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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

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

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 May 11, 2021 8:01 am

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 May 11, 2021 8:11 am

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 May 11, 2021 8:30 am

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 Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:26 am

12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: NOVEMBER RAIN
Album:
Use Your Illusion I, 1991, track no. 10.


Written by:
Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
Vocals, Piano, Keyboard Orchestra: Axl
Synthesizer Programmers: Axl, Johann
Background Vocals, Choir: Axl, Matt, Shannon, Stuart Bailey, Izzy, Duff, Dizzy, Reba Shaw

Live performances:
This song was premièred live at Deer Creek Music Center, USA, May 29, 1991 and has been a staple at live shows since then. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {NOVEMBERSONGS} times.
Lyrics:

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

We've been through this such a long long time
Just tryin' to kill the pain
But lovers always come and lovers always go
And no one's really sure who's lettin' go today
Walking away
If we could take the time to lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin' that you were mine
All mine
So if you want to love me
then darlin' don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain

Do you need some time...on your own
Do you need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone

I know it's hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn't time be out to charm you

Sometimes I need some time...on my own
Sometimes I need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You're not the only one
You're not the only one


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

November Rain was a song Axl had been working on for many years and which could have been included on Appetite for Destruction:

When we were doing that EP for L.A. Guns, like '83? He was playing 'November Rain' — and it was called 'November Rain' — you know, on piano. The guitar solo is amazing. Way back then. It was the only thing he knew how to play, but it was his. He'd go, "Someday this song is gonna be really cool." And I'd go, "It's cool now." "But it's not done", you know, he used to say. And, like, anytime we'd be at a hotel or anywhere, there'd be a piano; he'd just kinda play that music. And I'd go, "When are you gonna finish that already", you know? And he'd go, "I don't know what to do with it".
Source unknown, pasted from Wikipedia

[Prior to releasing Appetite for Destruction]: [...] Tom [Zutaut] did manage to get us into the studio with Manny Charlton, the guitarist for Nazareth, at Sound City Studios on Whitsett and Moorpark out in the Valley. We worked on demos of 'November Rain', which was about eighteen minutes long in its original version, so needless to say we really needed to sit down and focus on arranging it.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 151

They weren't just some bar band. They were a band with a capital "B". An important band is always greater than the sum of their parts. You take one part away and the chemistry is shot and it's never the same. The five guys worked together and produced something that was great as a whole. The word is chemistry. That's what they had. They had great chemistry and they were a great band. As soon as you took one cog out of the wheel, one link out of the chain, that was it. I thought the stand-out songs were "Welcome to the Jungle" and "November Rain." Axl was playing the piano and Izzy was doing a little bit of background vocals and it was fantastic. That's when I went, "wow, there's proper songwriting skills here," and I thought that I would really like to produce them.
Marc Canter, "Reckless Road", 2007

'November Rain' had been ready to go on Appetite for Destruction, but since we already had 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' the majority of us agreed that we didn't need another ballad. Besides, the original demo of that song was eighteen minutes long give or take, and none of us cared to conquer it in the studio at that point. It had been a song that Axl tinkered with for years, whenever there was a piano present; it had been around forever and it was finally getting its due. Axl had been annoyed when Tom Zutaut suggested that we hold it until the next album, because that song meant a lot to him. He let it go, though he resented that decision for years.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 298

The thing with 'November Rain' was that, back then, it was, like, this 20-minute epic that just went on forever. We were never able to edit it down until we did it for the Use Your Illusion albums. [...] Tom Zutaut [Guns N' Roses A&R representative at Geffen at the time] was the one who said, "Let's save that for another record." And I think Axl was a little miffed about that.
Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007


The song was eventually set aside for Use Your Illusions and Axl was adamant that it should turn out the way he wanted:

If it is not recorded right, I'll quit the business.
Rolling Stone, November 1988

[Being asked if he'd really quit the band if November Rain wasn't done properly]: Well, it wasn’t necessarily quit the band. It was just that, like, to do that song the way I wanted to do it. I knew that we were going to need a lot of freedom and a lot of time to learn how to do things that we didn’t know how to do, or I didn’t know how to do. I mean, there’s, like, 31 different string sections on there, and I had to do them on keyboards, because I knew I didn’t know how to communicate with an orchestra well enough. And just I knew that years ago in starting writing the song that it was going to take a lot for us to pull it off the way I could hear it in my head, you know. And that’s just like, I knew that, like, when I said I’d quit the business, it was because I knew that the only reason that I wouldn’t get this right is if I wasn’t allowed to. And the song came about just out of a relationship and of how I felt in the relationship and, you know, I really cared about this person. And not being with this person made me think about being in Indiana and walking in November rain, seeing the ice on the trees and, you know, it was just - it fit to how I felt about that situation.
Rockling, November 27, 1991


During the making of the Use Your Illusions, band members would talk about the song and its inclusion:

There’s a couple of softer songs, this piano, kind of, ballad that Axl wrote. It’s a real nice song.
Rapido, September 1991

[Being asked if there really gonna be a 15-minute song on the next album filled with synthesizers and strings]:[Laughing] Could be. There's talk. We constantly disagree and keep changing from one day to the next.
By Mike Greenblatt, 1991

[November Rain] was a song that, when it first surfaced – you know, first came up in Axl’s playing on the piano – it was way before Appetite for Destruction came in, and we’d been dicking around with it for years. It used to be, like, 25 minutes long. And, finally, everything that’s on the record - almost everything, all the melodies and all that - just came off the top of my head when I first heard the piano, and I did it all on acoustic. So that’s just the way that I heard it. And when we finally decided to record it, and we had an arrangement, it pretty much came naturally. There’s some new stuff in there, but not too much.
MTV, May 21, 1992

[Recounting an episode from rehearsing for Use Your Illusion when the band was spending time in Chicago]: Seven weeks and five days later, Axl finally arrived. We had two days left in the studio and were anxious to show him all of the new material. He sat there like we were putting him through some kind of torture. Plain and simple, Axl wasn't interested in our material! He just wanted to record a new song he had been working on called 'November Rain.' He sat at the grand piano in the studio and played it for us. I thought to myself, "That's nice, but that's it?" He had only like two verses written. Duff, Slash, and I had thirty-three songs in the can, ready to go, but Axl wouldn't give them the time of day.
["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, p182

Axl came up with the skeleton form of it when the band was just formed, he came up with the piano version of it. But there was never any band version of it. [...] It's not an easy song to play as a rock and roll band. It's like heavy guitar, bass, drums, and you know all this loud shit and it's a gentle song. [...] It was difficult but I think we did a good job of bringing a certain subtleness to the song from the usual brashness of what Guns N' Roses is. [...] I play with a lot more...finesse. […] Like I said, we never approached it really until we were done touring with Appetite, and then it was time to approach all these new songs and all the old songs that we had not completed. One of those was November Rain. […] We didn’t, like, dive into it until we got back in line and got a new drummer. […] It’s a real subtle song and you can’t attack it like we attack most of our songs. […] There’s certain parts of the song that you do attack. I approached differently than I would the other songs.
November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993

When we went in to do [Appetite for Destruction] it was coming down to between [November Rain] and Sweet Child. And I knew November Rain wasn't done. I didn't want anybody to help me write it. And at the same time I knew that it was going to take a lot of work to do what I wanted to do and I really didn't feel capable, and that people around me where understanding what I wanted to do, so we decided to save it. [...] I knew the only reason I couldn't get it recorded right was if I couldn't gather enough belief in the people around me to take the time and put the effort in to get it right on tape. [...] Tommy Lee was a major influence on the song. The first time I saw 'Home Sweet Home' and watched the part he did on the piano it made me realize that I could take what I did know about piano and focus it into something simple but very serious. Because I think the part that he does on 'Home Sweet Home' is beautiful, it's very simple, but it's the right part. And that's the approach I took to 'November Rain', that's what got me started when I saw that video on MTV and started on 'November Rain'. What is really wild about it is being just overwhelmed by the sounds, and working with all these new sounds. I mean, I am a rock band breed, just working with, for the most part Guns N' Roses works with guitars, drums, vocals, bass, but working with strings, [?] horns and certain bells, it's almost like it is magical. […] I realized I only had one week, and I’m just no way I was gonna learn how to communicate with an orchestra. So we brought in, like, eight synthesizers. […] For eight hours I just sat there and played strings to November Rain over and over and over, and picked every single string sound to create my own 130 piece orchestra. […] We went through, like, three thousand sounds. We had to sit there and go, “Wait, is that one sound more real than that one?”
November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993

You know, the first time I heard November Rain, I thought: "What is this shit? What does Axl is doing behind the piano? I want rock!" But I was new in GNR and I thought "Matt, you leave The Cult and now you're in the greatest hard rock band of the world…" He sat at the piano and I was thinking "This is shit". Then the song came out, and it's the biggest thing we've ever done!
French magazine, 1996

It was such a long song. It was pretty hard to put together for Guns N' Roses, because it was all [...] Axl playing piano. That was totally new and different to Slash and Duff [...] Needs a lot more drums, needs a lot more tom-toms. I set up more tom-toms. 'Cause Axl said to, 'Try to make this sound like Nigel Olson type drumming'. [...] "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", that type of thing, big fills, big huge tom fills. One of Nigel's trademark back on these albums was the way he played the same fill a bunch of time. If you listen to 'November Rain' it is the same tom fill about 25 times. Pretty much a signature fill. [...] And that is the only time Axl said 'play it sort of like this'. […] And then when he played the piano and everything, I did get that hint of, like, his Elton John influence, cuz he was heavily influenced by Elton John to write that song.
November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993

I mean, it’s a really good song. It’s like, you know, when you’re doing a song ten times or whatever, sometimes you lose it. But every now and then, when you have your moments, you’re listening to the words, and that’s when special; you know, that’s when it’s really good. […] I mean, the words of the song are great. I heard it’s a song they wrote a long, long time ago and they brought it back, and there’s a reason why. It’s a great song.
November Rain: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part II, June 22, 1993

'November Rain' has been around since before Appetite. It's been worked on here and there. It used to be twenty minutes long. I came up with most of the picking lines that go throughout the song when Axl was playing on piano and I played it on acoustic. Usually you get an idea in a day, whether or not the song's worth doing. If you decide the song is worth doing, then you work hard on it during the course of a night, to get it to where's everybody's comfortable. It evolves after that. When we'd finally gotten an arrangement for 'November Rain', years later I came up with a couple of new parts. When we went in the studio, I came up with most of those solos. The tail-end solo, that high-pitched thing, I came up with when Axl came up with the piano chords a long time ago.
No Illusion, Guitar Magazine, April 1992

Vocally, l purposely wanted the sound I have on that. I'm very happy with it, even though it's very abrasive. (...) One of the things like about the vocal roughness in 'November Rain' is that anyone can think that they can sing it as good or better. They can feel like a part of it.
RIP - Sep/Oct/Nov, 1992

It’s a song that when it first surfaced it was Axl playing the piano. It was way before Appetite For Destruction came out, and we’ve been ditting around with it for years. It used to be like 25 minutes long. Everything’s that’s on the record, most of it, all the melodies and all that, just came off the top of my head. When we finally decided to record it, it pretty much came naturally. There’s some new stuff in it.
Guns N' Roses: The Hits - 1992

The songs that are more subtle are the ones where I really have to buckle down and make sure I've got it, especially if the guitar part's the main voice of the song. On songs like "Estranged" and "November Rain," I have to stop for a second and slow myself down, make sure that I hit the notes correctly so that they don't go out of tune, or the vibrato's not too hectic.
Guitar For The Practising Musician, November 1992

'November Rain' is about not wanting to be in a state of unrequited love, 'Estranged' is about acknowledging it, and being there, and having to figure out what the fuck to do.
Making fucking videos, 1992?

There were a few songs that were very involved guitar-wise on those albums. 'Estranged' was a big, long song. I used a Les Paul Gold Top on it; I recorded all of the melodies on the rhythm pickup with the tone turned all the way down. 'November Rain' was tough, too, as was another Axl song called 'Breakdown.' Those were all piano driven and they needed accompaniment; the guitar and bass parts had to be thought out and done precisely. Those songs were all pretty fucking cool, I have to say, but they took some work. (...) 'November Rain was recorded in one day but we put in long hours ahead of time to get all of the arrangements just right. The funniest thing is that the guitar solo that ended up on the record is the exact same one that I played the first time I heard the song years before.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 316

[Axl] did the same [adding synthesisers] for 'November Rain' with all of those fucking string arrangements - they were all synth. I've heard songs with real strings that sound less authentic.
Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 318

[Talking to the crowd during the break before the outtro of November Rain]: It's a long song. Those lighters get pretty fucking hot, don't they? [laughing].
Roskilde, Denmark, 29 June, 2006

At one point I ate a whole bowl of spaghetti while playing November Rain.
AFD Q&A, August 2010

I think you give [“November Rain”] to Axl. That was his thing. He worked on it for so long, but that’s Axl. It’s a three-chord song, you know? But it took seven years or something, and at some point, you’re kind of like, “All right, dude, it’s a beautiful three chords.” The guy’s one of the best vocal melody writers ever, I think. By the time we finally recorded that song, it was like, “Okay, good, we finally got that up and out of the way.” You could tell it was gonna be a big song when we recorded it.
The Onion A.V. Club, May 2011

[Commenting on him, Slash and Matt being apparently at a loss to articulate their feelings about the song in the documentary "The Making Of November Rain"]: I’ve never seen that video. I think I was at a loss to articulate anything when that video was made, ’92 or ’93. Those were the dark years.
The Onion A.V. Club, May 2011

Right from its inception, when Axl and I first played November Rain, the same guitar melodies that are in the recorded version came through. There was definitely a spark between the two of us. It was hard to arrange that song and Estranged, because they were so open-ended and we had to cut November Rain. But those were Axl's epic piano pieces and they were both breakthrough guitar solos for me. Real melody solos, y'know? I had some good sounds and they were melodically very spontaneous.
Music Radar, September 2011


Matt talking about that drum fill:

The track I get the most amount of grief for, from drummers, is November Rain. The reason I did that tom fill so many times is I felt it was a musical part. A lot of drummers were like, 'Why'd you play the same fill so much?!'" Me and Axl were sitting in the studio late one night, having a couple of drinks and listening to Elton John, a song called Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." Axl goes, 'Do you hear that?' I'm like, 'Yeah, I love Nigel Olson, man'. He says, 'Do that on the song we're going to record tomorrow!' We'd rehearsed it but I didn't have all the fills and stuff, it was just a groove. In the end of November Rain I get into that whole marching band trip.
6 Career Defining Record of Matt Sorum, Rhythm Magazine, July 2009

that fill was Axls idea As a musical phrase that carried on through the trilogy , Don't Cry and Estranged. Those albums UYI 1 n 2 Have sold 20 million combined. [...] remember kids drumming isn't all about fancy drum fills and splash cymbals ask Charlie Watts, Ringo and Phil Rudd.
Twitter, August 2012

People joke with me a lot about ‘November Rain’ asking why I did that tom fill so much. I wanted to create a signature, a musical part of the song that was a hook so I kept doing the same fill. That same fill leads through ‘November Rain’, ‘Estranged’ and ‘Don’t cry’. The reason I did that was because those three songs were a trilogy so I tied them together. [...] Axl told me they were a trilogy and the videos were all connected so I said, ‘lets make a drum sound that’s connected.’ That’s the kind of s**t we’d talk about!


Mike Portnoy would chime in:

'November Rain' is an all-time classic song... but why on Earth did Matt Sorum play the SAME EXACT fill every 4 bars? (23 times, to be exact!)
Twitter, August 4, 2012


And Matt would respond:

That fill was Axl's idea as a musical phrase that carried on through the trilogy, 'Don't Cry' and 'Estranged'. Those albums UYI 1 n 2 Have sold 20 million combined.
Twitter, August 6, 2012

remember kids drumming isn't all about fancy drum fills and splash cymbals ask Charlie Watts, Ringo and Phil Rudd
Twitter, August 6, 2012


Mike Portnoy:

Agree 1000%!! Ringo is one of my greatest heroes!! No disrespect meant, bro... Just making an observation of that song. Peace! : )
Twitter, August 6, 2012


Matt would talk about hearing the song for the first time:

Axl first played the finished version of November Rain for me in the parking lot of El Compadre on Sunset Blvd. He had a killer car stereo . Slash n Duff stayed inside drinking

At El Compadre , in the parking lot where Axl played me November Rain for the first time. 20 yrs ago. Slash and Duff were inside drinkin Tequila shots And I sat in his car to hear the mix


Matt would also claim November Rain and Estranged had originally been one song:

Piece of trivia November Rain and Estranged were originally one complete song, a very long song


And Bumblefoot would say he loved playing it:

[Talking about the best solo in the setlist]: End of November Rain Smile
REDDIT AMA, December 2013



12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM - Page 2 Newbor11


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

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 Jul 06, 2021 10:17 am

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 Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:34 am

12. JANUARY-JULY 1991: TOURING MAYHEM - Page 2 Newbor11
SONG: COMA
Album:
Use Your Illusion I, 1991, track no. 16.


Written by:
Slash and Axl Rose.

Musicians:
Drums / Percussion: Matt
Bass: Duff
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
Vocals: Axl
Sound Effects: Bruce Foster, Johann
Bitches: Susanne Filkins, Patricia Fuenzalida, Rose Mann, Monica Zierhut-Soto, Michelle Loiselle, Diane Mitchell

Live performances:
'Coma' was performed live for the first time at Richfield Coliseum, USA, on June 4, 1991. After having been played only a few times in the 1990s, it was not played for a long time before being ressurrected for the "Not In This Lifetime" tour in 2016. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {COMASONGS} times.
Lyrics:

Hey you caught me in a coma
And I don't think I wanna
Ever come back to this...world again
Kinda like it in a coma
'Cause no one's ever gonna
Oh, make me come back to this...world again
Now I feel as if I'm floating away
I can't feel all the pressure
And I like it this way
But my body's callin'
My body's callin'
Won't ya come back to this...world again
Suspended deep in a sea of black
I've got the light at the end
I've got the bones on the mast
Well I've gone sailin', I've gone sailin'
I could leave so easily
While friends are calling back to me
I said they're
They're leaving it all up to me
When all I needed was clarity
And someone to tell me
What the fuck is going on
Goddamn it!

Slippin' farther an farther away
It's a miracle how long we can stay
In a world our minds created
In a world that's full of shit

Help me
Help me
Help me
Help me
Bastard

Please understand me
I'm climbin' through the wreckage
Of all my twisted dreams
But this cheap investigation just can't stifle all my screams
And I'm waitin' at the crossroads
Waiting for you
Waiting for you
Where are you

No one's gonna bother me anymore
No one's gonna mess with my head no more
I can't understand what all the fightin's for
But it's so nice here down off the shore
I wish you could see this
'Cause there's nothing to see
It's peaceful here and it's fine with me
Not like the world where I used to live
I never really wanted to live

Zap him again
Zap the son of a bitch again

Ya live your life like it's a coma
So won't you tell me why we'd wanna
With all the reasons you give it's
It's kinda hard to believe
But who am I to tell you that I've seen
any reason why you should stay
Maybe we'd be better off without you anyway

You got a one way ticket
On your last chance ride
Gotta one way ticket
To your suicide
Gotta one way ticket
An there's no way out alive
An all this crass communication
That has left you in the cold
Isn't much for consolation
When you feel so weak and old
But if home is where the heart is
Then there's stories to be told
No you don't need a doctor
No one else can heal your soul
Got your mind in submission
Got your life on the line
But nobody pulled the trigger
They just stepped aside
They be down by the water
While you watch 'em waving goodbye
They be callin' in the morning
They be hangin' on the phone
They be waiting for an answer
When you know nobody's home
And when the bell's stopped ringing
It was nobody's fault but your own
There were always ample warnings
There were always subtle signs
And you would have seen it comin'
But we gave you too much time
And when you said that no one's listening
Why'd your best friend drop a dime
Sometimes we get so tired of waiting
For a way to spend our time
An "It's so easy" to be social
"It's so easy" to be cool
Yeah it's easy to be hungry
When you ain't got shit to lose
And I wish that I could help you
With what you hope to find
But I'm still out here waiting
Watching reruns of my life
When you reach the point of breaking
Know it's gonna take some time
To heal the broken memories
That another man would need
Just to survive


Quotes regarding the song and its making:

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

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 Wed Feb 16, 2022 1:07 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 Thu Mar 10, 2022 1:01 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.

[However], of the many facets of his personality, one that gets little attention is his loyalty to his friends. Like Robert John, whom Axl helped to establish a burgeoning career as a rock photographer.


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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Post by Soulmonster Fri Mar 11, 2022 9:10 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 Sun Mar 13, 2022 9:24 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 Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:18 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 Mar 15, 2022 2:31 pm

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

Post by Soulmonster Wed Mar 16, 2022 6:07 pm

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].

Riverfront Times would describe the riot a few days later:

For 10 minutes – it seemed like an eternity – it was unclear what had happened. Was the show really over? No one could say for sure, and by the time the lights went up and the egress music began playing, the audience’s blood was already up. What was difficult to ascertain, though, was just who they were mad at – the band, the allegedly lax security, or the promoters for not delivering a full show.

RFT columnist Thomas Crone and I watched spellbound from the eighth row as the night unfolded. Axl’s stage dive had occurred only about 15 feet from where we stood. As the riot began, half-empty beer cups were hurled through the air, repeatedly dousing those in the front rows. Security forces ringed the stage, as roadies frantically attempted to remove the band’s equipment. When some of the debris fell short, a few of the GNR staffers began taunting the audience. One of them, dressed in colorful tights, decorated with metal bracelets and brandishing a walking cane, repeatedly grabbed his crotch and made jerking-off motions toward the crowd, further inciting their anger.

By this time, the throng in front of the stage was a roiling mass. The Saddle Tramps, who had benignly been enjoying the show, suddenly erupted into fits of violence. There were moments of palpable horror all around. A man, naked to the waist, with a gash in his shoulder and blood running in rivulets down his face, emerged from the pack and staggered down the aisle. There was someone – was it the man Rose had attacked or the security guard or still someone else? – being removed from the front rows on a stretcher, his head taped to the handles, as if he’d sustained a serious injury.

One audience member challenged the cops, who had by now appeared on the risers to the rear and side of the stage. He tried to run the gauntlet and make a complete circle around the band’s set, but was captured by security forces and wrestled to the ground. Unwisely, after the man had clearly been subdued, a policeman began beating the man on the knees with his baton. The audience chanted, “Fuck you” and “Fuck you, pigs” in response to the undue violence.

The chairs in the pit area directly before the stage were rapidly destroyed and flung through the air. Even the people occupying the luxury boxes joined in, handing their chairs down front bucket-brigade fashion, to be thrown onstage.

Much of what was happening around us seemed freakishly unreal – as if it were a movie or perhaps a Road Runner cartoon. Acts of terrible brutality took on an almost comic edge. One reveler in front of use calmly stomped his seat to pieces, grabbed the flat portion with both hands and Frisbeed it toward the stage. It flew forward, traveling in a huge, wide arc and smashed a security guard squarely in the forehead. He staggered back, cartoon-like, but remained on his feet. The reveler and his buddy laughed uproariously and high-fived each other.

Moments of Keystone Cop-like hilarity took place onstage as well. A GNR staffer stuck his laminated badge necklace down his shirtfront to keep it from getting ripped off his neck as he worked the perimeter of the stage. Not recognizing him without his badge being visible, a security guard unceremoniously dumped him into the front row. Quickly realizing his mistake, the guard and several colleagues plunged into the crowd to retrieve the shaken roadie.

To our amazement, we saw a dozen policemen rolling out a fire hose on stage right. It seemed an extreme measure, since at this point police and security stood fast across the front of the stage. Not only did the sight of the fire hose enrage the rabble further, but the tactic failed utterly. There was some argument about using the hose, when a GNR staffer grabbed it from the police and turned it on. It began spewing a brown goo – sewage? we wondered. But soon enough, the water cleared up and several policemen wrested it back from the roadie. Much to their chagrin, however, there wasn’t enough water pressure to drive the crowd back. Indeed, people were trying to get into the stream, as if a cool dip sounded like a refreshing idea. One man, shirtless and soaked by the water, climbed to the front of the stage, unzipped his pants and waved his penis at the helpless police, who beat a hasty retreat to the stage-rear risers. Another man seized the fire hose and turned it on the police.

Eventually, the officers abandoned the stage altogether. By that time, security was long gone. For a good 15 minutes, anyone still in the venue could have gotten away with anything. There was simply no one to stop them.

I retreated to the sound board, where I found Jim Staniforth of Electrotech Sound, one of the technical crews contracted by the band. Staniforth watched with surprising calm while his company’s equipment was being destroyed. I introduced myself as a reporter and Staniforth stuck out his hand. “Hello, I’m unemployed,” he said. “And you know why? Because Axl Rose just fucked up.”

Onstage, revelers had begun to swing from cables beneath the 60-ton light and sound rig. Huge hanging speaker stacks lurched sickeningly back and forth. “If that rig comes down, there will be massive death,” Staniforth said.

Behind me, a B&D security man admitted, “This is a joke. We’re staying here, covering our ass. People are animals.”

Moving to the side of the pavilion, I watched a skinny man singlehandedly rip down one of the large video screens that flanked either side of the stage. He rode the screen’s cable up and down, as if he were ringing a giant bell. Eventually, the fabric gave way and the thing came crashing down. The man danced away triumphantly.

Police have repeatedly denied using tear gas on the crowd, but everyone I spoke with underneath the pavilion suffered from stinging eyes, a sore throat and nausea. Crone and I suffered the symptoms as well. The tactic worked, however, and in a few minutes, the area cleared out.

When police made a final strategic sweep of the pavilion, they did so swiftly and with terrible force. Crone and I both witnessed several people being thrown down the stairs at the rear of the building. I brandished my press card and yelled, “Press! Press!” thinking perhaps it would lessen the severity of their attack. “Fuck you, cocksucker,” one of them replied. “We’re reporters,” I tried again, to which another said, “That’s nice,” and jabbed Crone viciously in the kidneys with his baton.

We got the message.


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

Post by Soulmonster Mon Mar 21, 2022 9:07 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 have a tape of that. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it. [...] And it’s actually pretty uncomfortable for me to watch it. I don’t think I’ve watched it in its entirety, but it was taped by our photographer, who happened to have this video camera. You know how that story goes; “Oh, I just happened to have my PortaCam.” Anyway, he taped it in the thick of it, so it’s got all the movement, you know, the way that the camera zooms in on everything- It’s in the same kind of energy as to what was happening around him. In other words, if somebody shoved him, the camera went this way, and then the camera went that way, and it was up and down and around, and everything. And it was just utter chaos. That was one of the really, sort of like, negative way flukes of the entire history of Guns N’ Roses as a band. Because no one would have expected that to happen.

[...]

You know, you just don’t think that way. All things considered, we’re not the kind of guys that would incite something, and Axl even- [...] Axl is not the type of guy that would incite – I don’t know how many seats that place has… [...] 20,000? Somewhere in there? That he would incite a 20,000-person [crowd] to riot, not to mention destroy all our gear. I mean, if he had that in mind beforehand, then I just didn’t know him that well. But I think when he got into it, it was a combination of a bad mood, he was having a rough time with security in the front row, which he relates to very closely – which I never pay much attention to, but he did. Slash: And this guy with his camera; it’s like, we’d never seen guys with cameras in front of our audience before. And so he put all that together as a way of postponing the rest of the show, because he probably didn’t want to finish it anyway. But he probably would have gone back to the dressing room and chilled out for two seconds, so we would have gone back on. So what happened was, instead, he went out there, caused all the ruckus and then we were forced to go into the dressing room. And I remember sitting with him in the dressing room, and then finally he said – you know, I saw a policeman on a gurney go by, and he wasn’t looking too good, and it’s like one of those things out of the movies where you open the door and it’s like, “aaahh!” and you close your eyes silent, you know? It was really, sort of like, surreal. [...] I was like, “This is pretty heavy, whatever’s going on out there is really heavy.” And then Axl, all of a sudden, turns around and he goes, “Let’s go back on.” And Izzy had left the building by then, right? So me and Axl actually did attempt to walk out there to see if it was possible to go on. My amps were out on the grass way past the concession stands, the lighting trust was down, you know, my guitar tech got hit in the head with something and he was in the hospital, and so on and so forth. So our management stuck us in a little van, we just put our heads down and we went all the way to Chicago.

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 Mon Mar 21, 2022 1:08 pm

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 Thu Mar 24, 2022 1:18 pm

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 Thu Mar 31, 2022 12:49 pm

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.


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Post by Soulmonster Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:57 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. While the lyrics for Appetite for Destruction had been centered on the band members' experiences in the seedy parts of USA, the lyrics for the Use Your Illusion albums were more varied and often commented on political and social themes, like the lyrics for Civil War and Garden of Eden, amongst others.

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.

Axl's broader interest in societal issues would also show up in interviews:

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.


In the quote above, it seems Axl leaned voting for the democratic party but had a problem with that possibly resulting in Al Gore becoming vice president and his wife, Tipper Gore, who had been campaigning against "obscenity" in music lyrics through PMRC, getting more power [see previous chapter for more information on Tipper Gore and the PMRC].


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]. In 2012, Duff and his band mates in Loaded would also release a video of them being in favor of gay marriage [Music for Marriage Equality, July 10, 2012].

The song Chinese Democracy, and hence the album Chinese Democracy, was a criticism of the regime in China:

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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