times for the 25th anniversary of the riot, June 29, 2016:

Christian Schaeffer wrote:Riverport Riot: An Oral history of the Guns N' Roses Show That Sated St. Louis' Appetite For Destruction

In 1991, few bands could rival Guns N' Roses in either record sales or in reputation for mayhem. The LA band's 1987 debut record, Appetite for Destruction, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and in the summer of 1991, GNR was touring the world in advance of its most ambitious project, the double album Use Your Illusion I & II, set to be released that September.
The North American leg got off to a rocky start as the band was two hours late to the stage at the kick-off show in East Troy, Wisconsin. But the negative press that trailed GNR — delayed start times, frontman Axl Rose's combative on-stage rants, scuffles with fans and security — only burnished its reputation as legitimate rock & roll bad boys.

The St. Louis date of the Use Your Illusion tour would be only the third event at the brand-new Riverport Amphitheater (now Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre). Local concert promotion heavyweights Contemporary Productions were 50 percent owners of the Maryland Heights venue and had sole rights to its booking, which filled a longstanding need for presenting concerts too big for spaces like the Fox Theatre beyond the cavernous (now demolished) Checkerdome.

For the band's July 2 Riverport date, 17,000 tickets were sold, nearing capacity for the 20,000-seat venue. After an opening set by Skid Row, Guns N' Roses took the stage to the strains of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows." The band played for nearly 90 minutes before chaos broke out.
Rose, reportedly agitated by the contraband camera snuck in by hard-rock fan and Saddle Tramps motorcycle club member Bill "Stump" Stephenson," leapt angrily into the crowd. After a few moments, Rose returned to the stage, blamed the "lame-ass" security, threw his mic down and left. His bandmates, seemingly confused by the melee, followed suit.

What happened after has long since passed into St. Louis concert lore and become a defining moment in GNR's legend. The "Riverport Riot" left more than 60 people injured, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the brand-new venue and saddled Rose with arrest warrants, lawsuits and hefty settlements.

On the 25th anniversary of the aborted concert and its aftermath — and as a reconstituted Guns N' Roses tours the United States — the Riverfront Times presents an oral history of the Riverport Riot from those who saw it firsthand: the promoters, security guards, radio DJs, music critics and teenage fans who were there when the house lights went up and the shit went down.

"You know that movie Escape from New York? I guess they filmed a lot of it here or something? So that was kind of my first experience of knowing where I was. Do you know where you are? Do you know where you are? All I know is when I was here and I was seventeen, I was in the middle of the fucking jungle baby!"
— Axl Rose introducing "Welcome to the Jungle," July 2, 1991

On June 14, 1991, Riverport Amphitheater hosted its first concert. Built on a flood plain in a then-undeveloped part of west St. Louis county, the venue is the jewel in the crown of Steve Schankman and Irv Zuckerman's Contemporary Productions. The company has been booking concerts since 1969.

Steve Schankman, co-founder of Contemporary Productions: We opened Riverport in June, and the first show was Steve Winwood and Robert Cray. I think that went off without a hitch. When Mannheim Steamroller played, we got an incredible amount of wind; it was The Wizard of Oz visiting St. Louis. And we weren't set to have that kind of weather, so all the stuff on top of the pavilion was starting to blow over. I mean, they left roofing up there and metal stuff. They hadn't gotten it cleaned up yet. The foundation was settling, trees were just planted, so everything was a lot more vulnerable that early on.

The Guns and Roses show would be only the third concert at Riverport and everyone was geared up for something big.

Walter Wright, B & D Security: I was running security for the barricades. Everybody had known the hype of GNR — they were the biggest thing out there. You had heard of him starting late, being temperamental. There was a lot of hype, but it was no different than Metallica or AC/DC.

Schankman: When it was booked, it was in January, so we weren't seeing the problems he was having in other venues, coming on stage late. So I asked the manager who was there, I said, "What is it gonna be like tonight?" He said, "He's calming down but don't plan on him being onstage on time. You think you're gonna see him at 9 o'clock but he's not gonna be there at 9 o'clock."

"This is something that a lot of you may already fucking own since it sold three to five million bootlegs. Impatient motherfuckers!"

— Axl Rose introducing "November Rain," July 2, 1991

Anticipation was high for the show, which found Guns N' Roses at both its creative peak and on the precipice of forces — drug addiction, combative personalities, unprofessional behavior — that would eventually scuttle the band's interpersonal dynamics. None of that mattered to its many fans.

Jon Feraro, fan:
I remember how good of an album Appetite for Destruction was. It blew the doors off everything else. It was incredible. All the bands you saw on MTV were wearing makeup and super poppy — bands like Poison. GNR came along and just killed the glam show. Their rock was so powerful and dirty and good.

Thomas Crone, then-staff writer,
Riverfront Times: They were the biggest band in the world.

Guy "Favazz" Favazza, KSHE DJ:
I had officially started at KSHE two weeks before. I had been an intern for 6 months. I had bought tickets with my high school friends, and we were dying to see 'em.

It was just another show — there was a list of shows for the summer printed out, and here was GNR. I didn't know what GNR was — I thought it was a record company. I mean, Irv Zuckerman, who was my partner for 30 years, he did all the booking. That was his department. I ran all the operations.

We were stoked and stoned and super ready.

Scott Bahan, fan:
I was sixteen in 1991. It was my first official concert I went to on my own. I was starstruck by the whole thing. I thought Axl Rose and Slash and those guys were larger than life, and they looked that way with these two huge screens that they had on each side of the stage. We were out in the grass. I was taken back by the spectacle of the whole thing.

It was a very dude-heavy crowd too, as might be assumed. It was just dude after dude, shirtless and hanging out and sort of loud. It was a loud crowd; people were ready to rock.

It was an awesome show. I was a big Slash fan. I was sitting on his side. I can't say I really had an inkling what was going on.

Axl Rose, for the most part, seemed like himself
or as much himself as Axl Rose can ever be. According to the professionally shot video of the show, widely accessible online, Rose makes no overt complaints to the crowd about cameras or security issues.

He looked a little agitated to me, but I'd never met the guy.

Dan Durchholz, then-
Riverfront Times music writer: Most of the concert went off fine without incident. It was almost over when it all went down.

He was kind of a jerk on stage, I thought. He told a story about being molested in St. Louis. I remember that part and have seen that online. He was just setting the stage.
Rose told the crowd, "St. Louis! I'll tell you a little something about this city. I was seventeen, and I left Indiana because I had a disagreement with one of the juvenile detectives. I had about 35 bucks and I took a bus to St. Louis. That was cool. I had about a half a joint and I went down by the Arch and smoked half a joint. And then I went out by whatever freeway I was closest to and I hitched a ride with some air conditioning repair man in a van. It all seemed pleasant and safe enough and nothing really much happened. I was, like, exhausted and beat and never been out of my fucking town on my own in my life. And we went to some fucking hotel and I crashed out and this guy crashed out, and I woke up and this guy was trying to fuck me. I don't care — you can be male, female, you can be a fucking dog — I don't care what you are, man, that shit ain't right. It took everything I had not to slash his jugular vein."

Show goes on, and I'm walking the audience, and during "Live and Let Die" everything was fine. I walked all the way up to his protruding stage. He brought his own thrust that went into the fifth or sixth row. The audience was tame as could be. We were extra-precautionary and brought in more security than usual, only because it was a hard rock show. We'd do the same for Metallica. Do the same for Lollapalooza.

It didn't seem uncontrollable at all. Most of the evictions were alcohol-related. Back then, the '80s/early '90s, a lot of times you did let the crowd release a little bit. We weren't having a particularly hard time keeping the crowd out of the aisles.
Bill "Stump" Stephenson, a longtime rock & roll concert-goer with a penchant for shooting shows without permission, had worked his way to the front of the stage.

Bill "Stump" Stephenson, concert-goer and contraband photographer:
I handed him a card saying "Welcome to St. Louis," with my motorcycle emblem, which I had done in the past, and they always gave me a thumb's up. He just kind of read it and threw it to the side.

By the way, Stump came to all those shows. We never had a problem with Stump. My thought is maybe Axl had a problem with Stump. He had been to St. Louis before, and rumor has it that the Saddle Tramps [motorcycle club] and Rose had some confrontation. Rumor — I cannot confirm that. But seeing him taking a picture was like an insult.

I'm not a believer in any sort of supernatural bullshit or anything like that, but there was something in the air that night, this general ugly feeling. I can't put a name to it; it felt like something was gonna happen. I don't know if it was the weather, I don't know if it was the band, I don't know if it was the crowd.

"Hey! Take that! Take that! Get that guy and take that! I'll take it, goddamn it!"

— Axl Rose during "Rocket Queen"

In the middle of "Rocket Queen," Rose stopped singing to point out Stephenson and his camera. He then jumped into the crowd. The entire exchange, from Rose's exhortations to his diving into the crowd, took nine seconds.

Wright: People still brought in small point-and-click cameras. I didn't know anything was going wrong until he stopped in the middle of that song.

I had taken pictures throughout the show. It was during "Rocket Queen." After I took the picture he just started hollering and pointing down at the crowd.

Wright: At first we weren't sure who he was pointing too; he was already leaving the stage in mid-air. He landed on Stump and pretty much knocked him out.

I moved a little to the left, a little to the right, and he was following me with his hand and finger. I turned and handed the camera to my friend, who was in a row behind me. When I handed the camera off, as I'm turning back, he was already in flight, coming at me. He hit me blind-sided and we went over the chairs.

That's where he turned around and slapped one of our guys. A couple of us grabbed Axl and threw him back onstage to get him out of there. He made his rant about lame-ass security, and then he left.

Bryan Pollard, fan:
It was a great show up until then. It was so out of nowhere. In the middle of "Rocket Queen," he jumped in and started grabbing cameras. He realized he was trying to fight a St. Louis biker gang.

I didn't feel that it was complete, or that I would have been satisfied. Nobody was ready to go home; people were still ready to indulge in it, be a part of it. And they were playing my favorite song when it started — oh man, "Rocket Queen"!

Joe Stickley, fan:
One thing that was disappointing was that it was during "Rocket Queen." On my way to school when my dad would drop me off, I would listen to that song. I always loved the end, that ballad part. I was bummed because we never got to hear the end.

William Sawalich, fan:
Our seats were toward the rear of the covered section. After the lights went up and we all — or most of us — started filing out, pretty bummed out. We'd been hearing stories from this tour of these long, epic, three-hour shows. So to have it cut short was even more of a bummer since our expectations were higher than usual.

Durchholz: He claims that there were glass bottles thrown at him. He said that was the last straw, with the guy taking pictures of it.

What people didn't have were guns, knives and cans, which they claim were thrown at them onstage. We confiscate that kind of stuff. I'm not saying there wasn't one can or one bottle — you'd be surprised what women do; they'll sneak something in in places we can't even talk about, and we certainly can't look at.

He kinda figured out that you don't want to jump into a crowd of really drunk hoosiers in the middle of heat wave.

Stephenson: T
he medics come out and duct-tape me all down flat, with my back down, my neck down, my arms down. I had obviously been laying there for a while because I started seeing debris fly by. I said, 'You either need to flip me over face-down or loosen my hands so I can block my face!'

"Well! Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home!"

— Axl Rose, July 2, 1991

After Rose left the stage, confusion settled over the crowd. The band had played thirteen songs over 83 minutes before Rose jumped into the audience. A representative of the band promised that Guns N' Roses would return if the crowd settled down, but once the house lights came on, patrons knew there would be no encore.

All of a sudden we hear from Robin Tate. Robin Tate was my VP of production. Robin is calling Cindy [Schroeder, Contemporary's box office and house manager], and we hear that Axl has left the stage. Well, that's not unusual. Maybe he's gone off and is gonna come back on. I can hear him telling her he's not gonna come back on.

You just figured they're gonna come back. When the lights came on, that's when the show was over. From what I remember, when the lights came on, that's when the shit started flying. I couldn't believe people were acting the way they were.

It was just silent, then it was like a plane taking off — there was this build to the crowd, for lack of a better term. The tour buses started pulling away, and you could see the facade of the backdrop of the stage. It was the whole train, but all their equipment was on stage. The crowd started chanting "bullshit" and it escalated from there.

Once fans realized that the show was over, hundreds rushed for the front of the stage. Many were successful in breaching the barricades and reached the stage.

The cops or fireman had brought out a firehose to spray the audience from coming on stage, and the water pressure was not sufficient to deter people from coming. This guy pulled his pants down and waved his dick at the cops as they sprayed this soft stream of water at him.

The problem with water is that when you've got pyro, we shut the water system off. Nobody turned the water system back on, so all you got was a little spurt.

It's not like it was a total mob scene — it was probably on 1,500, 2,000 people that were really hardcore going at it. We had a lot of security that we started calling down there. Maryland Heights Police and a few of us got onstage to stop people from getting on stage.

There were SWAT teams, there were shields and there were physical altercations. I remember crouching under the picnic tables 'cause things were moving fast. I remember people pulling the seats out — it was amazing to me to see people pulling out entire sections of seats. And then my next memory is walking out and hearing a lot of the rational-minded people exclaiming that this was bad and we're not gonna get another show, that GNR is never gonna come back here.

By then I'd already gone to punk shows, so I wasn't too scared of chaos breaking out. But right then they started throwing full rows of seats, I realized that I didn't want to explain to my girlfriend's parents why she had a concussion, so we started to head out to the truck.

Once people got access to the stage, it was wild; it was like they were wrecking a pirate ship and hanging off the sails. People were literally hanging off the video boards and trying to climb the scaffolding. It was very striking.

I remember watching people hanging from the cables and hearing the rip of the screens on each side. Just sheering from the weight.

It was like the fall of Rome. You could see there were fires on the lawn. There were people fucking in the grass.

I remember people rolling up entire sections of sod.

Doing it in-town, these [security] guys were making $7 an hour. It's a hobby, getting paid to see a free show. We had to start finding our employees and accounting for them. We found security shirts on the ground — people had just taken them off — and we found people in their cars.

In the parking lot, I reconnected with a friend I'd seen on the way in. He had an armful of piano keys and a microphone cover. "Some guy was selling the piano keys for $5 each!" he said. I think he had six of them. He said the guy threw in the microphone cover for free. For some reason I was compelled to smell the microphone cover. It totally smelled of stale cigarettes. How rock & roll is that?

It still amazes me to this day the amount of actual gear they walked out with. GNR just grabbed the vintage guitars they had and that was it. People were rolling out four-by-twelve cabinets and monitor mixing boards. That part was just hilarious. It was some sort of white trash Fellini film.

It's funny how much like a film the whole riot played out in front of me. It had aspects of unreality; I couldn't believe what was happening in front of me.

Almost anything that was available to be moved was moved. I remember chairs being passed forward, almost like an ant colony, with chairs riding atop hands up to the front of the stage, and then they'd get thrown. If anyone had a beer in their hand, it was flying. Everything was coming forward.

I had one guy take twenty stitches in the head from a seat someone had thrown as a frisbee.

Some guys in front of us, we watched them break the chairs, the seats of the chairs. They broke pretty easily; I didn't weigh anything, maybe 115 pounds or whatever, but I said, "Let's take a chair to commemorate." So we both took the chair we were standing on — you kicked at it once or twice and it broke.

We went to a party that night — one of those bonfire things that every high schooler used to attend. People had seats from the amphitheater and people were sitting on them around the bonfire. Almost like, "Hey, this is a trophy. I have this and you don't." Everyone else was sitting on the ground.

The guy that took the picture, Stump, he brought one of the chairs to KSHE, and he signed it to us. We had it up on the wall for a long time.

I get home at 3 o'clock in the morning; my parents have no idea where I am. I remember my dad waiting on the sidewalk. I jump out of the truck and I have my chair with me. So my dad is hot; he is pissed. I've never seen him that upset before. He points at the chair and says, "What the hell is that?" I said, "Dad, there was a riot, you gotta turn on the news. There was helicopters and cops and shit everywhere!" He didn't want to have any of it: "What the hell is that?" I said, "Dad, this chair is from Riverport. I think this gonna be an important part of my childhood, my life — an historical event just happened!" He said, "Throw it in the garbage can right now!" I didn't want to throw this away.

"We have tape of one guy on stage with a knife. And we lost a million dollars worth of equipment in that show, and I don't see anybody else taking any responsibility for anything." Axl Rose, interview with MTV's Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992

On-site security was overmatched by the crowd, and for the first time in St. Louis County history, a Code 1000 was called, summoning all available police officers to Riverport. An estimated 400 officers from 30 police departments descended on the venue.

Wright: The police told us to leave the stage and leave the area and get our staff to safety. We got a few guys hurt — five or seven of our guys ended up going to hospitals. We tried to get people to the medical building. A few of us went backstage with the police.
Favazza: I will never forget all the police cars going the other way. We all looked at each other like, "Holy shit." That was my lasting visual — sirens, lights going past us. Quite honestly, it was scary. That crowd was a bunch of drunk assholes. They love their rock, but GNR brings out the rowdy, rowdy crowd.

Schankman: Here's what we're lucky about: We had 400 police officers — Code 1000 means from anywhere you can hear it, you gotta come — and not one gun was pulled. I didn't see anyone hit with a stick. They practiced incredible restraint.

We were there watching them sweep everybody out. The cops rushed toward us — I may have watched too many movies from the '40s, but I yelled "We're the press! We're the press!" The cop replied, "Fuck you, cocksucker!" and shoved us down the steps. One of them jabbed Crone in the kidney with a baton. I had to take him to a first aid tent to lay down for a while. These guys were not in the mood for Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen to be on the scene.

I was probably not as hurt as I thought I was, and also maybe hurt more than I thought, if that makes any sense. My adrenaline was on such a rush that I don't even know how hard I got hit.

"For the last few days, I'm watching CNN and reading this shit in the St. Louis papers about how I incited a riot, and they're talking about 'And in the band they have a recovering heroin addict...' What the fuck does that have to do with St. Louis?" — Axl Rose on-stage in Dallas, Texas, July 8, 1991

The riot became international news. MTV News quickly appeared at the venue and interviewed show-goers, and press clippings from
USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and other outlets spread the story.

I just burned up my Rolodex and called everyone I knew — MTV News, Rolling Stone. That's a bit of the way of how the story got out. I wound up telling the story in other media before I could tell it in the paper I wrote for.

We happened to be where MTV was interviewing people. My brothers put a VCR tape in and maybe a couple months later, my mom accidentally taped over it with a soap opera. I was so pissed.

After that, the guy that was on the air [that night, on KSHE] — Jim Ellis, who's dead now — Axl called in to give his side of the story. Good old Jim didn't record it. I don't think Jim realized what had happened an hour or two beforehand.

Next thing we heard was him reporting on KSHE how the promoters didn't know what they were doing. I promoted my first concert in '69 — this was '91. I had probably done 10,000 shows. I think I know what I was doing. But I can't control an act jumping off the stage.

"I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened." — Axl Rose, interview with MTV's Kurt Loder, July 12, 1992

After the dust settled, nearly all the blame fell on Rose. Contemporary filed a lawsuit claiming destruction of property. Stephenson filed suit too, seeking more than $2 million in damages over injuries to his back and ear. Twenty additional personal injury claims were levied against Rose by other show-goers.

The thing that touched off the powder keg was Axl's reaction to that specific moment. If he hadn't reacted so strongly to Stump taking a picture of him — if it hadn't happened in that way, I don't think it would have unfolded as it did. I lay the fault of the whole thing at Axl's feet.

It certainly turned me off of arena shows, to sit outside and get sunburned for someone to get sand in their pussy and leave the stage.

I was grounded for the whole rest of the summer. That was the last time I ever saw that girl. I always say that Axl Rose, he took it all away from me: I lost my girl, I lost my freedom, and I lost my innocence. I broke property and brought it home, all to be thrown in the waste basket. I did go back out the next day and took the bolts off it. I kept those.

There was no doubt in my mind. I know exactly whose fault it was. We didn't start the problem and we certainly didn't start a riot. The big damages were the millions of dollars we sued them for, which had to do with defamation of character. He kept spouting off in all the trade magazines that we're a new facility and the security didn't know what they were doing. So the real loss was in that. And it got settled several years later for an undisclosed sum, but it was seven figures.

I would lay most of it at the feet of Axl for being an artist and leaving the stage. He had professionals that should have handled that for him. I think at the time they were touring with four security body guards and his security was really good back then. At the same time, on the road when you work for someone like that, you don't question them a lot.

He's had other riots he could have prevented, where he's walked off the stage. He's been a dick in his shows. It's like, "Come on, man. Because someone threw a bottle you're gonna incite a riot over it?" The guy is a huge, epic tool. He is very talented at controlling, not only entertaining — the guy has a lot of power in his performance. That just doesn't go into his performance; that's in his presence. People are fixated on him. He draws huge reactions from people in the audience.

He's not Axl Rose, he's Bill Bailey. He's putting on a show, he has a costume on. And I think it was entertaining. I was entertained. I don't think there's anything wrong with his talent.

"Fuck you, St. Louis!" — liner notes to
Use Your Illusion I & II, 1991

On March 24, 2016, Guns N' Roses released a teaser video promoting an upcoming reunion tour. It included a promised show in St. Louis. Later promotional materials for the tour made no mention of the city.

They owe us a show; they were gonna come here up until a few months ago. The day the shit broke, we had been promoting the fact that GNR was coming — they had it on their video teaser. They were gonna play the [Edward Jones] Dome, and we were all ready to announce. Some people never believed that GNR would ever play here. I was texting Richard [Fortus, St. Louis native and longtime GNR guitarist] back and forth. He said Axl would do a show here; they said they want to make it the last show on the tour, just to make it up and close that wound.

It took its toll on me; I couldn't watch that video for awhile. What I was scared about was the next city. I didn't want other promoters — we're all very close — I didn't want other theaters going through what I went through.

It was one of the first shows at Riverport. I think that added to a lot of the drama surrounding it. St. Louis has never had a venue like that, and was this the new normal now? Obviously it wasn't, but I think it gave everyone pause. I think it gave the guys at Contemporary who had built Riverport heart attacks. Is this the kind of of thing that was gonna happen?

I think I was more sad than anything. I wanted to see the show and at that age, even more than now, I looked up to rock & rollers and it just seemed in bad taste even then. I also look back now and think, these adults who were rioting were most likely intoxicated. Back then I didn't have any concept of what it meant to be inebriated to the point that you would do things you wouldn't do normally.

I think it hurt his career; I think it was the beginning of the downfall of his career. I think he had to pay some of the money to his insurance company. The settlement was a multi-million dollar settlement. It could have gone either way; we could have gone down, but we went up to become one of the biggest amphitheaters in the country.

In October 1993, After three weeks of trial, Stephenson and Rose settled for an undisclosed sum; Rose was quoted in the
Post-Dispatch calling it a "very minimal figure."

I asked my lawyer, "Is this done and over with now?" and he said, "Yeah." So I grabbed my book up with my photos of [Axl] — I said, "I'm going over to get my autograph 'cause he owes me an autograph." I walked over to the table and all the news media people were around him. I set my book down in front of him and said, "I think you should autograph this picture." He just looked at me, like, "Are you crazy?" It's people like me that buy your albums and come to your shows and put you where you're at. I think you got a little bit away from where you came from.

Let's think about the absurdity of how it looks from the modern perspective: A guy in the audience had a camera. Now, there's no way to stop people from taking photos.

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