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

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:18

ARTISTIC SACRIFICES


The band had to make sacrifices when they released radio edits of songs and music videos:

Since this is our first record, we had to make compromises to get a certain level of sales so that we could get a certain level of power to do exactly what we wanted next time around. [...]Like, with 'Sweet Child,' the video version will be... they'll be an even shorter version put out for the single. To me, that's like a heart-wrenching compromise, and I just don't like to make any compromises with our art, so it's really hard for me to live with an edit or anything. At the same time, I can see what it will do for us, but I have to keep weighing back and forth, what's it gonna do to me? I don't know. It's something that I have to live with and figure out what my values and things are. I don't want to end up like a lot of bands that have been out playing the circuit for so long and they want to make this amount of money, and be looked at a certain way, so they'll do whatever they have to do to their song. They'll delete all the hard rock or mellow the guitars out for a version of it. If that's something I set out to do, fine. If I want to put out three versions of a song, that's one thing. But if I'm doing it just to get sales, that will really bum me out [Rock Scene, April 1988].
We're not a product to be sliced up. Editing really sucks...that's not what we're all about. ['Sweet Child'] was our first experience with a single, so we didn't know what was going on. [The editing] was done behind our backs, and we're not gonna let it happen again. [...][We've shot] a video for 'Paradise City' in Giants Stadium and at Donington. Whether or not we'll release it as a single, I can't really say. They'll take the whole thing or nothing - we're not gonna let them edit this one [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
We weren’t too proud of editing use of our songs purely for radio purposes, but we finally broke down and did it anyway at the request of our record company. We figured if it will wake that many more people aware of us who normally wouldn’t be, then cool [Hit Parader, July 1989].
Not that any of our songs compare, but if you hear a short version of "Layla," I think you're gonna be pissed off, especially if you're planning on hearing the big piano part at the end. I hate the edit of "Sweet Child o' Mine." Radio stations said, "Well, your vocals aren't cut." My favorite part of the song is Slash's slow solo; it's the heaviest part for me. There's no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio-station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of "Paradise City" or half of "Sweet Child" and "Patience" cut, you're getting screwed [Rolling Stone, August 1989].
It's fuckin' stupid. This scene is harmless. There's no nudity or obscene behaviour. And yet MTV object to it. What sickens me is that the George Michael video for 'I Want Your Sex', which is far more suggestive than ours, is allowed to go out uncensored. Explain that one if you can. We're just being picked on [Kerrang! October 1987].
The experience of having to edit 'Sweet Child O' Mine' may be the reason why Slash would argue that they might never release another single:

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:19

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


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

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

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:21

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


Their first show with Fred Coury replacing Steven was at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on December 18, 1987. According to Rolling Stone magazine, "the band members got hassled when they tried to check into the hotel early. A fight was narrowly averted. Later that night, in the hotel bar, Axl punched a business man who hassled his friends and called the singer a "Bon Jovi look-alike." Dozens of cops broke up the brawl, and Axl and Steven went to jail. This story is corroborated by Monica Gregory, an old friend of Axl whose ex-husband was with Axl at the time:

"[…] for very little reason, these guys started hassling them: 'Who do you think you are? Bon Jovi?' It was like: 'No, leave me alone'. The guys with the ties and short hair were yelling obscenities at Axl and Dana 'cause they got long hair. All the cops came in and basically beat the crap outta Axl.....Just because" [Spin, September 1991].

Steven would later prefer to not say too much about this incident:

I went to jail in Chicago once. We got into this big fight, a major fight in the bar of a hotel. But I better not say anything else about that [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].
Afterward, Goldstein found Slash drunk in the bar, threw the guitarist over his shoulder and carried him back to his room. To show his thanks, Slash peed on Goldstein's shoulder [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

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

Now last night, what happened was, five guys in suits decided in the Hyatt Regency Hotel that we were scumbags. They were right, we are scumbags, But that doesn't mean we're gonna take their shit. So, first off this guy grabs me and calls me Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi can suck my dick. Second off he tried to hit me, that's when Steven cracked him in the head with his cast. [...] You never try to hit one of the family. Then another guy tried to hit me [...]. And after that they kicked us out of the bar and the same five guys holding ice bags on their heads blocked us off in the hallway and called us out away. He knocked the same motherfucker out twice. After that the cops came and started arresting people who weren't even involved in the fight! Because they have typical cop mentality. The reason I went to jail was because this real big fucking cop told this 17 year old girl who they were trying to arrest her boyfriend and she was upset, that if she didn't shut her fucking mouth he'd kick her fucking ass and that she was a stupid bitch. Pretty low, right, for a big fucker? And then he went to hit her, and so, to distract him I told him to fuck off. This guy chased me for about 20 feet and threw me ten feet [?] into the bar. I wasn't een fighting and it took 5 fucking assholes to hold me down. People wonder what we write our songs about. I think you can get the general idea when we write a song like...out to get me! [Dane County Coliseum, USA, December 19, 1987].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:23

THE ESCALATION OF BAD HABITS


You get warned that when you go on the road, people will try and push drugs and booze on you. In this in­stance, we're going to push it on them [Quote from 1987, retold in The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].
--------------------------------------------------------------

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Despite Slash, Izzy and Duff claiming otherwise, Slash was heavily into heroin in 1988. He had cleaned up before the start of the tour in 1987 [Detroit Free Press, May 6, 1988; Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

It just caught up with me. You can’t sustain a drug habit and keep doing good work [Detroit Free Press, May 6, 1988].
But he was back at it again in 1988. Again, it was the period between activity that got to him. The band spent most of January 1988 in Los Angeles because a tour with Motley Crue fell through, and Slash did not handle the idleness very well:

We just spent a month in L.A. that I really thought was going to be the end of me. I have to keep moving because it isn't healthy for me to stop [Circus Magazine, May 1988].
I can't live comfortably any other way [other than when touring]. I’m a lot happier when we are going from city to city and I don’t have to feel attached to anything. Being off the road is probably the worst time for me. I like living out of one bag, knowing where my stuff is, and not having to deal with the same people every single day. You don't see your girlfriend on a constant basis; it’s better [The Calgary Herald, July 3, 1988].
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].
At some point, probably beginning of 1988, Slash would move to a TraveLodge apartment in Hermosa Beach to get away from Hollywood [Spin, May 1988].

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

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

You'd really stepped off the edge, though [Sounds Magazine, August 1988].
Any sobriety reached by Slash did not last long, if it happened at all, because about a month later, in July 1988, he would be using heroin together with Todd Crew.

In August 1992, Slash would say the last time he and Axl fought was in 1988 during his worst drug period, indicating he had cut himself off from the band:

The last fight we had was four years ago and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded [Los Angeles Times, August 9, 1992].

Apparently, he cut down on the use in the touring in the second half of 1988, but started again when touring Australia in December:

We’d nearly finished being on tour, and dabbled with this and that, but we were more or less clean the whole time... then we found all these junkies in Sydney, and got the taste back! [RAW, June 23, 1993].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although the constant drinking was harder to deny for Slash:

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:26

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


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

We only booked one, and then that sold out and then we tried another one. And then after 4 shows we were going to try for 5, but the people at the Rose Bowl wouldn’t let us. Can you imagine booking the Rose Bowl?[Rock City News, January 1988]
The Perkins Palace shows were some of the best shows we'd ever done...and Fred Curry [sic] was playing[Slash's autobiography, p. 223]
The band started February with selected shows in the Los Angeles area. The first one was a KNAC anniversary party in Santa Monica (January 5), then a Drunk Fux show at the Coconut Teazer in Hollywood (January 14), a show at The Cathouse (January 21).

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:29

JULY 1987-AUGUST 1988 - A SLOW BURNER TURNING INTO A RAGING BONFIRE


Getting their debut album out was in itself a great success for the band, and Axl would sound optimistic of its fate when interviewed on October 8, 1987, about two and-a-half months after its release:

Commenting on the "success they have achieved": Yes, things have started to roll very fast and in a very exciting way for us. […] Well, we're selling more and faster than any other new rock band of the latest batch. We’ve had some problems with certain radio stations and with MTV, because the owners of those companies don’t support rock. We believed that rock 'n' roll was going to have a great come-back on those stations, but the owners shattered our hopes and didn’t give us any air play. It’s like we were the last straw for them. They are willing to go up to a certain point, but when they see us they say: 'No, we won’t go there.' That’s why we had to fight a lot to be accepted. […] It's very hard. We’re just street kids and we want to scream, 'Fuck you!' But that’s exactly what makes these people ditch our album after they hear it [Popular 1, April 1988 (translated from Spanish)].
This was after the release the single, 'Welcome to the Jungle' (released on September 28, 1988), and the band was expecting the single to drive sales of the record. In the December the same year, Axl would again lament over the observation that radio wouldn't play their music:

[...] it's been going up and down, between 60 and 50 for the last month and a half. It's doing okay with very little radio play and limited video play. So, for that it's doing great. Especially since we are a new band, you know, people don't really know who you are. It's doing really good. […] The record's selling alright. [...] You know, people think every song on our record has the word 'fuck'. Four songs have obscenities in them, four songs. Not twelve, four. You know, and we're were not asking them to play those four, you know, pick one of the others. Also, that, you know, we have loud guitars, real guitars, real drums. [...] I'm getting limited by a radio station that plays 'Welcome To The Jungle' as a joke because they've got all these papers and everything sat on it. They play it as a joke, a top-40 station, [?] said we're the number one request so that they decide definitely not to play it. That makes me mad. That frustrates me. People are scared that they're going to open up a can of worms and what really frustrates me is the fact that fucking radio is basically run by advertising dollars. We are not talking money, okay, we are not talking art, we are not talking music, we're talking, "What kinda of music can we play that we can get this guy to put his commercials on our radio station so we can make lots of money?" You know, to me that's, I mean, then you have no business being in radio. Get the fuck out. Go home. If you want a job like that then work in a factory or something. Get the fuck out of this and leave these people that really care about their music alone, because these people are screwing with my bank accounts when I am being sincere, I got some insincere fuck worried about paying his rent so he is kissing ass and playing Madonna songs that he hates and he won't play Guns N' Roses that he loves. That guy's fucking with my bank account. I don't like wimps like that. That makes me mad [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]
Well, there was profanity all over the album, and radio didn't want to touch us. People wouldn't play us 'cause of the original album cover, MTV wouldn't touch us [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989]
Still, the label did not throw in the towel and gave up on the band because the record sale didn't stop, despite its low exposure [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. By April 1988, the record reached Billboard top 10 [Rock Scene, April 1988]. As Rosenblatt would recall: "That told us we were onto something, even if radio or MTV didn't get it. We kept thinking--'Just think what we could sell if MTV really played the clip? Or if we miraculously had a hit single?" [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

Axl's hope was that releasing 'Sweet Child O' Mine' as a single would help them:

[...] we're hoping 'Sweet Child' will have a chance to get through in a lot of ways, you know, we don't know. I think it should, you know, and I believe it should and I don't see any problem with that. I can see the hassles with 'Jungle,' I can see the hassles with 'It's So Easy,' definitely, I can see the hassles with 'Paradise City' because it's really long and the verses are a little bit too heavy for a lot of radio stations. But I don't see a problem with 'Sweet Child' and I didn't write 'Sweet Child' to get it on radio but I don't see the problem with it doing that. And it doesn't do it, then someone's just slamming the door on us, purposely [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]
And according to Duff, it did:

You should have seen the difference in crowd reaction before and after that single came out. Before, only the people up front knew who we were. People came to see us who were our fans, and there weren't very many, to tell you the truth. Afterwards, when that song came on, all the cigarette lighters switched on and everybody was on their feet. It was amazing, like night and day. And it happened that quickly, too. […] I've actually seen a full-on preppy guy - the type who wouldn't even say hi to me - whistling that song. I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at this guy [Circus Magazine's Readers Poll, February 1989].
Geffen president Eddie Rosenblatt made a personal effort to make MTV air the 'Welcome to the Jungle video: "Rosenblatt started sending its execs a weekly computer run of the band's record sales. Impressed, MTV put the "Welcome" video into its "Headbanger's Ball" program" [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. When MTV's Headbanger's Ball played 'Welcome to the Jungle', the record and single sales picked up quickly. Geffen responded by promptly re-releasing the 'Welcome' single [Los Angeles Times, July 1988]. This increase in sales coincided with Guns N' Roses touring with Mötley Crue, and more and more of the audiences seemed to appreciate the opening band.

Steven would describe the breakthrough this way:

Even though we had shot it, our video was not getting played. David Geffen had to call in a huge favor from the head of MTV to get one fucking airing of "Welcome to the Jungle." They tried to bury it at like five A.M. on a Sunday morning. But guess who's wide awake at that hour on a Sunday and just getting in from a night of partying? That's right, kiddies, GNR Nation! Legend has it that "Welcome to the Jungle" hadn't even gotten done with its one airing and the MTV switchboard was lighting up like a Christmas tree. They were all demanding to know one thing: when would MTV be airing the video again? [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 143]
And Slash:

The problem, from what we understand, is that new people took over MTV right about the time our first clip came out. They didn’t know anything about rock and roll, and their main concern was just not to offend anyone. And you know that when it comes to not offending people, you’re dealing with the wrong guys when you’re dealing with us. But once we did get the clip on the air, the response was incredible. Yeah, we flipped when it made it all the way to the top of their dial-in show. That proved the fans really were behind us [Hit Parader, October 1988]
The band's almost constant touring activity surely also helped. On August 6, 1988, almost exactly a year after its release, the record reached the number one spot on the Billboard sales list in USA [Circus Magazine, November 1988; Rolling Stone, November 1988].

We were in a place called Sandstone, just outside of Kansas City, when we found out. And we were like, 'Ok, we're Number One.' There was no big fanfare. It was during our soundcheck, so we didn't even celebrate or anything. Geffen sent us a cake, though [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
It's kinda like those Izod shirts that were fashionable once, a while back. We're cool to like now. Six months ago, kids were afraid to like GNR because their parents, teachers, or friends would come down on 'em. When I was on the track [in high school], if you said you liked Alice Cooper, you had to run an extra lap [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
Now it's cool to like us. And don't get me wrong, we're all happy and everything that we went Number One, and that so many people like us now. But it's gotten to the point where you walk down the street and you'll see some preppy guy singing 'SCOM' and you'll go 'wait a minute...' [Circus Magazine, November 1988].
I mean, did that really happen to us? It's like, there's that, and then there's regular life. The rest is just words and numbers that don't really mean a thing [Kerrang! December 1988].
I was surprised, man. It was pretty exciting while we were on tour. We had been touring for six or seven months, and none of us had any kind of root. Nobody had apartments, nobody had a house. We didn’t even have a penny. David Geffen arrived one day and told us “Your record is number one. You are going to make a lot of money”. Someone said “Uaau!” [Popular 1, November 1992].
The single 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was released in August 1988 and went to no. 1 three weeks later.

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:33

JANUARY 31, 1988 - THE LIMELIGHT


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

(Grimaces) I hate to say it, but that was more of a money thing—we had this gig at the Limelight for $7,500 for 45 minutes. So we said O.K., but my heart wasn't into it. I didn't want to do it because . . . my major problem with acoustic stuff is that we've never sat down and arranged any acoustic material. Those songs weren't written as Guns N' Roses rock & roll. No one's really got their own parts; Axl sings, the rest of us just wing it. I got really drunk before we went on stage, which is something I never do[Circus Magazine, May 1988].
[...] we played The Limelight, acoustically, or semi-acoustically, everyone was so fucking drunk. Slash fell off the stage like three times, Steven fell off his drum set, Izzy, just, like fell over, and the only people left on the stage was Axl and myself [Making Fucking Videos, 1991]
Two night before [the Ritz] show, we decided to play a semi-acoustic surprise show at a venue in Manhattan called the Limelight, a former church. By the time we headed into the sanctuary, everyone in the band was so fucked up that we lost members one by one as the set progressed. eventually everyone except me and Axl went down. It was a comical gig, but I took something serious away from it. I told myself I would never get so deep in my cups that I wouldn't be able to play[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 132].
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:33

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


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

In New York, we filmed a show for MTV, which was another one of those nights that was a great show for fun, and the crowd was crazy. The show didn't necessarily go as well as I think it should have. We had a monitor man, and on stage, it was the twilight zone. I stage-dived, and my Thin Lizzy shirt got shredded right off my body. The crowd grabbed my necklaces and started choking me, pulling my hair. Some little kid had my arm between his knees with his legs wrapped around and his hand behind his back holding onto my hand, trying to steal my bracelets and was not going to let go of me until he got them. I couldn't get a hand free to punch him in the head because Doug Goldstein (GNR's tour manager) had my other arm and was trying to yank me back to the stage, an I'm getting split in two. There like, 30 people trying to throw me back on stage and another 30 trying to get a piece of Axl. It was a blast! [Blast! May 1988].
Personally, I think we looked like a bunch of idiots on it [...] [Felt Forum, September 5, 1988].
You see on that live MTV thing, everything was pro except this monitor man who didn't have a clue what was going on. The crowd's hearing the show, everything's great, we're hearing spaceships' landing onstage, backwards echoes, screaming feedback, and the drummer doesn't know what, Steven doesn't know what's going on. Finally I tried to nail the monitor man with my microphone and my tour manager moved and I nailed him [laughs]. That was messy. But it leaves for some excitement [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1988].
Ahh, I hate that concert. [...] You know everybody likes it, but it was the worst playing...especially on my part. It was just bad. [...] Yeah, [the audience] did everything to me! They untuned my guitars and they pulled my jacks out. [...] We were all out of tune for the first three songs. It was chaos.[Circus Magazine - "Up Close and Personal with Guns' Slash and Duff", July 1989]
It's bad, it's terrible![...] My bass went out of tune for two songs.[...] I think people like it more like in the way when you drive past a car accident and somebody's mutilated, you know, it's like you can't help but look at it![Circus Magazine - "Up Close and Personal with Guns' Slash and Duff", July 1989]
The Ritz show in New York we played that trip was hugely popular on MTV. It wasn't one of our greatest shows by any means: Axl was having vocal problems, and though we didn't play badly, we'd played so much better in the recent past. In any case, it was loose and out of tune and punk rock, and for those reasons alone, it is something to be recognized. That footage is important because it is the essence of the band. The crowd was great, and like so many memorable moments, it was over and done before I knew it [Slash's autobiography, p 225]
MTV had contacted our management about taping one of our live performances while in the Apple, and it was scheduled for our appearance at the Ritz on February 2. Label mates Great White opened for us. After their set, it was time for us to hit the stage. I'm all ready to go, and fucking Axl is holding us up. Of all the times for him to do this. MTV was there, and this was huge, but eventually the MTV guys were like, "We gotta go, we gotta get this going, guys". Axl's like, "Fuck it. I'm not going on unless I have my bandanna!" Apparently, he couldn't find it after tearing apart the little hovel they gave us backstage. Of course the rest of the band was avoiding any eye contact with Axl, preferring to wander off, out of earshot, to do their grumbling. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. "What's wrong with you, Axl?" He shrugged me off and continued with his insane tirade. He had all of our roadies looking around for people who had scarves or bandannas. I said, "C'mon, Axl, let's just go on." He blurted out, Fuck that. Fuck you. I need a bandanna or a scarf or I'm not doing this. Now, we're thirty minutes late. The cameramen were tired of standing around and said, "We're outta here." I was the only one who was openly begging them to stay: "Please, don't go, we'll go on." I'm sure that's why I am featured prominently throughout the video, because I showed some respect for the MTV crew. Axl finally found a fucking scarf, some bowder-blue, girly-looking thing, and the show began. He put it on, and he got this Little Rascals Alfalfa look going, because his hair was pushed up, like a ridiculous cowlick, on the back of his head. I'm sitting there playing and just laughing. "You dick, look at you. You couldn't go on without your scarf, and now you look like you're in an Our Gang movie."Someone must have tipped him off, because he finally got wise to it and adjusted the bandanna. In spite of all the drama, the show went off fantastically. It's become one of the most widely bootlegged performances of the band[/i][Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 156-157]
I think that was the same night that I stage-dove and the crowd parted like the Red Sea and let me hit the floor. I lay there for a moment taking stock of whether I'd broken any bones or not. Then I got back on stage and tried to maintain some semblance of cool [Slash's autobiography, p 225]
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:35

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


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

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

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

Axl would blame it on an accident leading to a split lip:

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

By the time of the next show. I was trying to avoid everybody in the band--not because I don't like anybody, but because when you're mad, you tend to say things you don't really mean, and I wanted to wait until I'd calmed down. I wasn't feeling well. I started feeling pretty down and out and sick. My lip was bothering me. The hotel kept sending maids in, and they couldn't get anything right when I ordered food. I wasn't in any condition to go out. I was just trying to get myself together for the show, so I ended up ripping my phone out of the wall and smashing it, as well as smashing a couple of lamps and some tables. I was just trying to get some peace and some sleep before the show. The next thing I know, there are people knocking on my door, and I'm telling 'em to get away from me. They're trying to break in my door, but I had it chained. No one knew what Axl's doing. They think I'm in there shooting up or killing myself or I'm mad at the world and won't do the show. I had every intention of doing the show. I was feeling pretty sick, and I got to the show late, and they'd already cancelled the show, unbeknownst to me [Blast! May 1988].
The show promoter for the Celebrity Theatre shows, Danny Zelisko, recalled in 2016 that he had been across town when he got the call from the manager at the venue on that fateful night of February 1; "Man, you better get down here right away. This place is going to explode" because, as Zelisko would describe it, "The opening act had been on for 90 minutes and Axl wouldn’t come out of his hotel room" [Vulture, 2016]. T.S.O.L. was only intended to play a 40 minute set, but Niven had told them to continue playing.

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

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

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

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

This incident was the final straw for the band. Hit Parader would later claim that around the time when Appetite for Destruction went platinum, "Axl Rose began acting too unpredictably for the other members of the group, and a vote was taken to kick Axl out of the band. Thankfully, cooler heads soon prevailed, and Axl was sent to a clinic where he was quickly able to regain control of his life and resume responsibilities as Guns' front man" [Hit Parader, November 1988]. This was also mentioned in Sounds Magazine [November 1989], "Axl was kicked out of Guns N' Roses in February 1988. He disappeared before a show in Phoenix, Arizona, which was subsequently cancelled. When Axl finally showed up the band told him he was no longer singer in Guns N' Roses. The split lasted two tense days before Izzy and Slash decided they'd hear Axl out and let him explain his absence. Clearly, his explanation was a good one". According to Hit Parader, this was Axl's comment to this event:

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

Axl had a problem one night; we missed a gig and we decided not to continue the tour for the sake of keeping him all right. Axl is a singer, and there is a certain mentality you need to stand with a microphone in front of a bunch of people and sing to them. That and acting, I think, are two of the most nuts things you can do. Also, because he is a singer he is probably one of the best singers in a long time — he is a real deep person. Axl is what you would call a tough guy, but at the same time he is sincere, and when it comes to lyrics there is no lying in him. Axl lives for getting up and doing the show and being really good at it. Sometimes he is impossible to work with, but he doesn't do it just to be a pain, but because he doesn't want to deal with it. It has taken a long time to adjust to what he’s all about, and we’ve gone through major changes to go along with his day-to-day happenings, but that’s just the way he is. I don't want to make a big deal out of it [The Calgary Herald, July 3, 1988]
That's been one of the stories that's gotten bigger than all of us. And, as little as it was, it's past tense and it's not worth talking about cos it doesn't relate to what's going on now [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]
Look, there were some problems a while back, but those are more-or-less in the past now. This is the kind of band probably always have something strange going on in it. People don’t really understand us. They hear part of a story and they try and guess their own ending. The truth is that we had some problems with Axl. He started pulling some weird shit on everybody and we just didn’t dig that. But we’re pretty close, and we were able to sit down and work things out [Hit Parader, October 1988]
We’re not breaking up. if that’s what people want to know. Let’s just say that some of the talk people might have heard over the last few months is true and some of it isn’t. I really don’t want to get into it much deeper than that. Things are pretty cool within the band at the moment, and that’s the way we want to keep it [Hit Parader, October 1988]
Hit Parader in October 1988 would further state that "Axl's unpredictable behavior cost the band tours with David Lee Roth, AC/DC and Iron Maiden." This would also be mentioned by The Calgary Herald in July 1988, indicating it was due to the incident in Phoenix, and in Blast! in May 1988.

Slash would defend his colleague and friend:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up [Hit Parader, October 1988]
Axl not showing up for the gig prompted Los Angeles Times to ask "what's wrong with W. Axl Rose? speculating that he was either "seriously ill" or "had suffered a breakdown" [Los Angeles Times, February 1988]. A spokeswoman for Geffen Records said Rose had been sick, but "it was not drugs or a deadly disease. We don’t know exactly what—his management company says they’re still waiting for test results" [Los Angeles Times, February 1988].

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

Axl would later talk about the incident:

I flew back to L A. and have since gone to a doctor, who said I was just exhausted. He also said I suffer from insomnia. They're taking blood tests and stuff. A lot of people think it's drugs or I have AIDS because that's the new popular rumor. It's nothing that serious, but it's something serious enough that it caused problems in the machinery of Guns N' Roses. Now we're taking the time to regroup. We've had countless meetings, and everybody's on really good terms. Everything seems to be worked out real well, and we're planning our next stages. I know everybody says that--a lot of bands say that, and the next thing you know, they're trying to kill each other, but we're actually trying to put things in order. It's good that we're doing this now rather than selling a million records and then everybody splits and no one in the band talks to one another because you hate each other's guts. This band is a family, and that's very important to me. […] One of the things that makes Guns N' Roses work is the fact that we are very volatile. We put that into our music. At this point, we're not breaking up. As a matter of fact, it seems to be tighter than ever. Everybody realizes there's a lot more work to do and a lot more communication needed. Duff came up to me the other day, and I explained that the situation in Phoenix didn't have anything to do with the band. I said, 'I felt really bad because I love you guys, and he goes, 'I thought you hated me.' I was like, 'No, man, I don't hate you.' He's like, 'Well, call me,' and I'm like, 'I didn't know you wanted me to.' I didn't know he wanted to hear from me because I thought he was busy with his own life. What we found out is that while we thought everybody was mad at each other, and we were in a position where it looked like breaking up would be the best thing, everybody basically digs the hell our of each other and was mad that we don't hang out together more. We've sat down and talked it all out and found out that we really care about each other much more than we real thought. Nobody wants to play with anybody else [Blast! May 1988].
In 1989 Slash would be confronted with the rumors that the band had been on the verge of breaking up the previous year:

We've had some things we've had to live through and overcome. The stuff you've read about in the mags is basically true, but it's nothing that serious. We all have always gotten along pretty well, and when there's a problem we confront it. That's the only way to make sure it doesn't grow into something more serious [Record Mirror, September 23, 1989].
This incident and Axl being fired is also discussed in the chapter about Axl's mental health.
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:37

AXL'S MENTAL ISSUES


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

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

I have the worst temper. It's a hair-trigger temper and I am not proud of it. It's just something I learned to live with [Unknown US magazine (quoted in Juke Magazine, 1989), unknown date in 1988].
People pick fights. You can see it in their eyes, that in the back of their minds they're thinkin', "I can sue this guy" [Screamer, August 1988].
[...] people are always trying to provoke some kind of fight so they can sue me. I'm scared of thrashing an asshole and going to jail for it. For some reason I can walk into a room and someone will pick a fight. That's always happening with me. Like, I went into a store once to buy a stun gun. We were headlining the Whiskey and things were getting out of hand, so I figured, 'I'll buy stun guns. We won't have to break their jaw; we'll just zap 'em and carry them out.' So my brother and I walked into the store and I said, 'Excuse me, sir, can I see this stun gun, please?' Being very polite. And the guy goes, 'Listen, son, I don't need your bullshit!' And my brother says, 'Listen, he just got signed, he can buy 10 of these,' and the guy says, 'I don't care, I'll sell them to you but not to him' [Rock Scene, April 1988]
Axl's extreme mood swings would also send him into depression and according to Sounds Magazine he overdosed just two weeks prior to the band's trip to England in June 1987 for their gigs at the Marquee [Sounds Magazine, November 1989]. Later it would be reported that Axl entered a "deep depression" just before the release of Appetite for Destruction [Juke Magazine, July 1989], and almost died from a drug overdose "soon after [Appetite's] release" and had to have his stomach pumped, which would mean it happened in July or August 1987 [New York Times, December 8, 1991]. This is likely the same incident, and thus occurred some time in the summer of 1987, likely connected to stress from the first overseas tour or the release of their debut record. In August 1987 he would mention having partied to hard and ending up in a coma, although he makes it sound like the coma was the result of having a fight with cops:

I just got out of the hospital a little while ago, 'cause I partied too much one night, blacked out, got into it with the cops, got stun-gunned, was knocked out, went into a coma for a coupl’a days and woke up strapped to my bed, plugged into a catheter [San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 1987].

This is likely the same incident he mentioned from stage at the Ritz in October 1987:

A little over a month ago, I OD’ed, and I ended up in a hospital called Cedars-Sinai. I was in a coma for about two days. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was a guy named Todd Crew. Todd used to be in a band called Jetboy, and one of the reasons he got kicked out – Jetboy sucks. One of the reasons he got kicked out, was for hanging out with us. I think we were more friends than the people he knew all of his fucking life. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was Todd, and I really didn’t wanna see anybody I knew, because I didn’t know if I had any friends left. Todd came up to me, and gave me a hug and said, “You can’t do this to the family, man” [Onstage at The Ritz, NY, USA, October 23, 1987].

This incident is also highly likely described to MTV in 1990, when Axl mentioned an OD resulting in a coma, and which now sounds closely like a failed suicide attempt:

I started to write about when I OD'ed four years ago, and the reason why I OD'ed was because of stress, I couldn't take it, and I just grabbed this bottle of pills (?) in an argument and gulped it down and I ended up in a hospital. But I liked that I wasn't in a fight anymore and I was fully conscious that I was leaving. I liked that. But then I go, all of a sudden my real thoughts, though, were that 'Okay, you've haven't toured enough, the record's not gonna last, it's gonna be forgotten this and that, you've got work to do get out of this,' and I went 'No!' and I woke up, you know, pulled myself out of it. But in the describing of that some people could take it wrong and think it means to go and put yourself into a coma, so, it's a little tricky and I'm still playing with the words to figure out to, like, show some hope in there [Famous Last Words, MTV, 1990]
According to Raz, some time during the summer of 1988, Axl overdosed, again, although Raz may have the timing off and describe the summer of 1987 overdose:

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

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

Axl had a problem one night; we missed a gig and we decided not to continue the tour for the sake of keeping him all right. Axl is a singer, and there is a certain mentality you need to stand with a microphone in front of a bunch of people and sing to them. That and acting, I think, are two of the most nuts things you can do. Also, because he is a singer he is probably one of the best singers in a long time — he is a real deep person. Axl is what you would call a tough guy, but at the same time he is sincere, and when it comes to lyrics there is no lying in him. Axl lives for getting up and doing the show and being really good at it. Sometimes he is impossible to work with, but he doesn't do it just to be a pain, but because he doesn't want to deal with it. It has taken a long time to adjust to what he’s all about, and we’ve gone through major changes to go along with his day-to-day happenings, but that’s just the way he is. I don't want to make a big deal out of it [The Calgary Herald, July 3, 1988]
That's been one of the stories that's gotten bigger than all of us. And, as little as it was, it's past tense and it's not worth talking about cos it doesn't relate to what's going on now [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]
Look, there were some problems a while back, but those are more-or-less in the past now. This is the kind of band probably always have something strange going on in it. People don’t really understand us. They hear part of a story and they try and guess their own ending. The truth is that we had some problems with Axl. He started pulling some weird shit on everybody and we just didn’t dig that. But we’re pretty close, and we were able to sit down and work things out [Hit Parader, October 1988]
We’re not breaking up. if that’s what people want to know. Let’s just say that some of the talk people might have heard over the last few months is true and some of it isn’t. I really don’t want to get into it much deeper than that. Things are pretty cool within the band at the moment, and that’s the way we want to keep it [Hit Parader, October 1988]
Hit Parader in October 1988 would further state that "Axl's unpredictable behavior cost the band tours with David Lee Roth, AC/DC and Iron Maiden." This would also be mentioned by The Calgary Herald in July 1988. Slash would defend his colleague and friend:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up [Hit Parader, October 1988]
[Inferred from Hit Parader [March 1989], Axl was also kicked out of the band for three days in February/March 1987, but likely this was meant to be February 1988.]

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

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

I’ve really learned to control myself. It used to be that I would get mad, break everything in the fucking room, smack somebody in the face and then leave. Now I work real hard at trying to keep things cool and together [Hit Parader, July 1987].
I can be happier than anybody I know. I can get so happy I'll cry. I can get completely opposite, upsetwise [Hit Parader, November 1988].
[…] I react to everything. I react to thoughts. I can be sitting here in a good mood and think about something really fucked, and if I can't get it out of my head, I'll react to it. If I hold it back, I walk around frustrated for a very long period of time. When I talk with an interviewer, it hurts my feelings if they act like my best friend, then chop me down. I always try to let people know what they want when we're talking [Musician, December 1988].
Basically, right now I'm just trying to get myself together. I know I'm seen in a lot of different ways. Without being humorous, it's like I have multiple personalities -- schizophrenic. It depends on the situation and the mood I'm in [Rock Scene, April 1988].
I'm psychotic, and that's a real problem to try to like, you know..."Ok, now I'm done with business. Now I can go in this room and be psychotic and tear it up. You know, I have to like, balance up. You know, when can I destroy everything around me to when I have to be nice to everybody. [...] I usually end up trying to take vacation and destroying everything around me, because I can't calm down. I don't know, it just... [...] I just destroy my apartment and then rebuild it [Headbanger's Ball, May 1988].
A lot of things about my mood swings are, like, I have a temper and I take things out on myself. Not physically, but I'll smash my TV knowing I have to pay for it, rather go down the hallway and smash the person I'm pissed at. […] With all the pressure it's like I'll explode. And so where other people would go, 'Oh well, we just got fucked,' Axl's going, 'God damn it!' and breaking everything around him. That's how I release my frustration. It's why I'm, like, pounding and kicking all over the stage [Rolling Stone, November 1988].
I have a lot more control over [mood swings] compared to when I used to break every single thing in my room. This way I can go for two months before I do that. That's a long time [Juke Magazine, July 1989].
I'm very sensitive and emotional, and things upset me and make me feel like not functioning or not dealing with people, the band or anything. I went to a clinic, thinking it would help my moods. The only thing I did was take one 500-question test - ya know, filling in the little black dots. All of sudden I'm diagnosed manic-depressive. "Let's put Axl on medication". Well, the medication doesn't help me deal with stress. The only thing it does is help keep people off my back because they figure I'm on medication [RIP, April 1989].
I think his inner turmoil is derived from the external turmoil that we have around us all day. A lot of us either choose to, or are more adept at, shutting it out. He doesn't. He doesn't choose to shut it all out. He looks it right in the eye [Juke Magazine, July 1989].
Axl's sensitivity also shone through in his live performances and made for intense experiences:

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

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

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

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

He's temperamental, he's a pain in the ass, but we love him too. He is really... He's been great since we've been in Japan, he's been really cool. So it's like the kind of thing where when Axl's, like, easy to be around, he's great; when he's hard to be around, he is a pain in the fucking ass [Japanese TV, December 1988].
As if all this wasn't enough, Axl was also struggling with insomnia:

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:38

DOUG GOLDSTEIN, TOUR MANAGER


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 Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:41

THE MAKING OF 'GN'R LIES'


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

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

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

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

Being asked what is happening with their planned EP: That's what we're doing next week (at press time -- Ed.). We've just been recording, and we might even leave it intact, as it is, or use it as a B-side. When we went into the studio initially, to do some test tracks and lay down some songs and see what we had together, we had about 27 songs together when Geffen first signed us. So we went in, laid that down, and we were in there for like two days, and at the end of the second day we just got into an acoustic jam [Rock Scene, June 1988].
The acoustic stuff we did in like, a day, right. So, I mean, we didn't... It wasn't a huge project or anything like that. It's just, I think, to show another side of the band, sort of. And also, you know, our next album is not gonna be out for a while. So, there's a huge void space then we'd like to fill in a bit [MTV, October 1988].
The band would stress that this EP shouldn't be looked upon as their second album but rather as something quick between Appetite and its follow-up:

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

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 20:42

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


After the infamous Celebrity Theater gig in early February, and Axl being fired only to be allowed back into the band, the band took a 6 week hiatus which meant they were dropped from a planned tour where they would open for David Lee Roth [Circus Magazine, May 1988; Blast Magazine, May 1988] in February/March 1988. They would be replaced by Faster Pussycat [Blast! May 1988]. The cancellation would also be explained as Roth hearing that "one or more of the band were about to enter a rehab clinic for drug problems". In Hit Parader in October 1988, it would be stated that the actual reason the David Lee Roth tour didn't happen, was due to Axl's unpredictable behavior, to which Slash would state:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up [Hit Parader, October 1988]
Blast Magazine would directly connect the cancellation to Axl not showing up on time for the second Celebrity Theater show (February 13) resulting in a riot [Blast! May 1988].

Axl himself would feel bad about the situation:

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

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

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

Axl had problems adjusting to life on the road:

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


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 21:33

PROFESSIONAL CREW


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 Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 21:33

APRIL 26-MAY 11, 1988 - LOST TOURS WITH AC/DC AND MONSTERS OF ROCK AND US TOUR WITH ZODIAC MINDWARP & THE LOVE REACTION AND UDO


The band then lost a planned tour with AC/DC [Hit Parader, March 1989; Juke Magazine, July 1989] in North America (this leg of the Blow Up Your Video World Tour lasted from May to November 1988), because AC/DC "wanted to hold their pay as security for three weeks, and then planned to kick them off the tour at the end of the grace period; they declined the offer" [Spin, May 1988]. According to Circus Magazine, the reason was due to "a disagreement between AC/DC's management and Guns N' Roses". Hit Parader would again claim the real reason was Axl's behavior [Hit Parader, October 1988].

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

In May-July 1988 they would also be refused to join the Monster of Rock tour which featured Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come, to which Slash would comment:

I mean, what am I going to do? Get the bassist from Van Halen or Judas Priest strung out on something? We’re just a bunch of kids, you know [Spin, May 1988]
Instead, the band did their first headlining tour of the US with Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction and UDO as the openers from April 26 to May 11, 1988. The little tour would take them to 11 smaller cities in the Midwest. Before their April 30 show at the Danville Civic Center in Danville, Slash commented on playing at smaller places:

It’s amazing playing these small towns. There’s not a whole lot to do. It’s like these people are starved for this type of thing. […] And the people are so friendly. We left our door (at our hotel in Burlington, Iowa) cracked and people just kept walking into the room unannounced. I didn’t know what they were doing, but I am getting used to it [Journal and Courier, April 30, 1988].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri 21 Jun 2019 - 21:34

DOCUMENTARY, BOOK PLANS AND THE CONSPIRACY INC. FAN CLUB


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

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

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

In 1988 the band also started a fan club titled 'Conspiracy Incorporated'. The membership fee was $12 for domestic and Canadian members and $15 for overseas members, and members were promised membership card, band photograph, 'Appetite' sticker, tour dates, discounts on merchandise, press clippings and a quarterly newsletter [Membership form, 1988]. By March 1989 the fan club was comprised of 1500 members [Conspiracy Incorporated Fan Club Newsletter, March 1989].

In April 1989, Axl would mention that they might makt a movie [Unknown Source, April 1989]. This might have been the same documentary movie, or something else entirely.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:06

MAY 13-JUNE 8, 1988 - OPENING FOR IRON MAIDEN


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

Axl was grateful:

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

To be fair to the audiences, what they were picking up was correct: much as I respect metal, we didn't fit the bill musically. We wanted to be different. After all, Steven had only one bass drum. And while Axl sang in a high voice much of the time, he wasn't operatic. [...] Oh, and also we didn't write songs about elves and demons and shit-unless of course, you considered Mr. Brownstone a demon [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 133].
At the beginning of the tour Slash was not happy with how things were being done:

Yeah, they’ve got this major stage production happening, and this is the first time we’ve ever been on the beginning of a tour with another band, so this might happen with every band. So it’s nothing against Iron Maiden. It’s just that their production is not together, and we never get sound checks, and their monitor guy doesn’t work for us, so he doesn’t know what we want. And it’s just been sort of like a disaster. But we’re, you know, basically...[…] The other thing is, that it’s like two sides of coins as far as music goes. You know, it’s like, Iron Maiden sings about Vikings, and gothic-influenced this and that, dragons and stuff. And we, just basically, just hang out (laughs) [Much Music, May 1988].
In August 1988, when the bands met again at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, UK, Axl would also comment on the band's differences:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raz Cue would comment on such alternative explanations:

The grueling pace caught up with Axl, and because of an injury to his vocal cords, he wisely shut [the tour] down before doing any further career-threathening damage. But there's an old saying about journalists: "They never report that a plane landed safely." The truth is, "It if bleeds, it leads," so those highly ethical rock "journalists" had a field day conjuring up several contradictory "real reasons" G N' R had departed the Iron Maiden tour early[Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 252].
Bruce Dickinson (the vocalist of Iron Maiden) was not impressed with Axl. At the May 16 show at Quebec Coliseum, Dickinson claims Axl treated the audience poorly because they were talking to him in French:

"I should have come onstage and given him a punch. How could he dare speak to my audience in that way? I always regretted not having done so" [Journal de Montreal, September 2015].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:06

JULY 1988 - 'THE DEAD POOL'


A sales pull came when 'Welcome to the Jungle' (and band members) were featured in the Clint Eastwood movie 'The Dead Pool', allegedly after a suggestion by business affairs executive Debbie Reinberg.

The band would talk about their appearance in the movie:

Clint Eastwood! One of the most intimidating people I've met. You'll have to try and picture this: we're on location in a graveyard, all these people and then this funny looking rock band, totally out of place. And in between takes this nine-foot character comes over and goes, Uh, nice record, and walked away. And that was it. I bet he never heard it and they're obliged. But he was more Clint in person than he is on the screen. He seemed nice [Q Magazine, July 1991].
Oh! That was amazing. I was nervous. First, we were in a group, with Stevie, drugged up, totally hungover, early in the morning waiting in a cemetery and I told myself “What are we doing here?” A big black car appeared, two guys came out, which I guess must be Clint Eastwood’s managers or bodyguards or something like that; while we wondered if he liked our album or not, and what we were doing there… he approached us and simply told us “great album!” (laughs) and he left, it was really intense, shit [Popular 1, November 1992].
The song played throughout the film's heavily-publicized 90-second trailer [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

I'm a little disappointed that it's not a better film, but the trailer is really spectacular. And I'm sure it helped our momentum. After all, it was on practically every TV station in the entire country [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].
Actually the film isn’t very good. The trouble was that we were so naive and green about the movie business that in the end we came across as kinda dumb. Perhaps we shoulda asked more questions about what was going on. And I can’t help feeling that Eastwood fucked us over with his direction. In fact, Clint didn’t talk to us much on the set at all. We had very little contact with him. Just about the only thing he said to us was, ‘Hey, great album’ [Raw Magazine, July 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:11

JULY 17-SEPTEMBER 15, 1988 - OPENING FOR THE AEROSMITH


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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:11

AUGUST 20, 1988 - TRAGEDY STRIKES AT MONSTERS OF ROCK


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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:11

1986-1988 - DEALING WITH THE PRESS IN THE BAND'S EARLY YEARS


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 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.

Already in October 1987 would Axl express a hope that n the future people would be more interested in the message in the lyrics than the band's controversies:

I’m looking forward to the day when people will forget about the controversy, and anyone who listens to our music will sit and think: 'In the third verse you say such and such; what do you mean by that?' I'm happy that there are people who have this approach already from our first album, without having to wait for the second or the third one, like it has happened with many bands [Popular 1, April 1988 (translated from Spanish)].
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 non-musical...it'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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:11

SEPTEMBER 17, 1988 - TEXAS STADIUM


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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:14

EXPLAINING THE SUCCESS OF 'APPETITE'


Already before 'Appetite' started to sell well, in October 1987, Axl would explain what set them apart:

The fact that we focus a lot on our music. There are many people out there who are great pop stars, but don’t send a message with their music. There are also people who can sing very well, or are surrounded by studio musicians that may be really good, but play just for the money, without feeling anything special for what they’re doing. We try so that every little part of each song is as special as possible, and has a real and honest meaning coming straight from the heart. In the years I’ve been into this, I’ve seen many people who want to live the life of a rock star without wondering about the merit of their art. That’s something we care about. Each song is like a painting for us; we try to turn it into a work of art that we can be proud of in the next ten years. I don’t want to look back one day and say, 'I made a million dollars with this song, but it's the biggest crap ever made [Popular 1, April 1988 (translated from Spanish)].

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

When we went gold I was surprised. When we went platinum I was shocked. The fact that we broke the top ten is unreal. I mean, this isn't supposed to happen. This isn't right [Scene Magazine, April 1988].
That void is something I was looking at for a long time. The punk movement was dying out, and there were all these metal bands starting up, so [guitarist] Izzy and I put out these ads for a guitarist for a “punk metal glam thrash band.” So we were looking to fill this void. Now it’s starting to get across in a big way. For a time there, we didn’t think it was going to. I thought after Poison we’d be welcomed with open arms as the logical next step. It didn’t quite happen the way we thought it would. But now it’s starting to explode. It took a lot of patience. When we first started out this band was banned. No one wanted to book us, manage us, take us on tour or play us on the radio. Now our video’s been in the Top 5 on MTV for nine weeks [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].
Being asked why he think they reached no. 1: I'm not sure. I think the only reason it could have possibly gone to Number One is we're filling some sort of void. That's really the only thing I can attribute it to. It's not because the songs are all huge hits - that's the last thing they are, they're just a bunch of dirty rock 'n' roll songs. So I figure, we're just like the resident down and dirty rock band in town at the moment. Everybody wants to have that record because it's not really that safe... and it looks cool next to George Michael records in their collection [Kerrang! December 1988].
What is the reason? Timing. We didn't time it, it wasn't like, "Okay guys, let's get together here in 1985 and then," but it was just, we're at the right time at the right place, you know. There wasn't very many honest bands [Japanese TV, December 1988].
It's not that we are that great or anything, but at least, you know, at least we're realistic and we're sincere about what we do. […] we're like affected by shit the same way that most normal people are affected. We don't, like, pose so that we can fit into the business. So it's like you don't get up in the morning depressed and you put on a smile on your face and go out to the offices and start going through the bullshit. We're, like, get up depressed, go to work depressed, and it's like, you know, one way or the other, you know. If we're happy, we're happy. That's just the way it is. So the album is, sort of like, very emotional, you know, and all the shit we do is usually very emotional. We have a really shitty crowd we get, you know, affected by it, we get pissed off, sometimes we really insult [?] the crowds because it's like, "Well, fuck you!" [laughter]. So somehow, I guess, that works, I guess. I mean, I don't think we would be as popular in 1976 or 77 as we are now because it was, I think there was more bands sort of like us. So I think would have been different. But we're the only band like us right now so it's just timing and shit, you know […] [Japanese TV, December 1988].
[…]Aerosmith and AC/DC were still around, they're great bands, but I think kids, you know, of the late 80s here didn't really have a band who were their peers to cling on to […] [Interview Sessions, December 1988].
[…]everybody asks us that question, like, "Why do you think you guys have hit this point". It's a hard question to answer. I think one of the main things is that we sort of, like, filled, you know, a gap in music business right now, because for the last, since 1970-1980 it's been pretty bland as far as rock and roll is concerned, and so at least, if nothing else, the attitude of the band has come over and people are like, "Yeah!". I mean, that's sort of, like, what rock and roll is all about. And also that freedom-kind-of-thing [Interview Sessions, December 1988].
Yes, Slash could also be proudly honest:

We've sold six million LPs because it's a good album. It's a fucking good album, it'd be fucking false modesty if I pretend it wasn't [New Musical Express, April 1989].
Andy Secher, the editor of Hit Parader, would shed his thoughts on why they caught on:

"They’re presenting an image so strong that the music is almost secondary. They've presented this wild-man image. ... To a lot of kids, that's very appealing. […] It’s a major dilemma — how do you present these guys without glorifying what they do? You can only hope that they're just an outlet for their fans, that the kids can feel like they’re living vicariously through the wild actions of a Tommy Lee of Motley Crue or an Axl Rose of Guns 'n’ Roses, so they won’t feel the need to do anything nasty to themselves" [Detroit Free Press, May 6, 1988].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:24

NOVEMBER 29, 1988 - THE RELEASE OF 'GN'R LIES'


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 it was released on November 29 1988, coinciding with the success of 'Appetite'.

According to Goldmine Magazine, this record did not count towards fulfilling the band's contract with Geffen Records 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].

Slash and Duff would explain the name of the EP this way:

You know, that's pretty self-explanatory as well. It's like, the band's just sorta like, the center of attention, as far as, you know, sort of controversy in rock n' roll and stuff like that. And they make up all these stories. I found out today that I died again today. [...] And, you know, Axl dies all the time. There's all this crap going around. People love to make up stuff about you. I don't know why. We're the band that seems to be the center of all that attention. [...] Sort of a parody of our whole existence [MTV, October 1988].
It's just like, us saying "Ok, you guys wanna blow this out of proportion? Let's totally blow it out of proportion". If you're gonna get that ridiculous about it [MTV, October 1988].
Since the band is the center of attention as far as controversy in rock’n’roll, this EP is sort of a parody of our whole existence [FACES, March 1989].
We did the cover for a good reason. We've been in the center of attention for so long. We've had so much hype and sensationalism centered on us over the last few years that it became really ridiculous. All of it was bullshit. We've heard that we've all died in car crashes, that we're all drug addicts and that we all have AIDS - and, of course, it's all untrue. This EP cover was our chance to turn it around and stick it back in everyone's face [Hit Parader, May 1989].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:46

SUCCESS - THE GOOD STUFF


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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:48

SUCCESS - THE BAD STUFF


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].
People recognise me really easily, but I don’t think about it. I don’t have the outgoing personality of, say, David Lee Roth. I used to be pretty social on the road, but it’s more difficult now because we have security around us all the time... and when we do duck them we get into trouble! A few times I’ve ditched security and gone out on my own, but ended up with problems. There was one occasion when Duff and I went out by ourselves and got a couple of hotels rooms just to hang out. But I ended up in a huge fight with (comedian) Sam Kinison and Duff nearly got arrested for punching him out!

If I go into a rock bar or a strip joint then I know that I'm going to get recognised and deal with it, because I wanna drink. But in restaurants or other places where you wouldn't expect recognition people still come out of the woodwork and get very pushy for autographs. But I never pull Rock Star Attitude trips and always oblige. Yet if you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and you get a piece of paper shoved under your nose it can be a difficult situation. Sure, there is a lack of freedom, but I won't complain about it, because the only reason I'm here is the fact that I’m doing what I enjoy.
[Unknown original source but reprinted in Use Your Illusion Tour Program, May 1993].
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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:53

'PATIENCE', THE ONLY SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO FROM 'LIES'


After having released a few singles and music videos in support of 'Appetite' the band would only release one single and accompanying music video from 'Lies', for the song 'Patience', in April 1989 in the US and in June 1989 in the UK. The 'Patience' video would be mentioned in the fan club Conspiracy Incorporated newsletter from March 1989:

"The band has just completed filming a video of “Patience”. The video has life footage of the band while utilizing a sub plot about Axls vision of what “Patience” really means. We don’t have much more information about the video but we’re sure it will be hot! MTV first aired it on March 22nd" [Conspiracy Incorporated Fan Club Newsletter, March 1989].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:54

DECEMBER 1988 - TOURING JAPAN, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND


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].
The four first shows in Japan happened on December 4 at the NKH Hall in Tokyo, December 5 at Festival Hall in Osaka and December 7 and 9 at Nakano Sunplaza in Tokyo.

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].
But:

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].
Apparently, the December 9 show in Japan was not very good:

Axl actually apologized for "playing like shit" [...] at NHK [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 181-182]
The final Japanese show took place on December 10 at the Budokan in Tokyo. According to Steven, Axl's voice was shot after extensive touring:

We were exhausted, and Axl's voice was raw, but we rallied because it was our final show. [...] I got to do an extended drum solo during 'Rocket Queen,' and we closed witha  fucking epic version of 'Paradise City'[Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 181-182]
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?


After Japan the band travelled to Australia for two shows on December 14 and 15 at the Entertainment Centre in Melbourne

Tours in Japan usually lead to Australia, and that's what ours did. Three days after Budokan we performed the first of two shows at the entertainment Center in Melbourne. It was a huge outdoor arena. The first performance was a sellout. The second was at about two-thirds capacity. I recall those shows fondly because I was able to hone my drum solo until it sounded really tight, light, and playful at first, and then very explosive. We never really planned stuff like that, and I think the solo just grew out of the middle of the song [Rocket Queen] where Duff slapped a cool bass riff and I followed with a flurry of drumming. No one broke back in, so I kept playing, and each performance I'd carve out a little more solo time [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 182]
The band then travelled to Sydney for a show on December 17 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

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]. Select Magazine would likely refer to this "While the band are in Australia a warrant is issued for Axl’s arrest after his introduction to ‘Mr Brownstone' is misconstrued as condoning drug use. The band escape the clutches of the law by legging it to New Zealand" [Select, February 1991]. This would be corroborated by the Sydney Morning Herald: "On Guns n' Roses first Australian tour in 1988, they came perilously close to feeling the wrath of then NSW Police Minister Ted Pickering. He was reported to be considering laying charges against Axl for his references to taking drugs and leading vulgar chants. Acting Premier Wal Murray was reportedly horrified" [Sydney Morning Herald, January 23, 1993].

The show in New Zealand took place at December 19 at the Big Top, Mount Smart in Auckland.

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].

And Slash would later say he couldn't remember any of it, and mistakes it for having happened in 1989:

But the last time I was here, I can’t remember a fucking thing! […] drugs. […] Someone gave me a xeroxed copy of a photo I autographed, and I signed it as '89. so it must have been then. I was so spaced out. We’d nearly finished being on tour, and dabbled with this and that, but we were more or less clean the whole time... then we found all these junkies in Sydney, and got the taste back! [RAW, June 23, 1993].

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 Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:55

FROM RAGS TO RICHES


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 or 1989, Izzy also bought a country home in Lafayette [Journal and Courier, February 21, 1993]. The house was built in 1847 (or 1854, according to Journal and Courier, February 21, 1993) 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].

But Izzy couldn't get any peace in Lafayette:

Actually, I figured I'd get a little peace out there. At first when I came back, it was really crazy. A lot of people going by the house, by my mom's house, knocking on the doors real late at night and all that stuff. I was like, 'this is no good'. I think the initial surprise of, 'Wow, he's back in town,' kind of thing got people going [Journal and Courier, February 21, 1993].

Still, he would claim that from '88/'89 he had basically moved from Los Angeles to Lafayette:

I moved back to Indiana in 1988, 89 — after Guns N' Roses had been out on tour and made some money. I bought a house (in Lafayette) and I've been based out of there since. I’ve got family and I've got old friends back there and I kind of got to know the place again, I suppose [Indianapolis Star, February 21, 1993].

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].

Steven:

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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THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS - Page 3 Empty Re: THE HISTORY OF GUNS N' ROSES - IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Post by Soulmonster on Sun 23 Jun 2019 - 9:58

THE 'ONE IN A MILLION' CONTROVERSY - RACISM


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 track...at 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,
SLASH

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]

In June 1993 Slash would again deny being racist:

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." I knew when Axl wrote the lyrics and I knew the story that went with it. I knew when he put it down on paper, it was gonna be recorded, it wasn't going to come across positive. So I took that one with a grain of salt. We got a lot of flack for that[Swedish TV, June 13, 1993]


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