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1992.05.DD - Use Your Illusion Tour program (Europe)

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1992.05.DD - Use Your Illusion Tour program (Europe) Empty 1992.05.DD - Use Your Illusion Tour program (Europe)

Post by Blackstar on Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:19 pm

Many thanks to @spookeend for sharing this with us.
Check out his great GN'R collection here:




The Most Dangerous Band in the World

Losing the Illusion

Despite the vows of abstention and the endless assertions of righteousness and togetherness, the new decade began for Guns N’ Roses much as the old one had ended: in the gossip columns and not, as they would have liked, in the recording studio. On 22 January, Slash and Duff attended the American Music Awards; a staid music-establishment event held annually at LA’s Shrine Auditorium, and televised live across America. Staggering up to the podium to accept the first of two awards they had been nominated for, bottles of wine in their hands, Slash uttered the word ‘shit’. The second time, when Slash began his speech, ‘I want to thank fuckin’ - oops!’ the invited crowd, mostly ageing tuxedoed industry barons and their mistresses, grew visibly agitated.

The obviously inebriated guitarist attempted to salvage the situation by going on to thank the Geffen Records A&R team ‘for finding us’ and the band’s managers ‘for fuckin’ getting us there’.

At which point the show’s director cut to a hastily arranged commercial break. ABC, who networked the show, logged literally hundreds of complaints from irate callers all over the country and the following morning the story made the front pages of both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

Slash, however, remained stoically unrepentant. ‘I sort of wanted us to be the fuck-ups there, because everybody else was so polite and stiff and unnatural,’ he was quoted as saying in Rolling Stone. ‘We were trying to have a good time, and I think out of all the people there, we were the only ones who weren’t putting on a facade.’

The last time I spoke to Axl was over the phone, a couple of months later. Looking back on some of the more inflammatory quotes in the interview which forms Chapter Six of this book - specifically, the desire to ‘take out’ Vince Neil of Motley Crue - I was concerned that some of the statements, made in the heat of the moment, might be the cause of regret later on and I wanted to check with Axl that he still stood by what he had said.

‘Is this on tape?’ he asked sharply. It is, I told him. ‘OK, the Motley thing,’ he began evenly. ‘I feel childish now about my comments, at the same time I’m still glad I said what I said. But I do feel a bit childish about it and I feel that my anger fell into what I believe is Nikki Sixx’s game of publicity. I fell into that but decided at that point that I didn’t care. If I had to do it over again I might not necessarily say those comments but, at the same time, I’m willing to live with them.’

What if Vince Neil were to actually take him up on his offer, though, and come after him? ‘Fine,’ he said, unabashed. ‘You know, whenever he wants it. I don’t have the time to worry about going after Vince. If Vince wants to come out after me I’ll clean up the floor with the motherfucker.

While I had Axl on the phone I took the opportunity to try and clear up another weird tale that had recently been on the lines between London and LA. Namely, that Steven Adler had been fired from the band; his continuing failure to kick his heroin habit was cited as the chief reason why recording of the new album had once again been iced.

‘No,’ Axl insisted. ‘He is back in the band.’ But he was definitely out of the band for a period, then? ‘Yeah. He was definitely out of the band. He wasn’t necessarily fired. We worked with [former Sea Hags drummer] Adam Maples, we worked with [former Pretenders drummer] Martin Chambers. Then Steven did the Guns N’ Roses thing and got his shit together. And it worked. He did it. And Steven plays the songs better than any of ’em. He’s just bad-assed and he’s GN’R. And so, if he doesn’t blow it, we’re gonna try the album with him . . . and the tour,’ he added after thinking it over for a moment. ‘You know, we worked out a contract with him. He’s going to do the album and, if he doesn’t blow it, then he’s going to do the tour. Then if he doesn’t blow that he’s fully reinstated.'

You mean you’ve given him a straight choice, I asked: give up the drugs or give up the band? ‘Yeah, exactly. But like, you know, it’s worked out. You know, it’s finally back on and we’re just hoping that it continues. It’s only been a few days,’ he explained. ‘What’s today? Saturday? It’s only been since Tuesday that it’s been back on. So since Tuesday it was on and he’s doing great.’

How much of the new album had they actually got done before the situation with Steven forced them to pull out yet again? Another pause. ‘Ah ... we don’t start recording till May 1st. We pulled out of the studio and went back and rewrote some of the songs, and ... because of the Steven situation. But what was cool about the Steven situation situation is that it made the four of us realise that we'd got to get our shit together. Because if we bring in Martin Chambers then we better have the songs down. You know, so then we worked out eleven songs in a week, that we really had down. And so we worked those out and got those tight. And then worked on a bunch of things in rehearsal, you know, with other drummers, and got all of our weak areas pretty tight. But here is new news,' he interrupted himself, brightening suddenly. ‘There is a new member of GN’R.'

What? I was caught off-guard. There was a new member of Guns N’ Roses? ‘Yeah.’ Who? ‘Erm. a guy named Dizzy.’ I repeated myself -Who? ‘Dizzy. D-I-Z-Z-Y.’ Does he have a last name? I enquired. ‘I don’t know,’ he replied, deliberately oblique. ‘We just call him Dizzy. But he’s the sixth member of Guns N’ Roses. He’s our keyboard player and piano player.’

Would I know him from anywhere, I asked, still not quite sure if he was kidding or not. ‘He was in a band out here called The Wild. And he used to be our next-door neighbour. He was actually asked to join three or four years ago. But the very same day that we decided that we were gonna ask Dizzy to join the band he was in a car wreck and had his hand smashed so he had to get pins and stuff put in it. Then he came into rehearsal a few months ago and played three songs that he’d never heard before, songs that we didn’t even plan having piano in, that were heavy metal. But he put heavy metal piano into it, you know? And it was amazing.

‘So the other day, Monday, I found out he was going to be put out on the streets . . . no, it was a Sunday night. So I called Alan on Monday and I said, secure this guy, hire him, write up the contracts. Put him on salary and give him an advance so he can get an apartment. So now we have a piano player

And that was it. Apart from a last brief enquiry as to whether he had received some Charles Bukowski books he’d asked me to send him -‘Yeah, I’m on my seventh one now, dude!’ - that was the last time I spoke to Axl, or indeed any of the members of Guns N’ Roses. For a myriad of reasons both personal and, as ever, stubbornly unprofessional, the shutters came down after that and Axl has refused to speak in public to me or anyone else since.

True to form, the band never did make that 1 May date with Mike Clink in the recording studio. Instead, on 28 April, Axl married his longstanding girlfriend, Erin, at Cupid's Inn, Las Vegas, then filed for divorce forty-eight hours later. The marriage was officially annulled six months later. On more familiar ground, Izzy was reportedly arrested for urinating in an ashtray on an aeroplane. And then, in May 1990, it was announced to the world that Steven Adler’s problems with heroin had finally proved insurmountable and that, regrettably, he was now, officially, no longer a member of Guns N’ Roses.

‘All Steven lived for was sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll - in that order,’ Slash later told Rolling Stone. ‘Maybe drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll. Then it was drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Then it was just drugs.’ He said he had tried to keep in touch with his former boyhood friend but that it had proved difficult. ‘I did keep in touch. I’d pop into his house every now and then to see how he was doing. I stuck with him, as you’d do for a loved one. The he started getting on my case, saying, “I’ve heard you guys are all on heroin and what’s the difference, blah blah blah . . .” And finally I couldn’t talk to him any more. I’d take him out to dinner and it would turn into this huge fight, to the point where I couldn’t take it. So now I don’t see him any more. I call his doctor and I think about him a lot. And I worry. ’Cos it’s a scary thing. And he was my best friend for a long time.’

Steven’s replacement was 26-year-old former Cult drummer, Matt Sorum. Slash had seen him play with The Cult at the Universal Amphitheatre in LA some weeks before and ‘figured I’d just try to steal him. And that’s what I did,’ he told Vox magazine. ‘The main thing I noticed was that the drummer was great and I said, “Well, why can’t we find a drummer like that? What’s the problem?” I was tearing my hair out trying to find a guy who would fit in the band. It’s not like we just hire some outside guy as long as he can play the parts right. And then I remembered that Cult gig . ..’

Work on the new Guns N’ Roses album finally began in the summer of 1990. The basic tracks to thirty-six songs were reputed to have been recorded in less than thirty days. The first fruits of this sudden unprecedented labour were a long meandering track called ‘Civil War’, which the band donated to the Nobody's Angel compilation album organised under the aegis of George Harrison, with all proceeds going to the Romanian Angel Appeal, a charity set up to aid those children left orphaned by the Romanian Uprising of December 1989. Then, in July, a rough-hewn studio out-take version of ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ found its way onto the soundtrack album to the latest Tom Cruise movie, Days of Thunder. The resultant video - itself an out-take of a performance broadcast from the Ritz in New York two years before - quickly shot to No. 1 on the MTV charts, with copious expletives deleted (something the advertising-revenue-conscious execs at MTV would never usually stoop to).

Meantime, having reluctantly turned down an offer from David Bowie to go to Australia and lay down some guitar solos on the new Tin Machine album, Slash became the only guitarist in history to earn the peculiar distinction of having played on album sessions with both Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, the Dylan recording date was a disaster, Bob only requiring him to ‘strum like Django Rheinhardt’ on one track, before eventually wiping his part from the finished track, anyway.

He did, however, play on three songs on the new, as yet unreleased, Michael Jackson album, though he didn’t actually get to meet the star in person. ‘It’s at once the most sterile and creative process I’ve been involved in,’ Slash revealed to Select magazine. ‘Everything is pieced together from samples; you use the same drum beat and chords, then later add things to make it different in some places. Which is so different from what we do. Michael hires out the studio for, like, ten years and shows up once a month. I’ll probably never get to meet him. It’s sort of weird . . .’

Slash was also invited and agreed to play on Iggy Pop and Lenny Kravitz recording sessions. And then, in September, the band entered Studio One at A&M Studios in Los Angeles and began laying down the final parts for the thirty-six songs they staunchly intended to use on the next Guns N’ Roses album. It was titled Use Your Illusion, and Axl and Slash were insisting they use all thirty-six of the tracks they were recording in one format or another. At first they bandied around the idea of simply releasing one massive quadruple box-set. The alternative suggestion at this time was that they release two double albums simultaneously. Understandably, Geffen balked at the potential commercial disaster which such an extravagant proposal might create. Eventually a compromise was reached and the decision was taken to release one double album, followed a year later - halfway through what promises to be a two-year world tour - by a single album, with the added prospect of at least one EP of cover versions.

There was even loose talk of a series of EPs - one punk, one funk, one rap, one rock - dotted in between, and the probability of a GN’R live album at the end of the tour to kill off the bootleggers. Clearly, the band were about to make up for their two years of near catatonia with a prolonged bout of hyper activity.

As indicated earlier, original titles the band began work on in earnest at A&M included Duff's ‘Why Do You Look at Me When You Hate Me’; a new, reputedly ballsier recording of ‘Civil War’; Axl's beloved epic, ‘November Rain’ and another ten-minute monster about an Axl overdose called ‘Coma’; Izzy’s ‘You Ain’t the First', Pretty Tied Up’ and ‘Dust and Bones’ (with Izzy singing); and Slash's 'Perfect Crime’. Then there was an acoustic ballad with Duff singing lead called ‘So Fine’; a fistful of Slash and Axl Saturday night specials entitled ‘You Could Be Mine’, ‘Double Talkin’ Jive’, ‘Don’t Cry’, ‘Shotgun Blues’, ‘Don’t Damn Me’, ‘Bad Apples’, ‘Estranged’, ‘14 Years’, and ‘Loco-Motive’. Plus grandiose exhumations of earlier pre-Geffen anthems like ‘Ain’t Goin’ Down’, ‘Back Off Bitch’, ‘Just Another Sunday’ and ‘The Garden’ (featuring an unlikely duet between Axl and Alice Cooper).

Slash introduced one track with some remarkably adept banjo playing, and Izzy played sitar on another. And although, as Slash put it in Select (with Axl still refusing to give interviews it was once again left to the otherwise painfully shy guitarist to spill the beans to the press) ‘there’s a lot of songs about, you know, drugs and sex’. There was, he was quick to add, a strangely romantic feel to much of the sounds conjured up on the new material. ‘Which is something I believe in strongly, surprisingly enough.’

They also recorded at least seven cover versions: ‘Down on the Farm’ by the UK Subs; ‘New Rose’ (the first ever punk single by the Damned, with more lead vocals from Duff); ‘Don’t Care About You’ by semi-legendary LA punks, Fear; ‘Attitude’ by the Misfits; yet another version of Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’; plus, going straight to source now and an echo from their down and dirty days in the clubs, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ by the Stones. And, most surprisingly of all, an emphatically metallic version of ‘Live and Let Die’, Paul McCartney’s hit theme tune to the 1974 James Bond movie of the same name.

‘The album spans our whole career,’ Slash informed Vox. ‘It’s such a self-indulgent record, it might come out and everybody will go “What the fuck is this?” But we don’t care, because it’s ours. It’s a killer album and it’s not mainstream.’ In Rolling Stone, Slash revealed that the material on the new album ‘leans more to the darker side. There’s not a ton of really happy material on it, you know? Most of it’s pretty fucking pissed off. It’s very pissed off, and it’s very heavy, and then there’s also a subtlety to it as far as us really trying to play. There are a lot of semi-humorous drug tunes and a few songs about love going in whichever direction. Regardless of whether it sounds like the blues or not, basically that's what it is.’

The money, the fame, had never really changed a thing, he said. I anything it had just made life more complicated. ‘It’s a strange but when we used to just hang out on the street, it was more fun when we had lots of money and became part of society and were forced to deal with responsibilities. It’s like I think Jimi Hendrix said - “The more money you make, the more blues you sing.’

As always, Axl seemed to have more blues to sing about than most. On 30 October, he was arrested at his West Hollywood apartment and later released on $5,000 bail on a charge of ‘assault with a deadly weapon’. The ‘deadly weapon’ was actually an empty wine bottle and the ‘assault’ was allegedly on his next-door neighbour who called the police one night to complain that the singer was playing his music too loud. The case was dismissed to the sound of loud snores less than six weeks later.

The last time I saw Slash or Duff was at the Rock in Rio II festival in Rio de Janeiro, in January 1991. The band was booked to headline two of the shows at the giant 200,000-capacity Maracana stadium - scene of so many famous Brazilian footballing triumphs in the past - in a ten-day event that brought together such diverse names as Prince, George Michael, Billy Idol, Faith No More, and New Kids on the Block.

With the new album - now confirmed as a double entitled Use Your Illusion - already being mixed in LA and set for release in April, the band took the opportunity to try out some of the new songs they’d been keeping to themselves for so long. That and a week of, to quote the local O Provo newspaper, ‘sun, sea and sin’ was hardly the roughest week on anybody’s agenda, and the band also looked on their trip to Rio as a chance to relax; to get out of the recording environment and enjoy a change of scene before the serious business began in the spring.

I saw Slash first, in the bar of the Intercontinental Hotel on Ipanema beach, where the band were sequestered for the duration of their stay. And then Duff later, as we passed each other in the corridors backstage at the Maracana the second night the band played there. Both times, they looked straight through me. Why, they didn’t wait around to tell me. But then, surrounded as they were by no less than twelve bodyguards that made Mr T look like Mrs Mouse, they didn’t stop to talk to anybody; not even to the other musicians taking part in the event. Not even to themselves, by the grim looks on their faces. I admit I was shocked. Though I shouldn’t have been. After covering the sudden ups and prodigious downs of numerous big-time rock stars over the last ten years, by now I should be immune to the wayward foibles of pampered rock stars. Nothing about what they do or say (or don’t do or say, as the case may be) should really come as a surprise to me any more. But this did. Not just that they refused to even acknowledge my presence, but that it was done without warning and explanation. It has to be said, I sensed no real animosity; I just sensed ... confusion. Dread.

What conclusions am I do draw? What conclusions were there to draw for the hapless Brazilian photographer who left the room horizontally, his cameras broken and stomped into the carpet by two of the paid heavies for the heinous crime of trying to take a picture of Slash in the bar of the Intercontinental the night before their first show? What conclusions were the 150,000-odd fans at the Maracana supposed to draw when Axl cut the first Gunners show short by some twenty minutes because he didn’t feel the crowd were ‘responsive’ enough that night?

And what conclusions were Judas Priest, second on the bill for the second Gunners show, meant to draw when less than three hours before they were due to go on stage they were sent a message from the Guns N’ Roses dressing room informing them that Axl would not take the stage unless a) Judas Priest refrained from using any of their pyrotechnics; b) the band cut their set short by at least twenty minutes; c) they do no more than one encore; and d) most absurdly of all, singer Rob Halford refrained from beginning the show, as he had for the last ten years, on the back of a motorcycle? And what conclusions should Michael Wilton and Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche draw, themselves having appeared earlier on in the evening on the same bill, when after asking politely if they could watch the Gunners work out from the side of the stage and being sent a message back by one of Axl’s gorillas that it was OK, they then got dragged from the side-stage area by the same gang of gorillas less than two songs into the set?

Something’s wrong here. What, I don’t have the time or the inclination left to get into now. Besides, what do I know? These days I’m just another member of the great unwashed; part of a past they seem to have rejected wholesale in favour of a future only God and Axl Rose could accurately speculate on (and by all accounts even they haven’t been talking much lately). All we can rely on from this point in are the bare cold facts as they leak out of West Hollywood from time to time. The plan after Rio is for Guns N’ Roses to headline their own massive arena tour of the US with Skid Row, themselves self-styled pretenders to the Gunners Bad Boy crown, in support. After that they will endeavour to play a series of large open-air dates in Europe, including at least one stadium show in the UK (probably at Wembley, in London) in late summer. But, like the man said, don’t hold your breath, kidz. This flight tonight ain’t even begun yet and who really knows what lies in store in the future for Guns N’ Roses?

On a more positive note, I can report that Matt Sorum and Dizzy Reed appear to have fitted in easily and without fuss or too much attention (I’ve yet to see a single photo of the new keyboard player) - even if some of us do still miss seeing Steven on the drums. And at the time of writing, Izzy and Duff have announced they have been sworn off all drugs and alcohol for nearly sixty days now, though nobody seriously expects them to make it through a two-year tour that way.

Slash says he hasn’t used any hard drugs whatsoever since he successfully weaned himself off them a year ago. Asked about his chances of wigging out again, though, he shrugs: 'It’s not something I’m worrying about. Even though I didn’t go through any counselling, I think I understand where it all stemmed from and how it could happen again. But I look back sometimes at things I’ve done, and I see that what gets me off is working real hard towards something, to reach a goal. We’re not always gonna be the brash teenage hardcore band, because we won’t always be brash and teenaged. Kids hate hearing that, ’cos it reminds them that they’re gonna get older someday too. But I think we can go out and concentrate on the music; we’ll be a lot tighter band on tour this time, and better musicians.’ He caught himself suddenly. ‘But then when we go out there, we’ll all go fuckin’ crazy and those plans’ll go right out the window...’

Make sure you aren’t standing in the street below when they do. The debris threatens to be severe.

Last edited by Blackstar on Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:08 am; edited 3 times in total

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Post by Blackstar on Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:26 pm

The text in the tour book is the last chapter from Mick Wall's book, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991.
Part of it can be also found in this thread, along with the previous chapter:

It's at least odd that an unauthorised book was used in one of the tour books, more so by a writer who was called out in Get In The Ring. But the tour book was probably a local work.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:54 pm

Yes, it doesn't look official.
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