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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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08. 1987-1988: TOURING AND SUCCESS

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08. 1987-1988: TOURING AND SUCCESS - Page 2 Empty Re: 08. 1987-1988: TOURING AND SUCCESS

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

WHO IS THE BOSS?


The internal rivalry in the band would be fully apparent in the 90s, but already in the 80s were the seeds for these conflicts sown.

In June 1987 the band members were asked how the band operated, and Axl would reply:

It’s democratic, like many other bands.


Still, Axl quickly took a leading position and would to an increasing extent describe the band as his, as in an interview with Steven Harris in December 1987:

[Being asked if he is the moral head of the band]: With the direction, yeah. With the direction and with, you know, my real strong believes and faith in what we do as artists, yeah. I'd say so.


A year later, Harris would interview Duff and Steven and took the opportunity to ask for their comments about Axl's comments in-which he claimed Axl said he had to take care of the rest of the guys in the band:

As far as he knows! [laughter] Fuck! Did he say that?! Yeah right! […] He wasn't laughing when he said that or anything?

Yes, he is just there, every day, taking care of us! […] Don't get me wrong, we love Axl and we always will, but that's just the way he is. But we are all big boys, we can take care of ourselves.


During interviews Axl was often the most vocal, both due to his strong personality but also due to his band mates invariably being under the influence. Here is Karen Burch's description in April 1986: "Although I hate to focus solely on Axel Rose, the vocalist's personality certainly demands attention. Axel appears to be the creative force that drives the band. Soft-spoken and intensely serious, he prefers to converse mainly about "the music." While the band refutes that there are any one leader, per se, Axel emerges as the dominant figure [...]" [Music Connection, April 1986]. In this interview Slash would also famously quip that Axl wants to be the Ayatollah.

In the very early days, Izzy was more vocal, but as the band grew in popularity, he gradually slid into the shadows, allowing Axl and, to an increasing extent, Slash to front the band. As Izzy would state in September 1988:

I don't really enjoy being a center of attention. [...] It suits me fine. I don't even have to think about actually planning out what I want to say in interviews, or what topics I'm gonna talk about. It's funny, because I can walk through a club without anybody recognizing me, knowing me or bothering me, whenever I want to. [Axl and Slash], they're so out front, no matter where they go they get spotted.

I never was the leader, in fact. I was the member that gave balance […].


Duff would feel the same:

I don't give a shit. Slash and Axl are vocal and they like talking a lot. I mean, we're all onstage when we play, and that's what's most important. As far as magazines and stuff like that goes, it doesn't matter who does what. It's a band, and our fans know it is. They know it's not just Axl and Slash. There's no jealousy about that between anybody in this band.


In late 1987, Axl would also indicate that any disagreement in regards to the musical direction of the band had been put to rest by late 1987, and that the band now was on the same page:

[...] we were practising in a one-room studio and I was standing outside because there was no PA, so I stood outside to listen clearly, in a parking lot, I heard 'Nightrain,' and 'Rocket Queen,' and 'My Michelle' coming together for the first time in rehearsal, right, and these guys were all okay, they were on top of it. I was like, my eyes were watering and I had chills, and I was like going, "We finally got the songs I've been looking for," and Izzy told me, you know, out [?], "Now I see what the fuck you've been talking about for the last three years." It's hard to convince someone, they don't know what they had, I'm real good at seeing a person's potential, okay. Sometimes so much so that it costs me problems because I see the potential in this person and I put so much belief in them, you know, but they never, but they don't have the guts to dig for what I see inside of them, you know, so some times that's been problems. But other times, like with Izzy, I was always pushing him with songs and now he's really glad I did and it worked out good for the both of us.


Again, Steve Harris would confront Duff and Steven a year later with this comment from Axl, receiving the following response:


We were going nowhere when we were in the studios. We didn't even have a record out the.


Interestingly, and this would be corroborated by Axl in later interviews, too, in 2009 Niven would state that there had been a bit of a powerplay happening between Slash and Axl already in the early days:

There was always an upstaging thing going on between Slash and Axl. Every now and then you’d see Slash kinda not be his best mate up there on the stage; a shoulder turned at the wrong moment. That happened. The band culture could sometimes foster a vein of real unpleasantness. They weren’t the fuckin’ Monkees.


As for whether Slash was trying to control the band, which Axl would claim much later, Niven had the following comment:

Slash never attempted to run the band, from my point of view. He had a hard enough time even runnin’ a bath.


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

JANUARY 31, 1988
THE LIMELIGHT


On January 31, 1988, the band played a show at The Limelight in New York City. The show was semi-acoustic and for some reason the band was drunker than usual:

Well, we pulled off the acoustic set pretty well. The problems started when we tried to do an electric set afterwards (laughs). It was pretty nuts if you ask me!
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 5, 1988

(Grimaces) I hate to say it, but that was more of a money thing—we had this gig at the Limelight for $7,500 for 45 minutes. So we said O.K., but my heart wasn't into it. I didn't want to do it because . . . my major problem with acoustic stuff is that we've never sat down and arranged any acoustic material. Those songs weren't written as Guns N' Roses rock & roll. No one's really got their own parts; Axl sings, the rest of us just wing it. I got really drunk before we went on stage, which is something I never do.

The worst [gig we ever played]... I can easily tell you the worst gig I personally ever played. There is no such thing as a worst gig for the whole band, because - like bad gigs and good. We’ve had bad gigs all the time, to the point, like, we have – when we’re bad, we’re bad, when we’re good, we’re good, you know? It’s like, when the inspiration is there and everything, it’s happening. You can’t always go out and be great. But the worst gig I’ve ever done was, we played a gig at the Limelight, not too long ago, and if you’ve ever heard about that one, where I was just completely wasted out of my mind and fell into the crowd three times, and all that stuff. That was sort of a drag. It was fun, though, at the time. […] I fell into the crowd with my guitar, like, three times. Something like that. That’s happened to me just a few times, though. I’m never – I make a point never to get so bombed before we play that I can’t keep it together.

[...] we played The Limelight, acoustically, or semi-acoustically, everyone was so fucking drunk. Slash fell off the stage like three times, Steven fell off his drum set, Izzy, just, like fell over, and the only people left on the stage was Axl and myself.

[...] the worst thing that ever happened to me onstage was probably stage diving at the Limelight in New York. The crowd parted like the Red Sea, and I landed flat on my back on the cement floor!

Two night before [the Ritz] show, we decided to play a semi-acoustic surprise show at a venue in Manhattan called the Limelight, a former church. By the time we headed into the sanctuary, everyone in the band was so fucked up that we lost members one by one as the set progressed. eventually everyone except me and Axl went down. It was a comical gig, but I took something serious away from it. I told myself I would never get so deep in my cups that I wouldn't be able to play.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 132


The band being drunk was not the only problem, at some stage Axl walked offstage, as a Limelight executive will tell Circus Magazine:

He just dropped his mike and walked offstage. The band all kind of looked at each other and kept on playing until Axl came back.




At The Limelight
January 31, 1988


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:02 pm

1988
SLASH'S HABITS GET OUT OF CONTROL


Slash is a very dedicated player. He would go and throw up behind the amps, come back out and keep playing. He smoked on the stage and the cigarette would drop down in between his pants and his stomach. And I’m sitting there watching, going, “Dude, you’re burning up,” and he’s just doing the solo in pain.

_______________________________________________

As mentioned earlier, Slash had cleaned up before the release of 'Appetite, and he also cleaned up before the start of the tour in 1987 [Detroit Free Press, May 6, 1988; Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

It just caught up with me. You can’t sustain a drug habit and keep doing good work.

[…] there would be no Guns N’ Roses right now if I hadn’t stopped and Izzy hadn’t stopped. […]Drugs in general but, like, heroin, too. That is one of the things that has fucked up so many people. It really has fucked up a lot of people. So you have to quit. But look at Clapton, he was really lucky, he did some good albums on it. The same with Aerosmith. They all did some great albums. If Keith had a fuckin’ buzz he’d probably still be doing it...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


But early in 1988 he was back at it again. Again, it was the period between activity that got to him. The band spent most of January 1988 in Los Angeles because a tour with Motley Crue fell through, and Slash did not handle the idleness very well:

We just spent a month in L.A. that I really thought was going to be the end of me. I have to keep moving because it isn't healthy for me to stop.

I haven’t mellowed at all. I’ve actually – that’s sort of my trademark, having not mellowed out so far. But it’s been obviously doing irreparable harm (laughs), just haven’t noticed it yet. You know, I’m thinking what a hard day I had yesterday, because I can’t get off the floor over there, right? But it’s life, you know. This is what rock ‘n’ roll to me was all about, you know? I wouldn’t give it up for anything. If it cuts my life, like, a little bit shorter and all that stuff, it’s alright, because I had a good time when I was here, you know? I had a lot better time than a lot of kids I know who’ll be here for the next 60 years or whatever.

I can't live comfortably any other way [other than when touring]. I’m a lot happier when we are going from city to city and I don’t have to feel attached to anything. Being off the road is probably the worst time for me. I like living out of one bag, knowing where my stuff is, and not having to deal with the same people every single day. You don't see your girlfriend on a constant basis; it’s better.

Being an impatient sort of workaholic type, before the band went on the road and before the record came out [in 1987], we had our problems. Then I cleaned up, went on the road and it was great for two years and then bam! Back again. I said, 'Okay, all right, I can make a phone call and kill this time'.


At some point, probably beginning of 1988, Slash would move to a TraveLodge apartment in Hermosa Beach to get away from Hollywood [Spin, May 1988].

I'd rather be on the road. See, living in a hotel actually gives you that feeling of not being tied down. But I've just never stayed in L.A. for so long. That's the thing. Staying in one place for too long is uncomfortable for me, and I don't really know how to live in one place. I want to get going, and I end up get­ting f**king bitchy and stuff. The other nice thing about living in a hotel is that nobody knows where I am except for the people who I want to know. And I don't have to have peo­ple coming over all the time, and interrupting when I'm practicing, and I can get a lot of recording done. When I was living in Hollywood, I can't even begin to tell you how decadent it was. It was ridiculous.
Creem Close-up Metal, October 1989; interview from mid-1988

It was a mutual decision on behalf of my management and myself. They wanted to make sure I'd be here for the next tour—I'm an investment, now. And I wanted to avoid all the hassles that go with staying in Hollywood. I wanted to avoid...the people. So now. I spend most of my time practicing in the yuppie community of Hermosa Beach.


Being asked to specify what part of the business caused him to relocate:

[...] the unnecessary bullshit that goes with dealing with promoters, industry people and other bands.


It seems like the effort may have worked, because in mid-1988 Slash would claim to be sober:

I'm not a practicing drug addict anymore.


Yet his drinking was getting out of control:

I've suddenly got a lot more friends now than I did before. I've never been one to be real close to people in general, so on the whole, I don't find people trustworthy and I don't hang out with a lot of them. That's probably why I drink so much, 'cause it brings me out of my shell. […] Realistically, it's not the wisest thing .. . to drink yourself into the ground. People don't give me too much shit about it because they know what my reaction is going to be. I don't like being told what to do I make my own decisions. If I decide I want to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord. But I never get drunk before a show.

I've got a bad drinking problem. It's the only thing that brings me out of my shell enough to be able to deal socially. [...] I'm an alcoholic in the sense that I need to drink all the time, but I don't have a physical dependence on it the way some people do.

This sounds sort of childish, but I have to drink a certain amount before we go onstage or I'm awkward and I can't play right. Otherwise I'm too jittery.


TO BE MOVED:

By October Slash had switched from Jack Daniels to Vodka:

It's just that my tongue got black stripes on it. It’s a mix of the tobacco in cigarettes and the Jack, which has charcoal in it. That’s what was making these black stripes on my tongue. The first time I noticed it I was like, what the fuck! My teeth were really getting stained, too. Then I started drinking it with Coke, thinking that would help, but that didn’t work either. Then eventually I thought, fuck it, and Duff talked me into switching to vodka. Duff always drinks vodka. So then I started drinking vodka and my tongue returned to a normal colour and my teeth are clean again.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


When the interviewer joked about the moral being that if you want beautiful teeth drink vodka, Slash responded:

Uh huh. And don’t drink Jack for five years straight. A bottle a day for five years, that’s what I was doing. Plus, you have really bad breath in the morning - you know, you can't have sex in the morning till you’ve brushed your teeth, which is a real fuckin’ drag.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


But by March 1989 he had switched back to Jack Daniels again, because he "got bored with vodka" [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989].

Slash would talk about cutting down on his drug use occasionally:

[…] I admit there's a conscious thing to like, you know, at least on my part where, you know, I know when I hit my limit, when it's time to like mellow out and, you know, don't lose touch with it, with what it is, you know, that I'm really doing. That happens all the time. You know, like I get back on the wagon, you know, for like a couple weeks sometimes just to fucking clean my system out. And like, just concentrate on being and just get rid of all the fucking chemicals and shit.


Any sobriety reached by Slash as the result of the trip to Hawaii did not last long, if it happened at all, because about a month later, on July 18, 1988, he would be shooting heroin together with Todd Crew, with fatal results for Crew. So Slash claims that from that point onwards he reduced his drug use, is not entirely true. And if this is true, then it was only temporarily because Slash would be struggling with heroin addiction in 1988 and 1989, too.

In August 1992, Slash would say the last time he and Axl fought was in 1988 during his worst drug period, saying the drug abuse had cut him off from the band:

The last fight we had was four years ago and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded.


Apparently, he cut down on the use while touring in the second half of 1988, but started again when the tour came to Australia in December:

We’d nearly finished being on tour, and dabbled with this and that, but we were more or less clean the whole time... then we found all these junkies in Sydney, and got the taste back!


Slash was given a man, Ronnie Stalnaker, whose job it was to "follow Slash around when he was drunk" [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

I have to take a security guard with me when I’m on the road now, though, ’cos they’re scared I’m gonna die, or something. It’s sort of embarrassing ’cos nobody can just walk around and hang out with you or whatever. So it’s a drag in that sense, but it’s also cool because when a flock of people come up and they all want autographs, I don’t have the personality to just say fuck off. So he’ll keep them off my back and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993
; interview from June 1988

I'm one of those blackout drunks. I get so fucked up I don't remember anything. I probably give the impression of being a real asshole most of the time, but I'm not really that bad.

When I get drunk I get like [Steven] does but I still manage to keep enough up here [in his head­] and to not fuck up things that concern my ultimate surroundings. [...] My most immediate surroundings I fuck up, but not the band stuff. Just my own personal shit. And, when Duff gets drunk he just gets very jovial, nice, and short-tempered. See, we take everything very unseriously, very lightly because, how really important [no matter what], in the general scheme of things [life in general], how important is a Rock & Roll band?


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:02 pm

FEBRUARY 2, 1988
"WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, RITZ!!"


On February 2, 1988, the band would play a show on The Ritz that was videotaped by MTV. The Ritz show was extensively aired on MTV and got the band much publicity. John Cannelli, former MTV senior vice president of talent and artist relations and friend of Axl (Cannelli had also been featured in the music video for Sweet Child O' Mine), had a key role in making the show:

There was an element of danger with Guns N’ Roses. They seemed fragile; there always seemed to be a crisis. But God, when you saw them perform…I booked them for a concert called Live at the Ritz, and the show was amazing.


Talking about the show:

In New York, we filmed a show for MTV, which was another one of those nights that was a great show for fun, and the crowd was crazy. The show didn't necessarily go as well as I think it should have. We had a monitor man, and on stage, it was the twilight zone. I stage-dived, and my Thin Lizzy shirt got shredded right off my body. The crowd grabbed my necklaces and started choking me, pulling my hair. Some little kid had my arm between his knees with his legs wrapped around and his hand behind his back holding onto my hand, trying to steal my bracelets and was not going to let go of me until he got them. I couldn't get a hand free to punch him in the head because Doug Goldstein (GNR's tour manager) had my other arm and was trying to yank me back to the stage, an I'm getting split in two. There like, 30 people trying to throw me back on stage and another 30 trying to get a piece of Axl. It was a blast!

Personally, I think we looked like a bunch of idiots on it [...]

You see on that live MTV thing, everything was pro except this monitor man who didn't have a clue what was going on. The crowd's hearing the show, everything's great, we're hearing spaceships' landing onstage, backwards echoes, screaming feedback, and the drummer doesn't know what, Steven doesn't know what's going on. Finally I tried to nail the monitor man with my microphone and my tour manager moved and I nailed him [laughs]. That was messy. But it leaves for some excitement.

Like, there’s gigs where we’ll go out, like the Ritz. We did a show at the Ritz in New York as an MTV special – I don’t know if you ever saw it. I mean, playing-wise it was just one of those nights where we’re using borrowed gear - you know, rented gear and all this stuff; and we hadn’t rehearsed in a month, it was the first gig on the tour. But, I mean, the energy level and the attitude was so right on, that even though the fact that some kid grabbed my guitar and knocked it way out of tune, it was, like, still very hardcore; you know, a very New York gig. […]  There was no guy [to tune the guitar]. I only brought one guitar with me. No, I brought two with me, but I think – see, the problem with me is I get so manic, that switching guitars is a hard thing for me to do, you know?

Ahh, I hate that concert. [...] You know everybody likes it, but it was the worst playing...especially on my part. It was just bad. [...] Yeah, [the audience] did everything to me! They untuned my guitars and they pulled my jacks out. [...] We were all out of tune for the first three songs. It was chaos.

It's bad, it's terrible![...] My bass went out of tune for two songs.[...] I think people like it more like in the way when you drive past a car accident and somebody's mutilated, you know, it's like you can't help but look at it!

The Ritz show in New York we played that trip was hugely popular on MTV. It wasn't one of our greatest shows by any means: Axl was having vocal problems, and though we didn't play badly, we'd played so much better in the recent past. In any case, it was loose and out of tune and punk rock, and for those reasons alone, it is something to be recognized. That footage is important because it is the essence of the band. The crowd was great, and like so many memorable moments, it was over and done before I knew it.
Slash's autobiography, p 225

MTV had contacted our management about taping one of our live performances while in the Apple, and it was scheduled for our appearance at the Ritz on February 2. Label mates Great White opened for us. After their set, it was time for us to hit the stage. I'm all ready to go, and fucking Axl is holding us up. Of all the times for him to do this. MTV was there, and this was huge, but eventually the MTV guys were like, "We gotta go, we gotta get this going, guys". Axl's like, "Fuck it. I'm not going on unless I have my bandanna!" Apparently, he couldn't find it after tearing apart the little hovel they gave us backstage. Of course the rest of the band was avoiding any eye contact with Axl, preferring to wander off, out of earshot, to do their grumbling. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. "What's wrong with you, Axl?" He shrugged me off and continued with his insane tirade. He had all of our roadies looking around for people who had scarves or bandannas. I said, "C'mon, Axl, let's just go on." He blurted out, Fuck that. Fuck you. I need a bandanna or a scarf or I'm not doing this. Now, we're thirty minutes late. The cameramen were tired of standing around and said, "We're outta here." I was the only one who was openly begging them to stay: "Please, don't go, we'll go on." I'm sure that's why I am featured prominently throughout the video, because I showed some respect for the MTV crew. Axl finally found a fucking scarf, some bowder-blue, girly-looking thing, and the show began. He put it on, and he got this Little Rascals Alfalfa look going, because his hair was pushed up, like a ridiculous cowlick, on the back of his head. I'm sitting there playing and just laughing. "You dick, look at you. You couldn't go on without your scarf, and now you look like you're in an Our Gang movie."Someone must have tipped him off, because he finally got wise to it and adjusted the bandanna. In spite of all the drama, the show went off fantastically. It's become one of the most widely bootlegged performances of the band.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 156-157

I think that was the same night that I stage-dove and the crowd parted like the Red Sea and let me hit the floor. I lay there for a moment taking stock of whether I'd broken any bones or not. Then I got back on stage and tried to maintain some semblance of cool.
Slash's autobiography, p 225




At The Ritz
February 2, 1988



This was the first show where Axl introduced Steven as "Popcorn":

Oh man, every night when Axl would introduce the band he would always introduce me as Steven "Indigo Buds" Adler 'cause I was always sayin' I just live for the "Three P's - Pot, Pussy and Percussion." And one night, just because we were on MTV, at the Ritz, because he was so pissed, he was threatening not to go on until he found his scarf. So I think he was really trying to fuck with me, instead of calling me Steven "Indigo Buds" Adler,  and he said later that it was because of the way I play, I jump up and down with my hair bouncing so he called me "Popcorn." It's cool. Funny and cool.


Slash would later talk about dealing with unruly crowds:

Like, in the middle of our sets, there’s been a lot of times where somebody will throw something on. I mean, some people get really carried away and one of the main things I really don’t relate to, because it never happened to kid, is that rock stars are bigger than life always, and some people just want to see you react and they throw stuff at you. This is actually sort of something I learned about from Aerosmith when I got the firecracker or whatever thrown at them in Philly a while back. And it’s the same thing with us; like, all of a sudden, you’re standing there and a kid reaches out and un-tunes your guitar. And that really throws things off, you know? It completely deletes your energy level for a minute, because what if you need that particular string, right? You got to rethink your solo out, right? And then people hit Axl with stuff. So there’s a lot of me kicking somebody in the first row or Axl inviting somebody on for a scrap, or whatever. That kind of stuff happens, but that makes – I think it’s great, you know?


And Duff would talk about having issues with his bass during the opening song:

I had a real bad experience with an active pickup. When we filmed live for MTV at the Ritz, the first song was It's So Easy. Kramer gave me this bass they wanted me to play and it was active. Its So Easy starts off with dnnna dnnna dnnna do dnnna drinna do [sings opening bass figure and air fingers the bass]... The bass stopped working so I threw it and got my Fender back. So from then on I want my bass with a cord going into an amp; if it's two amps that's fine. And I'll probably play live that way.".

I once had a bad experience with [active bass]. We were playing a live show for MTV and at the beginning of our first song, “It’s So Easy,” I hit a note and… nothing. The battery was dead. So I threw the bass back to my tech, got my passive Fender Jazz Bass Special and kept on playing.


Dizzy would later look back at this show:

I think that was one of the moments out here [in Los Angeles] where we all sort of realized that Guns were gonna blow up.


And Alan Niven would mention that Great White, who opened for Guns N' Roses, were originally planned to end the show with GN'R as the opener:

Well, originally Great White were closing. And originally, originally I got the thing because MTV wanted to record Great White and I said, "Well, if you want to do this, then I want the opening slot as well for my other band." And they said, "Fine, you can have Guns open." Alright. Because I wanted Guns to be filmed and be a part of, you know, be in that circumstance as well. But it was originally set up for Grey White and after that was done, by the time March rolled around, I sat the white ones down and I said, "Listen, what's the maxim? The maxim is 'be a hard act to follow instead of following a hard act'. If you're smart here, you're going to invite Guns to close because there's the momentum on them at the moment is so huge you'd be idiots not to do it." And the white ones listened and they said, "Fine, let them close. We'll play first." After the Great White set Slash came running into the dressing room, the white ones dressing room, and said, "How the fuck are we supposed to follow that?" But they did. They did. Both bands played a blinder that night. It was a great night of rock and roll [...]


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:03 pm

FEBRUARY 1988
'APPETITE' FINALLY SELLS TO GOLD


Getting their debut album out was in itself a great success for the band, and Axl would sound optimistic of its fate when interviewed on October 8, 1987, about two and-a-half months after its release:

[Commenting on the "success they have achieved]: Yes, things have started to roll very fast and in a very exciting way for us. […] Well, we're selling more and faster than any other new rock band of the latest batch. We’ve had some problems with certain radio stations and with MTV, because the owners of those companies don’t support rock. We believed that rock 'n' roll was going to have a great come-back on those stations, but the owners shattered our hopes and didn’t give us any air play. It’s like we were the last straw for them. They are willing to go up to a certain point, but when they see us they say: 'No, we won’t go there.' That’s why we had to fight a lot to be accepted. […] It's very hard. We’re just street kids and we want to scream, 'Fuck you!' But that’s exactly what makes these people ditch our album after they hear it.
Popular 1, April 1988; translated from Spanish


This was after the release the single, 'Welcome to the Jungle' (released on September 28, 1988), and the band was expecting the single to drive sales of the record. In the December the same year, Axl would again lament over the observation that radio wouldn't play their music:

[...] it's been going up and down, between 60 and 50 for the last month and a half. It's doing okay with very little radio play and limited video play. So, for that it's doing great. Especially since we are a new band, you know, people don't really know who you are. It's doing really good. […] The record's selling alright. [...] You know, people think every song on our record has the word 'fuck'. Four songs have obscenities in them, four songs. Not twelve, four. You know, and we're were not asking them to play those four, you know, pick one of the others. Also, that, you know, we have loud guitars, real guitars, real drums. [...] I'm getting limited by a radio station that plays 'Welcome To The Jungle' as a joke because they've got all these papers and everything sat on it. They play it as a joke, a top-40 station, [?] said we're the number one request so that they decide definitely not to play it. That makes me mad. That frustrates me. People are scared that they're going to open up a can of worms and what really frustrates me is the fact that fucking radio is basically run by advertising dollars. We are not talking money, okay, we are not talking art, we are not talking music, we're talking, "What kinda of music can we play that we can get this guy to put his commercials on our radio station so we can make lots of money?" You know, to me that's, I mean, then you have no business being in radio. Get the fuck out. Go home. If you want a job like that then work in a factory or something. Get the fuck out of this and leave these people that really care about their music alone, because these people are screwing with my bank accounts when I am being sincere, I got some insincere fuck worried about paying his rent so he is kissing ass and playing Madonna songs that he hates and he won't play Guns N' Roses that he loves. That guy's fucking with my bank account. I don't like wimps like that. That makes me mad.

Well, there was profanity all over the album, and radio didn't want to touch us. People wouldn't play us 'cause of the original album cover, MTV wouldn't touch us.


When in Seattle, in early February 1988, the band was informed that Appetite had sold to gold:

[...]at the time, I knew it was gonna happen. The day before, I got woken up in the middle of the night. And I was like, 'If this is about going gold I'm gonna be so pissed off.' God, if other people had my problems, right?


Despite this initial success of the record, the band still didn't have money:

Amazing! When we went gold, I was like 'OK! This is it! I'm getting me a car! No more busses!' Then I found out there's a bit more to it than that. First, we have to pay everyone back. Then it's sorta like, we'll get a check every six months or something like that.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:03 pm

1988
DUFF; THE KING OF BEER II


Duff soon realized that his panic attacks were triggered by flying, and he dulled his senses by drinking in excess before flights [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 130]. He would not talk publicly about his anxiety before his own biography, but his fear of flying might be gleamed from an interview he did at the day of Monster of Rock festival at Donington in August 1988:

[Being asked what it meant to him when he heard Guns N' Roses was on the Monsters of Rock bill]: It meant we'd have to fly over here and fly back. [...] We took the Concord out here. It was great. We ate dinner and we were here. We get to the airport and they send us to this Concord lounge, which has got a bar, free bar. I was in heaven. Food. Then you get escorted to the plane. We almost didn't make it. We actually got into a fight in the airport with some guy. So all these cops came. The pilot said, "one foul word out of any of you guys and you're out of here!" Fair enough.


Despite trying heroin together with Steven and Slash and experimenting with pills like quaaludes [Rock City News, January 1988], Duff mostly kept to alcohol. Alcohol would later also become the end of his pancreas and almost the end of him [more about this in later chapters].

[Recalling how the drummer from Faster Pussycat passed out in Duff's bed]: I couldn't understand it, but this made Duff super-pissed. Duff's the mellowest guy, but the booze could turn him into one mean mother. "Fuck this shit," he said. He wanted to play a practical joke on the guy, so he had me help him grab and tie the drummer's legs and wrists with duct tape. We taped all around his mouth and head too and we carried him to the hotel elevator. It was one of those really old lifts with the gate that you have to pull open. We threw him in, and at that point, I thought it was funny as hell.

Then Duff pressed all the buttons in the elevator, closed the door, and let him go. The next day at the show, Duff and I saw hi, bruised and very hungover. He avoided us completely, never uttering a word about the previous night.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 134-137


Duff writes that a turning point in his addiction came at the very last show of the Aerosmith tour in Costa Mesa at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County, CA (September 15, 1988). Actually, this show was not their latest of this tour, they would do one more show in USA before heading to Japan for 9 more shows. During the Costa Mesa show, their friends from Los Angeles came out to party. Duff, who had been careful about being sober during the tour with Aerosmith, was handed an eight of an ounce of cocaine and took it in combination with Valium and vodka.

When I hit the stage with Aerosmith, I was experiencing that toxic mix of uppers and downers for one of the first of what would become countless times in the future. Little did I know it would become my secret potion and cure-all for the next six years. I did it when I was happy. I did it when I was sad. I would do it until I was almost brain-dead, hopeless, and left for dead.

In hindsight, I can see that night as the moment I started the transformation from a guy who had spirit and soul and who looked at the cup as half full into a blackened shadow of my former self.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 139


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:04 pm

FEBRUARY 4-8, 1988
TOURING WITH 'TSOL'


In late January 1988, it would be reported that Guns N' Roses would tour with the band T.S.O.L. [L.A. Weekly, January 29, 1988].

Duff knew T.S.O.L. from before:

In fact I roadied for [The Fastbacks] [...] on a tour where we went down to California, opening for D.O.A. and T.S.O.L. Which, years later, T.S.O.L. opened for us and I had to tell them "remember years ago I roadied for your opening band?" Because back then T.S.O.L. were godlike, I was just happy to get a chance to see them.


The tour would take place in the beginning of February, and the band would do eight shows in California with T.S.O.L. as the opener (February 4-12). Originally, they should have done nine shows, but crises happened.

The first three shows were at Crest Theatre, Sacramento, USA (February 4); Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, USA (February 5); and at the Old Town Saloon, Fresno, USA (February 6).

The next show took place on February 8 at Montezuma Hall in San Diego. Apparently, Axl caused some problems when he changed the setlist around too much for Slash's liking:

[…] there’s been a few gigs we’ve done, like in San Diego, where we had a gig where we came on late, we were really late coming on. And, you know, it was just one of those shows where I didn’t know what the next song was gonna be, because Axl was changing the setlist all around - we do that anyway, but sometimes it can be really inconvenient because it screws up pacing and stuff. So it was one of those shows where we basically stood around on the stage for, like, 45 minutes headlining, right? And the whole crowd was, like, confused trying to get into it.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:04 pm

FEBRUARY 12-13, 1988
AXL IS FIRED FROM THE BAND


The band then came to Phoenix for two shows on February 12 and 13 that were to end the tour with TSOL. The band had been intended to play in Phoenix while opening for The Cult, but that show had been cancelled [Blast! November 1988].


FIRST NIGHT, AXL ENDS THE SHOW EARLY


The first show in Phoenix, and the sixth of the tour with TSOL, took place on February 12, at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Axl ended the show early, right after 'Nightrain' preventing the band from going through their encore [Yahoo Music, April 2016]. According to Circus Magazine, Axl had actually "collapsed" during Nightrain [Circus Magazine, May 1988].

Axl would blame it on an accident leading to a split lip:

In Phoenix, everything went wrong! The first show we did was okay, but there were a lot things, like the wireiess wouldn't work because of radio signals or something, picking up radio stations. I had a chord mike, and it was a different-shaped microphone, and the chord kept getting tangled on everything. It was a jinxed chord that had a mind of its own. All of a sudden, when I pulled the mike back, it whipped and smacked me in the mouth real hard. Someone else's chord got tangled on mine or someone tripped on mine. It cut my top lip in half. They were telling me to get stitches and everything like that. I couldn't go back on, so the band did a blues thing, and we were outta there.



SECOND NIGHT, AXL DOESN'T WANT TO PLAY


The next day the band had another show scheduled at the Celebrity Theatre, but Axl was not in the best of shapes:

By the time of the next show. I was trying to avoid everybody in the band--not because I don't like anybody, but because when you're mad, you tend to say things you don't really mean, and I wanted to wait until I'd calmed down. I wasn't feeling well. I started feeling pretty down and out and sick. My lip was bothering me. The hotel kept sending maids in, and they couldn't get anything right when I ordered food. I wasn't in any condition to go out. I was just trying to get myself together for the show, so I ended up ripping my phone out of the wall and smashing it, as well as smashing a couple of lamps and some tables. I was just trying to get some peace and some sleep before the show. The next thing I know, there are people knocking on my door, and I'm telling 'em to get away from me. They're trying to break in my door, but I had it chained. No one knew what Axl's doing. They think I'm in there shooting up or killing myself or I'm mad at the world and won't do the show. I had every intention of doing the show. I was feeling pretty sick, and I got to the show late, and they'd already cancelled the show, unbeknownst to me.

We cancelled our last show there because I was late, and the band thought I wasn’t gonna show up, and when I got there, they had already cancelled the show, thinking I wasn’t gonna show up.


The show promoter for the Celebrity Theatre shows, Danny Zelisko, recalled in 2016 that he had been across town when he got the call from the manager at the venue on that fateful night: "Man, you better get down here right away. This place is going to explode" because, as Zelisko would describe it, "The opening act had been on for 90 minutes and Axl wouldn’t come out of his hotel room" [Vulture, 2016]. T.S.O.L. was only intended to play a 40 minute set, but Niven had told them to continue playing.

Dean Mitch from TSOL would recount the experience:

We do our set in Phoenix, and the whole band is there except Axl, and they say, "Play another song." Then it's "Can you play two more?" By that time, we were in the middle of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey."

I was trying to buy time. Finally, these poor guys in T.S.O.L. came offstage after playing Beatles covers. They looked at me mournfully and said, ‘We’ve played absolutely everything we know. We’re beat. Can we quit now?’
Yahoo Music, April 2016


Niven would try to get into Axl's room:

We tried everything to get him out. We banged on the door and shouted, ‘C’mon, dude we got a gig. Come out!’ and he’d shout back, ‘Fuck off!’ I don’t know if Axl and Erin were fighting. That was probably something that happened more often than not, but he refused to come out no matter what we said.
Yahoo Music, April 2016


Niven told Zelisko that Axl wouldn't come causing Zelisko to wonder, "How are we going to get out of this building alive?” then turning to Niven, "You have a nice British accent. You make the announcement. I’m not getting torched.” Niven complied, saying to the audience that Rose had "throat problems" [Vulture, 2016].

That was the moment I had to walk onstage and say, 'Tonight’s performance by Guns N’ Roses, unfortunately, will not occur due to a medical emergency.' Immediately, people started throwing shit at me and it got ugly fast. The crowd rioted and it spilled out into the parking lot, and at least one car was turned over and set on fire.
Yahoo Music, April 2016


According to Blast Magazine a "full-scale riot broke out" with damages "into the thousands" [Blast! May, 1988]. But Axl was on the way to the venue, and would describe the scene as he arrived:

I saw, like, 12 cop cars--cops everywhere, kids smashing in windshields, kicking in cars. I realized the show had been cancelled, so I took a cab real slow around the place, watching the whole scene and then went back to the hotel.


Zelisko's story of the riot differs, saying that "the crowd dispersed peacefully".

Rolling Stone Magazine would later describe the cancellation of the show:

Axl decided not to show up […] leaving the opening band, T.S.O.L., to improvise Zeppelin jams until the Gunners' cancellation was announced.



AXL IS FIRED


This incident was the final straw for the band and Axl was fired:

Axl was kicked out of Guns N' Roses in February 1988. He disappeared before a show in Phoenix, Arizona, which was subsequently cancelled. When Axl finally showed up the band told him he was no longer singer in Guns N' Roses. The split lasted two tense days before Izzy and Slash decided they'd hear Axl out and let him explain his absence. Clearly, his explanation was a good one.

Axl Rose began acting too unpredictably for the other members of the group, and a vote was taken to kick Axl out of the band. Thankfully, cooler heads soon prevailed, and Axl was sent to a clinic where he was quickly able to regain control of his life and resume responsibilities as Guns' front man.

I sat the band down and said, “Look, I made a commitment to this band, but if you decide on another singer, I’ll stand by you.” They thought about it, too.

The only time there was ever any discussion about Axl being replaced was in early 1988 when he failed to show for a gig at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. A riot ensued. At that point, listening to Izzy and Slash complain about his persistent ability to make every one miserable on a daily basis I told them both I would support them if they chose to get rid of Axl, even if that meant they got dropped by Geffen. We were having coffee together in Sky Harbour when this conversation occurred.


While the band was, in Slash's words, in upheaval over Axl's behavior, Niven cancelled the planned 3-month tour with David Lee Roth [see later chapter].

Axl would comment on what happened:

There's really not much to say about what happened. It got blown out of proportion in the press. It was something that went on within the band, and it's been settled now. So let's just put it behind us and look ahead, okay?


The band would comment on it this way:

The great pressure we are under at the moment is responsible for the incident. It's over and the five of us are now a stronger unit than before.
Metal Hammer (Germany), April 1988; translated from German

That was no big deal. Except when you cancel a gig it starts this whole big upheaval. Everyone freaks out and the press plays up about it. We weren’t scared that the band was gonna fall apart, we were pissed off at Axl. But we sat down and talked about it over a couple of beers and everything was fine.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988

[…][Axl] didn’t get fired! We just got pissed off. […] Well, things always get thrown out of hand, I mean, thrown out of proportion.

Axl had a problem one night; we missed a gig and we decided not to continue the tour for the sake of keeping him all right. Axl is a singer, and there is a certain mentality you need to stand with a microphone in front of a bunch of people and sing to them. That and acting, I think, are two of the most nuts things you can do. Also, because he is a singer he is probably one of the best singers in a long time — he is a real deep person. Axl is what you would call a tough guy, but at the same time he is sincere, and when it comes to lyrics there is no lying in him. Axl lives for getting up and doing the show and being really good at it. Sometimes he is impossible to work with, but he doesn't do it just to be a pain, but because he doesn't want to deal with it. It has taken a long time to adjust to what he’s all about, and we’ve gone through major changes to go along with his day-to-day happenings, but that’s just the way he is. I don't want to make a big deal out of it.

That's been one of the stories that's gotten bigger than all of us. And, as little as it was, it's past tense and it's not worth talking about cos it doesn't relate to what's going on now.

Look, there were some problems a while back, but those are more-or-less in the past now. This is the kind of band probably always have something strange going on in it. People don’t really understand us. They hear part of a story and they try and guess their own ending. The truth is that we had some problems with Axl. He started pulling some weird shit on everybody and we just didn’t dig that. But we’re pretty close, and we were able to sit down and work things out.

We’re not breaking up. if that’s what people want to know. Let’s just say that some of the talk people might have heard over the last few months is true and some of it isn’t. I really don’t want to get into it much deeper than that. Things are pretty cool within the band at the moment, and that’s the way we want to keep it.


Slash would defend his colleague and friend:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up.


Axl not showing up for the gig prompted Los Angeles Times to ask "what's wrong with W. Axl Rose? speculating that he was either "seriously ill" or "had suffered a breakdown" [Los Angeles Times, February 1988]. Other newspapers would claim Axl had suffered an OD and that the band had broken up, as mentioned by RIP Magazine although they checked this story out and reported that Axl had indeed been hospitalized but that it wasn't drug-related and that the band was still together [RIP Magazine, June 1988]. A spokeswoman for Geffen Records said Rose had been sick, but "it was not drugs or a deadly disease. We don’t know exactly what—his management company says they’re still waiting for test results" [Los Angeles Times, February 1988].


LOOKING BACK


Axl would later talk about the incident:

I flew back to L A. and have since gone to a doctor, who said I was just exhausted. He also said I suffer from insomnia. They're taking blood tests and stuff. A lot of people think it's drugs or I have AIDS because that's the new popular rumor. It's nothing that serious, but it's something serious enough that it caused problems in the machinery of Guns N' Roses. Now we're taking the time to regroup. We've had countless meetings, and everybody's on really good terms. Everything seems to be worked out real well, and we're planning our next stages. I know everybody says that--a lot of bands say that, and the next thing you know, they're trying to kill each other, but we're actually trying to put things in order. It's good that we're doing this now rather than selling a million records and then everybody splits and no one in the band talks to one another because you hate each other's guts. This band is a family, and that's very important to me. […] One of the things that makes Guns N' Roses work is the fact that we are very volatile. We put that into our music. At this point, we're not breaking up. As a matter of fact, it seems to be tighter than ever. Everybody realizes there's a lot more work to do and a lot more communication needed. Duff came up to me the other day, and I explained that the situation in Phoenix didn't have anything to do with the band. I said, 'I felt really bad because I love you guys, and he goes, 'I thought you hated me.' I was like, 'No, man, I don't hate you.' He's like, 'Well, call me,' and I'm like, 'I didn't know you wanted me to.' I didn't know he wanted to hear from me because I thought he was busy with his own life. What we found out is that while we thought everybody was mad at each other, and we were in a position where it looked like breaking up would be the best thing, everybody basically digs the hell our of each other and was mad that we don't hang out together more. We've sat down and talked it all out and found out that we really care about each other much more than we real thought. Nobody wants to play with anybody else.


And say the band had overcome their problems:

We haven't had a lot of those problems now. We work together a lot better. We're on the same wavelength. […] [the conflict's] the reason we weren't together five years ago instead of 2 1/2. And now we have a lot more common ground than we did six months ago


In 1989 Slash would be confronted with the rumors that the band had been on the verge of breaking up the previous year:

We've had some things we've had to live through and overcome. The stuff you've read about in the mags is basically true, but it's nothing that serious. We all have always gotten along pretty well, and when there's a problem we confront it. That's the only way to make sure it doesn't grow into something more serious.


This incident and Axl being fired is also discussed in the chapter about Axl's mental health. This incident also resulted in the planned tour with David Lee Roth being cancelled and also likely the planned tour with AC/DC [see later chapters].


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:05 pm

1988
IZZY AND HIS ADDICTION


When describing his new apartment and domestic life, Slash would happily comment on Izzy being drunk:

Except the vodka - that goes in the freezer. Until Izzy comes round... Izzy’s classic when he gets drunk. Me, when I get drunk I fall over, I puke, I do whatever is stupid. Izzy is like one of those drunks you see in the movies. He’s so entertaining, he’s so un-Izzy...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


Alan Niven tell an anecdote about Izzy and an escrow account:

Izzy wanted to find his missing million dollars. The missing million, by the way, was not missing, it was in an escrow account. It was to be released when Guns booked a tour of a certain size, or had recouped the other $1.5 million they had already received as an advance against merchandise sales. Try explaining that to a paranoid coke-head. ‘What’s a – sniff! – escrow account, Niv? – Sniff! – Oh yeah, its like a bank account – sniff! So why can’t I – sniff! – write a cheque?’


Talking about how he felt he was just behaving normally for his occupation:

Okay, I was already in bad shape before [we had success], because I was doing drugs and drinking a lot. Even in Indiana, I had gotten into glue sniffing and speed early on... I was smoking pot at lunchtime. Anyway, I was already struggling with this by the time I was 15 years old, long before I was in Guns N' Roses. So you can just imagine how excessive it got ten years later, when I became successful: cocaine, heroin, you name it, I had to do it. All this combined with fame and money turned out to be a particularly nasty mix. At one point, we opened for Aerosmith. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were my childhood heroes and I was really honored to be around these great musicians. I had already met Tyler in 1984/85 in L.A. when I was a young and inexperienced guitar player. I started to do what he did, to really get high. Hey, I thought it was "normal", I thought all artists lived like that. And the fact that I was living in Los Angeles at the time, even more so in Hollywood, didn't help to get myself together and out of that whole trip. So what could be more normal than waking up in the morning and doing a some coke? Again, it seemed "normal" to us.


At some point in 1988, Izzy got in a scuffle with Vince Neil's wife at a party. According to Izzy, he had her ejected from a private room at a local rock club; but according to Neil, Izzy had attempted to remove Neil's wife's clothing and later kicked her in the stomach. Neil's wife pressed assault charges against Izzy, but they were dropped. In September 1989, Neil would try to get his revenge when he would attack Izzy at MTV Music Video Awards [Los Angeles Times, September 1989].

Izzy also got in trouble at the very end of 1988 when the band headed to Japan for some gigs. Alan Niven told the band to get rid of any drugs they had, resulting in Izzy swallowing his stash and allegedly sending him into a 36-hour coma.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:05 pm

FEBRUARY 1988
LOSING A TOUR WITH DAVID LEE ROTH


In late January 1988, it would be reported that after the February tour with T.S.O.L., Guns N' Roses would tour with David Lee Roth [L.A. Weekly, January 29, 1988]. But after the infamous Celebrity Theater gig in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 12 and 13 [see earlier chapter], and Axl being fired only to be allowed back into the band, Alan Niven cancelled the Lee Roth tour:

And what happened was, the management - in order to keep a good steady relationship in this business, you can’t screw around; you have to be a week, two weeks, a month on top of things. And when that happened [=Axl causing problems] and everybody was pissed off, Alan, our manager, had to make sure to connect with the Roth people and set things straight before - you know, if we had broken up and he didn’t tell them anything until the last minute, that really would have screwed them up. So when we were in upheaval over this Phoenix gig that we missed, he called them up and said, “Look, there’s some problems,” so that they got somebody else. Then, when the problem was resolved, we wanted to do it, but it was too late. You know what I’m saying, it was no big deal, except for we were off the road for three months.


According to RIP Magazine, the planned tour with Lee Roth was cancelled the day after Axl missed the gig in Phoenix [RIP Magazine, June 1988], which corroborates with Slash's story above. Also Metal Hammer (Germany) would specifically state that it was due to Axl's no-show at the Phoenix, Arizona, show on February 13, 1988 [Metal Hammer (Germany), April 1988].

The band then took a 6 week hiatus from touring [Circus Magazine, May 1988; Blast Magazine, May 1988] in February/March 1988. For the Lee Roth tour, GN'R would be replaced by Faster Pussycat [Blast! May 1988].  That the band had to cancel the tour with Lee Roth due to Axl's behavior would be reported by numerous magazines [Hit Parader, October 1988; The Calgary Herald, July 1988; Blast! May 1988].

The cancellation would also be explained as Roth hearing that "one or more of the band were about to enter a rehab clinic for drug problems".

Blast Magazine would directly connect the cancellation to Axl not showing up on time for the second Celebrity Theater show (February 13) resulting in a riot [Blast! May 1988].

Slash would defend Axl:

Hey. I don’t think it’s fair to dump everything on Axl. We ended up getting the Aero­smith tour, so we probably got the best tour for us of the four. There were some problems with Roth because his people got wind of those rumors about Axl and that the band was breaking up. They really never bothered to confirm what they heard. If they had, I think we would have been able to patch everything up.


Axl himself would feel bad about the situation:

I feel real bad about it. I feel real bad for the kids who were planning on it but more so for Dave Roth, himself, because he was planning on us doing something, it was all set up, and we let him down. They (Roth's people) think we shined it for other opportunities, and that's not the case at all. The last thing we wanted to do was let down someone who's been influencing us for years and was giving us a break.


And a bit later he would complain about struggling to land tours:

It's too hard to get work because all the other big bands think it's too risky to take us out on the road with them. We've already come real close to getting arrested for inciting a riot. When we were out on the road with The Cult—and they've been out there for six years or so—one of 'em got busted for that 'inciting a riot' crap in Vancouver and it was real messy. And then, of course, us being the new band and all, we got in trouble right away.


With free time on their hand, the band members found other things to do. Duff played in a side band with his girlfriend, Mandy Brix, called Dr. Love and the Love Connection [L.A. Weekly, February 19, 1988]. The band would play a show at the Coconut Teaszer on February 22, 1988 [L.A. Weekly, February 19, 1988]. Duff would be "Dr. Love" [MTV Headbanger's Ball, April 1988].

In 1991, Slash would claim it was all about Roth not wanting to be up-staged by Guns N' Roses:

[...] we were supposed to tour America early in 1988 supporting David Lee Roth, but just before those dates we were thrown of the bill. Dave claimed our reputation as bad boys concerned him. But I think that was nonsense. The reality was that he was scared of trying to follow us onstage every night, we were so hot. But he couldn’t come out and say that, could he? Instead, he invented this excuse about our attitude worrying him. I still love Dave and will always be a fan of his. But that was bullsh*t. The day we’re worried about what a support act will do to us is the day we stop.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:06 pm

AXL JUST SAYS 'NO'


Axl had his share of issues in 1987 and 1988. The problem with Axl was not drug and alcohol use, though; he had stopped with excesses after he got tonsilitis during the Motley Crue tour in 1987 and experienced that he sung better when not drinking:

I had to stop smoking and drinking to do the show [while sick] and right now I'm not so eager to start again, 'cause the last few shows, singing has been easier. So maybe I'll get into health food for a while, burn out on that.

Axl doesn't do any drugs or even drink hardly anymore. He lives to be on that stage. He eats, sleeps and plays. That's it.

And then on top of that, it's like Axl just because his voice, don't drink or do drugs or hardly smoke at all.

Since injuring his voice earlier in the year, and his future's uncertainty while recuperating, Axl was all business. No "champagne  and cocaine" rock star lifestyle, at least while I was around. Wahhhhhhh! Believe it or not, Aerosmith were a good influence on G N' R, who had agreed to substance-ly change their behavior when the Aero boys were present. Whatever the reason, Axl was attempting to live as healthy a lifestyle as the road would permit, all the while valiantly attempting to get adequate rest between performances.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 258-259

I don't really go out to clubs anymore -- although I used to love to. I don't really drink that much either cause I try to keep my voice in shape, I'm using it a lot, you know. If I go out to clubs, I have to talk to so many people about so many different things that have who knows what to do with, and I'll end up having a few drinks or something. I kinda miss it, but that's fame for you, that's show biz.


Josh Richman, friend of Axl, would confirm that Axl stayed away from hard drugs:

People got the impression that these guys were junkies, but Axl wasn't that way.


In 1987 and 1988, Axl also started to distance himself from the band, allegedly to not be tempted to drink and use drugs:

And for me personally it's like I'd like to party as much as the other guys, but, you know, it's like they don't have to worry about if they're able to sing. They can get up play the guitar even if they got trashed the night before, or the next day. Doesn't hurt my energy so much by running around but where it takes [?] me first is in my voice. So I gotta monitor my social life more closely. I can't really go party unless I know I know I have a few days off.

You gotta understand that with this bunch, excess is best an' all that shit. Axl knows he has to keep from smoking or drinking or doing drugs to maintain his voice. He doesn't hang out that much because the atmosphere that's created by the other four members of this band is pretty, uh...

[Finishing Slash's sentence]: ...conducive to deterioration.

He just hangs out by himself. He takes it all pretty seriously. I couldn't do it. He's doing well to maintain a certain sanity level seeing as he can't go out cos of his position in the band. If he was doing what we were doing he wouldn't be able to sing at all!


Rolling Stone would report that by November 1988, Axl was traveling on his own tour bus, both because he slept during the day and stayed awake at night, but also to avoid friction with his band mates [Rolling Stone, November 1988], furthering the distance between himself and the rest of the band. In an interview with RIP in April 1989, Axl would comment on this:

First of all, it was Izzy's idea to get a separate bus, and secondly, after shows I can't afford to party out like the other guys. There's been several times when I had to leave the bus because of nerves. It's impossible to sit there completely straight, listening to someone who is annihilated go off about something or another. Also, it gives us more space. We all used to live together, but we've outgrown being crowded in together. Not because we don't like each other, but because we have different lifestyles.


Axl's tendency to sleep in is also implied in this quote from an unknown Geffen representative: "We now know not to call him too early in the morning – that way he doesn’t become disoriented and start freaking out" [L.A. Weekly, June 1988].

In 1989 Axl was still keeping sober:

I have a different physical constitution and different mindset about drugs than anybody I've known in Hollywood, because I don't abstain from doing drugs, but I won't allow myself to have a fuckin' habit. I won't allow it. I'll have done blow for three days and my mind will go "Fuck no". I'll have the physical feeling of knowing my body needs it, and I'll just refuse to do coke that day. I'm not going to do it, because if I was going to do it, I know I won't be able to hit my goals with what I want to do with this band. I can't let myself get into coke as much as I'm into the band. The same thing with heroin. I did it for three weeks straight and had one of the greatest times in my life, because I was with a girl I wanted to be with in this beautiful apartment, and we just sat there listening to Led Zeppelin, doing drugs and fucking. It was great, 'cause at that time I had nothing to do but sit on my ass and make a few phone calls a day. I stopped on, like, Saturday, because I had serious business to attend to on Monday. I felt like shit, sweated, shook, but on Monday I was able to function. I can't hide in drugs. A lot of people can, but whenever I do any drugs - pills, booze, smack, whatever - to enjoy it, my life has to be perfect - no fuck-ups, nothing going wrong. Otherwise, when I'm high, I'll analyse the shit out of everything that's happening in my life and why things are going wrong. That's not enjoyable. And if I have shows to do, I won't touch drugs because it fucks up my throat. My advice is don't get a habit, don't use anybody else's needle and don't let drugs become a prerequisite to having a good time. Do things in moderation, and just be careful.


A few months later, Axl felt a need to comment on his statements to RIP:

I'm not and never have been a junkie. The last interview in RIP Magazine got taken out of context about me talking openly about my drug use. That was over two years ago and was only for a few weeks when there was nothing to do. I was also very safe about it. That doesn't mean that at some point I won't get really sick of life and choose to OD. Then people will go, "He was always a junkie." That's not the case, but you can believe what you want, I don't give a fuck. No one's really gonna believe anything I say anyway as far as what I do or don't do with drugs, 'cause it's such a taboo subject. Lately I've been drinking champagne for fun, a few beers, you know. Right now drugs get in the way of my dreams and goals. I really don't want drugs around me now, I'm not necessarily against the use of drugs, they just don't fit in my life right now. Then again, I could be out on tour for six months and a blast might be what cheers me up that night.

Right now, for me, a line of coke is too far. A line of coke puts my voice out of commission for a week. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I did a lot of stuff before. Maybe it's guilt and it's relocated in my throat. All I know is it's not healthy for me right now. And if somebody goes, "Oh, man, he's not a partyer anymore," hey, fuck you! Do you want a record or not?


In early 1995, Slash would comment on one of the "huge misconceptions about Guns", that Axl had been hooked on heroin, and say, "he never was strung out. Ever" [The Howard Stern Show, February 1, 1995]. Slash had also denied this earlier:

Like everybody thinks that Axl is a major drug addict. that's never been the case. Axl's never been addicted to anything - except maybe cigarettes.


As the band embarked on touring in 1991, Axl still refrained from much drug use although he smoked opium in June 1991:

I’ve been trying to be, like, a pretty good boy so I could make sure (?). And then I find myself on an airplane smoking opium with Sebastian… and I remember that I worked this hard so that I wouldn’t have to work so hard. It’s something – I don’t know, I’m not trying to bullshit or kiss your ass, but last night was a blast and I feel better (?). And here I was thinking that having some wine and get laid was gonna fuck me up.

On the Guns N’ Roses tour, they had the MGM Grand plane as a mode of transportation. I had asked Axl many times, “Hey dude, can I come on the plane? Can I come on the plane? Seriously, can I come on the plane?!?!” “No, no, no, no, and no,” I would always get told. “I really want to get on the fucking plane with you guys!” “No.”

One day, after a gig, I went out to the fence where all the fans are standing. Looking for some weed. I asked a hundred or so people, “Any of you guys got any weed?” This was in Toledo, Ohio. I remember distinctly. A couple days after the St. Louis riot. Nobody had any weed that day in Toledo. Then, some guy said, “Hey, I don’t have any weed, but I got this.” I go, “What’s that?” “It’s opium.” I had never seen opium in my life, and I have not seen it since that day. I said, “What the fuck is opium?” I didn’t know what it looked like, or what you even did with it. Smoke it? Shoot it? Snort it? I didn’t know. But since there was no weed, I was willing to find out. […] Inside was a round ball of dark goo-like substance that he told me was pure opium. I said, “Sure, I’ll take that, dude,” and gave him a couple backstage passes. […]

Saw Axl that night backstage. “Hey dude, can I come on the plane, man?? Seriously! I think we would have fun.” “No, Baz, you still can’t come on the plane.” “Come on, Axl, please let me come on the plane, dude, for reals.” “No, I really don’t think it’s a good idea, Baz. Sorry, maybe tomorrow.” “You know what?” “What?” “I just got this big fucking huge ball of opium.” “Hey Baz.” “What?” “Get on the fuckin’ plane.”
Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row; Harper Collins, 2016


This seems to be an outlier, though, and Axl would mostly stay away from drugs for the remainder of the touring:

[…]I would also like it to be known that I'm not a person to be telling the youth of America, "Don't get wasted." Because many times drugs and alcohol -- there's a technical term that they're called, emotional suppressants -- are the only things that can help a person survive and get through and be able to deal with their pain. But l think that it would be good for people to realize and understand that they are doing something to deal with their pain and they aren't really going to be allowed to escape it and outrun it forever without side effects and certain consequences, as far as emotional and mental happiness and their physical condition. And I'd like people to be aware of those things. Fine, party and get wasted, but prepare yourself to be ready to make a change and face the actual reasons why you have to go get drunk. That's what I like, rather than someone saying, "Well, you know, doing this was the wrong way." Don't know if it was. A lot of bands have cleaned up now and talk about things they did and how they were wrong. I don't know if it was necessarily wrong. It helped them survive. At the time they weren't given the proper tools to do the proper healing. I personally don't do any hard drugs anymore, because they get in the way of me getting to my base issues, and I'd rather get rid of the excess baggage than find a way to shove it deeper in the closet, at this time in my life.

Okay, first off, I'm on very specific, high-tuned vitamins. My body needs these vitamins. I'm also involved in extensive emotional work to reach certain heights with myself that doing hard drugs would interfere with. I'm doing several detoxing programs to release trapped toxins that are there because of trauma. Doing a lot of coke would get in the way of my work. Doing dope would definitely get in the way of what I'm trying to accomplish. Some pot doesn't really get in the way too much. It gets in the way of the work for, like, the next day, but sometimes it's a grounding thing. If I'm flipping out in the middle of Idaho, then a little bit of pot helps me be sedate. Also, coming off stage, going from such high energy into a very sedate world, is heavy - I don't care how many strippers you have. It's like going off a cliff in a car, and that's when I can use some smoke. […] About a year ago [in 1991], while we were recording the records, I smoked a lot of pot. I was in a lot of pain, and that was the only way I could keep myself together enough to work. It was the the only thing that could take my mind off my problems, so I could stay focused and record. It helped keep me together. Now it would interfere with things.


Gilby would talk about how health-conscious Axl is:

Axl even jogs now. And he sits on machines.


In 1996, Slash would again have to deny rumours that Axl was addicted to heroin:

No, never has been. Axl actually... well, for the most part the only guy who's never been addicted to anything in the band.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:07 pm

FEBRUARY 26, 1988
PLAYING ON 'UNDER THE WHEELS' WITH ALICE COOPER


In January 1988, Alice Cooper decided to re-record his song 'Under the Wheels' with Axl singing duet with Cooper [L.A. Weekly, January 29, 1988], and Slash and Izzy adding guitars. The song was originally released on Cooper's 1971 Killer album. The new version would be released in June 1988 as part of the documentary film "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years".

Axl and Slash were thrilled getting to participate on the song:

It came out really cool. The song's been updated but it's still a classic and Axl and Alice sound great. Me and Kane (Roberts. Alice's guitarist) and Izzy did some neat guitar work. It's definitely a pretty hot version of one of my all-time favorite songs.

It was really cool because I'd originally heard that some other singer had gotten [to sing on it]. Well, we were on tour with Alice, and I didn't even know that we were going to get to do it, so I was really bummed out. And we heard that the singer from Cinderella had gotten it [= Tom Keifer], and we'd become friends with those guys. In fact, we had the drummer from Cinderella out on the road with us because Steve had broken his hand. And he said, "Yeah, Tom got this gig." But then something didn't happen with that, and all of a sudden I get this phone call, and it was like "Do you want to do it?" And it was like "Yeah!!" Because "Under My Wheels" is more his rock 'n' roll type song - less of that horror type thing. And we were psyched to do it.


We did a tour of a stage with Alice Cooper, and he just really likes the band. And it was a huge compliment to have someone like Alice Cooper actually have any kind of respect for us, only because we've loved Alice Cooper for so long. So when he said that he liked the band, we were like, "fucking great!", you know? And then somewhere along the line he had to record this song so he asked Axl to sing on it and me and Izzy to play guitar on it. So we just said, "fuck, yeah!", you know, and just did it.


Then when Alice Cooper visited Long Beach on February 26, Axl, Izzy and Slash joined him onstage for 'Under the Wheels'.

And then we got up on stage with him in, like, Long Beach and did it live, you know, and Motorhead opened, it was great.

Slash and I also went onstage and did it live with him when he played in Long Beach. It was intense. It was fun being onstage with someone you'd looked up to since you were a little kid. We had toured with him, of course, but then to get up onstage with him in L.A. was phenomenal. He's such a mellow guy.

It was 1988. We were playing the Long Beach Arena, our big LA show. Guns 'N Roses were just breaking big. For the encore, we did 'Under My Wheels,' and Axl, Slash, and Izzy came up to play. That was the first time ever that anybody ever joined Alice Cooper onstage. They were the only guests ever in 20 years to be allowed on an Alice Cooper stage because that was my holy ground. It was the only time I ever felt comfortable with someone on my stage. My show doesn't really allow for guests, but I just said, let's go ahead and do this.




Alice Cooper and Axl
February 26, 1988


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:08 pm

PROFESSIONAL CREW


I must say that our manager [=Alan Niven], our road manager [=Doug Goldstein] and our security guy [=Ronnie?] are the best.

Everybody in our organization is great. Ronnie, Toddy, Mike, Bill (Bartholomew Augustus Cezar), are great. Then we have Dave Kehrer, McBob, and Doug Goldstein.

_____________________________________________________

ADAM DAY


During their touring of Appetite, Guns N' Roses started to obtain a larger crew of professionals who helped them out. Slash's guitar tech was Adam Day, who had been working with George Lynch of Dokken.

When I got my break, luck definitely played a part. I knew a guy who worked for Guns'n'Roses from the very beginning and every time I would see him anywhere I'd always say: "Hey, if anything comes up, gimme a call". That's what you say when you're a working tech jumping from tour to tour - you put the word out that you're looking whenever you can.

And, in this instance, it paid off. Guns 'n' Roses made some crew changes near the end of the Appetite For Destruction tour when they were opening for Aerosmith, Slash had heard that I'd worked for George Lynch [of Dokken fame] and apparently he was into George's playing at the time so that, along with referrals from other guys on their crew who knew me, got me the gig. I started at the end of '88 and the very first week I was with the band, the album went to number one which made me go 'hello!' And, to be able to stay on like I have, what can I say? It's been great. I mean, I've been with Slash for nearly nine years now.


Day would stay with the band for years and actually live with Slash at times [Kerrang! April 1989].

In a word, or two words, three words . . whatever! Adam is the greatest guitar tech anybody could ever have. We've done some of the craziest, off-the-wall, last minute gigs together over the years and he's always been there for me and never let me down.



MIKE "MCBOB" MAYHUE


Mike "McBob" Mayhue was Duff's bass and Izzy's guitar techie.

I met [Duff] in '87. […] If was after they recorded Appetite for Destruction and they were preparing for their first real tour. […] We met at a rehearsal studio. I had just fin­ished working for the Everly Brothers and then I got this gig working for Duff. […] You don't have to really hit it off with a tech, but I guess we did a bit. It takes a while to get to know someone and I have been working for him ever since then.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995


In an interview in 1995, Mike would talk about having worked as stage manager for the band, too (like his brother Tom, see below):

I take care of all [of Duff's] guitars, amps and equip­ment. Now, actually, I take care of all the band's equipment up at the studio except for the drums. I used to be their stage manager. There is a lot of things to do in terms of keeping up the equipment. I make sure the equipment has all the new things and is in repair, ready to go.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995



TOM MAYHUE


McBob's brother, Tom Mayhue, came onboard as the drum tech and also remained for years [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p 135]. In December 1988, Tom Mayhue had become the band's stage manager and Steven would joke about Tom sitting behind him during shows to make sure he didn't make any drumming mistakes [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988]. Steven developed a particular fondness for Tom:

He's my mentor. He's my idol. I do look up to him and I respect him more than anything.



EARL GABBIDON


In 1991, one of the band's bodyguards was Earl Gabbidon:

I started doing security in Arizona locally and it turned into a nice living! There’s nothing better than liking your job! I've also worked for Prince, Madonna, Will Smith, the Stones.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

Earl is part of Guns N' Roses security. He's a large black man. He's played for several professional football teams. He has been around.


Earl would eventually become Axl's personal bodyguard and stay with the band until into the 2000s.

Axl and I are very close, he knows he can ask me for anything 24 hours a day and I'd be happy to do it, but yes technically I'm on call 24/7.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

Axl’s very generous, I’m fortunate enough to be on retainer, so my pay fluctuates, but like I said Axl is a wonderful, generous guy.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE

Axl is a warm, caring person that tries hard to make people happy. Sometimes when it’s not in his best interest to. He’s funny as hell, extremely talented, he can have his difficult days, but who doesn’t? We’ve been around the world together a dozen times. We’ve had many laughs around the world. He’s a great guy, who I’m proud to call my bro.
Metal Sludge, December 17, 2002; THIS INTERVIEW IS POSSIBLY FAKE


___

Their press manager which they got before the London tour in 1987, was Arlett Vereecke [Unknown UK Source, June 1987]. She had been hired by Alan Niven [Kerrang! March 1989] and was described as "flamboyant and free-wheeling" and owned an apartment in West Hollywood [Kerrang, April 1989]. In 1989, when the band refused to do interviews with US magazine, she would interview Axl for the British magazine Kerrang! [Kerrang! June 1989].

In this period they also worked with Bryn Bridenthal at Geffen [Unknown UK Source, June 1987].

Peter Paterno, the lawyer who Vicky Hamilton had asked to have a look at the band's contracts, was still employed by the band [Rock Scene, September 1987].

Steven's drum tech for this period was his friend, Ronnie Schneider [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 125].

Slash had a guitar tech called Rudy Leiren [Metal Edge, January 1989].

In late 1987, Axl had a bodyguard named Ronnie [Spin, January 1988]. Later the band would have two security guards because, according to Slash, Axl and Slash had received death threats, but would later go back to only Ronnie [Circus Magazine, May 1988].

Axl would also have his younger brother, Stuart Bailey, who was studying in Los Angels to become a lawyer [Metal Edge, June 1988], acting as his personal assistant [Rolling Stone, November 1988].

We've been hangin' out together and we're havin' a blast.


In early 1990, Stuart was the lead singer in the band Dr. Whiskey [L.A. Weekly, January 19, 1990].

Axl would also have Colleen Combs as his personal assistant from May/June 1990 [Excerpts from "A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other" by Greg Prato, September 2008]. Colleen would later discuss her connection to Axl:

I met Axl when I still lived in Sacramento - I was in high school. We used to go to Los Angeles to see shows, and I worked for Tower Records in Sacramento. Axl worked at Tower Video on Sunset at that time - we’re talking ‘85, somewhere in there. When I was in grade school and junior high school, coincidentally, my local neighborhood garage band was the band that turned into Tesla. That’s Tom Zutaut, who was later involved in Guns N’ Roses. The original singer of that band moved to Los Angeles and as Tesla became Tesla, they got a new singer. I ran into him on the Strip, and he worked at Tower Video with Axl - he introduced him to me. This was before Guns N’ Roses existed. Axl and I sort of became pen pals - we used to write to each other. When I moved to L.A. in the summer of ‘85, I ran into him again, and became friends that way.


At some point, Izzy had a guitar tech called Scott [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 125].


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:08 pm

AXL'S MENTAL ISSUES


I don't cope with things very easily.

Axl is probably one of the most generous, nicest people I’ve ever known; and he’s also probably one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever known, too. But that’s the way the guy is. I mean that’s the reason why you get the lyrics in the songs out of him that you do. It’s because his personality is just all over the place.

_______________________________________________________________

UNPREDICTABLE BEHAVIOUR


In addition to his mood swings which are described in previous chapters, Axl also behaved unpredictable in ways that caused problems for his band mates.

In October 1988, Hit Parader wrote: "Over the last three months there’s been a constant stream of talk concerning the bands breaking up" [Hit Parader, October 1988].

The next month Hit Parader would also claim that around the time when Appetite for Destruction went platinum, "Axl Rose began acting too unpredictably for the other members of the group, and a vote was taken to kick Axl out of the band. Thankfully, cooler heads soon prevailed, and Axl was sent to a clinic where he was quickly able to regain control of his life and resume responsibilities as Guns' front man" [Hit Parader, November 1988].  This incident is described in more detail in a separate chapter.

Hit Parader in October 1988 would further state that "Axl's unpredictable behavior cost the band tours with David Lee Roth, AC/DC and Iron Maiden." This would also be mentioned by The Calgary Herald in July 1988.

[Inferred from Hit Parader [March 1989], Axl was also kicked out of the band for three days in February/March 1987, but likely this was meant to be February 1988.]

Vicky would recall that when they were to start the tour with Aerosmith on July 17, 1988, no one knew where Axl was or even if he'd make the gig. People who knew the band were sitting in the Hard Rock Café taking bets on it. He did appear that evening, one hour before showtime [Musician, December 1988; Juke Magazine, July 1989]. And Doug Goldstein, the tour manager at the time, would recall that toward the end of the Aerosmith tour in September 1988, Axl approached him and was concerned that others felt he'd become a prima donna. "I haven't changed, have I, Doug?" Axl inquired. "Of course not," Goldstein replied affectionately. "You've always been a prick" [Musician, December 1988].

Axl's a real temperamental guy. He's hard to get along with. [...] He does a lot of weird shit no one understands, but I love the guy. I mean he's a real sweetheart.

If it wasn't for the band, I just hate to think what he might've done. [...] He can still be a tyrant, but then he can turn around and be the nicest guy in the world.

[Axl] has tendency to break down every so often.

Here's the thing about Axl. He demands emotion. "Love me, hate me, but don't you dare fucking ignore me." He will not tolerate a vacuum. Sometimes I think that's why he would keep fans waiting for three hours before going on. He demanded an emotionally charged atmosphere at all times. He wanted a life spent on the frantic jagged edge, and that's why he could deliver that unique urgency in his lyrics: he lived it.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 153


Axl would himself talk about how he would revert to his "18-year.old self":

[In first grade] I decided then that I wasn’t gonna grow up past 18. But success is forcing growth on me right now. I’ve had to realize that. I’ve put it all in writing. I can remember crystal clear the day I decided I would never grow past 18. It’s still so strong in my subconscious that when I’m feeling really good, or if I’m feeling really bad, I revert to a wild, psycho 18-year-old who is confused and a mess. Because that’s my safety route. Because anything’s okay when you’re 18. You just do all this stuff and you don’t necessarily know why you’re doing it, and then a few days later you have to live with what happened.

So if I’m really happy or something, I’ll revert to being 18 without even thinking. I just click. I’ll get wild and stuff like that. But it’s okay and I’ll have fun with it, but then I have to live with all the stuff I go through and try to learn from what I did while I was in that mindset.

Or if I’m really upset and mad, you know, I’ll instantly revert to that wild, psycho 18-year-old who’s gonna run over your car and kick your windows in and stuff like that. That’s how I was at 18. And, regardless of the consequences, I’ll run to that.


In 2005, Steven would be asked if the band members never tried doing something with the Axl situation:

Of course. You’d go backstage and get in a fight with the guy. He’d say, ’Fuck you’ and get on a plane and you’d have to cancel a lot of other shows. It’s all coming back to him now because he’s the one who looks bad. But at the time it reflected badly on all of us.


In 2010, Steven would claim he had been able to argue with Axl and get him back on stage if he left early and that after Steven was fired, no one was able to di this:

People think he doesn't care, but it's the complete opposite; he cares so much that he takes it to another level. He's a superstar. He demands so much out of himself. There's been times we've been on stage and he's gotten so angry with himself. I know it seems crazy, and it is a little crazy that he would leave the stage. He's such a perfectionist that if he felt like he wasn't doing his best, he would freak, he would get upset with himself. He's not mad at the world, he's just a perfectionist who gets mad at himself. But he's the greatest. I mean, who have you got? Throughout the time of rock and roll, you've got Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant, and you've got Axl Rose.


In 2011, Steven would also argue that Axl was caring too much because he was a perfectionist:

The reason, I'm telling you right now, the reason he started going off the wall like he [did] was because there wasn't someone there to focus him and bring him down to earth. If he would throw the microphone and leave the stage after the first song, I would go to him, "Dude, remember when we were kids and we wanted to go see our favorite rock bands? Remember how long and how hard we had to work to save up the money to go see them? That's what these people did to see us. You can't do that." He'd be, "You're right, Steven," and it would bring him back down to earth.


Unfortunately, there are no corroborating quotes suggesting Steven had such a positive influence on Axl.

In December 1988, when the band was touring in Japan, Axl seemed to have a good period:

He's temperamental, he's a pain in the ass, but we love him too. He is really... He's been great since we've been in Japan, he's been really cool. So it's like the kind of thing where when Axl's, like, easy to be around, he's great; when he's hard to be around, he is a pain in the fucking ass.


According to photographer George Shin, who travelled with the band in 1987, Izzy and Axl had a special connection:

You could tell they were really good mates—very loyal to each other. Axl respected Izzy’s opinions and ideas, especially musical ideas. You might hear the others slag Axl about this and that, but never Izzy—even if he was pissed off at him. I thought Izzy the epitome of a real cool dude.
Stephen Davies, Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N' Roses, 2008



BIPOLAR DISORDER?


Axl's mental problems goes back a long time. According to the Rolling Stone interview in November 1988, a psychiatrist who evaluated Axl back in Indiana noted his high IQ and "decided that his behavior was evidence of psychosis." In an interview in October 1987, Axl would describe himself a "manic depressive" [NME, October 1987], but whether this was self-diagnosed or as a result of a psychiatric examination is not clear. The media started to question his mental stability: "Is Axl Rose crazy? Or is he just a sensitive, high-strung kid whose band wants to be successful without compromising what made them so good in the first place: attitude and street credibility" [L.A. Weekly, June 1988]. In later 1988, though, he had definitely been diagnosed being manic-depressive and he put on lithium, although "[Axl] thinks it's ineffective and claims to be in control of his moods" [Rolling Stone, November 1988]. It would be claimed that he didn't always take his medicine [Musician, December 1988]. In the beginning of 1989, radio host Howard Stern would refuse to accept that Axl was manic-depressive and Axl would jokingly attribute it to him just always having been pissed off [Howard Stern, February 1989].

I’ve really learned to control myself. It used to be that I would get mad, break everything in the fucking room, smack somebody in the face and then leave. Now I work real hard at trying to keep things cool and together.

Basically, right now I'm just trying to get myself together. I know I'm seen in a lot of different ways. Without being humorous, it's like I have multiple personalities -- schizophrenic. It depends on the situation and the mood I'm in.

I'm psychotic, and that's a real problem to try to like, you know..."Ok, now I'm done with business. Now I can go in this room and be psychotic and tear it up. You know, I have to like, balance up. You know, when can I destroy everything around me to when I have to be nice to everybody. [...] I usually end up trying to take vacation and destroying everything around me, because I can't calm down. I don't know, it just... [...] I just destroy my apartment and then rebuild it.

I can be happier than anybody I know. I can get so happy I'll cry. I can get completely opposite, upsetwise.

A lot of things about my mood swings are, like, I have a temper and I take things out on myself. Not physically, but I'll smash my TV knowing I have to pay for it, rather go down the hallway and smash the person I'm pissed at. […] With all the pressure it's like I'll explode. And so where other people would go, 'Oh well, we just got fucked,' Axl's going, 'God damn it!' and breaking everything around him. That's how I release my frustration. It's why I'm, like, pounding and kicking all over the stage.

[…] I react to everything. I react to thoughts. I can be sitting here in a good mood and think about something really fucked, and if I can't get it out of my head, I'll react to it. If I hold it back, I walk around frustrated for a very long period of time. When I talk with an interviewer, it hurts my feelings if they act like my best friend, then chop me down. I always try to let people know what they want when we're talking.

I'm very sensitive and emotional, and things upset me and make me feel like not functioning or not dealing with people, the band or anything. I went to a clinic, thinking it would help my moods. The only thing I did was take one 500-question test - ya know, filling in the little black dots. All of sudden I'm diagnosed manic-depressive. "Let's put Axl on medication". Well, the medication doesn't help me deal with stress. The only thing it does is help keep people off my back because they figure I'm on medication.

I have a lot more control over [mood swings] compared to when I used to break every single thing in my room. This way I can go for two months before I do that. That's a long time.

I think his inner turmoil is derived from the external turmoil that we have around us all day. A lot of us either choose to, or are more adept at, shutting it out. He doesn't. He doesn't choose to shut it all out. He looks it right in the eye.


In 2000, Howard Stern would ask Slash if Axl "had a sort of disorder of some kind", to which Slash responded:

No - well, Axl is Axl. You gotta talk to him about him, alright?


In 2008, Axl would deny having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder:

I've not been diagnosed as being bipolar though many misconstrue statements I made earlier as alluding to such and unfortunately there's been an abundance of misguided or unqualified speculation of various events but I definitely can relate to needing my own space. In my world all bi polar means (and not to offend or make light of those suffering from a genuine condition or involved with those who are) is that someone can try to take cheap uneducated shots or try to claim I'm bipolar thus justifying why they should get paid a financial settlement for whatever nonsense they're up to. Fortunately that hasn't proved successful.


Axl's sensitivity also shone through in his live performances and made for intense experiences:

There are a lot of bands where the guitar player or someone else writes all the words, like Cheap Trick, where Rick Nielsen writhes most of the lyrics. Robin Zander’s able to put this heart and soul and feeling into it, but I don’t think it really rips up and destroys his life. Because it’s not really him. Me, it’s like I put exactly where I’m at into every song. There’ve been times when I’m singing a certain song onstage and it’s, like, I get all chocked up and I’m havin’ a problem singin’ the next line, because I’m so emotional about it. Maybe something happened that day that I feel relates to that song, or whatever. Nowadays, I’m trying to work out some problems, like why I want to grab somebody by the fucking neck, and instead of just doing it, trying to understand it. So I’m writing, not necessarily nicer words, but ones that I can read and sing in my head. And they’ll, like, help calm me down or whatever.



INSOMNIA


As if all this wasn't enough, Axl was also struggling with insomnia:

I flew back to L A. and have since gone to a doctor, who said I was just exhausted. He also said I suffer from insomnia. They're taking blood tests and stuff. A lot of people think it's drugs or I have AIDS because that's the new popular rumor. It's nothing that serious, but it's something serious enough that it caused problems in the machinery of Guns N' Roses. […] now I've switched it around. Now I'm sleeping at night instead of during the days. I've had insomnia since I was a little kid, and I never really realized it until this past week. I've talked to my parents, my brother and my sister, and I've traced it all of the way back to when I was a baby and I wouldn't go to sleep. I only sleep after staying up for countless hours or doing various drugs or doing whatever to the point of exhaustion. Then you'd sleep through the day, and the only reason you'd go to sleep then is because the light hurt your eyes so bad and you've had so many beers or so much alcohol and taken whatever that you finally just go to sleep.



LOW SELF-ESTEEM?


In 2005, Steven would speculate that some of Axl's destructive behaviour was caused by him having low self-esteem:

The only thing I can think of is that he is very insecure. Like when he jumps in the crowd because some one takes a picture of him. In his sicko head, he is thinking it’s gonna be a bad picture and some one would put it out. He would throw down the microphone thinking he sounds like shit. Very low self-esteem.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:08 pm

MARCH-APRIL 1988
LOST TOURS WITH AC/DC AND MONSTERS OF ROCK


The band then lost a planned tour with AC/DC [Hit Parader, March 1989; Juke Magazine, July 1989] in North America (this leg of the Blow Up Your Video World Tour lasted from May to November 1988), because AC/DC "wanted to hold their pay as security for three weeks, and then planned to kick them off the tour at the end of the grace period; they declined the offer" [Spin, May 1988]. Axl would confirm this story and express his disappointment:

We were gonna do the AC/DC tour, but AC/DC got cold feet and decided to withhold money from us. Then they decided to sign White Lion for the rest of the tour without telling us. That was real nice of them. That's not what I expected out of someone I'd looked up to for years. AC/ DC was a dream tour, so it was a big letdown.

Flat-out, we were supposed to get $3,500-a-show. Then they decided that since something might happen with us not showing up fore a show or something, they'd give us a $1,000-a-show and hold the rest in escrow. They figured if we fucked up, they'll keep all the money that they held. That would come to about $4,500 or so. This would be like a probation period for the rest of the tour, right? Then we find out through the grapevine that they signed White Lion to the rest of the tour...right as we were supposed to be signing the fuckin' papers. So we just said 'OK, you guys'll probably wind up keeping the money on us anyway!' We were doing it mainly to get the rest of the tour. I know it's business and politics and all but at the same time, it kind of hurt. AC/DC is one of our mentors, y'know?

Well, that was actually minor business technicalities. Nothing too serious.
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 1988


Circus Magazine would describe it as due to "a disagreement between AC/DC's management and Guns N' Roses". Hit Parader, on the other hand, would again claim the real reason was Axl's behavior [Hit Parader, October 1988]. And Metal Hammer, German edition, would more specifically state that it was connected to Axl's no-show at the Phoenix, Arizona, show on February 13, 1988 [Metal Hammer (Germany), April 1988].

Regardless of the reason, the decision was likely also devastating to Slash who had said that opening for AC/DC would be "a total turning point in my life" [Concert Shots, May 1986]. Axl had also mentioned that he wanted to tour with AC/DC because he figured they "could learn so much" from such a seasoned band [Metal Edge, June 1988].

In May-July 1988 they would also be refused to join the Monster of Rock tour which featured Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come, to which Slash would comment:

I mean, what am I going to do? Get the bassist from Van Halen or Judas Priest strung out on something? We’re just a bunch of kids, you know.


With little else to do, the band would hang out at Hollywood clubs, jam with other bands and party. Duff did another show with his girlfriend Mandy in their band, Dr. Love and the Love Connection on March 24 at the Cathouse and the same evening Slash would get up on stage with T.S.O.L [L.A. Weekly, March 25, 1988].


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:09 pm

MARCH 31, 1988
PLAYING AT 'THE LATE SHOW'


On March 31 the band would do a televised performance on The Late Show, a program on Fox TV. The band played two songs, You're Crazy and Used to Love Her, both to be featured on the upcoming EP.

On March 31, 1988, we did another acoustic performance, with me playing drums, on a show that was called Fox Late Night, a variety show. It featured a black host, so 'One In A Million' was out of the lineup. Instead we did a medtempo version of 'You're Crazy' and also 'Used To Love Her'. [...] The reason why I remember that performance so well is because we played 'Crazy' the way it was always meant to be played: slower, sleazy, more bluesy, with much more feeling, and not the frantic sped-up version on Appetite. Even though Axl had to censor himself for TV and leave out all the "fuckin's," he did a masterful job, and it's definitely my favourite rendition of 'Crazy.'
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2012, p. 160


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:09 pm

APRIL 26-MAY 11, 1988
US TOUR WITH ZODIAC MINDWARP & THE LOVE REACTION AND UDO


Instead, the band did their first headlining tour of the US with Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction and UDO as the openers from April 26 to May 11, 1988, taking them to 11 smaller cities in the Midwest.

The first show took place at Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, VT on April 26. In preparation of the tour the band had spent a week rehearsing at the Memorial Auditorium [Burlington Hawk Eye, September 17, 1991].

The show itself got mixed review with the Burlington Hawk Eye reporter complaining about the feedback and the vocals dropping out [Burlington Hawk Eye, April 27, 1988].



Review in Burlington Hawk Eye
April 27, 1988



The band then travelled to Oshkosh Center, Oshkosh, USA (April 27) and Coronado Theatre, Rockford, USA (April 29). Before their April 30 show at the Danville Civic Center in Danville, Slash commented on playing at smaller places:

It’s amazing playing these small towns. There’s not a whole lot to do. It’s like these people are starved for this type of thing. […] And the people are so friendly. We left our door (at our hotel in Burlington, Iowa) cracked and people just kept walking into the room unannounced. I didn’t know what they were doing, but I am getting used to it.


The band continued to Toledo Sports Arena, Toledo, USA (May 1); Devos Hall, Grand Rapids, USA (May 3); before coming to the Music Hall in Cleveland (May 5).

The day before this show, Izzy had met with Tom Garcia from the local radio station WSBC during a Ted Nugent concert and promised to play DJ for a few hours at the station the next day, possibly together with Axl [Rock Scene, December 1989].

[Talking about getting back to his hotel after the Ted Nugent show]: (Laughs) Oh Jesus! When I got dropped off at the hotel, a cop caught me pissing inside the car garage. “What do you think you’re doing,’’ he said. I answered, “What does it look like I’m doing,’’ and I continued piss­ing! So he took me into the lobby. To make matters worse, I lost my room key! But I managed to get back in.
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 5, 1988


Unfortunately, because of "red-tape", as Izzy phrased it, he was not allowed to come in to the radio station so instead he called in to the show and did an interview on-the-air that would be released in Rock Scene Magazine in December 1989 [Rock Scene, December 1989]. During the broadcast Izzy would be asked how the tour was progressing:

I guess I’m straddlin across the US of A. Man, that Nugent concert last night was excellent! I couldn’t see that much of it, but it sounded pretty good. I thought Tracii Guns—(Izzy’s good friend and guitarist in LA Guns which opened a few shows for Nugent in the south—Ed.) was gonna be there though. The tour is going great, we’re getting a good response wherever we play. It’s nice to have a day off once in a while. Man, I love hearing all those classic tunes on the radio again, especially that old Accept. I love Accept.
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 5, 1988


Being asked about how they hadn't been to Cleveland before, preferring to talk about the Ted Nugent show:

You know what? It blew my mind when we went to that concert last night. I took a cab down there and got dropped off in front of the theater, I didn’t see one person hanging around—not one! Then I cruised to the back of the theater and saw all the cars in the parking lot. When i went inside... WOW! Millions of Rock & Roll fans getting into the NUGE!
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 5, 1988


Steven's biological father, Michael Coletti, was living in Cleveland and Steven wanted to beat him up when they came to the city for having abandoned his family when he was just a baby:

Years later when Steven was touring with guns and roses he was going to play in Cleveland Ohio, his birthplace. He told me he was going to look up his father and beat the shit out of him. But he never looked him up. When I asked him why not his answer was “what for,” he never wanted to see me so after 25 years “what for” we later found out that he had passed away but we don’t know when or where.
Dianna Adler's blog, May 18, 2012[/url]


The tour continued with shows at the Saginaw Civic Center, Saginaw, USA (May 6); State Theater, Detroit, USA (May 7); and Felt Forum, New York, USA (May 9).

Axl was late to the show at Felt Forum:

In New York I was late to the show at the Felt Forum because I'd passed out after drinking Nightrain and doing an MTV interview. I showered, did my vocal exercises and got dressed within 15 minutes and went to the gig. We got out of an $8,000 overtime debt because the barricades that separate the fans from the stage were set up wrong, and by the time they'd fixed it, I'd gotten there and everything was cool.

That night at the Felt Forum in New York when you saw us was a particularly good night. I mean, sometimes we make bad mistakes onstage too. I remember in the old days we'd go so nuts we'd fall right off the stage. Sometimes we'd jump off the stage on purpose. You can't stay too tight when you do that!


The last shows of the tour took place at the Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, USA (May 10) and Orpheum Theatre, Boston, USA (May 11). Axl would recall a little episode at this last show:

We were doing strobe lights for the end of "Paradise City" and I spun around all the way around to the back of Slash's amps. It was a huge stage. All of a sudden, there's this dude in my face who obviously couldn't see where the hell he was heading and he winds up bashing me right in the mouth. He goes running to the front of the stage with me right behind him and I got him in the back with my mike stand. Then one of the security guards did a swan dive on top of him and threw him back in the audience. I don't know, man. It was like this kid lost control of himself and just had to get on up there with his favorite band or something.


Mike Greenblatt, writing for East Coast Rocker, would paraphrase this story after having interviewed Axl:

The Boston shows went beyond wild. Axl got bashed in the mouth by a stagediver. Axl likes this to jump up on stage and then jump right off. He encourages it. What he hates are stagedivers who don't jump right off but sun to dance onstage. He'll beat the shit out of any dude who tries to dance onstage. He told me. In Boston, this guy who accidently bashed Axl in the face got a good conk on the head from Axl's mikestand. Axl's got pictures of himself in London holding guys up by the scuff of the neck and throwing them into the rabid crowds. One time, some jerk in the upper balcony threw a beer bottle at Axl.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:10 pm

DOCUMENTARY, BOOK PLANS AND THE CONSPIRACY INC. FAN CLUB


In 1987 the band started thinking about making a documentary or home video [Metal Edge, June 1988] about the band supported by live footage:

We are recording a lot of our shows for a future live album and a video-documentary on the band, with a show that will soon be filmed at Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles.
Hard Force [French], October 1987; translated from French

We have stacks of videos of all the shows we did in the clubs. We plan on trying to do another club taping. We've taken video cameras on the road and we'll see what comes out of that.


The idea of a documentary goes all the way back to 1986, when Izzy says it was part of the contract with Geffen [L.A. Rocks, August 1986].

In early 1989, Slash would talk more about this home video in connection with them making a raunchy music video for 'Its So Easy':

[…] we’re gonna have a home video at some point, so we wanted to do some videos that were, like, completely no holds barred, uncensored type of things. Just live shooting, instead of worrying about whether MTV is gonna play it. Just go out there and do a fuckin' blown out live, real risky video... […] I want some special stuff on the home video anyway, that’s just ours and that you can’t get anywhere else. […]  Erm... I really haven’t got a clue at this point [about what else would be in the home video]. I want... I mean, the next album’s got to come out first before we even start to focus on that.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


Axl would also mention a book about the band, but that "the project may take two or three years" [Screamer, August 1988]. Nothing came out of either the documentary/home video or the book.

In 1988 the band also started a fan club titled 'Conspiracy Incorporated'. The membership fee was $12 for domestic and Canadian members and $15 for overseas members, and members were promised membership card, band photograph, 'Appetite' sticker, tour dates, discounts on merchandise, press clippings and a quarterly newsletter [Membership form, 1988]. By March 1989 the fan club was comprised of 1500 members [Conspiracy Incorporated Fan Club Newsletter, March 1989].

In April 1989, Axl would mention that they might makt a movie [Unknown Source, April 1989]. This might have been the same documentary movie, or something else entirely.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:10 pm

MAY 13-25, 1988
OPENING FOR IRON MAIDEN


Having missed tours with AC/DC and Monster of Rock, Guns N' Roses then opened for Iron Maiden in Canada (May 13 -June 8, 1988) on their 'Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour'.

Axl was grateful for the opportunity:

I'm looking forward to doing Canada again. I'm also looking forward to doing the West Coast in larger venues. Maiden has a faithful following, and this is a big challenge, winning them over. Rod Smallwood [Maiden's manager] has been great. This is a chance for us to learn things from a band who's been doing it for years. I can't wait to start playing live again.



NOT A GOOD FIT


At the beginning of the tour Slash was not happy with how things were being done:

Yeah, they’ve got this major stage production happening, and this is the first time we’ve ever been on the beginning of a tour with another band, so this might happen with every band. So it’s nothing against Iron Maiden. It’s just that their production is not together, and we never get sound checks, and their monitor guy doesn’t work for us, so he doesn’t know what we want. And it’s just been sort of like a disaster. But we’re, you know, basically...[…] The other thing is, that it’s like two sides of coins as far as music goes. You know, it’s like, Iron Maiden sings about Vikings, and gothic-influenced this and that, dragons and stuff. And we, just basically, just hang out (laughs).


Mick Wall would later claim that there was significant animosity between the two bands [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].

The Iron Maiden fans were also not very receptive to Guns N' Roses, as mentioned by Duff in his biography:

To be fair to the audiences, what they were picking up was correct: much as I respect metal, we didn't fit the bill musically. We wanted to be different. After all, Steven had only one bass drum. And while Axl sang in a high voice much of the time, he wasn't operatic. [...] Oh, and also we didn't write songs about elves and demons and shit-unless of course, you considered Mr. Brownstone a demon.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 133


Bruce Dickinson (the vocalist of Iron Maiden) was also not impressed with Axl. At the May 16 show at Quebec Coliseum, Dickinson claims Axl treated the audience poorly because they were talking to him in French:

I should have come onstage and given him a punch. How could he dare speak to my audience in that way? I always regretted not having done so.
Journal de Montreal, September 2015



THE SHOWS


The tour started at the Moncton Coliseum, Moncton, Canada (May 13); Metro Centre, Halifax, Canada (May 14); Quebec Coliseum, Quebec City, Canada (May 16); Montreal Forum, Montreal, Canada (May 17); Ottawa Civic Center, Ottawa, Canada (May 18); CNE Grandstand, Toronto, Canada (May 20); and Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg, Canada (May 23).

Despite having to win the audience sover, Guns N' Roses received great reviews, this one from the May 23 show at Winnipeg Arena:

Guns N' Roses managed to do the impossible for a rough-hewn metal act - it sounded better live than on vinyl. And singer W. Axl Rose is a completely commending presence on stage.

The band has mature songwriting and arranging ideas and played with dynamics under an appealing rough, explosive edge. far superior to Motley Crue and their ilk, Guns N' Roses deserves to be tough metal's next star.


The tour continued with a show at the Northlands Arena, Edmonton, Canada (May 25).


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:11 pm

08. 1987-1988: TOURING AND SUCCESS - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: HAIR OF THE DOG
Album:
The Spaghetti Incident?, 1993, track no. 8.



Written by:
Dan McCafferty, Pete Agnew, Manny Charlton and Darrell Sweet (Nazareth).

Musicians:
Vocals: W. Axl Rose
Lead & Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Gilby Clarke
Bass: Duff McKagan
Drums: Matt Sorum
Piano: Dizzy Reed
Percussion: Matt Sorum, Mike Fasano

Live performances:
'Hair Of The Dog' has to our understanding only been played live once, at Winnipeg Arena, on May 23, 1988, although it might have been played in Hollywood Rose and Axl performed it together with Sebastian Bach at a RIP Anniversary party.
Lyrics:

[spoken] Give me a little bit of volume on this

Heart-breaker, soul-shaker
I've been told about you
Steam-roller, the midnight shoulder
What they been sayin' must be true

Red hot mama ????? [original was "Oh that charmer"]
Time's come to pay your dues

Now you're messin' with a A SON OF A BITCH
Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch
Now you're messin' with a A SON OF A BITCH
Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch

Talking jive and poison ivy
You ain't gonna cling to me
Minute-taker, fall-faker
I ain't so blind I can't see

Red hot mama ????? [original was "Oh that charmer"]
Time's come to pay your dues

Now you're messin' with a A SON OF A BITCH
Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch
Now you're messin' with a A SON OF A BITCH
Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch


Quotes regarding the song

We did ‘Hair Of The Dog’ by Nazareth. It really turned out brilliant, ‘cos Dan McCafferty, their singer, is one of Axl’s idols.
Raw Magazine, September 1993

I’m real proud of the Nazareth tune, Hair of the Dog, because it has a history. I mean, all the songs have a history to it, but since we used to play that a long time ago, I never would have thought that it would be on a record for Guns N’ Roses coming out years later.
MTV, December 1993

"Buick Makane", "Hair Of The Dog", and "I Don't Care About You" were my ideas.
Guitar Player, January 1994

[Hair of the Dog] goes back to Hollywood Rose.
Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994

We played it only a few times a very long time ago. When we were in the studio, finishing up the recording of the song, Slash is going: "This is cool!". 'Cause he's the one that brought it to our attention to do it for this album and Duff reminded him… He goes: "Remember the old days? This was cool." Duff reminds him: "You hated this song". Slash goes: "Oh, yeah". Which was very strange when he brought it to us: "We gotta do this song." I was like: "You hated it". I was confused for months.
Axl and Slash interview, Rockline 1994

I never really got that into [Nazareth]. I think Axl really made me more aware of Nazareth than anybody, because he can sing like that (Dan) McCafferty guy, and really dug his voice. And so I remember listening to Nazareth a lot at one point, and then, ah, that sort of passed.
Q Magazine, March 1994


08. 1987-1988: TOURING AND SUCCESS - Page 2 Newbor11


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:11 pm

MAY 27-28 1988
DUFF MARRIES MANDY; HAGGIS STEPS IN


Duff broke off the ongoing tour opening for Iron Maiden to travel home for his wedding with Mandy Brix of LA's Lame Flames and hostess at Japanese restaurant in LA [L.A. Weekly, April 22, 1988; L.A. Weekly, June 3, 1988; Metal Edge, January 1989; Sounds Magazine, November 1989]; they'd been engaged since at least January 1988 [L.A. Weekly, January 22, 1988]). Reportedly, the church was decorated with white orchids and Duff wore a custom-made leather tuxedo [L.A. Weekly, June 3, 1988].



Duff and Mandy



Duff arranged for Kid "Haggis" Chaos, from The Cult, to fill in for him for the May 27 show at Olympic Saddledome in Calgary, Canada, and was back for their next show [Circus Magazine, September 1989].

Haggis would explain how it came about:

Well, when they played the Marquee we (The Cult) were rehearsing and we met up and later we hooked up on The Cult tour after 'Appetite' came out. Duff got married and they asked me to step in for him rather than cancel the show. It was like sure, of course. [...] I know people say to me man you played in Guns N' Roses and yes, it's true, I did play with them on the 'Appetite' tour, once! Man that gig sucked. I was really crap! It was in the Saddle Dome in Calgary in Canada and I presumed we were going to rehearse because I didn't know what they were going to do and they like gave me a cassette and for at least half the song I didn't have a clue - I swear on half the songs I fucked up completely but there you go. It was a good laugh! I would say I probably saw Guns play over a 100 shows on the 'Appetite' tour and that was when they were on top of the world and they were absolutely ferocious. I remember the first night of The Cult tour and I ran up the ramp to catch them and it was like "Holy fuck, this is the real deal" - it was amazing but none of the other members of The Cult gave a shit or watched them but I thought they were amazing every night, they were really hungry and they wanted it.
Uber Rock, May 7, 2010


According to Duff, Niven was at fault for Duff missing that gig. The wedding arrangements had been prepared before the Iron Maiden tour was settled [Metal Edge, January 1989]:

We had planned the wedding for a year prior, and I asked our manager [Alan Niven] when he thought a good time would be, that we wouldn't be touring. So he told me to make it for May. And he promised me. So every two weeks I would remind him: 'All right, we've set the date, we've paid all the money, and made all the plans.' And then, a month before the wedding, he calls me and he goes, 'Yeah, we're on the Maiden tour now!' And I said, 'What about May 28, Alan?' And he says, 'What's May 28?' And I said, 'My fucking wedding!' It pissed me off, but you've got to deal with it, so I called Haggis, took one day off to get hitched, then came back on the tour.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:12 pm

MAY 30-JUNE 5, 1988
OPENING FOR IRON MAIDEN


The tour opening for Iron maiden continued at the PNE Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada (May 30); Spokane Coliseum, Spokane, USA (May 31); Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, USA (June 1); Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, USA (June 3); and Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, USA (June 5).

Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains attended the June 1 show at Seattle Center:

When we were just getting Alice In Chains together, I actually went and saw Guns N’ Roses at the Seattle Center and I brought a demo tape down to give the band. I met Axl after the show, actually, and gave it to him, and as he was walking away, I saw him throw it away (laughs).




Ad in The Province
May 30, 1988



In June, Metal Edge would publish an interview were Axl would talk about touring and show performances:

I just try to get myself in tune with how I feel and get my feelings over to the crowd. I try to make sure that the people get some kind of real feeling out of what we do instead of just 'that was a blast party!' and then they forget about it. I try to leave some kind of emotion in their mind. Afterward, I usually need to sit down for an hour and just get my head together. I can't eat, my stomach's in knots, not in a bad way but I gotta come down from where I was on stage. Most of the time I'm usually so concerned about the show the next day even if I want to run around I won't let myself. I want to give the people my best.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:12 pm

JUNE 6, 1988
QUITTING THE TOUR WITH IRON MAIDEN


The Iron Maiden tour was cut short with their last show at the California Exhibition Center, Sacramento, USA, on June 6, when Axl needed to save his voice. It also meant they had to postpone a planned tour of Japan:

[...]Man, it is a fuckin' drag having to pull out of the Iron Maiden tour. But there's nothing we can do. We just have to sit tight for three weeks and wait for Axl's voice to heal. […] I guess it's something that had been building up for some time. In the end he just completely lost his voice. Right now we're waiting to see if Axl's going to be OK to make the tour of Japan we have lined up […] The bottom line is, if Axl has to have surgery, we'll have to wait a week for the swelling to go down, and then give it another week or so to heal. So it's feasible that with something like three weeks to go before we start the Japanese tour Axl could make it. […] But more than anything else I don't want anything to jeopardise us going out on the Aerosmith tour, which we're due to start in a couple of months. If rushing Axl into singing by going to Japan is going to fuck up his voice and make us blow those dates out, I'd rather forget all about going to Japan...

Ah, man, it’s fucked. The guy’s not even allowed to speak. Can you imagine that - Axl not being able to open his mouth?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993



AXL'S VOICE IS SHOT


Axl would explain what had happened to his voice:

Well, basically, driving over the mountains over and over again to get to the last five shows we did with Iron Maiden caused my ears to clog up in such a way that I couldn’t hear that well, so I would yell twice as loud and overstrained my vocals on the tour. Plus, getting back to the West Coast shows, there were more GNR fans, and it was real hectic and a lot more fun, so we were yelling twice as loud. We were slamming onstage, and, basically, I overused my throat, and the doctor told me if I didn’t take some time off, there was a good chance I’d never sing again! I went to four different specialists, and I was told I needed surgery immediately. I went to the top specialist in the world, who treats severe throat problems like I had - a guy named Hans Von Laiden, and he said I didn’t need surgery, but what I did need was a lot of vocal rest and then proper training to bring the voice back. So, rather than take a risk of coming to Japan and not being able to give a good show or only being able to give, like, half a show and not guarantee that we’d be able to make all of the dates we promised, we thought it best to postpone and do the shows at a later time when we could give the people exactly what they pay for.


About a week after aborting the tour Slash would describe the damage to Axl's vocals:

I'm no doctor. But what it is, he’s got nodules on his vocal chords and he can’t hit a certain range - which is his whole high voice. The chords crowd each other because of these bumps or nodules or whatever. So he just can’t sing right now. It got to the point on stage where it just sounded awful. Trying to sing 'Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’, or one where he really screams it, he would get to this note and just go. It was like, where’s he going? It was like no key at all, it was really strange.

We did a date with Maiden in Palo Alto which was really bad, to the point that I was having to do guitar solos to fill the space ’cos Axl couldn’t sing. So he went to the doctor there and the rest of us drove to the next gig in Sacramento and set up our equipment. We sound-checked, everything sounded great. We were waiting for Axl to show up when our road manager gets this phone call saying that not only is Axl not going to be able to make the gig, but they didn’t think he’d be able to finish the tour!

The fucking thing is, what they did was go back out after the doors had been opened, after our banner was up on stage and everything, and start taking off the gear. The kids saw the gear going off and started freaking out. I had to go out in front of, I think it was like 22,000 kids, and go, “Axl’s voice isn’t working right at the moment, we’re not going to be playing tonight.” They just went nuts! Then Axl showed up about ten minutes later and we drove straight to LA.

Since then he’s seen another doctor here in LA who says the problem with Axl’s voice has been developing for a long time. So he’s going for a final opinion on Tuesday and we’ll know then if we’re going to Japan at the end of the month or not.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993
; interview from June 1988


And when asked how long they would have to wait for Axl's voice to heal:

If he has to have surgery, we have to wait a week for the swelling to go down before he has the surgery. Then we have to wait for that to heal. We’re looking at about two weeks - if the operation goes well and Axl stays out of trouble. Basically, we have three months on the Aerosmith tour coming up, so I don’t want anything to fuck up that. Of all the tours we’ll have done in the last year - besides the Monsters of Rock thing in England which we’re doing this year - that is the tour for us. Us and Aerosmith - that is really a great combination for a live show, doncha think?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993
; interview from June 1988


Fortunately, after inspection by four different doctors no nodules were found and Axl didn't have to undergo surgery [Sounds Magazine, August 1988]. IT would later be said he had developed polyps in his throat [Metal Edge, January 1989]. Kerrang! would say he was "ordered by his doctors to take to his bed and rest his voice completely for three weeks" [Kerrang! March 1989].

During an interview with Rockling in July 1988, Slash, Duff and Izzy is asked how Axl is doing and they would reply that it is inevitable that his singing style after so much touring would lead to problems but that he is coping well [Rockline, July 1988].

Steven and Slash would indicate that it was important to restore Axl's voice before the (more) important tour with Aerosmith:

We took him off the road because we didn’t want to f.ck up the Aerosmith tour.

[...][Axl] had dropped out of the end of the Iron Maiden tour to give his voice a good rest. You see, Aerosmith meant so much to him, and so much to us, that he didn't want to blow out his voice. He wanted to be well rested.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 165



WAS GUNS N' ROSES KICKED OFF THE TOUR BECAUSE OF AXL?


Another explanation for ending the Iron Maiden tour was that the band was kicked off because of Axl's unpredictable behavior [Hit Parader, October 1988].

The Iron Maiden incident was when [Axl] accidentally knocked over a meal tray in the dressing rooms just before the first show, and the Maiden boys heard Axl was thrashing the dressing rooms. They decided it'd be tiresome to put up with this behavior for the two-month US tour and gave the band its walking papers.


Raz Cue would comment on such alternative explanations:

The grueling pace caught up with Axl, and because of an injury to his vocal cords, he wisely shut [the tour] down before doing any further career-threathening damage. But there's an old saying about journalists: "They never report that a plane landed safely." The truth is, "It if bleeds, it leads," so those highly ethical rock "journalists" had a field day conjuring up several contradictory "real reasons" G N' R had departed the Iron Maiden tour early.
Raz Cue, "The Days of Guns, & Raz's", 2015, p. 252



LA GUNS REPLACES GUNS N' ROSES


To replace Guns N' Roses, LA Guns was drafted in, and for their first night Duff and Slash would jam with the band. For the next night, after LA Guns' set, GN'R minus Axl would go on stage and play 'It's So Easy' with Duff on vocals [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993]. Duff felt it an ordeal:

I was never so fuckin’ scared in all my life!
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993



LOOKING BACK AT TOURING WITH IRON MAIDEN


In August 1988, when Guns N' Roses and Iron Maiden met again at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, UK, Axl would also comment on the band's differences:

[Being asked if there are any similarities between Iron Maiden and Guns N' Roses]: I hope not. I don't know whether or not, I mean, they're nice guys but, you know, it's like political organizations. Your band's like a political thing and your music or your albums kind of like your political stance. Well, theirs completely different to ours and I think this doesn't have anything to do with rock and roll as far as I'm concerned. We're a rock and roll band, what they do is what they do, I don't know what it is and I hope to never be like that. I hope it's not catching.


In 2011, Steven would regret not watching McBrain drum:

I can't believe we toured with Iron Maiden back then and I never went on stage and watched them or went behind Nicko McBrain who—besides Roger Meddows Taylor from Queen—is the most amazing drummer. I can't believe I didn't even take time when we were touring with them to stand behind them and watch them play. I could have learned so much, I kick myself in the ass. I'm doin' it right now 'cause you made me think about it. Or I made myself think about it. No, you did. I blame you!


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:13 pm

JUNE 1988
THE "SWEET CHILD O' MINE" SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO


HOPING IT WOULD SELL THE ALBUM


Tom Zutaut had big hopes for the song and considered it a gem on the record:

I didn't tell anyone at Geffen about "Sweet Child O' Mine," and I buried that song towards the end of side-two. I did that because I knew that promotion people and radio people at that time very rarely listened past the first two or three songs. I did not want that song to be discovered until later. And my reason was, that Guns N' Roses needed to start based on its punk roots. And that song was way too refined. In some ways it was almost like a song for the second album. But I figured, if we buried it on side-two, we'd eventually get to it and there would be enough of a buzz and a base on the band that we could get an opportunity to take a shot at a song like that to mainstream radio. So I didn't tell anyone that. It was my little secret.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007


The hope was that this ballad would boost record sales which was low for the first period after the release of 'Appetite'.

[...] we're hoping 'Sweet Child' will have a chance to get through in a lot of ways, you know, we don't know. I think it should, you know, and I believe it should and I don't see any problem with that. I can see the hassles with 'Jungle,' I can see the hassles with 'It's So Easy,' definitely, I can see the hassles with 'Paradise City' because it's really long and the verses are a little bit too heavy for a lot of radio stations. But I don't see a problem with 'Sweet Child' and I didn't write 'Sweet Child' to get it on radio but I don't see the problem with it doing that. And it doesn't do it, then someone's just slamming the door on us, purposely.


And according to Duff, it did:

You should have seen the difference in crowd reaction before and after that single came out. Before, only the people up front knew who we were. People came to see us who were our fans, and there weren't very many, to tell you the truth. Afterwards, when that song came on, all the cigarette lighters switched on and everybody was on their feet. It was amazing, like night and day. And it happened that quickly, too. […] I've actually seen a full-on preppy guy - the type who wouldn't even say hi to me - whistling that song. I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at this guy.



MAY-JUNE 1987: RELEASING IT AS A SINGLE


The third single out from 'Appetite' was to be 'Sweet Child O' Mine.' The single was released in late May 1987 in the UK and June 1987 in the US. In November 1987, Slash was asked what would be the next single and his answer would indicate he disagreed with the choice of Sweet Child O'Mine as the band's third single:

I’m not gonna say at this point, because I think it should be different than what’s going to be, so....


Being asked if there was some controversy around the choice:

Yeah, it’s no big deal.




The Sweet Child O' Mine single



AXL WANTS TO MAKE A MUSIC VIDEO


Before recording the music video to Sweet Child O' Mine, it seems like the band discussed their approach to music videos:

We really want to do [a video] for 'Sweet Child.' We're trying to decide if we should take the Metallica route and just not worry about videos, but we really want to make them. 'Welcome to the Jungle' was a blast. The most fun I ever had.


Alan Niven would explain the complex plans Axl had for the video for Sweet Child O' Mine:

On the first video [=for Welcome to the Jungle], Axl didn’t have confidence in his ideas or how they could be applied. But once he’d done “Jungle,” now he was David Lean. For “Sweet Child,” he had an incredibly involved story line that he wanted to apply with his microscopic sense of myopic detail. So I asked [director] Nigel Dick to give me a thumbnail budget, and he said it would be at least $250,000. I told Axl and said, “By the way, we’ve got $35,000.” Nigel came up with a brilliant idea. Anyone on the set who had a spare five minutes could grab a windup Bolex camera and shoot B-roll. He had one of his staff sit there all night long, loading the Bolexes with 16mm film. Then we did two different edits of the video, so when “Sweet Child” took off and the first video reached burnout stage, I dropped version number two to Cannelli [from MTV] and extended the life of the song at MTV. The first version was a mix of color and black-and-white, and the second was entirely black-and-white except for the final shot, when Axl fades into color.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


In 2006, Axl would talk about his original idea for the video:

Look, all I know is all I really wanted to do, this is dead serious. "Sweet Child". Huh, what I really wanted to do for that and...that was having about this woman from the Orient bringing her baby and getting it you know through customs and stuff, and carrying this baby and everything, but at the end, some guy splits it in half cuz it's dead and filled with heroin... [...] ...but the record company wouldn't let me do it. That's what Sweet Child was supposed to be about.


Again, Nigel Dick was picked as the director, and although Dick was probably frustrated at times with the band he did enjoy the additional payment he got from the band's absence:

On the second Guns N’ Roses video, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” all the girls from the Geffen office wanted to be in the video. There’s a scene with a guy on a dolly, pulling focus or something. He worked at MTV. Alan said we needed to put him in the video because he was part of the team that could make sure the video got played. There’d been two previous attempts to shoot “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” We had the location and the crew booked, but the band was unable to appear because they were “ill.” I was quite happy, because I got paid each time.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


The song was about Erin Everly so she would be featured in the video:

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” is about Erin Everly, so it was important to Axl to have her in the video. He didn’t want to cause any shit with the rest of the guys by excluding their girlfriends: Angie, who was Izzy’s girlfriend; Mindy, who was married to Duff; and Cheryl Swiderski, Steven’s wife, are also in the video.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011

The girlfriends and wives, they didn’t demand to be in the video, but it was something that wasn’t said and had to be done. Everybody’s got a wife or a girlfriend in the video—except Izzy, who’s there with his dog. Or maybe that was his girlfriend.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


Compared to the video for Welcome to the Jungle, the video for Sweet Child O' Mine was a less ambitious project and Dick would describe it as "dull":

I remember looking at my monitor and thinking, 'This sucks, this is really ordinary.' And there were some girls from the label who were peeking over my shoulder, and one said. This is so fucking cool.’ I quickly readjusted my opinion, because obviously, they thought he was really hot, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The idea for “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was simple. After the first couple of takes, I thought, God, this is awful. It’s so dull. Some execs from Geffen were standing behind me, going, “This is so fucking cool.” I’m thinking, I’m shooting a bunch of guys playing guitar. What’s special about this? But for whatever reason, people thought it was the hottest thing in the world. There’s nothing remarkable about the video at all, except, of course, for the band. Which is exactly how it should be.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


Axl was also not happy about it:

We did "Sweet Child" the other night and I wasn't thrilled with it. I like where we have the band playing live, and working on that. Other than that, I have to see what came out. We filmed a lot of stuff with us just hanging out, so I have to see that. What we did, the filming, was pretty fun, but some things came up, like "Sweet Child" is used when they roll the credits to the movie Bad Dreams, and we had come up with this whole concept of how we were gonna film our video in an insane asylum, then when we went and saw the screening of the movie and no one, including our manager, knew that the whole movie was filmed inside an insane asylum! That kind of shot down all the fun. I really wanted to do the conceptual footage, and we really didn't do any for this video. So that's the part that I guess, that little bit of acting, that I like doing.


Dick would also talk about working with Axl:

[Axl] did this thing halfway through the song where he took his leather jacket off. He said, ‘Is this cool?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, as long as you try and remember and do it the same way every time.’ Well, we never got beyond halfway through the song for the first five, six takes, because he had so much metalwork around his wrists that the jacket kept getting caught on the metal stuff, and I remember this one shot of him like a windmill, just flailing his arm, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s going to get pissed off, he’s going to leave the set,’ which he didn’t, thank God.

Your concern at the time is, ‘Is he going to stay?’ You’re thinking I’ve got to get some stuff of Axl on film. Slash and the other guys [will] hang around, because there’s some girls and some booze here, so they’re fine. But with Axl, it’s much more complex than that. I became, for a while, the go-to guy for that kind of band, and I’d get all these awful band managers coming up to me, ‘The job you did for that band was amazing, man, so you’ve got to do for my band what you did for Guns N’ Roses’ and you just go, ‘Oh my God.’ If the guy ain’t Axl, he ain’t Axl. You can be the best video director in the world, but if the lead singer doesn’t have his oats together, you’re fucked.


Slash, on the other hand, would be happy with it:

Then the second [video] that we did, which I don't know if that's out there yet, Sweet Child O' Mine? […] You've seen that, okay. That was just basically just us, it was very candid. And we were happy with that.


MTV was also very happy with the rotation and put it in heavy rotation, together with Welcome to the Jungle which was released, resulting in the band having two videos being played regularly on MTV:

MTV liked “Sweet Child O’ Mine” a lot. John Cannelli was on-site, which he seemed to be for most of our videos in the early days. He said, “It’s a great video, Doug. We’re going to play it.” And the label relaunched “Jungle” after that. So they had two songs being played regularly on MTV. And it just took off.
Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution; ‎ Plume, October 27, 2011


Later, Slash would talk about making videos:

I mind them when we’re doing it at the time. When it’s finished it’s cool, because it’s done. At the time it’s 12 hours of really boring, what I would call very non-rock ‘n’ roll, type of garbage you have to go through; you know, the parts where you have to just stand there and pretend like you’re kicking ass for an hour or what, playing the same song over and over again, and you feel like a dick for doing it. You get used to it, though. I mean, the first time we did it [=Welcome to the Jungle] was really hard for me. The second time we did it [=Sweet Child O' Mine], it felt more natural. It just comes with experience.


'Sweet Child O' Mine' became a very popular single and won both an American Music Award (AMA) for “Favorite Single, Pop/Rock” and the MTV award for “Best Metal/Hard Rock Video” [Geffen Press Release, September 1991].




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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:13 pm

JUNE OR JULY 1988
SLASH IS SENT TO HAWAII FOR DETOX


After the early ending of the Iron Maiden tour in June 1988, Slash put his drinking and heroin use in high gear again due to the idleness.

The afternoon we found out we would have to quit the Maiden tour I went around grabbing every bottle of Jack I could find stashed around our dressing room and took it all back to the hotel. That was five days ago and I’ve been living off it ever since. But now I’m down to my last bottle and a half. After that, I guess I'll be back to buying my own. It’ll be the first time I’ve had to go out to a liquor store for my own booze in ages . . . Maybe I won’t remember how to do it.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

I mean, to this day I still have a tendency to go out and screw up once, you know, because I’m bored. And that’s just life, and just because I’m in a big rock ‘n’ roll band, and this and that and the other. I’m not gonna tiptoe through life just because of –it’s like, I’m an extremist, you know?


When asked if he ever considered sobering up:

I don’t know what’s gonna happen with me. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future. Right now I’m just doing what I do... […]

I don’t know how long my system will hold up. I could be superhuman and drink forever, you know what I mean? We are a young band and we’ve got a real hunger for... everything! And that will last as long as it lasts. I know anybody who thinks they’re gonna be king of the hill forever has got it wrong. See, I learned that, ’cos of my background with my parents and shit. I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen the worst. And I’ve never met a person who hasn’t quit while they’re ahead, or it’s fucked up their lives.

The thing about coke and dope and valium and shit like that, you have a great time and it’s the best, but eventually it catches up with you. And if it catches up with you and you don’t take notice and you get real arrogant about it, it’ll... you’ll be sitting in a rehab centre going to AA meetings every fuckin’ day. It’s just not worth it to go through all that shit.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988



SLASH IS SENT TO HAWAII


Yet not long after this interview the band management sent Slash on an 8-day trip to Hawaii to get him away from the toxic environment of Los Angeles and to sober up:

All in all I can't say that it hurt me. I took vitamins for, like, eight days, didn't drink that much, got a suntan. I hadn't been out of a pair of black jeans since I was about 14! I was getting ingrowing hairs on my legs!

I know a lot of people think that [we are gonna die]. But when we really start going over the edge I have a lot of self-control. I don’t often fuck up that hard. Alan will send me out to some ungodly place to clear my head. Or Steven, or whatever. Other than that I don’t see anything really happening to us.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

They sent me to Hawaii a little while back to sort of get me out of the city and keep me out of trouble. So they forcibly sent me to Hawaii for eight days right before the tour started [...] I was in Maui and it’s like one of the worst places I’ve ever been to in my life. Because I’m a totally city kid. I like this activity constantly and I always need something happening. I can’t just sit around in the sun, and relax, and drink wine coolers all day.

[When asked how many times he had been sent away to sober up]: Once. I got sent to Hawaii... […] But he can't beat me. I had a girl fly out.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

They forcibly sent me to Hawaii before the Aerosmith tour. I hated it. There was nothing to do there. […] when I went to Hawaii, that was like, I've never been so [?] crazy in my life. I hated it.

It’s boring. I’ll never go there again unless we’re touring. It’s gor­geous, but I’m a city kid. I need action all the time.

Slash will tell you this: We used to basically kidnap them every now and then and take them to Hawaii to clean up. We'd call Slash and say, 'Interview tomorrow with Guitar Magazine, 12 mid-day.' He'd arrive at the office, we'd put him in a car, drive him to the airport, and take him to the island. These were people I cared about and I just didn't want to see them destroyed.

To get [Slash] away from such people [=drug dealers] I would have him kidnapped. “Hey, Slash, be at the office at noon tomorrow, you’ve got an interview with Guitar Player magazine.” Slash would arrive and be swept by [tour manager] Doug Goldstein into a limo and taken to LAX airport, where they would board a flight for Hawaii. There, surrounded by nothing but golf courses, Slash would have to get clean.


Izzy would imply the forced trip was justified:

You'd really stepped off the edge, though.


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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:14 pm

ARTISTIC SACRIFICES
EDITING 'SWEET CHILD O' MINE' FOR RADIO PLAY


The band had to make sacrifices when they released radio edits of songs and music videos:

Since this is our first record, we had to make compromises to get a certain level of sales so that we could get a certain level of power to do exactly what we wanted next time around. [...]Like, with 'Sweet Child,' the video version will be... they'll be an even shorter version put out for the single. To me, that's like a heart-wrenching compromise, and I just don't like to make any compromises with our art, so it's really hard for me to live with an edit or anything. At the same time, I can see what it will do for us, but I have to keep weighing back and forth, what's it gonna do to me? I don't know. It's something that I have to live with and figure out what my values and things are. I don't want to end up like a lot of bands that have been out playing the circuit for so long and they want to make this amount of money, and be looked at a certain way, so they'll do whatever they have to do to their song. They'll delete all the hard rock or mellow the guitars out for a version of it. If that's something I set out to do, fine. If I want to put out three versions of a song, that's one thing. But if I'm doing it just to get sales, that will really bum me out.

We're very fortunate that we're getting any radio airplay at all! And there's all kinds of fuckin' compromises that make you feel really small as a person. The thing that kills me is because it's all down to some asshole being worried that if they play our song, will so-and-so buy my washers and dryers. Well, man, I could give a fuck about your washers and dryers. This is my music!

We're not a product to be sliced up. Editing really sucks...that's not what we're all about. ['Sweet Child'] was our first experience with a single, so we didn't know what was going on. [The editing] was done behind our backs, and we're not gonna let it happen again. [...][We've shot] a video for 'Paradise City' in Giants Stadium and at Donington. Whether or not we'll release it as a single, I can't really say. They'll take the whole thing or nothing - we're not gonna let them edit this one.

[...] it wasn’t really on our own terms, because it’s edited and we refused to edit one of our own songs. They pressured us and pressured us, and I thought, “Well” - you know, to give a little bit of credit to the other way of thinking, that if we did a single there’d be a lot more people exposed to it, who normally would never get to it, and to me that seemed a pretty smart thing to do. So eventually we broke down and we did it. And it’s done great for us. It hasn’t hurt us at all.

We weren’t too proud of editing use of our songs purely for radio purposes, but we finally broke down and did it anyway at the request of our record company. We figured if it will wake that many more people aware of us who normally wouldn’t be, then cool.

Not that any of our songs compare, but if you hear a short version of "Layla," I think you're gonna be pissed off, especially if you're planning on hearing the big piano part at the end. I hate the edit of "Sweet Child o' Mine." Radio stations said, "Well, your vocals aren't cut." My favorite part of the song is Slash's slow solo; it's the heaviest part for me. There's no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio-station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of "Paradise City" or half of "Sweet Child" and "Patience" cut, you're getting screwed.

It's fuckin' stupid. This scene is harmless. There's no nudity or obscene behaviour. And yet MTV object to it. What sickens me is that the George Michael video for 'I Want Your Sex', which is far more suggestive than ours, is allowed to go out uncensored. Explain that one if you can. We're just being picked on.


The experience of having to edit 'Sweet Child O' Mine' may be the reason why Slash would argue that they might never release another single:

I don't think we'll ever release another single. The success of Sweat Child O' Mine was more a fluke than anything else. We only did that as a single because the record company wanted us to. It was successful, but we're not a singles band. We want people to react to our entire album. I'm sure we'll do some more videos, but we'll really have to have our arms twisted to do another single.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:29 pm

JULY 1988
'THE DEAD POOL'


A sales pull came when 'Welcome to the Jungle' (and band members) were featured in the Clint Eastwood movie 'The Dead Pool', allegedly after a suggestion by business affairs executive Debbie Reinberg.

What happened, the reason that whole thing came about was because someone from the Eastwood camp had us referred to them as a hard rock band for a song for the movie. They didn’t know what Guns N’ Roses was, or where Welcome to the Jungle was gonna go or what it was, or anything like that. So we gave them the song and then, all of a sudden, you know, because they were a little slow (chuckles) – all of a sudden they found out that we just sold, like, a 1.5 million records, and the song was sort of a hit, and, you know, that we were getting to be a pretty popular band. So then they sort of permeated the movie with the song (chuckles). So that’s how it happened.

[…] the reason Clint used us was because they wanted a popular rock and roll band for the first song, I think, to help to help sort of tie the movie in with current trends and stuff. And so someone suggested Guns N' Roses and that's how that happened.


The band members would talk about their appearance in the movie:

[Eastwood] came up to us on the set, and the guy’s like nine feet tall, right? Yeah, he’s very intimidating. And he walked up to us and said, “Great album,” shook our hands and walked off. I didn’t really know what to think of it. So I don’t know what his trip is.

We're the friends of this rock star who OD's in the movie. And so we're at a funeral. And then there's another scene where me and Izzy and Duff are, like, on this boat where they're shooting a movie within the movie. You know what I'm saying? And so the three of us are on this boat. And I shoot off this whale harpoon. And it's just like a scene that they're shooting for a movie within the Clint Eastwood movie.

Clint Eastwood! One of the most intimidating people I've met. You'll have to try and picture this: we're on location in a graveyard, all these people and then this funny looking rock band, totally out of place. And in between takes this nine-foot character comes over and goes, Uh, nice record, and walked away. And that was it. I bet he never heard it and they're obliged. But he was more Clint in person than he is on the screen. He seemed nice.

Oh! That was amazing. I was nervous. First, we were in a group, with Stevie, drugged up, totally hungover, early in the morning waiting in a cemetery and I told myself “What are we doing here?” A big black car appeared, two guys came out, which I guess must be Clint Eastwood’s managers or bodyguards or something like that; while we wondered if he liked our album or not, and what we were doing there… he approached us and simply told us “great album!” (laughs) and he left, it was really intense, shit.



Scene from The Dead Pool


The song played throughout the film's heavily-publicized 90-second trailer [Los Angeles Times, July 1988].

Afterwards, the band members and management was not impressed with the movie

I'm a little disappointed that it's not a better film, but the trailer is really spectacular. And I'm sure it helped our momentum. After all, it was on practically every TV station in the entire country.

The movie sucked. The movie was lousy. But the cool thing about it was that as soon as we were in it, as soon as you saw it – have you seen the movie? [...] As soon as you see the parts that we’re in, we stick out like a sore thumb. There’s, like, everybody who’s supposed to be in the movie and then these guys, right? And it’s just really funny. I mean, you just have to see it and sort of take it for what it is. [...] You should see it, yeah. It’s cool. I mean, the parts that we’re in are really cool.

It's actually a really horrible movie. It's really bad. But we did it because it was Clint Eastwood and we thought that would be really cool.

Actually the film isn’t very good. The trouble was that we were so naive and green about the movie business that in the end we came across as kinda dumb. Perhaps we shoulda asked more questions about what was going on. And I can’t help feeling that Eastwood fucked us over with his direction. In fact, Clint didn’t talk to us much on the set at all. We had very little contact with him. Just about the only thing he said to us was, ‘Hey, great album’.


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Post by Soulmonster Thu May 06, 2021 1:00 pm

JULY 1988
AEROSMITH AND GUNS N' ROSES TO TOUR TOGETHER


ABORTED EARLY TOURING WITH AEROSMITH


In July 1987, Axl said they were supposed to tour with Aerosmith in England in the fall of 1987 [Melody Maker, July 18, 1987] but later this European tour fell 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.

In connection with the planned tour for the fall of 1987, Axl had stated:

[Aerosmith is] a tradition I grew up with. They were the only band that the people who lived in my city in Indiana would accept wearing makeup and dressing cool. These people thought the Stones were fags, but everybody liked Aerosmith. We’re coming to England with them this fall. It’s something we always wanted. We are influenced by them […]


Commenting on how they hadn't managed to tour with Aerosmith earlier:

[An Aerosmith/GN'R tour] has been rumored for about a year and a half. We were supposed to have done the Done With Mirrors tour too. Basically, something just always comes up with them or us.
RIP Magazine, February 1989; quote from unknown original source in 1987

That s one of the things on this Aerosmith tour we're supposed to do. We were supposed to be on the Done With Mirrors tour, so you can tell how long we've been working on this thing...years, man! We got signed to it when that record was just coming out. We were going to go on in and record a record real quick and go out on tour. Then it kind of fell apart because there was too much going on. And to think we were even going to be managed by their management company, too, at that time.


Alan Niven would later talk about the aborted tour with Aerosmith in England and how it had been part of this three-step plan:

We went over there, and it was a three-step process. We went over there to play the Marquee three nights as headliners over two weekends, waiting for the press cycle to report on the first show. Then we did two shows the following weekend, and everyone turned out to see what the journalists were writing about, so it worked out well. Then a bit later, we got a tour opening in England for Aerosmith, and that’s when it got interesting. [...] because Aerosmith pulled out of doing the tour, not the first time they’ve done that by the way, and that left my strategy high and dry.



JULY 1988, THE BANDS ARE READY TO TOUR


In July 1988, Aerosmith was ready to tour their new album and wanted Guns N' Roses to be the opener.

As Steven Tyler had said previously:

Blues had a baby and called it rock ’n' roll. L.A. had a baby and called it Guns N’ Roses.
RIP Magazine, February 1989; quote from unknown original source in 1988

Apparently [Aerosmith are] real excited about having us out. I talked to their manager and he said they’re looking forward to it because we kick ass and we’ll make them kick ass that much harder. So now I’m thinking, I’m gonna have to go out and play my ass off if we’re gonna make any kind of mark on this tour.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988

I've talked to Steven [Tyler] on the phone, though, and he's real buzzed about our Boston club show.


Guns N' Roses, on their side, had cut the Iron Maiden tour short, and rested for a month and a half, and were open for Aerosmith's national summer tour which was going to last from July 17 to September 15, 1988.

The Aerosmith tour was a highly anticipated tour, Slash would refer to Aerosmith as their "teenage heroes" [Musician, December 1988].

I think that’s gonna be one of the best tours going in the summer.

Of all the tours we’ll have done in the last year - besides the Monsters of Rock thing in England which we’re doing this year - that is the tour for us. Us and Aerosmith - that is really a great combination for a live show, doncha think?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993
; interview from June 1988

Man, it's gonna be the best! We're going out together for three months and, aside from the Monsters Of Rock tour that's currently going on, I think this will be the Summer show to see ... If I was a kid looking to go to a hot rock and roll concert this Summer, I know I'd be there.


As Slash would say at a later date:

In the days when I really started playing and like, getting into the whole thing, amongst other guitar players, Aerosmith and Joe Perry and Brad Whitford were definitely an influence. They're just the coolest, most screwed up band in the world [laughs].


Axl had also listed Aerosmith among the bands he most wanted to tour with:

Metallica. We're so into those guys. AC/DC, I figure we could learn so much. Aerosmith, that's always been a dream.


And Izzy had expressed excitement about touring with them:

We’re going out with Aerosmith throughout Canada, which should be a really great tour. The last time we played in Canada was with The Cult and our album wasn’t even out yet—you know because of the postcard cover [the original 'Appetite' cover]. Now the album is out and we’re looking forward to playing there again. We had a great time in Canada last time. The kids in the au­dience were really great.
Rock Scene, December 1989; interview from May 1988


Apparently, Aerosmith was also impressed by Guns N' Roses, as Doug Goldstein would say in November 1987:

I get calls from Aerosmith's management and they told me the guys love the band.


And Keith Garde from Aerosmith's management team concurred:

The guys were very, very excited about going out with an act that was really rock ’n” roll.


According to Alan Niven in 2009, Axl wanted to abort the tour before it began:

For example, Axl wanted me to cancel the Aerosmith tour in 88; the rest of the band wanted to go. So we went, and waited to see if he would turn up. He did – and then refused to speak to me for a month. He came around eventually. You spent a lot of time waiting for Axl to come around.

Axl actually wanted to cancel that tour. He did not want to do it. By that time, it was very evident he had a form of stage fright. He’s a singer, and singers who have to go out there three, four or five times a week, they invest their spirit in what they’re singing. The guitar players have something in their hands. They’re not naked. The singer is out there naked, and sometimes that’s hard to do. [...] I empathized with him, but I told Axl, “Look, I signed five individuals collectively as Guns N’ Roses. My responsibility is to the entity, not the individual,” but he called back again and said he just could not do it. Now, even though there were some days when Axl would scream at me, that kind of stuff would usually just go in one ear and out the other. But this time, he was very quiet and reasoned. I always listened carefully when he was low-key and soft. He said he just couldn’t do it. So this is what I did: I had been in Vegas for a Great White show the previous weekend, and I brought some dice home from the Aladdin. You know, the big red and white dice. I had been reading this novel, and the main character had this neurosis about making decisions, and the way he surrendered to the decision was to literally throw the dice. So I remembered that book, and I pulled out the dice, and I gathered everyone in the office together, and I said, “Look, I’m going to throw these dice. I’m going to weight it in Axl’s favor, so a one-through-10, he does not do the tour and we cancel. I threw an 11. So the next thing I did, I had the rest of the band fly out to Detroit for the first date, all our gear, everything. Axl had no choice, he had to do it. He was really mad at me. He didn’t talk to me for a long time after that.


And in 2013, Niven would state that he had "forced the issue" regarding the tour:

There wouldn't have been an Aerosmith tour in '88 if I hadn't forced the issue.


Niven would also claim they had been coerced by Geffen to take the tour, and that they at the time couldn't get any other tours:

[...] Geffen had bullied GUNS N ROSES on to the bill. That was the only tour GNR could get on that they hadn’t screwed up or compromised.


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:42 am

JULY 9-10, 1988
MAKE-UP GIGS IN PHOENIX


Before the tour with Aerosmith started GN'R did two warm-up gigs at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on July 9 and 10. Phoenix was chosen to make up for the two cancelled gigs from February 1988, when Axl had had a breakdown and was fired from the band [see earlier section].

The band used the opportunity to raise money for a benefit cause, raising $16,000. The concert promoter, Danny Zelisko, who had been the promoter in February, was asked to choose the charity and chose the Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Cancer Center. Zelisko's stepdaughter, Abigail, had died of leukemia two years ago [Arizona Republic, July 17, 1988].

We cancelled our last show there because I was late, and the band thought I wasn’t gonna show up, and when I got there, they had already cancelled the show, thinking I wasn’t gonna show up. So, we wanted to go back and make some amends with the fans and the people there, and the money from those shows went to charities. We did a benefit because we felt that was another way of showing we were trying to make amends for things. One of the promoters involved had a child who died, I believe, from leukemia, and we felt that would be a good cause because one, he was a promoter who worked the shows in Phoenix, and two, it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with money going into his pocket. It had to do with a cause he believes in, and it’s also a cause anybody should basically believe in. These shows were also to get warmed up for the Aerosmith tour and to get used to playing live again so that by the time we got out with Aerosmith, we’d have a couple of shows under our belt. I had no idea of what to expect from the Phoenix, Arizona shows, but I had hoped they weren’t going to be so much smash-crash-boom type of shows... at least, not on my part. I was just going to try and take it a bit easy and try to have a good time. I gave it everything I’ve got. It was basically to get the feel of things back together and play with some new songs in front of a crowd I thought deserved to see them.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Feb 15, 2022 5:14 pm

BUT AEROSMITH ARE SOBER


Bands were afraid of touring with Guns N' Roses due to their reputation and Aerosmith had recently sobered up:

We have this bad rep and they have this clean rep and if the two get together. it might cause problems.

I cut a deal with [then Aerosmith manager] Tim Collins for the band to open for Aerosmith. He made a rule that nobody in GN'R could be seen with a joint, hard drugs, or even a beer in front of Aerosmith. If Slash was caught in front of Joe Perry with a beer, they'd be thrown off the tour. So all the insanity was happening behind closed doors.

We're working on [a tour with Aerosmith], we're pushing for it. But everybody's worried about the influence we might have on other bands. We're the trouble that all these guys used to get into.

It’s a drag. I mean, I’m glad they’re clean and all that but I wish they hadn’t got as fucked up as they had, because we’re not allowed to hang out with them at all now. This happened to me with Nikki Sixx from Motley. Like, Nikki and me are pretty good friends. But after we did the tour with Motley Crue and Nikki got clean, he grew away from me, I never saw him. Then I ran into him in the Cathouse one night. I was sitting up in the VIP section, just sitting there. And I had four of these tall glasses filled with Jack, and Nikki came by and was sitting next to me. He said, “That Jack smells good.” I said, “Oh, do you want one?” Not thinking. He was like, “Oh, no, no...” That was so fucked, I shouldn’t have done that. So for a while I didn’t hang out with Nikki. And it’s that kind of thing with Aerosmith, it’s very strange. But I respect trying to clean up before you kill yourself.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


As Aerosmith manager Tim Collins would state:

We thought about the ramifications, but each member of Aerosmith is responsible for his own sobriety. I hope maybe some of Aerosmith rubs off on Guns N’ Roses.


Still, the Aerosmith management would make some precautions to shield the Aerosmith members, as Keith Garde from Aerosmith's management team would say:

Our request was that, if they’re drinking, keep in it a cup rather than walking around with the labels sticking out.


But in the end there was little to worry about:

Steven [Tyler] is a cute man. He would just go up to Slash and say, ‘You can really drink that much?!’ It was obvious the point he was trying to make. Slash would say, ‘Yeah, dude, it’s no big deal. I can still walk an' shit.’


As the photographer Gene Kirkland would recall:

The night before a show I was talking to a crew member from Aerosmith, and he told me that he saw Joe Perry and Slash talking at a table. Joe was drinking tea or coffee or something out of a cup, and Slash was drinking his Jack— but out of a cup. I laughed. I thought I’d never see Slash drink anything out of a cup!


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