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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 9:45 am



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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:04 am

OCTOBER 1984
AXL JOINS LA GUNS

According to Raz Cue, who invested in L.A. Guns and became their manager [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 149-155], he had tried to get Axl to sing for LA Guns previously: While managing L.A. Guns, Cue would bump into Axl. Cue tried to get Axl to join L.A. Guns as their first singer, but Axl refused. Only a few weeks later when Axl's current band, Hollywood Rose, had broken up and Mike Jagosz had been fired from Pyrrhus, and after some hesitation, did Axl join the band. Part of the reason Axl decided to join LA Guns was that Tracii had told Axl the band would become more blues-based and less metal [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 159].

[...] in, you know, early summer 1984, Tracii hit me up to invest in his band, LA Guns, which was Pyrrhus, but Mike [Jagosz] had got fired and he [=Tracii] reformed the band... So I wasn't gonna do it but then I heard that Axl was available because I was, like, I asked him cuz I was leaving, like, "What's up with Hollywood Rose?" or whatever, and he goes, "They broke up," and Izzy was jamming with his band called London [...] so Tracii wanted me to invest in his band and, "I will think about it," you know. And then when I heard that Axl was available and I was like, "Man, maybe I can get Axl and Tracii together, man, that would be fucking huge." Tracii is a shredder, I mean, no matter what I think about him now, I mean, the guy could play guitar, I mean, I don't think there's any doubt about that. So it's like, "I'll think about it," and then if I went on a road trip with my brother, pick up my brother from Northern California, bring him back, and when I came back I said, "Oh yeah, Tracii, I'll invest in your band," and my whole reason was to try to get Axl to join LA Guns. [...] so Axl joins LA Guns, he eventually... like, Axl's telling me like four times, like, "No." I can't keep hitting him up and I just gave up. And then he just called me out of the blue one day and I guess he had gone home to Indiana and he decided that he was gonna give Tracii a shot. Tracii's good at snoozing [?] people so he had like talked Axl into it-


Tracii, on the other hand, would claim it was he who got Axl to join LA Guns:

Mike Jargos was [LA Guns' original singer]; after he went to jail, Axl joined. Mike was a friend of mine from high school; it was Mike who sang on the L.A. Guns’ first EP.

So then I asked Axl to join L.A. Guns and he was in the band for about six, seven months [...]

Mike Jagosz got fired and I knew Axl from Izzy and they had a band, Hollywood Rose, but they had broken up because Izzy joined London. And we fired, Michael got fired and I just asked Axl, "Hey do you want to sing for LA Guns for a while?" And he's like, "Yeah!"

And then I just hit up Axl. “Hey, you wanna be in L.A. Guns for a while?” And he said, “Yeah.” We did that for a solid nine, ten months before we finally did the gig with London.


Cue would also speculate that Axl hadn't been eager at first to join LA Guns:

[...] [Axl] said he didn't think that Tracii and him were on the same page musically. [...] And then I remember Tracii's like, "Just offer him a pair of leather pants and he'll join." [...] I was like, "I don't want him in the band if that's what you fucking got to do." So when I told Axl that later, you know, I was like, "Hey," when he called and said he wanted to join, I was like, "Hey, dude," and I told him what Tracii said, Axl was like, "I wouldn't join the fucking band if you gave me a car and a house if I wasn't into it," and I'm like, "Okay, good, good to hear." And then, man, it was great. La Guns with Axl was great. Can you believe that?


While in LA Guns, Axl recorded vocals to a cover of Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel:

So we did the live shows and then we're recording and Axl had laid down vocals for Heartbreak Hotel, because they covered that. [?] Elvis Presley tune. And he laid tracks down for that and then the producer guy was a dick, I mean I like him, but when it came to like interacting with Axl he was at dick. He would try to get Axl to stand still in the studio and don't move around and everything like that, so they had like a confrontation about that and then Axl left, and then I told the producer guy, it was like, "Look, Chuck, don't tell him what to do, just let him sing, let him sing his song, that's how it works. If he needs to dance around when he's singing, let him dance around." And then, yeah, we never made it back in the studio after that, the guys had finished the tracks, like the basic tracks, non vocals, and then Axl was supposed to come in but before then he quit.


This recording was then recorded over:

And Axl at that point still thought I had the L.A. Guns tape of Heartbreak Hotel but we had recorded over his vocals after he left and everything, we just needed the tape back then. I think it was like $200 for a 2 inch tape or something like that and we needed to get Mike's songs on there. So we recorded over Axl. And then Mike Jagosz could not pull off the version of Heartbreak Hotel as it was arranged and recorded.


The rift between Slash and Axl had been bad, so when Axl called Slash and asked him to help Tracii with the riff for 'Back Off Bitch', Slash blew him off [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Tracii and Slash had a rivalry going which made it hard for Marc Canter to follow LA Guns:

[...] at the time it was a touchy situation me even going there to shoot Axl singing in L. A. Guns.  I was documenting and taking pics of everything Slash had done and Axl wanted me to come down and shoot he and Tracii in L.A. Guns.  I sort of had to sneak around Slash’s back to help Axl and do that because at that point Tracii and Slash were really rivals.  Tracii was absolutely his rival because he also had a band before L.A. Guns called Pyrrhus which was the high school rival to Tidus Sloan.  Needless to say Slash would be pissed if he knew I was helping Tracii and Axl but Axl asked me so I did it.



WAS MIKE JAGOSZ OR AXL THE FIRST SINGER IN LA GUNS?

There would be some confusing regarding who was the first singer in LA Guns. In 2018, Cue and Rob would discuss how hard it is to remember and Rob would defer to Cue's memory and recollections:

Well, that's what I was saying, Raz' detail of that whole time is probably better than mine. I mean, you know, a lot of it's a blur, you know what I mean? But, yeah, we were just, you know, moving along, you know, doing our routine, doing our rehearsals, shows, this and that. But the account of exactly what... Raz was the manager, you know, I'm the drummer, I just leave it up to [?], "Who's gonna sing for us tomorrow?" you know- [...] But, you know, for a timeline detail, you know, yeah, it's hard to answer because, you know... Like the fact I had to ask Raz like, "Did Mike sing first or did Axl sing first in LA Guns?" [laughs]

Yeah, I remember Rob got that blended together because Michael was the singer for Pyrrhus, you know, high school band, and it basically became LA Guns. So Mike was gone, yeah, so to Rob it's just like Tracii, Ole, Mike and them[?] were in a band and then Axl singing after that.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:04 am

OCTOBER 5, 1984
LONDON VS LA GUNS; AXL VS NADIR D'PRIEST

On October 5, 1984, LA Guns' had its first show with Axl as its new singer and opened up for London with Izzy and D'Priest. LA Guns played the songs "Anything Goes," "Back Off Bitch," "Shadow of Your Love" (all songs from Hollywood Rose), "Heartbreak Hotel," and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 165], which would later be released or played by Guns N' Roses.

According to Marc Canter, Axl only played two shows with LA Guns:

[Axl] joined LA Guns, plays two gigs at the Troubadour October 5th and October 12th of 1984. I was at those gigs at midnight.


Duff, Slash and Marc Canter were all present at the October 5 show. Duff would see Axl for the first time:

I'd seen [Axl] in L.A. Guns. But it was at The Troubadour [in West Hollywood]. I got there late and saw a couple of songs. And it was just like a bull loose in the ring. It was, like, 'What the hell?' And he was different. He wasn't metal, and he wasn't punk; he was like his own thing. And I identified with that.

The first time I saw Axl, Slash took me—I met Slash first in L.A, and he took me to see LA Guns, very early LA Guns—and Axl was the singer. I see this dude come out, and it’s like rawness. I see a real anger and a real ferocity. I’m like, “This guy might jump off the stage and kick my ass.” He broke a glass on stage. Something pissed him off and it was real. You saw people back away. I’m like, “I fucking love this guy.” [laughs].

I saw that show at the Troubadour. Slash took me. And the thing about Axl, I’d seen so many shows by this time. My old band, 10 Minute Warning, we opened for Black Flag when it was Henry Rollins’ first show with them in Seattle. And Henry was the most intense dude I’d seen. I saw him before the show, like, stretching out in his little short dolphin shorts, not talking to anybody, super intense. Ready to fight. And when Axl came out onstage at the L.A. Guns thing I saw that same intensity, but kind of more fucking unhinged. It was real. And the guy was hitting these notes. … I’d never seen anything like Axl.

I went to see L.A. Guns when they were opening up for London at the Troubadour. And Axl was upset that London somehow screwed them over.


During the show Axl would rip apart a poster of London. Robert John, who was attending the show, would claim there was bad blood between Axl and D'Priest over a girl:

I shot both bands, but then there was this brawl backstage when Axl and Nadir [D’Priest] got into a fight. It turned out there was this major feud between them over the fact that they’re doing the same chick at the same time.
Watch You Bleed; The Saga Of Guns N' Roses" by Stephen Davis, 2008


When asked about any good storied of Axl, D'Priest would indeed mention Axl fucking his girl:

He did my girlfriend that is tattooed on my right arm. OK! That's the best one.
Full In Bloom Music, August 2006


Presumably, this is not the same girl that Izzy had slept with [see earlier chapter].



D'Priest displaying
the tattoo of the
contested girl



Tracii Guns, who played in LA Guns with Axl, would also mention the feud between D'Priest and Axl but not mention the girl but instead claim D'Priest had detuned his guitars at the show:

When Izzy joined London, we started doing a lot of shows together, as we were all supposedly friends. I am still friends with Nadir, which is weird. But Axl had seen Nadir detune my guitars before we went on, or so he claimed. But, sure enough, when I went to put my guitar on that night it was out of tune. I put the next guitar on – it was out of tune as well. So when we went on stage, Axl ripped up a London poster [this happened on October 5, 1984]. There is a photo of this in Marc Canter’s book. That was the beginning of all hell breaking loose between those two. Axl and Izzy were kind of humble guys, but growing up they had their share of street fights. So just because they were on the quiet side, didn’t mean that they wouldn’t whip somebody’s butt. On the flip side, Nadir was a really tough guy. He had been in and out of jail, and was a pretty tough kid. A lot of the time I would pick up Axl from work at Tower Video, and a few times Nadir was waiting for Axl outside. They would have these quick little battles, then Nadir would run off. One day, Nadir was waiting outside with a gun! Axl is a tough motherfucker, man. He picked up a broken street sign and just whacked Nadir with it! As far as I know, that was the last time they tangled.
Tales From The Stage Vol. 1" by Michael Toney, 2012

Axl swore he saw Nadir [London singer Nadir D’Priest] detune my guitars before we went on and all this shit. Which makes sense because when I went onstage all my Les Pauls were completely out of tune. Like, four notes down on every string. So he made a big stink about that.

He vented about it during the gig. And then he tore up a London poster onstage. But that’s Axl. Axl will say what’s on his mind.


This is supported by comments from Axl from stage:

It sure ain't a lot of fun when someone fucks with your equipment..
The Troubadour, October 5, 1984; as recounted by Marc Canter in Reckless Life


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:04 am

OCTOBER 1984
AXL IS OUT OF LA GUNS

LA Guns did not work out for Axl, though, and Tracii would claim he was fired by their manager, Raz Cue:

Axl ended up singing for L.A. Guns until he got in a fight with our manager.

[...] and then the same manager ended up hating Axl and he wanted to fire him.

[Talking about Axl getting fired from L.A. Guns]: I don’t even remember. It was probably over something ridiculous. We were all teenagers. It was after a gig, and we were all driving home in the same car. And Raz [Cue], our manager, just turned to Axl and said, “You’re fired. You’re not going to be in L.A. Guns anymore.”
Tales From The Stage, February 2013

Axl had actually been fired from L.A. Guns by Raz. He was just like, “I’m not going to deal with you anymore.” And so then we got Mike Jagosz back for a second, which is probably when that Hollywood Rose reunion happened.


But according to Cue, Axl wasn't fired but quit the band himself, allegedly after a violent episode at the Rainbow:

[...] Axl, Ole, Joe [Cue's brother], and me headed for the Rainbow. When we requested the big booth in the corner, Michael [from the Rainbow] tried steering us toward a smaller table more suited to a party of four, but relented because more of our friends were expected. We ended up with the shittiest waitress possible, and even though our booth filled up within minutes, a half hour passed and she had yet to take our order. So when Michael came to force our relocation, Axl refused to budge and told him, "We've been trying to order for twenty fucking minutes." Michael ignored him [...] I was halfway to the smaller table when I heard a commotion behind. I turned to see Axl pinning Michael backward over the table, fist cocked, ready to strike a devastating blow to Michael's left eye. [...] I was beyond pissed [after being thrown out of the Rainbow] and grumbling to myself as I rolled my chair out of the parking lot. When I took a right onto the sidewalk, there stood Axl with the body language of one contemplating handi-homicide. I peered angrily towards him and vented some steam of my own, hollering, "I can't believe you fucking got me kicked out!" Axl reached for a pair of sunglasses atop his head and fired them past my ear to smash against the wall. Then he yelled, "I can't believe you're mad at me after they disrespected us like that." [...] "I quit! Fuck you, and fuck L.A. Guns!"
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 174-176

[...] basically Axl quit on Halloween, like Halloween night we had a little thing at the Rainbow where he got in an argument with Michael, the Assistant Manager, and then I got kicked out too and I got mad at Axl, like, "He got me fucking kicked out man and there's all those whores in there right now." [...] And he's like, "I can't believe you're mad at me!" and he quit. And I was like bombed, I was like, "Fuck, dude." I mean, I'm a dick, you know, I'm sure I got in his face and shit some times, but most the time I kind of deferred, just like, "Okay, dude, whatever." You know, like, we'd argue, everybody argues, you know. Yeah, he quit over that but then he told me later, like after, you know, when he was getting ready to kick Tracii out of LA Guns later, you know, like the next year, that he quit because he didn't like Tracii, like, he was tired of Tracii [?]. Axl wanted to play in a band that was kind of like what Guns N' Roses became and Tracii's a metalhead so Tracii's like, when [?] told Axl wanted to do like a blues bass kind of hard rock Aerosmith-ish, you know, and the next thing you know he's playing like, you know, Sabbath and, you know, metal stuff, you know, like-


When asked about this, Rob Gardner would suggest Cue's recollections were probable the most accurate:

You know, I would have to say Raz would probably be the most accurate detail on that.


Marc Canter would also suggest that Axl wasn't fired when he stated that Axl "split" with LA Guns:

In the end it didn’t work out anyway, [LA Guns with Axl] played a couple gigs and then Axl split and L.A. Guns got another singer.


So according to Cue, Axl quit the band, although it could be that Axl cooled down and that he was then fired by an angry Cue as they were driving home to Cue's apartment.

Axl, in an interview in December 1986, would claim he deliberately got himself kicked out of LA Guns by Tracii:

Meanwhile, the other band I was in [LA Guns] got sick of me sitting around saying "Slash would be great for this..." Finally, I got myself kicked out of the band by putting on a pair of ripped up black jeans and a spray-painted pink and black biker jacket, doing my hair, putting full makeup on and running all around the stage and out into the crowd one night. The guitarist [Tracii] freaked out 'cause it was his band and he was used to getting all the attention. So, before I could say "I quit", he kicked me out. I said, "yeeahhh!" It was so great!


While in LA Guns, Axl had quarreled with Tracii over musical direction and was frustrated over Tracii being hard to write songs with [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 208]. Axl would also go on to say that "the rest of the band [= LA Guns] [Tracii] had at the time […] just didn’t seem to have the drive, and it fell apart [Cream, September 1989].

In 2018, Cue would be asked about whether Axl quit or was fired by him, and again deny that he had been fired:

Yeah, Axl quit. I mean, you know, like, we got along great and, you know, we butt heads, you know, we were like young males with a little testosterone going so and we liked to drink, you know. Probably a lot of my friends if I wasn't in a wheelchair I would have gotten fist fights with the [?] you know.


In 2011, Mike Jagosz would attack Axl vehemently and say that he had sucked while in LA Guns and that their producer, Chuck Rosa, had insisted they got him [=Jagosz] back in the band:

William Bailey was only in the group for 2 F'in weeks.I tried to give him Vocal lessons..... but . He sucked. Voted " Least likely to ever make it " He always was a pathetic Sub-human being. He lived at my Parent's house for over 6 months.....Sponging off us and doing Heroin. What a little Faggot. Come to find out, He was a Male-Faggot Prostitute at the time. L-O-S-E-R.. He sold His asshole to gay men for Money. But, He made 70 Mil. [...] Also..... Chuck said, Get your Real singer back. Bill Bailey sucks.....and he did. [...] [Axl] was a real piece of work. Lived with Me at My Parent's house for approx. 7 months, But he was/is a parasite. A real sack of shit.
Proud To Be Loud, Aug. 24, 2011


Raz Cue would later discuss Jagosz' animosity towards Axl:

Mike and Axl just didn't get along even back in the day. I don't know, it might have been something that predated- [...] I mean, they had like the same girlfriend at one point. Actually, Mike went out with her first and Axl like later or whatever. And then another thing is like everybody's like they [?] and everybody just liked Axl better. So for Mike you know, he left LA Guns, you know, or after he left LA Guns, and then Guns N' Roses started and they just got huge quick and it's like, you know, Mike, you know, because Axl was in LA Guns and they were drawing good then Mike came in the band they were drawing all right and then the draw got less and less and then Guns N' Roses starting to draw this fucking blew up, you know. [...] I just think Mike didn't have the drive that Axl had. Like, Mike was plenty talented enough, he was plenty good looking it up, and he was in the right place, but he just didn't, he just was waiting for world to come to him instead of, you know, going out there and taking it.

Michael always... man, he was bitter about Axl, right, he never liked Axl before I even saw Axl sing. But maybe it was just because like all the accolades. I mean when people saw Axl, they would comment and like, "Hey, that guy's pretty good," or whatever, you know, and I think Mike [?] "Well, I've been trained operatic, I can hit like," you know, "all these notes, I can sing like," you have, "Dio," you know, and he's just like Bon Scott and Mike didn't like AC/DC at all. So those kind of singers it's like, "That's not a singer."


Regardless of how it went down that Axl left LA Guns, the result was that on October 31, 1994, Axl and Tracii found themselves sitting on Cue's couch, discussing what to do.

With Mike Jagosz as the new singer for LA Guns, the band recorded their first EP featuring songs where Axl had come up with the lyrics and vocal melodies:

Some of the songs on that LA Guns EP that Mike Jagosz sang on Axl had written lyrics and melodies for when he was in LA Guns.


Axl had also worked on the songs Bloodshot Eyes and Cold Hard Cash [GN'R Central, March 2018].


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:05 am

OCTOBER 1984-MARCH 1985
GUNS N' ROSES IS FORMED

OCTOBER 31, 1994: AXL AND TRACII NAME GUNS N' ROSES

On Halloween, October 31, 1984, two young men were sitting on a couch in an apartment in Hollywood. They were discussing the future. The two men were Tracii Guns (age 18 at the time) and Axl Rose (age 22 at the time). Tracii was the lead guitarist in the band LA Guns and Axl had until earlier this very evening been the singer in the same band. Now Tracii and Axl discussed what to do.

Their decision was to form Guns N' Roses:

When we got home, Raz [Cue, manager of LA Guns who had just fired Axl and owner of the apartment] went into his room and Axl and I sat on the couch. We both looked at each other and said, “How in the hell can he fire anybody?” By the end of the conversation, we had constructed Guns N’ Roses.
Tales From The Stage, February 2013

[…] Axl decided that: Well, you know, I don't know what's really going on with me, and I know that L.A. Guns is doing it's thing. So, you know, why don't we just continue writing songs together, since we live together and everything? And I was like: Yeah, of course -- you know, do whatever we want. And then we came up with the name Guns N' Roses -- you know, it just made sense. You know, it was like: Hey, you know? I'm Tracii Guns and you're Axl Rose. Let's just, you know, kinda put it together. Yeah, so we'll put out singles and we'll call it Guns N' Roses.

Axl ended up singing for LA Guns until he got in a fight with our manager [=Raz Cue]. But Axl decided we should continue writing songs together since we lived together. Then we came up with the name Guns N' Roses - it was like: 'I'm Tracii Guns and you're Axl Rose'.
Classic Rock, April 2005

Our manager [=Raz Cue] had fired Axl [from LA Guns] at one of our shows. And that same night, after he was fired... We all lived together - we decided we were just gonna carry on and we changed the name of the band, we changed our name to Guns N' Roses.




Tracii and Axl back in 1985.



A couple of years later, Axl would claim that he was the one who came up with the name together with his old friend Izzy Stradlin (age 22 at the time) and not mention Tracii as part of this origin story. Also, according to Axl, the foundation for the new band happened earlier when Axl was still singing in LA Guns:

[...] during the time I was in LA Guns, Izzy and I started doing stuff on the side and calling it Guns N' Roses.


This is likely not entirely correct. It is quite possible that Izzy and Axl, old friends from Indiana, would want to play together in a band, but it seems reasonable that Tracii would have been part of coining the name by providing the "Guns" to Axl's "Rose". Axl would also acknowledge Tracii's part in the formation of Guns N' Roses in later interviews:

The name Guns N' Roses come from Tracii Guns and Axl Rose.

We got together, and we were going to change the name or something - and I was always going to do some solo stuff with Tracii anyway. And I said we’ll call it Guns & Roses. So we just decided to call the band that. And then, when Tracii and I quit working together, I just kept the name cause I thought of it and it was really working for us; plus we really dug the hell out of the name. Simple.


In 2008, Axl would likely suggest that the concept of the band originated before the name came about:

The name does come from mine and Traci’s as the original inspiration but was something I played with not Traci and Guns was Guns before Traci joined. It was Guns Before I knocked on Izzy’s window.


So it seems likely that the start of what would become Guns N' Roses did happen earlier than that Halloween evening of 1984, but that putting the Guns N' Roses name to the growing idea of the new band happened that night. This also exemplifies the fact that bands often don't just suddenly originate, but evolve from other bands and band constellations, that they gradually form as the right band members come together at the right moment in time. This is very much the case of Guns N' Roses and the various precursor bands, like Hollywood Rose and Road Crew, and band members will be discussed in future chapters of this story.  

Marc Canter, a friend of Axl and Traci's, would suggest they started the band some weeks later, around December 1984:

And then literally at that same time [as the New Hollywood Rose reunion show], Axl and Tracii put together a side project just simply for writing music only. And they decided to take a piece of each name, Guns and Roses, I mean L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose, Guns and Roses. And it was a side project.



HOW TO SPELL THE BAND NAME AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

In the band's first years the band name was written in various ways, Guns & Roses, Guns and Roses, etc. In late 1987, Duff would explain the correct way:

There's a bit of confusion. The "approved" version should be Guns N' Roses, but it really doesn't matter that much.


According to a 1989 article, Axl would explain the name:

Literally translated it means "Guns and Roses". However, Guns N' Roses is also the name of the Los Angeles group "Hell's Angels", Sicilian slang for a hitman ("First we'll send you guns, then we'll shower you with roses..."), street slang for a macho guy and a sexy girl. However you understand that name, we will agree with you!
Rock-Pop, January 1989; translated from Serbian



WHY CONTINUE WORKING TOGETHER AFTER LA GUNS?

A conundrum here is that Axl and Tracii had disagreed over musical direction while playing together in LA Guns [for more information on Axl and Tracii in LA Guns, see later chapters]. Why then would they want to form a new band together? One explanation could be that they intended Guns N' Roses to be musically different to LA Guns. Or perhaps they just admired each other too much, despite any musical differences that might have been? Axl shed some light on this in 1989:

The first time Tracii and I went our own directions, we decided we’d still get together to write some stuff because we still appreciated each other. And we’d call it Guns N' Roses when we collaborated.


Tracii would later describe them as being "connected at the hip":

But at that time, Axl and I were attached at the hip. So we decided we were going to continue playing together, we just had to figure out in what configuration. And then I was like, “Well, Izzy’s not doing anything, why don’t we just add him to the band?”

The initial idea with Axl was “Hey, let’s just write and record and we’ll go out and play new songs.” And somehow we came up with the name Guns and Rose, which was just his last name and my last name. And then within five minutes Axl’s like, “Nah, man, Guns and Roses.” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s a great band name.”


Or perhaps Guns N' Roses wasn't intended as a band at all, but as a record label for releasing singles from the bands Hollywood Rose and LA Guns, as Tracii stated in 2010:

We're all living together at this point and Axl and I sat down and went 'What are we going to do?' So we both said 'Fuck that', and came up with the name Guns N' Roses which was going to be just a record label that we'd put singles out on.


But later, Tracii would say this idea just lasted for 5 minutes before they agreed it should be the name of a band:

And then Axl got fired from LA Guns. And Izzy quit London. And me and Axl lived together. And then we decided that, "Well, you can[?] fire me but we can still play music together." And like, "Yeah." So we had a great idea for a label. And the label would be called "Guns and Rose". We would make our own recordings, label. Five minutes later, we said, "No, that should be the name of the band." It's a great name, "Guns and Rose", that was the first thing. And we did it.


In his great book, Reckless Road, Marc Canter, who was a friend of Guns N' Roses, would state that "Guns N' Roses originally began as a side project of Axl's and Tracii's" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007] confirming both of their involvement but also the somewhat down-prioritized status of the band in its very beginning, which makes sense considering the other bands the guys were involved in around that time.

As far as we know, not much happened with Guns N' Roses in 1984 after the two guys on the couch first came up with the name. It seemed to have been an idea, a concept, but not much more.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:05 am

DECEMBER 31, 1984
HOLLYWOOD ROSE IS REFORMED FOR ONE FINAL SHOW

But Hollywood Rose wasn't entirely over and on December 31, 1984, the band played a final show. This show had been booked by Izzy after he quit London [see earlier chapter]:

Then Izzy booked a New Year’s Eve show at a club called Dancing Waters in San Pedro. They were going to put Hollywood Rose back together.

That was one of Izzy’s “book a gig, get a band together later,” kind of moves. He asked me to do it and I said, “Sure.” And he had asked Axl and he actually said no at one point, because he was still in L.A. Guns. But then he convinced him later on and he said yes. And then they asked Slash.


But Slash couldn't do it so Chris Weber was recruited back into the band:

But closer to the end of the year, they had booked a show for New Year’s Eve or something, and I don’t think Slash could do it; for some reason he couldn’t do it. He knew ahead of time he couldn’t do it, or he didn’t want to do it, or something. So I’d been talking – because we were friends, I’d be talking to Izzy and he said, “Why don’t we just get together again and we’ll all do it.”

And then Slash couldn't play because he was had to work one night for this particular show so that's when I came back and played again with them. And that's when we played this show at Dancing Waters in San Pedro, California. [...] I don't remember exactly the date but that was my memory of it was like a New Year's Eve show.

If I remember right, Slash was working at Tower Video or something like that and couldn’t get off for the show. So they called me to fill in.

Slash had a job at Tower Video, and Axl had worked there, too, around the same time, behind the counter. And Slash couldn’t get the night off. Even though it was New Year’s Eve he had to work until midnight. He was a responsible employee, I guess. So Izzy reverted back to Chris Weber. And then I don’t know how Rob Gardner came into it, probably because he was playing with Axl in L.A. Guns at that point.

So long story short, now comes around Christmas of '84 and Axl and Izzy are like, you know, ready to give it up, but they thought, "We'll give it one more shot," and they put together Hollywood Rose again and did a reunion show. And they got Chris. They wanted Slash, but he was working in Tower Video and couldn't get the night off, but they ended up back with like, Chris Weber, I believe.


According to Marc Canter, the show made Izzy and Axl want to do more together, but likely with Slash instead of Weber:

And they did one gig and there was a little energy there and they thought, "Hmm, that's kind of interesting."

So Hollywood Rose did that gig, which was a one-off. And I guess they wanted to continue with it but they just couldn’t figure it out exactly. And maybe they didn’t want Chris Weber. I’m not sure what happened.


The full lineup was Axl, Izzy, Weber, Darrow and Rob Gardner from LA Guns [Appetite for Distortion, July 30, 2017].


CHRIS WEBER AFTER HOLLYWOOD ROSE

After this final show with Hollywood Rose in late 1984, Weber joined different smaller bands in Hollywood and New York before enjoying success again with U.P.O.:

Sure, so late 80s... from then I went to New York for a little bit, [?] New York with some friends, New York and New Jersey for about a year until we got winter and then it was too cold. And so I came home and just played in a bunch of sort of Hollywood bands. I didn't really get my groove going again until much later. I was in a band called Lunatic Fringe, I was in a some other bands that were just Hollywood bands and it was fun but, you know, there wasn't any push behind any of them. You know, if you talk to anybody from then, that was a musician, they'd say you, know, the story would be, you know, we got a demo tape, we have a lawyer who's in the music industry, he's gonna get us signed. I mean, that's a common story. Everybody sort of had this sort of like, you know, this music attorney that was going to make the deal for them, that knew people. So bands who played Hollywood and the Strip and in hopes of, you know, drawing large crowds and then getting, you know, record company guys to come down and see them, then you would do showcases and blah-blah-blah and so.


Talking about the formation of U.P.O. and how Vicky Hamilton was involved in getting their record deal and the release of their first record, No Pleasantries (2000):

I was friends with Shawn Albro, the singer for you U.P.O., since I was in my 20s, early 20s, and always had a great relationship, just a friendship with him. I moved to England, probably in 1992, and he had come and visited me there and he took a trip around Europe doing that too and just stayed close. And when I decided to, after six years, return to Los Angeles I was talking to him and he said, "Listen, when you come back," I wasn't in a band at the time and he's, you know, been in band all his life and I just said, "I'm gonna move back," and I moved back and came back to LA and he and I started writing immediately, you know, trapped in a small room with a guitar and a four track and a drum machine. And within the short period of time we had written a couple songs that I thought really good. I didn't intend on having this particular sound but I was listening to bands that probably sounded a little bit more like that at the time so might have influenced me. You know, you can't help but when certain music hits you in a particular way. And I know a lot of people that write music based on what the trend is, I don't think it was a trend, I was just I was listening to stuff that I thought was really great and I kind of just really resonated with me. A lot of dark tones and a lot, you know... [...] Anyway, so I came out and Shawn and I, you know, wrote a lot of songs, put together a band, started playing shows out here in Hollywood, some of the same venues as I played with Hollywood Rose. [...] Vicky Hamilton put us in and we did some demos. [...] So we did a demo for her and that demo got on the on the desk of somebody, which is Steve Richards, that I had mentioned and real quickly we got a deal. I think probably one of the last real sort of old-school record deals that I at least heard of for a long time. It's now, you know, much more, you know, people are promoting through the Internet a lot more, but this was really sort of, like, "I got a tape in my hand and I'm gonna sign you guys to a deal" type of.... And then the band did a couple records with Rick Parashar who did Pearl Jam Ten, who produced that record and he produced a lot of other records, some stuff for Alice in Chains and a lot of that Seattle sound was a result of his work in his studio London Bridge. [...] We got really lucky, we had a pretty good deal and we could pick from a lot of great producers that were out there. And we met with a lot of the guys that were sort of making good records at the time. We just sort of liked Rick and liked the music that he created. So, well, with Rick, did that record, soon after the single was released, Godless, we were on the road. I think we went out with Creed, they stuck us on the tour with Creed. Creed was playing stadiums so we were like... or arenas, sorry. So we were more than happy to kind of step into something where we were playing to seven-eight thousand, thirteen thousand people a night. And then the radio really took to Godless and it went to number three, which was, I think, the modern rock charts. We were up there with.... You know, we did a lot of touring with, you know, and a lot of festivals, with bands like Deftones who released White Pony at the time and that was really big. A Perfect Circle came out and that song Judith was released about the same time. So that was our competition so we were in really great company. And, you know, toured all of 2000, went out with The Cult [?] long time. You know, it was good. And then, I had mentioned earlier, I sort of it hit the bricks a little bit and then kind of reemerged, did the second record and that's where I changed careers.


The second U.P.O. record, The Heavy (2004), didn't fare as well as the first:

So the second record, second U.P.O. record by Sony Epic didn't do as well and sort of couldn't turn it into the sort of machine that we had originally thought. And one of the reasons our A&R guy, Steve Richards, died and there was a really tragic thing [?] and it sort of took the wind out of our sails. The second record didn't do quite as well [...].


After the second U.P.O. record in 2004, Weber needed treatment for his addictions:

So, you know, the U.P.O. record was doing pretty well, you know, we were kind of high on that, we were, I think, number three in the [?] rock charts with Godless and.... Anyway, it was a crazy year so when I got off the road I kind of of imploded and needed to go away for a little bit. So I went to to treatment and got sober and that was nearly 15 years ago now.


And would eventually end up working as the treatment center and becoming a therapist himself:

Well, I needed to get a job while we were waiting for the second record come out even in the first place, so I got a job at the only thing I could do which is answer phones cuz there's not too many jobs for, you know, guitar players waiting to, you know, do their next record. So I got a job answering phones at the the treatment program I went through. And then went on the road, you know, that took a kind of hiatus from that program, from the job, to go back and support the second record. Well, when the second record didn't hit I kind of, like, I was at a crossroads and I said, "You know what, I kind of liked being in that environment at the," you know, "at the program," so I went back and I kind of, after a short period of time, I went in different area of the program where I was talking more with people and families and then I just went back to school and I said, you know, "What I really want to do is kind of help people and be part of their success." And so I went back to school, you know, did a masters, [?] just ended up as a therapist.


And talking about how he coped with the success of Guns N' Roses and that he is humble about the small role he played in what would eventually become Guns N' Roses:

I mean, I think one of the things is that I don't look at it necessarily that I wrote a song on [Appetite for Destruction], I felt like I helped create it from, you know, this sort of infantile sort of beginning. And certainly the other guys, you know, Slash did, you know, the next step. But from the very sort of foundation of it I was part of that. I'm kind of more proud of that than just the songs, or together, you know, that I had maybe a good instinct to do that. But in any case, you know, I kind of just went with the flow. I mean, there were a lot of people that were... I didn't let anybody really know, I didn't have anybody to tell, there was times in my life where I wasn't really hanging around any musicians. I kind of let it just sort of be. When Geffen called me and they said... you know, there were some dealings with Geffen around the songwriting and the publishing and all that, then it became a little bit more real and that's when they were really making a lot of money. But even then those were times of my life that I have to be honest, you know, they were pretty nuts and sort of I wasn't always very present, put it that way. So yeah, you know, I think I weathered it pretty well to be honest with you. [...] I think everybody played a part and I think it's all important and, you know, I think I'm humble enough to sort of recognize that, you know, the components of that band that made it were probably needed to be exactly how they were in order for that to happen. You know, I don't know if I had the riff... and I know I didn't have the riff for Sweet Child O' Mine, I might have had other riffs that might have been awesome as well, but that particular riff I didn't have. Or Welcome To The Jungle. And those are the two particular songs that elevated them, it may not have happened with me.[...] I could analyze... Having grown up in an alcoholic household I was really good at sort of shutting down emotions anyway, so when this feeling which would have been sort of like resentment towards them or to have anything, or just, you know, jealousy or whatever, it was all kind of muted anyway.


When asked about how much he earns from royalties from GN'R songs:

I will put it this way: I work for a living and I work hard to, you know, pay for my family, and the work that I do now. So any monies that I've gotten from that have really already happened, been wasted and taken or, you know, appropriated by other people or just never gotten. That is kind of a sore spot but it's not sore in the fact that I have feelings about it, it's not really a windfall like people would think. What is good about it, and this is worth well more than any money that I ever got, was the fact that my name is connected with something that was so meaningful to people, that has allowed me to do a couple things in my life that I wouldn't have had an opportunity to do by people that are fans of the band. And that's worth way more to me than any financial gains that I might have had. [...] So I've got a lot of riches from this and it hasn't been financially.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:05 am

EARLY 1985?
DUFF AND STEVEN QUIT ROAD CREW

Road Crew never became a success and Duff would quit after about 6 weeks [Kerrang! March 1989].

That [=the lineup with Duff] went on for like a month and finally that split up and Duff had, ironically enough, just moved into this cheap little apartment right across the street from Izzy’s apartment. So those guys met and the next thing you know, Duff ended up joining their band, which I think had become Guns N’ Roses at that point.

But the Road Crew thing, there was no singer, and they’re like, “Maybe you can sing …” But I had already moved away from home, I was ready for the next step. I wasn’t going to play with some guys who just got out of high school the year before and had a bunch of riffs. Even if they had a fucking guitar player like Slash.

Duff had actually auditioned for Slash and Steven’s band ROAD CREW but he didn’t really like the metal style and was looking for something a little more in line with the punk stuff he was into.  He liked Slash as a guitar player but he just moved on.


One of the band's problems was that they couldn't find a singer [Guitar World, February 1992]. According to Steve Darrow, who played bass in Hollywood Rose for a short while, Duff played in a power-pop band with a guy called Michael McMahon [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], and this was likely after having played in Road Crew.

Marcelle Sirkus, a friend of Izzy, Slash and Axl, would mention meeting Duff when he was playing in the Michael McMahon Band:

I met Duff when he was playing with a band from Seattle called the Michael McMahon Band. I saw him at Madame Wong's West. And when I met him, I'm not sure yet if he even, you know, entered the picture, but I remember going to see them at Wong's. And they were fun. You know, he kind of had like this rockabilly punk style. [...] Bolo ties and raffle shirts. […] You know, they were e a lot of fun.


According to Slash, he and Steven had a falling out before Duff left Road Crew, resulting in Steven quitting:

Eventually, Roadcrew broke up, and somewhere along the line, Steven got hooked up with Izzy and Axl, while I would do all kinds of strange stuff. I would play with anybody I could play with […]

Then me and Steve had a falling out, and Duff ended up playing with Axl and Izzy in L.A. Guns.

OK, here’s my story of the whole thing. OK, I moved to LA and I was in a band with Steven and Slash. I hated Steven. He was a real little asshole. He had a double-drum, all these drums and shit, and he was just a little asshole. I love him now to death, but he’ll tell you himself, he was an asshole then. We were in a band called Road Crew - not for long, nothing was really happening and I split.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

I remember that I left them because we suddenly stopped playing gigs and we didn’t even rehearse.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:05 am

MARCH 1985
MERGING WITH LA GUNS AND ADDING IZZY

According to Raz Cue, in early 1985 an argument broke out between Tracii and Mike Jagosz, the singer in LA Guns, which resulted in Tracii firing Jagosz from LA Guns.

About a week into 1985, I arrived to the studio to find Tracii and Mike [Jagosz] yelling and screaming at one another. A piss-drunk Mike had pawned Tracii's bookshelf speakers to buy more cocktails. [...] As Tracii stormed away, Mike yelled, "If you do that guns and roses thing, I am going to quit." Once everything calmed down, I asked, "What was that you said earlier, 'guns and roses'?" Mike sneered, "Tracii wants to do a jam band with Bill [=Axl] and call it "Guns and Roses."
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 186

I come into the studio over there at Gardner and Tracii had fired Mike and Mike was just piss drunk. And I guess Mike had pawned something that belonged to Tracii or something like that but it wasn't that big of a deal, it was something that was sitting around the studio and Mike had got just like 15 bucks so we could buy some more happy-hour drinks or whatever, I mean, basically the shit would have been out of pawn the next day. But so Tracii's like, "I calmed everybody down," I was like, "Come on, dude, we got to do this show at the Cats Club [?], you can't break up the band now we got a record out," blah-blah-blah. And so I got Tracii calmed down but then Mike was still being a dick and then Tracii just laughs and as Tracii's leaving, Mike goes, "Oh, and if you do that Guns And Roses thing I'm gonna fucking quit!" And then Mike went back inside the studio and said to JoJo, I go, "Hey, what's that 'Guns And Roses', man?" and he's like, "Oh, that's a jam band that Tracii and Axl were thinking of doing together," I'm like, "That's a great name."


With Mike Jagosz gone from LA Guns, Axl - who was not a friend of Jagosz - spent more time with the band again after having quit/got fired in October 1984 [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 195; see previous chapter for more information]. But Tracii and LA Guns had a problem: The band had one more gig already booked at the Troubadour for March 26, 1985, but they now had no singer. According to Cue, Tracii then asked if Axl wanted to do a one-off, one more show with LA Guns as the singer, and Axl agreed.

So later [after October 1984] Tracii and me are living in the house together in North Hollywood, California, and LA Guns has a show that's booked, like even though there's no band, cuz he said "No Mike [Jagosz], no Mike." So Axl starts hanging around cuz Jojo, my brother, was friends with Axl, Tracii was friends with Axl, and Tracii wanted to start another band with this guy, Don Costa, who played with Ozzy for a minute, so Tracii's thinking he's gonna start a band with Tony Richards, the Wasp drummer, and Axl and Don Costa. So Ax was coming around and whatever, he's cool, we're getting along fine, there's no animosity with the LA Guns thing or whatever, we're just friends hanging out. And then, so Hollywood Rose played a one-off show in, I guess, February or March, probably March of 1985, and they got Robbie, the LA Guns drummer, to play the drums. Then after that show, like a couple days later, you know, everybody's hanging out and like, Tracii tells Axl, like, "Hey, we got this show at the Troubadour, LA Guns show, will you do the show?" And Axl immediately says, "Yes." Like, "Oh my god," I could not believe it. I was like, "Oh, that's cool."


Tracii then made a flyer for the upcoming LA Guns show at the Troubadour with Axl on vocals:

So then Tracii made a flyer for LA Guns with Axl's little picture and everything [...]

By the following afternoon, Tracii had put together an L.A. Guns flyer with pictures of him, Axl, Robbie [Gardner; drums] and Ole [Beich; bass].
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 197




Flyer for the show



Cue then claims to have suggested they'd do it under the "Guns N' Roses" name and that they'd also bring in Izzy [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 197]:

When Axl dropped by to approve the artwork, I said, "If you two are going to jam together, why not bring Izzy in and do that Guns and Roses thing you talked about?" Axl did a double take, gave me one of his dog-eat-dog sly smiles, and then, after a slight pause, nodded and said, "That sounds cool. I'll see if Izzy'll do it" [...] If it sounds like I, trying to claim credit for coming up with the name, I'm not. Axl Rose conjured up Guns N' Roses all by himself, combining surnames Tracii (Guns) and Axl (Rose). It's just until that very point in time, Axl had no idea I even knew he and Tracii had considered a side project. All I am laying claim to is this: Guns N' Roses formed in my living room after I suggested Izzy join in on a previously booked L.A. Guns show."
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 197

[...] when Axl said he'd do the LA Guns show, I said, "If you're gonna do that Troubadour show why don't you do that Guns N' Roses thing you're talking about? And bring Izzy in?" And then Axl's like, "I'll ask him."

I called Izzy and said, "Hey, we're gonna do a new band." And he was all in, and we were Guns N' Roses.


This happened a couple of weeks before the March 26 show, so it must have been in early March 1986 [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 198].

Tracii would later explain it as is LA Guns just continued but with Izzy in the mix:

And we added Izzy [Stradlin, guitar], that was the only real difference in the beginning. So it was Rob Gardner, Ole Beich, me, Izzy, and Axl.


From the following quote by Traci it is suggested Izzy joined Axl and Traci in Guns N' Roses first, and then they added Rob Gardner and Ole Beich (drummer and bassist in LA Guns, respectively) to fill out the band:

So once Axl and Izzy and I started doing Guns N’ Roses, we got Rob Gardner and [bassist] Ole Beich, who had been playing in L.A. Guns for the past year. It was just kind of like, “Hey guys, we’re going to do this new band now…” Our first show was at the Troubadour.


Izzy would later mention Axl asking him to "come back", which refers to Izzy having left their previous band Hollywood Rose:

Axl came back. He showed up at my apartment saying he wanted to start the band up again. It seemed like a good idea.




Guns N' Roses
March 1985



This indicates that to Axl, Izzy was an important part of the future of the band. Izzy was the first piece to be added to the puzzle. Axl would talk about knocking on Izzy's window and how the band in a sense was meant to include Izzy even before the name had been coined:

The name does come from mine and Traci’s as the original inspiration but was something I played with not Traci and Guns was Guns before Traci joined. It was Guns Before I knocked on Izzy’s window.

I went over to Izzy’s and it was like, I threw some rocks at his window. He came to the window and, I don't know, he was worried I came over there to kick his ass (laughs). We’d been in an argument for a few months. So anyway, you know, it was like the Blues Brothers: "We gotta get the band back together, we gotta get the band together!”


Desi, Izzy's girlfriend at the time, would also mention Axl knocking on Izzy's window and that at a time Izzy was about to give up his band aspirations and leave Los Angeles for Indiana:

Axl was working at Tower Video on Sunset when Izzy introduced us, even though there was bad blood between them at the time. Later that night, Axl showed up at our apartment, knocked on our window and said that he wanted to talk. Izzy was ready to go back to Indiana and give it up because he had been out here for five years. The band Hollywood Rose had never been signed and he was ready to give up. I encouraged him not to give up and Axl convinced him to give it a shot.
Marc Canter, Reckless Life, 2007[/url]


Interestingly, Axl would later also mention he already at this stage thought about bringing the lead guitar player Slash into the band when asked if he had another alternative band name:

Going into GUNS, there wasn't a #2. At that time I was going to make it in a band that started as GUNS N' ROSES and could evolve but that was the starting point and it was all the way or bust. I knew what I wanted when I knocked on Izzy's window. I also knew I wanted Slash but we still had differences and Izzy wasn't down with it.


As mentioned above, when Axl knocked on Izzy's window to have him "come back", the band Izzy was thinking about was Hollywood Rose where he had played with Axl before he quit to join the band London. It is likely Izzy considered this new band to just be Hollywood Rose with a different name and perhaps some new members, and this exemplifies the fluidity of the bands in the rock scene of Hollywood at the time: they evolved and changed, slightly morphing from one band to what could be called a different band, and sometimes the band names didn't mean as much as the players who were in the band. It wasn't so much about what the band was called, but who else were playing there.

When Guns N' Roses played their first show in March 1985, it thus consisted of members of Hollywood Rose who had joined members of LA Guns -- or the opposite way around -- to play under the new band name Guns N' Roses as coined by Tracii and Axl. The band was Axl Rose on vocals, Izzy Stradlin on guitar (or "Izzy Stranded" as he referred to himself back then), Tracii Guns on lead guitar, Rob (Robbie) Gardner on drums, and Ole Beich on bass. Ole and Rob were bandmates of Tracii in LA Guns, Axl and Izzy came from Hollywood Rose (although as explained above, at the time Izzy had left that band and joined London and Axl had had a stint as the singer in LA Guns). These first members of Guns N' Roses formed two factions, with Axl and Izzy being old friends from Lafayette, Indiana, and Tracii, Rob and Ole coming from LA Guns and having a more heavy metal approach to playing music.

Rob, who had played with Axl in Hollywood Rose and LA Guns previously [see earlier chapters] would mention how Axl was in this period:

[...] we always got along me and Axl. He was a good... obviously great frontman, just on fire, man, just energy, and, yeah, he just had that fire going. He was real determined and real focused, too, you know what I mean? He just kind of knew he'd... you know, kind of anything in his way, "Get out of my way, this is what I'm doing, it's real." So yeah, he was real focused.


Rob would also talk about Axl and Izzy and that they had the drive to become successful:

Yeah, I think though those guys, like Axl and Izzy really had definitely a sense of style and knew what they wanted, came out here and fit right in, man, because they just... I think, maybe coming from a place like that it was more of like, "Wow, this is the land of opportunity," so if you're gonna be a rock star this was a place to be, you know, kind of thing.


Rob would also disagree with the notion that since they came from Lafayette, Indiana, Axl and Izzy wouldn't be updated on what was happening on the music scene in Los Angeles:

Yeah, you know, what's funny is that one of my other really good friends that I played in a band with for years, my friend Jason, he was from a little town in Wisconsin, like Appleton, Wisconsin, but he knew everything that was going on here in LA, like on the Sunset Strip. I mean, they would get the magazines and see what bands are playing on... they knew more of what was going on here than we practically did. It's kind of funny, yeah, because the scene was so hot that it was like it was just well known and if you were interested in that sort of thing they just knew a lot about it, what was happening here and stuff. So don't be surprised, like, just because it's a little small town like Lafayette, Indiana, or something like that, it's not like that they don't know what's going on. Which is hence is why they came here in the first place. You know, and they had the style and, you know, the drive and all that. And boom, look what happened.


Being well-known musicians in the rock scene of Hollywood meant that Guns N' Roses got a kickstart. People were curious about this new constellation.



Tracii would later talk about their vision for the new band and Izzy's importance on deciding what the band should sound like:

It was like we [=Tracii and Axl] were two guys who had a vision, he had grown up with Izzy and I had lived with Izzy for about a year when he joined LA Guns, now Izzy Stradlin was a real visionary in terms of what should be next. What is cool, what is not cool, what is going to last, what is not going to last, and we both we got this kind of education from Izzy's attitude..so at that point Axl and I would talk about not sounding like anyone else but drawing from our influences...but making it our own and if we had a part in a song that sounded like anybody else we would change it immediately! 'Cause we both knew we had what it took to change things and get it sounding as original as possible.

By the time we got into Guns N' Roses, we decided we wanted to be a heavy Aerosmith..we're going to have a funky swagger, with big giant distorted guitars and a higher octave lead vocal..that was ground breaking at that point. Led Zeppelin had a lot of the same qualities but they didn't have a punk rock attitude that we were trying to inject..by the time I got to LA Guns again and got up with Mick Cripps, who was the other guitar player in LA Guns, he was also a real music visionary, wanting to do things over the top and in a campy way and not a cheesy way. Meaning that ok if what is happening right now is a glam, look we have to do something more evil with it. We have to wear more leather and be dirtier and make sure nothing looks store bought and our makeup has to be all over our face and not pretty, you know what I mean?

There was a lot of discussion about doing things that other people were doing but doing it better and different. So umm..there was every intention in my mind since working with Axl of always trying to break the status quo. We could be another Aerosmith or Stones, we could do that but then you're just a copy cat. How do you not be a copy cat? Especially when everything that was cool had almost already been done. So there was always a little bit more thought behind it...you spend an extra ten minutes in writing, an extra ten minutes in a photo shoot so that you don't look like every other rocker who has worked with that photographer..and you present yourself differently and hope that in terms of what you are pioneering that people respect you. It's a lot like the Ramones, they didn't sell the most records in the world but they were pioneering and they really made their mark and everyone knows who they are and that's a good way to be.
All Access Magazine, June 2010



Rob, Izzy, Axl, Tracii, Ole
Rob, Izzy, Axl, Ole, Tracii
¨

Describing the pictures above:

That's Willie's place. Wilpower's [Studios] there. So there's the ones with the high angle shooting downward, that's from the loft and that's the stage they're standing, like there's a PA tower and they're standing next to that. And then, on the stairs, the stairs to the loft inside the studio. My brother JoJo took those pictures. So he was on the stage and taking a picture towards the stairs and then the other one was the exterior of the same building.



FIRST REHEARSAL AT WILLIE BASSE'S STUDIO

The band now had a few weeks to rehearse together and prepare for their first show in March 1985. The first rehearsal took place at Willie Basse's Wilpower Studios:

I'm well aware it's a common phenomenon for folks to believe their friends' mediocre band is great. But that very first rehearsal was totally awesome, dude. It was immediately evident Guns N' Roses were beyond something special. Without a doubt, L.A. Guns had delivered some major ass-kicking with Axl Rose up front, but the addition of Izzy and the new songs "Don't Cry," "Move to the City," and "Think About You" blew my mind.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 198


Tracii would explain what music they played and how he and Izzy worked out the guitar parts:

It was a mixture of these heavier L.A. Guns songs and I had helped working on some Hollywood Rose songs, which were really the tracks that became Guns N' Roses songs later. It was cool because Izzy and I were very systematic about how we would play in the band together. It was really fun structuring the L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose songs for two guitars. We'd spend a lot more time making two really different guitar parts and two different guitar sounds. More than anything it was an incredible experience. That's when I really learned how to play with another guy. Izzy's so talented - not like a real master and he's definitely not a shredder - but he's just got a brilliant brain for music.


And Rob would talk about his contributions to the song writing process:

Yeah, so as far as the writing process, you know, I never really contributed anything lyrically - I've never been a poet of any type or any kind of lyricist - but as far as arranging goes, I go, "Hey," you know, "how about that," "let's try this," or, "let's build it this way," or, "do it this way," so the arrangement process - yeah, I had taken a part in. As far as the actual writing, you know, I fumbled around with guitar but, you know, not enough to really, you know, "Hey, let's try this," you know, "that B chord," or, "a D chord," or anything like that. But the arrangement process - yes. [...] I remember writing Think About You, I remember that. I clearly remember that at Willie studio, I remember, like, working on that, "Okay, now we're gonna do this," and, you know, I just remember that particular song.


Rob would also mention how the songwriting changed from LA Guns to Guns N' Roses and single out Izzy's importance in shaping the new sound of the band:

But it was just the songwriting in general, too, was just different. Izzy had, you know, a big influence on the songwriting and the vibe and the style and obviously Axl and, you know.


But this lineup was not to last long…


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:06 am

04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Newbor11
SONG: DON'T CRY
Album:
Use Your Illusion I, 1991, track no. 4.


Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 13.


Written by:
Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
Piano: Dizzy
Vocals: Axl, Shannon Hoon
Background Vocals: Izzy

Information:
This song was originally called 'Don't Cry Tonight'. An early version must have written in late 1984 since it was debuted at the Hollywood Rose Reunion show in December 1984. IN March 1985, Izzy would say it had been written "a couple of weeks ago" [KPFK interview, March 1985].

Only the vocal tracks differ between the two versions found on the Use Your Illusions, and even then only in the verses; however, in those verses, not only are the words entirely different, but the meter and melody are also slightly different. There is also a third version, officially released only on the single for the song, which was recorded during Appetite for Destruction sessions in 1986 [Wikipedia].

Live performances:
The song was played for the first time by Hollywood Rose on December 31, 1984. It was also on the set-list for GN'Rs first gig with the Appetite for Destruction lineup on June 6, 1985. It was played extensively up till 2001. It was reintroduced into the regular sets in 2009 after Bumblefoot had used the melody as his personal solo for a while. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {DCSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

Version of Use Your Illusion I (original):

Talk to me softly
There's something in your eyes
Don't hang your head in sorrow
And please don't cry
I know how you feel inside I've
I've been there before
Somethin's changin' inside you
And don't you know

Don't you cry tonight
I still love you baby
Don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry tonight

Give me a whisper
And give me a sigh
Give me a kiss before you tell me goodbye
Don't you take it so hard now
And please don't take it so bad
I'll still be thinkin' of you
And the times we had...baby

And don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry tonight

And please remember that I never lied
And please remember
How I felt inside now honey
You gotta make it your own way
But you'll be alright now sugar
You'll feel better tomorrow
Come the morning light now baby

And don't you cry tonight
And don't you cry tonight
And don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry
Don't you ever cry
Don't you cry tonight
Baby maybe someday
Don't you cry
Don't you ever cry
Don't you cry
Tonight


Version of Use Your Illusion II (alternative):

If we could see tomorrow
What of your plans
No one can live in sorrow
Ask all your friends
Times that you took in stride
They're back in demand
I was the one who's washing
Blood off your hands

Don't you cry tonight
I still love you baby
Don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry tonight

I know the things you wanted
They're not what you have
With all the people talkin' it's drivin' you mad
If I was standin' by you how would you feel
Knowing your love's decided
And all love is real

And don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
Don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry tonight

I thought I could live in your world
As years all went by
With all the voices I've heard
Something has died
And when you're in need of someone
My heart won't deny you
So many seem so lonely
With no one left to cry to baby

And don't you cry tonight
And don't you cry tonight
And don't you cry tonight
There's a heaven above you baby
And don't you cry
Don't you ever cry
Don't you cry tonight
Baby maybe someday
Don't you cry
Don't you ever cry
Don't you cry
Tonight


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Talking about writing the song:

When we first wrote the song, it was the first song for Guns N' Roses. [...] Actually, we weren't Guns N' Roses yet but it was starting to become a reality and Izzy and I wrote a song and decided that we needed to get back together. [...] which was one of our most Hanoi Rocks influenced songs. We knew we had something. [...] I was sitting outside the Roxy and I was really in love with this person and she was realizing this wasn't going to work, she wanted to do other things, and she was telling my goodbye, and I sat down and just started crying a little bit and she was telling me, "Don't cry." [...] Next night we got together and wrote the song in five minutes.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

It was a girl that Izzy had gone out with and now she's a tattoo on my arm [?] [...] and I was really attracted to her and they split up.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

It was [about] a girl that Izzy had gone out with, and I was really attracted to her, and they split up, and we wrote the song (...) I was sitting outside the Roxy, and you know, I was like really in love with this person, and she was realising this wasn't going to work, she was doing her things, she was telling me goodbye, and I like sat down, and just started crying, and she was telling me 'don't cry'. Next night we got together and wrote the song in 5 minutes. He'd been through some things with her, himself. It really means that even though the the relationship is not going to work, you shouldn't feel bad, time will heal, and you will feel much better. Everything is for the best. Heaven is above you, God is there to protect you, everything is going to be fine. Don't take it so hard.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

[Nicky Beat] had a rehearsal studio in his house in Silverlake where we'd go, set up our gear, and jam, and that is where the whole band really came together. Izzy had something called 'Think About You' that we liked, and we revisited 'Don't Cry,' which was the first song I'd ever worked on with Izzy.
"Slash", 2007

When I first hooked up back together with Axl and Izzy, that was the song Izzy and Axl were working on. So that was my first having to deal with another guitar player. It was on Don’t Cry. I’m going to Izzy’s house and hanging out with him to try and build up some sort of a chemistry. So that song is actually pretty classic in my mind.
Guns N' Roses: The Hits - 1992

After three nights [of rehearsals] we had a fully realized set that also included 'Don't Cry' and 'Shadow Of Your Love', and so we unanimously decided that we were now fit for public consumption.
"Slash", 2007


Introducing the song:

This song's called 'Don't Cry Tonight' and it's a song Axl and I just wrote a couple of weeks ago. It's kinda a sad song. But it is cool. So you know everybody, grab a Kleenex.
KPFK, March 1985

This is a new, alternate version of the first song we wrote in Guns N' Roses and kinda the reason we got signed. Some people in Hollywood got pissed off we never put it on record [?]. So we got three version of the song on record. This is called 'Don't Cry' and this is my friend Shannon.
Inglewood, August 2, 1991

This next one is the first song that was written for Guns N’ Roses. I went over to Izzy’s and it was like, I threw some rocks at his window. He came to the window and, I don't know, he was worried I came over there to kick his ass (laughs). We’d been in an argument for a few months. So anyway, you know, it was like the Blues Brothers: "We gotta get the band back together, we gotta get the band together!” We sat down and I go, "Hey, I got some really depressing lyrics." He goes, "Oh dude, I got a really depressing guitar part." I was like, "Perfect, we got it made then.”


Talking about releasing two versions:

There will be a version of 'Don't Cry' on both records, one on the first one and one on the second. The one on the first one is the newly recorded version of the original lyrics and the second one is the newly recorded version of alternative lyrics, kinda like a '91 update. It's got different words and melody in the verses and it kinda happened while I was recording the other one. That's the song that basically, one of the reasons we got signed. People in LA that has been our fans since we started playing in clubs were always bummed we didn't put it on the record but we were kinda trying to save what we considered one of our ace cards, cause we didn't know if we'd sell five records, you know, or what (laughter). […]  I don’t know that, if it’s more upbeat or anything. It’s just kind of where my head is at with that song now, you know, rather than making a nostalgia piece.  When we do the new one, I hear it. And a lot of people that liked the original and it was their favorite song – they have license plates that say “Don’t Cry” or whatever - heard the new one and kind of flipped out, like, “How did you do that?” I don’t know! But, you know, when we were in the studio, I was like, “I don’t know what’s happening, Mike, but let’s just let me go with it." And it worked out really nice. And my friend, Shannon Hoon - he's in a band, Blind Melon - he’s from Indiana and they were doing Don’t Cry back there. They got a bootleg demo tape in Lafayette.
Interview with Axl Rose, May 1991

The original Don’t Cry was, like, the first song written for Guns N’ Roses. And then, when I was in the studio recording it, I started hearing different words and melody while I was singing the old one. And it was one of the last songs we did. And I just... we just put on another track and went for it. And I like the new one better, cuz it’s where I’m at now. It’s kind of where the band is at now. The old one means a lot to me, because of the nostalgia, and the history of our band, and the history of our lives for me. You know, I can see all kinds of things in that song when I sing it or when I hear it. But the new one is kind of where I’m at now. And the video that we just did for Don’t Cry fits even better with the new lyrics than the old one.
Rockline, November 27, 1991

I don't know that it's more up-beat or anything it's just where my head's are with that song now, you know, rather than make a nostalgia piece (...) And a lot of people who liked the original and it was their favourite song, license plates that says "Don't Cry" and whatever, heard the new one and kinda flip out like "How did you do that?", I don't know (laughter). But when I was in the studio I was like, "I don't know what's happening, Mike, but just let me go with it". And it worked out really nice.
Interview with Axl Rose, 1991

While I was recording the original version I started hearing another melody and words in my head. It really surprised me. I told Mike Clink, our producer, "Put me on another track! I don't know what's happening here but I've got a different song coming through my head and I want to get that on tape".
Shadow boxing with Axl Rose, June 1992

A whole new set of words for the verses and a melody for these words started happening while I was singing the parts. I started hearing this stuff in my head, and I was like, “Mike, put me on another track.” He’s like, “Why?” and I go, “I don’t know, just I gotta go with this, it’s too strong to stop.” […] I prefer the new version, because the original is kind of like a nostalgia piece for me that takes me through, like, the history of Guns N’ Roses.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993


Talking about recording the song:

When we recorded that song originally, we were driving the engineer nuts in Hollywood, and Steven wanted more high hat. And finally the guy cracked and he pulled a gun on us. Unlike Ryan Lochte and his gun, our gun was real.
Sao Paolo, Brazil, November 11, 2016


Discussing the song:

[…]but the first GN’R song that we wrote for the band was 'Don’t Cry'. […] we saved it, cuz we really liked it and it was our most successful song here in Hollywood, on the club circuit. And so we saved it cuz we didn’t know if we were gonna sell five records or a million records of the first one…[…] ...So we wanted to make sure we had a good song ready for the second [chuckles].
Rockline, November 27, 1991

It’s a love song, a pretty emotional tune for Axl to sing.
Chicago Tribune, May 1991

[Talking about the time when he entered the band] 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's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59

It was one of the first songs we started playing as a band, in the incarnation, and it really put us across in the clubs. [...] It was something we would have recorded for the first record [...] Money was not allotted to do as much as we wanted to do.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

[The audiences] liked 'Welcome to the Jungle' and stuff but 'Don't Cry' was, like, the most popular song. [...] It never came out feeling just right [for the first record] [...] and it was our most successful song to save it [for the next record].
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

As a matter of fact, it is, like, one of the only songs I remember from the club days, it was like the only audible song because the rest were so loud. [...] I think it all just has to do with hope, you can't give up home or your dreams.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

We've added a lot of new life to it, especially with Matt playing the drums. [...] It has kinda taken a new life, which is cool.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

We opened for speed metal bands and we'd do all our fast songs but we'd also do 'Don't Cry', and these guys with spikes all the way up their arms came up [to us] and loved that song.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993

My friend Shannon Hoon, he's in a band Blind Melon, he's from Indiana and they were doing "Don't Cry" back there. They got a bootleg demo tape in Lafayette (...) and he's got a really gorgeous voice so we do kinda like a duet on the songs.
Interview with Axl Rose, 1991

It’s one of the first songs that we started playing as a band in the incarnation, and it really kind of put us across in the clubs.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993


Shannon Hoon would also talk about how he ended up singing on the song:

I got it on this shitty-ass tape [=an early bootleg featuring the demo version] from someone, who knew someone, who knew someone. [...] I used to play in a cover tune band in Indiana, and we used to cover the song Don’t Cry, cuz it was a song that no one back there – everybody was into GN’R, but these were songs that weren’t on the Appetite album. […] It was kind of accident. It was kind of just open mic night at the Record Plant in Hollywood. […] I was singing along with it and I think – I don’t know, I’m not sure how it came about, but Axl came in, and Izzy said something, I think, to Axl that I was singing along with it. Then Axl asked me if I knew the song and I said yes. So he had a couple of background parts to do, and I went and sang a couple of background parts, and it sounded cool. And then he was like, “Well, fuck it. Sing the whole song." […] I do a lot of whoo-whoo’s.  I do a lot of whoo-whoo’s, not in the studio as a matter of fact.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993


Talking about reintroducing the song to the set in 2006:

It was May 2006, my first tour with GNR. Fans would email daily asking if we could please play 'Don't Cry.' I remember standing alone on stage in front of 100,000  people, taking a solo, and I just started playing it on my own, motioning the audience to sing along. For the next year that became part of my solo, a lone guitar rendition, the audience singing along, a moment where we'd really connect each night. One of the last shows after a year of touring, I played it as an encore and Axl joined in and sang it, for the first time in over a decade. [We] started adding it back into the set after that. Always loved the song, but after all that it has an added personal meaning to me now.
Guitar World, September 30, 2011

I knew Don't Cry from when it first came out, 15 years before I joined. In the first weeks I joined, fans wrote to me a lot asking if we could play the song - we didn't, so I did. Give the people what they want.
GnR Paraguay, March 2012

From the classic GNR songs, I like Don't Cry. The song started off as my solo in 2006, playing it myself and the audience would sing, it's always been the song where I feel a big connection with the audience. The connection is important to me. I don't like separation between audience and band, I like it when we're all together, and making the music together.

I loved playing 'Don't Cry'. Our first year of touring together in 2006, 2007, we didn't do that song as a band, and fans would always write to me and say, 'Why don't you do 'Don't Cry'?' What I started doing in my guitar solo, when it was time for me to do my thing, I started playing this sort of one-man version of it, bringing in the chords and the melody and everything, and the audience would sing along. Eventually, it became part of the set. I remember I was in Tokyo in 2007, and we were ending the show. I didn't grab a solo that night, and I remember Axl said to me, 'Hey, let's go out, second encore, and let's do 'Don't Cry'. I'm going to join you.' It was the first time he did that song live in over a decade, from what I understand. From there, it became part of the set."


And being asked about his favorite GN'R song:

Don't Cry Smile Simple & beautiful & dynamic Smile

04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Newbor11


Last edited by Soulmonster on Wed Sep 06, 2023 5:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:06 am

MARCH 23, 1985
DUFF REPLACES OLE

MARCH 1985: OLE IS OUT

In March 1985 the newly formed Guns N' Roses consisted of Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Tracii Guns, Ole Beich and Rob Gardner. With a show coming up at the Troubadour on March 26, the band was rehearsing and preparing. But for the band's third rehearsal at Willie Basse's studio, they struggled to get hold of Ole:

I will remain a fan of Ole Beich till it's time for my dirt nap. [...] I still miss the guy and feel awful that he didn't seem to care enough at the time to make sure he stayed in Guns N' Roses. Unfortunately, at times the dude could be a real downer, sullen while keeping to himself [...] After that second practice, another rehearsal was set for a tentative "in a few days." Ole neglected to tell anyone of his newest girlfriend, so when the next practice got scheduled, there was no way to get ahold of him. After three days of not hearing from him, and rehearsal scheduled for the following evening, Izzy said, "If Ole doesn't want to be in the band, there's a guy who lives across the street from me who'll do the show."
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 199

Then Ole was the first to leave. And Ole was cool as shit. He was a Danish guy and he had played with Mercyful Fate. But he was like, “No, it’s not metal enough…”


Tracii would suggest Ole left because he didn't enjoy the music they played:

I think Ole was the first to go. He really wanted to play metal and we had turned into more of a blues-influenced heavy-rock band with a little bit of tinge of glam-rock in there. And he didn't really want to do that, he wanted to do something else. Unfortunately, he never found what he was looking for.


Cue would comment on Ole leaving:

I sometimes wonder if it was a political play by Izzy, so Tracii would not have two automatic band-votes on his side to vote-block against him and Axl. But I think it far more likely Izzy felt Ole wasn't into it, and his style made G N' R too metal. I don't know the answer, but the next night, Izzy showed up to Wilpower Studios to introduce Duff Rose. That was his name the first time I met him, and we all knew it was a sign. Ole was an old-school, brain-damage, hard-rock 'n' roller, devoid of even the slightest punk influence. But Duff was an O.G. Seattle punk, pre-grunge glamster with a far more upbeat personality, a cool bro to hang out with, a world class musician, and no doubt perfect for Guns N' Roses. [...] Ole was surprised when I broke the news to him, but didn't argue or even ask me why until years later.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 199

It's weird, maybe [Ole] thought his position like nothing was going to happen or he thought it was secure because, you know, everybody needed a bass player. And so he was kind of shocked when I told him that he wasn't in the band anymore.


In September 1987, someone in Guns N' Roses would refer to Ole as the "dumb schmuck bass player" [Rock Scene, September 1987]. This was probably Izzy since Axl was likely not present at the time when those words were spoken and none of the other guys (Slash, Steven and Duff) were in the band together with Ole (although they likely knew him from the Hollywood music scene).


MARCH 23, 1984: DUFF IS IN

So Ole was out of the band almost before it started. The "guy" Izzy knew "across the street" and could replace Ole, was Duff McKagan.

Steve Darrow had actually been present when Izzy met Duff in late 1984:

Izzy and I actually ran into Duff in the parking lot of the am/pm across from the Whisky. And Izzy said, "I think I know that guy. I think I met that guy at a party or something." Duff had just moved into town from Seattle and was playing with this guy Michael McMahon in a power-pop band. Izzy started talking to him and asking about what his situation was. Duff described the kind of music he was looking to play: Stones, New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks. Izzy was impressed and probably thinking in the back of his head that if things don't go well with me, he would definitely call Duff because he wanted to create exactly what Izzy had in mind.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


It has also been said that the band found Duff by placing an ad in a local magazine [Kerrang! March 1989], although this is more likely the ad Slash and Steven placed to recruit a new bass player for their band, Road Crew earlier [for more information Road Crew, see later chapter].

Tracii would remember Izzy suggesting that Duff should replace Ole:

Duff was in some weird Top 40 band, but Izzy was like, 'This guy's got short hair, but he is into New York Dolls and stuff like that.' He had a Johnny Thunders T-shirt on, and we were like, 'This guy's perfect.'
The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005

And then I started playing with Axl, Izzy and a couple of other guys, called Guns N’ Roses.

Ole was much more metal. And L.A. Guns was much more metal. But then once the change came around with Hollywood Rose there was a little more glam involved. And Ole didn’t like wearing makeup and that kind of stuff. So then we replaced Ole with Duff, who had come down from Seattle and knew Izzy.

When Izzy was living with his girlfriend, Desi, I think it was on North Orange near Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Duff lived across the street from him. And one day Izzy called me up and he goes, “Hey, man, I’m friends with this guy, he plays with the Michael McMahon band. They play Top 40.” And I’m like, “Top 40?” He goes, “Yeah, but this guy can play anything.”



LOOKING BACK AT HAVING JOINED THE BAND

Talking about joining Guns N' Roses and indicating things weren't good in the beginning:

After [Road Crew] I got together with Axl and Izzy; they had a band and they said, can you come and play bass for us? It was already called Guns N’ Roses, but there was another guy on guitar called Tracii [Guns] and a different drummer [Rob Gardener], and it was a real iffy band. Like, I would hardly show up for rehearsal, and that is not like me. I am always the first guy to show up at rehearsal, the first guy to do everything like that.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

Axl was great. Izzy was cool. The other two guys [Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner] were good. But there was just something missing in that band at that point. I’d been in a lot of bands, I knew it.


Despite Duff's condescending tone in the quote above from 1990, probably when he wanted the media to focus on the current incarnation of the band, in 2021 he was more gracious towards Tracii and Gardner:

Rob was a good drummer. And Tracii was quite a guitar player. He was a shredder. And we played a couple shows at places like the Dancing Waters.



EPILOGUE: WHAT HAPPENED TO OLE

Raz Cue would mention that he and Ole went to one of the show in 1987 when Guns N' Roses was opening for The Cult:

So, okay, cuz Ole told me... like he didn't say anything that night when I told him that he was out of the band, I got a new bass player, like, he just was like, "Oh, whatever." And then when me and him went to see The Cult - Guns N' Roses opening for The Cult after Appetite for Destruction came out - and on the way home me and Oe drank like 20 Heineken, or whatever, I might not have been operating a motor vehicle, Ole told me he's like like bummed out on the way home, he's like, "Why am I not in that band? I should be getting my dick sucked in like 20 different languages right now." And then I was like, "Dude, you made your choice at the time, don't regret, on March 4," and he's like, "I didn't choose to not be in that band."


Sadly, Ole had tried to put together a band with Steven and Slash before they joined Guns N' Roses:

But then, so what happened, what [Ole] said when I told him he wasn't in GN'R anymore and he went to pick up his gear at the studio, Slash and Steven were over there jamming because Slash was in a band with the bass player Willie Basse who owned the studio where GN'R rehearsed, so Ole went to pick up his gear, Slash and Steven are there, so he starts jamming with them, so they're thinking they just going to get a singer and start a band, so Ole actually lost out twice. He's in GN'R and then he's forming a band with Slash and Steven and they end up going into GN'R. [...] it bummed him out, he was a sad man at the end of all that.


Tragically, Ole died in 1991 from drowning in Copenhagen, Denmark. He had previously survived a suicide attempt in Los Angeles [TV2 Underholdning [Denmark], April 8, 2016].

Over time, he battled depression. Eventually, he drowned in a body of water in Denmark in the early '90s. I really loved that guy - very serious guy, had a great sense of humor. He helped me with a lot of things. He was about 10 years older than me. Good guy.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:06 am

MARCH 23, 24, 1985
DUFF'S FIRST REHEARSAL AND THE BAND DOES ITS FIRST RADIO INTERVIEW

MARCH 23, 1985: THE FIRST REHEARSAL WITH DUFF

Duff would later discuss meeting Izzy and how that resulted in him joining in on a band's rehearsal in Willie Basse's Wilpower Studios [GN'R Central March 2018]:

Then I met Izzy and he moved in across the street. I lived in this real bad neighborhood in Hollywood. […] So with Izzy, we see each other walking down the street, and I think he saw me carrying a bass and he goes, "Me and a buddy of mine (Axl) just got a band together. Do you wanna play bass?" I said, "Sure." I'll try anything once. So I went out there, and there was a drummer and this other guitar player.

And within, you know, the first couple weeks [after coming to Los Angeles] we moved into this apartment, Izzy moved across the street. So there's this guy, who does look like me. You know, and he's like, “Hey man” – you know, I was coming out, “Hey.” He said, “Hey, my name is Izzy. You’re playing in a band?” I said, “Well, not yet, man, not yet. I just moved here” and I told him my story. He was like, “Yeah, man, I’ve been out here from Indiana for about a year-and- a-half. I’m looking to do something new, and this guy from Indiana came out with me, the singer, and we want to form a band.” And so that was the first Guns N’ Roses, and it was Izzy and Axl, Tracii Guns, and this drummer kid, Rob Gardner.

[Izzy] he wasn't a great guitar player, but I liked that - both in him and in general. I wasn't a great guitar player, either. It was a punk thing. One night we were talking after a rehearsal, Izzy mentioned a band called Naughty Women. It rang a bell. "I know that band," I said, trying to place the name. "I think I played a gig with them once. wait, wait, wait. Were they...cross-dressers?" "Yep," Izzy said. He paused. "I was the drummer," he said. Cool, I thought., this guy really was a veteran of the punk-rock club scene. He was the real deal.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58-59

I had an apartment behind the Chinese Theatre that was, like, two hundred bucks a month. Super cheap. It was a crime-ridden little street. There was an alley behind it where drugs were sold. I knew none of this, but it didn’t matter. I was nineteen. And Izzy moved in across the street. Izzy wasn’t one of those long-hair guys I saw on the posters with the outfits, you know? And to be honest with you, neither was Slash or Steven. But one day I saw this Johnny Thunders–looking guy at the phone booth across the street and we started talking and he told me about this band he was putting together with his friend from Indiana, Axl. And I knew who that was. I’m like, “I’ve seen that guy!”

I got an apartment, and Izzy moved in across the street. I saw him at a phone booth, this Johnny Thunders-looking dude, and I thought: “Okay, we got something in common.” So we get talking, and I can tell he’s high, but at this moment I’m used to it, like, okay. He said he’s starting this band with his friend Axl. I said: “I just saw that guy fucking play. He’s your friend?” He said: “Yeah. We grew up together in Indiana.”


And rehearsing for the first time with Axl, Izzy, Tracii and Rob:

But [we got together] at this rehearsal place and he got on a mic to sort of check the P.A. and he had two voices coming out. It was kind of a low undertone and this really high, strong voice. And he was serious. He moved from Indiana, Izzy moved from Indiana, I moved from Seattle. We weren't here to jam. We weren't here to be in a high school band. We wanted to start something and mean it.

When I showed up at my first GN'R rehearsal in late March, 1985, Axl and I said hi to each other and started joking around about this and that. I liked him right away. Whoever was running the sound then asked Axl to test out the microphone. Axl let out one of his screams, and it was like nothing I had ever heard. There was two voices coming out at once! There's a name for that in musicology, but all I knew in that instant was that this dude was different and powerful and fucking serious. He hadn't yet entirely harnessed his voice - he was more unique than great at that point - but it was clear he hadn't moved out to Hollywood from Indiana for the weather. He was there to stake a claim and show the whole fucking world what he had.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 58


And specifically his impression of Axl:

First time I ever saw him. Like, "Who the fuck is this guy?" You know, he's just gnarlier than the most punk rock guy. It's all real, gnarlier than the most metal guy. And it's all real. It's not a put on. It's like, when I first met him in what? '84, '85, whatever. Like, "Holy, he's more intense than Henry Rollins." And it was all real. I really dug that.


This version of how Duff met Izzy and ended up in Guns N' Roses is also confirmed by Raz Cue [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 199].

Cue would also put the date of Duff's first rehearsal with the band to be the same as the KPFK interview:

I remember exactly what happened. There was a rehearsal and it was like, "Okay," you know, with Ole, and then the word was like, "In a couple of days we're gonna have another rehearsal." The next day Izzy says, "Hey, we got this radio interview set up, this radio interview, and we need to have a rehearsal tonight. So get everybody together." Ole had a new girlfriend, nobody could get ahold of him. So they weren't able to record. They were going to record with Ole, they just wanted to throw a rehearsal together and get Ole to do that tape for KPFK. Then Izzy said, you know, "If Ole doesn't want to be in this band then I know a guy," and then the next night he just brought Duff down and then they recorded that night during rehearsal, like 9-10 o'clock at night, and then went on the air and did the interview at like 2:00 in the morning or something like that at KPFK.


If Cue's recollections are correct, this would mean that Duff joined the band on March 23 with the rehearsal taking place in the evening, and that the radio interview happened just a few hours later, at about 2am in the morning of March 24 (because the date of the interview is known). They would also immediately record version sof their songs to be played in the interview.

Marc Canter would say they played one show with Ole Beich before he left, but this is likely not true:

And they used the bass player, Ole Beich from L.A. Guns, and the drummer Rob Gardner. And it was Axl and Izzy from, you know, Hollywood Rose. And they played one gig, their bass player quit and then they hired Duff, Duff lived right, you know, like across from them near the Coconut Teazer.




Duff and Tracii. [Unknown image copyright]



Traciii would recollect meeting Duff for the first time at this rehearsal:

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Duff. We pull up to our rehearsal space in the Valley at this guy Willie Basse’s place. It was, like, nine in the morning, and Duff was sitting on the hood of a car drinking a Foster’s Lager. I’d never seen anybody, not even my dad, drink a beer at nine in the morning. But he looked really cool, and when he plugged in and started playing he was legit, man. He could play anything from “YYZ” by Rush to “Richie Dagger’s Crime” by the Germs. And that was a really good rehearsal because he had learned all our stuff. Izzy had shown him everything.


And Tracii would talk about working with Izzy:

Well, he was the silent controller, and I was the vocal one. You know, it was like he'd say: Trace -- you know, I got this idea. You know, what do you think about this? And, you know, blah blah blah. And I'd go: Well, you know, that's all right. But if we do this, it might make it a little harder, or a little cooler.



MARCH 24, 1985: THE BAND'S FIRST RADIO INTERVIEW

In mid-to-late March the band did their very first radio interview with KFPK FM Los Angeles. This interview came just hours after the band has been in Willie Basse's studio recording early versions of the songs Think About You, Don't Cry and Anything Goes. During Anything Goes, Axl can be heard introducing Duff as a new guy. The band members also say they are going to release a picture disc EP with these songs as well as Heartbreak Hotel, although this EP was probably never released. Tracii's mother recorded the interview and handed a copy to Cue [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 200].

Cue talking about how the interview happened:

Izzy set it up. Izzy, when L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses got together, Izzy was kind of like the big star of our town because he was in a band called London. It was kind of like a big draw and everything like. So L.A. Guns were like wannabes at the time. L.A. Guns had a draw but London was established. And Izzy was part of London and then people liked Izzy and then he just had the whole Melrose connection. So I think, like, if memory serves correct, that lady that was the DJ in that interview, she had some kind of ties to the Vinyl Fetish record store. Izzy knew her from down there or maybe they knew her and they said, "Hey Izzy, you could get your band on here."


Duff, who had been part of the rehearsal just hours before the interview took place and where they recorded the songs that was played during the interview, was absent from the interview because he had to get up early the next day for his job:

[Duff] just did the rehearsal and then he went home and he had a nine to five or so. He went home and went to bed and went to work the next day.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:06 am

MARCH 26, 1985, THE TROUBADOUR
GUNS N' ROSES PLAYS ITS FIRST CONCERT

[...] the Troubadour is pretty much their home club. That was where it all went down.

____________________________

The first Guns N' Roses show was held on the legendary West Hollywood concert venue The Troubadour on March 26, 1985, or Doug Weston's Troubadour as it was named back then. In 2017, Duff would look back at the Troubadour and the position it had in Hollywood:

You go to the Troubadour now and you look at the size of, it's like, "Well, what's the big deal?" It's like 220 people. But [in the mid 80s] it was a big thing. [...] from the 70s, from Elton John going there and and all those kind of.... There was a lot of bands that broke at the Troubadour, artists that broke, and so there was some sort of that thing. It was still "Doug Weston's Troubadour."


This was the show that had originally been intended as an LA Guns show but had fallen apart when the singer Mike Jagozs left or was fired from the band [see previous chapter].



Doug Weston's Troubadour.



Although The Troubadour has maintained its reputation as a legendary Hollywood bar and concert scene even to this day, it wasn't necessarily very difficult to get shows there back in the 80s, as Duff explains below, but it was difficult to get shows at the coveted nights of Fridays and Saturdays when more people were out and about:  

There was a lot of politics with the Troubadour. There was an older woman that ran the Troubadour and she would ban you. This woman was not somebody you would necessarily fuck with. […] [At] the Troubadour […] you could always manage to get a spot -- maybe not a weekend night, but a Monday or Tuesday. At the Troubadour, we had to pay for lights and sound, which was a racket.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Advertisement ad in L.A. Weekly for Guns N' Roses very first show on March 26, 1985, describing its recent founding:



Ad in L.A. Weekly, March 22, 1985




Flyer for the show



The band made a flyer that explained the foundation of the band: "LA Guns, Hollywood Rose presents the band Guns 'N' Roses". The flyer had been made before Ole had left the band and still featured his name and image. The lineup of the band was thus Axl, Izzy, Tracii, Rob and the "new guy" Duff.

Yeah, you know, you make flyers in a couple weeks out and then, you know, things change. And then the guy that plays the show isn't the guy on the flyer.


It is assumed the setlist consisted of songs from Hollywood Rose as well as more recent songs, including 'Anything Goes', 'Think About You', and 'Don't Cry', which would all later be officially released, as well as covers including 'Heartbreak Hotel'. These songs had also recently been recorded for the band's first demo tape [see previous chapter].

Tracii would suggest the band had sold about 80 tickets for the first show while Raz Cue would suggest 150, which was pretty good for a weeknight at the Troubadour, and the audience likely consisted of many friends of the band who were eager to hear what this new band would sound like:

You know, I think the first show we actually sold like 80 tickets, you know -- which was like really big, you know, back then. You know, to be able to pull 80 people at The Troubadour […]


Cue would reminisce over the show and mention that the marquee at The Troubadour still listed the band as "L.A. Guns":

We all met up at the Troubadour around three in the afternoon for a first-ever Guns N' Roses' sound check, but the marquee said "L.A. Guns." A weeknight meant tables and chairs were set up in the showroom. Robbie and the crew had most of the gear set up by the time the rest of the band began straggling in, but I can't remember if I smoked pot with the crew.

One of the cool things about a band's debut show, whether they never play another gig or blow up hotter than Nagasaki, is that first crowd is loaded with friends there to support their friend(s). Before the show, Izzy, Axl, Duff, Tracii, and Robbie spent varying amounts of time in the showroom, having cocktails while chatting and personally thanking folks for coming. The guys were likely as excited to hit the stage, or possibly even more, than the crowd there was to discover what Guns N' Roses were all about. I for one was super excited, because I knew those folks were in for a treat. About an hour prior to their set, G N' R departed for the dressing room to read scripture while enjoying some tasty milk and cookies. Wait, that's Stryper. I have no idea what they did, because there were stairs between me and the Troub's dressing rooms.

Most weeknights local bands typically played to a few haggard chicks, their crew, and tables. But the show had a decent-sized crowd, not huge, but slightly larger than the L.A. Guns' gig a few months earlier. A hundred fifty fans, give or take. There were several folks who I recognized as L.A. Guns regulars, a bunch of teeny boppers whose two drink tickets were mostly used for soft drinks. But there were also scores of older folks, more punk-looking and often lined up three deep at the showroom bar. Then when their beloved liquor got served, they stuffed tip jars in hopes Ms. Barkeep would keep hooking them up.

Then it all began. The showroom light dimmed. An array of colored lights cut through a nicotine haze to paint the stage in hot hues. From stage left, the guys descended the stairway onto the stage. Robbie got busy fine-tuning his drums' positions as Izzy, Duff, and Tracii plugged in, tuned up, switched their amps off of standby, twisted some knobs, and then gestured to one another. Good to go.

The house music faded away as the voice of God announced the band from on high. Izzy stuck his smoke near the head of his ax and motioned to count it out. Without a hint of hesitation, Robbie raised drum sticks high above his head and "Click-click-click-click." One, two, three, four, the band threw a sonic punch into the crowds' face as Axl, decked out in chaps and g-string, bounded down the stairs to burst onto that stage as if shot from a howitzer. Having only been unleashed before a crowd once in the previous five months, Axl set his pent-up dervish free with a spontaneous and fresh kinetic overload that saw him trying his damndest to stomp a hole through the Troubadour's stage straight to China.

The guys' image was more glam than later images, like the 70s glam of Aerosmith, T-Rex, Sweet, or Bowie. And not like their contemporary scene's spandex-clad trannys playing loosely inspired Val Halen or Crüe. Axl didn't offer much commentary between tunes. The band merely delivered a few blistering songs in a row, then, after a short pause to allow folks to wipe the blood from their ears, he'd let the audience know what was next. When G N' R were ready to play "Nice Boys," he dedicated it to Poison with the same mocking disdain as during L.A. Guns gigs. Although Poison was pulling huge crowds into the clubs, Axl routinely made it crystal clear he didn't like Poison or consider what they played rock 'n' roll.

Over the next five years, I saw G N' R perform or rehearse at least a hundred times, and probably far more than that. Combine all those gigs with my love for booze, pot, and various other mind-altering cash killers, and I would be guessing about what else was on that night's set list. It's safe to say, "Jumpin' Jack Flash," Heartbreak Hotel," "Shadow of Your Love," and for sure "Think About You," "Move to the City," "Don't Cry" and "Anything Goes."

The last time I had seen Izzy and Axl together on stage was in Rose, a super frenetic band that constantly hopped and bopped while bouncing off of one another. Axl was still the incredibly dynamic bundle of energy, drawing lots of attention up front, but Izzy settled into a far more laid-back groove, absorbed in song while seemingly as one with the timbre, rhythm, and melody. It was my first time watching Duff on stage, but I really dug his bass tone, smooth chops, and in-your-face energy. Tracii was Tracii, a very entertaining showman and talented shredder with a great guitar sound. Robbie remained solid and right on time, neither boring nor flashy [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 200-202].
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 200-202


In 2018, Rob would talk about the band's first show:

Yeah, I mean, you know, to me when you're in the band rolling in that whole scene, it's just - like I said before, I mean, the energy, you know, the reaction of the audience, was awesome. And, you know, there's definitely something going on, you know. You could feel it, you could feel the buzz going on, you know. So yeah, it was exciting, definitely.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:07 am

APRIL 1985
THE NEXT SHOWS

In April 1985 the fledgling Guns N' Roses played four shows around Los Angeles: April 11 at Radio City in Anaheim, April 24 at the Troubadour in Hollywood, April 25 at the Dancing Waters Club in San Pedro, and April 27 at the Timbers Ballroom in Glendora.

Raz Cue would mention how he had booked most of the band's early shows:

I didn't book Dancing Waters. That was a Rose connection that got them in there. But the Radio City, and then with the Timbers Ballroom and the Troubadour. Yeah, I booked all those shows, like the first couple of times they played there.


And explain why the band played shows away from Hollywood:

It's just, you know, we just liked to play, the guys liked to play wherever, you know, and, like, go party and play and you would get paid. You can't just... the Troubadour will book you like every month and a half month and a week or whatever, it's not enough shows, you know. So you do an Orange County, you know, you do like, and even Glendora, Fenders Ballroom that's kind of [?]. That's a bump up, Glendora, you know. You know, you just kind of did the little circuit, you know. That was LA Guns' style. But Guns N' Roses, man, they started playing like they all had connections. They started playing like, I think four or five shows, six shows a month, and then. man, they just started hitting it like playing two or three a week if they could get a gig.



Flyer
April 11, 1985
Flyer
April 24, 1985


Notice in the flyers shown above for the April 11 and the April 24 shows that Rob's face is covered with a question mark for the latter of these shows. Cue would suggest this was due to some problem in the band at the time and would suggest this could explain Rob later leaving the band:

I hadn't seen that flyer until like last year. I saw it and I kind of remember like a semblance of a story. But I don't know. Yeah man, I don't want to say because it's kind of cheesy if what happened is what I think happened. But I don't know, man. I don't know for sure. I don't want to, like, name any names or any things. So I kind of that flyer jogged my memory and I was like, "Oh!" But yeah, I can't. I can't. Sometimes people have issues, you know, with each other. I mean, obviously, I guess Robbie had issues because he wasn't in the band later, right, so maybe there was a precursor that might have led to why maybe Robbie decided later, like at the point where they wanted him to stay, "Okay, well you guys put a fucking flyer out with a question mark over the drummer," and like, "How loyal are you?"


The photos in the flyer were taken by Chris Amouroux:

[...] that's a girl, Chris Amouroux. [...] She was like one of those people, like, she was really helpful and she would take photos and help people make flyers and everything like that, sewed some clothes for people, like this designer type person who is creative, helpful music lover. She did a lot of LA Guns stuff later when they reformed with Paul Black stuff. There's a lot of photos that she did with that them so I'm assuming maybe she was a Tracii person or whatever, and then once Tracy was gone, she didn't do any more GN'R stuff. I don't know. But she was around so everybody knew her. She's one of those.


Talking about the attendance for the shows and how they kept on playing shows:

You know, I think the first show we actually sold like 80 tickets, you know -- which was like really big, you know, back then. You know, to be able to pull 80 people at The Troubadour -- or like, you know, this place called Radio City in Orange County, or any of those places -- was like really good. And then, you know, we just kept doing the thing -- you know, doing shows here and there.
Spin Magazine, 1999




1331 South Pacific Avenue; formerly Dancing Waters



Duff would remember the April 24 gig at the Troubadour and seem to have a somewhat different recollection than Tracii on the sizes of the audiences:

There were three people there, and one of them was our friend, and one was one of our girlfriends, and the other was the girlfriend’s friend. But we believed in ourselves from the first chord we played together.
Guitars, groupies and lots and lots of hair, The New York Times, July 2012


And Alan Santalesa, former band mate with Izzy in Shire, would say he went to one of the first shows and that there were very few people in attendance:

I saw [Axl] at their first show. No, I don't know if it was the first or the second show. They were saying, "We're introducing this band," of their merged two bands, L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses, and it's called Guns N' Roses, so it seemed like a side project. I went down to the Troubadour. It was a Tuesday or Thursday night, there was nobody there and I'm pretty sure on the base was Duff McKagan already.


Santalesa is not sure if it was the first show or not that he caught, but most likely it was the April 24 show since all accounts suggests there were very few people at this show while there was a decent turnout on their very first show on March 26. This also fits with Raz Cue's recollection that the very first show had drawn a larger audience because it consisted of supportive friends and people who wanted to hear what the new band would sound like.

Santalesa would also describe the show:

I could tell they were involved, but they didn't click. Axl was just standing there kind of. And he hadn't yet developed that hip swaying dance. Whatever you wanna call it, he was standing... I remember the song, Think About You, that was really good, that he did Don't Cry and sang it really low. His voice was good, low, and they did Jumping Jack Flash. They ended with that. And I thought, you know, it got better, you know? It was '85, so you have to consider, rock was kind of in a slump then, heavy metal days were over and the glam hadn't yet started. '85 was a gray area. So you were like, "Yeah, we're playing music because we love it, but ain't nothing going to happen," you know, because you know, shit just doesn't happen, you know? And I could not yet foresee, you know, I mean, a lot of people in LA say, "Oh yeah, I loved these guy from the beginning. I was there for them in the beginning." Can you believe that? But that's typical LA bs, because if you were into them, "Why didn't you go to the shows?" "And why don't you," if you're a record label, "Why didn't you sign them then?" Because it was raw and frankly it was kind of like Shire, we would bring... you know, we played a show and our girlfriends would be there and a couple of friends from other bands, 10-15 people, and that was that, you know, and that's all it was.


As can be seen from the advertisement in L.A. Weekly below, Guns N' Roses were playing in the middle of the bill (and the magazine had still not settled on a way -- or the correct way -- to write "Guns N' Roses"):



Ad in L.A. Weekly, April 19, 1985



In 2018, Rob would look back at the first shows the band did fondly:

I just remembered the fire, like the energy of that band. I just remember coming offstage going, "Wow, that was...." you know, people were digging it, man. And there were like, you know, little mosh pits forming, you know, like yeah, like, mini mosh pits, I was like, "Whoa!" You could just tell something was buzzing here, something's going on, you know.


And talk about the setlists:

There's a couple of cover songs and, yeah, some Hollywood Rose stuff and some LA Guns stuff and then and then some original stuff as well, that newer stuff, you know, like Think About You and stuff that was just coming out, yeah.

You know, most of that stuff, you know, like with that Roots of Guns N' Roses record. And then... Was Move To The City on that record? I don't think... So Move To The City added to that and then Don't Cry. Back Off Bitch is on the Roots one.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:07 am

04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Newbor11
SONG: THINK ABOUT YOU
Album:
Appetite for Destruction, 1987, track no. 8.



Written by:
Lyrics: Izzy Stradlin.
Music: Izzy Stradlin.

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

Live performances:
One of the earliest Guns N' Roses songs. It might date back to Hollywood Rose, but more likely it was written by Izzy after he left Hollywood Rose (June 1984) and before the first Guns N' Roses show (March 26, 1985). Quite likely, it was debuted at one of the earliest Guns N' Roses shows, but unfortunately the setlists for these shows are missing. We know it was played on the first show with the classical lineup, on June 6, 1985. It was played heavily during 1985 and 1986 but only played twice in 1987 and not played in 1988 to 1993. It again found its way to the set-lists in 2001 and 2006, when Izzy joined the band again, but has not been played since 2006. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {THINKABOUTYOUSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

Say baby you been lookin' real good
I remember when we met
Funny how I never felt so good
It's a feelin' that I know
I know I'll never forget

Ooh it was the best time I can remember
Ooh and the love we shared
Is lovin' that'll last forever
     
There wasn't much in this heart of mine
There was a little left and babe you found it
It's funny how I never felt so high
It's a feelin' that I know
I know I'll never forget

Ooh it was the best time I can remember
Ooh and the love we shared
Is lovin' that'll last forever
     
I think about you
Honey all the time my heart says yes
I think about you
Deep inside I love you best
I think about you
You know you're the one I want
I think about you
Darlin' you're the only one
I think about you
     
Somethin' changed in this heart of mine
An' I'm so glad that ya showed me
Funny how I never felt so high
It's a feelin' that I know
I know I'll never forget

Ooh it was the best time I can remember
Ooh and the love we shared
Is lovin' that'll last forever

I think about you
Honey all the time my heart says yes
I think about you
Deep inside I love you best
I think about you
You know you're the one I want
I think about you
Darlin' you're the only one
I think about you


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

Writing the song:

'Think About You' was cut and dry when I brought it in. Even if you write a song completely, when you bring it in it always ends up a little different when you record it.
Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988

Of the songs on the record, "Think About You" lzzy wrote before Guns N' Roses was even a nightmare.
Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988

[...] Izzy wrote the words to a song called Think About You [...].

Izzy wrote that one. There's a few parts of the lyrics that I put in there, and maybe gave it a little more flow, and worded it my way since I was the one singing it. Izzy does a lot of lyric writing. (...) I think it's kinda one of the ones that's a bit hidden. That's also with the way it was recorded. It's also very Hanoi Rocks-influenced, and the production on "Think About You" and the way it's done, is kinda like a tribute to all those old Hanoi Rocks records. It's something that Izzy was really into, and then he got me into it. It's kinda like a Hanoi Rocks song the way we looked at that.
Rock Scene, June 1988

It's a fast lovesong about drugs, sex, Hollywood and money.
Hit Parader, March 1988

Izzy wrote nine-tenths [of the lyrics] of 'Mr. Brownstone' and nine-tenths of 'Think About You.' I changed a couple of words here and there that fit better.
Screamer, August 1988

Izzy and Axl already had some songs [when I entered 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

[Nicky Beat] had a rehearsal studio in his house in Silverlake where we'd go [after the Hell tour], set up our gear, and jam, and that is where the whole band really came together. Izzy had something called 'Think About You' that we liked, and we revisited 'Don't Cry,' which was the first song I'd ever worked on with Izzy.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York

Yeah, so as far as the writing process, you know, I never really contributed anything lyrically - I've never been a poet of any type or any kind of lyricist - but as far as arranging goes, I go, "Hey," you know, "how about that," "let's try this," or, "let's build it this way," or, "do it this way," so the arrangement process - yeah, I had taken a part in. As far as the actual writing, you know, I fumbled around with guitar but, you know, not enough to really, you know, "Hey, let's try this," you know, "that B chord," or, "a D chord," or anything like that. But the arrangement process - yes. [...] I remember writing Think About You, I remember that. I clearly remember that at Willie studio, I remember, like, working on that, "Okay, now we're gonna do this," and, you know, I just remember that particular song.


Recording the song:

The only song [the recording] took a long time was, uh [forgetting the song title] that, "dah-dah-dada-dah-bam-bam" [humming the drum intro]. The simplest song of the record! The first take we did I thought was great, but they didn't like it. We played it, like, 50 times! [Duff protesting] It was like 8 times!
Interview with Steven and Duff, December 1988


Talking about the song:

I always had a hard time with 'Think About You.' It was one of the songs that Izzy wrote that was very indicative of the sort of Hanoi Rocks thing that was going on at the time. I never really got off on playing it all that much.
Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007

That's a song that Izzy had in its entirety when we first started. I was never a big fan of it because it was just too lightweight. But at the same time, it was one of those songs where Izzy had written the lyrics, so it was sort of like that Aerosmith song "Combination" [on Rocks], which Joe Perry wrote. It was Izzy's babbling "Combination" song. I enjoyed recording it, though, I managed to get some ideas down and could walk away feeling satisfied with the way the song sounded.
Guitar Edge Magazine, March 2007

Think About You is a lot of fun, real punk rock and more of the kind of spirit that I grew up with.


Talking about his favorite song on Appetite:

You know, I’ve never told anyone this, but my personal favorite is “Think About You,” and I fought to have that one to be the second track on side two. I also pushed to have the acoustic guitars mixed at the center, really loud, jangling in the foreground. To me, that was their greatest post punk-rock Rolling Stones moment. I grew up a Stones fan in the world of Beatles versus Stones.



04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Newbor11


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:07 am

DUFF CONSIDERS QUITTING

As mentioned before, Duff was not happy with the band already from the beginning:

After [Road Crew] I got together with Axl and Izzy; they had a band and they said, can you come and play bass for us? It was already called Guns N’ Roses, but there was another guy on guitar called Tracii [Guns] and a different drummer [Rob Gardener], and it was a real iffy band. Like, I would hardly show up for rehearsal, and that is not like me. I am always the first guy to show up at rehearsal, the first guy to do everything like that.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990


And things were not working out for Duff as the band continued playing its first shows:

After we'd played the Dancing Waters club and another gig so forgettable I can't remember the name of the venue, any excitement I had for the band dwindled. I missed the next rehearsal.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59




Duff and Izzy
Unknown date



In early 1990 he would recall that his initial thoughts on Axl was, "He is good, but I don't know" but that this might have been due to Tracii and Rob being in the band [Kerrang! March 1990].

Marc Canter would seem to suggest Duff's real problem was with Tracii:

And right about then, Duff was kind of feeling, "I might have to head out of here, I don't know, Tracii, it's just not...It's good, but it's not exactly what I want, but I'll stick around until I find something better."


With Duff starting to lose interest and skipping a rehearsal, Axl called him up and insisted that he had to be part of the band and to give it another chance [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59].

Interestingly, in 2017, Chris Weber, former member of AXL/Rose/Hollywood Rose, would say he had played bass with the Appetite lineup at some point:

I don’t know if Duff was in the band and he just wasn’t there at the time or if they didn’t have somebody yet.


If this is true, it could simply mean that Duff missed a couple of rehearsals, but it could also mean that Duff's initial reservations with the band didn't end when Tracii left.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:07 am

MAY 1985
SLASH JOINS "BLACK SHEEP" WITH WILLIE BASSE

In May 1985, Slash joined the band Black Sheep, fronted by Willie Basse [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], the owner of Wilpower Studios where Guns N' Roses was rehearsing. Basse would remember hiring Slash:

Tracii Guns and C. C. DeVille auditioned for Black Sheep and I said no. I hired Slash. Black Sheep was a musician's band and Slash, even at his young age, could hang with any of the neoclassical guys. He's a serious technical guitar player. We were like Black Sabbath meets Bon Jovi meets Purple neo-classical rock.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Slash would also mention joining a "black funk band" in an interview in 1989:

A real odd choice but definitely a good move. We didn't play many gigs—I think we played just once—but we jammed all the time. It really helped getting my feel together, my sense of rhythm and overall approach. I'm really glad I did it. I feel it helped my attitude for when Guns N' Roses really happened.


It is unknown what band this was, but it could have been Black Sheep.



Slash around his Black Sheep days
Unknown date




But Slash would not long last in Black Sheep, because already at their gig on May 31, 1985, would Axl, Izzy and Steven show up to convince Slash to join their new band, Guns N' Roses, and a few days later he did [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Looking back and summarizing his pre-GN'R bands:

I played with a band called Black Sheep once. I had a band called Roadcrew, a couple of versions of a band called Roadcrew. Me and Axl had a band called Hollywood Rose, hence the name Guns N’ Roses and L.A. Guns - at the time got together and made Guns N’ Roses. Let’s see, what else was there... I had a band that had a really strange name, called Tidus Sloan, which is, like, T-I-D-U-S S-L-O-A-N. I just thought it looked neat. And, as far as that – there was a lot of them, I can’t really remember. Um, who else did I play with? I don’t know really. Those were, like, the actual working bands. I haven’t been in that many bands.

After the Poison thing, I joined this band called Black Sheep. Before me they had been playing with Paul Gilbert, which is pretty funny given how different we are as guitarists. And it was at a Black Sheep gig that I started talking to Axl. He told me he had had a falling out with [then Guns N’ Roses guitarist] Tracii Guns and asked if I wanted to join the band.



EPILOGUE: 2018, DEATH OF BASSE AND SLASH'S REMEMBRANCE

In October 2018, Willie Basse passed away at an age of 62 from cancer [Blabbermouth, December 17, 2018]. Slash would honor Basse's memory by performing the songs Come Together and Whole Lotta Love at "Celebrating Willie Basse: A Night of Music & Stories" on December 14, 2018, at Boardner's in Hollywood [Blabbermouth, December 17, 2018]. Slash would also comment on the death on Instagram shortly after Basse passed away:

RIP to my good friend #WillieBasse I/we will miss you buddy
Instagram, October 2018


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:07 am

MAY 11-13, 1985
RADIO CITY AND JOSHUA'S PARLOUR; TRACII AND ROB QUIT THE BAND

Tracii and Rob said, "We're not going to Seattle. Where are we gonna sleep?"

_______________________________
In May, the band played two shows, at Radio City (May 11, 1985) and at Joshua's Parlour (May 12, 1985). The band probably played no other shows in May 1985 and it is likely that this is due to the band starting to fall apart with Tracii being fired from the band on May 13 [GN'R Central, March 2018]..

According to Raz, Tracii and Rob weren't as driven as Izzy, Axl and Duff:

Izzy, Axl, and Duff each had their own business instincts, ideas, and connections. But no one ever cared what a drummer has to say. And Tracii was still in baby-rock-star mode, more than content to have others worry about band stuff.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 204


It is also possible that Duff's qualms regarding the band [see previous chapter] resulted in less shows.


DUFF PLANS A TOUR UP NORTH, ROB AND TRACII DON'T WANT TO GO

Duff was eager to travel to his hometown of Seattle to play shows in the region that he was so familiar with from his previous bands and played a mini tour of the north West Coast. The resulting tour would later be referred to as the "Hell Tour" [for more information on this tour, see later chapter]. But Tracii and Rob were reluctant to do the trip. Tracii and Rob were from Los Angeles and Duff didn't see the same hunger in them to make it, compared to the rest of the band members who had moved to Los Angeles and would do anything to succeed [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 59].

Anyway, I planned a fuckin’ tour for us. Cos I'd played in punk rock groups all over the country, in punk rock clubs. So I booked us this tour - just up and down the west coast. But Rob and Tracii suddenly chickened out, like, three days before the thing was due to start. Like, “Oh, we don’t know if we wanna do it..." I was like, fuck you!
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

Rob and Tracii were skeptical about the idea [the Hell tour] from the start. I guess they weren't sure whether to take the leap of faith necessary to leave home with nothing but your bandmates and wits to depend on. And just a few weeks before we were to leave, they broke the news: they weren't up for a no-budget trip. Not knowing where we would sleep each night was too much for them. I assured them we'd find places to crash, and anyway, what did it matter - we would be on tour, a concept that to me was pure magic. It didn't matter. First Rob and then Tracii backed out.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 61

Izzy and Axl and I were just like, "Yeah, let's do it. Let's go on the road. Let's do this thing." Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner were more concerned with where they were going to stay or how we were going to get there. They got cold feet at the eleventh hour for doing a tour of the Northwest. Izzy, Axl and I just didn't care.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

They were saying, “We have these shows booked…” But we didn’t have a reliable source of transportation and I was like, “Ah, it’s kinda crazy to do it…” We had some junky old van, and I was worried it was gonna break down, which it did. They had to hitchhike back and everything. So I just made a decision that I didn’t wanna go, and I ended up leaving the band. And I think Tracii was right behind me.

Right around that time Duff had booked a tour in Seattle and Rob, the drummer and Tracii both quit because they didn’t wanna do the tour, they didn’t understand how they could do it or the living arrangements or something.  They didn’t see a clear, stable plan for the tour.  They both came from fairly stable homes and environments and just weren’t THAT committed to the concept so they just left but Axl and Izzy didn’t care, they were used to living on the streets or anywhere they could in order to make it.


Talking about informing the band about his decision:

I think I just generally let everyone know at rehearsal [at Wilpower Studios], you know, one night and it's like, "You know what, I'm not doing this anymore," kind of thing. I came to grab my drums or whatever and, yeah, yeah...


It is possible one of the reasons Duff wanted to do this trip, in addition to playing shows closer to his home and at clubs he had played before with his previous bands, was to get Rob and Tracii more involved in the band. A tour is a great way to either make or break a band. Duff could have thought about this is a lakmus test - now they had to commit or leave. As it happened, they quit.  

Marc Canter would describe the differences between Tracii and Rob and Axl, Duff and Izzy:

You know, these people, Rob and Tracii, came from homes in the neighborhood and Axl and Izzy had left their home to live on the streets or live in people's cars or do whatever they can to make it in rock'n'roll. So they were dead serious, and so was Duff. Tracii was serious about music, but not serious enough to do what it takes to make it.



WHO LEFT FIRST - ROB OR TRACII?

It is unclear who left first of Rob and Tracii. That Rob left the band before Tracii is supported by an article in Cream 1989 where Axl stated that Steven (drums) and Duff (bass) joined the band before Slash (guitar). In other words, that Rob (drums) was gone before Tracii (guitar).

Tracii would confirm that Rob left first in a later interview:



It is likely that Tracii would remember who left first of the two of them. That Rob left first is also supported by Steven [see quote below]. Still, Raz Cue and Slash would say Tracii left first [see quotes below].

Rob would ask Cue about this in 2018, and Cue would elaborate and suggest that the rest of the band just assumed Rob would quit after Tracii had quit:

Yeah, I think like Tracii, okay, I say Tracii got fired but he says different but whatever. So then like a couple days later, like, they said, "Hey," they just assumed you were gonna still be in the band or whatever, you know, and then I think you thought you were out, you and Tracii was gone, I was like there was a miscommunication, so like two days later you're like, "Wait, we're done, man."


Rob would comment on this:

[...] we were a team so I think whether I left first or whether he left first and then I followed him or he followed me or whatever... but then we never worked again after that, so that was kind of the weird thing. Like we just kind of threw all that shit up in the air and said, "Fuck," you know. You know, I went on to do something else and he went on to do, you know, to just put LA Guns back together. Yeah, at that point I think we were both just kind of frustrated with, you know, the situation and each other or whatever and just never just worked again together after that.



WHY ROB LEFT - PROBLEMS WITH BAND MATES?

In 2018, Rob would mention the feelings around abandoning LA Guns after having built up this band as one of the reasons he left Guns N' Roses:

Yeah, so, you know, I think for me - and I think I can speak for Tracii also a little bit, I mean, being the fact that he and I both left the band, obviously - but I think at that point in time - and I think Raz, too, I think he can relate to this, too - it's just that, you know, we had brought LA Guns up to such a point and really gained a, you know, notoriety on the Strip and we were headlining shows and things like that, and we had really built this thing up to this point with that name and that logo, thanks to Raz, you know, putting the money in and doing all the promoting and the phone calls and this and that, and booking shows, and what-have-you. It just got to a certain point and to have that change, like, just overnight was, you know, and this idea came about, with the Guns N' Roses thing, okay, Hollywood Rose, LA Guns, that was cool and everything but, you know, LA Guns is no more, really, you know what I mean? It's like, boom, that's going to go away and we're going to call it this now. So what happens to all that work that you did, you know, to build that name? You know what I'm saying? And then there's other egos coming in and personalities coming into play now and different, you know.... So, you know, it's a big change, it was a big change.


But as can be seen from Rob's last point in the quote above, "other personalities" were also an issue. This would be substantiated by Cue who would suggest that the reason Rob's face was replaced with a question mark on the flyer for the band April 24th show [see previous chapter], was due to some issue:

I hadn't seen that flyer until like last year. I saw it and I kind of remember like a semblance of a story. But I don't know. Yeah man, I don't want to say because it's kind of cheesy if what happened is what I think happened. But I don't know, man. I don't know for sure. I don't want to, like, name any names or any things. So I kind of that flyer jogged my memory and I was like, "Oh!" But yeah, I can't. I can't. Sometimes people have issues, you know, with each other. I mean, obviously, I guess Robbie had issues because he wasn't in the band later, right, so maybe there was a precursor that might have led to why maybe Robbie decided later, like at the point where they wanted him to stay, "Okay, well you guys put a fucking flyer out with a question mark over the drummer," and like, "How loyal are you?"


Expanding upon the point about leaving LA Guns for Guns N' Roses:

Yeah, I think I just had that whole faith, you know, if you will, like inside you, that, "LA Guns, man, this is it," you know, and you realize things are starting to take off, you know, with that whole LA Guns aura, you know, going on. And then to change it, you know, change the name, it was almost like starting at the bottom again, it's weird.


Tracii would claim Rob's girlfriend had given him an ultimatum:

And then Rob... Rob was a great drummer. And his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum when we were in Guns N' Roses: 'It's either the band or me.' So he left the band and then she left him. So that didn't work out very well, really.


In 2021, he would imply that he had had problems with one or more of his band mates:

There was a lot of stuff going on. We were young, hormones were flying, there was drugs and everything else. But I’m not going to go into a lot of specifics. I don’t feel I really need to. I’m not here to trash anyone.


Raz Cue, who was sort of managing the band at the time, would imply it was a much bigger hit to the band that Rob left than Tracii leaving, and also confirm that Rob had a problem with some of the guys in the band:

A day after Tracii got ousted, Robbie quit the band. We were all floored. No one had even contemplated Robbie abandoning the project. Izzy and Axl tried to change his mind. When that didn't bear fruit, they asked me to have a talk with Robbie and let him know they really wanted him in the band. At the very least, see if he'd stay until they found another drummer. When I called Robbie to see where his head was at and tell him he was missing a great opportunity, before I even got my whole pitch delivered, he gave me a dismissive "I'm not going to play with those guys." [...]

The guys were pissed at Robbie for leaving them hanging, so Izzy taught me an awesome trick, which I employed relentlessly over the next decade - a free ad got placed in the Recycler, something like: "Gay Drummer Available. Into Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, Pet Shop Boys, Haircut One Hundred...Call Robbie before 6 a.m.," and listed Robbie's number. Classic!
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 208-209

Rob Gardner couldn't cut it; he was scared to go. I called Steven. He came down and we had one day of rehearsal. It really was like a synergy. It was like we'd been playing together for years.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Cue would also claim that the band did not anticipate that Rob would leave:

But they thought that Robbie was gonna stay on drums. But then as soon as Slash came in, like they wanted Robbie to be on drums, they were leaving in like two days to go to Seattle. And so Robbie's like, "I'm not going up there." So Steven knew the songs and they just took him up there and then when they came back there was no talk about, like, trying to get Robbie back in the bank. They always kind of wanted Robbie to like stay even when Steven was like willing to do it, they wanted Robbie. But Robbie would, you know, with Tracii, they were a team.


Rob would look back at his time in the band [see chapter below] and suggest that he was grateful for not staying in the bad and becoming an addict, and also suggest that the drug use in the band was part of the reason he left:

I think in part. Because there obviously were a lot of drugs and a lot of stuff going around at that time and I think I kind of explained earlier, I think, you know, when we were talking about when Tracii and I had left the band and for those reasons I think that was part of it, was the different personalities that started coming into play, you know, from, you know, the transition from LA Guns to Guns N' Roses, I think that was part of it. And, you know, there's a lot of heavy stuff, you know, some people have more the skin for it, some do and some don't, you know, and I think... There is just a number of factors, you know, but that led up to it. Some of the stuff I'd rather not talk about, you know-



WHY TRACII LEFT - MUSICAL DISAGREEMENT WITH AXL OR "THE MICHELLE INCIDENT"?

In addition to Tracii and Rob not wanting to go on the tour to Seattle, Marc Canter would indicate there was also some disagreement about a song they were working on at the time:

So they got in an argument also about possibly a song they were working on. Maybe that [was] part of the argument and either Axl fired Tracii or Tracii quit, or both. Ok, that's basically it. "Fuck you, I quit," "No, fuck you, you're fired." One of those things.


Raz Cue would support that Axl and Tracii butted heads over musical differences, like they had done previously in LA Guns. Cue also claims that Tracii was fired before Rob:

Initially, only three of Tracii's tunes even made it into rehearsal, and at shows he was lucky if the guys even played one of them. Five shows in, and it was all Izzy and Axl's songs, plus some covers. Instead of taking it as a challenge, Tracii acted perpetually petulant. The morning after G N' R played the Timbers gig [April 27], Axl was in an extremely foul mood. More specifically, he was thoroughly pissed off at Tracii, who the night before reportedly remained out of sight behind his Marshall stacks the entire show, all the while playing way too loud and purposely fucking up songs.

Axl went on and on griping, and I began to get the impression he sought my okay to get rid of Tracii, so I said, "Fuck Tracii. Fire him if you want. [...]

Izzy and Axl agreed Tracii would get the boot from Guns N' Roses after their next show, the second week of May, giving them a month to find a replacement.[...]

The next afternoon, Tracii called me to tell me about Axl firing him from G N' R. Tracii didn't seem at all upset, mostly just talked shit about the guys.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 208-209

[In 1985] I just wanted to get away for a week or something, and I recall Axl or Izzy calling and leaving a message-"We got rehearsal this week." I just ignored it. I didn't hear anything for a couple of days and then finally the whip came down-"Slash is going to play guitar because you haven't come to rehearsal.

[Axl] just thought Tracii was... Like, Tracii was like, at the Timbers Ballroom show, Tracii was just, he said Tracii was just standing behind his Marshall amps the whole time and playing like way louder than everybody else, he wouldn't even like come out to the front of the stage and everything like that. And then he's like, he's gonna fire him, then he's like he waited till after that Joshua Parlor's show and then Slash is going to be in the band.


Tracii would say he quit the band due to having had an argument with Axl over the girl Michelle Young [more on Young in a later chapter] and from being annoyed by Axl's stage antics:

And then, all of a sudden, I noticed that Axl was like talking a lot in between songs. You know like we'd play, and then he'd talk to the crowd for like five minutes in between a couple of songs. And that kind of evolved to the point where me and Izzy, you know, really provided a lot of direction, and, you know trying to like keep this thing right, and just rock'n'roll, and just fun, you know? And he was like: No, the people need to -- you know, they like it, you know? So like: Okay -- whatever, you know? But it kept getting worse and worse and worse. And then he started hanging out with Michelle Young, And that's what that song "My Michelle"'s about, is about this girl. The two last shows that I did, we do sound check, and Axl shows up kinda late -- and he flips out. He's like: Tracii, motherfucker. You know, Michelle -- you know, Michelle Young's name isn't on the guest list. I'm like: Oh, well, I put it on there. And I did, you know? I was just like: What's this guy's trip? But he really, you know, fucked up the gig for me, 'cause I was like not into it. You know, I was like: Oh, this sucks. You know, this guy's all pissed off, and now he's dictating to the 150 people that are here, you know.
Spin Magazine, 1999

But I also think - which is one of the reasons I left Guns 'N Roses in the first place - once we started having this very minor success here in L.A., Izzy and I were running into problems with him. His extended speeches on stage, this newfound power . . . the power of his voice to communicate how he felt about situations on stage. At that time we were allotted an hour; you know, you go up there, you've got an hour to play your songs and then get the hell off the stage. The first show we did ten songs, a couple of shows we did nine songs, and then the last few shows I did, we were literally playing five or six songs and then letting Axl just stand there and talk, and tell everybody what he thought. Which is great, but for me personally, I wasn't playing music to support any cause, or any local clothes maker or whatever.
Classic Hard Rock Examiner, 2011

And then I lasted for about seven or eight months in that, and then Axl and I got into an extraordinary fight - and we had never argued ever in the past few years before. [Then] I just kind of went my own way. [...] That fight [with Axl] stemmed from a girl named Michelle Young [of 'My Michelle' fame] not being put on a guest list at three in the afternoon before even sound check, and we did two shows after that argument and then I left. It just wasn't fun anymore. I was probably 19 then and I thought Great band, and I love these guys, but they're not worth the headaches.' Even at that age I didn't want to deal with it.

Then Axl (Rose) was getting real... talking out of his ass on stage and I didn't like it. You know, we'd play a song for 5 minutes and he'd talk for 10 minutes. He's a great singer, but what it boils down to is that it just got too weird for me... and the band.

What happened was, Guns N’ Roses were playing the Dancing Waters in San Pedro. And Izzy had called me and said, “Hey, if you get down there before I do make sure you put Axl’s friend Michelle on the guest list.” “Yeah, whatever, cool.” So we get down there, and Izzy’s there already, and Axl actually got down there early, too. And he starts unloading on me and Izzy, “Why isn’t Michelle on the guest list?” He was just in a really bad mood and it kind of ruined the show for Izzy and I that night. But, you know, Izzy had a way of being very passive about those kinds of things. But I was just like, “This sucks. This is making me really unhappy.” Then a few days later we played the Timbers club in Glendora, and that was the first time Axl was late to a show, and it was just waiting around, waiting around, waiting around.

So between then and our next rehearsal, which was on a Thursday, I had a lot of time to think, and I don’t know, I just smelled trouble. I could see a very negative thing about to happen, and I didn’t want to be involved in whatever that feeling was. Then on Thursday night I blew off rehearsal and I get a call from Izzy. “Dude, where were you?” I’m like, “Oh man, you know, the brakes on my Volkswagen, I need to get them fixed…” Some bullshit excuse. Then, finally, after like three or four days, Izzy and Axl called and Axl was flipping the fuck out, like, “What are you doing? What’s your problem?” And I’m like, “Hey, you know … this. The way you’re talking to me right now. I’m not into this.”

So we’re going back and forth and finally he goes, “Well, I’m just gonna call Slash.” And I’m like, “That’s a great idea!” You know, it’ll be a perfect band. You guys can do what you wanna do and then you don’t have the other chef in the kitchen. So I go, “I’ll do my thing, don’t worry about me.” And they didn’t. And they went and sold like fifty million records or something!

I was 19 when I left and it was a very long time ago. At the time, Axl was kind of going through something because I had never seen him angry. I'd seen him get angry where someone confronts us and we're about to fight with somebody but between him and I we had a really great best friendship. [...] We were always together and did everything together. It got to the point where we had done these two shows over the weekend: one was at the Waters Club in San Pedro and one was at the Timbers Club in Glendora. [...] They were fine shows but Axl was really separate from the rest of the band. He kinda showed up when he wanted; didn't say anything; and was mad that at one of the shows a friend of ours wasn't on the guest list. [...] [Axl's temperament] didn't turn me against him or the band [previously] but it made it really not fun. It made it like, 'Man, what a drag. What a bummer.' The reality of what happened was that I was living with my girlfriend in Covina and we rehearsed in Hollywood. We were supposed to rehearse Thursdays so after that last gig at the Waters Club everybody said, 'I'll see you Thursday' and I'm like, 'Yeah, OK. [...] I just didn't call or show up or anything like that. I got a call and they said, 'What are you doing?' and I was like, 'Well, I can't get there. [...] I was just having really bad vibes. I blew off Friday's rehearsal and I knew we had a show coming up at the Troubadour but I knew we'd be fine and I said, 'Look, man. We'll be fine. I don't wanna drive all the way in there and I don't wanna get in a fight with you.' Axl was like, 'No, man. We gotta do this.'


The quote above suggests Tracii left even earlier, after the show at Timber's Ballroom on April 27.

Tracii would also claim it hadn't been fun playing in the band in those days:

That was the one thing, when I was playing with the guys in GNR it wasn't that much fun. It was more like one drama after another, and it still is. It just wasn't something I was prepared for. Like I'm 19 years old and I'm trying to play the guitar, hang out with fun people [...]

It just wasn't fun. When you're a teenager the last thing I was interested in was this really ... Axl was very volatile all of a sudden. [...] I lived with him for two years before that happened [=that he became volatile] and he wasn't. So it was a real shock and I was the first one to run away from him. I guess I should have hung around for an extra year.
Blabbermouth, October 10, 2005from North Shore Sunday


Later, Tracii would say he left for "the same reason Izzy left" [Kerrang! May 23, 1992], which likely pointed to Axl being difficult to be in a band with.

Slash would comment on this and point out many people had a problem working with Axl but also that Tracii didn't play the right type of guitar for the band, likely being mote metal-influenced than blues- or punk-influenced:

Tracii had a falling out with Axel [sic], which is typical, because everybody has a falling out with Axel [sic] at some point or another. But he also played the wrong kind of guitar for the kind of band it was.


So in May 1985, the newborn band had lost two of its core members, the lead guitarist and the drummer.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:08 am

TRACII AND ROB LOOK BACK AT THEIR
SHORT TENURE IN THE BAND

TRACII

Looking back, Tracii would be magnanimous about being replaced by Slash in the band he co-founded and which bore his name:

I thought Slash was much better for that band than I was. You know, I thought that like: Wow -- you know, this guy's really got a creepy image, you know. But different than a, you know, white guy with black leather on. You know, it was like a creepy dude, you know? He's like really cool-looking, played really cool -- one style, all the time -- and, you know, just like a real like Joe Perry type guy, you know? And that was -- pretty much, it had to be Axl's decision.
Spin Magazine, Outtakes for Axl Rose issue, 1999

[Talking about leaving the band and Slash taking his place]: I figured that would be the obvious choice. He had played with everybody in the band except Duff. He was one of my closest friends, and had actually come up with the original GNR logo before he was in the band. He was a real fan of Guns N’ Roses. I think that having him see the band from the audience, made him appreciate it more. As soon as he was in the band, I really started enjoying the band more. I think it worked out the best for everybody. I really do.
Tales From The Stage, February 2013

Everything happened so fast. I haven't thought about 'What if I had stayed in the band?' 'cause my immediate reaction is, 'If I had stayed in the band then Guns N' Roses would have sounded more like LA Guns.' You know what I mean? [...] I think the way Slash plays and his tonality with Axl's voice is way more compatible. When Axl and I play together, unless we're playing a straight up rock and roll ballad that's one thing but when I write heavy stuff, it's heavy. It's very heavy and the thing Guns N' Roses has always been able to straddle is not falling into the uber-heavy thing. Which I think has really worked out for them and kept them more within the classic rock kind of vibe. Had I been in the band, I don't think Guns N' Roses would have had the mass appeal. That's me assuming that Axl isn't 100% of the reason why people fell in love with Guns N' Roses but I wouldn't think that with any band and especially Guns N' Roses." [...] No, I think everything happened the way it's supposed to be.


With Tracii being part of the band for such a short time that resulted in no official releases, it is natural to question what influence he had on the band. In 2004 he was asked how much input he had on the band:

I had 100% input because it was my band. Until the point where I left, everything came down to pretty much me and Izzy (Stradlin).


Tracii would look back at having worked with Axl:

I've seen Axl once -- I saw him in a liquor store -- and that was about seven or eight years ago. He was like: Hey, man -- what's up? We gotta talk, you know? I go: All right. And then Doug Goldstein called my house once, and I called back, but I never got an answer back -- so I don't know what that was all about.

I'll tell you the one thing about Axl that was always really cool, man -- he was really loyal, till he's not loyal anymore. If that makes any sense. He'll kill for you, until he decides not to. And then, once he decides not to, then that's it.

[…]

He's not really someone ... if you're not on the payroll you should be scared of, heh ... you know. I think he basically means well -- I think he really does, you know?. You know, he wants everybody to like him for him.




Axl and Tracii at Radio City
April 11, 1985



When Guns N' Roses blew up, Tracii would later express bitterness over the band being referred to as the "Gunners":

It pisses me off, I gotta say. It makes me so mad. […] Not only does that make me mad, it makes me mad that they didn’t change the name of the f**kin’ band when I split! […] It was Izzy, who was my best friend, that said, ‘No, we’re not going to change it’. I was like, ‘Why the f**k not? We’re selling out the Whiskey right now but we’re not that big. We can sell 500 tickets, so what?' In LA we’d only been playing for a year. I honestly didn't think they were going to use the name. Then they kept it and it really didn’t bother me because I didn’t think that things would happen... Then once they got really big I still never thought about it. But now, like the last two years it’s really pissed me off. They’re referred to under that name.


Especially the focus on music that was written when Tracii was still in the band would irk him:

I wanted to and I was ready to burn LA down -just like everybody else is doing right now. I was so pissed off. Everything on the first record I had done but that made sense: they got a deal, they didn't write any new songs except ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ after I left... But I dug the record. It was like, ‘Wow, it's a f**kin’ cool record. I wish I was playing on it...'.

Then they put ‘Don’t Cry’ out which was like four or five years after the fact and... Be cool, be cool to me. I never did nothing wrong to those guys. Sure, Axl will say all day long, ‘Ah, Tracii’s a dick, he left right in the middle', but I never said a bad word about those guys, never asked for nothing and they never offered me nothing so it kinda pisses me off [uneasy chuckling].

Give me five bucks, man, it's my name! Buy me a cheese burger! [chuckles].


In 2007, Tracii would again talk about Guns N' Roses and Axl:

If I had stayed with Axl [Rose], I don't know if Guns N' Roses would have been any better or worse but I think it would have been a very different band. We would have had a bit more fire. But the key to that band's success was Axl because at that time his singing really connected with people on a social level. [...]

I haven't spoken to Axl since 1988, but we still have a lot of mutual friends. I don't wish him ill, but it's hard because he never stops saying bad things about me. He was on my MySpace page doing that very recently. [...]

Axl's problem is that if people don't support him 100 percent in what he's doing, he just doesn't want to know them any more. He's so talented but that talent comes from being a nervous wreck and some place in your head you need to be happy, which he isn't. [...]

If I'd stayed with Guns N' Roses for two more years I could have financed my rock and roll dreams — got Blackie Lawless to play bass, Nikki Sixx on drums and Robert Plant to sing — but at the same time we had a pretty good run with L.A. Guns, so I take the positives because I'm still touring Europe. But the problem with being on the road is that I do have a lot of time to think.


Tracii would shortly after explain the MySpace comment:

I didn't say he posted on my MySpace. He was looking at old members MySpace pages with a mutual friend of mine and calling us " Shit on his shoe" . As you can see, I took the high road answering this question whereas I probably could have said a lot of other things and I chose not to.
Metal Sludge forum; September 2010


In 2008 and 2010, Tracii would be asked if he had contributed much to any of the songs that made the band famous:

I didnt bring anything on appetite in from scratch in fact I think 50 percent of those songs were hollywood rose songs.... I did play, Think about you, dont cry, move to the city, back off bitch, wreckless life, anything goes and maybe a few more live with with band and made some minor contributions during practice etc, but, I dont take any credit for writing any of those songs...... It was a great time and I want to remember it that way, At least AXL was really a true friend and never stole anything from me and the same with Izzy. That being said I did create the band with AXL and I have no regrets because the band really did make a diference and I am glad to be part of its history
Metal Sludge message board (via HTGTH), October 30, 2008

No, the reality of that is that anything from Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion I didn't write from scratch. Anything that I was involved with for those songs was a combination of me, Izzy and Axl. But they consciously didn't use anything that I'd brought in from scratch because they didn't want to pay out; plus the stuff maybe didn't stick with what they wanted to do at that time. So I lay no claim to like 'Hey, I wrote 'Welcome To The Jungle' man, where's my money?' It's not like that.


In 2010, he bore no grudges:

I think I'm more proud of it than anything. I had the good time that I did with the band, and then when I got fed up I think I made the right decision to leave so I could continue to do my own thing and take the education I got from playing with those guys. And you know, it's never really been about money for me until now, because now I have a little son. So now I have to make money, but up until this point I never thought 'Oh, those guys must have gazillions of dollars and I only have thousands of dollars'. But erm... I'd love to have that money! But no, it's never been part of my depression, I have my own reasons for depression [laughs].


And as to having contact with his former band mates:

Oddly enough, the people I probably talk to the most are Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum. Slash I talk to maybe every two or three years, Axl I haven't talked to since 1989, I'm very friendly with Duff (McKagan). But you know, everybody's kind of scattered.


In 2019, he would describe hearing Appetite for Destruction for the first time:

We were recording the first LA Guns record, and somebody from Geffen has sent over a cassette to me when they just finished mastering 'Appetite for Destruction.' And I went in a separate studio, we were at the Village Recorder - I remember like it was yesterday. And I put that record on and I was blown away. I loved it. It was like a brand new Aerosmith record with more balls. That's how I described it back then. And when 'It's So Easy' came on, on that listen, where Axl had a low and a high voice going at the same time - I was really impressed by that. I loved the record. So I went into the studio and I said, 'Hey guys, let's take a break, you've got to listen to this Guns N' Roses record.' And they really didn't give a shit because it was, like, 'Oh, you just care about it because that was your band,' blah blah blah. I was, like, 'No, this is a fucking great record.' And they really didn't care for it until it came out and exploded in everybody's face. And then everybody decided, 'Oh, wow, it's a great record.' It's not even a great record - it's a devastating record. It's amazing. I still listen to that record.


And discussing how Slash was a better fit with Axl than himself:

Yeah... I mean, I haven't thought about it in a long time. But you see, Slash was playing in the band Hollywood Rose at the same time LA Guns was rolling around. That was with Axl and Izzy. So they were already kind of established and had some songs anyway. And Slash actually was a fan of Guns N' Roses. He did our logo and a flyer for us and stuff like that. So it just made a lot of sense to me. He definitely brought more of a contrast between him and Axl, to the live thing. Me and Axl were just, like, two similar guys. Slash really had an image together and really was like - almost like an alien coming in and saving the world. You know what I mean. It was really... Really, the chemistry is undeniable. When I played in the band, I was still going through my Randy Rhoads influence and trying to grasp how to incorporate those styles and stuff into what I was doing. And Slash was pretty much already playing the way he's maintained his whole career - just, like, a great blues-rock heavy guitarist. And that's exactly what the band needed. I don't believe that the band would have been what it is today if I had stayed in that band.


And whether he keeps in touch with any of them:

No, I don't keep in touch with them but I do see them. I haven't seen Axl since 1988, I think. But I've hung out with Duff [McKagan, bass] a couple of times. I jammed with Slash a couple of times. Izzy, I think I had... we talked in person once about 10 years ago. And that's about it. Nothing weird there but I don't hang out with anybody.



ROB

Anyone who knows that I played with those guys are like, "Wow, man! Are you bummed? Did you regret it?" I always get that question. My thing is that I always, you know... you got to keep just a positive outlook on it and the fact that, "Hey, man," you know, "that was part of my life, part of my history," you know, "just as a musician," or whatever and that,  "Hey, yeah, I got to play with them and and I was part of it and the whole scene like that," and so, you know, in that aspect, yeah, I don't regret it. I think that over the years and hearing, you know, the stories of what went on with that band once they got really big and all that, and what happened to some of the people, there's no regrets there, either, you know- [...] I'm glad I didn't become[?] a drug addict or anything like [that].


Rob would also stress that there were no hard feelings between himself and his former band mates:

But no, there's no hard feelings or anything like that. I don't really have any, you know... If I see those guys around, I see Slash, "Hey, what's up? How you doing?" you know. I've been [?] shows, backstage, just like that, hanging out, stuff like that - it's all good, you know. I don't have any... I haven't seen... Duff, I've seen around here and there, you know, and that's all cool. I haven't seen Axl, I think.... I bumped into him at the Rainbow or something like that here and there after they started taking off but other than that I haven't really seen or talked to him very much. But anyway, no, like I said, no hard feelings or anything like that and I don't know if they have any about me or whatever, I wouldn't hope not. I mean, you know-


Talking about his life after leaving Guns N' Roses:

I just went on to do other projects, you know, other band projects and did fairly well, actually. You know,  headlining, you know, Strip shows and this and that and the other, and got a spec deal with another band that was real like kind of like an Aerosmith, kind of Faces, Rolling Stones kind of vibe. So I went more back to my roots, more older style, got more of a GN'R kind of style, if you will. You know, blues-based rock, you know, like that. So it's cool. Yeah, I did a bunch of stuff and then, yeah, I just... I'm not really doing anything now, you know, I'm not doing a band thing right now, I haven't been for a long time. But I still play and I still jam and stuff like that, you know. It's not like I don't play, I've been doing some writing, I'm playing more guitar, some keyboards, and just writing stuff like that.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:08 am

JUNE 1985
SLASH AND STEVEN JOINS, FORMATION OF THE CLASSIC LINEUP

With Tracii being fired and Rob leaving the band [or possibly the other way around, see discussion previous chapter], a new lead guitarist and a new drummer was needed. According to Duff, Axl knew a couple of guys who could fill in: Slash and Steven Adler [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 61; Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992], which Axl knew from the previous band Hollywood Rose. Duff knew them too after having been the bassist in Slash's band Road Crew just weeks prior to joining Guns N' Roses [Kerrang! March 1989].

Izzy and Axl and I were just like, "Yeah, let's do it. Let's go on the road. Let's do this thing [=the Hell Tour]." Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner were more concerned with where they were going to stay or how we were going to get there. They got cold feet at the eleventh hour for doing a tour of the Northwest. Izzy, Axl and I just didn't care. When they pulled out, we asked Slash and Steven to be in the band and the Troubadour was our first gig as a band.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

They [=Rob and Tracii] didn’t want to do the tour that was booked. And we called Slash and Steven.


I guess Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner didn't want to do these shows up north. So Slash calls me and says, "We have two empty shows you want to do them? One's at the Troubadour and we're going to go up to Oregon and Seattle for the others. And I said, "Fuck yeah, of course." The two other guys didn't have it in their hearts to do it ad we did.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


As discussed earlier, in 2008, Axl would say that he had wanted Slash in the band since it was founded:

I knew what I wanted when I knocked on Izzy's window. I also knew I wanted Slash but we still had differences and Izzy wasn't down with it.


Slash had recently started playing in the band Black Sheep, so Axl, Izzy and Steven went to a Black Sheep concert on May 31, 1985, at Wolf & Rissmiller Country club in Reseda, to convince Slash to join Guns N' Roses. A few days later he did [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This implies that Steven was already in the band, but other accounts [see previous chapter] would suggest Slash got in the band before Steven.

And it was at a Black Sheep gig that I started talking to Axl. He told me he had had a falling out with [then Guns N’ Roses guitarist] Tracii Guns and asked if I wanted to join the band. Izzy, of course, was already there, and so was Duff.

So we got Slash and Steven in the band at the last minute, and it clicked. We had three days to rehearse and everybody was like, OK, we’ll give it a shot.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

So Slash was playing with Black Sheep, and even though his heart wasn’t in it because they were a heavy metal band, he was capable of doing that gig. He played one show with them, at the Country Club, on May 31, 1985. And Izzy and Axl showed up. They were buzzing around and they said, “Hey, Tracii and Rob just left, we have a gig at the Troubadour next week, and then after that Duff has booked some gigs up north.” And Slash already knew Duff. So they all knew each other and Slash was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna do it.” I thought the best thing for his career would be to stay in Black Sheep because they were a bigger band. Plus there were no drug addicts in Black Sheep. But he quit Black Sheep and got Steven and they started playing with Guns N’ Roses.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Slash had just joined Black Sheep and was playing with them at the Country Club when the other guys came up to see him and persuaded him to quit.  They were like, “we have a gig at the Troubadour and then we leave for a tour of the upper west coast are you in?” and he agreed.  I had actually told him not to do it just because I thought it wouldn’t last, I mean I liked Axl and Izzy and what they were capable of but from what I saw every single band they formed fell apart for whatever reason.  I just didn’t think it would last and at the time Black Sheep had a following and was a more stable band even if they were a little too metal for Slash.

And [Axl and Izzy] actually went to see Slash, who just had joined Black Sheep, a band that was playing at the Country Club. This was May 31st. They, Guns N' Roses, had a gig booked June 6 at The Troubadour. It was a Thursday night and then June 8th these gigs that were booked in Seattle. So they got two gigs a week away. No guitar player, no drummer. So they said, "Okay, perfect, we'll take Slash and Steven." But Slash had just joined Black Sheep and Paul Gilbert was in Black Sheep. Black Sheep was around and they had a contract and, you know, it was heavy metal. It wasn't really what Slash was used to, but he pulled it off, no problem, but it wasn't where his heart was at. [...] And then so Axl and Izzy and those guys showed up at that gig to try to persuade Slash to come join back with them and, you know, they got these gigs booked. I actually told Slash not to 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. With the difference was, Slash didn't listen to me. He obviously joined the band

And Slash just joins Black Sheep, and they had a gig at the Wolf & Rissmiller Country club in Reseda - Slash's first gig with them. Who shows up at the gig? Axl and Izzy. Because why? Tracii quits and Rob Gardner quits, so they're missing a guitar player and they're missing a drummer. They've got a gig in four days, five days, at the Troubadour and Duff has booked a tour to Seattle. So they said, "Look, Tracii and Rob are out. How about you and Steven?" So, of course, Slash quits Black Sheep and he joins Guns N' Roses.


Duff would also discuss why Slash wanted to join:

[About Slash joining the band in June 1985]: Slash was inclined to try [Guns N' Roses] because Guns seemed more where he wanted to go musically than Black Sheep [his current band at the time]. [...] Slash liked the idea of joining a band with the intention of making its own mark.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 69


But the leader of Black Sheep, Willie Basse (who was also the owner of the rehearsal studio where the band had done its first rehearsals), was not as eager to see Slash join Guns N' Roses:

Guns N' Roses had a gig they were planning to get to in a station wagon to Seattle. I remember calling Slash's mom and saying, "You can't let him join the band. They're all a bunch of heroin addicts." I tried to get her to talk hm out of going. Slash told me that his mom didn't speak to him for a year after I called. I was trying to block it but it was fate. He left Black Sheep and joined Guns N' Roses.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


In 2017, Tracii would claim Izzy and Axl had tried to convince him to not leave the band as they were rehearsing with Slash, and that Tracii had asked them to change the name of the band when he was out:

The next week, Izzy called me with Axl and said, 'Look, we're just gonna have Slash come and play the show if you're not gonna show up.' I'm like, 'Whoa. Wait a minute.' As soon as they said that, everything changed. [...] Right. It was like, 'Hold the phone a second. Let's talk about it.' They were like, 'He came down and rehearsed half the set and he knows the set.' I'm like, 'Alright. OK, fine. I guess that's that.' Axl was like, 'C'mon, man. Just come down to rehearsal' and I'm like, 'Nah. It sounds like you guys know what you're doing.' I was kinda bruised at that point when they said that because I was like, 'You gotta be kidding me.' That was that. I remember asking Izzy because he called me the next day to make sure I was still not in. I go, 'It would be really cool if you changed the name. It's mine and Axl's name.' That was the last thing I ever said. Izzy said to me, 'It's just a band name,' and that was that. Amazing, right?


Axl would later explain some of the attraction he found in Slash's guitar playing:

Slash is one of the most emotional guitar players that I've ever met or ever seen. [...] It took 5 years to find somebody who played more from the heart rather than just trying to be the fastest or trying to be this or that to be a big rock star, someone who, like, he'd be really quiet [...] most of the time and really won't let a lot of himself out till he picks up a guitar and then his heart and soul seems to pour out through the guitar. I sit down a lot of times at shows, I sit down right at the stage right in front of him amp when he's doing a solo, because, to me, it means just so much to me to hear that.

[Slash] will be very quiet and stuff, most of time, and really won't let a lot of himself out until he picks up the guitar and then his heart and soul seems to pour out through the guitar.



STEVEN ALMOST DOESN'T JOIN

According to Slash, Steven came in after Slash:

Then we needed a guy to fill in for our drummer at the time, Rob Gardner, so I called up Steven [with whom Slash had played in the band Road Crew, and which also included, briefly, McKagan]. And it just happened, you know?


While Axl wanted Slash in the band, Axl was not so sure about Steven and the drummers Nicky Beat and Chain were both considered as replacements for Rob over Steven:

It wasn't an automatic deal that Steven Adler joined Guns N' Roses, merely an audition. When done, he packed his gear and split. After he hit the road, Joe [Raz' brother] set up Steven's kit again so the guys could audition a few other drummers. There was a dude, Chain, who Axl really dug and insisted on hiring. Izzy steadfastly refused to play with him, and almost quit G N' R over it. At some point, Chain told me, "I don't think Izzy liked me." I said, "It's worse than that." To keep everyone calm, some diplomatic maneuvers were employed. All agreed Steven would play the next show, but G N' R would keep searching for a drummer.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 210-211

After Rob Gardner was out of Guns N’ Roses and they were auditioning drummers, before they got Steven Adler, we had Nickey Beat come down. He had played in the Weirdos and a version of the Germs and stuff like that. He had these real punk-rock anarchist values without being, you know, a harmful human being. But he wasn’t right for Guns N’ Roses. But it was odd that after we played, I went outside with him into the parking lot and we’re talking and I go, “Nickey, if for some reason this doesn’t work out and I’m not in this band anymore, you’re definitely the drummer I’d like to start something with someday.” And so, lo and behold, I’m out of Guns N’ Roses and the first person I call is Nickey. And he’s like, “Yeah, yeah, sure, let’s do it.” We hung out for a couple days and then we went to see Guns N’ Roses play at this frat party at UCLA. And Mick Cripps was at this party.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Izzy kept suggesting Adler, but Axl was just like, “No, I don’t want to play with that guy.” Finally, Steven came down to rehearsal and it sounded great. And Axl’s like, “Okay, fine.”


Although Steven would not mention this competition in his biography:

[...] one night Slash called me up. He sounded excited and told me Izzy had resurfaced and wanted us all to play together again. [...] my heart really started pounding because Slash told me that they had committed to doing a show Thursday night. And Friday they were planning on heading up to Seattle to play a couple of shows. [...] The next day I got together with them, and they told me the band was now called Guns N' Roses, after the band's founders: Tracii Guns and Axl Rose.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 76-77

I guess Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner didn't want to do these shows up north. So Slash calls me and says, "We have two empty shows you want to do them? One's at the Troubadour and we're going to go up to Oregon and Seattle for the others. And I said, "Fuck yeah, of course." The two other guys didn't have it in their hearts to do it ad we did.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007




Guns N' Roses in 1985; Izzy, Axl, Slash, Duff, and Steven



Steven talking about Izzy:

Izzy looked like a young Ron Wood, with that gaunt, angular cut to his face, perfectly framed by straight black hair that hugged his jawline, making his face look even more thin and elongated. He was into heroin, just like Ron Wood and Keith Richards, his heroes in The Rolling Stones (...). He had thick-soled platform shoes and always wore black pants with some sort of super-tight shirt. He looked more like his shadow than himself and to me he was the personification of cool. Izzy and I hit it off right from the start. We each saw something in the other: perhaps it was just the way we talked about music. Izzy was the consummate rhythm guitarist. I loved the solid power chords he built into Rose's songs.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:08 am

BUT IZZY AND SLASH DON'T WANT TO PLAY TOGETHER

According to Raz and Axl's quote above, Axl was eager about getting Slash into the band while Izzy was reluctant:

Axl only had one guitarist in mind. But Izzy expressed a desire to explore all options, in hopes of finding an older, more established musician. Axl remained steadfast and eventually convinced Izzy to at least invite Slash over to talk music, and perhaps those two might play some guitar together. The day after that get-together, Axl happily reported of his plan's rousing success. Izzy was floored by Slash's talent, and a quick meeting turned into those two jamming through the practice amps in Izzy's living room for most of the day.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 210


According to Cue above, Izzy hadn't heard Slash play before, or hadn't played with him before. This is likely not correct since Slash had joined Hollywood Rose in 1984 for a week before Izzy quit to join the band London, and it is likely they rehearsed together then.

This reluctance from Izzy's side can be inferred from later interviews that Izzy did:

There's nothing more annoying than a guitarist just noodling. Shredding, it's horrid. It's the same thing when you try to get a band together, you always end up with these noodlers, y'know...[...] when I first met him, yeah. Slash was a noodler, man. I think he still is. Like in Guns N' Roses he would noodle but then the vocals would come back in and that would shut him up!
Total Guitar Magazine, August 2001


According to Izzy, the feeling went both ways:

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

Originally I don't think Slash ever wanted to play with another guitarist. But we both really loved Aerosmith and the Stones and we just used that idea to make it all work. My favourite band was always the Ramones - just four guys wailing with power chords. At some point he and I hooked up and we started making it work. It became fun, just working with another guy like him, opposites attract, I suppose (...) He's a great guitar player - he'll go, he's a guy if you let him go, he's just off, out there. You gotta reel him in now and then, but that's what he loves to do. Listen to the end of Paradise City, I'm just doing the power chords, G and D. And Slash just goes manic in the last four bars. It's incredible. Those were great times..
Total Guitar, 2001


And Slash would confirm this:

When we first met we didn't click musically at all. [...] If you listen to the record, me and lzzy don't play anything alike. Our sound is completely different. He doesn't play lead hardly at all, but his rhythm style is cool. I was a lot heavier than he was. But we worked it out and it wasn't even a conscious thing. We just played together and eventually got better and better and now we sort of jell more.


Axl would also talk about this:

The problem was that neither Slash nor Izzy wanted to play with another guitarist on stage. Slash used to have, and always has had, a fondness for f... goddamn booze, and he always managed to be dead drunk on the nights he had to play with someone else. Izzy also had his own ways of escaping the situation. Then, finally, Slash showed up at Izzy's house one day, they learned to play together and have been inseparable ever since.


In 1995, after Izzy had left Guns N' Roses, Slash would continue to be dismissive of what Izzy had brought to the table:

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

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

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


But in his biography and in later interviews, Slash would be more complimentary towards Izzy and his playing style:

I liked Izzy. He was, after all, the first guy I met and I enjoyed his style and admired his talent.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York

I loved the way Izzy played. When I first met him, he was a Les Paul-and-Marshall guy, just real dirty and kinda punkish. He had a great sound. Around the time we began playing together, he kinda lightened up his attack, and started going through these different phases. But he always had a great sense of rhythm. He didn’t play with any kind of real defiant prow­ess, but he always hit the song perfectly. And he’s a great songwriter.


This paradox and shifting positions can be explained with Slash getting a deeper admiration for what Izzy brought to the table, but from a more cynical viewpoint it could also be understood in the context of Slash being more interested in a reunion of the Appetite for Destruction lineup from 2005 and onwards and hence being more gracious towards Izzy.

Slash was also not sure about joining a band with Axl again, having fought with him previously when they both played in Hollywood Rose [for more on this see later chapters].


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:08 am

THE REAL FORMATION OF THE BAND, OR THE FORMATION OF THE REAL BAND?

In an interview in June 1986, the band would refer to the coming together of the Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy and Steven lineup as when Guns N' Roses was formed [Los Angeles Times, June 1986], probably to distance themselves from the short-lived earlier lineups and to create cohesion as a band of brothers: Guns N' Roses was Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven. But already in December 1986, Axl would point out that this was only one of the band's lineups: "This lineup has been together for two years" [Hit Parader, December 1986].

Still, to most fans, and likely band members, the real starting point of the band was when Slash and Steven joined, or at least it was a pivotal moment in the band's history. What happened before can almost be discarded as trivial and without any importance, although it is all connected, and one thing led invariably to the next, and many of the songs that ended up on Appetite for Discussion, GNR: Lies, and the Use Your Illusions had their start in the first lineups or even earlier in AXL/Hollywood Rose. Without Slash and Steven joining it is highly unlikely the band would have reached the same levels as success as they did, and the music they would have created would clearly have been different. It was a watershed moment and from this point on it only went in one direction, upwards, until it quickly started to fall apart, spectacularly.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:09 am

JUNE 1985
FIRST REHEARSAL WITH THE CLASSIC LINEUP

CHANGING STEVEN'S DRUM KIT

After joining the band, the rest of the guys had to change Steven's drum kit:

We really had to make a drummer out of [Steven]. We took all his drums away – he had a double-bass drum and all these fuckin’ toms – and he ended up with a kick, a snare, a floor ton, crash and ride cymbals and his hi-hats: a Ramones-style kit. The band would rehearse, then Steve and I would get together – just bass and drums – every day and work on grooves. [...] We’d put on songs like Cameo’s “Word Up,” and we’d play over it, and then we’d play it on our own, just trying to get a pocket. We played a lot of funk and R&B but hardly ever any hard rock stuff, because it was all about the groove. I’d have to lead the way with the bass, almost being percussive. But he became a unique and one-of-a-kind drummer by the time we did Appetite.

The timing for me and Steven to meld as a rhythm section was perfect. Steven had tons of drive, and we kept at it hour upon hour, day after day - just mercilessly.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 84-85

One thing DID have to change for me, however, and that was Steven's double-kick drum kit with WAY too many rack-toms and cymbals. Lucky for me, when we formed GN'R a few months later, Izzy Stradlin shared my horror of this "hesher" drum kit. We started our plot to hide parts of his drum kit. Every time poor Steven would show up to band practice, his kit was progressively smaller, until he was left with only the bare essentials--what would become his signature "thing" and influence modern rock drummers a few short years later . . . a GROOVE!

Our first rehearsal, we rented a room in Silverlake for, like, five bucks an hour. And Izzy and I took all of Steven’s drums away from him—all the rack toms and all the double bass drums. So he just had a single kick and a snare. He was like, “Where’s all my drums?” But it was literally one of those things where, from the first three chords, that A-G-D or whatever it was, it was, “Holy fuck!” We started playing and right away it had that warmth and that energy and that ferocity to it. It was like five swingin’ dicks in a room, you know?
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

And Steven had this huge drum kit when I met him and Slash, like double bass drum, shit ton of tom, way too many cymbals, all this stuff. And he would play all of it at once [imitating drumming]. But, you know, where's the beat, you know? But he had a groove in there. He had this little engine that was really interesting. And you know, some people are just born to play drums or some people are born to play guitar, and he was born to play drums. I've played with drummers that shouldn't have been drummers. It looked like such an effort back then. So eventually when we, you know, Guns N' Roses became those five guys, Izzy and I started taking this drums away, like hiding them. So he ended up with the single kick drum, a snare, no rack toms, one floor tom, hi hat, crash or ride, and a cowbell. So from that huge drum kit down to this Ramones-kit. [...] So he had to use what he had. But our point was like, "Let's get to the groove."

Steven had even that double bass for like the first two months or whatever when he joined but then, you know, it just went begin went to a single kick after that and that changed the sound like night to day.



NO WEAK LINK

Already at the first rehearsal sparks flew and the band members knew they were onto something great:

When this band got together, everybody felt, ‘This is the right place.’ You know how this goes. You’re in a band, and there’s always a loose link in the end. Al­ways. Every band I’d ever been in before, there’d always be one person, or two, that wasn’t cutting it. This band, it was finally like, ‘Okay, this is it.’ You could feel it at the first rehearsal. It just felt right.

The first time Axl ever rehearsed it with us, we were playing in this little room and he was late. We were playing Reckless Life and he fucking ran in to the room and grabbed the microphone and started screaming- really fucking screaming- and he was running literally halfway up the walls from side to side across the room. I was just kind of looking at Slash.....Hell the next morning I woke up and we had a rock 'n' roll band.

[Steven] came down and we had one day of rehearsal. It really was like a synergy. It was like we'd been playing together for years.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

The first rehearsal day that we had as the five guys was at a studio in Silverlake. Playing the first few chords was like thunder had hit the room; like lightning had hit the room. That day was probably the most important day of the five of our lives, as players and musicians. It definitely ranks up there because that's when we all knew it was solidified. This was the best band that any of us had come close to being in.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Without missing a beat [Axl] grabbed the mike in the middle of the song and just started running up and down the walls, screaming and wailing like someone had his pants on fire. I had never heard such a sound in my life. It was like some otherwordly banshee cry. I was stoked. I remember my eyes bugged a bit and my pulse shot up; I was thinking this dude was insane, so original.
"My Appetite for Destruction", 2010

[Steven and Slash] came in and, like, the first couple of chords that... you know, the five of us in the same room, it was like lightning really struck.

I don’t know if we were good but there was a feel that was definitely there. That’s what we went after. I don’t know if we were good technically at all. I don’t know if we ever got good technically but we always had a feel.

It was magic from the first day. The first song we played in rehearsal was ‘Shadow Of Your Love’ and Axl showed up late. We were playing the song and right in the middle of the song Axl showed up and he grabbed the microphone and was running up and down the walls screaming. I thought, ‘This is the greatest thing ever.’ We knew right then what we had.


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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:09 am

JUNE 6, 1985; THE TROUBADOUR
THE FIRST SHOW WITH THE CLASSIC LINEUP

The new lineup played its first show at The Troubadour on June 6, 1985, only a few days after Slash and Steven had joined the band. The two other bands playing this evening were The Mistreater and Fine Line with Guns N' Roses opening for one of the other bands.

Advertisement in L.A. Weekly, who still hadn't figured out how to spell the band's name:



Ad in L.A. Weekly, May 31, 1985



This show is the first Guns N' Roses show for which we know the entire setlist: Reckless Life, Shadow of Your Love, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Think About You, Move to the City, Don't Cry, Nice Boys, Back Off Bitch, Anything Goes and Heartbreak Hotel. Of course, all of these songs were either covers or original songs written before Slash and Steven joined the band, but the new guys immediately put their stamp on the songs, especially Slash's emotive leads.



On stage at the Troubadour, June 6, 1985
Picture by Marc Canter



We played our first show at the Troubadour and it was sold-out. It was like we were rock stars, but just in Hollywood.
The Days of Wine and Roses, Classic Rock, April 2005

On Thursday, June 6, we played our first live show with the Appetite for Destruction lineup. The bill at the Troubadour included Fineline, Mistreater, and, at the very bottom, Guns N' Roses. Slash's high school friend Marc Canter, - he turned out to be part of the family that ran Canter's Deli - came and shot pictures. He made prints of each of us the next day so we'd have head shots to put up in the places we played on our tour [the Hell Tour]. That was Friday.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 70

We had a show together, I think it was at the Troubadour, [...] the audience comprised of a bunch of our friends.
Ultimate Classic Rock, September 2014

I do remember seeing their first show at the Troubadour on June 6, 1985 and knowing that I was witnessing something very special. I knew right there if they could stay together long enough that they would get signed and at least have a gold record.

It was a really good gig, because now you’ve got the Appetite for Destruction lineup, and Steven’s missing the double bass drum, so you can hear the vocals and the three ranges of Axl’s voice, and everything’s slower, not double time. And they’re playing things like “Don’t Cry” and Slash is whipping out this guitar solo that’s the same one you hear on the record. I think I shot four rolls of film that night. Because everywhere I pointed the camera I was shooting rock stars.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

[...] when I got to that first gig at the Troubadour with the Appetite lineup it was clear right away that something was totally different and better.  They had gotten rid of Steven’s double bass drum, they either hid it or threw it out and he had no CHOICE but to go single bass.  I was at the gig taking pictures and it was a revelation and all of a sudden I noticed you could actually hear Axl without the double bass and everything was slower and had a swing or groove to it with Steven being forced into that style.  They had written “Move To the City”, “Don’t Cry” and “Think About You” and they were great.

So it's June 6th, 1985, at the Troubadour. Slash and Steven joined the band 4 or 5 days before that. The feeling I was getting, watching and taking pictures of this is, "Wow!" Wherever I pointed to there was something to grab. I was going through my film like toilet paper. My heart was pumping because everything sounded so cool, so good and they sound like they've been playing together for like months and yet they've only been together four or five days.  I knew that all they gotta do is stay together and not die or go to jail and they're gonna make it.




On stage at the Troubadour, June 6, 1985
Picture by Marc Canter



Dizzy Reed probably attended this show:

I went and saw them at the Troubadour for the first time. The loudest thing I'd seen at that point, I couldn't really hear the vocals. But I looked up on stage and, "I want to join that band." Absolutely.

I think I'd known the guys for a long time and I know I remember the first time I saw them at the Troubadour, I just said to myself... I mean, a lot of people were, you know, jealous or hating on the band cuz they were doing something different. I saw them play, I went, "I need to join that band. I gotta get out of the band I'm in, I gotta join that band."


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 19, 2024 1:01 am; edited 12 times in total
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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Sat Jan 27, 2024 8:36 am

RAZ CUE, AN EARLY FRIEND OF THE BAND

You know, as a child I wanted to be like the biggest rock star in the world. But I had guess I just had to meet one instead.


FROM PYRRHUS TO LA GUNS TO GUNS N' ROSES

Raz Cue was a close friend of the guys in Pyrrhus and LA Guns, including Tracii [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 110] and had gone to Fairfax high school with Tracii [GN'R Central, March 2018]. After receiving settlement money after breaking his neck in an accident, Raz got into the music business:

And then eventually, you know, I had some money from a settlement, I broke my neck, and then when I was 15, I got some settlement money. I decided I was gonna be like a music mogul. Like, threw money around everywhere.


Cue had also met Izzy back when he played bass guitar in Shire. Later on Izzy would quit bass and Shire and start playing guitar in the band Rose instead, together with Axl [see previous chapter]. Cue went to see a Shire gig and Rose was on the same bill and that's when Cue met Axl for the first time [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 137].

I had seen Axl like with Hollywood Rose, actually just Rose, him and Izzy. And I always thought that guy was great, like right from the get go. And I always thought, like, if him and Tracii would jam together, that'd be awesome. He knew Tracii already, and Tracii and Izzy were pretty tight.


Later, Cue would be introduced to Slash through his friend Mike Jagosz, who was the singer of Pyrrhus/LA Guns, and Jagosz would later tell Cue that Slash had beat Tracii in a guitar playing contest at school a few years earlier (while both of them were beaten by another guitarist) [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 140].

Using the settlement money, Cue had been L.A. Guns' manager and -- according to himself -- just kind-of continued managing Tracii's new band, Guns N' Roses, for a litte while. According to Cue in his biography, the band also referred to him as their manager, although managing at this stage was more akin to being a friend of the band and helping out with equipment and logistics:

[...] but in reality, all I did was let them use my place for band meetings. Or, if they were short, I'd chip in a few bucks - like five - for rehearsal. I'd share my reheated leftover Naugles' French fries, or let them borrow my van, amps, cabinets, wireless microphone, or whatever they needed. Joe, Guns N' Roses' stage manager, would cart all the gear to the show, and when my van came home, so did my gear. No charge. With a vast fecal sea of inferior bands drowning Hollywood, it was my pleasure to help out an obviously above-average group. Didn't cost me nothing, and that gear would just have sat in storage with my van stuck in the driveway. Plus, I got to see G N' R well over a hundred times and you didn't.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 204

I mean, I think technically I was [their manager]. I mean, they referred to me as their manager for, you know, at least a couple of months. And I kind of had this notion that, like, I had just come out of the LA Guns thing and I had learned like, I kind of learned like business training, like, on the fly. And I realized that bands didn't really need managers until they had something to manage. And you know, you just need some shows. And so, yeah, they didn't really need a manager and so once- [...] I was LA Guns' manager that became Guns and Roses and then soon I was no longer the manager because they didn't need a manager and I didn't want to put the time into it or the love or the effort.



BREAKING WITH GUNS N' ROSES

Cue's brother, JoJo, was the band's stage manager and rented a room at Cue's place [GN'R Central, March 2018]. JoJo and Axl were friends and Axl would stay at Cue's place for extended periods [GN'R Central, March 2018].

I mean, Steven and me would hang out. He crashed over there all the time. Tracii Guns like had a room, rented a room for a couple of months at the house when Guns N' Roses formed. And then Axl would stay over there quite often. And then once Tracii moved out, my brother JoJo, the road manager for Guns N' Roses, rented Tracii's room. And then Axl started staying there all the time. But he didn't officially live there, but he was there all the time, you know.


Talking about Axl staying with him:

He's cool, like he kept to himself, there was like a little covered patio on the back, he stood out there and listened to records or write or whatever. [...] he was cool, man. We would like, you know, rock out and smoke a little pot or whatever.


Cue eventually grew frustrated with Axl staying for free at his place and the band's circle of friends stealing his equipment to score drugs, and got in a fight with JoJo that resulted in both him and Axl being kicked out of the apartment [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 217-218; GN'R Central, March 2018] and also stopped dealing with the band for a while:

I got in a little argument with my brother, he was staying in my house and Axl were staying over there, too, and I got in an argument with my brother and then I threw in some shit talking to Axl at the same time and they both stormed out. I didn't see GN'R for like three months after that, I just like boycotted them. I was like, "I want those people..." like, I hold a grudge with both hands so I didn't go see the band and nothing.

That house was cool because there wasn't enough space for everybody to go if they needed just to get away from each other. So it was more of a financial thing like, I'm like, you know... Like, my brother was like, "Okay, dude, I rented you the room, but you can't have this guy over here all the time," you know? It's like, "He's cool and everything but give me some money." [...] You know, it's funny because I had a little issue with my brother and him and Axl were tight. My brother was the stage manager. I had been with L.A. Guns and we had everything to a point where it was ready to break, or at least break whatever level we were gonna, you know, do. We had the record out, everything. And then it all fell apart because nobody really cared about, like, taking it....whatever. Nobody cared about the time or effort that I put into it at that... So I just saw the same thing happen. I'm like, "Man, if I work with this band, they could just decide like three or four months from now they're all going to break up and I would have put all my time and effort into it." And I just figured they were gonna break up again and I didn't want to be dealing with it. And then I remember Slash called me, like I didn't go to the show, like after I got in a fight with my brother, like, I didn't go because me and my brother weren't talking. So Slash called me up, like, "What happened?" you know, and I was like, "Yeah, I kind of got mad at,", you know, "JoJo and Axl yesterday and then booted them out of my house and all this stuff, but I'm cool, you know, so I'm cool with the band." And he's like, "Hey, you should manage us, man." Still, I'm like, "No, dude, if you guys stay together for a year, I'll manage you." So yeah, they were already signed by the time the year came by. I offered them again like a year later, I was like, "Yeah, I'll manage you guys now" [laughs].

My biggest issue was the house only had one bathroom and there was four dudes living there. I just wanted the fucking bathroom. Like, if you're gonna, like, block me out of the bathroom for like an hour, pay some rent, or whatever. But I didn't really have a big issue with him with rent. Basically I was kind of just irritated at my brother for putting me in the situation to having to choose like be a dick to Axl because, you know, am I part little bit of star [?], I knew the guy was talented, I knew he was gonna be some sort of success, and I didn't want him to hate me because I was like trying to get, you know, $100 out of him to stay in my house, or whatever. I thought it was kind of a dicky move from my brother to put me in that spot. But then when I blew up at my brother, like there was some gear that went missing. Like my gear, like expensive shit and it was missing for like days and my brother was kind of blocking like, you know, he was like, "Oh, it's over at Izzy's house, I'll get it." And then I put my foot down like, "If I don't get my fucking gear right now," right? So then they're like, "Oh, it's been missing." Turns out there was a roadie named Carlos and he fucking stole the shit and sold it. But I didn't know that at the time and I would have liked to have found out right away that my [?] of $1000 worth of gear is missing. So I just blew up at my brother and, "Get the fuck out of my house," and that was it, man, we didn't talk for like three or four months. He was with Guns N' Roses, like, he was their stage manager and it was like, "Okay, man, I'm not going to go to their shows, either." So that was just it, you know. But this was all bullshit and we started talking again. You know, brothers.


With this Cue's semi-official management of Guns N' Roses ended.

Despite not working for them any more, Cue would still be on good terms with the band but eventually lose contact:

I went on the road with them and the couple of shows out in the New York and, like, whenever they played here, like, I would just, you know, like, I'd drive Axl around after the show. So like, everything was good, man, I don't know what happened. [...] You know, the Paradise City video they shot that at Giants Stadium, that show with the Aerosmith and Deep Purple, right? That was the last time, yeah, I hung out with them and then they went to Boston the next day and then... Oh, they went to Donington and did the rest of that Paradise City video. And then, yeah, I never really talked to... I mean, I've run into Axl a couple times after that, but he never called me after that. Or like that's when I went home from the New York stuff. I don't know, maybe I did something to piss people off. I kind of got a mouth on me. So I don't know, maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.


Talking about hanging out with Izzy in 1988 or 1989:

After the Giants stadium, so I still went to shows and everything was good, and so, you know, like I went to the, they played at the Cathouse and then I got in there. I didn't have a problem getting tickets or anything like that. And then they played at the RIP Anniversary Party, I with to that. And then they played with the Rolling Stones, like four or five shows. I think four. I went to like three of those. But the Stones were the last one I went to. The last time that I actually saw Izzy is funny, me and Mike Jagosz we're going to the Troubadour and I used to take [?] little backstreet for parking place for free and there was Izzy was walking across the street. So I like honked at him and I was like, "Guns N' Roses sucks!" And he like just stuck his middle finger up in the air from behind, like if he had his back pain, and he kept walking and he took like three steps and he's like, "Raz!" And he turns around and yes, we hung out all that night, man, he took me to clubs and they were buying him drinks because be was Izzy from Guns N' Roses. [?] We just hung out like pretty much all night that night.


And Slash in the early 2000s:

I actually saw Slash at the Rainbow like in the early 2000s. He was across the room and then like four or five tables down. If I was there... Man, I'm trying to think I was with J.J. Bolt and he was a guitar player for The Wild. So we were just hanging out and then have pizza - because the Rainbow Bar and Grill has the best pizza ever. But, with that being said, so yeah, Slash's over there and everybody was kind of mobbing him and he was like kind of like hidden move[?] through the crowd and I was like, "Man," I didn't want to say nothing, I was like, "Man," I hadn't seen the guy forever and whatever. And then he, like, he just looked and said, "Raz!" and he just came over and chatted at our table, man, we hung out, Him and J.J. were buddies, obviously, because, you know, fellow guitar players and, you know, they bands liked each other. Hung out for like 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Buyed me a cup of drinks.
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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Wed Jan 31, 2024 7:04 am

SUMMER OF 1985
THE BAND REHEARSES AT THE LOVE PALACE

One of the first places the band rehearsed was at the "Love Palace", a rehearsal studio owned by Nickey Beat (=Nickey Alexander), a drummer who would later join LA Guns [Patch.com, May 27, 2011]. This place was near Silver Lake, Los Angeles, or more precisely in Frogtown (near the corner of Gilroy and Ripple Streets) [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 69; Patch.com, May 27, 2011], which they rented for $6 per hour [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 69]. In June 1985, it had been rumored that Beat considered joining Guns N' Roses [L.A. Weekly, June 14, 1985; and see earlier chapter].

It is possible they decided to stop rehearsing at Wilpower Studios, owned by Willie Basse, and moved to the Love Palace since Slash had just been poached from Basse's band The Black Sheep.

Beat's rehearsal place was described as being in an "industrial wasteland" out by Dodger Stadium [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 83] and was a "small warehouse known as the Love Palace that doubled as a rehearsal studio" [Patch.com, May 27, 2011].

So after Willie Basse's placed, they went over to Nickey's Love Palace which is Nickey Beat, the drummer for L.A. Guns. He played their first record. That was his little studio. So what happened was GN'R was there at that studio, Nickey's Love Palace, and then Jet Boy was there. And then Nickey started up again with Tracii Guns and they started up L.A. Guns. So Nickey started getting all the prime, like, spots [?] this little one room studio. He lived there and everything.


Rehearsals at this place likely started before the Hell tour [see earlier chapter] and before Steven had solidified his standing in the band as its permanent drummer. When Beat joined LA Guns at some point in 1985, the band had to rehearse elsewhere. It is likely they moved into Gardner Studios in the late summer of 1985 (see below), which would suggest that they rehearsed at the Love Palace from early June to later in the summer.



Nickey Beat's "Love Palace"



We started rehearsing at this guy Nicky B's place. His house was by the L.A. zoo. It was a dumpy dwelling in an industrial area literally plopped in the middle of nowhere. [...] That was our rehearsal spot for a while. Then Nicky B joined Tracii Guns in his new band, L.A. Guns, and we had to find another place to jam.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 82


This is also possible the place Slash would later refer to:

It was the most disgusting apartment you could imagine, but we loved it because we could rehearse. It was in an industrial district and nobody came to complain about the noise.


Slash would later talk about them renting the rehearsal space for three hours at the time and how efficient they had to be with their time there:

[...] remember Nickey Beat? We were rehearsing at Nickey Beat's place in Silver Lake and we would have three hours booked there and a lot of the material on Appetite for Destruction came during those sessions and- [...].


Slash would also mention specifically that they worked on Welcome To The Jungle while at the Love Palace, meaning that they were rehearsing at this place at least prior to July 20 (when Welcome to The Jungle was played for the first time).

Raz Cue would also mention remembering them working on My Michelle while at the Love Palace:

I went to a couple rehearsals at Nickey's Love House [?] lockout over there at Gardner Studios. Yeah, a bunch, man. I was over there all the time, like at least every day. And like I was sitting there rehearsals [?]. It was a little space, it couldn't have been more than like 250 square feet. And I would sit right there. You know, and they didn't have a PA. So I remember like once, like, right when the song My Michelle started, I heard them playing that, and before Axl showed up and we were talking out front, I was like, "Man, I really like" - I called it their AC/DC song - it's like, "Oh, I really like that," you know, and he went and got the lyrics he showed me, I was like, "Oh, it's pretty cool man." And then when they were ready for him he went in to like working it out with them and I was right there. You know, Slash's like about, you know, a foot and a half away and Axl came up and they started playing the song and he just sang straight into my ear.


Slash would suggest that the restricted time that they had for rehearsing at the Love Palace meant they wrote they music quickly:

I swear to god, that Appetite record for the most part, at least instrumentally wise, pretty much wrote itself. I don't remember, I mean, I remember the advent of certain riffs and whatnot but it all just sort of very organically came together. It is probably one of the most unorthodox arranged records as far as the songs are concerned- [...] It wasn't like when I hear sort of certain people talk about how they really worked out these parts and had an idea for this crazy thing, we were just sort of just very spontaneously, "Okay, one guy's got a part, another guy would come up with something else." We would try and get it all together before the three hours Nickey Beat's were up.


Duff would later talk about the extensive rehearsing they did to sound good, and especially how he and Steven worked on the drums and bass:

[...] we were really dedicated musicians and songwriters and worked very hard. We rehearsed twice a day. You know, Steven and I would rehearse early in the day.

Steven and I would rehearse every day, rhythm section rehearsal and kind of hone that thing in. And then we'd rehearse as a band and we worked hard [...] So Steven and I would listen to a lot like Cameo. [...] Sly and the Family Stone. Stuff with groove, and a beat, and we'd play along with it. And I hadn't been a bass player until... I played bass in punk rock bands and I played guitar in punk rock bands and I played drums. I really had to figure out which one of those I was going to do. So I moved to LA thinking, "Well, I'll do one of these three." And so that band, you know, I went to play with Steven and Slash, I was a bass player. And then Guns started as it is, as it was. And I'm like, "Well, I'm gonna be a bass player. So how do I do that? Which base place do I emulate? What style? What am I going to be? How am I going to be different? How am I going to be this thing and get serious about it?" And back then bass players were, you know, there was Lemmy, Paul Simonon from The Clash, Nikki, Motley Crue, bass playing was a cool thing to be. There was a band called Magazine where the bass... Killing Joke, all these... like, the bass player was the thing. So like, "Let's make our rhythm section a thing." And you have also Jane's Addiction where their rhythm section was unreal. Like, "Okay, we gotta be unreal." So we'd listen to a lot of that kind of stuff and would sometimes play along to it. And then we play our songs with, like, the [?] real pocket. So you hear semblances of that sort of R&B and funk and stuff, but we made it our own thing, very rock'n'roll. But it was a lot of work, because I wasn't really a bass player.

We cultivated good tones cuz we played so much, we rehearsed so much, and just to sound good.
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04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES Empty Re: 04. 1984-1985 - THE BEGINNING OF GUNS N' ROSES

Post by Soulmonster Mon Apr 15, 2024 7:24 am

THE MUSIC SCENE OF HOLLYWOOD IN THE EIGHTIES

The music scene of Hollywood in the 80s was vibrant and much more alive than it is today - it was a reason why Duff, Axl and Izzy moved to Los Angeles to make it as musicians. It had well established bands like Van Halen, The Beach Boys and Motley Crue but maybe even more important: it had many concert venues, promoters, and record labels just waiting to host or manage the next big thing in music. It was the place to be to succeed, but this also brought thousands of aspiring musicians to the city; musicians who fought over space to hang their posters, fought over attention from the A&R reps, fought over coveted places on the weeknight bills at the biggest clubs, in various and often-changing bands and constellations.  

Back in the 1970s, a punk movement had arisen in Hollywood (as a mirror to the punk movement on the East Coast) and in the 80s parts of it was slowly transforming into a hard rock scene - or reacting to it and becoming a more vapid glam rock scene.

Hollywood, in that day-- I mean, Guns N' Roses probably came on the scene, I'd assume, around like '85 -- There was a very small contingent of people who thought bands like The New York Dolls, and even like The Clash, and Hanoi Rocks, and things like that, were cool. So those kinda people just kinda like, you know, knew each other. So that's how I ran into Izzy. It's like, you know, we all just kinda liked the same kinda music..

It always felt like a good place to be. I'd say from 1985-1990, I don't remember a greater time period for music as far as the scene that I'm in. The camaraderie that went along with the drama... the women, drugs, everything rock 'n roll is supposed to be. Our scene kind of came out of the whole, like reading interviews of Van Halen and Motley Crue, and all the bull shit that those guys said. And all the chicks were at those same interviews so they were willing to do all the things that they did. You know, the reason why there was no more scene is everybody got signed. They had to do records and the tours, so the whole scene disappeared. But it was the best time of my life, and to be associated with it now, even with the stigma that's attached to it from a bunch of other bands that kind of ruined it for one reason or another, I'm not sure exactly how it happened, it's great.

There were thousands of bands from all over the world trying to make it there on the Sunset Strip. 'Cause that's what you had to do. It was crazy. [...] it was tough. None of us had jobs, we were constantly having to find a place to sleep and something to eat. But you had nothing to lose. Everyone was going for it.

What happened was that because there was so much music happening here, there were a lot of venues and they were in all sorts of places. There were places to play in the Valley but then in Hollywood just off Sunset Boulevard there were a number of places. What you would do when you go out in the evening, you go to one place and see a band and then you move on to the next one that was really close. It was like bar hopping! But there were numerous bands in every place so you would go down to The Troubadour and then up to The Whisky and then The Roxy. It was great and people went out just to go out. Not even to go to a club, but to hang out at the Rainbow parking lot.

I saw Ratt before they made it and I saw WASP and…I mean…they´re not the biggest bands in the world, but still. Motley Crue was around. You could go see them in a club and later in the early nineties you had Warrant and those bands, but it was the same idea. A bunch of shows and a lot of girls hanging around. That´s just what you did at night. Now it's not like that. Now you have to make a special trip to go see some band and afterwards everybody leaves. Back then you'd get all dressed up and you could show up at a club and not even know who was playing, but you spent two hours getting ready.

In the 1980's, the Sunset Strip was a thriving, micro-music eco-system, teaming with glam, sleaze and punk rockers; all attempting to bait an audience, land a deal and enjoy the bounty with bacchanalian delight like their rock n' roll predecessors. […] Although club owners could always bank on a thirsty crowd for Friday and Saturday nights, they lost money during the week. Therefore, Pay-to-Play was introduced in the 1980's: an insurance policy to cover the costs of operation during down time. It required that bands slotted to play during weeknights collect a minimum cover fee by pre-selling tickets to their own gigs. […] If the band caused trouble, however, and cost the [club] owners more than they brought in, getting blacklisted was almost guaranteed. This could be achieved by trashing dressing rooms, bar fighting and assaulting patrons. If a band was banned from enough clubs, they could kiss their dream of a record contract goodbye.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

When we were in high school, bands were mainly formed by friends. There was always a drummer, because there were no lack of parents who were stupid enough to buy drum sets for their kids, The garage would end up being the rehearsal room for many budding young bands. Then there was the singer; the charismatic, cool kid. Mostly they couldn't sing for shit, but sometimes a great singer actually emerged. Then there was me, and what seemed like a million guitar players, all practicing their Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix solos. Two or three guitar players would hook up and the least talented one would be urged by the others to play bass. The band was formed, except for the name. Bands broke up before playing one gig because no one could agree on a name.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Launching a successful rock group in the early eighties required three ingredients: a dream, some talent, and die-hard ambition. The origins of Guns N' Roses can be traced to a handful of friend with similar taste in music, clothing, girls and drugs, and a collective fantasy to be the next Aerosmith, Zeppelin or Stones. Bands made their initial mark by clearing a garage, jamming cover tunes and playing underage parties. The real dream, however, required talent and skill that matched ambition, and players not up to par had to go. It wasn't personal; it was business.

For those who remained, a front-man and a few original songs were required to break out of high school keg parties and climb the Hollywood club food chain. Promiscuity ruled, as members of one band played sessions with others; everyone trying to find the right combination that could take over the Sunset Strip and land the coveted record deal. Band loyalty was achieved by growing a fan base or through the impenetrable bonds that formed while living subsistence lives together in L.A..
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

So many of the kids who were into the Sunset Strip music scene and trying to start a band were not from California. They moved here and they didn't have a background on each other and there were so many of tese hard rock, hair metal bands to select from in the early eighties. If they were sporting the same T-shirts or the same kind of stud jacket, Conch belts and service clothes, they found a way to get together. The camaraderie began with a shared interest in the genre of music that they liked and the time they spent together hanging out on the Sunset Strip and at shows. But when personality conflicts arose, off they went to start or join the next band.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

There was both an art and a hustle to promoting a club gig, especially when it came to flyering. Slash and Axl would cruise the Sunset Strip, tacking flyers up on every telephone pole an covering up their rival's flyers in the process. They gave out tickets like candy on the street to anyone who crossed their path in an attempt to raise the minimum amount to play. When they fell short, friends of the band (like Marc Canter) often stood outside the clubs on the night of the show and sold tickets one-by-one. When that failed, someone had to pony up the remaining amount or the band didn't go on. If you wanted the dream, these are the clubs you had to play.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

All the bands were coming to Hollywood. It was like the promised land, because so many bands were getting signed out of this area. People were trying each other on like wet suits in those band days. It was like, a guy would be in a band for, like, two weeks and then he’d be moving on to the next band.

You know, you had Madame Wong's, which was a Chinese restaurant. The woman who owned it loved rock music. There was Gazzari's, which is where Van Halen were discovered. A lot of bands played at the Starwood. Bands like, you know, London, Nikki Sixx's band he was in before Motley Crue. They all stood in line and mixed to get into the Rainbow and, obviously, the rock stars got in there automatically, they didn't even have to pay. They let them in because Mario, who owns the Rainbow, also owned the Whisky. He did co-own even the Roxy next door.

With the local scene in Los Angeles, this was in 1980 - no, this was, like, 1979, 1980. And, you know, at that point I was going to a lot of rock and roll festivals, I was going to the Troubadour, and to the Starwood, and to the Whiskey, and seeing a lot of punk rock bands because there was a great thing happening in L.A. L.A. is so grounded, as far as I'm concerned. Everything is very trendy in L.A. So even punk rock, as great as it was, it was very sort of fashionable and just very L.A. But there was some great bands. There was my all-time favorite L.A. punk rock band called Fear that I saw in Los Angeles. And then there was, I saw The Germs, and I saw X, and I saw a handful of other bands.

But at the same time that that was going on, you also had a sort of parallel universe of just post Van Halen metal. Like the beginning of the glam scene was happening; which, all things considered, is funny, because when Van Halen came out, I hadn't started playing guitar yet at that point, but Steven Adler and I were sort of hanging around listening to that first Van Halen record. And it was really obvious to me that all the music that I had grown up listening to had just ended at this point, and that Van Halen was something that I really wasn't - it sounded great, but I just wasn't really into the whole sort of image of it. And that was really the precursor for L.A. glam. I mean, there's no other artist I can think of that had a bigger influence on that whole sort of ‘80s explosion than Van Halen. And it's true, it just ended everything from the ‘70s and before, and it all started with that record and then it all went forward from there. So yeah, in L.A. there was this early sort of glam scene. I think one of the bands I saw at the Starwood at that time was Nikki Sixx's band London, which was very, very glam, you know, but they were good.

And so yeah, there was the punk rock scene and the hair metal scene that was just beginning. And the punk rock scene died out and turned into new wave, so I remember seeing the fucking Go-Go's. But I wasn't really into that whole scene, although I saw The Knack, I saw a lot of different bands that were happening all the time, but what was really happening was the development of this glam metal scene. So all in all, I pretty much hated everything in Los Angeles when that was happening (laughs). But at least it was happening and it was exciting, because there was so much energy. It was such a scene, it was so… everybody was so passionate about it, it was so vibrant that looking back on it, it was still a really fun time. As much as I might have hated it at that time, there's nothing like that going on in L.A. at the moment.
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