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1991.07.25 - Wisconsin State Journal/LA Daily News - Guns N' Roses: Life on edge (Matt)

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1991.07.25 - Wisconsin State Journal/LA Daily News - Guns N' Roses: Life on edge (Matt) Empty 1991.07.25 - Wisconsin State Journal/LA Daily News - Guns N' Roses: Life on edge (Matt)

Post by Blackstar on Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:55 am

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Guns N' Roses:
Life on edge


By Fred Shuster
Los Angeles Daily News


LOS ANGELES — Guns Ν’ Roses took just a little more than a month into its current two-year world tour to move from the entertainment sections of newspapers around the country to the news pages.

The hard-rocking, hard-living band made the transition simply.

All it took was a major riot during a tour stop July 2 in St. Louis that destroyed most of their sound, video and lighting equipment, and left 75 fans and security guards injured.

The two following tour dates were  canceled while the band awaited new equipment.

When the tour resumed in Dal-las, Guns N’ Roses’ unpredictable lead singer, Axl Rose, was two hours late to the show and then called a halt to the concert when a fan threw a whiskey bottle on stage.

This time, Rose, who in St. Louis took security matters into his own hands, watched as the bottle thrower was identified and handed over to Dallas police.

Still, the incident made news, a fact that illustrates the frenzy that surrounds this relatively new hard-rock act. While the group members rarely give interviews, controversy hangs over them like fog. Guns N’ Roses give straightforward accounts of life on the edge of disaster. Guitarist Saul “Slash” Hudson has spoken frankly about the band’s use of drugs, and a recent lawsuit filed by the group’s ex-drummer, Steven Adler, seems to confirm the stories.

“They’re trying to be honest and real,” said Danny Sugerman, author of “Appetite for Destruction” (St. Martin’s Press; $19.95), a new unauthorized book on the band. “Axl has many of the same qualities Jim Morrison had.”

One thing is certain: The group has cultivated a gritty “nothing to lose” image since emerging from Hollywood’s tawdry street-level rock scene seven years ago. As rocker Alice Cooper, himself no stranger to fast-living excess, has said of the band: “They’re just kids, you know? They went from being this bar band in Los Angeles to being bigger than God, or something.... You can’t expect someone in their 20s to handle that with grace. ... I know I didn’t when it happened to me.”

Some say the group took a risk by beginning its current tour months ahead of the scheduled release of two new albums, “Use Your Illusion Parts I and II,” separate discs due in the stores simultaneously around Sept. 17. Early dates on the Guns Ν’ Roses tour, predicted by many in the music business to be the one sure-fire moneymaker of a slow summer concert season, didn’t entirely sell out. And whenever the band is late for a show, security guards and venue personnel often must be paid overtime, a situation that could cause promoters to lose money.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us, and sometimes it gets to Axl,” said drummer Matt Sorum, one of two members the group has added in the past year. “He can’t take the stage if something’s on his mind and if someone’s pressuring him about something. That’s why we delay some of the shows.

“A lot of people don’t understand that. Some nights we in the band even get mad, but we know that Axl has to do to get psyched to sing. Because once he gets out there, he’s incredible.”

Late or not, the group usually gives its fans value for money. Aside from the psychodramas that Guns N’ Roses has become famous for (at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1989, Rose berated band members for heroin use and threatened to quit the band; the next night, guitarist Slash offered a rambling apology), the group often plays two to three hours each night.

“We jam every night,” Sorum, 30, said. “The sets are always different. Axl just calls off the tunes and we never use a set list.”

With the addition of Sorum — who joined the group when Adler was fired 16 months ago — and keyboardist Dizzy Reed, the group hasn’t broadened its sound as much as strengthened it.

“The big difference is, Guns N’ Roses is more aggressive and energized,” Sorum said. “From what everyone tells me, the band sounds a little tighter."
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