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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:08 am

This thread will present the history of Guns N' Roses, from its beginning in 1985 to today. Each post in the thread will deal with a time-period, and the posts will be cross-referenced to the interview and article databases. We will aim to avoid unsubstantiated rumours and myths, and instead focus on what is actually known about the period based on biographies, interviews, articles, etc. In those cases where the sources disagree, we will aim to present every side to the story.

The thread is currently under development. Each post will be improved as new sources are consulted. Right now, it is mostly based on Duff's book, I use it to create the overall structure of the thread. I will then continue with all other biographies, every available interview, including interviews with managers, other musicians, agents, etc. Hopefully, in the end, it will be the most comprehensive source to the history of the band, and will supplement the other sections of this site. It will be the go-to site to delve into any particular chapter in the story of GN'R.


Chapter I: October 1984-March 1985 - The Band Is Formed.
Chapter II: Axl - Before Guns N' Roses.
Chapter III: Izzy - Before Guns N' Roses.
Chapter IV: Duff - Before Guns N' Roses.
Chapter V: April-May 1985 - The Original Lineup Falls Apart.
Chapter VI: June 1985 -  Formation of The Classic Lineup.
Chapter VII: June 1985 - The Hell Tour.
Chapter VIII: July 1985 - The Right Guys.
Chapter IX: Slash - Before Guns N' Roses.
Chapter X: Steven - Before Guns N' Roses.
Chapter XI: August 1985-March 1986 - The Princes of Hollywood.
Chapter XII: Rehearsals and Living Quarters.
Chapter XIII: Drugs and Booze...
Chapter XIV: ...and Branding.
Chapter XV: January-March 1986 - Interest from Record Labels and Signing with Geffen.
Chapter XVI: Personal Issues.
Chapter XVII: The Police.
Chapter XVIII: Management and Legalities.
Chapter XIX: March 1986-June 1987 - Life After Signing.
Chapter XX: Who's The Boss?
Chapter XXI: Finding the Right Producer.
Chapter XXII: Live?!*@ Like A Suicide.
Chapter XXIII: Mike Clink and The Making of Appetite for Destruction.
Chapter XXIV: June 1987 - The Band Travels to England.
Chapter XXV: The Death of Todd Crew.
Chapter XXVI: July 1987 - The Release of Appetite for Destruction.
Chapter XXVII: How to Sell a Record.
Chapter XXVIII: February-September 1987 - Cancelled Tours and Opening for The Cult.
Chapter XXIX: September-November 1987 - Headlining in Europe and Opening for Mötley Crüe.
Chapter XXX: December 1987-February 1988 - Opening for Alice Cooper.
Chapter XXXI: The Escalation of Bad Habits - Drugs & Booze.
Chapter XXXII: The Escalation of Bad Habits - Axl.
Chapter XXXIII: The Making of Lies.
Chapter XXXIV: May-June 1988 - Headlining in the US and Opening for Iron Maiden.
Chapter XXXV: July-September 1988 - Opening for Aerosmith.
Chapter XXXVI: The Press
Chapter XXXVII: Professional Crew
Chapter XXXVIII: August 20, 1988 - Tragedy at Monsters of Rock.
Chapter XXXIX: From Rags to Riches.

Chapter XXXIV: November 29, 1988 - The Release of Lies
Chapter XXXV: The 'One in a Million' Controversy
Chapter XXXVI: December 1988 - Touring Japan, Australia and New Zealand
Chapter XXXVII: 1989 - Things Fall Apart Pt I: Drugs & Booze
Chapter XXXVIII: 1989 - Things Fall Apart Pt II: Band of Brothers No More
Chapter XXXIX: 1989 - Things Fall Apart Pt III: Some Members Check into Chicago, Izzy Checks Out
Chapter XXXX: October 1989 - Dancing with Mr. Brownstone
Chapter XXXXI: Axl's Perfectionism
Chapter XXXXII: "We Were Never Any Good With Communication"

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:04 am; edited 43 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:12 am


Guns N' Roses was formed in early 1985, although the idea of the band originated earlier, in Los Angeles, California, USA, when Tracii Guns and Axl Rose, with experience in the bands L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose, decided to form a new band together:

Talking about Axl getting fired from L.A. Guns and the formation of Guns N' Roses: I don’t even remember. It was probably over something ridiculous. We were all teenagers. It was after a gig, and we were all driving home in the same car. And Raz, our manager, just turned to Axl and said, “You’re fired. You’re not going to be in L.A. Guns anymore.” When we got home, Raz went into his room and Axl and I sat on the couch. We both looked at each other and said, “How in the hell can he fire anybody?” By the end of the conversation, we had constructed Guns N’ Roses. Also, Izzy wasn’t playing in London any longer, so that was kind of the catalyst to start a new band. [...] There was only one Rose, but Guns N’ Roses sounded better. It was just a coincidence that Duff was going by Duff Rose when he joined the band, so Guns N’ Roses made more sense at that point. [Tales From The Stage, February 2013]
The incident between Raz and Axl happened at Halloween, October 31, 1984, so if we are to believe Tracii and Raz, the idea to Guns N' Roses was formed already then.

Axl, in an interview in December 1986, would claim he deliberately got himself kicked out of LA Guns:

[...] during the time I was in LA Guns, Izzy and I started doing stuff on the side and calling it Guns N' Roses. [...]Meanwhile, the other band I was in [LA Guns] got sick of me sitting around saying "Slash would be great for this..." Finally, I got myself kicked out of the band by putting on a pair of ripped up black jeans and a spray-painted pink and black biker jacket, doing my hair, putting full makeup on and running all around the stage and out into the crowd one night. The guitarist [Tracii] freaked out 'cause it was his band and he was used to getting all the attention. So, before I could say "I quit", he kicked me out. I said, "yeeahhh!" It was so great! [Hit Parader, December 1986].
This is likely not entirely correct, considering that Axl formed Guns N' Roses with Tracii. In December 1986, when this quote is from, Axl was probably still angry with Tracii because of the 'Michelle fight' that had happened between them in March or April 1986 which led to Tracii leaving Guns N' Roses. Later Axl would be more frank about Tracii and acknowledge his role in the formation of Guns N' Roses:

The name Guns N' Roses come from Tracii Guns and Axl Rose [Interview after show, October 1987].
Axl's statement is also contradicted by Raz Cue, who in his books gives this explanation for why Axl left L.A. Guns:

[...] Axl, Ole, Joe [Raz' brother], and me headed for the Rainbow. When we requested the big booth in the corner, Michael [from the Rainbow] tried steering us toward a smaller table more suited to a party of four, but relented because more of our friends were expected. We ended up with the shittiest waitress possible, and even though our booth filled up within minutes, a half hour passed and she had yet to take our order. So when Michael came to force our relocation, Axl refused to budge and told him, "We've been trying to order for twenty fucking minutes."

Michael ignored him [...] I was halfway to the smaller table when I heard a commotion behind. I turned to see Axl pinning Michael backward over the table, fist cocked, ready to strike a devastating blow to Michael's left eye. [...]

I was beyond pissed [after being thrown out of the Rainbow] and grumbling to myself as I rolled my chair out of the parking lot. When I took a right onto the sidewalk, there stood Axl with the body language of one contemplating handi-homicide. I peered angrily towards him and vented some steam of my own, hollering, "I can't believe you fucking got me kicked out!"

Axl reached for a pair of sunglasses atop his head and fired them past my ear to smash against the wall. Then he yelled, "I can't believe you're mad at me after they disrespected us like that." [...] "I quit! Fuck you, and fuck L.A. Guns!"
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 174-176].
This is supported by Tracii, as seen in the earlier quote and this from 2005:

Axl ended up singing for LA Guns until he got in a fight with our manager. But Axl decided we should continue writing songs together since we lived together. Then we came up with the name Guns N' Roses - it was like: 'I'm Tracii Guns and you're Axl Rose' [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
Despite this, as stated by Raz in his biography, Axl had also quarreled with Tracii over musical direction and was frustrated over Tracii being hard to write songs with [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 208]. If this is true, why did Axl decide to consider starting a new band (Guns N' Roses) with Tracii?

Here is another time Tracii explained the start of the band, leaving out the fight between Raz and Axl:

Axl moved out here, and was staying...I think he was staying with Izzy. And Izzy kept telling me about this guy, who was like his best friend back home, and he's really cool. I'm gonna try and make him sing, you know? And so they put Hollywood Rose together, you know -- or Rose ... I think it was called Rose. First it was called A-X-L -- that was the original name of their band, A-X-L ... and whatever that meant. But, anyway, Axl ended up using that as his name. And then they did Rose, and Hollywood Rose, and they had different people in that band.

So then we moved to this house, and Axl decided that: Well, you know, I don't know what's really going on with me, and I know that L.A. Guns is doing it's thing. So, you know, why don't we just continue writing songs together, since we live together and everything? And I was like: Yeah, of course -- you know, do whatever we want. And then we came up with the name Guns N' Roses -- you know, it just made sense. You know, it was like: Hey, you know? I'm Tracii Guns and you're Axl Rose. Let's just, you know, kinda put it together. Yeah, so we'll put out singles and we'll call it Guns N' Roses
[Spin Magazine, Outtakes for Axl Rose Issue, 1999]
In another interview Tracii corroborates on this indicating that Guns N' Roses was originally intended as a record label:

We're all living together at this point and Axl and I sat down and went 'What are we going to do?' So we both said 'Fuck that', and came up with the name Guns N' Roses which was going to be just a record label that we'd put singles out on. Sadly that idea only lasted for about 10 minutes and then we decided to keep L.A. Guns going, add Izzy and call it Guns N' Roses. And that's it, that's the whole story.  [The Quietus, 2016]
What Tracii doesn't mention, is that at the same time he got in a fight with Mike (Jagosz), the singer of L.A. Guns:

About a week into 1985, I arrived to the studio to find Tracii and Mike yelling and screaming at one another. A piss-drunk Mike had pawned Tracii's bookshelf speakers to buy more cocktails. [...] As Tracii stormed away, Mike yelled, "If you do that guns and roses thing, I am going to quit." Once everything calmed down, I asked, "What was that you said earlier, 'guns and roses'?" Mike sneered, "Tracii wants to do a jam band with Bill [=Axl] and call it "Guns and Roses" [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 186].
This supports the theory that Tracii and Axl (or Axl on his won, as Raz claims) came up with Guns N' Roses already back in late October 1984, when Axl quit L.A. Guns or were fired by Raz, but probably didn't jam with a full band until March 1985.

Tracii would later (when?) fire the singer Mike Jagosz from L.A. Guns, resulting in Axl spending more time with the band members of L.A. Guns again (Axl and Mike was not friends at all) [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 195]

Raz Cue was a close friend of the band. Raz had originally met with Tracii and Rob when they played in the band Pyrrhus [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 110]. Ole would later join Pyrrhus as their new bass player [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 133]. Raz met Izzy back when he played bass guitar in Shire. Later on Izzy would quit bass and Shire and start playing guitar in the band Rose instead. Raz went to see a Shire gig and Rose was on the same bill, that's when Raz met Axl who was the vocalist for Rose at the time [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 137]. Later, Raz would be introduced to Slash through his friend Mike (Jagosz), who was the singer of Pyrrhus, and Mike would later tell him that Slash had beat Tracii in a guitar playing contest at school the a few years earlier (while both of them were beaten by another guitarist) [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 140].

Tracii left Pyrrhus to form a new band, L.A. Guns, together with Ole and later Rob [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 142-150]. Raz invested in L.A. Guns and became their manager [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 149-155]. While managing L.A. Guns, Raz would bump into Axl who was with Steven [Adler] at the time. Steven was playing drums in Hollywood Rose. Raz tried to get Axl to join L.A. Guns as their first singer, but Axl refused. Only a few weeks later when Hollywood Rose had broken up, and after some hesitation, did Axl join L.A. Guns, becoming the band's original singer. Part of the reason was that Tracii had told Axl the band would become more blues-based and less metal [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 159].

Already at L.A. Guns' first show at the Troubadour at October 5, 1984, did they play the songs "Anything Goes," "Back Off Bitch," "Shadow of Your Love" (all songs from Hollywood Rose), "Heartbreak Hotel," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 165], which would later be released or played by Guns N' Roses.

So Axl quit (or were fired from L.A. Guns) and Mike took his place as vocalist. After Mike had left L.A. Guns, the band had one more gig already booked at the Troubadour for March 26, 1985, and without a singer, Tracii asked if Axl wanted to do a one-off. Axl agreed. Raz then, according to his biography, suggested they'd do it under their "Guns N' Roses" name and that they'd also bring Izzy in [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 197]:

By the following afternoon, Tracii had put together an L.A. Guns flyer with pictures of him, Axl, Robbie and Ole. When Axl dropped by to approve the artwork, I said, "If you two are going to jam together, why not bring Izzy in and do that Guns and Roses thing you talked about?"

Axl did a double take, gave me one of his dog-eat-dog sly smiles, and then, after a slight pause, nodded and said, "That sounds cool. I'll see if Izzy'll do it." [...]

If it sounds like I, trying to claim credit for coming up with the name, I'm not. Axl Rose conjured up Guns N' Roses all by himself, combining surnames Tracii (Guns) and Axl (Rose). It's just until tat very point in time, Axl had no idea I even knew he and Tracii had considered a side project. All I am laying claim to is this: Guns N' Roses formed in my living room after I suggested Izzy join in on a previously booked L.A. Guns show"
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 197].
This happened a couple of weeks before the March 26 show, so it must have been in early March 1986 [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 198].

The band did their first rehearsal at Willie Basse's Wilpower Studios:

I'm well aware it's a common phenomenon for folks to believe their friends' mediocre band is great. But that very first rehearsal was totally awesome, dude. It was immediately evident Guns N' Roses were beyond something special. Without a doubt, L.A. Guns had delivered some major ass-kicking with Axl Rose up front, but the addition of Izzy and the new songs "Don't Cry," "Move to the City," and "Think About You" blew my mind." [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 198].
So the first members of Guns N' Roses were Axl Rose on vocals, Izzy Stradlin on guitar (or Izzy Stranded as he referred to himself in the beginning), Tracii Guns on guitar, Rob Gardner on drums, and Ole Beich on bass.

I will remain a fan of Ole Beich till it's time for my dirt nap. [...] I still miss the guy and feel awful that he didn't seem to care enough at the time to make sure he stayed in Guns N' Roses. Unfortunately, at times the dude could be a real downer, sullen while keeping to himself [...] A few years earlier also briefly in the iconic Danish black-metal band Mercyful Fate, Ole's history repeated when he played with Guns N' Roses for their first two rehearsals. And that was it.

After that second practice, another rehearsal was set for a tentative "in a few days." Ole neglected to tell anyone of his newest girlfriend, so when the next practice got scheduled, there was no way to get ahold of him. After three days of not hearing from him, and rehearsal scheduled for the following evening, Izzy said, "If Ole doesn't want to be in the band, there's a guy who lives across the street from me who'll do the show."
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 199].
That guy was Duff McKagan.

I sometimes wonder if it was a political play by Izzy, so Tracii would not have two automatic band-votes on his side to vote-block against him and Axl. But I think it far more likely Izzy felt Ole wasn't into it, and his tyle made G N' R too metal. I don't know the answer, but the next night, Izzy showed up to Wilpower Studios to introduce Duff Rose. That was his name the first time I met him, and we all knew it was a sign. Ole was an old-school, brain-damage, hard-rock 'n' roller, devoid of even the slightest punk influence. But Duff was an O.G. Seattle punk, pre-grunge glamster with a far more upbeat personality, a cool bro to hang out with, a world class musician, and no doubt perfect for Guns N' Roses. [...]

Ole was surprised when I broke the news to him, but didn't argue or even ask me why until years later [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 199].
Duff was in some weird Top 40 band, but Izzy was like, 'This guy's got short hair, but he is into New York Dolls and stuff like that.' He had a Johnny Thunders T-shirt on, and we were like, 'This guy's perfect' [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
In mid-to-late March the band did their very first radio interview with KFPK FM Los Angeles. This interview came just hours after the band has been in Willie Basse's studio recording early versions of the songs 'Think About You', 'Don't Cry' and 'Anything Goes'. During 'Anything Goes', Axl can be heard introducing Duff as a new guy. The band members also say they are going to release a picture disc EP with these songs as well as 'Heartbreak Hotel', although this EP was probably never released. Tracii's mom recorded the interview and handed a copy to Raz [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 200]

The first Guns N' Roses show was held on The Troubadour on March 26. It is assumed the setlist consisted of songs from Hollywood Rose as well as newly written songs, including 'Anything Goes', 'Think About You', and 'Don't Cry', which would all later be officially released, as well as covers including 'Heartbreak Hotel'.

According to Raz' biography, the band referred to him as their manager:

[...]but in reality, all I did was let them use my place for band meetings. Or, if they were short, I'd chip in a few bucks - like five - for rehearsal. I'd share my reheated leftover Naugles' French fries, or let them borrow my van, amps, cabinets, wireless microphone, or whatever they needed. Joe, Guns N' Roses' stage manager, would cart all the gear to the show, and when my van came home, so did my gear. No charge. With a vast fecal sea of inferior bands drowning Hollywood, it was my pleasure  to help out an obviously above-average group. Didn't cost me nothing, and that gear would just have sat in storage with my van stuck in the driveway. Plus, I got to see G N' R well over a hundred times and you didn't [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 204].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:22 pm; edited 51 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:31 am


Axl was born Bill Bailey in Lafayette, Indiana, on February 6, 1962, the oldest of three siblings. When in Los Angeles, in his twenties, he would change his name to W. Axl Rose.

From an early stage on, Axl was interested in music:

I’ve been singing since I was five years old. I sang in church from the age of five until I was 15. It was a Pentecostal holy roller church, eight miles out in the country. I played the piano in church. I even taught bible school one year. Then I got into The Greatest Gospel Hits of the ’70s, and it was all over [Spin, January 1988].[/i]
It was in the country; you'd get up and sing old gospel songs and hymns, and gospel hits of the '70s. I loved to work on harmonies. I was always getting in trouble in choir practice for singing everybody else's parts [Musician, December 1988].[/i]
I grew up as a kid listening to Elvis Presley and gospel records, you know, and then when I got older I got into greatest hits in the 70s and all that stuff, and I played piano for years so I was really into anything to do with piano, Elton John and Billy Joel and stuff like that. But then when I started singing, you know, hardcore rock and roll I was really into Dan McCafferty of Nazareth [Unknown UK source, June 1987].[/i]
But living in a very strict family had its challenges:

I wasn't allowed to listen to the radio when I was young because rock was considered evil in our house. But I won a radio when I was in the sixth grade and it quickly became my best friend [Los Angeles Times, December 1988].[/i]

"Axl won Bible contests, taught Sunday school, played the piano. He saw amazing religious occurrences, miracles, but became disappointed when nothing happened to him. Secular music became the true revelation. He developed eclectic pop tastes; to develope his singing, he locked himself in the bathroom every day and sang along with Nazareth albums and The Eagles' Greatest Hits" [Musician, December 1988].

Despite his fondness for music and extensive choir experience, Axl never wanted to be a singer "because he didn't like his voice" [Spin, May 1988]. This insecurity would stay with Axl for a long time like when he in December 1988 talked about the challenge of being a frontman:

I am very shy and can be very insecure sometimes, but you have to find a way to communicate your feelings every night on stage. You have to try to win the audience over. It's very challenging . . . like an actor on the screen, in a way. The only difference is that I'm not playing a part. I'm playing myself, but I'm always looking for ways to go beyond the music itself to express what I'm feeling [Los Angeles Times, December 1988].[/i]
In addition to becoming a musician, in early years Axl also considered becoming a lawyer:

Being asked if it is correct he wanted to become a lawyer at some point: That was something, it was like my choice of whether I wanted to do music, or do school, and I picked music. My brother just graduated pre-law. Law is something that interests me, cause there's always someone that wants to sue you, so I like to know everything I can about it. So, I'll be learning as much as I can from him and maybe, eventually, one day that's something that I'll turn to, just because it's something that I want to know about [Rock Scene Magazine, June 1988].[/i]
Axl had numerous run-ins with the police when in Lafayette. As Rolling Stone would describe it: "[Axl] was the local juvenile delinquent in Lafayette, Indiana, and was arrested, by his count, "over twenty times," serving as long as three months in jail and representing himself at trials "'cause I didn't trust the public defenders for shit" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

I was one of the craziest of my friends, but also one of the smartest, so they figured I was the ringleader. They never got me for anything, though. Once this girl picked me up in a car; she was 16 or 17 and her mom reported it stolen. The police tried to get me for grand theft auto, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, statutory rape - and I didn't touch this girl! After they filed the charges I went to her house and we had a party. Then I left town [Musician, December 1988].

One of his childhood friends were Izzy Stradlin.

[Axl] was like a serious lunatic when I met him. He was just really fucking bent on fighting and destroying things. Somebody'd look at him wrong, and he'd just, like, start a fight. And you think about Lafayette, man, there's, like, fuck all to do [Rolling stone, November 1988].
The first thing I remember about Axl, this is before I knew him - is the first day of class, eighth or ninth grade, I'm sitting in the class and I hear this noise going on in front, and I see these fucking books flying past, and I hear this yelling, and there's this scuffle and then I see him, Axl, and this teacher bounding off a door jamb. And then he was gone, down the hall, with a whole bunch of teachers running after him. That was the first thing. I'll never forget that [Musician, December 1988].
Together Axl and Izzy had a garage band [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]. Izzy graduated from high school in 1979 and left for California [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. At age 16 Axl was kicked out from home [Unknown UK source, June 1987] and presumably lived with his grandmother for a while. At 17, according to Rolling Stone, "[Axl] discovered that his real last name was Rose. His natural father, a chronic troublemaker whose whereabouts are unknown, had left his wife and family. When Sharon Rose remarried, she and her new husband gave his surname to her children. […] Axl discovered his hidden past at a time when he was growing his hair, playing in bands, and fighting with his parents. So, Bill Bailey began calling himself W. Rose[Rolling Stone, November 1989]. One of his first bands in Indiana was called A-X-L, and Axl "became so engrossed in [it] that his friends suggested he call himself Axl" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

[...] I got kicked out. when I got told to leave. When I got told, "cut your hair," and I said, "no," and they said, "go," and I said, "I'm leaving." You know, but that was like when I was 16, but now my dad is like one of my closest friends I have. It's taken us 10 years to build up that kind of relationship, but we worked at it a little by little and it didn't start happening just because of my band, it didn't [?] just happen this year. It's been coming back together over the last five years [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
[...]And then finally, I was accused of doing drugs and drinking and all this stuff that I wasn't doing, and I was kicked out of my house for not cutting my hair. And it was above my ears at the time. And I was 16 and at that point, I just said, "Well, if I'm gonna be accused of all these things, I might as well find out what they're all about" [Headbanger's Ball, September 1988].[/i]
Axl decided to travel to California to find Izzy, probably in 1980, who had already gone there.

I hit L.A. with a backpack, a piece of steel in one hand and a can of maize in the other. And guys were trying to sell me joints everywhere, and then some black guy turned me on to the bus station. So, I found the bus station. And there'll be a song about the bus station on our EP called "One In A Million". And then I rode all around Fullerton [in Orange County] thinking it was just the smallest city I'd seen and I would find Izzy. I rode the bus for like, two days. Never found Izzy. But, you know, I stayed in Huntington Beach [in Orange County] for a while. I found this empty apartment with the door open and a skateboard in the corner and that was Izzy's. Got lucky. Paid some guys a case of beer to help me find Huntington Beach, 'cause I didn't know where it was. And then... Then I hitchhiked the whole country for a while, looking for where I wanted to stay and start working on a band. You know, went all the way up to San Francisco, went to Rhode Island, went down to Hollywood, Florida. Back to Indiana for a while to regroup... my brain. And then back to L.A. and moved Hollywood and moved in with Izzy and worked on the band [Headbanger's Ball, September 1987].[/i]
This travelling of Axl back and forth probably lasted for a couple of years, until he in 1981 permanently lived in Los Angeles:

I've been out here [=Los Angeles] on and off since '80, and then I was in here straight from '81, you know solid [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].[/i]

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:09 am


Izzy Stradlin was born Jeffrey Dean Isbell on April 8, 1962, and grew up in Indiana, "so far out in Bumfuck I could drive to somebody's house for 10 miles all on dirt roads" [Musician, December 1988].

When I was 11 or 12 I had this friend whose older brothers were like hooligans; they rode bikes, would get drunk and fight all the time, and they'd have these bands play at this big farmhouse, it was like an airplane hangar. So I'd be hanging out there, getting shit-faced, and after a while they'd be so drunk they couldn't even play and they'd go, 'C'mon up here, little kid, and play the drums!' So that was the first adrenaline rush. Other than that my life was completely boring [Musician, December 1988]
When I was 13 I started going to block parties and there would be bands playing. Every once in a while on American Bandstand you'd see a good band. Don Kirshner's shows helped cement the foundation. I started on drums moved to bass and then guitar. I played bass for a year because i found it real easy to get around on. I've only been playing guitar for about five years. I wasn't a frustrated guitarist who chose the bass, I was frustrated drummer [Guitar, September 1988]
Izzy's parents split up when he was a teenager and he moved with his mother to the slightly larger city of Lafayette [Musician, December 1988], where he befriended Axl:

Axl and I have known each other for 15 years. We grew up together back in the Midwest. We had a couple garage bands that never went out and did anything. [...] I wrote pretty much right away with Axl. He would come over with a lot of lyrics. It was basic stuff but it got us going and it was fun [Guitar, September 1988]
Izzy and Axl were into punk, and Lafayette's bars only had room for country and cover bands - "which we hated at the time. When you're 16 you hate everything you see when you live out there" [Musician, December 1988].

Izzy graduated from high school in 1979 and left for California [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. According to Musician, December 1988, he first tried his luck in Chicago and Indianapolis, before throwing his drum kit in the back of an old Chevy Impala and heading for Los Angeles. Within three days he was in a band.

Since I had a car and a drum kit, I was an asset. We're getting ready to go on, and these guys show up completely in drag! I mean, lipstick, eyeliner, pink Spandex, Afros... this was my band! They didn't tell me there was a motif, you know? And it was like, slam music, one-two-three-four. We made it through about three songs, and then all these skinheads were onstage and beating the fuck out of the band. I took a cymbal stand, took a few swings and was out the back door. That kind of broke me into the way things were out here. After that I had no problems with how anyone looked or sounded, or if they didn't like you. So I guess it was a good way to break the ice [Musician, December 1988]
The next year, in Easter in 1980, Axl found Izzy:

Axl shows up on my front door, soaking wet with a backpack. He'd been looking for me for about a month. He didn't know how big this place was [Musician, December 1988]
Izzy and Axl founded Hollywood Rose.

[We were] slumming it here and there. We started writing songs in this roach-infested pad off Franklin Avenue. We were doing speed like there was no tomorrow, and night after night we would just pump out this fast, upbeat, insane music. Literally slapped together a band, and I'd tell club owners we were playing parties and could easily bring in 500 people. When 20 would show up they'd get really upset and we'd never get paid. But we were slowly getting it together [Musician, December 1988]

In 1988, Izzy would describe himself this way:

Quiet, articulate and full of shit[Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988]

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:33 am

Duff - Biography

Duff's punkish roots:

"It's funny, but it was never my idea to 'make it' by joining a commercial band. And in fact, [Appetite] is not a commercial record. Its appeal has really amazed me" [Musician, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:39 am


In April 1985 the band played four shows in Los Angeles: April 11 at Radio City, April 24 at the Troubadour, April 25 at the Dancing Waters Club, and April 27 at the Timber's Ballroom.

You know, I think the first show we actually sold like 80 tickets, you know -- which was like really big, you know, back then. You know, to be able to pull 80 people at The Troubadour -- or like, you know, this place called Radio City in Orange County, or any of those places -- was like really good. And then, you know, we just kept doing the thing -- you know, doing shows here and there. [Spin Magazine, 1999]
After we'd played the Dancing Waters club and another gig so forgettable I can't remember the name of the venue, any excitement I had for the band dwindled. I missed the next rehearsal [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59]
With Duff starting to lose interest in the band, and skipping a rehearsal, Axl called him up and insisted that he had to be part of the band and to give it another chance [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59].

In May, the band played two shows, at Radio City (May 11, 1985) and at Joshua's Parlour (May 12, 1985). The band probably played no other shows in May 1985 and it is likely that this is due to the band starting to fall apart. According to Raz, Tracii and Rob weren't as driven as Izzy, Axl and Duff:

Izzy, Axl, and Duff each had their own business instincts, ideas, and connections. But no one ever cared what a drummer has to say. And Tracii was still in baby-rock-star mode, more than content to have others worry about band stuff [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 204].
Duff was eager to travel to his hometown of Seattle to play shows there, what would later be referred to as the "Hell Tour", while Tracii and Rob were reluctant. Tracii and Rob were from Los Angeles and Duff didn't see the same hunger in them to make it, compared to the rest of the band members who had moved to Los Angeles and would do anything to succeed [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59].

Rob and Tracii were skeptical about the idea [the Hell tour] from the start. I guess they weren't sure whether to take the leap of faith necessary to leave home with nothing but your bandmates and wits to depend on. And just a few weeks before we were to leave, they broke the news: they weren't up for a no-budget trip. Not knowing where we would sleep each night was too much for them. I assured them we'd find places to crash, and anyway, what did it matter - we would be on tour, a concept that to me was pure magic.

It didn't matter. First Rob and then Tracii backed out
[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 61]
According to Raz' biography, Axl and Tracii butted heads over musical differences, and does not mention the Michelle event which he might not have known about. Raz also claims that Tracii was fired before Rob:

Initially, only three of Tracii's tunes even made it into rehearsal, and at shows he was lucky if the guys even played one of them. Five shows in, and it was all Izzy and Axl's songs, plus some covers. Instead of taking it as a challenge, Tracii acted perpetually petulant. The morning after G N' R played the Timbers gig [April 27], Axl was in an extremely foul mood. More specifically, he was thoroughly pissed off at Tracii, who the night before reportedly remained out of sight behind his Marshall stacks the entire show, all the while playing way too loud and purposely fucking up songs.

Axl went on and on griping, and I began to get the impression he sought my okay to get rid of Tracii, so I said, "Fuck Tracii. Fire him if you want. [...]

Izzy and Axl agreed Tracii would get the boot from Guns N' Roses after their next show, the second week of may, giving them a month to find a replacement.[...]

The next afternoon, Tracii called me to tell me about Axl firing him from G N' R. Tracii didn't seem at all upset, mostly just talked shit about the guys
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 208-209].
A day after Tracii got ousted, Robbie quit the band. We were all floored. No one had even contemplated Robbie abandoning the project. Izzy and Axl tried to change his mind. When that didn't bear fruit, they asked me to have a talk with Robbie and let him know they really wanted him in the band. At the very least, see if he'd stay until they found another drummer. When I called Robbie to see where his head was at and tell him he was missing a great opportunity, before I even got my whole pitch delivered, he gave me a dismissive "I'm not going to play with those guys." [...]

The guys were pissed at Robbie for leaving them hanging, so Izzy taught me an awesome trick, which I employed relentlessly over the next decade - a free ad got placed in the Recycler, something like: "Gay Drummer Available. Into Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, Pet Shop Boys, Haircut One Hundred...Call Robbie before 6 a.m.," and listed Robbie's number. Classic!
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 209].
Tracii presents it like him quitting the band due to having had an argument with Axl over Michelle Young and from being annoyed by Axl's stage antics:

And then, all of a sudden, I noticed that Axl was like talking a lot in between songs. You know like we'd play, and then he'd talk to the crowd for like five minutes in between a couple of songs. And that kind of evolved to the point where me and Izzy, you know, really provided a lot of direction, and, you know trying to like keep this thing right, and just rock'n'roll, and just fun, you know? And he was like: No, the people need to -- you know, they like it, you know? So like: Okay -- whatever, you know? But it kept getting worse and worse and worse. And then he started hanging out with Michelle Young, And that's what that song "My Michelle"'s about, is about this girl. The two last shows that I did, we do sound check, and Axl shows up kinda late -- and he flips out. He's like: Tracii, motherfucker. You know, Michelle -- you know, Michelle Young's name isn't on the guest list. I'm like: Oh, well, I put it on there. And I did, you know? I was just like: What's this guy's trip? But he really, you know, fucked up the gig for me, 'cause I was like not into it. You know, I was like: Oh, this sucks. You know, this guy's all pissed off, and now he's dictating to the 150 people that are here, you know. [Spin Magazine, 1999]
But I also think - which is one of the reasons I left Guns 'N Roses in the first place - once we started having this very minor success here in L.A., Izzy and I were running into problems with him. His extended speeches on stage, this newfound power . . . the power of his voice to communicate how he felt about situations on stage. At that time we were allotted an hour; you know, you go up there, you've got an hour to play your songs and then get the hell off the stage. The first show we did ten songs, a couple of shows we did nine songs, and then the last few shows I did, we were literally playing five or six songs and then letting Axl just stand there and talk, and tell everybody what he thought. Which is great, but for me personally, I wasn't playing music to support any cause, or any local clothes maker or whatever [Classic Hard Rock Examiner, 2011].
And then I lasted for about seven or eight months in that, and then Axl and I got into an extraordinary fight - and we had never argued ever in the past few years before. [Then] I just kind of went my own way. [...] That fight [with Axl] stemmed from a girl named Michelle Young [of 'My Michelle' fame] not being put on a guest list at three in the afternoon before even sound check, and we did two shows after that argument and then I left. It just wasn't fun anymore. I was probably 19 then and I thought Great band, and I love these guys, but they're not worth the headaches.' Even at that age I didn't want to deal with it. [The Quietus, 2016]
So in early March 1985, the fledgling band had suddenly lost two of its members.

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:14 pm


With Tracii being fired and Rob leaving the band, a new lead guitarist and a new drummer was needed. According to Duff [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 61], Axl knew a couple of guys who could fill in: Slash and Steven Adler. According to Raz, on the other hand, Axl was only eager about getting Slash into the band, although Izzy was reluctant:

Axl only had one guitarist in mind. But Izzy expressed a desire to explore all options, in hopes of finding an older, more established musician. Axl remained steadfast and eventually convinced Izzy to at least invite Slash over to talk music, and perhaps those two might play some guitar together. The day after that get-together, Axl happily reported of his plan's rousing success. Izzy was floored by Slash's talent, and a quick meeting turned into those two jamming through the practice amps in Izzy's living room for most of the day [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 210].
This reluctance can be inferred from later interviews that Izzy did:

There's nothing more annoying than a guitarist just noodling. Shredding, it's horrid. It's the same thing when you try to get a band together, you always end up with these noodlers, y'know...[...] when I first met him, yeah. Slash was a noodler, man. I think he still is. Like in Guns N' Roses he would noodle but then the vocals would come back in and that would shut him up! [Total Guitar Magazine, August 2001]
According to Izzy, the feeling went both ways:

I don't think [Slash] really wanted another guitar player, but it was kind of a package deal, Axl and I. We had periods where we actually wrote songs together and worked out our parts. There was a little bit more interplay on Appetite than Illusion. He was like a brother, but a brother who really wanted to be out on his own [Musician, 1992]
Originally I don't think Slash ever wanted to play with another guitarist. But we both really loved Aerosmith and the Stones and we just used that idea to make it all work. My favourite band was always the Ramones - just four guys wailing with power chords. At some point he and I hooked up and we started making it work. It became fun, just working with another guy like him, opposites attract, I suppose (...) He's a great guitar player - he'll go, he's a guy if you let him go, he's just off, out there. You gotta reel him in now and then, but that's what he loves to do. Listen to the end of Paradise City, I'm just doing the power chords, G and D. And Slash just goes manic in the last four bars. It's incredible. Those were great times...[Total Guitar, 2001]
And Slash would confirm this:

When we first met we didn't click musically at all. [...] If you listen to the record, me and lzzy don't play anything alike. Our sound is completely different. He doesn't play lead hardly at all, but his rhythm style is cool. I was a lot heavier than he was. But we worked it out and it wasn't even a conscious thing. We just played together and eventually got better and better and now we sort of jell more [Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988]
Slash himself was not sure about joining a band with Axl again, having fought with him previously when they both played in Hollywood Rose [?]:

At first I didn't want to do it because me and Axl had been through some bad times together [Guitar, September 1988].
While Slash was welcomed into the band, Steven had a harder time:

It wasn't an automatic deal that Steven Adler joined Guns N' Roses, merely an audition. When done, he packed his gear and split. After he hit the road, Joe [Raz' brother] set up Steven's kit again so the guys could audition a few other drummers. There was a dude, Chain, who Axl really dug and insisted on hiring. Izzy steadfastly refused to play with him, and almost quit G N' R over it. At some point, Chain told me, "I don't think Izzy liked me."

I said, "It's worse than that." To keep everyone calm, some diplomatic maneuvers were employed. All agreed Steven would play the next show, but G N' R would keep searching for a drummer
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 210-211].
Although you wouldn't know this from reading Steven's biography:

[...]one night Slash called me up. He sounded excited and told me Izzy had resurfaced and wanted us all to play together again. [...] my heart really started pounding because Slash told me that they had committed to doing a show Thursday night. And Friday they were planning on heading up to Seattle to play a couple of shows. [...] The next day I got together with them, and they told me the band was now called Guns N' Roses, after the band's founders: Tracii Guns and Axl Rose [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 76-77].
Both Slash and Steven were well known by the other band member from before. Duff had applied for the bass job in Road Crew (an early band of Slash and Steven) while Slash and Steven had played in Hollywood Rose with Izzy and Axl for a while. In fact, Slash and Axl had previously had a fight, according to Duff, Axl had at one point slept with Slash's girlfriend [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 69].

I thought Slash was much better for that band than I was. You know, I thought that like: Wow -- you know, this guy's really got a creepy image, you know. But different than a, you know, white guy with black leather on. You know, it was like a creepy dude, you know? He's like really cool-looking, played really cool -- one style, all the time -- and, you know, just like a real like Joe Perry type guy, you know? And that was -- pretty much, it had to be Axl's decision [Spin Magazine, Outtakes for Axl Rose issue, 1999]
First meeting of Slash and Steven, when he applied for the Road Crew job: I walked in [at Canter's], looked at the first booth on the left, and saw all this fucking hair. Somehow I had expected these guys to look like Social Distortion. Instead, even though they appeared about my age, the dudes in Road Crew had long hair and rocker chick girlfriends [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 29-30]
Talking about leaving the band and Slash taking his place: I figured that would be the obvious choice. He had played with everybody in the band except Duff. He was one of my closest friends, and had actually come up with the original GNR logo before he was in the band. He was a real fan of Guns N’ Roses. I think that having him see the band from the audience, made him appreciate it more. As soon as he was in the band, I really started enjoying the band more. I think it worked out the best for everybody. I really do. [Tales From The Stage, February 2013]
About Slash joining the band in June 1985: Slash was inclined to try [Guns N' Roses] because Guns seemed more where he wanted to go musically than Black Sheep [his current band at the time]. [...] Slash liked the idea of joining a band with the intention of making its own mark [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 69]
With this new lineup consisting of Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven. In an interview in 1986, the band would refer to the coming together of this lineup as when the Guns N' Roses was formed [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07], probably to distance themselves from the short-lived original lineup, and to create cohesion as a band of brothers. Guns N' Roses was Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven. But already in December, 1986, Axl would be back to making a distinction: "This lineup has been together for two years" [Hit Parader, December 1986]].

The band played its first show at the Troubadour on June 6, 1985, only a few days after Slash and Steven joined the band. The June 6 gig is the first where we have the entire setlist: Reckless Life, Shadow of Your Love, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Think About You, Move to the City, Don't Cry, Nice Boys, Back Off Bitch, Anything Goes and Heartbreak Hotel. All of these songs were either covers or original songs written before Slash and Steven joined the band, but the new guys immediately put their stamp on the songs, especially Slash's emotive leads.

We played our first show at the Troubadour and it was sold-out. It was like we were rock stars, but just in Hollywood [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
On Thursday, June 6, we played our first live show with the Appetite for Destruction lineup. The bill at the Troubadour included Fineline, Mistreater, and, at the very bottom, Guns N' Roses. Slash's high school friend Marc Canter, - he turned out to be part of the family that ran Canter's Deli - came and shot pictures. He made prints f each of us the next day so we'd have head shots to put up in the places we played on our tour [the Hell Tour]. That was Friday [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 70]
Talking about the AFD lineup coming together: We had a show together, I think it was at the Troubadour, [...] the audience comprised of a bunch of our friends[Ultimate Classic Rock, September 2014]

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:18 am

June 1985 - THE HELL TOUR

The band then embarked on what they would later refer to as the Hell Tour. Up until this point the band had still not decided upon having Steven join as a full-time member, but his eagerness jo join the Seattle tour on short notice (they asked him to join the day before departure), helped seal the deal [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 210].

Due to various problems they only played show at this tour (although Axl, in an interview in June 1987, would curiously claim they played "a few shows" [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]), at the Gorilla Garden in Seattle on June 8 or 12. Duff says in his biography that the band was not paid for the show because they didn't drew a crowd, but according to an interview in 1986, the band was paid $50 instead of the promised $200 [Los Angeles Times, 1986.07.06]. Duff and Axl half-heartedly tried to burn the place down in revenge.

After two fuckin' days in the desert a guy in a semi picked us up. Finally we made it to Seattle. We played. There were ten, maybe twenty people there. We didn't get paid. Finally we had to steal another car to drive back to L.A. again [The Face - "The Daze of Guns N' Roses", January, 1990]
The club was called Gorilla Gardens, which was the epitome of a punk-rock shit hole: it was dank and dirty and smelled of stale beer. [...] We just got up and did our set and the crowd was neither hostile nor gracious. [...] That night we were a raw interpretation of what the band was: once the nervous energy subsides, at least for me, we'd reached the end of the set. That said, we had a very small number of train wrecks in the arrangements, and all in all the gig was pretty good [Slash's autobiography, page 106]
Boy, what a road trip for our very first one! But the crowd response was good and that's when we really took off. We were doing a little bit of everything -- Elvis Presley tunes, blues, you name it! We didn't give a damn about anyone or anything. We just wanted to play. [Interview with Izzy, 1991]
[...] our gear hadn't arrived when we played the show on Wednesday night at Gorilla Garden. We were sloppy on borrowed gear, though on the plus side only about a dozen people were subjected to our set [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 78]
[...]and took us to the Gorilla Gardens, the filthy dive bar where we were to do the show that night. When we got there, we walked right onto the stage, and just in the nick of time. We didn't have time to grab a beer, smoke a joint, or put on makeup. Although we were still at the stage where we'd tease our hair up to God and slap on the eye shadow, heavy eyeliner, and lipstick for our stage performances, there just wasn't a moment to spare. [...] Most fortunately, we were able to use th previous band's equipment. We just went on, jacked in, and played our songs. [...] And although we didn't exactly bring down the house, we got decent applause and were all smiles after the show, feeling that for the most part, it went over pretty well [Steven's autobiography, "Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 80]
The band would later look back at the tour as a formative moment, an early obstacle that tested the relationship between the band members:

When the band started - it was like the day after Duff or Stevie joined - we had the infamous Seattle trip. We hitchhiked up there for a gig, and it took a long time, but it pretty much solidified the lineup. If everybody could hack it and get along in the back of a semi trailer that's five feet by eight feet, with five guys and no money, was like a test to see if everyone could get along in the long haul [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
That Seattle trip was the proving ground. If we could go through that shit, we could go through anything, and we've been through a lot of shit. At one point, we were living in a one room place in Hollywood, where we also rehearsed, and we had no money but we just survived together. If you had something to eat, you had to share it with everyone else [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
After returning to Los Angeles, the band played one show at the Stardust Ballroom (June 28), where they played 'Mama Kin' for the first time.

Our first gig back in L.A. was on June 28, 1985, at the Stardust Ballroom, our eats of Highway 101. They had a club night called Scream. It had started as a Goth night; Bauhaus and Christian Death were the most popular acts the DJ played. We were at the bottom of a four-band bill and had to go on stage at 8 p.m. [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 87].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:29 am


As the new lineup played more and more gigs, and did more and more rehearsal and song writing together, they started to gel. The mix between Duff's punk rock sensibilities, Izzy's low-key rhythm and feel, Slash's loud bluesy and fast leads, and Steven's idiosyncratic groovy drums, turned out to be a potent combination. And although not every band member always appreciate everyone else in the band, especially since compromises had to be made, the new lineup started to gain more and more popularity in the LA music scene.

Hearing Axl for the first time from a demo tape: But through the static din, way in the background, I heard something intriguing, that I believed to be their singer's voice. It was hard to make out and his squeal was so high-pitched that I thought it might be a technical flaw in the tape. It sounded like the squeak that a cassette makes just before the tape snaps - except it was in key [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York].
Izzy and Axl came from Indiana, and I met up with Axl right after that. He played with another guy back then, one who wouldn't let him sing with a higher voice. He always made him sing lower, like the voice he uses on 'It's So Easy.' He never used his falsetto then. When we worked together he used it and I told him I liked it. Ever since then he used it regularly. His voices really started coming into play with the new band [Rock Scene, October 1989].
Duff was as musically versatile as he was driven (...). I respected him immediately for his devotion: he and I shared a similar work ethic. It established a kinship between us right away that hasn't faltered at all over all these years [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York]
[Izzy] he wasn't a great guitar player, but I liked that - both in him and in general. I wasn't a great guitar player, either. It was a punk thing. One night we were talking after a rehearsal, Izzy mentioned a band called Naughty Women. It rang a bell. "I know that band," I said, trying to place the name. "I think I played a gig with them once. wait, wait, wait. Were they...cross-dressers?" "Yep," Izzy said. He paused. "I was the drummer," he said. Cool, I thought., this guy really was a veteran of the punk-rock club scene. He was the real deal [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58-59]
First meeting: Steven and I went to see Hollywood Rose at Gazzari's and it was the first time that I beheld, hands down, the best singer in Hollywood at the time: W. Axl Rose. Much like the tape, the show was nothing more than an amateur garage band doing their best, but they had an amazing sense of reckless abandon and energy. At least two of them did: apart from Izzy and Axl, the band was pretty nondescript, but those two friends from Lafayette, Indiana, had an ominous presence about them. Izzy kept doing knee slides all over the stage and Axl screamed his fucking heart out-their performance was blistering. Axl's voice drew me in immediately; it was so versatile, and underneath his impossibly high-pitched shrieking, the bluesy natural rhythm he had was riveting [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York]
In the studio our drummer is completely hyper [Guitar For The Practising Musician, 1988]
When I showed up at my first GN'R rehearsal in late March, 1985, Axl and I said hi to each other and started joking around about this and that. I liked him right away. Whoever was running the sound then asked Axl to test out the microphone. Axl let out one of his screams, and it was like nothing I had ever heard. There was two voices coming out at once! There's a name for that in musicology, but all I knew in that instant was that this dude was different and powerful and fucking serious. He hadn't yet entirely harnessed his voice - he was more unique than great at that point - but it was clear he hadn't moved out to Hollywood from Indiana for the weather. He was there to stake a claim and show the whole fucking world what he had [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58]
Duff and I were the keystone; we were the rock that rolled. We were to become the rhythm section for the biggest rock band in the world, and we pushed each other day and night to get there ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010]
To me, Axl when we first got together, I was like, ‘He’s good, but I don’t know’. But that’s when we had these other two cats in the band [guitarist Tracii Guns and drummer Rob Gardner] and the band was not clicking. But by the time Slash and Steven had joined the band and we were starting to really click. Axl all of the sudden clicked too. It took something for him to click, and it took something for Slash to click. But when it happened, it was somethin’ to see. I’m telling ya [Kerrang, March 1990]
We all went back to Slash's place [after Canter's] - he was living with his mom. It was obvious even on the acoustic guitar he played that first night that Slash was a special player. I was absolutely stunned by the raw, emotive power he so easily tapped. Slash was already in a league of his own and watching him play guitar was a "holy shit" moment [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 30]
Without missing a beat [Axl] grabbed the mike in the middle of the song and just started running up and down the walls, screaming and wailing like someone had his pants on fire. I had never heard such a sound in my life. It was like some otherwordly banshee cry. I was stoked. I remember my eyes bugged a bit and my pulse shot up; I was thinking this dude was insane, so original ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010]
We really had to make a drummer out of [Steven]. We took all his drums away – he had a double-bass drum and all these fuckin’ toms – and he ended up with a kick, a snare, a floor ton, crash and ride cymbals and his hi-hats: a Ramones-style kit. The band would rehearse, then Steve and I would get together – just bass and drums – every day and work on grooves [Bulletproof - Duff interview, Guitar World’s Bass Guitar June/July 2004 Issue]
Izzy looked like a young Ron Wood, with that gaunt, angular cut to his face, perfectly framed by straight black hair that hugged his jawline, making his face look even more thin and elongated. He was into heroin, just like Ron Wood and Keith Richards, his heroes in The Rolling Stones (...). He had thick-soled platform shoes and always wore black pants with some sort of super-tight shirt. He looked more like his shadow than himself and to me he was the personification of cool. Izzy and I hit it off right from the start. We each saw something in the other: perhaps it was just the way we talked about music. Izzy was the consummate rhythm guitarist. I loved the solid power chords he built into Rose's songs ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010]
The timing for me and Steven to meld as a rhythm section was perfect. Steven had tons of drive, and we kept at it hour upon hour, day after day - just mercilessly[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 84-85]
Slash is one of the most emotional guitar players that I've ever met or ever seen. [...] It took 5 years to find somebody who played more from the heart rather than just trying to be the fastest or trying to be this or that to be a big rock star, someone who, like, he'd be really quiet [...] most of the time and really won't let a lot of himself out till he picks up a guitar and then his heart and soul seems to pour out through the guitar. I sit down a lot of times at shows, I sit down right at the stage right in front of him amp when he's doing a solo, because, to me, it means just so much to me to hear that [Interview with Axl and Slash, 1988]
I liked Izzy. He was, after all, the first guy I met and I enjoyed his style and admired his talent [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York]
Before Izzy, I'd never been able to play with another guitarist. Axl was the only guy on the whole L.A. scene who could sing, and there was no getting Izzy away from Axl. The funny thing about Izzy and I is that we each play what we want, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It can be frustrating for me because he's very stubborn. He plays very lightweight, sort of Keith Richards style, whereas if I want a heavy riff, I'll want a heavy riff, I'll want us both to play it to make it really stick out. There's a lot of songs on our album I'm really not happy with that way: 'Welcome to the Jungle,' for instance. Sometimes Duff will beef it up, like the riff in 'Paradise City.' I'm a little more knowledgeable on guitar; Izzy's a good songwriter with a great sense of style [Musician, December 1988]
The band would quickly realize the special bond they had:

[...]We got we have the lineup that, you know, we're gonna keep unless someone dies and then it's like, "How we're gonna replace that person?" You know. That's gonna take a lot of work because there's nobody we want [Unknown UK source, June 1987]
In July 1985 the band played gigs at Madame Wong's East (July 4) and at the Troubadour (July 20). At this last gig they played 'Welcome to the Jungle' for the first time. This was the first song the new lineup wrote together.

Axl remembered a riff that I'd played him when he was living over at my mom's house, which was ages ago at this point: it was the introduction and the main riff to 'Welcome to the Jungle'. That song, if anything, was the first real tune that the band wrote together. We were sitting around rehearsal looking to write something new when that riff came to Axl's mind. " Hey, what about that riff you played me a while ago?" he asked. "When you were staying with me?" I asked. "Yeah. It was good. Let's hear it." I started playing it and instantly Steve came up with a beat, Duff joined in with a bass line, and away we went. I kept throwing parts out to build on it: the chorus part, the solo, as Axl came up with the lyrics. Duff was the glue on that song - he came up with the breakdown, that wild rumbling bass line, and Izzy provided the texture. In about three hours, the song was complete [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York].
This would be typical for how many of the new songs would be created: as a collaborative effort by five guys who lived together.

The band then played at the UCLA (July 21) and possibly at the Seance (July 26).

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:30 am

Slash - Before Guns N' Roses

Slash was born Saul Hudson in Stoke-On-Trent in England. When he was still young, his parents, an interracial couple, moved to Hollywood. His father, Anthony Hudson, designed album covers, including Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark, and his mother, Ola Hudson, was a clothing designer who made David Bowie's suits for The Man Who Fell to Earth. Slash, who was given his nickname by a friend's father, started playing in bands in his midteens.

I had total freedom, all the time. I used to not come home for weeks [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
When I was 12, I sneaked out one night to Hollywood Boulevard. I was standing in front of this hamburger stand, where a crowd had gathered, and this crazy guy on acid or something decided he was gonna beat everybody up. And he went after the wrong guy and he got knifed. He was just laid out on the sidewalk - and I've been here ever since [Musician, December 1988].
When I was 14 I was over at this girl's house I'd been trying to pick up for months, and she played Aerosmith's Rocks; I listened to it eight times and forgot all about her [Musician, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:54 am

Steven - Biography

The first record I remember ever putting on was "Working My Way Back To You, Babe" by The Four Seasons. I love The Four Seasons, man! I met 'em all! I got to meet Frankie Valli in Las Vegas once. Mr. T was there and it was the best! I been into The Four Seasons since I was five years old [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].
I'm pretty down-to-earth. I really don't care too much about causing problems for other people. I just want to do my own thing and if I can help somebody, I'll do what I can. I'm just a nice guy, I guess. I have no enemies... that I know about. I like to take it easy when I have the chance. I like to relax [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].
Steven was completely self-taught and his drumming idols were Roger Taylor of Queen, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Keith Moon of The Who and jazz drummers Gene Krups and Buddy Rich [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].

I never took a drum lesson in my life. I learned from watching and listening very closely to other drummers. That plus wanting it real bad and believing in myself [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].

If Steven wasn't a musician he would have loved to become an actor [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:57 am


For the rest of 1985 and the start of 1986, the band played numerous shows in the Los Angeles area, and debuted more songs: 'Rocket Queen' on the Troubadour on September 9, 'Paradise City' on the Troubadour on October 10, and 'Nightrain' on Music Machine on December 20.

The band would later lament how hard it was for outsiders (none of the band members were originally from Los Angeles, although Slash and Steven had lived there since they were kids) to gain popularity in the insular LA music scene:

It seems like when you come to this town unless you are part of the mommy's-boy-daddy's-money poseur rock scene they try to puke you right out. You fight for your place. I remember two years of standing at the Troubadour and talking to no one, not knowing what to do, and everybody thinking they're so cool. Eventually we did our own thing, made new friends, and brought a new crowd to the Troubadour [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07].

Success required lots of hard work, and Slash was not afraid to put in the hours:

I worked my ass off to promote the band in the beginning, get us from spot to spot on the club scene. Making flyers and phone calls and screw the right people... I'm pretty level-headed and don't make to many dumb decisions [Musician, December 1988].

At the Roxy show on January 18, the band sold out for the first time:

On January 18, 1986, before our show at the Roxy, a friend ducked his head into the backstage area. "This fucking gig is sold out!" When we looked into the crowd, we still saw the same faces. We knew most of the people in the audience, even after we started selling out venues like this. Del, West Arkeen, Marc Canter, and assorted girlfriends assembled backstage as usual. The big difference? One of my nephews stood in front of the backstage area as "security" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 104]
In August 1985 the band records 5 songs in Mystic Studios (?). This is likely the demo the band paid $300 to record [RIP Magazine, May 1987]. This demo is likely the one the band gave a copy of during the Country Club gig in October 1985, but then asked to have back to give to a record company executive who was in attendance [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 225].

In the beginning of 1986, a friend of Izzy's called Robert John started to photograph the band. Robert already photographed W.A.S.P and the band liked his pictures [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 104]. "Robert made the guys look like rock gods," as Raz would phrase it [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 229].

Although the band was starting to grow som local popularity, the band was still living on very little means:

You drifted around, you stayed in friends' garages, cars, stayed one step ahead of the sheriffs [Kerrang! June 1987]
Basically, it's just down to a poverty thing, that's where that kind of 'fuck you' attitude comes from, because you're not showering, you're not getting food or nothing, you do what you have to survive [Kerrang! June 1987].
Raz would speculate on why the band was so creative during their first months together, writing 'Welcome to the Jungle,' 'My Michelle,' and 'Paradise City,' among others:

I'm not sure why those months were so exceptionally creative; might be the interesting times of youthful freedom and being part of something they knew was special. Or maybe it was the unencumbered creative outlet a lockout studio provided, combined with meeting the great songwriter West Arkeen and hearing daily the skillful songcraft of Johnny X as he worked out his tunes right next door with The Wild. Influence is a two-way street, and The Wild and West became much more aggressive and musically streetwise after crossing paths with G N' R, thus making the whole rock scene exponentially greater than the sum of the parts[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 228].
Slash would later describe the magic of Guns N' Roses song writing this way:

I come up with the majority of riffs, Axl the majority of melodies and lyrics, and Izzy will come up with really good chords. We work together, so everybody enjoys doing it[Musician, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:16 am


The band used various places to both rehearse, record and live - often the very same place.

One of the first places the band rehearsed was a space in Silverlake which they rented for $6 per hour [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 69].

They would later live together in a one-room apartment somewhere in West Hollywood (probably Orchid Avenue), but presumably got evicted around June 1986. Izzy would refer to living at this place as "rats in a box" [Los Angeles Times, 1987.06.07].

Later they would meet at a rehearsal space owner by Nicky Beat, which was in an "industrial wasteland" out by Dodger Stadium [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 83].

We started rehearsing at this guy Nicky B's place. His house was by the L.A. zoo. It was a dumpy dwelling in an industrial area literally plopped in the middle of nowhere. [...] That was our rehearsal spot for a while. Then Nicky B joined Tracii Guns in his new band, L.A. Guns, and we had to find another place to jam [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 82].
One popular meeting place for the band was Canter's Deli at Fairfax. Canter's was a 24-hour restaurant run by the Canter family. Marc Canter was an old friend of Slash and became a good friend of the band. His interest in recording led to him chronicling the start of the band, taping most of the band's first shows. Marc also helped the band out financially, by loaning them money to pay for tickets (rock clubs often required bands to pay for a certain amount of tickets ("pay to play") which the band then had to re-sell) as well as for stamps they needed to send out the band's newsletters [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 90]. In his biography, Steven would argue that Guns N' Roses would never go along with the pay-to-play policies [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 92].

Marc ended up taking pictures of the band at our shows. He was a smart, artistic, compassionate guy. We felt comfortable trusting him to shoot all the behind-the-scenes images of GNR. We knew he wouldn't compromise our trust, wouldn't sell out to some rag-ass tabloid, or let anything out that we didn't approve. Marc and I are still close to this very day [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 73].
Their first regular rehearsal space was on a dead-end alley off Gardner street, behind a public elementary school. The alley contained half a dozen doors to cinder-blocked self-storage spaces, and the band rented one of these for four hundred dollars a month. The band turned this space into their regular rehearsal studio, and often used it for parties. There was no toilet or a/c or heat, but the band could play there 24/7. They built a ramshackle loft for sleeping. In this place many of the songs from Appetite for Destruction and Lies, and a few from Use Your Illusion I and II, were written [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 96].

Another Hollywood band called The Wild, rehearsed nearby the Gardner place. The keyboardist in The Wild was Dizzy Reed, and the band got to know him and the rest of The Wild early on [Raz' biography, page 225].

We stole wood, we built a loft and slept above the equipment. But, yo know, we almost miss it. Every weekend, the biggest party in LA was down in our place. We'de have 500 people packed in an alley and our old roadie was selling beers for a buck out of his trunk. It was like a bar and everyone had their whiskey. We could get away with whatever we wanted, except when the cops came. [Hit Parader, December 1986].

Nearby Gardner there was a Mexican restaurant the band used to go to:

Me and the band used to live in a garage down the street when we first started out, and we used to come here all the time. We always used to sit here in the corner, right where we are now, because it's the best spot to get a blow-job without anybody knowing. I know this place is kinda seedy and run down, but I like it here. I feel comfortable[/i] [Kerrang! December 1988].

On how they managed before they got signed: Sold drugs, sold girls, sold… we just got it. We managed. In the beginning we’d throw parties and ransack a girl’s purse while one of the guys was with her [1987.04.04].
According to Steven, the band "could count on one hand the number of rehearsals Axl had been to". This was due to him noe having a PA system back then:

Sometimes, he would sit just outside the studio door and sing along, but usually we would just give him a tape of our rehearsals and he would go off with it somewhere [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 83].
In February 1986, the band sort of fled the Gardner studio when Axl had a rape charge against him, and moved in with Vicky in her apartment.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:27 am


Every one of this band has had some kind of alcoholism or drug-addiction. It's not that we've got anything against being 35, there's none of that attitude. It just comes down to the pace we've been living. There's been no time to sit down and think about taking care of ourselves, watch what we've been doing [Melody Maker, June 1987]

Izzy was the first in the band to become a heroin junkie. It is unclear whether Izzy was addicted already when he arrived in Los Angeles (when?), or if he picked the habit up in Hollywood. In an interview with Musician in December 1988, he would describe how Axl and he would be doing speed "like there was no tomorrow" back in the early 80s when they were in Hollywood Rose together [Musician, December 1988]. Chris Weber, Izzy's co-guitarist in Hollywood Rose, had to go to rehab in 1984 and moved to New York City not long after [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", page 127]. Yet, Weber would in an interview in 1989 deny that they had been using hard drugs, but "just a little bit of pot smoking" [Rock Scene, October 1989]. It is hard to find that credible with all the other sources telling that Izzy was a heroin addict already before Guns N' Roses was formed. For instance, Duff knew Izzy was "pretty much strung out all the time" before Guns N' Roses, and he would later come to know that Izzy sold heroin out the back window of his apartment [Duff's Biography]. Izzy would allude to this when asked what his former job had been and reply with "Illegal" [Superstar Facts & Pix, No 16, 1988]. Vicky Hamilton also knew Izzy was addicted to heroin back in 1984 [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", page 127]. Despite his addiction, Izzy was able to function and only took enough to stave off withdrawal. Duff accepted that Izzy would "do whatever it took, heroin habit or not".

Talking about meeting Izzy for the first time: [Izzy] was into heroin, just like Ron Wood and Keith Richards, his heroes [...] [Steven's biography, page 61-62]
Duff himself was no virgin as far as drugs went, back in Seattle he had experimented with speed, cocaine, LSD in sixth grade and mushrooms, but quit due to increasing panic attacks which he feared might be drug-induced [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011].

My old man gave me some whiskey when I was real little. It was a Hawaiian whiskey, and it had this long Hawaiian name, and he said, “Take a swig and pronounce the name.” And after about four swigs I couldn’t pronounce the name because I was too drunk. That’s a true story [RIP Magazine, May 1987]
Steven had also started with drugs early. In his memoir he talks about starting with weed at age eleven, at the same age he was kicked out from home and had to live with his grandma. After that he lived a reckless life in Los Angeles filled with drinking, smoking and sex. He started prostituting himself at an early age for drugs and at age 14 he was raped by an older man after having been led to an apartment with the promise of weed. At age 14 he would move back to his mon and stepfather, only to be kicked out again at age 15 and moved to a foster home in Pasadena, from which he immediately fled. He then went back home but was kicked out again and moved back to his grandma [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010].

He tried crack cocaine and heroine for the first time in 1984, at Bob Welch's house in the Hollywood Hills, when he was handed a pipe from Bob's friend Ted and later a wad of heroin to smoke [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 66-67]:

I had inhaled crack and exhaled my soon-to-be shattered soul. It was the first time I smoked the shit. As I sat there, an incredibly powerful urge came over me. I have never experienced such a dire need to get high again. Right away. Now. And this was only about ten seconds after that first incredible high. All I knew, all I cared about, was that I wanted the feeling to last longer. So I continued to hit the pipe. I didn't know it then, but at that very moment I had tasted the beginning of the end [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 67]
Later on [sometime in 1986?] Steven would walk in on Izzy and Slash shooting heroin in Izzy apartment behind Grauman's Chinese Theater in the heart of Hollywood. Steven did not want to use needles, and instead smoked heroin like at Welch's house, and got sick again [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 97].

Slash's father was an alcoholic [Musician, December 1988] and Slash picked up the habit, too. According to Axl, he trashed two rented vans while intoxicated, something that would be commented on in the thank yous on the Appetite for Destruction sleeve [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]. Drunk driving was also a habit Slash would admit to [Kerrang! December 1988].

Axl started off with drugs and booze much later than the rest of his band mates later:

The first time I got drunk I was 16. I know I was late. I was with these three guys, and I had never smoked or taken any drugs before. We brought a case of beer, and we bought joints, and I bought 40 Valiums-10 mg Valiums for $5.00 a piece. I ate ten them, drank a bunch of beers, and smoked all these joints. Then we went to this rock concert downtown at Morris Theatre. This band called Road Master was playing. I went down to the theater, and girl goes, “You’re just too fucked “So, I tore up her ticket and threw it her. Then I went out in front of the hall and directed traffic for a while. I threw a beer at this fucking cop, so friend grabbed me and put all these different jackets on me and snuck me into the concert. It was packed. I walked in, and one of my friends passed out in the aisle. Then this guy stands up, looks at me and says, “What are you looking at?” He was a big guy; so I hit him. I saw his teeth go back down into his throat, and I ran.

Lots more happened that night. I fell out of the window of a two-story build­ing and broke my hand. I broke into an insane asylum; broke in one side and out the other because I didn’t know how to go around the building. I wrecked a bicycle that had no brakes underneath a train. Then my friend Paul put me in his car, and I went flying over another car, and my friend’s dad came running out of the house from across the street. He was going to shoot my friend because he thought that somebody was out to kill me. It was a really exciting night.
[RIP Magazine, May 1987]
Raz would recount that back in 1985, Axl had warmed up to intoxication:

Axl wasn't the biggest fan of weed, but that rarely stopped him. Similar to my brother and me - with a tip of the hat to Alice in Chains - his drug of choice was whatever you got [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 205].
Robert John would mention in an interview in 1989 that Axl tried shooting heroin "like a couple times and that was a few years ago" [Rock Scene, October 1989].

Still, in 1986, when the rest of the band's debauchery really started to take off, Axl was the most sober of them:

Of all of us, Axl seemed to be the most straitlaced. He'd drink and smoke, but I ever saw him get out of control with any hard drugs [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 98]
As the band started to live and party together, drugs were intrinsically connected to their lifestyle, and to some it became increasingly important. Duff recalls that Steven at one time said to him, "You know, all I want in life is to make enough money one day so I can have a bag of good weed and a big ball of crack around-all the time." Duff himself was starting to warm up to pills and booze.

[Duff] can’t survive without a drink first thing in the morning [RIP Magazine, May 1987]
The lyrics of their early songs reflect this wild lifestyle, with numerous references to partying, drinking and drugs. Often other musicians, strippers and drug dealers would hang out with the band, bringing with them quaaludes, Valium, coke and booze [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011].

Talking about 1986/1987: A very heavy drug period for the band. A lot of the music is a reflection of that. There's always a lot of abuse going on in Hollywood, but at that time it was like we were in the middle of a pinwheel [Musician, December 1988]
It didn't take long before Slash and Steven started with occasional heroin use [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 95]. Raz noted that Slash used heroin not long after the band had signed with Geffen in March 1986 [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 238]. Axl would say that the whole band had "dabbled" with heroin while Slash and Izzy were addicts around the end of 1986 [Bam, November 1987]. Steven would also become a habitual crack smoker.

I think Stevie was willing to try anything that might dull the memories of his nightmarish childhood. Poor fucker [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 116]
The drug use of the band and their friends also caused problems with their first manager, Raz Cue:

[...] I noticed my Marshall amp was not in attendance. I formed a fairly good theory about why. Izzy had recently figured out a way to monetize his hobby, and soon almost everyone in our circle was into tinkering with model trains. A few of them were making several trips daily to the hobby shack to pick up the stuff needed to keep trains on tracks. It's not a poor man's hobby. So when the band's roadies had to have a new caboose they had their eye on, at times they sold some equipment. One little snag though - it was my equipment. [...] Before we finally figured out roadie Carlos was the fiend stealing gear, I placed a free Recycler ad offering "Marshall 100-Watt Head Modified by Jabco. $100 or Trade for Lionel 408E Standard. Call before 7 a.m.," and left Izzy's number [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 218].
Duff tried crack cocaine for the first time in February 1986 when he and Slash were with Robert John to go through photographs [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 108].

According to an April 1987 interview, the band became famous in Hollywood for their drug use, and was referred to as "Lines N' Noses", although at the same interview, their manager Alan Niven made them steer away from any drug-related questions [Sounds Magazine, 1987.04.04].

In hindsight, it is hard to separate deliberate myth building from reality. In the case of Guns N' Roses it is likely to have been both: the band members were wild outcasts to whom sex, drugs and rock and roll was life and future, yet Geffen would likely at times have exploited this image, and supported it, to create a band they knew would appeal to fans. As an interview in April 1987 would claim, off record a Geffen representative would say "Guns N’ Roses? Yeah, they’ll make it. If they live…" [Sounds Magazine, 1987.04.04].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:35 am


We got hired to be the bad boys [Headbanger's Ball, September 1988]
I don't care if people think we've got a bad attitude. We're the only band to come out of LA that's real. And the kids know it [On The Street, December 1988]

The band was probably aware of the importance of branding, at least later on in their career, and would occasionally be overly outrageous and brazen in interviews, embracing the image of reckless badboys:

When we see some fucking punk faggot from Beverly Hills walk into the Troubadour with spikes in his hair, we just want to smash his fucking face. We’ve been playing rock ‘n’ roll for too many years for people to call us posers [RIP Magazine, May 1987]
I mean, we have done some crazy things, but never really bad things to hurt anybody or screw anybody up. We're not into that. We're into having fun. As long as we don't hurt anybody or rip anybody off, there's nothing wrong with having a good time. […] So we broke some stuff. So we had a few too many drinks. So what of it? I personally have thrown everything out of my hotel window. I got twisted, man! It's like the golden rule of rock: if you get this far in the business, you have to do these things. You have to break things. You have to go to jail. You have to throw everything out of your hotel window. It's just one of those things. You have to do it. We never hurt anybody. I went to jail in Chicago once. We got into this big fight, a major fight in the bar of a hotel. But I better not say anything else about that [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988]
Although they would also distance themselves from the image yet admit to take advantage of it:

I'm immediately embarrassed when that image comes up. A lot of bands go: ‘Good, we got the bad-boy title this week,’ but with us, it’s like we’re just a rock’n’roll band. A lot of things go along with that that we take full advantage of at times. We were doing all that stuff before we were in the band, though. We didn’t try to create any kind of image. It was created for us. Decadence was laid on this band [Spin, May 1988].
Slash would echo this sentiment in 1989, admitting to seeing the positive effect of being the bad boys of rock 'n' roll:

We've never really cared about all the crazy rumors the press prints about us. I've read where all of us are dying of AIDS and that we're all drug addicts and that Axl died of an overdose. We can laugh at those stories because we figure they just make the fans more interested in us. The kids will read about that stuff and they'll make 'em want to buy the record or check out the live show. Once they do that, we've got 'em hooked [Hit Parader, March 1989].
Axl would further suggest the label capitalized on the image:

It’s kind of weird, because we are just being ourselves, but at the same time, these ‘bad boy’ images tend to sell. So it’s being capitalised on, and I think the industry may not know how to deal with it because they’ve been dealing with bands as a package for years [Spin, may 1988].
As RIP Magazine would state it: "Watch out for Guns N’ Roses. They are your new role models. Boys want to be like them, girls want them and everybody’s going to hear from them." [RIP Magazine, May 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:55 am


The first interest from record labels came by the end of 1985 when the independent label named Restless contacted the band. To prepare for their meeting, Izzy bought a book about the music industry. Restless offered them a 'pressing and distribution deal', plus about $ 30,000 towards recording costs. The band decided to not sign, and instead wait for better opportunities [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 102].

The next interest came from Kim Fowley, who wanted to manage the band. The band was reluctant to take Fowley on, due to knowing him as a shady character and being fearful of being ripped off. Fowley then wanted to buy publishing rights to 'Welcome to the Jungle' for $ 10,000, and later $ 50,000. Again, the band decided to wait [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 103]. According to Vicky, she had convinced Axl not to accept Fowley's offer [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 145].

After the band's sold out show on January 18, 1986, A&R staff from major labels started to attend gigs. On Friday, February 28, the band headlined the Troubadour and at least a dozen record executives were rumoured to be in audience. And in the weeks after the gig, the record-label frenzy to sign the band peaked [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 106].

Then they finally started to be courted by big labels.

We just kept playing and we made so much noise in the city, there were so many things happening around us, that the labels started to come to us. They came to us! They would come over to the studio and come in the alley and see drunks - there was this drunk with a bottle of Thunderbird on top of his head - and next thing you know we're going to their office! We made them take us all out for dinner for like a week or two and we started eating good! We'd order all this food and drink and say, 'OK, talk! [Kerrang! June 1987].
The buzz got out and we kept getting invited down to see these idiots. One label - I swear - we were talking to, I was saying, 'It kind of sounds like Steven Tyler'; and the chick said, `Steven who?' And all of us just looked at each other and said, 'Can we have another one of those drinks?' And we started eating good and 'none of our clothes would fit us any more!" [Kerrang! June 1987].
According to Steven's biography, Vicky Hamilton orchestrated some of the early label interest:

Whether at her apartment or at the clubs, Vicky worked her ass off for us. The first representative of a record company she brought in to see us was someone from Elektra Records. It didn't go well because we insisted on maintaining total artistic control over our music, and that was just unheard of at the time. But regardless, after word got out that Elektra had sat down with us, all the record companies became interested. Vicky set up meeting with the record people and she would screen each one of them, knowing what they wanted. If she felt that a label was genuinely promising, then she would have us meet them [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 101]].
Around this time Vicky Hamilton received a call from Karen Burch from Music Connection magazine. They wanted an interview with the band. Vicky thought this was a good idea to drive the bidding war between labels higher. Burch insisted that the interview should be done in Vicky's apartment, their "true environment" [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 144]. The interview The interview was aired in early April 1986, after the band had actually signed with Geffen.

Chrysalis offered the biggest advance, about $ 400,000 [Duff's biography], but the band was not impressed by Chrysalis, and Axl allegedly said to Susan Collins, the A&R executive from Chrysalis, that they would sign with them if she would run naked down Sunset Boulevard. She declined [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 144].

On February 28, 1986, the band played at the Troubadour:

[...] when we arrived at the Troubadour for the show, I counted sixteen A&R people - at least sixteen that I knew of. The band put on a killer, yet very loud show. They built train track crossing signs that blinked on and off with the tempo of their song "Night Train," which was super cool. even though the song was about a cheap wine, the band liked the idea of representing a real train on stage.

A few songs into the set, I looked over my shoulder and noticed that a lot of the A&R people were leaving. I walked outside to see where they were going. To my horror, I saw most of them standing outside talking to each other. Peter Philbin [from Elektra Records] introduced me to Tom Zutaut out on the curb in front of the Troubadour. To said he would like to talk with me, so I walked away from the front door where the music was blaring so that I could hear him better.

I said, "What did you think of the band?" Tom said, "I really liked them, but it was so loud I couldn't really tell if the singer could sing. Can he sing?" He looks at me with his piercing blue eyes. "Oh yeah, he can really sing," I said, handing Tom the demo tape. Tom thanks me, saying, "I'll call you tomorrow after I listen to the tape. If he can really sing, I'll sign them."
[Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 146].
Steven credits Vicky with getting the band in touch with Geffen:

One night [Vicky] introduced us to Tom Zutaut and Theresa Ensenat of Geffen Records. We could sense these people were the big guns by the way they conducted themselves. They took us to dinner. I think it was Wolfgang Puck's on Sunset. It was very unusual for all of us to be in agreement but somehow this pair won over the entire band. After we were guaranteed absolute and complete control over our music and image, we knew this was the way to go[[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 102]].
This might very well be true, because according to a Rolling Stone interview in November 1988, Ensenat and Zutaut had spent "months" trying to get in contact with the band who didn't own a phone [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. Vicky made sure ads and flyers contained her name and telephone address, allowing media and labels to get in contact.

Axl, on the other hand, would credit Joseph and Henry at the record store Fetish Vinyl for setting up the connection with Zutaut:

Well, what we did is we shopped the tape around and some other people were doing it for us and they got it to Elektra and we thought, "Wait," and there was such an interest we thought, "Wait a minute, well, if they got an interest maybe someone else have some interest, too?". And we started getting around and there's a guy in L.A., there's two of them, Joseph and Henry, they're DJs and they run all these after-hours clubs and stuff and all the best dance clubs, they're the DJs at all these clubs. And they have a record store called Vinyl Fetish which handles all the imports, especially from London, and the rest of the world, and they introduced our tape to Tom Zutaut of Geffen Records who signed Mötley Crüe and Dokken when he was at Elektra, and he signed Tesla at Geffen. And they introduced our tape to him and he came down to the show and we started talking with him [Unknown UK Source, June 1987].
The decision to go with Geffen is explained by Duff as coming down to trusting Tom Zutaut, the A&R guy at Geffen. Zutaut was "saying all the right things about how we should be produced" and that they would have "absolute artistic freedom at Geffen".

We were out there just gigging and gigging and gigging and gigging, and we managed to get a pretty big following. And so all the record companies at one time all of a sudden decided to see who this band was. And we had pretty much every major record company down there, and Geffen was the only one that had Tom Zutaut in it, which is the guy that actually signed us, who was cool enough for us to actually relate to. Everyone else was like, signing the band because we had a crowd, and people were interested.

[...] Tom was cool. There's a perfect example of like, the record business nowadays, where Tom went up and saw us at the Troubadour in LA. And then came back to the front of the club after the show was over, and all the other record company guys said: "What'd u think?" you know. And he said: "Oh, they're terrible". [...]But he calls us the next day and said we're great
[Unknown source, June 1987].
Tom [Zutaut] was a very cool guy. He was all about giving us major freedom. It wasn't like "We'll only change this" or "Do it like this and you're in." That's why we liked him. Other labels pretended to go along with us but always tried to tack on some bullshit clause at the end. They wanted to control us and just make us some puppet band.

So we kind of knew we were going to go with Geffen early on, but-and this shows our playful mind-set at the time-there were still a few labels that hadn't taken us out to dinner yet. So we told Tom we needed a little time to think about it
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 102-103].
And we also talked with, you know, every other label there was and we had all these other labels and we had everybody offering us this and that, but Tom knew what to do with us and wanted a rock and roll band. And none of the other labels, they liked it but they didn't know what to do with it, and we went where we felt we were in the best hands and we got everything we wanted, you know, money-wise, anyway, so someone else could have came up with more money but, you know, what good is it to get a half a million dollars when they're gonna just blow it, and they don't know to spend it right
[Unknown UK Source, June 1987].
[i]Eventually we got all the labels to wine and dine us: Sony, Elektra, and Warner. At one point, Megaforce was interested, and rick Rubin wanted us too, but our minds were made up [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 103].
The band was signed to Geffen on March 26, 1986, according to Duff's biography, or on March 25, according to Steven's biography [page 104], for a $ 75,000 advance [Musician, December 1988; Duff's biography]. Half of the advance ($75,000) was immediately divided up between the members ($15,000 each) and half of that ($7,500) was handed out to each member while the rest was saved for later [Duff's biography].

The signing with Geffen was celebrated at the two following shows on March 28, 1986, at the Roxy (and early and a late show the same day). On April 5. they also played at the re-opened Whisky A Go Go and the poster said, "When was the last time you saw a real rock n' roll band at the Whisky A Go Go? This could be your last chance". It was expected Guns N' Roses would quickly release a record and leave for world touring.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:05 am


Axl's personal issues quickly became a problem to the band. Axl was well known as a volatile personality and he founded Guns N' Roses together with Tracii after having been fired from LA Guns. Already back in Indiana he was a hellion who got in trouble numerous times:

I remember the first day of school I heard this fucking commotion out in the hallway, books flying everywhere and this guy ran past the door with teachers chasing him. I found out later that was Bill, Axl. I ended up with him in driver’s education class – he’s a fucking horrible driver – but that’s how I remember meeting him. So I figured this guy would probably be a good singer, he doesn’t care, he’s obviously a fucking nut, so he seemed like the perfect singer [, March 2001]
[Axl] was like a serious lunatic when I met him. He was just really fucking bent on fighting and destroying things. Somebody'd look at him wrong, and he'd just, like, start a fight [Rolling Stone, November 1988]
He was brought up in a strict, religious household with many limitations:

My parents were holy-roller pentecostals. I wasn't allowed to listen to the radio. But I made sure I won at a contest in school. I always kept it hidden. The things I went through in childhood definitely had an effect on where I'm at now. I used to listen to Elvis Prestley and Jimmy Swaggart records constantly. Elvis was the only rock and roll we were allowed to listen to. My dad had every Swaggart record he could get his hands on. We went to chuch five times a week. I think I did more singing in church than Elvis ever did. I even taught Bible school once. Now I am just sitting here reading my D-cup magazine [BAM, November 1987].
After relocating to Los Angeles he seems to have been mellow and almost shy:

I hear a lot of stuff now about Axl being moody, but when I knew him he was just a nice, pleasant, and caring guy, who would talk and listen to me, and I would listen to his problems. He was real mellow. He took his time on things, and was very meticulous. [...] He never really was that moody, just introspective. Maybe if they understood him more, the times they think he's being moody he's probably just thinking. Or maybe he's upset inside. That's just the way he is, and the way I grew to know him. Don't push him, that's all [Rock Scene, October 1989]
Bu this mellow side to him seems to have received competition from a more impulsive and volatile personality. Tracii would later blame him quitting Guns N' Roses on Axl's increasingly large persona.

Our friend Michelle was getting ecstasy long before it became a popular drug. Axl is bipolar and he was doing it, it made him mean. The guy I was living with for the past two years was now crazy. [Glitzine, November 2005]
Axl had intense emotional swings marked by periods of incredible energy followed by days on end when he would be overtaken by black moods and disappear-and miss rehearsals [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58]
Recounting a confrontation with Axl from the early days while in a driving car: I hadn't known Axl long, but I already knew him well enough to understand that he was a sensitive, introspective person who endured serious mood swings, so I chose my words carefully and presented the issue in a very nonjudgemental, objective tone. Axl stared out the window as I spoke, then he started rocking back and forth in the passenger seat. (...) when suddenly, he opened the car door and jumped out without a word. He stumbled, kind of hopped, and made it onto the sidewalk without falling (...). It was pretty clear to me from that point forward that Axl had a few personality traits that set him very far apart from every other person I'd ever known [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York]
Talking about meeting and opening for Johnny Thunders at Fender's Ballroom in December 1986: ...Unfortunately, one of the first things that happened when we got down to Fender's for the show was that Johnny started to chat up Axl's girlfriend Erin while we were onstage doing sound check. [...] Axl flipped out when he got wind that Johnny had hit on Erin, and began a tirade back-stage. Axl could be intimidating when he started yelling and carrying on. Johnny spent the rest of the night hiding in his dressing room, jonesing for a fix [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58]
Axl's a real temperamental guy. He is hard to get along with [Rolling Stone, November 1988]
Axl himself admitted to having issues:

Basically, right now I'm just trying to get myself together. I know I'm seen in a lot of different ways. Without being humorous, it's like I have multiple personalities -- schizophrenic. It depends on the situation and the mood I'm in [Rock Scene, April 1988].
I'm psychotic, and that's a real problem to try to like, you know..."Ok, now I'm done with business. Now I can go in this room and be psychotic and tear it up. You know, I have to like, balance up. You know, when can I destroy everything around me to when I have to be nice to everybody. [...] I usually end up trying to take vacation and destroying everything around me, because I can't calm down. I don't know, it just... [...] I just destroy my apartment and then rebuild it [Headbanger's Ball, September 1988].
A lot of things about my mood swings are, like, I have a temper and I take things out on myself. Not physically, but I'll smash my TV knowing I have to pay for it, rather go down the hallway and smash the person I'm pissed at. […] With all the pressure it's like I'll explode. And so where other people would go, 'Oh well, we just got fucked,' Axl's going, 'God damn it!' and breaking everything around him. That's how I release my frustration. It's why I'm, like, pounding and kicking all over the stage [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
But also to just be a magnet for problems:

[...] people are always trying to provoke some kind of fight so they can sue me. I'm scared of thrashing an asshole and going to jail for it. For some reason I can walk into a room and someone will pick a fight. That's always happening with me. Like, I went into a store once to buy a stun gun. We were headlining the Whiskey and things were getting out of hand, so I figured, 'I'll buy stun guns. We won't have to break their jaw; we'll just zap 'em and carry them out.' So my brother and I walked into the store and I said, 'Excuse me, sir, can I see this stun gun, please?' Being very polite. And the guy goes, 'Listen, son, I don't need your bullshit!' And my brother says, 'Listen, he just got signed, he can buy 10 of these,' and the guy says, 'I don't care, I'll sell them to you but not to him' [Rock Scene, April 1988]
Axl's mood swings and erratic behaviour seems to have increased further as the band gained popularity, and it would become a large problem later on in the band's history. Duff, who struggled with his own panic attacks, related to Axl and would be one of the band member's to best cope with his bandmate's emotional struggles.

Axl's unpredictable mood wings also electrified him-a sense of impending danger hung in the air around him. I loved that trait in him. Artists are always trying to create a spark, but Axl was totally punk rock in my eyes because his fire could not be controlled. One minute the audience might be comfortably watching him light up the stage; the next instant he became a terrifying wildfire threatening to burn down not just the venue but the entire city. He was brazen and unapologetic and his edge helped sharpen the band's identity and separate us from the pack [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 96].
Despite this all, many of his friends and band mates would describes his as kind and loyal. Robert John described him as "very good-natured, and he is very dedicated to his friends. He'll go out of his way to help somebody, but at the same time he's standoff-ish" [Rock Scene, October 1989]. Slash would also describe him as a "real sweetheart" [Rolling Stone, November 1988] and Izzy would describe him as a tyrant, but one who could "turn around and be the nicest guy in the world" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

From early on, there seemed to have been some animosity between Steven and Axl:

Axl, West, and Del had their own little clique that wasn't really part of the Drunk Fux, and I couldn't have given less of a fuck about it. I don't mean that as a slight to Axl. I just wasn't into piing away at not being asked into his elite crew. I got along with everyone and was always laughing, having the time of my life [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85].

I always thought Axl was a totally cool asshole. I knew he was a fucking star, a truly great performer. But I was also aware that at times, he would be an insecure prick. As long as he wasn't fucking with me, however, we were cool. That's how it was. Then he pulled the first of a series of fucked-up shit that he did to me over the years.

I remember Axl was staying with Jo Jo at his apartment. I stopped by to hang out a bit. I just opened the door and Axl jumped up and lunged at me. The place wasn't that big so he only had to take two steps.

It happened so fast, I was like, "Huh?" He hauled off and kicked me in the balls. I could tolerate a lot of bullshit from Axl because he had some really unfortunate hang-ups, but getting my nuts cracked was the last thing I expected. I doubled over from the pain, and my eyes teared up. Then, when I was finally able to breathe., I just yelled, "Fuck you!" and left. It was the weirdest goddamn thing. But ultimately I let it go. At the time I felt I had to
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85-86].

I never did anything against [Axl]. Any chick he liked I wouldn't fuck, although some made it clear they wanted me. If Axl was interested, I figured it was his girl. I could respect that because in the end, I didn't care and everyone knew how insanely fucked up he was around women [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 86].

I became more frustrated with Axl's actions over the next year [1986]. Axl's behavior became seriously unpredictable. He was getting into fights, often starting shit at the Hell House with random people who came to party, so they just learned to give him lots of room. Some of the uglier incidents were just hushed up, because, well, it was Axl. Axl had one rule for himself: there are no rules [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 86].
Vicky tells of an episode that happened on February 28, 1986, the same day as the band had a Troubadour gig, when Axl was staying at her apartment. Steven helped her clean up mess in the apartment while Axl was sleeping on her couch. Axl woke up and repeatedly asked Steven to stop. When Steven refused, Axl jumped at him and a fight broke out [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 145-146].

A particularly stressful event was at the day of signing with Geffen, about a month later. Axl was angry, supposedly due to not being able to find his contact lenses, and left Vicky Hamilton's apartment just when they were about to sign. As both Vicky and Steven would tell in their biographies, he was later found sitting on top of the roof of Whisky A Go Go, and according to Vicki, Axl would state that someone must have hidden his lenses in an effort to sabotage the signing. Upon questioning whom that could have been, Axl suggested it was Vicky herself [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite for Dysfunction", page 2-3].

In his biography, Steven also talks about how the rest of his band mates would not help him in 1987 when Axl demanded more in royalties than the rest of the guys, and accepted 5 percent from Steven's share, resulting in Axl receiving 30 percent and Steven 15 percent:

As long as Axl got more than everybody else he was a happy pig in shit. And at this point we were all trained to feel that as long as Axl wasn't being pissy, as long as Axl was content, then we should all be happy. [...]

We didn't know that Axl had a medical condition, manic depression, at the time. We just knew that dealing with Axl was tricky, that he was a moody motherfucker, and that you had to be prepared for craziness. One day he'd be hugging you and the next day kicking you in the balls. But Axl did some loving things for me that surpass anything the other guys ever did for me, so who am I to praise or condemn. I love the guy to this day, I honestly do. But that doesn't mean I'm going to lie to you about the way he was
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 113-114].

Axl could be very uptight, while I was usually the opposite. [...] Fact is, Axl had trouble getting along with himself. Axl was always living in his own little high-class snobby world, or at least he was in his twisted little mind.

I remember at this one show, he left after the first song because the monitors sucked. So he just split. As he stormed off the stage, he walked right by me. I shouted, "Why don't you come to sound check? Then you'd know what the monitors are going to sound like. You could even get it straightened our before the show" Nut no, that was asking too much.

Axl stood up thousands of fans without a second thought. [...] and after we became famous, he kind of took the GNR fans for granted.

[...] Later that night we were in a bar and he's sitting away from the band with his latest bunch of "friends," who were lately shaping up to be B-list actors and wannabe models. He's shoving his smokes into a fancy cigarette holder, and he's looking fucking ridiculous. The other guys wanted me to leave it alone, but I couldn't,, so I stood up and said, "Look at you, you pathetic little stuck-up motherfucker."

Axl just laughed at me: "Ha. Stevie, you're funny."[...]

The other guys knew better than to draw the wrath of Axl, I guess. They would just look the other way and stow their feelings. But there were times when Axl treated me with twice the respect that anyone else in the band did, and I think it was because I was real with him. Somewhere in the depths of that tortured soul, he appreciated that. But eventually I wouuld pay dearly for standing up to Axl, because I became the guy with the bull's-eye on his back
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 114-115].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:37 am


Due to their wild lifestyle, the band quickly developed a strained relationship with the police.

The police would occasionally raid their rehearsal space at Gardner. Once they did it looking for Axl. In Duff's words: They wanted him to answer what turned out to be a bogus rape charge. This incident inspired 'Out Ta Get Me'.

Raz has more on the story:

About a week after the Roxy gig [January 18, 1986], at a more intimate gathering, some psycho chick who had stalked Axl for more than a year showed up. [...] Eventually, someone led her by an elbow out to the street. But twenty minutes later, she returned with the cops, claiming Axl had raped her. The cops made everyone come out of the studio, where [the girl] pointed at Dizzy Reed from The Wild and said, "That's Axl. He raped me." As Dizzy got hauled off, people yelled at the cops, "That's not Axl!" and, "That chick's crazy!"[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 234].
Vicky Hamilton described it like this in late 1988:

There was a girl over there [at the Gardner place] one night, and she wouldn't leave Axl alone and he got pissed, so he ripped off her clothes, threw her out and locked the door. So she went to the cops and said he raped her [Musician, December 1988].
In her 2014 biography, Vicky says she got the story from Slash, who had said that Axl had consensual sex with a girl, got angry at her, and kicked her out to which she responded by going to the cops and saying he raped her [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 132].

Vicky hired a lawyer to assist with the rape charge [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 138], and eventually they were dropped. According to an interview from 1986, two rape charges were filed, against both Axl and Slash [1986.06.07].

Slash would in May 1988 confirm that both he and Axl was in trouble:

That was no big deal. What happened is Axl and me were with these two girls, and they got in a sexual situation and they decided to file rape charges. Me and Axl had to borrow suits one day to go down to the police station and turn ourselves in over this crap – and when it came down to the wire, they dropped the charges because it was all bogus. We didn’t fucking do anything to them [Spin, May 1988].
Everyone was trying to hide it from the record company. 'Rape charge? What rape charge?' The charges were dropped eventually, but for a while we had to go into hiding. We had undercover cops and the vice squad looking for us. They were talking a mandatory five years. It kind of settled my hormones for a while [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07].
In 1989, Axl would refer to a rape charge with this:

I mentioned to one person about some trumped-up rape charges that we had, and that started appearing everywhere. It really wasn't that big a deal - just some old girlfriend trying to get back at us. People seem to want to believe we're really bad guys. Yeah, we've had some run-in's with the cops and we've done some strange things in our lives, but I think people are just making too much out of 'em [Hit Parader, March 1989].
If this is the same case, Axl's story doesn't entirely line up with Raz's, Raz seems to claim the girl was almost an unknown to Axl (not being able to identify him, so mistaking Dizzy for Axl), while Axl refers to her as an "old girlfriend". It could of course be that these are two different cases.

To further confound the issue, Steven may have had a role:

It turned out that our drummer had fucked one of their mothers, so it was a complicated story[Spin, May 1988].
Axl hid in Vicky's apartment to escape the police, and when the Gardner place was raided, the rest of the band moved in there, too [Musician, December 1988].

An interview from April 1987 describes how police cars would drive up to The Hellhouse to check on the band [1987.04.04].

The West Hollywood sheriffs have got to be the biggest fucking pigfaces I’ve ever known. They know our name, too, because of all the things that have happened [1987.04.04].
LAPD are really fucked up. I mean, everywhere else you go, the cops are really, really, really relaxed and cool. In LA, especially in the area that we're in [...] They're like the fuckin' nazis. [...] Or like the Gestapo. You know, they're really bad. And they know… [...] I got hassled on my way just walking down the street. I was only like, say a hundred… not even a hundred yards from the apartment where I'm staying. I was walking by a club called the Whiskey. I was walking down the street and there was cops down at the end of the street, and the only thing that was wrong with me, I wasn't wearing any fuckin' shirt. And I got thrown over the top over the top of the car and whole bit. And, you know, it's just like that. You can't walk out of a fuckin' club without seeing a cop and wondering if you're gonna get… [Unknown source, June 1987].
We jaywalked, it was me and [Steven], and Todd [Crew]. It was you too, right? And a couple of guys. We didn't even jaywalk. It was a thing… The cops were standing across the street, they could see the fuckin' thing. It's red, we walked. We're not gonna jaywalk in front of cops. You just don't do that in West Hollywood. You don't do it anywhere. And we get across the street and they fuckin'… come up to us. We're going: "What the fuck?" We're up against the wall, got our hands behind our back. And it hurts. This is a nice little trick they got. They lace your fingers behind your back and they grab… Here, just feel it. Lace your fingers, I won't do this. And you know, they do this. Really hard, you know. [...] I just got a ticket the other day, or about three weeks ago, for conversing with a female motorist. I was walking to my apartment, a friend of mine came up, I was on the sidewalk, said: "Hi, how's it going? Blablablablabla". She took off, cop pulls in the alley in front of me, up against the car, the whole fuckin' thing again, you know. Got a ticket for conversing… It says right on the ticket, "conversing with a female motorist" [Unknown source, June 1987].
Slash and Duff travelled back to Seattle some time in 1987, and allegedly tried to burn down a bar (possibly The Gorilla Gardens where they played at the Hell Tour?):

Slash and I almost got arrested in Seattle. We went back there for a little vacation, we were going to burn some bar down. Then on the way back to L.A., we were drunker than shit, and we sat next to this kindergarten teacher on the plane. First she told us to calm down. Then she pulled out this book she wrote called From A to Z, and she read it to us, and drew pictures for us. By the end of the flight we were so tranquil, we went right to sleep[Spin, January 1988].
When travelling to Canada for their first concert on the tour with the Cult, Axl was arrested for trying to being in a stun gun [Spin, January 1988].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:14 pm; edited 13 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:42 am


The band's very first manager was Raz Cue who had been L.A. Guns' manager and just continued managing Tracii's new band. But Raz grew frustrated with the band and their circle of friends stealing his equipment to score drugs, and kicked Axl out of his apartment [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 217-218]. With that his semi-official management of Guns N' Roses ended.

The band was later managed by a co-worker of Duff called Black Randy. Black also played in the LA punk band Black Randy and the Metro Squad. According to Duff's memoirs, Black videotaped the band in their rehearsal space at Gardner's wearing children's Halloween tape. Unfortunately, this tape has not surfaced. Also unfortunately, Randy had AIDS and died soon afterward [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 100]. According to Chris Weber, a demo tape was produced with Randy with Weber as the producer [Rock Scene, October 1989].

Early on the band hired a lawyer to construct "a legal framework for what had been just a one-for-all-and-all-for-one-gang". The lawyer explained to them that they needed a partnership agreement. As Duff said, "He did a great job lassoing in a bunch of guys and making sure we understood the implications of various aspects of the contracts among the band members and between the band and the label" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 100].

One of the first things the band argued over was splitting publishing royalties. Despite the band members contributing in complex ways to songwriting, they finally agreed to split everything equally across the board. And their lawyer enshrined it in writing [Duff's biography].

After quitting as manager of Guns N' Roses, Raz suggested to Vicky Hamilton, the manager of Poison, that she should manage Guns N' Roses, but she had just scoffed of the idea [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 217-218]. According to Vicky's biography, she helped manage the band already from when the band was first started, before the Hell Tour. Raz denies this.

Vicky had met Axl and Izzy already back in early 1984 when they played in Hollywood Rose:

[...] I received a phone call at my day job-booking bands for an entertainment company. "Vicky... My name is Axl Rose, and I am the lead singer for a band called Hollywood Rose. We are going to be the biggest band in Hollywood, and you were recommended very highly to me. Can you help us get some gigs?" "Do you have a demo you can send in for me to hear?" I asked. Axl said, "Yes! How about I just come there now and play it for you?" I laughed, yet I was already charmed by his enthusiasm. "Well, Axl, I think you should just mail the demo to me," I responded. "Why?" he asked. Taken aback, I responded, "Well for starters, I don't have a stereo here to listen to it on." Axl persisted, "That's ok, I'll bring my ghetto blaster." At this point I gave up the fight and gave him directions to the agency. A couple hours later Axl and Izzy arrived and sat in the lobby [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 125].
She would then book shows for Hollywood Rose.

Despite Raz and Vicky disagreeing about when she got involved with Guns N' Roses, by the end of 1985 she definitely did her best to help them out:

As 1985 neared its end, artist managers were in a constant swarm around the Gardner Studios, all seeking to ink G N' R to a management deal. They would schmooze, bring booze and grub, then pitch the band as to why they should sign with a particular company. Vicky Hamilton was one of many who wanted those guys bad. She promised to land them a record deal, all the while offering to promote G N' R shows with good guaranteed paydays, plus pay for full-page ads, posters, and flyers[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 231].
It was no secret that we were becoming a major draw on the Strip, and Vicki was determined to capitalize on our popularity. Over the course of a couple of weeks, she approached each one of us, either before or after our shows. She took the time to answer our questions and impressed us with the fact that she knew the business inside out and had no ego. I took an instant liking to her. She looked you right in the eye and didn't brag, blow smoke, or over-promise. She basically said her actions would do the talking and told us she had already booked us a show.

This was the first time that we didn't have to book a gig on our own. The general attitude among the guys was very simple and straightforward: as long as Vicky was helping us, hustling up something good for the band, she was part of us [...] I would have to say that out of all the guys, I was the most vocal about the fact that I was impressed with her. The other guys always played it closer to their chest with their thoughts and feelings. I appreciated the jump start she was giving our career. She really believed in us, and just helped tremendously. I have to say that looking back, if it wasn't for her, who knows?
[[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 100]]
At the same time, according to Vicky, the band was working with another manager, Brigitte Wright [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 132].

The band would then move into Vicky's one-bedroom apartment at Clark Street (when Axl got a rape charge against him), which she shared with a girlfriend, Jennifer Perry [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 100]. At this point, Slash would agree that she was their manager [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 134].

The girls took the bedroom, and we crammed into the living room with all our equipment. We had free rein in the place, and we would have chicks over and party all night. The phone rang nonstop, and there was something going on there 24/7 [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 100]]
[We]destroyed her apartment. It was like five bags of garbage - all of us in one room and the girls coming over. There was eight people living there, and dog. It got really crazy, really crazy, It got really rude. These two girls were like guy-crazy and bandcrazy and there was no way any guy in any band was going to be caught dead with either of them, especially us. So Slash would milk that for everything it was worth - free drinks, free food, everything without ever having to do anything. Which eventually caused big problems! [Kerrang! June 1987]
In early February 1986, a week after moving in with Vicky, Raz met Vicky at a show:

[...] I saw Vicky Hamilton working the guest list and tabulatin the head count to keep the club honest at pay time. As we chatted, I was very curious about her role and asked, "Are you managing G N' R now?"

She smiled, like one aware that her answer would get back to the guys, and said, "No, I'm still trying to convince them that they need me."

At the time, the way I understood their arrangement was that Vicky was only promoting shows and handling phone calls; so the band had a professional contact. A month and a half later [March 26], Guns N' Roses signed with Geffen Records - I believe - without ever officially hiring Vicky as their manager
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 235].
Despite all the good work Vicky did for the band, she did not have a written contract with them. After a meeting with Peter Paterno, a music attorney she knew, she was handed a contract to give to the band. She told the band that they either had to negotiate and sign the agreement, or move out of her apartment. When this didn't produce results, she took them all to Paterno's office to negotiate the deal. After the meeting Paterno told Vicky that he would handle the legalities of working out a record deal for the band and that she should get another lawyer to represent her on the management agreement [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 136-137]. Vicky would claim to have borrowed $25,000 to help finance the band [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 147].

in February/March 1986, Vicky had a talk with Axl:

[...] Axl had invited me to the Rainbow and bought me dinner. He said he really needed to talk with me. After the first two rounds of drinks, he said to me, "I really appreciate all you have done for the band and I really intend to pay you back, and give you a bonus on top of that, but I am not sure that you will be our manager once we sign a deal. You are really great on a local level, but I don't know if you have what it takes to take us to the top, to worldwide success."

My feelings were hurt, but I said, "What if I got a big time management partner?" Axl said, "Maybe... Who would you go to?" "What about Doug Thaler and Doc McGhee?" McGhee Entertainment already had Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi and the Scorpions. "That might work," Axl said
[Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 148].
Vicky then set up a meeting with McGhee and Thaler, but the band was strung out and tired after partying the night before, even to the extent of falling asleep during the meeting, and McGhee and Thaler declined to co-manage them [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 149].

The situation between Vicky and the band can be described like this: Vicky was negotiating a management deal with the band while they were negotiating a record deal with Geffen.

Zutaut eventually contacted Vicky and said he would give her a scout job at Geffen if she would help him get the band signed to them. Zutaut would then get the band a big-time manager. She agreed to this and at the same time Axl had decided to sign with Geffen. Peter Paterno looked over the deal memo and the band was signed on March 26, 1986 [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 149-150]. This ended Vicky's attempts at becoming the band's manager.

On April 1, which was my birthday, Axl and Robert John had brought me a glass pipe and got me some strong pot. Beyond the offer to pay for a tattoo, which I declined, the pot was about all I got from GN'R for all the work I had done for them - and I still owed Howie twenty-five thousand dollars[Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 151].
The band would later claim they didn't have a manager in this period, and negotiated the deal with Geffen themselves [RIP Magazine, May 1987]. This was made abundantly clear in Axl's response to the Music Connection interview from April 1986, which is believed to have been published in August 1986:

Vicki Hamilton is a kind, good-hearted person. There is a sizeable list of tasks performed and duties completed by Vicki, none of which have been unappreciated. Vicki is exceptional in booking, promoting and as she says herself, babysitting a band. Without her the road would have been considerably rougher. Vicki, however, did not negotiate our record deal, plan or design band direction, or choose personnel in the Guns N' Roses organization[Music Connection, August 1986].
It is true they didn't have an official manager, nothing management contract was signed, but it is undeniable that Vicky helped them out a lot. This is clear from Steven's biography where he states that Vicky was managing the band at the time and that she had a lawyer look over the paperwork [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 105].

It is interesting how Duff barely mentions Vicky's name in his biography, while Steven describes her as instrumental in very important events in the band's history.

The reason why the band never signed a management agreement with Vicky could be that Raz had warned them against having a manager at the time when negotiating with their label:

With Christmas [1985] coming up, the guys held a band meeting to decide on which manager to hire, so that everything would be in place once business got cranked back up in the coming year. Me, Joe [Raz' brother], and Robert John crammed into studio B as the band discussed amongst themselves various pros and cons of each managerial candidate. When someone asked me who I liked, I said, "If you sign with a manager, you'll owe them part of your entire record deal."

Izzy perked up, "Say that again, Raz."

I said, "If you guys sign with a manager and get a record deal the very next day, you'll owe that manager their percentage of the entire deal, even if you fire them before the ink dries on your recording contract." I added, "If all these vultures are circling, it means that everyone knows you're going to get a deal soon, with or without their help."

The guys chewed on that info for a few minutes and ultimately decided their interests would be better served if they sought legal advice before signing any contracts
[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 231].
In June 1986, the band did still not have a manager [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07]. At some point, Zutaut invited Tim Collins, Aerosmith's manager, to see the band play. When the band members came back to his hotel room, Collins checked into a second room to get some rest. In the morning, he learned that they had ordered $450 worth of drinks and food on his bill. He decided not to manage them [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Talking about the period after signing with Geffen: And just about every single manager that we met was scared shitless of us [Spin, May 1988]
Some time after this, Alan Niven was managing the band:

Geffen assigned a personal manager for us, Alan Niven. He was a big, shit-talking tough guy with a British accent. He was also currently managing the established L.A. band Great White. I know the guys were hoping for Doug Taylor or Doc McGee to manage us, because they managed huge acts like Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. But Alan was raw and hungry and we would be there for us. We all liked him. He was uncompromising and brutally driven [...] and he was gonna bust ass, get us busy, and get us to the top [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109-110]
Niven was originally meant to just help out with getting the EP Live! Like A Suicide out, but ended up as their manager [KNAC, December 1986]. Around the same time, Vicky was out of the picture as per her agreement with Zutaut, something that was unknown to Steven:

All of a sudden, out of the blue, Vicki was no longer around. It just happened. At first I thought she had cut some severance package deal with Geffen and that was why she just dropped out of sight. I had heard no talk about tossing her aside when we got signed. I believe that she still had some tricks up her sleeve and would still have plenty to contribute to our success.[...]

I guess the band as a whole felt she was not established enough, and in fact, a general feeling surfaced that a man would have more power. This was particularly true for Axl, who believed a woman would not get the same kind of respect as a man. Alan was a cool guy and never uttered a negative word about Vicki. [...] I kind of made a mental note to find out the details of Vicki's departure, but in the swirl of getting the live record out, I never really followed up on it
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 110]
In April, 1987, it is hinted that the band was in "legal wrangles with former managers" [Sounds Magazine, 1987.04.04], and in May 1987 it is said that the band had gone through "ump­teen different managers" [RIP Magazine, May 1987]. By August 1988, it is reported that Vicky had sued the band [Screamer Magazine, August 1988] for $10,000 [Musician, December 1988], so it is reasonable to think this explains some of the "legal wrangles" mentioned in April 1987. By November 1988, it is reported that the suit was settled out of court [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

In December 1988 Musician Magazine published an interview featuring Vicky. In her biography she would claim she was "still pretty angry about what had happen between the band and me, I didn't hold anything back. All of it was true, but for some reason, Axl didn't like the fact that I had told my side of the story to the writer. He left me a threating [sic] message on my answering machine, 'You better watch what you say bitch, as I always get what I want and right now I want to bury your ass'" [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 209].

This is what was printed in Musician Magazine:

Axl won't talk to me. Why? Maybe because I sued them, but I gave up trying to figure him out years ago. There are times when he's the sweetest boy you could know, but when he gets mad, he's like a top spinning off. He's not consistently evil. And he's not consistently nice either. It's two personalities. That's what's so scary. But you're talking about street creatures. They had never had any money before and suddenly it was like, 'Life's a party now.' The day they signed I was crying because I knew what was lying ahead [Musician, December 1988]
It is likely that Axl's anger at Vicky stemmed not only from what she said in this interview, but also from the fact that she had sued the band. In her biography she implies to have sued the band in early 1986, when the three-year statue of limitation was about to close, but as demonstrated by the above quotes, this can't be true. She also states that she sued them for $1,000,000 but settled and received $35,000.

The band was initially very happy with Alan as their manager:

Alan does more work in one day than any of these so-called professional big-time people that we have worked with. We've got a lot of work to do, and we need work done, too. [...] we need someone doing the job. [KNAC, December 1986]
After starting working on Appetite the band gathered in Alan Niven's place in Los Feliz to sort our who would get song writing credits:

Now, I thought it was kind of a formality because we had talked about all this before and from day one it was always supposed to be an equal share for everybody. But Axl had changed his tune. Axl wanted a bigger slice of the pie.

Axl didn't think it was fair to split royalties evenly five ways on our songs. He believed he was entitled to more than the rest of us. The other guys were smart, they just stared at the floor. No one said a fucking thing. I don't know if Axl intimidated them or if they just knew that silence was the best way to deal with his ego. Well, I couldn't just shut the fuck up about it. The reason I wouldn't dummy up was I was so outraged.

So right of the bat, I was like, "Screw you, I was here from the beginning, I worked on putting those songs together just as much as you." I had no trouble standing up to Axl because I was right. So now there's this deadly silence again, and it is obvious that its become a big fucking deal. Still, no one else is saying anything, so rather than get into a big argument, I proposed what I thought was a fair offer: "Considering Axl did write most of the lyrics, which is a huge fucking part, I'll give you five percent of my twenty percent."

Axl shot me this look of not thanks, not of appreciation, but of arrogance and triumph. It was like he expected it. So I looked around the room because what I expected was for everyone else to follow suit and up the ante too, but the room went dead quiet again. I looked around and everyone kind of started taling about other stuff. The matter was over, settled, done. Axl was happy and I was like, "Fuck!"

So it went 25 percent to Axl, 20 percent for each of the other guys, and 15 percent for me. The entire ordeal lasted only a couple of minutes
[[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 112-113]]

Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:42 pm; edited 35 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:43 am


After signing, Geffen demanded that the band stopped playing live shows to build on the mystique. To get around this, the band started doing shows under the name 'Fargin Bastydges'. The setlist and everything else was just as with a normal Guns N' Roses show.

Just after we got signed, we booked a show at Gazzarri's as the Fargin' Bastarges. We got that name from the movie Johnny Dangerously starring Michael Keaton. The band guys in the movie always talked like that, mangling expressions: "You friggin' iceholes. You fargin' bastage. You cork soaker!" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 100]
With new-found wealth the band could afford a more luxurious life-style, or at least not live in abject poverty like homeless people. They could also afford new tattoos, better equipment, and more drugs and booze.

Well, what happened is, we got restless. We get signed, they give us a bunch of money, put us in an apartment, we can’t go out and do any gigs – so we fucking got bored, and started doing a lot of drugs, drinking a lot, tearing up houses. We had $7,500 apiece – which was unheard of for us. [...] We used to have to look for drugs, now people force them on us [Spin, May 1988]
We partied hard for about two weeks [Spin, May 1988]
Slash and Duff drank a lot. Duff was an alcoholic by this time and Axl renamed him "Duff, the King of Beers McKagan [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 116]. With extra cash Slash became addicted to heroin and then so did Steven. In addition, Steven was smoking crack. In 1986, Steven and Izzy were in a constant cycle of sobering up and returning to drugs [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 117].

Not only was the band's problems with intoxication exhuberated, Axl's personal issues had not abated and for their gig at Timber's Ballroom in July 31 (Duff claims this happened at a Fender's Ballroom gig), Axl turned up so late the band had to start without him.

The recklessness and chaos resulted in the band almost dropping them, according to Izzy, although he says that happened about a years after signing (so in March 1987, but likely before) [Spin, May 1988].

Despite all this, the band was gaining in popularity and played increasingly high-status gigs, opening for established artists like Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alice Cooper. For the Alice Cooper gig, Axl again turned up late and was unable to enter the venue. The band had to do without their singer, with Izzy and Duff trading vocals. In Duff's words: "We traded some words with Axl when we found him in the parking lot afterward, but at the end of the day the situation lacked much in the way of consequences" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 119]. This inability or unwillingness to solve problems within the band, especially with a band member who increasingly got the band in trouble, would remain a fixture of this lineup and would eventually cause such rife conflicts that band members would leave.

According to Raz, after signing with Geffen, the band rented a "luxury apartment" on the corner of La Cienega and Fountain [Raz' biography, page 238]. This meant that the band moved out of Vicky Hamilton's apartment for good.

In the beginning of 1987, the band lived in a "smallish, detached, flaking white-wood house just off Santa Monica Boulevard" [Sounds Magazine, 1987.04.04], which would be referred to as The Hell House. The address was 1139 N Fuller Avenue. West Arkeen and Del James also lived in the Hell House [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 84].

The regulars at the Hell House included Duff, Slash, Izzy most nights, and me. Jo Jo, Raz, Danny, Dizzy, Del, and West were there almost all the time. Axl liked writing songs with West. He liked kicking it while West played guitar. I was there all the time, literally spending whole days and nights. There wee always random people crashed out on the floor. It was a never-ending revolving door of derelicts, a hilarious party scene [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85].
West Arkeen was a great friend of Axl and Duff and would later co-write many of the band's songs.

The band got an increasing number of friends and followers as they became more popular, including fellow musicians, both great and small, bikers, artists, and street people. Together with some of these they [when?] would form a jam band called the Drunk Fux. Steven and Duff disagrees about this band:

Out of this drunken wasteland [= the Hell House] everyone kind of spontaneously formed a fun jam band called the Drunk Fux. Many different people were in that band, including Tommy Lee and Lemmy. It was just a jam thing really, and we played some free benefit shows around L.A. [...]

Axl, West, and Del had their own little clique that wasn't really part of the Drunk Fux, and I couldn't give less of a fuck about it
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85].
Duff recalls that the Drunk Fux was first formed later when Axl, Slash and Izzy went to New York City for the mixing of Appetite. As he says in his biography: During this time he started playing rhythm guitar in a side project called the Drunk Fux. Todd Crew [former bassist in Jetboy and great fan of the band] would join Drunk Fux playing bass after being kicked out of Jetboy. Steven was on drums, Del was singing and West Arkeen played lead guitar [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 122]. This contrasts with Steven's biography where he indicates that Drunk Fux was formed earlier and that Axl and his posse didn't want anything to do with it, while Duff indicates Axl was away when Drunk Fux was happening and that indeed Del and Arkeen, who were Axl's friends, sang and played in the band. It appears that Steven is wrong on this and that Duff is correct. corroborates this by listing a Drunk Fux show in May 1987 with Arkeen and Del participating and one in January 1988 with Axl singing.

The band would also do more high-status gigs. In October 1986 they were invited to open for Alice Cooper in Santa Barbara.

When we did that show, we were supposed to do the hour-long ride out there together, but Axl insisted on driving with his girlfriend Erin at the very last minute. We were all aginst it, as was Alan, but Axl convinced him that there was nothing to worry about. We got to the gig; Axl was nowhere to be found, but was apparently on his way. It came time to take the stage - no Axl - so Izzy and Duff and Stave and I got out there and started playing without him. Izzy and Duff sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" by AC/DC and a few other covers. We were opening for Alice Cooper but basically that set was a drunken jam fit for a bar - except we were in an arena. It got so bad that at one point we asked the audience to sing lead and then asked if there was a lead singer in the house. We were friends with the crowd for a minute, but that quickly changed; we ended up insulting them and throwing things at them. It was ridiculous. We stayed up there for the allotted amount of time and then retreated from a totally embarrassing disaster. We got out of there immediately and drove back to Hollywood, so pissed that we talked about kicking Axl out of the band that night and looking for a new singer [Slash's autobiography, p 216-217]
The night of the Alice Cooper gig, Axl showed up late again and then was unable to get into the venue. Izzy and I sang. At the time it was almost funny - though we were definitely pissed, too, and we absolutely trashed the dressing room. We traded some words with Axl when we found him in the parking lot afterward, but at the end of the day the situation lacked much in the way of consequences. We did the show, we got paid, and the crowd was there to see Alice anyway. That was that. For now [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 119-120]
In May [Steven's got the date wrong], we were given a great opportunity to do a single show with Alice Cooper in Santa Barbara. [...]On the day of the show, we all piled into our new white van (we got another one after Slash totaled the first), while Axl was just standing there, outside. We were yelling to him,"C'mon, Axl." He was all like, "Naw, I'll meet you there; some chick is gonna take me." [...] We were ready to go [on stage], but sure enough, someone was still missing. Next thing you know, we're supposed to be on in five minutes and everyone is screaming, "Where's Axl?" We stalled as long as we could, but we really had to get out there out of respect for Alice. At eight o'clock we hit the stage as scheduled. Without Axl, we just did our best and improvised. We did 'It's So Easy' and Duff sang. After that, we just performed blues jams. We would always include a blazing blues jam in our sets, so we still managed to rock out for the audience, and I don't think they felt incredibly cheated. Izzy and Duff screamed a few words here and there. Duff's tech, Mike "McBob" Mayhue, may have sung something, too. Bottom line was, without Axl present, we didn't deliver the true Guns N' Roses as promised. We just played, packed up our shit, and got out of there. Because of my worship for Alice, and my feeling about what Guns N' Roses was about, it was one of the most humiliating nights of my life [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 122-123]
According to Steven, the band considered firing Axl after this incident:

Afterward, we were all pissed, and for one infuriating moment, we all considered kicking [Axl] our of the band. But we realized there was nothing we could do. The album had already been recorded [Steven must be thinking about the EP Live! Like A Suicide] and Axl was an integral part of our mage and sound, so we never actually talked about getting another singer [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 122-123]
At some point, according to Izzy, likely in mid-to-late 1987, Alan Niven got them "this huge house in the hills" [Guitar, September 1988]. This house is likely not the Hell House, since the latter wasn't in the hills.

Axl would often arrive late to the band's concerts, a habit that would draw ire from his band mates and slowly drive a wedge between them:

I don't know if it was part of a brilliant strategy, but Axl often arrived at the club far past his band's scheduled start, mere minutes before the following band's scheduled timeslot. Guns N' Roses would then only have the okay to play for ten minutes, so they'd rip through three or four "we're all super pissed off," powerful, in-your-face tunes to whip the amassed crowd into a frenzy. Then it was over. The fans needed more, much more. And they would get it if they went to the next show [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 230].

In December 1988, Slash had an apartment on Sunset Boulevard where we lived with a girlfriend called Kimberley [On Th Streets, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:49 am


The internal rivalry in the band would be fully apparent in the 90s, but already in the 80s were the seeds for these conflicts sown. Axl quickly took a leading position and would to an increasing extent describe the band as his, as in an interview with Steven Harris in December 1987:

Being asked if he is the moral head of the band: With the direction, yeah. With the direction and with, you know, my real strong believes and faith in what we do as artists, yeah. I'd say so [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

A year later, Harris would interview Duff and Steven and took the opportunity to ask for their comments about Axl's comments in-which he claimed Axl said he had to take care of the rest of the guys in the band:

As far as he knows! [laughter] Fuck! Did he say that?! Yeah right! […] He wasn't laughing when he said that or anything? [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
Yes, he is just there, every day, taking care of us! […] Don't get me wrong, we love Axl and we always will, but that's just the way he is. But we are all big boys, we can take care of ourselves [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

During interviews Axl was often the most vocal, both due to his strong personality but also due to his band mates invariably being under the influence. Here is Karen Burch's description in April 1986: "Although I hate to focus solely on Axel Rose, the vocalist's personality certainly demands attention. Axel appears to be the creative force that drives the band. Soft-spoken and intensely serious, he prefers to converse mainly about "the music." While the band refutes that there are any one leader, per se, Axel emerges as the dominant figure [...]" [Music Connection, April 1986]. In this interview Slash would also famously quip that Axl wants to be the Ayatollah.

In the very early days, Izzy was more vocal, but as the band grew in popularity, he gradually slid into the shadows, allowing Axl and, to an increasing extent, Slash to front the band. As Izzy would state in September 1988:

I don't really enjoy being a center of attention. [...] It suits me fine. I don't even have to think about actually planning out what I want to say in interviews, or what topics I'm gonna talk about. It's funny, because I can walk through a club without anybody recognizing me, knowing me or bothering me, whenever I want to. [Axl and Slash], they're so out front, no matter where they go they get spotted [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
Duff would echo this statement:

I don't give a shit. Slash and Axl are vocal and they like talking a lot. I mean, we're all onstage when we play, and that's what's most important. As far as magazines and stuff like that goes, it doesn't matter who does what. It's a band, and our fans know it is. They know it's not just Axl and Slash. There's no jealousy about that between anybody in this band [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
In late 1987, Axl would also indicate that any disagreement in regards to the musical direction of the band had been put to rest by late 1987, and that the band now was on the same page:

[...] we were practising in a one-room studio and I was standing outside because there was no PA, so I stood outside to listen clearly, in a parking lot, I heard 'Nightrain,' and 'Rocket Queen,' and 'My Michelle' coming together for the first time in rehearsal, right, and these guys were all okay, they were on top of it. I was like, my eyes were watering and I had chills, and I was like going, "We finally got the songs I've been looking for," and Izzy told me, you know, out [?], "Now I see what the fuck you've been talking about for the last three years." It's hard to convince someone, they don't know what they had, I'm real good at seeing a person's potential, okay. Sometimes so much so that it costs me problems because I see the potential in this person and I put so much belief in them, you know, but they never, but they don't have the guts to dig for what I see inside of them, you know, so some times that's been problems. But other times, like with Izzy, I was always pushing him with songs and now he's really glad I did and it worked out good for the both of us. [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

Again, Steve Harris would confront Duff and Steven a year later with this comment from Axl, receiving the following response:

No, no, no [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
We were going nowhere when we were in the studios. We didn't even have a record out the [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:04 am


After having signed with Geffen in March 1986, the band rented a cheap rehearsal space in an old shopping center called the Golden Mall in Glendale, near the Burbank line. It was better than the Gardner space, and included a little stage [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 112].

According to an interview from June 1986 [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07], the band was about to travel to Britain to record their debut record. This did not happen, the band first travelled to England for their three shows at the Marquee one year later, in June 1987. Why this plan was aborted, and whether it really was the idea, is unknown.

The band had clear ideas about what they wanted in regards to producers (According to Vicky Hamilton, at the day of signing the handed a list of possible producers to Tom Zutaut [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite for Dysfunction", page 7]), but finding the right one was difficult. As Duff said, "Everybody wanted to take the edge off our music or to transform it into something they already understood".

Tom Werman, Mõtley Crüe's producer, "came down to rehearsal, covered his ears and left," according to Duff [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Manny Charlton from Nazareth was flown in and the band worked with him for three days, according to Izzy [Guitar, September 1988] But, as Axl would state it, "it just didn't feel right" [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]. Despite this, they recorded many songs with Charlton and were thinking about what to do with the master tapes:

We spent time with Manny Charlton from Nazareth. He came over because we were thinking bout having him produce the record. We were in the studio for two and a half days and we did everything live. We recorded 25 or 30 tunes. We never did anything with that album but we have the masters to it. It's something where we'll go back and pick through it. A lot of the stuff that comes out when your just jamming as a band is the best [Guitar, September 1988[/url]].
Paul Stanley from Kiss was another of the would-be producers (some time before June 1986), but according to Duff, he was dismissed when he wanted to add double kick drums to Steven's kit [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 118]. Other band members were altogether not impressed with Stanley:

Paul Stanley came down to one of our shows and hung out where we hang out. I'm looking at this guy watching what we do. He's a nice guy, but he didn't have a clue as to what we were doing. Everyone gets the basic idea: They're a rock 'n' roll band. But they don't get the formula [Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07].
Paul Stanley of Kiss saw one of our shows and became very interested in producing us. He contacted Zutaut, and Tom arranged for us to meet him. I was so stoked, I couldn't sleep. [...] Paul came to the apartment and sadly, almost immediately, the guys hated him. [...] To be fair, I am sure Paul felt he had to strut in with an authoritative manner to show us he could be in charge, but nothing, I mean nothing, he said resonated with us [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 107-111]].
[...] Paul came to us because he was interested in producing. Slash had him come over and I sat down and talked production with him and played him the demo. He wanted to rewrite two of our very favorite songs, so it was over right then and there [Hit Parader, December 1986].
We talked with Paul Stanley for about five minutes and he wanted to rewrite 'Jungle' and something else so that was the end of the conversation, and now he's going round saying he was going to produce the record "but these guys were too crazy," this and that. No, there was no chance of him producing the record. We talked to him once, that was it [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
Mutt Lange, the producer behind AC/DC's 'Back in Black' was another possibility, but he demanded $400,000 just to walk into the room (one million according to Axl in December 1987 [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]) plus a share of future earnings from the record. It was too expensive for the band.

Could it be Lange that Axl was referring to in June, 1986, when he said the following: "We've been very busy with a lot of new pressures we've never experienced before. We've got to go have a meeting with some guy that's a millionaire. I don't have a cent in my pocket and I have to act like I'm more in charge than he is. That's really strange."

In this period, Axl also wanted Thomas Ray Barker as the producer [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

By December 1986, the band was still discussing with Geffen on who would be the producer of their album, trying to find someone who would be able to do the band and their songs justice. It was reported in November 1988 that around this time (?) the band disbanded for a while, but came back together again [Rolling Stone, November 1988]

We recorded a couple of test tracks with different producers and [Geffen] decided it was "too radio". That was really nice to hear. [KNAC, December 1986].
It was very hard to find someone to produce the record because some of the main producers of our favorite material from the seventies have changed their styles, their approach, or burned out, you know, or people that the record industry won't work with any more, just because they don't know what they are doing because they are too into drugs or something [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:20 am


In October 1986 the band had still not entered a recording studio as they hadn't found the right producer. To do something, the band and label decided to release a limited edition "bootleg" EP, Live! Like a Suicide in the mean time.

Tom [Zutaut] had the idea for us to go in the studio and record an EP under our own label, Uzi Suicide, which was actually financed by Geffen. [...] Geffen wanted to put out the live album quickly and get people even more excited about us. It would also get us warmed up to record our full-length album [...] The idea was to have a "live" record with thousands of people screaming in the background, therey making is sound as popular as, or maybe more popular than, we actually were. So yes, we knew from the start that they were going to add an audience. We were cool with it. Just as long as it sounded right. We didn't want this album to sound tinny or cheesy. Geffen's engineers told us there would be too miuch shit involved (i.e., it would cost too much) to actually record a live record, so we were told to create the live audience effects in the studio [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 107-108]].
The songs on Live! Like A Suicide was recorded in Pasha Studios right next to Paramount Studios near Melrose Avenue in Hollywood and it took no more than "two or three days" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109]. Spencer Proffer was hired to produce and it was his studio [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108].

We were all in the same soundproof room and we actually recorded those songs together to give it a "live" feel, instead of each performer laying down a separate track, then assembling the tune. The only stuff they overdubbed was the backing vocals. If you listen closely to "Nice Boys," you can hear Axl singing backup to his own vocals [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109]].
After we finished the songs, Spencer added the audience. He used archived tapes of live performances by Dio and Quiet Riot and mixed the cheers in [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108]].
In December 1986, the band would claim the time with Proffer only resulted in a demo [Hit Parader, December 1986], to keep up the illusion that the EP was recorded live. Slash, as late as September 1988, would still state it was a live recording [Guitar, September 1988], as would Duff and Steven in December 1988, even to the point of arguing that a live record is more accurate in presenting the band [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

In May 1987, it was also said in an interview that they had argued "profusely" with Proffer, and "forcing him to leave the project"[RIP Magazine, May 1987], which suggests why Proffer was not used as the producer for Appetite for Destruction. Despite this, Steven would later claim he loved working with Proffer [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108-109]. In December 1987, Axl would admit that the EP was recorded in Spencer's studio, despite him making the songs "sound really weak" [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

In December 1986, Slash would discuss why they released the EP:

Because we wanted an inexpensive dedication to all the kids who helped us get by when we were really low and had no money and were living in abandoned apartments. The kind of record that not everyone will have, because we're only printing 10,000 copies initially [Hit Parader, December 1986].
There is covers on [Live! Like A Suicide] that we wanted to put out because we do them live and the people like them live, and we kinda wanted to do this like, 'this is for you', and this is something that we have been doing in our set[KNAC, December 1986].
Live, "Like a Suicide” is indicative of what this band was all about when we first got together. We didn't sit around in rehearsal studios saying we have to be like this or that. We wanted to go out and play live. We would write songs real fast because we had already booked the gigs. We were an angry bunch of kids. That Ep means a lot to me, because we wrote songs, got them together in an evening, and then went out and played them. The album has songs that we sat down and worked on and actually wrote and worked it out. "Suicide” was from the early days, the beginning[Guitar, September 1988[/url]].
The EP was finished just before the October 31 show at Ackermann Hall. The EP sold out and in December they were talking about a reissue [KNAC, December 1986].

The band would claim they financed the release of Live! Live A Suicide with their own money:

We financed it off… pretty much the bulk of money that we had, you know, accumulated there and there [Unknown source, June 1987].
So the purpose was to release a fake live EP allegedly released by the band itself, from their own money, to foster more hype about the band and build anticipation for the full-length record to come.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:47 am


In April 1987, Axl described his vision for their debut album and beyond:

We’ve got our progressions already planned out. How we’re going to grow. This record’s going to sound like a showcase. I sing in, like, five or six different voices, so not one song is quite like another, even if they’re all hard rock. In the last year I’ve spent over thirteen hundred dollars on cassettes, everything from Slayer to Wham! – to listen to production, vocals, melodies, this and that. I’m from Indiana, where Lynyrd Skynyrd were considered God to the point that you ended up saying, ‘I hate this fucking band!’ And yet, for our song Sweet Child O’ Mine I went out and got some old Lynyrd Skynyrd tapes to make sure that we’d got that downhome, heartfelt feeling [1987.04.04].
As mentioned before, a big problem was finding the right producer. But eventually they met Mike Clink. Clink loved Guns N' Roses and had seen them live a few times. He did a playback and said, "This is how I think your record should sound." As Duff would say, "It was basically us live. And I immediately thought, That's exactly right" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 120].

[...] it took us a long time to find Mike Clink. And Mike Clink is like, we worked with him and it's basically like a co-produced album. But, you know, we got him for a lower amount of money [?], giving him the name, and plus then he in turn gave us full freedom to do whatever we wanted. Which worked really good for us. And he trusted me a lot in the studio, with all the vocal ideas, because most of the harmonies and stuff I came up with, like 'It's So Easy' and 'Paradise City,' I came up with the night I was recording those parts because I'd never had the opportunity to work on it before [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
[...]we went with Mike Clink was because we’re so set in our ways that we didn’t want anybody to re-write our songs. So what we did for the album was, we signed up with an engineer, who was really hot shit. He produced the album. Basically he just got all the sounds, and produced it. He just basically got Guns N’ Roses on tape [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
With my favourite punk bands, the bass was the loudest thing and led the way. And now as Mike Clink started to produce the songs that would make up Appetite, the bass was the loudest, roundest thing on the recordings. It had a lot of space. And it wasn't on the outside or underneath the way it was on a lot of records back then-Clink had it right in the middle [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 121].
Mike is really, really good. He let us have a lot of freedom to do what we wanted to do. We were basically in the production of this record, you know, we were there like every step of the way, every step of the way. When we went to mix it, you know, usually these people don't have anybody there, we went there with the mixing, we were there when they mastered, we were there. And so when you get this record, you know, maybe it's not produced as well as something else you might hear that's done by the best people in the world, but that's because this is more real, this is us. This isn't somebody else doing it, this is us. It's our work [Unknown UK source, June 1987].
Steven was initially not so happy with Clink, though:

[...] Our producer Mike Clink came up to me and suggested I change my drum setup. [...] Mike asked me to change "Anything Goes" and that really hit a nerve.

"Fuck you, don't tell us how to write songs." I got so pissed because you don't meddle with the music. I pouted, stomped around, and behaved like a real dick. [...]

So we tried his idea, and to my surprise, it came out great. [...] But I will be the first to admit when I'm wrong or out of line, and after we worked it out, I looked Mike straight in the eye and said, "I am so sorry"
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 116-117].
According to an interview Slash and Duff did in December 1987, the band affected the non-smoker Clink in various ways:

Yeah, we all smoke a lot, and we were in the studio for a couple of months. He went to his doctor one day and he said, “Man, you gotta stop smoking.” [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
We used to get him all drunk and shit [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
You should have seen him. When we first met him he was Mike Clink and then after a while with us he was Mike Clink plus 15-20 years. After we finished the album there was a complete difference. Then he started going out, he started screwing around with all these different girls, he broke up with his girlfriend. Then he started getting difficult about jobs. He started getting real picky [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
In June 1988, Axl told Rock Scene Magazine that when they signed with Geffen they had 27 songs:

When we went into the studio initially, to do some test tracks and lay down some songs and see what we had together, we had about 27 songs together when Geffen first signed us [Rock Scene, June 1988].
Preproduction rehearsals for Appetite took place at SIR Studios in Burbank [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 112].

Recording for Appetite took place at Rumbo Studios (Rumbo Recorders), at 20215 Saticoy Street, Canoga Park, CA, and happened over two weeks in January 1987. This studio was chosen by Clink to keep the guys away from their wild lives in Hollywood.

When we started working on Appetite we were in a hotel in Manhattan Beach, which was like a forty-five-minute drive to Rumbo. I have no idea why we were so far from the studio. [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 116]].
Listening to the playback of recently recorded songs in Rumbo StudiosI think it's going to kick ass. It's against the - mainstream grain. It's definitely a case of you'll either love it or hate it - which is good, as long as you notice it [Kerrang! June 1987].
Well, it was done live, pretty much. The drums, the rhythm guitar, the bass are all live from the same room. So there's bleeding on each other's instruments, and tweets [?] on other's mics. Things like that. Just to get the most energy and good [?] to the songs[/i] [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
My contributions to the record took six days, start to finish, and I was done. On the other hand, Axl would insist on doing his vocals one line at a time, and that took much longer. [...] It was beyond what a perfectionist would demand. And it soon became obvious to us that it was obsession for the sake of obsession [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 118].
We did the basic tracks in two weeks. We'd have all the amps set up in one room. We had the guitar amps isolated and the bass direct and Steve's drums were in the room and we played in the room off the drums, putting all the tunes down in two weeks. Once in a while Slash would do a live solo an he usually would go back and recut them. He is a perfectionist in a lot of ways. [...] When we were going to do that [= add scratch vocals to play along with] Axl got a sore throat so he ended up doing it later. There were previous recordings where we recorded with vocals [Guitar, September 1988].
[...] we did basic tracks in two weeks and then I went back in. Izzy did the basic tracks, that’s it. Otherwise what’s coming out of the left speaker is what we did in two weeks. Everything he did was in mono. I went back and did all the stereo stuff. Izzy is on the left, I'm on the right and I'm in stereo with the echo and slide stuff. I'm more distorted than Izzy. [...] I went in and did basic tracks and played along with the drums and bass and Izzy. I would screw around but keep the actual song going. Then I would go back later and redo the whole rhythm and all the leads in front of the monitors in the control room. I had the monitors cranked up really loud and would just play along. I can’t play with headphones [Guitar, September 1988].

With only two weeks for the recording, most of the songs were done in very few takes, like 'Sweet Child O' Mine' which was recorded in one take, while 'Think About You', one of the simpler songs, required more (Steven would say 50 takes while Duff would argue 8) [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988]. Duff would later claim that the whole process has been rushed, and that they would spend more time on their second album:

Again, the success and the respect that we've gotten from the industry and from our company will just give us more time and more of ourselves to put into the next record. You know, we'll be able to, the first one it was rushed, and while "these guys ain't shit, they gonna do shit," you know, and blah blah, so, and so we were kind of rushed, in a way mentally, and, and, eh... [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

After all recordings for Appetite was done, Axl, Slash and Izzy went to New York to sit in on the mixing process. The guys who mixed the record was Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero who had previously mixed the last Tesla record [Unknown UK source, June 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:15 am


The EP Live! Like a Suicide was released in December 1986 without causing much of a stir except for in England where it gained some cult popularity. Kerrang! magazine even sent a photographer to Los Angeles to shoot the band for a cover article in early 1987 (The interview was released in June 1987). This interview took place at Rumbo Studios.

Six months after the release of the EP, in June 1987, and still without having released Appetite for Destruction, the band travelled to London for three shows at the Marquee in London. Originally this was intended as only one gig, but the first show sold out quickly, so another was added, and a third.

[...] Alan [Niven] came to us and announced, "You all gotta get passports, we're going to England" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 124].
This was the first experience Guns N' Roses would have with touring abroad and being celebrity rock stars. At soundcheck before the first show on June 19, 1987, the band tried 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' for the first time, and debuted it on the first show at the Marquee.

The press in England loved writing about Guns N' Roses, often to the dismay of the band:

Talking about his dog, Torque: That's the famous dog they said I'd go murdering[...] I don't like poodles. Little poodles. I told some guys everything about poodles makes you want to kill them so the next thing you know there's this magazine in England, and it wasn't even a rock magazine, it was like a magazine that talks [?] about all kinds of things in the world and stuff and it talks about this band in L.A. where this guy's a self-confessed poodle murderer. So then they have like the National Enquirer type papers over there, you know, that sadly started all this stuff, and all those things came out calling me a dog butcher and that I was beastier than Beastie Boys [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
The band would later grow more and more frustrated with the media, especially in the early 90s.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:16 am

July 1987 - The Death of Todd Crew

As mentioned before, Todd was a great fan of the band and played with them in the Drunk Fux.

Todd had been part of the band's inner circle from the beginning. He was a shit-kicking, hard-drinking, exceptionally cool guy. He played bass in another band called Jetboy that originated in San Francisco. When they kicked Todd out of Jetboy, we were the first band to tell them, "Screw you, you're done as far as we're concerned. You're never gonna do shows with us" [[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 119]]
After returning from their successful stint in England, the band had about a month to kill before they would tour opening for The Cult. Slash flew to New York City to meet with merchandising companies, and Todd Crew came with him. Todd was intended to stay with the band during the tour as Duff's bass tech. In Steven's biography he mistakenly claims that this happened when Slash flew to New York City for mixing Appetite, months earlier.

During their stay in New York, on July 18, 1987, three days before the release of Appetite for Discussion, Todd overdosed on heroin and died.

I don't know what happened exactly, because I wasn't there. I heard that he and Slash were partying, shooting heroin, and Todd passed out. Slash and Todd must have gotten separated at some point and Todd overdosed and died. [...]

The band had friends who were so close, so devoted, that we considered them to be members of GNR who merely didn't appear onstage. Todd was one of these, and I truly felt I had lost a brother
[[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 119]]
[Todd] died in a hotel room in New York a while back. We'd copped some stuff and he got it right there. I tried to bring him back... and he was like my best, best friend [Musician, December 1988].
The band was later to regularly dedicate live performances of 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' to Todd's memory.

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Post by Soulmonster on Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:26 am


After having discarded various possible names [source and names?], the band settled on Appetite for Destruction, which was the name of the chosen artwork:

[Welcome to the Jungle] was gonna be the title of the record until the title of the original painting was Appetite For Destruction, and we really liked it, cause I break everything around me anyway. That was the title of the Robert Williams painting. He named it. We ended up deciding we really liked it, so we just went with it [Rock Scene, June 1988].
The original artwork was controversial:

[Robert Williams]'s like a major underground comic's artist, and paints like one oil painting the size of a window a week! That painting was actually the size of a wall and sold in 1978 for like $10,000 and we leased it from him. But I found it on the cover of a book that he had put out, in a place called the Soap Plant in L.A. I found it and I thought "Wow, that is an intense picture, man." I'd never seen anything like it, and then I went back to buy it and it was gone.

Then I found it on a postcard, submitted it as a joke, and everybody liked it. I wanted it as the cover, but I thought we could never use it even though it was so intense. I just wanted to show everybody, and we all decided to use it. It was really weird that I found it on the cover of a book to begin with, because it's something that's out of print and it's a collector's item, and the Soap Plant shouldn't have had it to begin with. It goes for like $7,500 bucks now, and it was $11 dollars when I found it! When I met the artist and told him where I had found the book, he said it was impossible. So, it was really kinda like a coincidence that we found it. I think it was meant to be, cause even though it's been banned a lot of places, and Warner Brothers refused to print it, so we had to get an outside printer, but now they stockpile it in their warehouse because they get so many demands for it. Where at the time they were gonna make just a few, now and then. I feel that we've got this piece of art work, and some people just go "Wow, gnarly cover," but I think there's a lot of people out there that can really appreciate the artwork of it, and that's what I wanted to show them
[Rock Scene, June 1988].
Warner Brothers was Guns N' Roses' parent label and they allegedly sent angry letters to have the cover replaced [Spin, May 1988].

We didn't put that out to outrage people. I thought it was a very cool piece of art that would stand the test of time. I don't think it was encouraging sexual abuse at all. I think it's an idea in people's heads that she is attractive, a sexual fantasy. Like, this poor girl got abused and you're thinking about how your husband wants to fuck her so you're upset. People get scared of their own thoughts [Musician, December 1988].
I can’t believe everyone made such a big deal out of a postcard [Spin, May 1988].
Because of this, the Robert Williams artwork was removed to the inner sleeve and replaced with Axl's cross tattoo. This was not good enough, though, and in October 1988 MTV would report that stored selling the record were picketed by people protesting against the "pro-rape" and "sexist" inner sleeve [MTV, October 1988], resulting in some stores refusing to sell the record [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Appetite for Destruction was released in US on July 21, 1987.

We got hold of everybody who was anybody n our lives to get together at the Hell House for the "unofficial world premiere." It was to be our first listen to our new album. [...] Slash and I hugged; we were so happy. We listened to both sides, pretty much saying, "Oh yeah, that's working, that sounds cool," throughout. [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 121]
According to Steven's biography, his happiness with hearing the final result was not subdued by the fact that Slash had changed a drum part on 'Paradise City' in postproduction [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 121].

Being asked if there was anything they would have changed:

No, the only thing I would like to do is I wish we would have more time to mix but we were working on a release date. There were a couple of songs where I feel we didn't have the time to get just right. 'Paradise City' I think could have been a little clearer. But, you know, we were making two songs per day to make the release date, you know, and there were all kinds of reasons why we had to make that release date, like getting the record out before [?] down in the month of August, and things like that. There was all kinds of reasons why we had a certain amount of time that we have it get it done. So we just did the best we could in that amount of time, we didn't really compromise, you know, we still, I think, hit pretty close to the mount [?] we wanted to hit. There isn't really anything we want to change. There's two words in that whole record that I didn't quite say the way I wanted to, and I forgot which ones they were, didn't have time to go back to find them and redo them. And they are not out of key, so no one else knows it. I am the only one who personally knows it [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
It doesn’t matter, it’s like there’s little things here and there, where you know you would have liked it a bit different, but it doesn’t matter cause it’s done. It’s there, and you might as well like it cause if you don’t you can put yourself into an early grave worrying about something that you can’t do shit about [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
And in June 1988, Axl was asked if the record would have turned out differently if they had produced it themselves:

There may have been a different track or two just because we're working with other people, and when you're working with other people they have their input on which tracks are the best, and stuff like that. It didn't really bother us, not a whole lot. If we had more time, I think we might have gotten a bit more of a better mix.

Actually, the record's pretty much co-produced, but we got a really good deal from our producer since he wanted to break into producing, and get credits for producing. If we gave him full credit on the record, it would help him a lot in the business. But especially Izzy, Slash, and myself were there every step of the way, so it was pretty much co-produced. We were in on the mixing and stuff, and usually the guys who mix the records never have anybody in the studio when they do that. We were there the whole time
[Rock Scene, June 1988].
And Slash was asked in September 1988 to describe his and Izzy's playing styles on the record:

The funny thing about Izzy and I is that we each play what we want, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It can be frustrating for me because he's very stubborn. He plays very lightweight, sort of Keith Richards style, whereas if I want a heavy riff, I'll want a heavy riff, I'll want us both to play it to make it really stick out. There's a lot of songs on our album I'm really not happy with that way: 'Welcome to the Jungle,' for instance. Sometimes Duff will beef it up, like the riff in 'Paradise City.' I'm a little more knowledgeable on guitar; Izzy's a good songwriter with a great sense of style [Musician, December 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:03 pm


The record sold slowly at first, and Axl would blame this partly on radio stations for not playing their songs, including their first single, 'Welcome to the Jungle', which was released on September 28, 1988:

[...] it's been going up and down, between 60 and 50 for the last month and a half. It's doing okay with very little radio play and limited video play. So, for that it's doing great. Especially since we are a new band, you know, people don't really know who you are. It's doing really good. We're hoping to put out a video for 'Sweet Child' and that should move things up a little more. The record's selling alright. [...] You know, people think every song on our record has the word 'fuck'. Four songs have obscenities in them, four songs. Not twelve, four. You know, and we're were not asking them to play those four, you know, pick one of the others. Also, that, you know, we have loud guitars, real guitars, real drums. [...] I'm getting limited by a radio station that plays 'Welcome To The Jungle' as a joke because they've got all these papers and everything sat on it. They play it as a joke, a top-40 station, [?] said we're the number one request so that they decide definitely not to play it. That makes me mad. That frustrates me. People are scared that they're going to open up a can of worms and what really frustrates me is the fact that fucking radio is basically run by advertising dollars. We are not talking money, okay, we are not talking art, we are not talking music, we're talking, "What kinda of music can we play that we can get this guy to put his commercials on our radio station so we can make lots of money?" You know, to me that's, I mean, then you have no business being in radio. Get the fuck out. Go home. If you want a job like that then work in a factory or something. Get the fuck out of this and leave these people that really care about their music alone, because these people are screwing with my bank accounts when I am being sincere, I got some insincere fuck worried about paying his rent so he is kissing ass and playing Madonna songs that he hates and he won't play Guns N' Roses that he loves. That guy's fucking with my bank account. I don't like wimps like that. That makes me mad [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]
It is clear that Axl already a year before 'Welcome' were to be released, had a plan for the video's thematic content:

[Our first video] is going to be realistic and it might show a lot of violence so it might get banned. There's a lot of violence in the world. That's the environment we live in and we like to show what we live in rather than hide it and act like everything is nice and sugary.

Everybody likes to paint their pretty pictures, but that just ain't how it is. It just seems easier to know the rougher side [of life] than the more pleasant side just because it's more readily accessible
[Los Angeles Times, 1986.06.07.
According to Vicky Hamilton, the Welcome to the Jungle video was partly inspired by the Faces Of Death series of snuff video clips which Axl had studied in detail while living in her apartment [Vicky Hamilton, "Appetite For Dysfunction", 2014, p. 134]. The band had paid for news footage that didn't make it into the final edit:

There's a few changes been made to this video. We bought actual news footage that had been shown on television from NBC and CBS and ABC, but we had to cut a lot of that out[MTV Headbanger's Ball, 1987.10.24].
Despite cutting a lot of the footage out, the video was controversial and received little airplay. In July 1988 Geffen President Eddie Rosenblatt would refer to the low sales of the 'Welcome to the Jungle' single as a "flop". Still, the label did not throw in the tower and gave up on the band because the record continued to sell, despite its low exposure [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. By April 1988, the record reached Billboard top 10 [Rock Scene, April 1988]. As Rosenblatt would recall: "That told us we were onto something, even if radio or MTV didn't get it. We kept thinking--'Just think what we could sell if MTV really played the clip? Or if we miraculously had a hit single?" [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

Axl's hope was that releasing 'Sweet Child O' Mine' as a single would help them:

[...] we're hoping 'Sweet Child' will have a chance to get through in a lot of ways, you know, we don't know. I think it should, you know, and I believe it should and I don't see any problem with that. I can see the hassles with 'Jungle,' I can see the hassles with 'It's So Easy,' definitely, I can see the hassles with 'Paradise City' because it's really long and the verses are a little bit too heavy for a lot of radio stations. But I don't see a problem with 'Sweet Child' and I didn't write 'Sweet Child' to get it on radio but I don't see the problem with it doing that. And it doesn't do it, then someone's just slamming the door on us, purposely [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]
The band also had to make sacrifices when they released radio edits of songs and music videos:

Since this is our first record, we had to make compromises to get a certain level of sales so that we could get a certain level of power to do exactly what we wanted next time around. [...]Like, with 'Sweet Child,' the video version will be... they'll be an even shorter version put out for the single. To me, that's like a heart-wrenching compromise, and I just don't like to make any compromises with our art, so it's really hard for me to live with an edit or anything. At the same time, I can see what it will do for us, but I have to keep weighing back and forth, what's it gonna do to me? I don't know. It's something that I have to live with and figure out what my values and things are. I don't want to end up like a lot of bands that have been out playing the circuit for so long and they want to make this amount of money, and be looked at a certain way, so they'll do whatever they have to do to their song. They'll delete all the hard rock or mellow the guitars out for a version of it. If that's something I set out to do, fine. If I want to put out three versions of a song, that's one thing. But if I'm doing it just to get sales, that will really bum me out [Rock Scene, April 1988].
We're not a product to be sliced up. Editing really sucks...that's not what we're all about. ['Sweet Child'] was our first experience with a single, so we didn't know what was going on. [The editing] was done behind our backs, and we're not gonna let it happen again. [...][We've shot] a video for 'Paradise City' in Giants Stadium and at Donington. Whether or not we'll release it as a single, I can't really say. They'll take the whole thing or nothing - we're not gonna let them edit this one [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
Geffen president Eddie Rosenblatt made a personal effort to make MTV air the 'Welcome to the Jungle video: "Rosenblatt started sending its execs a weekly computer run of the band's record sales. Impressed, MTV put the "Welcome" video into its "Headbanger's Ball" program" [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. When MTV's Headbanger's Ball played 'Welcome to the Jungle', the record and single sales picked up quickly. Geffen responded by promptly re-releasing the 'Welcome' single [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. This increase in sales coincided with Guns N' Roses touring with Mötley Crue, and more and more of the audiences seemed to appreciate the opening band.

Steven would describe the breakthrough this way:

Even though we had shot it, our video was not getting played. David Geffen had to call in a huge favor from the head of MTV to get one fucking airing of "Welcome to the Jungle." They tried to bury it at like five A.M. on a Sunday morning. But guess who's wide awake at that hour on a Sunday and just getting in from a night of partying? That's right, kiddies, GNR Nation! Legend has it that "Welcome to the Jungle" hadn't even gotten done with its one airing and the MTV switchboard was lighting up like a Christmas tree. They were all demanding to know one thing: when would MTV be airing the video again? [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 143]
And Slash:

The problem, from what we understand, is that new people took over MTV right about the time our first clip came out. They didn’t know anything about rock and roll, and their main concern was just not to offend anyone. And you know that when it comes to not offending people, you’re dealing with the wrong guys when you’re dealing with us. But once we did get the clip on the air, the response was incredible. Yeah, we flipped when it made it all the way to the top of their dial-in show. That proved the fans really were behind us [Hit Parader, October 1988]
The band's almost constant touring activity surely also helped. On August 6, 1988, almost exactly a year after its release, the record reached the number one spot on the Billboard sales list in USA [Circus Magazine, November 1988; Rolling Stone, November 1988].

We were in a place called Sandstone, just outside of Kansas City, when we found out. And we were like, 'Ok, we're Number One.' There was no big fanfare. It was during our soundcheck, so we didn't even celebrate or anything. Geffen sent us a cake, though [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
It's kinda like those Izod shirts that were fashionable once, a while back. We're cool to like now. Six months ago, kids were afraid to like GNR because their parents, teachers, or friends would come down on 'em. When I was on the track [in high school], if you said you liked Alice Cooper, you had to run an extra lap [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
Now it's cool to like us. And don't get me wrong, we're all happy and everything that we went Number One, and that so many people like us now. But it's gotten to the point where you walk down the street and you'll see some preppy guy singing 'SCOM' and you'll go 'wait a minute...' [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
I mean, did that really happen to us? It's like, there's that, and then there's regular life. The rest is just words and numbers that don't really mean a thing [Kerrang! December 1988].
When asked about why Appetite became so successful, the band showed humility:

Being asked why he think they reached no. 1: I'm not sure. I think the only reason it could have possibly gone to Number One is we're filling some sort of void. That's really the only thing I can attribute it to. It's not because the songs are all huge hits - that's the last thing they are, they're just a bunch of dirty rock 'n' roll songs. So I figure, we're just like the resident down and dirty rock band in town at the moment. Everybody wants to have that record because it's not really that safe... and it looks cool next to George Michael records in their collection [Kerrang! December 1988].
What is the reason? Timing. We didn't time it, it wasn't like, "Okay guys, let's get together here in 1985 and then," but it was just, we're at the right time at the right place, you know. There wasn't very many honest bands [Japanese TV, December 1988].
It's not that we are that great or anything, but at least, you know, at least we're realistic and we're sincere about what we do. […] we're like affected by shit the same way that most normal people are affected. We don't, like, pose so that we can fit into the business. So it's like you don't get up in the morning depressed and you put on a smile on your face and go out to the offices and start going through the bullshit. We're, like, get up depressed, go to work depressed, and it's like, you know, one way or the other, you know. If we're happy, we're happy. That's just the way it is. So the album is, sort of like, very emotional, you know, and all the shit we do is usually very emotional. We have a really shitty crowd we get, you know, affected by it, we get pissed off, sometimes we really insult [?] the crowds because it's like, "Well, fuck you!" [laughter]. So somehow, I guess, that works, I guess. I mean, I don't think we would be as popular in 1976 or 77 as we are now because it was, I think there was more bands sort of like us. So I think would have been different. But we're the only band like us right now so it's just timing and shit, you know […] [Japanese TV, December 1988].
[…]Aerosmith and AC/DC were still around, they're great bands, but I think kids, you know, of the late 80s here didn't really have a band who were their peers to cling on to […] [Interview Sessions, December 1988].
[…]everybody asks us that question, like, "Why do you think you guys have hit this point". It's a hard question to answer. I think one of the main things is that we sort of, like, filled, you know, a gap in music business right now, because for the last, since 1970-1980 it's been pretty bland as far as rock and roll is concerned, and so at least, if nothing else, the attitude of the band has come over and people are like, "Yeah!". I mean, that's sort of, like, what rock and roll is all about. And also that freedom-kind-of-thing [Interview Sessions, December 1988].

The single 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was released in August 1988 and went to no. 1 three weeks later. Axl had visionary plans for this video:

We did "Sweet Child" the other night and I wasn't thrilled with it. I like where we have the band playing live, and working on that. Other than that, I have to see what came out. We filmed a lot of stuff with us just hanging out, so I have to see that.
What we did, the filming, was pretty fun, but some things came up, like "Sweet Child" is used when they roll the credits to the movie Bad Dreams, and we had come up with this whole concept of how we were gonna film our video in an insane asylum, then when we went and saw the screening of the movie and no one, including our manager, knew that the whole movie was filmed inside an insane asylum! That kind of shot down all the fun. I really wanted to do the conceptual footage, and we really didn't do any for this video. So that's the part that I guess, that little bit of acting, that I like doing
[Rock Scene, June 1988].
Axl would later get to make conceptually complex music videos for singles for the Use Your Illusion albums.

Another sales pull came when 'Welcome to the Jungle' (and band members) were featured in the Clint Eastwood movie 'The Dead Pool', allegedly after a suggestion by business affairs executive Debbie Reinberg. The song played throughout the film's heavily-publicized 90-second trailer [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

I'm a little disappointed that it's not a better film, but the trailer is really spectacular. And I'm sure it helped our momentum. After all, it was on practically every TV station in the entire country [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:11 pm

February-September 1987 - Cancelled tours and Opening for The Cult

According to Steven in his biography, the first plans were to do a tour with Stryper or with Y&T, but these all fell apart [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 130]. They were also supposed to open for David Lee Roth (February-March 1987), but this was allegedly cancelled when Roth heard that "one or more of the band were about to enter a rehab clinic for drug problems", and they allegedly lost a tour with AC/DC, too [Hit Parader, March 1989], but AC/DC "wanted to hold their pay as security for three weeks, and then planned to kick them off the tour at the end of the grace period; they declined the offer" [Spin, May 1988]. Later in 1988, they would also be refused to join the Monster of Rock tour which featured Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come, to which Slash would comment:

I mean, what am I going to do? Get the bassist from Van Halen or Judas Priest strung out on something? We’re just a bunch of kids, you know [Spin, May 1988]
In Hit Parader in October 1988, it would be stated that the actual reason the David Lee Roth tour didn't happen, was due to Axl's unpredictable behavior, to which Slash would state:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up [Hit Parader, October 1988]
In the same issue it would be stated that Axl's unpredictable behavior cost the band the tour with AC/DC and Iron Maiden, although the band would tour with Iron Maiden later in 1987.

In the autumn of 1988 they also planned a European tour with Metallica, but this was shelved when they decided to take a break after the Aerosmith tour [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].

Despite all this, the band started their first proper tour in August 1987, opening for the Cult across Canada and USA. The first show was in Halifax, Canada, August 14, 1987. On crossing the border to Canada, Axl was arrested for trying to bring in a stun gun, allegedly the only time in 1987 he was arrested [Spin, January 1988].

They would tour with the Cult until September 1987. Despite having just released Appetite for Destruction in the US, they band was given no airtime on MTV and no one knew who they were. It didn't help that the Canadian release data was 6 weeks after the US release date. For most shows they played for a small audience who were waiting for the main act.

The Cult and GNR got along phenomenally well, and we had a great time together. They always had catering at sound check, great food that positively spoiled us. During our set, Axl made it a point to announce to the crowd how great the Cult was to us [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 131]

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:26 pm


After touring with the Cult, the band went to Germany, Holland and UK as headlining acts (September 29 - October 8, 1987), supported by Faster Pussycat. After returning to US, they toured the East Coast (October 16, November 1, 1987), supported by Ezo. During this touring Axl was "fighting a see-saw battle with a tenacious case of laryngitis" [BAM, November 1987]. Slash also fell out of the tour bus in October when travelling in upstate New York:

Slash fell against me and I fell out of the chair straight to the ground, about five feet. Concussion time. Knocked out. They thought I was dead [BAM, November 1987].
After that they opened for Mötley Crue on their "Girls, Girls, Girls" tour in the US (November 3-29, 1987).

In Atlanta, November 22, at The Omni, Axl jumped into the crowd to fight a security man he claimed pushed one of his friends [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. According to Doc McGhee, the manager of Mötley Crüe, the security man was an off-duty cop [Nikky Sixx biography, 2008]. Charlie Brusco, the Omni's head of security would later describe the incident like this: "First strike, he hit an Atlanta police officer. Second strike, he hit a female Atlanta police officer. Third strike, he hit a black female Atlanta police officer. He’s going to jail" [Vulture, 2016] With Axl detained, roadie Big Ron got on stage to sing 'Honky Town Women' and 'Communication Breakdown' [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. According to McGhee, he sang 'Communication Breakdown' four times, "not terribly well" [Nikki Sixx biography, 2008]. McGhee would also say that Slash sang "a few songs", including a Rolling Stones song [Nikki Sixx biography, 2008]. According to Brusco, he begged for Rose to be allowed to finish the show and finally the head of security said, "If he apologizes to the police officer in writing, we’ll let him go." Axl signed his apology, and security brought in the female officer who had been hit. Axl looked up and said, “Fuck you, you fucking jag-off cop.” Axl was then hauled to jail, and the show was canceled. "I don’t think,” Brusco would say, "I did another Guns show after that" [Vulture, 2016]. To avoid a trial, Axl pleaded guilty to assaulting the police and paid a fine [Rolling Stone, November 1988] and was released the day after [Nikki Sixx biography, 2008].

Axl and Izzy would remember it his way:
You know, I've got nothing against [expletive] security, you're out doing your job. But you don't need to [expletive] push kids [Onstage at UIC Pavilion, Chicago, December 1987].
In Atlanta I dived in and I had police saying I hit them. I never did, but I had to plead guilty because we didn't have any money at the time. Lie? Yes, I guess I did lie once. I lied and said that I hit four cops. I guess we should reopen the case and take me to trial for perjury. But I didn't have $56,000 to pay them off under the table ["There's A Riot Going On!", Musician, September 1991].
We played in Atlanta and Axl jumped off the stage to help out a fan who was getting beaten by these security guys. He never made it back on stage so we improvised a seven minute blues jam. ["In The Classic Way", Guitar For The Practicing Musician, September 1988].
But all in all, the band was happy about the tour and their increased popularity:

And then we went out with Mötley and that was that was pretty insane, you know, 'cause like any night that we did two nights in a row, the first night, you know, we got them going, but if we did two nights in a row when we came back to the second night they were like, "Whoa, now we know who these guys are. The first time people see us, a lot of times unless they've really heard us and are into us, they are more into watching and checking us out and watching every little thing. But by the time you do a second night they lose their minds. They're like, "Yeah, now I can let myself go. It's it's cool to act like I like these guys" [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

The last show of the tour took place at the Sportarium in Los Angeles on November 29, 1987. As customary, the headliners decided to prank the opener band:

We had one bomb explode on us once. And we didn't even do it! The guys in Mötley Crüe when we toured with them. Scared the shit [interrupted]. It was the first song [interrupted]. 'It's So Easy', and it comes in goes "bom-cha-bom-bom-cha-BOOOOM!" and I watched everybody in the band, standing in front, in one leap they were all behind me [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
Scared the shit out of me, too! […] It was sick. It was the last show. They did it as a joke to us [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

Presumably, later that very evening, Slash and Nikki Sixx visited the Rainbow club in Los Angeles for some post-tour partying. Sixx overdosed and was wheeled out of the Rainbow on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital where for a period of six hours doctors feared for his life [Hit Parader, November 1988].

There were many similarities between Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe, something Sixx would acknowledge: "We've had our influences, and Guns N' Roses have theirs. We've toured together, and hung out together, and I think we call each other friends. That's cool. I don't see them as competition to us because we're all working towards the same goal - to play rock and roll for the kids out there. They're going through some of the things that we went through five or six years ago, and they're having a great time. More power to 'em. Bands like Guns N' Roses are what rock and roll are all about in my book" [Hit Parader, November 1988].

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