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1986.04.DD - Music Connection

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1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:44 pm

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TRANSCRIPTION

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GUNS N’ ROSES: Bad Boys Shot for Big Time
 
DAYS OF GUNS N’ ROSES
Face to Face with L.A.’s Friskiest Bad-Boy Band
 
By Karen Burch
 
Warning: Do not mistake Guns N’ Roses for a quiet, modest, or meek group of musicians. These guys are anything but. I’d heard the rumors (everybody seems to be talking about this band for one reason or another): trouble at their rehearsal studio/ex-living quarters, rape charges against members of the band (subsequently dropped), trashing the ladies room at the Roxy during a night when the band wasn’t even playing (Axel [sic] only broke a mirror). Word even had it that the boys were banned from club (not so).
 
Guns N’ Roses are W. Axel (or Axl) Rose, lead vocals; Slash, lead guitar; Izzy Stradlin, guitar; Duff McKagan, bass; and Steven Adler, drums. Are they this year’s model of the perennial L.A. bad-boy band? Could be. They seem to embrace that label and live it out to the fullest rock & roll degree. Never mind trying to hide the gory details that earn them that label – the five will explicate vividly upon topics you wouldn’t even dare bring up. However, ask a question that Guns N’ Roses don’t want to answer and just watch ‘em stiffen. Their eyes narrow, casting sidelong glances at each other and darts at the interviewer. The non-responses flew at me like you-know-what hits the fan: “That’s a stupid question.” “We don’t care about that.” “No one gives a fuck about that; let’s get on with the important shit.” “Fuck you and your magazine.” “Next question.” Fine with me.
 
Clearly, dealing with these guys takes great perseverance – one part iron will and two parts saintly patience, both with which I gird myself like a bullet-proof vest. I chat with the band at their “temporary” home, official/unofficial manager Vicky Hamilton’s West Hollywood apartment, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Whisky. Four of the members are currently fighting it out for the floors and couch, while the fifth lives off-campus. Walking into the small quarters, I conclude that Ms. Hamilton must manifest that same saintly patience 24 hours a day, along with a large dose of plain old-fashioned caring, rare in these here parts. No offense to Vicky, but the place resembles that certain phrase my mother used to yell at me when I hadn’t cleaned my room: “This place looks like a cyclone hit it!” What was once intended as the dining area has become the band’s storage space; corners are adorned with guitars, and it’s wall-to-wall amps. I dare not inquire where the drum kit is hidden. The guys camp there, free-of-charge, so you’d think the very least they could do would be to take out the trash. I get the feeling, though, that maybe they aren’t the domestic type. Ain’t none of my biz.
If this night is typical of others, the phone will ring every five or ten minutes, usually for one of the band, regarding God only knows. Example: The lead guitarist picks up the phone. “Hello? Barbie? Christina? Yeah, this is Slash. No. Don’t call here again.” Slam. I hope for Vicky’s sake that the guys don’t have too many out-of-country friends. I’m sure the phone bill could pay the gross national debt. Sometimes, they answer the phone, “Grand Central,” which honestly couldn’t be closer to the truth. Friends drop in intermittently during the interview, plopping themselves down on the limited floor space. Peace and quiet, I fear, are rare commodities at this residence.
 
I can’t help noting the casualties of the evening, because it all adds to the not-so-novel, timeworn bad-boy image. (Image, incidentally, is not one of Guns N’ Roses favorite topics. Same goes for the term “label,” not referring to record label. Come to think of it, the band doesn’t go much for discussing record labels, either: “It’s confidential” – Slash.) Casualties this night (at least those while I am privileged with their presence) turn out to be: one huge, seemingly endless gallon bottle of cheap white wine (they’re obviously on a tight budget here); a couple packs of cigarettes (the interview is even stopped at one point for two members to go on a cigarette run – Vicky supplies the funds, natch). The last is a true casualty – my tape recorder. When I excuse myself to go to the ladies room, it seems that the band takes the opportunity to leave a little message (unprintable, as you might guess) on my machine. A nice sentiment, perhaps, and I’m flattered, but when I return, my deck simply refuses to operate. Hmm. The eventual repair shop diagnosis: a burned-out motor. Is this what is referred to as an occupational hazard? For future reference, the tape recorder goes with me to the john.
 
Not realizing the sad (and final) demise of my equipment, Guns N’ Roses magnanimously furnish an alternate recorder so I can finish the interview. But don’t think for a minute that their unceremonious sabotage of the tape recorder blemishes this writer’s ability to remain objective. C’est la vie.
 
Although I hate to focus solely on Axel [sic] Rose, the vocalist’s personality certainly demands attention. Axel appears to be the creative force that drives the band. Soft-spoken and intensely serious, he prefers to converse mainly about “the music.” While the band refutes that there is any one leader, per se, Axel emerges as the dominant figure, regardless of his mood. During the interview, Duff and Steven seem content to lay back and let others answer, unless the two are specifically called upon, while Slash’s role is that of general troubleshooter and band mediator. And Izzy is the resident cynic, loudly shooting down my questions and shooting off his mouth.
 
It becomes obvious early on that Guns N’ Roses is one unit, with five different personalities. There is, nevertheless, a single common denominator among the bandmembers – cockiness. Witness now the lives, loves, and pursuits of Guns N’ Roses.
 
It should be noted that this issue’s cover and cover feature are running against the wishes of Guns N’ Roses, according to W. Axl Rose.
 
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
 
Axel (or Axl): I came up with the name. It was a combination of---
 
Izzy: Peyote!
 
Axel [sic]: ---of names of previous bands. I was working with a guy who goes by the name of Tracii Guns and I was Rose, so we became Guns N’ Roses. Tracii was replaced by Slash.
 
Izzy: Axel has a fetish for guns.
 
Axel: Yeah, I really like that word.
 
Izzy: And then Slash designed the Guns N’ Roses logo. 
 
LIKE A VIRGIN (GIGGING FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME)
 
Axel: As of last June, this is Guns N’ Roses.
 
Izzy: Our first gig was---
 
Slash: ---the Troubadour Thursday night. I’d rehearsed with the band for two days.
 
Axel: Yep, Thursday night at the Troub. We’d played a Tuesday and a Wednesday night with the old lineup and we were building up slowly.
 
Izzy: We had to eat shit to get where we are.
 
THE YOUNG N’ THE RESTLESS
 
Axel: Sure. We’ll reveal our ages.
 
Duff: Yeah, we don’t care. I’m 19.
 
Slash: No, Duff is 22 and I’m 19.
 
Izzy: This really doesn’t fucking matter.
 
Slash: Just tell her.
 
Izzy: Axel isn’t really 24; he’s a million years old – he’s seen everything.
 
Vicky: C’mon, go with the real ages here.
 
Izzy: What’s the bullshit with the ages? It doesn’t matter to us.
 
Slash: Izzy’s 23 and Steve’s 21.
 
Izzy: Just print that for the Rainbow so they’ll let us all in.
 
Slash: Just don’t ask us where we’re from.
 
HOME IS WHERE YOU LAY YOUR HEAD
 
Izzy: Seattle? No one’s from Seattle.
 
Duff: How’d you find out I’m from Seattle?
 
Slash: Me, I’m not from London. I’m from Stock-In-Trent. You wouldn’t even know how to spell it, ‘cause I don’t.
 
Izzy: Fuck you and your magazine. There’ll be no shit about me being from Indiana. It deserves nothing; it was a worthless fucking city – it’s shit.
 
Steven: Well, I’m from Hollywood, born and raised in America.
 
Slash: Can you print, “Indiana sucks”?
 
Duff: Actually, I’m proud to be from Seattle---
 
Slash: ---and I’m proud of being from England.
 
Izzy: The fact that I’m from Indiana has no business being in my career.
 
Steven: Just say that the band is from Hollywood and that where they were born is unknown.
 
GLAMANONYMOUS
 
Slash: If I had to label this band, I’d say that it’s a hard-rock band with an R&B base. It’s not a glam band, not a heavy metal band, not a country band.
 
Axel: We listen to funk, disco, metal, classical. We listen to soundtracks, old blues things, Fifties stuff, Sixties music. We’re influenced by all of it. We’re not doing anything that I would call original – it’s all been done before. We’re not saying that we’re starting or doing anything new; we’re trying to be as sincere as we can with our music and just put it out the best way we can without claiming that we’re the originators of anything. In other words. All our songs aren’t gonna be mellow, they’re gonna have a heavy edge to them.
 
MEANINGLESS
 
Izzy: We don’t know what “glam” is.
 
Slash: I haven’t got the slightest fucking idea.
 
Axel: We think it was started by some Seventies bands.
 
Slash: People think that glam is anybody who has long, curly, or puffed-up hair, earrings, fringes – really, glam is nothing in particular.
 
Axel: Glam reminds me of bands like Angel that rely more on fashion than their music.
 
Steven: Glam is a label that doesn’t apply to us.
 
Izzy: We don’t need a label.
 
Steven: Glam is nothing; it’s a figment of your imagination.
 
I WRITE THE SONGS
 
Axel: We all write songs. I write the majority of the melodies and we all work together on everything else. It’s like we’ll have five songs when we walk into a room to play. Whatever song that day has the most feeling and gets us all excited about it – that’s the one that’s gonna get all the time put into it.
 
Slash: Axel writes al the lyrics and we collaborate on the rest.
 
Axel: We write songs in vans on the way to shows; sometimes we write them when we’re hanging out on the corner waiting for someone to buy the bottle, waiting for the alcohol. I just started one at the beginning of this interview.
 
Slash: If I can speak for everybody, the whole point of the band even being around is that we want our music to reach a lot of people. We want to be a worldwide exhibit; we don’t have to be accepted, we just wanna be a band that’s out there.
 
WEARING HIS HEART ON HIS SLEEVE
 
Axel: I live for the songs. If I go through a bad time, well, anything I have to go through is worth it if I’ve got a song out of it. If I had to sleep in parking garage and I hated it and I wanted to give up, but I just kept going, then I got a songs out of it from the experience, I’m so glad that I had to go through a ton of shit. I’ve got a bitchen song. When I’m onstage, that’s when I get to take what I’m worth to the public. I get to bring everything I’ve been working on for the past month, show the people my songs, and give that feeling to them. When I’ singing a line, I’m thinking of the feelings that made me come up with the song in the first place. At the same time, I think about how I feel singing those words now and how those words are gonna hit people in the crowd. I usually have to have someone stand beside me when I come offstage because I can’t really even tie my own shoes; I’ve gone through so many thoughts onstage. You look out at a crowd of 700 people and you know 300 of them – this person loves you, this one hates you and this one’s mad at you because you owe him five bucks and you’re mad at another guy ‘cause he owes you 25. You see all this stuff, plus, you’re thinking about the feelings in the music. I try to put every single thought I possibly can into every performance and every line. And that’s why I might be known as histrionic, ‘cause I go full out.
 
Duff: We never lay back. We try to play at 110 percent.
 
Axel: If you’re bored with a song and it’s one of your songs, you just play it. It’s like having a pair of pants. Those pants meant something to you at one time – you liked ‘em or whatever – but if you just outgrow them and you’re tired of wearing them, it’s like they’re not you anymore. Some songs I rewrite ‘cause the verses aren’t me anymore. I can come off the stage in tears because I was so moved by the music. I want people to feel that, too.
 
TALK OF THE TOWN
 
Duff: We’re doing what we wanna and we’re pulling it off.
 
Izzy: We sell out every club in L.A. that we play.
 
Slash: I don’t care if you think I’ve got a bad attitude or if I’m being big-headed about it, but this is the only rock & roll band to come out of L.A. that’s real and the kids know it.
 
Vicky: It’s kind of a phenomenon; their draw went from 150 to 700 almost overnight. I think it was their friends networking more than anything. It’s definitely not advertising – it’s word-of-mouth.
 
Slash: Before we started working with Vicky, we had no label interest.
 
Steven: At least if there was, we didn’t know it.
 
Vicky: I brought Peter Philbin from Electra to a Roxy show and all of a sudden everybody in the world wanted Guns N’ Roses. Everybody started calling.
 
TILL DEATH DO US PART
 
Slash: We’re probably one of the only bands I know that don’t hate each other all the time. We never really fight. We don’t really have any friends outside of each other, the five guys in the band.
 
Axel: We are a family.
 
Slash: The sense of humor inside the band suits me fine. I don’t have to go down to the Comedy Shop to get a joke; I can find that here. (Laughs)
 
Duff: When we go out, there’s nobody else we would have more fun with. If one person’s not here and then they show up it’s like--
 
Axel: --great. You’re here; let’s go! It’s rape, pillage, destroy—
 
Duff: --rape, pillage, search, destroy.
 
Izzy: That’s our motto.
 
Vicky: Wait, wait, wait guys.
 
Axel: I think we’ll always be together as long as there’s that spark between us.
 
Izzy: Till we die – and then some.
 
Steven: And then we’ll still be together.
 
Slash: Yeah. I mean, I loved my dog---
 
Izzy: But then he died and now you have Steve. (Laughs)
 
Steven: Hey!
 
Axel: And we don’t share girlfriends.
 
WHERE THE GIRLS ARE
 
Slash: At one point, most of us had girlfriends and as soon as the band started happening – goodbye. They’re a pain in the ass. They take up too much time and they have their own ideas which they’re constantly throwing in your face.
 
IZZY: We believe in girls that are friends.
 
Axel: At this point in my career, it’s easier for me not to have a girlfriend. Besides, I don’t have the money right now to support a girlfriend. And they get tired of having to take you to dinner every day.
 
Steven: We love to take care of women – we love to treat them great – but right now, we don’t have any money so we treat them like shit. Except for Vicky.
 
PERSONAL MANAGER, PROFESSIONAL BABYSITTER
 
Slash: I want to say this: Any band that’s had the chance to work with Vicky and hasn’t are idiots. She’s done so much for us.
 
Vicky (laughing): He’s the stroke machine.
 
Axel: Vicky’s the best.
 
Slash: We’re leaving at her house and she busts her ass 24 hours a day. She doesn’t get to pay her rent ‘cause she spends all the money she can possibly get her hands on trying to get us off the ground. She was the only person that way back when we were doin’ our first gigs – she’d say, “You guys are great; you’re gonna make it.” I’ve gotta tip my hat to her.
 
Izzy: She’d been doin’ all our Roxy shows and we were dealing with her on the local level. She saw that we were getting a lot of interest after this one show we did, so she just started helping us out by getting us hooked up to the label people. And we decided that we wanted her to manage us.
 
Slash: Now we have a lot more time to work on the music, our attitude. We don’t have to deal with the bullshit. She works her ass off for us, but we’re still very involved. Having a manager helps us relax a little – and move faster.
 
LAW N’ ORDER
 
Axel: If you sign with a label and they start telling you what to do and it’s against you, then you tell them to fuck off – you’re probably going to be up shit creek with lawyers and stuff. But at the same time, if that’s what came down and how I believed, I guess I would go to be an unknown and live in Idaho.
 
Vicky: Guns N’ Roses lawyer is Peter Paterno.
 
Izzy: He’ll sue anyone’s balls right off.
 
BAD WITH A CAPITAL “B”
 
Slash: We are.
 
Duff: We have no choice.
 
Axel: Trouble? All the time.
 
Vicky: That’s why they’re living here.
 
WISH I MAY, WISH I MIGHT
 
Slash: If I had one wish, I’d ask for a constant supply of Marlboros.
 
Duff: I wish it was five months from now, our album was out, and we were on the road.
 
Izzy: A Mazerati four-wheel drive.
 
Axel: I think I don’t like the question. It’s ridiculous ‘cause we’re working on getting everything we want. I’d want all the money there is; I’d want power and control over everything there is, and third, I’d want all the wishes there are to have.
 
Slash: Axel is just another version of the Ayatollah.
 
Steven: I want peace of mind.
 
Axel: He really needs peace of mind ‘cause when he was young, he had to go to the hospital and took a piece of it.
 
LOUD, LOUDER, LOUDEST
 
Slash: Out of all the people we’ve talked with, we like Tom Zutaut at Geffen.
 
Vicky: The first thing out of his mouth when he had our first meeting was, “You guys are the loudest band I’ve ever seen in my life.”
 
Izzy: And we were playing soft.
 
Slash: That was an accomplishment coming from him as far as I was concerned. He said that the last band he’d seen that was this loud was AC/DC. And he’s been doing this for years.
 
Axel: In Hollywood Rose [a previous band] with Slash and Steve, we blew up the P.A. at Wong’s West downstairs. People just grabbed their ears.
 
Steven: They couldn’t hear for two, three days.
 
Izzy: Loud is a way of life.
 
THE MUSIC CONNECTION TOUR
 
Slash: Why we deserve the cover of this magazine? To tell you the truth, I have no idea. Ask our manager. (Laughs)
 
Izzy: Ask your boss. He should know.
 
Slash: ‘Cause we’ve created so much noise that we deserve to be on the cover of Music Connection.
 
Izzy: The magazine is out for two weeks, right? It’s going to be a 14-day adventure – like a Music Connection tour. We’re going to play every 7-11 there is.
 
THINKING BIG FOR THE FUTURE
 
Izzy: We’ll get richer.
 
Slash: I’ll have more pairs of shoes to choose from.
 
Steven: I’ll have my own place to live.
 
Axel: All the socks we can buy.
 
***
 
Guns N’ Roses signed a record deal with Geffen on March 26, 1986. I hear tell that the band received a cool 37 thou as part of their advance. All five members were unavailable the next day. Their manager reported that the boys were out shopping, but this time for a deal of a different kind – on new equipment. My final word: Hey, if you guys have any dough left, how ‘bout forkin’ over 40 bucks for a new tape recorder? If not, fuck you and your band. (Just kidding, I think.)

-----------------


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:22 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: 1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:54 pm

Here is Steven describing the interview in his biography (page 101-102):

"Izzy was so drunk, he kept interrupting everyone. Well., we all had been partying, maybe to try to calm our nerves about the interview. So we were all jumping in, just impulsively blurting out whatever came to mind. I remember at one point, when we were talking about the way we created our songs, Axl said something like "I just want control over fucking everything."

So Slash jokingly compared him to Ayatollah Khomeini, who are not exactly a beloved figure in America.. Axl got a little pissy over that. Then we got all pissy over the fact that the interviewer kind of jumped on the "total control" comment to see if he could get us arguing among ourselves. I guess the way Axl spoke, it could have been interpreted as he alone wanted total control and was not speaking on behalf of the band. Then we all kind of ganged up on this guy, because that's the way we were back then. You took on one of us, you better be prepared to take us all on. The next thing that happened was epic: Izzy shouted, "Fuck you and your magazine." You know what? They printed it. The writer ended his article by saying, "Well, fuck you and your band". That was great.

when we got the magazine about two weeks later, I was a little disappointed with the cover; I hated that picture, but we had no say over what photo they would run or copy they would print. I remember Axl was pissed because they spelled his name wrong: Axel".

Obviously, Steven got some of the facts down wrong: The interviewer was a woman and Axl's control comment came when he answered the wish question.
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Re: 1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:23 am

I just added the actual interview. to the first post.
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Re: 1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Blackstar on Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:08 pm

Wow, that's great!
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Re: 1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:23 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Wow, that's great!

I also added Axl's letter to Music Connection as well as Vicky's response to that letter,
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Re: 1986.04.DD - Music Connection

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:38 pm

In Hit Parader from July 1987 Slash says the band has calmed down and stopped smashing interviewers' tape recorders, obviously hinting at what happened at this interview Hay
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