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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2017.12.10 - GN'R Central - Interview with Arlett Vereecke (former GN'R publicist)

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2017.12.10 - GN'R Central - Interview with Arlett Vereecke (former GN'R publicist) Empty 2017.12.10 - GN'R Central - Interview with Arlett Vereecke (former GN'R publicist)

Post by Blackstar Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:50 pm



Transcript:

Interviewer: So I guess, you know, after you're working with Dave [Roth] and you get a buzz of Guns, how are you introduced to Guns N' Roses as a band?

Arlett Vereecke: Appetite wasn't released when I met them, they had just had done the independent CD, you know, just to get, you know, to the press and whatever. I was on tour with Dave Roth at that time and I came home and I wasn't aware of Guns, but their first manager, Alan Niven, and I had a big falling out over Great White. Because I didn't want to work with Great White and I thought I did Alan a favor by saying it's not the type of band I'm looking for. It doesn't mean they're bad band, it's just not what I wanted. I said, "No, you know you're better off with somebody who is a big fan of them rather than me. It's not my cup of tea." Alan took it personally, got very upset and didn't speak to me or whatever. Then he got stuck with Guns N' Roses, who he didn't like [laughs]. So he needed... The Marquee dates were set up, and he had nobody to really work them, the band, their record company wasn't interested in them, nobody was interested in them. I happened to be on a break in LA from the Dave Roth tour. I had like a couple weeks off or something. And a friend of mine, a journalist called Sylvie Simmons, who's a very good friend of mine, happened to stop by. She's also a good friend of Alan Niven at that time. So she came to my house, we were gonna go somewhere, I don't know if we're going to club or whatever, but she played a tape, and she had a tape in the tape recorder. She knew I wasn't going to do anything without Alan Niven. So she played the tape and I was getting ready to go out and I heard this and I thought, "This is very good, who is that?" And she sort of whispered in a low voice, "Oh, it's a local band," and I said, "Oh, okay." So it got [?] and she kept turning it up and I said, "Man, that is really good. Who is that?" I said, "Local band? What local band?" And she said, "Oh, it's a band called Guns N' Roses," I said, "Oh, this is really good. Who's their manager?" And she mumbled something and I said, "Who?? And she mumbled and I didn't get it. And I said, "Who is their manager?" She said, "Alan Niven." No way, no way, no way. So the next day I got a call from Alan Niven and he said, "Can we put our differences aside, can we talk?" I said, "OK," he said, "What you doing tonight?" I said, "I'm going to the release party of Motley Crue's Girls, Girls, Girls, and he said, "If you [?], it's down the street from me, you can come to the strip club with me for the release party." I said, "I'll be there at 5." So he came to my house at 5:00 PM with two bottles of Cristal champagne, to set up the night. He tried to persuade me and said, "You know, they're crazy, they're right up your alley, it's right what you like and," you know, "I know you like the music, so at least give them a shot, talk to them, whatever, or at least take them on from London, just for the London gigs," and said, "Well, I don't really have time because I have to go back out, I will have to reschedule things, it's going to be very difficult for me to do this." So we went to the Motley Crue gig, drank some more and then by the time I came out, Slash, Duff and Steve Adler were outside waiting for me. And they took me out to another bar to make sure we were very drunk. So I decided to go with them, not only to go to London with them, but to do it for free. For $5 a day, I shouldn't say free, $5 a day was my allowance. So it all went on $5 a day and my credit card. That was to start.

Interviewer: Wow. I would have too. Now, you mentioned the Marquee. Everybody on the planet who is a fan of this band wants to know, and since you were there and you have first hand knowledge, was the show videotaped?

AV: Not officially by no one. Not officially. Somebody taped it. It was not official. Don't forget, when we came to London, nobody knew who they were, and it was not like a big deal. We have two weeks... I have two weeks to promote it before the shows. So I said to the guys, we all stayed in an apartment together - that has since not been rented out to anyone - and I said, "OK, let me go and see what the record company's got. I'll see if I can work with them on things. If not, I'll do it myself." So the record company, number one, was not aware of who Guns N' Roses was in England. It Geffen. It was Warner Brothers at the time, Geffen was distributed by Warner Brothers. And they had no interest. And they had set up for the three weeks when we're there, they wanted us just to do some local stencils. Do you know what a stencil is?

Interviewer: Yeah.

AV: They had like three stencil magazines set up for us.  And I said, "No," I rejected, "Don't want it. If you can't do better than that, don't worry about it just give me an office and I'll come and make my phone calls here," because we didn't have a budget. And I said, "I'll do it myself." I called all my press people and said, "Listen, I don't bullshit people. If I don't like it, I will tell you. This is what you need to hear. This is what you have to concentrate on." So we we took them out, drank with everybody, I invited everybody to our apartment, set up the interviews. Some of them went a little bit wrong because of the word "fuck", too much used at that time. And I decided... I made a deal with the girl who worked there at the marketing, I said, "You pay for my booze and I'll introduce you to everybody you need to know." She was new there. So I used to go to Warner Brothers and she used her budget on buying us booze. So I used to go like I was pregnant with my leather jacket with all the booze under it because we had only $5 a day and they can't do anything without booze, so I said, "I'm going to liquor them up." So I used to get all their bread, whatever was in the kitchen at Geffen, I took.

So at that time we were so well done and at one point it was an incident that happened with Warner Brothers. The first Marquee show... before the Marquee show, I took Slash with me to Warner Brothers. I said, "Some of us have to go and shake hands because this is not happening here." I said, "Come with me. I'll introduce you. Don't be scared, a few suits [?], it's fine." So Slash and I walked in there, scared them.... Axl went also the day before to shake hands with people. I got him there and she said to me something like.... Oh, she introduced me to her boss, "And this is Arlett, she's with Mötley Crüe." And I was like, "Is she hallucinating? What is this?"

We invited a bunch of people from Sounds and Kerrang! and all these big rock magazine from England to the show. First show comes up and the review comes out in Sounds that says, "Axl sang like he had only one ball." So Axl said, "What are we gonna do about it?" I said, "I don't know, you tell me and I'll do it." And he said, "Let's go and piss on his desk. Can you set that up?" I said, "Sure," I said, "This is what I'll do, I'll go to Warners and I'll get you a taxi at their expense. You go to Sounds and I'll get somebody inside there to find out if the guy is there. So then you walk in and piss on his desk and I'll have a taxi waiting outside there, we go back." That was all set up, but Warner Brothers somehow got wind of it, so they said that, "If you have any influence with this band you will stop this nonsense." I said, "I can't, I paid for the taxis and that was it." I was done. [?]

So the second day of the show, it was a week later, we went back to Warners, Slash and I went to Warners, and we walked out and they still didn't know what they looked like, really. You know, [?] 80s, it was before the video age and cell phones, whatever. So I walked past the Marquee and there was a line around the corner and Slash said, "Oh there show tonight. Should we go?" I said, "Let's find out." So we walked up to some people and said, "Hey, who's playing tonight?" They said, "Oh, we're waiting for tickets for an American band, Guns N' Roses." And we just stood there, said, "Oh, okay then," and then we just laughing and "Oh my God," so we knew we did it. You know, it was a line around the corner and it just went uphill from there.

Interviewer: So after that gig and that impression, you have an immediate focus on them and if you think that this band was just gonna knock down doors and kick everybody's ass along the way.

AV: I knew that when I heard their first tape. I said to Slash at the time when he was looking to move in with me because he had no place to live, and said, "You can live with me until you sell a million records." So he thought he was set for life. So he moved stock, lock and barrel, snakes, rats, you name it. It all came in here. So he thought it was a joke. I said, "No, no, I'm not kidding you," you know. So I called him on it when he sold a million records, "It's time to move." [laughs]

Interviewer: Did he go quickly or did he take his time?

AV: Oh, well, Slash goes quickly, and comes back, you know, it's like, "Oh well, home away from home." The whole Hudson family has keys to my house, so they come and go as they please.

Interviewer: They don't call him Slash for nothing.

AV: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, that's true. Because the first time he lived here, and he lived here in the beginning, he met a girl on Sunset and he wanted to impress her, I guess, to pick her up. So he'd come home. She didn't believe he was Slash, so he'd come home and said, "Arlett, tell who I am." I said, "Saul," he said, "No, the other name," I said, "Saul," and, "No! My other name!" I said, "Peter?" [laughs] So he lost the girl and I did it because he used to do that, when he was growing up he hated his name, so his mother would get phone calls and they'd say, "Is Peter there?" "Is Mark there?" and she said, "No, no Mark here," "No Peter," because he hated his nam, he just gave everybody another name. So I played it back on him when he tried to pick up the girl.

Interviewer: That is a great story. What would you think is your most memorable Guns show? If you can go back and relive one night?

AV: You know, it's hard to tell. Maybe just, I would say Redstone [?] but that was a bit sad actually. It's hard to tell because I saw them night after night, usually, and I have to say they were just unbelievable, night after night. Axl would take that stage and my hair in the back of my neck would stand up. And when I told him that he thought I was joking, I said, "I am not joking." I'm not the only person who says that, you know, but he was so magnetic as a front man, you know, and Slash and Duff. It was just unbelievable. Probably the best band since I said I know of since Van Halen came on the scene. Different but definitely nothing better.

Interviewer: So one question or, like, was what years did you work with Guns N' Roses from like, was it from '87 to '90 or-

AV: '87 to '92.

Interviewer: OK, so during that entire time, were you always on tour with them-

AV: Yeah.

Interviewer: -or were you-

AV: I was on tour with all the international tours, yes.

Interviewer: So one question I had is, because you mentioned you work for yourself, that way you would be able to work with whatever bands you wanted. So what is, I know they also had Bryn Bridenthal who was like Geffen's publicist. So like-

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: -just I'm not familiar with how the music industry works, but like how would like your duties be different than like Bryn's duties from day-to-day stuff for Guns?

AV: Well. The difference is, number one, she's a record company person, so she goes by the rules of the record companies. I don't. I don't have to go, you know, go via Geffen, to the meetings at Geffen, to the A&R, to the this... I see things the way they go. I go to band, "Can we do them?" Because I've known them since before they were famous. Everything that revolved, revolved around them at my house, not at Geffen, not at management. Most of time it came to my house. Whatever happened, came to my house. There was a saying with Dave Roth, whatever happened I had didn't have to deal with management so much I just had to let them know what I'm doing. If they had an objection, they would let me know or if they have a concern about anything. That was the same with Guns. So if I set things up and I went to Europe, or I went to Japan, or wherever, I went with them, there was no problem of, "Oh, what are you doing? Is that OK with record company?" The record company said, "Yes," We said, "No," we said, "Fuck off," and we went for it. So that's a big difference than having to play with the record company. Bryn was also very good friends with Alan Niven, which I ended up not to be for a long time, again, he thought I had too much influence on the band and you know, it was a little bit weird when he got fired. He showed up here, I said, "Oh shit."

Interviewer: Oh, no.

AV: Yeah. Why here? Cuz Slash [?] called me on a Sunday. I'll never forget. And Sylvie Simmons was here again, she was in town and we're staying here and she said, "Hey, have you talked to Alan Niven?" I said, "Why are you asking me that? Is it..." "Oh, I just wondered if you talked to him." I said, "OK, OK, OK, stop this shit. What's going on?" Because he's on his way here to pick up Sylvie for lunch. She said, "Oh no, no, nothing." I said, "Oh my God, you fired him, didn't you?" She said, "Oh no no, I didn't say anything." I said, "Oh shit, he's on his way, [?], why did you tell me that now? What am I supposed to say, 'How are you today'?" I mean, so I just run in the office in the back house. I have an office in my back house. And then I said to Sylvie, "Don't call me when you see a telephone, I'm not here." But of course she didn't want to be alone with him either and said, "Oh Alan is here!" "Oh shit."

Interviewer: Oh, so when one question we got from the chat from the fans wanted to know, as a publicist, did you at all have to deal a lot with like MTV in terms of getting them on the air and getting their stuff played in the early days?

AV: In Europe... outside of America, yes.

Interviewer: OK, so-

AV: Outside America, I did everything. Inside America, it went to [?] Geffen.

Interviewer: OK, so was there-

Interviewer: - in the beginning Europe embraced them faster than the United States?

AV: Yes, we started off in Europe, yes, because it came back, once we did the Marquee shows there was such a whole press thing on them, it was everywhere because you know in London you have also the international press is based there. So it took off from there and it got so much attention that by the time it came back here... We came back here... Right, we did two shows at the Marquee, I think, back in May of '87. And Appetite came out July 21st of that year. So Appetite was not released. I just had copies of it with me in Europe. But by the time it was released, September, we did Welcome to the Jungle video and it was already, you know, going crazy everywhere. But that immediately started after all the press came out in Europe.

Interviewer: Speaking of the press. Speaking of the press, do you feel that the media in the beginning treated them fairly or was the band more like, "Any publicity is great publicity and we'll just eat it, we'll just savor it"?

AV: No, I think in a way it was lucky that I was fronting them because my reputation was solid, theirs was not. And whoever I spoke to, managers or people, they all said, "Stay away from them," "They're trouble, "You don't know them," "You won't deal with them," "They're heroin addicts." And there were, like trouble, but you know, and drugs [?] problem, we'll deal with that as it goes along. But because I fronted them, especially in England as well, they would not have gotten the attention if I hadn't been there. Because without a few little articles on the, you know, a stencil magazine, you're not going to break out there. But I think. you know, depressed ditch at some points if I'm pretty bad thing, but I can't recall that there was really bad as soon as we got back from England because they had to go through me, if they wanted to get them, they had to go to me and I had my rules and I was not going to take the shit from people. And it was actually good. I mean, I cannot recall that we had very bad press. The drugs were always, of course, an issue. But, you know, I've managed to get away from that quite a bit.

Interviewer: So was it was it difficult like as a publicist, like, I mean, they were young guys and they were, you know, gonna become successes almost overnight? Was it difficult dealing with them, you know, some of the guys who have their own addictions? I mean, it seems like it invited a lot of bad press and focus on the band.

AV: Well, it did for the addiction, yes, But you know, the music was so powerful. It just conquered all. In all honesty. And yes, it was sometimes difficult to deal with their addiction problems, but they hid it pretty well from me, you know, I was just talking to a musician who was here, [?] Holmes, actually, I said, "It's strange, I never thought of it, but nobody ever offered me drugs in my whole career." I don't know why, I work with all the drug bands that were available and nobody ever offered me drugs, I said, "What is that?" But yeah, I never, you know, Slash I caught doing heroin at my house and I beat the crap out of him. So that was a good enough reason to stop at that time [laughs].

Interviewer: That time Slash was living in your house, wasn't he, when he when you caught him using.

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: So did you like, did he, did you kick him out of your house or did you guys have a talk, and then he agreed to stop after that?

AV: Oh, really? [laughs] No, no, no. Basically I was very upset when I found out because, you know, I know what drugs are, I know their names and I am very familiar with all terminology. But when it's somebody you're very close to, and Slash to me was like a little brother to me, for some reason you switch it in your head. People would say, "You know he's on crack, right?" I said, "[?]." You know, and if it was anybody else, I would say, "Are you nuts?" You know, "You don't know what they're talking about." And I didn't until one guy came here one day and he said, there was some.... A girl came over and then she walked straight out and he said, "You know what just happened here, don't you?" I said, "Yeah, she brings some menus for lunch." He said, "Oh no, no." [laughs] "You are a little bit off here. This girl is his heroin dealer." I said, "Nah." He said, "Yes." So he said, "Do you want to see where she hides it? Because I used to be one. I know what it's like." So when he went out, actually it was a little bit later, Adam, his guitar tech, came to pick him up to get his first car he bought. And before he left, he said to me, "Can you make me cappuccinos?" I said, "Sure." So I was already wary of that. So I made them cappuccino and I had a cappuccino. And he left. And this person said, "I'll show you where he hides his drugs." So we opened it and says, "It's under his mattress, guaranteed, and in the drawer." But you know, it's his room, I don't go in his room to check where he hides his things, that's not my thing. So by then I found 80 needles and a brown bag of heroin. And I was furious, beyond furious. So he came back like 10 minutes later, and without the car, I said, "Where's the car?" He said, "Your cappuccino was bad, I'm sick." I said, "Is that right?" He said, "Yes." "That's funny, I had the same cappuccino, I'm not sick." He said, "I'm gonna lay down," and I said, "You do that." So half hour later I went to check and his lips turned blue, so I called Axl and I said, "You have to come over here because if I find him dead, he's gonna be double dead because I'm gonna [?] kick the shit out of him." He said, "Oh, he's been blue before," I said, "Well, not in my house," and I said, "I'll keep you posted, but I will strangle him if he shows that he's going to die." So meanwhile I called Duff, Adler, Izzy. Managers were all gone, they were out of town, so they came here with the crew guys, and we're just waiting for him to walk to wake up. So that was from 6 o'clock and he woke up at 12. So he woke up all dressed up, top hat included. He said, "Hey guys, what you doing here?" And then it hit him that I called them and he pushed the door open to the kitchen, said, "Hey, did you put your foot in your mouth?" and I said, "Yes, let me put it in yours." And I had 17 snakes in the living room that were his. I said, "You touch one of those snakes or even open a cage and I will fucking kill you. Those are now my snakes. You don't touch them, you don't come near them." I said, "I have 18 needles, you say the wrong thing to me and I'll shoot you up myself." I said, "Your guitars, they're all mine, don't even try." And he said, "Well, but!" And I was thought to beat on him with a frying pan. [laughs] So Axl actually grab my ankles when he saw me going for the needles and pulled me off of him and said, "You gotta go." I said, "This is my house." He said, "You still gotta go," and he kicked me out. I said, "When can I come back?" and he said, "Call us." So I went to hotel, to a bar, and I called them later and said, "Can I come back?" he said, "No," I said, "Fuck it, I'm coming back." [laughs]. So I did come back and then they locked me in my room. I said, "Man!" you know, so they locked me in the room and he had an option to go to rehab or stay here and I would detox him, and he chose to stay here. So that's what happened.

Interviewer: If that's not proof that you're a no bullshit woman, I don't think anything is.

Interviewer: I don't think so either. That was one of my questions. Do you have to be a really tough person to deal with Guns N' Roses? And I definitely could see that.

AV: Don't forget, they're very sweet guys. You know, they come across really rough and whatever, but they're all very sweet guys. They always were, you know, they were not like, you know, they were boozers and... .They couldn't kill any, kick anybody if they tried because they were drunk or whatever. But they were sweet guys. They were really sweet guys, you know, and it was like a little family, us against the world kind of thing, you know?

Interviewer: Yeah, I agree. I think that in a sense maybe the media was a little unjust, but at the same time, the band totally thrived on it. I mean in the sense that these guys, you said this yourself, and in the VH1 Behind The Music, you said they looked like outlaws.

AV: Yeah, they did.

Interviewer: And and at the same time, like, I think they really, you know, they they used that to their advantage. Not in a negative way or anything like that but just to say, "You know what, we're a no bullshit rock'n'roll band, we're not wearing this glam and this makeup, and you don't like it, get the hell off the bus."

AV: Yeah, but you know, there were not, you know, because they have this rough reputation from there. But they were always extremely sweet guys. You know, there was nothing, you know, because somebody came after me in London because they said that I favored another magazine to give them a cover and, you know, we got in an alley to fight, actually, and Duff came and said, "No, no, no, no, not with her! You're not touching her!" So they're all, drunk as they were, still trying to defend me, you know-

Interviewer: You were like the little sister or-

AV: Yeah.

Interviewer: I mean, nobody's going to hit my sister, nobody's going to hit my mother. That's just never going to happen.

AV: No, but, as I said, they had a bad reputation, but they're very sweet guys. Still to this day.

Interviewer: It's funny you mentioned that because I had heard a story and I don't know maybe if you can shed some more light on this, that I guess back in ,87 Poison had confronted Bryn Bridenthal and like dumped some water on her or something and the guys wrote this postcard to her, like, all the guys signed it and, like, just to show support to her. And one of my friends has the postcard and it was just a different side of the band that you would never see in the media.

AV: Which band did the water? Poison?

Interviewer: Yeah, Poison. Poison got into a feud with Guns N' Roses in like '87. So they confronted Brin Bridenthal, like poured water on her and she was furious. And the band members from Guns N' Roses heard about this and they, like, wrote a postcard to her that they sent to her.

AV: Yeah, that could be, but I don't know. That's probably Alan Niven because the guys wouldn't send postcard, I can tell you that much. Alan Niven even probably did, he had them sign it or something, because it would, it wouldn't come out. They were busy with drugs and with music. You know, writing a postcard was probably the furthest thing from their minds at that time, but I'm sure that they signed it.

Interviewer: Speaking of the drugs. I mean, drugs obviously are illegal. It's been documented that you personally have bailed members of the band out of jail. Not any specifics, but is there anything funny in regards to that that you could say, like, this was kind of a bull crap charge?

AV: Yes. At one point, Axl's brother worked in my office.

Interviewer: So that's Stuart?

AV: Stuart, yeah. So Stuart called me at 5 in the morning. And Stuart is very relaxed, to put it mildly. He's very bright, but relaxed. Five in the morning is not what he would call me unless there's a good reason. He said, "Hey, good morning." And it's, "Okay, what's up?" he said, "Well, Axl wants to talk to you." I said, "Really? At 5 in the morning?" He said, "Yes." Well, I know Axl doesn't sleep much, but okay. I said, "Where is he?" He said, "In the cell next to me."

[laughs]

AV: I said, "What the hell are you guys up to?" He said, "Well, we were walking on the street and we got arrested for being drunk in public, so they locked us up."

Interviewer: Was this on the strip?

AV: No, that was on Santa Monica, they came from the Troubadour, I believe. West Hollywood locked them up. And I said, "Oh," I said, "What do you want me to do?" He said, "Can you come and get us?" I said, "Yes, let me see if we can get you a limo. So we might as well get some attention." [laughs] So we bailed them out with the limo and all the press was there, of course, we know notified them for us.  But that will one of the things that happened.

Interviewer: After Guns, you kind of rolled into and worked with Velvet Revolver. Was it easier to work with VR in regards to professionalism and them not having to have as much bad press? Or did you find a lot of similarities between the two bands?

AV: Well, it was odd, basically. Slash... I had the falling out with Slash a year before over something, I've forgot what I said. He said, "Oh, can I come talk to you?" And I had told him if he comes to my door, I had a shotgun to blow his head off [laughs]. So he sent his mother in to come and talk to me first, and said, "Oh, Slash wants to talk to you, he really need to talk to you about something," and I said, "Okay".  She said, "Don't blow his head off, can he come?" I said, "Okay." So he called me and said, "I want to do another band and I want to do it with Duff and Matt, probably, but we have to put it together and we need to find the singer," blah blah blah blah blah. So I helped him get that together and then Duff came up with Scott Weiland because there were no singers that they liked, basically, that could fit the bill for what they wanted to do. So the problem at the time was that when the band had finished, their reputation was really bad. So I said to Slash, "We have to, for starters, we have to do something to make you look better, that you're not the drug addicted idiot that people think you are," because he is not stupid. I said, "Let's do something different." So I set up a week of shows as him being the cohost of Jimmy Kimmel in LA.

Interviewer: I remember that.

AV: Yes. So I was going to just do one night and then it turned out, "Oh, actually, you have to book all the talent for the whole week." So we were scrambling left, right and center to get everybody in and then we didn't want to say we were working on what became Velvet Revolver because we didn't have a singer at the time. So at the last show we did bring in the rest of the band without Scott Weiland because he wasn't in yet. And we had to call the police and for security the whole Hollywood Blvd had to be set off [?] and it became a huge success. And that's how Velvet Revolver started off.

Interviewer: I remember that week. I mean, the [?] jam. I remember everything.

AV: Yes, and even Robert [?] we brought in [laughs]. And he was old at the time, you know. Anybody that we could... we called everybody that we knew to come and play with them that whole week. But it was good because it gave people a better perspective of what Slash was, who he was. His mother was there too, his brother was there, his dad was not. But you know it gave a better perspective that he was not like a blabbering stupid, falling down, drunk idiot. And he came across really well because he's acting really sweet. He is a very sweet person. So that went very well. And then I said, "Let's now get some press," because they weren't signed, so it was again, us against the world. So I said, "Let's set up a photo shoot. I will make arrangements with Kerrang! to get you the cover and put it out there so you can get a deal, because if we don't get a lot of press, you'll not get a deal really fast." And we did that and there was Elektra and... What's his name? Who signed them?

Interviewer: Oh, [?]?

AV: The one who has all the Grammy parties.

Interviewer: Oh, Clive Davis?

AV: Clive Davies, yes. It went between Elektra and Clive Davis and Clive Davis won. And that was the beginning of a Velvet. It was different than working with Guns. It was not as good as far as the excitement was because there was a lot of problems with Scott, you know, who had a real severe drug problem.

Interviewer: Yeah, I met Scott two weeks before he passed. It was a radio promotion and you would think that, you know, people would respect his sobriety and the people of the radio station that was promoting the show just, I mean, I was backstage, they were just handing him shots left and right and get him to the next level. I can actually quote you verbatim when you said that Slash was propped up at that photo shoot.

AV: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Interviewer: Scott was hanging on to me in my photo.

AV: Oh yeah. I'm sure.

Interviewer: I mean, in 10 to 14 days later, he was gone. And I think that, I mean even like, I mean everybody in that band in Velvet Revolver ended up falling off the wagon, except said for Dave as far as I understand. Did you have to keep that as part of your job, keeping that quiet?

AV: Oh, of course, [?]. But Slash was not back to the way he was. Slash was for a minute that he went back that he was not nothing like he was before.

Interviewer: Is it true in the Rolling Stone article that was in the back part of the 20th anniversary Rolling Stone edition? Is it true in the back that what Slash fell off was Oxycontin?

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay. Which in itself is an opiate.

AV: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: So Arlett, I was going to ask you, so did you work for VR from like 2003 to 2007 or were you there just for like the beginning when they got Scott and did Contraband?

AV: I did Contraband, yes. I didn't do the second album because the money wasn't there. They had a really crappy management.

Interviewer: Do you think that that second album was written when most of them, other than Dave, were fucked up?

AV: Yeah, but the atmosphere wasn't what it was supposed to be. There was a lot of problems with a certain drummer. [laughs] It was not going very well. I mean, it came to the point, I hate to say it, but when we did a video for one of the videos I got phone calls from the drummer. And he said, "I have a huge problem with this video." I said, "What is it?" He said, "There's so many shots of Slash and only so many of mine. I'm an equal member of this band, I want equal attention." I said, "Well, I don't shoot the videos, number one. Number two, you're not going to get it." And he said, "Well, I will have it no matter what." And it was like trouble after trouble after trouble. And you know what the end result is? He was not back with Guns N' Roses.

Interviewer: At the same time, it's the same man, he went to Slash's house and jumped his fence in order to confront him. But-

AV: -Yeah.

Interviewer: -I guess that he just wants his way.

AV: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we did the same thing for him, so he shouldn't doubt his own form [?] all the time.

Interviewer: That's interesting. I never heard that story before, but I had a couple more questions about Guns N' Roses. The fans are asking a bunch of questions, too. So one thing I want to ask you are, Arlett, was, like, when you said you worked for the band from '87 to '92, was it easier doing PR stuff for them when they were on the Illusions tour, or was it easier when they were on the Appetite tour, you know, promoting their first album?

AV: Well, it was not easier. It was very different because on Appetite we did everything ourselves and had control of everything we did. As soon as they got very successful, everybody and their mother wanted to be the person, the point person, and it became very difficult to get things done because then there was a manager, sub manager, secretary, then Geffen and Bryn Bridenthal and her assistant, everybody wanted to have to say in everything you did, so it makes things very difficult. By that time, Axl did no longer want to do interviews, he was pissed off at the press, so that became a little bit difficult. Duff and Steven were so bad on alcohol and drugs they couldn't string a sentence together. It was like setting an interview with Duff and Steven would be like you're slamming them together cause separate didn't get anything done. "Duff, when did you meet Slash?" "Well... Is that my drink?" "Duff, when did you meet Slash?" "Oh, okay, oh... Yeah, that's my drink, right?" Stringing a sentence together for these guys was like, "Please God, help me out!" Izzy didn't wanna do interviews, Axl didn't want to do interviews. So the only one who could actually talk was Slash. Even when he was drunk, he would come home at 5-6 in the morning, if I said, "You have to get up in an hour because you have a phone interview," or whatever, he would be up in an hour. He would drink whatever there is, coffee, whatever I made him, and he would do an interview and make sense.

Interviewer: Yeah. He always seems very professional when I hear all the old interviews, you know, no matter how much he drank,  it's always very intelligent the conversation he's having.

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: Was Izzy ever a big fan of doing interviews or was he just sort of like Axl, he didn't like doing interviews?

AV: No, just wanted to play and get the hell out. No, no. Izzy in Japan, oh, Izzy... I flew from Italy from a dave Roth and I had to be in Japan because we had press conferences there. And I was told to pick him up at the airport because of the time difference. But I was there four hours before they were, so I didn't want to go back from the airport way into town because it's a long drive, I checked in and waited because I would have missed them. So what I did is I had handcuffs on my legs and on my suitcase, so nobody would steal my suitcase and if anybody did, I would wake up, you know [laughs]. So I sat there and the day before, and that's an Izzy story, the day before I called my secretary, I said, "Let's go and get Slash's clothes, get his suitcase, don't give him anything back until the limo picks him up. Tell him he has to come to my house and you will pack his suitcase and don't let him put anything in his pockets or whatever until he gets in that limo." So she did. So when they got to the airport, to LAX, Niven said, "Get rid of all the drugs, guys, in Japan you're going to have a problem." So he [?] throw them away? No, he took them all before boarding the plane [laughs].

Interviewer: Was this in 1988 or '92 when they did Japan?

AV: That one was, I think, '88.

Interviewer: '88.  

AV: Yes. And I get there and I see all the commotion going on, I untackle [?] my suitcase, and somebody said, "Grab one of the guys," I said, "Which one?" He said, "Grab Izzy." Izzy was high as a kite, had no idea who I was. So I said, "Izzy, you have to come with me," he said, "Oh, who are you?" I said, "It doesn't matter, just come [?]. So I shoved him in a limo with me. And he said, "Oh where do we go?" And I said, "To the hotel." He said, "Oh, do I know you?" I said, "No you don't, not today." And then he said, "I have to puke," "Oh shit, not in the limo." So I'm trying to stop the limo, the guy doesn't speak English, so I'm opening the window and shove his head out. So the guy stopped. So we go to Tokyo, I said "Okay, I'm checking him and leave him in the hotel room." A day later he calls me at 5 in the morning, he said, "Hey, like, where am I?" I said, "Well, in Japan." He said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Kook downstairs, there are little people, you'll see" [laughs] He said, "Oh, so what's the plan?" I said, "Well, the plan is I have two hours sleep as of now," and said, "Do you want to do interviews?" He said, "No. When is the show?" I said, "In three days," Izzy said, "I'll see you in three days," and I didn't see him until three days later. He just took the underground and left.

Interviewer: Speaking of Izzy, I mean, he has not played a part in this tour. Everybody just wants to know, is he okay? Is he healthy? Is he happy?

AV: Yeah, very, very, yes.

Interviewer: Do you still regularly talk to Izzy?

AV: No, I talked to Slash who told me.

Interviewer: Good. I mean, that's what everybody wants to know, the man is and individual-

AV: He's fine, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: You just wanna make sure he's happy and healthy and that's all we need to know. I do have a really big question in regards to Slash. You personally knew Michael Jackson. Did you have anything to do with their collaboration?

AV: No. Not at all.

Interviewer: So they just met up individually?

AV: No, Michael Jackson contacted Slash-

Interviewer: -personally?

AV: Yeah, like he did Eddie van Halen at the time.

Interviewer: Okay. Right now, have you seen any other reunion shows? Because Sid and I were in LA for first-

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: We were at the first Staples Center show.

AV: I went to the Forum, I like the Forum better.

Interviewer: We were hoping to get there, but it was sold out and we had already seen the Staples show the night before and we had an amazing time. We were supposedly, possibly, in Slash's VIP area and sat next to his niece. I'm not going to name her name because she's a minor, but there's a lot of this Slash family around us-

AV: Oh, that's not his niece, he does not have one.

Interviewer: He does not?

Interview: I didn't think he had a niece.

Interviewer: That was a lie to me, then. I apologize to anybody who believes me.

Interviewer: To be fair, Jeff was drinking a lot that night too, so-

AV: I would think the only fifth... How old was she? 15?

Interviewer: Approximately.

AV: Oh, that's his girlfriend's-

Interviewer: Okay, blonde hair, very, very thick blonde hair.

AV: That would be his girlfriend's daughter.

Interviewer: Wow. So I sat next to Meghan's daughter the entire night.

AV: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Wow. I will never know that until now. I know now.

Interviewer: So Arlett, how did you guys-

Interviewer: Does her name end with an E?

AV: Yes.

Interviewer: Wow, is Megan's daughter. Alright, my apologies.

AV: She has black hair now.

Interviewer: So I was gonna ask you, Arlett, so how did you like the reunion shows that you saw? Like compared to like the old days?

AV: I thought they played exceptionally well. And you have to give Axl credit for singing for four hours, night after night.

Interviewer: It's incredible.

AV: It is unbelievable. The one thing... Yeah, you cannot beat it. I mean, Slash is better than ever, Duff is better than ever, Richard is doing a very good job, he's a great guitar player. And the band is good. Axl is at his best as far as his voice is concerned.

Interviewer: Do you think this is the most marketable version of the band?

AV: No, the original is always going to be the most [?] version of the band.

Interviewer: Amen.

AV: You can't beat it. I mean, the first one... I went to Dodger Stadium for the first reunion and the crew came up to me and said, "Hey, what do you think?" I said, "It was great," they said, "And...?" I said, "Yes, it was great, what do you want me to say? They played fantastic," he said, "Okay, spit it out." [laughs] Well, there's nothing to spit out, you know, I said, "Okay, let me tell it for you, you miss the fact that there is nobody behind you with a knife, right?" [laughs] I said, "The danger factor isn't there," he said, "Well, there is that." [laughs]. That's the only thing that is different, it's very... But that's the same with Van Halen, these reunion tours are great but it is not the excitement that they had, day in day out, when they were younger, and that is something, you know, I would say I missed. But musically they were fantastic.
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2017.12.10 - GN'R Central - Interview with Arlett Vereecke (former GN'R publicist) Empty Re: 2017.12.10 - GN'R Central - Interview with Arlett Vereecke (former GN'R publicist)

Post by Soulmonster Fri Sep 01, 2023 7:50 am

Interviewer: So one thing I wanted to also ask you, like now that Guns is off the road until summer of next year, they've announced US dates. What do you think is next for the band? Like, do you think they're gonna actually go and record an album or they're going to do their side projects? Like, Slash has is one with Myles Kennedy, Duff's got his side bands, and Axl, I don't know if he'll go back to AC/DC or just take some time off.

AV: Well. That I'm not allowed to say [laughs].

Interviewer: Ah, too bad.

Interviewer: That's better than nothing.

Interviewer: That's better than nothing.

Interviewer: So have you ever thought about maybe writing a book about your adventures with the band or all the bands you've worked with?

AV: Well, I did. I did try to book, but it's only published in Dutch because people were so pushy at one point that I finally gave in. But I didn't do it like most rock and roll books, what I said is, you know, they're all friends of mine. We had so much fun on tour and on the road and off the road. Why not concentrate on all the stupid things you do on and off the road when you have too much time on your hand and too much money? But nothing bad, you know, really can happen to you because you're protected on all ends. So I did write that, funny stories from the road, and it sold out in like months. So I keep saying I'm going to translate it and I haven't done it.

Interviewer: That would be awesome. I know everybody listening would wanna copy and be who, who, who doesn't speak-

AV: It's a fun book. It's a very fun book because it's all the stupid things we used to do, you know?

Interviewer: It almost sounds like the book that Steven's trying to  write now with all of his friends giving him this, "The Stupid Stuff I Did When I Was Fucked Up," or whatever.

AV: Yeah. But Steven doesn't remember anything, unfortunately.

Interviewer: I don't think he remembers meeting me-

Interviewer: Do you still talk to Steven these days?

AV: I haven't seen Steven in a couple of years. Last time I went to see him when he was in Vegas and Slash wanted me to check him out for a VH1 special that they were doing and he wanted to make sure that he was not over the top or whatever or that he was coherent.

Interviewer: And have you spoken to Axl in a while or is it-

AV: No. I've seen... I've been backstage, you know, there's such a security thing going on with the bands backstage and everybody has their area and let's say, Axl is on this side and and the others are there. So there's not that much interaction unless you want to go to 12 people. If I saw him, I'm sure we'll be fine. But [phone ringing]... and why somebody calling me? Sorry. No. I haven't seen him. I saw them in Europe a couple of times. I saw them at Dodger Stadium, on Coachella, I saw them here. But I didn't see Axl.

Interviewer: Okay, a couple other questions that we got from the chat. So you said you worked with the band during '87 and '92. Were you at all with them when they were in Chicago in like 1989 doing any rehearsals or anything?

AV: No, no. Oh, for the Chicago... for the Use Your Illusion tour?

Interviewer: Use Your Illusion, yeah.

AV: No. I spoke to Slash every day, obviously, because he was still living here, on and off. And I spoke to the rest of the guys, too, because we're still doing stuff, a lot. But I wasn't in Chicago. No, I know a lot of the stories, but I can't tell. [laughs]

Interviewer: We've heard some rumors. So the other thing too, I was also wondering, that I wanted to ask you about, so you worked up until '92 with the band. Like, was that you talked about how there was trouble after trouble at times, like, was that part of the reason you decided to leave and pursue other projects?

AV: No, no, no, no, no. It was not that at all. It was a discussion that Axl made. Axl wanted somebody who he said was more in his corner. I don't think I was not in his corner, but if you don't do press or you don't want to do anything, I can't be in your corner and go to eight people to do something and the answer is, "No," all the time. I'm not doing anything. So I had to concentrate. I mean, there was a very busy time, very busy tour, and he didn't want any, he said he wanted something and then Slash called me and said, "The worst decision we ever made." So that was nice.

Interviewer: That was nice gesture.

AV: Yes, and Duff said the same thing. Now, so that was good enough for me.

Interviewer: That's very personal and very kind of them.

AV: Yeah.

Interviewer: So after you left, after you left Guns, did you take some time off after that? Or did you just pursue other artists that you were working at?

AV: No, no, I took some time off and then I had two nephews that were getting very popular in the DJ world, so I... Not that I'm a DJ person, but you know, family is family. So they did very well, except for America. They were like one of the first DJ teams, brother team, too many DJ's and they did extremely well, still doing extremely well. So that was a little bit... A different focus for me.

Interviewer: And the other thing I wanted to ask you too is, so you left the '92. Like, when you were with the band during the Use Your Illusion tour they got so big, so fast, did you think that they were going to ever actually record another album or could you feel like the tension was sort of brewing between the band at that time?

AV: It was hard, you know, even recording Use Your Illusion, some of those songs are leftovers from Appetite. You know, I mean, it was hard. It was a hard time. It was different management. Everything was different. They weren't really happy. There's a lot of stress. And I knew Slash wasn't gonna stay. He couldn't deal with it anymore. He was disappointed, you know, almost had a gun to his head. And I don't think... When Slash ignores his snakes, something is very wrong. He does not ignore his snakes. And that was happening. He was over doing everything, you know, it was gonna happen, the one who stayed in the longest was Duff.

Interviewer: Right, he was the last to leave.

AV: Yeah, he's also just, you know, sweet, he will put up with people a lot longer. So does Slash, and I've told him from the very beginning, I said, "If you do not keep this under control with Axl being late or not showing up, it's going to be an enormous problem down the line," I said, "You will not be able to get him out of it." And that's exactly what happened. And they couldn't take it. That's why Izzy left. Izzy got sober and couldn't deal with all the shit. Enough is enough. Done.

Interviewer: I would read that Izzy would be like he, you know, was traveling separately and he'd get there like three days before the band, would he go explore and mountain bike?

AV: Yeah, he does that all the time, but he always did that. But he had his girlfriend who became his wife then, Anika, and he has his own tour bus that he bought and paid for himself. So while we were flying and waiting for hopefully to fly, Izzy would be on his bus. So he just came and left it to show and left. Didn't want to have anything to do with the drugs and the alcohol and the whole thing. So he was on his own, which was great and Izzy is a great guy, he really is. But he's very adventurous. Didn't want bodyguards. He was always shaking bodyguards, you know, I mean, he was very good at that. And he had his own tour bus and just went from place to place on his own.

Interviewer: Did you help him at all with the JuJu Hounds?

AV: No.

Interviewer: Okay. I mean, if he called you tomorrow, you'd be more than willing to step in and help with any project I'm sure.

AV: Yeah, with all the guys, yeah, definitely, absolutely.

Interviewer: So one thing you talked about was Axl being late, did you ever... I've always been wondering, like, did you know the reason why he was always late on stage, like, during the Illusions tour?

AV: Well, that was also Appetite [?] he was late.

Interviewer: Oh, he was late on those dates too?

AV: He was late before Appetite. Axl-

Interviewer: He was late to the contract being signed.

AV: He's late to everything. And the main problem in the beginning was that Axl was very shy and he had stage fright. So it took forever to get him on stage, and I think he never sort of grew out of it because nobody pushed him to grow out of it. You know, so then it was an insecurity thing and he was concerned about his looks and whatever, you know, he always felt that Slash had all the charm that the rest of the band did not have, and he said, you know, he said, "We have to work to get a girl." Well, that was not really true, but okay. You know, "Slash just looked and he has the girl," you know, and that was a little bit... But I think he was a bit concerned. You know, when you're a front man at that magnitude that Axl was it's very hard to become insecure, people judge you on your hair, your pants, your shoes, your rings, your fingers. you know, your nails, are they short or long, too small. You know, it is hard to read. You know, and I can understand why that... I wouldn't want to be front man for the life of me. But if you do that and you start reading things about yourself, I can see where this would get you in a really odd position. He was already so isolated, so all he sees is this negativity shit, and, you know, to give him his dues, I think it was hard.

Interviewer: -[?] on anybody, that can be applied for anybody.

AV: Yeah, I have seen that a lot of singers, too. Believe me, it's not the only singer, his was more, you know, under the microscope of who he was and he made it a big deal, you know, where other singers do not. You know, they just deal with it, you know. But for him it was hard.

Interviewer: Absolutely. I mean, at the same time, think about it like, I mean, it's not like Axl at the time could just go down the street into the local corner store, get a pack of smokes and a Coke without anybody giving him shit or want to know who he was. I mean-

AV: Yeah, and he does provoke people just the way he was or who he was. People get provoked or want to provoke him. And he's easily provoked, you know [laughs] So that's not a thing to it. Also, if he felt he wasn't ready to take that stage or his vibe wasn't there that he could give it his all, because he did give it his all, he wouldn't go on. And he took it a little bit... People let him get away with a little bit too much, probably. You know, if they had supported him a little bit more as opposed to say, "Yes, Axl," and "No, Axl" if they had said, "Axl, you are ready, you can do this," he would have gone, but nobody said that, they all stepped away for him to say, "I'm ready," and that gives you more insecurities. That's my opinion. You may have a different one, but that was my opinion on that.

Interviewer: I saw the two shows in '92 in Dayton where Axl sliced his hand on his microphone stand. And I saw the first night and I had to wait until almost 1AM for the boys to get on stage. And I got grounded after that particular two shows. But it was worth not running out to the car and getting in the car and going home.

AV: Absolutely.

Interviewer: I mean, I always say [?] two shows were absolutely amazing.

AV: They were worth the wait. Even a bad show was great. A bad show... When I first saw them, I think it was at the Whiskey and it was the worst. They just had the new sound system, it was the worse that they ever had and Niven insisted that I went to the show. So I said "Yes, I'm going to go check them out." And they were bad, really bad. But they had something. It was worth sticking it out. And I remember Neil Zlozower, who was a rock and roll photographer said to me, "You've got to work with these guys?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Did you tell Dave, [?]  I'm calling Dave right now. Did you tell Dave Roth?" I said, "I will tell Dave myself, it's not Dave's decision, it's my decision. And yes, I'm going to work with them." He said, "I can't believe you'd ever consider that, they are losers!" Yeah, you know, he changed his mind really quick after that, but still, at the time he was not a fan. Let's put it this way. So even a bad show, even when they opened for people and did a really bad show that they played different songs that were all fucked up, they were so good, you know.

Interviewer: I just haven't ever seen another rock'n'roll band since then, to be have that level of chemical dependencies and still be still in the pocket, musically.

AV: Yeah, absolutely.

Interviewer: Since the Stones, since Zeppelin. Name another band. Maybe Mötley Crüe, but maybe.

AV: Yeah, but there were not the same Motley... I love Motley Crue, don't misunderstand, I really am a fan of Motley, but it's not the same level of Guns. It's a different level. There's a different vibe there.

Interviewer: There was one question I had to ask you, and this is sort of like a nerdy question, was like, what would be like your day-to-day schedule? Like, say you're on tour with them on the Illusions tour, you guys are in Italy, you get up in the morning like what would be your day-to-day stuff you'd be responsible for be doing as a publicist for the band?

AV: Well, basically I scheduled their day, so they sleeping, I get all the calls from ex-girlfriends, girlfriends-want-to-be and whatever because all their calls are referred to my phone. Because they don't answer the phone. So I got rid of those, then deal with the record company, with the radio people, deal with security, deal with whoever is on the road, where we going to eat, what we're going to do, where we going to go, at what time we're going to go, when we're going to leave. So that is coordinated with the staff on tour, of course, with the tour manager and whatever, and then go to the show, I deal with the press. I go on my own mostly, just to keep the the press okay. And then deal with the band after show and get the press in who is invited.

Interviewer: Would the band ever read the press reviews of the concerts, like after the show, or would that be something like they wouldn't bother reading?

AV: No, I would tell them what was in it. And they would say, "Oh, really?" "You want to see it?" "Nah, you read it." [laughs] Still to this day, I actually, last week, I said, "This is really good to hear in the Guardian," and I said to Slash, "This is good, you should read it," and he said, "You read it," I said, "I did, that's why I'm sending it to you," he said, "Oh, well, read it," I said, "I did, I'm sending it to you," [?] said, "I don't do that. I don't read that."

Interviewer: So Arlett, I want to ask you, were you surprised like the rest of us when the band actually, Axl, Slash and Duff reunited? Because I think for me as a fan, after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stuff went down, I didn't think they would ever hit the stage again, Axl, Slash and Duff.

AV: No-

Interviewer: What do you think was the difference? Like after 20 years where, you know, everybody left and Axl had his own version of Guns and then, you know, Slash and Duff did their own things, what do you think was the thing that caused them to come back together?

AV: That I'm not gonna say [laughs].

Interviewer: Okay.

Interviewer: Fair enough. Looking forward, do you think that the band will do more shows on this tour after the European dates?

AV: Well, they're only scheduled now for next year, you know, for the European festivals. I would think they're gonna do more shows. Yeah. I mean, there's such a demand for it, you know, there are plans for things, but, you know, not to be discussed. Not for shows. I cannot discuss what their plans are, it's not my place. And I'm not at liberty to discuss. All possibilities, nothing is definite, so, but we'll soon see.

Interviewer: Okay. I just have a couple more questions. Jeff, I don't know any questions you have left on your end.

Interviewer: I'm great. I think I got most of mine.

Interviewer: Yeah, mine's just, I was also wondering, were you involved in a lot of the day-to-day today stuff when they were recording the Illusions records?

AV: No.

Interviewer: Okay. And then the other thing I wanted to ask you, we always ask all our guests this, do you have a favorite song or video from like the whole, whether it goes from like Appetite to Chinese Democracy?

AV: Now you're pushing it. I think the whole Appetite album is my favorite album along with Van Halen I and II, that's most definitely my best albums in the collection.

Interviewer: Were you surprised, like when you heard some of the songs on Illusion, because they sounded so different from what they did on Appetite?

AV: It took me a while to get used to it at first, because I know of all the problems had been with going in the studio, to getting in the studio, getting certain people in the studio. You know, when it's so dragged out you sort of lose the ambition, I assume, of making it a band effort, which was not the case with Appetite. That was a band effort on no money, basically, and the money they made from that little CD that they released, that's what all we have to go to England with because we had no support.

Interviewer: Hence the $5 a day allowance.

AV: $5 a day. Yes, it was shampoo or food, that was the options.

Interviewer: So, the last couple questions. [?] How did you feel once you heard Chinese Democracy, once it was released back in LA?

AV: There are a couple of songs that I thought were good, but it's not my favorite album. I would say it's an acquired taste. If you listen - and it goes with a lot of things - if you listen to it long enough, hey, it's going to sink in.

Interviewer: I think that's the exact same way it is for me. I saw the Cincinnati show with Steven's first appearance and that was amazing, but I was just like, you know, this is Axl playing Slash's song, or Slash playing Axl's songs. [?] in LA and on fire and amazing and they legitimize it as a Slash and Duff tune as well. It took me a long time to like [?] it that way.

AV: Well let me quote somebody in the band who said, "Well, at least we play it better than Axl's band did it on the record" [laughs].

Interviewer: You guys heard it first here. So the last two questions I'll ask you. You mentioned you work with the Sex Pistols. Somebody wants to know, are you still in touch with Steve Jones to this day?

AV: No. It was the beginning of the Sex Pistols for Virgin and we did that whole right, that promotional right on Queen's Day and the boat when we all got arrested. I didn't. But most of the people on that boat, I don't know if you know that boat story. And we drank each other under the table like us, and the police came to stop us. And shortly after that, you know, they weren't allowed to do press at the time, so there was not really big news for us. I tried to go and set them up in various countries and then it was constantly cancelled because of their language, their behavior. So you couldn't really do much with them at that time. Again, I thought Sid was very sweet. The guys were sweet. I had at the time lunch or dinner with Johnny, you know, again, very polite off stage. You know, I couldn't say they're mean, they're ugly, you know? My secretary said if he pukes here on my office, I'm quitting and blah blah, blah. They didn't do that, you know, when there were there, they were actually cool guys. But I left very shortly after the boat tour.

Interviewer: Do you think that the Pistols themselves knocked down the door in regards to like this is rock'n'roll, this is music, this is punk rock and if you don't like it, get the fuck out?

AV: Absolutely.

Interviewer: -and the boys in Guns totally followed that persona without fear?

AV: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you know, when I saw the Pistols in London, I mean, they had that same vibe at that time that Guns had in the beginning. There was definitely, when Johnny took that stage, "Oh my God," you know, it was magic, you know, dangerous and magic.

Interviewer: Yeah, I mean, I love the Pistols, but I mean, I don't think we'd have Guns without them.

AV: Probably not, probably not. But you know, Axl has his attitude. You know, he's like that on and off stage. He's not different. He's not a different person.

Interviewer: [?] it and I think he just is who he is. And I respect him for it and I respect him sticking to, no pun intended, his guns when it comes to who he is and what he wants to do with his life.

AV: Oh, absolutely. And you know, to be fair to Axl, of anybody in the band, Axl is the most loyal person of anybody you've ever met. That I have to say, there is nobody more loyal to his friends, people that stick by him or do things for him. He is the most loyal person ever.

Interviewer: I think Vicky even told us that too.

AV: Yeah, he is unbelievably loyal to people.

Interviewer: I can believe it. I mean, when they were shooting the Deadpool movie, when Steven OD'ed-

AV: Oh God, don't mention that to me.

Interviewer: I'm sorry, but Axl was the only one pretty much there for Steven.

AV: Yes, yes. But Slash was there as well in San Francisco and Izzy. I just told the story to somebody last night because they asked me about Izzy. Somebody asked me about Izzy and Izzy happened to show up the day before he was supposed to leave. And he said, "Hey, my girlfriend picked me up. Can I stay here?" I said, "Sure." So I had a big dog at the time. I said, "I need to take the dog out." "Oh, where'd you go?" I said, "I don't know. I'll just go with him. You know, he's not on a leash, he's a shepherd, he knows where he's going." He said, "I'll go with him." I said, "Are you sure?" He said, "Yeah." Okay. So it was now 11 o'clock. He showed back up, I think, at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning I was like, "Where the hell did he go with my dog?" So he showed back up and I said, "Where were you?" I said, "You got to get on the flight." He said, "Well, you said I had to go with the dog. I went with the dog and he kept going," and so he followed the dog. I said, "Oh my God," I know Niven hated dogs, especially big ones. I said, "Whatever you do, don't tell Niven. You got lost with my dog, OK? He's gonna have a fit." Of course, Izzy never showed up. He spent the night here. He never showed up, missed the flight, stayed here. And as Slash and Axl said, "Have you seen Izzy?" I said, "No, not recently." He said, "He didn't show," I said, "Well, let me check on him, and I'll let you know," [laughs]. So I knocked on his door, "Izzy, you gotta get going. I don't know what to say. They're going to find out you're here," and he said, "Okay, book me a later flight." So I said, "Oh, I found Izzy, can someone pick him up on the other end? He'll be there this afternoon." He said, "Where were he?" I said, "I'm not sure, not quite sure," "Not quite sure!" So I took him to the airport, someone picked him up on the other side, while Stephen OD'ed. Yeah.

Interviewer: So it even reminds me of, like, when Duff's pancreas exploded, at least in his book, he said that Axl was the only one who came and visited him.

AV: Yeah, yeah, that's true.

Interviewer: So during during those years, Arlett, when you were not working with the band, were you still in touch with guys like Slash and Duff and some others?

AV: Slash and I had a falling out and I forgot over what, at one point. So there were a couple of years we didn't talk until he calls, he sends his mother in with a peace offering [laughs].

Interviewer: I think the last thing... I could talk to you for hours, like, the stories are great. The last thing I wanted to ask you was, you talked about Alan Niven and then after Alan Niven, Doug Goldstein came on board to manage Guns N' Roses. Did you notice a huge difference in terms of their management styles and?

AV: Yeah, it sucked.

Interviewer: Oh, you mean like Doug Goldstein or-

AV: Yeah. Doug Goldstein used to be a bodyguard for the Dave Roth band, and as Dave Roth said, "I wouldn't have him near me as far as I can throw him." And he was absolutely right. And I said to Slash, "You are going to regret that decision," he said, "No, no, no, it's going to be good. It's going to be good, Axl wants it", I said, "You are going to regret that." And to this day he is regretting it and I'm sure Axl is too at this point. [?] But he was useless. He was just, you know, Axl would say something. "Oh, really? Oh, Axl, yes, can I shit for you? How high and how much?" That was his attitude.

Interviewer: So it seems like he was a yes man.

AV: Yes, yes. For the money. Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. That's basically all the questions I had. Jeff, I don't know if you have anything else to.

Interviewer: I just want to thank you for your time on a weekend taking out, spend with us. I mean, we are honored and pleasured to have you on the night-

Interviewer: Yes, thank you so much. Actually the last thing I want to ask you is, are you still working in the record industry or are you retired now or?

AV: Yes and no. I only do personal things for my band members. If things come up for Dave or for Steve, or for Warren De Martini or for Slash or Duff - Duff is good, too, I'll do it, but not full time. Duff asked me if I was interested in doing something with his daughter. I said, "Things have changed so much." We used to make so much money. That is no longer the case. I am not sitting on a toilet for $2 a day. No.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you think rock'n'roll is dead or do you think?

AV: No, no, no. That is coming back. One way or another it will come back. Never gets killed off. You see all this [?] world tour, different unit they are. People are flocking to it. Somebody's going to get hip and get pick up a guitar.

Interviewer: Absolutely, I agree, agree.

AV: Absolutely. It will be revived sooner or later.

Interviewer: Are there any bands right now that you would recommend for UH that are coming out in rock and roll that that you think that we should check out?

AV: I haven't seen anybody. I just listen to the radio but I haven't seen anything. I haven't gone to shows much. I no longer see... because I get so disappointed. You know, I've seen so much good shits, in all honestly, that I'm very disappointed in what's going on. And the pop thing, I just want to kill my TV when I see it. If I see Taylor Swift one more time on and there goes my television. That's all I have to say.

Interviewer: Would you agree that the rise and fall of Napster really changed the record industry?

AV: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. I think, you know, people used to develop artists, you know, or director comes in and give them time to get developed, if Guns came out now without me or a record company, where would they be?

Interviewer: Just another band trying to make it.

AV: Yeah. Doug Taylor, who was managing Motley at the time, said to me, called me up and said, "I hear you [?], you're gonna take on Guns?" I said, "Yes", he said, "I think they are a great band and they came to me, you know, but I have to tell you, if you can get them to survive you'll be in good shape, but I don't think that's going to happen." I said, "Well, they're not gonna die on my watch. That I can guarantee you. There's no way anybody dies on my watch." And he said, "Good luck with that." That was it.

Interviewer: Can you confirm or deny - and you can also, like, comment at the same time, is it true that the band had a sobriety contract on the Aerosmith tour?

AV: No, no, no, no. It was not a contract. But you know, they had a... It was sobriety coach with them. We were allowed to have booze in our dressing rooms. It was not a sobriety thing. Of course they drink so much they forget they can't walk out with their bottles. And several times I had to send them back and I said, "No, you have to get a brown bag or plastic and you cannot walk around with a Jack Daniels bottle in front of you." But they were never told they cannot to... Actually, Aerosmith was extremely kind to them on all levels, and they did know, they've been there, done that. It was also a good opportunity for Aerosmith at the beginning, because that tour was ended until they got Guns on and then they did the stadium tours again. So they recognized that, you know, give them credit for it's due. The contract, no. There was no contract. They were asked, or told, or whatever, but there was not like they couldn't have booze. There was lots of booze backstage in their dressing room, Guns' dressing room, but not-

Interviewer: If I'm not mistaken, Aerosmith had just got pretty much clean on that album.

AV: Yes, they were clean.

Interviewer: Okay, I think I'm done, said. Is there anything-

Interviewer: I could talk to Arlene... Her stories are so amazing, I could talk for hours. Honestly, want to go for dinner next time we're in LA.

Interviewer: Yeah, we would love to have you back anytime.

AV: Yes, I'll let you know when I translate the book.

Interviewer: Thank you very much and will be happy to bring you on for then and we can get that pushed for you so people around the States can get a copy of it. Is there anything in the chat, Sid, that maybe we can end on one fan question?

AV: No.

Interviewer: I'm just looking. Yeah, there's a lot of, Tamara says, "Before she goes, please tell her that she's beautiful lady for doing this." Any memories?...Contact with Tracii Guns? Did you at all meet Tracii Guns?

AV: I didn't meet her, but I do know Slash was gonna record for her, God help us. And he was gonna go on a date with her and he said, "Oh, can you book me a limo?" I said, "What for?" He says, "I'm going on the date with Tracy Guns," I said, "Well, how about a bicycle" [laughs]

Interviewer: Do you mean Tracy Lords or Tracy-

AV: Tracy Lords! No, no, no. Yeah. Sorry. Tracii Guns. What? I'm sorry. Repeat your question.

Interviewer: Oh, whether you have any stories with Tracii Guns?

AV: No, no. Tracii was already gone when I met them.

Interviewer: Some people are asking, "Do you think Steven will ever be a full time drummer again?"

AV: He can't. Physically, he can't. They started with him for the reunion and they tried him out and then he had a back problem. He did something to his back and he can't do it physically. That's why he's not there. Not because they want to be mean to him or whatever. He just physically can't do it.

Interviewer: Yeah, that's what I heard too. And I guess the last thing people are asking is, "If you met Axl today, what would you say to him?"

AV: "Hey, dude, how are you doing?"

Interviewer: I think this is the first thing I expect. That's the first thing I'd say too. But thanks so much for coming out. We really appreciate it.

AV: You're welcome.

Interviewer: So yeah. So you guys stay tuned. We've got another podcast starting in 5 minutes. We got another guest coming on today. So it's a podcast special and I want to thank Arlett for coming on. It's fun talking to you.

AV: You're welcome. Thank you.

Interviewer: Absolute honor. Thank you so much.

AV: It was my pleasure.

Interviewer: Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much.

AV: You're welcome. Bye. Bye.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Sep 04, 2023 7:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Finished with this. Phew.
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