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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:28 pm

CHAPTER INDEX



Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:31 pm

REPLACING IZZY
DAVE NAVARRO, MIKE STAGGS, MICK COCKS, OR TRACII?


With Izzy leaving the band, the band again found themselves in a position of having to replace a member that they had thought was irreplaceable. The last time they had needed a new drummer on short notice to continue recording the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, this time they needed a new guitarist because they were supposed to go back out on tour in not long.

When Izzy left […] we realized that we either had to find a new guitarist in three weeks or cancel a bunch of gigs. We didn't want to cancel any shows, so we started searching. […] I had a piece of paper with about 30-odd candidates listed. Duff was looking around and Axl had his ideas, but nobody seemed right.



AXL WANTS DAVE NAVARRO OR MIKE STAGGS


One of the guitarists that the band considered was Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro.

Yeah, there was a lot of talk about [Navarro joining], and we were very open to it. But it just wasn't the right time in Dave's life for it to happen. He was kind of needing the time to just see where he was at, and he's been very successful at that.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992


That Navarro was auditioning to replace Izzy had also rumored in the press before Izzy's departure was official [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

But Navarro didn't cut it and Slash would imply he had drug problems at the time:

[Navarro] didn't work out. He's got a little too much going on right now with his own personal situation.

For a while it looked like Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction was going to join, but he couldn't get it together, so that never happened.

Axl wanted Dave Navarro in the band. He was determined, he had that idea, and I didn’t want to confront him again, so I said okay. But Navarro never showed up for any auditions and Axl was quite pissed off. Then Navarro joined the Chili Peppers. I remember seeing Jane’s on TV once and Navarro wore a woman's dress. (laughs).
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish


Gilby would later say that it was Axl who wanted Navarro [Hartford Courant, March 4, 1993], which would very much be confirmed by Axl in the quote from above and this:

[…] the idea of working with [Navarro] excites me to no end because I still put on Jane's Addiction and it always seems brand new, no matter how many times I hear it. I'd like to try to achieve a fusion of what they were trying and what GNR is doing. I think that blend, if taken seriously and patiently, could be amazing. It could be a fuller thing than anyone's done before. Dave and Slash together could be incredible-two guys very "out there" on their own, working together.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview from December 1992


According to Mike Staggs, childhood friend of Axl from Indiana and later co-guitarist in 'Ain't It Fun', Axl had wanted Staggs to replace Izzy:

axl and i discussed me auditioning after izzy left - but the process was fast tracked by slash, bringing gilby in. at the time i assumed i was a lock, and was disappointed, but i always respected slash. and at that time i was a bit sel-conscious about axl's role - kinda throwing his weight around a bit much IMHO. when i recorded aint it fun on spaghetti, it was a little tense. and i was def a friend of slashes.
Personal communication, February 17, 2020



MICK COCKS OR TRACII GUNS?


Another rumour was that ex-Rose Tattoo slide guitarist Mick Cocks would replace Izzy [RAW, December 1991]. The did not, however, contact Tracii:

I thought I would be [asked to replace Izzy], actually. […] I would have said no. […] It would have been nice to be asked, yeah. I expected it because not only was it my band at one time but other bands when they lose their guitar player have asked me...


Slash would later be asked what he thought about Tracii being offended at not being considered to replace Izzy:

Did he really say that? [...] Tracii and I always hated each other. He was in Guns N’ Roses before I joined and I replaced him after Axl sacked him. I've known Tracii since before he played the guitar. I remember that he had a guitar when I didn't have one yet (laughs). We've never been friends, and I'd never in a million years have thought of him for GN'R. I didn't know he had made that comment. Oh God, Tracii would be better than Paul Huge (laughs). I saw Tracii with his band, Killing Machine, at the Troubadour a long time ago. It was a good show.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:32 pm

REPLACING IZZY
GILBY CLARKE?


After putting the word out that they were looking for a replacement for Izzy, the name of Gilby Clarke was then quickly mentioned:

When we decided to look for a new guitarist, I put the word out as discreetly as possible. A couple of my friends recommended Gilby—he's a guy that Axl and I sort of knew from Guns N' Roses' early days. He was in another band at the time, but we had lost track of him. Axl and I auditioned 17 guitarists or so, and he's the one who fit in the best. He had to learn about 30 songs in two weeks in order to be ready for the tour on time, and he's done a great job. We're really happy.

We knew Gilby when me and Axl were in Hollywood Rose, which was ages ago. He was in another band, and I met him then. He was a cool guy then and I hadn't talked to him in all these years that Guns N' Roses had been together. I discreetly went through, like, 15 guitar players trying to find somebody to do the spot because we only had three weeks before the first show. Someone mentioned Gilby and I thought, "Yeah, I know him." I talked to him on the phone. He was the only guy that I actually rehearsed.

Slash and I, we went kind of nuts. I just happened to have Gilby’s number written on the back of a book. I had gotten his number from a friend of a friend of a friend. So I called him to come down and audition. He was the first guy we auditioned. We heard him and said, ‘Cool’.

Izzy decided he wanted to leave and go do his own thing. And we had, like, two weeks to find somebody. So Slash, and Duff and myself just started throwing around names, you know. And Gilby was an old friend from the club days in L.A., and we thought it was a perfect choice.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; from April 20, 1992

I was tearing my hair out, trying to figure who to get. We obviously couldn't put an ad in the paper. Someone randomly suggested one of Izzy's friends, Gilby Clarke. I had thought about him, but I hadn't seen him since our earliest club days. So I called him up, and he came down. He was the only guy we auditioned. One guy!

The news was definitely on the street. Though I asked a friend who was working with the band to mention my name to Slash, I was a little surprised when he actually called me on the phone to ask if I'd like to audition.

I hadn’t heard from [Guns N' Roses] in about five years. Then I found out that Izzy was leaving, and I called up a friend of mine who worked for them and said, ‘If you’re throwing in names, throw in my name.’ And Slash just called me one day. […] They had a lot of people in mind. But I was the only person who came in and physically auditioned for the band, came down and played with them. The rest of the people, he pretty much met in a hotel and kind of like ‘vibed’ them. If they didn’t pass the vibe test, that was it. Me, I had known them, so I just went down there. […] With this band, the people that work for the band, it’s like a family. These people have been with the band since the beginning. So if someone new is going to come into their family, it has to be more than just ‘You’re a good guitar player, you can cover it.’ It has to be more like, 'Do you fit in?’

Everyone in Los Angeles had heard the rumors that Izzy had left Guns N' Roses and that David Navarro had replaced him. The next rumor was that David wasn't in. When all this happened I called a guy that worked for them called Josh Richman, whom I knew very well, and said "Josh, if Guns is looking for a new guitarist couldn't you mention my name to them."

Well, I got a phone call; it wasn't even like an approach thing. Slash had just called me and said, Do you want to come down and play with us tomorrow and I said (in skeptical voice), Yeah, alright.' And I came down and I just played with them and two weeks later I played my first show with them; I was the only person that they physically auditioned. Everybody else Slash kind of talked to them over the phone or met them in person but I was the only one that they actually asked to come down in person.

When they needed a guitar player, they called me and I was the only guy who went and physically auditioned with them. I didn't have time to really learn anything - I had to do it by ear. We played two or three songs, and (Slash) says, Come back tomorrow.' I did that for like five days in a row, and they said, You got it. We're going on tour.'
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:33 pm

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 1991
GILBY AUDITIONS AND GETS THE JOB


Gilby was only happy to get the opportunity:

[…] when Izzy left, I was the only guitarist they called to audition.

I got a call from management and I went down the next day. They had a lot of guitar players in mind, but I was the only person that they actually asked to come down.

The only thing I remember clearly about the audition is that they had this taped-off area where Izzy used to stand, which said to me, 'Do you have what it takes to fill this spot?' That was pretty amusing.

[…]I was a little surprised when [Slash] actually called me on the phone to ask if I'd like to audition. I said, "Yeah, I think I can make that." [laughs] Then he said, "Learn three songs and come down tomorrow. […] The funny thing is, I really didn't even learn the three songs, I just listened to a few things, got the keys in my head, and winged in the next day. I didn't really have any time to prepare beyond that. […] To be honest, I don't really remember [which songs they were]. I think it was "Civil War," "Knocking On Heaven's Door" and one other. […] So, after my audition, they asked me to learn some more songs and told me to come back the next day. This continued for a week. They never said I had the job, they just kept asking me to return.

Slash called me. And he just called me one day - you know, everybody had heard rumors around town that they were looking for a guitar player. So he gave me a call and asked me to come down. So I came down the next day, played some songs with him and then he asked me to come back the next day. And just like that, like, every day was, “Can you come back tomorrow?”

[Talking about starting in GN'R]: My first thing was like – almost like relief, after pounding, you know, L.A. clubs and touring America and stuff. And then, you know, everybody in town knew that they were looking for a guitar player, and when [Slash] called, I was like, 'Yes!' […] And it’s like, I was going to see Izzy’s new band. That’s why I went to see the band, 'Let’s go see Izzy’s new band,' you know? And then I met and talked to Axl a few times. Honestly, I really didn’t know Slash and Duff at all. I had known Matt because him and I had played so many clubs together for years and years on end. And so, when this call came, it was kinda cool, cuz at least when I got to go down, you know, I had known Matt fairly well; so, no matter what was going out with everybody else, I can always, like, go to Matt: (whispers) 'What’s going on?' (laughs)



GILBY GETS THE JOB


After a week of auditioning Gilby got the job:

And then, like, after a week, they said, "We're gonna do the tour, so you have another week to learn everything" (laughs). That’s basically what we did. […] I mean, I don't think that I could have been the guitar player to help them get where they got today. I think Izzy, you know, he had a lot of contribution to that and he was the one who brought them to where they are. Hopefully I’m gonna be the one after it, to the next step.

I played with them for a week, and then they told me that I got it. I took the next week and learned like 50 songs, and just went out with them. We played our first date within two weeks of me walking into rehearsal. I'll tell ya' — it was one of those things where it just worked out — I walked in, we all got along, so that wasn't a problem. Only it was a matter of musicianship, but when they saw that I was learning everything, that certainly was a relief for them. […] I have a lot of respect for these guys — it's like they could have any guitar player in the world, and they went back to their roots and took somebody from where they came from. You know, that's great. […] They could have anybody. There was all the rumours about David [Navarro], you know but, uh, this is what they wanted — that takes a lot of guts.

After a week of auditions, Slash called me up and told me I had the job, and that the band wanted to start touring the following week. I had to learn 50 songs in one week, and play them in front of thousands of people. My second gig was Madison Square Garden! I would come to rehearsal, play what I had learned, then go home and learn five more songs. I didn't sleep for two solid weeks - all I did was play guitar.

I had two weeks to learn, like, 40-plus songs. Two weeks. So it’s like, I didn’t have any time to think about anything, you know. Izzy and I are from the same school. They all kind of like the same kind of music, so I think that’s one of the things that - the reason why I’m doing it is because there was a certain style that they wanted and that was what I play.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; from April 20, 1992

I don’t know how I did it [=learn 50 songs]. I didn’t have song books to do it with and nobody even knew what Izzy played. They gave me the records. I'd be learning five songs a day and then remembering the five songs I learned from the day before. I'd rehearse with them during the day. At night, I would learn five new songs. […] When I played the first date, there were only two songs that I had cheat-sheets for. I actually memorized all of them. And to this day, I still have those same two cheat-sheets. Coma and Estranged I cheat on. I still don’t know them.

People were going. 'Hey, what'd Izzy play?' And then someone else would answer, 'I don't know. I never listened!' [laughter] It was crazy, wild. But we all got along, and it was a real nice feeling. Of course, I had two weeks to learn 50 songs! It was a miracle we ever managed that first concert together — two weeks later — but we did.

I had so much work to do. I mean, I really had to learn almost 50 songs in two weeks - that I didn't have time to fathom thoughts of 'What's Axl going to say...,' you know, 'What if they don't like this lick?', 'What if we don't get along?', What if I'm not wearing the right clothes?' […] The reason I got it was because we do all fit together, we do all get along and we do have the same lifestyle.

They could have taken a more established guitarist then me. Even though I had been in different signed groups I was totally unknown to the public. Guns N' Roses have an incredible apprehension of who they are and what they want to do. They wanted someone they could trust and could associate with on the side of the stage. Their court photographer Robert John laid in a good word for me, which most certainly helped.

It was like, ‘If you can learn all the songs, you’re in the band.’ So that’s what I had to do — learn every song.... They had just released the ‘Illusion’ records and I hadn’t heard any of that. I had heard just the first two albums, and I didn’t know how to play one of their songs.

Every day, somebody different was coming up to my amp and just standing beside my amp. I’m sitting, like, learning the songs and playing, and there’s somebody different every day standing by my amp. So it’s like I always have this feeling that somebody is listening to everything I’m doing (laughs). All the time with the band I’m just waiting for when they’ll say, “You missed a note. We’re gonna have to send you home.

Then I managed to find Gilby, and we rehearsed 38 to 40 songs with him so we could keep our regular tour dates. That was so much work. Nobody really cares, but for us that was a lotta f**king work!

If I wanted it that bad, I had to do it, 16 songs a day.



Gilby Clarke


Later, Slash would emphasize, and confirm Gilby quotes from above, that he only rehearsed with one other guitarist, indicating that the 16 others they considered for the job either didn't play at all, or played alone (possibly with recorded backtrack):

Despite what everyone said, Gilby was the only one that I physically rehearsed with and it worked out great. It was real casual and he just makes the effort on stage that Izzy didn’t.


During the rehearsals Izzy called and asked who would replace him:

When they tried guitarists Izzy called and asked who was gonna replace him. When they answered it was going to be me he said that he was happy. We respect each other very much and I'm not gonna take anything from him. Izzy made sure this group got on the map and what he's done is totally incredible. I'm after Izzy.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:33 pm

1962-1991
GILBY BEFORE GUNS N' ROSES


"He ain't Izzy, but who is he?" [Guitar Player, November 1992].
________________________________________________________________


EARLY YEARS


I was born in 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to California when I was 16 years. At this moment did music come into my life. I couldn't play guitar, but together with two friends who played bass and drums I formed a band anyway. We were really bad!

[Seeing a poster of Jimi Hendrix when he was a teenager]: Before I even heard his music, that poster made me want to play. It looked so cool, I said 'That's what I want to do, right there.'

I moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in my early teens. I was supposed to go to high school, but that never really happened - I discovered the guitar instead.

[…] I’d been in bands in Cleveland. I was like the little rock star around school (more laughter).

We went in high school and our gigs were at schools. All the other bands that played on these high schools consisted of guys that had left the school a couple of years earlier. Since we still were in high school we became somewhat of local rock-stars.

What was really strange is that when I first moved here [=Los Angeles] people were so nice — you walk down the street and people say ‘Hello.’ And I’d go ‘What the hell? Well, F-k you.’ Where I came from you’d get in a fight once or twice a week, it was no big deal and you’d be friends again the next day. But when I moved out here my first week I got in a fight and next thing I’m in the principal's office and I’m suspended. It was like, ‘Oh, California...'

A lot of people say that they chose this lane because of the chicks. That wasn't the case for me. I've always been interested in music and when I lived in Cleveland I bought records with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. I had to have a guitar, so I changed a pair of stereo loudspeakers, that my parents had given me, for a guitar.

From the age of 16 I've aimed to becoming a rock star and daydreamed about standing on a stage. I don't know why, but the thoughts about music was in my head and grew stronger all the time.



FIRST BANDS


Gilby's first proper band was Candy [Guitar Player, November 1992] which was formed in 1981 when Gilby was becoming a "fairly competent guitarist" [Heavy Mental, 1992]. In Candy he had Kim Fowley as the producer/manager [UG Rock Chronicles, June 13, 1994].

I had two bands before Guns N’ Roses and, like, we had our first record deal in... Jeez, I think it was, like, ’83-’84. So I did, like, a couple years of touring the States. That band was doing pretty good - we were on MTV and all that - and that went on for, like, five years.

We got signed with Polygram and released the album "Whatever Happened To Fun" (1985). The music was a mix of Bay City Rollers, Beatles and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. It was a weird band, because we looked like punkers but played pop! That was way before Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue became the biggest thing that happened Los Angeles in years. We went as opening act to the, at the time, mega-huge Rick Springfield and performed in big arenas.

[Describing Candy]: We were, like, a cross between The Raspberries and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers.



Candy; Gilby to the far right


Talking about Hollywood in his Candy period:

Hollywood was a wild place; there were a lot of great underground clubs we used to all hang at and everybody knew everybody. There weren't that many bands back then and there was maybe only three or four that could, like, headline say, the Troubadour on a weekend, and we just happened to be one of those bands. People like Kim, and I think Kim is fantastic, he'd always find the good bands before anybody else saw them. He was always on the street and we didn't have any money, we were all poor back then, and he used to have me go in at midnight and cover up other people's guitar tracks and stuff. I'd sneak in after midnight and re-do their guitars and using their guitars and their amps and the next day they'd go, God, I played that good.' They didn't remember but it was me and we just wouldn't tell anybody.


Candy didn't go anywhere and Gilby decided to start a new band, Kill For Thrills where he would take a more prominent role [Heavy Mental, 1992].

And then I started my other band, Kill For Thrills. That was just basically from the ground up playing clubs and, you know, the whole thing. And it's just years, you know, doing all that stuff.

Candy was really big in Los Angeles. When I started Kill For Thrills everyone in town knew who we were, so we had a stabile ground to stand on. We didn't have to go through a lot of shit that a lot of other new bands have to.

My band wasn't that big of a band — it was a weird L.A. band which released two records for MCA and did a small tour. We were on down time when I got the call for this, which pretty much put the band at an end.



Kill for Thrills
Gilby second furthest to the left


Kill For Thrills released two records: "Commercial Suicide" (1988-89) and "Dynamite From Nightmareland" (1989-90) [Heavy Mental, 1992]. Looking back Gilby would admit he released three records that "flopped" [The Indianapolis Star, July 21, 1992].

After Kill for Thrills he played in a band called The Blackouts [MTV Headbanger's Ball, October 8, 1994], but this was likely a short affaire before joining Guns N' Roses.


MEETING HIS FUTURE BAND MATES


Gilby met Izzy while playing in bands in Los Angeles, likely during his Candy period, and they shared a love for the Rolling Stones:

I knew Izzy before he met most of the guys in the band, and Steven, and I met the other guys around town and stuff. I had actually known Matt forever. Forever and ever. Too long (laughs). So yeah, we go way back.

I had known the band before when they were local, and knew Axl in a casual manner as we were in bands and stuff, but over the years I'd lost touch with everybody. But I'd read all the stuff, and then when I got into the band I had an idea of what he was going to be like, but being around him I got my mind changed after getting to know what he's really like.

We both wanted to be Keith Richards.

I met Izzy around 1984, shortly after he moved to Hollywood, and we really hit it off. We were part of a small group of Keith Richards fanatics who were somewhat alienated from L.A.'s heavy metal scene. During that period, I was also the lead singer and guitarist in a moderately successful power-pop band called Candy, which had a record deal with Mercury and even did a major arena tour warming up for Rick Springfield [the Australian heartthrob best known for his hit single, "Jesse's Girl"].

Izzy and I eventually lost contact, because I was busy with the band. But the next thing I knew, he was in the hottest band in Los Angeles - Guns N' Roses. When I was in town, I went to see GN'R every chance I could because I wanted to support Izzy.

I'd known Izzy and Axl both in the early years. We used to jam together in Los Angeles in the lean years.

Since I knew Izzy and he had a new band I had to check it out. This was before Guns when they were called Hollywood Rose. When I first saw them and heard Axl singing I said "that's one damned talented singer." It was so obvious that he had something special. […] I had been out on tour for a while and when I got back in LA I was shocked over Izzy's band. Suddenly they were the biggest in Los Angeles. I saw a show with them and even though the sound was so bad that you couldn't discern much, I understood something was going on. […] The first that struck me when the album ("Appetite") came out was Slash. He was the best guitarist I've heard in a l-o-n-g time.

Seriously, I was one of Izzy's first friends in Los Angeles. We both got to L.A. around the same time. Izzy and I both liked the same kind of music, and we hung around in the same small circle of friends.

I was actually friends with Izzy when Izzy first came to town. Then when Izzy got in Guns N’ Roses, I used to go see them because it was Izzy’s band. […] I kind of lost touch when they went on and became big and my bands were still playing clubs all those years.

I was one of Izzy’s first friends when he came to L.A. […] I never played with Izzy. He wasn’t a very good drummer (laughs). So him probably playing guitar was a better idea (laughs). […] I mean, I like it. I really like it. I always liked their music from day one. And to be playing it now, it’s like, I almost feel as if – you know, when I’m playing, it’s not faking it. I enjoyed it and I liked it.

I knew [Izzy] before I was in Candy. Back then, there were only five guys in town who wanted to be Johnny Thunders; it just happened to be me, Izzy, and a couple other guys. Pretty small world.

Back in the (late '80s), even though there were a lot of bands, it was still a small scene. Everybody pretty much knew each other. I knew (Guns N' Roses lead guitarist) Slash.


Gilby also met Matt during his Candy period:

I've known Matt since the beginning of the eighties when I was in Candy. I had met Axl, Duff and Slash a couple of times, but I didn't really know them.


And while Gilby played in Kill for Thrills, in 1990, Matt replaced Steven:

When I was in Kill For Thrills and Matt got his GNR gig, I was one of the first guys to go, Matt, that's so awesome' because Matt and I had been fucking pounding it out in clubs for years and everybody knew Matt was the best drummer around. Sure, he was in The Cult and stuff but he never got that big break.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:34 pm

GILBY SETTLES IN...BUT FOR HOW LONG?


FIGURING OUT IZZY'S PARTS


One problem Gilby faced when replacing Izzy was the fact that no one in the band really knew what Izzy had been playing:

My task was to play Izzy's parts and play exactly like him. No one helped me in the beginning. Slash told me to pick out Izzy's parts and play them. So I listened to the albums, came down to the rehearsal place and played. "That's not Izzy's riff," meant Slash, and I said "but that's what I heard." "It's my riff" he continued whereupon I said "oh!" So I had to learn to play exactly like Izzy did.

To make matters worse, nobody really seemed to know what Izzy played. I would perform something, and Slash would say, "I thought you knew this tune." And I'd argue that I did. And then he'd say, "No you don't - you're playing my part!" And then we'd realize that you couldn't really hear Izzy's part on some of the songs. So then we had to try to reconstruct his parts the best we could. Duff knew what Izzy had played more than anyone, so I leaned on Duff a lot.

But it also might have been a blessing in disguise. It gave everyone in the band the opportunity to suggest a fresh approach. I think they were giving me stuff to play that they always wanted to hear, but Izzy would never do. So my rhythm parts are a combination of Izzy's original ideas, some of my ideas and a few additional ideas provided by the band.

They give me the records and they give me the list, so every day I had to learn different songs. But the funny thing is, as you go in, you’re like, I’ll go in to learn the songs; and I’d go, “Is this right?” and Slash would go, “I don’t know.”



INITIAL REACTIONS FROM BAND MEMBERS ON GILBY JOINING


Slash was thrilled about having Gilby in the band and would claim that "for the first time in years, he is getting harmonic support on his guitars solos" [The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 1991]. He would also say that Gilby's "enthusiasm" countered Izzy's "lethargic stage presence and rudimentary guitar work" [St. Petersburg Times, December 27, 1991].

We hired Gilby because he is his own man. The last thing we needed was someone whose mind would've been blown at the prospect of playing with GN'R. We didn't need that kind of pressure, because we were trying to cope with the loss of Izzy. We needed to know that the person joining the band could hold his end of it together.


As mentioned above, Axl preferred Navarro over Gilby and wasn't as enthusiastic in the beginning, but this subsided as soon as they started to play together:

Axl was one of the people who really wasn’t in favor of me being the new guitar player. He wanted David Navarro. Once I got in, I really had a lot to prove to him. And after the first show, he came up to me and said, ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’ It made me feel a lot better.

When Gilby joined the band and it was brought up, I wasn’t into it at all, because Gilby had kind of been, in the early days, considered – at least in my mind and in girls’ minds – as, like, Izzy’s rival (laughs). […] I didn’t know what Gilby was into or what Gilby was doing. I didn’t know Gilby personally, but it was just a name you always heard; and there was this other guy that I admit that I always thought was Gilby. […] He was cool, but I didn’t want to work with him. And that wasn’t who Gilby was; I never knew that (chuckles).

When I went down to the studio, before we went on tour, to see this person play, knowing that we pretty much had to go with this person or we were fucked. […] I walked in, and he was playing Coma and rocking out. It was just like done deal; and all I can say, it’s perfect.


The similarities between Gilby and Izzy would also be mentioned by Gilby himself:

I'm really happy with these guys — I never really thought of it before. Izzy and I knew each other from a long, long time ago. We were all in local bands together, and him and I were so similar in so many ways — a lot of my friends were like, ‘God, what an obvious choice,' 'cause back then it was like the two of us were so similar. It was kind of interesting.


Gilby would also comment on fitting in immediately:

I had two weeks to learn about 40 songs – that was hard! Fitting in was the easy part, we hit it off right away.
The Evening Chronicle, June 16, 1992



RECORDING OR JUST TOURING MEMBER?


Despite having found Gilby, the band wasn't sure whether he would be a recording member or just a touring members:

Right now we have a guitar player named Gilby Clarke. And he’s been in Hollywood about as long as us. And, you know, he’s doing a really good job. But I don’t know about farther than the touring. […] He was in the band Candy when we were playing the clubs, there was all kinds of different bands.

Chemistry between musicians is something that takes a while to develop. So right now we're just touring. We don't have any plans for recording or writing together.

We have a person that we are working with, named Gilby Clarke, who has played around Hollywood about as long as us. But I don’t know about the next album, you know. We’re still talking with other people and stuff as far as that goes.

I don’t know if we’re going to write with [Gilby] when the tour’s over but I actually call him up and say ‘You wanna do this?’ and we hang out. With Izzy, the only time we used to do that was when we were getting stoned. That was like over three years ago.

I play a little bit of lead, but my role is generally rhythm. Slash is the lead guitar player. What's going to be in the future I don’t know, but I just had to fill a spot when I came in. So at this point I'm the rhythm guitar player - one of the reasons for bringing me in is that I always was a rhythm guitar player. Just because I am that doesn't mean I can’t solo, it's just that Slash is the guy that should be soloing now with Guns N' Roses. One of the reasons I got the job is that when Slash goes into a lead, he feels comfortable with me playing the rhythm part.


One of the reasons for this reluctance might have been a hope that Izzy would actually return:

[Discussing if Izzy is out for good]: That's something I have no idea about—how this is going to affect Izzy and his attitude. He may be happy not doing this anymore. Or he might really want to come back and make the effort that he wasn't making before. […] I just can't understand how [Izzy] could let something like this just fall apart. I mean the guy didn't want to tour or do videos; he hardly wanted to record. I just never thought he was one of those guys that this would happen with. It's a lot different than the Steve Adler situation. So I don't know what's going to happen a year from now: whether we'll be working with Gilby, Izzy or somebody else altogether. A lot of things are up in the air right now. But we've got a heavy duty tour going on, and we've got a killer band to do it


Later Gilby would talk about being afraid that his tenure in Guns N' Roses would just be a short, temporary thing:

I never even thought I was going to make it to the first gig [laughs]. I thought they were just covering themselves until Izzy came back. Then I thought they were going to dump me after our '91 Christmas break. But then Slash gave me this beautiful red Les Paul with an ebony neck. After that, I felt a lot more comfortable. You don't give somebody a present like that if things aren't going well.

It was strange at first, because when it all happened, I don’t think anybody really knew that it was a permanent situation, because Izzy left so abruptly that we really didn’t know if I was just filling in temporarily or if it was gonna go on for a long time. What happened is, as time went on, it just became a permanent situation.



LATER REACTIONS ON GILBY JOINING


As the touring went on, the band members would praise Gilby:

Well, he’s done a really good job considering that he had only about two weeks to learn the entire set, you know, of tunes. And basically we don’t learn a set; we learn, like, a lot of songs. So he learned about 30 songs for the tour and we pick from those. So, you know, in that respect he learned a lot of stuff in a short period of time, which is really brave.

Gilby was the guy that fit in, like, right off. Same way that Matt worked out. And Gilby was the only guy that we actually had come down to the studio and rehearse on stage with us. So it was that kind of chemistry.

Gilby fit in so naturally that I figured it was a godsend; I didn't feel like we had to look any further. He just came in and did the work required. He's a great guy. He's a little older than I am, he's been on the road for a long time, and he's tough as nails. Gilby and I have become friends - that's how we relate to each other. We didn't want a session guy or some weird, star-fucker type who was into the gig for the glory, or to further a solo career. We wanted a dedicated band member, and he has grown into that.


In the band's official fan club newsletter, they would mention Gilby joining the band this way:

Sitting in on rhythm guitar for the now is a guy by the name of Gilby Clark. Gilby is a cool guy and has been playin’ Hollywood for about as long as we have. He was in a band “Kill For Thrills” and an old Hollywood “Candy.” It sometimes takes a while for the chemistry of band members to develop and meld. So we’ll see how Gilby will fit in... but right now, he’s doing a killer job!



TALKING ABOUT THE TRANSITION


Gilby would be joking about going from "nothing" to GN'R over one night:

Basically, they bribed me (chuckles). They made me do it. […] It was a tough decision, you know, to go from the clubs and stuff to doing this. It was hard. […] 10 years of struggling, 6 months of cheating (laughs). And it was right there, right at the top. […] Oh, man, this is great. This is, like, everything you’ve ever heard of, like The Rolling Stones used to do back when we were growing up. This is it, this is the top.

I’ve been doing this for so long and finally it’s handed to you. At first I felt a little strange, like ‘You don’t deserve this.’ I didn’t feel comfortable — I was comfortable with the guys but not with the other stuff. Axl actually said one time, ‘You deserve this just like the rest of us. You worked just as hard, played all those clubs just like we did.' And I said. ‘Yeah, maybe I can accept this’ (laughs).

Actually, in a strange way, it wasn’t [much of a change joining GN'R]. Living in L.A. and being in the rock scene, you basically have this style of life and I pretty much already fit in. What was really great was I always liked the band from the earliest days when they first started in clubs and I thought it was a really cool band. Now they’re probably the biggest band in the world. I was just so happy.

It's a big change. It's kind of strange in the way, that, as a musician, I've been in a lot of bands, made a lot of records, done a lot touring, but it's like this is what I've been working for, for so long. I always wanted to be in a band. My idols were always the Beatles and The Rolling Stones — it's like a big thing, a big goal. It's like I've spent my whole life preparing for this so like now that it's happened it's like I don't question it — I accept it. It's like I don't want to jinx it. I'm really happy with these guys — I never really thought of it before.

Here's how I feel about it: It's like, to me, Izzy was a big part of this band, and the band wouldn't have got to where it got without Izzy. You know, if I had been the guitar player from the beginning, they wouldn't be where they are today. But I think it was one of those changes that needs to be done, and I'm like the right guy from now on for the future. You know, it's like my comparison is (chuckles)... I don't know if this is arrogant or what, but the Stones changed — everybody loved Brian Jones — but they switched to Mick Taylor, and they made some great albums with Mick Taylor. To me, my goal is to bring something like that to the greatest band in the world and add something. That's what I want to do — I want to just definitely make my presence known, and that's what they want too.

I never noticed this until I was in GN'R and learning their songs, but their solo sections are always a new part of the song. Too many people get locked into soloing over a verse or a chorus, but Slash never does--and I love that.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:35 pm

SLASH AND MICHAEL JACKSON


At some point in 1990, Michael Jackson's people contacted Slash.

I was in shock! I didn't know how to react. Like, "Why me?" But what was then communicated to me was that Michael liked my playing and feel, and that's what he wanted. So I said, "Cool." I called his studio to see what was going on and they sent me a really rough demo. Apparently, they work really slowly, 'cause I waited around for another couple of months before I heard anything else. I still haven't actually played anything yet.


A few months later Slash had recorded for Jackson, but not actually met him:

It's at once the most sterile and creative process I've been involved in. Everything is pieced together from samples; you use the same drum beat and chords then later add things to make it different in some places. Which is so different from what we do. Michael hires out the studio for like 10 years and shows up once a month. I'll probably never meet him... It's sort of weird.

Michael Jackson was somebody I admire and have a lot of respect for. But when it came down to it, the sessions were so unorganized. I like to keep a schedule and be punctual, but those dates just sat there for months and months until I kept thinking they didn’t want to use me anymore. I got a call three months later to do it at such and such a date, but when that date came, it wouldn’t happen. I finally went down and recorded some rhythm stuff for a couple of songs. Then the producer said he was going to another country for a while, and I told him to give me a call when he got back. But all I did was end up talking to his wife or his kid trying to find out what the fuck was going on, and to this day I still don’t know what’s happening.


In the first half of 1991 Slash had still not met Jackson:

I didn't meet him. I regret having done that too, only because that's way too automated for my taste. The guy books the studio for like two or three years and comes in once every sixth months. I was very still. I'd do a riff and it was really cool and they'd sample it for the rest of the song. You know, where I come from is like what they call the Old School - you get in there and you play. I think Michael Jackson is great, but not the process.


In August 1991, while being interviewed for the December issue of Guitar Player, he had again been contacted by Michael Jackson, and this time he got to talk to him:

When someone asked me to work with [Michael Jackson], I thought it would be cool, sort of an Eddie Van Haien spot where I could really shine. I asked, "Can I have a tape?" That was a major situation. Finally, I managed to get one, but it didn't have any vocals—just synthesizer and drum-box. Three to four months passed before they finally asked me down. I was completely out of my element, but I did one song my way. But no solo—the song was only two minutes long. I used a talk box on another one. I played my lick once, and they sampled it for the rest of the song [grimaces]. I really wanted to put solo on that one. They wanted me to do one more song. Six months went by and they called: "Can you come down and finish?" I said, "Yeah, when?" "Well, we're trying to figure it out." A few months later, I finally call them: "Do you want me to finish this? Maybe Michael isn't hip to the stuff I put down." And they said, "No, you've gotta do it." Ages went by and they called again. At this point I said, "No, I'm doing our record and we're on the road. Too late." I never met Michael through this whole thing. […] For a while, I was bummed. But a couple of days ago, Michael called. This little voice says, "Slash?" We talked; it turns out he has a song he won't record unless I play on it. He's going to delay the project until I can get into the studio. Michael sent me a tape—the song is perfect for me. I'm practicing it right now I'm going to wail.


In December 1991, Slash would again shed light on the collaboration:

I only played on the intro thing where that Macaulay Culkin kid, or whatever his name is, plays air guitar in the beginning of the video. So I'm on that, but when it goes into the actual song, that's not me. That doesn't sound anything like me. So I was a little pissed off, after all the work we'd done in getting together, when I realized [Michael Jackson] was promoting it as such. […] [Michael Jackson] works really hard, which is something I can appreciate because I don't like to fool around and waste time. He's real personable -- and we got the stuff done. It was actually probably easier than anything we do in Guns.


Detroit Free Press was present at the show on January 9, 1992, and would describe Slash finishing a phone conversation with his "good buddy" Michael Jackson [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992]. According to the newspaper, Slash had recently received a "the gift of a big-screen TV from Jackson" [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992]. Slash would comment on their friendship:

[Michael Jackson] turned out to be very down to earth, very sincere. And he worked really hard, which is something I always respect. […] Working with him was humbling in a way, too. You think about the amount of attention that’s been thrown at us all the time. Working with Michael, whoa — that was definitely a heavy-duty glamour situation. It went way beyond what we do.

Working with Michael Jackson was really interesting in that way. He’s as big as they get and he does live in some sort of mental Disneyland, but he’s a lot more real than he’s made out to be. He works his fuckin’ ass off. We musta done like 50 takes of this one song (‘Black & White’) before we actually went on TV. I didn’t actually play on that song although everyone else thinks I did. I only played on the beginning bit where the dad’s yelling at the kid. Then I played on another song, ‘All Together,’ which I might do a video for with him.

[Michael Jackson] was great, you know? I mean, I know a lot of people have... You, know, because he’s such a celebrity, a lot of people have... they think different things about what he is as a person. But, as far as I was concerned, he was just real sweet, and he works real hard and he was real down-to-earth, so we had a great time, you know. That’s why we’re gonna go in and do something else, and, like, finish the whole project out that we started on. I had a great time.

It was a year later, when [Michael Jackson] called and asked me to play on something, that it turned into a more personable kind of thing. He was at the studio when I did it. So that was cool. It's called "Give in to Me" There's a totally spontaneous solo on that. It wasn't necessarily perfect, but it had the right energy to it, so I left it on there. Michael gave me no direction at all. He wanted me for the gig, and he knew what it would sound like. He never questioned anything I was doing the whole time. By the way, contrary to popular belief, I'm not playing on "Black or White." I did play it live with him on television.

See, working with Michael (Jackson), I've gotten to be good friends with him in the last coupla years, and I don't know how he handles it. His whole situation just seems so way out of proportion. Then he'll turn round and say something like he's got a sore throat today. And I'm like — wow, that does happen, huh? Back to reality.


In May 1992, Slash would say he would soon be doing a music video with Michael Jackson [MTV Headbanger's Ball, May 1992]. And and:

Oh Michael’s a sweetheart. He’s a really cool guy. […] We’ve been workin’ together for a couple of years now on different stuff. […] I like him — he’s such a sweet and gentle man and actually pretty ordinary. […] People thought it was weird, us working together. I just think that in the end it’s all music — whatever kind you’re into.


In July 1992, Slash would again talk about his collaboration with Jackson:

It’s got to be almost two years ago that there was a phone from his office to my office. It was one of those things like, ‘Michael would like to have you play on his record,’ and of course I was very flattered. So they said they were going to be at such-and-such a place to do this and when I got there I found out that they’d block-booked time at all these different studios for two years, and Michael would only come in on occasion. So I said to the producer, whose name I can’t remember, ‘Well, what do you want me to play? Can I get a tape?’ and that’s when the guns went up! I said, ‘I just need something for reference.’ There were no vocals or anything, no real arrangements; a lot of it was drum machine stuff, completely the other side of the fence for me. It was like, ‘Okay, I'll adapt.’ They said ‘When are you available?’ and I was just starting the ‘Illusion’ record, so I said, ‘On Sundays, I can play any Sunday.’ They said, ‘We’ll call you right back.’

So I did one session and there was no music whatsoever. I just made up guitar to these drums with some guitar chords that the producer had put there; that’s all I had to work with. So six months goes by and they call me: ‘Can you come down?’ I said, ‘When?’ 'We’ll call you back.’

So another couple of months goes by and I never went back to finish the project so I just wrote it off. And then suddenly Michael’s office called me and said, ‘Can you do this one song? Michael’s not going to put it on the record unless you play on it.’ This was right when ‘Use Your Illusion’ came out and I was on my way to Africa - I wanted to get out of town because the hype was getting too much - so I said, ‘Well, I’m leaving for two weeks and I’ll be back on such-and-such a day,’ and they said, ‘We can’t do it.’ And then Michael calls me - ‘Hi, it’s Michael’ - and he asked me personally, finally, to do it. I said 'Well, listen, I’ve put back this trip for weeks, I’ve cut so much time out of the only vacation I’ve ever had.’ So he held back the release of his record so I could do it!

I went from Tanzania to Kenya to Amsterdam, with a six-hour layover to LA, from the airport to the record plant, and started this tune. And he was there, him and Brooke Shields, and he was great, and that’s when I finally met him. Then his record came out and I did a tenth anniversary MTV thing with him and played the song Black Or White, but gave it that sort of rock feel. And he says I played it on the record, but I didn’t really; I played on the beginning where the little kid is playing air guitar. That’s me.

But there’s another song, called Give In To Me where it’s all my guitar; all my leads and everything. And I’m doing a video with him when I get back from England. But that’s how we met, and now we talk on the phone all the time. He sent me a couple of TV sets. He’s a funny guy, you know, very distant, but very personable. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what his motives are, but when I talk to him he always seems really sincere and I take him at face value.


Talking about how working with Michael Jackson differed from his other collaborations:

The Michael Jackson thing was a little different, probably more business-like than with Lenny Kravitz or Iggy Pop, where we just went into the studio, Duff and me, and ripped out four songs in one day and had a great time doing it. And I just did something with Carole King; she’s doing a new record and that was just a case of going to her home studio and putting a solo on a particular song. It’s usually just, have a couple of drinks, hang out, no real deadline or schedule...


In August 1992, Slash would again talk about the collaboration with Jackson:

[…] Michael Jackson just called me up. He wants me to go to Europe and play a gig with him somewhere, and I'm going to do it because I can't stand doing nothing. I also just finished helping him with his next video, "Give In To Me." He gave me a lot of space. […] It's funny. Everybody thought I played the main riff in "Black or White," but that isn't me. To be honest with you, I don't know who the hell is playing that riff. Most people think that I played the whole thing because Michael really publicized that I played on the track. The only part I played is in the beginning, when the little kid is playing air guitar in the video. I played much more on "Give In To Me." I played the whole rhythm part and solo. It was very loose. I was just jamming to the track, and Michael came down with Brooke Shields. I asked, "Is this cool?" and he'd say, "Anything you want, Slash."


Slash would also get to organize the video for 'Give in to Me':

When it came time to do the video, Mike put the whole thing in my hands! I picked the director and organized the band. Gilby is in it, Tony Thompson is on drums, Muzz Skillings is on bass, Dizzy's on keyboards and Michael sings. We're in this tiny space and it is very rock and roll. It's a completely different thing for Michael. I hope he digs it.


In March 1993 Slash would be asked about his collaboration with someone like Michael Jackson:

The reason that it's cool to play with a lot of different musicians, um, from a technical point of view. Is just that it gives you a chance to experience working in someone else's environment. And makes you, it helps you grow. It, aah, it forces you to play as best as you can in a different style of music, you know. If I was to play with another band like Guns, it wouldn't make much sense, right? So when you play with other people, if you find something in their style that you dig, something that you like, you try to adapt to it. So you're learning, you're having a good time, you're not conscious of it at the time, Looking back on it, realizing that you're learning and all that. When Michael called me, I was just flattered. Because Michael, no matter what anybody says about the guy, is undeniably like awesome talent, you know. And I wasn't gonna turn it down, it's not uncool, you know, to go and play on a Michael Jackson record. And so I went and did it, and I can't say that it was an easy thing to do, because of how disorganized it was. But, I'm proud of it after the fact. Now all the commercial stuff that goes along with it, and all the sort of hoopla and fucking paparazzi that, that's associated with it. I could really give a shit. That wasn't my point. It was just to go and, and pull it off and, and make it sound good, Which I think it did came out sounding cool, and that's all that really matters.



Slash and Michael Jackson


When asked about his relationship with Jackson in May 1993, he would admit that he was an eccentric person:

Well, that was sort of a shock, I mean cos I’m (?) me and Michael Jackson, like, on two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But I was still really flattered. And I can understand, yeah, that he might be a little eccentric, but he’s an awesome talent. […] You know, I don’t wanna be just, like, the Guns N’ Roses guy. I’d like to expand a little bit more than that. And there’s a lot of people that I really admire what they play, or their songwriting or something, and it’s great to be invited to go along and play. It’s an honor.


By January 1994 allegations of Michael Jackson having sexually molested kids, including the actor Macauley Culkin, started to spread.

But when I first got involved, no, I never met him. His management called me. […] But after that, yeah. And I’ve done shows with him. I did a couple of shows in Tokyo, I did a video with him which was in front of an audience... So we got to know each other, sort of well, and I’d have to call him recently. […] Well, I mean, I feel sorry for him now, but only because – I mean, no one knows what the real story is, but the way that the media works... Especially nowadays, everything is so intense. You can’t walk down the street without somebody accusing you of something. So it’s hard to tell what the real story is, everything is blown out of proportion. So I know he’s going through it hardcore.

I was surprised to get the phone call. That was probably the most business-like session I’ve ever done. But I’ve gotten to know Michael since we first met in the studio and the guy’s just a bonafide amazing talent. Very rarely do you find yourself working with someone who’s that together. All the shit that’s going on with him now ... I just hope when it’s all said and done, that it turns out not to be true. […] You can never bury negative press whether it’s right or wrong. And that’s a drag. Especially considering that negative press is a lot more difficult when you’re a popular role model like he is.


When Howard Stern asked Slash about Michael Jackson and Macauley Culkin, Slash would simply respond "I don't know" [The Howard Stern Show, May 1992].

In early 1995, Slash would mention he had again been doing work with Jackson but also alluded to this causing problems:

I recently played with Michael Jackson again. Doing any kind of Michael Jackson thing is like doing a photo shoot without approval – you have no idea what's going on. Because there are no arrangements, you just go in there and play to a click track of drum samples. And I make up my part and what he uses he uses and what he doesn't want to use he doesn't. It's a whole different scene altogether, but Michael's cool. When Mike called and asked me to do this I was sort of like, "Weeee!!". There's all this controversy going on with him but that has nothing to do with us playing together and so I went to New York and did it. He's got a record coming out of 21 Number 1 singles he's had and there are seven new songs of which I played on three... but we'll see what happens. […] I got that feeling that I was sort of "flavour of the fuckin' month". That's howl felt at first. But I've done some shows with him in Spain and Japan, a video, and I got to know him. The guy's not as naive or as innocent as anybody might think; he's a very smart, quick-witted guy, fun to hang out with but obviously he's a little different – but so am I.

I did Michael Jackson again, but with Michael you never know what's going to be on the record.



Slash and Michael Jackson


Around the same time, Slash would defend Jackson against the accusations but refer to him as "different":

[Being asked if he would collaborate with Michael Jackson again]: Yes, he asked me to. It was just when the controversy about Michael and those kids broke out. I know Michael, and I know he's different, but he isn’t capable of doing that kind of thing. So he asked me to do it, and when I told people that I was going to record with Michael, they looked at me in shock and were like, ‘But haven't you heard about the kids? Are you gonna put yourself in the middle of this?’ I told them that I’d heard the stories, but Michael was my friend and I wanted to play with him. So I did three songs for him, but I don’t know which ones will end up on his album, because he does things differently than I do.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish


Later in the year he would talk more about his relationship with Jackson, and when asked if Jackson is a funny man:

I mean, Michael is Michael. I don’t know. I don’t know him well enough to talk about him publicly on a personal basis or a personal level. But for my experiences with him, he’s had always a very, sort of like, a keen sense of sarcasm - you know, the subtle kind – and great sense of humor. He’s different, you know. And I’m gonna work with him again. He’s been good to me as far as – you know, I’ve had a good time working with him.


Also that they would play again:

I just talked to him the other day and we’re gonna do a show coming up. […] I go and put guitar on stuff that I have no idea what the end result is gonna be. But that’s just Michael, you know, so it’s a different world as far as my approach to guitar playing and working with the band is concerned. But that’s Michael.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:36 pm

GUNS N' ROSES GROWS UP


MATURING


'Appetite' was released when the band members were in their early 20s. As the band members matured they would quickly have to deal with defending lyrics they might not feel fully represented them as grown-ups. They would also explore different lyrical themes in their music, as shown on more "mature" lyrics on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums.

You know, we're not trying to promote, you know, drug abuse or anything like this. It's very scary, I mean, it almost killed us, almost broke this band. It's almost, you know, killed a few of us a couple times, you know. It's something that we stay away from. And it's like being here in New York, you know, we've had some bad experiences before and, you know, and you just have to be really careful because, like, a lot of people take all kinds of meanings out of your songs which has nothing to do with the fact that, basically, it's about something that happened in your life two years ago.

I feel I have responsibilities to myself and to music, and things I want to do with it, like, you know, trying to relate to as many people and help open their minds up and least make them think. I'm not telling them that we can save the world but I can kind of describe the world, and, you know, just at least let them think about it, you know.

Our first major tour was with Motley Crue and the audience was younger than most audiences that we played, like on Aerosmith tour or on other tours or on our own tours and the tours with The Cult. And it was real hard to do the song It’s So Easy because there's a line in there, "I drink and drive/and everything's in sight". We were talking about, kind of, how we got away with things and we're lucky to be here. It was real hard knowing that some of these kids would just go out and go, ”Yeah, I drink and drive and everything's in sight.” I mean, Izzy put it best when he said that a lot of people think our record means you know, party and do cocaine and rock ‘n’ roll. And it's like, that just ain’t what it is. So Izzy was gonna quit at one time because he was... didn't like the way people reacted to it. I heard something on the radio last night; when Frank Zappa broke up The Mothers [Of Invention] it was ‘cause people were clapping for all the wrong reasons.

My girlfriend recently asked me if I could still write a song as nasty and gritty as the things on Appetite, and I told her that it would probably depend on the song and if I was moved to write that way. But I'm not gonna write that way just to sell records. I'm not gonna write anymore bar room sex songs just to sell a few more albums. If something inspires me to do it, I will. I won't regress. I'll do it if I can take it to a new place, a new level.
Hit Parader, June 1993; interview done in December 1992


Their past lifestyles would also be scrutinized by the media and band members would frequently defend or discuss it:

You learn from experience. We were very arrogant and in many ways an ignorant band, that just thought we could do everything our way. And we try to hold on What. I mean, there's still no formula For us. But then you see how people love to drag out dirty laundry, they expect you to come onstage and throw up or something. Which has nothing to do with music and every-thing to do with attitude. But of course, attitude has a lot to do with music. Personally, I don't want to piss off anyone. But we'll probably always be controversial. Life goes on.

I just turned 25, and something went off in my head. When I started this I was 19, and at that age there's nothing to stop you, so far as you can see. And then as you get older—not to say I'm old now—but you do change a little and see things differently. It's pretty natural. Some people are a little luckier than others as far as living through it. 'Cause there are extremes. When you're 22 and on the road with access to excess—well, you can get in trouble.

I think we're a pretty decent mirror for what kids and young adults go through, if you're not brought up in a totally stiff atmosphere. For people who have spent time on the street or have family problems, alcohol problems, we've voiced some opinions about what we were going through. And some of the reason we did so well is that a lot of kids related to that. Of course their parents might have freaked—It's that 'our generation' kind of thing—but it's what we went through. And now, what we have to say is a little different.

We’re older and we’re more experienced. This is sort of a G Ν’ R cliché now — we’re not saints, and things still happen, but we try and keep them confined to the band, cos everything goes public now. People expect me to be drunk or people expect me to throw something out the window or expect Axl to break something and walk off the stage. That’s not what we’re all about. After a while, you keep everything to yourself. If you do smash the TV set, just quietly get rid of it y'know?


In 1991 Axl went through therapy that helped him to understand why he was the way he was and to grow [see separate chapter]:

I really think that the next official Guns n' Roses record, or the next thing I do, at least, will take some dramatic turns that people didn't expect and show the growth. I don't want to be the twenty-three-year-old misfit that I was. I don't want to be that person. […]I guess I like who I am now. I'd like to have a little more internal peace. I'm sure everybody would.


Axl would also comment on the way they had behaved before:

We, Guns N ' Roses, did [act like pigs] for a while. Or did, because it was the only way to deal with it -- it was O.K. to be obnoxious and rude like that for a while. it's not O.K. for me personally to be that way anymore. It was accepted of us.



SOCIALLY AWARE BUT NOT A POLITICAL BAND


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

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

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

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



REACTIONS TO THE US-IRAQ WAR OF '91


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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



SOCIAL INJUSTICE


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

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

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

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


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

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



SUPPORTING CHARITIES


With this exposure to poverty and unfairness, and with their wealth, band members would star to get involved in various charities. Axl would talk about wanting to support organizations that would help abused children, partly due to its personal meaning to him:

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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



REACTIONS TO THE APRIL 1992 RIOTS IN LOS ANGELES


On April 29, 1992, four Los Angeles police men were acquitted after having severely beaten a black man, Rodney King, after a traffic stop. The incident was filmed and the acquittal caused controversy, especially among Afro Americans in Los Angeles. The unrest led to city-wide riots.

It was an irresponsible verdict and the violence was wrong.

Well, the LA thing was very heavy, I thought. I thought the whole decision for one… the decision that was made was really irresponsible, and then I thought that the reaction was really irresponsible. I thought the whole thing was just a huge mess. I think it gave a lot of people excuse to do what they did, you know, and I'm hoping the verdict changes at some point or they do figure out some way of reconciling with, otherwise it's get... there's absolutely no respect for law enforcement in Los Angeles right now and it's spreading all over the... you know, […] it spreads from LA to then it went to Beverly Hills, it went to the Valley and it starts to go to different countries because they see, like, "Well, they can do it, we can do it," and so on. A lot of the other stuff that goes down, stuff that's going on in Thailand, you have to be aware of especially when you're in these third-world countries, all you have is CNN so you just sit there staring at it going, "Jesus Christ, it's getting hectic out there," you know. But as a rock-and-roll band we're not really that politically conscious because, you know, it's a whole environment unto ourselves that we travel around in and you don't always have things to say about what's going on in the rest of the world because you know that's hectic anyway and you're just trying to get on with just doing what you do.



STILL NOT A POLITICAL BAND


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Axl and Slash would talk about voting:

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

[...] Anybody here voting? What do you think of politics? It’s really kind of fucked. I did manage to register to vote, but, goddamn, as far as the president is concerned, there’s nobody to fuckin’ vote for. We’ve got Bush, who sold our ass out in the Gulf War for billions of dollars and lots of people killed. We’ve got Clinton, who could bring change, but then we’ve got Al Gore. [...] Al Gore, who - if his wife had her fucking way, we wouldn’t have this goddamn concert tonight. And it looks like there’s a good chance she’s gonna be in a lot more fuckin’ power. I’m not saying not to vote for Mr. Clinton, but, if you want your records in the fuckin’ stores, you’re gonna have to do some fighting for it. Just like how we fought for this tour, us and Metallica, to make this fuckin’ thing happen, when most of the stadiums didn’t want us to play, cuz “it was too fuckin’ dangerous.” I just think that, like, it’s gonna take people like you all across this country to slap a warning label over that bitch’s mouth.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:36 pm

DECEMBER 3, 1991
THE SINGLE 'LIVE AND LET DIE' IS RELEASED


The third single off 'Use Your Illusion' was 'Live and Let Die', a cover of a song by the Wings.


Live and Let Die
December 3, 1991


The music video was finished on November 25, 1991 [Rockline, November 27, 1991]:

Just got it done 2 days ago and we’re really happy with it. We used a lot of shots from our childhood and stuff that we’ve had to live through. I think it will be fun for people.

The press has liked to show pictures of us as children, kind of where we started, but they also did it with an attitude to hurt us or something. That's why in the video for "Live And Let Die," we show pictures of us all as children in the background, coming in now and then - some of our favorite shots of us as children - to confront that.[…] My step-father had shot a video of our entire family and of his entire family, all the way back to great-great-grandfathers, and he compiled this video. Through doing certain work with my family, with understanding what was going on there now, it was very strange, very surreal, and very disturbing. I use a shot in the beginning of the video from when I was about three or four years old. I come in the door with a toy gun and my dad happened to film it. That went on the video. He sent it to me with some sound effects over it and a comment, kind of putting me down, letting me know he's still on top of things or whatever. But that's not the fact and I don't accept it, so it's like, "No, I'm using it my way, and that's me, and don't forget it."

Okay, this next video I’m gonna show you was shot – it was one of our live performances when Izzy was still in the band. We did it all over Europe and the United States, and we just took this live footage and then we had little old pictures of each member of the band as kids, you know? And this next one is called Live and Let Die.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:37 pm

SCALING UP THE TOURING LINEUP


After a break since their Webley gig in August 31, 1991, the band continued with their touring in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in December 1991. This leg of the tour would feature some changes. Most significantly, Izzy had been replaced with Gilby. In addition the band had added extra touring musicians.


TEDDY "ZIGZAG" ANDREADIS


The first to be added was a second keyboard player [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992], Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis [Guitar for the Practising Musician, April 1992]. Andreadis was in the band before September 1991 [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].

We got a guy named Teddy, Teddy Andreas [sic] and he does harmonica, which is on songs like Bad Obsession, and he plays organ, he’s a great organ player and he’s just a great background vocalist.



THE HORN SECTION: LISA, ANNE AND CECE


The band also decided to add a horn section and backup singers:

We've used horns in clubs before, but that's it. And they're just for certain songs… We're just trying to do whatever we can to make the band sound as cool as possible.

[The extra musicians] were hired at the same time as I came in the picture. As far as I know the choirgirls and the horn section is there because they're on the albums. Sometimes you see a concert and wonder "where did that sound come from?" And there's some guy who puts on a tape recorder. We play everything live so they have to be there. […] Besides the new stage is gigantic, so Duff, Slash and I have to run around all the time to cover all the spaces. Then it's hard to sing all the parts, so the girls unload us.

We just had them out with us for no other reason than to prove to ourselves that we could do it. When we recorded November Rain we used strings and I think that, live, most bands would have used tapes. But we didn’t want to cheat the kids so we put it together and it worked and I guess we just got it out of our systems; we can do this with real legitimate players: we are worthy!


As Axl would later quip, "five guys on stage was too much of a homosexual thing" [Onstage at the Worchester Centrum Centre, December 5, 1991].

The idea to add horns and backup singers was Axl's idea, but making the horn section all-female was Slash's [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992]:

Well, when this first started coming up, it was around the time that Izzy split and Gilby came in. At the same time I was trying to audition musicians to make November Rain, and Heaven’s Door and stuff to sound a little bit more like it did on the record. And Axl really wanted to get into that, so I got the job of going out and finding something to simulate it. And I didn’t want anything corny like three guys in tuxedos coming up with their horns, right? So I got some chicks to do it. That’s how, basically, the whole thing came about.


Andreadis helped to find Lisa Maxwell for the horn section [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].

Maxwell would discuss how it happened:

Ted mentioned my name, and I went and jammed with Slash. Then he said, ‘Get together two other girls and write the arrangements.


Maxwell then began transcribing the group’s albums and called up her old friend and trumpeter, Anne King. King recommended saxophonist and flutist CeCe Worroll, making the horn section complete [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992].


THE BACKUP SINGERS: DIANE/TRACY AND ROBERTA


The back-up singers that were recruited were Diane Jones and Roberta Freeman [The Boston Globe, July 30, 1992]. Later it seems Jones were replaced with Tracy Amos [Detroit Free Press, July 19, 1992].

The ladies had themselves opted for wearing lingerie [Star Tribune, January 21, 1992]. But according to Maxwell it was a little bit more complex than that:

The look was real important. I mean, the playing was the least of it, it’s not hard. […] ][The band] couldn’t decide if they wanted us to look elegant or have a street-slut vibe. They decided on street, and got a designer who did a great job but really didn’t have time to fit us properly.


Eventually, after some fans and critics commented on the costumes, the women asked to use their own clothes because they felt it would lend more credibility to their playing [The Boston Globe, July 31, 1992]. Maxwell would recall:

We sort of joke around and say we’re a dessert topping and a floor wax - sometimes we travel with the band, sometimes we travel with the crew, and nobody seems to know what to do with us. […] The crew was very resistant at first. They figured that the band put us with the crew because they didn’t respect us and so we weren’t worth very much. But now that we know each other they treat us like sisters.



ENJOYING THE BIGGER BAND


Slash and Axl would enjoy the bigger band:

And it’s fun having this - like, this whole, you know, entourage out on the road. You know, like, five girls, and Ted, and the rest of us. It’s a circus, you know?

There's Teddy, there's Dizzy, there's Roberta, Tracy, Lisa, CeCe, Anne, Gilby, Matt, Duff, Slash and me. Slash put this new band together, did all of the groundwork. He did such an amazing job that I just can't believe it really happened. I'm glad to be a part of it. It's a pretty huge thing, and we might even add some dancers, like we used to have back in the old Troubadour days. It's something we've considered.


When asked his thoughts on people who preferred the band when it was more stripped down, Axl would say:

But I don't think it's losing any of its energy. There's a lot more energy now. I think that before, people were seeing the potential. […] Yeah, well, there are people who like a girl that had the same haircut she had ten years ago, too. I understand that. I understand that a lot. But it's like, we're evolving, and it's us. I read a quote where David Bowie was saying that Pink Floyd was Syd Barrett to him. I'm like "Yeah, but to deny anything that Pink Floyd's done after that?" Certain elements of our music and our performance and our attitude are still there, but we're not the same people we were then. Maybe it would've been best for the purists if we'd died or broken up. Then they'd get to keep it the way they liked it.


In the March 1992 issue of their official fan club newsletter, the band would explain the addition of musicians this way:

Also, for this tour, we are bringing along an extra keyboard player, three lady horn players and two backup singers. So when you see us in concert, it will sound as close as possible to how the albums sound... Maybe even better!



THE NEW TOURING MUSICIANS



IN HINDSIGHT


In mid-1994, when asked about the bigger band, Slash would respond this way:

Since the beginnings of the band we’ve always been evolving, step by step. It’s not a preconceived career plan. The only need is to move forward and we have come to the point where we say, "Since we can do whatever we want, let’s try this or that, can we get away with it?". Or, maybe, “Would it be better to not keep quiet about this or that or should we just forget about the critics?". And we ended up playing in stadiums, because that was the level we had reached, it was the next step. But I can tell you that I want to go back to indoor venues on the next tour. I feel like a dwarf in these big open air arenas.


But in early 1995, when his conflict with Axl was escalating, Slash would say he had been against the bigger band and that it had made him "uncomfortable" [Kerrang! January 14, 1995] and:

With Guns, it got to be such a huge production—it was almost a cabaret act. Axl and I we try to work together, and things started leaning over toward these fantastical Axl concepts, and I cruised along. We had horn players, then we did the acoustic set, big budget videos.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:37 pm

DECEMBER 1991
SLASH'S NEW HOUSE AND HOBBIES


In December 1991 Slash bought a home off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills for "close to its asking price of $1.495,000" [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991]. He would still keep his other house in Laurel Hills for his "16 snakes, eight cats and two Rottweilers" [Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1991].

In October 1991, it would be reported that Slash's favorite hobby was "collecting dinosaur models" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991]. Another hobby of Slash's was the collection of t-shirts:

I’ve got over 4,000 T-shirts. They're all stashed in boxes back home. I wear them once, then store them away.


During the hiatus in touring between August and December 1991, Slash would live in an apartment complex in Burbank rather than in his Hollywood Hills house [Guitar World, February 1992] or in hotels:

I'm in LA, but I'm in a hotel. I don't go home when we're on the road even if we're in town, I just stay in hotels. I'm a road rat so I can't stand the thought of actually settling down for a couple of weeks at my house and then going back on the road — it fucks with my whole momentum.


Slash would also take time off to travel to Africa to photograph wild animals [Guitar World, February 1992].

After the break in touring in February 1992, before travelling to Japan, Slash again opted to stay away from his houses. This time he stayed in a hotel:

I’m not at home at the moment basically, because the pace on the road is so different, I find it really hard to adjust when it comes to coming home for a couple of weeks. I have all these animals, like snakes and lizards and shit, and since I’m not a round there’s people who are there working at my house and taking care of shit living there. I can’t just concentrate in m y house when there’s people around. I’d rather just stay in a hotel room where I can get my shit together, throw shit around the room, spit on the walls and relax a bit! I can’t spit on the walls at home, but in the hotel room... you can do anything like seeing the maid’s faces when I haven’t let them in the room for three days! (laughs) No, seriously, I’m not that bad.


Slash would also get fed up by life in Los Angeles:

I don't hang out in LA really, I'll go to the Rainbow or whatever but I'm not what you call an LA character. I don't like being noticed - I appreciate it but at the same me I like to be left alone. I get very fucking nervous and uptight when there's people staring at me so I don't really like being out. So I spend all my fucking time sitting in the hotel room and then at night I'll go out and accept the fact that I'm in a club and try and have my privacy - yeah, I'll have a security guard with me because I have to, much as I hate to admit it. I've gotten myself in some really awkward situations and I really do like to be left alone. I don't mind signing autographs but the majority of people who come up to you just demand it like you're a puppet or something. Its like you go to a record store and you've got to sign 600 records just to buy a fuckin' Stones record and it takes three hours. That's kind of weird. It sounds like I'm complaining but like I said earlier, it's a small price to pay for doing what it is that I want to do. […] I'm sort of introverted. On a social level I pretty much just like to be around close friends and have everything pretty much down to earth. When the band was younger and we weren't like big shit used to go out and get fucking drunk out of my mind and break stuff but that only lasts for so long and then after a while you get sick of all the attention.

[…][Los Angeles is] just such a f***!n' phoney poser town. It's ridiculous. And y'know, people talk about me an' stuff when I'm gone, then when I come home everybody goes real quiet. I'd always considered myself, like, the guitar player, I can cruise in and out of places, have a drink or whatever, nobody's watching me. But now it's not like that. I find that 'friends' or mine have been trying to pick up on my girlfriend just cos I wasn't in town. Y'know? Really weird high school shit, kindergarten shit. And people making some sorta noise about what I do on the road, having a real ball. And I didn't realise we were that significant. […]I mean I expected it more to happen to Axl, just because he's the lead singer. But it happened to me and...f***! I can't walk around and it's a drag. My basic privacy is gone. I don't know, it's all so f***in' complicated.


He also had his share of obnoxious people:

One woman came up to me with all her sons and said: 'I hate your music but I’ll have your autograph anyway.' That kind of stuff gets me pretty mad, so I told her and her sons just where to get off.


By late 1991 it was also reported that Slash owned "about 50 guitars" [Guitar Player, December 1991], but he would later claim the number was 45 and that a lot of it came from him buying all the guitars he used for recording 'Illusions' [Guitar World, February 1992].
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:37 pm

SOUNDGARDEN BECOMES THE NEW SUPPORTING ACT


After a break since their Webley gig in August 31, 1991, the band continued with their touring in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in December 1991. This leg was supposed to start in October, then in November, but the band kept postponing [Melody Maker, March 28, 1992], likely due to having to replace Izzy and adding additional musicians as described in the previous section.

In addition, the band had gotten Soundgarden as the opener.

The members of Soundgarden looked forward to the tour:

This is a problem we’ve always had in that there’s not that many bands really that we can be matched up with in a tour situation — it’s got to be obviously appropriate. […] Really, musically, Guns N’ Roses is more appropriate than any other tour we’ve really been offered. Most of their audience isn’t going to be familiar with our music, but I think most of their audience is going to understand what we do, and that’s the important thing.
The Newark Advocate, January 19, 1992

It's the coveted opening slot for any band out there right now. We were lucky to have been chosen by the band members themselves, instead of some management-manipulation-payola trip. […] If they come on late, we've been told we can stretch our set a little bit, which should be fun. […] We were going to go out with Queensryche. […] So we had to say 'Later' to those guys, and go on the Guns N' Roses ship. We really believe in our record, and we want it to be heard.
Circus Magazine, January 31, 1992
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:38 pm

DECEMBER 5-6, 1991
WORCHESTER CENTRUM CENTRE; GILBY'S DEBUT


After a break since their Webley gig in August 31, 1991, the band continued with their touring in support of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums in December 1991. This leg was supposed to start in October, then in November, but the band kept postponing [Melody Maker, March 28, 1992], likely due to having to replace Izzy and adding additional musicians as described in the previous section.

The first two gigs were at Worcester Centrum Centre, in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, on December 5 and 6. The December 5 show was sold out in a "record 22 minutes" [RAW, December 1991]. The band would start these shows well over two hours late [Hartfort Courant, December 7, 1991]. The late starts, which had plagued the tour so far, would continue for this leg with 90 minutes or more wait after the opener becoming the norm more than the exception.

These shows would also be Gilby's first shows with the band:

I guess Izzy and I have got a similar look. So there were kids up front, especially in Boston, going ‘Yeah, Izzy! All right, Izzy!’ And I was like, ‘Wrong guy, man’.

I’m calling it a hangover, it could be first-day jitters, I don’t know for sure. But it really helped calm me down. Like, before the show started, seriously, I was the most calm person on the stage. Everybody else was way more worried than I was.

[Talking about what he remembers from his first gig with the band]: yes, a lil... i was hungover. i met up with some friends the night before & had a yager party. it took the edge off.

I’m a pretty calm person — I think the first show the other guys were more nervous for me than I was. I knew it was going to be cool, and I’d played arenas before so it wasn’t a big surprise. What was a big surprise was I’d always been in the opening band and you have to win the audience. Here you walk out and the audience is already won. One thing that worried me was that Izzy had been in the band since Day One, and I wondered how receptive they’d be to me. I mean, I always liked Izzy and I liked Izzy in the band — it would be strange to see a new guitar player take his place. The night before I met some friends and got pretty trashed so the night of the first show I had probably the worst hangover of the last few years. That probably helped take the edge off.

And after the first show, [Axl] came up to me and said, ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’ It made me feel a lot better.


For the first show Gilby was asked to do a solo spot:

I didn't even know that I was getting a solo spot until the day before the first gig! They just came up to me and said, "So what are you going to play in your solo segment?" I mean, why would I get a solo segment? So then Axl said, "Well, Izzy always used to do a little solo before 'Patience.' Do you think you can come up with something?" I just didn't want to get out there and do a lead guitar thing. Slash is the lead guitarist. So I decided to play "Wild Horses," which is one of my favorite songs.



Review in the Hartford Courant
December 7, 1991


Gilby would later look back at starting in Guns N' Roses and remark that it was a simple transition:

What's really weird is, I mean, a lot of people think about, you know, I mean, the band was hard to deal with and stuff. To tell you the truth, it was very, very easy. I mean, I walked into a successful band -- I didn't have to do anything. I didn't have to tune my guitar; you know, I didn't have to send my luggage; you know, I didn't have to book the shows and things. All I had to do was play guitar. And I got to play guitar exactly the way that I got to play guitar, so it was pretty easy..
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:39 pm

DECEMBER 9, 1991-JANUARY 10, 1992
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AND ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM


DECEMBER 9, 10 AND 13, 1991: PLAYING AT THE MADISON SQUARE GARDEN


Then followed three shows at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 9, 10 and 13. During the first of these, which started almost 2 hours later than announced because Axl had the flu which left him throwing up backstage between the songs [Rolling Stone, December 1991]), Axl would say they expected to pay $24,000 in curfew fees [New York Times, December 11, 1991]:

You people are worth more than the $24,000 we’re paying in overtime.


After the band first show at Madison Square Garden, Jon Pareles, writing for New York Times, wrote a lackluster review of the show. This prompted Axl to invite him to attend the second show at MSG and "tell the crowd why they weren't having a good time." This wouldn't be the first time Pareles had been critical of the band. After the band released GN'R Lies with 'One in a Million', Pareles had written a scathing article in New York Times about bigotry in pop music [New York Times, September 10, 1989].

In an interview with Rolling Stone by Kim Neely, which was published in April 1992, Axl was asked why he invited Pareles to their next show, and if he didn't realize Pareles would be walking into "a minefield":

[Pareles] didn't have the balls to stand behind what he wrote, and he got exposed.


When Neely asked why Axl couldn't call Pareles or meet him at "neutral ground":

I'm not gonna make the New York Times any more money. It was an obnoxious piece. It was shit journalism. He could've written: "I didn't like the show, personally. I think they suck." Okay, fine. Cool. You can think we suck, and I can think you're an asshole. But don't just try to make it look like nobody enjoyed it.


And when Neely pointed out that he might just have been "calling it like he saw it":

Then that's a person with some severe fucking personal problems, and he has no business being there writing about our show. It's a different crowd at a G n' R show now than it used to be. He didn't understand it. Most people that have been into G n' R for years don't understand it, but they can feel it. Having a nice time is weird for people that don't have nice times in their lives. When you don't really know what a nice time is, a nice time is for pussies.



Review in New York Daily News
December 11, 1991


Looking back at playing at Madison Square Garden:

We had a lot of American shows. My second set of shows was at Madison Square Gardens (laughs). I was like dreaming all my life, you know — it's just one of those musician dreams! To make it real in two weeks, was like...

[Talking about his best gig]: The first time Guns played Madison Square Garden. There's nothing like the energy you feel when you're the king of New York for a day. Everyone from the people in the hotel to the cab driver knows what you're there to do and seems to rally behind you. It's a tremendous experience.

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



DECEMBER 16, 1991,-JANUARY 7, 1992: MORE SHOWS


The band then played 7 more shows: Philadelphia Spectrum, Philadelphia, USA (December 16 and 17); Suncoast Dome, St. Petersburg, USA (December 28); Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, USA (December 31); LSU Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, USA (January 3, 1992); Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, USA (January 4); and The Pyramid, Memphis, USA (January 7).


Review in Courier-Post
December 18, 1991



"PANSIES AGAINST ROSES" IN HOUSTON


Then the band came to play two shows at The Summit in Houston on January 9 and 10, 1992. For the first of these shows the Houston chapter of the organization Queer Nation organized a protest titled "Pansies against Roses," calling out and showing displays, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay -- Guns N' Roses, go away!," and "Gay bashers are closet cases." The demonstrators were met by hecklers chanting "Guns N' Roses!" and "Faggots go home!" [Houston Chronicle, January 10, 1992].


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:39 pm

GILBY, THE ADULT BAND MEMBER


Gilby had struggled with addiction in his youth, but he had cleaned up well before joining Guns N' Roses:

I had a problem when I was a teenager, but I got over all that.


When he joined the band he did not take part in the craziest partying and seemed to have stayed sober to his wife/fiancee [add quote from Matt's biography].

Still, Gilby would confirm that the drug issues in the band were under control but that they still partied:

The band is really cleaning up quite a bit. I mean there's no drugs or anything any more. We're still drinking a little bit, but that’s about it.

When I got involved in the band everyone cleaned up.

Well, we all came from pretty much the same, you know – we all hung around the same part of town. So any problems that, like, people in GN’R were having, it was pretty much everybody in town was having. It wasn’t necessarily Guns N’ Roses; it was kind of a scene that we were all involved in, you know. Even though everybody was in separate bands, they went through the same thing. But what happens is, you gotta understand, that’s when you first start out, you’re really young and stuff, you don’t have any money - there’s a lot of problems going around. But, as things happen and, you know, you get a little more successful, you can start to enjoy different things in your life, like traveling, and you don’t need the drugs and all that stuff as much. You start replacing it with things that are a little more grown up. So, I mean, we drink pretty good and we party pretty great and stuff, but, you know, all those problems are long gone.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:40 pm

1992
THE ENDLESS PARTY BORES SLASH


In early 1992, Slash would analyze his former drug addiction and find the silver lining:

I think I'm lucky because I went through the drug trip early in life, as opposed to having it build up and hit me when I was 30. But I have to admit, I never really thought about drugs until I got to a point when I just realized that things were getting a little too hectic. I'm 26 now; it's been two years and I haven't had a problem with it. I'm no angel, but I'm not slamming and all that stuff.


In May 1992 Slash would admit to occasional cocaine use [Kerrang! May 16, 1992].

In July 1992 he would claim to have cut down on his drinking:

There was a point where I used to drink a bottle of [Jack Daniel's] a day. But that's not too conducive to being productive as far as I'm concerned. I've grown up a little bit in that sense. I may be out late at night and get toasted off my {expletive}, but for the most part I try and watch myself...[…] After a while, it gets boring, to be honest.

We don’t have as much going on outside of performing right now, in light of the fact that some of the guys got married and there’s not this huge drug thing going on — we’ve seen this movie so many times. It’s just gotten to the point where we really are just concentrating on the shows. We might go out and have a drink and do whatever [after the show] but the focus is not going out to get laid and [messed] up all the time. There were theater tours where we cared about the gigs, but we were on a [expletive] tightwire. […] [Staying in shape] is not even a professional responsibility. It’s more a responsibility to yourself: that you want to feel like you’ve given the optimum performance you can give. I take my playing seriously and I know everybody else in the band is the same way. I wouldn’t mind being up there with guitar players like Jimmy Page, so it’s not gonna help if I’m irresponsible to that goal.

I still drink, but the whole thing used to be like this big adventure. I used to get wasted on stage. There were nights when I'd have to start "Sweet Child o' Mine" four or five times because I was so loaded I couldn't play it. But I got burned out on the whole drug thing and the groupie scene.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:40 pm

JANUARY 13-14, 1992
TROUBLE IN DAYTON


After the two shows in Houston the band came to Fairborn near Dayton in Ohio, on January 13 and 14, 1992.


HANGING OUT BEFORE THE SHOWS


The band would come to Dayton on January 10 and hang out at McGufly's House of Draft on three nights before their first show [Dayton Daily News, June 2, 1995]. At the night before the show (January 12), the band (minus Axl) even did a show at the pub playing GN'R tunes and covers [Dayton Daily News, June 2, 1995].


THE FIRST SHOW - AXL STRUGGLES WITH PAST MEMORIES


For the first show the band was even more late than usual, long after the "around 8 PM" time printed on the tickets [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. At 11:52 PM Slash came on stage to announce the show would be delayed due to a technical problem with one of the stage monitors: "I didn’t build the... equipment — I just play through it" [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. The band entered the stage first at 12:25 AM [Sandusky Register, January 15, 1992; Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. Several members of the Nutter Center’s support staff allegedly said that Axl did not arrive at the venue until after midnight [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. The show ended at 3:05 AM [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992]. From the stage Axl would imply psychological issues, saying "You’ve got to realize that this is not a pleasant place for me to play" while explaining that his step-father was from Dayton and that he had needed time to prepare himself mentally for the performance [Dayton Daily News, January 15, 1992].

And you all know how that’s just one of my “favorite” places. No offense, but if you believe that – I mean, my stepdad is from here in Dayton and I used to come here when I was a kid. This is not a pleasant place for me to be. But I got to realize that it doesn’t have anything to do with you who came to see the show.


In early 1993, Matt would talk about having to wait for Axl for this show:

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.


During the show Axl would also try to get the crowd into the show by engaging with them about the accusations that the band had supremacist sympathies:

[Talking about trying to get a crowd reaction]: I approached it a bit differently when we did the first show in Dayton, Ohio. We'd been told we're the perfect house band for David Duke's America. And it's like, fuck David Duke, I don't like being associated with that. I asked the crowd: "Is that what you get out of this, that we're racists and you're supporting it? 'Cause if that's the case, I'm gonna go home. That's not why we're here." I asked the crowd about those things. I got some real interesting responses. The way they reacted was a little bit different than normal. There was silence in different places and cheering in others. You could tell that they were thinking for a minute.


Also on the day of this show, something, a "miscommunication" in the words of Axl, happened between Doug Goldstein and Axl, resulting in rumors that Axl had fired Goldstein:

Last night there was a miscommunication between me and my manager, and suddenly that turned into I fired my manager. And before we even got back to our hotel, I may even say this is where it started – you know, this is the only time I get to be around the fucking crew and shit, I’m talking to our crew and stuff, and suddenly the fucking story was back to L.A. and New York, before we even got back to the goddamn hotel, that I fired my manager. Which, basically, kind of ruined the last day for our manager. His name is Mr. Doug Goldstein, and I love Mr. Doug Goldstein, and if anybody gets in the fuckin’ way of that with their little fuckin’ stories, they can take a walk now. There were even some people that were really happy and they threw their little fucking parties because they thought Dougie would be gone.
Dayton, OH, USA, January 14, 1992



Review in Dayton Daily News
January 15, 1992



THE SECOND SHOW - AXL INJURES HIMSELF AND ALMOST FIGHTS SLASH


During the second performance in Dayton [January 14], Axl slashed his hand open on a broken microphone stand:

It happened at the beginning of the set and he made it through the whole show. It was making everybody nervous. I didn't want anything to happen to the hand. I just wanted him to get it checked out to make sure it was OK. He was a trooper.


The incident would also be mentioned in the band's official fan club newsletter:

During a concert in Dayton, OH on Jan. 14, 1992, the weld on Axl’s mike stand broke. It caused a deep laceration running from his thumb across the palm of his hand. Axl wrapped his hand in towels to contain the bleeding, and fighting off shock, insisted on finishing the show. Axl was rushed to a doctor who stitched up the deep gash. Fearing permanent nerve damage that might prevent him from playing keyboards, Axl was flown to New York to see a hand specialist who performed surgery. The band was forced to postpone two concerts in Detroit. Luckily, Axl’s hand is healing perfectly!!!



Review in Dayton Daily News
January 16, 1992


While Axl was backstage having his hand looked at, he thought Slash said something critical about him and when entering the stage he would call Slash a "punk motherfucker" and that he would "kick your fucking ass". Before things escalated the band started playing 'Welcome to the Jungle'.

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.


When listening to the recording of the show it is clear that Slash first tells the audience that they have to take a break while Axl has a "clothing change" and then later explains that Axl needed medical help. It was the referral to a "clothing change" that Axl took offence to and led to the argument.

To get stiches the band would end the show about 30 minutes early.

I apologize. We’re going to play a few more songs and go so I can get some stitches.


As mentioned in the fan club newsletter, the band cancelled two shows in Detroit due to Axl's hand injury.

Slash would look back at the incident:

We had a fight on stage one time, where he cut his hand or something and went backstage, and I served to cover for it; I said to the crowd, you know, “Stop throwing this” or whatever and he misunderstood me, saying that – he thought that I said that he went back to do a wardrobe change, he came out and just cursed my ass off the mike. All of a sudden I was like, “What the...” […] And that was, like, for the rest of the night. I was like, “What the hell are you talking –“ (laughs). […] So we went back and watched the tape, and he went, “Oops, sorry” (laughs).
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:41 pm

JANUARY 21-28, 1992
MINNEAPOLIS, LAS VEGAS, AND SAN DIEGO


The band then played two shows at Target Center in Minneapolis on January 21 and 22. Again, Axl was late. Before the show, Soundgarden's singer, Chris Cornell, had talked about the headliner's late starts:

The bottom line is if you’re trying to incorporate regimen in rock ’n’ roll, you’ll end up with a paradox. It’s like putting a three-dimensional picture in a two-dimensional frame. Rock is supposed to be spontaneous.


And Cornell would quip about this before they left the stage:

You’d better appreciate us. We may be the last band you’ll get to see for a while.



Review in Star Tribune
January 23, 1992


The band then came to Las Vegas for a show at the Thomas and Mack Center on January 25, 1992. The day before the show, January 24, Axl would be interviewed by Kim Neely for Rolling Stone magazine, and Neely would describe Axl's good mood including how he had welcomed two girls who had managed to sneak past security and knocked on his hotel room door [Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992].

Later, Axl would look back at this gig:

I think it's pretty much on my shoulders and I don't mind that at all. The band works the stage and gets off on the crowd, but I'm kind of a shield. If I'm gone they don't really know how to get on top of it. If I'm out there and not handling it, no one can really rescue me. It's just very hard sometimes. We've done shows where I could feel that it was a very taking thing and I turn around and Slash is doing handstands because he's still getting off on the chaos of it. And I'm having the shit beat out of me. This happened in Vegas. My jaw was hurting, my back was hurting, my leg was hurting. I call it shadow boxing because it comes down to between me and the audience. And for Guns N' Roses to be successful, I have to win. And if I win, everyone wins. If the crowd wins then a lot of people lose, including the crowd. They didn't get to be satiated, they get to go home pissed off because we crumbled under it.


The band then travelled to the San Diego Sports Arena for shows on January 27 and 28.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:42 pm

JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 1, 1992
FAREWELL TO SOUNDGARDEN IN CHANDLER


The last shows of this leg was on January 31 and February 1 at Compton Terrace in Chandler.


Review and report in the Arizona Republic
February 2, 1992


As common in the music industry, for the very last show, GN'R decided to play a prank on the opener, Soundgarden.

February 1, 1992, was our last show with Soundgarden, at Compton Terrace, Arizona, and we decided to commemorate it with a little prank. We got ourselves a few inflatable dolls and Matt and Duff and I took our clothes off and went onstage with them. Come to think of it, I was the only one of us completely naked. In any case, Soundgarden was touring the Badmotorfinger album, and they came from a place where there was no fun to be had while rocking, so they were mortified. They looked around and there we were screwing blowup dolls all around them; I was drunk and I fell. I got separated from my doll, and at that point I was totally naked - it was a scene.
Slash's autobiography, "Slash", 2007, p. 347

Phoenix? Naked? Oh, now I remember! That was the last time Soundgarden was opening for us, and we were losing them. So we wanted to play some kind of prank, but we didn't want it to be one of those old cliche pranks. Next thing you know, we were taking our clothes off and running out during their set. [...] Axl didn't do it, but not because he was chicken. He'd just arrived at the place just in time to see us do out thing. [...] But I'll tell you who chickened out. Matt did. Print that. Matt chickened out. Hah!


Gilby would be asked if he had been told to act in any particular way on stage on their touring:

No, not at all. Nobody has ever said what I can or can't do, or what I can or can't wear. That's not the way the band is - you just kind of feel your way around situations. Many things are left unsaid. The same thing applies to the music. The most difficult thing for me when I was learning their material was copping the feel of the band. They would always say, "Lay back, man, lay back." It's not something you can articulate - it's something you feel. It probably took me a couple of months before I fell completely into their groove.



SOUNDGARDEN TALKING ABOUT TOURING WITH GUNS N' ROSES


During the touring Soundgarden would comment on how it was to open for Guns N' Roses:

We've been treated really great. The crew's wonderful; the guys in the band are really nice and helpful. It's been really organised.
Rock Power, March 1992

Most of it is tedious. We just thought most of the stories surrounding Guns N' Roses were media generated -- people looking for a story. Nothing spectacular ever happened.
Melody Maker, March 28, 1992

A lot of it is blown out of all proportion. With Guns, a lot of the reports about how they handle their success and what they do aren't true. They're down to earth, but people don't wanna think of them that way.
Kerrang! April 4, 1992

The experience is great; it's a coveted opening slot which was given to us, and we're not gonna throw that in anybody's faces.
Kerrang! April 4, 1992

Spending time with Axl on the Guns tour, I realized how much stuff written about them is really bullshit. They treated us better than any band ever has.
RIP Magazine, July 1992

[Talking about the crew encouraging girls to flash before the cameras]: They did that pretty much every night. It was just backstage entertainment, because all that stuff was coming through on the monitors. It was just kind of a "rock" thing to do. I watched it one night, and I thought it was pretty funny, but it was definitely a strange scene. The women who do stuff like that are pretty stupid in the first place. A big rock circus is what it was.
High Times, July 1992
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:42 pm

MERCHANDISE AND SPONSORING


Duff, with his punk sensibilities, was not in favor of mechandise:

[…] there is this whole corporation now, this Guns N’ Roses industry with merchandising and concerts and tickets. […] I hated that when [Kiss] started selling folders and stuff like that.


In Januar 1991 Slash was also asked about the topic and expressed similar sentiments:

I guess we’re doing [a sponsor for the 'Use Your Illusion' tour], but I don’t want to sell out. I don’t want to be the next Janet Jackson, M.C. Hammer, fucking Eric Clapton or whoever else. We’re doing a tour, and if they want to help pay for it, we’ll use their name — we’ll put banners up all over the gig, I don’t give a shit. If there’s free cigarettes and free beer and they help pay for the tour, I don’t care. But I’m not wearing a Budweiser T-shirt. I don’t care if we do our own photos and it says “Budweiser” or “Marlboro” on the bottom of the page, but I don’t want to do anything where I’m holding up something with a big smile on my face. […] I don’t think the fans will care. They all drink Budweiser and smoke Marlboros. I was worried about the parents and what they’d say about the cigarettes, but it’s like some of the most influential personalities in baseball, football, basketball and race-car driving do ads. I mean, I advertise smoking constantly anyway; I can’t help it. I don’t see why cigarettes are any worse than beer.


But when asked if there was something he would be willing to sponsor individually, he made an exception for a vodka brand:

I’m willing to do it if there are no dumb ads and no dumb commercials. I want to do Black Death Vodka. Axl turned me on to it. I want Black Death Vodka to call me, because I’ll sponsor them. Just me personally.


Slash and Black Death Vodka will be the topic of later chapter.

Axl would express his thoughts on merchandise and sponsoring from the stage:

I wanna talk to you for a minute because I wanna get your opinion on something. And I’m real serious. You know, being a band in our position, you wander about cuz you’re interested in making some more money. And the offers get made and you go, well, you know, I drink the beer. So there’s all this talk of sponsorship. And I was pretty much undecided either way, since I drink Budweiser and I smoke Marlboro, then I couldn’t care less if they want to slap the sticker on you. Until today. I don’t have anything against the companies that sponsor and manage us here, except I’ve got a tattoo on this shoulder. It’s a tattoo of a Thin Lizzy album cover, you know? And since both my father and my stepfather were assholes, Phil Lynott kinda like took the place of dad for me when I was a kid. And I’m watching TV today and I see this Molson commercial with The Boys Are Back In Town on it. I mean, I heard the bassline and shit and I was like, what the fuck is this? And I’ve never been more pissed off and hurt in my life, you know, at least not in a long fucking time that I can think of. Because, I mean, whoever sold that to them, I hope they’re a big motherfucker, cuz if I find them anywhere, I’ll crack their skull. I mean, Phil’s gone. What do you think about our sponsorship? If you’re into it and hey yes, you know, yell “yes”, really loud. If you think it’s, like, selling out, let me hear you yelling “no”. [The crowd is rather yelling “yes”] Let’s put it down right in a ballot box (laughs).


But merchandise presented a welcome source of revenues from the band in the beginning:

The last tour we did cost us two million dollars and we didn’t make a penny off the tour except for maybe the ‘T’-shirts that we sold.


The most popular item was t-shirts:

Jeff Condon (Merchandise manager): "This is one of our best selling t-shirts. It’s got the album cover, so it kind of identifies with the tour, Use Your Illusion, and the dates on the back – this tour – kind of give the kids an idea of where the show was and gives them something to identify the show with. So yeah, these are real popular" [The O-Zone BBC, May 31, 1993].
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:43 pm

FEBRUARY 1992
DIZZY BECOMES AN UNEXPECTED FATHER


Dizzy, who had married his girlfriend Lisa in June 1990, received a paternity suit in February 1992 from Angela Parker who claimed her daughter, Morgan Alexandra, was Dizzy's daughter and demanded $5,000 in child support and sole custody [MTV, February 11, 1992]. Two days later, Bryn Bridenthal, as spokesperson for Guns N' Roses, said Dizzy had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment [The Newark Advocate, February 13, 1992].

In October 1992 Dizzy would talk about being a father:

Well, I’m just now getting used to it, cuz we’ve been gone, but it’s great.


He would also talk about moving from Hollywood to Laguna in Orange Country (CA):

It’s kind of weird, you know. It’s like going from Hollywood to, like, “Leave It to Beaver” overnight. I went out to get the paper in my bath towel, you know? Not even thinking, like, the neighbors, like “Welcome to the neighborhood, Dizzy!” I’m like, “Hey, come over for a beer.” It’s like, “Alright!” A guy has (?) across the street and one waves, you know. I mean, it’s like in Hollywood, you walk out and everyone locks their windows. So, you know...


In October 1991, it would be reported that Dizzy's favorite hobby was "checking out bands in the local L.A. scene" [Conspiracy Incorporated Newsletter, October 1991].

In 1993, Lisa and Dizzy would become parents to their first daughter, Skye [Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion tour diary, unknown author and date].


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:43 pm

FEBRUARY 18, 1992
THE SINGLE AND MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'NOVEMBER RAIN'


The next single from 'Use Your Illusion' would be 'November Rain', released on on February 18, 1992.


November Rain
February 18, 1992



THE MUSIC VIDEO


As for 'Don't Cry', the band created an ambitious video to accompany the single, still following loosely the 'Without You' story by Del James.

November Rain is a part of this story and shows different elements of this story. And I don’t really want to say where in line it falls, but it does show me going to bed and waking up on the nightmare at different points in the video.

You know what? They did something that was really interesting and I’d never thought about. It was playing live. We actually played live while we were doing the video. That was very cool, because you get into it a little bit more - cuz I’ve done lots of videos and I always, you know, pretended and posed. And that was cool. That gave you a little extra energy every time.

So the video, it just all went very smoothly. Meanwhile I was telling Gilby that “we have a great shot of your arm.” And then the night we were recording the performance shot, there’s places where he would, like, come over to the piano and jam with me, “Here we are, we are together for the video.” And about five times that we did takes, I’m looking over at Gilby and I’m like, “Gilby, none of it is gonna be in this video, because this is where the solo is, where Slash is gonna be out in the middle of the desert or something. So it’s just not gonna work” (laughs). And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, alright".

One of the reasons for having an orchestra in the video [was that] it was one of the only ways to actually get to be around an orchestra and see what that was like; to see what was like to hear an orchestra actually play something I had written on keyboards, and see how well it worked and talk with the orchestra a bit about that. It’s not something I wanted to hide from the public and act like I used real strings. I wanted to say, “No, we did this on synthesizers." […] For me, putting the orchestra in the video, I don’t think it was faking anything, because they were really playing when they were there. The sound you’re hearing when you see the video is what I play, but when we did the video they were actually playing; and it was a way for me to be around an orchestra and see that, because it’s not like I have time or cash to just go and set up an orchestra somewhere. It has to be for something productive and this definitely was.


It was a costly production:

This is, like, the first video of the miniseries that we are trying to create. So who knows, because, I mean, we paid for November Rain ourselves, because Geffen didn’t really know what to think of that kind of budget. So... […] [The budget] was like, 1.6. Two. It was two, okay. Two (chuckles). But it’s something we believe in and I think it ends up speaking for itself in this quality. And there’s – hopefully there will be four more that will explain the story with other songs on the album.


The video took "two months" to produce and was, in the words of Duff, "kind of expensive" but "it's only money, right?" [MTV, May 1993].

While on the set Gilby would be asked what role he would have in the video:

I have no fuckin’ idea (laughs). I don’t know what time we’re starting, I don’t know what time we’re leaving, I don’t know what time we get here tomorrow. I don’t know. I like it that way, though: “I don’t know! I have no idea!”


Talking about the wedding scene:

My role? I think I’m just, like, probably one of the ushers. Yeah, to the wedding. I don’t know, man. You have to ask Ax. This whole video is in his mind.

Yeah, [the priest]'s a friend of mine, Jean Antonio. Yeah, he’s great. He’s great and I just knew when I met him, the day I met him, that he should play this part if he wanted to. That was a really heavy story in itself. That was when we ended up shooting – the church we ended up shooting that, I had no idea that was one of the last places he ever – you know, eight years ago – done services. […] He just added such a sense of warmth and the right sense of spirit that we wanted to have present there. So it was very special for me and him.


Talking about the church:

Slash wanted to do a solo, and it was originally, like, in a field somewhere. But that time of year there were no cool fields in America to shoot in. We looked all over for churches and we couldn’t find a little church with a good view or a field. If we found the church, everything was dead around it because it was winter/early spring. We eventually found a church on wheels that they used in the movie Silverado, and we saw pictures and said, “Okay, that’s just good there;” and we went, and it ended up being perfect and really fitting well. It wasn’t planned, it just started that way. Andy [Morahan] saw it in a desert, we saw it in a field with long grass or flowers, and we ended up filming it in Mexico.

[...] the most memorable moments during the shooting of "The Church" scene were the helicopter "dive bombing" toward me at full speed almost knocking me off my feet. But the hard part was doing it take after take after take from all different angles. The propeller blades were so close I figured one more pass and "November Rain" would have been my last video. Thankfully, "no harm, no foul"



Scene from November Rain video


Talking about acting with Stephanie Seymour:

It freaks me out to be acting these parts out with Stephanie, when some of the situations are based off things that happened in another relationship.

I wish I could speak, you know. I like the idea of that thing. I’m really into the – I’ve been studying acting for a while. It feels good to be able to do something. It’s not quick enough for me. There’s too much waiting.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:44 pm

FEBRUARY 19-22, 1992
THREE SHOWS AT THE TOKYO DOME


After a short break the touring commenced again with three shows at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on February 19, 20 and 22.


Duff and Gilby at the Tokyo Dome
February 1992


The film of the February 22 show was released on two home videos (VHS/DVD), called "Use Your Illusion World Tour - 1992 in Tokyo I" and "Use Your Illusion World Tour - 1992 in Tokyo II", on December 8, 1992 [see separate chapter for more on this].
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:44 pm

MARCH 17, 1992
SPINAL TAP RELEASES 'BREAK LIKE THE WIND' FEATURING SLASH


In 1992 Slash would be featured on the song 'Break Like The Wind' on the same-titled album by Spinal Tap:


Break Like the Wind
March 13, 1992



It was great. Let’s see, it was after a really bad rehearsal that we had one day. I was really pissed off and I was in a bad mood. So I knew I had a session that night, so I got in the car and just, like, cruised over the studio. And for the mood I was in and the state of mind I was in, it was very Spinal Tap, so... (laughs) And I walked in...[…] Spinal Tap, we watched it before a show one day, one night right before a gig, and I was just like watching it going - cuz as our career is going on, it’s, like, all of a sudden becoming more and more significant, that movie, cuz it’s just really classic stuff that does happen. So I watched it before a show and it just screwed up my whole life (laughs). […] They were great guys, though. And I just went in, plugged in, and did it in, like, one take. And then it was just, you know, nice to meeting you and split. But they were really cool.

You know what was funny about it? I showed up with a bottle of Jack Daniels, and I was like Spinal Tap in real life. […] The longer you’re in this business, the more sense it really makes. The worst gig we ever had on the last tour was right after we watched Spinal Tap. Even the subtle nuances are so accurate. It hits so close to home it's disturbing.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:44 pm

MARCH 1992
SLASH AND BLACK DEATH VODKA


In March 1992 it was reported that Slash had signed a deal with Black Death Vodka to be their pitch man [New York Daily News, March 13, 1992]. Black Death spokesman Robert Plotkin said that Slash was "perfect for the market” and that he "was really the only one Black Death wanted" [New York Daily News, March 13, 1992].

Slash would admit it came about as a result of his comments to Rolling Stone in 1991:

Well, it stemmed from the interview, because - I don’t remember exactly when the first time I encountered it was, but they read the thing that I said in Rolling Stone about the only company that I would endorse. So I think they called the office or something they made, sort of like, an offer. And we got together and talked about it. And I was like, “Cool,” you know, “free cases of vodka? Yeah.” (laughs) So contrary to what anybody else is saying about me trying to influence teenage America with it, you know, it was just - the whole point was that the vodka is great and...[…] You know, I knew it was gonna come up and I haven’t given it much thought, because, from where I come from, it’s, sort of like, you make your own decisions. You know, that’s how I was brought up. So I didn’t really feel like I was constricted by how I was gonna influence the youth of America or international or whatever. So I just did it, you know, and whatever happens after that, basically I’m not gonna take it that personally. It’s something I did, it’s not for anybody else to judge me on it, you know?

Well, I ran into this vodka in Europe called Black Death, and on the bottle was a top hat and a skull, which is sort of my moniker anyway. It tasted great, so I drank it for a couple of days and that was it. I did an interview where I said, "We don't do endorsements for cigarettes or beer or what have you. The only thing I would endorse would be Black Death vodka." A couple of weeks later I get a call saying, "Black Death was interested in you doing that," and I said, "Okay! Cool!"


The vodka was prohibited in the US markets due to the name [Associated Press, April 6, 1992; Entertainment Weekly, April 17, 1992], and as a result it was changed to Black Hat [The Baltimore Sun, May 13, 1992].


Slash wearing a 'Black Death Vodka' shirt


It was just in Europe at the time [when Slash publicly said he's like to endorse it]. Now that it's stateside, I'm getting all kinds of flak from people saying I'm influencing the youth of America. Fuck 'em, the vodka's great. Everybody's supposed to be smart enough to make their own decisions, you know? […] I can understand where people can be pissed off because I'm endorsing something that is not necessarily healthy, and maybe I have some influence on younger kids, but at the same time, the way I grew up, and where I come from, I've done it for myself. As far as influencing kids goes, I didn't know that was my fuckin' job, ya know?


When asked about why he did ads for Black Death, Slash would say "just to get the vodka. […] It’s good vodka" and AP would say that Slash was compensated in form of "a little money, T-shirts and several cases of the product" [Associated Press, June 3, 1992].

[The Black Death Vodka conflict]’s not a thorn in my side, because that just gets me to the point – you know, when I got hassled for Black Death vodka, it just made me go, “Oh, cool, it must’ve screwed them around,” you know? So it’s like, people are gonna look at me as a public figure that’s influencing the youth of America; and I was like, no, that’s not it at all. It was just cool vodka and a great label, and I said I would endorse it. And I got hassled by the Surgeon General and all that kind of stuff, and I was in, like, the Wall Street Journal. And it’s like, how does some rock guitar player becomes so significant? You know, had it been Joe Blow on the street it wouldn’t matter, and people just, I think, go after us because of the fact that we’re as public as we are, or as visible as we are. So I was just like, yeah, well, the attitude that I’m gonna take is “screw you.” […] But they were in Europe then, before. And Europe’s a lot less uptight about things like that than the States are. You know, everybody’s trying to make some, sort of like, moral rule as a standard, and try and have everybody abide by it. […] I’m not a role model at all. The other thing is, you know, Black Death, they’re trying to change the name or trying to make them change the name. And they’re still fighting it, and I’m like, “Cool.” So, you know, I’ll hang in there with them.


The collaboration would end:

Black Death paid me a bunch of money to endorse them and then disappeared.
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:45 pm

1991-1992
GUNS N' ROSES WANTS NIRVANA


THE EMERGENCE OF NIRVANA AND GRUNGE


At the same time as the two 'Use Your Illusion' albums were released and the band started to tour in support of them, an underground musical movement was happening that in many ways, at least superficially, was contrary to Guns N' Roses who had by now become established and mainstream. Fronting this movement was the band Nirvana. As a reviewer of the 1989 Nirvana album 'Bleach' would state:

If you find yourself nodding off to Guns N' Roses' occasional acoustic noodlings then wake up to Nirvana. Scrap all that Soft Metal crap and get behind these brats!
New Musical Express, July 8, 1989



GUNS N' ROSES DIGS NIRVANA...


Guns N' Roses, though, were big fans of Nirvana. In November 1991 (the interview was published in 1992), when asked who he would like to see cover a GN'R song, Axl replied:

I haven't even thought of that. But off the top of my head... I don't know. That's a hard one. I'd like to hear Nirvana do "Welcome To The Jungle." That's what I'd like to hear. I'd like to hear Nirvana do "Jungle" their way, however that is.


And later Gilby would describe Axl's views on Nirvana:

I mean, I can't speak for Axl, but I could definitely say that I know he thought they were great. Because, I mean, he was wearing their shirt every day. So when Nirvana's record came out, you know, and I heard it, I go-- I mean, to tell you the truth, it sounded like a great pop record to me. I thought the songs were hooky, it sounded good. It didn't really throw my world into any kinda change or anything. […] I mean, I know Axl loved a lot of the new bands -- like he loved Pearl Jam ... he liked Nirvana -- and the only way you could really tell is, he was always playing their songs, or was wearing a T-shirt or something. I know he was very much into a lot of the current-- And he loved Soundgarden. I mean, Soundgarden opened for us forever -- you know, way before they ever had, really had a hit or anything. He was always kinda like trying a lot of the new bands.



...AND WANTS THEM ON TOUR


Guns N' Roses also wanted to tour with them. Slash talking about the rumored tour with Metallica and the possibility of Skid Row being part of it:

Well, I don’t think the Skids are gonna be on it. We’re talking about doing it with Nirvana but we need to see where those guys are at. Metallica, Nirvana and us sounds pretty good to me. I went and saw Nirvana last night and they’re pretty good friends of mine so hopefully that’ll help even though we’re very different bands.


In March 1992 (published in June 1992], Axl was asked about Nirvana joining for the Metallica tour:

It's back and forth. I just think that they're having a lot of problems with who they are and who they want to be and trying to hold onto it at the same time. At least Kurt is. I'd like to be as supportive as I can, but I don't know how much he will allow support. To write a song like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" making fun of your songwriting and then have it used as an anthem has got to be a complete mindfuck. The man definitely has a mountain to rise above. I think there is a part of him that has the strength and desire to do it. I just don't know if he's able to get in touch with it. I had an advance copy of that record and it became my favorite. I would put it on repeatedly. Nirvana has helped me do my job. I think that the world has gotten really bored, really fed up and really pent up with frustration, and that comes through in Nirvana. I think a lot of people were aware of that feeling and he happened to find the song that touched it and was able to let that feeling out in people. And I'd like to do anything I can to support it. That's why we want them to play with us.



NIRVANA SCOFFS THE OFFER


Kurt Cobain, though, would claim he never seriously considered it:

[…]I've never thought of the Guns N' Roses, Metallica and U2 offers as any kind of legitimate offer. They were just never a reality for me.
The Observer, August 15, 1993


In fact, Nirvana had previously spoken harshly about Guns N' Roses:

[…] they were assholes in the first place. I don't think there's anything special about that band other then they had tattoos, and that seemed rebellious, and they were alcoholics, and in order to make their alcoholism a substantial part of their band, they exploited it and said "We're Being Rebellious" ya know… and really just nothing but obnoxious idiots and so that was taken as like an image… like this teenage rebellious image… and it's a bunch of crap, it's not real at all.
Rockview, August 22, 1991

[...] I was recently trying to remember what was the last honest rock 'n' roll band that made a mark on me, and I couldn’t find one. With NIRVANA entering the top ten, this will open doors for groups that will follow us. Maybe people will realize how shit GUNS N 'ROSES is. Just a pretext found by a sexist and neurotic little pervert to make money fast. And music is not that. If people want to listen to good music, they won’t by continuing to buy POISON albums, right?
Hard Force (France), recorded August 30, 1991

I mean, what does Axl Rose have to say to anyone? What is his platform, what's his core, where does he come from? There's nothing! He just talks shit, he just... he throws bottles!
NME, April 8, 1995
; interview from September 1991


Despite this, Nirvana had considered opening for Guns N' Roses in New Zealand:

IT'S kind of amusing that all these bands want us to open up for them but there's absolutely no f**king way we'd ever do it. People tell us, Oh, you guys are number nine on the Billboard charts in America. And wow, we don't jump around and laugh and jump for joy. We just sort of say, Oh. But when some oneways,yeah,Rush want you to tour with them we burst out laughing and roll on the floor.

BUT actually you know what? Someone asked us if we would open for Guns n' Roses in New Zealand and I think we're going to play one show with Guns n' Roses in New Zealand at some festival or something. We just wanted to make sure like OK that we never play with some massive cock rock band all over America. That would just ruin it. So when someone said you have a chance to play one show with Guns n' Roses in New Zealand in front of 40,000 people we thought oh that might be kind of fun.
The Drum Media, November 19, 1991


Interestingly, in a Kerrang! interview published in May 1992 (but done the month before), Slash claims to not know who Kurt Cobain is [Kerrang! May 16, 1992] despite having talked about attending a Nirvana concert previously [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

Slash would be asked about Nirvana again a little while later:

[…] I don't think Nirvana's attitude about, "Now that we've got here, it's fucked, and we're not gonna do anything" makes sense. That's copping out to some sort of - I'm sorry to say it - but pathetic, "It was easy to do what we started out with; now we have to deal with something.


And whether he was saying this just because Nirvana wouldn't tour with Guns N' Roses because of some of their lyrics:

No, it has nothing to do with that, they just don't want to work. Axl and I are supposed to go over to the singer's house and talk with him. I don't know him personally. They don't want to go out, and the vibe, from my point of view, is just because they don't wanna fuckin' deal with "mainstream," which… there's no such thing as mainstream if you don't want it to be that way. I love their record, but I can't stand the fuckin' attitude. Because we spent our entire career as a band doing what we wanted to do in the way that we wanted to do it, going totally against the mainstream and getting to where we are now, which is great. If you have something important to say, you don't give up and flake out. [laughs] Because once you get there, it paves the way for other bands. We're in the mainstream only because the mainstream has become part of us. They've adapted to what we do.


Axl would continue to talk about Nirvana from the stage:

You know, we’ve had our share of problems with so-called alternative bands. What is this word? I mean, I didn’t find myself using it. “Alternative.” Like someone who lives an alternative lifestyle. All I know is that when Guns N’ Roses started, ain’t no fucking radio stations wanted to play our shit either. And no radio stations wanted to play Metallica. So I think we have the world’s biggest alternative crowd here tonight.

I think that the problem starts when you start thinking that you’re different from everybody else on the fucking planet. You may be a little different in what you’re doing and how you’re going about doing it, but I’ve got a good feeling that you’re probably a human. Right? You’re probably a human being?

And so, right now, “alternative”, the only thing that means to me is someone like Kurt Cobain in Nirvana, who basically is a fuckin’ junkie with a junkie wife. And if the baby is born deformed, I think they both ought to go to prison, that’s my feeling. And he’s too good and too cool to bring his rock ‘n’ roll to you, because the majority of you he doesn’t like or want to play to – or even have you like his music.

It seems to be a general feeling among a lot of alternative bands, that they don’t want the majority of people even liking them. They like it on the outside.


Later, in 1995, Slash would say it was mostly Axl who had wanted to tour with Nirvana and that Slash found the fight between Axl and Cobain hilarious:

That was ridiculous. I’ve always tried to keep the band together and I’ve wanted all of us to be friends: the band, the roadies, Axl ... And he wanted to tour with Nirvana, which was cool. But if Nirvana didn’t want to go with us, the best thing would’ve been to forget about it and leave it at that. But Axl insisted to the point where they had a fight.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:45 pm

APRIL 1-9, 1992
MEXICO AND "MAKE-UP" DATES


After the three shows at Tokyo Dome in late February 1992, the band took a break in March. Then the band travelled to Mexico for two shows there in April, at the Palacio De Los Deportes in Mexico City, Mexico on April 1 and 2, 1992.

Slash being asked who will be the opener for the next leg of the tour:

I don’t know who we are going out with. It’s just a small leg that we’re doing. We’re doing, sort of, what I would call “make-up dates” to, like, Detroit we had to postpone, so we’re gonna do that, and Chicago because of the Illinois incident we’re gonna go back and make that up. Then we’re doing some shows in Mexico and, I think, one in Oklahoma. But I don’t know who’s opening for us or not, to tell you the truth. […] I’m sure that we know, but it just hasn’t been my main concern at this point, because we’ve been doing so much stuff, there’s so many other things going on, and that hasn’t been my main focus.


The two Mexican shows would be followed by one show at Myriad Arena in Oklahoma (April 6).

Now that we're headlining, we actually have control about where we play. So there was a lot of speculating about where we were gonna go that we hadn't been before, and we just played Oklahoma. The option was Oklahoma or Texas. I was like: "Why would we go back to Texas?" We've never been to Oklahoma. Which turned out to be a really good gig. I guess you have to pay attention to that stuff, 'cause you can fall into a pattern and just go around in a circle.


Then the band did one show at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont (April 9).
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:46 pm

APRIL 10-14, 1992
CANCELLING SHOWS TO AVOID THE LAW


The three following scheduled shows, in Rosemont (April 10) and Auburn Hills (April 13 and 14), were cancelled when Axl feared he would be arrested and extradited to St. Louis if he continued to stay in the country [Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1992; Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992; Chicago Sun-Times, April 16, 1992]. The first show can cancelled in the last minute, "leaving thousands of fans waiting outside" the venue [Chicago Sun-Times, April 12, 1992].

Rather than go to jail, Rose left the sheriff's jurisdiction.
Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1992

He wasn't anxious to spend any time in jail without reason. To suddenly extradite him over a misdemeanor charge, there's no cause.
The Northwest Herald, April 11, 1992


Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, would respond:

[Axl] is easy to find. Wherever he goes, we’ll be waiting for him. If he wants to cancel his whole schedule, fine. If he leaves the country, we’ll notify Customs to get him when he comes back.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 12, 1992


The cancelled shows would cost the band, with Bridenthal estimating they had generated $1.5 million in ticket sales [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 15, 1992].

With the police waiting the band fled to Europe for the Freddie Mercury benefit and the European leg of the tour.
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14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD Empty Re: 14. NOVEMBER 1991-APRIL 1992: THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:46 pm

APRIL 1992
SLASH AND SAVANNAH; RENEE BREAKS OFF THE ENGAGEMENT


If I f— some girl in a bar it makes the cover of People magazine. The fact that I have a good marriage doesn't matter.

_____________________________________________________________

APRIL 1992: SLASH AND SAVANNAH AT THE SCRAP BAR


As mentioned before, Slash had been dating Renee Suran since the early 1990 [double check this]. But in April 1992, People Magazine would claim that Slash was now dating the porn star Savannah, or rather that Slash and Savannah had "engaged in full hit whoopee" at the Scrap Bar in New York, in front of other customers [People Magazine, April 27, 1992]. Or, as Lakeland Ledger would describe it, they "did the nasty" "on a barroom floor — in front of scandalized (or titillated) patrons" [Lakeland Ledger, August 28, 1992].


Slash and Savannah


This is also likely the incident Slash would refer to in 1994, when commenting upon an alleged ménage à trois between him, a porn star and some pasta:

There was something in People magazine which said I was going out with this porno chick, and they said I stuffed spaghetti in her! In public! In a club in New York! Can you imagine the time it would take to do that?




SLASH'S INFIDELITY CAUSES PROBLEMS WITH RENEE


Slash would likely refer to the rumor about him and Savannah at the Scrap Bar in the following quote from an interview with MTV in May 1992, complaining about how infidelity rumors had screwed up a relationship which he was now trying to restore:

I think probably lately it really occurred to me that I didn't have any privacy in the last couple of months. I really tried to maintain that, like, I'm a guitar player so I can slip in and out of places without anybody noticing and, you know, all of a sudden it hit me really abruptly it wasn't like that, and everything I've done for the last year or so, all of a sudden […] it was big rumors and this and that - that was a drag and it screwed up the relationship that I had at the time, which I'm trying to, like, rework, you know, and I think the fact that I can't just walk up and down the street or going to this pub or going to this club or whatever, you know, and that's changed and I have to be aware of myself. Now that's the biggest hardship. The rest of its great, I mean, the three hours that we play on stage makes it worthwhile, so you try not to bitch about it too much. But it has its moments where it gets to be like, "I can't believe people are writing this, it's not true," and people's perceptions of what you're all about are completely distorted because they're being [cut]


The same month Slash would indicate that his touring life had put pressure on relationships, again likely referencing an ongoing problem in his relationship with Renee:

Relationships with the opposite sex can be really f***ed up now, because of the position we're in. Everybody's trynna get a piece of something. It's either that or there's someone really genuine who loves you or likes you because of who you are, regardless of what you do. We're in that struggle now. It's either: f*** off, just leave me alone. Or, if you're trying to make it work with somebody, and you're playing the tour at the same time, the trains don't really meet on the same ground. It's difficult. […] I'm just realising all this and I'm 26 now. […] the last coupla months has been a transitional period for me. I don't want to adapt to any normal kind of life, yet there are things that are really important to me that I'm trying to hold on to. Of course the way I am is: oh, up for this. So I try to explain, 'I've been in a rock'n'roll band since I was 15/16 years old. There's been one year in my life at home, and that's when you met me. […] I just wanted to be back on the road, and it turned into the same old thing, and it blew her mind. Y'know? She heard about all the shit that goes on and she was just flabbergasted. I guess I'm trying to do what it is that I do, but at the same time make some semblance of a home life.


From the previous quote it is obvious his celebrity status and rumors had caused problem for a personal relationship but that he was trying to restore it.

A little bit later he did another interview where he talked about the problems that came from his new celebrity status:

When it starts to hit you on a personal level, you know, when it starts to come out, then all of a sudden, reality of you don't have any real privacy, and all that. That's strange realization to have to try and grasp. I don't complain about it too much. I've been complaining about it a lot lately because it's really just hit me recently. Like in the last couple of months. Where the band's been big for a long time, but I just never put myself in that... saw myself in that light. As being any kind of, you know, pseudo-celebrity type. And so this just really hit me in the face recently. It was sort of a shock, because it hit me really hard. It was just like: "Fuck, I can't really do this, I can't go there." You have to think about what you're doing when you walk out the door. That kinda shit.


When asked to elaborate on whether something happened:

Just a bunch of shit that all happened at once. […] It's always when you've been on the road for a while and you come home and you don't think that's anything's different, and you find out that it really is. I mean, you don't walk around the streets going: "Somebody's looking at me." So, when you find out that you're walking down the street, not thinking that people are calling other people and saying where you were. I mean, that's like a morbid fucking situation to be in. And like I said, I don't usually complain about it, because, you know, everything I've been through has been a small price to pay for what I get away with, you know. But then to find that I don't really get away with anything. [laughs] That's what pissed me off. [laughs].


In an article published in December 1992, it would be claimed that Slash had been unfaithful to Renee after they got engaged and that she dumped him [Life Magazine, December 1992].


MAY 1992: THE ENGAGEMENT IS OVER; SLASH RETREATS TO HAWAII


This is likely what Slash refers to here:

I was in Hawaii escaping my wife-to-be – she found out that I was messing around. I split town.


From Hawaii, likely in May 1992, an inebriated Slash would call in to Howard Stern's Radio Show. When asked what he was doing in Hawaii, he would respond that he was just "trying to get [his] head straight" [The Howard Stern Show, May 29, 1992]. Stern would quickly press Slash about having sex with famous people, to which Slash would reply:

Dude, don’t start that with me. […] I’m already in hot water with this enough, you know.


When Stern then asked him about the rumour with Savannah, Slash would respond:

That’s not true either. […] I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Alright. What happened was, Savannah, who I think we all know – […] She is what she is. She’s a friend of mine, okay? […] We’re not really together. […] Well, listen. A lot of stuff went on with the whole going back on the road thing, and it –[…] It’s really private, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, because a lot of stuff is going on, and my girlfriend of, like, two years and I split up, because of that. […] But I love her very much, so I’m not gonna sit there and degradate [sic] – okay, I still can’t say it (laughs) – and mess with the whole thing.



DENYING THE RUMOURS, TRYING TO WIN RENEE BACK


And in the same interview he would object to Stern insinuating they had sex, and state "she never got past my chaps" [The Howard Stern Show, May 29, 1992].

Slash would also imply that the rumours about the sex act at Scrap Club was spread by someone to get by at Slash for not having joined in as an investor in a club:

That whole situation that went on with Savannah was one of the things where, yeah, Savannah and I were, like, hanging out and stuff. And we were at the Scrap Bar, and Steve [Trimboli] – whatever his name is – he made me an offer back in the office. […] And he goes, you know, “I offer you such and such amount of money to go invest in a club.” And I was like, “No, that’s not gonna happen.” […] He just did that because I totally blew him off on the deal. […] He’s a [beep], because, I mean, I hang out at the Scrap Bar all the time. All the people that work there are cool -[…] No, but it’s just – nobody really cares? It’s in People magazine, and I’m like – […] Like, my mom even called me. And I was like, “No, I didn’t [beep] anybody in the Scrap Bar.” (laughs).


The very next day, a more sober Slash called in to the Howard Stern Radio Show again:

I’m very madly in love with somebody that I’m not married to. […] And who I’ve gone through a whole major ordeal with. […] Well, I’m not gonna get married – you know, not at this point in time. But, at the same time, it’s one of those heavy things, where I’ve been having to deal with it.


And Slash would again claim that Trimboli was lying [The Howard Stern Show, May 30, 1992].

When Gilby was asked about the rumor about Slash and Savannah he would reject it as pure nonsense and emphasize that it had caused problems in Slash and Renee's relationship, and also support Slash's claim that it was just someone trying to get vengeance on Slash:

Total fiction. That club owner and Slash had some sort of disagreement, so the club owner released this story to get even and everyone picked it up and ran with it, adding embellishments along the way. And yes. It's a pretty hilarious story, but Slash's girlfriend, Rene, wasn't laughing. Neither was Slash. He's marrying Rene soon, and that was the last thing he needed her to read.



JUNE 1992: TRYING TO BE FAITHFUL


By June 1992, it seems Slash had managed to square things with Renee, because he would now talk about trying to be faithful to Renee and the threat of getting AIDS meant that Slash was trying to curb his promiscuity:

OK, I’ve quit the drugs, but there’s plenty of other things to get into. […] You gotta try and keep your hands off the beer, and off the girls. That’s hard. But I’ve got a girlfriend now back in LA and I have to think of her. She knows girls throw themselves at me because I’m in this famous band and that it’s really tempting for me to just go for it. But it upsets her and I wanna try and make it work between us. Anyway with AIDS you just can’t enjoy casual sex any more. That hit our business hard you know. I mean, sex was one of our favourite vices.



EPILOGUE - SAVANNAH DIES AND SLASH TELLS THE TRUTH


In 1994, Savannah would tragically commit suicide after having received damage to her face from a car accident and having financial problems [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994]. According to her manager, Pera, Savannah had suffered depression from her breakup with Slash [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994]. GN'R spokesperson, Bryn Bridenthal would deny that Slash had had a romantic relationship with Savannah [Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1994].

But when visiting the Howard Stern show in early 1995, Slash would be asked if he had "scored with Savannah" and he would reply:

We went out together. We had really intellectual conversations together. […] She was deep (laughs).


He would later mention that he first met Savannah at the Rainbow in Hollywood where porn chicks just to hang out [Kerrang! July 1995].

And discussing her suicide:

Savannah was a porno girl that I used to go out with. She shot herself. That was a really bad story. It was a time when I wasn’t faithful to Renée (now his wife).

I think it had a lot to do with the pressures of impending marriage, and also, having gotten clean of drugs, I needed to be addicted to something. So the next thing you know it was a major onslaught of women-chasing. And Savannah just popped up somewhere.

As cute as she was and as much as I dug hanging out with her, she was really terrible, really bitchy to other people. I’m not like that at all, so finally I just didn’t want to be around her any more and I split.

But the fact that she went to the extreme of shooting herself bugs me. All she really needed was somebody to take care of her, because she was just a little kid in a really strange world.

Now I’ve had all these girlfriends of hers telling me it was my fault. Meanwhile it’s all over the papers, and my old lady will never forgive me for having done that in the first place. It was a nightmare!

You know what? It’s just because someone wasn’t looking out for her. She needed somebody to take care of her. Trust me, I knew her well enough.


In other interviews the same month, he would mention that two songs off the Snakepit album was influenced by Savannah's (and Cobain's) suicide [Metal Hammer, February 1995], again confirm he had dated, and discuss her suicide:

And my ex-girlfriend, if you want to call her that, the porn star Savannah, also killed herself... When you write songs, you reflect what is around you, what’s happening, and we wrote about that. There’s a line in this song that goes, ‘How to keep the knife from inside of you’ that is about trying to prevent someone from doing this thing, because it’s very ridiculous. It’s not a song dedicated to them, but influenced by what happened. That's how we felt when we heard the news, and we reflected it in the song. All the songs on the album are very spontaneous, like something happened in the afternoon and we wrote about it at night.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

I don’t know if we should call her my ex-girlfriend. She was a friend, someone I cared about. We went out occasionally, but then I met Renee, we thought about getting married, and I tried to avoid Savannah as much as possible, because I was freaking out with the idea of ​​marriage and all that. In the end Renee and I got married, and after a while Savannah blew her head off and the press started bringing up my name in the articles about her. I don’t think it’s right that they refer to me as if she and I had this great relationship, because our relationship wasn’t going anywhere. At the time I met her, I went out with many other women. Savannah was like a little girl, she needed someone to take care of her. But I loved Renee, who is a very different type of woman. Renee is not a rock chick, she’s not from my world, she’s got her own life. She understands that I have to go on tour, but she has her own thing. I felt sorry for what happened to Savannah, but we never had a serious relationship.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish

I mean, Savannah used to be a girlfriend of mine. I was a little depressed about it, and there was a lot of public stuff going on that had my name on it. I was like, 'Fuck, what is she gonna shoot herself for?' […] Anybody shooting themselves is gonna affect you. It's not so much the press and stuff as, you know, there's always a possibility of stopping something like that from happening.


In later years, Slash would be frank about his infidelity being the reason for the split between him and Renee:

I did so much sleeping around for so long that it just got boring. I still think women are exquisite but getting involved and sleeping with them just takes so much fucking effort. And it was all I did. When I met Renee, it was someone that I actually fell for. It took four years of balancing the random sex and this one girl and we had some major incidents in our relationship which had to do with my lifestyle and what she expected from me. Once she found out how bad I was, she was like, I don't want to be with you. And we broke up for a while and I was sleeping with a bunch of other girls but finally, I dropped the others for her.

When Renee and I split up, and it was common knowledge, people, women, came out of the woodwork and told her stories about me like you wouldn't believe. Note-for-note detailed fucking information about me. It must have been the CLIT Society. Ever heard of that? Chicks Linking Information Together. She yelled at me for an hour. That kind of curbed my appetite for wanton sex, for being… what's the fucking word?... Promiscuous. Thank you.


And finally admit that he did indeed have public sex with someone in New York, and refer to the People Magazine article that first reported about it :

As pissed off as I was when I got busted for being seen with my pants down in New York, after the initial shock of having my mother call me up to tell me about it and it was on the front page of People, I thought it was funny!

I wasn't actually arrested — it was the security people. But it wasn't my fault (laughs). She always used to like to be in a public place — that's when she got the horniest.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 13, 2020 6:51 pm

MATERIAL WEALTH


With the band's status as one of the biggest bands in the world in the 90s, the band members had wealth to manage.

The material side of it was never a thing with me. The bigger we got – not that I'm complaining because I'm not – the more of a pain in the ass money was. I was better off when I didn't have any money! I never carry cash anyway and I don't go shopping. I appreciate having money. I'm financially at a point where I can have room service without worrying! I can feed my cats, feed my snakes – I don't have to worry about little things like that. […] And I have one pair of jeans, and if they really do finally fall apart I can get another pair. These (his clothes) are the things which I've had since we did the last record! if they still work, I don't need any others.

The last tour we did cost us two million dollars and we didn’t make a penny off the tour except for maybe the ‘T’-shirts that we sold. The truth is that I’m still watching my money. We put so much back into the group that we won’t really see anything until a long time down the line when we’ve sold records consistently. We haven’t even re-negotiated our contract so that might never happen. To me that means I still feel the same as I always have. I’m happy though, but it’s like that old Jimi Hendrix quote which goes ‘The more money have, the more Blues you can sing’. People like to see the glamour that surrounds bands. They like to think that that’s what it’s all about and it isn’t.


Duff would buy a cabin in Lake Arrowheads in the mountains out of Los Angeles:

My cabin is the coolest place in the world. I'm right on the lake and I love to fish. And there's an old man who is my fishing buddy. I call him and he misses me. He doesn't care who I am. We're just fishing buddies. He doesn't care that I have long hair and tattoos. If you like fishing, that's all that matters there.

Now you can call down and say you need a car to go somewhere or order whatever you want from room service. But we’re still wearing the same clothes and doing the same thing. […] One of the coolest things that happened was I’d been in the band a month and we went to Japan. I did a lot of work to get ready — I only had two weeks to learn the whole catalogue of 50 songs so I was up day and night. And nobody really knew what Izzy played on the records but I finally did it and after (the tour) Duff gave me a car. Just out of the blue, like ‘Thanks, you really came through for us.’ A brand new Corvette. I thought he was kidding but, no ...


Being asked what he does with his money:

I’ve got, you know, stuff in the bank.

[Axl]’s pretty smart with [his money]. […] Trust me.
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