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1993.08.23 - Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit

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1993.08.23 - Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit Empty 1993.08.23 - Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit

Post by Blackstar on Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:48 am


Steven’s counselor: In 1989, did you do a four concert set in Los Angeles Coliseum opening for the Rolling Stones?

Axl: Yes, we did.

Steven’s counselor:  I want to talk to you a little bit about some problems with drug use during that time. Is it fair to state that drug use, hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin, were fairly common in Guns N’ Roses always from its inception?

Band counselor: Objection your honor, (?) calls for conclusion.

Judge: Sustained.

Steven’s counselor:  Within a month or two from when Guns N’ Roses was formed, were you aware of any of its members doing drugs?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Who?

Axl: I think everyone had different times, with the exception... Well, no, everyone.

Steven’s counselor:  Okay. What kind of drugs – when you say everyone, you witnessed everyone doing drugs. Is that correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor:  What kind of drugs did Duff use?

Band counselor: (?)

Judge: (?)

Steven’s counselor: I will narrow it down. During the period of time between the formation of the band and March of 1990. What kind of drugs, if any, did Duff use?

Axl: Cocaine; and various pills, but I would not be able to say whether they were prescribed or not.

Steven’s counselor:  Okay. Where did you first see Duff using cocaine?

Band counselor: Objection, your honor. (?)

Judge: Well, it does appear to be (?)

Steven’s counselor:  I’ll withdraw this question your honor (?). Did you have any problems during the Appetite for Destruction tour with any of your band members getting in trouble because of their drug use?

Band counselor: Objection (?)

Judge: Overruled. You may answer.

Axl: Not that I remember.

Steven’s counselor:  Was Izzy arrested for heroin during the Appetite tour?

Band counselor: Objection. (?)

Other band counselor: Also it lacks foundation.

Judge: Overruled. You may answer.

Axl: I don’t believe it was during the touring. I’m inclined to think it was prior. I don’t know.

Band counselor: (?)

Band counselor: Objection. (?)

Steven’s counselor: Is it fair to state that four members of the band, during the course of its existence, partook in heroin in varying amounts?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Those members being you – rarely?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Izzy, Slash and Steve Adler. Correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: In September of 1989, did you make a statement about Mr. Brownstone at the Rolling Stones tour?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And after that, did you send a message through the management, asking that Slash apologized publicly?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: You were concerned about his drug use at the time, is that correct?

Axl: About everyone’s drug use at that time.

Steven’s counselor: Who else was using drugs besides him in September of 1989 (?)?

Axl: It appeared to me that the band was a wreck, meaning that everyone had some form of substance abuse.

Steven’s counselor: And that was your reason for making that statement in public? To shock everybody in doing something about it, correct?

Axl: Yes, that; and I was sick of it.

Steven’s counselor: Did the band sing a song from Appetite about heroin use, about drugs like (?) I shouldn’t have said the band sang something. Did the band do a song about that?

Axl: It’s a song about attempting to avoid or kick the habit of heroin, get away from it; and getting away from it.

Steven’s counselor: Okay.

Axl: It’s called Mr. Brownstone.

Steven’s counselor: Was it talking about trying to get away from the habit or doing it and trying to get away from the habit while on tour? Or during the performances?

Axl: All it’s really talking about is heroin can be a nagging habit, and be annoyed of the “naggingess” of that habit.

Steven’s counselor: One of the verses of the song starts with the words, “The show usually starts around seven, we go on stage about nine, get on the bus about eleven, sipping the drink and feeling fine.” Is that one of the verses in the song?

Axl: Yes, it is.

Steven’s counselor: And the chorus goes, “We’ve been dancing with Mr. Brownstone, he’s been knocking, he won’t leave me alone”?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Mr. Brownstone...

Band counselor: You’re going to have the witness hum this part?

Steven’s counselor: Pardon?


Steven’s counselor: It’ll probably do it too much more justice than I have.


Steven’s counselor: “Mr. Brownstone” is heroin, right?

Axl: Yes. Or anything, any substance. Or it could be TV. I look at it in any way possible.

Steven’s counselor: The song goes on to say, “I used to do a little, but a little wouldn’t do, so the little gets more and more.” That referred to drug use, didn’t it?

Axl: As I said, I think it refers to any form of substance abuse or emotional repressive. That’s how I look at the song, and always have. It’s like, in its simplest term you can look at it as heroin, or you can do what you want with the song.  

Steven’s counselor: I get you. Where did you pick up the word “Brownstone”? Is that a word that you made up?

Axl: No. Izzy.

Steven’s counselor: What is the word “Brownstone”?

Axl: It can be slang for heroin. It can be slang for anything. I know that I use it for anything.

Steven’s counselor: I’d like to talk a little bit about some things that took place after March of 1990, and I’d like to take you back to (?). We’ve had somebody else who already told us about it, but you may have a different recollection of it. You did the Stones tour in September of 1989 at the L.A. Coliseum, right?

Axl: We played four shows.

Steven’s counselor: Four shows. I shouldn’t have called it a tour. It wasn’t a tour, just four performances, correct?

Axl: It was four embarrassing evenings.

Steven’s counselor: Why embarrassing?

Axl: Because we were terrible (laughs).

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And the next performance you did was Farm Aid in April of 1990. Is that correct?

Axl: I believe so.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And then, because you were busy rehearsing and recording Use Your Illusions, the next opportunity you had to perform publicly was in Rio de Janeiro at a rock festival called Rock in Rio, correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: All right. And you were sellout in Rock in Rio, correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: And when did that take place? When in 1990 did that take place? The best you can recall.

Axl: Probably at the beginning of the year, early 1991. Probably end of February.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And did you have discussions about how to accomplish this with anybody else?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: With whom?

Axl: Alan Niven and Doug Goldstein, Slash, Duff, Izzy. And Peter Paterno.

Steven’s counselor: And do you remember these conversations all distinctly or they are basically in your mind one conversation, in which you were saying the same things?

Axl: I don’t remember very distinctly.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you, and the band’s management, and the band’s attorneys, ever discuss the details of how you were going to change Steve Adler’s status?

Axl: To a certain extent, yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. What is the extent to which you participated in the discussion? What details were discussed?

Axl: Figuring out the terms of the probation.

Steven’s counselor: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.

Axl: Figuring out some of the terms of the probation - I don’t remember which things I agreed to or not, or even suggested, now. And that if he couldn’t get off drugs, he was gone.

Steven’s counselor: Did you discuss, with any of the people you described, what would happen if he didn’t get off drugs and he was gone, in terms of winding up his interest in the band?

Axl: No. As I stated in my deposition, I figured all of that would be negotiated at some point.

Steven’s counselor: So you didn’t give it any thought, as of the time, but you signed an agreement called the March 28th agreement, didn’t you?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And that’s exhibit 2, I think it’s one of the documents (?). Do you need to look at it, to know what I’m talking about?

Axl: (Looks at the document) I know it. (?)

Steven’s counselor: ... the document, exhibit 2.

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you have ideas that you wanted in the document?

Axl: I wanted the members of Guns N’ Roses, myself included, to be protected by the document.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Protected against what?

Axl: Situations such as today (chuckles).

Steven’s counselor: It didn’t work.

Axl: No (chuckles).

Band counselors: (?)

Steven counselor: I’m sorry, your honor. Withdrawn.

Axl: And we don’t know that one yet (chuckles).


Steven’s counselor: Well said, Mr. Rose. Well said.


Steven’s counselor: To put it quite literally, the jury isn’t in on that one yet. You said you wanted to be protected. Did you sit down with Mr. Niven at any time and go over any draft of the agreement?

Axl: I don’t remember sitting down. There may have been some over the phone; or, actually, there may have been one time in my condominium sitting down, but I don’t actually recall it.

Steven’s counselor: Do you remember going over any draft of the document before the document was presented to Steve for signature?

Judge: Clarification, counselor. Reading it himself or discussing it with somebody else?

Steven’s counselor: Either. Probably breaking it down.

Axl: Beyond, I don’t remember. I can vaguely recall possibly, but then again, it may have been other documents. We’re constantly signing documents, and I don’t know if this was over the phone or in person.

Steven’s counselor: You say you’re constantly signing documents. You’ve got recording agreements, and producers agreements, and...

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: And agreements like that. What’s your habit or custom when you have to sign a document such as a recording agreement? Do you sit down and read it through cover to cover?

Axl: Depending on the document.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you sit down and read exhibit 2 cover to cover before you signed it?

Axl: I don’t remember.

Steven’s counselor: Did you ever rely upon the advice of your managers and your lawyers as to what a document contained, rather than sitting down and trying to analyze it yourself?

Axl: Yes, there have been many times that I’ve done it.

Steven’s counselor: Many times what?

Axl: Many times I’ve done it.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you ever get down with other members of your band and ask questions to the managers or the attorneys as to what the guts of the document was, rather than analyzing it yourself?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Do you have any recollection of suggesting any language for exhibit 2?

Axl: Suggesting language, no.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you...

Axl: I wouldn’t have thought to put my language out (chuckles).

Steven’s counselor: Did you talk to Peter Paterno – who were you talking to about the language of the agreement, as opposed to just the concept, for putting Steve on probation?

Band counselors: Objection (?)

Judge: Sustained.

Steven’s counselor: Did you talk to anybody about the language of the agreement, as opposed to just putting Steve on probation?

Band counselor: (?) The question is confusing. (?)

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Was it your understanding that the document was going to put Steven on some kind of a probation?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: What else did you understand that the document was going to do with Steve?

Band counselor: (?)

Steven’s counselor: At any time before you signed it.

Axl: Please repeat the question.

Steven’s counselor: I want to know what else you thought that that document was going to do; what effect you thought it was going to have, other than the fact that it was going to place Steve Adler on a probationary basis. What else did you think it was going to do?

Axl: Well, if he didn’t meet the requirements of the probation, that it was going to remove him from Guns N’ Roses.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Did you think that the requirements of the probation were going to be spelled out in the document? Like not using drugs, showing up at the rehearsals, that sort of thing?

Axl: Yeah. Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Was it your understanding that the agreement would say something about drugs and not using them?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Was that your understanding when you signed the document?

Band counselor: Objection (?)

Steven’s counselor: When you signed the document, did you believe the document contained something about drugs and not using them?

Band counselor: Objection (?)

Judge: Overruled. You may answer.

Axl: I don’t remember exactly, specifically, what I was thinking when I read the document and when I did sign it.

Steven’s counselor: Do you remember now that you did read the document?

Axl: I know that I read it.

Steven’s counselor: What?

Axl: I know that I read it. I don’t remember necessarily what I thought while I was reading it.

Steven’s counselor: Did you ever have any conversations with anybody before March 28 about how you would go about buying out Steve or terminating his interest and his relationship with the band, if probation didn’t work out?  

Band counselor: Objection. (?)

Judge: Overruled. You may answer.

Axl: No, I was never trying to figure out how to buy him out.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. You knew that the agreement was going to place Steve on probation, correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: And that during that probationary period, he wouldn’t have the status of a partner anymore, correct? He would just be an employee?

Axl: Correct.

Steven’s counselor: You knew the agreement had a provision by which, if he could satisfy the conditions of the probation – that is, operate to your satisfaction –, he could be reinstated as partner. Correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. You knew, however, that the possibility existed that he might not be able to get off drugs, and that if he didn’t, he was going to flunk out and be dropped, correct?

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. Now, did you sit down with anybody – I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said “sit down,” it’s generic. Did you talk to anybody, either management or other band members or lawyers about, “Look, what happens if he does flunk out and it ends? What are going to owe this guy and how are we going to pay?”

Band counselor: (?)

Judge: Overruled. (?) The witness may answer.

Axl: I know that there were questions asked, but until the document was produced, there were no conclusions made or, you know, ideas set in place of how it was going to be.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. You say that you know there were questions asked. Questions asked by who?

Axl: Me.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. What were you asking?

Axl: What’s gonna happen.

Steven’s counselor: What’s gonna happen if he doesn’t make it.

Axl: Yes.

Steven’s counselor: Okay. And whom did you ask that question?

Axl: Alan Niven, Peter Paterno, Doug Goldstein...


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