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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.


2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

Post by Blackstar Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:51 am

In our second interview with sit down we former GUNS 'N ROSES manager Doug Goldstein (current CEO When Pigs Fly) for an epic two hour chat discussing the entire history of the band including the feuds, lawsuits and riots. More specifically we talk about AXL ROSE becoming the sole owner of the GNR name, the firing of Steve Adler, working with KISS' Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin, the Montreal Riot and why it was Metallica's Lars Ulrich's fault, the 2 1/2 years of documented yet unreleased Use Your Illusion Tour film, Yoda aka Sharon Maynard, Iron Maiden's manager Rod Smallwood (and his potential involvement in a GNR reunion tour), controversial songs One In A Million and Look At Your Game Girl, working with Black Sabbath featuring Glenn Hughes and current KISS drummer Eric Singer, the ROSE FESTIVAL featuring Van Halen and Guns N Roses, his letter to Axl, the 'Denver Incident', John Reese, are there 100 unreleased songs sitting in a vault , Slash, Duff and MUCH MUCH more.


The interview starts at 00:40:30 minute mark:


Mitch Lafon: Welcome to episode 100 of One On One with Mitch Lafon. I am your host, Mitch Lafon, and of course brought to you by the Heavy Montreal Festival taking place August 7-9 in beautiful downtown Montreal featuring Slipknot, Faith No More, Korn, Lamb of God, Iggy Pop and of course my favorites Warrants, Dokken and Lita Ford. An incredibly important episode for you this time. Important because it is number 100 but also, we have got Doug Goldstein, Guns N' Roses manager in the late 80s and 90s, talking about everything under the sun for about two hours. There is Use Your Illusion concert footage that's sitting around, we talk about the Maynards, we talk about Axl, the Montreal riot, and all kinds of other riots, all the different lawsuits, and there were certainly a lot of those, but upfront, Damon Johnson of Black Star Riders' new album, Killer Instinct, and of course Damon goes on a solo tour in April. And I couldn't do this without a co-host and of course it is Mark Strigl of Talking Metal. Good day, sir.

Mark Strigl: Good day, Mitch. Yeah, congratulations. 100 episodes and there's just been such great stuff and great press coming off the past 100 episodes, so congratulations to you.

ML: Thank you. And talking about press, any episode that has a Guns N' Roses connection really seems to find legs, and it ends up everywhere, right? Be it BraveWords or Blabbermouth or Melodic Rock or [?], soon as it is Guns N' Roses it just spreads. And I think this 2-hour interview with Doug Goldstein is going to be one for the ages. We talk about, is there going to be a reunion tour? And I think people will certainly get a kick out of his answer. We talk about this long-lost concert footage that was going to be put out after the Use Your Illusion tour, we talk about all the different songs that were controversial, 'Sympathy for the Devil', 'Look at Your Game, Girl', 'One in a Million', we talk about a lady called Michelle Anthony who was their lawyer, and she was the one who brought Steven Adler into the room and said, "You're fired", we talk about that famous thing where Slash and Duff were tricked into giving up the Guns N' Roses name and how that really happened-

MS: Wow, I wanna hear this.

ML: Oh, yeah, yeah. There's a lot... I mean, in two hours there's a lot of good stuff. We talk about Rod Smallwood and Merck over at Sanctuary Records who had taken over the management of Axl and Guns N' Roses in the early 2000s and what happened there. It's just a lot of stuff. You know, we talk about Alan Niven who was the other manager. You know, listen, this one people wanna listen to once and then rewind and listen to a second time. But, we're gonna make people wait. Let's listen to Damon Johnson.



ML: You know what, Mark, we have delayed enough. It is time.

MS: Yes, let's get into this.

ML: Let's get into the epicness because, you know, you think of songs like November Rain and Estranged and all that. They weren't good enough at three minutes. They had to go to nine. Guns N' Roses is known for epic and so a 20 minute interview with Doug would just not have sufficed. So we did two hours.

MS: All right.

ML: Why not, right?

MS: Why not. I'm gonna listen every second of it.

ML: Yeah, and you're gonna hear everything from how Doug's family situation, his father and his brother ended up being sort of like what Alan Niven and Axl were to him. We talk about manic depressiveness. We talk about all those songs. I mean all the stuff we mentioned up front on the show, all the nitty-gritty with all these different lawsuits, Slash, Duff, people leaving, people getting... you know, listen, just enjoy the next two hours. Make sure before you hit play or you go any further, go to the bathroom, go get a cup of coffee.

MS: Right.

ML: Or whatever. You want beer, whatever you do, just sit back, enjoy, and for those of you who listen to me on a different podcast, before I mentioned the word 'minutiae', there is a lot of minutia going on here, a lot of details. You cannot listen to this in the background, you need to put on the headphones, you need to clear your mind, you need to concentrate. Here he is.

ML: Speaking with Doug Goldstein, better known for being Guns N' Roses manager in the time that it mattered, back in the 90s. Is that fair to say, "When it mattered"? I think it is, right?

Doug Goldstein: I think so, Mitch, yeah.

ML: So, you know Doug, there's so much to cover with Guns N' Roses. We've got riots. We've got feuds with people like Vince Neil. We've got Use Your Illusion, should it be one album instead of two? But let's start with you. Your dad was a police officer.

DG: Yes, sir. Yeah. He was the self defense instructor for San Diego Police Department. And so I had this unique opportunity to have a brother, who was my roommate, who was a genius manic depressive, oddly enough, and which will lead me into something with Guns. But, so my father was a bit of a tyrant. I had this love of music because of my brother. I was listening to Cream and Yardbirds and Django Reinhardt, John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu and then I also had this penchant for martial arts. So I married the two and about age 14 started working concert security in the San Diego area.

ML: At the Sports Arena?

DG: Yes sir, Sports Arena and another spot called Golden Hall where the smaller concerts would be held.

ML: Okay. Yeah, I don't know that place. I've visited San Diego like 28 times in my life. And I love...  Then in 1994 you were involved somehow with the security for the Olympic Games, the LA.... Is that correct?

DG: Yeah, actually it was '83, Mitch, I just graduated from college. I worked my way through college by doing concert security in the Arizona area and I would often be brought out to LA and San Diego to do, like, big shows, like The Who or the Rose Bowl. I actually was in charge of logistics for the Rose Bowl. Not just the football game but also the Tournament of Roses Parade.

ML: Oh, wow.

DG: So I would sit inside of a command post with a lieutenant from Pasadena PD and we would kind of move personnel around. So when I graduated from college - and I have some interesting stories about The Who, like not letting Morgan Fairchild off the VIP ramp to join Roger Daughtry and getting called "a fucking cunt" for doing that. Yeah, so-

ML: And of course, you know, back then I guess security was a very different game than today. I mean you didn't have to deal with all kinds of terrorist threats and all kinds... I mean it was-

DG: Yeah, absolutely.

ML: I don't want to say was easy, but it was probably a little more relaxing than it is today. Right?

DG: Well, you know, I always took it a lot more serious than the average bear [?] to be honest with you Mitch, because I thought, "What am I gonna bring to the party?" So when I went to work... I'll talk about the Olympics first. So when I graduated from college I moved out to work with the largest, called Peer Group Security Company. They invented the yellow shirts that you see at concerts today.

ML: Yep.

DG: Two gentlemen, one guy, Damon Zumwalt and his college partner Pete Kransky, invented that whole thing. And they've done pretty much every Super Bowl and Olympics since so I've gotten the opportunity to work eight Super Bowls. So in '83 I moved out to work for them and I was the Chief Recruiter of Olympic Security out of the Westwood Staffing Center. So I literally had a hand in pretty much every person that worked privatized security for the '84 Olympics. An strangely enough, before that the Olympics took place, I was approached by a guy named Steve Vandal, formerly Van Halen's tour manager, which is where I met him.

ML: Right.

DG: He asked me to tour with Air Supply and doing security. So, you know, I'd always thought that it would be fun to go on the road. And so I took that job. And I always joke that doing security for Air Supply was not that difficult. It was like, "Hey Grandma, pull the thorns off the roses before you put them on stage." So, you know, it certainly got a lot more difficult as time went on. The Black Sabbath days and, you know, further on. But the one thing, Mitch, when I talk about, you know, I wasn't just security, in other words I didn't just travel with the band, I would do things, like, when we played... even with Air Supply, I flew in early as an advanced person to try and figure out where I should take them into the hotel, because I didn't want to go through the main entrance and so, you know, I would find the freight elevator to take him up. And when I went over I met with the chief of police for the Air Supply concert, there's a coliseum and stadium right next to each other, both called Roberto Clemente Coliseum, and so he was explaining to me that either you leave directly from the stage and get going or you're going to be stuck in traffic because there was only one point of ingress and egress. So I looked across the parking lot and I saw this gate and on the other side of the gate was the highway and I said, "Has that gate ever been used?" He said, "No," I said, "Look if I buy you a new lock and key and give the motorcycle officers t-shirts for their kids, can we use that exit?" He said, "Yeah." I mean, they've been using that for 25 years and nobody figured that out. So I was always trying to bring something extra to the party.

ML: Right. Now, the Sabbath line up you were dealing with at the time, who was in the band? Was that with Dio or was that...

DG: No, Glenn Hughes. I was working for Don Arden, you know, I was really close with Sharon, and I don't think too many people were able to to have both of those relationships but-

ML: Not in those days.

DG: No, exactly. So Don says, "I need you to go over to the Franklin Plaza suits and introduce yourself to Glenn Hughes," so I said, "Okay." So I pulled up in my car, Mitch, and it was about 200 people in the street. And I parked my car and I made my way through the people and there was Glenn laying naked in the street. And so I said, "Mr. Hughes, Doug Goldstein." He said, "Can I help you?" I said, "Yeah, I'm working for you now," he goes, "Are you gonna help me up?" I said, "No, I don't think so. I'll be on the curb when you're done throwing the [?] rant, I'll be over here, just let me know."

ML: Oh, and of course those wer,e not to disparage him, those were the cocaine fuelled days for him back-

DG: Big-time, yeah, big-time.

ML: And of course, you did some stuff with Van Halen.

DG: Yeah, and then I also worked with David Lee Roth as director of security on his Eat'em And Smile tour.

ML: Which is a great tour fantastic.

DG: Yeah, fantastic.

ML: So as that stuff's going on, on sort of the other side of town, Guns N' Roses is starting. They're doing the Troubadour, they're starting to get some action. You join them as a tour manager, a TM, as we like to say.

DG: Yes, sir.

ML: In '87.

DG: Yes, sir. Yeah, I was at home working in the [?] industry, which is a branch of real estate, and I was called by Barry Siegel and Rich Feldstein, two business managers that I had done work for in the past. And, you know Mitch, I wasn't following the music scene at that point. They asked me what I knew about Guns N' Roses and I'd never heard of them. So my reply was, "I'd rather have the end of a rose stuck in my face," and they said, "No, it's a band," and so I said, "Well, send me the music." So they did and I loved it. Actually, [?] Appetite and I thought, "Well, how interesting, they have two singers in the band," because I listened to the first two tracks and they're so diverse that yeah, I believed that they actually had two singers. So I talked to Niven on the phone and we got along pretty well and he brought me up to meet the guys.

And interestingly enough there was this point where we were gonna go to a restaurant and so Steven gets into the back of the truck and I said, "What are you doing back there?" He says, "Well, I'm the drummer." And so I get to the back of the truck. So I said, "Fuck it, me too then," so I jumped in the back. So him and I were always really close just based upon that moment in time.

ML: Yeah, and that's something I want to explore a little bit later too because, as we know, Steven gets fired at some point and that's a point of contention. Around that time when they bring you in, from all accounts the whole Guns N' Roses camp was a big giant mess, the label wanted to drop them, and management wanted to keep them on, and they were bringing people in and out to try to get them corralled. Did you get any of that sense or was what you saw all smooth sailing?

DG: I mean, clearly there were difficulties between the manager Alan and Axl. And he kind of asked me to bridge that gap. And they were having problems with - particularly Slash - trashing hotel rooms, and Axl to some extent. But I said, "You know, give me two months and I can fix the trashing hotel scene." So what I did, Mitch, is - and I had done it before, it works - so Slash trashes a hotel room and so I take them downstairs to meet the the manager of the hotel and I said, "Sir, we broke a TV," and he said, "Okay," I said, "How much is that?" and he goes, "Well, that's going to be $500," and I said, "No, not a chance." Because we were staying in really old hotels, two to a hotel room. And I said, "Not a chance." I said, "That's a 250 dollar television. And he said, "No, it's 500." I said, "Fuck you. No, it's 250. Here's your 250," and we're walking. So we go to sound check and Slash's singing my praises about how I'm saving him money. So I do that about five more times and then Slash breaks a lamp in his hotel. And at this point he's looking for me to go to the manager and save him money again. So I take him downstairs and I go to the manager. I said, "Sir," I said, "We broke one of the lamps, he goes, "Yeah?" I go, "How much is that lamp?" He goes, "Well, that's like a hundred dollar lamp," I go, "Not a fucking chance." He goes, "What do you mean?" I go, "Dude, I've been traveling with rock bands for my adult life," I go, "That's a $500 fucking lamp" and Slash looks at me like, "What are you doing!? What are you doing?" I go, "Yeah, here's 500 bucks from Slash, and our apologies." And so that was it, that got out there and I say for the most part, Mitch, that was the end of trashing hotel rooms.

ML: And I guess that was just trashed out a boredom? They were they were just sort of being rambunctious-

DG: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, because that's what every rock band before them had done, right, so.

ML: Now somewhere in all of this time, and I think it might have just been before this time, there was a show at the Troubadour and they had brought out Bob Ezrin to come and check out the band. Were you there?

DG: I knew you'd get your Ezrin [?] in there [laughing]

ML: Listen, I got to get the Kiss stuff in here, so there's Paul Stanley coming up. And of course when you were managing, or tour managing, Sabbath, you must have had Eric Singer in the band.

DG: I did, yeah. He was a doll.

ML: It's a Kiss world after all.

DG: [laughing] Yes, sir.

ML: I knew we would get all those connections. By the way, wow was Eric Singer back in those days? To me he's one of the nicest people I've ever met. He's an incredible-

DG: Absolutely Mitch. He's a sweetheart. Really bright cat, like he pretty much dissects everything. But he's a sweetheart. Great heart, great. I don't know, maybe that's a drummer thing because Adler was just a doll. I mean, what a sweetie. And Matt and I, we had our go rounds but at the end of the day Matt's a really, really wonderful person.

ML: Yeah.

DG: Yeah.

ML: And you can tell, he's always tweeting about saving dolphins and help-

DG: That's right.

ML: He seems to have a social consciousness.

DG: Very much so.

ML: I'll just finish on Eric Singer. Other than being a really great guy, he's an incredible talent. I mean, [?] Sabbath with Badlands with Kiss. He does a great job. Were you there for the Bob Ezrin....?

DG: I was not. No, that was before me. I was literally told when I was brought in, they had just finished the Cult tour, and I was told they had an Australian tour manager named Colin. Who, I think Niven said, "We didn't think it was possible, but he was doing more blow than the band." [laughing]

ML: Were you there then when Paul Stanley got involved?

DG: I was not. No, that was still before me as well.

ML: Okay, which probably a good thing. I don't know if having Paul Stanley, and I don't mean any disrespect to Paul Stanley, produce an album is a good thing. I think artists should be artists and producers should produce. I don't want to hear a Bob Ezrin solo record, right?

DG: Yeah, right. Absolutely.

ML: Okay, so you go out on tour, you get this spot opening up for Aerosmith on their Permanent Vacation. Is that your first go-around with the band at that time?

DG: No. No, actually the first thing I did with them, we went to the UK and Germany.

ML: Oh, right, right.

DG: Yeah, just a club run and I forget who the opening acts were. Oh, Faster Pussycat! Yeah. There's a great story. So we're in Germany, and I think Frankfurt, and I go to a - I'm a I'm a vegan at the time, full vegan - and so I go across to McDonald's and I'm looking for anything. So I'm eating, like, I think, hash browns because that was the closest thing they had. And I come back and I see Faster Pussycat's drummer is naked and duct taped in the elevator. And so I help the guy out. I'm like, "What the fuck is going on?" And apparently Faster Pussycat had thrown him out of their hotel for being fucked up and he came over to party with Duff, Slash and Izzy and he ended up urinating on Izzy's bed. So the guys roped him up and sent him on the down flight of the elevator.

ML: That's fantastic. That's fantastic. All right, you know, let's start getting into some of the nitty-gritty.

DG: Yes.

ML: You know, the band obviously does very well. They open for Aerosmith, Appetite for Destruction explodes, they are called by Metal Edge magazine the... what were they called? "The next big thing" or "90s rock - here it is." And then at some point Steven Adler leaves.

DG: Well, you know, Mitch, you're leaving out one really important. There was one no-show by Axl in Santa Barbara before my time. Then we had done a theater run and we're in Arizona and Axl no-shows. He's held up in his room with his girlfriend Erin at the time and we're supposed to be playing Celebrity Theater and I keep going to TSOL's drummer Mitch saying, "You know, play Wipeout, I don't give a shit what you do, just keep playing." And Axl just ends up no-showing and I have to go on the stage and announce that the show's over. And Niven calls a meeting and says, "You know what, fuck it, this guy's done, he's out of the band." And he pretty much has everybody on board. Slash comes to me and says, "You're the new guy. What do you think?" And I said, "Honestly," I said, "My perception is you don't cut him out now because you have heat on your record, people are interested. "he time to cut him out would be after this album cycle because you don't want to change the voice in the middle of the tour."

ML: Right. Were there any voices, like, in the, you know, background ready to step in? Had you called Sebastian Bach? Had you called-

DG: No. No at that point we didn't even know who Sebastian Bach was. They hadn't released their record yet, to my knowledge, Mitch.

ML: Right, right. But there was nobody waiting in the wings?

DG: I guess the point that I'm making is, and it's one that kind of persists forever as a dispute between my ex-partner Alan and myself is... I love Alan, I still love Alan. Alan did some wonderful things for me and for the band, but the truth is he hated Axl Rose. From day one he hated him. And so I would threaten to leave because it was crazy and he would continually offer me more money and finally I got a phone call from Jon Bon Jovi and he offered me $250,000 a year. I think I was making $500 a week at the time. And I passed and he doubled it and I still passed because I believed in GN'R. And I believed in Alan. But more importantly, there was this dynamic which I had lived earlier in my life. My father, the tyrant, and my brother, the manic depressive, I wasn't able to fix that relationship. And so I was given a second bite at the apple because you had Alan, who was clearly a tyrant, and Axl, the genius manic depressive.

ML: But if I can, listen, I'll admit it straight up. I know Alan, I speak to Alan. To be fair, as a manager don't you have to be somewhat rigid, especially if your talent is sort of loosey-goosey, destroying hotel rooms, not showing up for gigs. I mean, don't you sort of have to march in there like a general and say, "Okay folks, stand to attention"?

DG: You know, Mitch, there's two ways to look at it. I used to have this conversation with Slash all the time. He would say, "You know, Doug, I'm done. I've had it." And I would say, "It's totally up to you. I'll play it the hardball way, but, you know, it's over at that point." It just is because because Axl just didn't give a fuck. He literally would have been fine going home. And so I would tell Slash.... I mean, I remember we played in front of 800,000 people in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and there was a hiccup in the show and Slash came to my room and said, "You know, Doug, I just don't want to do this anymore." And I said, "Then fine, let's not," I go, "But realize tonight you probably made one and a half million dollars personally. So let's put you out playing in front of 1500 people and you'll make, I don't know, maybe a thousand, maybe 2500 dollars. So if you're willing to do that, I'll back your play." And I was willing to do that at any point. But after we would have that conversation, Slash would say, "Let's just keep it going, then."

ML: Now, you mentioned Slash a lot, was Duff and Izzy and Steven coming to you or were they just sort of hanging out having-

DG: Duff would sometimes, Izzy would never, he was really close with Alan. They had their kind of little black magic ring. They go to New Orleans and dabble in that, I think because the Jimmy Page relationship. They loved Page and they thought that was kind of cool and... That's just not who I am. There was one point actually when Alan and Izzy got asked to leave a bar and that night Alan has me on the phone to bring in a group of my security friends, including a guy named Dave Passinella who at the time was strongest man in the world. And so I argued with Alan, I'm like, "Why are we spending all this money?" He said, "It's a principal thing." And so we threw thew the security guards into the creek surrounding the bar and Alan and Izzy went and finished their drinks and, you know, that probably cost 15 grand. I didn't see the point. But I will say that the guy that you know today, the Alan Niven you know today, everybody in life has the opportunity to change and I think Alan today is a wonderful guy. I really do right. But you didn't know him back then, it wasn't all....

ML: No, listen, and I'm not gonna pretend to to say that I knew him back then, I mean, back then I was you know, 15, right?

DG: [laughing] Yeah, right.

ML: But, you know, when you look back at the history of Kiss or Led Zeppelin or, you know, knuckles being wrapped and knees being tussled seems to be part of the rock and roll lore, right? I mean-

DG: You know, it's funny you mentioned Peter Grant. On June 11th, 1989, I'm staying at the Conrad Hotel on my honeymoon having breakfast with my wife and a guy named John Jackson, our agent. And John walks in and says Peter Grant's in the lobby. I said, "Fuck! Introduce me to him," he goes, "I don't know," so I say, "I'm going to meet him." So I walk out, I said, "Mr. Grant," he's sitting in a chair, "Mr. Grant, Doug Goldstein." And he stands up but oh my God, Mitch, he was fucking huge. He was massive. And he goes, "Doug Goldstein, Guns N' Roses?" I said, "Wow!" I said, "Yes, sir." "Because Doug, you're doing a brilliant fucking job." He goes, "I was just talking about you lot on the radio show last night that no other band has come around with the impact of Led Zeppelin until you guys," he said, "And you're doing a brilliant job," and I said, "You sure you're not talking about my partner? He goes, "No, not the kiwi, he's the most hated man in rock." He's talking Niven of course. So, you know, I mean, it was it was, what it was meant.

I mean, I was definitely a nice guy. Was I an enabler? Probably to a great extent, but I thought that it was a better idea to keep the band together. That was my point all along, keep the band together because how are they going to create rock history if Axl quits and fucking goes home?

ML: Or [?] fired, right?

DG: True, yeah. I mean, Alen was like, "Let's throw him out!" I'm like, "It's not your band to do that. You can certainly present your viewpoint but at the end of the day, it's up to the guys what they want to do."

ML: Yeah, and that gets us later on in the history where they all sort of walked out one by one and the name was signed over. But all right, since we're on to, you know, the black magic portion of the episode here. [laughing]

DG: Oh my god. Yeah, right.

ML: And you wanted to keep Axl happy. Let's talk about Yoda, Sharon Maynard.

DG: Yes. Now, Alan has... I mean again, I love Alan and if I was In Alan's... you know, walk a mile right. Mitch, I mean walk a mile in somebody's shoes. If I was in Alan's shoes, maybe I would have some of the same perceptions that he has had.

ML: I'm actually reading off a website and it's dealing with her obituary unfortunately, but it talks about-

DG: Not really unfortunately [laughing].

ML: Well, I didn't know her but so, yeah, but it talks about how she was a spiritual advisor for Axl and how Axl would have you run out and take pictures of upcoming venues and places-

DG: Not true. I've never taken a picture on his behalf, ever. That was always done by one of his assistants, like Craig... Craig Guswald primarily.

ML: Right, the tour... What was Craig's? I interviewed...

DG: He was the valet for Axl.

ML: Right and he... hold on here. I have it here, it's 'personal assistant'.

DG: Yeah, right. Yeah. Basically, that's a nice name for a valet. I mean, he would like take Axl's luggage in, if Axl wanted a burger he would go get it. I mean, you know, every band has one.

ML: Right, and he's the one that I spoke to about six months ago in an interview who said he is convinced that Guns N' Roses is going to reunite in 2016.

DG: Well, his mouth to God's ears [laughing]

ML: So we'll see. But all right, but so Craig or whoever in fact, it says here, it was customary for tour employees to submit photographs and then Maynard would look them over and say this person has a good vibe or a bad. I mean, let's cut to the story short. What the hell was that?

DG: Yeah. Well, you know what? Axl was introduced to Sharon via his therapist, Susie London, again, you know, Niven, for some reason, wants to continue to take shots at me even though I love Alan, we had our time together. I think that we were a great team. Honestly, I never had designs on Alan's job, but he's not gonna believe that and so that's certainly his right. But-

ML: I'll be fast. To be fair to Alan, I didn't get this from Alan. I've been study-

DG: I'm only going by emails that he has sent me [laughing].

ML: Okay. But I've researched all this stuff. I pulled out a whole bunch of fun names from Barry Faye to John Green.

DG: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ML: To... what was her name here? Michelle Anthony, who was Dee Anthony's daughter. I mean, I researched the whole thing. I got a pile of questions.

DG: Good [laughing]. So anyway, so back to Sharon. So Sharon was brought in because Susie London, Axl's therapist - who Axl had a lot of faith and belief in, the regression therapy that they were doing together. So she says, "I see this lady, Sharon Maynard and..." You know, it's kind of like there's somebody chooses a religion, Mitch. That's a really sensitive subject and so all of us kind of let Axl have his space and his own beliefs on what he thought was right or wrong. But towards the end, he was forcing me to give half of my salary to Sharon Maynard to keep him and I involved together. Well actually it's something that him and Mercuriadis came up with.

ML: Right, and I want to talk to Merck because I've read that history too and your management company went and signed with Rod Smallwood's Sanctuary and somehow, and you'll correct my words if I'm wrong, you got screwed.

DG: Yeah, pretty hardcore. Yeah!

ML: I mean, that's the bottom line, right?

DG: Yeah big time. Yeah, yeah.

ML: Okay, before we get to Merck, so how long was Sharon or Yoda... I dunno why she was called... I guess because Yoda is a spiritual guy. How long was she involved with Axl?

DG: Right up until her death to the best of my knowledge, Mitch. I mean, you know, I was gone in 2002 but yes, she continued on and probably still would be with him if she lived.

ML: Okay, but I mean, it interfered with the tour, right? She would say, "It is a bad energy around on," and I'll just pick a City, "Denver," and he'd say, "Well, we're not playing Denver." I mean, that's pretty much what was happening.

DG: Pretty much. Yes, sir.

ML: And as a manager, you never just thought-

DG: I called him on it. Yeah, you know, again, when somebody has a religion you have certain windows of opportunity where they're second guessing it and they ask your opinion. But would I countedly say, you know, "Hey, she's a fucking whack job," or whatever else was being vocalized by the rest of the band to me? No, I really didn't want to create that riff again. It's like a person's religion and whenever you attack somebody at that level you're gonna get defensivism. You're gonna get reactionary. So if he gave me the opportunity where he was doubting then absolutely, I throw my cards on the table without any reservation. And he heard me. And he never really came back at me later to say, "You know what, fuck you for having your opinion." He has absolutely allowed me my opportunity to state my case.

ML: Okay, but I mean, she wasn't qualified. She wasn't a medical doctor. She was, for the lack of a better word, just sort of a housewife.

DG: Yes, to the best of my knowledge.

ML: Okay. We're jumping from year to year. But okay, let's get into Merck. You were with, and I've lost my window, but it was Big FD. I guess it was?

DG: Yes, Big FD, that's right. That was the name of my company because my father used to say it all the time whenever I would be stressed, like, "Come on, Doug, big FD".

ML: And you had picked up Guns N' Roses and we'll talk about how that happened. You essentially took on Axl as a client and he retained the names and therefore it became Guns N' Roses, right? I mean, that's-

DG: Yeah, right, for a lack of a better, yeah, right.

ML: That's sort of, and we'll see... Now, here it is around, I guess, 2000-2001 and Rod Smallwood, which by the way, I've heard is interested in doing this Guns N' Roses reunion stuff.

DG: You know what, I've heard that as well and I love Rod. He is like one of my favorite people in the industry, but Rod's very much of a no bullshit guy and I can't see him and Axl getting on [laughing]. I mean, he's gonna confront Axl one time and Axl's gonna bail.

ML: Yeah, and of course, they've already had the relationship with Sanctuary going south. That said, if anybody could do it, Rod is certainly  on the short list. I mean-

DG: I would think so. I would absolutely think so.

ML: And you know, with Iron Maiden these days having some issues with Bruce Dickinson's health, it's certainly a good window for Rod to focus on this. Now, listen, this is all speculation. Nobody knows anything. Okay. So, Merck, who works with Rod, comes to you and says, "We're really trying to develop Sanctuary, we've got all these bands blah blah. We want to get you on." He signs you on and then what?

DG: Well, Axl was a little frustrated that I didn't communicate with him about that, about selling my company, which to be honest with you, Mitch, I thought I did. I mean, I was like, "Look, I'm going to talk," because I actually spoke with Rod Smallwood. I went and met with Rod and Andy Taylor because it was their company and they told me that Merck was - and nobody knows why to this day, why Merck was given the green light, the free reign if you will, to be acquiring all of the different companies that he did, but, you know, it ended up sinking Sanctuary. So Merck ends up being a guy who clearly wants my relationship with Axl, and so he does a number of things behind my back to make me look pretty bad to Axl, quite honestly, and so Axl was frustrated with me. But you know, it's funny, when when the new band was touring in Europe, Axl came to my room and said, "So are you excited about going to New York on Friday?" And I said, "For what?" and he said, "Come on, Doug, the MTV Awards," I said, "Look, I have no idea what you're talking about." He goes, "Look, Merck has been telling us, me and the band, for two months. Are you telling me that you have no fucking clue?" I go, "Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about." So he leaves my room and I call Van Toffler, the president of MTV, who's a really good friend of mine. "Hey, man," I go, "I'm looking forward to seeing you." He goes, "Why? I go, "At the show." He goes, "Doug, you're not on our fucking show." So I go, "Look, you're gonna have to put us on the show. I mean, you know, if this doesn't happen, somehow I'm gonna end up feeling the brunt of it. I guaran-fucking-tee it." So he tells me to call another friend of mine, Dave Serelnic, who produces all of those shows. So I called Dave and basically I beg him, I plead, I go, "Look, I'll play during the commercials. I don't care." So he calls me back a half an hour later and says, "You get exactly two and a half minutes and then the credits start rolling."

ML: This was 2006, right?

DG: No. No, 2002.

ML: 2002? Okay.

DG: Yeah, with Buckethead, right?

ML: Right.

DG: So that was pretty much the last thing I ended up doing for them. A couple weeks later, and I don't remember why Axl was upset at me, but he was, and so he had given the decree that if I see either Doug or our security guy, Bob Wine. Bob Wine's worked with everybody, the Rolling Stones, Springsteen, I mean, he's legendary in the security world. So Axl says if I see either of those guys, they're fired immediately. So it was an outdoor festival, and in Europe, and Axl's pulling up tardy - I know, tough to believe [laughing] - and-

ML: Axl late, what?

DG: I know, tough to believe. So at that time local security was pulling out of the pit about 200 photographers. And so they're literally walking in line of Axl's limo and I thought, "Trainwreck! Axl may fire me but fuck it, I'm gonna save him getting pissed off and bear whatever emotions he's gonna go through." So I jump in the middle of it and tell these people, you know, basically go fucking back to the bit. So Merck comes up and says, "Well, you've done it, you're fired." So I was literally on a plane the next day.

ML: That's it?

DG: Yeah.

ML: And of course, you know, Merck had his trials and tribulations with Axl. They, as far back as, I guess 2000, what we're talking about Chinese Democracy and then Buckethead had some kind of hemorrhaging or something where he got sick and he couldn't. And then of course, you know, we all know that it came out many, many years later and and his relationship with Axl and Guns dissipated to the point where he even wrote an open letter to GN'R fans trying to, I guess, save his own [?], right?

DG: Yeah, right.

ML: All right. So boy, there's so much to cover here. By the way, have you heard that Axl has currently fired his entire band which is why there's more speculation about a reunion tour?

DG: You know, I have heard something like that, but, Mitch, it was like six months ago because, you know, the rumors constantly... people go because of my, whatever, my 15 year relationship with the entity Guns N' Roses, whoever the members were at the time, people call me occasionally and I had heard that Fernando is current manager, Fernando Lebeis, that he had released some DVD without telling Axl and Axl let everybody go. I have no idea if that's true or not. I hear so many rumors, but yeah, I had heard that. All I know is that DJ Ashba continues to support Axl in the press. Every once in a while, I exchange Facebook messages with Bumblefoot, who I love, he's a really nice guy, and clearly he's off doing his own thing now and very successfully.

ML: Oh, absolutely. And listen, I speak to some of them guys via email also. The ones that I do speak to don't seem to be working with Guns N' Roses anymore. And the other ones that I don't communicate with, well, I have no clue. But it does seem as though at the end of the last tour all of the sudden, within like two weeks, all kinds of side projects popped up with all kinds of members and it just sort of made me go, "Huh, that timing is kind of interesting. You're in GN'R and now you've got Dead Daisies and now you've got a solo gig and now you go 'Okay'."

DG: Yeah, I just read something about Chris Pitman and somebody else doing an EDM thing, right?

ML: Right, and you just go, "Wow, for all these years you're in the band you don't have these side projects then the tour ends and suddenly there's a cottage industry of side projects." And there's rumors coming into my ear saying everybody's been fired and you go, "Okay." I don't know if two plus two equals four, but it really looks like a four.

DG: So you know Mitch, if you want to we can go back to-

ML: Let's go back to Adler.

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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty Re: 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

Post by Blackstar Thu Jan 05, 2023 6:21 pm

DG: You want to go to Adler? Okay, let's do that.

ML: I just want to go to Adler because, you know, that's a problem with the Guns N' Roses story, it is so vast, so long.

DG: I know, yeah, yeah [chuckling].

ML: You know, there's songs we can talk, Sympathy for the Devil, Look At Your Game, Girl. But all right, let me just go with Steven Adler. So Michelle Anthony, her dad Dee Anthony, managed Peter Frampton.

DG: Yeah, and as well as a number of others, but yeah, clearly-

ML: That was that was a big one. And I think Michelle, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, went off after and had a successful career with a Sony Records, I guess it was.

DG: Yes, Billboard Magazine in 2014 named her the number one most powerful woman in the music industry.

ML: So I should definitely watch what I say.


ML: But at the time she was legal [counsel] for Guns N' Roses-

DG: Yes.

ML: -and she was told, "Call Steven and tell him he's done." I mean, and you know, listen, I'm simplifying the whole thing. But that was-

DG: Yeah, Alan Niven called her and said, "You need to get Adler in here and let him go. He's wasted over a million dollars in the recording process. It's over."

ML: Right. Did people agonize over that decision? Because, you know, here you have this band that's very hot. They're working on Use Your Illusion-

DG: You know what, I mean, there's an interesting - I'm sorry to catch you off, Mitch, but there's an interesting understanding that Steven has which is that Axl was gunning for him since fucking day one. That's not reality. And there's a reason why, Mitch, which I will explain, but Slash and Duff, they had to be there in the studio with him every single night. So the decision to let go of Steven was really between Mike Clink, Slash and Duff because, again, they had to deal with it. But Axl was the very last guy to sign the termination papers on Adler. He was agonizing over decisions, calling me saying, "Are you sure there's nothing else we can do?" because I had taken Adler to so many different rehab facilities, either the normal type, like Sierra [?] Tucson, or the great venture to Scottsdale, to the golf resort where Slash shows up and that whole melee happens.

ML: Okay. Now, and of course, eventually Adler sues the band, sues your company, wins a couple of million dollars. Explain to me how that happened. I mean, how did the judge not give you the right to fire somebody without penalty?

DG: Well, it is really easy to explain. We didn't know it at the time, having not, you know, attended law school. But the best way to explain it, Mitch, is let's say that you and I start a burger chain and we open up here in Pismo Beach and we open up in Montreal where you are and before you know it we have 50 different burger outlets. But all of a sudden I turn into an absolute drunken mess, I'm doing cocaine, and I'm doing the advertising on TV. You're going, "You know what, I can't work with this fucking clown anymore. He's dragging us down." At that point, Mitch, you can't just say, "I no longer do business with Doug Goldstein, fuck him, he's gone." There has to be what's called the wind up of a business? So you bring in forensic accountants who do evaluation to the company at the time and then he's paid off on whatever his portion of that valuation is. Now interestingly enough we did something called 'settling on the courtroom steps', which means we have presented our case, Adler has presented his case - and by the way, coincidentally Adler's attorney David, I forget his last name, anyway all along he's saying, "Doug, I don't want you in this case, but I can't drop you. You didn't do anything fucking wrong, but I can't drop you." And so when you when you settle on the courtroom steps, meaning you don't allow the jury to come back and render their opinion, you are then allowed what's called a 'jury debriefing' where all your attorneys get to pull the jurors about what they were gonna do. So my attorney tells me, and he's passed away unfortunately, Howard King, but my attorney tells me that the debriefing goes something like this: He's up first, he says, "Okay jury, what were you gonna do with my client Doug Goldstein?" The jury foreman stands up and says, "We have a question collectively, is Mr. Goldstein married?" And my attorney says, "What's the relevance?" The guy says, "We want to introduce this guy to our daughters. He didn't fucking do anything wrong, except love this kid." Next up is Niven, they were gonna fucking crucify him. And by the way, I say that and I have no... it was never explained to me why. So in all fairness to Alan, I really can't speak to that. But that was their perception. So I don't know, you know, I mean, again, Alan doesn't believe it and it's sad but I love Alan, I tried to keep him involved. In fact, point of fact, and it's really odd to me that Slash doesn't have a remembrance of what really happened, but to the Niven termination, Mitch-

ML: Right. Which occurred in '91.

DG: Yeah, well he used to get terminated about once a month.

ML: By Axl?

DG: By Axl. Axl would call me and say, "Fuck him," either that or we'd be on the road and he would come to Slash and I and say, "Fuck that guy, I ain't working with him," and I would say, "You know what, fuck you, he's my partner." And Slash would go, "Yeah, fuck you. He's doing good things for us." But at the time he was terminated in '91 he hadn't spoken to Axl in nine months because I was handling basically all the GN'R stuff and Alan was busy producing, writing with Great White. So it was working fine for us. I mean, you know, Alan was still making his GN'R money and I was doing my thing with GN'R. So I get this call from Axl, his annulment to Erin Everly finally goes through. So he's excited, he's like, "Wow!" he goes, "Finally, the annulment went through, I'm really happy." I said, "Okay. Congratulations, that's great, buddy." I said, you know, he should go have a nice dinner, "And I know that this has been like a lot of shit for you to go through so, you know, enjoy your day and let me know if I can do anything for you." He goes, "Can I talk to Alan?" I'm thinking, "Wow. It's been a long time, but this is a great opportunity for Alan to get back in." So I put him on hold, I walk into Alan's back office, I go, "Alan, Axl's on the phone," he goes, "So what?" I go, "So here's your chance. Okay, this is what's up, his annulment went through and this is the perfect opportunity for you to get back in by saying, 'Hey, I'm happy for you'." He goes, "Douglas, let me handle it." So I stand there and he picks up the phone and Axl tells him what's going on and he goes, "Wow, how fucking sad for you, yet again you failed at something." I think, "What the fuck are you doing? The fuck are you doing!?" So he goes, "You know, in this crazy world of rock and roll at the end of the day when I lay my head down next to Gunilla, I know that we're together forever and yet again, you've managed to fuck something up." *Click*. He hangs up the phone. I was like, I can't even fucking believe it. So my phone rings, of course, Axl goes, "Did you hear that shit?" I go, "Yeah," he goes, "Look Doug," he had a little convertible 325 BMW at the time, he goes, "I'm getting in my car and driving till it runs out of gas and wherever that is I'll be pumping gas at that fucking gas station," he goes, "I suggest you get on the phone with Slash and find out what he wants to do." So I call Slash and I say what I always do, "How are we gonna save Alan again?" And he goes, "You know what, Doug, I'm fucking done with this," I go, "Why?" he goes, "I can't do this anymore," he goes, "Alan was up at my house, ecstasy, cocaine drinking blah blah, and he tried to to hit on my fiancee Renee, find out what he fucking wants and just pay him off." So I go into Alan, I go, "Alan," and I don't even know what to say and I go, "I'll fight this if you want," and he goes, "You know what, Doug," he goes, "I'm so tired of this fucking egotistical asshole. I'm fucking done. He's a fucking cunt" blah blah, and I swear, Mitch, because I swear to God, up to that point I was gonna walk with Alan. And then I'm listening to him berate, denigrate, whatever, Axl and I'm thinking to myself, "You know what, I have in my time with Guns N' Roses, I've never heard Axl talk that way about Alan who's making millions of dollars." So my mind was made up at that point. "You know what, fuck it, I'll stay with Axl." And so I did.

And Alan's remembrance is completely different and he certainly entitled to that but the reality is back then I wasn't doing drugs drinking or anything else and Slash used to praise me for the fact that I didn't. Alan and I used to have this ongoing battle where I'd say, "Look, Slash keeps telling me he doesn't want you to party with the band. He trusts me because I don't," and Alan would say, "You know what, Douglas, you have to be one of them," and I go, "No, you don't, they don't want one of them, they want a manager that they can fucking trust."

ML: Right. So looking back you probably should have walked out with Alan at that time because the number of lawsuits that comes in the years [laughing].

DG: Yeah, right! I know.

ML: I was researching the lawsuits last night and there's Slash and Duff that's getting sued, and Big FD's getting sued, and Merck is suing and Axl's suing his office suing and Jesus, Izzy is suing - holy mackerel!

DG: Oh, yeah. There's actually a plate, Mitch, I forget which it was, but I'm on the phone with the then band's attorney Laurie Soriano, who I love, she's a sweetheart, and there's going to be a deposition and she goes, "I don't even know why I'm going," like, "What do you mean? You're our attorney." She goes, "Doug, at this point in time you've been through so much litigation, you know ten times what I know" [laughing]

ML: We can just take out a greatest hits of all the transcription.

DG: Yeah, right, exactly.

ML: Just going, "You're being sued for this, go back to the case three months ago and pull out paragraph two."

DG: Yeah.

ML: All right, so let's get back to Adler leaves, you got to get another album made, I know the record company's saying, "Hey, strike while the irons hot." Use Your Illusions is not coming together very well because Adler's gone and now you got to find a new drummer. Tell me a little bit about the Use Your Illusion and of course the decision to make two albums. There's been a lot of talk of Axl wanted a double album, Alan Niven and yourself and the record company said, "No, let's do two of one," and some other said "No, let's just pick the 10 best songs, god damn it."

DG: Yeah, right. There was a lot of controversy over how that should be done and Axl's a funny guy, he likes doing things for history's sake. Things that have never been... Doesn't matter if they make any sense. He wants to go down in history for being the first guy, well, having the band be the first entity, to have number one and number two in the Billboard charts. Haven't been done before. And another example of that is when I told him that the longest held note in music history was done by Russell Hitchcock and Air Supply.

ML: There you go.

DG: And so Axl has to break that by, I think it was on Spaghetti Incident, I forget, but when he had the chance, you know, once I told them that of course he had to redo that so he owned that record so he could put that pelt on his belt.

ML: You mentioned Spaghetti Incident, that one is another one we should talk about it. I don't know. Was that a good idea?

DG: Yeah, retrospectively probably not. You know, the interesting thing, the entire intent behind that was the guys wanted to put something out that showed what their roots were, as opposed to just being asked that question over and over and over and over and over. That's the sole intent behind that.

ML: Okay, and I know I'm jumping everywhere, I'm trying to focus-

DG: No, no, you know what, we should probably talk about Lies because that was actually really interesting. And by the way, Mitch, the one thing-

ML: Because it is a real lie. There's a live section that was actually never [?].

DG: Yeah, exactly.

ML: But okay, quickly, Use Your Illusion's song Get In The Ring. You know, they may have been treated poorly by some media but you're calling out Andy Secher, you're calling out Bob Guccione Jr., who, like him or not, had a powerful media empire, certainly at that time.

DG: No doubt. Yeah.

ML: You know media is your friend, especially in the early days of a band. Did management, did you - and I guess Alan was out of it at that time - but did you go to the band and say, "Listen, you want to write a song about bad magazines go, you know, knock yourself [out], but don't name names. Don't do that."

DG: Yeah, you know what, in all fairness to Alan, I have to say that the one difference between him and I, we have a differing philosophy on that. Alan has absolutely no problem helping shape because of his producer experience. I've never, you know, that's never been me. So I have this other philosophy that goes something like this, Mitch, I think that every male that I've ever met wants to be remembered for something when they pass, which is why - and I'll draw an analogy, when you see a truck that says Johnson and Sons Plumbing. That's not for the fucking kids. That's where old man Johnson, who's hoping that when he dies, they don't change the name of that company. So I've never been the type to say, "Hey, I'm gonna help shape how you want to be remembered when you die." So to that end I never really got involved in the creative process like Alan did. Right or wrong, right or wrong, I just never did. So no, we never did have that conversation, Axl and I. I think that Zutaut tried, in all fairness, to do.

And, you know, I will speak to my relationship with Zutaut. I've never had one because he was very close with Alan. And he was close to Axl and I think that I kind of got in the middle of that relationship, certainly not knowingly. But Axl was confiding in me in a place that I think Zutaut used to fill that. So, yeah, Zutaut and I were never close. I think Tom did some fantastic things for the band, clearly, particularly in the early stages.

But yeah, anyway, Mitch, so the one thing again that I hope to get across in talking to you is I loved and continue to care a lot about Alan Niven. I loved Slash, Duff, Axl, Izzy, Steven, Matt, all the people that I worked with. My whole deal is family. It's always tried to be family. And I never wanted there to be factions. I never wanted there to be fighting and it was always my goal to be the peacekeeper. So, you know, to that end--- let's go to Barcelona, Spain, if we can sure, to the purported 'Doug gets involved in the signing away the band's rights.'

ML: Okay, that's certainly one of the topics.

DG: Yeah! Well, you know what, I mean, it boggles my mind that Slash has the remembrance that he does. And I've never had the opportunity to talk to him about it-

ML: -And Duff too. Both of them-

DG: -I know.

ML: They both say that there was some trickery involved, that you had somehow just had them sign some papers, and then they came to you and said, "But you're Guns N' Roses manager and,"-

DG: They never came to me. And here and here's why, Mitch. The reality is back then, the date was July 5th, 1993, and they're both - I'll tell you what their belief is and then I'll tell you what reality was - their belief is: I get summoned to Axl's room and Laurie Soriano happens to be in Barcelona to watch those shows. So Axl knows that, so he purportedly tells me to draft an agreement with Laurie that day, saying that the band, Slash and Duff are giving up their name in Guns N' Roses, and if they don't sign it, he's not going on stage.

ML: Did that happen?

DG: So purportedly, I walk in and get Slash and Duff to sign it. Okay.  On July 5th, 1993, I'm in Mission Viejo, California, at the birth of my first son, Jacob Samuel Goldstein. I completely had no fucking clue what was happening. Nobody was able to reach me. My wife was in 14 hours of labor. I found out about it post fact. But the reality was I know because of all my experience and litigation, if you say, "Sign this or I'm not playing and we could potentially have a riot," that's signed under duress.

ML: Right, which is legal grounds for having it dismissed.

DG: Totally! So A, it wasn't me. I would never have done it, they're my fucking family and I love them. B, I'm on a different fucking continent. C, I know the validity of the contract is moot because it would be thrown out under duress. So it wasn't me. I mean you can certainly figure out by process of elimination who it would have been. At that point the tour manager's next up.

ML: Right. And who is the tour that.... was that John at the time? John Reese, or are there-

DG: Yeah.

ML: Okay.

DG: Yeah, it was John.

ML: Okay then. So John Reese, and I gotta watch my words, I don't want to say 'conspired' but got together-

DG: I don't think so-

ML: -got together with Axl?

DG: Yeah, I think John didn't have any knowledge of things like 'duress'. I mean, John certainly wasn't involved in all the litigation that I was. I think John was merely following the orders of Axl and thought that he was doing the right thing. I'm not calling John out on this, at all.

ML: And John's still very much involved in the rock scene for [?]. He's got Mayhem Festival, [?], Uproar.

DG: Oh my god, John's killing it in the music industry.

ML: Oh, yeah.

DG: He's killing it. But at the time again, you know, I in no way shape or form fault John because he was merely following what he thought were Axl's orders. He had no idea what duress was. And I think honestly all of us had seen so much damage in the St. Louis [and] Montreal riots. That's the thing, Mitch, Alan constantly says that I wanted to keep things going to make money. That's fucking... that's absolutely factually untrue. The reality is I had 225 people that were looking to me for employment, safe employment by the way. And I had responsibility to all of those guys including all the band members.

ML: Were the 225 on retainer where you had the drum tech and the this and that all being paid while the band was not, you know, not on the road?

DG: Not all of them, Mitch. No, not all of them. You know, if I had a deal with... like, we had our immediate techs, like the drum techs, you know, and your monitor engineer. Kind of the guys who are on the stage.

ML: Mike Fosano.

DG: Yeah. But then you have like a lighting company. It's not my responsibility to pay them, although what we used to do when we had unforeseen breaks in the action I would give everybody a little bit of money and that was something that I used to talk through with Slash. Say, that's kind of a point that I keep mentioning but really I haven't stated it, Slash and I for the most part ran all the band's business.

ML: Really?

DG: Yeah. Oh absolutely, no question. Slash used to come to my room at 10 am and we would go through all of the band's decisions that had to be made. And, you know, we'd get on the phone for three hours and do interviews. And in all fairness to Duff, he was also always willing to get involved with this when it came to any decisions that Slash and I couldn't agree on. Duff always had a really cool head.

ML: Right. But were they lucid at that time? I mean those were the big drug days, or drinking days more likely in Slash's case.

DG: Yeah, well, you know, Slash wouldn't start drinking until the afternoon for the most part. So he would he would pass out somewhere between 2 and 4 in the morning and then he'd be knocking at my door at 10 am.

ML: Okay. So now I'm gonna do some rapid fire stuff, back in the Use Your Illusion, it is, or it has been said, that there were video crews following around the band for those two and a half years-

DG: Absolutely. Yeah, Somewhere in a vault in LA there are on stage, off stage, hotel, you name it, they shot everything we did for two and a half years. And it's a collective... you know, the band owns that stuff. All of them would have to sign off on releasing it and, you know, I mean, in a perfect scenario of marketing you would drop that during your, you know-

ML: - Right before a reunion tour!

DG: Yeah, exactly.

ML: Because, you know, with two and a half years of footage sitting in a vault one could easily estimate that you have a killer two-hour DVD plus a whole bunch of bonus features.

DG: Oh hell yes!

ML: Easily, right?

DG: Easily!

ML: Well, let's hope that comes out. Use Your Illusion tour, the band went from five guys to about 87 people on stage.

DG: [laughing] Yeah, right! On stage alone!

ML: Which I really as a fan because.... what is this? '87, so I was 20-

DG: Use Your Illusion is '91.

ML: Right. So how old was I? I was 23. I really, as a rock fan loved, live shows. I love the warts, I love the feedback, I love when there's a mistake because, you know, it's truly live. When I saw them open for Aerosmith I was impressed. And then I saw this thing with brass and with girls and it just wasn't Guns N' Roses. It really felt like I had gone to a Barnum & Bailey show. It-

DG: But you know, Mitch, I have my own opinion as to why that happened and it kind of goes towards Axl is a human being and nobody really knows this about Axl, everybody knows that he's late blah blah, they don't know why. Axl has this incredible inherent fear of not being able to pull it off live. So if you can, you know, if you can be the wizard behind the curtain by throwing horn players and keyboardists and, you know, midgets and whatever up to deviate the attention away from you possibly squeaking in your voice.

ML: Okay, fair enough.

DG: And then it was actually my idea - I went to the band when we did the Skin And Bones to tour, well, we lost all that stuff and I said, "You know guys, let's do Song Remains the Same. One light bar, you know, no risers, just set up our fucking gear and play." And by far Mitch, that was our most successful, financially, our most successful run.

ML: And as a fan it was one of the most pleasing shows. So would you say that it was a mistake to have 85 people on stage because I would say as a fan, what a disaster.

DG: Mistake? I don't know. I mean, again, knowing Axl, you know, once he gives - and he doesn't do it very often by the way - usually he was following what Slash would want to do. But when Axl kind of gives his directive, if you will for lack of a better term, you know, we will confront him and say, "Is this really the right thing to be doing?" and if he says, "Yeah," then collectively we pretty much all agreed, "Okay, let's try it."

ML: All right, so, you know, I look at the... what is it, live in Japan DVD? And I go-

DG: By the way, can I tell you the story behind that? That's a fucking great story?

ML: Yeah. Okay.

DG: Yeah, you know, I watched your Niven three part interview. And he talks about how November Rain sucks and Estranged sucks and they're really expensive. I'm a guy who believes in turning lemons into lemonade. So I get this phone call from Eddie Rosenblatt. He says, "You need to come up here. We need to talk." Okay, so I go up there and he says, "I'm out of the video making business with you." Okay. "Because of the cost." Yes. Okay, no problem. So I say, "How about this? You'll still pay for the videos out of our royalties. And for the right to do that. I will give you a 15% distribution fee and we will own 85% of our videos." He says "Okay." We made 40 million fucking dollars on that video release from Japan. How many November Rain and Estranged videos can you make with that?

ML: Quite a few I would think right.

DG: Yeah, and I would argue in a contrary position to Alan that, you know, because I've spoken to a number of the creative people and business people at MTV and while Welcome to the Jungle certainly was a time period piece and Sweet Child of Mine absolutely launched the band and that was all Alan and I will give him all of the credit in the world for that, but the reality is when you talk to the creative people and the business people at MTV the what got them the lifetime achievement awards was the going over the top, was the November Rain and the Estranged videos. Because they were sentiment [?] to graphic pieces. They were what Michael Jackson was trying to do. And in fact, Mitch, I recently posted about the Bruno Mars hit, which is a fantastic song, one of the best songs of the decade, yet it's not supported by a great video and I don't get it. It's part of the marketing to me is to have a great video that coincides with the hit. I think you owe that to your fans.

ML: You know, I agree, but I don't know, is that old school thinking that both of us have that you need... I mean, it's hard to know what markets anymore, you can sort of throw a lyric video on YouTube now and people get all excited. I'm baffled by the whole 'how do you market stuff these days?'

DG: Yeah, right.

ML: Because I see these lyric videos popping up and as a reporter people send me links to lyric videos and I click on them and I go, "Why am I watching this?"

DG: Well, you just answered it though. Mitch, you just answered it. If they actually had a quality piece you go... It's just another form of marketing the song, and I don't think that'll ever go out of style, really, because you're noticing it and you are seeing it as a detractor.

ML: Yeah. Well the lyric videos I am.

DG: That's what I mean. Absolutely.

ML: I was at the Montreal Olympic Stadium show in '92, but before we get to that. Well listen, I was wise because I had seen - and I think we spoke about this earlier - Axl at Saratoga Springs opening up for Aerosmith, somebody threw a bottle, the band disappeared from the stage. Then I saw them at Saratoga Springs in '91 in June, Sebastian Bach backed into the speakers, they all fell down, Slash was riding around the stage on a bicycle, the band came on at 1 in the morning, proceeded to play to 4 in the morning, all Use Your Illusion material, which hey, sounds great, except the album hadn't come out yet so we always all sat there and went, "We don't know these songs." So when he came to Montreal, when he threw the mic down, I went, "I'm out of here!"

DG: Right, yeah, absolutely.

ML: I want to get into that-

DG: I wish I could have done that.

ML: I bet you do it, but before we get to that, I just want to ask you, you had another guy on staff called Barry Faye and-

DG: He was a promoter. Yeah, he was a promoter... Pheline [?] was the name of his company in Colorado. Yep.

ML: Right and he talks famously about a show in Denver on that tour which actually took place after Montreal where the band gets on stage - and Axl was having all kinds of voice problems and so on and so forth - band gets on stage, the show starts, they're playing, Axl walks off the stage, gets into a limousine and says drive me to wherever and of course nobody tells Slash, nobody tells Duff, they do a punk song, Attitude, they do another one, they go into a guitar solo, and-

DG: They pretty much had their B set together by that point, Mitch.

ML: Right. And somebody, whether it's Barry or you or John or somebody, phones the limo driver and says, "Get back to the venue," the limo driver says, "No, no, my client wants to go to," whatever, the hotel, and to which at that time the limo driver said, "We are your client, get him here." Now the limousine arrives back to the venue surrounded by security guards who shove Axl back on stage and say, "Play or this is the last breath you'll take," something like that.

DG: Horseshit.

ML: Something like that, right?

DG: Actually, I've heard that Barry told people he pulled a gun on Axl. You know what, I mean, it makes for great stories, but it's fucking horseshit.

ML: So what is the story of Denver?

DG: I don't know if you've ever gone through this Mitch, I go through it all the time because I have a bit of a temper. So when you go through, when you leave the stage, or in my case when I am in a relationship and I lose my cool, I walk out the door.

ML: Right. [?] in Denver.

DG: Okay, yeah. So he leaves and then... What I go through when I lose my cool is, "Fuck, now I'm embarrassed and I need to find a way to actually get back to what I was doing" [laughing] "because I don't want to be the guy who split." Axl told the limo driver to pull it around. There were no threats. There was no security. Myself and Earl Gabbadon, Axl's security guy, met him at the car and said, "Everything okay?" He said, "Yeah, yeah, I'm just fucking pissed off. You know, I can't sing the way that I'd like to, I shouldn't be doing this fucking tour." So I talk with him for like 10 minutes and he ends up going back. So, I don't know why Barry told the story that he did.  I mean, Barry also called me a glorified security guy.

ML: But I have heard the story from other people who discount the gun. They say, "No, no, Barry's wrong, there was no gun, but there were security guards who stood at the top of the stairs and on stage and said, 'You ain't fucking coming off this stage'." So I have heard a variation but it's still somewhat the same-

DG: Well, because I don't remember it that way, Mitch. The only time I remember something like that was actually in Germany. Where they locked us in. They just said, "Fuck you, you're going nowhere." And I had to get a special permission from the promoter to allow the wives to go back to the hotel.

ML: That's funny. And now why would Germany lock you in?

DG: I don't know. With the last name like Goldstein, I'm afraid to ask those questions.


ML: There you go. So, all right. So we go back a couple of weeks, Axl had taken three or four shows off because of his voice, show up in Montreal, Faith No More does their set, Metallica comes on, fire happens, James gets burned. Now, you suggested in a previous conversation to me that that was somewhat of Metallica's own mistake because they had changed the configuration of the set.

DH: Yeah, what ended up happening, and, you know, Lars is a great guy, whatever, but the reality is Jake Berry, who was Metallica's production manager, and Lars unbeknownst to the rest of us, they took the set that we were collectively using, which had metal grading so you could see through the stage.

ML: Right, you can put a light underneath and give a [?] and smoke could come up and all that stuff. Okay.

DG: You got it. So Lars is... I'm told, the reason why he does it is because the first 50 rows, their sight lines are impaired, they can't see Lars. And so instead of the monitors, the wedges that the band uses to hear themselves, instead of them being on top of the deck, he puts some sub deck underneath and in doing so some of the pyro cues for Metallica had to be changed. So I've never heard, now was it explained to James? And he forgot? Or was it just never communicated to him? But in either case, that's why James blew up. He was standing on a pyro cue that before that had not been a pyro cue.

ML: Right. So Montreal is the first show where this reconfiguration has taken place.

DG: Yeah. And by the way, what Axl was doing in the off time was seeing a guy named Dr. Hans Von Leden, who was the president of the orencology [?] association internationally. He was like this 92 year old guy, worked out of UCLA, and when everybody else was saying operate on singers, this guy was figuring a way to get them to not operate. So Axl's seeing him because we had canceled some shows and we come back, we agreed to do Montreal primarily because Metallica's saying, you know, "We can't wait anymore and we're just gonna fucking do these shows without you if that's what it takes."

ML: Right. Which they could have done contractually, they could have-

DG: Sure. No question.

ML: Let me ask the obvious question before we finish the story, was Axl sick?

DG: Very.

ML: Okay.

DG: Yeah. Very.

ML: It wasn't PR, it wasn't bull-

DG: Fuck, no.  No, I mean, you know, everybody talks about he's got the greatest range in history. Well, I mean, let me be analogous to there, if you're the strongest man in the world then you have a lot of damages to your muscles because you're constantly challenging it to move past the point that you were at before. So Axl was constantly having issues with his throat. Combine that with his fear of getting on stage and failing. That's the causation between the whole, you know, four hours to get ready for a show.

ML: Yeah, and I've heard a lot about Axl's stage fright, that it's legendary.

DG: It is! I don't even know if it's stage fright, Mitch. I would call it a fear of failing. And I think there's a difference between the two.

ML: I agree. And listen, I'll give Axl this, when he does perform, even now, and I've seen him the last few years, you can tell that he cares about the quality, you know, DJ Ashba and Bumblefoot, they're not Slash and all that, but it still sounded great. So you could see that, okay, he's late, but he comes on, he does 36 songs. He doesn't show up four hours late and do 10 songs and leave.

DG: Exactly. You know, Mitch, I've been watching a lot of the GN'R footage from when I was with them because back then, and maybe it's just me, but back then we had no fucking idea that we were one of the top bands in the world. No clue. We were just a family having fun going city to city. Fucking Partridge Family. [laughing] You know, I mean, we were setting up and doing our shows but I look back on the performances of the guys that I was representing, fuck, they were amazing! Not just vocally or Slash's guitar, but actually the way that they moved about the States. Incredible, I can't believe that we went that many shows without somebody getting knocked over because they were constantly running around and jumping off a shit.

ML: Yeah. Sorry, I'm just thinking back to Montreal before we get too far away.

DG: Of course.

ML: So I was at that show. James goes up and - by the way, I'm glad he's all right, because I love Metallica-

DG: Me too.

ML: We sat in those horrible hard plastic seats at the stadium for, I guess, it was like four hours. I think they had like gone up in smoke by like seven o'clock at night and I think by 11 o'clock Axl comes on.

DG: Really? I don't remember that way because I had called the hotel-

ML: I just remember being a very, very long, like, three or four hours of waiting. I could be wrong. This was still, you know, 23 years ago.

DG: I thought it was like 2-2.5-

ML: Maybe, maybe.

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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty Re: 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

Post by Blackstar Thu Jan 05, 2023 6:21 pm

DG: Yeah, still a long time. I mean, look, you know, Metallica's contention is, Axl had the ability to come on and be the hero, and I if it was, you know, if it was David Lee Roth, who I worked for in the past, absolutely, he would have been there, he would have done it. But knowing the years and years and years that I had been with Axl and and watching his preparation and knowing that he had been at Hans van Leden's office every fucking day during that downtime, I knew he wasn't gonna get there quick. There was no way because he does these vocal warm-ups that take him about an hour. And, you know, because [of] all the running and jumping he does, he's got horrible ankles and knees and so he gets those worked on. I mean, he has this whole procedure to go through before even goes, and he shortened that.

ML: Right. And now he comes on and I remember the band did, I think, six songs, seven songs, and then he sat down in front of the drum riser and said, "Your promoter is going to refund you. I'm out of here," and put the mic down. Which caused a big thing for Donald K Donald. I don't know if you remember Donald K Donald?

DG: Yeah.

ML: Donald K. Donald famously, in The Gazette the next day, said, "You got your show, if you add up all the minutes between Faith No More, Metallica and Guns and Roses, you got about an hour and a half-"

DG: Yeah. That's right. I had forgotten about that, yeah.

ML: "You got a show, leave me alone." And there was a class action suit, which I don't believe was successful - because I certainly saw no money out of it. But could nothing have been done? I mean, did Axl... did his voice give out? Was he just-

DG: Oh my, Mitch. He came over to me after the fourth song and literally said [in a hushed, strained voice], "That's it, I'm fucked, I can't sing," I went, "Holy shit, what the fuck are we gonna do?" So we attempted a couple more songs, but, I mean, he couldn't even talk. So when I watched the Metallica movie and I see Jason Newstead talking about, "I was drinking champagne back with Axl and there was nothing wrong," first off, Axl never would have had Jason Newstead in his fucking dressing room in a million fucking years. Not in a million fucking years. And Axl was really, really, really bummed. Him, Slash and Duff all sat around talking about how fucked it was and how are we gonna handle it? There was nobody else in the fucking dressing room. It was us.

ML: And of course you got stuck there because a riot ensued.

DG: Absolutely. Yeah, yet again.

ML: Yet again. But was there no thought in the next few days or coming weeks to put out a press release? Axl came back to Montreal 14 years later. Was there no thought for management to say, "Okay, let's come back and play at the-"

DG: Absolutely. No, we absolutely talked about that. We were going to come and do a show and we were told by the promoter, "No thanks" [laughing]

ML: Right, which is sort of what I had heard, that the promoters had banned Axl from the city and that's why-

DG: Yeah, Axl always wanted to make things right. But, you know, one of the things that's been frustrating for me, Mitch, and he does this with his own band members, Axl loves Slash and Duff and Matt. Izzy, obviously, because of growing up with him. He loves those guys. He doesn't really know how to communicate. So, you know, whenever we'd have some shit go down, the band was kind of left, not really understanding why things were happening. I would try and communicate Axl's position, but it's always been pretty frustrating to me that Axl refuses to stick up for himself in any situation. Which brings me to One In A Million, Mitch.

ML: Ah, that great song. That and then Look At Your Game, Girl, the-

DG: Right!

ML: One In A Million. Okay, let's do it. It talks about... it has the N word, I don't want to say it, it talks about the F word, you know.

DG: Yeah, and actually, literally, all he was trying to do is poke fun of a red - he was a redneck, homophobe, racist when he arrived in Los Angeles. And he was actually poking fun at that kind of mentality. He was like, "I can't believe I arrived in LA and I had all these preconceived notions about people that I knew nothing about." But instead of coming out and just putting it that fucking simply, he doesn't care what people think about it. He just doesn't fucking care. So I would beg him, "Please, you're killing me, tell your side of the story," and he go, "I'm not interested, if they can't figure that out, Doug, then fuck them. If they really think that's who I am then fuck them."

ML: But it could have been better framed, no? I mean-

DG: I would agree.

ML: Okay.

DG: But, Mitch, again, I'm begging him to frame it that way because they don't want to hear it from me.

ML: Okay, fair enough. I mean, but, you know, the song musically is a good sounding song. Lyrically, it could have been tweaked, you know. All right. Look At Your Game, Girl, the Charles Manson cover, though. That one is pretty intense because-

DG: Well, he's aligning himself with Manson.

ML: Right, and he gets royalties off of it. It's....

DG: Yeah, and again, that was him saying, "Everybody thinks I'm fucking crazy like this guy's fucking crazy. I'm not as fucking crazy as that guy but everybody thinks I am." And again, Mitch, I'm begging, "Please stop and explain yourself!" but he refuses to.

ML: But that caused a rift, if I got my story straight, with the band members. Slash... They were like-

DG: So did One In A Million. Slash's mother, rest in peace, she was this incredibly beautiful African-American woman, as was his grandmother. And so, you know, I mean, Slash is put in this untenable position with One In A Million coming out, having to explain that to his own mother.

ML: Which is not pleasant.

DG: Fuck no, it ain't. No, not at all.

ML: So then that's where sort of that rift I guess with Slash starts. And since we're on that, let's finish this with one more song that had troubles, Sympathy for the Devil. They bring in, what was his name? Paul Tobias. Was that his name?

DG: Yeah. Yeah, and you know what, I mean, the interesting thing about that, Mitch, is literally from the day Axl brought in Paul Tobias, his childhood friend, Axl would say, "He's only here until you find somebody to replace him." And I  told Slash, Duff, Matt time and time and time again, because they would call me and complain, "This guy's a fucking shitty guitar player, we don't want him in the band," and I'd say, "Guys, he's stated hundred of times already, find someone else." And it used to baffle me that they never put anybody else in place. I was like, "I can't do anything, you guys aren't helping me. He's told you you have an open window to to put this guy out of the band," yet they weren't bringing anybody else in.

ML: But should they have been working on that song at all? I mean, it's a Rolling Stones cover, they had to make a new album, they didn't get a new album done. I mean was it just-

DG: Yeah, you know what, I really don't remember that, Mitch. I really don't remember the circumstances around Sympathy for the Devil. I mean, you'd know better than I would, I think, that was another soundtrack deal?

ML: It was, for a Tom Cruise movie, I believe.

DG: Another Tom Cruise movie, huh?

ML: Something about Tom Cruise and maybe... What else do we have? Ah, recently you have been quoted from Rolling Stone Brazil, which I know is your favorite magazine these days, right? That says that all of this stuff that's going on with Slash and Axl really is Michael Jackson's fault.

DG: You know Mitch, I'm glad you're asking that question because in fairness I should have said when Axl fell out of love with Slash is this instance. This isn't what caused.... It's not Slash's side, clearly. But I was there, I was living it. Axl, he was in tears when Slash went to play with Michael. We had we had absolute knowledge of the allegations, Axl had courageously spoken about his childhood in Rolling Stone, you know, the being molested by his birth father at age two and it was absolutely uncomprehensible to him that Slash, who he loved and felt like was his partner all the way down the line in Guns N' Roses, would actually go against how he felt towards child molestation, particularly over a big screen TV. That was like, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. But in fairness, you know, I didn't say, "That's not why Slash and Duff left." No way, not even close. But that is when Axl disengaged as the thinking that Slash was his partner in Guns N' Roses.

ML: And friend and of course. So it was a sense of betrayal, I guess?

DG: Yeah, big time.

ML: 2009, you apparently write a letter to Axl that ends up on the Internet.

DG: Yeah.

ML: First obvious question, did you write that letter?

DG: Yep.

ML: Okay. Now, the contents, it talks about the sale of Big FD to Sanctuary. It talks about Merck, talks about a whole bunch of stuff.

DG: [laughing] Yeah.

ML: Do you know if Axl ever read the letter? Did he ever get back to you? And what motivated you to put that out in the public? Because, you know, if you're trying to get a relationship back together-

DG: Well, you know what, interesting enough I didn't put it out in the public. I actually sent it. I gave it to Beta. Next thing I know it's on the internet.

ML: Right.

DG: In no way shape or form did I expect that to become public knowledge. You know, I alluded to my two bites at the apple, Mitch, one in my childhood with my father and my brother and then again with Niven an Axl. And point of fact, Axl's birthday is the day after my brother's. So I have this love for Axl, this understanding of who he is because I was fucking roommates with a guy who was Axl Rose, growing up.

ML: Right, your brother.

DG: Totally. Yeah, totally.

ML: Okay. So now, I have the letter in front of me.

DG: Okay.

ML: You talk about wanting to make him 10 to 20 million in 2010 by starting something called The Rose Festival.

Dh: Yeah, and you know where that came from, actually is...everybody's doing... the Warp Festival... and so I thought, "You know what, Axl, you could actually be the producer of your own festivals." Why not? Why not? He loves, you know,...I mean, that's an interesting part of history. Nirvana, he brought Nirvana to the band. He loved Kurt Cobain. The whole Courtney thing, you know, he hated her but the reality is he-

ML: A lot of people seem to hate her!

DG: I know, yeah.

ML: I've never met her so I can't say anything but I get a lot of that.

DG: I mean, you know, Kurt, you know, when he, before he passed, he gave his version of the stor. Axl, as is always, never did. But I was with him and Stephanie and we were backstage at the MTV Awards and Courtney is saying, "Hey, look, it's Asshole Rose. Hey Asshole." That's what caused Axl to go up to Kurt and say, "Tell your fucking girlfriend to shut her fucking mouth." I mean, Kurt makes it sound like they said, you know, "Hey buddy," and all of a sudden he came over. It wasn't that at all. Courtney's yelling, top of her lungs, "Hey, Asshole Rose!" Which hurt his... you know, I mean, you know, I have this opinion that anger is not a primary emotion, it's actually a secondary/tertiary emotion based upon something else and 90% of the times it's hurt. And I think Axl's feelings were really hurt because he loved Kurt and didn't expect what he got.

ML: Would you say Axl is misunderstood?

DG: Completely! Even by his own band members. He loves those guys. He loved those guys. I can't speak to today.

ML: Well, today doesn't seem so bad. He's had Duff play with him. He's had Izzy play with him.

DG: Absolutely.

ML: He stayed very loyal to Dizzy. Now, okay, people are gonna say Dizzy was not original band, but whatever.

DG: Right. But I have to say, Mitch, that my perception has always been, Axl loved them way more than they knew. And people would argue with me, actions speak louder than words. But, you know, Slash would come to me and again, I had the ability to grow up with a manic depressive in my room, and so Slash would come up to me and say, you know, "He's acting like an irrational fucking asshole," and I'd go, "Oh, right," this is the point where I try and defend him for his irrational acts, okay, can't be done.

ML: Do you think Axl is still manic depressive or do you think that he's managed to get that under control?

DG: I don't think that ever goes away. I mean, I actually am something called hypothymic, which I don't have the depressive side, but I absolutely have the manic side, and that's something that never goes away. It never goes away.

ML: [?]  I just want to quickly go back to the Rose Festival, because I'm just reading the details, and it says it would have been a tour where you could have gotten Van Halen on the front part and boy, can you just imagine Guns N' Roses with Van Halen in 2010? That would have been fantastic.

DG: Absolutely. I think there's a lot of great shit in that letter by the way [laughing].

ML: Yeah, yeah. I mean, listen, you have a whole idea about a video for If The World using stock footage and you mentioned your wedding out in Hawaii - which, I do want to get to Hawaii real quick. There was a website called where... I found everything-

DG: You did, Mitch!

ML: -where you were blogging and you said, "I've been a Hawaiianlife real estate broker for five months now and I'm gonna start sharing stories about Axl Rose and Slash and the rest of the guys." Now, I've only been able to find one posting from 2012. You moved out to Hawaii for a while, you did the real estate there?

DG: I did. Yeah, you know what, I had originally fallen in love with the place when I took Slash-

ML: How can you not.

DG: Right? Yeah, right. And at one point when the band was rolling really good, I went to Axl, Slash and Duff and said... actually, you know, I need to back up. After taking Slash there in an attempt to get him clean, which actually worked, I fell in love with the place. Duff and I went in halves on a condo there. And I had met my first wife on my trip with Slash.

ML: Quickly, where in Hawaii? Because we have five islands.

DG: Yeah, the Big Island.

ML: Okay, perfect.

DG: Yeah, the resort area which is when you come out of the airport, you make a left and go towards the north part of the island. We were in the Waikoloa area.

ML: Hey, listen, there's no part of Hawaii that's not beautiful so-

DG: True that.

ML: So there's no point in me going, "Oh!" because I could just do that with everything you mentioned.

DG: Yeah.

ML: I love Molokai.

DG: At one point I bought a very lovely home and went to the band members, went to Slash, Duff and Axl and said look, "It's three hours earlier there, so when you're calling me at 4 in the morning, it's actually only 1. I can do my business from anywhere in the world and they totally supported it." I didn't end up going at that point, but in 2002 my kids were living with my ex-wife in Hawaii and from 2000 to 2002, Mitch, I literally took a plane on every Friday, American Airlines left at 5:50, I get into Hawaii, I hung out with my kids until Sunday at 10:50, and I'd fly back and I'd be in the office by 5:30 in the morning. And I never missed a weekend for two years straight. So I came to Merck and said, after Axl had fired me Merck was going to keep me around, and I said, "Look Merck, I miss my kids, I can't do this." He made me give half of my money back. But I did that to go be a father.

ML: Which is the respectable thing to do, by the way.

DG: Thank you. Yeah. No, I love my kids to death. In fact, my son Jacob, Jake, he has a number one hit on KROCK in LA. His band is called Hunny, h-u-n-n-y, and the track's [?] called Cry For Me. It's a brilliant alternative song.

ML: I'm gonna have to check that out. Now, you know, we're getting on to two hours now. So I think we probably should start winding it down. There's so much, Slash leaving, Duff leaving, but  I  would be remiss if I didn't ask you about When Pigs Fly, that's sort of the new management company you've put together. All kinds of bands on there. Who is sort of the guys you're pushing right now? What's their album? Are you back in the game?

DG: I've got a number of things happening. One of the bands that I absolutely love, which is probably the reason why I spoke to Rolling Stone Brazil, is an act called Covina. They're a metal band. Mateus is the leader of the band. I speak to him pretty much every day. They're fantastic. I think that they will grow out of these South America, UK, Europe scene. Kind of similar to Sepultura, if you will. There's a there's a group called Beautiful Disaster which has Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob.

ML: Yeah and just played on the Jeff Scott Soto album.

DG: Yeah. I tell you what, [?]

ML: Oh, absolutely. And the track that he plays on, Inside The Vertigo, if I could just find it. I have the CD in front of me actually.

DG: Oh nice.

ML: I have a pile of about 400 CDs right in front of me. But yeah, that's a great tune.

DG: Yeah. Yeah and the drummer's from Breaking Benjamin before that. He played with Zakk Wylde and Black Label, but they've really written a... I call it a 'gettable album'. In other words, where Adrenaline Mob would never be played on radio, these songs are absolutely designed to get on AOR oriented... I mean, they're another one. And then there's this other group that I'm really anxious to get going called Dead Day Revolution. The leader of that band is a guy named Mike Sandoz and Mike's one of those brilliant guys. For a job he works with different oil companies and he tells them where to drill next. But these guys are... it's a three-piece, very punk-oriented. I mean, I've already told you about a metal, I've told you about an album-oriented, and I've told you about a punk, and I'm having a blast. And then lastly I'm actually helping produce an 18 year old kid named Trevor Daring, who's accepted to Berkeley School of Music, and very John Mayer, although I'm trying to get away from him sounding too much like John Mayer.

ML: Right, you don't want to be a knockoff.

DG: No, exactly. But everybody that's heard him absolutely loves him. He's a talented young kid, very thankful that I'm involved in his career. And then I actually, Mitch, I've got some television and film projects going as well. So I'm pretty busy these days, but I'm enjoying it. I love it.

ML: I can imagine and of course, you know, in Montreal we have a Heavy Montreal Festival that takes place in August and it would be nice to see some of those bands come up here get a few new metal bands going on.

DG: Absolutely.

ML: You know what? I've started to pack away my notes, but the last one I have sitting in front of me is Duff McKagan in a 1990 interview where he says, "I got tired of Guns N' Roses being a dictatorship under Axl Rose." In fact, he said, "I got tired of the band being run entirely by Axl Rose."

DG: I think towards the end that's absolutely what happened, Mitch. Again in the Brazil thing, I was talking primarily, well, not primarily, absolutely about Axl's point that he kind of stepped out. For Slash and Duff it was trying to turn it into a three guitar band that really broke Slash's heart. You know, I mean, the guy's like one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Yet Axl wants him to give up his solos with Zack Wylde or Dave Navarro or one of these other cats and he just wasn't willing to do it, and I can't say I blame him. That's when he kind of bowed out. And Duff, really, for all intents and purposes, Duff was gonna hang around to see what was coming next but it kind of stagnated. Duff is showing up every night and he's pretty much the only one. You know, it was testing his sobriety, it was testing his creativity. You know, I know the article that you're talking about, actually '99 I think, I think you had said '90, I think it was '99.

ML: No, no, '99. If I said '90 I made a mistake, but no, no, it's 1999. And you don't want to hear the other article I have right after, it's an article about Big FD Entertainment suing Slash and Duff for money. Well, we'll skip that one on this [?].

DG: No, I never sued them.

ML: Oh well, let me see here, it says, "Guns N' Roses management company Big FD, headed up by Doug Goldstein, is suing former band members Slash and Duff McKagan for money's owed, according to papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on December 14th." What does it say here? It says, "The key issue apparently lies with the definition and timeline of what is a tour cycle, says legal counselor Burt Dexler."

DG: Dexler?

ML: Right. And it goes on-

DG: Well, you know what, I absolutely have zero knowledge of that. If I did that shame on me.

ML: It says, just in case that this jogs your memory, "McKagan has also accused of breaching the management contract by hiring independent managers in 1997 and again in 1999."

DG: You know, it's I mean, it's sad to say I actually have zero knowledge of that. I mean-

ML: I'm not surprised, you know-

DG: -as your recollection of that.

ML: You know, I wouldn't be surprised because if big corp, for example Coca Cola, decides to sue somebody, you know, not everybody in Coca Cola is going to know about it. That's why there's a legal department and that's why-

DG: You know Mitch, in all fairness, I think I would have had to know. I mean [?] is not gonna just do that without my knowledge. I just don't recall doing that. I mean, and again, shame on me, those guys were my family. I love them. So I can only say that I must have been hurt over something. And I get to that end, Mitch, you know what, I mean, I would love, absolutely love, to sit with Slash and Duff at some point, and Axl - in a different meeting obviously - but I would love to sit with those guys and dispel some of the shit that they think about me. Again, they were and continue to be my family. I love those guys and there's nothing in the world that I wouldn't have done for them.

ML: That's good to hear and hopefully at some point you could sit down with Alan and maybe try to rebuild some bridges. I'm not sure he might be willing to do-

DG: Like I said, I love Alan but unfortunately he thinks I had designs on his job and it's absolutely the antithesis, Mitch. I tried to no avail. I mean, I tried to keep him around, shit, Slash and I battled that for a couple years.

ML: Was Slash trying to get him fired?

DG: No, no, no. Slash and I would battle Axl. Axl would call us and say, "Fuck him, he's done!" and I'd say, "Fuck you, he's my partner." And that was happening every month.

ML: Is there any reason why not Axl and Alan just couldn't get along? Was it just personality?

DG: It goes back to the same thing I had in my childhood, is that you have the Tyrant... I mean, you know Niven liked to be a band member, he had his leather pants and his little booties and, you know, his gold necklaces and all that crap. And I wasn't that, I wore shorts and t-shirts and I think the band liked that.

ML: Right.

DG: There was a point actually on the bus where Alan handed lyrics to a song to Axl. And Axl opened up the bus vent and let it sail, saying, "I don't want my manager to be handing me songs. I want you to be my manager."

ML: Right. You know what, in that case I can see both parts because Alan with Great White-

DG: Oh my god, he made that band!

ML: Sure, and he wrote some great lyrics and then some great melodies and then-

DG: Very!

ML: But I can also see Axl saying, "Hey, this is my band and I don't need that." It's too bad. I mean, it's too bad that-

DG: It is, yeah, it is. I mean, I just think that they were, well, I mean, they were just two very, very, very different guys. Very, very, very different. Peter Grant never would have said, "Hey Jimmy," or "Hey Robert, let's sit down and have a writing session."

ML: Agreed but, you know, different bands called for different things. I think Great White needed Alan to do that for them or they might not have-

DG: They never would have had any kind of a career without Alan Niven. No question.

ML: Absolutely. As a fan for Guns N' Roses what I find the most disheartening is that here is this band that could have been the next Rolling Stones, that could have been as big as U2. Instead of having this talk in 2015 of what should have been we should have been talking about 'this tour coming up in the summer that's gonna make a billion dollars'.

DG: Yeah, right. Well, and you know what again, I love that you kind of feed me fodder for this, Mitch. Niven has inferred that I was doing it for the money, point of fact when my contract was done and it came time for the renegotiation, I told the band, "Pay me $500 a week. I don't fucking care. I love you guys. I'll do it for free. I don't fucking care." And I used to have my my business manager at the time, was a guy named Michael Oppenheim, and for five years from 1989 till 1994 he would call me once a month and say, "We need to go over what you're making," and I tell him, "Fuck you. You're spoiling the fun. I don't want to know." So I never even knew what I was or wasn't making until
we were all fucking done touring. I didn't want to have the finances sway me one way or another towards my decision-making processes regarding the band.

ML: And, you know, even if you did not personally, I wouldn't fault you for that because none of us do this for posterity. I mean, you know, you don't pay the rent with, you know, good feelings or good intentions. It takes money.

DG: Yes, clearly. I know I was doing just fine but I didn't want to know to the penny because I loved the people that I was working with and, again, to me it was all about being creative, particularly when it comes to the touring. That's really what I excelled at. And I think that that was why Alan and I made a good partnership. Alan was really good at the label stuff. I wasn't. But Alan knew nothing about touring. Absolutely nothing. And he let me run with that ball.

ML: Fair enough. So let's end on this because we've hit two hours. If Guns N' Roses reunited for whatever, 2016, what would be the value of that tour, after all the tickets were sold and all the merch, is that a billion dollar tour?

DG: You know, it's yet to be seen. The problem with it, Mitch, is there's so many people that have been burned in the past. Because I've done a little bit of research as to what the value of that tour would be, and the fans all call for it; the business people that actually pay for it, they're a little skeptical.

ML: Right, because the brand has been damaged by St. Louis, Montreal, Vancouver.

DG: Yeah, very much.

ML: Where else were there riots? Wasn't there one in Philadelphia, too?

DG: Yeah, well, actually that was early days. Axl got arrested prior to the show. You know, I do want to say one thing, Mitch, Axl had a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant idea. We're in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1992. So imagine if you will, Axl comes to me and says, "Hey, we'll open but I want to do a show with us opening, and we'll take the least amount of money, us opening, Pearl Jam second, U2 close". So I call Paul with U2 and I say, "Here's Axl's idea," he says, "We're fucking in." So I'm thinking, "There's not a venue in the world that could hold this show." So I call Kelly Curtis [= Pearl Jam's manager] and I'm at [?] Tel Aviv, Israel, and he answers the phone and leaves me on speaker. I go, "Kelly," I go, "Doug Goldstein," he says, "What can I help you with?" I said, "Axl has this great idea." I run it down for him and he says, "Not interested. I go, "Kelly, with all due respect, don't you have a legal moral obligation to discuss it with your band?" He goes, "Don't tell me what my fucking obligations are," *click*. So that show never took place because Kelly Curtis never took it to his band to see if they were interested.

ML: Fiduciary duty, my friend.

DG: Absolutely.

ML: Yeah, but you know what, I'm still more excited about the Rose Festival with Van Halen and Guns N' Roses.

DG: I got to be honest with you, Mitch. I come up with really, really creative ideas. Because that would have been, and I allude to it in that letter, you have to do, I mean, like Ozzy. Ozzy doesn't do every Ozfest right. So Axl would have set up the brand of the Rose Fest by going and doing the first tour and then that's it. That's it. He does one and then every Rose Fest after that he gets the bands together for it, but he doesn't have to do it and he gets paid.

ML: That's good branding. I'm actually gonna finish on this last one because I just thought of it, you were there with the Sanctuary, Rod Smallwood, Merck. There was all kinds of demos being made, you had Brian May come in, Roy Thomas Baker, all kinds of stuff. Is there a giant vault of unreleased Guns N' Roses songs?

DG: Not to my knowledge. No, not to my knowledge.

ML: Oh, now you're hurting me. That's disappointing. There's not a hundred songs locked away somewhere?

DG: I wish. Now, and Mitch, I will tell you, we absolutely thought at Jimmy Iovine's behest, I spoke to Bob Ezrin about possibly working on the project and the timing just didn't work.

ML: I wonder, because, you know, Bob is from all accounts very dictatorial in the studio. It's his way or the highway. And I just wonder how that would work with Axl. It might make greatness or it might just be a complete disaster.

DG: Yeah, right. Yeah, wasn't Bob involved in the KNDC [?] thing. The launch of KNDC internet?

ML: You know what, that I don't know. I mean, I know Bob Moore from Kiss, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd The Wall, and he's currently working with Alice Cooper on another album. But it's disappointing to know that there's not a hundred or two hundred songs sitting there with Buckethead and Brian May-

DG: But you know, there very well might be, it's just, again, I have no knowledge of it. I was gone in 2002. You'd know better than I would when Democracy came out. I just know that I was being called to Jimmy Iovine's office quite often to find out when it was gonna be done.

ML: Which was essentially never for the most part. But did they redo Appetite for Destruction? There was talk the band with Buckethead and Bumblefoot and all had recut the entire Appetite for Destruction to use in movies and commercials.

DG: I had heard that as well again, that was kind of post-Doug. Yeah, but I had heard that that was once something that Axl wanted to do.

ML: So well, maybe that's it. Anyway, listen, it's two hours. I'm certainly keen for a part two. I did enough research that I have-

DG: Any time, Mitch.

ML: - a million more questions.

DG: Yeah, yeah, we barely even covered anything. But the one thing that hopefully seems to be a common thread that you get out of this, is they were my family and I love them to death. And you know, if in some point in time I ever had the ability, not even to work with them again, but, you know, my dad always says, "Why do you care about setting the record straight? And the reality, I don't really give a shit what the public thinks. I really don't. I care what Slash and Duff thinking, what Axl thinks. I mean, that's it, bottom line.

ML: Yeah, and I, as a fan, I would like to see them even if they don't play on stage again, which is what I'd like to see, it would be nice for them to at least in the media say nice things about each other. Not ban them from each other's shows, not do some of the nonsense we've seen and just say, "Hey, you know what, we had a great band." Actually, you know, when you talk to Slash in an interview, you're not supposed to ask Guns N' Roses questions and it's just, it's too bad. It would just be nice to say, "Tell me about that time," and say, "That was a great time in my life," and anyway. And same with Axl, just be able to talk about Slash and not have, you know, getting banned from a venue's too bad.

DG: Yeah, right. I agree. And in fact, you know what used to be funny, Mitch, I would get these phone calls from the studio, Axl's sitting in his car, going, "You wouldn't fucking believe what he's written now," you know, either Locomotive or Coma, he's like, "How am I supposed to fucking write lyrics to this?"

ML: Great songs. Anyway, much obliged, two hours. I could certainly go three or four, but-

DG: Anytime, Mitch.

ML: Absolutely. And I'm gonna have this up right away and people will get to listen to it and you'll see the Internet is going to light up with this one.

DG: [laughing] Well, yeah, again, Mitch, you're somebody [?] for Slash and Duff because I love those guys.

ML: Oh, I have a feeling it will get played. I'm pretty sure that everybody will be listening. Just hopefully not Michelle and anybody who is big in the business that I [laughing] But there you go. Love them all.

DG: Thank you for your time.

ML: Absolutely and thank you for yours.

DG: Absolutely.

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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty Re: 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

Post by Blackstar Thu Jan 05, 2023 6:21 pm

I don't have time to transcribe, but I have extracted the auto-generated subtitles.

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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty Re: 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 10, 2023 7:54 am

There! It's transcribed!!
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2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein Empty Re: 2015.04.05 - One On One With Mitch Lafon - Interview with Doug Goldstein

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