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Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

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03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES

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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:36 pm

1982-1983
JUST AN URCHIN LIVING UNDER THE STREETS
AXL IN HOLLYWOOD

After coming to Los Angeles Axl lived on the streets for a period. This could have been in the first periods when he was only there temporarily, or possibly after breaking up with his girlfriend Gina Siler [see previous chapter].

When [Axl] came out here, he didn’t have money for rent or anything, so he and a group of street nomads would move into some half-finished building when the workmen left.


Alan Santalesa, who had got to know Axl through Izzy when he played in Shire, would hang with Axl occasionally:

I would see [Axl] in clubs, we would hang out outside the Troubadour or the Rainbow and, you know, he wasn't like a friend, he was an acquaintance. And we had things in common, like we loved the English band The Sweet, and we loved Queen. We specially talked about Queen and The Sweet and there was a local band coming up, W.A.S.P. They just came on the scene like, you know, drawing crowds right away and it was so, the backing vocals in the songs were great. So we're like, "Isn't that great?" And we're like, "Yeah, yeah, it's pretty great." So that was the kind of talks we would have.


Describing how Axl looked at the time:

If you look at those pictures of Rapid Fire, that's pretty much what he looked like. You know, denim jackets. He didn't have any, maybe had one tattoo, and his hair was always down, you know, flat and long. He was really thin [...].


Axl had various jobs to make ends meet, including being paid "$8-an-hour to smoke cigarettes" [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988]. He also worked in "telephone sales, fast food places, washed cars, and was the night manager at Tower Video in L.A." [Metal Edge, January 1989].

For me it was hard to find a job because of the long hair and the tattoos. For a while I worked as a shift manager at Tower Video, but the place didn't like to hire kids in bands. They know you have to devote so much time to your band to play the clubs, while they would want you to be their doorman for 20 years.

When I first came out here. I couldn't get hired for anything except telephone sales, and I'm shitty at that. [...] The people in L.A. didn't know what to make of me, either. They thought I was a hippie, which I thought was funny, because in the midwest I was considered a punk rocker.

I worked at Tower Video for a while. [...] I became a manager for a very short amount of time. [...] I let everybody have beers after work... [...] I hired everybody else too. I hired people from the old line up, I hired all my other friends. We had a great time for a while.


Santalesa worked together with Axl at Tower Record:

[...] in '84 I worked at Tower Video with Axl. [...] He became the manager eventually. [...] he hadn't not been promoted yet. He was a clerk like me. [...] And I would work there the evening shift and there was Axl. That's when I got to really know him. Like he told me some stories. We spent two days trying to reconcile empty video boxes with their proper videos, down in the basement, and he was talking about his growing up and his influences. And one day he said, "I really hate my voice, but I have to admit it's starting to get better." That's what we said. It was interesting because, you know, two years later he was gonna be in like the the most popular band in LA, you know. [...] What he said, he got in a lot of trouble and he said that he'd been back to Indiana and I remember this expression that him and his friend were hitchhiking and then some farmer was peppered them. Which means, put rocks in the shotgun and shot at them. And I remember that. I remember him saying lyrics in heavy metal in the early 80s, he said they had become not too significant anymore and he wanted his lyrics to be more, you know. Which, yes, you can tell, they are. And a lot lyrics in heavy metal [?] about Dungeons and Dragons or about getting laid, you know. And the music was good, but the lyrics, not. You wouldn't just read them. [...] And he mentioned he liked Patty Smith a lot, punk, poet and singer. And he even liked Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, which I was like, "Come on man!" and he goes, "No, no," he said to me, "but to people like me, that song really means something." [...] He loved Scarface. He told me, "Look at that movie, man, that guy never took any shit from anybody." And I was like, "Yeah, you're right." And he loved Terminator. He was like, "You can't stop that guy. Couldn't stop him." And check this out, he got ahold of a bootleg copy somehow of Prince Purple Rain. And we went to Raz's apartment and watched it. And he was totally into that movie. He kept saying to me, "Look what he's about to do. Look at his moves," you know, he was totally into it. [...] One movie he really liked, this is odd but, a remake of the French New Wave classic Breathless with Richard Gere, and the movie had bombed. But he really liked that to the point when customers come to Tower Video and say, "Boy, that movie is the worst," and he'd go, "Yeah to you." yeah.


And Raz Cue would talk about driving Axl to work:

But Axl was working there [at Tower Video]. Yeah, because I gave him rides to work once in a while. But so yeah, he didn't, like, I make it sound like he was staying at my house all the time, he was really only there for like three or four days a week because he had like a girl that he'd hang out with over there on the line[?] work days, he'd mostly like stay over there, work for a couple of days. But, you know, he became manager of that place, I forgot.


If Cue drove Axl to work at Tower Video would suggest that Axl worked there at least till 1984.

Marc Canter would mention that Axl occasionally slept in the parking lot near the video store:

Axl was working at Tower Video on Sunset […]. He eventually became the manager of the store. He sometimes slept in the parking lot under the stairs after the store closed for the night. He told me that one of his goals was to get a membership at a health club so he could always have a place to shower.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Later, maybe in 1984 or 1985, Slash would also work at Tower Record together with Axl:

Well, the crew that worked at Tower when I first started working there – actually the whole time I worked there, there was, let’s see… Axl and myself, and there was a whole myriad of very colorful characters that were working there. The singer for… this one singer named Saul, who was, like, six feet long; he was the epitome of the hair metal kind of look, real big blonde curly haired guy. Then there was some other sort of very shady characters, a couple of the L.A. Guns guys… And we all worked there - you know, we worked the night shift with Axl. So after the shift managers all split – Axl was a shift manager- After the main manager left, we’d go across the street to Liquor Locker and, you know, stock up on a bunch of booze, and we’d put it on the office and make cocktails, and then we’d run the rest of the night- [...] We’d put on porno movies- [...] So it was a pretty eclectic kind of vibe. [...] What happened was, somehow we got busted and Axl was the shift manager, so he got fired. And then I ended up being the shift manager after that. But I wasn’t as social, so I had my drinking patterns, but I didn’t share them with the rest. [...] (Chuckles) Yeah. And the funny thing is, late after my stint at Tower, then Dave Kushner from Velvet Revolver got a job there, and he had his drinking problem there, too (laughs). He worked downstairs in the boxing section, which was where everybody went to go drink, and he sort of carried on a very private dark drinking habit down there.


Slash was also caught stealing cassettes at Tower Records at some point when store detectives caught him through two-way mirrors [Classic Rock, June 2011].

At some point, likely not long after coming to LA, Axl tried out for a punk band but didn't make it because he was told he "sounded like Robert Plant" [RIP, November 1992].


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:36 pm

MARCH-MAY 1983
AXL AND RAPIDFIRE

Probably the first band Axl played in after coming to Hollywood, was Rapidfire together with the founder Kevin Lawrence (guitar), Chuck Gordon (drums) and Mike Hamernik (bass) [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012]. Lawrence would describe meeting Axl for the first time when he was looking for a singer to complete the lineup:

We were hanging out in front of the Troubadour, a club in Hollywood, and he was outside smoking a cigarette. I came out for some air, and he and we just started talking. He was cool-looking, and he asked if I was in a band, and I said, “Yeah, but we’re looking for a singer.” He said he was a singer, and I asked if had a P.A., and he said yeah, so I told him to come audition. He came out, and we hired him on the spot.

We used to hang out at Troubadour and Gazzarri’s all the time and I just met him. We used to see each other around the club and started chatting. I was the singer [of Rapidfire] before Axl, and I didn’t want to sing- I just wanted to play guitar. We were a three-piece, I was playing guitar and singing and I always hated singing. Axl said he was a singer, and my first question was, “Do you have a P.A.?” He said he did, and I said “Come on out and audition.” His PA never left our studio until he quit the band.


This was when Lawrence was 19 and Axl was 20 [Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014]. Lawrence would also mention that Axl was with his girlfriend Gina [Siler] when he was in Rapidfire, indicating that Axl and Siler split up later [Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014].

He was good. Like I said, we hired him on the spot, but who could ever foresee that kind of popularity? I would say he was definitely one of the best singers in the whole Troubadour scene, and we got him.


In Rapidfire, all the music and lyrics had already been written by Lawrence, so Axl was handed a sheet with the lyrics and had to learn the songs before performances [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012]. The lineup's first show took place at Gazzarri's on March 20, 1983, less than two weeks after Axl had joined the band [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012]. This evening was a "Battle of the Bands" which was won by Rapidfire [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012]. The band would play at least three more shows at the Gazzarri's (April 8th, April 29th and May 28th) as well as a private party in Westwood [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012].

I was with him his first time onstage. He wasn’t what he is now, now that he’s got bodyguards and confidence. He was nervous to go onstage, and he was a little stiff in the beginning but he loosened up eventually.


Axl would describe his first professional show as a singer, at Gazzarri's, quite possible this first show with Rapidfire:

Yeah, at Gazzari's. I couldn't even move. I was scared to death. I just stood there, clutching that mike stand with my eyes closed. Now I move all over the place.


According to Chris Weber, Lawrence would not let Axl sing with a high voice [Rock Scene, October 1989] and Lawrence himself would admit he controlled most aspects of the band as a "dictator" [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012].

Lawrence would also mention that he got to know Izzy a bit, and would refer to him as "rude" and that he thought Izzy's plan was to make a band with Axl:

I knew that eventually that Izzy’s plan was to be in a band together with him. [...] He was just rude, but I don’t want to dig myself into a hole here. I don’t want to trash anyone. Izzy and I just never became friends. Let’s put it that way.




Rapidfire, Axl is on top
Unknown image copyright



Axl was only in Rapidfire for about two months:

Like two months. We played a couple of parties and played Gazzarri’s a bunch of times, and we even won battle of the bands there. We got good very quickly, and then I got us into the studio. I had some money, and I paid for it all. All the songs were already written on sheets, and we taught Axl the melodies, and he was actually a pleasure to be in a band with. We would practice and hand out flyers, and he always showed up on time. He was not the way people would think he would be.


While in the band, they recorded a demo tape on May 25, 1983, at Telstar Sound Recorders in Burbank [Rapidfire 1983 Website, July 21, 2012; Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014]. The 5-song demo included the songs “Ready to Rumble,” “All Night Long,” “Closure,” “On The Run,” and “Prowler” [Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014]. Only three days after the recording, Axl left Rapidfire [Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014]. This means Axl left Rapidfire on May 28, 1983.

It was just a little eight-track studio. The whole thing cost $200. [...] Fuck yeah it was [a lot of money], but I wanted a demo. We had a good singer, but he quit, so I never made copies of it.


Some years later, Axl wanted as copy of the demo:

When I saw him years later, he was like, “Hey, can I get one of those tapes?” He gave me his phone number, and I called him, but he never called back.


Kevin Lawrence would later describe Axl in this period:

Dedicated, hard working, talented, on time for rehearsal as well as gigs. I really liked him. We shared the same passionate love of music, and desire to make it big.

[He was v]ery mellow. I knew him as Bill Bailey. I don’t know Axl Rose.

Like I said, he was great to be in a band with. He always showed up on time. I had no complaints with him at all. Between all the members in the band, he and I actually hung out the most because the others all had girlfriends. [...] I remember Axl and I sitting on a rooftop in Westwood, talking about when we were gonna be rock stars on day, and the one really specific memory I have is he said that all he wanted was just a pair of snake-skin boots. So like I said, he and I kind of hung out in Hollywood, while the other guys all had different lives. He and I were really dedicated.

Never really knew him to get drunk or really saw him drinking much. I never saw him intoxicated. He always seemed in control. I wish I could give you a more salacious story, but the truth is, he was really business-like. He did gigs, we hung out a bit, he came to rehearsal, and he was always gung-ho. I think he liked being in the band, but I also think that ultimately he wanted to be in a band with Izzy. I mean, even through we were in a band together, we were more like casual friends than best friends.


Axl's time in the band ended amicably when it was clear to Lawrence Axl wanted to move on in a more glam direction:

We were doing regular gigs at Gazzarri’s and stuff, and our image was pretty much early-80s with jeans and spandex and denim and leather and stuff, and then one night Axl showed up with Izzy Stradlin looking like the “Welcome to The Jungle” guy. He had died his white leather jacket pink, his hair was everywhere with like four cans of aqua net, and I was all, “What’s this about?” He said it was his new image. We did the gig and had an amicable chat. It’s not a salacious story. I was like, “This is the direction I want to go, and you can do your thing, and we’ll do our thing,” and we shook hands, and that was it. [...] Yeah, we just decided to head in different directions and split up. He was like, “I’m going to play with Izzy,” and it was totally amicable.

He showed up to our gig on May 28th (we’d recorded May 25th), and he arrived at the last minute for the gig with his white jacket dyed pink, and his hair Aqua-Netted straight up and straight out, like in ‘Welcome To The Jungle.’ The whole band kind of looked at him and said, ‘What the fuck?!’ And I remembered [Rapidfire drummer] Chuck [Gordon] going, ‘You’re not going on stage like that!’ I said, ‘Just leave him alone.’ I said to [Axl], ‘Let’s do this gig and then kind of see how it goes, but this is not the vision that we have for this band.’ We were just kind of a guys rocking out as opposed to doing New York Dolls glam.

I had no idea until that gig [that Axl wanted out]. After the gig we both talked and Izzy was there. [...] And [Axl] came up into the dressing room and he and I talked and we said, ‘Maybe we should part ways.’ I don’t know if I said it or he said it - probably him. He wanted to play with Izzy because they came out from Indiana. We said best of luck to each other [...]


The band folded not long after this [Metal Sludge, September 1, 2014].


EPILOGUE

After splitting up with Axl, Lawrence lost contact with him and would imply he wasn't part of the drug environment where Axl and Izzy hung:

He hung with a different Hollywood crowd than I did. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, but I wasn’t involved with what he and Izzy where involved with. [...] But the real truth is, when Axl got with Izzy, they just had a different vibe, and I wasn’t about to get into the shit they were doing.


As for whether Lawrence felt envious of Guns N' Roses:

I felt bad, sure, but I was happy for him. I would have liked to be part of it. Slash was a better guitar player than me, but maybe I could have played bass.


In the 2000s, Kevin Lawrence would fight Axl's lawyers to release a Rapidfire demo tape [see later chapter for more information].
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:37 pm

1983
IZZY SWITCHES TO GUITAR

By 1983, Izzy had switched to guitar [Guitar World, March 1989], and this may be the reason why he left Shire:

It was a natural thing to do, though I really can't explain why. The music I was into and wanted to play lent itself better to the guitar. I was always into hard stuff, the Ramones, the raw power that stuff had, the sound of the chords. So I got this Les Paul, which was real good for barre chords—all I could really play at the time, anyway. Then I got my friend's guitar, a Gibson LG5, I think. I'd play that guitar to Ramones records forever. Soon after that, I got my hands on a Gibson Black Beauty […]

[Izzy] wasn’t a very good drummer (laughs). So him probably playing guitar was a better idea (laughs).

A friend from Indy had lent me his guitar for three months. I had this little amp and just taught myself to play. It seemed cooler to play guitar, and easier to write songs on it.

I started out on drums, and I goofed around with guitar, but I never got into it, it was just out of necessity. When I was living in LA I had a few drums ripped off, my car broke down I was out of money, and I thought, "Maybe I better learn to play bass." Then I switched to guitar, I mean, I always had an interest in it. My friends played, I'd borrow their guitars once in a while, finally I ended up getting myself a guitar, and that was it. I said, "I'll do this." But I play drums more than guitar anymore.

But I quickly realized that it would be easier to write songs with six strings than with four, so I bought a guitar. I still play drums whenever I get the chance, but over the years the guitar has become my instrument of choice.


Axl would talk about Izzy having tried out different instruments:

It went hand in hand with our respective journeys. For Izzy it was particularly difficult, because his own path led him to constantly switch from one instrument to another. At first he was a drummer, then a bass player, then a singer, and finally, ultimately, a guitarist!


Around the same time he would befriend the guys in the San Francisco-based band Jet Boy:

Jetboy started to go to L.A. in ’83, when I was still in high school. A friend of ours was super into W.A.S.P., but they hadn’t played San Francisco yet. This is pre the first record. So one time we tagged along with her to see W.A.S.P. at the Troubadour. And there was this dude standing outside who had the look that we were all about, that rock ’n’ roll trashy punk look. He was wearing all black, he was wearing the creepers, he had a black leather jacket that he had spray-painted pink with shoe polish. He just had that look that I connected with, that Hanoi Rocks look. And it was Izzy. And we started hanging out. We used to all hang out at Chris [Weber’s] parents’ house.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:37 pm

1983-1984
SLASH AND ROADCREW

Slash's band Tidus Sloan didn't last long and from the ashes the band Roadcrew would rise.

I went through a series of different bands, one of them being Roadcrew, which was a band I think was the first real musical thing I was involved in where we actually went out and played at high schools and parties.

Slash realized that [Tidus Sloan] weren’t going to go anywhere without a singer so they reformed as a band called ROAD CREW and they got a singer and then he realized they needed more than a singer.  They needed a really good singer and a frontman as well as someone who could contribute to the writing as far as melodies and vocals.


Ron Schneider would remember the transition from Tidus Sloan to Roadcrew:

Tidus Sloan was sort of short-lived. I never really got a clear definition of what that band name meant. One night, Slash called me up at like two in the morning and said, "hey check it out, I gotta talk to you." So we went to Canters for some coffee, and he goes, "Listen, I want to change the name of the band." And I was like, "Ok, what are we changing the name of the band to?" And on a piece of paper he had written out, in different styles, the name Roadcrew. And I was like, "Roadcrew?" The only thing I could think of was the Motorhead song, "Road Crew", or "We Are the Road Crew." I had to sit on that for a little hile and kick it around. I was like, "Yeah, Roadcrew! That works. I dig that. Roadcrew." So Slash, Adam and I trudged around for a little as Roadcrew.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Slash recruited Chris Torres as a singer for Roadcrew turning the band into a four-piece [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].



Road Crew



In Roadcrew, Slash would tune down his guitar one full step to get a heavier sound [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992].

They were the first real musical thing I had that actually went out and played, you know, at high schools and parties and a stuff like that.


Around the same time as he had Road Crew, Slash would work at The Whisky:

I actually had a job as sort of a house roadie at the Whisky. This was, like, 1984 or something like that. I would just hump gear for whatever band was coming in at the time. I remember what sticks out to me was there was a performance artist named Johanna Went who did a gig at the Whisky. When I say performance artist, you sort of imagine people that do this whole sort of, like, eclectic show where they bring a lot of props and do a lot of crazy shit on stage. Hers was, like, pigs' blood and body parts and all this crazy shit, so we had to clean that shit up after the show. [Laughs] I can't find the words to describe how left of center this gig was. It was definitely a mess.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:37 pm

FAIRFAX HIGH
THE SCHOOL OF ROCK

Many of important musicians coming up in Hollywood at the time went to Fairfax High School at 7850 Melrose Ave:

Tracii, Chris Weber, Slash, and I all went to the same school. We all knew each other.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Slash and I actually used to walk to Bancroft Junior High School together. And it was all about the guitar for us. Later on at Fairfax he turned me on to Randy Rhoads because he saw Ozzy play in L.A., and the next morning I was waiting outside electronics class and he couldn’t wait to tell me about it. He goes, “You know that picture on the Starwood of that band Quiet Riot? Well, the blond guy, he plays guitar for Ozzy now and he’s going to be your favorite guitar player.” I was like, “Yeah, right. Whatever…”
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Slash was Saul Hudson back then. I remember him and Tracii, they played some guitar-offs at Fairfax, at one of the little showcase rooms that was connected to the school. They had this dueling banjos thing for electric guitars. It was actually pretty fucking cool. But I don’t know how much they were friends at that point.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Over the years I think it was a case of “I’m getting pretty good.” “Oh, I’m getting pretty good.” Then you start playing in bands and people start watching and all the kids have different opinions. “I like this guy better.” “Well, I like this guy better.”
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

I never really saw it that way. I think we both really encouraged each other. If anything, it was maybe just a natural kind of healthy competition. But Slash would come over to my house and my mom, who was a pedal steel player, would always approve of his guitar playing. She would say, “You know, he’s really bluesy…” “Yeah, Mom, I know.” And she would tell me, “You should be more bluesy.” “No, Mom, I’m into metal!”
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Slash’s band [=Tidus Sloan] and our band [=Pyrrhus] were two of the more popular bands at Fairfax. But we always got along. We’d do backyard parties, just your typical high school kind of stuff. I don’t remember how it went down but we played a party at a studio.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021



THE '83 NEW YEAR'S PARTY

In 1983, Slash arranged a New Year's party to take place at Curly Joe's, a rehearsal studio in downtown Los Angeles, bringing together the bands Roadcrew, Pyrrhus and Warrant:

What it was actually was that Ron Schneider, who we all called Schneidy, he played bass in Slash’s band and he said to me, “Hey, Slash wants to do this New Year’s Eve party. We can all go there and jam.”
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Slash had an idea of renting out a rehearsal studio downtown [in L.A.] called Curly Joe’s, and charging three dollars to get in. And then he booked everyone he knew. He knew Tracii and Pyrrhus, and he knew Josh, who was the guitar player in Warrant at that time. None of these bands had ever played the Troubadour yet. They were all just high school bands that knew each other. And they were all bands that made it eventually, with different lineups.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Josh Lewis, early guitarist in Warrant: Slash was a few years older than me but we both went to Fairfax. All the Chili Peppers went there, too. Talk about rock ’n’ roll high school … But Slash asked us to play this New Year’s Eve party at Curly Joe’s, this was ’83 going into ’84, and it was our first gig as Warrant. Pyrrhus played second, and Slash’s band, which had been called Tidus Sloan but had just changed their name to Road Crew, played third.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

If you think about it, that night in 1983 you’re seeing L.A. Guns, Warrant, and part of Guns N’ Roses.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

I mean, man, we were like fifteen years old. I still had braces on!
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:37 pm

1983
IZZY MEETS CHRIS WEBER

CHRIS WEBER

In 1983, Chris Weber was a 16-year old guitarist in Hollywood. Talking about his early influences:

I grew up listening to Zeppelin. [?] In the early 80s [?] Judas Priest was important to me at that time. I was into a lot of Rush although, you know, my style isn't, you know, Rush-like. You know, rock bands, you know, Motorhead, Aerosmith. Yeah, Aerosmith, probably the most influential to my musical style of writing is Aerosmith, although I don't think I planned it by Joe Perry-


Weber wanting to find a band to play in:

I was friends with Tracii Guns, who I went to school with at the Fairfax High. And him and I we had a couple really fun years sort of getting, you know, into about 15-16 years old, we're sort of, you know, he was driving and we were going, you know, hitting the beach a lot and going out to venues and stuff. I think he had a band, he did have a band, and I kind of said, "Listen, do you ever want to, you know, have another guitar player," and, "I'd be happy to come down and jam with you guys."


But Tracii didn't want to be in a band with another guitar player:

I think I wanted to play with Tracii, but he said, “No, I’m sort of a one-guitar-player dude.”



CHRIS WEBER MEETS IZZY

Tracii would then introduce Weber to Izzy:

Well, Tracii didn't play but he was a friend of mine and he introduced me to Izzy. I met him one night in…fuck I can't even remember… 1983 I think. We met at the Rainbow Bar and Grill. Tracii was in a band and I always told him that if you find any musicians who wants to be in a band, let me know! We'd put together something and play around Hollywood. I had already been going to the club scene by then, dressing up and going to see all the bands like Ratt, Motley Crue and WASP. So he found this guitar player who was Izzy and he introduced me to him one night and right away he said: “Let's put a band together!” and I was like: “Cool!”

Well, I originally met Izzy first. Izzy was introduced to me by Tracii Guns, who was a friend of mine from high school, Fairfax High School. Tracii and I were hanging out and he said, “I’ve got this guy that I met; his name is Izzy – “his name is Jeff.” I think it was Jeff back then, I don’t remember calling him Izzy until, like, much farther down the line. “His name is Jeff and he’s a guitar player and he’s got a great look.” He didn’t even say if he could play, you know, just “he’s got a great look.” So I say, “Well, cool, I’d like to meet him.” So one night at the Rainbow, Tracii introduced me to Izzy, and I was just talking to Izzy and I said, “I’m looking to play in a band” and he said, “Well, I’m looking to form a band.” I said, “Okay, let’s do it” and that’s when Izzy said, “I’ve got this friend that just came in from Indiana.”

My friend Tracii Guns and I were hanging out at the Rainbow Bar and Grill and he introduced me to Izzy. I was only sixteen. Izzy and I sat in my car for a couple hours, listening to tapes he had in his pocket. He'd say, "this is what I want to sound like" and he'd put in a copy of Hanoi Rocks album or a New York Dolls album. Littered around my car were the tapes I listened to: Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and Aerosmith. He'd say, "Yeah, that stuff is great, but I want to look like this" and he showed me a picture of Hanoi Rocks. Done deal; I was sold. We jammed for a day or two, and then Izzy mentioned he had a friend from Indiana who had just moved to Hollywood.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road, 2007

Izzy was like the coolest guy I’d ever met. He could have said that we would play country music and I might have been into it.

Okay, so one time at the Rainbow Tracii said this to me and I said, "Okay, I'd like to meet this guy." So we went to where his truck was and introduced me to Izzy, who at the time was Jeff. He said, "You guys are both guitar players and I know you're both looking for bands, why don't you guys talk?" So that night I talked to Izzy, I don't know, probably a couple hours, talking about bands we liked and sort of directions, you know, and what he wanted-

And so [Tracii] came up to me one day, just, "Listen, I met this other guy, I met this guy and I'd like to introduce him to you." Okay. We used to go to the Rainbow a lot but at 16 I spent most of my time in the parking lot which was - if you talk to anybody from that age you'll know that the parking lot was really, you know, just as important as inside, you know, everybody after at 2 o'clock would, you know, roll out to the parking lot for the next hour and a half, sort of hooking up with, you know, the opposite sex or, you know, going to after parties afterwards, so that's where you would go. So anyway, I didn't get in a lot because of my age, I would sneak in occasionally and they were really kind of nice to me, once I got in, you know, they didn't embarrass me by kicking me out. They were good guys. Okay, so one time at the Rainbow Tracii said this to me and I said, "Okay, I'd like to meet this guy." So we went to where his truck was and introduced me to Izzy, who at the time was Jeff. He said, "You guys are both guitar players and I know you're both looking for bands, why don't you guys talk?" So that night I talked to Izzy, I don't know, probably a couple hours, talking about bands we liked and sort of directions, you know, and what he wanted-

So I brought Izzy up to my house, I know that my mom called him Jeff, and we started to write some songs together. I don’t remember exactly when this was, but I know that [Aerosmith’s] Rock in a Hard Place was out, because I was really inspired by “Jailbait” for [the Hollywood Rose and eventual Guns N’ Roses song] “Anything Goes.” In the very beginning, me and Izzy were listening to that.

But one night I was at the Rainbow, and Tracii was there with Izzy. They were outside in Tracii’s dad’s truck. Everybody that was under twenty-one kind of hung out in the Rainbow parking lot. […] There’d be a couple hundred people finding someone to go home with, whatever. Everybody was just kind of easy and drunk. It wasn’t a big deal, you know? HIV really wasn’t around in that way yet. But that night Tracii had probably said something about me to Izzy, like, “I wanna introduce you to this guitar player, his parents have a pad here, he’s got gear…” Probably something that would’ve been pretty attractive to Izzy, who didn’t have enough money to buy a drink at times. So Izzy and I meet, and he was talking about bands I hadn’t even heard of, like Hanoi Rocks. I was like, “Yeah, whatever, that’s great. Judas Priest and Rush and Zeppelin!” But he brought a different sensibility to it. It was like, here was somebody who seemed like they knew what they were doing. And he looked great.


Rock In A Hard Place was released in August 1982, so Weber and Izzy becoming friends and starting to write together must have happened later than that.

Weber and Izzy quickly started writing music together:

I think at the time Izzy was living really close to the Coconut Teaserz, so most of the time that I was hanging out with him I would go see him at his house. And probably within a week, maybe, and we're writing songs pretty much every day.
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03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES - Page 2 Empty Re: 03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:37 pm

SUMMER OF 1983
AXL JOINS IZZY AND WEBER'S BAND; NAMING IT "AXL"

"That friend from Indiana" that Izzy talked about in one of the quotes in the previous chapter was of course Axl Rose, who had left Rapidfire on May 28, 1983.

The next day he said: “I've got this friend that just flew in from Indiana”, and that was Axl, but he said his name was Bill. So we went to Hollywood, some apartment in the middle of Hollywood, and I met him and then we started the band. It was like: “You wanna be the singer?” and he just said: “Yeah, ok!”. It was that easy!

Izzy had been in town for, I don’t know, like a year maybe, most part of a year; and he had known Axl - he had known Bill from Indiana, and he said, “I’ve got this guy.” So we went to where Bill’s house was. Bill was living in an apartment, with his girlfriend, around Whitley in Hollywood. It’s, like, in the... not the dirtiest bit, but it’s sort of - you know, it’s not really the newest part of Hollywood. We went up to the top floor, in this old creaky elevator with a pole gate, and I’m like, “Oh, shit – okay.” And we get to the roof, and we’re looking along - we get off the thing, and I’m looking across this roof and I don’t see anything. And there, in the very corner of this roof, and it was a hot summer day, there was this, like, white, iridescent sort of figure. And, as we walked closer to him, it was Axl in some little shorts or something, something stupid, like... I can’t remember, but it wasn’t anything you would wear in Hollywood - you know, something stupid, whatever. Izzy said, “This is Bill;” and, you know, then we had a singer.

We [=Izzy and Weber] drove over to an old, crappy apartment building on Whitley in Hollywood. We took the gated elevator to the roof and got out. I could see, way across the roof, something shining in the sun. We walked over and lying on a small towel, on the burning tar roof, with long red hair and skin as pale as a piece of paper was "Bill." We went down to Axl's girlfriend's apartment, laid around, talked and played songs on an acoustic guitar. That was the beginning.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

So me and Izzy had done this kind of week-long sort of just jamming and stuff like that at his pad and he said, "Listen, my friend is in town," and I don't know if Axl was out of town or maybe he was at home for a while and then flying out, but he said, you know, "Let's go meet him, he's our singer," basically. [...] I mean, you know, the music didn't matter to Izzy, it was just the looks, so I figured, "Why break with tradition and start worrying about," you know, "who the singer is?" I assumed that Izzy had a good eye for it. So anyway, I went to.... And you know, I've said this before in some books and things like that, but in any case, I went to an apartment on Whitley above Franklin in Hollywood, an area with a lot of very old, very cool old buildings, and went up the type of elevator where you got to close the gate and went up to the top floor and, you know, got out and as I looked across the rooftop in the other corner was this really white figure, you know, and walked over to him and, you know, Izzy said, "This is Bill," you know. And he was just sunning himself, you know, tanning, and that was it. That's when I first met him. [...] I don't know why I always remember it that way but it must have left some sort of mark because I remember I was like, you know, trying to figure out what this person looked like from a distance but only could see the this sort of, you know, the illuminating whiteness of him.

In any case, we wrote some songs, and the way I remember it is that Izzy said, “You know, my buddy’s out here, he’s a singer and I want him to sing for us.” It kind of just became apparent that this guy Bill Bailey was going to be our singer. [...] Axl had already been in L.A. with a band called Rapid Fire, but then I think he went home to Indiana for a little bit.

One day Izzy brought me over to where Axl was living, on Whitley just north of Franklin. It was an old apartment with sort of a sliding elevator door gate. So we go up to the top and just sort of walk along the roof. And as I’m looking out over the rooftop I see this really white guy just laying out in the sun. It was a burning hot day and I just remember he was very white. And Izzy is like, “This is Bill!”

You could tell that Izzy and Axl were on this sort of voyage together. That’s what it looked like from the outside. I never really felt like I had that same relationship with them. Maybe it’s because I’m from Los Angeles and they grew up in Lafayette.


According to Tracii, Axl had just returned to Los Angeles after having returned to Indiana when Rapidfire ended:

So finally Axl came back out from Indiana, but he was staying with Izzy’s ex-girlfriend, Jane, which was kind of a weird living situation because Izzy was living at my place. It was bizarre.


Curiously, Weber could not remember Axl talking about Rapidfire:

You know what, I don't know [if Axl played in Rapidfire when he joined Weber and Izzy]. [...] I didn't even hear of Rapidfire to be honest with you, until maybe 10 years ago.


Laura Reinjohn (a L.A. scenester) would mention that she and Izzy picked up Axl at the bus station downtown when he came from Indiana:

Izzy and I picked up Axl at the bus station downtown, and we drove him back to the apartment he was staying at on Whitley. I cut his hair for the first time. He had this long red hair when he got here.


At some point, both Izzy and Axl would move into Weber's family house at Edwin Drive [LA Weekly, July 19, 2017]:

Well, [Axl and Izzy] were living in their own place and as the band went on and we rehearsed all the time it helped to be in one place and my parents had a big house and we moved in.

At some point, Axl moved in with my parents and I and after a while, so did Izzy. That's where we wrote all our early songs. We wrote music and rehearsed during the day and we'd go out to the clubs at night.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007



THE BAND IS "AXL"

The name of Izzy, Chris and Axl's band was to be AXL [Rock City News, January 1988]. AXL was a band that originated in Indiana [see previous chapter], but was now resurrected in Los Angeles.

"AXL" came along as name of band my friend used to write down. My friend Dave Lank wrote down names of bands, him and Mike Staggs and Roger Miley. And we always thought of names of bands and he had this page, like hundreds of names he thought of for names of bands. One day they called me up they said, "We got a name for a band, 'AXL'" and, like, I don't know, the world was coming down on me in my house and it's, like, I answered the phone and I was like, "What do you want?!" "We got a name for a band: AXL. How do you spell it?" And I was like, "A-X-L" *click* [laughter].

The first band name was AXL. I don’t know who came up with it. It wasn’t me. Probably Axl. But you know, he wasn’t calling himself Axl yet. I don’t think I ever called him Axl the whole time I was in a band with him. He was always Bill.


Mike Staggs, Axl's friend from Indiana [see previous chapter], would later talk about AXL jokingly claiming they had been pissed when Axl used the name:

Axl was a band name Dave lank roger Miley and myself came up with. (Although we hadn’t started really “playing” yet Smile ) upon departing to california Bill asked if he could take/ use the name and We refused - I have an old never-completed 14 year old’s attempt at a legal document to that effect (!) But once he was in California he legally changed his name to what it is now. Rose being his real fathers last name. Although we all had the thin lizzy black rose album on repeat at that time - hence his first tattoo, I believe. Anyway, we were pretty pissed !
Mike Staggs, Personal communication, February 17, 2020[/url]


Interestingly, Axl had previously suggested to Kevin Lawrence that they should change the name of Rapidfire to AXL, too, indicating that this name meant a lot to Axl:

At one point, during his [time] in our band, he asked if we could change the name of the band to A-X-L. He didn’t say ‘Axl,’ he said ‘A-X-L.’ I said, ‘‘Axl?’ What does it mean?’ He said, ‘It’s just a word.’ I said, ‘Oh, let me think about it.’


Describing Axl in this period:

He was just like the coolest guy that ever walked the planet. He was the epiphany of cool and the style he generated and he had an air about him that almost everybody thought was really charismatic.


Still, Izzy was the leader of the band:

Izzy was the mastermind. In the beginning, it was all him. Axl assumed that role later on.

[...] even by this point [=when introducing Axl to Weber], I thought Izzy was the coolest thing in the world. So, you know, he could have said "We're gonna be in a polka band," and I was like, "All right!"


And talking about writing music with Izzy and how Izzy's guitar parts were intervowen with the rest of the song:

His stuff was like another song. If you just listened to it by itself, you wouldn’t be able to tell what song it was. It’s pretty awesome, actually. Not many people do that.

[We were] slumming it here and there. We started writing songs in this roach-infested pad off Franklin Avenue. We were doing speed like there was no tomorrow, and night after night we would just pump out this fast, upbeat, insane music. Literally slapped together a band, and I'd tell club owners we were playing parties and could easily bring in 500 people. When 20 would show up they'd get really upset and we'd never get paid. But we were slowly getting it together.


Talking about how they wrote their songs::

I would say primarily, looking back on the songs, seventy-five percent of them I came up with the original idea for them and Izzy would put his part over the top and then we'd give it to Axl and he wrote all the lyrics.

And, you know, our songwriting was pretty much always the same. Typically, this is my how I remember it, the songs that I composed with them, I was bringing a riff to the table and then me and Izzy would work on it and we would record our parts, right, there's no drums or anything, we didn't have a small studio at that time not even a four track, but just record it on onto a tape, you know, cassette tape, and then give it to Axl. And Axl would go away with it and he'd go away with it for, you know, any number of days. And so he came back and says, "Okay, I've got lyrics to it," and then we would all play, two guitars and the vocals.  [...] But the songwriting again, it was my bringing it forward, me and Izzy working on it, and then Axl getting a tape and writing the lyrics. There's certainly songs that Izzy just wrote and then Axl just wrote, you know, of our sets that we were playing at the time, they never quite made it to the records, I don't think. And with those ones they would bring me and say, "This is the song," and I would create an arrangement over the top. [...] But Reckless Life at least, Anything Goes and then the other ones off of that Cleopatra tape were the original, you know, were some of the original songs that we wrote. And without having a band, you know, we'd written more after we put a band together to kind of start playing out live.


And talking about their influences:

Well, the punk element might have come in because Izzy was part of that scene. The bands that I grew up listening to were Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and stuff like that. So you'll notice that the guitar riffs sound a lot like that. I also listened to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. But I was really into Aerosmith and Zeppelin and I think those guitar riffs are the primary starting point. Especially on a song like “Anything goes” off of “Appetite for destruction” (1987)! The guitar riff is like something that I would think would be right off something like “Rocks” (1976) or one of those early Aerosmith records. And then you know, we'd give the music to Axl and he would write lyrics to it and then it'd be a finished song.


Billy Rowe from Jet Boy would mention that Accept's Restless and Wild [1982] was a big influence on Izzy and Axl in this period:

One album that Izzy used to listen to a lot was Restless and Wild by Accept. And if you listen to a lot of those songs on that record, especially “Fast as a Shark,” you’ll hear where Hollywood Rose and Guns N’ Roses probably got things like “Reckless Life.” And Axl had that whole Udo [Dirkschneider, Accept singer] vibe. You never read this stuff, though.




Axl, Izzy and Weber
Izzy had spraypainted "AXL Rocks!" behind



Kevin Lawrence, Axl's previous band mate in Rapidfire, would mention going to see the very first show Axl and Izzy did together after Axl left Rapidfire:

You know, the first gig Axl and Izzy did together after we had parted ways, I was there at the Troubadour. It was me and my bandmate Chuck and two waitresses in the whole place, and that was it.


Weber would claim that he was the one who encouraged Axl to sing with his high voice [Rock City News, January 1988]. In the first quote below, Weber says it happened about as early as a week or so after meeting Axl:

When I first met Axl at that apartment [=at Whitley Street], I didn't think much of him. He could sing, but his voice wasn't unique. Axl said he had learned to sing in the choir and, at the time, he only sang his stuff in a smoot, baritone voice. Then we week, or so later, Izzy and I heard Axl sing "hair of the Dog" by Nazareth while in the shower. Izzy and I looked at each other and said, "That's it! That's the voice." We asked Axl if he'd consider just singing in that voice and he said, "fuck yeah." The rest is history.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

[Axl's snarl while singing Nazareth's Hair of the Dog] was so special that it was like, ‘You’ve got to do that all the time.’

You know, I think... I can't remember exactly but, you know, we started to jam and there was some low tones... I've never heard the Rapidfire record but I hear that's kind of more of a sort of a traditional sounding singer vibe that he had, I don't know if that's correct but he was kind of doing that. But when he started to go to this sort of... his Axl voice, it was like, "Wait, you got to sing every song just like that." And he may have already been doing that and may just be circumstance that he wasn't doing that day but when that happened it was like, you know, "This is gonna be great, this is awesome."


While in the quote below it happened later, around when they cut their first demo with Hollywood Rose:

At that point, Axl had started singing with a very low register, like he did on some songs on Appetite for Destruction. He didn’t used to sing all high, he was singing with this low register. And I remember, on one occasion, he tried – he sang this falsetto, this high thing that he does, that he’s known for, and me and Izzy looked at each other and went, “Jesus Christ, that’s the sound.” You know, “You’ve got to sing like that all the time.” And he was like, “Why? I don’t even sound like that,” because he was a baritone in the choir or something.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:38 pm

GLAM REVIVAL

Around the mid-80s, many bands in Hollywood would turn to glam fashion which had been popular in the 70s, including AXL:

We had Izzy's little tape deck, and this girl named Laura came by and she turned us onto Hanoi Rocks and we really got into them. We were the first band to really revive glam in Los Angeles because back then heavy metal and leather and studs were in. It was really big to wear black, spandex, and studs, and we started wearing bright colors and makeup. We were the first band to do that since the '70's, when the last glam bands died out, right before punk. We wanted to revamp it in Los Angeles. In the beginning, we got a lot of flack for it, with our big hair, a million different ways. My hair was white and Izzy's was blue/black, and we had these rhinestone earrings, scarves, pink leather jackets and high-heeled boots. We got a lot of shit, but we were really proud. We went up there and played a lot of hard rocking stuff, a little heavier than Guns N' Roses is now. So we had that glam thing going, and people started catching on to it. We were friends with Poison and they were kinda dressing like that too.

We were a glam band. We would spray our hair, long, long hair, spray it straight up, you can see it in the pictures of early GN'R stuff, and, you know, stiletto boots and, you know, tight jeans.

By this time, Izzy had created an image for the band and Axl and I were both spraying our hair to the roof with Aquanet Extra Hold. Izzy made Concho necklaces and wristbands and sold them for extra money. We'd be clad in tight black jeans, Concho belts, Capezio shows and bangles all the way up your arm.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Talking about how Izzy had been clear on how the band should look based off on the looks of Hanoi Rocks:

What Izzy really wanted was to have a band that looked... like, he had this image of what the band would look like. In LA at the time there was a lot of glam but there was also a lot of metal. And I, you know, personally never owned a pair of spandex, I've never owned a, you know, spiked bracelet- [...] I felt embarrassed, they just weren't my style, and this is coming from a guy that, you know, had bleached white hair and, you know, pink lipstick on stage, but black spandex wasn't my style at all. [...] And the guys that looked like that actually got more girls than, you know, the more metal guys. But in any case, Izzy, you know, made it clear that he wanted this particular image and I knew of Hanoi Rocks just from being around, you know, around the scene, especially because of the image. I didn't really know what they sounded like. So anyway, so Izzy talked a lot about how he wanted this band to be styled in the same sort of styling, and I don't think he was necessarily copying Hanoi Rocks but definitely you can see early on that there's a lot of influence. I mean, there's Andy McCoy written all over some of the earlier pictures.


Weber would also suggest they were the first band in Hollywood with that particular look:

Maybe I just see it this way, but the first band to really go out there and kind of push that [look] was Hollywood Rose. And there were likely other bands, and certainly within that year there were other bands and I'm sure we didn't inspire other bands to be like that image-wise, as young of a band as we were at the time, but that was just sort of popping off. So we were doing that at a time where, you know most, like I was saying, most guys wore, like, you know, spandex and, you know, sort of, you know, more tough looking. Even Quiet Riot, you know, if you look back at that time, it really wasn't glammed so much, it was kind of that rocked striped shirt look [?], you know. So in any case, that's how I remember it. So anyway, Izzy was, you know, that was a big issue for him and he really wanted that to happen. And that made sense to me, I liked that. I liked that whole that whole look, so started to sort of formulate what the band would look like and at the same time is what it would sound like.




Weber and Axl
January 1984



And the band's looks:

Nobody wasn't really drinking or doing drugs or anything. It was just about getting into the idea that the music scene was more intoxicating than any drug or alcohol. We spent alot of more time getting ready and know what we looked like. Hair everywhere and make up. It took two hours to do and if you were drunk you couldn't put that together. And then there was a lot of hours working for the band. Putting out flyers and doing promotion at night between two o' clock and three o' clock in the morning when the bars let out. You would stand in front of a bar: “We're playing next week! Blah blah blah…!”


Weber would also mention how important looks were to bands in Hollywood at the time:

You know what, we used to have that newspaper here in LA, The Recycler, and you would look in The Recycler for, you know, band members. And every time you would look there would be something in the Ad or, you know, the Wanted would say, you know, "Drummer wanted, no short hairs." [...] "Must have a great look, no mustaches." It doesn't talk about how well he play, doesn't talk about what their style is.


Alan Santalesa, Izzy's former band mate in Shire, would echo this when describing meeting Izzy and Axl around the time of AXL or Hollywood Rose:

The two things I remember, there were pictures on the wall of Axl with his hair all teased up, that's the first time I ever saw that, and wearing a lot of makeup, as if he had been modeling for somebody. And it really looked cool. You know he looked like a model. [...] One thing about [Axl], he was very familiar with all kinds of music. You know, the glam from the 70s, he knew gothic music like Bauhaus, you know, that was kind of in the age he was coming up. They wore a lot of makeup. And you know, he looked like he was gonna dabble with that as well, if that's what it took, you know. He could go normal or he could be this glam image type of guy, which, let's face it, I mean in LA at the time, not anymore, but at the time, if you wore makeup, you know, look at Motley Crue, if you wore makeup and you look convincing enough, you could draw a bunch of girls. And if you draw girls, then guys are gonna be there. And next, you know, you have a crowd. And then from then on, record labels get interest, then you have a career. So everybody was trying to do that.


Tracii would try to recount Axl's early time in Hollywood:

Axl moved out here, and was staying...I think he was staying with Izzy. And Izzy kept telling me about this guy, who was like his best friend back home, and he's really cool. I'm gonna try and make him sing, you know? And so they put Hollywood Rose together, you know -- or Rose ... I think it was called Rose. First it was called A-X-L -- that was the original name of their band, A-X-L ... and whatever that meant. But, anyway, Axl ended up using that as his name. And then they did Rose, and Hollywood Rose, and they had different people in that band.
Spin Magazine, Outtakes for Axl Rose Issue, 1999
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:38 pm

LATE 1983
THE BAND AXL BECOMES THE BAND ROSE

According to Axl, it was Weber's mom's idea to change the band name from AXL to Rose:

We called our first bands in Hollywood Axl. And then, finally, I got in a band fight and I was rejoining Izzy and a guy named Chris Weber as another group, and Chris’ mom knew about how I signed the songs “Rose.” And she says, “You guys should name the band Rose.”


Chris Weber disagrees and would say that after a couple of shows under the moniker AXL, Izzy and Axl got in an argument and when Izzy returned a few days later he insisted they change the name of the band to Rose:

A few days later, Axl wanted to bury the hatchet and start playing again. Izzy said he'd only do it if we called ourselves "Rose." We changed our name and played under the name Rose […].
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Axl called the name of the band AXL and then slowly but surely he wanted to take on that name for himself. So he took that name, but I never called him Axl. He was always Bill when I was in the band. Then he reinvented himself. AXL was the original name. After maybe 2 or 3 shows, the name was changed to Rose. Axl Rose (then Bill) had some sort of fall out with Izzy and I and to continue playing as a band, Izzy said we were to change our name to Rose, and we did.

Our first show that we played at the Orphanage was under the name AXL. But shortly after that, we got in a fight or something. Axl got all pissy about something and we sort of like broke up. It was, like, after the first or second gig for, like, a couple of days. He was like, “Fuck you guys, I don’t wanna play with you;” which was funny because we were all living in my parents’ house. Then he said, “You know what, we need to come back, I wanna come back, let’s play” and Izzy’s the one that said, “You know what, if you’re gonna come back, we gotta change the name of the band. We’ll let you get back and play, but we’re gonna change the name of the band to ‘Rose’.” That was Izzy’s idea. He wanted the name of his band called ‘Rose’. So we played under that; that was the name of the band for the next five, six, seven... you know, whatever shows.

The band was originally called AXL and this is when we were still calling Axl "Bill", and we called it AXL and I never liked the name and I don't think Izzy liked the name, but Axl really wanted it. So we... some dat... Something happened and we were kind of like, "You know what, we're out of here," we had a little bit of leverage Izzy and I from something that happened, I can't even remember what, I said, "Listen, we'll keep the band together but we got to change the name," and Axl was fine with it, I guess, I can't even remember it if he put up much resistance. Anyways, we called it "Rose" and we did a lot of shows under the name Rose. I still got a couple Troubadour tickets with them.

So it was me, Izzy, and Bill, but then there was a small falling out and I remember Izzy telling him, “Look, let’s get the band back together.” But he said, “We have to change the name. I’m not gonna play under the name AXL anymore.”

So then we were called Rose, but we would go to import record stores and we saw that there were other bands in other countries called Rose. So we changed it to Hollywood Rose. We would go back and forth between the names. It’s very Spinal Tap.


Gina Siler would say that the band Rose was formed while she and Axl lived together in Whitley Avenue [Spin, September 1991], which, if true, must mean that Rose was formed between December 1982 and May 1983, but Siler likely thinks about AXL which was formed soon after Axl left Rapidfire in May 1983 [see previous chapter]. Marc Canter puts the date of Rose to January 1984 [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1984: THE FIRST SHOWS

Rose's first show was at the Orphanage on January 3, 1984 [MetalShrine, November 19, 2004; Chrome Media, August 2, 2005]. But as can be seen from quotes in the previous chapter, AXL had also done a few shows prior to this in 1983.

I mean, we had some people show up, but it was definitely not what you expected from the beginning stages of a Guns N’ Roses show or whatever, you know. But there we were and we got – I packed my pickup truck full of all of our gear, and we drove down there and did the sound check, and then went off to the other corner of the bar, had a soda and waited for our time to come up. Another band played, then we went up and that was the first show. It was like a professional show for all intents and purposes, except for the fact that nobody showed up. Axl was so... he was developing his image and his persona back then. That was the very beginning of it. I mean, he’s known for a couple of things now; he’s known for that swaying thing that he does. But back then, he was so full of energy that he would shake. He would literally shake, like... it’s hard to describe other than just, like, almost a convulsion happening, but really intense. He would do this and let all this energy out and he would sort of, like, vibrate, like as your pager would do on top of a countertop. It was kind of scary to see somebody that would be evoking all this power, energy and emotion.


Izzy would claim their first show took place at Raji's, but Izzy could be talking about AXL while Weber talked about Rose.

Our first gig was at Raji's, in Hollywood. We realized that if you wanted to get a club gig, you had to say, 'Oh, man, we're HUGE in Orange County. We play these keggers, and they're MASSIVE. We can probably get 500 people.' Then seven people would show up, but we got to play.




Izzy, Weber, Axl



Raz Cue, the manager of LA Guns and soon-to-be friend of Axl, would seek out a Rose show to see Izzy again (after having seen him play in Shire earlier), and see Axl for the first time:

And I went to the Shire show and [Izzy] wasn't there but I kept asking, like, "What's up with Izzy?" "Where's Izzy at?" and they're like, "Oh, he's in a punk band called Rose or something like that." And then Shire, like, you know, like, a month later, I think it was February of '84, or something like that, Shire played a show with Rose, they were sharing drummers, Johnny Kreis, so they were sharing drummer, and Sandy West was playing upstairs, at the Madame Wong's West, it's on Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica, or something like that, a couple miles from the beach. So I was like, "Oh man, I'll move you guys' gear, I want to go to that show, man." Mostly to meet Sandy West. And that's the first time I saw Axl and he just fucking blew me away, like, first time, man. I was like, "Man, this guy's amazing." Even just at soundcheck.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:38 pm

LATE 1983/EARLY 1984
ROSE RECORDS A DEMO

The bands Rose and Hollywood Rose would have various members, and Marc Canter mentions Johnny Kreis (drums), Rick Mars (bass), Andre Troxx and Steve Darrow (bass) [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Raz Cue would remember Andre Troxx:

Andre was great, man. I love that kid, man. Yeah he died a couple years ago but, yeah, he was one of those guys who was just fun, man. He always had a smile on his face, always happy to see you kind of guy. Just a fun guy, man. Really friendly and, you know, just [?].


Johnny Kreis was recruited when the band recorded their first demo:

In Hollywood, you needed to have a tape. You needed a tape to get a club date, you needed a tape to get any interest, and you needed to send your tape into the Music Connection for it to get reviewed. Everybody had needed a tape of some sort, which left the problem that we didn’t have a drummer, because we never thought about it. So we quickly had to find a drummer, and through the Recycler we found this guy, Johnny, who lived in Orange County. Johnny came up and, with him – I think we played him the songs that we had, that we were gonna record the day that we were to record them, and he came up with all the beats right then; he did a great job. We later added a bass player, as we needed to. There were, actually, two bass players. There was Rick, who called himself Rick Mars, which was interesting, because there was Mick Mars from Motley Crue. And then there was a friend of mine by the name of Andre; he played bass, too.

We did all the song writing and put together a whole set before we even looked for anybody else. Then we had an opportunity to go into a studio and record some stuff, because we wanted to find musicians and to find shows around town you needed a tape. The infamous demo tape! My family gave me some money and we booked some time and then we needed to find a drummer, because we had just been working off a drum machine. There's a couple of papers here and one is The Recycler and one is Music Connection. And from one of those two, I think it was The Recycler, we found Johnny Kries. Just a drummer and I don't think he even rehearsed. He basically came in and we told him where the studio was and he showed up that day. We played for twenty minutes and showed him the songs and he put down the tracks. And then me and Izzy just traded off playing bass.

And then we slowly start to put together a band, in fact when we did the demo tape that Cleopatra Records released, the five songs, we didn't have a drummer at the time, we didn't have a band. It was me, Izzy and Axl solely. And we had to find a drummer that came in and kind of learned those songs, which was Johnny Kreiss, kind of on the day. Maybe we got him a tape a couple days before but it was pretty quick.


This would suggest that the band recorded the demo before they did their first show in January 4, 1984, indicating that the demo recording took place at the very end of 1983.

Kreis would later say he was invited to play drums for Rose by Izzy who knew Kreis from the Shire [see previous chapter]:

I'm sure you heard stories about how HR [=Hollywood Rose] found me in a throw-away magazine musicians classified section well it wasn't HR it was Izzy and Shire!....then after a while Izzy who wanted to do something more the style he liked and invited me to jam with HR and do a demo recording! [...] Izzy back then was an absolute gentlemen, and he still is one of the most coolest people I have ever known even these days 20 years later!…

Actually Izzy and I played together in a band called Shire which was more along the lines of Melodic Metal, a la Scorpions, Def Leppard. Izzy played bass then, but he was also collaborating and writing songs with Axl, it wasn't long before they needed someone to lay tracks down for their new project which was materializing rather very quickly. Izzy's and Axl's songs were very streety and bluesy but had a very strong edge, and very related to what was going in the lives of young rocker kids on the street. Finally after a disappointing attempt at getting a record deal with Shire, moonlighting and playing a few gigs with Izzy's and Axl's band I made the decision to leave Shire, and play drums solely for Hollywood Rose, or back then as a few of you rocker buddies who were hanging out with us Back in those days, of one of those buddies and an absolute awesome guitarist and friend Tracii Gunns, seen our name change a few times to ROSE, AXL, then finally Hollywood Rose.


If Kreis is correct in the above, that Izzy and Axl was already working on what would become Hollywood Rose while Izzy was still playing bass in Shire, it pushed back the origin of Hollywood Rose (or rather AXL), to the summer of 1982.

According to Kreis, the track list of their first demo was Rose, Wreckless, Shadow of Your Love and My Way Your Way:

[...] I have a copy of the very first demo we did, on cassette tape, which is now slowly disintegrating though time cause the label I remember was white, and now it's a dark brown and it said Rose, Wreckless, Shadow of Your Love, and My Way Your Way.


The band would record another demo with five songs, Shadow of Your Love, Reckless Life, Anything Goes, Killing Time and Rocker in late 1983 or early 1984. These songs would in 2004 be released on the album "The Roots of Guns N' Roses" on Cleopatra Records [see later chapter]. According to Weber, his father paid for the recording which took place at Mars Studios [Classic Rock, July 19, 2017].

Marcelle Sirkus, a friend of Chris Weber in Hollywood, would mention getting to meet Axl and hear an early version of Back Off Bitch and also being present when Axl recorded vocals for the song for Use Your Illusion:

So I met Axl at Chris Weber's house early 80s, way early 80s. And I remember sitting on the bed with Axl in Chris's room showing me Back Off Bitch. And you know, after about three rounds of the song, like in my head, I remember thinking, am I gonna be in a band and play a song Back Off Bitch? I don't think so. And I literally turned my bass over to Izzy and left the room. [...] [Axl]'s always been really open about even my opinions about his own stuff. Even during Use Your Illusion, I spent a bit of time with them over at the recording studio. And I was in there a few nights when he was recording, of all things, Back Off Bitch. Very strange irony about that, yeah. But it was like, it was just me, me and my friend, we were driving around and it was, like, a Saturday night or a Friday night and there really wasn't anything going on. And I said, “Oh, I think my friend is recording down the street, should we go pop in?” And she had no idea. And I just, you know, walked in the Record Plant and I'm like, “Yeah, tell Axl Marcelle is here”. And five minutes later, we're listening to vocal recordings of Back Off Bitch. Like, “Is this good or is that good? Did you like that one?” And, you know, it was really fun. Because he knew I went really way back with the song to begin with, so…


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:39 pm

1983-1984
BILL BAILEY BECOMES AXL ROSE

I knew in first grade I was gonna change my name.

__________________________

1979: AXL DISCOVERS THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS FATHER

At 17, according to Rolling Stone, Axl found some insurance papers and his mother's diploma that told him for the first time about his biological father, William Rose, and that he had been baptized William Rose, too [Rolling Stone, November 1989; Kerrang! April 1990; Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].

My name was William Rose. That was my real last name. My mom remarried, and then my name was changed to Bill Bailey, William Bailey. My dad has told me that he begged my mom to change my first name because he knew I was gonna get crap. I mean, every place you go someone is singing ‘Come Home Bill Bailey.’ Actually, I want to cover the song. I like it; I think it’s funny. Anyway, it’s just that I never felt akin to and a part of that name. And then when I was 17, I found some insurance papers and I found my mom’s diploma and it said Rose. So there you go. Axl was a nickname, and Rose really is my last name.


To distance himself from his biological father, he changed his name from "William" to just "W.". In 1991, Axl would comment upon his first name being just "W." and not "William" by saying it was because his "real father was kind of a jerk, so, you know, it’s just W. legally because I don’t really want to claim anything to that" [Rockline, November 27, 1991].


FEBRUARY 1984: NAMING HIMSELF "AXL"

One of Axl's first bands in Indiana was called AXL [see earlier chapter] and when in LA a few years later, Axl named himself after that band:

I was originally in a band called AXL a long time ago. I got the name because peo­ple said you live, breathe, walk, and talk Axl, so why don't you just be Axl.

"AXL" came along as name of band my friend used to write down. My friend Dave Lank wrote down names of bands, him and Mike Staggs and Roger Miley. And we always thought of names of bands and he had this page, like hundreds of names he thought of for names of bands. One day they called me up they said, "We got a name for a band, 'AXL'" and, like, I don't know, the world was coming down on me in my house and it's, like, I answered the phone and I was like, "What do you want?!" "We got a name for a band: AXL. How do you spell it?" And I was like, "A-X-L" *click* [laughter].

Anyway, a little while went by and, all of a sudden, I really got into the name. We even designed a logo for it. And I started pushing it as the name of the band. We called our first bands in Hollywood Axl. And then, finally, I got in a band fight and I was rejoining Izzy and a guy named Chris Weber as another group, and Chris’ mom knew about how I signed the songs “Rose.” And she says, “You guys should name the band Rose.”

I had a thing that I called AXL. That was a project, you know, and I was writing songs and I had them all in this little book and I was, like, looking for people. Izzy and I were trying to put it together. Axl, eventually, became me out of Izzy’s suggestion. He goes, “Look, you live, breath, walk, talk Axl. Why won’t you just be Axl.” “Okay, I’m Axl.”


Marc Canter would mention that Axl had gone from "Bill" to "Axl" in February 1984, because when Slash, Steven and Canter went to see Hollywood Rose play at the Gazzarri's on February 23, he was using that name for the first time:

Slash said to me, "Me and Steven are going to go up to this band called Rose. There's this really cool guy. He's supposed to be a good singer named Bill, and this guy Izzy, and they're supposed to be really cool. They're from Indiana." That day, Bill changed his name to Axl, literally. Because we thought he was Bill, but then, when we met him, he said his name was Axl. So I never really ever called him Bill. It was... from the very first day, he was Axl to me.


A possible chronology of Axl's name changing: First Axl (then as Bill Bailey) took back his birthname, Rose, to distance himself from his stepfather, becoming William Rose. Then, after coming to grips with the nature of his biological father, he changed "William" to "W.", becoming W. Rose (as seen on postcards sent to Gina Siler). Lastly, in February 1984, as he considered himself as an uncompromising rebel and artist, the personification of his band AXL at the time, he added Axl to his name becoming W. Axl Rose. At some point later, the "W." would be dropped entirely, resulting in Axl Rose.

Bill was something that got left behind long ago. I was named after my real father and that wasn't something I was a big fan of. If I'm getting in touch with the child in me then I'm dealing with Billy. But I'm Axl.


In 1988 Slash, would explain Axl's name:

I think [the "W."] stands for William. […] Because it looks cool with “W.” I don’t know (chuckles). […] Axl’s [Rose] real – that’s his god-given name, you know, birth-given name.


In the June 1992 Musician issue, an interesting description of Bill Bailey's transformation to Axl Rose and the artistic awakening of Axl Rose, would be presented:

[Axl] also says that while he was growing up, forbidden access to rock culture, the only music magazines he saw were the publications he could buy at the local grocery store: teenage poster mags such as Circus and Hit Parader. Axl Rose shaped his vision of rock 'n' roll out of rock 'n' roll's most unsubstantial debris. Unaware of all the possibilities, he began his career expressing his talent through a limited vocabulary.

As a troubled child Billy Bailey looked at pin-up pictures of silly heavy metal bands and thought they really meant in. So he took that trivial style and infused it with a powerful creative vision. He brought integrity to a shallow genre through his own passionate belief. Billy Bailey was a sad, scared kid who recreated himself as a rock star named W. Axl Rose. And then, against all odds, he found himself again.


In 2019, Alan Niven would discuss the same topic:

You can talk about Bill Bailey or you can talk about W. Axl Rose, because, yes, he did what almost everybody who moves to Los Angeles, I mean, you know, the history of this is long. He reinvented himself in Los Angeles. I mean, you know, John Wayne was Marion somebody, Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jean somebody, right? [...] There's a sense of reinvention right? And like anything else in excess, it may not have the end results that they desire. But I think we can look at ourselves as in process that we are in a way works of art and development. And I think it's fine to reinvent yourself because another way of looking at it is just saying, "I'm forming my value system, and that goes down to my personal presentation, what I agree with, what I don't agree with, how I treat other people," and you form your own value system and you stick with it. So yeah, Axl is a character who came out of a chrysalis that was once called Bill Bailey.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:39 pm

MARCH 1984
STEVEN JOINS ROADCREW WITH SLASH

Roadcrew needed to be improved, and Ron Schneider abd Marc Canter would explain how Steven entered the band:

I wanted to get into more of the metal scene and I jammed with some other guys and nothing ever really clicked the way it clicked when I was working with Slash. So we tried again, and it was still Roadcrew, but this time we decided that something wasn't working and that something was Adam the drummer. So in comes this kid with really long blond hair and the super double bass drums and this guy had the look, he had the drums and he could play the heavy metal beat. That guy was Steven Adler.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

One day, out of the blue, Steven showed up at a gig and said, 'Get rid of your drummer--he’s not good enough! I did, and Steven and I carried on Roadcrew, which was really a great band, but we could never find a good singer. So, here I was with a killer three-man group and no singer.

Then Steven all of a sudden showed up one day and said, "Get rid of your drummer, he's not good enough'. Steven had somehow got his hands on a kit and he'd gotten good. So me and Steven carried Road Crew on, which was a great little band. Sorta like what Metallica are now without a singer...

Steven saw Slash was in that band Road Crew and, right away, he wanted in. So he auditioned for Slash and, right away, Slash was blown away by his double bass drum skills.

After I picked up the guitar, Steven migrated to drums. I hadn't seen him for about two years, but we got re-acquainted. He and I started a band that was short lived, but that's when we met Duff McKagan.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:39 pm

SPRING 1984
ROSE TRANSFORMS INTO HOLLYWOOD ROSE

Chris Weber has two explanations for why they then changed the name to Hollywood Rose. In an interview from 1988, he would say that Axl "got mad one day" and they changed the name of the band from Rose to Hollywood Rose, although Weber could not remember why Axl got mad [Rock City News, January 1988]. Most likely Weber is here confused about why they changed the name from "AXL" to "Rose" which came as a result of Axl being pissed and Izzy accepting that they continue playing but under the condition that they change the name to "Rose" [see previous chapter for more information]. That they would change their name from "Rose" to "Hollywood Rose" because of Axl's anger begs the question why changing the name would help with Axl's anger.

In other accounts, Weber would state they added 'Hollywood' to differentiate themselves from another band called 'Rose':

The word Hollywood was added when I stumbled upon the name Rose being used by another band. I think they were on the East coast, maybe New York.

Soon after, we found that there was another band called ‘Rose’ somewhere, so we changed. It sounds like Spinal Tap, doesn’t it, but soon we changed the name to ‘Hollywood Rose’ to differentiate ourselves. It was all the same band throughout the whole thing. We just changed the name.

We changed our name and played under the name Rose, until we discovered there was another band called Rose. So, we changed our name to Hollywood Rose.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

But in any case, it was a Spinal Tap moment where we did a sort of a search and we saw another band called Rose. And if you've seen Spinal Tap they were going like, "We were the whatever and then we were the new whatever" [?] "Well, we're Hollywood Rose." That's how the name came about.


Bret Michaels from Poison would recount hearing Axl for the first time at a Hollywood Rose show at Madam Wong's East on March 16, 1984:

We're out in L.A. in March of '84. And Kim Fowley introduced me to a girl named Athena Bass -- which is Tommy Lee's sister. And she said: I want to take you to a club tonight to see this band play. They're sort of like Poison of the West Coast out here, you know. And they were playing a place called Madame Wong's East. And I remember going down to the club. It was just me and Athena and her boyfriend at the time, right? And we just went down there, and it was a band called Hollywood Rose. And Axl was singing for the band. He was sort of what you would remember him from the "Welcome to the Jungle" video? Over-the-top glam, hair just teased out -- you know, just really pretty insane and wild.

[…]

I mean, it was like a Monday night. You know, there was like maybe eight to 15 people in the club. You know, it was this little teeny club upstairs. The way I could tell it was the same attitude that he had was the same attitude I had -- he was playing as if he was playing for a million people. You know, I mean, his attitude was, you know, I'm going-- You know, he didn't have this-- I mean, he had a great vibe. He just came onstage and he was -- "electric" I guess is the best word to say.


Poison was originally from Pennsylvania but were relocating to Los Angeles in this period, and not long after Michaels saw Axl with Rose, Poison would play its first show in Los Angeles. On April 20, 1984, Poison played together with Hollywood Rose and LA Guns (or possibly Pyrrhus) at Madam Wong's West. Tracii Guns, who would co-found Guns N' Roses together with Axl a few years later, and was playing guitar in Pyrrhus (although he refers to as its next name, LA Guns, in the quote below) at the time of the Madam Wong's show, would describe seeing Axl for the first time:

The thing about Axl was - I was becoming friends with him before I ever heard him sing. He was Izzy's best friend from Indiana and Izzy was living with me and Izzy always told me he could sing and he was a great singer. But I didn't know until I saw him do a soundcheck. We were all playing together at Madame Wong's and Axl went up to soundcheck to test his mic. I was like, 'Oh, shit. Wow.' Then I knew but at that point, I didn't know if we'd ever actually play together.

I first met Axl from Izzy [Stradlin]. Izzy always told me, “Yeah, you know, I have this buddy in Indiana. He can really sing. I’m gonna bring him out here.” Izzy was living at my mom’s house. I was about 16 or 17 and he was about 19 or 20. And so eventually Axl came out and they put together, I think it was probably Hollywood Rose. And then L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose and Poison did a show—our first show—together at Madame Wong’s West. Poison played upstairs in the big room and L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose played in the small room downstairs and that was really the first day I heard Axl sing. It was at soundcheck. And I was like, “Holy shit!” He was incredible. We became friends after that [...].


Kreis would recount playing their first big show at The Country Club:

Well there were many, but one of the interesting ones was when we, HR played our first big gig and what was considered back then as one of the biggest venues in the Valley, The Country Club in Reseda, California and from the minute the curtain opened, all I see from my position behind the drums was bewildered faces! in the crowd!... in like..."What the Hell is This!".....As We Played a style of music that was so different, So Primal!....and So Down To Earth!... and The Glam Spiked Big Hair! and yet everyone can relate, because Axl and Iz, wrote their songs, which followed how they lived!... It was Streety Rock N Roll!... with a Raw Bluesy Edge!

It was How We All Felt Growing Up!....and We didn't care if you liked us or not!....but you'll hear us!... you see, back then most bands were on the 80's melodic trip playing hook oriented tunes that were very polished and clean!

well with us!...We Were Loud and Proud! the best way t

One of the coolest memories was the first time we played a very large venue/club called The Country Club in Reseda California, and the expression on peoples faces as we unleashed our brand of Street Metal/Rock N Roll, from sitting on my drums I can almost read their minds saying "What The Hell Is This"….and yet Hollywood Rose in the very beginning was hitting a nerve in every person who was in that hall that night, a nerve that Would carry at least two of the musicians of HR to become one of Rocks Icons! To Fame!

One of our - well, one of my most memorable gigs with Hollywood Rose was a show at a place in the San Fernando Valley called The Country Club, one of the most largest venues when we came out for our first time, and from the first note [we] played, the audience was in awe! They were blown away by the wreckless yet raw bluesy rock riffs and drumbeats crowned by the most intense vocal style of the one and only Axl Rose.


Kreis would also be asked if the band partied much:

Surprisingly, we were in a sense just kids with lots of energy and exploding hormones, which comes with being young adolescent rock musicians with the drive and strive to reach the top! Believe it or not, partying was not too prevalent then with HR… that I knew of, but hanging HR flyers all around Hollywood looked like it was drug induced. Though I’d like to mention that one gig HR did at the Music Machine in Santa Monica, it was a late night and we opened up for a band called Stryper. One of my roadies backstage found me a coffee machine with really, really strong coffee - in fact it would put Starbucks to shame. Having no money for drinks I told my roadie, this should do the trick! Then when we hit the stage playing [a] song [which] back then [was] called Wreckless (the original version, nothing like it in the world!) which featured medium tempo double-bass riff througout the whole song! - well, that night during that song, it sounded way! way! way! too fast!… just like a cruise Missile racing a Snaik, and I will never forget the look on Chris, Axl and Izzy’s faces, looking back at me and saying "Dude! Slow Down!" Yep! I was absolutely torched on caffeine! Back to your question, we would have a few beers or so and that would be the extent of the partying.


And Steve Darrow would mention how Izzy was in charge of their looks:

[Izzy] had us meet up at his place, then fix up everybody’s hair and makeup before anyone left the room. Axl, too.


Rob Gardner from Pyrrhus/LA Guns [see previous chapter] would also occasionally play with Hollywood Rose when they needed a drummer and that's how Rob met Axl:

[...] I used to play drums for Hollywood Rose. Axl and Izzy and Chris Weber, you know, did that whole thing and- [...] they had a few drummers too. And which is why... I never really joined that band as a member but I would just fill in because I needed the songs[?]. So they would say, "Hey, our drummer's like M.I.A., we can't find out where," whatever and, "Would you fill in?" I'm like, "Yes, sure." So I did shows with them, you know, and like that. And so that's how that kind of came into play. How I, you know, got to meet Axl and those. And
like I said I had already known Izzy, you know, before that so- [...] I never played with Slash but I played with Izzy and Axl before, before, you know, the LA Guns kind of, Guns N' Roses thing.


Rob already knew Izzy from his Shire days since Mike Jagosz, Rob's friend and band members in Pyrrhus, had a brother, Dave, who sang for Shire [Appetite for Distortion, March 8, 2018].  

Weber would talk about their live shows and early songs:

I believe [we played] like somewhere between fifteen and twenty shows! Song titles live were: “Killing Time”, “Shadow of your love”, “Hollywood Girls”, “Anything Goes” , “Beat on my Head”, “Back off Bitch”, “International Boys”, “Rocker”, “Cold Hard Cash” and “Rock and Roll Rose”.


Kreis would later indicate that Axl and the other guys in the band had "differences in personal chemistry":

Axl… at least from my point of view back then, he always treated me very well, he was very clever, and motivated to succeed in the industry, never took a swing at me or threw me off a ten story high building! After lighting me on fire!… nope! none of that!… he was very business savy!… but there were differences in personal chemistry with the other guys in the band!


Later Kreis would be asked about the relationship between Axl and Chris Weber, but state that it was the relationship between Axl and Izzy that was bad:

Back then I didn’t see too much tension between Axl and Chris, but there was some. The most tension, at times, was between Axl and Izzy… really intense! Yet in the end when it came to show time, we all did our job and got along! At least for the next 45mins to an hour.




Weber, Kreis, Izzy, Axl, Mars
Madam Wong's West



Weber would later summarize the story of Hollywood Rose:

Hollywood Rose started out as a band called AXL. And that was me, Izzy and Axl. Then the drummer and bass player came along afterwards. Then we changed the name of the band to Rose and then it became Hollywood Rose. That band stayed intact with me, Axl and Izzy and then the bass player and drummer. The bass player was never part of the band. He was just part of it when we were playing live, so it was just basically us three. Three leaders and then we had these other guys playing and Johnny [Kreis] was consistently our drummer.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:40 pm

SPRING [?] OF 1984
IZZY MEETS SLASH AND SLASH HEARS A RECORDED AXL FOR THE FIRST TIME

In early 1984, likely in the spring after Rose has morphed into Hollywood Rose, Izzy would meet Slash when looking up the artist of an Aerosmith drawing that had been floating around the town; the artist was Slash [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Marcelle Sirkus, who went to school with Slash and also knew Izzy when he was playing in Shire [see earlier chapter], would mention how it came to be that Izzy saw Slash's Aerosmith artwork:

So here's the Izzy thing. So going back, when Slash and I worked together - we had an afterschool job together at this place called Business Card Clock. And it was kind of like a mail order business. Customers would send in a picture, you know, they'd send in their business card and then Slash would photograph it, like 24 by 36, mounted onto foam core. I would install the clock movement and then we would ship them. And this was our afterschool job. And it was right when then that he was drawing the picture of Aerosmith. [...] So first he drew Steven Tyler, you know, and Joe Perry. And he took a photograph of it and he mounted it and he framed it for me. So I had that hanging up on my wall, thought it was really cool. And then he finished the drawing and he gave me another printout. He mounted it to the stick cardboard and I hung that up. And Izzy came over one day and said, “Wow, who drew that?” And I was like, “Oh, my friend Saul. He works over at Hollywood Music”. And he's like, “Oh, I gotta meet him”. I'm like, “Okay, well, go to Hollywood Music on Fairfax. He works there”. And so that's what called Izzy to Slash, it was the drawing.




A copy of the Aerosmith drawing
Canter's Deli, Hollywood



Slash would talk about Izzy coming to see him at Hollywood Music:

At the same time, I was working in a guitar shop, and Izzy came in one day because he’d seen a drawing I did of Aerosmith and wanted to know if he could get a copy of it, and that’s how we met.

I’d already met Izzy because he had come into my music store looking for copies of this picture of Aerosmith that I drew for Marc. He showed up at my work one day… this little, scraggy Johnny Thunders comes walking in and he’s looking for Saul Hudson, right?


Later that night, Izzy would play a tape for Slash of a Hollywood Rose demo and Slash would hear Axl sing for the first time:

[Hearing Axl for the first time from a demo tape]: But through the static din, way in the background, I heard something intriguing, that I believed to be their singer's voice. It was hard to make out and his squeal was so high-pitched that I thought it might be a technical flaw in the tape. It sounded like the squeak that a cassette makes just before the tape snaps - except it was in key.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York

That’s how we met and [Izzy] played me a tape of his band later that night. It was really ratty, with a tiny voice in the background screaming at the top of its lungs. But it was in key so I was interested. He told me the name of the band was Hollywood Rose…

The first time was on a cassette that Izzy [Stradlin, co-founding Guns N’ Roses guitarist] brought over to my house. There was all this noise and then there’s this really intense high voice over the top of it. My first impression was that it was very soulful. It had a bluesy, melodic thing to it, which was rare for that type of voice. You didn’t often hear somebody hold that melody together so naturally.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:40 pm

03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: RECKLESS LIFE
Album:
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, 1986, track no. 1.

GN'R Lies, 1988, track no. 1.


Info:
This song was an old Hollywood Rose song played in 1984. It was actually on a Hollywood Rose demo tape together with 'Nice Boys' and 'Shadow of Your Love' that was handed to Steven by Izzy before GN'R was founded ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010].

Written by:
Lyrics: Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin.
Music: Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin.

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose; lead guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.

Live performances:
This song came from Hollywood Rose and was used at the first Guns N' Roses shows and played until 1989. Then it was played three times in 1993. It has not been played since then. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {RECKLESSSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

I'm reckless and feelin' no pain
You know I've got no need to control
Livin' with the danger I'm always on the edge now
With million dollars visions that I hold
Livin' like this never ever tore my life apart
I know how to maintain and
You know I know my part
     
On a holiday
A permanent vacation
I'm livin' on a cigarette with wine
I'm never alone 'cause I got myself
Yes, I imitate myself all of the time
Livin' like this never ever tore my life apart
I know how to maintain 'cause it's comin' from my heart
I lead a reckless life
And I don't need your advice
I lead a reckless life
And you know it's my only vice
     
Reckless life
I lead a reckless life
I lead a reckless life
And you know it's my only -
Reckless life
I lead a reckless life
I lead a reckless life
And you know it's my only vice


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Axl introducing the song in 1985:

This song is for anybody getting drunk. This song is "Reckless".
Hollywood Rose playing at Madame Wong's West, July 20, 1984


Steven, discussing recording the drums in 1985:

On thing always bugged me about the very beginning of the record. The count-in to 'Reckless Life' is my very first hit on the drums. It's the high hat and cowbell. When I hit the cowbell the stick slid off. So my first recorded note is muted, it's not all there.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010


I wish we had put “Reckless Life” on [Appetite]. But that was an argument I lost. I think it might have had to do with the fact that Chris Weber co-wrote it, and it would have led to a publishing issue. But that song belonged on the record.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:40 pm

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SONG: NICE BOYS
Album:
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, 1986, track no. 2.

GN'R Lies, 1988, track no. 2.


Info:
This Rose Tattoo cover came from Hollywood Rose and it was actually on a Hollywood Rose demo tape together with 'Reckless Life' and 'Shadow of Your Love' that was handed to Steven by Izzy before GN'R was founded ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010].

Written by:
Angry Anderson, Mick Cocks, Geordie Leach, Dallas "Digger" Royall, Peter Wells (Rose Tattoo).

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose; lead Guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.

Live performances:
Nice Boys was mainly played in the band's early days but has been played now and then after that. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {NICEBOYSSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

She hit town like a rose in bloom
Smellin' sweet, sweet perfume
The color faded the petals died
Down in the city no one cried
In the streets garbage lies
Protected by a million flies
The roaches so big you know that they got bones
Moved in and made a tenement home I said
     
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
I'm not a nice boy!

Sweet sixteen she was fresh and clean
Wanted so bad to be part of the scene
She met the man and she did the smack
She paid the price layin' flat on her back
Wanted so bad just to please the boys
Then ended up just being a toy
Played so hard burned her life away
Lies were told no promises made

You know
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
I'm not a nice boy!
And I never was

Young and fresh when she hit town
Hot for kicks just to get around
But now she lays in a filthy room
She kills the pain with a fuck and a spoon
In the streets garbage lies
Protected by a million flies
You know the roaches so big
You know that they got bones
Moved in and made a tenement home
     
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Na Na Na Na Na Na, baby
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
I'll bet your mamma said
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys don't play rock and roll
Nice boys


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

According to Steven, it was Axl's love for Tattoo Rose that resulted in the band playing this cover:

Axl told me that the first concert he saw live was Aerosmith. The band Rose Tattoo opened up the show, turning Axl on to them and inspiring him later to have our band perform the Rose Tattoo classic 'Nice Boys'
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010


Steven would also say that when recording this song in 1986 for their debut EP, Axl overdubbed his own vocals. This would if so be the first time Axl did this, something he would do frequently later in his career.

The only stuff they overdubbed [for Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide] was the backing vocals. If you listen closely to "Nice Boys", you can hear Axl singing backup to his own vocals.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010


Axl, talking about the song at live shows in 1985:

This is our theme song, 'Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N' Roll'
The Troubadour, June 6, 1985

I wanna dedicate this song to the band Poison. This is called 'Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N' Roll'.
The Troubadour, September 20, 1985

This is dedicated to everybody that thinks this band has a bad attitude. This is called 'Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N' Roll'.
The Troubadour, November 22, 1985


Talking about their tour of Australia in late 1988:

Our next stop was Australia; we did a short tour that hit Sydney and Melbourne, and since our record was just barely cracking their consciousness, we resuscitated a few covers, like 'Marseilles' by the Angels and 'Nice Boys Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll,' which is by one of Australia's greatest rock bands, Rose Tattoo. We made a point of getting in touch with them and arranging to meet, and I must say that the leader of their band, Angry Anderson, was everything I though he'd be. Angry had more tattoos than anyone I'd ever seen, and he was every bit as real and honest as I'd hoped for.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 259


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:40 pm

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SONG: MOVE TO THE CITY
Album:
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, 1986, track no. 3.

GN'R Lies, 1988, track no. 3.


Info:
Another old song stemming from Hollywood Rose. Penned by Chris Weber and Izzy together with their friend and bass player D.J.

Written by:
Izzy Stradlin, Chris Weber and D.J. (Daniel Nicolson).

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose; lead guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.; horn: Matt McKagan (unknown who the rest of the horn players were).

Live performances:
'Move to the City' came from Hollywood Rose and was played regularly up until 1992. It has not been played since then. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {MOVESONGS} times.
Lyrics:

You pack your bags and mou move to the city
There's something missin' here at home
You fix your hair and you look real pretty
It's time to get out on your own
You're always fightin' with your mama and your papa
Yo' family life is one big pain
When ya gonna move to the city
To the city where it all began
     
You gotta move you gotta move
Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
You gotta move

You stole your mama's car and your daddy's plastic credit card
You're sixteen and you can't get a job
You're not goin' very far
You're always ridin' with the teachers and the police
This life is much too insane
When are you, you gonna move to the city
To the city where it all began
     
You gotta move you gotta move
Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
You gotta move

To the city
With the real nitty gritty
Aw child ain't it a pity
Sometimes it gets too shitty
Come on and hit me

You're on the streets and it ain't so pretty
At least you get ta do what you please
You do what you gotta do for the money
At times you end up on your knees
I'm always buyin' with local desert junkies
This city life is one big pain
But you, you had to move to the city
To the city where it all began

You gotta move you gotta move
Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
You gotta move

To the city
With the real nitty gritty
Aw child ain't it a pity
Sometimes it gets too shitty
Come on and hit me


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Talking about what influenced the writing of Anything Goes and Move To The City:

I think, you know, Izzy and I were listening to a lot of Aerosmith and I think Rock And A Hard Place had just come out or come out just, you know, around that time, listening to a lot of that. And it just sort of felt, you know, kind of I felt some of the vibe that that giving off kind of inspired some of my writing. I think Move To The City is a good example, you know a riff that I wrote that- [...] it's got that sort of same type of vibe.


Weber says that he and Izzy would continue writing music for Hollywood Rose after Axl left the band after the show on May 10, 1984, before the band disbanded:

At the time that [Axl] left is when Move To... within that period of time is when me and Izzy wrote Move To The City because Axl wasn't part of it.


This puts the date to the writing of Move To The City to May 1984. Steven, though, in a quote below, would claim the song was already written when he and Slash went to watch Hollywood Rose (likely in February 1984) before the band temporarily disbanded as Weber left.

The bass player's name was DJ. I believe he helped write 'Move to the City', one of the songs they performed.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010


This DJ who played bass for a short time in Hollywood Rose, also has writing credits on the song.

I just looked at a Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide cassette tape, and on it, “Move to the City” is credited: Stradlin, me, and D.J., which is a fella who was a friend of ours. Then later, everybody in the band that wasn’t even part of the band at the time is credited for it. So, there are a lot of interesting things that happened with credits that aren’t totally on the up-and-up. I’ll put it like that.


And Duff would mention that the song was written by the time he joined Guns N' Roses:

Izzy and Axl already had some songs, and the other guys knew them: "Think About You," "Anything Goes," "Move To The City," "Shadow of Your Love," and "Don't Cry." And we did sped-up punk versions of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel".
Duff' autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 88-89


Axl introducing the song in 1985:

This is a song about coming to L.A. This is a song called 'Move to the City'.
The Troubadour, June 6, 1985

This is a song dedicated to anybody that got tired of wherever the fuck they were and moved to a big city such as L.A. This is called, 'Move to the City'.
Madame Wong's East, July 4, 1985


When they recorded the song, Duff would get his brother, Hank, to play horns:

One of the staples in our early sets was a tune called 'Move To The City,' which was eventually recorded for our Live! Like A Suicide EP. We always heard that song the way it was recorded - with a horn section. And sometimes, even at the smallest venues, where we could barely all fit in the backstage area, we put together a few brass instruments to come onstage for the song. I recruited my brother Matt, who played trombone, to be part of the horn section.
Duff' autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 88-89


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:40 pm

03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: ANYTHING GOES
Album:
Appetite for Destruction, 1987, track no. 11.


Written by:
Lyrics: Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin.
Music: Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and Chris Weber.

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose; lead guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.

Live performances:
This song came from Hollywood Rose and was used at the first Guns N' Roses shows. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {AGSONGS} times.

Information:
Chris Weber wrote the early chromatic riff in "My Way, Your Way" (which evolved into Anything Goes) after being inspired by Aerosmith's Rock In A Hard Place [Classic Rock, July 19, 2017].
Lyrics:

I been thinkin' bout
Thinkin' bout sex
Always hungry for somethin'
That I haven't had yet
Maybe baby you got somethin' to lose
Well I got somethin', I got somethin' for you

My way - your way
Anything goes tonight
My way - your way
Anything goes

Panties 'round your knees
With your ass in debris
Doin' dat grind with a push and squeeze
Tied up, tied down, up against the wall
Be my rubbermade baby
An' we can do it all

My way - your way
Anything goes tonight


Quotes regarding the song and its making:
Writing the song:

Me and Izzy and this guy Chris Weber wrote it a long time ago. It's had different verses at different times. Every time I'd do it live, people liked it, but it just depressed the shit outta me on stage. (...) We did it real fast. Then we wrote another version about our times at the old studio and we kept that for a while. Then we came down to record it, we decided we didn't want to cut the track. But Tom [Zutaut; Geffen A&R man] was very adamant about having that song recorded, so we figured 'we're gonna have to rewrite it.' In preproduction we came up with something we liked a lot better, but the verses weren't written until the night we recorded the song. Basically, I just wanted that song an 'anything goes in sex' type song.
Hit Parader, March 1988

Izzy and Axl already had some songs [when I joined the band], and the other guys knew them: "Think About You," "Anything Goes," "Move To The City," "Shadow of Your Love," and "Don't Cry." And we did sped-up punk versions of the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel".
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59

That used to be a 12 1/2 minute song.
Hit Parader, March 1988

Used to be speed metal.
Hit Parader, March 1988

There was one that came from way earlier. It's a song called Anything Goes. It's probably the most obscure song on 'Appetite,' and it was rewritten a lot of times before we did that record. Izzy and Axl had been playing it before I came around.


Playing the first version of the song, "My Way, Your Way, for the first time, probably in January 1984, as AXL:

It was really loud and aggressive and kind of took people by storm.


Introducing the song:

This is our theme song. You get to do anything you want, right? 'Anything Goes.'
The Troubadour, July 20, 1985


Recording the song:

Mike [Clink] asked me to change 'Anything Goes' and that really hit a nerve. "Fuck you, don't tell us how to write songs." I got so pissed because you don't meddle with the music. I pouted, stomped around, and behaved like a real dick. (...) So we tried the idea, and to my surprise, it came out great. My resistance had just been from a deep-seated desire to guard our songs, and no one messes with GNR's tunes. (...) Mike's change happens right when Axl starts singing the first verse. It was initially at a slower time, and his idea made it faster and like I said, better.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010

'Anything Goes' is one of the oldest songs on record. If you look at the credits, there are a lot of writers listed for this one because that song was around before Axl and I first hooked up. By the time Guns N' Roses got to it, we'd changed the chorus and the verses around, and Axl rewrote the lyrics. When I recorded the solo on it, I bounced back and forth between the talk box and the electric guitar. If you listen to it, the talk box dips in EQ when it switches over. I didn't know any better because I didn't have one to use live. I remember when we were mixing it, Izzy asked, "Did you mean to do that?" I was like, "Just shut up."
Guitar Edge Magazine, March 2007


Talking about the song:

And after [Think About You] it would be 'Anything Goes' [that is my least favorite,] which is probably the oldest song on the record. By the time we recorded it for Appetite, that song had been played by so many different configurations of the band and gone through so many revisions. It came out cool in the end, I guess, but it's a little choppy as far as arrangement is concerned.
Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007




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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:41 pm

03. 1962-1984 - BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: BACK OFF BITCH
Album:
Use Your Illusion I, 1991, track no. 8.


Written by:
Paul Huge and Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm and Lead Guitars: Izzy
Vocals: Axl
Background Vocals: Slash, Duff

Live performances:
This song is pre-Guns N' Roses and dates back to Hollywood Rose or maybe even earlier since Axl's Lafayette friend, Paul Huge, is listed as co-writer and Axl himself has stated it dates back to 1982. It has almost exclusively been played in 1985 and 1986 but also once in 1991. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {BOBSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

Oh baby, pretty baby
Oh honey, you let me down honey
I ain't playin' childhood games no more
I said it's time for me to even the score
So stake your claim, your claim to fame
But baby call another name
When you feel the fire, and taste the flame

Back off, back off bitch
Down in the gutter dyin' in the ditch
You better back off, back off bitch
Face of an angel with the love of a witch
Back off, back off bitch
Back off, back off bitch

Makin' love
Cheap heartbreaker, broken backed,
Nasty ballbreaker, stay out of my bed,
outta my head
If it's lovin' you, I'm better off dead

Back off, back off bitch
Down in the gutter dyin' in the ditch
You better back off, back off bitch
Face of an angel with the love of a witch
Back off, back off bitch
Back off, back off bitch

Emotions ripped, gone on a binge
Life lipped, I said you're off the hinge
Tellin' lies of such fame and glory
I don't even wanna hear your story

Back off, back off bitch
Down in the gutter dyin' in the ditch
You better back off, back off bitch
Face of an angel with the love of a witch
Back off, back off bitch
It's such a pity that you're such a bitch
Back off, back off bitch
It's time to burn-burn the witch
Back off, back off bitch
Back off, back off bitch
Back off, back off bitch
Bitch
Bitch
Bitch
Bitch

Hey wha'd'ya think he's tryin' to say there anyway?
I think it's something each person's s'posed to take in their own special way
Fucking bitch


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Talking about writing the song:

I mean, there’s Back off Bitch that was written, like, in ’82.
Rockline, November 27, 1991


Introducing the song::

This is 'Back Off Bitch,' for every guy and girl who just bugs the fuck out of them.
Madame Wong's West, July 20, 1984

This is a real pretty tune. For everybody out there that has somebody, who won't fucking leave them alone, who bugs you a little too much, this song is called, 'Back Off Bitch'.
The Troubadour, November 22, 1985


Talking about recording the song:

I play the main solo. I used to play this high-end trill thing for the first solo, but I could never play it consistently. So I just took it off altogether and let Izzy put a lead on, which is really a lot cooler. [...] It's a contemporary-metal style song. [laughs] I mean, it's so generic in that way. It's like E, D, D, D flat, D-that kind of thing. [...] I am just picking them [the fast arpeggios]; I can't tap to save my life.
Guitar World, February 1992


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:42 pm

FEBRUARY 23, 1984
STEVEN AND SLASH GO TO SEE HOLLYWOOD ROSE PLAY AT THE GAZZARRI'S

As described in previous chapters, Slash had been looking for a good singer to lift his bands:

[...] what happens is [Slash]'s frustrated. He can't really find a singer. Finally finds a singer, but it's not really clicking. And then he realizes that the only way it's gonna work is if he finds what what he called a professional singer. Someone that plays like the Troubadour, the Whisky, and that, you know, can get out and entertain a crowd and have great range.


After having heard the Hollywood Rose demo from Izzy [see previous chapter], Slash and Steven went to see Hollywood Rose play at the Gazzarri's [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007] hoping to get Axl in his band:

And we heard that this band Rose was playing at Gazarri's and at the time it was Izzy and Bill. It wasn't an Axl yet. And he said, "I heard this band called Rose and I'd love to get Bill and Izzy in my band," or join with them or something. And so we went to see him them Steven Adler. Steven Adler was already hanging out with Slash and drumming. And for a dollar to get into Gazzarri's... I think they're doing a night where every band plays three song.


Marc Canter would describe seeing Hollywood Rose this night:

And I just remember seeing Izzy flying around with his guitar and Axl just vibrating, just belting out these extreme, gnarly vocals with his veins popping out of his neck. And it was just intense and right away would call our attention.


Steven and Slash would recount how it went down:

Slash and I were in a band called Road Crew. One day we found a flyer for a band called Rose. We said, "These guys look cool-we oughta check them out." So we went to see them at [the Sunset Strip rock club] Gazzarri's and said, "We get those two in our group and we're gonna have the hottest band around."

Steven was more or less responsible for hooking up myself with Axl. I had already met Izzy.

Steven and I went to see Hollywood Rose at Gazzari's and it was the first time that I beheld, hands down, the best singer in Hollywood at the time: W. Axl Rose. Much like the tape, the show was nothing more than an amateur garage band doing their best, but they had an amazing sense of reckless abandon and energy. At least two of them did: apart from Izzy and Axl, the band was pretty nondescript, but those two friends from Lafayette, Indiana, had an ominous presence about them. Izzy kept doing knee slides all over the stage and Axl screamed his fucking heart out-their performance was blistering. Axl's voice drew me in immediately; it was so versatile, and underneath his impossibly high-pitched shrieking, the bluesy natural rhythm he had was riveting.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York

I said to Slash, “If we get that singer and that guitar player, we’ll have a kick-ass band.”

Me and Slash, we were walking down Sunset Boulevard and we saw this one flyer and it just stood out. …The singer and guitar player, they just looked so cool. It was Rose. Hollywood Rose. It was Axl and Izzy. And we went into Gazzarri’s and we watched them.

Then I went to see him and Izzy play one time. I didn’t actually realise I was going to see the same person that was on that cassette. They were fucking hardcore on stage. Izzy was doing knee slides and Axl was bashing down. It was cool, like, ’Fuck…’


This gig was probably the one on February 23, 1984.

A singer like Axl was exactly what Slash had wanted in his band:

Some time later, I met Axl, and Steven said, 'They have a band—you’ve got to see their band.’ At that time, I wasn’t really interested in another guitar player because I’d never played with another guitar player. I just wanted to steal Axl for my own band, but I couldn’t get Axl away from Izzy. They were like, 'F—k you!’ And I was like, 'All right, f—k you, too, then!’ If it won’t happen, it won’t happen.

I had a band called Roadcrew and we could never find a good singer which is why I wanted Axl. […] Trust me, out of all the musicians in this town, you could find a million and one guitar players and they could all be pretty good. But you'd be lucky to find one good singer. Because guitar playing is something you can pick up. It's a physical thing but at the same time it's an instrument – unlike using your voice which comes from the heart.


Marc Canter would talk about how Slash's Roadcrew fell apart after Slash saw Izzy and Axl in Hollywood Rose (or only Rose, as Canter says the band changed name first after Slash had joined), and that Slash and Axl met after the show:

[Roadcrew] fell apart after Slash had heard of this band called ROSE.  He wanted to get Izzy and Axl to join ROAD CREW. So at that time you could go see ROSE at Gazzarris on the strip and it was only like a buck to get in.  Immediately you could tell there was something about the two.  Axl was just bouncing and had all this energy and Izzy was sliding around on his knees and playing with all of this energy as well,  The music was a little fast, it was like double bass drum fast, almost speed metal stuff but you could see there was something more to it than that.  They met after the gig [...]


In 2016, Steven would claim that he already at this time envisioned the classic lineup of Guns N' Roses with Duff, which is clearly false and revisionist since Duff hadn't even moved to Los Angeles yet:

When we were watching [Axl] perform, I said to Slash, "We get that guitar player and that singer and get Duff in here, we're going to have the greatest band ever."


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:42 pm

MAY 10, 1984
AXL LEAVES HOLLYWOOD ROSE

Hollywood Rose played a show on May 10, 1984 at the Music Machine, opening for Stryper and also, according to Vicky Hamilton but most likely incorrect, Black Sheep:

I booked them another gig right away at (another club) Music Machine, opening for Stryper and Black Sheep, which had Slash as the guitar player.

Looking back, I remember it was kind of funny because Axl was doing the pogo on stage, you know, pogo-ing like punk rock-style in the 80s. He didn’t do the snake-movement thing until later after he saw Richard Black doing it for Shark Island. I remember they did a Todd Rundgren cover, “Bang on the Drum.”


Stryper played a show at the Music Machine on May 10, 1984, and this is likely the date of this show.

Chris Weber and Axl had a fall-out at the show:

We played a show in mid-’84 at a place called the Music Machine – it’s not in Hollywood, but it’s close to Hollywood, in Santa Monica. The show was alright, so it sort of went off without a hitch. The more I think of it the more I recall. What ended up happening is, somewhere during the show I think I hit him in the head with my guitar, the top of my guitar, and he got really embarrassed and upset. We got through the show and then afterward he was just fuming, and he went on this little, um, sulking. I don’t know what I’m thinking of his – he got an attitude and he stormed off, and sort of that was the end. I mean, it wasn’t set up in any way. We weren’t planning on ending it, it was just him walking off.

You know, I think that the specifics, you know, it's by perception and it changes over time and even one person's view may, you know, change in the light of other information. But the way I remember it we played The Music Machine here in Santa Monica, California, part of Los Angeles, with Striper [...]. I guess the best memory that I have, we played that show, Music Machine, Axl got pissed off, I think I bumped into him on stage - I can't remember exactly -  it's something like that, and it was like, "Fuck it, we're gonna end this, I'm leaving." So he essentially left. [...] So, you know, we'd all kind of disbanded. I didn't feel fired because we weren't together as a band anymore. Fired would be if they continued playing and then just have somebody else come in.

Then Hollywood Rose played a show with Stryper at the Music Machine. The way I remember it is something happened onstage, I think I swung around and hit Axl with the top of my guitar. My memory was that he was pissed off. And I wouldn’t be the first person to say that Axl’s got a relatively unique ego. It could be easily damaged and easily inflated at the same time. Anyway, nobody got fired, but we kind of disbanded.


From the quotes above, it seems like Weber didn't leave Hollywood Rose, but it was Axl who left the band. This is further corroborated by Weber who says that he and Izzy would continue writing music for Hollywood Rose after Axl left the band, before the band eventually completely disbanded:

At the time that [Axl] left is when Move To... within that period of time is when me and Izzy wrote Move To The City because Axl wasn't part of it.


This puts the date to the writing of Move To The City to May 1984.

According to Hamilton, who claims Black Sheep with Slash also played at this Music Machine show, Axl and Slash met at this show and it was she who introduced them to each other:

After the show I introduced Axl to Slash - who knew that was, like, history in the making. But that was the first time Slash met Axl.

I came to manage Guns N’ Roses just at the tail end of Hollywood Rose. I booked Hollywood Rose to open for a band called Black Sheep at the Music Machine, and that was the band that Slash was currently in. So that night I introduce Slash to Axl, and who knew that was, like, history in the making. Chris Weber had quit the band and Slash wasn’t very happy in Black Sheep. I suggested to him that he try out.

I had always been a big fan of Slash and his playing.  I always kept an eye on what he was doing and I booked Hollywood Rose when i was an agent for Silver Lining Entertainment which I was also doing when I was working with and booking Stryper.  Axl and Izzy came into Silver Lining and played me their demo tape and it was amazing and I booked them sight unseen. The first show was at Madam Wong’s with Candy and then I booked them with Black Sheep, Slash’s band at the Music Machine. Around that point Chris Weber left Hollywood Rose and Slash entered the picture and I started working with them then.  I really liked both Chris and Slash. I thought Chris was a really good writer and I’m still friends with him to this day.  It was so funny because our paths always seem to cross.  Well after those days, probably ten years later I was working with a band and in England and saw this band whose guitarist was….Chris Weber.   I was like “Holy shit!” (laughs).  Chris is a great guy and now he works at a recovery/sober living place.  He’s just a really good guy who was very important to that whole time and place.  No question about it.  He co-wrote a couple of those songs on Appetite so he’s a talented writer and a talented cat in general.


Hamilton's recollection must be wrong since Slash played in Black Sheep in April-May 1985 and we know Slash played in Hollywood Rose before that. Most likely Hamilton (re-)introduced Axl and Slash to each other (they had likely met on February 23 when Steven and Slash went to see Axl and Izzy play at the Gazzarris, but Slash was not playing in Black Sheep at the time.

In 2012, Hamilton would tell the story again, but this time include that Axl and Slash had indeed met previously:

I remember it like it was in slow motion. I had actually known Slash for a while at this point, and I introduced Slash to Axl. Later on, Slash went on to say he and Axl had met earlier. But in my mind, the way I remember it, that was the first time they met that night at the Music Machine show. Who knows the real truth?


Marc Canter would be asked about Hamilton suggesting Axl and Slash met after a Black Sheep show, and state that Hamilton remembers it wrong [Personal communication, January 29, 2021].
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:42 pm

JUNE 1984
IZZY AND AXL REFORM HOLLYWOOD ROSE; SLASH AND STEVEN JOIN

IZZY AND AXL CONTINUE THE BAND WIHOUT WEBER; SLASH GETS A SHOT AT REPLACING WEBER

Izzy and Axl then decided to continue with Hollywood Rose, but now without Weber; they put out an advertisement looking for a new lead guitar player which caught the attention of Slash.

The first time I met [Axl] was at an apartment. They'd had an ad in the paper. Him and Izzy had an ad in the paper for a lead guitar player. Now, I'd already met Izzy, without knowing that's who I was calling back, and I went down and met Axl. And he was on the phone talking about himself for... for the entire time that we were... He was talking to some chick. I don't know what was going on, but that was when we first met. And nothing came out of that.

I didn't want to play with Izzy but Izzy and Axl came as a package.

With Izzy and Axl and I didn’t hit it off right away, because these guys had a definite agenda. You know, Izzy moved all the way from Indiana to Los Angeles to become the rock star kind of thing, and he moved to Hollywood. And Axl followed him - Axl turned around and hitchhiked all the way here, and found Izzy.

When we first hooked up, it was pretty uneventful, the first time we met actually I answered an ad that Izzy and Axl had in the paper looking for a guitar player. I went down there to where they were staying, which were some little guest room off of a house above Sunset. It was real dark, it was one room, they had like a bed that took up 75 percent of it, a TV that took up another 10 percent, and there was like 15 percent walking space. [...] Axl was on the phone and Izzy was the one I did all the talking with. [...] so later on I answer this ad and it turns out to be Izzy and this guy Axl. The whole time I was there, Axl never got off the phone. Axl was in Mark Twain mode, Twain wreck, which was when he starts talking, ‘cause he won’t stop.

That was our first meeting. Nothing came of out of that. Nothing happened.

When it comes to guitars, I know this is gonna sound crazy but I never intended to be in a two-guitar band. When Guns N' Roses came together, Izzy was already in it and he was already very tight with Axl and that's the way it went. It was fine.


This was the apartment where Izzy lived with his girlfriend Desi Craft. Craft would describe the meeting:

I remember when Slash came and auditioned. He came to the apartment where Izzy and I were living on Orchid. Izzy had me hide in the hallway while they talked and played, but I peaked through a crack to see. I remember seeing his high-top sneakers and his guitar case and I knew he would be hired. Our apartment was the central hub for the whole band. We kept the beer there.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


In Axl's counter-lawsuit against Slash and Duff from March 2006, Axl would claim that Slash had met with him and Izzy to try to convince Axl to join Slash's band and not to join Axl's band [Axl's counter-suit, March 2, 2006].

Slash had another opportunity to talk with Axl:

Then I was another time when I was actually seeing my dad. I didn’t see my dad that often but one time we hung out and we went down to Harry’s Barbeque and I looked over and there was Axl and he was talking to this chick and, again, he was doing all the talking and she was just sitting there. That went on for the whole time I was there [laughs] so I didn’t approach him and that was that.



SLASH GETS A SECOND CHANCE

Then, at some point, as Slash would recount it, he got to play for Izzy and Axl again, indicating that Slash had played for Izzy and Axl before, possibly at the small apartment when answering the ad:

[…] and again, Steven pushed me to go down and play for Axl and Izzy because the guitar player they had [=Chris Weber] wasn’t happening, and Steven persuaded Axl and Izzy to check me out again.

Axl and Izzy came down with this distant sort of attitude--the 'check-me-out’ attitude. Steven told me, unbeknownst to them, to play my most ripping heavy metal blah, blah, blah.

By this time, I’d become a proficient enough guitar player to play heavy metal, but mostly what I was into was blues stuff, but I could incorporate heavy metal into the blues or blues into heavy metal. The first thing I did was just wail, and they said, ’That’s great, but what happened to that stuff you played for us the last time we met you?’ I said, 'Oh... ’ I played it, they dug it, and we got together.


Weber would describe how Slash replaced him after the ill-fated show at the Music Machine and suggest that Slash stayed with Hollywood Rose for about a year:

After that show at the Music Machine, Slash, who was a friend of mine as well – I mean, I knew him from high school as well, both him and Tracii; all of us went to Fairfax High. He took over the guitar playing after I left. I have to wrack my brain a little bit, but he did that for a while until the end of the year. And sort of I wasn’t – I think I was hanging out, because we were still all friends, although I had sort of mixed feelings about not playing guitar in it.


As described in an earlier chapter, Rob Gardner would occasionally play drums with Hollywood Rose when they needed a drummer, but he would later say he never played with Slash, indicating this happened earlier in Hollywood Rose' history:

But, like I said, man, Slash never... I don't think we ever even played together, I don't think ever even once. You know, we were just more of acquaintances and in different bands.



APPARENTLY, STEVEN JOINED, TOO

Steven joined together with Slash:

Right after that Rose gig at Gazzarri’s Slash joined up with Axl. And then they got Steven Adler in the band, and this guy Steve Darrow to play bass.


Marc Canter would mention that Hollywood Rose (again, Canter says the band first changed its name from Rose to Hollywood Rose after Slash joined) was in the process of losing both its drummer (=Johnny Kreis) and guitar player (=Chris Weber) at the time, and that this opened up for Slash and Steven:

[...] I guess ROSE was on its way to falling apart as far as their drummer and guitar player and stuff.  So Slash and Steven, who was also in ROAD CREW by then decided to join with those two and form HOLLYWOOD ROSE, that’s what they were gonna call it at that point.



THE AXL, SLASH, IZZY, STEVEN, DARROW LINEUP

The new lineup of Hollywood Rose - and which would turn out to be a very short-lived lineup - was Axl, Slash, Izzy, Steven and Darrow [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], only missing Duff to be the most classical Guns N' Roses lineup - but Duff was still in Seattle at the time.

Steven Darrow would describe the new lineup:

At one point we got a rehearsal together with Slash, Izzy, Steve Adler, Axl and I. And it sounded really good. Slash had added a whole other dynamic, in contrast to Izzy's stuff that was simple, straight-ahead, and fast. Slash thought this would work, that we could be great. We had a few rehearsals, probably about once a week at best. It wasn't anything steady and none of us had a lot of money.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

The next day [after having seen Hollywood Rose at Gazarri's], I was leaving a girlfriend's house and Axl was walking up and we got to talking. We rented a studio and we were jamming on this song called "Reckless Life" and Axl grabbed the microphone and started running up and down the walls, screaming like I've never heard in my life. From the first note, I knew this was gonna be it.


And Marc Canter would summarize it all:

And so Slash met with [Axl] afterwards and they decided to put Slash, or change Rose, or it might have been called the Hollywood Rose at that time, and call it the New Hollywood Rose. And they made some changes, they added Steven and Slash and they got rid of their drummer and their guitar player, Chris Weber. And somehow a new bass player came, Steve Darrell at that time wasn't at that gig, so somehow they conjured him up.


Darrow would describe how he got into the band:

I had been playing with a band called Kery Doll, and I remember hearing Hollywood Rose had another gig booked for later in the month, probably at the Troubadour. So I saw Izzy one day and I said, “How’s it goin’? I heard you got another gig booked.” He goes, “What are you talking about? You’re playing it! You wanna play bass for us?” So I basically faded out of Kery Doll and faded into Hollywood Rose. We started playing, and Slash at that point was kind of a shredder. He had the B.C. Rich with the tremolo bar and he was doing a lot of dive bombs. But then he could also play the Joe Perry stuff and that kind of bluesy rock. And Steven had his double bass kit. He was really flashy and showy and had a lot of cymbals, a lot of drums. But at the same time Axl would be like, “We worked out a version of ‘Honky Tonk Women’…” trying to get more of that sort of rock ’n’ roll into the metal stuff.


Robert John, who was a friend of the guys in Hollywood Rose [see later chapter], would talk about Slash:

We all thought he was a smart-assed little prick. The crew called him ‘The Snake’ behind his back […] We got to be good friends later on, but we just hated each other in the beginning.
Stephen Davies, Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N' Roses, 2008


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:43 pm

JUNE 1984
IZZY LEAVES HOLLYWOOD ROSE

Izzy left Hollywood Rose about a week after Slash joined:

And then Izzy kind of walked away from it. Maybe he made it to one rehearsal and then he was gone. He left and joined the band London.

It was one of those weird things where Izzy was there and the next time he wasn’t. And then Axl was a little bit more involved in the way things were going than the way things were before. And then it also was the beginning of Izzy’s drug time. He started hanging out with different people and his priorities were more in that unfortunately. So anybody who wasn’t really directly involved in either making him a rock star or buying drugs was sort of low priority in his life.

Oh by the way, Izzy was in the New Hollywood Rose for about a week and then he quit to join London.


Later, Slash would claim it was Axl's sole decision to get him in the band, and that Izzy quit over it:

At some point we all hooked up when Axl approached me about playing with Hollywood Rose, which I thought was a pretty good idea at the time. Axl picked me but never talked to Izzy about it so I came along one day not knowing that there was any of this drama going on. I walk into this rehearsal studio called the Fortress in Hollywood… this grungy little room and Izzy was there and, because Axl had made this decision without Izzy’s input, Izzy quit. So Steve Darrow and Steve Adler came in and we put a band together with the four of us. That was the beginning of me and Axl’s real relationship… it started with the Hollywood Rose band.

Then Izzy quit, because... That whole guitar player syndrome, you know, like... I don't wanna have to... Izzy is the kinda guy that don't want somebody else making his decisions for him. And so when I came around...I'm sort of like a power-freak too, I guess. You know, I'm sorta like: "this is what we should do here". You know, and so we got into conflict. So he quit. Me and Axl carried the band on for a while.

There were different incarnations of [Hollywood Rose] before I was in it. Initially, Izzy was in the band, but there was a falling out and he left. So it was me and Axl, Steven Adler and Steve Darrow. We did a bunch of gigs, but it didn't last long. It was sort of the impetus for what came later.


That Izzy was not impressed by Slash is confirmed in this quote:

We went through a lot of line-ups and eventually it's five years later and I'm still living in a box so I said, "We've got to make this work." We ran an ad. Slash and Stevie [Adler] turned up but when we rehearsed it didn't look good. All I had was a Les Paul and a tiny Peavey practice amp and Slash had two Marshalls. I thought, "Rich cunt, I'm living in a box." I wanted to kill Stevie. He'd just dropped acid, couldn't play, and I thought, "What a complete fucking idiot."


According to Darrow, Izzy also had a problem with Steven's double bass drums [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], a problem that would be corrected when Guns N' Roses started up [see later chapter]. Marc Canter would provide another explanation for why Izzy left: Disagreements with Axl over whether the riff for the song 'Cold Hard Cash' should be kept or not [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. If canter is correct, Izzy didn't leave entirely because of Slash coming in, but also came down to musical disagreement with Axl.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:43 pm

JUNE 1984
THE NEW HOLLYWOOD ROSE

With Izzy leaving Hollywood Rose, the musical style of the band would turn more towards street and away from glam, and Axl would work on some of Slash's songs [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

After Izzy left it was almost like a new band. I think they actually changed the name from Hollywood Rose to the New Hollywood Rose. Because it was just Axl from the band, and then Slash and Steven came in together and they found a new bass player. But that version of Hollywood Rose only lasted for about three months. They had like four or five gigs, a couple of rehearsal parties, and then it kind of fell apart. And then Axl went ahead and joined Tracii in L.A. Guns.


This lineup of Hollywood Rose, billed as New Hollywood Rose, played their first show on June 16, 1984 at Madame Wong's West [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This was likely the first show were Slash got paid [Snakepit.org, July 2000].



Flyer for show at Madam Wong's West
June 16, 1984



Alan Santalesa, former band mate of Izzy in Shire, would attend the June 16 show at Madam Wong's West:

I saw Slash when they were called Rose and that was a pretty good lineup. It was only a four piece. Madam Wong's West, I saw them. And we were playing at the same night. Rose was Axl, Slash, this guy named Steve Darrow on bass and Steven Adler on drums. They had this guy Steve Darrow, he was awesome. Not only could he play bass really good, but he constantly ran back and forth on the stage like a maniac and Axl would jump on his back and run across. It was, like, very entertaining. And they did a Nazareth song, Hair Of The Dog, you know, and it was cool and Axl had his hair all up, you know, it was the first time that I thought, "OK," you know, "this is serious, this is good."


Another show with this lineup took place on July 10, 1984 at the Troubadour. According to Marc Canter, Axl broke a glass against the back wall and was told they would never play the Troubadour again. Fortunately, Darrow knew the booking agent for the band Poison and was able to get Hollywood Rose back on the bill at the Troubadour for a show on August 29 [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:44 pm

AXL AND SLASH'S RELATIONSHIP IN THE VERY EARLY DAYS

Slash would later remember Axl in the beginning of their relationship and how he quickly learned how sensitive Axl could be:

When he and I first met, he shacked up at my house, when I was still living at my mom’s house. And we had some interesting situations… I think because we’d first met and I didn’t really know him that well. One morning I took off and went to work, and I guess he got – in the afternoon he woke up, went up and passed out on my grandmother’s couch. [...] And I came home from work, and my mom said, “That guy, Axl, I came home and he was asleep on the couch. Grandmother had nowhere to sit.” So I told him – you know, he had to get up and whatnot, so he went downstairs, and so I thought, you know, that I had to confront this issue. So we had rehearsal that night and we got in the car, and I very delicately put it to him that it was sort of rude and whatever. And his reaction was to jump out of the car, and it was probably 35, 40 miles an hour down in Santa Monica Boulevard (laughs). And I realized that what I’d said to him had offended him, and- [...] So, from that point on, it was sort of kid gloves after that.

Anyhow, but it started off cool and I liked Axl… he came and stayed at my house but then the yin and yang of Axl’s personality started to present itself. One minute he was really, really cool and somebody that I liked a lot. You could spend almost two days with him like that. Then the smallest little thing would turn around and change his personality completely. I’m pretty even keeled; nothing really phases me. I’m probably like that to the extent that some people don’t understand how I can be so fuckin’ blasé about things [laughs]. So we had a real contrast going on, but the music was cool. When we had a good time, we had a great fucking time. But when it was bad, I couldn’t understand the origins of some of these issues and why they would be blown out of proportion to the extent that they were. To him, it meant everything. But to me, I could just never understand it.


Marc Canter would also suggest there had been some power struggles in the band in the early days, possibly hinting at Axl and Slash already at the start vying for control, something which would be claimed by Axl later [see later chapter]:

I actually told Slash not to [join Guns N' Roses] because I didn't think, I mean, I wanted him to do it, but I didn't think it would last. It was personality issues and all kinds of, you know, power, who's in charge and whatever.

There was problems even in 1984. So those same type of problems kept coming up.

[In Guns N' Roses] things were different musically. So I knew that the bond of music would hold them together despite some of their personalities or their power struggles or whatever that go with it.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:44 pm

AUGUST 29, 1984
SLASH QUITS HOLLYWOOD ROSE

Slash and Axl would get in a fight resulting in them splitting [97.7 HTZ-FM, January 1994], some time after August 1984. Apparently, Slash quit after the August 29, 1984 Troubadour gig where Axl got into a fight with somebody in the front row:

Finally, we had this one gig where Axl got into a fight with somebody in the front row at the Troubadour and at that point I’d already been through another thing with him jumping out of my car one night. It was just tedious. The good times were good but the tedious times were really trying. So at this particular gig, when he got into this fight with this guy, and the gig wasn’t going as well, I thought it was pointless. After that show I was like, “You know what? I don’t have time for this.” [Laughs] So I was in a couple bands during that period. I was very ambitious but, at the same time, there was a limit to what I would and wouldn’t do to get by in this business. I wouldn’t do a lot of conformist sell out kind of stuff.

There was a great Troubadour show when we were Hollywood Rose with Axl and Steve Adler and myself. That was the last Hollywood Rose show. Axl got into a fight with one of the guys in the front row.


At this point, Darrow had been replaced by a bassist called Snake [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Years later, when talking about his hesitation to joining Guns N' Roses, Slash would shed some more light on what had happened between him and Axl while in Hollywood Rose:

At first I didn't want to do it because me and Axl had been through some bad times together.

Axl was a bit temperamental, a bit moody, so we had a falling out and we split.


Duff would go in more detail: Axl had slept with Slash's girlfriend [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 69].

Marc Canter would also confirm that the break was personal and not over music:

They did about five gigs, a couple of rehearsals, maybe a couple of parties at rehearsal studio and then it fell apart. They had differences. Not necessarily musical differences, I don't think. They just didn't get along or whatever.


With Slash out the band, Hollywood Rose was practically over although they would do one final show at the end of the year [see later chapter], and Axl would join LA Guns [see later chapter].


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:44 pm

SEPTEMBER 1984
DUFF MOVES TO LOS ANGELES

At the age of 19 [The Seattle Times, July 1991; Circus Magazine, November 1991; eGigs, March 3, 2008], or 20 [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992], in 1983 [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992], Duff decided to move to Los Angeles together with Greg Gilmore from Ten Minute Warning [Circus Magazine, November 1991] in September 1984 [Rolling Stone - Extract from "Nöthin’ but a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ’80s Hard Rock Explosion", March 8, 2021].

Duff had considered moving to New York, too:

Why did I move out of my nice, safe, Seattle surroundings? Because it was safe and nice and comfortable. I flipped a coin. It was either New York or L.A. and it went heads, so I went to L.A. My car never would have made New Yolk anyway.

I was at the ripe old age of 19. I was gettin' on; I’d gone as far as I could go in Seattle; clubs were closing down; there were no record companies. It was dead. It was gone. Vancouver, too. We're talking 1984.

There was a lot of heroin in Seattle when I was playing in punk rock bands from 1979 to 1984. Heroin flowed just like that and everybody was a junkie. There were no clubs for playing, no nothing! It was one of those times in life when you have to make a choice. I had to choose between staying in Seattle or moving to Hollywood for a chance. And that's what I did.

Sometime in 1982, as the scene became bigger and a recession hit Seattle, we all noticed a huge influx of heroin and pills. I witnessed my first overdose when I was 18. Addiction suddenly skyrocketed within my circle of friends, and death by overdose became almost commonplace. By the time I was 22, two of my best friends had passed from ODs.

I packed my bags and cut my ties with my hometown of Seattle in September 1984. The idea of driving to New York in my beat-up 1971 Ford Maverick became moot as soon as I realized that, on a budget of $360, the East Coast was just too far away. I decided Los Angeles was a safer place for me than the heroin-infested punk scene of the Pacific Northwest. I was badly mistaken.

It was between going to New York and L.A., and I had this old piece-of-shit car, and I knew it wouldn’t make it to New York.
Mark Yarm, Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge; September 2011


The day before moving he decided to switch from guitar to bass [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992].

I was a guitar player before I moved out to LA. But I had heard the stories about LA, where there were millions of guitar players, and really didn't think I was good enough to be one of the top players. I mean, I wasn't ever going to be anything like Slash. So in order to get my foot in the door I decided to get a bass and a bass amp and come on down to LA.
Kerrang! March 1989; Blast, 1987

And I moved to California and I didn't I... I wasn't that good of a guitar player, really, to be like... cuz there's a million guitar players in LA. And then my drum kit was just it was a piece of junk, you know, so I said, "Okay, I'll play bass" just to get my foot in the door and this is the door I've stepped into.

I knew there were a million guitar players, a lot of whom were technically a lot better than I was. So I sold all my stuff up in Seattle and bought a bass and a little combo bass amp, and I was going to play bass, basically, because bassists were hard to find. I used it to get my foot in the door.

When I moved to L.A, I wanted to play guitar. But in LA there were millions of guitar players, millions of Yngwie Malmsteens and shit, and I really wasn't into playing like that at all, I was more into playing like Thunders guitar. The bass was my least serious of the instruments. I was a better drummer than anything else back then, but my drum set was cheap shit, so I got a bass.

Well, I wanted to get my foot in the door in L.A. and I knew there was always a demand for bass players. I just had a cheap drum kit, a little Marshall combo amp and a little Hamer double cutaway Junior guitar. It was a great guitar but that broke, my Marshall got ripped off and my drum set was a piece of shit. So I traded in everything I had left and got a cheap bass and a little amp and moved. […] I thought that once I had got my foot in the door and met people, then I could go back to playing guitar or drums. But I really came to appreciate the bass and use it for more than just a backbone, for the melody and other cool things.

My drum kit was kind of a piece of shit, and I knew I wasn’t really that good at guitar. So I sold my equipment, bought a bass and an amp, and came down [to LA] to get my foot in the door.

When I decided to make the move to L.A. when I was nineteen, I could have really come down and played any of those three instruments. But my drum kit was a piece of shit, and at that point in 1984 guitar players down in L.A. were doing Eddie Van Halen, Ingwe Malmsteen shit and I wasn't, I was more Steve Jones, Johnny Thunder style. So, I thought I would get my foot in the door playing bass, at least meet some people you know. I had a good bass, so I sold everything else and used that money to finance my trip, it wasn't that much money about $300.


Talking about his decision to go to Los Angeles:

I came there, because where I’m from you can get to the top of the music field there, but you’re still nowhere. You know, you can’t really do anything, you can’t really get in a band that’s gonna tour that’s from Seattle. So L.A., yeah. It’s just the opportunity it offers.

I worked a lot of jobs and played in a lot of punk rock bands but I never thought I'd actually make money from playing music. That was the furthest thing from my mind. But there was a lot of heroin in Seattle back in the 80's and I had to get away from that, so I moved to LA. I was really at the top of my game in Seattle and a lot of people told me "If you don't get out of here now you'll never get out." So I left and went to Hollywood and got into a whole new set of troubles.

Round about 1983 there was so much heroin coming into Seattle. It's a port city so there’s just this constant influx of drugs. X [Ecstasy] was around a lot too - but heroin was the problem. My girlfriend got strung out, my roommate got strung out. The guitar player in my band Ten Minute Warning - bear in mind we were the biggest band in Seattle at the time, we'd toured with Dead Kennedys and Black Flag - this guy kept stealing our money to cop dope. I was like, 'Enough. If I'm gonna make my move I gotta make it now.' So I moved to LA.

So now it’s about 1984 and I’m left with a choice. The recession hit the U.S. at that point and it hit the North West, I think, the hardest, because of the Port City and… All the clubs closed down. It was kind of the time to shit or get off the pot for me, and a friend of mine said, “Hey man, you better get out of here. You’re the one guy that has any hope of doing something in music.” And I heard him. I had about $350 in my bank account, I quit my job and I moved down to Hollywood.

[...] this was about 1982. A lot of… heroin became really prevalent in the music scene there, and there was amazing talent just going to waste. [...] I was watching it, it was happening all around me, they were falling left and right. And my band - we had a band called 10 Minute Warning, which was really, like, on the verge of breaking in, you know, punk rock America. [...] So I was 18 years old, 18 or 17 or 19. I was playing guitar in that band and the other guitar player started getting high and stealing money. I had a girlfriend who I loved to death, my first, like, real girlfriend, and she started getting high. And my roommate, and this friend of mine who’d become a junkie, too. But was a thoughtful guy, and he said, “Duff, if you don't get out now, you're never gonna… At least you gotta go try and realize your dream.” So yeah, at 19, I got my car, I had 360 bucks – you know, some piece of crap…

I moved down to L.A. in September of ’84. As a punk kid from Seattle, it was total culture shock. Of course I knew about, like, Eddie Van Halen and that kind of guitar playing. And I knew that first Mötley record they had put out themselves. But moving here and seeing all the flyers on the telephone poles and shit … it was a lot of bands, a lot of long hair, a lot of outfits, you know what I mean?

In the Autumn of 1984, I moved from the familiar comfort of the Seattle punk scene to Los Angeles. Many assume that leaving the oft-stormy weather of the northwest for the more tranquil and sunny Southern California would be a no-brainer. A guy like myself could throw caution to the wind and basically go anywhere I wanted, well, anywhere that my beat-up car could get to, and anywhere that had a music scene that had more infastructure and less heroin than Seattle did then.

Let me first explain that I did not leave Seattle because there was a lack of talent or originality. Seattle in the early '80s probably had the most diverse and supportive scene in America. If the place where your band rehearsed at got shut-down or was otherwise made unavailable, it was never a problem to find some other band to help out. At a gig, if any piece of some band's equipment broke down, replacement gear was as close as the next band's gear on the bill.

No, I left Seattle because as a result of the early-'80s economic recession in the area, clubs and youth halls were shutting down. The streets of Seattle were dire and empty. My bandmates, roommates and girlfriends all started on the smack. and I lost a new guitar amp that I had worked hard for. I was working, paying rent, doing weekend tours, and coming back to theft from friends at home. So I left the city I love for a city I knew no one in or nothing about.

I’ve heard people quote me as saying, “I’m gonna move to L.A. and become a rock star.” Then they add, “And he did.” Everybody says they knew me in 1984, when they actually didn’t. It wasn’t any of that. I wanted to be a musician, and the people I was playing with in Seattle, everybody was doing heroin, and I wasn’t. Heroin decimated 10 Minute Warning. A friend of mine who was strung out said, “Man, if you don’t get out now, it’s going to pass you by. You’re the guy, you’re our hope.”
Mark Yarm, Everybody Loves Our Town: A History of Grunge; September 2011

But I was here when the first big influx of heroin came here around 1982. And it really did, it decimated the music scene. But it wasn’t just the music scene; there was a recession on, it’s a port city and I see what happened.

I moved to LA in ’84 cause that’s as far as my car could go. Played with Biscuits that same month, and then hung out a bunch with Ron Reyes in LA before he moved to B.C. Ron and I were super into Prince, Hanoi, Stones…kind of the direction us first-wave of punkers were going. Punk had turned into suburban punk gang warfare, hardcore by this point. We had all already moved on.

Heroin came into Seattle in a big way around 1982. It decimated all of my friends: my girlfriend, the guy I lived with – everybody. I was playing guitar in a band at that time called 10 Minute Warning, and we were signed to Alternative Tentacles [Jello Biafra’s label]. We’d toured with Dead Kennedys and Black Flag in ‘83/’84, and we were at the top of the heap. We were different. We were slow, and weird, and heavy. But then heroin came into the band. A good friend of mine came to me one night when he was strung out, and he told me I was like his hope, because he thought I was the only guy who could get out and make something of myself. So I put in my notice at my job, and I took the 360 bucks that I had and I drove to LA. That was in 1984.


Talking about the differences between the music scene in Seattle and Los Angeles:

It was shocking to me when I moved to L.A. in 1984. I had played in a lot of punk bands and in Seattle, and I was used to bands playing together, sharing equipment, showing each other chords – and I thought that was the way in the musical community. Then I moved to L.A. [laughs] and it was very cutthroat.


Duff immediately got a job working at Black Angus [Circus Magazine, November 1991; Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992].

And I got a job - you know, I just stopped at this restaurant that was kind of a big chain, I went in and they said, “Can you start working right now?” (laughs). “Sure.” “Let’s go.” You know, after I got off work that night, I asked one of the other cooks in there, “Okay man, so where’s… where’s Hollywood?” and he goes, “Hollywood, man?!” And he gave me these elaborate directions, “Alright, so it’s a ways away, huh?”

My first couple weeks in L.A. were a sort of recon mission. My next-oldest brother Matt lived in Northridge, and he got me a job my first day in town as a cook at a Black Angus. For anyone who knows, Northridge is actually quite far from Hollywood, especially in a piece of shit Ford Maverick with no brakes and a leaky oil pan. I would go down to Hollywood to go to a club and often just drive into the hills afterward and sleep in my car, because I was afraid of breaking down on the freeway in the middle of the night. On top of this, I was not yet 21, and therefore had to come up with crafty ways to get into clubs to see a gig.

Back then, we people from Seattle just plain looked different. I remember when bands like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys would come through Seattle, they would always comment of the different look of the crowd. Now that I was in L.A., I decided to use this 'different' look to convince people checking IDs at club doors that I was not from the United States, and thus spoke no English.

When asked for an ID, I would produce my sunglasses and a puzzled look. They must have thought I was Swedish or something but, no shit, it worked more often than not. To further explain how 'different' we Seattleites looked, upon first meeting Slash in response to a Musicians Wanted ad, his girlfriend Yvonne assumed I was gay and asked me about it after a couple of tugs off of a bottle of vodka. I almost pissed myself with laughter, and it took me a few days to actually convince her that I was a fan of the ladies..but that is another story.

I had gone to California to play shows and be a roadie prior to my move to LA. I was by no means a neophyte, nor was I in the least bit naive. But when I did try to identify some of the things in the LA club-scene that I left in Seattle--like camaraderie or at least helpfulness from others--I was pretty much rebuffed in a wholesale manner. No, Los Angeles was a cutthroat operation, and I would soon learn to play by those rules, although I would try to convince myself that I was still 'me'.


But Duff didn't have money so ended up staying the first weeks in his car:

So, you know, with 360 bucks, I didn’t have money to get an apartment. So I lived in my car for the first two weeks until I got my first paycheck.


Then he moved into an apartment in a seedy part of Los Angeles and started to familiarize himself with his new environment:

And I moved into this cockroach-infested building. Literally, I would turn on the lights – it was just a one room apartment. You’d turn on the lights and it would just be filled with cockroaches and they’d go scattering, and “oh my god.” So I got used to it and, yeah, I mean it was cops outside in the alley behind us in the street all the time, hookers, drug dealers… I was right in the mid of it. And I would go out to clubs, and I was just getting my bearings and looking to the newspapers, want ads, like, what's going on out there.



___________________________
TO BE MOVED:

Duff describing himself in late 1988:

Down-to-earth, a lover of music and making music and making love. I love to make people happy and I think I'm basically a good person… despite what you might read about me.


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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:44 pm

SEPTEMBER 1984
DUFF JOINS ROADCREW WITH SLASH AND STEVEN

After having quit New Hollywood Rose, Slash was back in Roadcrew. The band needed a new bassist, and after placing an ad in the local paper Recycler [Circus Magazine, November 1991], they met with Duff McKagan at Canter's Deli [Kerrang! March 1989]. The ad said something like: "Guitar player looking for bass player: Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Dolls, Led Zeppelin and Fear. Call Slash" [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992].

Duff would explain that at the time he ended us as a bass player out of necessity:

The decision was made to save up the money to come to L.A. and try my hand down here. My drum kit was a piece of shit, so I sold that in Seattle. I had some money from work that I'd saved up. By this time, the Gibson EBO, I don't know what happened to that thing... I got a Yamaha bass, and I had B.C. Rich double-cutaway, Les Paul Junior-type of guitar. I moved down here and pawned my guitar a couple of times. It turns out that guitar was stolen from L.A. five years prior to me coming to L.A. The cops came to my apartment and took the guitar away, so all I had left was a bass. I had sold my drum kit; my guitar was taken by the LAPD; and I had this Yamaha bass. That was right about the same time that I met Slash through an ad in the Recycler, and Izzy [Stradlin] had moved across the street. Bass was basically what I was going to play whether I liked it or not. That's all I had, and things lined up for me perfectly that I was going to be a bass player.


They met at Canter's Deli [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992]. Duff had just arrived in Los Angeles from Seattle [see previous chapter] either the same week [Guitar for the Practising Musician in April 1992], a week later [Circus Magazine, November 1991] or just a few weeks before joining Roadcrew [Kerrang! March, 1989].

We were looking for bass players, and [Duff] answered an ad I put in the paper.

I answered Slash's ad, and with Steven Adler we put together Road Crew.

So, at 21 years old, I went to L.A. and I joined a band called Road Crew – the band Slash and Steven Adler were in.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish

I called Slash up, thinking he'd be some Punk Rock guy with a name like that. And I could barely understand him on the phone, you know how Slash talks, real soft. But he said their influences were Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, AC/DC... So I thought, 'Cool, I'll try it out'. So I walk in there, still expecting to find some old Punk Rock guy. Both Slash and Steven were there with their girlfriends and completely wasted. And their girlfriends instantly thought I was a homo because of my hair!

I walked in [at Canter's], looked at the first booth on the left, and saw all this fucking hair. Somehow I had expected these guys to look like Social Distortion. Instead, even though they appeared about my age, the dudes in Road Crew had long hair and rocker chick girlfriends.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 29-30

I met Slash the week I moved there. He had some songs, I had some songs. Steven Adler was playing drums. The band was called Road Crew, so we played the song, "We Are the Road Crew," by Motorhead. We played "Mama Kin," by Aerosmith. I think "Back off Bitch" was one of the songs. We're rehearsing, we're humping our gear down to this tiny place that doesn't have storage. Even if it did, we weren't able to afford to keep our stuff there, and it was in a bad area. I don't know if I would want to keep anything there. We never actually did a gig because we couldn't find a singer. I was going to sing, but we didn't have a PA., so that's about as far as it got. Road Crew was very short-lived. Maybe two months.

So, at 21 years old, I went to L.A. and I joined a band called Road Crew – the band Slash and Steven Adler were in.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish

When Duff came into town, we met at Canter’s. Steven, my girlfriend, Steven’s girlfriend, a bottle of vodka… Duff comes in and we went up to the men’s room and hung out up there and drank the bottle of vodka and formed a little unity. We wanted to start a band with the three of us but, once again, we couldn’t find a singer.

We were at Canter's, which is a friend of mine’s restaurant, and I just had a bottle of vodka stuck in my jacket, and we went up to the bathroom, hung out there and talked shop. And then we sort of put a band together for a little bit and we couldn't find, as usual, a singer, and it finally disbanded.

I’ll never forget this is where we met Duff. This six-foot-something guy came in here in a big red and black leather trench coat with the Sid Vicious chain necklace on and spiky black and yellow hair. We got him drunk, and that’s how we first met.

And it was kind of Yngwie Malmsteen shredding sort of thing at that point, Eddie Van Halen… Which wasn’t my bag. I was more a Johnny Thunders, Steve Jones, Stooges type. I was looking at one ad and there was a guy that said “bass player” - I could do that; you know, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, and Fear was another reference band, it was this American punk rock band that I loved. And it said “Slash,” and that’s a name, like, you know, I thought he was a punk – because, really, in ’84 punk was dead. So I thought, “Okay, he’s an ex-punk like me,” you know? “And he’s looking to do something new.” And that was really an exciting year, because punk rock had died. There was a “what was gonna be next” and we were 19 or 20 years old. We were gonna be the next thing. And we really - kids at my age really knew that. [...] You just knew. You just knew. So I went and met Slash, and he wasn’t an ex-punk rock guy, he was just a long-haired guy, you know (laughs). And Steven Adler was with him, blond - it was just a culture shock for me; “Here I am, California, it’s like, these exotic long-haired California rock dudes.” But we got along, amazing, from the first minute. You know, I had short blue hair- You know, just the oddest pairing of people.

[Slash] had this ad that said, “Influences: Fear, Aerosmith, early Alice Cooper.” And his name was Slash. So I thought he was a punk rock guy like me. I called him up, we talked on the phone, totally cool guy. Then I went to meet him and Steven at Canter’s Deli. He said, “We’ll be in the left booth at the end.” So I look in the left booth and there’s, you know, basically all this fucking hair! But also, I was wearing like this long red-and-black, like, super-fly pimp jacket with an anarchy A on the back of it, and I had short blue hair. So I’m sure they’re looking at me and going, “Huh?” Slash’s girlfriend at the time, she was a very out-front kind of girl, and she goes, “Are you gay?” I’m like, “No, I’m not gay.” She goes, “Okay, well, maybe we can find you a girlfriend.”

We ended up that night going back to Slash’s mom’s house. We’re hanging out in his room in the basement and drinking vodka and he starts playing guitar. And I’d never been in a room with a guy my age who played guitar like that.

[Being asked what he ordered at that first meeting at Canter's]: You would think that somebody would have asked me that over all these years, but no one ever has. Sadly, I don’t remember. [...] I don’t think we had any money, so we probably didn’t order anything. The owner was a childhood friend of Slash’s, though, so he might have sent us over some soup.

I met Slash over the phone; his name was Slash and I answered an ad in the paper. It was 1984 so I thought he, like me, was a punk rock guy and I went to Canter’s to meet him and he said he had this drummer, Stevie, and I went and met these two longhaired dudes and I had short blue hair. And I just moved to California and in Seattle I didn’t know any longhair rock dudes so it was kind of culture shock for me. They were probably a little surprised by me, too, with blue hair. But it wasn’t important what we looked like; we sat down at the table and we just talked about music and that was the common ground. We were young but we were grownup as far as, “Yeah, I’m interested in your idea musically.”

The first time I heard Slash play guitar was in 1984 in the basement of the Los Angeles townhome belonging to his mother, Ola, a woman who would later become like a surrogate mother to me during my early years in L.A.

Slash didn't have to try to impress--he just picked up an acoustic guitar and started to play. Up to that point, I really thought I had seen and heard the whole gamut of the talent pool of my age group in America. I had toured extensively with punk-rock bands, and had seen just about every band that came through Seattle from '79 to '84. But when Slash played in that basement that night, all I thought I knew was suddenly swept aside.

When I first answered the ad for Slash and Steven, for this band Road Crew- [...] it was in the paper. And the guy's name was Slash. I'm like, "He's a punk rock guy."


Duff would talk about his first impressions of Slash's guitar abilities:

We all went back to Slash's place [after Canter's] - he was living with his mom. It was obvious even on the acoustic guitar he played that first night that Slash was a special player. I was absolutely stunned by the raw, emotive power he so easily tapped. Slash was already in a league of his own and watching him play guitar was a "holy shit" moment.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 30


Slash would later talk about playing with Duff:

Duff was as musically versatile as he was driven (...). I respected him immediately for his devotion: he and I shared a similar work ethic. It established a kinship between us right away that hasn't faltered at all over all these years.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York


And Duff would later talk about how he and Slash had tickets to see Hanoi Rocks play in Hollywood in December 1984, just days after their drummer, Razzle, died in a car crash with Vince Neil, and how this had a profound effect on them:

And Hanoi Rocks were a big influence on us, too. Slash and I had tickets to see them at The Palace [Avalon Hollywood], and the week before the concert was due to take place the car accident happened. Razzle [Nicholas Dingley, drummer in Hanoi Rocks] died and the band broke up. That was during the winter of ’84. Afterwards there was a wide-open space. It felt like whatever happened next was going to be on our shoulders. But then again, at that time every 20 year old kid who was in a band in LA probably thought that.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Apr 11, 2024 1:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:45 pm

OCTOBER 1984
IZZY AND LONDON

After having left Hollywood Rose, Izzy joined the band London which had recently been reformed. This likely happened in late 1984 and probably as a result of an argument with Axl [see separate chapter]. Both Steven and Slash had played in London for a few months [Full In Bloom Music, 2005], but likely earlier in 1984 before Izzy joined the band.

Izzy would later say he had played in "several punk and rock bands in L.A. and at the West Coast [before Guns N' Roses]" [Gitarre & Bass, February 1993; translated from German].

Lizzie Grey, founder of London and one of its guitarists, would ask Izzy to recruit Axl for London, but this failed -- Izzy would say Axl was very difficult to work with -- and Nadir D'Priest became the band's new singer [Full In Bloom Music, 2005].

Grey talking about Izzy and London:

Izzy didn't last long enough to make it to the Nonstop Rock recording in 1986. Sometime before that, Nadir beat him up over some groupie, and that was that. He wasn't out of a job for long, though, as shortly thereafter he got busy putting Guns N' Roses together with Bill Bailey (now Axl Rose), Sol (also in London for a very brief time with Izzy) [=Saul aka Slash], Duff, and Steven Adler (who Brian West had fired from London a little before the Izzy incident).
Full In Bloom Music, August 2005


D'Priest would also talk about being in London with Izzy:

Izzy, Well! He was a very easy-going guy, he was always coming up with riffs for songs....he was cool. Smoked a lot. Always cordial to me. We used to hang out at bars on the sunset strip. Here is a story for ya'll. Once we were real desperate for money, so we decided to go to the Beverly Hills Hotel and pick up on women. I mean women who where loaded with ca$h. We thought that we could grab a few desperate ones and empty out their purse, HAHAHA. It was fucking funny man, we stood out like crazy, drinks cost around $10.00 a pop so I believe we had A! Round. That's like $15.00 now-a-days. What were we thinking? Two young, good-looking musicians dressed to the gill, hanging at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills with no money. AHHH! Those were the days; no real responsibility, just Rock & Roll 24/7. There will never be anything like it EVER!
Full In Bloom Music, August 2006


As Grey mentioned, Izzy left London after having been beaten up by D'Priest and D'Priest would share the details:

Let's get this straight, Mr. L Grey never really liked Izzy OK! The reason being, Izzy would come up with tunes and ideas. Izzy was a rhythm guitar player, as far as Mr. Grey was concerned. I believe that Mr.Grey did not want anyone to write the tunes. He wanted all the credits for songwriting, which is fine, if you are the only one with all the song ideas in the band. He was very insecure about this or maybe just greedy. On our BMI Publishing split, we had to re-negotiate the percentage split between Brian West, Mr. Grey and myself. Brian and I contributed a lot and we wanted a fair split. We did not get the split we wanted, but we took what we could. We wanted to keep things cool. That is the way it was as far as I recall. We made things happen as a band and for him to have that attitude is not unusual. We thought we were a team, sad but true, it eventually came to an end. The Izzy fight well! The story is that I had a girlfriend, her name was Valerie Kendall, she was amazingly HOT! I met her in Hollywood, it was small circle of Hot! Girls in Hollywood. She hit on me and we had a bit of chemistry, so we started hanging together daily and staying at her house at West View Towers. She was in the middle of a nasty divorce from none other than Alex Van Halen....drummer of you know the band, Van Halen. I was banging this girl, we were steady so I thought. One summer day I woke up and found a little leak in my plumbing. I was very surprised by this, cause I was only doing Valerie. I confronted her and eventually after drilling her for a while, she did admit banging Izzy and that's were the origin of the leak came from. I called Tracii Guns at his mom's house and asked him if Izzy was there, he said yes! Izzy would sleep on his couch every so often. I went there, confronted him, asked him if he was banging Valerie, he denied it in my face. At that point, I was very upset since she had told me that he did bang her. Basically I think that I was mostly upset about the lovely gift he had transferred to the both of us. So! Without any notice, within a split second, I punched him in the face, once.... I wanted more, but! He did not want any part of it. He was scared and I don't blame him, I would have been to, if I did that to my bandmate. In those days, I was very volatile for some reason and I was notorious for my temper. I did not take shit from anyone. I warned him to stay away from her or else. I left Traci's house back to the rehearsal room as nothing happened I had a drink of vodka and smoked a joint. So that's it. So I guess I was part of the departure of Mr. Stradlin. By the way, I eventually found out that she was a heroin junky and was banging many guys, including Jeff Beck among some. In LONDON we explained the rules clearly to all and one of them was that WE! did not bang each other's girls. Whores, girlfriend's, slut's, groupies, any of them. Your meat was yours only, no sharing or proprietary control of all pussy. The reason was that this would avoid any conflict between the band and that way we would all have no conflicts over an important factor. Can you believe how our minds worked, the analogy. Funny stuff
Full In Bloom Music, August 2006


Tracii, on the other hand, would state that Izzy left in disgust after the October 5 show at the Troubadour [see later chapter]:

Izzy quit London after the Troubadour show. Because he didn’t want to be associated with that.
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Post by Soulmonster Wed Sep 06, 2023 4:45 pm

OCTOBER 1984
SLASH AUDITIONS FOR POISON

But Slash didn't want to stay in Hollywood Rose, and in the fall of 1984 he was looking for another band to join. He then auditioned for the band Poison [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This likely happened in October of 1984 since Raz Cue would mention that he talked about the audition to Axl who was in LA Guns at the time, and Axl would join LA Guns in October [see quote below and later chapter].

What I used to do was, I would join bands and play one gig with them if it was a big enough place and join the band right at the right time when that gig was gonna happen. I’d rehearse with them and go out and do it for exposure. I was sort of like a loan shark in that sense, and it’s sort of selfish, but it’s a selfish business in that you’ve got to get by. So, I’d go out and play with bands because I couldn’t get my own thing happening.

I wasn’t gonna sit around and keep putting ads in the paper and wait around until I was 20. I could be as old as I am now and not have done anything. I still haven’t seen really anything I’m impressed with come out of Los Angeles. I mean, I love what we’re doing, and I honestly think that out of most of the bands in L.A., this is one of the few that really has any substance to them. And this is what I was fighting against when I was trying out for Poison. Matt, their ex-guitar player, called me and said, 'Listen, I’m going back to Pittsburgh. I’m starting a family, and Poison is open, and if anybody can do it, you can.’

Matt was really cool, and I dug him a lot. So, here I am thinking, 'Great! I know this band from when I played with them in Hollywood Rose! They’re basically the epitome of what I can’t stand, but I’ll go down there and play with them, and it’ll do wonders for me as far as getting out there is concerned. The auditions lasted for, like, two weeks. I went down a couple of times, had the songs down, played them really well, and then they called me up and said, 'Well, everything’s going great. Let’s have a meeting. This is like a dress rehearsal—don’t bring your guitar.’

I went down there, and I figured, if anything, they could have the style and image they had, and I’d still go down there being me, and I could always be the f—ing foil for what they do and probably get away with it, but they wanted me to change my shoes, asked me what kind of pants I wore, how I did my hair and all of this stuff, and I was really irked by the whole thing. Anyway, me and C.C. were the two guitar players who ended up being the last two to be picked, and finally, one day, we had a big argument about this thing in the set where they say, 'Hi’ and introduce themselves, and there was no way I was gonna go up and say, 'Hi, I’m Slash’ and do a guitar lick and be real cute about it, so C.C. got the job, which was no big deal. It was just another passing thing, and I went on to do whatever. Now it’s sort of backfiring on me because I got the impression that it looks like I’m bitter because C.C. got the job and I didn’t, which is not the case. I’m not jealous of their band’s success. I’m not jealous of C.C.’s position or any of that stuff.

I drove Slash out to radio City to see Poison. I think Vicky Hamilton was managing them at the time. Matt Smith, the old guitar player was leaving […] And Matt really liked Slash and wanted Slash for the job. Poison was an established LA band that could sell out almost any club they played and were getting ready to sign a record deal.

Slash went to three Poison gigs to check out the scene and the band gave him their demo tape to learn their material. Slash showed up at rehearsal but couldn't bring himself to join. He didn't like the Silly String act at the end of the show, nor could he stomach saying, "Hi, my name is Slash" during the moment of the set when the band would introduce themselves. He hated their image and considered the music lame. C. C. DeVille was hired a few days later.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Slash almost joined Poison at that point who were being managed by Vicky Hamilton.  He didn’t really wanna join but he knew it was a good opportunity because they were a big drawing act and their guitarist Matt had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and wanted to go back to Pennsylvania but he and Slash were friendly.  Matt liked Slash, he had seen HOLLYWOOD ROSE open a couple Poison gigs and and wanted him to take over in Poison gig.  Slash really didn’t wanna do it, he didn’t like the music, he didn’t like the silly string and the image.  I told him “Dude, you gotta do it, you don’t have a band, you’ll be able to record an album and it will be a stepping stone to other things” but he still really didn’t wanna go audition.  He did go because I basically kept buggin him and I actually drove him out to go see them play this sold out show and convinced him to audition like “Man, look at this” though he clearly wasn’t into it and basically blew the audition.  He was not into the music or the image and I guess he made some of that way too clear to the Poison guys.  They knew he was clearly adept at the guitar parts and all but when it came down to it they were looking for someone who was really into the whole presentation and willing to play that game.  Oddly enough, Slash walked out of the audition and saw C.C. walking in and KNEW without even hearing him play that he was the guy they were looking for, he just was so obviously perfect for POISON.


It is correct that Hamilton was the manager of Poison at the time, and she wanted Slash in the band:

They wanted to have C.C. in the band and I wanted Slash.

I managed Poison, too. They auditioned Slash, and Poison ended up giving him the gig. He was excited, he said he would do it. He said OK. But then he said he would not wear all the makeup, and he said he would not say, “I’m Slash!” You know, how everyone in Poison used to introduce themselves on stage: “I’m Bret! I’m Rikki! I’m Bobby!” Slash said no way, he was not going to do that. So Poison ended up getting C.C. DeVille the next day. He’s the one who got the gig after Slash turned it down.


Slash would later claim he turned the gig down because he didn't want to die his hair and daub his face, and "look like a clown" [Kerrang! July 30, 1988].

I was always playing, and one of the main things that got me from then to now is the fact that I was in bands regardless of whether I could play. Even though I probably wasn’t that good a guitar player, I was doing the best I could, trying to write songs and form bands I was really into. I went through tons of bands and kept doing it and doing it and doing it.

I was the best at the audition, but I refused to join them, because they asked me to dye my hair blue and wear "barbie" make-up. I mean, I'm aware of the fact that you have to be a professional if you want to succeed, but I still wasn't ready to look like a transvestite.
Rock-Pop, January 1989; translated from Serbian


Marc Canter and Raz Cue would confirm this:

And what happened was that, you know, Slash might have auditioned for Poison, not that he wanted to, but we kind of made him do it because it was a good stepping stone. But he basically killed his own audition by saying, "I'm not gonna say 'Hi, my name is Slash' and squirt some silly string in the crowd," or whatever. [...] You know, the band was selling out the Troubadour and their old guitar player, Matt Smith, knew Slash because Poison used to gig with Hollywood Rose sometimes. Matt knew that Slash was the shit and they were friends and they and Matt liked Aerosmith and we hung out a little bit. So slash like Matt, just didn't like the rest of the band. But when Matt knocked his girlfriend up and moved back to Pennsylvania, he recommended Slash for the job. [...] And they auditioned him. If he didn't blow his own audition by saying, "Nah-nah, you guys aren't gonna....there's no way, you guys are lame," but if he would have said, "Yeah, I want to join you," they would have taken him in a second because obviously he's a good guitar player. But instead they got CC Deville.

What's funny is I heard that story at the time, because Axl was in LA Guns. And Slash was telling him that he was trying out for Poison, or whatever. And supposedly, Slash said right then, he's like, they were like, "Yeah, it's between you and CeCe for the band," for Poison, right? And then, "You've been to a Poison show?" and he's like, "Yeah," and they go, "Anything about our band that," you know, "you have any thoughts?" and he's like, "You know that part where you do that, 'Hi! I'm Bobby!' 'Hi, I'm Ricky!'? like you just said, and Slash says, "I think that's the gayest shit I ever heard in my life."


Bret Michaels would say the reason Slash didn't join Poison was that they disagreed on how large the band should be:

[…] a funny story with Stan and Slash -- would stand on the street corner, right, just handing out flyers: I mean, hey -- come see Hollywood Rose; come see Poison. You know, that kinda thing. And then Slash, at one point, when we lost our original guitar player, Slash had auditioned for Poison.

And we were looking -- he wanted to be in a-- You know, although there's a million different versions of the story, no one-- And he said we like told him he had to say his name onstage, or I don't know what the fuck. It was in a book that said Slash said he couldn't handle it, because he had to say his name onstage -- or some fuckin' bullshit. But it was because he wanted to be in a five-piece band, and we wanted to be four-piece -- and it was really that simple, you know?


Looking back at the audition:

[...] I almost got the gig. What hap­pened was, Matt [Smith], their original guitar player, quit the band and moved back home to Pennsylvania. I had just been sort of scroung­ing around L.A., looking for anything that was happening, just to get out there and play. So one day Matt called me up and said “Poison’s going to be auditioning guitarists. You should go out for it.” And I thought... well, I really didn’t like Poison! I didn’t like that whole thing. But there was something exciting about them, and the thought of being able to get out there and start working the scene was enticing to me. I was willing to do whatever I could to break into it. So I learned a few of their songs and went down to the rehearsal space they were all living in at the time to audition. [...] I played the shit out of those songs! And I got called back, twice. Then I was asked to come in a third time, which is when it got serious. And I remember as I was walking in that last time, C.C. [DeVille] was coming back the other way. We passed each other in the hall. So it came down to C.C and me. [...] [C.C] clearly fit the part better than I did. I mean, he came in with his hair all done up, he had all the right clothes and was wearing stiletto heels. I showed up looking the way I look now. And I also remember I had on a pair of moc­casins, because the Poison guys looked at me and asked, “What do you wear?” I was like, “This is... it,” you know? And they said, “Well, do you have some different shoes?” So I knew that was it. When I got the phone call that C.C. got the job, I wasn’t surprised. He was perfect for them.

It’s almost like I did that because I was looking for something to do, and if for some strange reason it would have happened it wouldn’t have lasted. I never thought about it really but unconsciously I almost did want to join, just to play the shit out of the material and kick their asses that way! But I don’t think I expected to have a successful relationship with those guys.

They were making a covers record when we were at Hansen [studios] doing Libertad, and I would leave out the back door. Because they were recording in the main studio right at the front door, I’d come and go out the back door. It’s not like I have anything against those guys, and we’re amicable and everything, but God I didn’t want to have to say, hey, and the whole bullshit of how are you doing...

I was living in LA and I had just gotten done working in a band with Axl, actually, called Hollywood Rose. Steven Adler was in that band as well. I just quit. I told Axl I couldn’t handle it anymore and I walked. That was right after the first time Axl and I ever worked together. Matt, the original guitar player for Poison, who was actually a pretty cool guy, had gotten his wife pregnant or they were getting married or something like that. He was moving back to Pennsylvania. He goes, “You should try out for Poison.” I hated Poison but in those days you did whatever you had to do to keep moving.

Being very ambitious, as I was, I went and auditioned for Poison. I ended up being one of two guitar players left that they were going to pick from. I remember kicking the shit out of the songs they had. There was no denying that I could play them but there was an issue about makeup and stuff. Bobby Dall asked me what kind of shoes I was going to wear. I was like, “What?” It was kind of obvious that this was going to go nowhere.

As I was walking out of the audition, CC Deville was walking in. He had on pancake makeup and a ton of hairspray. I actually remember thinking right then, “That should be the guy.” The next day I got a call from Bobby and he said, “You know, you are great and all but I think we are going to pass on you and go with this other guy.” It was CC and it really did make all the sense in the world. I was in a couple of bands after that and then we started Guns and Roses.

Slash is one of my all-time favorite guitar players and I believe he would have steered our sound a little more in the Aerosmith direction. He was basically the same guy he is today. What you see is what you get. It never really had a chance to work out or not. The band decided C.C. (DeVille) was the best choice for us.
Austin American-Statesman, September 1, 2012

I was always starting bands and finding people to write with, but I could never find a singer. A bad singer can make a good band terrible. So I just played without one. At one point, this guy Matt [Smith]—he was the original guitarist for Poison, a band I had no affinity for—called me up and told me he was quitting and going back to Pennsylvania. They needed another guitar player.

I thought about it for a while, and finally I decided to put pride aside and go check it out. At least I'd be playing gigs—they were the biggest band on the Strip at the time. I learned four of their songs and went down to play with them, and I gotta say I kicked the shit out of 'em. We had a definite difference of opinion as to what it was all about—image issues, clothing issues. I knew it wasn't going to click. They asked me if I planned on wearing jeans and a T-shirt on stage, and I said, "Yeah."

As I was walking out, C.C. DeVille was walking in. He was dressed to the nines. He had makeup on, his hair was all done up—I knew he was the guy for the gig. Bobby Dall called me and told me they'd picked the guy, and I wasn't surprised. Had it worked out and I'd gotten the gig, it wouldn't have lasted long. I wasn't right for them.



CHRIS WEBER AUDITIONS, TOO

Slash wasn't the only Hollywood guitarist auditioning to play for Poison, Chris Weber would also take a shot at the coveted position:

Well, when [Slash] tried out for Poison I also tried out for Poison.


Talking about the audition:

I think their guitar player's name was Matt, if I remember right, and they'd all come out from Pennsylvania - I think that's where they're from, you guys know maybe better? [...] Kind of a working town type of thing. But anyway... blue-collar town. And Matt, I think, I mean, I don't know firsthand, but I think he needed to go back. He just wanted to go back and think maybe he had a child or something that he wanted- .[...] and so they were looking for somebody else. I went to meet them. My experience with them is just going to their apartment in Hollywood, I think they were all there, which is Rikki and Bret and Bobby. I hung out. I think I think I had a guitar, there was an acoustic there, me and Bobby played a little bit and Bret was kind of standing over us and just talked for a while and that was it. That was my audition.


Weber had no issues with the glam look of the band and how he was expected to have to dress at shows:

To be honest with you, C.C. is shorter than me but I have that same look back then and that big long white hair sprayed up to the nines-
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