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1989.03.DD - Kerrang! - Story of Guns N' Roses Pt 1, 2, 3

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1989.03.DD - Kerrang! - Story of Guns N' Roses Pt 1, 2, 3

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:36 am

Transcript:

STORY OF GUNS N' ROSES by MICK WALL

'Welcome to the jungle
We got fun and games
We got everything you want
Honey we know the names.
'Welcome To The Jungle'

LIKE ALL the best art, once in a blue moon a rock 'n' roll band will happen along that so defies the twisted logic of its time it captures the imagination of everybody not just the Heavy Metal hardhals, but freaks of all persuasions; from the woolly-minded rock-intellectuals, sipping hot toddies with the Walkman on; to the seriously crazy, gobbld handfuls of speed and striking warrior poses in the bathroom mirror in the middle of the night; on clown to the little girls who like it in a special way that nobody understands...

Elvis Presley had it for a while in the 1950s before the army drilled it out of him.

The Rolling Stones had it all in the 1960s: they were spiteful, hostile, as volatile as neat whisky. They instilled fear and loathing in the hearts of all 'right-thinking' people everywhere.

Later, both their original guitarists, Brian Jones and Keith Richards, would die front drug overdoses, except they only remembered to bury one of the corpses and Keef is still running around free...

In the 1970s it was the Sex Pistols. Johnny Norroocl and Sydney Various. 'Anarchy In The UK' and 'Never Mind The Bollocks' .. music to have a riot by.

They called it Punk Rock, but it was the same old bag of tricks: sex, drugs and violence, though not necessarily in that order, and a heightened, almost paranoiac sense of self expressed in the lyrics that bordered on the psychotic.

And now, of course, we've got Guns N' Roses... The most dangerous band in the world!' as Kerrang! put it back in 1987.

Indeed. Born into a decade where acid means rain and sex is death, Gulls N' Roses are an anomaly.

Arriving at a time when rock 'n' roll had all but handed its balls back on a plate to the marketing moguls and media wizards of the music industry Guns N' Roses stand for everything the giants of the New Conservatism detest they don't respect deadlines, they don't take advice, they don't give a shit who knows if they drink or take drugs, and they've never practised safe sex.

As GN'R guitarist Slash told Rolling Stone writer Rob Tannebamti in November last year, "Our attitude epitomises what rock 'it roll is all about. At least, what I think rock 'n' roll is about, which is all that matters.

"You know how some bands go out and everything is going completely wrong but they can put on a good show anyway? We're not like that... "

'Well I'm a West Coast struttin'
One bad mother
Got a rattlesnake suitcase
Under my arm."
Nigthrain

THE NAME Guns N' Roses goes back to 1985 and the clays when W AxI Rose and Izzy Stradlin', two tearaways from Indiana, hooked tip in Los Angeles with guitarist Tracii Guns and drummer Rob Gardner to form the first fledgling line-up of the band. AxI grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, as plain Bill Bailey, the eldest son of L Stephen and Sharon Bailey. It wasn't until he was 17 that Bill Bailey discovered his real last name was Rose. His natural father, a notorious troublemaker, walked out on his wife and family when Axl was still an infant. His whereabouts remain unknown to this day. When Sharon later remarried her new husband offered to give his surname to her children. It was an offer made with kind intentions, and she accepted.

Although Axl says he now looks on his adopted father as his 'real dad', back then when he first discovered he had a secret past he was outraged.

He was 17, growing his hair long for the first time, thinking seriously about getting a band together and fighting like a wildcat with his parents. When the truth came out about his real father. Bill Bailey immediately changed his name to W Rose. It was around this time that lie first began singing in a variety of local Indiana bands, one of which was called 'Axl'. The name stuck.

In 1986, just before Guns N' Rose were slotted to Geffen Records, Bill Bailey legally changed his name to W Axl Rose.

The initials - W.A.R. - are, he's always insisted, merely a coincidence, though some people would probably argue on that one…

BEFORE HE finally caught the Greyhound out of Lafayette and made it down to LA, Axl was already building himself a sizeable local rep as a juvenile delinquent.

Trouble seemed to follow him around and he was arrested so many times he took to defending himself at his own
trials.

"I didn't trust the public defenders for shit," he told Rolling Stone last year.

At one point he served three months in jail when he didn't have the money to pay a fine for the latest of his misdemeanors. His best friend at this time was another local Lafayette kid by the name of Jeff Isabelle - better known now of course as Izzy Stradlin'.

Mulling over his first impressions of Axl for Rolling Stone last year, Izzy said he remembered him as "a serious lunatic when I met him. He was just really fucking bent on fighting and destroying things. Somebody'd look at him wrong and he'd just, like, start a fight."

However, there were other times when, according to Izzy, Axl could "turn around and be the nicest guy in the world", and the two quickly struck a bond that has held good ever since.

Indeed, it was only at Axl's insistence that lzzy actually remained a member of Guns N' Roses once Slash, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler had joined the band in June '85.

"Originally, I wanted to be the only guitarist in the band," Slash told me last year. "I'd never liked working with a second
guitarist. It's not that I didn't like lzzy's playing, I did. Bull was very into my own thing and it had never worked before between me and another guitar player.

"But Izzy goes right back with Axl. They were a team. You couldn't have one without the other, so we had 'em both. And now I'm really glad we did. Me and Izzy have got something going together which is cool, some kinda chemistry which you can't invent, it just happens..."

"I get up around seven
Get outta bed around nine
And I don't worry about nothin' no
'Cause worryin's a waste of my. . . time.
- Mr. Brownstone'

WHEN AXL began making regular trips down to LA, Izzy followed. The idea was to start another band, but first they had to find their feet in the big bad city. It wasn't easy.

"I remember for two years standing at the Troubadour and people wouldn't talk to me," Axl told Kerrang! in the band's first interview with us back in June '87. "I didn't know what to say to them, so you just watched and learned for a long, long time.

"It took years to start getting accepted in LA," he went on. "Then Izzy and I walked into the Roxy one of our first times and I remember Vince (Neil) and Nikki (Sixx) from Motley leaning over a railing to figure out who the fuck we were."

By the time Axl and Izzy had met and teamed up with Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner in 1985, they'd had three years of roughing it in LA, sleeping on floors and relying on a succession of girlfriends to feed them and give them money from time to time.

But it was a time that helped forge the attitude that would later inform all their best work in Guns N' Roses.

As Axl put it in that first interview with Kerrang!: "I watch MTV and it's hard not to throw shit at the TV set because it's so f**king boring. Even the bands around here in LA, it's the whole music industry.

"It's new to us, this business, and we meet people and they say, 'Do this, do that'. And we go, 'F**k it, f* *k you! Because it's just not us. We do whatever we want to do..."

On the hunt for a bass player to complete the original GN'R line-up, the band placed ads in the local music press, one of which attracted the attention of another relative newcomer to the LA scene, Michael McKagan, later dubbed Duff 'Rose' McKagan, a tall blond 21-year-old from Seattle who had just quit his gig as the bass player in another local LA band called Road Crew (the significance of which will be explained shortly).

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Duff was the youngest of eight children. The McKagans were a musical family. Duff's father sang harmonies in a Barbershop Quartet and almost all his elder brothers and sisters had sung or played in numerous bands at some point. His brother Bruce played bass in a local Seattle band and it was he who first turned Duff on to the idea of playing bass.

"I grew up surrounded by music," Duff told Blast magazine in 1987. "They always played the rock stations in my house when I was a little kid. Then, when I was in eighth-grade, my brother Bruce started giving me lessons on the bass and I just got right into it."

However, after a couple of years Duff's initial fascination for the bass began to wear off and he switched his attentions to guitar and, later, drums, playing both at different times in different local bands, all to little or no avail.

Duff joined his first band when he was 15. By the time he was 19 he was already a veteran of the Seattle club scene, having played in, by his awn count, "over 30 bands". Now he wanted to get serious and so set his sights on relocating to LA.

But first he had to make a decision. As he explained to Blast, "I was a guitar player before I moved out to LA. But I had heard the stories about LA, where there were millions of guitar players, and really didn't think I was good enough to be one of the top players.

"I mean, I wasn't ever going to be anything like Slash. So in order to get my foot in the door I decided to get a bass and a bass amp and come on down to LA."

'I been lookin' for a trace
Lookin' for a heart
Lookin' for a lover
In a world that's much too dark.
- 'You're Crazy'

WITHIN WEEKS of his arrival in Glitter Town, Duff had answered an ad in a music paper and found himself the bass player in Road Crew -a band that featured both Slash and drummer Steven Adler.

"I called Slash up, thinking he'd be some Punk Rock guy with a name like that," Duff told Blast. "And I could barely understand him on the phone, you know how Slash talks, real soft.

"But he said their influences were Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, AC/DC, . . So I thought, 'Cool, I'll try it out'." Duff's 'audition' was a meeting with Slash and Steven at a Jewish delicatessen in Hollywood called Canters. At the time, Duff's hair was short and dyed in a variety of colours,

"So I walk in there," Duff told Blast, "still expecting to find some old Punk Rock guy. Both Slash and Steven were there with their girlfriends and completely wasted. And their girlfriends instantly thought I was a homo because of my hair!"

The opinion of their girlfriends notwithstanding, Slash and Steven offered Duff the gig with them and he duly accepted.

Road Crew was to be a short-lived affair, though - gigs were virtually non-existent and rehearsals were sporadic to say the least - and Duff split after just six weeks. It was a move that tipped the hand of fate their way. The next ad Duff answered was the one Axl had placed, and soon the young bass player was tuggin' the bag strings in a new band called Guns N' Roses.

"That (original) line-up was really pretty bad, though," Duff admitted to Blast. "I was beginning to wonder why I was playing in a band that was just like any of the bands I had been in, in Seattle."

The turning point came, said Duff, when "Axl, Izzy and myself sat down one night and agreed that we should do a West Coast tour. I had done tours up and down the Coast and had the numbers of all the clubs along the way.

"But when we told Rob and Tracii about it they both chickened out because they said it was too much risk! I couldn't figure it out, I had done tours like that for years. So I started talking to Axl about maybe getting somebody else in. And I told him about Slash and Steven.. "

'Say boy where ya comin' from
Where'd ya get that point of view
When I was younger
Said I knew a motherf**ker like you, I said
You don't want my love
You want satisfaction..
-'You're Crazy'

SLASH - AN abbreviation of his real Christian name, which is so long and complicated I don't know how to pronounce it let alone spell it - was born in Stoke-On-Trent, England, in 1965, the eldest son of an interracial couple, Anthony and Ola Hudson.

His father designed album sleeves, most memorably Joni Mitchell's 1973 album 'Court And Spark', and his mother was a clothes designer, she made David Bowie's suits for the movie 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' in 1975. However, the couple split up when Slash was still a youngster and he lived in his grandparents' house in England with his father until he was 11.

In 1976, father and son emigrated to southern California, specifically Hollywood, where Slash "experienced a lot of shit" before settling into the new way of life that presented itself before him.

"I had total freedom all the time," Slash told Rolling Stone, speaking on the subject of his childhood. "I used to not come home for weeks."

Because of his parents' associations with the music business, Slash had acquired a vast collection of records as a child, and by his mid-teens he was playing guitar in a string of small-time backroom bands.

"I always liked music. I never planned or aspired to be a musician or anything, I just loved music," Slash told Blast in an early interview.

"I used to listen to the Who, and all kinds. .. Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Minnie Ripperton, the Stones, Chaim Khan, you know, 'Rags To Rufus', all that stuff. Just everything we had in there.. ."

Slash got his first guitar - a plank with one string he picked up cheap in a garage sale -when he was 15, after being urged by a high-school friend, Steven Adler.

STEVEN WAS a typical LA street kid: blond, tanned, a wide grin permanently slapped across his kisser. Originally from Ohio his folks had moved to LA when Steven was still quite young. He was in his teens making hectic trips to Tower Records in West Hollywood an banging hell out of his guitar in his bedroom over at his grandparents' house.

"Steven turned me on to the idea of playing bass because he had a guitar," said Slash in Blast. "He was a couple of years older than me and he had an amp in his bedroom, and he had all these Kiss records and stuff. He was a total Kiss freak.

"He had a guitar and an amp and he'd just plug in and turn it all the way up when his grandparents were at work or whatever and bang on it real loud, and I was just f **king fascinated with it..."

On the advice of a guitar tutor who explained the rudimentary differences between a bass and a guitar, Slash chose the latter instrument. "I decided the guitar was more interesting. It has more strings on it..."

Slash took guitar lessons for a couple of months, but quit in favour of sitting at home and playing along to his favourite Aerosmith and UFO records.

"My grandmother finally bought me a cheap acoustic, a nylon string acoustic guitar," he told Blast. "When I quit having lessons, I suddenly became very atune to the whole thing and got really involved. I used to practise all day every day."

Meanwhile, Steven, realising that finesse was never going to be an attribute he could bring to the guitar, had taken up the idea of becoming a drummer. He couldn't afford to buy a kit yet, though, and was reduced to beating on pots and pans and dusty piles of old books and magazines.

When he realised that wasn't working, he toyed with the idea of becoming a vocalist, even singing for a time in one of the numerous garage bands Slash was continually putting together then pulling apart.

That didn't work out either. Slash continued roaming from band to band. Bands that rarely, if at all, ventured anywhere beyond the garage. Then, when he was 18, he joined Road Crew.

"They were the first real musical thing I had that actually went out and played, you know, at high schools and parties and a stuff like that," Slash told Blast.

"Then Steven all of a sudden showed up one day and said, "Get rid of your drummer, he's not good enough'. Steven had somehow got his hands on a kit and he'd gotten good. So me and Steven carried Road Crew on, which was a great little band. Sorta like what Metallica are now without a singer..."

Duff passing through their ranks is only vaguely remembered now by either Steven or Slash. They do remember that Duff's call to come down and meet Axl and Izzy came at an opportune moment for them, though.

"Me and Steven were back to being a two-man band," Slash told me in an interview for Kerrang! last year. "We'd never been able to find a singer, and at first I went along with the idea of stealing Axl for my band, though it didn't quite work out like that..."

With less than 48 hours to go before they were supposed to take off for the first date on the short-hop tour of the West Coast that Duff had helped arrange for them. Slash and Steven were offered a straight proposition: did they wanna join the band or not?

Two days and 36 hours non-stop rehearsal later, Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven loaded up a U-Haul with equipment, and climbed into a car with a couple of friends they had persuaded to roadie for them, and set out on their first tour together as Guns N' Roses...

'Welcome to the jungle
We take it day by day
If you want it you're gonna bleed
But it's the price you pay.
— 'Welcome To The Jungle'

THEY CHRISTENED the tour the 'Hell Tour: June '85'. On the day they set off their car broke down about 100 miles outside of LA. So they got out and hitch-hiked. It took them two-and-a-half days to reach Seattle, the first date on the map, but they made it.

"We were all standing at the side of the road dressed in our stage clothes," recalled Duff in Blast. "Five guys in striped tight pants and boots out in the middle of Oregon. When we finally got there we had to play on other people's equipment and we were just wasted. It was our first gig and we sucked really bad...

"It was hilarious. The whole trip went from bad to worse. But the playing was coming together and we knew that if we could get through that, we could get through anything..."

Late '85 and early '86 found Guns N' Roses hitting the club trail hard. It was a time when bands like Motley Crue and Ratt were enjoying their first [?] of success, and in their wake a whole litter of LA street bands had followed them into the clubs they had now abandoned for arenas.

Their regular haunts were sleaze-pits like the Troubadour, the Water Club, the Whiskey, and the Scream, where they competed for space on the bill with bands like Poison, Jetboy and Faster Pussycat.

Slowly, they were starting to build a word-of-mouth reputation for themselves as one of the hottest new bands currently hauling ass on the LA club scene. By the time the record companies started sniffing around in the Summer of '86, the band had 14 original songs written and arranged, toughened up by near to a year of breaking them in on cramped filthy little stages all over California.

"The buzz got out," Slash told Kerrang! in June '87. "And we kept getting invited down to see these idiots from record companies. One label - I swear - we were talking to, I was saying, 'It kind of sounds like Steven Tyler', and the chick said, 'Steven who?'. "All of us just looked at each other and said, 'Can we have another one of those drinks?'."

By now, the band had all moved into a small garage together on Sunset and Gardner, which they wasted no time in 'converting' into a rehearsal studio. They called it the Hellhouse, because, as Izzy told Rolling Stone, "it was a f**king living hell".

There was no bathroom, shower or kitchen. By stealing pieces of lumber from a nearby building site, they built a loft that slept three at a time.

"I'd f* *k girls just so I could stay at their place," Slash told the same writer. "It was like a very uncomfortable prison cell," is how he put it to Kerrang!. "But God, did we sound good in 'there! We'd bash away at these Marshalls in this tiny room, and it was cool because all the losers from Sunset and all the bands would come over and they'd all hang out there every night...

"We used to-rehearse in there and sleep in there. It got hectic," said Axl. "But at least we didn't get fat and lazy."

Del James, now a writer for RIP magazine in Los Angeles, remembers those days well. "I used to help hump their
gear and hang out with them," he told me. "And the Hellhouse was something else. Izzy used to sleep in the tiny space between the back of the couch and the wall. He'd be behind there for days sometimes. You'd just see this head appear over the back of the couch occasionally, to check out what was going on, then disappear again.

"I'd say, 'Izzy, are you okay, man?'. And he'd say, 'Yeeaaahhhh…"

'I've seen everything imaginable
Pass before these eyes
I've had everything that's tangible
Honey you'd be surprised...
- 'Rocket Queen'

THE BAND continued gigging, distributing thousands of home-made fly-posters letting the world know that armageddon was finally on its way, and the record companies were starting to draw in the net.

"They started coming to see us" Izzy boasted to Kerrang!. "They would come over to the studio and come in the alley and see drunks - there was one drunk with a bottle of Thunderbird on top of his head - and the next thing you know we're going to their office!

"We made them all take us out to dinner for a week or two, and we started eating good. We'd order all this food and drink and say, 'Okay, talk!"

There were a lot of major labels interested in gaining their signatures on contracts, but the one that came through with the right offer at the right time was Geffen Records, whose A&R team of Teresa Ensenat and Tom Zutaut eventually signed the band to a worldwide deal in late '86.

Now they desperately needed a manager. The band had never had one before - they'd always found their own gigs and the record companies, as Izzy pointed out, had always come straight to them with good offers.

Now that they had a major deal under their belts, however, a professional business counsellor well-versed in the music business would be essential.

With the aid of Geffen, the band began to shop around for the first time for a manager. Their reputation for trouble already preceded them, however, and at first there were no takers.

Tom Zutaut took Aerosmith's manager, Tim Collins, to see the band play at a club date in LA. After the show, when the Gunners returned with him to his hotel room, Collins excused himself and checked into an adjoining room to get some sleep.

In the morning, he got an in-service room bill for 450 dollars worth of food and drinks. Tim decided right there and then that he didn't feel like managing Guns N' Roses.

Eventually, Geffen persuaded Alan Niven and Doug Goldstein of Stravinsky Brothers Management to take the band on. Initially, Niven, an ex-pat Englishman who already managed Great White, was reluctant to take the plunge, but sensed that there was something in the air about the band and decided to take a chance on them.

In the Autumn of 1986, recording time was booked at Rumbo Studios, in Canoga Park, Los Angeles.

The band went to work with producer Mike Clink, a quietly spoken young engineer best known for his work with Ron Nevison and bands like Heart, UFO and Eddie Money, on what would be the first - and so far only full - Guns N' Roses album, 'Appetite For Destruction'.

'1 see you standing there
You think you're so cool
Why don't you just...
Fuck off!'
'It's So Easy'

KNOWING THAT the release of their first single and album was still a good six months away, the band decided to bridge the gap while they were out of circulation recording in the studio by releasing a limited edition four-song live EP, which they entitled 'Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide' and released on their own Uzi Suicide label, through Geffen, in January 1987.

The record contained two original Gunners songs, 'Reckless' and 'Move To The City', plus two covers. Nice Boys Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll' by Rose Tattoo and 'Mama Kin' by Aerosmith.

It was recorded one hot and steamy night at a rathole in Los Angeles just days before they entered Rumbo Studios for the first time.

Reviewing it in Kerrang!, Xavier 'I Can Pick 'Em' Russell gave the EP four Ks and pronounced it in his inimitable style to be. 'The sleaziest record to come out of Smog Angeles since Motley Crue's 'Too Fast For Love'...'

Five months later. 'It's So Easy', the band's first single, was released on the eve of their first live appearances here in Britain.

Derek Oliver, who reviewed the single in Kerrang!, professed an instant dislike for the song. It's all deep grunts and non-starter riffs.' he wrote, the mad impetuous fool. But said he liked the B-side, 'Mr Brownstone'. Well you can't like absolutely everything, right Derek?

Meanwhile, over at the Marquee in London. the band were locked into a three-nighter, the first of which left Xavier Russell deeply unimpressed, and the third of which had other X' scribes frothing at the mouth and reaching for the Thesaurus in a frenzy to find new adjectives to lavish on their live performance.

"I loved coming to London and playing those dates at the Marquee," Slash told me later. "We just tore into it. And doing three nights there meant getting to hang out in London a little bit. which was cool. "Actually, I was quite ill at the time, coming down with the 'flu, but I was so up on the whole deal of actually being there playing in London, I just ignored it and carried on getting wasted and running around having a good time..."

A month later, the first Guns N' Roses album, 'Appetite For Destruction', was released and the world became a better place for it.

Howard Johnson knew what he was talking about when he gave 'Appetite For Destruction' five big Ks in Kerrang! and acclaimed it as a classic of its time.

'Start licking those lips, sleaze pleazers,' wrote Hojo, 'for rock 'n' roll is being most definitely wrestled front the hands of the bland, the jaded, the tired, the worn, and thrust back into the hands of the real raunch rebels.'

And there was more: 'It's not pretty, but then again life ain't pretty and it's the X-rated stuff that seems curiously appealing.

The 12 songs on 'Appetite For Destruction' run the gamut of topics closest to Axis grimy little heart - fear, isolation, sex as violence, sex as death, sex as love, sex as s.e.x.

'Welcome To The Jungle' was about being a smalltown boy arriving in the big city - in this instance LA, but all big cities are equally applicable - for the very first time and about what he finds there.

'Mr Brownstone' was about what it's like to be a heroin addict: 'I used to do a little but a little wouldn't do it,' bawls Axl, 'So the little got more and more...'

Axl had watched first Izzy and then Slash succumb for months at a time to the deadly junk; and he'd see them then have to fight to kick it in time for recording to begin on the album.

Also, from having dabbled somewhat with the substance himself, albeit with more discretion than his guitarists, Axl spoke from first hand experience.

'Out Ta Get Me' was inspired by Axl's days in correction homes and time spent in weekend jailhouses in Indiana.

'My Michelle' was a true story about a friend still close to the band.

"I met her when I was 13," Axl confessed in an interview with Blast in 1988. "I went out with her later on, and we ran into a hassle and I wrote this song. But it was basically the truth and it says some nice stuff...

"We have countless friends that were very, very close friends who got messed up in some way. The girl 'Rocket Queen' was written about, for example, her life is history," he went on.

"I mean, she's alive but there's not much left to it. I have been in LA for the last seven years and I lost five or six friends that I hung out with every day. It's a very sad thing..."

Your daddy works in porno
Now that mommy's not around
She used to love her heroin
But now she's underground..,'
- 'My Michelle'

IN JULY '87, Guns N' Roses set out on the road in America to promote their album supporting the Cult.

"It was a good tour for us," Slash told me. "Both bands got on real well together, and they were nicer to us than most headlining bands are expected  to be.

"It was a good start."

In August the band ran into Arouble in Britain over the `controversial nature' of the sleeve to 'Appetite For Destruction'.

Said cover depicts what appears to be some sort of rape scene involving a robot in a dirty brown coat and a human female with her knickers around her ankles and one breast exposed, the expression on her face aghast.

WH Smith placed an outright ban on the album being stocked in any of their stores, and the Virgin Megastores refused to Allow a window display. In America, where the album was brought out with an entirely different cover - contact sheets of on and off stage poses - there had been no such trouble. A quick compromise was made in the UK and the album was made available in both covers, thus allowing the record back on to the shelves at Smiths and into the windows of Virgin.

In September, the Gunners had planned to return to Britain for a proper tour as guests of Aerosmith. However, Tyler and the boys pulled out at the 11th hour. GN'R thought about it and decided what the hell, they would headline their own tour of Britain, and new plans were laid to bring Guns N' Roses over, on a package with fellow LA rabble rousers Faster Pussycat, for a five-night run at select theatres and concert halls in Britain.

I caught the tour in Manchester at the Apollo, and again on the last night at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Because of deadlines, I reviewed the Manchester show for Kerrang! and heaped barrel loads of praise on their performance, but it was the London show that really did it to me.

Just watching them bring down the hammer on 'Rocket Queen', Slash riding that Les Paul like a hot rod, Axl swaying like a cobra behind the mike, the rest of the band leaning like scarecrows into the beat, it was obvious to me and the rest of the Hammy 0 that we were staring eyeball-to-eyeball with HISTORY IN THE MAKING and we drank it all in with a swoon.

'Welcome To The Jungle' had been released as the band's second single prior to their arrival in the UK in October '87. It came backed with a scorchin' snaggle-toothed version of hoary old AGDC's 'Whole Lotta Rosie', recorded live at the Marquee on a mobile unit by British producer Vic Maile, later mixed down in the studio in LA by Mike Clink.

A video had been shot in LA to accompany the 'Welcome To The Jungle' single. Arlett Vereecke - a journalist and independent PR for GN'R who had been hired by band manager Alan Niven the previous Summer - recalls being at the video shoot and being, "Totally, but totally bowled over with Axl's performance.

"I watched him work and I thought, 'My God, this kid's a star!' The last time I'd been struck by a rock 'n' roll singer had been by Dave Lee Roth in the early days of Van Halen. It produced the same kind of shock.

"After that, everyone I met I told, 'Guns N' Roses are gonna sell a million copies of this album, you wait and see!'."

In November, the Gunners got their biggest break yet when Whitesnake dropped out of the support slot on the Motley Crue US tour in order to begin headlining their own tour there, and Motley offered the gig to Guns N' Roses.

"That was the craziest tour we'd ever been on," said Slash afterwards, in something of an understatement.

Rumour has it that both bands were constantly trying to outdo each other in the party-hearty stakes.

Steven Adler broke his fist in a bar-room brawl and was replaced for the remainder of the dates by Cinderella drummer Fred Coury. In New York, the band had Dave Mustaine of Megadeth thrown off the stage after Mustaine had walked on unannounced with a guitar in his hand, when the band played a one-off headline date at the Ritz.

"We didn't know who he was," explained Slash afterwards. "We just thought it was some weirdo out of the crowd."

At the end of the tour, rumour has it that Nikki Sixx suffered a heroin overdose and Motley Criie were forced to cancel a British tour.

Meantime, 'Appetite For Destruction' had finally cracked the Billboard Hot 100 and was headed like a rocket for the Top 40.

Much more of this, said Alan Niven, and they might even have a gold record on their hands...

`I'm on the Nightrain
I love that stuff
I'm on the Nightrain
I can never get enough
I'm on the Nightrain
Never to return...
-'Nighttrain'

THE MOMENTUM really began to gather force, however, as 1988 got into its stride.

By the time the band were out headlining theatres in America with Zodiac Mindwarp in tow on the bill, 'Appetite .. .' had already gone gold (over 500,000 US sales) and was looking more and more like it was on its way to platinum.

"It was weird watching it go up the charts," said Slash. "I used to get sent the charts every week - and every week it
seemed to climb a little higher. At first we couldn't believe we'd even made the 100. Then it was wow, we've made the Top 40! Now we're waiting to see if it goes Top 20 ..."

He wouldn't have to wait too long.

By the time Guns N' Roses had joined up with Iron Maiden for their Summer jaunt across the American arenas, 'Sweet Child 0' Mine' had been released as the band's third single and the album had broken the million mark and stood poised to creep into the US Top 10.

As the Maiden tour worked its way down the West Coast, the video for 'Sweet Child ...' began to pick up heavy rotation on MTV and the band found themselves with a hit single on their hands.

Despite the fact that they were forced to cut short their Californian stint with Maiden - Axl lost his voice and was ordered by his doctors to take to his bed and rest his voice completely for three weeks -the dam had already burst for Guns N' Roses as 'Sweet Child' slugged it out to the Number One spot in the US charts, followed hard on its heels by the album which eventually made it to Number One, 13 months after its release and already three million copies into the bargain!

The rest, as they say, is histoire, my little mascara snakes...

'Take me back to the Paradise City
Where the grass is green, And the girls are pretty
Oh Lord, won't ya please
Take me home…
- 'Paradise City'

THE LAST six months have been well documented in these pages already and should still be fresh enough in your minds for me not to have to go into another blow-by-blow account here: they toured America with Aerosrnith and earned the plaudit Double Bill Of The Year; they played at Domngton and two kids were killed in the rush during their set; recently they released 'Lies! The Sex, The Drugs, The Violence, The Shocking Truth', or 'GN'R Lies' if you prefer, though I always liked the original title best. And if you haven't been playing that to death lately then I don't know what you think you've been doing.

And now . . . Well, now they're supposed to be in the rehearsal studio in LA writing new material for their second full studio album.

'Appetite For Destruction' has sold nearly eight million copies in America, and a further 250,000 in Britain alone. Last month, Guns N' Roses became the first band this decade to have two releases -'Appetite . and'... Lies' - in the US Top Five album charts at the same time.

And just three weeks ago they swept the Kerrang! readers' poll!

Where the Most Dangerous Band In The World go from here is anybody's guess.

They're the kind of band that attract rumours all the time. Slash has got AIDS, Axl is dead, Steven's become a nuclear physicist ... Watch out soon for an exclusive interview with Slash ... live like a suicide from LA.

Sordid details fol-low-ing...

With thanx to Arlett Vereecke for invaluable additional material.


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Re: 1989.03.DD - Kerrang! - Story of Guns N' Roses Pt 1, 2, 3

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:03 pm

Just finished typing out this long article. I used an automatic OCR thingy (https://www.onlineocr.net/) but it does make quite a few mistakes that I might have missed.

Anyway, this is the first long article written by Mick Wall, I suppose, and he would later flesh it out into whole books. In this article he leans heavily on older interviews, but he did talk directly to Slash and also to Arlette Vernecke.

The article itself presents a condensed version of what was known about the band at the time, and is sober enough. He obviously is huge fan. I suppose that it was in later articles he would write things that would piss off Axl.
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Re: 1989.03.DD - Kerrang! - Story of Guns N' Roses Pt 1, 2, 3

Post by Blackstar on Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:05 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
The article itself presents a condensed version of what was known about the band at the time, and is sober enough. He obviously is huge fan. I suppose that it was in later articles he would write things that would piss off Axl.

It seems it was an interview (the last one Axl did with Mick Wall in 1990) that pissed off Axl and started the whole thing with Mick Wall as well as with the press contracts in 1991. And subsequently some articles and the book Wall wrote in 1991 where he used that interview.

I haven't read his 1991 book, but the two more recent ones are not good - especially his Axl biography is very bad.
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