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


Having cut the Iron Maiden tour short, and rested for a month and a half, the band were then to open for Aerosmith's national summer tour which was going to last from July 17 to September 15, 1988.

Before the tour they did two warm-up gigs at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on July 9 and 10. Phoenix was chosen to make up for the two cancelled gigs from February 1988, when Axl had had a breakdown and was fired from the band [see earlier section]. The band used the opportunity to raise money for a benefit cause, raising $16,000. The concert promoter, Danny Zelisko, who had been the promoter in February, was asked to choose the charity and chose the Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Cancer Center. Zelisko's stepdaughter, Abigail, had died of leukemia two years ago [Arizona Republic, July 17, 1988].

The Aerosmith tour was a highly anticipated tour, Slash would refer to Aerosmith as their "teenage heroes" [Musician, December 1988].

Man, it's gonna be the best! We're going out together for three months and, aside from the Monsters Of Rock tour that's currently going on, I think this will be the Summer show to see ... If I was a kid looking to go to a hot rock and roll concert this Summer, I know I'd be there [Kerrang! July 1988].
Apparently, Aerosmith was also impressed by Guns N' Roses, as Doug Goldstein would say in November 1987: "I get calls from Aerosmith's management and they told me the guys love the band" [Interview after Lakeland show, November 24, 1987]. To promote the tour, Geffen released promotional-only "tour" CD featuring songs from Aerosmith as well as GN'R's 'Welcome to the Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine' [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989].

This is like the first rock 'n' roll tour we've done. The Mötley tour was fun, but this is the most compatible. The vibe between the two bands is great. These guys are around their thirties or forties, they've been through a lotta shit and we have a lotta respect for them. We grew up listening to their music; this and the Stones and AC/DC, that's what sorta formed what we are. That's the only way you get any kinda personality — through influences. [...] It's funny. They like to talk about drugs. They don't do drugs, they just like to talk about them! It's cool to be around that. [...] They're eating watermelon and drinking tea. They love to ask you about what you did last night and how fucked up you got. They go, "Man, I've been up since nine o'clock this morning," and you say, "What drugs are you doing?" They say, "No, I just been up since nine"! [Sounds, August 1988].
Everything's going great. Even better than what we expected. [...] [The reception]'s been really good. Everywhere we've been going and the package [?] on his tour is working out phenomenal for us [KJJO 104, August 1988].
An incident during this tour took place on August 4 when the band was visiting Philadelphia. According to Rolling Stone magazine "just minutes before a concert, Axl got into a fight with a parking-lot attendant who, Axl says, shoved Stuart, Axl's younger brother and personal assistant. Doug Goldstein, the group's tough but temperate and shrewd tour manager, persuaded the police to release Axl in time for the show" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Just two days later, on August 6, the band was playing in Saratoga Springs and had to cut the set short when fans stormed the stage:

There was nearly a riot. I get off on that kind of vibe, where everything's just about ready to crack. When there's 25,000 people and they have, like, three security guys. God, it was intense, man. It was just on that fucking edge of 25,000 people coming down to the stage [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
Schenectady Gazette, in their review of the concert on August 8, would contrarily imply that the band finished the set: "By the time the band launched into their closing anthem, "Welcome to the Jungle", the area in front of the stage had broken out into a full-scale melee, with dozens of fans rushing forward and trying to climb on-stage. As the band left the stage at the end of the song, Rose grabbed the microphone and dressed down the stage-climbers with, "It took me ten years to get up here. You don't get five minutes for free" [Schenectady Gazette, August 1988].

Three night later the band would play a show in Weedsport, NY, which Axl would describe as "just, like, psycho" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

Not long after that this, the band travelled to England for the Monster of Rock Festival at Donnington Castle where two fans would tragically lose their lives, before returning to the US to continue the Aerosmith tour.

By August 1988, the band had been touring for 14 months and they were starting to feel exhausted:

They didn't expect us to last a week! Touring really doesn't faze you. If you get twisted backstage, the walk to the bus is only a few yards, y'know? But, yeah, if you get twisted every night, you start draggin' [Sounds, August 1988].
Touring has its downfalls. It's a distorted kind of reality but, I swear to God, that 45 minutes makes it all worth it. When you're not touring you're always looking for something to fulfil that buzz [Sounds, August 1988].
The last show of the tour was held at the Pacific Theatre, in Costa Mesa in California on September 15. As customary, Aerosmith would prank the opener band on the last show, and they did this by dressing up as monkeys for Welcome to the Jungle, as Robert John would recall it: "I think one of the funniest things was during the last show with Aerosmith. They were playing 'Welcome to the Jungle,' and the guys in Aerosmith dressed up in ape costumes. There was a guy dressed like Tarzan, and there was a rope tied to the rafters, and when they started that song, he came swinging down. Then there were apes all over the stage, with bananas. It was great. It was so funny" [Rock Scene, October 1989].

It was either on this show, or the show before (also in Costa Mesa), that the band played Mama Kin with Aerosmith [Kerrang! December 1988].

After the Aerosmith tour the band had planned an European tour with Metallica[MTV Headbanger's Ball, April 1988], but they decided to take a break, according to Izzy to preserve Axl's voice [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]. The band wouldn't tour again until December 1988 when they travelled to Japan.

Despite the exhaustion, Slash and Duff would fondly look back at the Aerosmith tour:

[...] we just finished touring with Aerosmith. It was the best tour we've ever done. [The band would in fact do another leg of the tour in August and September 1988, maybe Slash did not know at the time of this interview] It was so much fun that it was like a dream come true. And we got along with them! Y'know, sometimes you have tours you don't really enjoy but you just go out and play. This was one of those tours where we felt comfortable and had a ball. We looked forward to the shows no matter what city. It was great. All the shows sold out. We sold tons of merchandise and all that other business stuff [Unknown publication, August 1988].
Great. [...] It was killer. [...] It was one of those things, that was nice to be respected by a band that's been around that long, you know. They watched us, we watched them. We hung out. We had a really good time. It was one of the best tours we've ever had [MTV, October 1988].
It was great [MTV, October 1988].
Aw, man, it was great... Some funny shit went down on that Aerosmith tour. We were so similar, and yet we made such a contrast. They're all 'straight' now; clean. And their whole operation runs like clockwork; they stay in one place for four or five gigs, then when the tour moves a little further up the road they move to another place and make that their base for the next five gigs, or whatever. The whole thing is kept well under control... Which is exactly the opposite, of course, from the way we usually get things done. we travel the whole time, and very little of what we do is done, uh, straight... But it didn't seem to matter. They were exposed to us the whole time, and we got to hang out together a lot. Which was really cool, because those guys have all been heroes of mine since I was a kid and first started listening to rock 'n' roll. […] It was nice, too, because we were told by the people that worked for them that they would never go to the side of the stage and watch any of the bands that opened for them, usually. But for us they were there just about every night. There was always one or two of them there, and sometimes even the whole band. […]The first time I looked over and saw them all standing there watching us play, yeah, that fucked with me. It was weird… All of a sudden I look over and Joe's standing there watching me, and I almost froze. It was like, 'Wow! What do I do now?" In the end, it was a real family vibe going on between the two bands. They used to watch us, we used to watch them, and the rest of the time we'd hang out together. We managed to earn a little respect just by being a half-decent rock 'n' roll band, just really going out there and fuckin' trying to kick some ass, regardless. I did a guitar solo one night - one of those finger-pickin' slow blues things - and after the show, Tyler got me to one side and said, 'That was amazing!'. I just stood there and said, 'Well, thanks', and couldn't think of anything else to say. I was blown away. Seriously, that's something I'll never forget... That, and a couple of other things he did, which I won't mention because it would get us both into too much trouble... [Kerrang! December 1988].
Being asked why they did so well in Circus Magazine's Readers Poll: I bet a lot of it had to do with the Aerosmith tour we completed in September. There we were again, for the third time, in every major city on a great tour. I think that probably left a good taste in a lot of people's mouths [Circus Magazine Readers Poll, February 1989].
[…] touring with Aerosmith was really a pleasure. They helped us out as much as they could. They knew that we were going completely over the top for the first half of the show, and that they'd have to justify themselves later in the night. The challenge didn't bother them — not at all [New Musical Express, April 1989].
Being asked if the guys in Aerosmith preached to them about the evils of drink and drugs: No, not once. They don't do any of that shit any more, but it hasn't turned them into preachers. I used to drink around them all the time and nobody said anything - though I did use a cup! But that was when I was still carrying a bottle of Jack around with me the whole time. […] There was one time when Steven [Tyler] came into the room I used to use for tuning my guitar. I'd stepped out of the room for a minute and when I got back there was Tyler standing there looking through my tapes and stuff. I had one empty, one half-empty, and one full bottle of Jack lying around in there. Anyway, I walked in and we started talking. And he says, 'Did you drink all that today?' And I was, like, yeah, I did. And he just gave me this look. He started to say something, but then he changed his mind. He's been through some scenes of his own, I guess. […] I remember Steven [Adler], our drummer, was very disillusioned about just about everything at one point, and he sat down and talked to Tyler about it, and Tyler gave him some sound advice. [Kerrang! December 1988].
Also Aerosmith seems to have grown fond of Guns N' Roses. As Steven Tyler would say, "It’s real easy for a band to go out, and buy the image, and watch other bands performing and kind of mimic it and pick it up. But these guys seem to have it, you know, right down the bone" [MTV, August 1988]. Joe Perry would shed lights on dealing with Axl, "We didn’t have to deal with him. His road manager had to deal with him. They were always nice around us" [Rapido, September 1991].

Roger Glover, the bassist for Deep Purple who was on the bill with Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses on August 16, 1988, would illicit laughter with his sardonic assessment of the newcommers, "Well, they seem to be doing it all wrong right from the start" [MTV, August 1988].

The tour was also well-received in the media: "In concert together, Aerosmith were by far the more polished performers. But Guns N' Roses were thrashing out the dramas of their lives, and Axl's Janis Joplin-like stage presence connected on a deeper emotional level. By tour's end they were the opening act in name only, drawing half the crowds and running away with the T-shirt concessions" [Musician, December 1988]. The success would also be reflected financially, when it became one of the two hottest-ticket-in-town draws of the year - only Def Leppard's tour did comparable business in America [Kerrang! December 1988].

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


After the Aerosmith tour the original plan was to do a tour with Metallica in September or October [Kerrang! July 1988]. Instead they did a one-off festival with INXS as headliners at Texas Stadium in Irving, on September 17, 1988. This would be a notorious show the band members would talk about for years:

Two days after the end of the Aerosmith tour in September 1988, Guns played a strange festival-type gig at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Texas. INXS headlined and the opening band included the Smithereens, Ziggy Markey and Iggy [Pop]. I was excited to meet [Iggy]. After the show, Iggy and I boh ended up at a party in the hotel suite of Michael Hutchence, the vocalist for INXS. I was nervous as hell to be in a room with Iggy, a guy who had inspired a dream that stuck with me for the rest of my life - a dream that cemented the direction of my life in many ways. So I commenced to get really fucked up. Michael Hutchence was already as famous for dating models and appearing in paparazzi photos as for singing "Need You Tonight," and I think Iggy felt as out of place as I did - so he joined me. We got fucked up together [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 136-137]
The show was the absolute worst we ever played. For some reason, the guys just weren't into it and the reason was simple: they wanted to go home. [...] To add to our misery, it was raining that day. We were in Texas Stadium, a partially covered arena that had a huge opening over the playing field. From the stag, I could see rain pouring down on the crowd, but we were kept mostly dry, except when it would get gusty. It was the weirdest-looking setup. We played out set in record time. just wanting to get it over with[Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 174-175]
We just did one date with [INXS] and, well, the gig itself was a disaster because it was in the Texas Stadium which has a big hole in the top and the hurricane Gilbert, or whatever it was, was forty miles south of us so it was pouring through the hole in the roof, and we were getting rained on, and the sound was crappy, you know[Interview Sessions, December 1988]
We don't think that we've made any serious fuck-ups in the course of our career. There are things that we regret but we never talk about. Like playing with INXS, for instance. Why? Because they're assholes. They wouldn't let us turn up the sound, they wouldn't allow us a sound-check, and no lighting show [New Musical Express, April 1989]

INXS were not impressed by Axl at all. Tim Farness, the bassist, would say, "He wouldn't last ten minutes in a Melbourne bar. All that macho, tough guy shit. He'd get killed" and Michael Hutchence, the singer, would follow up, "Axl's problem is that he's always looking for a fight. It's not just that he won't walk away, he actively looks for trouble. When Guns N' Roses were supporting us, his monitors weren't working properly so he came looking for me. He wanted to fight me! I was just thinking, Oh, Axl, grow up!" [Q Magazine, January 1991].

This show in Texas concluded touring until December 1988. The band would now return back home and release their new EP, Lies. The band needed a break from touring:

The promoters, the booking agency, they want us to keep going. We've been getting offers to headline the Forum, Madison Square Garden... but we knew this had to end. And 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]

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:05 pm

1986-1988 - THE PRESS I

There was that rape charge. Three of us had supposedly O.D.’d. We had been busted in England on drug charges and been dropped from the label. I was supposedly this bisexual heroin addict who had AIDS and was into small animals. There’s been about a rumor a week with this band [Hit Parader, July 1987].
It could be said that we have a pretty nasty history. The thing is, I don't give a fuck about the image that everyone buys. It's all been blown out of proportion, the bad-boy' thing, how much we drink, how much drugs we do or don't do. It's boring. While everyone's talkin' about what we did or supposedly did yesterday, we're already working today on the music they're gonna hear tomorrow [Guitar World, March 1989].

The band seemed to have enjoyed the initial press coverage, a true sign of success, although Slash was not comfortable in interviews, being naturally shy and an introvert. In the beginning he had to do interviews to create buzz, and he was also forced to by Alan Niven after being signed to Geffen:

I hate doing interviews. Because they’re boring. At this point in time we’re at the mercy of the press because we don’t have a record out, so as soon as we get a record out, the shoe goes on the other foot. Then we’re not going to brown-nose to the press anymore. That’s why we’re so docile in our interview. You can’t fuck around too much or people badmouth you. Our manager says, ‘Listen, Slash, if you do this and that and the other, I’m taking the van away from you, I’m taking this from you. You can’t go on living up to this reputation of yours [Unknown publication, December 1987]
The UK press was the first to start writing in-depth about the band with 'Live!? Live A Suicide' gaining some popularity there, motivating the band to travel to London in June 1987 for three gigs at the Marquee. This also gave the band the first experience with tabloid English newspapers who were more interested in shocking headlines than adhering to facts and the truth:

Oh, 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 LA where this guy's a self-confessed poodle murderer. [Harris laughs] 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 [Unknown publication, December 1987]
Axl is here referring to Time Out Magazine (UK), June 1987, who came to L.A. to interview the band before they were to head to London for their Marquee gigs. And like Chinese whispers, magazines would copy each other:

[...]but now, you know, there's things in magazines here [=US], like Hit Parader, where they quoted Slash saying I ran over dogs and he never said that [Unknown publication, December 1987]

Another example is an article by Andy Secher in Hit Parader from December 1987 where Slash is quoted as saying the band had toured with Stryper [Hit Parader, December 1987]. The band never toured with Stryper although according to Steven's biography there had been plans to do that. Yet Secher would quote Slash talking about the tour and how they had different religious views to Stryper. This is likely the reason why Secher would be called out in the song 'Get In The Ring' from 'Use Your Illusions' in 1991. Duff would also later refer to magazines talking about them touring with Stryper:

There was one that said we were on tour with Stryper, and that we burned all their bibles onstage - we’ve never even been on tour with Stryper! Yet there was a whole article about it! [Kerrang! August 3, 1991].

As the band grew in popularity, and Appetite sold more and more, the press would love writing about them. They lived dangerously on the edge and many magazines would be more interested in stories about drugs, sex and violence than the band's music and live shows. In 1987 and 1988, the band was challenged by this tabloid interest from the press, fuelled by their own assuredly wild behavior which they often did little to hide during interviews, resulting in less attention to their music and ambitions as artists. At this stage they didn't have to do interviews to create a buzz any more, either, and especially Slash was more at liberty to not take interviews as serious any more, with a good example being the interview with NME from October 1987. At the same time this more seedy focus from the press helped fuel the band's "wild boys" image which would undoubtedly help sell records and tickets to live shows.

You know, I really liked it when the kids loved us and we were still sort of underground. Now it's gotten to the point where we're sort of a circus act for normal society to go, 'Look at them fall down. Isn't that cute?' Sometimes it just pisses me off. I always thought of us as basically nice guys who were over-exaggerated about. I mean, we don't rob banks, we don't beat up girls, we don't smash guitars over kids' heads in the front rows. I don't see why it's such a crime to be us [Musician, December 1988].
In 1988, the press would regularly report than one or more of the band members had died, likely fuelled by true reports of ODs and accidents [example in Los Angeles Times, December 1988].

One time Geffen got a call from the Long Beach police department because they had a body in the morgue and it had been identified as Izzy. But the best story I heard was, after having to cancel a show in Phoenix, everyone there knew that the matter was that I died of AIDS [L.A. Weekly, June 1988]
People Magazine wanted to do an article on how America is accepting us as sleazy as we are, so we turned 'em down. [...] The press... It’s like they expect us to live up to this reputation that they've tagged us with. Well, maybe deep down inside I might feel I have to, to some extent, still, none of us have ever tried to be anything that we weren't. We never wanted to be role models for anyone [Circus Magazine, November 1988]
The press tries to glamorize us - they make it seem like we're always strung out or trashing a hotel or something, and that's not the case at all. I mean, we're worked really hard to get here, and they choose to ignore that aspect of the band. To me, destroying a hotel room is boring. It's a waste of time and money [Circus Magazine, November 1988]
I don't like 90% of the writers out there. I don't trust 'em. I might slip and say one thing I shouldn't and two months later, I'll see an entire five-page article built around ten seconds of an hour-long interview. After this album, I'll let the other guys deal with the press [Circus Magazine, November 1988]
In November 1987 Rolling Stone magazine published an article on the band and gave them the front page even though they had intended to use it for Aerosmith [MTV, October 1988]. To GN'R's consternation, the magazine described in detail the band's post-gig antics:

Well, he was with us for three days. I mean, I like the guy. He was with us for three days. He saw, basically every side of us. But he kinda exploited just one side, which happens from like, after the gig till you go to sleep on the bus. That side, you know [MTV, October 1988].
I mean, apparently with us, it's like, the main thing people wanna hear is how bad we are. This and that we did, and so and so did that. That's like, sort of novelty of Guns N' Roses, right. And so that's what... Rolling Stone just printed the stuff that's gonna make their magazine sell, basically [MTV, October 1988].
Okay, here's what they did, and they really misled us, because they sent this guy out...Rob? Tannenbaum. And, uhm, spent three fucking days with us, day and night, right? He was asking questions about the music and this and that, which is the most important thing, it's our music… […] But we were trying to be... we fucking showed him a great time, we hung out and actually really became friends within those three days. And we really believed he was going to focus on the music of the band so when the article comes out really was disappointed because he focused on the drinking and the fucking and the sake...[…] I think the reason they write this shit, I mean, that's all that's been written about us, it's the's just, these guys fucking drink and do this in that, fine! […] You know, everybody in the fucking world drinks, almost, you know, so what? You know, so let's focus on the music, you know. That's what was promised to us and it didn't happen [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
It’s kind of one-sided. ‘Okay, let’s exploit the dirty side, all the dark sides of this band,’ ya know? The writer was with us for three days. I mean, I liked the guy. He was with us for three days, he saw basically every side of us. But he kind of exploited just one side. Which happens from, like, after the gig until you go to sleep on the bus? That side [FACES, March 1989].
Apparently, with us, it’s the main thing that people want to hear is how bad we are, and that’s the sort of novelty about Guns N’ Roses, right? And so, that’s what Rolling Stone just printed, the stuff that’s going to make the magazine sell, basically [FACES, March 1989].
To make a mockery of the press, the band would design the layout of the EP G N' R Lies to look like a typical tabloid newspaper with fake stories about the band.

In mid-1989, Axl would talk about the press ans say the exaggerated stories just helped the band:

The press seems to be more interested in our off-stage activities than in the music itself! But a lot of the time, it's our own friends who start the ball rolling because we might tell them something that happened, they'll tell somebody else, who'll tell somebody, and by the time it reaches a journalist, it's been blown out of proportion. A lot of the stories really aren't much. We've had some run-ins with the cops, most people do, but because we're in Guns 'n' Roses, it's blown up to be something totally astounding. People think we're criminals, or something. […] We don't really are about these rumors. I heard we were all dying of AIDS, and the times I've heard that I'd died of a drug overdose, it's laughable. The way I figure it, these stories just make us seem more interesting than we are. It'll just encourage people to listen to the records or come and see our concerts; and when they do, the music's good enough to hook them right in. So let these people warn the kids away from us, they're just helping our cause! [Juke, July 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri May 11, 2018 6:05 pm


When Geffen signed the band they did not formally have any management, and it is likely they wanted someone more established than Vicky Hamilton. In came Alan Niven, who, according to KNAC in December 1986, was originally meant to just help out with getting the EP Live! Like A Suicide out. Alan Niven was part of Stravinski Brothers Management, together with Doug Goldstein [Kerrang! March 1989]. Niven became their manager and Goldstein would become their tour manager.

Geffen assigned a personal manager for us, Alan Niven. He was a big, shit-talking tough guy with a British accent. He was also currently managing the established L.A. band Great White. I know the guys were hoping for Doug Taylor or Doc McGee to manage us, because they managed huge acts like Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. But Alan was raw and hungry and we would be there for us. We all liked him. He was uncompromising and brutally driven [...] and he was gonna bust ass, get us busy, and get us to the top [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109-110]
The band was initially very happy with Alan as their manager:

Alan does more work in one day than any of these so-called professional big-time people that we have worked with. We've got a lot of work to do, and we need work done, too. [...] we need someone doing the job. [KNAC, December 1986]
The band would remark that one of the reasons they like him is that when “he took us out for drinks [at Barney’s Beanery], he showed us he could drink as much or more than we do" [Rock Scene, September 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:47 am


For their very first England tour in 1987 the band got a new tour manager, Doug Goldstein (source?). Although in June 1987, during that tour, Axl would refer to their "road manager" as Colin Gardner [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]. In November 1987, when the band was interviewed after their first Lakeland Civic Center show (November 21), Goldstein is again referred to as the tour manager, and Slash again refers to Goldstein as their tour manager in December that year [Late Night Bull, December 1987]. Perhaps Gardner was their first tour manager and was later replaced by Goldstein?

Raz met Goldstein before the August 1988 show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey:

Axl was there with his road manager Doug, who would eventually become their business manager. When we were introduced, he said to me, "Raz, good to finally meet you." He paused momentarily, seemingly pondering something, and then said, "You know who was asking about you the other day?" I perked up, feeling important about him knowing who I was, and that folks were talking about me. But he just chuckled and said, "No one"[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 255].
In the summer of 1989, Chicago Tribune would refer to Goldstein as one of the band's managers [Chicago Tribune, June 1989], the other likely being Alan Niven.

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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:59 pm


During their touring of Appetite, Guns N' Roses started to obtain a larger crew of professionals who helped them out. Slash's guitar tech was Adam Day, who had been working with George Lynch of Dokken. Adam would stay with the band for years and actually live with Slash at times [Kerrang! April 1989].

McBob was Duff's bass and Izzy's guitar techie.

Izzy had a guitar tech called Scott [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 125].

McBob's brother, Tom Mayhue, came onboard as the drum tech and also remained for years [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 135]. In December 1988, Tom Mayhue had become the band's stage manager and Steven would joke about Tom sitting behind him during shows to make sure he didn't make any drumming mistakes [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988]. Steven developed a particular fondness for Tom:

He's my mentor. He's my idol. I do look up to him and I respect him more than anything [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
Their press manager which they got before the London tour in 1987, was Arlett Vereecke [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]. She had been hired by Alan Niven [Kerrang! March 1989] and was described as "flamboyant and free-wheeling" and owned an apartment in West Hollywood [Kerrang, April 1989]. In 1989, when the band refused to do interviews with US magazine, she would interview Axl for the British magazine Kerrang! [Kerrang! June 1989].

In this period they also worked with Bryn Breidenthal at Geffen [Unknown UK Source, June 1987].

Peter Paterno, the lawyer who Vicky Hamilton had asked to have a look at the band's contracts, was still employed by the band [Rock Scene, September 1987].

Steven's drum tech for this period was his friend, Ronnie Schneider [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 125].

In late 1987, Axl had a bodyguard named Ronnie [Spin, January 1988]. Later the band would have two security guards because, according to Slash, Axl and Slash had received death threats, but would later go back to only Ronnie [Circus Magazine, May 1988].

In 1991, one of their bodyguards was Earl Gabbidon:

Earl is part of Guns N' Roses security. He's a large black man. He's played for several professional football teams. He has been around[Musician, September 1991].

Axl would also have his younger brother, Stuart Bailey, acting as his personal assistant [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

I must say that our manager [=Alan Niven], our road manager [=Doug Goldstein] and our security guy [=Ronnie?] are the best[Late Night Bull, December 1987].
Everybody in our organization is great. Ronnie, Toddy, Mike, Bill (Bartholomew Augustus Cezar), are great. Then we have Dave Kehrer, McBob, and Doug Goldstein[Late Night Bull, December 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:05 am


The band took a break from the Aerosmith tour to go back to England to play at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington on August 20.

Slash was excited:

Oh, man, that should be the coolest! Originally, the idea was for us to come back to Britain and tour with Metallica in September or October. But it seems kind of redundant to keep on touring off the back of this one album. So when the chance to play at Donington came up we just grabbed at it! I'm told they're expecting a really big crowd this year, too, so that should be awesome. I tell ya, this is such an important gig for us. I've always loved playing in Britain, fuckin' loved it! […] Also, have you heard how we're doing it? We're scheduled to play a gig with Aerosmith, then jump on Concorde and fly straight to the show at Donington. Then after we've finished playing, we're straight back on a 'plane and back out on the road in the States again with Aerosmith! Fuckin' bang, bang, bang! […] We don't need the money. We just wanna make sure we play our part in making Donington this year a real motherfucker of a gig. […]There's the pinnacle of what this is all about for me right there... [Kerrang! July 1988]
This was by far the largest show the band had done, playing for 107,000 festival goers. Guns N' Roses was near the bottom of the bill and played early in the day. Unfortunately, tragedy occurred when two fans died.

I think our performance is kind of secondary to what's happening in the crowd. They have casualties here. Were you out there at all? I think I saw a casualty happen. It was really weird. It was really strange. We had to stop the show. The P.A. system is kind of screwed up and you don't get time to have a good sound check so we couldn't really hear ourselves but we pulled it off. I think we did a good show. But I'm still stunned at the size of the audience and what was happening up front. It was real scary. We all went like, "woah!" [...] It was kids piled on kids horizontal on the ground. They were unconscious. And more people kept on falling on them. I saw them! It took about 20 minutes to get everybody out. We stopped the show and they finally pulled the last couple of people out and I think they were dead. It was really weird. I saw no life in those bodies at all. [...] ['Patience's] on the EP. The crowd needed to settle down and that's a song that says, "ok, everybody relax and listen"[Interview with Duff, Minutes after the concert]
A few hours after the show, not aware there were fatalities: Don't get me wrong, we hate to see violence, people getting hurt, and we feel sorry for the kids that are right there in the middle of it. But a rowdy crowd, a crowd that knows how to rock, is the best. It makes you feel great that people can get that into it and the kind of energy level we're talking about is good for the band.

That's why we like playing in England. The whole situation is heavier here, work is harder to get, money's tight, opportunities are fewer than they are in the States. So the kids need to have that one release from a rock 'n' roll show. They'll die for it
[Melody Maker, March 1989].[/i]
A few days after the show: It's hard for me to talk about it. We went back to the hotel, had dinner, and learnt about the deaths when we were in the bar. We've sort of been attacked for it, as if we were directly responsible, but with all those people — 100,000 — and the mud, y'know, no one thing can be blamed. Everybody was there for a release, to get away from their jobs, their parents, their problems, to get drunk and have a good time, but then you have this insane inconsideration for others. That ruined what it was supposed to be about — for everybody.

The Donington gig was our third major open air appearance and there were riots at both the other two. We just go out there and play, try to generate some excitement, but when it gets out of hand, when it fucks up the kids, you get to the point where you don't want to go out and play those kind of gigs
[Melody Maker, March 1989].[/i]
We didn't tell people to smash each other. We didn't tell people, 'Drink so much alcohol that you can't fucking stand up.' I don't feel responsible in those ways [1988.11.17, Rolling Stone Magazine]
The band were really brought down by the event. And we did try to stop the craziness down the front by changing our set, slowing things down, I actually don’t know it the accident was our fault or not. If someone were to ask me face-to-face whether Guns n’ Roses were to blame, I couldn’t say with any conviction that we’re not. I don’t think we can be held responsible, but I’d have to think very hard before giving an answer. Maybe we have to take some of the blame. After all, we were onstage when those kids died, and had Guns n’ Roses not existed then perhaps the tragedy wouldn’t have occurred.

It weighs very heavily on us and whatever anyone else may write or say about the incident can’t make us feel any worse. Quite honestly, we couldn’t give a fuck about the media trying to make us the scapegoats. That thing will haunt me forever anyway.

It’s strange, but tragedy and pain do seem to dog our career, A lot of weird shit happens to this band. We seem to attract it. I dunno, I can’t help wondering if the reason why Slash and Izzy were so strung out on certain ‘substances’ recently (they’re now cleaned out and revved up) was their way of attempting to hide and numb the pain they felt
[Raw Magazine - "Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know?", 1989.07.28]
That was... very strange. I mean, I saw it all go down. I stopped the gig three times. Kids were lookin' at me, givin' me this real intense look, like "something really, really bad is going down." You could read it all in their faces. I tried to stop the band... like three times... but they just kept playing, y'know on and on. Then I turned around and I could see the bodies being pulled out [The Face - "The Daze of Guns N' Roses", October 1989]
It makes me cry every day, if I think about it. I saw the whole thing! […] I saw the whole fucking thing. It crushed me, man. We stopped, remember we stopped? Because we saw the kids go under. We were screaming, ‘Back up! Back up! Back the fuck up! And the mud was about a foot deep, and the other kids there, they couldn’t tell whey were stepping on people. They thought it was just mud. […] I totally felt it was our fault for months, and a part of me probably will feel that way for the rest of my life. […] look at it this way, Mick [Wall]- if we weren’t playing that day, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. I mean, I’m not saying it was totally down on us. I’m just saying, if we’d missed the plane or for whatever reason hadn’t made the gig, maybe those two guys would still be living today. I have to deal with that for the rest of my life [Kerrang! March 1990]
We stopped the show a couple of times at Donnington - a big racetrack in England - when things started getting out of hand. It was people as far as you could see. It rained; people would fall over and asphyxiate in the mud. We didn't know that a couple of people died untill after the show [Slash - The Hands Behind the Hype, December 1991]
Donnington was the worst show we've ever played. You don't know what's happening so you can't stop it [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
At that show we experienced a frenzied reaction like nothing we'd seen before. The festival broke attendance records that year, surpassing the hundred-thousand mark. There couldn't have been a better place for us to record live footage...except for the fact that two people were trampled to death at the front of the stage during our set. The audience was crazy, just this sea of surging people. Axl stopped the set a number of times in an effort to control the crowd, but there was no calming them down. We had no idea that anyone was actually hurt let alone killed; after we'd done the gig and were celebrating in a nearby pub, Alan came in completely distraught and gave us the news. It was horrible; none of us knew what to do: something that had been a cause for celebration a moment before had become a tragedy [Slash's autobiography, 2007, p 236]
Those fans dying at Donnington has stayed with me, for sure. We were so excited to be playing there, but of course the phrase 'bittersweet' is way too light to cover it. We'd come off stage on a total high, feeling complete elation at the reception we'd got, and then we went to some pub near the venue, some hotel, and our manager Alan Niven told us what had happened and it was numbing. It just erased everything. I still think about it to this day. Two kids who had got up that morning to go to a rock concert... [The Truth, Mojo, June2008]
About a week after the sheet-cake ceremony [for reaching no. 1 on Billboard for Appetite], we flew to England again to play the outdoor Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donnington. This was the kind of thing you heard about other band playing - big bands, household names, not grubby kids a year or two removed from living in a back-alley storage space and treating their venereal diseases with fucking fish food. Looking out on the sea of faces on August 20, 1988, I realized I'd never eve seen a crowd that size, much less stood in front of one. The festival had been going for a few years, but this was the biggest one so far - 107,000 in attendance. It was stormy, and the lawn - the infield of a racetrack - was thick with mud. Wind swirled. The PA had problems and a giant video screen blew over. We were near the bottom of the bill and played early in the day. When we started laying, tens of thousands of people surged forward. 'Shit almighty, people really want to see us. This is fucking crazy.' As fans swarmed toward the stage, I could see people getting pushed around, losing their footing. "Back up!" Axl screamed at the crowd. Security stopped te show during the third song to fish a few people out of the scrum. But they were also occupied dealing with the video screen that had collapsed in the wind., People refused to get out from under it - it was still showing the video feed. We continued playing after getting the okay from security. When we played 'Paradise City' the crowd surged forward again, a writhing mass of bodies, singing, screaming, nodding. Suddenly I could see kids piled on top of other kids, horizontal in the mud. It looked like some kids might be getting hurt. 'Should I jump in and try to do something?' I was too scared. We stopped playing again. "Don't fucking kill each other," Axl said to the crowd. This pause lasted about twenty minutes. Dozens of people were pulled out of the mud by security, Then once again we were told we could resume playing and finish our set. Only later did we hear the news: two fans had died, suffocated beneath other fans in the mud. 'Oh, fuck, no, no, no, no.' Those two fans, Alan Dick and Landon Siggers, had just come to see a rock concert. They had tried to see us, to sing with us. And now they were dead. All I could think about were their final moments of anguish, the horror they must have faced as they struggled to breathe in the knee-deep mud and other fans fell on top of them. 'Oh, God, no. I wish we'd never played this fucking show.' I wanted to apologize to their families [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 136-137]
In the middle of the tour we were flown out to England to perform at the annual Monsters of Rock festival at a racetrack in Castle Donnington, England. [...] In the middle of the afternoon we hit the stage. It was a madhouse. Over a hundred thousand kids were cramming against the front. The racetrack were selling these big thirty-two-ounce beers. The kids were drinking, and they weren't about to go through this whole fucking crowd just to urinate at a stall, so they pissed in the bottles. Before we went on, we were standing at the side of the stage looking at the size of the crowd.

Suddenly, we saw what looked like a swarm of giant locusts flying through the air; they were actually hundreds of these plastic bottles of urine soaring over the crowd. We were like, "What the fuck?" Bam, pop! People were getting hit in the head and splattered with pee. But it wasn't going to change anything. We had gotten spit on, we had bottles of booze and beet thrown at us, and we had gotten in shoving matches with fans and other bands, so what's a little projectile piss?

I was surprised to see so many Guns N' Roses banners waving in the crowd. By the time we went on there were 120,000 people screaming and jumping up and down. It was really an impressive sight for us all. Everyone was so out of control, and we had to stop the show several times because people kept rushing the stage. Axl asked the crowd to settle down and back up. People were getting crushed at the front of the stage. It wasn't until the next day, after we flew the Concorde back to the U.S., that we were told that two kids were killed during our set. They were trampled to death.

I was shell-shocked. Numb. I couldn't believe it. Of course, the media blamed the band, fueling our notorious bad-boy image. And we were just starting to get a broader, more friendly public image going when this happened. [...]

To this day, the Donnington tragedy still haunts me like a nightmare
[Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 168-170]
What’s kind of lost is that people think Guns n’ Roses headlined Donington. We played at noon. We were really low on the bill and we were just happy to be here. [Classic Rock Magazine, June 2013]
The two fans who died were Alan Dick and Landon Siggers.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:58 am


With 'Appetite' finally becoming a success, the band would enjoy having made it:

It's a great dream come true, it's like an ongoing memory. Every day I'll be able to say, `Yeah, I had a Number One record'. That isn't something that will die off or diminish [Kerrang! June 1989].
We’re headlining places that I remember Aerosmith and AC/DC headlining when their best albums came out. And we’re playing those places now. It’s a trip! [Hit Parader, July 1989].
You dream about it for so long, go through utter shit to get there. It doesn't matter what happens to the band now. Once you've got a No. 1, then everything is...well, it's not an anticlimax, but whatever happens now won't matter because nothing can take away that experience of going to No. 1. Even if the next album doesn't do anything, I can still say I had a No. 1 record [Juke, July 1989].
I like being successful. I was always starving. On the other side. When it came to people with money, it was always "The rich? Fuck them!" But I left one group and joined another. I escaped from one group where I was looked down on for being a poor kid that doesn't know shit, and now I'm like, a rich, successful asshole. I don't like that. I'm still just me […] [Rolling Stone, August 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


But success is a double-edged sword, the band also had to deal with their new celebrity status:

I mean for a bunch of kids to come off Sunset Boulevard and then end up on the road and then turn into like one of the biggest bands in the country, you know, which wasn't overnight but the actual success part happens so quick that it was such a mindblower. And especially when we got off the road and you're recognized everywhere and you go on to a record store, you go to a gas station, people recognize your new car, you know, and all that stuff. It's a real shock. I mean, it definitely, you know, set one over on me. Threw me for a loop [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
I knew what I knew until I was 23, now I've learned a whole new life in two years, a whole different life, you know. So it's just dealing with that is just kind of weird. I'm not complaining, you know, but it just, it's weird. It's like cramming eight years of college into, you know, a week [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
We’ve had to adapt our lifestyles a little. If we go to clubs these days we have to expect to be hassled and I’ve gotten into three fights recently with guys just trying to show off to their girlfriends - I won all of ‘em, though! You see, I’ve got a mountain bike that I constantly ride, so I’m in good shape [Raw Magazine, July 1989].
A guy in the South Bay is going around posing as me. He's been doing it for the last few months. He was trying to trade off melted gold coins as gold pieces and all this stuff. He's been going to the beach, as stupid as it sounds, doing this whole big Slash act [VOX, January 1991].
When the tour ended [in 1988] everything was different. People who before, could care less about us, now came and said, “Hey guys, how are you doing?” It was kind of confusing, you came home and you asked “what changed? …of course, the album.” And the people when we went down the street, told us “how are you? Will you give me 10 bucks?” (laughs). One day, I met a guy who was doing something for MTV, I met him in a hotel; he told me he was in Ronnie Wood’s band. I told myself, “hey, everyone is my friend!” I was a big fan of Ronnie. I didn’t see that guy again for a week, he had given me his name, and that of his manager. One day, the guy showed up at my house, he got comfortable and drank all my whiskey, my vodka, and everything else. I received a phone call from the management company… and I told them that he was with me, I gave them his name… and the company told me “who’s that… never heard of the guy!” I came around at that moment… at that time I drank a lot and that made me lose my mind… [Popular 1, November 1992].
Talking about the fame: […] there are little problems here and there as far as trying to maintain any animosity (ed: I think he means 'anonymity'), but otherwise, no, not much of a change. You get recognized a lot more [In The Streets, December 1988].
It's weird to go out to a local club like the Cathouse or Bordellos just because you want to have a good time, and this guy comes and talks to you for one and a half hours, not because he enjoys your company or finds you've got something interesting to say, but because he can tell his friends he was hanging out with someone famous [Juke, July 1989].
[It] gets weird. I don't really need to in LA, but I don't go out to clubs much - except to the Cathouse and to Bordello's, because I have police security there. The DJ and the owner of the club (Rikki Rachtman) are looking out for me. […] That's one of the only places I really go. It's hard to go out, because everybody wants to talk to you and they all want an autograph. It's especially annoying when people are really drunk and talk for half-an-hour to an hour about something you're really not interested in, just because they're having their chance to talk to somebody they are into. You don't want to hurt their feelings, but at the same time you wanted to get out and have a good time and, instead, all of your time is taken up. It's kind of weird to know where your responsibilities end and where they begin [Kerrang! June 1989].
Trying to handle success is a pain in the ass. It's really strange and takes some getting used to. I've never had my place to live before, never had to deal with the amount of money we've made and not get ripped off, never understood doing your taxes and all these things. I was hating it a few months ago, trying to get organized and trying to get a place to live and to get a grip on everything. But now things are coming together. I've wanted to be here my whole life [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
Talking about going back home to Indiana: It gets a little bit out of hand. I can't really go any where. I just go to my friends' houses, but people I don't know show up wanting autographs. People that I used to go to school with, people that used to hate my guts, want me to invest money in this and that. People say shit like "Axl thinks he's too cool to party with us." But those people never wanted to party with me before, The people who are offended by this comment are the ones who should be [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
I really only go to clubs where I know the people who work there, so I can have some privacy and hang out. It's hard when you go to a club with 600 people and you end up having to talk to 400 people. You have no time of your own to have fun. Maybe if I haven't gone out for a week, I'll go to the Cathouse, because I know some friends are gonna be there. I just want to be around my friends, even if we don't talk about anything. I just need it. You have all these people asking you for an autograph, and it gets kind of embarrassing. I don't want to be a prick to people and go, "Get away from me." But I don't enjoy going someplace and just signing autographs all the time. It comes with the fame, but sometimes it gets out of hand and people can be very rude and obnoxious about it. I've had people break into my hotel room with cameras, waking me up and taking photos. People find out where I live and show up at my building. I've never asked anyone for an autograph [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
[…] and then we got so f**kin’ immensely popular that we hated it, cos all of a sudden our lives changed, and that had a big effect on us. […] When your mother starts wearing Guns T-shirts, you know there’s something wrong. […] But the point of what I’m saying is, there was that whole change in our personal lives, which people may or may not be interested in, but it was really serious. There was a lot of — well, I’m surprised we’re all still here! Cos there was a lot of stuff to swallow, to establish a sense of security or to be able to deal with money or houses and all that crap, which we’ve never been interested in in the first place. After the tour they basically dropped us off at the airport and it was like, ‘Well, touring’s done, guys. Go make another record’. We went through a lot of emotional and personal changes [Kerrang! July 27, 1991].
It was like, this thing rearing its big ugly head and we didn’t even know what it was,” continues Duff. And people start hating you for being successful [Kerrang! July 27, 1991].
We can’t walk down the street any more, or f**kin’ pop into a liquor store, without getting hassled. I guess it’s like a classic scenario, almost a cliché. I suppose every big band’s gone through it. And people who are just rock fans or people who would love to be in our shoes, or in any successful band’s shoes, are sitting there going, ‘Well, that’s a small price to pay’ - which to tell you the truth it is, because we get to do what we wanna do, we have control of our own career as far as our music goes, and we don’t bend to anyone else’s standards. […] Basically we have the optimum lifestyle. But the price that you pay for it takes a helluva
lot out of you, just in your personal life, that people don’t really realize
[Kerrang! July 27, 1991].
[…] I was in New York doing the final mastering for the record [=Use Your Illusions] about a week or so ago and I just decided when I left the studio to walk back and it was really nice, it was nightime and it was just cool walking back to the hotel without people bugging me and shit. I get to the fucking hotel, it's like we're the fucking Beatles. There's a hundred somewhat people I wasn't even expecting, so these things still pop up, it never ceases to amaze me that it just keeps going. All these people outside the hotel and then one of them turned around and the whole mob turned around and the whole place blew up and I had to run into the hotel and through all the people who were grabbing me and stuff and it blew my fucking mind [Rip It Up, September 1991].
A "band confidante" would tell Hit Parader that Axl had dealt with the celebrity status a lot better "than some of the other guys in the band":

"They've learned to live in the limelight. It wasn't easy for Axl in the beginning when he suddenly was being hassled at clubs when he went out for the even­ing. He really didn't expect it or want it. Now he's more or less come to the realization that he's Axl Rose, rock star, whether he wants that kind of off-stage attention or not. It's just some­thing he’s got to live with. Actually, I think he’s handled it a lot better than some of the other guys in the band" [Hit Parader, May 1991].

Well, it's frightening, that's what it is. I mean, a week ago I flew with Axl from New York to Lafayette, Indiana, with one lay-over flight and by the time we hit Lafayette there were people just milling around the fuckin' airport. Mainly for him. Axl really brings out the fuckin' crazies, man. They relate to him particularly in this very weird, intense way. But that's the same with all of us, y'know. It's like a sickness. 'Cos they don't want to shake your hand or get your autograph. They want to scream in your face or mess with your head, sneak around your house, sneak into your hotel room and fuck with your head. It puts you right on edge, man, all the fuckin' time. Because a lot of these kids carry guns, right. And you never know what the fuck they're up to. And that's not half the shit. I've been ripped off... nine months ago I moved into the Valley; in one week I was robbed, y'know, of everything. Four months later I had to crawl out of LA and cool out in the Midwest. I find a place there and four days later it's been stripped clean. You figure you have to get rifles. Just to deal with these people. You don't want to shoot anyone but hey, if that's how it goes down…[…] I'm walking into my house, there's five guys parked in my yard, just waiting for me, right. One gets out -- "We wanna autograph!" I tell them to get the fuck out of my yard. But they don't see it that way. […] I've had my windows shot out. Many times. You think, 'Why the fuck would anyone wanna shoot my fuckin' windows out?' I mean, there's currently a wave of fuckin' murders in Los Angeles involving "personalities"... Some actors just got blasted point blank in a place on Fairfax on the same fuckin' block we used to live in. It's bullshit and I don't like to think about it but sometimes it gets to you, y'know [The Face, October 1989].
You know, before we did the last record we had no money and we were living like shits. But you go through all this stuff and now it’s like a whole different kind of shit we have to deal with. A whole different bunch of shit. You’ve got people wanting to fucking sue you all the time. You can’t go to clubs. […] But, dude, there was one period in the space of a week that I got into three fights - just because a guy wanted to show off for his girlfriend. But if they’re gonna be that much of a dickhead, you know, okay, fine. I can ditch a fucking hit, and I can hit ‘em back. If he kicks my ass - so what? You know, he’s not gonna kill me. I can protect myself. I mean if someone’s gonna be such an asshole, that’s their problem, not mine. I never did that to anybody when I first moved to LA. I never thought of going up to David Lee Roth if I saw him down the Troubadour and telling him I was gonna kick his ass, you know? I just wouldn’t have thought of it. […] You know the one that I feel sorry for the most is Axl. Because he’s such a huge figure. I mean, what does he do when he wants to go to a shopping mall? Put a hat on backwards and wear shades? That’s what he wears on stage, man! [Kerrang! March 1990].
Of particular annoyance to Axl was his notoriety which prevented him from buying a house in Hollywood:

[…] I still can't go and buy a house anywhere in Hollywood because people won't sell me their houses, or their neighbors won't let them! [Juke, July 1989].
Talking about what irritates him the most: That I couldn't find a house in Hollywood to buy, rent or steal for a reasonable price. […] You can't make a million bucks and sit down and talk to people about, 'Oh man, I can't find the right house for a million bucks'. Your friends are saying, 'Oh, dude, your problems must be rough!'. They laugh in your face, because they think it's ridiculous [Kerrang! June 1989].
The band would also be increasingly frustrated with the public considering them caricatures of themselves [Musician, December 1988], and where any normality of their lives would be unreported by the media, because it doesn't sell:

The fact is, we're all really sensitive people. And that's probably why, for one, I drink so much, why Axl flies off the handle and has these fits of depression. Because we're still living life, and sometimes that's hard to deal with. There's no big macho sense in this band. Duff's married; Axl's got a girlfriend he loves very much. Maybe sometimes we have relationships or other things that just drive us crazy. No one wants to know about that, though. Because at this point, it's not 'Guns N' Roses' for any of that to happen [Musician, December 1988].
In May 1991, Slash would indicate that he had coped with the weirdness of suddenly being a celebrity through drugs:

It just took a little bit, you know? A lot of other bands have gone through it and deal with it differently. I mean, it was like a big smack in the face to us in a way and we just, you know... I can’t really speak for everybody in the band, but, like, I avoided it with whatever was around that would, sort of like, just dull it (chuckles). […] Yeah. And that really wasn’t the right way to go. And eventually that took its toll on me and I stopped, and just started dealing with it, you know? And it’s no big... It’s, like, a small price to pay, really. But it was more of a personality crisis for me than it was anything, and the attention being focused all the time and... [MTV, May 1991].
In August/September 1991 he would talk more about it:

I have a really hard time swallowing the concept of being any kind of rock f***ing star. Okay, I expect certain things like, y'know, `Well, can we take a limo to the gig?' And hotel rooms like this... This isn't that expensive. We're only here because we've been kicked out of a lot of other hotel chains. But this is it. […] I've got my f***ing bag full of clothes and that's everything, right? And I've got my cooler. I've got my booze in there and that's all I f***ing need. […] You feel really awkward if somebody treats you like ... uh… a hero or something. It's weird to not be able to just hang out all the time on the street… […] You just can't f***ing win. It's f***ed because, even if you try to put the effort into hanging out, people treat you like you re some kinda f**ing machine sometimes. Some people are really cool, but other people are just, 'Here! Sign this!' […] You don't know exactly how to act. It's like, shall we act like Led Zeppelin and just go around with this huge entourage and not talk to anybody so the mystique is happening and everybody's like, 'Wow!'? No. We just wanna feel natural. I've been watching this develop. We have security and it's like, Bam! In the car! To the gig! So on and so forth. And, y'know, we don't wanna feel pompous. But people love to go, 'Oh yeah, the Guns guys. They're rock stars now. They're assholes.' None of us are like that. But how do you argue, y'know? […] I know people want heroes. I had'em. […] And I still have tons of heroes, but they turn out to be as insecure and sensitive as the next person. And what you realise is that, although you respect them as musicians or as artists, when you meet them, you strip all that away and you can just be friends with somebody. And so, yeah, people need heroes but, at the same time, when it comes down to it, everybody's so real and the people that aren't real are the people who carry this facade around all the time and they can't get away from it in their own lives, y'know? [Melody Maker, August 10 1991].
But yeah, there's aspects I miss. Like I have this vivid memory of sitting literally on the sidewalk in front of The Marquee and drinking a bottle of Jack and just hanging out with people and shit and now can't do something like that. I'm not complaining, because it's a small price to pay. But I miss the complete detachment from responsibilities that everybody has to deal with in everyday life. Y'know, financially and everything that goes with it as far as apartments and houses and cars and . . . y'know, all that shit. I sorta miss that detachment because now I really do have to watch my shit and I do have my own life and I have to maintain, d'you know what I mean? And so I've grown up a lot that way [Melody Maker, August 10 1991].
Actually, New Zealand was the last place that we played [in 1988 before going on a one-year break] and then we flew back to LA and they dropped us off at the airport and I was like, I had no idea how big a band we were and I had nowhere to live and I had money and I didn't know what to do with that because I wasn't used to it. And we went through I guess the kind of tests that life gives you, hands out all these challenges for you to deal with and either you get your ass kicked or you get through it. We went through a lot of shit adjusting to everybody's perception of what "rock stars" are supposed to be about, you know, it was rough. And having to buy a house and settle down and all that crap, and then all the hangers-on that were around and just basically bad traffic, we call it, and drug situations and all that. So we struggled along getting through all of it […] [Rip It Up, September 1991].
The band's problems with the police also didn't subside as they became famous and rich:

We've had a real serious problem with cops since a long time ago and now they're out to get us. They've caught two of us so far and they transferred the one cop that ever stood up for us! I have to take a cab to (the nightclub) Rainbow at night! I drive a Jeep Cherokee around the day, so I look very domestic. I've got black windows so no one can really see me. I don't want to end up getting busted and not even knowing why [VOX, January 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


When this band got together everybody was basically starving [BAM, November 1987].
We all grew up on the streets. That's where we feel home at home. What are we gonna do with a lot of money? [Record Mirror, September 23, 1989].
We didn't own anything, you know. We didn't have cars, we didn't have anything, you know. It's like, "What? You mean I have to change the oil?! I mean, you know that but you never had one of your own. The maintenance is.... I mean, Slash calls me at times and go, "[?] I got this house and my refrigerator's leaking all over the place and I feel comfortable just leaving it that way but I know I can't do that cuz this is my house" [MTV Documentary, November 1989].

With the success, the band could escape their poverty. During the touring in 1987 and early 1988 they had lived out of their suitcases. After ending the Iron Maiden tour the band was paid out $160,000 or "something like that" in total [Kerrang! July 1988]. By August 1988 they had paid back Geffen what they were owed [Screamer, August 1988]. In Duff's biography, he indicates that they were handed their first check from record sales when they returned from tour: $80,000 each. Three weeks later they got another check [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 143].

Duff bought himself a "nice little place" in Studio City, away from the Hollywood where everybody "dressed like us, in bandannas, and trying to sound like us. […] We all bought right on the main road or just off it. Obviously, in thinking accessibility would be a plus, we failed to recognize the way our lives were about to change. We'd soon want to be out of this fishbowl" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 144].

He could also afford, for the first time, to fly back home to Seattle to celebrate Christmas of '88 with his large family, a family he otherwise only got to see when they came to see him after shows in Seattle [Circus Magazine, February 1989].

As far as personally there's no difference, I don't think in any of us. I mean, yeah, I mean, now we can do stuff you never been able to do before. Which is great, you know, when we have time to do it. Before, like, we wouldn't have been able to...we'd both share a room, there'd be two people in a room and you couldn't order anything from room service because you didn't have any money, you'd have to eat at the show or something. And now we each have our own room and we can order room service [Japanese TV, December 1988].
I have a car now. Nothing really... I mean, you don't have to worry... basically where your next meal, or next bottle's coming from now [MTV, October 1988].
Slash, who claimed that while not on tour to just "live around" because he had no home [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988], and who had no ambition of owning a home except to "get a house and build a jungle round it" [L.A. Rocks, August 1986], bought an apartment on Sunset Boulevard [On The Street, December 1988]:

It's five minutes drive from the Roxy and the Rainbow and all those other cheap dives I often find myself in. And if I get too out of it to drive myself home I can always roll myself down the hill… Other than that, it's just a little apartment already furnished. It came with this fuckin' couch and cheap table and a refrigerator and stuff - like one of everything. It's the first apartment I ever lived in that actually belongs to me… It's a whole new experience. I can't live off everybody else forever; if I can afford to have a place. I can't just keep being, like, a total fuckin' gypsy all my life… [Kerrang! December 1988 ]
In 1991, he would describe this apartment as "the cheapest apartment I could find off of Sunset Boulevard" and that it basically was just a place to party [Q Magazine, July 1991]. He would also say he rented it because it "reminded me of a hotel room" [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].

The noticeable difference in mine is I have a... you know, supply of cigarettes and booze and stuff. [laughs] I got a place finally. I mean, there's differences [MTV, October 1988].
I mean I've never even had a car before. I'd never bought a car before. And so actually being able to go out and buy a car, you know, it was pretty cool [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
In Musician, December 1988, it is said that Slash was merely renting an apartment, and that he had rented an apartment nearby to Ronnie, Slash's friend and part of the crew [Musician, December 1988]. He would still consider himself "Mr. Hotel Guy" and only got the apartment "solely because it looked like a hotel room" [Musician, December 1990].

Axl would mention visiting the apartment and also that Slash was at the moment dating famous porn star Traci Lords [Howard Stern, February 1989].

Slash soon decided to abandon that apartment:

What happened was, the last time I saw you I had an apartment, but that got so hectic and crazy that I ended up having to sort of sneak out of there... I had the cops there every day, and a lot of heavy traffic, and it was just a bad scene after a while, y'know? Everybody knew where it was... SO I snuck out of there, then I spent a little bit of time sleeping on people's couches again [Kerrang! April, 1989].
In 1991 Slash would say his addiction got out of hand while staying in his apartment, so he got clean and moved [Q Magazine, July 1991]. This move happened before May/April of 1989 when Slash had bought himself a house. While it was being renovated he lived in another house he was renting high in the Hollywood Hills together with his guitar tech, Adam Day [Kerrang! April 1989]. The house Slash bought was in the hills overlooking Laurel Canyon [Musician, December 1990]. When Slash moved into this house he started collecting snakes and other reptiles, and also bought a pair of Rottweilers [Musician, December 1990]. In late 1990 he was considering getting a bigger house to accommodate even more snakes [Musician, December 1990].

You can come into my house on a giving day and find a snake in every room. […] Pythons and Boas, tree boas, reticulated pythons and blood python, Burmese python, carpet pythons and African rock pythons and anacondas and all this stuff. And then I've got another... I had like a bookcase that I converted into another snake tank, it's got three boas and stuff. It's cool, it's a lot of fun [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
Slash also started to invest his money:

And I never drove. Now I have two cars in the garage that I never drive either [laughs]. A 'vette and a Porsche. They're solely for investment purposes. I mean, I got this house 'cause I needed an investment. Which is the most depressing thought. You're buying all this stuff just to sell it when you need to. All the investments I've made are to save my ass when I fuck up [Musician, December 1990].
In September 1991 he would describe the difference between himself and Axl when dealing with prosperity:

Axel [sic] might have been prepared for [wealth and success] — I think he was the most stable throughout because his sights are different than mine. He is more or less a frontman/star character, he enjoys what fame and fortune bring him. Not that he takes advantage of it in the sense that he's like a fucking pop star or anything, but he set his sights at achieving the fame we've gotten to whereas me being the guitar player, having a completely different kind of personality, I was just a rock'n'roll guitar player as far as I was concerned, I just wanted to make it to the next gig. […] I didn't have any material possessions really except one duffle bag with clothes, I was completely content with living that way. Whereas Axel [sic] has taken whatever money he's made and buys nice things with it. I really still to this day don't buy anything except the things I need like a stereo or booze or guitars or something like that. I don't have, like, expensive furniture, there's not a whole hell of a lot going on materially with me so I didn't really give a shit about the whole stardom thing so it threw me [Rip It Up, September 1991].
Yet, he did not miss poverty:

There's two sides to that coin because if we weren't as successful as we are now the parts I would miss would be headlining these huge places and getting a chance to play in front of a lot of people and really get off on it. So if I was still playing at the fucking Troubadour I'd probably be working at trying to get to the next level. So being here is great, it's just you have to deal with what comes with it and I guess when you look at it realistically it's a small price to pay for being able to go out and play in front of 30,000 people. And so I'm not complaining. It was a weird adjustment when it really did come down, all of a sudden there we were. On top of that people think it's sort of glamorous and they put you on a pedestal and you're supposed to go out and perform like one of those fucking windup monkeys. And we're not like that —  everybody's real volatile and emotional and human. And nobody really gives a shit about that side of it, especially in the industry. So it's weird to be a big band and then at the same time feel so fucking vulnerable, and have people up your ass all the time [Rip It Up, September 1991].
Izzy had expressed a desire to build a guitar collection (and who had to sell his Gibson Black Beauty in 1987 to pay the rent [Guitar World, March 1989]) and an underground studio, and buy guns to kill the animals in Slash's jungle [L.A. Rocks, August 1986]. At the end of touring in 1988 he bought an apartment:

When we finished touring, I managed to get an apartment two days before the tour ended because we were already in Los Angeles with Aerosmith or someone else… [Popular 1, November 1992].
He also bought a bed:

I enjoy life more now, I'm not so pissed off all the time. When you got no bread, drug problems, no money and winos in your alley throwing up, it does tend to aggravate you. It's much better now. I can live like a normal person. I mean, for the 10 years I lived here, I never had a bed. I just bought one - and it's a futon. I guess I'm used to lying on the floor [Musician, December 1988].
In 1988, Izzy also bought a country home in Lafayette. The house was built in 1847 and was on the National Regis­ter of Historic Places [Journal and Courier, May 1991]. One of the grandchildren of the sellers, Boes, would recount the sale in Journal and Courier:

"'My family thinks the house is a family jewel,' Boes said. 'My mom called and asked, ‘What’s a Guns and Roses?’' My dad asked whether we should sell. I said, ‘Does he have cash?’' At the closing, Izzy Stradlin came into the Stallard & Schuh offices in downtown Lafayette and sat across from Sheldon Pershing. 'Here he came with this hat, his face was gaunt and pale. He had the dangly earrings, a diamond in his nose,' Boes said. 'To you and I, your basic rock situation. But to grandpa, it looked like he just landed.' After the deeds were signed, Pershing turned to Stradlin and said, 'You ought to get something to eat. Now that you’ve got that house, get out and walk along that road, go fishing out back, get some sun.' Boes said, 'He meant it. He just didn’t think he looked well.' […] 'He’s a great neighbor,' Boes, whose parents live about a quarter-mile away, said. 'He’s never around.' " [Journal and Courier, May 1991].

In the beginning of 1989, Izzy had also bought himself a place in the Valley [The Face, October 1989].

[Izzy]'s intense, the guy's way intense. He's put a driveway around his place, say, like five acres and this pond and he's got this driveway around it so immediately he goes on buys all these go-karts and stuff for all his friends so they can get drunk and all the neighbors are just like, "Oh." Every house around Izzy's house is for sale now [laughing]. And nobody can touch him, it's out of the city limits. They can't. You know, then they go outside and he shooting off his AK and it's pretty [?] [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
Axl, as always, had lofty plans:

Talking about adapting to fame: Right now it's hard. It's gonna take a little time living like a rat in the streets to being able to manage my accounts, find places to live, buy houses. I'm getting a place here and in the Midwest, and eventually I'd like to live in New York, and get ideas for songs on the street [Musician, December 1988].
Axl struggled to find a place to live in Hollywood, because no one wanted to sell to him, but in July 1989 it was reported that Axl was living in a spacious Spanish bungalow together with his girlfriend Erin Everly [Juke, July 1989], and he would comment that he was "very happy with it" [Kerrang! June 1989]. While talking with Howard Stern, he also mentioned that he had wanted to get a place in New York since at least 1988 [Howard Stern, February 1989]. Axl would also start buying guns [RIP, April 1989], a parcel of land in Wisconsin where he would build his "dream house" [Rolling Stone, August 1989], as well as cars:

[My custom Corvette] got a Chevy engine, a four-cam that goes 180-plus miles an hour. I'll join a racetrack where they teach you how to drive fast. I like the idea of having a car where I won't be so eager to put my gun in the car and shoot somebody [Musician, December 1988].
Axl's always wanted the good things in life. He's real big on cosmetics, clothes, cologne and stuff, and now he's able to get it. He can have a nice car, although he's always been a terrible driver. Now they can buy stuff they want [Rock Scene, October 1989].
In October 1990, Axl both had a house up in the Hollywood Hills and a "luxury condominium" in a 12-story high-riser in West Hollywood just north of the Sunset Strip [MTV, October 1990; Los Angeles Times, October 1990], where he was living "right next door to hell." The flat was where he had his business, the house was where he wanted to have his family [MTV, October 1990]. He had acquired the flat in January 1989 [Los Angeles Times, October 1990]. The house in the Hollywood Hills was said to have cost $ 800,000 [Los Angeles Times, November 1990].


I can eat whatever I want [Japanese TV, December 1988].
: I got a nice car, bitchin' car [MTV Documentary, November 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


Already in October 1987 would Axl mention their plans to release an acoustic EP late in 1988 [CGBG's Post-show interview, October 1987]. In the end, the band decided to package the acoustic tracks the band had recorded with their old Live! Like A Suicide EP, creating a hybrid EP of both old and released electric songs and some new acoustic songs.

The new EP was named G N' R Lies: The Sex, the Drugs, the Violence, the Shocking Truth and tt was released in November 1988.

According to Goldmine Magazine, this record did not count towards fulfilling the band's contract with Geffen and Geffen did not advertise or send our promotional copies whatsoever [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989].

We recorded the new tracks at the Record Plant recording studio off Sunset by Paramount Studios. The entire process was done over a single weekend [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 176].
Axl knew the songs would be controversial, that they would "freak people out" and decided to deal with it by writing a note of explanation/apology on the album cover [Musician, December 1988].

The president of Geffen Records, Eddie Rosenblatt, would comment on it this way: "We believe in free speech at this record company. We've stickered the record, which should serve as ample warning to concerned parents. But we can't speak for the artist. In fact, it's important to let our artists speak for themselves--and we hope their audience will judge them in the appropriate context" [Los Angeles Times, December 1988].

The EP debuted at no. 5 on this lists in mid-January 1989 [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989]. At one time Guns N' Roses had to records in top 5 simultaneously, 'Appetite' and 'Lies', a feat "never equalled by the likes of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard . . . or even the Stones and Zeppelin" as well as starting a "trend of 'acoustic releases' from Hard Rockers" [RAW Magazine, May 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


Before the release of 'GN'R LIES' the song 'I Used To Love Her' was expected to cause controversy with its assumed misogynistic lyrics. The band, though, knew there was another on the record more likely to cause uproar:

[insert quote about OIAM before the release of LIES]

...a backpack, a piece of steel in one hand and a can of maize in the other. And guys were trying to sell me joints everywhere, and some black guy turned me on to the bus station. So, I found the bus station. And there'll be a song about the bus station on our EP called "One In A Million" [Interview with Axl and Slash, 1988]

And, as expected, immediately after the release of GN'R Lies, 'One In A Million' caused controversy due to Axl's lyrical content, both its perceived racist message, but also its homophobia, in particular through the lines "police and niggers, get out of my way" and "immigrants and faggots, don't make no sense to me."

Axl would try to defend or explain the song in various ways:

We were aware of what kind of flak we were going to get, which is why I put an apology right on the cover of the record. Living on the streets you go through a lot of hard times and a lot of my hard times were with people of different races or different beliefs. I haven't anything against those people. I'm not a racist. The songs are just (an account) of what happened to us. If you change the words or soften them, you change the truth [Taste Makers, Los Angeles Times, December 1988].
I started writing about wanting to get out of LA , getting away for a little while. I'd been down to the downtown-L.A. Greyhound bus station. If you haven't been there, you can't say shit to me about what goes on and about my point of view. There are a large number of black men selling stolen jewelry, crack, heroin and pot, and most of the drugs are bogus. Rip-off artists selling parking spaces to parking lots that there's no charge for. Trying to misguide every kid that gets off the bus and doesn't quite know where he's at or where to go, trying to take the person for whatever they've got. That's how I hit town. The thing with 'One in a Million' is, basically, we're all one in a million, we're all here on this earth. We're one fish in a sea. Let's quit fucking with each other, fucking with me [The Rolling Stone Interview With Axl Rose" Del James, Rolling Stone August 1989]
'One in a million' is about...... I went back and forth from Indiana eight times my first year in Hollywood. I wrote it about being dropped off at the bus station and everything that was going on. I'd never been in a city this big and was fortunate enough to have this black dude help me find my way. He guided me to the RTD station and showed me what bus to take, because I couldn't get a straight answer out of anybody. He wasn't after my money or anything. It was more like, "Here's a new kid in town, and he looks like he might get into trouble down here. Lemme help him get on his way." People kept coming up trying to sell me joints and stuff. In downtown L.A the joints are usually bogus, or they'll sell you drugs that can kill you. It's a really ugly scene. The song's not about him, but you could kinda say he was one in a million. When I sat down after walking in circles for three hours, the cops told me to get off the streets. The cops down there have seen so much slime that they figure if you have long hair, you're probably slime also. The black guys trying to sell you jewelry and drugs is where the line 'Police and niggers, get out of my way' comes from. I've seen these huge black dudes pull Bowie knives on people for their boom boxes and shit. It's ugly (...) I don't have anything against someone coming here from another country and trying to better themselves. What I don't dig is some 7-11 worker acting as though you don't belong here, or acting like they don't understand you while they're trying to rip you off. [Axl mimics an Iranian] "Wot? I no understand you". I'm saying "I gave you a 20, and I want my $15 change!" I threatened to blow up their gas station, and then they gave me my change. I don't need that. I don't know what to think about gays. They're in a world of their own. I'm not too happy about AIDS. When I say I'm a small-town white boy, I'm just saying I'm no better than anyone else I've described. I'm just trying to get through life, that's all. [The world according to W. Axl Rose by Del James; RIP April 1989]
I used words like police and niggers because you're not allowed to use the word nigger. Why can black people go up to each other and say, "Nigger," but when a white guy does it all of a sudden it's a big put-down. I don't like boundaries of any kind. I don't like being told what I can and what I can't say. I used the word nigger because it's a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word nigger doesn't necessarily mean black. Doesn't John Lennon have a song 'Woman Is the Nigger of the World'? There's a rap group, N.W.A., Niggers with Attitude. I mean, they're proud of that word. More power to them. Guns N' Roses ain't bad. . . . N.W.A. is baad! Mr. Bob Goldthwait said the only reason we put these lyrics on the record was because it would cause controversy and we'd sell a million albums. Fuck him! Why'd he put us in his skit? We don't just do something to get the controversy, the press [The Rolling Stone Interview With Axl Rose" Del James, Rolling Stone August 1989]
When I use the word immigrants, what I'm talking about is going to a 7-11 or Village pantries - a lot of people from countries like Iran, Pakistan, China, Japan et cetera, get jobs in these convenience stores and gas stations. Then they treat you as if you don't belong here. I've been chased out of a store with Slash by a six-foot-tall Iranian with a butcher knife because he didn't like the way we were dressed. Scared me to death. All I could see in my mind was a picture of my arm on the ground, blood going everywhere. When I get scared, I get mad. I grabbed the top of one of these big orange garbage cans and went back at him with this shield, going, "Come on!" I didn't want to back down from this guy. Anyway that's why I wrote about immigrants. Maybe I should have been more specific and said, "Joe Schmoladoo at the 7-11 and faggots make no sense to me." That's ridiculous! I summed it up simply and said, "Immigrants." [The Rolling Stone Interview With Axl Rose" Del James, Rolling Stone August 1989]
To appreciate the humour in our work you gotta be able to relate to a lot of different things. And not everybody does. Not everybody can. With ‘One in a million’, I used a word - it’s part of the English language whether it’s a good word or not. It’s a derogatory word, it’s a negative word. It’s not meant to sum up the entire black race, but it was directed towards black people in those situations. I was robbed, I was ripped-off, I had my life threatened! And it’s like, I described it in one word. And not only that, but I wanted to see the effect of a racial joke. I wanted to see what effect that would have on the world. Slash was into it.... I mean, the song says « Don’t wanna buy none of your gold chains today ». Now a black person on the Oprah Winfrey show who goes « Oh, they’re putting down black people! » is going to fuckin’ take one of these guys at the bus stop home and feed him and take care of him and let him babysit the kids? They ain’t gonna be near the guy ! I don’t think every black person is a nigger. I don’t care. I consider myself kinda green and from another planet or something, you know? I’ve never felt I fit into any group, so to speak. A black person has this 300 years of whatever on his shoulders. OK. But I ain’t got nothing to do with that. It bores me too. There’s such a thing as too sensitive. You can watch a movie about someone blowing all the crap outta all these people, but you could be the most anti-violent person in the world. But you get off on this movie, like, yeah! He deserved it, you know, the bad guy got shot... Something I’ve noticed that’s really weird about ‘One in a million’ is the whole song coming together took me by surprise. I wrote the song as a joke. West (Arkeen, co-lyricist of ‘It’s so easy’ amongst other songs) just got robbed by two black guys on Christmas night, a few years back. He went out to play on Hollywood boulevard and he’s standing there playing in front of the band and he gets robbed at knife point for 78 cents. A couple of days later we’re all sittin’ around watchin’ TV - there’s Duff and West and a couple other guys - and we’re all bummed out, hungover and this and that. And I’m sitting there with no money, no job, feelin’ guilty for being at West’s house all the time suckin’ up the oxygen, you know? And I picked up this guitar, and I can only play like the top two strings, and I ended up fuckin’ around with this little riff. It was the only thing I could play on the guitar at the time. And then I started ad-libbing some words to it as a joke. And we had just watched Sam Kinison or somethin’ on the video, you know, and I guess the humour was just sorta leanin’ that way anyway or somethin’. I don’t know. But we just started writing this thing, and when I sang « police and niggers, that’s right », that was to fuck with West’s head, cos he couldn’t believe I would write that! And it came out like that....then later on the chorus came about because I was like getting really far away, like ‘Rocket man’, Elton John. I was thinking about my friends and family in Indiana, and I realized those people have no concept of who I am anymore. Even the ones I was close to. Since then I’ve flown people out here, had’em hang out here, I’ve paid for everything. But there was no joy in it for them. I was smashin’ shit, going fuckin’ crazy. And yet, trying to work. And they were going, « Man, I don’t wanna be a rocker any more, not if you go through this ». But at the same time, I brought’em out, you know, and we just hung out for a couple of months - wrote songs together, had serious talks, it was almost like bein’ on acid cos we’d talk about the family and life and stuff, and we’d get really heavy and get to know each all over again. It’s hard to try and replace eight years of knowing each other every day, and then all of a sudden I’m in this new world. Back there I was a street kid with a skateboard and no money dreamin’ ‘bout being in a rock band, and now all of a sudden I’m here. And it’s weird for them to see their friends putting up Axl posters, you know? And it’s weird for me too. So anyway, all of a sudden I came up with this chorus « You’re one in a million », you know, and « we tried to reach you but you were much too high .... »(...) So that’s like, « we tried to reach you but you were much too high », I was picturing ‘em trying to call me if, like, I disappeared or died or something. And « you’re one in a million », someone said that to me real sarcastically, it wasn’t like an ego thing. But that’s the good thing, you use that « I’m one in a million » positively to make yourself get things done. But originally, it was kinda like someone went, « Yeah, you’re just fuckin’ one in a million, aren’t ya? », and it stuck with me. Then we go in the studio, and Duff plays the guitar much more aggressively than I did. Slash made it too tight and concise, and I wanted it a bit rawer. Then Izzy comes up with this electric guitar thing. I was pushing him to come up with a cool tone, and all of a sudden he’s comin’up with this aggressive thing. It just happened. So suddenly it didn’t work to sing the song in a low funny voice any more. We tried and it didn’t work, didn’t sound right, it didn’t fit. And the guitar parts were so cool, I had to sing it like.....HURRHHHH ! so that I sound like I’m totally into this [Stick To Your Guns by Mick Wall; Kerrang, 21st and 28th of April 1990]
I'll get lambasted and filleted all over the place over that song. Dave Marsh will be writing about this 'We Are The World' consciousness, but Dave, I don't know where you were doing your 'We Are The World' consciousness, but we were getting robbed at knifepoint at that time in our lives. 'One In A Million' brought out the fact that racism does exist so let's do something about it. Since that song, a lot of people may hate Guns N' Roses, but they think about their racism now. And they weren't thinking about that during 'We Are the World.' 'We Are the World' was like a Hallmark card [There's A Riot Going On! Musician, September 1991]
However that song makes them feel, they think that must be what the song means. If they hate blacks, and they hear my lines and hate blacks even more, I'm sorry, but that's not how l meant it. Our songs affect people, and that scares a lot of people. l think that song, more than any other song in a long time, brought certain issues to the surface and brought up discussion as to how fucked things really are. But when read somewhere that l said something last night before we performed "One in a Million," it pisses me off. We don't perform "One in a Million" ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]
My opinion is, the majority of the public can't be trusted with that song. It inspires thoughts and reactions that cause people to have to deal with their own feelings on racism, prejudice and sexuality["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]
l wrote a song that was very simple and vague. (...)l think I showed that quite well from where l was at. The song most definitely was a survival mechanism. It was a way for me to express my anger at how vulnerable l felt in certain situations that had gone down in my life. It's not a song l would write now. The song is very generic and generalized, and I apologized for that on the cover of the record. Going back and reading it, it wasn't the best apology but, at the time, it was the best apology I could make.["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]
I'm on a fence with that song. It's a very powerful song. l feel, as far as artistic freedom and my responsibility to those beliefs, that the song should exist. That's the only reason l haven't pulled it off the shelves. Freedom and creativity should never be stifled. Had l known that people were going to get hurt because of this song, then l would have been wrong. l was definitely wrong in thinking that the public could handle it ["I, Axl" Del James, RIP Magazine - 1992]
It was originally written as comedy. It was written watching Sam Kinison during one of his first specials. I was sitting around with friends, drunk, with no money. One of my friends had just gotten robbed for seventy-eight cents on Christmas by two black men [Interview Magazine talks to Axl Rose, 1992]
l played it on guitar and it was done very slow and in a different tone of voice and done very humorously. Well, that didn't work out when we recorded it because I had Duff play it on guitar -- because he could play it better and in better time -- and Izzy put this other guitar thing to it, and it evolved into something of its own. We didn't plan that song to be as forceful as it was. We walked into the studio, and boom, it just happened [Interview Magazine talks to Axl Rose, 1992]

The band, who had been part of the recording and also played it live at least four times (October 30, 1987, at an acoustic gig at the CBGB's, USA; at the Limelight, USA, on January 31, 1988; in Cleveland on May 5, 1988; and in Mears in July 30, 1988), reacted differently to the uproar. Duff consistently defended the decision:

I think each individual has to interpret it as they like. As for me? I think it's kinda funny! It's real life, and this band has never minced words when it comes to real life. The song is basically Axl's view of coming to downtown L.A. for the first time. He was from Indiana, he was real green--and L.A. blew his mind. [...] You have to remember--we've lived all this stuff. When you saw these dirty white-trash (expletive) guys on Hollywood Boulevard--hey, that was us! [...] I'm sure it'll bother some people--and I can understand that. But the song is a way of describing what happened to us, not making any value judgments. [...] If you're just exposing aspects of life that are already out there, what's the problem with that? When I was 14, I thought Sid Vicious was cool, but I knew that didn't mean I had to OD on heroin. This is just our song--and we're not asking for everyone to like it. I don't think we have to be responsible for everybody else's opinion [Guns N' Roses Living Up to Notoriety, Los Angeles Times, December 1988]
That whole thing’s such a bunch of crap, man. Slash is half black. I come from a family that’s a quarter black. And if you [assumes a bullhorn voice] READERS OUT THERE, if you listen to all the lyrics, you might learn something. Axl was a fuckin’ wet behind the ears white boy in LA for the first time and he was scared to death! That’s what the song is about. People are just gonna have to take it whichever way they think is right. I mean, I don’t even like talking about it anymore. All it is, is a tale about a certain part of town. Yes, the story is told by a white kid, but that’s his story. And Axl’s got such a reputation now, he’s so well know, that of course they’re gonna jump all over his fucking ass. He said that dirty word. I mean, tell me about it. I’ve been an uncle since I was two. It was my older sister’s first child and it was a black kid. When I was growing up I was surrounded by nieces and nephews and cousins that were black, plus my own immediate family, who were white of course. Until I started school, I didn’t know there was a difference in black and white. That was the first time I heard anybody call somebody a nigger. I didn’t even know what the word meant. I still don’t. So I feel strongly about this. The bottom line is, Axl is not prejudiced. There is no prejudice in this band. It’s just a tale of what happened to a kid from Indiana, okay? And just being scared off his fucking ass by what he finds in the big city. [...] That song was that song. I can’t see us ever doing a song like that again. Not because we’re chicken shit to do it, just because that was then. There’s nothing left in our lives like that [Kerrang, March 1990]
Axl's lyrics in 'One In A Million' immediately caught attention. The press labelled us things like David Duke's house band; I heard that the KKK - or some faction of the Klan at least - started using the song as a war cry. I stood by my original interpretation of the song and of Axl's intentions. Art gets misunderstood all the time. Still, I found myself uncomfortable as a result of this particular misunderstanding [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 145]
As criticism mounted, the other band members would increasingly distance themselves from the song, and blame it on Axl and his stubbornness:

There's a line on the 'GN'R Lies' EP, in a song called 'One In A Million,' where it says: 'Police and niggers'...And that was a line I really didn't want Axl to sing, but, you know, Axl's the kind of person who will sing whatever it is he feels like singing...And I knew it was gonna come out and finally it did come out. What that line was supposed to mean, though, was 'niggers' in the sense of...not necessarily talking just about the black race. He was more or less talking about the general sort of street thugs that you run into in LA. Especially if you're a Midwestern, naive young kid just coming to the city for the first time, and there's these guys trying to pawn this on you and push this on you, and all that. It's a heavily intimidating kind of thing for someone like that. I've been living in Hollywood for so long, I'm used to it...But I didn't want it to be taken wrongly. Which always happens. I decided once or twice that I was gonna do a sort of international press release to explain what all that was supposed to mean. And then I thought, no, fuck, you know, that's a waste of time. [...] That kind of thing bothers me in particular because, you know, I'm part black...and I don't have anything against black individuals at all. And what else bothers me is that one of the nice things about Guns N' Roses is that we've always been a people's band, and we never really segregated - is that the right word for it? - our fans. [...]. I mean, it doesn't even have to be about the blacks; the term 'nigger' goes for Chinese, Caucasians, Mexicans, whatever...It's about a type of people, not a race. [...] I don't think that statement should have been made. I think that should have been kept at bay. But...Axl has a strong feeling about it and he wanted to say whet he wanted to say, y'know? But God forbid any of us should get arrested and end up in County Jail, and someone wants to go, 'Yeah, that's the guy who wrote that song,' y'know? You could be in some serious fucking truble then, boy...And it's a shame because 'One In A Million' is a great least I think it is. But now everybody's homing in on that one line, and I can't complain because I understand why [Kerrang!, April 1989]
Everybody on the black side of my family was like, 'What is your' problem? My old girlfriend said, 'You could have stopped it.' What am I supposed to say? Axl and I don't stop each other from doing things. Hopefully, if something is really bad, you stop it yourself. It was something he really wanted to put out to explain his story, which is what the song is about. Axl is a naive while boy from Indiana who came to Hollywood, was brought up in a totally Caucasian society, and it was his way of saying how scared he was and this and that. Maybe somewhere in there he does harbor some sort of [bigoted) feelings because of the way he was brought up. At the same time, it wasn't malicious. I can't sit here with a clear conscience and say, 'It's okay that it came out.' I don't condone it. But it happened, and now Axl is being condemned for it, and he takes it really personally. All can say, really, is that it's a lesson learned [Musician, December 1990]
I have a big problem with that lyric. I've talked to Axl many times about his lyrics. 'You don't need to say that, Axl. You're a fuckin' immigrant yourself. Everyone's a fuckin' immigrant in America. Don't you see you're putting down the whole of fuckin' America? And if they faggots, well so what?' Axl... is very... confused. But I was pissed off. I was very against that shit going on our record. 'Why'd you have to say that, Axl. It's hard enough just gettin' by.' [Pauses] But at the same time, y'know, this is just fuckin' rock 'n' roll music. When it's fucked up, it's more interesting. Whoever said this was responsible music, y'know? We're not fuckin' role models. At all. But 'One in a Million' is just flat-out racist. Like that about niggers trying to sell you gold chains [The Face, October 1989]
The stuff people are saying about our religious beliefs, our stance on homosexuality and all that, it was just one song and the song had nothing to do with making any kind of a statement. We didn't try to put people into any kind of categories or...I don't really know how to explain it. We weren't pointing fingers or anything like that. It was a song about one night, and it was something that Axl wanted to have there without trying to sound the way it sounded.

We all think maybe it was a mistake having it released because of the way people have reacted to it. When I listen to it in front of someone else, there's no other way to interpret it. We stuck our foot in our great mouth with that one
[VOX, January 1991].
Living with that 'One In A Million' fall-out was heavy shit. I don't know if Axl learned anything from the experience - I would hope he did. Actually, Slash said the best things about that in some interview he did when he said that Axl's free expression was all well and good but he'd hate to think what would happen to any of the band if they got thrown in jail and had to explain the lyrics to the other guys doing time. 'Cos during that period I ended up in jail in Phoenix for a day. I found out. It was pretty fucked up [The Vox, 1991]
That's a song that the whole band says: 'Don't put that on there. You're white, you've got red hair, don't use it.' You know? 'Fuck you! I'm gonna do it cos I'm Axl!' OK, go ahead, it's your fucking head. Of course, you're guilty by association. [But] what are you gonna do? He's out of control and I'm just the fucking guitar player...[Classic Rock, 2001]
When Axl first came up with the song and really wanted to do it, I said I didn't think it was very cool... I don't regret doing 'One in a Million,' I just regret what we've been through because of it and the way people have perceived our personal feelings ["Slash: The Rolling Stone interview" Jeffrey Ressner with Lonn M. Friend, Rolling Stone, February 1991]
It's only come up twice in the band's history where I had questions about whether a song's lyrics would be offensive. If it's like a little bit offensive and just makes the short hairs on the back of your neck stand up, that's all right. But there were only a couple that I thought might really be offensive. But, of course, we did them anyway. […] One of the songs was 'One in a Million.' But at this point, it's like so much water under the bridge, I don't want to get into it. We don't do it on purpose. We just write stuff that we feel like writing and it means something to us because it's all true to us. Therefore, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be able to write it and then put it out. […] I don't see why there should be any rules or regulations on it. If you don't want to buy it, don't buy it. If it bothers you that much, don't listen to it [Boston Globe, December 5, 1991].
And then as far as the whole racist thing is concerned, it had nothing to do with racism, or us speaking out against blacks or anything. I'm half-black, so I was like: "Ok, this is a good one. And we're definitely not homophobic. Axl's view doesn't maybe match with what you're "supposed" to think. But the experiences Axl had of gays when he came to Los Angeles for the first time, you can't take that away from him [Metal Zone, December 1993]
When I first heard 'One In A Million', I asked Axl, 'What the fuck? Is this necessary?' He just said, 'Yeah, it's necessary. I'm letting my feelings out' [The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005]
That song was meant, to the best of my knowledge, as a third-person slant on how fucked-up America was in the '80s. I don't know. I wouldn't have used the words, but Axl has been known to be amazingly bold at times [Reverb, July 2010]
'One In A Million' featured the wildly controversial lyrics about "police and niggers" and "immigrants and faggots." I thought that it was a great song that needed strong words. It expressed a heavy sentiment that had to be delivered with no punches pulled. I knew that the words weren't directed to the majority of blacks, gays, or immigrants. It simply described the scumbags of the world. (...) The song explained the shit that Axl, a naive hick from Indiana, had gone through ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, pp. 177]
I come from a family that’s multi-racial, Slash is half-black, and “One In A Million,” from where I sat in 1988—and I was convinced of it and still am, and people look at me cross-eyed—to me it was a commentary on America from a third person, and I thought it was the most genius thing ever, and I thought it was pretty bold of Axl to take that stance. We weren’t the huge band we’d become when Lies came out, but people knew who we were, so we knew people were gonna hear this song, but it wasn’t done for the shock value. It was kind of just recorded and done and out, and we were moving on. David Geffen had us on this AIDS benefit in 1989 or ’90, and it was gonna be at Radio City Music Hall, and we were the headliner for this thing. And the Gay Alliance or Rainbow Coalition or something gave David Geffen so much grief that we were kicked off. And it was really like, “Are you fuckin’ serious?” And that’s when it first started to dawn. I remember taking a flight home to Seattle and there was an empty seat next to me, and the flight attendant sat down, and she was a black woman. She said, “So, are you in the band Guns N’ Roses?” “Yeah.” “Are you really a racist?” She wanted to sit down and talk to me and try and turn me from being a racist. She was a nice Seattle chick, and I was a nice Seattle guy, and I just shrank in my seat. I didn’t know what to say [The Onion A.V. Club, May 2011]
Slash discusses the song heavily in Kerrang! April 1989, and quotes from there should probably be included in this section.

In the August edition of RIP Magazine Slash penned a letter as a response to a fan letter that had been published in the May issue:

To Tony W. of Fairfield, California, and whomever else it may concern:

I've never written to a publication before and never really expected to do so, but in this case I felt that it was well in order to make a sincere effort.

A letter printed in the Static section of the May issue of RIP caught my attention. The letter was written by Tony W. of Fairfield, California, and was more or less addressed to the rock and roll band Guns N' Roses. l am the lead guitarist and a cowriter for GNR, so it was fortunate that this particular issue came my way, especially since the bulk of GNR material that bypasses us is the usual carousing, chemical-abusing sexual highlights that comprise most of our pub­licity. This issue, though, contained a letter that shed some light on a more important subject. This was done by a legitimate fan of the band, rather than by an opinionated journalist with a quota to fill, thus deserving a response from someone in GNR without question!

All this aside, the purpose of Tony 's letter, I think, was to find out whether or not GNR is actually racist (referring to the content of one of our songs) or prejudiced. The song in question is off our EP, GNR Lies, and is called "One in a Million." The lyric that prompted Tony's curiosity as to our racial standing goes, "Police and niggers, get out of my way.” The term "niggers" being the case in question.

I think that down inside Tony knows the answer but it would satisfy a certain something to hear it from us. The answer is. NO! Not in any way is Guns N' Roses racist, prejudiced, bigoted or subject to any other title of racial discrimination. I cannot stress this strongly enough. I’m sorry that anyone would even start to think that about us in the first place, but I will add this much to em­phasize and clarify.

The word nigger, by way of original defi­nition (albeit slang), is a low-grade, lazy in­dividual. An individual with no regard for anyone else. Low-class upbringing and moral standards. Human trash, if you like, but not a label for any particular ethnic group. A nigger could be a Caucasian. Asian, Italian, Latin or Black. It is from this definition GNR used the word nigger, not from the stereotypical one that is exclusive to blacks only. It’s a drag that some asshole somewhere, sometime, decided long ago that the word nigger and its meaning was deserved by the Black race Now it’s a household word used by racist morons the world over. And since it’s been this way for so long, it seems there's not much to be done about it. Being part black myself, I take offense to hearing the word nigger as well.

Anyway, I'll briefly summarize “One in a Million," and you can decide for yourself what we’re getting at. "One in a Million" is Axl’s autobiographical look back to when he picked up his bags and hitchhiked from smalltown Lafayette, Indiana, to downtown Los Angeles. The harsh contrast of L.A.'s fast pace, concrete, dog-eat-dog motif to Axl's middle-class, conservative background created the verses for "One in a Million," with “I'm one in a million," echoing the aspi­rations of kids everywhere to become some­body in the entertainment biz, being the chorus. The combination of verse and cho­rus should spell out the point of the song. Axl's reference to niggers was directed towards the characters one would encoun­ter on the streets in downtown L.A., i.e. mug­gers, pimps, hookers, thieves, drug dealers, etc. . . . Not a common sight in Lafayette, for sure. But also very intimidating to a teenager coming from there and landing smack in the middle of LA. for the first time. Get the picture?

All the mentions of particular groups of people in this song are referring to the radi­cal extremes (ex.: "immigrants and faggots." etc.). Hollywood is a radical extreme in it­self. The words to "One in a Million” are not meant to insult. They are meant to verbal­ize the most decadent examples of every­day life in the big city.

In closing, I would like to add that the bot­tom line is, if anybody thought that we were bigots—DON'T. Nobody in this band is, nor is anyone in our whole organization. So if we offended anyone, it wasn't intentional.

Thanx for Listening,

P.S. This isn't an excuse, just fact.
[RIP, August 1989].
In early 1990, Duff would claim they had never played the song live, although they had played it live at least four times [Kerrang! March 1990].

In 1991, as the band started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' records, there were rumors the Ku Klux Klan would show up at the shows, and claim that the band supported racism:

I mean, cuz we are the band that the Ku Klux Klan was supposed to be showing up at shows to pass up things. And it’s like, when a Ku Klux Klan guy is met, it’s like, “Out of here!” (points with his hand). […] Well, [the KKK] said they were going to and we were going to sue the Ku Klux Klan because they were trying to say we were supporting racism. And it’s like, they had a Grand Wizard and stuff. And it’s like, I fired off letters from the lawyers right away. I figure out, don’t even think about it, you know. You misinterpreted something I said. Don’t even think about it [MTV, May 1991]
Axl would discuss KKK and David Duke while playing two shows in Dayton on January 13 and 14, 1992:

Now, I wanna ask your opinions about GN’R. I was reading in a magazine that we should have called these two new records “Our Hitler,” comparing me to Hitler; [that] I’m a troubled child and, basically, I’m Hitler, and if people listen they’ll all go to hell. What do you think of that? Being that we are the band that put out One in a Million, let me ask this question: how many redneck racist assholes do we have here tonight? And do you think that I’m a racist? Or a lot of you are just confused and you don’t know whether I am or not. I live in L.A., I’ve lived there for ten years. I’ve lived on the streets – I don’t anymore, but I used to. And, I mean, we hang out with people like Ice T and NWA. And it’s like, you can use whatever fucking language you want. I don’t need a bunch of jerkoff white fuckin’ people fuckin’ telling you I’m a racist cuz they don’t want our rock ‘n’ roll to exist. I had a meeting about a year-and-a-half ago with Arsenio Hall, cuz he was on TV calling me a racist and shit, and we went out and had a little talk. And he was like, 'The reason I’m having this talk is that I suddenly realized that the 70-80% of the white people in my organization were the ones telling me you’re a racist – not the black people that work with me.' It was the white people that didn’t want GN’R to be the fuck around [Dayton, OH, USA, January 13, 1992].
But I read reviews on the albums and we got reviews describing us as – you know, that we should call the albums “Our Hitler” and, basically, we’re David Duke America’s house band. Fuck David Duke! And if you think that supporting something like David Duke is what we wrote a song like One in a Million about, then you can do yourself a favor, because you’re a real disillusioned motherfucker, and you outta just leave [Dayton, OH, USA, January 14, 1992].
Later, Axl would discuss trying to engage the audience in the KKK rumours:

Talking about trying to get a crowd reaction: I approached it a bit differently when we did the first show in Dayton, Ohio. We'd been told we're the perfect house band for David Duke's America. And it's like, fuck David Duke, I don't like being associated with that. I asked the crowd: "Is that what you get out of this, that we're racists and you're supporting it? 'Cause if that's the case, I'm gonna go home. That's not why we're here." I asked the crowd about those things. I got some real interesting responses. The way they reacted was a little bit different than normal. There was silence in different places and cheering in others. You could tell that they were thinking for a minute[Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992]
Axl would revisit this theme on January 27 in San Diego:

You know, we just put out these records and I’ve read all kinds of reviews. I’ve been called everything. We should have called the record “Our Hitler;” that’s from a review I read. Yeah, I think Guns N’ Roses has a whole hell of a lot to do with Nazism and telling people what to do and killing [?], don’t you? They still don’t know what to make out of One in a Million. You know, it’s funny. The people mostly pissed off about what they call racism were the white people. There are a lot of white people that just don’t like rock ‘n’ roll in general, so, “Wait, now we’ve got a fucking target. They’re racist.” Is that what you people think we are and we mean? Is that all we are about? Because if it is, then we should probably go home. Because we get told that we should be – I think it was in Entertainment Weekly – “David Duke’s house band for America.” Fuck David Duke! The motherfucker [inaudible]  [Onstage in San Diego, January 27, 1992].
Axl would also talk about David Duke in interviews, like in an interview he did in September 1992:

When I read that Guns N' Roses could be David Duke's house band, that's wrong, and it hurts me. I'm not for David Duke. I don't know anything about the guy except that he was in the Klan, and that's f?!ked[RIP, September 1992]
And generally talking about the accusations of being a racist:

[…] the racist thing is just bullshit. I used a word that was taboo. And I used that word because it was taboo. I was pissed off about some black people that were trying to rob me. I wanted to insult those particular black people. I didn't want to support racism. […] The racist thing, that's just stupid. I can understand how people would think that, but that's not how I meant it. I believe that there's always gonna be some form of racism -- as much as we'd like there to be peace -- because people are different. Black culture is different. I work with a black man every day (Earl Gabbidon, Rose's bodyguard), and he's one of my best friends. There are things he's into that are definitely a "black thing." But I can like them. There are things that are that way. I think there always will be. […] It's that way with people who are of the same race or same gender. Maybe now and then they'll reach a point where something happens, and they bond, and they're really close. But they're always going to have their differences. The most important thing about "One in a Million" is that it got people to think about racism. A lot of people thought I was talking about entire races or sectors of people. I wasn't. And there was an apology on the record. The apology is not even written that well, but it's not on the cover of every record. And no one has acknowledged it yet. No one[Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992]
I don't trust the audience with the song. I don't want to do "One in a Million" on stage and know that there's a lot of people out there in the crowd who are prejudiced and it's gonna help fuel their fire. It's enough to handle the fact that it's on a record and people use it for their own anthems for their own prejudiced-ness. I question myself every day. Should l pull it? Should I leave it? Do l leave it for the sake of artistic integrity? Do I pull it, do I censor myself? But wait, I'm against censorship. It's a really hard issue to constantly deal with. The only way to deal with it is to communicate about it. l don't like the damage that that song does, l don't like the prejudiced-ness, l don't like the way the song fuels people's prejudiced-ness, and that's a problem for me. l made an apology on the cover of the record. Looking at it now, it's not the best apology, but it was the best apology l could make back then. l knew people were going to be offended, and it says my apology is to those who take offense. Or to who may be offended, whatever it says. I was trying to explain the reasons why I was expressing myself in this way and apologizing if it did offend people. The apology is on the cover of every record. it's not a sticker; it's part of the cover. It's stuck in there with all kinds of other things on the cover -- it's done like a National Enquirer thing. l wrote it myself and put it on there, it was my Idea, and it's like it's been refused to be acknowledged. "One in a Million" has been used continually against Guns N' Roses and against myself, no matter what l had to say about it[Interview Magazine, May 1992]
Axl would also say the reactions to the lyrics helped him educate himself on racial issues:

Yes, [the reaction to the lyrics] definitely helped me to be able to change. I went out and got all kinds of video tapes and read books on racism. Books by Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. Reading them and studying, then after that l put on the tape and l realized, "Wow, I'm still proud of this song." That's strange. What does that mean? But l couldn't communicate as well as do now about it, so my frustration was just turned to anger. Then my anger would be used against me and my frustration would be used against me: "Look, he's throwing a tantrum"[Interview Magazine, May 1992]

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


Immediately after its release, it was mainly the racist aspects of 'One in a Million' that was debated in the media and caused controversy. The homophobic slurs did not cause as much controversy at first, or it had to take a backseat while media focused on the perceived racism of the song. But when that discussion wound down, the band started to receive more criticism for the homophobic verses.

The first major backlash came in early 1989 when Guns N' Roses had been the "first band" to sign up for an AIDS Benefit Concert called "Rock and a Hard Place" that was to take place in New York City in June. [Circus Magazine, May 1989].

It's something [record company president] David Geffen is putting together. Or at least [he's] involved with, and he asked us if we would do [Circus Magazine, May 1989].

Whether this was a deliberate attempt by David Geffen to make the band more palatable after the One In A Million criticism is not known.

The band agreed to do it, probably mostly to create awareness of a new disease that was causing fear in the music scene:

We're against AIDS and we just want to help out because as soon as it hits the rock crowd, it's over. Once one guy gets it, everybody is going down. Maybe that's why people are getting it, everybody's going down-hill [Circus Magazine, May 1989].
The only serious problem today isn't violence, or drugs, but AIDS. It's there, it can strike anywhere and anyone [New Musical Express, April 1989].
The only thing I see that will likely kill the spirit of rock 'n' roll is AIDS. I know that may sound funny, but it's something that really worries me. Since no major rock star has died from it yet, the scare really hasn't permeated the music scene. But as soon as someone like (names a major rock star) goes, then the girl who was with him will be with the next band, and the next, and so on, and before we know it, the 1990s could wind up being the age of no bands at all. Five years from now, you just watch and see what happens [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989].
But then, on the demands of the sponsor, Gay Men's Health Crisis, the band was kicked off the event [Journal and Courier, March 1989; Arizona Republic, March 1989; Daily News, March 1989].

David Geffen had us on this AIDS benefit in 1989 or ’90 [it was in June 1989], and it was gonna be at Radio City Music Hall [in New York], and we were the headliner for this thing. And the Gay Alliance or Rainbow Coalition or something [it was the Gay Men's Health Crisis] gave David Geffen so much grief that we were kicked off [The Onion A.V. Club, May 2011].
It's really unfortunate that they don't want us to do it. We wanted to really make some money for AIDS, you know, cuz it's a big problem and it's unfortunate that they felt that strong and pulled us. I don't agree with them [Rapido, Unknown date, 1989].
We're in no way associated with the Gay Men's Health Crisis, except that David Geffen is on the board of directors for the concert and he's the owner of our record company. We were asked to do this, and we wanted to contribute some money to help stop a deadly disease that's killing humans of all kinds. A friend of mine who's homosexual and was largely responsible for the record companies taking notice of us was upset about it because we didn't even get a chance to clear ourselves, to make good. AIDS is something very scary. The concert was something we wanted to do and felt it was important to do but we were denied the opportunity. We were even denied the opportunity to say anything about it. It was just publicly announced that we weren't allowed to do it because the Gay Men's Health Crisis wouldn't let us. I don't feel they have the right to deny the money and attention they would have gotten from us playing. It's pride, it's ignorant and it's childish [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
The homosexual friend Axl is mentioning here is likely Joseph Brooks or Henry Peck, whom Axl had mentioned when he was discussing homosexuality on a previous occasion:

The only people I deal with that are gay are [Cathouse DJ] Joseph Brooks and [DJ-about-town] Henry Peck, and I try not to offend them. Their sex life doesn’t come into any view of mine, ‘cause I’d just flip out. So it’s not like some kind of aggressive-against-gays shit [L.A. Weekly, May 1988].

The quote above is telling about Axl's views on homosexuality and homosexuals at the time. While he would be bending over backwards to explain and defend the One In A Million verses on blacks (see previous section), he had a harder time, or didn't want to, defend the homophobic portions of the song:

When I use the word immigrants, what I'm talking about is going to a 7-11 or Village pantries - a lot of people from countries like Iran, Pakistan, China, Japan et cetera, get jobs in these convenience stores and gas stations. Then they treat you as if you don't belong here. I've been chased out of a store with Slash by a six-foot-tall Iranian with a butcher knife because he didn't like the way we were dressed. Scared me to death. All I could see in my mind was a picture of my arm on the ground, blood going everywhere. When I get scared, I get mad. I grabbed the top of one of these big orange garbage cans and went back at him with this shield, going, "Come on!" I didn't want to back down from this guy. Anyway that's why I wrote about immigrants. Maybe I should have been more specific and said, "Joe Schmoladoo at the 7-11 and faggots make no sense to me." That's ridiculous! I summed it up simply and said, "Immigrants" [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
And he would explicitly state that he had an "attitude" towards homosexuals caused by a prior bad experience:

I've had some very bad experiences with homosexuals. When I was first coming to Los Angeles, I was about eighteen or nineteen. On my first hitchhiking ride, this guy told me I could crash at his hotel. I went to sleep and woke up while this guy was trying to rape me. I threw him down on the floor. He came at me again. I went running for the door. He came at me. I pinned him between the door and the wall. I had a straight razor, and I pulled the razor and said, "Don't ever touch me! Don't ever think about touching me! Don't touch yourself and think about me! Nothing!" Then I grabbed my stuff and split with no place to go, no sleep, in the middle of nowhere outside of St. Louis. That's why I have the attitude I have [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
When pressed in whether he is anti-homosexual, he would state:

I'm proheterosexual. I can't get enough of women, and I don't see the same thing that other men can see in men. I'm not into gay or bisexual experiences. But that's hypocritical of me, because I'd rather see two women together than just about anything else. That happens to be my personal, favorite thing [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
And when asked about his thoughts on gay-bashing and if he had ever beaten up someone because of their sexual orientation:

No! I never have. The most I do is, like, on the way to the Troubadour in "Boystown," on Santa Monica Boulevard, I'll yell out the car window, "Why don't you guys like pussy?" 'Cause I'm confused. I don't understand it. Anti-homosexual? I'm not against them doing what they want to do as long as it's not hurting anybody else and they're not forcing it upon me. I don't need them in my face or, pardon the pun, up my ass about it [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
But Axl wasn't the only one who had expressed similar thoughts on gays. Slash said the following in 1989, which comes across as both degrading to groupies and homosexuals:

We're not sexist, but that's no reason for the groupies who hang around backstage to start wanting respect. We treat them like shit because that's what they are. […] We're talking about groupies, not women in general. Anyway, one day one of those tramps is gonna catch AIDS from screwing some faggot and end up giving it to every group in town. That'll be the end of the rock scene in LA [New Musical Express, April 1989].

In a review of the band's show in Houston on January 9, 1992, the Houston Chronicle wrote that Axl "allegedly told 'Rolling Stone' magazine he liked to 'beat up faggots after a concert, to relieve stress' [Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1992]. We have not been able to find the original source for this quote, and it is not found in any of our known Rolling Stone magazines. We conclude that this is either entirely fictional or a misunderstood and tasteless joke.  

When invited to play at Freddie Mercury's tribute concert in April 1992 [see separate chapter], the band would again be targeted by anti-homophobia groups who would use the lyrics of 'One in a Million' and statements in interviews to protest against the band's inclusion on the lineup.

Around the same time Axl would discuss the allegations that he is homophobic and for the first time admit he had been wrong and imply his views on homosexuality had matured:

When I used the word faggots [in 'One in a Million'], I wasn't coming down on gays. I was coming down on an element of gays. I had just heard a story about a man who was released out of the L.A. county jail with AIDS and he was hooking. I've had my share of dealings with aggressive gays, and I was bothered by it. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not judge," and I guess I made a judgment call, and it was an insult [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].
Axl's would also argue that his problems with homosexuality came from being raped by his father when he was two years old:

Homophobic? I think I've got a problem, if my dad fucked me in the ass when I was two. I think I've got a problem about it [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].
I don't know, maybe l have a problem with homophobia. Maybe l was two years old and got fucked in the ass by my dad and it's caused a problem ever since, but other than that, l don't know if I have any homophobia. How was that? […] So anyway, homophobia? The song [=One in a Million] is very generic. it's very vague, it's very simple, it was meant to be that way, it was written that way. It was like, O.K., I'm writing this song as l want to -- l want this song to be like "Midnight Cowboy." That guy was very naive and involved in everything. The cowboy. My friend who got robbed, he was like Dustin Hoffman's character. l wanted the song to be written from that point of view. l wrote it to deal with my anger and my fear and my vulnerability in that situation, that l still felt uncomfortable with, that happened to me. That was the "police and niggers" line. But now we move on to another line that says, […] "Immigrants and faggots, they make no sense to me/ they come to our country and think they'll do as they please / like start some mini-Iran, or spread some fucking disease / and they talk so many goddamned ways / it's all Greek to me." […] The line about "faggots" was written after I heard a story from a sheriff about a man they had just arrested after just releasing from jail, and he had AIDS, and he was back out on Santa Monica Boulevard hooking. We were like, "Oh, my God." And this just happened to get stuck in the song, since we had a radical line like "police and niggers" -- we might as well go all the way now, we'll write something else just as obnoxious, because we were just writing off-color humor at the time. We were dealing with a situation that was really heavy, ugly, and scary, and so we were making light of it. l was being encouraged to write as l was writing. […] Then we move on to the gay issue. I hitchhiked a lot and I got hassled an awful lot. I was very naive, and very tired, and a guy picked me up and said l could crash at his hotel, and l woke up with the man trying to rape me. l almost killed this man, l was so frightened. l had a straight-edge razor and was freakin' out: Don't ever touch me again! Then the guy ran out the door. l was so scared and l felt so violated. l didn't know that l felt even more violated than l was in the situation because of what had gone on in my childhood and what l had pretty much buried-and didn't even remember [Interview Magazine, May 1992].
People can do whatever they want to, but I'm more pro-hetro. I'm not knocking it -- I have friends that are gay. It's just that it's not my cup of tea, l guess. That's all. People can do what they want. l can sit and watch the Madonna movie and enjoy it very much and feel I'm learning something, and then I have other friends that can't handle it at all. […] I don't make any judgment, you know. Sometimes we can be stupid, like somebody rooting for their team and just going, "Oh, our team's the best." That song sounds like l am, because when we went in the studio it came out very forceful. l played it on guitar and it was done very slow and in a different tone of voice and done very humorously. Well, that didn't work out when we recorded it because I had Duff play it on guitar -- because he could play it better and in better time -- and Izzy put this other guitar thing to it, and it evolved into something of its own. We didn't plan that song to be as forceful as it was. We walked into the studio, and boom, it just happened [Interview Magazine, May 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:19 pm


After three months of downtime (with their last gig on September 17, 1988) the band travelled to Japan, Australia and New Zealand for five shows in December 1988. Touring in Japan was a long-held dream of Axl and Izzy:

I’ve just been hearing all kind of stories about Japan. It’s been a dream of mine and Izzy’s since we were in, like, high school, junior high, to go to Japan with a band. You know, being a band and go to Japan, our band. I have no idea. I’m just hoping the sushi is better there than in California [MTV Japan, November 1987].
We are so excited. Me and Izzy have talked about going to Japan - me and Izzy's been together for the last 13 years - for the last 10 years. It's been a dream. Going to Japan and playing the songs in Japan. Our favorite records was 'Cheap Trick At Budokan' and 'Unleashed in the East' [Judas Priest], you know. You hear the screaming Japanese people and we go, "You know, we have to go there! We have to go!" Hopefully we will have the people be like that for us and we'll have fun with them. And I'm looking forward to all he sushi. [...] We can find some opium den [and learn some, and have some oriental girls can teach us some things American girls don't know [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
And Slash looked forward to it, too:

[…]I really wanna go. We've never been there before and we're, apparently, like really huge over there... [Kerrang! July 1988].
And after landing in Australia, Duff would say the following about playing there:

We can’t wait to play here. It’s gonna be like a stick of [fucking] dynamite. I've heard the audiences are wild [The Sydney Morning Herald, December 1988].
Originally, this tour was planned for July 1988 but had been delayed because of trouble with Axl's voice [Kerrang! June 1989]. This is a bit strange, because in July 1988 the band was busy touring with Aerosmith. The band also allegedly tried to get Peter Wells, the guitarist from Rose Tattoo, to play with them, and asked him three times but he declined the offers [Hot Metal, 1989].

Slash expected that they would be rusty:

We're gonna go to Japan for the first gig and suck miserably. Isn't that terrible? [In The Streets, December 1988].

On their flight to Japan, Alan Niven told the band members to get rid of any drugs they might have. Izzy responded by swallowing his stash allegedly sending him into a 36-hour coma that almost made the band have to cancel gigs [The Face, October 1989]. Izzy would later downplay what happened and claim it was due to Valium he took before the flight:

I slept a lot. That was a point where I drank a lot, I don’t remember anything about that flight, it’s strange. Next Monday, I’m going to find out what happened. I took 18 Valium before the flight, way too many, I slept all the way to Japan. I woke up and was in the waiting room. I guess that Slash told me we arrived. He helped me get off the plane [Popular 1, November 1992].

Some of the shows in Japan were filmed potentially intended for a live release:

Right now it's just for our own benefit. We don't know what we're going to do with it. We're just filming and taping some stuff, because we think it's important to have it. We don't know if we'll find anything in there we want to use. It's not really a concern, it's just something we were finally able to afford to do. So we thought, 'Let's be smart. If we do film and tape it and there is anything good on tape, we might be able to use it.' But we really don't know [Kerrang! June 1989].

Mike Clink came out to oversee the recordings and we also shot some video footage. But a funny thing happened when the video stuff was put in for processing - the tapes from the Budokan show disappeared I’m sure that some backroom kid now has a hot video in his possession, so I guess bootleg copies of that show will soon be appearing... [Raw Magazine, July 1989].
During the tour in Japan in December 1988, Steven and Axl had an altercation after Steven had slept with a girl who slept with Axl the day after:

[...] she starts telling [Axl] that I was talking all kinds of shit about him. Why would I share negative stuff about him with some random girl I didn't even know? [...] So Axl comes up to me and says something like, "This here is my woman, ans she told me that you said I'm an asshole." I said, "Your woman? You just met her, Axl. We fucked last night. That's all. I didn't say shit to that bitch." The argument just kind of fizzled out at that point with Axl mumbling something as he walked off. [...] Unfortunately, incidents like this only served to weaken my relationship with Axl [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 180].
According to Melody Maker in August 1991, at some point while in Japan, Axl would be "holed up in a Japanese hotel room refusing to speak to anyone for days on end, depositing furniture out the window" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. In August 1991 the band had not visited Japan again, so thus rumor must be about the tour in December 1988. This rumor has not been corroborated by any other sources and could easily be false.

According to Blast Magazine, Duff broke his finger while in Japan and was wearing a cast as late as April 1989 [Blast! April 1989]. If so, how did he manage to get through the following shows in Australia and New Zealand?

According to Australian Record Collector, the band had to leave Australia early due to "an onstage rumble involving Axl" [ Australian Record Collector, September 1994]. Whether this meant an early departure after the Sydney show on December 17 to get to their Auckland, New Zealand gig (Dec 19), or an early departure after the Auckland show, is not clear. Juke Magazine in July 1989 also mentions an "incident" that supposedly happened during the Australia touring [Juke Magazine, July 1989]. In Q Magazine in 1991, it is claimed "there were arrests" for "for causing a public offense with their lyrics" [Q Magazine, July 1991].

Looking back at the tour, Axl had the following to say:

As far as the country goes. I didn't really have time to get to see much, because I was too busy trying to make sure I could sing. Japan seems real fast-paced. Everybody is caught up with what big business is doing. […] The shows were great. The audiences were not that much different from the American ones, except that they're not allowed to leave their seats. But their response was great [Kerrang! June 1989].
Duff recalls that when returning from Japan he brought with him a camera he had received as a gift. He did not declare it at customs, and when the band was picked out for customs check and the camera was found and about to be confiscated, he smashed in on the ground in frustration. This was reported on his passport file (side 146).

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:20 pm


[Drug abuse] is very scary, I mean, it almost killed us, almost broke this band. It almost, you know, killed a few of us a couple times [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
It was the biggest test to my sanity — getting off the road after being on for two years and having to mature enough to handle my own life. That was a hurdle [Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992].

After the heavy touring of 1988, the band members found themselves back in Los Angeles with lots of money and lots of idle time. It did not work out.

Put yourself in our shoes ... going from s— poor, seriously, getting $100 a week. All of a sudden you’re handed a gold card. You get a thing in the mail saying, ‘This is how much money you’re worth. You should probably look for a home now. You can actually buy a car.’ We were on the road for at least 2 1/2 years, and that’s what we got hit with when we came off. That’s when the drug prob­lems ... started happening [Detroit Free Press, May 1991].
We left Hollywood as the dirtbags, the band that everyone was betting would crash 'n' burn the first week out. We were gone almost two years, and suddenly we were so popular in LA, everybody loved us, everybody had something they wanted to sell us. The drugs came easier, everything [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].
We left Hollywood as street urchins. When we left, everyone was betting that we'd never last and that we'd burn out. We were on the road continuously for almost two years and when we got back we were suddenly really popular. Lo and behold, suddenly everyone wanted to be our friend, everyone wanted to hang out with us. Everyone wanted to sell us something or get something off us.

Getting drugs was as easy as getting bread from a baker. I just slipped into a totally crazy way of life. I'd spend all night, right 'til the early hours, in bars and clubs or at parties that were always going on
[Rock Star, November 1992].
One story that was mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine in November 1988, was that the band was invited to Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen's house for a party [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. According to Rolling Stone, Nielsen challenged Slash to a tequila challenge which resulted in a brawl that ended with Izzy kicking Nielsen in the balls [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. Nielsen would deny this happened and claim he "decked Slash" [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. Izzy would later deny this version of the events from Rolling Stone:

Absolute shit. (laughs). That’s absolutely a lie. […] No, that’s not true at all. It was something that appeared in the Rolling Stone magazine totally twisted and the rumor got bigger. […] a great party, the only thing that happened was that at the end of it, we all ended up face down on the road. That’s the only thing that happened (laughs) [Popular 1, November 1992].
Especially Slash was struggling with adjusting to the more sedate life between tours:

The thing about being on the road constantly is that you never really have any big problems hanging over you the whole time. When you're moving around from city to city all the time you don't think about anything except getting to the next gig. Then when you come off the road, it's like this whole other world that you thought you'd left behind, but that's been waiting for you to come back to so it can start fuckin' with you. I mean, I hate having to deal with normal day-to-day shit. It leaves no time for anything else. […] To me it's like, well now you're off the road and you have a lot of money and you can do anything you want... But there's nothing that I wanna do except play. I just wanna get back on the fuckin' road... I envy all the bands that have their new albums done and are getting ready to go out. I'd love to have the album finished already and go back out. That's life as I know it, y'know? [Kerrang! April 1989].
I want to be back on the road so bad [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
We were on the road when [the success] happened so, when the tour was over, they dropped me off at the airport and I was standing on the kerb going, 'Now what? Where do I go?' That's where the drugs trip came back [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].
Being an impatient sort of workaholic type, before the band went on the road and before the record came out [in 1987], we had our problems. Then I cleaned up, went on the road and it was great for two years and then bam! Back again. I said, 'Okay, all right, I can make a phone call and kill this time [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].
As he would tellingly say:

As pathetic as this may sound, my personal life and existence has nothing to do with anything beyond the band and being a player. I'm very single-minded. All I do is music, or else I do something—entirely different [Musician, December 1990].
Slash would get back on heroin "right away" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

Steven would recall a haranguing story that likely took place before October 1989:

Somehow I had it in my head that not shooting [heroin] gave me some moral high ground to shake my head and feel that Slash was out of control with the shit. Even though I had dabbled with needles, I had backed off a bit and was a little freaked by Slash's behavior. Not long after that first day of scoring together [after they had both moved to houses near each other], Slash started to really lose it. We had been partying for a few days, and as the sun was peeking up, I couldn't find Slash in the house.

I went out back, and he was sitting by the pool. He was so out of it, just blindly jabbing a syringe into his arm, over and over
[Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 186]
Duff was also mention Slash's paranoia around the same time:

I would hang out with Slash from time to time, but things were getting dark up there at his house in Laurel Canyon. One day he pulled out a stack of Polaroid pictures he had taken around his house. "Duff, look at these," he said. "It's some of those Martian bugs I was telling you about. They're infiltrating my house and watching me all the time." There was of course nothing on those Polaroids. But he kept flipping through the stack and pointing [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155].
Slash also had numerous OD's:

I really should be dead by now That's how bad it was. I guess I always felt I was indestructible. And that if I died, I didn't care about that either. I'd OD'd lots of times, would wake up and go, 'What happened?' [Musician, December 1990].
I've OD'd so many times. I’ve woken up in the hospital so many fucking times. I don’t like to get into it, but I've been through some shit. I’ve been in jail over drugs. You’d think things like that would make you stop, but they don't [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
When the band relocated to Chicago in mid-1989 to get work done, and Slash, Duff and Steven had to wait for the arrival of Axl and Izzy, Slash's drinking got really bad:

I'd wake up with the shakes so badly, detoxing just from waking up [Musician, December 1990].
He would later describe his drinking:

I seriously used to go through one and two bottles of Jack Daniel’s a night. Easy. Sometimes a half gallon. I used to get up in the morning and I’d just be drunk all the time. I passed out on the floor of a guitar store in England — really stupid shit [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
While in Chicago Duff and Slash went to a The Cult show and met Matt Sorum. Matt would describe them this way:

That’s when I first met the guys and they were in kind of a state [Chicago tribune, May 1991].
In August 1989, Izzy was asked about how Slash was doing:

I hear he's doin' better, y'know. Haven't seen him in three to four weeks but I hear he's doin better than in a long time. He seems to realize now that with this new album to be made there's like a... uh, time period he has to be sustainin' right. Which he couldn't do before because of the way he's livin' his life [The Face, October 1989].
In 1989, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith would also call up on Slash to hear how he was doing [Musician, December 1990].

Slash's escalating drug and alcohol abuse led to Axl's famous "Mr. Brownstone" speech at The Stones show in October 1989. In a retrospective perspective in 1991, Slash would shed light on the incident as reported by The Los Angeles Times: "The problem that led to the Coliseum showdown, [Slash] says, wasn't the endless months on the road in 1987 and 1988, but the days and weeks after the tour ended in September, 1988--when the band members didn't have each other or their crews for support. Like Axl and the others, he thought he had found a new family in Guns N' Roses and felt isolated when the band returned from the marathon tour and there was no support group" [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. So again, it was the isolation that he felt after returning from the extensive touring in 1988, caused by newfound celebrity and little to do, and band members who drifted apart, that fueled Slash's addiction and ultimately leading to Axl's ultimatum.

Slash would not deny his problems, in Rolling Stone he would describe it as a "really serious heroin problem" in the period leading up to the shows with The Stones in October 1989, and that he promised to quit smack after these shows [Rolling Stone, January 1991]. From Steven's biography and Axl's "Mr. Brownstone" speech, it could seem like Slash actually promised to quit smack before the shows with The Stones.

Regardless, after the shows with The Stones Slash promised to clean up and to do that he went to a golf resort in Phoenix, Arizona:

Of course I took 10 grams of coke with me. I'd be telling the limo driver to stop at a restaurant to get me a silverware set and he'd come back with a knife and a fork. I'd be like, 'No, the complete set'... [Musician, December 1990].
During his stay at the golf resort the amount of coke he was doing made him see hallucinations. According to Musician, 1990, he "imagined a knock on the door and men with guns" and "destroyed the glass in his shower room, attacked a maid, ran out-side bloodied and naked". He almost had to go to prison because of this incident [Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992], but with a little help from his friends, he avoided it [Musician, December 1990]. Slash would later recall this incident as a "really gnarly, violent experience" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992], and:

The lowest I went was a little fucking episode in Phoenix, where I flipped out on coke, destroyed a hotel room and was all bloody, running around the hotel naked and shit. Some people tried to press charges, and the cops and paramedics came, but fortunately I lied my way out of it Rolling Stone, January 1991].
In September 1991, Izzy would describe an incident that happened "about a year and a half ago", which would indicate it happened in late 1989 or early 1990:

Like, about a year and a half ago, Slash got pulled over in LA for drunk driving and this was when he was using a lot of heroin, right? Anyway, I was staying in a hotel in Venice and he showed up at four in the morning, fucked out of his mind. How he managed to drive there will always remain a mystery to me! So I let him spend the night. The next morning I find two rigs (syringes) hidden in my closet. I told him: 'Listen, fucker, I got problems and I just can't have this shit around,' 'cos I was on probation for six months at the time. And I had to do drug testing - fuckin' involuntary piss-tests almost every day for about a month as well [VOX, October 1991].
Despite the failed detox in Phoenix, Slash would later say he managed to clean up [Musician, December 1990]. He achieved this on Hawaii [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]:

They tried to put me into rehab, but I left in three days. I was real pissed off and came back home, got loaded, then went to Hawaii and cleaned up. I’ve been clean ever since [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
They tried to put me in a rehabilitation institute, and I lasted about three days. So I split and cleaned up on my own. I just locked myself up in a hotel room in Hawaii ... and cleaned myself up [Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992].
It's a long story. I don't wanna talk about it. I just went away and I did it on my own and I've been clean ever since. I just stopped being excessive to the extent where it was really harmful. I mean, it was financially just ridiculous […] [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].
I just got sick of taking heroin. I am a very addictive person and I got to the hilt. I finally realised my first priority was the band and the drugs were detrimental to my career and I said, ‘OK, I’ve had my fair share of ODs, let's kick it’, which I did [The Newcastle Journal, June 12, 1992].
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Slash managed to get clean, but end of 1989 or early 1990 seems likely.

He would later describe the failed forced rehab:

I was forced into rehab once when I was going through a very big needle phase. Three days. And I saw what that was all about, and looked in the Yellow Pages and got a car and got myself out of there. I said, I'm not this fucked up! I mean, I know when I'm doing something [Q Magazine, July 1991].
Everybody else told me, “Dude, you gotta do something.” So they tried to put me in rehab, and I’m not the type for rehabs – you know, I fix it myself. So I went there for three days, and escaped, and took off and cleaned up my own house. I’ve been clean since. It’s one of those things where, when you’re on tour, the sex and drugs element becomes sort of like your way of making yourself feel like you’re having a good time. When you’re working 24 hours a day, travelling constantly with no real control over reality, except for the two hours that you spend on stage, the rest of it is a nightmare. So you end up chasing women and getting stoned a lot [Australian TV Channel 7, January 25, 1993].
He would also say that the reason he finally cleaned up was that he almost went to prison [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991; The Liverpool Echo, June 8, 1992], likely talking above the aforementioned incident in Phoenix.

Talking about the process of cleaning up:

I had a pretty bad habit, so kicking was always rough. The physical part of it is bad enough, but the anxiety part is the worst. But I don’t see why the subject of kicking dope is such a big deal. It’s personal, really. It’s like asking how I go to the bathroom or what do I wash first when I take a shower. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think it’s anybody’s business. I don’t want to be another Keith Richards. His whole history with drugs has been so heavily publicized, and he’s spoken so candidly about it when he was fucked up because he thought it was cool, I guess. What happens is those stories never go away…It’s a very sensitive subject. But it’s a subject that you don’t try and put across to how many millions of people who read this magazine who don’t do it or haven’t been through it. It’s like one of probably the most disastrous things that a human being can go through. It’s like sitting on your deathbed all the time Rolling Stone, January 1991].
The quote above implies he cleaned up more than once, and we know he also cleaned up in 1987 before the release of 'Appetite' and the band went on tour [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

Slash would also say that he cleaned up because the band was "falling apart" [Rolling Stone, January 1991], giving credence to the seriousness of Axl's "Mr Brownstone" speech. When asked, Axl would also agree that his speech had helped push Slash towards sobriety:

It way worked, man! ’Cos Slash is fuckin’ on like a motherfucker right now [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
The following Christmas Slash spent with his girlfriend at the time and her family, and this provided some stability and normality to his newfound sober life [Musician, December 1990]. This, together with Axl's quote from January 1990, would indicate that Slash got sober before the Christmas of 1989. Yet, the Izzy quote from VOX above, could indicate that he was still using in early 1990. Maybe he had a relapse? In an article about Slash from July 1992 it is claimed he had been clean from heroin for three years, indicating he sobered up already in mid-1989, but this is clearly not correct - either Slash implied he had sobered up earlier than he did, or the journalist got it wrong [The Washington Post, July 18, 1992].

By the end of 1990 Slash claimed to still be sober and was hoping to remain so:

But at this point it's not something I'm worrying about. Even though I didn't go through any counseling, I think I understand where it all stemmed from and how it could happen again. If it did happen it would have to be a different reason. To go from nowhere to here was such a huge mind trip; now that it's happened and we've managed to keep it together, I don't think we'll go through that kind of shock again [Musician, December 1990].
He would claim to have reduced the drinking, too:

I haven’t been drinking that hard if I can help it. I still get overly drunk sometimes and have a good time, and it doesn’t bother me. It’s sort of a pain in the ass the next morning, though. But I still have my little quirks and insecurities where I go to a bottle rather than just being sober and dealing with it. I still have those little problems, which are part of a pattern, I guess. But then I haven’t been as depressed as I was. Usually if I’m drinking too much, it’s for a reason. Boredom is my worst enemy, and I get bored really easily. In the history of this band, as long as we were out playing, I never had a problem of any kind. When we’re rehearsing or recording or onstage, there’s not really that much drinking going on, nor am I concerned about it. I’ll have a cocktail when I’m home or whatever, but it’s as simple as that [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
Before the 'Use Your Illusion' touring in 1991, Slash would look back at his drug problems in the two previous years:

[After the touring] I moved into an apartment, the cheapest apartment I could find off of Sunset Boulevard - that's how demented I am, right? - and we just used to party all the time and have amps all about the place and I'd write songs and Duff would come over and every so often Axl would come over and we'd write together. But it was such a long period. And I got so wrapped up in dope and coke and all the fucking scum that goes along with it that finally it just got out of hand. So I cleaned up and bought a house. Then I sat in the house for a while and hated it. I'd lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. There was nothing to do. And then I got back into it and got strung out in a serious way, where everybody was really worried and I had some close run-ins with the police. But then the Stones gigs came around - which I really wanted to do to bring the band back together; that's why after the Stones gigs (and Axl's onstage ultimatum) I went and cleaned up - and then it was Steven's turn [Q Magazine, July 1991].
Izzy and Steven were into heroin, too. Duff would remark that Izzy's and Slash's extensive drug abuse may be linked to coping with the tragedy at Donington, but that they at the time of the interview were now "cleaned out and revved up" [Raw Magazine, July 1989] .

Another night, Slash and I paid a visit to Izzy at his new place. He had a loft in his apartment where he would hide from the world, shooting smack and smoking coke. We came by unannounced and evidently disturbed him. He was all weird and strung out from the drugs. He just said, "Hey," and kind of circled the room a few times, scratching his shoulders and his head like he had lice or something [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 187].
At some point, Izzy had enough. He obtained Valium and codeine from a doctor to taper off and drove with his brother to Indiana [Musician, November 1992]:

F**k, one day I was sitting in my apartment, f**ked out of my head, and I go, 'Man, I gotta step back to some reality'. […] I think going back to Indiana woke me up from my haze, point blank. I was still drinking a lot, still getting twisted, but it helped me get away from the drugs and that sorta bullshit lifestyle; every night the clubs and the parties and the drugs, just pointless stuff. That shit got old. […] I managed to stop drinking and using drugs for a month or two, and you get all this anxiety, this energy, which you don't know what to do with. I put some of the energy into bikes, skateboarding.. [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].
I got to the point where we finished touring and came back and we were very successful. I was in my apartment and nothing seemed to be going right and I knew I just had to fuck off and go back to Indiana. I can't say [becoming sober] was easy. It was just a continious process from day to day. […] I think drugs have always been around and they always will be around. I don't know what to think of it really. I know, for me personally, it doesn't work [Metal Hammer, September 1992].
I kicked at my mom's place. I probably weighed about 115 pounds. I was obviously very sick and she let me stay there. That was a pretty traumatic experience, kicking in the house I grew up in. Lying there thinking, `I fucked up somewhere. What was it? What brought me back here?' [Musician, November 1992].
The hardest thing about kicking coke is the f**king anxiety. It lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I remember two weeks when I really didn't sleep, and it takes months for your body to begin functioning naturally again. I had a harder time with coke than smack. I kicked smack but would keep starting up again, and the times I'd go cold turkey with no sort of medication; that's bad, but you can get through it. The coke I found even more evil, a real f**ker. […] I'll be getting strip-searched at Heathrow if you print this! [chuckles]. […] Coke is more socially accepted than smack, but I haven't been around it for a long time. I haven't even been around any people using it, cos as soon as you stop using that stuff, you suddenly start looking differently at the people you hang out with. […] For years, I never knew any other way to live. I suppose when you're a kid you do, but as you start f**king around with that stuff, it seems normal. I feel better not using it; it f**ks me up. […] There was a point in LA where I wouldn't go outside without a gun. I was carrying a pistol all the time, and eventually I think that works on you too. It's f**ked, it's no way to live, and when I realised, I said, 'I gotta get outta here before it gets too f**kin' crazy' [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].
It got to the point where it was just fuckin' me up. Kicking it all was a slow process, it didn't just happen overnight. Rather than kicking smack medically I chose to go cold turkey - and man, that's a hard thing to go through. It took a month or more and, like they say, it's a day to day thing. I can't say, 'Okay, I'm not gonna do that again.' It took weeks before I could stay straight for more than a few days. First it was a month, then two months and then it got a little easier, but it's an ongoing thing where you gotta remind yourself how tucked you felt before.

The thing is, dependency didn't slow my output but it sure affected what was comin' out, man! Even when I was fucked up beyond belief I was writing lots of music, but now when I go back and listen to it I go, 'Oh man, that's dark, that's black, that's grim!' A lot of it I just can't listen to now. It was a state of mind I was in and I don't wanna be reminded of it
[Hot Metal, November 1992].
In October 1992, Izzy would say that he went to Indiana "shortly after" the Rolling Stones shows in October 1989, indicating that he started to sober up in late 1989.

[The drugs] were doing me in. I felt like shit all the time. I went to somewhere I knew I couldn't score [=Indiana], I had some Codeine with me and a few Valium to take the edge off, and I basically sweated it out. I made it through the 72-hour period, but then I started drinking like a fish. I gave that up as well a couple of months later. I've been told that alcohol's no good for American-lndian blood, which I've got in me. Alcohol really does f*** me up. It makes me crazy. I become impossible to deal with.

[...] I knew that I couldn't afford to f*** up any more. I'd used up all my 'Get Out Of Jail Free' cards. […] I didn't miss using drugs. I'd been used to living with them. But I'd gone through many problems in my life trying to stop, and when I started learning how to get along without them, I felt glad to be free of all the bullshit that went along with it - the scoring, the rip-offs, the bad drugs, the day-to-day hassle
[Melody Maker, October 10, 1992].
This indicates that he quit drinking a couple of months after October/November 1989, putting it to early 1990. Yet, during the process when Steven was being fired from the bad, in March/April 1990, Izzy would claim he had "nearly managed to clean up" "from everything" [Rock & Folk, September 1992], suggesting that he finally gave up drinking in March/April 1990.

Steven was in increasingly worse shape:

[Steven] had bought a house just three blocks from mine and as a result I was able to check on him more often; what that amounted to in practical terms was watching helplessly as his crack and heroin use escalated. It got so bad, and he seemed si incapable of reining it in, that at one point I found out where his drug dealer lived and took a shotgun to the guy's house [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155]
Steven would be convinced by his techie to go in rehab in January 1989 [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 187], which caused him to miss a show on American Music Awards. It would be the first of many attempts at sobering up. As Izzy would phrase it, "Stevie has probably been on several of those missions, yeah" [The Face, October 1989]. Axl might have been referencing this, when he in February 1989 said that "Stevie's got a way like, things just come up in his life" when explaining why they split the revenues almost equally between the band members, implying that he had a costly habit [Howard Stern, February 1989].

The drug use escalated while Steven, Duff and Slash were holed up in Chicago waiting for their band mates to join them.

One night I was so fucked up that somebody pulled me aside and said, "Here, do a little coke and you'll sober right up." And there you go, that was the secret potion. [...] Coke just allowed me to pursue my favored mind-altering regimen-vodka-harder and for longer periods of time [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151]
Unfortunately this was also the point at which Steven really started to go overboard with his cocaine and heroin intake. I was nothing close to sober then, but I maintained a line I would not cross-which meant, first and foremost, that I would not let my work suffer. Also over the line: putting my life in jeopardy, putting someone else's life in jeopardy, getting arrested. Slash maintained a similar line-especially when it came to rehearsing and playing live shows. [...] In Chicago, Steven started to become frightening even to us, a couple of guys not accustomed to getting spooked when it came to intoxicants [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151]
After returning to Los Angeles after their ill-fated Chicago trip, Duff was able to cut back on his excesses, he started exercising a bit and rarely did coke or took pills [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155]. Steven, on the other hand, would claim that both Slash and Duff's addictions caused them to show up to rehearsal drunk, or not at all [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192].

In early 1990, the journalist Mick Wall would describe Duff this way: "I take a good look at him. At a glance, he still looks good, girls. Tall (bottled) blonde in faded 501s squeezed into tight black leather chaps, heavy black motorcycle boots, black cotton shirt undone to the stomach and a battered blue denim jacket with the sleeves sawn off. You can see the girls eyes flash like traffic lights every time Duff appears in the room. But looking at his face close up wasn’t such a pretty sight. The corn coloured hair was lank and greasy; the pink cherubic features pale and unshaven. His eyes were the shade of deep red you get from too much drinking or after you’ve been up all night crying [Kerrang! March 1990]. Duff had recently split up Mandy Brix whom he had married about two years earlier [Kerrang! March 1990].

Duff would also describe his own looks "a couple of months" after the Coliseum gigs with The Stones:

I was like 20 pounds heavier than I am now . . . just from alcohol. My face was all puffy and pale, and I said to myself, 'This is not me.' So I quit drinking and I poured all the alcohol in my house out, but I almost died from the withdrawals [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].
This would imply that Duff quit drinking in early 1990.

Looking back, Duff would explain how he ended up drinking too much after returning from the touring in 1988:

For a while, we were separated . . . we didn't have each other to talk to every day. We were on our own. I was drunk, Slash was doing smack. There was an adjustment period because we were used to living in (crap) around town, but all of a sudden, there was all this money and you'd go to a club, the Whisky or whatever, and people would mob you. […] It (messes) your head . . . and I wanted to escape. I didn't know how to deal with things. The easiest thing to do was go to the liquor store and get two half-gallons of vodka and drink it [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].
All the abuse caused troubles for the band and their plans to work on a follow-up to 'Appetite'. In his biography, Duff would relate how he and Axl were worried about their comrades:

"What are we going to do?" [Axl] asked. I had no answer. We talked, but all we could do was hope they would find it in themselves to pull back and get into the swing of things as far as the band was concerned. We never thought of rehab or interventions back then [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148]
When the band started rehearsing for the Rolling Stones gigs in October 1989, the heroin use started to affect the band professionally, with some of them coming in late, or leaving early, or not meeting at all [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156]. Duff would probably discuss this period in early 1990, and claim it was behind them:

Drugs are bad, yeah. I will always be the first to say that. And everybody in this band has had his bouts with drugs, but that’s all over now, really. It doesn’t mess with the band anymore, that’s the thing. Before, it used to mess with the band; guys weren’t showing up for rehearsals, guys were coming to gigs all fucked up. But it’s like, that’s all over now, man [Kerrang! March 1990]
Axl, in contrast to his bandmates, continued to put his career before drugs and excesses:

Right now, for me, a line of coke is too far. A line of coke puts my voice out of commission for a week. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I did a lot of stuff before. Maybe it's guilt and it's relocated in my throat. All I know is it's not healthy for me right now. And if somebody goes, "Oh, man, he's not a partyer anymore," hey, fuck you! Do you want a record or not? [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
And when discussing this with RIP in April 1989, he ended with inserted a cautionary advice to the rest of the band:

I have a different physical constitution and different mindset about drugs than anybody I've known in Hollywood, because I don't abstain from doing drugs, but I won't allow myself to have a fuckin' habit. I won't allow it. I'll have done blow for three days and my mind will go "Fuck no". I'll have the physical feeling of knowing my body needs it, and I'll just refuse to do coke that day. I'm not going to do it, because if I was going to do it, I know I won't be able to hit my goals with what I want to do with this band. I can't let myself get into coke as much as I'm into the band. The same thing with heroin. I did it for three weeks straight and had one of the greatest times in my life, because I was with a girl I wanted to be with in this beautiful apartment, and we just sat there listening to Led Zeppelin, doing drugs and fucking. It was great, 'cause at that time I had nothing to do but sit on my ass and make a few phone calls a day. I stopped on, like, Saturday, because I had serious business to attend to on Monday. I felt like shit, sweated, shook, but on Monday I was able to function. I can't hide in drugs. A lot of people can, but whenever I do any drugs - pills, booze, smack, whatever - to enjoy it, my life has to be perfect - no fuck-ups, nothing going wrong. Otherwise, when I'm high, I'll analyse the shit out of everything that's happening in my life and why things are going wrong. That's not enjoyable. And if I have shows to do, I won't touch drugs because it fucks up my throat. My advice is don't get a habit, don't use anybody else's needle and don't let drugs become a prerequisite to having a good time. Do things in moderation, and just be careful [RIP, April 1989]
A few months later, Axl felt a need to comment on his statements to RIP:

I'm not and never have been a junkie. The last interview in RIP Magazine got taken out of context about me talking openly about my drug use. That was over two years ago and was only for a few weeks when there was nothing to do. I was also very safe about it. That doesn't mean that at some point I won't get really sick of life and choose to OD. Then people will go, "He was always a junkie." That's not the case, but you can believe what you want, I don't give a fuck. No one's really gonna believe anything I say anyway as far as what I do or don't do with drugs, 'cause it's such a taboo subject. Lately I've been drinking champagne for fun, a few beers, you know. Right now drugs get in the way of my dreams and goals. I really don't want drugs around me now, I'm not necessarily against the use of drugs, they just don't fit in my life right now. Then again, I could be out on tour for six months and a blast might be what cheers me up that night [Rolling Stone, August 1989]
Looking back at this dark period in their lives, Slash would say:

But the point of what I’m saying is, there was that whole change in our personal lives [when returning to Los Angeles after touring in late 1988], which people may or may not be interested in, but it was really serious. There was a lot of — well, I’m surprised we’re all still here! Cos there was a lot of stuff to swallow, to establish a sense of security or to be able to deal with money or houses and all that crap, which we’ve never been interested in in the first place. After the tour they basically dropped us off at the airport and it was like, ‘Well, touring’s done, guys. Go make another record’. We went through a lot of emotional and personal changes. [...] We were gone for a long time, and during that period we watched everything go back down the toilet [Kerrang! July 27, 1991]

Slash would also say the band's drug problems had continued well into 1990 when Matt joined the band:

When Matt happened, it was the one final thing that we needed to pull it all back together. It was just loose; we were all together but we were all just hanging on the edge, trying to figure out how to keep the band going. There were a lot of, uh, chemical situations going on and so forth, and Matt was like a godsend because he was the one thing we needed [Kerrang! July 27, 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:20 pm


Adjusting to wealth and popularity was difficult guys who had been living together for years and suddenly found themselves having to adjust to celebrity status.

Our reality is that we came from nowhere--or maybe even a subzero level, being on the road, doing that every day—and having no other life. And there is a pace to that, which is kind of exciting. Then all of a sudden, bam! That life comes to a screaming halt. You don't have your crew guys, the maid doesn't come in, you're laying in bed wailing for the gig to happen...and it's not gonna happen.  […] But there was no other life for us to come back to. We'd never had any other life. And now we were all separated—we had our own little places, which had never happened before. I remember a point where I was just sitting in bed bored and uninterested In anything. You hear one of the guys in your band on the answering machine and you don't even pick up the phone [Musician, December 1990].
The band members found themselves separated:

The worst thing of it, though, was because of no longer having to live in one room, the band got separated, getting their own homes. And that was the hardest part. It's like Slash is here, Axl's here, Izzy's over there, Duff's here, and I don't even know where Steven lives, right? Like, Duff, can we come over? "Well, the gardener's coming today..." That was a whole huge experience that took a really long time for me to adjust to [Q Magazine, July 1991].[/i]
In 1989 the relationship between Steven and the band continued to deteriorate. In the previous year, 1988, Steven had openly expressed his admiration for Slash and Duff, "I look up to those two guys more than anybody else" [Superstar Facts & Pix, No 16, 1988] which, according to his biography, made it so much harder for him when he now felt ostracized by them.

In January 1989 the band played Patience on American Music Awards with Don Henley stepping in for Steven who was in rehab at the time:

WTF! when I got out [from rehab], someone asked me why I hadn't appeared on the American Music Awards. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He proceeded to tell me that GNR performed "Patience" [...] with someone else on drums. [...] I was completely blindsided by this, so stunned and hurt, I can't begin to describe the feeling of betrayal [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 188].

At the time the band would claim, through their fan club, that Steven was suffering from "a bad case of the flu" [Conspiracy Incorporated Fan Club Newsletter, March 1989].

And while Steven was becoming less and less important to the band, Axl was increasingly taking a leading role:

Word was getting back to me that people were whispering in Axl's ear, saying all the ass-kissing cliches: "You're the guy, you're the basis of the band's success". That's cancer for any band [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148]
When famous radio host Howard Stern called Axl in February 1989, he wasn't merely whispering in Axl's ears, he was repeatedly telling him that Axl was the one writing all the songs in the band and should have a bigger share of the revenue [Howard Stern Radio Show, February 1989]. In this same radio interview, Axl would mention that he had been "very, very mad at Slash" but not explain why [Howard Stern Radio Show, February 1989].

Axl would also imply that he was in charge:

I can't be doing drugs every night because, after selling six million records, the business I have to deal with is a lot more intense than most people's. Once you reach a point where you're platinum or projected to go platinum, all of a sudden you're dealing with major record executives and business people and MTV and everything else [RIP, April 1989]
I'm like the president of a company that's worth between $125 million and a quarter billion dollars [Rolling Stone, August 1989]
Yet, when asked in March or April 1989, Slash would deny that they were growing apart:

Actually, because the success has fucked with everybody's heads so much, we're sort of like clinging to each other for support, and to keep some sort of mental balance, y'know? [Kerrang! April 1989].
And Axl would also emphasize that they made decisions together as a band:

Discussing Axl's desire to do big stageshows: Probably, but it will all be with the say-so of the band. I mean, the band will be the judge of everything that is involved with it [Kerrang! June 1989].
When asked explicitly if he considered himself "the leader of the band," Axl would reply:

That's a good question. I'm gonna do what I want to do. That may be selfish, but it's the best way for the most to come out of me. When we write a song, nobody in this band plays anything they don't really want to. When we write a song, the bass player plays his line and it ends up being what he wants to do on bass. It ends up working that way and fitting, so we end up with a set of songs that everybody likes. I couldn't say I'm the leader, like "We're gone do what I say." It doesn't work that way [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
When recounting how the rest of the band would consider him a dictator when they worked on songs in Chicago, Axl would dismiss that:

Listen, after working with Jagger it was like, don't ever call me a dictator again, man. You can go and work for the Stones and you’ll learn the hard way... [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
Axl would also state that he was gradually taking over more aspects of running the business side of the band after having seen how Mick Jagger steered The Rolling Stones:

That guy walks off stage and goes and does paperwork. He says “Excuse me, I’ve got to do paperwork..." […] That guy is involved in every little aspect, you know, from what the background singers are getting paid to how much we’re paying for this part of the PA. He is on top of all of it. It’s him and his lawyer, OK? And a couple of guys that he hangs with, you know, part of the entourage. But basically, it’s all him... [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
Despite this, the media increasingly wrote about the friction in the band. To them, the battle was between Axl and Slash, with Axl slowly gaining the upper hand, as it would be phrased in Raw Magazine in May 1989: "This is very much [Axl's] band and very much his driving force that keeps everything on certain rails. He is the leader, Slash (at least in band terms) his own man. Of necessity that puts the onus more on Axl to keep the Guns n' Roses juggernaut motoring, leaving Slash more time to ruminate on his own position" [RAW Magazine, May 1989].

Maybe because of this, in the first half of 1989 Slash started jamming with Dave Mustaine and there were rumours that they would start a separate band together. It went as far as Mustaine inviting Slash to join Megadeth [Blast! April 1989], a "joke offer" according to Slash:

And I toyed with the idea of winding up the rest of Guns n' Roses by telling them that I'd accepted this offer. Ha! [/i] [RAW Magazine, May 1989].
This implies a growing frustration with Slash and how things were developing in Guns N' Roses. This was picked up by other media outlets as well: Axl and Slash was developing frontman-lead guitarist syndrome [MTV, 1989]. In 2018, Mustaine corroborated this story when he mentioned that he and Slash had recently talked about how they, in the 80s, had talked about "[Slash] joining Megadeth and leaving Guns N’ Roses and we were jamming together a lot" [Metalhead zone, October 2018].

Duff considered Slash and Mustaine jamming as frustration on Slash's part with the "directionless path that GN'R was on" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148].

Slash just wanted Guns to get back to being a gang of dudes who hung out together all the time. As equals. With no bullshit. But there was no communication [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148]
According to RAW Magazine from May 1989, Slash also "talked about getting involved with other outside projects [beyond Megadeth] simply to let off certain creative instincts that don't fit into The Gunners' style." This was allegedly not so much a frustration borne out of a "directionless path" as Duff would claim in his biography, but frustration arising from increasing musical differences between two uncompromising musicians, Slash and Axl, that resulted in Slash having to yield and compromise [Raw Magazine, may 1989].

Axl would be frank about conflict issues in the band:

We have to work on pulling things together because we definitely have our own lives and individual personalities and dreams and goal. And, so then what you try to do is to try to find a way to make all those things fit together, and it's not necessarily easy, none of us are trained in psychology. Maybe we need a child psychologist on the road. She could look great too, that would help [chuckle] [MTV 1989]
Later, when Steven, Slash and Duff hang around in Chicago waiting for Axl and Izzy to show, Steven was the one who were the most pissed at Axl [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 152].

Ever since the band had started, there had been some vague animosity between Axl and Steven. This happens in bands. All bands. I could never quite figure out what these two guys had against each other [...] [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151-152]
The friction between Axl and Slash would be magnified when Axl called out the band for doing too much heroin during their shows with The Rolling Stones in October 1989, and demanding that Slash addressed the crowd and apologized. In December 1989, media would report that both Axl and Slash played with Michael Monroe, but not together suggesting that "their unwillingness to appear on stage together may be another indication that relations between the two band mates are still not completely thought out" [MTV News, December 1989].

One of the issues between band members were differences in approach to working, and especially frustration with Axl's attention to detail:

I'm too much of a perfectionist, I know that. I'm a perfectionist so much, that I don't get a lot of things done. [...] My main motivation for all of this, and it could never be anything but, is the music, the songs. I look at it like I'm a painter or something, and that's my motivation, just to be able to get the material out the way I want it. I'm not driven for financial things, those are a bit more than secondary. It's like, I can get as excited about making money as the next person in that I'm gonna be able to buy this and that, but if the song doesn't come out the way I really wanted it to then I'm more disappointed, and the money doesn't really mean anything to me then. I now that's hard for a lot of people to believe, but that's something that we've kinda stuck by the whole time, as much as possible [Rock Scene, April 1988].
Izzy, on his side, started to distance himself from the band. In August 1989 he was travelling Europe, visiting both France and Germany, where he had an appointment with a dentist to "have all this new scientific shit pumped into my gums so my teeth won't keep fallin' out" [The Face, October 1989].

In 1990, Axl would comment on the band members growing apart but that they had found a way to make it work:

Yeah, everybody has their own lives. I mean, Izzy basically has five Harley's, and every time you're looking for Izzy, you find out he's in Mexico or he's in London or he drove to Texas or he's up in Yellowstone or something, you know. He's always somewhere. […] [Slash is] always working on something, working on his house or working on someone else's record or something like that. So we don't really hang that much but we call each other up on the phone to tell each other what we did, you know. We’re best friends, even though we have separate lives somewhat, you know. And we brought that friendship back together, you know, because otherwise it was getting to a point where “Okay, then we are gonna go separate” [MTV Famous Last Words, August 1990].
In late 1989 or early 1990, rumors spread that Axl considered quitting the band [Hot Metal Stars, 1990].

The press would report that the band was on so bad terms that they had to record their studio parts at separate times [New Musical Express, November 1990].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:20 pm


In the summer of 1989 the band moved to Chicago for two-three months to try to write for their follow-up record. Exactly when they moved there, and how long they stayed is not known. Steven claims in his biography that this took place already in March 1989. From an interview with Duff in March 1990, it can be implied they arrived in April/May [Kerrang! March 1990].

Axl was the guy who had originally suggested to relocate the band to Chicago. The idea was partly to get the band back together again (similar to their Gardner days when they had lived together and been efficient at writing songs together), and partly because Axl wanted to be closer to his roots in Lafayette, Indiana [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 149]. Slash on the other hand would say both Izzy and Axl wanted to get away from LA and be closer to Lafayette, and that it was he, Slash, who chose Chicago:

[Izzy and Axl] wanted to go there and get some sort of foundation, as far as having a home life, and so on. Living in LA was so crazy, people at you all the time. You couldn't think, it was constant. I personally didn't have anywhere to go, so I picked Chicago because it's a big metropolis and it's close [VOX, January 1991].

Still, in his biography, Duff would claim it was Axl's idea and that the band "bowed to Axl's wishes" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 149].

In 1990, Duff said the idea was to try to get some of the songs they already had down on tape [Kerrang! March 1990].

The band would use the vacant Top Note Theatre above Cabaret Metro on Clark Street [Chicago Tribune, May 1991].

The band members wanted little press attention while in Chicago, presumably to concentrate on working on the music, but this didn't work out since they made little attempts to hide and were spotted around town. One place they visited was Kelly's pub where three of the band members (highly likely Steven, Duff and Slash) was immediately recognized as GN'R band members by the proprietor's daughter [Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2019].

On June 24, New Musical Express would report that the band was in Chicago "rehearsing for a US tour" [New Musical Express, June 1989]. And The Chicago Tribune deciding to run a story on the band being in their city with an article being published on June 26. As part of that story they contacted Doug Goldstein, one of the band's managers, to get a comment:

Why do you think we sent them to the Midwest? They couldn't get (expletive) done in L.A. They left to do the early work and rehearse for the next album. Who the (expletive) do you think you're (expletive) dealing with? If you (expletive) print anything that says they're there, you'll never talk to this (expletive) band. Ever [Chicago Tribune, June 1989].
In complete disregard to Goldstein, and needless to say, The Chicago Tribune published their story. As part of the article they also asked Geffen Records to comment on the band being in Chicago, with a spokesperson from Geffen saying, "Only management knows where they are. All we know is that they're working on the album outside the city" [Chicago Tribune, June 1989]. The Tribune also talked to Tom Mayhue, the band's stage manager, who would claim the band had only been in Chicago for four days for the National Association of Music Merchandisers convention [Chicago Tribune, June 1989].

Duff and Slash would later comment on the press attention they received when supposed to be laying low:

And then we tried to go to Chicago and get away from the LA scene, Just so that we could get together and rehearse. The next thing you know they printed in the paper where we were living. So there were hundreds of kids outside the apartment and there was just no concentrating there [RAW, October 1991].
On top of that, a Chicago newspaper did a piece about the band living there in town, writing songs for a record, and even revealed the street where we were living and the location where we were rehearsing. Perhaps the lone advantage Chicago could have offered was anonymity, and now kids came to seek us out from all over the place with the hope of getting a glimpse of us or even partying with the band now tagged as the most dangerous in the world. This was not good [It's So Easy (and other lies): The Autobiography (p. 151)].
Steven, Slash and Duff arrived in Chicago first [Kerrang! March 1990] and Steven claims in his biography the rest of the guys avoided him when they were in Chicago:

We'd always have blow on us at the studio. But when I'd offer to cut them a line they would refuse. Then Slash and Duff would go in some other room to party. "Hey, where ya going?" I would begin to follow them only to find that they had shut the door on me. To this day I have no idea why, other than I felt they believed I just wasn't cool enough to hang out with anymore [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 190-191].
At rehearsals, I felt I was getting pushed out of the songwriting circle as well. we would be working on the dynamics of a song and the three of us would throw around ideas. Then suddenly the exchange would be limited to Duff and Slash. I learned just to sit and wait patiently. They would agree on something, then turn to me and say, "Okay, Steven, this is what we're going to do" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191].
Slash, Duff and Steven got resentful when Axl and Izzy did not come as expected, especially since the whole Chicago trip had been Axl's idea [Steven and Duff's biographies]. Axl came first, then Izzy. According to Slash, it took "like three months or something" before Izzy arrived [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

In March 1990, Duff would comment on Axl and Izzy's late arrivals:

Axl had his reasons for not coming out. He was just waiting for us to do our trip as musicians. And Izzy - Izzy was having a hard time with life at that point, and he was just travelling the world [Kerrang! March 1990].
According to Steven, Axl arrived "seven weeks and five days" after Slash, Duff and Steven, with only two days left of studio time [Circus Magazine, October 1991; Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192]. This is remarkably precise to be from Steven, and perhaps not accurate considering his heavy drug use in the period. Duff would later say the three of them sat in Chicago for three months waiting for Axl and Izzy, and that it got "kinda suicidal" [Kerrang! March 1990]. When Axl finally arrived, Duff would recall that they just "wanted to go home" [Kerrang! March 1990].

We know that Axl got inspiration for lyrics to 'Civil War' from an article that was published in Chicago Tribune on July 9, where he basically lifted a quote from a Peruvian guerilla officer. So Axl was likely in Chicago from early July, at least.

Axl would explain his late arrival on "weird timing schedules" and having to drive his "truck to Chicago from LA", and that he spent at least a couple of weeks in Chicago:

We got into these fights in Chicago. I was, like, just into fuckin’ everybody’s music, getting into Slash’s stuff, getting into Duff’s stuff. Our timing schedules were all weird and we kept showing up at different times. But when I would show up, I’m like, OK, let’s do this, let’s do that, let's do this one of yours, Slash. OK, now let’s go to this one, and Steven needs to do this... And then they decided I was a dictator, right? I'm a total dictator and I’m a completely selfish dick. I was like, fuck, man... And we were on a roll, man! You know, we were cranking.

Slash is like, “We’re not gettin’ nothin’ done.” I was like, “What do you mean? We just put down six parts of new songs, you know we’ve just got all this stuff done in, like, a couple weeks!” He was like, "Yeah, but I've been sitting here a month on my ass...” This was while I was driving across country in my truck, you know. Like yeah let's party! Shoot guns!
[Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
Duff would also argue that they "got a lot of shit done" [Kerrang! March 1990] although that was probably referring to the period before Axl and Izzy showed up.

We know that Axl was in Chicago on July 20 [how?], so this fits with Axl's explanation.

According to Steven, when Axl arrived he got into a fight with a girl they had befriended, thrashed the place, and left [Steven's biography]. Nick Kent who interviewed Izzy extensively, would write that the Chicago stay "culminated in Axl destroying the group's apartment building there and staying in the rubble while the rest returned west in disgust" [VOX, October 1991]. According to Duff, when Izzy arrived he saw the mess Axl had made, the drugs that floated in the place, and left [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 149]. Steven does not mention in his biography that Izzy would show up and hastily leave when he saw the mess and drugs, as Duff claims in his biography. So there are apparent problems with Steven's and Duff's recollections of the Chicago period.

According to Musician Magazine, Slash got so furious that he "scribbled a goodbye note and flew back to L.A" and that he and Axl "didn't speak for a long time after that" [Musician, December 1990]. Entertainment Weekly would report that Axl thrashed the apartment, but remained in Chicago as the rest of the band members left [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

Steven in his biography claims Axl wasn't interested in the songs Slash, Duff and Steven had worked on when they presented them to him, in contradiction to Axl's statements above:

He sat there like we were putting him through some kind of torture. Plain and simple, Axl wasn't interested in our material! He just wanted to record a new song he had been working on called "November Rain" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192].
Duff would mark this as a turning point as far as Izzy's involvement with the band:

[Izzy] would still send in riffs and ideas for Use Your Illusion and didn't officially quit until 1991, but his day-to-day involvement with the band pretty much died that day [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 153]
Up to then I had not wavered in how I perceived us-as a band and a family and a gang. But this trip solidified some of the flimsy walls that had begun to go up between various parties in our unit. [...] Steven was fully strung out and babbling incoherently much of the time. Slash had one foot out of the band as a result of feeling betrayed. Izzy had all but checked out. [...] The damage was done and all forward progress stopped for quite some time [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155]
Was I so fucked up that I didn't realize my drum playing was beginning to suffer? Was I lucid enough to even ask myself that question at the time? [...] All I know is that my opinion didn't matter anymore. It bummed me out. We were always a team; it had always been a combined effort. But not any longer [...] [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191].

In late 1990, Slash would talk about the stay in Chicago, but not mention the serious problems they had as a band, instead focus on the media problems:

But we had more of a problem there. They printed in the paper where we were staying, all kinds of shit. So it got hectic there. We did write some good songs which are on the record, things did come out of it. But finally we ended up leaving [VOX, January 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:48 pm

July 22, 1989 - Axl jams with West Arkeen at the Scrap Club and Axl and Izzy jam with The Cult

After the relocation of the band to Chicago in the summer of 1989, Izzy and Axl travelled to New York. On July 22, Axl and West Arkeen jammed at the Manhattan bar The Scrap Club where they later met The Cult.

Later that same evening, Axl and Izzy joined the Cult for a night of jamming at The Loft with only "30 or so fans and followers", a private rehearsal room in Manhattan [New Musical Express, August 1989]. Ian Astbury, the singer of The Cult would describe the night this way: "We jammed for what seemed like seven hours, everyone was changing instruments, but Jamie [Stewart, bass] and Matt [Sorum, drums] played throughout. We did mostly Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Sex Pistols songs" [New Musical Express, August 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:49 pm


As 1989 came along, Axl still suffered from violent outbursts despite having both a diagnosis and medication.

He's very crazy, y'know. Like, sometimes he can be very rational and other times he's just deep left-field. It's always up and down, up and down with Axl. He just has a very hard time relating to other people. […] Sometimes he just goes off the deep end and if anyone can make sense to him in those states, I think it's me. Because we still relate as friends coming from "bumfuck" Indiana. The rest doesn't mean much. I can kinda talk him down when he freaks out and locks himself in his room and we've got to play a gig or record [The Face, October 1989].
You gotta just deal with it. [Axl] knows sometimes he’s an asshole, and he’ll admit it, and he’ll say sorry later. But it’s something that can’t, really, help right now. It’s fine, you know. He’s an interesting guy and he's very creative, though. I mean, he’s a good guy. He doesn’t do a lot of, like, drugs and stuff. He’s got good control. I think he’ll outlive us all, actually [From unknown 1989 interview footage shown in Rapido, September 1991].
In June 1989 Axl would describe how losing control of situations caused episodes:

Frustration and not being able to handle a situation that you feel you should be able to take control of, which can be anything with dealing with our success in any way; dealing with, you know, money, interviews, fans, record companies, radio stations, all of that; and not really knowing how to do it. I mean, a lot of strange things happen to piss you off, and you’d like to smash somebody with that. But that's gonna get you in a lawsuit or something like that. So, you know, it's just for pent-up frustration, not knowing what to do, and releasing it, you know. And it's like, it's not, like, okay, yeah, now I've got money so I’ll just break things all the time, dah dah dah... I’ve always broke things. […]  I feel a lot like... It’s the character of The Godfather, Sonny, who gets pissed off and he goes and does something; and then, eventually, you know, he has that used against him, and he goes out and it's a setup and he gets shot. And that fear also breeds, you know, frustration of, like, okay I'm mad, I want to do something, I want to take action and I wanna get (?) with this person that just screwed me over. And you don't, and you know you can't, because you know that there's gonna be consequences that you're gonna have to face up to out of whatever you do and you not... and you can't pinpoint all of them, you know, to make sure you can get away with whatever action you decide to take. So, instead, I'll just break something of my own and that depresses me too, but it's better than sitting in jail, I guess. [Patience CD Single, June 1989].
In August 1989 he would suggest his issues were exasperated by stress:

When I get stressed, I get violent and take it out on myself. I've pulled razor blades on myself but then realized that having a scar is more detrimental than not having a stereo. I'd rather kick my stereo in than go punch somebody in the face. When I get mad or upset or emotional, sometimes I'll walk over and play my piano [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
This could also explain why he would be agitated before live shows:

If I’m psyched for the gig, great. Nine times out of ten, though, before the gig I’ll always not wanna do the fuckin’ show and hate it. I mean, I love it when I’m psyched, you know, let’s go! But most of the time I’m, like, mad about something, something’s fuckin’ going wrong... I’m nervous. I’m like, “I'm not playing for these fuckin’ people!” […] It’s like, I’m not playing for whoever’s putting on the show, or like that. We have a lot of good relationships with promoters and stuff, so I don’t want that to be taken as the main example,’ he added cautiously. ‘But you know, situations are always different before a show. Something always fuckin’ happens. Something always happens. And I react like a motherfucker to it. I don’t like this pot-smoking mentality.’ He sucked in his cheeks. 'I feel like Lenny Kravitz... Like, peace and love, motherfucker, or you’re gonna die! I’m gonna kick your ass if you fuck with my garden you know? I like that attitude more [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
Axl's strong emotions also helped to fuel his emotive performances:

The rest of the band'll bounce back quicker after a show. I mean, Steven, you know, runs out of the dressing room, wants pizza, and he's out to find the girls and everything. It's like, I need about an hour to pull my head back together because every song I sing, when I'm singing it, at the same time I'm like dealing with the crowd and stuff I'm also thinking about the situation when I wrote the song, which could be nine years ago, and where that person is now. All this stuff's going through your head like a million miles an hour [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
Being asked if his fame and popularity allowed him to get more away with such behavior:

No. I’ve always been that way. But now I’m in a position to just be myself more. And the thing is people allow me to do it whether they like it or not, you know? […] I’m just an emotionally unbalanced person. Maybe it’s chemical, I don’t know. ’Cos maybe emotions have something to do with chemicals in your brain, or whatever. So then it’s a chemical imbalance [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].

By Christmas 1989 Axl was suffering from depressions:

[...] these people didn't know anything about the Christmas before [in 1989], when I was driving to your house [=Del James' house], trying to find someone with dope on the way because I wanted to OD. I could always relate to the Hanoi Rocks song "Dead by Christmas." [RIP, September 1992].[/i]

In the 1990s Axl's relationship with Erin Everly was under severe strain (see below), they were fighting and had to go through the experience of a miscarriage. Axl had bought a house in Hollywood Hills where he intended to start a family. Strain and tension caused him to wreck the place:

I had a piano, which I bought for $38,000, and there’s a $12,000 statue in there and a $20,000 fireplace, and I stood there and I just snapped. I’m standing in this house going, ‘This house doesn’t mean anything to me. This is not what I wanted. I didn’t work forever to have this lonely house on the hill that I live in because I’m a rich rock star. So I shoved the piano right though the side of the house. Then I proceeded to destroy the fireplace, knock all the windows out and trash the statue and everything. The damages were about $100,000. What’s wild is that the next day Erin went to the house and she trashed the three rooms I didn’t [People Magazine, November 1990].
To which Erin would comment,  "I had my own different reasons” [People Magazine, November 1990].

Axl tried to find out more about his biological father:

Like I found William Rose. Turns out, he was murdered in 84 and buried somewhere in Illinois, and I found that out like two days before a show and I was fucking whacked! I mean, I’ve been trying to uncover this mystery since I was a little kid. I didn’t even know he existed until I was a teenager, you know? Cos I was told it was the Devil that made me know what the inside of a house looked like that I’d supposedly never lived in. So I’ve been trying to track down this William Rose guy. Not like, I love this guy, he’s my father. I just wanna know something about my heritage....weird shit like am I going to have an elbow that bugs the shit out of me when I get 40 cos of some hereditary trait? Weird shit ordinary families take for granted. […] he was killed. It was probably like at close-range too, man. Wonderful family..... [Kerrang! April 1990].
In November 1991, Axl would say that it wasn't certain his biological father really was dead:

There’s a lot of issues around this person, you know. He is believed to be dead, I don’t know if that it’s true or not. But in a weird way it’s, you know, probably the best place for him if he is. […] You know, they’ve said that he’s buried in 7 miles of strip mining somewhere in Illinois because of a bad deal he made with somebody. […] [Chuckles] It’s in court, you know, they’re looking for the body [Rockline, November 27, 1991].
In 1991 it would be rumored that Axl had asked a "member of Guns personnel to wake him at a certain time then sack[ed] the hapless minion for waking him" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

By December 1990, Axl was suffering from depressions. He moved into the recording studio to work on the record and when Christmas came a friend would spend time with him because they were worried he "wasn't going to make it through":

There was no heat in that room. It was a cold, lonely place, but it was the only place I could stay to keep myself in the work. It was cool-looking, but it was dark, cold and weird! It got to the point that certain people could tell just by the way I was talking, the tone of my voice, that I wasn't right. A friend brought by some Christmas presents. Another flew out unannounced and stayed with me Christmas Day, because they were very worried that I wasn't going to make it through. I couldn't leave the studio, but I couldn't go back to my condo because of my neighbor. That was a nightmare [RIP, September 1992].[/i]

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:32 am


Axl operated slightly different than the rest of his band mates in regards to music. He was very particular about how the music they created, often to the point of obsessing over minor details:

There isn't really anything we want to change [with Appetite for Destruction]. 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].
Sometimes six lines take two years. It’s just got to say exactly what I mean. Sometimes I write some great words, and then hear this fabulous music in my head, and I think, ‘Wow! This is really happening! This is better than Led Zeppelin!' And then I go home and put on a record and I realise, shit, it was Led Zeppelin [Time Out, June 1987].

Gina Siler, and old girlfriend who knew Axl back in Lafayette, would talk about Axl's perfectionism:

"He is extremely intelligent. That was one of the things that attracted me to him. He is just a nit-picky perfectionist and when things don’t go smoothly and to his liking he just loses it. He blows up. I’ve seen him do it on many occasions, smashing things and breaking things and yelling and screaming - holes through walls. Seen him do it one too many times" [Spin, September 1991].

His perfectionism may also be related to his stage nerves and anxieties regarding their live shows:

I'm very stressed about the shows, which are the most important thing to me. Nothing ever really works right for this band [RIP, April 1989].
This was very different to Slash's approach that was usually to finish his in a few takes [source]. Naturally, such different philosophies in regards to music would cause friction, and this would be more pronounced as Axl started spending longer and longer time on his work.

Axl was also strongly opposed to any compromises. To Axl, the art came before anything.

I believe in art first [...] Sometimes people talk about money being the success, that's second. That's being lucky and people being generous to you by buying your album. Your being accepted. That's success on its own terms. But success to me is like you do a painting, it might not have been what you wanted, because when you think of a painting in your mind sometimes what comes out on the paint is a shadow of what you thought of, but still, it is something you are proud of, and if you can get that and you're really proud of it no matter what anybody says, whether someone offers you a dollar or ten thousand dollars for that painting, if you're proud of it, that's to me what counts. And that's what we strive for.
[Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
I'm not going to not believe that we can't [make it with Appetite for Destruction], but anything's possible, you know, and if it doesn't happen then we're going to figure out another album without compromising our music because once we compromise our music there's no reason to be in this band. Get the fuck out. Go home. You know. If I wanted to fucking compromise I could have cut my hair and I could be, you know, a car salesman somewhere, or I could be climbing the corporate ladder or something. I'm not in this to compromise. Not at all.[...] I just don't like compromises just for the sake of being successful. That bothers me. To pay the rent. I'd rather starve than paying the rent by bending over and taking it in the ass, and that's how I consider it [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:48 am

1989-1990 - RUN-INS WITH THE LAW

On January 17, 1989, Axl was allegedly arrested for "disorderly conduct and public drunkenness" with his brother Stuart when partying at Slash's apartment. They were detained in the drunk tank for six hours but no charges were filed [People Magazine, February 1989].

In August 1989, Izzy, while in France, would complain about the police being after him:

I'm supposed to go back [to Los Angeles] on Friday to do the album [work on the follow-up to Appetite] and already it's worryin' me 'cos the police have our names and numbers there, y'know. And I've been arrested once already. It's just a nightmare. I don't go out anymore. All my friends are the same way. But that's LA for you. I go out for a drive, I get pulled over. First thing, the cop pulls a gun in my face. I'm sittin' there... "Officer, what did I do?" […] Right now in West Hollywood it's a complete Gestapo situation. If you're walking down the street they'll jump you, beat you up, plant shit on you and haul your ass off to jail. Then you're in court and it's your word against theirs. I mean, who are they going to believe? When I go back, I'm just going to stay cool and not hang out in the city. I've seen too much shit go down. I know too many people associated with Guns N' Roses whose lives have turned into absolute shit because of this drugs media angle. I mean, that's why I'm over here [The Face, October 1989].
Not long after, in October, Izzy would be arrested by the FBI for pissing at the galley carpet in a plane [see post further below].

Axl was having problems with the West Hollywood police. On August 1, 1990, Axl filed a complaint over "police harassment and heavy-handed intimidation":

My wife [Erin Everly], my friend [Sebastian Bach] and I were sitting there on the balcony having dinner, and my wife suddenly saw about seven to nine police cars pulling up below. She thought someone had been killed. It took some 13 or 14 cops about 40 minutes to organize downstairs. They thought they were pulling some big sneak attack or something. My wife couldn’t see through the eyehole to see who was knocking, so she opened the door, and there they were, and they said to me, ‘Step out,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ This cop shoved my wife, walked into my place and is saying that I invited him in. He’s lying. That’s assault and trespassing, and I want an investigation. I don’t know if they’re out to get me, but they hate my guts, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because if you’re working the [Sunset] Strip and you saw long-haired guys with earrings who have no socially redeeming qualities going out with these girls you wished you had, it might tend to piss you off after a few years [People Magazine, August 1990].
He would later speculate that his neighbour from the flat that he owned, turned the police against him [Pirate Radio, October 1990 - copied in Melody Maker, November 1990]. This neighbour would later claim Axl had hit her in the head with a bottle, leading to Axl being arrested.

Not exactly involving the law, but at some point the band was banned from all Four Season hotels because of damage to the rooms, and this ban was not lifted until 1992 when the band was touring again [The Washington Post, July 18, 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:05 pm

1989-1991 - THE PRESS II

We go out and we play, you know? And we record and we rehearse when we go through our own personal problems. And the differentiation between the media and your personal life is starting to become a really big hassle [Interview at the AMA, January 1990].

In the beginning of 1989 the band refused to do interviews with US press:

From now on, interviews will be very limited. That must sound like, 'Oh, he's being a rock star', but the truth is, I don't need the headache of not getting things across to the public the way I feel they should be. I'm only doing this interview because I believe in RIP and some of the friends I've made there [RIP, April 1989].
The only reason were not doing any American press right now is because just so much American press has been done. We don't want to be overexposed to the point where people bum out on us. You know, when its almost to the point where you're on cereal boxes! [Kerrang! April 1989].
In RIP from April 1989, Axl said that "there are some magazines that we have some major problems with", and pointed out the recent article in Rolling Stone (from November 1988) as particularly disappointing [RIP, April 1989].

The band was getting fed up with an increasingly antagonistic press who focused on everything but the music:

It seems to me that we're a spectacle, a freak show. Magazines are more interested in who fell over last night than the music. I'm to the point where I'm tired of being a spectacle. One of the things that make this band so controversial is that we tell the truth. We tell what really happens. I like being honest with the press. What bugs me is after reading something about me, people don't have the slightest clue as to what I'm all about. Isn't that what doing interviews is about? [RIP, April 1989].
I don't really read the magazines that much any more... I like to look at the pictures [Kerrang! April 1989].
We've had some run-ins with the press because they seem determined to turn on into something we're not. They love to write how we're always acting crazy and destroying things Well, it's just not true. Maybe they think by writing things like that they're making us seem bigger than we are and badder than we are. But we don't need it and we don't like it [Hit Parader, June 1989].
And a press who continued to be more interested in their wild lives than their music:

I saw this thing in National Enquirer and... It's fuckin' Stevie, man. Apparently he went to Nevada, got fucked up, met some girl and, like, ended up marryin' her or somethin'. And the headline, y'know... It read something like "GN'R DRUMMER MARRIES GIRL: SAYS I CAN STILL FUCK AROUND". Incredible! [The Face, October 1989].
A story that went the rounds in mid-1989 was Axl shooting a pig. It is not known to what extent this story is true, and Axl has never commented on it as far as we know. As told by New Musical Express:

"Guns N' Roses were at the centre of controversy again this week with reports in the US press that singer Axl Rose had shot a five pig at a barbecue. The incident is said to have taken place after Axl attended the premiere of Depeche Mode's 101 movie in Hollywood [on April 28, 1989]. Axl introduced himself to the band by reciting the lyric's to Depeche's `Somebody' and declared that he was a big fan of the band. He took the British technopoppers to the Cat House, his favourite heavy metal club. Later that night Axl reportedly went on to a barbecue at a friend's house in Beverley Hills and shot a live pig. It is not clear whether Depeche were at the barbecue. A spokesman denied that they, were presents Singer Dave Gahan said he'd heard that a cow, not a pig had been done to death. "As strict vegetarians the band were appalled by his behaviour and do not wish to associate themselves with any who goes round shooting pigs for fun," said a Mode spokesman at Mute Records" [New Musical Express, June 1989].

Likely, the band was also fed up with how the media could create or exaggerate friction in the band:

And I've got to the point where I've come to understand what the media's all about, and what these people really want out of you ... Some people are serious hounds for any shit they—can pick up and print about us, to the point where you just sit there and look at them and you just see them as pathetic [Kerrang! April 1989].
I'm not really worried about what people think of me. What bothers me is what certain things printed about me do to people who I care about. If I say something, and it gets twisted to where it seems like I'm saying my band's full of shit or something when it's not what I said, that bothers me. That's not fair. Writers have to understand where we're coming from and hopefully print it that way. I've tried to be very open. You know, you've just met the interviewer real quick, you try to answer their questions, try to be as friendly as possible and then you end up with this person looking at your life not through a telescope, but rather through a kaleidoscope. Everything's in pieces and distorted. [RIP, April 1989].
An example of the media creating wedges in the band, is the RIP interview that Axl did in April 1989. When confronted with this interview and Axl's quotes drug use that included a thinly-veiled advice to his bandmates, Slash would say:

There's some stuff he said about drugs in there that I wish he hadn't said. [...] I mean, at this point in time, what with having such a bad reputation, and having had so many run-ins with the cops, I'm really wary when I see stuff like that in print. It makes me nervous. I mean, this is the real world now, and anything can happen out there - and usually does where this band's concerned! [Kerrang! April 1989].
All this aside, the band must take a lot of blame for the media loving to write about their lives. As Nick Kent would write in October 1989: "Strictly on a cartoon level, Guns N' Roses are probably the most singularly entertaining and titillating group in the whole of late-eighties rock pop culture right now. After all, they're the youngest, the thinnest, the rowdiest, the most calamity-prone, etc., etc. Plus there are a number of Spinal Tap comparisons (the ongoing drummer problem, the fact that the GN'R manager, New Zealander Alan Niven, apparently bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tap's long-suffering celluloid counterpart)" [The Face, October 1989].

By 1989, the press was mostly interested in Axl and Slash. The vast majority of interviews and articles would focus on these two. The "big guys" as Duff would jokingly refer to them [Kerrang! March 1990]. Third in popularity was Duff, who now and then got some attention. Izzy was much less featured, maybe because he, after an active period in the beginning of the band's history, now wanted to take the back seat or was starting to be really fed up with the band and industry. But even less attention was given to Steven. No interviews or articles focusing on Steven alone is to be found before 1989 [control check this]. He was by far the most anonymous of the band members. The only time he would be featured was together with others, and often then he would let the others do most of the talking. When discussing who wrote the lyrics to the band's songs, and being asked what part Steven took in this, Slash would reply: "He plays drums. Steven's not the most vocal person in the world. […] Well, no, maybe vocal isn't the right word, more like illiterate would be the word [laughter]" to which Duff would add: "Put it this way, the Navy wouldn't take him!" [Hit Parader, July 1989; but the quotes are from 1988].

In the beginning of 1990, Axl would talk about being more selective about which interviews they did:

We haven’t done a lot of press things lately, not so much out of, like, Well, fuck you guys, we don’t need you, or this and that, you know? It’s just been kind of like... I mean, we want Guns N’ Roses to be huge and stuff and we’re glad when we get offered different interviews and all this stuff. But at the same time, you know, we get a bit sick of it, too. Seeing our faces all over the place. And at the same time, you don’t want so much over-exposure and so you kind of like go, OK, I’m gonna do one piece. OK, which magazine am I gonna do that in? What audience do I want to hit with what I’m gonna say, you know? Like, how am I going to approach this interview? It’s like, if I’m doing a Rolling Stone interview, it’s not so much catering to the audience, it’s like I’m just gonna use a different facet of my personality, ’cos I figure I’m talking to different people. With Rolling Stone you’re talking to U2 fans, REM, you know, and different crowds, OK, than you’re talking to in RIP... So maybe what I want to say needs to be said that way. So you do one interview rather than, like, trying to keep on top of Metal Edge, Metallix, Blast, you know, and all the Japanese magazines — Burn, Music Life and all the others. ’Cos it’s like, we’ve had to focus in on trying to get our lives together to deal with this, you know? And we’re just now getting some things under control [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].
In late 1990, the author Danny Sugerman would write a piece on Axl that would be published in Spin Magazine [Spin, November 1990]. The Spin article, as stated at the end of it, consisted of excerpts from Sugerman's then forthcoming biography on Guns N' Roses. The band was initially opposed to the book and refused to endorse it or give any access. Alan Niven would later mention the Spin article as an example of the band's distrust towards the press and said it was "full of inaccuracies and self-serving embellishments" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991]. But in the same article, Sugerman blamed Spin Magazine for misquoting both himself and Axl:

"I don’t blame Alan for being upset. [...] Spin rushed the story out two months early and they totally misquoted Axl and me. They never showed me a final draft of the piece, and they didn't make most of the corrections I’d suggested. In fact, they took sentences I’d written and put quotes around them and attributed them to Axl. I was livid about the whole thing" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

Bob Guccione Jr., publisher-editor of Spin at the time, denied Sugerman's allegations:

"Actually Danny came in wildly late with his piece. His story was the only story in later than mine. We only made so many changes because the piece wasn’t very well written. We never changed any of Axl’s quotes, not a single one. The only fixes we made were so Danny’s language would be more understandable. Afterwards we discovered that the best part of his story [an account of a police raid on Axl’s apartment] turned out to have been lifted' straight out of a People magazine story. So I had to run an apology in the next issue of Spin saying that we’d run portions of the People story without attributing it to them."

Sugerman replied to Alan Niven's and Guccione's accusations with a letter saying that Niven was upset because Axl had spoken with him:

"Regarding the March 17 Pop-eye column: I’m not sure whether being called a liar by Alan Niven and Bob Guccione Jr., two of the sleaziest people in the music business—a business with no dearth of sleaze—is either the biggest insult or the highest compliment I’ve ever received. Despite such ambivalence, I’m prompted to inform readers that Guns N’ Roses manager Niven is upset because he couldn’t slop me from writing a book on his band and couldn’t stop Axl Rose from speaking with me or, for that matter, stop me from speaking with Axl, whom I found to be infinitely more sensible and intelligent than his manager. As for Guccione, all I can say is consider the source. We all know to what high moral standards this paragon of virtue aspires" [Los Angeles Times, April 1991].

Niven responded:

1— Two years ago, Sugerman contacted our (management company] expressing a desire to write a book about Guns N’ Roses. Our clients told us they wanted no part of it. Despite their wishes, Sugerman secured a contract from a publisher. Since our clients preferred to have any such volume compiled under other authorship, we were instructed to tell the publisher and Sugerman that they would be denied any access or endorsement.

2— As for Axl Rose’s meeting with Sugerman, Axl elected to deal with the inevitable. He decided out of responsibility to his following to read the manuscript in order to extinguish the inaccuracies he anticipated after Sugerman’s piece in Spin magazine. What's more, Axl is quite capable of recognizing an exploitative sycophant when he meets one.

3— In regard to Sugerman’s slur, I am prepared to have any aspect of my business investigated by anyone at any time. My firm prides itself on its integrity and ethics, and our reputation is unimpugned. Check with anyone who is actually a part of the business (as opposed to being an opportunistic parasite).
[Los Angeles Times, April 1991].
Sugerman's unauthorized book, or Sugerman himself, was not popular with Slash:

I’m gonna kill that guy [The Guardian, September 1991].
It’s stuff like that, because kids only – well, not kids, but people in general only believe in what they read or what they see on TV, and so when a book comes out and a, say, Guns N’ Roses fan sees it on a rack and buys it, that’s all he’s got to go on. And that guy has never even met us. […] That guy is so full of it. I’m gonna kick his ass when I see him. I’ll – (laughs) [Australian TV Channel 7, January 25, 1993].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:05 pm


That asshole punched me in the dark. What happened, happened. Maybe one day we’ll meet again [Popular 1, November 1992].


At the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards that took place on September 6, Izzy got in trouble with Vince Neil, the frontman of Motley Crue.

[Neil] jumped out of a crowd of people and sucker-punched Stradlin. Stradlin's lip was cut by Neil's rings but he was otherwise unhurt. Neil, on the other hand, found himself on his back; he scrambled and ran for his limo. […] Fortunately Vince is a powder puff and can't do much damage, but it was a chicken . . . thing to do [LA Times, September 1989].
Later, Axl would confirm that Neil had punched Izzy:

That happened, you know, and then he ran past me. And I didn’t know who he was, cuz he’d just had his cheeks done, and I couldn’t tell who he was [laughs] [Rockline, November 27, 1991].
According to Niven, Neil's animosity towards Izzy stemmed form an incident in 1988 when Izzy had Neil's wife "ejected from a private room" at a local rock club, resulting in assault charges being filed and later dropped against Stradlin [LA Times, September 1989]. Neil would dispute this and claim "that [Izzy] had attempted to remove Neil's wife's clothing and later kicked her in the stomach" and that when Neil saw Izzy at the Awards show, "I did what any man would do" [LA Times, September 1989]. Nikki Sixx, the bassist in Motley Crue, supported Neil's version of the event: "[Izzy] pulled her top off, and kicked her in the stomach. Vince was going to press charges, but instead said, 'The next time I see him I’m going to clean his clock'" [Poughkeepsi Journal, October 15, 1989].

In November 1989 Neil did an interview with Kerrang! where he would talk about the incident. These comments would then infuriate Axl and lead to the public spat between the frontmen [see later section]:

"I just punched that dick and broke his f**king nose. […] Anybody who beats up on a woman deserves to get the shit kicked out of them. He hit my wife, a year before I hit him. I called up his management after he hit her and Alan Niven (GN’R manager) was like, 'My bands can do anything they want. Guns can do anything they want’. So I’m like, fine... […] I went looking for Izzy and I couldn’t find him, so I waited to the next time I saw him. That was when I was leaving and he was just coming offstage, 'cos he’d been jamming with Tom Petty. So I walked up to him and f* *king bopped him. […] I f**king punched him and event security dived on me, because they didn’t know who the f**k I was. [...] They threw me over towards the stairs and I’m trying to get at Izzy and he’s trying to get at me. The security told me to get out, so I walked past Izzy and I said, ‘Touch her again and I’ll f**king kill you, man’. I walked right past Axl, past all of them and out. I didn’t f* *king run. […] As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a Crüe v Guns thing, it was something this f* *king wimpy asshole who likes to hit girls deserved. It’s a score I had to settle" [Kerrang! November 4, 1989].

Izzy would later deny these accusations:

Three years ago, we played some club one night and I was hangin' out with these girls when she came backstage. I said 'Hey your pussy's hangin' out!' and she fuckin' punched me! So I just lifted my foot and pushed her back. She fell down. Next thing I know, she's got me on a rape charge. So I have to go to court, right, for this bullshit, and she didn't show up. Anyway, Motley Crue are a bunch of lying cocksuckers. It's gonna be interesting to see how they respond to this [VOX, October 1991].
In 2019, Sharise Neil did a podcast and discussed the episode:

"We had this thing called “The Broad Squad” and it was all the girls from Tropicana. We were like a clique. And my girlfriend was actually dating Riki Rachtman. She was his living girlfriend. [...] So I wasn’t allowed to hang out with them, hardly ever, and definitely not allowed to go to the Cathouse with them, because bad things were gonna happen. [...] So, this night, I wore one of my creations, which was like a pencil skirt made out of spandex, black. And then, up to the side I did a sheer nylon panel, where you could see the side of my legs. [...] And then I wore, like, a little half-top. I made that too, by the way. [...] Like I said, we were the “Broad Squad”. My girlfriend’s boyfriend, it was his damn club. We walked in like we owned the place. [...] I walk into the room, and I see Izzy Stradlin standing by the deejay. He tells me to come over to him, he waves me over. I say, “Oh, cool, Izzy.” You know, we just got off the road with them, I met all the guys, I was out with them, I thought they all knew me, we were all talking, hanging out, shaking hands... So when I get within a foot of him, he reaches down – Riki says this wrong on his show; he says that he grabbed my boob. No, no, no. Izzy reaches down and grabs my freshly made pencil skirt and rips it up, like, to my vagina, and trying to rip it off me. […] And I’m flabbergasted. My mouth falls and I smack him hard across his face. A fuckin’ roundhouse smack to the face, buddy. When I do that to him, he puts his foot up and he kicks me in the stomach away from him. […] Alright. Now you’ve unleased mean Sharise. Now I’m pissed, and I got my bony little finger in his face going, “Fuck you. Who the fuck do you think you are? How fuckin’ dare you touch me? Wait till my fuckin’ husband gets up,” or, you know, “gets a word of this.” [...] Don’t do that to a woman. […] Okay, so then, after I’m done with my tirade, I turn around and I see Axl sitting in a chair in the corner - I think my tirade must have been heard all over the club – and he just came in. He wasn’t there before when I walked in, but I think he saw what happened after. So I said to him, “What the fuck is wrong with him?” And Axl, very nicely, said, “Oh my god, he’s really fucked up. He’s fuckin’ on heroin.” I went, “I don’t care. Wait till Vince finds out. This is not gonna be good.” […] So I tell [Neil], and he goes ballistic: “He did what? I’m gonna kill that guy!” So that is the start of the fight between Axl and Vince and Izzy" [Bobby Brown podcast, April 13, 2019].

Sharise would also talk about the incident at MTV VMA:

"It was the MTV Awards, yeah […] So, there I guess Tom Petty was on stage, and then Guns N’ Roses were doing the last show of the night, they were doing a song; or Izzy and a couple of the band members were playing with Tom Petty. So Vince – this has been, like, six months since this happened, and Vince has not run into Izzy at all, or Axl. But there they are that night! [...] So now Vince is plotting, “How can I get back at him,” like, “Oh, he’s on stage now. Sharise, go to the car.” I’m like, “What are you gonna do?!” and he’s like, “Don’t worry about it. Go to the car.” So this is what I remember: I was sitting in the limo, waiting, waiting, waiting... And I’m looking behind me, and what I see is hilarious. I see Vince walking very briskly and then running towards the car: “Open the door! Open the door!” I’m like, “What’s going on?” Then I see Axl running after Vince with, like, two big black bodyguards following. Vince gets to the car and he tells the driver, “Go!” So now we’re taking off in the parking lot as Axl is running behind our car. I mean, that’s a scene" [Bobby Brown podcast, April 13, 2019].

During the 1989 Video Music Awards a photographer hired by MTV would also claim to have been pulled by a bodyguard for the band, resulting in alleged injuries and a lawsuit [more on this below] [The Dispatch, September 1990].

In October 1992 Izzy would be asked if he would donate bone marrow to save the life of Neil:

Fuck, no! There’s plenty of other donors out there [Kerrang! October 31, 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:05 pm


On October 10 the band was doing a video shoot for 'It's So Easy', intended to present a more raunchy side of the band. According to rumors printed in Kerrang! in April 1990, David Bowie visited the set of the video and got "a little too well acquainted with Axl’s girlfriend, Erin" resulting in Axl "aiming a few punches Bowie’s way before having him thrown off the set" [Kerrang! April 1990].

When commenting on the incident, Axl would not go in detail on the brawl but tell a long story of going out with Bowie and having a good time:

Bowie and I had our differences. And then we went out for dinner and talked and went to the China Club and stuff, you know, and when we left I was like, “I wanna thank you. You're the first person that’s ever come up and said I’m sorry about the situation.” You know I didn’t, like, try to take away any of his dignity or respect - like Rolling Stone saying I’ve no respect for the Godfather of Glam even though I wore make-up in this or that video and dah dah dah...

It’s like, when we opened for the Stones Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton cornered me, right? I go out there to do the soundcheck, and I’m sitting on this amp and all of a sudden they’re both right there in front of me. And Jagger doesn’t really talk a lot, right? He doesn't really talk at all, he’s just real serious about everything. And all of a sudden he was like’ – he assumed a theatrical Dick Van Dyke cockney – “So you got in a fight with Bowie, didja?” You know, and I’m like... I told him the story real quick and him and Clapton are going off about Bowie in their own little world, talking about things from years of knowing each other. They were saying that when Bowie gets drunk he turns into the Devil from Bromley... I mean, I’m not even in this conversation. I’m just sitting there and every now and then they would ask me a couple more facts about what happened, and then they would go back to bitchin’ like crazy about Bowie. I was just sitting there going, wow...        

But Bowie was really cool. We went to this restaurant and, like, it was just supposed to be Slash and me and Bowie and his girlfriend. Then I’m going and I bring an old friend of ours called Danny, who's an old roadie who’s been through, like, crazy stories with cops and everything. We haven’t been able to find Danny for two years. And Danny was like Dan the Man, he was a big part of our lives. But we couldn’t find Danny. Well, I find Danny and another guy called Eric – two guys we haven’t seen for a while that Slash and I used to hang with. So I bring them. Then Izzy shows up with Jimmy from Broken Homes, and we have this crowded table, right? And everybody's getting wasted on wine and stuff.

Then Bowie comes around the table and he squats down next to me and starts talking. And all of a sudden somebody hit the table and my elbow, like, bumped his cheek, just real lightly. And he goes, “OH, FUCK!” and grabs his eye and jumps up, and the whole restaurant spins round... ’Cos they did not like me and Slash being in the restaurant anyway, OK? This doesn’t usually happen any more but this place it happened in ’cos they were all, you know, all quiet, with an art gallery showing on the walls and all this stuff.

And the people running the restaurant don’t know who... It's not like they don’t know who I am, but they don’t give a flying fuck. They don't know it's Slash and Axl, they just see us coming in in leather jackets and stuff and they’re freaking, right?

So there’s a whole table and we’re all getting loud and stuff. But Bowie s there so they’ve got to let this go on, they don’t know what else to do right? It was great. So Bowie jumps up and goes, “OH FUCK!" and the whole place spins around, and the ladies and stuff are hiding behind their fuckin’ menus. Then he goes, “Just kidding! Just fucking kidding!” It was great, it was great...

We went to the China Club and stuff and he, like, had me do photos with him. He was like, “I don’t know if you wanna do this but...” He was really cool. We started talking about the business and I never met anybody so cool and so into it and so whacked out and so sick in my life. I looked over at Slash and I went, “Man, we’re in fuckin’ deep trouble.” He goes, “Why?” And I go, “’Cos I got a lot in common with this guy. I mean, I’m pretty sick but this guy’s just fuckin’ ill!” And Bowie's sittin’ there laughing... Then he starts talking about, "One side of me is experimental, and one side of me wants to make something that people get into. And I DON’T KNOW FUCKING WHY! WHY AM I LIKE THIS!?” And I’m, like, thinking to myself, I’ve got twenty more years of... that to look forward to? I’m already like this! Twenty more years? It was heavy, man...
[Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].

As a side-note, about a year later Slash would also befriend Bowie:

Late last year, Bowie and I got together and went to dinner. We had a great time, and we’ve been hanging ever since. He’s a sweet guy. It’s been really cool, going from being a kid and growing up with musicians and then meeting these people you haven’t seen in a long time who actually have respect for you [ROCKbeat, July 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:05 pm


Axl: When I put on my clothes or do a photo session, I want to look the best I can. If you're going on a date, you want to look good for that person or for yourself. I've got enough money now to buy a suit I like and wear it the way I want. I don't wear suits every damn day now. Maybe I'm gonna shave and wear makeup and do my hair fuckin' way up. We're definitely image conscious. I think if Izzy came wearing a clown suit to a photo session, we'd want to know how he could validate his presence in a clown suit. [Laughs] But if he could back it up and convince us there was a reason, then it would be cool. Otherwise, it wouldn't be. Steven has his own way of dressing, in the latest commercial-rock fashions. Steven enjoys the hell out of the clothes he wears, whereas Slash and I wouldn't be caught dead in either. It's just different personalities. If we're gonna do a show, I wear a headband because my hair gets in my face. When we do a photo session, a lot of the time I'll wear a headband because that's how I am onstage. If I feel real dominant and decadent, I'm gonna be wearing my jack-boots and stuff like that. I try to express myself through my clothes. It's another form of the art. I'm not afraid of what people think about different ways I look. I'm gonna do what I want to do [Rolling Stone, August 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:05 pm


In August 1989, Rolling Stone Magazine mentioned rumors about Rolling Stone wanting Guns N' Roses to open for them on their upcoming tour. Axl would say that no formal offer had been made [Rolling Stone, August 1989]. But at some point in 1989 Rolling Stones did offer GNR the opening slot for their entire tour for $50,000 a night [Yahoo Music, April 2016]. RAW Magazine would in May 1989 claim that this was summer tour and that the band rejected the offer because they planned on writing and recording the follow-up to 'Appetite' [Raw Magazine, May 1989]. According to Alan Niven in 2016, on the other hand, he had been reluctant to accept the offer mainly due to the compromised state of the band at the time:

From a fiscal point of view, I was dubious about that, because at that point Guns could clearly sell out arenas on their own, which would more than double that take. The other aspect was I didn’t consider the band to be in any condition, whatsoever, to be able to take on a tour of that length and magnitude. Izzy had gone through a really, really bad cocaine period and was just getting out of it. Slash was using too much [heroin]. Steven was using too much. Duff loved his cocaine and his vodka. They were in no condition to take on a venture like that. Much to the bemusement of the band’s agent, I passed. Think about that for a moment. Can you think of anybody who’d been offered to open for the Rolling Stones and said, ‘No, thank you?’ How fucked up in particular is that? […] I was like, ‘The Stones are touring again? F—ing hell! They always sell tickets, but as far as I was concerned, my boys were now the standard bearers of excessive glories of rock ‘n’ roll. Why should they open for a bunch of landed gentry and English financiers? So, conceptually, for me, it didn’t sit very well [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
The Rolling Stones then came back with a second offer: four nights at the Los Angeles Coliseum for $500,000. Though intrigued, Niven still wasn’t entirely convinced by the offer:

My thought was this. You’ve got 77,000 tickets to sell in the L.A. Coliseum. I can see the Stones doing that twice, but four times? I think that’s pushing it, even for the Stones – unless they’ve got someone with them who is going to push it over the edge. And knowing that they had two confirmed and were holding two more shows that they wanted to do, I rather felt that that described the circumstance. So I went back and said, ‘We’d be delighted to accept the offer for a million dollars.’ The Stones’ people just about choked on that, but guess what? Jagger came back and accepted, because he knew he needed Guns N’ Roses to get the four nights. He’s a businessman, and he figured out the formula [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
Slash would confirm that their management was against doing the gigs with The Stones, and imply at least part of it was due to Slash's heroin problem that was very bad at the time:

At that time I was at the tail end of a really, really serious heroin problem. I felt the band had to do the Stones gigs to bring us back together. We were all living in our separate houses, no one saw anybody, I was doing my thing, and only three of us were going to rehearsals on a regular basis. So I said, “Yeah, let’s do the gig,” even though our management was against it. I made an agreement with the band that after the Stones shows were over, I’d clean up. That was agreed upon and understood [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
So the band was set for the pinnacle of their career so far. Opening for The Stones had been a dream to Axl and a signal that they had made it [Concert Shots, May 1986]. The grandness of these shows were also apparent to Duff, but his band members didn't pull it together:

Despite the work we needed to do to prepare for the Stones shows, Slash and Steven showed no signs of pulling out of their drug habits, and Izzy slipped back into heroin use, too. Sometimes those guys put their drug use in front of band practise. One or the other often showed up late or left early from rehearsal-if they showed up at all [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156].
Slash was "shooting heroin and speedballs" at the time and had his dealer meet him "before and after the gig" [Musician, December 1990]:

I'd built a place in the hotel room to hide my shit. Axl was tripping out on the whole thing but as far as I was concerned I was fine—at least the gig was happening and I was playing [Musician, December 1990].
In Steven's recollection it is implied that Slash had promised to quit drugs before the shows, which is in disagreement from Slash's quote above where he claims the deal was to quit after the shows with The Stones:

I would walk over to Slash's room to hang out and party. Unfortunately, every dealer on the West Coast was buzzing around for the concert, and I fell to temptation again. At this point, Slash hadn't let up at all and was getting sucked deeper into hard drugs. Heroin came packaged in rubber balloons, and that night after we checked in, I bought six of those balloons and went to Slash's room. I walked in and I saw Slash in the bathroom, and he had like twenty of these same balloons lying around, already opened and used. he was just sitting on the toilet, staring down at the tiles, all stoned out. He was going to be no fun, so I just spun around and left [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 198-199].
The band Living Color was opening for Guns N' Roses and Rolling Stones. The day before the first show, on October 17, Vernon Reid, the singer of Living Color, was guesting at a radio show with call-ins. He was asked by one caller what he thought of 'One in a Million' and replied that he liked the band but took exceptions to some of the words in the song [RIP Magazine, November 1990].

At the morning of the first show, Izzy got an ominous call from Axl:

It was the biggest thrill I ever had working with this band, but it was also pretty nerve-wracking, 'cos - we did four gigs in LA, right? - at six the morning of the first one, Axl called me completely hammered, and told me 'I'm quitting'. I told the other guys 'It's gonna be a long four days, fellas' [VOX, October 1991].
I got a call from Axl on the morning of the first Stones show. He said, 'I'm sorry, these gigs aren't gonna go, I quit!' [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Niven would talk about this in October 1992, too, and refer to Axl's decision to quit the band the very day they were going to play with the Rolling Stones for "bad timing" [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992].

According to Niven, Axl was nowhere to be seen before the show, with the production manager saying to him: "Your guy’s not here. Tell me what I’m supposed to do – call the LAPD and warn them we may have a riot with 77,000 people?" Niven would then, allegedly, ask the production manager if he had a contact in the LAPD who was an "absolutely no-questions-asked guy", with his wishes confirmed and the cop on scene, Niven gave him the address where Rose was staying and allegedly said:

I want you to send two uniforms to this address and have them get the occupants out any which way they can and bring them here right away, in handcuffs, if necessary [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
The police did as asked and brought Axl to the venue [Yahoo Music, April 2016].

As Axl walked towards the stage, he allegedly confronted Reid with his comments and said that he never thought of “you guys as niggers" [RIP Magazine, November 1990]. As he took the stage he first defended 'One In A Million', and then continued with his famous "Mr. Brownstone" speech:

I don't like to do this on stage. But unless certain people in this band start getting their act together, these are going to be the last Guns N' Roses shows. I'm sick and tired of too many people in this organization dancing with Mr. Brownstone [From stage, October 18, 1989].
And then, before the encore: "Before we begin, I'd like to announce this is my last gig with Guns N' Roses" [Los Angeles time, October 20].

If it is true that Slash had promised to quit drugs before The Stones shows and not after, that would help to explain Axl's frustration and anger at the time and his ultimatum that his band mates stop using heroin or he would quit the band.

Axl would later explain why he did it:

I was watching my band mentally and physically fall apart. It was a harsh move [talking about it] onstage, but we had tried everything else, and nobody would stop. It just kept getting worse and worse and worse. [...] I remember bumping into [Geffen Records head] David Geffen when I walked onstage and he was all excited about us playing with the Stones and all the people there. I just looked at him and said, 'Well, then enjoy (the show) because it's the last (damn) one' [Run N' Gun, Los Angeles Times, July 1991]
That was definite and that was serious. I mean, I offered to go completely broke and back on the streets, ’cos it would have cost, like, an estimated $1.5 million to cancel the shows, OK? That means Axl’s broke, OK? Except what I’ve got tied up in Guns N’ Roses’ interests or whatever. But I didn’t want to do that because I wouldn’t want the band to have to pay for me cancelling the shows. I don’t want Duff to lose his house ’cos Axl cancelled the shows. I couldn’t live with that. But at the same time I’m not gonna be a part of watching them kill each other, just killing themselves off. It’s like, it came down to like, we tried every other angle of getting our shit back together and in the end it had to be done live. You know, everybody else was pissed at me but afterwards Slash’s mom came and shook my hand and so did his brother [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993]
You should have seen Geffen’s face. I was, like, 15 paces behind, trying to keep up, and I’m waving my hands at Geffen, like, ‘Leave him alone! Leave him alone! Get out of the way! Don’t stop him now!’ And then Axl shut himself off and then went back to his apartment [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
The band members felt humiliated and resentful:

[...]I got the call that Axl wasn't going to do the gigs. His reasoning was that Steven and I were on smack. We were...but that's beside the point; we were opening for The Stones. Somehow we coerced him into doing the first show and it was a disaster. "Enjoy the show," Axl said when we took the stage, "because it's going to be our last one. There are too many of us dancing with Mr. Brownstone." I was so pissed off about that and he was so pissed at me for being a junkie that I spent the better half of the show facing my amps. Nothing was together that night, the band sounded horrible [Slash's autobiograohy, p 277-278]
If Slash had promised to clean up before the shows with The Stones, it wasn't so much that they were on smack, but that they still were on smack.

As I neared the stage I could hear the fans. As I rounded the corner, I could see the multitudes screaming their heads off. The sound of that crowd was so powerful that it actually gave me an incredible buzz. When the audience caught sight of us, they all bolted upright. It was like one giant wave of energy, intensely stimulating. We were the proud prodigy, the bastard sons of the Rolling Stones, and we killed that night. We were there to show the world that rock was alive and bigger than ever, and we succeeded in every way.

But at a time when we should have been rejoicing beyond all measure, Axl instead chose to wag his finger. He had become aware of the out-of-control partying that was happening within the band and he made a long rambling statement during the show. "If some people in this organization don't get their shit together and stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone, this is going to be the last Guns N' Roses show. Ever!"

Axl went on and on, threatening to shut us down if the runaway abuse continued. Maybe it was done for publicity, maybe out of genuine concern, I don't know, but it was way over the top. Disbanding GNR for drug abuse was like grounding a bird for flying
[Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 199-200]
I don't think it helps by ridiculing somebody onstage in front or 50,000 people. It would probably have been much more effective talking one to one [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992].
Then came the second night [This really happened on the first night, on October 18, Duff seems to be mistaken here]. Before we played our first note, Axl suddenly announced to the 80,000 people in attendance that "if certain people in Guns N' Roses didn't stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone," this would be our last show. The crowd became absolutely quiet. People in the audience looked at one another; they seemed confused as we were. They really had no idea what Axl was talking about. I shrank. I felt so fucking embarrassed. And I was so fucking mad that Axl felt he could do this to me. I would have been supportive if he was sufficiently pissed off at certain guys to want to confront them for what was going on - I was with him., the situation was bad. But he needed to talk about that shit in private! Not out here. Never out here. Once Axl took his concerns public, the times of being a gang - us against the world - were over. We played the rest of the show, but it was a halfhearted effort at best. Afterward, and really for the remainder of our career, we just went our separate ways. That night officially rang the bell for the end of an era of GN'R [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 158]
In his biography, Duff would claim he "never told Axl how upset [he] was" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 159], yet in an interview Duff did in early 1990 he would claim the opposite:

[On the] next day [of the show] we were on the phone together, talking, and [Axl] explained his reasons for doing that shit and I understood what he was saying. […] Axl was blowing off a lot of steam, not only about that but just about a lot of shit. The band hadn’t all made it to Chicago, that all fucked up. […] I was pissed off at Axl. I was mad. But that’s the beauty about this band; we got on the phone, the two of us, the next day, and really got out what was going on. That’s what happens with this band. We don’t bottle shit up. It just comes out and sometimes it’ll come out onstage. Maybe not the right place, but it works!!! [Kerrang! March 1990].
Another person who talked to Axl the next day was Alan Niven. He claims to have headed Axl’s apartment at 10 AM the next day and sat on the rocker’s bed, "trying to talk some sense into him" [Yahoo Music, April 2016]:

I brought a very big bag of donuts with me, and as I sat and listened and listened and listened, and as he complained about everybody and everything, I just kept feeding him donuts. Eventually, he started to get a little bit of a sugar rush, and in the throes of the sugar rush, he conceded that if I could get Slash to humiliate himself by apologizing to him live onstage, then maybe he might possibly think about doing that night’s show. So I got on the phone with Slash and said, ‘Whatever you have to do, do it. You’re gonna have to grovel. You’re going to have to bite the bullet. Just do what he says – that’s the only way we’re going to get him onstage.’ And obviously, reluctant Slash agreed to do it and, bless him, he took a bullet for everybody, and was publically humiliated onstage and apologized to Axl live onstage that night [Yahoo Music, April 2016].
On the second night, Slash addressed the crowd before they started playing, talking about the perils of drugs but concluded "Guns N' Roses is not gonna be a band that falls apart because of it."

Axl said he wouldn’t perform unless I agreed to go up and do what he called apologize, which I refused to do. I said what I said, and he came out, and it was very warm because what I said was totally honest. It wasn’t an apology; it was sort of an explanation. No, not even that — I just opened up and said what I felt about heroin and what it does to people, who it’s killed and how wrong it is. Because that’s how I felt. But I was a junkie at the same time [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
Axl then came on stage and thanked Slash before saying, "I'd like to apologize for my actions and comments last night. I just didn't want to see my friends slip away" [Los Angeles Times, October 1989].

The press wanted to know if this was only a media stunt, but "a source close to the band" stated that "There has been real tension in the band. The only thing that surprised me was that Axl went public with it. It might have been the pressure of the big engagement" [Los Angeles Times, October 1989].

This was not the first time Axl had expressed concern about his bandmates lifestyle, in November 1988 he had mentioned to Rolling Stone Magazine that he wasn't worried about the band's violent temper as long as they lived long enough to record a new album where that aggression could fuel the music:

It's cool that this tension is building up, because it's gotta find its release in the music. If we live that long [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
And in August 1989 he mentioned to Rolling Stone that "I don't want to see drugs tear up this band" [Rolling Stone, August 1989]. This was just months prior to the ill-fated shows with Rolling Stones.

In 1990, Axl was asked if he had been specifically referring to Steven's heroin addiction when he made the "Mr. Brownstone" speech:

The majority of the band was at that time ["dancing with Mr. Brownstone"] - or too much alcohol or too much something. Me, I was eating too much or whatever, and just sitting on my ass too much [MTV Famous Last Words, August 1990].
In 1991, The Los Angeles Times would report that Axl had Slash specifically in mind [Los Angeles Times, July 1991], and Slash would say that "the problem that led to the Coliseum showdown" wasn't the endless months on the road in 1987 and 1988, but the days and weeks after the tour ended in September, 1988 -- when the band members didn't have each other or their crews for support [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. In January 1992, Slash would also admit that "[Axl] got on my case because I was... killing myself" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

Despite the heaviness of admonishing his band mates from the stage and giving them an ultimatum, Axl would look back at playing with the Rolling Stones fondly:

It was great playing with them. It was a definite dream. I mean, it was something that we told people we were going to do and people were going, “No, they broke up.” “I don’t care, we’re going to open for the Stones, you wait. We’re going to do this, I don’t know how, but we’re gonna do this.” And then, you know, I told Keith Richards that and he's like, “Well, you've made it, mate. Let me have a cigarette” [MTV Famous Last Words, August 1990].
Izzy was perplexed it wasn't an even bigger disaster:

How we managed to get through those gigs, I'll never know. There was so much shit down on us. Axl's mood to quit, the drug problems, the Steven problem, the whole 'One In A Million' controversy - plus I had a court date the morning after the last Stones date, at eight in the morning, for pissing in a trash can on an airplane, and I was facing six months in jail because I had a prior arrest for drug possession (later dropped). So that was a fuckin' major psycho-time [VOX, October 1991].
[…] we managed to get through [the shows]. That was a weird time for me. Playing to 50,000 people with the Stones is as good as it gets, but the Monday after the last show I had to be up at 8am to meet my new probation officer. That was after I got arrested on a plane [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].
While Slash would have to admit never meeting the guys in The Rolling Stones due to being strung out on smack:

I never met them. The reason I didn't meet the Stones, one was that I was high out of my gourd - that was during my real wasted days, and basically when you are high like that you don't care who it was; nothing was more important that getting on with what I had to get on with. The other thing was to meet the Stones - there was so much like putting Guns N' Roses up against the Stones, and every time you would be in the same room there would be 50 paparazzi guys taking pictures: Slash and Keith Richards, that whole big generation rock band bad boys bullshit. Basically I wanted to meet them on a more personable level, so I never made any efforts to meet them at all, and when the band did a photo with them I just didn't show up [Q Magazine, July 1991].
But also because he hated the inevitable comparisons between Guns N' Roses and the Rolling Stones:

Being compared to the Stones: Those kind of labels hit us all the time. That's one reason why, when we played with the Stones, I never took a picture with them or even made an effort to meet them. I'd love to meet them, but not on that level. There were so many paparazzi around. You know the theme: bad boy band of one era meets the new model? Screw that! [Guitar World, February 1992].
In hindsight, Slash would point out how important it had been for the band to come together again:

Yeah, it started at the Stones shows. That was the first time we'd played since the 'Appetite For Destruction' tour ended. The band had gotten so alienated and even as individuals we'd completely separated. And, even though I was going through my little chemical problem at the time, the idea of doing the Stones' gigs was to get the band back together and get the ball rolling again. Because we were losing touch with not only ourselves but with what we were supposed to be doing and what Guns n' Roses was all about. So we went and we did the Stones' gigs and that's where it started [RAW, October 1991].
As an epilogue to the October 1989 shows with The Stones: In December 1989, about two months later, Axl and Izzy would play with The Stones when they played in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This would be the last time Izzy had a drink.

The Stones were asking me: 'Which song are you doing?' We'd chosen 'Salt of the Earth'. Nobody knew it! And I'm thinking: 'Fuck, you guys wrote it over 20 years ago! You must remember some of it!' So we go back in this little trailer and Mick Jagger's got a tape-player and he's listening to it, with the lyrics written on a piece of paper in front of him. And I'm sitting there playing acoustic guitar with Keith Richards and I'm thinking 'This is sooo cool!' 'Cos we're playing it thru' and Charlie and Bill Wyman are sitting there, listening to it. And I'm just flipping out, thinking 'God, this is sooo wild!' Finally we finished the song. They all turned to me and said: 'So where's your singer?' And I didn't have an answer! Axl was late again. Real late [VOX, October 1991].
This would be the last time Izzy had a drink.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:06 pm


As the band members grew apart in 1989, not living together, not writing together, everybody in their own world of drugs, anxiety, and mental issues, they stopped talking to each other. When they lived together, even a band of strong individuals, would be forced to communicate, to share, and talk things out.

Instead resentment grew and festered. Instead of confronting Axl with his lateness and his growing megalomania, the band fled into bottles and syringes. Instead of confronting Steven and Slash with increasing drug use that started to affect the band, Izzy distanced himself and Axl became more convinced he was the only one that could hold the band together. And instead of confronting Duff and Slash with avoiding him, Steven would keep quiet and to himself.

Instead of confronting them and flushing out whatever the hell it was that seemed to be getting worse, I let the drugs take me into a dark valley of despair, where I could wallow in my own self-pity [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191].
We were never any good with communication, especially when that meant confrontation. If we could have developed those skills then, the story of GN'R might have been very different [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156].
For the most part, Axl had been ignoring me during this period. But that was my fault too. I never took the initiative to talk with him and find out what was simmering in that brain pan of his. I wish I had insisted on making the time to sit him down and sort things out to clear the air [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191].
These problems would ebb and flow, but steadily grow. What broke the band apart can always be discussed and there were many factors, but a lot could possibly have been solved if the band had just communicated directly, honestly and with care.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:06 pm


Earlier in the day of August 27, 1989, an inebriated Izzy had been bitten in the face by his father's dog while in Indianapolis, resulting in a hole in his eyebrow [Musician, November 1992], but the day would become much worse later on when he was arrested on Phoenix airport while on a stop-over on his way to Los Angeles [Arizona Republic, October 1989] and charged by the FBI for "interfering with the duties of the plane’s crew" [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989]. Under the influence of double Bacardis and coke [Musician, November 1992] Izzy had been obnoxious to flight attendants, smoked in no-smoke section, and pissed in the galley when the restroom was occupied [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989]. He then returned to his seat and passed out for the remainder of the flight, only to be arrested by 12 cops in Phoenix [Musician, November 1992].

Bryn Bridenthal, the band's publicist, would excuse the event this way, saying that Izzy "relieving himself in the galley was just his way of expressing himself," and that "he’d been bitten in the face by a dog in Indianapolis and he was still a little bit shocked by that,” so "when he got on the plane, he was bumped from first class into coach. It was just sort of one band thing pilling up on another" [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989].

Izzy would be a little bit more frank in his description of what happened:

I was on this plane going to LA to work on the never-ending albums, and I was drunk in the middle of this bunch of senior citizen types. I was smoking, and the stewardess came over. I told her to fuck herself. I was drinking so much I had to take a piss. The people in the bathroom… Man, it seemed like I waited an hour. So I pissed in the trashcan instead. And one stewardess saw me, right? Next thing I know we've landed, I'm walking out and I see ten policemen, and the other passengers are pointing at me, shouting 'He's the guy!' And I remember thinking: 'Uh-oh! I think I fucked up again' [VOX, October 1991].
It's a federal offence If you f**k up on an airplane. I was outta my mind, there was a queue to the bathroom, and I was going, 'Well, I'm either gonna piss in my pants or piss on the f**king rug'! Everything was real quiet on the plane after that. […] I was happy I'd pissed, I was completely numb, drunk, and of course when we landed, the police were there. I was also carrying a nine millimetre pistol, but when my bag finally got to LA it was gone [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Slash would later claim it happened as the plane was about to land, which contradicts Izzy above:

[Izzy] had to take a piss and they wouldn’t let him because the plane was landing or something. So, you know, he said, 'I’ll do it right here in the wastebasket' [Press Conference in Australia, January 1993].

On October 17 (the day before the first show with The Rolling Stones) his case would be brought to court and Izzy would plead guilty and apologize. He was fined $2,000 "for urinating on an airplane and lighting up in the non-smoking section" and $1000 to USAir for "cleaning up his mess." Additionally, he was put on probation for six months and ordered to see a psychiatrist back in Los Angeles for counseling. His attorney Edward Novak would state that Izzy "is an individual of few words, but someone who can keep his word and is... anxious to find out whether he has a problem with alcohol [Arizona Republic, October 1989]. The probation included, in Izzy's words, "fuckin' involuntary piss-tests almost every day for about a month" [VOX, October 1991].

That probation officer was an okay guy, they're pretty fair people, but it made me realise that it doesn't matter how f**king big your band is, when it comes down to the legal system, you're just the same as anyone else [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].
According to Entertainment Weekly, the probation "prohibits him from flying on public or private aircraft, an odd stipulation that explains why he’s making his [Use Your Illusion] tour rounds on a private bus" [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. This is likely not correct since the probation should only last for 6 months (and thus end in March 1990) and since Izzy likely flew when travelling to Brazil for the Rock in Rio shows in January 1991 and later to Europe for their 'Use Your Illusion' tour.

Duff would suggest that the flight incident spurred Izzy on into sobriety [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 150] although Duff would say that by October 1989 Izzy was back on heroin [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156]. Likely the court case would help Izzy get out of his addictions, because about a month later, around December 17, 1989, Izzy would take his last drink in the company of the Rolling Stones when Izzy and Axl guested on a show in Atlantic City [VOX, October 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:06 pm


In early 1989 Slash had been dating the famous porn star Traci Lords [Howard Stern, February 1989]. At some point, Slash "lent his talents to a demo" by Lords but by mid-1989 that relationship had turned sour:

We've since not gotten along at all and she changed her number and I changed mined [Circus Magazine, May 1989].
As the band popularity grew, Slash, who had enjoyed being able to go out before he became a celebrity, felt locked up in his apartment and house in-between tours:

I can't move about as freely as I used to, and I find it very mentally trying. I feel sort of like a cartoon character. People come up to me and it's always like, 'Hey dude, drink this beer, dude'. Or they wait for you to do something crazy, or a whatever... People don't see you as a real human being, and they're constantly trying to grab at you and sit down with you and be your buddy for five seconds. It's just really awkward. And I find that going out to clubs, which is something I used to do, you know, every single night and get trashed, isn't something I can really do and enjoy any more. It's actually at the point where when I go out to a club, I end up leaving just totally depressed. It really brings me down. And everybody wants to have your undivided attention. And if you don't give it to them they act like you're an asshole who's on some rock star trip... Which I think is something that everybody goes through. But you just can't do it... It's like, they never wanted my attention before... It's really a pretty traumatic experience sometimes. […] I just don't really go out any more... So, you know, there's been a real downside to all this. I'm only just now realising. I don't go out that much; I don't have that many close friends. And what close friends I have, the times I get to see them are usually few and far between... […] It gets to be a little bit lonely sometimes, yeah [Kerrang! April 1989].
Despite this, by late 1989 Slash had found a new girlfriend whom he spent the Christmas of 1989 with:

I spent Christmas and Thanksgiving that year with my girlfriend at the time, who was very family-oriented. She'd stuck with me through this whole thing and I feel the worst for her, 'cause I put her through a lot. But anyway, I spent time with her family and they were really wonderful people. My regular life started to come back and I realized that I was somebody who still had ambitions [Musician, December 1990].
This girlfriend was likely Meegan Hodges [sources to be inserted later]. Their relationship would not last, though, and in early 1990 he had another girlfriend to whom he celebrated their 8 month anniversary [Musician, December 1990]. This girlfriend was likely Renee Suran who he would marry in 1992 [Los Angeles Times, August 9, 1992]. Slash would also mention that he, at some point, would like to have a daughter and not a boy, because "I don't need another one of me" [Musician, December 1990].

According to Cheryl Lynn Swiderski, at the October 20, 1987, gig at the Trocadero, Philadelphia, Fred Coury would introduce her to Steven. About two years later, Steven and Cheryl would get married in a private ceremony in Las Vegas on June 6, 1989 [The News Journal, June 1989]. It is doubtful the relationship between Steven and Cheryl was well-known among the band members, as this quote from Izzy attests to:

Apparently [Steven] went to Nevada, got fucked up, met some girl and, like, ended up marryin' her or somethin'. And the headline, y'know... It read something like "GN'R DRUMMER MARRIES GIRL: SAYS I CAN STILL FUCK AROUND". In-credible! [The Face, October 1989]
The couple planned a proper church ceremony sometime in 1990 after the follow-up to 'Appetite' was recorded [The News Journal, June 1989], but Steven's drug use would ruin the relationship:

I spiraled downwards as the drugs took over and soon I became a selfish prick from hell.[...] Anything could set me off and soon Cheryl was spending as much time out of the house as possible. I stopped bathing. I wore the same shirt for two or three weeks. I wasn't thinking or caring. I was totally self-absorbed. This was it, the lowlife's high life [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 185]
In early 1990, Duff's marriage with Mandy Brix from 1987 was also falling apart [Kerrang! March 1990].

Axl had started dating Erin Everly, the daughter of Don Everly from Everly Brothers, as early as 1987 [San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 1987]. Axl would mention that Don Everly had dressed up as Axl, with jackboots and bandana, at an Everly Brothers show in Los Angeles some time in 1987 (or 1986?) while performing Jimi Hendrix' 'Purple Haze' [San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 1987]. By 1989 the relationship between Erin and Axl was strained. In a Rolling Stone interview from August 1989, it is described how he had wrecked his condo in West Hollywood: "One guitar has been destroyed, a mirror wall shattered, several platinum albums broken beyond repair and the telephone dropped off a twelfth-story balcony" [Rolling Stone, August 1989].

Erin and Axl got married on April 28 in a "middle-of-the-night ceremony" in Las vegas [People Magazine, May 1990], but Axl would file for divorce only 28 days later [Los Angeles Times; May 1990; People Magazine, August 1990]. The filing would be cancelled and in July Axl would describe the marriage as "stronger than ever" despite having broken up many times before [The Howard Stern Show, July 1990] and in August he would say:

[Our marriage] is good when we’re communicating. Then it opens up a lot of doors and things of hope that I really didn’t see or believe in before and just read about in books. Being married is more a part of me. The ‘institution’ of marriage itself is mumbo-jumbo paperwork, but the union of two people when you get that involved just blows me away. […]I’m looking forward to [fatherhood]. We already have the children named. We wanna have a boy named Shiloh Blue and a girl named Willow Amelia [People Magazine, August 1990].
In October 1990 it was reported that Erin had experienced a miscarriage [MTV, October 1990] and that they "recently had some hard times" [Pirate Radio, October 1990, as copied in Melody Maker, November 1990]. As Axl would say, "Erin and I hadn’t been on the best of terms during the pregnancy" [People Magazine, November 1990] and allegedly they had been briefly separated many times [People Magazine, November 1990], but that "the miscarriage brought us closer together" [People Magazine, November 1990]. Axl had bought a house in Hollywood Hills where he intended to start a family. Strain and tension caused him to wreck the place:

I had a piano, which I bought for $38,000, and there’s a $12,000 statue in there and a $20,000 fireplace, and I stood there and I just snapped. I’m standing in this house going, ‘This house doesn’t mean anything to me. This is not what I wanted. I didn’t work forever to have this lonely house on the hill that I live in because I’m a rich rock star. So I shoved the piano right though the side of the house. Then I proceeded to destroy the fireplace, knock all the windows out and trash the statue and everything. The damages were about $100,000. What’s wild is that the next day Erin went to the house and she trashed the three rooms I didn’t [People Magazine, November 1990].
To which Erin would comment,  "I had my own different reasons” [People Magazine, November 1990].

Axl also overdosed at some point due to his "relationship with [Erin] being so fucked up" [RIP, November 1992]. It is unclear when this OD happened and if it is one of those mentioned in an earlier chapter and that took place in 1987 and/or 1988. Axl also mentioned that in the Christmas of 1989 he was looking to score drugs to OD [RIP, September 1992], and it could be this was the event that was caused due to relationship issues with Erin.

Axl's arrest in relation to his issues with his neighbor caused new tension in Axl and Erin's relationship. As Erin would say, the arrest was "the last thing we needed. I was going through total pain. I’m physically and mentally sick right now" [People Magazine, November 1990].

Despite their issues, Axl was still planning to create a family with Erin in their house in the Hills:

I’m gonna try again with this baby thing and hope it will work out this time [MTV, October 1990].
In early 1991 the marriage was over [The Indianapolis News, February 1991]. In court papers quoted by Rolling Stone, Axl said that their relationship had been marked by "severe property damage, mutual acts of violence and humiliation and similar such activities" [The Indianapolis News, February 1991].

I am an artist and performer, and I sincerely believed Erin was my greatest inspiration. […] [Everly left for] weeks on end without notice. She made It quite clear by her actions and statements that she had no intention of complying with her promise to raise a family and be involved In a well-adjusted marital situation [The Indianapolis News, February 1991].
Rumors would abound about Axl's and Erin's relationship, including one involving spray-painting on the couple's garage [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. This rumor would be denounced by both Axl and Erin [TMZ, September 2012; Express, September 2012].

While Axl's relationship with Erin was unsteady, he was gradually reconnecting with his stepfather, and one item them bonded over was car stereos [Car Audio Electronics, August 1990].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:06 pm


Already back in 1987 did Slash muse on the follow-up to 'Appetite':

I’d like to go a little bit farther with it on the next one. I would like to see the sound get even heavier [Morning Call, October 1987].
And Axl would even indicate that it could become a double album and that they had about 40 songs ready:

[…] we’ve already talked with Geffen and we will record a double album whenever we’re done touring. And hopefully we’ll put out a double album. We’ll see how it sounds, and if it’s a smart move to put out a double record cuz it’s gonna cost more. But we got all the material ready for it and we’re still writing new stuff, so... We have about 40 songs ready to go that we believe in [CGBG's Post-show Interview, October 1987].
A follow-up to their debut record was something the band looked forward to, especially as they toured extensively after the release of 'Appetite' in 1987 and were getting fed up by their old material. But also because they wanted to show the word a different side to themselves:

I hope [the next] album's more successful because I just want to bury 'Appetite.' It's like, I like the album but I'm sick of it. I don't live my life through that one album. I have to bury it. So rather than just throwing a bunch of songs together, we thinking far more [?] going over it, you know, with a fine-tooth comb and just working on everything to try... That's the goal, bury 'Appetite' [MTV 1989].
But with the success of their debut LP, the pressure was on:

Yep, the pressure's kind of on. Still, its nothing we can't handle [Guitar World, March 1989].
The biggest thing we had to deal with at one point was like the follow-up thing, right? And we were like, 'Ah f***, we don't care'. But finally, when we were off the road and it was time to go back in the studio, people were trying to put really heavy pressure on us and we were just like, 'WHAT?' And it did start turning into a pressure. Even Steven Tyler goes, 'Is there another "Jungle" on it?' and I was like, 'Of all people to ask me that!' And at that point we just cut it off from everybody. Y'know, ‘We're gonna do OUR record' […] [Melody Maker, August 1991].

Although Duff was unfazed:

And there's really no pressure on us, you know, the success of the last record... there's absolutely no pressure on us at all, you know. Maybe if we only sold 50,000 copies or something there would be, but... And even if that happened we'd say "screw you" to the record company [MTV Documentary, November 1989].

There was also a question on how their success would impact their music which had been so rooted in their gritty and vagrant lifestyles. As Jon Bon Jovi Would say, "I think Guns n' Roses are a great band. But what will happen to them when they lose their street feel? I worry for them at that point" [Raw Magazine, May 1989]. Still, all they could do was their very best:

Our next album will come out, and it'll sell a lot, but I don't think it will be like this, the way things are right now [with Appetite]; crazy. But it doesn't matter. What matters is whether the next album is actually any good or not. As long as the material is all there, I'm happy. We'll just make the best record we possibly can, as sincerely and as honestly as everything else we're ever done, and that's it. After that, it's not our problem any more [Kerrang! December 1988].
I don't know what [the next record]'s gonna do in terms of sales or our following. But it should be, for us, a very weird experimental process and coming up with a lot of new things. Because "Appetite For Destruction", a lot of the material written on that was done when we were in the club scene in L.A. That's over two years ago. Sometimes three years ago, some of it. And "Anything Goes" was first started about four years ago. And so, during this time, we've had a lot time to grow and mature, I think, lyrically and musically, and the next record we get to, like, fuses all this and see what we come up with. [...] Yeah, it's like a lot of people right now are getting turned on to 'Appetite for Destruction', like it's brand-new, and we still have the same momentum behind those songs as we've always had and we still find something and then we get excited, but, you know, the next record for us will be, like, anywhere from a two to four year jump and a lot of people, you know, are going to get that jump in one year's time and it's got to surprise a lot of people [Headbanger's Ball, May 1988].
Axl had long admired different musical styles, and bands who would be able to master them:

[...] that doesn't mean we won't play a heavy metal song, or we won't play a country song. The Rolling Stones, to me, have done the best, 'A Girl With Far Away Eyes', 'Far Away Eyes' to me, that's the best country song ever written, you know. Rolling Stones wrote whatever kind of music they felt like writing. They wrote 'Miss You', one of the best disco songs ever written. Just, you know, whatever you feel like and basically we're just a rock and roll back playing whatever we feel [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].
I like variety in music. I don't want us ever to hem ourselves in. I think you can go from writing a heavy metal song to writing a mellow song without selling out. The important thing is approaching the music with the same conviction [Los Angeles Times, December 1988].
I've always looked at things in a versatile sense because of Queen, ELO, Elton John, especially early Elton John and groups like that. With Queen, I have my favorite: Queen II. Whenever their newest record would come out and have all these other kinds of music on it, at first I'd only like this song or that song. But after a period of time listening to it, it would open my mind up to so many different styles. I really appreciate them for that. That's something I've always wanted to be able to achieve. It's important to show people all forms of music, basically try to give people a broader point of view [Rolling Stones, August 1989].
But getting the follow-up album out would turn out to be a very laborious process and plans and release dates would ne continuously delayed for different reasons.

In mid-1987, before the release of 'Appetite', Axl talked about wanting to have Manny Charlton (from Nazareth) guest vocal on their second record. They had already figured the song out [Unknown UK source, June 1987]. This did not happen and it is not known what song Axl had in mind, but likely a cover of Nazareth's 'Hair of the Dog' which would later be recorded for the The Spaghetti Incident.

After having released 'Appetite' in November 1987, the band spent most of their time touring until the end of 1988. During this time they did not have much time to properly work on their follow-up (although they did record for the EP 'G N' R Lies'). Still, Axl made some thoughts on how the second record could turn out:

The next record will be a lot of different material on it and I am sure that some people that like the EP or this record, they'll go, "Oh they've changed, they sold out," but they don't know when those songs were written [Interview after Lakeland show, November 24, 1987].
Right now I'm really into writing, not necessarily ballads, but they're not like blazing fast rockers either. Things that have a lot of feeling, and that show some growth in understanding the world around you, and trying to relay that to other people. I've been writing a lot of different stuff for myself. I feel I'm growing as a songwriter. I don't necessarily know what the kids will think of it, or the majority of the public will think about it, but it's something I want to do. Like the next record, or the record after that could just fall flat on its face, but if I'm writing songs that I like, that I feel good about, that's all that counts. I'll still be happy [Rock Scene, April 1988].
There was a lot of stuff written before the last record, before we even went into the studio, in which case we picked 12 songs to go on the first album, and so that left a lot of ideas and material that we didn't use left over. This is stuff we care about. There's songs that Slash wrote guitar parts for, like, four or five years ago, and I just started writing words to one of them about a month ago. It was something I always liked but never found the right words for. There's a lot of stuff like that. There's other tracks that we decided we didn't want to put on the first album, we wanted to wait until we had a larger listening audience and spring it on them. [...] I've written a bunch of stuff, and Slash has written a bunch of stuff, and Izzy's written a bunch of material, and we've just started putting it all together. Basically what we do is, everybody just writes a whole song on their own. Those guys might delete words. I might delete guitar parts, but I have an idea of how I want them to go. Then we get together eventually, throw it in a pot and see what we can pull out [Rock Scene, June 1988].
Axl would also indicate that the band might start using synthesizers:

On our next record, we should have a pretty broad range of what we're able to give the public. But it won't be lack­ing the loud guitars because that's something I'm a fan of. On the other hand, on some of the Top 40 stuff, you'll hear loud guitars, but they sur­round it with synthesizers. I'm not against that, but I sometimes think it's not being played with a lot of orig­inality or heart. I don't want to do that. If we use synthesizers-which I hope we do on the next record - it'll be a bit more experimental [Cream, September 1989; quote is from mid-1988].
and that they would explore different styles:

[...]there will be a lot of different styles of material that's gonna come out of us that I don't think people are really gonna expect [Rock Scene Magazine, June 1988].
Not even his band mates seemed to expect the extent of variation that Axl wanted to express, and the inclusion of November Rain, a piano-driven ballad, was discussed between the band members:

Being asked if the next record will contain a "15-minute song" "filled with synthesizers and strings": [laughing] Could be. There's talk. We constantly disagree and keep changing our minds about everything from one day to the next [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].
In June 1988, Slash would comment on the status:

Oh, we've got lots of things written . . . different parts to different things already laid down on the road. We get a surprising amount done while we're actually touring. […] I'm relied on to come up with a lot of the guitar parts, the main chord changes and the so-called bitchin' riffs and shit, and then Izzy comes in with some real cool rock and roll guitar licks, and Axl gets pissed off at something and starts to write words ... Just making it up as we go along. […] It's really friendly, really easy the way we write together. We never sit around in a room some place waiting for something to happen. We don't have to. Axl will just grab me at a gig and take me into the showers and say, 'Listen to this!' And he'll stand there singing me a couple of verses to something he just made up that will completely blow me away. […] [The new stuff] looks like it's going to be really good, but it looks like it's also going to be even more angry and bitter and twisted than the stuff on the first album […] There's a song called 'Perfect Crime', then there's a song called 'You Could Be Mine'. That's really about it for actual titles. I don't concentrate that much on the lyrics anyway, until we come to lay the slit down on the tape [Kerrang! July 1988].
Slash would also say they he thought they would start recording in October 1988 [Kerrang! July 1988]:

The plan is to have the album out late Spring, early Summer next year, and then we'll maybe hook up with one of the big outdoor Summer tours that will be happening around America at that time-maybe the Monsters Of Rock thing, I don't know. […] Then after that we'll go out on our first headline world tour and we'll come home never wanting to open for anybody ever again! [Kerrang! July 1988].
This would be corroborated by Axl, who in August 1988 said they planned to release their second album in the first half of 1989. Again, Axl shed more info on what the next record would be like:

For the next record the lyrics I've written don't have anything like that [=profanity] in them. But there's a lot of stuff that Slash has written... a lot of heavier stuff. We'll get together and see what happens with it [Screamer, August 1988].
In the second half of 1988, Slash and Axl would say they already then had enough material for a double album [Melody Maker, March 1989] and looked forward to touring it in 1989:

[...] we've got about enough stuff planned for a double album and we don't know exactly what we're gonna put out on the next one, we're looking forward to being able to get out there again next year, and give the people even more of a show in a headlining position, so that they can, you know, see more of what we're about [KJJO 104, August 1988].
Circus Magazine would in September 1988 state that the band intended to start working on their second LP after coming back home from their shows in Japan in December 1988 [Circus Magazine, September 1988].

It's hard to say what the next album is gonna sound like. It'll definitely be interesting. I don't think anyone's given any thought to it, so we'll just go and see what comes out. It'll definitely be varied. I think the first album has diversity to it, but the next one will have even more. We've got a ton of stuff to sort through. It'll be a rock & roll album, that's for sure [Circus Magazine, September 1988].
Uncertainties in whether the band would actually succeed at releasing a second album came through in an MTV interview with Slash and Duff that also took place in October 1988, when Duff said they "hoped" they would make a second record and Slash insisted they would [MTV, October 1988]. Slash claimed they expected to have the album out by the summer of 1989, and start touring in the fall that year [MTV, October 1988]. Slash would also emphasize the amount of material they already had:

There's just a lot of material. I can't really say... I mean, there's tons and tons of stuff. And we'll just do whatever we really like and you know. I think there's at least gonna be two songs that are slow on the album [MTV, October 1988].
In December that year, Duff and Slash said they were going to start recording in January 1989 [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988; Kerrang! December 1988] but Duff doubted they would have the album ready for the summer that year [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

It's gonna be all kinds of stuff. Again, the success and the respect that we've gotten from the industry and from our company will just give us more time and more of ourselves to put into the next record. You know, we'll be able to, the first one it was rushed, and while "these guys ain't shit, they gonna do shit," you know, and blah blah, so, and so we were kind of rushed, in a way mentally, and, and, eh... [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].
In February 1989, Duff commented on what they had so far:

We've got a lot of songs. Songs we wrote even before we did the first album. We had songs that weren't right at the time, so we said we'd save them for the next record [Circus Magazine, February 1989].
In March 1989 Slash was asked when he believed the album would be out, and answered, "I don't know, I really don't. […] I guess we should be in the studio working on it by June...July?" and that he hoped the album would be out in 1990 [Kerrang! April 1989], clearly indicating that things weren't going according to what they had hoped for in 1988. Still, Axl would continue talking about his aspirations for the record:

The next record will definitely be much more emotional. I try to write so the audience can understand what emotions I was feeling. Also, I think the songs are worded in a way that a great number of people will be able to relate to the experiences; it's not so personalized that it's only my weird, twisted point of view. […] The most important songs at this point are the ones with piano, the ballads, because we haven't really explored that side of the band yet. They're also the most difficult songs to do - not difficult to play, but to write and pull out of ourselves. The beautiful music is what really makes me feel like an artist. The other, heavier stuff also makes me feel like an artist and can be difficult to write. But it's harder to write about serious emotions, describing them as best as possible rather than trying to write a syrupy ballad just to sell records [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
We found ourselves trying to, you know, write the next 'Jungle', write the next 'Paradise City', you know, and it's... we didn't want to but it was happening... Lyrics were coming out with lines about our other songs. That took a few months to get past that, to where... to put those to rest [MTV 1989].
In the beginning of 1989 the band was supposed to rehearse and write, but apparently things weren't going as planned. Slash would also say they had "the rehearsal studio block-booked 24-hours-a-day so we can hang out there whenever we want" [Kerrang! April 1989].

There's a lot of songs that I've written that Axl's heard and that he's real excited about. I still have to teach them to the rest of the guys in the band, though . . . And that's basically what I'm supposed to be doing right now. Izzy's got a few songs, too .. . I had him over here for a few days, and managed to get those songs on tape. In a couple of weeks we'll be ready for Axl to come down and start putting melodies and lyrics to the stuff. Hopefully, we'll be in full-blown pre-production in about a month-and-a-half [Kerrang! April 1989].
In April 1989, Slash would also indicate they had the material ready for recording:

The material actually came together a little easier this time. We knew what we wanted to do, so every time we had a break from the road we'd all get together in an L.A. rehearsal hall and try to get some new songs together. The four musicians in the band would work on some basic song structures while Axl would be off working on his lyrics. Then we'd get together and see what fit together. It was amazing how even if we didn't know what the other guy was doing how the words and music just naturally fit together [Hit Parader, April 1989].
In April 1989 Duff said to MTV that they might go in the studio "in about a month in an effort to record, but it could take about five years" [MTV, April 1989]. The same month, New Musical Express would publish an article where it would be said the band was working on their new LP and intended for a summer release with touring in the fall [New Musical Express, April 1989].

Axl, on the other hand, would say they would "possibly" make a new record [Unknown Source, April 1989], either in jest or revealing that thigs were not all going according to plan.

Slash would again point out the amount of material they had:

I don't have to worry about us being able to make this next record even better than the first one. We've already gotten all the songs written, and Axl's come up with some incredible lyrics. Being able to tour the world and experience all we have during the past 18 months has given us an incredible amount of energy to draw from. Appetite for Destruction was only the beginning of what this band is going to do. This next record will kick-ass just as hard, but it'll be different, too.[...] The material actually came together a little easier this time. We knew what we wanted to do, so every time we had a break from the road we'd all get together in an L.A. rehearsal hall and try to get some new songs together. The four musicians in the band would work on some basic song structures while Axl would be off working on his lyrics. Then we'd get together and see what fit together. It was amazing how even if we didn't know what the other guy was doing how the words and music just naturally fit together [Hit Parader, May 1989].
In May 1989, Slash allegedly had started teaching the other guys the songs he had written:

I've written seven or eight tunes and the others are learning them at the moment. Some of these are more complicated than anything we've previously attempted. And Axl's coming up with some cool shit on the lyrical front [RAW Magazine, May 1989].
And Axl would shed light on his approach to lyric-writing:

[…] unless it's a song we wrote a few years ago, I don't want to be singing about starving on the streets, because I'm. not. [The new songs will be] as real as possible in the world we live in now [Circus Magazine, May 1989].
The idea now was to start recording in the studio with Mike Clink as the producer in September 1989 [RAW Magazine, May 1989]. This could imply that the trip to Chicago (June-July) was planned by this time and that they would immediately enter the studio afterwards.

Despite previous claims to have the songs ready, in the summer of 1989 (June to July?) the band relocated to Chicago for a few months to work on their record and to write more songs. According to their manager Doug Goldstein, this was because "they couldn't get (expletive) done in L.A." [Chicago Tribune, June 1989]. The relocation was only a partial success with Axl and Izzy missing for large parts of the stay, resulting in mounting frustration on Duff, Slash and Steven's part.

When the band returned from Chicago late in July [Raw Magazine, July 1989], they continued rehearsing at Bob Mates Studios in North Hollywood [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192], and Duff would comment on the path forward:

In August we begin working with producer Mike Clink on actually recording the LP - probably at studios in Los Angeles. And hopefully the record will be out by November or something through Geffen [Raw Magazine, July 1989].
Duff would also comment that if they didn't release all the good songs they had, they might "get lost":

We’re seriously thinking about making the album a double record, because we’ve got so many songs together. Slash and I have written some cool shit. And Axl has come up with some great stuff.., including the songs left over from ‘Appetite…, we’ve got about 40 numbers knocking around at the moment. And if we don’t do a double LP a lot of good tracks will be lost [Raw Magazine, July 1989].
In the summer of 1989 it was reported that the band was sifting through 30 songs, 10 of which ballads that Axl thought was "more credible than 'Sweet Child 0' Mine'" [Kerrang! June 1989], and Axl would confirm they had enough material for a double set and that they wouldn't tour until the beginning of 1990 [Juke, July 1989]. It was also reported the band was ready to enter pre-production [Patience CD Single, June 1989]. In Kerrang! from June 1989 (this interview was likely done before the Chicago trip) Axl said he focused on writing ballads but wanted to write harder songs together with his band mates, indicating that they hadn't been in a studio/rehearsal space together yet:

Right now I'm waiting to write hard rock songs with the band. I have a lot of subjects to choose from that I'm very interested in, but I'm waiting to see where their heads are at when we sit down with the guitars and everything. Right now I don't want to veer off too much in my own direction, because it would probably not be very heavy, I want to write some hard rock songs. The reason I wouldn't be writing so much hard rock songs my own is because I know I can do it with the band. A lot of riffs were going around in the air at the sound checks during the Japanese tour, things I've been hearing Slash and Duff go over, and I've had a lot of ideas for words, but I'm going to wait until we get in the studio to see what we put together [Kerrang! June 1989].
[…]we wanted our first record ['Appetite'] to be a full hard rock record from beginning to end. The next record will have other variations, there may be some heavier songs as well as some softer ones [Kerrang! June 1989].
When the band attempted to get work done in Chicago in the summer of 1989, UK press speculated that they would return to Castle Donington and the Monsters Of Rock festival in August that year as headliners. NME contacted a spokesman for the band's British record company who denied this would happen because the band would still be recording at the time of the festival, but that they may play concerts in UK in October or November (presumably as part of the touring that would follow the launch of the new record) [New Musical Express, June 1989].

In July 1989 it was reported that the band had started pre-production in studio with Mike Clink. Yet also that Axl was collaborating with Sex Pistol's Steve Jones on his second solo album [Circus Magazine, July 1989], indicating that his attention wasn't 100 % directed at his band. This would also be implied when he talked to Rolling Stone later in 1989:

We're trying to regroup. I'm ready to work. I'm creating, and finally I have an environment in which I can work. I haven't had that for a long time, since three years ago, when we all used to live in one room, sitting around writing songs. Until recently, I haven't had peace of mind. There were always distractions, but now it's like we can finally work on our songs. [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
In 1989, Izzy started to keep some distance from the rest of the band. In July he and Axl spent time in New York before travelling back home together to Lafayette, Indiana and spending some time there. Then Izzy, in August, travelled to Europe [The Face, October 1989]. After this trip, Izzy was supposed to return back to Los Angeles to regroup with his band mates and work on the record, according to The Face "in order to once more attempt the seemingly impossible dream of completing their next album without anyone dying" [The Face, October 1989]. This was likely in late August or the start of September. During the songwriting for the Use Your Illusion records, Izzy would send the band homemade cassette tapes of his songs and ideas. According to Duff, "there was no animosity about his reluctance to come to rehearsals" (page 162-163).

In November 1989, Duff would comment on the songs they had written:

The new songs are a lot harder, so it’s an improvement on my bass playing. I think Slash has improved my bass playing, because some of the riffs he comes up with are, like, these guitar riffs. And Slash and I almost always play the same thing, and then Izzy plays off of that. And so, I have to play, like, these incredible things that Slash comes up with. This guy has, like, the quickest left hand of anybody I know [MTV, November 1989].
To conclude, it seems that the band struggled to get work done both because of Axl not being in the right headspace and because of interfering drug problems.

Looking back at 1989, Slash and Duff would explain what happened this way:

DUFF: “We had some shows to do….”

SLASH: “We toured for a long, long time. Off and on for two-and-a-half years…”

DUFF: “No, two years.”

SLASH:” Two-and-a-half…I know my facts, man. Martin Luther King died in 1965…”

DUFF: “Yeah, yeah, yeah…”

SLASH: “But the album started to happen for us over a year into the tour. And then we had to tour some more. And there was a certain type of demand, and then there were the three Stones gigs at the LA Coliseum…and just adjusting to all this Rock star bullshit. Getting a house together….a life. Just getting a life.”

DUFF: “ It’s a whole new life compared to what we were used to. It’s like going from one extreme to the other. It takes time to adjust to it all.” [Raw Magazine, April 1990].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:57 am; edited 25 times in total
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