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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

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07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION Empty Re: 07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:26 pm

DECEMBER 1986-MARCH 1987
THE BAND RECORDS 'APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION'


Preproduction rehearsals took place at SIR Studios in Burbank [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 112], likely started already in December 1986.

The band was comprised of inexperienced kids, and Clink would later recount an episode from December 1986 during pre-production where Slash ruined a guitar:



The main recordings took place at Rumbo Studios (Rumbo Recorders), at 20215 Saticoy Street, Canoga Park, CA, and happened over two weeks in January 1987. It has also been said the recording took three months and was finished by the end of March 1987 [Rock Scene, September 1987]. This is confirmed by Axl who would state that the recording process was finished on March 27 [Onstage at the Roxy, March 29, 1987]. 'Sweet Child O' Mine' which was allegedly recorded in one take, while 'Think About You', one of the simpler songs, required more (Steven would say 50 takes while Duff would argue eight) [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

Mike Clink, on the other hand, would later deny the claim that the songs on the record was recorded in one take:




It was Clink's decision to use Rumbo Studios, allegedly to keep the band members away from their wild lives in Hollywood.

When we started working on Appetite we were in a hotel in Manhattan Beach, which was like a forty-five-minute drive to Rumbo. I have no idea why we were so far from the studio.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 116


The recording was a disorganized process:

The sessions would happen at two or three in the morning-whenever the band was inspired.

I was staying out till four in the morning, getting to the studio at least by noon. And I wasn't living anywhere, so I was a complete vagabond during the making of Appetite. There was a lot of craziness and partying going on - all of the stuff that comes with being a rock 'n' roll band that has no idea where it's going. We did everything we wanted to do and got away with whatever it was we could get away with.

My existence has always been that detached gypsy kind of thing - very focused around my music, but as far as everything else, very detached. So I'd work until 11 or 12 at night, and then hit the street, find a place to hang out, then find a place to sleep, and then find a way to get back to the studio the next morning. That was the making of the whole record.


I found myself saying to a potential engineer, "I don't know if this is going to be a nine-to-five kind of job, or a a six-to-midnight kind of job. When the band is in the mood to roll tape, I've got to call you and we've got to roll tape." […] It rolled when the band was in the space to roll. Mike Clink was perfect for GNR because he could sit in that studio and sit out all shenanigans. And honestly there were a lot of them.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Despite being disorganized, Robert John would reject any suggestions that they were unprofessional while recording:

When they were in the studio, they were extremely professional, okay? It wasn’t like a big party like everybody probably thinks and everything. Slash would go there and lay down his tracks. You know, it was just them going in and recording.


The band would talk about the recording process:

Every song was done in one to three takes in the studio, which was live. We used the bass, the drums and Izzy’s guitar. I played too, but I did dummy tracks, because I can’t play with headphones, although for all of you to play at the same time you have to wear headphones. So I did dummy tracks and then went in by myself and just did all the guitar – not all the guitar, my guitar (laughs). [...] There was only one song, I think, that didn’t happen in three takes and instead of just keep plotting along with it, you just come back a different day and do it again.

In the studio our drummer is completely hyper.

We actually went in and recorded in pre-production. We picked the 12 songs we were gonna stick with, refined them, went a in, recorded them and put them on the record.

[Listening to the playback of recently recorded songs in Rumbo Studios]: I think it's going to kick ass. It's against the - mainstream grain. It's definitely a case of you'll either love it or hate it - which is good, as long as you notice it.

Well, it was done live, pretty much. The drums, the rhythm guitar, the bass are all live from the same room. So there's bleeding on each other's instruments, and tweets [?] on other's mics. Things like that. Just to get the most energy and good [?] to the songs.

[Talking about how he stretched himself vocally, singing bass parts and reaching the F above high C, and that he’s pleased with his vocal performance, as is Geffen]: Tom [Zutaut] told me if I lost my voice it was okay, I could use my rough tracks.

In the studio, I would always say that I wanted the drums to sound like drums. I didn't want them to sound like machines. I want the snare to sound like a real snare drum, the bass like a bass drum; no effects.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

We go in, play, and try to do it the first or second take, and if what comes out is decent enough to use, you don’t go back and keep fixing it – you lose the spirit. When we did solos, I couldn’t stand going back and doing it more than three times.

I still play bass from time to time. I’m playing a little bit of bass on the record, in a couple of places.

[...] we did basic tracks in two weeks and then I went back in. Izzy did the basic tracks, that’s it. Otherwise what’s coming out of the left speaker is what we did in two weeks. Everything he did was in mono. I went back and did all the stereo stuff. Izzy is on the left, I'm on the right and I'm in stereo with the echo and slide stuff. I'm more distorted than Izzy. [...] I went in and did basic tracks and played along with the drums and bass and Izzy. I would screw around but keep the actual song going. Then I would go back later and redo the whole rhythm and all the leads in front of the monitors in the control room. I had the monitors cranked up really loud and would just play along. I can’t play with headphones.

Capturing it properly was a hard thing to do because it was very raw, and we didn't want to use a lot of effects and other stuff to embellish it too much. At the same time, we did have a certain amount of professional integrity, and we wanted it to sound tight. There are a lot of bands that try to sound unhinged. We were unhinged, but we also liked to tie it together enough to keep it from exploding all over the place. So it always had that sound where it was just about to fall apart, but it was a little tight at the same time.

I was rolling into the studio every day at 12 o’clock, and I would be done at 9 or 10 at night. But after that, I had no idea where I was going to go or how I was going to get around or where I was going to sleep. So every morning, Clink would be like, ‘I wonder if Slash is going to make it in today?’ It was just the lifestyle I was living. It was constant chaos. But I would show up at noon every day like clockwork, open up a bottle of Jack Daniels, pour it in some coffee, and that’s how we did all the guitars.

We began doing preproduction, rehearsing at SIR studios in Burbank. Then we went to Rumbo Studios in Canoga Park to record. It was close to my mom’s. Every day, she brought us lunch and cigarettes and would pick up our clothes for washing. Heart was recording there at the same time and Nancy Wilson came over to say hi while my little brother Jamie and my mom were there. Nancy was a sweetheart, she sat Jamie on her lap, and he just had the biggest smile.

Our producer, Mike Clink, would try to get [Izzy] to come down to fix something up, but I think he only managed to get him there once or twice. So we just kept all of Izzy’s scratch tracks.

I couldn’t get a good sound in the studio, because I didn’t have a set guitar or amp at the time; I had hocked a lot of gear before we went in due to some drug problems. So I was left with three different guitars: a B.C. Rich Warlock, a Jackson prototype and a Jackson Firebird. And they were fine onstage, when everything was cranked to 10, but in the studio they sounded aw­ful. I was fucking freaking out! I knew I couldn’t record the album with any of those guitars. So when we cut the basic tracks I was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, easy, during the process, and just playing along to help with the live vibe. Luckily, right after that I got some new gear. It was like it was in the cards or something. I came upon the right Les Paul and the right Marshall.

The actual recording was pretty calm. I mean there was some partying, but we were pretty focused. Like for me, it was Jack Daniel's and coffee in the morning and work from noon till 10 at night. Then I'd go out and get crazy and then wake up in the morning, wherever I was, and try and work out how to get a ride back to the studio.

We were young guys, and had nothing but parties and pussy on our minds, but when it came to going in that studio, everybody straightened their ass up.

First we work, then we party. I was a big pot smoker, a little alcohol… but heroin around the band during Appetite? I’m telling you, none. Well, not with me personally. Our guitar players, they’d fiddle-faddle every once in a while. But we took it seriously. We’d sleep all afternoon, go record, then go out and party.


Steven would also mention that Clink suggested they change a part in Rocket Queen:

There was one incident. As a band, we always said we’d never let anyone tell us how to write our music. There was this one part in You’re Crazy… it was originally full-time from beginning to end, but Mike Clink goes: ‘Hey, why don’t you do the verse half-time?’ Thinking that everybody else was gonna jump up and say: ‘Fuck you, don’t tell us what to do!’ I was the only one who jumped up and said it. Everyone else was just looking at me.


Zutaut and Clink would talk about the recording process:





Guns N' Roses might have worked consistently for one week, and the next week they didn't turn up. It was pretty erratic, probably because of the drug use and stuff. When Axl was in the frame of mind to work, he might work for two or three days straight and then not turn up for a week or he might come everyday during an eight-hour period. I can't even imagine this scenario happening as corporate as music companies have become today. We thought it was corporate back then. It was hard enough to get people into the concept of, "Here is a band and they're real and you roll tape when they're in the mood, alright.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


Why is "Appetite for Destruction" one of the best records ever made? Because it captures Guns N' Roses when they were in the spirit of mind to be captures, When they were ready to roll, we rolled whenever that tame was. It took a guy like Mike Clink with that kind of patience to be willing to put up with that. I mean most people need a schedule.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007




But whereas the rest of the band claims to have finished their recording quickly (but see Clink's comment above), Axl spent a lot of time on his:

My contributions to the record took six days, start to finish, and I was done. On the other hand, Axl would insist on doing his vocals one line at a time, and that took much longer. [...] It was beyond what a perfectionist would demand. And it soon became obvious to us that it was obsession for the sake of obsession.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 118

We did the basic tracks in two weeks. We'd have all the amps set up in one room. We had the guitar amps isolated and the bass direct and Steve's drums were in the room and we played in the room off the drums, putting all the tunes down in two weeks. Once in a while Slash would do a live solo an he usually would go back and recut them. He is a perfectionist in a lot of ways. [...] When we were going to do that [= add scratch vocals to play along with] Axl got a sore throat so he ended up doing it later. There were previous recordings where we recorded with vocals.


Axl would talk about the recording process:

It's a whole world unto itself. I like it because it brings things out of you, like harmonies I made up on the spot. We worked really hard to keep the spontaneity in the album. […] I miss being in the studio. I want to get a lot more songs out and create more


In 2010, Steven would claim Axl had recorded his lyrics word for word:

When we recorded "Appetite," he would sing word for word. He does care a whole lot, I know that.

He’d do his parts by himself. Axl’s a lone wolf. He’s like… I don’t want to say Dracula, but he likes his space. Axl’s vocals are what took the longest, because he’s a perfectionist: some of the vocals, he’d record one word at a time. But most of the songs are first or second take. Sweet Child O’ Mine was first take.


During recording Axl experimented with various new voices he didn't typically use at live concerts:



After finishing his work, Clink knew they had a great record:




And so did Zutaut:

When the record was done, after I mastered it, I went and played it for David Geffen and the president of the company. I said, "This is going to be the biggest album i the history of the label," and they looked at me like, "Sure kid."
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


In April 1987, Axl described his vision for their debut album and beyond:

We’ve got our progressions already planned out. How we’re going to grow. This record’s going to sound like a showcase. I sing in, like, five or six different voices, so not one song is quite like another, even if they’re all hard rock. In the last year I’ve spent over thirteen hundred dollars on cassettes, everything from Slayer to Wham! – to listen to production, vocals, melodies, this and that. I’m from Indiana, where Lynyrd Skynyrd were considered God to the point that you ended up saying, ‘I hate this fucking band!’ And yet, for our song Sweet Child O’ Mine I went out and got some old Lynyrd Skynyrd tapes to make sure that we’d got that downhome, heartfelt feeling.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:26 pm

SLASH BECOMES A LES PAUL GUY


As discussed previously, Slash had been trying out different guitar before joining GN'R and in his first period in the band, with a B.C. Rich Mockingbird being a favorite show guitar.

Before the recording of Appetite, Slash pawned the Mockingbird for drug money [source?]:

I wish I had never pawned my BC Rich guitar; it was one of my first good guitars. Now I have like 80 or 90, but my whole career started on that guitar. It's out there somewhere. Some snotty kid's probably got it sitting in his closet behind his Erector set. It's really got some history; I'd give anything to get it back.


After the Mockingbird he had a few different guitars:

Then I went to a BC Rich Mockingbird, and then through a period of searching. I had a killer Strat for a minute and Jackson gave me a couple of guitars. And finally I got (Lou Reed/Alice Cooper guitarist) Steve Hunter's guitar, which was a flame top Les Paul but it got stolen.


Talking about his first guitars:

I went through as much shit as I could get - I was searching. I gravitated towards a Les Paul, the first electric I got was a Les Paul copy and I identified with it. I could have chosen any number of piece of shit guitars but I chose the Les Paul shape - I could only afford a copy at the time for 100 bucks. Then after that I got a BC Rich Mockingbird - one of those short- homed seventies ones - and I played that for a long time.

Then I got a job at a guitar store - I had two or three jobs at the time actually - and that enabled me to buy a couple of other guitars. So then I bought a black Les Paul Standard and a Strat to go along with the BC Rich. I tried to work with the Strat but couldn’t get along with it and ended up getting rid of it. Then I ended up getting rid of the Les Paul for what reasons I don’t recall, but that particular guitar was sort of thin sounding. I was still exploring.

Then I ended up getting Steve Hunter’s Les Paul that I bought from a place in Hollywood and that was my main guitar. But somehow in the whole flurry of gigs, drugs and panhandling I lost that guitar. Then I ended up with a BC Rich Warlock that they made for me. I also had a couple of Jacksons - one of them was a prototype strat-shape with an archtop.


Then, before the release of Appetite, when he got a Les Paul copy from Alan Niven, a "handmade yellow flame-top with zebra [Seymour Duncan] Alnico II pickups" [Guitar Player, December 1991]:

I started with a BC Rich Mockingbird because I saw a poster of Joe Perry with that guitar. It took me a while before I could afford it and it was my only instrument for a long time. After that I stayed loyal to the brand, but I played on a Warlock, the guitar I had in the early days of Guns. Then I endorsed Jackson and I got a Firebird with my tattoo on the horn; but it didn't really suit me, I couldn't find my identity. And then, just before the recording of Appetite For Destruction, really at the last minute, our manager brought me this Les Paul flametop 59 with these Seymour Duncan Alnico II microphones, and it excited me. It was a gift from God. It changed my life.

I got a handmade '59 Les Paul copy, built by a guy who makes awesome guitars, better than anything the company produces now—nothing against Gibson. I think that's when I turned into a Gibson freak—Gibson and Marshall. That's been my standard until this album.

And over the course of time, I went through lots of different guitars, but I ended up back with the Les Paul style guitar. And then when Guns was doing "Appetite For Destruction", I didn't have any set guitar that I was really comfortable with, and I was going to go in and do all the guitar overdubs, Alan Niven, he was Guns 'n Roses manager back then, he brought me this Les Paul, and it was a handmade one, it wasn't an original one, it was hand made, and it sounded great, and that's what I used on "Appetite For Destruction", and I've played a Les Paul ever since.

It's probably 1984 or '85 and it's not even a Gibson. I never met the guy that made it but he built the most amazing '59 replicas that were better than most real ones. When I was doing Appetite For Destruction my manager at the time bought one of these in for me to try because I was going through this search and discovery process and I didn't have anything that sounded good in the studio. I was freaking out and on the day that I went in to do the solo tracks and I went in with that guitar and it just sounded amazing.

For me as a guitar player that '59 replica had an identifiable sound to it and that's been my main guitar all the way until now and probably in the future. I experiment more these days when I'm looking for something in particular but my standard rock and roll sound is that guitar. I have three guitars made by this guy but sadly he was dead before I ever met him.

I went through another sort of search trying to find a good guitar that ended up taking me to the Appetite sessions. And while we were doing the basic tracks for Appetite, I was going through all these guitars and they sounded terrible.

Everything - especially in the studio, everything is like microscope. And right before I went to do the overdubs, not knowing what the [bleep] I was gonna do, our old manager handed me this Les Paul, which is still the main guitar I use to this day. And it’s not even a real Gibson, it’s a handmade 59 by some guy, some artist, guitar artist-

I went into the recording studio when Gun's N' Roses did Appetite For Destruction and I was only 20 years old when all this was going on. So, we're doing the basic tracks for the record and none of these guitars sounded any good. They all sound great live because they're really loud and it's an open space, but when you're listening to the playback speakers...I'm going: I need a guitar! I had to do guitar overdubs in a week and I was handed a Les Paul and...it's not even a real Les Paul, it was hand-made by this guy, Max. Ever since then I've been a Les Paul guy.

[...] it wasn’t until we did Appetite that things truly solidified for me. It took me a while to find my identity. During Guns’ club days I had a Les Paul that had be­longed to Steve Hunter [Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth], but I also used a B.C. Rich Mockingbird, a Strat, some Jacksons. Then when we were recording Appetite, our manager [Alan Niven] found me another Les Paul—it was a handmade copy [the Chris Derrig-built 1959 replica], but it sounded great, and that was it. No more fuck­ing around. And I use that guitar to this day.

I played the Warlock for a while but when I went into the studio to record Appetite, I was listening back through the monitors to the basic tracks and those guitars sounded like shit. And I started to freak out - I needed to get a guitar. I didn’t have any money and didn’t know anyone I could loan the money from. I also didn’t have any friends who could lend me a guitar. Allan Niven, our manager then, gave me this Les Paul ’59 which has been my mainstay ever since [the Chris Derrig-made guitar]. Up until then I hadn’t achieved that security of identifying myself and saying, okay I’m a Les Paul guy. Up until then it was a case of any guitar I could lay my hands on. But I was pretty adamant that Strats were too inconsistent and I wasn’t going to go for a Charvel or anything like that. Even one of the Jacksons was a Firebird shape, that’s the one they made for me with my tattoo on it.

Finally, I was in the studio doing Appetite and I got this guitar the day before I was going to go in to do my overdubs. I’d rented a bunch of Marshalls and one in particular sounded fucking great and it was one of those things where it was a combination of the room and the guitar and amp - it made for the perfect sound for me. It was my sound! I also had an SG that I used for something, but other than that it was straight Les Paul.


This guitar would be Slash's primary instrument for recording 'Appetite':

Right now, I have two acoustics right here in front of me that I've been playing. And then when I was out on the road [in 1987/1988] I picked up, besides the two Les Pauls that I played when I was in England, which are the old ones, I got some new ones from Gibson and I bought like a '56 Gold Top, and I got a couple '68 Les Paul customs, and stuff. Just for different sounds and stuff. Nothing that I won't use. It's gotta be something that I will use, you know.


Discussing how his rig changed over the years:

I think there are instrument and equipment benchmarks you reach every so often when you're discovering yourself as an artist. They're tonal plateaus where you think, "This sounds amazing," and it carries you for a while. That Les Paul copy/distortion pedal setup was my first plateau. My next setup was a B.C. Rich Mockingbird that I wish I still had, and a Sunn Beta Lead solid­state head with a 2x12 cabinet. That combination actually sounded pretty great, and I really identified with it for about a year.

I went from there to a ['60s-era] small­logo Marshall head with a Strat and a Les Paul, switching off between the two guitars. That sound was cool - bigger and rawer than anything previous. I soon evolved things to a newer Marshall - a JCM 800, I think-and a reissue flametop Les Paul that had belonged to Steve Hunter. I eventually hawked that guitar, but I used it in the clubs for years, on up through the beginning of Guns N' Roses.

By the time we went in to record Appetite for Destruction, I had a B.C. Rich Warlock, a Jackson Firebird, and a Jackson prototype archtop Strat-style guitar, and, for the first time, I got to hear them all miked up, and they sounded fucking horrible. I didn't know what to do. Luckily, the day before I came back in the studio to redo all my parts, I got this impeccable '59 Les Paul copy with period-perfect hardware, a perfect setup, and Seymour Duncan Alnico IIs. We rented a bunch of amps, found the right Marshall, and the perfect sound came together. The Appetite tone is a combination that guitar, the studio we were in, and Mike Clink engineering. Mike is the best engineer in the world. When I stood in front of the speakers in the control room and hit that first chord, it gave me joy, and I played as such.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:27 pm

DECEMBER 31, 1986
NEW YEAR'S PARTY AT THE GLAMOUR


At the end of the year the band would play a New Year's Eve Party at the Glamour together with many other bands including Wall of Voodoo, Jet Boy and Jane's Addiction [L.A. Weekly, December 26, 1986].


Ads in L.A. Weekly, December 26, 1986


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:27 pm

SPLITTING THE REVENUES


GETTING IT DOWN IN WRITING


Early on, presumably before being signed to Geffen in 1986, the band hired the lawyer Peter Paterno to construct "a legal framework for what had been just a one-for-all-and-all-for-one-gang". The band had gotten in contact with him earlier when Vicky Hamilton had used him to draw up agreements. Paterno explained to the band that they needed a partnership agreement. As Duff said:

[Paterno] did a great job lassoing in a bunch of guys and making sure we understood the implications of various aspects of the contracts among the band members and between the band and the label.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 100


One of the first things the band argued over was splitting publishing royalties. Despite the band members contributing in complex ways to songwriting, they finally agreed to split everything equally across the board. And their lawyer enshrined it in writing [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011].


SPLITTING REVENUES


At some point, when working on Appetite, the band again gathered to discuss how they would split the revenues, this time in Alan Niven's place in Los Feliz. This time Axl ended up receiving more than the others. Axl would shed light on this when he in 1989 said they had calculated that he wrote 41 % of the music of Appetite for Destruction, but that they still split the revenues "pretty close" to equal among the five members [Howard Stern, February 6, 1989; RIP, April 1989].

[When asked if he doesn't write most of the material]: Uhm, it depends. You know, it's like, I had like probably about... we figured out some, like, 41% of the last record but, you know, it's like we split up pretty equal so we all [?] get places to live […].

Slash devised a system of figuring out who wrote what parts of a song or part of a song. There were four categories, I believe. There was lyrics, melody, music - meaning guitars, bass and drums - and accompaniment and arrangement. And we split each one of those into twenty-five percent. When we had finished, I had forty-one percent, and other people had different amounts.
Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000; quote from court proceedings


Steven would make a statement in 1991 that supported this:

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that.


Yet, according to Steven's biography, during this meeting Axl argued for a bigger share (likely because of the above) and "tricked" Steven into getting 5% of his, resulting in 25% to Axl, 15% to Steven, and 20% to each of the three remaining band members:

Now, I thought it was kind of a formality because we had talked about all this before and from day one it was always supposed to be an equal share for everybody. But Axl had changed his tune. Axl wanted a bigger slice of the pie. Axl didn't think it was fair to split royalties evenly five ways on our songs. He believed he was entitled to more than the rest of us. The other guys were smart, they just stared at the floor. No one said a fucking thing. I don't know if Axl intimidated them or if they just knew that silence was the best way to deal with his ego. Well, I couldn't just shut the fuck up about it. The reason I wouldn't dummy up was I was so outraged. So right of the bat, I was like, "Screw you, I was here from the beginning, I worked on putting those songs together just as much as you." I had no trouble standing up to Axl because I was right. So now there's this deadly silence again, and it is obvious that its become a big fucking deal. Still, no one else is saying anything, so rather than get into a big argument, I proposed what I thought was a fair offer: "Considering Axl did write most of the lyrics, which is a huge fucking part, I'll give you five percent of my twenty percent." Axl shot me this look of not thanks, not of appreciation, but of arrogance and triumph. It was like he expected it. So I looked around the room because what I expected was for everyone else to follow suit and up the ante too, but the room went dead quiet again. I looked around and everyone kind of started taling about other stuff. The matter was over, settled, done. Axl was happy and I was like, "Fuck!" So it went 25 percent to Axl, 20 percent for each of the other guys, and 15 percent for me. The entire ordeal lasted only a couple of minutes.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 112-113


So basically Axl asked for a higher share and Steven offered 5% of his.

In the October 1992 issue of RIP Magazine, after Steven had been fired from Guns N' Roses, Axl would talk about the mistake of giving Steven more than he felt he deserved, apparently of the opinion that it was Axl who gave shares to Steven, and not the other way around:

At one point, in order to keep this band together, it was necessary for me to give him a portion of my publishing rights. That was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life, but he threw such a fit, saying he wasn't going to stay in the band. We were worried about not being able to record our first album, so I did what I felt I had to do. In the long run I paid very extensively for keeping Steven in Guns N' Roses. I paid $1.5 million by giving him 15% of my publishing off of Appetite For Destruction.


In 2010, Steven would again talk about splitting the royalties and maintain he had freely offered to let Axl have more royalties:

It was split perfectly. The lyrics were Axl’s, so I thought it was only proper for him to make a bit more. Without a fight, I offered it: I said, ‘Dude, you take five per cent of mine; I’ll take 15, you take 25’. Lyrics are important. You drive around in your car, you’re singing the lyrics.



WRITING CREDITS


For the writing credits on their debut record in 1987, 'Appetite for Destruction', the band would list every member for each song. In late 1993, Duff would be asked if this was correct:

Yeah, because that’s how we always write our songs.


The idea that each band member contributed equally to the song writing for every song, is of course not correct and for the band's 1991 releases, 'Use Your Illusion I & II', the band had changed to a more precise crediting despite, according to Duff, still splitting the revenues equally:

On the ‘Illusion’ records it said that certain people wrote the songs but moneywise we still split it all equal. At the end of the day I’m proud of what I did and I know I did it. It doesn’t matter to me if other people think I’m just a bass player and that I don’t write any songs.

I know in my own heart what happened, so...


But as discussed previously, the band had ended up on a not entirely equal split prior to 'Appetite' and it is likely revenues from 'Illusions' would also not be equally split between what had now become a six-man band.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:28 pm

WORKING WITH MIKE CLINK


[...] it took us a long time to find Mike Clink. And Mike Clink is like, we worked with him and it's basically like a co-produced album. But, you know, we got him for a lower amount of money [?], giving him the name, and plus then he in turn gave us full freedom to do whatever we wanted. Which worked really good for us. And he trusted me a lot in the studio, with all the vocal ideas, because most of the harmonies and stuff I came up with, like 'It's So Easy' and 'Paradise City,' I came up with the night I was recording those parts because I'd never had the opportunity to work on it before.

[...]we went with Mike Clink was because we’re so set in our ways that we didn’t want anybody to re-write our songs. So what we did for the album was, we signed up with an engineer, who was really hot shit. He produced the album. Basically he just got all the sounds, and produced it. He just basically got Guns N’ Roses on tape.

[...] we scared a lot of [producers] away. It took us a long time to figure out who we wanted to use. We didn’t want a producer – you know, “producer” - because we didn’t want anybody to rewrite any of the songs; we thought they were fine the way they were. So what we really wanted was an engineer. Mike Clink happens to be an engineer, more or less, and he gets great sounds - you know, great drum sounds, I got a great guitar sound, and stuff like that. So we just did this, we just recorded the way we originally wrote them and got them to sound good.

With my favourite punk bands, the bass was the loudest thing and led the way. And now as Mike Clink started to produce the songs that would make up Appetite, the bass was the loudest, roundest thing on the recordings. It had a lot of space. And it wasn't on the outside or underneath the way it was on a lot of records back then-Clink had it right in the middle.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 121

Mike is really, really good. He let us have a lot of freedom to do what we wanted to do. We were basically in the production of this record, you know, we were there like every step of the way, every step of the way. When we went to mix it, you know, usually these people don't have anybody there, we went there with the mixing, we were there when they mastered, we were there. And so when you get this record, you know, maybe it's not produced as well as something else you might hear that's done by the best people in the world, but that's because this is more real, this is us. This isn't somebody else doing it, this is us. It's our work.

[Mike] pushes us to do a better job of what we want. […] He makes us analyze things.

As far as my personal guitar tone, I would say that it’s one of the best I ever had in a recording studio. A lot of that was the gear and the room, but Clink was also a great engi­neer. He was able to keep everything real tight, with a lot of punch and midrange. Another thing was that he got a really good drum sound, especially for those days, when drum sounds were fairly over the top. Overall, the album has a little bit of an Eighties sound to it, but it’s still better than most of the stuff from that time. I’d also have to give a lot of credit to Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero, who did a lot of EQing during the mixing stage.


Steven was initially not so happy with Clink, though:

I liked Mikey. He made some suggestions on changing my drum set up He got me a china cymbal and a second tom. I was like, “Ah, what the hell.” Then he wanted to change Anything Goes, and I got so pissed! “Fuck you, don’t tell us how to write songs!” But we tried his idea out, and it came out great and I said: “I am so sorry”. It just came out of nowhere, my complaining, but I admitted that he was right after we did it. [Explaining what Clink wanted to change on Anything Goes:] Halfway through each verse – it was full time slower, and his idea made the second half double time, faster.

[...] Our producer Mike Clink came up to me and suggested I change my drum setup. [...] Mike asked me to change "Anything Goes" and that really hit a nerve.

"Fuck you, don't tell us how to write songs." I got so pissed because you don't meddle with the music. I pouted, stomped around, and behaved like a real dick. [...]

So we tried his idea, and to my surprise, it came out great. [...] But I will be the first to admit when I'm wrong or out of line, and after we worked it out, I looked Mike straight in the eye and said, "I am so sorry"
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 116-117


The band affected the non-smoker Clink in various ways:

Yeah, we all smoke a lot, and we were in the studio for a couple of months. He went to his doctor one day and he said, “Man, you gotta stop smoking.”

We used to get him all drunk and shit.

You should have seen him. When we first met him he was Mike Clink and then after a while with us he was Mike Clink plus 15-20 years. After we finished the album there was a complete difference. Then he started going out, he started screwing around with all these different girls, he broke up with his girlfriend. Then he started getting difficult about jobs. He started getting real picky.



Guns N' Roses would stay loyal to Clink who would end up working on all the bands albums. In 1994 Slash would talk about their relationship with Clink:

You have relationships with people that relate to what you’re all about, and those initial people that you worked with when things were really tough—when no one else would give you a second listen—you’re loyal to them throughout your career.


And in 2006, Izzy would do the same:

But [in 1986] we finally hooked up with Mike Clink, who funnily enough did... I think it was Survivor? (laughs) So we got along with this guy, he was a cool guy - I still see him once in a while out in the Valley, in a studio here and there. And, you know, we took off from there.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:28 pm

MARCH 16, 1987
PLAYING AT THE WHISKY


While recording their debut album Guns N' Roses did not play any shows (although Izzy did a gig with the band The Loud Ones which featured various artists from other bands at The Scream club on March 7 [L.A. Weekly, March 6, 1987]). But as soon as the recording was completed, they played two shows in March 1986. The first took place on March 16 at the Whisky. According to Marc Canter, since they had just finished recording, the songs now sounded very similar to the versions found on their debut LP [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].


Poster for the March 16, 1987,
show at the Whisky


Varla DeVil writing for Endless Party Magazine gave the show a glowing review and concluded:

Hey Ratt, Crye, Poison and all you other so called rock n' roll bands...It's time to retire cause Guns & Roses fit all the requirements for the job...and then some.
Endless Party Magazine, April 1987


Paul Elliott, writing for Sounds Magazine attended the show and would later write about it:

Jet Boy were the support act that night. They had a charismatic singer in Mickey Finn, who sported an outrageous electric-blue Mohican. Plus, they had Sam Yaffa, ex-Hanoi Rocks, on bass. But Yaffa looked lost up on that stage, almost dazed, as if the demise of Hanoi, prompted by the death of their drummer Razzle, had sucked all the life out of him.

Guns N’ Roses had idolised Hanoi – and this much was immediately apparent when they kicked into their first song, Reckless Life, a blast of fast and loose rock ‘n’ roll with a punk/glam edge that was pure Hanoi... except for one crucial difference. Where Hanoi’s Michael Monroe sang with a sardonic punk sneer, Axl Rose was a full-on screamer, more heavy metal. And there was something about Axl, an intensity, that Monroe never had. Both had a certain girlish prettiness, but Axl had a menacing aura; the kind of guy who’d punch your lights out as soon as look at you. Stripped to the waist, his slender arms covered in tattoos, his skin almost translucent under the stage lights, hair whipped into an artful mess, Axl was magnetic, drawing all eyes to him.

Slash was the perfect foil for Axl. His face was hidden under a mop of dark curls, cigarette screwed into his mouth, effortlessly cool, swaying backwards as he fired off solos. Izzy was GN’R’s Keith Richards, sullen and nonchalant. Duff McKagan had the air of a displaced punk rocker, tall and thin, the way bass players should be. Steven Adler looked the archetypical Californian beach bum: big blond hair, fuzzy chest. He could have passed for David Lee Roth’s kid brother. And he was the only one who smiled.

Guns N’ Roses meant business. That much was evident on the night. The rocked hard, they looked cool, and the songs they played from the new album – Welcome To The Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain – pissed all over anything that Motley Crue or Poison had ever come up with.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:29 pm

DEL JAMES


The band got an increasing number of friends and followers as they became more popular, including fellow musicians, both great and small, bikers, artists, and street people. One of these friends was Del James.

I’ve been involved with Guns N’ Roses for as long as I’ve been in California, which is seven years. I guess that would make it about ’85 that I initially hooked up with them. And when I moved out, I went to a building that said “For rent,” and that was a pad West Arkeen was living in, and Axl was crashing on his floor, and Duff was living next door. So while we were walking through this pad West came out and he asked me if I drank, and back then I did, so I spent, like, the weekend there, and those became my first and only friends in California.

Our friend Wes had passed out on Thorazines and I didn’t have a place to crash, and Del said I could crash at their place.

Our social circle soon included a group of recently transplanted New Yorkers who moved out West to--I always suspected--escape legal problems. "Red" Ed, Petey, and Del melded nicely into our lifestyle, which included 24-hour alcohol consumption, scoring any available drugs, sundry debauchery, and plenty of Rolling Stones, Motorhead, Sly and the Family Stone, and Rose Tattoo


In 2006, Steven would talk about Del James:

He’s a cool mother fucker, very talented, very talented. Good man, very, very smart.


James would also present himself for an article he wrote on gunsnroses.com:

I have a 21-year history with Guns N' Roses dating back to before the record deal. During those 21 years I've been offered amazing opportunities and have directed videos, co-written songs, lived with, humped gear, was the project coordinator for the double live album, etc, etc. I've also interviewed Guns N' Roses for countless publications around the world including Axl Rose's first Rolling Stone cover.


In connection with the re-release of Language of Fear in 2008, James would do some press:

In 1985 I moved from New York to California and never looked back. I was 21. On my first day in Hollywood, the first people I made friends with were the guys in an unsigned band called Guns N' Roses. These dudes were paying their dues in the clubs and struggling to eat once a day. It was far from glamorous or how people think of GN'R today. Shit was as street as street gets. We became friends for the same reasons ya click with anyone in life. We had similar interests, similar habits. West Arkeen, Todd Crew, me, and few others were the only people who keep up with GN'R. And through all of it, Axl was the guy I connected with the most. He took me under his wing. Back in the day, Axl was the guy who hung out on the street corner, bullshitting rock-n-roll all night. He was the guy who loved writing different styles of music with all sorts of different people, myself included. He had the vision beyond the Sunset Strip. He helped me become the person I am today in the sense that I've never met anyone more real than him and hopefully some of that rubbed off. He was always supportive and encouraging of all his friends. Axl has always had my back and everyone should be lucky to have a best friend as loyal as Axl Rose. Over the past 20 years, he's offered me many, many great opportunities and hopefully I've risen to the occasion. I've certainly had my share of wonderfully decadent experiences with Axl and I cherish them all.

You know, from the day that I met Axl Rose, he has been so righteous that you could not ask for a better friend. When we met he was starving and so was I but as he ascended into iconic status he has always given me amazing opportunities that I am grateful for. Axl didn't have to offer me any of the cool opportunities, like working on videos and coordinating the live album and countless others, but that's who he is. He is always the first to share the spotlight and look out for his people. He looks out for me like no one else in this industry ever has. And through it all, he's always been like most considerate, loyal friend you could imagine. When people talk shit about him, I'm like 'Fuck you! You don't fucking know him!'

I moved out to California from New York in 1985. I was 21 years old and I had less than $1000 in my pocket. I had little clue as to what I was going to wind up doing but I knew that California presented opportunities because music was happening here. The Sunset Strip was happening here. If you look at New York, its pedigree was Twisted Sister. If you look at California round the same time, you’re talking Van Halen, you’re talking Motley Crue, you’re talking W.A.S.P. and Ratt and Great White and all these bands who had a opportunity to thrive here. I’m not saying they’re my favorites or anything but there was a scene and opportunity. So in ‘85 I move out here and literally on my first day, when I’m going to an apartment building that say ‘for rent’ on it, I bump into a fella named West Arkeen and living on his floor was a guy with no residence named, Axl Rose. Guns ‘N Roses had been together for several months. I don’t see them play till I think September 20th. That’s the first night they played “Rocket Queen.” So for a month I’m hanging out with these guys. They are my new friends. We speak the same language, do the same drugs, and smoke the same cigarettes. You know, mutual riff-raff influences. I like these guys the same way you like anyone else. These are your bros. These are the dudes you wanna hang out in alleys with and do shit that you do when you’re 21 years old. I remember thinking to myself, if you’re half as cool as your name, Guns ‘N Roses, cause I never heard a name like that you know, you mother fuckers are on to something. When I saw them and it was Aerosmith at Max’s Kansas City. It was the Sex Pistols. It was raw and exciting with so much potential and you know, I was really fortunate to become a part of that gang.



1995: THE LANGUAGE OF FEAR


In November 1993, Axl would write about Del James for James' forthcoming book publication [Del James, "The Language of Fear", 1995], an anthology of horror stories.

Back when we first met in the summer of ’85, food, shelter, and relief from boredom constituted survival. Del has always been the one to find something to entertain himself faster than anyone else, whether it’s a hockey game, horror movies, a video game, or The Simpsons. It’s amazing to me that considering the self-destructive nature in each of us, our relationship helps us avoid self-destruction. There are a lot of times when Del helps me work through something that is emotionally too huge for me to deal with. That helps me to not self-destruct and in the process take GN’R or anything down with me. He’s always talking me out of stupid shit that I really wouldn’t want to do but I think about doing because I’m frustrated, hurt, angry, or embarrassed. We’ve both saved each other’s lives a few times. Back when we had no clue of what the other one was going to do in life and whether or not we were going to succeed, we still had respect for each other.


In 2008, the anthology would be re-released [SuicideGirls, April 30, 2008].


2001?: DEL JAMES BECOMES THE BAND'S ROAD MANAGER


I’ve been around for twenty some odd years and I’ve worn many different hats. I was in charge of the documentary crew for a while that was on the Use Your Illusions tour. I’ve co-written songs. I’ve been a roommate. I’ve been a dealer, songwriter, and video director…I’ve done a lot of different things. When I get my shit together and finally get off all the drugs and the drink, management made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. They basically said “when you are clean you are part of the solution, you are an asset. When you are wasted you are one of these animals and we’ve got enough animals and the animals are performing. So, you know, so as long a you keep your shit together you will always have a job with Guns N’ Roses.” So far still sober and that’s how I lucked into becoming a road manager. [...] I’ve ascended in GN’R world from fucked up band friend to their road manager. I’ve been given certain opportunities and hopefully made the most of them outside of guns.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:29 pm

MARCH 29, 1987
THE ROXY


The second Guns N' Roses show of March 1987 took place on the 29th at the Roxy.

Riki Rachtman would introduce the show:

It's going to be a long time before we see these guys in a club this size. They've been in a couple of magazines and they got a record coming out real soon on Geffen Records.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


The review for this show would again be great:

Their constant playing and the finishing of their new album has honed these heart-throb musicians to a fine edge, and Axl’s high pitched voice is so perfect and strong it doesn’t bother my ears like it used to. It even gives me the goosebumps when he goes over-the-top of the screaming lead guitars, and the song “Night Train” sounded so good I became a Guns & Roses fan all over again.


In April the band didn't play any shows, but they still partied in Los Angeles in anticipation of mixing the album. According to L.A. Weekly on April 12, Duff and Slash were thrown out of the Cathouse for the "seventh time in seven weeks" [L.A. Weekly, April 17, 1987].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:30 pm

1986-1987
THE DEMILLE HOUSE AND THE HELL HOUSE


After having signed with Geffen in March 1986, the band rented a cheap rehearsal space in an old shopping center called the Golden Mall in Glendale, near the Burbank line. It was better than the Gardner space, and included a little stage [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 112].


1986: THE DEMILLE HOUSE


Their manager at the time, Arnold Stiefel set them up in a rented on the former estate of Cecil B. DeMille in Laughlin Park [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007]. Jetboy singer Mickey Fin probably talked about this house and people smoking heroin:

I remember partying up at the first Guns N’ Roses house and being taught how to chase the dragon. Which, if you know anything about that, it’s the act of smoking heroin out of a piece of foil, with a foil tube. I’d been way deep into many drugs, but I’d never got really deep into heroin. Luckily it was not something that really clicked with me long-term. But yeah, man, those were the days.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


The band caused so much damages to the DeMille House, Stiefel and Zutaut would state:

It was Beneath the Planet of the Apes. It was, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. It was so beyond imagining. I couldn’t stop laughing.

People were defecating in the sinks. The holes in the floor where the toilets got ripped off were filled with urine. There were half-eaten Whoppers with mold on the wrappers. They would just get in these drug rages and just go berserk.


Axl had his own room in the house:

There was this padlocked door. You go inside, and there was Axl in this immaculate, perfect room, surrounded by all this squalor.


Stiefel's name was on the lease of the house and he passed the $22,000 bill for repairing the damages off to Geffen and then dropped the band [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007].


THE HELL HOUSE


In the beginning of and at least into May 1987, the band lived, or hung out, in a "smallish, detached, flaking white-wood house just off Santa Monica Boulevard" [Sounds Magazine, 1987.04.04], also described as "a filthy, blitzed suburban bungalow in an otherwise pristine street in West Hollywood" [Time Out, June 1987]. This place would affectionately be referred to as "The Hell House" and the address was 1139 N Fuller Avenue.

At the start, we all had odd jobs, but then we started playing clubs and getting in to the studio, and the house became this disgusting mess. We lived off the girls, but it wasn't nasty. We were in a band and we got to meet girls.We never hurt nobody. One of the strippers i still know to this day- Monica, shes a lovely girl, they all really wanted to help us and that's what the lifestyle was. Really, they were the best days, just playing in the clubs, selling them out, having guys come up in the street and say Hey I saw you guys, your band really kicks it! Having girls and some pot, that was the best of it.



The Hell House at 1139 N Fuller Avenue


As with their former hang out at Gardner's, The Hell House was also checked in on by the police regularly, as Simon Garfield from Time Out Magazine could confirm when he visited in 1987 for an interview:

During my brief visit, the cops pull up at the Hellhouse three times: once to advise an occupant against parking on the front lawn; once to announce that if there was any more bottle smashing in the road there would be severe trouble; and once to raid a Hellhouse car and its passengers for drugs. No drugs are found, but one of the women in the car is called Candy, and she winds up with one officer’s home phone number and promises to call.


Garfield would also wittily describe witnessing Slash insisting on breaking a bottle of Jim Beam inside the Hell House [Time Out, June 1987].

According to Adriana Smith, Steven lived in the laundry room of the building opposite the Hellhouse and across the street lived a guy they would buy meth from:

I remember one time [me and Steven] were having sex in the building across from the Hellhouse – he lived in the fucking laundry room there – and this weird woodcutter guy lived across the street. He had like a pitbull face, bubble eyes and only a couple of teeth. He had a bald-headed wife. He would make Crystal [meth] out of, like, household items. We didn’t know what we were snorting but – who cares? – we were just doing it.

He was a strange man. He made me uncomfortable, like he could have been a cannibal! He was a freak! Nobody wanted to go there but we all wanted his drugs. He would scrape this shit on a plate of glass, he had a blowtorch, he was like an insane Meat Loaf! So we were having sex in the laundry room and there’s this little tiny window and his eye is peeping at us through that! God! But you know what he did for Steven? He took his drum sticks before their first tour and whittled little [?] in them so they wouldn’t slip out of his hands when he was drumming. It was a trippy time.


______________________________________________________

MOVE:

At some point, according to Izzy, likely in mid-to-late 1987, Alan Niven got them "this huge house in the hills" [Guitar, September 1988]. This house is likely not the Hell House, since the latter wasn't in the hills.

In December 1988, Slash had an apartment on Sunset Boulevard where we lived with a girlfriend called Kimberley [On The Streets, December 1988].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:30 pm

MAY 1987
MIXING THE ALBUM IN NEW YORK


After all recordings for 'Appetite' was done, Axl, Slash, Duff and Izzy went to New York to sit in on the mixing process. This likely happened in April or May 1987.

After the studio recordings with Mike, Axl and Izzy and I went out to New York to mix the record with Steve Thompson and Mike Barbiero.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

My first time coming out to New York from Hollywood (my GNR homebase) was in early 1987 when we were mixing Appetite For Destruction. I had toured some of the US and Canada with prior Seattle punk-rock bands, but never made it all the way out here. For a guy steeped in bands like the Ramones, Dead Boys, the Dolls, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, just landing at JFK was enough to get my heart pounding. That first cab ride into the city was nothing short of astounding. My rhythm guitarist Izzy and I checked into the Gramercy Park Hotel--then, a sort of shithole--and commenced to walk around the East Village. The further down into the alphabetized streets we got, the more familiar the populace got to us (read: users and pushers). It's a good thing that I really didn't have the money yet to support a habit.


Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero had previously mixed the last Tesla record [Unknown UK source, June 1987].

Tom Zutaut sent me the Guns demos and I really liked the band. I remember getting demo after demo and thinking, "Holy shit, this stuff is great." And I think the songs don't deviate much from the demos. The band had the essence of 'Appetite' on those demos. Tom asked ut to produce it and we had so much work we were doing at the time, we just couldn't get it in there. It sucked, because I really loved what I was hearing. We told him that we couldn't produce it, but we'd love to mix it. I remember when we started working on 'Appetite,' I felt that that's where rock needed to be. Nothing was really jumping out and kickin' you in the ass. And Guns was just the perfect band, the perfect attitude, just the perfect vibe for what was going on then. I felt if that record didn't make it then I should get out of the business. I really believed that.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Tom Zutaut originally asked Steve and I to produce the first Guns N' Roses LP, "Appetite for Destruction." My recollection is that he liked the work we had done earlier on the Phantom, Rocker and Slick albums we had done for Capitol, but we wound up passing on the production of 'Appetite' because we were involved in something else. That decision definitely turned out to be a bad move in retrospect. Fortunately, Zutaut came back to us with the mix of the album after he heard what we'd done with Tesla's first album, which was also for Geffen. Tom was a big supporter of our work in those days, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for keeping us involved in many of his signings.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

The people in the mix were Axl, Slash and Izzy. Each day they would come in to explain a little bit about the tracks and then we'd go off and do out thing. Then, when we felt we were ready for their ears, we would have them come in. I remember when we were mixing "Paradise City," I goofed this one part during the breakdown before "take me home." I basically copied that part of the song and duplicated it. Axl heard it and loved it and said to keep it there. […] We worked closely with Tom Zutaut. He was there every day and I'd have to say Tom has an amazing ear and I really liked his perspective on things. I think he was right on the money on everything in terms of the approach on the mixing of the record. Just keeping it raw and keeping it in your face. You can credit Tom Zutaut with a lot cause he camped out for a long time. He got in the trenches with them. Tom had the passion and to me, that's everything. That's what makes something successful.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007




Slash, Barbiero, Izzy, Axl and Thompson



Tom Zutaut was very specific in his instructions for what he wanted the album to sound like. He had a cassette tape of rough mixes that Mike Clink had done which he played for us. He actually did an A-B of each mix against that tape on a beat box that he had brought from L.A. to make sure the mixes had the sonic elements he wanted. He said he wanted the sound of that rough mix, but bigger. So that's what we went for.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Axl asked me at the time if I thought the album had a shot, and I remember telling him that it was very original. I remember telling him that to my era the songs and performances were good enough that, though the album wasn't at all like anything being played on radio, the band stood a good chance for a gold record based on word of mouth.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:31 pm

MAY 1987
AXL'S FINAL PERFORMANCE


While mixing the album in New York, Axl decided Rocket Queen needed something extra:

Izzy would get on the console every now and then and check things out. Slash would come around. I remember we were working with "Rocket Queen" and Axl said it was missing something. He said, "I want to get some sex noises on this." So obviously you could go into your porn collection and record some stuff, but he said, "No I want something real."
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

As we mixed the song 'Rocket Queen,' Axl felt that the bridge needed something; some other element to elevate the drama. He suggested that Adriana Smith, who was with us in the studio that day, fuck him in the live room so that we could record her vocals and layer them on the breakdown. We'd been drinking Jack pretty heavily all day, so it seemed like the most natural think in the world. I was all for it; I knew too well what she was capable of vocally - she had kept me up for the past three nights. So we lit up some candles for atmosphere, then she and Axl went out into the live room, got down on the floor by the drum riser, and we recorded Smith's performance in all of its honest moaning and groaning. Enjoy it - it's all there in the final mix.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 180

There was also something I tried to work out with various people - a recorded sex act. It was somewhat spontaneous but premediated: something I wanted to put on the record. It was a sexual song and it was a wild night in the studio. This girl we know was dancing; everyone was getting real excited. The night could have gotten really explosive, lots of trouble for everyone, and I thought wait a minute, how can we make this productive.


The "various people" included Erin, but according to Adriana Smith, Erin had declined [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. So instead Adriana, who had been invited to join Axl, Slash and Izzy to New York by Slash, did it for a bottle of Jack Daniels [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

We had to mic her up and Axl did his thing and it was recorded and that's basically what happened on the session.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

Axl propositioned me to do something “not even his girlfriend would do”. He sat me down and was all serious. “Erin won’t do this, nobody will do this.” And I was like: “Fuck yeah, I’ll do it – for the band, dude!” So I directed it. We went into the studio and kicked everybody out except for a couple of sound guys. I made them turn out the lights. They took the microphones down close to the floor, and there was wood panelling halfway up the wall and then the glass window, so nobody could actually see us. Me and Axl got to it, had sex on the floor of the voice room. Apparently there was, like, three and a half hours of audio on the reel to reel. We just kind laid down and did it. I was having fun and Axl would be like: “C’mon Adriana, quit fucking faking it!” It was probably a comedy of errors for the most part. I told them to destroy the tape.

I had gone to New York to hang out with Slash, who was my drinking buddy at the time. They were mixing down the final mix of Appetite For Destruction at the time. Basically, Axl propositioned me in the studio. I was really drunk and although we were both seeing other people at the time, he had a really creative interest for this song and wanted to give it an edge and I was the girl to do it. I did it for the band.
Live Metal, December 15, 2008


The engineer Victor Deyglio was responsible for recording the sex act and would later be credited as "Victor 'the fuckin' engineer'" on the album [Rolling Stones, August 9, 2007].

Adriana was Steven's on-off girlfriend:

I said: "That's cool, who's that?" Slash said: "It's Adriana." She wasn't like my girlfriend exactly...but, we had some good, long nights. Axl came up with this idea to fuck some girl in the studio and record it for Rocket Queen, so he called Adriana. They put up a divider, laid a blanket down, and recorded it. I just felt that out of all the girls around us, he just had to pick the one that I was hanging out with. He knew we were close. But it came out good, it worked.
Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007

After the whole ordeal, Axl took me upstairs to his hotel room where we were staying and he played me November Rain for the first time on a piano. He told me that it was something that he wrote when ha was fifteen. And it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. It was awesome. The next day I woke up in the hotel room. I was all alone and Slash called me and said, "You need to come down to the studio right now." And I was like, "Oh fuck, what did I do? Oh my God." I was incredibly embarrassed and I realized there might be repercussions to my current relationship with Steven, which was a rocky relationship anyway. Instead of being happy about what I did, I got a lot of crap about it because Axl was seeing Erin and I was seeing Steven, so I was now this big slut. I said I wanted the tape destroyed, but too late; Axl was overwhelmingly happy. He was stoked! This was just what he wanted. He was happy as pie.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 180


On March 16, Axl had referred to Erin as his "ex-girlfriend" [Onstage at the Whisky, March 16, 1987], so it is possible they were split up when the recording took place.

Being asked if she got paid:

I think I did it for a bottle of booze or something. Because I wanted to party with Slash! Of course, Slash got pissed about it; him and Steven were childhood friends. The next day I went down and they were mixing it in the studio. I was like: “God, what have I done?” I’m sure in this day and age any girl would be “Oh yeah!” but I was just trying to prove another point to Steven, like: “See? Fuck you!”

So there it was, and I wanted no one to say a word about who that was on the record, and I didn’t let it to go on the album that it was me, because of Steven. But I was drunk when I did it and I was pissed at him. Eventually I fucking [?] and I told him. He was devastated and pissed: “How could you do this to me?” I felt all guilty but at the same time he was screwing every broad in town.



EPILOGUE


As soon as the touring started everybody kinda broke apart, and [?] came all these parasites. I became addicted to all different substances. Then the band would come back to Hollywood and would be put up in hotels and shit. I’d see Steven sometimes, but fuck... This huge tidal wave called Guns N’ Roses hit and I was left addicted and feelin’ like a stepchild. I called Axl, and he was like: “Y’know, Steven’s making new friends, and he’s going on with his life.” I don’t know why Axl was fucking counselling me about Steven, and being nice about it. I guess, in a way, he was saying goodbye. You know: “This is it. We’re being swept away by fame and fortune.” It was just a natural progression, people’s lives change. I ended up in a fucking spin, I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t get from under the covers. Things just got ugly.

That I should have been smarter and got my name on the album, some credit. Maybe a half of a cent of every album? Then I would have been a whore for hire, right? Y’know hey, whatever... I don’t think anybody owes me anything, what happened in our lives happened.

Actually, it [=coming out with the story] was a decision made of years of progress in my personal life. I had shame and guilt over what I had done and I felt as if I had done something wrong for a long time. Basically, I came out twenty something years later because it was a sense of closure for myself. I realized that it was something that I didn't have to be ashamed of and something that was really good. I came out and told the world about it. A friend of mine named Brooke, runs Steven Adler's web page and he is a part time journalist. He said to me "Why don't you go ahead and tell your story?" and with the release of the Reckless Road book, I just felt that it was time for the story of The Rocket Queen to be heard.
Live Metal, December 15, 2008

Adriana was one of the strippers we lived with. There were about five or six strippers that we lived with in this building. She was just the girl I was fucking for that month. She wasn't the only girl. Hey, I was 19 or 20, walking around with a hard-on and fucking anything that I possibly could. Plus, there's a lot of booze and drugs, and when you're in that state of mind, you'll put your pee-pee in anything.

Oh, that was just an old girlfriend, a stripper. We had, like, eight or nine strippers who were part of our little clan. She just happened to be one I was making out with at the time. But I didn’t mind that Axl fucked her. Of course not. He was doing it for the band. Fuck away!


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:31 pm

MAY 10, 1987
THE DRUNK FUX IS FORMED AND PLAYS AT THE COCONUT TEAZER


With Axl, Slash and Izzy gone to New York to mix their debut album, Duff and Steven, together with friends, formed a band called the Drunk Fux [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 122]. This band would play various shows over the next years, with highly variable lineups.

The firs Drunk Fux show took place at the Coconut Teazer on May 10 with Del James on vocals, West Arkeen on guitar, Duff on guitar, Todd Crew (from Jetboy) on bass, and Steven on drums [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007; Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 122].


Poster for the Drunk Fux show
on May 10, 1987


Todd Crew had recently been kicked out of Jetboy:

Jetboy kicked [Todd Crew] out because he hung out with us. That was their excuse, which was kinda weird. But he hung out with us and we were bro’s.


Steven would claim that Axl, Del James and West Arkeen weren't really part of Drunk Fux because they "had their own little clique":

Ohh, Del, no, I’ve known Del James, and Wes Arkeen and all those boys, but I was friends with them, but Duff & Axl were really best friends with them. I, that was just a hell house and the whole band would hang there. I was just too busy having sex with girls in different rooms.

[…] everyone kind of spontaneously formed a fun jam band called the Drunk Fux. Many different people were in that band, including Tommy Lee and Lemmy. It was just a jam thing really, and we played some free benefit shows around L.A. [...] Axl, West, and Del had their own little clique that wasn't really part of the Drunk Fux, and I couldn't give less of a fuck about it.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 85


This is obviously not correct. Axl did not take part in the band's first gig because he was in New York, but both Del James and West Arkeen did play in the band for its first show and would invariably take part in others.

You had to be a drunk fuck to be in Drunk Fux! It was like a silly little side var of Guns N' Roses' folklore!
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

We had this band called the Drunk Fux, where we played covers and just basically screwed the whole thing up. But it was okay. […] When we get together, we get completely wasted and book a gig and not show up for it cuz we'll all be too wasted.

It’s F-U-X, so we can say that (chuckles). […] It’s not really a band anymore. It was just a bunch of friends. There was West Arkeen, Duff, a guy named Todd that’s no longer around – which was pretty much the reason why Drunk Fux isn’t around anymore, because he passed away, and he was one of the really main members. There was Del James, who is a really good friend of ours (?), and I. […] So, it was a band that we just went out with a sort of like, you know, juvenile attitude and just – we’d go out and [muted], and we’d book a gig in a club and we’d just hang out. I never made one gig, myself. I would always be passed out in a road case in the back somewhere. That was the whole, like, little touch of Drunk Fux that I had. […] We had a great logo. We got some t-shirts made and that was cool (laughs). We won’t be recording soon, okay?


Duff would jokingly say that Slash missed all the Drunk Fux because he was too wasted, although this is not entirely true [L.A. Weekly, January 12, 1990].

Slash actually didn’t make any of the gigs. Like, the first five gigs because he was always passed out in the back. It is just a kind of a fun thing, you know. And we always play in front of just, like, chairs.


According to Marc Canter, the band played punk covers and several songs written by Duff and Del James [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007].

In the first half of June, before the band would travel to England for shows at the Marquee, Del James would spit on Cathouse's Taime Down, resulting in Down having to be restrained by Steven and Todd Crew, amongst others [L.A. Weekly, June 12, 1987].

The band would play shows throughout 1989-1990.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:32 pm

SLASH WRECKS CARS


[Talking about the strongest impression he has from recording 'Appetite']: You should probably ask the rental car companies who rented us the vans we used to drive from Valley to Hollywood and back [laughs]. There were a few damaged vans - we must have dropped off about three or four in the middle of the night. So many rental places were pissed off and ready to sue - except there was no entity to sue, really. That's what that album was about - an appetite for destruction. It was us against the world. And it was a really cool time, because we pulled it off.

Anytime we do anything bad, like I wrecked our apartment and our van and I cost the band a lot of money all the time, I’ll call David (Geffen, a friend of his family’s and president of their label) and say, ‘I’m not such a bad guy, and the band really loves this company’.

[Talking about something wild that's happened to them lately]: Well, if you want anything (looks at Slash) this guy (?) vans, he goes out and wrecks vans and passes out in the middle of the street.

Last time we rented vans for this band [Slash] trashed both of them. We had to sneak them back into the building [?] the van rental place[?] and wrote a note that said, "Sorry!" If you look at our thank-yous, it says, "Back Stage van rental, sorry."

I've been through the experience once already of hitting somebody in a car… I hit a van, it was when we were recording the album. I realised pretty quickly then that one drunken night just isn't worth years in jail, or being responsible for somebody else's misery…


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:32 pm

OUT TA GET ME!


An interview from April 1987 describes how police cars would drive up to The Hellhouse to check on the band [Sounds Magazine, April 4, 1987].

The West Hollywood sheriffs have got to be the biggest fucking pigfaces I’ve ever known. They know our name, too, because of all the things that have happened.

LAPD are really fucked up. I mean, everywhere else you go, the cops are really, really, really relaxed and cool. In LA, especially in the area that we're in [...] They're like the fuckin' nazis. [...] Or like the Gestapo. You know, they're really bad. And they know… [...] I got hassled on my way just walking down the street. I was only like, say a hundred… not even a hundred yards from the apartment where I'm staying. I was walking by a club called the Whiskey. I was walking down the street and there was cops down at the end of the street, and the only thing that was wrong with me, I wasn't wearing any fuckin' shirt. And I got thrown over the top over the top of the car and whole bit. And, you know, it's just like that. You can't walk out of a fuckin' club without seeing a cop and wondering if you're gonna get…

We jaywalked, it was me and [Steven], and Todd [Crew]. It was you too, right? And a couple of guys. We didn't even jaywalk. It was a thing… The cops were standing across the street, they could see the fuckin' thing. It's red, we walked. We're not gonna jaywalk in front of cops. You just don't do that in West Hollywood. You don't do it anywhere. And we get across the street and they fuckin'… come up to us. We're going: "What the fuck?" We're up against the wall, got our hands behind our back. And it hurts. This is a nice little trick they got. They lace your fingers behind your back and they grab… Here, just feel it. Lace your fingers, I won't do this. And you know, they do this. Really hard, you know. [...] I just got a ticket the other day, or about three weeks ago, for conversing with a female motorist. I was walking to my apartment, a friend of mine came up, I was on the sidewalk, said: "Hi, how's it going? Blablablablabla". She took off, cop pulls in the alley in front of me, up against the car, the whole fuckin' thing again, you know. Got a ticket for conversing… It says right on the ticket, "conversing with a female motorist."


At some point in 1987, Slash and Duff travelled back to Seattle  and allegedly tried to burn down a bar (possibly The Gorilla Gardens where they played at the Hell Tour?):

Slash and I almost got arrested in Seattle. We went back there for a little vacation, we were going to burn some bar down. Then on the way back to L.A., we were drunker than shit, and we sat next to this kindergarten teacher on the plane. First she told us to calm down. Then she pulled out this book she wrote called From A to Z, and she read it to us, and drew pictures for us. By the end of the flight we were so tranquil, we went right to sleep.


When travelling to Canada for their first concert on the tour with the Cult, Axl was arrested for trying to bring in a stun gun [Spin, January 1988].

Slash would later describe an encounter with the police, which had led him to spend two or three days in the Los Angeles County Jail:

I was cruising around with Danny one night looking for dope and we managed to cop some shit, but it was very little; it was just a taste. [...] We were coming up La Cienega when the blue and red lights went on behind us. [...] We had nothing on us, but Danny had forgotten the needle he had in the breast pocket of his shirt, which gave the cops carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. [...]

They impounded Danny’s car and arrested him for possession of paraphernalia. They cuffed me, too, but wouldn’t tell me on what charges.  [...]

After Danny had sat around long enough, they let him go [...]. He was booked for having the needle and was given a court date, and all of that. I was the only one left, and since I thought that I hadn’t done anything, I figured that I’d get out any minute now. [...] I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the guards’ attention to ask why I was still being held.

The only answer I got was being shuffled from the small cell of the night before to a larger cell with [...] a lot of inmates [...] After a while we were loaded onto one of those horrible black-and-white transformed school buses with gates on the windows. I was shackled at the ankles and wrists and chained to the guy in front of me. I still had no idea why I was there, but I realized that I was going to the county jail, so I immediately started chewing off my black nail polish. There was no way in hell that I was going to county with fingernail polish on. [...]

It was the most tedious bureaucracy I’ve ever seen in my life, and it didn’t help that I was genuinely dope sick during it all. [...] I was housed in one of those big old-fashioned rooms with a few rows of cots, where I sweated it out, nauseous, sick, and exhausted. [...]

Then all of a sudden they let me out, again with no explanation, and I had to go through the whole fucking entrance process in reverse.  [...] When they handed me my clothes and belongings, I was finally informed why I was there: I’d been hauled in for a six-year-old jaywalking ticket. There had been a warrant out for me after I’d not shown up in court or paid the fine. Of all the things I’ve done, I got busted for jaywalking. Well, at least I did my time and paid my debt to society. [...]

When I found out later that Axl was the one who scraped together the bail money, I was touched. That was pretty cool of him.
Slash's autobiography, "Slash", 2007


According to the close friend of the band Marc Canter, the above incident took place some time in mid-1986, during the sessions at Pasha studios [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2008]. Referring to the event, Marc would also mention that the officers in the County jail were suspicious of Axl when he went there to bail out Slash:  

[Slash] had been a passenger in a car that was pulled over by the Sheriff’s department for a broken taillight. Danny Biral, a roadie for the band, was driving. The sheriff’s deputies found a hypodermic needle in the car, and somehow Slash ended up getting arrested. This wasn’t the first time the band had been in trouble with the Sheriff’s Department, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Axl and I went down to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department to bail Slash out. By the time we arrived, Slash had already been shipped off to the L.A. County jail. [...] When we arrived at the jail to post Slash’s $178 bail, one of the officers noticed the medallion in the shape of a tiny gun hanging around Axl’s neck. Evidently alarmed at the threat posed by Axl’s necklace, the officer threw him up against the wall and frisked him. Finding no additional threatening objects, he let Axl go, and we went back to my car and waited about five hours for Slash to be released..
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2008


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:33 pm

JUNE 15, 1987
THE BAND'S FIRST SINGLE, 'IT'S SO EASY'


MTV and other music channels were very important in the 80s and music singles and accompanying videos were crucial to market sales. The first single off the forthcoming debut LP was 'It's So Easy/Mr. Brownstone' and it was released in the UK already in June 15, 1987, well before the release of the record. This was to coincide with the band playing their June concerts at the Marquee in London.


The It's So Easy single


The tracklist was It's So Easy, Mr. Brownstone (alt. mix), Shadow of Your Love (live), and Move to the City (live).

According to a San Francisco Chronicle article from August 1987 [The San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 1987], the single was accompanied with a music video that cost $85,000, and which was banned from MTV for "being too racy and violent." This is confusing since the band would make a video for 'It's So Easy' in October 1989, which would be banned due to sexual content. In March 1989, Slash would also indicate that they hadn't made a music video for 'It's So Easy' back in 1987 but were making one now [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989].

It could be that the Chronicle is talking about the music video for 'Welcome to the Jungle' which contained violent clips, but this video wouldn't be released until the next month, in September 1987. So perhaps, contrary to Slash's comment in 1989, the band made an early music video for 'It's So Easy' which would later be edited with live clips from 1989? Or perhaps the music video for 'Jungle' was released prior to the single release?


NOVEMBER 1999 - AN UPATED VERSION IS RELEASED


In connection with the band's release of 'Live Era '87-'93' in 1999, the band would release a new music video for 'It's So Easy' showing footage of the band playing at the Cathouse in 1988 [Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1999]. Rolling Stone would describe it as a "was a mildly modified version of an old but rarely seen video shot at the Cathouse in Los Angeles in 1988, with original footage of ex-wives and naked women replaced with still photos from a Robert John Guns N' Roses photo book" [Rolling Stone, November 9, 1999].


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:33 pm

SUMMER OF 1987
AXL'S DEPRESSIONS AND AN OVERDOSE


Axl's extreme mood swings would send him into depressions and according to Sounds Magazine Axl overdosed just two weeks prior to the band's trip to England in June 1987 for their gigs at the Marquee [Sounds Magazine, November 1989]. Later it would be reported that Axl entered a "deep depression" just before the release of Appetite for Destruction [Juke Magazine, July 1989], and almost died from a drug overdose "soon after [Appetite's] release" and had to have his stomach pumped, which would mean it happened in July or August 1987 [New York Times, December 8, 1991]. This is likely the same incident, and thus occurred some time in the summer of 1987, likely connected to stress from the first overseas tour and/or the release of the band's debut record.

In July and August 1987 Axl would mention having partied to hard and ending up in a coma, although he makes it sound like the coma was the result of having a fight with cops:

The incident in Los Angeles just kinda happened real quickly. I got hit on the head by a cop and I guess I was just blacked out and was still raging and fighting. Two days later, I woke up in hospital tied to the bed with electrodes over me. I guess they had to give me electro-shock. I don’t know a whole lot about what happened.

I just got out of the hospital a little while ago, 'cause I partied too much one night, blacked out, got into it with the cops, got stun-gunned, was knocked out, went into a coma for a coupl’a days and woke up strapped to my bed, plugged into a catheter.


This is likely the same incident he mentioned from stage at the Ritz in October 1987:

A little over a month ago, I OD’ed, and I ended up in a hospital called Cedars-Sinai. I was in a coma for about two days. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was a guy named Todd Crew. Todd used to be in a band called Jetboy, and one of the reasons he got kicked out – Jetboy sucks. One of the reasons he got kicked out, was for hanging out with us. I think we were more friends than the people he knew all of his fucking life. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was Todd, and I really didn’t wanna see anybody I knew, because I didn’t know if I had any friends left. Todd came up to me, and gave me a hug and said, “You can’t do this to the family, man.”


This incident is also highly likely described to MTV in 1990, when Axl mentioned an OD resulting in a coma, and which now sounds closely like a failed suicide attempt:

I started to write about when I OD'ed four years ago, and the reason why I OD'ed was because of stress, I couldn't take it, and I just grabbed this bottle of pills (?) in an argument and gulped it down and I ended up in a hospital. But I liked that I wasn't in a fight anymore and I was fully conscious that I was leaving. I liked that. But then I go, all of a sudden my real thoughts, though, were that 'Okay, you've haven't toured enough, the record's not gonna last, it's gonna be forgotten this and that, you've got work to do get out of this,' and I went 'No!' and I woke up, you know, pulled myself out of it. But in the describing of that some people could take it wrong and think it means to go and put yourself into a coma, so, it's a little tricky and I'm still playing with the words to figure out to, like, show some hope in there.



1988: ANOTHER OVERDOSE?


According to Raz, some time during the summer of 1988, Axl overdosed, again, although Raz may have the timing off and describe the summer of 1987 overdose:

Not long before that muggy summer day in New Jersey [August 1988], [Axl] had arrived in an emergency room on the verge of experiencing an untimely death by misadventure. As he lay atop the gurney, fearing the end was nigh while fighting loss of consciousness, he sang to himself, "Axl 'made a record, went straight up to' number four." He then thought, "Whoa... I can't die like this." So he gathered the will to fight on and finish what he'd begun. Plus, the E.R. folks probably gave him a shot of something to send him in a different direction, and he was not twenty-seven.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 260


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:33 pm

JUNE 1987
BIG IN THE UK - HEADING TO LONDON


While the band was trying to find their producer, writing new songs, and battling with their record company and addictions, their EP 'Live!? Like a Suicide', which had been released in December 1986, went about without causing much stir. Except for in England where it gained some cult popularity.

Because of the popularity of the EP, the English music magazine Kerrang! sent a photographer to Los Angeles to shoot the band for a cover article in early 1987 (the interview was released in June 1987). This interview took place at Rumbo Studios where the band was recording for their debut record. The band would later form a tumultuous relationship with Kerrang!

The press comes out first in L.A. if you’re an L.A. band, and then (?) London picks up on it quickly. That’s why […] quickly Kerrang discovered us, found out about us. And they were really into us and the kids found out about us. And then, as soon as we were able to go over there we did, and that’s why we became more happening over there than in other parts of the country.


Slash would later be asked why the band had made such quick success in the UK:

I really don’t know. Right band at the right time, I guess.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988



HEADING TO LONDON AND THE MARQUEE


Six months after the release of the EP, in June 1987, and still without having released their debut record, the band travelled to London for three shows at the Marquee Club on June 19, 22 and 28.

[...] Alan [Niven] came to us and announced, "You all gotta get passports, we're going to England."
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 124


Slash would later say he had been worried about people making fun of his name considering that "slash" means "piss" in England:

The first time I came over here with the band, I thought, oh God, I'm gonna have to deal with it. But it never got too bad.


Duff would describe the trip to England:

At first, we wanted to sleep on the plane. So someone gave us half of a J&B Magnum as a sleeping pill. Whiskey is a big emotion [or commotion?] stirrer among the band. Slash, our guitarist, thought that he was at a party, and wanted to leave through the escape hatch! And another one nearly started a fire by throwing a cigarette behind a seat. The captain of the 747 reprimanded us, and the cops were waiting for us in England, but, thankfully, our manager got it all settled.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:34 pm

JUNE 19, 1987
THE BAND PLAYS ITS FIRST SHOW AT THE MARQUEE IN LONDON


Originally the trip to England was only meant to be for one concert, but the first show sold out quickly, so another was added, and a third. According to Steven Adler, the last gig was added while the band was taking the ferry across to Amsterdam [Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p128].

Up to then, the only place I had been outside of the United States was Vancouver, Canada [...] After the first Marquee gig sold out in record time, they added a second date. That sold out just as fast, so they added a third night. By the time we arrived in London, we were minor celebrities. We found we had become the "it" band the youth of England had been looking for to fill the void left by Hanoi Rocks. [...]. In that period of the band's career - and with pent-up energy from half a year or virtually no gigs - nobody fucking rocked with as much purpose and sneer, or with the same level of recklessness and bad intentions.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 123-124


At least parts of the Marquee shows were taped "on a mobile unit by British producer Vic Maile" [Kerrang! March 1989]. Songs off this recording would variously be used as B-sides on the band's singles, including 'Whole Lotta Rosie' which was the B-side on the band's first single, 'Welcome to the Jungle' after being mixed by Mike Clink.

According to journalist Pete Makowski, footage was taken from interviews with the crowd and band rehearsals, but the video was handed over to management [Classic Rock, April 2005] and has as far as we know, never surfaced.

At soundcheck before the June 19 show, the band tried 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' for the first time, and debuted it at the show:

On Thursday, June, 11, we were ready to perform our very first gig in Europe [Steven got the wrong date]. During the sound check, the guys started into a rocking song that I wasn't sure I head heard before. I was like, "Wow, this is a cool new tune." It had a haunting familiarity to it that I couldn't quite place. Sinc Axl wasn't there yet, Izzy and Duff started singing it the second time around and only then did I realize it was 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door.' I smiled, "Oh yeah, it's that song." I realized we were taking the classic Bod Dylan tune and rocking out on it, taking it solidly under our wing into Guns N' Roses territory. That night we recorded it live [...] The first show was great, although there were only about thirty people there.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 126

At soundcheck before the first show on June 19, 1987, we ran through a cover song. We played it just once, but somehow our feelings found a vessel in this Bob Dylan song and our emotions just came pouring out.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 123-124


Izzy would later look at 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' as the song they did that meant the most to him:

"Knockin' on Heaven's Door” was brilliant. The fact that we took that old Bob Dylan song and turned and it into this great anthem was really special.


The first show seemed to have been a bit rough.

When we first played The Marquee in London, it got crazy. I don't mind stage-diving, I really don't. I like the guys who jump onstage and then jump right off. That's great. But when they get up there and start dancing, we kick 'em up. People look at the security guards and see what they're doin' because if the guards don't get 'em, we'll get 'em and it might not make the band look too good. We'll trash any dude who tries to stay onstage with us! I got photos of me holding up guys in my arms and literally throwing 'em back in the crowd in London.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:34 pm

"HURT? HE FUCKING WILL BE IF I FIND HIM!"


The first show was not met with good reviews. Andy Hurt, writing for The Sounds, likened Axl's singing to as if "a six foot-tall hamster masquerading as a GI had the misfortune to be captured by the Vietcong and subjected to the dastardliest of tweaks and prods, it should emit noises similar to those made by Axl. His voice is the voice of Bon Scott with one terrified bollock stuck on the plane, too petrified to take the freefall into the scrotum below" [Sounds Magazine, June 27, 1987].


Andy Hurt's review
Sounds Magazine, June 27, 1987


According to Classic Rock Magazine, Axl, after having read read the devastating review, "was livid and led the whole band to the Sound's office in Mornington Crescent, north London. 'Andy Hurt?' he raged. 'He fucking will be if I find him!' But the reviewer was absent, so Axl contended himself with a warning note left with another member of the staff" [Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007].

Steve Sutherland, likely writing for NME, also gave the show a poor review and described the sound of the band as "weak AC/DC." Again, Axl decided to confront the reviewer as Sutherland would recall in 2005:

I received a phonecall from the singer, Axl Rose. He said the band were on the way to the airport in a cab and he wondered if I’d be in the office so they could swing right by and FUCKING SORT ME OUT!! Needless to say, I had a pressing engagement elsewhere but I had to admire their balls.
NME, September 2005


Axl also referenced the "weak AC/DC" description when introducing 'Whole Lotta Rosie' on one of the next gigs.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:35 pm

TEARING IT UP IN LONDON


The band was building a rumor as notorious troublemakers and the media would report that they were "kicked out from three of the most famous clubs in England," that "they smashed a shop window after they were refused entry," and that they "threw various objects through the window of the hotel that accommodated them" [Hard Rock Magazine, October 1987].

Jack Daniel’s and Slash trashed the apartment we stayed in on the band’s first trip to London, where Guns played the Marquee on Wardour Street. All the fragments of furniture were piled in a heap in the middle of his room.


Axl would confirm many of these rumours but claim he held a more low profile than Slash:

I've been really tame over here in England because I’ve been concerned with the shows and the interviews. Slash has been going out and getting thrown out of nightclubs and smashing windows. He hasn’t had to concentrate as much as I have.


And Slash would admit his days in London had been crazy:

The first time we played the Marquee, there was such a fucking buzz. I guess the first gig was real sloppy and lax. But then I had a great fucking time. I was hanging out on the street, got drunk. I think I was the most obnoxious I’d ever been when I was in London. I got chucked out of every pub. You know the St Moritz club [in Wardour Street]? I smashed that whole window ’cos they wouldn’t let me in! I kicked in the whole window and the cops came and I snuck out of there. I got kicked out of the Limelight club, I got kicked out of the Intrepid Fox. All those places in that area I got kicked out of, and I had a great time.

I fuckin’ stole [UFO vocalist] Phil Mogg’s drink and poured the glass over my head and threw it back at him in the Intrepid Fox. ’Cos I hate that guy. I hate anybody that pulls a rock star trip on me. He came and sat at our table. I just thought he was showing off. I don’t know, apparently he’s a pretty cool guy. But he sat down and ordered a drink on our tab, I guess, or whatever. The drink came and I took it and smashed the glass. Everybody was, like, shocked. It was so stupid, but I was having such a good time that nothing mattered... I was just running around those little streets in Soho yelling - it was a gas! We hung out with Lemmy from Motorhead at their studio. They let us play their gear. Motorhead are like heroes to us, so that was pretty cool.

London to me is like... I want to feel close to that crowd, I want them to feel that we’re one of their bands. But we don’t play there enough. We’ve played there twice. We were gonna come back with Metallica, but that doesn’t start until October and we'll be off the road by then.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


Despite Slash been the wild one, Axl didn't manage to stay entirely out of trouble because while in the company of Niven and Zutaut, he allegedly had an altercation with a security guard at Tower Record resulting in police being called for. Axl would later describe this:

I wanted to break everything in there. I’d gladly drive one of these English cabs through their showcase! It’s very hard to keep your cool in this kind of situations.


In the aftermath Tower Records would apologize to Axl and send him a jacket with the store's logo [Hard Rock Magazine, October 1987].

One of the clubs they visited in London was the legendary Limelight (the band would later play an acoustic gig at its sister club in New York on January 31, 1988). At this club it was reported that Slash got in a fight with Cobalt Stargazer, the singer of Zodiac Mindwarp, when he hit on his girlfriend, but Duff would later claim it was just exaggerated in the press [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987].

They would also party with Lemmy from Motorhead [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987] and Lemmy would look back at meeting the band for the first time:

We were in London doing the Orgasmotron record. They were there playing the Marquee. This was in '86 before they had any records out. Slash and Duff and Izzy and Steve came down to the studio. Axl was the only one missing. They just sat around being like young fans, just amazed. Because we influenced them. They were very respectful.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:35 pm

DOUG GOLDSTEIN, TOUR MANAGER


For their very first England tour in 1987 the band got a new tour manager, Doug Goldstein (source?). Although in June 1987, during that tour, Axl would refer to their "road manager" as Colin Gardner [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]. In November 1987, when the band was interviewed after their first Lakeland Civic Center show (November 21), Goldstein is again referred to as the tour manager, and Slash again refers to Goldstein as their tour manager in December that year [Late Night Bull, December 1987]. Perhaps Gardner was their first tour manager and was later replaced by Goldstein?

Before becoming tour manager for Guns N' Roses, Goldstein had worked as head of security for the band Air Supply [The Signal, July 27, 2008]. While working for Air Supply, Goldstein would get to know Craig Duswalt who was also working for Air Supply, and who would later become Axl's personal assistance for the touring in the 90s [The Signal, July 27, 2008].

Raz met Goldstein before the August 1988 show at Giants Stadium in New Jersey:

Axl was there with his road manager Doug, who would eventually become their business manager. When we were introduced, he said to me, "Raz, good to finally meet you." He paused momentarily, seemingly pondering something, and then said, "You know who was asking about you the other day?" I perked up, feeling important about him knowing who I was, and that folks were talking about me. But he just chuckled and said, "No one".
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 255


In February 1989, Goldstein and Niven were referred to as co-managers [RIP Magazine, February 1989].


Goldstein, Axl and Slash
Unknown date, but likely 1991


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Post by Soulmonster Sun May 31, 2020 6:36 pm

JUNE 22 AND 28, 1987
THE LAST TWO SHOWS AT THE MARQUEE IN LONDON


The two following shows on June 22 and 28 did a lot better than the first with Malcolm Dome from Kerrang! absolutely thrilled over the third show

There was an edge of the uncontrollable on this Sunday night that always threatened to take everybody over the sanity edge, a bourbon-fuelled spirit of the rollercoaster, which at any moment would career off the rails. But then, this is perhaps the ultimate fascination with all great bands, the passion and intensity is so overwhelming it comes close to engulfing us ell, only being held at bay by that indescribable combination of charisma and musicianship, of which G n' R have plenty.

Izzy and Slash tore their flesh to golden shreds on the strings of their guitars as if ripping out a cat's innards and then street-orchestrating the screaming effect. Bassist Duff possessed a sunken, glowering glow, whilst drummer Steven Adler kicked against the skins as if attempting anchored surgery without anaesthesia.

And holding the instrumental plunder together is Axl, a born frontman who 'just' happens to have a positively schizoid vocal range.




Guns N' Roses at the Marquee
June 1987



The likely reason for the week between the second and third show is likely due to the third not being planned:

At some point during out visit [to the UK], we took the ferry across to Amsterdam. While there, we received word that due to overwelming demand, another show was added at the Marquee. We returned to perform a kick-ass set. The show went great, and we thanked the English fans for being so gracious.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p128


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:01 am

LOOKING BACK AT THE TRIP TO LONDON


Playing in London was the first experience Guns N' Roses would have with touring abroad and being celebrity rock stars.

Bars close too early, they drive on the wrong side of the street, they talk funny. […] We got thrown out of a few clubs.


It was insane. We got there having really no idea what the response [would be], because our EP’s did really well over there – before the album. And we get there, and we go to the soundcheck the first night – it’s, like, 3:00 in the afternoon, actually – and there’s a line of kids, two blocks down, all knowing who we were, and we were going on and off.

So we had to have our security guards, right? I mean, for us it’s like, we just hang out. We don’t need security people, we’re not used to that, right? […] Anyway, so we go out and we go to hang out in London, right? And it’s like, all these kids are coming up and they’re asking for autographs, and they want their asses signed, and their chest signed... […] And I’m like, whooa!

The gigs were great. We played three gigs at the Marquee and they were all sold out. Kids line up at three in the afternoon, like two streets down. We'd walk up and all these kids knew who we were just by sight. There's really no rock n' roll over there, so we got there and the kids were just waiting and waiting. All the old Hanoi Rocks fans. There's the fans there, but there's just no bands. The kids are looking for a band they can all cling on to.

We really had fun during this first visit to Europe and I can't wait to come back here. We played three shows at the Marquee, the last of which was recorded.
Hard Force [French], October 1987; translated from French

I was born in England, and it was very important for me to play in front of an English audience. The version of 'Mr. Brownstone' on the live album [=Live Era '87-'93] was recorded at one of those gigs. I was just playing a Les Paul through a half-stack back then, but it sounded so cool.

Those Marquee shows were loud and hell-bent; what I remember, I remember fondly.
Slash's autobiography, p184


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:00 pm

JUNE 1987
"EVERYTHING ABOUT [POODLES] MEANS I MUST KILL THEM"


T[…] just remember; don't believe everything you read and that we say half of that shit.

___________________________________________

In June 1987, the English paper Time Out Magazine would print a story where they allegedly quoted Axl ranting about small dogs:

"I’d just like to say that I have a personal disgust for small dogs, like poodles. I have some serious physical problems with them. Everything about them means I must kill them. I must!"
Time Out Magazine, June 1987


As a result of this inflammatory quote, the Royal Society for Protection of Animals (RSPA) in the UK tried to force the cancellation of the three upcoming  June 1987 gigs at the Marquee [Hard Rock Magazine, October 1987].

According to Hard Rock Magazine, who supposedly was present when Axl made the statement about small dogs, Axl had arrived for the Time Out Magazine interview in a bad mood after hearing that his two Maltese dogs had made a mess in his apartment in Los Angeles causing an emphatic - but not seriously meant - outburst against smaller dogs. No one in the room, according to Hard Rock Magazine, had taken this outburst seriously except the Time Out Magazine interviewer [Hard Rock Magazine, October 1987].

Axl would later shed more light on the story:

[Talking about his dog, Torque]: That's the famous dog they said I'd go murdering[...] I don't like poodles. Little poodles. I told some guys everything about poodles makes you want to kill them so the next thing you know there's this magazine in England, and it wasn't even a rock magazine, it was like a magazine that talks [?] about all kinds of things in the world and stuff and it talks about this band in L.A. where this guy's a self-confessed poodle murderer. So then they have like the National Enquirer type papers over there, you know, that sadly started all this stuff, and all those things came out calling me a dog butcher and that I was beastier than Beastie Boys.


And like Chinese whispers, magazines would copy each other:

[...]but now, you know, there's things in magazines here [=US], like Hit Parader, where they quoted Slash saying I ran over dogs and he never said that.
Unknown publication, December 1987


Slash would be frustrated with these rumours:

There was this thing roaming around that Axl killed dogs. It started in Eu­rope, and somehow it made its way over here, which [was] a really sick, f!?king joke. I don’t appreciate that at all.


The band would later grow more and more frustrated with the media, especially in the early 90s, and this will be discussed in later chapters.


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Post by Soulmonster Thu May 06, 2021 2:10 pm

1987
THE BAND STRUGGLES TO LAND TOURS


Already before the band released their debut record, band members would dream about tours in the future:

Playing with all these bands that we’ve listened to for years. Getting an opportunity to play with people who we respect. To go out there and to kick as much ass as we can!

I’d love to tour with AC/DC, Aerosmith, or Motley Crue.

We’re looking for a tour bus. A big, black tour bus with a skull on the front and a harem inside, like an opium den.


Just before and after the release of 'Appetite', the label and band were scrambling to get the band out on the road to support the debut album. But landing the right tours proved difficult. The band was gaining a very bad reputation, NME would later state it was "because of their problems with the LA Police" [New Musical Express, August 1989]. In addition, 'Appetite' was either not released or initially not selling very well.

According to Steven in his biography, the first plans were to do a tour with Stryper or with Y&T, but these all fell apart [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 130] for unknown reasons.

Steven would later talk about having wanted to tour with Stryper:

I finally got to mention Stryper! Those guys rule.

That would've been a great package: Satan and God together. They were getting pussy just like every other rock 'n' roller. Don't kid yourself. It was a gimmick. It's rock 'n' roll. Blackie Lawless had the raw meat. Stryper had the Bible.


Axl would mention Y&T and Ace Frehley:

We should have been on tour opening for Y&T and Ace Frehley.
Hard Force [French], October 1987; translated from French


Slash would claim they had preferred the Cult over Y&T:

We were supposed to open for Y&T but we preferred to do it with The Cult who are friends.
Hard Force [French], October 8, 1987; translated from French


An early 1987 tour with Iron Maiden was also allegedly in the works, but cancelled due to Axl's reputation [Hit Parader, October 1988], although the band would tour with Iron Maiden later in 1987.

They were also supposed to open for Motley Crue from the beginning of their "Girls, Girls, Girls" tour from June 1987, but since 'Appetite' wasn't out yet, Motley went with Whitesnake instead [CGBG's Post-show Interview, October 1987]. Whitesnake would later drop out of this tour, and Guns N' Roses would step in in November 1989.

In July, Axl would state they were supposed to tour with Aerosmith in England in the fall of 1987 [Melody Maker, July 18, 1987] and also visit France [Hard Force [French], October 1987]. In September 1987, this European tour would now be described to have fallen apart in "the 11th hour" [Kerrang! March 1989], allegedly because Aerosmith hadn't got their new record out [Endless Party Magazine, August 1987] or due to "finances" [Kerrang! October 1987]. This record was Permanent Vacation and it was released on August 21, 1987, so the argument that the record wasn't out yet doesn't make complete sense timing-wise. Eventually, Aerosmith would tour this album in 1988 and Guns N' Roses would join them in July-September for that tour.

Axl would comment on this tour:

We were supposed to come with Aerosmith in September, but things are changing so quickly in the business...
Hard Force [French], October 1987; translated from French


Later, Duff would mention that all the rumours about the band resulted in them losing tours:

We’ve been refused tours because of all the rumors. They don’t want our band in­fluencing other bands [laughs]. It turns out, bands we’ve gone on tour with, as far as drugs and shit are concerned, are worse than us. There’s not really any drugs involved.


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07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION Empty Re: 07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

Post by Soulmonster Thu May 06, 2021 2:16 pm

JULY 18, 1987
TODD CREW DIES


As mentioned before, Todd Crew was a great fan of Guns N' Roses and friend of the band members. After having been fired from his band Jetboy, for spending too much time with Guns N' Roses, he spent even more time with them, accompanying them to England for their shows at the Marquee [RAW, September 1993].

Todd had been part of the band's inner circle from the beginning. He was a shit-kicking, hard-drinking, exceptionally cool guy. He played bass in another band called Jetboy that originated in San Francisco. When they kicked Todd out of Jetboy, we were the first band to tell them, "Screw you, you're done as far as we're concerned. You're never gonna do shows with us."
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 119




Duff and Todd Crew
Likely from a Drunk Fux show



JETBOY FIRES CREW


Billy Rowe from Jetboy would later talk about Crew and say he was fired because of him not being able to handle his addictions:

We signed with Elektra in November of '86 and.....um....that's when it kind of got ugly, so to speak....Todd (Crew) was really threading on serious abuse, with alchohol and drugs. [...] it's just a sad story. But we were at a point where it wasn't just the five of us...we had managers and a label and this person telling you that...and this person telling that...you guys are going to be the next big thing......and here's your bass player and he's three sheets to the wind and you just kind of start resenting......we just eventually made that decision. [...] He was.......as he used to say, he was on his deathwish...the main thing was alcohol. [...] When he joined the band, I remember well, he drank California Wine Coolers and it led to whiskey....Jim Beam....a little speed....it just got ugly. At that point, we were like 19 or 20, selling out clubs and not a a care in life, but playing rock n roll and doing what we were doing; that was our life. We were always playing; always rehearsing. Again, we were buddies with Guns n Roses, but the difference was, when they went to rehearsal, they got shit done. We got shit done, but we had one member who sometimes wasn't all there, or would show up late.......it sucks, because of what happened to him.
Full In Bloom Music, January 26, 2007


According to Rowe, they had also pleaded with Guns N' Roses to help reduce Crew's partying:

We tried to get our manager and the band…we were buddies, two bands connected at the hip. Actually, Fernie and I knew Axl and Izzy before Guns n’ Roses even formed and then once we got our bands going…well, Hollywood Rose was hanging on by a thread. Axl was like “Dude, I got a new band, let’s start doing shows together.” Me and Izzy were pretty tight…it’s kind of funny. We were the two that introduced Todd to Guns n’ Roses and got that whole connection going. You know, Todd ended up just looking at different things… a lot of partying. When Todd joined Jetboy, he wasn’t that much of a partier. It got to the point where we went to Guns n’ Roses and said “Todd is going to die. He’s bad off, you need to something.” They were like “Todd’s fine. We all party. You guys are tripping.” We didn’t know what to do.
Bring Back Glam!, November 25, 2007


And discussing the firing:

We had a few meetings. We tried to talk to his parents...his mom....and then we just decided to say let's move on. I mean, producers are starting to say your bass player is weak and what's up with him. He'd be like passed out on the couch when they would come see us play and check out our songs. We made the decision....and he knew it was coming. He walked in and said, "I'm fired, huh?" and we were like, yeah, we're moving on without you. And that's when it kind of got ugly, because it was like us and Guns n Roses and we were like, "we're going to come up together and be the two bands"....and they (Guns n Roses) were like, "you can't fire Todd, you guys party too and we party".....Then it got ugly, where we would argue with each other and didn't get along and Todd ended up hanging out with them, he toured with Guns n Roses, he went to Europe with them as a roadie, then he went to New York and was hanging out with them.
Full In Bloom Music, January 26, 2007



JETBOY AND GUNS N' ROSES HAVE A FALL-OUT


Firing Crew resulted in bad blood between the two bands:

[Firing Crew] was a hard decision – and to this day I don’t know if it was the right decision – but from that day on, the two of us - Jetboy and Guns n’ Roses - were at war.
Bring Back Glam!, November 25, 2007

It kind of got ugly in the press a little bit. Not like Izzy, he was the one who I thought was kind of the smart one and not so much Duff....it was kind of a little bit of everybody, but not Izzy. Then after the whole Adler deal is when we all made up and we've all spoken since then, except for maybe Axl. Everything is fine. I saw Duff about a year ago at NAMM and he was nice and gave a hug, how you been....so everybody's grown up basically, but the sad thing is Todd was not able to grow up. He's dead.
Full In Bloom Music, January 26, 2007


Jetboy:

This is where the feud began and it would never be the same between Guns N’ Roses and Jetboy after that. Right after Todd had been fired from Jetboy, things got really ugly between both bands. Not all of the members. It was really just three of them. When we would see each other out at clubs or shows it was just a bad vibe. Even the G N’ R groupies would give us attitude. It amazed us on how people just involved themselves with our business when they had no fucking clue what went on! And what the real fucked up part is, none of those people knew the real Todd, the guy who was a good friend, smart, loving, caring, and who came from a very good family. All they knew was the Todd who loved to party, and that’s really sad.
Indie Music Reviews, March 2008



CREW OVERDOSES IN NEW YORK


After returning from their successful stint in England in June 1987, Guns N' Roses had about a month to kill before they would tour North America opening for The Cult. Todd was intended to stay with the band during the tour as Duff's bass tech.

In July 1987, Slash flew to New York City to meet with merchandising companies, and Todd Crew came with him. [In Steven's biography he mistakenly claims that this happened when Slash flew to New York City for mixing Appetite, months earlier.]

During their stay in New York, on July 18, 1987, three days before the release of Appetite for Discussion, Todd overdosed on heroin and died.

I don't know what happened exactly, because I wasn't there. I heard that he and Slash were partying, shooting heroin, and Todd passed out. Slash and Todd must have gotten separated at some point and Todd overdosed and died. [...] The band had friends who were so close, so devoted, that we considered them to be members of GNR who merely didn't appear onstage. Todd was one of these, and I truly felt I had lost a brother.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 119

[Todd] died in a hotel room in New York a while back. We'd copped some stuff and he got it right there. I tried to bring him back... and he was like my best, best friend.

I don’t wanna get too deep into how he died or whatever. I’ve lost close friends since then, and it was just a rude awakening to me. But I don’t want to get into it.



SLASH IS BLAMED


Billy Rowe would blame Slash for leaving Crew after he had been revived him from the first overdose:

Then Slash and this porn star, Lois Aires, got high and Todd OD'd.....as far as I understand, not being there, they revived him and then they left and then he OD'd again and then he died. And then Guns n Roses became the biggest band in the world.....that's why they did Knockin of Heavens Door and all that stuff.... then they broke big and we were like in this feud....we shouldn't have fired Todd, you guys party too....and so on. Then funny enough, they fire Steven Adler for the same thing.
Full In Bloom Music, January 26, 2007


The fallout from the overdose resulted in more conflicts between Jetboy and Guns N' Roses:

Todd’s family went after Slash. They hired a private investigator and all this stuff. Guns n’ Roses started badmouthing us all the way to the top. They became the biggest band in the world. A year later, they fired Steven Adler for the same reason. Is it the pot calling the kettle black? I say yes all the way around. It’s very personal. I think they have guilt. They know we went to them. He was only 20 years old. He was doing too much and he died. It’s a shame. When I read the book…there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t true.
Bring Back Glam!, November 25, 2007


Jetboy:

[...] Todd did not have a problem with heroin, he had a problem with alcohol. Todd would dabble in drugs, but his choice was booze. So when they scored dope, it was Slash who was the experienced dope user, he says this in his book. To think that Slash is looked up to by so many people out there is fucking disgusting. We actually went to Todd’s parents and asked them for help. Todd’s mom flew down to L.A. and brought Todd back to the bay area to get him into rehab. Unfortunately, Todd Bailed and went right back to the Guns N’ Roses house where his heroin use continued.
Indie Music Reviews, March 2008



GUNS N' ROSES HONORS CREW


A few days after Crew's fatal passing, on July 21 another Drunk Fux show at the Coconut Teazer that had already been planned [L.A. Weekly, July 17, 1987] was dedicated to Todd Crew. This was the same date as 'Appetite for Destruction' was released. According to Marc Canter, all members of GN'R took part in this show [Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007]. This would be the first time the band would dedicate 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' to Crew, something they would continue to do on the upcoming tours.

Now, if you have known of us, then you know that we recently, a couple of months ago, lost a friend of ours. A little over a month ago, I OD’ed, and I ended up in a hospital called Cedars-Sinai. I was in a coma for about two days. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was a guy named Todd Crew. Todd used to be in a band called Jetboy, and one of the reasons he got kicked out – Jetboy sucks. One of the reasons he got kicked out, was for hanging out with us. I think we were more friends than the people he knew all of his fucking life. When I got out of the hospital, the first person I saw was Todd, and I really didn’t wanna see anybody I knew, because I didn’t know if I had any friends left. Todd came up to me, and gave me a hug and said, “You can’t do this to the family, man.” Two weeks later, Todd OD’ed here in New York. We tried doing this song without dedicating it to Todd, and every time we feel too fuckin’ guilty and we end up doing it anyway. And a friend told me that we won’t get over it till it happens again. So until then, this is for Todd. And this is “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”


Slash would later discuss Crew and the fate of Jetboy:

And [the music industry in Hollywood is] such a dog-eat-dog thing. If you don't take the time to find out what's going on, then you get eaten alive by the business. Take Jetboy for instance. There's a band I know pretty well — and my old best friend who died used to be in that band. And the shit that they put him through because they wanted the band to "happen." Because he used to hang out with me and get drunk and stuff, but he was the coolest guy in the whole f**king band. He was the only real rocker in the group, you know, the living rock 'n' roll kind of thing. They ended up kicking him out and he passed away and all this other crap — and they ended up get­ting dropped from their f**king record label, which was Elektra at the time. It was when Elektra did that purge, getting rid of them and the Pandoras — so the records never came out, and they just got canned. So they had to start over doing showcases at S.I.R. and stuff. And I feel sorry for them. I mean, I'm not friends with any of them, but I sure sympathize with them because it's a f**ked situation. What happened is the guy who did all the signing at Elektra got fired — and so if you don't have the record company behind you, and the A&R guy gets fired, then you're history. And it's a real tough thing, because it's hard to pick it up.
Creem Close-Up Metal, October 1989; interview from mid-1988


In 1989 Axl would be asked what his greatest regret is:

That I didn't talk to Todd Crew before he went to New York. I felt a massive need to talk to him out of concern for his well-being. But I wasn't aware enough to realize I didn't have the time I thought I did. I thought I'd have time later...


In 1993 Duff would include the song 'Man In The Meadow', about Crew, on his solo record [Guitarist Magazine, November 1993].

['Man In The Meadow' is] about my best friend, Todd, who’s dead now. The guys in GN’R were very close to him, too, but to me it was very personal and so it was right for me to do it


In 2006, Steven would talk about Crew:

God he was such a great guy man, we had a lot of fun man. Dude, he was, (pause) God bless Todd Crew, I loved that man. Man if I was there, with him and Slash in New York man, I, ahh, he wouldn’t be dead, I would’ve made,  I would’ve kicked his ass back alive. He was so cool, he was just a good guy, and he was like a hardcore looking rocker James Dean. You know what I mean? James Dean was all cool and slick looking? But Todd was like, Dude he was the hardest rocker looking dude, but he was just as cool as James Dean.


In 2008, Del James would also talk about Crew and in particular criticize the rumour that Crew had been a heavy junkie:

Todd was the bassist and the heart and soul of a band called Jetboy. Todd just exuded cool and people gravitated towards him. I was fortunate that he accepted me and we became gang tight. He and I ran a lot and I wish I had known back then what I know now. See, Todd was drinking way too much, and please understand that people like myself and Todd and West Arkeen were always far worse alcoholics than drug abusers even if technically drugs are what took those two fellows out. Did we take copious amounts of drugs? Sure and it didn’t matter what it was. If someone had coke, we snorted coke. Pills? We swallowed them then asked what they were. Heroin? Bring it on. My thing was speedballs. But we drank lethal amounts of booze every day. From Night Train to Jim Beam and everything in between, there was not a day that went without us drinking excessively, waiting for the blackout. We would drink instead of eating and pissing blood was not at all unusual. Recently in the error-filled Stephen Davis GN'R book "Gonna Watch you Bleed" the author paints Todd out to be the worst junkie out of the lot. I don't know who he got his information from but you're dead fucking wrong! I was living in an apartment with one of the scene's biggest dealers, and no it's not Izzy Stradlin. If Izzy was running low, he would come by and cop. Me and Billy McCloud from the Prodigal Sons lived there with this other dude who shall remain nameless and that place got so out of control that my friends forcibly evicted me and moved me into Hell House, okay? Fucking high is an understatement. Todd would come by and we'd get high but he was never a full-blown junkie. He wasn't pawning shit or stealing or doing anything dishonourable. He was a problematic soul who'd recently been kicked out of his band for being too much of a drunk and sure he enjoyed drugs. We all did. A bit too much but that's irrelevant. We were all wild and in our early twenties and we weren’t afraid of anything. Being an alcoholic was a badge of honour. We wore it proudly. And stupidly. I wish I could have been more responsible and mature. I wish I could have been a better, smarter friend.

When I move out of the dope apartment, my heroin use declines drastically. So did Todd's. We didn’t consciously set out to get clean per se but just by not being there, dope wasn't around 24/7. Could Todd still have been using without me? Sure but I was with him a great deal of the time drinking. That's what we did. We fucking drank! He stayed wherever I stayed, either Hell House or later on in apartment I shared with Duff and the mother of my children, Debbie Woodworth. Todd and I often talked about going to go cop some dope or coke but talk is cheap, especially when yer broke.

When he and I went to England with GN'R in June of 1987, we were both clean in terms of heroin usage. We were drinking like animals and would take any substance you put in front of us but by no means was Todd the strung out junkie that Davis made him seem. I was fucking appalled by the ugly, inaccurate lies Davis spewed. You weren’t there. Fuck you motherfucker! You and whoever gave you your information don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

What kills Todd Crew is his non-stop alcohol intake, depression over losing his girlfriend and band, Slash not handling Todd's overdose properly, and yes, obviously the heroin. When Todd arrived in New York, he had to be carried off a plane by Josh Richman. Todd hooks up with Slash and some dudes from LA and they cop. If Todd had been using heroin regularly, like -I believe in my heart of hearts he was not, then $20 or $40 worth or however much they bought, which back when we were using would have no been no big deal, becomes enough to kill him because his body couldn’t handle it. And it fucking does.



2007: SLASH'S BIOGRAPHY CAUSES CONTROVERSY


Slash would discuss Todd's overdose in his 2007 biography and claim that Todd had died in his arms and that someone else must have injected him with stronger dope, which would spur Billy Rowe to protest:

The whole overdose situation that Todd died in Slash’s arms…and that he (Slash) swears someone else was there and gave him some bad dope. Todd wasn’t very experienced. The bottom of the line is the guy OD’d and they revived him and then they put him back in bed. What kind of idiot doesn’t call for paramedics right away? From what I know, the truth is, after he OD’d and they revived him, Slash panicked and left. They (Guns n’ Roses) came back they found him dead, and that was their alibi. It makes complete more sense than him dying in Slash’s arms when he’s high as a kite on dope, probably facing possession, and he got not one charge, nothing. There’s definitely some loopholes in the story.
Bring Back Glam!, November 25, 2007


In another interview, Jetboy as a band would harshly criticise Slash:

Slash is a liar and he knows it. The few people that were there that night know what really happened and that Slash is 100% full of shit. Todd over dosed twice that night. The first time, Slash didn’t even bother calling 911. After they revived him for a minute, everyone freaked out and left, Slash included. When they came back, Todd had over dosed again. We believe they found Todd dead. That’s when Slash finally called 911- when it was too late. It’s a perfect alibi "I wasn’t there. When I got back Todd was dead." Slash only cared about saving his own ass from criminal charges, which is exactly what happened. Slash walked away with no repercussions.
Indie Music Reviews, March 2008


They would also give their story of what happened that night:

Todd was killing himself, but Slash definitely aided him in his demise. Just read what he wrote in his book. This is what we believe happened:

Todd arrived "fucking drunk," according to Slash, to his hotel at 7am. Todd had just broken up with his long time girlfriend and was distraught, so you know he was not thinking clearly. Slash took him to a Western Union so he could get money to buy heroin. Slash buys a bottle of Jim Beam (Todd’s choice of booze) after Todd can’t even stand up straight and is falling down drunk. Slash shoots Todd up with heroin after Todd is, according to Slash, "in no state to be messing with drugs." Slash and Todd go to the movies where Slash smuggles in a case of beer and they continue to drink excessively.

Slash and Todd go back to the hotel where Slash proceeds to shoot Todd up with more heroin (Todd had been drinking for 18 hours straight at this point.) Todd over doses the first time, and Slash revives Todd temporarily, but then panics and leaves instead of calling 911.

Slash comes back to the Hotel room, finds that Todd has overdosed again, and finally calls 911 after it’s too late. Now Slash has the perfect alibi: "I wasn’t here when it happened." [...]

Slash claims in his book that he was the "only one who did everything possible to keep Todd alive." Well, if you’re doing everything you can to keep someone "alive," the last thing you do is shoot them up with heroin, especially if you know that they have been drinking for 18 hours straight! You don’t have to be Dr. Drew to know that the combination of heroin with that level of alcohol is going to be bad news. Slash even said Todd "was in no state to be messing with drugs," but yet Slash shot him up with heroin and then abandoned him when he overdosed instead of calling 911 like he should have. We can’t think of a more selfish act. Slash didn’t care about anything but saving himself from criminal charges. Don’t forget that Slash has a proven track record of freaking out and not taking responsibility in these types of situations. If you read the Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx, you will see that Slash did nothing to help when Nikki Sixx over dosed. He was even screaming Todd’s name while it happened! It just bothers us that Slash walked away with no repercussions after providing drugs and alcohol to someone, as he said, who was "in no state to be messing with drugs." Slash knows the truth, and he will have to live with the choices he made and the lies he told- and is still telling to this day. He lied to us, he lied to the police, he lied to Todd’s friends and family, and he lied to his fans in his book. We think that Slash is in such denial that he probably believes his own lies because he’s been telling them for so long. And to think he calls Todd his "best friend’ throughout that book.
Indie Music Reviews, March 2008

As for Slash, shame on you for going down this road with your "best friend" Todd, and for all the shit you’ve said about Jetboy on your way to the top and back down. Fuck you! Why don’t you say It to our faces?
Indie Music Reviews, March 2008


In interview in 2010, Slash would be asked about his previous drug use and state that he had no regrets and that his addictions hadn't killed anyone:

And I don't regret any of it. I don't believe in having regrets. I haven't killed anyone, or anything like that.

[Being asked how much money he had spent on drugs]: Who cares? I never killed anyone. I nearly killed myself a few times, but nobody else. That's all that matters.


Axl would likely reference these comments from Slash in a tweet a few weeks later:

But when he says he never killed no one that ain't exactly true. Yeah, that's right, stone cold.


This is likely Axl talking about the Todd Crew overdose and explicitly blaming Slash for the death.

Obviously, Slash's account of Crew's death differs from Jetboy's and Axl's and as far as I am aware, Slash has never publicly commented on Jetboy's or Axl's accusations. Until someone else who were present talks about how things went down, it is difficult to tell who is right. This being said, Slash was an experienced drug user and Crew died after Slash injected him with heroin.


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07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION Empty Re: 07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

Post by Soulmonster Thu May 06, 2021 2:19 pm

JULY 21, 1987
'APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION' IS RELEASED


People are fed up with a lot of things. This is a good release. It’s refreshing to see something straightforward.

[…] we're very proud of it. It's rock as you've rarely heard it before. We had a lot of opportunities to test these songs live and we saw how the audience reacted. This album is killer.

_____________________________________

Guns N' Roses debut LP Appetite for Destruction was released in the USA on July 21, 1987.


Appetite for Destruction, original cover art


We got hold of everybody who was anybody in our lives to get together at the Hell House for the "unofficial world premiere." It was to be our first listen to our new album. [...] Slash and I hugged; we were so happy. We listened to both sides, pretty much saying, "Oh yeah, that's working, that sounds cool," throughout.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 121


According to Steven's biography, his happiness with hearing the final result was not subdued by the fact that Slash had changed a drum part on 'Paradise City' in postproduction [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 121].

The band had settled on 'Appetite for Destruction' as the name of the record, which was also the name of the chosen artwork for the album's original cover:

[Welcome to the Jungle] was gonna be the title of the record until the title of the original painting was Appetite For Destruction, and we really liked it, cause I break everything around me anyway. That was the title of the Robert Williams painting. He named it. We ended up deciding we really liked it, so we just went with it.


When asked what the title means:

In my opinion, the way the title will be interpreted will be revealing about each one’s personality.


Being asked if there was anything they would have changed with the record if they could:

No, the only thing I would like to do is I wish we would have more time to mix but we were working on a release date. There were a couple of songs where I feel we didn't have the time to get just right. 'Paradise City' I think could have been a little clearer. But, you know, we were making two songs per day to make the release date, you know, and there were all kinds of reasons why we had to make that release date, like getting the record out before [?] down in the month of August, and things like that. There was all kinds of reasons why we had a certain amount of time that we have it get it done. So we just did the best we could in that amount of time, we didn't really compromise, you know, we still, I think, hit pretty close to the mount [?] we wanted to hit. There isn't really anything we want to change. There's two words in that whole record that I didn't quite say the way I wanted to, and I forgot which ones they were, didn't have time to go back to find them and redo them. And they are not out of key, so no one else knows it. I am the only one who personally knows it.


The band would celebrate the release on August 4 at the Cathouse in Hollywood [L.A. Weekly, August 7, 1987], and likely on many other parties. The Cathouse's Riki Rachtman had just undergone jaw surgery [L.A. Weekly, August 7, 1987] after having previously engaged in some "male bonding" with Slash [L.A. Weekly, July 17, 1987].


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07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION Empty Re: 07. 1987: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

Post by Soulmonster Thu May 06, 2021 2:24 pm

'APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION', IN HINDSIGHT


1988


Again, the success and the respect that we've gotten from the industry and from our company will just give us more time and more of ourselves to put into the next record. You know, we'll be able to write...like, the first one it was rushed, and while "these guys ain't shit, they gonna do shit," you know, and blah blah, so, and so we were kind of rushed, in a way mentally, and, and, eh... .

Artistically, with the album, I got exactly what I wanted. I wish we would’ve had a little bit more time to do some mixing. The guys were mixing our record, and one of them had heart problems and had to go to the hospital, which knocked off three days.

It doesn’t matter, it’s like there’s little things here and there, where you know you would have liked it a bit different, but it doesn’t matter cause it’s done. It’s there, and you might as well like it cause if you don’t you can put yourself into an early grave worrying about something that you can’t do shit about.


In June 1988, Axl was asked if the record would have turned out differently if they had produced it themselves:

There may have been a different track or two just because we're working with other people, and when you're working with other people they have their input on which tracks are the best, and stuff like that. It didn't really bother us, not a whole lot. If we had more time, I think we might have gotten a bit more of a better mix.

Actually, the record's pretty much co-produced, but we got a really good deal from our producer since he wanted to break into producing, and get credits for producing. If we gave him full credit on the record, it would help him a lot in the business. But especially Izzy, Slash, and myself were there every step of the way, so it was pretty much co-produced. We were in on the mixing and stuff, and usually the guys who mix the records never have anybody in the studio when they do that. We were there the whole time.


Slash would reveal a bit more about his playing relationship with Izzy, and imply that the hesitance between joining GN'R because of Izzy hadn't entirely dissipated:

Before Izzy, I'd never been able to play with another guitarist. Axl was the only guy on the whole L.A. scene who could sing, and there was no getting Izzy away from Axl. The funny thing about Izzy and I is that we each play what we want, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It can be frustrating for me because he's very stubborn. He plays very lightweight, sort of Keith Richards style, whereas if I want a heavy riff, I'll want a heavy riff, I'll want us both to play it to make it really stick out. There's a lot of songs on our album I'm really not happy with that way: 'Welcome to the Jungle,' for instance. Sometimes Duff will beef it up, like the riff in 'Paradise City.' I'm a little more knowledgeable on guitar; Izzy's a good songwriter with a great sense of style.



1989


In March or April 1989, Slash would on the contrary claim their "first album wasn't all that good, I don't think" [Kerrang! April 1989].


1990


Looking back, in early 1990, Axl would describe the process like this:

But what people don’t understand is that there was a perfec­tionist attitude to Appetite For Destruction. I mean, there was a definite plan to that. We could have made it all smooth and polished. We went and did test tracks with other producers and it came out smooth and polished – with Spencer Proffer. And Geffen Records said it was too fuckin’ radio. That’s why we went with Mike Clink. We went for a raw sound, because it just didn’t gel having it too tight and concise. We knew this. We knew the way we are on stage and the only way to capture that on the record is to make it somewhat live. Doing the bass, the drums and the rhythm guitar at the same time. Getting the best track, having it a bit faster than you play it live, OK, so that brings some energy into it. Adding lots of vocal parts and overdubs with the guitars, adding more music to capture… ’Cos Guns N’ Roses on stage, man, can be, like, out to lunch. Visually we’re all over the place and stuff and you don’t know what to expect. But how do you get that on a record? But somehow you have to do that. So there’s a lot more that’s needed on a record. That’s why recording is my favourite thing, because it’s like painting a picture. You start out with a shadow, or an idea, and you come up with something that’s a shadow of that. You might like it better. It’s still not exactly what you pictured in your head, though. And then you add all these things and you come up with something you didn’t even expect... Slash will do, like, one slow little guitar fill that adds a whole different mood that you didn't expect. That’s what I love. All of a sudden it’s like you’re doing a painting and then you go away and you come back and it’s different. You use the brush this way and allow a little shading to come in and you go, ‘‘Wow, I got a whole different effect on this that’s even heavier than what I pictured. I don’t know quite what I’m onto but I’m on it,” you know? “Paradise City”, man, that’s like, I came up with two of those first vocals – there’s five parts there – I came up with two and they sounded really weird. Then I said, look, I got an idea. I put two of these vocal things together, and it was the two weirdest ones, the two most obtuse ones. And Clink’s like, “I don’t know about that, man...” I'm like, "I don’t know either, why don’t we just sleep on it?” So we go home and the next day I call him up and now I’m like, “I don’t know about this.” But he goes, “No I think it’s cool!” So now he was the other way... So then we put three more vocal parts on it and then it fit. But the point is, that wasn’t how we had it planned. We don’t really know how it happened
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993



1991


Slash would imply that the label had convinced them to discard some material for 'Appetite':

[Geffen] were pretty scared about the whole thing and they were just basically trying to get it done, so we gave up certain amount of material that we really wanted to do.



1992


In 1992, Slash would mention that they mad matured since 'Appetite' and that it is a bit dated:

When I hear it, it sounds a little bit immature to me, in some ways. It just sounds as old as it is. It's cool. There's nothing wrong with it. I'm still proud of it because even though it's years ago, there's nothing on it that I don't like. I still think the playing on there and the attack were really cool. There's certain things in the mix on certain songs, like in "Jungle," where it wasn't heavy enough for me. I think about that. As far as the experience goes, the only nightmare that I can remember from Appetite was trying to count in that "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff (laughs).



1996


Later Slash would describe that it came out of the band's loathing of the Los Angeles punk and metal scenes:

The LA Punk scene was just as fucking lame as the LA Metal scene was. You know what? Guns as a unit is really the result of hating the LA Punk scene and hating the LA Metal scene. We were the only five guys here who could have made up this band at the time. We just didn't fit in. And we had such a hard time from not fitting in that we were very tough, very brash. People say 'What's the gimmick?', you know, but there never was no fucking gimmick.



1999


Being asked which of his records he is proudest of:

Appetite For Destruction, because it’s still exceptional to this day. Guns N’ Roses happened at the right place at the right time. That band became the symbol of a generation. We came at a time when music, the “new wave,” was as boring as the current scene. Nobody wanted to play us on the radio. We just kept touring until the demand was felt. When 19-year-old guys come to to tell me that this album is the rock n 'roll record for them, that's something - not just for a generation of fans, but for me, too.



2003


Besides playing on it, if I hadn’t known it was me on it I would still listen to it ‘cause it is a kick ass rock n roll record!



2004


It was the right band at the right time with the right message. It just happened to hit the youth of America in a certain way that everybody related to it - which is fuckin’ great.

You know, I thought if we sold 50,000 copies, the Circle Jerks that's what they sold on their big record back then.  If we sold 50,000 records that be amazing.  And that's what we all thought, you know, because we were not what was going on at the time, we weren't a glam band, and we weren't Milli Vanilli, we weren't Paula Abdul, we weren't New Kids on the Block. We were a real raw fuckin' kinda almost punk rock band, but not because of Axl's high vocals. We were kind of a throwback to Zeppelin, but not because we were for that time modern.  [...]

It always surprises me how raw that record is, the lyrics and everything, for being so popular. I think it took... the kids at the time were so sick of all the shit they were getting, you know, a real kid, like a skater kid or whatever, they don't want to listen to Poison or Warrant... or Milli Vanilli or Michael Jackson, especially back then... skaters were like they are now, they just want to rock.  And they lived the real life, they'd fuck around and fuck chicks and get fucked up. They'd been through broken families, or whatever.  And skating is what they do, skating is their thing, and that's living on the edge.  I think our record identified with a whole lost generation.



2005


I remember it as a great time in my life, even with the bad moments. We made the record in six days, pretty absurd for the impact it caused. Almost everything was done with first and second takes. There are few songs that are the product of a third take. It was all fresh, spontaneous, furious. It was great.



2007


We lived in an intense party atmosphere and were the Antichrists of the neighborhood, so there was a lot of social tension that was definitely amusing. Those were some really great times, and it was definitely reflected in the music. It’s one of the reasons that particular album means a lot to me. We did the whole thing our way.



In some ways it seems like it was yesterday, and then in other ways it seems like a long time ago. But yeah, I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even 20 years old when we wrote a lot of that record. [laughs]

[...] it’s not like we’re talking about the making of, like, a Zeppelin record, or a Queen record or something like that. Albums that were projects, you know? Appetite was basically just an off-the-cuff recording. Guns were a club band, and like most first records from club bands, it was mostly made up of material that we had been playing onstage for a while. We were pretty rough around the edges and had virtually no studio experience. We went in there and threw the album together pretty quickly.

[...] it was all such a new experi­ence. It was like we were doing everything for the first time. I didn’t even know what that re­cord was supposed to be, but when it was done, I knew that it was complete—and also not near­ly as messy as it could have been. The songs sounded on the album the way we played them, and it was a pretty honest representation of who we were and what we were about. There was one time toward the end of the sessions when I took home a rough mix of “Welcome to the Jungle” to listen to with my girlfriend. I put it on, and I remember that I was really proud of what we had done. I still am.

When I was a kid, there were these be-with-you-forever albums that represented something in your life. Whether it was the background music of your childhood or your puberty or whatever — Dark Side of the Moon or Sticky Fingers or Aerosmith’s Rocks or Led Zeppelin IV. And we made one of those records, which is all I could ever have asked for. It gives me goose bumps. That’s something no one ever can take away from me.

The most gratifying thing you can do in anything (there's a lot of gratifying things you can do…) (laughs) in music is to make the record which becomes that key record for a certain time, something that stands out as to be really important to people. I'm a big rock fan. When I was a kid, there were key records from ever since I was born really. Especially, in my teenage years when I really started not to listen to my parents music but started to discover my own stuff. Bands that were out at that time, there were key records from 13 to fucking 19 that were background music to your life. They were really important to the experiences of you growing up. So this became, apparently, one of those records. I think that's the most gratifying thing you can ever achieve as far as making albums are concerned! I feel very strongly and proud of it!



2008


It’s really, like, the background music to what our life for that whole from ‘85 up until ’87. You know, every song had a significant meaning to it and it represented something that was going on with all of us - one of us and all of us at the time.

When I was a kid, there were certain records that anybody who was anybody, who was cool, had in their collection. And we actually made one of those records, I'm very proud of that.



2009


Talking about the drums on the album:

With 'Appetite,' for me the parts, playing, etc., timing flaws, whatever, are perfect, and as a moment in time for me, the whole record is. That said, the sound of the drums, which at the time in our niche of the woods was a bit of a bold statement and a somewhat successful effort to change things from the current flow at the time, and so may have been necessary but for me sound the most dated of anything there sound-wise.

I grew up learning how to play drums not with a bass player, but with a guitar player; with Slash. Usually it was just me and him practicing. So in the songs I would play what he was playing instead of just keeping a simple 4/4 pattern; like all rock is 4/4 but instead of the boom-cha, you know bass-snare-bass-snare, he would be doing like k-ka-k-ka-k-ka’s on his guitar and I would do that on the drums.”

“When we got together with Duff… See, Duff is a natural guitar player, he didn’t start off playing bass - he started playing bass guitar two weeks before he got hooked up with me and Slash. Which obviously worked out, and worked for me, because his style of bass playing is more of the style of a guitar player, so it worked perfect.



2010


I have wonderful memories of Appetite… Because we just knew. Me, Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy… we all knew where it was gonna take us. We’d go into the booth and listen back, looking at each other, saying: ‘This is gonna be the greatest record ever’. The first time we heard it on the radio, we were like little kids, jumping up and down, screaming, singing along, dancing in a circle. [...] The songs were everything we’d lived though. They were part of our lives. It was just the five of us, our crazy friends, and all the crazy experiences. You’re living on the streets, you got nothing…
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