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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.

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04. BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES

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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:11 am

MARCH 1984?
"AXL" BECOMES "ROSE"


According to Chris Weber, after a couple of shows under the moniker AXL, Izzy and Axl got in an argument. Some days later Izzy and Axl wanted to play again but Izzy insisted they changed the name of the band to Rose:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Siler would also say that the band Rose was formed while she and Axl lived together in Whitley Avenue [Spin, September 1991], which, if true, must mean that Rose was formed between December 1982 and May 1983. Since Rose (and Hollywood Rose) came after Rapidfire, it must mean that Axl was in Rapidfire some time before December 1982 or May 1983. It is likely not correct that Rose was formed that early, since we knew AXL, who came before, played its first show in January 1984 [see earlier chapter].

Marc Canterputs the date of Rose to January 1984 [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], but it is possible Canter mistakes this with the band AXL who had their first show at the Orphanage on January 3, 1984 [see earlier chapter].

Axl would describe his first professional show as a singer, at Gazzarri's, and likely while playing in Rose:

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




Izzy, Weber, Axl



Talking about who wrote their music:

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


And talking about their influences:

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


And the band's looks:

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:11 am

EARLY 1984
IZZY MEETS SLASH AND SLASH GETS TO HEAR AXL FOR THE FIRST TIME


In early 1984 Izzy would meet Slash when looking up the artist of an Aerosmith drawing that had been floating around the town; the artist was Slash [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

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

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


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

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

That’s how we met and [Izzy] played me a tape of his band later that night. It was really ratty, with a tiny voice in the background screaming at the top of its lungs. But it was in key so I was interested. He told me the name of the band was Hollywood Rose…
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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:11 am

SPRING 1984
"ROSE" TRANSFORMS INTO "HOLLYWOOD ROSE"


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[…]

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


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

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


Kreis would later say he was invited to play drums for Hollywood Rose by Izzy who knew Kreis from the Shire:

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

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


According to this quote, Kreis got in the band when they needed a drummer for recording their demo:

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


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

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


The band would record another demo with five songs, "Shadow of Your Love", "Reckless Life", "Anything Goes", "Killing Time" and "Rocker." These songs would in 2004 be released on the album "The Roots of Guns N' Roses" [see later chapter].

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

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

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

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

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

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


Kreis would also be asked if the band partied much:

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


Weber would talk about their live shows and early songs:

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


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

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


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

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




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



Weber would later summarize the story of Hollywood Rose:

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:11 am

FEBRUARY 23, 1984
STEVEN AND SLASH GO TO SEE "HOLLYWOOD ROSE"


After having heard the Hollywood Rose demo from Izzy, Slash and Steven went to see Hollywood Rose play at the Gazzarri's [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]:

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

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

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

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

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


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

At some point, Slash also tried to "steal" Axl for Roadcrew, but it "didn't quite work out like that" [Kerrang! March 1989].

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

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:12 am

JUNE 1984
SLASH AND STEVEN JOIN "HOLLYWOOD ROSE"


MAY 10, 1984: WEBER LEAVES HOLLYWOOD ROSE


On May 10, 1984, Chris Weber and Axl had a fall-out:

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

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


Stryper played a show at the Music Machine on May 10, 1984, and this is likely when the incident from Weber's quote above took place.


SLASH GETS A SHOT AT REPLACING WEBER


With one guitarist short, Axl and Izzy put out an advertisement looking for a new lead guitar player which caught the attention of Slash.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Slash had another opportunity to talk with Axl:

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


Vicky Hamilton's recollection of when Axl met Slash for the first time differs from Canter's. According to Hamilton, they met later when Slash was playing in The Black Sheep and it was she who introduced them to each other:

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

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


This must be wrong since Slash played in Black Sheep in April-May 1985 and we know Slash played in Hollywood Rose before that.


SLASH GETS A SECOND CHANCE


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

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

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

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


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

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



APPARENTLY, STEVEN JOINED, TOO


Steven joined together with Slash:

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


This was possibly when Axl started calling Steven "Popcorn":

When you play you pop up and down like pop­corn.



THE AXL, SLASH, IZZY, STEVEN, DARROW LINEUP


The lineup of Hollywood Rose was now Axl, Slash, Izzy Steven and Darrow [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. Steven Darrow would describe the new lineup:

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

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


And describe how he got into the band:

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


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

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:12 am

JUNE 1984
IZZY LEAVES HOLLYWOOD ROSE


Izzy left after about a week:

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

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



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

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

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


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

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


According to Darrow, Izzy also had a problem with Steven's double bass drums [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. Marc Canter would provide another explanation for why Izzy left: Disagreements with Axl over whether the riff for the song 'Cold Hard Cash' should be kept or not [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:12 am

JUNE 1984
THE "NEW HOLLYWOOD ROSE"


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

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


This lineup of Hollywood Rose, billed as New Hollywood Rose, played their first show on June 16, 1984 at Madame Wong's West [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This was likely the first show were Slash got paid [Snakepit.org, July 2000]. Another show with this lineup took place on July 10, 1984 at the Troubadour. According to Marc Canter, Axl broke a glass against the back wall and was told they would never play the Troubadour again. Fortunately, Darrow knew the booking agent for the band Poison and was able to get Hollywood Rose back on the bill at the Troubadour for a show on August 29 [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].


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AXL AND SLASH'S RELATIONSHIP IN THE VERY EARLY DAYS


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

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

Anyhow, but it started off cool and I liked Axl… he came and stayed at my house but then the yin and yang of Axl’s personality started to present itself. One minute he was really, really cool and somebody that I liked a lot. You could spend almost two days with him like that. Then the smallest little thing would turn around and change his personality completely. I’m pretty even keeled; nothing really phases me. I’m probably like that to the extent that some people don’t understand how I can be so fuckin’ blasé about things [laughs]. So we had a real contrast going on, but the music was cool. When we had a good time, we had a great fucking time. But when it was bad, I couldn’t understand the origins of some of these issues and why they would be blown out of proportion to the extent that they were. To him, it meant everything. But to me, I could just never understand it.
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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:12 am

AUGUST 29, 1984
SLASH QUITS "HOLLYWOOD ROSE"


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

With Slash out the band, Hollywood Rose was practically over. Axl would join LA Guns [see later chapter].


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


But Chris Weber wasn't entirely finished in Hollywood Rose:

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.”


This show had been booked by Izzy after he quit London [see later 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.

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 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.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:13 am

SEPTEMBER 1984
DUFF MOVES TO LOS ANGELES


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

Duff had considered moving to New York, too:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Talking about his decision to go to Los Angeles:

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

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

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

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


Duff immediately got a job working at Black Angus [Circus Magazine, November 1991; Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992]. Before making it as a musician, Duff worked as a cook [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].

___________________________
TO BE MOVED:

Duff describing himself in late 1988:

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:13 am

SEPTEMBER 1984
DUFF JOINS "ROADCREW" WITH SLASH AND STEVEN


After having quit New Hollywood Rose, Slash was back in Roadcrew. The band needed a new bassist, and after placing an ad in the local paper Recycler [Circus Magazine, November 1991], they met with Duff McKagan at Canter's Deli [Kerrang! March 1989]. Duff had just arrived in Los Angeles from Seattle [see previous chapter] either the same week [Guitar for the Practising Musician in April 1992], a week later [Circus Magazine, November 1991] or just a few weeks before [Kerrang! March, 1989].

The ad said something like: "Guitar player looking for bass player: Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Dolls, Led Zeppelin and Fear. Call Slash" [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992]. They met at Canter's Deli [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Note: It is not likely they played 'Back Off Bitch' since this is a Hollywood Rose song.

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

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


Slash would later talk about playing with Duff:

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


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:13 am

OCTOBER 1984
IZZY AND "LONDON"


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

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

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

Grey talking about Izzy and London:

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


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

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


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

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


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

Izzy quit London after the Troubadour show. Because he didn’t want to be associated with that.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:13 am

1984
SLASH AUDITIONS FOR "POISON"


But Slash didn't want to stay in Hollywood Rose, and in the fall of 1984 he was looking for another band to join. He then auditioned for the band Poison [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


Looking back at the audition:

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

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

They were making a covers record when we were at Hansen [studios] doing Libertad, and I would leave out the back door. Because they were recording in the main studio right at the front door, I’d come and go out the back door. It’s not like I have anything against those guys, and we’re amicable and everything, but God I didn’t want to have to say, hey, and the whole bullshit of how are you doing...
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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:13 am

OCTOBER 1984
AXL AND "LA GUNS"


TRACII GUNS


Tracii Guns, born Tracy Richard Irving Ulrich on January 20, 1966, grew up in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

One of Tracii's first bands was Pyrrhus together with the drummer Rob Gardner [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 110]. Ole Beich would later join Pyrrhus as their bass player [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 133].

I met Tracii in electronics class at Fairfax High soon after I moved to L.A. I grew up in Westchester, New York, and I went to school with Matt Dillon—we lived down the street from his family. Then I was new at Fairfax, but Tracii and I got to talking and then we started playing together.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021




Pyrrhus, 1983; Mike Jagosz, Dani Tull, Rob Schneider, Tracy Ulrich
By N/A - weheartit, PD-US



Tracii got his name "Guns" from a girl who used to call him Mr. Guns:

So the next step was changing the name of the band from Pyrrhus to L.A. Guns. I loved the name Hollywood Rose, you know? And I had this girlfriend, Dina, who would call me Mr. Guns all the time. And then my friends started calling me Mr. Guns. And so I became Tracii Guns.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


Axl would suggest it had been his idea:

Earlier I had gotten Tracii to use the name Guns (as he had mentioned a girl had called him Mr. Guns sometime) so he’d stop calling his band Persian Rose. So I guess we have the girl to thank [for "Guns N' Roses"].



LA GUNS


Tracii left Pyrrhus to form a new band, L.A. Guns, together with Ole and later Rob Gardner [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 142-150].

Tracii’s dad had a plumbing shop over in the Valley, so we used to go over there and play after the shop closed. And then we’d also play at my house. We started writing songs, just me and him, and then we added a bass player.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


Dani Tull was recruited to play bass and Mike Jagoz to sing:

The bass player was my friend Dani Tull, who also went to Fairfax, and then we got Mike Jagosz, who somehow Rob Gardner knew, to sing. We would ditch school and go to Mike Jagosz’s house and play Risk and then rehearse and try to not get caught for ditching school.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

Mike had a garage that was soundproofed. And his brother, Dave Jagosz, had a band called Shire that would play in there, and then we would play in there, too.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


At some point Tull was replaced with Ole Beich.

Mike Jargos was then either jailed or fired:

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.

My manager, this guy Raz, fired our singer Mike Jagosz because he was being a dummy or something. 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.


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 after some hesitation, did Axl join L.A. Guns, becoming the band's singer. 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].

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].

Already at L.A. Guns' first show at the Troubadour at October 5, 1984, did they play 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. At this gig, LA Guns opened for Izzy's band, London.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:14 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.

Both Duff, Slash and Marc Canter was present at this show:

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.



D'Priest showing 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, and instead claim D'Priest had detuned his guitars:

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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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:14 am

OCTOBER 1984
AXL QUITS OR IS FIRED FROM "LA GUNS"


LA Guns did not work out for Axl.

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

[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.


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


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].

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.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:14 am

EARLY 1985?
DUFF AND STEVEN QUIT "ROADCREW"


But Road Crew was not a success and Duff would quit after just 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.


One of their 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 Roadcrew.

According to Slash, he and Steven had a falling out before Duff left Roadcrew, 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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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 15, 2021 8:14 am

MAY 1985
SLASH JOINS "BLACK SHEEP"


In May 1985, Slash joined the band Black Sheep, fronted by Willie Basse [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. 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.

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.
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