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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:00 pm

CHAPTER INDEX

- JANUARY 20-23, 1991: ROCK IN RIO
- SLASH CONTRIBUTES TO THE LES PAUL TRIBUTE ALBUM
- FEBRUARY 1991: AXL SEEKS THERAPY
- JANUARY-JULY 1991: AXL RECORDS HIS VOCALS
- JANUARY-MARCH(?) 1991: CLEARMOUNTAIN TRIES TO MIX THE ALBUMS; ZUTAUT RETURNS
- AXL'S PERFECTIONISM AND INSECURITY
- FEBRUARY 1991: ERIN AND AXL DIVORCE
- MARCH 1991: BILL PRICE TAKES OVER MIXING DUTIES
- MARCH-AUGUST 1991: THE INFAMOUS MEDIA CONTRACT
- AXL AND SEBASTIAN BACH
- APRIL 2, 1991: SLASH IS FEATURED ON LENNY KRAVITZ' 'MAMA SAID'
- 1990-1992: AXL'S FEUD WITH MICK WALL
- APRIL 1991: ALAN NIVEN IS FIRED AND DOUG GOLDSTEIN TAKES OVER/BIG FD ENTERTAINMENT
- APRIL-JULY 1991: MASTERING AND ADDITIONAL RECORDING
- APRIL-MAY 1991: PREPARING FOR TOURING
- MAY 1991: AXL AND STEPHANIE SEYMOUR
- APRIL/MAY 1991: SAM KINISON CHOKES SLASH, DUFF COMES TO THE RESCUE
- MAY 11-16, 1991: WARM-UP GIGS FOR THE 'USE YOUR ILLUSION' TOUR
- 1990-1992: AXL'S HOMES AND HOBBIES
- GETTING BACK INTO THE RING
- CHOOSING SKID ROW AS OPENER
- MAY 24-25, 1991: MUDFIGHTS IN EAST TROY
- MAY 28-29, 1991: PROBLEMS IN INDIANA
- IZZY TRAVELS SEPARATELY
- JUNE 1-5, 1991: THE TOUR CONTINUES
- COMA
- JUNE 7-13, 1991: THE TOUR CONTINUES
- JUNE 17, 1991: TROUBLE IN UNIONDALE
- AXL'S FRIENDS AND LOYALTY
- JUNE 19-30, 1991: THE TOUR CONTINUES
- A RIOT WAITING TO HAPPEN?
- JUNE 21, 1991: THE SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR 'YOU COULD BE MINE'
- 1991-1992: SLASH'S MUSICAL COLLABORATIONS
- JULY 2, 1991: THE ST. LOUIS RIOT
- BAND MEMBERS COMMENT ON THE ST. LOUIS RIOT
- AFTER THE ST. LOUIS RIOT: LAWSUITS AND CANCELLATIONS
- SHANNON HOON AND BLIND MELON
- CHARITABLE WORK
- POLITICS, HUMAN RIGHTS & ENVIRONMENTALISM


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:02 pm

JANUARY 20-23, 1991
ROCK IN RIO


THE FIRST SHOWS FOR DIZZY AND MATT


This was the first time the band had performed together on stage since Farm Aid in April 1990 and the debut for Dizzy and Matt [MTV, January 1991].

We’re going on stage in front of 140,000 people, first time [Matt]’s up to play with us. And, for that matter, Dizzy, the piano player, who was actually kind of shitting bricks cuz the biggest crowd he had ever played to was, like, 400.

[Introducing Matt from stage before his drum solo]: I’d like to introduce you to somebody new in the band. Someone who came along and if it hadn’t worked out we wouldn’t be here tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Matt Sorum. Rate it, bear his ass, right now. Take it away home.

The first big shock for me, personally, was at Rock in Rio, where we played in front of 150,000 people. But the other guys helped me, they explained to me what it would be like.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek



Duff, Slash, Matt, Axl, Izzy and Dizzy
1991


Not only was it Matt's and Dizzy's first live show with the band, they had never played with Axl before at all:

For me it was kind of wild because, you know, it was the first time I ever heard him sing with the band, with me playing, you know? So a couple of times when he did some screams and stuff, you know, kind of throwing me for a second. Maybe, you, know, messed up my fill or something [laughs].

Matt and Dizzy had never played with us as a complete band, because Axl doesn't come to rehearsals. They'd never seen Axl sing with us. […] So, anyway, we tell Matt, three minutes before he goes onstage in front of 140,000 people, that he's gotta do a drum solo. And he pulled it off! He rocked! Dizzy, shit, the biggest crowd he ever played for was about 400, opening up for L.A. Guns at the Country Club. Let's just say Dizzy had a few cocktails before we went on, but he pulled it off too. Right before we went onstage, the whole band - and this hadn't happened for a long time - got together in one room. You could just feel the electricity. No matter how many people were out there, or our families, or the press and photographers, bla bla bla, what it came down to was , we were just the same guys that we were five years ago, and you could feel that in the nervous laughter. It was f?!king amazing.


This was also warm-up shows for their upcoming tour:

We’ve been rehearsing at a little rehearsal place and just getting warmed up for... being geared up and psyched up to tour. Rio should get us in groove. I mean, you know, usually you don’t play those gigs til the end of the tour. We’re doing it backwards, that’s how we do everything.


As the band prepared for the high-profile shows, they would let Matt in on how they operated:

And for [Matt] to come into this band... Cuz we don’t have a setlist, you know. We just kinda call of songs - if that, you know. Or we just kind of like, someone starts off the next song and... We kinda told Matt that, like, 5 minutes before we went on. “This is not a setlist by the way, Matt. It’s a call list. And, by the way, you’re doing a drum solo (?)." So he can take the pressure (laughs).



MARACANA STADIUM, 280,000 PEOPLE


The two Rock in Rio gigs took place at Maracana Stadium in front of 280,000 Brazilian fans [Special TV, 1991].


Axl and Slash
Rock in Rio, 1991


It was like a blur, it was like, no, I can’t believe this. You know, I mean, I would be, like, completely lying and ridiculous if I said I wasn’t nervous for that. Actually it’s weird, after doing it I looked back at it and, like, we did that little show in LA and, like, 500 people were there that I knew, at least, you know. And that was, like, a lot scarier than doing Rock in Rio, because Rock in Rio is just... you just get kind of numb, cuz there’s so many people. You’re just kind of numb. It’s like doing novocaine over your whole body, you just play.


Talking about his drum solo:

My first show with them was at a huge stadium - 175,000 people. I had played big gigs with The Cult in the late '80s but this was something else. I remember Axl had his guy call me at the hotel right before the gig, "Matt, Axl would like you to do a drum solo tonight." So I thought, "Okay, I'm going to do a drum solo in front of 175,000 people! I'm in Brazil, they love drums. If I get into more of a rhythmic, group participation sort of thing, it'll be effective."

So Axl introduced me as the new guy - "The Assassin," he called me - and all of a sudden about fifty spotlights hit me. I launched into every drum solo lick I ever knew. Fifteen minutes later, I was still going - the sound, the PA, the people made it seem so surreal. I thought about when I saw John Bonham at the Forum and all the great drummers and drum solos I'd seen back in the day.

I remember kicking quarter notes on the bass drum, standing up and clapping my hands - and there were 175,000 people's arms up in the air clapping with me. They kept clapping, so I soloed to that. Then I kicked the band into "You Can Be Mine," which had that big drum intro. We did two nights, and the second night I soloed even longer. I remember looking over to the side of the stage and Axl was standing there, ready to come back on, and I was thinking, Hey man, you can wait. I soloed every night after that.


The Rock in Rio concerts were heavily focused on new material, and over the two shows the band would debut the following songs: Bad Apples, Pretty Tied Up, Double Talkin' Jive, Dead Horse, You Could Be Mine, and Estranged.


Axl
Rock in Rio, 1991


After the shows, Axl and Slash were satisfied:

It was the first gig with everybody involved in a long time. Especially, you know, with two new people, right? It’s the first show that we’ve done that it was fucking – no matter how many technical problems we had and this and that – we fucking had a fucking blast, you know? And I could turn around... It was like, turn around and there’s those people that I know so well, you know? It was great.

It was the funniest show that I’ve ever played. It was the funniest show. And the reason I wanted to talk with you so much was to thank Rio. […] I want to thank Rio for being so responsive, so into it. It was great. It’s amazing. I had a blast. We did two hours and it was a blast. It was the best show, funniest show I’ve ever played. I really like it, I really like it down here. It’s like, I hope to come back here in a year and play again. You know, play more shows and play in Sao Paolo. […] This was the biggest crowd that we’ve ever played to and one of the most responsive. Donington was like, they knew all the words but, I mean, a lot of people down here don’t know English and they could still sing all the songs and everything. Like, Sweet Child; they sing every chorus with me. It’s so much fun.


From Axl's comments it seems his love for Brazil was born during Rock in Rio and the band would come back to this country again and again in the years to come.


MICK WALL, JUDAS PRIEST, AND DAVE MUSTAINE


But the shows did not go down without public spats with other bands. Mick Wall, writing for Kerrang! Magazine, would claim the band had set limits to Judas Priest's performance:

Upon their arrival at the Maracana, Axl Rose announced that neither he nor Guns N’ Roses would take the stage  that night if a) Judas Priest used any of their pyrotechnics; b) played more than one encore, c) didn’t cut their set by at least 20 minutes and d) used the motorcycle. […] Eventually, after much to-ing and fro-ing of messengers between the opposing dressing rooms, it was agreed to allow Priest to play their two encores and Rob was told he could keep the motorcycle. But Priest were still forced to drop five numbers from their set... and the use of their pyrotechnics was definitely ruled out. […] But if Guns N’ Roses thought that putting a vice on the performance of Judas Priest would make their own entrance more plausible, the results had exactly the opposite affect, Priest turning in a show that left the Maracana audience stunned and howling for more. […] Rob Halford, in particular, was brilliant, the best I’ve seen him in years, and the band were - as advertised - pure steel. […] 'If anything, being treated like that only made us more determined to put on a really hard show,” said a still- pouring-with-sweat Halford afterwards. “You know, I think it sorts out the professionals — the men from the boys. I mean, we’ve dealt with all this before. [...] And I think that, more than anything, when people try and pull a stunt like that on you it always backfires on them. It’s like, what are you trying to prove here anyway? Do you think that by taking away those things you’re gonna restrict the band’s ability to get a crowd reaction, or affect our performance as musicians? […] There’s no way! We’ve been around too many years to let something like that affect us. Out of all the people at this Rock In Rio festival, Priest have got the longest history. We’ve made more albums, we’ve done more festivals, we’ve done more tours. […] So it’s easier for us to handle but I still can’t understand that kind of attitude problem. It just doesn’t make sense.'


Axl would vehemently deny this:

We went onstage early because Judas Priest had pulled off on their own accord, and then said that we asked them to leave the stage early, trying to make us look bad. We had told Judas that they could play as long as they wanted, they could have whatever they wanted. The only thing they couldn't have, which the fire marshal wouldn't allow, was their pyro. Then Rob Halford is in magazines saying that I wouldn't allow him to have his Harley. I heard about that during the day. One of the guys who worked with us was in my room with a walkie-talkie, so I grabbed it and said, "Tell Robbie he can have anything he wants." There was no way I wasn't going to allow Judas Priest to do whatever they wanted, because I didn't want bad vibes. Judas Priest was one of the major influences on my singing because Rob Halford is one of the technically best in the world at what he does. And for me to tell them that they couldn't have their Harley is stupid! This guy was saying that I wouldn't allow it, which was a lie!


Another writer for Kerrang!, Stephan Chirazi, would confirm that Axl never refused Judas Priest to ride the motorbike:

About three weeks later I get a call, 'Is this Steffan? It's Axl'. To which I immediately said 'Fuck off Lars' because I thought Lars Ulrich was calling winding me up. So then he calls me back, 'This is Axl and I wanna tell you a few things!' For twenty minutes he was going on about what an arsehole I am and 'How dare I ?', 'This is outrageous, I would never do that.' He then says to me, 'Why didn't you just ask me? I would've told you there and then it was a bunch of bullshit.' I said, 'Do you know how hard it is to talk to you?' And I explained to him about the contracts, how no one was getting close to him, how their whole camp was separated from everyone and just how utterly in a bubble he was. He completely chilled out after that, he really calmed down and actually apologised saying he had no idea. […] We spent another half an hour talking and I think he might've been a bit unaware. Apparently he had not in any way said that Judas Priest couldn't do any of that stuff and Rob Halford did ride his bike that night


There also was an issue with Megadeth's Dave Mustaine:

When we played at Rock In Rio II, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth had been trying to get me to hang out with him the whole show. He had all kinds of people coming up to me and asking me to talk to him and so on. But due to my past experiences with Dave Mustaine, every time I've talked to him, no matter how good the conversation or how good I thought things were, a couple of days later he would try and pull a fast move, backstabbing, just to get himself some coverage. It's just somebody I didn't want to hang out with. It was handled nicely. The only person I spent time with in any of the bands was Billy Idol. We came back to L.A. and Dave's on the radio saying that they won't be playing any dates with Guns N' Roses. That there were deaths at the show. Guns N' Roses shouldn't have played on the night that they played and all this other stuff. What Dave didn't realize is that Guns N' Roses was one of the reasons there was a Rock In Rio II. The people who ran the television station down there and were major financers wanted to see Guns N' Roses. The owner of the television station wanted to see Guns N' Roses.



IN HINDSIGHT


Duff answering what was his most memorable and special moment of his career:

Probably the "Rock In Rio" festival. We were in Rio de Janeiro, a somewhat exotic city. We had no idea how many people knew us and we found ourselves playing in front of 100,000 people. It was incredible. We said, "Oh my God, we’re huge.” And our first contract with Geffen; that’s something you never forget..


In their biographies, both Duff and Slash would point to the Rock In Rio shows as especially memorable:

It was incredible; we played two nights in a row to 180,000 fans in Maracanã Stadium. [...] It was something else; I'm not sure that I've ever seen a more insane Guns N' Roses crowd - and that is saying something. When we kicked into the bridge of "Paradise City," people swan-dived from the upper tier of the stadium - seemingly to their death.
Slash's autobiography, p 325

Maracaña Stadium: 175,000 people and a river of sewage streaming right through the place. An actual river. Of shit. People chanting, "Guns N' Roses, Guns N' Roses!" The audience cried and sang along to every word as we launched into our set. 'Fucking hell, there are a lot of people up here onstage.'
Duff's autobiograpy, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 176


Slash would later refer to this as one of the best shows they did:

I couldn't pick out the best gig. Rock in Rio and Madison Square Garden (for the first time) were among the best gigs we did. The audiences were amazing! And the band feeds off the audience reactions.


And for Matt came the addition that this was his first show with the band:

My first gig was Rock in Rio, which is the biggest gig in South America, which is about ... 170,000 [people], something like that. That was my initial welcoming to the band gig, which was two nights, sold-out. And I remember when we got there, and we got off the plane, it was a mind-blowing experience. [...] For me, I was just like, "whoa." I got off the plane and it was like being in the Beatles or something. It was the closest thing I could relate to being in the Beatles, because we were being chased by kids and, there was hundreds of kids outside the hotel. It definitely changed my life, everything just changed drastically. ...


In 2009, Duff would write a lengthy piece on this show and Brazil in general:

As our flight took us somewhere above Central America, the pilot came on to tell us the United States had just attacked Iraq in something that the Pentagon dubbed "Operation: Desert Storm." It was January 17, 1991.

Before the Internet was common knowledge, and before there was a computer in virtually every home (as there is now), playing rock shows in faraway places like Brazil was an exotic endeavor, to say the least. Flying all the way down there to headline two nights at the Rock in Rio Festival was pretty surreal. We just had no idea if Guns N' Roses had fans in this part of the world or not.

My first trip to many foreign lands came as a result of the growing popularity of my band. For most of the places we first traveled to, however, we had a good idea of our fan base because of the well-tracked record-sales data from each region (yes, artists used to sell records!). In pretty much all of South America, though--back then and to this day--records, CD's, T-shirts, and whatever else, are all pirated. As a result, and with no MySpace "hits" or Twitter follower counts, we just had no idea how many fans were going to show up to see us.

I hate to fly. I have always been claustrophobic. A plane is a metal tube with no way out. I used to self-medicate my condition with whatever was available. And after a long trip like this, the constant to-and-fro and drag and frum, I am exhausted. The plane lands, and thousands of really emotional fans are waiting. I am overwhelmed. They are overjoyed. I feel like a fucking Martian after traveling for so long and feeding my body with mind-numbing intoxicants. I've got to get to my hotel so that I can get my head around this whole thing.

Funny as it sounds now, Billy Idol was a touchstone for me. Not that he ever knew this, and it wasn't like we were real close, but I knew him enough and I knew that he was also playing at the RIR. Sometimes even in my own band, I would feel completely alone and alienated. The fact that Billy was down there gave me a sense of solidness somehow. I have never talked about this, and now it seems a little funny and goofy.

[...]

Back to my point of not knowing if we had fans in Brazil up to that point: Apparently we did . . . and lots of them. The Maracana Stadium in Rio is the biggest stadium in the world, and we were playing two nights there.

[...]

Those first gigs started what has become a long-running love affair with my chosen place in my chosen profession, and South America as a whole. On that first trip, I came to realize what absolute passion and honesty the average rock fan down there has about music and life on a grander scheme.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sun Jul 11, 2021 11:00 am; edited 4 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:02 pm

SLASH CONTRIBUTES TO THE LES PAUL TRIBUTE ALBUM


Some time, likely in the end of 1990, Slash collaborated with legendary guitarist Les Paul:

Les Paul called me up to play on this tribute record where he’s producing tracks by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and all these cats. So I took another song called “Burnout,” which should have been a Guns tune, and got Iggy Pop to sing it and Kenny Aronoff to play drums. Duff’s going to play bass, and Lenny sang backup on it.

When we were at the studio, Les Paul said to me, “You’re pretty good when you learn how to play.” Thanks, God. You know, that was pretty fucking intense. I just sort of, like, crept away.

I played on his tribute album, which is on hold right now. I knew the project was disorganized, but I decided to do it anyway. I put the band together with Iggy, and [drummer] Kenny Aronoff. Fernando Saunders played fretless bass on it, but it didn't sound right, so I took it off and put Duff on it. And Lenny Kravitz does background vocals. […] We did a song that was supposed to be a Guns N' Roses' song, but Steven could never play. It's a slow blues shuffle called "Burnout." It's really different now, though, 'cause Iggy's singing. […] [Jamming with Les Paul] was the most humbling experience in my life. He and his rhythm player are amazing. They play chords like...I mean, how they get from one of these chords to the other just blew my mind. And Les is a great guy. Funny, eccentric, and very, very smart. Once, before this tribute thing ever happened, he called me up out of the blue. I picked up the phone and was like, "Whoa, Les Paul!" We talked for an hour.

[…]  I did a song on a Les Paul tribute record that’s coming out. I wrote this tune and Stephen could never play it; it was a very ‘black’ groove thing and he could just never get it right, and so I shelved the song.


The record was on hold in 1991 and wouldn't be released until 2005. On the record a song called "Vocalise" by Slash was included, but this was a new instrumental based off a "classical piece" [Modern Guitars Magazine, October 6, 2008].



Les Paul & Friends: A Tribute to a Legend
2005



With the song based off Burnout never ending up on the Les Paul record, Slash bought the song back from Warner Brothers:

A few years back, when I wrote the music, it was supposed to be for a Les Paul tribute. And what happened was, they got all these guitar players together to do this record, so I did that particular song for my track with Iggy Pop, and Lenny Kravitz, and Duff from Guns N’ Roses, and Kenny Aronoff. It was called Burnout back then, and it was killer, it was [bleep] great. So I gave it to Warner Brothers and they sat on it for, like, years. And Les was really sick and nothing was happening with the record, and I thought maybe that they were trying to, like, wait for something to happen so that they would put out the record later. You know, because it happened to, like, Chet Atkins, myself, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani and Les Paul himself – all these different guitar players on it. Anyway, so after nearly a couple of years, I was like, you know, something’s fishy is this whole project. So I bought the material back and when Snakepit started I just kept remembering how cool a group that was, because this band is so good. We rerecorded the music, and then me and Rod sat down and just wrote all new lyrics, because I wasn’t gonna use Iggy’s.
Dave's Old Interview Tapes, July 26, 2017; from telephone conversation with Slash in 2000


The song supposedly ended up as "Ain't Life Grand", which was released on the second Slash's Snakepit album in 2000 [Indianapolis Star, August 25, 2000].

Slash got to jam more with Les Paul:

I got to jam with Les Paul. I did a song on a tribute record for him, and jammed with him. And that was like, a totally humbling experience. It sort of reminded me as to how long I've been playing. Not that long. [laughs].

It was a real humbling experience. Between him and his rhythm guitarist, my whole existence as a player was belittled. He's such an awesome technical guitarist; he plays in a style way beyond my years, to the point where I hardly even know where he's coming from.

[Les Paul]'s great! I jammed' with him over at Fat Tuesdays. That must have been one of the most humbling experiences in my life. I was like, "Christ! Get me off the stage!" […] [The song we recorded] was my own tune, "Bum Out," so I just played it my way. That was cool. I got Duff to play bass on it because the original bass player didn't sound right.

I had Les Paul wipe the stage with me the first time I jammed with him. I never wanted to be off a stage so badly. And Les will (mess) with you, because in his own mind, as well as the public’s mind, he is the king. He looked over at me like “Well, you’ll learn how to play one day, kid.” But I did jam with him recently, and I’ve gotten better — we managed to play four songs together without any altercations or any serious faux pas, and that was nice. It gives you a little more confidence.

The first gig I had with Les Paul, was six years ago. I got up and jammed with him at Fat Tuesday's. He basically wiped the stage up with me; I never wanted to be off stage so badly... But it was an experience, a lesson definitely well-learned. I've played with him three times since and it got better and better. I know now you've got to pay attention, don't get ahead of yourself and play in the situation, you know?

Les Paul literally wiped the stage clean with me the first time I played with him. I swear to God. I went down to Fat Tuesdays one night, and I thought, 'I'll play some blues with him,' or whatever. It was like, 'Get up here kid, c'mon!' And he just kicked my fuckin' ass. I played with him four or five times at Fat Tuesdays after that, and I got better at it. I'm not a schooled musician, and Les Paul is one of those guys that wrote the book. He also plays traditional music, American traditional music, which is not your basic Stones shit, and it's not your basic American rhythm and blues. It's like Mary Ford shit, ya know? I don't even know... his rhythm guitar player blew my mind. I respect the shit out of that. And, just to be able to go up there and impromptu try and play along with those guys, I got better at doing it.



2009: EPILOGUE AND AN EULOGY


After Les Paul passed away in August 2009, Slash would talk about him:

Les Paul was a shining example of how full one's life can be. He accomplished so much, & was so vibrant & full of positive energy. I'm honored & humbled to have known & played with him over the years, he was an exceptionally brilliant man, musician, inventor, mentor & friend.

I've known him since 1991. The first time I met him I jammed with him at the club where he had a residency, Fat Tuesdays, in New York. Meeting and jamming with an icon like that was pretty overwhelming. He promptly just wiped the stage floor up with me [laughs], you know? It was one of those humbling experiences. But he sort of took me under his wing after that and we became friends. I would always gauge my progress as a guitar player by how well I did jamming with Les on any given day. [Laughs] He was like the barometer for my evolution as a guitar player.

It's an honor for me to have Les Paul models with my name on it. He's going to be missed. He was such a great guy, really warm, funny, very to the point, didn't mess around, didn't mince words, but had a really great heart and tons of energy. He was one of those people that set out to do something and accomplished things. He didn't sit around and wait for things to happen; he just went for it. He lived to be 94, always stayed true to his school as a musician, and kept inventing the whole time. He was a landmark influence on all us young musicians [laughs]. One of the reasons Jeff Beck, one of my favorites, is such a bitchin' guitar player is because he was so heavily influenced by Les Paul. I'm just paying tribute to the guy.

I just had a gig with him at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few months ago, a tribute to Les Paul, where a dozen guitar players all got together and jammed and then Les played at the end of the show. It was really one of those special events where some phenomenal guitar players got together and each one of them did their own little show, [laughs] including myself... it was another humbling experience... and when all that was done, Les got up there. And this is only a few months ago, so at 94 years old he gets up there and makes jokes into the microphone and has his whole band with him and fuckin' plays phenomenally. For the last 60 years he's had this major influence on guitar playing and the recording industry. So there he is, this little guy, so fuckin' full of life and vibrant and doesn't seem 94 years old, jamming out to this huge audience. It was really a special moment... it's hard for me to verbally explain it. Les was the kind of guy that anytime you were in his presence, he was always very upbeat, always cracking jokes, always making comments about the women present...

Very polite but very perverted at the same time, you know? [Laughs] The fact that he took a liking to me and took me under his wing was a huge honor. We always talked on the phone and that kind of stuff. It was special. It's important for kids to know who Les was because when I first started playing, I thought Les Paul was the name of a guitar. I didn't know it was a real person until I learned from guys like Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Obviously from that point on I researched and then finally got to meet him. Kids nowadays don't even really know that kind of history but it's important to have an understanding of that delay pedal that you're using and where the original concept came from [laughs]. Whenever you hear guitar harmonies recorded, like Brian May used to record harmonies on all of Queen's records, that was all Les Paul stuff. He invented the technique where you could layer guitars. Before that people just had to play live and that was it.

I would have loved to have seen him again but at the same time he was such a great example of a life fully lived that everybody should just celebrate the fact that a human being could have such a great life and accomplish so much. You can never complain about being bored when you think about a guy like Les Paul, you know?


Bumblefoot would also comment on Les Paul's passing:

This is a personal loss for his family, and I'm thinking of them.

I met his son a good handful of times at different events with Gibson. One thing that I’m so pissed about is that there are a lot of times when people said to me, ‘Man you’ve gotta come down and see Les Paul, he plays in the city every week and you could probably get up and jam with the guy. And I was like, ‘definitely wanna do that one of these days, definitely wanna do that one of these days.’ And now I can’t. But god, that guy, talk about the Thomas Edison of music. From multitrack recording to effects to the Les Paul. But all other things aside, we all remember him as the guitarist and the inventor and the innovator, but he was a member of a family and a person, and I think of it more as a personal loss for them, and I just wish his family the best.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:03 pm

FEBRUARY 1991
AXL SEEKS THERAPY


My growth was stopped at two years old. And when they talk about Axl Rose being a screaming two-year-old, they're right. There's a screaming two-year-old who's real pissed off and hides and won't show himself that often, even to me. Because I couldn't protect him. And the world didn't protect him.

_______________________________________________________________________

As described previously, Axl suffered from occasional depressions and in early 1991 the depressions, which made him remember his past, resulting in Axl seeking therapy [Life Magazine, December 1992]. The therapy would start in February 1991 [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992; Interview Magazine, May 1992] before their massive tour in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums.

l reached a point where l was basically dead and still breathing. I didn't have enough energy to leave my bedroom and crawl to the kitchen to get something to eat. I had to find out why I was dead, and why I felt like l was dead. I had a lot of issues that I didn't really know about in my life and didn't understand how they affected me.


According to Axl, the therapy sessions lasted five hours a day, five days a week [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

I know people are confused by a lot of what I do, but I am too sometimes. That's why I went into therapy. I wanted to understand why Axl had been this volatile, crazy, whatever, for years. […] I was told that my mental circuity was all twisted...in terms of how I would deal with stress because of what happened to me back in Indiana. Basically I would overload with the stress of a situation...by smashing whatever was around me… […] I used to think I was actually dealing with my problems, and now I know that's not dealing with it at all. I'm trying now to (channel) my energy in more positive ways...but it doesn't always work.


Axl would also keep going to therapy during the touring of 1991 which was tarnished by Axl's behavior which led to multiple stops, late starts, and rants:

I was like, I’d come off stage, and either get on the phone or have the person fly out personally into four or five hours right after stage. You know, where someone goes, like, once a week to work out their problems for half hour or an hour, I was doing four-five hours a day; like, every day.


When asked if he takes his therapist with him on tour:

Sometimes, when I feel I'm going to be needing to do some work. If we weren't on tour, I would've concentrated harder on getting this work finished and then gone out, but that was impossible. The albums needed to be worked.


In 1992 he would also mention that his therapist, or one of them at least, was a homeopath [for more information on Axl and alternative medicine, see later chapter]:

I came with a nice big package of defects. So I do past-life regression therapy work with a homeopathic doctor.


In the November 1992 issue of RIP Axl would go in more detail about the therapy:

I'm continuously learning that when I get depressed there may be a reason for it that I'm not aware of. It could be something that happened a long time ago, and I've carried a base thought ever since. That base thought hasn't been exposed since it happened, and it's never been healed. I've buried it so deep that I don't even know it's there. I can talk about life and love and happiness, but beneath that there's some ugly thought. Or hatred. Or fear. Or hurt. Something I'm still acting on. By going back slowly…[…] There's all kinds of methods, but it's basically figuring out how you feel and what really bothers you, getting more focused. Then, with my therapist, I work on releasing my unconscious mind. Unless your true self is in pain, why would you want to be detached from it? Yet most people are detached. Who knows how to go back and heal their own pain? Having help and being able to accept it is a lot stronger and sometimes easier. Sometimes it's harder though. I mean, who wants to need help? I found someone I trust and can work with. The methods aren't necessarily important; what's important is the getting there and the healing. A therapist could talk about it better than I could; and if I do, it may throw certain people off. It probably sounds very weird, but the important thing is that it's working. I have certain emotional, mental and physical problems that I don't want to have to live with any longer than I have to, so I'm obsessed with getting over them. The only way a person can tell if they need help is if underneath however happy you think you are, you know that you're miserable. I've been miserable for a long f?!king time, and now I'm not so miserable. […]  I could get really depressed and OD next week, but I don't think so, and I'm hoping not to.



THE EFFECT OF THE THERAPY


In 1992 Axl was still working on himself and the results of the therapy:

I didn't realize that I felt certain ways toward women, toward men, toward people in general, and toward myself. The only way to get through that was to go back through it and find it and re-experience it and attempt to heal it. I'm still working on that but I'm a lot further along than I was.


Los Angeles Times would report that "those around Rose say he is calmer since beginning the therapy, but they don't think they've seen the end of the outbursts [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. And Rolling Stone would report that "those around Rose say his therapy has helped him make a great deal of progress. At the very least it has helped him deal with the depression that so often made him feel suicidal in the past" [Rolling Stone, September 1991]. In September 1991, Izzy would imply Axl was doing better:

[Axl] understands responsibility a lot more. Before, he used to be one of those guys who, if he even thought someone was looking at him weird, would just haul of and smack 'em. And sometimes, y'know, the people he went for weren't even looking at him.


In interviews published in 1992, Axl would again claim that the therapy had worked:

I'd already grown past a lot of the things by the time I started working on my therapy in February. It takes a lot of work to slowly dig that out. And I've been doing this while I'm on the road. Some of this stuff is coming out at four in the afternoon, when you don't expect it.

I've found a lot more peace in the last year than I've ever known and I feel a bit more creative than ever. I'm not writing a whole lot but I write a little bit and I play a bit on the piano and it comes easier than it used to. […] I've done a lot of emotional therapy and getting in touch with my real self, rather than the self that I've created to deal with life. Even though I was fighting to be myself, I wasn't really in touch with who I was. I guess I allowed it, but what are you going to do? You're a baby and things happen. You get affected.

Now I feel I know why I've gotten myself into negative situations and why I've been negative in situations and how I've kept that ball rolling whether I wanted to or not. I can see a lot of that in my life and in the albums. I was pretty much trying to express the anger and frustration and I was blaming certain things on the women involved. That's not to say that when I was writing a song like "Locomotive" that the person I was inspired by wasn't doing something completely fucked up. You know, I can even have some love for my real father now, which I never had before, but that's not to say he wasn't an asshole. I can understand Izzy leaving the band and be fine with that, but that's not to say he didn't go about it like an asshole. Someone could understand why I stormed offstage but I have to take responsibility for that. I could have been bein' a fuckin' baby. […] I'm trying to learn how to take more responsibility for my actions. I just wish I didn't have so many actions that were fucked up that I had to take responsibility for.


And that the therapy produced explanations but not excuses for his behavior:

One thing I want to say is, these aren't excuses. I'm not trying to get out of something. The bottom line is, each person is responsible for what they say and what they do. And I'm responsible for everything I've said and everything I've done, whether I want to be or not. So these aren't excuses. They're just facts, and they're things I'm dealing with.


For an interview in Star Tribune in August 1992 when Metallica was co-touring with Guns N' Roses, both James Hetfield and Duff was asked identical questions separately. One of the questions was about Axl:

Axl's not really that bad of a demon as he's made out to be. I can't really look at it objectively because he’s my good friend. When it comes down to it, he's really a sweetheart. If you were to sit down and talk with him, you'd see what I'm saying. You’d go: 'He's just a normal dude. What's everybody writing about him?’ […] In England, it’s the worst with all the tabloids. He reads it. He’s already got enough problems of his own, let alone people saying he's got AIDS or something. He’s very sensitive and that kind of stuff gets him down. I tell him it’s some [jerk] making up something and he says, 'Yeah, but my girlfriend’s going to read this,' or something like that. He's a normal dude who just grew up a little differently than the status quo. […] He’s got that anger. He doesn’t hold back his feelings onstage, which is very cool.

I tried to communicate with Axl. He likes to talk and thinks he's got his thing together. He’s got a lot of yes men, which doesn't help him mentally, I think, but speaking with him is really difficult. He tries to project himself as a real humanist and trying to make everything best for everyone, make this a better world and try and make life fun for everyone. […] I don’t really like hearing [information] secondhand from people. ‘Oh, his psychic said this,’ or, ‘Guess what he did today?' I hate the whole gossip thing. To sit down and talk face to face is the best way to do things, and I don't really have the desire to do that.


About the same time, Gilby was asked about Axl:

Axl is a very eccentric person, very talented. And if he wasn’t eccentric and talented we wouldn’t be where we are right now.


In early 1993 Matt would say that therapy and Axl's relationship to Stephanie Seymore had made him healthier:

I think I can speak for Axl on how he’s feeling about everything. I think he’s a totally changed person. […] Now he’s into playing, and everything’s pretty cool. […] [But Axl still has bad days] because a lot of stuff goes on with him... just basically being Axl Rose. […] I don’t know if I’d want to be him, to be honest with you. You’d have to think about that yourself: ‘Would I want to be Axl Rose?’ Yeah, millions of people would, but then you’d have to be in his shoes for a little while to see what it’s actually like. [...] I think he really enjoys being in a big band and all that, being a big rock star or whatever, but there’s times when he doesn’t, and that’s the times when he just doesn’t want to... do anything. […] It’s real interesting. After being in the band for almost three years now, I can understand the guy. For a while there I just couldn’t, and neither could millions of people.


Duff would also concur that the therapy was working and that Axl was at a better place:

Axl is just a happier person these days. We all go through our stuff. He just vents it sometimes the wrong way. The only thing I can say is that people vent it in different ways - some people beat their wives or some wives beat their husbands. I personally don't deal with things the way he does, but I'm not him.


Yet, the everybody had to tip-toe around him and his friend Josh Richman, would mention how they'd hide reviews to avoid him getting angry:

If there was a bad review, [manager] Doug Goldstein and I would be in the hotel stealing all the newspapers, because if Axl read it, who knows if he would get on the plane to the next city.



AXL'S DEPRESSIONS


Another issue that likely was discussed in Axl's therapy sessions, were his depressions:

[…] l was miserable and suicidal and I realized I had to do this work [=therapy] or I would check out. […] It's helped give me a drive. I have a definite survival drive, and the pressure gave me a drive to get on top of it. It was either sink or swim. Sometimes l would want to sink, and then while I was sinking I'd go, "Wait a minute, this isn't what I want to do," and I would calm down while I was sinking and then start rising back to the surface again.

I used to jump ship every three days. And I wasn't crying wolf. It would usually come down to I was leaving but there was no place to go. What am I gonna do, go to Paris, do poetry? Look at art museums and hope that not going after what I set out to do didn't eat me alive? Go pump gas? I was leaving to pump gas a few times, and ready for it. Then, I don't know, something in me would go, 'You can deal with this now'. It just took time to be able to deal with it. And that's when I would get hassled for not doing photo shoots and interviews, because at that time I needed to be able to deal with just being able to stay here. And that took a lot of time. A lot of my anger came from people not understanding that I needed that time. I would turn myself inside out to certain people, and they still wouldn't get it. They're no longer with us, because I just didn't feel safe, ever. […] For over two years, I lived in a black room. Blackout curtains, black floors, black walls. It's what I always thought I wanted, and sometimes it was really cool and sometimes it was a nightmare. And for two years, I worked on trying to put my head together, and find answers, because I couldn't find a reason to stay alive. I know a lot of cool people, but I wasn't thinking about them missing me, or me missing them - I was just like 'Hope they'll be all right, and I want out of here'. I just wanted to leave. […] I don't so much want to leave anymore. I'm finally starting to settle into my life. Ever since that point, it's been rough, but I knew I'd walked into my life. And the touring is the combat zone of it.


The Christmas in 1991 turned out to be "probably the nicest" in Axl's 29 year long life, with the two previous Christmases in 1989 and 1990 marred by depressions [RIP, September 1992].


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:04 pm

JANUARY-JULY 1991
AXL RECORDS HIS VOCALS


In January 1991, Rolling Stone would report that what was still remaining to be done on the follow-up to 'Appetite' was "the completion of Axl’s vocals and the mixing chores" [Rolling Stone, January 1991; Special TV, 1991]. At this period in time, Axl was going through a bad period with Erin Everly (they would divorce in February 1991) and was in a bad state, as described by his friend Shelley Shaw who, together with Shannon Hoon, helped support Axl:

In 1990, it was the holidays - I think that’s when [Axl] had been through a really quick divorce with Erin. He was sad and living at the studio - he was in a really bad way. I remember Shannon looked after him and stayed there with him. But he was like, “I’ve got to go home to Indiana to see my family on Christmas Eve.” Somehow, he got a hold of me - I still hadn’t talked to [Shannon] - "I’ve got to go, and I heard you might come in. This is what’s going on.” I kind of took over, and then when I left, he came back. We were like ‘ships in the night’ - it was really weird. When I got there, [Axl] was sleeping a lot and going out to eat - there was no recording going on. He was just living there and he had a lot to say. It was more like Axl always needed somebody - he loved to sit and friggin’ filibuster. They were doing the sessions for ‘Use Your Illusion,’ and I remember Axl was like, “My voice just isn’t there for these high bits - I’ve got to get somebody in there to help.” So he brought in Shannon to see if he could do some things. I still hadn’t met him. It was like this myth - this little ‘charge’ that had been sent from the cornfields to have Axl look after.


At this point the band had recorded 35 songs:

Thirty-five of the most self-indulgent Guns n’ Roses songs…It’s a lot of material to work with — like four albums’ worth. For most bands, it would take four to six years to come up with this much stuff.


For Axl's recording of vocals, which took place at The Record Plant, it would be reported that he took his "Life Cycle, StairMaster, drawing table, smoking jacket, bed, Seals & Crofts CDs" into the studio and lived there for a month [Colorado Springs Gazette, March 7, 1991].

With so much material recorded and ready to be released, the band was discussing how to do it:

There’s a ton of material we want to get out, and the problem is, how does one release all of it? You don’t make some kid go out and buy a record for seventy dollars if it’s your second record. We’re trying to think of a way to distribute the material where each of the four discs of material can be separated, so you can buy the whole thing or you can buy just one. But since it’s not released yet, nothing is etched in stone. It might change, and I don’t want to mislead anybody. I know the thing that it’s not going to be is one big boxed set, where you have to buy the entire thing or nothing. I can tell you that much.


Slash would describe the albums as they were taking shape:

The album spans our whole career. It's such a self-indulgent record, it might come out and everybody will go. 'What the f*** is this?', but we don't care, because it's ours. It's a killer album. It's very heavy and it's not mainstream. […] We're doing this one with the attitude that we'll just get it done, but everybody else has such high expectations and... the f*** with trying to live up to them!


And according to Kerrang! in January 1991, Axl would arrive later than the rest of his band mates for Rock in Rio II in Brazil, because of "hurriedly putting the finishing touches to his vocals on the new ‘Use Your Illusion' opus" [Kerrang! January 1991].

This would be confirmed by Slash:

Axl went in and did vocals, then in the middle of the sessions we went out on the road. From that point, Illusion was thrown all over the place; we recorded the album in like ten different studios or something.


At some point in the mixing process they also realized they needed more vocals done:

At one point, we realised we didn't have all the vocals finished, so I started mixing the songs that were finished in the studio opposite, while Axl was still singing the other ones.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:04 pm

JANUARY-MARCH(?) 1991
BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN TRIES TO MIX THE ALBUMS; ZUTAUT IS ASKED TO HELP GET THE SOUND RIGHT


The mixing of the album, which took place at Skip Saylor Recording in Hollywood [New York Times, December 8, 1991] "early in the year" [Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991], was also a laborious process [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

The band first tried the respected sound engineer Bob Clearmountain, but the band was not happy with his mixes and Clearmountain was not happy with the process [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Clearmountain was quoted as saying that Axl "seemed to have a lot on his mind at the time,” and that getting the singer to join the rest of the band in the studio — Clearmountain preferred his clients to be heavily involved — was "an absolute nightmare" [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. According to Entertainment Weekly, this was due to Slash and Rose going through one of their "periodic personality clashes" at the time and Clearmountain would say that Slash deliberately stayed away from the studio so as not to "distract" the singer, and instead worked with him over the phone. Clearmountain would also claim that he didn't "hear from [Axl] for a week, and then he’d show up." Clearmountain recalls, "I’d ask if he listened to the last couple of mixes I did, and he’d say, ‘Oh yeah, man, it’s happening.’ And that’d be about it. He basically wasn’t paying attention" [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Furthermore, according to Clearmountain, Axl would threaten to "quit the band three times a week" [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

It would later be revealed that Slash had a big problem with how Clearmountain mixed his guitars:

In the early days of mixing Use Your Illusion, I definitely did not see eye-to eye with Bob Clearmountain. We just had different ideas about what the guitar was supposed to sound like. And this was Bob Clearmountain! It was nothing about Bob. He was a nice enough guy, but we had different ideas about mixing guitar music.



TOM ZUTAUT IS BROUGHT IN AGAIN


For a period the band had refused to talk to Tom Zutaut [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Zutaut, on the other hand, would say that his absence from the studio -- which was not the way he usually did things .. was because the band had earned it:

[...] because the band was doing things their way … They had grown up and earned the right to do things that way.


Later it would be clear that at least one of the reasons Zutaut was estranged from the band was the allegations that he had previously hit on Erin Everly while she was Axl's wife or girlfriend [Classic Rock, March 2008].

But in 1991 the band really needed Zutaut to help getting the sound of Use Your Illusion right and Axl was willing to bring Zutaut back into the fold despite the allegations of having made a pass on Everly [Classic Rock, March 2008]. When Zutaut stated that the rumour was false, Axl had said, according to Zutaut, that he wasn't sure he believed him, but that it didn't matter so much anymore [Classic Rock, March 2008]


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:05 pm

AXL'S PERFECTIONISM AND INSECURITY


Axl seemed to have operated differently than the rest of his band mates in regards to music. He was very particular about the music they created, often to the point of obsessing over minor details:

There isn't really anything we want to change [with Appetite for Destruction]. There's two words in that whole record that I didn't quite say the way I wanted to, and I forgot which ones they were, didn't have time to go back to find them and redo them. And they are not out of key, so no one else knows it. I am the only one who personally knows it.

Sometimes six lines take two years. It’s just got to say exactly what I mean. Sometimes I write some great words, and then hear this fabulous music in my head, and I think, ‘Wow! This is really happening! This is better than Led Zeppelin!' And then I go home and put on a record and I realise, shit, it was Led Zeppelin.

I'm too much of a perfectionist, I know that. [...] I'm a perfectionist so much, that I don't get a lot of things done. It's like, I used to run cross country and when you're working at everything, it wings a lot easier when everything's going right, of course, because everyone's doing what they're supposed to do. When it's going a lot smoother, then you can give a lot more and you can maybe break a record or something. That's what people want to see, and that's what I like to give 'em. I like to be able to go out there and give my ultimate rather than just get by by the skin of my teeth. Everyone may have loved it, but I know it sucked compared to what I should have done. Like, I can go out and not be able to hit the notes in the end of 'Rocket Queen' and I can make up a melody on the spot, right there on the stage, and people think they're getting something special cause they're hearing it in a different way, but I know the fact is that I couldn't hit the fucking notes cause I haven't slept for two days, because of insomnia. I don't think that's fair to the people in my own mind.

[...]

My main motivation for all of this, and it could never be anything but, is the music, the songs. I look at it like I'm a painter or something, and that's my motivation, just to be able to get the material out the way I want it. I'm not driven for financial things, those are a bit more than secondary. It's like, I can get as excited about making money as the next person in that I'm gonna be able to buy this and that, but if the song doesn't come out the way I really wanted it to then I'm more disappointed, and the money doesn't really mean anything to me then. I now that's hard for a lot of people to believe, but that's something that we've kinda stuck by the whole time, as much as possible. You have to make compromises here and there, because... Since this is our first record, we had to make compromises to get a certain level of sales so that we could get a certain level of power to do exactly what we wanted next time around.


Slash would agree:

Axl works on his piano songs for ages. He’ll play a part and sing along, and we don’t know where it’s going to go and six months later, ‘I’ve got an arrangement!’


Alice Cooper would recount working with Axl on the vocals for 'The Garden':

I was in LA, staying at the Sunset Marquis. I was watching an old movie when Axl called me. It was about two in the morning and he says, 'Hey, listen, can you do the vocal on this song 'The Garden'? I went down there and I listened to it and said, 'Yeah, I'll do it.' So we do it but when Axl sings, you can't stay with him.

I'm sitting there and I'm trying to do a duet with him and I said, 'Listen guys, this is my range. I end right here.' He was two octaves ahead of me and I'm going, 'Okay, okay. You do the real high parts and I'll stay down here.' When you're in the studio, a one-on-one with him, it's really amazing. When he's on the other mike, you're like, 'Jeez this guy can really sing.' Axl was a definite perfectionist . Almost to the point where you wanted to say, 'At some point, Axl, it's gonna be good enough.' With 'The Garden,' it was an easy bit for me to do. I did my bit maybe three times but when Axl was doing his vocals, he treated it very intricately. Rock and roll isn't supposed to be perfect. I'm afraid of it sounding too perfect. I mean, Bob Ezrin recorded Pink Floyd's The Wall three times. They probably did it like six times before they put it out. You never know if a person is not happy with it or if they're afraid of the material. The Beatles must listen back to Sgt. Pepper and go, 'Oh, man, why didn't we do this?' As an artist, you gotta know when the painting is done.


Alan Niven would make some interesting observations on Axl:

Axl has a capacity to really focus and analyze circumstances and situations, which is part of what makes him a gifted lyric writer. However, a major element of the frustration of being involved with him was that while everyone else was basically being gregarious and dealing with a normal life, Axl was shutting himself away in his room and thinking about one thing and one thing only for days or weeks on end. It was as though he was picking something up and looking at it from this angle, then that angle, then another over and over again. That minute focus of Axl's is both a curse and a gift.


Axl's perfectionism or attention to detail also affected Axl's touring in the first years:

Being the perfectionist that I am everything must be in order, or I'm a wreck! So nine times out of ten, I'm completely disorganized! When we first went on tour, things were just a mess and it took awhile to get into the swing of things. I pretty much got everything down smoothly, and as soon as I can figure out hotels, and the way they don't know how to run their own phone systems... 'OK, no calls to this room please,' and five minutes later the phone is ringing! As soon as I can get that worked out, I'll be fine, and until then, I buy a lot of phones! [...] I just wish that I could function more smoothly on tour, so that I wouldn't end up upsetting so many people. They never know what's gonna happen. It's like, 'What's Axl gonna do next?'


Gina Siler, and old girlfriend who knew Axl back in Lafayette, would talk about Axl's perfectionism:

He is extremely intelligent. That was one of the things that attracted me to him. He is just a nit-picky perfectionist and when things don’t go smoothly and to his liking he just loses it. He blows up. I’ve seen him do it on many occasions, smashing things and breaking things and yelling and screaming - holes through walls. Seen him do it one too many times.


His perfectionism may also be related to his stage nerves and anxieties regarding their live shows:

I'm very stressed about the shows, which are the most important thing to me. Nothing ever really works right for this band.


This was very different to Slash's approach that was usually to finish his in a few takes [source]. Naturally, such different philosophies in regards to music would cause friction, and this would be more pronounced as Axl started spending longer and longer time on his work.

Axl was also strongly opposed to making any compromises; to Axl, the art came before anything:

I believe in art first [...] Sometimes people talk about money being the success, that's second. That's being lucky and people being generous to you by buying your album. Your being accepted. That's success on its own terms. But success to me is like you do a painting, it might not have been what you wanted, because when you think of a painting in your mind sometimes what comes out on the paint is a shadow of what you thought of, but still, it is something you are proud of, and if you can get that and you're really proud of it no matter what anybody says, whether someone offers you a dollar or ten thousand dollars for that painting, if you're proud of it, that's to me what counts. And that's what we strive for.

I'm not going to not believe that we can't [make it with Appetite for Destruction], but anything's possible, you know, and if it doesn't happen then we're going to figure out another album without compromising our music because once we compromise our music there's no reason to be in this band. Get the fuck out. Go home. You know. If I wanted to fucking compromise I could have cut my hair and I could be, you know, a car salesman somewhere, or I could be climbing the corporate ladder or something. I'm not in this to compromise. Not at all.[...] I just don't like compromises just for the sake of being successful. That bothers me. To pay the rent. I'd rather starve than paying the rent by bending over and taking it in the ass, and that's how I consider it.


In 2008, Duff would discuss the long process of releasing Chinese Democracy:

I mean, I'm glad if it's finally coming out. I'm glad for Axl, that probably that pressure is off him. I'm glad he's able to let the music go. He is a perfectionist, man. There's people that are just perfectionists and they can't let a single note, anybody hear a single note unless it's, you know, perfect. You know, some musicians will play everybody their demo in the band, and then they go with all the mistakes and they don't care, because they know that everybody else has got the vision to hear it. Axl is, you know, a different… he's a different breed.


In 2009, after the long-awaited release of Chinese Democracy, Axl would be asked if perfectionism was partly to blame for how long time it had taken, and discuss the term and argue that generally it was used against him be people opposed to him:

In regard to so-called perfectionism, I feel that has a lot to do with your goals or requirements with whatever one's doing or creating. Different levels may be required for different objectives. If you're making brakes for a vehicle, what's required? It's all relative, right? You try to make the best calls you can at any given moment and go from there. Generally, when this term is used by others in regard to me or how I work, it's said in a negative way or as an excuse for their shortcomings -- and again by my detractors. Whether they are open about such or not, some people love putting others in a negative light; helps them feel better about themselves. Too many ears and too many stupid comments have proven that.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:05 pm

FEBRUARY 1991
ERIN AND AXL DIVORCE


In early 1991 the marriage between Erin and Axl was over [The Indianapolis News, February 1991]. In court papers quoted by Rolling Stone, Axl said that their relationship had been marked by "severe property damage, mutual acts of violence and humiliation and similar such activities" [The Indianapolis News, February 1991].

I am an artist and performer, and I sincerely believed Erin was my greatest inspiration. […] [Everly left for] weeks on end without notice. She made It quite clear by her actions and statements that she had no intention of complying with her promise to raise a family and be involved In a well-adjusted marital situation.


Josh Richman, a friend of Axl, would describe the marriage and its end:

Axl and Erin really wanted to be together. This was a guy who desperately wanted a family, having come from a busted family. The annulment happened right away.


Rumors would later abound about Axl's and Erin's relationship, including one involving spray-painting on the couple's garage [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. This rumor would be denounced by both Axl and Erin [TMZ, September 2012; Express, September 2012].

While Axl's relationship with Erin was unsteady, he was gradually reconnecting with his stepfather, and one item them bonded over was car stereos [Car Audio Electronics, August 1990].


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:06 pm

MARCH 1991
BILL PRICE TAKES OVER MIXING DUTIES


With Clearmountain being dismissed, Slash suggested Bill Price to mix the albums [VOX, October 1991] and Price came in "at the 11th hour" and did the job [New York Times, December 8, 1991]. It would be reported that Price had replaced Clearwater in March 1991 [Kerrang! March 30, 1991], indicating that Clearwater had worked on the record before this.

Matt would comment upon the mixing issues:

Then we ran into problems with the mixing. The guy that was doing the mixing didn't do a good job, so we had to call in Bill Price who re-mixed almost all the material.


Price would discuss how he got involved:

Then they started work on their huge Use Your Illusion project with the same producer/engineer, Mike Clink, that had done Appetite for Destruction. This involved about 40 songs, and it was going over budget, overtime, pretty much over everything, really, and Geffen wanted it finished. They got Bob Clearmountain to mix it in one studio whilst Axl was still doing vocals in another studio and Slash doing guitars in a third. Which was, quite obviously, a recipe for chaos. I think Bob mixed about 20 songs, but he had absolutely no contact with the band, because they were recording other stuff in other studios. And basically what happened, if Axl liked the mix, Slash didn’t, and if Slash liked the mix, Axl didn’t. So Bob never really had the chance to work with the band. Geffen was pressuring to get the album finished, so Tom Zutaut persuaded me to come out to L.A. and mix it. Not even actually to mix it, but to audition for mixing it.


Describing how the audition took place and how he got the job:

Geffen pays my flight and my hotel, and I do a mix of something and wait and see if anybody likes it or not, to find out whether I’m hired. So I did my “audition” on “Right Next Door to Hell.” I think it opens the first CD of Use Your Illusion. It’s a very straightforward, up-front rocker, so I did a loud, in-your-face, heavily compressed mix of the backing track and then added Axl’s vocal on top, post the compressors, so that you could hear what he was singing. Everybody loved it, so they hired me. I then embarked on a very long period in Los Angeles working my way through this huge amount of material. I had fantastic help from Mike Clink, who’d produced the original backing tracks, and day-to-day support from Jim Mitchell, his engineer, who was very helpful. I had alternate visits from Slash, Axl and various other members of the band and sent everybody else DATs for approval. I happily worked my way through 20 or 30 songs.


According to Inger Lorre from The Nymphs, Price had been involved in producing their record at the time and Axl basically stole Price from them:

I don’t care what you say about the band and me, but one thing that’s got to make it into the article is how I feel about Axl Rose. That little fuck stole our producer after Tom played him our tape. We didn ’t even get copies of our own rough takes. I think Axl is a pig-faced, sexist, homophobic, racist piece of shit, and I'd love to kick his ass. I’ll give him my address, the little wimp.


Zutaut would give his version of what happened:

With Guns N’ Roses, we gave a copy of the Nymphs’ rough tracks to Guns manager Alan Niven, because Lorre wanted the opening slot on their tour. But problems developed between Lorre and Axl Rose through Lorre’s boyfriend at the time, Josh Richman, and that idea had to be scuttled. When Guns started to mix Use Your Illusions, they remembered that Bill Price had been their original choice to produce Appetite for Destruction, and so they called on him to mix for them. I objected to this, but I was overruled by the company’s president and CEO. After all, Guns N’ Roses is the label’s biggest act.


And on Lorre and Axl:

Axl and Inger have never met, actually. You know, if they did, I think they’d be soul mates. But I wouldn’t want to be there if the sparks start to fly.


Slash would recount the mixing issues without mentioning Clearwater at all:

We couldn't work with Thompson-Barbiero, who were the two guys who mixed Appetite. At first, we chose not to work with them, and then by making that decision, they took on another gig, and we didn't have anybody to mix it. Then we asked them to do it and they couldn't, because they were working on Tesla. Being that we don't know that much about mixing and because we were so close to the music, we got to a point where we didn't even know what it was supposed to sound like anymore. Bill Price is somebody that we originally wanted to produce the album, in the early days, because he'd done the Pistols and the Pretenders. We really liked the sonics on those records. So we got in touch with him and he came out, and he brought a whole new life to the album. He has a great overall idea of what separation's all about, as far as instruments go, especially because there were so many things going on in some songs. He was great to work with, and he has great ears, so it was a real relief, 'cause I thought the album was destroyed. The hiring of Bill Price is one of the reasons this album took so long to get out.


Getting Bill Price in to do the mixing would cost a lot of money and time, according to Kerrang! in July 1991, and would postpone the expected release date to August 19 [Kerrang! July 20, 1991].

Price, on the other hand, would describe how he had to wait for songs to be fully recorded and how in the end he had to get the entire band in the studio to help out with the final mixing:

What happened was, having got my way through about 20 songs, I was then in the position of waiting for the next song to be finished. For example, on “November Rain,” which was a bit of a baby of Axl’s, I had Mike Clink’s original 24-track master, which had just drums and maybe a bit of bass on it. I had a 24-track slave that had a load of vocal ideas on it and a 24-track slave that had a lot of guitar ideas on it and a Sony 48-track slave that had a hell of a lot of vocal and keyboard work that Axl had been doing in his studio. I had another 48-track slave that Slash had been recording on in his studio. I tried a telephonic method of working out which tracks should be used and couldn’t get anybody to agree on what of this huge amount was going to be used. I decided that the only way would be to run them all together. We were in Skip Saylor’s studio in Los Angeles, which had, if I remember rightly, an 82- or 84-channel SSL. It was a pretty big desk. So we hired a bunch of tape machines in, and, of course, they didn’t run in sync, but the Los Angeles hire companies have got some very good technical engineers, and some hairy bloke in shorts arrived with a homemade interface and managed to plug all the machines together and get them to run in sync. Then I could play every track that everybody had recorded on.

Then I decided that the only way to find out which tracks to use would be to get the entire band in the studio at the same time, which seemed like quite a normal thing to me. When I mentioned this to the band’s management, they were totally horrified. The thought of Guns N’ Roses all being in the same room at the same time was too much for them to bear. [Laughs.] They warned me against it, but I couldn’t think of any other way of doing it. So they all arrived, and we got down to a mix. They were very gentlemanly. Axl walked in and said, “Good afternoon, Slash. I know it’s your guitar, and obviously you have the main say in it, but I do love that lick there. Do you think we could have it a bit louder?” Total gentlemen. We finally got the mix done.

It was a very long process. That mix was on the board for a good week, ten days. DATs were going backwards and forth, and harmony lines were being changed and different guitar licks were being put in. You name it. That’s about the most complicated mix, both musically, technically and people-wise, I’ve ever done in my life. But what impressed the band when they walked in was that to get all of these machines synched – Saylor Recording had a separate machine room, which was just full of tape machines, and obviously there weren’t enough tielines to get them all onto the desk – there was this elephant trunk of cable coming through the door and wending its way to the desk. Everybody just went, “Oh, my God. What’s that?” It looked like something out of a science fiction movie where the machines take over.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:07 pm

MARCH-AUGUST 1991
THE INFAMOUS MEDIA CONTRACT


In late 1990 Slash would vent his frustrations with the press:

I don't think anybody will understand. [...] Everybody likes to make assumptions, people like to make up all these stories and I can't figure out the mentality behind it. They're always picking on our personal lives. It's never accurate. So it's made up like they're talking about somebody else altogether. The only thing you can go on is what's actually printed correctly in the press, quotes that are actually accurate, which isn't too often, anyway. […]

[…] you have to deal with [the lies]. You keep avoiding it, and avoiding it, trying to ignore the fact it's going on, and it sort of sticks with you and it just builds up. It finally hits you and you can have a breakdown over this shit eventually if you let it build up for too long. If you don't make some sort of rebuttal to what's being said about you, you end up having to live with it, which is not the right thing to do.


And later the same year he would look more philosophically at it:

This is one of those bands that, even before it got signed when it was a club band, was just bait for hype. And it’s like that now, only on a bigger scale. So at this point, we’re pretty numb to it.


But they weren't so numb that they didn't make an attempt to curb the bad press, because in March 1991 the band's relation with the media had become so strained it was claimed that anyone who wanted to interview them had to sign a contract. According to Los Angeles Times, this "two-page document gives Guns N' Roses copyright ownership and approval rights over any "article, story, transcript or recording connected with the interview," control over any advertising or promotion involving the story and indemnifies the band from any damages or liabilities in connection with the story" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991]. Even photographers had to sign "a similar three-page contract" "with similar clauses, including band ownership of all pictures taken by any photographers" [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

Alan Niven would defend the decision:

We're fed up with being misused and abused by all the scurrilous (scum) who pass themselves off as journalists and photographers. I can't begin to tell you how many writers and photographers have misrepresented themselves, made up quotes or made money selling substandard photos of the band. It's amazing, but people can peddle any kind of (junk) if Axl's picture is on it. The press always says, 'Trust us,' but whenever we do, we get screwed. We started (using these contracts) with the European press, who are notoriously untrustworthy and incompetent, and we've found it keeps incompetence and inaccuracy to a minimum. We're not trying to deprive people of their opinions. But we do want a formal document that will prevent the abuses we've endured in the past.


So would Duff:

The critics are looking for us to fall on our a__. The group went from being critics' whipping boys to being "the press' darling, then the press turns around on you.


Some magazines, including Guitar World and Venice, signed the contract while others, including Rolling Stone, Playboy, Spin and Penthouse, refused [Los Angeles Times, March 1991].

The musical editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Jim Henke, was incredulous:

I can't believe anyone would go along with anything like this. We're always having people asking to be on the cover, but we've never had anyone try to dictate the editorial content of a story. I have to wonder whether the band is going to still go through with this even after their album comes out.


The band's publicist, Bryn Breidenthal, had the following comment:

My immediate reaction was that this might provoke a lot of hostility. But the band is just reacting to all the inaccurate information that's been disseminated about them. In my 25 years of doing publicity I've never dealt with a press contract before, but when you deal with this band, you deal with a lot of firsts.



ONLY MEANT TO STOP SOME MAGAZINES?


[The contract] was for people we didn't want to talk to. It's been blown all out of proportion, because there's plenty of stuff the band wants to talk about openly.


This would be confirmed by Axl in May 1991 when he referred to it as a "test contract" aimed at specific magazines:

And that was a test contract basically because of certain situations we’ve had with the English press that we tested in Rio. And the most outrage that we really got was from the magazines that we were having problems with to begin with, you know. And because we weren’t going to talk to them anyway, then they saw that and went running with it. But no, we’re not trying to control everything. We just want what we said or anything we say to be in the proper context, to be something that we really said. […] So we’re just trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. You know, if we don’t have a real big problem and if we get along with people we don’t even ask about contracts. You know, it’s like, if we know everything’s gonna be okay and it’s gonna be honest, then it’s fine. The contracts are kind of... I laugh, you know, when they make such a big deal, because it’s really kind of like a deterrent for people that want to cause problems. They see that and they know they won’t be able to get in to cause that problem.


The "English press" that Axl is here referring to, is likely the interviews by Mick Wall in Kerrang! Axl's antipathy for Wall would also result in him being named in the rant in 'Get In The Ring' [see later chapter].

Axl would further embellish on the detrimental nature of inaccurate and out-of-context quoting:

And we’ve had certain things that may not hit the world on a big scale, but dealing with smaller magazines and stuff, where they’ve run all kinds of interviews we never did and where they said I said things. Like, I may have said something hostile towards a member of another band, but they’ve turned it around and said I said all kinds of things I didn’t say. And it’s like, the things I said were even meaner (chuckles), but I knew what limb I was going out on it, and then somebody cuts down the tree and then hits me. And it’s like, it’s not really fair, because I do take the time to try to answer the questions and talk about things as honestly as I can; and then I have someone distort that, you know? And if a magazine has a... maybe they have a subscription rate of 50,000 or 70,000 but, you know, this was a 40,000 people show tonight. 40,000 people were here, you know, and that hits that many people with a different impression of us and that kind of hurts.


Neither MTV or the Chicago Tribune had to sign the agreement [Chicago Tribune, May 1991]. In the end, as indicated by Matt and Axl, Rolling Stone did not have to sign the contract, either. As Kim Neely, a senior writer at Rolling Stone would say: The thing about that contract has really been blown out of proportion." Neely would say she didn’t have to sign any contract because “there are certain magazines that have never done them wrong in the past, and Rolling Stone is one of those magazines. We submitted two names to them, and they said either would be okay.... I’m a big fan" [New York Magazine, August 1991].


BOB GUCCIONE JR. PRINTS THE CONTRACT IN SPIN


In June, Spin Magazine, with chief editor Bob Guccione Jr., would print a highly critical article about the contract which including the contract for all their readers to see [Spin Magazine, June 1991]. The same month, Geffen would release a press statement saying that the band didn't require the contracts to be signed before doing interviews and that the reason why the band had done fewer interviews was simply that the band was occupied working on the new record. [Geffen Press Release, June 1991].

Lauren Spencer, Spin's senior editor of music, would comment:

They were actually asking all writers to go ahead and sign the contract if they wanted to get an interview with Guns N’ Roses. Basically, that was the story we got. What they said was, ‘You want an interview? Look over this contract. Let us know.’ The bottom line is that the band isn’t doing interviews anyway. It was just kind of offensive that they would in the first place be introducing the contract. Whether it was a joke, I don’t know .
The Courier Journal, June 1991



CHANGING THE CONTRACTS


In June [although published in August] Slash would talk about the contracts and mention they had been changed:

So there was a situation where we put out a contract, where anybody who wanted to interview the band had to sign this agreement saying that we would get to see the actual interview and approve it, because we’d been screwed around for so long and taken it. And now the band’s got to this point, it only makes things worse, because now there’s some really meaty stuff to make up!

So a lot of the rock ’n' roll publicity machine and the critics were handed this contract, and if they didn’t abide by the stipulations on it, then it was gonna cost them 100 grand. Which was pretty harsh, but my feelings about it were that if these guys weren’t gonna be blatantly honest and do what it said, then they were out to screw us in the first place. In other words, why worry about it? I mean, if I give you a piece of paper right now that says, ‘Don’t try this on me, or do this and that’, and you won't sign it, how am I supposed to trust you?

[…]

But since then we’ve restipulated the contract. It’s more of a thing for who we want to deal with and who we don’t wanna deal with. Because at this point, if it’s gonna go public, the only people what we care about are the people that listen to the band, and I don’t want them given bullshit. […] We still get to approve the articles, but now the band’s got the choice of wanting to deal with the situation. There’s no money involved any more...

Basically what it comes down to is, screw the contract and all that, it comes down to it being fair to the kids, to our fans. If you're gonna write about us, write the truth. The kids, they know the truth...


Tony Gerard, writing for Kerrang!, would say the following regarding the contracts:

To be honest, I’ m still not sure I follow the band’s reasoning on this, and I’m dead against any kind of control over a piece of journalism save by the writer and the editor, but at least the contract issue has been wisely retooled to the point where it does significantly less damage.

Still, it’s a disturbing facet of this band that one wishes had never seen the light of day. Is it just paranoia on the part of the band, or a authentic strike against that shameful cluster of journalists who slander for the sake of a juicy story? Only by sitting in on every interview GN’R has ever done and then reading the resultant feature would one be able to discern the truth.


In August a spokesperson for Guns N' Roses would say the contracts were not in use any more [New York Magazine, August 1991]. When asked, Slash would claim they had modified the contract when they realized they did want to talk to some journalists [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].

In mid-1992, when asked about the press contract, Duff would first say he didn't want to talk about it, but when pressed he would say that they still used a watered down form:

Well that’s yeah....yeah. And there still is a form. It’s not as harsh as the old one was. It was so harsh because we had over the years accumulated all this crap on us that wasn’t true. And we got fed up. It was like.. .OK, if you want an interview you got to sign this, and we get to go over everything that’s gonna be printed. And if you don’t print exactly the way you show it, then you get faced with a libel suit. […] [The suit] is totally against our.. .you know....were just five, six guys out playin’ and we don’t want to do that. But then again, you don’t wanna look back when you’re fifty years old and look at these interviews sayin’ garbage. […] There’s a different contract now. I don’t wanna talk about this because it’s got nothing to do with rock and roll.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:08 pm

1990S
AXL AND SEBASTIAN BACH


In early 1990s, Sebastian Bach, frontman and singer of Skid Row, was in some parts of the media considered a rival to Axl and they would try to set up a conflict between the two popular frontmen. It didn't turn out that way, though, as Axl and Sebastian would form a friendship and spend much time together.

It’s like, when we started, when we first met, the media was really – the rock press and everything wanted us to hate each other. You know, they really wanted us to hate each other. So I decided, “I’m just gonna go meet this guy and see what happens,” and we just hit it off like that. And, boy, that really pissed them off, you know? You know?


Their first meeting came in early March, 1990:

Dude, the first time I ever met you, we [=Skid Row] were opening for Aerosmith at the L.A. Forum [=March 1990], and the first knock on the door was David Lee Roth. He goes "Heeey, man.....


Axl would insist on telling the story differently:

You and I were telling him that he was one of our biggest influences, our biggest inspirations. First thing is like, we meet and he [=Bach]...... has........ two joints and two beers and hands me one of each....... [...] and then we started singing "Train Kept A Rollin'" because now I'm gonna get to go sing it with Aerosmith, and so the whole room kind of freaks out and starts staring at us, you know, and then later were telling David Lee Roth he's like one of our biggest influences, and to his defense he later apologized but he comes up, puts his arms around both of us and goes "You guys aint nothing but pretenders to the throne" and he's, Baz, is like (higher voice) "Dude! Why are you being such a dick?"


Bach continuing the story as he remembered it:

Just my side of the David Lee Roth thing, he.... um, I remember him taking us out there and I was in the middle of Axl and David and I remember vividly Brett Michaels came and to the table and goes "Hey man, can I sit down with you guys?" and we go "NO!" So anyway Dave is really being cool and he's being funny. He orders a drink and he's like this "Medic!" like he's being total Dave, but the more whiskey he drinks the meaner he gets, and I just sense this vibe and than, uh and than, the way I remember it, he takes one shot of Jack, looks over at you and me and he goes "Well, it looks like I got a couple pretenders to my throne right here.", and you looked at me like "What did he just say?" Cause I......[...] But than the next week I got this letter... [...] hand written from David Lee Roth saying "Hey man..." he goes "You two guys remind me of why I first got into music and stuff..."


At some point, in 1990 or 1991, Axl would make efforts to stop Bach's excessive partying:

Well, I remember when we were doing Slave To the Grind record [Note: released in June 1991], I was literally out of my mind you know, partying a little too much in Hollywood and you know Axl called up Doc and Scott and said you gotta get your boy out of Hollywood and Scott's like why and Axl goes "Cause he's gonna die". [...] And I don't forget that, I never forget that.


Axl commenting on the above:

[...] sometimes you all have to watch out for one another  and don't let it get to far over the edge. [...] He had to get out of Hollywood, I had to get out of New York. I'd come here [=to New York] and after about a few couple of weeks we'd be like "W w w we need to get out of here, w w w were gonna die". You know because you're the one who's now the bartender at the hotel.


Axl and Bach would also discuss collaborating together:

Actually, Sebastian Bach and I are talking about doing a version of Amazing Grace together. Well, I think it's a whole new idea that him and I are gonna do this together, ‘cause everybody wanted us to be enemies, kind of, a bit in, you know, press things, “Who's better or this and that”. And it's kind of like, we just hit it off .


In July 1990, they would call in to the Howard Stern show [The Howard Stern Show, July 1990].

Okay, we can talk about that on this station. I’m sitting up in the Shoreham Towers... [...] But we’re hanging out and we’re kind of blowing smoke out of our own eyeballs. And we’re having, like - we’re solving the whole world’s problems...And it was like, we’re getting a sun tan, we haven’t slept in days...  And then we get a quiet point in the mayhem, and then Axl looks around and goes, “Let’s call Howard!”


As is often the case, Axl would remember it slightly differently:

No! That was you, because it was your buddy! [...] Because you wanted to call him and talk about the guy with the smoke coming out of the eyeballs.

And then Erin was there, Maria was there, and... that was a legendary interview. I couldn’t believe we did that (?).


In August 1990 were together in Axl's condo when a neighbor complained and it got raided by the police [People Magazine, August 1990].

You know [Sebastian and I are] hoping to work together some, and it just... […] I’d told you last time that we wanted to do a version of Amazing Grace but we haven’t got to it yet


When Guns N' Roses finally started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' records in May 1991, they chose Skid Row with Sebastian Bach as one of the supporting acts.

At some point in the 90s, Axl and Bach would drift apart and they would first reconnect in 2006. See later chapter for more information on this.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:09 pm

APRIL 2, 1991
SLASH IS FEATURED ON LENNY KRAVITZ' 'MAMA SAID'


In April 1991, Slash would be featured on the songs 'Always on the Run' and 'Fields of Joy' from Lenny Kravitz' album 'Mama Said'.



Mama Said by Lenny Kravitz
April 2, 1991



[…]my girlfriend and I were just head over heels in love with [Kravitz'] album. When I met him I told him, 'You're so great, we fuck to your record all the time!' He was probably a little shocked [laughs] but he's a really good guy. I put a solo on one dills new songs, which is the most out of tune first-take dry guitar solo—but he really digs it. He's really raw, one of the most soulful people.

We didn't know each other then. I was in what you call Continuation School, which was for kids who smoked in class, that whole thing. But we recognised each other, jammed one night... He's a real cool character.


Kravitz would describe Slash's interest:

Slash approached me as an individual after one of my shows and we talked. He was, like, I really want to play on your record, and I was like, I'll take your number and call you, and he was like. Call me, don't bullshit me. We went to high school together actually, but we really didn't know each other, we just passed each other. […] It was a solo which, before I met him, I wanted Jimmy Page to play. And I couldn't get him, so I thought Slash'd be the next best cat. He played his ass off on it. Unbelievable. It's the best I've ever heard him play.
Sounds, May 19, 1990


Although Kravitz had some reservations dealing with Slash due to the lyrics of 'One in a Million':

[…] those lyrics are bullshit. […] F**k it, [Slash is] an individual. I have no problem with him or his politics. He on the other hand has to deal with Axl. I don't have to. I don't have anything against Axl, I don't know him. I don't particularly like what those lyrics say, but I don't know where Axl's coming from, what he's been through, and I can't judge him. Offhand, it sounds really stupid and racist but, y'know, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I've got my f**ked up stuff too. I'm not sinless, I'm a human being. I don't really judge people.
Sounds, May 19, 1990


Slash would describe hanging out with Kravitz:

I went down to the studio where [Kravitz] was in L.A., and we hung out that night. He smoked pot, and I drank vodka, and we did a solo on one of his songs called “Fields of Joy.” I just finished recording another song for his new record, a song I’d originally written for Guns that never happened as a Guns song. We had a great time hanging out in New Jersey. The guy is so fucking down-to-earth. It’s a pleasure to work with somebody like that, where there’s no bullshit.

I fell in love with his first album. We met at some awards thing and got to be friends. I went to the studio and put a solo on "Fields Of Joy" and played the riff on "Always On The Run" [both on Mama Said]. That was a great time too.

[…]  I wrote a riff. Well, I went down to go play on a song called Fields Of Joy. […] Well, that’s me playing guitar in there, honey, so... And so then, when I was doing that, I played him a riff that was initially supposed to be a Guns N’ Roses song as usual – and he heard it and he was really into it, and Guns wasn’t into it because it was too funky, so... (laughs). So he just went fucking nuts over it. […] He goes, “That’s just...” What did he call it? “That’s psychotic.” That’s his word for it.

[Being asked which one of his collaborations was the biggest blast to do]: Probably the Lenny Kravitz one, because that was just such a spontaneous fuckin' thing. It was a song, a riff that I originally wrote. That 'Mama Said' song was a riff that I was playing hanging around with Lenny, talking about how we went to high school together. I played him that, and he called me up three months later: 'Let's go to Hoboken and do that track.' 'You serious?' So we went and did that together, and that was fun. We did it in this funky place on a Sunday in Hoboken, off license, no booze, nothing. Went out there and smoked a hell of a lot of cigarettes.




Kravitz and Slash outside studio
after recording 'Always on the Run'


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:11 pm

1990-1992
AXL'S FEUD WITH MICK WALL


In the beginning of 1991, Mick Wall, famed journalist and author, was surprised to see that Slash wouldn't talk to him [Kerrang! January 1991]. Wall would later blame this on the infamous media contracts that the band issued [see later section]. But, as it turned out, these contracts were only meant to stop some magazines/interviewers, and after the release of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums with the song 'Get In The Ring' where Wall was singled out as someone who had "wanted to start shit by printin' lies instead of the things [the band] said" it was clear that the good relationship Wall had enjoyed with the band in the late 80s was now over.

After the release of the 'Use Your Illusion's, Wall thought the animosity towards him was due to a series of stories he had written in Kerrang! and with the recent publication in Britain of an unauthorized book containing Wall’s interviews with the band [Entertainment Weekly, September 1991].

Wall's colleague in Kerrang!, writer Paul Elliott, on the other hand, would speculate it was due to articles Wall had written about the band's Rock In Rio performances in early 1991 [Kerrang! September 12, 1992]. The articles Wall wrote about the band's performance at Rock in Rio is likely the ones referenced in an article Lonn M. Friend wrote for RIP Magazine (released in March 1992) where it is claimed Wall didn't even watch the band's perfomances at Rock In Rio:

One night Axl called me at home because he was upset about something he'd read in Kerrang! According to Axl, the journalist completely missed the boat in reviewing the band's performance at Rock In Rio. "We were on the second night," Axl told me. "Why didn't he see that?" Later investigation revealed that the writer missed the show entirely, because certain personnel around GN'R wouldn't give him a decent place to watch the concert from. Our conversation rambled on about the press, and I was forced to ask Axl why it really mattered. Why should a sentence in a British metal rag matter to the lead singer of the biggest rock band in the world? 'I just care,' he answered with conviction. 'I don't know why; I just do'.


In 1992, Rock World would publish an article by Wall where he would discuss the feud and claim that the conflict was actually due to Wall writing things Axl had said about Vince Neil when Axl was pissed off at Neil for attacking Izzy [see previous chapter], and, according to Wall, which Axl would dispute he had said [Rock World, October 1992; Classic Rock, November 1998]. Moreover, when Axl had asked for a copy of the tapes so he could verify that he had actually said the things Wall had claimed he had, Wall refused, and this, according to Wall, was the actual reason Axl was angry with him [Rock World, October 1992; Classic Rock, November 1998]. In 2000, Wall would say the reason was the book he had written and an article from 1990 where Axl claimed he had been misquoted [Classic Rock, December 25, 2000].

In the Rock World article, and repeated in a Classic Rock article in 1998, Wall would further claim that Axl and three bodyguards met with Wall and threatened to kill him if he published a planned book of the band [Rock World, October 1992; Classic Rock, November 1998]. After receiving these threats, Wall would claim it only made his more adamant to publish a book about the band which was published around the time the Illusions came out, resulting in people believing the Get In The Ring rant was about the book, and not the earlier conflict [Classic Rock, November 1998].

In September 1992, Izzy would be asked about the animosity:

I honestly don't know what that was about or what was said. Axl was mad at Kerrang!, right? There were so many things that pissed him off...


This feud between Axl and Wall, or Guns N' Roses and Kerrang! led to the band not doing any major interviews with the magazine until the beginning of 1994. In January 1994, Kerrang! would summarize the feud and announce that the fight between Guns N' Roses and Kerrang! was over:

Guns N' Roses versus Kerrang! - one of the longest running rucks in rock n' roll. But no more. The feud was immortalized in the track 'Get in the Ring', from GN'R's mega-Platinum 'Use Your Illusion II' album. In that song, Guns singer Axl Rose rages at former K! writer Mick Wall, who had accused the band of arrogantly blanking him and everyone else at the 191 Rock in Rio festival.

From there, the feud got out of hand, Axl slammed Kerrang! from the stage at Wembley Stadium on successive UK visits in 1991 and '92, and despite the fact that Mick Wall has not worked for Kerrang! for two years, the rift seemed irreparable. Considering that Kerrang! had been the first UK magazine to put Guns N' Roses on its cover way back in 1987, it was all pretty frustrating.

Bu come 1994, the bitchin' is over.


Slash would comment and confirm that now that Wall wasn't writing for Kerrang! anymore, they were willing to talk to Kerrang! again:

The whole thing with Kerrang! had to do with certain individuals who were there. […] As soon as the band started to become popular, there were all these people taking unnecessary potshots at us, so we thought, 'F**k it!'. But now that everything's changed at Kerrang!, everything's fine. That's the reason I'm talking to you now.



2007: WALL RELEASES "W. AXL ROSE: THE UNAUHTHORISED BIOGRAPHY"


In 2007, Wall would release a biography on Axl. In 2008, Del James would comment on Wall's books:

Of course I [read any of the rock & roll biographies] and it's amazing how much rancid bullshit not only gets printed but also unfortunately becomes accepted by some of the public as fact. It's fucked up. The hatchet job these people do on Axl is criminal. Mick Wall hasn't had any contact with Axl Rose in over fifteen years and that ended shitty yet he has the audacity to write a biography about him? I was there the day many many years ago when Axl went up to Mick and asked him whether he was writing, a book and Mick swore up and down he was not. Goddamn coward. He wears being disrespected in "Get In The Ring" as like some sort badge of credibility. Hey Mick, the guy called you an asshole.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:12 pm

APRIL 1991
ALAN NIVEN IS FIRED AND DOUG GOLDSTEIN TAKES OVER/BIG FD ENTERTAINMENT


NIVEN OUT


In July 1991, Los Angeles Times would report that the band had severed ties with their manager Alan Niven. Doug Goldstein, who started out as tour manager and then became co-manager together with Niven as part of the Stravinski Brothers, became the new band manager [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. The break with Niven had occurred before the touring for the 'Use Your Illusion' albums started [RIP, September 1991].

According to an insider interviewed by Los Angeles Times, the problem was with Axl who wanted Niven out:

I think that Axl and Alan had been drifting apart for a long time as individuals, even as far back as 'Appetite for Destruction. In the end, I don't think Axl saw Alan as someone who was still fully on his side. He has a more comfortable relationship with Doug, whom he perceives as a friend as well as manager. Axl knew this was going to be a long tour, and he wanted to have everything in place before it started.


Izzy was not happy about this decision [Kerrang! September 21, 1991] and would, after he had left Guns N' Roses, claim it was Axl's idea and that Axl had threatened to quit the band if the rest of the band didn't go along with the firing of Niven:

Axl fired him. […] We weren't given any choice! It happened like that. Four members of the band were against and Axl said "All right, take him as a singer then because if he stays, I leave!" What can you do? What can you say?

I felt really bad about it, because I'm still friends with Alan. I felt I had to choose between him and the band. He was kinda like the sixth member of the group for a while. And he really helped put us where we are now. I still think he's a great manager. But Axl and he finally had too much of a clash of personalities. Alan has his way of doing things which is more like a military strategy. Axl wants to do stuff his way, at his pace, in his time.

This is very important and I must say that Alan Niven has always looked after me admirably since 1985. I was really irritated when he was fired by Guns N’ Roses, and that definitely precipitated my decision to leave the band. Plus, Niven knows rock music like the back of his hand, and that matters a lot...


Alan Niven would later confirm that it was between him and Axl:

Axl wanted total control, while my commitment was to Guns N' Roses. My assessment was that the dynamic of the five original individuals involved was what created the character and overall personality that ultimately proved so successful. Axl was a part of that - a very important part - but I had too much of a problem with this 'It's my ball and if you don't play the game by my rules then I'm taking it home, dude' attitude of his.

But there was always something. Nothing was ever good enough. I do remember, in what may have been one of my last conversations with Axl, trying to explain why people were afraid of him, and why this queered most of his relationships and why he wasn’t getting the responses he wanted. Maybe it was too much for him to hear that he could come off as a ‘prickly bastard’ when he wasn’t intending to be one. I don’t know. You ask him. He’s probably got it written down in a notebook somewhere.

Axl always had a problem that I worked with other bands, one of which [Great White] predated my commitment to Guns by years; and that I made it clear that I represented the interests of all five signatories of the contract, not just and exclusively his. But I was managing a band, not just a single person. For example, Axl wanted me to cancel the Aerosmith tour in 88; the rest of the band wanted to go. So we went, and waited to see if he would turn up. He did – and then refused to speak to me for a month. He came around eventually. You spent a lot of time waiting for Axl to come around.


Curiously, he would also suggest the firing came because he had decided to manage Izzy's Juju Hounds:

Against my better judgement I agreed to work with [Stradlin’s solo project] the Ju Ju Hounds. I knew it would drive Axl bat-shit and create problems for us both. But I felt a commitment to Iz that I couldn’t deny.


But Izzy left Guns N' Roses and started the Juju Hounds long after Niven was fired from Guns N' Roses so this doesn't make sense.

Describing how it happened:

[Axl called]. ‘I can’t work with you any more,’ he says. ‘Okay, Ax, I’ll be back in a couple of days. Let’s have dinner and talk about it’. ‘Okay,’ he says. And that’s the last time we ever speak. Did I see it coming? No. Was I surprised? No. It would have been classy to have had dinner and agreed to go our separate ways, acknowledged with honour what we achieved together, but Axl is Axl. Thank God he gave himself to rock’n’roll and he’s not a despot running a country. Iz once famously described him as the Ayatolla. And as such it is my understanding that he said it was ‘him or me’ if the band wanted to do the Illusions tour. And I can’t sing like he can, that’s for sure.


According to an anonymous "co-worker" from the time Niven was ousted, it was only natural Axl would want to remove a manager who openly disliked him:

It was very clear that Alan didn't like Axl. I mean how would you feel if you knew - positively without a shadow of a doubt - that your manager really didn't like you?


Allegedly, one of the issues Axl had with Niven was that he had booked the tour before the 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released, likely due to what Axl would describe as "excessive greed" [VOX, October 1991]. Axl would certainly indicate he was angry with the "premature" tour from stage:

I know you guys don’t wanna hear a lot of bullshit raps, so I’ll explain real quickly what we’re doing with these shows here. Due to the pressure from my – how should I say it – ex-manager, who wanted to make sure we toured and didn’t give a fuck to watch about when the record was done. So we’re out here before the record is done. But it’s a good thing. And we want to make sure that we are not ripping you people off and when we come out you get the most (?) [...]

Due to an over-excited manager we’re out on tour. But that excited manager is now fired, so... I don’t mind so much being out on tour, but I would’ve liked to get my record done. And since we’ve all waited such a fucking long time, we figure we’ll play it on the tour whether you’ve heard it or not, cuz (?) you know, and like, “I don’t know, I don’t know if people don’t know those songs, they might not like them, you better not play those, it might not work.” Fuck that shit. Anyway, it’s recorded, it’s been put together and it’ll be out in a little while. [...]

We’ve been pairing the old and the new [songs], since we are out on this tour since we had an over-excited ex-manager, or rather greedy ex-manager. I love that word, “ex”. Ex-wife, ex-manager... [...]


Slash would confirm that Niven booked the tour before the records were completed:

[…] we decided to start touring before the album was even mixed. Which wasn't our fault. It was more the fault of our old manager, because he booked these gigs and we hadn't finished the record yet.


There were also rumors about disagreements over the music to be included on the records, with Niven disagreeing with the inclusion of "12 minute songs" on the albums [Melody Maker, August 1991].

Later, Robert John would claim the issue was about a lack of trust:

Actually, Axl didn’t hate him. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Alan. It was more that he didn’t trust him. With Axl, it was always a question of trust, or it wouldn’t work.
Stephen Davies, Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N' Roses, 2008


Alan Niven did not sue the band for firing him:

[Axl] does sometimes try to exercise a sense of honor. With the separation, my desire was to get a one-time payment because I didn't want to get involved with him and with Goldstein - I just wanted out. And Axl honored that.


Later it can seem like Niven regretted this decision or would at least ponder what could have been:

I paid millions to get Axl out of my life. And here’s how: I had a 17 per cent commission in perpetuity. That means that anything released, mastered or negotiated during the term of my contract was commissionable forever. My original contract was renewed in 89 for a further three or so years. It would expire in 93. At the time it was renewed I was offered a raise to 20 per cent. I turned it down. Axl fired me in 91. That means that the sales of Appetite…, …Lies and Use Your Illusions were all commissionable – forever.

To get Axl out of my life I sold those rights back to the band for $3.5 million. I did not want to deal with him again. Now that’s a decent chunk of change, but Geffen had only paid royalties on about five million albums total at that time. Imagine how much I had still coming. [Appetite… alone has sold 30 million copies.] The settlement I took is not anywhere close to what I was due and had earned. And after you pay the taxman his third, and your partners [‘the Stravinski Brothers’ credited on Appetite… were Niven and two silent partners], it’s not quite the same golden egg. But that’s how burnt out and disillusioned I was.

As regards his remark about me getting a payday from Geffen from renegotiations, let’s get some more facts straight. I have a right to defend myself against this guy – there are people who believe what he says, and I may want to work with them some day. Firstly, both the managers of Aerosmith and Whitesnake tried to get renegotiations on existing contracts around this time and failed. I think I’m the only person to leverage a re-negotiation out of David Geffen on an existing contract. Once the negotiation was begun it was the responsibility of the band’s attorney to complete it. Their royalty rates were increased by 30 per cent. There were other refinements – better advances etc – but since when I was fired I sold my rights back to the band I didn’t benefit from any of it. I also got the first major headline tour in place. And then I was fired. Nice.


Niven would also conclude that he had been fiored so Axl could easier take control of the band:

What I find interesting is that after I was fired, by his own admission Axl took the band name as part of the Geffen renegotiation.

I believe he got rid of me to do that, among other things. I think that he always intended to take total control. And he knew I would not stand for such a move. I could be wrong, but I rather think there you have it.


After Izzy quit the band, Izzy still worked with Niven to Axl's frustration:

I'm angry with [Izzy] because he left in a very shitty way, and he tries to act like everything's cool. He put his trust in people that I consider my enemies. People like Alan Niven, who I think is his manager now. I don't need Alan Niven knowing jack shit about Guns n' Roses. Everybody has a lot of good and bad, and with Alan, I just got sick of his fucking combo platter. It's like "If you're involved with these people, we can't talk to you."


In 2007, Matt would be confronted with a story about Niven previously having tried to rape the singer of the Finnish band Havana Black, whom he had managed at the time:

You never know. [...] Alan's a real character. He was always trying to steal my drugs. I told him no, you won't get away with taking my dope. 'Gimme all your cocaine!' 'Fuck you!' I told him.



GOLDSTEIN IN


With Niven being out of the picture, Goldstein would commence sole managerial control of the band. Commenting upon Goldstein taking over:

Dougie's done a lot of stuff in the last couple of years. He's the guy who now gets to go over to Axl's at six in the morning when his piano's hanging out at the window of his house. All kind of shit like that. Now we get these fuckin' calls - 'You hear what happened?' No, what now? 'Axl just smashed his $50,000 grand piano out the fuckin' picture-window of his new house.' That's nice, Dougie. You just take care of it. Call me when it's all over.


Goldstein would become a controversial manager for the band and early on there were signs that not all band members liked him. On stage in Dayton on January 14, 1992, Axl talked about rumors that Goldstein had been fired and said that some peple had been celebrating when they heard the news:

There were even some people that were really happy and they threw their little fucking parties because they thought Dougie would be gone



BIG FD ENTERTAINMENT


Goldstein would start his own band management company, Big FD Entertainment, presumably when taking over sole management responsibility for Guns N' Roses. The first mention of this company goes back to November 1991 [Rockline, November 27, 1991]. In 1992, Big FD entertainment would be listed as being comprised of Tom Maher, Chris Jones and Goldstein. Some time later, at least before May 1993, John Reese, tour manager during the Use Your Illusion touring, would also become a part of Big FD Entertainment [MTV, May 1993]. Reese had previously owned a security company in Phoenix, Arizona [Loudwire, March 6, 2019].


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:12 pm

APRIL-JULY 1991
MASTERING AND ADDITIONAL RECORDING


In late April/early May, Slash, Duff and Tom Zutaut was reported to have spent time mastering some of the songs that would end up on the records [RIP, September 1991]. In May 1991, Duff and Slash was in New York mastering or mixing parts of the album [Howard Stern Show, March 1991]. Around the same time, Robert John, who was still the band's photographer, was given "half an hour" to shoot the records' back covers, "something he'd been working on for over a month" [RIP, September 1991].

In May 1991, when the band was to embark on the touring for the albums, Axl, Slash and Duff "were putting the finishing touches" on the 36 songs expected to be released, with an expected release date of mid-July [Chicago Tribune, May 1991].

[…]we started touring before the record was finished! It really was as ass-backwards as it gets!

I’m actually gonna be recording some stuff here [in Wisconsin] to finish it up. […] Recording on the road, yeah. […] Finishing up what we went through mastering of, like, 25 of the songs right before we left. And we went through all the approval of lyrics and all that stuff and how it works all coming together and... Yeah, it’s definitely coming out.


As the band started touring, Mike Clink followed them to continue recording:

To continue the story a little longer, they still hadn’t finished the album when their massive 18-month world tour started. So the last half a dozen songs were recorded, overdubbed, vocal’ed and guitar’ed, what have you’ed, in random recording studios dotted about America when they had a day off between gigs. My mixing mode then switched into flying around America with pocketfuls of DATs, playing it to the band backstage. Which was great fun, actually. I enjoyed that. […] Mike Clink was on the road with the band, trying to get them in a recording studio wherever he could and whenever he could, and I was back in L.A. at the desk waiting for DHL to bring my next tape through the door.


The long wait for the follow-up to 'Appetite' was hard on fans who were eagerly waiting for new music:

'When’s the album coming out, dude?’ is the expres­sion. I’m at the point now where I don’t mean to be rude, but I just say, ‘When it’s in the stores. When you see it in the store.’


Slash would shed some light on what was remaining:

I think we still have three songs left. […] they’ll be on the record. They’re gonna get done while we’re here in Wisconsin. Just vocals.


These three songs are likely songs that the band decided to include at a late stage, one of them being '14 Years' [VOX, October 1991].

At that point it was planned to release the records on Slash birthday, July 23 [MTV, May 1991].

In June, Los Angeles Times would report that Axl still needed to put the vocals on "one selection" and that the band had booked studio time on June 7 while in Toronto [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

In July, Axl would talk to Musician about getting the record out:

Guns N' Roses pretty much calls its own shots with a lot of other people trying to call other shots and trying to tell the world that this is when the record is going to come out and whatever. It's like saying there are delays on the record. There are no delays on our record! There have never been any delays on our record. The record will not come out until we're done with it. But Geffen Records says it's going to come out by May 24th or whatever. We try to meet those things, but we've known from day one that the record wasn't going to come out until we're ready. That's one reason why we worked so hard to sell so many records the first time around - so that we could make sure we got this record done exactly the way we wanted to. Then the press comes out with how we are delaying the record. No! What do you mean delaying the record? It's my record! Delaying it? Do we want another Godfather III? No. We don't want Godfather III with our record. We want it to be right! We don't want it coming out six weeks early and saying, "I wish we would have had the time to get this part right.


Then further delay was caused by the firing of Alan Niven [see previous chapter]. Rumor has it Axl refused to work on the record until Niven was replaced by Doug Goldstein [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

On September 4, Geffen would send a letter saying the albums would be released on September 11 [Geffen Letter to Media, September 1991].


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:13 pm

APRIL-MAY 1991
PREPARING FOR TOURING


In May 1991, the touring for the yet-to-be-released 'Use Your Illusion" albums finally commenced. The tour was booked by their manager at the time, Alan Niven, and as the tour started Axl would criticize Niven for having booked the tour too soon [see earlier chapter]. Axl felt he was not ready to tour, especially with the stress of trying to finish the record at the same time and dealing with issues arising from his ongoing therapy sessions.

In September 1992 Axl would explicitly state that if it wasn't for the records (which were out by then), he wouldn't have been on tour:

If we didn't have an album out right now, I wouldn't be on tour, I wouldn't have chosen to take on that particular responsibility at this time. But I didn't really have a choice, especially if I want to keep my career going. I would've liked to be more together emotionally and mentally before this tour. Part of the job of being in Guns N' Roses is coming onstage and being superhuman. We've supposed to rise above the energy in the crowd, rise above whatever bad may have happened that day, rise above whatever is in your head, while at the same time trying to rise above the damage in your own life.


Regardless of the reasons, the tour would be marred by late starts, cancelled shows, terminated shows, rants and riots, most of which was due to Axl's unpredictable and volatile behavior [see other chapters].

Despite this, Axl had been preparing for the tour for a long time and reportedly became very health-conscious [sources?]. Being able to give it all at the shows were important to Axl:

And everybody will get in better shape once we, like, get some form of regimentation down and stuff, and realize what we are again and what we’re doing and we’re doing every day. Cuz we wanna take this for the long haul, as long as that can be. It’d be nice if we could go for a year-and-a-half to two years.


For the tour, Axl would bring along his Exercycle (the same he brought into the recording studio when laying down vocals for the 'Use Your Illusion' albums) so he could exercise between gigs [The Vox, October 1991].

Slash had also started exercising before the tour, but apparently that wasn't for him:

I took care of myself for a while and I still am, more or less. Like, I’m no angel or anything, I didn’t turn into that. But before... Before this started happening, I was, like, sitting around drinking beer, watching cartoons at my girlfriend’s house and, like, doing nothing all day until rehearsal. And I realized I’d better get off my ass and, like, so I started exercise for a while. But then we, you know... That’s not my style. I mean, seriously, it’s just not. The only reason I’m wearing this stupid thing is that I have nothing else to wear, do you know what I’m saying? And so now I get my workout, you know, I mean I’m back to normal just from the shows and for some reason I wasn’t ever in good health in the first place (laughs).


Matt would also have to prepare himself for the upcoming touring:

I'm just going to have to get in shape, do some jogging for about a month to build up my endurance. When I rehearse, I'm going to get my hands ready before I go this time. I'm just going to break them in now by playing hard. I don't want to get out on the road and start playing hard and all of a sudden have my hands be in pain. Some drummers say, "You've got to hold the sticks this way," but rock drumming is a whole different thing. You don't sit there and be all technical. Plus, I play with pretty big sticks—Maxxum 419s by Pro-Mark, which are like a long 2B. So I've learned to get my hands in shape from the last tour.

We're going to be bringing a gym out with us this time, and we're going to take a couple of bikes with us. I ride a Harley, and that kind of stuff breaks up the monotony. I'm going to bring a little studio with me—because I play a little bit of keyboards and guitar—instead of having to go out every night looking for something to do.


When asked how he would approach the older material:

I think there's some good drumming on that first album. It's real simple, and there's not a lot I would change, except maybe a few fills. But the basic groove is there. Steven plays differently than I do, he's more of a basher than I am. So I'll be playing it a little bit more my way, I guess.


Rehearsals for the tour took place in a fenced-off compound at an airport in the Los Angeles valley, in an aircraft hangar. "A small area has been divided off as a band hang-out: it's a reproduction of guitarist Slash's house, with candles, incense and scarf-draped lamps" [Q Magazine, July 1991]. As usual, Axl did not take part in the rehearsals:

Part of the reason I don't go to rehearsals is, I like to go all out. If the band's not going out at the same intensity - they're concentrating more on getting the music right - I feel like an idiot, jumping around, taking it so serious.

[…] we’ve never rehearsed with Axl. Since we started out that’s never happened because we’re just too loud. We rehearsed to write songs either at my house or in the real early days he’s come down and sit there in rehearsals while we played the music and he’ll come up with words even though we couldn’t hear him. […] The only thing I can say where we’ve had the odd full rehearsal thing is when we were getting something like ‘Live And Let Die’ together, otherwise we’ve always been four-piece when it comes to doing things regularly and keeping the groove going. That’s the point of our rehearsals, to get fresh ideas and keep things fresh. Not many bands work like that again but to me it still sounds really alive that way and that’s really important to us.


For travelling, the band chartered a plane from MGM Grand with the band logo on its side.



Duff, Slash and Matt in front of tour plane



[...] we had our own plane, MGM Grand plane, with our own stewardesses. We could do whatever we wanted. We could smoke crack on the plane, whatever. It was a 727 with a bar and a whole movie theater and everything.

We took the days of the charter 727 to a whole new level of debauchery. I’d be aisle-surfing with a cigarette in my mouth when the plane took off–we obeyed no aviation rules whatsoever.


Izzy bought himself a tour bus that could take his dog ("Treader" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]) and motorcycle [RIP, September 1991], or girlfriend and dog [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. Why Izzy preferred to travel by bus can be discussed. He was definitely starting to distance himself from his bandmates (discussed below), but rumor also had it that his probation prevented him from flying [source?].

Duff talking about when he for the first time felt like a star:

It was when we switched from tour buses to a private plane. It wasn’t a small plane, it was a Boeing 727! At that point I figured that we were a big band. That was in 1991.

There was one glamorous life moment when me and Slash and Axl went down to look at this plane that we leased for the Illusions tour. We went down and they treated us like kings. They sent limos for us to go down and look at the plane. They had a book of stewardesses that we could pick from. That lasted for about 30 minutes. That was the glamorous part, and then it was over.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:14 pm

MAY 1991
AXL AND STEPHANIE SEYMOUR


AXL AND STEPHANIE MEETS AT A VIDEO SHOOT


In mid-1991 it was reported that Axl, who had divorced Erin Everly early that year, was now dating the model Stephanie Seymour [Dayton Daily News, May 1991].

Axl had met Seymour while filming music videos for Use Your Illusion singles:

When we were coming up with the treatments for the script, we had to cast the female character. I picked up a magazine, I think it was, like, Cosmopolitan, cuz the girl on the cover had this hippie kind of flower shirt and she just looked really down to earth. Axl picked up another magazine. […] This beautiful woman should be what the imagery behind the story is about. […] And as you all know, Axl and Stephanie are more than a celluloid couple - they’re a real couple. So it’s little coincidences that kind of reaffirm that there’s more to life than the cut-and-dry, the black and white.

Del called me up on the phone about over three years ago now, and he goes, “Dude, I know who should play the part of Elizabeth” – that was the girl’s name in his story.  I was like, “Who?” and he goes, “Stephanie Seymour. You know who she is?” And I was like – I’m on the phone going, “I’m looking at her picture right now.” […] “Yeah, if we can get her, that would be great.” […] So we also had to figure out how to do that, how we’d make something incredible enough and good enough for somebody who wasn’t just gonna be in a “tits ‘n’ ass” video and just stand there and dance, you know? It had to be something that, like, excited her and something that she wanted to do. […] We also wanted it to, like, be something that would help whoever played that character’s part, her career a bit, you know; and help show them to more people and give them – it’s not talking, but a bit of an acting role. […] We wanted the character to be somebody who was really cool and really strong; and somebody that somebody could definitely obsessed over. And we met, and it just happened.

I’d never done a video. I never wanted to do one, you know? […]  I had people ask me to do videos and I’d never been interested, until Guns N’ Roses asked me to do it.



Stephanie and Axl


Axl's friend, Josh Richman, would describe that they started dating immediately:

Axl said to me, "I want to make videos more out-there than Michael Jackson's." When we made the "November Rain" video, we brought all these models in. Axl desperately wanted Stephanie Seymour-period. That night they went to the set, which was being built in an airplane hanger out in the Valley. That was their first date. She left Warren Beatty the next day.


As recounted by Colleen Combs, Axl's personal assistant:

Axl told me, "I've been hit by a Mack truck and the license plate said 'Seymour.'"



EARLY PROBLEMS


But on November 25, 1991 it was reported that Seymour had left Axl. Allegedly, Axl was on a health kick and had wanted Seymour to get healthy with him, but she just wanted to continue being herself [Orlando Sentinel, November 25, 1991]. Axl had become health conscious, including therapy and physical exercise. During the touring starting in 1991 he would bring along his training apparatus [source].

l work out a little bit. Actually, when l get off the phone I'm gonna work out. l work out now and then on a StairMaster, with my chiropractor-trainer. We do a workout on the StairMaster that enables me to breathe and move better on stage. And what I'm doing on stage turns out to be something that helps build me up rather than tear me down by being so exhausting. At first when l was playing it would just wear me out.


Later it was reported that Seymour had found Axl was "too demanding" and that she had "no time to nursemaid [him]" [Star Press, December 6, 1991]. Despite this, just a couple of days later it was reported they had broken up, on the radio show Rockline, when asked "is there any women in your life right now," Axl would reply, "Yeah, yeah. But I wouldn’t say 'women', I’d say 'woman'" [Rockline, November 27, 1991]. And in late December, after Seymour had been spotted $20,000 diamond ring at a GN'R show in New York that month, it was reported they had made up again [Pacific Stars and Stripes, December 20, 1991; Orlando Sentinel, December 21, 1991].

In May 1992, Interview Magazine would feature an interview with Axl where he would discuss his relationship with Stephanie. The magazine would feature pictures of the two kissing and caring for each other:

Steph and I have a really good time talking with each other, and we want to try to see if we can have that, in our lives, for our lives. We don't know, but we're definitely trying to communicate as much as we can. […] Sometimes your friends are your lovers, or have been at one time, or are at some time or are at different times. Maintaining the friendship and taking the responsibility of being a friend and also helping the other person be a friend to you, and expressing your feelings about your friendship...Stephanie and I do that with each other. It's a good thing.


According to Duff, Axl's relationship with Stephanie was doing him good:

Axl’s a changed guy, and I think it’s because of Stephanie and himself.


At some point in 1992 (or possibly 1991), Axl (and likely Stephanie) vacationed in Portefino, Italy [Hit Parader, June 1993].

But since we've started I've only had one real vacation-that was in Portofino. And there within hours, everyone seemed to know I was there. We ended up having room service all the time. It sounds tough, but it's actually kind of cool. I like to be real private: you don't always want everyone around you even when they like you. But at the same time, if they're not there, you wonder what you're doing wrong.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:15 pm

APRIL/MAY 1991
SAM KINISON CHOKES SLASH, DUFF COMES TO THE RESCUE


Sam Kinison was a popular LA stand up comedian who hung out in the rock scene of the city. Both Steven and Slash had featured in the music video for Kinison's cover of "Wild Thing" which was released in 1988.

On April 20, 1991, Kinison was doing a show in Las Vegas and Slash was supposed to be there. Slash bailed out due to sickness:.

Well, Sam calls me – he calls me up - I was supposed to do a show in Las Vegas, and I didn’t go because I was sick.


But, seemingly, also because he feared the consequences after having read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and considering Kinison's reputation as a bad car driver:

I was like - I was sick, but I was almost about to go. I was like - you know, cuz I said I would do it. […] And then I thought about “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and I said, "Nah" […]  “I’m not going.” I could just see – you know, that’s another way to go, like sitting in the car with Sam Kinison going 500 miles in an hour (laughs).


This resulted in Kinison "roasting" Slash from the stage in Las Vegas and belittling Slash's guitar playing [Howard Stern Show, April 30, 1992]. Not long after, Kinison confronted Slash at a hotel room:

And so [Kinison just showed up at my hotel room one night. I didn’t even – you know, a knock on the door and, like, it’s Sam, and I’m like, “Okay.” And so he got on my case about all this stuff, and he called me a dickhead. […] And I got pissed off and I jumped off the bed, and I didn’t expect him to react the way he did. And I turned my back – you know, I turned around for a second – and he just jumped on me. […] He jumped me in from the blue and just landed on my chest.


[Kinison and I] got into a really big fight. […] [Kinison] was sitting on me. […] And I had no way of getting out, because he had my elbows pinned down. […] I was gonna be dead. He was chocking me. […] He got me by the throat and my arm was just underneath his knee. And I was like, “Oh, this is it. I’m going out.” […] I was history. I was sitting, like, going, “I’m going out this way.”


But Duff came to the rescue!

Then Duff woke up in the other room. […] It was real violent, and Duff punched [Kinison] out, the cops were involved, too, and it was a big deal. […] Duff punched him out. […] He gave him a black eye. […]


The story is corroborated by Andrew Dice Clay:

Dice told Howard [Stern] that Duff from Guns N Roses beat up Sam Kinison recently. Howard said he didn't know that and now Sam is going to think that he's goofing on him if he talks about this. Dice went on to tell the story about what Duff told him about beating Sam up. Dice said that duff told him that Sam was choking Slash to death and Duff had to step in and do something about it.

Dice said that Duff was held down by Sam's body guard but he was able to get in a punch to his head. Howard said that he doesn't know if this story is true or not. Dice said this is what he heard. He went on to say that Duff ripped off the dirty rag from Sam's head at one point. Sam was going to have him arrested but they dropped the charges after the cops showed up.

Howard said that he's friends with both Sam and Dice and he's not going to say anything bad about Sam. Dice said he thinks that Sam is a very talented guy and he's not saying anything bad, he's just telling the story. He said it's a shame what happened to the guy.


The Andrew Dice Clay interview happened on May 14, 1991. This means that the fight between Slash, Duff and Kinison happened between April 20 and May 14, 1991. It is natural to think that since Duff and Slash were staying in hotel, the incident must have happened close to May 9 in San Francisco when the band was doing a show there, but apparently, Slash had just booked hotel rooms for him and Duff to "hang out":

There was one occasion when Duff and I went out by ourselves and got a couple of hotels rooms just to hang out. But I ended up in a huge fight with (comedian) Sam Kinison and Duff nearly got arrested for punching him out!
Use Your Illusion Tour Program; source of original quote unknown


EPILOGUE


Slash would say that after the fight, he and Kinison had made up, slowly [The Howard Stern Show, April 30, 1992].

On April 10, 1992, Kinison died in a car accident. This was just weeks before Slash discussed Kinison on two call-ins to the Howard Stern Show, where he also briefly talked to Kinison's widow, Malika Souiri.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:15 pm

MAY 11-16, 1991
WARM-UP GIGS FOR THE 'USE YOUR ILLUSION' TOUR


Before kicking off the tour proper, the band started with three warm-up shows. The original plan was that the warm-up shows would constitute a mini-tour and that they would include shows in many cities, including Seattle, Detroit and Dallas [RIP, September 1991]. For various reasons, Del James would list "pressures and assorted other bullshit" and having to finish the 'Use Your Illusion' albums [RIP, September 1991], the tour was reduced to only three shows, at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco (May 9), at The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles (May 11) and at The Ritz in New York City (May 16).

For the two West Coast shows Axl picked the band Dumpster as the opener (containing Axl's Lafayette friend Mike Staggs), while Slash picked the band Raging Slab as the opener for the New York City show [RIP, September 1991].

For the first warm-up show, in San Francisco, Axl, Matt and Izzy was flown in on their tour plane, while Duff and Slash came in from New York City where they had been working on mastering the albums [RIP, September 1991]. This show was advertised as a "live rehearsal" [Mercury News Music, May 1991]. In fact, the gig was first announced the same day when Slash and Duff called in a radio station early in the morning. The tickets were sold out within an hour [RIP, September 1991]. Axl would refer to the situation in the band at the time as, "the most highly organized unorganized bunch of people in the whole world" [RIP, September 1991]. Izzy had been milling about when kids either lined up to buy tickets or to enter the theatre:

It was insane, man. All those kids that early in the morning. I can't wait till we finally go on.


Apparently, this show was mired by the band trying out things. Duff also tried out a stage-dive, but was stopped by a security guard who, according to Del James, "grabbed his legs as he was in mid-flight, causing him to eat it, face first" [RIP, September 1991]. San Francisco Chronicle critic Joel Selvin gave it a poor review:

They’re a fraud. It was among the worst rock shows I’ve ever seen. Most of it was a mulch of painfully loud sound.


One criticism the band received was Axl having to read the lyrics to the new songs off teleprompters [New York Magazine, June 1991]. Even Del James gave it "a seven out of a possible 10" [RIP Magazine, September 1991].

Despite the bad reviews, the kids had sung along to many of the new songs by the second choruses:

It's real cool when people are singing songs they don't really know. I work on communicating it to them, and they take the time to get into it. I like the intimacy, and I think the crowd likes the intimacy of us showing them our new songs.


The challenge of playing songs the audiences didn't know would mar the show until the release of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in September. But the band for most part, as judged by reviews, managed to present a strong mix of old songs that the audiences were familiar with, with new songs of the new albums.

Sammy Hagar from Hagar's Van Halen, who were also touring this year, commented upon this:

I can't believe those poor guys being out there out there on the road without a record. I understand Axl's having a real hard time. When they play their new songs, there's not much reaction, but what do you expect? It's like they're kind of stuck.


Slash would be clear that cancelling the planned show had not been an option:

\We thought the new album would be out, but it isn't. However, there was no way we were gonna cancel these shows There are just so many people who'd already bought tickets and we can play some of the new stuff live and give them a taste of what they can expect on the album.


For the Los Angeles show Slash and Duff again announced the show on the showday, this time by calling in to KLOS radio channel, although by now rumors had been spreading that the band would play this day [RIP, September 1991].

As in Rio De Janeiro, Matt did a drum solo:

The drum solo is great. I never got to do one when I was with the Cult. Actually, I never did one before Rio. Hopefully they'll keep getting better. It's really cool of the guys for letting me do it.


Shannon Hoon, the lead singer of Blind Melon, would also come on stage to sing 'You Ain't The First' and 'Don't Cry' together with the band [RIP, September 1991].

I was at the Pantages, but I didn’t have time to get nervous at that, because it was real spontaneous.


The Los Angeles show got much better reviews [Los Angeles Times, May 1991; RAW Magazine, May 1991], while L.A. Weekly referring to it as "uneven at best and dreadful dull at worst" [L.A. Weekly, May 17, 1991]. Del James would give it an "eight and a half" [Rip Magazine, September 1991].

Before the band's third show, Axl would comment on how they were doing so far:

I'm really happy with the way things are going, professional rehearsals in front of people. It allows me to get into the mode I'm gonna have to be in when we start doing the big shows. Frisco and Bill Graham were really cool, and there was a different kind of hunger there for us. L.A. seemed to scrutinize us a bit more, and I welcomed that. In L.A. we didn't play 'Jungle' or 'Paradise,' because we'd already played for over two hours. I didn't want to push my voice any harder. Also, we didn't want to push past the curfew and be fined eight grand for one song. It felt a little bit like I ripped some people off, but I knew they were happy with what we had done. I thought we went over real well in L.A., but I still look at it as rehearsals. I'm not really worried about what critics have to say about these gigs, but if they like these shows, in six months they'll be real happy.


The opening band, The Raging Slab, would also comment on hiding to see Axl do his vocal check before the show. In the words of Greg Strzempka:

During sound check- Axl would make EVERYBODY leave the venue while he did his "vocal check" - ( and I mean everybody...including the rest of his band! )- Being naturally curious---one time we managed to stow away behind some road cases .....When the great man was assured the coast was clear-he was led onto the stage by a couple of "handlers" and after some yelling at the soundman-and checking the positioning of his telepromters-he proceeded to trot around the room with a cordless mic -JUST a-wailing these phony-baloney blues scats- and then began singing "Live and Let Die" ACCAPELLA-! ---We we're finally discovered because we were laughing so hard we almost pissed ourselves....needless to say Axl's people were VERY upset with us .......Anyhow- having us open was Slash's idea...-and He always made damn sure we felt right at home- and thanks to him -It was the only time we didn't run out of Backstage Booze!
Metal Sludge, September 25, 2001


The quote above could indicate that the Raging Slab opened for all three warm-up shows.

At the New York show, Axl injured his heel:

I’ve just had a chronic history of bruising my heel and messing up the ligament, but never... I couldn’t afford it at the time when it happened, when I was, like, in junior high and stuff, to figure out what was wrong. And then, about a week ago, we played the Ritz in New York and I got really excited, I was just jumping off everything. You know, there’s a lot of photos with me like ten feet in the air and stuff. And I came down really hard on my heel when I was jumping - not even on stage – off the stage and landed on my heel on a cement floor with no cushioning in my boots. And it just messed up the ligament and stuff. But the doctors seem to think it’ll be fine. We had, like, all the top doctors from the Brewers and the Packers and New Balance Shoes all working on designing me something so I could run around. Cuz yesterday, without this, it’s definitely limping. But we didn’t want to call off the show, you know.


Because of the injury Axl had to seek out orthopedic surgeon Jeffery Johnson at the Milwaukee County Medical Complex before their later show In East Troy and had to perform with his leg in a cast for subsequent shows [Madison Wisconsin State Journal, May 26, 1991; Chicago Tribune, May 1991]. Photographer George Chin would later reminisce:

After the show, it turned out that [Axl] had twisted his ankle and torn some ligaments. His leg had to be put into a cast, and he was under doctor’s orders not walk on it. With less than two weeks to go before the start of the tour, postponement was not an option. So Axl contacted his favourite American Football team, the New York Jets, and asked their physio to design and make a lightweight ankle brace which would enable him to run around on stage without putting pressure on his ankle. With the casing in place - and even though he was using crutches right up to the day of the first show - the tour went ahead as scheduled.


Duff also managed to successfully stage-dive, and Shannon Hoon again joined the band for 'Don't Cry' [RIP, September 1991].

Del James also gave this show a "nine and a quarter" and called it "pretty damn close to perfection" [RIP Magazine, September 1991].

Slash enjoyed the warm-up shows:

You know, the theater tour was killer, because it gave us a chance to get back and get toe-to-toe, and realize where the band really was. Where as opposed to, like, going out there and jerking off for 40,000 people that are just screaming just for the hell of it. You know, you start to see that you really have to do something, that we really have to actually play and perform, you know, above or at least apart. And that makes you work hard. Otherwise you turn to a lazy old... you know. Which is not happening.


Duff would describe the warm-up shows:

New York was the best. San Francisco was a bit wild – I’m about to read a review on it - because, you know, it was the first time Axl sang with us in... two years, maybe? And L.A. was rocking. And New York was the best.


This is not entirely correct. Obviosly, Axl sang with the band during the Rock in Rio shows in January 1991, and before that he sung with them at Farm Aid in April 1990, and before that at the four shows opening for Rolling Stones in October 1989. What Duff is probably alluding to, is that Axl didn't sing with the band during the recording of 'Use Your Illusion' nor at rehearsals for any of the shows in this period, and as such the band had been playing together a lot in the last two years without Axl.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:16 pm

1990-1992
AXL'S HOMES AND HOBBIES


HOMES


Axl sold his house in the Hollywood Hills where he had intended to live with Everly but where he had never moved in and also gave away his condo in West Hollywood, as part of an MTV contest [Muncie Evening Press, August 1991].

Erica Aidan of Akron, OH won [the contest]. Erica’s a huge GN’R fan. She said there were only 5 days left in the contest when she decided to send in her postcard. She was flown to Hollywood to check out her new condo and then flew back to New York to seen one of the three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and to meet the former owner of the condo.


With his apartment and house sold, Axl stayed in hotels before the tour in May 1991 [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

Axl had bought property in the Alpine Valley resort area, in East Troy, WI, together with his stepfather to have a link to the Midwest and a place to be buried [Rolling Stone, September 1991]. But according to reports in July 1991 he sold the property [Los Angeles Times, July 21, 1991], allegedly as the result of therapy sessions in 1991 leading to him not feeling the same connection to region as before. Yet, in June 1993 it was reported that Axl owed $7,095 in property taxes on a lot in Walworth County, Wisconsin, which he had bought in November 1988, which is likely to have been the same property he was assumed to have sold [Daily Citizen, June 10, 1993; The Capital Times, July 17, 1993]. Why Axl didn't sell the property is not known.

In December 1992 it would be reported that Axl had bought a Malibu home [Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1992]. It would be described as a "contemporary Mediterranean with five bedrooms and 8 1/2 baths in about 7,000 square feet. The home, on a three-acre promontory with ocean and city views, also has a guest house, studio, tennis court, pool and spa" and it was bought for $3.95 million [Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1992].


HOBBIES


In October 1991, it would be reported that Axl's favorite hobby was "checking out artwork in museums" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

During the touring starting in 1991 he would bring along his training apparatus [source].

l work out a little bit. Actually, when l get off the phone I'm gonna work out. l work out now and then on a StairMaster, with my chiropractor-trainer. We do a workout on the StairMaster that enables me to breathe and move better on stage. And what I'm doing on stage turns out to be something that helps build me up rather than tear me down by being so exhausting. At first when l was playing it would just wear me out.


In 1992 Axl would open up about his relationship with his sister, Amy Bailey. According to Axl, his stepfather, who molested Amy for years and beat Axl "consistently", had succeeded at driving a wedge between Axl and Amy:

We've been working on putting our lives together ever since and supporting each other. Now my sister works with me. She's very happy, and it's so nice to see her happy and that we get along. My dad tried to keep us at odds. And he was very successful at some points in our lives.


In 1992, Axl would also talk about wanting to write a movie and that this would be "somewhere down the road" [Interview Magazine, May 1992].

In may 1990 it would be reported that Axl was an avid reader, with Bukowski being his current favorite author [Blast! May 1990].


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:17 pm

GETTING BACK INTO THE RING


After the three warm-up gigs proper tour, which was named The Get In The Ring, Motherfucker Tour [RIP, September 1991], started. For most of the Guns N' Roses' previous touring they had been the opener, now they got to headline:

It’s nice that we’re headlining now, you know. It’s not like we’re an opening band and we’re sort of at the mercy of the headlining band. So we, sort of like, have our own rules and we just travel around from city to city and take that with us.


Axl was excited to be back on the road:

It feels great, it feels great. I mean, we’ve been planning this for ever since we started. We’ve been aiming at, you know, being... We wanted, on our second major album, we wanted a headlining tour and to do it right. And it feels great. You know, we think we’ve got all the pieces in the right place and the morale is really high. […] And, actually, now that we’re starting a tour everybody’s gonna be starting to get in more shape while we’re playing and stuff. We brought a trainer and everything and are just into doing our job that we’ve set out to do our whole lives.


In particular, having Matt replace Steven was a good thing:

Well, Matt’s really solid, you know, and you can... Everybody in the band can rely on Matt’s playing... […] You know, the drums are, like, your anchor and he’s definitely the strongest anchor we’ve ever had. And one of the best drummers that there are, I think, in the world.


In the beginning of the tour, the band was figuring out how to play the new material:

I worked on bringing the other people out with what they did and I thought what they did best. You know, we still haven’t worked it out on stage, how we do it, yet, but... (chuckles). […] You know, a dream I have is to get to where I can do a three-hour show. And right now we don’t use a setlist. We just pick song to song on how it feels and what we think we can perform best; and, when I think vocally, [what] I can do best, because it’s still warming up. I figure, you know, we’re gonna go out and give as much as we can every time. But I figure a real Guns N’ Roses show, what we’re shooting for, hopefully I might have in six months. I mean, that thing... As I told you last time, it’s like, Jagger was working on getting that stage thing together for a really long time; and I learned a lot from him. So we’re hoping in six months we can actually have different set of orders and things, and have it planned out so it’s a lot more dramatic. You know, there will be additions to the stage setup and the lighting and things like that, that we didn’t use right now. Because of my heel, we’re not using a lot of the stage setup that we have. We have extra ramps and ramps coming out in the middle fully lighted and we’re not using any of that at this particular time.

It was strange [touring before the albums were out]. I all started because Axl or someone said "hey, we're going to play songs from the new record that's out in a month or two. How's that?" And we all said "Cool!". People was thankful about that too, because it was like "hey, we're the first to listen to these songs". So I think it was all good. We were just a band playing.


Yet, as Axl would admit to the next year, starting to tour again was difficult after their extensive break from touring:

That was a whole change of life. You know, realizing, “Okay, now we’re out on tour;” I haven’t toured, I’ve been sitting on my ass at home or whatever. And then I’ve been out, you know, running around and rocking out; and had to, basically, change my whole life in order to be able to keep doing this. And so, you do a show and then you’d be shot, you know, where you’d be, kind of like, shot for three weeks. But no, you’ve got a show tomorrow. So then it’d take, like, all these hours of preparation, where now it doesn’t take me as long to be ready for a show.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:17 pm

CHOOSING SKID ROW AS OPENER


The band had chosen Skid Row as their supporting act:

Well, we just figured we wanted really high energy, we wanted to give the people something they really wanted, more than other acts at the time and something on a hard rock vein. And, you know, Skid Row was doing really great and people wanted them, and then Sebastian and I get along great. […] But I just thought it would be a good package, cuz it will only be for a while, you know, and then they’re gonna go with a couple of other bands and then hopefully go to headlining themselves, and so... You know, when you’re a kid you’re always going, “It’d be a great show, it’s like, to see this band, and this band, and this band...” And we just knew that that would be one of the shows that if we didn’t do, people would be talking, “what about it, what would that be like, the two things together?” So it’s something we thought we had to do. I mean... I was gonna say, like, almost even if we hated it – we don’t – we were gonna know that we gotta do this because it’ll be a lot of fun. And the fact that we get along so well and that they’re really into what they do and it’s high energy - I mean, they got the crowd all worked up for when we come out there. And it’s definitely a... Now it’s a really large audience cross, you know, and they have a lot of people that haven’t seen us. There’s a lot of Skid Row fans that are more into Skid Row than Guns N’ Roses, there’s Guns N’ Roses fans that are more into us than Skid Row, and it brings us to all of them. And I really like that.

Well, the Skids were, like, the friends of ours and stuff and actually, like, the only band that has sort of that attitude around that was, like, genuine and brash. And, I mean, when you think about it, it’s a great (?). It’s all the bad attitude (chuckles) and whatever it is that we do. I mean, I couldn’t see going out with such and such and such, like, you know, Great Lion, Great White Lion Tigers or whatever (laughs).


In 2006, Axl, who was a big fan of the rap group N.W.A. and had worn a hat with the band's name on it in the music video for You Could Be Mine, would say that Skid Row had been the band's second choice after N.W.A.:

I tried SO hard to make that happen and...couldn't. I mean, I wanted to do this. But I was trying to like, cuz I just wanted to take...you know, cuz nobody knew who those guys were at the time. You know, and it's like...I turned Izzy onto it and he was talking about that the other night. He goes: "All I know is you put this thing in and I heard it and I was like: Yeah let's buy guns!! (laughs) And I did, I went out and I bought all these guns!" (laughs)


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:18 pm

MAY 24-25, 1991
MUDFIGHTS IN EAST TROY


If you came to the show and planning on just hearing a recreation of Appetite for Destruction - we'll play a bunch from Appetite later on - but we figured that you people have waiting so fucking long we'll play some of our new stuff in Alpine.

________________________________________

The first two proper shows of the tour took place at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on May 24 and May 25, 1991. According to The Age, the band "inspired a large-scale mud fight which led to four fans being hospitalised with 'turf poisoning'" [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991]. According to Circus Magazine, a smoke bomb was also hurled on stage, resulting in Axl threatening to end the show and yelling "I don't work five years to have some burnt 16-year-old take my eye out!" [Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991].


Review in Madison Capital Times
May 28, 1991


In his biography, Skid Row's vocalist, Sebastian Bach, would recall how he had been sitting under the stage close to Duff's bass rig and snorting cocaine while GN'R was playing, handing out lines to Duff who would come offstage regularly during the show to get a fix. At one point, Izzy's brother approached Bach and called him a faggot. Bach, not knowing Izzy's brother punched him in the face almost leading to Bach getting a stern warning from Doug Goldstein [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016].

I remember hanging out, and drinking, and doing a bunch of stuff. I also remember, remember when I punched Izzy's brother in the face cuz he called me a homo? Like, I didn't know who he was...remember? [...] It was at Alpine Valley, you were like: "Sebastian, I'm taking you on the road", I was like: "Thank you so much!". And I sit there watching your gig, and some guy comes up to me. I'm sitting there and he goes: "You're such a pretty boy, man! Look at you man! Look at you!" I go: "Hey man, come here!" Boooom! and I punched him right in the face! [...]  (untelligible) and they get me up against the wall. And they go: "Dude, that's Izzy's brother!"


Bach would later reminisce about the cocaine on the tour:

In the years that we were touring with Guns N’ Roses... fuck, my nose still hearts thinking about it.


Duff would later reminisce about the experience of the first proper gig:

At Alpine Valley Amphitheatre in Wisconsin, my sense of anticipation for the first gig of the tour was overwhelming. Our intro music came on: the theme song from The Godfather. The crowd roared. 'Here we go.' My game face came on. I felt we represented something, something primal and animalistic. I felt that fire and anger - I was ready to kick someone in the head. All the background noise of life began to recede. We rushed the stage and I played the first few bass notes for 'It's So Easy.' Total fucking bedlam. Tens of thousands of people absolutely losing their shit. I could see the first few rows of people. I could see how far back the masses of bodies went. Everyone was on their feet and the roar was almost louder than the band.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 183


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:18 pm

MAY 28-29, 1991
PROBLEMS IN INDIANA


The next shows was at the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana on May 28 and May 29.

These shows would feature some aspects of GN'R shows in the 1990s that would divide the fans and antagonize band members and eventually be part of the reasons for to break up the lineup: lateness, rants, breaking curfews and fighting and unrest.


THE BAND IS LATE ON STAGE


Firstly, the band started the first show an hour and 15 minutes after Skid Row completed their set [The Indianapolis News, May 1991]. Axl would blame the delay on "Deer Creek's poor stage" [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991] while County sheriff's Sgt. Tom Gehlhausen would say, "Axl Rose had problems getting to the event last night which delayed the concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991]. In September 1991, Spin reported that Axl was suffering from stage fright and was "extremely nervous" to play for friends and family from his hometown, and that this caused the "two hour" late start [Spin, September 1991].


PLAYING OVER CURFEW


Secondly, the band had a curfew at 11 pm, but the band played 50 and 25 minutes longer resulting in a fine of $ 5,000 [Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 1991]. Hamilton County Prosecutor Steve Nation said Saturday in announcing the charges:

That in and of itself wasn't so significant. What makes this different is that Axl Rose said on stage Tuesday that he knew about the curfew and thought it was stupid. And he said a few things about our county and about our state.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 1991



RANTS


The prosecutor was referring to statements from Axl, including introducing the song 'Estranged' by referring to Indiana as "a place that makes me feel estranged" and "I grew up in this state for two-thirds of my life. It seems to me, there are a lot of (bleeping) scared old people in this (bleeping) state and basically, for two- thirds of my life, they tried to keep my (bleep) down" [Indianapolis Star, May 1991].

Izzy was not happy about Axl criticising their home state:

When Guns N' Roses played Indianapolis, when Axl would start to go off on a tirade, I'd stand there and go, "Oh, let's go. Next song, next song." Kind of embarrassing. But there's no shutting him up. Once he gets going, that's it.



UNREST AND BRAWLS


Thirdly, the Noblesville Ledger would report that about 100 people were arrested at May 28 concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991] and between 60 and 80 arrested at the May 29 concert [Noblesville Ledger, May 1991]. The arrests were mostly from alcohol violations, undoubtedly increased due to the concert's late start and end.

In 2000, Jake Query who had been at the second show at Deer Creek would recount his experiences:

Two nights at Deer Creek, and I was at the second night. And, Dave, I kid you not, I mean, here I am, an 18-year-old kid, and I said - you know, my last final for high school is the next day, and we’re waiting, and we’re waiting, and we’re waiting... So they play the Roadrunner cartoon on the Deer Creek big screen. […] To entertain everybody. And I’m like, okay, this is cool. And I’m still, like, as naive as it gets. I mean, I haven’t really ventured out on the world yet. I mean, I’m convinced that the entire world lives between 71st & Allisonville and 86th & Ditch in Indianapolis, Indiana. So I’m watching this and all of a sudden – and this is, like, a 20-minute cartoon they’re showing and I’m like, “Well, this is an odd thing to show,” but, you know, they’re delaying time. And then rumor starts floating around at Deer Creek that they’re waiting because Slash has passed out, Slash has drunk a bunch of Jack Daniels and he’s passed out and they’re waiting for him to wake up, and so we’re gonna watch the Roadrunner. And then, towards the end of the cartoon, which I’ve watched a million times as a kid - suddenly, in this particular version of it, which was remarkably real looking, all of a sudden the Coyote catches and beheads the Roadrunner, and barbecues him. And I’m thinking, “This is clearly not approved by Warner Brothers.” And now Jake Query is in a completely different world here courtesy of Guns N’ Roses. And it was only years later that two different people that worked on that tour from the Indianapolis side, that had worked in the promotion of it, have told me the reason that was delayed was because Axl Rose was sitting in his hotel room in Indianapolis, and all of the things of his childhood, you know, the evil stepfather – I’m not saying this flippantly... Some of the, you know, alleged and apparent very bad things that happened to him as a young person came back to him, and he was sitting in his hotel room, on his bed with his legs folded, saying, “I can’t do it. I can’t go out there, I can’t go in front of... I can’t do it again.” And it took a team of people to convince him and rally him to go out there. And I remember when Axl Rose came out on the stage in that particular night, night two of that tour, he started out with kind of a diatribe against Indiana and authority in Indiana – […] I don’t remember exactly what it was that he said. I remember him saying... it might have been, yeah. Something about – because I remember him talking about, like, the police and etc. But at the end of the concert – and this is what struck me, because I was still a very impressionable 18-year-old kid – I remember him saying, “Good night, thank you” and “Thank you, homeland.” And at that moment I remember thinking, “I think it’s pretty cool, even though the dude is really weird and I just watched the Roadrunner being decapitated. I think it’s pretty cool that the lead singer of my favorite band has something in common with me.”


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:19 pm

IZZY TRAVELS SEPARATELY


KEEPING TO HIMSELF


Back in May 1990 it would be reported that Izzy was engaged to a German girl called Juliette [Blast! May 1990]. This relationship must have ended fairly soon after, because in 1991 Izzy was in a relationship with a girl called Anneka and would bring her along for the 1991 touring [VOX, October 1991].

I've had a steady girl for a few years and it's a great thing. Love makes life a lot easier.


For the touring that started in 1991, Izzy would do a lot of the travelling separately from his band mates, often accompanied by Anneka and/or his dog Treader:

I've got a German shepherd and I've had him since he was a puppy, ya' know. I bought him when he was just a twerp. He's three years old, he's healthy, he's big and he can run 40 miles an hour and he's great. I love my dog!


The Rolling Stone journalist who followed the band would remark that Izzy's bandmates were confused as to how Izzy was spending his time, because they only saw much of him at concerts [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

I'd spend an hour at a soundcheck and two hours playing, and that still gave me 21 hours of my own where I didn't have to get caught up in it all. I created a life outside the arena, which was where I went to do my work. I would leave the arena right after a gig, stop somewhere, and get something to eat at a restaurant. […] We were usually all in the same hotel, but I'd wake up early and I'd go out and do something before the soundcheck, which normally I wouldn't have been doing. I had my dog, a German Shepherd, on tour with me in the States, and I took him out in the mornings. Then I'd be riding a motorcycle or a bike, skateboarding or walking round town, not to cop or score but just to look at the scenery.


Around the same time Izzy stopped using drugs and drinking he had also become a vegetarian:

Indian food and pizza are my favourites. I stopped eating meat a few years ago. I don't eat red meat or chicken, but I eat fish. I stopped eating meat shortly after I stopped drinking and using drugs. I think it was a case of wanting to heal myself a little quicker rather than objecting to meat, plus there were some cases on the West Coast where people were dying after they'd eaten bad meat. I'm big on salads. Salads in America are just a couple of bits of dead lettuce, but over here people are a bit more conscientious.

But Indian food and pizza are my favourites and that's why Chicago is like heaven to me because you can get a pizza delivered at 5am and it's damn good pizza. There's a place there called Mama Mia and they deliver all night long. They've got pizzas that are two inches thick with like a cracker crust with fresh tomatoes on top. […]

I like mango lassi and sweet lassi from Indian restaurants. My second would be fresh squeezed orange juice. Those are the only things I drink.


In October 1991, it would be reported that Izzy's favorite hobby was "riding his mountain bike" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

Sebastian Bach would later recall the different lifestyles they led:

I can remember, I can remember staying up all night with Slash in his room, uh, snorting Splenda [=coke] and, like, you know, after the show... [...] It's like noon, you know, and I look like, you know, just walking death and stuff, it's like, "Time to try to go to sleep," I walk out of the hallway and there's Izzy playing frisbee with his dog in the hallway, like the dog's doing flips!



STAYING SILENT


As for press dealings, like in previous years, Izzy was holding a low profile. In June 1991, Rolling Stone confronted him with his reputation of being the "most press shy band member":

I've read so much bullshit about our band. […] At first I thought it was funny. Then I was like 'I don't need this'. Why should I try to explain our version when they are going to write whatever?


And Rolling Stone would point out that he "does however find doing the rare interview useful - like say when he's lost touch with two of his old Indiana friends – Mike Gold and Troy Kendall - and thinks that crediting them as early influences in a magazine article might prompt them to look him up" [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

Izzy would also not communicate much with the rest of the band, as suggested by this story from Rachel Bolan, bassist in Skid Row:

Izzy Stradlin was there for most of the tour. He wasn’t there for the whole time we were out though, ’cause Gilby [Clarke] came in at some point. But Izzy was clean. I remember when we played in Toronto, it was an outdoor gig, and he had his own bus with a trailer filled with different BMX bikes and stuff.

[...]

I walked by him and he was washing this trials bike that he must have been riding somewhere earlier that day. I was fascinated by those things. So I went up to him, like, “Dude, you’ve got a trials bike!”

[...]

And Izzy was the quiet guy. He never really hung. But we got to talking, and we talked for about an hour. Very cool. Then I go into the dressing room later and I see Duff and I’m like, “Izzy’s a really cool dude! We talked for an hour.” Duff looks at me and asks, “How long?” “Like an hour.” And he goes, “Dude, I don’t think over the past year Izzy has talked to us collectively as a band for an hour!”
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:19 pm

JUNE 1-5, 1991
THE TOUR CONTINUES


The band then travelled to the Capital Music Center, Grove City, USA (June 1) where they received an excellent review:



Review from Dayton Daily News
June 3, 1991



Next followed a show at the Toledo Speedway, Toledo, USA (June 2) and two shows at the Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, USA (June 4 and 5).


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:20 pm

COMA


Coma was a new song that was debuted at the Richfield Coliseum show on June 4, 1991.


PLAYING IT LIVE


The song features many chord shifts and Izzy needed a chord chart for live performances:

[Prior to the release]: Slash has this song, it's called 'Coma', and it's fuckin' 15 minutes long. And I still don't know it, man. I have to take a special chord chart with me whenever we play it. There's like 50 chords at the end of it and I just can't follow them.
The Vox, 1991

That was a long song, wasn't it? I never did learn that song. What I did is, I had a chord chart onstage for the tour, because there were like 30 changes, and they didn't flow naturally for me. I think that was Slash's song more than anything, because he was more into that heavier, Metallica sort of thing. I think we only played it three times live.
RIP, 1992


And Izzy's replacement, Gilby, would have similar problems:

[On being asked which song gave him the most struggle]: Without a doubt, 'Coma.' I still don't know it. It's like this 15- or 20-minute song with no repeats.
Guitar World, November 1992



WRITING THE SONG


Slash would claim he had brought the music of the song in to the band, fully written:

Like 'Coma' was just all arranged by, er, me. I wrote it and showed it to the band and we just stuck with the arrangement that I had […].
RAW, October 1991

Like "Coma," I just wrote all the music from one end to the other. I don't know how, it was just the way I heard it... that arrangement. Axl adapted the lyrics to that.
Interview CD, 1992

I wrote some really cool shit when I was high. There's a song called Coma, a long song, really heavy, and I wrote that loaded.
Q, July 1991

When I wrote "Coma," it was over a pretty short period of time, but it was not a one-day song. I kept playing around with the ideas, and then tying it together. This is another song that was basically arranged when I brought it to the band. I wrote the whole song, amazingly enough, on acoustic. When I play with the band live, and electrically, I turn the volume down, tone it down for that middle section. I was actually looking forward to doing that part when we were in the studio.
Guitar, April, 1992


Later, he would mention that Izzy had been involved in the beginning:

My next home [in 1989] was a house Izzy and I rented up in the Hollywood Hills, and that lasted for about a month. (...) We had fun while we were there and I also managed to write a lot; I wrote 'Coma' and the two of use wrote 'Locomotive' in that house; there was some creativity going on.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 252

(...) As well as a long, heavy guitar-riff mantra I wrote when living with Izzy that evolved  into the song 'Coma.' The song was eight minutes long; it was just a repeating pattern that got increasingly mathematical and involved in its precision as it progressed. Axl loved it but at first it was one song that he couldn't come up with lyrics for. He was very proud of his gift for lyrics, so he was pretty frustrated by it...until one night months later when the words just came to him.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 299


In 1990, Axl would talk about the song and how the lyrics were based on his own experiences as he OD'ed:

There's this song called 'Coma' that is like 11 minutes and 45 seconds long with no chorus; and I think there is only one verse that, like, somewhere repeats itself. It's Slash's baby, it's his monster. The song used to be called 'Girth'. I started to write about when I OD'ed four years ago, and the reason why I OD'ed was because of stress, I couldn't take it, and I just grabbed this bottle of pills (?) in an argument and gulped it down and I ended up in a hospital. But I liked that I wasn't in a fight anymore and I was fully concious that I was leaving. I liked that. But then I go, all of a sudden my real thoughts, though, were that 'Okay, you've haven't toured enough, the record's not gonna last, it's gonna be forgotten this and that, you've got work to do get out of this,' and I went 'No!' and I woke up, you know, pulled myself out of it. But in the describing of that some people could take it wrong and think it means to go and put yourself into a coma, so, it's a little tricky and I'm still playing with the words to figure out to, like, show some hope in there
Famous Last Words, MTV, 1990

At times l enjoy writing, and other times just hate it because it's definitely having to go back and experience some pain and express how you really feel. Sometimes the writing ends up being cathartic in the long run, but, like, writing "Coma" on "Use Your Illusion I" was so heavy I'd start to write and I'd just pass out. I tried to write that song for a year, and couldn't. l went to write it at the studio and passed out. l woke up two hours later and sat down and wrote the whole end of the song, like, just off the top of my head. It was like, don't even know what's coming out, man, but it's coming. l think one of the best things that I've ever written was maybe the end segment of the song "Coma." It just poured out. I thanked Slash for that, because I used to curse him, going, "Man, that son of a bitch has written this thing and I've got to write to it and don't know what to write." It was so hard; it made me feel like, "l don't know how to write, I should just quit." (Axl laughs) But I finally did write it, and l ended up feeling a lot better about a lot of situations that l expressed In that song.
Interview Magazine talks to Axl Rose, 1992



TALKING ABOUT THE SONG


We have actually got this song called 'Girth'... Well, it's not going to be called 'Girth' on the album, it'll get changed, but it's such a heavy song we call it 'Girth' for now. It's named after this guy West [Arkeen], who writes with us sometimes. He's a real little fucker, right? but his dick, it's only about this long but it's like this wide, man! So he got the girth, right? So we call this song 'Girth'...
Wall, M. (1991) The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Hyperion

Coma' is monstrous.
RIP, June 1991

I like 'Coma' a lot. It's got a defibrillator in it- you know, the instrument that starts your heart when it's stopped. And there's some EKG beeps too. We were just fucking around, but the song is heavy, and Axl's vocals are gorgeous- I mean really amazing.
RIP, June, 1991

The only other effect that wasn't synthesized [besides gospel singers on 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' and harmonica on 'Bad Obsession'] was the defibrillator at the very beginning of 'Coma'. Yeah, that was real.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 318



LOOKING BACK AT THE SONG


Coma’s pretty cool. It was pretty epic. Believe it or not, I heard it on the radio a couple of months ago. I was sitting in my car, and I had just pulled up to my driveway, and it came on, and I must have sat there for ten minutes listening to that song. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. It’s a long song!

I wrote Coma in my heroin delirium. That's a song that I'm still proud of. There's not a lot of 'technique' – it's a pretty straight up kinda Slash approach. But the thing that's really interesting was the vamp-out, which was this circular rotating chord progression that never ended: the same chord progression every time, but it just kept changing key. That was my mathematical musical discovery. I just stumbled on it and it's very much me doing my thing… but it worked.
Music Radar, September 2011

I wanna introduce the band, but before I do that I want to share a little piece of trivia on the song Coma. When we recorded that song, when we recorded Use Your Illusions, everybody was involved in different parts of writing it but only one person came down, once, to help with the vocals. And that was the help with one word. Slash came down to make sure I got the word "God dammit!" right. Just sharing that with you. It was very, very, very important to him that I got the right pronounciation and the right inflection on the word "God dammit". Just saying.
Live on stage, Buffalo, USA, August 16, 2017


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:20 pm

JUNE 7-13, 1991
THE TOUR CONTINUES


On June 7 and 8 the band visited CNE Grandstand in Toronto, Canada, and the band apparently enjoyed visiting Toronto:

Gilby talking about Toronto in 1992: I know [the band] like [Toronto] — I don't know exactly what went down, but they sure had a good time!


Duff and Matt were happy with how the tour was progressing:

Every night is just, like, incredible, you know. The fans are killer, fans are unbelievable.
Much Music, July 1991; from June 7, 1991

Every night is different, man. It’s amazing. I mean, everything is clicking, everybody’s ready, everybody’s, like, healthy. Everybody in the band is clicking. […] It’s amazing. It’s, like, no problems with the band. And that’s... You kind of have to be there, but to have no problems with the band, you know, it’s amazing. Because this band is very volatile. And the rumors, like, that we can break up at any second is true. But right now it’s not that way at all. It’s like, everybody’s grooving in...[…] Anything could happen any time, a riot could break out, because we’re so much on the edge.
Much Music, July 1991; from June 7, 1991


Duff's comment on the possibility of a riot breaking out at any time casts a dark premonition since a riot would break out less than a month later.

The band then travelled to Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, USA (June 10); HersheyPark Stadium, Hershey, USA (June 11); and Philadelphia Spectrum, Philadelphia, USA (June 13).

On their way to Saratoga Springs, Skid Row took some time out to do some go karting:

Was there ever a moment when we pushed it too far? The first thing that comes to mind is the night that we played with Guns in Toronto, at CNE [Grandstand]. We had to drive back to America after, and we had so much blow that we had to fucking do it all. I’m not going to tell you who did it with me, but we were on the bus, we get near the Canadian border and we still have so much that we have to throw it out. But we don’t want to throw it out. So we went to a go-kart track. And I was so fucking high that I thought it would be a good idea to go in the opposite direction from everybody else on the track. I thought that would be hilarious. So I was flooring my go-kart with parents with their kids coming the opposite way. At, like, eleven in the morning. That was a moment that I never repeated in my life and never will. But that was a moment.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 7:42 pm

JUNE 17, 1991
TROUBLE IN UNIONDALE


And another warning of what was to come happened on June 17, at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. As reported by The Los Angeles Times:

[…] the band was several hours late to its performance, and Mr. Rose was finding scapegoats in just about everybody except himself.
Los Angeles Times, June 1991


Bach would talk about the experience:

We played with them at Nassau Coliseum. We opened up and we were only booked for a 45-minute show. At the end of the set, Guns N’ Roses’ managers are looking at us going, “Keep going! Keep going!” I go, “We did all our songs! We’ve only got two records.” We’re up there for two hours and the crowd doesn’t know what’s going on. We come off stage, finally, and Axl is not even in the building. By midnight, he’s still not there. Everybody’s freaking out, the whole place is almost falling down, and he’s not even in the building! And I look down the hallway and there’s this big commotion going on. I look and it’s Stephanie Seymour, the model, holding hands with Axl. He’s walking down the hall like nothing happened. And I go, “Dude, where were you?!” and he goes, “I was taking a shower.” (Laughing) I was like, “Okay!”

"Axl's always on time"! I gotta paint that picture! I gotta paint that picture! Nassau Coliseum, 1991, we're on stage, Doug Goldstein...we do our all set...So I turn around, I'm ready to leave, we've done our set and he goes: "Keep going!", I go: "Whaaat? What do you mean keep going?". So we do a couple of Aerosmith songs,and we do "Youth Gone Wild" again, we actually did it twice in the set, I swear! And I go: "What is going oooon?" So, we come off stage finally, and then...


The audience was reported to keep calm despite the long wait, although some would chant "bullshit!" [New York Daily News, June 1991]. Rolling Stone would report that Axl arrived by helicopter [Rolling Stone, September 1991]; New York Daily news would claim the whole band arrived by helicopter, 2 hours and 20 minutes after Skid Row ended their set [New York Daily News, June 1991].

Axl would rant against Geffen and claim they were behind the delayed start:

I'm sorry I'm late. I know it sucks. And if you think it sucks, why don't you write a letter to Geffen Records and tell them to the fuck out of my ass!


The reason for this rant is allegedly that staffers at Geffen had made the mistake of asking Axl to work on the album before the show. Bryn Bridenthal would elaborate:

I was there doing some publicity work. Tom Zutaut was there to work on some of the music, and the art director was there with some boards for approval on the packaging. Axl felt there was pressure on him to make decisions. Before a New York show, that was probably not smart of us.


In August, Goldstein would talk about the difficulty of trying to record while touring:

Everyone felt that it [=the records] would be completed before we got into preproduction for the tour … It’s very difficult, when you’re trying to concentrate on the shows of the length we do them, to get into the studio.


Later, in 2006, Axl would talk about WASP getting him in the mood to go on stage and that he had blamed everything on Tom Zutaut from Geffen and admit that was unfair:

That was a mess. But that is another night that WASP saved the day. All these things went really bad and all of a sudden I put WASP on, I got fired up and stuff, starting jumping over all the furniture, and I went through the show... [...] I kinda got set up to got things go wrong. And so, the person that was involved in that was staring at me when I discovered the WASP, like: "How did he...And why...And certainly why is he turning around and he's now fired up when before he was suicidal, and he was exactly where I wanted him to be, and now HE'S PULLING OUT OF IT! AND NOW HE'S GONNA DO THE SHOW! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??" And I'm like: "YEEEES!!" And then I went onstage and blamed it all on Tom Zutaut. It didn't really have to do with Tom I guess, but...


Bach would then describe what happened as Axl finally arrived at the venue:

The definition of cool, alright. The definition of cool. Everybody's FREAKING OUT backstage, like the whole arena is imploding, all the fans are screaming... [...] It was like midnight. So anyways. Everybody's freaking out, and me and Mariah are walking down, we see all this commotion down on the hallway, right. Like, people jumping around, just going...I go: "What is going on?" So I walked down the hallway, and it's you surrounded by a maelstrom of people, jumping and freaking out... [...] So you got Stephanie on your hand, and you looked like bored, you were like whatever. And I go: "Dude! Where were you?" And you go like this, you go "I was taking a shower..." [...] Yeah that's what you said! You said: "I was taking a shower"! It's like, right on dude!


According to Rolling Stone, not everybody saw the entire show:

In a car full of long-faced Geffen staffers, all of whom have been advised, via a messenger from a certain dressing room, to get out of Dodge.
Rolling Stone, September 1991


According to MTV, Axl also blamed the late start "on a photo session the group had done in Manhattan with star photographer Herb Ritts for an upcoming cover story in Rolling Stone magazine. However, that photo session had actually taken place the night before" [MTV News, June 1991], at 6 am [New York Daily News, June 1991]. According to Axl during the concert, Geffen had insisted on using this particular photographer: "They [the record company] said only this one guy could do it, and it would just take [a short period of time]" [New York Daily News, June 1991].

When contacted, Bryn Bridenthal would dismiss Axl's excuses and say the delay was due to "stress, trying to finish the record and tour at the same time. The kid's got a lot on his plate" and "I’m sure he gave lots of excuses [that night]" [New York Daily News, June 1991].

Axl also had some choice words for Rolling Stone who was making a long article on the band and had been interviewing them extensively for a while:

There's a Rolling Stone coming out with us on the cover. Do me a favor. Don't buy it. And if you want to read it, steal it.


Slash would look back at this show as an ominous premonition of what was to come:

The show that set the pace for what was to ultimately unhinge the tour took place in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau Coliseum, where we went on late. That night, however, Axl apologized to the fans for being late, which, once it became a regular occurrence, he never bothered to do again.
Slash's autobiography, p 339


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Post by Soulmonster Sat May 01, 2021 12:53 pm

AXL'S FRIENDS AND LOYALTY


Despite all his emotional instability, Axl would continue to develop strong relationships with people whom he trusted, including the Geffen publicist Bryn Bridenthal:

He’s been doing a lot of reading and really working on educating himself. He’s really thirsty for information and growth all the time. […] I absolutely adore him, because he’s a very sincere and loyal person. He cares so honestly and deeply about doing it right... It doesn’t necessarily always come out that way, in other people’s perception, but his intentions are always correct.


Axl would also talk about his close friends:

I have a certain close group of friends that I try to spend as much time with as possible... and it's like for some reason Guns N' Roses is always on the brink of some kind of disaster and whenever there's a major problem, it's amazing that I get a few phone calls from a few of those close friends. Well these same people help keep me in perspective of myself.


Loyalty was very important to Axl:

Robert John is one of my best friends, he’s a true friend in every aspect of the word. He’s someone I can call at any time about anything and I can trust him with anything. He’s always going to bat for me. When someone tries to get information about Guns N’ Roses or me out of him, he’s like, “No, sorry. That’s personal.” He’s not an asshole about it. He’s just trustworthy the way friends should be. And he doesn’t take shit from anyone in the band, and that’s cool too. He’ll tell you exactly how he feels instead of brooding.

Almost everybody knows that Axl Rose and I have been gang tight for over twenty years. Earlier you asked me about loyalty. I’ve never met a more loyal person than Axl. He’s loyal to a fucking fault. That guy always shares the credit, always gives opportunities, and hell, is willing to take less of a cut in terms of money just to make sure that his band and crew are well taken care of. It’s unheard of. Every tour we’ve even done, members from other bands’ crews are begging to jump on our crew. Treat people that way you want to be treated, right?


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