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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:23 pm


In late 1990 Slash would vent his frustrations with the press:

I don't think anybody will understand. [...] Everybody likes to make assumptions, people like to make up all these stories and I can't figure out the mentality behind it. They're always picking on our personal lives. It's never accurate. So it's made up like they're talking about somebody else altogether. The only thing you can go on is what's actually printed correctly in the press, quotes that are actually accurate, which isn't too often, anyway. […]

[…] you have to deal with [the lies]. You keep avoiding it, and avoiding it, trying to ignore the fact it's going on, and it sort of sticks with you and it just builds up. It finally hits you and you can have a breakdown over this shit eventually if you let it build up for too long. If you don't make some sort of rebuttal to what's being said about you, you end up having to live with it, which is not the right thing to do
[VOX, January 1991].
And later the same year he would look more philosophically at it:

This is one of those bands that, even before it got signed when it was a club band, was just bait for hype. And it’s like that now, only on a bigger scale. So at this point, we’re pretty numb to it [MTV, May 1991].
But they weren't so numb that they didn't make an attempt to curb the bad press, because in March 1991 the band's relation with the media had become so strained it was claimed that anyone who wanted to interview them had to sign a contract. According to Los Angeles Times, this "two-page document gives Guns N' Roses copyright ownership and approval rights over any "article, story, transcript or recording connected with the interview," control over any advertising or promotion involving the story and indemnifies the band from any damages or liabilities in connection with the story" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991]. Even photographers had to sign "a similar three-page contract" "with similar clauses, including band ownership of all pictures taken by any photographers" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

Alan Niven would defend the decision:

We're fed up with being misused and abused by all the scurrilous (scum) who pass themselves off as journalists and photographers. I can't begin to tell you how many writers and photographers have misrepresented themselves, made up quotes or made money selling substandard photos of the band. It's amazing, but people can peddle any kind of (junk) if Axl's picture is on it. The press always says, 'Trust us,' but whenever we do, we get screwed. We started (using these contracts) with the European press, who are notoriously untrustworthy and incompetent, and we've found it keeps incompetence and inaccuracy to a minimum. We're not trying to deprive people of their opinions. But we do want a formal document that will prevent the abuses we've endured in the past [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].
So would Duff:

The critics are looking for us to fall on our a__. The group went from being critics' whipping boys to being "the press' darling, then the press turns around on you [Detroit Free Press, May 1991].
Some magazines, including Guitar World and Venice, signed the contract while others, including Rolling Stone, Playboy, Spin and Penthouse, refused [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

The musical editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Jim Henke, was incredulous: "I can't believe anyone would go along with anything like this. We're always having people asking to be on the cover, but we've never had anyone try to dictate the editorial content of a story. I have to wonder whether the band is going to still go through with this even after their album comes out" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

The band's publicist, Bryn Breidenthal, had the following comment: "My immediate reaction was that this might provoke a lot of hostility. But the band is just reacting to all the inaccurate information that's been disseminated about them. In my 25 years of doing publicity I've never dealt with a press contract before, but when you deal with this band, you deal with a lot of firsts" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

Matt would later argue that it was only meant to stop some magazines:

[The contract] was for people we didn't want to talk to. It's been blown all out of proportion, because there's plenty of stuff the band wants to talk about openly [Chicago Tribune, May 1991].
This would be confirmed by Axl in May 1991 when he referred to it as a "test contract" aimed at specific magazines:

And that was a test contract basically because of certain situations we’ve had with the English press that we tested in Rio. And the most outrage that we really got was from the magazines that we were having problems with to begin with, you know. And because we weren’t going to talk to them anyway, then they saw that and went running with it. But no, we’re not trying to control everything. We just want what we said or anything we say to be in the proper context, to be something that we really said. […] So we’re just trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. You know, if we don’t have a real big problem and if we get along with people we don’t even ask about contracts. You know, it’s like, if we know everything’s gonna be okay and it’s gonna be honest, then it’s fine. The contracts are kind of... I laugh, you know, when they make such a big deal, because it’s really kind of like a deterrent for people that want to cause problems. They see that and they know they won’t be able to get in to cause that problem [MTV, May 1991].
The "English press" that Axl is here referring to, is likely the interviews by Mick Wall in Kerrang! Axl's antipathy for Wall would also result in him being named in the rant in 'Get In The Ring' [see later chapter].

Axl would further embellish on the detrimental nature of inaccurate and out-of-context quoting:

And we’ve had certain things that may not hit the world on a big scale, but dealing with smaller magazines and stuff, where they’ve run all kinds of interviews we never did and where they said I said things. Like, I may have said something hostile towards a member of another band, but they’ve turned it around and said I said all kinds of things I didn’t say. And it’s like, the things I said were even meaner (chuckles), but I knew what limb I was going out on it, and then somebody cuts down the tree and then hits me. And it’s like, it’s not really fair, because I do take the time to try to answer the questions and talk about things as honestly as I can; and then I have someone distort that, you know? And if a magazine has a... maybe they have a subscription rate of 50,000 or 70,000 but, you know, this was a 40,000 people show tonight. 40,000 people were here, you know, and that hits that many people with a different impression of us and that kind of hurts [MTV, May 1991].
Neither MTV or the Chicago Tribune had to sign the agreement [Chicago Tribune, May 1991]. In the end, as indicated by Matt and Axl, Rolling Stone did not have to sign the contract, either. As Kim Neely, a senior writer at Rolling Stone would say, "The thing about that contract has really been blown out of proportion." Neely would say she didn’t have to sign any contract because “there are certain magazines that have never done them wrong in the past, and Rolling Stone is one of those magazines. We submitted two names to them, and they said either would be okay.... I’m a big fan" [New York Magazine, August 1991].

In June, Spin Magazine, with chief editor Bob Guccione Jr., would print a highly critical article about the contract which including the contract for all their readers to see [Spin Magazine, June 1991]. The same month, Geffen would release a press statement saying that the band didn't require the contracts to be signed before doing interviews that the reason why the band had done fewer interviews was simply that the band was occupied working on the new record. [Geffen Press Release, June 1991].

Lauren Spencer, Spin's senior editor of music, would comment:

"They were actually asking all writers to go ahead and sign the contract if they wanted to get an interview with Guns N’ Roses. Basically, that was the story we got. What they said was, ‘You want an interview? Look over this contract. Let us know.’ The bottom line is that the band isn’t doing interviews anyway. It was just kind of offensive that they would in the first place be introducing the contract. Whether it was a joke, I don’t know " [The Courier Journal, June 1991].

In June [although published in August] Slash would talk about the contracts and mention they had been changed:

So there was a situation where we put out a contract, where anybody who wanted to interview the band had to sign this agreement saying that we would get to see the actual interview and approve it, because we’d been screwed around for so long and taken it. And now the band’s got to this point, it only makes things worse, because now there’s some really meaty stuff to make up!

So a lot of the rock ’n' roll publicity machine and the critics were handed this contract, and if they didn’t abide by the stipulations on it, then it was gonna cost them 100 grand. Which was pretty harsh, but my feelings about it were that if these guys weren’t gonna be blatantly honest and do what it said, then they were out to screw us in the first place. In other words, why worry about it? I mean, if I give you a piece of paper right now that says, ‘Don’t try this on me, or do this and that’, and you won't sign it, how am I supposed to trust you?


But since then we’ve restipulated the contract. It’s more of a thing for who we want to deal with and who we don’t wanna deal with. Because at this point, if it’s gonna go public, the only people what we care about are the people that listen to the band, and I don’t want them given bullshit. […] We still get to approve the articles, but now the band’s got the choice of wanting to deal with the situation. There’s no money involved any more...
[Kerrang! August 3, 1991].
Basically what it comes down to is, screw the contract and all that, it comes down to it being fair to the kids, to our fans. If you're gonna write about us, write the truth. The kids, they know the truth... [Kerrang! August 3, 1991].
Tony Gerard, writing for Kerrang!, would say the following regarding the contracts: "To be honest, I’ m still not sure I follow the band’s reasoning on this, and I’m dead against any kind of control over a piece of journalism save by the writer and the editor, but at least the contract issue has been wisely retooled to the point where it does significantly less damage.

Still, it’s a disturbing facet of this band that one wishes had never seen the light of day. Is it just paranoia on the part of the band, or a authentic strike against that shameful cluster of journalists who slander for the sake of a juicy story? Only by sitting in on every interview GN’R has ever done and then reading the resultant feature would one be able to discern the truth
" [Kerrang! August 3, 1991].

In August a spokesperson for Guns N' Roses would say the contracts were not in use any more [New York Magazine, August 1991]. When asked, Slash would claim they had modified the contract when they realized they did want to talk to some journalists [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].

In mid-1992, when asked about the press contract, Duff would first say he didn't want to talk about it, but when pressed he would say that they still used a watered down form:

Well that’s yeah....yeah. And there still is a form. It’s not as harsh as the old one was. It was so harsh because we had over the years accumulated all this crap on us that wasn’t true. And we got fed up. It was like.. .OK, if you want an interview you got to sign this, and we get to go over everything that’s gonna be printed. And if you don’t print exactly the way you show it, then you get faced with a libel suit. […] [The suit] is totally against our.. .you know....were just five, six guys out playin’ and we don’t want to do that. But then again, you don’t wanna look back when you’re fifty years old and look at these interviews sayin’ garbage. […] There’s a different contract now. I don’t wanna talk about this because it’s got nothing to do with rock and roll [Hit Parader, June 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:25 pm


Axl befriended Sebastian Bach, the siger of Skid Row, at some point in the late 1980s. In early 1990s, Bach was in the media considered a rival to Axl. It didn't turn out that way, though:

Axl: Actually, Sebastian Bach and I are talking about doing a version of Amazing Grace together. Well, I think it's a whole new idea that him and I are gonna do this together, ‘cause everybody wanted us to be enemies, kind of, a bit in, you know, press things, “Who's better or this and that”. And it's kind of like, we just hit it off [MTV Famous Last Word, August 1990].

In 1990 they would hang out frequently. In July they would call in to the Howard Stern show [The Howard Stern Show, July 1990] and in the month after they were together in Axl's condo when a neighbor complained and it got raided by the police [People Magazine, August 1990].

When Guns N' Roses finally started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' records in May 1991, they chose Skid Row as the supporting act.

Axl: You know [Sebastian and I are] hoping to work together some, and it just... […] I’d told you last time that we wanted to do a version of Amazing Grace but we haven’t got to it yet [MTV, May 1991].
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:28 pm

APRIL 2, 1991

In April 1991, Slash would be featured on the songs 'Always on the Run' and 'Fields of Joy' from Lenny Kravitz' album 'Mama Said'.

[…]my girlfriend and I were just head over heels in love with [Kravitz'] album. When I met him I told him, 'You're so great, we fuck to your record all the time!' He was probably a little shocked [laughs] but he's a really good guy. I put a solo on one dills new songs, which is the most out of tune first-take dry guitar solo—but he really digs it. He's really raw, one of the most soulful people.

We didn't know each other then. I was in what you call Continuation School, which was for kids who smoked in class, that whole thing. But we recognised each other, jammed one night... He's a real cool character.

Kravitz would describe Slash's interest:

Slash approached me as an individual after one of my shows and we talked. He was, like, I really want to play on your record, and I was like, I'll take your number and call you, and he was like. Call me, don't bullshit me. We went to high school together actually, but we really didn't know each other, we just passed each other. […] It was a solo which, before I met him, I wanted Jimmy Page to play. And I couldn't get him, so I thought Slash'd be the next best cat. He played his ass off on it. Unbelievable. It's the best I've ever heard him play.
Sounds, May 19, 1990

Although Kravitz had some reservations dealing with Slash due to the lyrics of 'One in a Million':

[…] those lyrics are bullshit. […] F**k it, [Slash is] an individual. I have no problem with him or his politics. He on the other hand has to deal with Axl. I don't have to. I don't have anything against Axl, I don't know him. I don't particularly like what those lyrics say, but I don't know where Axl's coming from, what he's been through, and I can't judge him. Offhand, it sounds really stupid and racist but, y'know, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I've got my f**ked up stuff too. I'm not sinless, I'm a human being. I don't really judge people.
Sounds, May 19, 1990

Slash would describe hanging out with Kravitz:

I went down to the studio where [Kravitz] was in L.A., and we hung out that night. He smoked pot, and I drank vodka, and we did a solo on one of his songs called “Fields of Joy.” I just finished recording another song for his new record, a song I’d originally written for Guns that never happened as a Guns song. We had a great time hanging out in New Jersey. The guy is so fucking down-to-earth. It’s a pleasure to work with somebody like that, where there’s no bullshit.

I fell in love with his first album. We met at some awards thing and got to be friends. I went to the studio and put a solo on "Fields Of Joy" and played the riff on "Always On The Run" [both on Mama Said]. That was a great time too.

[Being asked which one of his collaborations was the biggest blast to do]: Probably the Lenny Kravitz one, because that was just such a spontaneous fuckin' thing. It was a song, a riff that I originally wrote. That 'Mama Said' song was a riff that I was playing hanging around with Lenny, talking about how we went to high school together. I played him that, and he called me up three months later: 'Let's go to Hoboken and do that track.' 'You serious?' So we went and did that together, and that was fun. We did it in this funky place on a Sunday in Hoboken, off license, no booze, nothing. Went out there and smoked a hell of a lot of cigarettes.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:30 pm


In the beginning of 1991, Mick Wall was surprised to see that Slash wouldn't talk to him [Kerrang! January 1991]. Wall would later blame this on the infamous media contracts that the band issued [see later section]. But, as it turned out, these contracts were only meant to stop some magazines/interviewers, and after the release of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums with the song 'Get In The Ring' where Wall was singled out as someone who had "wanted to start shit by printin' lies instead of the things [the band] said" it was clear that the good relationship Wall had enjoyed with the band in the late 80s was now over.

After the release of the 'Use Your Illusion's, Wall thought the animosity towards him was due to a Kerrang! series of stories he had written and with the recent publication in Britain of an unauthorized book containing Wall’s interviews with the band [Entertainment Weekly, September 1991]. Wall's colleague in Kerrang!, writer Paul Elliott, would speculate it was due to articles Wall had written about the band's Rock In Rio performances in early 1991 [Kerrang! September 12, 1992].

The articles Wall wrote about the band's performance at Rock in Rio is likely the ones referenced in an article Lonn M. Friend wrote for RIP Magazine (released in March 1992):

One night Axl called me at home because he was upset about something he'd read in Kerrang! According to Axl, the journalist completely missed the boat in reviewing the band's performance at Rock In Rio. "We were on the second night," Axl told me. "Why didn't he see that?" Later investigation revealed that the writer missed the show entirely, because certain personnel around GN'R wouldn't give him a decent place to watch the concert from. Our conversation rambled on about the press, and I was forced to ask Axl why it really mattered. Why should a sentence in a British metal rag matter to the lead singer of the biggest rock band in the world? 'I just care,' he answered with conviction. 'I don't know why; I just do'.

In 1998, Classic Rock Magazine would publish an article by Wall where he would discuss the feud and claim that the conflict was actually due to Wall writing things Axl had said about Vince Neil when Axl was pissed off at Neil for attacking Izzy [see previous chapter], and, according to Wall, which Axl would dispute he said [Classic Rock, November 1998]. Moreover, when Axl had asked for a copy of the tapes so he could verify that he had actually said the things Wall had claimed he had, Wall refused, and this, according to Wall, was the actually reason Axl was angry with him [Classic Rock, November 1998]. In this Classic Rock article, Wall would further claim that Axl and three bodyguards met with Wall and threatened to kill him if he published a planned book of the band [Classic Rock, November 1998]. After receiving these threats, Wall would claim it only made his more adamant to publish a book about the band which was published around the time the Illusions came out, resulting in people believing the Get In The Ring rant was about the book, and not the earlier conflict [Classic Rock, November 1998].

In September 1992, Izzy would be asked about the animosity:

I honestly don't know what that was about or what was said. Axl was mad at Kerrang!, right? There were so many things that pissed him off...

This feud between Axl and Wall, or Guns N' Roses and Kerrang! led to the band not doing any major interviews with the magazine until the beginning of 1994. In January 1994, Kerrang! would write:

Guns N' Roses versus Kerrang! - one of the longest running rucks in rock n' roll. But no more. The feud was immortalized in the track 'Get in the Ring', from GN'R's mega-Platinum 'Use Your Illusion II' album. In that song, Guns singer Axl Rose rages at former K! writer Mick Wall, who had accused the band of arrogantly blanking him and everyone else at the 191 Rock in Rio festival.

From there, the feud got out of hand, Axl slammed Kerrang! from the stage at Wembley Stadium on successive UK visits in 1991 and '92, and despite the fact that Mick Wall has not worked for Kerrang! for two years, the rift seemed irreparable. Considering that Kerrang! had been the first UK magazine to put Guns N' Roses on its cover way back in 1987, it was all pretty frustrating.

Bu come 1994, the bitchin' is over.

Slash would comment and confirm that now that Wall wasn't writing for Kerrang! anymore, they were willing to talk to the magazine again:

The whole thing with Kerrang! had to do with certain individuals who were there. […] As soon as the band started to become popular, there were all these people taking unnecessary potshots at us, so we thought, 'F**k it!'. But now that everything's changed at Kerrang!, everything's fine. That's the reason I'm talking to you now.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:31 pm

APRIL 1991


In July 1991, Los Angeles Times would report that the band had severed ties with their manager Alan Niven. Doug Goldstein, who started out as tour manager and then became co-manager together with Niven as part of the Stravinski Brothers, became the new band manager [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. The break with Niven had occurred before the touring for the 'Use Your Illusion' albums started [RIP, September 1991].

According to an insider interviewed by Los Angeles Times, the problem was with Axl who wanted Niven out:

I think that Axl and Alan had been drifting apart for a long time as individuals, even as far back as 'Appetite for Destruction. In the end, I don't think Axl saw Alan as someone who was still fully on his side. He has a more comfortable relationship with Doug, whom he perceives as a friend as well as manager. Axl knew this was going to be a long tour, and he wanted to have everything in place before it started.

Izzy was not happy about this decision [Kerrang! September 21, 1991] and would, after he had left Guns N' Roses, claim it was Axl's idea and that Axl had threatened to quit the band if the rest of the band didn't go along with the firing of Niven:

Axl fired him. […] We weren't given any choice! It happened like that. Four members of the band were against and Axl said "All right, take him as a singer then because if he stays, I leave!" What can you do? What can you say?

I felt really bad about it, because I'm still friends with Alan. I felt I had to choose between him and the band. He was kinda like the sixth member of the group for a while. And he really helped put us where we are now. I still think he's a great manager. But Axl and he finally had too much of a clash of personalities. Alan has his way of doing things which is more like a military strategy. Axl wants to do stuff his way, at his pace, in his time.

Alan Niven would later confirm that it was between him and Axl:

Axl wanted total control, while my commitment was to Guns N' Roses. My assessment was that the dynamic of the five original individuals involved was what created the character and overall personality that ultimately proved so successful. Axl was a part of that - a very important part - but I had too much of a problem with this 'It's my ball and if you don't play the game by my rules then I'm taking it home, dude' attitude of his.

According to an anonymous "co-worker" from the time Niven was ousted, it was only natural Axl would want to remove a manager who openly disliked him:

It was very clear that Alan didn't like Axl. I mean how would you feel if you knew - positively without a shadow of a doubt - that your manager really didn't like you?

Allegedly, one of the issues Axl had with Niven was that he had booked the tour before the 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released, likely due to what Axl would describe as "excessive greed" [VOX, October 1991]. Axl would certainly indicate he was angry with the "premature" tour from stage:

I know you guys don’t wanna hear a lot of bullshit raps, so I’ll explain real quickly what we’re doing with these shows here. Due to the pressure from my – how should I say it – ex-manager, who wanted to make sure we toured and didn’t give a fuck to watch about when the record was done. So we’re out here before the record is done. But it’s a good thing. And we want to make sure that we are not ripping you people off and when we come out you get the most (?) [...]

Due to an over-excited manager we’re out on tour. But that excited manager is now fired, so... I don’t mind so much being out on tour, but I would’ve liked to get my record done. And since we’ve all waited such a fucking long time, we figure we’ll play it on the tour whether you’ve heard it or not, cuz (?) you know, and like, “I don’t know, I don’t know if people don’t know those songs, they might not like them, you better not play those, it might not work.” Fuck that shit. Anyway, it’s recorded, it’s been put together and it’ll be out in a little while. [...]

We’ve been pairing the old and the new [songs], since we are out on this tour since we had an over-excited ex-manager, or rather greedy ex-manager. I love that word, “ex”. Ex-wife, ex-manager... [...]

Slash would confirm that Niven booked the tour before the records were completed:

[…] we decided to start touring before the album was even mixed. Which wasn't our fault. It was more the fault of our old manager, because he booked these gigs and we hadn't finished the record yet.

There were also rumors about disagreements over the music to be included on the records, with Niven disagreeing with the inclusion of "12 minute songs" on the albums [Melody Maker, August 1991].

Alan Niven did not sue the band for firing him:

[Axl] does sometimes try to exercise a sense of honor. With the separation, my desire was to get a one-time payment because I didn't want to get involved with him and with Goldstein - I just wanted out. And Axl honored that.

After Izzy quit the band he still worked with Niven, to Axl's frustration:

I'm angry with [Izzy] because he left in a very shitty way, and he tries to act like everything's cool. He put his trust in people that I consider my enemies. People like Alan Niven, who I think is his manager now. I don't need Alan Niven knowing jack shit about Guns n' Roses. Everybody has a lot of good and bad, and with Alan, I just got sick of his fucking combo platter. It's like "If you're involved with these people, we can't talk to you."


With Niven being out of the picture, Goldstein would commence sole managerial control of the band. Commenting upon Goldstein taking over:

Dougie's done a lot of stuff in the last couple of years. He's the guy who now gets to go over to Axl's at six in the morning when his piano's hanging out at the window of his house. All kind of shit like that. Now we get these fuckin' calls - 'You hear what happened?' No, what now? 'Axl just smashed his $50,000 grand piano out the fuckin' picture-window of his new house.' That's nice, Dougie. You just take care of it. Call me when it's all over.

Goldstein would become a controversial manager for the band and early on there were signs that not all band members liked him. On stage in Dayton on January 14, 1992, Axl talked about rumors that Goldstein had been fired and said that some peple had been celebrating when they heard the news:

There were even some people that were really happy and they threw their little fucking parties because they thought Dougie would be gone

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:33 pm


In May 1991, the touring for the yet-to-be-released 'Use Your Illusion" albums finally commenced. The tour was booked by their manager at the time, Alan Niven, and as the tour started Axl would criticize Niven for having booked the tour too soon [see earlier chapter]. Axl felt he was not ready to tour, especially with the stress of trying to finish the record at the same time and dealing with issues arising from his ongoing therapy sessions.

In September 1992 Axl would explicitly state that if it wasn't for the records (which were out by then), he wouldn't have been on tour:

If we didn't have an album out right now, I wouldn't be on tour, I wouldn't have chosen to take on that particular responsibility at this time. But I didn't really have a choice, especially if I want to keep my career going. I would've liked to be more together emotionally and mentally before this tour. Part of the job of being in Guns N' Roses is coming onstage and being superhuman. We've supposed to rise above the energy in the crowd, rise above whatever bad may have happened that day, rise above whatever is in your head, while at the same time trying to rise above the damage in your own life.

Regardless of the reasons, the tour would be marred by late starts, cancelled shows, terminated shows, rants and riots, most of which was due to Axl's unpredictable and volatile behavior [see other chapters].

Despite this, Axl had been preparing for the tour for a long time and reportedly became very health-conscious [sources?]. Being able to give it all at the shows were important to Axl:

And everybody will get in better shape once we, like, get some form of regimentation down and stuff, and realize what we are again and what we’re doing and we’re doing every day. Cuz we wanna take this for the long haul, as long as that can be. It’d be nice if we could go for a year-and-a-half to two years.

For the tour, Axl would bring along his Exercycle (the same he brought into the recording studio when laying down vocals for the 'Use Your Illusion' albums) so he could exercise between gigs [The Vox, October 1991].

Slash had also started exercising before the tour, but apparently that wasn't for him:

I took care of myself for a while and I still am, more or less. Like, I’m no angel or anything, I didn’t turn into that. But before... Before this started happening, I was, like, sitting around drinking beer, watching cartoons at my girlfriend’s house and, like, doing nothing all day until rehearsal. And I realized I’d better get off my ass and, like, so I started exercise for a while. But then we, you know... That’s not my style. I mean, seriously, it’s just not. The only reason I’m wearing this stupid thing is that I have nothing else to wear, do you know what I’m saying? And so now I get my workout, you know, I mean I’m back to normal just from the shows and for some reason I wasn’t ever in good health in the first place (laughs).

Rehearsals for the tour took place in a fenced-off compound at an airport in the Los Angeles valley, in an aircraft hangar. "A small area has been divided off as a band hang-out: it's a reproduction of guitarist Slash's house, with candles, incense and scarf-draped lamps" [Q Magazine, July 1991]. As usual, Axl did not take part in the rehearsals:

Part of the reason I don't go to rehearsals is, I like to go all out. If the band's not going out at the same intensity - they're concentrating more on getting the music right - I feel like an idiot, jumping around, taking it so serious.

[…] we’ve never rehearsed with Axl. Since we started out that’s never happened because we’re just too loud. We rehearsed to write songs either at my house or in the real early days he’s come down and sit there in rehearsals while we played the music and he’ll come up with words even though we couldn’t hear him. […] The only thing I can say where we’ve had the odd full rehearsal thing is when we were getting something like ‘Live And Let Die’ together, otherwise we’ve always been four-piece when it comes to doing things regularly and keeping the groove going. That’s the point of our rehearsals, to get fresh ideas and keep things fresh. Not many bands work like that again but to me it still sounds really alive that way and that’s really important to us.

For travelling, the band chartered a plane from MGM Grand with the band logo on its side. Izzy bought himself a tour bus that could take his dog ("Treader" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]) and motorcycle [RIP, September 1991], or girlfriend and dog [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. Why Izzy preferred to travel by bus can be discussed. He was definitely starting to distance himself from his bandmates (discussed below), but rumor also had it that his probation prevented him from flying [source?].

Duff talking about when he for the first time felt like a star:

It was when we switched from tour buses to a private plane. It wasn’t a small plane, it was a Boeing 727! At that point I figured that we were a big band. That was in 1991.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:34 pm


Throughout the 80's Axl had recurrent problems with his voice leading to shortened and aborted tours [see previous chapters]. One example being the tour with Iron Maiden in 1988:

Well, basically, driving over the mountains over and over again to get to the last five shows we did with Iron Maiden caused my ears to clog up in such a way that I couldn’t hear that well, so I would yell twice as loud and overstrained my vocals on the tour. Plus, getting back to the West Coast shows, there were more GNR fans, and it was real hectic and a lot more fun, so we were yelling twice as loud. We were slamming onstage, and, basically, I overused my throat, and the doctor told me if I didn’t take some time off, there was a good chance I’d never sing again! I went to four different specialists, and I was told I needed surgery immediately. I went to the top specialist in the world, who treats severe throat problems like I had - a guy named Hans Von Laiden, and he said I didn’t need surgery, but what I did need was a lot of vocal rest and then proper training to bring the voice back.

To help him sing better, Axl used vocal coaches:

I work with a guy named Ron Anderson, and I’ve worked with Ron since we got signed. I worked with a woman, Gloria Bennett, for a little while, and then I worked with Ron Anderson, and he’s very, very good. I haven’t been to him for a while, and I don’t work on, like, how to sing the songs or the melodies or the words or anything like that. I mainly just work on the muscle control in my throat and stuff. Since it’s not something I’m practiced at doing continually, your mind forgets how to do it, and then you go out there after... on your fourth or fifth show, after driving over the mountains... You can’t hear well, and the monitors aren’t that great, and you just yell loud and forget how you’re supposed to sing because you’re not used to it.

Prior to the touring in 1991 in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' records, Axl did "daily vocal exercises alone or with his vocal coach, Ron Anderson" [RIP, September 1991].

Axl realized the importance of maintaining his voice:

[My voice] seems to be doing good. And I’m finally, for the first time, into doing my warm-downs after a show and I’m bringing my voice teacher up so he can see some shows and see what it is I do, because this man works opera and he has no idea what it is I do except that he… […] I had him at one show in L.A, so he’s getting the idea. And then, you know, I’m taking the steps so that I can ensure the people a good show and I’m up to my best.

In addition to doing warm-downs as mentioned above, Axl would also do "operatic voice exercises" before the shows [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].

In early 1992, Axl would list some of the issues he had that would affect his singing:

I've had a mutated form of polio, a mutated form of rubelia, the swine flu, scarlet fever, and strep throat in my heart. […] It's mostly respiratory stuff. Air conditioners in hotels circulate the same air, and on the plane everyone's breathing the same air. So if anyone's got anything, my tonsils grab it. I'm chronic like that. That's one of the reasons I've never liked touring. My resistance is low in my tonsils. […] Other than that, I'm pretty healthy.

Vocal coach Ron Anderson would much later, in 2019, comment on Axl's voice:

[…] I have to say Axl Rose’s voice is amazing, truly one of a kind. I’ve changed hundreds of singers in terms of tone and technique over the years, though he definitely tops the list. I was there for a lot of the classic Guns N’ Roses years and tours, which was pretty wild!
Music Radar, August 22, 2019

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:36 pm

MAY 1991


In mid-1991 it was reported that Axl, who had divorced Erin Everly early that year, was now dating the model Stephanie Seymour [Dayton Daily News, May 1991].

Axl had met Seymour while filming music videos for Use Your Illusion singles:

When we were coming up with the treatments for the script, we had to cast the female character. I picked up a magazine, I think it was, like, Cosmopolitan, cuz the girl on the cover had this hippie kind of flower shirt and she just looked really down to earth. Axl picked up another magazine. […] This beautiful woman should be what the imagery behind the story is about. […] And as you all know, Axl and Stephanie are more than a celluloid couple - they’re a real couple. So it’s little coincidences that kind of reaffirm that there’s more to life than the cut-and-dry, the black and white.

Del called me up on the phone about over three years ago now, and he goes, “Dude, I know who should play the part of Elizabeth” – that was the girl’s name in his story.  I was like, “Who?” and he goes, “Stephanie Seymour. You know who she is?” And I was like – I’m on the phone going, “I’m looking at her picture right now.” […] “Yeah, if we can get her, that would be great.” […] So we also had to figure out how to do that, how we’d make something incredible enough and good enough for somebody who wasn’t just gonna be in a “tits ‘n’ ass” video and just stand there and dance, you know? It had to be something that, like, excited her and something that she wanted to do. […] We also wanted it to, like, be something that would help whoever played that character’s part, her career a bit, you know; and help show them to more people and give them – it’s not talking, but a bit of an acting role. […] We wanted the character to be somebody who was really cool and really strong; and somebody that somebody could definitely obsessed over. And we met, and it just happened.

I’d never done a video. I never wanted to do one, you know? […]  I had people ask me to do videos and I’d never been interested, until Guns N’ Roses asked me to do it.

Axl's friend, Josh Richman, would describe that they started dating immediately:

Axl said to me, "I want to make videos more out-there than Michael Jackson's." When we made the "November Rain" video, we brought all these models in. Axl desperately wanted Stephanie Seymour-period. That night they went to the set, which was being built in an airplane hanger out in the Valley. That was their first date. She left Warren Beatty the next day.

As recounted by Colleen Combs, Axl's personal assistant:

Axl told me, "I've been hit by a Mack truck and the license plate said 'Seymour.'"


But on November 25, 1991 it was reported that Seymour had left Axl. Allegedly, Axl was on a health kick and had wanted Seymour to get healthy with him, but she just wanted to continue being herself [Orlando Sentinel, November 25, 1991]. Axl had become health conscious, including therapy and physical exercise. During the touring starting in 1991 he would bring along his training apparatus [source].

l work out a little bit. Actually, when l get off the phone I'm gonna work out. l work out now and then on a StairMaster, with my chiropractor-trainer. We do a workout on the StairMaster that enables me to breathe and move better on stage. And what I'm doing on stage turns out to be something that helps build me up rather than tear me down by being so exhausting. At first when l was playing it would just wear me out.

Later it was reported that Seymour had found Axl was "too demanding" and that she had "no time to nursemaid [him]" [Star Press, December 6, 1991]. Despite this, just a couple of days later it was reported they had broken up, on the radio show Rockline, when asked "is there any women in your life right now," Axl would reply, "Yeah, yeah. But I wouldn’t say 'women', I’d say 'woman'" [Rockline, November 27, 1991]. And in late December, after Seymour had been spotted $20,000 diamond ring at a GN'R show in New York that month, it was reported they had made up again [Pacific Stars and Stripes, December 20, 1991; Orlando Sentinel, December 21, 1991].

In May 1992, Interview Magazine would feature an interview with Axl where he would discuss his relationship with Stephanie. The magazine would feature pictures of the two kissing and caring for each other:

Steph and I have a really good time talking with each other, and we want to try to see if we can have that, in our lives, for our lives. We don't know, but we're definitely trying to communicate as much as we can. […] Sometimes your friends are your lovers, or have been at one time, or are at some time or are at different times. Maintaining the friendship and taking the responsibility of being a friend and also helping the other person be a friend to you, and expressing your feelings about your friendship...Stephanie and I do that with each other. It's a good thing.

According to Duff, Axl's relationship with Stephanie was doing him good:

Axl’s a changed guy, and I think it’s because of Stephanie and himself.

At some point in 1992 (or possibly 1991), Axl (and likely Stephanie) vacationed in Portefino, Italy [Hit Parader, June 1993].

But since we've started I've only had one real vacation-that was in Portofino. And there within hours, everyone seemed to know I was there. We ended up having room service all the time. It sounds tough, but it's actually kind of cool. I like to be real private: you don't always want everyone around you even when they like you. But at the same time, if they're not there, you wonder what you're doing wrong.


In early 1992 Axl, who had talked about his desire to become a father when married to Erin [People Magazine, August 1990; MTV, October 1990], connected to Stephanie's two-year-old son, Dylan, and found similarities:

Stephanie has been very supportive in helping me deal with all this. People write all kinds of things about our relationship, but the most important thing in our relationship is that we maintain our friendship. The romance is a plus. We want to maintain our friendship and be really protective of how our relationship affects Dylan. Dylan gets priority over us, because he could be greatly damaged, and I don't want that to happen.[…] I've been with Dylan and he'll be upset about something, and I'm trying to help him, and he gets mad at me, and I've been offended. I've thought, "The only way I can deal with this is 'Okay, he's just being a jerk right now.' " But it was pointed out to me that he's not being a jerk, he doesn't know. What he needs is love. I thought about it, and I was like "Yeah, because I was told that, too." About my music, which is pure expression and honest emotion and feeling. I mean, I'll be singing something and know "Man, they're not gonna like this" and "This isn't right." But it's how I feel. The way I've been attacked has been strange. The press has actually helped me get my head more together. You know, my stepfather helped me, too. I learned a lot of things. That doesn't mean he wasn't also being an asshole. It's not quite fair to bring a two-year-old into the realities of who's an asshole and who's not. There's a part of me that's still two and getting a little better every day.


In late 1999, years after Stephanie left Axl, Axl would express a desire that Dylan would listen to the lyrics of the then unreleased album Chinese Democracy and finally understand what had happened:

I hope he'll hear it when he grows up, if he ever wants to know the story, to hear the truth.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:39 pm

MAY 11-16, 1991

Before kicking off the tour proper, the band started with three warm-up shows. The original plan was that the warm-up shows would constitute a mini-tour and that they would include shows in many cities, including Seattle, Detroit and Dallas [RIP, September 1991]. For various reasons, Del James would list "pressures and assorted other bullshit" and having to finish the 'Use Your Illusion' albums [RIP, September 1991], the tour was reduced to only three shows, at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco (May 9), at The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles (May 11) and at The Ritz in New York City (May 16).

For the two West Coast shows Axl picked the band Dumpster as the opener (containing Axl's Lafayette friend Mike Staggs), while Slash picked the band Raging Slab as the opener for the New York City show [RIP, September 1991].

For the first warm-up show, in San Francisco, Axl, Matt and Izzy was flown in on their tour plane, while Duff and Slash came in from New York City where they had been working on mastering the albums [RIP, September 1991]. This show was advertised as a "live rehearsal" [Mercury News Music, May 1991]. In fact, the gig was first announced the same day when Slash and Duff called in a radio station early in the morning. The tickets were sold out within an hour [RIP, September 1991]. Axl would refer to the situation in the band at the time as, "the most highly organized unorganized bunch of people in the whole world" [RIP, September 1991]. Izzy had been milling about when kids either lined up to buy tickets or to enter the theatre:

It was insane, man. All those kids that early in the morning. I can't wait till we finally go on.

Apparently, this show was mired by the band trying out things. Duff also tried out a stage-dive, but was stopped by a security guard who, according to Del James, "grabbed his legs as he was in mid-flight, causing him to eat it, face first" [RIP, September 1991]. San Francisco Chronicle critic Joel Selvin gave it a poor review:

They’re a fraud. It was among the worst rock shows I’ve ever seen. Most of it was a mulch of painfully loud sound.

One criticism the band received was Axl having to read the lyrics to the new songs off teleprompters [New York Magazine, June 1991]. Even Del James gave it "a seven out of a possible 10" [RIP Magazine, September 1991].

Despite the bad reviews, the kids had sung along to many of the new songs by the second choruses:

It's real cool when people are singing songs they don't really know. I work on communicating it to them, and they take the time to get into it. I like the intimacy, and I think the crowd likes the intimacy of us showing them our new songs.

The challenge of playing songs the audiences didn't know would mar the show until the release of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in September. But the band for most part, as judged by reviews, managed to present a strong mix of old songs that the audiences were familiar with, with new songs of the new albums.

Sammy Hagar from Hagar's Van Halen, who were also touring this year, commented upon this:

I can't believe those poor guys being out there out there on the road without a record. I understand Axl's having a real hard time. When they play their new songs, there's not much reaction, but what do you expect? It's like they're kind of stuck.

For the Los Angeles show Slash and Duff again announced the show on the showday, this time by calling in to KLOS radio channel, although by now rumors had been spreading that the band would play this day [RIP, September 1991].

As in Rio De Janeiro, Matt did a drum solo:

The drum solo is great. I never got to do one when I was with the Cult. Actually, I never did one before Rio. Hopefully they'll keep getting better. It's really cool of the guys for letting me do it.

Shannon Hoon, the lead singer of Blind Melon, would also come on stage to sing 'You Ain't The First' and 'Don't Cry' together with the band [RIP, September 1991].

I was at the Pantages, but I didn’t have time to get nervous at that, because it was real spontaneous.

The Los Angeles show got much better reviews [Los Angeles Times, May 1991; RAW Magazine, May 1991], while L.A. Weekly referring to it as "uneven at best and dreadful dull at worst" [L.A. Weekly, May 17, 1991]. Del James would give it an "eight and a half" [Rip Magazine, September 1991].

Before the band's third show, Axl would comment on how they were doing so far:

I'm really happy with the way things are going, professional rehearsals in front of people. It allows me to get into the mode I'm gonna have to be in when we start doing the big shows. Frisco and Bill Graham were really cool, and there was a different kind of hunger there for us. L.A. seemed to scrutinize us a bit more, and I welcomed that. In L.A. we didn't play 'Jungle' or 'Paradise,' because we'd already played for over two hours. I didn't want to push my voice any harder. Also, we didn't want to push past the curfew and be fined eight grand for one song. It felt a little bit like I ripped some people off, but I knew they were happy with what we had done. I thought we went over real well in L.A., but I still look at it as rehearsals. I'm not really worried about what critics have to say about these gigs, but if they like these shows, in six months they'll be real happy.

At the New York show, Axl injured his heel:

I’ve just had a chronic history of bruising my heel and messing up the ligament, but never... I couldn’t afford it at the time when it happened, when I was, like, in junior high and stuff, to figure out what was wrong. And then, about a week ago, we played the Ritz in New York and I got really excited, I was just jumping off everything. You know, there’s a lot of photos with me like ten feet in the air and stuff. And I came down really hard on my heel when I was jumping - not even on stage – off the stage and landed on my heel on a cement floor with no cushioning in my boots. And it just messed up the ligament and stuff. But the doctors seem to think it’ll be fine. We had, like, all the top doctors from the Brewers and the Packers and New Balance Shoes all working on designing me something so I could run around. Cuz yesterday, without this, it’s definitely limping. But we didn’t want to call off the show, you know.

Because of the injury Axl had to seek out orthopedic surgeon Jeffery Johnson at the Milwaukee County Medical Complex before their later show In East Troy and had to perform with his leg in a cast for subsequent shows [Madison Wisconsin State Journal, May 26, 1991; Chicago Tribune, May 1991].

Duff also managed to successfully stage-dive, and Shannon Hoon again joined the band for 'Don't Cry' [RIP, September 1991].

Del James also gave this show a "nine and a quarter" and called it "pretty damn close to perfection" [RIP Magazine, September 1991].

Slash enjoyed the warm-up shows:

You know, the theater tour was killer, because it gave us a chance to get back and get toe-to-toe, and realize where the band really was. Where as opposed to, like, going out there and jerking off for 40,000 people that are just screaming just for the hell of it. You know, you start to see that you really have to do something, that we really have to actually play and perform, you know, above or at least apart. And that makes you work hard. Otherwise you turn to a lazy old... you know. Which is not happening.

Duff would describe the warm-up shows:

New York was the best. San Francisco was a bit wild – I’m about to read a review on it - because, you know, it was the first time Axl sang with us in... two years, maybe? And L.A. was rocking. And New York was the best.

This is not entirely correct. Obviosly, Axl sang with the band during the Rock in Rio shows in January 1991, and before that he sung with them at Farm Aid in April 1990, and before that at the four shows opening for Rolling Stones in October 1989. What Duff is probably alluding to, is that Axl didn't sing with the band during the recording of 'Use Your Illusion' nor at rehearsals for any of the shows in this period, and as such the band had been playing together a lot in the last two years without Axl.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:43 pm



In may 1990 it would be reported that Axl was an avid reader, with Bukowski being his current favorite author [Blast! May 1990].

Axl had bought property in the Alpine Valley resort area, in East Troy, WI, together with his stepfather to have a link to the Midwest and a place to be buried [Rolling Stone, September 1991]. But according to reports in July 1991 he sold the property [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1991], allegedly as the result of therapy sessions in 1991 leading to him not feeling the same connection to region as before. Yet, in June 1993 it was reported that Axl owed $7,095 in property taxes on a lot in Walworth County, Wisconsin, which he had bought in November 1988, which is likely to have been the same property he was assumed to have sold [Daily Citizen, June 10, 1993; The Capital Times, July 17, 1993]. Why Axl didn't sell the property is not known.

Axl also gave away his condo in West Hollywood, as part of an MTV contest [Muncie Evening Press, August 1991].

Erica Aidan of Akron, OH won [the contest]. Erica’s a huge GN’R fan. She said there were only 5 days left in the contest when she decided to send in her postcard. She was flown to Hollywood to check out her new condo and then flew back to New York to seen one of the three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and to meet the former owner of the condo.

Lastly, Axl also sold his house in the Hollywood Hills where he had intended to live with Everly but where he had never moved in. Before the tour in 1991, Axl had been living in hotel rooms around Los Angeles [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

In December 1992 it would be reported that Axl had bought a Malibu home [Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1992]. It would be described as a "contemporary Mediterranean with five bedrooms and 8 1/2 baths in about 7,000 square feet. The home, on a three-acre promontory with ocean and city views, also has a guest house, studio, tennis court, pool and spa" and it was bought for $3.95 million [Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1992].

In October 1991, it would be reported that Axl's favorite hobby was "checking out artwork in museums" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

During the touring starting in 1991 he would bring along his training apparatus [source].

l work out a little bit. Actually, when l get off the phone I'm gonna work out. l work out now and then on a StairMaster, with my chiropractor-trainer. We do a workout on the StairMaster that enables me to breathe and move better on stage. And what I'm doing on stage turns out to be something that helps build me up rather than tear me down by being so exhausting. At first when l was playing it would just wear me out.

In 1992 Axl would open up about his relationship with his sister, Amy Bailey. According to Axl, his stepfather, who molested Amy for years and beat Axl "consistently", had succeeded at driving a wedge between Axl and Amy:

We've been working on putting our lives together ever since and supporting each other. Now my sister works with me. She's very happy, and it's so nice to see her happy and that we get along. My dad tried to keep us at odds. And he was very successful at some points in our lives.

In 1992, Axl would also talk about wanting to write a movie and that this would be "somewhere down the road" [Interview Magazine, May 1992].


In October 1991, it would be reported that Slash's favorite hobby was "collecting dinosaur models" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. Another hobby of Slash's was the collection of t-shirts:

I’ve got over 4,000 T-shirts. They're all stashed in boxes back home. I wear them once, then store them away.

During the hiatus in touring between August and December 1991, Slash would live in an apartment complex in Burbank rather than in his Hollywood Hills house [Guitar World, February 1992] or in hotels:

I'm in LA, but I'm in a hotel. I don't go home when we're on the road even if we're in town, I just stay in hotels. I'm a road rat so I can't stand the thought of actually settling down for a couple of weeks at my house and then going back on the road — it fucks with my whole momentum.

Slash would also take time off to travel to Africa to photograph wild animals [Guitar World, February 1992].

After the break in touring in February 1992, before travelling to Japan, Slash again opted to stay away from his houses. This time he stayed in a hotel:

I’m not at home at the moment basically, because the pace on the road is so different, I find it really hard to adjust when it comes to coming home for a couple of weeks. I have all these animals, like snakes and lizards and shit, and since I’m not a round there’s people who are there working at my house and taking care of shit living there. I can’t just concentrate in m y house when there’s people around. I’d rather just stay in a hotel room where I can get my shit together, throw shit around the room, spit on the walls and relax a bit! I can’t spit on the walls at home, but in the hotel room... you can do anything like seeing the maid’s faces when I haven’t let them in the room for three days! (laughs) No, seriously, I’m not that bad.

Slash would also get fed up by life in Los Angeles:

I don't hang out in LA really, I'll go to the Rainbow or whatever but I'm not what you call an LA character. I don't like being noticed - I appreciate it but at the same me I like to be left alone. I get very fucking nervous and uptight when there's people staring at me so I don't really like being out. So I spend all my fucking time sitting in the hotel room and then at night I'll go out and accept the fact that I'm in a club and try and have my privacy - yeah, I'll have a security guard with me because I have to, much as I hate to admit it. I've gotten myself in some really awkward situations and I really do like to be left alone. I don't mind signing autographs but the majority of people who come up to you just demand it like you're a puppet or something. Its like you go to a record store and you've got to sign 600 records just to buy a fuckin' Stones record and it takes three hours. That's kind of weird. It sounds like I'm complaining but like I said earlier, it's a small price to pay for doing what it is that I want to do. […] I'm sort of introverted. On a social level I pretty much just like to be around close friends and have everything pretty much down to earth. When the band was younger and we weren't like big shit used to go out and get fucking drunk out of my mind and break stuff but that only lasts for so long and then after a while you get sick of all the attention.

[…][Los Angeles is] just such a f***!n' phoney poser town. It's ridiculous. And y'know, people talk about me an' stuff when I'm gone, then when I come home everybody goes real quiet. I'd always considered myself, like, the guitar player, I can cruise in and out of places, have a drink or whatever, nobody's watching me. But now it's not like that. I find that 'friends' or mine have been trying to pick up on my girlfriend just cos I wasn't in town. Y'know? Really weird high school shit, kindergarten shit. And people making some sorta noise about what I do on the road, having a real ball. And I didn't realise we were that significant. […]I mean I expected it more to happen to Axl, just because he's the lead singer. But it happened to me and...f***! I can't walk around and it's a drag. My basic privacy is gone. I don't know, it's all so f***in' complicated.

He also had his share of obnoxious people:

One woman came up to me with all her sons and said: 'I hate your music but I’ll have your autograph anyway.' That kind of stuff gets me pretty mad, so I told her and her sons just where to get off.

In September 1991 Slash would describe his snake collection:

Yeah, 25. They're all in my house. I have a snake room and I have like a wall tank, it used to be a closet which I converted into a case and then there's aquariums everywhere. And then I've got ten cats and a big lizard that walks around the house and two dogs. I live in a little house, it's really overcrowded.

In October 1991 it was reported he owned "23 snakes, 2 dogs and 12 cats" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. In December 1991 Slash bought a home off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills for "close to its asking price of $1.495,000" [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991]. He would still keep his other house in Laurel Hills for his "16 snakes, eight cats and two Rottweilers" [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991].

During the touring of 1991-1992, Slash would have two friends, Jim and Larry, who would take care of his extensive collection of snakes [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992].

By late 1991 it was also reported that Slash owned "about 50 guitars" [Guitar Player, December 1991], but he would later claim the number was 45 and that a lot of it came from him buying all the guitars he used for recording 'Illusions' [Guitar World, February 1992].


Duff, who had divorced Mandy Brix in 1989 was single in August 1991 [Finnish TV, August 1991] and looking for "Mrs. Right":

I was married on our last tour and I never cheated once. I guess that makes me a schmuck. […] She'll be the happiest woman in the world!

During the 'Use Your Illusion' touring of 1991, Duff talked about the loneliness being the hardest part:

The worst part is the loneliness, you know. I kinda cleaned house before I left. You know, I don’t have a girlfriend or anything. So, it’s like, you don’t have a home base to call home to, you know? But, I mean, that’s part of the road, it’s part of the tour thing, you know. I’ve got my friends in the band.

But in June 1992 Duff would say he had found a girlfriend [Musicvideo, June 27, 1992] and in July Slash would confirm in an interview that Duff was about to get married [Rockline, July 13, 1992].

That lucky lady was Linda Johnson and they got married in mid-July 1992 [The Atlanta Constitution, July 31, 1992].

Duff would miss Linda while on tour:

A lot of nights I wake up, and I'm, like, where am I, what city, and you run to the window and look out and try to figure it all out. You actually forget who you are. It's, like, I am completely blank. I end up a lot of times just sitting on my bed, and I'll find tears start coming out of my eyes and my heart is just aching. It's, like, please let there be another show soon. It's, like, can you get the next shot of insulin.

In October 1991, it would be reported that Duff's favorite hobby was waterskiing but also that his form of escape was to get "away to the mountains" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. The waterskiing had been born out of his love for winter skiing [see earlier chapter]:

Yeah, I got a cabin. It’s so awesome. I’ve got a great ski boat.


Back in May 1990 it would be reported that Izzy was engaged to a German girl called Juliette [Blast! May 1990]. This relationship must have ended fairly soon after, because in 1991 Izzy was in a relationship with a girl called Anneka and would bring her along for the 1991 touring [VOX, October 1991].

I've had a steady girl for a few years and it's a great thing. Love makes life a lot easier.

Izzy would also love his dog, Treader:

I've got a German shepherd and I've had him since he was a puppy, ya' know. I bought him when he was just a twerp. He's three years old, he's healthy, he's big and he can run 40 miles an hour and he's great. I love my dog!

Izzy became a vegetarian around the time he stopped using drugs and drinking:

Indian food and pizza are my favourites. I stopped eating meat a few years ago. I don't eat red meat or chicken, but I eat fish. I stopped eating meat shortly after I stopped drinking and using drugs. I think it was a case of wanting to heal myself a little quicker rather than objecting to meat, plus there were some cases on the West Coast where people were dying after they'd eaten bad meat. I'm big on salads. Salads in America are just a couple of bits of dead lettuce, but over here people are a bit more conscientious.

But Indian food and pizza are my favourites and that's why Chicago is like heaven to me because you can get a pizza delivered at 5am and it's damn good pizza. There's a place there called Mama Mia and they deliver all night long. They've got pizzas that are two inches thick with like a cracker crust with fresh tomatoes on top. […]

I like mango lassi and sweet lassi from Indian restaurants. My second would be fresh squeezed orange juice. Those are the only things I drink.

In October 1991, it would be reported that Izzy's favorite hobby was "riding his mountain bike" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


Dizzy, who had married in June 1990, received a paternity suit in February 1992 from Angela Parker who claimed her daughter, Morgan Alexandra, was Dizzy's daughter and demanded $5,000 in child support and sole custody [MTV, February 11, 1992]. Two days later, Bryn Bridenthal, as spokesperson for Guns N' Roses, said Dizzy had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment [The Newark Advocate, February 13, 1992].

In October 1992 Dizzy would talk about being a father:

Well, I’m just now getting used to it, cuz we’ve been gone, but it’s great.

He would also talk about moving from Hollywood to Laguna in Orange Country (CA):

It’s kind of weird, you know. It’s like going from Hollywood to, like, “Leave It to Beaver” overnight. I went out to get the paper in my bath towel, you know? Not even thinking, like, the neighbors, like “Welcome to the neighborhood, Dizzy!” I’m like, “Hey, come over for a beer.” It’s like, “Alright!” A guy has (?) across the street and one waves, you know. I mean, it’s like in Hollywood, you walk out and everyone locks their windows. So, you know...

In October 1991, it would be reported that Dizzy's favorite hobby was "checking out bands in the local L.A. scene" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


In October 1991, it would be reported that Matt's favorite hobby was "waterskiing and surfing" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:46 pm

MAY 24-JUNE 30, 1991

After the three warm-up gigs proper tour, which was named The Get In The Ring, Motherfucker Tour [RIP, September 1991], started. For most of the Guns N' Roses' previous touring they had been the opener, now they got to headline:

It’s nice that we’re headlining now, you know. It’s not like we’re an opening band and we’re sort of at the mercy of the headlining band. So we, sort of like, have our own rules and we just travel around from city to city and take that with us.


The band had chosen Skid Row as their supporting act:

Well, we just figured we wanted really high energy, we wanted to give the people something they really wanted, more than other acts at the time and something on a hard rock vein. And, you know, Skid Row was doing really great and people wanted them, and then Sebastian and I get along great. […] But I just thought it would be a good package, cuz it will only be for a while, you know, and then they’re gonna go with a couple of other bands and then hopefully go to headlining themselves, and so... You know, when you’re a kid you’re always going, “It’d be a great show, it’s like, to see this band, and this band, and this band...” And we just knew that that would be one of the shows that if we didn’t do, people would be talking, “what about it, what would that be like, the two things together?” So it’s something we thought we had to do. I mean... I was gonna say, like, almost even if we hated it – we don’t – we were gonna know that we gotta do this because it’ll be a lot of fun. And the fact that we get along so well and that they’re really into what they do and it’s high energy - I mean, they got the crowd all worked up for when we come out there. And it’s definitely a... Now it’s a really large audience cross, you know, and they have a lot of people that haven’t seen us. There’s a lot of Skid Row fans that are more into Skid Row than Guns N’ Roses, there’s Guns N’ Roses fans that are more into us than Skid Row, and it brings us to all of them. And I really like that.

Well, the Skids were, like, the friends of ours and stuff and actually, like, the only band that has sort of that attitude around that was, like, genuine and brash. And, I mean, when you think about it, it’s a great (?). It’s all the bad attitude (chuckles) and whatever it is that we do. I mean, I couldn’t see going out with such and such and such, like, you know, Great Lion, Great White Lion Tigers or whatever (laughs).


Axl was excited to be back on the road:

It feels great, it feels great. I mean, we’ve been planning this for ever since we started. We’ve been aiming at, you know, being... We wanted, on our second major album, we wanted a headlining tour and to do it right. And it feels great. You know, we think we’ve got all the pieces in the right place and the morale is really high. […] And, actually, now that we’re starting a tour everybody’s gonna be starting to get in more shape while we’re playing and stuff. We brought a trainer and everything and are just into doing our job that we’ve set out to do our whole lives.

In particular, having Matt replace Steven was a good thing:

Well, Matt’s really solid, you know, and you can... Everybody in the band can rely on Matt’s playing... […] You know, the drums are, like, your anchor and he’s definitely the strongest anchor we’ve ever had. And one of the best drummers that there are, I think, in the world.

In the beginning of the tour, the band was figuring out how to play the new material:

I worked on bringing the other people out with what they did and I thought what they did best. You know, we still haven’t worked it out on stage, how we do it, yet, but... (chuckles). […] You know, a dream I have is to get to where I can do a three-hour show. And right now we don’t use a setlist. We just pick song to song on how it feels and what we think we can perform best; and, when I think vocally, [what] I can do best, because it’s still warming up. I figure, you know, we’re gonna go out and give as much as we can every time. But I figure a real Guns N’ Roses show, what we’re shooting for, hopefully I might have in six months. I mean, that thing... As I told you last time, it’s like, Jagger was working on getting that stage thing together for a really long time; and I learned a lot from him. So we’re hoping in six months we can actually have different set of orders and things, and have it planned out so it’s a lot more dramatic. You know, there will be additions to the stage setup and the lighting and things like that, that we didn’t use right now. Because of my heel, we’re not using a lot of the stage setup that we have. We have extra ramps and ramps coming out in the middle fully lighted and we’re not using any of that at this particular time.

It was strange [touring before the albums were out]. I all started because Axl or someone said "hey, we're going to play songs from the new record that's out in a month or two. How's that?" And we all said "Cool!". People was thankful about that too, because it was like "hey, we're the first to listen to these songs". So I think it was all good. We were just a band playing.

Yet, as Axl would admit to the next year, starting to tour again was difficult after their extensive break from touring:

That was a whole change of life. You know, realizing, “Okay, now we’re out on tour;” I haven’t toured, I’ve been sitting on my ass at home or whatever. And then I’ve been out, you know, running around and rocking out; and had to, basically, change my whole life in order to be able to keep doing this. And so, you do a show and then you’d be shot, you know, where you’d be, kind of like, shot for three weeks. But no, you’ve got a show tomorrow. So then it’d take, like, all these hours of preparation, where now it doesn’t take me as long to be ready for a show.


The first two shows took place at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on May 24 and May 25, 1991. According to The Age, the band "inspired a large-scale mud fight which led to four fans being hospitalised with 'turf poisoning'" [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991]. According to Circus Magazine, a smoke bomb was also hurled on stage, resulting in Axl threatening to end the show and yelling "I don't work five years to have some burnt 16-year-old take my eye out!" [Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991].

In his biography, Skid Row's vocalist, Sebastian Bach, would recall how he had been sitting under the stage close to Duff's bass rig and snorting cocaine while GN'R was playing, handing out lines to Duff who would come offstage regularly during the show to get a fix. At one point, Izzy's brother approached Bach and called him a faggot. Bach, not knowing Izzy's brother punched him in the face almost leading to Bach getting a stern warning from Doug Goldstein [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016].

Bach would later reminisce about the cocaine on the tour:

In the years that we were touring with Guns N’ Roses... fuck, my nose still hearts thinking about it.

Duff would later reminisce about the experience of the first proper gig:

At Alpine Valley Amphitheatre in Wisconsin, my sense of anticipation for the first gig of the tour was overwhelming. Our intro music came on: the theme song from The Godfather. The crowd roared. 'Here we go.' My game face came on. I felt we represented something, something primal and animalistic. I felt that fire and anger - I was ready to kick someone in the head. All the background noise of life began to recede. We rushed the stage and I played the first few bass notes for 'It's So Easy.' Total fucking bedlam. Tens of thousands of people absolutely losing their shit. I could see the first few rows of people. I could see how far back the masses of bodies went. Everyone was on their feet and the roar was almost louder than the band.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 183


The next shows was at the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana on May 28 and May 29. These shows would feature some aspects of GN'R shows in the 1990s that would divide the fans and antagonize band members and eventually be part of the reasons for to break up the lineup.

Firstly, the band started the first show an hour and 15 minutes after Skid Row completed their set [The Indianapolis News, May 1991]. Axl would blame the delay on "Deer Creek's poor stage" [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991] while County sheriff's Sgt. Tom Gehlhausen would say, "Axl Rose had problems getting to the event last night which delayed the concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991]. In September 1991, Spin reported that Axl was suffering from stage fright and was "extremely nervous" to play for friends and family from his hometown, and that this caused the "two hour" late start [Spin, September 1991].

Secondly, the band had a curfew at 11 pm, but the band played 50 and 25 minutes longer resulting in a fine of $ 5,000 [Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 1991]. Hamilton County Prosecutor Steve Nation said Saturday in announcing the charges:

That in and of itself wasn't so significant. What makes this different is that Axl Rose said on stage Tuesday that he knew about the curfew and thought it was stupid. And he said a few things about our county and about our state.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 1991

The prosecutor was referring to statements from Axl, including introducing the song 'Estranged' by referring to Indiana as "a place that makes me feel estranged" and "I grew up in this state for two-thirds of my life. It seems to me, there are a lot of (bleeping) scared old people in this (bleeping) state and basically, for two- thirds of my life, they tried to keep my (bleep) down" [Indianapolis Star, May 1991].

Izzy was not happy about Axl criticising their home state:

When Guns N' Roses played Indianapolis, when Axl would start to go off on a tirade, I'd stand there and go, "Oh, let's go. Next song, next song." Kind of embarrassing. But there's no shutting him up. Once he gets going, that's it.

Thirdly, the Noblesville Ledger would report that about 100 people were arrested at May 28 concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991] and between 60 and 80 arrested at the May 29 concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991]. The arrests were mostly from alcohol violations, undoubtedly increased due to the concert's late start and end.


A set of shows would follow with great reviews. On June 7 and 8 the band visited CNE Grandstand in Toronto, Canada, and the band apparently enjoyed visiting Toronto:

Gilby talking about Toronto in 1992: I know [the band] like [Toronto] — I don't know exactly what went down, but they sure had a good time!

Duff and Matt were happy with how the tour was progressing:

Every night is just, like, incredible, you know. The fans are killer, fans are unbelievable.
Much Music, July 1991; from June 7, 1991

Every night is different, man. It’s amazing. I mean, everything is clicking, everybody’s ready, everybody’s, like, healthy. Everybody in the band is clicking. […] It’s amazing. It’s, like, no problems with the band. And that’s... You kind of have to be there, but to have no problems with the band, you know, it’s amazing. Because this band is very volatile. And the rumors, like, that we can break up at any second is true. But right now it’s not that way at all. It’s like, everybody’s grooving in...[…] Anything could happen any time, a riot could break out, because we’re so much on the edge.
Much Music, July 1991; from June 7, 1991

Duff's comment on the possibility of a riot breaking out at any time casts a dark premonition since a riot would break out less than a month later.


And another warning of what was to come happened on June 17, at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. As reported by The Los Angeles Times:

[…] the band was several hours late to its performance, and Mr. Rose was finding scapegoats in just about everybody except himself.
Los Angeles Times, June 1991

Bach would talk about the experience:

We played with them at Nassau Coliseum. We opened up and we were only booked for a 45-minute show. At the end of the set, Guns N’ Roses’ managers are looking at us going, “Keep going! Keep going!” I go, “We did all our songs! We’ve only got two records.” We’re up there for two hours and the crowd doesn’t know what’s going on. We come off stage, finally, and Axl is not even in the building. By midnight, he’s still not there. Everybody’s freaking out, the whole place is almost falling down, and he’s not even in the building! And I look down the hallway and there’s this big commotion going on. I look and it’s Stephanie Seymour, the model, holding hands with Axl. He’s walking down the hall like nothing happened. And I go, “Dude, where were you?!” and he goes, “I was taking a shower.” (Laughing) I was like, “Okay!”

The audience was reported to keep calm despite the long wait, although some would chant "bullshit!" [New York Daily News, June 1991]. Rolling Stone would report that Axl arrived by helicopter [Rolling Stone, September 1991]; New York Daily news would claim the whole band arrived by helicopter, 2 hours and 20 minutes after Skid Row ended their set [New York Daily News, June 1991].

Axl would rant against Geffen and claim they were behind the delayed start:

I'm sorry I'm late. I know it sucks. And if you think it sucks, why don't you write a letter to Geffen Records and tell them to the fuck out of my ass!

The reason for this rant is allegedly that staffers at Geffen had made the mistake of asking Axl to work on the album before the show. Bryn Bridenthal would elaborate:

I was there doing some publicity work. Tom Zutaut was there to work on some of the music, and the art director was there with some boards for approval on the packaging. Axl felt there was pressure on him to make decisions. Before a New York show, that was probably not smart of us.

According to Rolling Stone, not everybody saw the entire show:

In a car full of long-faced Geffen staffers, all of whom have been advised, via a messenger from a certain dressing room, to get out of Dodge.
Rolling Stone, September 1991

According to MTV, Axl also blamed the late start "on a photo session the group had done in Manhattan with star photographer Herb Ritts for an upcoming cover story in Rolling Stone magazine. However, that photo session had actually taken place the night before" [MTV News, June 1991], at 6 am [New York Daily News, June 1991]. According to Axl during the concert, Geffen had insisted on using this particular photographer: "They [the record company] said only this one guy could do it, and it would just take [a short period of time]" [New York Daily News, June 1991].

When contacted, Bryn Bridenthal would dismiss Axl's excuses and say the delay was due to "stress, trying to finish the record and tour at the same time. The kid's got a lot on his plate" and "I’m sure he gave lots of excuses [that night]" [New York Daily News, June 1991].

Axl also had some choice words for Rolling Stone who was making a long article on the band and had been interviewing them extensively for a while:

There's a Rolling Stone coming out with us on the cover. Do me a favor. Don't buy it. And if you want to read it, steal it.

Slash would look back at this show as an ominous premonition of what was to come:

The show that set the pace for what was to ultimately unhinge the tour took place in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau Coliseum, where we went on late. That night, however, Axl apologized to the fans for being late, which, once it became a regular occurrence, he never bothered to do again.
Slash's autobiography, p 339

SHOWS; June 19-30

On the next show, at the Capitol Center in Landover, on June 19, the band was again late on stage and had to end the show early due to a curfew, resulting in songs like 'Sweet Child' and 'Paradise City' not being played. During the show, Axl would also stop a song to jump into the crowd and help an audience member who was in a scuffle with security guards [The Evening Sun, June 1991].

Some nights later, on June 25, at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, the band played a record-long show:

The band played for nearly four hours that night, taking the stage long after the opening band, Skid Row, finished its set. The crowd was as volatile as the band that night, with multiple fistfights breaking out during the lull between acts.
Journal Now, August 2017

One of the reasons they played so long was, according to Axl from stage: "We’re gonna make it up to you because we’re so late" [Journal Now, August 2017].

On June 30, at the Birmingham Racecourse in Birmingham, the show veered between disaster and victory with Axl threatening to leave after someone threw dirt at him during the song 'Patience' [, June 2016]. This was a stark premonition of what would come when a riot broke out at the next show in St. Louis [see separate entry below for details].

The St. Louis riot resulted in the band having to cancel the show on July 4 at the World Music Theatre in Chicago [Los Angeles Times, July 1991; Chicago Tribune, July 1991] and the July 6 show in Bonner Springs, Kansas [USA Today, July 1991].[/b]

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:57 pm

JUNE 21, 1991

Despite Slash claiming there weren't any singles on the upcoming two 'Use Your Illusion' albums, the band would end up releasing eight singles.

I don’t think there are any singles on this record. […] I don’t mean to rock the boat or anything, but I think there’s a swearword of some sort on every song. Every potential single it’s, like, whoops, oh, well, not that one. But there’s some great songs, and I don’t care if they say “fucking” in it or if they say “shit” or if they’re talking about girls in the way we’re not supposed to.

The first single out was 'You Could Be Mine' which was released on June 21, 1991. It sold more than 1.5 million copies in the first 30 days [Geffen Press Release, September 1991]. The song would be featured as the theme song in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the music video would hence feature Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold was great. Arnold’s really nice. […] He apparently is a Guns N’ Roses fan. […] And he was working on his movie and he said that he was talking with Jim Cameron, the director who did The Abyss and he was saying he wanted to get (does a Schwarzenegger impression) “some good music, some hard music, some Guns N’ Roses”...for a very long time and finally, like, in the last month, all of a sudden he was like, “I think you’re right” and Arnold was like, “It’s a little late”. But it worked out really cool because we wanted to put out a version of the song You Could Be Mine. And also with Don’t Cry we had a rocker and a ballad. And we let them listen to a lot of material and the song they picked was You Could Be Mine. So it worked out good for both of us and we shot a video for it, we filmed the show in the Ritz and then, you know, I guess Arnold was flying back from Congress and going, (does Schwarzenegger impression) “I want to be in the video”. So Arnold got all his people and put together a video so we’ll have yet to see what it’s like.

I mean, I guess [Schwarzenegger] liked the songs and stuff. We hung out really. We got along really, really well. And he gave the whole band jackets from the movie and these great French leather biker jackets, right? With bullet holes, everywhere. And the one jacket I got was from my favorite scene. I mean, they’re at random and he gave them to us, right? And I got my favorite one, which is, like, he gets shot six million times and they all come through his back, right? So I got that one. The sleeves come down to my fingernails (laughs). Anyway, I gave that to my security guard and he flipped. And I gave Arnold my top hat. […] No, [You Could Be Mine] is a rocker. It’s the first release on the record and it’s in the movie, and so we shot in New York and we shot some, like, footage of us coming out of the dressing room, there's a stage door at the Roxy in L.A., where we come face-to-face with Arnold in his Terminator gear and it was all pretty funny.

Arnold was great. I was real skeptical about getting involved with "Terminator" at first, because… uhh… It's just… It's another one of those things people do a lot nowadays. And you see these videos that makes absolutely no sense. It's like, the song, and then… and then… uhh… and then… uhh… you know, some clip from the movie, and then you see the band and the two… The twain don't meet on the same ground for some reason. And so, I didn't wanna get involved into that sort of campy way of doing things. But at the same time, "Terminator 1" was great. And so we liked that, you know. And sort of in good faith, we gave them four songs for them to check out. To see if they're really interested or not. 'Cause they brought it up to us, we didn't go to them. And they picked "You Could Be Mine" and… So, we went to Arnold's house and we had dinner and we hung out. And it was like, we stripped away all the… the celebrity status stuff and just really hung out and had dinner and had a great time. So that meant a lot, you know, to get personal and get toe-to-toe with somebody. That's like, one of the most important things for us, is to be able to feel comfortable with somebody. And believe me, that's a hard thing for us to do. And so, that went over well. And they… they took "You Could Be Mine"… and they put it into a rough edit and we went and saw a screening. And the movie was cool and the song was really cool where it was in the movie. And… as long as we had final approval on the… on how we were gonna use it in the video, then everything was great. And the finished product was cool. So, I'm actually happy with it. And I thought for a movie… uhh… for… for… you know, music video… music video slash movie kind of thing, it was pretty original, you know. And pretty dynamic.

It worked out really cool because we wanted to put out a version of the song You Could Be Mine. ... and we shot a video for it, we filmed the show in the Ritz and then, you know, I guess Arnold was flying back from Congress and going, (does Schwarzenegger impression) "I want to be in the video."

We hung out, really. We got along really, really well. And he gave the whole band jackets from the movie and these great French leather biker jackets, right? With bullet holes, everywhere.

He was kind of real soft spoken, nice guy.

[…] we shot some footage of us coming out of the dressing room, there’s a stage door at the Roxy in L.A., where we come face-to-face with Arnold in his Terminator gear and it was all pretty funny.

Schwarzenegger called on the phone and said we should do something with that song because it is his favorite song from the album. The manager told him to call Axl and make an appointment with him. Axl, of course, decided to drag him down before agreeing, and told him: No Arnold, we CAN'T do anything together! (laughs) Arnold was in shock and silence, until Axl told him - Of course Arnold, for you all you want. OK - Schwarzenegger answered him, then we start tomorrow morning. We did a great job with him because he's really OK guy, he's not as tough as in the movies. As we were filming, he kept telling jokes and joking, no sign of the Terminator (laughs). .
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

Schwarzenegger himself would comment upon it:

[The band members] have been big, big fans of Terminator and have expressed that many times. And I have been a fan of their music, so we checked into what it will be like to do a video together or to get some of the music.
[MTV, September 1991


Izzy is absent from non-live footage in the video, and his refusal to participate in videos would later be criticized by Axl and Slash fueling a conflict that eventually would lead to Izzy leaving the band [see separate section]. Fans would question why Izzy was not in the video and in the band's fan club newsletter it would be explain with Izzy being "out of town" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


Schwarzenegger was president George Bush's fitness guru, and Kerrang! magazine would imply that collaborating with Schwarzenegger was a political statement from the band and that it "went against everything Guns N' Roses stood for" [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:00 pm


It's like the first time I met Slash, I said, "The world's gotta see this guy." That's why when he plays with other people or does solo things it totally gets me off and makes me happy. It secures his place in rock history as a guitarist.

I love it! It’s great. Everybody in Guns thinks of it as our band, so for each of us it’s our own solo project in a way, but when you go out to play with other people, especially accomplished musicians, you learn tons of stuff, so the whole thing’s exciting. I’ve never been intimidated; even when I first started playing guitar I was never intimidated by other guitar players. As soon as I learned how to plug the thing in I was playing in bands because it was always fun. I never looked at it the same way as some people I know, who are really tense all the time about it. It’s fun and when you’re around people that are amazing musicians, instead of being turned off by it you stay cool and watch and take in what you can, and it’s like a subconscious influence making you work harder without even thinking about it.


With the immense success the band had with 'Appetite for Destruction' and 'GN'R Lies', the band members started to attract offers to collaborate and do side-projects. Many of these musical collaborations are mentioned in individual chapters throughout this thread.


According to ROCKBeat, by July 1991, Slash had been asked to play on a "dozens of other performer’s records" but said no to focus on finishing the 'Use Your Illusion' albums [ROCKbeat July 1991].

At one point, Slash jammed with Rory Gallagher:

I got to jam with Rory Gallagher, whose one of my favorite guitar players. So that was great.

Gallagher died in June 1995, and Slash would look back at him as a musician and playing with him:

Well, see, a lot of the musicians I listened to in America weren’t popular in America. But Rory was somebody my dad listened to, my dad being British, and Ireland being so close to England and all those musicians sort of flocking together. He was just a great guitar player. I didn’t know who it was when I was younger; it was just cool guitar. But I got a chance to get to know what his guitar playing was all about as I got older and I started playing guitar. And we got a chance to jam together. It was like, you know, playing with a legend as far as I was concerned. And he’s a guy that was - actually he’s a hero, more so than a lot of musicians that have passed away over the years, just because the only reason he died was because he played too much, and that’s... I can’t knock him for that. I’d hope to go out that way.

Despite being highly sought after, and willing to branch out, Slash would also deny requests.

I'm always afraid that people are going to start thinking of me as some half-assed session guy. On the other hand, playing sessions keeps me focused on something constructive when Guns isn't playing.

When the actress Kim Basinger called him and asked if he would contribute to her debut record, Slash said no [Rolling Stone, January 1991].

In 1992, Slash would also say that he wanted to do a collaboration with Stevie Wonder [MTV, April 20, 1992; MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992].

I’m going to be doing something with Stevie Wonder, which is more like the Michael Jackson thing except that this time I called him! I'd got a phone call before the Michael thing came up, saying, ‘Stevie Wonder wants you to work on his record,’ and I said, ‘Yeah? Of all people that would be awesome to do!’ Then I ran into one of the guys that was engineering his new album and said ‘Oh, you’re working with Stevie Wonder; ask him if he’d like me to play on his record because I would love to do it.’ And Stevie said ‘Yeah.’ So I’ve got that coming up.

In June 1992 he would mention having done something with the TV show The Simpsons [Fully Illustrated Book & Interview, June 6, 1992].

Slash talking about how all these collaborations take place:

Very rarely does anybody call me and says, "Come down and play!" It's usually some sort of relationship I have with somebody. Most of these people I know, that I've played with. There's been, like the Michael Jackson thing, that was the one phone call and everything else it's just people I know, or I've come in contact with. You know, like we go and have a beer and then jam some day, It'll be on tape [laughs].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:02 pm


I regret what happened last night [KSHE-FM, July 3, 1991].

Tension had been building up through the first shows of the 'Use Your Illusion' tour in 1991, with the June 30 show just a few days before indicating a disaster was imminent. And disaster struck at the Riverport Theatre in St. Louis on July 2.

During 'Rocket Queen', about 90 minutes into the set, Axl spotted an audience member with a video camera. After demanding the security confiscated the camera, with no results, Axl jumped into the audience where a fight broke out. After returning to the stage, Axl ended the show resulting in a riot. About 2,000 of the 19,000 audience stormed the stage and "destroyed the band's drums and amplifiers, tore down chain-link fences, ripped shrubs out of the outdoor theater and demolished two large video screens" [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. About 75 people, including more than a dozen police officers, were injured [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991] and damages was estimated at more than $ 200,000 [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

The band would later describe what happened:

Axl had a beef with a guy in the first few rows who had a video camera. Axl mentioned it to the venue security and they did nothing about it. Their attitue and the guy's blatant disregard really set Axl off, so he jumped out into the crowd to take his camera away. When he jumped down, it was great, we kept playing that suspenseful riff that starts of "Rocket Queen," and I thought the whole moment was killer. When Axl got back onstage, everything felt triumphant for a second...then he grabbed the mike, said something like, "Because of the bullshit security, we're going home," slammed the mike own, and walked offstage.

The band kept going. We'd gotten good at improvising to fill dead space - drum solos, guitar solos, jams - we had a bag of tricks to keep things moving whenever Axl made a sudden exit. We kept jamming, and I went over to the side of the stage. "Where is he?" I asked Dough.

He looked at me with a pained expression. "He's not coming back."

"What do you mean he's not coming back?" I shouted, still playing the riff.

"There is no way he is coming back, " Doug said. "There's nothing I can do."

We were about ninety minutes into our set, which was our minimum, contractually, but the plan was to play a two-hour set and the crowd wasn't close to satisfied. They knew there was a lot more left. I would have done anything to get Axl back onstage at that point.

"Ask him again!" I yelled. "Find out if he's really not going to." I should have by Doug's expression that there was no use.

Once it was final, we had no choice: the band put down our gear, and it was like pulling the plug on the stereo - the song just ended on a question mark. That entire arena sat there expecting something to happen, but instead we walked offtstage without a word. And that set them off. We had no idea how much that set them off.

We all gathered in the dressing room, Axl wasn't there, and the mood was pretty solemn, to say the least. And that's when the racked started. We could hear this pounding; even through the doors, it sounded like mayhem. Axl suddenly came into the dressing room and said, "Let's go back on."

We went down the hallway toward the stage and it was like the scene in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine where they're walking through a hall and it's normal but every time they open a door there's a train coming at them or a cat screeching: we'd open a door and there was yelling, we'd open another and see people on stretchers, cops with blood all over them, gurneys everywhere, and pandemonium. At the time we were shooting a documentary, so we have a lot of it on film.

The St. Louis locals weren't having our cancellation - they tore the entire building apart; they did things that I didn't think were possible. It was daunting, if anything - we learned not to fuck around with crowds to that extent. Axl, at least, should have been more wary from that point on not to take an audience to that level of agitation ever again
[Slash's autobiography, p 339-340]
The show started about an hour late - which by this point almost counted as on time. We played about an hour and a half, and were in the middle of "Rocket Queen" when all hell broke loose. For reasons that don't matter - they were immediately eclipsed not only by the coverage of the incident but also in the moment, onstage, as events unfolded - Axl dove into the audience to try to address something the house security had not. His foray didn't last long, and I helped him upright as he lunged back onstage. He then strode to the mic and announced that because security hadn't done their job, he was leaving. He slammed the mic down and stormed off. We quickly followed.

For about ten minutes, we waited in the wing, unsure what to do. Since we all had our own dressing rooms and staff and Axl had hurried off to his, we didn't know whether or not he was planing to return. We thought he probably would. The crowd seemed to think so, too.

Unlike a lot of venues, this one had a huge set of sliding doors at the back of the stage tat could be closed and locked with chains. Most of the equipment not visible from the audience was already in a position to be locked backstage. After that first ten minutes, the tone of the crowd changed and people began to throw stuff at the stage. The crew started to shift some of the items in front of our set out of harm's way - guitars, amp racks.

Every time crew members went out now to grab something, all sorts of shit rained down. It was coming steadily. Most dangerous of all were the venue's plastic chairs with pieces of their metal frames still attached. Those were heavy. I could hear the thuds and they landed on the stage and bounced off the walls. [...]

Axl re-emerged from his dressing room and we offered to go back out and play to calm things down. It was too late.

Security tried to push the crowd back from the stage with a fire hose. But the crowd got the hose and backed our entire crew, the house security, and all the local cops behind the sliding doors. Kids were climbing our hanging speaker towers, destroying our monitors, smashing lights.

We hunkered down backstage. We were lucky. In a lot of venues there is no chained door and the crowd would have taken over the entire venue. Once the gates were closed and the kids had the stage, the crew did not go back out - there was no reason for anyone to risk opening a door and poking their head out to see what was going on.

But we could hear it all. Screams, crashes, the thunder of thousands of feet. Boom, boom, boom, WHOOSH. Rumble, rumble, boom, AAAAAAAAAAAH! Shouts, more thunder, the scraping groan of large objects being pushed around.

Another twenty minutes went before forty or fifty police cars came screaming in and backup police stormed and retook the venue.

The band was shoved into a small van and told to get on the floor so we weren't visible. Slash's hat was sticking up. The driver asked him to take it off. When the van drove our of the enclosed part of the venue and into the parking lot, I could hear the mayhem had spread outside. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I peeked out the back window - I could see speaker cabinets and pieces of our pianos. Kids had gotten tired of carrying them or dumped them when the cops showed. Clots of cops ran around with batons and pepper spray. Kids ran this way and that. Medics rushed around treating bloodied fans. Police had people in cuffs. It looked like a war zone
[Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 186-188]
The fan with the camera was "Stump" from the motorcycle gang Saddle Tramps. Earlier in the show, Stump and Axl had talked briefly when Stump handed Axl a card with his name and affiliation [Rolling Stone, August 1991].

The local media would also describe the riot:

"Hundreds of police were called out Tuesday night to quell a riot that broke out at the Riverport Ampltheatre In Maryland Heights during a concert by the heavy metal rock group Guns Ν' Roses. The police chief of Maryland Heights requested tear gas and fire hoses to help disperse the crowd. The St. Louis County police helicopter was dispatched to direct police movements. There were reports of people being trampled, and numerous ambulances were sent to the theater. Police supervisors were directing officers to use searchlights on areas of the theater that had been secured to help authorities find Injured and trampled concertgoers. By 1 a.m. today, police still were calling for reinforcements." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1991].

At the next show, on July 8 in Dallas, Axl would be unapologetic:

Fuck you St. Louis and God bless America! [Onstage Dallas, July 8, 1991]
At the July 8 show in Dallas, Axl would also say that he jumped into the crowd "because the security was beating on some kid." This statement would be contested by the concert's promoters:

"If he says that security was beating up someone, he’s the only person who saw it" [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991].

Axl would also claim he was refused from returning back on stage, and that this lead to the riot. This claim would also be disputed by the promoters:

"Axl Rose was not asked to leave. In fact, the senior vice president of our company asked him to return to the stage, but he was not at all responsive to that idea until it was too late" [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

That the band actually wanted to return to stage after some time, but that it by then was too late, was confirmed by Police Chief Neil Kurlander [Rolling Stone, August 1991].

On July 10, Geffen would release a press statement were they denied the band or Axl was at fault for the riot. According to the press release, the band's manager Doug Goldstein cited a breakdown in security at the new venue as the cause [Geffen Press Release, July 1991].

I don’t think their security people were trained in how to deal with a spontaneous rock show. It wasn’t just about an illegal camera, as has been widely reported. […] The primary problem at Riverport in St. Louis was a motorcycle club that was intimidating people in the audience. One of them also happened to have a still camera. Axl could see them from the stage and he kept asking local security to get rid of them. I found out after the show these guys were all friends with local security, which could explain why security wouldn’t deal with the problems they were causing. Axl has never been one to stand by and just watch an injustice being done to his fans. […] We don’t like to condone or condemn the use of alcohol at the shows, and in fact, in our contracts with all promoters it specifically states that if the building or promoter decides to sell alcohol at the venue, they assume complete responsibility for all damages and actions because we really feel alcohol has a tendency to accentuate problems at a venue. […] We don’t want to see anyone get hurt. Toward this end, in the future, GNR’s own security director will be advancing all our shows to meet with each promoter about security provisions. If we feel the promoter is not properly equipped, we will bring in professional security people [Geffen Press Release, July 1991].
Axl would deny that he was at fault for leaving the stage:

I didn't have a choice. I couldn’t' even see, and was injured, and did not feel safe on the stage. I was concerned that people didn't get more of a show. But some fans don't take responsibility that they should take. There's a lot of people not taking responsibility for the damage they did at that place[Rolling Stone, August 1991]
Kurlander agreed with Rose:

"The people that rioted are ultimately responsible for their own actions. No matter what Axl Rose did, they cannot escape the fact that they violated the law. They were the ones hitting people and throwing chairs, and bottles and whatever else they could get, I don't think there's any excuse for their behavior " [Rolling Stone, August 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:06 pm


The riot happened because we left the stage after we had done an hour-and-a-half show, which we were contracted to do. The people want a lot more out of Guns N' Roses and usually they get it, but that night they were upset because they weren't getting it. The place allowed bottles and knives and whatever else inside, which is evident from looking at the videotape. It was all over the stage. (...) The rights that I have and the band has are written all the way through our contract. Nobody has really ever questioned it. Nobody has said, 'No, these are my rights and I'm claiming them right now.' (...)

And they think I did it just because I wanted to stop somebody from taking my picture. The camera was the last straw, the final thing. I was sick of, at that point, with the security in the front. There was a weird space in my mind the entire night. I was thinking, "Something isn't right up here. Why is there this weird attitude, this passiveness, in the security?" There was no feeling that they were on the same team as us. Their feelings towards the crowd wasn't right. A young boy and a girl were getting shoved over here while rowdy bikers are being allowed to do whatever they want. What is going on? I was very confused. (...)

When someone says, "Axl didn't want his picture taken," they are not considering the big picture. We are the most bootlegged new band in history. There are over 47 albums out. Even songs that are on the new record. When I play "November Rain" people cheer. They know the song. It's already sold a few million copies on bootleg. When people aren't working together to help avoid that, it really gets me mad. (...)

They don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. I dived into that crowd. And when I dive I'm aware of what can happen. I wasn't aware that they were going to tear the place down, but I'm aware of all the legal things that can happen with me. Someone getting hurt or whatever. But I've got a videotape of people destroying our equipment. It wasn't the building's equipment. I think people got ripped off of a good show. When my audience is denying me the right to call my show for reasons that don't have anything to do with them, that's not fair. We realized the police were not handling the situation. Their method was not working.(...)

A lot of people don't realize that we tried to come back, but we found out the drums were damaged while the police were on the risers, so we couldn't. We felt we had a better chance of calming everybody down than the police, but by that time everything was too far gone. We were told to leave and now people are saying they don't remember that. (...)

That night in St. Louis I got hit in the eye when I jumped off the stage. When I did I lost a contact. I wear these experimental lenses and I didn't know I had another set. So I am half blind going, "Okay, I can't see. The show is over. As a matter of fact my next few shows are over." I was really upset. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know that I had anymore lenses. But once I realized I had another contact I got the band together and we were going to go back out because now they know there is a problem with security and stuff, so things are going to be handled differently. But by that time the riot had already started and there was nothing that could be done. The police were trying to figure out whether they should just arrest me and let the crowd do whatever they wanted to do. It's really hard to handle the frustration I get, and the anger, at being portrayed consistently so negatively. There are certain areas of the media who do that to me all the time.(...)

I was a part of a very unfortunate night for everybody. It wasn't a good time for us. I wasn't Mother Theresa that night..

The reason it happened was because the promoter just didn’t really care about the people in the crowd or the band on the stage. And, you know, there were a lot of problems going into the show and during the show with the way the building was being run, and once I realized we fulfilled our contract and... I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop because he was their friend, it was like it was over. And I went backstage, got a new contact, came back and it was too late, you know.

And my problem with that situation is that... there’s a lot of fingers pointed at Guns N’ Roses, a lot of fingers pointed at me, and I’m going to take responsibility for what I did in that situation and why I did it and pay whatever the consequences are. But a lot of people in that crowd that, you know, they tore up our equipment, they tore up the building, and I don’t see anybody going “Umm, I apologize for throwing that chair through your amps.”... you know, I don’t see that, and that really bothers me.

But then I also look at it like, you know, Spin magazine said that it was a great show of solidarity, you know, with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. The same time I went “well that’s our audience and that’s what I used to do if things went wrong, I’d just tear something up” (laughs). So, I went, well, I guess that was our crowd, you know, and it’s like when emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know, and... also respect that, you know, it is the artist who has control over a lot of things and if that isn’t respected by the building, or the security, or even the people in the crowd, the artist has the right to leave.

Everybody thinks it is just because we were wimped out on photos being taken But you can only put up with so much shit from one or two members of the crowd. It's distracting to have flashbulbs go off in your face. They're not supposed to bring cameras, right? There was a handful of security guys who weren't paying attention to the audience at all. They were turned around - watching us. Axl told one guy, "If you don't take care of this, I will!" But the guy didn't react. I don't know if it was miscommunication or if he was just not interested. We've been jumping into crowds our whole career - that's how we do things. So Axl dived in to go after the flash. When we finally got him back onstage, he just walked off. We had already played an hour-and-a-half kick-ass set, but a couple of people started throwing things, and then someone jumped onto the stage - that brought out a few security guys. At that point, the crowd got off on rushing the authority and tearing up the amps - the whole fucking grandness of it. [...] We decided we were the only people who could take control, so we started to go back onstage. But by then the kit and all my cabinets were gone. These people were fucking ripping into the metal MESA/Boogie grilles to get to the speakers! Some guy ran off with a lot of guitars - they caught him. Our crew and our own security were the wall defending our equipment. Some of our guys got stitches. Backstage, there were people on stretchers, bleeding, and cops coming through on stretchers. It was real intense. [...] They rushed us out in a van, all huddled together. We saw cop after cop going in the opposite direction. They're trying to blame us for it, and in a small way, I'll say it was our fault, but there were so many other factors involved.

I mean, everybody stage-dives, everybody does a lot of extreme things, nobody pays that much attention. We play an hour-and-a-half show in St. Louis, Axl jumps off the stage for, like, a definite reason, right? And, like, you know, he gets in the crowd, and this guy with this camera that’s been there all night long, and everybody’s going, “Oh, what’s the big deal about the camera?” Like, we’ve been bootlegged like crazy. […] And they rushed the stage and destroyed all of our equipment, and so on so forth.

I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened.

Y'know everybody is trying to pick on us because of the taking of the picture. But it wasn't about that really. It was one of those things that sorta built up. Okay, there were some security guys- we're talking about the front line house people right? And the guys are fucking standing there with their arms on the stage watching the band, okay? And there was this gang of guys, and they're taking pictures and shit. And Axl says to the security 'are you gonna do anything about it?' And the security are like 'Oh, yeah dude, rock 'n' roll man!' That's security. So Axl just decided to take care of it himself. He says, "Well, if you're not, I will!' That's Axl- bam, right in there. "We kept the suspense beat going, but when he got backstage, it was like "Fuck this" and he threw his mike down and walked off. That's just the way he is all right? It makes us look like a bunch of fucking pansies and that's not the case. It's like 'C'mon, there's a fucking rule. No cameras. Everybody's bootlegging us. Get the fucking guy and stop it.' I mean, there's enough people taping us and shit. They make a fortune. "I used to bootleg shit, I used to scalp tickets- I know! If we don't see it, then we don't see it. I don't give a fuck. I ain't crying. But if the guy's in the front row and it's like click, click, click, this flashing going on, you gotta tell the security to get the guy. "St. Louis turned into such a violent situation, y'know, we lost all our equipment. Like one of Izzy's cabinets we found out by the concessions stands! My amps were out on the lawn, monitor boards... I was wondering what the fuck would make anybody sit there and dig into a metal grate to get into the speakers in a speaker cabinet. And when we say the lighting truss, they stole half the guns logo. "There were cops. There was blood everywhere. And we had to sneak outta the gig. Y'know we tried to go back on, but the kit was down and that made us realize... it's just the band and the crowd. The more authority you stick in front of the crowd, the more cops and SWAT guys, even though they're doin' their job, the worse the crowd gets. Because we're a rebellious band and our fans are like "Fuck this! We'll kick your ass and we'll kick that guys ass and we'll storm this fucking thing", right? So we have to say 'OK, listen, just don't be an asshole okay? We're only a band, y'know We're as weak as the next guy and, y'know we're up here playing and it's a sensitive subject anyway.

With the St. Louis thing, you know, that was Axl’s deal, and I don’t want to conflict anything with whatever it is, however he settled that situation. Some of the shit that went on was [messed up] because a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon with it. But as far as the actual situation was concerned, I do firmly believe that there were a couple of security guards that just weren’t paying attention to what Axl was trying to communicate to them. And Axl will do that. He just jumps in the crowd.

And the reason we’re sensitive about the camera shit is because we got bootlegged. I mean, from the public’s point of view, I don’t think they understand the financial impact that bootlegging has on a business like, say, Guns N’ Roses or even back to Led Zeppelin or anything.

So I know where Axl was coming from. It was a little bit dramatic, and I don’t think leaving the stage is necessarily correct. I don’t condone that or anything, but from where I was standing, I was still just playing my guitar. I just looked over and all of a sudden Axl’s not there and I see this commotion go on.

Then, of course, what happened after that was a fluke. I’ve never seen anything like that, the retaliation aspect of it, because there was a point there where Axl and I went to go back on stage. And we didn’t know it had gotten started because we were back in the dressing room.

So we got up and went to the side of the stage and looked, and there were like riot cops and everything was broken and people were bleeding. There were like stretchers and shit, and I was just like ‘Jesus Christ!’ And then they whisked us away in a van, and I had my top hat on. They said, ‘Get that [bleeping] thing off! Duck!’ And we got out of there. There were cops pouring in. I mean, the whole thing was a nightmare.

I have a videotape of it that someone took, and I can’t watch it. I watched five minutes of it and went, ‘Jesus, I just can’t, I just don’t want to be reminded of the whole thing’. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and play in St. Louis. I was trying to get Axl to do a club gig there because that would be cool. We have the [guts] to be able to come back and do that. It’s like a getting-back-on-the-horse kind of concept.

That was the most violent act I've ever witnessed in my life. But I could feel that something was going to happen long before the riot broke out. There was an unmistaken ugliness in the air that night. It broke out so fast that there were no way we could have stopped it. We were afraid that someone was going to die, ourselves included. We had hardly gotten off the stage when people started to tear the place apart. They brought down these huge stacks of speakers and completely ripped my amps to shreds. We had to hide in a van to escape from the parking lot, and even then we weren't sure that we were going to make it out of there.
Guitar World, January 2000

Nothing shocks me, and that’s shocking. I’ve got a videotape of the whole thing and I’ve never been able to watch it from end to end.

That was something stupid. I won't comment on that because I don't want to be negative. It happened and it was ridiculous. There was people injured and that pissed me off a lot. I can't enjoy people being hurt in a show. That was bullshit! It was one of the worse nights, like the Donington show were those kids died. That was horrible.
Popular 1, July 2000

We were all headed out and there was a lot of violence, there was the riot squad coming in, helicopters, tear gas, the whole thing. It was a full-on riot. It was pretty serious. We knew we were either going to be arrested for the situation or... Inciting a riot. We were, like, running from the law. It was pretty awesome. So we went in this van. I'll never forget it, ‘cause we were going through the crowd and people were banging on the van, and Slash had his top hat on. I remember reaching over and going, "Take your hat off. It's obvious that it's you," you know? We stopped at a waffle house. Axl was still in his skirt. It was like... We went in, people just looked over... "Holy shit." You know? We got up to Chicago and... Everything was on the news. These riots, huge fires and 600 people injured. Holy shit, right? Record sales are going through the roof. It was...amazing.

So the next day it comes on the news that they're going to extradite Axl. They're going to arrest him for inciting a riot.  We sent two decoys out of the hotel. We dressed them like Axl, and we had this other guy named Ronnie that worked for Slash. He had really curly hair like Slash. So we dressed him up like Slash. And the cops were coming in the front, and Axl went out the kitchen. And they arrested those guys, thinking they were Axl and Slash.
"The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016

There would have been no destroying of the place if I was there. ‘Cause if Axl left and they started getting crazy, I would have started playing my drums, and I would have got them excited. I would have done something to stop that.
"The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:13 pm


As previously mentioned, both Slash and Axl contributed on a new version of 'Under My Wheels' with Alice Cooper which was released on 'The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II soundtrack' in 1988.

Alice Cooper would also feature on the song 'The Garden' off 'Use Your Illusion I" while Slash would play a solo on Cooper's song 'Hey Stoopid' from the album "Hey Stoopid" whcih was released on July 2, 1991 [Guitar Player, December 1991].

Slash was not enthusiastic about the latest collaboration:

I'm a bit perturbed, 'cause Alice has a video for this song with Joe Satriani in it. That pissed me off. I love Alice to death, so I don't want it to sound like I'm really angry, but it bums me out to have anybody think that it's Satriani playing my solo, right? When I left the studio, all the guitars were done. Somewhere down the line they put in this other guy—maybe from the band, maybe it's Satriani—playing the chorus melody at the tail end of the song. I heard it today on MTV: There's my sound, which is sort of nasty and ratty, and then all of a sudden this other guitar comes in. I hope nobody thinks that's me; I want to get that straight [Guitar Magazine, December 1991].
Cooper would describe Guns N' Roses this way:

"They’re just kids, you know? They went from being this bar band in Los Angeles to being bigger than God, or something like that. You can’t expect someone in their 20s to handle that with grace. ... I know I didn’t when it happened to me" [Detroit Free Press, May 1991].

Slash, on his side, would describe Cooper as a "sweetheart" [Q Magazine, July 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:13 pm


In the wake of the St. Louis riot numerous lawsuits were filed. Concert goers would file suit against Axl, Guns N' Roses, the promoters of the show, and the developers of the theatre for injuries occurred. Security guards would file suits against Axl and Geffen for injuries occurred. The promoters would file suit against Axl and the band for money lost. When the band cancelled the next two shows due to damaged equipment, and tried to collect insurance money for this, they were sued by the underwriters of Lloyd's of London [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991]. Finally, Stump (real name Bill Stephenson), the biker with the camera, would also file a suit for injuries he had allegedly suffered when Axl jumped on him. At the same time, five criminal misdemeanor charges (four counts of assault and one count of property damage) were filed against Axl by the St. Louis prosecutor [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 1991]. In total, civil suits from 17 individuals would be filed against Axl [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm

JULY 19, 1991

On July 19, 1991, Steven filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming members of the group forced him to use heroin, then made him quit the band while he was trying to kick the habit. In the lawsuit he asked to have the agreement he signed on March 28, 1990, that led to him being fired, annulled. Furthermore, according to the suit, the band "continually strove to live up to its wild reputation. In doing so, the other members of the band introduced Adler to hard drugs and provided them to him." The suit sought unspecified damages and a breakup of the band so assets could be doled out to members [AP/Vidette Messenger, July 1991].

As a result of the lawsuit, Axl would repeatedly bash Steven from stage on shows in July and August.

In October 1991, Circus Magazine would publish a highly contentious interview with Steven. In the interview, Steven would claim that he was fired as a scape-goat when the other band members couldn't finish the follow-up to 'Appetite', but that in reality it was the other band members who were the problem:

They needed a scapegoat. They fired me to make themselves look good because the record company was getting on their case. […] We would rehearse from seven until one, two in the morning, and I'd come in at five every day. I was always early. Izzy wasn't even there, and Slash and Duff would not show up until ten or eleven at night, or they would not show up at all!

Furthermore, he would claim that the other band members were so afraid of Axl that they didn't dare not take his side:

[Axl] scared everybody. If someone in the crew looked at Axl funny, he was fired. We had Axl get his own bus because we couldn't stand being on the bus with him. Izzy wouldn't even hang out; he doesn't even like Axl. I hear he's got his own tour bus now to stay away from him.

And that he got on Axl's side for daring to speak up:

I'd be the one to confront [Axl] because everybody else was scared. He would leave the stage in the middle of almost every single show we played. He would throw the microphone down, break it and just leave. Or he wouldn't get there on time; not once did we get on stage on time. Every band we opened for—Motley Crue, Aerosmith—he got them pissed off at us. […] I'd say, 'What are you doing?' And he would kick me in the balls, which he had done numerous times. The first week I knew Axl, he kicked me in the balls, out of nowhere! It was over some girl he was fucking with, and I said, 'Leave the chick alone!

Quite outrageously, Steven would also claim he was instrumental in the foundation of Guns N' Roses:

I thought [the band Rose] were fabulous. Then I saw Axl leaving this chick's place on Palm Street and Sunset. I said, 'If you and Izzy and me and this guitar player I know [=Slash] get a cool bass player, we'd have the best rock band out of L.A. since the Doors!'

[Guns N' Roses was already formed when Steven entered the band, and Duff was already the bassist; see previous chapters.]

In the interview it is then claimed that Duff was summoned to the band later through an ad in Recycler. In reality, Axl and Tracii formed the band first, and recruited Duff when Ole Beich was fired. Duff was recruited through Izzy, who knew him. Duff had been recruited through an ad, but that was for Steven and Slash's band Roadcrew earlier. After Tracii and Rob Schneider left the early GN'R, Axl recruited Slash and Steven was, a bit reluctantly, brought along [this is detailed in previous chapters].

Steven would also imply he had been important in the writing of the band's songs, including that he was part of writing 'Don't Cry':

And a lot of the new songs are old songs we wrote together years ago— 'Don't Cry' and a whole bunch of them. Those songs meant a lot to me, and they got somebody else to play the parts I came up with!

That "someone else" is Matt, whom Steven would refer to as "old, fat, bald, ugly" and one "who doesn't fit in" the band [Circus Magazine, October 1991]. Whereas it is true Steven likely came up with the drum parts to 'Don't Cry' that Matt played on the records, the song was written by Izzy and Axl before Steven joined Guns N' Roses.

In his suit against the band it was claimed his reputation had been damaged. In the October interview he would argue that was an understatement and that comments Axl had made to MTV after the suit resulted in him losing a drumming job with AC/DC:

Damaged? It was destroyed! I had an offer to play with AC/DC. Then Axl went on MTV and said I was an addict, I was fucked up and I couldn't play drums anymore. So [AC/DC] said, 'No way.'

At some point in 1991 Steven would also make a long comment on what happened to him, which was published in an unknown magazine:

They told me I had a drug problem, well, who the fuck were they to tell me that? A couple alcoholics and heroin users? Did they take some time in between fucking strippers to decide they were going to throw me out of the band? Doug Goldstein took me to have an opiate blocker, which made me very sick. I told them [slash & Duff] that I felt sick and couldn't record. Slash told me we had to, because we couldn't waste the money. I said "Money? What about the money we wasted last year [referring to the 1989 Chicago rehearsal/recording sessions] when Izzy was cleaning himself up, and Axl was nowhere to be found? Why was it okay for those guys to waste the money, but not me [in order to] get well?" So anyway, they bring me into the studio and I feel like shit. It took me forever to get the song [Civil War] right, and they got frustrated with me. So next thing I know, Doug has a stack of papers in front of me that I could never fucking read because they were about five inches thick! He's telling me 'sign here, sign there' and telling me I was signing an agreement saying I was on "probation", meaning I was going to detox in time to record, or else. But it turns out, those papers weren't really giving me that chance. So I don't hear a fucking thing from anyone for awhile, then I got these notices saying 'you're out of the band'. Through my lawyers, I discovered that the "probation" papers that Doug had me sign were actually the rights to my partnership and all my royalties, which I was unknowingly signing away! They completely screwed me out of everything, these guys, [who were] my friends, my family. It hurt more than anything. My royalties were from playing, writing, and [use of] my image such as t shirts and shit.

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too. Two fucking albums that I played on are still selling and they're collecting money from them, and I'm not. Guns N Roses T shirts with my face on them are still selling, and they're collecting money from them, and I'm not. That's what they did to me, people I thought were my friends took it all away and said goodbye as if I never existed. Fuck that! That's why I sue them, and I'm confident the jury will see it my way.
Unknown source, 1991

The issue for Steven was the agreement, the probation contract, he signed which led to the band firing him. According to Steven lawyer, Elliot Abelson:

In the agreement, Steven gave up any interest in Guns N' Roses, including the music he'd already written. He agreed not to play with anyone else, and also not speak about Guns N' Roses in the future. He basically gave up everything that he could give up legally.

But more so, Steven claims he was forced into signing the agreement:

'Sign this paper, or you're not going to be in Farm Aid.' It was all in a matter of seconds, so I had no choice.

Well it's more like, "Come down to the office, I want to talk to you." I get down to the office. [Goldstein] has his papers, that's about half a foot thick, going, "Sign everywhere where the little colored paper clips are" and I'm under [?] signing away and "What's this for?" and he said, "Oh nothing, it just means you are on probation for three weeks." But then what I really find out, I'm signing away all my rights. […] That's why I sued them. […] Because I was messed up, I wasn't in my right mind, I didn't have a lawyer there.

In August 1991, Melody maker would report that the band's "management are refusing to comment on the content of former drummer Steve Adler's lawsuit against the band because "they have not received all the paperwork yet'" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. A little while later, Circus Magazine would fax the band asking for comments to Steven's allegations and to which Bryn Bridenthal would fax them a reply:

All of the statements attributed to Steven Adler contained in your fax are categorically denied. In light of the fact that litigation is pending, by Steven's choice, we feel it is more appropriate to specifically refute these allegations in a courtroom rather than in the press.

And in February 1992, Bridenthal would say:

Guns N’ Roses don’t want to dignify Steven's allegations with a response because they believe the truth will easily come out within the due legal process.

In November 1991, Axl commented on the lawsuit:

You know, Steven can’t handle that he’s not in Guns N’ Roses, and he’s been kinda put up to this by other people. And he said a lot of things that weren’t true to get the lawsuit together, and it’s kind of all coming out. I wish the best for Steven and I hope things work out for him, you know. And I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, and I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes coming up against us - you know, especially since we have the facts. And it’s a kind of sad thing. It’s like, this is his way of trying to figure out how to get back involved, you know. I’m sure somewhere in his mind, it’s like, “Well, this could all turn around and I could be back in the band”. That’s not gonna happen.

In early 1992 Slash would finally comment on the lawsuit and also indicate that someone was influencing Steven:

I haven't said anything in public about it so far, though [Steven]'s slandered us like crazy and is trying to sue as about stuff that's total bullshit. But I know for a fact that Steven's scared to death of me. Because I've known Steven since I was 13, and I know him too well. So I'm like, "Steven, what do you think you're doing?" But he's not even doing it; somebody else is pressing his buttons.

We turned him onto drugs? My f?!king ass! That's so pathetic. Steven is scared to death of me. If he sees me in public, he just turns into a grovelling heap of defeatism. He just doesn't know what to say. He mumbles. I ask him a straightforward question, 'What's your motivation behind this?"' and he doesn't know what to say. Until now I haven't said a word about Steven to the press. I haven't attacked him; I haven't insulted him. I felt sorry for him. I didn't want to hurt him. We gave him a year to get his shit together. He couldn't play any of the new shit anyway. It got to a point where the material was way beyond him. I can't believe this little f?!ker. I read the shit he said about us in Circus. By the way, f?!k that magazine. If any rag has ever gotten off on sensationalism, it's that magazine. And I don't regret what Axl said on 'Get in the Ring,' because that's got to be one of the most exploitative publications out there. Anyway, back to Steven. He said in that article he's sober now, but every time I've seen him, he's been wasted. I don't know what he's wasted on; I don't even care. I lost all concern and feeling for the guy. And I know a drug lie when I see one. We couldn't get any work done at Rumbo [the original studio where the band started work on Use Your Illusion three years ago]. He cost us a fortune. We had to edit the drum track to 'Civil War' just so we could play to it.

Slash would later again indicate that someone else pushed Steven to file the lawsuit:

After [Steven being fired], I didn’t think Steve was gonna turn around on us, and it turns out it’s not really Steve so much as it is the people who put this lawsuit together.

Slash would also be very clear about his feelings towards Steven, as when he was asked if he was still in contact with him:

No. He’s on my... bad list (laughs).[…] Well, when the whole breakup thing happened, there was a whole – I’d say, like - six months to a year where that developed, and we hung in there with him. And now he’s turned around and started attacking us. And there’s a lot of falsities going on coming from his side of the camp.

In late 1992, after he had left the band, Izzy would deny Steven's allegations:

Lies. When I met him, he showed me some of the stuff he was taking. But I will say to end this is that Stevie is a great guy, I wish him the best. I’ve talked with him once in the last three or four months.
Popular 1, November 1992; translated from Spanish

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:17 pm


The St. Louis riot resulted in the band having to cancel the show on July 4 at the World Music Theatre in Chicago [Los Angeles Times, July 1991; Chicago Tribune, July 1991] and the July 6 show in Bonner Springs, Kansas [USA Today, July 1991].

At the first show after the St. Louis riot, at the Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas on July 8, Axl was two hours late [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1991]. The band would claim the late start was due to damaged equipment from the St. Louis riot [Geffen Press Release, July 1991], but media would report that Axl was missing before the show and arrived late, just minutes before Guns N' Roses took the stage [Pittsburg Press, July 1991; Press-Telegram Wire Service, July 1991]. The long wait resulted in numerous concert-goers leaving the arena in "disgust" [MTV News, July 1991]. During the show Axl would admonish the audience for throwing bottles at the band, stopping the show at one time and making sure a bottle thrower was removed from the theatre [Geffen Press Release, July 1991]. Due to a curfew, the concert was shorter, only about an hour.

During the band's two shows in Dallas, one of the band's assistants needed medical help and they hastily brought in the young chiropractor Steve Thaxton [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991], or the "Rock Doc" as the band would call him [Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 10, 1991]. The next night Thaxton treated members of the band and a few weeks later began travelling with the band on their plane [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991; Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 10, 1991]. In September 1991, he had been asked to stay with the band for two years [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991].

They lead a pretty hard and fast life. When they are performing, they are going all out. […] These guys are the nicest guys I've ever met," he said. "They are also some of the most appreciative patients I've ever had. They treat me like a million bucks [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991].
Thaxton would be listed in the official tour program for 1992 [Use Your Illusion Tour program, 1992].

The band did another two shows before playing at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on July 13. Axl did not like the audience who he felt was too calm and not into the show enough, and Axl would later rant against the tour. But later he realized why the mood was subdued:

We did a show with Skid Row in Utah, and there were people sitting there like they were bored off of their asses. Finally, we left. Why should we play the encore? But what we didn’t know was that people had been killed at an AC/DC concert there, and the press and local officials had gone off on the kids so much that by the time they got to the show they were just fed up. Security just kept them from getting into the show at all – and we didn’t know that. We didn’t know what was up. We just wanted to get out of there. My attitude was, “Man, I only have a few bands that really get me off at a show. What do you want? What do you have to do tonight that’s better than this?” There were 17 year-old kids there who seemed bored, and I just didn’t understand why. Maybe they wanted to go home and listen to something else [Hit Parader, June 1993].
The next show took place at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma on July 16. At this concert something is thrown on stage that explodes followed by a rocket some songs later. Melody Maker would describe the event:

The bomb goes off during "Welcome to the Jungle". Axl's singing, "D'you know where you are baby? You're in the jungle and you're gonna DIE!" when, for a split second, everything's white-then-black. Axl just grimaces, breathes hard, pulls down his NWA cap, skips off stage and lets it pass. Slash dons his top hat, lights a cig and plays the "Godfather" theme, Matt does his drum solo, Duff joins in and everything's cool until Axl re-emerges in a fishnet shirt and launches into "Rocket Queen". Suddenly there's an explosion from somewhere about 15 feet from the stage, a blinding flash and a rocket narrowly misses Izzy. Too close for comfort. Too f***ing close… [Melody Maker, August 1991].
First it's a firecracker, now it's a rocket... If you saw whoever lit that, we'll give you 10 minutes to turn 'em in and we'll be back... We're not here to get hurt or see anybody else get hurt just because some drunken f***in' pussy can't control. .. F***him! No! F*** YOU! It's up to you. Get him outta here and we'll be back. If not... goodnight. Peace[Melody Maker, August 1991].
Slash would also comment upon this incident:

[…] a lot of shit does go down onstage. There's always a bottle flying here, a bomb going off there. The other night I hear this crash, I'm like, 'What the fuck was that!' And somebody threw an M80 into the crowd![Music Life, November 17, 1991].
Originally the band had planned a second show at the Tacoma Dome, on July 17, but this was cancelled since the band needed to film for the video to their single 'Don't Cry'.

The band then played three shows before coming to the Shoreline Theatre in Mountain View, California, not far from San Francisco, on July 19 and 20. before the first show, Izzy would reminisce about playing in San Francisco:

We always had a problem when we played here before, 'cos we'd try to cop this China White heroin and end up paying ungodly prices for fuckin' nothing[VOX, October 1991].
The first show in Mountain View was delayed by one and a half hour. Axl would blame this on "overzealous film crews from local television stations, who demanded interviews and threatened to have him arrested" [The Press-Telegram, July 1991]. Axl seemed to have been in an angry mood this evening. He ranted against Steven and ended the show early:

After the first few notes of what Rose had introduced as a new song called 'The Strange,' the music stopped, apparently because Rose was dissatisfied with it. "You can start over any time,'' he said sardonically to his bandmates. They did, briefly, until Rose threw his microphone to the floor and stalked off stage. He never returned, but Sorum, Slash and Reed came back to collaborate on a brief instrumental jam before pleading that "we don't know any more songs'' and departing for good[The Press-Telegram, July 1991].
An unknown band member would elaborate that during the show he started seeing what he thought was "a bunch of dead raccoons landing on the stage. It was dark and I saw this big hairy thing hit Slash's mic stand. It was a huge lump of sod. The audience had torn up the whole hillside in the back of the auditorium and tried to throw it onstage. The crazy fuckers!" [VOX, October 1991].

According to writer Nick Kent, who witnessed the show, the partying had its effect on Duff who "has to spend several numbers lying flat-out, his eyes closed, smoking a cigarette" [VOX, October 1991].

Kent would also describe how Axl would torment his "personal mike-stand roadie" by repeatedly kicking down the mike-stands and hurling them after the roadie, before exclaiming, "Hey, check it out - I'm having one of those irrational temper tantrums you keep reading about in the press. Y'know you fuckers shouldn't encourage this sort of shit" [VOX, October 1991].

When listening to audio recording of this show, it seems like the roadie was Tom Mayhue and that Axl was in a more playful mood than malignant as conveyed by Kent's story: "Fuck! Tom, you’re too efficient tonight. Whoo! [Someone in the crowd: “Oh my God”] This is something new... Fuck! You know, I work on my fucking stupid irrational temper. But though, when I lose it, you fuckers get off on it. I guess being a fucking psycho basket case helps my career" [On stage, Mountain View, CA, USA, July 19, 1991].

After the show Axl was interviewed by Lonn M. Friend for an upcoming issue of RIP Magazine:

This is crazy, isn't it? I mean, three f?!king months on the road - with no record! It's nuts. I sat in my hotel room all day today, looking at a pile of faxes and papers, a million things that needed my attention. And I don't know, something just came over me. I took my Halliburton briefcase and smashed every light fixture in the room with it. Sometimes I don't know what's real anymore, and what isn't[RIP, March 1992].
The second show at the Shoreline Theatre was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Then the band headed to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood for four shows on July 29 and 30 and August 2 and 3. All of these four shows were started late, the third of them due to Axl having "stomachache" [Los Angeles Times, August 1991; Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

For the second show (on July 30), a little mishap occurred as Axl was being driven to the show. The driver made an illegal turn and was stopped by police and issued a ticket. This caused Axl to "angrily stick his head out of the limousine's sun roof and cry foul to the motorcycle officer issuing the citation." Axl then refused to take the stage unless Inglewood police took back the ticket. Bridenthal would comment on this:

Before a show, Axl is volatile. It's a sensitive time and . . . someone had told the limo driver to turn left[Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

After a discussion with the band's manager and the Forum's manager, the police decided to take the ticket back to avoid a riot. Axl thanked the police from the stage. The police would later explain that the ticket was taken back "for investigation" and eventually the driver was fined $60 [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

For the two August shows, Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon would join the band for the songs 'You Ain't The First' and 'Don't Cry'.

Yeah, the Forum. I was very tripped out. I’d never been in - I was at the Pantages, but I didn’t have time to get nervous at that, because it was real spontaneous. But at the Forum, man, my mind was blown away. I was so scared. My knees were really shaking[Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993].

In addition, for all four shows in Inglewood, the band played past the curfew and would be fined [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

Slash remembered the shows in Inglewood fondly:

The [Great Western Forum] gigs were all sold out and they were amazing. The last one we did there was three and a half hours - in the history of the band, it was the longest one we ever played [Slash's autobiography, p 339-340].
The last show would also be mentioned in the band's newsletter as being their longest show to date at three hour and thirty six minutes [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. According to L.A. Weekly, Axl had used a stopwatch to time the show, and came to "3-hour-36-minute-19-second" [L.A. Weekly, August 16, 1991].

After the last Inglewood show, the band would host a raunchy celebration at the Troubadour [L.A. Weekly, August 16, 1991].

In an interview published in September 1991, Slash would talk about how the touring has been progressing:

Oh fuck yeah, it's wonderful, especially for it to be so well received [Rip It Up, September 1991].
Axl, on the other hand, would in December 1992 look back at the tour and be critical:

I really felt burnt out a lot on the first tour we did with Skid Row. It was very hard for me to be out there because all of the songs were a part of my past, and i wanted to get on to my future. The burnout thing hits and that's when we change the set around a little bit [Hit Parader, June 1993].
And Duff would mention that they had had problems:

Sure there were problems at the beginning of the tour, but we've been around the world four times since. We've achieved so much. By the last leg, things were really great. If you're in a band that's real and honest and is always trying things, pushing things, things are gonna happen. It just shows we're not fake [Kerrang! July 17, 1993].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:19 pm


Axl was frequently been late to concerts in 1985-1989, prompting Doug Goldstein to quip:

He must be part Indian, because they have no concept of time. It makes guys like myself go through the roof.

But when touring the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums Axl's tardiness seemed to have gotten worse. At the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville on May 28, 1991, the show started an hour and 15 minutes after the opening act [The Indianapolis News, May 1991]. At the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on June 17, the band was "several hours late" [Los Angeles Times, June 1991; Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on June 25, the band took the stage "long after the opening band" [Journal Now, August 2017]. At the Thompson-Boiling Arena in Knoxville on June 26, the band was two hours late [Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Starplex Auditorium in Dallas on July 8, the band was again two hours late [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1991; Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Shoreline Theatre in Mountain View on July 19, the band was one and a half hour late [The Press-Telegram, July 1991]. The band then started late for all four shows at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, with one of them being delayed due to "Axl's stomachache" [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

Things did not improve as the band travelled to Europe for their first European leg. The band was three hours late for their second show at Globen in Stockholm, Sweden [Duff's biography]. And in Mannheim, Germany, they were late, "even for us", as Slash would recall [Slash's autobiography, p 343-344].

Izzy's departure in November 1991 and the break before the band started playing show again in December 1991, did not help on the late starts. For the first show at Worchester on December 5, the band started well over two hours later than announced [Hartfort Courant, December 7, 1991]. Then they were 90 minutes late for their show at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 9 [New York Times, December 11, 1991]. For their show at the Philadelphia Spectrum on December 16, 1991, the band started one and a half hours after Soundgarden finished their set [Courier-Post, December 18, 1991]. And or their December 28 show at the Suncoast Dome in St. Petersburg, the started started 80 minutes after Soundgarden [Tampa Tribune, December 30, 1991]. For the January 9 show at the Summit in Houston, the band started more than four hours after the door opened [Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1992]. At the Erwin-Nutter Center show in Dayton in January 13, the band didn't start their show until 12:25 AM [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. They were late again for their first show at Target Center in Minneapolis on January 21 [Star Tribune, January 23, 1992] and for the show at the San Diego Sports Center in San Diego on January 27 [Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1992], and for the January 31 show at Compton Terrace in Chandler [The Phoenix Gazette, February 1, 1992], and for the April 9 show at Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont [Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1992].

Despite discussing the late starts in the media, the situation did not improve. For the band's show in Manchester on June 14, 1992, the band started two hours late but blamed in on technical difficulties [The Liverpool Echo, June 15, 1992; The Evening Chronicle, June 16, 1992].

Lots of different explanations would be used over the years to explain why the band was so late:


There’s a lot of pressure on us, and sometimes it gets to Axl. He can’t take the stage if something’s on his mind and if someone’s pressuring him about something. That’s why we delay some of the shows. […] A lot of people don’t understand that. Some nights we in the band even get mad, but we know that Axl has to do to get psyched to sing. Because once he gets out there, he’s incredible.

And they wonder why it takes time to get on stage or whatever. Because this shit goes through my head. I don’t feel like getting up here and having a good time with about 20,000 people, and having some jerkoff in the press saying some racist bullshit fucking thing that went down and nobody knows about it except the 20,000 that were here and the 50,000 to 100,000 people that read that thing believing this whole bullshit, believing you’re bullshit.

[…] we were trying to maintain our careers, deal with our lives, and record a record and put it out, and work the record. If I wasn't doing this work I wouldn't have been able to do the record. It's made things very hard over the last year, trying to do everything at once. Definitely my energies are on maximum. But to slow it down would mean having to stop doing something, and right now it's not really a smart move to do that. It's just been really hard, with a lot of misunderstanding, like, about why I'm late on stage or things like that.

One of the reasons that we go on late is so that we can get mentally and physically prepared to go out and do 150% for every single gig, right? And there’s such an emotional involvement with the songs that every single tune, whether we play for 1.5 hour or 3 hours, regardless – you know, every single song has to mean something at that moment. So the intensity is really just in the band itself. And we don’t work any other way. We don’t go through the motions. We don’t fake it every night and just, like, ride on some setlist and really wish we were somewhere else. You know, it’s like, we’re there to do this and it’s not really like a so-called job. It’s more – it’s what the band does, this what we’re happy doing, this is our life, so every show is like that. So every show is as intense as we feel, you know?

Last year I was doing extensive emotional work on myself, so when I go out to do a show, if something – I was, you know, uncovering something in my unconscious mind or whatever, and kind of experiencing it, it’d be really hard to go out and do the show, where that took, like, a year to get things under control. I’d come off stage, and either get on the phone or have the person fly out personally into four or five hours right after stage. You know, where someone goes, like, once a week to work out their problems for half hour or an hour, I was doing four-five hours a day; like, every day.

It's something you should ask Axl about. It's hard for me to answer, since I don't share his opinions in all questions.
[…] Axl has made that clear to everyone, that he doesn't get on stage before he feels ready. I've experienced when people have forced him to go on stage and I've seen when he's refused. […] It's worth waiting one or two hours, because then Axl gives the absolutely best possible show. At the same time I understand that people can get irritated, but that's something I can't affect.


Axl's just naturally late. It can get pretty tense at times, particularly when you're supposed to be on-stage and you're sitting there, literally counting the seconds, thinking 'man, we've just had a riot in St. Louis. Now we're in Texas. What the fuck is going to happen here?'


Now, people say, “Why are you late?” dah dah dah. There’s all kinds of fuckin’ reasons. There’s a million fuckin’ reasons. You know, because it ain’t about getting up here to make money and it ain’t about getting up here to fuckin’ “let’s rock ‘n’ roll.” I can fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll in my car or to the stereo. We haven’t come up here to run around and jump off shit to rock ‘n’ roll. It ain’t about partying. It’s about freedom of expression. And it’s about telling you that you can fuckin’ get away with it, no matter what they fuckin’ try to tell you. You see, they’re scared of you. They’re real scared of you. They’re scared of people like you all over the country. They keep everything from you. They keep the medicines that can heal you away from you, because they want to make your fucking money. They keep everything away from the fucking people, so that they can run it the way they want and it’s safe. And they can send you to war to fight for their fucking oil and their money deals, and that blowing down another country.

The band is freedom. The band’s always lived on its own terms, it’s always played on its own terms. Therefore, people can mistake that for an arrogance. It’s like, 'Oh, they’re late going on stage. What an arrogant bunch of guys.' And that’s not it. The reason a lot of people like the band is that the band says and does what it wants all the time. That’s the charm of it.


Slash would so his best to downplay Axl's role in the late starts, explaining it by band mentality:

I have to say we’re pretty self-indulgent when it comes to going on stage. Coming from a club background, we would go on from 11 to midnight. We're a nighttime band, and it takes us a while to get it together mentally and physically to go on stage. We just sort of cruise into the moment. We don’t go on until 10, at least, which is not to say that’s necessarily right.

We're a club band basically and we're used to going on at, like, midnight. We have a couple of entertainment factors between sets (after the opening band) where we have video screens and we videotape the crowd and we have close-ups of girls and they get off on that. We also have killer intermission music to listen to. All things considered, I think it would be better if we do a really good show as opposed to rushing into it when we're not mentally and physically prepared.

It’s just because we are a club band and we’ve never had to... I mean, we’ve always gone on, like, at 11:00 or midnight, you know. That’s where we come from. So as an opening band you had to cater to the headlining band and go on their schedule. But once we were on our own schedule, it was like, we didn’t really want to have to listen to the promoters per se, and we just thought it was cool to go on late at night, because it was cooler, you know? […] the unions don’t care, because they get paid it double time (?) so they’re happy. The unions love us, but the promoters got pissed off and some of the crowd, I think, was a little ticked off because they weren’t used to it. You know, they’re used to bands going on at 9:00.

Because we’re a club band. […] Alright, we get up and we go on stage when it feels comfortable to go out there and do it. […] You know, it’s a club thing. It’s like, you go on at midnight. And it’s like, it’s cool, you know? […] As far as the feeling is concerned, that’s what feels right.


In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone Magazine that was published in April 1992, Axl would take the responsibility:

I pretty much follow my own internal clock, and I perform better later at night. Nothing seems to work out for me until later at night. And it is our show. I don't want to make people sit around and wait -- it drives me nuts. That hour-and-a-half or two-hour time period that I'm late going onstage is living hell, because I'm wishing there was any way on earth I could get out of where I am and knowing I'm not going to be able to make it. I'm late to everything. I've always wanted to have it written in my will that when I die, the coffin shows up a half-hour late and says on the side, like in gold, SORRY I'M LATE.

As for what goes on behind the stage when Axl is late:

The chiropractor we work with on the road tapes my ankles professionally. I kept twisting my ankles during shows, and it still happens now and then. I have weak ankles, always have. I used to run cross-country, and that was one of the things that got in the way of that. So I work with a chiropractor. I work with a massage therapist, because I put a lot of stress in my lower back, and with what I do onstage, there's a lot of rebuilding that has to be done. There's operatic voice exercise. And I started therapy in February (1991) and, Jesus, I'm right in the middle of stuff. I mean, if a heavy emotional issue surfaces and you've got a show in four hours, you have to figure out how to get that sorted out really quick before you get onstage so that you're really quick before you get onstage so that you're not in the middle of "Jungle" and have a breakdown. The pressure of having to do the show when whatever else is going on in my life is hard to get past. We did a show in Finland where I just couldn't understand why I was doing what I was doing. I sat down while I was singing "Civil War," and I was kind of looking at my lips while I was singing and looking at the microphone and looking at the roadies, and everything just shut off. Well, that doesn't make for a very good show. We're out there to win at what we do. And if that means going on two hours late and doing a good show, I'm gonna do it. I take what I do very seriously.

But Axl would be quick to point out that these weren't excuses, only explanations on what he goes through and results in the late starts:

One thing I want to say is, these aren't excuses. I'm not trying to get out of something. The bottom line is, each person is responsible for what they say and what they do. And I'm responsible for everything I've said and everything I've done, whether I want to be or not. So these aren't excuses. They're just facts, and they're things I'm dealing with. And if you've got a real problem with it, don't come to the show. If you gotta be home at fucking midnight, don't bother. Do yourself a favor. I'm not telling you to come -- I don't think that I'd want to. If you've got a problem with me trying to deal with my shit and doing the show the best I can, then just don't come, man. It's not a problem. Just stay the fuck away. Because you're getting something out of it, but I'm also there for myself. I've got a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do. I've done about seven years' worth of therapy in a year, but it takes a lot of energy. And Guns n' Roses takes a lot of energy. It's a weird pressure to try to deal with both at the same time. And I'm gonna do it the best I can when I can and how I can. And I'm the judge of that--not anybody in the crowd.

And when asked how he would respond if a fan stopped him on the street and complained that Axl doesn't give a fuck about the fans:

If I didn't give a fuck about them, I'd come out and do a shitty show. I'd come out and tell 'em to fuck off. I'd sit down, sing the songs off-key and just not care. But I do care, and I also care too much about myself to do that. It's confusing to me that people go, "Well, I have to work in the morning." If you were getting laid, you wouldn't be so worried about what time it was. I know it's complicated, but so is getting onstage. And I'm sorry. I try to make it up by coming out and doing a good show and explaining as much as I can about what was going on in my head and why we weren't there.

Slash was still not ready to throw Axl under the bus, and when confronted with the Rolling Stone interview [which Rockline must have ready before the issue] where Axl seemingly admits to be the root of the problem, he prevaricated:

Well, it’s, you know, we just keep back in the dressing room. And like, we have these monitors, we have these cameras that shoot the crowd, so we watch different people in the crowd and stuff... […] And so we keep back in the dressing room, have a couple of drinks or whatever and watch what’s going on, and just basically getting into the frame of mind where you want to go up and play for three hours. And it’s like, it’s not a job, you know, so... […] I think we’re coming from a whole different mentality than the business is and so it did have its repercussions. And so we’ve, sort of like, tried to adapt; you know, try and find some middle ground.

It’s like that for everybody. In order to prepare for going all-out for 2-1/2 hours – whatever the show is – you gotta feel you’re in the right headspace to do it, you know? And that’s why we sit around and we hang out with each other, we have a few drinks to, like, cool down and relax, cuz we work out really hard and we give everything we can to every show, as opposed to going out and, like, faking it for two hours and just going through the motions, which a lot of bands do. So, I feel pretty justified in taking the time to do it right.

Axl would again open up about his lateness:

I addressed the crowd in Phoenix and explained, "Maybe I was just too f!?kin' bummed out to get my ass up here any quicker." They loved that. Maybe I couldn't move any faster than I was because it was a bitch. I don't mean to inconvenience the crowd by being late. Maybe by reading this interview they can understand a little of what I go through regularly. Sometime it's really hard getting onstage, because I feel like I just can't rise above and win. I don't want to get onstage unless I know I can win and give the people their money's worth. I'm fighting for my own mental health, survival and peace. I'm doing a lot of self-help work and, fortunately, I can afford the people I work with. People say that I'm just spoiled. Yeah, I am. but the work I'm doing is so I can do my job. I've learned that when certain traumas happen to you, your brain releases chemicals that get trapped in the muscles where the trauma occurred. They stay there for your whole life. Then, when you're 50 years old, you've got bad legs or a bent back. When you're old, it's too hard to carry the weight of the world that you've kept trapped inside your body. I've been working on releasing this stuff, but as soon as we release one thing and that damage is gone, some new muscle hurts. That's not a new injury, it's very old injury that, in order to survive, I've buried. When I get a massage, it's not a relaxing thing; it's like a football player getting worked on. I've had work done on me - muscle therapy, kinesiology, acupuncture - almost every day that we've been on the road.

Being asked why it is always uncertain whether Axl is going to show up for a gig or not:

Part of it is because GN'R is like a living organism. It's not an act. Even if I'm doing the same jump during the same part of a particular song, it's not an act. That's the best way for me to express myself at that point. I get there, and I let it out. Certain ways I move, like during "Brownstone," is the way to get the best out of myself. It's like, how can I give the most at that without giving up my life? We don't go onstage like Guns N' Roses used to, or like a punk band - and I'm not knocking punk bands - thinking that if we don't make it to tomorrow, that's okay. Now there's a lot of things depending on tomorrow and GN'R. It's like, how can we give the most and turn around tomorrow and give that much again? It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of maintenance. When I went onstage in San Diego, I got on thanks to Nirvana. I used their music to inspire me. I took their attitude and got up in jeans and a T-shirt - I never do that. I got out there and told Slash that I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought I was going to go out there and quit. If I go out there and can't do it because I have no energy, the I have to walk away. When I got out there, the crowd was very giving with their energy towards us, and it actually fueled me. There's energy in the crowd that, unless you've seen and felt it, there's no way to describe. It's f!?kin scary. Darby Crash [lead singer of the L.A. punk band the Germs] was scared to death of that energy, and his only way of rising above it was by getting wasted, acting like it didn't exist and showing that he could do more damage to himself than the crowd could. That's how he rose above it, but it finally killed him.

Yet, Slash would still refuse to put the blame entirely on Axl's shoulders:

I don't like to go on until I'm mentally and physically ready. However, I'll admit that three hours is pushing the limits.

We just feel the situation out. I don't know. In a way, we still feel like troubadours. We like to show up, have a good time, and play into the night without worrying about curfews and whatever. I feel like concert productions have become too rigid. It's turned into a formula, and we don't come from that side of the fence at all. I think we'd be fucking the audience more if we adhered to those rules, because we wouldn't be half the band on stage if we didn't do it our way. It's true that we've put our audiences through a lot of shit, but it's not that we don't care. Each show is a completely different trip for us, depending on our mental state. We try to approach each one as a unique event - almost like it was our last show. It's hard to regulate something like that. It's hard to say that it will start exactly at 9 p.m.

When we started going on stage late, the audience initially wondered what the hell was going on. Then it became part of the event. They knew we would either play an incredibly long set, or maybe just eight songs and leave. Our shows have the potential to be rowdy or completely calm. People come prepared for anything - but they always know it's going to be real.


After having quit the band, Izzy would talk about the late starts and how it bothered him:

I didn't feel it was fair to a lot of the people coming to the gigs to go onstage two or three hours late. That's just not right. That's the way Axl is and the way he works, but it's not right for me, and I didn't think it was right for the fans either. Stuff like that kinda got to me after four months on tour. There's a lotta pressure, I suppose, but the bottom line is, if you gotta be somewhere and there's something you gotta do, you do It. That's how I see it. […] When we were playing the gigs, a lotta times it was a case of, how long's it gonna be before Axl comes back onstage? It's a pretty big stage, and you're going, 'Anybody see which way he went?'. Then you see a bunch of roadies running... And the old filling-in with a blues jam and a drum solo shit gets old when it's on a nightly basis. It wasn't every night, but y'know...

Matt would later talk about what went down at the January 13, 1992 show when Axl was particularly late:

That’s what we do, man. We sit around and wait, just like everybody else. […] [The scene backstage was] a... nightmare. […] What happens with Axl is, if he doesn’t feel good about playing the gig, he just doesn’t... want to play. […] It’s a weird thing to make people wait, but it’s almost as if he wants to put on the best show for the people. He’d rather not go out — that’s the only way I can explain it. That’s what used to go on with him

In April 1992, Matt would claim he had learnt to deal with it:

I’ve learned to deal with it and I can understand where Axl is coming from. Because he wants to give his best performance, and until he’s ready and he doesn’t feel up to it, he won’t – he doesn’t like to go on.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; footage from April 20, 1992

And what Slash does while waiting:

Well, I keep in touch with everything that’s going on with us. You know, as far as where we’re going, what time we’re supposed to get there – the whole schedule thing. And because we’ve been together for so long, there is a predictability about it, you know? So it’s not a big deal.

Gilby would admit the band would be drinking:

We start drinking. The longer the wait, the tipsier we get. […] Girls flash us [on closed-circuit television piped into the backstage dressing rooms]. And, we sit back there and watch.


Before the Metallica tour in the summer of 1992, Slash would claim that they weren't so late anymore because of touring in Europe with strict curfews:

We've come to a happy medium where we haven't been going on that late. […] [Because] some of these gigs we did in Europe, there was a 10 p.m. curfew so we'd go on at 5 or 6 p.m.

Well, seriously, we’ve tried to, like, come to a happy medium where we go on a little earlier.

And when the Metallica summer tour started the heat meant they tried to be quicker, although stage change meant it took longer:

We’re trying to be a little bit more considerate about that, especially because of the heat. You know, the day is long enough for the people who are going. It starts, like – the doors open at 2:00. […] You know, Faith No More goes on for 45 minutes to an hour, Metallica’s on for 2 h and, sometimes, 2 h 15 minutes. And then, you know, the set change between us and Metallica is 1 hour 15 min, because they’re both big productions and so, turning the stage around like most bands do, we have to take down Metallica’s stuff and put our stuff up, and it takes a long time. So by the time we get on, unfortunately most of the kids are burnt out (laughs). But then, you know, we play for 2.5 hours, 2 h 45, something like that. So we try and get on as soon as possible. For the first time at Giants Stadium we were actually ready to go and the stage wasn’t up yet. [...] All of us were standing around. You know, it was an unprecedented event.

We're not late like we used to be. We've gotten a lot better. There is an hour-and-15-minute set change, and we can't do anything about that. It just takes that long. There's like 100 guys working to get this together. The kids understand. It's a bummer that it takes that long. […] Metallica has got a pretty intense stage setup. Lars [Ulrich] has got his drums on a train track, and they have all their other props. We don't have any props. Metallica pretty much stays in one place. It's cool the way they do it. We run our butts off. It's two different entities.

We've got an oval thrust stage, and there's people [fans] inside it in a type of pit. Then when Guns goes on, they cover it up and he [Rose] has got his ego ramp to go out on. So it worked out pretty good. […] Compared to Monsters of Rock, this is more hectic and there’s a bunch of more hubbub going on, but there are less bands. There are not so many frantic things between the crews. I won't say there's less people out; Guns have so many people [on tour], it's amazing. Who knows what those people do?

The wait isn't because anybody is late. It is because each band is doing a full show, which means we have to take down all the Metallica equipment, which is three truckloads of gear, before ours goes up. […] We could have cut a lot of corners--and saved a lot of money--if each band did shorter sets and used the same (staging), but the whole idea was to make this tour unique. The only reason it's happening at all is that the bands wanted to put on the kind of show that they loved when they were teen-agers themselves.

Some people are now thinking we're still up to our usual tricks of waiting two or three hours, but it really takes about an hour and half to change (sets).

Slash would also argue that they made more of an effort to not start as late any more:

We are trying to be a little more considerate about that. For a while we were going on late because it takes us so long to get mentally and physically prepared, as opposed to just walking out there and going through the motions. We had to get to the point where we were comfortable. We hang out, have a few drinks, see some friends and then go out and kick ass. ’Course it’d be midnight by then. Now, we try to get on as soon as we can.


For the band's Skin N' Bones tour in 1993, and the shows leading up tp it, Axl seems to have been able to be more on time:

Lately we have been very close to being on time. In South America, where we had a new problem every day, we were very, very late. But in Australia, where we just got back from touring, we were pretty much on time. […] It just depends when Axl shows up. […] It has nothing to do with the fans. He does care about them. But it’s just one of those things where he puts out everything he has every single night. When he’s ready to do it, he comes out and does it. When he’s not, he won’t go through the motions. […] When he comes in late, sometimes I’ll ask, ‘What up?' He’ll say, something like ‘somebody didn’t wake me up’ or ‘the limo was late.’ When he tells me this, there’s not much I can say. It’s his band.


In late 1992 and early 1993 Izzy would look back at the unpleasantness of the late starts and bewilderment why Axl couldn't start the shows on time:

On tour [Axl] had a real hard time finishing the sets. And he had a hard time getting onstage. So you're sitting there in the dressing room at a hockey rink and for, like, two hours the walls are vibrating while the audience is going, `Bullshit! Bullshit!' That time goes "slow" when you're sober. And they have to send a helicopter to the hotel to get him. He would just `get ready,' and sometimes he would `get ready' for a long time. I don't know what goes on upstairs with him. To me it's simple. Get an alarm clock, ya know? There's a modern invention that seems to work for people. You set it, and then you wake up when you're supposed to.

Not only does that drive the audience crazy, but it’s hard on your road crew that has to take the stage down later. They might be up until sunup because of the delay. I once asked Axl what was going on, but I never found out. I’ve known the guy for a really long time, but I didn’t get an answer.

Slash would also look back at the late starts and Axl's behaviour:

I wasn't real fond of it, put it that way. We should just go out and play. I know it takes a lot of work to be uninhibited enough to go out and perform to audiences that size, but after a three-hours delay it’s really expensive. And by the time Axl comes out, the rest of the band’s pissed drunk because we've been waiting around.

Gilby would say he had no idea why Axl had been late:

I mean, I was ready-- To tell you the truth, I didn't observe anything. I mean, you know, Axl had a separate dressing room. The band was in one dressing room, he was in a separate one. I have no idea what he was doing. We were ready to play.

And when asked why they didn't simply knock on his door:

Well, you know what -- I mean, as a band member-- I mean, you know, no -- you don't-- I, personally, wouldn't have done it, you know, and stuff.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:31 pm


In August 1991 media reported started reported that Slash was dating a girl called Renee [Suran] [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

Later, Slash would describe how it had happened:

Renee happens to be very unique. I mean, I’m the worst candidate for marriage, right? In fact, she knew who I was, but had no interest or desire to even meet me because of my reputation. I finally met her, though, and I followed her in my car and pumped her gas for her. Then I took her to lunch, and then to dinner. I sent her flowers and we’ve been together ever since.

You know what, I met her when I was driving down the street in a car. I pumped the gas for her. And then we went for lunch and I bought her flowers… […] and I took her to lunch. And then I took her to dinner and bought her flowers… […] We were in a one-room for three months after we finally got everything together. […] Now as I think the farthest I got from the bedroom was like the kitchen.

In an interview with Los Angeles Times in August 1992, Slash would claim he met Suran "three years ago", suggesting that when 1990 started he was already in a relationship with her [Los Angeles Times, August 9, 1992], but had kept it secret, or her name hidden, until much later. In July 1991, it was reported that Slash had been going out with the same girl for over a year [ROCKbeat, July 1991], and this must likely have been Renee, indicating he started dating her in the summer of 1990.

This also fits well with Slash later stating he was sober when he met Renee:

No, I didn’t do heroin while... If she knew me when I was on dope - she didn’t want to meet me in the first place. She had nothing to do with me. I forced myself on her, cuz I saw her and just went, “Wow.”

That Slash tried to protect his girlfriends from exposure was something he mentioned himself:

Then there's been, 'Oh why won't you let me be in your video?' I say, 'Because when you and I split up, I don't want to have to deal with the relationship part of my life in this context.' A lotto that comes up. I went out with a girl from- f***, not Manchester — ah, Sheffield, for a while. All the guys had their girlfriends in the 'Sweet Child' video, and I cut all my scenes out. There was one picture of my hand on her ass and that was it. I'm not into drawing attention to the personal side.

Describing his love life:

I’ve only had five real girlfriends in my whole 25 years, but there have been a lot of in-between things. I’ve gone through so much shit with girlfriends, but just like anything else you do on a regular basis, you start to learn from your mistakes.

Asked to describe his girlfriend and the secret of their relationship:

Well, it’s like, besides the guys in the band, she’s one of my best friends. We get along and she takes care of herself so I don’t have to worry about that as much, you know? We just hang out. We go to the Rainbow [a Los Angeles rock hotspot] and stuff. I hate to sound like one of those guys who’ve wimped out and doesn’t want to be around in public anymore. If you’re not touring, I’d just rather be working. And if I’m not working, I don’t want that shit, the hassles of going out in public. Like, the Rainbow is the worst place to go if you want to get away from things. Yet at the same time, there’s a certain vibe happening there, so we’ll go over there. Like, giving autographs to nice people, that’s wonderful and I don’t mind at all, but there are some creeps out there who treat you like some sort of fantasy figure. It’s weird, man. I’m as down to earth as I can be.

Slash would describe he was trying to be faithful to Renee who he described as "a religious fanatic about fidelity" [Life Magazine, December 1992]:

Right now, as far as promiscuity goes, that's mellowed out a little... a lot. I have my girlfriend and I'm tight with her.

He would talk more about this in an interview published in September:

I always end up with a girlfriend who has no idea who the fuck I am — the novelty of just getting laid all the time wears off really quick. […] The only time that ever happens [=to go out with rock chicks] is when you go out just to have a good time and you have a few drinks somewhere and a good looking chick comes up. Basically, if they're gonna do that then you take advantage of it and it's more like a selfish kind of thing to get involved with, it's like 'okay, fine, if you're going to put yourself in that position I'm going to ...' what's the expression, you know ... so when it comes down to it, I'd rather stick with my one woman that I love and she doesn't give a shit about the whole rock star trip so it's more down to earth, which is more what I'm into.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:32 pm



In early 1989 rumors were spreading that the band planned to release a set of themed EPs, including a Punk, a Metal and a Rap EP [Kerrang!, April 1989]. Asked about his, Slash responded and only talked about a possible punk EP:

We were talking about doing an EP of cover songs. I don’t know... B-sides and stuff like that. It’s just that there’s a lot of stuff we want to record. So we’ve been flipping through ideas, yeah. […] There’s lots we’d like to do, it’s which ones we’re still trying to figure out. We were talking about doing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, and a Steve Jones song that he wrote and sang in the Sex Pistols called “Black Leather”. And a Misfits song too, maybe. Just a couple of different things, I don’t really like to get into talking about things too much, I just like to let it happen.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

Axl, on the other hand, had lofty plans that included a second acoustic EP in addition to the punk EP:

I want to do five records in two years. There's the next studio one (possibly a double) [what would become 'Use Your Illusions'], the live one [what would become 'Live Era'], his own solo LP plus two EPs, firstly a Punk covers record and, secondly, another acoustic set, this time with X-rated versions. And then there's the films...

This would be confirmed in July 1989 with the band talking about a punk EP, a live release, and an "an X rated acoustic EP" [Raw Magazine, July 1989]. Duff would, like Slash, indicate that the punk EP was closest to being worked on:

But we have talked about doing a Punk EP. We’d probably do stuff by the likes of Fear, the Adolescents, The Sex Pistols, the sort of music we listen to before going onstage.


In December 1990 it was reported that the song "Down On The Farm" would end up on the forthcoming follow-up to 'Appetite' (Use Your Illusions) [Musician, December 1990]. In January 1991, Slash would mention they had recorded six covers as part of the material for the forthcoming Use Your Illusion record(s) and that these would likely be released on a separate record [Rolling Stone, January 1991]:

An EP is probably the direction we’re going to go as far as some of the covers are concerned. There are six covers: “Live and Let Die,” by Wings, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” by Dylan — that new version [on the soundtrack for Days of Thunder] that went nowhere — “Don’t Care About You,” by Fear, “Attitude,” by the Misfits, “New Rose,” by the Damned, and “Down on the Farm,” by U.K. Subs. They’re songs that we like – it’s as basic as that. Each of us has an individual favorite, and at the same time we share some. “New Rose” is something Duff wanted to do, I think. “Don’t Care About You” is something I wanted. The Misfits song was Axl’s idea, and “Heaven’s Door” and “Live and Let Die” were songs Axl and I both thought about doing.

As late as June 1991, Duff was quoted in RIP Magazine saying they had just decided to add 'Ain't It Fun' as the 36th song to be included on the forthcoming 'Use Your Illusion' records. At this time, they had decided to save 'I Don't Care About You', 'Attitude', 'New Rose' and 'Black Leather' for a future EP, but still expected to include 'Live and Let Die' and 'Down on the Farm' on the 'Illusions' [RIP, June 1991].

In the end, they decided to included only 'Live and Let Die' and 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' on the two Use Your Illusion records and save the remaining cover songs for a later release.

In May 1991, Axl would mention that they wanted to release an EP with "six punk rock songs" [MTV, May 1991]. These were likely the four remaining punk cover songs that the band had recorded but weren't included on the Use Your Illusions ('I Don't Care About You', 'Attitude', 'New Rose', 'Down on the Farm') and a couple more.

In late 1991, Slash would confirm that there were 6 punk song leftovers from the 'Illusion' sessions intended for an upcoming EP:

The only time I kept anything through headphones [while recording] was on a punk EP we did that's going to come out eventually, which we mostly cut live in the studio. […] It's just a bunch of songs that different guys in the band really like. There's a Steve Jones/Sex Pistols song called "Black Leather." A song called "I Don't Care About You" by Fear. And "Ain't It Fun" from the Dead Boys—sort of a tribute to Stiv Bators. There's a total of six songs on it now, and we're talking about doing a Hanoi Rocks tune. […] punk was an attitude I totally related to. [...] I loved the rebelliousness of it. I believe in that shit, and I dug the chicks, who were just great. I'm not a violent person, but I love that violent attitude. Even at our shows, it's part of our thing; break down the barriers and kick ass for three hours. I don't like it when it gets so violent that people are maliciously beating each other up. But the punk scene was a big influence, especially on Duff. I almost wish that attitude would come back and kill what the record business is right now. I hate it! I hate being a part of it. […] We've always done everything in our power to stay away from the norm. But then all of a sudden we became the norm. Appetite took off, and what I call the copying period set in. And all of a sudden it was no longer fun to be in Guns N' Roses, to have that "go into a liquor store, rip off a pack of cigarettes and play your guitar all day" attitude. I think that's one of the main reasons we didn't know what to do with this new album. We were real frustrated with being so acceptable. We're not Motley Cite. We're not gonna do something that appears a little bit dangerous so we can sell records.

In August 1991, the six punk songs would be listed as "I Don't Care About You" (originally by Fear), "Attitude" (The Misfits), "Ain't It Fun" (Dead Boys), "Black Leather" (The Sex Pistols), "Down On The Farm" (UK Subs) and "New Rose" (The Damned) [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

"Ain't It Fun" was allegedly a suggestion from Hanoi Rock's Michael Monroe when he was guesting the recording studio when Axl was adding vocals to the Illusion songs [Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish].

In September 1991, Slash would talk about when the EP would be released:

Not for a while no reason saturating the market with Guns material at one time. We're touring for next year - we've already been out three months — we have another year and a half. When the record's been out and old news they'll put out the punk EP.

In February 1992, Slash was again asked what was happening with the "long lost" punk EP and he also mentioned that they intended to include their own song 'Ain't Going Down' on what would become an LP:

Well, that’s not gonna come out until we finish touring with this record and there’s a lot of mileage left in this album. As far as the Punk thing goes, there’s gonna be a new song on there that we didn’t finish for ‘Use Your Illusion’. It’s finished as far as all the backing tracks were done, but we didn’t finish the words. It’s called ‘Ain’t Going Down’ and it’s one of those songs that we wrote in the streets in Hollywood just walking around. Then there’s another cover that we’d like to do. It’ll probably be a Hanoi Rocks cover. Then there’s a song that I did in a band a long time ago that I used to sing that I’ve talked to Axl about but we’ll have to see. The whole thing will probably be a full record now, though.

And again in March and July 1992:

It was all done live and it was just really cool, so we want to release it. But at the same time we’re still touring on Illusions, which was a huge project for us and really one of those kind of things that I don’t think anybody can understand what we went through to do it. And so we’re gonna ride that out and tour on it until it’s, like, officially over and then we’ll start worrying about releasing other stuff, you know?

Well, there is a record coming out. When we feel like, you know, it’s a cool time to do it, then we’ll put it out. But, right now, we’ve been so involved with this tour and tour, you know, preceding it, so we’re just, like – when they feel ready, then we’ll put it out. And it’s got all these punk songs on it and sounds really good. I’ll leave it at that.

Talking about the recording process:

We did it a bit more live. We didn't have to articulate as much as on our own stuff. I sing on "Attitude" and "New Rose." Axl and Michael Monroe trade off lines on the Dead Boys song. It's something the band has always wanted to do, and we just did it while we were in the studio, as opposed to regrouping and learning the songs over again, and coming back a year from then and doing it.

Well, we recorded [the punk EP] after the epic Use Your Illusion I and II albums. Duff gave me a call and he says, “Hey, let’s do a punk record.” I’m like, “I was thinking of going maybe in Hawaii or something,” but...[…] (Laughs) But - so we went into the studio one day and we did a bunch of covers, about four or five songs. New Rose, and a song by Fear, which I can’t say the title on the air (laughs). And a bunch of stuff.

For newcomer Gilby it was important to become part of the recording history of the band. He would replace Izzy's guitar parts on the 10 songs recorded before Gilby joined the band and provide his own guitar parts to the three songs they would record after returning from Europe (likely 'Hair of the Dog' (Nazareth), 'Human Being' (New York Dolls) and 'Beautiful King' (T-Rex; although this was more likely the journalist hearing the song wrong and it was in reality 'Buick McKane')) [RAW, September 1993].

Well, my dream at the moment is to record an album with Guns N' Roses. Who will remember Kill For Thrills? Guns, on the other hand, will be in all history books and it would be nice to be in on one corner.

Actually, Izzy didn't even play on most of them, only the first ones that we recorded during ....Illusion', and they were very heartless. So Gilby never even heard lzzy's stuff. We just gave him the songs.

They had seven songs already recorded, then I went in and re-did all Izzy's guitars or put on guitars where he didn't play on 'em.

Duff would talk more about the record in April 1993 and mention it had been mostly his idea:

The record was really mostly my idea. We did ‘New Rose’ by the Damned, and ‘Down On The Farm’ by the UK Subs…if you were my age growing up with the Punk and Hardcore scene and shit, it’s all come full circle. After signing to a major label, all of a sudden I’m in this band that has the Number One record and a Number one single, and God knows how many fucking records we’ve sold. - ridiculous, stupid amounts - and all of a sudden we can go back and do Punk covers on a major recording budget! It’s almost hilarious! It’s kind of taking the piss out of them. […] It’s gonna come out while we’re not touring. I imagine next autumn. We’re going to take some time off, which we really need, because we’ve been touring for so fucking long.

Slash would also talk about how unexpected it was from them to release a punk record:

That's just stuff that we grew up with, that we dug. I think it's probably gonna turn the corner on everybody, because we keep changing all the time. No one seems to understand what the fuck is going on, because the rest of this industry is so predictable at this point. There's some great bands out there, but they never get a chance, no one ever signs them and they don't get a break. Fortunately, somewhere along the way, we found a hole in the door and managed to get a foot in and we've been doing things our own way. So we change all the time. No one seems to understand what we're doing. So this is just something that we wanna do.


It was likely while the band was having a day off while in Boston in March 1993, that the band recorded the Skyliner's 50's hit 'Since I Don't Have You':

There's a good story going behind that song because I think that was one of the first songs that really started to turn this "Spaghetti Incident" thing into an actual album. And we did it on off time on the road and recorded it in Makeshift studios in Boston. Brought rental gear down there 'cause all our gear was on the track. And that was how badly we wanted to do it. We just… you know, pulled out whatever we had. And talking about Gilby's guitar… We used his practice guitar and we used rented gear and this and that. We couldn't find a guitar store in Boston.

[Axl] was the one who sang that song the first time, when we lived together at my Mom’s house. When we were in the middle of this last tour, he’d sing it before ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’, so I’d play guitar too. […] We had a day off in Boston and I booked some studio time. I called up and I know they thought we were full of shit. But we rented some equipment, took a couple of our guys and showed up down there. […]Only one guy was at this piece-of-shit studio, and we just took over, did it and that was it. Axl would sing it so great that I just knew I had to book the time and say, ‘Let’s go’. It was one of the best bonding experiences ever.

Later, in July 1993, Duff would talk about the upcoming record and mention how it had grown to not only be a record, but also to not only be punk:

It's not all punk rock either now. There's a T.Rex tune on there, Nazareth — it's more like some of our lesser-known influences. Because everybody goes, 'Oh yeah, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin', but there were all these people too that people don't think about when they think of GN'R, like Iggy and the Stooges, Fear, The Sex Pistols, Damned. I sing a lot of the tracks and Slash sings for the first time too.

Duff would also not reveal the record's title:

I can’t tell you now ‘cos it wouldn’t make any sense. We’ve made an oath to each other that we won’t tell anyone the title until the time is right. But it’s really cool, it’s really fun. Just us lettin’ loose.

Talking about the recently recorded songs:

We did ‘Hair Of The Dog’ by Nazareth. It really turned out brilliant, ‘cos Dan McCafferty, their singer, is one of Axl’s idols. Then we did ‘Beautiful King’ by T-Rex off ‘The Slider’ [Ed: More likely 'Buick Mckane'], and we did a New York Dolls song too - which wasn’t considered Punk Rock.

By September 1993, it would be revealed that the record would contain 13 tracks [RAW, September 1993], which was to become the final number.

In October 1993 it would be reported that the record had been named 'The Spaghetti Incident' and that it was set for a release on November 23 [Tampa Bay Times/Billboard, October 4, 1993].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:50 am; edited 14 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:32 pm


In September 1991, Izzy would point out that the band members were finally in a state where they could tour:

We've just gotten to the point where everyone's back and finally coherent enough to be able to play together. That's what the deal is here. It's been such a trip from having no money and notoriety to havin' all this money, and notoriety, all these drug connections and bullshit.

And Slash would argue they had matured:

We grew out of [playing wasted]. Before the show I have a couple of cocktails, to loosen me up. I wouldn't chance a show on any kind of chemical; its just not conducive to accurate playing.

And Gilby would concur:

The heavy stuff that used to keep us from doing the stuff we used to do is gone. I mean the band still parties, but differently - I mean, we almost carry a circus with us for after shows. When we're done we go back and have a different party each night with theme parties. […] It's like now we get to party in style (laughs). We make our own parties - it's great! If you work your ass off all these years to get to this point, you have to take advantage of it. And that's what we’re doing.

Despite these comments, while Slash and Izzy had quit heroin, it was obvious the band was partying and using "milder" drugs quite profusely:

There was a lot of problems in the band [when I joined], the drugs. I never took drugs before I was in GNR, but I learned real fast (laugh)! And to drink a lot also, every night. But it was a part of the trip. We were on the top of the world, it was a permanent party: girls everywhere, and I was in the middle of all this, and I thought: "Wow, THAT's rock'n'roll". Limousines and all that….
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

In a later interview, Matt indicates that also stronger drugs were used around 1990 by other band members than Steven:

Steven Adler, the original drummer, had quite a drug problem and the rest of the band was going pretty hard too, you know. So I used to describe it as like walking into an opium den.


For a guy who had always struggled with temptations when not actively touring, and who had recently sobered up, Slash was thrilled to finally be back on the road in mid-1991 when the band started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' albums:

I’ve been fucking going nuts. […] I’ve been a complete basket case for... I’ve been through the mill since we got off the road last time (laughs).

Before the 'Use Your Illusion' touring started in May 1991, Slash would discuss his various (previous) addictions with Q Magazine. When asked if he ever considered seeking therapy his answer was:

For one, I couldn't see myself going to an analyst because personally I just don't want to know. And the other part being that whole trip of pre-planning your existence is something that people do to a point where it makes life just not fun anymore, because you are trying to preconceive your next move, and so on and so forth. […] If you were to ask, as a therapist, Why do I drink? - the simple thing is you do it out of boredom and to relax. The worst thing is it's for people who are so volatile and so shy - because that was always my biggest problem, to be able to deal with everything that's going on, especially when you're in the public eye so much and then being a very reserved kind of person. You end up drinking a lot to come out of your shell. In that way it's a vicious sort of drug, because it works.

And when asked about why he used to do coke and heroin, Slash would answer:

Well [coke is] obnoxious, and you can't get it up! And you get into these really ridiculously bitter fights. And then, when you do a lot of coke, you tend to drink a lot - and I know that one real well too! […] I just liked [heroin]. I liked the way it felt. And fuck, I didn't know if I did it four or five days in a row I'd get fucking hooked on it! And that's a different subject altogether. That drug takes you over mentally and physically, so much that to come back is hard. I was never a big coke addict, ever. I had not so much a drinking problem as to just want to drink and get rowdy. I used to love to get just fucking drunk! I used it to escape a bad day. Sometimes, I'd much rather just go home, sit down with a glass or something and kick back and go to sleep. I really don't feel that I have the intense addiction that people believe.

Slash's more sober life came as the result of his excesses in 1989. In the period off the road that Slash was alluding to in the previous quote, the band almost broke up due to heroin addition and heavy drinking, Axl called his bandmates out on stage when opening for The Rolling Stone, and Slash sobered up "some months" later [see earlier chapter for details on Slash's heroin addiction and how he cleaned up].

Yet, "sobering up" can mean different things and in May 1991 he would be clear that he wasn't "an angel or anything", something he would repeat in many interviews in 1991 when asked about his lifestyle:

I took care of myself for a while and I still am, more or less. Like, I’m no angel or anything, I didn’t turn into that.

No, I’m not totally clean. I don’t shoot heroin any more. You know, I stopped hard-lining, okay? That’s the new word for the month, right? Hard-line, right? But I stopped being so overindulgent to the point where I wasn’t keeping up with what I really wanted to be doing.

Izzy would agree that Slash was doing a lot better:

And Slash, well, let's say he can pronounce his syllables better now. He was pretty bad though. Fuck, he was a mess. He's a great guy an' all, but he can't monitor his own intake, with the result that he's always fuckin' up big-time. Like leaving dope hanging out on the table when the police come to call; nodding out into his food in restaurants - shit like that. I love the guy a lot, but the fact is, man, Slash is not what you'd call your thinkin' man's drug-user. He's real careless, doing really shitty things like OD-ing a lot in other people's apartments. A lot.

Right now Slash is a lot better. But these guys, they still drink, they still party. Probably way too much for their own good. Fuck, these guys like to trash the fuck out of themselves. They really haven't changed much.

While in Mountain View in July, talking to the journalist Simon Garfield, Slash admitted that he still takes drugs, but that it is now a "minor" thing in his life:

I’m no angel, y'know? I just stopped going over­board. The habit is just not major any more. […] I'm no angel. But I know I can't get hooked on dope again, because it just does not work for me. Its just an alienating drug period. And so I've been cool.

Garfield would then ask a band crew backstage if "he thinks Slash will sue if I write that he still indulges" to which the reply was, "He'll probably sue if you don't" [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].

And as interviews happened throughout 1991, it was clear Slash was still a heavy drinker [Press Conference, August 1991; The Age/Independent On Sunday, August 1991].

I’m not any kind of angel. I’m still up till all hours of the morning, still chasing women around. I still drink and still party, but within the confines of sanity. […] Let’s put it this way: I don’t get into trying to outdo myself anymore.

In early 1992, Slash would analyze his former drug addiction and find the silver lining:

I think I'm lucky because I went through the drug trip early in life, as opposed to having it build up and hit me when I was 30. But I have to admit, I never really thought about drugs until I got to a point when I just realized that things were getting a little too hectic. I'm 26 now; it's been two years and I haven't had a problem with it. I'm no angel, but I'm not slamming and all that stuff.

In May 1992 Slash would admit to occasional cocaine use [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].

In July 1992 he would claim to have cut down on his drinking:

There was a point where I used to drink a bottle of [Jack Daniel's] a day. But that's not too conducive to being productive as far as I'm concerned. I've grown up a little bit in that sense. I may be out late at night and get toasted off my {expletive}, but for the most part I try and watch myself...[…] After a while, it gets boring, to be honest.

We don’t have as much going on outside of performing right now, in light of the fact that some of the guys got married and there’s not this huge drug thing going on — we’ve seen this movie so many times. It’s just gotten to the point where we really are just concentrating on the shows. We might go out and have a drink and do whatever [after the show] but the focus is not going out to get laid and [messed] up all the time. There were theater tours where we cared about the gigs, but we were on a [expletive] tightwire. […] [Staying in shape] is not even a professional responsibility. It’s more a responsibility to yourself: that you want to feel like you’ve given the optimum performance you can give. I take my playing seriously and I know everybody else in the band is the same way. I wouldn’t mind being up there with guitar players like Jimmy Page, so it’s not gonna help if I’m irresponsible to that goal.

I still drink, but the whole thing used to be like this big adventure. I used to get wasted on stage. There were nights when I'd have to start "Sweet Child o' Mine" four or five times because I was so loaded I couldn't play it. But I got burned out on the whole drug thing and the groupie scene.

In February, 1993, as the band was touring Australia, Slash would talk about staying at different hotels than Skid Row to avoid partying too hard:

Sebastian [Bach] is one of my best friends, but once we pair up, all hell breaks loose. So it’s a strategic thing to keep us apart. But I can’t smoke pot like he does. I just space out too hard. I like to be totally in control. […] You can be stoned and enjoy what you're doing, but it’s not conducive to responsibilities, and you get to the point where you’re inconsiderate about the people you’re working with and you alienate yourself.

After the tour was over, Slash was still not doing heroin but he was only "clean for the most part":

This is really the first time we’ve been home, off the road, and clean for the most part. I haven’t been shooting up or anything, so I’m using my time differently. It’s not some AA thing; I don’t care to be in that scene anymore. But it’s cool to be writing, and I’m having a cool time with the guys in the band.

In March 1994, Slash would talk about drinking and mention that his wife, Renee, would occasionally complain about his drinking [Kerrang! March 12, 1994].

When asked if he still did drugs, he would answer:

Uh… (pause)… I stopped doing what I was doing before.


Despite reducing his drinking in early 1990, and allegedly cutting it out again for Rock in Rio, Duff was drinking heavy again during the touring in 1991 and 1992.

While doing a conference in Copenhagen on August 19, 1991, he was described as being "noticeably drunk and kept taking drinks" [Press Conference, August 1991].

To Rolling Stone magazine, who interviewed Duff in June, 1991, he claimed to drink much less, "far from the 2 gallons of vodka a day" back in the band's early days. He would also explain that the uncertainty of whether the band would break apart or not "a few years ago", caused him to drink. When things began to look more secure he decided to stop drinking and quit for 71 days [Rolling Stone, September 1991]. These 71 days probably happened early in 1991 during Rock In Rio when Duff and Izzy were rumored to have sworn off alcohol and drugs for 60 days [Kerrang! January 1991], although Izzy at the time was sober so it might just be a bogus rumor.

Duff was aware of drinking too much:

When I have kids, I will stop drinking for good. I'm not going to be like my fuckin' Dad. I came to that conclusion when I was in the 2nd grade.

In addition to drinking, Duff would develop a heavy cocaine habit. Sebastian Bach, the singer of Skid Row who opened for Guns N' Roses in 1991, would describe how he was handing out cocaine to Duff during their first show together at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on May 24, 1991 [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016].

In the March 1992 issue of RIP Magazine, it would be claimed that Duff's drinking got so bad his doctor in October 1991 told him to quit drinking [RIP Magazine, March 1992]. Three months later, in January 1992, Duff was still sober but said it was hard:

I want to go a year, but it's gonna be tough.

But his sobriety didn't last. In May 1992, while Faith No More was opening for GN'R, a writer for NME would describe Duff in the backstage area as looking "punch-drunk, swollen and decaying", to which Mike Patton, the singer of FNM to say, would retort, "That's business, man. You have to hold your hat off to the guy who's done that to him" [NME, May 20, 1992]. And when doing an interview in May 1992, an Italian journalist would describe his as "may have had a little bit too much to drink" [L'Unita, May 16, 1992].

Around this time Duff  "was drinking two half-gallons of vodka a day and snorting an eighth of an ounce of cocaine" [Music West in 3-D, 1997].

What a sad place to be. Every day I woke up, I had a vodka bottle sitting next to my bed. It was like being in a cardboard box and I couldn't bend it. I could not stop, I tried to stop for a month and then I started drinking a lot. I was too far gone.

In July 1992 Duff claimed to be sensible about things and even avoid Metallica's camp because of drug dealers:

When I see kids stoned or high, I try to educate them a little, but not by preaching because I’m no AA member. We are buddies with Metallica, but I’ve seen them only once this tour because I don’t like coming down to the shows early because there’s too many drug dealers around.

[…] I’ve done my share of stuff, but I’ve never pushed anything on anybody. […] It’s too tempting—that’s not the right way to say it, maybe — but I’m just not into drugs now. It’s sad to see kids who are. So many people will push drugs on you.

In November 1992 Izzy would discuss Duff's drinking:

The doctors talked to him two years ago. They said your liver is supposed to be this big [holding his hands in the shape of a hardball]. They said his liver was this big [holding his hands in the shape of a softball]. And when his liver gets this big, it's all over [holding his hands in the shape of a canteloupe].

Ultimately, two years later, it would be Duff's pancreas that would collapse [see later chapter].

In September 1993, Duff would say he had quit drinking before the Tel Aviv show on May 22, 1993, and was going through detox as they flew to Israel [Rockline, September 1993]. In an interview from late June 1993 Duff would claim to continue to be sober [RIP Magazine, November 1993].

We've all done [drugs], and I'm done with all of that. It bores the f?!k out of me. Sure, I'll hang around the after the gig or whatever, but I'm trying to stay clean. I'm doing really good. How many times can someone party? I've been touring since I was 15 years old. I've seen more drugs and shit than most people. Not more than, say, the Rolling Stones, but probably more than most people my age. Even when I was drinking, though, I still always got my job done. There were a few times, like the first time we were in Europe, that I f?!ked up a lot, but no one really noticed. I think I was the first person that noticed, because you can't lie to yourself. I haven't had a drink since the U.S. leg of Skin N' Bones ended. I have a solo tour coming up, and I can't let drinking interfere. Shit, I go to bed these days at midnight.
RIP Magazine, November 1993; interview done in late June

But when the band played in Barcelona, Spain, in early July, he would allegedly ask the interviewer for coke connections [Popular 1, September 1993; translated from Spanish].

It was his bloated face that had jerked him into sobriety:

I had to go sober on the last third of the tour because drinking really catches up with you. […] On the road there’s always booze around and going from hotel to hotel you’re lonely and it catches up with you. I finally realised it when I saw pictures of myself and I looked bloated just from booze. I looked at the pictures and thought that wasn’t me so I quit altogether which was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. […] At the end I got my second - or fourth or fifth or sixth or 19th - wind and I just sailed through the last leg which was three months.

I did the most stupidest thing. Just before GN’R did the last three and a half month leg, I woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror and went: ‘Oh shit’!

I just got up one morning and looked at myself in the mirror, and went, 'Whoa - who is this guy?' I was like bloated sort of, and my face got puffy. I looked over, and I saw like three empty bottles of vodka. I was just so used to it - me and Slash don't even notice how much booze we go through. Plus, I get physicals all the time, and I'm like, 'Please tell me something's wrong with my liver. Please tell me something's wrong with something.' But nope, flying colours. So I'm like, well, cool. But so it was just me going, 'Fuck. I'm not looking good.' So I quit cold turkey on a flight to Israel from LA. We played the first three nights - you know Guns N' Roses [laughing], it takes about two weeks to play three nights - so the first three nights we did, I'm fucking just jonesing on stage. Oh god, just sweating and - bleugh! It was really horrible. It's harder to quit alcohol than it is anything else. Dope, anything. By far. Trust me.

Yet, when asked if in September if he had quit drinking entirely, Duff would answer:

I’ll have a beer here and there, but when I go out on the road I’m not gonna drink at all.

When confronted with the statement that he has put on weight [as a result of the drinking]:

No. Somebody else said that, but that’s one thing - I’ve never put any weight on. It was just a bad shot, the one in Robert John’s book? […] t’s a real shitty picture - thanks Robert - looking up from right in front of the stage. I just take shitty photos!


As the touring started in 1991, Slash and Duff's partying was now, in the words of Melody Maker, "enthusiastically aided and abetted by new drummer Matt" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

Me, I like to party. I'm like your typical drummer, I guess. Sometimes I go overboard.

There’s not a lot of sub­stance abuse happening, but I’m not gonna turn around and say we're all clean and we don’t want any booze back- stage. We like to party a bit, but it’s all in the right kind of order now. Partying doesn’t come first. We play the gig and then we might have fun, but we don’t let the fun have us.

Everyone has pretty much got a lot of the ex­cessive living under control. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not turning around and saying we’re Aerosmith, that we don’t party anymore. But it’s not like before, where they were get­ting too deep into it and weren’t wor­rying about the music as much.

At the end of 1992 Matt was feeling the strain and would try to become more health:

I was actually getting a little bit... out there, you know what I mean? Carried away in a few rock ’n’ roll excesses, but nothing like what Steven was into.

In early 1993, Matt would say the band had "cleaned up its act" [Star Phoenix, March 26, 1993]. And further elaborate:

No one's doing heroin anymore. […] It’s no longer total decadence. The older you get, the harder it is to get out of bed in the morning. It’s like, 'This is really hurtin’.’ I’ve had my share of good times, you know, but you eventually reach a point when your body says, ‘Enough’s enough!’ […] When I joined this band, it was everything I dreamed about. The whole backstage scene was exactly what you’d think a rock and roll band would be about.

To have something else to do than partying, Matt hired a personal trainer to accompany him on the road:

[Making touring] more like real life, like if you were at home. For almost two years on the road, I didn’t do anything but go out at night, and then... stay in my hotel room all day.

I needed something to do beside being a partier. I go to the gym, get fit and it seems to help both mentally and physically.


Gilby had struggled with addiction in his youth, but he had cleaned up well before joining Guns N' Roses:

I had a problem when I was a teenager, but I got over all that.

And when he joined the band, he would confirm that the drug issue was under control but that they still partied:

The band is really cleaning up quite a bit. I mean there's no drugs or anything any more. We're still drinking a little bit, but that’s about it.

When I got involved in the band everyone cleaned up.

Well, we all came from pretty much the same, you know – we all hung around the same part of town. So any problems that, like, people in GN’R were having, it was pretty much everybody in town was having. It wasn’t necessarily Guns N’ Roses; it was kind of a scene that we were all involved in, you know. Even though everybody was in separate bands, they went through the same thing. But what happens is, you gotta understand, that’s when you first start out, you’re really young and stuff, you don’t have any money - there’s a lot of problems going around. But, as things happen and, you know, you get a little more successful, you can start to enjoy different things in your life, like traveling, and you don’t need the drugs and all that stuff as much. You start replacing it with things that are a little more grown up. So, I mean, we drink pretty good and we party pretty great and stuff, but, you know, all those problems are long gone.


Izzy had been sober since the early 1990s [see earlier chapter]:

I don't fuck around with that stuff [=drugs]. I just reached the point where I said 'I'm gonna kill myself. Why die for this shit.

I've been straight for a year and a half now. No booze, no weed, no nothing. I just stopped cold. I said 'Fuck, I should give this a shot.' At first it was real hard. When I finally stopped and then started going out, just riding around on a fuckin' bicycle, I thought 'Wow, this is really cool. How did I forget all this simple shit?'

We used to do a lot of funny shit [laughing]. But I don't miss it. There is nothing like throwing up out a bus door going 65 miles an hour.

I'm not a moderate person, OK? I would take my share, then the drummer's and the singer's, and then the bassist's! You got it? And I would go: "You don't have some more? You really don't have some more?" Pitiable (laughs)! You become a monster, a hydra!

A lot of the time when I was using, I'd just end up with a guitar, writing or recording some pretty depressing songs. I thought they were good at the time, and a couple are not too bad, but a lot of the shit I listen back to and think, ugh, that's fucking depressing, or I think of the state I must have been in; lips all cracked, been up for five days, voice gone. Once you got doing you'd never stop.

I could stay up for four or five days straight doing krell and smack or whatever, up and down up and down, writing songs all the time and recording on my eight-track. But give me a bottle of whisky and send me to a club one night, and I'm the guy in the alley throwing up and rolling around.

It just didn't work; it just poisons me and I don't know why. I got Indian blood, and my mom says that's why I can't handle liquor, but it's still a thing I did for a long time.

Matt would confirm that Izzy was sober, and also imply he was opposed to it:

Izzy just doesn't dig it at all anymore. He don't dig the drinking, even.

While Slash would say Izzy was the one who is "suffering the worst from being clean" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

And that's one of the reasons that Izzy, even though he's completely clean, has to be away from any sort of drug activity. He doesn't know how to deal with it. Whereas with me, people can do whatever they want and I don't give a shit. I'm comfortable being on the same planet with them. […] He was definitely struggling to keep himself clean. That's why he traveled separately from us and so on.


Axl was still health-focused and had a nuanced opinion on drugs:

[…]I would also like it to be known that I'm not a person to be telling the youth of America, "Don't get wasted." Because many times drugs and alcohol -- there's a technical term that they're called, emotional suppressants -- are the only things that can help a person survive and get through and be able to deal with their pain. But l think that it would be good for people to realize and understand that they are doing something to deal with their pain and they aren't really going to be allowed to escape it and outrun it forever without side effects and certain consequences, as far as emotional and mental happiness and their physical condition. And I'd like people to be aware of those things. Fine, party and get wasted, but prepare yourself to be ready to make a change and face the actual reasons why you have to go get drunk. That's what I like, rather than someone saying, "Well, you know, doing this was the wrong way." Don't know if it was. A lot of bands have cleaned up now and talk about things they did and how they were wrong. I don't know if it was necessarily wrong. It helped them survive. At the time they weren't given the proper tools to do the proper healing. I personally don't do any hard drugs anymore, because they get in the way of me getting to my base issues, and I'd rather get rid of the excess baggage than find a way to shove it deeper in the closet, at this time in my life.

Okay, first off, I'm on very specific, high-tuned vitamins. My body needs these vitamins. I'm also involved in extensive emotional work to reach certain heights with myself that doing hard drugs would interfere with. I'm doing several detoxing programs to release trapped toxins that are there because of trauma. Doing a lot of coke would get in the way of my work. Doing dope would definitely get in the way of what I'm trying to accomplish. Some pot doesn't really get in the way too much. It gets in the way of the work for, like, the next day, but sometimes it's a grounding thing. If I'm flipping out in the middle of Idaho, then a little bit of pot helps me be sedate. Also, coming off stage, going from such high energy into a very sedate world, is heavy - I don't care how many strippers you have. It's like going off a cliff in a car, and that's when I can use some smoke. […] About a year ago [in 1991], while we were recording the records, I smoked a lot of pot. I was in a lot of pain, and that was the only way I could keep myself together enough to work. It was the the only thing that could take my mind off my problems, so I could stay focused and record. It helped keep me together. Now it would interfere with things.

Gilby would talk about how health-conscious Axl is:

Axl even jogs now. And he sits on machines.

In 1996, Slash would again have to deny rumours that Axl was addicted to heroin:

No, never has been. Axl actually... well, for the most part the only guy who's never been addicted to anything in the band.


In mid-1993 Dizzy would talk about the band still partying, but more controlled:

We still like to have a good time, but we don’t overindulge like we did in the past.  It’s a bit difficult to resist when you become successful and you can find anything for free. It’s only when you start to lose friends that you realise what’s happening. You realise that the risk is too big and that you’re lucky to be alive!
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:38 pm


In 1989, Slash would talk about wanting to continue using art from Robert Williams, the artist behind the 'Appetite' cover, for future album covers:

What I wanted to do is I'd like to sort of continue the next album and continue the next cover, or do the next cover continuing using his artwork just to have that sort of like, I don't know, tie one album into the next. You know what I'm saying? […] And [the fans] can instantly be able to recognize it right off just because they had the first one. And so when they see the second one with the same kind of artwork, but maybe a different theme or a different drawing, you know, they'll instantly know what it is.

And when asked if he couldn't design the artwork:

I'm very single minded. And so, you know, it's like when I when I'm into art, and that was all I was doing was just art, when it comes to the band, when I started, you know, when I started playing guitar, that all it was guitar. And I don't want to be responsible for coming up with artwork. I don't want to have deadlines. I don't want to be like, I've got to make a painting for this, because it ruins my creativity. You know, when it comes to drawing, you know?

But then in 1990, more than a year before the release of 'Use Your Illusion I & II', Axl had a different idea:

It might be called Use Your Illusion. We’re talking with an artist named Kostabi, because I bought a painting and we want to use it as a possible cover, and the title of the painting is “Use Your Illusion”, and that’s what we may use. I wrote a song the night before that says, “I bought me an illusion and put it on the wall”, and the next day I found a painting called “Use Your Illusion".

The painter, Mark Konstabi, would recount the episode:

Axl wandered into this gallery and saw the "Use Your Illusion" painting. The next day, one of his representatives called and asked if he could use it on the cover of his next record. He said that he had been writing about illusions, so it made sense.

In fact, as said in the band's official fan club newsletter Axl had been specifically visiting "a number of L.A. galleries" to find "a cool painting for the record cover"[Conspiracy Incorporated, May 1990].

The lyrics Axl is referring to is from the song 'Locomotive' off 'Use Your Illusion II'.

Apparently, the name and artwork of the records was all Axl's idea and between the lines it could seem Slash wasn't too fond of it:

It’s the title of a painting by some controversial artist. I don’t know who. I’ve never heard of him. I don’t keep up with art circles. But that’s the name of this painting that Axl bought, and he said, “Let’s make this the cover of the album.” Like the last album cover, we just said, “Fine,” no discussion.

Axl would happily talk about the cover artwork and why it had been chosen:

Ιt’s an artist by the name of Mark Kostabi. And I picked that painting because I was like, I was really tired and I was having dinner somewhere. And there was an art gallery across the street, and I went like, "Well, I’ve never walked into an art gallery before being able to afford something" [chuckles]. […] And I went in, and I happened to know this guy who worked for Billy Idol, and he was working there. And I wandered around, and then I walked into the office when no one was around, and it had all these other paintings. And I had just written Locomotive, where I said “I bought me an illusion and I put it on the wall”, and I found this painting that I really liked. And then I looked at the back and the title was “Use Your Illusion”. And it was just kinda like meant to be. It was, like, the first painting that I’ve ever bought. And I took it home and took everybody by a little while to warm up to it, but, you know... And everybody finally got into it. And Slash decided that it said a lot, you know, and we agreed as a band that it was pretty cool. I also wanted to use that picture because it was art. It was art that has a lot of controversy around it, because of Kostabi’s methods of actually doing the paintings. The background was taken from a very old painting, but it’s still something really nice to look at and it’s - I don’t know how I feel about how it was done, I just know I like it. So to me that’s kinda like with songs, when using a tape or using tape machines to create things. Sometimes that’s a problem, other times it’s just like, “Well, maybe that’s how they need to get it done and you get to hear the song”, you know. So that’s why I like this particular cover, a lot of reasons. […] Plus, it was, like, a cover to go, to go to people that could go on, “Guns N’ Roses is just obnoxious” or whatever. And I might go on, “Yeah, well, why don’t you put this nice picture in your house”, you know? Sitting there, you know? […] “You didn’t expect that from us, did you”?

Slash found the album title brilliant:

The title, "Use Your Illusion" - which is every bit as splendidly apposite to Guns as "Appetite For Destruction" - came from a painting by Mark Kostabi that Axl liked, just as "Appetite" was named after the outrageous robot rape painting that graced its sleeve until record shops refused to stock it. […] "Use Your Illusion' is also very ironic for us. I mean, I don't know why but this band has just generated bullshit hype for so long that it's like throwing it back in their faces.

He would further expand upon what the title meant:

It's the title of the painting on the cover but 'Use Your Illusion' means that the band is so high profile in a sort of vanity sense, the way people perceive us and what we're doing, what we're talking about or what our whole trip is about, 'Use Your Illusion' is like 'go ahead'.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:38 pm


Axl and Slash had had their differences from when the band first started, and even before when they played together in Hollywood Rose.

The relationship between most lead singers and most lead guitar players is very sensitive, very volatile. It’s just very, very intense. It has major ups and major downs, there’s always big mood swings and arguments. Singers and lead guitar players are very temperamental, everyone wants to have their own way. To be a lead guitar player or a singer, you have to have a real big ego! But somewhere within all this intensity and this friction, there's a chemistry. And if the chemistry is right, as with Axl and me, then there's something... a spark, or a need... that holds it together. But you fight too...

Slash's struggles with heroin had resulted in Axl calling him out from the stage in October 1989, when the band opened for The Stones (which helped Slash gain sobriety). On the other hand, Axl had been taking a increasing leadership role in the band as his band mates struggled with addiction, and while Slash was now in a productive physical state, Axl's notorious temper and mental instability that resulted in marriage problems and confrontations with the police and his neighbor, vexed on Slash in early 1991 as it delayed the making of the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums.

Well, [Axl's problems are] a pain in the ass, and they keep things from getting done. I’m the most uptight about all of this. It’s just my nature — Axl thinks I’m this sort of sick-minded workaholic. And it’s true — in some ways, I do get uptight. I can get very negative about it. But there are moments when it [Axl’s troubles] really gets in the way of what I think is productive, and we end up spending a lot of money. Sometimes I think Axl has no idea, or has a very slight idea, of what the financial reality is. I mean, to me $400,000 or whatever to make a record is ludicrous. Of course, if I was to say that to Axl outright, he’d say I don’t know what he’s going through, and there’d be a fight right there. That’s the way we’ve always been — there’s something I can’t relate to or vice versa, and that’s where we butt heads. So I just sit there with my head between my knees, freaking out…But Axl’s craziness drives me crazier than it does Axl, unbeknownst to him. And that’s the truth. […] Axl is like a magnet for problems. I’ve never met anybody like him. He’s the kind of guy that would get a toothbrush stuck down his throat because that particular toothbrush happened to be defective. [..] I mean, shit goes on with that guy, and if you talked to him, he’d tell you the same thing.


I don’t want to talk about Axl, because everybody is constantly trying to pit us against each other. You know, they’re trying to put two fucking Japanese fighting fish in the same bowl. We’ve always been the same. We have our ups and downs, and we butt heads. As long as I’ve known Axl, we’ve had so many differences that have been like the end of the line as far as we were concerned. I think that happens with most singers and guitar players, or whatever that cliché is. It might look a little intense on the outside, seeing all this shit that we’re going through, but it makes for a tension that’s — in a morbid kind of way — really conducive to the music we collaborate on. But as far as Axl goes, he is the best singer-lyricist around.

Despite saying he didn't want to talk about Axl, Slash was still not happy with how the Rolling Stone interview came out:

I said in the [Rolling Stone] article that there were three things I didn’t want to talk about: Axl, my drugs past and other bands. So when it comes out, the first thing it says is: ’Slash on Axl Rose and drugs’.

And then in the article itself, they did this huge thing on mine and Axl’s relationship. The way it read was to pit me and Axl against each other, which is not at all what I wanted to get into. Axl and I have a relationship which is private, and none of that stuff should be out in the open. As far as the drugs stuff goes, that was my fault. They pressed me so hard on the questions, I ended up just saying, ‘Yeah, well, this is what happened...’. When I read it back, it raised the hair on my arms.

They twisted what I said around and they only focused on certain things definitely at the relationship between Axl and I, that they are always trying to make a real negative issue out of; which is not like that at all. When that came out, and there were certain things in there that I said that were true, but in the context of the conversation they would have read completely different than the way the guy edited the whole thing.

I was pissed off because I was like, you know, this is why I don’t like getting involved with this kind of stuff, because I don’t like being misrepresented and having a hit so close to home.

Before the touring in 1991, Slash would open up a bit on his relationship with Axl:

If there ever was a combination of fucking opposites, like me and Axl or whoever else in the past, that one is crystal clear. Me and Axl are so unalike that we attract each other. […] The relationship between most lead singers and most lead guitar players is very sensitive, very volatile - I could go on listing these things for hours. It's just very intense. It has major ups and major downs. But somewhere between all this intensity and this friction there's a chemistry. And if the chemistry's right, like me and Axl are really tight, then there's something - a spark or, you know, a need, that holds it together. You fight too. The biggest fights are between me and Axl. But that's also what makes it happen.

And when asked what they fight over. Music? Drugs? Who gets the most attention?

I don't remember us ever fighting over who gets the most attention! No, dumb things. Like a marriage. I hate to harp on that subject because it's so negative and there's so many other cool things about the two of us, everybody else in the band too, that are just more interesting.

And when describing the "cool things":

Well, when we talk, we're not band members. We talk about ideas that we have, or remember seeing this or hearing that? We'll just sit up all night and talk, and it's me and Axl talking. It goes beyond anything you could write down. Whatever entity the Slash-Axl combination makes, you can't define it like that. It's just how we are... If I ever gave it that much thought and had an answer, then it would make the whole thing too fucking predictable, wouldn't it?

In September 1991, Rolling Stones would discuss the different personalities of Axl and Slash: "Slash seems to have accepted the occasional flare up arising from his and Rose's warring internal time tables as par for the course; its clear that he sees the tension as a necessary evil, the spark that makes for the combustible energy at the heart of their creative collaboration" [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

The same month, Slash would again indicate that he and Axl was tights but that the media was causing problems:

They’re trying constantly to, like, sensationalise me and Axl, or Axl and I’s relationship, which has totally gone way leftfield. Me and Axl are fine. We’re tighter now than we’ve ever been, I always say that. And it’s true. It’s not me trying to make up, like – you know, to cover anything up. We get along great, but there’s this thing behind us, that’s constantly nipping us in the back, going, “Oh, Axl and Slash,” “Axl and Slash,” “Axl and Slash.” You know, I’m just sick of it. I mean, it’s not true.

As Axl caused controversies during the 'Use Your Illusion' touring in 1991, Slash received more and more credit for keeping the band together. The Boston Globe would say that Slash is "widely viewed as keeping Guns in gear" and that he "has become the band's expert at damage control" able to "throw a positive spin on all events" [Boston Globe, December 5, 1991]. Slash himself would downplay Axl's negative media coverage:

The best way of putting it is that his (Axl's) image gets blown way out of proportion. Some of the things are true, but some are blown way out of proportion. And then there are complete falsehoods -- and even those are blown out of proportion from the first time they came out.

In December 1991, Slash would also say that he and Axl never fight anymore and that they have a professional relationship [The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 1991]:

Every night I show up, he shows up, we talk about normal things. We figure out what the first song should be. We’ve been doing this for a while, so we’ve gotten good at picking up whatever the other person is feeling, which is important, because things are so spontaneous we have to be really together as a band.

He would corroborate on this in early 1992:

[The relationship between him and Axl]'s only been stormy in the public’s eyes because of the media. Axl and I haven’t had a fight in about a year and a half, and the couple fights that we did have were the kind of fights that any family could have over such a volatile situation as the one we’re in.

Axl, too, would indicate that their fights were behind them:

Let me say something about us being at each other's throats: We haven't really been that way in the past year and a half. I love the guy. We're like opposite poles of energy, and we balance each other out. We push each other to work harder and complement each other that way.

Taken these two quotes together, it would indicate that Axl and Slash were going through tough times in the second half of 1990, but that things had been okay between them since then.

During the band's second show in Dayton, on January 14, 1992, a quarrel broke out onstage between Axl and Slash when Axl misheard something Slash had said:

We had a run-in in Dayton [Ohio], because both myself and Dougie thought [Slash] said something shitty to me onstage. That was the night I cut my hand to the bone. Backstage we have monitors much like the ones onstage, and while I was back there dealing with my hand, I thought I heard him take a potshot at me. I wrapped my hand up in a towel and was like, "Let's get it taken care of, so I can finish the show." I came back onstage and was a dick to him and told him I'd kick his f?!king ass in front of 20,000 people. That was f?!ked up. I was wrong, and I apologized the second I realized I was mistaken. Someone who is supporting me as strongly as he does is a hand I never want to bite.

Axl's amazingly misunderstood. I've known him for a long time and we've gone through a dozen different plateaus in the relationship. It took me a long time to understand him. We're so different as far as personalities go. He's highly complex; I'm very black-and-white. So we have a lot of run-ins. But we're really close.

In February 1992, Slash would again talk about the complexity of Axl's personality and how Slash would act as a mediator:

Well, I know Axl real well and a hell of a lot better than anyone’s gonna know him from reading the press. I know where he’s coming from and I may be a little more level-headed so I guess I get labelled as the mediator at this point. With Axl though, a lot of it comes from just unbridled sincerity. Everything about him as a performer and a singer comes from his personality, so the shit that makes him crazy or the shit that he finds hard to deal with is, at the same time, what makes his talent, you know? […]Sure, shit goes down and I keep it together, but with me it’s pretty simple. It’s ‘Get the fuck up there and plug in that guitar and go!’. With him it isn’t that simple. There’s a lot going on part from the three hours that we spend up there and it’s that shit that affects him. I can say that really, apart from getting laid, we’ve all realized that there ain’t that much fun in the music business!

In a RIP issue published in March he talked about how close they were:

The thing about me and Axl is, both of us have no real life outside of this band. All I do is play guitar. My life is completely devoted to my own personal career and Guns N' Roses. So, like, Axl might seem like a pain in the ass to everybody involved, but at the same time. he's as dedicated to it as I am - even more so in many ways. He cares about a lot of things I don't even think about, because I'm sort of just a rock guitar player... book the gig and play it! Me and Axl have gotten really close lately, talking about this whole Guns N' Roses trip and what this band is capable of doing, and about making a few statements as far as what we're about, because we're getting sick of having other people tell us what we're supposed to be about.

An example of how Slash would protect Axl and downplay any of his negative sides, is from MTV in March 1992 when Slash was asked to explain the band's late concert starts, and even challenged on whether it wasn't Axl's fault and how he felt about that. Slash would refuse to throw Axl under the bus and instead prevaricated [MTV Rockline, March 1992].

In the first half of May he would again point out their differences but that they were friends:

As for my relationship with Axl, we’re friends but we’re two very different people. I've never been able to express myself and show my feelings since I was a kid, and I'm still like that, while Axl kind of succeeds in that.
RIP Magazine, March 1992; translated from Italian

The same month Slash would also indicate there were issues, though, without indicating whether there were any conflicts between him and Axl causing the "obstacles":

Well the obstacles are harder than they were. Because shit comes out of the woodwork you wouldn't believe! Anything to try to stop the wheels from turning. That part's harder. Sometimes you just want to go to sleep and forget. But the band as a unit is stronger, cos we've been through so much.

But he would point of there were no "blazing rows":

No, we've never had that kind of relationship! People print that stuff and it really hurts. Because really the only family we have is between us. These guys, they're my sense of reality, they're the people I cling to, and people are trying to rip it apart so I don't have a f***ing home. But we bond together, because there's this thing tugging at us all the time saying we're getting real close.

Axl would confirm the band members were like a family, and that the bond between him and Slash was particularly strong:

Especially with Slash and it's [=the relationship] definitely a marriage.

In May 1992, Slash would also describe the relationship:

We’ve been friends since we were kids. I love the guy. He just gets a bit worked up sometimes and things get to him.
The Liverpool Echo, June 8, 1992; interview from May 1992

And in July:

When Axl and I first met is when we had the biggest problems. But he's opened up so much now and that's made me a lot more sensitive with Axl. ... We communicate great and I've been having a ball with this whole thing. We trust each other more than anybody else and I feel really close to him. […] No one can kick our {expletive} -- that's how tight our bond is.

This would again indicate that their worst problem was in the beginning of the band.

Slash would again discuss his relationship with Axl in August, and indicate Izzy's departure had only served to strengthen it:

[Izzy's leaving] made us all closer. I had always been close to Duff, but the changes made me and Axl a lot closer than we had been. We had always been friends, but there is really a bond there now. What used to happen is we'd misunderstand each other. We'd have fights because of something I was supposed to have said about him in the press or something he was supposed to have said about me. All these problems have pushed us closer together, so that we communicate better and avoid the misunderstandings.

He would also say the last time they fought was in 1988 during his worst drug period:

The last fight we had was four years ago and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded. At this point, I really have it together, so he can lean on me and I can lean on him. He has opened up more. He's not like a firecracker anymore, who just explodes. As far as image, it's hard to get that across to people when you have 5,000 publications trying to tell you what they want about Axl and the band.

That Axl and Slash got tighter after the fight in 1990 and as they struggled with Steven and Izzy, would be a point Slash would repeat later:

After that, when we started working again, there was so much other shit going on with the other guys - Izzy and Steven - that in order to focus on our primary goal, which was to continue as a band, Axl, Duff and I got really tight. And it continued from there.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:39 pm

AUGUST 13-31

After a short break the band travelled to Europe to continue their 'Use Your Illusion' tour in August 1991. For this leg of the tour the band had got a chiropractor and masseuse on tour with them, especially for Slash who needed to have "his back aligned before each show to prepare him for the stress of jumping off stage ramps" [Boston Globe, December 5, 1991]. Slash would also be more conscious about his health:

I used to play in cowboy boots, but now I'm in my Adidas. We have a chiropractor on the road; right before the show, he'll crack me up and make me a bit more limber. And we have a masseuse. My left hand cramps up some-times, and she gets right in here and loosens it up. There have been shows when between songs I'm going, "Ax, I can't play'—my fingers are like this [makes fist]. Now at the hotels, regardless of whether I want to or not, for breakfast I'll eat cornflakes and bananas for the potassium. Axl's always been very health-conscious; I'm the complete opposite—I used to do as much damage as humanly possible. Now that were headlining, all of a sudden I'm really aware—as aware as my personality will allow—of my physical status. […] It's more that I don't want to burn out or have some physical ailment pop up in the middle of a set. It was a conscious effort by people who work with us, who said, "Try this." For so long, my attitude has been to blow everything off; now I'm striving to be open-minded. I started taking vitamins—pop four with a Coke [grins]. I mean, I'll never completely grow up. After an awesome show, you come away feeling fuckin' jazzed. It's the best feeling in the world, so you do whatever you can to support that. And yes, it does help to have 20,000 people enjoy your show.

Skid Row travelled along as the opener. The first shows was at Helsinki Ice Hall in Helsinki, Finland on August 13 and 14. The European leg started where the North American had ended just 10 days before, with Axl being volatile:

[...] Axl walked offstage just as we started playing 'Welcome to the Jungle' and disappeared for twenty-five minutes or so.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 190

And I started therapy in February (1991) and, Jesus, I'm right in the middle of stuff. I mean, if a heavy emotional issue surfaces and you've got a show in four hours, you have to figure out how to get that sorted out really quick before you get onstage so that you're really quick before you get onstage so that you're not in the middle of "Jungle" and have a breakdown. The pressure of having to do the show when whatever else is going on in my life is hard to get past. We did a show in Finland where I just couldn't understand why I was doing what I was doing. I sat down while I was singing "Civil War," and I was kind of looking at my lips while I was singing and looking at the microphone and looking at the roadies, and everything just shut off. Well, that doesn't make for a very good show.

After this the band played two shows at Globen in Stockholm, Sweden on August 16 and 17. On the second of these the show started three hours late:

[...] At the fourth show [of the European leg of the Use Your Illusion tour], in Stockholm, Sweden, [Axl] went to a street festival and watched fireworks before turning up to the gig three hours late.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 190

According to the band's newsletter, one of the two shows in Sweden was the band's "best performance ever" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

The band then travelled to Denmark for a show at the Copenhagen Forum in Copenhagen on August 19. On the very same day a coup d'état took place in Soviet and Axl would hoist a Russian flag at the concert in protest [Press Conference, August 1991].

It was a one-time happening that we did because of what's happening in the Soviet Union. We're not gonna meddle in the politics, but it was our way to express our opinion.

During this concert an explosion was heard and the band stopped playing. Axl yelled that they would not continue until the culprit had been arrested. After a little while the band came back and Axl explained that a guy had turned himself in [Press Conference, August 1991].

The band was then supposed to travel to Norway for a show in Oslo, but this concert was cancelled.


The next show was in Germany at the May Market Arena in Mannheim on August 24. For this show and the next, Nine Inch Nails had been included as an opener together with Skid Row. NIN's Trent Reznor would explain how this had happened:

Axl's a friend of mine, we met in LA when he came to the show and asked if we wanted to open for them on some dates in America... we couldn't do it, but as we were planning on coming over here, we thought what better and stranger way to do it than supporting the biggest rock band in the world?
Remy Dean Archive, 1991

It was kind of funny. Axl phoned me while I was listening to the new Pet Shop Boys album and I was trying to turn it down so he wouldn't hear. And he said, 'Hey, was that the Pet Shop Boys? I just got that! Man, I like that, but I'm too embarassed to tell anyone.' I said, 'Me, too'. […] No pain, no gain, and this will be the ultimate test of that. Here we are on the biggest-ever tour and you've never heard of us. We're some synth faggot band opening for a heavy rock band. I have to go out with that attitude.
Raw Magazine, September 1, 1995

In fact, Axl was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails:

I mean, I remember fuckin' in 19... probably the spring of '91, or something like, he was sitting there and telling me about this fuckin' guy -- this band called Nine Inch Nails. But he was always talking about him, and what a great artist he was, and how much that whole thing really inspired him, and stuff like that. […] And he was fucking -- he was the first guy I ever heard talk about Nine Inch Nails, of anybody.

Axl was well-versed in what was new and happening: He was the first person to play me Nine Inch Nails: He said, "They're gonna be huge"

It seems to have been Axl friend, Joseph Brooks, who introduced Axl to electronic music:

Several years ago, Axl told me to go shopping for CDs for him: He gave me a credit card, and I bought him stuff like Front 242, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, early Prodigy-all the early techno stuff. He was really excited by it.

The audience gave Reznor and NIN a hard time:

People were just starting to hear of us over there 'cause our record just came out. Our American label did not license the music over there until about two years after it came out. I'd kind of gone into it, like, 'Well, we did Lollapalooza and that worked out okay and in the big picture it benefited us and, well, what's the difference?' Well, it was a _big_ difference. It was the worst of situations. It was us, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses. I like Guns N' Roses for what they do. Skid Row, however, is the epitome of what I don't like about spandex rock. Poseur toughness, bullshit. I hate them.

So we open up. First song, people are, like, 'Yeah, there's a band onstage,' and they're slowly realizing that we're not Skid Row. Second song, 'Okay, these guys are not Skid Row and I _think_ i hear a synthesizer.' Third song, 'We definitely hear a synthesizer - this is bullshit. These guys suck, they're faggots, let's kick their ass.' There is something about the feeling of standing in front of 65,000 people giving you the finger ... An intense terror took over. In a word, it sucks.

I decided just to make it the worst half hour of this crowd's life. The point when it actually became humorous was when I saw a sausage flying up onstage at the show in Germany. A link sausage. But we got off the stage with our lives. Another sad mo ment at that date was toward the end of the set I actually saw one poor fucker with a NIN shirt, holding it up. Seconds later, I just saw a scuffling and no more NIN shirt. […] We did somehow sell eight T-shirts that night. Eight out of sixty-five thousand, that's not a bad ratio. It also made me realize that I'm not trying to be all things to all people.".
Spin, March 1, 1992

Thigs did not go much better when it was Guns N' Roses turn. At about 25 minutes into this show, Axl was hit by an object under 'Live and Let Die,' and, as a result, left the stage. According to Slash and Duff, the promoters prevented Axl from leaving the arena, forcing him back onto the stage, and a riot was prevented.

We went on late - late even for us - then, pretty early in the set, something happened and Axl walked off for what reason I have no idea. He wasn't getting heckled as far as I could see, no one hit him with a bottle or anything, but he wasn't having it. Th stage at that venue was literally about a mile away from the production office and dressing room, so a van was there to shuttle us back and forth. When Axl left the stage, he went to the van and headed off to the dressing room.

The rest of us came offstage and were standing around, waiting to find out if Axl was coming back or if his van had taken off to the hotel. [...]

I remember standing there with Duff while Matt was fuming. [...] "Fuck that guy," he said. "I'm gonna go straighten him out."[...]

By this point we'd discovered that Axl's van had not left for the dressing room; he was sitting in it but refused to come out and return to the stage [...] So Matt went down to Axl's van to rally him, but as he got down there, he ran into Axl, who had emerged to head back to the stage. Matt was so fired up, though, that he got in Axl's face regardless, to the degree that it almost got physical.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Matt yelled. "Get back onstage!"

I ran up and got between them, because it wasn't a good situation. Axl can get completely psycho when he decides to fight and Matt weighs twice as much as I do - and he plays the drums - so it wasn't exactly a good place for me to be. Axl went back to his van, and it didn't look like he was coming out again. The clock was ticking.

The promoters saw the drama that was going on and closed the gates around the venue so that we couldn't leave. They'd heard what had happened in St. Louis, and it's a good thing they did; if they hadn't, I'm positive that the thirty-eight thousand fans there would have rioted, we would have been held liable and arrested, and people might have died. The local police were already there in riot gear, ready to deal with a full-on situation. It was a scary, tense scene, and a very near miss.

We got Axl back onstage once he realized he had no choice, and the rest of the show went as planned. All I could remember thinking as I walked offstage after the encore was Fuck that was close.
Slash's biography, p343-344

When Axl left the stage in Mannheim, Germany, another riot looked inevitable. We had gone on late again. The venue was huge, an outdoor stadium packed with twice as many people as even the biggest of the basketball arenas we had played in the United States up to this point. Matt Sorum tried a novel approach when Axl left; maybe to a "new" guy it was the obvious thing to do. He went to find Axl and confront him. He was turned away by Axl's security detail. The promoters - not the band members, not the managers, not the entourage - saved the day. Their threat was that Axl would be arrested if a riot occurred might not have worked on its own. But they also locked us into the venue.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 194

Slash would later talk about how cool it had been that they were playing so much new stuff at the show:

I remember playing in a stadium in Mannheim, Germany, playing all new material - which I thought was the coolest way of getting your material accepted, playing a bunch of songs people had never heard and winning them over with that.

The band then headed to the last show on the first European leg, at Wembley Stadium, London, in England on August 31. After the touring in 1988, Slash had revealed his fondness for playing in England, and finally they were back:

'Let’s put it this way, for me personally, and for Izzy - I can speak for Izzy, I know he feels the same way - but there’s playing the States, you know, which is great and all. But then there’s going over there and playing, and that’s the ultimate. The British crowd is so fuckin’ balls out! That, to me, is the epitome of what the rock ’n’ roll gig is all about - packing up your gear and going over to England...

[…] seriously... if you can be good in England, if you can go to England and be well received, you can play anywhere else in the world, you know that I mean? The fact that we’ve won so many awards from the magazines over there this year is pretty eye-opening for us. It just makes me feel like they feel the same way about us as we do about them. And yet it seems like out of everywhere that we’ve played we’ve sort of cut England short. We haven’t given it enough. Just that tour two years ago which, apart from a couple of shows, I thought was pretty half-assed. When the next record comes out, we are adamant about going to play in England first...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

In the months leading up to this date, the media would be speculating on the two supporting acts, with Motorhead and Lenny Kravitz being rumoured [Raw, July 1991]. In the end, Nine Inch Nails was one of the openers [New Musical Express, September 1991] together with Skid Row [].

Before the show the band allegedly told the Brent Council they would refrain from swearing or jumping offstage [The Guardian, September 1991].

After the show Slash met Brian May from Queen. Guns N' Roses would later play in Freddie Mercury's tribute concert at Wembley (April 20, 1992], May would play with the band at Wembley (June 13, 1992], and May would also work with the band during their Chinese Democracy era in the late 90s/early 00s.

I’m trying to get to the point where I can get known as a good guitar player as opposed to the drunken drug guy. I met Brian May after Wembley and he gave me a lot of compliments. He was really sweet.

Oh, [May]’s awesome, yeah. I mean, that goes without saying. I didn’t think that could be a question (laughs).

When we first met Brian May last summer, it was wild. None of us would let him out of the room. He's one of the nicest people I've met.

As Slash was talking to May, an elderly man and a teenager approached, asking if they could have his autograph and then introducing themselves as Slash's grandfather and cousin [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

I hadn't seen them in 15 years! […] And then out of the blue I got a letter. One of my uncles is a rock fan – he turned me on to the Moody Blues when I was still living in England – and he was reading a Jethro Tull article in a magazine and he saw the names Ola Hudson (Slash's mother), Saul Hudson – Saul being me – and that's how they knew how their relative was. […] So I knew they were coming but I didn't know who they were. I was really nervous about it for a little bit. And when my grandparents – my grandfather; my grandmother has apparently passed away – after the show I was sitting there fucking exhausted going, okay, I'll just have a drink and I'll go out. And when I saw them, they had fucking baby pictures of me, the whole thing! Very bizarre! [laughter] But it was cool, It's just an example of how weird this whole fucking business gets.

The Wembley show will go down in history as the last show with Izzy as a member of the band.

Izzy didn't walk away and force the cancellation of the Wembley show. He stayed and played one last gig to draw the curtains on this leg of the tour - the last show before the release of the albums we were ostensibly touring. Axl arrived on time. We played spectacularly well, as fierce and inspired and together as ever before. If not for the additional people and gear onstage, it could have been mistaken for one of our club shows.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 194

Izzy's final show was before seventy-two thousand people at Wembley Stadium, in London, a venue we sold out faster than any artist in history.
Slash's autobiography, "Slash", 2007, p. 344-345

The Wembley concert was also the last before the release of 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II'. Slash would comment upon how it had been to play the shows before the albums were out:

We were amazed that the shows were sold out and we could headline without a record. That's a great way to break your band in. It was a lot like when we first started and we didn't have a record out and we were playing and opening up for Motley Crüe and all that and people had no idea who we were but we pulled it off because the band was good. And so we just did it again. We started without having the album and people can get familiar with the material on the album by hearing it at the show and then they can look for it on the record as opposed to the other way round. It's very ass-backwards!

During the European leg Matt got his first tattoos:

Um, I didn't have any tattoos before I joined the band. And then once we were in Europe somewhere and someone said - let's tattoo in Europe. Then someone threw it again - let's tattoo Matt first, he's fresh (laughs). And then we went and everyone got tattooed in some salon, and I got my first tattoo - and I liked it. Here, on my right shoulder I have a Japanese drawing, and here on the other side something about a Viking theme. When I came back and when my friends saw me with tattoos, they had fun. Then they told me that I would start wearing leather jackets now, so a friend made me some silver ornaments, here is this chain attached to my wallet, for example. Like these earrings, that's what he did. I put them a few years ago, I put one on my chest, on the left side, one in the nose ... that hurt the most (laughs)!
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:42 pm


Already back in the 1980s Axl had hinted at a difficult upbringing, like in an interview with MTV's Headbanger's Ball from September 1988, where he talked about "certain things" that had happened to him:

And it took a long time and it's still, even to this day, I still have to deal with, you know, coming to grips with certain things that happened during my childhood, and certain things I wasn't allowed to do and allowed to hear and everything like that.

He would touch upon this theme again in October 1989 and imply his stepfather had been involved:

You see, I get along with my father real well now. Actually, he's my stepfather, but he raised me. But I see some of the pain that he has to go through in dealing with the way he raised me, and the pain that I have to deal with in getting along with my father, and thinking back on certain things that happened every now and then, and how mad I get. I don't want those things to happen.

As the 1990s came along he would also mentioning how he would like to work with and support organizations dealing with child abuse, again implying dark events in his own childhood:

I'd like to be part of an organization working with child abuse. Sexual abuse and child abuse. I figure you gotta start somewhere.

At the end of 1990 Axl had been suffering from depression [see previous chapter], and the depression continued into 1991:

I was a walking dead man. I was a dead man! That's why in the 'Don't Cry' video, there's my gravestone, marked 1991. I was, like, for two months recording the record, smoking pot because any other drugs just screwed me up. That was the only thing I could do to, like, sedate me and keep me contained enough to not freak out on how depressed I was. I was doing it almost medicinally. I was too depressed. l' d just flip out.

The depressions caused Axl to seek therapy which forced him to deal with unresolved issues [see previous chapter] and in September 1991 Axl started to open up more to the media about his troubled childhood. Some of the memories Axl recovered came from the controversial discipline of regression therapy, and allegedly included memories from before his birth, even back to the time of his conception. Alleged memories resulting from regression therapy included early memories of his stepfather being abusive to his mother resulting in Axl being born with a hatred towards his stepfather [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992]. Axl would claim that these past experiences had affected his adult views on sexuality and relationship with women:

I'm getting a lot more comfortable with things. I'm still not very good at handling stress, and I was told that that was because of the way I was raised. I basically had my family screw up any positive, productive form of release. Rebelling in my music kept me from going to jail. Somewhat. […] I have to retrain myself, it’s not something that's gonna happen overnight. And my sexual attitudes and attitudes towards women... I went through some heavy things in childhood. I formed really strong, serious opinions, lodged them in my subconscious and have been acting on them ever since. There were ugly, violent situations, and they affected me negatively.

I know what the problem was. I had an extremely volatile relationship with Erin [Everly]. And I was projecting strong negative feelings about myself onto other people. I was attracted to people with similar dysfunctional traits, people that I was going to end up not really getting along with. And it wasn't good for me or them, it just made me despise being with anyone or meeting anyone or having a good thoughts linked to someone.

I've had my problems in relating, you know, and I've definitely had my problems in relating to women and understanding what's going on. A lot of that's based in problems that l had with women that I didn't know l had, that started when I was a baby overhearing conversations with my mother and grandmother. That really affected me and I didn't even realize it.

I was affected by what I saw at such an impressionable age. I kind of separated from the self I came here with. Man, I did a really good job of putting together a reasonable facsimile of who I thought I was. I was an angry pissed-off person most of the time. At least I was very honest to that. I didn't then try to split off and be somebody else from that. If I had you'd be seeing me on "Oprah" talking to my 23rd personality.

I had a really distorted view of sexuality and women. I remember the first time I got smacked for looking at a woman. I didn't know what I was looking at, and I don't remember how old I was, but it was a cigarette advertisement with two girls coming out of the water in bikinis. I was just staring at the TV - not thinking, just watching - and my dad smacked me in the mouth, and I went flying across the floor. Someone can say, "Dude, just get over it." Yeah? F?!k you! Whether I wanted it there or not, that incident was locked into my unconscious mind. Whenever there was any form of sex, like a kissing scene, on TV, we weren't allowed to look. Whenever anything like that happened, we had to turn our heads. Dad had us so brainwashed that we started turning our heads on our own. We scolded each other. My mom allowed all of this to happen because she was too insecure to be without my stepfather. She assisted in me being damaged on a consistent basis by not being there for me or my sister or my brother. I've always felt this great urge to go back and help my mom. I felt obligated to, but I don't anymore. She fed me and put clothes on my back, but she wasn't there for me. I'm still experiencing anger over this situation, but I'm trying to get over it. Burying it doesn't work for me anymore. I buried it for too long. That's why there's a gravestone at the end of the "Don't Cry" video. I watched almost everyone in this church's lives go to shit because their own hypocrisy finally consumed them.

[Talking about what his upbringing did to him]: I couldn't be with someone sexually in a nice way, because I was made to feel like I was doing something wrong - even if it was someone I liked. The only way I could enjoy sex was if I got into being the "bad guy." Finally I grew tired of being the bad guy. I love this person I'm with. Why do I have to always maintain a low level of self-esteem in order to feel alright? I don't feel alright feeling like a piece of shit, and I don't want to be a f?!king piece of shit. Even though it was put into my head years ago, by reading up on abuse and doing the work I'm doing, I've found out that's how it works. It's a real weird thing to have to deal with. You know, I'm grown up now. That was a long time ago. I'm supposed to have gotten past that. Yeah, maybe.


After the September 1991 Rolling Stone Magazine interview, Axl would be asked to elaborate on things he had said:

Well, I feel that… umm… you know, child abuse… you know, and sexual abuse. Especially… child abuse is like, kind of the key to why there's so many problems in the world today. Umm… The more books I read on it, and the more work I do on trying to overcome the problems… you know, that I had in my childhood that I accepted it as normal behavior for my life. And I realize now that it wasn't normal behavior. And it's caused me to act in… umm, many ways because it's what I was trained, it's what I was taught, it's what I saw. It's… umm, my formative years were… very ugly. And you know, people had picked up on that one. They listen to some Guns N' Roses songs. And: "This isn't right, something's wrong here…" Da, da, da. Well, they're right. Umm, the Herald Examiner ran a piece on… you know: "We find out the hidden truths of Axl Rose" and da, da, da. You know, we'll find 'em out, soon as I find 'em out. [laughs] A lot of people don't know, including myself. I'm… I'm working on it. Umm, I would like to… find some organizations to… donate money, or… umm, you know, go talk to kids or… talk to groups of people about my experiences and how hard it was, and still is for me on a daily basis, in dealing with people in my relationships, because of the abuse that was present in my childhood. I don't necessarily wanna elaborate any further on this right now, because it's something that I have to… umm, do in stages. Little by little, and I think getting, you know, too much of that right now… Umm, could really get… you know, make it too hard on myself, so… I think we'll stop there.

True to his word, as times passed he would speak more detailed about what had happened to him, indicating that he was abused by his stepfather without his mother protecting him:

I also found out it is supposedly some kind of mental thing having to do with me punishing myself for expressing myself. For 20 years of my life I was beaten by my parents for expressing myself, so part of me believes I should be punished for that expression. I do this by lowering my own resistance. Turn that around, and there you have it - self punishment.

I've been doing a lot of work and found out I've had a lot of hatred for women. Basically, I've been rejected by my mother since I was a baby. She's picked my stepfather over me ever since he was around and watched me get beaten by him. She stood back most of the time. Unless it got too bad, and then she'd come and hold you afterward. She wasn't there for me. My grandmother had a problem with men. I've gone back and done the work and found out I overheard my grandma going off on men when I was four. And I've had problems with my own masculinity because of that. I was pissed off at my grandmother for her problem with men and how it made me feel about being a man.

And it was a very strict spare-the-rod, spoil-the-child uptight religious family. It was okay to beat the kids. Those situations embedded themselves deeply within my personality. Going back through those situations and experiencing the anger or the pain or the hurt and letting them go is the healing process. Then you start to become who you really are. Usually a person is going to be a lot more happy with who they really are than whoever they think they are. There is really nothing to be afraid of, but it seems scary.

Additionally, Axl would claim his step-father had molested his sister, Amy:

And this person [=Axl's stepfather, Stephen Bailey] basically tried to control me and discipline me because of the problems he'd had in his childhood. And then my mom had a daughter. And my stepfather molested her for about twenty years. And beat us. Beat me consistently. I thought these things were normal. I didn't know my sister was molested until last year. We've been working on putting our lives together ever since and supporting each other. Now my sister works with me. She's very happy, and it's so nice to see her happy and that we get along. My dad tried to keep us at odds. And he was very successful at some points in our lives.


Axl's therapy sessions, especially regression therapy, would also tell him that his biological father had kidnapped him and raped him at the age of two:

And what I found out in therapy is, my mother and him [=Axl's biological father, William Rose] weren't getting along. And he kidnapped me, because someone wasn't watching me. I remember a needle. I remember getting a shot. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and watching something horrible happen to my mother when she came to get me. I don't know all the details. But I've had the physical reactions of that happening to me. I've had problems in my legs and stuff from muscles being damaged then. And I buried it and was a man somehow, 'cause the only way to deal with it was bury the shit. I buried it then to survive -- I never accepted it. […] Homophobic? I think I've got a problem, if my dad fucked me in the ass when I was two. I think I've got a problem about it.

I'll repeat myself -- this is something that l just said in Rolling Stone. I don't know, maybe l have a problem with homophobia. Maybe l was two years old and got fucked in the ass by my dad […] That's a fact. That's something that happened and that's some of the damage I've been working on. […] l suspected it about two years ago, because all of a sudden the thought crossed my mind. When it crossed my mind l had to stop the car and I just broke down crying. Such an outpouring had never come out of me.

With the help of regression therapy I uncovered that my real dad, not my stepdad, sexually abused me. The most powerful anger was this two-year-old child's anger because it was hurt. Nothing could really scare me, because I'd already seen hell. I'd been killed at two and lived through it, and I was miserable because I'd lived through it. I was miserable for 28 years. My stepdad came into my life when I was three or four, and I didn't even know my real father existed until I was 17. I was separated from myself at an early age, and my stepfather made sure I never put myself back together, with his confusing mixed messages of love and brutality. He'd love me one minute, then beat me the next. I've had to learn how to shed both of these men's personalities. I'll take two steps forward, then one step back, but I'm into it. A lot of things are new to me now, but I won't let my fears stop me from progressing.

In an interview with Musician that was released in June 1992, Axl would be asked how he could know the results of regression therapy were trustworthy and not some "dream or fantasy or some projection or demonization":

I have a lot of corroboration from people who knew something horrible happened. Even now I could talk about it with my grandmother and she'd nod her head yes, but would not talk about it. Also, the emotions that end up surfacing and the amount of weight that is lifted each time we get into certain issues kind of makes me go, "Wait a minute, I can trust myself here." I can trust myself because I feel a hell of a lot better. I mean, you could go to a medium and talk to someone in your family who had died and when you come out you'll feel much different. Someone will say, "Was it real?" and you'll say, "I don't know, but I know I feel a lot easier with the situation and acting on it isn't going to hurt me.

The interviewer from Musician would then point out that if the allegations were false, they weren't just affecting Axl but his family, too, so that "the rules of evidence would have to be stricter" than if it was just between Axl and his father and step-father:

Oh yeah. My sister is involved with my life and works with me, so I know what happened there. I know what reaction my mom has to dealing with any of it. Her eyes turn black. It's complete anger and she will fight to the death to not have to re-experience that. That somewhat justifies it. The physical damage manifesting itself is another thing that puts it together. Certain thought patterns are there that would have no reason to be there unless something happened. I don't believe too many people are born evil or born fucked up. Something had to happen somewhere. You go back and find the time that something happened and work through and finally find the base underneath. And by letting it go, all of a sudden you don't have certain problems in your life. That somehow validates the situation. I've gone back and realized that I had thought my whole life that sex is power and also that sex leaves you powerless.

Having talked about the severity of how he had been abused as a child, Axl would again talk about moving forward and trying to help other abused children:

It's finding some way to break the chain. I'm trying to fix myself and turn around and help others. You can't really save anyone. You can support them, but they have to save themselves. You know, you can live your life the way you have and just accept it, or you can try to change it. My life still has its extremes and ups and downs, but it is a lot better because of this work. I'm very interested in getting involved with child-abuse organizations. There's different methods of working with children, and I want to support the ones that I believe in. […] I've gone to one child-abuse center. When I went, the woman said that there was a little boy who wasn't able to accept things that had happened to him and to deal with it, no matter how many children were around him who'd had the same problems. And apparently he saw something about me and childhood problems, and he said, "Well, Axl had problems, and he's doing okay." He started opening up, and he's doing all right. And that's more important to me than Guns n' Roses, more important to me than anything I've done so far. Because I can relate to that more than anything. I've had such hatred for my father, for women, for …[…] I'm working on getting past those things, and the world doesn't seem to be too tolerant of me doing that in public. It's like "Oh, you got a problem? You go away and take care of it." All these relatives knew little pieces of this puzzle, and nobody helped me with shit. I'm angry about that. I can't sit and think about Uncle So-and-So and enjoy it much. And if you're talking with any of these people, they try to get you to just tolerate it and take things back to the way they were: "Let's not get it public." My family did everything they could, thinking they were doing what was right, to bury it all. My stepfather was just adamant that he was going to protect Mom and himself: "Your real father does not get brought up." And he was also trying to cover his own tracks for what he did.


After the release of the Rolling Stone article in April 1992, Axl would comment on it from stage and claim his family was against the interview:

Any of you read the latest Rolling Stone? I was on the phone for a long time last night, and a friend of mine was telling me how... […] some of the members of my family and some of the friends of my family “have taken a great offense at what I said in this magazine.” “It’s a shame what – look what he’s done to his mother. His mother can’t even go out of the house now”. It was amazing my mother could have gone out of the house before, knowing the shit she fuckin’ knew. And, “Why is he talking about this?” Because it might have not happened to you, but it might have happened to the two or three people that are standing around you, who’ve got some fucked up family life that’s gonna come back to haunt them when they hit about the age of 25. And then you gotta find your way, try to climb your way out of what you thought was your life, but it looks more in your head like a fuckin’ car wreck that no one told you about. Because, “The family doesn’t want to be embarrassed by these things coming out. We just don’t want to have to deal with this, and we shouldn’t have to deal with this publicly.” But if we don’t deal with it publicly, then we’re probably not gonna deal with the bullshit at all. And I bet they like it that way.

I’m not a qualified therapist. I don’t know a lot of shit about this. But I do know that we’re in the 90s, and I do know that if we’re gonna make it for another 50 years on this planet, we gotta fuckin’ change our shit now! And there’s a lot of motherfuckers that don’t want that shit to be changed, because that’s gonna dig up their crap. There’s a lot of parents who’ve done fucked up their kids through their whole fuckin’ lives and they’re about 40, they’re about 50, and they think it’s cool. Fuck that shit![…]

Anyway, there are those in my family who - they plan now that I’ve written these things that they’re gonna get revenge, because it was “a terrible thing” I did. “We’re gonna get revenge”. Yeah? Try it. And if a fuckin’ scrawny little junior high 90-pound weakling can finally get his ass up here and take this shit on, so can anyone of you that have the same fuckin’ bullshit problems in your life. They don’t have to get away with it. You know, I tried being nice, I tried being cool about it. I tried, like, being friends and offering forgiveness, and love, and all that kind of shit. All I got was, “you know how much we love you, but let’s keep the screws on and keep you down like we always have.” Yeah, well, guess what, I changed my point of view. For me now it’s kind of like, Live and Let Die, motherfucker.

He would say that his family were opposed to him opening up about his childhood in interviews:

][…] I haven't talked with my parents in over a year-and-a-half. I sent them some letters just recently to let them know this was happening, but when I started to uncover things they let me know, very adamantly, to drop the issue.


In the June 1992 issue of Musician, an interview with Axl would be published which had been conducted in March the same year and before the release of the Rolling Stone interview where Axl accused his family of child abuse. Rather than being worried about the effect of his honesty in forthcoming the Rolling Stone interview, Axl was described as expressing "feelings of great relief, even liberation, at having exposed his demons to the light of day" [Musician, June 1992].

And during the interview itself, Axl was asked why he was talking about these subjects in public:

One reason is for safety's sake. My stepfather is one of the most dangerous human beings I've ever met. It's very important that he's not in my life anymore or in my sister's. We may be able to forgive, but we can't allow it to happen again. There's a lot of reasons for me to talk about it publicly. Everybody wants to know "Why is Axl so fucked up?" and where those things are coming from. There's a really good chance that by going public I'm gonna get attacked. They'll think I'm jumping on a bandwagon. But then it's just gonna be obvious who's an asshole and who's not. There are probably people that are jumping on a bandwagon. But I think it's time. Things are changing, and things are coming out.

Gilby would also be asked about Axl coming out with what he had experienced, and point out the positive social effects:

The band knew about it, but that [=to talk about it to the media] was a personal decision made by Axl. It took guts, and he thinks it helped him explain himself to the rest of the world. And if you read the letters to the editor the next month you'll see that he did a lot of good. Other people who had suffered from the same thing started going out and getting treatment.

Firstly, for any kid to express himself is great, good or bad 'cause that's what this band is all about — freedom to express yourself all the time. And for Axl - first of all, he is a human being, and he's going to go through stuff in the public eye. Imagine if yourself, or the kids who wrote the letters, were in the public eye 24 hours a day. It's a heavy burden to have, as for every wrong movement you do there it is on the news. And it's not easy to accept. This band hasn't been this big for a long time — it's still a big thing to them - and Axl has had a lot of problems in his life and he’s just overcoming them now, and the reason for doing Rolling Stone and RIP was for himself - to get it off his chest. It's up to an individual to take it however way they want. He didn't do it to get anyone's sympathy - he did it for himself. […] Sure it reflects on the band, but then again we are a band, and I'll stick by them. They'd do the same for me. But like I said, every little thing - every little thing - counts. It's amazing. But then again if he wasn't the personality he was then, you know, would anyone even come to our show, or buy our records? It's not why he is the way he is — it's just part of him, and us.

Slash would also comment on the interviews, especially the one in Rolling Stone:

I was just glad he got it off his chest. He had a lot going on and… I mean, to do it in Rolling Stone… I think he really needed that Rolling Stone has. Which is a hell of lot of people, a lot of different… sides of the spectrum, as far as people go. It was great for him to do that, because people really misunderstand him. So it's cool. For me, I could say anything. [laughs] I mean, it's a different kind of scene. I mean, I don't usually get that serious, you know, regardless of how serious things are. It's hard for me to sit down that long and share it with anybody else.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:43 pm


After being handed advanced copies of the soon-to-be released 'Use Your Illusion' albums, DJ Terrence Trawick from the show "Steve and D.C" on WKBQ-FM in in St. Louis, saw the statement "fuck St. Louis" found in the liner notes [Altoona Mirror, September 13, 1991]. In Trawick's words:

We've got to do something. We couldn't sleep at night if we didn't.

So in retribution Trawick decided to "rally with what they hope to be thousands of angry fellow citizens on Tuesday [=September 15, 1991], the official release date for the Guns albums, assemble them into the shape of a hand with its middle finger extended, photograph them from the air and send the resulting picture straight to Axl Rose" [MTV News, September 1991].

On his Rockline interview in November 1991, Axl was confronted with the "Fuck St. Louis" statement in the liner notes:

Well, I feel that the loyal fans shouldn’t take that to heart. If they didn’t have anything to do with it, then, you know, I wasn’t talking to them. If you look really closely at the Don’t Cry video, I have a 1940’s St. Louis baseball and a St. Louis hat on. And the reason it happened was because the promoter just didn’t really care about the people in the crowd or the band on the stage. And, you know, there were a lot of problems going into the show, and during the show with the way the building was being run. And once I realized we had fulfilled our contract, and I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop, cuz that was their friend, it was like it was over. And I went backstage, got a new contact, came back and it was too late, you know. And my problem with that situation is that... You know there’s a lot of fingers pointed at Guns N’ Roses, a lot of fingers pointed at me, and I’m going to take responsibility for what I did in that situation and why I did it and pay whatever the consequences are. But a lot of people in that crowd that, you know, they tore up our equipment, they tore up the building, and I don’t see anybody going “Umm, I apologize for throwing that chair through your amps.” I don’t see that, and that really bothers me. But then, I also look at it like - you know, Spin magazine said that that was a great show of solidarity with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. At the same time I went, “Well, that’s our audience and that’s what I used to do if things went wrong. I’d just tear something up.” (chuckles) So, I went, “Well, I guess that was our crowd,” you know. And it’s like, the emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know; and also respect that it is the artist who has control over a lot of things, and, if that isn’t respected by the building, or the security, or even the people in the crowd, the artist has the right to leave.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:46 pm


"We have released our new albums, “Use Your Illusion I and II.” […] We hope you’ll like what you hear on the albums. There’s something there for everyone. This was truly a labor of love and is a closer look at what we’re all about. You’ll be hearing the contents of our hearts and soul" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


In May 1991, the song 'Bad Apples' leaked to the media [Los Angeles Times, June 1991; RAW, July 1991]. The song was leaked to several air stations by an employee at Mercury Records, who, in return, wanted airplay of one of their singles [Raw, July 1991]. The radio station WMMS played the song but a court order stopped them [Raw, July 1991]. How the Mercury employee got a copy of the song is not known.

Thus, when the magazine Guitar Player got to listen to a pre-release copy of the records in August, security was tight due to "piracy problems" [Guitar Player, December 1991].

Before the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released, Matt, Slash and Duff would describe how the follow-ups would differ from 'Appetite':

I think the people who are going to dislike the record the most will be the people who stuck us in a category of brash, loud, fast, attitude rock—you know, the ones who think that Guns N’ Roses is this whiskey drinking, drug-taking bunch of f?!king post-adolescent f?!k-ups that somehow managed to squeeze through the system, get a record out and get away with it. I was talking to Duff’s nephew or something, and this kid was telling me how disappointed he was in Metallica’s...And Justice for All. And I was like, Why? He says they’ve softened up. I said, “No, they’ve grown.” You can’t play one thing all your life. Once you’ve done that, move on to the next natural progression of your art. Unfortunately, a lot of the fans aren’t prepared sometimes to go along with you. It’s natural for every creative human being to grow, mentally and artistically [RIP, February 1990].
‘Appetite’ was a party album. This new stuff goes deeper than that. It’s more about relationships [than politics], stuff that’s hap­pened to the band over the last few years [Chicago Tribune, May 1991].
I will say it leans more to the darker side. There’s not a ton of really happy material on it, you know? Most of it is 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. […] he way our lives turned around, the repercussions of our success and the general shit that we do from day to day gets brought up a lot. 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. It’s a strange thing. I never thought we were a naive band; I always thought we were pretty hip to what’s going on. But when we used to just hang out on the street, it was more fun than when we had lots of money and became part of society and were forced to deal with responsibilities. I think money is like the central nerve of it all, too. It’s like I think Jimi Hendrix said — “The more money you make, the more blues you can sing [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
I’ll put it this way, take the songs from ‘Appetite,’ the rocking songs, the heavy songs ... they’re magnified by 10. The pretty songs? Magnify that by 10, too. 'Sweet Child o’ Mine’ was a real pretty song, but compared to the new s—, it’s real amateur [Detroit Free Press, May 1991].
I don't know if [the new records] going to be so much of a shock [to the fans] as I think it's going to confuse a lot of people because there's so many songs. I think Appetite centred more on one particular kind of a sound whereas this record has one song that might sound like Appetite, and then there's 25 other songs that are all completely different. There's acoustic, there's lots of piano, I must have played 25 guitars on it — banjo, bass all kinds of shit, there's one I guess, you'd call it New Age music with synthesisers on it that Axel did which is pretty intense. There's almost some stuff which is reminiscent of Queensryche where the music is going on-and there's people talking so it's like a movie track. Then we've got stuff which is really simple, straight ahead and harder than anything that was on Appetite [Rip It Up, September 1991].
And how they had expanded the instrumentation:

You know, there’s actually some synth on the new record, but it’s not, like, Milli Vanilli didn’t do (laughs). […] No, I mean it’s not that kind of stuff. It’s just with the band playing and there’s some other stuff, like, thrown in. And just because we were screwing around it’s very Guns N’ Roses. We did work with somebody – I won’t mention his name – that was using samples on the drums and, like, when Axl and I discovered it, we flipped, literally. We were like, “What?” You know, it was all these Guns N’ Roses samples he used [MTV, May 1991].
There’ll be a lot of different instruments. I’ve got guitars doing all different kinds of sounds and things. There are horns on “Live and Let Die.” We didn’t get into sampling, but right now, as we speak, Axl is in the studio with a rack of synthesizers, so we don’t have to bring in an orchestra for a couple of songs. There might even be a bunch of kids singing on “November Rain,” because it’s that kind of song. It’s very angelic. We’ll do whatever it takes to make the songs as powerful as possible [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
Yet, it did not signify a change in musical direction:

It’s not a change in direction; I don’t think we ever had a real direction. But we have gotten a little bit more experimental, I guess. I hate that word — we’ve just been doing shit, whatever we felt like doing. This album goes from one extreme to the other, from some very, very intensely raunchy, over-the-top stuff to being very mellow — and everything in between [Rolling Stone, January 1991].
In September 1991, though, Slash would say they were evolving as musicians and describe the new records as more "mature" than Appetite [Rip It Up, September 1991].

You can stick with being a certain way and try to push an image like Motley Crue, or you can keep evolving. The fans that listen to you can either accept that or get pissed off because you're not doing Welcome To The Jungle' again. Obviously you want to go and do something else, it's like we've done that record already [Rip It Up, September 1991].
Slash would also shed some light on the collaborative effort:

Left on our own, I'm sure everyone would make very different albums. I write songs that are maybe a little more intricate than what Izzy wants to play—there's one on the record, 'Coma,' that's about 10 minutes long and 500 chord changes. But if the melody doesn't catch you at first it's hard to develop an interest in anyone else learning it. We all have different ideas, but there's no hierarchy. We still have to do everything as a band [Musician, December 1990].
Describing the difference between 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II':

Well, I’d say, the first half of the first CD is more in line with Appetite, no new songs. And the second half of the first CD has Coma, November Rain, and The Garden... So some really experimental numbers for us. And then I’d say that the first half of the second one is “the south will rise again” (laughs). We didn’t plan on that, but there’s, like, Heaven’s Door, and Civil War, and the song Yesterdays and a song called Breakdown that definitely have a bit of a southern rock feel. […] Like, I’d say, Paradise City - in the chorus - kind of has that. And Sweet Child kind of has that. And it ended up the best sequencing to make the record flow all the way through. We didn’t plan on putting all those songs in that vein together, but to make the record flow all the way through, so if you wanted to listen to all of it, that’s the best way. […] And there’ll be a version of Don’t Cry on both records, one on the first one and one on the second. The one on the first one is the newly recorded version of the original lyrics. And then the second one is the newly recorded version of alternative lyrics; they’re kinda like ’91 updates, got different words and melody in the verses [MTV, May 1991].
Alan Niven would hype the records:

"Use Your Illusion" is a cross between Physical Graffiti and "The Wall. It's a record that's gonna amaze and frighten at the same time [RIP, June 1991].
Slash would explain how the track lists were decided:

I think we had the whole band write up their personal list of what they thought the order would be and then we all came together with one, were we sort of put them together and came up with one. […] Somehow we came up with a master list [Fully Illustrated Book & Interview Disc, June 6, 1992].
The two albums were finally released on midnight between September 16 and 17, 1991, promoting many stores to have "moonlight sales" [Burlington Hawk Eye, September 17, 1991]. The releases were an immediate success and the anticipation was so grand that the band is said to have shipped an unprecedented 4 million copies to stores in advance of the release date [Burlington Hawk Eye, September 17, 1991].

In the USA, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II went straight onto the charts as no. 2 and no. 1, respectively, and it was the first time a major contemporary artist had released two separate albums on the same day and the first time two albums by a band or artist had simultaneously entered a chart tight at the top [Guns N' Roses Australian Tour Special, January 1993].

The expected sales within just the first two hours was $5 million [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

Needless to say, Geffen Records president Eddie Rosenblatt was thrilled: "This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened in the record business" [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

After a week, Geffen estimated that each record had sold more than 2.5 million copies [Los Angeles Times, September 1991]. This would be down-adjusted to between 1.5 and 2.0 copies in total, with 'Use Your Illusion II' selling 100,000 more copies than 'Use Your Illusion I'.

As with 'Appetite', some stores, including Kmart and Walmart, refused to sell the records, citing the band's image and lyrics [MTV News, September 1991].

In July 1992 it was reported that the records were banned in South Africa [MTV, July 12, 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:46 pm


Axl was interested in movies and films and with the music videos accompanying the singles for 'Don't Cry', 'November Rain' and 'Estranged', he attempted to realize his lofty aspirations for filmatic music videos. It was later be said that Axl "wants to experiment with music, film and video, and produce clips that will no doubt redefine the genre for the MTV generation" [RIP Magazine, March 1992].

The three music videos were loosely based on Del James' 'Without You' novel, which again was loosely based on Axl's life, and the videos would be directed by Andy Morahan.

Talking about 'Without You':

It was a fictional story that my friend Del wrote based off – you know, I inspired him to write this story, because we were a rock band and we were working on our first album - it wasn’t even out yet - and I was pretty much out of control and we were all into the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. And he wrote this story about this guy who just becomes bigger than life, and the troubles he has in his relationship and keeping that together; basically about this couple in this relationship, and trying to deal with this lifestyle, and what happens to them. And so, little by little, we think about it, figure out how the next part of the story and stuff – we talk about it and he’ll write a little bit more. And all of a sudden it was kind of like, we sold 8 million records, and all of a sudden I was becoming what he had written about. He called me really upset one day, going “I wrote my friend’s death.” It was like, we’re in that one video where I find my gravestone and stuff like that, and that really freaked him out and he’ll write two other stories. So it’s kind of like a fictional story which had autobiographical and based off things that happened in real life. And now it’s like, with Stephanie it’s a real trip because some things are based off my previous relationship, and some things are fictional, but I’m in relationship with her [MTV, September 9, 1992].
Andy [Morahan] puts up with more shit and handles this organization of Guns N’ Roses, all the time changes and schedules and stuff so easily. He’s just so into the project. That’s just been great. I mean, we write together really well and really fast, and got the ideas out and go, “Boom, that’s it.” And if we have to change it last minute, we just do it. […] Don’t Cry was Josh Richman and I working on it and then working with Andy. November Rain was more Andy and I working, and Andy just running with the ball putting everything together; and everything’s worked really, really well [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
The 'Without You' story came about on a night where Axl called me, when he was still living with his girlfriend - who later on became his wife – Erin Everly, at about 4:00 in the morning and said, “Dude, you have to come over here.” […]  Essentially, the short story is about a rock star, who was inspired by Axl, who writes a song called “Without You” about the woman who he loves but he can’t really have. […] It was frightening to be around them. There was so much insanity, you know, that was brought upon by their love and their insecurities that had inspired me to write this short story called “Without You.” This is before Appetite for Destruction was released. […] I wrote the story after the night that I spent with Axl and kind of showed it to him, kind of uncomfortably – you know, “What do you think of this?” […] After I showed the short story to Axl, it kind of helped him finish the song Estranged, especially the verses that say the words “without you.” […] Although this character, whose name is Mane in the short story, has the rock ‘n’ roll world by the balls, the woman who he loves he can’t have. So his crown jewel, his song that everybody loves and respects, is also his damnation. The world might perceive a superstar having everything, all the luxuries; but it’s simple things like love and relationships that at times are the hardest to keep. […] Throughout his self-destruction, he finally builds up the courage to try to sing the song to his beloved who is in heaven, knowing that she can hear it if he can get through it. But, as any good story, it has a twist. Now he has to make a choice and, hopefully, the videos will resolve that answer. […] Anytime you face some celluloid on writing, it’s going to lose something. But also, on the flip side of this, there’s things I might necessarily not have written that people give me credit for. And it kind of makes me feel uncomfortable, you know? If someone sees the video, then reads my story and feels let down, I apologize. […]  The short story is included in my collection of short stories. It’s called “The Language of Fear Vol. 1” and it’s just a matter of time before that book comes out. And it’s horror. […] Before the Illusions came out, there was talk of actually developing Without You into full length feature movie. Due to logistics, that hasn’t been able to be a reality. So what has happened is that there’s, like, kind of a condensed version of the story in the visuals. Don’t Cry segues into November Rain, which hopefully, if there’s time, will be Estranged – you know, the third part of it, and it’ll all kind of make sense and we’ll tell this pretty heavy tale [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
He started writing this story kind of based off my relationship and used that kind of for inspiration. […] A relationship of a singer and a woman, and a huge rock band. […] One of the things about the story is that it was about this band that gets huge. And all of a sudden it dawned on me, and I just said, how could we ever really imitate that of afford to do it; you know, why don’t we just use our band [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Del’s is also the guy who called me and said, “I just wrote my best friend’s death.” For me, the short story “Without You” helped me focus on what could happen in my life and sometimes what was happening. Although Del was being inspired by situations that were going on in my life, it was his way of helping me acknowledge and deal with a painful situation. It stopped me at different times from going too far. When people are looking for their own identity and things aren’t going well, they’ll settle for being the bad guy or the loser and create an identity that way.

Although the story “Without You” was written before our first album, (’87), the video for the song “November Rain” (’92) where you see Del’s name at the end of it is just a piece of “Without You.” Things that were predicted in the story actually happened in my life. The goals set before GN’R’s first album came out were to get to the levels of success described in “Without You.” It’s the ultimate rock ’n’ roll/self-destructive fantasy.

In the story, Mayne Mann writes a song called “Without You,” and around this time I started writing “Estranged.” I remember calling Del after finishing “Estranged” and going “I wrote that song,” meaning a song that means so much to me, the way “Without You” does to Mayne. I also would end up being haunted by that song as Mayne is. I think it’s amazing that the female character, Elizabeth, is the good character, and yet she gets the last word in (don’t worry—I won’t give it away) by doing something knowing it’ll severely fuck Mayne up. I think there was some spite in there, and there’s a lot of self-blame in the story on the part of the rocker. Everything is Mayne’s fault and he flips out, which is something that I can relate to. There’s a lot of personal pain on Mayne’s behalf regarding why can’t he get a certain love to work.

For years, we’ve been thinking about making either videos or a full-length movie based on “Without You,” and that kept me focused on not wanting to become the character, Mayne, although I basically was that person. There were things involved in the character that had a lot of elements of Del as well as a lot of elements of me. “November Rain” is actually the set up for the short story rather than for the “Estranged” video. We were going to try to bring out more of the “Without You” story and elements in “Estranged,” but Stephanie Seymour had other plans so we had to change ours. The story actually helped me for a long time, and I would have loved to have filmed it, but right now it’s better for me to evolve and transcend the close similarity to my life and let the story live its own life
[Del James, "Language of Fear", 1995].

In early 1995, Del James would release "The Language of Fear", a collection of short stories including 'Without You'. Axl would write the foreword [Del James, "The Language of Fear", 1995].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:26 pm; edited 6 times in total
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