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

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

Registering is free and easy.



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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:11 pm


- 1989-1993: THE MAKING OF A PUNK EP
- 1991-1993: THE PARTY TOUR
- 1990-1992: AXL AND SLASH

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:13 pm

JULY 2, 1991

In the 1990s Alice Cooper would feature on the song 'The Garden' off 'Use Your Illusion I" while Slash would play a solo on Cooper's song 'Hey Stoopid' from the album "Hey Stoopid" which was released on July 2, 1991 [Guitar Player, December 1991].

Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper
July 2, 1991

Slash was not enthusiastic about the latest collaboration:

I'm a bit perturbed, 'cause Alice has a video for this song with Joe Satriani in it. That pissed me off. I love Alice to death, so I don't want it to sound like I'm really angry, but it bums me out to have anybody think that it's Satriani playing my solo, right? When I left the studio, all the guitars were done. Somewhere down the line they put in this other guy—maybe from the band, maybe it's Satriani—playing the chorus melody at the tail end of the song. I heard it today on MTV: There's my sound, which is sort of nasty and ratty, and then all of a sudden this other guitar comes in. I hope nobody thinks that's me; I want to get that straight.

Cooper would describe Guns N' Roses this way:

They’re just kids, you know? They went from being this bar band in Los Angeles to being bigger than God, or something like that. You can’t expect someone in their 20s to handle that with grace. ... I know I didn’t when it happened to me.

Slash and Alice Cooper

Slash, on his side, would describe Cooper as a "sweetheart" [Q Magazine, July 1991].
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:14 pm

JULY 19, 1991

On July 19, 1991, Steven filed a lawsuit against the band, claiming members of the group forced him to use heroin, then made him quit the band while he was trying to kick the habit. In the lawsuit he asked to have the agreement he signed on March 28, 1990, that led to him being fired, annulled. Furthermore, according to the suit, the band "continually strove to live up to its wild reputation. In doing so, the other members of the band introduced Adler to hard drugs and provided them to him." The suit sought unspecified damages and a breakup of the band so assets could be doled out to members [AP/Vidette Messenger, July 1991].

As a result of the lawsuit, Axl would repeatedly bash Steven from stage on shows in July and August.

In October 1991, Circus Magazine would publish a highly contentious interview with Steven. In the interview, Steven would claim that he was fired as a scape-goat when the other band members couldn't finish the follow-up to 'Appetite', but that in reality it was the other band members who were the problem:

They needed a scapegoat. They fired me to make themselves look good because the record company was getting on their case. […] We would rehearse from seven until one, two in the morning, and I'd come in at five every day. I was always early. Izzy wasn't even there, and Slash and Duff would not show up until ten or eleven at night, or they would not show up at all!

Furthermore, he would claim that the other band members were so afraid of Axl that they didn't dare not take his side:

[Axl] scared everybody. If someone in the crew looked at Axl funny, he was fired. We had Axl get his own bus because we couldn't stand being on the bus with him. Izzy wouldn't even hang out; he doesn't even like Axl. I hear he's got his own tour bus now to stay away from him.

And that he got on Axl's side for daring to speak up:

I'd be the one to confront [Axl] because everybody else was scared. He would leave the stage in the middle of almost every single show we played. He would throw the microphone down, break it and just leave. Or he wouldn't get there on time; not once did we get on stage on time. Every band we opened for—Motley Crue, Aerosmith—he got them pissed off at us. […] I'd say, 'What are you doing?' And he would kick me in the balls, which he had done numerous times. The first week I knew Axl, he kicked me in the balls, out of nowhere! It was over some girl he was fucking with, and I said, 'Leave the chick alone!

Quite outrageously, Steven would also claim he was instrumental in the foundation of Guns N' Roses:

I thought [the band Rose] were fabulous. Then I saw Axl leaving this chick's place on Palm Street and Sunset. I said, 'If you and Izzy and me and this guitar player I know [=Slash] get a cool bass player, we'd have the best rock band out of L.A. since the Doors!'

[Guns N' Roses was already formed when Steven entered the band, and Duff was already the bassist; see previous chapters.]

In the interview it is then claimed that Duff was summoned to the band later through an ad in Recycler. In reality, Axl and Tracii formed the band first, and recruited Duff when Ole Beich was fired. Duff was recruited through Izzy, who knew him. Duff had been recruited through an ad, but that was for Steven and Slash's band Roadcrew earlier. After Tracii and Rob Schneider left the early GN'R, Axl recruited Slash and Steven was, a bit reluctantly, brought along [this is detailed in previous chapters].

Steven would also imply he had been important in the writing of the band's songs, including that he was part of writing 'Don't Cry':

And a lot of the new songs are old songs we wrote together years ago— 'Don't Cry' and a whole bunch of them. Those songs meant a lot to me, and they got somebody else to play the parts I came up with!

That "someone else" is Matt, whom Steven would refer to as "old, fat, bald, ugly" and one "who doesn't fit in" the band [Circus Magazine, October 1991]. Whereas it is true Steven likely came up with the drum parts to 'Don't Cry' that Matt played on the records, the song was written by Izzy and Axl before Steven joined Guns N' Roses.

In his suit against the band it was claimed his reputation had been damaged. In the October interview he would argue that was an understatement and that comments Axl had made to MTV after the suit resulted in him losing a drumming job with AC/DC:

Damaged? It was destroyed! I had an offer to play with AC/DC. Then Axl went on MTV and said I was an addict, I was fucked up and I couldn't play drums anymore. So [AC/DC] said, 'No way.'

At some point in 1991 Steven would also make a long comment on what happened to him, which was published in an unknown magazine:

They told me I had a drug problem, well, who the fuck were they to tell me that? A couple alcoholics and heroin users? Did they take some time in between fucking strippers to decide they were going to throw me out of the band? Doug Goldstein took me to have an opiate blocker, which made me very sick. I told them [slash & Duff] that I felt sick and couldn't record. Slash told me we had to, because we couldn't waste the money. I said "Money? What about the money we wasted last year [referring to the 1989 Chicago rehearsal/recording sessions] when Izzy was cleaning himself up, and Axl was nowhere to be found? Why was it okay for those guys to waste the money, but not me [in order to] get well?" So anyway, they bring me into the studio and I feel like shit. It took me forever to get the song [Civil War] right, and they got frustrated with me. So next thing I know, Doug has a stack of papers in front of me that I could never fucking read because they were about five inches thick! He's telling me 'sign here, sign there' and telling me I was signing an agreement saying I was on "probation", meaning I was going to detox in time to record, or else. But it turns out, those papers weren't really giving me that chance. So I don't hear a fucking thing from anyone for awhile, then I got these notices saying 'you're out of the band'. Through my lawyers, I discovered that the "probation" papers that Doug had me sign were actually the rights to my partnership and all my royalties, which I was unknowingly signing away! They completely screwed me out of everything, these guys, [who were] my friends, my family. It hurt more than anything. My royalties were from playing, writing, and [use of] my image such as t shirts and shit.

When we recorded [Appetite for Destruction], Slash came up with this system where whoever wrote got credit. But then when it came time to actually divide them up, suddenly everybody was getting credit but me. I mean, [for example] Izzy wrote the song "Think About You" by himself before we started playing it, yet Slash, Duff, and Axl were also going to be receiving royalties for it, since they supposedly "added to it". I said, "well what about me? Did I add nothing?" I mean Izzy wrote the fucking song, I thought that's how the writing credits were determined, but the other guys were getting credit for something they didn't write, and I wasn't. Same thing for all the other songs, Axl would get credit for songs such as "Brownstone" [written by Slash and Izzy] and "It's So Easy" [written by Duff and West Arkeen], even though he didn't write anything on them, and the other guys [who didn't write also got credit] too. So why not me? So Axl gave me a portion of his [to compensate for not being included], and my name was put beside the rest of theirs [in the writing credits] and that was that. But now they've screwed me out of those royalties and my other ones too. Two fucking albums that I played on are still selling and they're collecting money from them, and I'm not. Guns N Roses T shirts with my face on them are still selling, and they're collecting money from them, and I'm not. That's what they did to me, people I thought were my friends took it all away and said goodbye as if I never existed. Fuck that! That's why I sue them, and I'm confident the jury will see it my way.
Unknown source, 1991

The issue for Steven was the agreement, the probation contract, he signed which led to the band firing him. According to Steven lawyer, Elliot Abelson:

In the agreement, Steven gave up any interest in Guns N' Roses, including the music he'd already written. He agreed not to play with anyone else, and also not speak about Guns N' Roses in the future. He basically gave up everything that he could give up legally.

But more so, Steven claims he was forced into signing the agreement:

'Sign this paper, or you're not going to be in Farm Aid.' It was all in a matter of seconds, so I had no choice.

Well it's more like, "Come down to the office, I want to talk to you." I get down to the office. [Goldstein] has his papers, that's about half a foot thick, going, "Sign everywhere where the little colored paper clips are" and I'm under [?] signing away and "What's this for?" and he said, "Oh nothing, it just means you are on probation for three weeks." But then what I really find out, I'm signing away all my rights. […] That's why I sued them. […] Because I was messed up, I wasn't in my right mind, I didn't have a lawyer there.

In August 1991, Melody maker would report that the band's "management are refusing to comment on the content of former drummer Steve Adler's lawsuit against the band because "they have not received all the paperwork yet'" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991]. A little while later, Circus Magazine would fax the band asking for comments to Steven's allegations and to which Bryn Bridenthal would fax them a reply:

All of the statements attributed to Steven Adler contained in your fax are categorically denied. In light of the fact that litigation is pending, by Steven's choice, we feel it is more appropriate to specifically refute these allegations in a courtroom rather than in the press.

And in February 1992, Bridenthal would say:

Guns N’ Roses don’t want to dignify Steven's allegations with a response because they believe the truth will easily come out within the due legal process.

In November 1991, Axl commented on the lawsuit:

You know, Steven can’t handle that he’s not in Guns N’ Roses, and he’s been kinda put up to this by other people. And he said a lot of things that weren’t true to get the lawsuit together, and it’s kind of all coming out. I wish the best for Steven and I hope things work out for him, you know. And I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, and I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes coming up against us - you know, especially since we have the facts. And it’s a kind of sad thing. It’s like, this is his way of trying to figure out how to get back involved, you know. I’m sure somewhere in his mind, it’s like, “Well, this could all turn around and I could be back in the band”. That’s not gonna happen.

In early 1992 Slash would finally comment on the lawsuit and also indicate that someone was influencing Steven:

I haven't said anything in public about it so far, though [Steven]'s slandered us like crazy and is trying to sue as about stuff that's total bullshit. But I know for a fact that Steven's scared to death of me. Because I've known Steven since I was 13, and I know him too well. So I'm like, "Steven, what do you think you're doing?" But he's not even doing it; somebody else is pressing his buttons.

We turned him onto drugs? My f?!king ass! That's so pathetic. Steven is scared to death of me. If he sees me in public, he just turns into a grovelling heap of defeatism. He just doesn't know what to say. He mumbles. I ask him a straightforward question, 'What's your motivation behind this?"' and he doesn't know what to say. Until now I haven't said a word about Steven to the press. I haven't attacked him; I haven't insulted him. I felt sorry for him. I didn't want to hurt him. We gave him a year to get his shit together. He couldn't play any of the new shit anyway. It got to a point where the material was way beyond him. I can't believe this little f?!ker. I read the shit he said about us in Circus. By the way, f?!k that magazine. If any rag has ever gotten off on sensationalism, it's that magazine. And I don't regret what Axl said on 'Get in the Ring,' because that's got to be one of the most exploitative publications out there. Anyway, back to Steven. He said in that article he's sober now, but every time I've seen him, he's been wasted. I don't know what he's wasted on; I don't even care. I lost all concern and feeling for the guy. And I know a drug lie when I see one. We couldn't get any work done at Rumbo [the original studio where the band started work on Use Your Illusion three years ago]. He cost us a fortune. We had to edit the drum track to 'Civil War' just so we could play to it.

Slash would later again indicate that someone else pushed Steven to file the lawsuit:

After [Steven being fired], I didn’t think Steve was gonna turn around on us, and it turns out it’s not really Steve so much as it is the people who put this lawsuit together.

This "someone else" could be Steven's mother, because Axl would later refer to her as one of the reasons he didn't want to reunite with Steven:

Steven [Adler] brings assorted ambulance-chasing attorneys and the nightmare of his mother. One gig, or even a couple songs, could mean years of behind-the-scenes legal aftermath.

And Brent Muscat, who would later play in Adler's Appetite with Steven, would suggest Steven's mother was Steven's legal guardian:

[...] I believe, Steven Adler’s mother has power of attorney. Unless his mother is in the room and signs the contract, any agreement the band has is not legally binding.
Metal Sludge, January 1, 2006

Slash would also be very clear about his feelings towards Steven, as when he was asked if he was still in contact with him:

No. He’s on my... bad list (laughs).[…] Well, when the whole breakup thing happened, there was a whole – I’d say, like - six months to a year where that developed, and we hung in there with him. And now he’s turned around and started attacking us. And there’s a lot of falsities going on coming from his side of the camp.

In late 1992, after he had left the band, Izzy would deny Steven's allegations:

Lies. When I met him, he showed me some of the stuff he was taking. But I will say to end this is that Stevie is a great guy, I wish him the best. I’ve talked with him once in the last three or four months.
Popular 1, November 1992; translated from Spanish

In 2005, Steven would discuss the suit:

When I took them to court, and I took them to court cause they told me I was signing one thing but it was another thing. They wanted to give me $2,000 and they where like fuck you, get the fuck out. [...] They wanted to take away all my royalties. [...] The entire band, management and everyone. That’s why I sued them. When we where in court and my lawyer said to them, “Slash, Duff, Izzy how many times have you overdosed?” When you in court you have to tell the truth. They said “20-25 times” and they said I was the one with the drug problem.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:14 pm

JULY 8-9, 1991

The St. Louis riot resulted in the band having to cancel the shows 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].

At the first show after the St. Louis riot, at the Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas on July 8, Axl was two hours late [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1991]. The band would claim the late start was due to damaged equipment from the St. Louis riot [Geffen Press Release, July 1991], but media would report that Axl was missing before the show and arrived late, just minutes before Guns N' Roses took the stage [Pittsburg Press, July 1991; Press-Telegram Wire Service, July 1991]. The long wait resulted in numerous concert-goers leaving the arena in "disgust" [MTV News, July 1991].

During the second show (July 9) Axl would admonish the audience for throwing bottles at the band, stopping the show at one time and making sure a bottle thrower was removed from the theatre [Geffen Press Release, July 1991].

Stop! Stop! Stop! Some selfish, stupid, idiotic motherf----er just threw this on stage! I want to make it real clear: if you throw stuff on stage we will leave. This is not about us being badder than you or anything. It has to do with being responsible – both to the band and to yourselves.

I got my philosophy on this from Lemmy in Motorhead who told me ‘don’t let them throw shit at your show ‘cause it could happen at the next band’s show and someone could get hurt.

Due to a curfew, the concert on July 8 was shorter than usual, only about an hour in total.


During the band's two shows in Dallas, one of the band's assistants needed medical help and they hastily brought in the young chiropractor Steve Thaxton [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991], or the "Rock Doc" as the band would call him [Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 10, 1991]. The next night Thaxton treated members of the band and a few weeks later began travelling with the band on their plane [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991; Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 10, 1991]. In September 1991, he had been asked to stay with the band for two years [Anaheim Bulletin, October 10, 1991].

[Thaxton]: They lead a pretty hard and fast life. When they are performing, they are going all out. […] These guys are the nicest guys I've ever met. They are also some of the most appreciative patients I've ever had. They treat me like a million bucks.

Thaxton would be listed in the official tour program for 1992 [Use Your Illusion Tour program, 1992].
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:15 pm

JULY 11-13, 1991

After Dallas the band travelled to the McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, USA (July 11) and Starplex Amphitheatre, Englewood, USA (July 12) before heading to the Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (July 13).

Axl did not like the audience in Salt Lake City who he felt was too calm and not into the show enough, and Axl would later rant against the tour. But later he realized why the mood was subdued:

We did a show with Skid Row in Utah, and there were people sitting there like they were bored off of their asses. Finally, we left. Why should we play the encore? But what we didn’t know was that people had been killed at an AC/DC concert there, and the press and local officials had gone off on the kids so much that by the time they got to the show they were just fed up. Security just kept them from getting into the show at all – and we didn’t know that. We didn’t know what was up. We just wanted to get out of there. My attitude was, “Man, I only have a few bands that really get me off at a show. What do you want? What do you have to do tonight that’s better than this?” There were 17 year-old kids there who seemed bored, and I just didn’t understand why. Maybe they wanted to go home and listen to something else.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:15 pm

JULY 16, 1991

The next show took place at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma on July 16. At this concert something is thrown on stage that explodes followed by a rocket some songs later. Melody Maker would describe the event:

The bomb goes off during "Welcome to the Jungle". Axl's singing, "D'you know where you are baby? You're in the jungle and you're gonna DIE!" when, for a split second, everything's white-then-black. Axl just grimaces, breathes hard, pulls down his NWA cap, skips off stage and lets it pass. Slash dons his top hat, lights a cig and plays the "Godfather" theme, Matt does his drum solo, Duff joins in and everything's cool until Axl re-emerges in a fishnet shirt and launches into "Rocket Queen". Suddenly there's an explosion from somewhere about 15 feet from the stage, a blinding flash and a rocket narrowly misses Izzy. Too close for comfort. Too f***ing close.

First it's a firecracker, now it's a rocket... If you saw whoever lit that, we'll give you 10 minutes to turn 'em in and we'll be back... We're not here to get hurt or see anybody else get hurt just because some drunken f***in' pussy can't control. .. F***him! No! F*** YOU! It's up to you. Get him outta here and we'll be back. If not... goodnight. Peace.

Slash would also comment upon this incident:

[…] a lot of shit does go down onstage. There's always a bottle flying here, a bomb going off there. The other night I hear this crash, I'm like, 'What the fuck was that!' And somebody threw an M80 into the crowd!

Originally the band had planned a second show at the Tacoma Dome, on July 17, but this was cancelled since the band needed to film for the video to their single 'Don't Cry':

I would love to play two gigs in my hometown. This is like my homecoming, this is a dream come true. I saw Bowie at the Tacoma Dome, I saw Rod Stewart there. But our schedules are real tight these days, and it was the only time we could find to do the video.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:15 pm

JULY 17-18, 1991

After playing the first show in Tacoma the band cancelled the second planned show to focus on shooting scenes for their upcoming music video for 'Don't Cry'. But Izzy failed to show up and this led to rumours that he would quit the band.

Izzy would later say he "didn't make it to the video shoot" [Guitar Playing Magazine, May, 1993]. Izzy had also been absent from the last scenes in the video to 'You Could Be Mine'. To emphasize Izzy's absence, a sign with "Where's Izzy?" written on it would be displayed by Dizzy in the video.

As they were filming the 'Don't Cry' video, Axl would be asked how he was tripping off from Izzy not being there:

No, I’m not really tripping off it right now, cuz I’m just like, Izzy’s cool. You know, Izzy’s always been the fastest person in Guns N’ Roses to decide what it is they want to do and what it is they’re going to do. So, you know, whatever Izzy’s doing or whatever he’s not doing is cool. I just want the guy to be happy, and that makes me happy; you know, it makes me feel good inside.

Axl would also say that Izzy "didn't want to be [there]":

The [music video] scene we did the other night was originally written with Izzy in it, and he didn’t want to be here. […] What was also heavy was, you know, I didn’t really plan on this being completely “the Axl video,” and now, in ways it’s kind of turning out to be. So that was really hard, because I want the band to be happy, and everything for us to gel, and get along there. And the Izzy thing was a very emotional thing, cuz it is real and I’ve known him for 15 years, and he’s one of the people that I care about the most in the entire world.

Izzy would later comment on seeing the video and the sign:

I thought, well, s —, I'm here in Indiana, man. What do you mean, where am I?

According to the band's publicist, Bryn Bridenthal, Izzy was touring Europe at the time and didn't want to return just for the video [source?]. In a Rolling Stone interview from 1992 it would be indicated that the reason Izzy didn't want to do the 'Don't Cry' video was the million-dollar cost and that it was pointless indulgence:

I didn't have any say in it, and I didn't want to be in it.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:16 pm

JULY 19, 1991

After Tacoma the band headed to the Shoreline Theatre in Mountain View, California, not far from San Francisco, for two shows on July 19 and 20. For unknown reasons the second of these shows were cancelled.

Before the July 19 show, Izzy would reminisce about playing in San Francisco:

We always had a problem when we played here before, 'cos we'd try to cop this China White heroin and end up paying ungodly prices for fuckin' nothing.

The show was delayed by one and a half hour. Axl would blame this on "overzealous film crews from local television stations, who demanded interviews and threatened to have him arrested" [The Press-Telegram, July 1991].

Before the show, Jetboy, old friends of Guns N' Roses who had a fallout with the band after their former bassist Todd Crew overdosed together with Slash, were backstage and met Axl:

I remember we got thrown out of a (Guns n’ Roses) show in the bay area. [Jetboy] had just moved back to San Francisco…in like 1991 and we were pretty good buddies with Skid Row. They were touring with Guns n’ Roses. We went to hang out at the show and we were backstage…and here comes Axl walking by. Mickey said “Hey Axl, what’s going on?” We kind of did have a make-up thing. They made a public apology at the Cathouse one night (in 1988), but we didn’t hang out like we used to. They were blowing up so big they were always on the road. Ten minutes later, I saw some crew guy…go up to Skid Row’s guy and whisper in his ear and I just knew. That crew guy talked to Rachel (Bolan, Skid Row bassist) and he was like “What?!” and he came over and said “Dude, you’ve all got to leave. Axl said he won’t go on until Jetboy is out of the venue.” I was like “You’ve got to be fucking kidding.” He really just wanted us out of backstage. The funny thing is they had given us fifth row seats, so it was almost like a slap. “Get out there and watch what you ain’t got.” The next day I ran into Izzy on Haight Street…me, Mick and Rachel and my sister were all there shopping around. My sister was like “Hey, there’s Izzy!” I was like, “Fuck that!” and I walked out the door, but before I could get out of the door, he started yelling my name. He said “Dude, I’m so sorry about yesterday. I had nothing to do with that. You know it’s not me. If you want to come tonight, you can be my personal guest it’s totally good…” Once that happened, I knew it was all Axl and it was all over Todd. He was never around. He was always in his own world. It was another drama situation for him to embellish and be a part of…to use his wackiness. I never understood that.
Bring Back Glam!, November 25, 2007

Axl seemed to have been in an angry mood this evening. He ranted against Steven who had recently sued the band and ended the show early:

After the first few notes of what Rose had introduced as a new song called 'The Strange,' the music stopped, apparently because Rose was dissatisfied with it. "You can start over any time,'' he said sardonically to his bandmates. They did, briefly, until Rose threw his microphone to the floor and stalked off stage. He never returned, but Sorum, Slash and Reed came back to collaborate on a brief instrumental jam before pleading that "we don't know any more songs'' and departing for good.
The Press-Telegram, July 1991

An unknown band member would elaborate that during the show he started seeing what he thought was "a bunch of dead raccoons landing on the stage. It was dark and I saw this big hairy thing hit Slash's mic stand. It was a huge lump of sod. The audience had torn up the whole hillside in the back of the auditorium and tried to throw it onstage. The crazy fuckers!" [VOX, October 1991].

According to writer Nick Kent, who witnessed the show, the partying had its effect on Duff who "has to spend several numbers lying flat-out, his eyes closed, smoking a cigarette" [VOX, October 1991].

Kent would also describe how Axl would torment his "personal mike-stand roadie" by repeatedly kicking down the mike-stands and hurling them after the roadie, before exclaiming, "Hey, check it out - I'm having one of those irrational temper tantrums you keep reading about in the press. Y'know you fuckers shouldn't encourage this sort of shit" [VOX, October 1991].

When listening to audio recording of this show, it seems like the roadie was Tom Mayhue and that Axl was in a more playful mood than malignant as conveyed by Kent's story: "Fuck! Tom, you’re too efficient tonight. Whoo! [Someone in the crowd: “Oh my God”] This is something new... Fuck! You know, I work on my fucking stupid irrational temper. But though, when I lose it, you fuckers get off on it. I guess being a fucking psycho basket case helps my career" [On stage, Mountain View, CA, USA, July 19, 1991].

After the show Axl was interviewed by Lonn M. Friend for an upcoming issue of RIP Magazine:

This is crazy, isn't it? I mean, three f?!king months on the road - with no record! It's nuts. I sat in my hotel room all day today, looking at a pile of faxes and papers, a million things that needed my attention. And I don't know, something just came over me. I took my Halliburton briefcase and smashed every light fixture in the room with it. Sometimes I don't know what's real anymore, and what isn't.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:16 pm

JULY 23-AUGUST 3, 1991

The tour continued to ARCO Arena, Sacramento, USA (July 23) and Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, USA (July 25).

The show in Costa Mesa was ended early, allegedly due to Axl having problems with his monitors [Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1991]. During the show Axl would take the time to criticise both Alan Niven and Steven [Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1991].

Review in Santa Ana Orange County Register
July 16, 1991

Then the band headed to the Great Western Forum in Inglewood for four shows on July 29 and 30 and August 2 and 3. All of these four shows started late, the third of them due to Axl having "stomachache" [Los Angeles Times, August 1991; Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


For the second show (on July 30), a little mishap occurred as Axl was being driven to the show. The driver made an illegal turn and was stopped by police and issued a ticket. This caused Axl to "angrily stick his head out of the limousine's sun roof and cry foul to the motorcycle officer issuing the citation." Axl then refused to take the stage unless Inglewood police took back the ticket. Bridenthal would comment on this:

Before a show, Axl is volatile. It's a sensitive time and . . . someone had told the limo driver to turn left.

After a discussion with the band's manager and the Forum's manager, the police decided to take the ticket back to avoid a riot. Axl thanked the police from the stage. The police would later explain that the ticket was taken back "for investigation" and eventually the driver was fined $60 [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].


For the two August shows, Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon would join the band for the songs 'You Ain't The First' and 'Don't Cry'.

Yeah, the Forum. I was very tripped out. I’d never been in - I was at the Pantages, but I didn’t have time to get nervous at that, because it was real spontaneous. But at the Forum, man, my mind was blown away. I was so scared. My knees were really shaking.

Shannon Hoon with Guns N' Roses[/i]

In addition, for all four shows in Inglewood, the band played past the curfew and would be fined [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

Slash remembered the shows in Inglewood fondly:

The [Great Western Forum] gigs were all sold out and they were amazing. The last one we did there was three and a half hours - in the history of the band, it was the longest one we ever played.
Slash's autobiography, p 339-340

When asked about his worst show, Duff would mention a nightmare version of a show in Inglewood:

My worst ever was actually in a dream. When Guns N' Roses sold out the L.A. Forum for five nights, I was in shock that we could be that big. The first two nights Keanu Reeves was right up front, rocking real hard, and I had a dream that we played and there was no one else in the Forum except for Keanu Reeves, sitting all alone in the front row. It was horrible.

The last of the Inglewood shows would be mentioned in the band's newsletter as being their longest show to date at three hour and thirty six minutes [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. According to L.A. Weekly, Axl had used a stopwatch to time the show, and came to "3-hour-36-minute-19-second" [L.A. Weekly, August 16, 1991].

After the last Inglewood show, the band would host a raunchy celebration at the Troubadour [L.A. Weekly, August 16, 1991].
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:17 pm


In an interview published in September 1991, Slash would talk about how the touring has been progressing:

Oh fuck yeah, it's wonderful, especially for it to be so well received.

Axl, on the other hand, would in December 1992 look back at the tour and be critical:

I really felt burnt out a lot on the first tour we did with Skid Row. It was very hard for me to be out there because all of the songs were a part of my past, and i wanted to get on to my future. The burnout thing hits and that's when we change the set around a little bit.

And Duff would mention that they had had problems:

Sure there were problems at the beginning of the tour, but we've been around the world four times since. We've achieved so much. By the last leg, things were really great. If you're in a band that's real and honest and is always trying things, pushing things, things are gonna happen. It just shows we're not fake.

Slash would also discuss having new band members:

Two new members really haven’t changed a hell of a lot. The main thing that’s different is just being on a different – you know, having the whole band on a different level as far as our being famous and stuff goes. That’s the only big change, you have to deal with all these different things you never really thought about, you know, or maybe you weren’t expecting. But, otherwise, it’s still the same screwed up band it always has been (laughs).

Skid Row would also look back at having opened for Guns N' Roses:

The beginning of the Slave to the Grind tour is when we went out with Guns N’ Roses on their Use Your Illusion tour. And neither of our albums were out yet. I was never really a Guns fan but I had fun on that tour.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

They’d just done that second record and it was a little harder, right? Like, “Monkey Business” and all that stuff. I think they wanted to get out from under the shadow of Jon Bon Jovi. So they were going through their own thing. And they were good guys. Baz is hilarious. They were fun to tour with.
Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock, Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion, 2021

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:17 pm


Axl was frequently been late to concerts in 1985-1989, prompting Doug Goldstein to quip:

He must be part Indian, because they have no concept of time. It makes guys like myself go through the roof.

But when touring the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums Axl's tardiness seemed to have gotten worse. At the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville on May 28, 1991, the show started an hour and 15 minutes after the opening act [The Indianapolis News, May 1991]. At the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on June 17, the band was "several hours late" [Los Angeles Times, June 1991; Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on June 25, the band took the stage "long after the opening band" [Journal Now, August 2017]. At the Thompson-Boiling Arena in Knoxville on June 26, the band was two hours late [Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Starplex Auditorium in Dallas on July 8, the band was again two hours late [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 1991; Circus Magazine, December 31, 1991]. At the Shoreline Theatre in Mountain View on July 19, the band was one and a half hour late [The Press-Telegram, July 1991]. The band then started late for all four shows at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, with one of them being delayed due to "Axl's stomachache" [Los Angeles Times, August 1991].

Things did not improve as the band travelled to Europe for their first European leg. The band was three hours late for their second show at Globen in Stockholm, Sweden [Duff's biography]. And in Mannheim, Germany, they were late, "even for us", as Slash would recall [Slash's autobiography, p 343-344].

Axl continued arriving at each concert behind schedule. In 1991, the regular thing was that was that Axl delayed each show for like, minimum, two hours.

Izzy's departure in November 1991 and the break before the band started playing show again in December 1991, did not help on the late starts. For the first show at Worchester on December 5, the band started well over two hours later than announced [Hartfort Courant, December 7, 1991]. Then they were 90 minutes late for their show at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 9 [New York Times, December 11, 1991]. For their show at the Philadelphia Spectrum on December 16, 1991, the band started one and a half hours after Soundgarden finished their set [Courier-Post, December 18, 1991]. And or their December 28 show at the Suncoast Dome in St. Petersburg, the started started 80 minutes after Soundgarden [Tampa Tribune, December 30, 1991]. For the January 9 show at the Summit in Houston, the band started more than four hours after the door opened [Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1992]. At the Erwin-Nutter Center show in Dayton in January 13, the band didn't start their show until 12:25 AM [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. They were late again for their first show at Target Center in Minneapolis on January 21 [Star Tribune, January 23, 1992] and for the show at the San Diego Sports Center in San Diego on January 27 [Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1992], and for the January 31 show at Compton Terrace in Chandler [The Phoenix Gazette, February 1, 1992], and for the April 9 show at Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont [Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1992].

Despite discussing the late starts in the media, the situation did not improve. For the band's show in Manchester on June 14, 1992, the band started two hours late but blamed in on technical difficulties [The Liverpool Echo, June 15, 1992; The Evening Chronicle, June 16, 1992].

Lots of different explanations would be used over the years to explain why the band was so late:


There’s a lot of pressure on us, and sometimes it gets to Axl. He can’t take the stage if something’s on his mind and if someone’s pressuring him about something. That’s why we delay some of the shows. […] A lot of people don’t understand that. Some nights we in the band even get mad, but we know that Axl has to do to get psyched to sing. Because once he gets out there, he’s incredible.

Listen, I don't like going onstage late, but Axl doesn't do it to needle anyone. It's the way he is. We know It, and the fans know it. Would everyone rather he's forced onstage earlier and then delivers a sub-standard performance? Because that’s what will happen! No, when he’s psyched up enough to be the Axl Rose we all love, then - and only then - should he go out and perform.

And they wonder why it takes time to get on stage or whatever. Because this shit goes through my head. I don’t feel like getting up here and having a good time with about 20,000 people, and having some jerkoff in the press saying some racist bullshit fucking thing that went down and nobody knows about it except the 20,000 that were here and the 50,000 to 100,000 people that read that thing believing this whole bullshit, believing you’re bullshit.

[…] we were trying to maintain our careers, deal with our lives, and record a record and put it out, and work the record. If I wasn't doing this work I wouldn't have been able to do the record. It's made things very hard over the last year, trying to do everything at once. Definitely my energies are on maximum. But to slow it down would mean having to stop doing something, and right now it's not really a smart move to do that. It's just been really hard, with a lot of misunderstanding, like, about why I'm late on stage or things like that.

One of the reasons that we go on late is so that we can get mentally and physically prepared to go out and do 150% for every single gig, right? And there’s such an emotional involvement with the songs that every single tune, whether we play for 1.5 hour or 3 hours, regardless – you know, every single song has to mean something at that moment. So the intensity is really just in the band itself. And we don’t work any other way. We don’t go through the motions. We don’t fake it every night and just, like, ride on some setlist and really wish we were somewhere else. You know, it’s like, we’re there to do this and it’s not really like a so-called job. It’s more – it’s what the band does, this what we’re happy doing, this is our life, so every show is like that. So every show is as intense as we feel, you know?

Last year I was doing extensive emotional work on myself, so when I go out to do a show, if something – I was, you know, uncovering something in my unconscious mind or whatever, and kind of experiencing it, it’d be really hard to go out and do the show, where that took, like, a year to get things under control. I’d come off stage, and either get on the phone or have the person fly out personally into four or five hours right after stage. You know, where someone goes, like, once a week to work out their problems for half hour or an hour, I was doing four-five hours a day; like, every day.

It's something you should ask Axl about. It's hard for me to answer, since I don't share his opinions in all questions.
[…] Axl has made that clear to everyone, that he doesn't get on stage before he feels ready. I've experienced when people have forced him to go on stage and I've seen when he's refused. […] It's worth waiting one or two hours, because then Axl gives the absolutely best possible show. At the same time I understand that people can get irritated, but that's something I can't affect.


Axl's just naturally late. It can get pretty tense at times, particularly when you're supposed to be on-stage and you're sitting there, literally counting the seconds, thinking 'man, we've just had a riot in St. Louis. Now we're in Texas. What the fuck is going to happen here?'


We always get attacked as (being) irresponsible and not considerate to our fans and stuff. It's not that. We're a late-night rock 'n' roll band, always have been and always will be, and we always got (upset) that we went on at 9. (Now) we go on at 10:30 or 11 and put on the opening act later. It's 'stay out late' and part of the rebellious thing.


Now, people say, “Why are you late?” dah dah dah. There’s all kinds of fuckin’ reasons. There’s a million fuckin’ reasons. You know, because it ain’t about getting up here to make money and it ain’t about getting up here to fuckin’ “let’s rock ‘n’ roll.” I can fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll in my car or to the stereo. We haven’t come up here to run around and jump off shit to rock ‘n’ roll. It ain’t about partying. It’s about freedom of expression. And it’s about telling you that you can fuckin’ get away with it, no matter what they fuckin’ try to tell you. You see, they’re scared of you. They’re real scared of you. They’re scared of people like you all over the country. They keep everything from you. They keep the medicines that can heal you away from you, because they want to make your fucking money. 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.

The band is freedom. The band’s always lived on its own terms, it’s always played on its own terms. Therefore, people can mistake that for an arrogance. It’s like, 'Oh, they’re late going on stage. What an arrogant bunch of guys.' And that’s not it. The reason a lot of people like the band is that the band says and does what it wants all the time. That’s the charm of it.


Slash would so his best to downplay Axl's role in the late starts, explaining it by band mentality:

I have to say we’re pretty self-indulgent when it comes to going on stage. Coming from a club background, we would go on from 11 to midnight. We're a nighttime band, and it takes us a while to get it together mentally and physically to go on stage. We just sort of cruise into the moment. We don’t go on until 10, at least, which is not to say that’s necessarily right.

We're a club band basically and we're used to going on at, like, midnight. We have a couple of entertainment factors between sets (after the opening band) where we have video screens and we videotape the crowd and we have close-ups of girls and they get off on that. We also have killer intermission music to listen to. All things considered, I think it would be better if we do a really good show as opposed to rushing into it when we're not mentally and physically prepared.

It’s just because we are a club band and we’ve never had to... I mean, we’ve always gone on, like, at 11:00 or midnight, you know. That’s where we come from. So as an opening band you had to cater to the headlining band and go on their schedule. But once we were on our own schedule, it was like, we didn’t really want to have to listen to the promoters per se, and we just thought it was cool to go on late at night, because it was cooler, you know? […] the unions don’t care, because they get paid it double time (?) so they’re happy. The unions love us, but the promoters got pissed off and some of the crowd, I think, was a little ticked off because they weren’t used to it. You know, they’re used to bands going on at 9:00.

Because we’re a club band. […] Alright, we get up and we go on stage when it feels comfortable to go out there and do it. […] You know, it’s a club thing. It’s like, you go on at midnight. And it’s like, it’s cool, you know? […] As far as the feeling is concerned, that’s what feels right.


In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone Magazine that was published in April 1992, Axl would take the responsibility:

I pretty much follow my own internal clock, and I perform better later at night. Nothing seems to work out for me until later at night. And it is our show. I don't want to make people sit around and wait -- it drives me nuts. That hour-and-a-half or two-hour time period that I'm late going onstage is living hell, because I'm wishing there was any way on earth I could get out of where I am and knowing I'm not going to be able to make it. I'm late to everything. I've always wanted to have it written in my will that when I die, the coffin shows up a half-hour late and says on the side, like in gold, SORRY I'M LATE.

As for what goes on behind the stage when Axl is late:

The chiropractor we work with on the road tapes my ankles professionally. I kept twisting my ankles during shows, and it still happens now and then. I have weak ankles, always have. I used to run cross-country, and that was one of the things that got in the way of that. So I work with a chiropractor. I work with a massage therapist, because I put a lot of stress in my lower back, and with what I do onstage, there's a lot of rebuilding that has to be done. There's operatic voice exercise. And I started therapy in February (1991) and, Jesus, I'm right in the middle of stuff. I mean, if a heavy emotional issue surfaces and you've got a show in four hours, you have to figure out how to get that sorted out really quick before you get onstage so that you're really quick before you get onstage so that you're not in the middle of "Jungle" and have a breakdown. The pressure of having to do the show when whatever else is going on in my life is hard to get past. We did a show in Finland where I just couldn't understand why I was doing what I was doing. I sat down while I was singing "Civil War," and I was kind of looking at my lips while I was singing and looking at the microphone and looking at the roadies, and everything just shut off. Well, that doesn't make for a very good show. We're out there to win at what we do. And if that means going on two hours late and doing a good show, I'm gonna do it. I take what I do very seriously.

But Axl would be quick to point out that these weren't excuses, only explanations on what he goes through and results in the late starts:

One thing I want to say is, these aren't excuses. I'm not trying to get out of something. The bottom line is, each person is responsible for what they say and what they do. And I'm responsible for everything I've said and everything I've done, whether I want to be or not. So these aren't excuses. They're just facts, and they're things I'm dealing with. And if you've got a real problem with it, don't come to the show. If you gotta be home at fucking midnight, don't bother. Do yourself a favor. I'm not telling you to come -- I don't think that I'd want to. If you've got a problem with me trying to deal with my shit and doing the show the best I can, then just don't come, man. It's not a problem. Just stay the fuck away. Because you're getting something out of it, but I'm also there for myself. I've got a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do. I've done about seven years' worth of therapy in a year, but it takes a lot of energy. And Guns n' Roses takes a lot of energy. It's a weird pressure to try to deal with both at the same time. And I'm gonna do it the best I can when I can and how I can. And I'm the judge of that--not anybody in the crowd.

And when asked how he would respond if a fan stopped him on the street and complained that Axl doesn't give a fuck about the fans:

If I didn't give a fuck about them, I'd come out and do a shitty show. I'd come out and tell 'em to fuck off. I'd sit down, sing the songs off-key and just not care. But I do care, and I also care too much about myself to do that. It's confusing to me that people go, "Well, I have to work in the morning." If you were getting laid, you wouldn't be so worried about what time it was. I know it's complicated, but so is getting onstage. And I'm sorry. I try to make it up by coming out and doing a good show and explaining as much as I can about what was going on in my head and why we weren't there.

Slash was still not ready to throw Axl under the bus, and when confronted with the Rolling Stone interview [which Rockline must have ready before the issue] where Axl seemingly admits to be the root of the problem, he prevaricated:

Well, it’s, you know, we just keep back in the dressing room. And like, we have these monitors, we have these cameras that shoot the crowd, so we watch different people in the crowd and stuff... […] And so we keep back in the dressing room, have a couple of drinks or whatever and watch what’s going on, and just basically getting into the frame of mind where you want to go up and play for three hours. And it’s like, it’s not a job, you know, so... […] I think we’re coming from a whole different mentality than the business is and so it did have its repercussions. And so we’ve, sort of like, tried to adapt; you know, try and find some middle ground.

It’s like that for everybody. In order to prepare for going all-out for 2-1/2 hours – whatever the show is – you gotta feel you’re in the right headspace to do it, you know? And that’s why we sit around and we hang out with each other, we have a few drinks to, like, cool down and relax, cuz we work out really hard and we give everything we can to every show, as opposed to going out and, like, faking it for two hours and just going through the motions, which a lot of bands do. So, I feel pretty justified in taking the time to do it right.

Axl would again open up about his lateness:

I addressed the crowd in Phoenix and explained, "Maybe I was just too f!?kin' bummed out to get my ass up here any quicker." They loved that. Maybe I couldn't move any faster than I was because it was a bitch. I don't mean to inconvenience the crowd by being late. Maybe by reading this interview they can understand a little of what I go through regularly. Sometime it's really hard getting onstage, because I feel like I just can't rise above and win. I don't want to get onstage unless I know I can win and give the people their money's worth. I'm fighting for my own mental health, survival and peace. I'm doing a lot of self-help work and, fortunately, I can afford the people I work with. People say that I'm just spoiled. Yeah, I am. but the work I'm doing is so I can do my job. I've learned that when certain traumas happen to you, your brain releases chemicals that get trapped in the muscles where the trauma occurred. They stay there for your whole life. Then, when you're 50 years old, you've got bad legs or a bent back. When you're old, it's too hard to carry the weight of the world that you've kept trapped inside your body. I've been working on releasing this stuff, but as soon as we release one thing and that damage is gone, some new muscle hurts. That's not a new injury, it's very old injury that, in order to survive, I've buried. When I get a massage, it's not a relaxing thing; it's like a football player getting worked on. I've had work done on me - muscle therapy, kinesiology, acupuncture - almost every day that we've been on the road.

Being asked why it is always uncertain whether Axl is going to show up for a gig or not:

Part of it is because GN'R is like a living organism. It's not an act. Even if I'm doing the same jump during the same part of a particular song, it's not an act. That's the best way for me to express myself at that point. I get there, and I let it out. Certain ways I move, like during "Brownstone," is the way to get the best out of myself. It's like, how can I give the most at that without giving up my life? We don't go onstage like Guns N' Roses used to, or like a punk band - and I'm not knocking punk bands - thinking that if we don't make it to tomorrow, that's okay. Now there's a lot of things depending on tomorrow and GN'R. It's like, how can we give the most and turn around tomorrow and give that much again? It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of maintenance. When I went onstage in San Diego, I got on thanks to Nirvana. I used their music to inspire me. I took their attitude and got up in jeans and a T-shirt - I never do that. I got out there and told Slash that I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought I was going to go out there and quit. If I go out there and can't do it because I have no energy, the I have to walk away. When I got out there, the crowd was very giving with their energy towards us, and it actually fueled me. There's energy in the crowd that, unless you've seen and felt it, there's no way to describe. It's f!?kin scary. Darby Crash [lead singer of the L.A. punk band the Germs] was scared to death of that energy, and his only way of rising above it was by getting wasted, acting like it didn't exist and showing that he could do more damage to himself than the crowd could. That's how he rose above it, but it finally killed him.

Yet, Slash would still refuse to put the blame entirely on Axl's shoulders:

I don't like to go on until I'm mentally and physically ready. However, I'll admit that three hours is pushing the limits.

We just feel the situation out. I don't know. In a way, we still feel like troubadours. We like to show up, have a good time, and play into the night without worrying about curfews and whatever. I feel like concert productions have become too rigid. It's turned into a formula, and we don't come from that side of the fence at all. I think we'd be fucking the audience more if we adhered to those rules, because we wouldn't be half the band on stage if we didn't do it our way. It's true that we've put our audiences through a lot of shit, but it's not that we don't care. Each show is a completely different trip for us, depending on our mental state. We try to approach each one as a unique event - almost like it was our last show. It's hard to regulate something like that. It's hard to say that it will start exactly at 9 p.m.

When we started going on stage late, the audience initially wondered what the hell was going on. Then it became part of the event. They knew we would either play an incredibly long set, or maybe just eight songs and leave. Our shows have the potential to be rowdy or completely calm. People come prepared for anything - but they always know it's going to be real.


After having quit the band, Izzy would talk about the late starts and how it bothered him:

I didn't feel it was fair to a lot of the people coming to the gigs to go onstage two or three hours late. That's just not right. That's the way Axl is and the way he works, but it's not right for me, and I didn't think it was right for the fans either. Stuff like that kinda got to me after four months on tour. There's a lotta pressure, I suppose, but the bottom line is, if you gotta be somewhere and there's something you gotta do, you do It. That's how I see it. […] When we were playing the gigs, a lotta times it was a case of, how long's it gonna be before Axl comes back onstage? It's a pretty big stage, and you're going, 'Anybody see which way he went?'. Then you see a bunch of roadies running... And the old filling-in with a blues jam and a drum solo shit gets old when it's on a nightly basis. It wasn't every night, but y'know...

Matt would later talk about what went down at the January 13, 1992 show when Axl was particularly late:

That’s what we do, man. We sit around and wait, just like everybody else. […] [The scene backstage was] a... nightmare. […] What happens with Axl is, if he doesn’t feel good about playing the gig, he just doesn’t... want to play. […] It’s a weird thing to make people wait, but it’s almost as if he wants to put on the best show for the people. He’d rather not go out — that’s the only way I can explain it. That’s what used to go on with him

In April 1992, Matt would claim he had learnt to deal with it:

I’ve learned to deal with it and I can understand where Axl is coming from. Because he wants to give his best performance, and until he’s ready and he doesn’t feel up to it, he won’t – he doesn’t like to go on.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; footage from April 20, 1992

And what Slash does while waiting:

Well, I keep in touch with everything that’s going on with us. You know, as far as where we’re going, what time we’re supposed to get there – the whole schedule thing. And because we’ve been together for so long, there is a predictability about it, you know? So it’s not a big deal.

Gilby would admit the band would be drinking:

We start drinking. The longer the wait, the tipsier we get. […] Girls flash us [on closed-circuit television piped into the backstage dressing rooms]. And, we sit back there and watch.

We would go down to the show and, you know, you have a cocktail at the show, then another cocktail... (laughs). And by the time he’d show up, we were hammered, you know, from sitting and drinking so much.


Before the Metallica tour in the summer of 1992, Slash would claim that they weren't so late anymore because of touring in Europe with strict curfews:

We've come to a happy medium where we haven't been going on that late. […] [Because] some of these gigs we did in Europe, there was a 10 p.m. curfew so we'd go on at 5 or 6 p.m.

Well, seriously, we’ve tried to, like, come to a happy medium where we go on a little earlier.

And when the Metallica summer tour started the heat meant they tried to be quicker, although stage change meant it took longer:

We’re trying to be a little bit more considerate about that, especially because of the heat. You know, the day is long enough for the people who are going. It starts, like – the doors open at 2:00. […] You know, Faith No More goes on for 45 minutes to an hour, Metallica’s on for 2 h and, sometimes, 2 h 15 minutes. And then, you know, the set change between us and Metallica is 1 hour 15 min, because they’re both big productions and so, turning the stage around like most bands do, we have to take down Metallica’s stuff and put our stuff up, and it takes a long time. So by the time we get on, unfortunately most of the kids are burnt out (laughs). But then, you know, we play for 2.5 hours, 2 h 45, something like that. So we try and get on as soon as possible. For the first time at Giants Stadium we were actually ready to go and the stage wasn’t up yet. [...] All of us were standing around. You know, it was an unprecedented event.

We're not late like we used to be. We've gotten a lot better. There is an hour-and-15-minute set change, and we can't do anything about that. It just takes that long. There's like 100 guys working to get this together. The kids understand. It's a bummer that it takes that long. […] Metallica has got a pretty intense stage setup. Lars [Ulrich] has got his drums on a train track, and they have all their other props. We don't have any props. Metallica pretty much stays in one place. It's cool the way they do it. We run our butts off. It's two different entities.

We've got an oval thrust stage, and there's people [fans] inside it in a type of pit. Then when Guns goes on, they cover it up and he [Rose] has got his ego ramp to go out on. So it worked out pretty good. […] Compared to Monsters of Rock, this is more hectic and there’s a bunch of more hubbub going on, but there are less bands. There are not so many frantic things between the crews. I won't say there's less people out; Guns have so many people [on tour], it's amazing. Who knows what those people do?

The wait isn't because anybody is late. It is because each band is doing a full show, which means we have to take down all the Metallica equipment, which is three truckloads of gear, before ours goes up. […] We could have cut a lot of corners--and saved a lot of money--if each band did shorter sets and used the same (staging), but the whole idea was to make this tour unique. The only reason it's happening at all is that the bands wanted to put on the kind of show that they loved when they were teen-agers themselves.

Some people are now thinking we're still up to our usual tricks of waiting two or three hours, but it really takes about an hour and half to change (sets).

Slash would also argue that they made more of an effort to not start as late any more:

We are trying to be a little more considerate about that. For a while we were going on late because it takes us so long to get mentally and physically prepared, as opposed to just walking out there and going through the motions. We had to get to the point where we were comfortable. We hang out, have a few drinks, see some friends and then go out and kick ass. ’Course it’d be midnight by then. Now, we try to get on as soon as we can.


For the band's Skin N' Bones tour in 1993, and the shows leading up tp it, Axl seems to have been able to be more on time:

Lately we have been very close to being on time. In South America, where we had a new problem every day, we were very, very late. But in Australia, where we just got back from touring, we were pretty much on time. […] It just depends when Axl shows up. […] It has nothing to do with the fans. He does care about them. But it’s just one of those things where he puts out everything he has every single night. When he’s ready to do it, he comes out and does it. When he’s not, he won’t go through the motions. […] When he comes in late, sometimes I’ll ask, ‘What up?' He’ll say, something like ‘somebody didn’t wake me up’ or ‘the limo was late.’ When he tells me this, there’s not much I can say. It’s his band.


On tour [Axl] had a real hard time finishing the sets. And he had a hard time getting onstage. So you're sitting there in the dressing room at a hockey rink and for, like, two hours the walls are vibrating while the audience is going, `Bullshit! Bullshit!' That time goes "slow" when you're sober. And they have to send a helicopter to the hotel to get him. He would just `get ready,' and sometimes he would `get ready' for a long time. I don't know what goes on upstairs with him. To me it's simple. Get an alarm clock, ya know? There's a modern invention that seems to work for people. You set it, and then you wake up when you're supposed to.

Not only does that drive the audience crazy, but it’s hard on your road crew that has to take the stage down later. They might be up until sunup because of the delay. I once asked Axl what was going on, but I never found out. I’ve known the guy for a really long time, but I didn’t get an answer.

I wasn't real fond of it, put it that way. We should just go out and play. I know it takes a lot of work to be uninhibited enough to go out and perform to audiences that size, but after a three-hours delay it’s really expensive. And by the time Axl comes out, the rest of the band’s pissed drunk because we've been waiting around.

Axl used to make us wait for hours before we went on stage. You can imagine being a drummer getting ready to go up before 50,000 people, but you don't know when to turn on. The show time is 9:00 and Axl would show up at 10:30, so your adrenal glands are pumping and you're constantly on edge with this nervous energy, and he keeps you on edge. I think somewhere deep inside he knew that was part of how he got this amazing rock 'n' roll energy out of the band. When we hit the stage, a lot of times we were pissed off at each other. I wouldn't even look at him. Then he would leave us on stage and take off. I'm sure everyone has heard about the stuff that went on. It was nuts. We'd go into these ten- or fifteen-minute jams waiting for him to come back.

Well [the late starts] happened so many times. That was pretty much a nightly occurrence. If we were only 2 hours late that was a good night, you know? That had a lot to do with my drinking too, because the band would be there. We’d be there, ready to go on stage, waiting for Axl to show up. You could hear the crowds getting pissed off and chanting "bullshit, bullshit, bullshit" you know. That didn’t feel too good to say the least. You had 50,000 fans or more out there, who had paid good money to see the band, and they had to wait 2-4 hours to see ya play. It’s not good.

Gilby would say he had no idea why Axl had been late:

I mean, I was ready-- To tell you the truth, I didn't observe anything. I mean, you know, Axl had a separate dressing room. The band was in one dressing room, he was in a separate one. I have no idea what he was doing. We were ready to play.

And when asked why they didn't simply knock on his door:

Well, you know what -- I mean, as a band member-- I mean, you know, no -- you don't-- I, personally, wouldn't have done it, you know, and stuff.

Duff being asked if they never had a row with Axl over the late starts:

Well sure but nothing big, nothing major. There was though a lot of anger within the band at his behaviour. It was a shit situation. Though you couldn’t go after the guy. You couldn’t really have a go because you’d a gig the next night. You knew that if you went after him about it, he would just fly home. So you had to keep it going and that’s that.

And in 2006 Duff would admit it had been hard but that it created this tension that made the shows great:

Um, I don't think he got a fear of playing… You guys are putting me on the spot here  [...]. I wanted to know, too - a lot of times, too. Let me be honest, man. We went out and toured and, you know, it got… (laughs). I had the same questions you guys have, you know? [...] Well, we... you know, it was not fun for anybody. [...] It was very trying, you know… But then, of course, there was the nights when everything was just magical. It was a band that had a lot of rub to it. But when there wasn't… I think that rub did create this magic, you know? And without the rub, I don't know if we would've had that fierceness-  To the band, you know? I just don't think it would've happened - it couldn't have happened any other way. So, I don't look back and go, you know, “Yeah, but if…” Because it happened! And it was magical. You know, it was… yeah, we'd go on two hours or four hours late, or not at all, sometimes. But… I think, yeah, sometimes there were just those times when it was absolutely, like, breathtaking. Even if you were in the band, you know, you could feel like it was breathtaking, the chemistry… I'm glad I was a part of it. I don't look back at it with any – you know, I'm not pissed off. I'm not anything…

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:18 pm


In August 1991 media reported started reported that Slash was dating a girl called Renee [Suran] [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

Later, Slash would describe how it had happened:

Renee happens to be very unique. I mean, I’m the worst candidate for marriage, right? In fact, she knew who I was, but had no interest or desire to even meet me because of my reputation. I finally met her, though, and I followed her in my car and pumped her gas for her. Then I took her to lunch, and then to dinner. I sent her flowers and we’ve been together ever since.

You know what, I met her when I was driving down the street in a car. I pumped the gas for her. And then we went for lunch and I bought her flowers… […] and I took her to lunch. And then I took her to dinner and bought her flowers… […] We were in a one-room for three months after we finally got everything together. […] Now as I think the farthest I got from the bedroom was like the kitchen.

In an interview with Los Angeles Times in August 1992, Slash would claim he met Suran "three years ago", suggesting that when 1990 started he was already in a relationship with her [Los Angeles Times, August 9, 1992], but had kept it secret, or her name hidden, until much later. In July 1991, it was reported that Slash had been going out with the same girl for over a year [ROCKbeat, July 1991], and this must likely have been Renee, indicating he started dating her in the summer of 1990. In December 1990, it would be said he had celebrated an 8 month anniversary with this girfriend [Musician, December 1990].

Suran would be described as a Hollywood model [Blast! May 1990]. Slash would also mention that he, at some point, would like to have a daughter and not a boy, because "I don't need another one of me" [Musician, December 1990].

Renee and Slash

This also fits well with Slash later stating he was off heroin when he met Renee:

No, I didn’t do heroin while... If she knew me when I was on dope - she didn’t want to meet me in the first place. She had nothing to do with me. I forced myself on her, cuz I saw her and just went, “Wow.”

That Slash tried to protect his girlfriends from exposure was something he mentioned himself:

Then there's been, 'Oh why won't you let me be in your video?' I say, 'Because when you and I split up, I don't want to have to deal with the relationship part of my life in this context.' A lotto that comes up. I went out with a girl from- f***, not Manchester — ah, Sheffield, for a while. All the guys had their girlfriends in the 'Sweet Child' video, and I cut all my scenes out. There was one picture of my hand on her ass and that was it. I'm not into drawing attention to the personal side.

Describing his love life:

I’ve only had five real girlfriends in my whole 25 years, but there have been a lot of in-between things. I’ve gone through so much shit with girlfriends, but just like anything else you do on a regular basis, you start to learn from your mistakes.

Asked to describe his girlfriend and the secret of their relationship:

Well, it’s like, besides the guys in the band, she’s one of my best friends. We get along and she takes care of herself so I don’t have to worry about that as much, you know? We just hang out. We go to the Rainbow [a Los Angeles rock hotspot] and stuff. I hate to sound like one of those guys who’ve wimped out and doesn’t want to be around in public anymore. If you’re not touring, I’d just rather be working. And if I’m not working, I don’t want that shit, the hassles of going out in public. Like, the Rainbow is the worst place to go if you want to get away from things. Yet at the same time, there’s a certain vibe happening there, so we’ll go over there. Like, giving autographs to nice people, that’s wonderful and I don’t mind at all, but there are some creeps out there who treat you like some sort of fantasy figure. It’s weird, man. I’m as down to earth as I can be.


Slash would describe he was trying to be faithful to Renee who he described as "a religious fanatic about fidelity" [Life Magazine, December 1992]:

Right now, as far as promiscuity goes, that's mellowed out a little... a lot. I have my girlfriend and I'm tight with her.

He would talk more about this in an interview published in September:

I always end up with a girlfriend who has no idea who the fuck I am — the novelty of just getting laid all the time wears off really quick. […] The only time that ever happens [=to go out with rock chicks] is when you go out just to have a good time and you have a few drinks somewhere and a good looking chick comes up. Basically, if they're gonna do that then you take advantage of it and it's more like a selfish kind of thing to get involved with, it's like 'okay, fine, if you're going to put yourself in that position I'm going to ...' what's the expression, you know ... so when it comes down to it, I'd rather stick with my one woman that I love and she doesn't give a shit about the whole rock star trip so it's more down to earth, which is more what I'm into.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:18 pm



In early 1989 rumors were spreading that the band planned to release a set of themed EPs, including a Punk, a Metal and a Rap EP [Kerrang!, April 1989]. Asked about his, Slash responded and only talked about a possible punk EP:

We were talking about doing an EP of cover songs. I don’t know... B-sides and stuff like that. It’s just that there’s a lot of stuff we want to record. So we’ve been flipping through ideas, yeah. […] There’s lots we’d like to do, it’s which ones we’re still trying to figure out. We were talking about doing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, and a Steve Jones song that he wrote and sang in the Sex Pistols called “Black Leather”. And a Misfits song too, maybe. Just a couple of different things, I don’t really like to get into talking about things too much, I just like to let it happen.
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

Axl, on the other hand, had lofty plans that included a second acoustic EP in addition to the punk EP:

I want to do five records in two years. There's the next studio one (possibly a double) [what would become 'Use Your Illusions'], the live one [what would become 'Live Era'], his own solo LP plus two EPs, firstly a Punk covers record and, secondly, another acoustic set, this time with X-rated versions. And then there's the films...

This would be confirmed in July 1989 with the band talking about a punk EP, a live release, and an "an X rated acoustic EP" [Raw Magazine, July 1989]. Duff would, like Slash, indicate that the punk EP was closest to being worked on:

But we have talked about doing a Punk EP. We’d probably do stuff by the likes of Fear, the Adolescents, The Sex Pistols, the sort of music we listen to before going onstage.


In December 1990 it was reported that the song "Down On The Farm" would end up on the forthcoming follow-up to 'Appetite' (Use Your Illusions) [Musician, December 1990]. In January 1991, Slash would mention they had recorded six covers as part of the material for the forthcoming Use Your Illusion record(s) and that these would likely be released on a separate record [Rolling Stone, January 1991]:

An EP is probably the direction we’re going to go as far as some of the covers are concerned. There are six covers: “Live and Let Die,” by Wings, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” by Dylan — that new version [on the soundtrack for Days of Thunder] that went nowhere — “Don’t Care About You,” by Fear, “Attitude,” by the Misfits, “New Rose,” by the Damned, and “Down on the Farm,” by U.K. Subs. They’re songs that we like – it’s as basic as that. Each of us has an individual favorite, and at the same time we share some. “New Rose” is something Duff wanted to do, I think. “Don’t Care About You” is something I wanted. The Misfits song was Axl’s idea, and “Heaven’s Door” and “Live and Let Die” were songs Axl and I both thought about doing.

As late as June 1991, Duff was quoted in RIP Magazine saying they had just decided to add 'Ain't It Fun' as the 36th song to be included on the forthcoming 'Use Your Illusion' records. At this time, they had decided to save 'I Don't Care About You', 'Attitude', 'New Rose' and 'Black Leather' for a future EP, but still expected to include 'Live and Let Die' and 'Down on the Farm' on the 'Illusions' [RIP, June 1991].

In the end, they decided to included only 'Live and Let Die' and 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' on the two Use Your Illusion records and save the remaining cover songs for a later release.

In May 1991, Axl would mention that they wanted to release an EP with "six punk rock songs" [MTV, May 1991]. These were likely the four remaining punk cover songs that the band had recorded but weren't included on the Use Your Illusions ('I Don't Care About You', 'Attitude', 'New Rose', 'Down on the Farm') and a couple more.

In late 1991, Slash would confirm that there were 6 punk song leftovers from the 'Illusion' sessions intended for an upcoming EP:

The only time I kept anything through headphones [while recording] was on a punk EP we did that's going to come out eventually, which we mostly cut live in the studio. […] It's just a bunch of songs that different guys in the band really like. There's a Steve Jones/Sex Pistols song called "Black Leather." A song called "I Don't Care About You" by Fear. And "Ain't It Fun" from the Dead Boys—sort of a tribute to Stiv Bators. There's a total of six songs on it now, and we're talking about doing a Hanoi Rocks tune. […] punk was an attitude I totally related to. [...] I loved the rebelliousness of it. I believe in that shit, and I dug the chicks, who were just great. I'm not a violent person, but I love that violent attitude. Even at our shows, it's part of our thing; break down the barriers and kick ass for three hours. I don't like it when it gets so violent that people are maliciously beating each other up. But the punk scene was a big influence, especially on Duff. I almost wish that attitude would come back and kill what the record business is right now. I hate it! I hate being a part of it. […] We've always done everything in our power to stay away from the norm. But then all of a sudden we became the norm. Appetite took off, and what I call the copying period set in. And all of a sudden it was no longer fun to be in Guns N' Roses, to have that "go into a liquor store, rip off a pack of cigarettes and play your guitar all day" attitude. I think that's one of the main reasons we didn't know what to do with this new album. We were real frustrated with being so acceptable. We're not Motley Cite. We're not gonna do something that appears a little bit dangerous so we can sell records.

In August 1991, the six punk songs would be listed as "I Don't Care About You" (originally by Fear), "Attitude" (The Misfits), "Ain't It Fun" (Dead Boys), "Black Leather" (The Sex Pistols), "Down On The Farm" (UK Subs) and "New Rose" (The Damned) [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

"Ain't It Fun" was allegedly a suggestion from Hanoi Rock's Michael Monroe when he was guesting the recording studio when Axl was adding vocals to the Illusion songs [Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish].

Besides, when I did their single, "Ain't It Fun," it was a spontaneous kind of thing for Stiv Batters. They flew me over to L.A. to do the sax and harp on the "Use Your Illusion" album, which I did on that song "Bad Obsession." So while I was there I was playing in the car, I made a tape compilation of the Dead Boys for Axl and when he heard "Ain't It Fun," he was like "wait a minute." Cause he told me he had never heard of the Dead Boys. And I was like, "that's amazing, you have to know the Dead Boys." So he says, "I seem to remember this song, it's great, let’s get the band together, let’s do this song. Let's do it as a duet." Well, fucking brilliant! In memory of Stiv Bators. He had all these plans for a video, which never happened, however, I said, "all I want for this is to put 'in memory of Stiv Bators." Just to make people aware it's for Stiv. And it ended up on the "Spaghetti Incident" album. When we did it, it was magical. We sang it live together. We did a little ritual there and lit candles around us there, because he used to do that, he was like a magician in one way. However, we did the song and it was like the 3 of us were singing. It wasn't a duet, it was like Stiv's voice was coming through Axl. In places he sounds just like Stiv. It gave me the creeps. It gave me the chills when he said, "ain't it fun when you feel like you gotta get a gun." In a couple of moments it's just like Stiv. I was like, "wow!" He was definitely there. The guy who actually wrote the song died. Laughner and Cheetah Chrome wrote this. Peter Laughner was like the Dead Boys roadie. It was the only song he ever wrote in his life. And then he died. And when Dead Boys did the record, they recorded the guy in some hallway, he was drunk on the floor one night saying, "I'm dead, I'm dead." So at the end of the Dead Boys version, when it fades out you can hear the echo of the guy going, "I'm dead, I'm dead." So Axl heard that and was like "Fuck man, maybe we shouldn't do this song." And I was like, "no, no, no, no, no, Stiv was about love. This is the right thing. It couldn't be anymore right than this." So all I asked for was mention Stiv Bators name on the record, that's great, and spell my name right. Cause my damager at the time was like, "this will be big time then, should I speak to the Guns 'N' Roses manager?" I was like, "Don't do nothing of the kind. If I catch you talking to anybody about this I'll kill you, you bastard. You're not going to fuck this up! I want to make sure the song gets on the album and that's it." I didn't get anything for it except a normal session fee for playing in the studio. So, it's never been a money making scheme.
Metal Sludge, March 2, 2004

In September 1991, Slash would talk about when the EP would be released:

Not for a while no reason saturating the market with Guns material at one time. We're touring for next year - we've already been out three months — we have another year and a half. When the record's been out and old news they'll put out the punk EP.

In February 1992, Slash was again asked what was happening with the "long lost" punk EP and he also mentioned that they intended to include their own song 'Ain't Going Down' on what would become an LP:

Well, that’s not gonna come out until we finish touring with this record and there’s a lot of mileage left in this album. As far as the Punk thing goes, there’s gonna be a new song on there that we didn’t finish for ‘Use Your Illusion’. It’s finished as far as all the backing tracks were done, but we didn’t finish the words. It’s called ‘Ain’t Going Down’ and it’s one of those songs that we wrote in the streets in Hollywood just walking around. Then there’s another cover that we’d like to do. It’ll probably be a Hanoi Rocks cover. Then there’s a song that I did in a band a long time ago that I used to sing that I’ve talked to Axl about but we’ll have to see. The whole thing will probably be a full record now, though.

And again in March and July 1992:

It was all done live and it was just really cool, so we want to release it. But at the same time we’re still touring on Illusions, which was a huge project for us and really one of those kind of things that I don’t think anybody can understand what we went through to do it. And so we’re gonna ride that out and tour on it until it’s, like, officially over and then we’ll start worrying about releasing other stuff, you know?

Well, there is a record coming out. When we feel like, you know, it’s a cool time to do it, then we’ll put it out. But, right now, we’ve been so involved with this tour and tour, you know, preceding it, so we’re just, like – when they feel ready, then we’ll put it out. And it’s got all these punk songs on it and sounds really good. I’ll leave it at that.

Talking about the recording process:

We did it a bit more live. We didn't have to articulate as much as on our own stuff. I sing on "Attitude" and "New Rose." Axl and Michael Monroe trade off lines on the Dead Boys song. It's something the band has always wanted to do, and we just did it while we were in the studio, as opposed to regrouping and learning the songs over again, and coming back a year from then and doing it.

Well, we recorded [the punk EP] after the epic Use Your Illusion I and II albums. Duff gave me a call and he says, “Hey, let’s do a punk record.” I’m like, “I was thinking of going maybe in Hawaii or something,” but...[…] (Laughs) But - so we went into the studio one day and we did a bunch of covers, about four or five songs. New Rose, and a song by Fear, which I can’t say the title on the air (laughs). And a bunch of stuff.

For newcomer Gilby it was important to become part of the recording history of the band. He would replace Izzy's guitar parts on the 10 songs recorded before Gilby joined the band and provide his own guitar parts to the three songs they would record after returning from Europe (likely 'Hair of the Dog' (Nazareth), 'Human Being' (New York Dolls) and 'Beautiful King' (T-Rex; although this was more likely the journalist hearing the song wrong and it was in reality 'Buick McKane')) [RAW, September 1993].

Well, my dream at the moment is to record an album with Guns N' Roses. Who will remember Kill For Thrills? Guns, on the other hand, will be in all history books and it would be nice to be in on one corner.

Actually, Izzy didn't even play on most of them, only the first ones that we recorded during ....Illusion', and they were very heartless. So Gilby never even heard lzzy's stuff. We just gave him the songs.

They had seven songs already recorded, then I went in and re-did all Izzy's guitars or put on guitars where he didn't play on 'em.

Duff would talk more about the record in April 1993 and mention it had been mostly his idea:

The record was really mostly my idea. We did ‘New Rose’ by the Damned, and ‘Down On The Farm’ by the UK Subs…if you were my age growing up with the Punk and Hardcore scene and shit, it’s all come full circle. After signing to a major label, all of a sudden I’m in this band that has the Number One record and a Number one single, and God knows how many fucking records we’ve sold. - ridiculous, stupid amounts - and all of a sudden we can go back and do Punk covers on a major recording budget! It’s almost hilarious! It’s kind of taking the piss out of them. […] It’s gonna come out while we’re not touring. I imagine next autumn. We’re going to take some time off, which we really need, because we’ve been touring for so fucking long.

Slash would also talk about how unexpected it was from them to release a punk record:

That's just stuff that we grew up with, that we dug. I think it's probably gonna turn the corner on everybody, because we keep changing all the time. No one seems to understand what the fuck is going on, because the rest of this industry is so predictable at this point. There's some great bands out there, but they never get a chance, no one ever signs them and they don't get a break. Fortunately, somewhere along the way, we found a hole in the door and managed to get a foot in and we've been doing things our own way. So we change all the time. No one seems to understand what we're doing. So this is just something that we wanna do.


It was likely while the band was having a day off while in Boston in March 1993, that the band recorded the Skyliner's 50's hit 'Since I Don't Have You':

There's a good story going behind that song because I think that was one of the first songs that really started to turn this "Spaghetti Incident" thing into an actual album. And we did it on off time on the road and recorded it in Makeshift studios in Boston. Brought rental gear down there 'cause all our gear was on the track. And that was how badly we wanted to do it. We just… you know, pulled out whatever we had. And talking about Gilby's guitar… We used his practice guitar and we used rented gear and this and that. We couldn't find a guitar store in Boston.

[Axl] was the one who sang that song the first time, when we lived together at my Mom’s house. When we were in the middle of this last tour, he’d sing it before ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’, so I’d play guitar too. […] We had a day off in Boston and I booked some studio time. I called up and I know they thought we were full of shit. But we rented some equipment, took a couple of our guys and showed up down there. […]Only one guy was at this piece-of-shit studio, and we just took over, did it and that was it. Axl would sing it so great that I just knew I had to book the time and say, ‘Let’s go’. It was one of the best bonding experiences ever.

Later, in July 1993, Duff would talk about the upcoming record and mention how it had grown to not only be a record, but also to not only be punk:

It's not all punk rock either now. There's a T.Rex tune on there, Nazareth — it's more like some of our lesser-known influences. Because everybody goes, 'Oh yeah, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin', but there were all these people too that people don't think about when they think of GN'R, like Iggy and the Stooges, Fear, The Sex Pistols, Damned. I sing a lot of the tracks and Slash sings for the first time too.

Duff would also not reveal the record's title:

I can’t tell you now ‘cos it wouldn’t make any sense. We’ve made an oath to each other that we won’t tell anyone the title until the time is right. But it’s really cool, it’s really fun. Just us lettin’ loose.

Talking about the recently recorded songs:

We did ‘Hair Of The Dog’ by Nazareth. It really turned out brilliant, ‘cos Dan McCafferty, their singer, is one of Axl’s idols. Then we did ‘Beautiful King’ by T-Rex off ‘The Slider’ [Ed: More likely 'Buick Mckane'], and we did a New York Dolls song too - which wasn’t considered Punk Rock.

By September 1993, it would be revealed that the record would contain 13 tracks [RAW, September 1993], which was to become the final number.

In October 1993 it would be reported that the record had been named 'The Spaghetti Incident' and that it was set for a release on November 23 [Tampa Bay Times/Billboard, October 4, 1993].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:18 pm


In September 1991, Izzy would point out that the band members were finally in a state where they could tour:

We've just gotten to the point where everyone's back and finally coherent enough to be able to play together. That's what the deal is here. It's been such a trip from having no money and notoriety to havin' all this money, and notoriety, all these drug connections and bullshit.

And Slash and Gilby would argue they had matured:

We grew out of [playing wasted]. Before the show I have a couple of cocktails, to loosen me up. I wouldn't chance a show on any kind of chemical; its just not conducive to accurate playing.

The heavy stuff that used to keep us from doing the stuff we used to do is gone. I mean the band still parties, but differently - I mean, we almost carry a circus with us for after shows. When we're done we go back and have a different party each night with theme parties. […] It's like now we get to party in style (laughs). We make our own parties - it's great! If you work your ass off all these years to get to this point, you have to take advantage of it. And that's what we’re doing.

Despite these comments, while Slash and Izzy had quit heroin, it was obvious the band was partying and using "milder" drugs quite profusely:

There was a lot of problems in the band [when I joined], the drugs. I never took drugs before I was in GNR, but I learned real fast (laugh)! And to drink a lot also, every night. But it was a part of the trip. We were on the top of the world, it was a permanent party: girls everywhere, and I was in the middle of all this, and I thought: "Wow, THAT's rock'n'roll". Limousines and all that….
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

In a later interview, Matt indicates that also stronger drugs were used around 1990 by other band members than Steven:

Steven Adler, the original drummer, had quite a drug problem and the rest of the band was going pretty hard too, you know. So I used to describe it as like walking into an opium den.


The band would also spend lots of money on lavish parties, especially in 1992 when they started touring (and competing) with Metallica:

We had limos on-call 24 hours, burgers at the Trump Tower that cost $35. The first night we played Giants Stadium, there was one pinball machine and a few bottles of booze backstage. Axl came in and said, "This isn't the Rolling Stones!" So the next night there's a full casino, tons of lobster, and champagne flowing everywhere.

We have these great parties that Axl’s been kind of putting on, theme parties and stuff. […] We had voodoo night. And we had a Roman, like, orgy type night, a (?) party and they had all these big muscle guys bringing in a pig, roasted pig. At 4:00 in the morning, of course - you know, who wants to eat a roasted pig?

[…] the band still parties, but differently - I mean, we almost carry a circus with us for after shows. When we're done we go back and have a different party each night with theme parties. It's just a different thing — it's part of the freedom we have 'cause of where we are. One night was a seventies night - we had twister boards, and girls dressed up like Go-Go dancers and stuff. And another night we had a harem thing. We've had casino nights — everything. It's like now we get to party in style (laughs). We make our own parties - it's great! If you work your ass off all these years to get to this point, you have to take advantage of it. And that's what we’re doing.

We'd spend $100,000 a night on parties. For two and a half years, there was something every night. One night was a Greek night-four greased-up, muscle-bound guys carried in a roast pig. I was so pissed off - I love pigs.

[Being asked if they had a different theme party in every city]: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. [...] we had a casino with ice sculptures somewhere.

In September 1992, Greenville News would claim the band had different theme parties "every night", including a Roman party:

People were handed those little wreath things for their heads. The people that will work back there — usually really attractive girls — (were) in the toga uniforms.

They would also have an Indy 500 theme with girls dressed up in race uniforms:

We brought, like, a big checkered grub and had a bunch of girls that looked like – You know, when someone wins a race, then the girl kisses the guy.

They also did a 60's party with black lights and girls dancing, in the words of Gilby, on a "twister thing" [The Greenville News, September 29, 1992].

Rob Affuso from Skid Row would recount the theme parties:

Axl used to have these great parties after the shows and he would flip out quite a bank roll to roll these parties and they would vary in themes weather they'd be Caribbean, they would always involve hot tubs, and beautiful women and food, and alcohol and it was always...

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:20 pm


In 1989, Slash would talk about wanting to continue using art from Robert Williams, the artist behind the 'Appetite' cover, for future album covers:

What I wanted to do is I'd like to sort of continue the next album and continue the next cover, or do the next cover continuing using his artwork just to have that sort of like, I don't know, tie one album into the next. You know what I'm saying? […] And [the fans] can instantly be able to recognize it right off just because they had the first one. And so when they see the second one with the same kind of artwork, but maybe a different theme or a different drawing, you know, they'll instantly know what it is.

And when asked if he couldn't design the artwork:

I'm very single minded. And so, you know, it's like when I when I'm into art, and that was all I was doing was just art, when it comes to the band, when I started, you know, when I started playing guitar, that all it was guitar. And I don't want to be responsible for coming up with artwork. I don't want to have deadlines. I don't want to be like, I've got to make a painting for this, because it ruins my creativity. You know, when it comes to drawing, you know?

But then in 1990, more than a year before the release of 'Use Your Illusion I & II', Axl had a different idea:

It might be called Use Your Illusion. We’re talking with an artist named Kostabi, because I bought a painting and we want to use it as a possible cover, and the title of the painting is “Use Your Illusion”, and that’s what we may use. I wrote a song the night before that says, “I bought me an illusion and put it on the wall”, and the next day I found a painting called “Use Your Illusion".

Use Your Illusion
by Mark Kostabi

The painter, Mark Konstabi, would recount the episode:

Axl wandered into this gallery and saw the "Use Your Illusion" painting. The next day, one of his representatives called and asked if he could use it on the cover of his next record. He said that he had been writing about illusions, so it made sense.

In fact, as said in the band's official fan club newsletter Axl had been specifically visiting "a number of L.A. galleries" to find "a cool painting for the record cover"[Conspiracy Incorporated, May 1990].

The lyrics Axl is referring to is from the song 'Locomotive' off 'Use Your Illusion II'.

Apparently, the name and artwork of the records was all Axl's idea and between the lines it could seem Slash wasn't too fond of it:

It’s the title of a painting by some controversial artist. I don’t know who. I’ve never heard of him. I don’t keep up with art circles. But that’s the name of this painting that Axl bought, and he said, “Let’s make this the cover of the album.” Like the last album cover, we just said, “Fine,” no discussion.

Axl would happily talk about the cover artwork and why it had been chosen:

Ιt’s an artist by the name of Mark Kostabi. And I picked that painting because I was like, I was really tired and I was having dinner somewhere. And there was an art gallery across the street, and I went like, "Well, I’ve never walked into an art gallery before being able to afford something" [chuckles]. […] And I went in, and I happened to know this guy who worked for Billy Idol, and he was working there. And I wandered around, and then I walked into the office when no one was around, and it had all these other paintings. And I had just written Locomotive, where I said “I bought me an illusion and I put it on the wall”, and I found this painting that I really liked. And then I looked at the back and the title was “Use Your Illusion”. And it was just kinda like meant to be. It was, like, the first painting that I’ve ever bought. And I took it home and took everybody by a little while to warm up to it, but, you know... And everybody finally got into it. And Slash decided that it said a lot, you know, and we agreed as a band that it was pretty cool. I also wanted to use that picture because it was art. It was art that has a lot of controversy around it, because of Kostabi’s methods of actually doing the paintings. The background was taken from a very old painting, but it’s still something really nice to look at and it’s - I don’t know how I feel about how it was done, I just know I like it. So to me that’s kinda like with songs, when using a tape or using tape machines to create things. Sometimes that’s a problem, other times it’s just like, “Well, maybe that’s how they need to get it done and you get to hear the song”, you know. So that’s why I like this particular cover, a lot of reasons. […] Plus, it was, like, a cover to go, to go to people that could go on, “Guns N’ Roses is just obnoxious” or whatever. And I might go on, “Yeah, well, why don’t you put this nice picture in your house”, you know? Sitting there, you know? […] “You didn’t expect that from us, did you”?

Slash found the album title brilliant:

The title, "Use Your Illusion" - which is every bit as splendidly apposite to Guns as "Appetite For Destruction" - came from a painting by Mark Kostabi that Axl liked, just as "Appetite" was named after the outrageous robot rape painting that graced its sleeve until record shops refused to stock it. […] "Use Your Illusion' is also very ironic for us. I mean, I don't know why but this band has just generated bullshit hype for so long that it's like throwing it back in their faces.

He would further expand upon what the title meant:

It's the title of the painting on the cover but 'Use Your Illusion' means that the band is so high profile in a sort of vanity sense, the way people perceive us and what we're doing, what we're talking about or what our whole trip is about, 'Use Your Illusion' is like 'go ahead'.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:20 pm


Despite reducing his drinking in early 1990 [insert quote], things got worse later in the 1990:

I was pretty together until the middle of 1990. And that’s when the wheels fell off and the cocaine came in. That’s when beer wouldn’t do. [...] Not at all [strong enough]. And then you drink too much vodka, you need some more coke. And then you’re too high on coke, you do something else to take the edge off. And then you’re…Yeah. You get my drift. But it happens. Some people make it, some people don’t.

While doing a conference in Copenhagen on August 19, 1991, he was described as being "noticeably drunk and kept taking drinks" [Press Conference, August 1991].

To Rolling Stone magazine, who interviewed Duff in June, 1991, he claimed to drink much less, "far from the 2 gallons of vodka a day" back in the band's early days. He would also explain that the uncertainty of whether the band would break apart or not "a few years ago", caused him to drink.

When things began to look more secure he decided to stop drinking and quit for 71 days [Rolling Stone, September 1991]. These 71 days probably happened early in 1991 during Rock In Rio when Duff and Izzy were rumored to have sworn off alcohol and drugs for 60 days [Kerrang! January 1991], although Izzy at the time was sober so it might just be a bogus rumor.

Duff was aware of drinking too much:

When I have kids, I will stop drinking for good. I'm not going to be like my fuckin' Dad. I came to that conclusion when I was in the 2nd grade.

In July 1991, Slash would be asked if he was worried about Duff's drinking:

No. Look, I know what Duff Is doing -and that's his choice. I don’t tell him what to do and he doesn’t tell me. If I decided he should stop drinking then I'd be a hypocrite. And he’s not as bad as you're making out now. [...] If we ever think he's drinking too much, then we'll tell him. We're all there for one another.


In addition to drinking, Duff would develop a heavy cocaine habit. Sebastian Bach, the singer of Skid Row who opened for Guns N' Roses in 1991, would describe how he was handing out cocaine to Duff during their first show together at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin on May 24, 1991 [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:21 pm


Axl and Slash had had their differences from when the band first started, and even before when they played together in Hollywood Rose.

The relationship between most lead singers and most lead guitar players is very sensitive, very volatile. It’s just very, very intense. It has major ups and major downs, there’s always big mood swings and arguments. Singers and lead guitar players are very temperamental, everyone wants to have their own way. To be a lead guitar player or a singer, you have to have a real big ego! But somewhere within all this intensity and this friction, there's a chemistry. And if the chemistry is right, as with Axl and me, then there's something... a spark, or a need... that holds it together. But you fight too...

Slash's struggles with heroin had resulted in Axl calling him out from the stage in October 1989, when the band opened for The Stones (which helped Slash gain sobriety). On the other hand, Axl had been taking a increasing leadership role in the band as his band mates struggled with addiction, and while Slash was now in a productive physical state, Axl's notorious temper and mental instability that resulted in marriage problems and confrontations with the police and his neighbor, vexed on Slash in early 1991 as it delayed the making of the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums.

Well, [Axl's problems are] a pain in the ass, and they keep things from getting done. I’m the most uptight about all of this. It’s just my nature — Axl thinks I’m this sort of sick-minded workaholic. And it’s true — in some ways, I do get uptight. I can get very negative about it. But there are moments when it [Axl’s troubles] really gets in the way of what I think is productive, and we end up spending a lot of money. Sometimes I think Axl has no idea, or has a very slight idea, of what the financial reality is. I mean, to me $400,000 or whatever to make a record is ludicrous. Of course, if I was to say that to Axl outright, he’d say I don’t know what he’s going through, and there’d be a fight right there. That’s the way we’ve always been — there’s something I can’t relate to or vice versa, and that’s where we butt heads. So I just sit there with my head between my knees, freaking out…But Axl’s craziness drives me crazier than it does Axl, unbeknownst to him. And that’s the truth. […] Axl is like a magnet for problems. I’ve never met anybody like him. He’s the kind of guy that would get a toothbrush stuck down his throat because that particular toothbrush happened to be defective. [..] I mean, shit goes on with that guy, and if you talked to him, he’d tell you the same thing.


I don’t want to talk about Axl, because everybody is constantly trying to pit us against each other. You know, they’re trying to put two fucking Japanese fighting fish in the same bowl. We’ve always been the same. We have our ups and downs, and we butt heads. As long as I’ve known Axl, we’ve had so many differences that have been like the end of the line as far as we were concerned. I think that happens with most singers and guitar players, or whatever that cliché is. It might look a little intense on the outside, seeing all this shit that we’re going through, but it makes for a tension that’s — in a morbid kind of way — really conducive to the music we collaborate on. But as far as Axl goes, he is the best singer-lyricist around.

Despite saying he didn't want to talk about Axl, Slash was still not happy with how the Rolling Stone interview came out:

I said in the [Rolling Stone] article that there were three things I didn’t want to talk about: Axl, my drugs past and other bands. So when it comes out, the first thing it says is: ’Slash on Axl Rose and drugs’.

And then in the article itself, they did this huge thing on mine and Axl’s relationship. The way it read was to pit me and Axl against each other, which is not at all what I wanted to get into. Axl and I have a relationship which is private, and none of that stuff should be out in the open. As far as the drugs stuff goes, that was my fault. They pressed me so hard on the questions, I ended up just saying, ‘Yeah, well, this is what happened...’. When I read it back, it raised the hair on my arms.

They twisted what I said around and they only focused on certain things definitely at the relationship between Axl and I, that they are always trying to make a real negative issue out of; which is not like that at all. When that came out, and there were certain things in there that I said that were true, but in the context of the conversation they would have read completely different than the way the guy edited the whole thing.

I was pissed off because I was like, you know, this is why I don’t like getting involved with this kind of stuff, because I don’t like being misrepresented and having a hit so close to home.

Before the touring in 1991, Slash would open up a bit on his relationship with Axl:

If there ever was a combination of fucking opposites, like me and Axl or whoever else in the past, that one is crystal clear. Me and Axl are so unalike that we attract each other. […] The relationship between most lead singers and most lead guitar players is very sensitive, very volatile - I could go on listing these things for hours. It's just very intense. It has major ups and major downs. But somewhere between all this intensity and this friction there's a chemistry. And if the chemistry's right, like me and Axl are really tight, then there's something - a spark or, you know, a need, that holds it together. You fight too. The biggest fights are between me and Axl. But that's also what makes it happen.

And when asked what they fight over. Music? Drugs? Who gets the most attention?

I don't remember us ever fighting over who gets the most attention! No, dumb things. Like a marriage. I hate to harp on that subject because it's so negative and there's so many other cool things about the two of us, everybody else in the band too, that are just more interesting.

And when describing the "cool things":

Well, when we talk, we're not band members. We talk about ideas that we have, or remember seeing this or hearing that? We'll just sit up all night and talk, and it's me and Axl talking. It goes beyond anything you could write down. Whatever entity the Slash-Axl combination makes, you can't define it like that. It's just how we are... If I ever gave it that much thought and had an answer, then it would make the whole thing too fucking predictable, wouldn't it?

In September 1991, Rolling Stones would discuss the different personalities of Axl and Slash: "Slash seems to have accepted the occasional flare up arising from his and Rose's warring internal time tables as par for the course; its clear that he sees the tension as a necessary evil, the spark that makes for the combustible energy at the heart of their creative collaboration" [Rolling Stone, September 1991].

The same month, Slash would again indicate that he and Axl was tights but that the media was causing problems:

They’re trying constantly to, like, sensationalise me and Axl, or Axl and I’s relationship, which has totally gone way leftfield. Me and Axl are fine. We’re tighter now than we’ve ever been, I always say that. And it’s true. It’s not me trying to make up, like – you know, to cover anything up. We get along great, but there’s this thing behind us, that’s constantly nipping us in the back, going, “Oh, Axl and Slash,” “Axl and Slash,” “Axl and Slash.” You know, I’m just sick of it. I mean, it’s not true.

He would also discuss his strategy for dealing with problems:

My bond with this group is pretty much in my blood, so I’m willing to deal with anything, you know? And I do. I stick in there and make sure that we... You know, it’s just like, if I had to put it down to “Well, do you want to keep playing or are you just getting fed up?” I go, “I want to keep playing.”  That’s what keeps me working and dealing with some of the really crazy shit that goes down (laughs).

As Axl caused controversies during the 'Use Your Illusion' touring in 1991, Slash received more and more credit for keeping the band together. The Boston Globe would say that Slash is "widely viewed as keeping Guns in gear" and that he "has become the band's expert at damage control" able to "throw a positive spin on all events" [Boston Globe, December 5, 1991]. Slash himself would downplay Axl's negative media coverage:

The best way of putting it is that his (Axl's) image gets blown way out of proportion. Some of the things are true, but some are blown way out of proportion. And then there are complete falsehoods -- and even those are blown out of proportion from the first time they came out.

In December 1991, Slash would also say that he and Axl never fight anymore and that they have a professional relationship [The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 1991]:

Every night I show up, he shows up, we talk about normal things. We figure out what the first song should be. We’ve been doing this for a while, so we’ve gotten good at picking up whatever the other person is feeling, which is important, because things are so spontaneous we have to be really together as a band.

He would corroborate on this in early 1992:

[The relationship between him and Axl]'s only been stormy in the public’s eyes because of the media. Axl and I haven’t had a fight in about a year and a half, and the couple fights that we did have were the kind of fights that any family could have over such a volatile situation as the one we’re in.

Axl, too, would indicate that their fights were behind them:

Let me say something about us being at each other's throats: We haven't really been that way in the past year and a half. I love the guy. We're like opposite poles of energy, and we balance each other out. We push each other to work harder and complement each other that way.

Taken these two quotes together, it would indicate that Axl and Slash were going through tough times in the second half of 1990, but that things had been okay between them since then.

During the band's second show in Dayton, on January 14, 1992, a quarrel broke out onstage between Axl and Slash when Axl misheard something Slash had said:

We had a run-in in Dayton [Ohio], because both myself and Dougie thought [Slash] said something shitty to me onstage. That was the night I cut my hand to the bone. Backstage we have monitors much like the ones onstage, and while I was back there dealing with my hand, I thought I heard him take a potshot at me. I wrapped my hand up in a towel and was like, "Let's get it taken care of, so I can finish the show." I came back onstage and was a dick to him and told him I'd kick his f?!king ass in front of 20,000 people. That was f?!ked up. I was wrong, and I apologized the second I realized I was mistaken. Someone who is supporting me as strongly as he does is a hand I never want to bite.

Axl's amazingly misunderstood. I've known him for a long time and we've gone through a dozen different plateaus in the relationship. It took me a long time to understand him. We're so different as far as personalities go. He's highly complex; I'm very black-and-white. So we have a lot of run-ins. But we're really close.

In February 1992, Slash would again talk about the complexity of Axl's personality and how Slash would act as a mediator:

Well, I know Axl real well and a hell of a lot better than anyone’s gonna know him from reading the press. I know where he’s coming from and I may be a little more level-headed so I guess I get labelled as the mediator at this point. With Axl though, a lot of it comes from just unbridled sincerity. Everything about him as a performer and a singer comes from his personality, so the shit that makes him crazy or the shit that he finds hard to deal with is, at the same time, what makes his talent, you know? […]Sure, shit goes down and I keep it together, but with me it’s pretty simple. It’s ‘Get the fuck up there and plug in that guitar and go!’. With him it isn’t that simple. There’s a lot going on part from the three hours that we spend up there and it’s that shit that affects him. I can say that really, apart from getting laid, we’ve all realized that there ain’t that much fun in the music business!

In a RIP issue published in March he talked about how close they were:

The thing about me and Axl is, both of us have no real life outside of this band. All I do is play guitar. My life is completely devoted to my own personal career and Guns N' Roses. So, like, Axl might seem like a pain in the ass to everybody involved, but at the same time. he's as dedicated to it as I am - even more so in many ways. He cares about a lot of things I don't even think about, because I'm sort of just a rock guitar player... book the gig and play it! Me and Axl have gotten really close lately, talking about this whole Guns N' Roses trip and what this band is capable of doing, and about making a few statements as far as what we're about, because we're getting sick of having other people tell us what we're supposed to be about.

An example of how Slash would protect Axl and downplay any of his negative sides, is from MTV in March 1992 when Slash was asked to explain the band's late concert starts, and even challenged on whether it wasn't Axl's fault and how he felt about that. Slash would refuse to throw Axl under the bus and instead prevaricated [MTV Rockline, March 1992].

In the first half of May he would again point out their differences but that they were friends:

As for my relationship with Axl, we’re friends but we’re two very different people. I've never been able to express myself and show my feelings since I was a kid, and I'm still like that, while Axl kind of succeeds in that.
RIP Magazine, March 1992; translated from Italian

The same month Slash would also indicate there were issues, though, without indicating whether there were any conflicts between him and Axl causing the "obstacles":

Well the obstacles are harder than they were. Because shit comes out of the woodwork you wouldn't believe! Anything to try to stop the wheels from turning. That part's harder. Sometimes you just want to go to sleep and forget. But the band as a unit is stronger, cos we've been through so much.

But he would point of there were no "blazing rows":

No, we've never had that kind of relationship! People print that stuff and it really hurts. Because really the only family we have is between us. These guys, they're my sense of reality, they're the people I cling to, and people are trying to rip it apart so I don't have a f***ing home. But we bond together, because there's this thing tugging at us all the time saying we're getting real close.

Axl would confirm the band members were like a family, and that the bond between him and Slash was particularly strong:

Especially with Slash and it's [=the relationship] definitely a marriage.

In May 1992, Slash would also describe the relationship:

We’ve been friends since we were kids. I love the guy. He just gets a bit worked up sometimes and things get to him.
The Liverpool Echo, June 8, 1992; interview from May 1992

And in July:

When Axl and I first met is when we had the biggest problems. But he's opened up so much now and that's made me a lot more sensitive with Axl. ... We communicate great and I've been having a ball with this whole thing. We trust each other more than anybody else and I feel really close to him. […] No one can kick our {expletive} -- that's how tight our bond is.

This would again indicate that their worst problem was in the beginning of the band.

Slash would again discuss his relationship with Axl in August, and indicate Izzy's departure had only served to strengthen it:

[Izzy's leaving] made us all closer. I had always been close to Duff, but the changes made me and Axl a lot closer than we had been. We had always been friends, but there is really a bond there now. What used to happen is we'd misunderstand each other. We'd have fights because of something I was supposed to have said about him in the press or something he was supposed to have said about me. All these problems have pushed us closer together, so that we communicate better and avoid the misunderstandings.

He would also say the last time they fought was in 1988 during his worst drug period:

The last fight we had was four years ago and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded. At this point, I really have it together, so he can lean on me and I can lean on him. He has opened up more. He's not like a firecracker anymore, who just explodes. As far as image, it's hard to get that across to people when you have 5,000 publications trying to tell you what they want about Axl and the band.

That Axl and Slash got tighter after the fight in 1990 and as they struggled with Steven and Izzy, would be a point Slash would repeat later:

After that, when we started working again, there was so much other shit going on with the other guys - Izzy and Steven - that in order to focus on our primary goal, which was to continue as a band, Axl, Duff and I got really tight. And it continued from there.

Despite all these claims to a strengthened friendship, in 2000, Slash would talk about how Axl changed as the band got successful and how he, Slash, remained the same, resulting in them drifting apart:

Sure, sure, because, for me, nothin’ much has changed, either. Not really. Everything that went on in the band, it didn’t matter if it was playing Donington way down on the bill, or flying to gigs on the private plane we had after that, it was always the same for me.

Me and Axl are different like that, the whole 'aspiration of stardom’ thing. I always hung out in the same places, always did the same things, wherever the band was at. But for him it was like everything changed. He wasn’t like the same guy anymore, it was like the band wasn’t the same band anymore.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:21 pm


As described previously, Slash had made an attempt at sobering up at some point not long after the shows with the Rolling Stones in October 1989. For a guy who had always struggled with temptations when not actively touring, and who had recently sobered up, Slash was thrilled to finally be back on the road in mid-1991 when the band started touring the 'Use Your Illusion' albums:

I’ve been fucking going nuts. […] I’ve been a complete basket case for... I’ve been through the mill since we got off the road last time (laughs).

Yet, "sobering up" can mean different things and in May 1991 he would be clear that he wasn't "an angel or anything", something he would repeat in many interviews in 1991 when asked about his lifestyle:

I took care of myself for a while and I still am, more or less. Like, I’m no angel or anything, I didn’t turn into that.

No, I’m not totally clean. I don’t shoot heroin any more. You know, I stopped hard-lining, okay? That’s the new word for the month, right? Hard-line, right? But I stopped being so overindulgent to the point where I wasn’t keeping up with what I really wanted to be doing.

Izzy would agree that Slash was doing a lot better though:

And Slash, well, let's say he can pronounce his syllables better now. He was pretty bad though. Fuck, he was a mess. He's a great guy an' all, but he can't monitor his own intake, with the result that he's always fuckin' up big-time. Like leaving dope hanging out on the table when the police come to call; nodding out into his food in restaurants - shit like that. I love the guy a lot, but the fact is, man, Slash is not what you'd call your thinkin' man's drug-user. He's real careless, doing really shitty things like OD-ing a lot in other people's apartments. A lot.

Right now Slash is a lot better. But these guys, they still drink, they still party. Probably way too much for their own good. Fuck, these guys like to trash the fuck out of themselves. They really haven't changed much.

While in Mountain View in July 1991, talking to the journalist Simon Garfield, Slash admitted that he still takes drugs, but that it is now a "minor" thing in his life:

I’m no angel, y'know? I just stopped going over­board. The habit is just not major any more. […] I'm no angel. But I know I can't get hooked on dope again, because it just does not work for me. Its just an alienating drug period. And so I've been cool.

Garfield would then ask a band crew backstage if "he thinks Slash will sue if I write that he still indulges" to which the reply was, "He'll probably sue if you don't" [The Age/Independent on Sunday, August 1991].

And as interviews happened throughout 1991, it was clear Slash was still a heavy drinker [Press Conference, August 1991; The Age/Independent On Sunday, August 1991].

I’m not any kind of angel. I’m still up till all hours of the morning, still chasing women around. I still drink and still party, but within the confines of sanity. […] Let’s put it this way: I don’t get into trying to outdo myself anymore.
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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:22 pm

AUGUST 13-19, 1991

After a short break after the start of the tour in USA, the band travelled to Europe to continue their 'Use Your Illusion' tour in August 1991. Skid Row travelled along as the opener.


For this leg of the tour the band had got a chiropractor and masseuse on tour with them, especially for Slash who needed to have "his back aligned before each show to prepare him for the stress of jumping off stage ramps" [Boston Globe, December 5, 1991].

Slash would also be more conscious about his health:

I used to play in cowboy boots, but now I'm in my Adidas. We have a chiropractor on the road; right before the show, he'll crack me up and make me a bit more limber. And we have a masseuse. My left hand cramps up some-times, and she gets right in here and loosens it up. There have been shows when between songs I'm going, "Ax, I can't play'—my fingers are like this [makes fist]. Now at the hotels, regardless of whether I want to or not, for breakfast I'll eat cornflakes and bananas for the potassium. Axl's always been very health-conscious; I'm the complete opposite—I used to do as much damage as humanly possible. Now that were headlining, all of a sudden I'm really aware—as aware as my personality will allow—of my physical status. […] It's more that I don't want to burn out or have some physical ailment pop up in the middle of a set. It was a conscious effort by people who work with us, who said, "Try this." For so long, my attitude has been to blow everything off; now I'm striving to be open-minded. I started taking vitamins—pop four with a Coke [grins]. I mean, I'll never completely grow up. After an awesome show, you come away feeling fuckin' jazzed. It's the best feeling in the world, so you do whatever you can to support that. And yes, it does help to have 20,000 people enjoy your show.


The first shows of the European leg was at Helsinki Ice Hall in Helsinki, Finland on August 13 and 14. The day before the show, Duff, Slash, Matt, Dizzy and Skid Row would hang out at the Tavastia club where the Black Crowes performed [GN'R Use Your Illusions Tour Diary, unknown author and date]. The European leg started where the North American had ended just 10 days before, with Axl being volatile:

[...] Axl walked offstage just as we started playing 'Welcome to the Jungle' and disappeared for twenty-five minutes or so.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 190

And I started therapy in February (1991) and, Jesus, I'm right in the middle of stuff. I mean, if a heavy emotional issue surfaces and you've got a show in four hours, you have to figure out how to get that sorted out really quick before you get onstage so that you're really quick before you get onstage so that you're not in the middle of "Jungle" and have a breakdown. The pressure of having to do the show when whatever else is going on in my life is hard to get past. We did a show in Finland where I just couldn't understand why I was doing what I was doing. I sat down while I was singing "Civil War," and I was kind of looking at my lips while I was singing and looking at the microphone and looking at the roadies, and everything just shut off. Well, that doesn't make for a very good show.

Izzy signing autographs in Helsinki
August 1991


After this the band played two shows at Globen in Stockholm, Sweden on August 16 and 17. On the second of these the show started three hours late:

[...] At the fourth show [of the European leg of the Use Your Illusion tour], in Stockholm, Sweden, [Axl] went to a street festival and watched fireworks before turning up to the gig three hours late.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 190

According to the band's newsletter, one of the two shows in Sweden was the band's "best performance ever" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].


The band then travelled to Denmark for a show at the Copenhagen Forum in Copenhagen on August 19. On the very same day a coup d'état took place in Soviet and Axl would hoist a Russian flag at the concert in protest [Press Conference, August 1991].

It was a one-time happening that we did because of what's happening in the Soviet Union. We're not gonna meddle in the politics, but it was our way to express our opinion.

During this concert an explosion was heard and the band stopped playing. According to the GN'R Tour Diary, a firecracker was thrown on stage [GN'R Use Your Illusions Tour Diary, unknown author and date]. Axl yelled that they would not continue until the culprit had been arrested.

You wanna play games like that, we'll go home, it's not a problem".[Later] Stop, stop, stop... I didn't come here for anyone in my band to get hurt or for any people in the crowd to get hurt, because somebody wants to be an asshole. […] In fact, we are gonna leave for a bit, until you find the guy.
GN'R Use Your Illusions Tour Diary, unknown author and date

After a while the band came back and Axl explained that a guy had turned himself in [Press Conference, August 1991].

The band was then supposed to travel to Norway for a show in Oslo, but this concert was cancelled. Matt would later blame Axl for this:

[...] and it was even in my homeland. Fuck, I felt so bad when we couldn't go on stage, because Axl had decided he wanted to stay longer in Paris. Many people had traveled far to see us. You don't do that to your fans.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:22 pm


As the touring started in 1991, Slash and Duff's partying was now, in the words of Melody Maker, "enthusiastically aided and abetted by new drummer Matt" [Melody Maker, August 10, 1991].

Me, I like to party. I'm like your typical drummer, I guess. Sometimes I go overboard.

There’s not a lot of sub­stance abuse happening, but I’m not gonna turn around and say we're all clean and we don’t want any booze back- stage. We like to party a bit, but it’s all in the right kind of order now. Partying doesn’t come first. We play the gig and then we might have fun, but we don’t let the fun have us.

Everyone has pretty much got a lot of the ex­cessive living under control. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not turning around and saying we’re Aerosmith, that we don’t party anymore. But it’s not like before, where they were get­ting too deep into it and weren’t wor­rying about the music as much.

I never quite understood why they were such a big band. But, I mean, these guys are the real deal - an eat, sleep and drink rock ‘n’ roll band. I became part of that, too - I bought into the whole attitude, drinking and druggin' thing. And I'm glad I did. For the kind of music I was playing, I needed to feel that edge. I wanted to be one of the guys. I mean, I couldn't say 'Oh, 'scuse me, I can't go to the bar tonight I'm gonna take a nap'. I didn't want to be the odd one out, but eventually it caught up with all of us. At the time it was a great party, touring, flying a private jet, doing everything you dreamed of as a kid, living the high life...

When asked about some proper rock n' roll stories,  Matt offered to talk about when he worked for famous Hollywood madame Heidi Fleiss:

Well, I was the audition boy for Heidi Fleiss. She'd send ‘em on the bus and I'd give her a report…

Later, Matt would talk about his drug use and possible ODs:

I had to go to a hospital a few times, yeah. During the Guns N' Roses period I did too many drugs, dehydrating myself. [...] They had to hook me up with some Potassium. So maybe that was an OD. I never got into heroin that much, mainly I just did cocaine, booze and some pills occasionally.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:23 pm

AUGUST 24, 1991

The next show was in Germany at the Maimarkthalle in Mannheim on August 24. For this show and the next, Nine Inch Nails had been included as an opener together with Skid Row. NIN's Trent Reznor would explain how this had happened:

Axl's a friend of mine, we met in LA when he came to the show and asked if we wanted to open for them on some dates in America... we couldn't do it, but as we were planning on coming over here, we thought what better and stranger way to do it than supporting the biggest rock band in the world?
Remy Dean Archive, 1991

It was kind of funny. Axl phoned me while I was listening to the new Pet Shop Boys album and I was trying to turn it down so he wouldn't hear. And he said, 'Hey, was that the Pet Shop Boys? I just got that! Man, I like that, but I'm too embarassed to tell anyone.' I said, 'Me, too'. […] No pain, no gain, and this will be the ultimate test of that. Here we are on the biggest-ever tour and you've never heard of us. We're some synth faggot band opening for a heavy rock band. I have to go out with that attitude.
Raw Magazine, September 1, 1995

In fact, Axl was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails:

I mean, I remember fuckin' in 19... probably the spring of '91, or something like, he was sitting there and telling me about this fuckin' guy -- this band called Nine Inch Nails. But he was always talking about him, and what a great artist he was, and how much that whole thing really inspired him, and stuff like that. […] And he was fucking -- he was the first guy I ever heard talk about Nine Inch Nails, of anybody.

Axl was well-versed in what was new and happening: He was the first person to play me Nine Inch Nails: He said, "They're gonna be huge"

It seems to have been Axl friend, Joseph Brooks, who introduced Axl to electronic music:

Several years ago, Axl told me to go shopping for CDs for him: He gave me a credit card, and I bought him stuff like Front 242, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, early Prodigy-all the early techno stuff. He was really excited by it.

The audience gave Reznor and NIN a hard time:

People were just starting to hear of us over there 'cause our record just came out. Our American label did not license the music over there until about two years after it came out. I'd kind of gone into it, like, 'Well, we did Lollapalooza and that worked out okay and in the big picture it benefited us and, well, what's the difference?' Well, it was a _big_ difference. It was the worst of situations. It was us, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses. I like Guns N' Roses for what they do. Skid Row, however, is the epitome of what I don't like about spandex rock. Poseur toughness, bullshit. I hate them.

So we open up. First song, people are, like, 'Yeah, there's a band onstage,' and they're slowly realizing that we're not Skid Row. Second song, 'Okay, these guys are not Skid Row and I _think_ i hear a synthesizer.' Third song, 'We definitely hear a synthesizer - this is bullshit. These guys suck, they're faggots, let's kick their ass.' There is something about the feeling of standing in front of 65,000 people giving you the finger ... An intense terror took over. In a word, it sucks.

I decided just to make it the worst half hour of this crowd's life. The point when it actually became humorous was when I saw a sausage flying up onstage at the show in Germany. A link sausage. But we got off the stage with our lives. Another sad mo ment at that date was toward the end of the set I actually saw one poor fucker with a NIN shirt, holding it up. Seconds later, I just saw a scuffling and no more NIN shirt. […] We did somehow sell eight T-shirts that night. Eight out of sixty-five thousand, that's not a bad ratio. It also made me realize that I'm not trying to be all things to all people."
Spin, March 1, 1992

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:24 pm

AUGUST 24, 1991

According to Robert John, before the band entered the stage they had a heated meeting regarding Izzy's future:

We were in Germany, and I knew something was wrong. The band wasn’t going onstage, and no one knew why. Duff came out of the band meeting, really upset, and then went back in again. We started loading the girlfriends out, sending them back to the hotel. The band finally came out and did the show, but no one looked happy. Then word filtered down to the crew that what happened was something about Izzy getting demoted. Like, he was told that he wasn’t doing enough, and that his money would be affected, and all this other shit. I couldn’t believe this, because I thought Izzy wrote all their best songs. He was Axl’s writing partner. The best songs on the new album—like ‘Dust N’ Bones’—mostly came from Izzy.
Stephen Davies, Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N' Roses, 2008.

The discussions on Izzy's future would continue in September [see later chapter].

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:25 pm

AUGUST 24, 1991

Whether the heated argument described in the previous chapter affect the mood of the band in uncertain, but at about 25 minutes into this show, Axl was hit by an object under 'Live and Let Die,' and, as a result, left the stage. According to Slash and Duff, the promoters prevented Axl from leaving the arena, forcing him back onto the stage, and a riot was prevented.

We went on late - late even for us - then, pretty early in the set, something happened and Axl walked off for what reason I have no idea. He wasn't getting heckled as far as I could see, no one hit him with a bottle or anything, but he wasn't having it. The stage at that venue was literally about a mile away from the production office and dressing room, so a van was there to shuttle us back and forth. When Axl left the stage, he went to the van and headed off to the dressing room.

The rest of us came offstage and were standing around, waiting to find out if Axl was coming back or if his van had taken off to the hotel. [...]

I remember standing there with Duff while Matt was fuming. [...] "Fuck that guy," he said. "I'm gonna go straighten him out."[...]

By this point we'd discovered that Axl's van had not left for the dressing room; he was sitting in it but refused to come out and return to the stage [...] So Matt went down to Axl's van to rally him, but as he got down there, he ran into Axl, who had emerged to head back to the stage. Matt was so fired up, though, that he got in Axl's face regardless, to the degree that it almost got physical.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Matt yelled. "Get back onstage!"

I ran up and got between them, because it wasn't a good situation. Axl can get completely psycho when he decides to fight and Matt weighs twice as much as I do - and he plays the drums - so it wasn't exactly a good place for me to be. Axl went back to his van, and it didn't look like he was coming out again. The clock was ticking.

The promoters saw the drama that was going on and closed the gates around the venue so that we couldn't leave. They'd heard what had happened in St. Louis, and it's a good thing they did; if they hadn't, I'm positive that the thirty-eight thousand fans there would have rioted, we would have been held liable and arrested, and people might have died. The local police were already there in riot gear, ready to deal with a full-on situation. It was a scary, tense scene, and a very near miss.

We got Axl back onstage once he realized he had no choice, and the rest of the show went as planned. All I could remember thinking as I walked offstage after the encore was Fuck that was close.
Slash's biography, p343-344

When Axl left the stage in Mannheim, Germany, another riot looked inevitable. We had gone on late again. The venue was huge, an outdoor stadium packed with twice as many people as even the biggest of the basketball arenas we had played in the United States up to this point. Matt Sorum tried a novel approach when Axl left; maybe to a "new" guy it was the obvious thing to do. He went to find Axl and confront him. He was turned away by Axl's security detail. The promoters - not the band members, not the managers, not the entourage - saved the day. Their threat was that Axl would be arrested if a riot occurred might not have worked on its own. But they also locked us into the venue.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 194

Slash would later talk about how cool it had been that they were playing so much new stuff at the show:

I remember playing in a stadium in Mannheim, Germany, playing all new material - which I thought was the coolest way of getting your material accepted, playing a bunch of songs people had never heard and winning them over with that.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:25 pm


Around August/September the press would indicate that the band was falling apart and that Duff and Matt would leave the band [Kerrang! September 21, 1991]. In Matt's case, his departure had at a point been expected to be "imminent" [RAW, December 1991]. The rumours about Matt's possible departure started being spread in August. Allegedly, if Axl "continued to be difficult to work with", Matt would quit the band [Music Life, November 17, 1991]. Matt's showdown with Axl in Mannheim on August 24 [see previous chapter] likely fueled his frustration.

In November 1991, when Axl hosted the rock show Rockline, he was confronted with the rumors that Matt would leave the band because of "arguments and that he can’t deal with the hysteria on the tour":

It got emotionally high and the tensions got high with everybody at different points. But, you know, Matt is working his ass off and he’s great. […] As Matt puts it, it’s like, you know, now and then you get the road blues. […] Matt is amazing, you know. And it’s a real pleasure to introduce him to the world in the way he deserves.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:26 pm

AUGUST 31, 1991

After Germany the band headed to the last show on the first European leg, at Wembley Stadium, London, in England on August 31. After the touring in 1988, Slash had revealed his fondness for playing in England, and finally they were back:

'Let’s put it this way, for me personally, and for Izzy - I can speak for Izzy, I know he feels the same way - but there’s playing the States, you know, which is great and all. But then there’s going over there and playing, and that’s the ultimate. The British crowd is so fuckin’ balls out! That, to me, is the epitome of what the rock ’n’ roll gig is all about - packing up your gear and going over to England...

[…] seriously... if you can be good in England, if you can go to England and be well received, you can play anywhere else in the world, you know that I mean? The fact that we’ve won so many awards from the magazines over there this year is pretty eye-opening for us. It just makes me feel like they feel the same way about us as we do about them. And yet it seems like out of everywhere that we’ve played we’ve sort of cut England short. We haven’t given it enough. Just that tour two years ago which, apart from a couple of shows, I thought was pretty half-assed. When the next record comes out, we are adamant about going to play in England first...
Mick Wall, GUNS N' ROSES: The Most Dangerous Band in the World, Sidgwick & Jackson, U.K. 1991, 1993; interview from March 1989

In the months leading up to this date, the media would be speculating on the two supporting acts, with Motorhead and Lenny Kravitz being rumoured [Raw, July 1991]. In the end, Nine Inch Nails was one of the openers [New Musical Express, September 1991] together with Skid Row [].

Before the show, the Brent Council asked the band to not swear from stage [Classic Rock, May 2006] and the band allegedly told them they would refrain from swearing or jumping offstage [The Guardian, September 1991]. The band then plastered London with advertisements that read "Guns N’ Fucking Roses. Wembley Fucking Stadium. Sold Fucking Out" [Classic Rock, May 2006].


As described before, Izzy was getting increasingly frustrated and for the show at Wembley on August 31, rumors had it that no one knew if Izzy would show up and play and that he might quit the band due to Axl's "attitude" [Music Life, November 17, 1991].


After the show the band met Brian May from Queen. Guns N' Roses would later play in Freddie Mercury's tribute concert at Wembley (April 20, 1992], May would play with the band at Wembley (June 13, 1992], and May would also work with the band during their Chinese Democracy era in the late 90s/early 00s.

I’m trying to get to the point where I can get known as a good guitar player as opposed to the drunken drug guy. I met Brian May after Wembley and he gave me a lot of compliments. He was really sweet.

Oh, [May]’s awesome, yeah. I mean, that goes without saying. I didn’t think that could be a question (laughs).

When we first met Brian May last summer, it was wild. None of us would let him out of the room. He's one of the nicest people I've met.


As Slash was talking to May, an elderly man and a teenager approached, asking if they could have his autograph and then introducing themselves as Slash's grandfather and cousin [Music Life, November 17, 1991].

I hadn't seen them in 15 years! […] And then out of the blue I got a letter. One of my uncles is a rock fan – he turned me on to the Moody Blues when I was still living in England – and he was reading a Jethro Tull article in a magazine and he saw the names Ola Hudson (Slash's mother), Saul Hudson – Saul being me – and that's how they knew how their relative was. […] So I knew they were coming but I didn't know who they were. I was really nervous about it for a little bit. And when my grandparents – my grandfather; my grandmother has apparently passed away – after the show I was sitting there fucking exhausted going, okay, I'll just have a drink and I'll go out. And when I saw them, they had fucking baby pictures of me, the whole thing! Very bizarre! [laughter] But it was cool, It's just an example of how weird this whole fucking business gets.

But, you know, I’d write to my grandmother from time to time, to the family, and it slowly diminished to the point where I didn’t talk to them. And they found me in the Sun - they said “Slash aka Saul Hudson” – and they called at my management office; my uncle did. Guns was already big at that point, because we’d made it into the tabloids (laughs). So I get this phone call and they said, “There’s a guy named David Hudson trying to reach you” - we had a show coming up at Wembley, when Guns was headlining at Wembley – and I was like, “You gotta be kidding me.” So they found me in the Sun. It said “Slash aka Saul Hudson,” and they’d looked at the picture and said, “Yes, he’s the same guy – he was this big at the time, but I recognize him.” So they called the office – you know, my management office – and I get this message over the apartment going, “The guy named David Hudson called.” [...]  And I was like, “David Hudson, that’s my uncle; that’s my dad’s brother.” So I called him back and sure enough it was. When I left England, he had two babies; he had an older one and then one that came along a little bit later on. So he showed up at Wembley with my grandfather and the kids – one of the kids was a teenager with a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt and a daughter – and I hadn’t seen them since I was 11 years old. [...] That was a trip. Anyway, they went to every single show that we had in England from that point on. They’d come in, and they’d just drink all their booze and hang out, and then they’d all pile into a car and go back to Stoke.

The only thing I miss about Stoke is my family. They're all very tight knit and never been to London most of them. I didn't see them all until we played Wembley and they drank everything in our dressing room. Cleaned us out completely. When we came off stage, there was nothing left. Very British - didn't matter what it was, it was gone.

When my dad moved to America, he didn’t get along with his dad at all and severed all ties with his British family. It wasn’t until Guns N’ Roses were playing Wembley that I got a phone call from a guy saying he was my dad’s brother. It really was him, so the whole family came backstage at the Wembley gig.

You can only imagine how much booze Guns N’ Roses carried on the road. But when we came off stage we’d been completely cleaned out of anything with alcohol in it. I figure it runs in the family.

I was reunited with them in the early 1990s when my uncle David saw something in the British press about “Slash – real name Saul Hudson” and contacted my office and I was like “wow, David Hudson! That’s my fucking uncle!” So I invited my uncle and my grandfather and a few others when GNR played Wembley, and they hung out in the dressing room, and they cleaned me out of drink! And that takes some doing. I was pretty annoyed but, in a weird way, I felt very proud that I was part of this grand lineage of English piss-heads.


The Wembley show will go down in history as the last show with Izzy as a member of the band.

Izzy didn't walk away and force the cancellation of the Wembley show. He stayed and played one last gig to draw the curtains on this leg of the tour - the last show before the release of the albums we were ostensibly touring. Axl arrived on time. We played spectacularly well, as fierce and inspired and together as ever before. If not for the additional people and gear onstage, it could have been mistaken for one of our club shows.
Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 194

Izzy's final show was before seventy-two thousand people at Wembley Stadium, in London, a venue we sold out faster than any artist in history.
Slash's autobiography, "Slash", 2007, p. 344-345

Review in The Guardian
September 2, 1991

The Wembley concert was also the last before the release of 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II'. Slash would comment upon how it had been to play the shows before the albums were out:

We were amazed that the shows were sold out and we could headline without a record. That's a great way to break your band in. It was a lot like when we first started and we didn't have a record out and we were playing and opening up for Motley Crüe and all that and people had no idea who we were but we pulled it off because the band was good. And so we just did it again. We started without having the album and people can get familiar with the material on the album by hearing it at the show and then they can look for it on the record as opposed to the other way round. It's very ass-backwards!

During the European leg Matt got his first tattoos:

Um, I didn't have any tattoos before I joined the band. And then once we were in Europe somewhere and someone said - let's tattoo in Europe. Then someone threw it again - let's tattoo Matt first, he's fresh (laughs). And then we went and everyone got tattooed in some salon, and I got my first tattoo - and I liked it. Here, on my right shoulder I have a Japanese drawing, and here on the other side something about a Viking theme. When I came back and when my friends saw me with tattoos, they had fun. Then they told me that I would start wearing leather jackets now, so a friend made me some silver ornaments, here is this chain attached to my wallet, for example. Like these earrings, that's what he did. I put them a few years ago, I put one on my chest, on the left side, one in the nose ... that hurt the most (laughs)!
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:26 pm


Already back in the 1980s Axl had hinted at a difficult upbringing, like in an interview with MTV's Headbanger's Ball from September 1988, where he talked about "certain things" that had happened to him:

And it took a long time and it's still, even to this day, I still have to deal with, you know, coming to grips with certain things that happened during my childhood, and certain things I wasn't allowed to do and allowed to hear and everything like that.

He would touch upon this theme again in October 1989 and imply his stepfather had been involved:

You see, I get along with my father real well now. Actually, he's my stepfather, but he raised me. But I see some of the pain that he has to go through in dealing with the way he raised me, and the pain that I have to deal with in getting along with my father, and thinking back on certain things that happened every now and then, and how mad I get. I don't want those things to happen.

As the 1990s came along he would also mention how he would like to work with and support organizations dealing with child abuse, again implying dark events in his own childhood:

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

At the end of 1990 Axl had been suffering from depression [see previous chapter], and the depression continued into 1991:

I was a walking dead man. I was a dead man! That's why in the 'Don't Cry' video, there's my gravestone, marked 1991. I was, like, for two months recording the record, smoking pot because any other drugs just screwed me up. That was the only thing I could do to, like, sedate me and keep me contained enough to not freak out on how depressed I was. I was doing it almost medicinally. I was too depressed. l' d just flip out.

The depressions caused Axl to seek therapy which forced him to deal with unresolved issues [see previous chapter] and in September 1991 Axl started to open up more to the media about his troubled childhood. Some of the memories Axl recovered came from the controversial discipline of regression therapy, and allegedly included memories from before his birth, even back to the time of his conception. Alleged memories resulting from regression therapy included early memories of his stepfather being abusive to his mother resulting in Axl being born with a hatred towards his stepfather [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992]. Axl would claim that these past experiences had affected his adult views on sexuality and relationship with women:

I'm getting a lot more comfortable with things. I'm still not very good at handling stress, and I was told that that was because of the way I was raised. I basically had my family screw up any positive, productive form of release. Rebelling in my music kept me from going to jail. Somewhat. […] I have to retrain myself, it’s not something that's gonna happen overnight. And my sexual attitudes and attitudes towards women... I went through some heavy things in childhood. I formed really strong, serious opinions, lodged them in my subconscious and have been acting on them ever since. There were ugly, violent situations, and they affected me negatively.

I know what the problem was. I had an extremely volatile relationship with Erin [Everly]. And I was projecting strong negative feelings about myself onto other people. I was attracted to people with similar dysfunctional traits, people that I was going to end up not really getting along with. And it wasn't good for me or them, it just made me despise being with anyone or meeting anyone or having a good thoughts linked to someone.

I've had my problems in relating, you know, and I've definitely had my problems in relating to women and understanding what's going on. A lot of that's based in problems that l had with women that I didn't know l had, that started when I was a baby overhearing conversations with my mother and grandmother. That really affected me and I didn't even realize it.

I was affected by what I saw at such an impressionable age. I kind of separated from the self I came here with. Man, I did a really good job of putting together a reasonable facsimile of who I thought I was. I was an angry pissed-off person most of the time. At least I was very honest to that. I didn't then try to split off and be somebody else from that. If I had you'd be seeing me on "Oprah" talking to my 23rd personality.

I had a really distorted view of sexuality and women. I remember the first time I got smacked for looking at a woman. I didn't know what I was looking at, and I don't remember how old I was, but it was a cigarette advertisement with two girls coming out of the water in bikinis. I was just staring at the TV - not thinking, just watching - and my dad smacked me in the mouth, and I went flying across the floor. Someone can say, "Dude, just get over it." Yeah? F?!k you! Whether I wanted it there or not, that incident was locked into my unconscious mind. Whenever there was any form of sex, like a kissing scene, on TV, we weren't allowed to look. Whenever anything like that happened, we had to turn our heads. Dad had us so brainwashed that we started turning our heads on our own. We scolded each other. My mom allowed all of this to happen because she was too insecure to be without my stepfather. She assisted in me being damaged on a consistent basis by not being there for me or my sister or my brother. I've always felt this great urge to go back and help my mom. I felt obligated to, but I don't anymore. She fed me and put clothes on my back, but she wasn't there for me. I'm still experiencing anger over this situation, but I'm trying to get over it. Burying it doesn't work for me anymore. I buried it for too long. That's why there's a gravestone at the end of the "Don't Cry" video. I watched almost everyone in this church's lives go to shit because their own hypocrisy finally consumed them.

[Talking about what his upbringing did to him]: I couldn't be with someone sexually in a nice way, because I was made to feel like I was doing something wrong - even if it was someone I liked. The only way I could enjoy sex was if I got into being the "bad guy." Finally I grew tired of being the bad guy. I love this person I'm with. Why do I have to always maintain a low level of self-esteem in order to feel alright? I don't feel alright feeling like a piece of shit, and I don't want to be a f?!king piece of shit. Even though it was put into my head years ago, by reading up on abuse and doing the work I'm doing, I've found out that's how it works. It's a real weird thing to have to deal with. You know, I'm grown up now. That was a long time ago. I'm supposed to have gotten past that. Yeah, maybe.


After the September 1991 Rolling Stone Magazine interview, Axl would be asked to elaborate on things he had said:

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.

True to his word, as times passed he would speak more detailed about what had happened to him, indicating that he was abused by his stepfather without his mother protecting him:

I also found out it is supposedly some kind of mental thing having to do with me punishing myself for expressing myself. For 20 years of my life I was beaten by my parents for expressing myself, so part of me believes I should be punished for that expression. I do this by lowering my own resistance. Turn that around, and there you have it - self punishment.

I've been doing a lot of work and found out I've had a lot of hatred for women. Basically, I've been rejected by my mother since I was a baby. She's picked my stepfather over me ever since he was around and watched me get beaten by him. She stood back most of the time. Unless it got too bad, and then she'd come and hold you afterward. She wasn't there for me. My grandmother had a problem with men. I've gone back and done the work and found out I overheard my grandma going off on men when I was four. And I've had problems with my own masculinity because of that. I was pissed off at my grandmother for her problem with men and how it made me feel about being a man.

And it was a very strict spare-the-rod, spoil-the-child uptight religious family. It was okay to beat the kids. Those situations embedded themselves deeply within my personality. Going back through those situations and experiencing the anger or the pain or the hurt and letting them go is the healing process. Then you start to become who you really are. Usually a person is going to be a lot more happy with who they really are than whoever they think they are. There is really nothing to be afraid of, but it seems scary.

Beta Lebeis would later shed some light on the neglect Axl had experienced as a child:

[Axl] has nothing against his mother, but the only thing he doesn't understand is why he didn't receive motherly protection and what he sees in my relationship with my children. Now he understands that a mother should be protective, and he never felt protected.
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

I think we all reflect the way we were raised, the way our family behaves at home, our parents' relationship. We are a mirror of our family. The foundation comes from our home, and he didn't have that. This sentiment is more difficult in an adult's mind. As we grow up we see this example every day, the affection, a good night kiss... He never had that. So he doesn't know how to show this kind of affection. It's very difficult to pass this on to an adult, you know?
Bolsa de Mulher, January 22, 2001; translated from Portuguese

Additionally, Axl would claim his step-father had molested his sister, Amy:

And this person [=Axl's stepfather, Stephen Bailey] basically tried to control me and discipline me because of the problems he'd had in his childhood. And then my mom had a daughter. And my stepfather molested her for about twenty years. And beat us. Beat me consistently. I thought these things were normal. I didn't know my sister was molested until last year. 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.


Axl's therapy sessions, especially regression therapy, would also tell him that his biological father had kidnapped him and raped him at the age of two:

And what I found out in therapy is, my mother and him [=Axl's biological father, William Rose] weren't getting along. And he kidnapped me, because someone wasn't watching me. I remember a needle. I remember getting a shot. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and watching something horrible happen to my mother when she came to get me. I don't know all the details. But I've had the physical reactions of that happening to me. I've had problems in my legs and stuff from muscles being damaged then. And I buried it and was a man somehow, 'cause the only way to deal with it was bury the shit. I buried it then to survive -- I never accepted it. […] Homophobic? I think I've got a problem, if my dad fucked me in the ass when I was two. I think I've got a problem about it.

I'll repeat myself -- this is something that l just said in Rolling Stone. I don't know, maybe l have a problem with homophobia. Maybe l was two years old and got fucked in the ass by my dad […] That's a fact. That's something that happened and that's some of the damage I've been working on. […] l suspected it about two years ago, because all of a sudden the thought crossed my mind. When it crossed my mind l had to stop the car and I just broke down crying. Such an outpouring had never come out of me.

With the help of regression therapy I uncovered that my real dad, not my stepdad, sexually abused me. The most powerful anger was this two-year-old child's anger because it was hurt. Nothing could really scare me, because I'd already seen hell. I'd been killed at two and lived through it, and I was miserable because I'd lived through it. I was miserable for 28 years. My stepdad came into my life when I was three or four, and I didn't even know my real father existed until I was 17. I was separated from myself at an early age, and my stepfather made sure I never put myself back together, with his confusing mixed messages of love and brutality. He'd love me one minute, then beat me the next. I've had to learn how to shed both of these men's personalities. I'll take two steps forward, then one step back, but I'm into it. A lot of things are new to me now, but I won't let my fears stop me from progressing.

In an interview with Musician that was released in June 1992, Axl would be asked how he could know the results of regression therapy were trustworthy and not some "dream or fantasy or some projection or demonization":

I have a lot of corroboration from people who knew something horrible happened. Even now I could talk about it with my grandmother and she'd nod her head yes, but would not talk about it. Also, the emotions that end up surfacing and the amount of weight that is lifted each time we get into certain issues kind of makes me go, "Wait a minute, I can trust myself here." I can trust myself because I feel a hell of a lot better. I mean, you could go to a medium and talk to someone in your family who had died and when you come out you'll feel much different. Someone will say, "Was it real?" and you'll say, "I don't know, but I know I feel a lot easier with the situation and acting on it isn't going to hurt me.

The interviewer from Musician would then point out that if the allegations were false, they weren't just affecting Axl but his family, too, so that "the rules of evidence would have to be stricter" than if it was just between Axl and his father and step-father:

Oh yeah. My sister is involved with my life and works with me, so I know what happened there. I know what reaction my mom has to dealing with any of it. Her eyes turn black. It's complete anger and she will fight to the death to not have to re-experience that. That somewhat justifies it. The physical damage manifesting itself is another thing that puts it together. Certain thought patterns are there that would have no reason to be there unless something happened. I don't believe too many people are born evil or born fucked up. Something had to happen somewhere. You go back and find the time that something happened and work through and finally find the base underneath. And by letting it go, all of a sudden you don't have certain problems in your life. That somehow validates the situation. I've gone back and realized that I had thought my whole life that sex is power and also that sex leaves you powerless.

Having talked about the severity of how he had been abused as a child, Axl would again talk about moving forward and trying to help other abused children:

It's finding some way to break the chain. I'm trying to fix myself and turn around and help others. You can't really save anyone. You can support them, but they have to save themselves. You know, you can live your life the way you have and just accept it, or you can try to change it. My life still has its extremes and ups and downs, but it is a lot better because of this work. I'm very interested in getting involved with child-abuse organizations. There's different methods of working with children, and I want to support the ones that I believe in. […] I've gone to one child-abuse center. When I went, the woman said that there was a little boy who wasn't able to accept things that had happened to him and to deal with it, no matter how many children were around him who'd had the same problems. And apparently he saw something about me and childhood problems, and he said, "Well, Axl had problems, and he's doing okay." He started opening up, and he's doing all right. And that's more important to me than Guns n' Roses, more important to me than anything I've done so far. Because I can relate to that more than anything. I've had such hatred for my father, for women, for …[…] I'm working on getting past those things, and the world doesn't seem to be too tolerant of me doing that in public. It's like "Oh, you got a problem? You go away and take care of it." All these relatives knew little pieces of this puzzle, and nobody helped me with shit. I'm angry about that. I can't sit and think about Uncle So-and-So and enjoy it much. And if you're talking with any of these people, they try to get you to just tolerate it and take things back to the way they were: "Let's not get it public." My family did everything they could, thinking they were doing what was right, to bury it all. My stepfather was just adamant that he was going to protect Mom and himself: "Your real father does not get brought up." And he was also trying to cover his own tracks for what he did.


After the release of the Rolling Stone article in April 1992, Axl would comment on it from stage and claim his family was against the interview:

Any of you read the latest Rolling Stone? I was on the phone for a long time last night, and a friend of mine was telling me how... […] some of the members of my family and some of the friends of my family “have taken a great offense at what I said in this magazine.” “It’s a shame what – look what he’s done to his mother. His mother can’t even go out of the house now”. It was amazing my mother could have gone out of the house before, knowing the shit she fuckin’ knew. And, “Why is he talking about this?” Because it might have not happened to you, but it might have happened to the two or three people that are standing around you, who’ve got some fucked up family life that’s gonna come back to haunt them when they hit about the age of 25. And then you gotta find your way, try to climb your way out of what you thought was your life, but it looks more in your head like a fuckin’ car wreck that no one told you about. Because, “The family doesn’t want to be embarrassed by these things coming out. We just don’t want to have to deal with this, and we shouldn’t have to deal with this publicly.” But if we don’t deal with it publicly, then we’re probably not gonna deal with the bullshit at all. And I bet they like it that way.

I’m not a qualified therapist. I don’t know a lot of shit about this. But I do know that we’re in the 90s, and I do know that if we’re gonna make it for another 50 years on this planet, we gotta fuckin’ change our shit now! And there’s a lot of motherfuckers that don’t want that shit to be changed, because that’s gonna dig up their crap. There’s a lot of parents who’ve done fucked up their kids through their whole fuckin’ lives and they’re about 40, they’re about 50, and they think it’s cool. Fuck that shit![…]

Anyway, there are those in my family who - they plan now that I’ve written these things that they’re gonna get revenge, because it was “a terrible thing” I did. “We’re gonna get revenge”. Yeah? Try it. And if a fuckin’ scrawny little junior high 90-pound weakling can finally get his ass up here and take this shit on, so can anyone of you that have the same fuckin’ bullshit problems in your life. They don’t have to get away with it. You know, I tried being nice, I tried being cool about it. I tried, like, being friends and offering forgiveness, and love, and all that kind of shit. All I got was, “you know how much we love you, but let’s keep the screws on and keep you down like we always have.” Yeah, well, guess what, I changed my point of view. For me now it’s kind of like, Live and Let Die, motherfucker.

He would say that his family were opposed to him opening up about his childhood in interviews:

][…] I haven't talked with my parents in over a year-and-a-half. I sent them some letters just recently to let them know this was happening, but when I started to uncover things they let me know, very adamantly, to drop the issue.


In the June 1992 issue of Musician, an interview with Axl would be published which had been conducted in March the same year and before the release of the Rolling Stone interview where Axl accused his family of child abuse. Rather than being worried about the effect of his honesty in forthcoming the Rolling Stone interview, Axl was described as expressing "feelings of great relief, even liberation, at having exposed his demons to the light of day" [Musician, June 1992].

And during the interview itself, Axl was asked why he was talking about these subjects in public:

One reason is for safety's sake. My stepfather is one of the most dangerous human beings I've ever met. It's very important that he's not in my life anymore or in my sister's. We may be able to forgive, but we can't allow it to happen again. There's a lot of reasons for me to talk about it publicly. Everybody wants to know "Why is Axl so fucked up?" and where those things are coming from. There's a really good chance that by going public I'm gonna get attacked. They'll think I'm jumping on a bandwagon. But then it's just gonna be obvious who's an asshole and who's not. There are probably people that are jumping on a bandwagon. But I think it's time. Things are changing, and things are coming out.

Gilby would also be asked about Axl coming out with what he had experienced, and point out the positive social effects:

The band knew about it, but that [=to talk about it to the media] was a personal decision made by Axl. It took guts, and he thinks it helped him explain himself to the rest of the world. And if you read the letters to the editor the next month you'll see that he did a lot of good. Other people who had suffered from the same thing started going out and getting treatment.

Firstly, for any kid to express himself is great, good or bad 'cause that's what this band is all about — freedom to express yourself all the time. And for Axl - first of all, he is a human being, and he's going to go through stuff in the public eye. Imagine if yourself, or the kids who wrote the letters, were in the public eye 24 hours a day. It's a heavy burden to have, as for every wrong movement you do there it is on the news. And it's not easy to accept. This band hasn't been this big for a long time — it's still a big thing to them - and Axl has had a lot of problems in his life and he’s just overcoming them now, and the reason for doing Rolling Stone and RIP was for himself - to get it off his chest. It's up to an individual to take it however way they want. He didn't do it to get anyone's sympathy - he did it for himself. […] Sure it reflects on the band, but then again we are a band, and I'll stick by them. They'd do the same for me. But like I said, every little thing - every little thing - counts. It's amazing. But then again if he wasn't the personality he was then, you know, would anyone even come to our show, or buy our records? It's not why he is the way he is — it's just part of him, and us.

Slash would also comment on the interviews, especially the one in Rolling Stone:

I was just glad he got it off his chest. He had a lot going on and… I mean, to do it in Rolling Stone… I think he really needed that Rolling Stone has. Which is a hell of lot of people, a lot of different… sides of the spectrum, as far as people go. It was great for him to do that, because people really misunderstand him. So it's cool. For me, I could say anything. [laughs] I mean, it's a different kind of scene. I mean, I don't usually get that serious, you know, regardless of how serious things are. It's hard for me to sit down that long and share it with anybody else.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:27 pm


After being handed advanced copies of the soon-to-be released 'Use Your Illusion' albums, DJ Terrence Trawick from the show "Steve and D.C" on WKBQ-FM in in St. Louis, saw the statement "fuck St. Louis" found in the liner notes [Altoona Mirror, September 13, 1991]. In Trawick's words:

We've got to do something. We couldn't sleep at night if we didn't.

So in retribution Trawick decided to "rally with what they hope to be thousands of angry fellow citizens on Tuesday [=September 15, 1991], the official release date for the Guns albums, assemble them into the shape of a hand with its middle finger extended, photograph them from the air and send the resulting picture straight to Axl Rose" [MTV News, September 1991].

On his Rockline interview in November 1991, Axl was confronted with the "Fuck St. Louis" statement in the liner notes:

Well, I feel that the loyal fans shouldn’t take that to heart. If they didn’t have anything to do with it, then, you know, I wasn’t talking to them. If you look really closely at the Don’t Cry video, I have a 1940’s St. Louis baseball and a St. Louis hat on. And 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 had fulfilled our contract, and I got a contact knocked out in diving after a guy that the security didn’t care to stop, cuz that 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... You know 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.” I don’t see that, and that really bothers me. But then, I also look at it like - you know, Spin magazine said that that was a great show of solidarity with us and the crowd, being sarcastic. At 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.” (chuckles) So, I went, “Well, I guess that was our crowd,” you know. And it’s like, the emotions got high, and I think everybody should take a bit more responsibility for what happened, you know; and also respect that 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.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:27 pm

SEPTEMBER 17, 1991

We have released our new albums, “Use Your Illusion I and II.” […] We hope you’ll like what you hear on the albums. There’s something there for everyone. This was truly a labor of love and is a closer look at what we’re all about. You’ll be hearing the contents of our hearts and soul.



In May 1991, the song 'Bad Apples' leaked to the media [Los Angeles Times, June 1991; RAW, July 1991]. The song was leaked to several air stations by an employee at Mercury Records, who, in return, wanted airplay of one of their singles [Raw, July 1991]. The radio station WMMS played the song but a court order stopped them [Raw, July 1991]. How the Mercury employee got a copy of the song is not known.

Thus, when the magazine Guitar Player got to listen to a pre-release copy of the records in August, security was tight due to "piracy problems" [Guitar Player, December 1991].


Before the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released, Matt, Slash and Duff would describe how the follow-ups would differ from 'Appetite':

I think the people who are going to dislike the record the most will be the people who stuck us in a category of brash, loud, fast, attitude rock—you know, the ones who think that Guns N’ Roses is this whiskey drinking, drug-taking bunch of f?!king post-adolescent f?!k-ups that somehow managed to squeeze through the system, get a record out and get away with it. I was talking to Duff’s nephew or something, and this kid was telling me how disappointed he was in Metallica’s...And Justice for All. And I was like, Why? He says they’ve softened up. I said, “No, they’ve grown.” You can’t play one thing all your life. Once you’ve done that, move on to the next natural progression of your art. Unfortunately, a lot of the fans aren’t prepared sometimes to go along with you. It’s natural for every creative human being to grow, mentally and artistically.

‘Appetite’ was a party album. This new stuff goes deeper than that. It’s more about relationships [than politics], stuff that’s hap­pened to the band over the last few years.

I will say it leans more to the darker side. There’s not a ton of really happy material on it, you know? Most of it is pretty fucking pissed off. It’s very pissed off, and it’s very heavy, and then there’s also a subtlety to it as far as us really trying to play. […] he way our lives turned around, the repercussions of our success and the general shit that we do from day to day gets brought up a lot. There are a lot of semi-humorous drug tunes and a few songs about love going in whichever direction. Regardless of whether it sounds like the blues or not, basically that’s what it is. It’s a strange thing. I never thought we were a naive band; I always thought we were pretty hip to what’s going on. But when we used to just hang out on the street, it was more fun than when we had lots of money and became part of society and were forced to deal with responsibilities. I think money is like the central nerve of it all, too. It’s like I think Jimi Hendrix said — “The more money you make, the more blues you can sing.

I’ll put it this way, take the songs from ‘Appetite,’ the rocking songs, the heavy songs ... they’re magnified by 10. The pretty songs? Magnify that by 10, too. 'Sweet Child o’ Mine’ was a real pretty song, but compared to the new s—, it’s real amateur.

I don't know if [the new records] going to be so much of a shock [to the fans] as I think it's going to confuse a lot of people because there's so many songs. I think Appetite centred more on one particular kind of a sound whereas this record has one song that might sound like Appetite, and then there's 25 other songs that are all completely different. There's acoustic, there's lots of piano, I must have played 25 guitars on it — banjo, bass all kinds of shit, there's one I guess, you'd call it New Age music with synthesisers on it that Axel did which is pretty intense. There's almost some stuff which is reminiscent of Queensryche where the music is going on-and there's people talking so it's like a movie track. Then we've got stuff which is really simple, straight ahead and harder than anything that was on Appetite.

And how they had expanded the instrumentation:

You know, there’s actually some synth on the new record, but it’s not, like, Milli Vanilli didn’t do (laughs). […] No, I mean it’s not that kind of stuff. It’s just with the band playing and there’s some other stuff, like, thrown in. And just because we were screwing around it’s very Guns N’ Roses. We did work with somebody – I won’t mention his name – that was using samples on the drums and, like, when Axl and I discovered it, we flipped, literally. We were like, “What?” You know, it was all these Guns N’ Roses samples he used.

There’ll be a lot of different instruments. I’ve got guitars doing all different kinds of sounds and things. There are horns on “Live and Let Die.” We didn’t get into sampling, but right now, as we speak, Axl is in the studio with a rack of synthesizers, so we don’t have to bring in an orchestra for a couple of songs. There might even be a bunch of kids singing on “November Rain,” because it’s that kind of song. It’s very angelic. We’ll do whatever it takes to make the songs as powerful as possible.

Yet, it did not signify a change in musical direction:

It’s not a change in direction; I don’t think we ever had a real direction. But we have gotten a little bit more experimental, I guess. I hate that word — we’ve just been doing shit, whatever we felt like doing. This album goes from one extreme to the other, from some very, very intensely raunchy, over-the-top stuff to being very mellow — and everything in between.

In September 1991, though, Slash would say they were evolving as musicians and describe the new records as more "mature" than Appetite [Rip It Up, September 1991].

You can stick with being a certain way and try to push an image like Motley Crue, or you can keep evolving. The fans that listen to you can either accept that or get pissed off because you're not doing Welcome To The Jungle' again. Obviously you want to go and do something else, it's like we've done that record already.

Slash would also shed some light on the collaborative effort:

Left on our own, I'm sure everyone would make very different albums. I write songs that are maybe a little more intricate than what Izzy wants to play—there's one on the record, 'Coma,' that's about 10 minutes long and 500 chord changes. But if the melody doesn't catch you at first it's hard to develop an interest in anyone else learning it. We all have different ideas, but there's no hierarchy. We still have to do everything as a band.

Describing the difference between 'Use Your Illusion I' and 'Use Your Illusion II':

Well, I’d say, the first half of the first CD is more in line with Appetite, no new songs. And the second half of the first CD has Coma, November Rain, and The Garden... So some really experimental numbers for us. And then I’d say that the first half of the second one is “the south will rise again” (laughs). We didn’t plan on that, but there’s, like, Heaven’s Door, and Civil War, and the song Yesterdays and a song called Breakdown that definitely have a bit of a southern rock feel. […] Like, I’d say, Paradise City - in the chorus - kind of has that. And Sweet Child kind of has that. And it ended up the best sequencing to make the record flow all the way through. We didn’t plan on putting all those songs in that vein together, but to make the record flow all the way through, so if you wanted to listen to all of it, that’s the best way. […] And there’ll be a version of Don’t Cry on both records, one on the first one and one on the second. The one on the first one is the newly recorded version of the original lyrics. And then the second one is the newly recorded version of alternative lyrics; they’re kinda like ’91 updates, got different words and melody in the verses.

Alan Niven would hype the records:

"Use Your Illusion" is a cross between Physical Graffiti and The Wall. It's a record that's gonna amaze and frighten at the same time.

Slash would explain how the track lists were decided:

I think we had the whole band write up their personal list of what they thought the order would be and then we all came together with one, were we sort of put them together and came up with one. […] Somehow we came up with a master list.


In August 1991, Tom Zutaut would voice his opinion on the numerous release postponements and blame an "over-optimistic" record label:

I think most of that was everybody at Geffen being over-optimistic about getting the records.

The two albums were finally released on midnight between September 16 and 17, 1991, promoting many stores to have "moonlight sales" [Burlington Hawk Eye, September 17, 1991]. The releases were an immediate success and the anticipation was so grand that the band is said to have shipped an unprecedented 4 million copies to stores in advance of the release date [Burlington Hawk Eye, September 17, 1991].

Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II
September 17, 1991

In the USA, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II went straight onto the charts as no. 2 and no. 1, respectively, and it was the first time a major contemporary artist had released two separate albums on the same day and the first time two albums by a band or artist had simultaneously entered a chart tight at the top [Guns N' Roses Australian Tour Special, January 1993].

The expected sales within just the first two hours was $5 million [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

Needless to say, Geffen Records president Eddie Rosenblatt was thrilled: "This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened in the record business" [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

After a week, Geffen estimated that each record had sold more than 2.5 million copies [Los Angeles Times, September 1991]. This would be down-adjusted to between 1.5 and 2.0 copies in total, with 'Use Your Illusion II' selling 100,000 more copies than 'Use Your Illusion I'.

As with 'Appetite', some stores, including K mart and Wal-mart, refused to sell the records, citing the band's image and lyrics [MTV News, September 1991; Billboard, September 21, 1991]. Geffen sales chief Eddie Gilreath commented on K Mart and Wal-Mart's decision:

[The racks] are in what they call a host environment, and they tried very vigorously to convince K mart and Wal-Mart to take the project. It was a flat ‘no’ from K mart and Wal-Mart... They would prefer to lose all that revenue based on the fear of a complaint from a par­ent. They’re doing a censorship job before they even find out if anyone has a problem with it.

Despite this, the advance orders of the album exceeded 4 million [Billboard, September 21, 1991].

Use Your Illusion II was immediately banned in Singapore on the grounds of “objectionable themes and pro­fane lyrics" [Billboard, October 19, 1991] and in July 1992 it was reported that both records were also banned in South Africa [MTV, July 12, 1992].

At some point in connection to the launch of the records, Robert John would take a new band photo [shown below].

Band photo, likely from 1991

John would later be asked about the worst memory from working with the band, and mention this band photo:

Ah, that I can answer. It was the photo shoot for "Use Your Illusion" where the band posed in front of a canvas depicting a guy sitting on an electric chair. The problem there was that the canvas was painted on glossy plastic. The room where the session took place was tiny and it was already a real nightmare to bring the band members together in front of the canvas... So imagine when I realized that almost all my pictures were messed up because of that horrible, nearly garish, brightness. It's my worst memory and the drama lasted for an hour. Finally, among all the shots, there was one – thank God -  that did the trick.

In 2009, Axl would suggest the "dead" was not unintentional and that the band was dead at the time:

The group shot of the band in front of the piece 'Dead' was not a coincidence but not something I felt could be talked about openly, and something I hoped would change. I couldn't reach Izzy [Stradlin] and couldn't manage or curtail Slash and his personal objectives to take over Guns anymore than I did at the time, and I'm lucky to have survived, got what we did out of it and some still enjoyed the results. But for all intents and purposes, the 'Appetite [for Destruction]' lineup and approach was already dead, and with the addition of Matt [Sorum], the end of the then-lineup and what Guns was really about was only a matter of time. Only heartfelt choices by the others could or would change that. Unfortunately, nothing did.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:28 pm


The band would discuss why the decided to release two records. One of the reasons was simply that they feared they would never make another album.

Our attitude is not like, "Save it for the next record.” Hell, there might not be a next record. Right now all that lies in the future for Guns N’ Roses is the next LP.

Slash would repeat this later in 1990 and say that due to their stormy history, they couldn't be sure they would release another record, and:

It's all material we would never have gotten off our chest if we didn't do it now.

Axl would point out that it was more like four albums:

Well, on album form, on the wax, it’s four albums, because we wanted to have the deepest grooves and stuff for... Since vinyl is somewhat going out, we wanted to be one the last bands doing the best job we could for audiophiles and stuff. You know, the deepest grooves and a minimal amount of time on each side. And figuring out the sequencing was really hard (?) anything else, to start each side and end each side with a cool song, so that it sounded like it began and ended right, resolved properly. And the CDs and the tapes being two separate things, we’re echoing well a lot of kids. A lot of people, when they go to buy a record, they go to buy one and they won’t be able to... It’s like, if there’s a choice, “Well, I’d like to get Guns N’ Roses, but it’s $29.95 and there’s this other band’s album, well I’ll get that one.” You know, we were like, maybe we can get past that a little bit. […] I’m sure it will sound better on CD. We worked to make it sound stronger on CD, but we’re gonna definitely work on the mastering to get the best sound we can on the vinyl. Everything gets as much attention as anything else. Every single song has got as much attention as anyone’s song. Every little part. You know, we’re kind of perfectionists and you never quite get it right, but... (chuckles).

The band would also talk about not wanting to release a double record:

For one, we didn’t wanna look that pompous and we didn’t wanna make anybody go out and have to spend, like, 30 bucks or whatever it is for a double record. Double records just seem to be just, like, out-of-date anyway. And we’ve been in the concept, when this concept started to form, of separating it and making it so you go out and buy one and, if you like it, then maybe you buy the other one. You have a choice of the two and stuff like that, that made it more fair to the public, you know.

We didn’t make it a double album because that’s a little overboard and a little pretentious. Plus, this way, a kid can go out and buy one record, his buddy can go buy the other record or whatever... and maybe when they get enough money to buy the other one, they can do that. Plus, it’s never been done this way before.

There was a lot of old material that we wanted to include. It's not possible to release your second album as a double so we thought it was a good idea to release two separate albums instead. Besides many fans can't afford a double-album. Now two friends can buy one album each and tape them from each other. If you buy "Use Your Illusion I" and think it's good you then can buy "Use Your Illusion II." […] We had been separated from each other in over one year and the recordings were a way for us to get together again. That's why it was nice to be in the studio so long that we once again became a unit. […] During our entire career we've put material aside. We've been thinking "this we can use later" and we ended up having too much material put aside. Now there isn't any unreleased material with Guns N' Roses, so when it's time for out third album it will be up-to-date.

So that the people could afford it. You know, they can buy one or buy the other; or they can buy one and a friend can buy the other and they can tape it, and... So that the package, you know, for the price, they could buy one or the other. And it was also competitive with other things out there in the market. You know, if somebody else’s record is 12.95 and ours is 30 bucks, it’s like, that’s...

They did come out simultaneously, but they’re two different records. We didn’t do it as a double record because....I don’t know how much a double record is these days, but it’s gotta be like thirty bucks. This way, two friends will be able to go out and like buy one....and one will buy the other....the record company will kill me for sayin’ this…[…] One will buy the other right....yeah. We don’t want to rip off the kids. […] I’m sure [Geffen] won’t hear this at all, but you know this way we won’t rip off our fans. If we put out a double record, there could be only one buy it or starve..

And also for the novelty of it:

There’s a ton of material. Sure, we could have held out and released some more stuff down the line, put out one record now, but it’s like, nobody’s ever done it before, so what the hell? The first single's off ‘...Volume 2’, and then when that’s dying, we’ll release a single off the other one, and hopefully have two albums competing with each other... […] Two buddies could go out and instead of buying one double album, which is, I don’t know...[…] One kid can buy ‘...Volume 1', one kid can buy ‘...Volume 2’, and they can tape off each other’s records...

We did it, number one, because nobody’s done it before. But also, we had so much material built up when we went into the studios, we decided.... “Well we got all this material; let’s record until we’re burnt out”. If we can only do one record, we’ll only do one record. But we never burnt out. We just kept goin’ and it turned out that we recorded over forty tunes. I mean there is another record in the can.

And to be able to start with a clean slate:

The main reason for us doing a double record is because it’s material that spans our entire career as a band. Some of it’s really old, so we just basically cleaned our whole slate. That way, when we do the next record, we can start completely fresh, without any kind of a backlog.

And so we said, you know, ‘Screw it’ to the industry as far as the album standard goes; we just said we were gonna release it all. And then we came up with the idea of how to do it and how to package it and how to market it, so it will get done and there’ll be no excuses from the record company to say, ‘No, you can’t do it this way.’ So we get all the material out, you get the history of the band, plus the material’s really good, as far as we’re concerned...

Basically, you can go out and buy one, and if you dig that, then you have the option to buy the other - instead of being forced to buy a double LP. Most of our fans don’t have the extra 25 or 30 bucks to take a chance on a record that they might not even like. I think that’s totally uncool.

And it’s gonna be a weird buzz, cos automatically, by human nature, everyone’s gonna go for ‘...Volume 1’. But the first radio release is from ‘...Volume 2’. And then the next single after that one is on ‘...Volume 1, and the next one after that will be on ‘...Volume 2’. “If you’re gonna get into it, get into all of it. Don’t just pick one. I don’t want the public to focus just on the first record because it’s called ‘...Volume 1'.

Yes [it was a good idea to put out two albums simultaneously]. We went through so much emotional turmoil after the success of "Appetite for Destruction" and the albums reflect that. I'm talking about all of a sudden going from a garage band to becoming some sort of half-assed celebrities. […] The albums are so close to us that every single song has its own meaning and memories attached to it--the problems with drugs and adjusting to all the other drastic changes in our lives. That's why we put out two albums. We had so much material and we wanted to use it all.

In addition to the new songs, we wanted to do some of the songs we couldn’t do on the first album because of time and finances. We wanted to clean the slate so that on the next album we could start afresh.

Bill Price would confirm that The Illusions contained all the material the band had worked on:

But it was everything that they’d been working on and thinking about for the previous three years tied up into one huge project, in answer to the record company saying, “You haven’t been doing very much for three years.”

And when asked if Geffen was pulling "their hair out over the sheer scope of this thing"?

They didn’t have any when we started! [chuckling]. No, everything’s been cool.

There’s been a coupla little battles here and there. A coupla little skirmishes, I should say. But the band had everything together to present, and it was basically an offer they couldn’t refuse! It was like, here, this is what we’re gonna do.

We told them, 'This Is how It's gonna be!' There are loads of bands from the past that probably would love to do what we’re about to do, and release all the songs they wrote and recorded for an album. But for whatever reason that didn't happen for them. But you've known us now for a few years and understand that we always do what we want. This is no different. People told us in 1987 that 'Appetite...' wouldn't sell because It didn't fit in with the music trends of the time. Well, we all know how that went, right? Now there are gonna be those who say we're mad for thinking of a triple album. Do we care? F*ck no! That's what we want to do. We don't want to have to cut out a lot of songs from the album.

Looking back at the decision in hindsight:

Slash and I were just discussing [releasing so much material] this morning, and there's no way we regret it. We're very proud of what we've done. We had planned on doing that even before we had done our first album. We didn't know that it would include quite as many songs, but we knew we had to bury Appetite in some way. There was no way to out-do that album, and if we didn't out-do Appetite in one way or another it was going to take away from our success and the amount of power we had gained to do what we wanted. We got all the material we needed to out of our system, and commercially it's been a major success.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:28 pm


The fact that Use Your Illusion albums were made, is a miracle in itself.


During the process of recording the albums, band members would comment upon the lengthy process.

In May 1991, Slash was asked why it had taken so long:

Actually, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that’s taking long and that made it take a long time. I mean, all this success made it take a long time, that sudden realization of, like, being huge. I know it blew my mind and threw me for a loop, right? Especially cuz we’ve been... we were, sort of like, just not from that school at all. So that took a little while. I mean, that took till just recently for me to adjust as far as home life goes. And then there was the associated drug problems that ensued. And then there was, you know, the situation with Steven and then finding somebody to replace Steven and, you know, finding somebody to fit into the band, fit into the folds, right? Which was no easy task at all. So, like, we couldn’t put an ad in the Post, you know. And then, after that, it was getting us in a studio. No, working out the material with Matt and then getting in the studio. And we did the studio stuff really quick, like, the basics, and then I went and did guitars and all that stuff. Then we just spent a lot, we enjoy being in the studio, and although we did wanna go out on tour, we had all this material and we wanted to do it good, so I mean... yeah. Plus we just sat around, like, sort of watch the music scene turn into sludge again. I was terrified so we just hung out until the timing was right.

Well, we toured for so fucking long, and by the time the tour was over we were told we were mega - Spinal Tap, you know. You're great! You're great! And we're still walking around trying to make sure you don't have a stain on your jeans after you take a piss kind of thing. And there's all this stuff going on around you, all these people treating you like you're on a pedestal even if you don't feel that way. So we went from nowhere to being this really huge band, not feeling any different, only having people tell you that and react to you a certain way.

When they dropped us off at the airport after the tour was over, I had nowhere to go. It kind of runs in the family with us - maybe not with Axl but definitely with me - where if I'm not busy and focused, I get loaded to pass the time. So that's what happened. I went through a phase of that and then I cleaned up and we tried to rehearse and we were writing material.

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

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

I keep reading about delays in getting the record out, but as far as the band is concerned, there really have been no delays. The only (rule) we had was to make the best record we could, regardless of how long it took. […] But we had people at the record company come up with deadlines on when they wanted the record out and we'd go, 'OK, we'll do our best (to meet the deadline),' and we tried. But we were not going to give anybody the record until we felt it was done.

We work so hard at playing. And yet, everybody spends so much time just trying to pull out all this really negative stuff about our, you know, drugs, and sex, and band relationships, and the guys in the band and stuff. It makes it so hard for us just to concentrate on playing, which is one of the reasons why it took us long to get the record together, because after a while the hype just got to be overwhelming. And we locked ourselves away in the studio, and it was great to be in the element and just spend all our time playing. But even then, it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard.

But we worked our asses off together. I don’t think anybody realizes how much work that was; you know, especially when it comes out and people are like, “Oh, it’s cool.” They won’t know how much went into it. It was like blood, sweat and tears – I mean, you know, it was heavy.

People want something, and they want it as soon as they can get it. Needy people. And I'm the same way, but I want it to be right - I don't want it to be half-assed. Since we put out Appetite for Destruction, I've watched a lot of bands put out two to four albums. They went out, they did a big tour, they were big rock stars for that period of time. That's what everybody is used to now - the record companies push that. But I want no part of that. We weren't just throwing something together to be rock stars. We wanted to put something together that meant everything to us. […] I've had a good understanding of where I wanted Guns n' Roses to go and the things I wanted Guns n' Roses to achieve musically, and I can't say that everybody's had a grip on that. We're competing with rock legends, and we're trying to do the best we can to possibly be honored with a position like that. […] We want to define ourselves. Appetite was our cornerstone, a place to start. That was like 'Here's our land, and we just put a stake in the ground. Now we're going to build something.

And it was because of this dramatic affect that success had on everybody's personal psychic, you know. I managed to get over my situation just because I wanted to keep playing. Axl, I think, was the only one that wasn't strung out during this whole period. He was having more personal, emotional problems. And Duff had his… We all had these different things. But it kept up from getting any work done. So finally we booked the Rolling Stones gigs and that sort of got us back together. Despite the rumors of us fighting and all that. We came to realize that we really are focused on what we're doing and that's why we're managing to stick it out this long.

In September 1991 Slash would talk about the long process of making the albums and how difficulties in their lives (drugs, coping with fame, shit from the press) had influenced how their song-writing:

Looking back on it it was [a creative period], but at the time it didn't feel like it. A lot of really heavy material came out of it but at the same time when we were going through it, it wasn't anywhere near as cool as it is now to look back on and see what we achieved by going through it.

Looking back at the production process, Izzy would claim they rehearsed and recorded the albums three times [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

In 1994, Slash would again talk about the process:

Me and Clink [Mike] were saying, 'When this is all over, we'll sit back and have a beer and laugh about it', but we haven't laughed about it yet! It really was crazy.

And in 1995, when the relationship between Slash and Axl had become sour:

We did 36 songs in 36 days, and it took a year and a half for the vocals.

Slash would also blame the press and people pestering them for the long process:

Yeah, that and we didn't like the way the band was perceived by the press or the way that they used us as the example of rock'n`roll excess of the '90s. There were people always s pointing their fingers at us and making rumours and stories. And we just got sick of all that and said 'fuck everybody' because that wasn't what we got into it for. So we just didn't care and didn't talk to anybody and if we did basically it was like 'fuck you.'

You know, the biggest thing is that we work so hard at playing and yet everybody spends so much time trying to pull out so much negative stuff about us and drugs and sex and bad relationships and the guys in the band and stuff, and it makes it hard for us just to concentrate on playing. Which is one of the reasons why it took us so long to get the record together because, after awhile, the hype just got to be overwhelming, We'd lock ourselves away in the studio and it was great to be in that environment and just spend all your time playing. But even then it came and crept into the studio. It was really hard. […] Everybody just started to know where we were and every time we'd come out to the studio there'd be people waiting outside. it was like, 'C'mon, give us a break, you know, It's just a band. We're trying to make a record.'

As for dealing with the high expectations and whether that had been challenging:

Yeah, because you don't feel like it should be that big a fucking deal. All things considered, its just a rock'n'roll band and its just a fucking record, and it means a lot to you personally because you made it but at the same time it's hard to accept the fact that it means a lot to ten million people. We tried to just completely ignore what was going on around us and just got involved with making the record regardless of whether anybody likes it or not.

About a year after their release, Izzy and Slash would look back at the records:

It was crazy. The last record we did was two records. There were too many songs for me to remember really. I had a hard time with 'Coma', it wasn't so much my style. Those albums I found very frustrating. I think there's some good songs on there, but the process was extremely, extremely slow. Again, that's the way Axl wants to do things. […] I like to get the stuff done and carry on. If you start picking everything apart, analysing, it's pointless, a downward spiral - and next thing you know, months have gone by, or a year. It took us a long time to get those records out, I don't even remember how long.

[…] that last record, the Illusions records, were just so many songs. I could probably remember ten of them that were on there. There’s a lot of music and it was no cohesive, sort of. Nothing really held it together.

That record, for me, had it been my way in a perfect world, I would have done it as a lot shorter and a lot more to the point sort of record.

Use Your Illusion is also very ironic for us. I mean, I don't know why but this band has just generated bullshit hype for so long that it's like just throwing it back in their faces. And d'you know what? The album is so controversial. It's the same and worse than the last one. The subject matter deals with drug stuff. And uh, I don't think we cut any corners as far as profanity goes. It deals with bad relationships and all that kind of crap. […] Y'know I detect a little bit of anti-feminism shit going on too, because the songs are about women who are negative and really fucking hard. I can see girls going 'What assholes!' But then, y'know our angle is just, 'This is true you fucking cunt'. This is the way it was and we put it down on paper. But you know, these feminist groups will be like... d'you know what I'm saying? People assume we're advocating what the songs say, and they go for the throat. We're not trying to get some truth tho. We're not trying to send out any fucking messages. This is just our experiences. It's us, put it on vinyl. Buy it or don't buy it, like it or don't like it, whatever. […] Look, I don't know how influential people think we are supposed to be. I mean like, we're an example now because we're a big band? No. No, no, no, no. I appreciate the fact that we're a big band and I know it's because all these people can relate to us. But there's all of these outside fucking people that are just like, 'Okay, well you influence a lot of young kids and you have a high profile'. All right so they think that's gonna have an effect on our musical integrity? Like, we're gonna fucking alter everything we do so we don't make any waves? No! Guns is all against that. "Some people seriously want to nail us, y'know? This band is a magnet for it. It's always been like that. Ever since before we got signed, so we just deal with it... sometimes too much shit gets hard to take though, y'know.

Izzy would later complain about his guitar being mixed down:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone!

On the last record I wasn't around for the mixes, and when they finished them you really don't hear my guitar at all. It was just a big Les Paul through a Marshall sound on most of the songs. Live, it got to the point where I didn't even know if the audience could hear my guitar. I was playing, and my amp was on about 8 or 9 to keep up with everybody else. We were a really loud band; so loud you can t imagine--even at rehearsals.

Izzy would later describe the process of making music together:

In Guns N' Roses, I would come up with an idea for a song [starts playing simple chords] and the first thing that would always happen was Slash getting hold of it and going chunka-chunka-chunka! I'd be going, OK, it's already changed a little bit. Then Axl would come in and go, 'We've gotta dd more lyris, we've gotta have more vocals, more back-ups, let's layer this'. So by the time it was finished it was like, holy shit! What a monster!

And Slash would state that Izzy hadn't played very much, and that Slash had covered for him:

I had to double guitars up for him on most of it. He didn't play very much.

Slash would later talk about how the recording process it had been:

But I couldn't go through that last record again. I mean, I've got a lot of stamina, but those last records and that entire tour, it was such an endurance thing.

The Use Your Illusion records, if you really knew, if anybody knew the whole story of what we were going through, they’d realize how important those records are to us and why they took so long — but you had to be there. When you read the lyrics, it starts to come out. It was a real period of turmoil. […] I mean, we had every reason to split up before those albums turned out as far as the obstacles we had to face. So as far as being able to pull off that tour and Izzy leaving in the middle of it and this, that and the other thing […].

[Talking about recording the rhythm guitars]: Well most of them, yeah. Izzy didn't play a helluva lot on that album. He was getting away from Guns altogether. It's cool but there's so much stuff that was goin' on; if I hear it now I hear it the way somebody who was involved hears it. But at the same time, the general attack is not as aggressive as I would have liked it. It's a little over-produced but, God, we went through hell making that record! We had band member changes, we didn't have the right mixers (what no coke for yer JD? – Cocktail Ed), we were on tour in the middle of making it and we were going in different studios. It was just a mess, so if you were me, it was an achievement beyond belief. For the average kid it might seem really self-indulgent stuff, but it's all very real, there's no bullshit, it's not like we were trying to do a record to reach a certain market. We just took all our material and just recorded it.

There are some songs we used to do in the really old days – like, before the band was signed – that sound better on the demos than they do on Use Your Illusion. There's 'Back Off Bitch', 'The Garden' and '14 Years'. Because we did the songs (for the album) all at the same time, they didn't have the emotional nuances from the different periods of time when they were written. When we all had to do it together, it all sort of sounds the same; it doesn't have the dynamics.

Anything but doing ‘Use Your Illusion’ again! As much as I love Guns N’ Roses, and as close as we all are - we’re like family - but after two-and-a-half, well f**k ... Two band member changes, four years in the making of the f**kin records, then two-and-a-half years of touring it’s like, I gotta get away from it before I do snap.

As much as I love [‘Use Your Illusion’] and all the material that is on there, there was just a little too much thinking going on.

I don't want to go through that whole 'Illusions' thing again. That was a nightmare. All of a sudden, Guns went from being the complete scumbag level garage band, to being a headlining stadium band. We just had a hard time adjusting to celebrity status, or some crap like that.

Izzy was phasing himself out as we were doing it. and we were doing a lot of his material on top of it. It was very bizarre. And then going out and headlining these fuckin' stadiums and so on for two and a half years. It was definitely a stretch of the imagination. I'd like to just do a fuckin' rock 'n' roll record.

The fact that we completed those albums is unbelievable. You might be able to go to a store and buy it and listen to it, but you'll never be able to understand the emotional turmoil that was going on from adjusting from being some piece-of-shit club band to all of a sudden being like, quote, "The biggest band in the world" and having that attention thrown at you, and having the pressures that go along with it and all this ridiculous stuff.

For some reason the complications of putting those records together were endless. We were getting the band out of a major drug haze, and getting it back together so it was a band. Plus, we were dealing with success, which affected everybody in different ways. For me it was a harsh reality to have my private life ripped open and in the spotlight all the time. But we got through that. We got through losing Steven. That was all mind-blowing. Looking back on it, I can't believe that we actually accomplished it.

It was impossible to get us into one room, all of us, at one time.

It was very dark and there was a lot of just toxic sort of a feeling in the room, and sightings of Axl Rose were few and far between.

Use Your Illusions was all over the place. It was sort of like the Guns N’ Roses version of The White Album, so to speak, maybe not quite as good. It was, like, all this material coming from all different directions.

In May 1995, Slash would compare the solos on 'Appetite' and 'Use Your Illusions':

When we did Appetite, we had rehearsed those songs and played them live for so long that it was easy to reproduce them. I didn't have to write a whole bunch of new stuff when we went into the studio because we had played all that stuff live. But when we did Use Your Illusion I pretty much improvised, except I wrote solos for "Estranged" and "November Rain" because they're ballads, and they needed it.

Late in 1995, Slash would say the records weren't what he had wanted, but rather Axl's idea:

The Use Your Illusion's is the result of conquering what Kurt Cobain couldn't. We lost Steven - Steven's not come back since. Izzy got back into it [after drug use] and realised that's not what he wanted to be; he wanted to be back with the old days. I got back into it and realised I didn't wanna go where Axl was going, but went anyway because I like to play, and we're a band and I'm part of the family, and I'll do whatever I can.

That's what "Use Your Illusion" was all about, which is why that is, to us personally, such a special record. Granted there was too much material, there's too much production, there's this, that and the other, but it's a result of something that most people will never see into, which is a bunch of guys going through a really fucking ridiculously self-indulgent period of trying to get the band back together as a result of being successful.

Well I work with the band; I don't work with Axl when we record. I work with the band and we just jam the stuff live, and Axl goes in and spends... Well last time it was a year in the studio, just adding and adding. I don't necessarily agree with that, but Axl's so talented he can go in and whip it out like that. But everything has to be perfect. Sometimes some of his ideas - like a harmony or something - I can go along with, but all the additional stuff...

"Use Your Illusion" sounded amazing when it was just the basic tracks. It was fucking great. But then by the time all the tracks were done it was like impossible to fucking mix it, and it came out sounding... The more stuff you put on tape, the less "big" it sounds. I tried to tell Axl that but he wouldn't listen. But I'm not gonna do it that way this time, and that's what we have to talk about.

I have the rough mixes, which are more or less the basic tracks and the basic overdubs - very simplified and try - and those fucking rock! You could come over to my house and I'll play you "Use Your Illusion" before it went into the mixing stage, and you'd be like, "Fucking what?!" It's very brash. But this is before synthesizers and all this outside stuff got involved.

I really try to understand where Axl's coming from when he gets into that. It's a self-expression that, because our personalities are so different, I can't fucking understand. And he probably can't understand why I want to keep everything so natural. But it's just because I know the band - on a players' level or an emotional level or an expression level - is fine when it's naked on its own. When we play live, it's right there, y'know? That's as good as you're gonna be, no matter what you put on it.

Axl brought a lot of different instruments and it sort of mellowed out what I would consider to be a great GN’R record.

The basic tracks for the ‘...Illusion’ albums -I have the original tapes, they’re just raw. You’d have loved them! I think they had a lot more impact than how they came out on the record, all glossed-over.

A lot of time went by after the basics for that album were done. The stuff was very stripped-down, and then a year later we were using up 72 tracks - 24 tracks of band and 48 tracks of something else all together! That’s why we ended up with all that Las Vegas crap going on the road, so we were able to reproduce songs like 'Live And Let Die’ and ‘November Rain’.

That’s Axl's choice.

But in 2000 Slash would speak more positively about the records, or at least the ordeal of successfully making them:

‘Use Your Illusion’ was actually one of the most personal fucking achievements that anybody - and I can speak on behalf of everybody in the band - made. The material on there is so close to home, and it was such a hard couple of records to make. It was the whole growing up period in his particular business, fucking going from being some little garage band to being this stadium act and all the shit that went along with it. I thought those two records were a fucking achievement that is unparalleled (laughs). But you can't expect everybody to understand that, because you'd have to live it.

Being asked which of his records he is the least proud of:

When I listen to Use Your Illusion I and II, I find that the production is not the best. There are so many songs on there that would benefit from being remixed... We had started to lose our minds at that time.

I think they are amazing records, and it was an honor to perform in such records like those, because of the very different styles those songs covered. I like to have been part of that.

Axl would also look back at the albums and indicate, like Slash, that the albums didn't come out the way he had wanted but due to having to compromise:

For me, when I hear certain things on the "Use Your Illusion" tour, I... on that record, it's... since I'm in it, I can hear a band dying. I can hear when Izzy was unconsciously over it. I can hear where the band was leaning away from what Guns N' Roses [had] originally been about.

People may have their favorite songs, and it may be on "Use Your Illusion," but most people do tend to lean towards "Appetite" as being the defining Guns N' Roses record, and I can hear how, in the sound, it was moving away from that there. There's just so much I was able to do in keeping that aspect together.

I gave into a lot of pressure on Illusions both internally in Guns and externally in the press, those albums suffered as a consequence, it's not something I'm too excited to have to live with again.

"Use Your Illusion" is...(sigh) basically Slash wanting to take over the band, Izzy being in his drug world, and the only way that we were able to even survive as a band was to make this double thing you know, like Slash's solo record, Izzy's solo record, and then I wrote stuff, but I mean, I had the phone calls of calling these guys going: "I'm not doing yours, if you don't do his!", and then calling Izzy and saying: "I'm not doing yours, if you don't do his! And I'm not doing either of yours, unless we do mine, and we'll do mine last!" But, it was that kinda fight for years. You know...

Axl would later follow up with his claims that Slash was attempting to take over the band at the time and that Izzy was inaccessible:

The group shot of the band in front of the piece 'Dead' was not a coincidence but not something I felt could be talked about openly, and something I hoped would change. I couldn't reach Izzy [Stradlin] and couldn't manage or curtail Slash and his personal objectives to take over Guns anymore than I did at the time, and I'm lucky to have survived, got what we did out of it and some still enjoyed the results. But for all intents and purposes, the 'Appetite [for Destruction]' lineup and approach was already dead, and with the addition of Matt [Sorum], the end of the then-lineup and what Guns was really about was only a matter of time. Only heartfelt choices by the others could or would change that. Unfortunately, nothing did.


I'm generally blamed for the time it took to release 'Illusions,' but again the reality of my fault would be in not finding a way to manage Slash complete with his addictions and bring both him and Izzy together either similar to 'Appetite' or in some other progression more conducive to Guns than how 'Illusions' was accomplished. Unfortunately, that never truly happened, and both Guns and the public suffered for it. I'll take the responsibility in the sense that had I known how to achieve those goals we would have made what I feel would've been a more effective and powerful album at the time.

See? There's the catch, right? All this time, most thought I changed the direction with 'Illusions.' A lot of nonsense theories, speculation and complete nonrealities put together by others, based on Slash and others' crap and off one interview taken out of context I did with Kurt Loder where I said I hated 'Appetite.' That sentence has been used and twisted in every conceivable way since to vilify me and purports to prove my guilt and responsibility, when I wasn't speaking to the music itself but the overwhelming and at that time seemingly drowning success of our record.

My statement was in specific response to the feelings I had listening to DJs at the L.A. hard rock station KNAC at the time complaining about having to play the entire record for the umpteenth time for fans. I simply wanted to make another record and have it be as good or better. If you don't think I would've liked to have five 'Appetites' and been living like the Stones at the time, you're high. With that, any other avenue I hoped to pursue musically would more than likely been available as well. This was something I could never get through to the others with. Personal need to dominate in Guns was very important to them. Izzy has to be in charge or he's not comfortable, same with Slash. Duff [McKagan] tries convincing himself he's equal partners with Slash. Each to their own.

Skip Saylor, the owner of the studio where they recorded Use Your Illusions would also comment on why it took so long:

Well, I don’t think it’s new news that there was a lot of push and pull within Guns N’ Roses. With everybody having very defined ideas of what they wanted – you know, from the record and from the band – not necessarily always agreeing with each other, but certainly everybody had an idea of what they wanted it to be. There was a certain amount of Axl coming in and being happy with the mix and then Slash coming in and going, “No, that’s not what I’m looking for” and making a few changes, and then Axl would come in and say, “Well, this is better but this isn’t,” and going back and forth. Anytime you’re working with a band that big, it’s gonna take some time to mix a record, no matter what the circumstances are. I mean in this case, you know, Axl had to approve it, Slash had to approve it, Tom had to approve it and the manager had to approve it – and probably David Geffen had to approve it. So you get five different opinions and it’s gonna take five times longer than if one person is approving it. And it was such a huge important record that they wanted it to be perfect.

And Marc Canter would discuss how the making of the albums differed from the making of Appetite for Destruction:

The Use Your Illusion albums were a big change from Appetite For Destruction. The songs were put together a lot different. The guys no longer were living together and some of them had studios in their homes. Sometimes a song would be brought to the band already recorded and then lyrics would later be written. Also Slash was able to put some magic to songs that Axl came up this time like “November Rain” and “Estranged.” Now they had some money in their pockets and had a nice place to live,so the tension from living on the streets was gone. They were 5 years older. The songs for Appetite were put together in 1985. When Izzy left I knew there were going to be some problems in the way that the band was going to write songs. Izzy was a great song starter.

Duff would discuss the albums in 2008:

You know, some people might say, “Well, Use Your Illusions was…”  I've heard, you know, people say there's filler on there, or that it was disjointed, or what have you. But I think that just proves - on Use Your Illusions it proves one point, in that none of us would stop another one's idea. [...] If you had an idea, we would play it to its fruition. We would see it through and we would back you at.

In 2009, Axl would discuss the drums on the record:

With 'Illusions' several years ago, something came on the radio and I realized how the energy in the drums, though solid and consistent, brought me down in a way I feel damaged the material in the long run, if not from the get-go. Maybe it's there with some, most or all of us in ways, but I specifically notice it more with the drums. And when listening in that sense of analyzing how something feels to me in regards to its involvement or inclusion in the song, whether anyone disagrees I'm somewhat capable of removing myself and events from the picture.

For me it's more about certain energies and feel, and I'm not into what we did there for a good bit in regard to the drum work. To actually have a drummer that could play at the time, though, was a bit too overwhelming.

While Steven would insist the albums would have been much better if he had been on the drums:

It was the biggest drag of my life (getting kicked out of G’N’R). I did write and record the demo tapes for Use Your Illusion. I’ll never forget telling everybody I knew, ‘this was going to be even bigger than Appetite’ and it would have been… if it had been recorded the way Appetite was; the way it was supposed to be - with five guys. It would be even bigger! It was supposed to happen.

Yeah, I know that [=Matt Sorum could never fill those shoes]. And all the other guys know that. It’s just Axl doesn’t want to admit it. That’s why the songs work—because of all five of us. Use Your Illusion would have been bigger than Appetite [For Destruction] if it was recorded the way the demo tapes sounded. But every record they did with less members sold less and less.

I did write and record the demo tapes for Use Your Illusion. I’ll never forget telling everybody I knew, ‘this was going to be even bigger than Appetite’ and it would have been… if it had been recorded the way Appetite was; the way it was supposed to be - with five guys. It would be even bigger! It was supposed to happen.

The day it happened with GNR and they kicked me out of the band, the whole chemistry changed. It didn’t get better. There are bands like Iron Maiden where Bruce Dickinson came in the band, he took over somebody’s spot, and the band got better but it’s so rare. Like with Chip Z’Nuff, my bass player in Adler’s Appetite? I know what he’s gonna do before he’s gonna do it; and he knows what I’m gonna do before I’m gonna do it. And that’s what you want. That’s how you get close.


It was very, very destructive when they kicked me out of the band but then they recorded all those songs. See, I did all the songs for Use Your Illusion; I recorded them on a demo tape in a recording studio with the band.


I loved “Back Off Bitch,” I loved that song. I’m so pissed when I heard it. Oh, my god. That and “Don’t Cry.” I came up with the most simple, most beautiful drums. That was what was devastating: those were my songs. Goddamit. And it still bothers me. I think I need to go to a meeting [laughs.] I have to go to a meeting now. After talking to you, I’m gonna have to go to a goddamn AA meeting. Thanks a lot!


[Matt's] were just half-assed, crappy versions. Nothing personal against the guy but he’s like a goddamn drum machine. He’s got no heart; he’s got no soul; he’s got no feel. And as life and the years have shown obviously I’m not the easiest drummer to replace. All I know is, Use Your Illusion would have been bigger than Appetite.


[…] there's one [song] I guess, you'd call it New Age music with synthesisers on it that Axel [sic] did which is pretty intense.
Rip It Up, September 1991

'My World' happened when we’re sitting and were bored. We’ve been working on "Live and Let Die" the whole night and it was early in the morning. I’d been listening to a lot of industrial music and all of a sudden I said, "Hey man, let's do something. Let's see what happens. Let's just make it short and sweet and see what we come up with." In three hours we wrote and recorded the song. (...) I'll expose a little more of myself - we were also on 'shrooms. A friend of mine had stuck some mushrooms in my tea and I didn't know it. All of a sudden we were being really mellow. So it was kind of a socio-psychotic state of bliss
Musician, June, 1992

You know the song My World on Use Your Illusion II? I want to do a whole project like that by myself and with whoever else might want to be on it. But right now it’s just me and a computer engineer. It’s just raw expression – just putting ideas together. We just go in, say “what do we want to do” and get to work. We completed My World in three hours. It’s something that I need to get out of my system, but it’s not something I want to base my career and future on.
Hit Parader, 1992

There was one song on that record that I didn't even know was on it until it came out, 'My World'. I gave it a listen and thought, 'What the fuck is this?'
Rolling Stones, October 29, 1992

Axl would later claim Slash had agreed to include the song because he expected Axl would be criticized for it:

Great question and here goes for all your inquisitive minds with a bit you aren’t aware of but is the real story…Unfinished 1st run 1st dabbling/experimenting all in fun demo that became Duff’s favorite song at the time telling me how he loved to blast it at his house with Ice T and the Bodycount guys before Illusions came out and before it was decided to be on the record. I wanted to try and develop it and wanted guitars of some kind but Slash felt and his words at the Record Plant in all seriousness were “It’s perfect” and Slash and Duff were the deciding factor to have it on the album. [...] Personally I feel Duff legitimately liked it but I can’t say Slash did in the same way. In fact I feel he was keenly aware some would take issue with the track and against me so for him in that sense it was “perfect”. Imo Duff wasn’t aware or part of that and was “used” unwittingly for support in talking me out of developing it or not including it which at the time I had no real intention of using as is.


[Being asked if there were any tracks from the Illusion records that never saw the light of day]: When me, Slash, and Duff went to Chicago, we wrote 35 songs. Izzy wasn’t there, Axl...the only song that had some lyrics was November Rain, it was just a little bit done. But we had so many songs with just the music. It’s possible, but I never really listened to the Illusions albums to be sure...

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