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SoulMonster

Interview with Steven - July 2, 2011

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Interview with Steven - July 2, 2011

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:28 am

Thanks to fatgirlsloverocktoo for giving us this exclusive interview with Steven Adler!

‘Appetite’ Strikes Again. Re-energizing the Masses.

A common belief is that one should never meet their idol, as chances are it is going to result in disappointment.

Anyone who has ever watched VH1 or MTV would feel like they already had a pretty good knowledge of the inner workings of Steven Adler, so on climbing in to the Adler’s Appetite tour bus, currently about to finish the US leg of the ‘Good to be Alive’ tour, I had an idea of what was ahead. In truth I felt a little ill, hoping against all odds that the man who was once a walking caricature symbolizing all of rock n rolls demons, would be straight, happy and back on top of the world where he belonged.

As stated on the dust jacket of his NY Times Bestselling autobiography ‘My Appetite for Destruction, Sex & Drugs & Guns N’ Roses’, Steven Adler has suffered through 28 od's, 3 botched suicides, 2 heart attacks and a debilitating stroke, yet the man I met looked fit and healthy – all be it slightly frayed from a long days travel, and greeted me like an old friend.

Joining us for the interview was Stevens longtime friend and current band mate, another rocker with as fine a head of hair as ‘back in the day’, Mr. Chip Z’ Nuff.

Adler always knew he was destined for rock stardom, telling his schoolmates so at the tender age of 11. “It’s just what I always wanted to be. I learned later on in life that you gotta watch what you wish for, but it’s something I wished for and I’ve always believed in myself and what I was doing. My grandfather wanted me to be a baker like him, so he was a little disappointed, but once it became successful he was all ‘ah good job Steve’.”

There must have been something in the water at Bancroft Junior High in Hollywood, as Adler befriended not only former band mate and lifelong friend Slash, but also Michael Peter Balzary (aka Flea) in between causing general mischief. “We were buddies and we all hung out at the same school together. After school we all hung out at this little elementary school in our neighborhood and rode bmx bikes and skateboards. I just recorded with him (Flea) and Slash about a year and a half ago on Slash’s latest record. It was good because we all grew up together, and then 35 years later we all got to play together and record something. After I met Slash it took about a week before we started ditching school every day, so we didn’t hang out there very much.”

Has he ever been back, ya know, to give an inspiring speech to the kiddies? “Oh no no, just driven by there, there’s nothing there for me.”

Notorious for retaining his childlike smile and enthusiasm, I asked Adler if he was still in contact with some of his old touring buddies and fellow LA residents, Tommy lee and Nikki Sixx, and what it was like to relate to each other as husbands, fathers (although Adler has no children, he plays the role of father to two very adorable dogs) and adults. “Nooooooo none of us are grownups! We might be OLD but we’re still not grown-ups, for some god forsaken reason rock n roll keeps us young. I just did a thing for Nikki and Motley Crue – a video thing about my experiences with them, but yeah, as far as things go we are still in touch with each other. ..We’re not abusing ourselves and we’re not in self-destructive mode anymore. It’s really great to see Slash and his kids, that’s really neat. They’re two little mini versions of him and he is just a dad, he’s a good dad. I was really happy to see that when I was hanging out at his house with him on thanksgiving, it was so great, he’s a really good daddy. I was trying to get the kids all nuts, yelling and throwing food and things and Slash was like ‘calm down Stevie, settle down stop it’.” Everybody has a crazy Uncle Right? “Yeah I’m definitely the crazy uncle.”

Having climbed into Tommy Lees rotating aerial drum cage during the Crues Dr. Feelgood tour in 1990, would Adler ever construct his own crazy drumming contraption? “When a big show comes up I would like to get these gloves and these little pants and do the hand jive and then walk by the audience and slap everybody’s hands and go brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… I haven’t really done that but it’s a crazy idea… it doesn’t seem unreasonable. .. It’s not a cage spinning round in circles like Tommy lee, but it’s different. Imagine how many drummers have done a drum solo as a hand jive!”

Unfortunately for Adler, Mr. Z’Nuff mentioned at this point that he had seen Mick Fleetwood with “a contraption on his chest with the same technique as Steven is talking about” and how great it was. “All triggers on this little box on his chest, about 4 or 5 years ago. He stopped the whole show and stood up and he walked through the crowd hitting himself.” “Aw damn I thought that was my idea,” chimed Adler, a huge smile on his face while shaking his fist in the air, “Damn you Mick Fleetwood! Damn that was my idea!”

I asked Adler if bands still pranked each other at the end of tours as they used to. “No it’s too messy. ..One time when we toured with Motley Crue, in our last show with them, we did so much cocaine on that tour that they, when we were playing they poured flour over me. Like it was cocaine falling from the lights. Sweat and flour make dough, and it sits in your hair for weeks and weeks.” Chip Z’Nuff mumbled something about drugs, and I got the impression that maybe his band (Enuff's Enuff) did not partake in such activities. Perhaps as they were not fuelled in part by as many mind altering substances? “Oh my band was on drugs too, I just wasn’t myself. My band did just as much cocaine as Guns N’ Roses for sure. One time Def Leppard through a bunch of stuff all over us on a tour – they came up, wrecked the show, of course, that’s part of the whole thing. At the very end of the tour onstage, last song of the night. Cheap trick did it to me too, came up and threw eggs at us.” Did he get them back? “Oh yes but I would rather not mention what I did. It’s unprintable.” This was rewarded an enormous belly laugh by Adler, “I love that, no further questions – leave it as just unprintable.”

A particularly moving chapter of Adler’s book describes him smacking a completely purple Nikki Sixx multiple times across the face (all while wearing an arm cast to protect a broken little finger) to wake him up from a drug induced coma, which makes it clear that were it not for Steven Adler, Nikki Sixx’s chances of being around today are slim to none. I wondered if it was something the pair could now joke about and put down to ‘crazy old times’, or if there was pain in such memories. “It is never going to be crazy old times. That was the past, right now I am focusing on Adler’s Appetite, enjoying what I am doing and just thankful for being able to be a part of Guns n Roses like I was. It was a wonderful experience in my life.” I took the complete ignoration to mean that of course it is still painful, and quite rightly so.

Adler states repeatedly throughout ‘My Appetite for Destruction’ how joining a band is like gaining a family, and despite all their past troubles, still refers to his old band mates as brothers. I was curious to know if he had formed such a strong relationship with his new band members. “Oh yeah with everybody, even my drum tech… our merch girl, we’re a family and we all get along, which is very hard to do - to get 8, 9 people together to live on a bus and not want to kill each other, it’s a very special thing. We sit around for 22.5 hours, we play for 90 minutes and we get crazy sitting around, but all that energy to get up and play, once we get on stage that’s when I realize what we are working for and then everything comes together. We are resting, doing interviews or relaxing, 'cause its rock n roll... it’s not easy doing one night stands, especially in a rock n roll band.”

Having been through several incarnations, it is clear Adler sees this current lineup as the strongest yet. Introduced to Adler several years ago by his (Adler’s) brother, Chip Z’ Nuff seems to serve as grounding and comforting figure, as well as being a formidable musician and presenting a visual flashback to ‘the grand old days’ when hard rock and hair metal were barely distinguishable. “My brother knew I was a fan of Chip and I always wanted to play with him. When I had the opportunity to put a band together he was the first person I thought of.” Does this signal the end of Enuff’s Enuff – Chips band of 27 years? “No we were together, but as soon as I heard I could play with Steven I was very excited. I’m a huge fan, and once I got a chance to meet him I fell in love with him, I love the way he thinks, I love his musical vocabulary – he’s a real rock star, and that lacks in this business ok. You don’t find that very often out here. Guys think they’re rock stars, but he’s the real mackoy and I gravitated towards that and we got tighter and tighter. We’re strong together, we both play our instruments well and we have the same common denominator, to go out every night and bring an arena show to anywhere we are playing. Yeah whether it’s for 10 people or for ten thousand people it’s always the same. You’re dealing with veterans here.”

Lead vocalist Patrick Stone has undeniably one of the hardest jobs in rock, taking the part of renowned front man, Axl Rose. Having been blessed with amazing genes, staggeringly powerful vocal chords and a swagger all of his own, Stone quickly brings an air of ownership to the old classics, and belts out Adler’s Appetite originals with definite authority. Lonny Johnson and Michael Thomas on guitar, both longtime veterans of the LA music scene complete the outfit, and the show brings back all the excitement of old school rock and the hedonistic attitudes that go with it.

After wrapping up the US tour, a European tour is planned for the end of (European) Summer and plans for a trip to Australia are being sketched out as we speak. “We are hoping to go before the year is up,” states Adler. “ Yes yes, Slash was telling me that a festival he just toured with (Soundwave) was great. I would like to be a part of that. Definitely we are going to be a part of something out there in Australia this year.” “We do Europe and it’s a two hour show,” says Mr. Z’Nuff. “It’s ‘An Evening with Adler’s Appetite’, with no support band… and South America is even longer as there are just so many fans there.”

Being perched in the strange position of having played these songs to stadium capacity crowds in the past, yet touring with a spanking new band, I wondered who Adler’s Appetite may be able to jump on the touring circuit with. “We would tour with anybody,” says Chips. “Unfortunately the band, without trying to sound unbiased, is so powerful the songs that Steven co-wrote with his band mates, that we do in concert, that every band we open for never has us back again. It’s too good… and if you don’t believe me come to the show and see it to understand. We have been out with Docken and Great White, Skid Row, La Guns, Brett Michaels, Jackal… and they never call us back again. We love the guys and we love playing with ‘em, but it’s too powerful, it’s hard to follow the songs, I don’t care what band you are.”
Surrounded by solid new band mates and refreshed from a recently completed second stint with Dr. Drew on Celebrity Rehab, Adler seems stronger and happier than ever. “Course I am,” Adler states, a big grin spread across his chops. “I get to do what I have always dreamed of doing and I love doing it. I’m thankful I’m still doing it. There are a lot of musicians that I know, they’re not working this summer. I’m working. We started this interview off with ‘I love being part of the band and having great guys that I really enjoy working with, and living with.’ That’s why there’s been so many incarnations of the band, as certain people just weren’t working out.”

With only a 3 track original EP currently available, (featuring 2 different members), I asked Adler if these tracks were going to be reworked for the upcoming album “We are going to rewrite it, and re-record it. Now that we have a stronger vocalist, and a stronger guitar player, the songs are much better. Before we recorded it how we wanted to be, but we kinda let the guys who were producing it have a little bit more say than we should’ve. Se we are re-recording everything.”

Both Adler and Mr. Z’Nuff were adamant that they were not going to ‘throw an Axl’. “No no no… we will have the record out by the end of this year. Before the end of this year, for sure. Oh no no… 17 years to make a record is ridiculous, that’s too much pressure. In 17 years I would lose my mind.

As Mr. Z’Nuff knows, the only way to support an album nowadays is to get back on the road, and at this point I can see that the idea of more touring, more fans and doing what he loves best is exciting for Adler. “That’s the only thing holding us back really, having our own record. I mean we have the singles, which help us a lot, but we need to have the cover and the music and the liner notes and pictures, we have to have our own product.”

Adler takes great pride in the fact that the troubled details of his past are helping some of his readers and fans deal with issues prevalent to their own lives. “It’s nice to help people with something you are doing. I wrote it, so I could get my story out of my system. I was very honest, I took full responsibility for everything that’s happened in my life with the band, with GNR and those guys, and basically you know what I did? I wrote the book, I was honest and all that, then I got home, I built a big fire in my fireplace and I threw it in the fireplace and I burned it. That’s my past, I want to move on and right now I live for right now, today, and believe in the future.”

Happy that the rest of the classic GNR lineup lads are working on successful projects, Adler does not discount the possibility of how “cool it would be” if the 5 of them ever put their egos aside and got together in one room. “It would be amazing for all the fans, loyal to a fault for the last 25 years. People still want to hear what they are used to hearing. This is the closest thing, Adler’s Appetite. When we are on stage it reminds me of back in the day when we were playing clubs and theaters when we first started out, that excitement, that anything goes attitude, it’s wonderful it’s a great feeling.”

If their live show, the current single ‘Alive’ and the two other original tracks are anything to go by, the new album promises to kick proverbial rock ass in a big way. If Adler decides to pen a second book in a decade or two, here’s hoping it will be full of tales of success and bring to light the importance of the strongest mixture of all – great music and greater friendships… and cross fingers… the world’s biggest reunion.

For further information and tour dates, visit http://www.adlersappetiteonline.com

Catch Steven Adler on the new season of Celebrity Rehab, Sunday @9EST on VH1.
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