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1986.05.DD - Concert Shots - GN'R Think They're Tough (Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven)

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1986.05.DD - Concert Shots - GN'R Think They're Tough (Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:17 am

Many thanks to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for sharing with us the rare articles and interviews he has collected, as well as many other amazing GN'R memorabilia.
The original pictures of this interview can be found on his site here:
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GUNS AND ROSES
THINK THEY’RE TOUGH
 
By Beth Nussbaum
 
Guns and Roses know the hard way up. They’ve known times so tough that one of them would sleep in the parking lot office of the record store he worked in.
Times should get easier for this 70s style L.A. glam/rock outfit with their recent signing to Geffen Records. Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler make up the noisy aggregation and in an exclusive Concert Shots interview, they talk about their history, the present, and their future.
Somebody bang that tape recorder button. Here we go:
 
CONCERT SHOTS: What was it like when the band first came together? How long did it take to build yourselves up?
 
AXL ROSE: When we started with this particular line-up, we decided we’re not gonna scam our way into a weekend. We’re gonna start on Tuesdays, and from there, play Wednesdays, Thursdays, play everywhere, and from there work our way into a headliner slot. We did that and it took a long time.
 
SLASH: Actually, with this band it didn’t take that long. We sure moved up fast. We never actually stayed in one spot too long.
 
AXL: We had a lot of problems when we first started out here, ‘cause the heavy metal scene was kinda like dying somewhat, and none of the clubs wanted to book rock and roll bands. We sorta opened doors, ‘cause once we started doing well, we started pulling all of our friends who had bands with us. We built up enough clout to have them open for us, and now these bands like L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Shangai and Prodical Sons, are all doing well.
 
CS: Do you feel that you’re part of the L.A. glam scene?
 
AXL: I wouldn’t call us glam. Sure, we wear bracelets, and we might wear make-up and that stuff, but – would you say that Steven Tyler or Robert Plant was glam? Those guys did whatever they wanted to do.
 
SLASH: If you put us side by side with an actual ‘glam’ band, you’ll see there’s a big difference. I mean, we wear leathers and jeans. Their hair’s always spiked up and they have a full time makeup job. And they wear a lot of frilly stuff. It’s just a different look. No matter what we wear, even if we wear the same things as a glam band, there’s a difference.
 
AXL: If we don’t feel like dressing up for a show, we won’t, and if we do, then we will. We’ll wear what we’re wearing right now, and do a show. It doesn’t matter.
 
IZZY: Even without a shower! I hate to take showers! Guitarists don’t like showers ‘cause we like the grease to build up on our fingers, makes playing more fluent!
 
CS: But then how strong a part does image play in this band?
 
IZZY: Very little.
 
AXL: No. I would say, when we were looking for a band, the image played a big part in it, ‘cause we were looking for people who tried to be somewhat fashionable in their own terms and fit in.
 
SLASH: What we were looking for really, was personality. If they had the personality, then that came through in what they wore.
 
AXL: This band is not image-oriented, it’s music-oriented.
 
STEVE: The image is a non-image.
 
CS: Well, you guys definitely do have a look, sorta like Hanoi Rocks meets Johnny Thunders.
 
AXL: Well, I would say that the Johnny Thunders look is that the guy wears what he thinks is cool. That’s all it is. It’s not like we’re gonna put on the latest fashions, or whatever we think that 16 year old girls think is cool.
 
SLASH: What I think is wrong with the whole L.A. scene is that so much of it is just a front, and there’s so much falseness in the way all these bands take on a certain style that’s in. All the basic stuff that’s real important, they miss, and they spend more time getting the whole image down. So, I have to say, the glam scene’s cool, and there are bands that we like, but at the same time as a whole, it’s pretty false.
 
AXL: It was like the same thing when the metal fad came in and how many people got into it. Now it’s filtered down and you know who was a real metal band and who wasn’t.
 
SLASH: Now it’s obvious that the only real metal bands in Los Angeles, after the whole metal scene came and went, were WASP and Metalllica.
 
AXL: Metallica was getting banned when they played here. They opened for Ratt at the Troubadour, and they got banned from there ‘cause they did this song, ‘Blitzkrieg,’ or something. Back then, they were getting banned and shunned, and they kept fighting it out, like we were doing. Now, it’s up to us to make an album that people like.
 
SLASH: The cool thing is that in reality, you can’t put a label on us. Come down to our shows and watch us. You’ll see that there’s every different kind of fan at our shows. There’s the hardcore metal heads, there’s the hardcore punks, all kinds of people. There’s that whole, whitefaced make-up with the black hair scene, and then all the really young kids that have just gotten out of junior high school.
 
AXL: And the glamsters are really not the majority of our crowd. They don’t fit in. You don’t see them at our parties, not that they’re not invited, they just don’t fit in. We just had a party the other day, a barbeque, and the people who showed up weren’t talking fashion. We were talking music, songs and what material we were going to work on. And we were listening to blues tapes, and going over material. And the majority of the guests were from various local bands.
 
CS: What would you call your type of music anyway?
 
AXL: Just rock ‘n’ roll. It’s got a blues edge, and all rock and roll comes from the blues anyway. Some of our stuff’s pretty aggressive. If we write a love song, somebody fell in love and wrote that song. They didn’t just write it because they thought we needed a sweet one for all the little girls!
 
CS: How did this band originally get together?
 
SLASH: My version is the shortest. These guys had a band together (Axl and Izzy), and me and Steve had a band together, and Duff had a punk band, and we all came together.
 
AXL: We just eventually all found each other and decided that we were all on the same wave length. I had been in Hollywood for five years.
 
CS: What common influences do you feel brought you together?
 
IZZY: Basically, rock and roll.
 
AXL: T-Birds, Stones, Pistols, AC/DC, all kinds of stuff. We constantly turn each other on to things that one of us liked for years. We’ve recently been tracing our roots with Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters, with a song called ‘The Blues Had a Baby and its Name was Rock and Roll.’
 
IZZY: The Blues are real important. It’s where most of the hard rock and roll came from.
 
SLASH: A lot of bands have recently been picking on this Aerosmith type of thing, and they’re going for an R&B/rock and roll type sound. The thing is, their roots don’t go back any further than five to ten years at the most. And you gotta go back farther than that to be able to get any type of blues feel.
 
AXL: When I was in first grade, I wasn’t allowed to cross the street until I sang two Elvis Presley songs. And then, when I was in third grade, at recess, I would have to get on top of a tree stump, and the teachers would make me sing all the Top-40 and Elvis tunes for the younger kids.
 
CS: Where are you all originally from?
 
SLASH: Axl’s from Indiana. None of the band was born in L.A., which is real funny because we all have similar opinions and attitudes. Only a couple of us were born in the same place.
 
AXL: It’s like a melting pot, L.A. I mean, where else can you go? We’d be living in another city if it was the best place to be playing constantly. I’ve always wanted to go to N.Y., but I’ve heard now like the scene there to play in clubs, is almost dead. We were a garage band back in Indiana for years, but there was no place to get gigs, unless you talked somebody into renting a hall and you’d do one gig, in six months. This place was supposed to eat us up. All it did was make us meaner. It made us fight harder. We learned to survive in our environment.
 
CS: How did you get your deal with Geffen records?
 
AXL: There are these two guys, Joseph and Henry, and they run a lot of the after hours clubs. They knew Izzy and they liked our band, so they told Tom Zutaut from Geffen about us. He met us and he liked us. Then he came to another show and he liked it a lot. He had signed Motley Crue and Dokken to Electra, and he said that he hadn’t seen that kind of excitement for a long time. And he also thought that we were the loudest band since he’d seen AC/DC at the Whiskey. We’ve been the loudest band in Hollywood. Last time we played the Troubadour, we were over 130 decibels. That’s equivalent of a 747 on the runway!
 
CS: What’s so great about being loud?
 
STEVE: It’s the impact. We just play how we feel. It just naturally kicks ass!
 
CS: Who created the buzz around the band?
 
SLASH: What happened was, we were just plodding along as a band. We weren’t thinking about record deals. Other people started talking about us. Kim Fowley would call us up all the time and started the big hype in New York about us. Also in Chicago and London, as well. All of a sudden there was this nationwide buzz about us amongst record executives. And, since a lot of them lost their metal acts, all of a sudden we became talked about and sought after. Then we found out that all the people at different record labels knew each other, and if one guy wanted us, they all did. All of a sudden they were all fighting between themselves. We ended up having the A&R guys come to our Roxy show, and we were gonna have a bidding war in the back, ‘cause we wanted to get the most money possible. Then we decided to interview some of these people to decide where to get the most to make our band happen, and get the most support, rather than the most money. We found that to come from Tom Zutaut and Geffen Records.
 
CS: How did it feel to be fought over?
 
SLASH: It was cool, after scrapping on the street for so long and all of a sudden to be in demand like that, especially for something as prestigious as a record deal!
 
AXL: Every time we played the Troubadour, we always got a ton of people there, determined not to like us. Here were these skeptics ready to throw shit at us. And you know, we’ve played for metal crowds, and we’ve played for punk crowds. One night we opened for a band called Social Distortion, and people threw cans and spit, and they hated us. We just started throwing the stuff, and spitting back, and they started cheering. They loved it. And so the last time we played the Troubadour I announced that we were preparing our own independent release first (because we have enough material for three LPs), and the crowd screamed. It was the greatest feeling, having these people react positively. They wanted it. They were happy that they could get an album of our stuff.
 
IZZY: This band comes from zip. We built it from the ground up.
 
SLASH: Come to think of it, we didn’t really even create the buzz about us. Other people did. It didn’t take that long. It happened real fast once it got underway.
 
CS: Would you say that you are more of a 70s’ sounding band?
 
SLASH: You know, I hate to put a label on this band, but I definitely think that there’s a little bit of 70s’ style in this band.
 
AXL: What we’ve done with bands in L.A. is to create a reason to stand up for themselves and their music. Elton John was considered non-commercial at one point. He couldn’t get signed. Then in 1975 he was the epitome of commercialism. Are you gonna tell me that Someone Saved My Life Tonight is an actual, written for radio type of song? Look at Metallica. We’re nothing like them, and we play nothing like them, but we do have this similarity.
 
SLASH: Metallica’s one band that’s gotten through doing what they want, and we’re another band that’s done it, and there’s gonna be another band after us. And, after a while you’re gonna have a handful of kids who are gonna be a lot rougher and a lot tougher than anybody expected. It’s gonna take a lot of people by surprise. And, I definitely want to be at the forefront of that kind of thing. We’re not trying to change the world. We just want kids to be more aware of what’s going on around them.
 
AXL: You know I grew up in a place where I got sick of being made fun of by the straights. I had long hair. I got kicked out of my house when I was 16 ‘cause my dad was real strict and I wouldn’t cut my hair anymore. Then I was being called a drug addict. I was running cross country and was completely into health at the time. So, that’s when I left home, got into beer, drugs and went to jail about 20 times. Then I got out of that, but I always kept my hair long. I went back to my old high school where certain people had respect for me, some of the athletes and the student council. All of a sudden, they didn’t. They thought I was a hippie, but I wasn’t really friendly with the hippies ‘cause I liked all kinds of music. If you thought Devo or the Sex Pistols had a good song, all of a sudden you were a punk rocker! If you liked Bowie and the Stones, then you were a fag! So all of a sudden I was a hippy, punk rocker, faggot, you know? All at the same time. So, then I came out here ‘cause I’m too far gone for Indiana, and I’m some hick-ass who just got off the boat.
 
IZZY: We still get the bull here.
 
CS: What were some of the extreme living conditions that you had to endure, in the past few years?
 
SLASH: Oh, so many of them are too gross to mention.
 
CS: Why will you be releasing an independent EP before your major LP?
 
AXL: Actually we’ll be releasing a live record. The first side has all covers. It has ‘Mama Kin,’ ‘Jumpin Jack Flash,’ Nice Boys Don’t Play Rock ‘N’ Roll,’ and our version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’ The other side’s gonna have four originals.
 
AXL: A lot of people here like our versions of ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ and ‘Mama Kin.’ And there’s no guarantee we’ll ever record that on a Geffen record.
 
IZZY: This is for the people. We’re only gonna print about 10,000 copies.
 
CS: What are you guys gonna buy with your money?
 
IZZY: A Ferrari, when I have enough.
 
AXL: Well, with our advance, I bought equipment, and clothes. We also rented this house, and we partied for a while. Steve ate breakfast at Hamburger Haven for a week. We took cabs. I also took people out to the raddest restaurants I could find. I felt I owed some people things.
 
CS: So, is this the good life?
 
IZZY: No, touring’s the good life.
 
CS: You said in a recent interview, ‘The whole point of the band being around is that we want our music to reach a lot of people.’ Is that the only reason you do what you do?
 
SLASH: Basically, we’re around to get off on ourselves first. After that, we want to have other people get off on it, as well. That’s really important.
 
AXL: Have you ever found a new band, discovered this tape, and you want to turn everybody on to it? You want to spread the disease until you finally have 300 people at a party listening to this tape that you found. Everybody’s getting off on this tape at the same time. We want to do that with our music.
 
SLASH: Plus, it’s like the oldest standard in the business. But when you’re up there onstage, playing, the energy and feedback that you pick up off the kids when you’re doing a hot show is something so unreal. There’s nothing like it.
 
CS: Was being signed this year’s greatest thrill?
 
STEVE: My whole life’s been a thrill!
 
IZZY: The actual signing was pretty boring, but getting that money was great. It was a gas. It really gives you a lot of incentive.
 
AXL: It was definitely a thrill. I mean, I carried the advance money in my boot ‘cause the bank had lost my records.
 
CS: What’s next year’s thrill?
 
IZZY: A platinum album, or something. Just to get on the road.
 
AXL: A world tour. Playing with all these bands that we’ve listened to for years. Getting an opportunity to play with people who we respect. To go out there and to kick as much ass as we can!
 
SLASH: If and when we get to open up for AC/DC, that will be a total turning point in my life.
 
AXL: It was already projected that we were gonna do that, but the timing was off.
 
IZZY: I’d like to open up for Motley Crue.
 
AXL: The ultimate for me would probably be to open up for the Rolling Stones, yeah!
 
IZZY: That would be it!


Last edited by Blackstar on Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 1986.05.DD - Concert Shots - GN'R Think They're Tough (Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:47 am

It looks like the date of this interview is wrong, and it's actually May 1986, not 1987. Axl talks about the future release of an "independent record" before their actual album with Geffen. It seems that was the original plan for Live Like A Suicide: a full record with more covers and original songs, not just an EP.
I looked at the bibliography in Stephen Davis' book, and he cites this article as being from May 1986.
So I'm editing the title, changing the year from 1987 to 1986.
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Re: 1986.05.DD - Concert Shots - GN'R Think They're Tough (Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven)

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:20 pm

It is definitely from 1986, they also talk about whether getting signed was the highlight of the year.
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Re: 1986.05.DD - Concert Shots - GN'R Think They're Tough (Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven)

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