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

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

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 7:44 am

JUNE 19-30, 1991
THE TOUR CONTINUES


On the next show, at the Capitol Center in Landover, on June 19, the band was again late on stage and had to end the show early due to a curfew, resulting in songs like 'Sweet Child' and 'Paradise City' not being played. During the show, Axl would also stop a song to jump into the crowd and help an audience member who was in a scuffle with security guards [The Evening Sun, June 1991].

Then followed a show at Capitol Centre, Landover, USA (June 20); Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, USA (June 22); and Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, USA (June 23).

Some nights later, on June 25, at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, the band played a record-long show:

The band played for nearly four hours that night, taking the stage long after the opening band, Skid Row, finished its set. The crowd was as volatile as the band that night, with multiple fistfights breaking out during the lull between acts.
Journal Now, August 2017


One of the reasons they played so long was, according to Axl from stage: "We’re gonna make it up to you because we’re so late" [Journal Now, August 2017].

The followed a show at the Thompson-Boling Center, Knoxville, USA (June 26) and at the Rupp Arena, Lexington, USA (June 29).

On June 30, at the Birmingham Racecourse in Birmingham, the show veered between disaster and victory with Axl threatening to leave after someone threw dirt at him during the song 'Patience' [AL.com, June 2016]. This was a stark premonition of what would come when a riot broke out at the next show in St. Louis.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 7:56 am

A RIOT WAITING TO HAPPEN?


Well, I read something in a magazine where I said I liked seeing people in those tense situations, where everybody’s about to beat each other up. That I got off on the fact that the band had generated that much excitement, that much energy. But to correct myself on what I might have said. I don’t really want to see anybody beating themselves up, or beating each other up, because crowd violence is not a pretty sight. Any individuals getting hurt at one of our shows is not what it’s all about at all. You know, it’s a fine line you walk because you do generate that kind of power, where you can get people to go crazy like that. It makes you crazy and it’s like the whole world is about to explode. If it gets so intense, though, that someone’s gonna get hurt, then you have to stop the show. Donington, of course, being the ultimate example of one of those times...

And there was a gig we did with Aerosmith at a place in upstate New York. After we got off stage, the medics booth outside, where they take all the casualties, was just loaded with kids. It was like, man, they were fuckin’ dropping out there! I remember back to when I used to go to gigs. I’d go to festivals and it was heavy. You have to be strong. It’s sort of like you against the rest of them. For each individual person it’s like that, because when the whole crowd sways you have to hold onto your own and go with it. It’s rough, and that’s what came back to me when I saw the kids in the medics booth.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

There's been a couple of gigs where we've had to consciously slow down a gear... Donington, of course, was one of them. There was another gig, in Upstate New York on the Aerosmith tour, which was particularly intense, too. After we got of stage, the medics booth outside, where all the casualties pass through, was just loaded with kids...

We generate a weird type of excitement. I mean, Izzy put it best, "When you're doing a ballad and people are killing each other in a crowd like in Weedsport, New York, beating the crap of each other, then something's wrong." We don't really understand it. We like the energy, you know. And everybody likes you to see a good bar-room brawl or something, but when it turns into such a mess, I mean, a bar-room brawl is a movie, it's not real life.

There's some fierce stuff happening there, you know. It's a lot of pain and a lot of.....Uhm, violence, you know. When we get together it's a lot of violence.... and it's just a lot of stuff. We've lost a lot of friends last couple years, together all of our, you know, lots of friends, you know. It's a lot of stuff we've gone through together, and we get on stage all five of us together, it comes out.

I mean, I’m not trying to one-up on any... okay? But I’ve been in, like, 30 (?). 30 bands, you know? And it’s not like this. It’s different, you know? I think maybe because, I mean, it’s always on the edge. It’s always... Anything could happen any time, a riot could break out, because we’re so much on the edge.
Much Music, July 1991; interview from June 7, 1991

It's like people who go to watch the Indy 500. They don't go to watch the race, they go to see the crash.
Life Magazine, December 1992


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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 8:01 am

JUNE 21, 1991
THE SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR 'YOU COULD BE MINE'


Despite Slash claiming there weren't any singles on the upcoming two 'Use Your Illusion' albums, the band would end up releasing eight singles.

I don’t think there are any singles on this record. […] I don’t mean to rock the boat or anything, but I think there’s a swearword of some sort on every song. Every potential single it’s, like, whoops, oh, well, not that one. But there’s some great songs, and I don’t care if they say “fucking” in it or if they say “shit” or if they’re talking about girls in the way we’re not supposed to.


The first single out was 'You Could Be Mine' which was released on June 21, 1991. It sold more than 1.5 million copies in the first 30 days [Geffen Press Release, September 1991]. The song would be featured as the theme song in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the music video would hence feature Arnold Schwarzenegger.


You Could Be Mine
June 21, 1991


Arnold was great. Arnold’s really nice. […] He apparently is a Guns N’ Roses fan. […] And he was working on his movie and he said that he was talking with Jim Cameron, the director who did The Abyss and he was saying he wanted to get (does a Schwarzenegger impression) “some good music, some hard music, some Guns N’ Roses”...for a very long time and finally, like, in the last month, all of a sudden he was like, “I think you’re right” and Arnold was like, “It’s a little late”. But it worked out really cool because we wanted to put out a version of the song You Could Be Mine. And also with Don’t Cry we had a rocker and a ballad. And we let them listen to a lot of material and the song they picked was You Could Be Mine. So it worked out good for both of us and we shot a video for it, we filmed the show in the Ritz and then, you know, I guess Arnold was flying back from Congress and going, (does Schwarzenegger impression) “I want to be in the video”. So Arnold got all his people and put together a video so we’ll have yet to see what it’s like.

I mean, I guess [Schwarzenegger] liked the songs and stuff. We hung out really. We got along really, really well. And he gave the whole band jackets from the movie and these great French leather biker jackets, right? With bullet holes, everywhere. And the one jacket I got was from my favorite scene. I mean, they’re at random and he gave them to us, right? And I got my favorite one, which is, like, he gets shot six million times and they all come through his back, right? So I got that one. The sleeves come down to my fingernails (laughs). Anyway, I gave that to my security guard and he flipped. And I gave Arnold my top hat. […] No, [You Could Be Mine] is a rocker. It’s the first release on the record and it’s in the movie, and so we shot in New York and we shot some, like, footage of us coming out of the dressing room, there's a stage door at the Roxy in L.A., where we come face-to-face with Arnold in his Terminator gear and it was all pretty funny.

Arnold was great. I was real skeptical about getting involved with "Terminator" at first, because… uhh… It's just… It's another one of those things people do a lot nowadays. And you see these videos that makes absolutely no sense. It's like, the song, and then… and then… uhh… and then… uhh… you know, some clip from the movie, and then you see the band and the two… The twain don't meet on the same ground for some reason. And so, I didn't wanna get involved into that sort of campy way of doing things. But at the same time, "Terminator 1" was great. And so we liked that, you know. And sort of in good faith, we gave them four songs for them to check out. To see if they're really interested or not. 'Cause they brought it up to us, we didn't go to them. And they picked "You Could Be Mine" and… So, we went to Arnold's house and we had dinner and we hung out. And it was like, we stripped away all the… the celebrity status stuff and just really hung out and had dinner and had a great time. So that meant a lot, you know, to get personal and get toe-to-toe with somebody. That's like, one of the most important things for us, is to be able to feel comfortable with somebody. And believe me, that's a hard thing for us to do. And so, that went over well. And they… they took "You Could Be Mine"… and they put it into a rough edit and we went and saw a screening. And the movie was cool and the song was really cool where it was in the movie. And… as long as we had final approval on the… on how we were gonna use it in the video, then everything was great. And the finished product was cool. So, I'm actually happy with it. And I thought for a movie… uhh… for… for… you know, music video… music video slash movie kind of thing, it was pretty original, you know. And pretty dynamic.

It worked out really cool because we wanted to put out a version of the song You Could Be Mine. ... and we shot a video for it, we filmed the show in the Ritz and then, you know, I guess Arnold was flying back from Congress and going, (does Schwarzenegger impression) "I want to be in the video."

We hung out, really. We got along really, really well. And he gave the whole band jackets from the movie and these great French leather biker jackets, right? With bullet holes, everywhere.

He was kind of real soft spoken, nice guy.

[…] we shot some footage of us coming out of the dressing room, there’s a stage door at the Roxy in L.A., where we come face-to-face with Arnold in his Terminator gear and it was all pretty funny.

Schwarzenegger called on the phone and said we should do something with that song because it is his favorite song from the album. The manager told him to call Axl and make an appointment with him. Axl, of course, decided to drag him down before agreeing, and told him: No Arnold, we CAN'T do anything together! (laughs) Arnold was in shock and silence, until Axl told him - Of course Arnold, for you all you want. OK - Schwarzenegger answered him, then we start tomorrow morning. We did a great job with him because he's really OK guy, he's not as tough as in the movies. As we were filming, he kept telling jokes and joking, no sign of the Terminator (laughs). .
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian



Guns N' Roses and Arnold Schwarzenegger


Schwarzenegger himself would comment upon it:

[The band members] have been big, big fans of Terminator and have expressed that many times. And I have been a fan of their music, so we checked into what it will be like to do a video together or to get some of the music.
MTV, September 1991


In the music video, Axl wore a hat with "N.W.A." written on it, to Dr. Dre's and the band's delight who were still struggling to make a living and had no idea their music had a white audience:

The biggest shock was when we saw Axl Rose in the video with the N.W.A. hat.

We were like, 'What the f**k?' We were still selling records out of our car.
WENN/PR-Inside, October 3, 2007



IZZY'S ABSENCE


Izzy is absent from non-live footage in the video, and his refusal to participate in videos would later be criticized by Axl and Slash fueling a conflict that eventually would lead to Izzy leaving the band [see separate section]. Fans would question why Izzy was not in the video and in the band's fan club newsletter it would be explain with Izzy being "out of town" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


CRITICISM FOR BEING POLITICAL


Schwarzenegger was president George Bush's fitness guru, and Kerrang! magazine would imply that collaborating with Schwarzenegger was a political statement from the band and that it "went against everything Guns N' Roses stood for" [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].


EPILOGUE


In 2008, Duff would be asked about the biggest celeb's home he'd gotten drunk in:

Arnold Schwarzenegger. We had Austrian schnapps and he outdrank me.


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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 8:11 am

1991-1992
SLASH'S MUSICAL COLLABORATIONS


It's like the first time I met Slash, I said, "The world's gotta see this guy." That's why when he plays with other people or does solo things it totally gets me off and makes me happy. It secures his place in rock history as a guitarist.

I love it! It’s great. Everybody in Guns thinks of it as our band, so for each of us it’s our own solo project in a way, but when you go out to play with other people, especially accomplished musicians, you learn tons of stuff, so the whole thing’s exciting. I’ve never been intimidated; even when I first started playing guitar I was never intimidated by other guitar players. As soon as I learned how to plug the thing in I was playing in bands because it was always fun. I never looked at it the same way as some people I know, who are really tense all the time about it. It’s fun and when you’re around people that are amazing musicians, instead of being turned off by it you stay cool and watch and take in what you can, and it’s like a subconscious influence making you work harder without even thinking about it.

______________________________________________________________________

With the immense success the band had with 'Appetite for Destruction' and 'GN'R Lies', the band members started to attract offers to collaborate and do side-projects. Many of these musical collaborations are mentioned in individual chapters throughout this thread.

According to ROCKBeat, by July 1991, Slash had been asked to play on a "dozens of other performer’s records" but said no to focus on finishing the 'Use Your Illusion' albums [ROCKbeat July 1991].


JAMMING WITH RORY GALLAGHER


I got to jam with Rory Gallagher, whose one of my favorite guitar players. So that was great.

I don't remember what songs I played with him at the Roxy, and it happened so quickly, but it was a real honor to play with him in the first place. After the show, we jammed some blues in his hotel room which was really great.


Gallagher died in June 1995, and Slash would look back at him as a musician and playing with him:

Well, see, a lot of the musicians I listened to in America weren’t popular in America. But Rory was somebody my dad listened to, my dad being British, and Ireland being so close to England and all those musicians sort of flocking together. He was just a great guitar player. I didn’t know who it was when I was younger; it was just cool guitar. But I got a chance to get to know what his guitar playing was all about as I got older and I started playing guitar. And we got a chance to jam together. It was like, you know, playing with a legend as far as I was concerned. And he’s a guy that was - actually he’s a hero, more so than a lot of musicians that have passed away over the years, just because the only reason he died was because he played too much, and that’s... I can’t knock him for that. I’d hope to go out that way.



Slash and Rory Gallagher



SAYING NO TO KIM BASINGER


Despite being highly sought after, and willing to branch out, Slash would also deny requests.

I'm always afraid that people are going to start thinking of me as some half-assed session guy. On the other hand, playing sessions keeps me focused on something constructive when Guns isn't playing.


When the actress Kim Basinger called him and asked if he would contribute to her debut record, Slash said no [Rolling Stone, January 1991].


WANTING TO PLAY WITH STEVIE WONDER


In 1992, Slash would also say that he wanted to do a collaboration with Stevie Wonder [MTV, April 20, 1992; MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992].

I’m going to be doing something with Stevie Wonder, which is more like the Michael Jackson thing except that this time I called him! I'd got a phone call before the Michael thing came up, saying, ‘Stevie Wonder wants you to work on his record,’ and I said, ‘Yeah? Of all people that would be awesome to do!’ Then I ran into one of the guys that was engineering his new album and said ‘Oh, you’re working with Stevie Wonder; ask him if he’d like me to play on his record because I would love to do it.’ And Stevie said ‘Yeah.’ So I’ve got that coming up.


In June 1992 he would mention having done something with the TV show The Simpsons [Fully Illustrated Book & Interview, June 6, 1992].

Slash talking about how all these collaborations take place:

Very rarely does anybody call me and says, "Come down and play!" It's usually some sort of relationship I have with somebody. Most of these people I know, that I've played with. There's been, like the Michael Jackson thing, that was the one phone call and everything else it's just people I know, or I've come in contact with. You know, like we go and have a beer and then jam some day, It'll be on tape [laughs].


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Post by Soulmonster Tue May 11, 2021 8:30 am

JULY 2, 1991
THE ST. LOUIS RIOT


I regret what happened last night.
KSHE-FM, July 3, 1991

___________________________________________________

Tension had been building up through the first shows of the 'Use Your Illusion' tour in 1991, with the June 30 show just a few days before indicating a disaster was imminent. And disaster struck at the Riverport Theatre in St. Louis on July 2.

During 'Rocket Queen', about 90 minutes into the set, Axl spotted an audience member with a video camera. The fan with the camera was "Stump" from the motorcycle gang Saddle Tramps. Earlier in the show, Stump and Axl had talked briefly when Stump handed Axl a card with his name and affiliation [Rolling Stone, August 1991].

You have people yelling and screaming during the whole show, but this guy just wouldn't stop, and he was loud - almost as loud as my monitor. He's holding up a card, and I'm like 'Okay, yeah, that’s great.' But he still won't stop yelling. […] I read his card and I said, 'Okay, your Stump from the Saddle Tramps - was that worth interrupting the show for?'


After demanding the security confiscated the camera, with no results, Axl jumped into the audience where a fight broke out.


Axl pointing out the camera
July 2, 1991


I found out later that these guys ere all friends with local security, which would explain why security wouldn't deal with the problems they were causing.


After returning to the stage, Axl ended the show with the words "Thanks to the lame-ass security, I'm going home."

When I got back on the stage, I'd lost a contact, and I couldn't see. My first thought was 'I'm out of here. I'm paying these guys' salary, I don't need to be treated like that by them.' […] I went backstage and found a new lens. It was getting crazy, and we decided we were going to go back out and try to play, because we didn't want people to get hurt.


A riot ensued in which about 2,000 of the 19,000 audience stormed the stage and "destroyed the band's drums and amplifiers, tore down chain-link fences, ripped shrubs out of the outdoor theater and demolished two large video screens" [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]. About 75 people, including more than a dozen police officers, were injured [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991] and damages was estimated at more than $ 200,000 [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

Rachel Bolan from Skid Row would describe what happened:

We were backstage and we heard Guns stop playing. But you couldn’t really hear anything going on yet. Then their tour manager came in and he tapped me on the shoulder and he said, “Get your guys, get on your bus, and get the fuck out of here.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, no. What did somebody say?” But he had a look of urgency on his face and he goes, “Do it now!” The buses were already started. [...] We’re peeling out and we see just cop car after cop car coming in the other direction. Then we’re on the highway and I look out the windshield of our bus and I go, “Is that Izzy’s bus in front of us?”’Cause I saw the trailer with all the motocross stickers on it. And the bus driver goes, “Yeah.” [...] CNN’s showing a map of the United States and then it zooms in on Missouri. And over St. Louis it has, like, a cartoon explosion. A kapow! type of thing. And it says, RIOT AT GUNS N’ ROSES CONCERT.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021


The local media would also describe the riot:

Hundreds of police were called out Tuesday night to quell a riot that broke out at the Riverport Ampltheatre In Maryland Heights during a concert by the heavy metal rock group Guns Ν' Roses. The police chief of Maryland Heights requested tear gas and fire hoses to help disperse the crowd. The St. Louis County police helicopter was dispatched to direct police movements. There were reports of people being trampled, and numerous ambulances were sent to the theater. Police supervisors were directing officers to use searchlights on areas of the theater that had been secured to help authorities find Injured and trampled concertgoers. By 1 a.m. today, police still were calling for reinforcements.


At the next show, on July 8 in Dallas, Axl would be unapologetic:

Fuck you St. Louis and God bless America!


At the July 8 show in Dallas, Axl would also say that he jumped into the crowd "because the security was beating on some kid." This statement would be contested by the concert's promoters:

"If he says that security was beating up someone, he’s the only person who saw it" [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991].

Axl would also claim he was refused from returning back on stage, and that this lead to the riot. This claim would also be disputed by the promoters:

"Axl Rose was not asked to leave. In fact, the senior vice president of our company asked him to return to the stage, but he was not at all responsive to that idea until it was too late" [Los Angeles Times, July 1991].

That the band actually wanted to return to stage after some time, but that it by then was too late, was confirmed by Police Chief Neil Kurlander [Rolling Stone, August 1991].

On July 10, Geffen would release a press statement were they denied the band or Axl was at fault for the riot. According to the press release, the band's manager Doug Goldstein cited a breakdown in security at the new venue as the cause [Geffen Press Release, July 1991].

I don’t think their security people were trained in how to deal with a spontaneous rock show. It wasn’t just about an illegal camera, as has been widely reported. […] The primary problem at Riverport in St. Louis was a motorcycle club that was intimidating people in the audience. One of them also happened to have a still camera. Axl could see them from the stage and he kept asking local security to get rid of them. I found out after the show these guys were all friends with local security, which could explain why security wouldn’t deal with the problems they were causing. Axl has never been one to stand by and just watch an injustice being done to his fans. […] We don’t like to condone or condemn the use of alcohol at the shows, and in fact, in our contracts with all promoters it specifically states that if the building or promoter decides to sell alcohol at the venue, they assume complete responsibility for all damages and actions because we really feel alcohol has a tendency to accentuate problems at a venue. […] We don’t want to see anyone get hurt. Toward this end, in the future, GNR’s own security director will be advancing all our shows to meet with each promoter about security provisions. If we feel the promoter is not properly equipped, we will bring in professional security people.


Axl would expand:

I could see bottles, I could see cameras, and I could see that security really didn't have a clue what they were doing. I remember watching this one security guy shove somebody around and then beam up at me like 'Look how powerful I am.'


Axl would deny that he was at fault for leaving the stage:

I didn't have a choice. I couldn’t' even see, and was injured, and did not feel safe on the stage. I was concerned that people didn't get more of a show. But some fans don't take responsibility that they should take. There's a lot of people not taking responsibility for the damage they did at that place.


Kurlander agreed with Rose:

"The people that rioted are ultimately responsible for their own actions. No matter what Axl Rose did, they cannot escape the fact that they violated the law. They were the ones hitting people and throwing chairs, and bottles and whatever else they could get, I don't think there's any excuse for their behavior " [Rolling Stone, August 1991].


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:26 am

BAND MEMBERS COMMENT ON THE ST. LOUIS RIOT


The riot happened because we left the stage after we had done an hour-and-a-half show, which we were contracted to do. The people want a lot more out of Guns N' Roses and usually they get it, but that night they were upset because they weren't getting it. The place allowed bottles and knives and whatever else inside, which is evident from looking at the videotape. It was all over the stage. (...) The rights that I have and the band has are written all the way through our contract. Nobody has really ever questioned it. Nobody has said, 'No, these are my rights and I'm claiming them right now.' (...)

And they think I did it just because I wanted to stop somebody from taking my picture. The camera was the last straw, the final thing. I was sick of, at that point, with the security in the front. There was a weird space in my mind the entire night. I was thinking, "Something isn't right up here. Why is there this weird attitude, this passiveness, in the security?" There was no feeling that they were on the same team as us. Their feelings towards the crowd wasn't right. A young boy and a girl were getting shoved over here while rowdy bikers are being allowed to do whatever they want. What is going on? I was very confused. (...)

When someone says, "Axl didn't want his picture taken," they are not considering the big picture. We are the most bootlegged new band in history. There are over 47 albums out. Even songs that are on the new record. When I play "November Rain" people cheer. They know the song. It's already sold a few million copies on bootleg. When people aren't working together to help avoid that, it really gets me mad. (...)

They don't want to take responsibility for their own actions. I dived into that crowd. And when I dive I'm aware of what can happen. I wasn't aware that they were going to tear the place down, but I'm aware of all the legal things that can happen with me. Someone getting hurt or whatever. But I've got a videotape of people destroying our equipment. It wasn't the building's equipment. I think people got ripped off of a good show. When my audience is denying me the right to call my show for reasons that don't have anything to do with them, that's not fair. We realized the police were not handling the situation. Their method was not working.(...)

A lot of people don't realize that we tried to come back, but we found out the drums were damaged while the police were on the risers, so we couldn't. We felt we had a better chance of calming everybody down than the police, but by that time everything was too far gone. We were told to leave and now people are saying they don't remember that. (...)

That night in St. Louis I got hit in the eye when I jumped off the stage. When I did I lost a contact. I wear these experimental lenses and I didn't know I had another set. So I am half blind going, "Okay, I can't see. The show is over. As a matter of fact my next few shows are over." I was really upset. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know that I had anymore lenses. But once I realized I had another contact I got the band together and we were going to go back out because now they know there is a problem with security and stuff, so things are going to be handled differently. But by that time the riot had already started and there was nothing that could be done. The police were trying to figure out whether they should just arrest me and let the crowd do whatever they wanted to do. It's really hard to handle the frustration I get, and the anger, at being portrayed consistently so negatively. There are certain areas of the media who do that to me all the time.(...)

I was a part of a very unfortunate night for everybody. It wasn't a good time for us. I wasn't Mother Theresa that night..

The reason it happened was because the promoter just didn’t really care about the people in the crowd or the band on the stage. And, you know, there were a lot of problems going into the show and during the show with the way the building was being run, and once I realized we fulfilled our contract and... I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop because he was their friend, it was like it was over. And I went backstage, got a new contact, came back and it was too late, you know.

And my problem with that situation is that... there’s a lot of fingers pointed at Guns N’ Roses, a lot of fingers pointed at me, and I’m going to take responsibility for what I did in that situation and why I did it and pay whatever the consequences are. But a lot of people in that crowd that, you know, they tore up our equipment, they tore up the building, and I don’t see anybody going “Umm, I apologize for throwing that chair through your amps.”... you know, I don’t see that, and that really bothers me.

But then I also look at it like, you know, Spin magazine said that it was a great show of solidarity, you know, with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. The same time I went “well that’s our audience and that’s what I used to do if things went wrong, I’d just tear something up” (laughs). So, I went, well, I guess that was our crowd, you know, and it’s like when emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know, and... also respect that, you know, it is the artist who has control over a lot of things and if that isn’t respected by the building, or the security, or even the people in the crowd, the artist has the right to leave.

Everybody thinks it is just because we were wimped out on photos being taken But you can only put up with so much shit from one or two members of the crowd. It's distracting to have flashbulbs go off in your face. They're not supposed to bring cameras, right? There was a handful of security guys who weren't paying attention to the audience at all. They were turned around - watching us. Axl told one guy, "If you don't take care of this, I will!" But the guy didn't react. I don't know if it was miscommunication or if he was just not interested. We've been jumping into crowds our whole career - that's how we do things. So Axl dived in to go after the flash. When we finally got him back onstage, he just walked off. We had already played an hour-and-a-half kick-ass set, but a couple of people started throwing things, and then someone jumped onto the stage - that brought out a few security guys. At that point, the crowd got off on rushing the authority and tearing up the amps - the whole fucking grandness of it. [...] We decided we were the only people who could take control, so we started to go back onstage. But by then the kit and all my cabinets were gone. These people were fucking ripping into the metal MESA/Boogie grilles to get to the speakers! Some guy ran off with a lot of guitars - they caught him. Our crew and our own security were the wall defending our equipment. Some of our guys got stitches. Backstage, there were people on stretchers, bleeding, and cops coming through on stretchers. It was real intense. [...] They rushed us out in a van, all huddled together. We saw cop after cop going in the opposite direction. They're trying to blame us for it, and in a small way, I'll say it was our fault, but there were so many other factors involved.

I mean, everybody stage-dives, everybody does a lot of extreme things, nobody pays that much attention. We play an hour-and-a-half show in St. Louis, Axl jumps off the stage for, like, a definite reason, right? And, like, you know, he gets in the crowd, and this guy with this camera that’s been there all night long, and everybody’s going, “Oh, what’s the big deal about the camera?” Like, we’ve been bootlegged like crazy. […] And they rushed the stage and destroyed all of our equipment, and so on so forth.

I'm saying, yeah, I jumped off-stage and, yeah, things went haywire after that, and maybe I could have handled it better or whatever, but no one was really handling anything at that point. So I took it into my own hands with what I could do ... because I had been pretty much pushed to the limit by their lack of security. But I don't see anybody else in St. Louis really taking any responsibility for anything that happened.

Y'know everybody is trying to pick on us because of the taking of the picture. But it wasn't about that really. It was one of those things that sorta built up. Okay, there were some security guys- we're talking about the front line house people right? And the guys are fucking standing there with their arms on the stage watching the band, okay? And there was this gang of guys, and they're taking pictures and shit. And Axl says to the security 'are you gonna do anything about it?' And the security are like 'Oh, yeah dude, rock 'n' roll man!' That's security. So Axl just decided to take care of it himself. He says, "Well, if you're not, I will!' That's Axl- bam, right in there. "We kept the suspense beat going, but when he got backstage, it was like "Fuck this" and he threw his mike down and walked off. That's just the way he is all right? It makes us look like a bunch of fucking pansies and that's not the case. It's like 'C'mon, there's a fucking rule. No cameras. Everybody's bootlegging us. Get the fucking guy and stop it.' I mean, there's enough people taping us and shit. They make a fortune. "I used to bootleg shit, I used to scalp tickets- I know! If we don't see it, then we don't see it. I don't give a fuck. I ain't crying. But if the guy's in the front row and it's like click, click, click, this flashing going on, you gotta tell the security to get the guy. "St. Louis turned into such a violent situation, y'know, we lost all our equipment. Like one of Izzy's cabinets we found out by the concessions stands! My amps were out on the lawn, monitor boards... I was wondering what the fuck would make anybody sit there and dig into a metal grate to get into the speakers in a speaker cabinet. And when we say the lighting truss, they stole half the guns logo. "There were cops. There was blood everywhere. And we had to sneak outta the gig. Y'know we tried to go back on, but the kit was down and that made us realize... it's just the band and the crowd. The more authority you stick in front of the crowd, the more cops and SWAT guys, even though they're doin' their job, the worse the crowd gets. Because we're a rebellious band and our fans are like "Fuck this! We'll kick your ass and we'll kick that guys ass and we'll storm this fucking thing", right? So we have to say 'OK, listen, just don't be an asshole okay? We're only a band, y'know We're as weak as the next guy and, y'know we're up here playing and it's a sensitive subject anyway.

With the St. Louis thing, you know, that was Axl’s deal, and I don’t want to conflict anything with whatever it is, however he settled that situation. Some of the shit that went on was [messed up] because a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon with it. But as far as the actual situation was concerned, I do firmly believe that there were a couple of security guards that just weren’t paying attention to what Axl was trying to communicate to them. And Axl will do that. He just jumps in the crowd.

And the reason we’re sensitive about the camera shit is because we got bootlegged. I mean, from the public’s point of view, I don’t think they understand the financial impact that bootlegging has on a business like, say, Guns N’ Roses or even back to Led Zeppelin or anything.

So I know where Axl was coming from. It was a little bit dramatic, and I don’t think leaving the stage is necessarily correct. I don’t condone that or anything, but from where I was standing, I was still just playing my guitar. I just looked over and all of a sudden Axl’s not there and I see this commotion go on.

Then, of course, what happened after that was a fluke. I’ve never seen anything like that, the retaliation aspect of it, because there was a point there where Axl and I went to go back on stage. And we didn’t know it had gotten started because we were back in the dressing room.

So we got up and went to the side of the stage and looked, and there were like riot cops and everything was broken and people were bleeding. There were like stretchers and shit, and I was just like ‘Jesus Christ!’ And then they whisked us away in a van, and I had my top hat on. They said, ‘Get that [bleeping] thing off! Duck!’ And we got out of there. There were cops pouring in. I mean, the whole thing was a nightmare.

I have a videotape of it that someone took, and I can’t watch it. I watched five minutes of it and went, ‘Jesus, I just can’t, I just don’t want to be reminded of the whole thing’. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and play in St. Louis. I was trying to get Axl to do a club gig there because that would be cool. We have the [guts] to be able to come back and do that. It’s like a getting-back-on-the-horse kind of concept.


That was the most violent act I've ever witnessed in my life. But I could feel that something was going to happen long before the riot broke out. There was an unmistaken ugliness in the air that night. It broke out so fast that there were no way we could have stopped it. We were afraid that someone was going to die, ourselves included. We had hardly gotten off the stage when people started to tear the place apart. They brought down these huge stacks of speakers and completely ripped my amps to shreds. We had to hide in a van to escape from the parking lot, and even then we weren't sure that we were going to make it out of there.
Guitar World, January 2000

Nothing shocks me, and that’s shocking. I’ve got a videotape of the whole thing and I’ve never been able to watch it from end to end.

That was something stupid. I won't comment on that because I don't want to be negative. It happened and it was ridiculous. There was people injured and that pissed me off a lot. I can't enjoy people being hurt in a show. That was bullshit! It was one of the worse nights, like the Donington show were those kids died. That was horrible.
Popular 1, July 2000

When something like that happens, you can't help but think bac to Donington [in 1988, when two fans were trampled to death in the rush for the stage at the start of GN'R's set]. What's to stop us from having some more people trampled - because the singer doesn't like something? Like, what's the point? What are we getting at here?

We were all headed out and there was a lot of violence, there was the riot squad coming in, helicopters, tear gas, the whole thing. It was a full-on riot. It was pretty serious. We knew we were either going to be arrested for the situation or... Inciting a riot. We were, like, running from the law. It was pretty awesome. So we went in this van. I'll never forget it, ‘cause we were going through the crowd and people were banging on the van, and Slash had his top hat on. I remember reaching over and going, "Take your hat off. It's obvious that it's you," you know? We stopped at a waffle house. Axl was still in his skirt. It was like... We went in, people just looked over... "Holy shit." You know? We got up to Chicago and... Everything was on the news. These riots, huge fires and 600 people injured. Holy shit, right? Record sales are going through the roof. It was...amazing.

So the next day it comes on the news that they're going to extradite Axl. They're going to arrest him for inciting a riot.  We sent two decoys out of the hotel. We dressed them like Axl, and we had this other guy named Ronnie that worked for Slash. He had really curly hair like Slash. So we dressed him up like Slash. And the cops were coming in the front, and Axl went out the kitchen. And they arrested those guys, thinking they were Axl and Slash.
"The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016

There would have been no destroying of the place if I was there. ‘Cause if Axl left and they started getting crazy, I would have started playing my drums, and I would have got them excited. I would have done something to stop that.
"The Most Dangerous Band In The World”, BBC, 2016

Axl had a beef with a guy in the first few rows who had a video camera. Axl mentioned it to the venue security and they did nothing about it. Their attitue and the guy's blatant disregard really set Axl off, so he jumped out into the crowd to take his camera away. When he jumped down, it was great, we kept playing that suspenseful riff that starts of "Rocket Queen," and I thought the whole moment was killer. When Axl got back onstage, everything felt triumphant for a second...then he grabbed the mike, said something like, "Because of the bullshit security, we're going home," slammed the mike own, and walked offstage.

The band kept going. We'd gotten good at improvising to fill dead space - drum solos, guitar solos, jams - we had a bag of tricks to keep things moving whenever Axl made a sudden exit. We kept jamming, and I went over to the side of the stage. "Where is he?" I asked Dough.

He looked at me with a pained expression. "He's not coming back."

"What do you mean he's not coming back?" I shouted, still playing the riff.

"There is no way he is coming back, " Doug said. "There's nothing I can do."

We were about ninety minutes into our set, which was our minimum, contractually, but the plan was to play a two-hour set and the crowd wasn't close to satisfied. They knew there was a lot more left. I would have done anything to get Axl back onstage at that point.

"Ask him again!" I yelled. "Find out if he's really not going to." I should have by Doug's expression that there was no use.

Once it was final, we had no choice: the band put down our gear, and it was like pulling the plug on the stereo - the song just ended on a question mark. That entire arena sat there expecting something to happen, but instead we walked offtstage without a word. And that set them off. We had no idea how much that set them off.

We all gathered in the dressing room, Axl wasn't there, and the mood was pretty solemn, to say the least. And that's when the racked started. We could hear this pounding; even through the doors, it sounded like mayhem. Axl suddenly came into the dressing room and said, "Let's go back on."

We went down the hallway toward the stage and it was like the scene in the Beatles' Yellow Submarine where they're walking through a hall and it's normal but every time they open a door there's a train coming at them or a cat screeching: we'd open a door and there was yelling, we'd open another and see people on stretchers, cops with blood all over them, gurneys everywhere, and pandemonium. At the time we were shooting a documentary, so we have a lot of it on film.

The St. Louis locals weren't having our cancellation - they tore the entire building apart; they did things that I didn't think were possible. It was daunting, if anything - we learned not to fuck around with crowds to that extent. Axl, at least, should have been more wary from that point on not to take an audience to that level of agitation ever again.
Slash's autobiography, p 339-340

The show started about an hour late - which by this point almost counted as on time. We played about an hour and a half, and were in the middle of "Rocket Queen" when all hell broke loose. For reasons that don't matter - they were immediately eclipsed not only by the coverage of the incident but also in the moment, onstage, as events unfolded - Axl dove into the audience to try to address something the house security had not. His foray didn't last long, and I helped him upright as he lunged back onstage. He then strode to the mic and announced that because security hadn't done their job, he was leaving. He slammed the mic down and stormed off. We quickly followed.

For about ten minutes, we waited in the wing, unsure what to do. Since we all had our own dressing rooms and staff and Axl had hurried off to his, we didn't know whether or not he was planing to return. We thought he probably would. The crowd seemed to think so, too.

Unlike a lot of venues, this one had a huge set of sliding doors at the back of the stage tat could be closed and locked with chains. Most of the equipment not visible from the audience was already in a position to be locked backstage. After that first ten minutes, the tone of the crowd changed and people began to throw stuff at the stage. The crew started to shift some of the items in front of our set out of harm's way - guitars, amp racks.

Every time crew members went out now to grab something, all sorts of shit rained down. It was coming steadily. Most dangerous of all were the venue's plastic chairs with pieces of their metal frames still attached. Those were heavy. I could hear the thuds and they landed on the stage and bounced off the walls. [...]

Axl re-emerged from his dressing room and we offered to go back out and play to calm things down. It was too late.

Security tried to push the crowd back from the stage with a fire hose. But the crowd got the hose and backed our entire crew, the house security, and all the local cops behind the sliding doors. Kids were climbing our hanging speaker towers, destroying our monitors, smashing lights.

We hunkered down backstage. We were lucky. In a lot of venues there is no chained door and the crowd would have taken over the entire venue. Once the gates were closed and the kids had the stage, the crew did not go back out - there was no reason for anyone to risk opening a door and poking their head out to see what was going on.

But we could hear it all. Screams, crashes, the thunder of thousands of feet. Boom, boom, boom, WHOOSH. Rumble, rumble, boom, AAAAAAAAAAAH! Shouts, more thunder, the scraping groan of large objects being pushed around.

Another twenty minutes went before forty or fifty police cars came screaming in and backup police stormed and retook the venue.

The band was shoved into a small van and told to get on the floor so we weren't visible. Slash's hat was sticking up. The driver asked him to take it off. When the van drove our of the enclosed part of the venue and into the parking lot, I could hear the mayhem had spread outside. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I peeked out the back window - I could see speaker cabinets and pieces of our pianos. Kids had gotten tired of carrying them or dumped them when the cops showed. Clots of cops ran around with batons and pepper spray. Kids ran this way and that. Medics rushed around treating bloodied fans. Police had people in cuffs. It looked like a war zone
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 186-188


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:00 am

AFTER THE ST. LOUIS RIOT
LAWSUITS AND CANCELLATIONS


The St. Louis riot resulted in the band having to cancel the show on July 4 at the World Music Theatre in Chicago [Los Angeles Times, July 1991; Chicago Tribune, July 1991] and the July 6 show in Bonner Springs, Kansas [USA Today, July 1991].

In the wake of the St. Louis riot numerous lawsuits were filed. Concert goers would file suit against Axl, Guns N' Roses, the promoters of the show, and the developers of the theatre for injuries occurred. Security guards would file suits against Axl and Geffen for injuries occurred. The promoters would file suit against Axl and the band for money lost. When the band cancelled the next two shows due to damaged equipment, and tried to collect insurance money for this, they were sued by the underwriters of Lloyd's of London [The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, July 1991]. Finally, Stump (real name Bill Stephenson), the biker with the camera, would also file a suit for injuries he had allegedly suffered when Axl jumped on him. At the same time, five criminal misdemeanor charges (four counts of assault and one count of property damage) were filed against Axl by the St. Louis prosecutor [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 1991]. In total, civil suits from 17 individuals would be filed against Axl [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 1992].


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Post by Soulmonster Tue Jul 06, 2021 10:17 am

SHANNON HOON AND BLIND MELON


Both Axl and Shannon Hoon were from Lafayette, Indiana, and when Hoon, who would become the singer of Blind Melon, transitioned to Los Angeles in 1990, Axl would help him settle in. Shelley Shaw, a friend of Axl, would describe Axl being contacted by Hoon's sister Anna as he was about to travel to LA:

Over the years - from ‘87 to ‘91 - Axl and I became really good friends. It’s really hectic for people to go through that kind of growth through the public eye and be famous... and be 25. Axl had a ‘seen it all/done it all’ reputation - but on a lot of levels, he was really naive. So there was a lot to go through - I was the same way, so we got along really good. We were really close. I remember he said a friend of his in high school had rung him up - her little brother was going to L.A. to try and make it in music, and would he keep an eye out. That was Anna, Shannon’s sister. So he said, “Yeah - give him my numbers.” I think he got there sometime in 1990. I think it was Axl that had a picture of him on the fridge, that was clipped out of the Lafayette paper. It was Shannon deserted at the Lafayette bus station - sitting there for two or three days. There was a bus strike.


Later, Hoon and Axl would describe the friendship that developed between them:

We’ve been friends for five or six years. He used to live in Indiana. [...] We’re both from the same town; he went to high school with my sister. We ran around with the same crowd, but I never really hung out with him in Indiana because I’m a few years younger. Out in L.A., there’s a handful of people who are from our community. I’d sometimes run into friends who were from Lafayette and it was such a breath of fresh air. It felt like you were going home without going back home.

And my friend, Shannon Hoon - he's in a band, Blind Melon - he’s from Indiana and they were doing Don’t Cry back there. They got a bootleg demo tape in Lafayette.


And Riki Rachtman would also discuss the friendship:

Axl at that time was always great about helping his friends out. Obviously, Axl was a very influential part in Shannon’s success. And Shannon would do anything for him - just like Axl would do anything for his friends. If you were at the Cathouse, and somebody said something bad about Axl, Shannon would just hit the guy in the face.


Hoon would also mention how he had performed Don't Cry back in Indiana while he was in a cover band:

I got [Don't Cry] on this shitty-ass tape from someone, who knew someone, who knew someone. […]  I used to play in a cover tune band in Indiana, and we used to cover the song Don’t Cry, cuz it was a song that no one back there – everybody was into GN’R, but these were songs that weren’t on the Appetite album. […] It was kind of accident. It was kind of just open mic night at the Record Plant in Hollywood. […] I was singing along with it and I think – I don’t know, I’m not sure how it came about, but Axl came in, and Izzy said something, I think, to Axl that I was singing along with it. Then Axl asked me if I knew the song and I said yes. So he had a couple of background parts to do, and I went and sang a couple of background parts, and it sounded cool. And then he was like, “Well, fuck it. Sing the whole song.”


Axl invited Hoon to the studio as the band was recording the Use Your Illusions [Excerpts from "A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other" by Greg Prato: September 2008] and Hoon would end up featuring on a few of the songs on the Use Your Illusions, singing co-lead on "Don't Cry" and backing vocals on "Live and Let Die", "November Rain", "You Ain't the First", and "The Garden".

Mike Clink and Duff would describe Hoon and his contributions to the songs:


He was a good guy. He was a friend of Axl’s, so he was hanging out quite a bit in the early days of Guns N’ Roses. A fucking hell of a singer. He sang on “Don’t Cry" - he was around a lot, before that even.


Axl would later praise Hoon's singing to Sebastian Bach:

You know the only other time he said that "You gotta hear this guy, his friend Shannon, is when you said that to me. You go "He's got a higher voice than you man." and I was like "What?" And he did have a higher voice.


When the Use Your Illusion touring started in 1991, Axl would invite Shannon Hoon to join him on stage for occasional shows.



Shannon Hoon and Slash
The Ritz, May 1991



Riki Rachtman, owner of the Cathouse and friend of Guns N' Roses, would later talk about how kind Axl could be to his friends, and insist that Axl was the reason Blind Melon made it:

And I was sitting around with Guns N' Roses, with Axl, and I was saying, you know: Man, I should do that Headbangers' Ball thing. And Axl goes: Do you want to do it? And I'm like: Sure. He goes: Okay, I'll make some calls for you. So Axl called me up, and Axl set up the interview for me. So he's like: Okay. I got you an audition -- we gotta go to New York. I'm like: Well, okay. And, I mean, I'd never flown first-class or nothing -- and, you know, I flew to New York. And Axl said: I'll go with you. And I walked into my audition with Axl. But I didn't get it just because I walked in with Axl.

[…]

One thing about Guns N' Roses -- one thing about Axl, in particular -- is he will always try to take care of his friends first. Whether it be a photographer, whether it be a producer, or whether it be, you know, somebody on the road -- he will try to make sure his friends are taken care of first. There would not have been a Blind Melon if there wasn't an Axl Rose. Axl was the one that gave them a push. I don't think there would have been a Blind Melon without Axl.

When Guns and Roses did all the crazy stuff and then with Axl who I have to start off by saying, cause Axl was the one that… people don’t know the story… took me to New York, got me my MTV gig… helped me get it. He set up a lot of the auditions, Axl was very very helpful for a lot of my career [...]


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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:34 am

CHARITABLE WORK


As the band matured, band members would start to get involved in various charities. Axl would talk about wanting to support organizations that would help abused children, partly due to its personal meaning to him:

I’m trying to find the right organizations I want to get involved with things for child abuse and sexual abuse for children, but I don’t know exactly where to place... You know?


Later he would be asked to elaborate on what he had said in the Rolling Stone issue:

Well, I feel that… umm… you know, child abuse… you know, and sexual abuse. Especially… child abuse is like, kind of the key to why there's so many problems in the world today. Umm… The more books I read on it, and the more work I do on trying to overcome the problems… you know, that I had in my childhood that I accepted it as normal behavior for my life. And I realize now that it wasn't normal behavior. And it's caused me to act in… umm, many ways because it's what I was trained, it's what I was taught, it's what I saw. It's… umm, my formative years were… very ugly. And you know, people had picked up on that one. They listen to some Guns N' Roses songs. And: "This isn't right, something's wrong here…" Da, da, da. Well, they're right. Umm, the Herald Examiner ran a piece on… you know: "We find out the hidden truths of Axl Rose" and da, da, da. You know, we'll find 'em out, soon as I find 'em out. [laughs] A lot of people don't know, including myself. I'm… I'm working on it. Umm, I would like to… find some organizations to… donate money, or… umm, you know, go talk to kids or… talk to groups of people about my experiences and how hard it was, and still is for me on a daily basis, in dealing with people in my relationships, because of the abuse that was present in my childhood. I don't necessarily wanna elaborate any further on this right now, because it's something that I have to… umm, do in stages. Little by little, and I think getting, you know, too much of that right now… Umm, could really get… you know, make it too hard on myself, so… I think we'll stop there.


And when Axl settled in a suit following the St. Louis riot, he suggested to donate money to charities that would help abused children [St. Louis Post-Depatch, October 1993]. At this point, Axl had gone through therapy sessions where it was indicated that many of his issues stemmed from how he was treated as a child. He would imply this in an interview with Rolling Stone that was published in September 1991, and again reiterate that he wanted to help abused children:

I'd like to be part of an organization working with child abuse. Sexual abuse and child abuse. I figure you gotta start somewhere.


For the summer tour with Metallica in 1992, the band would invite charities and activists to set up booths at the stadiums, allowing them to hand out information material, accept donations, recruit volunteers, etc. Initially, the idea started with Axl wanting to help child abuse centers but it grew into encompassing other organizations, too. Represented were child abuse prevention and counseling organizations, local chiropractic education groups, The Children’s Survival Project, Inc., Rock The Vote, Rock Out Censorship, Surfrider Foundation, Amnesty International, Green Corps, The National Coalition for the Homeless, The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Animal Alliance of Canada, Rainforest Action Network, and the American Civil Liberties Union. [Press Release, June 1992]. For the show in Foxboro on September 11, one of the booths was for "the Massachusetts Prevention of Cruelty to Children" [The Boston Globe, July 27, 1992].

In late 1993 Duff would be asked about the charities they supported and why he "would go out of [his] to do these kind of things":

Because I want to. When we were in Australia, Dizzy told me he was going to see some handicapped kids. I was like, "Count me in." We are a part of the Starlight Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If that's what I can do to make a sick kid happy, then I'm gonna do whatever I can to be there. It's an honor to be asked. I hate "rock stars" and that mentality. All they care about is the pussy and the money and where the next couple of grams are coming from. I hate that shit.


In early 1994 Slash would complain about the press not "giving a shit about anything positive" [Q Magazine, March 1994], yet when asked to talk about charities they support, he would say:

(Sighs) Y'know, I understand what you're saying, but it's already been said. Basically, what's positive for us - yeah, the charities are cool and I'm just pleased that we got to do them in the first place - but then making what I would consider a decent record and going out and having a successful tour and being very true to ourselves and our music, as far as that goes, that's all positive.


In 2006, Axl would visit Teenage Cancer Trust in the University College Hospital in London:

Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose has made a surprise visit to the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward at the University College Hospital in London.

The singer had just completed Guns N’ Roses’ controversial European tour, culminating with a final date at Wembley Arena a week last Sunday (July 30).

Simon Davies the CEO of the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward said: “We were so touched that Axl wanted to visit the Teenage Cancer Trust ward in London.

“Axl spent time speaking with each of the patients individually asking about their diagnosis and treatment, and what they enjoyed doing when they were not in hospital. Speaking with patients after Axl's visit, I got a real sense of just how excited they were to have met him and how much it lifted their spirits."

The Teenage Cancer Trustis known for its strong links with rock music. Each year The Who singer Roger Daltrey produces a week of shows at the Royal Albert Hall, which this year featured Bloc Party and Razorlight.


In 2008, Axl would be asked about performing for charities:

All depends on the cause and if it feels right for us at the time. There could be a disaster that we felt strongly about being involved with helping in some way but often these turn into ways for bands to just promote themselves not really caring but looking so publicly. Or the money doesn't reach the victims or those in need while the celebrities are promoted for thier efforts. Efforts at what? Not into that so much. Medical situations are always important. If you're really helping then I'm for it. Which one's I couldn't really say it's not like I would draw a line or argue the importance of one over another in most cases.



BUMBLEFOOT AND M.S. AND DIABETES


Bumblefoot had been involved in charitable work from before he joined Guns N' Roses, and would continue these efforts during his tenure with the band:

You do what you can, that's all. It's no biggie. It takes very little effort to do something nice and to help somebody, so just fucking do it, man. If I can donate something and it's going to help somebody, raise money to something good, I'll do it. If I can do a gig and people come to the gig to support a certain cause, I'll do it. I did a few things, I did something for the diabetes situation we have going on. I've continually been doing something about MS, multiple sclerosis. With Abnormal I had a thing going on where if you get a signed CD I donate $5 of it to research and I'm gong to continue doing that, I might step up, make it "anything signed", I'm going to do that for... yeah, you just do whatever you can, that's all, when you can, when it's possible.

A good friend of mine named Ralph Rosa who was a guitar player and the most wonderful guy. He got diagnosed in 1997 with M.S. You wonder why does it happen to the good ones? He definitely is one of the best people I have ever known. I still scratch my head, why him?  He has one of the slow progressive types that slowly chips away at ya. When he first got it, it was just dizzy spells and numbness but he knew where it was heading. So he started this non-profit organization MS Research Foundation, www.msrf.org where you can do events and come up with things to raise money for research. All his friends and family are the staff. All volunteers, no one gets paid and every dime goes where it’s supposed to go. No one is giving themselves a salary or anything. We would do dinner and comedy events and concerts and things like that. We did that as long as we could to where it was just too difficult with Ralph’s physical condition and the stress organizing that stuff, and with me being on tour it was just too much. Now, we just do what we can. We still accept donations. It all goes right to the labs. When we were looking for researchers we checked out everybody's research. We went to the labs and looked through the microscopes and made sure everything with the staff was legit and that we believed it was heading in the right direction. The funds still go there. So now if someone wants autographed merchandise at bumblefoot.com, $5.00 of anything goes to research.

The main one is the MS Research Foundation, MSRF.org. It was started by my friend Ralph Rosa, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1997. Everyone involved volunteers their time for free, and everything goes directly to research. When people buy autographed CDs and merch from my site, $5 of each item is donated to MSRF. I've been involved with other fundraising organizations and events, charities to help with disaster relief, but MSRF is the one I'm most involved with.


In 2008, Bumblefoot would release his Bumblefoot Limited Edition Guitar Cables through Spectraflex:

The cables!' Yes, that was a limited run we did to raise money for Diabetes research. I'm always interested in working with charities, but you have to be so careful with that. Making sure they're reputable and that the money goes where it's supposed to. That's why I'm part of the MS Research Foundation - it's a legit non-profit group: I know everyone involved, they're all volunteers (including myself) so there's no overhead, and all donations go to research. I've been to the research labs, looked through the microscopes, spent lots of quality time with the researchers, and have complete confidence, knowing that the money donated goes to good use. And it's personal - a close friend of mine started the foundation after being diagnosed with the disease in '97.


And he would also organize Rock Against Diabetes [Press Release, May 1, 2008].


TOMMY AND HAITI


In 2010, Tommy would raise money to the poor and homeless in Haiti after the January 12, 2010, earthquake that devastated the island:

I’m also going to be doing an online fundraiser with some fabulous prizes (one of my GnR basses, a couple of retired plaid suits, and more) to help raise money for an organization called Timkatec, who have built and maintained trade schools for the poor and homeless kids in Haiti for over ten years. They need our help now more than ever since the earthquake. The people of Haiti will need our assistance in rebuilding their schools, hospitals, and cities for years to come, and this is just one small way to help. I hope all of you will join me in the effort. I will be rewarding those that participate with a free download of the first track off of my upcoming solo record.

We've got some stuff to auction off that I think will span all three bands I've been in, from Soul Asylum, Replacements, Guns N' Roses. We're just going to try to do our best to raise some money to help in our way, help the kids the best we can. [...] It's not just people talking about it that's going to help the earthquake survivors get past this. It's going to be a lot of years. ... We're just trying to our little share of the work here with what we've got.


As part of his efforts, Tommy would visit Haiti:

You can see the pride in their faces. You can see the hope. You can see the gratitude.

I don't really have the money to do this kind of thing, but I put aside the money because I think it's important. [...] After ... spending 30 years of chasing the rock dream, [laughs] you know, there's a few more important things in life than that.




Tommy visiting  a graduation ceremony at Timkatec
July 31, 2010



Patrick O'Shea of Sanford, Fla., founder of Friends of Timkatec in America, which raises funds for the Haitian organization's relief efforts, would comment:

I'm not a rock fan personally, and I didn't know anything about Tommy, but I do know that this is a guy with his heart in the right place, flying down at his own expense to see what we do, coming here to help raise money to help these kids.


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12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM - Page 2 Empty Re: 12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM

Post by Soulmonster Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:41 am

POLITICS & ENVIRONMENTALISM


SOCIALLY AWARE BUT NOT A POLITICAL BAND


As the band members got older and matured and had their horizons expanded from travelling the world, they seemed to develop a broader consciousness about societal issues, or at least expressed it on more occasions.

For instance, on August 28, 1988, while performing at the Buckeye Lake Music Centre in Newark, USA, Axl would wear a t-shirt depicting President Ronald Reagan as Adolf Hitler.

This would also show up in interviews and lyrics to new songs:

We’ve been asked to do so many different things, and, you know, in America it’s real big to talk about the rainforests and stuff. But the poverty down here is, like, nothing I’ve ever seen. And I imagined my... You know, when we were first coming to the stadium to do soundcheck the first day, we went under the tunnel, and when I looked up and saw the houses, I thought of myself as a little kid here and having, you know, to try to make a life and starting that way. And it, like, ripped my heart out, right? So we’re trying to find whatever angle we can to get involved and... Cuz we haven’t really ever taken on any cause, you know, charity cause or anything, and it’s something I’m interested in. And since we do want to come back and we know we can make a lot of money playing the shows, maybe we can do something to help a little bit if we can find the right way to place things where we know the people are going to get the money. When we put Civil War out, we put it on The Romanian Angel (?) and George Harrison and his wife were, like, handling it directly to make sure that 400,000 babies got the medical supplies and stuff. We’d like to see if we can possibly help something, like first start something like that here. We don’t know... We don’t really know who to talk to. Everybody we talk to gets scared, you know, of where the money will go. […] Yeah. So we wanted to possibly if... It’s something I’m really interested in and then I asked the band, and the whole band is into it. We just don’t quite know who to talk to yet.



REACTIONS TO THE US-IRAQ WAR OF '91


In early 1991, Sean Lennon, John Lennon's son, would write new lyrics to the Beatles' 'Give Peace A Chance' as a protest against the possibility of an allied war against Iraq [The New York Times, January 12, 1991]. A host of famous artists collaborated on the song, including Duff. The song, in both its original and new version, would be banned from being played on US radio stations and the BBC [Associated Press, February 17, 1991].

After the war started, Dizzy would sign a banner in support of US troops [L.A. Weekly, March 1, 1991], and during the show at Deer Creek Music Center in Indiana, May 29, 1991, Axl would dedicate "Civil War" to the troops fighting in the Gulf War, saying (paraphrasing) that nobody wanted the war but now that the country was in it they should support the troops.

Later, though, in 1992, he would talk from the stage against the Bush government for bringing the country into war:

[...] They keep everything away from the fucking people, so that they can run it the way they want and it’s safe. And they can send you to war to fight for their fucking oil and their money deals, and that blowing down another country. [...].

[...] Anybody here voting? What do you think of politics? It’s really kind of fucked. I did manage to register to vote, but, goddamn, as far as the president is concerned, there’s nobody to fuckin’ vote for. We’ve got Bush, who sold our ass out in the Gulf War for billions of dollars and lots of people killed. [...].


The band's video for 'You Could Be Mine' featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role in the movie "Terminator 2". Schwarzenegger was at the time president George Bush Sr's fitness coach. Bush had initiated the Iraqi war. Slash would be asked if this meant they had sold out:

We don't pay any attention to any of that. We don't get involved in politics. We're not a political band! […] Our songs deal with everyday life. I know what you're saying but it's just personal politics. It's personal experience and situations and how you deal with them. But we don't take it too seriously. As far as what goes on now, we're not really into going all the way down to things like cigarette tax. […] I'm not politically conscious.


This prompted Kerrang! to ask what Slash's opinion on the Gulf War was:

I thought it was pretty f**king stupid. I know how the whole thing came about, but I thought it was f**ing stupid.


He was then asked if it wasn't "all the more incongruous why [he] should align [himself], albeit only in a movie, with Bush-man Arnie in 'Terminator II'":

In hindsight, if I thought you'd be asking me about it now, I might not have done it. At the time we just did it to fill a gap. We weren't thinking about Schwarzenegger's f**king social life, you know. We don't give a f**k about hanging out with the right people. We're not image conscious.


In 2010, Slash would again talk about being opposed to the Iraqi War:

You won't find me at the front of a parade rally, y'know, but there've been things that I've felt strongly about. I remember back in the day when the whole Iraq war was started, I was definitely against that and was part of a political rally against it. I'm not a politician though, and I don't like to go out in a limb and become a ‘big advocate' kind of a guy, it's just not really my style.



SOCIAL INJUSTICE


When Axl introduced 'Welcome to the Jungle' at the first Rock In Rio show, he would do it with this spoken word introduction:

When the poor come down to the street
And the death squad is out of reach
Everybody’s looking for a piece of the pie
I look outside my window
I see your [?]

And when the poor come down from the hills
At night
And the government and the merchants send the death squads out
To remove the beggars
Keep them out of the way of the rich
To keep the slums from coming down into the city
You gotta watch your ass, homeboy
Cuz I ain’t been at many places
But you know where you motherfuckers live?
I said, do you know where you live?

Do you know where you are?
You’re in the jungle, baby
Rio de Janeiro jungle, baby
And if you don’t watch your ass
You’re gonna die!


Dizzy would also talk about the poverty he saw in Brazil and wanting to help:

There’s a lot of poverty. I mean, I guess, like, 1% of the population actually has the money, and everybody else is just – there’s, like, packs of kids, like when I grew up you had, like, packs of dogs that were roaming the mountains and stuff. They have packs of kids that hit the beaches and stuff. It’s kinda scary, but, at the same time, it makes you realize that hopefully there’s something we could do to help those people out eventually.



1991: STILL NOT A POLITICAL BAND


On August 19 1991, in Copenhagen, Axl would protest the ongoing violence in Soviet by displaying a Russian flag from stage [Press Conference, August 1991].

Still, Slash would emphasize that GN'R is not a political band:

With the lyrics, a lot of them can be very serious about personal situations or they can be just sorta funny about shit in general. People read into it really heavily. Yeah, pretty soon they'll be wondering if we're Republicans or Democrats. I haven't even voted. There's no one to vote for. For me it's like, 'F*** it, does my amp work?'


During the show at Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis on July 22, 1992, Axl "blasted Indiana for being the conservative, backward state that sent Dan Quayle to the vice presidential office" [Journal and Courier, July 24, 1992].

Our government talks about freedom and liberty while they exercise and maintain and enforce and strive for and fight for all the control they can have over the people. Since day one we've been taught to support our own oppression, and I think it's time for things to change.


In 1992 and 1993 Slash and Duff would talk about politics and how they tried to avoid taking public political stances as a band:

As a group, say, Guns N’ Roses isn’t a politically conscious band, even though as people, as humans, we are. We try not to advocate our views on politics as a group, because, like he said, we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band, so we try and concentrate on what our lives are about, and sing about that. And if something comes in from the outside, something major, we might sing about it, but we don’t like to send messages via the press and stuff.

For the most part, who are we to send a message to a kid? Who are we to advocate some issue to some age group, or sex group, or whatever? You know, that’s too much. We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band - again, like I said.

Politics is for people like Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen! We're just a rock n' roll band.


Slash would also emphasize that they didn't have a responsibility with their music:

That's for Sting. Sting and Bruce Springsteen and, you know, all these other guys. They have responsibilities to do that. We're just a rock n' roll band. I mean, we're just being completely honest about stuff that we see or how we feel. And you can take it or leave it. It's not something that's supposed to be judged so harshly. It's really not to such an extreme as that offensive. I mean, we have certain morals, that I know wouldn't come out. We would not go against some lyrically, or idealistically, as the band's concerned. Just 'cause there's people that we're not into. Within the limitations of what we're about as people, we write about that and we're not out sending any message. We're not on some sort of fucking "Save The World" brigade, because that's all… That's something else altogether. That's not why we make records.


Axl and Slash would talk about voting:

[When asked who he voted for in the last election]: Nobody. There's nobody to vote for.

[...] Anybody here voting? What do you think of politics? It’s really kind of fucked. I did manage to register to vote, but, goddamn, as far as the president is concerned, there’s nobody to fuckin’ vote for. We’ve got Bush, who sold our ass out in the Gulf War for billions of dollars and lots of people killed. We’ve got Clinton, who could bring change, but then we’ve got Al Gore. [...]  Al Gore, who - if his wife had her fucking way, we wouldn’t have this goddamn concert tonight. And it looks like there’s a good chance she’s gonna be in a lot more fuckin’ power. I’m not saying not to vote for Mr. Clinton, but, if you want your records in the fuckin’ stores, you’re gonna have to do some fighting for it. Just like how we fought for this tour, us and Metallica, to make this fuckin’ thing happen, when most of the stadiums didn’t want us to play, cuz “it was too fuckin’ dangerous.” I just think that, like, it’s gonna take people like you all across this country to slap a warning label over that bitch’s mouth.



ENVIRONMENTALISM


You try and do your best, especially if it's something within your grasp. There's not as much information out there as there should be. Al Gore put out the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and that was a really, really good piece of information, but there's not enough of it, for as dire straits as this planet is in. You pick up what you can, about what you should or shouldn't be doing. It's the most basic stuff. Everyone should look at the amount of water they use, the amount of heat and electricity they use, the amount that you drive. It's just really basic s---. But it has an impact. The recycling thing was around forever. No one appreciates how important it is, really, because it's not engraved on everybody's conscious thinking. Basically, I just try to do my part--like selling my Hummer. I don't let the water keep running when I'm brushing my teeth. I'm a real stickler for recycling. There's a lot of little things. I'm not waving a flag or anything. But I'm just trying to do what I can.



US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS


There seemed to be an almost all-enveloping fear in Europe that September that Bush would indeed get another four years. The thought was that perhaps Kerry may have the peaceful solution and that the Iraq occupation, er. . . War would see some near-future end with him in office. Our bellicose administration seemed to be taking its collective toll on the well-being of the everyday European, and I was now being put in the hot seat.

I think Obama‘s great. It’s the first time in eight years [since George W Bush came into power] I’ve heard somebody speak English. I think it’s refreshing to see someone who’s reasonably intelligent come in. I agree with a lot of his [Obama‘s] stuff. There are a couple of things I’m concerned with, but all things considered I think he’s the best candidate for the job.

[Obama] hasn't answered all the questions but I'm hoping he's the right guy because (John) McCain gives me nightmares.

I want to now say congratulations to us all. We have collectively taken part in pushing for something different and outstanding. America can perhaps be glimpsed upon again as a place for forward thinking and democratic ideals. I am not saying this because we elected a young, black President, but because I think we all realized that Obama is the guy who will try the hardest with the freshest ideas. Ideas on how to get us out of all the holy hell that America holds in tenuous balance. The economy, the ‘war’ in Iraq, the Afghanistan hullabaloo, global warming and our utter dependence on oil….just to name a few. He has got his work cut out for him, and we have let him know that we have his back. This is cool. I am not saying that he is the answer to all of our problems, only rather that we made the wisest choice to get us moving in the right direction.



HUMAN RIGHTS


In November 2008, Perla and Slash would release a video in support of gay marriage, with Slash playing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' in the background as Perla said, "I married my sweetheart, you should be able to marry yours too. Say no to hate and yes to equal rights. Keep up the fight" [NME, November 14, 2008]. In March 2010, Slash would talk about being opposed to a proposed law that would make gay marriage illegal [Quietus, March 23, 2010].

The song Chinese Democracy, and hence the album Chinese Democracy, was a criticism of the regime in China, and hence Guns N' Roses had become a band that would at least occasionally have a political message:

This album is not an overall criticism of China, a great country, but rather a criticism of some undemocratic political behavior. Several democratization movements are underway in China. It would be great if such a movement could get attention because of our song and get results. The reaction from China was, of course, expected. China's population is said to be 1.3 billion, but we expected that not all of them would be able to hear our songs. (Laughs) I wanted to visit China during this Asian tour, but it's a shame that it didn't happen.


In 2009, Duff would write a financial column for Playboy.com and regularly touch upon political issues. In April, his column was about the emptiness of the political teabag movement in the USA and how it was only coming to prominence through the efforts of FOX News and how The Republican Party was losing its way [Playboy, April 15, 2009].
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