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06. JANUARY-DECEMBER 1986 - GETTING SIGNED

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06. JANUARY-DECEMBER 1986 - GETTING SIGNED - Page 2 Empty Re: 06. JANUARY-DECEMBER 1986 - GETTING SIGNED

Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:40 pm

JULY-OCTOBER 1986
THE BAND MAKES AN EP


In the summer of 1986 the band was struggling to find a producer for their upcoming debut album [see separate sections] [L.A. Rocks, August 1986]. To do something the band and label decided to release a limited edition "bootleg" album. This served a two-fold purpose, it kept the band occupied while they could write and rehearse, and it would help create an underground following. The work on this record started in the late summer of 1986.

The band's newsletter from July 1986 would describe this as an "independently released" limited album with the title "Guns N' Roses Bootleg Album", and that it would be released within the month [Guns N' Roses Newsletter No. 5, July 1986]. This did not happen.

Axl would also mention the upcoming release from the stage on July 11:

I wanna take a minute to tell you about something we're doing. We wanna tell you about this Geffen thing. We wanna thank you for making that happen. But, it's gonna be a long time before we are able to put this album out. We haven't been able to really give anybody here a god damn thing, so we're putting out our own album before the Geffen Album. It's gonna be on our own label, Uzi Suicide records. It's gonna have a few originals and a lot of the covers that we do, since they might not be on a later project. So some of you could get your hands on it. It's gonna be a limited edition, but I thought you might like to know that.


In August it would be described as a limited edition "bootleg" titled 'Live! Like a Suicide" [L.A. Rocks, August 1986].

In the end the band would use recordings from the Spencer Proffer sessions [see later chapter] for the upcoming release, and on October 31 Axl would mention that the EP was mastered:

But I'd like to tell you guys that this fucking thing that we keep promising you guys, this EP, we just had it mastered today. The artwork is done. We got to print it and package it. It will be out in a couple of weeks.
The Troubadour, July 11, 1986; from Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:41 pm

JULY 21, 1986
SLASH AND IZZY ARRIVES LATE TO THE BOGART'S


Then followed a show at Bogart's on July 21 where both Slash and Izzy arrived late [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].


Ad in Los Angeles Times
July 20, 1986
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:41 pm

JULY 24, 1986
CLUB LINGERIE; AXL QUITS AND IS FIRED


Their next show was at the Club Lingerie gig on July 24. According to Marc Canter, Axl quit the band the afternoon on the day of the show, and was fired, too, "for good measure," but by show time the band was together [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Brendan Mullen, who owned the club the Masque, would claim Axl arrived very late for this show:

I booked GN'R at Club Lingerie. It was a chance-of-a-lifetime gig. The band set up and did a sound-check. No Axl. The band was freaking. Then, ten minutes before set time, he strolled in. They signed with Geffen immediately after..


Already in L.A. Rocks the next month, the band would discuss the fight they had gone through:

[…] we didn’t break up, we just had a long talk; sorted out a lot of shit.

There was a conflict of a lot of things and a lot of disagreements at the time of that show. I thought it was one of the worst shows we ever played. But the next day, we had to have it out. A lot of things went to our heads because this is all new to us. If we did break up, who else are we going to play with that we really value as much as we value each other. […] After the Lingerie show, it was like starting over again. Most of us have worked together off and on. For over 3 years, we’ve exploded on each other many times, and we always come back.


Slash would later reveal that the fight had been between him and Axl and that it had been serious:

Axl and I had a fight and we were just about to break up and the only reason we did this show was because Tom Zutaut managed to get us all on stage. I stood facing my amp the whole time. I don't know how Tom managed to coral us back together to do this gig.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


During the show Axl would again thank Tom Zutaut, and now mention that he had been "helping [Axl] get through the fucking day" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007], likely referring to the band problems and Zutaut calming the waters .

At the show, Axl would also send a shout out to Dizzy Reed who had just suffered injuries in a car wreck [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:42 pm

JULY 31, 1986
AXL IS LATE TO THE TIMBER'S BALLROOM


But then, just a week later, at Timber's Ballroom in July 31 (Duff claims this happened at a Fender's Ballroom gig on March 31.), it was Axl who turned up so late the band had to start without him. The band had been threatened that if they didn't start playing they wouldn't get paid [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

I don't know if it was part of a brilliant strategy, but Axl often arrived at the club far past his band's scheduled start, mere minutes before the following band's scheduled timeslot. Guns N' Roses would then only have the okay to play for ten minutes, so they'd rip through three or four "we're all super pissed off," powerful, in-your-face tunes to whip the amassed crowd into a frenzy. Then it was over. The fans needed more, much more. And they would get it if they went to the next show.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 230

In hindsight, we might have seen the seeds of later trouble being sown at this show: Axl turned up so late we had to start without him.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 119



Ad in L.A. Weekly, July 25, 1986
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:42 pm

AUGUST-OCTOBER 1986
SPENCER PROFFER AND THE PASHA STUDIOS DEMOS


After the summer of 1986 Geffen hired Spencer Proffer to help produce the next record [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108], or at least to record a demo as a test to see if the band wanted his as their producer for the record [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road, 2007]. Proffer had a talent for "fashioning a great sound" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

I was the only guy that actually got further than the audition phase to where we actually had a contract and I made a deal to produce the whole album. […] I thought the music was cool. It had great attitude, it had great spirit, it had great energy and I smelled that it would make a major socio-cultural impact based on the fresh approach of taking the metal genre and infusing it with a lot of unique lyrical and musical elements. They had the shit that makes great rock n' roll. Axl is a great performer. Slash is a first-rate guitar player.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


They worked with Proffer at his own studio, Pasha Studios [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108], right next to Paramount Studios near Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Before starting, the band made a mix-tape of their influences which was handed over to Proffer. The tape was called "Spencer's Easy Listening" and was meant to help him in creating the sound the band was looking for [RAW Magazine, May 1989]. The work with Proffer took no more than "two or three days" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109].

According to Proffer, they worked together for a month:

We went into Pasha Studios, worked on pre-production for about a month and we started making the record. We zeroed in on four or five songs that we started arranging. I worked with them in a rehearsal studio on constructing the arrangements, the breakdowns and the vocal approaches.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

[…] Spencer adjusted to their idiosyncrasies when it came to showing up late for call times or intoxicated recording sessions.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


In May 1987, it was said in an interview that they had argued "profusely" with Proffer, and "forcing him to leave the project"[RIP Magazine, May 1987], which suggests why Proffer was not used as the producer for Appetite for Destruction.

Proffer would shed some light on what happened:

About the time we were in the studio doing overdubs on the tracks, after we had the arrangements laid out, my wife at the time was expecting our first child. The baby was late and we set up a Caesarean section on a specific day. The band would come to the studio everyday late, drunk, stoned or somehow fucked up, one way or another. I called a band meeting a couple of days early, knowing that there would be a Caesarean and that I wanted to be at the hospital spending them time with my family. I didn't want to abrogate my responsibility to work with the band, so I said to them, "would you, on the day of the birth, show up on time? Come to the studio at noon and I'll work with you for five hours, then I'm leaving to go to the hospital to spend the evening with my newborn son. " They, of course, swore that they would. On that day, the hours passed and they didn't show. Close to five o'clock, they show up collectively. Slash came in and he couldn't wait to get to the bathroom, so he took his stick out and pissed on the wall of the studio. Axl went into the control room and he threw up on the control board and asked if I wanted to go party with him. When I refused, he told me to get fucked, forget fatherhood, and that if I left, I was an asshole. He said either work with Guns N' Roses and rock, or be a dad, but I couldn't do both. I told him to get fucked. I told them to never show up at my studio again, I walked out and called the Geffen people the next morning and told them I as out.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


This is a strong accusation from Proffer and Slash would imply that it didn't happen like this:

I can't recall any of that. […] The songs didn't sound better than demo quality, so we didn't achieve record quality yet. We were trying to check him out and get a certain sound out of him and we moved on because we thought he didn't capture it. We didn't think that the stuff we recorded was album quality. If he thinks he fired us, I think that's bullshit. Or else, I didn't know abut it and Tom didn't tell us. That's a possibility.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Canter would confirm there had been a fight between Axl and Proffer, but not go in details, and confirm that regardless of Proffer's problems with the band, the band was not happy with the results of the collaboration:

Spencer attributes their sudden end to a confrontational moment with Axl, but for the band, Spencer's treatment of their material wasn't to their liking. They completed the Pasha demos and Tom [Zutaut] was again on the hunt for a new producer.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Despite this, Steven would later claim he loved working with Proffer [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108-109].

Although the songs were considered good enough for their debut LP, songs from the sessions with Proffer would end up on the band's forthcoming EP.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:45 pm

AUGUST 15 AND 22, 1986
THE SCREAM AND SLASH WEARS A TOP HAT AT THE WHISKY


The next two shows for the band were at The Scream on August 15 and at the Whisky A Go Go on August 23. They had been scheduled to play a show in Orange County on August 16, too, but "cancelled at the last minute because the gig was so far away" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

For the August 23 show at the Whisky, the band debuted 'Sweet Child O' Mine', "Mr. Brownstone' and 'Ain't Going Down' [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This was also the first show where Slash wore his famous top hat:

This is the show where I first wore a top hat and I'll never forget it. I got the top hat that day. I was really high and the hat was great because it could help me balance.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007



Whisky A Go-Go, August 23, 1986


Before playing 'Mr. Brownstone,' Axl would warn about the dangers of heroin, saying, "I think you should stay the fuck away from that bad shit" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. At the time, both Slash and Izzy had a heroin dependency that affected the band.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:45 pm

DUFF, THE KING OF BEERS


Duff was no virgin as far as drugs went. Back in Seattle he had experimented with speed, cocaine, LSD in sixth grade and mushrooms, but quit due to increasing panic attacks which he feared might be drug-induced [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011]. He had also "smoked pot by Grade 4 and snorted cocaine by Grade 7" [Music West by 3-D, 1997].

But alcohol quickly became Duff's demon.

My old man gave me some whiskey when I was real little. It was a Hawaiian whiskey, and it had this long Hawaiian name, and he said, “Take a swig and pronounce the name.” And after about four swigs I couldn’t pronounce the name because I was too drunk. That’s a true story.

[Duff] can’t survive without a drink first thing in the morning.


According to himself, not long after being signed to Geffen Records in March 1986, Duff was an alcoholic and Axl renamed him "Duff, the King of Beers McKagan [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 116].

Duff tried crack cocaine for the first time in February 1986 when he and Slash were with Robert John to go through photographs [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 108].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:46 pm

AUGUST 30, 1986
THE BAND OUTSHINES NUGENT AT THE SANTA MONICA CIVIC CENTER


The band was gaining in popularity and played increasingly high-status gigs, the first was with Ted Nugent on the Santa Monica Civic Center on August 30. Before this show, Slash and Izzy had accompanied the band Jetboy to San Francisco and when they returned to Los Angeles they were late to the gig because they needed to score dope:

We came back from a trip to San Francisco, got back to our apartment and we couldn't get any dope. Danny Biral stole all my smack, but he didn't tell us and so we searched the house. We tore it to pieces looking for it, then we got really sick and our dealer wouldn't call us back. We were freaking out. So, we're getting sicker and sicker and finally one of Desi's girlfriends found some smack. She drove us down to Izzy's old apartment where this girl was staying, and we waited around until the smack showed up. We do it really quick, jump in this car and fly across town. We get to the gig and my zipper broke as we were jumping over the fence to get into the auditorium. We got there five seconds before we were supposed to walk on. Not making it would have been the worst thing because it was the biggest gig we ever did. That was a scary moment.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


The show was a big success with Axl claiming that Ted Nugent tried to turn their sound down because they were rocking so hard, and also that he hit on Erin [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. L.A. Weekly said of the band, "These bangers have the chops; now, if they can only ditch some of the bombas and hollow histrionics that reduced a potentially great set to only marginal acceptability" [L.A. Weekly, September 12, 1986].


Review in L.A. Weekly, September 12, 1986



1991: NUGENT ATTACKS AXL


After the St. Louis riot in 1991, when Axl had attacked a fan that took photographs of him during the concert, Nugent would slam Axl, possibly in retaliation:

If I was as ugly as Axl Rose, I’d be pissed off about cameras going off in my face. But seeing as I’m handsome to the point of embarrassment, you better bring your cameras while you can! The Damn Yankees are damn photogenic! Not only that, you’re not supposed to take photos of an axle, you're supposed to grease it.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:46 pm

SLASH AND HEROIN


Slash's father was an alcoholic [Musician, December 1988] and Slash picked up the habit, too and he would later agree to having an addictive personality [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. In an iterview in 1995, he would talk about selling quaaludes when he was 14 [Musician Magazine, March 1995]. In a later interview he would talk about selling quaaludes outside at The Fear shows in Los Angeles [Kerrang! 1996].

Later, Slash would claim he started with drugs because of a girl:

I never did it in the first place to be cool, I got pulled into it by some chick.


According to Axl, Slash trashed two rented vans while intoxicated, something that would be commented on in the thank yous on the Appetite for Destruction sleeve [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987]. Drunk driving was also a habit Slash would admit to [Kerrang! December 1988].

You get warned that when you go on the road, people will try and push shit on you – drugs and booze. In this instance we’re going to push it on them. Me and Duff have been on this drinking phase for about two years. When we get up in the afternoon to do a soundcheck, we drink so much that we can’t play, because our hands are shaking like windmills. So what happens? We drink! We drink more and more, and then we’re fine, and we wake up the next day with some floosie, and you don’t know her name, and you’ve got fucking weird shit on your dick, and your bed’s all wet from pissing in it, and you go, “listen, will you do me a favour and find me some booze and some pizza?


Slash started using heroin soon after Guns N' Roses was formed [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 95]. Raz Cue would note that Slash used heroin not long after the band had signed with Geffen in March 1986 [Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 238]. Slash himself would confirm that he started soon after joining GN'R:

I started [with heroin] sometime during the very beginnings of the band. I got turned on to it, and that was the beginning of the end, I guess. The first time I did it, I smoked it, and then I snorted it once. But the first time I really got high, I shot. I was that kind of junkie — snorting it wasn’t enough and smoking it wasn’t enough. Anyway, it’s one of those drugs where it’s a great high and you love being on it, and it really fucks your life up. It’s unfortunate that something as fucking menial as a little pile of powder can do that, but it does happen.


It is possible that Slash would refer to this period some time in 1986-1987 in the Rolling Stone interview in November 1988:

There was a point where I fuckin' stopped playing guitar and didn't even talk to my band except for Izzy, 'cause we were both doing it. I didn't come out of the apartment for three months, except to go to the market. The one thing that really stopped me was a phone call from Duff saying, 'You've alienated yourself from everybody.' Since they're the only people I'm really close to, that really affected me, and I finally quit.


The band's song 'Mr. Brownstone' was written by Izzy and Slash while high on heroin, in fact right after Slash had suffered an overdose. Desi Craft would describe how it happened:

One time, Slash came to our place on Orchid with a lump of Mexican tar heroin and he wanted to cook it all up. Izzy and I told him to just do a little bit because there was this death tar going around. He said it was okay and shot up. Well, he pretty much went rigor mortis in the chair and we got him on the floor. I gave him mouth-to-mouth and I remember him going "Is this death or is this an angel I'm seeing?", because he was so out of it. Right after that we wrote "Mr. Brownstone."
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


When the band started playing 'Mr. Brownstone' in August 1986, Axl would warn about the dangers of heroin. On August 23, at the Whisky, he said, "I think you should stay the fuck away from that bad shit" [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. At the time, both Slash and Izzy had a heroin dependency that affected the band. On this very gig Axl had acquired his signature top hat and would refer to being really high at the show but that the top hat helped his balance [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. It is likely Axl was frustrated by their addiction and that he indirectly stated this from the stage.

As mentioned above, Slash's problems got so bad he decided to sober up, and this happened before they released 'Appetite' and went on tour:

And the drug thing is like, we’re not stupid, you know? I’ve never let anything get in the way of my career as far as playing goes. So when I did have my serious bout with drugs, I quit before it really screwed me up. And, well, I’m lucky I did it at a time when we were, like, sort of dormant, you know, after having the record deal and going through producers. There was a lot of time that I just sat around and indulged in, you know, whatever. […] [Quitting drugs] was hard, you know. It was hard, but... you know.

Being an impatient sort of workaholic type, before the band went on the road and before the record came out, we had our problems. Then I cleaned up […].


Axl likely refer to Slash cleaning up in the quote below and indicate that Slash left Los Angeles to accomplish it:

A lot of people just could not break their heroin habits, and a lot of them had to leave California altogether to break their drug habits.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:47 pm

SEPTEMBER 13 AND 20, 1986
MUSIC MACHINE AND THE LA STREET SCENE FESTIVAL


On September 5, Axl and Zutaut attended the MTV Music Awards show [L.A. Weekly, September 12, 1986].

The next show was at the Music Machine on September 13.


Poster for the Music Machine show on September 13, 1986


Then the band returned to the LA Street Scene Festival on September 20:

LA Street Scene was a blast.

After a long day of other bands playing, we got onstage and started playing, and the kids took that as the signal to just lose it. It was cool, we had all these skinheads throwing oil barrels and playing catch with them, tossing them across the crowd. They were tearing the stage from underneath and all kinds of stuff. After the fourth song, we had so many people onstage we didn't know who was the band or what. Well, the fire marshal shut us down, that was it. The fans, or whoever they were, were really cool. I go in for that shit. That's my big kick - the more hardcore, the more I get off on it.

We were scheduled to open for Poison, who were headlining one of the bigger stages. It was going to be our biggest high-profile gig to date, and we were ready to blow Poison off the stage. In the end we didn't even have to: we got up there and played, and everybody went nuts, climbing the scaffolding and pushing the stage to and fro in excitement. By the time we were done, the fire marshals decided to close the place down. I remember seeing Poison roll up in all their glitter, ready to go on but unable to. I was quite pleased to see them all dressed up with no stage to play.
Slash's autobiography, page 128-129

We played the Los Angeles “Street Scene” concert for 5,000 people in downtown L.A. We only got to do 4 songs before the crowd went crazy on us. […] We did a song called They’re Out To Get Me and the kids started throwing 60-gallon oil drums at the cops. The crowd went fuckin’ bananas. All these kids – punk rockers, heavy metal kids, everyone – just going nuts. If I could have said, “Tear up downtown!” all of downtown L.A. would have been rubble! But the fire marshals made us stop playing ‘cause all those oil drums were spilling liquid into the electrical system and we were gonna get fried if we stayed onstage. That would have been really heavy!

They knocked the place down and they were climbing up onstage.



The band at LA Street Scene Festival, 1986


-------------------------------------------------

Move to later section:

At some point in time Geffen held a party likely in honor of Peter Gabriel and his hit single "Sledgehammer" (likely late 1986 or early 1987). Slash had an interview earlier in the afternoon (and got so drunk he peed on his pants), and when he came to the party and was given a real sledgehammer (like a commemorative item), he went out in the parking lot and, for unknown reasons, proceeded to throw it through one of the Geffen windows. Unfortunately, he threw it through the windows of an adjacent building belonging to someone else [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:47 pm

GUNS N' ROSES AND POISON


I want to dedicate this song to the band Poison. This is called "Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N' Roll."
The Troubadour, September 20, 1985; retold in Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

_________________________________________________________

One of the main competitors on the rock scene in Hollywood when Guns N' Roses was starting out was the band Poison who was well established in the flourishing L.A. glam rock scene.. As Jeanna Barsamian, booker at the club Troubadour would say about them in early 1986, "They're the top drawing (club) band in L.A. When they play people pour in to see them" [Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1986].

Poison was about escaping reality. As Bob Dalli, bassist in Poison, would say, "We dress up to give you your money's worth" and "Poison does not have a political message to give to anyone. […] Everything we do is about day-to-day life. We’re entertainment, pure escapism. We’re here to make you forget about your problems, forget about Monday through Friday [Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1986].

Guns N' Roses also started out with one foot in the glam scene [Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1986] and would wear make-up and typical glam clothes for their first shows. Chris Weber, who played with Izzy and Axl in Hollywood Rose before Guns N' Roses would claim they revived the glam scene in Hollywood:

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


Slash would talk about how important the image was to the early Guns N' Roses:

It’s 75 percent music and 75 percent image. No matter what the music is, the kids need to have something visual to relate to. They need to look up and see someone who’s definitely ... having a good time. They need to feel a relationship with your attitude, something they can stand behind so they don’t feel alienated.


But in contrast to Poison, Guns N' Roses was dead serious in their music and used the music as a vehicle to describe the nitty gritty reality of the streets on which they lived. The band would also soon drop the glam outfits and instead go for a more punk and hard rock style. In subsequent interviews they would emphasize the differences between them and bands like Poison who they considered to be posers first and musicians second.

In LA there’s a million people who think they’re musicians and only a few who are.

[Talking about dressing up before shows]: Like Poison, sure. I just can't do that, it's so fake and it's really asinine to me, you know. There's no real rock and roll attitude in a lot of things I see today, and I'm not trying to say we're better and this and that, just I know we have the right attitude.


The animosity between GN'R and Poison would go back to when the bands used to open up for each other in the bands early days. Slash would recount being pissed at poison guitarist CC DeVille (the man who competed with Slash for the Poison lead guitar spot before Slash joined Guns N' Roses) because he allegedly had started to copy Slash's gimmick of wearing a top hat:

Some nights [Poison]'d come on first, some nights we would. It really didn't matter which one of us came on first, neither of us had a really big following yet. A lot of people would just come down to the club to see what was going on and then split. […] Anyway, every time those assholes played first, Bret Michaels would end their set by announcing that Poison were having a big party somewhere, and everybody was invited, but those who wanted to go would have to come now because the band bus was leaving in 15 minutes! […] And man, the people who frequent the sort of dives we were playing in those days didn't need to be asked twice to go to some party somewhere, and within minutes the f**kin' club would be empty! We'd come on and play to half a dozen no-hopers who couldn't get it up in time to leave when everybody else did . . . I tell ya, they were always into pulling sneaky, shitty little stunts like that. Full of dirty tricks. And that kind of attitude sucks, man . . . I think it's because they're insecure about their talent. And then some time after that, when we both started getting some attention, I couldn't believe it when that CC DeVille started wearing a top hat onstage! Listen, I'm not saying I was the first rock and roller ever to wear a top hat onstage. But look, man, CC's the kind of guy who probably didn't even know what a top hat looked like until he saw me wearing one...  You know, I caught up with him one night in the Rainbow, and I just told him quietly, 'If I ever see you wearing a top hat onstage again, I'm gonna shoot you!' I tell ya, he freaked, man! [laughter]. And I mean, I don't own a gun ... wouldn't know how to use one if I did. And I'm really not a violent guy at all. I just felt something had to be said to that f**ker ... Sometimes, you gotta draw the line for people.


Duff would confirm that Poison "fucked [them] over on the LA scene" in the band's early days [Hit Parader, October 1988].

This would contribute to GN'R repeatedly taking potshots at Poison in interviews and articles.

We don't want to associate ourselves with glam and the main reason, is because that's what Poison associates themselves with. I've told those guys personally that they can lock me in a room with all of them and I'll be the only one who walks out! They used to come to our shows before they ever played a gig. Everybody copying them? Sorry I don't see it. Poison came out in an article saying they started glam - I don't know where they were in the '70s [laughs]. The only reason I put my hair up is because Izzy had these pictures of Hanoi Rocks and they were cool, and because we hung out with this guy who studied Vogue magazine hairstyles and was really into doing hair....

[…] we're not filling anybody's shoes, so to speak. We're not trying to get live radio play, we're not trying to… to… We're not trying to be like Poison, you know. We're not trying to sacrifice ourselves to the media or anything.


Axl would be dismayed by the influence Poison had on the LA music scene:

Poison fucked it up for all of us. They said that everyone in LA was following their trend.


In particular the animosity between Slash and DeVille would be strong:

CC from Poison came up to me the other day like he was like my last best friend in the whole world, and came to me shake my hand I told him to get the hell out of my face [laughs].


The sniping back and forth between the bands would eventually escalate to two members of Poison pouring alcohol (champagne, according to BAM Magazine), on Geffen publicist Bryn Bridenthal [BAM Magazine, November 1987; Rolling Stone, November 11, 1988], allegedly because they felt she was showing favoritism to GN'R [Juke Magazine, July 15, 1989]. According to Bridenthal, she would then have to plea with Slash and Axl to not fight the Poison members [Juke Magazine, July 15, 1989]. This incident led to a civil lawsuit between either Geffen, Bridenthal or GN'R and Poison [BAM Magazine, November 1987; Rolling Stone, November 11, 1988] which would be settled out of court [RAW, March 7, 1989].

Well, I won't slag [Poison], though I'd like to. [...] The epitome of Los Angeles is Poison, and what's wrong with Los Angeles. Okay? Enough said.


By early 1988 it seems the squabbling between the two bands were over:

Let me tell you, the feud between us and Poison isn’t even a feud. It’s just a situation that happened between me and one of their band members, and it was nothing so serious that had to turn into this full-blown type of ordeal. It held no bearing on the rest of the guys in the band.

I don’t have anything against the entire band enough for them to go and cause a major problem with the lady from our record company, and I haven’t said anything else in the press about it. It’s not been such a major concern that it’s on my mind, and if they want to take it that far, they can, but the only thing I have to say is that I thought it was in really bad taste.

If they really wanted to make a point about it, they could have come to me, or they could have come to the rest of the band, who, in turn, would have talked to me about it. I don’t want to start a fight with them. I don’t want to try to beat them up. I don’t want to do anything like that. All I can say is that something was blown way out of proportion by a member of the so-called press, and it was nowhere near as big a statement as it was made out in print to be, so I can understand the misunderstanding there, but at the same time, regardless, I don’t think the whole thing is answered by that kind of action. I’ll stand behind what I did say, but I won’t stand behind what the press said, and, you know, basically, you’re on your own!


What Slash is referring to here is a comment towards DeVille that was published in Hit Parader [Metal Edge, January 1989]. This interview is now lost.

According to Axl, the feud between GN'R and Poison would finally be settled some time in May or June 1988 when Axl had a talk with Brett Michaels:

We had some really heavy differences. Poison's comments were retaliations against comments we made. We talked about it that night. I said, 'We've got our differences from when we were rival bands on the street. We still have those, but I don't have time for 'em, you don't have time for 'em. You're doing what you're doing, I'm doing what I'm doing, let's just fuckin' right now put 'em aside.


Although in October 1988, Slash would still throw insults towards Poison:

I can’t deal with that rock star bullshit, which just permeates this whole fuckin’ business. Even in the new bands, who have no business acting like that. You know, like, “We’ve got our three chords, ’cos some of the guys in Poison taught ’em to us... I just don’t care any more, I really don’t care. Somebody made a T-shirt for me with POISON SUCKS written on it... […] Axl wore it on stage. ’Cos I’d just gotten it, this was with Aerosmith, and I was like, shall I wear this? Then I thought, naw, and Axl was like, “I’ll wear it!” And off he went...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

We really hate Poison —they totally emphasize everything we hate in a band! They're like the type of guys who got turned onto rock 'n' roll by Circus magazine, you know? They saw pictures and said 'Oh yeah, this looks cool, we can get girls!' They probably went shopping and picked all their clothes and stuff and then went and bought their instruments. They pick up a guitar and learn how to play three chords and go out onstage.


When asked if this squabbling wasn't getting a bit petty:

Yeah, but there’s never gonna be a relationship there ’cos it’s like, even if they come up and say hi and this and that I still have a fuckin’ deep hatred for what they’re all about.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


And then recounted a story about meeting Bret Michaels at the Rainbow in Hollywood:

Izzy was the one who grabbed him. That was so funny. I was drunk, there was a whole table of us, and I was sitting at the head. The next thing you know Izzy’s got Bret Michaels to sit down. So there’s Bret in between the two of us... […] [He was scared] shitless. I was so fucked up and it was like, me and Izzy sitting either side of him, so he’s getting it from both ends. In stereo! I mean, I wouldn’t like to sit next to a couple of Poison guys like that.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


Then finding Bobby Dall in his apartment:

Another time I had Bobby [Dall] in my apartment. I was staying at the Franklin Plaza and Steven brought him over. I was in the bedroom dealing with some other shit and Steven had just gone back to his apartment for a second and was coming back, but I didn’t know. So I came out into the living room and I looked and Bobby was on the couch. I was, like, what is this fucking guy doing in my apartment?

He was tripping over himself just trying to make amends. That’s when I first decided, OK, fine, we’ll leave it. Then they came out with their next video and it’s awful! It’s an insult to my intelli­gence for them to do what they’re doing. What we’re doing has nothing to do with that. Like, I can say hi and hello, I don’t have anything against them as people. I just hate what they play.

I guess there’s a place for it and it works...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


Then, likely not longer thereafter, Slash would have a talk to CC DeVille and would square up like Axl had done:

That whole situation got to be a real mess. I thought I was just making some honest comments, and then all hell broke loose. But after the dust settled I got together with C.C. and we've worked everything out. Actually, he's pretty cool. I really never had anything against him personally, but maybe when all that shit began to happen I wasn't in the right frame of mind to accept his success. There's room for everyone in this industry; we're not out to make any enemies.

I tried to bury the hatchet. I have nothing against those guys—I don’t have a vendetta against them


Axl's quote about being locked up with Poison but only he coming out of the room [see above], would be attributed to Slash and when asked to comment on it, Slash would say:

I don't know if that was the actual remark, something like that, but I've been advised by the powers that be not to talk about that. There's already a magazine out with my feelings on it in big bold letters… I mean, I'd enjoy doing it, if I had it my way - I say all kinds of stuff, but I'm supposed to act like an adult….


In March 1989, Poison's Rikki Rocket would be asked about the feud with GN'R and answer:

Our bands don't hate each other. It's like once something's in the press it becomes an 'Issue', whether it's true or not. […] They've done well, more power to them. We made it before they did... I'm not trying to sidestep the question, but if I get too into it then I'll have another f**king lawsuit, know what I'm saying?
RAW, March 7, 1989


And Bret Michaels would discuss it later:

There was a verbal feud created, first and foremost, by the press. In other words, it was a-- You know, there was the cover of Hit Parader with Brett Michaels vs. Axl Rose -- which immediately says to any fan: Hey, these guys must be feuding. Well, then, the next thing was -- you know, which was really surprising to me in that whole thing -- is Axl came out with a pair of chaps that says GLAM SUCKS -- right? Obviously taking a swipe at us, right? And I'm like: Well, fuck -- this guy was more glam than any of us. (Laughs) Which was really odd to me. I'm like going: Now, this guy's the guy that was like, you know, was one of the inventors of that sorta -- I call it "gypsy glam," or whatever you want to call it.

[…]

I mean, yeah -- it definitely got violent. I mean, it got, you know, the fuck you's. You know, everything was exchanged except for the final blow ... if you know what I'm getting at. You know how all the words come out, and all the shit -- and then, finally, Bobby and Slash and me just sorta said: What the fuck are we all --? You know, here we are -- we're struggling to make it, you're struggling to make it. You know, and at this point our second record had come out, and this is just as their first one was coming. And our second record, for whatever reason, just came out, and we opened up, and it started out -- it came out of the box at like a million and a half or two million copies. And I just think it was one of those things that Guns N' Roses was just coming out -- and then look what happened with their career. These fuckers made one of the best records in history.

[…]

I mean, I consider "Appetite for Destruction" to be up there with "Highway to Hell" -- which, to me, is one of the all-time-- You know, I consider "Appetite for Destruction" -- not just the songs, but the actual sound of the record. I mean, I can put that record on at any time and say: That's a great-sounding record.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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06. JANUARY-DECEMBER 1986 - GETTING SIGNED - Page 2 Empty Re: 06. JANUARY-DECEMBER 1986 - GETTING SIGNED

Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:48 pm

OCTOBER 1986
ALAN NIVEN BECOMES THE BAND'S MANAGER


The band ended their management relationship with Arnold Stiefel from Stiefel Entertainment in June 1986 [Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1986]. Then, according to Spencer Proffer in Marc Canter's book "Reckless Road", they were managed by Randy Philips and Arthur Stevac for a while [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

In October, Alan Niven was brought in by Tom Zutaut [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007] to handle the unruly band. According to an interview from 1997, Niven was contacted already in "the summer of 1986":

[Retelling what Zutaut told him]: 'The group is so out of control that there are serious mumblings within the company that maybe it would be cheaper to drop them now before we try and make a record.' So I said at that point, 'If you need help badly, I will do what I can.'


Alan was originally meant to just help out with getting the EP Live! Like A Suicide out [KNAC, December 1986]. Niven proved to be the perfect guy:

[…] Tom [Zutaut] hired his long time associate Alan Niven to manage - i.e. control -- the day-to-day details of the band while they searched for a new producer. Like a chameleon; Alan could hang with the guys, then shape-shift into a straight-laced rep for the press or get the band out of any trouble. He kept the band away from bad influences, organized their schedules and managed the growing concerns of the record company. Although his role was more toward management, he was in tune with the sound and feel Guns N' Roses wanted to accomplish on the album and wasn't afraid to voice his opinion. The band trusted him.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Alan Niven was part of Stravinski Brothers Management, together with Doug Goldstein [Kerrang! March 1989]. Niven became their manager and Goldstein would later become their tour manager.

Geffen assigned a personal manager for us, Alan Niven. He was a big, shit-talking tough guy with a British accent. He was also currently managing the established L.A. band Great White. I know the guys were hoping for Doug Taylor or Doc McGee to manage us, because they managed huge acts like Bon Jovi and Motley Crue. But Alan was raw and hungry and we would be there for us. We all liked him. He was uncompromising and brutally driven [...] and he was gonna bust ass, get us busy, and get us to the top.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109-110

Alan Niven was the first guy that could deal with us at face value as we presented ourselves. Without getting squeamish or bullshitting us, he could deal with Izzy and I being strung out. He could deal with Steven being Steven. Duff was always on the even-keep and then there were Axl's idiosyncrasies. […] Alan handled all of that with a shrug of the shoulders. […] And he had good ideas and we looked at where he was coming from and how it related to the band and how it all worked. All things considered, he was just the right guy at the right time.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


The band was initially very happy with Alan as their manager:

Alan does more work in one day than any of these so-called professional big-time people that we have worked with. We've got a lot of work to do, and we need work done, too. [...] we need someone doing the job.


The band would remark that one of the reasons they like him is that when “he took us out for drinks [at Barney’s Beanery], he showed us he could drink as much or more than we do" [Rock Scene, September 1987].

Although later, after having been fired as the manager by Axl, Niven would claim that he immediately got in problems with Axl:

From the very beginning my relationship with Axl was often strained. He couldn't stand the fact that I managed other acts apart from him and the group. His failure to show for the very first gig after signing a management contract rather set the tone.


The very first show with Niven as their manager was the infamous Santa Barbara gig opening for Alice Cooper [see next chapter], where Axl failed to show up on time resulting in the band having to do the show without him. This would be an ominous start to Axl and Niven's relationship.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:48 pm

STEVEN, ESCAPING WITH DRUGS


Steven had also started with drugs early. In his memoirs he talks about starting with weed at age eleven, at the same age he was kicked out from home and had to live with his grandma. After that he lived a reckless life in Los Angeles filled with drinking, smoking and sex. He started prostituting himself at an early age for drugs and at age 14 he was raped by an older man after having been led to an apartment with the promise of weed. At age 14 he would move back to his mom and stepfather, only to be kicked out again at age 15 and moved to a foster home in Pasadena, from which he immediately fled. He then went back home but was kicked out again and moved back to his grandma [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010].

He tried crack cocaine and heroine for the first time in 1984, at Bob Welch's house in the Hollywood Hills, when he was handed a pipe from Bob's friend Ted and later a wad of heroin to smoke [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 66-67]:

I had inhaled crack and exhaled my soon-to-be shattered soul. It was the first time I smoked the shit. As I sat there, an incredibly powerful urge came over me. I have never experienced such a dire need to get high again. Right away. Now. And this was only about ten seconds after that first incredible high. All I knew, all I cared about, was that I wanted the feeling to last longer. So I continued to hit the pipe. I didn't know it then, but at that very moment I had tasted the beginning of the end.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 67


Later on [sometime in 1986?] Steven would walk in on Izzy and Slash shooting heroin in Izzy's apartment behind Grauman's Chinese Theater in the heart of Hollywood. Steven did not want to use needles, and instead smoked heroin like he had done at Welch's house, and got sick again [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 97].

Under testimony during the Adler vs. GN'R trial in August 1993, Duff would claim that he warned Steven against using heroin the first time he saw him doing it [The Reno Gazette, August 24, 1993].

Duff recalls that Steven at one time said to him, "You know, all I want in life is to make enough money one day so I can have a bag of good weed and a big ball of crack around-all the time" [source?].

I think Stevie was willing to try anything that might dull the memories of his nightmarish childhood. Poor fucker.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 116
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:49 pm

WEST ARKEEN


One of the more relevant friends of the band from their early days was Aaron West Arkeen. West was a great friend of Axl and Duff and would co-write a few of the band's songs ("It's So Easy," "Bad Obsession", "The Garden", and "Yesterdays").

Axl liked writing songs with West. He liked kicking it while West played guitar.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85


West was also putting together a demo tape with his own songs with Axl singing on at least some of them, including "Crash Diet" and "Sentimental Movie":

I didn't have anything to do with "Sentimental Movie". Axl and West Arkeen plus maybe Izzy recorded that one night when we were all hanging out at "Hell House". That's a house we all used to squat at. I can't remember if I put a solo on it or not.

'Crash Diet' is a REALLY old song that was kicked around back in the old days. I don't know who wrote that, but it is definitely old.



West Arkeen


In late 1988, when asked who his favorite musicians are, Axl answered "David Lank and West Arkeen" [Superstar Facts & Pix, No. 16, 1988].

Axl would also plan to play in a side-band with West and Duff called "Smith & Wesson":

I write with a guy named Wes now and then. We're gonna record an album. I talked to a couple people in the Cult and Cinderella about playing on it. It's something he and I and Duff do. We call it Smith & Wesson.


Axl spent a lot of time hanging out with West and they would be filmed playing together at the Scrap Bar in New York City in July 1989.

Axl would also talk about West in interviews:

West gets all drunk. He was getting drunk every day. He got thrown out of the bar and cut off more times than anybody in history. And, like, all these actors, Nick Nolte and stuff, have partied there for years. So they’ve dealt with all this before but West would get cut off for breakfast, cut off for lunch, cut off for dinner and then talk 'em into opening the bar at three-thirty in the morning so they can make another drink, right? And it was gnarly, right? And so he’s got this fart-ball, and he goes downstairs with it, you know, and he’s all wasted. And he’s beside this older couple and stuff and he, like, keeps doing this fart-ball and making, like, weird faces and fanning his rear end and stuff, like he just farted, like, “Oh... what was that?” And these people go, “You’re disgusting!” and they move away. OK, so then I get this call from Sean Penn, his company or what­ever – these people that work for him – and he wants me to come see an advance screening of his new movie, Casualties of War. And if I want, you know, I can bring West. So West comes up and he’s wasted. So I throw him in the fuckin' shower, help him get dressed and we headed out of there down to the lobby. And there’s this old couple there and this lady introduces herself and goes, “And this is Sean Penn’s parents and they’ll be going with you.” I said, “Hi, my name’s Axl and this is West...” And they were like, “Oh no! You’re that guy in the bar!” ’ He laughed and looked me in the eye for the first time. 'It was Sean Penn’s parents, you know... it was so great. Then we got in the back of this station-wagon, and there’s these little fold-down seats and we’re sitting on them. And, like, somebody pulled up in a car – we were trying to get out of there before these people arrived that were coming to my room – and suddenly there they were. And we were like, “Oh, fuck...” And then I went, “Oh, I'm sorry,” and Sean Penn’s dad turns round and goes, “Listen, goddamnit, don’t ever fuckin’ talk like that again, you understand me?” And then spins around and starts laughing because he just cussed me out.’ He chuckled. 'I thought it was just great. Those guys were great....
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993


Some years later, West would be the first artist the band would sign to their own label, Uzi Suicide [Raw Magazine, July 1989].

We're definitely going to sign West Arkeen (long-time friend of the band and co-writer of "It's So Easy" off Appetite) and possibly some other acts.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:49 pm

AXL AND DRUGS


Axl started off with drugs and booze much later than the rest of his band mates:

The first time I got drunk I was 16. I know I was late. I was with these three guys, and I had never smoked or taken any drugs before. We brought a case of beer, and we bought joints, and I bought 40 Valiums-10 mg Valiums for $5.00 a piece. I ate ten them, drank a bunch of beers, and smoked all these joints. Then we went to this rock concert downtown at Morris Theatre. This band called Road Master was playing. I went down to the theater, and girl goes, “You’re just too fucked “So, I tore up her ticket and threw it her. Then I went out in front of the hall and directed traffic for a while. I threw a beer at this fucking cop, so friend grabbed me and put all these different jackets on me and snuck me into the concert. It was packed. I walked in, and one of my friends passed out in the aisle. Then this guy stands up, looks at me and says, “What are you looking at?” He was a big guy; so I hit him. I saw his teeth go back down into his throat, and I ran.

Lots more happened that night. I fell out of the window of a two-story build­ing and broke my hand. I broke into an insane asylum; broke in one side and out the other because I didn’t know how to go around the building. I wrecked a bicycle that had no brakes underneath a train. Then my friend Paul put me in his car, and I went flying over another car, and my friend’s dad came running out of the house from across the street. He was going to shoot my friend because he thought that somebody was out to kill me. It was a really exciting night.


An old girlfriend in Lafayette, Gina Siler, from the period Axl was transitioning to Hollywood, would claim that the two of them, in the summer of 1982, did "a lot of hallucinogenics", yet, in 1983 through 1985, when they lived in Hollywood and had an on and off relationship, they "didn’t do drugs" [Spin, September 1991].

This might be slightly contradicted by Raz Cue who would recount that back in 1985, Axl had warmed up to intoxication:

Axl wasn't the biggest fan of weed, but that rarely stopped him. Similar to my brother and me - with a tip of the hat to Alice in Chains - his drug of choice was whatever you got.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 205


Siler also says that at "the end of 1985" she visited Axl again and was pissed because he was doing heroin. She would also claim that "when I went to see him before 'Appetite' came out" he had said to her, "I can’t wait until this album’s done, because I want to lock myself in a room for six weeks and do heroin" [Spin, September 1991].

Robert John would mention in an interview in 1989 that Axl tried shooting heroin "like a couple times and that was a few years ago" [Rock Scene, October 1989]. This is likely the same incident that Axl would refer to in an interview with RIP in April 1989 and which he in Rolling Stone in August 1989 would say happened "over two years ago":

I did it for three weeks straight and had one of the greatest times in my life, because I was with a girl I wanted to be with in this beautiful apartment, and we just sat there listening to Led Zeppelin, doing drugs and fucking. It was great, 'cause at that time I had nothing to do but sit on my ass and make a few phone calls a day. I stopped on, like, Saturday, because I had serious business to attend to on Monday. I felt like shit, sweated, shook, but on Monday I was able to function.


That Axl was able to shrug it off would be confirmed by Steven:

Of all of us, Axl seemed to be the most straitlaced. He'd drink and smoke, but I never saw him get out of control with any hard drugs.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 98


When discussing drug use, Axl would also indicate that his consciousness was preventing him from taking it too far:

Sometimes if I do something bad and I look like I’m having fun, I then find it plays on my conscience for a long time.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:50 pm

ERIN EVERLY AND OTHER EARLY GIRLFRIENDS OF THE BAND


AXL AND ERIN EVERLY


In early 1986, Axl met Erin Invicta Everly at a party [People Magazine, July 18, 1994]. Erin was the daughter of Don Everly from the famous Everly Brothers duo and Venetia Stevenson. Don Everly and Stevenson had separated and Everly did not pay child support resulting in Erin and her two siblings growing up in modest circumstances [People Magazine, July 18, 1994]. She was described as a slow learner with dyslexia who "enjoyed being home and playing with her dolls and baby brother and, as she got older, offering emotional support to her mother" [People Magazine, July 18, 1994]. At 16, Erin moved to New York City model but was back in LA in early 1986 [People Magazine, July 18, 1994]. Erin was 19-years-old at the time when she met Axl at the party [People Magazine, July 18, 1994].

It was the first relationship I had had—I felt like we were two people who didn’t have much but who had found each other. I was looking for someone who wanted to get married, have a bunch of children and a station wagon.


Axl would later write the lyrics to 'Sweet Child O' Mine' to Erin [Circus Magazine, November 1988]. Axl would also name Erin as his favorite actress [Superstar Facts & Pix, 1988].


Erin and Axl


But Erin and Axl's relationship was tumultuous from the beginning and in March 1987, Axl would call out Erin from stage:

I wanna dedicate this song to my ex-girlfriend, this is to Erin, this is called "You're Fucking Crazy".


In September 1988, it would reported that Axl had recently broken up [L.A. Weekly, September 16, 1988]. Despite this, they would soon get back together.


IZZY AND DESI CRAFT


Desi Craft, who Izzy had been dating and living with for quite a time, was booted out by Geffen Record:

The thing that sucked was when they got signed, Geffen Records warned Izzy that I wasn't of age and that it wouldn't be profitable for him to continue seeing me. They warned against him that my mother could press charges. We worked really, really hard to get the band in this position, but it was his time, so I had to accept it and let it go.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:50 pm

FROM RAGS TO RICHES...AND BACK AGAIN


Slash quickly spent the advance money he had received after signing with Geffen in March 1986, and was back to poverty. Rock Scene listed his worldly possessions when they met the band in mid-1987: "Clean clothes, dirty clothes, a bolo tie, magazines and equipment, all in bags" [Rock Scene, September 1987].

Izzy was not better off and would state "I’m so rich I need to borrow $20 to go out tonight" [Rock Scene, September 1987]. Izzy had also broken up with his girlfriend Desi and was without a place to live.



According to Ron Schneider, Slash also lived in the studio during the recording after having just broken up with his girlfriend [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

At this time the label had put the band members on a weekly allowance of about $100 a week [Rock Scene, September 1987].

I think they [=Geffen] like us living like this, with no money.

Slash doesn’t get a fuckin’ cent because he spent everybody else’s money on equipment.

[Talking to Mike Clink]: Do we have cash for dinner? We need food, Mr. C.


Axl, on the other hand, was said to have settled down and lived in an apartment with a girlfriend after having lived in "over 37 places, including cars" [Rock Scene, September 1987].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:51 pm

OCTOBER 23, 1986
OPENING FOR ALICE COOPER AT THE ARLINGTON THEATRE BUT AXL IS MISSING


In October 1986 they were invited to open for Alice Cooper at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara. This was the first show of Cooper's "The Nightmare Returns" tour that would continue into March 1987.

For this gig, Axl again turned up late and was unable to enter the venue. The band had to do without their singer, with Izzy and Duff trading vocals.

What happened was he, Axl, showed up later than everyone else and didn't get a backstage pass, and they wouldn't let him in. Meanwhile, we were onstage already, playing. We played the whole set without Axl, and I ended up getting really drunk and insulting the crowd. They were wondering what the hell was going on. They probably thought we were just some circus act or some-thing...

[Looking at photos in Robert John's book]: Some of the photos were really candid; and, I don’t know, it just takes me back, like when we opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers - at UCLA, I think it was – after doing that Alice Cooper gig in Santa Barbara, where Axl showed up and couldn’t get in, and we went out and played without him, and we were drinking vodka on stage and everybody threw things at us...[…] And we started threatening the crowd: “Come on, you fuckers, get up here!”

When we did that show, we were supposed to do the hour-long ride out there together, but Axl insisted on driving with his girlfriend Erin at the very last minute. We were all against it, as was Alan [Niven; manager], but Axl convinced him that there was nothing to worry about. We got to the gig; Axl was nowhere to be found, but was apparently on his way. It came time to take the stage - no Axl - so Izzy and Duff and Stave and I got out there and started playing without him. Izzy and Duff sang "Whole Lotta Rosie" by AC/DC and a few other covers. We were opening for Alice Cooper but basically that set was a drunken jam fit for a bar - except we were in an arena. It got so bad that at one point we asked the audience to sing lead and then asked if there was a lead singer in the house. We were friends with the crowd for a minute, but that quickly changed; we ended up insulting them and throwing things at them. It was ridiculous. We stayed up there for the allotted amount of time and then retreated from a totally embarrassing disaster.
Slash's autobiography, p 216-217

The night of the Alice Cooper gig, Axl showed up late again and then was unable to get into the venue. Izzy and I sang. At the time it was almost funny - though we were definitely pissed, too […].
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 119-120

In May [Steven's got the date wrong], we were given a great opportunity to do a single show with Alice Cooper in Santa Barbara. [...] On the day of the show, we all piled into our new white van (we got another one after Slash totaled the first), while Axl was just standing there, outside. We were yelling to him,"C'mon, Axl." He was all like, "Naw, I'll meet you there; some chick is gonna take me." [...] We were ready to go [on stage], but sure enough, someone was still missing. Next thing you know, we're supposed to be on in five minutes and everyone is screaming, "Where's Axl?" We stalled as long as we could, but we really had to get out there out of respect for Alice. At eight o'clock we hit the stage as scheduled. Without Axl, we just did our best and improvised. We did 'It's So Easy' and Duff sang. After that, we just performed blues jams. We would always include a blazing blues jam in our sets, so we still managed to rock out for the audience, and I don't think they felt incredibly cheated. Izzy and Duff screamed a few words here and there. Duff's tech, Mike "McBob" Mayhue, may have sung something, too. Bottom line was, without Axl present, we didn't deliver the true Guns N' Roses as promised. We just played, packed up our shit, and got out of there. Because of my worship for Alice, and my feeling about what Guns N' Roses was about, it was one of the most humiliating nights of my life.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 122-123



Slash at the Arlington Theatre, October 23, 1986


After the show the band thrashed their dressing room in anger:

[…] we absolutely trashed the dressing room.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 119-120

After the show the band trashed the dressing room and broke all the mirrors.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Duff would indicate that as far as Axl goes, they just vented their frustration with him and it was back to normal:

We traded some words with Axl when we found him in the parking lot afterward, but at the end of the day the situation lacked much in the way of consequences.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 119

Later on in the parking lot the band bumped into Axl. Axl asked Slash, "How much did we make?" Slash answered "the band made $500. You didn't make anything." Axl grinned and said, "That's cool."
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


But Slash and Steven would say they had indeed considered firing Axl and look for a new singer:

We got out of there immediately and drove back to Hollywood, so pissed that we talked about kicking Axl out of the band that night and looking for a new singer.
Slash's autobiography, p 216-217

Afterward, we were all pissed, and for one infuriating moment, we all considered kicking [Axl] our of the band. But we realized there was nothing we could do. The album had already been recorded [Steven must be thinking about the EP Live! Like A Suicide] and Axl was an integral part of our mage and sound, so we never actually talked about getting another singer.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 122-123


This inability or unwillingness to solve problems within the band, especially with a band member who increasingly got the band in trouble, would remain a fixture of this lineup and would eventually cause such rife conflicts that band members would leave.


AXL APOLOGIZES


On their show on October 31, Axl would apologize for the incident:

I'd like to apologize if there is anybody here that heard the shit with the Alice Cooper show. We just fucked up. That's what happened.; as retold by Marc Canter in "Reckless Road"


Marc Canter believes it was the trashing of the dressing room and what effect it might have on Geffen Records that was the cause of apology, and not Axl missing the show [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This is supported by Axl saying that "we fucked up".


IN HINDSIGHT


Alice Cooper would later look back at this show, but he might be mixing up this show with some of the later shows the band did with him in 1987:

Guns N' Roses was the last great hard rock band in America. The first time I ever saw them, it was when 'Alice' was coming out of the hospital and going onstage sober for the first time. It was 1986. We were doing the Constrictor tour. This is the first time in my career that I'm gonna go onstage sober, as Alice Cooper. I'm sitting there worrying my head off. I knew that this band was going on before us. They were a local bar band at the time. They opened and they just killed the audience. So we just went on and killed the audience too. It didn't bother me that they weren't (sober). The first thing I did when I got out of the hospital was I went to a bar and had a Diet Coke 'cause I knew I'd be around people who are drinking the rest of my life. They went out with Aerosmith after that.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:51 pm

OCTOBER 31, 1986
THE BAND OPENS FOR THE CHILI PEPPERS AND HENRY ROLLINS IS AWED


The next show was on Halloween, October 31, at Ackermann Hall in Los Angeles together with the bands Thelonious Monster, Dickies and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Axl had previously got in a fight with Bob Forrest, the singer of Thelonius Monster [see earlier chapter], but according to Marc Canter, there were no sings of bad blood between the bands or singers [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

Probably the most memorable show of this sort took place on Halloween, 1986. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were just starting their rise as a national act, and the Dickies were headlining a show at Ackerman Hall at UCLA, and we opened. We still had yet to enter the studio. We were feuding with Geffen about whether we had enough songs to warrant recording, and we still hadn't found a producer we liked. We reached a compromise with the label to put out a limited edition "bootleg" EP, Live! Like a Suicide, and we had finished it just before this show. That night we felt like we were finally making some forward motion. [...] For me, the cool thing about this show was that Black Flag's Henry Rollins watched our entire set from the wings of the stage and came up to us afterward and told us how much he liked our and. I considered him the most credible guy in rock, and he had a reputation as a guy who didn't mince words. He definitely wouldn't fawn over a band just for the sake of doing so. And we got the thumbs up. Kick ass!
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 119


Henry Rollins attended this gig but had little positive to say about any of the bands except Guns N' Roses:

I went to a show last night. I went to help the soundman set up his system. What shitty bands. What a poor excuse for music. I looked at the crowd all night. There was nowhere else to go. [...] The show was at a university. Those kind of shows are always a joke. There’s something about colleges that really sets me off. [...]The music, what a mess. All of it was so hollow. The opening band was called Guns n’ Roses, and they blew the headliners off so hard it was pathetic.
The Portable Henry Rollins, 1998

By 10-07-86, I was in Leeds, England, making my first solo album. Weeks later, I was back in Los Angeles. Paying for my own record set me back quite a bit. Later that month, Rat Sound, who built Black Flag's PA system, called me and Black Flag roadie/friend Joe Cole, asking if we wanted to make 50 bucks each setting up the system for a show on Halloween night at UCLA. The next day, there we were, loading the same gear out of the same truck from Black Flag's last show.

Four bands on the bill that night. Chili Peppers headlining. The last band to load in was the opener. They were skinny and their gear was ragged. They had a lot of attitude. Joe Cole asked me, "Should we beat some of these hippies up?" I reminded him that we were working for them.

The doors opened, some people straggled in. The longhairs with the attitude hit the stage and their fans, all 50 of them, were up front. The singer said their first record would be out soon and started playing. Joe and I stood with the crowd and watched what sounded like the Sex Pistols incinerating Aerosmith. It was pretty damn good -- great, actually.

Joe asked me what I thought. I said they were going to be big, judging from the A&R men fluttering around the soundboard. The band was called Guns N' Roses.

It was a very memorable Halloween night
Los Angeles Weekly, 2013
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:52 pm

NOVEMBER 1986
MIKE CLINK AUDITIONS ON 'SHADOW OF YOUR LOVE'


As mentioned in previous chapters, a big problem was finding the right producer for their first album and they had tried out quite a few.

I started going through the list of people who I thought were great engineers who I thought could capture lightning in a bottle for Guns N' Roses. And a couple of the names that came up were Bill Price, because of his great engineering from Roxy Music to the Sex Pistols, and Mike Clink. Mike Clink engineered some of the great UFO records. Axl, Slash and I had a conversation about how great these UFO records were, especially the live record, "Strangers in the Night." I contacted Mike Clink, talked to him and then I introduced him to the band. Mike was looking to step out of an engineering role and move into more of a production role. He subscribed to the theory of the band having creative control. The band would basically be co-producing and I would be heavily involved as an A&R person riding shotgun over the whole thing.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Marc Canter would confirm the name of Mike Clink came up when Axl and Zutaut were talking about albums they admired:

Again Axl and Tom brought up names based on album they admired and singled out "Stranger in the Night" by the English seventies group UFO. It was a live album that had just the right balance Guns N' Roses wanted to capture for 'Appetite' and they invited Mike Clink, the co-producer and engineer of that album, to cut a demo. In their first meeting, Mike immediately understood the direction they wanted to take 'Appetite' and subscribed to band's need for creative control. He cut demo, just like all the other prospects before him and Axl and Tom were pleased wit the results. The only question remaining, was if Mike had the personality to tolerate the absurdities and discipline the band.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


According to Axl, they met Clink at "The Rage", but it is not known what that was [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].

Clink loved Guns N' Roses and had seen them live a few times [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 120].



When we first met Mike, we really liked his energy. We liked hanging out with him. He was very low key and quite. He is simple guy without a lot of airs. He was amiable and didn't try to act a certain way to hang out with us. He just seemed very in control.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


That band would task Clink with doing a version of 'Shadow of Your Love':

We were eager to go in and do the demo of "Shadow of Your Love" and when we got it and it sounded great, we were struck up a great relationship that was very well-rounded from that point on.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007



According to Duff, Clink did a playback and said, "This is how I think your record should sound." As Duff would say, "It was basically us live. And I immediately thought, That's exactly right" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 120].

This version of 'Shadow of Your Love' was recorded at Rumbo Recorders on November 23.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:52 pm

DECEMBER 21, 1986
OPENING FOR CHEAP TRICK AT THE FENDER'S BALLROOM


The next show didn't happen until December 21 at Fender's Ballroom in Los Angeles when they opened for Cheap Trick.

Excellent show, excellent show. It was excellent. [The audience were] like the LA Street Scene, but a little bit more in control.

That was probably one of the better shows we ever played. Fantastic, the people that were there. We went on an hour early, so it wasn't as full as by the time Cheap Trick came on. They were slamming. It was every kind of people you could imagine there, and everybody was thrashing.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:53 pm

DECEMBER 12, 1986
THE BAND RELEASES 'LIVE!?*@ LIKE A SUICIDE'


"[To] all the people who have helped keep us alive".
___________________________________________________

The band's first release, the EP titled "Live!?*@ Like a Suicide" was released on December 12, 1986.


LIVE?!*@ LIKE A SUICIDE


The EP was released on the UZI SUICIDE logo, allegedly the band's own label, but in reality it was released by Geffen Records itself to make it seem like this was an independent release. The accompanying press release was sent out by "the Stravinski Brothers" and signed by "Alan G Stravinski," obviously Alan Niven [December 1986, Press release].

As a sidenote, the band would later use the Uzi Suicide label to sign other artists, including their friend West Arkeen. And Slash would joke that they also intended to release an exercise video on it, based on "Slash-aerobics" [Circus Magazine, May 1989].

The pressing of 'Live!?*@ Like a Suicide' was limited to only 10,000 copies to make it exclusive [Hit Parader, April 1987; Goldmine Magazine, May 1989]. The songs on the EP were 'Mama Kin', 'Nice Boys', Move To The City' and 'Reckless Life'. Originally, the band wanted four cover songs on one side (including 'Jumpin Jack Flash' and 'Heartbreak Hotel') and four original songs on the other [Concert Shots, May 1986].

Tom [Zutaut] had the idea for us to go in the studio and record an EP under our own label, Uzi Suicide, which was actually financed by Geffen. [...] Geffen wanted to put out the live album quickly and get people even more excited about us. It would also get us warmed up to record our full-length album [...] The idea was to have a "live" record with thousands of people screaming in the background, therey making is sound as popular as, or maybe more popular than, we actually were. So yes, we knew from the start that they were going to add an audience. We were cool with it. Just as long as it sounded right. We didn't want this album to sound tinny or cheesy. Geffen's engineers told us there would be too miuch shit involved (i.e., it would cost too much) to actually record a live record, so we were told to create the live audience effects in the studio.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 107-108


The songs on 'Live! Like A Suicide' came from the recording sessions with Spencer Proffer in Pasha Studios, and it took no more than "two or three days" [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109].

We were all in the same soundproof room and we actually recorded those songs together to give it a "live" feel, instead of each performer laying down a separate track, then assembling the tune. The only stuff they overdubbed was the backing vocals. If you listen closely to "Nice Boys," you can hear Axl singing backup to his own vocals.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 109

After we finished the songs, Spencer added the audience. He used archived tapes of live performances by Dio and Quiet Riot and mixed the cheers in.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 108


The band would claim the time with Proffer only resulted in a demo [Hit Parader, December 1986], to keep up the illusion that the EP was recorded live. Slash, as late as September 1988, would still state it was a live recording [Guitar, September 1988], as would Duff and Steven in December 1988, even to the point of arguing that a live record is more accurate in presenting the band [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

In December 1987, Axl would admit that the EP was recorded in Spencer's studio, despite him making the songs "sound really weak" [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1987].

The band would explain why they released the EP:

Because we wanted an inexpensive dedication to all the kids who helped us get by when we were really low and had no money and were living in abandoned apartments. The kind of record that not everyone will have, because we're only printing 10,000 copies initially.

There is covers on [Live! Like A Suicide] that we wanted to put out because we do them live and the people like them live, and we kinda wanted to do this like, 'this is for you', and this is something that we have been doing in our set.

It's like an inexpensive dedication to all the kids that helped us get going when we had no money.

Live, "Like a Suicide” is indicative of what this band was all about when we first got together. We didn't sit around in rehearsal studios saying we have to be like this or that. We wanted to go out and play live. We would write songs real fast because we had already booked the gigs. We were an angry bunch of kids. That Ep means a lot to me, because we wrote songs, got them together in an evening, and then went out and played them. The album has songs that we sat down and worked on and actually wrote and worked it out. "Suicide” was from the early days, the beginning.

At that time, we played live constantly, and we weren’t concerned about getting signed with a major label. But we had a lot of fans who followed us everywhere and we wanted to record something for them.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish


'Move to the City' received some airplay, especially in the Los Angeles area, as well as overseas, and the 10,000 copies of the first pressing were sold out in 4 weeks with no advertisement [Goldmine Magazine, May 1989]. In December 1986 the band were talking about a reissue [KNAC, December 1986].

The band would claim they financed the release of Live! Live A Suicide with their own money:

We financed it off… pretty much the bulk of money that we had, you know, accumulated there and there.

We paid for the album with the money we made from our early shows.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish


So the purpose was to release a fake live EP allegedly released by the band itself, from their own money, to foster more hype about the band and build anticipation for the full-length record to come.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:54 pm

LATE 1986
ZUTAUT GIVES THE GO AHEAD TO RECORD THEIR DEBUT LP


In late 1986 Zutaut finally felt they had enough good songs to start recording:

It wasn't until I heard "Sweet Child O' Mine" that I believed they finally were ready because now they had a record. They had all these great raw, punky, thrasher songs from their early days, but now they also had "Welcome to the Jungle" and they had "Sweet Child O' Mine" and they had a bunch of other songs to flush out what became "Appetite for Destruction".
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


But the band had plenty of material. In June 1988, Axl told Rock Scene Magazine that when they signed with Geffen Records they had 27 songs:

When we went into the studio initially, to do some test tracks and lay down some songs and see what we had together, we had about 27 songs together when Geffen first signed us.


That they had plenty of material ready to be recorded and released is also confirmed by Axl saying they originally wanted to release a double album:

Most of the songs on Appetite were written in the two-year period we were playing the clubs. We wanted to put them on a record so we could move on. We had like 27 songs that we felt very strongly about. We wanted a double album for the first one but that wasn't a good marketing move.

[…] Appetite for Destruction was meant to be a double LP too, but Geffen got cold feet about putting out a double as a debut LP.


Clink would later say he worked on more than 20 songs:



But in the end they opted for one consistent hard rock album:

We can only put so many songs on one, album, and we wanted our first record ('Appetite For Destruction') to be a full hard rock record from beginning to end.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sun May 31, 2020 5:54 pm

DECEMBER 23, 1986
THE BAND THROWS A RELEASE PARTY AT THE CATHOUSE


Not long after the release of the band's first EP, Live!?*@ Like a Suicide, the band threw a release party at the Cathouse. It included live acoustic performances from Guns N' Roses, Jetboy and L.A. Guns [Onstage advertisement from Axl, December 21, 1986].


From the release party
[someone is holding the EP in the background]


Invitation in the band's newsletter:

You ... Yeah you – the hardcore faction of our support, are invited to our “Live?!*@ Like A Suicide” release party at: Tame and Ricky’s Cathouse 333 La Cienega Blvd. (Osko’s) L.A., Ca. Phone # (213) 652-9333 –

It’s free! ... Yeah, free, with invitation till 11:00 pm., party starts at 9:00 pm. With ... $1.00 drinks till 11:00 pm., mayhem till 3:00 am., including: Live (not dead) strippers, free records, and assorted entertainment –
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