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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:46 pm



In the beginning Izzy was an immensely important piece in the puzzle that was Guns N' Roses:

I think that if either Axl, Izzy, or Slash leave the band, it will be completely different. You know, Izzy's really an essential part of that band, more than I think most people realize. The songwriting is a big part of it, but Izzy really is essential to what Guns N' Roses is. Everybody thinks Axl is what Guns N' Roses is, but Izzy's the founder of the whole idea. Izzy's the one that wanted to get the big hair, the image, that whole thing going. So, he's really like a major part. He's not just the rhythm guitar player, he's the guy that stuck with it, really pulled the thing from the bottom up.

But as the years went by, Izzy started to separate himself more and more from the band. This happened already after the Appetite touring in '88 and '89, partly to get some distance from the partying when he himself was trying to sober up, but also because he generally likes solitude: "[Izzy] is the closest thing in the band to a loner; when he's on tour he likes to wander the streets by himself, and his girlfriend mentions he'd like to buy a house in the desert" [Musician, December 1988].


During the touring in 1988, Izzy got reacquainted with his estranged father. When telling about this in late 1988 to Musician magazine, he sounds wistful about Indiana and the simpler life he once had:

He comes walking backstage unannounced, completely out of the blue. Took a second or two to recognize him. It was a real trip. But it was definitely not...well, I don't want to get into it. I mean, in 10 years I've only been back to Indiana twice. I don't even know anyone there anymore; I don't keep in touch like Axl does. But when I look back, I do see some kind of stability that comes from growing up in a fucking cornfield. You're at one with the earth [laughter].  You don't give a shit about much. It's a simple life.

In 1988 Izzy would also buy himself a house in Lafayette to get away from the craziness of Los Angeles [see previous chapter].

According to this quote from Axl, Izzy had also considered quitting the band at some point before 1991 due to people misinterpreting their songs:

[…] there's a line in ["It's So Easy"], "I drink and drive/and everything's in sight". We were talking about, kind of, how we got away with things and we're lucky to be here. It was real hard knowing that some of these kids would just go out and go, ”Yeah, I drink and drive and everything's in sight.” I mean, Izzy put it best when he said that a lot of people think our record means you know, party and do cocaine and rock ‘n’ roll. And it's like, that just ain’t what it is. So Izzy was gonna quit at one time because he was... didn't like the way people reacted to it.


In August 1989, Izzy would sound paranoid when talking about drug wars and crazy fans and the police being out to get him [The Face, October 1989], and how big the band was starting to become:

...especially in America, man, you don't have a quiet minute anymore. Impact ... The impact is different in America. This is a very troubled country anyway. I don't know what's going to happen there in the next twelve months. But if my intuition is not deceiving me, if my ideas are only half reality, then there will be an explosion. America is facing a huge uprising. […] a very violent uprising, carried out with baseball bat and firearms, cannons of all kinds. […] I have visited every state in America for the past two years and have always had this mild feeling in my stomach that the soup is starting to boil over. People are fed up with all the shit in the United States. They'll grab baseball bats and cannons and start something that will make huge waves all over the country.

For example, the cops throw you in jail just because you smoked a joint. You get thrown there for every small thing. America is a great country to live in, but ... the shit will hit the fan this year, and that's our big problem because we're right in front of the fan. The kids just watched it long enough and don't want it anymore, I have spoken to many, everywhere, in every state. They are fed up with the randomness of the cops. […]  They catch you [in Malibu] with a beer in hand and book you in for at least 48 hours. Then when you pay $ 200, they may let you out. That's bullshit. The country no longer wants to do this to itself. The kids, I know some who have been put in a correctional facility for a year, which is like a prison. There they watch each of your steps on monitors. And all because the boys smoked in a joint.

The cops will be put in their place; I know the kids will go that far. I've seen it at every one of our gigs in the past 14 months. We also played ballads and ... (He thinks for a long time.) As a musician you want to give people something with your music. You want it to come over to the fans. I often wish that they really listen to the song. But then we play a ballad in front of 20,000 people and in the first three meters in front of the stage they beat their heads in. Mind you, with a ballad. That shows me how much frustration there is.

It's all because of the cops, the damn cops who think they can do what they want. If they catch you doing anything in LA, you may be lucky to have a California ID card, because then they may let you go. But if your ID card was issued in Indiana, New York or Florida, you will go downtown. My little brother visited me in LA and came from Indiana. The first night he got drunk in the Rainbow and was arrested by the cops. He had no beer with him (drinking alcohol on the street is illegal in the United States), he was just very drunk, and that's why they put him in jail.

But anyway, America is fermenting, and when we go on tour again, it will explode. I'm hanging around here in Europe now because I want to get away from all the crap. Too often I've got hit in the face for nothing. Some people over there feel like they are going to give you a rubdown just because you are a member of Guns N' Roses.

What is typical America? If you have enough money, you go to a shop and buy a machine gun. Then you simply shoot all your problems away. If you have this mentality, you can do it easily, and many in the USA have this mentality: I'm buying a UZI now, so let's see if I and the idiots can not settle our differences. As we sit and talk here, probably someone in America is trying to resolve a conflict this way. It's crazy, but it's true.

I live in America (laughs). In a damn pessimistic country. It may look optimistic when you are politically active and have the illusory world of God’s own country in front of your eyes, but the street is the reality and it gives you anything but an optimistic feeling.

I mean, you told me yourself how you were robbed 50 yards from your New York hotel. That is everyday life. I was in New York for two days, got smashed [?] and was robbed too. The boys pocketed ten dollars because luckily I had left my other stuff in the hotel. One guy had a gun in his hand and threatened me. He didn't want to shoot me, he just wanted my flaps. So I gave it to him, said take the ten dollars, fucker, that's all I have with me!

What should I do? You have a choice between your life and ten dollars and that is not worth the fun. If you play the hero, the wanker bangs you over the head and takes the ten bucks, possibly also your jacket, your boots, your passport and if he is in a bad mood, he will even cut your ass. Then you really have nothing left! Or?

America is a violent country. God knows why. I live in this country and all I see is violence. That bothers me. I am 27 years old and I want to have some of what I have achieved. I am not demanding. I just want to live a peaceful life.

I just realized that Guns N' Roses had become way, way bigger than anything you could possibly hope to control as a musician. I mean, when you play clubs you're pretty much in control. But the energy forces in these stadiums and arenas are beyond anything... It's frightening, y'know. And the fuckin' money that's involved... like with us, then with this Stones tour... I mean, what are the promoters goin' to off us next? Is that next? Y'know, "Come to our city and take all these drugs."

This resulted in Izzy starting to carry a gun with him everywhere:

[…] the problem is - no matter what hole in the States you live in - you need a gun or at least a pistol. Because otherwise some asshole will come into your house and burn your fur if you don't give him what he needs. Then you are history, maybe appear again in the newspaper: 'This person left us yesterday. We are sad.'

I was away for three days and these motherfuckers get in there and steal three guitars, my VCR and other things. If only I had been there! I would have shot them to pieces. I would have taken the gun and completely re-papered my walls with the guys. You have to defend yourself in the USA, otherwise they will steal everything you own. I learned my lesson. I come from a small town in Indiana that is nowhere to be found. Maybe 3,000 people live there. But I've learned my lesson.

There was a point in LA where I wouldn't go outside without a gun. I was carrying a pistol all the time, and eventually I think that works on you too. It's f**ked, it's no way to live, and when I realised, I said, 'I gotta get outta here before it gets too f**kin' crazy'.


During the recording of the Illusions Izzy was frustrated with the lack of structure to the process and tried talking to Axl about this:

I tried talking to [Axl] during the Illusion albums: 'If we had a schedule here, come in at a certain time...' And he completely blew up at me: 'There is no fucking schedule'.

In early 1991, when asked if he was the guy "in charge of getting everybody’s butt together and saying, 'Let’s go do this', 'Let’s go do that'", Izzy would say:

No, I don’t think so. Not so much, you know? I’m usually the first one who wants to get on the plane, like, a day earlier or something. Let’s go check the place out, you know? For the gig. But, yeah, I wouldn’t say that.

When the band started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in May 1991, Izzy distanced himself from the band [Kerrang!, September 21, 1991]. The Rolling Stone journalist who followed the band would remark that Izzy's bandmates were confused as to how Izzy was spending his time, because they only saw much of him at concerts [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

I'd spend an hour at a soundcheck and two hours playing, and that still gave me 21 hours of my own where I didn't have to get caught up in it all. I created a life outside the arena, which was where I went to do my work. I would leave the arena right after a gig, stop somewhere, and get something to eat at a restaurant. […] We were usually all in the same hotel, but I'd wake up early and I'd go out and do something before the soundcheck, which normally I wouldn't have been doing. I had my dog, a German Shepherd, on tour with me in the States, and I took him out in the mornings. Then I'd be riding a motorcycle or a bike, skateboarding or walking round town, not to cop or score but just to look at the scenery.

It was also obvious Izzy was struggling with all the controversies the band generated and in particular the late starts:

We've got the gigs booked, so we'd best show up and play. 'Cause I don't want to be on CNN anymore.

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?'
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991

And at the same time, Izzy was looking forward to what he was going to do after the touring:

After this tour's finished, I'd like to go hang out in Europe, preferably somewhere near the ocean, and just keep writing songs.
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991


For the band's last concert of their 1991 European leg of the 'Use Your Illusion' tour, at Wembley on August 31, rumors had it that no one knew if Izzy would show up and play and that he might quit the band due to Axl's "attitude" [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

The rumor that he had quit the band, or intended to do so, had started when Izzy failed to show up for a video shoot of 'Don't Cry' in September 15. Izzy would later say he "didn't make it to the video shoot" [Guitar Playing Magazine, May, 1993]. Izzy had also been absent from the last scenes in the video to 'You Could Be Mine'. To emphasize Izzy's absence, a sign with "Where's Izzy?" written on it would be displayed by Dizzy in the 'Don't Cry' video.

As they were filming the 'Don't Cry' video, Axl would be asked how he was tripping off from Izzy not being there:

No, I’m not really tripping off it right now, cuz I’m just like, Izzy’s cool. You know, Izzy’s always been the fastest person in Guns N’ Roses to decide what it is they want to do and what it is they’re going to do. So, you know, whatever Izzy’s doing or whatever he’s not doing is cool. I just want the guy to be happy, and that makes me happy; you know, it makes me feel good inside.

Axl would also say that Izzy "didn't want to be [there]":

The [music video] scene we did the other night was originally written with Izzy in it, and he didn’t want to be here. […] What was also heavy was, you know, I didn’t really plan on this being completely “the Axl video,” and now, in ways it’s kind of turning out to be. So that was really hard, because I want the band to be happy, and everything for us to gel, and get along there. And the Izzy thing was a very emotional thing, cuz it is real and I’ve known him for 15 years, and he’s one of the people that I care about the most in the entire world.

Izzy would later comment on seeing the video and the sign:

I thought, well, s —, I'm here in Indiana, man. What do you mean, where am I?

Fans would question why Izzy was not in the video and in the band's October issue of the fan club newsletter this would be explained with Izzy being "out of town" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. According to the band's publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, Izzy was touring Europe at the time and didn't want to return just for the video. In a Rolling Stone interview from 1992 it would be indicated that the reason Izzy didn't want to do the 'Don't Cry' video was the million-dollar cost and that it was pointless indulgence:

I didn't have any say in it, and I didn't want to be in it.


Some time in September there was a meeting in Los Angeles "about the future of Guns N' Roses" [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992]. It is likely it was Izzy who initiated the meeting to bring up some changes to the band he felt was necessary "for the sake of the livelihood of the band" [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992]. One of the issues were the late starts that resulting in curfews costing the band money:

It was really fucked that it even had to come into play, to base something like that on money. But the reality was that it was bumming me out, to be waiting there because someone else is late. It's just not fair to the audience, to the other band members. And the crew! When you go on three hours late, that's three hours less sleep they get. […] I expressed my feeling to Axl, and the very next night on MTV I saw that I was going to be replaced by the guy in Jane's Addiction. So I took that as an indication that I'd really pissed him off.

"That guy" in Jane's Addiction was Dave Navarro. Tom Atencio, the co-manager of Jane's Addiction, said that Dave Navarro, the group's guitarist, has been contacted about sitting in for Izzy if the guitarist decides to stop touring.

A source close to the band would emphasize that this was very different from what went down with Steven: "This is totally Izzy's decision, and it appears to be based on whether he wants to spend the next two years of his life on the road in such a highly volatile situation" [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

The press would naturally also pick up on the story and Kerrang! ran with the headline "Izzy Stradlin' Quits Band" [Kerrang! September 21, 1991]. It turned out that wasn't entirely true, and the band (nor Izzy) would not confirm Izzy's departure.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:54 pm


The band would discuss why the decided to release two records. One of the reasons was simply that they feared they would never make another album.

Our attitude is not like, "Save it for the next record.” Hell, there might not be a next record. Right now all that lies in the future for Guns N’ Roses is the next LP.

Slash would repeat this later in 1990 and say that due to their stormy history, they couldn't be sure they would release another record, and:

It's all material we would never have gotten off our chest if we didn't do it now.

Axl would point out that it was more like four albums:

Well, on album form, on the wax, it’s four albums, because we wanted to have the deepest grooves and stuff for... Since vinyl is somewhat going out, we wanted to be one the last bands doing the best job we could for audiophiles and stuff. You know, the deepest grooves and a minimal amount of time on each side. And figuring out the sequencing was really hard (?) anything else, to start each side and end each side with a cool song, so that it sounded like it began and ended right, resolved properly. And the CDs and the tapes being two separate things, we’re echoing well a lot of kids. A lot of people, when they go to buy a record, they go to buy one and they won’t be able to... It’s like, if there’s a choice, “Well, I’d like to get Guns N’ Roses, but it’s $29.95 and there’s this other band’s album, well I’ll get that one.” You know, we were like, maybe we can get past that a little bit. […] I’m sure it will sound better on CD. We worked to make it sound stronger on CD, but we’re gonna definitely work on the mastering to get the best sound we can on the vinyl. Everything gets as much attention as anything else. Every single song has got as much attention as anyone’s song. Every little part. You know, we’re kind of perfectionists and you never quite get it right, but... (chuckles).

The band would also talk about not wanting to release a double record:

For one, we didn’t wanna look that pompous and we didn’t wanna make anybody go out and have to spend, like, 30 bucks or whatever it is for a double record. Double records just seem to be just, like, out-of-date anyway. And we’ve been in the concept, when this concept started to form, of separating it and making it so you go out and buy one and, if you like it, then maybe you buy the other one. You have a choice of the two and stuff like that, that made it more fair to the public, you know.

We didn’t make it a double album because that’s a little overboard and a little pretentious. Plus, this way, a kid can go out and buy one record, his buddy can go buy the other record or whatever... and maybe when they get enough money to buy the other one, they can do that. Plus, it’s never been done this way before.

There was a lot of old material that we wanted to include. It's not possible to release your second album as a double so we thought it was a good idea to release two separate albums instead. Besides many fans can't afford a double-album. Now two friends can buy one album each and tape them from each other. If you buy "Use Your Illusion I" and think it's good you then can buy "Use Your Illusion II." […] We had been separated from each other in over one year and the recordings were a way for us to get together again. That's why it was nice to be in the studio so long that we once again became a unit. […] During our entire career we've put material aside. We've been thinking "this we can use later" and we ended up having too much material put aside. Now there isn't any unreleased material with Guns N' Roses, so when it's time for out third album it will be up-to-date.

So that the people could afford it. You know, they can buy one or buy the other; or they can buy one and a friend can buy the other and they can tape it, and... So that the package, you know, for the price, they could buy one or the other. And it was also competitive with other things out there in the market. You know, if somebody else’s record is 12.95 and ours is 30 bucks, it’s like, that’s...

They did come out simultaneously, but they’re two different records. We didn’t do it as a double record because....I don’t know how much a double record is these days, but it’s gotta be like thirty bucks. This way, two friends will be able to go out and like buy one....and one will buy the other....the record company will kill me for sayin’ this…[…] One will buy the other right....yeah. We don’t want to rip off the kids. […] I’m sure [Geffen] won’t hear this at all, but you know this way we won’t rip off our fans. If we put out a double record, there could be only one buy it or starve..

And also for the novelty of it:

There’s a ton of material. Sure, we could have held out and released some more stuff down the line, put out one record now, but it’s like, nobody’s ever done it before, so what the hell? The first single's off ‘...Volume 2’, and then when that’s dying, we’ll release a single off the other one, and hopefully have two albums competing with each other... […] Two buddies could go out and instead of buying one double album, which is, I don’t know...[…] One kid can buy ‘...Volume 1', one kid can buy ‘...Volume 2’, and they can tape off each other’s records...

We did it, number one, because nobody’s done it before. But also, we had so much material built up when we went into the studios, we decided.... “Well we got all this material; let’s record until we’re burnt out”. If we can only do one record, we’ll only do one record. But we never burnt out. We just kept goin’ and it turned out that we recorded over forty tunes. I mean there is another record in the can.

And to be able to start with a clean slate:

The main reason for us doing a double record is because it’s material that spans our entire career as a band. Some of it’s really old, so we just basically cleaned our whole slate. That way, when we do the next record, we can start completely fresh, without any kind of a backlog.

And so we said, you know, ‘Screw it’ to the industry as far as the album standard goes; we just said we were gonna release it all. And then we came up with the idea of how to do it and how to package it and how to market it, so it will get done and there’ll be no excuses from the record company to say, ‘No, you can’t do it this way.’ So we get all the material out, you get the history of the band, plus the material’s really good, as far as we’re concerned...

Basically, you can go out and buy one, and if you dig that, then you have the option to buy the other - instead of being forced to buy a double LP. Most of our fans don’t have the extra 25 or 30 bucks to take a chance on a record that they might not even like. I think that’s totally uncool.

And it’s gonna be a weird buzz, cos automatically, by human nature, everyone’s gonna go for ‘...Volume 1’. But the first radio release is from ‘...Volume 2’. And then the next single after that one is on ‘...Volume 1, and the next one after that will be on ‘...Volume 2’. “If you’re gonna get into it, get into all of it. Don’t just pick one. I don’t want the public to focus just on the first record because it’s called ‘...Volume 1'.

Yes [it was a good idea to put out two albums simultaneously]. We went through so much emotional turmoil after the success of "Appetite for Destruction" and the albums reflect that. I'm talking about all of a sudden going from a garage band to becoming some sort of half-assed celebrities. […] The albums are so close to us that every single song has its own meaning and memories attached to it--the problems with drugs and adjusting to all the other drastic changes in our lives. That's why we put out two albums. We had so much material and we wanted to use it all.

In addition to the new songs, we wanted to do some of the songs we couldn’t do on the first album because of time and finances. We wanted to clean the slate so that on the next album we could start afresh.

And when asked if Geffen was pulling "their hair out over the sheer scope of this thing"?

They didn’t have any when we started! [chuckling]. No, everything’s been cool.

There’s been a coupla little battles here and there. A coupla little skirmishes, I should say. But the band had everything together to present, and it was basically an offer they couldn’t refuse! It was like, here, this is what we’re gonna do.

Looking back at the decision in hindsight:

Slash and I were just discussing [releasing so much material] this morning, and there's no way we regret it. We're very proud of what we've done. We had planned on doing that even before we had done our first album. We didn't know that it would include quite as many songs, but we knew we had to bury Appetite in some way. There was no way to out-do that album, and if we didn't out-do Appetite in one way or another it was going to take away from our success and the amount of power we had gained to do what we wanted. We got all the material we needed to out of our system, and commercially it's been a major success.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:29 pm


During the process of recording the albums, band members would comment upon the lengthy process.

In May 1991, Slash was asked why it had taken so long:

Actually, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that’s taking long and that made it take a long time. I mean, all this success made it take a long time, that sudden realization of, like, being huge. I know it blew my mind and threw me for a loop, right? Especially cuz we’ve been... we were, sort of like, just not from that school at all. So that took a little while. I mean, that took till just recently for me to adjust as far as home life goes. And then there was the associated drug problems that ensued. And then there was, you know, the situation with Steven and then finding somebody to replace Steven and, you know, finding somebody to fit into the band, fit into the folds, right? Which was no easy task at all. So, like, we couldn’t put an ad in the Post, you know. And then, after that, it was getting us in a studio. No, working out the material with Matt and then getting in the studio. And we did the studio stuff really quick, like, the basics, and then I went and did guitars and all that stuff. Then we just spent a lot, we enjoy being in the studio, and although we did wanna go out on tour, we had all this material and we wanted to do it good, so I mean... yeah. Plus we just sat around, like, sort of watch the music scene turn into sludge again. I was terrified so we just hung out until the timing was right.

Well, we toured for so fucking long, and by the time the tour was over we were told we were mega - Spinal Tap, you know. You're great! You're great! And we're still walking around trying to make sure you don't have a stain on your jeans after you take a piss kind of thing. And there's all this stuff going on around you, all these people treating you like you're on a pedestal even if you don't feel that way. So we went from nowhere to being this really huge band, not feeling any different, only having people tell you that and react to you a certain way.

When they dropped us off at the airport after the tour was over, I had nowhere to go. It kind of runs in the family with us - maybe not with Axl but definitely with me - where if I'm not busy and focused, I get loaded to pass the time. So that's what happened. I went through a phase of that and then I cleaned up and we tried to rehearse and we were writing material.

The worst thing of it, though, was because of no longer having to live in one room, the band got separated, getting their own homes. And that was the hardest part. It's like Slash is here, Axl's here, Izzy's over there, Duff's here, and I don't even know where Steven lives, right? Like, Duff, can we come over? "Well, the gardener's coming today..." That was a whole huge experience that took a really long time for me to adjust to.

I moved into an apartment, the cheapest apartment I could find off of Sunset Boulevard - that's how demented I am, right? - and we just used to party all the time and have amps all about the place and I'd write songs and Duff would come over and every so often Axl would come over and we'd write together. But it was such a long period. And I got so wrapped up in dope and coke and all the fucking scum that goes along with it that finally it just got out of hand. So I cleaned up and bought a house. Then I sat in the house for a while and hated it. I'd lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. There was nothing to do. And then I got back into it and got strung out in a serious way, where everybody was really worried and I had some close run-ins with the police. But then the Stones gigs came around - which I really wanted to do to bring the band back together; that's why after the Stones gigs (and Axl's onstage ultimatum) I went and cleaned up - and then it was Steven's turn.

I keep reading about delays in getting the record out, but as far as the band is concerned, there really have been no delays. The only (rule) we had was to make the best record we could, regardless of how long it took. […] But we had people at the record company come up with deadlines on when they wanted the record out and we'd go, 'OK, we'll do our best (to meet the deadline),' and we tried. But we were not going to give anybody the record until we felt it was done.

People want something, and they want it as soon as they can get it. Needy people. And I'm the same way, but I want it to be right - I don't want it to be half-assed. Since we put out Appetite for Destruction, I've watched a lot of bands put out two to four albums. They went out, they did a big tour, they were big rock stars for that period of time. That's what everybody is used to now - the record companies push that. But I want no part of that. We weren't just throwing something together to be rock stars. We wanted to put something together that meant everything to us. […] I've had a good understanding of where I wanted Guns n' Roses to go and the things I wanted Guns n' Roses to achieve musically, and I can't say that everybody's had a grip on that. We're competing with rock legends, and we're trying to do the best we can to possibly be honored with a position like that. […] We want to define ourselves. Appetite was our cornerstone, a place to start. That was like 'Here's our land, and we just put a stake in the ground. Now we're going to build something.

And it was because of this dramatic affect that success had on everybody's personal psychic, you know. I managed to get over my situation just because I wanted to keep playing. Axl, I think, was the only one that wasn't strung out during this whole period. He was having more personal, emotional problems. And Duff had his… We all had these different things. But it kept up from getting any work done. So finally we booked the Rolling Stones gigs and that sort of got us back together. Despite the rumors of us fighting and all that. We came to realize that we really are focused on what we're doing and that's why we're managing to stick it out this long.

In September 1991 Slash would talk about the long process of making the albums and how difficulties in their lives (drugs, coping with fame, shit from the press) had influenced how their song-writing:

Looking back on it it was [a creative period], but at the time it didn't feel like it. A lot of really heavy material came out of it but at the same time when we were going through it, it wasn't anywhere near as cool as it is now to look back on and see what we achieved by going through it.

Looking back at the production process, Izzy would claim they rehearsed and recorded the albums three times [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

In 1994, Slash would again talk about the process:

Me and Clink [Mike] were saying, 'When this is all over, we'll sit back and have a beer and laugh about it', but we haven't laughed about it yet! It really was crazy.

And in 1995, when the relationship between Slash and Axl was sour:

We did 36 songs in 36 days, and it took a year and a half for the vocals.

Slash would also blame the press and people pestering them for the long process:

Yeah, that and we didn't like the way the band was perceived by the press or the way that they used us as the example of rock'n`roll excess of the '90s. There were people always s pointing their fingers at us and making rumours and stories. And we just got sick of all that and said 'fuck everybody' because that wasn't what we got into it for. So we just didn't care and didn't talk to anybody and if we did basically it was like 'fuck you.'

You know, the biggest thing is that we work so hard at playing and yet everybody spends so much time trying to pull out so much negative stuff about us and drugs and sex and bad relationships and the guys in the band and stuff, and it makes it hard for us just to concentrate on playing. Which is one of the reasons why it took us so long to get the record together because, after awhile, the hype just got to be overwhelming, We'd lock ourselves away in the studio and it was great to be in that environment and just spend all your time playing. But even then it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard. […] Everybody just started to know where we were and every time we'd come out to the studio there'd be people waiting outside. it was like, 'C'mon, give us a break, you know, It's just a band. We're trying to make a record.'

As for dealing with the high expectations and whether that had been challenging:

Yeah, because you don't feel like it should be that big a fucking deal. All things considered, its just a rock'n'roll band and its just a fucking record, and it means a lot to you personally because you made it but at the same time it's hard to accept the fact that it means a lot to ten million people. We tried to just completely ignore what was going on around us and just got involved with making the record regardless of whether anybody likes it or not.

About a year after their release, Izzy and Slash would look back at the records:

It was crazy. The last record we did was two records. There were too many songs for me to remember really. I had a hard time with 'Coma', it wasn't so much my style. Those albums I found very frustrating. I think there's some good songs on there, but the process was extremely, extremely slow. Again, that's the way Axl wants to do things. […] I like to get the stuff done and carry on. If you start picking everything apart, analysing, it's pointless, a downward spiral - and next thing you know, months have gone by, or a year. It took us a long time to get those records out, I don't even remember how long.

[…] that last record, the Illusions records, were just so many songs. I could probably remember ten of them that were on there. There’s a lot of music and it was no cohesive, sort of. Nothing really held it together.

That record, for me, had it been my way in a perfect world, I would have done it as a lot shorter and a lot more to the point sort of record.

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 just throwing it back in their faces. And d'you know what? The album is so controversial. It's the same and worse than the last one. The subject matter deals with drug stuff. And uh, I don't think we cut any corners as far as profanity goes. It deals with bad relationships and all that kind of crap. […] Y'know I detect a little bit of anti-feminism shit going on too, because the songs are about women who are negative and really fucking hard. I can see girls going 'What assholes!' But then, y'know our angle is just, 'This is true you fucking cunt'. This is the way it was and we put it down on paper. But you know, these feminist groups will be like... d'you know what I'm saying? People assume we're advocating what the songs say, and they go for the throat. We're not trying to get some truth tho. We're not trying to send out any fucking messages. This is just our experiences. It's us, put it on vinyl. Buy it or don't buy it, like it or don't like it, whatever. […] Look, I don't know how influential people think we are supposed to be. I mean like, we're an example now because we're a big band? No. No, no, no, no. I appreciate the fact that we're a big band and I know it's because all these people can relate to us. But there's all of these outside fucking people that are just like, 'Okay, well you influence a lot of young kids and you have a high profile'. All right so they think that's gonna have an effect on our musical integrity? Like, we're gonna fucking alter everything we do so we don't make any waves? No! Guns is all against that. "Some people seriously want to nail us, y'know? This band is a magnet for it. It's always been like that. Ever since before we got signed, so we just deal with it... sometimes too much shit gets hard to take though, y'know.

Izzy would later complain about his guitar being mixed down:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone!

On the last record I wasn't around for the mixes, and when they finished them you really don't hear my guitar at all. It was just a big Les Paul through a Marshall sound on most of the songs. Live, it got to the point where I didn't even know if the audience could hear my guitar. I was playing, and my amp was on about 8 or 9 to keep up with everybody else. We were a really loud band; so loud you can t imagine--even at rehearsals.

And Slash would state that Izzy hadn't played very much, and that Slash had covered for him:

I had to double guitars up for him on most of it. He didn't play very much.

Slash would later talk about how the recording process it had been:

But I couldn't go through that last record again. I mean, I've got a lot of stamina, but those last records and that entire tour, it was such an endurance thing.

The Use Your Illusion records, if you really knew, if anybody knew the whole story of what we were going through, they’d realize how important those records are to us and why they took so long — but you had to be there. When you read the lyrics, it starts to come out. It was a real period of turmoil. […] I mean, we had every reason to split up before those albums turned out as far as the obstacles we had to face. So as far as being able to pull off that tour and Izzy leaving in the middle of it and this, that and the other thing […].

[Talking about recording the rhythm guitars]: Well most of them, yeah. Izzy didn't play a helluva lot on that album. He was getting away from Guns altogether. It's cool but there's so much stuff that was goin' on; if I hear it now I hear it the way somebody who was involved hears it. But at the same time, the general attack is not as aggressive as I would have liked it. It's a little over-produced but, God, we went through hell making that record! We had band member changes, we didn't have the right mixers (what no coke for yer JD? – Cocktail Ed), we were on tour in the middle of making it and we were going in different studios. It was just a mess, so if you were me, it was an achievement beyond belief. For the average kid it might seem really self-indulgent stuff, but it's all very real, there's no bullshit, it's not like we were trying to do a record to reach a certain market. We just took all our material and just recorded it.

There are some songs we used to do in the really old days – like, before the band was signed – that sound better on the demos than they do on Use Your Illusion. There's 'Back Off Bitch', 'The Garden' and '14 Years'. Because we did the songs (for the album) all at the same time, they didn't have the emotional nuances from the different periods of time when they were written. When we all had to do it together, it all sort of sounds the same; it doesn't have the dynamics.

Anything but doing ‘Use Your Illusion’ again! As much as I love Guns N’ Roses, and as close as we all are - we’re like family - but after two-and-a-half, well f**k ... Two band member changes, four years in the making of the f**kin records, then two-and-a-half years of touring it’s like, I gotta get away from it before I do snap.

As much as I love [‘Use Your Illusion’] and all the material that is on there, there was just a little too much thinking going on.

I don't want to go through that whole 'Illusions' thing again. That was a nightmare. All of a sudden, Guns went from being the complete scumbag level garage band, to being a headlining stadium band. We just had a hard time adjusting to celebrity status, or some crap like that.

Izzy was phasing himself out as we were doing it. and we were doing a lot of his material on top of it. It was very bizarre. And then going out and headlining these fuckin' stadiums and so on for two and a half years. It was definitely a stretch of the imagination. I'd like to just do a fuckin' rock 'n' roll record.

The fact that we completed those albums is unbelievable. You might be able to go to a store and buy it and listen to it, but you'll never be able to understand the emotional turmoil that was going on from adjusting from being some piece-of-shit club band to all of a sudden being like, quote, "The biggest band in the world" and having that attention thrown at you, and having the pressures that go along with it and all this ridiculous stuff.

For some reason the complications of putting those records together were endless. We were getting the band out of a major drug haze, and getting it back together so it was a band. Plus, we were dealing with success, which affected everybody in different ways. For me it was a harsh reality to have my private life ripped open and in the spotlight all the time. But we got through that. We got through losing Steven. That was all mind-blowing. Looking back on it, I can't believe that we actually accomplished it.

In May 1995, Slash would compare the solos on 'Appetite' and 'Use Your Illusions':

When we did Appetite, we had rehearsed those songs and played them live for so long that it was easy to reproduce them. I didn't have to write a whole bunch of new stuff when we went into the studio because we had played all that stuff live. But when we did Use Your Illusion I pretty much improvised, except I wrote solos for "Estranged" and "November Rain" because they're ballads, and they needed it.

Late in 1995, Slash would say the records weren't what he had wanted, but rather Axl's idea:

The Use Your Illusion's is the result of conquering what Kurt Cobain couldn't. We lost Steven - Steven's not come back since. Izzy got back into it [after drug use] and realised that's not what he wanted to be; he wanted to be back with the old days. I got back into it and realised I didn't wanna go where Axl was going, but went anyway because I like to play, and we're a band and I'm part of the family, and I'll do whatever I can.

That's what "Use Your Illusion" was all about, which is why that is, to us personally, such a special record. Granted there was too much material, there's too much production, there's this, that and the other, but it's a result of something that most people will never see into, which is a bunch of guys going through a really fucking ridiculously self-indulgent period of trying to get the band back together as a result of being successful.

Well I work with the band; I don't work with Axl when we record. I work with the band and we just jam the stuff live, and Axl goes in and spends... Well last time it was a year in the studio, just adding and adding. I don't necessarily agree with that, but Axl's so talented he can go in and whip it out like that. But everything has to be perfect. Sometimes some of his ideas - like a harmony or something - I can go along with, but all the additional stuff...

"Use Your Illusion" sounded amazing when it was just the basic tracks. It was fucking great. But then by the time all the tracks were done it was like impossible to fucking mix it, and it came out sounding... The more stuff you put on tape, the less "big" it sounds. I tried to tell Axl that but he wouldn't listen. But I'm not gonna do it that way this time, and that's what we have to talk about.

I have the rough mixes, which are more or less the basic tracks and the basic overdubs - very simplified and try - and those fucking rock! You could come over to my house and I'll play you "Use Your Illusion" before it went into the mixing stage, and you'd be like, "Fucking what?!" It's very brash. But this is before synthesizers and all this outside stuff got involved.

I really try to understand where Axl's coming from when he gets into that. It's a self-expression that, because our personalities are so different, I can't fucking understand. And he probably can't understand why I want to keep everything so natural. But it's just because I know the band - on a players' level or an emotional level or an expression level - is fine when it's naked on its own. When we play live, it's right there, y'know? That's as good as you're gonna be, no matter what you put on it."

But in 2000 Slash would speak more positively about the records, or at least the ordeal of successfully making them:

‘Use Your Illusion’ was actually one of the most personal fucking achievements that anybody - and I can speak on behalf of everybody in the band - made. The material on there is so close to home, and it was such a hard couple of records to make. It was the whole growing up period in his particular business, fucking going from being some little garage band to being this stadium act and all the shit that went along with it. I thought those two records were a fucking achievement that is unparalleled (laughs). But you can't expect everybody to understand that, because you'd have to live it.

Being asked which of his records he is the least proud of:

When I listen to Use Your Illusion I and II, I find that the production is not the best. There are so many songs on there that would benefit from being remixed... We had started to lose our minds at that time.

I think they are amazing records, and it was an honor to perform in such records like those, because of the very different styles those songs covered. I like to have been part of that.

In 1999, Axl would also look back at the albums:

For me, when I hear certain things on the "Use Your Illusion" tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about.

People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on "Use Your Illusion," but most people do tend to lean towards "Appetite" as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together.

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Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:35 pm

SEPTEMBER 17, 1991

The second single from the 'Use Your Illusion' albums was 'Don't Cry', and it was released on the same day as the records, on September 17, 1991.


The cover of the CD for the single featured a painting by the artist Kirk Hughey, called Ascension, and it would also be used as a backdrop for the inside liner notes in the Use Your Illusions CDs [Santa Fe New Mexican, December 20, 1991].

Hughey would explain how his 60-by 40-inch painting from 1988 came to be used when Axl and Stephanie came upon the painting at an art gallery in Sedoria, Arizona, June 1991:

Axl reportedly said, 'I dreamt this last night' when he saw my painting on the wall. He told the gallery owner he had to have it.

His business manager immediately sought me out to buy the painting and get the reproduction rights so that they could use it on the album. […]

It look a lot of negotiating between myself and Rose's business managers and lawyers. I feel that we made a pretty good deal. We took the high road and they negotiated down a little bit. I'm very happy with it.

Hughey would also praise Axl's appreciation of art:

I was surprised to learn that Axl Rose actually has quite a collection of fine art. If you look at all of the art work on their albums, they all come from Axl's personal collection.


The song would feature lyrics from Shannon Hoon from the band Blind Melon.

And my friend, Shannon Hoon - he's in a band, Blind Melon - he’s from Indiana and they were doing Don’t Cry back there. They got a bootleg demo tape in Lafayette.

I got [Don't Cry] on this shitty-ass tape from someone, who knew someone, who knew someone. […] I used to play in a cover tune band in Indiana, and we used to cover the song Don’t Cry, cuz it was a song that no one back there – everybody was into GN’R, but these were songs that weren’t on the Appetite album. […] It was kind of accident. It was kind of just open mic night at the Record Plant in Hollywood. […] I was singing along with it and I think – I don’t know, I’m not sure how it came about, but Axl came in, and Izzy said something, I think, to Axl that I was singing along with it. Then Axl asked me if I knew the song and I said yes. So he had a couple of background parts to do, and I went and sang a couple of background parts, and it sounded cool. And then he was like, “Well, fuck it. Sing the whole song.”

Axl would later invite Shannon Hoon to join him on stage for occasional shows during the Use Your Illusion tour.

Riki Rachtman, owner of the Cathouse and friend of Guns N' Roses, would later talk about how kind Axl could be to his friends, and insist that Axl was the reason Blind Melon made it:

And I was sitting around with Guns N' Roses, with Axl, and I was saying, you know: Man, I should do that Headbangers' Ball thing. And Axl goes: Do you want to do it? And I'm like: Sure. He goes: Okay, I'll make some calls for you. So Axl called me up, and Axl set up the interview for me. So he's like: Okay. I got you an audition -- we gotta go to New York. I'm like: Well, okay. And, I mean, I'd never flown first-class or nothing -- and, you know, I flew to New York. And Axl said: I'll go with you. And I walked into my audition with Axl. But I didn't get it just because I walked in with Axl.


One thing about Guns N' Roses -- one thing about Axl, in particular -- is he will always try to take care of his friends first. Whether it be a photographer, whether it be a producer, or whether it be, you know, somebody on the road -- he will try to make sure his friends are taken care of first. There would not have been a Blind Melon if there wasn't an Axl Rose. Axl was the one that gave them a push. I don't think there would have been a Blind Melon without Axl.


Reportedly Axl had planned the schematics of the associated music video to 'Don't Cry' already back in May 1991 [RIP, September 1991].

If it works, you know, if it transfers to film right – I mean, each individual scene will, but it’s how the scenes flip together. It’s gonna be important. It took the motherfucker long enough time to write it (laughs).

If it works, it’s, like, the first step towards bigger type of projects, not necessarily meaning just for videos, but if we really want to film, you know, something feature-length, this is our first try at it. Because, I mean, there’s no, like, real rehearsals. It’s just, like, rehearsed one day, “Go!” (laughs).

For me it’s a (?), because I’ve never been in a full movie set or anything like that. This is really easy. I mean, they have a good concept of what we’re doing. Working with this kind of budget, we want to make sure we get it right. Andy [Morahan] is great. This shredded plastic, this is really fun to breath. We’re back to work.

[…] the video that we just did for 'Don’t Cry' fits even better with the new lyrics than the old one.


In the videos Stephanie Seymour would play the role of Erin Everly in scenes depicting events in the relationship between Axl and Everly [MTV, September 9, 1992]:

It’s really strange, you know. It’s a bit difficult for her, but she gets into a part and understands what we’re doing. But sometimes it’s very surreal, like when we got married it was – I mean, Slash looked at me and said, 'Dude, I just watched you get married 9 times.'

With our video for "Don't Cry," and the fight that Stephanie and I had over the gun, you don't necessarily know what's going on. But in real life that happened with Erin and myself. I was going to shoot myself. We fought over the gun and I finally let her win. I was kind of mentally crippled after that. Before shooting our documentary, I said, "This seems really hard, 'cause it really happened." And the night we wrote the scene, my friend Josh said, "Okay, how are you going to play that?" He wanted to rehearse and I was like, "Look, leave me alone." But he kept pushing until, finally, I stood up. I had this cigarette lighter that looked like a real gun and I said, "Look, I'm gonna do it like this." And I just went over and slammed around in the hallway a bit and threw the gun and said, "Is that good enough for you?" And he said, "Yes!" 'Cause I knew what I was going to do and from that point on he knew that I would be able to play the parts that we were writing. But it was a very painful process doing that and it's even weird now to be involved in a relationship where the person I'm involved with is actually playing parts that are written about the two of us, about fictional characters, about things in my past relationships. It's a very touchy thing to do.


Talking about the drowning scene:

One of the hardest things I've ever done was to film the drowning scene in "Don't Cry." We had four guys in scuba-gear and we were in a swimming pool, camera and crew everywhere, bubble machines, and the camera comes swinging overhead and they would say, "Go!" And they'd pull out the floater and all of a sudden I'd have to go into drowning, and I'm drowning. Then I'd flash the peace sign and they'd come in and rescue me and pull me to the side of the pool, and after three takes I was done. I couldn't do it again because I was so exhausted. But, it was a real mind trip because that's how my life had felt for I don't know how many years, especially in my last relationship. I've always felt like I was drowning and being pulled down. Trying to save us both, being pulled down and everything. When I went back to my trailer all of a sudden, I broke down for a bit because I was experiencing that "Okay, now that's over, and you've expressed it, got it out of yourself." But the closeness to the reality, that was just a metaphoric scene of how I really felt. It was so close to how I really felt, it was really disturbing and hard to do, but by doing it, it helped and something for me and helped me heal and get over certain things.

Well, I mean, hopefully on film she’s supposed to look very peaceful. And it’s like, right after the fight seems, like, mellowed out, and I feel like I’m being drowned by this relationship, because this person has calmed down, the gunfight thing is over, and they’re completely calmed down, and I’m freaking out thinking, you know, this person’s at ease and I’m still drowning in this mess.

Talking about the scene with the demon:

You know, there’s a lot of things on the record and the past records that people call my “demon voice” or, like, that I’m going into certain moods and that’s the demon, so I kind of wanted to put that into an actual character and show it. And I feel like there’s a part of me. […] You know, everybody has their demons that they have to deal with, and most people don’t, and you have to face these things. […] There’s a song we have, Perfect Crime, which says “Keep the demons down.” And it’s like, most people do that, in one form or another they try to keep everything down and not understand why there are certain ways or why they feel certain ways. […] This was, like, a part of me and going to have to come back again. And it’s recognizing the light and, you know, at first it’s scared of it, and then, the second time, it just sighs away, “I like this, this feels good, this is warmth and I haven’t seen warmth in a long time. […] I kind of like this. I kind of like this a lot. I think this is the new me. “Don’t fuck with me,” “Don’t fuck with me.” That’s what I’d like to tell everyone in St. Louis: “I’m fuckin’ green, so don’t fuck with me.” Me and others like me will probably climb up through your intestines and keep the lining out of your stomachs.

Talking about the grave scene:

The reason it says 1990 [on the tomb stone] is because 1990 was, you know, a very suicidal year. Some things were really good, and then with the marriage not working and stuff like that. It just made me realize all kinds of things haven’t ever really worked, and I got to get through it and figure out why so many things continually go wrong.

Talking about the fight scene:

It’s gonna be a real bitch to do this, because the other scenes were a lot easier; with the makeup and everything it was a lot easier to get into the character. The fact that this situation, the scene is very close – you know, it’s somewhat of a dramatized reenactment of something that really happened. […] So it’s really hard emotionally to do it, and to put myself in that place and think about it, because I was really upset that day. The room here and stuff is nothing like where I lived, but it’s what we could get to do this. It looks cool, it’s fine; we’re making the best of it. We might as well not establish it with any of my stuff, because, it’s like, nothing in here is anything of my stuff, so it doesn’t really fucking matter. So when I first got here tonight, I saw it and I was just like, “This blows. I want the fuck out of here” (laughs). Every scene is getting completely different than what we sat down and talked about, so I’m loving it.

Talking about the hospital scene:

The scene we did the other night was originally written with Izzy in it, and he didn’t want to be here. So we had to improvise and we changed the way the room looked – anyway, that was something that came up. […] The characters that I was playing were much different, because it was originally written, like, just sitting in a hotel room kicking it, and then it would change to, like, being in a hospital – you know, kind of to represent a mental ward downstate and trying to work on things. And then, like, to me it’s there he walks, like that’s on stage and stuff, and he walks in. And that was supposed to be Izzy, and it wasn’t Izzy, so we had to come up with that, like, on the spot, and figure out what to do and how to make it all fit together.

One scene in the video shows a baby with differently colored eyes:

Well, the eyes, it was different babies, and it was meant to be that it was two different people, you know, and it was like birth and rebirth. And it was meant to show that, you know. And we just used green eyes cuz I have green eyes. And “there’s a lot going on” means that there’s a lot more going on in the world than most people think or care to realize.


Izzy didn't show up for the filming of the 'Don't Cry' video [see later chapters for more information on this], and in the video Dizzy had a sign with "Where's Izzy" written on it on his back in a scene in the video:

If you see the sign that says “Where’s Izzy,” that’s me, that’s my back. Other than that it’s a really great video.

Having to replace Izzy's parts with a second Axl made the video into "the Axl video", which wasn't Axl's intention:

I didn’t really plan on this being completely “the Axl video,” and now, in ways it’s kind of turning out to be. So that was really hard, because I want the band to be happy, and everything for us to gel, and get along there.


At the end of the music video for 'Don't Cry' the text "P.S. thanx Joseph!" is shown. In his 1991 Rockline interview, Axl would explain this was to honor Joseph Brooks who had played a role in the band's early success:

And Joseph was the guy who... You know, Don’t Cry was his favorite song. He’s a DJ out here in Hollywood that keeps a lot of bands alive, and keeps people listening to them - you know, a bit alternative and a bit hard rock - and he works in all the hard rock clubs. And he’d got our song, Don’t Cry, to the record company in the beginning, and I didn’t feel that anybody that he had helped had really thanked him enough. And I knew if I put it on there, it would be permanent, and if I didn’t put his last name – his name is Joseph Brooks – people would be like, “Oh, who is Joseph?”


In the March 1992 issue of RIP Magazine it was said that the band planned a documentary detailing the making of the music video for 'Don't Cry' that "will answer all the questions about the clip and what it all means" [RIP Magazine, March 1992].

I’m really proud of Don’t Cry and November Rain. I really like the writing of the story and putting all the scenes together. And “Why did she die?” “How did she die?” “What happened?” And it’s like, we’ll tell you later (chuckles)

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:09 pm


The split with Guns N' Roses hit Steven hard:

Besides losing my best friends and my family, which was that band, my wife also left me… […] I was married and my wife left me. First the band treats me like I'm dead, then my wife leaves me. And at that point I was feeling so sorry for myself it was ridiculous.

Not long after being fired, Steven briefly attempted to form a new band with former Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy [VOX, October 1991]. According to an anonymous GN'R member "it lasted maybe a couple of weeks, then someone overdosed over at the house and that was that" [VOX, October 1991].


Later Steven pieced together another band that included former members of the Vain [Hot Metal, December 1991]. The band was called Road Crew, the same name of the band Slash and Steven had in 1983, before Guns N' Roses [Circus Magazine, October 1991].

I loved the name of that band, and it's copywritten under my name. Slash has Guns N' Roses, so I got Road Crew.

Steven would further claim he had been clean for "more than six months" and that people could "expect a tour and album by summer 1992" [Circus Magazine, October 1991].

Slash was not happy about Steven resurrecting the 'Road Crew' band name:

Okay, Road Crew was a name that I came up with. It was a while before Guns N’ Roses even started and before I even met Axl. And there was different versions of it, you know, I could never find a singer, so it didn’t do that much. And there was one point when I did have a singer when we played a bunch of places. I’d known Steve previous to that and he was in the band for a couple of weeks; when we first met Duff and we rehearsed together, we had a big fallout and we broke up. And that’s when Guns N’ Roses consequently started to come together. Anyway, just recently I find out that Steven has started a new band called Road Crew and I was like, he had nothing to do this; and I’m like, where does he get off? You know, I haven’t even hassled him in the press or anything, nothing compared to what he said about us, and finally I just got to the point where I was like, “No”. Because it’s just personal to me and if I ever did, like, some sort of outside project from Guns N’ Roses, I don’t want to have that taken away from me, especially because he had nothing to do with it. So I feel a little bit... agitated; I think this is a good word for it (laughs) […] I trademarked the name and everything.

Not happy at all:

So I don’t know what he’s gonna do. But if he had any kind of imagination, or any sense of integrity, or any brains whatsoever, he wouldn’t have used it in the first place. At this point, I’m going, don’t use it, because if you do, there’s gonna be a big conflict, because I will defend it, you know? […] I don’t talk to that guy anymore. (Whispering) He’s a fucking idiot.

And when confronted with Steven claiming he had been in 'Road Crew ' longer than three weeks, Slash would respond:

No. The band round was for a year. We just rehearsed in a little room on Highland in Hollywood for – I mean, literally - a couple of weeks; like, maybe, seven songs we got through. And Duff can attest to that too, because all three of us went through it together. So my message to Steven is just leave it alone, don’t – because he doesn’t want to mess with me. Steven knows that. He doesn’t want to get started. And haven’t hassled him at all. So it’s, like, time to think of a new name, because it’s something that it’s just... You know, I don’t want to go “It’s mine, mine, mine.” It’s just, like, real personal to me, and I think he should go out and do his own thing anyway, you know? […] and it’s a cool name too. It’s, like, perfect for a heavy metal garage band that I want to, like, sort of do, you know, on the side or something. So that’s my feelings on it. I got a fax from his attorney saying - One of the contentions in this lawsuit that Steven and Guns N’ Roses have been going through was, “... and I want the rights to the name Road Crew.” You know, anytime somebody comes up to you and challenges you like that, for me, it makes me just want to go out and fight. It’s part of my nature, so if that’s what he wants to do, then fine.

And when asked if Steven's lawyer would be aware that Slash owed the rights:

Yeah, but that’s why he was forced to ask, you know, or demand the rights in this deal that he was trying to come up with, so that we can settle on the whole breakup story; which is the whole thing in itself.

There was no love lost between Matt and Steven, either:

I didn’t even think about him when I came into the band. The only time I ever think about him is when I see his face in magazines still, after almost two years. To me, he was just a drummer that blew it and I was there to step in. I hope he gets something else going, but it doesn’t seem like he can. [...] I'm trying to forget him, to be honest with you. I am the drummer and I don’t need to hear about that guy. I did two records that were probably four times the magnitude of Appetite. Even though Appetite was a great record, I just feel that the past is the past and we’re looking toward the future now.


In the second half of 1992, Izzy would talk about having reconnected with Steven after having heard he wasn't "doing so well":

Look, yesterday, I talked to him over the phone for the first time in a year. I told him: "God Stevie, get your act man, record..." And he answered: "Fuck, man, my reputation is fucked up." I couldn't help laughing! And I told him: "Open your eyes, your reputation has always been fucked up (laughs)! Get a band! Play!"

I actually spoke to Steve probably a month ago - against the advice of the legal system, the attorneys, all that f**king bullshit. That part of the business, that part of the band, is such a load of shit — it seems it f**ks up so many good things. But I talked to Stevie; I'd heard he wasn't doing so well, and it was a trip talking to the guy, cos I hadn't talked to him for what must've been a year. […] He was a good-natured guy; I hope he can get a it together. He was never malicious, he never tried to f**k people around, he was just happy playing his drums. In some ways he's a little naive, I guess. […] I just tried to offer a little support, y'know? I just talked to him for a little bit. He was a good drummer. He wasn't a virtuoso, a Neil Pearl from Rush or something, but he's a f**king damn good rock drummer, he's a good guy, and he was funnier than shit on the road. […] I was always laughing when I was hanging out with Stevie. Some of the shit he'd pull, you'd just go, 'No f**king way'! One time we were in New York: I was rooming with Stevie and due to overbooking, we got a huge $500-a-night suite. We had this big room so we had a big party... and two days later we're still up! […] Stevie's a hairy guy, he's naked, his f**king eyes are red and swollen like goggles, and he's walking around when the maid comes in. The look on this lady's face, man — it just freaked the shit out of her, this f**king red-eyed ape guy! […] He was funny. I hope he gets it together. I told him to get a real job, clean himself up and start doing studio work or something. […] He was saying that he just really missed playing. All these lawsuits, it's just so f**king ugly, y'know? I guess it's inevitable...

I talked to him about a month ago. The lawyers said don't because of the lawsuit, but I'd heard he was in a bad way. He said he was having a hard time stretching it for more than a day or two. Really scared me. I know how I'd feel if he did himself in and I didn't make an effort to help him. I said if he cleaned up, I'd like to cut a couple of reggae tracks with him next summer. I know he's really bitter about the whole situation. He needs to start thinking forward.


In November 1992 it would be reported that Steven was still struggling with addiction and that he had been fired from Road Crew and that the band had changed name to Vain (after Davy Vain) [Popular 1, November 1992].

Izzy would again talk about having talked to Steven (still "probably a month ago"):

But I actually spoke to Steve probably a month ago - against the advice of the legal system, the attorneys, all that fucking bullshit! That part of the band's business is such a load of shit. […] I just tried to offer a little support, y'know? I told him to clean himself up and start doing studio work or something...He's a good guy, and he was funnier than shit on the road. We had this party in a New York hotel once for two days. I remember him being naked, and his fucking eyes were red and swollen like goggles, when the maid came in. It just freaked the shit out of her - this fucking red-eyed ape!


In August 1994 it would be reported that Steven had suffered an overdose and was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:

I'm detoxing after doing heroin and coke and I'm just thankful I'm alive and that I was able to get in here. It's great waking up in the morning and not being sick. […] It's such a terrible, terrible sickness. I wasn't shooting it (heroin), I was smoking it. If I didn't save some for the next morning my eyes would water, my nose would run, I'd be throwing up, dry heaves.

Steven would also say he had been taking drugs almost nonstop since being fired from Guns N' Roses [The Houston Chronicle, August 7, 1994].

At some point in 1994 [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997], Steven overdosed again after "snorting too much coke" [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997] and fell on his bathroom floor, suffering a stroke that would lead him partly paralyzed [Hard Copy, December 25, 1996]. His fall also resulted in one tooth being knocked out [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997].

MTV News would later cite a passage from an early version of Steven's biography where he described this incident:

I knew this was going to be some hellacious speedball trip and the only thing I could do was hang on for the ride. In the next moment, I was on my stomach, my face uncontrollably hitting the tile floor. My eyes were open -- I was aware of what was happening -- but I couldn't stop. I could glance over to the tub where in arm's reach was a towel draped over it. All I had to do was grab the towel and shove it underneath my face. But I couldn't do it. I could feel my face hit the tile floor -- up and down, over and over again. And I couldn't stop as the convulsions swept over my body. I felt my teeth loosen as they broke away from the gums. I felt the lacerations on my face. The last thing I remember was pounding my face into a pool of blood.
MTV News, February 3, 1998; excerpt from biography in-writing

Despite this horrific OD, in early January 1995 Slash would claim that Steven was still on heroin [The Howard Stern Show, February 1, 1995].

And in April 1995 the media would again report that Steven had OD'ed, this time in a parked bronco together with his two dogs [The Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1995]. Steven was rushed to hospital and recovered, although the police considered taking legal action against him [The Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1995]. LAPD detective John Edwards would comment:

He overdosed himself on what appears to be heroin while in the car. Later on at the hospital, when he came to, he admitted he was the former drummer of Guns N’ Roses.

According to an interview aired in late 1996, the OD Steven had suffered in 1994 had resulting in Steven cleaning up and turning to spirituality, painting and making amends with friends and family [Hard Copy, December 25, 1996]. He also intended to go on a high tour school to talk about the horrors of drug addiction [Hard Copy, December 25, 1996]. Of course this is not entirely, true, since Steven suffered another overdose in 1995, as described above. In early 1997, he would imply that he had gotten sober because of realizing he had become paranoid [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997].

Because of the paralysis Steven had suffered, Steven started to go to a speech therapist in late 1996 [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997]. In early 1997 Steven would confirm he was off drugs [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997]. Talking about the process of sobering up:

It took two years of just going, "I can't take it," "I'm sick of being sick," and stopping and then messing up again...

But he wouldn't claim his battle with drugs were over:

You know, sometimes, like everybody else, I get a little depressed and in the back of the mind is that monkey still sitting going, "Just gotta take one hit" but I've been real good, I don't want to feel that.

And would admit to having had a few setbacks:

You know, I have... there was a little bump here and there within this year and a time I did twice…. […] One little line of coke. And I did my brain, I just started thinking, and I got that feeling in my stomach, "this is ain't cool." I mean the feeling in that stomach I had before I walked in this room, you know, butterflies, was way cooler, and I can control it. […]  I was I was doing a stroke [?], I couldn't control myself and so...[…] ...walking around in my underwear…I had no idea what I was doing. I was stealing popsicles from 7-eleven.

He would also claim to have been in rehab 23 times but that they are just a waste of time, and one could hardly argue with him over that:

I went to 23 wasting… wasted time rehabs. Let me explain the rehab thing to you. You go in there and you're of course wasted, that's the reason you go there. And you're gonna be sick of course, they give you medication for five days. When five days are over, boom, they give you nothing. I did seven years of damage does, actually since I was twelve… […] Since I was 12, I'm 32 today. […] Cuz they give you, like I said, meds for five days and then you're right back. There's 18 years of damage they're trying to fix in five days.

In early 1998 Steven would say he had spent the 2.3 million he received in settlement on drugs and that he had been sent to the hospital 31 times because of ODs [MTV News, February 3, 1998].


Despite Steven suing the band, and reaching a financial settlement [see other chapter], Slash would claim to be in much contact with Steven in 1996:

[…] when Steven, when Steven Adler um… […] Who I love dearly. I talk to him all the time.

Despite reaching a settlement with the band, Steven still had a website where he would sell merchandise, including " t-shirts, hats, boxer shorts, autographed sticks and drum heads" and "personal paintings" [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997].


In late 1996 it would be reported that Steven was playing with Gilby for a new band tentativelly named 'Freaks in the Room' [News Pilot, November 15, 1996]. The lineup included Coma-Tones guitarist Joel Soul and bassist Stefan Adika and allegedly the band sounded "kick-ass" [News Pilot, November 15, 1996].

Gilby doesn't seem to have been long in the band, because on January 22, 1997, Steven does not list him as a member [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997]. At this time Steven's band was supposed to start playing at the Billboard Live club in Los Angeles on February 24 and every Monday thereafter [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997]. According to Steven, they would get all kinds of people coming out and jamming with them, including Sebastian Bach and:

[…] every Monday we're the house band - we got people from George Clinton, to Rick Springfield, to Mick Jagger coming out and hanging out and they come up and do a song.

He would also inform that his brother, Jamie, was managing 'Freaks in the Room' [The Howard Stern Show, January 22, 1997].


In the interview with Howard Stern in early 1997, Steven would talk about wanting to get the band back together again:

You know, I would really like to be able to get Axl and Slash and Duff and Izzy... […] Well, if I could get them down to Billboard Live and just come up....[…] Yeah, just get up and do a jam with my band.


In February 1998 it would be reported that Steven was working on his biography [MTV News, February 3, 1998]. The book had the tentative title "No Bed of Roses" and would be co-written with his mother, Deanna Adler [MTV News, February 3, 1998].


In February 1997 was involved in a domestic violence case, but failed to turn up in court for sentencing, resulting in a warrant for his arrest [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. As a result of this, Steven was sentenced to 4 days in jail, to attend 52 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and was placed on a three-year summary probation [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

In 1998 he violated this probation when he again committed domestic violence, against two different women [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. These two incidents happened on January 27 and June 7, 1998 [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. The January incident happened as a result of a fight with a 43-year old women over Steven's drug use [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. Steven fled the scene and wasn't found until in the spring of 1998, living in a condominium in Century City, California [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. The June incident happened while Steven was awaiting his trial for the January incident [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. In this incident Steven was fighting with a woman over money and pushed her head into a wall and threw her clothes off a balcony [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

Steven pled no contest and was sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years of summary probation including one year of domestic violence counseling and a ban on drugs [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. In addition, both victims of the attacks received protective orders [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

In October 1988 Steven started serving his sentence at L.A.'s county jail [MTV News, December 8, 1998]. After some time he was moved into a minimum security lock-up, but when he failed to show up again after a doctor's appointment, he was returned to county jail [MTV News, December 8, 1998].

In 1999, Duff would be asked why Steven wasn't playing on his second solo album:

I'd use [Steven] in a second, but he's another one of those guys that you know the phone call is gonna come'¦ I mean, I hate to say that, because I love the guy, but I think he's back in jail now. Drugs'¦ I saw him about two years ago - Izzy, Wes and I went to his house. We tried to talk to him - "Hey man, you're gonna die," we said. It didn't work. He was a mess. If I let him drum in my band, he'd fool himself into thinking he was OK because I was using him. I'd be what's called an "enabler." And I wont do that.

And in 2000 Duff would talk more about Steven:

[Being asked if he keeps in touch with Steven]: Very little. Steven damaged himself a lot. The only thing you can do for the guy is cry for him. It's hard to talk to him sometimes. He's still the same guy, but there's a lot of things that have changed him forever.

And when asked if Steven is doing anything musically, Duff simply replied, "No" [Popular 1, July 2000].


In early 1999, Steven would be sued by his former lawyer, Peter Paterno [Allmusic, February 12, 1999]. After Steven was fired from Guns N' Roses, Steven sued Paterno's law firm for "legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary obligation, fraud and misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation", but lost [Allmusic, February 12, 1999]. Paterno was now suing Steven for "compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages in the $25,000 range" [Allmusic, February 12, 1999].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:10 pm


For quite a while, the band's approach to Axl had been to leave him alone rather than confront him. As one anonymous band member was allegedly quoted as saying to VOX journalist Nick Kent: "Nowadays we just let Axl do pretty much what he feels, 'cos he'll only do it anyway" [VOX, October 1991].

Kent would also write, likely based on what Izzy told him, that Axl had insisted on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums being so long, that Axl had insisted that Skid Row should open on their tour (despite band members despising them), that Axl had called for the resignation of Alan Niven, and that Axl decided on what music would be played over the PA before the shows [VOX, October 1991]. It was likely Izzy who had a problem with Skid Row, since Slash and Duff would party with Sebastian Bach [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016; Slash's biography; Melody Maker, August 10, 1991] and Duff would invite Bach to play on his record [source?]. Additionally, Slash would repeatedly argue in favor of the long 'Use Your Illusion' albums to get rid of the backlog and allow them to start afresh on the next record [Rolling Stone, January 1991; Melody maker, August 1991; Slash's biography]. So one should probably not take all these allegations at face value.

Regardless, many articles would still imply that the label was afraid of Axl's temper and behavior and would rather accommodate him than put the foot down [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Simply put, "Axl runs the group" [VOX, October 1991] or, in the words of "a source at Geffen," "Axl’s got everybody by the balls"[/i] [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

One alleged example of this comes from Izzy when he tells how the firing of Alan Niven happened:

Axl fired [Niven]. […] 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?

Axl was confronted by rumors of taking control of the band and forcing decision through ultimatums, when he did an interview with Musician in March 1992 (published in June 1992). When the interviewer said, "It seems like you have the other guys in the band over a barrel sometimes. Everyone knows you're capable of saying, "The hell with it, I won't go on" or won't record or won't show up. Doesn't that force the band to say, "We better do it Axl's way or it ain't going to happen at all"? Axl simply responded "Yeah" [Musician, June 1992].

The interviewer followed up by asking if it is fair to say that by going from a shared vision to Axl's vision it takes something out of the band. In his reply Axl would indicate that he had always had the vision and that Slash and Duff was finally coming round to it:

Yeah, it's somewhat fair. That's definitely the case with Izzy. Izzy wanted the financial rewards and the power rewards of my vision. Izzy's vision was much smaller. The other guys in the band just though I was crazy. In order to make certain things happen, certain people had to think certain ideas were completely their own. I definitely knew what I wanted. I didn't know quite how to get there. And sometimes the only way to have everybody going the same place is to allow them to think that they're the ones who thought of it. [...] It's not so much that way anymore and it's been real difficult to uncover that reality. It's been hard for people to accept. But it has been a basic reality of Guns N' Roses since the beginning. It just wasn't seen. Because I wasn't someone who had all the answers and all the plans, I just had a vision. I wasn't necessarily someone that people wanted to follow blindly and say, "He's got the plan, let's go." I've finally earned respect from Duff and Slash that wasn't necessarily there before. And Slash and I, more than anyone else, are very much a team.

In September 1992, Izzy would be asked about Axl claiming he was the man with the vision and reply sarcastically:

Yeah, that's right! […] Surely, yeah, whereas we wouldn't see beyond an hotel bar's closing at two in the morning. Without doubt! We played behind him for five years, and never, at any time, we thought about what was happening! Authentical! Whereas him, he was cogitating, in his bedroom. You know, we were just trying to stay in life, behind.

In May 1992, while opening for GN'R, Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, would describe GN'R this way:

GNR and their management are like a small government. Axl's the president, and his manager's a personal advisor. A couple of the other more visible band members are vice-presidents.
NME, June 20, 1992

When Slash was asked about the running of the band, in mid-1992, he offered a corroborating picture:

We all have our own particular little things that we do. You know, that we do best. Like, on a creative level, having to do what the band is doing, it's really between Duff and Axl and I. Because none of the other guys are actually original. Although Matt's come in and we sit down and listen to what he has to say about stuff. You know, Axl has his thing and I more or less like, the day-to-day stuff because I'm always there. Like: "Give me something to do!" So I get into that. Duff has his thing and we just fall into it naturally so there's not a lot of debating as to who does what.

But it was clear that if you weren't part of the partnership, e.g. Axl, Slash and Duff, you were to some extent left out of the decision making process:

[When asked what the future holds for the band]: The future is very hard to say. We’ve got this tour going on right now and we’re gonna, you know, probably go out again in January and do Japan and South America and Australia. You know, you never know what’s gonna happen with this band. I pretty much – I wake up in the morning, turn on MTV and, you know, I find out (chuckles). […] Or the radio, I turn that on, you know, “Axl’s in jail,” oh wow.

In May 1993, Dizzy would be asked if the band worked as a democracy, but his answer wasn't decisive and he said that everybody had different roles:

Yeah, kind of. There should be. Everyone knows what his role is and keeps to it.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek

Later, in 1996, Matt would discuss why he had come to accept Axl as the visionary leader of the band:

And Axl is really intelligent and he always make the good choices. I must agree with him, because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [after the end of touring in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […]  You know, when he does something, when he present it to us, I say "This guy is crazy!". But he's always right! Like when we did Use your Illusion 1 & 2… When I heard this idea, I said to myself "He's crazy! We will release 30 songs on 2 albums? I would never buy 2 albums of the same band." Result? We made history with those 2 albums. Nobody did it before. […] You know, the first time I heard November Rain, I thought: "What is this shit?, What does Axl is doing behind the piano? I want rock!" But I was new in GNR and I thought "Matt, you leave The Cult and now you're in the greatest hard rock band of the world…" He sat at the piano and I was thinking "This is shit". Then the song came out, and it's the biggest thing we've aver done! That's why I have this attitude: "OK Axl, you think we should do that? I'm with you". You know what I mean? He knows what he's doing.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek

Slash would also confirm that Axl had become the leader:

[…] realistically from Use Your Illusion all the way up until now, Axl's been holding the reigns on taking it in his direction […]

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:10 pm



Despite media claiming Izzy had left the band back in August, Izzy wasn't completely out of the band yet, even if he hadn't been able to change the way the band was run. Or, at least, the final resignation would come in November.

In October, the rumors again swirled that he was permanently out of the band, implying his problems with the "madness of it all" and "Axl's tantrums":

Izzy's absence at interviews appears to be more than just a passing phase. Never the most verbal of the band and certainly the only founder-member able to walk the streets relatively unrecognised, his decision seems to have a more permanent quality about it. Throughout the whole tour Izzy had travelled seperately from the rest of the band and rumours concerning his departure from the band began to emanate when the Gunners were in Germany and cancelled a show. These now appear to have been founded with the guitarist finally feeling that the madness of it all had grown too much and that Axl's tantrums had gone too far. Quite whether he has left for good has yet to be clarified, although it is understood that the rest of the band are attempting to coax him back.

Izzy spent large parts of October and November in Indiana, riding trial bikes [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].


After returning to Los Angeles from Indiana, in the second half of November [Kerrang! September 5, 1992] at the end of the band's rehearsals for the next leg of the tour [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], Izzy had a meeting with Axl and Slash where Izzy was "threatened" to be demoted from "equal partner", which would affect his share in revenues, unless he started to work harder. This was the final straw for Izzy:

In November I went back to LA, and there were some conditions and terms put to me which pretty much made the decision to quit the band real easy for me. I just thought, this is not acceptable - so that was it. […] When I was told how the future was gonna be in the band, I thought about it for a long time that night, and when I woke up the next morning, I knew what I was gonna do that day. I decided to leave.

I went out there and I was trying to work it out with those guys. And it was put to me by the singer how things were gonna be. There was an agreement I was supposed to sign and when I heard the figures I said, 'There's no way I can go along with this.' I just didn't think it was fair, so l said, 'Well, screw it. Gotta go.'

It was made clear to me how things were going to be run. I slept on it, and when I woke up in the morning, I said, ‘That’s the end of the line for me.’ I just felt like my opinions were no longer considered valid. It wasn’t about being a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing music any more. Life is tough enough to live day to day without an extra 50lb of aggravation on your head.

[…] Axl made it clear that he was going to do things his way, and there was no space for debate. So I had to make it clear to everybody that that was the end of the line for me.

It was about time that we had some long discussions. I went back out to L.A. and hooked up and had a rehearsal and talked to the guys. Things didn't feel right. I just decided I was going to say goodbye and wish them well.

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint.'

Axl and Slash would explain what they wanted from Izzy:

The guy’s a great songwriter. He’s got his own style. He's a cool character. But I'm so ambitious about what I do that I’m always a mile ahead of myself. He’s so not into doing anything. He could be so potentially awesome if he would let himself get totally involved in the band trip, or even his own thing. But he’s so laid back he’ll probably never get around to it. […] It’s strange, but when he got high, everything was cool. He got clean and he couldn’t hang out in the Guns N’ Roses element, or whatever. […] He didn’t wanna do any videos, hardly wanted to show up in the studio. When we ended the last leg of the tour, he didn’t play guitar for three months. He was riding his bike in Indiana or whatever. […] When he showed up at rehearsals for this leg, he sounded like he hadn’t played in three months. The next day he didn’t show at rehearsal at all. Me and Axl were at the end of our f—ing rope. He wasn’t contributing. He was equal partner in the band, so we told him, ‘Until you start doing something you’re not an equal partner.’ He resigned. Didn’t even tell us. Sent notification to the office, the accountant.

So then Axl and I decided that he wasn’t an equal partner, per se, unless he decided to change his ways about a few things — at least do like a couple videos a year, and work harder on the road. And Izzy said, ΌΚ, I resign'. […] But I can’t understand why he would drop out of something as cool as what we’ve been doing. That’s not an ego thing — that’s not like ‘We’re the biggest band in the world and why would you want to quit that?’ I was like, ‘Why would you want to quit the relationship that we have that got us to where we are? Why would you just want to flake out on it?’

[Izzy] stopped wanting to do it, you know, and he didn’t want to go through the ups and downs of what any rock band goes through, which is sort of like your own life, but we live our life out in public. But he just didn’t want to make any effort.

We love Izzy, but there were certain things we weren’t getting from Izzy, that we really wanted. Everybody was, like, giving a certain amount, and we thought that everybody should give energy in a certain way to Guns N’ Roses; and we weren’t getting that.

But basically, we just came to the conclusion that Izzy wasn't putting in the time we thought was necessary for the good of the band. It had been building up for a long time. And finally Izzy came out in the open with me and Axl and said he didn't want to deal with the work that was involved. So we decided to work with someone else.


Then Izzy went to the band's lawyer and prodded into the band's finances presumably not happy with how the band was run [Popular 1, November 1992], Although Slash would say that Izzy checked out the band's finances before the meeting with him and Axl:

The next thing we found out though was that he’d been down to the accountants to find out how much money had been spent on what, when it had nothing to do with him. Axl and I went to him and said ‘Unless you start doing such and such you’re not a full partner anymore’ (Slash’s reference to ‘partners’ here deals with the GN’R corporation which all initial members were part of to take care of business – Ed). Then, without even calling us, he resigns through the office.


Axl tried to convince Izzy to stay and they had a "four hour" phone conversation that ended "amicably" [Popular 1, November 1992]. In this conversation Axl said it was okay if Izzy "didn't want to do this anymore", likely implying that the band would be fine with Izzy not touring any more [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

Axl had a talk with him on the phone and just said ‘Well, listen if you don’t want to do this anymore then that’s fine ‘cos maybe we can write together in the future’ and Izzy was cool and it was real amicable.

Izzy would later talk about this phone conversation and what Axl tried to achieve:

Let’s say that what [Axl] did say didn’t make any sense. (laughs). I didn’t understand what he wanted to get out, but, whatever it was, he didn’t accomplish anything.

Before I left I spoke with Axl for a couple of hours on the telephone, and he made it real clear to me that he was going to be running things, so to speak, and there were some conditions put up that I was going to have go by. He was trying to make it good for me as well, I guess, but at the same time I realized that was it, I was done. The next day I signed my leaving papers. What a relief, too, I gotta tell you. I got tired of it, man. I just didn't understand it anymore. It didn't make any sense to me.


According to an interview/article with Izzy in November 1992, Slash claimed that Izzy then spoke bad about Axl and Slash behind their backs, telling the rest of the band that he had been fired and that they didn't give him an opportunity to defend himself [Popular 1, November 1992]. Slash and Axl heard about Izzy allegedly badmouthing them:

Then he turned around and told Matt and Duff behind our backs that we’d kicked him out. That pissed Axl and me off to no end. Izzy didn’t know we knew and he went over to Axl’s and Axl just turned around and said ‘Get the fuck out of here!’. It was pretty bad.

You wanna know how he really hurt me? When he came up here to my f?!king house and acted like, "What's wrong, man?" It's really weird; I knew he was coming. I could literally feel his car driving up as I was getting dressed. I went outside and sat down, because Izzy couldn't come into my house. I couldn't act like he was my friend after what he'd done to me. He came up and acted like he hadn't done anything, but he let us down at a weird time. It wasn't like someone leaving the band because they couldn't take it anymore; he left in a shitty way. Izzy called up members of the band and tried to turn them against me by saying that I pushed him out, and that's not how it went down. He said a lot of shit behind my back. He tried to make a power play and damage us on his way out, and that's real f?!ked up.


That was the end of Izzy's period in Guns N' Roses.

On November 16, the guitarist Marc Ford told that he have received a phone call from Slash (on November 11 and 12) where he'd been asked to become Guns N' Roses' new touring guitarist. Ford, who had recently joined The Black Crowes, declined [Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1991]. In February 1992, Slash would say that Izzy "dropped out three weeks before we were meant to start the US tour" [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], probably meaning the leg of the tour that started on December 5, 1991, meaning that Izzy quit the band in mid-November 1991. This coincides well with Marc Ford being asked to replace Izzy on November 16, although the band had obviously tested out other guitarists, including Dave Navarro as early as September 1991, around the time when they had the band meeting in Los Angeles [see earlier chapter] and it became obvious Izzy was considering to quit the band. Later, Slash would pinpoint the date of Izzy's departure to November 7 [RIP, March 1992]. It also coincides fairly well with Izzy describing that he spent October and the first half of November in Indiana riding trial bikes, before returning to Los Angeles in the second half of November and then quitting [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Apparently, Matt tried to dissuade Izzy from leaving:

When Izzy left, I wasn't happy. I spent hours on the phone with him, asking him not to leave us.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French


MTW News then reported that Izzy had quit the band, but the news was quickly withdrawn by the request of the band [RAW, December 1991] only to be officially announced by Axl on November 27, on a Rockline interview. Axl would also state that Gilby Clarke would replace Izzy for the tour:

Izzy has resigned. […] At this point, no [=Izzy will not continue writing with the band]. And we have our own plans for the next - the follow-up - and then the record after that. And it’s kinda like, we’re going in separate directions, and he’s not really into touring or video or anything like that. And Slash and I are the ones, you know, figuring out the direction that Guns N’ Roses is going, and Izzy is not really part of that anymore, so...[…] Right now we have a guitar player named Gilby Clarke. And he’s been in Hollywood about as long as us. And, you know, he’s doing a really good job. But I don’t know about farther than the touring.


[When confronted with a fan who was shocked about Izzy leaving]: Well, we’ve been together for 15 years, so it’s kind of a shock to my system too.

I'm real... hurt, confused and disappointed with Izzy.

I'm no longer working with Izzy, and people have written about how that went down. (Axl laughs) They weren't around. They didn't see it. They didn't know. They didn't know how painful that experience was. They had no clue. But yet, I was just a dick. (Axl laughs) I just went off on Izzy. You know, he tried to talk to me nicely and l went off. That's not how it went down. It was funny: when Bruce Weber was taking the photos of Stephanie and l for this article, that's when l got the call that Izzy was leaving the band. […] Bruce was taking photos and I was standing there crying. l was blown away. At those times when we're against the wall kissing and my tongue was out and stuff, it's like, there were also tears going dawn my face but with the lighting or whatever it doesn't show. But it was there. Stephanie was helping to comfort me. We didn't go, "Well, let's hug and kiss for the photos." She was comforting me -- my friend of fifteen years was leaving.

The timing, I guess, wasn't a very comfortable thing.

[Izzy] didn’t have the courage to come up and tell us in person; he got his lawyers to contact us. He left me looking for a replacement with about a day to find one. Thanks a f------ lot.

And when [Izzy] finally quit it was, like, such short notice and so close to the next leg of the tour. And he didn’t call any of the guys in the band; he just called management and sent, like, a letter of resignation.

I'll admit I wasn't real pleased with Izzy when he left Slash and I high and dry, trying to find a guitarist three weeks before our tour started.

So we managed to get on tour during the making of the "...Illusion" albums. Then we took one short break - and Izzy quit two weeks before the next leg of the tour was to start! […] Without talking to the guys in the band, he called management and the accountants' office. I'll never forgive him for that because I've known him for so long and we've been through so much together, blah, blah, blah.

I August 1992, Slash would claim he was happy about Izzy leaving:

In fact, I was really happy because I could never understand what was going on with him. Like even on stage, he would just sort of stand there--and that was the only time I'd see him on the road because he traveled separately. When he finally left, it was like a relief because there had been no communication at all.

That Slash wasn't angry with Izzy at the time, and rather happy about it all, seems somewhat at odds with quotes where Slash expressed frustration with Izzy for not doing his part, and feelings of hurt when he quit.

In September 1992, Duff would say that the split was "amicable and all" [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Again, no, it likely wasn't entirely amicable.

In mid-1992, with Izzy having left the band, Slash would look back at firing Steven and compare with Izzy:

The reasons [why Steven was fired and Izzy quit] were very different. Steven didn’t leave only because of his drug problem, but also because he couldn’t handle the pressure. And I hate to say it, but I miss him much more than Izzy, who thought that being in the band was just a question of ‘sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll’; he didn't accept the other aspects of this job.
L'Unita, May 16, 1992; translated from Italian


Axl would also philosophize on losing members and turn a positive spin on it:

Yeah, well, it’s kinda like...It’s evolving, you know. And certain members necessarily couldn’t keep up with where it’s going, and, you know, we actually ended up being more happy with where we’re at now than where we were. It’s like, we’re glad about the times we had with these people and the songs we did, but it’s evolving, and we’re really happy to be where we’re at right now. And we feel stronger than ever, you know. There’s obstacles every day that seem like the bottom fallout. But we put it back together and we’re usually much more happy with the results of putting it back together than where we were before the accident happened. […] And it’s like, everybody wants to see that togetherness that maybe they aren’t necessarily able to achieve in their own lives, you know, and to relate to it in someone else’s. And it would be nice if we were able to make people happy in that way. But that’s just, unfortunately, how it’s worked for us. And, you know, we’re really happy musically with where we’re going and the directions we’re going.


Izzy would claim he was immediately open to working with the band or Axl again:

When I left the band, I told [Axl]: “If you ever need me to make a record, don’t hesitate to call.”
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

And not long after Izzy quit, Slash would say Izzy would still write with the band and occasionally play with them, but that he was out as a touring musician:

Izzy resigned from Guns on November 7, 1991, because his heart wasn't in it. He's just not interested anymore. It was one of those things where he just didn't want to tour again. Izzy's been keeping himself more or less clean for quite a while now, and the chaos of being on the road, especially with the rest of us driving him crazy, he just couldn't deal with it. He's been 110% sober for the past two years, and even though I'm not shooting up or anything anymore. I'm still a nutcase when it comes to extracurricular activities. He tried to come back though. He came to a couple rehearsals, but he really wasn't there. He didn't care. His heart wasn't in it. Izzy's still gonna write with us, and he might make a few special appearances on the road, but he's no longer a touring member of the band. As for me, personally, I'd rather Izzy be happy. And this is what he wants.


When I left the group my lawyers negotiated a deal which said that I was to be given a certain percent on everything the group earned until November 1997.

This could indicate that after 1997, Izzy was not due any further revenues from Guns N' Roses.


I never regretted the decision to quit. The week I left I was back in Lafayette and I watched this big pay-per-view thing they did from Paris. It was weird but I was thinking I'd much rather be here watching it on TV then shlepping around with those guys.

I survived. I managed to get sober, we were so fucked up... otherwise, there weren’t any bad memories, we only had great moments.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

[Being asked if he was bitter]: No, I was paid and I had a good time.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Feb 28, 2020 11:09 am; edited 19 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:11 pm


I don't really enjoy being a center of attention. I'm more into the music and what's happening with that. I enjoy having those guys take care of the publicity.


There is likely not one single reason why Izzy left, many reasons have been given by the parties involved. Hence, it is easy to choose the one that fits one's narrative the best.


I was sick of it, just completely fed up with it. It didn't feel like it used to, something wasn't happening that used to happen for me.

Well, this gig wasn't making me laughing anymore. You know, it's quite easy, I wasn't happy anymore. So I told myself, all right let's do something else!

Guns N' Roses was pure chaos. The smallest thing could turn into a massive problem. You'd get pulled in one direction and then the other. It was really difficult keeping hold of where you were supposed to be going. What really bothered me was working on 'Use Your Illusion I and II'. It progressed really slowly. Each song kept being taken to bits and analysed again and again and remade and before you knew it was weeks and months had gone by. When we finally finished a song I'd forgotten how to play the others. Slowly but surely, I began to realise that I wanted to have less and less to do with it. When things went on and on I finally realised that I'd have to do something about it.

It was a very clear-headed decision. I didn’t leave in any emotional state or anything like that. See, I just wanted to play music and have fun, just enjoy it. And it wasn't like that anymore.

The machinery was working, the planes were flying, the shows were happening just like always. But once I quit drugs, I couldn't help looking around and asking myself, `Is this all there is?' I was just tired of it; I needed to get out.'

In the following quote Izzy would also say he was tired of Doug Goldstein:

I was so terribly tired of the whole business so I took a time off. I was tired of my manager and I had a Guns N' Roses deal hanging over me.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998: translated from Swedish

The "Guns N' Roses deal" that was hanging over Izzy was likely Axl and Slash's attempt at forcing Izzy to work harder or be demoted to a member on salary [see previous chapter and below].

That Izzy didn't enjoy the band anymore and wanted a change, is also indicated from him slowly distancing himself from the band in the period leading up to his leaving. This comes through in the following quotes where Slash talked about Izzy's absence during recording of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums with Slash having to record most of his parts:

[Izzy] just wanted to hang out. He thought it would be easy. Even on stage, I knew I had to walk around this person. We never got a sound thing together, or a guitar combo — I ended up playing most of the guitars on the record. […] When he left, he didn’t even resign to us. He called the office, and sent out a memo to everybody. There was a certain amount of hurt in that.

Izzy basically left while we were recording the "...Illusion" records. He's not on half of those records. He hardly even played on his own songs!

The whole things goes back quite a way. That goes back to the end of our first tour (which ended around late ’88). Izzy and I both went through a breakneck fuckin’ drug bout where we were both very scarey. There came a point where Izzy had to go out to Indiana and straighten himself out as well as me reaching a point where I had with the authorities in the US. I just felt it was ridiculous. The band weren’t doing anything, we’d just played the Stones dates and it was a case of trying to get it all back together again. We went to Chicago to try and do that, as you know. Izzy just didn’t show up for like three months or something. It was just then that it became increasingly obvious that he wasn’t making any effort to do it anymore.

All this shit was going on but, like I said, I don’t go public about shit that’s that personal when it can harm us. And the shit that was going on with Matt and Steven was enough to possibly destroy us. If it hadn’t been for Axl and I really holding on to what Guns N’ Roses is all about and what we had in store for the future was concerned, I’m sure that we would’ve broken up already by then. Izzy was doing nothing to keep it together. He wasn’t playing that great and when he finally showed up he hadn’t touched his guitar for like four months, he didn’t want to be in the videos and he hardly played on the records. All the songs on these records that are his are old demo tapes from years ago that we worked on.

The bottom line is that you’re only as weak as your weakest member and that’s pretty true. When it got to the point where it was me, Matt and Duff rehearsing and trying to get ready for the European tour it didn’t look too good. When we came home after Wembley we carried on rehearsing ‘cos I wanted to hire some horn players. Izzy just wasn’t there.

While I was hiring all these horn players and doing all this work Izzy didn’t seem to care about what we were doing. He showed up right at the tail end of rehearsals and it just was like ‘What the fuck is going on with this band?!’

It’s kinda funny because I know a lot of people are pointing their fingers at Axl and me as being the assholes in this whole thing because they really liked Izzy. The truth of the matter is that we tried everything to keep him going and he just didn’t want to do it. It was a real shame.

To get a clear answer [on why Izzy left], you'd have to ask Izzy. My personal belief is that Izzy never really wanted something this big. There were responsibilities that Izzy didn't want to deal with. He didn't want to work at the standards that Slash and I set for ourselves. […] He didn't want to do videos. […] He just wasn't into it. Getting Izzy to work on his own songs on this record was like pulling teeth. When Izzy had 'em on a four-track, they were done. I mean, I like tapes like that, but we'd just get destroyed if we came out with a garage tape. People want a high-quality album. And it was really hard to get Izzy to do that, even on his own material. Izzy's songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record, not because Izzy gave a shit either way. If people think I don't respect Izzy or acknowledge his talent, they're sadly mistaken. He was my friend. I haven't always been right. Sometimes I've been massively wrong, and Izzy's been the one to help steer me back to the things that were right. But I know that I wanted to get as big as we possibly could from Day One, and that wasn't Izzy's intention at all. I think he's ready to do like an X-Pensive Winos (Keith Richards's band) thing. So maybe the world'll get another really cool band. I know that I'll be trying to get an advance tape, just like everybody else.

I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user.

As far as keeping Guns N' Roses going and figuring out what we're doing, Izzy really wasn't that much involved anymore. He wrote songs, but those songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record and because the band agreed to learn them and liked them and we all worked on them. I really believed in Izzy. I was an Izzy fan for 15 years and I wanted his songs to be a part of this project. But it was like pulling teeth to make that happen. A lot of people might have liked the way Izzy was standing there onstage and it was kind of cool, but the truth of the matter was that Izzy wasn't handling any of the weight.

I love the guy [=Izzy] dearly, so I don't want to belittle his character by saying anything about him. But he just got sick and tired of dealing with everything. I think more than anything he didn't want to do the amount of work that Guns N' Roses has to do to keep it together. […] I totally sold my soul to this thing, but Izzy wasn't that way. He didn't want to do videos or spend all those hours in the studio, and slowly but surely he started to drop out.

After, after the whole drug period… Um, I think everybody went in their own directions. And as far as dealing with getting off the drugs, everybody had their own approach. And from the time that we'd more or less quit, you know, dope and stuff. Um, Izzy had more or less lost interest in… I don't know if he lost interest or, I mean there could have a lot of phases, and I don't wanna, you know, put Izzy's personality into one little sentence. But what it seemed to me was that he'd lost interest in doing the work that was involved. He didn't feel comfortable with all the other guys. Because we'd all gone through this massive emotional experience in trying to get ourselves out of the slum. And he just didn't wanna run with the ball anymore. So, when we finally did get through that whole period and we, we got into the studio he wasn't that interested. He didn't have that much input, as far as recording and all that was concerned. And that was a really stressful time for the entire band anyway. And we went out on tour, and he finally quit. And the time that he was on tour, right before he quit, I was just really pissed off. Because it seemed like he'd show up and he would stand on the stage, for the alotted two and a half, three hours. And then, you know, split. I felt for that whole period of time that he was on stage, he really didn't wanna be there.

Slash would also claim that the band worked up Izzy’s songs from the rhythm guitarist’s demo tapes, and that he refused to rehearse, record overdubs, appear in the band’s videos and was virtually lifeless on stage [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

Izzy would be asked about Slash's claim that Izzy had sent in sloppy demos:

That's not Slash talking. That's Axl talking and Slash repeating it. Axl did say the tapes weren't up to GNR standards. Well, in the beginning nobody owned an eight-track. All our tapes were made on a cassette player. Whatever, I'm credited with just about everything I wrote. I will say that Slash was much better at keeping tapes in order. He always labeled stuff.

The claim that Izzy didn't put in enough effort and that the partnership was no longer equal, was an argument Slash would repeat when discussing Izzy [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992].

When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.

In the band's official fan club newsletter for March 1992, they would explain what happened to their fans this way:

Izzy Stradlin’ resigned from GN’R. Izzy hasn’t been into GN’R for quite awhile. He didn’t want to tour to do videos or anything. So rather than fake it, Izzy felt (and we support his feelings), that it was best to leave the band and do his own thing. We split on good terms and we’ll miss him. He’s been a part of our lives for a long time and losin’ him is kind of a shock for us too. But we’re confident that things will work out better for everyone this way.

Izzy would admit that the growing estrangement between him and his band mates was partly his fault [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

I did prefer to travel at my own pace. They had a jumbo jet and most of the gigs were 200 miles apart. When a gig was over, my girlfriend and my dog and I would get on the tour bus. I didn't need to go out and get laid. I had to pass on the booze. There just wasn't much for me to do backstage. Toward the end of the tour we even dumped the bus and took a van or a motorcycle. My dog Treader loved being on tour. I got him when I got sober and he's helped me keep my perspective, see life through a dog's eyes. You're doing all right if you've got food, a place to sleep and someone to pet you.

[On why he travelled by himself]: It was only because it was much simpler. Most of the time I got there before the plane did. As weird as it sounds, that was usually the case.


Izzy, on the other hand, would claim they had removed his guitar contributions and that this helped to drive him away:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone! From there I lost the little interest I had left in the G N' R enterprise. This and the stadium tour!

And that he didn't have a say anymore:

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint


Izzy's gradual distancing himself from the band would lead to Axl and Slash demanding more from him [also see previous chapter]:

But I can fault someone, in the same way someone can fault me, for being an asshole about the way he went about it. A comic book says how Izzy comes to me and says, "You know, I just don't feel I'm up to this," and I go, "Yeah, and you're scared, too, aw, shit." Well, that ain't the way it went down. […] We were filming "Don't Cry," and he had to be there. Instead, he sent a really short, cold letter and didn't show up. We got this letter saying, "This changes, this changes, and maybe I'll tour in January." And they were ridiculous demands that weren't going to be met. I talked to Izzy for four and a half hours on the phone. At some points, I was crying, and I was begging. I was doing everything I could to keep him in the band. There were stipulations, though. If he was going to do like the old Izzy did, he wasn't going to make as much money. It was like "You're not giving an equal share." Slash and I were having to do too much work to keep the attention and the energy up in the crowd. You're onstage going, "This is really hard, and I'm into it and I'm doing it, but that guy just gets to stand there." […] But when the guy's getting up at six thirty in the morning and riding bicycles and motorcycles and buying toy airplanes, and he's donating all this energy to something else, and it's taking 100 percent of our energy to do what we're doing on the stage, we were getting ripped off. I'm hoping Izzy's new album rocks. But at the same time, it'll be like "Why couldn't he do that with us?" He wouldn't do anything.

And these stipulations are likely what Izzy refers to in the following quote when he is asked if he felt pushed to leave the band:

Yeah, somewhat. I don't want to get into it too deep; a lot of it's personal stuff. I don't wanna say anything that's already been said about me, you know what I mean? There's been a little shit talked from their side, but I just gotta blow it off and say, 'That's how it is with them, it's nothing new'.

Based on the quotes from Slash it seems Izzy was upset by how much money was spent on the tour (as well as other frustrations he felt at the time, as described in this chapter and previous chapters). Slash and Axl, on their side, was frustrated with Izzy and how he had (for a long time) cares less and less about the band. They then gave him an ultimatum, he either had to pull more weight or he would be demoted (from partner to salaried employee). This likely angered and hurt Izzy resulting in him resigning through the office.


Izzy would deny that he was in the process of leaving the band before the UYI touring, and that the frequent late concert starts was part of the reason:

I never really thought about leaving the band till the last tour we did. 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...  […] I don't wanna talk down on these guys because a lot of the stuff that we did as a band was great, some great music, and God knows we had a load of f**king crazy times, good times. I'm really proud of some of the stuff WE did. Now it's 1992, and who knows where it goes from here. I just had to say, 'I'm stepping aside at this point.'

[Talking about trying to learn some songs to play while Axl was off-stage]: I couldn’t get the other guys to learn any cover songs with me, or practice anything to fill the space. I tried talking to Axl about it and he would just get pissed off. I was really fed up and unhappy with it. I felt like there was nothing I could do to fix this thing.

The only thing I wanted to see was the gigs running on time. Also, whoever was responsible for being late should have been prepared to pay the ‘loss charges’ to the union guys. It’s ugly that it comes down to money, but we f***ed away hundreds of thousands of dollars over these late gigs. I didn’t think it was fair for the band to keep turning up late. People have got jobs to go back to in the morning, they have families and kids, they’ve got to get babysitters, and I just figured, ‘Shit, these people are shelling out money for tickets, and we should be on time. If the monitors are f***ed, too f***ing bad. We should just roll with it and try and get them working.

[Talking about the press]: It got to the point where the only thing you’d hear or read about was the antics. There was no talk of the music, which was what it was all meant to be about. If the band is consistently in the papers for things other than the music, it’s weird. We had a lot of drug problems in the band from day one, but, somehow, we managed to rise above that with our music and records. With the “Illusion” albums, it kinda felt that the music had submerged beneath the bullshit.

[…] getting sober played a part in my leaving. I think you make more decisions when you're sober. And when you're fucked up, you're more likely to put up with things you wouldn't normally put up with. When I have something I wanna do, I gotta do it. I like just doing it. I didn't like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N' Roses. Sometimes for the simplest things to happen would take days. Time was so slow, you sat around for days just to do a photo shoot. Schedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed. Reschedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed again. That pattern could stretch out for weeks. On "Illusion", we did the basic tracks in about a month. Then there was a time lag of about a year before the vocals were finished. I went back to Indiana and painted the house. If you've got a group and people are focused, it just shouldn't take that long.

For the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, I was sober doing those tracks, and it was just frustrating. When you're sober and you gotta be someplace at four, and when other people come in at six or seven, and they're, like, not quite together, you find yourself thinking, why the fuck was I here at four?

Back when I was a kid, I used to work in a car wash starting at 8 a.m. every day. If you weren't there on time, you got canned. I kept that with me. I think it's just common courtesy not to keep people waiting for you.

It was becoming harder and harder to deal with G N’ R on a daily basis. There was always an undercurrent that somebody could go to jail or die of an overdose. And in a big band like that, there are so many phone calls and faxes to worry about. There are so many changes every hour. It was just mind-boggling. I needed to get away and cool out.

It was the last tour that was the beginning of the end for me. We were having a lot of trouble. And I was just growing tired of it. We'd finished up the tour. We'd done America and we'd done Europe and it was time to do videos. I'm just not into the big production videos. I like to keep it real simple, which it wasn't anymore with Guns. […] It just got to the point that Axl, he was going to run the show. He was going to run Guns n' Roses. I just decided I wasn't going to be part of it, that I was going to go off and do whatever. I thought about coming back and planting some acreage [laughter].

It was a pretty tough thing. I was pushed and pulled in any number of directions. It just wasn't working out for me on any level and I couldn't seem to communicate my side of it. […] I couldn't really get through to anybody. I've known Axl a long time and I still have a lot of feelings for these guys. But I had to leave to get sane and somewhat normal. To get back to reality, I guess you could say.

Living with that kind of stuff [the circus that was GN'R] day to day takes its toll. I left because I figured there's got to be a simpler way to get through life day to day.

The last three months of our last tour got to be a little too much for me. We were having trouble finishing our sets, we couldn’t seem to get on stage at the right time, and it all seemed wrong to me. It just wore me out, and I started thinking, There’s got to be a better way to go about this.

During the last three months I spent on tour with them, it was growing increasingly tough for us to get onstage on time and finish a gig without some sort of interruption. Things were just out of control. In the early days I had some sort of balancing factor in the band, and we'd discuss things. But towards the end, I was less and less spoken to about decisions. I'm sure a lot of it s my own doing, because those last few months were so chaotic that I took a sideline position. I didn't want to be wrapped up in all the madness.

The band was paying hundred of thousands of dollars in curfew violation fees. Izzy finally had it and went over to Axl's house and told him that if he insisted on going on late, the late fees should be charged to him. That was it - Izzy was out of the band.


Media would report that Izzy left because he "got tired of touring" [The Indianapolis Star, July 21, 1992]. Izzy would dispute he had a problem with the touring:

I ain’t got a problem, really, with touring. I think I got a bad rap on all that, but... You know what I mean, it’s like... […] Well, I had a bus and they had a plane. And I beat them; to the gig (chuckles). [...] You get to the point where you’re like, am I gonna carry on like this or am I not, you know. And I said I’m not.

I've always loved touring. I got a bad rap from the Gunners about not wanting to tour and do videos and all that. But I've always loved traveling and I've always loved playing different places. I've lived from suitcase to suitcase since '86.

Later, Slash would also imply Izzy struggled with the touring:

His heart wasn't in being in the band by then. He lost interest a long time before he quit, and he was getting tired of being on the road.


In September Duff would say that Izzy quit because he "couldn't handle the pressure"  [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Axl would also indicate that a sober Izzy couldn't handle it the same way as before:

Then when [Izzy] got straight...I think it really has to do with what it takes to face that big audience. I wouldn't call it stage fright. It's something else, and to psyche yourself up for that, the old Guns doesn't seem to be able to do it without medication.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


[Talking about strained relationships and that he]: [...] rarely saw [Axl], except of gigs. The band had a great big aeroplane, and I only rode it once, I think.

The deteriorating friendship between Izzy and Axl was a main reason for his decision to leave:

The differences of opinion were between me and Axl. I tried to resolve the problems with him before I left, but it didn’t look too promising. I’d known him for long enough to know that he was going to do things his way, and I’d end up doing things my way. We were both hard-headed in that sense.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:40 pm; edited 19 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:12 pm


With Izzy leaving the band, the band again found themselves in a position of having to replace a member that they had thought was irreplaceable. The last time they had needed a new drummer on short notice to continue recording the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, this time they needed a new guitarist because they were supposed to go back out on tour in not long.

When Izzy left […] we realized that we either had to find a new guitarist in three weeks or cancel a bunch of gigs. We didn't want to cancel any shows, so we started searching. […] I had a piece of paper with about 30-odd candidates listed. Duff was looking around and Axl had his ideas, but nobody seemed right.


One of the guitarists that the band considered was Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro.

Yeah, there was a lot of talk about [Navarro joining], and we were very open to it. But it just wasn't the right time in Dave's life for it to happen. He was kind of needing the time to just see where he was at, and he's been very successful at that.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992

That Navarro was auditioning to replace Izzy had also rumored in the press before Izzy's departure was official [Los Angeles Times, September 1991]. But Navarro didn't cut it and Slash would imply he had drug problems at the time:

[Navarro] didn't work out. He's got a little too much going on right now with his own personal situation.

For a while it looked like Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction was going to join, but he couldn't get it together, so that never happened.

Gilby would later say that it was Axl who wanted Navarro [Hartford Courant, March 4, 1993], which would very much be confirmed by Axl in the quote from above and this:

[…] the idea of working with [Navarro] excites me to no end because I still put on Jane's Addiction and it always seems brand new, no matter how many times I hear it. I'd like to try to achieve a fusion of what they were trying and what GNR is doing. I think that blend, if taken seriously and patiently, could be amazing. It could be a fuller thing than anyone's done before. Dave and Slash together could be incredible-two guys very "out there" on their own, working together.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992

According to Mike Staggs, childhood friend of Axl from Indiana and later co-guitarist in 'Ain't It Fun', Axl had wanted Staggs to replace Izzy:

axl and i discussed me auditioning after izzy left - but the process was fast tracked by slash, bringing gilby in. at the time i assumed i was a lock, and was disappointed, but i always respected slash. and at that time i was a bit sel-conscious about axl's role - kinda throwing his weight around a bit much IMHO. when i recorded aint it fun on spaghetti, it was a little tense. and i was def a friend of slashes.
Personal communication, February 17, 2020


Another rumour was that ex-Rose Tattoo slide guitarist Mick Cocks would replace Izzy [RAW, December 1991]. The did not, however, contact Tracii:

I thought I would be [asked to replace Izzy], actually. […] I would have said no. […] It would have been nice to be asked, yeah. I expected it because not only was it my band at one time but other bands when they lose their guitar player have asked me...


After putting the word out that they were looking for a replacement for Izzy, the name of Gilby Clarke was then quickly mentioned:

When we decided to look for a new guitarist, I put the word out as discreetly as possible. A couple of my friends recommended Gilby—he's a guy that Axl and I sort of knew from Guns N' Roses' early days. He was in another band at the time, but we had lost track of him. Axl and I auditioned 17 guitarists or so, and he's the one who fit in the best. He had to learn about 30 songs in two weeks in order to be ready for the tour on time, and he's done a great job. We're really happy.

We knew Gilby when me and Axl were in Hollywood Rose, which was ages ago. He was in another band, and I met him then. He was a cool guy then and I hadn't talked to him in all these years that Guns N' Roses had been together. I discreetly went through, like, 15 guitar players trying to find somebody to do the spot because we only had three weeks before the first show. Someone mentioned Gilby and I thought, "Yeah, I know him." I talked to him on the phone. He was the only guy that I actually rehearsed.

Slash and I, we went kind of nuts. I just happened to have Gilby’s number written on the back of a book. I had gotten his number from a friend of a friend of a friend. So I called him to come down and audition. He was the first guy we auditioned. We heard him and said, ‘Cool’.

Izzy decided he wanted to leave and go do his own thing. And we had, like, two weeks to find somebody. So Slash, and Duff and myself just started throwing around names, you know. And Gilby was an old friend from the club days in L.A., and we thought it was a perfect choice.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; from April 20, 1992

I was tearing my hair out, trying to figure who to get. We obviously couldn't put an ad in the paper. Someone randomly suggested one of Izzy's friends, Gilby Clarke. I had thought about him, but I hadn't seen him since our earliest club days. So I called him up, and he came down. He was the only guy we auditioned. One guy!

The news was definitely on the street. Though I asked a friend who was working with the band to mention my name to Slash, I was a little surprised when he actually called me on the phone to ask if I'd like to audition.

I hadn’t heard from [Guns N' Roses] in about five years. Then I found out that Izzy was leaving, and I called up a friend of mine who worked for them and said, ‘If you’re throwing in names, throw in my name.’ And Slash just called me one day. […] They had a lot of people in mind. But I was the only person who came in and physically auditioned for the band, came down and played with them. The rest of the people, he pretty much met in a hotel and kind of like ‘vibed’ them. If they didn’t pass the vibe test, that was it. Me, I had known them, so I just went down there. […] With this band, the people that work for the band, it’s like a family. These people have been with the band since the beginning. So if someone new is going to come into their family, it has to be more than just ‘You’re a good guitar player, you can cover it.’ It has to be more like, 'Do you fit in?’

Everyone in Los Angeles had heard the rumors that Izzy had left Guns N' Roses and that David Navarro had replaced him. The next rumor was that David wasn't in. When all this happened I called a guy that worked for them called Josh Richman, whom I knew very well, and said "Josh, if Guns is looking for a new guitarist couldn't you mention my name to them."

Well, I got a phone call; it wasn't even like an approach thing. Slash had just called me and said, Do you want to come down and play with us tomorrow and I said (in skeptical voice), Yeah, alright.' And I came down and I just played with them and two weeks later I played my first show with them; I was the only person that they physically auditioned. Everybody else Slash kind of talked to them over the phone or met them in person but I was the only one that they actually asked to come down in person.

When they needed a guitar player, they called me and I was the only guy who went and physically auditioned with them. I didn't have time to really learn anything - I had to do it by ear. We played two or three songs, and (Slash) says, Come back tomorrow.' I did that for like five days in a row, and they said, You got it. We're going on tour.'


Gilby was only happy to get the opportunity:

[…] when Izzy left, I was the only guitarist they called to audition.

I got a call from management and I went down the next day. They had a lot of guitar players in mind, but I was the only person that they actually asked to come down.

The only thing I remember clearly about the audition is that they had this taped-off area where Izzy used to stand, which said to me, 'Do you have what it takes to fill this spot?' That was pretty amusing.

[…]I was a little surprised when [Slash] actually called me on the phone to ask if I'd like to audition. I said, "Yeah, I think I can make that." [laughs] Then he said, "Learn three songs and come down tomorrow. […] The funny thing is, I really didn't even learn the three songs, I just listened to a few things, got the keys in my head, and winged in the next day. I didn't really have any time to prepare beyond that. […] To be honest, I don't really remember [which songs they were]. I think it was "Civil War," "Knocking On Heaven's Door" and one other. […] So, after my audition, they asked me to learn some more songs and told me to come back the next day. This continued for a week. They never said I had the job, they just kept asking me to return.

Slash called me. And he just called me one day - you know, everybody had heard rumors around town that they were looking for a guitar player. So he gave me a call and asked me to come down. So I came down the next day, played some songs with him and then he asked me to come back the next day. And just like that, like, every day was, “Can you come back tomorrow?”

[Talking about starting in GN'R]: My first thing was like – almost like relief, after pounding, you know, L.A. clubs and touring America and stuff. And then, you know, everybody in town knew that they were looking for a guitar player, and when [Slash] called, I was like, 'Yes!' […] And it’s like, I was going to see Izzy’s new band. That’s why I went to see the band, 'Let’s go see Izzy’s new band,' you know? And then I met and talked to Axl a few times. Honestly, I really didn’t know Slash and Duff at all. I had known Matt because him and I had played so many clubs together for years and years on end. And so, when this call came, it was kinda cool, cuz at least when I got to go down, you know, I had known Matt fairly well; so, no matter what was going out with everybody else, I can always, like, go to Matt: (whispers) 'What’s going on?' (laughs)


After a week of auditioning Gilby got the job:

And then, like, after a week, they said, "We're gonna do the tour, so you have another week to learn everything" (laughs). That’s basically what we did. […] I mean, I don't think that I could have been the guitar player to help them get where they got today. I think Izzy, you know, he had a lot of contribution to that and he was the one who brought them to where they are. Hopefully I’m gonna be the one after it, to the next step.

I played with them for a week, and then they told me that I got it. I took the next week and learned like 50 songs, and just went out with them. We played our first date within two weeks of me walking into rehearsal. I'll tell ya' — it was one of those things where it just worked out — I walked in, we all got along, so that wasn't a problem. Only it was a matter of musicianship, but when they saw that I was learning everything, that certainly was a relief for them. […] I have a lot of respect for these guys — it's like they could have any guitar player in the world, and they went back to their roots and took somebody from where they came from. You know, that's great. […] They could have anybody. There was all the rumours about David [Navarro], you know but, uh, this is what they wanted — that takes a lot of guts.

After a week of auditions, Slash called me up and told me I had the job, and that the band wanted to start touring the following week. I had to learn 50 songs in one week, and play them in front of thousands of people. My second gig was Madison Square Garden! I would come to rehearsal, play what I had learned, then go home and learn five more songs. I didn't sleep for two solid weeks - all I did was play guitar.

I had two weeks to learn, like, 40-plus songs. Two weeks. So it’s like, I didn’t have any time to think about anything, you know. Izzy and I are from the same school. They all kind of like the same kind of music, so I think that’s one of the things that - the reason why I’m doing it is because there was a certain style that they wanted and that was what I play.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; from April 20, 1992

I don’t know how I did it [=learn 50 songs]. I didn’t have song books to do it with and nobody even knew what Izzy played. They gave me the records. I'd be learning five songs a day and then remembering the five songs I learned from the day before. I'd rehearse with them during the day. At night, I would learn five new songs. […] When I played the first date, there were only two songs that I had cheat-sheets for. I actually memorized all of them. And to this day, I still have those same two cheat-sheets. Coma and Estranged I cheat on. I still don’t know them.

People were going. 'Hey, what'd Izzy play?' And then someone else would answer, 'I don't know. I never listened!' [laughter] It was crazy, wild. But we all got along, and it was a real nice feeling. Of course, I had two weeks to learn 50 songs! It was a miracle we ever managed that first concert together — two weeks later — but we did.

I had so much work to do. I mean, I really had to learn almost 50 songs in two weeks - that I didn't have time to fathom thoughts of 'What's Axl going to say...,' you know, 'What if they don't like this lick?', 'What if we don't get along?', What if I'm not wearing the right clothes?' […] The reason I got it was because we do all fit together, we do all get along and we do have the same lifestyle.

They could have taken a more established guitarist then me. Even though I had been in different signed groups I was totally unknown to the public. Guns N' Roses have an incredible apprehension of who they are and what they want to do. They wanted someone they could trust and could associate with on the side of the stage. Their court photographer Robert John laid in a good word for me, which most certainly helped.

It was like, ‘If you can learn all the songs, you’re in the band.’ So that’s what I had to do — learn every song.... They had just released the ‘Illusion’ records and I hadn’t heard any of that. I had heard just the first two albums, and I didn’t know how to play one of their songs.

Every day, somebody different was coming up to my amp and just standing beside my amp. I’m sitting, like, learning the songs and playing, and there’s somebody different every day standing by my amp. So it’s like I always have this feeling that somebody is listening to everything I’m doing (laughs). All the time with the band I’m just waiting for when they’ll say, “You missed a note. We’re gonna have to send you home.

Then I managed to find Gilby, and we rehearsed 38 to 40 songs with him so we could keep our regular tour dates. That was so much work. Nobody really cares, but for us that was a lotta f**king work!

If I wanted it that bad, I had to do it, 16 songs a day.

Later, Slash would emphasize, and confirm Gilby quotes from above, that he only rehearsed with one other guitarist, indicating that the 16 others they considered for the job either didn't play at all, or played alone (possibly with recorded backtrack):

Despite what everyone said, Gilby was the only one that I physically rehearsed with and it worked out great. It was real casual and he just makes the effort on stage that Izzy didn’t.

During the rehearsals Izzy called and asked who would replace him:

When they tried guitarists Izzy called and asked who was gonna replace him. When they answered it was going to be me he said that he was happy. We respect each other very much and I'm not gonna take anything from him. Izzy made sure this group got on the map and what he's done is totally incredible. I'm after Izzy.


One problem Gilby faced was the fact that no one in the band really knew what Izzy had been playing:

My task was to play Izzy's parts and play exactly like him. No one helped me in the beginning. Slash told me to pick out Izzy's parts and play them. So I listened to the albums, came down to the rehearsal place and played. "That's not Izzy's riff," meant Slash, and I said "but that's what I heard." "It's my riff" he continued whereupon I said "oh!" So I had to learn to play exactly like Izzy did.

To make matters worse, nobody really seemed to know what Izzy played. I would perform something, and Slash would say, "I thought you knew this tune." And I'd argue that I did. And then he'd say, "No you don't - you're playing my part!" And then we'd realize that you couldn't really hear Izzy's part on some of the songs. So then we had to try to reconstruct his parts the best we could. Duff knew what Izzy had played more than anyone, so I leaned on Duff a lot.

But it also might have been a blessing in disguise. It gave everyone in the band the opportunity to suggest a fresh approach. I think they were giving me stuff to play that they always wanted to hear, but Izzy would never do. So my rhythm parts are a combination of Izzy's original ideas, some of my ideas and a few additional ideas provided by the band.

They give me the records and they give me the list, so every day I had to learn different songs. But the funny thing is, as you go in, you’re like, I’ll go in to learn the songs; and I’d go, “Is this right?” and Slash would go, “I don’t know.”


Slash was thrilled about having Gilby in the band and would claim that "for the first time in years, he is getting harmonic support on his guitars solos" [The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 1991]. He would also say that Gilby's "enthusiasm" countered Izzy's "lethargic stage presence and rudimentary guitar work" [St. Petersburg Times, December 27, 1991].

We hired Gilby because he is his own man. The last thing we needed was someone whose mind would've been blown at the prospect of playing with GN'R. We didn't need that kind of pressure, because we were trying to cope with the loss of Izzy. We needed to know that the person joining the band could hold his end of it together.

As mentioned above, Axl preferred Navarro over Gilby and wasn't as enthusiastic in the beginning, but this subsided as soon as they started to play together:

Axl was one of the people who really wasn’t in favor of me being the new guitar player. He wanted David Navarro. Once I got in, I really had a lot to prove to him. And after the first show, he came up to me and said, ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’ It made me feel a lot better.

When Gilby joined the band and it was brought up, I wasn’t into it at all, because Gilby had kind of been, in the early days, considered – at least in my mind and in girls’ minds – as, like, Izzy’s rival (laughs). […] I didn’t know what Gilby was into or what Gilby was doing. I didn’t know Gilby personally, but it was just a name you always heard; and there was this other guy that I admit that I always thought was Gilby. […] He was cool, but I didn’t want to work with him. And that wasn’t who Gilby was; I never knew that (chuckles).

When I went down to the studio, before we went on tour, to see this person play, knowing that we pretty much had to go with this person or we were fucked. […] I walked in, and he was playing Coma and rocking out. It was just like done deal; and all I can say, it’s perfect.

The similarities between Gilby and Izzy would also be mentioned by Gilby himself:

I'm really happy with these guys — I never really thought of it before. Izzy and I knew each other from a long, long time ago. We were all in local bands together, and him and I were so similar in so many ways — a lot of my friends were like, ‘God, what an obvious choice,' 'cause back then it was like the two of us were so similar. It was kind of interesting.

Gilby would also comment on fitting in immediately:

I had two weeks to learn about 40 songs – that was hard! Fitting in was the easy part, we hit it off right away.
The Evening Chronicle, June 16, 1992


Despite having found Gilby, the band wasn't sure whether he would be a recording member or just a touring members:

Right now we have a guitar player named Gilby Clarke. And he’s been in Hollywood about as long as us. And, you know, he’s doing a really good job. But I don’t know about farther than the touring. […] He was in the band Candy when we were playing the clubs, there was all kinds of different bands.

Chemistry between musicians is something that takes a while to develop. So right now we're just touring. We don't have any plans for recording or writing together.

We have a person that we are working with, named Gilby Clarke, who has played around Hollywood about as long as us. But I don’t know about the next album, you know. We’re still talking with other people and stuff as far as that goes.

I don’t know if we’re going to write with [Gilby] when the tour’s over but I actually call him up and say ‘You wanna do this?’ and we hang out. With Izzy, the only time we used to do that was when we were getting stoned. That was like over three years ago.

I play a little bit of lead, but my role is generally rhythm. Slash is the lead guitar player. What's going to be in the future I don’t know, but I just had to fill a spot when I came in. So at this point I'm the rhythm guitar player - one of the reasons for bringing me in is that I always was a rhythm guitar player. Just because I am that doesn't mean I can’t solo, it's just that Slash is the guy that should be soloing now with Guns N' Roses. One of the reasons I got the job is that when Slash goes into a lead, he feels comfortable with me playing the rhythm part.

One of the reasons for this reluctance might have been a hope that Izzy would actually return:

[Discussing if Izzy is out for good]: That's something I have no idea about—how this is going to affect Izzy and his attitude. He may be happy not doing this anymore. Or he might really want to come back and make the effort that he wasn't making before. […] I just can't understand how [Izzy] could let something like this just fall apart. I mean the guy didn't want to tour or do videos; he hardly wanted to record. I just never thought he was one of those guys that this would happen with. It's a lot different than the Steve Adler situation. So I don't know what's going to happen a year from now: whether we'll be working with Gilby, Izzy or somebody else altogether. A lot of things are up in the air right now. But we've got a heavy duty tour going on, and we've got a killer band to do it


As the touring went on, the band members would praise Gilby:

Well, he’s done a really good job considering that he had only about two weeks to learn the entire set, you know, of tunes. And basically we don’t learn a set; we learn, like, a lot of songs. So he learned about 30 songs for the tour and we pick from those. So, you know, in that respect he learned a lot of stuff in a short period of time, which is really brave.

Gilby was the guy that fit in, like, right off. Same way that Matt worked out. And Gilby was the only guy that we actually had come down to the studio and rehearse on stage with us. So it was that kind of chemistry.

Gilby fit in so naturally that I figured it was a godsend; I didn't feel like we had to look any further. He just came in and did the work required. He's a great guy. He's a little older than I am, he's been on the road for a long time, and he's tough as nails. Gilby and I have become friends - that's how we relate to each other. We didn't want a session guy or some weird, star-fucker type who was into the gig for the glory, or to further a solo career. We wanted a dedicated band member, and he has grown into that.

In the band's official fan club newsletter, they would mention Gilby joining the band this way:

Sitting in on rhythm guitar for the now is a guy by the name of Gilby Clark. Gilby is a cool guy and has been playin’ Hollywood for about as long as we have. He was in a band “Kill For Thrills” and an old Hollywood “Candy.” It sometimes takes a while for the chemistry of band members to develop and meld. So we’ll see how Gilby will fit in... but right now, he’s doing a killer job!


Gilby would be joking about going from "nothing" to GN'R over one night:

Basically, they bribed me (chuckles). They made me do it. […] It was a tough decision, you know, to go from the clubs and stuff to doing this. It was hard. […] 10 years of struggling, 6 months of cheating (laughs). And it was right there, right at the top.  […] Oh, man, this is great. This is, like, everything you’ve ever heard of, like The Rolling Stones used to do back when we were growing up. This is it, this is the top.

I’ve been doing this for so long and finally it’s handed to you. At first I felt a little strange, like ‘You don’t deserve this.’ I didn’t feel comfortable — I was comfortable with the guys but not with the other stuff. Axl actually said one time, ‘You deserve this just like the rest of us. You worked just as hard, played all those clubs just like we did.' And I said. ‘Yeah, maybe I can accept this’ (laughs).

Actually, in a strange way, it wasn’t [much of a change joining GN'R]. Living in L.A. and being in the rock scene, you basically have this style of life and I pretty much already fit in. What was really great was I always liked the band from the earliest days when they first started in clubs and I thought it was a really cool band. Now they’re probably the biggest band in the world. I was just so happy.

It's a big change. It's kind of strange in the way, that, as a musician, I've been in a lot of bands, made a lot of records, done a lot touring, but it's like this is what I've been working for, for so long. I always wanted to be in a band. My idols were always the Beatles and The Rolling Stones — it's like a big thing, a big goal. It's like I've spent my whole life preparing for this so like now that it's happened it's like I don't question it — I accept it. It's like I don't want to jinx it. I'm really happy with these guys — I never really thought of it before.

Here's how I feel about it: It's like, to me, Izzy was a big part of this band, and the band wouldn't have got to where it got without Izzy. You know, if I had been the guitar player from the beginning, they wouldn't be where they are today. But I think it was one of those changes that needs to be done, and I'm like the right guy from now on for the future. You know, it's like my comparison is (chuckles)... I don't know if this is arrogant or what, but the Stones changed — everybody loved Brian Jones — but they switched to Mick Taylor, and they made some great albums with Mick Taylor. To me, my goal is to bring something like that to the greatest band in the world and add something. That's what I want to do — I want to just definitely make my presence known, and that's what they want too.


Later he would also talk about being afraid it would just be a short, temporary thing:

I never even thought I was going to make it to the first gig [laughs]. I thought they were just covering themselves until Izzy came back. Then I thought they were going to dump me after our '91 Christmas break. But then Slash gave me this beautiful red Les Paul with an ebony neck. After that, I felt a lot more comfortable. You don't give somebody a present like that if things aren't going well.

It was strange at first, because when it all happened, I don’t think anybody really knew that it was a permanent situation, because Izzy left so abruptly that we really didn’t know if I was just filling in temporarily or if it was gonna go on for a long time. What happened is, as time went on, it just became a permanent situation.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:12 pm


"He ain't Izzy, but who is he?" [Guitar Player, November 1992].


I was born in 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to California when I was 16 years. At this moment did music come into my life. I couldn't play guitar, but together with two friends who played bass and drums I formed a band anyway. We were really bad!

[Seeing a poster of Jimi Hendrix when he was a teenager]: Before I even heard his music, that poster made me want to play. It looked so cool, I said 'That's what I want to do, right there.'

I moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in my early teens. I was supposed to go to high school, but that never really happened - I discovered the guitar instead.

[…] I’d been in bands in Cleveland. I was like the little rock star around school (more laughter).

We went in high school and our gigs were at schools. All the other bands that played on these high schools consisted of guys that had left the school a couple of years earlier. Since we still were in high school we became somewhat of local rock-stars.

What was really strange is that when I first moved here [=Los Angeles] people were so nice — you walk down the street and people say ‘Hello.’ And I’d go ‘What the hell? Well, F-k you.’ Where I came from you’d get in a fight once or twice a week, it was no big deal and you’d be friends again the next day. But when I moved out here my first week I got in a fight and next thing I’m in the principal's office and I’m suspended. It was like, ‘Oh, California...'

A lot of people say that they chose this lane because of the chicks. That wasn't the case for me. I've always been interested in music and when I lived in Cleveland I bought records with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. I had to have a guitar, so I changed a pair of stereo loudspeakers, that my parents had given me, for a guitar.

From the age of 16 I've aimed to becoming a rock star and daydreamed about standing on a stage. I don't know why, but the thoughts about music was in my head and grew stronger all the time.


Gilby's first proper band was Candy [Guitar Player, November 1992] which was formed in 1981 when Gilby was becoming a "fairly competent guitarist" [Heavy Mental, 1992]. In Candy he had Kim Fowley as the producer/manager [UG Rock Chronicles, June 13, 1994].

I had two bands before Guns N’ Roses and, like, we had our first record deal in... Jeez, I think it was, like, ’83-’84. So I did, like, a couple years of touring the States. That band was doing pretty good - we were on MTV and all that - and that went on for, like, five years.

We got signed with Polygram and released the album "Whatever Happened To Fun" (1985). The music was a mix of Bay City Rollers, Beatles and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. It was a weird band, because we looked like punkers but played pop! That was way before Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue became the biggest thing that happened Los Angeles in years. We went as opening act to the, at the time, mega-huge Rick Springfield and performed in big arenas.

[Describing Candy]: We were, like, a cross between The Raspberries and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers.

Talking about Hollywood in his Candy period:

Hollywood was a wild place; there were a lot of great underground clubs we used to all hang at and everybody knew everybody. There weren't that many bands back then and there was maybe only three or four that could, like, headline say, the Troubadour on a weekend, and we just happened to be one of those bands. People like Kim, and I think Kim is fantastic, he'd always find the good bands before anybody else saw them. He was always on the street and we didn't have any money, we were all poor back then, and he used to have me go in at midnight and cover up other people's guitar tracks and stuff. I'd sneak in after midnight and re-do their guitars and using their guitars and their amps and the next day they'd go, God, I played that good.' They didn't remember but it was me and we just wouldn't tell anybody.

Candy didn't go anywhere and Gilby decided to start a new band, Kill For Thrills where he would take a more prominent role [Heavy Mental, 1992].

And then I started my other band, Kill For Thrills. That was just basically from the ground up playing clubs and, you know, the whole thing. And it's just years, you know, doing all that stuff.

Candy was really big in Los Angeles. When I started Kill For Thrills everyone in town knew who we were, so we had a stabile ground to stand on. We didn't have to go through a lot of shit that a lot of other new bands have to.

My band wasn't that big of a band — it was a weird L.A. band which released two records for MCA and did a small tour. We were on down time when I got the call for this, which pretty much put the band at an end.

Kill For Thrill released two records: "Commercial Suicide" (1988-89) and "Dynamite From Nightmareland" (1989-90) [Heavy Mental, 1992]. Looking back Gilby would admit he released three records that "flopped" [The Indianapolis Star, July 21, 1992].

After Kill for Thrills he played in a band called The Blackouts [MTV Headbanger's Ball, October 8, 1994], but this was likely a short affaire before joining Guns N' Roses.


Gilby met Izzy while playing in bands in Los Angeles, likely during his Candy period, and they shared a love for the Rolling Stones:

I knew Izzy before he met most of the guys in the band, and Steven, and I met the other guys around town and stuff. I had actually known Matt forever. Forever and ever. Too long (laughs). So yeah, we go way back.

I had known the band before when they were local, and knew Axl in a casual manner as we were in bands and stuff, but over the years I'd lost touch with everybody. But I'd read all the stuff, and then when I got into the band I had an idea of what he was going to be like, but being around him I got my mind changed after getting to know what he's really like.

We both wanted to be Keith Richards.

I met Izzy around 1984, shortly after he moved to Hollywood, and we really hit it off. We were part of a small group of Keith Richards fanatics who were somewhat alienated from L.A.'s heavy metal scene. During that period, I was also the lead singer and guitarist in a moderately successful power-pop band called Candy, which had a record deal with Mercury and even did a major arena tour warming up for Rick Springfield [the Australian heartthrob best known for his hit single, "Jesse's Girl"].

Izzy and I eventually lost contact, because I was busy with the band. But the next thing I knew, he was in the hottest band in Los Angeles - Guns N' Roses. When I was in town, I went to see GN'R every chance I could because I wanted to support Izzy.

I'd known Izzy and Axl both in the early years. We used to jam together in Los Angeles in the lean years.

Since I knew Izzy and he had a new band I had to check it out. This was before Guns when they were called Hollywood Rose. When I first saw them and heard Axl singing I said "that's one damned talented singer." It was so obvious that he had something special. […] I had been out on tour for a while and when I got back in LA I was shocked over Izzy's band. Suddenly they were the biggest in Los Angeles. I saw a show with them and even though the sound was so bad that you couldn't discern much, I understood something was going on. […] The first that struck me when the album ("Appetite") came out was Slash. He was the best guitarist I've heard in a l-o-n-g time.

Seriously, I was one of Izzy's first friends in Los Angeles. We both got to L.A. around the same time. Izzy and I both liked the same kind of music, and we hung around in the same small circle of friends.

I was actually friends with Izzy when Izzy first came to town. Then when Izzy got in Guns N’ Roses, I used to go see them because it was Izzy’s band. […] I kind of lost touch when they went on and became big and my bands were still playing clubs all those years.

I was one of Izzy’s first friends when he came to L.A. […]  I never played with Izzy. He wasn’t a very good drummer (laughs). So him probably playing guitar was a better idea (laughs). […] I mean, I like it. I really like it. I always liked their music from day one. And to be playing it now, it’s like, I almost feel as if – you know, when I’m playing, it’s not faking it. I enjoyed it and I liked it.

I knew [Izzy] before I was in Candy. Back then, there were only five guys in town who wanted to be Johnny Thunders; it just happened to be me, Izzy, and a couple other guys. Pretty small world.

Back in the (late '80s), even though there were a lot of bands, it was still a small scene. Everybody pretty much knew each other. I knew (Guns N' Roses lead guitarist) Slash.

Gilby also met Matt during his Candy period:

I've known Matt since the beginning of the eighties when I was in Candy. I had met Axl, Duff and Slash a couple of times, but I didn't really know them.

And while Gilby played in Kill for Thrills, in 1990, Matt replaced Steven:

When I was in Kill For Thrills and Matt got his GNR gig, I was one of the first guys to go, Matt, that's so awesome' because Matt and I had been fucking pounding it out in clubs for years and everybody knew Matt was the best drummer around. Sure, he was in The Cult and stuff but he never got that big break.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:14 pm


Izzy leaving the band was a big shock to the band and fans alike. The fallout from the band members telling their side of what happened to the media affected the relationship between Izzy and his previous band members for a long time.

In March 1992 it seems like the split was permanent, because Slash would indicate that they probably weren't going to be working together after all:

I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Izzy. That’s a personal kind of a situation in a way, cuz of course, you know, we’ve been together for a long time, and him and Axl’s known each other for a long time. We went through a lot of stuff together. But he basically just wasn’t interested in doing it anymore for whatever reasons [that] are basically unknown. I mean, I have my ideas, and Axl has his ideas and Duff as well, so... It’s like, the songs that he wrote on this record, a lot of them the band really had to work up to make them sound the way that they do. Maybe he didn’t want them to sound that way, I’m not really sure. So as far as writing songs in the future, I just figure, you know, the three of us are gonna do what we’re gonna do. I don’t know if we’re gonna keep working with Gilby or not, because we’re just touring right now doing songs that have already been recorded. And as far as the relationship with Izzy goes, if it doesn’t happen, obviously we’re not gonna, like, go, “We can’t write songs anymore,” because obviously we’ve written a lot of songs without him, and so....

And when asked if he was still in contact with Izzy:

No, I don’t think we’re a real good – you know, in a good way as far as a relationship goes, but it is a time-will-tell thing.

Axl would talk about being angry with Izzy, also because Izzy had decided to continue working with Alan Niven:

I'm angry with him 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 (former G n' R manager) 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."

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. […] There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.

During a call-in interview on Rockline in July, Slash was asked if Izzy would contribute to songwriting in the future, to which Slash replied:

I’m gonna talk to [Izzy] tomorrow about some of the so-called logistics having to do with the situation that we’re dealing with, so we’ll take it from there.

In July 1992 Slash would say he had just met Izzy for the first time since the break-up:

I saw him for the first time here in New York. We met in a neutral place, a neutral hotel. And it was great, because there’s so much red tape and so much politics involved, that you don’t communicate at all as people. You go through, you know, management calls so and so and so and so, calls the accountants, messages go back and forth. Everything snowballs and you get to a point where it’s so out of hand, this whole split. I can admit that we, like, hated Izzy, because he wouldn’t deal with us directly, he didn’t quit directly. You know, he sent a memo, a letter of resignation to the accountants and to the management, so we were just like, “You know, where you...?” You know, cuz that felt closer than that. But there was a lot of stuff in the way that this band has evolved, that has gone on emotionally, technically as far as business is concerned, the whole stature of it just being sort of overbearing, and all that. So we got a chance to actually talk about a lot of the personal things that we felt in all of this, you know, sort of Guns N’ Roses hype, and hysteria, and all that; because, as band members, we never felt like a part of it, it was always what was built up around us. And it got to a point where he didn’t want to be involved in the amount of work that it took and the amount of stress, and energy, and sleepless nights that took to keep it going so that it didn’t fall apart. So he just bailed and we took that really personally. But having seen him recently, it was nice. I missed the guy, you know. It was nice to actually see him. And we talked about how we want to make this a clean break without going to court, without having to make it, you know, insanely public and bicker back and forth in the press; which is really easy, because attorneys can send out letters and they print them in the press, and then we, you know, the band or the members of the band, see it and go, “How can he say that?” and it’s really not what came out of his mouth. And that builds up after a while and then you tend to misjudge somebody altogether. I mean, as long as he’s happy it’s cool, as long as we have an amicable split on the technical side, then everything will be fine. […] It was a lot more personal than what we’ve been dealing with over the last year. […] there was things that we disagreed on. You know, we disagreed on a lot of stuff all the way through this. But at least we could talk about it as friends and as people, as opposed to...[…] You know, through black and white, and all the logistics that the perception the people that work around us get in the way that they communicate. […]  the wounds I guess have healed at this point. I mean, we’ve just gone on to do what Guns was planning on doing and he’s gonna do his own thing. And so we don’t really give a shit at this point, you know. […] we had a great time. We, sort of like, took all the fax papers, sort of put it aside, and just talked amongst each other […].

Izzy would also mention the meeting with Slash but that he still hadn't resolved things with Axl:

Since [leaving], I've talked to Slash once, about a week ago in New York, and, uh, the last time I saw Axl there were a lotta harsh words - from him - so I kinda left it alone. I called him once after that, we talked for about a half hour, so I'm kinda wailing for him to call me back to discuss the things that we haven't really resolved.

That phone call with Axl took place in December 1991:

I called him up, said, 'Hey, you still pissed off?' 'No, I'm not pissed off.' Things were okay. But then time went by, and he got pissed off again.

We haven't talked to each other for seven or eight months. Actually, we did. Two weeks ago I was in New York and I bumped into Slash. Of course, he was furious. Well... We finally talked a little bit, just him and me. That was cool!

I would have rather met with Axl. But I guess Slash was 'designated diplomat.' He was as apprehensive as I felt, so it felt pretty good. Then the next thing I heard was on MTV in Europe: 'Izzy's forgiven, and he's doing a reggae album.' So I don't know what it actually accomplished.

Talking about the split:

I mean, now [Izzy leaving is] okay, because it worked out good for everybody. It worked out good for Izzy because he's gonna make his own record. He really wasn't happy anymore being in the band, therefore if he wasn't happy, they weren’t happy, and now they've got someone who is. Now they can tour and not worry about problems. Now they can make videos and not worry. […] I mean, you know, he never really wanted to be in the world's biggest rock band. He was always kind of like a club kind of rock guy. You know it just didn't go where he wanted it to go. So everybody's got to do what they wanted to do. Hopefully, it'll work great for both sides.

Losing both Izzy and Steven were the biggest tests we could possibly face. Because we're such a tight family, losing two members was really traumatic - yet we somehow survived. That was the be-all, end-all obstacle. As Spinal Tap as it may seem, we are still real people, and it was incredibly personal. […] Nothing phases me now - even this postponed tour with Metallica. It's just a period and we'll move on. The key is not to go crazy. Believe me, this situation is nothing compared to losing Izzy. That was heavy. That's why I'm not freaking out.
Guitar World, November 1992 (interview from August)

When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.

In the October issue of RIP Axl would again talk about Izzy leaving and how he felt, and indicate that he felt Izzy's working with Alan Niven as a particular betrayal:

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user. There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.

The same moth, Izzy would talk about his relationship with Axl:

I wouldn’t say that we were big friends these days, but I’ve known [Axl] for too long to carry any grudges or resentment. […] I feel good about having been in that band and done some of that music and some of those tours, and I don’t have any permanent scars. I’m still able to keep my balance on a skateboard!

In October 1992, Rolling Stone Magazine would publish an in-depth interview with Izzy where he would indicate any bad feelings between him and his former band mates were over:

I don't have any communication with them. I don't know what they do anymore. About the most I know about them is when I watch CNN once in a while: 'Oh, shit, Axl got arrested again.' […] Still, I like to think that those guys are all my friends. It's not like I never want to see them again. The channels are very much open.

One of the more creative questions interviewers came up with, was whether Izzy would donate bone marrow to save Axl's life:

What, you mean if he had an accident? Uh, if he was gonna die I’d give him a little bone marrow. A little. We could work something out!

Axl on the other hand wasn't so gracious, and would continue to bash Izzy from stage. In November 1992 Izzy would give his thoughts on this:

I've heard [Axl]'s still slinging mud. I can't take it personally, because if it wasn't me, it would just be somebody else. Somebody's gonna get it in every city. There's nothing I can do about it. When I left the band, he got real pissed off, told me to get off his property. When I talked to him a couple weeks later, he said he wasn't still mad, but who knows? I've left him all my phone numbers since December, and he still hasn't called. When he's ready, he'll call and we'll talk.

Axl only seems to say bad shit about me. I don't know why he does. Maybe he was just having a bad day. I haven't seen or heard from those guys in a while. I spoke with Slash in New York not so long ago. We talked for like two hours and it was great.

Izzy and Slash would also talk about having played together:

I don't think he really wanted another guitar player, but it was kind of a package deal, Axl and I. We had periods where we actually wrote songs together and worked out our parts. […] He was like a brother, but a brother who really wanted to be out on his own.

Even though the band always sounded cool, Izzy and I never sat down together and worked out guitar parts. We weren't really a team, in that sense. We would just jam, and he'd play things his way and I'd play things my way.

In 1995, Slash would go in more depth on this:

I started out as a one-guitar guy but I ended up being involved with a two-guitar band because I was forced to work with Izzy. Actually Izzy and I have a real natural relationship – it wasn't pre-conceived at all. It just sort of fell into place and I did my thing and Izzy did his and somehow or another we complemented each other. It wasn't supposed to be a two-guitar approach – he was on his side and I was on my side and the end result was completely different guitar players that happened to mesh. There were songs I would have done differently, like 'Welcome To The Jungle'. I really wanted it to sound a certain way and when I listen to it now, I still cringe sometimes. Because I hear this "tink tinkatink tink tinkatink" (Izzy's part) and I just want to hear the riff. For some reason there was interaction but it wasn't conscious. […] So, because I had to work with Izzy, Guns is now a two-guitar band. Duff always goes, "What do we need another guitar player for?" and I go, "Well, because..."

But the only reason Guns had two guitars was because Izzy and Axl came as a package deal. (Eddie van Halen cackles.) I had a band called Road Crew and I couldn’t find a singer. Singers are the hardest thing to find.


Gilby and I probably like each other a lot more than Izzy and I did. I think that's probably it. When Gilby and I write together, if there's a riff, I learn what he's playing and I make up another version of it. In a higher key or something. It's easy because there's no conflict of interest, no ego challenge. With Izzy, I would write stuff that was too complicated for him to play; or Izzy would write a song that was so easy for me to play it was boring. But Izzy's got a natural rock feel and people talk about, "Oh, there's Izzy and there's Keith." And I'm like, "There's Keith and then there's Izzy who could be Keith if he worked at it." They do have the same approach to guitar – open chords and a lot of rhythm. But at the same time Izzy doesn't have enough of a grasp of a guitar neck to make it sound as smooth and natural as Keith does.

In late 1992 Izzy would indicate that he would be careful about what he said about his former band mates, implying a future litigation:

Well... I mean, I gotta leave some of it alone because there are still some unresolved issues with those guys. But it's natural, everybody's gonna wanna know what happened. […]

Just over a period of time, it became obvious to me that I needed to change something in my life. Me leaving the band was the change I needed. It was a big step, but man, it was for the better. Now that I can look back on it, being in Guns N' Roses was complete insanity. Don't get me wrong, there were some great times I had with that band. We had some good gigs and t think some of our songs were okay... I really liked being in G'N'R when you could go grab a beer in some bar after a show and hang out with the guys without being swamped by a thousand 'new friends', you know?

Towards the end we had to send our runners and security guys to go get our beers while we were barricaded in some hotel room, and that ain't living, it's not a whole lotta fun. I think these days Axl even has somebody to open the beer can for him. I don't know, I'm joking of course, but it got a lot like that. Those guys, especially Slash and Axl, are being protected from the outside world now. Even if they wanted, the powers controlling the band wouldn't allow them to go grab a beer in a local bar.

In early 1993, though, he would claim to be on "good terms with all the guys in the band" but that he hadn't seen much of Axl who "is pretty insulated with lots of bodyguards and security" [The Boston Globe, February 5, 1993].

There’s no animosity on my part. After you go through so much with people, it’s hard to say these guys aren’t my friends anymore.

There still is none on my part. For them, there might have been initially when I left. But I'm sure it's like anything else. Life goes on and you gotta carry on.

Duff tried calling me here last night at like 4 in the morning, but I was sleeping. I got the message this morning. I saw  Slash in New York last January and I talked to Matt. […] I haven't talked to Axl since December of '91, but I’m sure he's been busy. But I’ve left the doors open if they want to call or anything like that. No animosity on my part.

[About Duff calling him at 3am]: We'll always have that relationship. We went through a lot. It's like being Army buddies or going through drug rehab together. [chuckles] It was a rocket ride. But am I bitter? Nah. It's too short for that.

Duff would confirm that he had no issues with Izzy leaving, saying his reasons were "very valid", and that he had been the first to contact Izzy after his departure, but also that he didn't miss him as a band member:

l miss Izzy. We lucked out with Gilby. Gilby was the first guy we tried out. Izzy left on very amicable terms speak for myself, okay -- nothing against lzzy, but I don't miss him in the band anymore. Gilby has more than filled Izzy's shoes.

I’ve never had a problem with Izzy. Izzy and I are very amicable and always have been. He had his reasons, and they were very valid. I’m not one to go, Fuck you, man!’. […] I could tell he was just miserable. I knew it wasn’t his bag, and it was killing him. He was all clean and sober, and no way I would’ve wanted to have any part in making him stay in the band, and driving him back to whatever he was doing. So, between him and me there was never a problem.

In March 1993, Slash would say the following about Izzy:

Sometimes I miss [Izzy], but the major part of his personality I don’t miss. After the whole drug thing was over, he and I — probably being the worst of the band as far as that goes — both sort of quit at the same time, give or take a month. Then there were major changes and Izzy became less involved with the band. He took that different road where he could never be around anybody who had done it (drugs).

After Izzy played with the band for five shows in May 1993, when stepping in for an injured Gilby, Slash would admit it was nice to see the guy again, and discuss the resentment he had from how Izzy quit the band:

And when [Izzy] finally quit it was, like, such short notice and so close to the next leg of the tour. And he didn’t call any of the guys in the band; he just called management and sent, like, a letter of resignation. So there was a lot of tension going on when all that finally came to light, that drift that was going on. And then having to find another guitar player and all that kind of stuff. And I think there was a bit of resentment for a while, and at this point – you know, I’ve known him for so long, I can’t be mad at the guy. And it was great to see him, so, yeah, it’s, like I said, water under the bridge.

And we just recently played with Izzy and Izzy is just not interested in this business anymore.

Matt and Duff would concur:

It feels good, cuz, you know, when he left the band, it was a little weird. I mean, he had different reasons, he was feeling like he kind of wanted to do his own thing, and when we spilt we hadn’t really spoken with each other. I spoke with him a few times, Duff spoke with him a few times, but, you know, not like it used to be. So when he came back, at first when I saw him, it was a little strange. But once we got up on stage it feels like the old days. I look over at him now and it’s like, “Wow, there’s Izzy.” It’s kind of trippy.

It was fun, and Izzy had nothing to lose. The gigs were cool. I was sober, and he was sober, so we hung out a bit. Out of all of us, I still stayed in contact with Izzy, and I know how he is.

[Whether it would help to heal the wounds]: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s helped heal the wounds to a lot of other people too. A lot of people thought that we had a lot of conflict amongst us with Izzy and stuff. But it’s not true. And for him to come back is obviously – you know, it’s cool.

Oh, it was great [playing with Izzy again], I'm still friends with him. Izzy's problem was touring, he doesn’t like it at all.

And when [Izzy] did the 5 shows with us to replace Gilby, I said: "Wow, this guy is a part of the chemistry, when he plays, it sounds totally like Guns N' Roses."
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

But the wounds didn't seem to have healed because in November 1993 Slash would say scathing things about Izzy:

During Appetite..., Lies and Use Your... I had to put up with Izzy the whole time. I never liked playing with him. It was wonderful to escape him on this record. It sounds tighter and so much cooler than anything we've done before. I always got irritated over Izzy's way of playing. It didn't sound right. Before "Spaghetti", we erased his guitar and Gilby put on a new one. It sounded perfect!
[Okej, November 1993; translated from Swedish

This interview was originally in Swedish and we don't have access to the original to verify the translation. It could also be that Slash felt he could open up more at the time to a more obscure Swedish magazine.

Izzy's opinions of his former band mates had also not changed after the five dates:

We never talked about me returning full-time to GN'R. And, quite frankly, it wouldn't be something that I'd consider in the slightest. Honestly, nothing had changed. Going back into the band was a strange and uncomfortable experience on the whole. It was cool in a way to be able to step back into something I'd left behind and to judge whether anything had improved, but I just found that it hadn't. It made me realise why I was glad to get out in the first place.

The band's egos are way out of control. Axl and Slash had the same attitude towards me as they did before I left, and there is a feeling of unreality about them. They lead isolated lives and don't seem to be in touch anymore with the real world. I spent all my time hanging out with the roadies. You know how many times i saw any of the band offstage? Once, that was Slash in London!

But it was easier to get up onstage with GN'R and do a two-hour set than to do a two-hour stint with the Ju Ju Hounds. All I had to do with Guns was play guitar on a set of songs I knew already. With my own band, I have the added pressure of singing as well. But if you ask me which one I prefer, there's no contest - the Ju Jus have so much more fun!


The saddest thing about GN'R was that all those I met in the early days with the band, people who used to hang out with us, I came across on the Ju Ju Hounds tour everywhere we went, which was great, but I saw none of them when I did those few shows with Guns. It's as if the band don't wanna know them anymore, because they've become too important!

Gilby would confirm that Izzy did not enjoy the experience:

It was nice - as soon as I got home, Izzy called me and we talked for a while. He just did it to see the guys, cos he hadn't seen 'em in a while. And then it was funny because I had Izzy on one line going, `When are you coming back? I gotta get out of here!', and Slash was on the other line going, `When are you coming back. We gotta get him out of here!.' It was the funniest thing. [...] They did five shows without me, and I didn't get to go because I was in surgery. And then I got in for the last Milton Keynes show. We jammed. It was nice, because I hadn't seen Izzy in a long time. [...] What's kinda cool is they just kinda realised, `Oh, Gilby really is a part of the band and Izzy's not a part of the band any more'. It worked out the best for everybody, cos Izzy didn't want back in any more than they wanted him back in. But it was fun, it was kinda cool, and I think it was really special for anybody who got to see any of those shows.

After having rehearsed with Izzy for a week in Israel Slash called me and asked, "when will you come back? Are you sure you can't come a little earlier?". I think Izzy had fun during those weeks but it wasn't his thing really. They thought it was good that Izzy was there, but they didn't feel comfortable with him. I talked with Izzy on the phone all the time. I even played with him later on-stage in England. […] I came out of the hospital late after having went through a surgeon operation. Couldn't even look at the band, but had to stay in a hospital in USA. I came to Izzy's last gig in Milton Keynes in England and I sat by the side of the stage. I thought "but what's happening here. This is my part!". Even though it was Izzy's from the beginning. He used all my old equipment too, so it felt very weird.

After the five shows Axl would again start slamming Izzy from stage [Popular 1, September 1993], something Izzy would be asked to comment upon:

Yeah, it was the same old story with Axl. When he wants something from you he's on the phone being all nice and friendly. As soon as your usefulness has run out he turns on you. He's said some shit about me in the past, and right after I'd done those dates he was back in the media putting me down. He's an odd guy. But I'm not worried about GN'R anymore.

Izzy would also talk about the rumors that GN'R was falling apart:

People keep asking me if the band will split up; I don't know and I don't really care. Duff has just put out his own solo album. He sent me a copy and it's...okay. He's put a band together and will tour and I wish him luck. Will he be the next to jump ship? Who can tell anything with that band!

The only time that I've spoken to anyone from Guns since those dates was when I called Slash a couple of months ago. Steven Adler's law suit against the band has finally come to trial. I am not involved directly, but I called Slash to find out what was going on.

And when asked if he would be writing with GN'R again:

As for writing again with GN'R...Somehow I don't think so!

When interviewed together in January 1994, Slash and Axl would echo this when answering the question on whether there was any truth to rumors that Izzy would write with them:

None at all! […] Never again! No, not at all.

Especially not to help record things.

Axl would also imply that there had been a financial conflict between Izzy and the band caused by Izzy replacing Gilby for the five shows in May/June 1993:

We brought Izzy back in Europe when Gilby had hurt his arm. And then we kinda got blackmailed and we haven't… We really don't wanna have anything to do with Izzy ever since then.

In all honesty, it was cool to get him back. When the idea came…

And it was cool when he went away! [laughs].

We thought it was a good idea to, you know, call him up and see if he wanted to come down and hang out and do a couple of gigs. And then it turned sour at the end so… It took us right back to square one.

It was nice while it lasted.

In the January issue of Guitar Player Slash would again say scathing things about Izzy:

['The Spaghetti Incident?'] was recorded the way I'd prefer to do any Guns N' Roses record. When we did Appetite and Use Your Illusion, I had to deal with Izzy. I never liked playing with Izzy the whole time I've been in this band. It was great not having to deal with him on this record. It sounds a lot tighter, or at least a little more cool than it sounded before. I always used to get bummed out about certain songs on Appetite that Izzy didn't play right. For this record, we took off all of Izzy's tracks and Gilby played them. I wasn't there when Gilby did it, but when I got the tapes back, it was a relief. It sounded perfect.

The explanation for Axl and Slash's again attacking Izzy from stage and in interviews might have been that Izzy demanded a large sum of money for playing the last show with the band:

It was really nice at first, because regardless of whatever animosity, it wasn't anything so deep-rooted that it didn't blow over. […] So, we hung out, we went shopping in London together, we had fun. Then right towards the end he turned around and did certain things that were so f**ked. Right towards the fifth date, because of his hand Gilby still wasn't sure it he was going to be able to play, and Izzy all of a sudden turned around and stabbed us in the back again, asked for an amazing amount of money to do one show - It's like, 'I can't believe this, go home. […] That's the last time we talked. I don't know what's going on in his head...

Since I couldn't play it was intended that Izzy was going to take my place for the first five shows and then stay if he was needed. We didn't know if I could play, because I held a guitar for the first time exactly before my "first" gig. Izzy had promised to stay with us, but after Milton Keynes he said, "I call to see if you need me" and went off. Axl was really pissed. […] This is not my opinion, but what the others have told me - there was a lot of bad blood between Axl and Izzy and when they then sat down and talked everything was cool. They had fun together but as soon as Izzy had made his money he left. And now there's bad blood again.

It is not entirely clear if they had negotiated four shows and then Izzy demanded unexpectedly much money for a fifth show that became necessary, or if they had negotiated five shows and then he demanded unexpectedly much money for a potential sixth that didn't happen.

In 1995, Slash would continue to downplay Izzy's guitar-playing skills:

And Izzy and I never had a great relationship. I played what I played on my side of the stage, he played on his. Izzy couldn’t really play guitar anyway — he’s a great songwriter. So I could do whatever I wanted, as long as we had a basic arrangement. Then when Izzy quit, Gilby was like a godsend, ’cause we had to put somebody in that spot.

Also in 1995, there would be rumours that Izzy would return to Guns N' Roses. This is discussed in another chapter.

In 1996 Slash would talk more about Izzy:

Last time I saw Izzy, he was on the way to Mexico. When I went to play with Alice Cooper [in June 1996], and I haven't seen or heard from him since. As far as I know, he's just doing donuts around the house with his motorcycle.

[Being asked if they are still friends]: As far as I know...actually, I wanted to get together with him to write some songs.

And in 1998, Izzy would discuss his relationship with his former band mates:

We're still pretty good friends. The only guy that doesn't call anyone is Axl. I don't know what his problem is.

[…] I see Duff from time to time because he lives up there in LA. The others, I run into them… Slash, I see him once a month. We made a song called “Ocean” for his record, but it wasn’t kept. No, the only one I haven’t seen in ages is Axl, but he never calls anyone... who knows? Maybe one day.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:14 am; edited 32 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:16 pm


At some point in 1990, Michael Jackson's people contacted Slash.

I was in shock! I didn't know how to react. Like, "Why me?" But what was then communicated to me was that Michael liked my playing and feel, and that's what he wanted. So I said, "Cool." I called his studio to see what was going on and they sent me a really rough demo. Apparently, they work really slowly, 'cause I waited around for another couple of months before I heard anything else. I still haven't actually played anything yet.

A few months later Slash had recorded for Jackson, but not actually met him:

It's at once the most sterile and creative process I've been involved in. Everything is pieced together from samples; you use the same drum beat and chords then later add things to make it different in some places. Which is so different from what we do. Michael hires out the studio for like 10 years and shows up once a month. I'll probably never meet him... It's sort of weird.

Michael Jackson was somebody I admire and have a lot of respect for. But when it came down to it, the sessions were so unorganized. I like to keep a schedule and be punctual, but those dates just sat there for months and months until I kept thinking they didn’t want to use me anymore. I got a call three months later to do it at such and such a date, but when that date came, it wouldn’t happen. I finally went down and recorded some rhythm stuff for a couple of songs. Then the producer said he was going to another country for a while, and I told him to give me a call when he got back. But all I did was end up talking to his wife or his kid trying to find out what the fuck was going on, and to this day I still don’t know what’s happening.

In the first half of 1991 Slash had still not met Jackson:

I didn't meet him. I regret having done that too, only because that's way too automated for my taste. The guy books the studio for like two or three years and comes in once every sixth months. I was very still. I'd do a riff and it was really cool and they'd sample it for the rest of the song. You know, where I come from is like what they call the Old School - you get in there and you play. I think Michael Jackson is great, but not the process.

In August 1991, while being interviewed for the December issue of Guitar Player, he had again been contacted by Michael Jackson, and this time he got to talk to him:

When someone asked me to work with [Michael Jackson], I thought it would be cool, sort of an Eddie Van Haien spot where I could really shine. I asked, "Can I have a tape?" That was a major situation. Finally, I managed to get one, but it didn't have any vocals—just synthesizer and drum-box. Three to four months passed before they finally asked me down. I was completely out of my element, but I did one song my way. But no solo—the song was only two minutes long. I used a talk box on another one. I played my lick once, and they sampled it for the rest of the song [grimaces]. I really wanted to put solo on that one. They wanted me to do one more song. Six months went by and they called: "Can you come down and finish?" I said, "Yeah, when?" "Well, we're trying to figure it out." A few months later, I finally call them: "Do you want me to finish this? Maybe Michael isn't hip to the stuff I put down." And they said, "No, you've gotta do it." Ages went by and they called again. At this point I said, "No, I'm doing our record and we're on the road. Too late." I never met Michael through this whole thing. […] For a while, I was bummed. But a couple of days ago, Michael called. This little voice says, "Slash?" We talked; it turns out he has a song he won't record unless I play on it. He's going to delay the project until I can get into the studio. Michael sent me a tape—the song is perfect for me. I'm practicing it right now I'm going to wail.

In December 1991, Slash would again shed light on the collaboration:

I only played on the intro thing where that Macaulay Culkin kid, or whatever his name is, plays air guitar in the beginning of the video. So I'm on that, but when it goes into the actual song, that's not me. That doesn't sound anything like me. So I was a little pissed off, after all the work we'd done in getting together, when I realized [Michael Jackson] was promoting it as such. […] [Michael Jackson] works really hard, which is something I can appreciate because I don't like to fool around and waste time. He's real personable -- and we got the stuff done. It was actually probably easier than anything we do in Guns.

Detroit Free Press was present at the show on January 9, 1992, and would describe Slash finishing a phone conversation with his "good buddy" Michael Jackson [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992]. According to the newspaper, Slash had recently received a "the gift of a big-screen TV from Jackson" [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992]. Slash would comment on their friendship:

[Michael Jackson] turned out to be very down to earth, very sincere. And he worked really hard, which is something I always respect. […] Working with him was humbling in a way, too. You think about the amount of attention that’s been thrown at us all the time. Working with Michael, whoa — that was definitely a heavy-duty glamour situation. It went way beyond what we do.

Working with Michael Jackson was really interesting in that way. He’s as big as they get and he does live in some sort of mental Disneyland, but he’s a lot more real than he’s made out to be. He works his fuckin’ ass off. We musta done like 50 takes of this one song (‘Black & White’) before we actually went on TV. I didn’t actually play on that song although everyone else thinks I did. I only played on the beginning bit where the dad’s yelling at the kid. Then I played on another song, ‘All Together,’ which I might do a video for with him.

[Michael Jackson] was great, you know? I mean, I know a lot of people have... You, know, because he’s such a celebrity, a lot of people have... they think different things about what he is as a person. But, as far as I was concerned, he was just real sweet, and he works real hard and he was real down-to-earth, so we had a great time, you know. That’s why we’re gonna go in and do something else, and, like, finish the whole project out that we started on. I had a great time.

It was a year later, when [Michael Jackson] called and asked me to play on something, that it turned into a more personable kind of thing. He was at the studio when I did it. So that was cool. It's called "Give in to Me" There's a totally spontaneous solo on that. It wasn't necessarily perfect, but it had the right energy to it, so I left it on there. Michael gave me no direction at all. He wanted me for the gig, and he knew what it would sound like. He never questioned anything I was doing the whole time. By the way, contrary to popular belief, I'm not playing on "Black or White." I did play it live with him on television.

See, working with Michael (Jackson), I've gotten to be good friends with him in the last coupla years, and I don't know how he handles it. His whole situation just seems so way out of proportion. Then he'll turn round and say something like he's got a sore throat today. And I'm like — wow, that does happen, huh? Back to reality.

In May 1992, Slash would say he would soon be doing a music video with Michael Jackson [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992]. And and:

Oh Michael’s a sweetheart. He’s a really cool guy. […] We’ve been workin’ together for a couple of years now on different stuff. […] I like him — he’s such a sweet and gentle man and actually pretty ordinary. […] People thought it was weird, us working together. I just think that in the end it’s all music — whatever kind you’re into.

In July 1992, Slash would again talk about his collaboration with Jackson:

It’s got to be almost two years ago that there was a phone from his office to my office. It was one of those things like, ‘Michael would like to have you play on his record,’ and of course I was very flattered. So they said they were going to be at such-and-such a place to do this and when I got there I found out that they’d block-booked time at all these different studios for two years, and Michael would only come in on occasion. So I said to the producer, whose name I can’t remember, ‘Well, what do you want me to play? Can I get a tape?’ and that’s when the guns went up! I said, ‘I just need something for reference.’ There were no vocals or anything, no real arrangements; a lot of it was drum machine stuff, completely the other side of the fence for me. It was like, ‘Okay, I'll adapt.’ They said ‘When are you available?’ and I was just starting the ‘Illusion’ record, so I said, ‘On Sundays, I can play any Sunday.’ They said, ‘We’ll call you right back.’

So I did one session and there was no music whatsoever. I just made up guitar to these drums with some guitar chords that the producer had put there; that’s all I had to work with. So six months goes by and they call me: ‘Can you come down?’ I said, ‘When?’ 'We’ll call you back.’

So another couple of months goes by and I never went back to finish the project so I just wrote it off. And then suddenly Michael’s office called me and said, ‘Can you do this one song? Michael’s not going to put it on the record unless you play on it.’ This was right when ‘Use Your Illusion’ came out and I was on my way to Africa - I wanted to get out of town because the hype was getting too much - so I said, ‘Well, I’m leaving for two weeks and I’ll be back on such-and-such a day,’ and they said, ‘We can’t do it.’ And then Michael calls me - ‘Hi, it’s Michael’ - and he asked me personally, finally, to do it. I said 'Well, listen, I’ve put back this trip for weeks, I’ve cut so much time out of the only vacation I’ve ever had.’ So he held back the release of his record so I could do it!

I went from Tanzania to Kenya to Amsterdam, with a six-hour layover to LA, from the airport to the record plant, and started this tune. And he was there, him and Brooke Shields, and he was great, and that’s when I finally met him. Then his record came out and I did a tenth anniversary MTV thing with him and played the song Black Or White, but gave it that sort of rock feel. And he says I played it on the record, but I didn’t really; I played on the beginning where the little kid is playing air guitar. That’s me.

But there’s another song, called Give In To Me where it’s all my guitar; all my leads and everything. And I’m doing a video with him when I get back from England. But that’s how we met, and now we talk on the phone all the time. He sent me a couple of TV sets. He’s a funny guy, you know, very distant, but very personable. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what his motives are, but when I talk to him he always seems really sincere and I take him at face value.

Talking about how working with Michael Jackson differed from his other collaborations:

The Michael Jackson thing was a little different, probably more business-like than with Lenny Kravitz or Iggy Pop, where we just went into the studio, Duff and me, and ripped out four songs in one day and had a great time doing it. And I just did something with Carole King; she’s doing a new record and that was just a case of going to her home studio and putting a solo on a particular song. It’s usually just, have a couple of drinks, hang out, no real deadline or schedule...

In August 1992, Slash would again talk about the collaboration with Jackson:

[…] Michael Jackson just called me up. He wants me to go to Europe and play a gig with him somewhere, and I'm going to do it because I can't stand doing nothing. I also just finished helping him with his next video, "Give In To Me." He gave me a lot of space. […] It's funny. Everybody thought I played the main riff in "Black or White," but that isn't me. To be honest with you, I don't know who the hell is playing that riff. Most people think that I played the whole thing because Michael really publicized that I played on the track. The only part I played is in the beginning, when the little kid is playing air guitar in the video. I played much more on "Give In To Me." I played the whole rhythm part and solo. It was very loose. I was just jamming to the track, and Michael came down with Brooke Shields. I asked, "Is this cool?" and he'd say, "Anything you want, Slash."

Slash would also get to organize the video for 'Give in to Me':

When it came time to do the video, Mike put the whole thing in my hands! I picked the director and organized the band. Gilby is in it, Tony Thompson is on drums, Muzz Skillings is on bass, Dizzy's on keyboards and Michael sings. We're in this tiny space and it is very rock and roll. It's a completely different thing for Michael. I hope he digs it.

In March 1993 Slash would be asked about his collaboration with someone like Michael Jackson:

The reason that it's cool to play with a lot of different musicians, um, from a technical point of view. Is just that it gives you a chance to experience working in someone else's environment. And makes you, it helps you grow. It, aah, it forces you to play as best as you can in a different style of music, you know. If I was to play with another band like Guns, it wouldn't make much sense, right? So when you play with other people, if you find something in their style that you dig, something that you like, you try to adapt to it. So you're learning, you're having a good time, you're not conscious of it at the time, Looking back on it, realizing that you're learning and all that. When Michael called me, I was just flattered. Because Michael, no matter what anybody says about the guy, is undeniably like awesome talent, you know. And I wasn't gonna turn it down, it's not uncool, you know, to go and play on a Michael Jackson record. And so I went and did it, and I can't say that it was an easy thing to do, because of how disorganized it was. But, I'm proud of it after the fact. Now all the commercial stuff that goes along with it, and all the sort of hoopla and fucking paparazzi that, that's associated with it. I could really give a shit. That wasn't my point. It was just to go and, and pull it off and, and make it sound good, Which I think it did came out sounding cool, and that's all that really matters.

When asked about his relationship with Jackson in May 1993, he would admit that he was an eccentric person:

Well, that was sort of a shock, I mean cos I’m (?) me and Michael Jackson, like, on two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But I was still really flattered. And I can understand, yeah, that he might be a little eccentric, but he’s an awesome talent. […] You know, I don’t wanna be just, like, the Guns N’ Roses guy. I’d like to expand a little bit more than that. And there’s a lot of people that I really admire what they play, or their songwriting or something, and it’s great to be invited to go along and play. It’s an honor.

By January 1994 allegations of Michael Jackson having sexually molested kids, including the actor Macauley Culkin, started to spread.

But when I first got involved, no, I never met him. His management called me. […] But after that, yeah. And I’ve done shows with him. I did a couple of shows in Tokyo, I did a video with him which was in front of an audience... So we got to know each other, sort of well, and I’d have to call him recently. […] Well, I mean, I feel sorry for him now, but only because – I mean, no one knows what the real story is, but the way that the media works... Especially nowadays, everything is so intense. You can’t walk down the street without somebody accusing you of something. So it’s hard to tell what the real story is, everything is blown out of proportion. So I know he’s going through it hardcore.

I was surprised to get the phone call. That was probably the most business-like session I’ve ever done. But I’ve gotten to know Michael since we first met in the studio and the guy’s just a bonafide amazing talent. Very rarely do you find yourself working with someone who’s that together. All the shit that’s going on with him now ... I just hope when it’s all said and done, that it turns out not to be true. […] You can never bury negative press whether it’s right or wrong. And that’s a drag. Especially considering that negative press is a lot more difficult when you’re a popular role model like he is.

When Howard Stern asked Slash about Michael Jackson and Macauley Culkin, Slash would simply respond "I don't know" [The Howard Stern Show, May 1992].

In early 1995, Slash would mention he had again been doing work with Jackson but also alluded to this causing problems:

I recently played with Michael Jackson again. Doing any kind of Michael Jackson thing is like doing a photo shoot without approval – you have no idea what's going on. Because there are no arrangements, you just go in there and play to a click track of drum samples. And I make up my part and what he uses he uses and what he doesn't want to use he doesn't. It's a whole different scene altogether, but Michael's cool. When Mike called and asked me to do this I was sort of like, "Weeee!!". There's all this controversy going on with him but that has nothing to do with us playing together and so I went to New York and did it. He's got a record coming out of 21 Number 1 singles he's had and there are seven new songs of which I played on three... but we'll see what happens. […] I got that feeling that I was sort of "flavour of the fuckin' month". That's howl felt at first. But I've done some shows with him in Spain and Japan, a video, and I got to know him. The guy's not as naive or as innocent as anybody might think; he's a very smart, quick-witted guy, fun to hang out with but obviously he's a little different – but so am I.

I did Michael Jackson again, but with Michael you never know what's going to be on the record.

Later in the year he would talk more about his relationship with Jackson, and when asked if Jackson is a funny man:

I mean, Michael is Michael. I don’t know. I don’t know him well enough to talk about him publicly on a personal basis or a personal level. But for my experiences with him, he’s had always a very, sort of like, a keen sense of sarcasm - you know, the subtle kind – and great sense of humor. He’s different, you know. And I’m gonna work with him again. He’s been good to me as far as – you know, I’ve had a good time working with him.

Also that they would play again:

I just talked to him the other day and we’re gonna do a show coming up. […] I go and put guitar on stuff that I have no idea what the end result is gonna be. But that’s just Michael, you know, so it’s a different world as far as my approach to guitar playing and working with the band is concerned. But that’s Michael.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:25 pm


'Appetite' was released when the band members were in their early 20s. As the guys matured they would quickly have to deal with defending lyrics they might not feel fully represented them as grown-ups. They would also explore different lyrical themes in their music, as shown on more "mature" lyrics at the 'Use Your Illusion' albums.

You know, we're not trying to promote, you know, drug abuse or anything like this. It's very scary, I mean, it almost killed us, almost broke this band. It's almost, you know, killed a few of us a couple times, you know. It's something that we stay away from. And it's like being here in New York, you know, we've had some bad experiences before and, you know, and you just have to be really careful because, like, a lot of people take all kinds of meanings out of your songs which has nothing to do with the fact that, basically, it's about something that happened in your life two years ago [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
I feel I have responsibilities to myself and to music, and things I want to do with it, like, you know, trying to relate to as many people and help open their minds up and least make them think. I'm not telling them that we can save the world but I can kind of describe the world, and, you know, just at least let them think about it, you know [MTV Documentary, November 1989].
Our first major tour was with Motley Crue and the audience was younger than most audiences that we played, like on Aerosmith tour or on other tours or on our own tours and the tours with The Cult. And it was real hard to do the song It’s So Easy because there's a line in there, "I drink and drive/and everything's in sight". We were talking about, kind of, how we got away with things and we're lucky to be here. It was real hard knowing that some of these kids would just go out and go, ”Yeah, I drink and drive and everything's in sight.” I mean, Izzy put it best when he said that a lot of people think our record means you know, party and do cocaine and rock ‘n’ roll. And it's like, that just ain’t what it is. So Izzy was gonna quit at one time because he was... didn't like the way people reacted to it. I heard something on the radio last night; when Frank Zappa broke up The Mothers [Of Invention] it was ‘cause people were clapping for all the wrong reasons [MTV Famous Last Words, August 1990].
My girlfriend recently asked me if I could still write a song as nasty and gritty as the things on Appetite, and I told her that it would probably depend on the song and if I was moved to write that way. But I'm not gonna write that way just to sell records. I'm not gonna write anymore bar room sex songs just to sell a few more albums. If something inspires me to do it, I will. I won't regress. I'll do it if I can take it to a new place, a new level [Hit Parader, June 1993; but interview done in December 1992].
Their past lifestyles would also be scrutinized by the media and band members would frequently defend or discuss it:

You learn from experience. We were very arrogant and in many ways an ignorant band, that just thought we could do everything our way. And we try to hold on What. I mean, there's still no formula For us. But then you see how people love to drag out dirty laundry, they expect you to come onstage and throw up or something. Which has nothing to do with music and every-thing to do with attitude. But of course, attitude has a lot to do with music. Personally, I don't want to piss off anyone. But we'll probably always be controversial. Life goes on [Musician, December 1990].
I just turned 25, and something went off in my head. When I started this I was 19, and at that age there's nothing to stop you, so far as you can see. And then as you get older—not to say I'm old now—but you do change a little and see things differently. It's pretty natural. Some people are a little luckier than others as far as living through it. 'Cause there are extremes. When you're 22 and on the road with access to excess—well, you can get in trouble [Musician, December 1990].
I think we're a pretty decent mirror for what kids and young adults go through, if you're not brought up in a totally stiff atmosphere. For people who have spent time on the street or have family problems, alcohol problems, we've voiced some opinions about what we were going through. And some of the reason we did so well is that a lot of kids related to that. Of course their parents might have freaked—It's that 'our generation' kind of thing—but it's what we went through. And now, what we have to say is a little different [Musician, December 1990].
We’re older and we’re more experienced. This is sort of a G Ν’ R cliché now — we’re not saints, and things still happen, but we try and keep them confined to the band, cos everything goes public now. People expect me to be drunk or people expect me to throw something out the window or expect Axl to break something and walk off the stage. That’s not what we’re all about. After a while, you keep everything to yourself. If you do smash the TV set, just quietly get rid of it y'know? [The Guardian, September 1991].
In 1991 Axl went through therapy that helped him to understand why he was the way he was and to grow:

I really think that the next official Guns n' Roses record, or the next thing I do, at least, will take some dramatic turns that people didn't expect and show the growth. I don't want to be the twenty-three-year-old misfit that I was. I don't want to be that person. […]I guess I like who I am now. I'd like to have a little more internal peace. I'm sure everybody would [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].
Axl would also comment on the way they had behaved before:

We, Guns N ' Roses, did [act like pigs] for a while. Or did, because it was the only way to deal with it -- it was O.K. to be obnoxious and rude like that for a while. it's not O.K. for me personally to be that way anymore. It was accepted of us [Interview Magazine, May 1992].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:26 pm


As the band members got older and matured and had their horizons expanded from travelling the world, they seemed to develop a broader consciousness about societal issues, or at least expressed it on more occasions.

For instance, on August 28, 1988, while performing at the Buckeye Lake Music Centre in Newark, USA, Axl would wear a t-shirt depicting President Ronald Reagan as Adolf Hitler.

This would also show up in interviews and lyrics to new songs:

We’ve been asked to do so many different things, and, you know, in America it’s real big to talk about the rainforests and stuff. But the poverty down here is, like, nothing I’ve ever seen. And I imagined my... You know, when we were first coming to the stadium to do soundcheck the first day, we went under the tunnel, and when I looked up and saw the houses, I thought of myself as a little kid here and having, you know, to try to make a life and starting that way. And it, like, ripped my heart out, right? So we’re trying to find whatever angle we can to get involved and... Cuz we haven’t really ever taken on any cause, you know, charity cause or anything, and it’s something I’m interested in. And since we do want to come back and we know we can make a lot of money playing the shows, maybe we can do something to help a little bit if we can find the right way to place things where we know the people are going to get the money. When we put Civil War out, we put it on The Romanian Angel (?) and George Harrison and his wife were, like, handling it directly to make sure that 400,000 babies got the medical supplies and stuff. We’d like to see if we can possibly help something, like first start something like that here. We don’t know... We don’t really know who to talk to. Everybody we talk to gets scared, you know, of where the money will go. […] Yeah. So we wanted to possibly if... It’s something I’m really interested in and then I asked the band, and the whole band is into it. We just don’t quite know who to talk to yet [MTV, January 1991].
In early 1991, Sean Lennon, John Lennon's son, would write new lyrics to the Beatles' 'Give Peace A Chance' as a protest against the possibility of an allied war against Iraq [The New York Times, January 12, 1991]. A host of famous artists collaborated on the song, including Duff. The song, in both its original and new version, would be banned from being played on US radio stations and the BBC [Associated Press, February 17, 1991].

After the war started, Dizzy would sign a banner in support of US troops [L.A. Weekly, March 1, 1991], and during the show at Deer Creek Music Center in Indiana, May 29, 1991, Axl would dedicate "Civil War" to the troops fighting in the Gulf War, saying (paraphrasing) that nobody wanted the war but now that the country was in it they should support the troops.

Later, though, in 1992, he would talk from the stage against the Bush government for bringing the country into war:

[...] 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. [...] [Onstage in San Diego, CA, USA, January 27, 1992]
[...] Anybody here voting? What do you think of politics? It’s really kind of fucked. I did manage to register to vote, but, goddamn, as far as the president is concerned, there’s nobody to fuckin’ vote for. We’ve got Bush, who sold our ass out in the Gulf War for billions of dollars and lots of people killed. [...] [onstage in Seattle, WA, USA, October 6, 1992]
The band's video for 'You Could Be Mine' featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role in the movie "Terminator 2". Schwarzenegger was at the time president George Bush Sr's fitness coach. Bush had initiated the Iraqi war. Slash would be asked if this meant they had sold out:

We don't pay any attention to any of that. We don't get involved in politics. We're not a political band! […] Our songs deal with everyday life. I know what you're saying but it's just personal politics. It's personal experience and situations and how you deal with them. But we don't take it too seriously. As far as what goes on now, we're not really into going all the way down to things like cigarette tax. […] I'm not politically conscious [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].
This prompted Kerrang! to ask what Slash's opinion on the Gulf War was:

I thought it was pretty f**king stupid. I know how the whole thing came about, but I thought it was f**ing stupid [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].
He was then asked if it wasn't "all the more incongruous why [he] should align [himself], albeit only in a movie, with Bush-man Arnie in 'Terminator II'":

In hindsight, if I thought you'd be asking me about it now, I might not have done it. At the time we just did it to fill a gap. We weren't thinking about Schwarzenegger's f**king social life, you know. We don't give a f**k about hanging out with the right people. We're not image conscious [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].
When Axl introduced 'Welcome to the Jungle' at the first Rock In Rio show, he would do it with this spoken word introduction:

When the poor come down to the street
And the death squad is out of reach
Everybody’s looking for a piece of the pie
I look outside my window
I see your [?]

And when the poor come down from the hills
At night
And the government and the merchants send the death squads out
To remove the beggars
Keep them out of the way of the rich
To keep the slums from coming down into the city
You gotta watch your ass, homeboy
Cuz I ain’t been at many places
But you know where you motherfuckers live?
I said, do you know where you live?

Do you know where you are?
You’re in the jungle, baby
Rio de Janeiro jungle, baby
And if you don’t watch your ass
You’re gonna die!
[Live from stage, January, 1991].
Dizzy would also talk about the poverty he saw in Brazil and wanting to help:

There’s a lot of poverty. I mean, I guess, like, 1% of the population actually has the money, and everybody else is just – there’s, like, packs of kids, like when I grew up you had, like, packs of dogs that were roaming the mountains and stuff. They have packs of kids that hit the beaches and stuff. It’s kinda scary, but, at the same time, it makes you realize that hopefully there’s something we could do to help those people out eventually [In Your Face, October 1992].
With this exposure to poverty and unfairness, and with their wealth, band members would star to get involved in various charities. Axl would talk about wanting to support organizations that would help abused children, partly due to its personal meaning to him:

I’m trying to find the right organizations I want to get involved with things for child abuse and sexual abuse for children, but I don’t know exactly where to place... You know? [MTV, May 1991].
Later he would be asked to elaborate on what he had said in the Rolling Stone issue:

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 [WNEW 102.7, September 1991].
And when Axl settled in a suit following the St. Louis riot, he suggested to donate money to charities that would help abused children [St. Louis Post-Depatch, October 1993]. At this point, Axl had gone through therapy sessions where it was indicated that many of his issues stemmed from how he was treated as a child. He would imply this in an interview with Rolling Stone that was published in September 1991, and again reiterate that he wanted to help abused children:

I'd like to be part of an organization working with child abuse. Sexual abuse and child abuse. I figure you gotta start somewhere [Rolling Stone, September 1991].
On April 29, 1992, four Los Angeles police men were acquitted after having severely beaten a black man, Rodney King, after a traffic stop. The incident was filmed and the acquittal caused controversy, especially among Afro Americans in Los Angeles. The unrest led to city-wide riots.

It was an irresponsible verdict and the violence was wrong [Melody Maker, May 30, 1992].
Well, the LA thing was very heavy, I thought. I thought the whole decision for one… the decision that was made was really irresponsible, and then I thought that the reaction was really irresponsible. I thought the whole thing was just a huge mess. I think it gave a lot of people excuse to do what they did, you know, and I'm hoping the verdict changes at some point or they do figure out some way of reconciling with, otherwise it's get... there's absolutely no respect for law enforcement in Los Angeles right now and it's spreading all over the... you know, […] it spreads from LA to then it went to Beverly Hills, it went to the Valley and it starts to go to different countries because they see, like, "Well, they can do it, we can do it," and so on. A lot of the other stuff that goes down, stuff that's going on in Thailand, you have to be aware of especially when you're in these third-world countries, all you have is CNN so you just sit there staring at it going, "Jesus Christ, it's getting hectic out there," you know. But as a rock-and-roll band we're not really that politically conscious because, you know, it's a whole environment unto ourselves that we travel around in and you don't always have things to say about what's going on in the rest of the world because you know that's hectic anyway and you're just trying to get on with just doing what you do [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992].
On August 19 1991, in Copenhagen, Axl would protest the ongoing violence in Soviet by displaying a Russian flag from stage [Press Conference, August 1991].

Still, Slash would emphasize that GN'R is not a political band:

With the lyrics, a lot of them can be very serious about personal situations or they can be just sorta funny about shit in general. People read into it really heavily. Yeah, pretty soon they'll be wondering if we're Republicans or Democrats. I haven't even voted. There's no one to vote for. For me it's like, 'F*** it, does my amp work?' [Melody Maker, May 30, 1992].
For the summer tour with Metallica in 1992, the band would invite charities and activists to set up booths at the stadiums, allowing them to hand out information material, accept donations, recruit volunteers, etc. Initially, the idea started with Axl wanting to help child abuse centers but it grew into encompassing other organizations, too. Represented were child abuse prevention and counseling organizations, local chiropractic education groups, The Children’s Survival Project, Inc., Rock The Vote, Rock Out Censorship, Surfrider Foundation, Amnesty International, Green Corps, The National Coalition for the Homeless, The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Animal Alliance of Canada, Rainforest Action Network, and the American Civil Liberties Union. [Press Release, June 1992]. For the show in Foxboro on September 11, one of the booths was for "the Massachusetts Prevention of Cruelty to Children" [The Boston Globe, July 27, 1992].

In late 1993 Duff would be asked about the charities they supported and why he "would go out of [his] to do these kind of things":

Because I want to. When we were in Australia, Dizzy told me he was going to see some handicapped kids. I was like, "Count me in." We are a part of the Starlight Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If that's what I can do to make a sick kid happy, then I'm gonna do whatever I can to be there. It's an honor to be asked. I hate "rock stars" and that mentality. All they care about is the pussy and the money and where the next couple of grams are coming from. I hate that shit [RIP Magazine, November 1993].
In early 1994 Slash would complain about the press not "giving a shit about anything positive" [Q Magazine, March 1994], yet when asked to talk about charities they support, he would say:

(Sighs) Y'know, I understand what you're saying, but it's already been said. Basically, what's positive for us - yeah, the charities are cool and I'm just pleased that we got to do them in the first place - but then making what I would consider a decent record and going out and having a successful tour and being very true to ourselves and our music, as far as that goes, that's all positive [Q Magazine, March 1994].

During the show at Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis on July 22, 1992, Axl "blasted Indiana for being the conservative, backward state that sent Dan Quayle to the vice presidential office" [Journal and Courier, July 24, 1992].

Our government talks about freedom and liberty while they exercise and maintain and enforce and strive for and fight for all the control they can have over the people. Since day one we've been taught to support our own oppression, and I think it's time for things to change[RIP, September 1992].

In 1992 and 1993 Slash and Duff would talk about politics and how they tried to avoid taking public political stances as a band:

As a group, say, Guns N’ Roses isn’t a politically conscious band, even though as people, as humans, we are. We try not to advocate our views on politics as a group, because, like he said, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band, so we try and concentrate on what our lives are about, and sing about that. And if something comes in from the outside, something major, we might sing about it, but we don’t like to send messages via the press and stuff [Much Music, August 9, 1992].
For the most part, who are we to send a message to a kid? Who are we to advocate some issue to some age group, or sex group, or whatever? You know, that’s too much. We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band - again, like I said [Much Music, August 9, 1992].
Politics is for people like Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen! We're just a rock n' roll band [Metal Zone, December 1993].
Slash would also emphasize that they didn't have a responsibility with their music:

That's for Sting. Sting and Bruce Springsteen and, you know, all these other guys. They have responsibilities to do that. We're just a rock n' roll band. I mean, we're just being completely honest about stuff that we see or how we feel. And you can take it or leave it. It's not something that's supposed to be judged so harshly. It's really not to such an extreme as that offensive. I mean, we have certain morals, that I know wouldn't come out. We would not go against some lyrically, or idealistically, as the band's concerned. Just 'cause there's people that we're not into. Within the limitations of what we're about as people, we write about that and we're not out sending any message. We're not on some sort of fucking "Save The World" brigade, because that's all… That's something else altogether. That's not why we make records [Swedish TV, June 13, 1993].
Axl and Slash would talk about voting:

When asked who he voted for in the last election: Nobody. There's nobody to vote for [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].
[...] Anybody here voting? What do you think of politics? It’s really kind of fucked. I did manage to register to vote, but, goddamn, as far as the president is concerned, there’s nobody to fuckin’ vote for. We’ve got Bush, who sold our ass out in the Gulf War for billions of dollars and lots of people killed. We’ve got Clinton, who could bring change, but then we’ve got Al Gore. [...]  Al Gore, who - if his wife had her fucking way, we wouldn’t have this goddamn concert tonight. And it looks like there’s a good chance she’s gonna be in a lot more fuckin’ power. I’m not saying not to vote for Mr. Clinton, but, if you want your records in the fuckin’ stores, you’re gonna have to do some fighting for it. Just like how we fought for this tour, us and Metallica, to make this fuckin’ thing happen, when most of the stadiums didn’t want us to play, cuz “it was too fuckin’ dangerous.” I just think that, like, it’s gonna take people like you all across this country to slap a warning label over that bitch’s mouth [onstage in Seattle, WA, USA, October 6, 1992]

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:28 pm


The third single off 'Use Your Illusion' was 'Live and Let Die'. The video was finished on November 25, 1991 [Rockline, November 27, 1991]:

Just got it done 2 days ago and we’re really happy with it. We used a lot of shots from our childhood and stuff that we’ve had to live through. I think it will be fun for people [Rockline, November 27, 1991].
The press has liked to show pictures of us as children, kind of where we started, but they also did it with an attitude to hurt us or something. That's why in the video for "Live And Let Die," we show pictures of us all as children in the background, coming in now and then - some of our favorite shots of us as children - to confront that.[…] My step-father had shot a video of our entire family and of his entire family, all the way back to great-great-grandfathers, and he compiled this video. Through doing certain work with my family, with understanding what was going on there now, it was very strange, very surreal, and very disturbing. I use a shot in the beginning of the video from when I was about three or four years old. I come in the door with a toy gun and my dad happened to film it. That went on the video. He sent it to me with some sound effects over it and a comment, kind of putting me down, letting me know he's still on top of things or whatever. But that's not the fact and I don't accept it, so it's like, "No, I'm using it my way, and that's me, and don't forget it" [Metallix, 1992].
Okay, this next video I’m gonna show you was shot – it was one of our live performances when Izzy was still in the band. We did it all over Europe and the United States, and we just took this live footage and then we had little old pictures of each member of the band as kids, you know? And this next one is called Live and Let Die [MTV, May 1993].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:29 pm


After a break since their Webley gig in August 31, 1991, the band continued with their touring in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in December 1991. This leg of the tour would feature some changes. Most significantly, Izzy had been replaced with Gilby. In addition the band had added extra touring musicians. The first to be added was a second keyboard player [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992], Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992]. Andreadis was in the band before September 1991 [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].

We got a guy named Teddy, Teddy Andreas [sic] and he does harmonica, which is on songs like Bad Obsession, and he plays organ, he’s a great organ player and he’s just a great background vocalist.

The band also decided to add a horn section and backup singers:

We've used horns in clubs before, but that's it. And they're just for certain songs… We're just trying to do whatever we can to make the band sound as cool as possible.

[The extra musicians] were hired at the same time as I came in the picture. As far as I know the choirgirls and the horn section is there because they're on the albums. Sometimes you see a concert and wonder "where did that sound come from?" And there's some guy who puts on a tape recorder. We play everything live so they have to be there. […] Besides the new stage is gigantic, so Duff, Slash and I have to run around all the time to cover all the spaces. Then it's hard to sing all the parts, so the girls unload us.

We just had them out with us for no other reason than to prove to ourselves that we could do it. When we recorded November Rain we used strings and I think that, live, most bands would have used tapes. But we didn’t want to cheat the kids so we put it together and it worked and I guess we just got it out of our systems; we can do this with real legitimate players: we are worthy!

As Axl would later quip, "five guys on stage was too much of a homosexual thing" [Onstage at the Worchester Centrum Centre, December 5, 1991].

The idea to add horns and backup singers was Axl's idea, but making the horn section all-female was Slash's [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992]:

Well, when this first started coming up, it was around the time that Izzy split and Gilby came in. At the same time I was trying to audition musicians to make November Rain, and Heaven’s Door and stuff to sound a little bit more like it did on the record. And Axl really wanted to get into that, so I got the job of going out and finding something to simulate it. And I didn’t want anything corny like three guys in tuxedos coming up with their horns, right? So I got some chicks to do it. That’s how, basically, the whole thing came about.

Andreadis helped to find Lisa Maxwell for the horn section [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].

Maxwell would discuss how it happened:

Ted mentioned my name, and I went and jammed with Slash. Then he said, ‘Get together two other girls and write the arrangements.

Maxwell then began transcribing the group’s albums and called up her old friend and trumpeter, Anne King. King recommended saxophonist and flutist CeCe Worroll, making the horn section complete [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].

The back-up singers that were recruited were Diane Jones and Roberta Freeman [The Boston Globe, July 30, 1992]:

The ladies had themselves opted for wearing lingerie [Star Tribune, January 21, 1992]. But according to Maxwell it was a little bit more complex than that:

The look was real important. I mean, the playing was the least of it, it’s not hard. […] ][The band] couldn’t decide if they wanted us to look elegant or have a street-slut vibe. They decided on street, and got a designer who did a great job but really didn’t have time to fit us properly.

Eventually, after some fans and critics commented on the costumes, the women asked to use their own clothes because they felt it would lend more credibility to their playing [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992]. Maxwell would recall:

We sort of joke around and say we’re a dessert topping and a floor wax - sometimes we travel with the band, sometimes we travel with the crew, and nobody seems to know what to do with us. […] The crew was very resistant at first. They figured that the band put us with the crew because they didn’t respect us and so we weren’t worth very much. But now that we know each other they treat us like sisters.

Slash and Axl would enjoy the bigger band:

And it’s fun having this - like, this whole, you know, entourage out on the road. You know, like, five girls, and Ted, and the rest of us. It’s a circus, you know?

There's Teddy, there's Dizzy, there's Roberta, Tracy, Lisa, CeCe, Anne, Gilby, Matt, Duff, Slash and me. Slash put this new band together, did all of the groundwork. He did such an amazing job that I just can't believe it really happened. I'm glad to be a part of it. It's a pretty huge thing, and we might even add some dancers, like we used to have back in the old Troubadour days. It's something we've considered.

When asked his thoughts on people who preferred the band when it was more stripped down, Axl would say:

But I don't think it's losing any of its energy. There's a lot more energy now. I think that before, people were seeing the potential. […] Yeah, well, there are people who like a girl that had the same haircut she had ten years ago, too. I understand that. I understand that a lot. But it's like, we're evolving, and it's us. I read a quote where David Bowie was saying that Pink Floyd was Syd Barrett to him. I'm like "Yeah, but to deny anything that Pink Floyd's done after that?" Certain elements of our music and our performance and our attitude are still there, but we're not the same people we were then. Maybe it would've been best for the purists if we'd died or broken up. Then they'd get to keep it the way they liked it.

In the March 1992 issue of their official fan club newsletter, the band would explain the addition of musicians this way:

Also, for this tour, we are bringing along an extra keyboard player, three lady horn players and two backup singers. So when you see us in concert, it will sound as close as possible to how the albums sound... Maybe even better!


In mid-1994, when asked about the bigger band, Slash would respond this way:

Since the beginnings of the band we’ve always been evolving, step by step. It’s not a preconceived career plan. The only need is to move forward and we have come to the point where we say, "Since we can do whatever we want, let’s try this or that, can we get away with it?". Or, maybe, “Would it be better to not keep quiet about this or that or should we just forget about the critics?". And we ended up playing in stadiums, because that was the level we had reached, it was the next step. But I can tell you that I want to go back to indoor venues on the next tour. I feel like a dwarf in these big open air arenas.

But in early 1995, when his conflict with Axl was escalating, Slash would say he had been against the bigger band and that it had made him "uncomfortable" [Kerrang! January 14, 1995] and:

With Guns, it got to be such a huge production—it was almost a cabaret act. Axl and I we try to work together, and things started leaning over toward these fantastical Axl concepts, and I cruised along. We had horn players, then we did the acoustic set, big budget videos.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:31 pm

DECEMBER 5, 1991-JANUARY 10, 1992

After a break since their Webley gig in August 31, 1991, the band continued with their touring in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in December 1991. This leg was supposed to start in October, then in November, but the band kept postponing [Melody Maker, March 28, 1992], likely due to having to replace Izzy and adding additional musicians as described in the previous section.


In addition, the band had gotten Soundgarden as the opener. The members of Soundgarden looked forward to the tour:

This is a problem we’ve always had in that there’s not that many bands really that we can be matched up with in a tour situation — it’s got to be obviously appropriate. […] Really, musically, Guns N’ Roses is more appropriate than any other tour we’ve really been offered. Most of their audience isn’t going to be familiar with our music, but I think most of their audience is going to understand what we do, and that’s the important thing.
The Newark Advocate, January 19, 1992

It's the coveted opening slot for any band out there right now. We were lucky to have been chosen by the band members themselves, instead of some management-manipulation-payola trip. […] If they come on late, we've been told we can stretch our set a little bit, which should be fun. […] We were going to go out with Queensryche. […] So we had to say 'Later' to those guys, and go on the Guns N' Roses ship. We really believe in our record, and we want it to be heard.
Circus Magazine, January 31, 1992


The first two gigs were at Worcester Centrum Centre, in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, on December 5 and 6. The December 5 show was sold out in a "record 22 minutes" [RAW, December 1991]. The band would start these shows well over two hours late [Hartfort Courant, December 7, 1991]. The late starts, which had plagued the tour so far, would continue for this leg with 90 minutes or more wait after the opener becoming the norm more than the exception.

These shows would also be Gilby's first shows with the band:

I guess Izzy and I have got a similar look. So there were kids up front, especially in Boston, going ‘Yeah, Izzy! All right, Izzy!’ And I was like, ‘Wrong guy, man’.

I’m calling it a hangover, it could be first-day jitters, I don’t know for sure. But it really helped calm me down. Like, before the show started, seriously, I was the most calm person on the stage. Everybody else was way more worried than I was.

[Talking about what he remembers from his first gig with the band]: yes, a lil... i was hungover. i met up with some friends the night before & had a yager party. it took the edge off.

I’m a pretty calm person — I think the first show the other guys were more nervous for me than I was. I knew it was going to be cool, and I’d played arenas before so it wasn’t a big surprise. What was a big surprise was I’d always been in the opening band and you have to win the audience. Here you walk out and the audience is already won. One thing that worried me was that Izzy had been in the band since Day One, and I wondered how receptive they’d be to me. I mean, I always liked Izzy and I liked Izzy in the band — it would be strange to see a new guitar player take his place. The night before I met some friends and got pretty trashed so the night of the first show I had probably the worst hangover of the last few years. That probably helped take the edge off.

And after the first show, [Axl] came up to me and said, ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’ It made me feel a lot better.

For the first show Gilby was asked to do a solo spot:

I didn't even know that I was getting a solo spot until the day before the first gig! They just came up to me and said, "So what are you going to play in your solo segment?" I mean, why would I get a solo segment? So then Axl said, "Well, Izzy always used to do a little solo before 'Patience.' Do you think you can come up with something?" I just didn't want to get out there and do a lead guitar thing. Slash is the lead guitarist. So I decided to play "Wild Horses," which is one of my favorite songs.

Gilby would later look back at starting in Guns N' Roses and remark that it was a simple transition:

What's really weird is, I mean, a lot of people think about, you know, I mean, the band was hard to deal with and stuff. To tell you the truth, it was very, very easy. I mean, I walked into a successful band -- I didn't have to do anything. I didn't have to tune my guitar; you know, I didn't have to send my luggage; you know, I didn't have to book the shows and things. All I had to do was play guitar. And I got to play guitar exactly the way that I got to play guitar, so it was pretty easy..

Then followed three shows at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 9, 10 and 13. During the first of these, which started almost 2 hours later than announced because Axl had the flu which left him throwing up backstage between the songs [Rolling Stone, December 1991]), Axl would say they expected to pay $24,000 in curfew fees [New York Times, December 11, 1991]:

You people are worth more than the $24,000 we’re paying in overtime.

Looking back at playing at Madison Square Garden:

We had a lot of American shows. My second set of shows was at Madison Square Gardens (laughs). I was like dreaming all my life, you know — it's just one of those musician dreams! To make it real in two weeks, was like...

The band then played 7 more shows before coming to play two shows at The Summit in Houston on January 9 and 10, 1992. For the first of these shows the Houston chapter of the organization Queer Nation organized a protest titled "Pansies against Roses," calling out and showing displays, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay -- Guns N' Roses, go away!," and "Gay bashers are closet cases." The demonstrators were met by hecklers chanting "Guns N' Roses!" and "Faggots go home!" [Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1992].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:33 pm

JANUARY 13-14, 1992

After the two shows in Houston the band came to Fairborn near Dayton in Ohio, on January 13 and 14, 1992. For the first show the band was even more late than usual, long after the "around 8 PM" time printed on the tickets [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. At 11:52 PM Slash came on stage to announce the show would be delayed due to a technical problem with one of the stage monitors: "I didn’t build the... equipment — I just play through it" [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. The band entered the stage first at 12:25 AM [Sandusky Register, January 15, 1992; Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. Several members of the Nutter Center’s support staff allegedly said that Axl did not arrive at the venue until after midnight [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. The show ended at 3:05 AM [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. From the stage Axl would imply psychological issues, saying "You’ve got to realize that this is not a pleasant place for me to play" while explaining that his step-father was from Dayton and that he had needed time to prepare himself mentally for the performance [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992].

And you all know how that’s just one of my “favorite” places. No offense, but if you believe that – I mean, my stepdad is from here in Dayton and I used to come here when I was a kid. This is not a pleasant place for me to be. But I got to realize that it doesn’t have anything to do with you who came to see the show.

In early 1993, Matt would talk about having to wait for Axl for this show:

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.

During the show Axl would also try to get the crowd into the show by engaging with them about the accusations that the band had supremacist sympathies:

[Talking about trying to get a crowd reaction]: I approached it a bit differently when we did the first show in Dayton, Ohio. We'd been told we're the perfect house band for David Duke's America. And it's like, fuck David Duke, I don't like being associated with that. I asked the crowd: "Is that what you get out of this, that we're racists and you're supporting it? 'Cause if that's the case, I'm gonna go home. That's not why we're here." I asked the crowd about those things. I got some real interesting responses. The way they reacted was a little bit different than normal. There was silence in different places and cheering in others. You could tell that they were thinking for a minute.

Also on the day of this show, something, a "miscommunication" in the words of Axl, happened between Doug Goldstein and Axl, resulting in rumors that Axl had fired Goldstein:

Last night there was a miscommunication between me and my manager, and suddenly that turned into I fired my manager. And before we even got back to our hotel, I may even say this is where it started – you know, this is the only time I get to be around the fucking crew and shit, I’m talking to our crew and stuff, and suddenly the fucking story was back to L.A. and New York, before we even got back to the goddamn hotel, that I fired my manager. Which, basically, kind of ruined the last day for our manager. His name is Mr. Doug Goldstein, and I love Mr. Doug Goldstein, and if anybody gets in the fuckin’ way of that with their little fuckin’ stories, they can take a walk now. There were even some people that were really happy and they threw their little fucking parties because they thought Dougie would be gone.
Dayton, OH, USA, January 14, 1992

During the second performance in Dayton [January 14], Axl slashed his hand open on a broken microphone stand:

It happened at the beginning of the set and he made it through the whole show. It was making everybody nervous. I didn't want anything to happen to the hand. I just wanted him to get it checked out to make sure it was OK. He was a trooper.

The incident would also be mentioned in the band's official fan club newsletter:

During a concert in Dayton, OH on Jan. 14, 1992, the weld on Axl’s mike stand broke. It caused a deep laceration running from his thumb across the palm of his hand. Axl wrapped his hand in towels to contain the bleeding, and fighting off shock, insisted on finishing the show. Axl was rushed to a doctor who stitched up the deep gash. Fearing permanent nerve damage that might prevent him from playing keyboards, Axl was flown to New York to see a hand specialist who performed surgery. The band was forced to postpone two concerts in Detroit. Luckily, Axl’s hand is healing perfectly!!!

While Axl was backstage having his hand looked at, he thought Slash said something critical about him and when entering the stage he would call Slash a "punk motherfucker" and that he would "kick your fucking ass". Before things escalated the band started playing 'Welcome to the Jungle'.

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.

To get stiches the band would end the show about 30 minutes early.

I apologize. We’re going to play a few more songs and go so I can get some stitches.

As mentioned in the fan club newsletter, the band cancelled two shows in Detroit due to Axl's hand injury.

Slash would look back at the incident:

We had a fight on stage one time, where he cut his hand or something and went backstage, and I served to cover for it; I said to the crowd, you know, “Stop throwing this” or whatever and he misunderstood me, saying that – he thought that I said that he went back to do a wardrobe change, he came out and just cursed my ass off the mike. All of a sudden I was like, “What the...” […] And that was, like, for the rest of the night. I was like, “What the hell are you talking –“ (laughs). […] So we went back and watched the tape, and he went, “Oops, sorry” (laughs).

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:35 pm


The band then played two shows at Target Center in Minneapolis on January 21 and 22. Again, Axl was late. Before the show, Soundgarden's singer, Chris Cornell, had talked about the headliner's late starts:

"The bottom line is if you’re trying to incorporate regimen in rock ’n’ roll, you’ll end up with a paradox. It’s like putting a three-dimensional picture in a two-dimensional frame. Rock is supposed to be spontaneous" [Star Tribune, January 22, 1992].

And Cornell would quip about this before they left the stage:

"You’d better appreciate us. We may be the last band you’ll get to see for a while" [Star Tribune, January 22, 1992].

The band then came to Las Vegas for a show at the Thomas and Mack Center on January 25, 1992. The day before the show, January 24, Axl would be interviewed by Kim Neely for Rolling Stone magazine, and Neely would describe Axl's good mood including how he had welcomed two girls who had managed to sneak past security and knocked on his hotel room door [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].

Later, Axl would look back at this gig:

I think it's pretty much on my shoulders and I don't mind that at all. The band works the stage and gets off on the crowd, but I'm kind of a shield. If I'm gone they don't really know how to get on top of it. If I'm out there and not handling it, no one can really rescue me. It's just very hard sometimes. We've done shows where I could feel that it was a very taking thing and I turn around and Slash is doing handstands because he's still getting off on the chaos of it. And I'm having the shit beat out of me. This happened in Vegas. My jaw was hurting, my back was hurting, my leg was hurting. I call it shadow boxing because it comes down to between me and the audience. And for Guns N' Roses to be successful, I have to win. And if I win, everyone wins. If the crowd wins then a lot of people lose, including the crowd. They didn't get to be satiated, they get to go home pissed off because we crumbled under it[Musician, Shadow Boxing with Axl Rose, June 1992].
The band then travelled to the San Diego Sports Arena for show on January 27 and 28.

The last shows of this leg was on January 31 and February 1 at Compton Terrace in Chandler. As common in the music industry, for the very last show, GN'R decided to play a prank on the opener, Soundgarden.

February 1, 1992, was our last show with Soundgarden, at Compton Terrace, Arizona, and we decided to commemorate it with a little prank. We got ourselves a few inflatable dolls and Matt and Duff and I took our clothes off and went onstage with them. Come to think of it, I was the only one of us completely naked. In any case, Soundgarden was touring the Badmotorfinger album, and they came from a place where there was no fun to be had while rocking, so they were mortified. They looked around and there we were screwing blowup dolls all around them; I was drunk and I fell. I got separated from my doll, and at that point I was totally naked - it was a scene [Slash's autobiography, "Slash", 2007, p. 347]
Phoenix? Naked? Oh, now I remember! That was the last time Soundgarden was opening for us, and we were losing them. So we wanted to play some kind of prank, but we didn't want it to be one of those old cliche pranks. Next thing you know, we were taking our clothes off and running out during their set. [...] Axl didn't do it, but not because he was chicken. He'd just arrived at the place just in time to see us do out thing. [...] But I'll tell you who chickened out. Matt did. Print that. Matt chickened out. Hah! [Lakeland Ledger, August 1992].
Gilby would be asked if he had been told to act in any particular way on stage on their touring:

No, not at all. Nobody has ever said what I can or can't do, or what I can or can't wear. That's not the way the band is - you just kind of feel your way around situations. Many things are left unsaid. The same thing applies to the music. The most difficult thing for me when I was learning their material was copping the feel of the band. They would always say, "Lay back, man, lay back." It's not something you can articulate - it's something you feel. It probably took me a couple of months before I fell completely into their groove [Guitar Player, November 1992]
During the touring Soundgarden would comment on how it was to open for Guns N' Roses:

Matt Cameron (drummer): "We've been treated really great. The crew's wonderful; the guys in the band are really nice and helpful. It's been really organised " [Rock Power, March 1992].

Chris Cornell (singer: "Most of it is tedious. We just thought most of the stories surrounding Guns N' Roses were media generated -- people looking for a story. Nothing spectacular ever happened" [Melody Maker, March 28, 1992].

Chris Cornell (singer: "A lot of it is blown out of all proportion. With Guns, a lot of the reports about how they handle their success and what they do aren't true. They're down to earth, but people don't wanna think of them that way" [Kerrang! April 4, 1992].

Matt Cameron (drummer): "The experience is great; it's a coveted opening slot which was given to us, and we're not gonna throw that in anybody's faces " [Kerrang! April 4, 1992].

Chris Cornell (singer: "Spending time with Axl on the Guns tour, I realized how much stuff written about them is really bullshit. They treated us better than any band ever has" [RIP Magazine, July 1992].

Matt Cameron (drummer), talking about the crew encouraging girls to flash before the cameras: "They did that pretty much every night. It was just backstage entertainment, because all that stuff was coming through on the monitors. It was just kind of a "rock" thing to do. I watched it one night, and I thought it was pretty funny, but it was definitely a strange scene. The women who do stuff like that are pretty stupid in the first place. A big rock circus is what it was" [High Times, July 1992].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:36 pm


Duff, with his punk sensibility, was not in favor of mechandise:

[…] there is this whole corporation now, this Guns N’ Roses industry with merchandising and concerts and tickets. […] I hated that when [Kiss] started selling folders and stuff like that[Hit Parader].
In Januar 1991 Slash was also asked about the topic and expressed similar sentiments:

I guess we’re doing [a sponsor for the 'Use Your Illusion' tour], but I don’t want to sell out. I don’t want to be the next Janet Jackson, M.C. Hammer, fucking Eric Clapton or whoever else. We’re doing a tour, and if they want to help pay for it, we’ll use their name — we’ll put banners up all over the gig, I don’t give a shit. If there’s free cigarettes and free beer and they help pay for the tour, I don’t care. But I’m not wearing a Budweiser T-shirt. I don’t care if we do our own photos and it says “Budweiser” or “Marlboro” on the bottom of the page, but I don’t want to do anything where I’m holding up something with a big smile on my face. […] I don’t think the fans will care. They all drink Budweiser and smoke Marlboros. I was worried about the parents and what they’d say about the cigarettes, but it’s like some of the most influential personalities in baseball, football, basketball and race-car driving do ads. I mean, I advertise smoking constantly anyway; I can’t help it. I don’t see why cigarettes are any worse than beer[Rolling Stone, January 1991].
But when asked if there was something he would be willing to sponsor individually, he made an exception for a vodka brand:

I’m willing to do it if there are no dumb ads and no dumb commercials. I want to do Black Death Vodka. Axl turned me on to it. I want Black Death Vodka to call me, because I’ll sponsor them. Just me personally[Rolling Stone, January 24, 1991].
Slash and Black Death Vodka will be the topic of a separate chapter.

Axl would express his thoughts on merchandise and sponsoring from the stage:

I wanna talk to you for a minute because I wanna get your opinion on something. And I’m real serious. You know, being a band in our position, you wander about cuz you’re interested in making some more money. And the offers get made and you go, well, you know, I drink the beer. So there’s all this talk of sponsorship. And I was pretty much undecided either way, since I drink Budweiser and I smoke Marlboro, then I couldn’t care less if they want to slap the sticker on you. Until today. I don’t have anything against the companies that sponsor and manage us here, except I’ve got a tattoo on this shoulder. It’s a tattoo of a Thin Lizzy album cover, you know? And since both my father and my stepfather were assholes, Phil Lynott kinda like took the place of dad for me when I was a kid. And I’m watching TV today and I see this Molson commercial with The Boys Are Back In Town on it. I mean, I heard the bassline and shit and I was like, what the fuck is this? And I’ve never been more pissed off and hurt in my life, you know, at least not in a long fucking time that I can think of. Because, I mean, whoever sold that to them, I hope they’re a big motherfucker, cuz if I find them anywhere, I’ll crack their skull. I mean, Phil’s gone. What do you think about our sponsorship? If you’re into it and hey yes, you know, yell “yes”, really loud. If you think it’s, like, selling out, let me hear you yelling “no”. [The crowd is rather yelling “yes”] Let’s put it down right in a ballot box (laughs)[Onstage, Toronto, June 7, 1991].
But merchandise presented a welcome source of revenues from the band in the beginning:

The last tour we did cost us two million dollars and we didn’t make a penny off the tour except for maybe the ‘T’-shirts that we sold[Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].
The most popular item was t-shirts:

Jeff Condon (Merchandise manager): "This is one of our best selling t-shirts. It’s got the album cover, so it kind of identifies with the tour, Use Your Illusion, and the dates on the back – this tour – kind of give the kids an idea of where the show was and gives them something to identify the show with. So yeah, these are real popular" [The O-Zone BBC, May 31, 1993].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:37 pm


The next single from 'Use Your Illusion' would be 'November Rain', released on on February 18, 1992.

As for 'Don't Cry', the band created an ambitious video to accompany the single, still following loosely the 'Without You' story by Del James.

November Rain is a part of this story and shows different elements of this story. And I don’t really want to say where in line it falls, but it does show me going to bed and waking up on the nightmare at different points in the video. [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
You know what? They did something that was really interesting and I’d never thought about. It was playing live. We actually played live while we were doing the video. That was very cool, because you get into it a little bit more - cuz I’ve done lots of videos and I always, you know, pretended and posed. And that was cool. That gave you a little extra energy every time [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
So the video, it just all went very smoothly. Meanwhile I was telling Gilby that “we have a great shot of your arm.” And then the night we were recording the performance shot, there’s places where he would, like, come over to the piano and jam with me, “Here we are, we are together for the video.” And about five times that we did takes, I’m looking over at Gilby and I’m like, “Gilby, none of it is gonna be in this video, because this is where the solo is, where Slash is gonna be out in the middle of the desert or something. So it’s just not gonna work” (laughs). And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, alright" [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
One of the reasons for having an orchestra in the video [was that] it was one of the only ways to actually get to be around an orchestra and see what that was like; to see what was like to hear an orchestra actually play something I had written on keyboards, and see how well it worked and talk with the orchestra a bit about that. It’s not something I wanted to hide from the public and act like I used real strings. I wanted to say, “No, we did this on synthesizers." […] For me, putting the orchestra in the video, I don’t think it was faking anything, because they were really playing when they were there. The sound you’re hearing when you see the video is what I play, but when we did the video they were actually playing; and it was a way for me to be around an orchestra and see that, because it’s not like I have time or cash to just go and set up an orchestra somewhere. It has to be for something productive and this definitely was [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
It was a costly production:

This is, like, the first video of the miniseries that we are trying to create. So who knows, because, I mean, we paid for November Rain ourselves, because Geffen didn’t really know what to think of that kind of budget. So... […] [The budget] was like, 1.6. Two. It was two, okay. Two (chuckles). But it’s something we believe in and I think it ends up speaking for itself in this quality. And there’s – hopefully there will be four more that will explain the story with other songs on the album [MTV, July 12, 1992].
The video took "two months" to produce and was, in the words of Duff, "kind of expensive" but "it's only money, right?" [MTV, May 1993].

While on the set Gilby would be asked what role he would have in the video:

I have no fuckin’ idea (laughs). I don’t know what time we’re starting, I don’t know what time we’re leaving, I don’t know what time we get here tomorrow. I don’t know. I like it that way, though: “I don’t know! I have no idea!” [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Talking about the wedding scene:

My role? I think I’m just, like, probably one of the ushers. Yeah, to the wedding. I don’t know, man. You have to ask Ax. This whole video is in his mind [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Yeah, [the priest]'s a friend of mine, Jean Antonio. Yeah, he’s great. He’s great and I just knew when I met him, the day I met him, that he should play this part if he wanted to. That was a really heavy story in itself. That was when we ended up shooting – the church we ended up shooting that, I had no idea that was one of the last places he ever – you know, eight years ago – done services. […] He just added such a sense of warmth and the right sense of spirit that we wanted to have present there. So it was very special for me and him [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Talking about the church:

Slash wanted to do a solo, and it was originally, like, in a field somewhere. But that time of year there were no cool fields in America to shoot in. We looked all over for churches and we couldn’t find a little church with a good view or a field. If we found the church, everything was dead around it because it was winter/early spring. We eventually found a church on wheels that they used in the movie Silverado, and we saw pictures and said, “Okay, that’s just good there;” and we went, and it ended up being perfect and really fitting well. It wasn’t planned, it just started that way. Andy [Morahan] saw it in a desert, we saw it in a field with long grass or flowers, and we ended up filming it in Mexico [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Talking about acting with Stephanie Seymoure:

It freaks me out to be acting these parts out with Stephanie, when some of the situations are based off things that happened in another relationship [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
Seymoure: "I wish I could speak, you know. I like the idea of that thing. I’m really into the – I’ve been studying acting for a while. It feels good to be able to do something. It’s not quick enough for me. There’s too much waiting" [November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:40 pm


After a short break the touring commenced again with three shows at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on February 19, 20 and 22. The film of the February 22 show was released on two home videos (VHS/DVD), called "Use Your Illusion World Tour - 1992 in Tokyo I" and "Use Your Illusion World Tour - 1992 in Tokyo II", on December 8, 1992.

Review in Entertainment Weekly:

Last year there was talk that Guns N’ Roses were concocting a long-form video to unify their hysterically indulgent Use Your Illusion I & II: World Tour 1992 in Tokyo clips into one, presumably even more excessive, GN’R movie. At first glance, you might think these two tapes contain such scintillating goods, but as the cassette boxes’ small print reveals, they’re just two halves of a concert video — and a deadly dull one at that (apparently lifted from a Japanese TV broadcast, with interview segments retaining their subtitles). The wimpy sound mix doesn’t do justice to GN’R as a hard-rock band, and front man Axl Rose’s stage manner seems to confirm his avowal to MTV’s Kurt Loder that there’s a lot of other stuff going on in his head while he’s performing [Entertainment Weekly, February 5, 1993].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:42 pm


In 1992 Slash would be featured on the song 'Break Like The Wind' on the same-titled album by Spinal Tap:

It was great. Let’s see, it was after a really bad rehearsal that we had one day. I was really pissed off and I was in a bad mood. So I knew I had a session that night, so I got in the car and just, like, cruised over the studio. And for the mood I was in and the state of mind I was in, it was very Spinal Tap, so... (laughs) And I walked in...[…] Spinal Tap, we watched it before a show one day, one night right before a gig, and I was just like watching it going - cuz as our career is going on, it’s, like, all of a sudden becoming more and more significant, that movie, cuz it’s just really classic stuff that does happen. So I watched it before a show and it just screwed up my whole life (laughs). […] They were great guys, though. And I just went in, plugged in, and did it in, like, one take. And then it was just, you know, nice to meeting you and split. But they were really cool[MTV Rockline, March 1992].
You know what was funny about it? I showed up with a bottle of Jack Daniels, and I was like Spinal Tap in real life. […] The longer you’re in this business, the more sense it really makes. The worst gig we ever had on the last tour was right after we watched Spinal Tap. Even the subtle nuances are so accurate. It hits so close to home it's disturbing[Winnipeg Free Press, January 29, 1994].
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:46 pm

MARCH 1992

In March 1992 it was reported that Slash had signed a deal with Black Death Vodka to be their pitch man [New York Daily News, March 13, 1992]. Black Death spokesman Robert Plotkin said that Slash was "perfect for the market” and that he "was really the only one Black Death wanted" [New York Daily News, March 13, 1992].

Slash would admit it came about as a result of his comments to Rolling Stone in 1991:

Well, it stemmed from the interview, because - I don’t remember exactly when the first time I encountered it was, but they read the thing that I said in Rolling Stone about the only company that I would endorse. So I think they called the office or something they made, sort of like, an offer. And we got together and talked about it. And I was like, “Cool,” you know, “free cases of vodka? Yeah.” (laughs) So contrary to what anybody else is saying about me trying to influence teenage America with it, you know, it was just - the whole point was that the vodka is great and...[…] You know, I knew it was gonna come up and I haven’t given it much thought, because, from where I come from, it’s, sort of like, you make your own decisions. You know, that’s how I was brought up. So I didn’t really feel like I was constricted by how I was gonna influence the youth of America or international or whatever. So I just did it, you know, and whatever happens after that, basically I’m not gonna take it that personally. It’s something I did, it’s not for anybody else to judge me on it, you know?

Well, I ran into this vodka in Europe called Black Death, and on the bottle was a top hat and a skull, which is sort of my moniker anyway. It tasted great, so I drank it for a couple of days and that was it. I did an interview where I said, "We don't do endorsements for cigarettes or beer or what have you. The only thing I would endorse would be Black Death vodka." A couple of weeks later I get a call saying, "Black Death was interested in you doing that," and I said, "Okay! Cool!"

The vodka was prohibited in the US markets due to the name [Associated Press, April 6, 1992; Entertainment Weekly, April 17, 1992], and as a result it was changed to Black Hat [The Baltimore Sun, May 13, 1992].

It was just in Europe at the time [when Slash publicly said he's like to endorse it]. Now that it's stateside, I'm getting all kinds of flak from people saying I'm influencing the youth of America. Fuck 'em, the vodka's great. Everybody's supposed to be smart enough to make their own decisions, you know? […] I can understand where people can be pissed off because I'm endorsing something that is not necessarily healthy, and maybe I have some influence on younger kids, but at the same time, the way I grew up, and where I come from, I've done it for myself. As far as influencing kids goes, I didn't know that was my fuckin' job, ya know?

When asked about why he did ads for Black Death, Slash would say "just to get the vodka. […] It’s good vodka" and AP would say that Slash was compensated in form of "a little money, T-shirts and several cases of the product" [Associated Press, June 3, 1992].

[The Black Death Vodka conflict]’s not a thorn in my side, because that just gets me to the point – you know, when I got hassled for Black Death vodka, it just made me go, “Oh, cool, it must’ve screwed them around,” you know? So it’s like, people are gonna look at me as a public figure that’s influencing the youth of America; and I was like, no, that’s not it at all. It was just cool vodka and a great label, and I said I would endorse it. And I got hassled by the Surgeon General and all that kind of stuff, and I was in, like, the Wall Street Journal. And it’s like, how does some rock guitar player becomes so significant? You know, had it been Joe Blow on the street it wouldn’t matter, and people just, I think, go after us because of the fact that we’re as public as we are, or as visible as we are. So I was just like, yeah, well, the attitude that I’m gonna take is “screw you.” […] But they were in Europe then, before. And Europe’s a lot less uptight about things like that than the States are. You know, everybody’s trying to make some, sort of like, moral rule as a standard, and try and have everybody abide by it. […] I’m not a role model at all. The other thing is, you know, Black Death, they’re trying to change the name or trying to make them change the name. And they’re still fighting it, and I’m like, “Cool.” So, you know, I’ll hang in there with them.

The collaboration would end:

Black Death paid me a bunch of money to endorse them and then disappeared.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:50 pm

MARCH 1992


At the same time as the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released and the band started to tour in support of them, an underground musical movement was happening that in many ways, at least superficially, was contrary to Guns N' Roses who had by now become established and mainstream. Fronting this movement was the band Nirvana. As a reviewer of the 1989 Nirvana album 'Bleach' would state:

If you find yourself nodding off to Guns N' Roses' occasional acoustic noodlings then wake up to Nirvana. Scrap all that Soft Metal crap and get behind these brats!
New Musical Express, July 8, 1989


Guns N' Roses, though, were big fans of Nirvana. In November 1991 (the interview was published in 1992), when asked who he would like to see cover a GN'R song, Axl replied:

I haven't even thought of that. But off the top of my head... I don't know. That's a hard one. I'd like to hear Nirvana do "Welcome To The Jungle." That's what I'd like to hear. I'd like to hear Nirvana do "Jungle" their way, however that is.

And later Gilby would describe Axl's views on Nirvana:

I mean, I can't speak for Axl, but I could definitely say that I know he thought they were great. Because, I mean, he was wearing their shirt every day. So when Nirvana's record came out, you know, and I heard it, I go-- I mean, to tell you the truth, it sounded like a great pop record to me. I thought the songs were hooky, it sounded good. It didn't really throw my world into any kinda change or anything. […] I mean, I know Axl loved a lot of the new bands -- like he loved Pearl Jam ... he liked Nirvana -- and the only way you could really tell is, he was always playing their songs, or was wearing a T-shirt or something. I know he was very much into a lot of the current-- And he loved Soundgarden. I mean, Soundgarden opened for us forever -- you know, way before they ever had, really had a hit or anything. He was always kinda like trying a lot of the new bands.


Guns N' Roses also wanted to tour with them. Slash talking about the rumored tour with Metallica and the possibility of Skid Row being part of it:

Well, I don’t think the Skids are gonna be on it. We’re talking about doing it with Nirvana but we need to see where those guys are at. Metallica, Nirvana and us sounds pretty good to me. I went and saw Nirvana last night and they’re pretty good friends of mine so hopefully that’ll help even though we’re very different bands.

In March 1992 (published in June 1992], Axl was asked about Nirvana joining for the Metallica tour:

It's back and forth. I just think that they're having a lot of problems with who they are and who they want to be and trying to hold onto it at the same time. At least Kurt is. I'd like to be as supportive as I can, but I don't know how much he will allow support. To write a song like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" making fun of your songwriting and then have it used as an anthem has got to be a complete mindfuck. The man definitely has a mountain to rise above. I think there is a part of him that has the strength and desire to do it. I just don't know if he's able to get in touch with it. I had an advance copy of that record and it became my favorite. I would put it on repeatedly. Nirvana has helped me do my job. I think that the world has gotten really bored, really fed up and really pent up with frustration, and that comes through in Nirvana. I think a lot of people were aware of that feeling and he happened to find the song that touched it and was able to let that feeling out in people. And I'd like to do anything I can to support it. That's why we want them to play with us.


Kurt Cobain, though, would claim he never seriously considered it:

[…]I've never thought of the Guns N' Roses, Metallica and U2 offers as any kind of legitimate offer. They were just never a reality for me.
The Observer, August 15, 1993

Interestingly, in a Kerrang! interview published in May 1992 (but done the month before), Slash claims to not know who Kurt Cobain is [Kerrang! May 16, 1992] despite having talked about attending a Nirvana concert previously [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

Slash would be asked about Nirvana again a little while later:

[…] I don't think Nirvana's attitude about, "Now that we've got here, it's fucked, and we're not gonna do anything" makes sense. That's copping out to some sort of - I'm sorry to say it - but pathetic, "It was easy to do what we started out with; now we have to deal with something.

And whether he was saying this just because Nirvana wouldn't tour with Guns N' Roses because of some of their lyrics:

No, it has nothing to do with that, they just don't want to work. Axl and I are supposed to go over to the singer's house and talk with him. I don't know him personally. They don't want to go out, and the vibe, from my point of view, is just because they don't wanna fuckin' deal with "mainstream," which… there's no such thing as mainstream if you don't want it to be that way. I love their record, but I can't stand the fuckin' attitude. Because we spent our entire career as a band doing what we wanted to do in the way that we wanted to do it, going totally against the mainstream and getting to where we are now, which is great. If you have something important to say, you don't give up and flake out. [laughs] Because once you get there, it paves the way for other bands. We're in the mainstream only because the mainstream has become part of us. They've adapted to what we do.

Axl would continue to talk about Nirvana from the stage:

You know, we’ve had our share of problems with so-called alternative bands. What is this word? I mean, I didn’t find myself using it. “Alternative.” Like someone who lives an alternative lifestyle. All I know is that when Guns N’ Roses started, ain’t no fucking radio stations wanted to play our shit either. And no radio stations wanted to play Metallica. So I think we have the world’s biggest alternative crowd here tonight.

I think that the problem starts when you start thinking that you’re different from everybody else on the fucking planet. You may be a little different in what you’re doing and how you’re going about doing it, but I’ve got a good feeling that you’re probably a human. Right? You’re probably a human being?

And so, right now, “alternative”, the only thing that means to me is someone like Kurt Cobain in Nirvana, who basically is a fuckin’ junkie with a junkie wife. And if the baby is born deformed, I think they both ought to go to prison, that’s my feeling. And he’s too good and too cool to bring his rock ‘n’ roll to you, because the majority of you he doesn’t like or want to play to – or even have you like his music.

It seems to be a general feeling among a lot of alternative bands, that they don’t want the majority of people even liking them. They like it on the outside.

Later, in 1995, Slash would say it was mostly Axl who had wanted to tour with Nirvana and that Slash found the fight between Axl and Cobain hilarious:

That was ridiculous. I’ve always tried to keep the band together and I’ve wanted all of us to be friends: the band, the roadies, Axl ... And he wanted to tour with Nirvana, which was cool. But if Nirvana didn’t want to go with us, the best thing would’ve been to forget about it and leave it at that. But Axl insisted to the point where they had a fight.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:01 pm

APRIL 1-9, 1992

After the three shows at Tokyo Dome in late February 1992, the band took a break in March. Then the band travelled to Mexico for two shows there in April, at the Palacio De Los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico on April 1 and 2, 1992.

Slash being asked who will be the opener for the next leg of the tour:

I don’t know who we are going out with. It’s just a small leg that we’re doing. We’re doing, sort of, what I would call “make-up dates” to, like, Detroit we had to postpone, so we’re gonna do that, and Chicago because of the Illinois incident we’re gonna go back and make that up. Then we’re doing some shows in Mexico and, I think, one in Oklahoma. But I don’t know who’s opening for us or not, to tell you the truth. […] I’m sure that we know, but it just hasn’t been my main concern at this point, because we’ve been doing so much stuff, there’s so many other things going on, and that hasn’t been my main focus.

The two Mexican shows would be followed by one show at Myriad Arena in Oklahoma (April 6).

Now that we're headlining, we actually have control about where we play. So there was a lot of speculating about where we were gonna go that we hadn't been before, and we just played Oklahoma. The option was Oklahoma or Texas. I was like: "Why would we go back to Texas?" We've never been to Oklahoma. Which turned out to be a really good gig. I guess you have to pay attention to that stuff, 'cause you can fall into a pattern and just go around in a circle.

Then the band did one show at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont (April 9).

The three following scheduled shows, in Rosemont (April 10) and Auburn Hills (April 13 and 14), were cancelled when Axl feared he would be arrested and extradited to St. Louis if he continued to stay in the country [Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1992; Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992; Chicago Sun-Times, April 16, 1992]. The first show can cancelled in the last minute, "leaving thousands of fans waiting outside" the venue [Chicago Sun-Times, April 12, 1992].

Rather than go to jail, Rose left the sheriff's jurisdiction.
Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1992

He wasn't anxious to spend any time in jail without reason. To suddenly extradite him over a misdemeanor charge, there's no cause.
The Northwest Herald, April 11, 1992

Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, would respond:

[Axl] is easy to find. Wherever he goes, we’ll be waiting for him. If he wants to cancel his whole schedule, fine. If he leaves the country, we’ll notify Customs to get him when he comes back.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 12, 1992

The cancelled shows would cost the band, with Bridenthal estimating they had generated $1.5 million in ticket sales [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 15, 1992].

With the police waiting the band fled to Europe for the Freddie Mercury benefit and the European leg of the tour.

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:02 pm

APRIL 1992

As mentioned before, Slash had been dating Renee Suran since the early 1990 [double check this]. But in April 1992, People Magazine would claim that Slash was now dating the porn star Savannah, or rather that Slash and Savannah had "engaged in full hit whoopee" at the Scrap Bar in New York, in front of other customers [People Magazine, April 27, 1992]. Or, as Lakeland Ledger would describe it, they "did the nasty" "on a barroom floor — in front of scandalized (or titillated) patrons" [Lakeland Ledger, August 28, 1992].

This is also likely the incident Slash would refer to in 1994, when commenting upon an alleged ménage à trois between him, a porn star and some pasta:

There was something in People magazine which said I was going out with this porno chick, and they said I stuffed spaghetti in her! In public! In a club in New York! Can you imagine the time it would take to do that?

Slash would likely refer to the rumor about him and Savannah in the following quote from an interview with MTV in May 1992, complaining about how infidelity rumors had screwed up a relationship which he was now trying to restore:

I think probably lately it really occurred to me that I didn't have any privacy in the last couple of months. I really tried to maintain that, like, I'm a guitar player so I can slip in and out of places without anybody noticing and, you know, all of a sudden it hit me really abruptly it wasn't like that, and everything I've done for the last year or so, all of a sudden […] it was big rumors and this and that - that was a drag and it screwed up the relationship that I had at the time, which I'm trying to, like, rework, you know, and I think the fact that I can't just walk up and down the street or going to this pub or going to this club or whatever, you know, and that's changed and I have to be aware of myself. Now that's the biggest hardship. The rest of its great, I mean, the three hours that we play on stage makes it worthwhile, so you try not to bitch about it too much. But it has its moments where it gets to be like, "I can't believe people are writing this, it's not true," and people's perceptions of what you're all about are completely distorted because they're being [cut]

The same month Slash would indicate that his touring life had put pressure on relationships, again likely referencing an ongoing problem in his relationship with Renee:

Relationships with the opposite sex can be really f***ed up now, because of the position we're in. Everybody's trynna get a piece of something. It's either that or there's someone really genuine who loves you or likes you because of who you are, regardless of what you do. We're in that struggle now. It's either: f*** off, just leave me alone. Or, if you're trying to make it work with somebody, and you're playing the tour at the same time, the trains don't really meet on the same ground. It's difficult. […] I'm just realising all this and I'm 26 now. […] the last coupla months has been a transitional period for me. I don't want to adapt to any normal kind of life, yet there are things that are really important to me that I'm trying to hold on to. Of course the way I am is: oh, up for this. So I try to explain, 'I've been in a rock'n'roll band since I was 15/16 years old. There's been one year in my life at home, and that's when you met me. […] I just wanted to be back on the road, and it turned into the same old thing, and it blew her mind. Y'know? She heard about all the shit that goes on and she was just flabbergasted. I guess I'm trying to do what it is that I do, but at the same time make some semblance of a home life.

From the previous quote it is obvious his celebrity status and rumors had caused problem for a personal relationship but that he was trying to restore it.

A little bit later he did another interview where he talked about the problems that came from his new celebrity status:

When it starts to hit you on a personal level, you know, when it starts to come out, then all of a sudden, reality of you don't have any real privacy, and all that. That's strange realization to have to try and grasp. I don't complain about it too much. I've been complaining about it a lot lately because it's really just hit me recently. Like in the last couple of months. Where the band's been big for a long time, but I just never put myself in that... saw myself in that light. As being any kind of, you know, pseudo-celebrity type. And so this just really hit me in the face recently. It was sort of a shock, because it hit me really hard. It was just like: "Fuck, I can't really do this, I can't go there." You have to think about what you're doing when you walk out the door. That kinda shit.

When asked to elaborate on whether something happened:

Just a bunch of shit that all happened at once. […] It's always when you've been on the road for a while and you come home and you don't think that's anything's different, and you find out that it really is. I mean, you don't walk around the streets going: "Somebody's looking at me." So, when you find out that you're walking down the street, not thinking that people are calling other people and saying where you were. I mean, that's like a morbid fucking situation to be in. And like I said, I don't usually complain about it, because, you know, everything I've been through has been a small price to pay for what I get away with, you know. But then to find that I don't really get away with anything. [laughs] That's what pissed me off. [laughs].

In an article published in December 1992, it would be claimed that Slash had been unfaithful to Renee after they got engaged and that she dumped him [Life Magazine, December 1992]. This is likely what Slash refers to here:

I was in Hawaii escaping my wife-to-be – she found out that I was messing around. I split town.

From Hawaii, likely in May 1992, an inebriated Slash would call in to Howard Stern's Radio Show. When asked what he was doing in Hawaii, he would respond that he was just "trying to get [his] head straight" [The Howard Stern Show, May 29, 1992]. Stern would quickly press Slash about having sex with famous people, to which Slash would reply:

Dude, don’t start that with me. […] I’m already in hot water with this enough, you know.

When Stern then asked him about the rumour with Savannah, Slash would respond:

That’s not true either. […] I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Alright. What happened was, Savannah, who I think we all know – […] She is what she is. She’s a friend of mine, okay? […] We’re not really together. […] Well, listen. A lot of stuff went on with the whole going back on the road thing, and it –[…] It’s really private, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, because a lot of stuff is going on, and my girlfriend of, like, two years and I split up, because of that. […] But I love her very much, so I’m not gonna sit there and degradate [sic] – okay, I still can’t say it (laughs) – and mess with the whole thing.

And in the same interview he would object to Stern insinuating they had sex, and state "she never got past my chaps" [The Howard Stern Show, May 29, 1992].

Slash would also imply that the rumours about the sex act at Scrap Club was spread by someone to get by at Slash for not having joined in as an investor in a club:

That whole situation that went on with Savannah was one of the things where, yeah, Savannah and I were, like, hanging out and stuff. And we were at the Scrap Bar, and Steve [Trimboli] – whatever his name is – he made me an offer back in the office. […] And he goes, you know, “I offer you such and such amount of money to go invest in a club.” And I was like, “No, that’s not gonna happen.” […] He just did that because I totally blew him off on the deal. […] He’s a [beep], because, I mean, I hang out at the Scrap Bar all the time. All the people that work there are cool -[…] No, but it’s just – nobody really cares? It’s in People magazine, and I’m like – […] Like, my mom even called me. And I was like, “No, I didn’t [beep] anybody in the Scrap Bar.” (laughs).

The very next day, a more sober Slash called in to the Howard Stern Radio Show again:

I’m very madly in love with somebody that I’m not married to. […] And who I’ve gone through a whole major ordeal with. […] Well, I’m not gonna get married – you know, not at this point in time. But, at the same time, it’s one of those heavy things, where I’ve been having to deal with it.

And Slash would again claim that Trimboli was lying [The Howard Stern Show, May 30, 1992].

When Gilby was asked about the rumor about Slash and Savannah he would reject it as pure nonsense and emphasize that it had caused problems in Slash and Renee's relationship, and also support Slash's claim that it was just someone trying to get vengeance on Slash:

Total fiction. That club owner and Slash had some sort of disagreement, so the club owner released this story to get even and everyone picked it up and ran with it, adding embellishments along the way. And yes. It's a pretty hilarious story, but Slash's girlfriend, Rene, wasn't laughing. Neither was Slash. He's marrying Rene soon, and that was the last thing he needed her to read.

By June 1992, it seems Slash had managed to square things with Renee, because he would now talk about trying to be faithful to Renee and the threat of getting AIDS meant that Slash was trying to curb his promiscuity:

OK, I’ve quit the drugs, but there’s plenty of other things to get into. […] You gotta try and keep your hands off the beer, and off the girls. That’s hard. But I’ve got a girlfriend now back in LA and I have to think of her. She knows girls throw themselves at me because I’m in this famous band and that it’s really tempting for me to just go for it. But it upsets her and I wanna try and make it work between us. Anyway with AIDS you just can’t enjoy casual sex any more. That hit our business hard you know. I mean, sex was one of our favourite vices.


In 1994, Savannah would tragically commit suicide after having received damage to her face from a car accident and having financial problems [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994]. According to her manager, Pera, Savannah had suffered depression from her breakup with Slash [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994]. GN'R spokesperson, Bryn Bridenthal would deny that Slash had had a romantic relationship with Savannah [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994].

While visiting the Howard Stern show in early 1995, Slash would be asked if he had "scored with Savannah", to which he would reply:

We went out together. We had really intellectual conversations together. […] She was deep (laughs).

He would later mention that he first met Savannah at the Rainbow in Hollywood where porn chicks just to hang out [Kerrang! July 1995].

And discussing her suicide:

You know what? It’s just because someone wasn’t looking out for her. She needed somebody to take care of her. Trust me, I knew her well enough.

In other interviews the same month, he would mention that two songs off the Snakepit album was influenced by Savannah's (and Cobain's) suicide [Metal Hammer, February 1995], again confirm he had dated, and discuss her suicide:

And my ex-girlfriend, if you want to call her that, the porn star Savannah, also killed herself... When you write songs, you reflect what is around you, what’s happening, and we wrote about that. There’s a line in this song that goes, ‘How to keep the knife from inside of you’ that is about trying to prevent someone from doing this thing, because it’s very ridiculous. It’s not a song dedicated to them, but influenced by what happened. That's how we felt when we heard the news, and we reflected it in the song. All the songs on the album are very spontaneous, like something happened in the afternoon and we wrote about it at night.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

I don’t know if we should call her my ex-girlfriend. She was a friend, someone I cared about. We went out occasionally, but then I met Renee, we thought about getting married, and I tried to avoid Savannah as much as possible, because I was freaking out with the idea of ​​marriage and all that. In the end Renee and I got married, and after a while Savannah blew her head off and the press started bringing up my name in the articles about her. I don’t think it’s right that they refer to me as if she and I had this great relationship, because our relationship wasn’t going anywhere. At the time I met her, I went out with many other women. Savannah was like a little girl, she needed someone to take care of her. But I loved Renee, who is a very different type of woman. Renee is not a rock chick, she’s not from my world, she’s got her own life. She understands that I have to go on tour, but she has her own thing. I felt sorry for what happened to Savannah, but we never had a serious relationship.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

I mean, Savannah used to be a girlfriend of mine. I was a little depressed about it, and there was a lot of public stuff going on that had my name on it. I was like, 'Fuck, what is she gonna shoot herself for?' […] Anybody shooting themselves is gonna affect you. It's not so much the press and stuff as, you know, there's always a possibility of stopping something like that from happening.

In later years, Slash would be frank about his infidelity being the reason for the split between him and Renee:

I did so much sleeping around for so long that it just got boring. I still think women are exquisite but getting involved and sleeping with them just takes so much fucking effort. And it was all I did. When I met Renee, it was someone that I actually fell for. It took four years of balancing the random sex and this one girl and we had some major incidents in our relationship which had to do with my lifestyle and what she expected from me. Once she found out how bad I was, she was like, I don't want to be with you. And we broke up for a while and I was sleeping with a bunch of other girls but finally, I dropped the others for her.

When Renee and I split up, and it was common knowledge, people, women, came out of the woodwork and told her stories about me like you wouldn't believe. Note-for-note detailed fucking information about me. It must have been the CLIT Society. Ever heard of that? Chicks Linking Information Together. She yelled at me for an hour. That kind of curbed my appetite for wanton sex, for being… what's the fucking word?... Promiscuous. Thank you.

And finally admit that he did indeed have public sex with someone in New York, and refer to the People Magazine article that first reported about it :

As pissed off as I was when I got busted for being seen with my pants down in New York, after the initial shock of having my mother call me up to tell me about it and it was on the front page of People, I thought it was funny!

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:02 pm


With the band's status as one of the biggest bands in the world in the 90s, the band members had wealth to manage.

The material side of it was never a thing with me. The bigger we got – not that I'm complaining because I'm not – the more of a pain in the ass money was. I was better off when I didn't have any money! I never carry cash anyway and I don't go shopping. I appreciate having money. I'm financially at a point where I can have room service without worrying! I can feed my cats, feed my snakes – I don't have to worry about little things like that. […] And I have one pair of jeans, and if they really do finally fall apart I can get another pair. These (his clothes) are the things which I've had since we did the last record! if they still work, I don't need any others.
[Music Life, November 17, 1991].
The last tour we did cost us two million dollars and we didn’t make a penny off the tour except for maybe the ‘T’-shirts that we sold. The truth is that I’m still watching my money. We put so much back into the group that we won’t really see anything until a long time down the line when we’ve sold records consistently. We haven’t even re-negotiated our contract so that might never happen. To me that means I still feel the same as I always have. I’m happy though, but it’s like that old Jimi Hendrix quote which goes ‘The more money have, the more Blues you can sing’. People like to see the glamour that surrounds bands. They like to think that that’s what it’s all about and it isn’t.
[Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].
Duff would buy a cabin in Lake Arrowheads in the mountains out of Los Angeles:

My cabin is the coolest place in the world. I'm right on the lake and I love to fish. And there's an old man who is my fishing buddy. I call him and he misses me. He doesn't care who I am. We're just fishing buddies. He doesn't care that I have long hair and tattoos. If you like fishing, that's all that matters there.
[The Boston Globe, March 12, 1993].
Now you can call down and say you need a car to go somewhere or order whatever you want from room service. But we’re still wearing the same clothes and doing the same thing. […] One of the coolest things that happened was I’d been in the band a month and we went to Japan. I did a lot of work to get ready — I only had two weeks to learn the whole catalogue of 50 songs so I was up day and night. And nobody really knew what Izzy played on the records but I finally did it and after (the tour) Duff gave me a car. Just out of the blue, like ‘Thanks, you really came through for us.’ A brand new Corvette. I thought he was kidding but, no ....
[Vancouver Sun, March 30, 1993].

Being asked what he does with his money:

I’ve got, you know, stuff in the bank.
[The Howard Stern Show, February 1, 1995].
[Axl]’s pretty smart with [his money]. […] Trust me.
[The Howard Stern Show, February 1, 1995].

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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:03 pm

APRIL 20, 1992


The English band Queen was one of Axl's [Interview with Steve Harris, December 26, 1987], Slash's [Countdown, May 1992] and Gilby's [MTV, July 17, 1992] favorite bands, and also inspirational to Axl and his vision for Guns N' Roses.

One night I discovered Queen. They had what rock 'n' roll wasn’t supposed to have: technique. They were a perfect combination of technique and rock 'n' roll. I read about them, and their tours, and their great success in Japan. I got piano sheet music of their songs, and, since my parents were clueless, when they forced me to practice, I could play what I wanted, like Queen, the Beatles and the Stones. They thought I was practicing my daily lesson and had a satisfied smile on their face.
Popular 1, April 1988; interview from October 19878, translated from Spanish

Steven would also mention Queen's drummer, Roger Taylor, as one of the drummers he had learnt from [Superstar Facts & Pics No. 16, 1988]. Axl also considered Queen's Freddy Mercury [Rockline, November 27, 1991; The Interview Magazine, May 1992] and Brian May [Rock Scene, April 1988] huge influences and had hosted a 20th anniversary special of Queen [Rockline, November 27, 1991].

But if I didn’t have Freddie Mercury’s words and lyrics to hold on to as a kid, I don’t know where I would be. And that was, you know, probably... I don’t necessarily know what form of influence it is, but it taught me about all forms of music. You know, I’d get a Queen record and hate half of the songs and then... But [I’d] force myself to listen to them, to learn about that type of music, and it would open my mind more and more. And I really never had a bigger teacher, you know, in my whole life. […] instead of going to school to learn about music, I listened to Queen.

Already in 1987 before 'Appetite' was released, Axl would draw comparisons in their music to Queen and how Queen had not limited themselves "into one frame" but instead "found a way to bring it all out" [Kerrang! June 1987]. Axl would reiterate this to Rolling Stone in 1989 [Rolling Stone, August 10, 1989]. Later in 1987 Axl would say that the album 'Queen II' is among the best recorded albums in the world and one of his favorite records [Interview with Steve Harris, December 26, 1987; Rock Scene Magazine, June 1988; Rolling Stone, August 10, 1989].

Then, on November 24, 1991, Freddy Mercury died of AIDS-related illness.

Axl would be asked about the death:

Freddie Mercury’s death was just something I’d actually been preparing for since I’d heard about the AIDS thing. My impression of Freddie was that he wanted this world to be a place where, you know, it was kind of a heaven on earth and you could do what you wanted as long as you weren’t hurting anybody, and that was like a great dream. So about drugs and promiscuity, I guess that’s up to each individual, and if you’re not hurting yourself or hurting someone else in however you’ve got to get through things - you know, whatever you need to survive - I’m not the one to make judgement calls on that.

What Axl didn't say was that he been trying to help Mercury as he struggled with AIDS, as revealed by Brian May later:

I mean, Axl was very involved towards the end of Freddie’s life. You know, Axl was trying very hard to find a way to cure Freddie. I had talked to him a lot.

I’ve known them for a while, particularly Axl, who was a great fan of Freddie’s. He was very concerned and wanted to help — he knew Freddie was ill long before most people. Axl and I were in touch quite a lot before the end. I have a very high regard for him and I don’t think people should believe too much of what they read.
The Vancouver Sun, March 25, 1993


For the April 20, 1992, tribute concert to fight AIDS and remember Mercury, Guns N' Roses was invited to play [Santa Ana County Register, March 2, 1992]. Due to assumed verses in 'One in a Million' and quotes from band members, the inclusion of GN'R in the tribute concert was controversial. The London branch of ACT UP said they would try to get the 70,000 large audience to boo Guns N' Roses unless Axl publicly apologized [Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1992]:

John Campell from ACT UP:

We will accept Guns N' Roses (on the bill) when they have a press conference and publicly denounce everything they've said about AIDS and homophobia. […] We want the words, 'We were wrong. We're sorry. They've been responsible for misinformation about AIDS. Their homophobic attitude creates an atmosphere of ignorance and intolerance.

And if they didn't apologize:

We will ask artists to put pressure on the show's management to remove (Guns N' Roses) from the billing. If management refuses we won't ask anyone not to appear, but for Guns to be snubbed by the other artists, and we'll ask for people to boo the band off the stage.

GN'R's management issued the following statement in reply: "We're disgusted by ACT UP's lack of sensitivity in trying to politicize this tribute. Perhaps they should read Axl Rose's comments in the new issue of Rolling Stone for a more enlightened perspective. We refuse to be their pawn" [Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1992].

When asked in March whether GN'R would perform at the tribute concert, Slash would say they would [Rockline, March 1992] and would comment on the criticism:

I never would have thought that we were gonna get that kind of flak. […] They’re trying to get us off the bill or basically sabotage the gig. I don’t know exactly what they want to do, you know, or what they’re really shooting for it, cuz it sounds so screwy in the first place. I don’t think they really know what they wanna do, themselves. […] I know they’ll go to press with it and keep it up all the way until show day, but I don’t want to get into the whole subject. I mean, we’re doing it for – the reasons that we’re doing it was, you know, for Freddie Mercury and not... I don’t know how to explain it. We just wanted to play the gig and we were asked to do it, you know, by the Queen people, and we’ve been supported by all the other bands that are playing. So we’re gonna play it, yeah - if that answers the question. […]. It’s just screwy stuff to have to deal with. It’s like, every single day it’s like, “Oh yeah, right, okay. We’re gonna deal with this now.

Slash rehearsed before the tribute concert:

Well, I went down and rehearsed, because I was playing "Tie Your Mother Down" with Queen. So I went down. I mean, I was already in London for a little while anyway, and I went down to rehearsal, and we played it a few times. But as far as the rest of it goes, it was just a typical Guns N’ Roses thing, where no one is rehearsing (laughs).

Backstage before the tribute concert Slash would talk more about the event:

But things come up and we were like, well, yeah, we’d like to get involved and try and do something to help it out. But then it turns around on us, right? And they got, like, all these gay activist groups and jumped on our case for being involved with this, to the point where there was a question as to whether or not was even safe for us to do this gig. And finally we just said, screw it, let’s just do it, you know. Whatever. I hope we don’t get shot or anything. […] I don’t know what they’re so uptight about. They were saying they were gonna do whatever they could to sabotage our part of the show and they totally attacked the whole Queen Organization for allowing us on the bill and all this stuff. And I’m like... It is never ending, you know? It’s always something, it’s, like, so ridiculous.

Slash would also mention being a fan of Queen:

Well, yeah. I mean, it was one of the bands that I was definitely leaned on. And at rehearsal for this thing the other day, it was great. I mean, I was like a little kid when we got up and played Tie Your Mother Down with Brian May.


One Queen member that Guns N' Roses became tight friends with was the guitarist Brian May. Slash had met May after their August 1991 show at Wembley [The Guardian, September 12, 1991]. May had made a singularly positive impression on both Slash and Axl:

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.

And [May]’s, like, one of the sweetest guys. Really easy to get along with and really gracious, you know. There’s no pop star attitude and no errors going around. This whole gig is gonna be really cool.

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.

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

The band's friendship with Brian May would lead to him being invited to open up for the band on shows at the Skin N' Bones tour of 1993. For the very last show, though, the band would end up using Suicidal Tendencies as the opener, and when an interviewer suggested this was a much better choice of opener than "worthless" May, Duff would respond:

Shhh ... Shhh ... Be quiet, be quiet. Axl is around here. (laughs).

In addition, Axl would invite May to play on at least one song for the album 'Chinese Democracy' that would eventually be released in 2008, although by then May's contribution had been replaced [see later chapters].

In early 1993 May would talk about Axl:

I’ve had a lot of long conversations with Axl. I have a great admiration for them all as a band and as individuals. But I have this fatherly feeling, particularly for Axl. Axl is hard to handle for a lot of people. That makes him vulnerable. He’s a very honest person. I feel a great love for the guy.
Des Moines Register, March 23, 1993


At the tribute concert Guns N' Roses would play 'Paradise City' and 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door'. In addition, Axl would perform 'Bohemian Rhapsody' with Elton John and Queen, and 'We Will Rock You' with Queen, and Slash would perform 'Tie Your Mother Down' with Queen and Joe Elliott.

After the tribute show the band members would talk more about Queen and the concert:

Well, Queen was just one of those bands that we were really into. I mean, it’s one of a handful of bands when I was my teens coming up and getting into this whole thing. You know, they were a, sort of like, model, that this is the model band. And Freddie was, like, an awesome talent as the rest of them all. And the fact that he’s not here is a real drag, you know, and I’m not into it. […] Everybody that bought tickets and all the bands involved, it’s a celebration of Freddie, the fact that he has ever existed. And it’s also because the AIDS thing is really heavy, you know? Especially for us musicians. It’s even different for us, because it’s really screwing up our whole... (laughs). I mean, you know how rock guys are. But it’s something that people really need to be aware of and, like, at least have a certain kind of etiquette of how they handle themselves, because it’s different now than it was a few years [ago].

They asked us.  And we jumped at the chance, because - I mean, at first we really wanted to do it and then there was a period of not being sure. There was this whole, you know, gay activist thing that was going against us. And we just decided to do it anyway. But we grew up with Queen, and as far as - you know, that’s one of the main bands that we were influenced by. So of course we were excited about it. […] I’d never met [Mercury] before, actually. I’d met Brian May before though, that’s about it.

To play with [Queen] and with the whole thing, it was just awesome. Something that I’ve never, ever dreamed that we would do.

The idea behind the whole concert, the fact that it was completely sold out before they knew who was on the bill – talking about the public – and it sold out in the way to give a sort of certain kind of energy to the AIDS awareness thing, especially in the rock ‘n’ roll circle. And losing Freddie to it was, you know, like a catastrophe. And it turned everybody’s heads around. Having everybody show up at the concert for that cause was great. And then all the bands that were there. There was none of that sort of rock star – you know, who’s who of rock vibe going on. So we all had a basically good time and it was really well organized.

It was an honor just being asked to do it . . . sort of like being put on the map by people we had admired for years. But the experience was even much deeper than that.

Being the type of band that we are, the last thing we wanted to know about a few years ago was AIDS. Like most people, we thought it was only a problem for needle pushers and homosexuals, which meant we didn't have to worry about it. I was still as promiscuous as hell.

But then it started getting closer to home and everybody had to start being aware of the dangers . . . homosexuals, heterosexuals; people were even starting to get it from their dentists or whatever. That slowed my trip down a lot, but it didn't really hit home until Freddie died of AIDS because he was this huge icon in our minds.

To walk out on that stage in front of 75,000 or 80,000 people was a very emotional experience. It was like all of us in rock 'n' roll, the artists and the audience, were saying we did care and we are responsible for each other. It was a great sense of community that day and it touched something in me.

The Queen thing was something! It was really special to just be a part of that. To just come down and pay your tribute to Freddy, and to help AIDS awareness, was just an incredible thing. Getting to meet everybody was great too — there was so much pressure on those three guys (remaining members of Queen) and I couldn't believe they handled it the way they did, which was with class and style. They were unbelievable — it was a very emotional day. When we came back just to play the place ourselves we asked Brian to come up and play with us.

The Queen gig was the most humbling experience of my life. It was f?!king intense. 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. When we did "Bohemian Rhapsody," that was unrehearsed. Brian asked me to do it that day, and it felt right. I spoke to Elton before the show, and he was kind of uneasy about meeting me - you know, I'm supposed to be the most homophobic guy on Earth. When we talked, I was excited, but serious, telling him how much his music meant to me. By the end he was like "Whoa." Onstage I was trying to be as respectful to him as I could. I was purposely vibing out, and if you look close, you can see it at times, how much I love and respect I have for Elton. There was some heavy eye contact going down. It was amazing. MTV's John Norris kept saying, "This could be the last time you'll ever see Elton John and Axl Rose together onstage." Not if I have anything to do with it. […]

I want to learn more [about AIDS] and start helping people. Freddie Mercury's death is a marker in my life that says there's no turning back, and I'm going to do whatever I can to inform the public about certain things. We can't sit idly and hope someone will change things and hope things will be alright. There are alternative forms of medicine that are having high success rates in treating AIDS victims. There's things like vibrational medicine, oxygen-ozone therapy, there's homeopathic medicines, there are Chinese medicines and different forms of vitamins. The government is denying the public this information. That's because the government, the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars off of people dying. The FDA invests money in companies they've supposed to be regulating - that makes no sense. Over the last 50 years there have been different cures for different illnesses that have been kept from us. Freddie Mercury's death made me want to fight for people to have the right to know about these alternative treatments. Everyone has got a God-given right to health, and it's being denied by power-hungry, greedy people who want control.

Brian May would also talk about the impact of Guns N' Roses being part of the show:

It was the first time, for instance, that a band like Guns N’ Roses, (which is) regarded as the very macho end of the spectrum, (got involved). . .the fact that they were involved made people realize it was not just the gay sector of the community that needed to worry. That was a very important turning point in England. It achieved a lot. […] We got flak for having them a bit, but to me the fact that they’re there says it all. It shows their hearts are in the right place, and both Axl and Slash did a lot of TV here to emphasize how they felt.
The Vancouver Sun, March 25, 1993

And Slash would talk about whether the public opinion about the band had shifted as a result of them participating at the Mercury tribute show:

I think there was a general realization about the AIDS situation for everybody involved, you know. Especially the crowd. To see - I don’t know what you’d call it - currently popular musicians in the music business getting up there making a statement, especially in demise of Freddie Mercury, and seeing that happening and finally admitting to the fact that AIDS does exist. Because of all the sort of - oh, I don’t know what the word for it is - you know, the gays had to deal with it, and then it started to be a heterosexual thing, but all the bands just did not want to even know about it, because, if you think about it, that’s, like, one of the things that goes with the territory that we really enjoy, sex (laughs). Anyway, so we finally all came to terms with it and everybody in the crowd realized that it’s not something you can ignore, you know? And it was a cool feeling to see everybody - I mean, I hate to say that something positive came out of somebody dying, but it’s something positive to come out of it, and, to everybody there seeing it, it was seeing how everybody felt. It was really cool, it’s a good vibe.

In July 1992, Duff would say the Freddie Mercury tribute concert had been one of his most memorable shows [MTV, July 17, 1992]. Gilby would concur:

That was probably, singly, probably the best experience that I ever had being in the band. Because, number one, I mean, it's like a tragic thing happened that we were there, you know, but it was a positive cause? And I thought it was very, very heart-moving. You know, I couldn't believe the response of a stadium filled with people. It almost didn't matter what band was up there, as long as you were playing a Queen song ŸŸ or, you know, you were there for Freddie Mercury. It was just incredible.


Despite the show being a success, the gay pressure group Outrage would continue to protest after the event, and in particular claim that Axl during a show in Houston [January 9, 1992] had told fans, "to go out and massacre the queers in the gay ghettoes of cities around the world" [Kerrang! April 25, 1992]. Unfortunately we don't have access to audio recording from this Houston show, but it does seem extremely unlikely that Axl would ever have uttered anything like that. Outrage would also cite a Rolling Stone interview where Axl supposedly had said he liked to "beat up faggots after a concert, to relieve stress". We have not been able to find this Rolling Stone interview, nor any other interview with Axl where he has expressed anything close to it. The rumor that Axl had said this likely originates with a Houston Chronicle review from January 10, 1992.


In addition to honoring the late Freddie Mercury, the tribute concert allowed Axl to share the stage with one of his childhood idols, Elton John [Concert Shots, May 1986; Audio interview with Axl and Slash, June 1987; Rolling Stone, August 10, 1989; MTV 1989; Kerrang! April 1990; Musician, June 1992]:

Elton John is it. It’s like, yeah, his...  especially the first seven albums.  Bernie Taupin to me is the  best lyric writer that’s ever lived on the face of the earth. And Elton John was just amazing in the studio and the recording of everything. Some of it is so art. I mean, to me, that's my classical music, because some of his stuff is classical, you know, and I listen to Elton John all the time. […] I'm always supposed to meet them. I think they're the only two people I'm, like, nervous to meet.  (Chuckles) You know, and it's like, something always comes up, I don't feel (?), I just can't meet them.

I was way influenced by Elton John. I got all his sheet music as a kid and everything, and figured, “Wow, this stuff is pretty technical. I can't play it, but I'll learn how to fake it real good” (laughs). So, it's like, instead of doing, like, you know, five finger things on the left hand and then how to do octaves killer. That's a lot easier (laughs).

I mean, Freddie Mercury and Elton John are, like, two of the biggest Influences in my whole life. And probably always will be. If someone asked me if I could have anything in the world, what would l want? If l could own anything, like owning a piece of art, l think it would be Elton John's publishing, on his first seven albums. I don't want the money. Being able to own those songs is like owning a painting of someone you admire.

Axl and Elton John had tried to do something together before:

Well, we’ve been asked to do a pay-per-view show with him. But with the Izzy thing, it kind of messed up rehearsals, so I don’t know if we will do that or not. But if we can, we’ve been asked to do some things. And, you know, fitting it into our schedule, we’re trying to do it. So, hopefully, something will happen at one point with Elton.

And when it happened it was great:

I spoke to Elton before the show, and he was kind of uneasy about meeting me - you know, I'm supposed to be the most homophobic guy on Earth. When we talked, I was excited, but serious, telling him how much his music meant to me. By the end he was like "Whoa." Onstage I was trying to be as respectful to him as I could. I was purposely vibing out, and if you look close, you can see it at times, how much I love and respect I have for Elton. There was some heavy eye contact going down. It was amazing. MTV's John Norris kept saying, "This could be the last time you'll ever see Elton John and Axl Rose together onstage." Not if I have anything to do with it.

Elton John would also comment on meeting Axl:

I heard that he had problems with the people in ACT UP, but I thought if he was willing to come on the show that we should make him feel at home, which is why I put my arm around him. We all say and do things we regret. I met him before the show and he seemed quite gentle, and I very much like some of his music.

In this business, I don't care who you are. There are Jekyll and Hyde characters in us all. There's not one performer who can't be an absolute animal at times. You have to be pretty strange to want to be a performer.

There must be a need to want to be loved. I'm not a psychiatrist, but there is something very vulnerable in most performers. Just listen to Axl's songs. I understand the nightmare of being a performer. There are fantastic moments, and there are dangerous, life-consuming ones. The art is to find a balance. And I'm glad I got a second chance.
Los Angeles Times, August 23, 1992

I had got in touch with [Axl] when he was being ripped apart in the press: I know how lonely it can feel when the papers are giving you a kicking, and I just wanted to offer some support. We got on great and ended up performing "Bohemian Rhapsody" together at the Freddie Mercury Tribute gig. I got a lot of flak for that, because a Guns N' Roses song called "One In A Million" had homophobic lyrics. If I'd thought it reflected his personal views, I wouldn't have touched him. But I didn't – I thought it was pretty obvious the song was written from the point of view of a character who wasn't Axl Rose. It was the same with Eminem: when I performed with him at the Grammys, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation gave me a really hard time, but it was obvious that his lyrics were about adopting a persona – a deliberately repugnant persona at that. I didn't think either of them were actually homophobes any more than I thought Sting was actually going out with a prostitute called Roxanne, or Johnny Cash actually shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
Elton John's biography, 2019

Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:43 pm; edited 23 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:03 pm


Axl and Slash describing playing with each other:

I know one song in particular, "Patience," where Axl hits a certain vocal that gives me chills, and it affects my playing, when that goes by. And it happens every single night when we play it. It might be a spontaneous moment in the evening when he'll say the right thing, or he'll sing the right way, to just make my guitar go crazy. Make my playing go crazy.

And the band playing together:

I will see photos and I will watch video tapes of the band, and I see different things in it. I see me as sort of off the wall, like, here, there, here, there. Smoking and throwing up and shit. But Axl, if you really watch Axl, he’s got this really intense presence, very cool. Then there’s Duff . . . he’s real tall and he’ll have his bass real low. Every time he stands, his steps are like this far apart, and he goes “Grrrrr!” Duff's great, I crack up when I watch him on stage. Then there’s Izzy, who’s just sort of like . . . in the background most of the time. And Steven . . . Steven is like one of those David Lee Roth types ... Whenever I watch the band I always think there are lots of things to keep your attention. It’s all ridiculous, it’s like a circus, you know?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988

There's always a lot of tension going down between us. There's always something happening, sparks flying.

[…] there’s a certain type of physical aggression that you get on stage. Especially for me. Like, you're out there and you have a capacity for pain that you normally don't have. It's because of all that high-strung energy that you get in times of extreme emergency, you know? Pure adrenalin. And it’s such a physical thing...

But I would never be at the point of wanting to slash myself [like Sid Vicious]. It doesn’t interest me. I put up with some pretty intense degrees of pain when I’m on stage some nights as it is. You know, when I’ve fallen off stage and got back up and kept going. And there’s times I’ve burned myself on stage pretty badly, too. I like to smoke when I’m on stage, right? Well, there’s been a lot of times I’ve been playing with a cigarette between my lips, and I’ve let it burn all the way down and the hot coal has dropped down my pants. But when you’re playing there is no way you can stop and do something about it. It goes out eventually, but it leaves a scar. Here, do you wanna see?

Out there, on tour, you get hit by things when you’re on stage, you jump into the crowd. It’s like, no holds barred, relentless fuckin' rock ’n’ roll. To me that’s what high-energy rock ’n’ roll is all about. I punch my guitar when we play and I come out of shows all bloody...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

I try to make things work musically in the band. I kind of consider myself the musical director, trying to keep everything together. Axl is the word-master and the melody maker. And Slash is the genius of the band... […] He’s just this fucked up guy that you wouldn’t think could... I’ve known the guy since I moved here. I’ve known him from, like, this kid where I thought, OK, he’s just another good guitar player, to, like, this total fuckin’ monstrosity that I think he is now! Maybe I’m overplaying Slash, I don’t know. But just to me, as a musician, I appreciate him so much, you know? Axl is amazing too, just amazing...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

We [=Izzy and Slash] don't work out our parts. If it's Izzy's song, I might turn the riff around a little bit and add something. But he'll play his part the way he wrote it—very loose, very Stonesy. When it comes to my tunes, I write riffs that are a lot more intricate—that's my style. So he just takes his style and adds it to my riff. Usually, for every five notes there's one chord on that side [points left and chuckles]. We don't consciously work out parts, whereas Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing probably get into that. […] [Duff and Matt fitting hand-in-glove] was an important factor in choosing Matt. It's different from the way, say, AC/DC works, where the guitars play together and the bass just keeps a line that goes straight through the song. Izzy plays really simple; me and Duff play all the intricate stuff—it's almost like one thick part. Duff takes whatever riffs he and I play and does them with the drums. And everything has to be in sync. So if Duff's playing with somebody who's not hip to what's going on, he knows in an instant.

We go to clubs all the time. At the Roxy in L.A.. Slash was playing and I was in the balcony and I was thinking, ‘This guy is great. And I’m in a band with him’

On the record, [Matt]'s one of the most amazing drummers I've ever heard, but he's better than [what he achieved on 'Use Your Illusions']. […] When he goes off on his own creative sense it's pretty amazing. I want to facilitate that getting out.

[Talking about playing with Slash]: Oh, it was great; to me, Slash was, for me, the ultimate lead guitar player because I come from the old school and stuff. I don't know anything about whammy bars unless Jimi Hendrix did it and all that real fast approach, it's all wonderful and it's fine but I don't understand it. I'm from the old like blues school, very slow, like Keith, bending, and make it sound like a slide. And Slash has got that old blues style but he combines it with the metal thing and I hate soloing. It's like, give me one solo a night and I'm fine, I'm very happy, I don't have the attention span. We'll play 18 to 20 songs a night and I couldn't do it; and I love playing rhythm guitar and for the two of us together, even when Slash does side stuff, he always gets me to come along and play with him. It's a really good match between the two of us. Because I'm like everything he's not and he's everything I'm not but it's all within the same style.

A positive thing with my entrance in the band was that Slash finally got a rhythm guitarist whose style he likes to play with.

With Steven and Izzy gone, Slash talked about how that had affected their playing:

Well, it’s been really refreshing just to get out there and be able to have a really solid band, because... I mean,  I said I don’t like to talk the other guys, as far as Steven and [Izzy] goes […] because it’s a real personal kind of relationship and it’s real emotional. But there was a point there, where, our aspirations as a band, as far as I was concerned and as far as Axl and Duff were concerned, that I don’t know where those guys were really coming from. So it started to be unenjoyable to play with them, you know? So it was real refreshing to get in and have people that were real eager to do it. So it’s been a lot of fun thus far, you know?

Even though the band always sounded cool, Izzy and I never sat down together and worked out guitar parts. We weren't really a team, in that sense. We would just jam, and he'd play things his way and I'd play things my way. And even though Gilby is essentially playing Izzy's parts, he adjusts them so there is more of a sense of unity - more of a sense that we are playing together. This isn't to put Izzy down in any way, it's just that Gilby and I have a different relationship. […] I told [Gilby] to learn the basics and then take it from there. As the tour progressed, he progressed. I think it's important that Gilby put his own stamp on our songs. It's important that he feels he can contribute creatively. A musician's self-confidence becomes vulnerable when he isn't allowed to do his own thing.

So Gilby likes doing it. So there's a lot of interaction, and ahh, you know. I don't like to say anything against Izzy because we've all been playing together for a long time. Um, but I mean, it just got to a point where he just didn't wanna be there. So Gilby does wanna be there, so… You can feel it, you know. There's definitely some different feeling. And I don't feel like I have to rely on myself to cover the guitar and stuff, as much as I used to.

Axl and Duff would also talk positively about the changes:

One night when I was bummed, Matt came around and put his hand on me: "It's all right, man." Those little things are really special. With the new band and the new people, it's the first time I've really felt at home. It used to be just the five of us against the world. Now we've brought some of the outside world into the band. The first night we played with the new band, I was sitting at the piano during "November Rain," just looking at this and feeling really glad that I was a part of this thing.

Matt’s a great drummer, especially now that he’s been with us for two years. He’s a drummer you don’t have to pull along — he pushes you and makes you better. Nothing against Steven, but Matt takes us up a level — and Gilby’s guitar is whipped cream on the cake.

In July 1992 Slash would again talk about how losing members affected them:

It’s hard, you know. You have to deal with the situations at hand - Axl, Duff and I, and Matt’s been in the band for a long time, so I have to include him on this subject. But you have your goal and you want to go out and keep the – you know, whatever the Guns N’ Roses thing is and what we have fun doing. So you keep that together and keep it alive, and you just thrive on it. And so when changes occur, you have to look at it from perspective and just go, “Alright, what are doing here?” You know, what’s the objective? And finally you come to a conclusion where you go, “Alright, we want to keep this going, and if you can’t keep up with it, then, you know, at least we thrive between the members that are left. And that’s it. You know, you can’t make it more complicated than that. On the outside it might look a little, you, know, more complicated than it seems. […] The relationship between bands is really complicated, in the sense that we all hang out and you guys look at us from one perspective, but, you know, we’re just – this is a family kind of thing going. And after a while, in going through everything that we’ve gone through, and all the concerts and all the tours we tried to set up as individual bands – right? - you get to a point where you really have to hold on to each other. And when it gets rough, you have to deal with it and that’s it.

Axl and Duff would also rave about the positive effects of having Gilby in the band:

Gilby is awesome, and a pleasure to be around. He works the stage and the crowd really well. Also, he helps give us a sense of rock 'n' roll normalcy - if there is such thing. Gilby has a way of understanding and dealing with situations that makes the whole trip more tolerable. His insights from being on the outside of GN'R helps us. He has his opinions of what's going on with us, and it helps us get a different perspective, ' cause Slash, Duff and myself have been in GN'R for so long and are so close to it that sometimes we don't see things like other people would. Every now and then he'll say something to me, and I'll go, "Wow, I didn't see it that way." He's been putting himself through his own rock-and-roll education with his other groups for years. Now he's a part of Guns N' Roses.

Izzy would never pat you on the back or anything like that. If I have an anxiety attack onstage, Gilby will come up to me, put his arm around me and say, "I'm here. I'm here for you, man." and he means it. Gilby won't play until I'm better. Gilby's busting his ass right now, playing with a broken wrist. He's a great player and a great guy.

Talking about the nature of their shows:

I mean, the band is the way the band is, okay? We go out and we jam. We react off the crowd and so on. Uh, yeah, we're still rough around the edges, probably always will be, but the spirit's there, y'know, and that's what the fuck matters right? "We have this responsibility for maintaining headlining status, right? Well fuckin' A, y'know? We can't keep it up all the time. We don't go out and do the same show every night. We use the fucking people that we're playing for and, if it's not happening with them, we'll keep working. We work real fucking hard y'know? I mean, I know you spent so many dollars to get into this gig, but we're not fucking robots all right? This isn't... I won't name any names, right, but this isn't mechanical. In order to play, we have to get into it. This is like emotional shit right?

And about the pressure and being nervous:

[Being asked if the big shows puts pressure on the band]: Yeah, unfortunately. What happens is that… From the pressure of having played those big gigs, you feel like that when you get up there, the huge amount of people that can't even see you, for the most part. You know, there's only the first 10 or 30 rows that really can see your expressions and, you know, if you fucking drool all over yourself. Burning yourself up with your cigarette, you know, I mean. Everybody else is just expecting some unbelievable show, which is really… that's, that's a pressure. To go out there and know that people are thinking that. I mean, I'm amazed that we can play the size of the stage we've been playing.


I still get nervous. I mean, the only time… I mean, if you're not nervous, you're gonna have a bad show. That wasn't something that was taught to me, I learned that from experience. It's still a challenge, it's still, you know, that you have something to prove, not to them, not to the people you are playing to, but to yourself. And go out, and press the people that you are playing for, with your newfound sense of confidence, right. Then you're doing alright. When you think you got it made, and you got it all together, then you're gonna screw up. I mean, that's something I've learned personally, I can't speak for everybody else in the band. Everybody has their own psych that they use to, you know, approach getting on stage and playing to that many people

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