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THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:26 am

JUNE 1987 - THE BAND TRAVELS TO ENGLAND

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 their debut record ('Appetite for Destruction'), the band travelled to London for three shows at the Marquee.

[...] 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].

Originally this was intended as only one gig, but the first show sold out quickly, so another was added, and a third.

According to Steven Adler, the last gig was added while the band was taking the ferry across to Amsterdam [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p128].

At least parts of the Marquee shows were taped "on a mobile unit by British producer Vic Maile" [Kerrang! March 1989]. Songs off this recording would variously be used as B-sides on the band's singles, including 'Whole Lotta Rosie' which was the B-side on the band's first single, 'Welcome to the Jungle' after being mixed by Mike Clink.

The first show on June 19 was not meant with good reviews. Andy Hurt, writing for The Sounds, likened Axl's singing to "the squealing of a hamster with its balls trapped in a door." According to Classic Rock Magazine, "[Axl] was livid and led the whole band to the Sound's office in Mornington Crescent, north London. 'Andy Hurt?' he raged. 'He fucking will be if I find him!' But the reviewer was absent, so Axl contended himself with a warning note left with another member of the staff [Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007].

Steve Sutherland, likely writing for NME, also gave the show a poor review and described the sound of the band as "weak AC/DC." Again, Axl decided to confront the reviewer as Sutherland would recall in 2005:

"I received a phonecall from the singer, Axl Rose. He said the band were on the way to the airport in a cab and he wondered if I’d be in the office so they could swing right by and FUCKING SORT ME OUT!! Needless to say, I had a pressing engagement elsewhere but I had to admire their balls" [NME, September 2005].

Axl also referenced the "weak AC/DC" description when introducing 'Whole Lotta Rosie' on one of the next gigs.

The two following shows did a lot better.

Playing in London was the first experience Guns N' Roses would have with touring abroad and being celebrity rock stars.

Bars close too early, they drive on the wrong side of the street, they talk funny. […] We got thrown out of a few clubs [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987.
Great hash [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987.
One of the clubs they visited in London was the legendary Limelight (the band would later play an acoustic gig at its sister club in New York on January 31, 1988). At this club it was reported that Slash got in a fight with Cobalt Stargazer, the singer of Zodiac Mindwarp, when he hit on his girlfriend, but Duff would later claim it was just exaggerated in the press (Endless Party Magazine, August 1987). They would also party with Lemmy from Motorhead [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].

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 shows themselves were a success and the band appreciated their popularity.

The gigs were great. We played three gigs at the Marquee and they were all sold out. Kids line up at three in the afternoon, like two streets down. We'd walk up and all these kids knew who we were just by sight. There's really no rock n' roll over there, so we got there and the kids were just waiting and waiting. All the old Hanoi Rocks fans. There's the fans there, but there's just no bands. The kids are looking for a band they can all cling on to [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987.
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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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:34 am

July 1987 - The Death of Todd Crew

As mentioned before, Todd was a great fan and friend 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.

Axl when asked what his greatest regret is:

That I didn't talk to Todd Crew before he went to New York. I felt a massive need to talk to him out of concern for his well-being. But I wasn't aware enough to realize I didn't have the time I thought I did. I thought I'd have time later... [Rolling Stone, August 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:47 am

JULY 1987 - THE RELEASE OF APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

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].

The band had settled on 'Appetite for Destruction' as the name of the record, which was also the name of the chosen artwork for the cover:

[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].
Being asked if there was anything they would have changed with the record if they could:

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].
Artistically, with the album, I got exactly what I wanted. I wish we would’ve had a little bit more time to do some mixing. The guys were mixing our record, and one of them had heart problems and had to go to the hospital, which knocked off three days [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].
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 [Rock Scene, August 1988].
In March or April 1989, Slash would on the contrary claim their "first album wasn't all that good, I don't think" [Kerrang! April 1989].

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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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:05 am

ARTWORK CONTROVERSY

The original artwork proved to be controversial. Open for interpretation, it is by most people thought to depict an avenging monster about to attack a robot that has molested a woman.

Axl was the one who found the painting and suggested it as the album cover:

[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].
Axl and Slash would defend the choice of artwork:

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].
There was really no significant reasons, you know, except for that it was a cool painting. You know, there was no discriminatory thing with that, you know, as far as women are concerned, you know, and anything like that. It was just a painting that looked really cool, it looked really dynamic, and it was, like, who wanted to sit for two hours and think about what was gonna be the cover. And we saw the picture, “Oh, that’s fine, yeah, sure - let’s use that”. (Laughs). And then there’s this line “Appetite for Destruction” on the bottom. And we said, “We don’t have to think about the title, either! [?] It’s perfect [Super Channel, October 1987].
But many people saw it differently and would accuse Guns N' Roses for being sexist and promoting rape:

There was a picture of a young woman lying on the ground obviously about to get raped by a robot. And just above, there's a hand which is about to crunch the robot up. That doesn't mean anything special. We liked the picture, that's all. But everyone came down on us and accused us of glorifying rape [New Musical Express, April 1989].
Warner Brothers was Guns N' Roses' parent label and they allegedly sent angry letters to have the cover replaced [Spin, May 1988].

[…] we got a few letters [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].
We got some complaints from people, organizations, as well as David Geffen [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].
Because of this, the Robert Williams artwork was removed to the inner sleeve and replaced with Axl's cross tattoo.

Big deal. We liked the artwork, but it wasn't something that we felt so strongly about that we'd die for it. After the first few thousand copies, it was changed to our logo [Circus Magazine, May 1989].
Only 30,000 copies with the original artwork was produced [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].

But hiding the controversial artwork in the inner sleeve was not good enough, though, and in October 1988 MTV would report that stores 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]. And in 1989, Circus Magazine would report that "New Iberia, Louisiana recently passed an emergency ordinance that would subject any retailers who display the album to both jail time and a fine. At press time, the town council was trying to make it a state-wide ordinance" [Circus Magazine, May 1989].

The band was incredulous to the controversy:

I can’t believe everyone made such a big deal out of a postcard [Spin, May 1988].
It had a picture of this chick flashin’ her panties at you. […] The next album should have someone giving the finger on it [Rock City News, January 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:51 am

LYRICAL CONTENT CONTROVERSY

In addition to the controversy surrounding the choice of cover art for 'Appetite', the record had to have a warning sticker due to its mature lyrical content and swearing.

The sticker, the sticker are pointless. The sticker means nothing either way. And if I don't say the word 'fuck', or whatever, on the next record that is just because it wasn't put in that song. You know, it's nothing to do with… we don't write songs based on trying to get sales or anything else, we just write songs on how we feel and how we're writing that particular song. […] I would have said exactly what it says and everything on a big list, "This album contains the word 'fuck' at least 27 times" [Interview after Lakeland show, November 24, 1987].
The PMRC can't win - if there are warning stickers on albums, it's only going to sell more records. The whole rebellion thing is what makes everything so great. It keeps the wheels turning [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:53 am

HOW TO SELL A RECORD

The record sold slowly at first, and the band 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]
Well, there was profanity all over the album, and radio didn't want to touch us. People wouldn't play us 'cause of the original album cover, MTV wouldn't touch us [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989]
Still, the label did not throw in the towel 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]
And according to Duff, it did:

You should have seen the difference in crowd reaction before and after that single came out. Before, only the people up front knew who we were. People came to see us who were our fans, and there weren't very many, to tell you the truth. Afterwards, when that song came on, all the cigarette lighters switched on and everybody was on their feet. It was amazing, like night and day. And it happened that quickly, too. […] I've actually seen a full-on preppy guy - the type who wouldn't even say hi to me - whistling that song. I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at this guy [Circus Magazine's Readers Poll, February 1989].
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].
The single 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was released in August 1988 and went to no. 1 three weeks later.

With the success of Appetite, the label started to push the band into milking the success:

Because of the success of the record, everybody in the business is getting so damn excited. (mimicking) "Gee, we have such a big seller now, we can push this one." So because in the record company world, our album has been moved into a position where it's now the record to push. And with us being out on the road all the time, things are getting goddamned out of hand! There's people preparing to put out different mixes and edits of songs before we even get a chance to get a grip on what's going on. It's really not a representation of what our band stands for… or what our sound is. Hopefully, what will happen is they'll do their bull, we'll sell another million records, and that'll give us more power next time to say, "No, you sons of bitches." […] it's rough to hear about some of our "b"-sides being put out while we're on the road and can do nothing about it. We only hear about it after they go on and do it and we ask, "What do you mean?" It gets kinda weird with people taking liberties with your music. We could throw a big monkey wrench into the thing but that would mean a complete halt and right now we don't wanna do that, so we're gonna have to put up with this over the next few months and we're not real happy about it or proud of it. We'll show a change by our next record and I just hope the kids out there don't think we're coming out with some of the stuff they'll wind up seeing… because it has nothing to do at all with us. Y'know, you battle to a certain point and all of a sudden you're face to face with the big monkey-making machine [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:25 am

JULY 1988 - 'THE DEAD POOL'

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].
Actually the film isn’t very good. The trouble was that we were so naive and green about the movie business that in the end we came across as kinda dumb. Perhaps we shoulda asked more questions about what was going on. And I can’t help feeling that Eastwood fucked us over with his direction. In fact, Clint didn’t talk to us much on the set at all. We had very little contact with him. Just about the only thing he said to us was, ‘Hey, great album’ [Raw Magazine, July 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:37 am

ARTISTIC SACRIFICES

The band 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].
We weren’t too proud of editing use of our songs purely for radio purposes, but we finally broke down and did it anyway at the request of our record company. We figured if it will wake that many more people aware of us who normally wouldn’t be, then cool [Hit Parader, July 1989].
Not that any of our songs compare, but if you hear a short version of "Layla," I think you're gonna be pissed off, especially if you're planning on hearing the big piano part at the end. I hate the edit of "Sweet Child o' Mine." Radio stations said, "Well, your vocals aren't cut." My favorite part of the song is Slash's slow solo; it's the heaviest part for me. There's no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio-station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of "Paradise City" or half of "Sweet Child" and "Patience" cut, you're getting screwed [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
It's fuckin' stupid. This scene is harmless. There's no nudity or obscene behaviour. And yet MTV object to it. What sickens me is that the George Michael video for 'I Want Your Sex', which is far more suggestive than ours, is allowed to go out uncensored. Explain that one if you can. We're just being picked on [Kerrang! October 1987].

The experience of having to edit 'Sweet Child O' Mine' may be the reason why Slash would argue that they might never release another single:

I don't think we'll ever release another single. The success of Sweat Child O' Mine was more a fluke than anything else. We only did that as a single because the record company wanted us to. It was successful, but we're not a singles band. We want people to react to our entire album. I'm sure we'll do some more videos, but we'll really have to have our arms twisted to do another single [Hit Parader, June 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:37 am

EXPLAINING THE SUCCESS OF APPETITE

When asked about why Appetite became so successful, the band mostly showed humility:

When we went gold I was surprised. When we went platinum I was shocked. The fact that we broke the top ten is unreal. I mean, this isn't supposed to happen. This isn't right [Scene Magazine, April 1988].
That void is something I was looking at for a long time. The punk movement was dying out, and there were all these metal bands starting up, so [guitarist] Izzy and I put out these ads for a guitarist for a “punk metal glam thrash band.” So we were looking to fill this void. Now it’s starting to get across in a big way. For a time there, we didn’t think it was going to. I thought after Poison we’d be welcomed with open arms as the logical next step. It didn’t quite happen the way we thought it would. But now it’s starting to explode. It took a lot of patience. When we first started out this band was banned. No one wanted to book us, manage us, take us on tour or play us on the radio. Now our video’s been in the Top 5 on MTV for nine weeks [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].
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].

Yes, Slash could also be proudly honest:

We've sold six million LPs because it's a good album. It's a fucking good album, it'd be fucking false modesty if I pretend it wasn't [New Musical Express, April 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:23 am

THE BAND'S FIRST MUSIC VIDEOS

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 initial sales of the 'Welcome to the Jungle' single as a "flop".

For the video to 'Sweet Child', Axl had plans:

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.

After 'Sweet Child' and 'Paradise City' they did a video for Patience, the only single from GN'R Lies. Then in the beginning of 1989 they decided to make a video for their first single, 'It's So Easy':

[…] well ... we're gonna have a home video, at some point. So we wanted to do some stuff that was, like, no-holds-barred, uncensored things... Not worrying about whether MTV's gonna play it, y'know? Just go out there and do a fuckin' blown-out realistic video... […] I don't really give a shit [if MTV plays it], to tell you the truth... I mean, we've done three videos already- four videos now, with 'Patience' - and this is more or less just for us, so we're just gonna put the harshest stuff in it, you know, and leave it like that. I really don't care if MTV or anyone else plays it or not, it'll just be there all the same, and if people wanna see it bad enough, they'll find it . .. [Kerrang! April 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:36 pm

1987 - CANCELLED TOURS

The label and band was scrambling to get the band out on the road to support the newly released record.

Playing with all these bands that we’ve listened to for years. Getting an opportunity to play with people who we respect. To go out there and to kick as much ass as we can! [Concert Shots, May 1986].
We’re looking for a tour bus. A big, black tour bus with a skull on the front and a harem inside, like an opium den [Rock Scene, September 1987].
I’d love to tour with AC/DC, Aerosmith, or Motley Crue [Metal Edge, March 1987].
But landing the right tours proved difficult. The band was gaining a very bad reputation, NME would later state it was due "because of their problems with the LA Police [New Musical Express, August 1989]. In addition, Appetite was either not released or initially not selling very well.

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].

An early 1987 tour with Iron Maiden was also allegedly in the works, but cancelled due to Axl's reputation [Hit Parader, October 1988], although the band would tour with Iron Maiden later in 1987.

They also said a planned a European tour with Aerosmith in September 1987 that fell apart in "the 11th hour" [Kerrang! March 1989], allegedly because Aerosmith hadn't got their new record out [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987] or due to "finances" [Kerrang! October 1987]. This record was Permanent Vacation and it was released on August 21, 1987, so it doesn't make entire sense timing-wise. Aerosmith would tour this album in 1988 and Guns N' Roses would join them in July-September for that tour.


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1987 - OPENING FOR THE CULT

Despite the problems getting tours, the band started their first proper tour in August 1987, opening for the Cult across Canada and USA.

Do you know how we got this tour? Because Ian Astbury, the Cult's lead vocalist, came to our first show at the Marquee, the one we got such a slagging for, and liked it so much he offered us the tour. So f**k those journalists who wrote those bad things, Ian Astbury liked what he saw, right? [Kerrang! October 1987].
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.

Despite this, the band thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Cult and would praise how well they were treated by the headlining act. According to Kerrang!, Ian even "dashed out to get Duff a ripped black T-shirt to use as a headband" at one point [Kerrang! October 1987].

The Cult are the first band we've met who really have treated us right. […] We've been having a great time with the Cult, and Ian seems to spend more time in our dressing room than his own [Kerrang! October 1987].
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].
"It was a good tour for us. Both bands got on real well together, and they were nicer to us than most headlining bands are expected to be. It was a good start [Kerrang! March 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1987 - HEADLINING IN EUROPE AND USA

After touring with the Cult, the band had planned to open for Aerosmith in Europe, but the pulled out in the "11th hour" [Kerrang! March 1989] allegedly because Aerosmith hadn't got their new record out [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987] or due to "finances" [Kerrang! October 1987]. Instead of scrapping the plans altogether, they decided to headline with Faster Pussycats as their opener. The band thus went to Germany, Holland and UK as headlining acts (September 29 - October 8, 1987).

Axl looked forward to re-visiting England:

"We are looking forward to this so much. It's a chance to get out around the country and visit some of the places that fans travelled from to see us at the Marquee [in June earlier that year]. We had a blast in London earlier this year and I'm sure this tour will go extremely well [Kerrang! October 1987].
But after the tour, Slash would not be too positive about the five UK shows they did:

When [the next LP] comes out, we're all very adamant about going to England first to tour... It seems like out of everywhere we've played we've sort of, like, cut England short. We haven't given it, I dont think, enough of our time. I mean, we did a tour in England with Faster Pussycat, and there were a couple shows that were great, bit the whole tour itself was sort of half-assed. It was only five shows and I don't think we gave enough in a lot of those shows... [Kerrang! April 1989].
In September Axl's voice was in trouble again and the band was starting to feel exhausted:

[...] Axl's voice is getting to the point where he can't keep going. Everybody's been having a good time. The thing is, we're burned out[Musician, December 1988].
After returning to US, they toured the East Coast (October 16, November 1, 1987), supported by EZO who were also on Geffen which, according to Axl, "made it really easy just to do quickly" [Rock City News, January 1988]. 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].
Some memorable shows during this period of touring Appetite for Destruction, was at the Hammersmith Odeon in London (October 8) which according to Mick Wall was a fantastic show [Kerrang! March 1989]; at The Ritz in New York City (October 23) where Dave Mustaine was thrown off the stage when he wandered on with a guitar in his hands ("We didn't know who he was. We just thought it was some weirdo out of the crowd" [Kerrang! March 1989]); and at CBGB in New York City (October 30, 1987) where the band debuted 'Patience'.

Next up was a show as CBGB, the famous punk rock club in Manhattan. Duff was particularly excited because his heroes Iggy Pop and the Ramones had played there. A lot of my favourites like Blondie and Talking Heads has started out there too. When we got there, I said, "Are you sure this is CBGB?" It was the smallest room, very, very intimate. It held only like fifty to seventy people. I just couldn't imagine that all those famous bands had played there. We performed an acoustic set and I rocked the tambourine. We debuted some songs that we hand't played publicly yet. The lyrics "I used to love her...but I had to kill her" from "Used to Love Her" got a huge laugh. And "Patience" got a very nice response. We also played "Mr. Brownstone" and "Move to the City". Someone yelled out, "Drum solo!" so I shook the tambourine wildly. Everyone laughed [Steve's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 145]


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

NOVEMBER 1987 - OPENING FOR MOTLEY CRUE

After these individual shows around the US, the band opened for Mötley Crue on their "Girls, Girls, Girls" tour in the US (November 3-29, 1987), something Izzy had been looking forward to [Concert Shots, May 1986]. Originally, Whitesnake was supposed to open on this tour but dropped out to headline their own tour [Kerrang! March 1989].

The Crue tour was a much bigger show then what the band was used to by then, and, according to Axl, the band "learned a lot about professionalism from that. Fuckin’ a lot" [Rock City News, January 1988]. The band also learnt a lot about partying and wild living:

Talkin' of sick. Y'now Motley Crue? Sick fuckin' guys, man! Real sick fucks, those guys! […] You wouldn't have believed these guys. Like they're doin' an ounce of cocaine each a fuckin' day. These guys are walkin' into fuckin' walls, man. And they're doing this shit... Y'know, havin' this chick tied to the bed and stuff. And they tried to get us into that shit too, just to fuck us up, right. Which is what happened. I mean, can you believe... These guys gave fuckin' Stevie fuckin' Ajax to snort all fuckin' night. Fucked him up. You don't pull that kinda shit on another musician! [The Face, October 1989].
Obviously, this was a raucous period of the band. Doug Goldstein, who was the tour manager at the time, would say "These guys are nuts. I mean, they keep me hopping, all the time. I'm getting about two hours sleep a-night. […] They are the craziest guys I ever worked for. […] I have to make sure that I always have enough alcohol. It doesn't matter if it's 8 am or when" [Interview after Lakeland show, November 24, 1987]. Slash would concur:

That was the craziest tour we'd ever been on [Kerrang! March 1989].
One incident happened when Slash and Nikki Sixx were wrestling, resulting in neck injury for Slash:

[…] Nikki Sixx fell on me when we were wrestling one night, and I dislocated three of the vertebrae in my neck, and I had to go onstage. So I was in agony and still had to play […] [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989].
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].
Then we went out with Motley Crue, which was great. I mean, playing 15,000 seaters and stuff with bands like ourselves just fresh out of the clubs. It went over real well [Rock City News, January 1988].
Reminiscing about walking around at the arenas when they were opening for Crue and just freaking - our little band as a part of this huge, major thing [Circus Magazine, September 1989].
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]. According to Izzy, they should also have continued touring with Motley in Europe after the US tour, but this was cancelled when the guys in Motley had to "go into detox" [The Face, October 1987]. This was likely due to Sixx' overdose. This planned European tour with Motley is mentioned in other contemporary sources, and was planned to extend into 1988 [Interview with Steven Harris, December 1987; Rock City News, January 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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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

NOVEMBER 22, 1987 - THE OMNI, ATLANTA, AXL GETS ARRESTED

In Atlanta on November 22, at The Omni, when touring with Motley Crue, 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 this 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].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:06 am

THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THINGS

When the band started out, they did everything themselves. Luckily, when it came to their own career and making it as musicians, the band was tenacious and driven.

The band happened top be pretty street smart and we always managed to take care of ourselves and all that crap. At the same time, there was an amount of naivete going into the whole thing. I mean, we were hip tp not getting screwed and all that stuff. We weren't going to be taken advantage of. But at the same time we had no idea where we were headed. Basically, the rule of the game was to make as much money as possible and not get screwed out of percentage. […] the amount of time I put into [guitar playing] was the same amount of time I put into the band. I would put in 12-18 hours a day[Scene Magazine, April 1988].
Slash designed most of the band's artwork [ref?] and would design the band's first t-shirt [Circus Magazine, May 1988].

I'm very business-oriented when it comes to knowing what all the figures mean and making sure we don't get ripped off[Kerrang! December 1988].
Later, as the band grew in popularity, they would argue that they were picking up on the business side of it:

We learned how to survive. We learned who's who in the music business. We learned how to tell when someone's full of shit. We've learned some hard lessons and had to pay some out-of-court settlements. At least we're smart enough to talk straight business now. If someone in this band is like, 'Okay, we're up against a wall' we have people - lawyers, other lawyers and other accountants - so that any mess we manage to get into, we can get out of [RIP, April 1989].
What I'd tell any kid in high school is "Take business classes." I don't care what else you're gonna do, if you're gonna do art or anything, take business classes. You can say, "Well, I don't want to get commercial," but if you do anything to make any money, you're doing something commercial. You can be flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, but you're a commercial burger flipper [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
Robert John: "as far as business goes, these guys really know what they're doing" [Rock Scene, October 1989].

Izzy and I had always done a lot of reading on Alice Cooper. Not only because we admired him, but also because we figured that anyone who could get this act off the ground had to be a genius ­and that would be his manager (Shep Gordon). So we'd always read as much as we could about Shep, and we met Shep in Long Beach that night [February 26, 1988], and we told him about how we'd read about him. And he said, "Yeah? Well, that's great, man, because I always used to go in and pull out my book on Elvis when we were first starting out." He told us that Elvis had in his contract that when he put out a record, every piece of RCA stationery must have the title of his new record on it, no matter which act it was promoting. Shep wanted to do that, and the record company said it couldn't be done - and Shep got his Elvis book and said "It's right here on page 42" [Cream, Septembert 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 5:43 am

DECEMBER 1987 - OPENING FOR ALICE COOPER

The Mötley Crue tour ended after Nikki Sixx' overdose on November 29, and the band, who had planned to continue touring with Motley in Europe [The Face, October 1989] was without a job. Fortunately, the band got a call from Alice Cooper asking them to open for him for two weeks in December (December 3-19, 1987) [The Face, October 1989].

We said, 'Alice Cooper... Fuckin' A!' Hey, I grew up listening to y'know "Sick Things", "I Love the Dead". It was a lot better than fuckin' reality. So we did 'em. Alice was cool. He's still... Y'know... "Alice" [The Face, October 1989].
Opening for Alice Cooper was monumental because me and Izzy, it's funny, we leave Alice Cooper onstage and go backstage to get our showers and have an old Alice Cooper taped in, you know, in the deck playing, and not because we were on tour with Alice Coopers but because it's stuff we listen to. And I go, "Wait a minute man, we'll shut the tape off and go out and watch it live for the first time in our lives" [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

This was an eventful tour, with Steven breaking his hand and having to be replaced with Fred Coury and fights (see below).

The band would remember the shows with Alice Cooper this way:

We were the epitome of Red Dog surviving on the road. Plus we had to play in the corner of the stage because Alice’s stage set was so large [Rock City News, January 1988].
Everybody in the band on the Alice Cooper tour was really cool to us, they dug it. They’d be walking down the halls going, “Welcome to the Jungle”, you know. And we hung out with Alice and was like, you know, this is a great band and stuff, and we did photos with him [Rock City News, January 1988].
The last night of the tour he was getting off the stage, and me and Axl were hanging out on the side, and he goes by and says, “Hey man, thanks for everything” [Rock City News, January 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 6:50 am

DECEMBER 1987 - STEVEN BREAKS HIS HAND AND FRED COURY STEPS IN

During the tour with Alice Cooper, when the band was about to travel to Chicago for their UIC Pavilion show on December 18, 1987, Steven broke a finger in his hand, according to Izzy after having got in some trouble at a Holiday Inn.

I’ll explain to you very basically what happened with my hand. I went to this bar in Michigan for lunch, and I had 14 Kamikaze’s (7 but they were doubles). Anyway, I got drunk, got a little out of hand, got into this fight with the manager, no, what do they call them? [...] Lumberjacks. This big old dude just pushed me around, tossed me out of the door of the bar. There was this lamppost outside, I got mad, punched it, kinda missed and hit the metal part. I wasn’t the nicest guy in the universe after that [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
He drank 7 double kamikazis and punched a lightpost outside the bar [Rock City News, January 1988].
He missed the glass part and hit the metal. Broke his hand in 14 places [Rock City News, January 1988].
Anyway, after like a week Alice's old man died or somethin', a gig was canceled and we got, like, really slaughtered in a Holiday Inn like somewhere in West Michigan. And it's snowing, right, fuckin' Stevie's fucked up, he goes and punches out a fuckin' electric light bulb in the fuckin' street, man. His hand's fuckin' swellin' up like an egg and he's on the bus cryin' and shit. We're goin', 'Shut the fuck up!' This shit tends to use up an awful fuckin' lot of our time [The Face, October 1989].
Apparently, Steven was so messed up Slash and Duff had to drag him away across the street, resulting in wounds to his back. Doug Goldstein then took him to the hospital [Late Night Bull, December 1987]. To step in for Steven, the band used Fred Coury, the drummer in Cinderella:

Right now we're using Fred Coury from Cinderella because our drummer has a broken hand, and so him and Fred are really good friends and Fred flew in and Fred knows all the songs because he has time off right now. And so the other night we were playing with Alice Cooper and Fred played two songs he'd never played before all his life live. [...] He did great, he did great [?]. I told the crowd, "Not bad for a guy who's never played the song before, huh?" and they went screaming [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
So, we were up in the northern part of the country a maple of months ago and we met the likes of this character right here (points to Fred). He came to a few of our shows. You know, he told us that he practiced to our album. Drummers do that, Steve practices to Frankie Vallie and Fred practices to our album. We thought, Stevie broke his hand but we’re obligated to finish this tour. We’re obligated to a lot of things actually. So we called Fred Coury and he was gracious enough to come out and do this for us [Late Night Bull, December 1987].
Fred’s really cool, and he came and filled in at the last minute, and he knew all the songs and he really saved our necks [Rock City News, January 1988].
That was very strange. Freddy is a great drummer, but every drummer has a different feel, and even if he's playing exactly what Stevie's doing on the record, it's not the same. You know, I was a drummer before I played bass, and that gave me more insight into working with a drummer, because you know what's going on inside his head. So it creates a much better groove because we can talk to each other. Most drummers are odd things to begin with, and usually the band can't understand what he's saying. But me and Stevie are real tight, so I did not enjoy playing with a different drummer [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
Coury would claim to be paid $ 25,000 per show [Late Night Bull, December 1987]. In August 2018, Coury would describe how he became the stand-in for Steven: "I got a call on my answering machine that simply said “learn the song on your outgoing message, I’ll call back in an hour”. (I had Welcome To The Jungle on my machine) it was GNR’s manager. 3 hrs later I was on a flight to Minneapolis to play a show that night with them. Steven had broken his hand and they asked me to fill in for the remainder of the tour" [Thunder Bay Arena Rock, August 2018].

Interestingly, Slash would admit to having broken his hand, too, some time before Steven's incident, in Seattle and having to wear a cast for eight weeks [Late Night Bull, December 1987].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 6:50 am

DECEMBER 18, 1987 - "BON JOVI CAN SUCK MY DICK"

Their first show with Fred Coury replacing Steven was at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on December 18, 1987. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "the band members got hassled when they tried to check into the hotel early. A fight was narrowly averted. Later that night, in the hotel bar, Axl punched a business man who hassled his friends and called the singer a "Bon Jovi look-alike." Dozens of cops broke up the brawl, and Axl and Steven went to jail. Steven would later prefer to not say too much about this incident:

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].
Afterward, Goldstein found Slash drunk in the bar, threw the guitarist over his shoulder and carried him back to his room. To show his thanks, Slash peed on Goldstein's shoulder [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

From the stage in Madison the next day, Axl would say he got in a fight because he had long hair and that one guy grabbed him and told him he looked like Bon Jovi:

Bon Jovi can suck my dick! [Onstage at Dane County Coliseum, Madison, December 1987].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 6:50 am

DECEMBER 1987-FEBRUARY 1988 - SHOWS AT THE PERKINS PALACE AND INDIVIDUAL SHOWS

After the Alice Cooper tour the band played four shows at The Perkins Place in Pasadena, California in late December (26., 27., 28. and 30.).

We only booked one, and then that sold out and then we tried another one. And then after 4 shows we were going to try for 5, but the people at the Rose Bowl wouldn’t let us. Can you imagine booking the Rose Bowl?[Rock City News, January 1988]
The Perkins Palace shows were some of the best shows we'd ever done...and Fred Curry [sic] was playing[Slash's autobiography, p. 223]

The band started February with selected shows in the Los Angeles area. The first one was a KNAC anniversary party in Santa Monica (January 5), then a Drunk Fux show at the Coconut Teazer in Hollywood (January 14), a show at The Cathouse (January 21).

When in Seattle, in early February 1988, the band was informed that Appetite had sold to gold:

[...]at the time, I knew it was gonna happen. The day before, I got woken up in the middle of the night. And I was like, 'If this is about going gold I'm gonna be so pissed off.' God, if other people had my problems, right?  [Rock Scene Magazine, June 1988]


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 6:50 am

JANUARY 31, 1988 - THE LIMELIGHT

The Limelight show was semi-acoustic and for some reason the band was drunker than usual:

(Grimaces) I hate to say it, but that was more of a money thing—we had this gig at the Limelight for $7,500 for 45 minutes. So we said O.K., but my heart wasn't into it. I didn't want to do it because . . . my major problem with acoustic stuff is that we've never sat down and arranged any acoustic material. Those songs weren't written as Guns N' Roses rock & roll. No one's really got their own parts; Axl sings, the rest of us just wing it. I got really drunk before we went on stage, which is something I never do[Circus Magazine, May 1988].
[...] we played The Limelight, acoustically, or semi-acoustically, everyone was so fucking drunk. Slash fell off the stage like three times, Steven fell off his drum set, Izzy, just, like fell over, and the only people left on the stage was Axl and myself [Making Fucking Videos, 1991]
Two night before [the Ritz] show, we decided to play a semi-acoustic surprise show at a venue in Manhattan called the Limelight, a former church. By the time we headed into the sanctuary, everyone in the band was so fucked up that we lost members one by one as the set progressed. eventually everyone except me and Axl went down. It was a comical gig, but I took something serious away from it. I told myself I would never get so deep in my cups that I wouldn't be able to play[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 132].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sat May 05, 2018 6:51 am

FEBRUARY 2, 1988 - "WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, RITZ!!"

On February 2, 1988, the band would play a show on The Ritz that was videotaped by MTV. The Ritz show was extensively aired on MTV and got the band much publicity.

In New York, we filmed a show for MTV, which was another one of those nights that was a great show for fun, and the crowd was crazy. The show didn't necessarily go as well as I think it should have. We had a monitor man, and on stage, it was the twilight zone. I stage-dived, and my Thin Lizzy shirt got shredded right off my body. The crowd grabbed my necklaces and started choking me, pulling my hair. Some little kid had my arm between his knees with his legs wrapped around and his hand behind his back holding onto my hand, trying to steal my bracelets and was not going to let go of me until he got them. I couldn't get a hand free to punch him in the head because Doug Goldstein (GNR's tour manager) had my other arm and was trying to yank me back to the stage, an I'm getting split in two. There like, 30 people trying to throw me back on stage and another 30 trying to get a piece of Axl. It was a blast! [Blast! May 1988].
Personally, I think we looked like a bunch of idiots on it [...] [Felt Forum, September 5, 1988].
You see on that live MTV thing, everything was pro except this monitor man who didn't have a clue what was going on. The crowd's hearing the show, everything's great, we're hearing spaceships' landing onstage, backwards echoes, screaming feedback, and the drummer doesn't know what, Steven doesn't know what's going on. Finally I tried to nail the monitor man with my microphone and my tour manager moved and I nailed him [laughs]. That was messy. But it leaves for some excitement [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1988].
Ahh, I hate that concert. [...] You know everybody likes it, but it was the worst playing...especially on my part. It was just bad. [...] Yeah, [the audience] did everything to me! They untuned my guitars and they pulled my jacks out. [...] We were all out of tune for the first three songs. It was chaos.[Circus Magazine - "Up Close and Personal with Guns' Slash and Duff", July 1989]
It's bad, it's terrible![...] My bass went out of tune for two songs.[...] I think people like it more like in the way when you drive past a car accident and somebody's mutilated, you know, it's like you can't help but look at it![Circus Magazine - "Up Close and Personal with Guns' Slash and Duff", July 1989]
The Ritz show in New York we played that trip was hugely popular on MTV. It wasn't one of our greatest shows by any means: Axl was having vocal problems, and though we didn't play badly, we'd played so much better in the recent past. In any case, it was loose and out of tune and punk rock, and for those reasons alone, it is something to be recognized. That footage is important because it is the essence of the band. The crowd was great, and like so many memorable moments, it was over and done before I knew it [Slash's autobiography, p 225]
MTV had contacted our management about taping one of our live performances while in the Apple, and it was scheduled for our appearance at the Ritz on February 2. Label mates Great White opened for us. After their set, it was time for us to hit the stage. I'm all ready to go, and fucking Axl is holding us up. Of all the times for him to do this. MTV was there, and this was huge, but eventually the MTV guys were like, "We gotta go, we gotta get this going, guys". Axl's like, "Fuck it. I'm not going on unless I have my bandanna!" Apparently, he couldn't find it after tearing apart the little hovel they gave us backstage. Of course the rest of the band was avoiding any eye contact with Axl, preferring to wander off, out of earshot, to do their grumbling. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. "What's wrong with you, Axl?" He shrugged me off and continued with his insane tirade. He had all of our roadies looking around for people who had scarves or bandannas. I said, "C'mon, Axl, let's just go on." He blurted out, Fuck that. Fuck you. I need a bandanna or a scarf or I'm not doing this. Now, we're thirty minutes late. The cameramen were tired of standing around and said, "We're outta here." I was the only one who was openly begging them to stay: "Please, don't go, we'll go on." I'm sure that's why I am featured prominently throughout the video, because I showed some respect for the MTV crew. Axl finally found a fucking scarf, some bowder-blue, girly-looking thing, and the show began. He put it on, and he got this Little Rascals Alfalfa look going, because his hair was pushed up, like a ridiculous cowlick, on the back of his head. I'm sitting there playing and just laughing. "You dick, look at you. You couldn't go on without your scarf, and now you look like you're in an Our Gang movie."Someone must have tipped him off, because he finally got wise to it and adjusted the bandanna. In spite of all the drama, the show went off fantastically. It's become one of the most widely bootlegged performances of the band[/i][Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 156-157]
I think that was the same night that I stage-dove and the crowd parted like the Red Sea and let me hit the floor. I lay there for a moment taking stock of whether I'd broken any bones or not. Then I got back on stage and tried to maintain some semblance of cool [Slash's autobiography, p 225]


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 06, 2018 8:28 am

FEBRUARY 1988 - TOURING WIHT TSOL AND AXL IS FIRED FROM HE BAND

In the beginning of February 1988, the band did an eight show tour of California with T.S.O.L. as the opener (February 2-February 12). They should have done nine shows, but crises happened.

The ninth show, at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix (planned for February 13), was cancelled because, according to Rolling Stone magazine, "Axl decided not to show up […] leaving the opening band, T.S.O.L., to improvise Zeppelin jams until the Gunners' cancellation was announced" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Axl had ended the previous day's show early (on February 12, also on Celebrity Theatre), right after 'Nightrain' preventing the band from going through their encore [Yahoo Music, April 2016]. According to Circus Magazine, Axl had "collapsed" during Nightrain [Circus Magazine, May 1988]. Axl would blame it on an accident leading to a split lip:

In Phoenix, everything went wrong! The first show we did was okay, but there were a lot things, like the wireiess wouldn't work because of radio signals or something, picking up radio stations. I had a chord mike, and it was a different-shaped microphone, and the chord kept getting tangled on everything. It was a jinxed chord that had a mind of its own. All of a sudden, when I pulled the mike back, it whipped and smacked me in the mouth real hard. Someone else's chord got tangled on mine or someone tripped on mine. It cut my top lip in half. They were telling me to get stitches and everything like that. I couldn't go back on, so the band did a blues thing, and we were outta there [Blast! May 1988].
On the second day, Axl wasn't feeling well:

By the time of the next show. I was trying to avoid everybody in the band--not because I don't like anybody, but because when you're mad, you tend to say things you don't really mean, and I wanted to wait until I'd calmed down. I wasn't feeling well. I started feeling pretty down and out and sick. My lip was bothering me. The hotel kept sending maids in, and they couldn't get anything right when I ordered food. I wasn't in any condition to go out. I was just trying to get myself together for the show, so I ended up ripping my phone out of the wall and smashing it, as well as smashing a couple of lamps and some tables. I was just trying to get some peace and some sleep before the show. The next thing I know, there are people knocking on my door, and I'm telling 'em to get away from me. They're trying to break in my door, but I had it chained. No one knew what Axl's doing. They think Pm in there shooting up or killing myself or I'm mad at the world and won't do the show. I had every intention of doing the show. I was feeling pretty sick, and I got to the show late, and they'd already cancelled the show, unbeknownst to me [Blast! May 1988].
The show promoter, Danny Zelisko recalled in 2016 that he had been across town when he got the call from the manager at the venue, "Man, you better get down here right away. This place is going to explode" because, as Zelisko would describe it, "The opening act had been on for 90 minutes and Axl wouldn’t come out of his hotel room" [Vulture, 2016]. T.S.O.L. was only intended to play a 40 minute set, but Niven had told them to continue playing.

I was trying to buy time. Finally, these poor guys in T.S.O.L. came offstage after playing Beatles covers. They looked at me mournfully and said, ‘We’ve played absolutely everything we know. We’re beat. Can we quit now?’  [Yahoo Music, April 2016]
Alan would confirm trying to get into Axl's room:

We tried everything to get him out. We banged on the door and shouted, ‘C’mon, dude we got a gig. Come out!’ and he’d shout back, ‘Fuck off!’ I don’t know if Axl and Erin were fighting. That was probably something that happened more often than not, but he refused to come out no matter what we said [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
Niven told Zelisko that Axl wouldn't come causing Zelisko to wonder, "How are we going to get out of this building alive?” then turning to Niven, "You have a nice British accent. You make the announcement. I’m not getting torched.” Niven did, saying that Rose had "throat problems" [Vulture, 2016].

That was the moment I had to walk onstage and say, ‘Tonight’s performance by Guns N’ Roses, unfortunately, will not occur due to a medical emergency.’ Immediately, people started throwing shit at me and it got ugly fast. The crowd rioted and it spilled out into the parking lot, and at least one car was turned over and set on fire [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
Axl would describe the scene:

I saw, like, 12 cop cars--cops everywhere, kids smashing in windshields, kicking in cars. I realized the show had been cancelled, so I took a cab real slow around the place, watching the whole scene and then went back to the hotel [Blast! May 1988].
According to Blast Magazine a "full-scale riot broke out" with damages "into the thousands" [Blast! May, 1988].

Zelisko's story differs, saying that "the crowd dispersed peacefully".

As a make-good, the band agreed to return to play a benefit show later in the year and everybody, except Axl, came to Zelisko's barbeque the day before that gig [Vulture, 2016].

Axl not turning up for the second show in Phoenix was the final straw for his band mates who fired him, only to allow him back into the band a few days later after Izzy and Slash allowed him to explain himself [Sounds Magazine, November 1989]. Axl would explicitly say he was fired from the band, but would imply the band was close to splitting:

I flew back to L A. and have since gone to a doctor, who said I was just exhausted. He also said I suffer from insomnia. They're taking blood tests and stuff. A lot of people think it's drugs or I have AIDS because that's the new popular rumor. It's nothing that serious, but it's something serious enough that it caused problems in the machinery of Guns N' Roses. Now we're taking the time to regroup. We've had countless meetings, and everybody's on really good terms. Everything seems to be worked out real well, and we're planning our next stages. I know everybody says that--a lot of bands say that, and the next thing you know, they're trying to kill each other, but we're actually trying to put things in order. It's good that we're doing this now rather than selling a million records and then everybody splits and no one in the band talks to one I another because you hate each other's guts. This band is a family, and that's very important to me. […] One of the things that makes Guns N' Roses work is the fact that we are very volatile. We put that into our music. At this point, we're not breaking up. As a matter of fact, it seems to be tighter than ever. Everybody realizes there's a lot more work to do and a lot more communication needed. Duff came up to me the other day, and I explained that the situation in Phoenix didn't have anything to do with the band. I said, 'I felt really bad because I love you guys, and he goes, 'I thought you hated me.' I was like, 'No, man, I don't hate you.' He's like, 'Well, call me,' and I'm like, 'I didn't know you wanted me to.' I didn't know he wanted to hear from me because I thought he was busy with his own life. What we found out is that while we thought everybody was mad at each other, and we were in a position where it looked like breaking up would be the best thing, everybody basically digs the hell our of each other and was mad that we don't hang out together more. We've sat down and talked it all out and found out that we really care about each other much more than we real thought. Nobody wants to play with anybody else [Blast! May 1988].

A consequence of the cancellation of the second Celebrity Theater show, the planned tour with David Lee Roth was cancelled [Blast! May 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Mon May 07, 2018 10:38 pm

THE ESCALATION OF BAD HABITS

During the Appetite for Destruction touring in 1987 and 1988, the band lived out lives of sex, drugs and rock and roll. This was a period of constant touring, gigs every week, and learning from the headliners, especially Mötley Crüe, who had been on this circuit of debauchery for much longer. But compared to before they were signed, this was also a period with substantial down-time, between recordings and between tours:

Yeah, I’m kind of bouncing off the walls. Getting prepared to record [Appetite] is involving a lot of time sitting around with nothing to do. And that’s time that I need to fill. It’s not just me. We all really need constant activity. We hate the dead time, sitting around waiting for something to happen [Hit Parader, July 1987].
It pretty much began when we signed with our record company. Before that we were rocking out and kicking ass all the time. Then all of the sudden we found ourselves sitting around with a lot of money, being told not to do anything, there’s only one thing you can do. Party! [Hit Parader, July 1987].
And "party" would mean lots of alcohol and drugs, something the media would love to write about. Despite this, the band would occasionally, and outrageously, deny any drug addictions:

I'll put it this way, there's no chemical de­pendencies in Guns N' Roses [BAM, November 1987].
We’re not saying we’re angels in this band, because that would be a fucking lie. But we don’t use drugs, and we really never have. When you live in a place like L.A., you get to see what cocaine does to people every day. It’s not cool [Hit Parader, October 1988].
Like with the drugs, they've pretty much gone now and that's because we've never met a single person that took a substantial amount of drugs over a long period of time who didn't have to go into rehabilitation or who didn't go down the drain. It just leads to instability and insecurity [Melody Maker, March 1989, but interview from October/November 1988].
The drug thing is no big deal. Two years ago, maybe it was. [...] [Being asked if it is part of the past] As far as you know [MTV, October 1988].
Although they were less likely to deny being heavy drinkers, which would, of course, be difficult since they regularly drank, or were drunk, during interviews. Slash, for instance, would insist on being drunk before interviews due to being too "introverted" to talk sober, asking the interviewers to bring Jack Daniels [Rock Scene, September 1987].

I do have a chemical dependency. Just one. I drink. But it's all-Amer­ican. When I get thrown out of a bar I say 'How un-American!' [BAM, November 1987].
I don't think I'm gonna buy a car for a while, though… I'm too psychotic behind the wheel, I'd kill somebody. I lost somebody's car the other night. I borrowed a car to drive myself home from a friend's, and I was so drunk that I parked it somewhere, but I can't remember where. It's just gone, kaput! I have the keys sitting on the table in my living room, and I don't even know where it is. And the thing is, I always want to drive when I'm drunk. It doesn't really interest me as much when I'm sober. I get drunk and I want to drive fast, and I just know it's gonna get me into big trouble one day if I don't watch out… I've been through the experience once already of hitting somebody in a car… I hit a van, it was when we were recording [Appetite]. I realised pretty quickly then that one drunken night just isn't worth years in jail, or being responsible for somebody else's misery… [Kerrang! December 1988]
We don’t do drugs - but we do drink a lot [Hit Parader, October 1988].
After having ordered his fourth vodka double during the interview: This sounds sort of childish, but I have to drink a certain amount before we go onstage or I'm awkward and I can't play right. Otherwise I'm too jittery. But a lot of people see me hanging around clubs drunk off my ass, and they think that's all we're about. We get this image for being irresponsible punks who don't care about anything. Well, we are sort of like that, but we don't do it on purpose, we're just being young! I think the Stones were like that [Musician, December 1988].
Axl would be more forthcoming and indicate that Izzy and Steven had a serious heroin problem in late 1986, and indicate it wasn't over in 1987:

It happens lots of times and we kind of kick each others ass. 'Put the bottle down or l' m gonna put it over your head!' It's come down to that. It came down to that with heroin about a year ago. Izzy and Slash were way into it and everybody else was dabbling. It came down to this shit has to go or we might as well just stop right here [BAM, November 1987].
Axl would echo this sentiment in mid-1988:

I think we keep [the drug use] under control because we all want what we’re doing. It does get out of hand sometimes – but then the guy who’s getting out of hand all of a sudden has the other four guys coming down on his ass [Cream, September 1988, but quote is from mid-1988].
At some point in 1988, Izzy got in a scuffle with Vince Neil's wife at a party. According to Izzy, he had her ejected from a private room at a local rock club; but according to Neil, Izzy had attempted to remove Neil's wife's clothing and later kicked her in the stomach. Neil's wife pressed assault charges against Izzy, but they were dropped. In September 1989, Neil would try to get his revenge when he would attack Izzy at MVT Music Video Awards [Los Angeles Times, September 1989].

Izzy also got in trouble at the very end of 1988 when the band headed to Japan for some gigs. Alan Niven told the band to get rid of any drugs they had, resulting in Izzy swallowing his stash and allegedly sending him into a 36-hour coma.

Despite Slash, Izzy and Duff claiming otherwise, Slash was heavily into heroin in 1988. The band spent most of January 1988 in Los Angeles In June 1988 because a tour with Motley Cru fell through, and Slash did not handle the idleness very well:

We just spent a month in L.A. that I really thought was going to be the end of me. I have to keep moving because it isn't healthy for me to stop [Circus Magazine, May 1988].
At some point, probably beginning of 1988, Slash would move to a TraveLodge apartment in Hermosa Beach to get away from Hollywood [Spin, May 1988].

After the early ending of the Iron Maiden tour in June, Slash put his heroin use in high gear (again) due to idleness. To sober him up, band management sent him on an 8 day trip to Hawaii to get him away from the toxic environment of Los Angeles:

All in all I can't say that it hurt me. I took vitamins for, like, eight days, didn't drink that much, got a suntan. I hadn't been out of a pair of black jeans since I was about 14! I was getting ingrowing hairs on my legs! [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
As Izzy would describe him in that period:

You'd really stepped off the edge, though [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
It is possible that this is the period Slash would refer to in the Rolling Stone interview in November 1988:

There was a point where I fuckin' stopped playing guitar and didn't even talk to my band except for Izzy, 'cause we were both doing it. I didn't come out of the apartment for three months, except to go to the market. The one thing that really stopped me was a phone call from Duff saying, 'You've alienated yourself from everybody.' Since they're the only people I'm really close to, that really affected me, and I finally quit [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
The only problem with connecting this quote to the period after the terminated Iron Maiden tour, is that the stop in touring did not last for three months. Slash is possibly here talking about his drug use in early 1987, instead.

Regardless, any sobriety reached by Slash did not last long, if it happened at all, because about a month later, in July 1988, he would be using heroin together with Todd Crew.

Duff soon realized that his panic attacks were triggered by flying, and he dulled his senses by drinking in excess before flights [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 130]. This can be gleamed from an interview he did at the day of Monster of Rock festival at Donington in August 1988:

Being asked what it meant to him when he heard Guns N' Roses was on the Monsters of Rock bill: It meant we'd have to fly over here and fly back. [...] We took the Concord out here. It was great. We ate dinner and we were here. We get to the airport and they send us to this Concord lounge, which has got a bar, free bar. I was in heaven. Food. Then you get escorted to the plane. We almost didn't make it. We actually got into a fight in the airport with some guy. So all these cops came. The pilot said, "one foul word out of any of you guys and you're out of here!" Fair enough [Unknown publication, August 1988].
Despite trying heroin together with Steven and Slash and experimenting with pills like quaaludes [Rock City News, January 1988], Duff mostly kept to alcohol.

Recalling how the drummer from Faster Pussycat passed out in Duff's bed: I couldn't understand it, but this made Duff super-pissed. Duff's the mellowest guy, but the booze could turn him into one mean mother. "Fuck this shit," he said. He wanted to play a practical joke on the guy, so he had me help him grab and tie the drummer's legs and wrists with duct tape. We taped all around his mouth and head too and we carried him to the hotel elevator. It was one of those really old lifts with the gate that you have to pull open. We threw him in, and at that point, I thought it was funny as hell.

Then Duff pressed all the buttons in the elevator, closed the door, and let him go. The next day at the show, Duff and I saw hi, bruised and very hungover. He avoided us completely, never uttering a word about the previous night
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 134-137].
Steven was also becoming a heroin junkie. He tried it for the first time in Amsterdam in October 1987 [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 133]. Steven had his first heroin overdose in August or September 1988:

I woke up in a hospital room the day we were supposed to be filming our second scene for [The Dead Pool]. I had no idea how long I had been out. In fact, I had no idea where I was or what has happened, but as my Visio cleared it was apparent someone was keeping vigil over me. Someone was at my bedside patiently waiting for me to come out of it, though no one knew if or when that would be.

I blinked. I blinked again. It was Axl. Axl got up and was now standing over me. He smiled. He looked genuinely relieved. He said, "Man, that was close, Stevie." He was the only one there. Later, a nurse told me he had sat by my bed the whole time, The other guys went ahead to do the movie but Axl stayed at the hospital[/i] [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 162-163].
During the tour with Alice Cooper in December 1987, Steven broke a bone in a finger when he in anger hit the door of a bar where he had just been thrown out. As a result of this, Fred Coury from Cinderella had to step in for Steven on drums on the following shows.

After that incident, things started to accelerate downhill. The band was just like, "What a dumbass, breaking his hand." They didn't care about me one bit. No one called the hospital while I was there. There was no talk of postponing anything until I knitted up. They just went out and got someone else to fill in. I swear, if it was anybody else in the band, they would never have gotten a replacement. No way in hell [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 152-153].
In July 1988, Alan Niven would describe the band this way:

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Their reputation is not unjustly earned. But I also think there's been a tremendous amount of exaggeration about their exploits. [...] Let's just say that they are very willful and they do like to enjoy themselves. In fact, sometimes they really enjoy themselves. And right now I'd just like them to enjoy their career [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].
When the band toured with Aerosmith in July to September 1988, they did their best to hide alcohol and drugs from the recently sober Steven Tyler and Joe Perry [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 135]. In fact, according to Rolling Stone in November 1988, their rider said they should confine drinking to their dressing room and leave the arena right after their set as to not tempt Aerosmith [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Originally that was their managers plan, but there was no need for it. I mean, by the time the second show rolled around, it was that soon, it was like "Come on, let's go hang out". There was no problems[MTV, October 1988].
And Aerosmith wasn't just aware of the rumors of drug use in Guns N' Roses, they had themselves directly bought drugs from Guns N' Roses before, according to Slash [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. This was likely from Izzy or Slash who both sold drugs at a time [Melody Maker, June 1987].

Duff writes that a turning point in his addiction came at the very last show of the Aerosmith tour in Costa Mesa at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County, CA (September 15, 1988). Actually, this show was not their latest of this tour, they would do one more show in USA before heading to Japan for 9 more shows. During the Costa Mesa show, their friends from Los Angeles came out to party. Duff, who had been careful about being sober during the tour with Aerosmith, was handed an eight of an ounce of cocaine and took it in combination with Valium and vodka.

When I hit the stage with Aerosmith, I was experiencing that toxic mix of uppers and downers for one of the first of what would become countless times in the future. Little did I know it would become my secret potion and cure-all for the next six years. I did it when I was happy. I did it when I was sad. I would do it until I was almost brain-dead, hopeless, and left for dead.

In hindsight, I can see that night as the moment I started the transformation from a guy who had spirit and soul and who looked at the cup as half full into a blackened shadow of my former self
[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 139]
Raz hung out with the band in September 1988, and noticed a change in the intra-band dynamics although he wouldn't go in any specifics:

Less than a year before, whenever I'd hang out with any of the guys, we'd have a blast. Get two or more of them together, and it was a legendary, good-time rock 'n' roll fun. When I headed out on the road with the second-most dangerous band in the world, I fully expected to live it up like we used to. But sadly, there were no big bags of blow or endless partying. [...] And although I left out all the gossip-column-style tell-all dirt, you might have heard that, at times, the guys didn't get on well. So of course there were a few tense, stressful interactions amongst folks during my visit [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 268].
There was no way of escaping the drug rumors, but the band tried to downplay the seriousness:

At the moment, I'm on three bottles of Jim Beam a day. Yeah, I fucking know that's a lot. It's a heroin thing, a tapering off from that. The heroin thing in this band is an old thing now but it was bad at one time. Me and Izzy were addicts at one time, even dealing it. You'd be surprised though. We've had and have a lot of integrity. Sure, we have a very loose attitude to things but we also have a very cheeky attitude. We're not stoopid. We're smart enough to be able to put things in perspective. No denying it's a sex 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll lifestyle but we're not overblown with it [Melody Maker, June 1987].
Izzy hardly even smokes anymore! Steven doesn't have any problems in those regards and Duff and I drink [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].
I'm not saying we're angels in this group - in fact we're just the opposite. But when it comes to drugs we're pretty smart. We know how that shit can really screw you up. When you've had as much good luck as we have over the last few months, why would we want to run the risk of fucking it up? [Hit Parader, November 1988].
You know, things like that gets blown way out of proportion, but uh, I mean, yeah, we probably do party a lot more than most people. But, you know, I don't see death in the imminent future here. It's a real morbid thought, you know, I wouldn't like to think that any of us are going to die [Interview Sessions, December 1988].
Our drug situation's not as bad as it was. Yeah, I have been out a few times - 'blue' and all that. We used to sing 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'; that's dedicated to my best friend Todd, who 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. That really scared me. I had a habit and I finally stopped it. And every so often, I'll 'chip,' you know, just for the fun of it. But that's not something you talk about because you don't want people to think, 'He's a drug addict' [Musician, December 1988].
Todd's death came on July 18, 1987. So Slash claims that from that point onwards, he reduced his drug use which is not true. If this is true, it was only temporarily, because Slash would be struggling with heroin addiction in 1988 and 1989, too.

Although the constant drinking was harder to deny for Slash:

I've suddenly got a lot more friends now than I did before. I've never been one to be real close to people in general, so on the whole, I don't find people trustworthy and I don't hang out with a lot of them. That's probably why I drink so much, 'cause it brings me out of my shell. […] Realistically, it's not the wisest thing .. . to drink yourself into the ground. People don't give me too much shit about it because they know what my reaction is going to be. I don't like being told what to do I make my own decisions. If I decide I want to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord. But I never get drunk before a show [Circus Magazine, May 1988].
I've got a bad drinking problem. It's the only thing that brings me out of my shell enough to be able to deal socially. [...] I'm an alcoholic in the sense that I need to drink all the time, but I don't have a physical dependence on it the way some people do [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
This sounds sort of childish, but I have to drink a certain amount before we go onstage or I'm awkward and I can't play right. Otherwise I'm too jittery [Musician, December 1988].
Slash was given a man, Ronnie Stalnaker, whose job it was to "follow Slash around when he was drunk" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

I'm one of those blackout drunks. I get so fucked up I don't remember anything. I probably give the impression of being a real asshole most of the time, but I'm not really that bad [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
When I get drunk I get like [Steven] does but I still manage to keep enough up here [in his head­] and to not fuck up things that concern my ultimate surroundings. [...] My most immediate surroundings I fuck up, but not the band stuff. Just my own personal shit. And, when Duff gets drunk he just gets very jovial, nice, and short-tempered. See, we take everything very unseriously, very lightly because, how really important [no matter what], in the general scheme of things [life in general], how important is a Rock & Roll band? [Late Night Bull, December 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Tue May 08, 2018 6:05 am

AXL'S MENTAL ISSUES

Axl had his share of issues in 1987 and 1988. The problem with Axl was not drug and alcohol use, though, he would steer away from excesses to perform at his best:

Axl doesn't do any drugs or even drink hardly anymore. He lives to be on that stage. He eats, sleeps and plays. That's it [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988 1988].
Since injuring his voice earlier in the year, and his future's uncertainty while recuperating, Axl was all business. No "champagne  and cocaine" rock star lifestyle, at least while I was around. Wahhhhhhh! Believe it or not, Aerosmith were a good influence on G N' R, who had agreed to substance-ly change their behavior when the Aero boys were present. Whatever the reason, Axl was attempting to live as healthy a lifestyle as the road would permit, all the while valiantly attempting to get adequate rest between performances[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 258-259].
I don't really go out to clubs anymore -- although I used to love to. I don't really drink that much either cause I try to keep my voice in shape, I'm using it a lot, you know. If I go out to clubs, I have to talk to so many people about so many different things that have who knows what to do with, and I'll end up having a few drinks or something. I kinda miss it, but that's fame for you, that's show biz [Rock Scene, April 1988].
Axl's problem was his temperament and mental stability. He would often get in fights, and, according to himself, not always through his own fault:

I have the worst temper. It's a hair-trigger temper and I am not proud of it. It's just something I learned to live with [Unknown US magazine (quoted in Juke Magazine, 1989), unknown date in 1988].
People pick fights. You can see it in their eyes, that in the back of their minds they're thinkin', "I can sue this guy" [Screamer, August 1988].
[...] 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]
His extreme mood swings would also send him into depression and according to Sounds Magazine [November 1989], he overdosed just two weeks prior to the band's trip to England in June 1987 for their gigs at the Marquee [Sounds Magazine, November 1989] in a way Axl described to MTV in 1990 sounds closely like a suicide attempt:

I started to write about when I OD'ed four years ago, and the reason why I OD'ed was because of stress, I couldn't take it, and I just grabbed this bottle of pills (?) in an argument and gulped it down and I ended up in a hospital. But I liked that I wasn't in a fight anymore and I was fully conscious that I was leaving. I liked that. But then I go, all of a sudden my real thoughts, though, were that 'Okay, you've haven't toured enough, the record's not gonna last, it's gonna be forgotten this and that, you've got work to do get out of this,' and I went 'No!' and I woke up, you know, pulled myself out of it. But in the describing of that some people could take it wrong and think it means to go and put yourself into a coma, so, it's a little tricky and I'm still playing with the words to figure out to, like, show some hope in there [Famous Last Words, MTV, 1990]
Just a month later, just before the release of Appetite for Destruction, Axl was said to have entered a "deep depression" [Juke Magazine, July 1989]. It is plausible to think that the possible suicide attempt in June 1987 was the result of the same depression.

According to Raz, some time during the summer of 1988, Axl overdosed, again, although Raz may have the timing off and describe the June 1987 overdose:

Not long before that muggy summer day in New Jersey [August 1988], [Axl] had arrived in an emergency room on the verge of experiencing an untimely death by misadventure. As he lay atop the gurney, fearing the end was nigh while fighting loss of consciousness, he sang to himself, "Axl 'made a record, went straight up to' number four." He then thought, "Whoa... I can't die like this." So he gathered the will to fight on and finish what he'd begun. Plus, the E.R. folks probably gave him a shot of something to send him in a different direction, and he was not twenty-seven[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 260].
In addition to his mood swings, Axl also behaved unpredictable in ways that caused problems for his band mates. In October 1988, Hit Parader wrote: "Over the last three months there’s been a constant stream of talk concerning the bands breaking up" [Hit Parader, October 1988]. The next month Hit Parader would also claim that around the time when Appetite for Destruction went platinum, "Axl Rose began acting too unpredictably for the other members of the group, and a vote was taken to kick Axl out of the band. Thankfully, cooler heads soon prevailed, and Axl was sent to a clinic where he was quickly able to regain control of his life and resume responsibilities as Guns' front man" [Hit Parader, November 1988]. This was also mentioned in Sounds Magazine [November 1989], "Axl was kicked out of Guns N' Roses in February 1988. He disappeared before a show in Phoenix, Arizona, which was subsequently cancelled. When Axl finally showed up the band told him he was no longer singer in Guns N' Roses. The split lasted two tense days before Izzy and Slash decided they'd hear Axl out and let him explain his absence. Clearly, his explanation was a good one". According to Hit Parader, this was Axl's comment to this event:

There's really not much to say about what happened. It got blown out of proportion in the press. It was something that went on within the band, and it's been settled now. So let's just put it behind us and look ahead, okay? [Hit Parader, November 1988]
The band would comment on this this way:

That's been one of the stories that's gotten bigger than all of us. And, as little as it was, it's past tense and it's not worth talking about cos it doesn't relate to what's going on now [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]
Look, there were some problems a while back, but those are more-or-less in the past now. This is the kind of band probably always have something strange going on in it. People don’t really understand us. They hear part of a story and they try and guess their own ending. The truth is that we had some problems with Axl. He started pulling some weird shit on everybody and we just didn’t dig that. But we’re pretty close, and we were able to sit down and work things out [Hit Parader, October 1988]
We’re not breaking up. if that’s what people want to know. Let’s just say that some of the talk people might have heard over the last few months is true and some of it isn’t. I really don’t want to get into it much deeper than that. Things are pretty cool within the band at the moment, and that’s the way we want to keep it [Hit Parader, October 1988]
Hit Parader in October 1988 would further state that "Axl's unpredictable behavior cost the band tours with David Lee Roth, AC/DC and Iron Maiden," to which Slash would defend his colleague and friend:

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]
[Inferred from Hit Parader [March 1989], Axl was also kicked out of the band for three days in February/March 1987, but likely this was meant to be February 1988.]

Vicky would recall that when they were to start the tour with Aerosmith on July 17, 1988, no one knew where Axl was or even if he'd make the gig. People who knew the band were sitting in the Hard Rock Café taking bets on it. He did appear that evening, one hour before showtime [Musician, December 1988; Juke Magazine, July 1989]. And Doug Goldstein, the tour manager at the time, would recall that toward the end of the Aerosmith tour in September 1988, Axl approached him and was concerned that others felt he'd become a prima donna. "I haven't changed, have I, Doug?" Axl inquired. "Of course not," Goldstein replied affectionately. "You've always been a prick" [Musician, December 1988].

Axl's a real temperamental guy. He's hard to get along with. [...] He does a lot of weird shit no one understands, but I love the guy. I mean he's a real sweetheart [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
If it wasn't for the band, I just hate to think what he might've done. [...] He can still be a tyrant, but then he can turn around and be the nicest guy in the world [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
[Axl] has tendency to break down every so often [In The Streets, December 1988].
Here's the thing about Axl. He demands emotion. "Love me, hate me, but don't you dare fucking ignore me." He will not tolerate a vacuum. Sometimes I think that's why he would keep fans waiting for three hours before going on. He demanded an emotionally charged atmosphere at all times. He wanted a life spent on the frantic jagged edge, and that's why he could deliver that unique urgency in his lyrics: he lived it [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 153].
Axl's mental problems goes back a long time. According to the Rolling Stone interview in November 1988, a psychiatrist who evaluated Axl back in Indiana noted his high IQ and "decided that his behavior was evidence of psychosis." In an interview in October 1987, Axl would describe himself a "maniac depressive" [NME, October 1987], but whether this was self-diagnosed or as a result of a psychiatric examination is not clear. The media started to question his mental stability: "Is Axl Rose crazy? Or is he just a sensitive, high-strung kid whose band wants to be successful without compromising what made them so good in the first place: attitude and street credibility" [L.A. Weekly, June 1988]. In later 1988, though, he had definitely been diagnosed being manic-depressive and he put on lithium, although "[Axl] thinks it's ineffective and claims to be in control of his moods" [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. It would be claimed that he didn't always take his medicine [Musician, December 1988]. In the beginning of 1989, radio host Howard Stern would refuse to accept that Axl was manic-depressive and Axl would jokingly attribute it to him just always having been pissed off [Howard Stern, February 1989].

I’ve really learned to control myself. It used to be that I would get mad, break everything in the fucking room, smack somebody in the face and then leave. Now I work real hard at trying to keep things cool and together [Hit Parader, July 1987].
I can be happier than anybody I know. I can get so happy I'll cry. I can get completely opposite, upsetwise [Hit Parader, November 1988].
[…] I react to everything. I react to thoughts. I can be sitting here in a good mood and think about something really fucked, and if I can't get it out of my head, I'll react to it. If I hold it back, I walk around frustrated for a very long period of time. When I talk with an interviewer, it hurts my feelings if they act like my best friend, then chop me down. I always try to let people know what they want when we're talking [Musician, December 1988].
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, May 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].
I have a lot more control over [mood swings] compared to when I used to break every single thing in my room. This way I can go for two months before I do that. That's a long time [Juke Magazine, July 1989].
I'm very sensitive and emotional, and things upset me and make me feel like not functioning or not dealing with people, the band or anything. I went to a clinic, thinking it would help my moods. The only thing I did was take one 500-question test - ya know, filling in the little black dots. All of sudden I'm diagnosed manic-depressive. "Let's put Axl on medication". Well, the medication doesn't help me deal with stress. The only thing it does is help keep people off my back because they figure I'm on medication [RIP, April 1989].
I think his inner turmoil is derived from the external turmoil that we have around us all day. A lot of us either choose to, or are more adept at, shutting it out. He doesn't. He doesn't choose to shut it all out. He looks it right in the eye [Juke Magazine, July 1989].
Axl's sensitivity also shone through in his live performances and made for intense experiences:

There are a lot of bands where the guitar player or someone else writes all the words, like Cheap Trick, where Rick Nielsen writhes most of the lyrics. Robin Zander’s able to put this heart and soul and feeling into it, but I don’t think it really rips up and destroys his life. Because it’s not really him. Me, it’s like I put exactly where I’m at into every song. There’ve been times when I’m singing a certain song onstage and it’s, like, I get all chocked up and I’m havin’ a problem singin’ the next line, because I’m so emotional about it. Maybe something happened that day that I feel relates to that song, or whatever. Nowadays, I’m trying to work out some problems, like why I want to grab somebody by the fucking neck, and instead of just doing it, trying to understand it. So I’m writing, not necessarily nicer words, but ones that I can read and sing in my head. And they’ll, like, help calm me down or whatever [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].
In 1987 and 1988, Axl also started to distance himself from the band, allegedly to not be tempted to drink and use drugs:

And for me personally it's like I'd like to party as much as the other guys, but, you know, it's like they don't have to worry about if they're able to sing. They can get up play the guitar even if they got trashed the night before, or the next day. Doesn't hurt my energy so much by running around but where it takes [?] me first is in my voice. So I gotta monitor my social life more closely. I can't really go party unless I know I know I have a few days off [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
You gotta understand that with this bunch, excess is best an' all that shit. Axl knows he has to keep from smoking or drinking or doing drugs to maintain his voice. He doesn't hang out that much because the atmosphere that's created by the other four members of this band is pretty, uh... [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
Finishing Slash's sentence: Conducive to deterioration [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
He just hangs out by himself. He takes it all pretty seriously. I couldn't do it. He's doing well to maintain a certain sanity level seeing as he can't go out cos of his position in the band. If he was doing what we were doing he wouldn't be able to sing at all! [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
Rolling Stone would report that by November 1988, he was traveling on his own tour bus, both because he slept during the day and stayed awake at night, but also to avoid friction with his band mates [Rolling Stone, November 1988], furthering the distance between himself and the rest of the band. In an interview with RIP in April 1989, Axl would comment on this:

First of all, it was Izzy's idea to get a separate bus, and secondly, after shows I can't afford to party out like the other guys. There's been several times when I had to leave the bus because of nerves. It's impossible to sit there completely straight, listening to someone who is annihilated go off about something or another. Also, it gives us more space. We all used to live together, but we've outgrown being crowded in together. Not because we don't like each other, but because we have different lifestyles [RIP, April 1989].
Axl's tendency to sleep in is also implied in this quote from an unknown Geffen representative: "We now know not to call him too early in the morning – that way he doesn’t become disoriented and start freaking out" [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].

In December 1988, when the band was touring in Japan, he seemed to have a good period:

He's temperamental, he's a pain in the ass, but we love him too. He is really... He's been great since we've been in Japan, he's been really cool. So it's like the kind of thing where when Axl's, like, easy to be around, he's great; when he's hard to be around, he is a pain in the fucking ass [Japanese TV, December 1988].

As if all this wasn't enough, Axl was also struggling with insomnia:

I flew back to L A. and have since gone to a doctor, who said I was just exhausted. He also said I suffer from insomnia. They're taking blood tests and stuff. A lot of people think it's drugs or I have AIDS because that's the new popular rumor. It's nothing that serious, but it's something serious enough that it caused problems in the machinery of Guns N' Roses. […] now I've switched it around. Now I'm sleeping at night instead of during the days. I've had insomnia since I was a little kid, and I never really realized it until this past week. I've talked to my parents, my brother and my sister, and I've traced it all of the way back to when I was a baby and I wouldn't go to sleep. I only sleep after staying up for countless hours or doing various drugs or doing whatever to the point of exhaustion. Then you'd sleep through the day, and the only reason you'd go to sleep then is because the light hurt your eyes so bad and you've had so many beers or so much alcohol and taken whatever that you finally just go to sleep [Blast! May 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:03 pm

THE MAKING OF GN'R LIES

After returning home from touring in 1987, the band recorded some acoustic songs originally intended to be used for "B-sides or whatever" [Duff's biography]. According to Axl, they "wrote some of the songs during or before the recording of Appetite and revised them until we felt they were strong enough to put out" [RIP, April 1989]. The new acoustic songs included 'Patience' and 'One In A Million' [Duff's biography].

We still haven’t decided exactly what to do next time, but we have thought about doing some acoustic stuff. For those fans who don’t know, we like to play acoustic sets every now and then when we get the chance. We do those when we have in-store record signings and things like that, and people really get off on it. Maybe it would be too radical a departure from what people now expect after Appetite For Destruction, but we kind of like keeping everyone a little off balance. If we can keep doing that, we’ll be around for a long, long time [MTV, October 1988].
Only a few months before the release of Lies, the band didn't know exactly what to do with these songs they had recorded. Steven thought they would be put out on an album with "some real surprises: songs that you'd never expect us to do. There's one about 15 minutes long with strings, synthesizers, piano, and a lot of big drums" [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988], obviously thinking that this album would also include November Rain. As it turned out, the band did not include November Rain and decided to put the songs out on an EP instead:

Well, it's something we always planned on doing. We always planned on releasing an acoustic thing and when the record [=Appetite for Destruction] starts to die off, it will do good for us there, financially, and keeping the buzz going about Guns N' Roses, while we take the time to make the next record. Also, it's a way to get out certain things that we don't necessarily want to put on our albums.

We've got so many other things we want to put on the record, so this gives us a way to get rid of excess material. Like we did the live thing, now we want to do an acoustic thing, and stuff like that, and so we don't have to spend like $50,000 dollars to go in and record this thing. This way we can get out a lot more of our material and I think it will help make us... with the EP, the record, and then the new EP, that will be like having two records out. So, that will give us a lot stronger base quicker. There will be a lot of stuff for people to pick from, in a lot less time than it would take to release three albums
[Rock Scene, June 1988].
In the same interview, Axl would imply that the acoustic songs came out at the end of an electric recording for Appetite for Destruction:

Being asked what is happening with their planned EP: That's what we're doing next week (at press time -- Ed.). We've just been recording, and we might even leave it intact, as it is, or use it as a B-side. 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. So we went in, laid that down, and we were in there for like two days, and at the end of the second day we just got into an acoustic jam [Rock Scene, June 1988].
The acoustic stuff we did in like, a day, right. So, I mean, we didn't... It wasn't a huge project or anything like that. It's just, I think, to show another side of the band, sort of. And also, you know, our next album is not gonna be out for a while. So, there's a huge void space then we'd like to fill in a bit [MTV, October 1988].
The band would stress that this EP shouldn't be looked upon as their second album but rather as something quick between Appetite and its follow-up:

[…] we did all of this in just an hour. We sit around when we get we're at home together, we drink and you know we have bongos and tambourines and all kinds of percussion stuff, acoustic guitars, we sit around at home, you know, get drunk and write stuff, so we say, "Hey, let's record some of this stuff, maybe the kids might like it." […] It's for the kids, the fans! But this is something, you know, we're hanging out, and we had no gigs, nothing up, and you know we were hanging around and said "Hey, let's just go in the studio and record this." [?] "Let's go and do it, see what happens." And that's what happened [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
[…] we just did it in like two days. We recorded that. This is not our next album, you know, I must clarify that, it's just an in-between. The next album we'll start recording in January. That's when we're gonna to take a lot of time, months, okay? So this is just...how do I word this, I don't wanna say it's filler because it's not, but it's just in between the two records, it's a different side of us. [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
This EP is just to hold everyone off until we get the next album done. Since this record's done so well, we stayed on tour longer than we expected. That pushed our recording plans back a bit. We want everyone to understand that this EP isn't our second album - it's just to fill the gap until that record's done. We've already gotten a lot of songs written for that one and they're really good. We think it's safe to say that we're gonna be around for a long time to come - no matter what everyone says about us [Hit Parader, March 1989].
The EP's not meant to be taken all that seriously. It's not done... It wasn't done expensively. It's not like, a major album. It's not anything... It's just like, a sort of filler. [...] I didn't think should go on the actual album. And we needed something to put out to fill the gap between the first record and the next one. It's really not that big a deal. [...] It's not meant to be taken as seriously as, say an album is taken. It's real sloppy, it's got us talking in the background, guitar picks dropping. You know, stuff like that. It's out of tune at a lot of places. It's just us sort of hanging out, getting drunk and playing [MTV, October 1988].
One motive was to make the songs on Live Like A Suicide more accessible to the fans:

We wanted to put something out between the last tour and the next album. We heard that kids were having to pay $50 to $100 for original copies of our first EP, Live Like A Suicide. We also wanted to do some new songs that showed another side of us. So what we did on Lies was re-release the four songs that had been on Suicide, and we added four new songs that are very different from anything we've done before. These are songs we just felt like doing. This is a rock and roll band, but there are a lot of different influences within Guns N' Roses. We write a lot of our songs on acoustic guitar, so doing Lies seemed a natural thing for us [Hit Parader, May 1989].
Yeah, for the fans you know. And we saw the live stuff, the earlier stuff, being sold now -- because it was a limited release -- being sold in L.A. for 150 bucks a copy which is ridiculous. What fan of ours can afford that? So we re-released that and put out this new stuff which is just another side to us, we do play sometimes acoustic, we do acoustic shows, so and the daring part of, we've never really kind of clung to the commercial, I mean, we've never clung to that road that like Whitesnake say or something like that would take [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
It was only because our first EP [‘Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide’] was selling for enormous amounts of money in record stores that we released it. If the kids wanted it, we’d give it to them for the right price. And we had some acoustic shit lying around, so we threw that in too [Raw Magazine, April 1990].

Another motive was to show the world a different side of themselves:

So now we have come to the point where the industry, we're accepted now in the industry, something we actually despise, but we can do, the success that we have gotten we can do really what we want to do now, you know. And which is both sides, you know, acoustic stuff, you know, I'm sure kids are interested if they're interested in the album they're gonna be interested in some acoustic stuff and how the songs are written and all that, and it's just, you know, it's not to be taken seriously [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
In an article in Musician, it is implied that Axl in September was putting the final mikes on the acoustic tracks [Musician, December 1988].

The Ep 'Lies. The drugs, the sex, the violence, the shockin' truth' was released on November 29, 1988. Slash and Duff would explain the name of the EP this way:

You know, that's pretty self-explanatory as well. It's like, the band's just sorta like, the center of attention, as far as, you know, sort of controversy in rock n' roll and stuff like that. And they make up all these stories. I found out today that I died again today. [...] And, you know, Axl dies all the time. There's all this crap going around. People love to make up stuff about you. I don't know why. We're the band that seems to be the center of all that attention. [...] Sort of a parody of our whole existence [MTV, October 1988].
It's just like, us saying "Ok, you guys wanna blow this out of proportion? Let's totally blow it out of proportion". If you're gonna get that ridiculous about it [MTV, October 1988].
Since the band is the center of attention as far as controversy in rock’n’roll, this EP is sort of a parody of our whole existence [FACES, March 1989].
We did the cover for a good reason. We've been in the center of attention for so long. We've had so much hype and sensationalism centered on us over the last few years that it became really ridiculous. All of it was bullshit. We've heard that we've all died in car crashes, that we're all drug addicts and that we all have AIDS - and, of course, it's all untrue. This EP cover was our chance to turn it around and stick it back in everyone's face [Hit Parader, May 1989].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:03 pm

FEBRUARY 1988 - LOSING THE DAVID LEE ROTH TOUR AND PLAYING ON 'UNDER THE WHEELS' WITH ALICE COOPER

After the infamous Celebrity Theater gig in early February, and Axl being fired only to be allowed back into the band, the band took a 6 week hiatus which meant they were dropped from a planned tour where they would open for David Lee Roth [Circus Magazine, May 1988; Blast Magazine, May 1988] in February/March 1988. They would be replaced by Faster Pussycat [Blast! May 1988]. The cancellation would also be explained as Roth hearing that "one or more of the band were about to enter a rehab clinic for drug problems". 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]
Blast Magazine would directly connect the cancellation to Axl not showing up on time for the second Celebrity Theater show (February 13) resulting in a riot [Blast! May 1988].

Axl himself would feel bad about the situation:

"I feel real bad about it. I feel real bad for the kids who were planning on it but more so for Dave Roth, himself, because he was planning on us doing something, it was all set up, and we let him down. They (Roth's people) think we shined it for other opportunities, and that's not the case at all. The last thing we wanted to do was let down someone who's been influencing us for years and was giving us a break [Blast! May 1988].
On February 26, Alice Cooper visited Long Beach and Axl, Izzy and Slash joined him onstage for 'Under the Wheels', a song originally released on Cooper's 1971 Killer album.

Slash and I also went onstage and did it live with him when he played in Long Beach. It was intense. It was fun being onstage with someone you'd looked up to since you were a little kid. We had toured with him, of course, but then to get up onstage with him in L.A. was phenomenal. He's such a mellow guy[Cream, September 1989]
'Under the Wheels' was re-recorded in 1988 with Guns N' Roses, Axl singing duet with Cooper. Axl was thrilled about getting to sing on the song:

It was really cool because I'd originally heard that some other singer had gotten [to sing on it]. Well, we were on tour with Alice, and I didn't even know that we were going to get to do it, so I was really bummed out. And we heard that the singer from Cinderella had gotten it [= Tom Keifer], and we'd become friends with those guys. In fact, we had the drummer from Cinderella out on the road with us because Steve had broken his hand. And he said, "Yeah, Tom got this gig." But then something didn't happen with that, and all of a sudden I get this phone call, and it was like "Do you want to do it?" And it was like "Yeah!!" Because "Under My Wheels" is more his rock 'n' roll type song - less of that horror type thing. And we were psyched to do it [Cream, September 1989]
The new version of 'Under My Wheels' would be released in June 1988 as part of the documentary film "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years".

Axl had problems adjusting to life on the road:

Being the perfectionist that I am everything must be in order, or I'm a wreck! So nine times out of ten, I'm completely disorganized! When we first went on tour, things were just a mess and it took awhile to get into the swing of things. I pretty much got everything down smoothly, and as soon as I can figure out hotels, and the way they don't know how to run their own phone systems... 'OK, no calls to this room please,' and five minutes later the phone is ringing! As soon as I can get that worked out, I'll be fine, and until then, I buy a lot of phones! [...] I just wish that I could function more smoothly on tour, so that I wouldn't end up upsetting so many people. They never know what's gonna happen. It's like, 'What's Axl gonna do next?'[Rock Scene, April 1988].


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:04 pm

1988 - LOST TOURS WITH AC/DC AND MONSTERS OF ROCK AND US TOUR WITH ZODIAC MINDWARP & THE LOVE REACTION AND UDO

The band then lost a planned tour with AC/DC [Hit Parader, March 1989; Juke Magazine, July 1989] in North America (this leg of the Blow Up Your Video World Tour lasted from May to November 1988), because 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]. According to Circus Magazine, the reason was due to "a disagreement between AC/DC's management and Guns N' Roses". Hit Parader would again claim the real reason was Axl's behavior [Hit Parader, October 1988].

We were gonna do the AC/ DC tour, but AC/ DC got cold feet and decided to withhold money from us. Then they decided to sign White Lion for the rest of the tour without telling us. That was real nice of them. That's not what I expected out of someone I'd looked up to for years. AC/ DC was a dream tour, so it was a big letdown [Blast! May 1988]
Regardless of the reason, the decision was likely also devastating to Slash who had said that opening for AC/DC would be "a total turning point in my life" [Concert Shots, May 1986].

In May-July 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]
Instead, the band did their first headlining tour of the US with Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction and UDO as the openers in April-May 1988.


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:04 pm

1988 - DOCUMENTARY AND BOOK PLANS

In 1988 the band started thinking about making a documentary about the band supported by live footage:

We have stacks of videos of all the shows we did in the clubs. We plan on trying to do another club taping. We've taken video cameras on the road and we'll see what comes out of that [Screamer, August 1988].
The idea of a documentary goes back to 1986, when Izzy says it was part of the contract with Geffen [L.A. Rocks, August 1986].

In the same interview Axl would mention a book about the band, but that "the project may take two or three years" [Screamer, August 1988]. Nothing came out of either the documentary or the book.


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Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:04 pm

MAY-JUNE 1988 - OPENING FOR IRON MAIDEN

Having missed tours with AC/DC and Monster of Rock, Guns N' Roses then opened for Iron Maiden in Canada (May 13 -June 8, 1988) on their 'Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour'.

Axl was grateful:

I'm looking forward to doing Canada again. I'm also looking forward to doing the West Coast in larger venues. Maiden has a faithful following, and this is a big challenge, winning them over. Rod Smallwood [Maiden's manager] has been great. This is a chance for us to learn things from a band who's been doing it for years. I can't wait to start playing live again [Blast! May 1988].
The Iron Maiden fans were not very receptive to Guns N' Roses. As Duff would say in his biography:

To be fair to the audiences, what they were picking up was correct: much as I respect metal, we didn't fit the bill musically. We wanted to be different. After all, Steven had only one bass drum. And while Axl sang in a high voice much of the time, he wasn't operatic. [...] Oh, and also we didn't write songs about elves and demons and shit-unless of course, you considered Mr. Brownstone a demon [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 133].
In August 1988, when the bands met again at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, UK, Axl would also comment on the band's differences:

Being asked if there are any similarities between Iron Maiden and Guns N' Roses: I hope not. I don't know whether or not, I mean, they're nice guys but, you know, it's like political organizations. Your band's like a political thing and your music or your albums kind of like your political stance. Well, theirs completely different to ours and I think this doesn't have anything to do with rock and roll as far as I'm concerned. We're a rock and roll band, what they do is what they do, I don't know what it is and I hope to never be like that. I hope it's not catching. [Unknown publication, August 1988].
When playing at the Felt Forum in New York on May 9, Axl almost came too late for the show after having been passed out from drinking. Fortunately, the show was delayed due to problems with the barricades, and Axl managed to get there on time [RIP, April 1989].

Also in May, Duff broke off from touring to travel home for his wedding (with Mandy Brix of LA's Lame Flames [Sounds Magazine, November 1989]). He arranged for Kid "Haggis" Chaos, from The Cult, to fill in for him for the May 27 show at Olympic Saddledome in Calgary, Canada, and was back for their next show [Circus Magazine, September 1989]. According to Duff, Alan Niven was at fault for Duff missing that gig:

We had planned the wedding for a year prior, and I asked our manager [Alan Niven] when he thought a good time would be, that we wouldn't be touring. So he told me to make it for May. And he promised me. So every two weeks I would remind him: 'All right, we've set the date, we've paid all the money, and made all the plans.' And then, a month before the wedding, he calls me and he goes, 'Yeah, we're on the Maiden tour now!' And I said, 'What about May 28, Alan?' And he says, 'What's May 28?' And I said, 'My fucking wedding!' It pissed me off, but you've got to deal with it, so I called Haggis, took one day off to get hitched, then came back on the tour [Screamer, August 1988].
The Iron Maiden tour was cut short with their last show on June 6, 1988 when Axl needed to save his voice:

[...]Man, it is a fuckin' drag having to pull out of the Iron Maiden tour. But there's nothing we can do. We just have to sit tight for three weeks and wait for Axl's voice to heal. […] I guess it's something that had been building up for some time. In the end he just completely lost his voice. Right now we're waiting to see if Axl's going to be OK to make the tour of Japan we have lined up […] The bottom line is, if Axl has to have surgery, we'll have to wait a week for the swelling to go down, and then give it another week or so to heal. So it's feasible that with something like three weeks to go before we start the Japanese tour Axl could make it. […] But more than anything else I don't want anything to jeopardise us going out on the Aerosmith tour, which we're due to start in a couple of months. If rushing Axl into singing by going to Japan is going to fuck up his voice and make us blow those dates out, I'd rather forget all about going to Japan...  [Kerrang! July 1988].
It was suspected that Axl had developed nodules on his vocal chords, but after inspection by four different doctors, none were found [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]. Kerrang! would say he was "ordered by his doctors to take to his bed and rest his voice completely for three weeks" [Kerrang! March 1989]. During an interview with Rockling in July 1988, Slash, Duff and Izzy is asked how Axl is doing and they would reply that it is inevitable that his singing style after so much touring would lead to problems but that he is doping well [Rockline, July 1988].

In his biography Steven seems to downplay the seriousness of Axl's throat issues:

[...][Axl] had dropped out of the end of the Iron Maiden tour to give his voice a good rest. You see, Aerosmith meant so much to him, and so much to us, that he didn't want to blow out his voice. He wanted to be well rested [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 165].
Another explanation for ending the Iron Maiden tour was that the band was kicked off because of Axl's unpredictable behavior [Hit Parader, October 1988]. According to Juke Magazine [July 1989], Axl would confirm this: "The Iron Maiden incident was when he accidentally knocked over a meal tray in the dressing rooms just before the first show, and the Maiden boys heard Axl was thrashing the dressing rooms. They decided it'd be tiresome to put up with this behavior for the two-month US tour and gave the band its walking papers."

Raz Cue would comment on such alternative explanations:

The grueling pace caught up with Axl, and because of an injury to his vocal cords, he wisely shut [the tour] down before doing any further career-threathening damage. But there's an old saying about journalists: "They never report that a plane landed safely." The truth is, "It if bleeds, it leads," so those highly ethical rock "journalists" had a field day conjuring up several contradictory "real reasons" G N' R had departed the Iron Maiden tour early[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 252].


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