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10. 1989: THINGS UNRAVEL

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10. 1989: THINGS UNRAVEL Empty 10. 1989: THINGS UNRAVEL

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:34 am

CHAPTER INDEX

- JANUARY 17, 1989: AXL IS THROWN IN THE DRUNK TANK
- 1988-1989: DUFF COPING WITH STARDOM
- JANUARY 1989: THE BAND RELEASES THE 'PARADISE CITY' SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO
- JANUARY 30, 1989: PLAYING AT THE VIDEO MUSIC AWARD; STEVEN IS IN REHAB
- OCTOBER 1987-MAY 1989: PLANNING THE FOLLOW-UP TO 'APPETITE'
- 1988-1989: STEVEN, FROM RAGS TO RICHES
- JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989: DRUGS & BOOZE TEAR THE BAND APART
- 1989-1990: BAND OF BROTHERS NO MORE
- JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989: SLASH CAN'T DEAL WITH THE NON-ACTIVITY
- 1989-1990: IZZY STARTS DRIFTING AWAY
- EARLY 1989: SLASH SETTLES IN A GYPSY HOUSE
- 1989: IN A GAME OF DRUGS, STEVEN GOES ALL IN
- MARCH 1989: SLASH TO LEAVE FOR MEGADETH?
- JANUARY-AUGUST, 1989: IZZY IS ON-AN-OFF WITH DRUGS
- APRIL 1989: 'PATIENCE' IS RELEASED
- 1989-1990: AXL FASTENS HIS GRIP ON THE BAND
- SLASH AND HIS SNAKES
- MAY 1989: AXL FIGHTS A WOMAN
- JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989: DUFF, THE KING OF BEERS III
- 1989: AXL IS FEATURED ON STEVE JONES' 'FIRE AND GASOLINE' ALBUM
- 1989: AXL STRUGGLES TO BUY A HOUSE
- JUNE 6, 1989: STEVEN MARRIES CHERYL
- JUNE 1989: ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
- JUNE 27, 1989: AXL IS FEATURED ON DON HENLEY'S 'END OF INNOCENCE' ALBUM
- SUMMER OF 1989: RELOCATING TO CHICAGO
- SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO: INCOGNITO GONE WRONG
- SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO: TRYING TO GET THINGS DONE
- SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO: SLASH LEAVES IN ANGER; CONSIDERS QUITTING
- JULY 22, 1989: THE SCRAP CLUB AND JAMMING WITH THE CULT
- 1989: IZZY BEGINS THE PROCESS OF SOBERING UP
- AUGUST 1989: IZZY "PUSHES" SHARISE NEIL WITH HIS FOOT
- AUGUST 27, 1989: IZZY TAKES A PEE AND GETS ARRESTED
- AUGUST 1989: AXL AND ERIN FIGHTS
- 1989-1990: AXL'S PERSONAL ISSUES
- AUGUST-DECEMBER 1989: STILL PLANNING THE FOLLOW-UP TO 'APPETITE'
- 1989-1990: THE PRESS II
- AUGUST 1989: THE ROLLING STONES WANTS GUNS N' ROSES
- SEPTEMBER 6, 1989: IZZY AND VINCE NEIL AT THE MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS
- SEPTEMBER 1989: AXL FEATURES IN MICHAEL MONROE VIDEO
- OCTOBER 10, 1989: 'IT'S SO EASY' AND FIGHTING DAVID BOWIE
- OCTOBER 11-13, 1989: WARM-UP FOR THE ROLING STONES' SHOWS
- OCTOBER 18-22, 1989: OPENING FOR THE ROLLING STONES
- OCTOBER 1989-MARCH 1990: SLASH MAKES AN EFFORT TO SOBER UP
- NOVEMBER 1989-1991: AXL'S FEUD WITH VINCE NEIL
- DECEMBER 17-19, 1989: AXL AND IZZY PLAY WITH THE STONES AGAIN IN ATLANTIC CITY
- DECEMBER 1989: SLASH SPENDS CHRISTMAS WITH MEEGAN HODGES
- DECEMBER 1989: AXL SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSIONS


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:36 am

JANUARY 17, 1989
AXL IS THROWN IN THE DRUNK TANK


On January 17, 1989, Axl was allegedly arrested for "disorderly conduct and public drunkenness" with his brother Stuart when partying at Slash's apartment. They were detained in the drunk tank for six hours but no charges were filed [People Magazine, February 1989].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:37 am

1988-1989
DUFF COPING WITH STARDOM


Success is a double-edged sword and the band had to adjust to being famous:

I knew what I knew until I was 23, now I've learned a whole new life in two years, a whole different life, you know. So it's just dealing with that is just kind of weird. I'm not complaining, you know, but it just, it's weird. It's like cramming eight years of college into, you know, a week.

We’ve had to adapt our lifestyles a little. If we go to clubs these days we have to expect to be hassled and I’ve gotten into three fights recently with guys just trying to show off to their girlfriends - I won all of ‘em, though! You see, I’ve got a mountain bike that I constantly ride, so I’m in good shape.

It was like, this thing rearing its big ugly head and we didn’t even know what it was. And people start hating you for being successful.

So, when we got back from the Appetite tour, I bought this big house, bought all this furniture, I was by myself, I was divorced, the door closed and there I was in this big house all by myself and I'm going, 'Okay, what do I do now?' So I started going down to these clubs, trying to meet girls, whatever — you know, do all the things that I was either too busy or too broke to go out and do before. And it kind of hit me. It slapped me slam, right in the face after a lot of months of being jerked around, that people weren't interested in me. They didn't want me for me, they wanted me because I was this guy in Guns N' Roses. And after a few months of this, getting ripped off, my heart getting stepped on or whatever, I just stayed in my house.


Duff would also tell a harrowing tale of people wanting to fight him just because he was famous:

You know, before we did the last record we were down, no money, going through all this shit. Now it’s like a whole different bunch of shit to deal with. You got people who want to sue you, you got people who want to fight you, you can’t go to clubs... I got in a fight New Year's Eve, just ’cos some guy wanted to fuck with me. Check it out, it was my first night out since I busted up with my wife and all I wanted to do was have a good time. We were there to see Bang Tango. But within twenty seconds this guy comes up to me and says, “Where are you from?” I said I live here, you know. He said, “Well, don’t ever touch me again!” I mean, I haven’t even been near the guy, I’ve just walked through the door!

I just saw red all of a sudden, ’cos of the shit I've been going through. I turned to my friend Del and said, “Hold my wallet for me, please.” Then I turned back to this guy - and this guy was big, man - and I just went HUUURRGG! And I fuckin’ hit the guy. It’s the first time I've ever seen it in real life, but his eyes went cross-eyed, like in a movie, and then he went down… Actually, it’s a horror having to deal with shit like that all the time.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

[Being asked why he didn't have a bodyguard]: Fuck, no! […] No way! I’m just a normal guy, man... […] So they’re dickheads and I’m not! The next morning they’ll wake up and know they’re a dickhead. And the next day I’ll wake up and feel sorry I got in a fight and that’s that. I don’t use security - fuck that. I don’t believe in that shit.

[…] But I’ve gotten used to it... There was a period once of about a week where I got into three different fights. One guy started one just because he wanted to show off to his girlfriend. Now it’s question of do I want to walk in and deal with being Duff McKagan. But if they are going to be that much of a dickhead, OK, fine. I can ditch a fuckin’ hit, and I can hit ’em back! If he’s gonna be such an asshole then that’s his problem, not mine. I never did that to anybody when I first moved here to LA. I never thought of going up to David Lee Roth if I saw him down the Troubadour and telling him I was gonna kick his ass, you know? I just wouldn’t have thought of it... These guys who do are just assholes. Fuck them
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

The one I feel sorry for the most is Axl. He’s such a huge figure now... I mean, what does he do when he wants to go to the shopping mall - put on a baseball cap backwards and wear shades? That’s what he wears on stage, man, you know... So I feel sorry for him.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990


Another issue was the fear of audience members storming the stage:

Yeah, I’ve thought about it. But I won’t say it. I will say that if anybody came after Axl and attacked him, I would get right in the way even if it meant getting my head smashed in. Axl would do the same for me, I know it. I’ve done it for Slash, and if it was Izzy, I’d do it for Izzy. They’d all do it for me, too. That's another cool thing about this band - we protect each other and watch out for each other.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990


They also had to get used to being considered legends:

Again, I try not to think about that too much. People tell me that but we could go to a bar and hang out all night and talk as just fuckin’ dudes, you know that. I play bass in a band, man. That’s all I think about. I’m not trying to be falsely modest or any of that shit. That’s it. I play in a band I love. Legendary? Fuck that. Legendary’s like fucking Hemingway, OK? We’re just a rock ’n’ roll band and that’s all there is to it...

We’ve got some fucking great guys in the band, though. We've really got some talented fucking people in this band. Great, that's what it’s all about. I love to see Slash fuckin’ play the blues, man! I just love it and I’m glad other people do too. But legendary? Legendary is fuckin’ James Cagney. Legendary is other shit. We are a band who have yet to prove ourselves. We put out one record and one half-assed fuckin…. Dude, we haven’t done shit! I mean, in my book the guys in our band are great and we’ll love each other for the rest of our lives. But legendary?

OK here’s what it is: you’re a musician, you want to do what you want to do and get to the top, right? Well, most musicians will do anything to get to the top, they’ll compromise and they’ll do what it takes. But we wouldn’t do that. We wanted to do what we wanted to do and somehow it worked. And there hasn’t been a band like us who has done that since... whenever. I’m not trying to brag, I’m being as humble as possible here.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990



FROM RAGS TO RICHES


With the success, the band could escape their poverty. During the touring in 1987 and early 1988 they had lived out of their suitcases. When asked about how they were doing in an interview released in June 1988, Izzy would say he didn't expect to see any money in a couple of years still:

Tours—we don’t make anything off tours. We lose. Maybe now we’re starting to make a little money, since we’re getting MTV airplay. Kids are starting to buy T-shirts. But that’s f!?king nothing. On the tours we just get paid enough to get the hotel rooms, keep the bus running, pay us 25 bucks a day—everyone in the crew and us. We only have a three-guy crew. We just get enough to keep the ball rolling. Yeah, one would figure going gold would mean cash in the bank.


Despite this, and probably because of their explosive success, after ending the Iron Maiden tour in June 1988 the band was paid out $160,000 or "something like that" in total [Kerrang! July 1988]. And by August 1988 they had paid back Geffen what they were owed [Screamer, August 1988]. In Duff's biography, he indicates that they were handed their first check from record sales when they returned from tour: $80,000 each. Three weeks later they got another check [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 143].

Just as he had planned [RIP Magazine, June 1988], when Duff did get a windfall he bought himself a "nice little place" in Studio City, away from the Hollywood where everybody "dressed like us, in bandannas, and trying to sound like us. […] We all bought right on the main road or just off it. Obviously, in thinking accessibility would be a plus, we failed to recognize the way our lives were about to change. We'd soon want to be out of this fishbowl" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 144].

He could also afford, for the first time, to fly back home to Seattle to celebrate Christmas of '88 with his large family, a family he otherwise only got to see when they came to see him after shows in Seattle [Circus Magazine, February 1989].

As far as personally there's no difference, I don't think in any of us. I mean, yeah, I mean, now we can do stuff you never been able to do before. Which is great, you know, when we have time to do it. Before, like, we wouldn't have been able to...we'd both share a room, there'd be two people in a room and you couldn't order anything from room service because you didn't have any money, you'd have to eat at the show or something. And now we each have our own room and we can order room service.

I have a car now. Nothing really... I mean, you don't have to worry... basically where your next meal, or next bottle's coming from now.


In 1990, Duff bought a new home in the Hollywood Hills:

I bought this house in 1990 and added the studio on. Back then, I used to shoot my guns off the balcony! The day I was moving in here, my roommate and partner in crime - and I had a pig and three dogs, too - we were hitting golf balls in the early afternoon then one hit the fence, ricocheted off and bam, right back into my window. I couldn't stop laughing!
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:37 am

JANUARY 1989
THE BAND RELEASES THE 'PARADISE CITY' SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO



Paradise City
January 1989



TALKING ABOUT THE MUSIC VIDEO


Now we have another [video] coming up for Paradise City, which is basically, it's us at Donington and us at Giants Stadium and it's live and just live stuff all thrown together.


Talking about the black-and-white shots to be featured in the 'Paradise City' video:

It's what you call Rollex camera. You know, the little hand-held, old ones? […] it's real grainy. And the nice thing about that is it's real moody. There's something, there's an essence to black and white photography that can't touch, you know, with color. It's just sort of kind of mood that it has to it that doesn't compare to anything. […] But with black and white it has a feel to it. It's like it sort of takes you away from reality, black and white. You know what I mean?


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:38 am

JANUARY 30, 1989
PLAYING AT THE VIDEO MUSIC AWARD; STEVEN IS IN REHAB


The first show of 1989 was an appearance at the American Music Awards on January 30. Steven would be convinced by his techie to go in rehab in January 1989 [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 187], which caused him to miss this show. Instead the band had Don Henley sitting in for their performance of Patience.

WTF! when I got out [from rehab], someone asked me why I hadn't appeared on the American Music Awards. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He proceeded to tell me that GNR performed "Patience" [...] with someone else on drums. [...] I was completely blindsided by this, so stunned and hurt, I can't begin to describe the feeling of betrayal.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 188


At the time the band would claim, through their fan club, that Steven was suffering from "a bad case of the flu" [Conspiracy Incorporated Fan Club Newsletter, March 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:38 am

OCTOBER 1987-MAY 1989
PLANNING THE FOLLOW-UP TO 'APPETITE'


Already back in 1987 did Slash muse on the follow-up to 'Appetite':

I’d like to go a little bit farther with it on the next one. I would like to see the sound get even heavier.


They had music left over from 'Appetite' that was ready to be released:

We have a handful of songs that we deliberately didn’t include in the first album, because both the label and us thought that it would’ve been a big shock for people. We took a big step from the EP to the album, and our second album will be a new step for sure, because we already have many of the songs that will be on it.
Popular 1, April 1988; translated from Spanish; from an interview dated October 8, 1987


The same month Axl would even indicate that it could become a double album and that they had as much as about 40 songs ready:

[…] we’ve already talked with Geffen and we will record a double album whenever we’re done touring. And hopefully we’ll put out a double album. We’ll see how it sounds, and if it’s a smart move to put out a double record cuz it’s gonna cost more. But we got all the material ready for it and we’re still writing new stuff, so... We have about 40 songs ready to go that we believe in.


A follow-up to their debut record was something the band looked forward to, especially as they toured extensively after the release of 'Appetite' in 1987 and were getting fed up by their old material. But also because they wanted to show the word a different side to themselves:

I hope [the next] album's more successful because I just want to bury 'Appetite.' It's like, I like the album but I'm sick of it. I don't live my life through that one album. I have to bury it. So rather than just throwing a bunch of songs together, we thinking far more [?] going over it, you know, with a fine-tooth comb and just working on everything to try... That's the goal, bury 'Appetite'.


But with the success of their debut LP, the pressure was on:

Yep, the pressure's kind of on. Still, its nothing we can't handle.

The biggest thing we had to deal with at one point was like the follow-up thing, right? And we were like, 'Ah f***, we don't care'. But finally, when we were off the road and it was time to go back in the studio, people were trying to put really heavy pressure on us and we were just like, 'WHAT?' And it did start turning into a pressure. Even Steven Tyler goes, 'Is there another "Jungle" on it?' and I was like, 'Of all people to ask me that!' And at that point we just cut it off from everybody. Y'know, ‘We're gonna do OUR record' […].


Although Duff was unfazed:

And there's really no pressure on us, you know, the success of the last record... there's absolutely no pressure on us at all, you know. Maybe if we only sold 50,000 copies or something there would be, but... And even if that happened we'd say "screw you" to the record company.


There was also a question on how their success would impact their music which had been so rooted in their gritty and vagrant lifestyles. As Jon Bon Jovi Would say, "I think Guns n' Roses are a great band. But what will happen to them when they lose their street feel? I worry for them at that point" [Raw Magazine, May 1989]. Still, all they could do was their very best:

Our next album will come out, and it'll sell a lot, but I don't think it will be like this, the way things are right now [with Appetite]; crazy. But it doesn't matter. What matters is whether the next album is actually any good or not. As long as the material is all there, I'm happy. We'll just make the best record we possibly can, as sincerely and as honestly as everything else we're ever done, and that's it. After that, it's not our problem any more.

I don't know what [the next record]'s gonna do in terms of sales or our following. But it should be, for us, a very weird experimental process and coming up with a lot of new things. Because "Appetite For Destruction", a lot of the material written on that was done when we were in the club scene in L.A. That's over two years ago. Sometimes three years ago, some of it. And "Anything Goes" was first started about four years ago. And so, during this time, we've had a lot time to grow and mature, I think, lyrically and musically, and the next record we get to, like, fuses all this and see what we come up with. [...] Yeah, it's like a lot of people right now are getting turned on to 'Appetite for Destruction', like it's brand-new, and we still have the same momentum behind those songs as we've always had and we still find something and then we get excited, but, you know, the next record for us will be, like, anywhere from a two to four year jump and a lot of people, you know, are going to get that jump in one year's time and it's got to surprise a lot of people.


Axl had long admired different musical styles, and bands who would be able to master them:

[...] that doesn't mean we won't play a heavy metal song, or we won't play a country song. The Rolling Stones, to me, have done the best, 'A Girl With Far Away Eyes', 'Far Away Eyes' to me, that's the best country song ever written, you know. Rolling Stones wrote whatever kind of music they felt like writing. They wrote 'Miss You', one of the best disco songs ever written. Just, you know, whatever you feel like and basically we're just a rock and roll back playing whatever we feel.

I like variety in music. I don't want us ever to hem ourselves in. I think you can go from writing a heavy metal song to writing a mellow song without selling out. The important thing is approaching the music with the same conviction.

I've always looked at things in a versatile sense because of Queen, ELO, Elton John, especially early Elton John and groups like that. With Queen, I have my favorite: Queen II. Whenever their newest record would come out and have all these other kinds of music on it, at first I'd only like this song or that song. But after a period of time listening to it, it would open my mind up to so many different styles. I really appreciate them for that. That's something I've always wanted to be able to achieve. It's important to show people all forms of music, basically try to give people a broader point of view.


But getting the follow-up album out would turn out to be a very laborious process and plans and release dates would ne continuously delayed for different reasons.

In mid-1987, before the release of 'Appetite', Axl talked about wanting to have Dan McCafferty (from Nazareth) guest vocal on their second record. They had already figured the song out [Unknown UK source, June 1987] which was 'November Rain':

When we got back to the States [likely after their June shows in England], I was informed that Dan had listened to our ballad 'November Rain' and liked it a lot. So I asked him if he wanted to sing with me, and he told me that he’d love to do it, if he could.
Popular 1, April 1988; although interview from October 1987; translated from Spanish


This did not happen and it is not known what song Axl had in mind, but likely a cover of Nazareth's 'Hair of the Dog' which would later be recorded for the The Spaghetti Incident.

After having released 'Appetite' in November 1987, the band spent most of their time touring until the end of 1988. During this time they did not have much time to properly work on their follow-up (although they did record for the EP 'G N' R Lies'). Still, Axl made some thoughts on how the second record could turn out:

The next record will be a lot of different material on it and I am sure that some people that like the EP or this record, they'll go, "Oh they've changed, they sold out," but they don't know when those songs were written.

Right now I'm really into writing, not necessarily ballads, but they're not like blazing fast rockers either. Things that have a lot of feeling, and that show some growth in understanding the world around you, and trying to relay that to other people. I've been writing a lot of different stuff for myself. I feel I'm growing as a songwriter. I don't necessarily know what the kids will think of it, or the majority of the public will think about it, but it's something I want to do. Like the next record, or the record after that could just fall flat on its face, but if I'm writing songs that I like, that I feel good about, that's all that counts. I'll still be happy.

There was a lot of stuff written before the last record, before we even went into the studio, in which case we picked 12 songs to go on the first album, and so that left a lot of ideas and material that we didn't use left over. This is stuff we care about. There's songs that Slash wrote guitar parts for, like, four or five years ago, and I just started writing words to one of them about a month ago. It was something I always liked but never found the right words for. There's a lot of stuff like that. There's other tracks that we decided we didn't want to put on the first album, we wanted to wait until we had a larger listening audience and spring it on them. [...] I've written a bunch of stuff, and Slash has written a bunch of stuff, and Izzy's written a bunch of material, and we've just started putting it all together. Basically what we do is, everybody just writes a whole song on their own. Those guys might delete words. I might delete guitar parts, but I have an idea of how I want them to go. Then we get together eventually, throw it in a pot and see what we can pull out.


Axl would also talk about the specific songs that might end up on the follow-up:

We've got over 40 songs and we're still writing. We'll be writing all this year. There'll be a lot more ballads, songs that are a lot heavier than 'Sweet Child of Mine' on the next record. We may do a version of `Knockin' on Heaven's Door.' It depends on the number of ballads. We've got at least eight, and we've got a lot of hard rockers already written. On the thank you on the record it says, 'With your bitch slap rappin' and your cocaine tongue, you get nothin' done.' That's a song called 'You Could Be Mine.' We already had that done before we even recorded this record. We have enough for the next one and then a few for the third.


And as for who the producer would be:

[Mike Clink is] presently at the top of the list. There's a couple songs that we may be talking to Roy Thomas Baker about. An arrangement with strings. We need someone that's used to that kind of thing.


Axl would also indicate that the band might start using synthesizers:

On our next record, we should have a pretty broad range of what we're able to give the public. But it won't be lack­ing the loud guitars because that's something I'm a fan of. On the other hand, on some of the Top 40 stuff, you'll hear loud guitars, but they sur­round it with synthesizers. I'm not against that, but I sometimes think it's not being played with a lot of orig­inality or heart. I don't want to do that. If we use synthesizers-which I hope we do on the next record - it'll be a bit more experimental.
Cream, September 1989; quote is from mid-1988


and that they would explore different styles:

[...]there will be a lot of different styles of material that's gonna come out of us that I don't think people are really gonna expect.


Not even his band mates seemed to expect the extent of variation that Axl wanted to express, and the inclusion of November Rain, a piano-driven ballad, was discussed between the band members:

[Being asked if the next record will contain a "15-minute song" "filled with synthesizers and strings"]: [laughing] Could be. There's talk. We constantly disagree and keep changing our minds about everything from one day to the next.


In June 1988, Slash would comment on the status:

Oh, we've got lots of things written . . . different parts to different things already laid down on the road. We get a surprising amount done while we're actually touring. […] I'm relied on to come up with a lot of the guitar parts, the main chord changes and the so-called bitchin' riffs and shit, and then Izzy comes in with some real cool rock and roll guitar licks, and Axl gets pissed off at something and starts to write words ... Just making it up as we go along. […] It's really friendly, really easy the way we write together. We never sit around in a room some place waiting for something to happen. We don't have to. Axl will just grab me at a gig and take me into the showers and say, 'Listen to this!' And he'll stand there singing me a couple of verses to something he just made up that will completely blow me away. […] [The new stuff] looks like it's going to be really good, but it looks like it's also going to be even more angry and bitter and twisted than the stuff on the first album […] There's a song called 'Perfect Crime', then there's a song called 'You Could Be Mine'. That's really about it for actual titles. I don't concentrate that much on the lyrics anyway, until we come to lay the slit down on the tape.

We’ve been writing on the road. How it works is, I write a lot of the guitar parts and chord changes and the so-called bitchin’ riffs, and Izzy writes real good rock ’n’ roll chord changes, you know what I mean? Then Axl gets pissed off at something and starts writing words. He gets these melodies and these rhythms happen. Like, he’ll take me into the shower at the gig and say listen to this and start singing something he’s just made up.

It looks like it’s gonna be really good, too. It looks like it’s gonna be even more angry and anti-radio and stuff. The first album, everybody was shocked by it ’cos it said “fuck” on it, like, twenty-five times. This one could be even worse. The subject-matter on this one is a little more...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


When asked about any song titles:

I don’t really concentrate on the lyrics until we’re actually putting the shit down in the studio. I have to sit with Axl and see what the reality of the album is gonna be about. There’s one called “Perfect Crime”. Another called “You Could Be Mine” . . . Hey, that rhymes! And that’s about all I can remember right now.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


Slash would also say they he thought they would start recording in October 1988 [Kerrang! July 30, 1988] or October/November [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988]:

The plan is to have the album out late Spring, early Summer next year, and then we'll maybe hook up with one of the big outdoor Summer tours that will be happening around America at that time-maybe the Monsters Of Rock thing, I don't know. […] Then after that we'll go out on our first headline world tour and we'll come home never wanting to open for anybody ever again!


This would be corroborated by Axl, who in August 1988 said they planned to release their second album in the first half of 1989. Again, Axl shed more info on what the next record would be like:

For the next record the lyrics I've written don't have anything like that [=profanity] in them. But there's a lot of stuff that Slash has written... a lot of heavier stuff. We'll get together and see what happens with it.


In the second half of 1988, Slash and Axl would say they already then had enough material for a double album [Melody Maker, March 1989] and looked forward to touring it in 1989:

[...] we've got about enough stuff planned for a double album and we don't know exactly what we're gonna put out on the next one, we're looking forward to being able to get out there again next year, and give the people even more of a show in a headlining position, so that they can, you know, see more of what we're about.


But when October came around the band had not visited the studio yet. When asked about this, and if they were anxious to work on the follow-up to the by now very successful debut record, Slash would respond:

I’m not going to sit around worrying about how good or how successful the next record is gonna be - I don't fuckin’ do that shit. We'll just make the best record we possibly can. As sincere and as us as possible. ’Cos I know damn well the reason this album is going where it’s going is because we hit a certain fuckin' particular place at a certain time. That’s fuckin’ great. But I'm not going to walk around with my fuckin’ nose in the air. If you think about it, rock ’n’ roll bands on the average - with the exception of gigs and albums - are pretty insignificant. You’re there, then you're gone and then there’s somebody else. […] Everybody listens to it at the same time and everybody burns out on it at the same time. I mean, like the new Bon Jovi record [New Jersey] is great but I don’t see the same kind of excitement to this record as I did their last one. I saw it happen to a lot of bands... Zeppelin and the Stones, same sort of thing. I mean, the Stones died out real quick - well, they eventually died out to the point where no one was really that excited by them any more. Zeppelin put out shitty records, though, and people were excited by them. It’s a weird kind of thing. You can’t sit there and try to predict it and analyse it. We’ll just go out and do another record.

My attitude is I’m just a guitar player in a band that’s doing real well right now, and I’m gonna have the best time I can have while I'm here...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

In between all the rest of the shit that goes on every day, I’ve been writing stuff. I've got an eight-track machine at home, so I’m putting it all down on tape. I’m pretty productive.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


And when asked when he now thought they would start recording:

[When asked when the recording would take place]: Some time in the New Year. There’s talk of going to Japan and Australia at the end of the year, so there’s no point trying to go in the studio right now. Plus, we’re pretty burnt out right now. We were on the road for a year and a half... We’ll start rehearsing to go to Japan and I’m sure we'll start jamming then, ’cos we have the place block-booked. So we'll jam a lot, play Japan - which I’m really looking forward to, we’re playing the Buddokan, which is pretty legendary. But we'll actually go into pre-production right after we get back from Japan.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988


This would be confirmed by Circus Magazine, who, in September 1988, would state that the band intended to start working on their second LP after coming back home from their shows in Japan in December 1988 [Circus Magazine, September 1988].

It's hard to say what the next album is gonna sound like. It'll definitely be interesting. I don't think anyone's given any thought to it, so we'll just go and see what comes out. It'll definitely be varied. I think the first album has diversity to it, but the next one will have even more. We've got a ton of stuff to sort through. It'll be a rock & roll album, that's for sure.


Uncertainties in whether the band would actually succeed at releasing a second album came through in an MTV interview with Slash and Duff that also took place in October 1988, when Duff said they "hoped" they would make a second record and Slash insisted they would [MTV, October 1988]. Slash claimed they expected to have the album out by the summer of 1989, and start touring in the fall that year [MTV, October 1988]. Slash would also emphasize the amount of material they already had:

There's just a lot of material. I can't really say... I mean, there's tons and tons of stuff. And we'll just do whatever we really like and you know. I think there's at least gonna be two songs that are slow on the album.


In late 1988, Slash would mention one song he had written, Not Dead Yet, and which he was trying to write lyrics for:

I've got a song that I'm trying to work the lyrics out to called Not Dead Yet, which is sort of like a stab at the people who told us that we couldn't pull it off. And, you know, we'd fall apart. And it sort of just like saying, you know, it's sort of like it's about how we've made it to this point and done everything that we've done. It's sort of like, fuck you to everybody that said we couldn't. But I'm trying to work the lyrics out enough so that I know that Axl will be able to sing them.


In December that year, Duff and Slash said they were going to start recording in January 1989 [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988; Kerrang! December 1988] but Duff doubted they would have the album ready for the summer that year [Interview with Steve Harris, December 1988].

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


In February 1989, Duff commented on what they had so far:

We've got a lot of songs. Songs we wrote even before we did the first album. We had songs that weren't right at the time, so we said we'd save them for the next record.


And Slash would talk about the record:

It's turned into something that keeps me awake at night. I'm super excited about everything we do, jazzed like a little kid! I think about guitar licks, what to do live, and I write lots of guitar stuff geared to the next album. There's so much going through my head.


He would also say that they had finished ten songs while having a two-month break, likely in October-November 1988:

During the two months we had off, we got a studio, worked on new songs, got basic formats to start and end. We finished ten, and I've written four or five more since. Axl’s got a surplus of lyrics and ideas. It will be a natural progression. The only difference will be more ballads because we didn’t have the opportunity to do all we wanted on the first record. It will be heavier, more involved in the guitar aspect. We'll probably experiment more, but it will be the same thing — an adolescent pissed-off album!


In March 1989 Slash would again talk about where they were in the process of making the new record:

[We are supposed to be] writing and rehearsing. ‘Supposed to be, anyway. There’s a lot of songs I’ve written that Axl’s really excited about. I have to teach them to the rest of the guys in the band. That’s basically what I’m supposed to be doing now. But I’ve missed rehearsals with them. They’ve missed rehearsals with me... Izzy’s got a few songs. I had him over for a few days and we managed to get them onto tape. Then in a couple of weeks Axl’s gonna come down and start putting melodies and lyrics to this stuff. Hopefully, we’ll be in full-blooded pre-production in about a month and a half...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


And comparing the process to when they made 'Appetite':

The whole thing now is completely different. A lot of the songs on Appetite were written over a space of time. There was no kind of deadline or anything. But there was a couple of the songs which were written right during pre-production for the album - like "Mr Brownstone” and “Sweet Child”. So we had all the various song- writing scenarios on the first album. But I don't think this is gonna be too far off - writing all the songs and then going in and doing it. It’s just getting us all in the same room at the same time that’s the hard part...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


In fact, to make sure they were together the idea to rent a house for everybody to be in, had been considered:

Axl was keen on the idea, but I was... hmmm. But I got to the point where I was very seriously thinking about it - because the situation that we’re in now, we tend to get too distant. So, I was getting to the point where I was going to live at Izzy’s house, or maybe with Duff or Axl, or something like that. The main thing was, Axl and I were going to get a house together - if it was big enough, right?

[…]

I went and looked at this house with him, but it was too posh and ritzy for me. Anyway, so now we’re all basically living in the same area, so that’s good enough. And we have the studio block-booked twenty-four hours a day so we can hang out there and stuff...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


When asked when they would start recording the album:

We’re not adhering to any kind of plan at all. There are no deadlines or anything any more. So that being the case, the way we’re writing now... it’s the beginning of March, right? April, May, June, July... Maybe June or July. […] But then that’s all in a purple glow. We shall see...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


Still, Axl would continue talking about his ambitions for the record:

The next record will definitely be much more emotional. I try to write so the audience can understand what emotions I was feeling. Also, I think the songs are worded in a way that a great number of people will be able to relate to the experiences; it's not so personalized that it's only my weird, twisted point of view. […] The most important songs at this point are the ones with piano, the ballads, because we haven't really explored that side of the band yet. They're also the most difficult songs to do - not difficult to play, but to write and pull out of ourselves. The beautiful music is what really makes me feel like an artist. The other, heavier stuff also makes me feel like an artist and can be difficult to write. But it's harder to write about serious emotions, describing them as best as possible rather than trying to write a syrupy ballad just to sell records.

We found ourselves trying to, you know, write the next 'Jungle', write the next 'Paradise City', you know, and it's... we didn't want to but it was happening... Lyrics were coming out with lines about our other songs. That took a few months to get past that, to where... to put those to rest.


Slash would indicate he wasn't too concerned with meeting people's expectations:

The next record will be as good as we can possibly make it, so we’ll be happy. But whether it will be flavour of the month when it comes out, I don’t know and I don’t care. Some people might not be as interested, but, you know, so what?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988


In the beginning of 1989 the band was supposed to rehearse and write, but apparently things weren't going as planned. Slash would also say they had "the rehearsal studio block-booked 24-hours-a-day so we can hang out there whenever we want" [Kerrang! April 1989]. Around the same time, the Beastie Boys had relocated to Los Angeles to work on their second album and booked studio time at the Record Plant where they would later say they recorded in a studio next to Guns N' Roses [Q Magazine, November 2018].

There's a lot of songs that I've written that Axl's heard and that he's real excited about. I still have to teach them to the rest of the guys in the band, though . . . And that's basically what I'm supposed to be doing right now. Izzy's got a few songs, too .. . I had him over here for a few days, and managed to get those songs on tape. In a couple of weeks we'll be ready for Axl to come down and start putting melodies and lyrics to the stuff. Hopefully, we'll be in full-blown pre-production in about a month-and-a-half.


In April 1989, Slash would also indicate they had the material ready for recording:

The material actually came together a little easier this time. We knew what we wanted to do, so every time we had a break from the road we'd all get together in an L.A. rehearsal hall and try to get some new songs together. The four musicians in the band would work on some basic song structures while Axl would be off working on his lyrics. Then we'd get together and see what fit together. It was amazing how even if we didn't know what the other guy was doing how the words and music just naturally fit together.


In April 1989 Duff said to MTV that they might go in the studio "in about a month in an effort to record, but it could take about five years" [MTV, April 1989]. The same month, New Musical Express would publish an article where it would be said the band was working on their new LP and intended for a summer release with touring in the fall [New Musical Express, April 1989].

Axl, on the other hand, would say they would "possibly" make a new record [Unknown Source, April 1989], either in jest or revealing that thigs were not all going according to plan.

Slash would again point out the amount of material they had:

I don't have to worry about us being able to make this next record even better than the first one. We've already gotten all the songs written, and Axl's come up with some incredible lyrics. Being able to tour the world and experience all we have during the past 18 months has given us an incredible amount of energy to draw from. Appetite for Destruction was only the beginning of what this band is going to do. This next record will kick-ass just as hard, but it'll be different, too.[...] The material actually came together a little easier this time. We knew what we wanted to do, so every time we had a break from the road we'd all get together in an L.A. rehearsal hall and try to get some new songs together. The four musicians in the band would work on some basic song structures while Axl would be off working on his lyrics. Then we'd get together and see what fit together. It was amazing how even if we didn't know what the other guy was doing how the words and music just naturally fit together.


In May 1989, Slash allegedly had started teaching the other guys the songs he had written:

I've written seven or eight tunes and the others are learning them at the moment. Some of these are more complicated than anything we've previously attempted. And Axl's coming up with some cool shit on the lyrical front.


And Axl would shed light on his approach to lyric-writing:

[…] unless it's a song we wrote a few years ago, I don't want to be singing about starving on the streets, because I'm. not. [The new songs will be] as real as possible in the world we live in now.


The idea now was to start recording in the studio with Mike Clink as the producer in September 1989 [RAW Magazine, May 1989]. This could imply that a trip to Chicago (June-July) was planned by this time and that they would immediately enter the studio afterwards.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:39 am

1988-1989
STEVEN, FROM RAGS TO RICHES


FROM RAGS TO RICHES


With the success, the band could escape their poverty. During the touring in 1987 and early 1988 they had lived out of their suitcases. Because of their explosive success, after ending the Iron Maiden tour in June 1988 the band was paid out $160,000 or "something like that" in total [Kerrang! July 1988]. And by August 1988 they had paid back Geffen what they were owed [Screamer, August 1988]. In Duff's biography, he indicates that they were handed their first check from record sales when they returned from tour: $80,000 each. Three weeks later they got another check [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 143].

I can eat whatever I want.

I got a nice car, bitchin' car.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:39 am

JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989
DRUGS & BOOZE TEAR THE BAND APART


[Drug abuse] is very scary, I mean, it almost killed us, almost broke this band. It almost, you know, killed a few of us a couple times.

It was the biggest test to my sanity — getting off the road after being on for two years and having to mature enough to handle my own life. That was a hurdle.

__________________________________________________________

Although trying to keep sober while touring in 1988, the heroin habits picked up again at the very end of the tour when the band travelled in Australia in December:

But the last time I was here [in late 1988], I can’t remember a fucking thing! […] drugs. […] 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! […] Then we went back to the States tor a hiatus to write and record - except there were more drugs available. And we had the money to buy them.



RETURN TO DRUGS


Duff and Izzy would confirm that the drug problems escalated after returning to Los Angeles in early 1989:

Put yourself in our shoes ... going from s— poor, seriously, getting $100 a week. All of a sudden you’re handed a gold card. You get a thing in the mail saying, ‘This is how much money you’re worth. You should probably look for a home now. You can actually buy a car.’ We were on the road for at least 2 1/2 years, and that’s what we got hit with when we came off. That’s when the drug prob­lems ... started happening.

We left Hollywood as the dirtbags, the band that everyone was betting would crash 'n' burn the first week out. We were gone almost two years, and suddenly we were so popular in LA, everybody loved us, everybody had something they wanted to sell us. The drugs came easier, everything.

We left Hollywood as street urchins. When we left, everyone was betting that we'd never last and that we'd burn out. We were on the road continuously for almost two years and when we got back we were suddenly really popular. Lo and behold, suddenly everyone wanted to be our friend, everyone wanted to hang out with us. Everyone wanted to sell us something or get something off us.

Getting drugs was as easy as getting bread from a baker. I just slipped into a totally crazy way of life. I'd spend all night, right 'til the early hours, in bars and clubs or at parties that were always going on.

We've been living in some strange sort of vacuum for so long, going at such a high pace and just living in this little world that the band was all about, that we didn't know anything else. So when the tour ended, we just go back out on the streets, more or less, and end up fucking up because we were bored. The whole success thing and the rockstar-kind-of-persona that we got labeled with, made it difficult to walk around in the neighborhood, so to speak, you know, Hollywood, without being recognized. And that was awkward. So we started hiding away and, you know, getting into drugs and all the stuff that goes with it, you know, drugs and chicks and chicks always had drugs, and it was all day-in and day-out. And it finally took its toll and that's what happened to Steven.



1989 IN HINDSIGHT


Looking back at this dark period in their lives, Slash would say:

But the point of what I’m saying is, there was that whole change in our personal lives [when returning to Los Angeles after touring in late 1988], which people may or may not be interested in, but it was really serious. There was a lot of — well, I’m surprised we’re all still here! Cos there was a lot of stuff to swallow, to establish a sense of security or to be able to deal with money or houses and all that crap, which we’ve never been interested in in the first place. After the tour they basically dropped us off at the airport and it was like, ‘Well, touring’s done, guys. Go make another record’. We went through a lot of emotional and personal changes. [...] We were gone for a long time, and during that period we watched everything go back down the toilet.


Slash would also say the band's drug problems had continued well into 1990 when Matt joined the band:

When Matt happened, it was the one final thing that we needed to pull it all back together. It was just loose; we were all together but we were all just hanging on the edge, trying to figure out how to keep the band going. There were a lot of, uh, chemical situations going on and so forth, and Matt was like a godsend because he was the one thing we needed.


Duff, on the other hand, would in early June of January indicate the drug use was over:

Everybody in this band has had his bouts with drugs, but that’s all over now. Before, it would mess with the band; guys wouldn’t show up for rehearsal; guys would come to gigs all fucked up. But it’s like, that’s all over now, it really is.’ He took another large swallow from the bottle.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990


And that Axl's "Mr. Brownstone speech" was partly responsible for that:

[Being asked if the speech pushed Slash and Izzy into sobriety]: Yeah. Slash definitely, he’s really fuckin’ happening right now. Izzy and Steven too... I think, I hope. I mean, we don’t know what the fuck’s going on. We don’t! Axl will tell you the same. I don’t know what the fuck's going happen in the next five minutes in my head! But in this band I consider myself pretty stable
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview in January 1990


Truth is likely found somewhere between these two statements from Slash and Duff. Compared to the worst periods of 1989, the start of 1990 was better: Izzy had quit heroin (likely before the shows with Rolling Stones) and was soon to quit alcohol, Slash was trying to stop using heroin (partly because of Axl's speech), Duff was fighting his alcoholism. Unfortunately, Steven was still a hardcore junkie and this made him the odd man out when the rest of the band was trying to take responsibility. More on this in later chapters.

During the court trial following Steven's suit against the band in August 1993, Axl would be asked about the band members drug use in the period from the band's formation until Steven's firing, and say that every band member at times had drug problems [Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit, August 23, 1993]. Axl would more specifically say that Duff had been using cocaine and various pills; that Izzy had been arrested for heroin use (likely prior to the touring in 1987-1988); that Axl himself had occasional used heroin; and that Steven, Izzy and Slash used heroin [Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit, August 23, 1993].[/right]


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:40 am

1989-1990
BAND OF BROTHERS NO MORE


In mid-1988 Slash had said the following:

We love each other. The whole band... we’re, like, real tight, so that kind of fear of someone leaving is not in the back of my head all the time. I don’t worry about it. It’s like, I would only worry if something happened to them, you know? ’Cos I couldn’t continue this band minus one of these guys. The whole reason this band works is because of the chemistry between the five of us. We aren’t what you’d call superior musicians or anything like that, but we work within the framework of Guns N’ Roses. It’s like, Steven changes the dynamics of the song and I know how to play with that. I know how it works. I’m used to playing with these guys, you know? I have a real strong bond with all of them. We have our fights and arguments but l wouldn’t try and stick somebody else in the middle of all this shit. Are you kidding?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from June 1988

_____________________________________________


Yet in late 1988 and onwards the band tightness started to splinter. Adjusting to wealth and popularity was difficult for guys who had been living together for years and suddenly found themselves having to adjust to celebrity status.

Our reality is that we came from nowhere--or maybe even a subzero level, being on the road, doing that every day—and having no other life. And there is a pace to that, which is kind of exciting. Then all of a sudden, bam! That life comes to a screaming halt. You don't have your crew guys, the maid doesn't come in, you're laying in bed wailing for the gig to happen...and it's not gonna happen. […] But there was no other life for us to come back to. We'd never had any other life. And now we were all separated—we had our own little places, which had never happened before. I remember a point where I was just sitting in bed bored and uninterested In anything. You hear one of the guys in your band on the answering machine and you don't even pick up the phone.


The band members found themselves separated:

The worst thing of it, though, was because of no longer having to live in one room, the band got separated, getting their own homes. And that was the hardest part. It's like Slash is here, Axl's here, Izzy's over there, Duff's here, and I don't even know where Steven lives, right? Like, Duff, can we come over? "Well, the gardener's coming today..." That was a whole huge experience that took a really long time for me to adjust to.

There was a period back there after ‘Appetite...’ when we got off the road and everyone bought their own houses, and there was no interaction between the members of the band other than sharing the same drug-dealer. That was it. That was me and Izzy’s relationship the whole time the band was together.

We'd stopped hanging out together - me, Duff, Slash, all of us. Isolated in small apartments somewhere. The drugs and drinking and stuff was a big part of the isolation. It was like self-imposed and it became worse.


In fact, in early 1989, to make sure they were together to facilitate song-writing for the follow-up to 'Appetite', the idea to rent a house for everybody to be in had been considered but apparently Slash had not been to eager to live with Axl:

Axl was keen on the idea, but I was... hmmm. But I got to the point where I was very seriously thinking about it - because the situation that we’re in now, we tend to get too distant. So, I was getting to the point where I was going to live at Izzy’s house, or maybe with Duff or Axl, or something like that. The main thing was, Axl and I were going to get a house together - if it was big enough, right?

[…]

I went and looked at this house with him, but it was too posh and ritzy for me. Anyway, so now we’re all basically living in the same area, so that’s good enough. And we have the studio block-booked twenty-four hours a day so we can hang out there and stuff...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


Although Slash would be quick to point out that this separation didn't mean they weren't as close as before, rather the opposite:

No, actually. Because the success had fucked with everybody’s heads so much, we're, like, clinging to each other for support, just to keep some sort of mental balance.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


In 1990, Axl would comment on the band members growing apart but that they had found a way to make it work:

Yeah, everybody has their own lives. I mean, Izzy basically has five Harley's, and every time you're looking for Izzy, you find out he's in Mexico or he's in London or he drove to Texas or he's up in Yellowstone or something, you know. He's always somewhere. […] [Slash is] always working on something, working on his house or working on someone else's record or something like that. So we don't really hang that much but we call each other up on the phone to tell each other what we did, you know. We’re best friends, even though we have separate lives somewhat, you know. And we brought that friendship back together, you know, because otherwise it was getting to a point where “Okay, then we are gonna go separate.”


In late 1989 or early 1990, rumors spread that Axl considered quitting the band [Hot Metal Stars, 1990].

The press would report that the band was on so bad terms that they had to record their studio parts at separate times [New Musical Express, November 1990].


"WE WERE NEVER ANY GOOD WITH COMMUNICATIONS"


As the band members grew apart in 1989, not living together, not writing together, everybody in their own world of drugs, anxiety, and mental issues, they stopped talking to each other. When they lived together, even a band of strong individuals, would be forced to communicate, to share, and talk things out.

Instead resentment grew and festered. Instead of confronting Axl with his lateness and his growing megalomania, the band fled into bottles and syringes. Instead of confronting Steven and Slash with increasing drug use that started to affect the band, Izzy distanced himself and Axl became more convinced he was the only one that could hold the band together. And instead of confronting Duff and Slash with avoiding him, Steven would keep quiet and to himself.

Instead of confronting them and flushing out whatever the hell it was that seemed to be getting worse, I let the drugs take me into a dark valley of despair, where I could wallow in my own self-pity.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191

We were never any good with communication, especially when that meant confrontation. If we could have developed those skills then, the story of GN'R might have been very different.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156

For the most part, Axl had been ignoring me during this period. But that was my fault too. I never took the initiative to talk with him and find out what was simmering in that brain pan of his. I wish I had insisted on making the time to sit him down and sort things out to clear the air.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191


These problems would ebb and flow, but steadily grow. What broke the band apart can always be discussed and there were many factors, but a lot could possibly have been solved if the band had just communicated directly, honestly and with care.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:40 am

JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989
SLASH CAN'T DEAL WITH THE INACTIVITY


Especially Slash was struggling with adjusting to the more sedate life between tours, as he had done previously too [see previous chapter]:

The thing about being on the road constantly is that you never really have any big problems hanging over you the whole time. When you're moving around from city to city all the time you don't think about anything except getting to the next gig. Then when you come off the road, it's like this whole other world that you thought you'd left behind, but that's been waiting for you to come back to so it can start fuckin' with you. I mean, I hate having to deal with normal day-to-day shit. It leaves no time for anything else. […] To me it's like, well now you're off the road and you have a lot of money and you can do anything you want... But there's nothing that I wanna do except play. I just wanna get back on the fuckin' road... I envy all the bands that have their new albums done and are getting ready to go out. I'd love to have the album finished already and go back out. That's life as I know it, y'know?

I want to be back on the road so bad.

We were on the road when [the success] happened so, when the tour was over, they dropped me off at the airport and I was standing on the kerb going, 'Now what? Where do I go?' That's where the drugs trip came back.

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.


As he would tellingly say:

As pathetic as this may sound, my personal life and existence has nothing to do with anything beyond the band and being a player. I'm very single-minded. All I do is music, or else I do something—entirely different.


Slash got back on heroin "right away" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].


COPING THROUGH DRUGS


In May 1991, Slash would also indicate that he had coped with the weirdness of suddenly being a celebrity through drugs:

It just took a little bit, you know? A lot of other bands have gone through it and deal with it differently. I mean, it was like a big smack in the face to us in a way and we just, you know... I can’t really speak for everybody in the band, but, like, I avoided it with whatever was around that would, sort of like, just dull it (chuckles). […] Yeah. And that really wasn’t the right way to go. And eventually that took its toll on me and I stopped, and just started dealing with it, you know? And it’s no big... It’s, like, a small price to pay, really. But it was more of a personality crisis for me than it was anything, and the attention being focused all the time and...


In August/September 1991 he would talk more about it:

I have a really hard time swallowing the concept of being any kind of rock f***ing star. Okay, I expect certain things like, y'know, `Well, can we take a limo to the gig?' And hotel rooms like this... This isn't that expensive. We're only here because we've been kicked out of a lot of other hotel chains. But this is it. […] I've got my f***ing bag full of clothes and that's everything, right? And I've got my cooler. I've got my booze in there and that's all I f***ing need. […] You feel really awkward if somebody treats you like ... uh… a hero or something. It's weird to not be able to just hang out all the time on the street… […] You just can't f***ing win. It's f***ed because, even if you try to put the effort into hanging out, people treat you like you re some kinda f**ing machine sometimes. Some people are really cool, but other people are just, 'Here! Sign this!' […] You don't know exactly how to act. It's like, shall we act like Led Zeppelin and just go around with this huge entourage and not talk to anybody so the mystique is happening and everybody's like, 'Wow!'? No. We just wanna feel natural. I've been watching this develop. We have security and it's like, Bam! In the car! To the gig! So on and so forth. And, y'know, we don't wanna feel pompous. But people love to go, 'Oh yeah, the Guns guys. They're rock stars now. They're assholes.' None of us are like that. But how do you argue, y'know? […] I know people want heroes. I had'em. […] And I still have tons of heroes, but they turn out to be as insecure and sensitive as the next person. And what you realise is that, although you respect them as musicians or as artists, when you meet them, you strip all that away and you can just be friends with somebody. And so, yeah, people need heroes but, at the same time, when it comes down to it, everybody's so real and the people that aren't real are the people who carry this facade around all the time and they can't get away from it in their own lives, y'know?

But yeah, there's aspects I miss. Like I have this vivid memory of sitting literally on the sidewalk in front of The Marquee and drinking a bottle of Jack and just hanging out with people and shit and now can't do something like that. I'm not complaining, because it's a small price to pay. But I miss the complete detachment from responsibilities that everybody has to deal with in everyday life. Y'know, financially and everything that goes with it as far as apartments and houses and cars and . . . y'know, all that shit. I sorta miss that detachment because now I really do have to watch my shit and I do have my own life and I have to maintain, d'you know what I mean? And so I've grown up a lot that way.

Actually, New Zealand was the last place that we played [in 1988 before going on a one-year break] and then we flew back to LA and they dropped us off at the airport and I was like, I had no idea how big a band we were and I had nowhere to live and I had money and I didn't know what to do with that because I wasn't used to it. And we went through I guess the kind of tests that life gives you, hands out all these challenges for you to deal with and either you get your ass kicked or you get through it. We went through a lot of shit adjusting to everybody's perception of what "rock stars" are supposed to be about, you know, it was rough. And having to buy a house and settle down and all that crap, and then all the hangers-on that were around and just basically bad traffic, we call it, and drug situations and all that. So we struggled along getting through all of it […]

People recognise me really easily, but I don’t think about it. I don’t have the outgoing personality of, say, David Lee Roth. I used to be pretty social on the road, but it’s more difficult now because we have security around us all the time... and when we do duck them we get into trouble! A few times I’ve ditched security and gone out on my own, but ended up with problems. There was one occasion when Duff and I went out by ourselves and got a couple of hotels rooms just to hang out. But I ended up in a huge fight with (comedian) Sam Kinison and Duff nearly got arrested for punching him out!

If I go into a rock bar or a strip joint then I know that I'm going to get recognised and deal with it, because I wanna drink. But in restaurants or other places where you wouldn't expect recognition people still come out of the woodwork and get very pushy for autographs. But I never pull Rock Star Attitude trips and always oblige. Yet if you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and you get a piece of paper shoved under your nose it can be a difficult situation. Sure, there is a lack of freedom, but I won't complain about it, because the only reason I'm here is the fact that I’m doing what I enjoy.


In 2004 Slash would look at how he had balanced being a musician and an addict and how the down-time had been hard on him:

I mean, I was terrible, but I was also very focused. I’m very focused as a musician and my whole reason for really even being here is to do that. So I never let those things get to the point where I couldn’t play. And when it did happen, I would straighten myself out. It wasn’t whether I was gonna die. If I just all of a sudden stopped living, well, that was a whole different issue; I didn’t have any control over that. But if I was gonna continue playing, I had to sort of balance out my highs, you know? (laughs). So that kept me on a, more or less, even keel. But the thing that really fucked me up was usually downtime; because during downtime, when the band wasn’t working, I didn’t know what the fuck to do. You move at this certain breakneck pace as a musician on the road, and everything is going and going. And then, all of a sudden, it comes to a screaming halt and everybody goes home, and you’re like- [...] It’s like the party ended, yeah. And you just drop into the abyss, and then you have to pull yourself out; which, after a while, it gets pretty just... I think a combination of just getting bored with the whole thing, lack of quality and the basic drugs that you’re doing. You know, and the high never gets better than that first few times that you really started doing it.



GOING OFF THE DEEP END


Steven would recall a haranguing story that likely took place before October 1989:

Somehow I had it in my head that not shooting [heroin] gave me some moral high ground to shake my head and feel that Slash was out of control with the shit. Even though I had dabbled with needles, I had backed off a bit and was a little freaked by Slash's behavior. Not long after that first day of scoring together [after they had both moved to houses near each other], Slash started to really lose it. We had been partying for a few days, and as the sun was peeking up, I couldn't find Slash in the house.

I went out back, and he was sitting by the pool. He was so out of it, just blindly jabbing a syringe into his arm, over and over.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 186


Slash would also start to hallucinate:

That was way back, right around the time Guns were playing with the Stones. Actually, David Bowie talked me through this. I had a bad experience, I think because at the time I was really majorly under the influence of this charcoal dependency thing. He talked me through it and so at that particular point in time l was seeing a lot of shit! I was seeing all kinds of stuff - I was taking pictures of it! I'm still convinced they were there! There were little nasty guys running all over the walls and shit. As a result l almost went to prison 'cos I freaked out. But they got me out of it and I went back to LA - I had what they call an intervention. I ended up in rehab for as long as l could bear it, then I got out and l said, "You know what, fuck you guys!" I know what I saw. I'm not crazy! But at the same time, I knew I had to sort my shit out.


Duff was also mention Slash's hallucinations around this time:

I would hang out with Slash from time to time, but things were getting dark up there at his house in Laurel Canyon. One day he pulled out a stack of Polaroid pictures he had taken around his house. "Duff, look at these," he said. "It's some of those Martian bugs I was telling you about. They're infiltrating my house and watching me all the time." There was of course nothing on those Polaroids. But he kept flipping through the stack and pointing.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155


Slash also had numerous OD's:

I really should be dead by now That's how bad it was. I guess I always felt I was indestructible. And that if I died, I didn't care about that either. I'd OD'd lots of times, would wake up and go, 'What happened?'

I've OD'd so many times. I’ve woken up in the hospital so many fucking times. I don’t like to get into it, but I've been through some shit. I’ve been in jail over drugs. You’d think things like that would make you stop, but they don't.


When the band relocated to Chicago in mid-1989 to get work done [see other chapter for more information], and Slash, Duff and Steven had to wait for the arrival of Axl and Izzy, Slash's drinking got really bad:

I'd wake up with the shakes so badly, detoxing just from waking up.


He would later describe his drinking:

I seriously used to go through one and two bottles of Jack Daniel’s a night. Easy. Sometimes a half gallon. I used to get up in the morning and I’d just be drunk all the time. I passed out on the floor of a guitar store in England — really stupid shit.


While in Chicago Duff and Slash went to a The Cult show and met Matt Sorum. Matt would describe them this way:

That’s when I first met the guys and they were in kind of a state.


In August 1989, Izzy was asked about how Slash was doing:

I hear he's doin' better, y'know. Haven't seen him in three to four weeks but I hear he's doin better than in a long time. He seems to realize now that with this new album to be made there's like a... uh, time period he has to be sustainin' right. Which he couldn't do before because of the way he's livin' his life.


In 1989, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith would also call up on Slash to hear how he was doing [Musician, December 1990]. And Slash would later comment on David Bowie having a talk with him:

And when I was going through a really bad drug period, David was the guy who told me, `You're in a bad way. When you get so strung out you weaken yourself.' And I was sitting there going, `Yeah, right.' But at the same time, it helped me get clean.


In September 1991, Izzy would describe an incident that happened "about a year and a half ago", which would indicate it happened in late 1989 or early 1990, but more likely it happened before October 1989:

Like, about a year and a half ago, Slash got pulled over in LA for drunk driving and this was when he was using a lot of heroin, right? Anyway, I was staying in a hotel in Venice and he showed up at four in the morning, fucked out of his mind. How he managed to drive there will always remain a mystery to me! So I let him spend the night. The next morning I find two rigs (syringes) hidden in my closet. I told him: 'Listen, fucker, I got problems and I just can't have this shit around,' 'cos I was on probation for six months at the time. And I had to do drug testing - fuckin' involuntary piss-tests almost every day for about a month as well.


Slash's escalating drug and alcohol abuse led to Axl's famous "Mr. Brownstone" speech at The Stones show in October 1989 [see separate chapter for more information]. In a retrospective perspective in 1991, Slash would shed light on the incident as reported by The Los Angeles Times:

The problem that led to the Coliseum showdown, [Slash] says, wasn't the endless months on the road in 1987 and 1988, but the days and weeks after the tour ended in September, 1988--when the band members didn't have each other or their crews for support. Like Axl and the others, he thought he had found a new family in Guns N' Roses and felt isolated when the band returned from the marathon tour and there was no support group.


So again, it was the isolation that he felt after returning from the extensive touring in 1988, caused by newfound celebrity, little to do, and band members who drifted apart, that fueled Slash's addiction and ultimately leading to Axl's ultimatum.

Slash would not deny his problems, in Rolling Stone he would describe it as a "really serious heroin problem" in the period leading up to the shows with The Stones in October 1989, and that he promised to quit smack after these shows [Rolling Stone, January 1991]. From Steven's biography and Axl's "Mr. Brownstone" speech, it could seem like Slash actually promised to quit smack before the shows with The Stones.

Regardless, after the shows with The Stones, Slash promised to clean up.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:40 am

1989-1990
IZZY STARTS DRIFTING AWAY


In the beginning of the band Izzy was an immensely important piece in the puzzle that was Guns N' Roses:

I think that if either Axl, Izzy, or Slash leave the band, it will be completely different. You know, Izzy's really an essential part of that band, more than I think most people realize. The songwriting is a big part of it, but Izzy really is essential to what Guns N' Roses is. Everybody thinks Axl is what Guns N' Roses is, but Izzy's the founder of the whole idea. Izzy's the one that wanted to get the big hair, the image, that whole thing going. So, he's really like a major part. He's not just the rhythm guitar player, he's the guy that stuck with it, really pulled the thing from the bottom up.


But as the years went by, Izzy started to separate himself more and more from the band. This happened already after the Appetite touring in '88 and '89, partly to get some distance from the partying when he himself was trying to sober up, but also because he generally likes solitude:

"[Izzy] is the closest thing in the band to a loner; when he's on tour he likes to wander the streets by himself, and his girlfriend mentions he'd like to buy a house in the desert" [Musician, December 1988].

During the touring in 1988, Izzy got reacquainted with his estranged father. When telling about this in late 1988 to Musician magazine, he sounds wistful about Indiana and the simpler life he once had:

He comes walking backstage unannounced, completely out of the blue. Took a second or two to recognize him. It was a real trip. But it was definitely not...well, I don't want to get into it. I mean, in 10 years I've only been back to Indiana twice. I don't even know anyone there anymore; I don't keep in touch like Axl does. But when I look back, I do see some kind of stability that comes from growing up in a fucking cornfield. You're at one with the earth [laughter]. You don't give a shit about much. It's a simple life.


And not long after, as described in a previous chapter, Izzy had bought a home in Lafayette partly to get away from the toxic LA scene.


I moved back to Indiana in 1988, 89 — after Guns N' Roses had been out on tour and made some money. I bought a house (in Lafayette) and I've been based out of there since. I’ve got family and I've got old friends back there and I kind of got to know the place again, I suppose.

Izzy went back to Indiana. That pretty much explains the absurdity of the whole goddamn thing. The fucking idea of going back to Indiana - I am not even bagging on Indiana - I just know how much Izzy hated it. I went to high school with this guy. It's pitiful. It was the fame of the heroin addiction and the fear of death.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


In 1989 he started to drift more away from his band members as they fell into pits of addiction and exaggerated behaviors

We’ve gotten so – you know, we’ve gone through those periods where everybody was used to living together or staying in the same hotel, then when we go home we all live in different places. And I’d be busy doing my thing completely obsessed with what the band is doing, and Axl would be doing his thing, and everybody - so we wouldn’t see each other that much. And so Izzy just really got farther, and we got farther and farther away from him. And that had been developing over the years anyway.



IZZY PICKS UP TRAVELLING


With the free time in 1989, and possibly from enjoying the touring and travelling in 1988, Izzy started travelling extensively. In August 1989 he was travelling Europe, visiting both France and Germany, where he had an appointment with a dentist to "have all this new scientific shit pumped into my gums so my teeth won't keep fallin' out" [The Face, October 1989].

You could say I have been in exile for seven or eight months, travel here, travel there - as I feel like it. I don't have a really permanent place where I always am. Of course, I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles.

America, as I just said, is a great country to live in, but I always have my phase where I have to go somewhere else to escape the hustle and bustle and just relax. That's why I'm here. I really don't mind people coming up to me and saying hey Izzy, I think your band is awesome. But sometimes it's too much, people go too far. Europe is more relaxed than America in every respect. Here all this shit is an exception rather than an everyday occurrence. I saw too many people over there who got their teeth knocked in for no reason or were even shot. I don't like it, but you get used to it.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:41 am

EARLY 1989
SLASH SETTLES DOWN IN A GYPSY HOUSE


Until 1989 Slash had fiercely avoided burdening himself with a permanent residence, except for renting an apartment that seemed to have been more intended as a crash pad for partying than actually settling down (see previous chapter). Then at some point before before March of 1989, Slash had bought himself a house in the hills overlooking Laurel Canyon [Musician, December 1990].

Describing the house he had bought:

After renting for a while, I did what anyone with new money should do: I bought a house like my business manager told me to do.[…] I found a house off Laurel Canyon, which was the area of L.A. that set my mind at ease: it reminded me of the best memories I have of my youth. I bought my first house on Walnut Drive, just off Kirkwood, which is just off Laurel Canyon, and it was forever known as the Walnut Walnut House. […] The Walnut House was a two-bedroom, funky little tucked-away pad in need of interior design, so it seemed natural to me to hire the team that had styled the “Patience” video to transform my new house into a similarly gypsylike environment. They found all of the furniture at thrift stores and antique furniture shops, and while they got it all together, I moved in with our international publicist, Arlette [Vereecke].
Slash's autobiography, 2007


Since the house was styled after the "Patience" video, it must mean he bought the house in 1989.

Finally my broker found me a house to lease until I could get into the place I’ve bought. But I got really sick and when I came up here to get the keys I was so sick I didn’t have the patience to deal with it. So I left and went back to somebody else’s house and slept on their couch for a few days, then stayed at somebody else’s place. So I had the house for two weeks before I even slept in it.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


The rented house was precariously situated but it didn't stop Slash from having plenty of visitors:

Cab drivers refuse to take me here. The last part of the road is so bad it makes it easy for your tires to skid, I guess. We had a limo nearly go over the side the other night... It doesn’t seem to stop people just comin’ by whenever they feel like it, though.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


In March 1989 Slash expected it would still take some time before he could move into his own place and that he would very soon have to find himself another temporary place to live:

I have to leave here in about a week or so, anyway. Then I’m back out trying to find myself a place to stay, because my house is being decorated and painted and this and that. So it’s gonna be about a month and a half before it’s actually livable. I don’t have the patience to live there while people are coming in and out all day long and all that shit. I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m gonna stay. I’m gonna stay at Alan’s house, maybe. Or Steven’s house.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


While the house was being decorated Slash moved in with the band's publicist, Arlette Vereecke:

[Arlette] had been hired on back when we played those first three English dates at the Marquee. She’d taken a maternal shine to me, probably because I was such a stray puppy at the time. She let me bring my snake Clyde over, who’d been living with Del James for a while, as well as Pandora and Adrianna. [...] I stayed with her for three or four months but I did little to change.
Slash's autobiography, 2007


He shared the house with his guitar tech, Adam Day:

‘No, downstairs there is Adam, my guitar tech.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:41 am

1989
IN A GAME OF DRUGS, STEVEN GOES ALL IN


I wish I had never done heroin, that’s my wish. I wasted a lot of my life...

____________________________________________________

Steven was in increasingly worse shape as Duff would recount:

[Steven] had bought a house just three blocks from mine and as a result I was able to check on him more often; what that amounted to in practical terms was watching helplessly as his crack and heroin use escalated. It got so bad, and he seemed so incapable of reining it in, that at one point I found out where his drug dealer lived and took a shotgun to the guy's house.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155


And while in Chicago in the summer of 1989:

Unfortunately this was also the point at which Steven really started to go overboard with his cocaine and heroin intake. I was nothing close to sober then, but I maintained a line I would not cross-which meant, first and foremost, that I would not let my work suffer. Also over the line: putting my life in jeopardy, putting someone else's life in jeopardy, getting arrested. Slash maintained a similar line-especially when it came to rehearsing and playing live shows. [...] In Chicago, Steven started to become frightening even to us, a couple of guys not accustomed to getting spooked when it came to intoxicants.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151


The episode with the shotgun might have happened in 1990, though, as the band was trying to get Steven off drugs so he could perform in the studio [see later chapter].

Steven would be convinced by his techie to go in rehab in January 1989 [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 187], which caused him to miss a show on American Music Awards. It would be the first of many attempts at sobering up. As Izzy would phrase it, "Stevie has probably been on several of those missions, yeah" [The Face, October 1989]. Axl might have been referencing this, when he in February 1989 said that "Stevie's got a way like, things just come up in his life" when explaining why they split the revenues almost equally between the band members, implying that he had a costly habit [Howard Stern, February 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:42 am

MARCH 1989
SLASH TO LEAVE FOR MEGADETH?


The media increasingly wrote about the friction in the band. To them, the battle was between Axl and Slash, with Axl slowly gaining the upper hand, as it would be phrased in Raw Magazine in May 1989:

This is very much [Axl's] band and very much his driving force that keeps everything on certain rails. He is the leader, Slash (at least in band terms) his own man. Of necessity that puts the onus more on Axl to keep the Guns n' Roses juggernaut motoring, leaving Slash more time to ruminate on his own position.
RAW Magazine, May 1989


Maybe because of this, in the first half of 1989 Slash started jamming with Dave Mustaine and there were rumours that they would start a separate band together. It is also likely that Slash might have found the music of Megadeth more aligned with his own aspirations than the more piano-driven music that Axl had started to focus on and Axl's ambitions to evolve Guns N' Roses into a more diverse band like Queen.

Slash's involvement with Megadeth went as far as Mustaine inviting Slash to join the band [Blast! April 1989]; a "joke offer" according to Slash:

And I toyed with the idea of winding up the rest of Guns n' Roses by telling them that I'd accepted this offer. Ha!


This implies a growing frustration with Slash and how things were developing in Guns N' Roses.


Dave Mustaine and Slash
August 1988


The story was picked up by other media outlets as well: Axl and Slash was developing frontman-lead guitarist syndrome [MTV, 1989].

In 2018, Mustaine corroborated this story when he mentioned that he and Slash had recently talked about how they, in the 80s, had talked about "[Slash] joining Megadeth and leaving Guns N’ Roses and we were jamming together a lot" [Metalhead zone, October 2018].

Duff considered Slash and Mustaine jamming as frustration on Slash's part with the "directionless path that GN'R was on" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148].

Slash just wanted Guns to get back to being a gang of dudes who hung out together all the time. As equals. With no bullshit. But there was no communication.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148


According to RAW Magazine from May 1989, Slash also "talked about getting involved with other outside projects [beyond Megadeth] simply to let off certain creative instincts that don't fit into The Gunners' style." This was allegedly not so much a frustration borne out of a "directionless path" as Duff would claim in his biography, but frustration arising from increasing musical differences between two uncompromising musicians, Slash and Axl, that resulted in Slash having to yield and compromise [Raw Magazine, may 1989].

Axl would be frank about conflict issues in the band:

We have to work on pulling things together because we definitely have our own lives and individual personalities and dreams and goal. And, so then what you try to do is to try to find a way to make all those things fit together, and it's not necessarily easy, none of us are trained in psychology. Maybe we need a child psychologist on the road. She could look great too, that would help [chuckle].


The friction between Axl and Slash would be magnified when Axl called out the band for doing too much heroin during their shows with The Rolling Stones in October 1989, and demanding that Slash addressed the crowd and apologized. In December 1989, media would report that both Axl and Slash played with Michael Monroe, but not together suggesting that "their unwillingness to appear on stage together may be another indication that relations between the two band mates are still not completely thought out" [MTV News, December 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:43 am

JANUARY-AUGUST, 1989
IZZY IS ON-AN-OFF WITH DRUGS


Like Slash, Izzy and Steven were into heroin, too. Duff would remark that Izzy's and Slash's extensive drug abuse may be linked to coping with the tragedy at Donington, but that they at the time of the interview (July or before) were now "cleaned out and revved up" [Raw Magazine, July 1989]. As seen from the quotes in earlier chapters, this was likely not correct for Slash although Izzy might have been in the process of cleaning up [see later chapter on Izzy getting sober]. That Izzy was trying to clean up is also implied from him buying a house in Lafayette in 1988, likely partly to get away from the temptations of Los Angeles.

Another night, Slash and I paid a visit to Izzy at his new place. He had a loft in his apartment where he would hide from the world, shooting smack and smoking coke. We came by unannounced and evidently disturbed him. He was all weird and strung out from the drugs. He just said, "Hey," and kind of circled the room a few times, scratching his shoulders and his head like he had lice or something.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 187


Steven Tyler, who knew the band after they had opened for Aerosmith in 1988, would talk to Izzy:

I remember, we were talking on the phone and I said, "Steven, I've got this hole that goes through the middle of my sinuses. I've got like one nostril now." He goes, "Oh yeah - deviated septum." He knew all the terminology. I was like, what? Let me write this down. Oh fuck, yeah! That's me - wait, hang on..." [Pretends to snort another fat line].


This phone conversation was likely from late 1988 because about half-a-year later, in mid-1989, Izzy was still hard at it:

I had a lot of conversations with Steven. Mainly, he would tell me really fucking scary drug stories - shit like locking himself in a bathroom and filling in all the tile cracks with toothpaste. And seeing worms... I thought, whoah, I'll never get that bad!

Then another half-a-year went by and I found myself driving down the 101 freeway in LA and I'm seeing snow, cos I've been up for like days, doing coke. Oh, man... And then that fuckin' worm thing came up! I was staying with this coke dealer. I'd been up for five fucking days, and I was out in his garage, for what reason I'll never know. And I pulled open this drawer of nuts and screws, and sure enough, man, they were turning into maggots! I thought, I gotta get the fuck out of here...


At the end of 1989, Izzy went to Indiana to clean up [see later chapter on Izzy getting sober].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:43 am

APRIL 1989
'PATIENCE' IS RELEASED


After having released a few singles and music videos in support of 'Appetite' the band would only release one single and accompanying music video from GN'R Lies, for the song Patience. It was released in April 1989 in the US and in June 1989 in the UK.


Patience



THE PATIENCE MUSIC VIDEO


The Patience music video would be mentioned in the fan club Conspiracy Incorporated newsletter from March 1989:

The band has just completed filming a video of “Patience”. The video has life footage of the band while utilizing a sub plot about Axls vision of what “Patience” really means. We don’t have much more information about the video but we’re sure it will be hot! MTV first aired it on March 22nd.


Talking about the new video and whether he liked making videos in general:

It depends... We’ve done three videos already ['Welcome to the Jungle', 'Paradise City' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'] - four now, with the new one we’ve just done for “Patience”. That was OK. Easy enough... I just sat in this bed playing with my snakes. It was kind of cool. There’s something about all our videos I like. I just don’t like the boring side of actually making them. I’d always rather be doing something else...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989


In 1995, Slash would talk about the snake scene:

I just took Pandora down to the video shoot and we did a scene where I'm laying in bed. She's just a regular red-tailed boa—it's a he, actually. He's a real sweetheart. I named him Pandora because I thought it was a she. I didn't really check him out too well when I got him.

So, I took him down to shoot this scene in the video, a scene that I wrote. I always write my own scenes, and I had this idea to use a snake. It's pretty cool.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:43 am

1989-1990
AXL FASTENS HIS GRIP ON THE BAND


While Steven was becoming less and less important to the band, and the band was starting to splinter during the downtime in the first half of 1989, Axl was increasingly taking a leading role:

Word was getting back to me that people were whispering in Axl's ear, saying all the ass-kissing cliches: "You're the guy, you're the basis of the band's success". That's cancer for any band.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148


When famous radio host Howard Stern called Axl in February 1989, he wasn't merely whispering in Axl's ears, he was repeatedly telling him that Axl was the one writing all the songs in the band and should have a bigger share of the revenue [Howard Stern Radio Show, February 1989]. In this same radio interview, Axl would mention that he had been "very, very mad at Slash" but not explain why [Howard Stern Radio Show, February 1989].

Axl would also imply that he was in charge:

I can't be doing drugs every night because, after selling six million records, the business I have to deal with is a lot more intense than most people's. Once you reach a point where you're platinum or projected to go platinum, all of a sudden you're dealing with major record executives and business people and MTV and everything else.

I'm like the president of a company that's worth between $125 million and a quarter billion dollars.


Yet, when asked in March or April 1989, Slash would deny that they were growing apart:

Actually, because the success has fucked with everybody's heads so much, we're sort of like clinging to each other for support, and to keep some sort of mental balance, y'know?


And Axl would also emphasize that they made decisions together as a band:

[Discussing Axl's desire to do big stageshows]: Probably, but it will all be with the say-so of the band. I mean, the band will be the judge of everything that is involved with it.


When asked explicitly if he considered himself "the leader of the band," Axl would reply:

That's a good question. I'm gonna do what I want to do. That may be selfish, but it's the best way for the most to come out of me. When we write a song, nobody in this band plays anything they don't really want to. When we write a song, the bass player plays his line and it ends up being what he wants to do on bass. It ends up working that way and fitting, so we end up with a set of songs that everybody likes. I couldn't say I'm the leader, like "We're gone do what I say." It doesn't work that way.


When recounting how the rest of the band would consider him a dictator when they worked on songs in Chicago, Axl would dismiss that:

Listen, after working with Jagger it was like, don't ever call me a dictator again, man. You can go and work for the Stones and you’ll learn the hard way...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993


Axl would also state that he was gradually taking over more aspects of running the business side of the band after having seen how Jagger steered The Rolling Stones:

That guy walks off stage and goes and does paperwork. He says “Excuse me, I’ve got to do paperwork..." […] That guy is involved in every little aspect, you know, from what the background singers are getting paid to how much we’re paying for this part of the PA. He is on top of all of it. It’s him and his lawyer, OK? And a couple of guys that he hangs with, you know, part of the entourage. But basically, it’s all him...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993


One of the issues between band members were differences in approach to working, and especially frustration with Axl's attention to detail:

I'm too much of a perfectionist, I know that. I'm a perfectionist so much, that I don't get a lot of things done. [...] My main motivation for all of this, and it could never be anything but, is the music, the songs. I look at it like I'm a painter or something, and that's my motivation, just to be able to get the material out the way I want it. I'm not driven for financial things, those are a bit more than secondary. It's like, I can get as excited about making money as the next person in that I'm gonna be able to buy this and that, but if the song doesn't come out the way I really wanted it to then I'm more disappointed, and the money doesn't really mean anything to me then. I now that's hard for a lot of people to believe, but that's something that we've kinda stuck by the whole time, as much as possible


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:44 am

SLASH AND HIS SNAKES


When Slash moved into his house in early 1989, he started with a serious approach to collecting snakes and other reptiles, and also bought a pair of Rottweilers [Musician, December 1990].

In an interview released in February 1990, he would describe his snake collection:

Fifteen. They’re all long and range over several different types. Chicken snakes, pythons, rattlesnakes, boas... I have a mangrove too. It’s deadly. It’s a “rear-fanged” species; so in order for it to deliver a poisonous bite, it would have to work itself around so the rear fangs would have contact with your skin. I’m thinking of getting a cobra. […] I just think they’re gorgeous. And I don’t hold them that much or keep them around for companionship. God knows snakes aren't for that. I keep them around because I like them. I'm one of those people who can get into their personalities.


He would also mention the snake from the 'Patience' video:

That's Pandora, my boa constrictor. She's one of my favorites. I also love my two great anacondas. I also have a genuine Indian python - the real thing. It's almost extinct. I also have a Burmese python. That's the one I'm using for the cover shot.


In late 1990 he was considering getting a bigger house to accommodate even more snakes [Musician, December 1990].

You can come into my house on a giving day and find a snake in every room. […] Pythons and Boas, tree boas, reticulated pythons and blood python, Burmese python, carpet pythons and African rock pythons and anacondas and all this stuff. And then I've got another... I had like a bookcase that I converted into another snake tank, it's got three boas and stuff. It's cool, it's a lot of fun.


You can come into my house on a giving day and find a snake in every room. […] Pythons and Boas, tree boas, reticulated pythons and blood python, Burmese python, carpet pythons and African rock pythons and anacondas and all this stuff. And then I've got another... I had like a bookcase that I converted into another snake tank, it's got three boas and stuff. It's cool, it's a lot of fun.


In September 1991 Slash would describe his snake collection:

Yeah, 25. They're all in my house. I have a snake room and I have like a wall tank, it used to be a closet which I converted into a case and then there's aquariums everywhere. And then I've got ten cats and a big lizard that walks around the house and two dogs. I live in a little house, it's really overcrowded.


In October 1991 it was reported he owned "23 snakes, 2 dogs and 12 cats" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. In December 1991, when Slash bought a home off Mulholland Drive [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991] he still kept his other house in Laurel Hills for his "16 snakes, eight cats and two Rottweilers" [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991].

During the touring of 1991-1992, Slash would have two friends, Jim and Larry, who would take care of his extensive collection of snakes [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992].

By late January 1994, Slash would say he had about 50 pets, listing "a lot of reptiles", "a lot of cats" and a mountain lion called Curtis [97.7 HTZ_FM, January 1994].

My wife's cousin Greg, his first visit to LA, right. He comes to my house, he had to sleep in the room where all the cobras are. And so, he got a little nervous, 'cause the cobras get up at night and start moving around. So he moved into my wife's office. And he had Curtis to deal with and all that, and all of a sudden the earthquake. […] So he's pretty frazzled. He got about 20 years of stress in about ten minutes [laughs].

No. I wouldn't trust him with it - he wouldn't know what to do! No, he's a pretty good father. He's got a baby cougar - it's like having a kid, and he's been really good with it. […] The cougar's cool; we hang out with him a lot. Now he's getting big, he's like eight months old, and he's the same size as me now - he's 150 pounds! He's fun. If you're sitting there playing pinball, he'll stalk you and pounce on you. It's fun. He's got a really good personality.


The snakes were kept all over the house:

[…] they stay in the cages. But there's cages all over the house. […] But I keep most of them separated. Like... you know, I have one room, which is my office that has all the dangerous snakes. You know, the poisonous ones in that room and then there's a couple of rooms in the back of the house... When we bought the house, there's a maid's room. I don't have a maid so I put... that whole room is filled with cages. And then there's a, what do you call it? A maintenance room in the garage, and then there's a couple of big cages in the main part of the house.


Being asked if his then-wife Renee likes the snakes:

She's... I mean, anybody that can deal with me as a husband, you know... Snakes really aren't that kinda big deal.


Slash's animal hobby had been gradually growing and in 1995 he would talk about the reptile conservation efforts he was involved in:

I have two warehouses [with snakes] now. I have a ton of snakes and I have some associates, we breed them. […] They're extraordinary. I used to name them but after it got to be so many I stopped. They can't hear anyway. We have a lot of lizards, too. We have a mail order thing going. I used to give snakes to all my friends. Mike Inez has one, Adam has one. Albino Burmese pythons. Axl's got one. […] I just have a couple of snakes at my house, little guys that were caught over by Matt's house. They're great. I love them. Snakes aren't that big a deal but it's an inbred thing, we've all been taught that they're evil.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994

We're sort of like a very discreet mail-order business. I've got some amazing stuff, albino boa constrictors, exotic pythons, all sorts. You know the reptile house at London Zoo? Well, imagine an even more complex set-up than that. Mine isn't open to the public or anything like that, but there are other similar set-ups around the US that I keep in touch with, and we kind of buy and trade snakes, more or less to keep them from being taken out of the wild. We reproduce them ourselves, so if anyone wants to get hold of something really off the wall, you know, a left-field exotic snake, well, instead of some bushman going out and ripping one out if a tree, you can call us up and we'll get you one.


He would also mention one of his snakes taking one of his cats (he would later owning having twelve domestic cats [Online chat, October 16, 1996]):

We almost lost one of the cats to one of the snakes once. We try to keep them separated.
Metal Edge, April 1995; interview from December 1994


And Duff would mentioned an episode with a poisonous iguana:

One night, I was over at Slash's house and Slash was at the recording studio doing a guitar part and one of his albino's got into the cage of a poisonous iguana. The iguana had a hold of the snake in its mouth and was in full on survival mode. I was freaking out. I am not a snake handler— they are not dogs, right? So, I got Slash on the speaker phone. "Okay, dude. Now I got the gloves on and I have the poisonous iguana and the snake, dude, what happens if this iguana bites me?"

"You will die," Slash said.

"I will die? Nah, he can’t bite through the gloves..." […]

I got them apart and got the one in its cage and the other in its cage. Never again. Never again am I going to fucking separate a poisonous iguana and a python.
Conspiracy Fan Club Newsletter Volume One Issue Two, July 1995; unknown publish date, but before July 1995


Cats and snakes are the two things I've had as far back as I can remember, and it's probably because of the fact that I never wanted what you'd call pets. You know, cats take care of themselves and snakes, for the most part, are very independent and don't want to be treated as pets. I mean, I love dogs, but… we have a dog now, and eight o'clock every morning she'll start barking at anything that moves around, you know, the gardener coming over or something like that. […] There's a certain sense of adventure to being around something that still has a wild side to it, that can't be completely domesticated. We have some interesting cats.

[…] When Renee, my wife, and I first started going out together… in fact, I think it was the first time we'd slept together, and we were over at my house up in the loft, and Ronnie, who's our tour manager for the Snakepit thing, was taking care of the snakes. We'd converted part of the bathroom into a snake room, see, and it was a walk-in room with a sliding glass door. So Ronnie was working with the snakes, and one of our cats, Sushi, who is fascinated with anywhere where she's not supposed to be, went into the snake room because she's never been allowed in there. And one of the bigger snakes came out from the ceiling and grabbed her, and it took three of us to get them separated. […] you use a chemical [to make a snake release a prey], like Chlorox, or bleach, and you put it up to the snake's nose, because snakes don't like chemicals at all. So that's how I did it. But, at the time, Ronnie didn't really have any idea about how to separate a cat and 15-foot snake.


And that he had recently bought some "stupid expensive" snakes:

Probably the most stupid expensive thing was just recently I bought two albino boa constrictors, a male and a female, for an impressive amount of money. Everyone’s like, you spent what on what? But then they do breed, and I can sell the babies to different breeders I know.


By October 1996 he had about 180 snakes:

I have roughly around a hundred and eighty permanent snakes, but we keep breeding them so it changes all the time. My most rare snakes to date are my albino boa constrictors.


By 2004 he had got rid of the snakes:

I had more than 50 snakes. Snakes were my hobby. I’ve never been interested in too much outside of rock’n’roll. Some musicians like to play golf. I liked to play with snakes and they didn’t require too much attention. But the snakes got too much. I also have a lot of cats and one of the cats got in with the snakes. It took three of us to separate them. Then, when my wife got pregnant, I realized that the snakes had to go. Babies and snakes are not the greatest combination.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:44 am

MAY 1989
AXL FIGHTS A WOMAN


In May 1989, it was reported that Axl had gotten in a fight with a woman at Club With No Name [L.A. Weeks, June 2, 1989]. The woman allegedly had a knife and Axl kicked her in the stomach [L.A. Weeks, June 2, 1989]. After investigation the police decided to not press charges [L.A. Weeks, June 2, 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:45 am

JANUARY-NOVEMBER, 1989
DUFF, THE KING OF BEERS III


Similarly to his band mates, Duff's drinking would increase after returning from the touring in early 1989.

For a while, we were separated . . . we didn't have each other to talk to every day. We were on our own. I was drunk, Slash was doing smack. There was an adjustment period because we were used to living in (crap) around town, but all of a sudden, there was all this money and you'd go to a club, the Whisky or whatever, and people would mob you. […] It (messes) your head . . . and I wanted to escape. I didn't know how to deal with things. The easiest thing to do was go to the liquor store and get two half-gallons of vodka and drink it.


The drinking and drug abuse escalated while Steven, Duff and Slash were holed up in Chicago in the summer of 1989 waiting for their band mates to join them.

One night I was so fucked up that somebody pulled me aside and said, "Here, do a little coke and you'll sober right up." And there you go, that was the secret potion. [...] Coke just allowed me to pursue my favored mind-altering regimen-vodka-harder and for longer periods of time.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151

Unfortunately this was also the point at which Steven really started to go overboard with his cocaine and heroin intake. I was nothing close to sober then, but I maintained a line I would not cross-which meant, first and foremost, that I would not let my work suffer. Also over the line: putting my life in jeopardy, putting someone else's life in jeopardy, getting arrested. Slash maintained a similar line-especially when it came to rehearsing and playing live shows. [...] In Chicago, Steven started to become frightening even to us, a couple of guys not accustomed to getting spooked when it came to intoxicants.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 151


After returning to Los Angeles after their ill-fated Chicago trip, Duff was able to cut back on his excesses, he started exercising a bit and rarely did coke or took pills [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155]. Steven, on the other hand, would claim that both Slash and Duff's addictions caused them to show up to rehearsal drunk, or not at all [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192].

All the abuse caused troubles for the band and their plans to work on a follow-up to 'Appetite'. In his biography, Duff would relate how he and Axl were worried about their comrades:

"What are we going to do?" [Axl] asked. I had no answer. We talked, but all we could do was hope they would find it in themselves to pull back and get into the swing of things as far as the band was concerned. We never thought of rehab or interventions back then.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 148


When the band started rehearsing for the Rolling Stones gigs in October 1989, the heroin use started to affect the band professionally, with some of them coming in late, or leaving early, or not meeting at all [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156]. Duff would probably be discussing this period in the quote below:

Drugs are bad, yeah. I will always be the first to say that. And everybody in this band has had his bouts with drugs, but that’s all over now, really. It doesn’t mess with the band anymore, that’s the thing. Before, it used to mess with the band; guys weren’t showing up for rehearsals, guys were coming to gigs all fucked up. But it’s like, that’s all over now, man.
Kerrang! March 1990



GETTING ALL PUFFED UP


By late 1989 Duff's alcoholism was starting to affect his appearances. Duff would describe how he looked "a couple of months" after the Coliseum gigs with The Stones:

I was like 20 pounds heavier than I am now . . . just from alcohol. My face was all puffy and pale, and I said to myself, 'This is not me.' So I quit drinking and I poured all the alcohol in my house out, but I almost died from the withdrawals.


This would imply that Duff quit drinking some time in early 1990, yet, when Mick Wall interviewed him in January 1990, Wall would describe Duff as "half-cut" so at best Duff had only cut down on his drinking by this time. Wall would also describe Duff's looks:

I took a good look at him. At a glance, he looked fine, just like his pictures... tall (bottled) blond in faded 501s squeezed into tight black leather chaps, heavy black motorcycle boots, black cotton shirt undone to the stomach and a battered blue denim jacket with the sleeves sawn off. You could see the ladies’ eyes flash like traffic signals every time Duff appeared in the room. But looking at his face close up he wasn’t such a pretty sight. The corn-coloured hair was lank and greasy; the pink cherubic features pale and unshaven. His eyes were the shade of deep red eyes go when they’ve been up all night drinking, or crying. Or both.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990


[The implication Wall makes of Duff having cried was related to Duff and his wife just breaking up.]


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:46 am

1989
AXL IS FEATURED ON STEVE JONES' 'FIRE AND GASOLINE' ALBUM


Some time in 1989 -- when was this? When oh when was it? -- Axl added vocals to Steve Jones' 'I Did U No Wrong' [The Munster Times, November 12, 1989] which would be included on Jones' 'Fire and Gasoline' album. Jones would describe how the collaboration came to be:

I was on my bike on Sunset Boulevard. And Axl was standing there surrounded by girls. I had no idea who he was at first. But he says, 'Hey, you're Steve Jones!’ After that, every time I'd see him, he'd rave on about lovin' the Pistols. Finally, I asked him if he'd like to join me in doing an old Pistols song for my album. He loved the idea.
The Munster Times, November 12, 1989

I’d see Axl out at the clubs and he’d always come over and ask me all these questions about the Sex Pistols. When I decided to include the Pistols’ ‘I Did U No Wrong’ on my album, I just asked Axl if he’d want to sing on it.
The Record, November 12, 1989


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:47 am

1989
AXL STRUGGLES TO BUY A HOUSE


Axl's desire to move from Los Angeles in 1988/1989 might have partly stemmed from his struggles in Hollywood at the time. In early 1989 it would be reported how Axl wasn't able to find a place to live in Hollywood, because no one wanted to sell to him.

[…] I still can't go and buy a house anywhere in Hollywood because people won't sell me their houses, or their neighbors won't let them!

[Talking about what irritates him the most]: That I couldn't find a house in Hollywood to buy, rent or steal for a reasonable price. […] You can't make a million bucks and sit down and talk to people about, 'Oh man, I can't find the right house for a million bucks'. Your friends are saying, 'Oh, dude, your problems must be rough!'. They laugh in your face, because they think it's ridiculous.


But in July 1989 it was reported that Axl was living in a spacious Spanish bungalow together with his girlfriend Erin Everly [Juke, July 1989], and he would comment that he was "very happy with it" [Kerrang! June 1989].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:49 am

JUNE 6, 1989
STEVEN MARRIES CHERYL LYNN SWIDERSKI


According to Cheryl Lynn Swiderski, at the October 20, 1987, gig at the Trocadero, Philadelphia, Fred Coury would introduce her to Steven. About two years later, Steven and Cheryl would get married in a private ceremony in Las Vegas on June 6, 1989 [The News Journal, June 1989].

It is doubtful the relationship between Steven and Cheryl was well-known among the band members, as this quote from Izzy attests to:

Apparently [Steven] went to Nevada, got fucked up, met some girl and, like, ended up marryin' her or somethin'. And the headline, y'know... It read something like "GN'R DRUMMER MARRIES GIRL: SAYS I CAN STILL FUCK AROUND". Incredible!


The couple planned a proper church ceremony sometime in 1990 after the follow-up to 'Appetite' was recorded [The News Journal, June 1989].

Unfortunately, Steven's drug use would ruin the relationship:

I spiraled downwards as the drugs took over and soon I became a selfish prick from hell.[...] Anything could set me off and soon Cheryl was spending as much time out of the house as possible. I stopped bathing. I wore the same shirt for two or three weeks. I wasn't thinking or caring. I was totally self-absorbed. This was it, the lowlife's high life.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 185


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:49 am

JUNE 1989
ROCK AND A HARD PLACE


As an approach to fight the accusations of the band being homophobic, in early 1989, David Geffen arranged for the band to take part in an AIDS Benefit Concert called "Rock and a Hard Place" that was to take place in New York City in June [Circus Magazine, May 1989]. In April 1989, it was reported that Guns N' Roses was billed above Whitesnake and Aerosmith [L.A. Weekly, April 21, 1989].

It's something [record company president] David Geffen is putting together. Or at least [he's] involved with, and he asked us if we would do.


The band agreed to do it, probably mostly to create awareness of a new disease that was causing fear in the music scene:

We're against AIDS and we just want to help out because as soon as it hits the rock crowd, it's over. Once one guy gets it, everybody is going down. Maybe that's why people are getting it, everybody's going down-hill.

The only serious problem today isn't violence, or drugs, but AIDS. It's there, it can strike anywhere and anyone.

The only thing I see that will likely kill the spirit of rock 'n' roll is AIDS. I know that may sound funny, but it's something that really worries me. Since no major rock star has died from it yet, the scare really hasn't permeated the music scene. But as soon as someone like (names a major rock star) goes, then the girl who was with him will be with the next band, and the next, and so on, and before we know it, the 1990s could wind up being the age of no bands at all. Five years from now, you just watch and see what happens.


But then, on the demands of the sponsor, Gay Men's Health Crisis, the band was kicked off the event [L.A. Weekly, April 21, 1989; Journal and Courier, March 1989; Arizona Republic, March 1989; Daily News, March 1989].

David Geffen had us on this AIDS benefit in 1989 or ’90 [it was in June 1989], and it was gonna be at Radio City Music Hall [in New York], and we were the headliner for this thing. And the Gay Alliance or Rainbow Coalition or something [it was the Gay Men's Health Crisis] gave David Geffen so much grief that we were kicked off.
The Onion A.V. Club, May 2011

It's really unfortunate that they don't want us to do it. We wanted to really make some money for AIDS, you know, cuz it's a big problem and it's unfortunate that they felt that strong and pulled us. I don't agree with them.

We're in no way associated with the Gay Men's Health Crisis, except that David Geffen is on the board of directors for the concert and he's the owner of our record company. We were asked to do this, and we wanted to contribute some money to help stop a deadly disease that's killing humans of all kinds. A friend of mine who's homosexual and was largely responsible for the record companies taking notice of us was upset about it because we didn't even get a chance to clear ourselves, to make good. AIDS is something very scary. The concert was something we wanted to do and felt it was important to do but we were denied the opportunity. We were even denied the opportunity to say anything about it. It was just publicly announced that we weren't allowed to do it because the Gay Men's Health Crisis wouldn't let us. I don't feel they have the right to deny the money and attention they would have gotten from us playing. It's pride, it's ignorant and it's childish.


As a consequence of being kicked off the event, Axl was reported to consider doing an AIDS benefit of his own [L.A. Weekly, April 21, 1989].


JOSEPH BROOKS AND HENRY PECK


The homosexual friend Axl mentioned in the quote above is likely Joseph Brooks or Henry Peck, whom Axl had mentioned when he was discussing homosexuality on a previous occasion:

The only people I deal with that are gay are [Cathouse DJ] Joseph Brooks and [DJ-about-town] Henry Peck, and I try not to offend them. Their sex life doesn’t come into any view of mine, ‘cause I’d just flip out. So it’s not like some kind of aggressive-against-gays shit.



EPILOGUE


The event did not happen in June 1989, but was postponed to March 1990 and renamed to That's What Friends Are For [New York Times, March 17, 1990], still without Guns N' Roses on the bill.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:50 am

JUNE 27, 1989
AXL IS FEATURED ON DON HENLEY'S 'END OF INNOCENCE' ALBUM


In 1988 or 1989, Axl was asked by Don Henley to provide backing vocals on the song 'I Will Not Go Quietly' to be included on Henley's third solo album.

[Henley] just wanted a background singer on the song, and actually the guy he’s working with, you know, suggested me and it just fit. And I went in. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Don Henley, except that he didn’t really know that I was so into his music. But I used to practice with the Eagles to learn certain melodies. There’s a lot of, I don’t know, street-wise and worldly-wise wisdom in all the Eagles material and I learned a lot from them. […] He was somebody I always wanted to meet, you know. I was in there making fun of the tea he drinks, singing Wasted Time [Eagles song] but changing the word to Sunbirds tea, and stuff like that.


The song would be featured on Henley's 'The End of Innocence' album which was released in June 1989.

Not long after Axl went into the studio to sing with Henley, Guns N' Roses would ask Henley to return the favorite by sitting in on drums for Steven during the 1989 American Music Awards while Steven was in rehab [see earlier chapter].


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:50 am

SUMMER OF 1989
RELOCATING TO CHICAGO


As discussed previously, Axl had wanted the band, or eat least Slash and him, to live together for a while to work efficiently on the next record.Nothing had come out of this. Instead, in the summer of 1989 the band moved to Chicago for two-three months to try to write for their follow-up record.

We went to Chicago to get a place to rehearse and record—we wanted to get away from the hassles of Los Angeles.


According to Duff in his biography, Axl was the guy who had originally suggested to relocate the band to Chicago. The idea was partly to get the band back together again (similar to their Gardner Street days when they had lived together and been efficient at writing songs), and partly because Axl wanted to be closer to his roots in Lafayette, Indiana. In Duff's words, the band "bowed to Axl's wishes" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 149].

Slash would say both Izzy and Axl wanted to get away from LA and be closer to Lafayette, and that it was he, Slash, who chose Chicago:

[Izzy and Axl] wanted to go there and get some sort of foundation, as far as having a home life, and so on. Living in LA was so crazy, people at you all the time. You couldn't think, it was constant. I personally didn't have anywhere to go, so I picked Chicago because it's a big metropolis and it's close.


In 1990, Duff said the idea was to try to get some of the songs they already had down on tape [Kerrang! March 1990].


SLASH, DUFF AND STEVEN ARRIVES


Exactly when the Slash, Duff and Steven, who where the first to arrive [Kerrang! March 1990], got to Chicago, and how long they stayed is not known. In December 1993, Duff would claim Slash, Steven and him were there for three months [Metal Express, December 1993]. Steven claims in his biography that the stay in Chicago took place already in March 1989. But from an interview with Duff in March 1990, it can be implied they arrived in April/May [Kerrang! March 1990].

It is also clear they didn't stay there constantly throughout the summer, since Slash and Duff went back to Los Angeles at least for the period June 16-19 when Slash took his mother to a David Bowie show in LA (June 16 or 17) and Slash and Duff went to a Faith No More show at the Roxy (June 19) [L.A. Weekly, June 30, 1989]. If Steven is correct in them going to Chicago before April 1989, then he too, likely left Chicago for a while when he got married in Las Vegas on June 6 [The News Journal, June 30, 1989].

The band would use the vacant Top Note Theatre above Cabaret Metro on Clark Street [Chicago Tribune, May 1991].

Steven claims in his biography the rest of the guys avoided him when they were in Chicago:

We'd always have blow on us at the studio. But when I'd offer to cut them a line they would refuse. Then Slash and Duff would go in some other room to party. "Hey, where ya going?" I would begin to follow them only to find that they had shut the door on me. To this day I have no idea why, other than I felt they believed I just wasn't cool enough to hang out with anymore.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 190-191

At rehearsals, I felt I was getting pushed out of the songwriting circle as well. we would be working on the dynamics of a song and the three of us would throw around ideas. Then suddenly the exchange would be limited to Duff and Slash. I learned just to sit and wait patiently. They would agree on something, then turn to me and say, "Okay, Steven, this is what we're going to do"
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:50 am

SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO
INCOGNITO GONE WRONG


The band members wanted little press attention while in Chicago, presumably to concentrate on working on the music, but this didn't work out since they made little attempts to hide and were spotted around town. One place they visited was Kelly's pub where three of the band members (highly likely Steven, Duff and Slash) was immediately recognized as GN'R band members by the proprietor's daughter [Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2019].

On June 24, New Musical Express would report that the band was in Chicago "rehearsing for a US tour" [New Musical Express, June 1989]. And The Chicago Tribune deciding to run a story on the band being in their city with an article being published on June 26. According to L.A. Weekly, the Tribune tried to get an interview with members of the band, but when they refused the Tribune retaliated by publishing the band's Chicago address.

As part of that story the Tribune also contacted Doug Goldstein, one of the band's managers, to get a comment:

Why do you think we sent them to the Midwest? They couldn't get (expletive) done in L.A. They left to do the early work and rehearse for the next album. Who the (expletive) do you think you're (expletive) dealing with? If you (expletive) print anything that says they're there, you'll never talk to this (expletive) band. Ever.


In complete disregard to Goldstein, The Chicago Tribune published their story. As part of the article they also asked Geffen Records to comment on the band being in Chicago, with a spokesperson from Geffen saying:

Only management knows where they are. All we know is that they're working on the album outside the city.


The Tribune also talked to Tom Mayhue, the band's stage manager, who would claim the band had only been in Chicago for four days for the National Association of Music Merchandisers convention [Chicago Tribune, June 1989].

Duff and Slash would later comment on the press attention they received when supposed to be laying low:

And then we tried to go to Chicago and get away from the LA scene, Just so that we could get together and rehearse. The next thing you know they printed in the paper where we were living. So there were hundreds of kids outside the apartment and there was just no concentrating there. Ever.

On top of that, a Chicago newspaper did a piece about the band living there in town, writing songs for a record, and even revealed the street where we were living and the location where we were rehearsing. Perhaps the lone advantage Chicago could have offered was anonymity, and now kids came to seek us out from all over the place with the hope of getting a glimpse of us or even partying with the band now tagged as the most dangerous in the world. This was not good.
It's So Easy (and other lies): The Autobiography (p. 151)


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:51 am

SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO
TRYING TO GET THINGS DONE


Slash, Duff and Steven got resentful when Axl and Izzy did not come as expected to Chicago where they were waiting, especially since the whole idea had been Axl's idea [Steven and Duff's biographies]. Duff would later say the three of them (Duff, Steven and Slash) sat in Chicago for three months waiting for Axl and Izzy, and that it got "kinda suicidal" [Kerrang! March 1990].


AXL ARRIVES


According to Steven, Axl arrived "seven weeks and five days" after Slash, Duff and Steven, with only "two days left of studio time" [Circus Magazine, October 1991; Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192]. This is remarkably precise to be from Steven, and perhaps not accurate considering his heavy drug use in the period.

When Axl finally arrived, Duff would recall that the rest just "wanted to go home" [Kerrang! March 1990].

We know that on May 12, Axl was still in California since he introduced Queenryche at a show at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre [Santa Ana County Register, May 15, 1989]. We also know that Axl got inspirations for the lyrics to the song 'Civil War' from an article that was published in Chicago Tribune on July 9, where he basically lifted a quote from a Peruvian guerilla officer. In addition, rock journalist and friend of the band, Lonn Friend would state that he had been with Slash and Axl at the cinema in Chicago watching Batman [Lonn Friend, Life On Planet Rock; July 2006]. Batman premiered on June 23. All this implies that Axl was in Chicago in late June until at least July 9, possibly longer.

Axl would explain his late arrival on "weird timing schedules" and having to drive his "truck to Chicago from LA", and that he spent at least a couple of weeks in Chicago:

We got into these fights in Chicago. I was, like, just into fuckin’ everybody’s music, getting into Slash’s stuff, getting into Duff’s stuff. Our timing schedules were all weird and we kept showing up at different times. But when I would show up, I’m like, OK, let’s do this, let’s do that, let's do this one of yours, Slash. OK, now let’s go to this one, and Steven needs to do this... And then they decided I was a dictator, right? I'm a total dictator and I’m a completely selfish dick. I was like, fuck, man...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993



IZZY ARRIVES


According to Slash, it took "like three months or something" before Izzy arrived [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992]. Duff writes than when Izzy arrived he saw the mess Axl had made, the drugs that floated in the place, and left [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 149]. Steven does not mention in his biography that Izzy would show up and hastily leave when he saw the mess and drugs, as Duff claims in his biography.

Izzy talking about traveling to Chicago:

A brutal city. Maybe not as violent as the south of the States, but by no means the right place for choir boys. We thought it was a cute, peaceful town, not far from the place that Axl and I come from. I have to admit afterwards that it was a damn bad idea.


In March 1990, Duff would comment on Axl and Izzy's late arrivals:

]Axl had his reasons for not coming out. He was just waiting for us to do our trip as musicians. And Izzy - Izzy was having a hard time with life at that point, and he was just travelling the world.



HOW MUCH GOT DONE?


The band members would have different opinions on the success of the Chicago stay, with Slash being particularly negative:

Axl showed up in town, and nothing was really getting done. I don’t want to point my finger at Axl, because that’s not fair. I was angry with him. And I had my problems too. I was drinking too much. I drank up to a half gallon of vodka a day, easy. I got to the point where I was drinking so much, I would have the shakes so bad the next morning, I would have to drink a fairly tall, stiff vodka and cranberry just so I could drive. […] We were both upset.


Axl and Izzy would disagree:

And we were on a roll, man! You know, we were cranking.

Slash is like, “We’re not gettin’ nothin’ done.” I was like, “What do you mean? We just put down six parts of new songs, you know we’ve just got all this stuff done in, like, a couple weeks!” He was like, "Yeah, but I've been sitting here a month on my ass...”
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

We put the album together there. […] It was a very intense environment. But that was OK, because our music has always been intense; maybe it needs such a push. In Chicago we cobbled together nine or ten songs within three nights. No problem, man, after a few start-up problems, things went like clockwork. I mean, we lived in a bus for 14 months - Stevie (Adler - drums) , Duff (McKagan - bass) , Slash (guitar ), Axl and me. In that time we wrote all the music. What else can you do while touring? You live on the bus and in hotels, so you just use the gaps and compose the basic structure of a song.

I will say, we came to Chicago and the songs just needed to be brought into the final form. We had a studio there and - importantly - our guitars. Axl and I sat down and put together a list of over 30 titles. In three nights we tore it down. It was cool. The cops came and asked questions. They always want to be part of the action. As I said, Chicago was very intense. Even creative in this regard.


Although years later Izzy would also say the following:

I don't remember a whole lot of work getting done there. That was a nasty time, there was a lot of negativity and sarcasm in the air.


Duff would also argue that they "got a lot of shit done" [Kerrang! March 1990] although that was possibly referring to the period before Axl and Izzy showed up. So perhaps Duff, Slash and Steven got work done in the period before Axl and Izzy arrived, and then Axl and Izzy got some work down after Slash, Steven and Duff left?


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:51 am

SUMMER OF 1989, CHICAGO
SLASH LEAVES IN ANGER; CONSIDERS QUITTING


According to Steven, when Axl arrived he got into a fight with a girl they had befriended, thrashed the place, and left [Steven's biography]. That Axl came and immediately left is contradicted by quotes above and by another part from Steven's biography, where Steven claims Axl wasn't interested in the songs Slash, Duff and Steven had worked on when they presented them to him:

We rehearsed all the Illusion songs [together]. We had studio time in Chicago for three months. On like the last day, Axl shows up and all he wanted to work on was 'November Rain'. So that set back the recording process.

He sat there like we were putting him through some kind of torture. Plain and simple, Axl wasn't interested in our material! He just wanted to record a new song he had been working on called "November Rain."
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192


Although Steven is wrong when he claims Axl immediately left, that Axl thrashed the place at some point seems likely based on Nick Kent, who interviewed Izzy extensively, writing hat the Chicago stay "culminated in Axl destroying the group's apartment building there and staying in the rubble while the rest returned west in disgust" [VOX, October 1991].


SLASH LEAVES IN ANGER


According to Musician Magazine, Slash got so furious about Axl that he "scribbled a goodbye note and flew back to L.A" and that he and Axl "didn't speak for a long time after that" [Musician, December 1990]. This is confirmed by Slash:

I finally just packed up my bag and left him a note saying. "It’s not happening here, and I can’t deal with it anymore.” I went back to L.A. I guess the week following that things were kind of up in the air. I didn’t call him, and he didn't call me. Finally, however, we sat down and talked about it. You see, with me and Axl, there’s nothing that can’t be resolved with a few words.



AXL AND IZZY REMAINS IN CHICAGO?


Entertainment Weekly would report that Axl thrashed the apartment, but remained in Chicago as the rest of the band members left [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. That Axl left while the other three returned to L.A., is also confirmed by Slash [RIP, February 1990].


SLASH ALMOST QUIT THE BAND


That this incident, and the fight between Axl and Slash, almost pushed Slash out of the band, is implied in the following quote from Slash. But Slash rallied around:

When I got back from Chicago, I decided, f?!k it, I’m just gonna play certain songs or something—play them with Duff and Steven, or something. F?!k it. The three musketeers! Izzy was traveling around God knows where, and Axl was still in Chicago; so there was nothing else to do but keep jammin'. I didn’t really know what we were working toward, except that the new songs were good. If anything kept my faith in GN’R at this time, it’s the fact that Axl is the best f?!king singer around these days, and he writes great lyrics; Izzy’s a great rhythm guitar player; Duff’s a great bassist; and Stevie’s a great drummer. We had a chemistry... I was determined to get back to what we had.



IN HINDSIGHT


In his biography, Duff would mark their stay in Chicago as a turning point as far as Izzy's involvement with the band:

[Izzy] would still send in riffs and ideas for Use Your Illusion and didn't officially quit until 1991, but his day-to-day involvement with the band pretty much died that day.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 153

Up to then I had not wavered in how I perceived us-as a band and a family and a gang. But this trip solidified some of the flimsy walls that had begun to go up between various parties in our unit. [...] Steven was fully strung out and babbling incoherently much of the time. Slash had one foot out of the band as a result of feeling betrayed. Izzy had all but checked out. [...] The damage was done and all forward progress stopped for quite some time.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 155


It also was a stay where Steven's issues became really obvious to the band:

Was I so fucked up that I didn't realize my drum playing was beginning to suffer? Was I lucid enough to even ask myself that question at the time? [...] All I know is that my opinion didn't matter anymore. It bummed me out. We were always a team; it had always been a combined effort. But not any longer [...].
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 191


In late 1990, Slash would talk about the stay in Chicago, but not mention the serious problems they had as a band, instead focus on the media problems:

But we had more of a problem there. They printed in the paper where we were staying, all kinds of shit. So it got hectic there. We did write some good songs which are on the record, things did come out of it. But finally we ended up leaving.


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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:52 am

JULY 22, 1989
THE SCRAP CLUB AND JAMMING WITH THE CULT


After the attempts at getting work done Chicago in the summer of 1989, Izzy and Axl travelled to New York City. On July 22, Axl and West Arkeen jammed at the Manhattan bar The Scrap Club.


West Arkeen and Axl at the Scrap Club
July 22, 1989


Later that same evening, Axl and Izzy joined the Cult for a night of jamming at The Loft, a private rehearsal room in Manhattan, with only "30 or so fans and followers" [New Musical Express, August 1989]. Ian Astbury, the singer of The Cult would describe the night this way: "We jammed for what seemed like seven hours, everyone was changing instruments, but Jamie [Stewart, bass] and Matt [Sorum, drums] played throughout. We did mostly Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Sex Pistols songs" [New Musical Express, August 1989].


From The Loft
July 22, 1989


From The Loft; Matt Sorum to the left in the picture
July 22, 1989


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