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1993.MM.DD - Raw Magazine - An Appetite For Construction, The Axl Interview

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1993.MM.DD - Raw Magazine - An Appetite For Construction, The Axl Interview

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:10 am

W. Axl Rose is the biggest Rock 'n' Roll star in the world. He is permanently depicted as a brawling prima donna, though his bandmates insist he's an emotional man trying to make sense of the massive burdens notoriety has placed on him.
This interview shows an honest, open Rose talking about how he handles fame, fortune and life in the fast lane. With the ground-breaking 'Use Your Illusion' albums and two-year world tour behind him, Axl reflects on the story so far, and the adventures to follow…

Let's go back to 1986, when Guns N' Roses released the EP 'Live Like A Suicide'. If you could have seen the future - your megastardom and your infamy - would you have gone forward with your career?
I would have done it anyway. It would have been nice to have an idea of what success is all about. That way I could have prepared for it ahead of time, knowing what the downsides were actually going to be about.
Alice Cooper once said, "Nothing could ever prepare you for fame." That's pretty true. If there was something that could give me more insight into how to handle fame, it might not have been so hard to try and survive it.

When did you finally understand what fame was all about?
I started feeling better about it when we started the stadium tour with Metallica (in the summer of 1992). That was the tour we set out to do since the day we became Guns N' Roses. Two guys didn't make it. That was the dream. It was like working towards the Olympics, then finally being in the Olympics.

What's been the highlight of your career?
I can't say that there's been one point, but there are a lot of them, and they build. Sometimes what you think is going to be that extra special moment isn't quite what you thought it was going to be. When we did the Rose Bowl (in Pasadena), that was the dream concert of the whole summer tour, but it didn't feel like that peak moment we thought it would because there was a whole lot more to do.
When we were in Bogota, Columbia, it started raining during 'November Rain', and the crowd lost their minds. That city deserved to have that happen more than any place else in the world, because 'November Rain' was Number One for 60 weeks. Singing in the rain. It was a very special moment. We all got very happy about it, because we were having a miserable time in Bogota. There's big hotels and armed security everywhere.

The tour in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums has travelled from South America to Eastern Europe and Israel. Do you get recognized everywhere you go?
My life is basically hotel rooms and planes or a lot of security, depending how hectic the city is. In Chile, there were, like, 500 kids at the hotel at any given time. Sometimes I can go out with two security people and have a normal day, just go shopping or look around. In Bogota it was hectic. You needed two vans of security. It was a nightmare.
But I went to antique shops because I'm into collecting crucifixes. It was fun because the fans were mostly schoolgirls in their little outfits. We had plenty of security keeping everybody back, so it was really cute."

Is there anywhere you can be a normal person?
It's rare. I'll go someplace like Portofino, Italy, and the next thing you know, you've got to stop eating dinner because there are people all around.
LA is probably the easiest place for me to get around, and the second would be New York. In New York, it's like, 'Yo, Axe'. But they can spot me no matter what I'm wearing, so I don't bother to go in disguise. It just doesn't work. They think it's Axl's new look.

Do you ever get the chance to check out what other bands are doing?
I don't get to go out to see too many bands, it's usually too hectic. I'm really into U2. I enjoy their shows and go to every one I can. I was just listening to Mr. Bungle, even though we have a love/hate relationship with Faith No More.
I've been listening to a lot of bizarre things, everything from Roger Waters to Jimmy Scott to Lyle Lovett to Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains - I have a broad range.

How do you feel about all of the other bands who are riding on your coat-tails, playing Bluesy, rebellious urban Punk?
We'd rather inspire people than be limited. A couple of years ago, there was a lot of wannabe GN'R groups. I'd rather GN' R inspire them to be full-blown whatever they are, than them trying to be like us. We never tried to be like AC/DC or the Rolling Stones, but we were massively inspired by those bands to do our own thing.

Do you ever think twice about your decision to release 'Use Your Illuision I' and 'II' at the same time?
Slash and I were talking about that this morning. We're very proud of what we've done for ourselves. We planned it out since before we released the first album. We didn't know it was going to be quite so many songs, but we still feel it's the best thing we could have done.
We needed to hurry 'Appetite For Destruction' in some way. If we didn't out do 'Appetite' in one way or another, it was going to take away from our success and the amount of power we had gained to do what we wanted. We got all the material out of our systems, and commercially it's been a major success.

Now that you've out done 'Appetite', how will you out do 'Use Your Illusion'?
Slash has been working with a lot of riffs, and I've been working out where my head's at about things. I'd like the next record to go to farther extremes. If I'm expressing anger, I'd like to take that farther; if I'm expressing happiness and joy, I'd like to take that farther. We haven't actually gotten together to collaborate on too many songs. I wrote and recorded a new song that I want to have on the record called 'This I Love.'
We're not even sure how we're going to go about writing the record this time. Slash wrote all his tunes, I wrote mine and Izzy wrote his, and we put them all together.
Well, now there's no Izzy, and Slash isn't just writing his songs. It's going to be more of a collaboration thing, but we don't know whether we're going to be writing with Gilby, or if we're going to be writing with someone else. We know we want to play with Gilby, but we don't know if we want to write with him yet. But we're pretty confident that we're going to do what we want to do, and we're going to be happy with it.

Are Guns N' Roses still evolving?
It's an evolving thing. Everybody has different directions and different desires about what they want to do. I wanted to get the band big enough so everybody would have those opportunities.
We have a lot of new people in the band, but what ends up getting Slash and I off is what's going to work.
We're into the idea of letting Matt go more off on his own in the drumming department of GN'R, because on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums he was playing what we wanted to hear. On the record, he's one of the most amazing drummers I've ever heard, but he's better than that. When Matt goes off on his own creative accent, it's even more extreme than what was on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums. I want to facilitate that getting out and Matt just exploding.

Do you feel that you've become bigger than the band?
The bottom line is that nothing can come between Slash and I. As long as we have that bond, we still have Guns N' Roses. And however big I get can only help Guns N' Roses. I'm not worried about that at all, and I'm not worried about being pulled in other directions, because this is where I'm grounded. And I need this in my life.

Duff has just released a solo album, and Gilby has recorded an album. What about you?
I want to do some stuff on my own, but I'm not trying to get an autonomy out there to establish my own sense of identity. I want to do some things like the song 'My World' on 'Use Your Illusion II'. I want to do a project like that by myself, with anyone who wants to be on it.
But it's pretty much me and a computer engineer just putting things together, raw expression. You just go in and sing about what you want to sing about. We did 'My World' in three hours. It's something I need to get out of my system, but it's not something I want to base my career and future on. Guns N' Roses is my foundation.

What musicians would you like to work with?
Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and Dave Navarro (formerly guitarist with Jane's Addiction and now of Red Hot Chili Peppers). Those are the two people I want to work with more than anybody else. I've talked with Trent about doing the industrial synth thing, and hopefully we'll work together on a project. And I definitely want to work with Dave. I've always been curious to see what it would sound like to have him and Slash on at least one song.

Wasn't Dave rumoured to be replacing Izzy Stradlin in November 1991?
There was a lot of talk about that, and we were open to it. It just wasn't the right time in Dave's life. He was needing the time to pull himself together and see where he was at. I don't know what will happen in the future. I still put on Jane's Addiction, and no matter how many times I've heard it, it surprises me that it always seems brand new.

There is a lot of hidden intricacy in that music.
I'm interested in the fusion of what GN'R has with that futuristic style. If it was taken seriously and patiently, that combination could be amazing. It would be a much fuller thing than anybody's ever heard. When Slash does solo things, or plays with other people, it just totally gets me off and makes me happy because I've always wanted him to have that recognition and that place in Rock history as a guitarist. And I also feel that way with Dave.
I obviously have a much closer bond with Slash, having been involved with him for so many years. We're like each other's balance and counterpart. The world kind of missed Dave. He was a little bit too beyond them, and I'd really like people to see what he has to offer.

You've been called the spokesman of a generation. Is that a heavy burden to bear?
I think my material has a place, but I don't put myself that high up on the totem pole. I was reading an interview with (ex-Pink Floyd leader) Roger Waters where he said he considered himself one of the five English writers of all time. He doesn't know who else there is. John Lennon and maybe Freddie Mercury. He doesn't know who else, but he's in the top five.
I don't put myself in that place at all. I would like to grow. I look at Roger Waters' albums and U2's albums and they're so far evolved in writing, the spirituality's coming out in the lyrics. It encourages me, it's where I want to go with my lyrics. And hopefully, our audience will come with us.

Are you happy?
Yeah. Now that the tour is over, I can reflect, and I'll see if I've really achieved my goals. I can sit back and go 'ahhh!'.
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