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

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

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10. 1989: THINGS UNRAVEL - Page 2 Empty Re: 10. 1989: THINGS UNRAVEL

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


At some point in 1989 Izzy had enough. He obtained Valium and codeine from a doctor to taper off and drove with his brother to Indiana to clean up [Musician, November 1992].

In 1989, I started to clean up. It was a home detox.

F**k, one day I was sitting in my apartment, f**ked out of my head, and I go, 'Man, I gotta step back to some reality'. […] I think going back to Indiana woke me up from my haze, point blank. I was still drinking a lot, still getting twisted, but it helped me get away from the drugs and that sorta bullshit lifestyle; every night the clubs and the parties and the drugs, just pointless stuff. That shit got old. […] I managed to stop drinking and using drugs for a month or two, and you get all this anxiety, this energy, which you don't know what to do with. I put some of the energy into bikes, skateboarding.

I got to the point where we finished touring and came back and we were very successful. I was in my apartment and nothing seemed to be going right and I knew I just had to fuck off and go back to Indiana. I can't say [becoming sober] was easy. It was just a continious process from day to day. […] I think drugs have always been around and they always will be around. I don't know what to think of it really. I know, for me personally, it doesn't work.

I kicked at my mom's place. I probably weighed about 115 pounds. I was obviously very sick and she let me stay there. That was a pretty traumatic experience, kicking in the house I grew up in. Lying there thinking, `I fucked up somewhere. What was it? What brought me back here?'

The hardest thing about kicking coke is the f**king anxiety. It lasted for what seemed like an eternity. I remember two weeks when I really didn't sleep, and it takes months for your body to begin functioning naturally again. I had a harder time with coke than smack. I kicked smack but would keep starting up again, and the times I'd go cold turkey with no sort of medication; that's bad, but you can get through it. The coke I found even more evil, a real f**ker. […] I'll be getting strip-searched at Heathrow if you print this! [chuckles]. […] Coke is more socially accepted than smack, but I haven't been around it for a long time. I haven't even been around any people using it, cos as soon as you stop using that stuff, you suddenly start looking differently at the people you hang out with. […] For years, I never knew any other way to live. I suppose when you're a kid you do, but as you start f**king around with that stuff, it seems normal. I feel better not using it; it f**ks me up. […] There was a point in LA where I wouldn't go outside without a gun. I was carrying a pistol all the time, and eventually I think that works on you too. It's f**ked, it's no way to live, and when I realised, I said, 'I gotta get outta here before it gets too f**kin' crazy.'

It got to the point where it was just fuckin' me up. Kicking it all was a slow process, it didn't just happen overnight. Rather than kicking smack medically I chose to go cold turkey - and man, that's a hard thing to go through. It took a month or more and, like they say, it's a day to day thing. I can't say, 'Okay, I'm not gonna do that again.' It took weeks before I could stay straight for more than a few days. First it was a month, then two months and then it got a little easier, but it's an ongoing thing where you gotta remind yourself how tucked you felt before.

The thing is, dependency didn't slow my output but it sure affected what was comin' out, man! Even when I was fucked up beyond belief I was writing lots of music, but now when I go back and listen to it I go, 'Oh man, that's dark, that's black, that's grim!' A lot of it I just can't listen to now. It was a state of mind I was in and I don't wanna be reminded of it.


Axl would indicate that it was an overdose in New York that was the final straw for Izzy:

When Izzy woke up in New York with EKG pads all over his body and doesn't know how they got there, and knows, 'I think I OD'd last night and made it back home' - that was pretty much it. Before that he was pulling away, but that was the end.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

It is not known when this OD took place, but possible in July when Axl and Izzy visited New York together.

In October 1992, Izzy would say that he went to Indiana "shortly after" the Rolling Stones shows in October 1989, indicating that he started to sober up in late 1989. But in early 1993, he would say that he quit drugs before his peeing incident which took place on August 27:

I didn’t go to any rehabilitation center. I went cold turkey. But once I got off drugs, I thought I could still drink, though I then screwed up in an airplane and got very drunk and got arrested.

This indicates that he quit drugs before September 1989, or perhaps that he had more than one trip to Indiana to clean up.


Later, in 2001, he would indicate that getting arrested after the peeing incident was the reason he cleaned up:

[Being asked if there was one single event that finally made him clean up]: Yeah. Phoenix County Jail was a good inspiration.

In a later interview he would also state that the court-enforced mandatory drug-testing after the peeing incident that helped him sober up [Classic Rock, June 2001]. In the same interview he would talk about going to rehab and began receiving professional counseling, likely part of his sentencing [Classic Rock, June 2001].

The police helped me a lot! I was on probation for a year in LA because I pissed in a plane aisle! I had to go see a therapist every week and could get tested by cops any time and they would check my urine to see if I had been drinking or doing drugs. And if you fail, if they find out that you fucked up, you would go straight to jail for a long time. I didn't want that, so I said stop. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith helped me a lot during this time: he told me his stories, and at first, it can seem a little funny, but it's actually more scary than anything.

From this it is most likely that Izzy started the process of quitting drugs before he stopped drinking, and likely already made some attempts back in at least 1988. After the peeing incident the probation and threat of jail time helped him succeed.


And when I stopped [using drugs] - back in ’89, 1990, I stopped using drugs and I stopped drinking. And suddenly you’ve got all this energy. and it’s like what do you do with it. Since I was a really young kid, I had a mini bike and each few years I’d get something bigger and bigger, and it was something that I’d forgotten about during the Guns N’ Roses days; you know, so much indulgence and that whole rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle bullshit, drinking and... Once that stopped, I was like, “Wow, man, bicycles!” and, you know, motorcycles... Yeah, because when I was out in California I’d go out in the desert and ride. You spend a day on a motorcycle in the desert, you come back, and you just feel good and calm, relaxed. Great escape for me it was, plus it saved my life.


Talking about the process of quitting drugs:

[The drugs] were doing me in. I felt like shit all the time. I went to somewhere I knew I couldn't score [=Indiana], I had some Codeine with me and a few Valium to take the edge off, and I basically sweated it out. I made it through the 72-hour period, but then I started drinking like a fish. I gave that up as well a couple of months later. I've been told that alcohol's no good for American-lndian blood, which I've got in me. Alcohol really does f*** me up. It makes me crazy. I become impossible to deal with.

[...] I knew that I couldn't afford to f*** up any more. I'd used up all my 'Get Out Of Jail Free' cards. […] I didn't miss using drugs. I'd been used to living with them. But I'd gone through many problems in my life trying to stop, and when I started learning how to get along without them, I felt glad to be free of all the bullshit that went along with it - the scoring, the rip-offs, the bad drugs, the day-to-day hassle.

I never was a good drinker. At 16, like a lot of kids, I’d hang out at a liquor store trying to get older guys to buy for me. Then later that night, I’d end up vomiting face down somewhere.

[It] was I wanted to. Cos I figured at some point your heart's just gonna pop, or your mind's gonna snap, right? Eventually, that shit will kill ya, and it does. It kills people all the time. Once I got maybe like a week of sobriety, like going a week without a drink, I thought, oh god, if I can just keep this up...

And having to deal with his band mates who still used drugs:

I'd come in for rehearsals for 'Use Your Illusion' and there's one of the guys on the road case with a big line of coke. 'Hey, Iz - you want some coke?' Ah, no thanks, I just got back from my probation officer, you know? To get sober is really [tough] but to do it like that, in a situation where everybody's still using...

Later Izzy would talk about his drug dreams after sobering up:

The first few years you quit using drugs and drinking, you have what they call 'drug dreams'. I didn't know what they were at first, but I had loads of drug dreams - 1991 probably up until '96 or '97, and the heaviest was probably the first few years. You know, you go out and you score coke or heroin or pot, whatever… Actually, the most common one was the drinking ones and I would have the dream where I'm at a bar and I'd see some friends or something and I knew I wasn't supposed to be drinking, because I was consciously making an effort not to, but then maybe I'd have a drink at the bar. Sometimes I would wake up, going, "Aw, shit! Did I have a drink last night?" And I hadn't, but I felt kind of funny, hungover. I had these for years, and I later discovered it's common for anyone who's used for long periods. What happens is when you abuse your body with drugs or whatever, it's a foreign substance and your body reacts, like a reflex, and then it adjusts. When you have these dreams, your body physiologically goes through these same reactions, as though you were actually doing the drug or drinking the alcohol. So in the morning, you wake up and you feel hungover or beat up. The good thing is, it wears off by noon, but for the first few years, I had a lot of these.

Izzy's last drink was allegedly taken in the company of Keith Richards and Ron Wood [Rolling Stone, September 1991], around December 19, 1989, when Axl and Izzy played with the Stones in Atlantic City, New Jersey [VOX, October 1991]. Yet, in a later interview he would claim he was almost cleaned up from everything around March/April 1990 [Rock & Folk, September 1992], indicating that he either cut alcohol before some other substances (which is contradicted by another statement where he says he quit alcohol last [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992]) or that he did continue drinking after the appearance with the Stones.

In March 1993, Slash would say that he and Izzy "sort of quit at the same time, give or take a month" [Calgary Herald/The Hamilton Spectator, March 21, 1993]. Under Duff's testimony in the Adler vs GN'R trial in August 1993, he would say "several band members" "cleaned up" after the Rolling Stones shows [L.A. Daily News, August 24, 1993].


I don't fuck around with that stuff [=drugs]. I just reached the point where I said 'I'm gonna kill myself. Why die for this shit.

I've been straight for a year and a half now. No booze, no weed, no nothing. I just stopped cold. I said 'Fuck, I should give this a shot.' At first it was real hard. When I finally stopped and then started going out, just riding around on a fuckin' bicycle, I thought 'Wow, this is really cool. How did I forget all this simple shit?'

We used to do a lot of funny shit [laughing]. But I don't miss it. There is nothing like throwing up out a bus door going 65 miles an hour.

I'm not a moderate person, OK? I would take my share, then the drummer's and the singer's, and then the bassist's! You got it? And I would go: "You don't have some more? You really don't have some more?" Pitiable (laughs)! You become a monster, a hydra!

A lot of the time when I was using, I'd just end up with a guitar, writing or recording some pretty depressing songs. I thought they were good at the time, and a couple are not too bad, but a lot of the shit I listen back to and think, ugh, that's fucking depressing, or I think of the state I must have been in; lips all cracked, been up for five days, voice gone. Once you got doing you'd never stop.

I could stay up for four or five days straight doing krell and smack or whatever, up and down up and down, writing songs all the time and recording on my eight-track. But give me a bottle of whisky and send me to a club one night, and I'm the guy in the alley throwing up and rolling around.

It just didn't work; it just poisons me and I don't know why. I got Indian blood, and my mom says that's why I can't handle liquor, but it's still a thing I did for a long time.

Matt would confirm that Izzy was sober, and also imply he was opposed to it:

Izzy just doesn't dig it at all anymore. He don't dig the drinking, even.

While Slash would say Izzy was the one who is "suffering the worst from being clean" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

And that's one of the reasons that Izzy, even though he's completely clean, has to be away from any sort of drug activity. He doesn't know how to deal with it. Whereas with me, people can do whatever they want and I don't give a shit. I'm comfortable being on the same planet with them. […] He was definitely struggling to keep himself clean. That's why he traveled separately from us and so on.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:56 am

AUGUST 1989 (?)

At some point in possibly August 1990 (according to Paul Miles' The Chronological Crue), Izzy had an altercation with Vince Neil's wife, Sharise Neil at the Cathouse in Hollywood.

The date for this incident is not clear, with conflicting statements. According to Paul Miles' The Chronological Crue and Vince Neil in The Dirt, the incident happened in August 1989. But according to earlier interview with Neil, and with Niven and Izzy, it had happened earlier than this, likely in 1988. We are trying to resolve the date issue and will update the chapter later.

Regardless, according to Niven, the incident happened when Izzy had Sharise, "ejected from a private room" at a local rock club, resulting in assault charges being filed and later dropped against Stradlin [LA Times, September 1989]. Neil would claim "that [Izzy] had attempted to remove Neil's wife's clothing and later kicked her in the stomach." L.A. Weekly would report that Izzy had fondled Sharise resulting in her slapping him and him then pushing her [L.A. Weekly, September 15, 1989].

Before the Feelgood album came out, I called up some of my buddies and went white-water rafting down Snake River in Idaho for ten days. It was the best way I could think of to stay sober; away from Sharise, the telephone, the band, the bars. It was just sunshine, rapids, and exercise.

As soon as we returned to civilization, I called Sharise and she was in tears.

”I was at the Cathouse,” she sobbed. “And Izzy was hitting on me.”

”Izzy Stradlin?”

”Yeah, he was all fucked up. And I told him to get his hands off me because I was your wife. Then he grabbed my shirt and pulled it down.”

”That fucking asshole!”

”But that’s not even the bad part. I slapped him across the face, of course. And the he karate-kicked me as hard as he could. In the stomach. He knocked the wind out of me. It really hurt. And everyone saw it.”

”That little shit! The next time I see his motherfucking ass, I’m going to fucking kill him!”
The Dirt, HarperEntertainment, 2001

Nikki Sixx, the bassist in Motley Crue, supported Neil's version of the event:

[Izzy] pulled her top off, and kicked her in the stomach. Vince was going to press charges, but instead said, 'The next time I see him I’m going to clean his clock'.
Poughkeepsi Journal, October 15, 1989

Izzy would later deny these accusations although admit he had "pushed her back"...with his foot:

Three years ago, we played some club one night and I was hangin' out with these girls when she came backstage. I said 'Hey your pussy's hangin' out!' and she fuckin' punched me! So I just lifted my foot and pushed her back. She fell down. Next thing I know, she's got me on a rape charge. So I have to go to court, right, for this bullshit, and she didn't show up. Anyway, Motley Crue are a bunch of lying cocksuckers. It's gonna be interesting to see how they respond to this.

Here's Nikki Sixx' recollection:

I think some, I can't remember exactly what happened. I think what happened was, Vince's wife or girlfriend at the time was at the Cathouse and I don't know what her dress code was, but it was usually somewhere around having Band-Aids over her nipples only. And I think somebody, grabbed her tits or did something, and she like slapped him or told him to fuck off, and he like kicked her in the stomach. When Vince heard about that he went fuckin' nuclear.

So he said, "If I ever see this guy, I'm going to knock him out" and this happened, we were playing one of these awards shows, I don't know what it was, or they were playing, I think they were playing, and we were getting into the car leaving and Vince heard Guns and Roses, and he turned around and said, "I'll be right back." And nobody even thought about it, and he walked up on stage, and when Izzy walked off stage he dropped him. So then Axl went off in the press about Vince, and then Vince went off about Axl, it turned into a fucking high school shooting match.

In 2019, Sharise Neil did a podcast and discussed the episode:

We had this thing called “The Broad Squad” and it was all the girls from Tropicana. We were like a clique. And my girlfriend was actually dating Riki Rachtman. She was his living girlfriend. [...] So I wasn’t allowed to hang out with them, hardly ever, and definitely not allowed to go to the Cathouse with them, because bad things were gonna happen. [...] So, this night, I wore one of my creations, which was like a pencil skirt made out of spandex, black. And then, up to the side I did a sheer nylon panel, where you could see the side of my legs. [...] And then I wore, like, a little half-top. I made that too, by the way. [...] Like I said, we were the “Broad Squad”. My girlfriend’s boyfriend, it was his damn club. We walked in like we owned the place. [...] I walk into the room, and I see Izzy Stradlin standing by the deejay. He tells me to come over to him, he waves me over. I say, “Oh, cool, Izzy.” You know, we just got off the road with them, I met all the guys, I was out with them, I thought they all knew me, we were all talking, hanging out, shaking hands... So when I get within a foot of him, he reaches down – Riki says this wrong on his show; he says that he grabbed my boob. No, no, no. Izzy reaches down and grabs my freshly made pencil skirt and rips it up, like, to my vagina, and trying to rip it off me. […] And I’m flabbergasted. My mouth falls and I smack him hard across his face. A fuckin’ roundhouse smack to the face, buddy. When I do that to him, he puts his foot up and he kicks me in the stomach away from him. […] Alright. Now you’ve unleased mean Sharise. Now I’m pissed, and I got my bony little finger in his face going, “Fuck you. Who the fuck do you think you are? How fuckin’ dare you touch me? Wait till my fuckin’ husband gets up,” or, you know, “gets a word of this.” [...] Don’t do that to a woman. […] Okay, so then, after I’m done with my tirade, I turn around and I see Axl sitting in a chair in the corner - I think my tirade must have been heard all over the club – and he just came in. He wasn’t there before when I walked in, but I think he saw what happened after. So I said to him, “What the fuck is wrong with him?” And Axl, very nicely, said, “Oh my god, he’s really fucked up. He’s fuckin’ on heroin.” I went, “I don’t care. Wait till Vince finds out. This is not gonna be good.” […] So I tell [Neil], and he goes ballistic: “He did what? I’m gonna kill that guy!” So that is the start of the fight between Axl and Vince and Izzy.
Bobbie N' Sharise Sweet and Sour Hour, April 13, 2019

Vince Neil would later claim that Izzy called him an apologized for what he had done to Sharise, likely after their fight at the VMAs in September 1989 [The Dirt, HarperEntertainment, 2001].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:58 am

AUGUST 27, 1989


Earlier in the day of August 27, 1989, an inebriated Izzy had been bitten in the face by his father's dog while in Indianapolis, resulting in a hole in his eyebrow [Musician, November 1992], but the day would become much worse later on when he was arrested at Phoenix airport while on a stop-over on his way to Los Angeles [Arizona Republic, October 1989] and charged by the FBI for "interfering with the duties of the plane’s crew" [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989]. Under the influence of double Bacardis and coke [Musician, November 1992] Izzy had been obnoxious to flight attendants, smoked in no-smoke section, and pissed in the galley when the restroom was occupied [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989]. He then returned to his seat and passed out for the remainder of the flight, only to be arrested by 12 cops in Phoenix [Musician, November 1992].

Bryn Bridenthal, the band's publicist, would excuse the event, saying that Izzy "relieving himself in the galley was just his way of expressing himself," and that "he’d been bitten in the face by a dog in Indianapolis and he was still a little bit shocked by that,” so "when he got on the plane, he was bumped from first class into coach. It was just sort of one band thing pilling up on another" [Arizona Daily Star, October 1989].

Izzy would be a little bit more frank in his description of what happened:

I was on this plane going to LA to work on the never-ending albums, and I was drunk in the middle of this bunch of senior citizen types. I was smoking, and the stewardess came over. I told her to fuck herself. I was drinking so much I had to take a piss. The people in the bathroom… Man, it seemed like I waited an hour. So I pissed in the trashcan instead. And one stewardess saw me, right? Next thing I know we've landed, I'm walking out and I see ten policemen, and the other passengers are pointing at me, shouting 'He's the guy!' And I remember thinking: 'Uh-oh! I think I fucked up again.'

It's a federal offence If you f**k up on an airplane. I was outta my mind, there was a queue to the bathroom, and I was going, 'Well, I'm either gonna piss in my pants or piss on the f**king rug'! Everything was real quiet on the plane after that. […] I was happy I'd pissed, I was completely numb, drunk, and of course when we landed, the police were there. I was also carrying a nine millimetre pistol, but when my bag finally got to LA it was gone.

Ah, I was drunk, man. Then waking up in jail... Not cool, man.

Slash would later claim it happened as the plane was about to land, which contradicts Izzy above:

[Izzy] had to take a piss and they wouldn’t let him because the plane was landing or something. So, you know, he said, 'I’ll do it right here in the wastebasket'.


On October 17 (the day before the first show with The Rolling Stones) his case would be brought to court and Izzy would plead guilty and apologize. He was fined $2,000 "for urinating on an airplane and lighting up in the non-smoking section" and $1000 to USAir for "cleaning up his mess." Additionally, he was put on probation for six months and ordered to see a psychiatrist back in Los Angeles for counseling [Arizona Republic, October 1989]. Allegedly, he also had to write an apology to the plane crew [Santa Ana County Register, November 5, 1989]. His attorney, Edward Novak, reacting to the sentencing, would state that Izzy "is an individual of few words, but someone who can keep his word and is... anxious to find out whether he has a problem with alcohol [Arizona Republic, October 1989]. The probation included, in Izzy's words, "fuckin' involuntary piss-tests almost every day for about a month" [VOX, October 1991].

That probation officer was an okay guy, they're pretty fair people, but it made me realise that it doesn't matter how f**king big your band is, when it comes down to the legal system, you're just the same as anyone else.

The incident would lead to Izzy earning the nickname "Whizzy" from his band mates [R/R Countdown, February 1993].

According to Entertainment Weekly, the probation "prohibits him from flying on public or private aircraft, an odd stipulation that explains why he’s making his [Use Your Illusion] tour rounds on a private bus" [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. This is likely not correct since the probation should only last for 6 months (and thus end in March 1990) and since Izzy likely flew when travelling to Brazil for the Rock in Rio shows in January 1991 and later to Europe for their 'Use Your Illusion' tour.

Duff would suggest that the flight incident spurred Izzy on into sobriety [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 150] although Duff would say that by October 1989 Izzy was back on heroin [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156]. Likely the court case would help Izzy get out of his addictions, because about a month later, around December 17, 1989, Izzy would take his last drink in the company of the Rolling Stones when Izzy and Axl guested on a show in Atlantic City [VOX, October 1991].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:59 am


In 1989 Axl was still in a tumultuous relationship with Erin Everly, the daughter of Don Everly from the Everly Brothers. Axl would mention that Don Everly had dressed up as Axl, with jackboots and bandana, at an Everly Brothers show in Los Angeles some time in 1987 (or 1986?) while performing Jimi Hendrix' 'Purple Haze' [San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 1987].

By 1989 the relationship between Erin and Axl had become very strained. In a Rolling Stone interview from August 1989, it is described how Axl had wrecked his condo in West Hollywood: "One guitar has been destroyed, a mirror wall shattered, several platinum albums broken beyond repair and the telephone dropped off a twelfth-story balcony" [Rolling Stone, August 1989].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:00 am



As 1989 came along, Axl still suffered from violent outbursts despite hopes that having both a possible diagnosis and medication would be of help.

He's very crazy, y'know. Like, sometimes he can be very rational and other times he's just deep left-field. It's always up and down, up and down with Axl. He just has a very hard time relating to other people. […] Sometimes he just goes off the deep end and if anyone can make sense to him in those states, I think it's me. Because we still relate as friends coming from "bumfuck" Indiana. The rest doesn't mean much. I can kinda talk him down when he freaks out and locks himself in his room and we've got to play a gig or record.

You gotta just deal with it. [Axl] knows sometimes he’s an asshole, and he’ll admit it, and he’ll say sorry later. But it’s something that can’t, really, help right now. It’s fine, you know. He’s an interesting guy and he's very creative, though. I mean, he’s a good guy. He doesn’t do a lot of, like, drugs and stuff. He’s got good control. I think he’ll outlive us all, actually.
Rapido, September 1991; from unknown 1989 interview footage

In June 1989 Axl would describe how losing control of situations caused episodes:

Frustration and not being able to handle a situation that you feel you should be able to take control of, which can be anything with dealing with our success in any way; dealing with, you know, money, interviews, fans, record companies, radio stations, all of that; and not really knowing how to do it. I mean, a lot of strange things happen to piss you off, and you’d like to smash somebody with that. But that's gonna get you in a lawsuit or something like that. So, you know, it's just for pent-up frustration, not knowing what to do, and releasing it, you know. And it's like, it's not, like, okay, yeah, now I've got money so I’ll just break things all the time, dah dah dah... I’ve always broke things. […]  I feel a lot like... It’s the character of The Godfather, Sonny, who gets pissed off and he goes and does something; and then, eventually, you know, he has that used against him, and he goes out and it's a setup and he gets shot. And that fear also breeds, you know, frustration of, like, okay I'm mad, I want to do something, I want to take action and I wanna get (?) with this person that just screwed me over. And you don't, and you know you can't, because you know that there's gonna be consequences that you're gonna have to face up to out of whatever you do and you not... and you can't pinpoint all of them, you know, to make sure you can get away with whatever action you decide to take. So, instead, I'll just break something of my own and that depresses me too, but it's better than sitting in jail, I guess.

In August 1989 he would suggest his issues were exasperated by stress:

When I get stressed, I get violent and take it out on myself. I've pulled razor blades on myself but then realized that having a scar is more detrimental than not having a stereo. I'd rather kick my stereo in than go punch somebody in the face. When I get mad or upset or emotional, sometimes I'll walk over and play my piano.

This could also explain why he would be agitated before live shows:

If I’m psyched for the gig, great. Nine times out of ten, though, before the gig I’ll always not wanna do the fuckin’ show and hate it. I mean, I love it when I’m psyched, you know, let’s go! But most of the time I’m, like, mad about something, something’s fuckin’ going wrong... I’m nervous. I’m like, “I'm not playing for these fuckin’ people!” […] It’s like, I’m not playing for whoever’s putting on the show, or like that. We have a lot of good relationships with promoters and stuff, so I don’t want that to be taken as the main example,’ he added cautiously. ‘But you know, situations are always different before a show. Something always fuckin’ happens. Something always happens. And I react like a motherfucker to it. I don’t like this pot-smoking mentality.’ He sucked in his cheeks. 'I feel like Lenny Kravitz... Like, peace and love, motherfucker, or you’re gonna die! I’m gonna kick your ass if you fuck with my garden you know? I like that attitude more.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

Axl's strong emotions also helped to fuel his emotive performances:

The rest of the band'll bounce back quicker after a show. I mean, Steven, you know, runs out of the dressing room, wants pizza, and he's out to find the girls and everything. It's like, I need about an hour to pull my head back together because every song I sing, when I'm singing it, at the same time I'm like dealing with the crowd and stuff I'm also thinking about the situation when I wrote the song, which could be nine years ago, and where that person is now. All this stuff's going through your head like a million miles an hour.

Being asked if his fame and popularity allowed him to get more away with such behavior:

No. I’ve always been that way. But now I’m in a position to just be myself more. And the thing is people allow me to do it whether they like it or not, you know? […] I’m just an emotionally unbalanced person. Maybe it’s chemical, I don’t know. ’Cos maybe emotions have something to do with chemicals in your brain, or whatever. So then it’s a chemical imbalance.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

His early personal assistant, Colleen Combs, would also say that at some point, Axl were getting more and more paranoid:

Axl became more and more paranoid. He really thought someone was going to take him out. He thought someone was going to kill him.

It is not sure when this was, though.


After having been kicked out of home in Indiana, his relationship with his stepfather had been gradually improving, and in 1987 he would say it was good:

[...] I got kicked out. […] when I got told to leave. When I got told, "cut your hair," and I said, "no," and they said, "go," and I said, "I'm leaving." You know, but that was like when I was 16, but now my dad is like one of my closest friends I have. It's taken us 10 years to build up that kind of relationship, but we worked at it a little by little and it didn't start happening just because of my band, it didn't [?] just happen this year. It's been coming back together over the last five years.

In the late 80s and early 90, Axl tried to find out more about his biological father:

Like I found William Rose. Turns out, he was murdered in 84 and buried somewhere in Illinois, and I found that out like two days before a show and I was fucking whacked! I mean, I’ve been trying to uncover this mystery since I was a little kid. I didn’t even know he existed until I was a teenager, you know? Cos I was told it was the Devil that made me know what the inside of a house looked like that I’d supposedly never lived in. So I’ve been trying to track down this William Rose guy. Not like, I love this guy, he’s my father. I just wanna know something about my heritage....weird shit like am I going to have an elbow that bugs the shit out of me when I get 40 cos of some hereditary trait? Weird shit ordinary families take for granted. […] he was killed. It was probably like at close-range too, man. Wonderful family.....

In November 1991, Axl would say that it wasn't certain his biological father really was dead:

There’s a lot of issues around this person, you know. He is believed to be dead, I don’t know if that it’s true or not. But in a weird way it’s, you know, probably the best place for him if he is. […] You know, they’ve said that he’s buried in 7 miles of strip mining somewhere in Illinois because of a bad deal he made with somebody. […] [Chuckles] It’s in court, you know, they’re looking for the body.


In 1991 it would be rumored that Axl had asked a "member of Guns personnel to wake him at a certain time then sack[ed] the hapless minion for waking him" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

By December 1990, Axl was suffering from depressions. He moved into the recording studio to work on the record and when Christmas came a friend would spend time with him because they were worried he "wasn't going to make it through":

There was no heat in that room. It was a cold, lonely place, but it was the only place I could stay to keep myself in the work. It was cool-looking, but it was dark, cold and weird! It got to the point that certain people could tell just by the way I was talking, the tone of my voice, that I wasn't right. A friend brought by some Christmas presents. Another flew out unannounced and stayed with me Christmas Day, because they were very worried that I wasn't going to make it through. I couldn't leave the studio, but I couldn't go back to my condo because of my neighbor. That was a nightmare.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:03 am


When the band returned from Chicago late in July [Raw Magazine, July 1989], they continued rehearsing at Bob Mates Studios in North Hollywood [Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 192], and Duff would comment on the path forward:

In August we begin working with producer Mike Clink on actually recording the LP - probably at studios in Los Angeles. And hopefully the record will be out by November or something through Geffen

Duff would also comment that if they didn't release all the good songs they had, they might "get lost":

We’re seriously thinking about making the album a double record, because we’ve got so many songs together. Slash and I have written some cool shit. And Axl has come up with some great stuff.., including the songs left over from ‘Appetite…, we’ve got about 40 numbers knocking around at the moment. And if we don’t do a double LP a lot of good tracks will be lost.

In the summer of 1989 it was reported that the band was sifting through 30 songs, 10 of which ballads that Axl thought was "more credible than 'Sweet Child 0' Mine'" [Kerrang! June 1989], and Axl would confirm they had enough material for a double set and that they wouldn't tour until the beginning of 1990 [Juke, July 1989]. It was also reported the band was ready to enter pre-production [Patience CD Single, June 1989]. In Kerrang! from June 1989 (this interview was likely done before the Chicago trip) Axl said he focused on writing ballads but wanted to write harder songs together with his band mates, indicating that they hadn't been in a studio/rehearsal space together yet:

Right now I'm waiting to write hard rock songs with the band. I have a lot of subjects to choose from that I'm very interested in, but I'm waiting to see where their heads are at when we sit down with the guitars and everything. Right now I don't want to veer off too much in my own direction, because it would probably not be very heavy, I want to write some hard rock songs. The reason I wouldn't be writing so much hard rock songs my own is because I know I can do it with the band. A lot of riffs were going around in the air at the sound checks during the Japanese tour, things I've been hearing Slash and Duff go over, and I've had a lot of ideas for words, but I'm going to wait until we get in the studio to see what we put together.

[…]we wanted our first record ['Appetite'] to be a full hard rock record from beginning to end. The next record will have other variations, there may be some heavier songs as well as some softer ones.

When the band attempted to get work done in Chicago in the summer of 1989, UK press speculated that they would return to Castle Donington and the Monsters Of Rock festival in August that year as headliners. NME contacted a spokesman for the band's British record company who denied this would happen because the band would still be recording at the time of the festival, but that they may play concerts in UK in October or November (presumably as part of the touring that would follow the launch of the new record) [New Musical Express, June 1989].

In July 1989 it was reported that the band had started pre-production in studio with Mike Clink. Yet also that Axl was collaborating with Sex Pistol's Steve Jones on his second solo album [Circus Magazine, July 1989], indicating that his attention wasn't 100 % directed at his band. This would also be implied when he talked to Rolling Stone later in 1989:

We're trying to regroup. I'm ready to work. I'm creating, and finally I have an environment in which I can work. I haven't had that for a long time, since three years ago, when we all used to live in one room, sitting around writing songs. Until recently, I haven't had peace of mind. There were always distractions, but now it's like we can finally work on our songs.

In 1989, Izzy started to keep some distance from the rest of the band. In July he and Axl spent time in New York before travelling back home together to Lafayette, Indiana and spending some time there. Then Izzy, in August, travelled to Europe [Metal Hammer (Germany), September 1989; The Face, October 1989]. After this trip, Izzy was supposed to return back to Los Angeles to regroup with his band mates and work on the record, according to The Face "in order to once more attempt the seemingly impossible dream of completing their next album without anyone dying" [The Face, October 1989].

It cannot be ruled out that we will already have half the record in the box, because as soon as I am back we will record the basic tracks for the new album. In a perfect world the record would have been on the market long ago, then we would have gone straight to the studio after the last gigs in Japan, Australia and New Zealand and recorded the part. But nothing's perfect, you know? It just didn't work.

[…] what I can tell you now is that I'm going back to LA, then it will be recorded. We have almost 40 songs in our pockets. Not all of them are fully worked out, but if we record 20 tracks, it may be a double album. I myself have no need to release 20 or 30 songs to the public right now, but if we do it, we will do it.

When asked about possible song titles, Izzy would mention 'Could Be Mine', 'Rock 'n' Roll Rose' and 'November Rain' [Metal Hammer (Germany), September 1989]. 'Rock 'n' Roll Rose' was a song stemming from Hollywood Rose.

These interviews were likely from late August.

During the songwriting for the Use Your Illusion records, Izzy would send the band homemade cassette tapes of his songs and ideas. According to Duff, "there was no animosity about his reluctance to come to rehearsals" (page 162-163).

In November 1989, Duff would comment on the songs they had written:

The new songs are a lot harder, so it’s an improvement on my bass playing. I think Slash has improved my bass playing, because some of the riffs he comes up with are, like, these guitar riffs. And Slash and I almost always play the same thing, and then Izzy plays off of that. And so, I have to play, like, these incredible things that Slash comes up with. This guy has, like, the quickest left hand of anybody I know.

To conclude, it seems that the band struggled to get work done both because of Axl not being in the right headspace and because of interfering drug problems.

Looking back at 1989, Slash and Duff would explain what happened this way:

We had some shows to do….

We toured for a long, long time. Off and on for two-and-a-half years…

Two-and-a-half…I know my facts, man. Martin Luther King died in 1965…

Yeah, yeah, yeah…

But the album started to happen for us over a year into the tour. And then we had to tour some more. And there was a certain type of demand, and then there were the three Stones gigs at the LA Coliseum…and just adjusting to all this Rock star bullshit. Getting a house together….a life. Just getting a life.

It’s a whole new life compared to what we were used to. It’s like going from one extreme to the other. It takes time to adjust to it all.

Duff had his own issues to struggle with in particular his failing marriage, as evidenced in an interview from January 1990:

In the last eight months or so I just wasn't sure if I, or if we, were mentally capable of making the next record. When we made the first record, man, I had one foot like this and one foot like this… In those days, man, there was two-inch deep marks where I was dug-in to do this. I wasn’t sure that I could do that again - just dig in and do it. But I’ve just gone through a bunch of shit in my personal life and now I hope I’m dug in again. I’ve been hanging with Slash, we’ve been playing together, and I’m ready again...

You know, shit has happened in my life. But shit happens for a reason, and it happened for a reason in my life and I’m fuckin’ happy. I’m so ready to do this fuckin record, man, I’ve got callouses all over my fuckin’ hands already. I’m just ready to kick fuckin' ass! I wanna go on tour and make people happy. I wanna give a purpose to someone’s life. No, really. If I can give a purpose to one person’s life, that’s pretty fuckin' cool by me... I mean, how many people can do that to someone else? It doesn’t happen very often... But when it does, you go home at night and you just freak out.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1990

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:04 am


We go out and we play, you know? And we record and we rehearse when we go through our own personal problems. And the differentiation between the media and your personal life is starting to become a really big hassle.


In early 1989 Slash had a quite relaxed perspective on the press and inaccurate reporting:

It's obvious from the hype they generated at the beginning. "So and so are eccentric junkie hellraisers." Then they turn around and say, "He got smashed by a car due to alcohol and drugs." Sensationalism keeps the press going. It's an extreme type of things. At this point, I don't keep up, but I still see things generated about us. Anything shocking in the tiniest sense gets printed and blown out of proportion. I attribute it to one of those inside-information mongers who make it up if they can’t find it out. It goes with the territory and doesn't bug me. For us, there's no good or bad press. Any press is cool.


Around the same time, Slash would say that Axl wasn't into doing interviews:

I take care of all the interviews and make sure that they all get done, because Axl doesn't really like to do interviews […].

This could possibly be because Axl, in difference to Slash, was becoming increasingly frustrated with the press. And not long thereafter, the band would stop doing interviews with US press:

From now on, interviews will be very limited. That must sound like, 'Oh, he's being a rock star', but the truth is, I don't need the headache of not getting things across to the public the way I feel they should be. I'm only doing this interview because I believe in RIP and some of the friends I've made there.

I’m not totally anti-press, though. The only reason we’re not doing any American press at the moment is because so much American press has been done, we don’t want to get to the point where we’re over-exposed. We don’t want people to burn out on us. It’s got to the point lately where we’re almost on cereal boxes. The magazines are gonna put out stuff on their own anyway, they really will. They make up shit all the time. We just have to lay back a bit. Which is cool, ’cos I don’t really feel like talking to anyone right now. I feel I sort of have to get my life in order. Try and, try and ... I don’t know. Just try and get comfortable living off the road.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

In RIP from April 1989, Axl said that "there are some magazines that we have some major problems with", and pointed out the November 1988 article in Rolling Stone as particularly disappointing [RIP, April 1989]. When Rolling Stone requested another interview in 1989, Axl accepted on the conditions that it would be a cover feature, that it would be done by Del James, and that the photographs would be taken by Robert John:

Rolling Stone had been after me for months, and I wanted the cover. Then we got it so my best friend could write it, and another friend took the pictures.
Newsday, August 15, 1989

The band was getting fed up with an increasingly antagonistic press who focused on everything but the music:

It seems to me that we're a spectacle, a freak show. Magazines are more interested in who fell over last night than the music. I'm to the point where I'm tired of being a spectacle. One of the things that make this band so controversial is that we tell the truth. We tell what really happens. I like being honest with the press. What bugs me is after reading something about me, people don't have the slightest clue as to what I'm all about. Isn't that what doing interviews is about?

I don't really read the magazines that much any more... I like to look at the pictures.

We've had some run-ins with the press because they seem determined to turn on into something we're not. They love to write how we're always acting crazy and destroying things Well, it's just not true. Maybe they think by writing things like that they're making us seem bigger than we are and badder than we are. But we don't need it and we don't like it.

And a press who continued to be more interested in their wild lives than their music:

I saw this thing in National Enquirer and... It's fuckin' Stevie, man. Apparently he 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!

In the beginning of 1990, Axl would talk about being more selective about which interviews they did:

We haven’t done a lot of press things lately, not so much out of, like, Well, fuck you guys, we don’t need you, or this and that, you know? It’s just been kind of like... I mean, we want Guns N’ Roses to be huge and stuff and we’re glad when we get offered different interviews and all this stuff. But at the same time, you know, we get a bit sick of it, too. Seeing our faces all over the place. And at the same time, you don’t want so much over-exposure and so you kind of like go, OK, I’m gonna do one piece. OK, which magazine am I gonna do that in? What audience do I want to hit with what I’m gonna say, you know? Like, how am I going to approach this interview? It’s like, if I’m doing a Rolling Stone interview, it’s not so much catering to the audience, it’s like I’m just gonna use a different facet of my personality, ’cos I figure I’m talking to different people. With Rolling Stone you’re talking to U2 fans, REM, you know, and different crowds, OK, than you’re talking to in RIP... So maybe what I want to say needs to be said that way. So you do one interview rather than, like, trying to keep on top of Metal Edge, Metallix, Blast, you know, and all the Japanese magazines — Burn, Music Life and all the others. ’Cos it’s like, we’ve had to focus in on trying to get our lives together to deal with this, you know? And we’re just now getting some things under control.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

This increasing animosity towards the press would eventually result in the band demanding some magazines to sign contracts before conducting interviews [see later chapter].


A story that went the rounds in mid-1989 was Axl shooting a pig. It is not known to what extent this story is true, and Axl has never commented on it as far as we know. As told by New Musical Express:

Guns N' Roses were at the centre of controversy again this week with reports in the US press that singer Axl Rose had shot a five pig at a barbecue. The incident is said to have taken place after Axl attended the premiere of Depeche Mode's 101 movie in Hollywood [on April 28, 1989]. Axl introduced himself to the band by reciting the lyric's to Depeche's `Somebody' and declared that he was a big fan of the band. He took the British technopoppers to the Cat House, his favourite heavy metal club. Later that night Axl reportedly went on to a barbecue at a friend's house in Beverley Hills and shot a live pig. It is not clear whether Depeche were at the barbecue. A spokesman denied that they, were presents Singer Dave Gahan said he'd heard that a cow, not a pig had been done to death. "As strict vegetarians the band were appalled by his behaviour and do not wish to associate themselves with any who goes round shooting pigs for fun," said a Mode spokesman at Mute Records.

NME mixes stories up. The event with the pig (if it actually occurred) happened earlier and had been told by L.A. Weekly already on April 21, at least a week before the Depeche Mode show [L.A. Weekly, April 21, 1989]. Here is L.A. Weekly's story which likely started the rumour:

I USED TO LOVE HER, BUT I HAD TO EAT HER: They don't call them Guns N’ Roses for nothing: in preparation for a recent barbecue at the home of ex-Cathouse security guy Mike Miller, several other Cathouse security dudes drove out to Pierce College and came home with a prancing porker. They trussed up this overgrown Arnold Ziffel, probably some kid’s 4-H project, in Mike's garage, where the Cathouse posse gathered to watch Axl use Mr. Hog for gunnery practice — and they said Ted Nugent was Luger-loony . . . ouch! After pumping the porker full of lead. Axl made a hasty exit in his brand-new black convertible Bimmer to avoid the arrival of the other sort of pigs. The scary thing is, the cops never even showed up — talk about the wilds of the San Fernando Valley! Mike then strung up. skinned and gutted the hapless porcine beast, threw it on the barbie, and a good time was had by all. All except the pig, of course.

Interestingly, the press would later also talk about another incident that happened while Axl was partying with Mike Miller at his place:

It just goes to show: no good deed goes unpunished, especially when you’re famous, and there never seems to be enough ink when it comes time to record a star’s more heroic acts. Like last summer, when the above-mentioned Axl Rose and his then fiancé, Erin Everly, attended a BBQ at the San Fernando Valley digs on Guns N’ Roses/Rolling Stones/Megadeth tour assistant Mike Miller. It was a pleasant afternoon of eating and drinking (not necessarily in that order), and Axl was demonstrating for Mike the new 10-grand stereo on his Ford Bronco, which he’d conveniently parked on Mike’s front lawn. But no one knew just how convenient Axl’s job would turn out to be until two women went to get into their car and a drunk driver sped by a little too close, completely ripping off their car’s door. Mike’s house is at the corner of a dead-end street, with an alley behind. Mike’s guests began chasing the offender, and two guys were hanging off the car, but of course Mike and Axl had the car stereo turned up so loud that they couldn’t initially hear the commotion. When he caught sight of what was going on, though, Axl jumped into his truck and quickly blocked the entrance to the alley so that the drunk driver couldn’t get out, eventually another car pulled up behind and trapped him until the cops came and took him away. Not only was it Axl’s quick thinking that blocked the guy’s escape route, but the guy could have totaled Axl and his truck.


Likely, the band was also fed up with how the media could create or exaggerate friction in the band:

And I've got to the point where I've come to understand what the media's all about, and what these people really want out of you ... Some people are serious hounds for any shit they—can pick up and print about us, to the point where you just sit there and look at them and you just see them as pathetic.

I'm not really worried about what people think of me. What bothers me is what certain things printed about me do to people who I care about. If I say something, and it gets twisted to where it seems like I'm saying my band's full of shit or something when it's not what I said, that bothers me. That's not fair. Writers have to understand where we're coming from and hopefully print it that way. I've tried to be very open. You know, you've just met the interviewer real quick, you try to answer their questions, try to be as friendly as possible and then you end up with this person looking at your life not through a telescope, but rather through a kaleidoscope. Everything's in pieces and distorted.

An example of the media creating wedges in the band, is the RIP interview that Axl did in April 1989. When confronted with this interview and Axl's quotes regarding drug use that included a thinly-veiled advice to his bandmates, Slash would say:

There’s some stuff about drugs in there I wish he hadn’t said. Because, I mean, at this point in time, being that we have such a bad reputation as it is and having run-ins with the cops all the time, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.

Because of quotes like that, it’s really gotten to the point where everybody’s sort of very wary of the police. Just everyday living could be... you never know what could happen. Did you know the Feds are after Sam Kinnison?

Anything to do with drugs, you have to watch it. And we’re prime targets. Luckily I’m not in West Hollywood any more, so that helps. But as far as I’m concerned you just don’t say anything about drugs - just don’t talk about them.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

Axl's thinly-veiled threat would soon take a more direct and passionate form when he confronted his band mates onstage during the Rolling Stone interview [see later chapter].


Musing on the nature of the press:

I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve gotten to understand what the press and media are all about. Some people are serious hounds for the dirt to the point where you just sit there and look at them and you just see them as pathetic. Then there are the ones who are a little more subtle, and they just want to have something interesting to write down. It’s different. I tend to be pretty calm about it. I sort of take the assholes with the nice guys and just try to, like, weed them out. It doesn’t shock me any more, though. There’s nothing left that’s shocking about it. I can understand why somebody wants to write stuff like that because it makes for interesting reading, and interesting reading makes for decent sales.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

All this aside, the band must take a lot of blame for the media loving to write about their lives. As Nick Kent would write in October 1989: "Strictly on a cartoon level, Guns N' Roses are probably the most singularly entertaining and titillating group in the whole of late-eighties rock pop culture right now. After all, they're the youngest, the thinnest, the rowdiest, the most calamity-prone, etc., etc. Plus there are a number of Spinal Tap comparisons (the ongoing drummer problem, the fact that the GN'R manager, New Zealander Alan Niven, apparently bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tap's long-suffering celluloid counterpart)" [The Face, October 1989].


By 1989, the press was mostly interested in Axl and Slash. The vast majority of interviews and articles would focus on these two. The "big guys" as Duff would jokingly refer to them [Kerrang! March 1990] and then follow up:

It’s a joke... it’s all a joke. It's just that they're - and they'd be the first to admit it - they’re the cartoon figures of the band. Whether they like it or not, and I think most times not, they’re focused on because Axl is the singer and Slash is like this fucking guitar player, and they’re both fuckin’ amazing, you know? I don’t blame magazines and shit for wanting to get their clutches into them, ’cos they’re both so fuckin’ great! I mean, Slash... he’s untamed!’ he hollered. And when was the last untamed guitar player - Hendrix? I’m not comparing him to Hendrix, though...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from January 1989

Slash would comment on him and Axl being in the spotlight:

Axl being the front man, obviously, he's the focal point and I'm the kind of guy that's just been aggressive enough to push myself. You know, it's just to be, like, so much in everybody's space all the time that they can't really ignore me. I don't really do it on purpose. It's just that's the way it's developed over the years. But I mean, you know, like in Japan, Duff and Steven are very popular, too, because they are both- [Interviewer suggesting "blonde"] Right, it's the blonde thing. The band doesn't really pay attention to who's like more popular than the person. Izzy tends to be very quiet and likes to keep, you know, likes to sort of keep in the shadows and not get involved in other sort of like social bullshit that, you know, that like me and Axl have to get involved with all the time. But I mean, otherwise, there's not really that big a difference. It's like, me and Axl do all the interviews and we get a lot of pictures taken just because, you know, as far as the live shows go, we're the two guys that are right up there in front all the time and always are just like very pushy about it and and just being aggressive, you know what I mean?

Third in popularity behind Axl and Slash was Duff, who now and then got some attention from the media. Izzy was much less featured, maybe because he, after an active period in the beginning of the band's history, now wanted to take the back seat or was starting to be fed up with the band and industry. He also had a problem with not knowing when the next record would come out:

I prefer just to work, just to go in and do it. With Guns N’ Roses, I had to stop involving myself much with the press because I had no idea when the record was going to be finished. It was such a day-to-day existence, I never really knew what was happening. I didn’t want to make promises unless I planned on keeping them.

But even less attention was given to Steven. No interviews or articles focusing on Steven alone is to be found before 1989 [control check this]. He was by far the most anonymous of the band members. The only time he would be featured was together with others, and often then he would let the others do most of the talking. When discussing who wrote the lyrics to the band's songs, and being asked what part Steven took in this, Slash would reply: "He plays drums. Steven's not the most vocal person in the world. […] Well, no, maybe vocal isn't the right word, more like illiterate would be the word [laughter]" to which Duff would add: "Put it this way, the Navy wouldn't take him!" [Hit Parader, July 1989; but the quotes are from 1988].

When asked if it bothered him that the media was so much more focus on him and Axl, Slash responded and indicated that it was just good for him to be active:

Well, no. No, the reason I am not bugged about it is because if I'm not playing my guitar, writing a song, or if I'm not getting to the gig, if I'm not doing something that's band-oriented, I'm going to go nuts and I get very self-destructive if I'm not busy. So, you know, it takes my time. You know, like I knew you were going to call today, so I got up at twelve o'clock and I just sat here and waited. To you called. You know what I mean? And after I do this, I'm gonna go do another one, down the street and have lunch and talk about this stuff some more. I mean, it's just like, I've got to be working. I've got to be doing something that's Guns N' Roses oriented.

Slash would also point out that it bothered him that the other band members weren't getting enough credit:

It’s just that people always focus in on the predictable stuff. Like, Duff hasn’t gotten anywhere near enough recognition as a bass player, nobody ever talks about how good a guitar player Izzy is. People notice me and Axl a lot ’cos we’re out there at the front. We’re highly recognisable and all that shit. But Duff is like one of the best bass players in rock ’n’ roll. Duff is an awesome bass player, and he doesn’t get any recognition for it at all! So it becomes obvious to me, it’s not so much how good a player you are, it’s how cool you are.
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 Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:04 am


In an interesting premonition of what was to come, Slash would in October 1988 say that he didn't think Guns N' Roses would open for another band again, except perhaps the Rolling Stones:

[…] we won’t open for anybody any more. The only band that I can think of that we would make a good double bill with is the Stones.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

In fact, Slash had been socializing with the members of the Stones:

I’ve met Ron Wood a few times. I met Charlie Watts. Keith I met, and Bill. I’ve never met Jagger, though.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

Although Keith Richards was not a huge fan of the band at the time:

[When asked what he thinks of Guns N' Roses]: Not much. I admire the fact that they’ve made it despite certain resistance from the radio biz. I admire their guts. But too much posing. Their look – it’s like there’s one out of this band, one looks like Jimmy, one looks like Ronnie. Too much copycat, too much posing for me. I haven’t listened to a whole album to be able to talk about the music.
Rolling Stone, October 6, 1988

Slash would comment upon Richards remarks:

Did you read what Keith said about us in Rolling Stone? They asked him, what do you think of Guns N’ Roses, and he goes, “Not much.”

He said me and Izzy looked like Jimmy Page and Ron Wood, and he said we were very poseurish. Then they asked him, have you heard the album? And he said no. I, like, I didn’t take it personally, though. And I don’t look like Jimmy Page. I saw him on TV today...

I can see where Keith’s coming from, though. Having been around some of the greats, like Chuck Berry - it must be hard to see upstarts like us and take it seriously. He needs to hear the record or hang out, I don’t know. We’re not poseurish... It’s just that we-don’t-give-a-fuck rock 'n' roll type of thing. We’re just us, trying not to get carried away with being us. We're just the huge fuck-ups that made it big.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from October 1988

Then, in March 1989, Slash would again talk about the Stones and almost slip and tell something meant to be a secret:

For some reason people are always trying to put us together with them... the Stones. There’s even talk of us ... oh well. Oh, that's it, I didn't say anything... Forget that, OK?
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

Despite Richards comments in 1988, by August 1989 Rolling Stone Magazine mentioned rumors about Rolling Stone wanting Guns N' Roses to open for them on their upcoming tour. This was apparently what Slash had almost revealed some months earlier. Perhaps Richards had now heard 'Appetite' or perhaps Jagger's business sense where more important?

Axl would say that no formal offer had been made [Rolling Stone, August 1989]. But at some point in 1989 Rolling Stones did offer GNR the opening slot for their entire tour for $50,000 a night [Yahoo Music, April 2016]. RAW Magazine would in May 1989 claim that this was summer tour and that the band rejected the offer because they planned on writing and recording the follow-up to 'Appetite' [Raw Magazine, May 1989].

And at some point before September 1989, the bands had come to an agreement:

When will the issue with this interview appear? In September? Then it's too early to talk about certain things. But I can already tell you that we're going to do two gigs with the Rolling Stones on the west coast. Further shows are still being negotiated, but October 19th and 20th are confirmed. Then we open the Coliseum in LA for the Stones ... and bury them!

But before that, I'll go back to the west coast and we'll play at the Coliseum on October 19 and 20. Imagine. Man! This is the largest stadium there, 60,000, maybe 70,000 people have space there. I'm not sure I'm right with the capacity, but it's definitely the largest stadium on the West Coast.

When I left Chicago and drove this car to the west coast to start this band, I passed the Coliseum. Now I'm playing in the Coliseum. it seemed so out of reach at the time that I never even dreamed of playing in it!”

According to Alan Niven in 2016, he had been reluctant to accept the offer mainly due to the compromised state of the band at the time:

From a fiscal point of view, I was dubious about that, because at that point Guns could clearly sell out arenas on their own, which would more than double that take. The other aspect was I didn’t consider the band to be in any condition, whatsoever, to be able to take on a tour of that length and magnitude. Izzy had gone through a really, really bad cocaine period and was just getting out of it. Slash was using too much [heroin]. Steven was using too much. Duff loved his cocaine and his vodka. They were in no condition to take on a venture like that. Much to the bemusement of the band’s agent, I passed. Think about that for a moment. Can you think of anybody who’d been offered to open for the Rolling Stones and said, ‘No, thank you?’ How fucked up in particular is that? […] I was like, ‘The Stones are touring again? F—ing hell! They always sell tickets, but as far as I was concerned, my boys were now the standard bearers of excessive glories of rock ‘n’ roll. Why should they open for a bunch of landed gentry and English financiers? So, conceptually, for me, it didn’t sit very well.
Yahoo Music, April 2016

The Rolling Stones then came back with a second offer: four nights at the Los Angeles Coliseum for $500,000. Though intrigued, Niven still wasn’t entirely convinced by the offer:

My thought was this. You’ve got 77,000 tickets to sell in the L.A. Coliseum. I can see the Stones doing that twice, but four times? I think that’s pushing it, even for the Stones – unless they’ve got someone with them who is going to push it over the edge. And knowing that they had two confirmed and were holding two more shows that they wanted to do, I rather felt that that described the circumstance. So I went back and said, ‘We’d be delighted to accept the offer for a million dollars.’ The Stones’ people just about choked on that, but guess what? Jagger came back and accepted, because he knew he needed Guns N’ Roses to get the four nights. He’s a businessman, and he figured out the formula.
Yahoo Music, April 2016

Slash would confirm that their management was against doing the gigs with The Stones, and imply at least part of it was due to Slash's heroin problem that was very bad at the time:

At that time I was at the tail end of a really, really serious heroin problem. I felt the band had to do the Stones gigs to bring us back together. We were all living in our separate houses, no one saw anybody, I was doing my thing, and only three of us were going to rehearsals on a regular basis. So I said, “Yeah, let’s do the gig,” even though our management was against it. I made an agreement with the band that after the Stones shows were over, I’d clean up. That was agreed upon and understood.

He would also later claim that it was he who booked the gigs:

[…] I was the one who booked those f**kin’ shows!

There was one time when we supporting the Stones and we’d come out of a long hiatus. I booked those shows hoping they’d help get the band back together.

Most likely, Slash's connections with the Stones allowed him to suggest the idea to them before management took over.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:05 am


That asshole punched me in the dark. What happened, happened. Maybe one day we’ll meet again.



On September 6, 1989, it was time for the MTV Music Video Awards. Guns N' Roses was nominated for best new artist and best heavy metal band for 'Sweet Child O' Mine, and won the latter award in competition with Def Leppard, Aerosmith and Metallica [Lowell Sun, September 7, 1989]. Axl would comment on the award:

I don't like winning anything that has the labeling 'heavy metal.' I don't like the title 'heavy metal' because it cheapens the art form.


The highly touted surprise act to close the show turned out to be Axl singing the songs Free Falling and Heartbreak Hotel with Tom Petty [Lowell Sun, September 7, 1989]. What wasn't reported was that Izzy joined in on guitar, too.

Tom Petty and Axl
September 6, 1989

I played the VMAs with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin from Guns N' Roses-we did "Free Fallin'" and "Heartbreak Hotel". I thought it was kind of a shaky performance. We didn't get a lot of rehearsal time, because Cher was doing a big promotion number and there wasn't much time for us.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, 2012

Axl had joined Tom Petty on stage about a month before, on August 26, 1989, at the New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, USA; for the songs Free Fallin' and Knockin' On Heaven's Door.


During the award show, as Izzy exited the stage after the performance with Tom Petty, Izzy got in a fight with Vince Neil, the frontman of Motley Crue. As discussed earlier, Neil was angry at Izzy for the altercation with his wife a few weeks earlier [see previous chapter].

As we finished "Heartbreak Hotel" and walked off stage, Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe came running out of the wings and decked Izzy, hit him right in the face. Our sound guy, Jim Lenehan, was walking off the stage with us, and Lenehan was like, "I don't even know this Izzy kid, but he's with us," so he decked Vince Neil. Izzy was getting a lot of black eyes those days. I think he already had a black eye before Vince hit him.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, 2012

I was on the side of the stage when Vince punched Izzy. Vince's gold bracelet flew off his wrist as he cracked Izzy. It was a big chunk of gold. Vince was huffing and puffing, and I was like, "Dude, I got your bracelet. He's like, "You can have it, man." In the day, if somebody said something bad about your band, you were obliged to punch him. It was considered totally appropriate.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, 2012

[Neil] jumped out of a crowd of people and sucker-punched Stradlin. Stradlin's lip was cut by Neil's rings but he was otherwise unhurt. Neil, on the other hand, found himself on his back; he scrambled and ran for his limo. […] Fortunately Vince is a powder puff and can't do much damage, but it was a chicken . . . thing to do.

Izzy and I were walking offstage when Vince came out of the darkness and and whomped Izzy on the face, at which point I threw Izzy to the floor and put my left hand around this throat. I cocked up my right arm to bury in his nose, and had a moment of lucidity where I looked at his rhinoplasty, said, "That's too expensive," and let him up. Then Axl ran all over the building, trying to find Mötley and extend the dialogue further. It was very timely that Nikki jumped into a limo and fled the scene.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, 2012

Neil would later describe what happened:

Izzy had picked the wrong time to fuck with me, because the MTV Video Music Awards were just weeks away at the Universal Amphitheater. At the show, I left the band waiting in their limos outside and hung around backstage while Guns N’ Roses played with Tom Petty.

When Izzy walked offstage, looking like a cross between Eric Stoltz in Mask and Neil Young, I was waiting for him. “You fucking hit my wife!”

”So fucking what?” he spat.

All my blood rushed into my fist, and I decked him. I decked him good, right in the face. He fell to the ground like a tipped cow.

Fred Saunders pinned my arms. “The next time you fucking touch her, I’ll fucking kill you!” I yelled at Izzy’s prone body as Fred dragged me away.

Axl came snarling after us like an overdressed Doberman. “Come on, motherfucker. I’m going to fucking kill you!” he yelled at our backs.

I twirled around. His face was sweaty and twisted. “Let’s fucking go!” I said to him. And I meant it. The blood was still pumping into my fists. He looked at me and squeaked like a little bitch, “Just don’t fuck with my band again, okay?” And he walked away.
The Dirt, HarperEntertainment, 2001]

Later, Axl would confirm that Neil had punched Izzy:

That happened, you know, and then he ran past me. And I didn’t know who he was, cuz he’d just had his cheeks done, and I couldn’t tell who he was [laughs].

Sharise Neil would also talk about the incident at MTV VMA:

It was the MTV Awards, yeah […] So, there I guess Tom Petty was on stage, and then Guns N’ Roses were doing the last show of the night, they were doing a song; or Izzy and a couple of the band members were playing with Tom Petty. So Vince – this has been, like, six months since this happened, and Vince has not run into Izzy at all, or Axl. But there they are that night! [...] So now Vince is plotting, “How can I get back at him,” like, “Oh, he’s on stage now. Sharise, go to the car.” I’m like, “What are you gonna do?!” and he’s like, “Don’t worry about it. Go to the car.” So this is what I remember: I was sitting in the limo, waiting, waiting, waiting... And I’m looking behind me, and what I see is hilarious. I see Vince walking very briskly and then running towards the car: “Open the door! Open the door!” I’m like, “What’s going on?” Then I see Axl running after Vince with, like, two big black bodyguards following. Vince gets to the car and he tells the driver, “Go!” So now we’re taking off in the parking lot as Axl is running behind our car. I mean, that’s a scene.
Bobbie N' Sharise Sweet and Sour Hour, April 13, 2019

So when Neil saw Izzy at the Awards show in 1989, "I did what any man would do" [LA Times, September 1989]. Which would be to "slug him over the eye", as reported by L.A. Weekly [L.A. Weekly, September 15, 1989].

I just punched that dick and broke his f**king nose. […] Anybody who beats up on a woman deserves to get the shit kicked out of them. He hit my wife, a year before I hit him. I called up his management after he hit her and Alan Niven (GN’R manager) was like, 'My bands can do anything they want. Guns can do anything they want’. So I’m like, fine... […] I went looking for Izzy and I couldn’t find him, so I waited to the next time I saw him. That was when I was leaving and he was just coming offstage, 'cos he’d been jamming with Tom Petty. So I walked up to him and f* *king bopped him. […] I f**king punched him and event security dived on me, because they didn’t know who the f**k I was. [...] They threw me over towards the stairs and I’m trying to get at Izzy and he’s trying to get at me. The security told me to get out, so I walked past Izzy and I said, ‘Touch her again and I’ll f**king kill you, man’. I walked right past Axl, past all of them and out. I didn’t f* *king run. […] As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a Crüe v Guns thing, it was something this f* *king wimpy asshole who likes to hit girls deserved. It’s a score I had to settle.
Kerrang! November 4, 1989

[The comments above, published in Kerrang! in November 1989, would infuriate Axl and lead to the public spat between the two frontmen [see later section]].

During the 1989 Video Music Awards a photographer hired by MTV would also claim to have been pulled by a bodyguard for the band, resulting in alleged injuries and a lawsuit [more on this below] [The Dispatch, September 1990].

In October 1992 Izzy would be asked if he would donate bone marrow to save the life of Neil:

Fuck, no! There’s plenty of other donors out there.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:06 am


In September 1989, Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks released his solo album 'Not Fakin' It'. For the video to the song 'Dead, Jail or Rock'N'Roll', Axl would be featured. This came about as Axl happened upon the photo shoot while in New York; Monroe reminisces:

[Axl] happened to be walking by 52nd Street and saw some trucks and asked what was going on. He learned I was shooting a video, and he came up and said that I was a major influence on him, that Guns N’ Roses were always huge Hanoi Rocks fans. It was really nice. He told me that if Hanoi Rocks hadn’t split up, Guns N’ Roses wouldn’t be as big as they are—that Hanoi’s breaking up left sort of a gap. […] We were playing the song live during the video shoot, so I asked him if he wanted to come up and jam. He got into it. It was sort of a tribute thing. He said he’s sick of people not knowing who Hanoi Rocks were

Um, when I was doing the video for "Dead, Jail Or Rock 'N' Roll" in uptown New York at Alphabet City and there was supposed to be a stage and everything but then it started pouring down rain and there was no plan B, even though all week I said, "What if it starts raining?" And it was like, "Oh no, it's not gonna rain," and it was the worse downpour in years. So then we went up top to SIR, a rehearsal space there, and got some police cars and Axl was hanging out there on the corner buying a sandwich and asked, "What's goin' on here?" They were like, "Oh, it's Michael Monroe's video shoot, so he was like, "Oh wow," and excused himself and went over to our bus. But he had a bunch of people with him so I didn't let him in. (laughs) "Nice to meet you, I'll see ya later!" But then we were doing the song and he was digging it and I saw that, so I asked him if he wanted to come up to do it a few times and he was like, "Yeah, sure why not?" He had heard my record and he was really into it so we did a few takes with him and he was like a cameo in the video. Then we got to talking and he was even more impressed when I said that "Not Fakin' It" was a song by Nazareth originally and he didn't know that. He said, "Oh wow, it's great and now I like it even more." I said even though its a Nazareth song I made it my own. He said he was a big Nazareth fan and he used to lock himself in the bathroom and listen to them when he was a kid 'cause his parents wouldn't let him listen to rock n' roll; heavy, heavy, heavy childhood. Must be crazy. He seems to have effects of it still. It must be hard and getting so fucking famous so fucking fast, no wonder.

Michael Monroe and Axl
From the filming of the music video


Monroe would later be featured on the song 'Bad Obsession' from 'Use Your Illusion II' where he played harmonica and tenor saxophone, and on 'Ain't It Fun' from 'The Spaghetti Incident!?' where he would add guest vocals.

We flew Michael Monroe to L.A. from New York and he sang - we played harmonica and sax on one song on the record, and he sang a duet with Axl on another song

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:06 am

OCTOBER 10, 1989


'It's So Easy' had been released as the band's first single back in June 1987. After having released 'Sweet Child O' Mine' as a single with video in 1988, Slash was asked about their third single and would say it might be a live version of 'It's So Easy':

We’re talking about doing a live version of It’s So Easy.

But in the end, in 1989/1990, the band was filming footage for a music video for 'It's So Easy' and before this the band had released a live video of 'Paradise City' [see previous chapter]. When asked why they were filming new shots for a potential 'It's So Easy' video and if they intended to re-release the single, Slash responded:

Yeah maybe. We always wanted to do a video for that song. It’s got that sort of punk attitude to it - especially since Duff was majorly into that, you know, being a former punk rocker and all. And we just wanted to... Well, we’re gonna have a home video at some point, so we wanted to do some videos that were, like, completely no holds barred, uncensored type of things. Just live shooting, instead of worrying about whether MTV is gonna play it. Just go out there and do a fuckin' blown out live, real risky video...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

Describing the video:

The video for “It’s So Easy” should be cool, though. It’s not finished yet, though, we’re just going through the final edits. We’re supposed to see it Tuesday. It’s more or less just for us, so we’re gonna tend to put the harsher stuff in and then leave it like that. I don’t care whether MTV plays it or not. Plus, I want some special stuff on the home video anyway, that’s just ours and that you can’t get anywhere else.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

As evidenced from the quote above, filming took place in early 1989. More shots were being captured on October 10.

In 2006, Sebastian Bach would mention having seen the video:

I got the best Guns N' Roses video, and you never seen it..."It's So Easy". [...] Dude, I gotta mention, Del James gave me a copy, maybe he shouldn't have...of the "It's So Easy" video. [...] That's a good one. That's my favourite Guns N' Roses video. [...] There's an S&M, very quick shot at the end, oh man! But it's all like, you know..

But by then, Axl considered the video to be "corny":

No, I just think it's corny, so...I don't know, I just, I like the filming of it, that whole aspect, but... [...] That's where I'm spanking Erin (Everly)...I'm spanking Sweet Child so...

Yeah, but the messed up part of that is: you remember Earl, you know the security guy I had? So, Earl is this big huge black guy you know, and we went to the Pleasure Chest to buy the bondage gear for the video. But the guys behind the counter just seen me with this huge giant black guy and they think that...(laughs)...they're looking at me like: "Yeaah! You're one of us, it's cool! Thumbs up man! Right!" And I'm like...(laughs) that was messed up. They were like just..."Alright man. You rock dude!"


According to rumors printed in Kerrang! in April 1990, David Bowie visited the set of the video and got "a little too well acquainted with Axl’s girlfriend, Erin" resulting in Axl "aiming a few punches Bowie’s way before having him thrown off the set" [Kerrang! April 1990]. According to Billboard Magazine, Axl had challenged Bowie but the two were separated by security guards [Panama City News Herald, October 26, 1989].

It looks like there also was an altercation between Axl and Bowie at the RIP Anniversary show at the Cathouse on October 11, as mentioned in L.A. Weeks [L.A. Weeks, December 15, 1989] and this quote from Slash:

Axl heard he was there and started into Bowie from the stage about some bullshit. I was so embarrassed because David was always so polite, proper and English. He really didn't need or deserve anything like that.

The day before the Stones gig [Ed: Not correct, the Cathouse show happened about a week before the first show with the Stones] we did a warm-up show at the Cathouse and it was killer. It was the first time we'd played in a while, and we had so much energy to get out; we sounded amazing and it was a classic Guns show. It wasn't without its unpleasantness, though, because Axl insulted David Bowie so much from the stage that Bowie left in the middle of the set [...] That evening was captured for posterity in the video for "It's So Easy," which was never accepted by MTV or aired in the States because we refused to edit out the profanity in the song.
Slash's autobiography, p 277

Riki Rachtman, the owner of the Cathouse, would confirm both that David Bowie tried to pick up Erin and that this resulted in Axl chasing Bowie down the street [Spin, July 1999]. According to another report, Bowie never attended the RIP Anniversary show [Panama City News Herald, October 26, 1989].

This would perhaps not be the first time incident between Axl and David Bowie. Before the release of Appetite, while Guns N' Roses was managed by Vicky Hamilton, Axl allegedly had got in a fight at a David Bowie concert and got hit in the eye by either Bowie's guards or the venue guards. A photo was supposedly taken by Hamilton's boyfriend and allegedly Axl had intended to use it as evidence to sue Bowie.

Photo of Axl, allegedly after getting hit at a Bowie show
Likely from 1986


When commenting on the incident, Axl would not go in detail on the brawl but tell a long story of going out with Bowie and having a good time:

Bowie and I had our differences. And then we went out for dinner and talked and went to the China Club and stuff, you know, and when we left I was like, “I wanna thank you. You're the first person that’s ever come up and said I’m sorry about the situation.” You know I didn’t, like, try to take away any of his dignity or respect - like Rolling Stone saying I’ve no respect for the Godfather of Glam even though I wore make-up in this or that video and dah dah dah...

It’s like, when we opened for the Stones Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton cornered me, right? I go out there to do the soundcheck, and I’m sitting on this amp and all of a sudden they’re both right there in front of me. And Jagger doesn’t really talk a lot, right? He doesn't really talk at all, he’s just real serious about everything. And all of a sudden he was like’ – he assumed a theatrical Dick Van Dyke cockney – “So you got in a fight with Bowie, didja?” You know, and I’m like... I told him the story real quick and him and Clapton are going off about Bowie in their own little world, talking about things from years of knowing each other. They were saying that when Bowie gets drunk he turns into the Devil from Bromley... I mean, I’m not even in this conversation. I’m just sitting there and every now and then they would ask me a couple more facts about what happened, and then they would go back to bitchin’ like crazy about Bowie. I was just sitting there going, wow...        

But Bowie was really cool. We went to this restaurant and, like, it was just supposed to be Slash and me and Bowie and his girlfriend. Then I’m going and I bring an old friend of ours called Danny, who's an old roadie who’s been through, like, crazy stories with cops and everything. We haven’t been able to find Danny for two years. And Danny was like Dan the Man, he was a big part of our lives. But we couldn’t find Danny. Well, I find Danny and another guy called Eric – two guys we haven’t seen for a while that Slash and I used to hang with. So I bring them. Then Izzy shows up with Jimmy from Broken Homes, and we have this crowded table, right? And everybody's getting wasted on wine and stuff.

Then Bowie comes around the table and he squats down next to me and starts talking. And all of a sudden somebody hit the table and my elbow, like, bumped his cheek, just real lightly. And he goes, “OH, FUCK!” and grabs his eye and jumps up, and the whole restaurant spins round... ’Cos they did not like me and Slash being in the restaurant anyway, OK? This doesn’t usually happen any more but this place it happened in ’cos they were all, you know, all quiet, with an art gallery showing on the walls and all this stuff.

And the people running the restaurant don’t know who... It's not like they don’t know who I am, but they don’t give a flying fuck. They don't know it's Slash and Axl, they just see us coming in in leather jackets and stuff and they’re freaking, right?

So there’s a whole table and we’re all getting loud and stuff. But Bowie s there so they’ve got to let this go on, they don’t know what else to do right? It was great. So Bowie jumps up and goes, “OH FUCK!" and the whole place spins around, and the ladies and stuff are hiding behind their fuckin’ menus. Then he goes, “Just kidding! Just fucking kidding!” It was great, it was great...

We went to the China Club and stuff and he, like, had me do photos with him. He was like, “I don’t know if you wanna do this but...” He was really cool. We started talking about the business and I never met anybody so cool and so into it and so whacked out and so sick in my life. I looked over at Slash and I went, “Man, we’re in fuckin’ deep trouble.” He goes, “Why?” And I go, “’Cos I got a lot in common with this guy. I mean, I’m pretty sick but this guy’s just fuckin’ ill!” And Bowie's sittin’ there laughing... Then he starts talking about, "One side of me is experimental, and one side of me wants to make something that people get into. And I DON’T KNOW FUCKING WHY! WHY AM I LIKE THIS!?” And I’m, like, thinking to myself, I’ve got twenty more years of... that to look forward to? I’m already like this! Twenty more years? It was heavy, man...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

Axl and Bowie

L.A. Weekly would comment on having seen Axl and Bowie together at the China Club, together with Slash and his date, Bowie's fiancee, and others [L.A. Weekly, December 15, 1989].

As a side-note, about a year later Slash would also befriend Bowie whom he had known as a kid when Bowie was dating his mom:

Late last year, Bowie and I got together and went to dinner. We had a great time, and we’ve been hanging ever since. He’s a sweet guy. It’s been really cool, going from being a kid and growing up with musicians and then meeting these people you haven’t seen in a long time who actually have respect for you.

[…] after [Bowie and mum] separated, I didn’t see him for a long time, until – God, I must have been about 20-21 years old when I saw him again. We’ve been friends since.

Ola Hudson and David Bowie

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:07 am

OCTOBER 11-13, 1989

The band had not played a shows together since January 1989 and needed to warm up before the highly prestigious shows with The Stones. The first of these warm-up shows took place at the Cathouse on October 11, the day after the It's So Easy video recording. The second warm-up show was at the RIP Magazine 3rd Anniversary Party and took place at the Park Plaza Hotel on October 13. For the Park Plaza hotel the band didn't start playing until well after 1 am and played until 3:15 am [Metal Sludge, October 19, 2012]. During the show Mike Monroe would join the band for 'Heartbreak Hotel' and both Axl and Duff would stage dive [Metal Sludge, October 19, 2012]. Duff would later mentioned his stage dive and losing his gold chain he'd been wearing for 9 year prior:

Actually, this [neck chain] is the second one I’ve had because I had on before that I wore for nine year. Then Guns did the third anniversary RIP party - that’s got to be three years ago now - and I jumped into the crowd, did a little stagedive. The place was fuckin’ packed but I jumped and all of a sudden the Red Sea just parted, man! 12 feet straight down - BOOM! Thanks for catching me, you guys! I didn’t think there was any room for them to move. Then everyone started jumping on top of me and somebody grabbed the old chain and fuckin’ ripped it off my neck - it wouldn’t go over my head - to add insult to injury while I’m laying there bleeding on the floor. So I got a new one. It’s just a dog’s collar. I wear it all the time, it doesn’t come off.

The show got glowing review in Los Angeles Times, writing:

And Guns N' Roses . . . well, woooo! This second of two "surprise" shows last week in preparation for its date with the Rolling Stones at the Coliseum (the first show was at the 400-capacity Cathouse on Tuesday night) preached to the converted in fine style.

Axl Rose writhes like a stripper, slithers across the stage, modulates his voice from Joe Cocker snarl to Steve Tyler shriek--as ferally in control of the stage as any singer since early Bowie, convincing even in an extremely bathetic version of Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," which he dedicated to an OD'd friend. The Cathouse show was more a club show, five guys playing the songs they know for a bunch of friends; this was a full-fledged stadium show, million-dollar lighting apparatus, bombast, half-stepping and all. This band's ready.
Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1989

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:07 am

OCTOBER 18-22, 1989


October 18 came around and the band was set for the pinnacle of their short career: opening for The Rolling Stones. This had been a dream to Axl and a signal that they had made it [Concert Shots, May 1986].

The grandness of these shows were also apparent to Duff, but his band members didn't pull it together:

Despite the work we needed to do to prepare for the Stones shows, Slash and Steven showed no signs of pulling out of their drug habits, and Izzy slipped back into heroin use, too. Sometimes those guys put their drug use in front of band practise. One or the other often showed up late or left early from rehearsal-if they showed up at all.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 156

Slash was "shooting heroin and speedballs" at the time and had his dealer meet him "before and after the gig" [Musician, December 1990]:

I'd built a place in the hotel room to hide my shit. Axl was tripping out on the whole thing but as far as I was concerned I was fine—at least the gig was happening and I was playing.

There was one time when we supporting the Stones and we’d come out of a long hiatus. I booked those shows hoping they’d help get the band back together. But I was shooting amazing amounts of smack, and - I admit - I did those three shows while really really high. At one of them my dealer didn’t show up on time and I was scared I was gonna have to go on without copping my shit - which meant I couldn't play. But he showed up at the last minute. That was a nailbiting experience.

In Steven's recollection it is implied that Slash had promised to quit drugs before the shows:

I would walk over to Slash's room to hang out and party. Unfortunately, every dealer on the West Coast was buzzing around for the concert, and I fell to temptation again. At this point, Slash hadn't let up at all and was getting sucked deeper into hard drugs. Heroin came packaged in rubber balloons, and that night after we checked in, I bought six of those balloons and went to Slash's room. I walked in and I saw Slash in the bathroom, and he had like twenty of these same balloons lying around, already opened and used. he was just sitting on the toilet, staring down at the tiles, all stoned out. He was going to be no fun, so I just spun around and left.
Steven's biography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, page 198-199

At the morning of the first show, Izzy got an ominous call from Axl:

It was the biggest thrill I ever had working with this band, but it was also pretty nerve-wracking, 'cos - we did four gigs in LA, right? - at six the morning of the first one, Axl called me completely hammered, and told me 'I'm quitting'. I told the other guys 'It's gonna be a long four days, fellas.'

I got a call from Axl on the morning of the first Stones show. He said, 'I'm sorry, these gigs aren't gonna go, I quit!'

Niven would talk about this in October 1992, too, and refer to Axl's decision to quit the band the very day they were going to play with the Rolling Stones for "bad timing" [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992].

According to Niven, Axl was nowhere to be seen before the show, with the production manager saying to him: "Your guy’s not here. Tell me what I’m supposed to do – call the LAPD and warn them we may have a riot with 77,000 people?" Niven would then, allegedly, ask the production manager if he had a contact in the LAPD who was an "absolutely no-questions-asked guy", with his wishes confirmed and the cop on scene, Niven gave him the address where Rose was staying and allegedly said:

I want you to send two uniforms to this address and have them get the occupants out any which way they can and bring them here right away, in handcuffs, if necessary.
Yahoo Music, April 2016

According to Niven, the police did as asked and brought Axl to the venue [Yahoo Music, April 2016].

As Axl walked towards the stage, he allegedly confronted Reid with his comments and said that he never thought of “you guys as niggers" [Spin, November 1990].


The band Living Colour was opening for Guns N' Roses and Rolling Stones. The day before the first show, on October 17, Vernon Reid, the singer of Living Color, was guesting at a radio show with call-ins. He was asked by one caller what he thought of 'One in a Million' and replied that he liked the band but took exceptions to some of the words in the song [RIP Magazine, November 1990].

During their opening set, Reid would again take the opportunity to condemn the usage of the word "nigger" and say that anyone using that word was promoting racism and bigotry [Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].

Slash would later be asked what the deal was between Living Colour and Guns N' Roses:

Well, see, I don't read anything, I don't keep up with the press. As far as Living Colour was concerned, it had nothing to do with me, I was too concerned about my own drug problem at the time. I think Axl had a problem with Living Colour, that's when we were opening up for the Stones, that was it, four shows. There definitely wasn't anything political going on, you know, with Axl's reputation... there definitely wasn't any racist shit going on. Specially, cause I'm around, and I'm half black and half English actually, so there definitely wasn't anything from me.


As Axl took the stage he first defended 'One In A Million', and then continued with his famous "Mr. Brownstone" speech:

I don't like to do this on stage. But unless certain people in this band start getting their act together, these are going to be the last Guns N' Roses shows. I'm sick and tired of too many people in this organization dancing with Mr. Brownstone.

And then, before the encore: "Before we begin, I'd like to announce this is my last gig with Guns N' Roses" [Los Angeles time, October 20].

If it is true that Slash had promised to quit drugs before The Stones shows and not after, that would help to explain Axl's frustration and anger at the time and his ultimatum that his band mates stop using heroin or he would quit the band.

Axl would later explain why he did it:

I was watching my band mentally and physically fall apart. It was a harsh move [talking about it] onstage, but we had tried everything else, and nobody would stop. It just kept getting worse and worse and worse. [...] I remember bumping into [Geffen Records head] David Geffen when I walked onstage and he was all excited about us playing with the Stones and all the people there. I just looked at him and said, 'Well, then enjoy (the show) because it's the last (damn) one.'

That was definite and that was serious. I mean, I offered to go completely broke and back on the streets, ’cos it would have cost, like, an estimated $1.5 million to cancel the shows, OK? That means Axl’s broke, OK? Except what I’ve got tied up in Guns N’ Roses’ interests or whatever. But I didn’t want to do that because I wouldn’t want the band to have to pay for me cancelling the shows. I don’t want Duff to lose his house ’cos Axl cancelled the shows. I couldn’t live with that. But at the same time I’m not gonna be a part of watching them kill each other, just killing themselves off. It’s like, it came down to like, we tried every other angle of getting our shit back together and in the end it had to be done live. You know, everybody else was pissed at me but afterwards Slash’s mom came and shook my hand and so did his brother.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

You should have seen Geffen’s face. I was, like, 15 paces behind, trying to keep up, and I’m waving my hands at Geffen, like, ‘Leave him alone! Leave him alone! Get out of the way! Don’t stop him now!’ And then Axl shut himself off and then went back to his apartment.
Yahoo Music, April 2016

Being asked if he knew what was going to happen:

Of course not! I was pissed off at him for that, too. But I can say I was pissed off with Axl for doing that because I was not one of the guys that he was talking about. I mean, I just walked into that thing. So I was furious, of course.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview in January 1990

Duff wasn't the only one who was pissed off by Axl's speech, Slash was too:

[...]I got the call that Axl wasn't going to do the gigs. His reasoning was that Steven and I were on smack. We were...but that's beside the point; we were opening for The Stones. Somehow we coerced him into doing the first show and it was a disaster. "Enjoy the show," Axl said when we took the stage, "because it's going to be our last one. There are too many of us dancing with Mr. Brownstone." I was so pissed off about that and he was so pissed at me for being a junkie that I spent the better half of the show facing my amps. Nothing was together that night, the band sounded horrible.
Slash's autobiograohy, p 277-278

If Slash had promised to clean up before the shows with The Stones, it wasn't so much that they were on smack, but that they still were on smack.

The rest of the band members also felt remorse and humiliation:

As I neared the stage I could hear the fans. As I rounded the corner, I could see the multitudes screaming their heads off. The sound of that crowd was so powerful that it actually gave me an incredible buzz. When the audience caught sight of us, they all bolted upright. It was like one giant wave of energy, intensely stimulating. We were the proud prodigy, the bastard sons of the Rolling Stones, and we killed that night. We were there to show the world that rock was alive and bigger than ever, and we succeeded in every way.

But at a time when we should have been rejoicing beyond all measure, Axl instead chose to wag his finger. He had become aware of the out-of-control partying that was happening within the band and he made a long rambling statement during the show. "If some people in this organization don't get their shit together and stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone, this is going to be the last Guns N' Roses show. Ever!"

Axl went on and on, threatening to shut us down if the runaway abuse continued. Maybe it was done for publicity, maybe out of genuine concern, I don't know, but it was way over the top. Disbanding GNR for drug abuse was like grounding a bird for flying.
Steven's autobiography, "My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p. 199-200

I don't think it helps by ridiculing somebody onstage in front or 50,000 people. It would probably have been much more effective talking one to one.

Then came the second night [This really happened on the first night, on October 18, Duff seems to be mistaken here]. Before we played our first note, Axl suddenly announced to the 80,000 people in attendance that "if certain people in Guns N' Roses didn't stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone," this would be our last show. The crowd became absolutely quiet. People in the audience looked at one another; they seemed confused as we were. They really had no idea what Axl was talking about. I shrank. I felt so fucking embarrassed. And I was so fucking mad that Axl felt he could do this to me. I would have been supportive if he was sufficiently pissed off at certain guys to want to confront them for what was going on - I was with him., the situation was bad. But he needed to talk about that shit in private! Not out here. Never out here. Once Axl took his concerns public, the times of being a gang - us against the world - were over. We played the rest of the show, but it was a halfhearted effort at best. Afterward, and really for the remainder of our career, we just went our separate ways. That night officially rang the bell for the end of an era of GN'R.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 158


In his biography, Duff would claim he "never told Axl how upset [he] was" [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 159], yet in an interview Duff did in early 1990 he would state that he did:

But the next day we were on the phone together, and you know, it was OK, he explained his reasons for doing it. He was blowing off a lot of steam about a lot of shit. A lot of shit.

The fact that the band hadn’t gotten it together in Chicago, shit like that... But yeah, I was mad at Axl, I was pissed off. Then we got on the phone - and that’s the beauty of this band - we got on the phone the next day and really got out what was going on. That’s what happens with this band, we don’t bottle shit up. We just let it out. And sometimes it’ll happen on stage. It may not have been the right place, but it sure worked!
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview in January 1990

Another person who talked to Axl the next day was Alan Niven. He claims to have headed Axl’s apartment at 10 AM the next day and sat on the rocker’s bed, "trying to talk some sense into him" [Yahoo Music, April 2016]:

I brought a very big bag of donuts with me, and as I sat and listened and listened and listened, and as he complained about everybody and everything, I just kept feeding him donuts. Eventually, he started to get a little bit of a sugar rush, and in the throes of the sugar rush, he conceded that if I could get Slash to humiliate himself by apologizing to him live onstage, then maybe he might possibly think about doing that night’s show. So I got on the phone with Slash and said, ‘Whatever you have to do, do it. You’re gonna have to grovel. You’re going to have to bite the bullet. Just do what he says – that’s the only way we’re going to get him onstage.’ And obviously, reluctant Slash agreed to do it and, bless him, he took a bullet for everybody, and was publically humiliated onstage and apologized to Axl live onstage that night.
Yahoo Music, April 2016

In his testimony in August 1993 during Steven's trial, Axl would say that he had sent a message to Slash, through management, asking for Slash's public apology before their next show, and that it came out of concern for the band's drug use at the time, that the band was a "wreck" and that "everyone had some form of substance abuse" [Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit; August 23, 1993].

Hence, on the second night, Slash addressed the crowd before they started playing, talking about the perils of drugs but concluded "Guns N' Roses is not gonna be a band that falls apart because of it."

Axl said he wouldn’t perform unless I agreed to go up and do what he called apologize, which I refused to do. I said what I said, and he came out, and it was very warm because what I said was totally honest. It wasn’t an apology; it was sort of an explanation. No, not even that — I just opened up and said what I felt about heroin and what it does to people, who it’s killed and how wrong it is. Because that’s how I felt. But I was a junkie at the same time.

Axl then came on stage and thanked Slash before saying, "I'd like to apologize for my actions and comments last night. I just didn't want to see my friends slip away" [Los Angeles Times, October 1989].

The press wanted to know if this was only a media stunt, but "a source close to the band" stated that "There has been real tension in the band. The only thing that surprised me was that Axl went public with it. It might have been the pressure of the big engagement" [Los Angeles Times, October 1989].

This was not the first time Axl had expressed concern about his bandmates lifestyle, in November 1988 he had mentioned to Rolling Stone Magazine that he wasn't worried about the band's violent temper as long as they lived long enough to record a new album where that aggression could fuel the music:

It's cool that this tension is building up, because it's gotta find its release in the music. If we live that long.

And in August 1989 he mentioned to Rolling Stone that "I don't want to see drugs tear up this band" [Rolling Stone, August 1989]. This was just months prior to the ill-fated shows with Rolling Stones.

In 1990, Axl was asked if he had been specifically referring to Steven's heroin addiction when he made the "Mr. Brownstone" speech:

The majority of the band was at that time ["dancing with Mr. Brownstone"] - or too much alcohol or too much something. Me, I was eating too much or whatever, and just sitting on my ass too much.

In 1991, The Los Angeles Times would report that Axl had Slash specifically in mind [Los Angeles Times, July 1991], and Slash would say that "the problem that led to the Coliseum showdown" 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 [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. In January 1992, Slash would also admit that "[Axl] got on my case because I was... killing myself" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

Despite the heaviness of admonishing his band mates from the stage and giving them an ultimatum, Axl would look back at playing with the Rolling Stones fondly:

It was great playing with them. It was a definite dream. I mean, it was something that we told people we were going to do and people were going, “No, they broke up.” “I don’t care, we’re going to open for the Stones, you wait. We’re going to do this, I don’t know how, but we’re gonna do this.” And then, you know, I told Keith Richards that and he's like, “Well, you've made it, mate. Let me have a cigarette.”

Yet, he was not happy about their performances:

It was four embarrassing evenings. […] Because we were terrible (laughs).

Izzy was perplexed it wasn't an even bigger disaster:

How we managed to get through those gigs, I'll never know. There was so much shit down on us. Axl's mood to quit, the drug problems, the Steven problem, the whole 'One In A Million' controversy - plus I had a court date the morning after the last Stones date, at eight in the morning, for pissing in a trash can on an airplane, and I was facing six months in jail because I had a prior arrest for drug possession (later dropped). So that was a fuckin' major psycho-time.

[…] we managed to get through [the shows]. That was a weird time for me. Playing to 50,000 people with the Stones is as good as it gets, but the Monday after the last show I had to be up at 8am to meet my new probation officer. That was after I got arrested on a plane.

While Slash would have to admit never meeting the guys in The Rolling Stones due to being strung out on smack:

I never met them. The reason I didn't meet the Stones, one was that I was high out of my gourd - that was during my real wasted days, and basically when you are high like that you don't care who it was; nothing was more important that getting on with what I had to get on with. The other thing was to meet the Stones - there was so much like putting Guns N' Roses up against the Stones, and every time you would be in the same room there would be 50 paparazzi guys taking pictures: Slash and Keith Richards, that whole big generation rock band bad boys bullshit. Basically I wanted to meet them on a more personable level, so I never made any efforts to meet them at all, and when the band did a photo with them I just didn't show up.

We played with the Stones, and I didn’t even meet the Stones when we played with them. If you ever see a picture of Guns and the Stones, I’m the only guy missing, because I was too busy in the limo (laughs).

But also because he hated the inevitable comparisons between Guns N' Roses and the Rolling Stones:

[Being compared to the Stones]: Those kind of labels hit us all the time. That's one reason why, when we played with the Stones, I never took a picture with them or even made an effort to meet them. I'd love to meet them, but not on that level. There were so many paparazzi around. You know the theme: bad boy band of one era meets the new model? Screw that!

And because he was "humble":

We toured with the Stones for three weeks. If you ever see pictures of G&R and the Stones together, I wasn’t in them. Why? I was very humbled by the Stones.

Guns N' Roses and the Rolling Stones
October 1989


In hindsight, Slash and Duff would point out how important it had been for the band to come together again and the importance of Axl's speech and ultimatum:

[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

Yeah, it started at the Stones shows. That was the first time we'd played since the 'Appetite For Destruction' tour ended. The band had gotten so alienated and even as individuals we'd completely separated. And, even though I was going through my little chemical problem at the time, the idea of doing the Stones' gigs was to get the band back together and get the ball rolling again. Because we were losing touch with not only ourselves but with what we were supposed to be doing and what Guns n' Roses was all about. So we went and we did the Stones' gigs and that's where it started.

[…] the drugs almost broke us as a band. If we hadn't done the gigs with Rolling Stones the fall of 1989 and Axl publicly confronted us with the problems, the band probably wouldn't be around today. He was really concerned and couldn't reach to us others and make us understand how serious it was. But it finally happened.

Yet, in another interview likely conducted in late 1993, Slash would claim it had no influence on his decision to sober up:

That whole situation was really not that big a deal. It wasn’t what really made me clean up, because I was the one who booked those f**kin’ shows!

Slash would later say this was the only argument between him and Axl that went public:

The only argument that ever went public between Axl and I was during the whole heroin time when we played with The Stones. […] That went heavily public and became the representation of our relationship from then on.

And in 2004, when Velvet Revolver was happening, Slash would claim that this incident had made him "hate" Axl:

I know it was directed at me, because I was all strung out at the time. That was one of the things that probably made me hate Axl more than anything. It’s something I probably never, ever forgave him for, without really even thinking about it.


In 1997 there would be rumours that The Rolling Stones again wanted Guns N' Roses to open for them at their Dodger Stadium concert on November 9 [News Pilot, October 24, 1997]. The stipulation was that this would be the '92-'4 lineup of the band [News Pilot, October 24, 1997]. Nothing came of it, and if it is even true it is unlikely Axl would be interesting in reverting to a lineup he had just left.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:10 am


As mentioned in a previous chapter, there are things that suggest that Slash was supposed to have cleaned up before the shows with Rolling Stones in October 1989, and that his failure to do so led to Axl's emotional outburst from the stage.


Regardless, after the shows with The Stones, Slash promised to clean up and to do that he went to a golf resort in Phoenix, Arizona:

Of course I took 10 grams of coke with me. I'd be telling the limo driver to stop at a restaurant to get me a silverware set and he'd come back with a knife and a fork. I'd be like, 'No, the complete set'....

During his stay at the golf resort the amount of coke he was doing made him see hallucinations. According to Musician, 1990, he "imagined a knock on the door and men with guns" and "destroyed the glass in his shower room, attacked a maid, ran out-side bloodied and naked". He almost had to go to prison because of this incident [Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992], but with a little help from his friends, he avoided it [Musician, December 1990].

Slash would later recall this incident as a "really gnarly, violent experience" [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992], and:

The lowest I went was a little fucking episode in Phoenix, where I flipped out on coke, destroyed a hotel room and was all bloody, running around the hotel naked and shit. Some people tried to press charges, and the cops and paramedics came, but fortunately I lied my way out of it.

You know, I went through enough bad times. Almost, actually, at one point there was the possibility of going to prison. […] And that was, like, harsh, and then I was really racked up, you know? I was in Phoenix, which is a bad place to go to jail.

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 […]

My most memorable fucking experience was probably when I first realised I had to get off junk. I was almost arrested in Phoenix, fucking trippin' out at a golf resort and running naked through the place - running from something that wasn't there and crashing through a lot of glass and over people in the process. I was all bloody and beat-up - it was time to stop, y'know?

And it is likely this incident he refers to in the following quote:

The last time I get strung out I almost went to prison and I had all kinds of major issues. I was really far gone, and I took it to a point where I'm lucky to be here, right?

It got to the point where I was smart enough to realize, "Hey, I'm not gonna make it if I keep doing this." I knew I was gonna lose everything, die or fade out. Then the law recognized my situation one day and reminded me of that fact, and that's when I sort of straightened out. […] I knew I had to stop. I've been arrested a bunch of times, but there was one time when I was going to be incarcerated for a while. So I knew that I had to finally wean myself off of that crap.

Daily Mirror would later recount what happened:

He went berserk in a hotel bathroom, broke through a glass shower stall and badly injured his foot. When he was found covered in blood, he was bundled onto a private plane away from the police and flown to a rehab unit.


When he returned to Los Angeles after his failed cleaning-up in Phoenix, an intervention greeted him:

And then we got out of [the legal issue in Phoenix] and I went to L.A., and there was this whole welcoming committee there: my mom, the hypocritical Steven Adler – […] And all these people, Alan Niven, Duff - you know, I walk in this room –[…] there was a whole bunch of them.

[…] 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.


They then put Slash in rehab, against his will:

They put me in rehab way against my will, so I went for three days and I saw some people that were really screwed up. […] They brainwash you in rehab. I’m sorry, I’m not an advocate of going to rehab. They put you in these groups and the next thing you know, one guys goes in for one thing and they find out that he’s got – or they introduce all these other illnesses that he didn’t know he had.

I was forced into rehab once when I was going through a very big needle phase. Three days. And I saw what that was all about, and looked in the Yellow Pages and got a car and got myself out of there. I said, I'm not this fucked up! I mean, I know when I'm doing something.

I went once [to rehab]. [...] I was only there for a limited amount of time, because I decided, “I’m not this fucked up,” you know [...]. [...] they wouldn’t let me out. I had to force myself out.


Slash lasted three days, then left for Hawaii to clean up on his own [Musician, December 1990; Los Angeles Times, July 1991]:

They tried to put me into rehab, but I left in three days. I was real pissed off and came back home, got loaded, then went to Hawaii and cleaned up. I’ve been clean ever since.

They tried to put me in a rehabilitation institute, and I lasted about three days. So I split and cleaned up on my own. I just locked myself up in a hotel room in Hawaii ... and cleaned myself up.


It's a long story. I don't wanna talk about it. I just went away and I did it on my own and I've been clean ever since. I just stopped being excessive to the extent where it was really harmful. I mean, it was financially just ridiculous […].

I just got sick of taking heroin. I am a very addictive person and I got to the hilt. I finally realised my first priority was the band and the drugs were detrimental to my career and I said, ‘OK, I’ve had my fair share of ODs, let's kick it’, which I did.

I just burned out on the process of doing drugs all the time, dealing with people that nobody should have to deal with just to keep my buzz going. It becomes pathetic. And the dope's not as good any more either.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Slash managed to get clean, but end of 1989 or early 1990 seems likely.

He would later describe the failed forced rehab:

Everybody else told me, “Dude, you gotta do something.” So they tried to put me in rehab, and I’m not the type for rehabs – you know, I fix it myself. So I went there for three days, and escaped, and took off and cleaned up my own house. I’ve been clean since. It’s one of those things where, when you’re on tour, the sex and drugs element becomes sort of like your way of making yourself feel like you’re having a good time. When you’re working 24 hours a day, travelling constantly with no real control over reality, except for the two hours that you spend on stage, the rest of it is a nightmare. So you end up chasing women and getting stoned a lot.

He would also say that the reason he finally cleaned up was that he almost went to prison [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991; The Liverpool Echo, June 8, 1992], likely talking above the aforementioned incident in Phoenix.


I had a pretty bad habit, so kicking was always rough. The physical part of it is bad enough, but the anxiety part is the worst. But I don’t see why the subject of kicking dope is such a big deal. It’s personal, really. It’s like asking how I go to the bathroom or what do I wash first when I take a shower. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think it’s anybody’s business. I don’t want to be another Keith Richards. His whole history with drugs has been so heavily publicized, and he’s spoken so candidly about it when he was fucked up because he thought it was cool, I guess. What happens is those stories never go away…It’s a very sensitive subject. But it’s a subject that you don’t try and put across to how many millions of people who read this magazine who don’t do it or haven’t been through it. It’s like one of probably the most disastrous things that a human being can go through. It’s like sitting on your deathbed all the time.

The quote above implies he cleaned up more than once, and we know he also cleaned up in 1987 before the release of 'Appetite' and the band went on tour [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

Slash would also say that he cleaned up because the band was "falling apart" [Rolling Stone, January 1991], giving credence to the seriousness of Axl's "Mr Brownstone" speech. When asked, Axl would also agree that his speech had helped push Slash towards sobriety:

It way worked, man! ’Cos Slash is fuckin’ on like a motherfucker right now.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

The following Christmas Slash spent with his girlfriend at the time and her family, and this provided some stability and normality to his newfound sober life [Musician, December 1990]. This, together with Axl's quote from January 1990, would indicate that Slash got sober before the Christmas of 1989. Yet, the Izzy quote from VOX above, could indicate that he was still using in early 1990. Maybe he had a relapse? In an article about Slash from July 1992 it is claimed he had been clean from heroin for three years, indicating he sobered up already in mid-1989, but this is clearly not correct - either Slash implied he had sobered up earlier than he did, or the journalist got it wrong [The Washington Post, July 18, 1992].

By the end of 1990 Slash claimed to still be sober and was hoping to remain so:

But at this point it's not something I'm worrying about. Even though I didn't go through any counseling, I think I understand where it all stemmed from and how it could happen again. If it did happen it would have to be a different reason. To go from nowhere to here was such a huge mind trip; now that it's happened and we've managed to keep it together, I don't think we'll go through that kind of shock again.

He would claim to have reduced the drinking, too:

I haven’t been drinking that hard if I can help it. I still get overly drunk sometimes and have a good time, and it doesn’t bother me. It’s sort of a pain in the ass the next morning, though. But I still have my little quirks and insecurities where I go to a bottle rather than just being sober and dealing with it. I still have those little problems, which are part of a pattern, I guess. But then I haven’t been as depressed as I was. Usually if I’m drinking too much, it’s for a reason. Boredom is my worst enemy, and I get bored really easily. In the history of this band, as long as we were out playing, I never had a problem of any kind. When we’re rehearsing or recording or onstage, there’s not really that much drinking going on, nor am I concerned about it. I’ll have a cocktail when I’m home or whatever, but it’s as simple as that.

Before the 'Use Your Illusion' touring in 1991, Slash would look back at his drug problems in the two previous years:

[After the touring in 1988] I moved into an apartment, the cheapest apartment I could find off of Sunset Boulevard - that's how demented I am, right? - and we just used to party all the time and have amps all about the place and I'd write songs and Duff would come over and every so often Axl would come over and we'd write together. But it was such a long period. And I got so wrapped up in dope and coke and all the fucking scum that goes along with it that finally it just got out of hand. So I cleaned up and bought a house. Then I sat in the house for a while and hated it. I'd lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. There was nothing to do. And then I got back into it and got strung out in a serious way, where everybody was really worried and I had some close run-ins with the police. But then the Stones gigs came around - which I really wanted to do to bring the band back together; that's why after the Stones gigs (and Axl's onstage ultimatum) I went and cleaned up - and then it was Steven's turn.


With the drugs thing, we still drink, do this and that, but within a reason. I couldn't be here right now talking to you if I was completely loaded. I might be tired, I'm not fried (laughs). So there's a point that it just gets old. Either it takes you over or you get over with it.


I've never been strung out on tour ever.

In July 1996, an obviously inebriated Slash would participate on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" talkshow and talk about drugs:

We come from more or less like, where I was born from was in the 60s which drugs didn't seem threatening, they didn't seem... the only conflict of interest in drugs was with the law and that sort of helped feed and you know, alright, this help feed the anarchy that was anything towards, you know, authority…[…]  The way it was put to me was, "is there any future in an anti-drug rock-and-roll thing," and I don't think there's any feature in an anti-drug anything. […] It's in sports, it's in politics, it's a music, and I'm talking about jazz, I'm talking very classical -- wait, wait, let me finish -- it's in the theater, it is in the arts, it's in arts & crafts for christ's sake. You've got people stoned doing tiles. And in rock and roll... I don't see it leaving. It's been around for so long. I'm talking about the history of the human race, it's been it for so long. It's how you deal with it and, you know, the 90s is a certain kind of -- I'm not ready to budge…[…] All right, anyway, okay, I am not pointing at you, you know, but everybody in the entertainment industry has had some sort of background with drugs whether you could survive... [protests from the rest of the panel] Okay, okay, 90 %. In the in the 31 years I've been around, okay, everybody I've noticed…

The same month, Duff would be featured on the Howard Stern Show where they would talk about Slash still partying, to which Duff would respond:

Slash is Slash. I mean, he's like made out of iron.

Before the 'Use Your Illusion' touring started in May 1991, Slash would discuss his various (previous) addictions with Q Magazine. When asked if he ever considered seeking therapy his answer was:

For one, I couldn't see myself going to an analyst because personally I just don't want to know. And the other part being that whole trip of pre-planning your existence is something that people do to a point where it makes life just not fun anymore, because you are trying to preconceive your next move, and so on and so forth. […] If you were to ask, as a therapist, Why do I drink? - the simple thing is you do it out of boredom and to relax. The worst thing is it's for people who are so volatile and so shy - because that was always my biggest problem, to be able to deal with everything that's going on, especially when you're in the public eye so much and then being a very reserved kind of person. You end up drinking a lot to come out of your shell. In that way it's a vicious sort of drug, because it works.

And when asked about why he used to do coke and heroin, Slash would answer:

Well [coke is] obnoxious, and you can't get it up! And you get into these really ridiculously bitter fights. And then, when you do a lot of coke, you tend to drink a lot - and I know that one real well too! […] I just liked [heroin]. I liked the way it felt. And fuck, I didn't know if I did it four or five days in a row I'd get fucking hooked on it! And that's a different subject altogether. That drug takes you over mentally and physically, so much that to come back is hard. I was never a big coke addict, ever. I had not so much a drinking problem as to just want to drink and get rowdy. I used to love to get just fucking drunk! I used it to escape a bad day. Sometimes, I'd much rather just go home, sit down with a glass or something and kick back and go to sleep. I really don't feel that I have the intense addiction that people believe.

He would discuss this again in 2004:

The first time I took heroin I knew I'd discovered my favourite drug of all time. I never liked the hyped-up state cocaine puts you in. Even coffee puts me on edge but heroin was, like, 'Everything's cool'. I think a lot of the attraction is down to insecurity. The sort of personality that shoots heroin is often a shy guy who wants to be cool and relaxed. But you can get to such a low point on it, you just don't care about your self esteem.

One thing I always had was my ability to play guitar. When I found that I couldn't even do that I knew it was time to quit, although it took me some time.


Despite Slash's assertions to the contrary, any sobriety achieved was short-lived and Slash would continue to drink heavily and use drugs also after 1990, resulting in overdoses and death experiences.

There was a whole period after Use Your Illusion that was pretty ridiculous. I ended up in Arizona dealing with some real low-life people on a regular basis in order to facilitate my habit. I remember buying a fucking Porsche and parking it underneath a freeway in Hollywood and leaving it unlocked overnight while I went to some ramshackle apartment so I could go get my fucking buzz on. A brand new Porsche! I’d bought it the night before. Was it still there when I got back? It was actually.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:13 am

NOVEMBER 1989-1991

The band members of Guns N' Rosses would frequently throw digs at their L.A. contemporaries, especially Poison (as described previously) and Motley Crue.

[When the topic of Motley Crue comes up]: The kids can tell the difference between their homogenized garbage and the stuff we play. Our music is a reflection of our lifestyle, not vice versa. It’s not a pose.

This could likely just be considered a reflection of constructive competition between local bands, and in November 1987 Guns N' Roses would agree to open for Motley Crue on their tour, indicating that the contempt didn't go very deep or that it was more important to get a big tour than to separate themselves from bands they claimed to dislike.

The rivalry took a more personal and violent form in the next year, 1988, when, according to Alan Niven, Izzy had Vince Neil's (singer of Motley Crue) wife "ejected from a private room" at a local rock club, resulting in assault charges being filed and later dropped against Izzy [LA Times, September 1989].

Neil would later dispute this and claim "that [Izzy] had attempted to remove Neil's wife's clothing and later kicked her in the stomach" [LA Times, September 1989]. Then, in September 1989, Neil and Izzy had a brawl at the MTV's Video Music Awards (see earlier chapter for more information about Izzy and Neil).

In November 1989, Kerrang! would publish an interview with Neil where he would contest Alan Niven's recount of what happened at the MTV VMAs. In a later interview that the writer Mick Wall did with Axl and which was published over two issues of Kerrang! in April 1990, and would later feature as an unabridged version in his book "GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World", Wall would describe Axl indignantly reading quotes from Neil from the November issue of Kerrang!:

I just punched that dick and broke his fucking nose! Anybody who beats up on a woman deserves to get the shit kicked out of them. Izzy hit my wife, a year before I hit him.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

According to Wall, during the call with him, Axl would hotly deny Neil's claims as reported in the Kerrang! interview and would challenge Neil to a fight over the matter [Kerrang! April 1990; Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993].

The contentious statements that Axl made regarding Neil was made before Wall had started the recording and so Wall must have jotted down the comments either when they occurred or from memory at a later time [Kerrang! April 1990; Loudersound, August 2017].

The interview as featured in Kerrang! contains more volatile quotes from Axl than the supposedly unabridged interview Wall would later published in his book. Wall also re-wrote parts of the interview. For instance, compare these two alleged quotes from Axl:

I tell ya, man, it makes my blood boil when I read him saying all that shit about how he kicked Izzy’s ass. Turn the fuckin’ tape recorder on. I wanna set the record straight. I mean, when Vince did that, we were advised we could sue his ass off if we’d wanted to. But we said no, fuck it, who needs the grief? The guy’s a jerk. Fuck the courts, the guy needs a good ass-whippin’! And now I read this - we get Kerrang a little late here in LA - and I tell ya, he’s gonna get a good ass-whippin’, and I’m the boy to give it to him..... It’s like, whenever you wanna do it, man, let’s just do it. I wanna see that plastic face of his cave in when I hit him!

I don’t know. I’m pretty calm about it, actually. It’s kind of like, just whenever you wanna do, it man. Let’s just do it. I think it’s be fun. It's like, 'cos this way I can basically get away with it legally and everything, man. I can have a full-on brawl and get away with it. I don’t know, though, man, I don’t know if I wanna hit the guy with that plastic face. It’ll cave in...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

A phone conversation between Wall and Axl took place later in 1990, likely in March or April, where Axl was confronted by statements he had made towards Neil. Axl would reply:

I feel childish now about my comments, at the same time I’m still glad I said what I said. But I do feel a bit childish about it and I feel that my anger fell into what I believe is Nikki Sixx’s game of publicity.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993

Regardless of whether Axl actually said the inflammatory things towards Neil that was published in Kerrang! and in Wall's book, the quotes led to great hostility between not only Axl and Neil but also between the Guns N' Roses camp and the Motley Crue camp. And to a very public, and beloved by the media, feud between Neil and Axl.

In August 1990, MTV would air an interview with Axl where he would repeat his challenge to Neil, apparently fueled by Neil talking shit about the band:

No way. Haven’t patched-up anything. […] Well, I mean they think that I've read in the interviews of theirs that they feel that it’s like I'm just, you know, standing up for Izzy and stuff, but Vince should be careful what golf course is he's mouthing off about Axl on and who he is playing golf with, you know. When he goes out playing golf and mouths off about Axl - and he happens to be playing golf with people that work for me - stories come back. And he likes to put in magazines that he broke Izzy’s nose or, you know, and how Alan Niven wasn't even there, a manager or anything like that, and no one was around. I don't know, we didn't want to take it to court because it would be too much trouble and too much hassle but when, you know, Tom Petty’s security crew wants to be witnesses in court you, know... It's, you know, it's funny because Izzy is, like, going - ‘cause people think it's gonna happen sooner or later or whatever; and it’s like that Vince is now getting into it or something, you know - and Izzy laughs, because he's like, that guy had a full-on free shot, you know, and hit like a powder puff and it was like... (chuckles) So it's pretty scary if the guy thinks about a real hassle,. I put in in a magazine, you know, anytime he wants it, anywhere, Atlantic City, I don’t care. […] Put the money on it, you know. I don't care. And then he tried to turn it around and say the same thing, but, you know, the invitation is there; I'm easy to find. If you really want a hassle, you know, we can have it out.

The feud dragged on, and in August 1991, it would be reported that Neil, through en Elektra Records press release, had challenged Axl to a boxing match, to settle their feud "man to man" [Santa Ana Orange County Register, July 28, 1991; Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Bryn Bridenthal would quickly state that it was all a publicity stunt from Neil designed to hype the release of the band's next record [Santa Ana Orange County Register, July 28, 1991].

In October, Neil would be interviewed by MTV and say:

Axl, if you’re watching this, I’m going to give you the time and I’m going to give you the place, and there’s no backing out now, buddy!

An early version of the song 'Double Talkin' Jive', which the author Nick Kent got to hear from an advance cassette tape while interviewer Izzy in July 1991, allegedly contained Axl going off on Neil:

The sound of suitably raucous guitars heralds the beginning of the first track, the delightfully named 'Double Talking Jive Motherfucker', which showcases a performance of rare spleen from Rose who this time chooses to focus his wrath on chubby little Vince Neil, the "plastic-faced, pussy-assed" singer of rival L.A. 'bad attitude' icons Motley Crue.

It could be that Kent is mistaken, and that Izzy only told him that the lyrics were written with Neil in mind.

A little bit later in August, as the band was in London for their concert at Wembley (August 31), Axl allegedly demanded that Montley Crue weren't played by a DJ at a party at the Conrad Hotel [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

In late November, possibly jokingly, Axl would claim he had challenged Neil to a match to the death:

Well, Vince Neil made his challenge and it was a publicity stunt, you know. And he was pretty much a puppet, who doesn’t really know how he got where he got. But, you know, there’s other people behind him that kinda put him up to something. And the situation I have with Vince Neil is not about a pay-per-view, it’s not about a publicity stunt. So I issued him a challenge [chuckles], I sent him a challenge, that, you know, wherever he wanted to fight to the death in another country, I’d pay for the round trip in a coffin. And I haven’t heard from him since [chuckles] […] But the real thing is pretty much with the people that are behind him, and they know who they are. And if they’ve got a problem, the offer stands with them too.

Axl would throw digs at Motley Crue in 1992:

It just confuses me that we work as hard as we do to make the music that we make and that a lot of people here seem to enjoy. We don’t have tape decks rolling under the stage, we don’t have other people playing the parts we should be fucking playing underneath the stage. I mean, this is no Motley Crue show.

Neil said he wanted to do a televised boxing match with Axl [Bobbie N' Sharise Sweet and Sour Hour, April 2019], but Axl wouldn't do it:

[...]I just see a lot of curiosity about this Motley Crue thing lately. The rest of the country gets real confused because they don’t know that we spent ten years in Hollywood watching those guys rip everybody else up. And if you’re curious why I don’t get in the ring with Vince, it’s because I’ll shoot Vince in the fuckin’ head. But Vince is not as stupid as he looks. He’s smart enough to pop up every now and then and say something in the press so that Motley Crue can make some money and hang on the GN’R’s cock tail. [?] But he’s not smart enough to do that by himself. Nikki Sixx tells him how to do these things. So, you know, I’ve been asked a lot. I just recently got asked by Rolling Stone, so that’s why I’m talking about this, because a lot of people apparently didn’t hear me when I said it. See, they wanna do a pay-per-view boxing thing. I’m not interested in taking any more money from you people to go in Motley Crue’s fuckin’ [?] So if Vince, or Nikki, or Tommy, or Mick, or all of them at the same time have a problem, they know my address. Or I’ll buy around your tickets and some coffins and we can go to the country [?] and we can fight to the death. And I’m serious. It’s stupid. I just wish these cockroaches would go away [...].

Later Neil would describe the whole feud:

Then, Axl suddenly [after the VMAs in September 1989] launched a press campaign about me. If I was a record, he would have sold a million copies of me. Every article I read, every time I turned on the TV, he was claiming that I had sucker-punched Izzy and been insulting Guns N’ Roses for years, and he pledged to put me in my place, which was six feet under the earth. It was like rock and roll had suddenly turned into the World Wrestling Federation.

It was such a betrayal. I had every right to knock Izzy on his ass, and it was none of Axl’s business. On the Girls tour, Axl would come to me when his throat hurt and I’d show him tricks I’d developed for singing after a night spent destroying my vocal chords. Now he was sending little messengers to me with instructions to meet him in the parking lot of Tower Records on Sunset or on the Boardwalk on Venice Beach. Even though it was such a high school way of settling our differences, I showed up every time, because the only thing that would have given me more pleasure than a number one album on the pop charts was breaking Axl Rose’s nose.

But Axl never showed. It finally got to the point that whenever he arranged a fight somewhere, I just sent some people to the spot to call me if and when he appeared. Maybe someone else would have just let it drop after Axl chickened out a good half-dozen times. But I was pissed: He was in the press acting like he was the king of the world, saying that I couldn’t fight and that he was a red belt in this and that. But in real life he was too chicken-shit to back up his word. So I finally went on MTV with a message for him: I said that if Axl wanted to fight me, then he should do it in front of the whole world. I proposed a Monday night –fight night – at the Forum. We’d go three rounds, and then the world would see who the pussy was.

I was ready to go. I didn’t even care about Izzy anymore. I’d dealt with him. He even called and apologized for what he did to Sharise. As for Slash and Duff McKagan, we were friends through it all – they knew what an asshole Axl was. I wanted to beat the shit out of that little punk and shut him up for good. But I never heard from him: not that day, not that month, not that year, not that century. But the offer still stands.
The Dirt, HarperEntertainment, 2001]

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:17 am

DECEMBER 17-19, 1989

In December 1989, about two months after the famous shows with Rolling Stones, Axl and Izzy would play with The Stones again when they played in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on December 17, 19 and 20.

Axl and Mick Jagger
December 1989

The show on the 19th was televised as pay-per-view. Together they would perform the Stones song 'Salt of the Earth'.

Before the show on the 19th, the Stones held a press conference. When asked why they chose GN'R to accompany them considering the "controversy over their lyrics with references to blacks, and homosexuals, and immigrants", Jagger quipped, "Because we want to appeal more to the gay/black market" [Philadelphia Inquirer, December 18, 1989].

This would be the last time Izzy had a drink.

The Stones were asking me: 'Which song are you doing?' We'd chosen 'Salt of the Earth'. Nobody knew it! And I'm thinking: 'Fuck, you guys wrote it over 20 years ago! You must remember some of it!' So we go back in this little trailer and Mick Jagger's got a tape-player and he's listening to it, with the lyrics written on a piece of paper in front of him. And I'm sitting there playing acoustic guitar with Keith Richards and I'm thinking 'This is sooo cool!' 'Cos we're playing it thru' and Charlie and Bill Wyman are sitting there, listening to it. And I'm just flipping out, thinking 'God, this is sooo wild!' Finally we finished the song. They all turned to me and said: 'So where's your singer?' And I didn't have an answer! Axl was late again. Real late.

Axl being late and Keith Richard's reaction would result in one of Slash's favorite stories:

The best rock'n'roll quote I ever heard is a Keith Richards one he told Axl. He turned up late for this show with The Stones. Someone hassled him an' he said...‘I slept in a chandelier last night - but I still fuckin' got here.' That’s rock'n'roll, folks! Keith's done everything that's in my personality an' survived. You can't be a red-blooded rock’n'roll guitar player without admiring Keith.

Now, the thing is is Keith Richards put it best to one of our band... "I slept in a chandelier last night and I still made it on time."

The best rock and roll line I ever heard was from Keith and it was because Axl showed up late in Atlantic City and Keith went, "you know, I slept in a chandelier last night and I made it."

Later Slash would later confirm that Keith Richards told the story directly to Axl [The Howard Stern Show, February 25, 1997].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:39 am


As the band popularity grew, Slash, who had enjoyed being able to go out before he became a celebrity, felt locked up in his apartment and house in-between tours:

I can't move about as freely as I used to, and I find it very mentally trying. I feel sort of like a cartoon character. People come up to me and it's always like, 'Hey dude, drink this beer, dude'. Or they wait for you to do something crazy, or a whatever... People don't see you as a real human being, and they're constantly trying to grab at you and sit down with you and be your buddy for five seconds. It's just really awkward. And I find that going out to clubs, which is something I used to do, you know, every single night and get trashed, isn't something I can really do and enjoy any more. It's actually at the point where when I go out to a club, I end up leaving just totally depressed. It really brings me down. And everybody wants to have your undivided attention. And if you don't give it to them they act like you're an asshole who's on some rock star trip... Which I think is something that everybody goes through. But you just can't do it... It's like, they never wanted my attention before... It's really a pretty traumatic experience sometimes. […] I just don't really go out any more... So, you know, there's been a real downside to all this. I'm only just now realising. I don't go out that much; I don't have that many close friends. And what close friends I have, the times I get to see them are usually few and far between... […] It gets to be a little bit lonely sometimes, yeah.


Despite this, by late 1989 Slash had found a new girlfriend whom he spent the Christmas of 1989 with:

I spent Christmas and Thanksgiving that year with my girlfriend at the time, who was very family-oriented. She'd stuck with me through this whole thing and I feel the worst for her, 'cause I put her through a lot. But anyway, I spent time with her family and they were really wonderful people. My regular life started to come back and I realized that I was somebody who still had ambitions.

Slash and Meegan

This girlfriend was Meegan Hodges. Their relationship would not last, and they broke up right after Christmas, on New Year's Eve 1989/1990 [Blast! May 1990].

Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:58 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:29 am


By Christmas 1989 Axl was suffering from depressions:

[...] these people didn't know anything about the Christmas before [in 1989], when I was driving to your house [=Del James' house], trying to find someone with dope on the way because I wanted to OD. I could always relate to the Hanoi Rocks song "Dead by Christmas."
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