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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:05 pm

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER, 1993
STEVEN AND GUNS N' ROSES SETTLE OUTSIDE OF COURT


[…] we've got to pay [Steven] a lot of money. For no fuckin' reason that I can understand.

___________________________________________________________________

In August 1993 the lawsuit between Steven and GN'R finally came up in court. Steven had sued the band on July 19, 1991, claiming members of the group forced him to use heroin, then made him quit the band while he was trying to kick the habit. In the lawsuit he asked to have the agreement he signed on March 28, 1990, that led to him being fired, annulled. The suit sought unspecified damages and a breakup of the band so assets could be doled out to members [AP/Vidette Messenger, July 1991]. Later it would be reported that Steven claimed " one fifth of the millions of dollars they have made from touring and record sales" [E! Cable TV News Report, August 19, 1993].

The trial started with Steven testifying on August 19, repeating that "the group encouraged his drug use and presented him with a complicated termination agreement to sign while he was under the influence of withdrawal medication" [L.A. Daily News, August 24, 1993].


Steven in court
August 1993


Steven's attorney, David Chodos, would contend that the band owed Steven $4 million [The Reno Gazette, August 24, 1993] and that:

Steve has never been able to comprehend an agreement like that. He was totally dependent upon the people who were advising him, and those people were working at the same time for the band.


Slash would later comment upon Steven's testimony:

It got to the point where I was like, ‘Okay, whatever it is I feel about the kid, I’ve gotta fight for us’. And you should’ve seen him nodding out in court on the stand - it was pathetic. […] When I saw him in court I was just like, ‘C’mon, Steve; what is that all about? We should all go home. I mean, look at you; this is why we’re in this court in the first place - because you could not get it together...’


GN'R attorney, Morton Rosen, would state that "the band had the absolute right to withdraw from a partnership relationship with Steven Adler, and they simply exercised that right" [E! Cable TV News Report, August 19, 1993].

In court, Slash and Doug Goldstein testified that Steven had been put on a 30-day probation period to scare him into quitting with his heroin habit, not as a means to fire him [Star Phoenix, August 21, 1993; The Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1993]. Slash also admitted that Steven had been "strung out" when signing the probation contract [The Montgomery Advisor, September 25, 1993; The Tennessean, September 25, 1993].

You can only speak English, so you can only communicate to, you know, the limits of the language that we speak (chuckles). So we told him exactly what it was about, but Steven’s never really known exactly what he was doing, apparently.


Slash would also confirm that while on probation, Steven was an employee of the band [Star Phoenix, August 21, 1993].

I tried for a year and a half to get him clean, and we decided we had to do more. We had to clean him up because he'd wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars" in worthless studio and rehearsal time.


In his testimony, Axl would contend that they tried to get Steven to quit drugs:

My intent with the document was that Steven quit drugs, play properly or be fired.


Axl would also say they had discussed replacing Steven with "Alan Niven and Doug Goldstein, Slash, Duff, Izzy" and "Peter Paterno" and that Axl, the band's management and attorneys had discussed the terms of the probation and that if Steven didn't quit drugs he would be fired [Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit, August 23, 1993]. He also said that prior to the probation contract being signed, there had been questions on what would happen if Steven was fired, how much Steven would be owed and how they would pay him, but that they hadn't concluded [Excerpt from Axl's testimony at the trial for Steven's lawsuit, August 23, 1993].

Duff would testify that Matt had been brought in when Steven "appeared incapable of performing in the studio" [L.A. Daily News, August 24, 1993] and that he had warned Steven to quit heroin the first time he saw him doing it [The Reno Gazette, August 24, 1993]. Duff would also testify that he had to help Steven with drum parts for songs on the band's first two records [The Reno Gazette, August 24, 1993].

On Friday September 24, the band and Steven reached a settlement shortly before the the lawsuit would have gone to the Superior Court jury [The Montgomery Advisor, September 25, 1993; The Tennessean, September 25, 1993; The Gazette/Los Angeles Daily News, September 26, 1993]. As per the settlement, the band would pay Steven $2.3 million, Alan Niven would pay him $150,000 and Doug Goldstein would pay him $50,000 [The Montgomery Advisor, September 25, 1993; The Tennessean, September 25, 1993; The Gazette/Los Angeles Daily News, September 26, 1993].

After the settlement was reached, juror members allegedly stopped to shake Steven's hand [The Montgomery Advisor, September 25, 1993].

Oh yeah. They gave me hugs, because, I don’t know, they got sick of these guys, what they did to me. They saw that was wrong.


Niven had a prepared statement:

I consider it insane that Steven Adler should have his junkiedom rewarded. There is something fundamentally wrong with a situation in which a junkie, expelled from a band before he can destroy both it and himself, hands over to lawyers the money he apparently retained from his days in G N’ R to sue the very people who saved his life and who attempted to prevent him from squandering those funds. That he can parlay that money into millions more through legal extortion is a travesty.[…] I resent having to pay a single nickel in settlement.


The band would also release a statement:

We’re not thrilled about having to pay Steven Adler more money than we already were paying him, and we continue to believe in the defenses we asserted in the lawsuit. But we are certainly glad to have the dispute behind us.


Slash would later look wistfully back at the settlement:

It’s over with now, and I try not to hold too much sentiment at this point, but yeah, I was the guy’s best friend.


And Steven would comment on what it did to his financial situation:

When they kicked me out of the band the intent was to screw me. Right off the bat, they had me sign papers that I didn’t, couldn’t read ‘cause it was a stack about five inches thick! They took every penny from me. They were going to give me $2000 and say “that’s it”, like I never existed. That’s why I sued them. I got my money back. I thank God, Jesus, and my Grandmother for being able to support myself and my family.


Last edited by Soulmonster on Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:06 pm

SEPTEMBER 28, 1993
DUFF RELEASES 'BELIEVE IN ME'


[…] I bared my heart and soul on this record. There's a lot of emotion in there. Every song is like how I was feeling at the time. Sometimes you feel like an orchestra. Sometimes you just feel like aaarghhhh!!! Sometimes you feel all the angst in the world. Sometimes you just feel really straight-forward, like the Punk Rock Song. People have all different ways of dealing with their emotions, and this album is mine. And if people want to criticise it and put it down, they'll be stepping on my heart and soul.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Although other band members had solo record aspirations, as discussed previously, the first one out was Duff.

So, when we got back from the Appetite tour, I bought this big house, bought all this furniture, I was by myself, I was divorced, the door closed and there I was in this big house all by myself and I'm going, 'Okay, what do I do now?' So I started going down to these clubs, trying to meet girls, whatever — you know, do all the things that I was either too busy or too broke to go out and do before. And it kind of hit me. It slapped me slam, right in the face after a lot of months of being jerked around, that people weren't interested in me. They didn't want me for me, they wanted me because I was this guy in Guns N' Roses. And after a few months of this, getting ripped off, my heart getting stepped on or whatever, I just stayed in my house. I took comfort in going up into my loft, where I had an eight-track, and just doing some tunes. And that's really where the whole thing started.


Duff would repeat this story in many contemporary interviews he did around the release of the record.

I never actually set out to make a solo record. I had gone through a period of time before we even made the ‘Illusion’ records when I lived alone in this big house in L.A. I’m from Seattle and I didn’t have a girlfriend or anything, and I would go down to the clubs in Hollywood and I was so fed up because the girls and people in general didn’t really care about me - they were only interested because I was in this big band and I had some money. So, I basically had enough of that. It was really a mind blower when I really realised they never wanted me for me.

So I sat up at my house with my eight-track for a couple of months and just wrote and recorded something like 60 tunes; they just poured out. Then when we were doing the ‘Illusion’ records and we had a day off, I realised there was a drum kit there, and a Marshall stack and everything.

So I went down to A&M with my song, The Majority, and put down a drum track, guitar and some bass.
Lenny Kravitz had been hanging out at my house, and he heard it and loved it and used to sing it; so when I was at the studio I decided to give him a call and he came right down and sang it.

So, I thought: ‘Cool, I’ve just recorded a song in a real studio just for the hell of it.’ Then we mixed it and I realised I could record some more: I can play drums and guitars and make it work. But still I just financed it myself and thought that I would just have these recordings for myself. But as more and more songs were recorded the more Geffen got interested and the more other people wanted to play on them and it turned out cool.


In 1991, he had started recording some of these songs for his solo record. As reported by The Seattle Times in July 1991: "While here next week, McKagan will spend a day recording a song dedicated to Wood at a local studio, working with local musicians. It's for a solo album he hopes to release later this year. Lenny Kravitz and Sebastian Bach have already recorded tunes with him, and he's asked Prince to join him in L.A. in two weeks to complete the project" [The Seattle Times, July 1991].

The first songs were recorded in studios booked for 'Use Your Illusion' recording, but which went unused as band members didn't show up:

Fuck this, there was this studio with amps and drums and everything set up in it. I'll go record something.


As the 'Use Your Illusion' tour started in May 1991, Duff would continue to record while touring:

I carried on doing it on days off — sometimes not even days. The last song on the album, 'Lonely Tonite' — we played for like three hours in Dallas and got done at about 1.30 a.m. And I went into the studio at about three in the morning and came out about three the next afternoon, and I recorded that song and did drum tracks for another song. It was like, if I felt like it, I'd do it, the time is now. Whether it be after a three hour gig or whatever. I never did it out of boredom or whatever. I never planned on when I was going to do it. I just did it when it was right.


In October 1991, it was reported that Duff had "already signed the deal with Geffen, has got Lenny Kravitz involved and says Prince might sing on several tracks" [VOX, October 1991].

I have Slash playing, Lenny Kravitz is singing on one song, Sebastian is gonna sing. I sing on the rest. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Nothing selfish or anything. It’s just, you know, I’ve had all these songs and I wanted to get it out, and that was the best way to do it. I was supposed to get another drummer come in, but I could play drums, and who would be better to play it than myself. They’re my songs, right?

I got Lenny Kravitz, he’s singing one song. And Sebastian from Skid Row, he’s going to sing on another song. Slash is putting some leads on here and there. And Prince, hopefully he wants to do it. He’s like an inspiration to me as far as songwriting goes, big time. It’s turning out pretty cool. I’ve got eight tracks done, all my tunes.


In February 1992, Duff would say the record was coming out in the summer and that it was on Geffen [Video Interview, February 1992]. The same month, Slash was asked about Duff' solo record:

[…] it’s not so much a solo record as a record [Duff] did working with all kinds of different people. It’s one of those records which came from the fact that he had a load of songs hanging around. He started recording it when me and Axl were doing guitar and vocals on the last album and he had dead time. He was just keeping busy. It’s gonna come out after the tour’s over. It sounds pretty good some of it although I haven’t heard the whole thing. There’s a song on there that I have to play on. It’s got to get finished.

It's basically something I wanted to do since I started playing guitar. We had some down time last spring, before we hit the road, so me and [producer/engineer] Jim Mitchell started cutting tracks. I play drums, bass and rhythm guitars. Slash plays some lead, I play some lead and Snake [Dave Sabo, from Skid Row] plays some lead. Sebastian [Bach] sings one song. It's working out very cool. We're recording it here and there, no big rush. The working title of the record is Believe in Me. It's different from a Guns N' Roses record, because it's stuff that I've written all on my own, a lot of times when I was alone. There's a lot of heavy Duff-isms. […] This is something I've always wanted to do. And it's not to differentiate myself from Guns N' Roses. I've wanted to do this since before Guns, but now I have the opportunity and the resources. Hey, I'm not trying to depart from GN'R - everyone knows that - it's just my own little trip. You know, I've been touring since I was 15, and I'm 27 now. The time is right.


For the April issue of Guitar for the Practising Musician, Duff would discuss his solo record and say he intended to release it in the summer or fall because he wanted to tour it together with Slash:

I got a solo deal with Geffen. The record's called Believe in Me. I recorded the majority of it while we were on the road, which kept it pretty fresh. I've been recording all over the place, from London to Seattle. I did some drum and piano tracks in Dallas for a song called "Lonely Tonight," where I went in after we played three hours. It was four in the morning and I recorded till one or two in the afternoon. […] At first I was going, 'Okay, we'll try doing it this way.' Jim, who engineered the Guns N' Roses record, is co-producing it with me. I didn't know if it would work or not, or if you'd be able to tell by the tracks that I was tired. But you get a second, third or fourth wind, and it puts you in this state of mind. I don't know how to explain it, but it's great. Matt played drums on one song. Rob Affuso from Skid Row did drums on one song. I did drums on the rest of them. Bas sang on one song when we were in London, and Rob played drums in Denver and Snake played guitar on one song. I pulled some real bluesy stuff out of him that he didn't realize he had. I turned off all the lights and lit some candles. It's piano, bass, and just a kick and a snare. It's real bluesy, low, subtle. We just got him in the mood. It took a wile but he just let go. I said to him, just pretend you're on a porch somewhere. […] I'm almost done recording, but I'm not going to release it till late summer or early fall, because I'm going to tour on it. I'll play rhythm guitar and sing, Slash is going to play lead, Mac will play drums, and this guy London McDaniel is going to play bass. Teddy, who plays with us now, is gonna play keyboards, sax and harmonica.

This has been a dream of mine, since I was 15, to do something myself. I was always a big Prince fan, especially of the early stuff, like Dirty Mind, that he did by himself. Now I'm afforded the chance to do it. Some of the songs are bits and pieces of stuff I've written years ago. I have an 8-track up at my house, and I've got 40 or 45 complete songs.


In April Duff would comment on what instruments he plays on the record:

I play drums on most of the tracks. Matt played on one track. And I played bass, obviously, and I play guitar, and I sing, sort of.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; interview from April 20, 1992

He’s got a rock tune with a rap in the middle. And it’s - you gotta hear it. It’s different, man. It’s definitely Duff.
MTV Special, July 17, 1992; interview from April 20, 1992


In an interview in September 1992, Duff would say he intended to release the record in February 1993 [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992].

This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was 15 years old.


It was rumored that Matt and Gilby would play on the tour intended after the release [Heavy Mental, 1992], and Duff would confirm this in April 1993:

Oh, man, it’s cool! I’m not going to release it until we’re just about one touring. I’ve got a fucking awesome band together: our drummer Matt’s playing drums, Gilby’s playing lead guitar, I’m playing rhythm guitar…. We’re going to play five nights a week, very scaled down, only two tour buses, playing theaters - kinda like it should be, ya know? Just getting up there and playing. […] People ask me what the album’s like, and I say, ‘Well, it’s songs that I’d written or ideas that I’ve had rolling around in my head since I was 15’. It’s got a Hardcore Punk song on it, but it’s really mainly power songs, heavy, Rock-Pop. I don’t know. I hate categories. You just have to hear it.


Yet in an interview with Duff in July, Matt and Gilby was out and the lineup would be listed as Duff on guitar and vocals, Richard Duguay on bass. Joie Mastrokalos on lead guitar, Aaron Brooks on drums, and Teddy Andreadis on keyboards [Kerrang! July 17, 1993].

In March it would be reported that Axl, Slash, Matt, Jeff Beck and Sebastian Bach would be featured on Duff's solo record and that it would be released in August [The Boston Globe, March 12, 1993].

The guys who played on my record were all friends who just wanted to play. They'd hear something and say, 'Hey, can I play on that?' Even Jeff Beck. He was supposed to play with us in Paris, that's how I met him, and he had tinnitus, that ear thing, and he blew out another ear in soundcheck so he couldn't play with us. So I was back in my hotel room and I was just playing the song, and he heard what I was doing and said he'd like to play on it. And I was like 'Uh, uh, when? Where? Of course? We set it up in London. He drove all the way down, like 100 miles from his house to The Townhouse, where we recorded at. He really was a nice guy — unpretentious, that's for damn sure. He plays with his fingers — a really odd style, I've never seen anybody do it. He goes, 'I used to always drop my picks, so I had to do it with my fingers. I don't question how I play now. Don't make me think about it', he goes. 'I might fuck up!' It was really cool.... The guys from Skid Row — that's from when they were touring with us. […] They'd just come down the studio and join in.


But in interviews in the same month and in July, Duff would not mention Axl:

Lenny Kravitz played on a song, Jeff Beck asked me if he could play on it. It took me, like, a tenth of a millisecond to say yes. Now let me think about that for a second. Slash played on a song, Matt Sorum is gonna be playing drums on a song, Teddy played keyboards, and then Dizzy, Sebastian and Rob from Skid Row played on a song. It’s great. I mean, I got, you know, a little help from my friends. It’s great.

They were there, they heard what was happening and they just joined in. Slash did some great stuff on there. It was really interesting, because I had written the part and played it myself on the demo, and it was great how Slash interpreted what I'd done. There was no pressures. He just went in there and played great.


Interviewers would comment that Axl wasn't featured on the record:

Oh, yeah. You know, I didn't realise everybody except Axl had played on it until I looked at the credits. I was putting the credits together and it was like", he laughs, "Oh shit...! […] No no [it doesn't bother me that Axl isn't there], not at all. It wasn't a show-off thing, who'd be on the record. He didn't feel pressured that he had to be on it; it just turned out how it did. […] The truth is, Axl's the biggest fan of the record. He called me a couple of weeks ago — he had the schedule for my tour and he goes, 'Number one, you're crazy going out on tour again' — laughing; he admires me for what I'm doing. And then he said, 'Is it okay if I come and hang with you on a couple of dates?

It’s just the way things turned out. In fact, Axl has been the biggest fan of my record. I mean, all the guys in the band are completely behind me, but Axl even asked if he can come out on tour with me!

It wasn’t premeditated. I only realised it when I was putting the credits together. Maybe he didn’t feel the need to be part of it, maybe he didn’t feel like it... It doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the record. He’s the biggest fan of this album!
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish


The album would also contain a rap/rock hybrid:

I have many friends that are rappers. The Guys that were in NWA, like Ice Cube, and the guys in Body Count. We used to barbeque with each other.



Duff's Believe in Me
September 28, 1993


Duff would also talk about the upcoming tour, scheduled for October 1, and compare it to the recent GN'R touring:

Yeah, well it's a whole different thing — relaxing, kind of a therapy thing. Everything just fell into place. There wasn't any work in trying to get a tour or trying to get a band together or anything. Everything came together perfectly, so the stress level is really low.


The exact dates and venues wasn't decided yet, partly because Duff had to prioritize GN'R:

I don't know exactly where; wherever the fucking plane lands I'll get out and play! We're going to do some one-off club dates as well — I'm not going to tell you where, but there'll be a couple in London. The Scorpions [who are headlining some of the shows] have been really cool. They've even taken my equipment on their truck and everything. They've heard my record and say they like it. They've offered us the Canada dates, but I haven't given them a definite answer. […] [Mostly because, come next Spring] we're all planning to get back together to work on GN'R stuff, and of course that's the priority.


Eventually, the tour would be preceded by three September warm-up dates in the US [Guitarist Magazine, November 1993].

We’ll be doing some one-off solo dates as well - in London I think we’re doing the 100 Club. But The Scorpions gig was offered to us, they’re big in Europe, and we get to use all their P.A. and lights and stuff; so we took it. And we only have to play 45 minutes a night!


In an interview in September 22, a week before the release, Duff would say that his band was called "DUFF" [Much Music, September 22, 1993].

On why he decided to release a solo album:

Well, it’s really something that I’ve always wanted to do, since I was, like 15 years old, Prince’s first record that he did, and I went, “Wow!” You know, I always played drums, I always played bass, guitar and sang songs. And I went, “Wow, this guy did it. I can do it.” Then I went through a period of my life, after we did the Appetite for Destruction tour for two years. We had no money and nothing, and I got back and they handed me a credit card, a gold card - I didn’t even know how to use a credit card - to buy a house. So I bought this big house, and bought furniture and got all of that loaded in; and the door closed, and here I was, going, “Okay, now what?” So I started going out in the clubs in Hollywood, and all of a sudden people liked me, people that wouldn’t give me the time of day before. And I was like, “Wow, maybe I should have more confidence” or something. You know, I’m not naive, but I guess I was to that. And so, after about two or three months of finally realizing that they just kinda liked me for being in the band, or maybe I had a couple of bucks in my pocket or something, I went back up to my big house, and shut the door, and realized, “Okay, Duff, you’ve got yourself. That’s about it, for now.” It was a positive thing, you know. So I went off to my loft, and songs just poured out, and that’s what is on here.

Basically, when we've gone off tour, you know, I got a credit card and… Which, I never even knew how to use a credit card and… They said: "buy house", so I bought this nice, big house and got furniture and all that. And… And… And moved it all in and the doors shut and I was like: "Wow, what am I gonna do now?" It was the first time off I'd had in years and years and years. And so… I started to go down to clubs in Hollywood, just to meet people. And all of a sudden, you know, these people that wouldn't give me the time of the day before, were like: "Wow, this guy…". You know, they were coming up to me, and girls and all that. And I just thought to myself: "Wow, I must be holding myself better, I must have more self-confidence or something". And… And… You know, I'm really not naive, but I really was when it came to that. And after about two or three months of this, after kind of getting stomped on a bit, I went: "To hell with this!". And went back up to this big house and I had a 8-track recorder and a drum machine, and just wrote like… Songs just poured out, like 50 tunes, so "Believe In Me" was just about... I had to believe in myself, and I think that's… If you got that, you don't need anything else.


On recording the album while on tour with GN'R:

It was a therapy. I’d get my feet on the ground. I’m playing to people - 50,000 to 140,000 people a night. And that gets very surrealistic, you know? So I’d take solace in the studio, and just turn off all the lights and light candles, and there it was.

Well, I wouldn't, you know, suggest to record this way to, you know, other people. But for me it was a way to kind of keep my feet on the ground. And it was also… you know, we were playing to lots of people. You know, the smallest crowds was like 50,000. You know, that was the smallest. And… umm, so, it's pretty intense… I'm a very simple guy and… So, after… I mean, things got hectic I would go into a recording studio, wherever we were at, and kind of just turn off the lights and light candles and roll tape. And… you know, I started before the tour, and it was written like, after the Appetite tour and… There was reasons why I wrote it and here it is. It's out.

I wasn't out to make a solo record. I just wanted to get these kind of things out of my system. These... these feelings, and these songs and... I financed it myself, you know. Until Geffen signed it... "Let's sign the kid", you know. Umm, you know, it was just something I wanted to do and... And friends came in and would listen at the studio and say: "Hey man, can I play on that?" You know, it was really gentle and that cool.


And on getting people to play on it:

Yeah, like, Jeff Beck, he heard me playing at my hotel room, and I had all the basics. And knocks on the door and he comes in and he says, “What’s this?” I told him what I was doing, and he goes, “Man, can I play on it?” And I’m like, “Oh, when?” – you don’t say no to Jeff Beck, you know? And Lenny, he’s such a good friend of mine, and he used to come and play at the house, and he really liked this song, “The Majority;” and I got it down and recorded it in the studio, in A&M, a studio in L.A., and I called him and said, “Dude, I recorded at a real studio. Do you wanna sing it?” He was there in five minutes singing it, and that was that.

Umm, we were in Paris. [Jeff Beck] came actually to the room, and I was playing a rough track of the song "Beyond Belief". He goes, "What's this?" And I told him what was going on. He goes, "Can I play on it?" And, you know, it took me about a tenth of a milli-second to answer.

We were in Paris doing that pay per view satellite broadcast thing, and he was supposed to play. We were going to do ‘Locomotive’ with him. He already had tinnitus in one ear but he got to soundcheck with us and, the poor guy, he had it in his other ear too, so he couldn’t do the gig. Anyway, he was staying in the hotel room right across from mine and I was playing a cassette of the rough mixes for ‘Fucked Up Beyond Belief’ and a couple of other songs on my ghetto blaster and my door was a little bit open. Suddenly I hear this knock, and Jeff puts his head around my door. I explained to him what I was doing and he goes, ‘But what’s that song. Can I play on this?’. And I’m like, aaah, I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”


Being asked if the solo record would cause any conflicts with the band:

Well, no. I mean, the guys in the band, they’d come in and check it out, and say, “Wow, can I play on this?” And I talked to Axl last night, and – they are the biggest fans of the record, they’re all gonna fly out and join me on tour; “Can I come out and hang with you?” you know. And they respect what I did and the reasons why I did this. GN’R is my band, you know. This is something I had to do. It’s nothing like, “Oh, see what I can do.” It’s nothing like that.

They love it. They're like the biggest fans of the record.

It's just, you know... uuh, a thing that, again, I must say, that I did... umm, that had to come out. And then... we got done touring about two and a half months ago, two months ago, and the album was coming out and so like, "Well..." Joie [Mastrokalos, guitar in Duff's band] and I, "Let's put together a band, you know. Let's go tour on it." And, you know, GN'R is my band, you know, but this is... These guys... Joie and the guys are... you know, also... It's just a different thing. I don't know really how to explain it. And the guys in GN'R are completely, way a 110% behind it. So...


Before the band did their first show in Hamburg, Germany on October 1 [Much Music, September 22, 1993], the band played a gig on September 26 n New York City, attended by "all" his band mates in Guns N' Roses [Rockline, September 27, 1993].

Talking about music videos:

Well, as a matter of fact, as we sit here, we're just gonna finishing up the video for "Believe In Me". We... taped all weekend long, the gig and, just kind of walking around and... you know, in the city and... and... and doing like, Rockline. And we did MTV Headbanger's Ball today. We played , the whole band live and... Yeah, so, that's a good question. Yes, we are and it'll be out... when it comes out [laughs].


And on whether he offered up any of the songs for GN'R:

Uuhm... Well, it doesn't really work that way with the band. We all co-write everything. These songs are really kind of personal for me to, you know... This is something I had to get out myself. And also, it... Even if it came to that, which it wouldn't, you know, it wouldn't be fair for me to, umm... to ask Axl to sing the personal things that are coming from my heart, you know. 'Cause he wouldn't be honest.

[Talking about whether there are any differences between a song he would write for GN'R and one he would write for himself]: Yes and no: I mean there are songs that didn’t make the album that Slash and Axl said, ‘Come on, man, can we have these? Please.’ But for the main they are real personal songs. I’ve got plenty of other songs for GN’R, but it’s Slash and me and Matt who write the songs music-wise there; for most of the songs that I wrote for GN’R - although not all of them -I needed that magical chemistry.

But this is much more on a personal level. I couldn’t have - or ask - Axl to sing one of my personal songs because it wouldn’t be coming from his heart.


And on who produced the album:

Actually I co-produced it with Jim Mitchell, who engineered... uuh, the Illusions records. And he's just a good friend and he knows how to run all the stuff. [laughs] I know how to run some of the stuff but, you know, you need a guy in the room when I'm out in the, you know... out recording drums or bass or something, and... So, we just did it together. […] when I kinda got in the mood, I would just... I said, "Jim, get our here, you know, there's a ticket waiting for you, you know... you know, I'm in the mood to do this one particular song, or track drums or these two tunes […].


And on how personal the songs were to him:

I couldn't ask Axl to sing what's in my heart and soul. I'm not a singer, for God's sake. It's a human record. People critisize me for playing all the instruments myself; they say the musicianship ain't so great…That's not the point. I had to get these things out. When you hear my voice crack on the records, maybe its because I was crying.


Looking back at the album years later:

I think it was a private record. I think it was me trying to fix my private life, and was not really a whole album. It was more like a diary. I don't know if you knew already, but while we were touring I was writing songs and one thing led to another. […] I think it was a good picture of my life at the time. Would I release that record now? No way! But I'm proud of it for what it is, for several reasons. It was my Johnny Thunders record.
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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:07 pm

SEPTEMBER 1993-MARCH 1995
AXL SUES STEPHANIE, SHE COUNTER-SUES


I knew she was bad news to start with.

_________________________________________________________

The quarrel between Axl and Stephanie had not been resolved and in September Axl sued Seymour for $100,000 in gifts [The Pantagraph, September 2, 1993; People Magazine, September 13, 1993]. Listed in the suit were "wedding and engagement rings, a gold and diamond turquoise necklace and a diamond and sapphire antique watch" [The Pantagraph, September 2, 1993].

Amy Bailey, Axl's sister who worked for Axl at the time, would comment on Axl's suit:

He wants them returned. Rather than keep them as a sad and sorry reminder, he wants to give them to a child-abuse charity. […] The whole relationship was wonderful. Until last Christmas.


The suit followed a letter Axl had sent to Seymour on August 13, requesting that she return the gifts [The Pantagraph, September 2, 1993]. In the suit Axl would claim that Seymour had "attacked him without warning or provocation" at a party she threw at his home last Christmas, punching and kicking him [The Pantagraph, September 2, 1993].

In her sworn deposition, Seymour would describe what had happened during the Christmas party:

I had a verbal argument with Rose ...[and he] announced that there would be no Christmas party.... Guests began to arrive in the late afternoon [and] at some point in the middle of the party, Rose entered the house, slammed the door, was obviously very angry, went upstairs and then came downstairs and left the house again.... [My mother] went to speak to him ...[and] Rose began yelling and screaming at her and ultimately told her in no uncertain terms that she was not welcome in his house. Thereafter, most of the people at the party left.... When I attempted to talk to Rose to address the issues that had upset him, Rose started yelling and swearing.... He then lifted up the kitchen table, knocking off bottles and glasses. I reached for Rose in an attempt to calm him. However, he would not be consoled and he was clearly out of control.


Axl's sister would defend Axl:

I never saw Axl strike, punch or slap her. […] [Stephanie] wants to push things to the edge.


Slash, being interviewed in early 1995, would support Amy's comment:

You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised [if Stephanie beat Axl up]. She’s really pulling out all the stops on him.


Seymour, who was now romantically linked to Peter Brandt, would respond to Axl's allegations and claim she would donate the jewelry to charity [People Magazine, September 13, 1993]:

I strongly disagree with Mr. Rose’s version of these matters. I was never engaged to Mr. Rose. I have gone on with my life, and I hope that he can do so as well.


An interesting note here is that Stephanie, while filming the 'Don't Cry' music video had claimed she and Axl had never fought, not even argued:

[…] I’ve never had to do a scene before. But it was weird, because we’ve never fought. […] Never. I mean especially not physically, but never even verbally or – we’ve never had a disagreement.
Don't Cry: Makin' F@*!ing Videos Part I, June 22, 1993; footage recorded before the Christmas argument at the end of 1992


In November the conflict between Axl and Stephanie escalated when Stephanie filed a counter-suit to Axl's lawsuit, claiming assault and battery by Axl [AP/Logansport Pharos Tribune, November 11, 1993]. More specifically, Axl allegedly beat her after the Christmas party and refused to return her and her 2-year old son's, Dylan's, clothes until February [AP/Logansport Pharos Tribune, November 11, 1993]. By now Axl had dropped parts of his lawsuit demanding that Stephanie return jewelry, but kept the part about her attacking him at the Christmas party [AP/Logansport Pharos Tribune, November 11, 1993].

A court date would be set for May 9, 1994 [AP/The Galveston Daily News, December 23, 1993].

In early 1994, when talking to a fan that would say she "always loved him", Axl would quip:

Don't love me. People that do usually cost me lawsuits [laughs].


And in March 1994 Slash would be asked if Axl was a happy man these days:

Well, aside from the lawsuit with his ex-girlfriend, yeah, he's great.


In court, Stephanie would describe an incident between her and Axl where Stephanie had been dragged through broken glass and then beat [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000]. Axl would claim Stephanie had grabbed his ball and that he was just defending himself [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

Axl himself would comment on the ongoing conflict with Stephanie while making the video for 'Estranged'. Stephanie had been featured in the videos for 'Don't Cry' and 'November Rain' but now they had to manage without her:

It’s really wild to be doing this video, and things going on in my home with my family that... It would have been nice if it would have happened with Stephanie and I, but the woman continually worked very subtly at destroying that and trying to keep me from being here, for whatever fucking reason, I don’t know. And it’s amazing when certain things are happening and it’s nice to, like, realize, “Wow, this wouldn’t be as cool if she was here as the person she was when she was with me.” That’s very strange. It’s also very strange to know that deep inside, underneath all the varying emotions, I do love this person and care about what happens to them – but not at the point of being a martyr or hurting anyone that’s in my life.


In 1995, Slash would be asked what he thought of Stephanie:

Stephanie Seymour?! I don’t even know Stephanie Seymour. […] Well, she was Axl’s girlfriend at the time [of the 'Don't Cry' and 'November Rain' music videos]. I don’t really like her or dislike her. She’s useless. I don’t care (laughs). I don’t care about her.


Finally, in March 1995, it would be reported that Axl and Seymour had settled out of court [MTV, March 1995]. Rumours would state that Axl's insurance company paid $400,000 to Seymour, although a settlement payout was denied by both parties [Parade Magazine, May 14, 1995].


THE GHOST OF STEPHANIE


From various sources it is apparent the break between him and Stephanie, affected Axl greatly.

In late 1999, Axl would tell how he wanted Stephanie's son to come upon 'Chinese Democracy' some time in the future and learn what really happened.

I hope he'll hear it when he grows up, if he ever wants to know the story, to hear the truth.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999


An anonymous source who was a frequent visit to GN'R's recording studio, would also imply that many of the lyrics Axl's was writing was about Stephanie:

When Stephanie Seymour's birthday came around, Axl seemed to shut down for weeks. A lot of this record is about Stephanie. She was his perfect woman, at least his image of what she should be.
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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:07 pm

OCTOBER 1993-1994
ST. LOUIS CIVIL SUITS: AXL SETTLES OUT OF COURT


Back in November 1992, Axl had agreed to a plea bargain that concluded the misdemeanor charges that had been filed by the St. Louis public prosecutor. But civil suits were still pending, including the one from Bill Stephenson ("Stump").

In late May 1993, Axl was questioned by lawyers before the impending court cases [The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 1, 1993]. During the deposition, Axl wore a t-shirt that said "St. Louis Sucks" and said, "I dived off the (stage), into the chairs" and "I didn’t land on Stump.” This deposition would be shown during the trial [The Associated Press via The Springfield News Leader - October 16, 1993].

In his suit, Bill Stephenson wanted $2,000,000 from Axl due to injuries to his back and knee when he was attacked by Axl before the riot [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1993]. In the following trial, a friend of Stephenson claimed that Axl "dived onto Stephenson, and both of them fell over chairs bolted to the concrete floor." This would be corroborated by a security guard who said he saw Axl "land on top of William "Stump" Stephenson and begin throwing punches" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1993]. Stephenson would describe the incident this way: "As I’m turning back, I look up and Axl Rose is in flight, coming toward me. He hit me on my right side, headfirst in a dive position. I was just freaked out" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1993].

Axl, on the other hand, would deny the allegations: “I dived off the (stage), into the chairs. I didn’t land on Stump” [The Springfield News Reader, October 1993]. A doctor would also testify that Stephenson had not suffered any lingering back or knee injuries as a result of the shuffle [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1993].


Axl in St. Louis
1993


In the end, the suit was settled for a "very minimal figure" and an autograph. Axl signed Stephenson’s rock concert scrapbook: "Stump Axl Gn’R 93". The "minimal figure" was later disclosed to somewhere between $160,000 and $2,000,000 [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1993].

After Axl's settlement with Stump, he settled in many of the other civil suits [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 1994; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 1994].


EPILOGUE: SLASH MEETS STUMP


In a curious afternote to the St. Louis case, Slash would later talk about meeting "Stump":

When I returned to St. Louis with the Snakepit in 1995, the night before my show, I was walking from my hotel down to this row of bars nearby. I wasn’t going far, so I didn’t bring security because I knew that I was meeting our crew down there, but as I walked up this main drag, I saw five bikers in front of me and no one else around and for a moment I got worried. It was a pretty dark night on a pretty dark street, where tall streetlamps illuminated spots of ground every few yards. I got closer to them and they were looking at me; and I was looking at them. One of them got off of his bike and came at me and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go down.

“Hey, man,” he said, grinning wide. “I’m the guy who Axl hit.” Like I was supposed to pat the guy on the back. He had this attitude like, “Hey, we’re both anti-Axl, right?” He seemed to think we had something in common, but I don’t work like that; if any of you talk shit about Axl I’m going to get up in your face. Only I can do that; because I have that right, not some punk on the street who doesn’t even know him. Things got tense in that moment, but the guy started in with his own story, almost apologetically.

He had just won all of his money in the lawsuit; I think he’d been awarded his damages by the court like two days before. It was a tense situation: it was obvious to me that this was a guy who was riding high on that cash he’d just gotten and he wasn’t going to spend it wisely. His “friends” seemed to be enjoying his good fortune with him, that was for sure, because all of them were clearly out on the town. He was the shortest of the bunch, and as all small guys do, he was trying to impress everyone in sight. He had earned his bragging rights—and a decent amount of our cash—but as he told me in the few minutes I paused to speak with him, in the days after the incident, he couldn’t even leave his house. He received death threats by phone, hate mail, all of it. Only after the city won the lawsuit—after which he won as well—did the whole tide turn for him.

I was totally not impressed with this guy. I told him so and that I had to go and that was that.
Slash's autobiography, 2007


Last edited by Soulmonster on Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:08 pm

1993-1994
MATT'S WEDDING, DIVORCE, AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACCUSATIONS


Matt married his girlfriend Kai Benson in October 1993, although some sources puts the marriage to 1992 or earlier.


Matt and Kai's wedding


Also in October, Matt bought a Spanish-style house in Malibu, CA, for about $1 million, for him and his wife Kai [Real Estate Beat, October 31, 1993].

Unfortunately the marriage did not last, and in May 1994 it would be reported that the pair was getting divorced [The Windsor Star, May 20, 1994]. The divorce papers were filed on June 1, 1994 [People Magazine, June 20, 1994].

Matt also planned a drum clinic in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on May 23, 1994 [The Windsor Star, May 20, 1994] but had to postpone [The Windsor Star, May 21, 1994] likely due to having to do a testimony after being charged, in true GN'R fashion, with spousal abuse [UPI, May 23, 1994]. The domestic violence, one misdemeanor count, was claimed to have happened on May 7 at their home at Maisel Avenue [UPI, May 23, 1994]. Matt pleaded innocent to the charge [UPI, May 23, 1994]. Pre-trial hearing was set for June 24 [People Magazine, June 20, 1994] and the outcome of the case was "dismissed/not prosecuted." Matt would face similar charges in 1995, 1996 and 1998 with on at least one account found guilty of disturbing the peace but not for domestic violence.
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:08 pm

NOVEMBER 9, 1993
JIMI HENDRIX TRIBUTE 'STONE FREE' IS RELEASED, FEATURING SLASH


On November 9, 1993, a tribute record to Jimi Hendrix called "Stone Free" was released [MTV, October 1993].


Stone Free
November 9, 1993


Slash contributed with the song "I Don't Live Today" together with Paul Rogers and band of Gypsies.

We had a list of songs to use from, you know. Some of it was, like, inherently Hendrix. […] And it was just natural for us to do a good homage to Jimi. But at the same time, I’m not trying to rip him of, or use too much – you know, try and copy him, like a lot of guitar players do.

I played with the original Band Of Gypsys, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Paul Rodgers on vocals. We did the Jimi Hendrix tribute. Fuck, Buddy is out there. A strange character. I stopped talking to him after a while because, you know, he's still struggling and I started getting that feeling that he wanted something from me. He was treating me like we were really tight friends and, I don't know, maybe he liked me but I didn't really fall for that. Then he would call me when he needed money. He had a car crash and needed money, weird shit like that. But fucking Billy Cox is about as cool as they get.
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:09 pm

NOVEMBER 2-11, 1993
THE OLD TOPANGA WILDFIRE


In November a massive wildfire broke out in the Malibu area of Topanga, burning off 16,468 acres of land.

[I was] right by it. And fortunately it didn't come this far. I fuckin'… I was asleep early one morning, and the phone rings, and it's this friend of mine, who I actually don't talk to that much, he goes: "Are you watching the news?" Uh, no, why? He says: "Well, 'cos Mulholland's burning." And I was like, Mulholland? (Laughs) That's the street I live off. It turned out it was Mulholland City which is pretty far away so it didn't get this close. Matt (Sorum, GN'R drummer) almost lost his house. And Tom Zutaut from Geffen Records did. And Axl almost lost his. It's pretty… y'know, it's fucked up, so what I did was - that sort of gave me a little bit of panic, so I went out and got emergency evacuation containers for all my snakes and cats.



Malibu burning
November 1993
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:09 pm

NOVEMBER 1993
SLASH'S NEW HOUSE IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS


Slash and his wife Renee were living in a house in Hollywood Hills that would be described like this by Kerrang! in March 1994:

Home for Slash and his wife Renee is a glorious house at the top of a winding road in the Hollywood Hills, with the kind of view of LA's long straight roads and twinkly car headlights that you'd normally go up in an aeroplane to get. It's got cats, it's got snakes - the snakes almost got one of the cats at one point, but that's a whole other story! - and, probably most important of all to Slash, it's got a studio.

I have a barbecue but I’ve never used it. I have a pool but I’ve never swam in it. People come over and have used it, so that’s cool. Basically I’m still constructed for a one-room apartmen.


In early 1994 Slash would be asked what he does in his spare time, and like Axl (above) say that business and personal life overlapped:

To tell you the truth, most of the time I spend, as far as free-time is… Just working with Guns stuff. It's a never-ending thing.


In between his busy schedule Slash also had a small role in an episode of the TV series "Tales from the Crypt":

I don’t have an acting career. I only did it cuz it’s Tales, and that’s my favorite, all-time favorite TV show. I’m, like, the cool DJ that’s got the prime time slot.

Yeah, I did a “Tales." It’s not really acting - I play me. Well, my name’s — what the fuck’s my name? I don’t have the script with me. I forgot what my name was. So, I look like me: I got my top hat, my leather jacket. And it's a cool part, but I only did it because "Tales From the Crypt" is my favorite TV show. When they asked me if I wanted to do it, I was like, "Fuck, yeah!" […] I'm only in two scenes, which is fine because it was very uncomfortable being an actor. But the cast and crew were great and we had fun doing it. You should have seen me fucking getting up at 8 o’clock in the morning to be on call (laughs).


He was also fond of cooking shows:

I watch cooking shows during the day. I can’t cook; I don't know why I watch them. Which one is my favorite? Probably “The Frugal Gourmet” or “Great Chefs of Chicago” or “Great Chefs of the East.” But I have no patience with eating; I’m perfectly fine with chicken wings or a burrito out of the microwave.



THE SNAKEPIT


Slash was also building a studio in his Hollywood home [Swedish TV, June 13, 1993], where he was reported to have pin ball machines and his snakes, cats, his alligator, lizards, iguanas, monitors "and stuff" [The Big Breakfast Channel 4, May 28, 1993].

It’s got a great studio, and a party room – and my snakes are there. All 35 of them... well, it might be a hundred by now,’ ‘cos one of them is pregnant. Plus, I have my lizards here, and my alligator.
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:10 pm

NOVEMBER 20, 1993
THE SINGLE 'AIN'T IT FUN' IS RELEASED



Ain't It Fun
November 20, 1993


We did Ain’t It Fun with Mike Monroe, and it was really strange because when we did it, you know, both of us in certain places, without even trying I ended up sounding a bit like Steve [Bators], you know. Candles would flicker and bells would ring for no reason, and we’re like, “Steve’s here.” (Chuckles)

We were talking about it earlier, that the lyrics to that song pretty much sum up where we come from as a band. Like, you know… Especially on the surface.

Or things that we've been through, stupid mistakes we've made.

And when I hear it, I just go: "Yeah, ok, check, check". [laughs].

'Ain't It Fun', which was something that represented what we've seen and been through as a group - and even before the group, as people, the shit that we've seen in this bullshit, and what's gone with us since we became successful, that became the key song, the one that was very indicative of what GN'R is.

What I think is funny is that people can understand us better through this record than through the songs that we wrote ourselves. Really, the lyrics of "The Spaghetti Incident" are closer to our personal beliefs. You understand more clearly what Guns n' Roses is about than by trying to interpret a song like "Estranged" (on "Use your illusion II" - Editor's note). No one has thought of it yet, but "Ain't It Fun" is a great description of the band.


Axl had also planned a video for the single:

I called Del James around the time that our album The Spaghetti Incident was coming out and wanted to see if he had any ideas for a video for the song “Ain’t It Fun.” We rapped for a while about the song—it’s a cover of a song originally done by the Dead Boys, which has a very desperate feel to it. Toward the end of our conversation, Del said that he saw it “dark, dreary, and addicted.”
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:12 pm

DUFF'S ANXIETY ATTACKS


Duff would for the first time start opening up about his anxiety attacks:

If I have an anxiety attack onstage, Gilby will come up to me, put his arm around me and say, "I'm here. I'm here for you, man," and he means it. Gilby won't play until I'm better.


Duff would late talk extensively about suffering from panic attacks and anxiety in his biography. Maybe it was the cathartic experience of releasing a highly personal solo record that made Duff open more up about his personal issues in 1993? Or just added maturity? Or being in a stable relationship again?

With his stable relationship he also looked into a future with his own family:

I'm the youngest of eight kids, and in the future I look forward to having kids of my own. Road temptations, like groupies, that ain't no thing. I got my wife.
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:12 pm

NOVEMBER 23, 1993
"THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?" IS RELEASED


You know, I’ve got made fun of for liking The Ramones. And then, you know, eight years go by and then everybody that was making fun of me is sitting around watching Rock ‘N’ Roll High School - and loving it. And I want a lot of these people to hear songs that they didn’t hear. I mean, there’s selected cuts that you can’t really find the original recordings that they’re on, and B-sides and stuff of songs we think really rocked and way, way influenced us. And we also do a tribute to Steve Bators. We did Ain’t It Fun with Mike Monroe, and it was really strange because when we did it, you know, both of us in certain places, without even trying I ended up sounding a bit like Steve, you know. Candles would flicker and bells would ring for no reason, and we’re like, “Steve’s here.” (Chuckles).

We started The Spaghetti Incident? without even knowing that we were going to finish it and have an album to put out. We started it just to alleviate all the f...ing pressure of doing the Use Your Illusion records. We’d just jam on songs that we grew up with, just off the top of our heads.

They were a lot of fun to do and nobody in the business took it all that seriously so there was none of this outside business bull.... going on. It was a relief and it was also very grounding when the stress seemed so unbearable.

It was like a real bonding thing for the guys in the band just to book a studio without asking anybody for the money or anything. I’d call up some studio, let’s say, in Boston and just go: Yeah, this is Slash from Guns N’ Roses and can we book the studio from such and such a time to such and such a time and record a song.’ And they’d go: Yeah, right.’ And then we’d all show up with borrowed gear. “It was just nice to know that the foundation of the band is still the same. It’s just that everything around us has changed so much. And it was probably one of the things that was most instrumental in keeping us going.


__________________________________________________________________

With the Use Your Illusion tour finally being over in July 1993 the band could turn to release the long-awaited next record. The release didn't happen immediately after the tour ended, though, and this is likely at least partly due to Axl not having finished the vocals and due to it having to be mixed and mastered:

Also, we've got the punk-rock EP to release. Basically all that needs to be done on that is Axl's vocals.
RIP Magazine, November 1993; but interview done in late September.

Since we've been off the road for the last four months, I instantly went back into the studio to mix and master 'The Spaghetti Incident?' record, to help myself wind down from the tour pace.

Since we've been off the road for the last four months, I instantly went back into the studio to mix and master 'The Spaghetti Incident?' record, to help myself wind down from the tour pace.

When I got home, I went straight back into the studio. That was my antidote for post-road depression. We finished up recording the '...Spaghetti...' album, and then I got completely wrapped up in mixing lt.


But in October 1993 the label could send out a press release informing that the release date would be November 23:

Guns N' Roses will unveil "another album chock full of unsavory subject matter" with their much anticipated collection of cover songs, The Spaghetti Incident?, set for release November 23, 1993 on Geffen Records worldwide.

The notoriously unpredictable rock 'n' roll band has conjured up a few surprises for this album, including a Slash N' Axl vocal, a guest appearance by former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe and a GN'R version of "Since I Don't Have You," originally recorded in 1958 by The Skyliners. The album also includes scorching renditions of songs such as "New Rose" (originally recorded by The Damned), "Down On The Farm" (The UK Subs), "Human Being" (The New York Dolls), "Raw Power" (Iggy And The Stooges), "Ain't It Fun" (The Dead Boys), "Buick Makane (Big Dumb Sex)" (T.Rex/Soundgarden), "Hair Of The Dog" (Nazareth), "Attitude" (The Misfits), "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" (Johnny Thunders) and "I Don't Care About You" (Fear).

[…]

Eight of the tracks were produced by Mike Clink and Guns N' Roses, one by the band alone and one by GN'R bassist Duff McKagan and Jim Mitchell. All were mixed by Bill Price.



The Spaghetti Incident?
November 23, 1993


On the day of the release Geffen would send out another press release which included some quotes from Slash:

It’s not so serious but it’s real honest. […] It’s live and haphazard, just us hanging out. It’s not making any particular statement; it’s just about passion and spontaneity.

We thought we’d do three or four really cool punk tunes we don’t hear enough of. […] But this isn’t a punk record. These are G N’ R’s version of songs from when punk was happening, a tribute to songs and bands that had a lot to do with where we come from. There were some great bands back then but they aren’t being recognized as newer generations get into music. We want to help make them known again. We were originally fans – I remember seeing Fear and The Misfits. Part of our fantasy was also playing songs from bands we would’ve loved to have seen but never had the chance.



NOT TO BE TAKEN TOO SERIOUSLY


It was important to the band to not over-hype the record. As written in an article in The Boston Globe:

Slash is willing to discuss the album, but he is wary of over-hyping it. He’s been assured that the record company, Geffen, will undertake a relatively low-key promotional effort. “The Spaghetti Incident?” isn’t intended to carry the import or weight of the “Use Your Illusion” simultaneous double releases in September of 1991. And in the liner notes, Guns N’ Roses gives credit to all the original bands and suggests listeners seek out those originals.

The Geffen people were thinking ‘How brilliant!’ [when they heard about the record plans] and we were just like ‘whatever.’ I think it was a cool idea and the recordings were genuine - you know the heart and soul of the band is laid out - but I didn’t want it blown out of proportion.

It was really something that wasn’t supposed to be taken all that seriously. There was a point when we were in the studio doing the ‘Illusion’ records and we would just go in and [mess] around on some things and we realized that we sounded pretty cool at covering songs that we really liked, songs that had some major influence on us, really. We recorded four songs and we knew we didn’t have enough room to put them on the ‘Illusion’ records, so we thought we’d do an EP - and it sort of grew from there. We started realizing that it was a great catalog for people who would never, ever hear any of these songs, probably for the simple reason that they’re a generation behind or because a lot of the stuff is out of print. Some people don’t even know what the Nazareth song [‘Hair of the Dog’] is! Heaven forbid someone bring up the UK Subs and ask if anyone’s familiar with that.

It’s not supposed to be taken that seriously; these are just some cool songs that we sort of grew up on, things that have a lot of influence on us. There’s no digging deep as far as what it’s about.

The record wasn't thought out too much and it wasn't supposed to be taken so seriously. To us it was like a joke. I have no idea how the general public is going to react, although it is very aggressive, and people usually like it when you say "fuck you" on a record. The kids who have grown up with us probably don't know some of the material. Then there are going to be some people who will go, "No fucking way! 'Raw Power' is on there?"



THE HIDDEN TRACK


Neither the pre-release press release or the press release on the release date, would mention the hidden track, 'Look at Your Game, Girl' a cover of a Charles Manson song.


PAYING RESPECT TO THE ORIGINALS


In the liner notes of the record the band would encourage listeners to go out and buy the original music:

It would be cool if our fans discovered the bands that meant so much to us, says Slash. That's why we wrote "A great song can be found anywhere. Do yourself a favour and go find the originals" in the booklet. It was written so damn much good songs when we grew up. Most of the records are hard to find and several of the musicians are dead, almost everyone are broke. It didn't go well for our heroes.
Okej, November 1993; translated from Swedish

We wanted to make a point of making sure all the Guns N’ Roses fans of a certain age who wouldn’t be familiar with these bands — the Dead Boys, Fear, UK Subs — knew who wrote these songs, that we didn’t write them. ... We didn’t want another “Train Kept ’a Rollin’ ” situation like Aerosmith had. (The Yardbirds originally recorded it in the mid-60s.) So we made it a point in the liner notes to give a three- or four-line history of the song.

[Commenting on being truthful about their influences] Yeah, we don't lie. It's not like, 'Oh, we never listened to anybody. We never copped.' If I could list the shit that we - I wouldn't say rip off, but you use everything you've heard in your life for your writing. And anybody who says they haven't is full of shit.

[When pointed out that their influences should be very happy being acknowledged by 'The Spaghetti Incident?'] [laughing] And very rich!

Can say we wanted to call the record "Pension Fund". 'Cause we're kind of paying some… Helping these guys pay some rent.

Some of the guys who wrote these songs are fuckin' stoked because they'll get some money.


The royalties due to the originals caused some issues, as Popular 1 would describe:

The old punks are in for a treat. After many years in obscurity, people like the U.K. Subs or Fear are going to see money raining down from the sky. The best selling band in the world wanted to play tribute to its roots and picked them, among a few others. Not everyone, however, is going to enjoy the benefits. The selection of particular songs has caused some delirious side effects. For example, “New Rose,” the Damned song that Guns N’ Roses chose to cover, was only written by guitarist Brian James; which means that the other three members won’t be getting a dime. As expected, this has led to controversy among the members of the Damned, and while James has been talking about Guns N 'Roses with admiration and respect, the rest (Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies) are unloading their anger towards them. It seems that James had two years of sleepless nights, fearing that the song might be left out of the track list at the last minute and he wouldn’t get his slice of the cake.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish



TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD


After the release Slash would shed more light on the song pickings:

I met Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols at Matt's wedding. He asked when the record came out and if our version of Black Leather sounded better then the "cover" the Runaways did. Absolutely, I said, it sounds better then your version too...
Okej, November 1993; translated from Swedish

I saw [former Sex Pistol] Steve Jones at [Guns Drummer] Matt Sorum's wedding. He goes, "When is the record coming out?" I said, "Probably in November. 'Black Leather' sounds really good." He says, "I hope it's better than the Runaways' version." I said, "Steve, I'm sorry to say it's a lot better than yours too." [Laughs] I've known him for a while, I was just fucking with him

I wanted to do Nazareth's "Hair of the dog", T-Rex "Buick Makane", and Fears "I don't care about you". Those are songs that meant much to me. Axl always hums on the Skyliners' "Since I don't have you", and he loves "Black leather" so those were his choices. […] Duff picked "Down on the farm" by the UK Subs, and we all wanted to a song by the New York Dolls. It became "Human Being"
Okej, November 1993; translated from Swedish

The songs we picked out were what you call 'neutral.' The New York Dolls, as a whole, were not my favourite band, although they had certain songs I dug. So everyone in the band had to be able to relate to whatever song each one of us wanted to do. […] We could've done a million other bands, but these are the ones that came off the top of our heads when we got on a roll. We didn't have any interest in doing a Zeppelin cover or another Aerosmith cover, and I don't see much justification in redoing an old Stones song, because those songs just don't need to be covered. […] The songs we picked for 'The Spaghetti Incident?' were songs that relate to this band as a whole. Some of them were really easy and some of them took some thought - like which Iggy Pop song we were gonna do, which Dolls song… […] The UK Subs song was obvious. The only T-Rex song I wanted to do was 'Buick McKane', and the Fear one was their only one I wanted to do. […] But also there was the lyrical content to consider, like The Dead Boys' 'Ain't It Fun', which was something that represented what we've seen and been through as a group - and even before the group, as people, the shit that we've seen in this bullshit, and what's gone with us since we became successful, that became the key song, the one that was very indicative of what GN'R is.

I never got to see The New York Dolls, The Dead Boys or T- Rex. And obviously I didn’t see the The Skyliners, although I can’t honestly say I ever wanted to see The Skyliners!

Everybody picked songs that they wanted to cover. Axl wanted to do [the Sex Pistols'] "Black Leather" and [the Skyliners] "Since I Don't Have You," which he used to sing all the time. "New Rose" by the Damned was definitely Duff's choice. We did [the UK Subs] "Down On The Farm" at Farm Aid, but I can't remember how that came up. We wanted to do a New York Dolls song and "Human Being" was the best one. We did two Stooges songs, but Axl liked the vocal on "Raw Power" the best. It was Mike Monroe's idea to do a Dead Boys song as a tribute to Stiv Bators. "Buick Makane" [T. Rex], "Hair Of The Dog" [Nazareth], and "I Don't Care About You" [Fear] were my ideas. I can't remember whose idea it was to do the Misfits' "Attitude." I didn't play on [Johnny Thunders'] "Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" and an unmentioned track, which features a guy named Carlos on guitar.

We did a Hanoi Rocks tune but we decided not to put in on the album because we didn't wanna give Andy McCoy (former Hanoi guitarist) the money! McCoy's an asshole! The basic track was done but we never did any vocals on it. Wo also recorded a basic track on Iggy's 'Down On The Street', but we didn't finish that either. We stuck with 'Raw Power' — it just sounded cooler.

We did a Hanoi Rocks tune but we decided not to put in on the album because we didn't wanna give Andy McCoy (former Hanoi guitaristThe only thing that we didn't record that we should have done is 'Heartbreak Hotel' (the Elvis Presley classic). I'm going to try to get us into the studio to record it for a B-side. We used to do a killer version of that song, but we haven't played it in a long time. You can buy it on bootleg. There's an old demo tape wo did that was bootlegged. It had 'Welcome To The Jungle', 'Think About You', 'Anything Goes' and 'Heartbreak Hotel'.

We actually did a couple of Hanoi Rocks songs that never made it, and a bunch of Iggy Pop songs that never made it, though one did make it.

Mmm... it wasn’t intentional, but if gives a better idea of our roots, that's cool. We didn't want to send a message, it was just a cover album... We started it during the sessions of the two “Use Your Illusion” albums, just as a way to relax and forget the pressure, the directives and everything that had really nothing to do with music. We turned on the amps to warm our fingers, jam, and have fun with some of these songs. We recorded three or four of them that we knew well, without any intention to make an album or even a pirate cassette. But when we sat down and listened to the tapes again, everyone in the band really liked what they heard, and we decided to make it an EP. Then we went into the studio, and the EP turned into a full album. People often call it "the punk record," which isn't really the case, even if some of the original bands were punk. These are just the G n'R versions of songs we love. Punk is just a term for an attitude, not a musical style. It is a form of determination in order to end up doing things the way you want, in your own way. The music you play doesn't matter, as long as it goes against the grain. Mozart was punk, he had the attitude!

[Talking about the three songs that Duff sings]: These are the the songs he wanted to cover. We decided to fully respect each other’s choices. I chose three or four songs, Axl chose three, so did Duff and these are songs that he liked. At the same time, Duff recorded his solo album, he sang a lot, and we let him sing "Attitude" and "It's So Easy" on tour.

[Talking about the songs he chose]: There’s one that I had to sing myself for it to be on the album, a medley of "Buick Makane" by T. Rex and "Big Dumb Sex" by Soundgarden. Axl didn’t feel comfortable with this song and asked me to sing it. I did, but I hate singing and you won’t hear me sing this song often in the future. The Fear song, "I Don’t Care About You" has been my point of reference for a long time. It was the only record I had when the band started, the only tape I took on the road with me. "Hair Of The Dog", by Nazareth, is a song that Axl and I often played when we were in the band Hollywood Rose, before Gn’R. And "Since I Don’t Have You" by the Skyliners, it’s a doo-wop song from the 50s that Axl used to sing a long time ago and I wanted him to record it.

We didn’t try to recreate the sound of the original versions, because we create our own vibe in the studio. We just took what we liked in each song - sometimes it was just the fact that we loved them and we had fun playing them. This is the cornerstone, the spirit of "The Spaghetti Incident?"

I picked the T. Rex song 'Buick Makane.' I helped pick 'Hair Of The Dog' (by Nazareth). I really liked (The UK Subs) 'Down On The Farm.


These quotes, and the quotes in the previous chapter about the making of the record indicate that the the following unreleased songs exist from the various 'Spaghetti' sessions: 'Down on the Street' (the Stooges) likely without vocals, and unknown Hanoi Rocks song. In addition, if we are to trust Gilby's quote there would be additional Hanoi Rocks and Iggy Pop songs, but likely without vocals.

Slash would mention that lyrically the record was more about Guns N' Roses than any of their other records:

The coolest thing about that whole record is that the songs that we picked to do were more indicative of what GN'R was about, and the lyrics explain more about us, than even our own songs do. You can look at the band from a completely different perspective. This is us just blatantly picking a page out of a book and going, 'This is us'.


And how they did the vocals:

I do a lot of vocals, yeah. I sing on – you know, I just laid down scratch tracks, because I knew all the songs better than anybody else. It was my record collection that all the songs came from. So I would lay down a scratch track for Axl, like Raw Power I sang, and New Rose by the Damned, Attitude... And I’d lay down a vocal for Axl to listen to, and he’d come down to hear it and he’d go, “Hey man, that’s good. I’m not gonna sing it.”


In early 1994 Slash and Axl would point out that these are punk songs made the "GN'R way":

You know, we have our version of [Black Leather], but then again, I like listening to the original better. It depends on what mood people are in. What they want to hear. I mean, I've heard criticism about: "Well, a punk record shouldn't have drums this heavy." And this and that. But we do it GN'R-style.

It was GN'R doing all these songs of ours the way that we play 'em. I mean, there's no changing that. So, we're not exactly "the best sounding punk band"… technology and decent marshals at work.

Then we put out this really easy, relaxed record of songs that we dug. We thought we'd pay homage to people who we thought everyone had forgotten about, all the stuff that's out of print. Half these guys are dead! 'The Spaghetti Incident?' is a record to show where the f**k a band like us came from, and the critics try to tell us we didn't use the right amps or whatever! F**k! You gotta just do what you do!

Well, we didn't even have any access to most of the originals to learn the songs correctly, you know what I mean? So we just play them the way that we play them. It's basically a Guns N' Roses record, just a bunch of songs the way that we interpreted them. But the original versions have that natural raunch. They represent the times that they were recorded in. They tell a million stories in three minutes, y'know? So the original versions always are more romantic.




WHY THEY RELEASED IT


And Duff and Axl would talk about why they did this album:

The album is out for – I think it’s a dedication to all these bands that haven't gotten recognition. So the only reason I hope it sells a lot is so they can get some money, you know, because a lot of these guys are poor. And they’re also waiting for it to come out (laughs).

We had an idea of this going into the first album… that there were some songs that, what we called "punk" to us, or whatever, that we wanted to record a long time ago, that we wanted people to hear, that we liked a lot. And there's songs that Izzy and I liked, there's songs that Slash and I liked, there's songs that Duff and Izzy liked. Things like that, and then it turned into… We had a collection over about nine years of over ten songs that we really liked and we realized we could make an album instead of just a little EP and throw out there.

I guess I'm the one with the biggest collection of punk records in the band. But the other guys wanted to make a record like that, too, and we have common influences, so that’s why we did it. It was our way of chilling out during the Illusions sessions and of paying tribute to the people who inspired us.
Popular 1, January 1994; translated from Spanish


Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:13 pm

THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?
EXPLAINING THE NAME


It has nothing to do with the record. But then there’s no point to the album either. It’s something for fans to listen to and tide them over until we complete the next original one – God knows when that’ll be.

An inside joke, an actual incident when we were trying - to get it together to write the ‘Illusion’ records in Chicago, but it’s one piece of trivia I don’t think anybody will ever get.

It’s an inside joke. It’s from a certain time when we were in Chicago writing music, really having a hard time. No one will be able to guess what it is.

It’s an inside joke for the band, and I can’t wait for the rumors as to what the “spaghetti incident” is all about (laughs). But I’m not gonna divulge that information.

It's an inside joke. I won't get into it. There definitely was a spaghetti incident. […] [The readers] will probably come up with stories that are a lot worse. I can't see anybody being able to imagine exactly what it was. I can't wait for the rumors to start flying.


Duff would also finally explain the title of the record:

The title is – I can talk about it now, because the trial is over, the Steven Adler trial. It’s actually from my deposition. Steven, Slash and myself lived in Chicago for three months to write tunes, and we all lived together in this condominium, in an apartment above an Italian restaurant - this is very funny, this is why it’s called “Spaghetti Incident.” So in the deposition, Steven’s lawyer asked me, and he goes, “Did you guys ever get into any fights while you were there?” And I said, “Well no, not really. It was just kind of like brotherly fights.” Then I said, “Maybe,” you know, “just maybe, if I got spaghetti from the Italian place below us one night, and ate half of it and saved the rest for the next morning – because everybody likes cold spaghetti - and maybe somebody else ate it, and I was looking forward to eat it, maybe there’d be, like, a real fight.” And that was it, period. And the lawyer was like, “Okay.” So we get to court, and I’m up on the stand, there’s a jury and everything. “Now, about your spaghetti incident...” and I just – and the guys in the band and everybody started busting up [laughing], because the lawyer took it seriously. So we got done with the court that day, and we were like, “We gotta call this album ‘Spaghetti Incident’.” So that's where that’s from.


Still, Slash would be reluctant to explain the title:

It was something they mentioned in the court case (with Steven Adler). I don't want to say exactly what, since we've been having a great time getting tons of letters from people as to what they think the spaghetti incident is! We've been getting these sex ones. It's unreal! […] 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?


First in April 1995, would Slash explain the title:

I guess it's been a while now, so it's easy to let the cat out of the bag. 'The Spaghetti Incident' was something that was brought up in court when Steven Adler was suing Guns N' Roses for kicking him out. When Guns was in Chicago writing material which initially ended up on 'Use Your Illusions.' Duff and Steven got into this argument over spaghetti. It got brought up in deposition, and it was called 'The Spaghetti Incident.' I thought that was great, and wanted to name the record that.



JYE / ZQS


On the cover the inscription JYE / ZQS could be found, when asked about it Slash replied:

There is a meaning, but I’ve forgotten it. […] It has nothing to do with the title, but I’ve forgotten [what it means], it’s been a long time. I’ve since worked on my solo album and the next Guns n' Roses album. I haven’t even listened to “The Spaghetti Incident?” since we finished it.
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17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? Empty Re: 17. AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1993: LAWSUITS AND THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:13 pm

THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT?
IN HINDSIGHT


We’ve just put out 'the Punk record’ or whatever you wanna call that, and I think you can hear that we had a lotta fun putting that together.

Spaghetti Incident was cool. We did songs in different places. Sometimes I would borrow somebody's guitar and rent an amp and cut a song. When we did that song 'Since I Don't Have You', we were in Boston with a day off and I got on the phone and asked for the best recording studio. I found out there are no fucking recording studios in Boston! Anyway, we finally found a place and I said, "This is Slash from Guns N' Roses," and at first they didn't believe me. Anyway, we rented some gear, I borrowed Gilby's piece-of-shit practice Tele that he has for before show warn-ups, and we just showed up and played. The whole thing was done in a way that I would like Guns N' Roses to more or less be, within the confines of the business we're in. But it was fun, it was sort of like an outlet.

It's not a punk album. You can't really say Nazareth is a punk band, can you? It was us doing a bunch of songs that we grew up on, bands that were icons when I was getting into this stuff in the late 70s and then ceased to exist.

It started out as warm-up jams for Use Your Illusion and evolved into something else. It was the first really good time that we've had without any outside pressure in ages. That's basically it. The coolest thing about the whole record — which is something that these fucking idiots haven't even touched on, as usual; you don't know how bitter I am at this point toward the press — is that the songs we picked , the psychology behind the music we naturally chose, is more indicative of what Guns are about, the lyrics explain more about us, than even our own songs do. 'Aint It Fun' wraps us up nice and neatly in a nutshell. It's so perfect. And we never really thought about what we were doing until all you fuckers came up and asked us questions!



2000: REMOVING 'LOOK AT YOUR GAME, GIRL'


Because of its controversy, and from a desire to create something "positive", Rolling Stone would in early 2000 claim that Axl would remove 'Look at Your Game, Girl' from future pressings of 'The Spaghetti Incident!?' [Rolling Stone, January 2000].
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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:14 pm

THE CHARLES MANSON CONTROVERSY


Axl played me the Manson song, "Look at Your Game Girl," and I said, "That's pretty good." Then he told me what it was and I just went, "What?"

_____________________________________________

Back in October 1993, before the release of 'The Spaghetti Incident', rumors would claim that the record would include a song by convicted murderer and cult leader Charles Manson [Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1993]. Geffen Records denied these rumors, but on November 21, sources "close to the label" would confirm the rumors were true but that the song, 'Look at Your Game, Girl', would not be listed on the album nor would Manson be mentioned in the album notes [Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1993]. Allegedly, to keep the song a secret it was also not included on advance copies of the record distributed to reviewers [Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1993].

There is a bonus track on the album, but Axl wants it to speak for itself. […] It wasn't done for the critics or anybody else. It was a bonus for the fans.


But apparently it got out that the song was by Charles Manson:

[Being asked how people found out about the hidden track]: I don’t know; somehow word got out.


Despite Goldstein saying that Axl wants the song to speak for itself, a week after the release of the record he decided to send out a press release where he would explain the inclusion of the song and state that all proceeds from the song would go to charity:

It's come to my attention that some people have taken offence to a particular song, Look At Your Game, Girl, on our new album The Spaghetti Incident? What it all boils down to is this: The Spaghetti Incident? is 13 historical and musical gems that may have been overlooked. For instance, New Rose was one of The Damned's main songs but for whatever reason a lot of the world didn't hear it.

In Indiana, I was ridiculed and physically attacked for my musical tastes, tastes that I never made any effort to hide. I thought it would be interesting for the so called mainstream and the people who were against this material when I was a teenager to actually hear these songs. Maybe they'll hear something they like, and more importantly, maybe they'll go and find the originals better, including Look At Your Game, Girl. The reason we didn't list that song on our album is we wanted to downplay it. We don't give any credit to Charles Manson on the album; it's like a hidden bonus truck.

It's my opinion that the media are enjoying making a big deal out of Guns N' Roses covering a song that Charles Manson recorded, but if another band had recorded that song, it probably wouldn't have been of interest. The media need their "bad guys" to guarantee some ratings, so they use Manson's name coupled with mine to promo their news programs.

However, when I do something positive, like contribute to charity, it's hard to get the news to pick up on those stories. The media is an interesting beast.

Why did I choose to cover that particular song?

Oddly enough, one of the things we do up at my house is have "Name That Artist" contests where we play obscure songs and everyone tries to name the artist. My brother Stuart found Look At Your Game, Girl at a large record chain and, needless to say, he won that round. Personally, I liked the lyrics and the melody of the song. Hearing it shocked me and I thought there might be other people who would like to hear it.

I like the words because, to me, it's about a woman who has thrown things away. She thinks she's gaining love but basically she's gaining sadness. It was very fitting for a personal situation I happened to be in. The song talks about how the girl is insane and playing a mad game. I felt that it was ironic that such a song was recorded by Charles Manson, someone who should know the inner intricacies of madness.

Manson is a dark part of American culture and history. He's the subject of fear and fascination through books, movies, and the interviews he's done. Most people hadn't heard anything Charles Manson recorded.

A lot of people can say I wear the "Charlie Don't Surf" T-shirt for shock value, but I've worn that shirt for the past year on tour, all over the world. Yes, I was trying to make a statement. I wore the T-shirt because a lot of people enjoy playing me as the bad guy and the crazy. Sorry, I'm not that guy. I'm nothing like him. That's what I'm saying. There's a real difference in morals, values and ethics between Manson and myself and that is "Thou shalt not kill," which I don't. I'm by no means a Manson expert or anything, but the things he's done are something I don't believe in. He's a sick individual. Look at Manson and then look at me. We're not the same. Plus, I like the black humor of the "Charlie Don't Surf" line for the movie Apocalypse Now.

I think people think I'm crazy because I believe in telling the truth. I'll admit sometimes I don't do a perfect job of it, but my efforts are true.

It is my understanding that the song was written by Dennis Wilson. To what extent Charles Manson is involved in the publishing, I'm not aware. However, I am donating all my personal profits from having that song on our album to a charity, an environmental group to help protect wildlife and our oceans. In our video for Estranged, which will be the last video for the Use Your Illusion albums, we used dolphins, and this is my way of giving something back to the dolphin, which are endangered and threatened with extinction.

Unfortunately I Don't Surf Either.



Axl wearing the 'Charlie Don't Surf' t-shirt


Axl had a point when arguing that the media made more out of this cover than if another band had done it, because Hot Metal would discover that both Redd Kross and the Lemonheads had covered Charles Manson before without any media backlash [Hot Metal, January 1994]. But, of course, Guns N' Roses was the world's most popular band at the time and their impact and influence much greater.

David Geffen, who had known two of the victims of Manson's cult, and head of Geffen Records, was not impressed:

I would hope that if Axl Rose had realized how offensive people would find this, he would not have ever recorded this song in the first place. The issue is not the song itself. The fact that Charles Manson would be earning money based on the fame he derived committing one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th Century is unthinkable to me.


Patti Tate, sister of one of the victims, also took affront:

Doesn't Axl Rose realize what this man did to my family? It really hurts and angers me that Guns N' Roses would exploit the murders of my sister and others for capital gain.

From what I’ve heard some young people speak about, you know, they think that Charles Manson is this really cool weird guy. And this is what Axl Rose has allowed to happen.
Court TV, December 4, 2001; from earlier interview


It is likely that neither Geffen or Tate knew all revenues from the song would go to charity, not that this would necessarily remove all criticism.

Parts of the press was outraged by the song's inclusion on the album and also by Axl's wearing a shirt with Manson's face on it on one side and the text "Charlie Don't Surf" on the other side during numerous concerts in 1993. This shirt was apparently officially licensed and Manson would receive 10 cents per shirt sold [The San Francisco Examiner, December 19, 1993].

Slash would comment on the shirt:

Those weren’t GN’R t-shirts. They were from a company that made them, and they were sold on the tour, but they weren’t official band t-shirts. This Manson thing... there’s a dozen bands that have covered songs by Manson, and now everyone is picking on just us. Axl wore that shirt, but it wasn’t designed by Guns N’ Roses. It bothers me that people can think that we made those shirts.
Popular 1, February 1995; translated from Spanish


According to Los Angeles Times, "sources" close to then band said that "most of the five band members want the song taken off future copies of the record, and that Rose is considering that action" [Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1993].

When asked about the song Slash would say:

I don't even play on "Look at your game girl", it's a guy named Carlos...[…] It was exactly what we wanted to avoid. That's the reason why we didn't wrote neither the name of the song or Manson's name. We didn't want to be elated with him. But things never turn out the way you want...
Okej, November 1993; translated from Swedish


And Duff would distance himself from the song:

I don't know nothing about it. I swear to God I haven't heard it... I believe it's by Charles Manson. Axl was talking about it once, and me and Slash were cringing, going, 'No! Please! It's a nice album...'


Yet only a week later Geffen Records would send out a new press release stating that the song would not be removed from future releases of 'The Spaghetti Incident?' [Geffen Press Release, December 8, 1993; Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1993]. According to the press release, Axl and Slash had considered removing the track when they heard that Mason might benefit, but after discovering that he wouldn't and that any royalties would go to the family of one of the victims, they decided to leave it:

When it was confirmed this week that Manson would not receive royalty payments, we decided to leave the track on the album. We feel it only fitting we can help the family of at least one of the victims.

When we heard Manson might get the money, we were ready to pull the song off the record. But then we found out that all the money would go to this guy in Poland who lost his dad.


"That guy in Poland" was the son of Wojiciech Frykowski, Bartek Frykowski, one of the victims of Manson's cult [Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1993]. Frykowski's lawyer, Nathaniel VFriedman, would comment:

Thanks to Geffen Records, they have indicated cooperation that they’re going to pay any royalties arising from that song to Bartek Frykowski. […] It seems the American justice system has its own way of working things out. And I’m grateful for that.
Court TV, December 4, 2001; from earlier interview


The press release would also contain a statement from Slash:

We naively thought there was a certain dark humor in Manson singing these love song lyrics at the time, but now I find the word 'humor' doesn't fit into the equation at all. Especially when we think about the families of his victims and how this makes them feel. Even though I was only four in 1969, I remember what a shock it was to my hippie parents that there would be someone like Manson out there. It was one of those 'wake up and smell the roses' kind of things that signaled the end of the whole love era.

We didn't credit Manson on the album because we didn't want to draw any attention to him. We simply didn't anticipate everyone making such a big deal out of it. We especially don't want Manson to think we think he's bitchin' - or anybody else to think it for that matter. There are no words to describe him as a human being. He's the epitome of what's wrong with human existence at this point and we don't want to glorify Manson in any way. But rather than pull the track it seems like we could at least help out a kid who lost his Dad.


Ed Rosenblatt, President of Geffen Records, would also be quoted:

We would have preferred the song wasn't on the album, but given our belief in freedom of speech, as well as the clear restraints of our legal agreements with the band, it is not our decision to make. That decision belongs solely to Guns N' Roses. Although we'd reviewed the lyrics for warning sticker purposes, none of us fully appreciated the impact the song would have. We genuinely regret the distress this situation has caused.


Despite what was said in the press release, Slash would be exasperated by the backlash:

Y’know, only in Los Angeles are we going through this f**king backlash for doing this. Y’know what really happened? It’s typical Guns N’ Roses dark humour. One night at Axl’s house, his brother Stuart, who is a character in himself, played this 14-song Manson album without telling anybody who it was. Axl had no idea. He picked out this one song, ‘Look At Your Game Girl’, the one we recorded with his current ex-­girlfriend (supermodel Stephanie Seymour). And so his brother goes, ‘Ha ha, it’s Manson!’. A few days went by and most of the record was completely done, and Axl goes, ‘I’m just gonna go in and record this song’. He played it for me over the phone. I had no idea who it was either, and he told me what it was and we laughed! The guy's turned into such a Hollywood cartoon character at this point, regardless of the tragedies of 24 years ago. We weren’t trying to draw attention to him, but there is sort of an ironic sense of humour in the lyrics, in contrast to to what he's all about. Manson’s stuck around for a while. He’s been on TV making these public statements that are so psycho, trying to get parole, and he’s turned into this Hollywood character. We covered the song, but didn’t draw attention to it. And if you’re listening to a CD, the average person who sits and listens to a CD seven or more seconds after the final song has ended is probably drunk or stoned! So we didn’t think it was any big deal, but it got out somehow, and the media was hot to make a big deal and jump on a 'hot' subject that they didn't realise all the proceeds are going in a different direction and that we still haven't found out who actually wrote the song. Geffen Records have told us that Dennis Wilson wrote the song. […] At this point, we're getting so much shit, I feel like it'll blow over.


According to sources to Los Angeles Times, Axl had recorded the song without the rest of the band's knowledge and only got their reluctant acceptance for its inclusion on the record if it would remain unidentified in print or in interviews [Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1993].

In early 1994 Axl and Slash would be asked if he considered pulling the song off the record:

At this time, no. But, we've also been notified by a fan that if we do pull the song, he'll sue us and Geffen Records for one dollar per album sold, as of the date that we pull the song. You know, he'll file s in federal court. But we don't have plans of pulling it as of now.

There was a time when we were planning on pulling it because of the fact that it was… I don't know… the messages were all crossed. As far as to what we were really doing. I mean, basically, all we did was do a track that had something to do lyrically with the band. Or… you know.


Axl and Slash would also talk about why the song was included:

I like the lyrics of the song. I also thought it was something that people hadn't heard and was a missing part of the puzzle. And almost everything about Charles Manson has been public, but this was something that wasn't public really, on a big scale, to my knowledge, and just thought that people would be interested in hearing it. But… you know, even the… One of the… The victim's son whose getting money supposedly, was talking about people worshipping Charles Manson and I was like, getting a vibe that people were trying to paint a picture of me worshipping Charles Manson now. It's exactly, for me, the opposite of that. […] He's a pop-cartoon-icon of absolutely how far off the edge you can go, which… I don't have any desire to go that far.

Stuart, Axl's brother, had a copy of the Manson cassette, and that particular song had significant lyrical matter, especially since Manson was singing it. We were a little bit shy about doing it, because we didn't want anybody to pin us on a Manson thing. There's a rumor that he didn't write it. I got a phone call from someone who said it was written by Dennis Wilson and somebody else. To this day we still don't know who the fuck wrote it. We did it anyway, but we didn't want to put its title and Charlie Manson's name on the record. None of us are into that for a serial killer's sake. We didn't want to give him the credit.


So both Slash and Axl would say the song came from Axl's brother Stuart. The San Francisco Examiner, on the other hand, would claim Axl received a tape containing the song from a Richard Lemmons who he had met at a video shoot [San Francisco Examiner, December 19, 1993]. Richard Lemmons and his brother Dan were the guys behind Zooport Riot Gear, the company that sold the 'Charlie Don't Surf' t-shirt [San Francisco Examiner, December 19, 1993]. The magazine Hot Metal also tell the story that Axl got the tape from Lemmons and Lemmons would be quoted as saying that "Axl went nuts over it" [Hot Metal, January 1994].

Slash would defend the inclusion:

It was supposed to – it wasn’t supposed to be anything. It was just a joke. We were surprised that the guy even sang, you know? (laughs). […] and a lot of other bands have covered him before we did. I don’t think there’s anything sick about taking an obvious psychotic and taking his material, and going, “Look what this guy did.” And that was all we did. We buried it on the record, it’s not on the sleeve, it’s not on the credits or anything like that. […] And it just turned into one of those Guns N’ Roses media blisses, and that’s it. It’s a dead issue now, you know? And he’s not gonna get anything out of it.

We buried it on the album.


When the interviewer pointed out that "burying it" would be to not include it on the album:

We didn't want to draw attention to it. If you're that f**ked-up that you're going to sit there for seven seconds after the CD ends, you deserve to hear it.


Slash would also refer to other bands having covered Manson before:

Other bands have covered his material, there’s even one band that did the same song we did, and it’s a little disturbing that just because of who we are we seem to be the pinnacle of media attention because of something that we thought was, well, fun

The dark humour behind the idea of someone as psychotic as [Manson] writing a love song like 'Look At Your Game, Girl',.. I mean, it's entertaining. The Lemonheads already covered a Manson song before we did, and I don't hear anybody moaning about them! […] [Manson was] so **king Hollywood! He was the antithesis of the end of the '60s. All of a sudden, everybody had to wake up and realise that this whole little fantasy was not realty happening. The world was not going to change that much. He was the perfect psycho for that period of time, everything about him.


Slash would also reveal that Manson had complained about the band not asking for permission before covering the song:

[Manson] complained because we didn't ask his permission. So f**k him!


When asked if he wasn't afraid of "pissing off a madman who made a successful hobby out of sending nutcases into the Hollywood Hills to murder celebrities?" Slash would defend himself saying he didn't pick the song nor played on it:

Well. I didn't mean to do that. I can't take it seriously at this point. Although, if any weirdos show up outside my house... You have to understand it wasn't something I picked, and it wasn't something I even played on.


In June 1994, Gilby would distance himself from the song:

It was all Axl (laughs). Honestly, what happened with that song is, nobody from the band played on that song. That’s none of us. Slash didn’t play guitar, I didn’t play guitar. It’s a song that Axl liked, and he just picked it and he put it on the record, you know? It was – he did it. I don’t really know a lot about it. He said that he found this song. I don’t think he really knew that Charles Manson wrote it, though. I think he was under the impression that he just sang it, and he liked the song.


And in early 1995, at a time when the situation between Slash and Axl was stressed, Slash would claim he didn't want the song on the record:

I didn’t play on it. […] I didn’t even want to do it.


This implies that Axl talked to Slash about the song and that it was even discussed whether Slash would play on it.

And:

The funny thing about it is 20 other bands have done Manson songs – not to mention that Trent Reznor lives in Tate’s house. […] And all of a sudden - we throw something out and it’s, like, taboo all of a sudden and everybody – […] Yeah, it goes with the territory. It’s been like that – we’re the band that came out and the first press release was a quote from a magazine that said “They’ll be great if they live long enough.” From day one, you know?

Like we did a (Charles) Manson song, and there were 20 bands before us that did Manson songs, but we're the bad guys. It's like we're supposed to be some sort of influence on the youth of America, so that was a bad example. It's Guns N' Roses, for crissakes. When did that change? Why are we all the sudden some sort of half-ass role models for people to judge harshly? Are we chosen for that? Is one band every decade allotted to be in hell?

The only thing that was wrong with that Guns record was that Manson song. Axl is from Indiana and I don't think his upbringing relates to mine at all. I come from Los Angeles more or less and my whole family was very embedded in the whole hippie movement. Axl was from a very structured and sheltered churchgoing family in the middle of Indiana somewhere. The effects of Manson was like a smack in the face for the '60s; there was a certain realisation that the '60s were no longer. And to everybody who grew up in Los Angeles it (the 'Manson Family' and the murder of Sharon Tate) was a big deal. Axl put this song on and had some other guitar player play on it and he called me on the phone. I was mixing the record at the time and I was looking forward to it being really cool. And he calls me up and plays this thing on the phone and I said, "Yeah, whatever," and then he told me it was a Manson song. We didn't know who wrote it; we had word that Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys wrote it. I didn't want to deal with it, being the politically mild guy that I am, so I said, "Whatever" and I buried it in the mix – I put it two minutes after the last song and it's not listed. But word got out eventually and then it turned into this huge upheaval. Because you know how people love to come down on you for anything they possibly can. And so it killed the record in the States, and everybody in LA and who was 30 or older was in complete upheaval. Not to mention David Geffen, who said, "Don't work the record." End of story.

The Manson thing was much more problematic than "One in a Million." I could never understand why that song was so important to Axl.
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