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

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

Registering is free and easy.



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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:05 pm


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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:05 pm


Shortly after it was announced that Slash would be leaving Guns N' Roses, rumours started to swirl that the band's management had had a role [The Baltimore Sun, December 6, 1996]. The management would be Doug Goldstein who operated Big F.D Entertainment, mostly focusing on Guns N' Roses and Axl [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000].

An anonymous music-industry source would describe Axl and Goldstein's relationship:

If Axl says, 'Jump,' he says, `Fine'. 'If he's in the air, he says, 'How much higher?

In 2015, Goldstein would be asked about why he didn't play more hardball with Axl, and explain his motive was only to keep the band together:

I mean, I was definitely a nice guy. Was I an enabler? Probably to a great extent, but I thought that it was a better idea to keep the band together. That was my point all along, keep the band together because how are they going to create rock history if Axl quits and fucking goes home?

Later, Slash would imply that some people in Axl's circle hadn't "doing [them] any good":

When the band's popularity exploded, Axl became more and more isolated once other people started getting involved. Those people weren't doing us any good. With the exception of the other original band members, whom I am all still friendly with, I don't want to talk to any of those people anymore

Just the thing got built into such a monster, which was led by a guy who had no real idea what was going on from a reality point of view. And then, everybody that worked for us that were, basically, hand-feeding him all this bullshit. And it would just keep going on, and I had no control over it anymore.

You know, there was such a divide-and-conquer thing going on around us by somebody who will remain mentionless, that we never could get to the core of that problem.

Goldstein would respond to Slash's comments and argue that he had to keep Slash and Axl separated otherwise they would fight, and that with Slash rejoining Guns N' Roses a guy to take the fall was needed and Slash had picked him:

I've heard Slash make comments that, you know, that I'm the bad guy who kept him and Axl away. And to address that, you know, the reality is if I had told Axl back in '91 how Slash really felt about him, we'd be home. We'd have been home. So it's not like I was trying to not let them communicate but then to this is I was trying to keep everybody out doing what they wanted to be doing, which is find in front of 72,000 people. And if you want to fault me for that, then I, gee, I guess I screwed up, you know? But I think for them to get back in a room and work out their reunion, somebody had to be the fall guy. And I'm okay being that. I know the truth. I know what I did or didn't do for that band. And at the end of the day, that's all I care about.

Dizzy would also claim the lack of communication was the fault of "the powers that be":

I don't think there was an actual downfall as much as everybody sort of outgrew what was going on.  People lost track of how they got there.  Sometimes when you're that young and you have that much success that fast you grow out of it.  I think that had a lot to do with it.  There was a definite lack of communication also, which when you have a group of people that work together that closely all the time, communication is extremely important. When there is a lot of money to be made, sometimes the powers that be will keep that communication from happening for fear that it might break up what's going on.  Thus, the money machine will shut down.

This would also be implied in this quote from Duff:

I was in a weird spot. At the end of the Use Your Illusion tour, I was completely wasted and collapsed physically. That's when I decided to go into rehab. From that moment on, I was the only one in the band that was sober. So I became the guy who would always get the calls from the record company, the manager and Axl: 'Try to get Slash back, try to get Slash back.' [He turns to Slash:] You didn't know that, did you? Everyone was calling me continuously to see if I could keep the fucking mess together! Eventually I told our manager: 'Look, I can only do so much. If you want to keep the whole thing on track, you would have to take responsibility and tell Axl the truth, or there won't be any band left for you to manage.' But he never did. So when it was apparent that Slash left definitely, I said 'Fuck it, I'm also out of here'.

So I moved back to Seattle. I'd gotten sober. Guns had sort of just petered out. We had tried, we had tried, and there ςασ a lot of different things in there that pulled the whole thing apart - and it really wasn't the guys in the band, it was outside things.

Slash would also emphasize Goldstein's role in the demise of the lineup in his biograpy:

[Goldstein] had been strategically moving up the ladder from the beginning. He was like an ambush predator. Though at the end of the day no one is more responsible for the demise of Guns N’ Roses than Guns N’ Roses, Doug Goldstein was a catalyst. His divide-and-conquer techniques were instrumental in achieving our end.
Slash, 2007

Slash would later talk about how Goldstein had been a snake in the grass:

Alan was somebody that I trusted, whereas I knew Doug was somebody that played both sides against the middle. In other words, he’s telling me one thing, telling Axl another and appeasing Axl all the time.

And when asked which living person he despised the most, Slash would mention Goldstein:

Probably Guns N' Roses' last manager when I was in the band.

In 2015, Goldstein would defend himself and say it was a misunderstanding:

I would love to have a talk with Slash and clarify this because the truth is he and I were the band's business people for seven years. I doubled the amount of commissions that were paid to them. I love Slash to death, he's one of my favorite people in the entire world and for some reason he has these ideas.


I'm a very loving, spiritual guy and it hurts me that instead of asking me how I feel and asking about these things that Niven made up, Slash just believes them to be true and throws me to the lions. I love Slash like a brother, he's the little brother I didn't have, I would do anything for him. Do me a favor and tell him I look forward to sitting down with him wherever he wants to tell him my side of the story.
Rolling Stone Brazil, March 25, 2015; translated from Portuguese

And blame Alan Niven for the fall-out, claiming he had performed black magic on Axl and Goldstein:

Every day after work he would go into his room, put on a black robe and cast curses on Axl and me. I was in Hawaii, going about my life and Niven came out, made friends again with Slash and Duff and took credit for everything I did. Afterwards, Slash told me that Niven tried to have sex with his girlfriend.
Rolling Stone Brazil, March 25, 2015; translated from Portuguese

In 2018, Slash would again allude to outside forces "playing guys against each other":

I'd say it was more of business management that really was the catalyst for splitting up, at least for my leaving, the underlying theme was definitely that. It wasn't necessarily about money, it was about money for those guys. For us, it wasn't about money, but it was also, you know, playing guys against each other, and I didn't want to get into all that. It's a complex, and ultimately very personal thing, so we just like, after a while, you know it's not even worth trying to explain.

In early 2019, Duff would talk about the financials of the Use Your Illusion touring and imply that Goldstein (or possibly Niven) had been earning more than what they had:

So we had our record deal, and we did our deal with agents, with a manager, with merch companies. I was there at every turn. We had learned a lot from the Guns N’ Roses experience: managers commissioning off the gross. Meaning, we went out and toured, and we get, say, $1 million guarantee. In the early ‘90s it’s a ton of money. The manager would take his commission off the top of that. We’d pay for all production. Production ran at about 50%, if not more, back then. At the end of a gig, we might end up owing money. Sometimes we didn’t go on on time in the early ‘90s (laughs). So you gotta pay all the over… you’re paying for cops, you’re paying for union workers, you’re paying for trains to stay open. So we’d be in a hole a lot of times. Meanwhile, the manager... (laughs). [...] He moved outside of L.A., so you couldn’t see where he lived. And finally, one time, I went there and, like, he’s got horses and he lives on the golf course, and (?)- [...] And I’m like, “Jesus, horses! Fuck!” (laughs). “I’ve got a two-bedroom in the Valley, man”.


In 2013, while talking about topics for a forthcoming interview, Alan Niven would indicate that Goldstein had a role in the break-up of the band but say it would be more entertaining to discuss Sharon and Elliot Maynard from Sedona in Arizona and how they had been "primary forces in the breakup of the band", without indicating how this had happened:

[...] a lot of what we've been talking about, you know, it's fairly well known history, I think. I think what might be entertaining is, you know, if you're up for this, is I think it would be amusing to talk about the renegotiation that went on with John, with Geffen, with David Geffen. Because there are some moments of really high comedy in that and an area of which I think has been completely under-analyzed. And that is the role of the main arts in the destruction of the band. We can talk about the role of, you know, my dearly beloved Dougie Goldstein and, you know, so on and so forth, and in the demise of the band, but I think one of the more intriguing things cuz it gives you a fascinating microscopic perspective on Axl and his psyche but the acts that a couple of charlatans from Sedona Arizona, just over the hill from here, over the mountain from here, could take him for so much money, manipulate him as they did, and be - as far as I'm concerned - one of the primary forces in the breakup of the band, is really fascinating. I heard from both, you know, Reese and Goldstein, you know, the kind of money that these two charlatans took from Axl and his camp and those around him and it's stunning, it's staggering. I mean, most famously 75,000 dollars for an exorcism, you know, on top of that it didn't work obviously.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:05 pm

LATE 1996

By late 1996 Duff was still single and living a quiet life:

I don't have a social life. I don't even have a girlfriend. Maybe I will find one tonight! [because Duff would be going out to a Sex Pistols concert in LA]
Hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French

Well, you know, actually when I go back to... I live a pretty – I try to live a pretty normal life. I don’t really go out that much. I’m not interested in, you know, going out just to be out and be seen. You know, I do martial arts and I water-ski... […] And I do a lot of other things, you know? I had enough of the excess, I did that, you know? So now I just got my life together in my house, you know, so – And I go to basketball games and I go sit wherever, and if somebody comes up to me, I just talk to another human. I don’t try to run away, I just go, “Hi, yeah. Yeah, I am Duff. How are you doing, man?” You know, “I’m here to watch the basketball game, let’s watch it, man, come on.”
Rock & Pop Argentina, September 1996; translated from Spanish

Duff had divorced his wife, Linda [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996], likely in late 1994 or 1995. The marriage had lasted three years [The Howard Stern Show, July 25, 1996].

In September 1996, Duff would be asked if he was interested in a second solo album but state that he was too busy with other projects at the moment:

I have a studio in my house and, you know, I go down there and I always kinda put together songs. So, I'm kinda busy right now. You know, Guns is… is doing their thing and we're out touring with Neurotic. And that's… Our album's coming out tomorrow. So… I'm pretty busy right now.

Yet, not long after, in early December, he had started working on his second solo album [Online Chat, December 17, 1996].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:05 pm


Despite Slash being out of the band, media would report that the band was aiming for a summer 1997 release [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996; The Orlando Sentinel, November 1, 1996].

According to a band representative, the band expected to work more efficiently now:

Things will move faster now, because working out the differences between Axl and Slash has been a major issue, so it’s reasonable to expect that Guns N’ Roses will move along at a quicker pace. Axl wants something out by summer.

Duff would also concur that he thought the band was better off now than a year previously [Online Chat, December 17, 1996].

It would be reported that Axl had "seven works in progress" and that he was considering which producer to use [Daily Press, November 22, 1996].

Duff would later briefly mention the songs they were working on:

We have song titles, but no album title. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag.
Online Chat, December 17, 1996

Yet, when asked in December, Duff would imply that they would be entering the studio first in February, 1997.

Duff would also be asked about the rumours that Axl wanted a different musical style for Guns N' Roses, to which Duff would prevaricate:

There are a lot of rumors going on. […] I don't know [if we will change our style]. We progress naturally. As far as the rumor that one person wants us to change, that's just not true.
Online Chat, December 17, 1996

Matt would end up leaving the band in April 1997 [see later section], and he would later discuss what had been done by the time he left:

[…] I was hanging around rehearsal rooms for years working on material. We had over four hundred hours of jams, riffs, and songs recorded on ADAT.

By March 1997, a GN'R source would claim that at the moment they had 300 DAT tapes with "ideas, loops and sketches" that was not "that different from the sound you know" and "electronic influenced" [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].

Todd Sullivan, the talent executive at Geffen, and possibly the source for the quote above, would say something similar:

Most of the stuff [Axl] had played me was just sketches. I said, ‘Look, Axl, this is some really great, promising stuff here. Why don’t you consider just bearing down and completing some of these songs?’ He goes, ‘Hmm, bear down and complete some of these songs?’ Next day I get a call from Eddie [Rosenblatt, Geffen Chairman] saying I was off the project.


Paul was still involved, and it would be reported that it wasn't only Slash who had been opposed to Paul, but also Matt and Duff [News Pilot, November 15, 1996]. Allegedly, Axl had been working with Paul continuously throughout the past periods and Slash had refused to enter the studio to work on the new album if Axl or Paul was there [News Pilot, November 15, 1996].

From an earlier interview in August, while Slash was still in the band, it would be implied that Paul's role was only to help teach Axl guitar:

We rehearse every night and I play bass! Axl is playing the rhythm guitar, and it works very well! We work from Monday to Friday, ha, ha! There's me, Axl, Slash, Matt, Dizzy. There's also a friend of Axl who helps him to learn to play guitar. But we play, and it works!
hard Metal, August 1996; translated from French

In 2012, Matt would be asked if Axl was playing rhythm guitar in 1997:

Yes Axl was playing guitar and having a lot of fun doing it

That Paul was indeed still in the picture would be indicated from other sources too [Metal Edge, November 1996]. But the fact that Paul wasn't immediately and officially part of the lineup now that Slash was out [Daily Press, November 22, 1996], could be explained by Duff and Matt also not being warm to him and that his intended role was more to work in the background.

Later, in 2004, Dizzy would discuss working on new music in the late 1990s and say complimentary things about Paul:

I was down in a rehearsal studio recording ideas with a couple other guys, a guy named Paul Huge who was in the band for a little while, and basically that's what I did five days a week. Five or six days a week, I was just down there recording ideas. A lot of great songs came out of that. Its all still there. Something will happen with that stuff eventually. That was a very cool creative period and it was great working with Paul.


Rumours would also be claiming that Duff was leaving the band, which he would deny:

I will not elaborate, but yes I am [still in the band] & everything is going to be cool as far as that is concerned.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:07 pm


Being a member of Guns N' Roses wasn't always easy. Matt would allude to this when he in September 1996 talked about his relationship with Axl:

I think [Axl] has respect for me, he thinks I'm a good drummer et it's cool. I heard him say that and I was happy. You know, humm, he fired me 2 or 3 times and he called me back… […] (Laugh) You never heard the rumors? Yes, we all have been fired at least 1 time! You never heard about it (laugh)? Seriously, it's true that he sometimes goes too far. Sometime I open my mouth and I say "Ok, Axl, fuck off!", then he fires me. So? I know he will call me the next day. I feel I'm in security and I know I will be the GNR drummer for a long time.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French

In a Rolling Stone Magazine issue from presumable late 1996, and which we don't have in our archive, it is implied that Axl was now completely in control of the band and that the other band members would have to jump when he said so. Duff was confronted by this and replied:

Absolutely not when it comes to AXL's permission. What was printed in Rolling Stone is incorrect & I'm pissed off about it.

But later Duff would point to problems with Axl acting like a "dictator":

Susan, my girlfriend, was pregnant. We were going to have a baby, but this band was becoming a dictatorship, everything had to get done Axl’s way or it wouldn’t get done at all. It wasn’t like that when we started out.

And Matt would indicate this too, when looking back at the band in 2005:

GN'R turned into a Gestapo - It was run by one guy who had his vision of what Guns was supposed to be, at that point. In [Velvet Revolver], we like hanging out together and playing music with each other, it's like we can't wait to come up with a new riff. With Guns, we'd come up with a new riff and Axl would be like, "That sucks!" Nobody says, "That sucks," now.

Slash would indicate something similar:

It seemed like a dictatorship. We didn’t spend a lot of time collaborating. [Axl]’d sit back in the chair, watching. There’d be a riff here, a riff there. But I didn’t know where it was going.

And Goldstein would, in 2015, suggest it was true:

I think towards the end that's absolutely what happened [...]. And Duff, really, for all intents and purposes, Duff was gonna hang around to see what was coming next but it kind of stagnated. Duff is showing up every night and he's pretty much the only one. You know, it was testing his sobriety, it was testing his creativity.

Duff would explain why it had come to this:

Because many people around him maintain [Axl] in that state of mind. They kept telling him he was right. Some of them feared him cause they were scared they were gonna lose their job.

And more:

Music wise, he was invaded completely by guys his brought. He brought a guy and said "He is our new guitar player." I said "What the fuck?" That's not right. That's same thing I bring a guy and say "He is a new member." There was no democracy. Slash started to take it seriously said "Fuck it. Is that his band? Since when?" That's ridiculous. Even if I went to rehearsal at nine at night, AXL shows up at four or five in the next morning for about two years. I could not keep up with the schedule. There was no respect for me.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

If you give too much to someone like Axl. Let's put it this way. If everyone around you is answering "yes" for years, if everything is reduced to "yes, yes, yes", then in your relation with other people, when someone says "no" you think that person is wrong. You're gonna tell him to fuck off! You're in this band from the start, and then suddenly everything turns autocratic, just because one person is surrounded by people saying yes to everything. It's not autocracy legally, but there is just one person thinking that's his band. Well then, keep your damned band! One can't stand it anymore. I love each and every member of Guns N' Roses, and that feeling is not going to fade away. I would do anything for them, no question. But people change. I have changed. I've got a larger goal in life now. So, what could I do? Be pissed and make a lot of money? To me, making music is not oriented to making money. If you're in it for the money, then you're in it for the wrong reason. You'll never make any good music, I tell you.

I told Axl this was his band, he had ignored everyone and had hired his best friend for the band. I couldn't play with him. Paul Huge, that was the guy! He's a friend of Axl, he's a 'yes man'. […] Man, you can't be in Guns N' Roses just like that. That was a real band. […]  imagine you and I grow up together and you're my best friend. OK, I'm in Guns N' Roses and I tell the rest you're going to join the band. "OK, Slash, Axl, Matt, guys, this guy is in the band". "Duff, you got a minute?" "No, he's in the band" "Well, no. Everyone in the band has to vote it, Duff, so no way!" "Fuck you, this guy is in the band! I'm not doing anything unless this guy is in the band" "OK, you know what? We'll try and play with him, since you're that much interested in it. Hey Duff, the guy can't play" "I don't care" "Well that's not very reasonable." "I don't care" At that point, what would you do? I came to a point where I couldn't even look at him [Paul]. If I were in such a situation, if I were the friend joining the band, I'd say "Hey guys, you've done very good yourselves alone, I'm not going any further. Hey, Duff, thanks for the offer, but I'm breaking your band." But he didn't say it.

Despite Duff arguing that the band had become a dictatorship, Axl would insist that the new version of Guns N' Roses in 1999 was a proper band and that the "new material has been composed collaboratively with the new players":

It's not an Axl Rose album, even if it's what I wanted it to be. Everybody is putting everything they've got into singing and building. Maybe I'm helping steer it to what it should be built like.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

Now people can say ‘Well Axl, you're after control of the band too.' You're damn skippy. That's right. I am the one held responsible since day one. When it comes to Guns n' Roses, I may not always get everything right but I do have a good idea about getting things from point A to point B and knowing what the job is that we have to do. Within those parameters, I give everyone as much freedom to do what they want something Slash has verified in several interviews.

Chris Cornell, who was working with Josh in 1999, would confirm this:

I think they actually have a lot of creative freedom with what they’re doing with Axl, they’re getting to write parts and stuff - and when he’d come to work with me it’s almost the opposite of what you would think. I would tell him exactly what to play when the song was finished.
Metal Hammer, October 1999

But as far as deciding what to play at shows, Axl called the shots:

Axl decides on the spot. He says “this [song]” and we play it.

Tommy would later talk more about how Axl wanted everybody to contribute and interestingly suggest this was due to how it had been back in the old version of Guns N' Roses:

[Comparing Axl to Paul Westerberg]: Axl, by a long shot [is the easiest to work with]. I’ll tell you why, and I can explain this really well, actually. Paul liked to do it his way. He would hear things a certain way in his head but couldn’t tell you how it was going to happen. It would get kind of frustrating. He would have a vision and would fucking beat it to death trying to get there. With Axl, he doesn’t really have his own vision. He likes to take everyone’s two cents and throw it into the soup, get everyone involved and kind of mold it that way. Axl could really take production credit on this record because he took the best of each of us on each song and crammed it together and made it a musical piece. I can’t tell you how much I learned about collaborating with people while making the record, where Paul just kind of does it his way.


Paul would be way more of a dictator than Axl. Axl is more of a collaborator, maybe even to a fault sometimes. He wants everyone involved. Part of that may have come from the old band, where everyone wanted him to sing their songs but didn’t want to play the other guys’ songs. It would be like, “I’m not going to sing on your song unless you play on his song,” and then it becomes infighting and that kind of shit. That doesn’t really keep a band together. On the new record, everyone’s got a bit in there, their part of a song. It lends itself to us feeling a part of the whole record.

Interestingly, Gilby would provide a synthesis for these apparently different views on Axl:

Axl isn't really... well, (laughing), Axl is definitely an egomaniac. Not in the sense the word is usually used... Axl isn't an egomaniac in the sense that he wants all the glory to himself. I mean shit, look at GNR songs over the years, even the new ones, he lets everyone in the band get their stuff in and shine. The problem is, he's an egomaniac in the sense it has to be HIS way. So it's like, "yeah Slash go ahead and do whatever solo you want, but it has to be on MY song, the song I WANT, and if I don't like the song then we aren't using it". He sort of disregards what the rest of the band thinks and does it his own way. It wasn't always like that though.

See later chapter for more details on how the Chinese Democracy sessions took place with all band members contributing.

In 2011, Axl would talk about all the misconceptions about him and refer to Izzy comparing him to Ayatollah in an early interview:

There's too many things. There's too many things said. It's, you know, it's like two decades of people talking and most the time they're talking off things somebody who had a bias started or said. They could have said jokingly, you know, "Axl's a dictator," I know exactly where that started, that started with a woman named Beth... she didn't start it, Beth Nassbaum, this woman was interviewing us and Izzy called me the Ayatollah in an interview, and then it just rolled from there and I didn't... I wasn't... It just didn't hit me that I should, like, you know, I should nip this in the butt and confront it.

In 2016, Axl would talk about the perception that he was a dictator:

Thirty years ago when the rest of the band was all on heroin. And they realized that the- this woman interviewing us for some tiny little rock magazine was more interesting in interviewing them than me Izzy said I was a demon. You know like the Ayatollah, because I was the big enemy at the time and then it just stuck.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:07 pm


Slash would comment on the break-up repeatedly and often indicate that he and Axl might find back together again:

Axl and I have not been capable of seeing eye to eye on Guns N' Roses for some time. We recently tried to collaborate, but at this point, I'm no longer in the band. I'd like to think we could work together in the future if we were able to work out our differences.

Slash's manager, Tom Maher, would also echo this:

You don't want to close all the doors. Right now, though, Axl and Slash just aren't seeing eye to eye.

Somewhat later, Slash would claim he hadn't officially quit the band, even implying it was exaggerated by the media:

For some strange reason, Guns N' Roses is like the catalyst for controversy, even before we had any kind of record deal. We were always the band in town that everybody liked to make up stories about. It's more of the same, only on a bigger scale. […] Axl and I have just not been able to have a meeting of the minds of such that we can actually work together. We've been through this a dozen times. It seems like a big deal now, but to me it's more of the same. I haven't really gone anywhere. I haven't officially quit the band. It's just that we're not seeing eye to eye on where Guns should be going. It's just such a pain in the ass. […] let the smoke clear and maybe we can talk about it later, rather than try and force something unnatural and have everyone go 'We waited around all this time for THIS?' Axl's whole visionary style, as far as his input in Guns N' Roses, is completely different from mine. I just like to play guitar, write a good riff, go out there and play, as opposed to presenting an image.

And again he would indicate this could be just temporarily and that it was a disagreement over musical direction that caused the split:

In a nutshell, Axl and I aren't really seeing eye to eye as far as musical direction is concerned. Where he's taking on a visionary direction, I'm still rooted in the original concept [from] when we first got together. We're sort of butting heads on that.

When I came back from the last Snakepit tour, I did go back to rehearsals [with Rose] to see if we could rekindle any kind of flame, but it just didn't work out.

If we ever decide at some point that we need each other, that we want to get back together, if we ever get back in a room together and it clicks, that would be great. In the meantime, I'm not gonna sit around and play rock star. I want to work. […]

And later:

It's not a real big concern with me right now because if it gets together, you know how I always put it, if we get together we get together, and in the meantime there's so many other things to do. […] [Axl] does [want to have the band back together], but he wants to... I don't know. For me personally we're just not...uh, let's put it, like a more civil kind of way of putting it, is we're not seeing eye-to-eye on the direction point of view and it's a lot of friction and it's just worth it. […] Once it falls together, it will. We've been through this so many times.

In April he would state that, despite Axl's fax to MTV, he wasn't officially out of the band [San Antonio Express-News, April 4, 1997].

I am not officially out of the band. […] I'm tight with the band; it's just that there's this thing with me and (lead singer) Axl (Rose). If we can have a meeting of the minds and put out a good rock 'n' roll record, I'll be there. I'd be more disappointed putting out a (lackluster) Guns album than none at all.

In May, Slash would indicate that the decision to go their separate ways wasn't necessarily mutual between him and Axl:

Uhm, it's real simple. Me and Axl had more or less a musical... difference of opinion as far as musical direction. Simple as that. You've heard it a million times. It's a rock n roll cliche. And instead of going where I didn't feel comfortable, I just said, "You know what, you do what you're gonna do, I'm just gonna go out and jam, and then, whenever we meet on the same ground, I'll be around." Simple as that. […] It wasn't necessarily mutual, you know [laughing] It's my way of looking at it and then his is probably a lot different, but...

In September, he would be open to get back into GN'T but say his focus right now was on his other projects:

Me and Axl still don't have any contact, but he knows that I'm 'around'. I'm not reluctant to join GN'R again. But right now I don't wanna do anything else than playing with my cover band Slash's Blues Ball. And make a new album with Slash's Snakepit.

And in December he would admit the break wasn't at all amicable:

Um, no, it wasn’t really amicable, but it was sort of inevitable. This is a better way of putting it, you know (laughs).

Interestingly, in an interview published in December 1997, Slash would disregard the most recent problems with Axl from late 1996 entirely when discussing when he left the band, and say he left the band three years ago, in other words in 1994 when he started focusing on Snakepit [Fuzz Magazine, December 1997]. This sort of aligns with Axl's fax to MTV [see earlier chapter] where Axl, too, would say that Slash had been out of the band for a while except for a few weeks of rehearsal trials.

This would probably be alluded to be Del James:

Slash QUIT Guns N' Roses after his solo projects flopped. Geffen Records President Eddie Rosenblatt literally begged Axl to keep the door open for Slash. And Axl did so what happened? Slash came back for some writing down at the studio, totally negative and belligerent, quits the fucking band and then publicly spins it into somehow he got pushed out. Didn’t go down that way, man.

Things weren't much better between them in 1998:

Actually, I'm really good friends with everybody [from Guns N' Roses] with the exception of one [smiling]. You figure it out.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:08 pm


According to a GN'R spokesperson, in March and April 1997 it would be reported that Axl had met with several possible producers for the band's next record [MTV, April 18, 1997]. One of these was Moby [Allstarmag, March 18, 1997; MTV, March 18, 1997; Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997]. Apparently, according to the sources, Axl and Moby had "spent time together, and gotten along well on a personal level, and now they're going to see if they can make some musical magic together" [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].

Years later, Moby would tell an anecdote that highlighted how Axl was a fan of his music:

Well, this is why I'm one of the worst judges of my own music. Because my favorite record of all the records I've made was this album called Animal Rights that I made in 1996. No one else likes it. Of all the ones I've made, that's probably the only one I really go back to and listen to. And it sold nothing. And it got terrible reviews—I think Rolling Stone gave it one out of ten stars. But you know, it had three fans, and they were the weirdest—Terence Trent D'Arby wrote me a fan letter to say that he loved it, on Terence Trent D'Arby stationary. Bono, in a bar, told me that he liked it as much as the first Clash album. And Axl Rose told me that he listened to it on repeat. So the three of them liked it, and no one else! And the tour for that was the most depressing tour I've ever done, because the first part of the tour I was opening up for Soundgarden, and Soundgarden's audience just had no interest in me. And then I did my own tour, and my own audience had no interest in me. And we were playing tiny shows—averaging fifty to a hundred people a night. And the people who would show up—I remember we played at this place in Paris, this punk rock club-collective, the Balaklava? No, it was called the Arapajo—I forget. Maybe seventy-five people showed up, and by the end of the show there were twenty-five people there. It was just depressing. And it wasn't like I was twenty-one years old; I was thirty-two, thirty-three years old, thinking, "Really? I don't have a career." If it wasn't for Daniel Miller, I'd be working at Kinkos. Not that there's anything wrong with working at Kinkos; I'm all for—potheads need to have a job too.
Anthem Magazine, June 11, 2009

Moby had earlier talked about Guns N' Roses and was said to like the band and had also defended Axl Rose for speaking his mind [New Musical Express, October 26, 1991].

The news that Moby was working with Guns N' Roses was first announced by Moby himself on a panel at the SXSW festival [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997], which lasted from March 8-17, 1997.

At the risk of sounding like a sleazy music biz guy, I met with Axl last week to hear their new demos. They're writing with a lot of loops, and believe it or not, they're doing it better than anybody I've heard lately.
Allstarmag, March 18, 1997; quote from SXSW, 1997

Another newspaper would present Moby's quote slightly different:

[Axl is] writing with loops and experimenting with electronics. Strangely enough, they’re doing it better than everybody. It completely blew my mind.
Hartford Courant, March 23, 1997; quote from SXSW, 1997

Chris Vrenna, who worked with the band in April 1997, would discuss Moby's involvement:

When I was there, (the electronic musician) Moby was going to produce. Axl didn't come in very often. He'd show up about once a week. So sometimes we jammed. Sometimes me and Moby just sat and drank coffee and talked about music. Moby was rad. Can you imagine a Guns N' Roses record with Robin Finck and me and Moby producing? And Axl really wanted it to have an electronic element. He kept referencing the Passengers album that U2 did and it's wonderful. It's so good. That and Nine Inch Nails.

In May, MTV News would report that Moby is "producing some tracks for the next Guns n' Roses album" [MTV News, May 28, 1997].

Later, in October and November, 1997, Moby would talk about his role and indicate that he likely wouldn't do the job:

They've asked me to be the producer, but I'm not sure I'm capable of doing that because, if nothing else, making this record is going to be a long, long process.

I went out and met with (Axl Rose) a few times, but I don’t think I’m going to work on that record, because it would mean working on it at the exclusion of my next record. I don’t want to spend a year in Los Angeles just working on Guns ’n’ Roses.

And in February 1998, it would be confirmed by Bryn Bridenthal that Moby wouldn't produce the record [MTV News, February 11, 1998].

Talking about his decision to decline the project:

It was a very hard decision to make. The music they're working on is really wonderful.

Despite Moby's decision, Doug Goldstein would still say Axl was interested in letting Moby hear the music and offer his insights [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998].

Moby developed a strong relationship with Axl and would defend him from criticism, particularly from Alan Niven who would publicly lambast Axl for what happened to Guns N' Roses [see previous chapter]:

[…] the ruthlessness that these people attribute to Axl, I can't relate to it. I've never seen it in him. Since I've become involved with him, I've developed this weird sort of protective, paternal feeling with him.

Moby would continue to talk about Axl and Guns N' Roses to the media in the years to come [see other chapters], resulting in Axl exclaiming:

I appreciate all the publicity he's been getting us, but shut up already!
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

In 2000 Doug Goldstein would talk about the various producers who had been involved, and indicate that Moby's role had been very small:

The others were people we met with or tried out on some tracks [with]. With Moby, we just had a meeting with him.

And in 2018 Alan Niven would discuss Moby's involvement:

I found it very interesting when I heard that Moby was going to take a shot at the helm of the recording. My understanding was that former lawyer to Guns N' Roses, Peter Paterno, who had gone on to run Hollywood Records, came up with the idea and suggested Moby to the GN’R camp. And I thought it was interesting, because Moby's past didn’t suggest the kind of blood, sweat and tears rock and roll that I kind of thought that GNR was. So it seemed to indicate to me that there was a definite determination in the recording to make the band sound and feel very different from what had already been established. And I rather wondered whether it was - you know, sometimes I think you can be a little overly aware of what I would call your competition, Nine Inch Nails, and so on and so forth, and how they were sounding. Sometimes you can be a little overly aware of your competition, and maybe move to be contemporary and, in doing so, perhaps you risk losing your signature.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:08 pm

APRIL 1997

It got really bad. The band was going down the toilet. We grew up listening to great bands like Led Zeppelin and the Stones. Guns N' Roses made that kind of music and the lifestyle we wanted went with it-rock music, drugs, and women. You see these bands today talking about the excess and shit on VH1. It's all, "Waah waah, whine whine." It wasn't "waah" - it was a blast.


In early April 1997, reports would surface saying Matt left the band and was replaced by Igor Cavalera, former drummer in Sepultura [News Pilot, April 4, 1997]. Nothing seems to have come out of the Cavalera rumour.

In an article from October 1997, when listing the band members, neither Matt or anyone else would be mentioned [Icon Magazine, October 1997], indicating that Matt had indeed left the band.

In February 1998, when asked about what the current lineup was, Bryn Bridenthal would not confirm that Matt was out [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. Around the same time, Doug Goldstein would say the following regarding Matt's status while confirming the band had rehearsed new drummers:

The jury is still out on [drummer] Matt Sorum.

Later, Duff and Goldstein would shed some light on what had happened:

Matt was never a full member of the band, he was on an ejector seat and Axl said: “I’m gonna fire him.” I answered that this decision required more than one person since we were a band, that he alone didn’t own the majority. All of this because Matt told him he was wrong. The truth is, Matt was right, and Axl wrong indeed.

[…] Matt Sorum came into the studio and announced to those working that night, "Watch..I'm going to get myself fired tonight".

And elaborate on what the issue between Matt and Axl had been:

About schedules and the way Axl was late for the next album.

Axl would also discuss Matt's departure:

That was [Matt's and Duff's] choice to leave. Everybody that's gone did it by choice. Matt was fired, but Matt came in attempting to get fired and told many people so that night. So it's kind of like everybody left by choice. They really didn't think I was going to figure out a way to make a record, [and they] didn't want to help really make a record. Everybody kind of wanted what they wanted individually rather than what's in the best interest of the whole.

And Matt would give his version and indicate that Paul had been central to the final argument between Matt and Axl:

In '97 I got into a little bit of an argument with Axl about the state of the band. He'd brought in another guitar player, Paul Huge, and none of us really wanted to play with him. Axl really wanted him in the band and we didn't really want to play with the guy. Me and Duff were showing up, trying to be professional and get the work done but it just didn't seem to be going anywhere, and obviously it still hasn't.

I'm so glad I left because it was just stagnant. It didn't make any sense to be a musician to be sitting there not being able to put any of your creative energy out to the world. All my stuff was on some tapes on a shelf and four years had gone by. I was still making a lot of money. The band was paying me really well, and I was a member. I was getting a big check every month and living the high-life up in a big six-level house with a Porsche and all my (expletive).

One day I just said (expletive) this. I want to play you know, let's go! Me and Axl had an argument and I said, 'You should get Slash back and we should put the band back together. Get out there and do it.' He was like, 'I don't need Slash.' And I said, 'Well I think you do.' And he asked me, 'Are you gonna quit?' And I said, 'No I'm not going to quit.' And he said, 'Well you're fired.' So I left, and I remember walking out the door and I went back to my six-level palatial estate, where I was producing a band called Candlebox, they were in my house. And I said, 'I've just been fired from Guns N' Roses.' And we sat down and we celebrated.

I didn’t want to be part of a band where all the original members were gone, with the exception of Axl.

Then Paul Huge walked into the studio and made a bad comment about Slash. I said, 'You don't say that when I'm in the room'. Then Axl laid in, I argued with him and it was over. Huge followed me out into the parking lot and said, 'Come back'. I said, 'I can't come back, he's fired me. Do you feel good about breaking up one of the greatest bands that ever lived?' […] Paul Huge is the Yoko Ono of GNR.
Q, July 20010; interview from November 1999

And I remember one day sitting there - it was three years later, in 1996 - thinking, "I'm making a lot of money, but I'm not being a musician anymore. Somehow I've dug myself into a hole and my life has become more about my lifestyle and the money I'm making and not so much about my drumming."

I had let my drumming go a little. I was living an extreme rock 'n' roll lifestyle, and I wasn't practicing as much. I had bought a huge ranch in Malibu and a condo in town, and I wasn't playing. And when I was, I wasn't enjoying it anymore. So I said to myself, I have to quit this band. I really didn't want to quit, because I always try to see things through to the end. But Axl and I got into it and he ended up firing me.

At that point, Slash wasn't around, so I said, "We've got to get Slash back and start making this record." Axl said, "We don't need Slash," but I said, "Seems to me all the great songs - 'Welcome To The Jungle' and 'Sweet Child Of Mine' - were very much you and Slash. We need you two guys together." So he said, "Are you going to quit then?" I said, "No, I'm not going to quit." And then he said, "Well, then you're fired." And about a month later, I got the notice from the lawyers that I was out.

[Being asked when he left Guns N' Roses]: An evening in 1997. (laughs) I can't remember the month. All I remember is that I was had a candle box at my house, so it was freezing. I came home, and I said "I've just been fired". I remember what time of the year it was... I think it was summer time. Might have been April... March or April. I think so, 1997. […] We weren't getting along. (laughs) We weren't playing live. I wanted to get out and play. But no one else wanted to play so we... […] I like to call [Paul Huge] the Yoko Ono of Guns N' Roses. (laughs). […]  The man who broke the band up. You are the first guy who ever got me to say that. But, yeah. (laughs) […] So I guess Axl's lawyers are going to be contacting you. (laughs).

Years had gone by when we stopped touring, where we were trying to make the next record. We stopped touring in 1993, we were still in the studio trying to record a record in 1997. I started not feeling anything for the music anymore. I'm like, "Man I'm hanging out because I'm still getting this check, and getting paid. Man, I gotta get back to playing music. I'm a musician."

I said, Listen motherfucker [Ed note: To Paul Huge], when I'm sitting in the room, I'd appreciate it if you don't fucking say shit about Slash. He's my friend. Then Axl got in my face. I said, Axl, man, you're fucking smoking crack if you think this band's GN' R without Slash. You're gonna go play Sweet Child O' Mine with fucking Paul Huge? Sorry, dude, it ain't gonna sound right. Axl says, 'I'm Guns N' Roses-I don't need Slash. I'm Guns N' Roses.' I said. You know what? No, you aren't. This bullshit went on for about another 20 minutes. And then Axl finally said, 'Well, are you gonna fucking quit?' I said, I don't fucking quit! So he said, 'Well, then you're fucking fired!'

Paul Huge chased me out to the parking lot and said, 'Just come back in and apologise!' I said, Fuck you, Yoko! I'm gone! And that was it. I went home to my fucking six-level palatial rock star estate with two elevators. About a month later I got the letter from the lawyers.

And then after Slash left, I was in rehearsals — me and Duff were sticking around, trying to figure out how to do it — and I just said, 'We need to get Slash back,' and Axl said, 'No, I don't think so.' And at that point I was out. And then I went home and I drank heavily with this band called Candlebox who was living at my house at the time. I remember I came home, I stopped by a liquor store and I walked in and I said, 'Axl just fired me, and I think this time it's for real.' [Laughs] 'Cause he had fired me many times before, and he used to call me, too, and say it like this: [imitating Axl's screeching voice] 'You're fired' in that classic voice. It was awesome. I wish I had it on tape. It was killer. But he would call back and go, 'See you at rehearsal tomorrow?' [Laughs]

Later Matt would say that it had been impossible to tour with Neurotic Outsiders because Slash would ask him to come back and record with Guns N' Roses, but then Slash wouldn't come to the studio, leading to so much frustration that Matt eventually quit:

Every time we went out on the road [with Neurotic Outsiders], Slash would pull us back in and say, ‘Don’t tour, we’re going to record,’ and then he wouldn’t show up at the studio. So it started to be a pisser. It became a real thorn in my side, and I was like, ‘I’m going to have to let down the moniker of ‘Drummer of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ and just go back to being ‘Matt Sorum, Drummer.” I felt the music was becoming secondary to my position or status, so I let go of that. [...] Then in 1997 we got into an argument and I said, ‘This is not right, we’ve got to pull the band together. This is not brain surgery, this is rock and roll: two guitars, bass, vocals, and drums. Don’t over-think it.’ He said, ‘Are you going to quit?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You’re fired.'

It is also possible Matt is referring to Axl not showing up at the studio.

In 2005, it would be reported that Matt received a one-time settlement of $125,000 when he quit the band [The London Times, March 18, 2005].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:09 pm


After leaving Guns N' Roses, Matt played jazz with The Buddy Rich Orchestra, did a one-off Christmas performance with Billy Idol, produced a record for Candlebox, and collaborated on Poe's hits, "Angry Johnny" and "Hello" [Lawrence Journal World, June 28, 2001]. He formed a production company called Orange Curtains Productions with his partner Larry Cordola, but eventually quit:

I said, ‘I’m tired of this band business.’ It was getting too political. So I got into making music with people.

I paused for thought, dabbled in production (including the first Poe album). I felt I'd had enough of being in a band, but soon realised that production is a lot like babysitting and I'm not a babysitter.

In November 1997 it would be reported that Matt would have a role in an indie movie called "The Sound Man" [MTV News, November 25, 1997] and together with Slash, Duff and Joh Taylor, Matt would make the soundtrack for the movie [Lawrence Journal World, June 28, 2001].

At some point in likely early 1998, Matt would describe himself as "happily divorced" [Rock Express, 1998]. He would also talk about his hobbies:

I collect sports cars. I have a Porsche, some old corvettes. I recently started collecting corvettes and dreaming of buying a Cobra one day, an old and very rare model. […] n expensive hobby, but I can afford it and as I said, I want to get the most out of my life. We have sold over 60 million records so I don't think how much money I have. Millions (laughs). But girls are my real hobby (laughs). I try to live life as much as possible, I love to travel, I love the sun and I try to be where it is as much as possible. In short, I enjoy life and strive to maximize my pleasure. My second hobby is pinball, I started playing pinball when Slash gave me a G'n'R pinball pin that he designed. He is really a fanatic and he invented a bunch of video games and pinball machines. In the G'n'R pinball player receives a bonus of 6 balls, as many musicians, and each bears one's name. The object of the game is to use as many of these bonus balls as possible. When you throw a ball where it belongs, the name that the ball bears appears on the screen. Of course, during that time, the music, Paradise City, came out of the pinball machine. No wonder all the big rock bands have their pinball machines. I was gifted this Slash pinball machine for my birthday. He is really a fanatic, he has about 20 pinball machines in the house, he goes crazy for them, he plays all day.
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

The same year he would also go to rehab and meet Scott Weiland:

One time we were in together with Scott, as roommates! He was trying to kick his heroin habit and with me it was coke, this was all back in 1998. I'd ran into Scott earlier, but that was the time that we really got to know one another. I don't think we ever did any drugs together, though.

Matt would also talk about getting sober, although it is not clear when this happened although it could of course have been spurred on by the rehab in 1998:

When I got undressed and a year passed - and that is a long time - without the use of narcotics, I was very proud of myself for having endured so much and for realizing I could do without them. And I started to feel much, much better without them. While using narcotics, I thought that by doing so I could feel better, that I would be able to solve all problems so easily, and that, for example, I could recover and gather new energy. but in the morning when you wake up you see that the problems have not only disappeared but new ones have appeared and instead of getting better, you get worse and worse. When I stopped, my life changed from the root, I became more cheerful and more energetic, more to look forward to, to travel - to enjoy more, more resilient, fresher. I'm happier.
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

I've got my life in perspective. I'm all cleaned up. I'm in better shape than when I was in Guns. That was one big party.

To get sober Matt spent time in rehab, and there he would share a room with Scott Weiland [The Howard Stern Show, May 24, 2004].

A few years later, Matt relapsed:

Everyone [in Velvet Revolver] is really good right now. But a few of us lapsed back into some old habits. The only one who stayed completely sober actually was Scott. Dave doesn't count because he has been clean for years.

Matt went to rehab, where Duff was also admitted [Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007].

And talking about his friends:

[Duff] is very close to me and probably the closest friend to the band. And Slash of course, Slash is an OK guy. In fact, I have many friends among musicians, Rob from Skid Row, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue. Tommy is one of my closest friends in general, a brother in arms (laughs). Admittedly, while he was with Pamela, I rarely saw him, I guess she didn't let him out of the bedroom (laughs).
Rock Express, 1998; translated from Serbian

In late 2009, Matt would talk about possibly marrying his girlfriend Ace Harper (from the Darling Stilettos) [Vegas DeLuxe, December 18, 2009]. They got engaged in December 2011 [US Weekly, October 12, 2013] and the wedding took place on October 12, 2013 [Blabbermouth, December 2, 2011; US Weekly, October 12, 2013].

Ace Harper and Matt Sorum wedding photograph
October 2013

In connection with his 50th birthday in 2010, Matt posted the following update:

Yep its happenin I’m turning 50. How am I feelin about it?? I’m alright. I’m actually surprise I made it this far. Had many close calls and have had quite a life up to now. I have mellowed a lot in the last couple of years and things seem to be easier somehow. I don’t sweat the small stuff I quess.

I have done so many things and traveled so many places and have met so many great people in my travels.

Have I made mistakes??

Plenty… but at this phase of my life I feel like resentments and feelings I held when I was younger for situations I was in at the time seem so minuscule now. Let bygones be bygones if you know what I mean.

A lot of it is like watching somebody else's movie. Like the GN'R years. Feels like another lifetime. And how I was then is so removed from who I am now. Gratitude is where I am at.

The fact that I have lived my dreams that have gone far beyond my expectations. There is nothing that life can hand me I can’t handle at this point. It wasn’t always easy. But knowing that I am always grounded. And did have moments when I wasn’t when I was younger.

So that being said I look forward to what the future holds. Life is more exciting than ever. 50 and ready to rock.
Matt's webpage, via BraveWords, November 11, 2011


In 2008, Matt would launch his own brand of clothing, Sorum Noce:

I'm working with a really cool Italian dude named Max Noce. He used to work with different designers including Dolce & Gabbana. He's up on all of the trends with making fine clothing.

I've been hanging out with [Noce] for quite a while. We actually worked on the line for the last couple of years. The original idea was just to go out with a kind of wholesale-vibe. We tipped that on a little bit. I've been touring and doing all this other sort of stuff that I do. He opened up this vision of the line and was able to work with that angle. Together, we built it through there. Everybody that has seen it is totally into it, and I've got a lot of friends that want to help—people in the clothing business that I know, as well as rock 'n' rollers, actors and promoters in town. Everybody's willing to help. So it's pretty exciting.

We're trying to keep it pretty classic. We don't want to look like some kind of dated, rock n' roll thing. It's more about fine men's clothing with an edge—guys that want to go out on the weekend and wear some leather. We also have fine tailored suits. We've done those in beautiful Italian wool. We're doing knitwear, shirts, ties and slacks. It's all cool. The way we mix it up makes it look really classy with a groove on it.

Well, my partner Max does all the designs of the clothing. I bring him things and ideas that I like. I say, "Hey, I see something I like. Let's do a jacket that’s take-off of a '67 biker jacket. Or let's take off an early English biker jacket or a three-piece suit and leave the jacket this length." I met a tailor and I said, "let's cut the pants a little more tailored with a slight flare," so I have a lot of this influence on that kind of stuff. But when I go to my partner with an idea, he orchestrates it.


In June 2009 it would be reported that Matt had partnered with the music industry pioneers to launch a new label concept called Dead Conflict in which artists would retain ownership of their music:

Having a musician who has been there and done that will bring a lot of confidence to the artists we bring on board. They'll know that I know what it takes to make a great record. We're here to let them know we have their back. While they focus on making great music, we take care of the rest. Commerce isn't our goal — great music is.


In 2011, Matt would also have the first sale of his painting [Press Release, July 14, 2011].

I don't want to get all heavy, but there are spiritual aspects to [my painting art]. In one of the pieces I call "To Sail with Jesus", it looks like a boat with the face of Jesus in it. In another one I call "Hearts of Ghosts", it almost looks like an animal with a large beating heart. Then there are ghost like images to the left. There's contrast to the shapes. One is softer. Like me in some ways. I can be an aggressive thinker, and intense, but I'm also pretty sensitive. In the image I see both sides of the emotional offering. Drumming is a lot like that. There are a lot of subtleties to it. At times, you have to bring on a lot of energy, and times you have to have more finesse. I try to be powerful when I'm doing rock. But I try to finesse it at the same time. It's not Neanderthal caveman style pounding all the time. There's artistry to it. Like the way you hit the cymbals. I see a lot of drummers that just bash the shit out of the cymbals. But there's a whole range of sound to cymbals if you hit them lighter and in different ways. Drumming is like painting in a way. The brushstroke is similar to what a drummer does with sticks. Similar to a conductor as well. If you look at a painter like Pollock. His brush never even touched the canvas. He splattered and threw it. I see some of that in these images. It's really more an experiment in movement, emotion, sound, and light.

Stone Fish
By Matt Sorum


On his Fierce Joy album, Matt would reveal himself as an advocate for environmentalism, and in 2014 he also got involved in rescuing bears in Asia that are kept in captivity for bile collecting [Animals Asia, August 26, 2014].

Matt sporting a shirt for protection of bears
August 2014

I’m also a board member of Dolphin Project and am against all captivity of dolphins and whales. It’s a modern world, and it’s time these animal “abusement” parks shut down. I’ve traveled to Taiji, Japan where they do the capture, and it’s heartbreaking. Kings of Chaos has done two concerts for Dolphin Project. I’m also ambassador to Animals Asia, who are amazing and have rescued over 400 moon bears from the cruel practice of bear bile farming, and to Oliver Ridley Project — an NGO that saves turtles from ghost nets.

2018: ARTBIT

Former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum has announced the creation of Artbit — a revolutionary distributed-ledger platform that allows both artists and fans to share and monetize artistic talent from anywhere across the globe.

Founded by Sorum, Pablo Martins, Renan Monjon, Saulo Monjon and Jean-Philippe Innocent, Artbit was created on the premise that the unsigned, unrepresented artists of today — musicians, street artists, dancers, magicians, and every street performer in between — are enhancing their communities and broadcasting their soul to the world with little or no monetary return. Artbit addresses this problem by providing exposure and capital to independent artists, while protecting their intellectual property and equipping them with the tools they need to manage the business side of their craft.

Talking about idea:

Before I had any recognition as a musician, I was roaming back alleys in Hollywood, playing any gig I could get, sleeping on couches and surviving off Top Ramen. Today, getting recognition is easier, but getting paid is even harder. With Artbit, we're giving power back to the fans to tell the world who deserves attention, and we're giving a platform to artists to turn their dreams into a paying reality.

ARTBIT is something I’ve been working on now over the past year with a really great group of people. Pablo Martins set up the company and we’ve got a really great team. The idea is that we’re building a community where artist and audience can take care of each other in a cryptocurrency-related site built on Hashgraphs’ Hedera platform. We’ve been working with Hashgraph for the last few months about announcing it.

Artists would be paid in cryptocurrency:

My interest is in cutting the middleman. That’s been something on artists’ minds for years. There’s all these people you got to pay along the way. With blockchain, imagine if you bought a song online for 99 cents and that money was automatically distributed straight to all the contributors—the producer, all the writers of that song. With this technology, the money can go into everybody’s wallets automatically, it doesn’t go into a bank account where somebody’s making all that money and interest. [...] This whole crypto economy, this is the future. To me it’s like the new rock and roll… Cutting out the middleman, they’ve done it with Airbnb, they’ve done it with Uber. The community is running the world now. Direct source. Traditionally what’s happened in music for decades is that the artist is the last guy to get paid. At Artbit, we’re going to make it the first guy to get paid.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:09 pm



Immediately after the announcement that Slash was out of the band media would report that the band was looking for a guitarist to replace him [Philadelphia Daily News, November 1, 1996]. In early 1997, the rumours had it that Steve Jones, band mate with Duff in the Neurotic Outsiders and previously of the Sex Pistols, would take Slash's place, but this was denied by a source at Geffen [Addicted to Noise, January 13, 1997].

In March it would be said that the band was still looking for a new guitar player and had worked with a few to record "sketches and ideas for guitar parts on the demos", according to a band source [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997]. One of these guitar players was allegedly a young and unnamed player who Axl particularly liked [Addicted to Noise, March 19, 1997].


Matt would say that it was he who found Robin playing at Cirque Du Soleil and that he recommended Robin to Axl as a replacement for Gilby:

I told Axl to see him and he said, 'That's our guitar player,' I said, 'Bring in Robin to play alongside Slash,' but Axl said, 'I want him to play lead.'

Robin would explain how it happened:

I didn't know Axl. I was no longer playing with NIN at the time and I had jumped on a tour with a touring show from Cirque du Soleil, which at the time was not everywhere in Las Vegas like it is now. It was a North American tour under a blue and yellow big top (tent). What I'm telling you now is after this all happened. Axl had come to simply see the circus (laughs) and he and I had never met and he didn't know I was there. One of the guys Axl was with in the grandstands pointed and said (in hushed excited voice), "Axl, you see that guitar player down there? That's Robin from Nine Inch Nails." [...] Axl was telling me this after the fact. And he just kind of scratched his head and was sitting there thinking, "What is he doing here?" Hah hah hah. At that time Axl was no longer playing with Slash but the rest of the original guys were still together. I was in my Oakwood apartment with the rest of the circus.

About 18 months into [playing at Cirque Du Soleil], I got a call from Axl Rose, who I never met at the time. He invited me to the studio as he was writing and recording songs. It was an invitation for a casual listen.

This was before cellphones and I had the curly-cabled telephone hanging on the wall in the kitchen. It rang and someone said they were a representative of Axl Rose who wished to speak to me - "Would I be at the number in 15 minutes?" [...] It came out of the clear blue. I kinda jumped to all kinds of conclusions. I skipped holding hands and first kiss and went straight to making babies. I said to the guy, "Ahh, can I take your name and number and I'll call you back in 15 minutes." I kinda clammed up.

We ended up talking that day and he invited me to play with he and the rest of the Guns N' Roses guys at the studio space they were kind of housed in. It was a welcomed opportunity just to play that one day. I was doing this circus thing for a year or more by then and that was a blast and I really enjoyed my time there. But I would have been over the moon if even an usher from the circus show told me, "Hey, I got a drumkit in my garage. You wanna go play some AC/DC?" I would have jumped at the opportunity. So the fact it was Axl and Guns N' Roses, I wasn't mad at that.


According to Robin, it took some time before he fully joined the band:

Eventually, after about 8 weeks, we started playing together.  We played some of my songs and finally I left the circus and was doing records with Axl, Josh, and Tommy, and what would have been a new Guns ‘n Roses, if you will.

[Axl] asked me to casually listen to some tapes and songs that he had been writing and recording. […] Gradually, after six or eight weeks of listening, playing and writing his songs and my songs, I left the circus and started doing a record with Axl.

Talking about coming down to the studio for the first time:

I went and we played Guns songs and some cover songs [...]

Chris Vrenna, who was working with the band in April, would discuss that Robin was in the band when he joined [see earlier chapter].


This was only on Mondays because Mondays were the dark days for the circus. The circus was only in town for I think four months or maybe it was three months. So eventually the circus was gonna pack up and go north and Axl said, "Don't go. Stay here. I wanna do a record. I wanna do a tour with Guns N' Roses." A few other details and that's eventually what we all intended to do.

The circus stayed in Santa Monica in Los Angeles from April 16 to May 20, and then travelled north to Oakland, CA. MTV News on May 22 would state that Robin was replacing Slash [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. This fits well with the timing of the circus leaving Los Angeles. Just a few days later, MTV News would report that GN'R spokespeople refused to confirm the hiring of Robin [MTV News, May 28, 1997]. If the hiring of Robin took place just before the circus would leave LA, and Robin played with the band for 6-8 weeks before accepting to become a band member, Axl must have visited the circus and seen Robin just when it started in Santa Monico on April 16, or possibly in Costa Mesa where it was from January to March 1997.

Robin Finck

Duff would talk about playing with Robin before Duff quit the band:

I played with Robin a few times and he’s a great guy.

And Robin would later talk about how he was conscious about was not trying to be Slash:

One thing that was kind of present to me but I had to make a conscious choice not to allow it to direct me was not the fact I was playing with Axl but the fact I was playing with Axl and I wasn't Slash. That woulda been the death of any real play and any sense of fun or freedom. [...] I wouldn't say I tried to ignore it. I just kinda let it be and I got to understand real well firsthand that the two of those guys presenting those songs to the world probably wasn't gonna happen (laughs). But sometimes it was difficult to be in that place - literally standing in that space - in front of a lot of other people who maybe didn't know how sincerely those two (felt about) probably not gonna playing these songs.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:10 pm


Robin tried playing the guitar when he was really young but really got into it around 1984/1985 when he was in high school:

I started [playing guitar] when I was a very small person and really my fingers were too short for the nylon-stringed drugstore special that my dad was neglecting in the corner. I kinda started early and it didn't take. I let it go for what I thought I feared was gonna be the rest of my life. [...] When I started high school, a bunch of other schools merged into one big school. There was a guy there with hair down past his collar that I met for the first time. He told me he had an electric guitar at his house.  [...] We walked to his home after school and he played the beginnings of some Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath songs. I thought, "Ah man, maybe it's not too late for me." Around that time in my life it was about 1984, 1985ish and MTV was really just devastating the homes of us in the 'burbs where I was growing up in New Jersey. I was gravitating towards a lot of heavy metal at the time and the current heavy metal then. It wasn't until I already kind of got into playing the guitar that I started to listen to other records like Santana or the Cure.

Some of his early bands were Sik Dik, Bat Your Lashes, Prowess and Impotent Seak Snakes [Allstarmag, August 4, 1999; Ultimate Guitar, January 17, 2014].

The Impotent Sea Snakes was happening before and after me. I had a stint and the first time I saw them I was terrified of what I was seeing and eventually warmed up to them. I ended up doing a couple of short runs from Atlanta and back for the better part of a year or so. That was manic. It was a shock appeal.

Talking about early guitar inspiration:

I just kinda started to really listen to the sounds of other kinds of guitar-centric records. I was really into effects and textural guitar players - U2 records and the Cure. Even pointed and not so trans-dimensional but Bauhaus records and Bad Seeds albums and something that was really kind of loud and frantic. Lots of right-hand funny business. Yeah, honestly, I don't really have a go-to person or album that kinda did it for me really.

Before making it with Nine Inch Nails, Robin lived in a storage room at the Masquerade venue:

I was living in Atlanta and I was literally living at that venue I referred to earlier called the Masquerade. I was living in the storage room full of stacks of drums, amps and other people's guitars. It wasn't pretty when I think about it but back then it suited me, hah hah ha. I'll say that.

I showered et cetera in the dressing room when the club was open and I was there for almost a year. I'd seen so many bands play there being there every night of the week. I saw Nirvana play there and anybody who was touring that circuit in 1992. I was starting to hang out with some kind of weird people and I was scared that the next year was gonna be the same as the previous year and I knew that probably wasn't a very good trajectory for me. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do.

Robin was just about to go back to school when NIN contacted him:

I applied to the Berklee College of Music in desperation. I wasn't really jive about school in general at that time in my life but I knew I needed to do something different so I applied to the school. I thought, "Well, I'm just gonna give it all up and I'm gonna sit in a little room somewhere and just play the guitar for the rest of my life and see what happens." That was the all of my consideration at that time in my life. Of course I see things differently now.

The week I had received my acceptance letter and thought, "Oh man, there's real change coming,” I was wildly uncomfortable about it. The owner of the Masquerade (Dean Riopelle) who was also the singer in the Impotent Sea Snakes called me up to his office and told me he had just received a call from a rep from Nine Inch Nails. He made a telephone call to someone in four or five different cities - New York, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta and maybe somewhere else - saying there were looking for a guitar player. They weren't interested in a cattle call of all weekend seeing 1, 000 people. But if you knew anybody who might be of earnest interest, please let us know.

He told me I should go. They were in California and at the time I had never been to California and I threw my hands up saying, "F--k, I just got accepted to this school. I had it all planned." Again understand they weren't saying they want me in the band. He just said, "I just think you should go meet the band." I really resisted it at first. This was '92 and before "The Downward Spiral" and my kneejerk reaction was, "Nine Inch Nails? Isn't that a lot of black hair and synthesizers? I'm really not sure where I'd fit in."

Robin joined NIN in February 1994 for The Downward Spiral tour:

[i] in ‘93, right after the completion of the recording of The Downward Spiral. I met Danny [Lohner] and the rest of them and we did the Self Destruct tour for what seemed like thousand years.

I was 22. We played clubs and then real fast went to theaters. The record ("The Downward Spiral") was really getting so much traction and the "Closer" video came out. At the time we played Woodstock and then the band just exploded and we were in arenas once and we came back through arenas again and that tour seemed to last forever.

When I started playing with Nine Inch Nails certainly Trent had shaped the way I approached the guitar maybe more than anyone. Just working so closely with him with the songs and through so many tours. It's a very visceral approach and it's sometimes understated.

Yeah, at the very end of '93 and we really started to take off in '94.

But he quit the band two months after NIN's tour with David Bowie ended in October 1995.

It was difficult for me [at the end of the last NIN tour]. The Manson crew and the Jim Rose Circus were with us for most of a year and it got pretty stupid.

Nine Inch Nails, Robin second to the left

After quitting NIN Robin spent a year in New Orleans:

Then coming off the road and landing in New Orleans - that's a tough place to try and re-collect yourself, because it's a city built on night-life and alcohol.

Before joining Cirque du Soleil as the guitarist in the orchestra and its musical director [Kerrang! December 11, 1999], and did that gig up until joining GNR.

It was exactly what I needed – a 180-degree, polar-opposite change.

I had to do something that was the complete polar opposite to Nine Inch Nails. So I joined the circus! Then Axl Rose called me up.

That was kind of a trip [laughs]. I jumped two feet over the fence and I don’t know where I landed - I landed in some crazy place. It was wonderful and it was very romantic and charming and I met some lifelong friends through that experience, and I married one of ‘em. And it was quite an inspiration too, just to step away from the rock world, specifically the touring life of a rock band at that time for me in my life. Really, the music: that was all second to the lifestyle that I was seeking. I was looking for something to turn my world around, first and foremost, and playing music was really secondary.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:10 pm

APRIL 1997

In April 1997, reports would surface saying that Matt had left the band and was replaced by Chris Vrenna (aka Podboy) [Rolling Stone, April 4, 1997; MTV, April 18, 1997]. Vrenna was a friend of Robin and had played in Nine Inch Nails previously.

Talking about how he got into the band:

Billy (Corgan) had put me up in a hotel in New York. And I had a message on my phone and it just said, "Hello this is Axl Rose I'm looking for Chris Vrenna." And I just kept hitting repeat on the voicemail over and over and I thought, "My God, it really is him."

And he called because at that time Robin Finck, the guitar player from Nine Inch Nails had quite Nine Inch Nails and was playing in Cirque du Soleil. Slash is already out of the band, but Duff (McKagan, classic-era GNR bassist) was still there though. But (GNR) all came down to see Cirque du Soleil and I don't know how they recognized Robin. And they waited after the show and tracked him down and he went and joined Guns N Roses. So, Robin was the new Slash. And the next person to leave (GNR) was Matt Sorum, the drummer, so that's when I got the call.

Axl, I love that guy. His musical tastes were far more advanced than his fanbase's. He loved Nine Inch Nails. He's wearing the white SIN shirt in one of their videos that was one of our tour shirts. And he loved the Passengers (album "Original Soundtracks 1") that U2 did (with Brian Eno). I got asked to go down and ended up sitting in and the next thing you know six or eight months later, I was still there.

Matt Sorum had left the band, and I was one of the first people down there. Robin Finck, who was in Nails, was already down there as a guitar player, kind of in the Slash role. It was very new at the time. They were just putting stuff together, and I went down there for a little while, just for a few nights. It never materialized into anything […]

I was with the Pumpkins for six months. Then during that time I checked my machine one day and Axl Rose called and that's when that whole Guns N' Roses thing happened. [...] When Axl was rebuilding the band every week I was the first guy that was going to be the new drummer after Matt Sorum left. So I was going to be the programmer, drummer and Moby was going to produce. It was like the first incarnation of new people. Duff was even still there and Buckethead wasn't.

The lineup at the time was Axl, Duff, Chris Vrenna, Paul Huge and Dizzy [, October 23, 2018].

Fairly brief...two years ago, April of '96 [Vrenna must mean 97], right after Matt Sorum left the band, they had already gotten Robin Finck. They wanted the option of experimenting with electronics. The dude [=Axl] is super well-listened, he was always a big Nails fan. I got a call from those guys about going down and jamming. We messed around. Duff was still in it. It was a bunch of. the band was reshaping itself. It was jams. It was still rock. It wasn't cheesy electronic. They would still do stuff over loop. My role was supposed to be drumming and programming.

They were trying to get ideas together, see who was compatible with who as far as a band vibe.

Talking about working with Axl:

He was really mellow. Real soft-spoken. One of the politest people. I go from Trent Reznor to Billy Corgan to Axl Rose and he was the politest person.

[…] but it was fun. I really liked Axl. I thought he was a really great guy.

Everyone was really nice but I just didn't really want to do that. I just got out of ten year group and if I was going to do it I would have had to sign a long term commitment. I said if you've already spent eight years trying to make a record and you're only still doing this, then it could be another eight years. It was not long after that when I started jotting down stuff about tweaker.

He was, quiet, soft-spoken, very amicable and friendly, and always very ‘up'. 'Hey, did you see the movie that opened last night?’ or 'did you see the news today?’ Or 'check out these records today,’ that sort of thing. He loved to debate or discuss something.

Just really a soft-spoken guy, very knowledgeable about music and art and film and just would like to sit around and talk about film and art, the way I talk about TV. Same kind of talk. But very soft spoken. He's actually not that crazy. I think maybe he outgrew it too, like we're all young and nuts at one time and then you eventually get older. Now Guns N' Roses goes on on-time, every time. People change.

At the time of Vrenna's involvement, it was not disclosed to the public that had come in to replace Matt, and Vrenna soon left the band to focus on his own project, Tweaker:

They sent me a contract to continue to work with the band, but my own project Tweaker was going. My production stuff had taken off. I was in NIN for ten years and I wanted to do my own shit.

It was going to be a long commitment. There was no firm lineup. Axl had a definite direction he ultimately wanted to head toward, but at the time there wasn't even a song yet.

It is not clear how long Vrenna's involvement with Guns N' Roses was. Vrenna came in after Matt left, which was reported in April and thus possibly happened some time earlier, maybe in March, and it was reported that Vrenna worked with the band in April, so he might have joined in March, too, depending on how long it took Axl to get him in after Matt left [Rolling Stone, April 4, 1997; MTV, April 18, 1997]. Vrenna was there when Abbruzzese came in, also in April [see later chapter] and Vrenna and Abbruzzese did at least some sessions together [see later chapter], indicating that Vrenna was out of the band at some point in April. But Vrenna would also talk about still being involved with the band when Duff quit, which according to Duff [see later chapter] happened in August. Maybe Vrenna still talked to Axl after having left the band and was thus around when Duff quit, or maybe he was also working with the band until August, or maybe Duff is wrong and he actually quit the band earlier than August when Vrenna was still involved?

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:10 pm


Chris Vrenna would describe Paul and Axl's relationship:

Paul and Axl go back to Indiana. He's kind of like the guy that's always there every night. They record all their jams and study them. I remember Paul spent like a month going through thousands of hours, just compiling. He was the guy who was making sure everything got done.

Matt would later discuss what had been done by the time he left the band in April 1997:

[…] I was hanging around rehearsal rooms for years working on material. We had over four hundred hours of jams, riffs, and songs recorded on ADAT.

In May, Matt talked about the progress while attending Music West conference in Vancouver, Canada, and claim they had recorded "4,800 hours of music" and that they had "15 really strong songs" which will be ready "hopefully by next year" [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. Matt would also state that the music was leaning towards a Soundgarden style of rock although there were tracks where the Nine Inch Nails influence was evident [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. Matt told the small crowd that Axl's new favorite saying has been "loop it, loop it!" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Duff was attending the same conference and would say that "things had come together in the studio for Guns n' Roses just over the last month and a half" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Chris Vrenna would discuss the music writing process:

[The recording facility] was in Santa Monica, a rehearsal room. A big famous rehearsal room but he had brought in a portable recording stuff, because it was all jamming, trying to come up with parts. There were no songs written or anything, so every single thing that was played in the room got recorded just in case somebody came up with something good. It was nuts. Axl was like a night owl so you'd go down there at like seven o'clock and you were there until sunrise, five nights a week.

And also Axl's intentions for evolving the sound of the band:

[Axl] thought that was where he could see the sound of Guns N Roses going, modernizing it: "We're not a bunch of '80s, strung-out-on-heroin dudes on Sunset Boulevard anymore." And I applauded Axl and that's why I stuck with it for as long as I did, and I got Axl's vision.

The unstable lineup caused problems, as implied by Vrenna:

They wanted to guarantee that people would do the album and commit to the tour. With the shake-up that [the] band [had], I think Axl was just looking for a little stability.

And Vrenna would discuss how he thought the record would turn out:

I think it's gonna be much more of an old-school rock record than people are expecting. I have a feeling it's gonna be more like Appetite. Pretty rock.

And discuss Dizzy's setup:

Dizzy's got a monstrously cool keyboard set up. Macintoshes and pro-tools and sequencing. Drum beats and loops. They'd sample Matt's drums.

Robin, who joined started playing with the band around April 1997, would soon start bringing in his own music ideas:

[...] eventually I was bringing my ADAT tapes I was working on in my apartment. [...] We started playing some of those songs. [...] There were so many. Some of them were picked for parts and some of them were recorded to the finish line and still exist somewhere. I don't know where.

Also in April, the new lineup would play through Appetite together:

The best time I ever had though was when Axl came down and he was just in the mood to play and he was like, "Alright we're going to run "Appetite (for Destruction," GNR's 1987 debut album), top to bottom. Ready. Go." And I was like, "Holy crap." And we played the whole album, top to bottom. One time I got to do that. And I got home in the morning and I couldn't sleep I was so excited I got to do it. He sang half of the words, half voice - he didn't want to blow himself out. He sat and played the grand piano for some of the songs. Axl's talented, man.

In an article published in October 1997, Moby who was now involved as a possible producer, would comment on the mood in the band and recording studio:

Whenever I hang out in Guns N' Roses' studio - it's in some big warehouse in Los Angeles - the atmosphere there is just so nice. Everyone involved really likes one another. There's no rancor and they're all totally clean-living young adults. As far as I can tell, they're all completely straight now. You're not even allowed to smoke in the studio!

The music they're working on has a very dramatic quality to it. They're using some modern technology. Axl's really excited about sampling. He loves the DJ Shadow record and Nine Inch Nails. The stuff I've heard is much more concise than, say, 'November Rain.' Not bombastic. Very stripped down. Very intense. It's not hard-rock music in the way that 'Welcome to the Jungle' was.

Around the same time a "source close to the band" would describe the music:

I wouldn't feel comfortable describing the music at all. There's going to be a techno influence, but it will still be recognizable as GN'R. It's not Axl's intention to make some wholly new cloth.

There's a huge closet filled with DAT tapes, but there isn't one final song for the record. Everybody brings their sketches, but the person who is most concerned with refining things is Axl. But he wants other people to bring a lot to the table too - he loves the fact that Dizzy is down there every night working with him. Axl gets agitated when people don't show up and contribute.

Later, in an article published in 2000, Moby would again describe the music and project around this time:

I found it difficult to chart a linear development of the songs that they were working on. They would work on something, it would be a sketch for a while, and then they'd put it aside and go back to it a year, six months later.

[Axl] became a little bit defensive when I asked him about the vocals. He just said that he was going to get to them eventually. I wouldn't be surprised if the record never came out, they've been working on it for such a long time.

The lineup at this time would be comprised of Axl, Robin, Paul, Duff and Dizzy, with Mike Clink being involved [Icon Magazine, October 1997].

In October 1997, spokesperson at Geffen Publicity would indicate that the record wouldn't be out until 1998, at the earliest:

They haven’t even begun recording any new songs and the soonest it will happen is the fall of next year.

At the moment Axl is far too busy learning to play guitar and doing lots of reading.


In april 1997, Shaquille O'Neal would take "a break from his own recording session in the same building and rapped over some Guns music":

I saw Guns N' Roses listed on the bulletin board in the lobby of the studio so I stuck my head in to check it out. They asked me to join them, so I started freestylin' over their track. It was the first time I ever performed with a rock group, and it felt good.

Dizzy would later explain what happened:

I don't know if anything's happened since... but I jammed with Shaq. At one point I was down at this rehearsal... this rehearsal place in Santa Monica writing songs with Paul [Tobias]. And my friend Syd was playing drums- just drumming for us. We were basically just writing and recording stuff- writing and recording constantly, just basically waiting for everyone else to basically show up. And there are these satellite recording studios around that soundstage and they do a lot of commercials and back when Shaq was still with the Orlando Magic- he was doing a Taco Bell commercial next door so he heard that we were next door so he wanted to come say hi... but there like the only one there is Dizzy so he says 'well, I'll say hi to Dizzy' so the door opens and this gigantic man comes in and I'm like 'who the hell's that?' and he's like 'hey dizzy!' and he's getting closer and closer and bigger and bigger- I realize its fuckin' Shaquille O'Neal. Holy shit. So.. we talked for a little bit and then he asked me to play my keyboard and I said 'sure' and he sat down and disintegrated my stool... smashed it into little pieces [everyone laughs]... granted shaking Shaq's hand is like shaking a frying pan.  ... well.. I mean its so big. Anyway, so he breaks my stool into little pieces and he looks at me and goes 'man, I broke Guns N' Roses' stool.' And I say 'yea, we'll send you a bill for that later' and he doesn't say anything and so I'm like "just kidding..." And so we got him another stool and he sits down and starts playing this... polysynth [?] sound... this riff on my keyboards... and it was really cool. And so... I look over at the drummer and motion for him to.. you know... get a hiphop beat going... and Syd goes into this groove... and Shaq started vibin' on it and Paul started playing guitar... and Shaq looks over at me... and like this magic thing happened- he says 'take over' and so I watch what he's playing and I sat down and started playing it. And he got this groove- this vibe going and he and his buddies grabbed the mic and started doing this rap. And our engineer Tommy was rolling tape the entire time... so... and I mean it was really cool... I mean the time he was just joking around and they started dancing and they danced their way out of the studio and we kept playing the beat 'cause it was cool and they came back in, sort of like an encore, and did some more stuff. like Shaq started doing the worm- I mean if you've ever seen a 7 foot... 300 pound guy do the worm... its the most amazing thing. And they bailed. It was the most amazing thing. And I mean I don't know if anything's happened since then but that's probably where that story comes from.

In 2008, Axl would comment on this event and suggest the media attention it got was mean-spirited:

Imo that was just cheap shots from media jerkoffs knowing that Shaq wasn't the most popular or respected rapper publicly. I've never met the man. He goofed around with Paul and Diz and it went from there.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:11 pm

APRIL (?) 1997-1998

In late May 1997, Dave Abbruzzese (formerly of Pearl Jam) was said to be rehearsing with the band while the band management refused to confirm Matt was out of the picture [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Abbruzzese would later be asked if Axl had partaked in any rehearsals:

Axl was there every day.
Facebook, September 6, 2023

Before Vrenna (nicknamed Pod Boy) left the project (probably in late April 1997), he and Abbruzzese rehearsed together as a drummer-duo, suggesting Axl had considered having two drummers in the band at the same time:

The rehearsals with [Dave] Abruzzesse and Pod as a duo were really cool; it was a shame then that it didn't work out but seemed for the best once we found Josh.

If Chris Vrenna was out of the project by late April 1997, it would suggest that Abbruzzese started being connected to the band at least that early.

It seems that Abbruzzese played with them until early 1998 [Michael Bland, personal communication, April 27, 2021], before he was eventually replaced by Josh Freese.


Interestingly, Chris Vrenna, who played drums before Abbruzzese would claim the Joey Castillo played with the band for "quite a while" before he joined Queens of the Stone Age:

Dave Abbruzzese was after me and then after Dave was Joey (Castillo). And then Joey was the drummer for quite a while and then Joey ended up playing for Queens of the Stone Age after that.

Castillo joined Queens of the Stone Age in late 2002 with Guns N' Roses settling on Josh Freese as the drummer in 1998, indicating that Vrenna is wrong regarding Castillo's tenure with the band. More likely Castillo only did a few sessions with the band, probably before Michael Bland auditioned in early 1998, before the band settled on Freese, so likely in late 1997, which would mean there would be some overlap between Abbruzzese's tenure and Castillo's involvement, indicating the fluidity of the lineup in this period before Freese.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:12 pm


Billy Howerdel was a computer engineer/guitar tech that worked with the band. Robin knew Howerdel and initiated the contact at some point in 1997, likely not long after having joined himself in April [Instragram, February 7, 2023].

You'd call me a 'ProTools engineer' or 'tools engineer'. I came in to start making sounds for Robin Finck, who I knew from Nine Inch Nails. He called me and said, "I've," you know, "just got this offer to come down and play some guitar or get some sounds with with Guns N' Roses. They want interesting sounds. Can you help me program?"

Howerdel was present when Josh did his auditions in late 1997 or early 1998 [see previous chapter], confirming that Howerdel came in early. Howerdel had left the project by May 2000 [Rolling Stone, May 11, 2000] and he would later state that he left in September 1999:

I became close with Axl. And, you know, I felt connected and passionate about the project and wanted to see it through but it was just it was taking too much time for me, because I had an a window of opportunity with Perfect Circle that was just catching and, you know, I kind of resigned in September of '99 and then we just took off in APC world.

Axl and Howerdel
Unknown date

I didn't plan on being there that long. You know there's goods and bads. I mean, Maynard [James Keenan] and I were going to do this [A Perfect Circle] a long, long, time ago, and when I started with them I said, 'I'm going to work three days a week,' and they said, 'four.' Well, they said, 'five,' I said, 'three,' they said, 'four,' we compromised. And then I just said, 'This is just going to be for a month or two,' and it wound up being two-and-a-half years. So you know, goods: I got to learn a lot of stuff. Bads: I could have stayed there forever, and I was there a little longer than I wanted to be. And I believed in it at the time, but there comes a time where you have to follow your dream, I guess.

I came in there initially to program some guitar sounds, and then wound up hitting it off with Axl, and then my job kind of migrated into the computer guy. I don't know what you would call me exactly. I kind of was there all night with Axl as he would work. The band came in during the day with a producer and would work most of the day, and then I would come in ten o'clock at night, say goodbye to those guys, Axl would show up later on, and then we'd do our thing all night and then do it the next day.

You know, stories are there for a reason, and there's always some truth to exaggerations and a lot of times there's none, you know, so you can look at it whatever way you want to. You know, I had a really good time working in that camp. You know, Axl was a really hard worker, had a big vision for something he cared passionately about and, you know, it was definitely an interesting two-and-a-half some-odd years of my life.

In 1997, Robin Finck gave me a call (on my landline, duh) He had just got an offer to go down to the GNR rehearsal studio to play some guitar. He wanted me to help him program sounds. After about two or three days, Axl and I hit it off and although I was fully planning on pursuing my own music at the time, Axl seem to believe in me enough to offer me a position to be involved in the making of the new GNR album. This position was loosely, defined, started with programming guitar sounds, but quickly moved into incorporating computer recording into their workflow. I was at the beginning of learning this craft which I started absorbing on the NIN and David Bowie tours and Axl was kind enough to hire me to work, but also learn and figure things out as we moved into this new era. It was an interesting and educational 2 1/2 years and I have to say, Axl was one of the most supportive People when it came to believing in what would become a Perfect Circle.
He was a generous, empathic and inspirational man.
Instagram, February 7, 2023

Discussing the work he did:

You can spend a lot of time tinkering - working on the Guns N’ Roses thing, there was, you know, a lot of tinkering going on. And it kind of was a way of, “Okay, I don’t want to go forever.” At that point, it felt like forever, you know, “This is long enough and it got to come in to something.”
Ashes dIVIDE TV, Jan. 31, 2008

And looking back at having worked how to make records from working with Axl on Chinese Democracy:

I was at the same time working for Guns N' Roses in the studio for a few years at that point and I was really learning how to make records. I mean, that record, Chinese Democracy, took a long time and there was a lot of money and a lot of resources gone into it, so I learned how to... just [being] around people that were really good at what they did, I learned how to make a record, so it really gave me the tools to be able to do it.

He would also tell an anecdote about his and Axl bonding over a shared appreciation of the 1998 movie What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams:

Like, I always title things, the working title, just was what just happened, you know. If I write a song now it'd be called Gold Hand or something, it's like that's nothing to do with anything emotionally, but just an anchor. That song was called Dreams and it was just because I just wrote it right when Robin Williams passed away and What Dreams May Come came up as an anchor to name the demo. And it made me kind of reach back out to Axl, it was something we kind of connected on that movie and the message and something. So it kind of was steeped in a lot of like emotions that we were talking about at the time.

The new band Howerdel would found was A Perfect Circle:

I saved up my money to start this band. I maxed out my credit cards, I quit my Guns N' Roses day job. If this band didn't work out, I was going to be flat broke.'

But fortunately, it did work out.
The Mercury News, June 4, 2004

Chris talking about Howerdel:

And Billy just... he's a fun guy and he was way into computer stuff before many people were. He was doing recordings with it, and he plays a bunch of instruments. And he was like myself, he goes, "You know, you work for Tool, how did you get out of this?" I'm like, "Well, you just quit being a tick [?] and you just start doing music." And, you know, because it's easy to just do that for a living but it's, you know, it takes a bit of balls to try to survive by just being a musician. And he was just too talented and that's what he eventually did.

Keenan and Doug Goldstein would later indicate that Axl had been angry about Keenan taking Howerdel away from Guns N' Roses:

Axl, bless his heart, can't make a move. He thinks I'm the devil. I helped Billy Howerdel, who used to work with Axl and was very close to him, finally make it on his own. An Axl considers me the devil because of it. That makes no sense to me. But I'm sure there's a bunch of things about me that don't make sense to someone else
Guitar World, November 2003

[Billy Howerdel] was our programmer, and Axl was really hurt when Billy left. I’m like, ‘Well he’s got to do his own thing, he’s working with Maynard.’ Axl wasn’t a big Maynard [James Keenan] fan, there was stuff between them.

Goldstein would also imply that Axl's dislike of Keenan came from his "spiritual advisor" Sharon Maynard [for more on Maynard and Axl's belief in the supernatural, see later chapters]:

Yeah, Sharon led him to believe that because Maynard lived so close to where Sharon lived – I don’t know.

Josh would later quit Guns N' Roses and join A Perfect Circle, too.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:14 pm


I pretty much stay to myself, and that's about it.


After the UYI touring and especially as that lineup disintegrated, Axl was keeping a very low profile and was rarely spotted. In April 1996 he was spotted backstage at a Red Hot Chili Peppers show:

He’d cut his hair short and grown a beard. I didn’t recognize him.

Other musicians would joke about his vanishing act:

Has he gone missing or something?

Is he on a milk carton?

I haven't seen Axl since '93, I don't think -- no. I don't think anybody has. Has anybody seen Axl since '93? I just fuckin' -- I miss the competition. (Laughs) I just wish: Fuckin' make a record.

As Gerri Miller of "Metal Edge" would say:

He's a recluse. I haven't even seen the guy. I live in L.A. I've lived here for four years. I've not run into him once. He doesn't go out.

Tommy Lee from Motley Crue would also have a theory:

I would imagine that he's maybe avoiding going through some of the painful things that we've actually been through. When you release a record, and it's just a different time and just a whole new wave of music and a lot of changes took place. Maybe Axl's got his storm windows up and they're all boarded up and he's waiting 'til it passes.

Bryn Bridenthal would comment on the speculations:

Well, he's been doing a lot of reading and learning a lot of new instrumentation, he's been learning how to play guitar.

In July 1999, Spin magazine would release a large feature about Axl Rose and his current life [Spin, July 1999]. Marc Spitz, addistant editor for Spin, and one of the researchers of the project, interviewed 40 people as part of the article but was not able to get an interview or comments from Axl [Indianapolis News, June 22, 1999]. "Through the grapewine, Spitz had received the information that Axl thought the article was a bit premature:

I think [Axl] thought it was premature, which is a little ridiculous. How can something that’s five years in coming be premature? I see his point, but the world wants to know about him.

And the editor of Spin at the time, Alan Light, would tell that Axl had called him up at night when he heard the plans of a Spin cover story [Spin, February 2017].

Spitz would say the following about Axl:

I think he’s a very smart person in terms of what’s going on now. He’s very aware of his place in rock ’n’ roll and very aware of how to preserve his relevance.


Moby would indicate that Axl had not being doing good mentally:

Being the most successful rock star on the planet for a few years really took a psychological toll, and I think he invested a lot in his marriage and his friendships with the people in the band-and those things fell apart.

[Axl] seemed emotionally reserved and a little bit suspicious. He seemed a little bit like a beaten dog.

He seemed like he had an idea of what be­ing at peace would be like, and he was working toward that.

Later, Izzy would indicate that Axl's isolation wasn't doing him any good:

But I mean... the weirdness of his life. To me, I live pretty normal. I can go anywhere. In 2001, I don't think people really give a shit. But for Axl, I knew for the longest time, because his face was all over the television, and stuff. I don't think he could really go anywhere or do anything.

And I think because of that he kind of got himself in a little hole up there in the hills. He kind of dug in deeper and deeper and now I think he's gone so fucking deep he's just... I mean, I could be completely wrong. But I know he doesn't drive [unheard of in LA] and he doesn't... he doesn't do anything. I've never, never seen him in town. Isolation can be a bad thing, but Axl's been at it for a long time now. you know, he always stays up at night....

Youth, who was involved with Guns N' Roses as a potential producer in 1997/1998 [see later chapter], would also indicate Axl was suffering from depression:

But Axl was deeply unhappy. I sensed he was clinically depressed because he only worked from 9pm to 9am. He was living a hermit lifestyle. In the end, he told me he wasn’t ready. He was trying to get to some spiritual level that would make him happy. By the sounds of it, he still hasn’t got there.


In March 1998, likely without Axl's blessing, a musical satire was under development loosely based on Axl, called "White Trash Wins Lotto" [E! News Online, March 6, 1998]. In October 1998 the musical would be performed in Hollywood [Los Angeles Daily News, October 9, 1998].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:16 pm


Media was quickly speculating on when the new record would be released, Bryn Bridenthal would comment:

All I can tell you is there will be an album when Axl says it's done.

The quote above indicates Axl had no intention of rushing the process.

There would also be suggestions that Axl wouldn't be able to pull it off and release a new Guns N' Roses record. Alan Niven would muse on the reasons:

I still say he has a remarkable voice, and he has an intense analytical focus that allows him to write with insight. I think him quite capable of creative excellence. His problem was always balance and self-editorial. If he can effect some balance, he could produce a good record. At the same time, I tend to think of Sly Stone, of how he self-destructed and compromised his creativity. Maybe Axl requires hate to drive his muse. David Bowie once told him that this drove his creativity, and the comment made a big impression on Axl. Maybe now he needs a new source of inspiration.

When asked when the band would be ready to release the album, an anonymous source close to the band would say in 1997:

That's the funniest thing I ever heard. They've been hoping to release this record every quarter for the last few years. So it could be a couple more years. Anything's possible when it comes to Axl.

Later, Tom Zutaut, who was involved with the project in 2001-2002, would in 2007 discuss why the next album (which had been named by then) took so long to get out:

It’s because of Appetite that it’s so hard for him to let go of Chinese Democracy. He made it clear that he was trying to put out a record that would change the world as much as Appetite, and be better than Appetite.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:16 pm


With Axl leaving the public life in 1993/1994, the media would speculate about his looks and life. In particular would Axl's old enemies take the opportunity to ridicule him, like Courtney Love who would spread the rumour that Axl was balding. Moby would be asked about this and say:

Axl's always worn a hat when I've been around him. I don't even know if he has long hair anymore. He has a beard that's clearly not been groomed. If you passed him on the street, you wouldn't stop and say, 'Oh, there goes one of the most successful rock stars on the planet.'

The way I'd characterize him right now? He's really striving. He wants to make a great record. He wants to be a healthy, happy person. And he's certainly making very positive steps towards achieve those goals.

If you were walking down the street and Axl passed you, you'd never notice. He looks like a regular, decent guy.

In August it would be speculated that the band hadn't played any live shows because Axl had put on considerable weight [City Pages, August 5, 1998].

In November 1999, Axl would do an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, and be described like this:

At 36 Rose looks a bit older and more solidly built than the lean rock god of his ''Sweet Child O' Mine'' days, the result perhaps not just of the passage of time but of his kickboxing regimen and a lifestyle that's said to be largely nocturnal but zealously healthy.

He's dressed tonight in Abercrombie & Fitch, with his reddish hair intact and cut to a Prince Valiant-ish mid-length.

Later, an anonymous friend of Axl would state:

Axl's really easy to hate, and he doesn't understand why. He lives in a fantasy world, a parallel universe. He's self-­centered, like a child, but not so naive. When he calls, all he wants to talk about is his record and how Interscope can't fix things for him.

And another "friend":

A family is what Axl wants more than anything in life. He wants to find within himself the ability to show affection. He's really, really incapable of showing gratitude and affection.

In 2001, media would spread rumors that Axl had gone through a hair transplant with bad results [, May 11, 2001].

When the press finally got to see him in early 2001 it would be reported he was a bit stockier than in his youth. Beta Lebeis would defend his looks:

He hasn’t got fat! He loves feijoada, he loves black beans with rice. But now he’s leading a healthy lifestyle. He has a personal trainer and has gained 20 pounds (nine kilos) in muscle. He works out four to five hours a day and goes running every other day. Axl is very healthy, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t do drugs.

Izzy would not:

I just saw a report on them in Q, in England. There was a photograph where Axl was not really to his advantage, he was large and puffed up. I hope that that sounds better than it looks.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

Media would occasionally discuss Axl's appearance, and occasionally former band mates would take the bait:

I have nothing to say against him except for all I know is he never had that much hair when I hung out with him. But that's alright. Some of us have it, some of us don't.

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:16 pm

MAY 1997

Despite Moby recently being confirmed as the producer select, an MTV News report from May 1997 would claim the band had settled on Mike Clink [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. This did not exclude Moby, and a source at Geffen refused to confirm that Moby would participate but state that "I expect he'll be working on a couple of tracks" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Later, in November 1998, Rolling Stone magazine would claim Clink had left the project after just a few months [Rolling Stone, November 14, 1998].

Clink would comment on what Axl was doing:

Later, Goldstein would talk about producers who had been involved, and not mention Clink [MTV News, April 28, 2000].


In late 1996, Axl was considering which producer to use [Daily Press, November 22, 1996]. At some point in 1997, Todd Sullivan who was a talent executive at Geffen, sent Axl a sampling of CDs produced by different people, encouraging Axl to choose one for Chinese Democracy, only to be informed later that Axl had run over the CDs with his car [The New York Times, March 6, 2005].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:17 pm

MAY 1997

At the same time as Mike Clink was said to be the producer of the next record, or at least parts of it, Matt would say that Rick Rubin was involved in the project [MTV News, May 22, 1997]. This rumour was quickly shot down, though, when a spokesperson for Rubin said it had been discussed a while ago but that "it didn't work out" [MTV News, May 22, 1997].

Later, Doug Goldstein would talk about producers who had been involved, and not mention Rubin [MTV News, April 28, 2000].

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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:17 pm

MAY 30, 1997

On June 2, 1997, the following story would be published by MTV News:

June 2 [8:35 EDT] -- West Arkeen, best known for co-writing a number of Guns n' Roses songs, died suddenly at his home in Los Angeles on Friday. Sources close to Guns n' Roses as well as posts on the Internet suggest that he possibly died of a drug overdose.

Arkeen co-wrote "It's So Easy," "Patience," "Bad Obsession," "The Garden" and "Yesterdays" for Guns n' Roses and also penned "Make Your Play" and "Pressure" for Brother Cane. He's not known to be involved in the G n' R material currently being composed and about to be recorded.

Arkeen had been working on his own project, The Outpatience, a band he formed two years ago with vocalist Mike Shotton, bassist James Hunting, guitarist Joey Hunting, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Gregg Buchwalter. The band just released their debut album, Anxious Disease, in Japan and were shopping the record to labels in the States. The album boast strong G n' R connections: Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan appear as guests (Rose sings backup on the title track), and former G n' R member Izzy Stradlin co-wrote one of the songs.

Stradlin and McKagan are among those mostly closely associated with Arkeen. The trio played in the The Drunkf**ks side project together; Arkeen co-wrote two of the tunes on McKagan's solo record and he played bass on Stradlin's Ju Ju Hounds CD.

The next day it would be reported that Arkeen's manager, Dan McConomy, confirmed it was an opiate overdose and that West had been using opiates as a pain killer after suffereing severe burns from a barbeque accident [AP/The Sacramento Bee, June 3, 1997; MTV News, June 3, 1997].

Duff would write a song inspired by Arkeen called 'Missing You' intended for his album 'Beautiful Disease', which was never released:

I lost so many best friends to heroin. This song's about [songwriter] Wes Arkeen in particular. Wes trained with me. He lasted a year. I got him out of the hospital with gangrene on both of his arms. Open abscesses. They were going to remove both arms! So he came from that to my dojo and turned into another person. I thought, "Aah, he's finally made it." But I told him again - I said, "Wes, if you ever go back to heroin, I can't go through the pain of you dying, so I swear to god, I'm gonna just detach myself from you 'cause you are gonna die." Sure enough, after a few years, he fell back in. When a friend of his died in his bathroom, I thought that would make him up. It didn't. So I stopped returning his calls. He would call so stoned. I'd hang up. Until someone else called me to tell me he was dead. He was my best friend! But there was only so much you could do, and my first reaction was, I WAS PISSED!

Lyrics to Missing You by Duff:

At home alone, my eternal atonement
I won't be missin' you
So sick and tired, of bein' fucked up and lied to
I hope your dreams come true

I've seen you long, and I've felt ya strong
But now I can't get through
And then you lied, you were gettin' high
I hope you're turnin' blue
And in the night, when I feel alright
I won't be missin' you
Then you lied, you were gettin' high
I hope you're turnin' blue

All my heroes gone
Facts darker than fiction as my nightmare
Carries on and on

But tonight
I won't be missin' you
I used to ask you how long you we're gonna carry on
When you lied I knew you were gone
I won't be missin' you

The lines were clearly drawn
Sad memories of you, slowly gone
The world will carry on without you
Without you you

All my heroes gone
Facts darker than fiction as my nightmare
Carries on and on

And in the night, I won't be missin' you
And now that you're gone, I'm gonna carry on
The lines were clearly drawn
I won't be missin' you

Around 1964, Arkeen’s parents divorced. The father got custody of West and older brother Abe, resettled in San Diego and opened a pool hall called the Silver Cue, while the family’s two sisters, one younger and one older than West, remained with the mother. Abe says their mother was a “non-factor” in the brothers’ life and this was the root of West’s later substance-abuse issues.

“We were abandoned at a very critical time,” Abe says today. “When you’re a child of abandonment you do one of two things: You either explode at the world or you implode. My brother was an imploder.”

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Post by Soulmonster Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:52 am


When I was a kid, I had a baseball coach who told me, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." I know that's a silly cliché, but it's true, and it's something that's always stuck with me. The wimps go by the wayside; only the tough are gonna persevere.

What did I do today?
Some people think I went and threw it away
But that was yesterday
I can't remember much of that anyway

I wonder who's to blame?
Or does it really matter much anyway
Or if we stayed the same?
If anyone of us would be here today... yeah
Lyrics from the song Who's To Blame? off Beautiful Disease

The thing ran its course


In August 1997 Duff quit the band [Popular 1, July 2000; Duff's biography]. It apparently wasn't etched in stone, though, because in February 1998, when asked about what the current lineup looked like, Bryn Bridenthal would not confirm that Duff was out, but say it was "difficult" to predict his status in the band [MTV News, February 11, 1998]. And around the same time Doug Goldstein would say the spot was open to Duff, and indicate he had decided to quit because he had recently become a father [Rolling Stone, February 20, 1998].

I was in the band until I quit. I was pretty miserable. I wasn't having fun.

There was a period when I got disenchanted with music. But I realized what I was disenchanted with was the lawyers, the big macro aspect of it. I'd never got into the music for the money, and I realized one day that, 'Why the hell would I want to start now?' That's when I decided to leave Guns.

I don’t want to do anything that goes against what I am now. I’m honest with myself and with the people surrounding me. Had I stayed with Axl, I would have acted against my personality. And nothing worse could ever happen to me. In this story, the real losers are Guns N’ Roses fans, unfortunately.

I left Guns N’ Roses because the band didn’t correspond to me anymore. What’s left of the band has nothing to do with what we had created.

About a year ago, Axl and I met and made tapes and met with Slash, but he's hired all new guys now. I'm probably just as confused about the situation as anyone. It all stems from big business stuff. I chose not to go that route. I'm not in it for the money. I backed way away from it because it's the real ugly side of music.

Then I went back to dealing with Axl, and I realized I just didn't need it anymore. It was just me and him. Slash had left, Izzy had left. It wasn't the same band, and I just thought: 'What's the point?"

I sat down with Axl and said this is no longer a band, it's an autocratic situation where you're calling all the shots and that's not a way to run a band. That is not how the band was formed, the band was a family. I am not interested in the Axl Rose Band under the guise of Guns N' Roses.

Although Duff didn't agree with Axl and his decisions to continue with Guns N' Roses, he would stress they were still friends:

Yes I am [still friends with Axl], but it doesn’t mean we agree on everything. We’ve been thinking too much about this band. We’ve been teenagers together, we became adults together. Nobody can ask me not to be friends anymore with my brother.

Later, Axl would emphasize that it had been Duff's decision to quit and that he hadn't forced anyone out:

That was [Matt's and Duff's] choice to leave. Everybody that's gone did it by choice.

Despite this, it seems like the press would indicate Duff had been fired, because in an interview from December 1999, Duff was eager to point out he left of his own free will:

Actually nobody could fire somebody in that band, because everyone was the equal partner. I quit. I left the band two weeks before my daughter Grace (she is two now) was born. It was not fun. That's the reason. The reason why I stayed in the band was to be a bridge between Axl and Slash. That's what I stick to. But I didn't want to stay there, cause that's not GN'R any more. There were only three guys left. What they want us to do? Me and Axl release the album as GN'R?

Cocaine dealer has all kinds of drug and start to hang out with them, cause they give me drugs for free.  That's it why we all five were falling apart. Each of us were surrounded by close friends and they all have their own point of view. So I had to deal with Axl and dozen of his guys, not only Axl. That's same situation from Axl to me. I want to be hard on myself. I'm very responsible. I was trying real hard. I have been sober since around '94 and I thought we could do better when I recall and analyze. Me and AXL were getting along well and we had very good conversation. Three of us could keep doing together. There was no doubt about it. There was no progress though. And it came to the end without facing and shaking hands saying "What the fuck were we doing?" […]

I didn't want to stay the band. It was not good as it used be. It won't go well. Only three guys, not five. And Axl wanted to do something else. He didn't know what he was doing.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

I'm planning to fix the story that I got fired. The reason I didn't say anything is that it is OK for me knowing for myself how it happened. I don't care what the rumor is, fired or I quit, cause I know what I have done.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

That's enough, so I quit. I went to dinner with Axl and his manager. He was a manager of GN'R and still Axl's. I said "Axl, We had much fun together, but it's your own band now. I'm not interested in you as a dictator. I didn't come here to talk about the money advanced for the next record. You can have it. See ya." That's it.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

And later Doug Goldstein would also stress that Duff wasn't fired:

In 1998, Duff had been working on the project for a few years and called myself and Axl to dinner. It was at this time that he informed us that he didn't want to pursue music anymore, he had just had a daughter, and wanted to concentrate on being a good father and go to college. Again, he was not terminated, he CHOSE to walk away.

Later Duff would shed more light on his decision to leave and Axl's becoming a dictator:

If you give too much to someone like Axl. Let's put it this way. If everyone around you is answering "yes" for years, if everything is reduced to "yes, yes, yes", then in your relation with other people, when someone says "no" you think that person is wrong. You're gonna tell him to fuck off! You're in this band from the start, and then suddenly everything turns autocratic, just because one person is surrounded by people saying yes to everything. It's not autocracy legally, but there is just one person thinking that's his band. Well then, keep your damned band! One can't stand it anymore. I love each and every member of Guns N' Roses, and that feeling is not going to fade away. I would do anything for them, no question. But people change. I have changed. I've got a larger goal in life now. So, what could I do? Be pissed and make a lot of money? To me, making music is not oriented to making money. If you're in it for the money, then you're in it for the wrong reason. You'll never make any good music, I tell you.

And that the band had become a "disaster":

I’ve got over the situation about having to leave my ownband. I had to leave that fuckin disaster. I had to leave while it was still cool.

I met my wife Susan and she got pregnant. And as I was about to have this kid, I started thinking , 'S**t, there's only me and Axl left (of the original members).

Why are we rehearsing at three in the morning? I don't want to do it anymore. I got a life.

I was kind of hoping the band would get back together. I was under a lot of pressure but I was looking like the level-headed guy.

Our manager was calling me every day for advice. What a scared little pr**k. I'm going, 'Dude, manage the f***ing band. You're the manager!' I started to look around and go, 'What a bunch of morons'.

And Axl's insistence that Paul was in the band, was also a major issue to Duff:

[Being asked how he quit]: Yeah, just talk, sit down and talk. I told them I had changed. I said if they needed help, they could just call me. I told Axl this was his band, he had ignored everyone and had hired his best friend for the band. I couldn't play with him. Paul Huge, that was the guy! He's a friend of Axl, he's a 'yes man'. […] Man, you can't be in Guns N' Roses just like that. That was a real band. […]  imagine you and I grow up together and you're my best friend. OK, I'm in Guns N' Roses and I tell the rest you're going to join the band. "OK, Slash, Axl, Matt, guys, this guy is in the band". "Duff, you got a minute?" "No, he's in the band" "Well, no. Everyone in the band has to vote it, Duff, so no way!" "Fuck you, this guy is in the band! I'm not doing anything unless this guy is in the band" "OK, you know what? We'll try and play with him, since you're that much interested in it. Hey Duff, the guy can't play" "I don't care" "Well that's not very reasonable." "I don't care" At that point, what would you do? I came to a point where I couldn't even look at him [Paul]. If I were in such a situation, if I were the friend joining the band, I'd say "Hey guys, you've done very good yourselves alone, I'm not going any further. Hey, Duff, thanks for the offer, but I'm breaking your band." But he didn't say it.

And also Axl's desire to modernize the sound of the band:

That's a long story, it's a fact that the band fell slowly apart at the end of the 90's. Attempts to glue the band together failed because it was impossible to make good agreements with Axl. There were also many differences in opinion. He wanted a so-called modern sound with an important role for electronica. I just want to play in a rock and roll band. So there you have it.

Duff would also said he had been put in an unattainable position by the, presumably, Doug Goldstein, in trying to get Slash back to the band, but that when it was clear that wouldn't happen, he quit too:

I was in a weird spot. At the end of the Use Your Illusion tour, I was completely wasted and collapsed physically. That's when I decided to go into rehab. From that moment on, I was the only one in the band that was sober. So I became the guy who would always get the calls from the record company, the manager and Axl: 'Try to get Slash back, try to get Slash back.' [He turns to Slash:] You didn't know that, did you? Everyone was calling me continuously to see if I could keep the fucking mess together! Eventually I told our manager: 'Look, I can only do so much. If you want to keep the whole thing on track, you would have to take responsibility and tell Axl the truth, or there won't be any band left for you to manage.' But he never did. So when it was apparent that Slash left definitely, I said 'Fuck it, I'm also out of here'.

Fernando Lebeis would later discuss Duff quitting and indicate that Axl and Duff were friends at the time but that they later lost contact:

[Duff] quit because he wanted a family. His daughter was born and he wanted time for his family. That's what I've heard, I don't know anything about the legal process. They were friends, but they haven't called each other in years.


Basically, I think the fame got to us. It got too big and no one knew how to contain each other and keep some sort of continuum going. It was a volatile situation, which made the band exciting, but big business and volatility don't mix. There was an electricity within the band, so that even at rehearsal, it was just blazing. And like with any electrical circuit, if you chop the wire, remove any source, it's not going to run at full power. Or if you add more lamps, it's just not gonna be the same. It's a shame because I think we should have at least made a record for all the fans all over the world who supported the Use Your Illusion tour so well. I am so proud of what we accomplished, not on a business level - which obviously was also huge - but just as five guys who met on the streets of Hollywood with one idea - to make uncompromised rock and roll and make it be heard. And we did that, man. We succeeded.

I regret that Guns N’ Roses never recorded one last album for its fans. This is probably my biggest disappointment. This band didn’t have a proper ending. If we’d had a crystal ball and we could see what was going to happen, we might have acted differently. I know I'm not the only one who is disappointed. The fans are, too. We never gave them that last album.

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Post by Soulmonster Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:53 am


From the following quote it can seem like Axl offered more money to Duff for joining the band again:

So much has gone on in my life over the last few years. Some of it was less then thrilling, but other parts have been really good. Having to battle against the ravages of my lifestyle was really difficult, but overcoming my dependencies was the best thing that ever happened to me. It opened my eyes-it turned my life around. It made me realize what was really important to me. I was offered a lot of money to stay in Guns N' Roses, and I was very honored by that. But I realized that I had never gotten into making music for the money in the first place, so why should I start doing money for things now?

Later it would be revealed that this money likely came from an offered show in Germany:

Susan, my girlfriend, was pregnant. We were going to have a baby, but this band was becoming a dictatorship, everything had to get done Axl’s way or it wouldn’t get done at all. It wasn’t like that when we started out. At one point, we were offered a huge sum of money to play a concert in Germany. I thought, “I never played for money and I’m not gonna start now!” I’ve got a house, I’m secure financially. Post-Neurotic was the worst moment of my career in Guns. I went out for dinner with Axl and I told him, “Enough is enough. This band is a dictatorship and I don’t see myself playing in those conditions. Find someone else.

Yeah, I was [offered money to return]. But it's nothin' but big business these days. That's where it all went, and I was wrapped up right in the middle of it. I had folks yelling in my ear, "Hey man, you can't walk away from this million and that million, blah, blah, blah." I had been doing it more for other people then myself. The manager, the label, the band, a bunch of other people. I finally woke up one day, I swear to god, it was just like, "Well, I never started doing this for the money in the first place. So'¦" Hey, when I moved down to Hollywood, I never thought money when it came to music. There was no way I was ever in music for money. Fame, yeah. Girls, yeah. To be up there on stage, shit yeah. But money? And it didn't really hit me until I had already got the house, the car, then two houses, then two cars, and I realized, whoa, I was doing it for the money. It wasn't fun anymore. So when they asked me back, I asked myself, "If I went back now, it would only be for the money, so why should I start doing it for the money now?" No way. It was ridiculous. It was an absolutely ridiculous thought and that's when I just went, "Screw this, screw the lawyers and the accountants and everything else that's supposed to be so damn important. I want out. I wanna do my music." So that's what I did.

Everybody was trying to persuade me to stay in the band for money.
Burrn! Magazine, December 1999; translated from Japanese

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Post by Soulmonster Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:53 pm


On August 27, 1997, Duff and his girlfriend Susan Holmes became parents to Grace [Online Chat, March 16, 1999; Guitar, September 1998; Los Angeles Time, November 27, 1998], and later they had their second daughter, Mae [Loaded Online, February 21, 2002].

In August 1999, Duff and Susan married [Popular 1, July 2000].

From Susan and Duff's wedding
August 1999

The same month it would also be reported that he was selling his house at Lake Arrowhead [Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1999].

Duff would later credit his family for his will to live:

Well, and that moment [=when he realized he wanted to "be here"] was when I met my wife. And when we had each child, like this is way bigger than selfish you. This is about them. My life is about them. Really. That's the first and foremost thing. And you know, I eat good.

Duff would also keep himself in good shape:

When I got my head back on straight, I was 29. I met a sensei, Benny The Jet, he's the middleweight world kickboxing champion. I also started mountain bike riding, and got one of the guys from The Stone Roses into it, and he broke his collarbone and they had to cancel all their gigs. Ooops. So I was getting into martial arts stuff, very hardcore training.

He took me down to nothing, like boot camp, and built me up a little each day. He would crush me, then say something... a mental pick-up while he was building me physically. It's brought me peace of mind. Like my analogy is this: I drive a lot and a lot of people are very aggressive on the freeway. I see it all the time, but it doesn't affect me. I feel sorry for them. Back then, I probably would have a gun or a baseball bat.

On the road, I bring a jump rope and gloves, and if we're staying in a high rise I'll run the stairs a billion times. I do light weights only as I don't want a big chest. I mostly do push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, hitting the bag and jumping rope. Yesterday I ran three miles, did two miles on a Stairmaster at full speed. I think this is the best shape I've ever been in - no red meat, low fat, high protein diet. It's a lifestyle.

So much has gone on in my life over the last few years. Some of it was less then thrilling, but other parts have been really good. Having to battle against the ravages of my lifestyle was really difficult, but overcoming my dependencies was the best thing that ever happened to me. It opened my eyes-it turned my life around. It made me realize what was really important to me.

Studying martial arts has helped immensely [to keep me sober]. I'm studying with the real guys, guys that have what it takes to get a real black belt. Now, you pay two grand and you can buy a damn black belt these days. It means next to nothing anymore, it's like buying doughnuts. Especially in Los Angeles - there's a dojo in every strip mall. But back in the day of the real full-contact karate, these guys I train with would just tape up their knuckles with black duct tape or black electrical tape, tape up their toes, and go. That was it. They'd really blood each other out, really hurt each other, but that was the development of American contact fighting. […] The physical part of it is only about 30-percent. My sensai trains a lot of kickboxing champions, and I'll get in the ring as just a sparring partner for somebody getting ready to fight. I'll get my ass kicked, but I'll get in the ring. That's how far you can go without any fear. And it has nothing to do with being a macho guy. It has more to do with being so at peace with yourself that you can do anything without fear. It gave me the self confidence to walk and talk without compromising. I got broken down to a point where I was below human, but through a lot of work, a lot of pain, and a lot of truth, I'm back. And I'm glad for every minute of it.

The thing is, I don't crave it. I'm a recovering drug addict. "Recovering" means I'll be that was until I the day I die. That was a different life. Physically, I broke down my muscles to the point where big poisonous boils were actually coming out of my skin! This is when I was kicking drugs and trying to get back into shape. The condition was so hardcore, that stuff was just oozing out from deep within me. But, it's all out of my system now. I don't even crave a drink or anything. It's totally cool.

I've taken up jogging in the last four months. Duff got me inspired to start running. He ran a marathon! This is a guy I used to see in the hallways of hotels and wouldn't recognise him, because he was so fucked up from alcohol - vodka, specifically. Here's a guy who almost died from having something blow up inside him - I forget what it was, but it was something important!

Looking back at having left Guns N' Roses and whether he has a love/hate relationship with the band:

Not towards the music we created. You know what’s great? I can come to France and play in bigger places thanks to my past in Guns N’ Roses. The public comes to see what I do now thanks to the interest they had in my previous band. And I do hope they’ll like Loaded cause it’s a cool band. It’s a plus. I don’t want to be tied to GN’R, but the fact is that it opens some doors if I want to go to Europe, South America or Japan and play big places. That’s the smart side of the story.

In 2010, Duff had to undergo surgery because of a hole in his sinuses due to his past excessive cocaine snorting [Blabbermouth, December 15, 2010].

Thank you all for the very nice well-wishes regarding my sinus surgery recovery. I do want to make it clear for those of you who may be wondering . . . The surgery was a result of scar tissue build-up from my cocaine use which ended sixteen years ago. I have not relapsed on cocaine.

In 2011, Susan was part of the cast for E!'s new reality show, Married To Rock, which meant that Duff begrudgingly became part of a reality series:

[Being asked if he has stopped hating reality show after being part of one:] No, I hate them more. I hate them more. If you notice in "Married" I love my wife. I do. I love my wife. It's no secret around my house since reality shows came, it's fucking garbage. Then my wife [says] "They want me to be in a reality show." "Good for you, honey. Go do that thing." "But they kind of want you in it, too." And I'm kinda like "No. Nuh-uh. Why do they want me?" "Well, it's called 'Married to Rock' and you're like the rock that I'm married to." So I'm married and when you're married when you're right, you're wrong and when you're wrong, you're wrong. So if you notice in that show I'm kind of like only in it. They wanted me to do all kinds of dumb-ass shit like go camping with all the other couples and then a tent falls down and there's drama. Like, fuck that! I'm not doing that. Sorry, but I love my wife and she's as cute as a little button and she has fun with it. But no, it hasn't changed. I hate reality…I don't watch any of it.

Talking about his life:

Personally, I'm settled and content right now. My home life is very stable, and that's the most important thing. My daughters are healthy, happy and well-adjusted. My wife and I have been together a long time. We've learned to keep all of the band drama and ups and downs that I go through separate from everything else. [laughs] Of course, it's only taken me 25 years to figure all of this out. But hey, I'm an adult now - I'd better learn how to deal with things. It'd be pretty pathetic if I didn't. [...] I will say this, though: martial arts really helps. Practicing martial arts completely puts me in a state of mind where I can look at what's going on clearly. Basically, I'm a pretty lucky guy to have survived so much crap. You have to get smart if you want to stick around. The alternative isn't good.

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Post by Soulmonster Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:41 pm


If it's something democratic between the five of us, that's something I would love to do. Not long ago we were offered several shows to begin the new Millennium in Australia. But there's no way it could be like the old days. Things have changed.

[Being asked if he would ever go back to Guns N' Roses]: It seems that people mellow with age...we will see.

In 2002 and 2003 when Velvet Revolver was starting to become a reality, the band members would get more questions about a proper reunion involving Axl:

Slash is having a baby. It's changed him so much already. I have two daughters, a beautiful wife, and a house. So any kind of reunion would have to be a real relaxed, family-type affair, like it was in the beginning. I talk to Izzy all the time, see him around. So does Slash. We're friends. It's not worth screwing that up. You know, Izzy had to leave last time to save his life. He got clean of heroin, and he had to get out... [...] We went through so much. I mean, not like war or anything, but a lot. There are things that I can only talk to them about. Things that not even my wife, who I sleep with every night, knows, because she wouldn't understand that stuff. It was pretty heavy stuff. The Loaded album deals with that. It's a little snapshot of a guy's life. A guy who's talking about life after seeing some pretty heavy stuff. I mean, in my 20s they were pretty fucking intense.

And about the rumour that a manager had already got the five of them in therapy somewhere:

Hey, I heard that! If it's happened, nobody told Slash. I asked Izzy, and nobody had told him. I think it's just some big manager saying: 'I can get them back together. I'll get them in therapy and go from there.' There have been a couple of offers tabled for the reunion tour. We're not talking about it right now. I'm not saying in two years time or three years time I won't be talking to you about the reunion tour, but not right now.

As Slash when Velvet Revolver became serious, Duff would close the door to a reunion [The Howard Stern Show, May 24, 2004].

[Being asked if he cold imagine ever playing with Axl again]: NO. No, it’s not gonna happen.

Later Duff would seem more open to it again:

I don't know if we are really out there enough to hear the [reunion] rumors. We're kind of insulated from a lot of stuff. It's only when we do interviews and people ask that it comes up. It's always the first time I hear about it. I think promoters are behind that a lot, starting rumors. It definitely doesn't come from us. It's not like the five guys in GN'R have sat down and talked about a reunion. Not even close. I dunno ... life is going to evolve. There is nothing we can do to stop what's going to happen. I've finally figured that out. Whatever is going to happen is gonna happen. Right now, Velvet Revolver is what feels amazing.

It would have to be kind of a cool groovy situation, a feel-good situation, for us to do it. You know, I think it could happen someday, somehow, because of the fact that we're all still alive. It's really not something I waste any time thinking about. As far as my music goes, I have a great band, I love what we do. I love the record we made.

It would be a lot of fun as long as it was on a fun level and say just 10 shows to huge crowds. But we're not really hanging around for a call or with our breath held.

[...] there is no backroom talks, there never has been.. but anything can happen, you see all these bands getting back together. I guess hell froze over for the Eagles and they did it. But it's not something I count on, or even need in my life

Like, OK, well, everybody is alive and perhaps one day. And if we did it, it would be a blast. It's not anything, by any means, that I sit around and wait for or hope for. If it happens, it happens, and if not, that's fine too.

People ask me that all the time. I certainly don’t sit here and go, ‘God, I wish that’s going to happen.’ I don’t even know what’s going to happen in four weeks from now in my life so I’m not going to be one of those guys who’s like, ‘Fuck that, that’ll never happen.’ It could very well happen. It would have to be right and it would have to be righteous for everybody and for the fans and it would have to be like a kick ass thing or it would just kind of be sour I think… I mean, I love Axl. We’ve been through a lot of shit together and shit nobody can take away from us no matter what people try to make of a squabble.

Then, in October 2010, Duff and Axl reconnected in London, England, and Duff joined Guns N' Roses on stage for a few songs [see later chapter for details]. After the show, questions about a reunion intensified:

I have nothing to say about it. It's not... I don't know. It's not anything that I worked or planned for. I work and plan for my kids next year in school, or my business, or indeed Loaded. But that kind of thing, it's not something I sit there and go, 'OK, one day this is gonna happen.' Last thing happened, and it was very serendipitous, and the blood was in the water, no doubt. After that show in London, I could have gotten a free dinner and free car service everywhere I went every night I was in London after that. And I had to kind of hide. I went and saw Ronnie Wood play Tuesday night, and I had to kind of watch out for the sharks running about, even at that gig — it was kind of a private gig, and there were the manager types and the agent types. All of a sudden I was a little more handsome than I'd been before I came to London because everybody was complimenting me. 'Hey, Duff, you look great.'

You know, I almost wish that getting on stage part didn't happen. I’ve discovered it when I started doing interviews three days ago and everybody asked that question. [...] It's almost I wish it was, like, on an off night that they weren't playing, because people were like, “Oh, you played! Does that mean a reunion?” No, it doesn't. It doesn’t mean any of that.

It's just part of life. I've learned to understand it. I had to. I could f---ing fight it but there's no use because there's so many people on the planet. I did this signing at a guitar show in England a few weeks ago. There were 1,000 people each day. And the first day, I got asked those questions 1,000 times. Every single f---ing person asked. So the second day, they put up a sign that said, "No, Guns N' Roses are not getting back together, and Velvet Revolver is not doing anything right now."

Of course there's a chance [of a reunion]. I don't know how real that chance is. It's not something I ever write about or talk at home about or with any of those principal people about, ever.

What is the most annoying question you get asked? The question I get asked the most, at rock gigs, is, 'When is your band getting back together?' When is Guns getting back together?' I understand [why people want to know], so I don't get annoyed, because it's out of love — they love that lineup, the original lineup of the band. So I get it, so I try to answer it the best I can. [And my answer is] probably never, ya know?! But I never say never... It would be fun, if we did it. It would have to be for the right reasons, of course.


[I have talked to him a] couple of times. [...] I don't know if [our relationship] is for him. I don't know. I think Axl is really pissed at me now. I think he's getting more and more pissed. First time I saw him, everything seemed to work out fine, but it looks like things have changed.

And yes, Axl was pissed at Duff and suggest it came down to Duff's support of Slash:

Duff's support for the man [=Slash] though understandable in one sense in regard to his circumstances, is inexcusable, and furthers my distance from the two of them. [...] And for the record I'm referring to Slash and Matt in regards to their actions and behavior, Duff played more of a supporting role (for reasons I've never understood). For the fans to attempt to condemn me to relationships even only professional with any of these men is a prison sentence and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'd say my parole is nearly over. I'm practically a free man and if you don't like it you'll have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

In late 2002 Duff would say that that previous comments between band members have been misconstrued and taken out of context, he would also be reluctant to say anything about Axl because of fear of hurting the brand (Guns N' Roses Inc.) to which he still was a partner:

Things have been misconstrued and taken out of context in the past. [...] [I am] concerned when damage is done to the name [=Guns N' Roses Inc.].

Duff would describe Axl as a bitter man:

I think he's a bitter man. I just hope he finds some kinda happiness in his life.
Dagbladet, February 17, 2004; translated from Norwegian

I’ll never talk shit about Axl. I hope one day the guy will be happy. We were five guys who came out of nowhere, in a shitty room, half the size of this one, no bathroom, no kitchen, wrote our own songs, started playing clubs, got a record deal and toured on Appetite for Destruction for a year before it broke. We became a household name, and we did it together.

Despite claiming he would never say shit about Axl in the quote above, the following quote appeared in a newspaper in October 2004 where he claimed that Axl would take credit for writing songs he hadn't taken part in writing:

Axl made it an Axl thing, but it really wasn't. He never wrote any of the music. That was part of the reason it broke up, because we'd play shows and he'd say, 'Here's a song I wrote about ...' and it would be a song he had nothing to do with.

After the publication of this story, Duff went public to retract the comment:

Oh yeah... Just one more thing to ponder for you guys. Please don't believe everything you read (see my 'interview' for the Voodoo Fest for example). A lot of times things are taken out of context or just plain misquoted. This not only happens to me, but to all of the guys in the band. Interviews are often done on the phone, or in a crowded place jotted down on a piece of paper, then... the article will be written a couple of days later. We all know what can happen to one's memory even in that short of a period. No one is perfect, and sometimes we come out of these things looking like stupid jerks... trust me, we are not. Interviews are a necessary evil that more often than not turn out to benefit the band and hopefully enlighten a new audience to our brand of high-octane 'fuck you' rock n' roll.
Peace.... Duff

To all concerned

I will now officially retract a statement made in an interview for the Voodoo-Fest in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. To paraphrase, I was quoted as saying that Axl wrote none of the music for Guns N' Roses (supposedly in the time that I was in the band). This was an ABSOLUTE misquote and I do believe that my past record in doing interviews period, would show me saying something like this as a serious deviation from my normal responses to 'Guns' questions.

Axl, and all 'Guns' fans, I wholeheartedly apologize and am quite embarrassed by this whole episode. I have always looked at the 'glass as half full' when it comes to the amazing things we accomplished, and the amazing songs we wrote as a group. 'My world' is still one of my favorite songs!!!

Much respect and love.... Duff

The interviewer of The Times-Picayune' article, Keith Spera, would also be contacted by Duff:

But a few days after the article appeared, McKagan’s attorney called. Rose had read it, and was not pleased. His legal team put the screws to McKagan, who was suddenly eager to “clarify” his comments and acknowledge Rose’s role in composing the music.
The Advocate, July 28, 2016

Despite Duff's retraction, not long after he made a similar comment to Mojo:

Axl believed he was Guns N' Roses, but there was a whole way that this thing worked that he just kind of forgot. And he was never the lead guy, music-wise, ever. We'd write the songs and give them to him-a lot of times with vocals on.

Around the same time, Duff would refer to Axl as an asshole for putting fans at risk when he came late to shows:

Anyway, the tragedy at Donington in '88][ was why it was such a big deal when Axl started missing shows. When that asshole wouldn't show up for hours we were scared for the safety of our fans. There would be riots.

Being asked if drugs were the reason the band fell apart:

No, it was Axl. [...] What I do regret is we let down a huge fan base that was there waiting for a next record, and Axl made us all... we all bailed at one point or another.  We couldn't deal with him.  There wasn't any sort of rationality... it's just too bad.  God, I don't want to come off bad mouthing him, because the guy has a lot of great attributes...

Being asked if he still has a relationship with Axl:

No. Not a good one anyhow. Not an existing one. [...] It's kind of sad. We went through so much together. I hold no animosity toward him or toward my past. Our past lead us where they lead us. But, nope, I haven't talked to him since about 1996.

In March 2006, Axl would counter-sue Duff and Slash after they have sued him in 2005 (see later chapter), and in an associated statement released to the press, Axl would scathingly attack Slash and Duff:

The [2005] lawsuit also attacks Axl's integrity as Slash and Duff, in a vindictive attempt to aggrandize their own stature, re-write history through false statements, which have been repeated by the media. Their attacks on Axl stand in sharp contrast to Rose's conduct. Axl has at all times worked diligently to maintain the artistic integrity of the band by choosing with great care which properties to license GUNS N' ROSES songs to and refusing to participate in what he believed were potentially embarrassing projects. He has fought to avoid the release of material that does not live up to the highest of standards demanded by the band's history and its followers. Axl chose not to respond through the media while taking the high road in the face of Slash and Duff's attacks. Hudson and McKagan, by contrast, have told ever changing — and false — stories regarding the formation of the band and its history and believe that the band's catalogue should be exploited without careful consideration — for the GUNS N' ROSES brand and their loyal audience — or Axl's input as if it were fast food by anyone willing to pay for it.

The statement would also claim that Slash had made a visit to Axl's home in October 2005, where he, allegedly, badmouthed his bandmates in Velvet Revolver, including calling Duff "spineless":

In October of 2005 Slash made an unannounced 5:30 AM visit to Axl Rose's house. Not appearing to be under the influence, Slash came to inform Axl that: 'Duff was spineless,' 'Scott [Weiland] was a fraud,' that he 'hates Matt Sorum' and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself 'the stronger.'

Duff's response:

I think, you know, a lot of it's really unfortunate, very difficult, I've always just wanted to make great music and that's what I plan on doing. As far as a rebuttal to what he said, or what Slash has said, I won't get involved in a war of words, you know. People say all kinds of stuff and I'm not going to be one of them.
Blabbermouth, March 10, 2006: originally from Launch

In 2008, Duff would state there had been no communication between him and Axl:

[...] there has been no communication. I've grown up. There are so many other things that made me realize, in my life, that made me realize, 'Oh, you're an adult now,' you know? Petty things just go by the wayside. I don't really have time for any of that stuff anymore. As an adult, I see what you guys see. Like, OK, well, everybody is alive and perhaps one day. And if we did it, it would be a blast. It's not anything, by any means, that I sit around and wait for or hope for. If it happens, it happens, and if not, that's fine too

And also describe Axl graciously:

He's just a musician, man, and he's a caring guy. You know, I've always known him to be a good guy and a caring guy [...]

And in 2009 he would talk about wanting to reconnect with Axl:

Look, I saw some really amazing stuff with Axl. We worked really well together. We were good friends. And I hope to perhaps have that friendship back one day, although it’s not something I wait around for. But I look forward to it.

[Being asked if he throught the five of them would ever be friends again]: Wouldn’t that be great? I think Guns were five dudes with this shared vision. We met and it was the exact five right guys. I’d been in enough bands before that to know there’s always a weak link in a band. The moment we got in a room and played the first three chords, we all knew it. We didn’t have illusions that we were going to be huge or anything. But people started coming to our gigs and then labels started coming to our gigs and we made the record we wanted to make. And all of a sudden it hit, and it seems like a whole generation of the world had an affinity for that record.

We went through some growing pains together. Everybody knew who we were. Man, you’d go to the grocery store and people would be like: “Woah! Dude!” How do you cope with that? All we had was each other to help us understand. We all survived. And that’s pretty amazing, that we’re all alive to talk about it.

So yeah, as part of a perfect world we could all go out to dinner without our wives or anything and say: “’Congratulations. We’re all alive, and people still freak out over what we did.’ Will that happen? I don’t know. It’s probably Utopian.

Then, in October 2010, Duff and Axl reconnected in London, England [see later chapter for details]. The reconnection with Axl would make Duff reconsider his own role in the fall-out:

Well, for me, the big thing is, what's my part in it? We can all look back at our pasts and go, 'Well, he did this to me and...?' [And you have to step back] and take a look in the mirror. What was my part in it? And that's what I've been working on for the last 10 or 15 years, but really in the last five years, and it's a work in the progress. You always paint yourself a little glossier in your own past in your life. I could have done things different — probably sometimes a lot better; sometimes I could have done things worse. But I look at my part and my accountability. I'm a grown-up; I take accountability for myself and my actions these days. I've got nothing to fear and I've got nothing to be ashamed of. What I've done is what I've done; what I'm gonna do is what I'm gonna do. I have fun while I do it now. Every day I wake and go, 'OK, let's go.' Joke time. I'm lucky to be here, and I don't forget that every day.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 02, 2023 2:10 pm; edited 18 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:12 pm



In 1999, Duff would be asked why Steven wasn't playing on his second solo album:

I'd use [Steven] in a second, but he's another one of those guys that you know the phone call is gonna come'¦ I mean, I hate to say that, because I love the guy, but I think he's back in jail now. Drugs'¦ I saw him about two years ago - Izzy, Wes and I went to his house. We tried to talk to him - "Hey man, you're gonna die," we said. It didn't work. He was a mess. If I let him drum in my band, he'd fool himself into thinking he was OK because I was using him. I'd be what's called an "enabler." And I wont do that.

And in 2000 Duff would talk more about Steven:

[Being asked if he keeps in touch with Steven]: Very little. Steven damaged himself a lot. The only thing you can do for the guy is cry for him. It's hard to talk to him sometimes. He's still the same guy, but there's a lot of things that have changed him forever.

And when asked if Steven is doing anything musically, Duff simply replied, "No" [Popular 1, July 2000].

In October 2000 Steven tried reuniting with Slash at a Snakepit gig, but was turned away:

Steven stopped by the Whiskey in Hollywood on Thursday night to catch Slash's Snakepit. Unfortunately, what could have been their first substantial reunion in years, turned sour.  It seemed as though Slash was just plain disinterested to see his old friend. After some chitchat, Stevie asked the guitarist what songs they were planning to do, absolutely willing to jam on anything if asked.  It was clear that no such request would be posed. During the conversation, Steven noticed that his girlfriend wasn't being allowed into the VIP area, and asked Slash if he could let her in.  Slash stated something to the effect of "no". Steven was genuinely hurt and offended that his old friend would show him such a lack of consideration.. He planted a firm middle finger in front of Slash and stormed off.  This was an incident between old friends, nothing more, and hopefully these two can just chill and hang out sometime! Ironically, Slash has spoken affectionately of Steven in recent interviews, and has said that the two keep in touch. Unfortunately, they do not - much to Steven's regret.

In 2001, Steven met Duff and Izzy:

I saw Izzy and Duff last year! It was great! They were at Rumbo, where we did "Appetite." That's where Izzy was doing his new record , and Duff was playing on a song.  I rode down with the dog, Shadow, and Carolina. We talked, we hugged, and I sat down behind the drums and the drummer says, "Dude, I really love you, you were my idol",  this and that, and I say "Hey" to McBob, Duff's bass tech who was there. I started playing the beat to "Rocket Queen" and me and Duff just started playing. It was fun. Quick and fun. Then me and Izzy went out to lunch - twice. I mean, maybe that's a start.

Also in 2001, Slash would talk about staying in contact with Steven, but that he was broken:

He's the Humpty Dumpty of the band. No insult to Steven, but they could never put him back together again.

In March 2003, Steven hung out with Slash at the Whiskey Sky Bar in the Green Valley Casino in Vegas and even got to play with him:

Last night at Camp Freddy’s appearance at the Whiskey Sky Bar in the Green Valley Casino in Vegas, Stevie showed up and was reunited with his old friend Saul Hudson, AKA Slash. It was the clubs' one year anniversary, and what a celebration it was! The two guys hung out for a couple of hours before Slash took the stage for two songs. The show was running late when they waved Steven onstage to make an appearance to an extremely gracious crowd. Slash was excited to hear about Steven’s new project and promised to check out one of their shows!

In 2005, Steven would say he was reconciling with Slash:

Slash and I are slowly getting a relationship together, but I mean... He called me on my birthday when I was in Spain or in Rome. We're starting to build a relationship together. Izzy and I recorded a song called "Do you love me". A sixties - seventies song (sings). It came out really cool. Axl I haven't talked too in ten or fifteen years.

On September 21, 2003, Adler's Appetite did a concert at the Key Club in Los Angeles with Izzy and Slash guesting on Mr. Brownstone, Knockin' on Heaven's Door and Paradise City:

[...] it was real nice. Well, the guys in my band, Jizzy, Kerri...are great, too. I love playing the songs with them. Having Slash and Izzy up there with us made playing those songs more real, y’know? They are my brothers, we accomplished a lot together. Playing with them again was great. I hope the fans liked it. I mean, meeting the people, everyone has been so nice. I’d like to say “thank you” for comin' out to all the shows, showin’ how much you guys really love the songs. Every show, I tried to tell everybody that I met, “thank you so much”. It’s been so great, I want to play for everybody forever, y’know? I love to play Rock N’ Roll music, I love playing for you!

One cool thing was that Slash and Izzy came to play with us at the Key Club [in Hollywood]. And Izzy now wants to come to South America with us. We’re due to play some shows there in a few months, and he says he’d like to come with us. I’d love Slash to come along too, if he’s not busy with Velvet Revolver. He called on my birthday, on January 22, which was nice.

Slash would later talk about the experience and how Steven's band was only a cover band playing shit versions of GN'R songs:

The only one who plays in a coverband is Steven Adler. He just brings old Guns N' Roses songs, under the name of Adler's Appetite - the poor guy... Not too long ago, Izzy and I played with him - just for the fun of it, which was very interesting. We went to the show and listened to the whole set. With guys from various L.A.-bands, and that was really funny. If only because of the involuntary realization that Guns N' Roses must have been damn good - cause the covers simply sounded like shit. Honestly. The songs were OK, but something about them was off. You know what I mean. Nevertheless we went on stage and played a few songs. That was nice.

In March 2004 the admin of Steven's official fansite would report that Steven had been recording with Izzy:

Steven flew back to LA last night where he was picked up at LAX by none other than Izzy Stradlin! Izzy invited his former bandmate to collaborate on some new music. The plan is to record two songs, possibly to be included on Izzy's next release. I hope to have more info for you asap!

Steven returned from LA with a CD-R featuring two songs of his collaboration with Izzy! One new original song, and a cover of the classic oldie, “Do you Love Me?”. Izzy’s friend JT flew in from Texas. He plays bass on the tracks and he also engineered the session. Izzy took the lead vocal duty and Steven contributed backing vocals. The songs were recorded at Izzy’s home on his digital 8 track. They did about five takes of each song, and Steven was surprised when JT complimented him by saying, “Dude, you are an amazing drummer!” Steven says the recording sounds "fucking great!" and would like to send the tracks to some radio stations, most likely those in Europe. Also, the three of them plan to return in April to record five more songs!

On December 24, 2004, the cover of "Do You Love Me" was released on Steven's website.

In the early 2000s Steven would make lots of disparaging comments towards Axl [for more detail see later chapters including Steven's comments on Axl continuing Guns N' Roses and Axl's relationship with past band members]. When Dizzy was asked if he felt sorry for Steven, Dizzy responded:

Can’t feel sorry for someone who has had so many chances to get his shit together. And he should really just not say anything.

Some time in 2005, Dizzy played with Steven:

Wow... what to say about this guy... I just recently played with Steven with the Starfuckers... actually it was both him and C.C. Deville of Poison. It was like this really hyped up concert because here's two big names playing with us... and let me tell you... at the concert... you could hear a pin drop. C.C. DeVille was terrible.. the guy can't play for the life of him... and Steven... he can't even hold a beat anymore let alone play drums. We'd look bad and the guy was literally smoking crack while on stage during the songs. It was possibly the worst concert of my life... I mean... there's only so many times that a guy can die from an overdose and come back alive…

In 2006, Steven would talk about Slash and complain about Slash never wanting him in his bands:

He’s my Indian blood brother, and you know what that means right? [...] And I’ll always love him, and I miss him, and I’m gonna kick his little fanny when I see him. All these bands he puts together, after he doesn’t say anything about them throwing me out, he never even gives me a chance to play even one song on the records. I mean not even, you know, call me and ask me to be a part of the band. But, not even, dude, not even calling me to play, to be the drummer in the band, hurt me bad enough, but not even to come in and play one song.[...]  But see, but see, but see he’s a, he’s an asshole. But see I don’t mean that in a bad way. Because even when we were kids, when we were eleven, twelve, thirteen years, he was an asshole then. But, that, but he’s the coolest guy. But, that’s how he has to be successful. If you want to be successful you can’t be a nice guy.

And talk about Izzy:

I talked to Izzy, he might even come to the show tonight. God, Jesus, it would be fabulous. But it was really when I played with them over at the Key Club off Sunset about a year or so ago. But I talked to Izzy a couple months back. [...] I played with Izzy and Slash, they came and played with my band yeah.

Slash was somehow involved in helping Steven out of drugs in 2007-2009 and it seems like their friendship was rekindled:

We started together, and I thought we were going to end our lives apart because of what happened, but our friendship is stronger than ever. If you read his book ("Slash"), you'll see where me and him come from. It's wonderful just talking to him and working with him again.

Apparently, Slash had promised Steven he could play on one song on his forthcoming solo record:

It’s just been so wonderful to have my best friend Slash back in my life, and me being a part of his life and he being a part of mine. He says he has one song, ‘cause he’s working on a solo record and he has the one song that he says is specifically for me. All I ask is that one opportunity to get in there because I wanna be his drummer! I mean that’s how we started out.

You know, we’re both more level headed and still alive and better players than we were, we’re in a better place then we ever were. I WANNA BE HIS MAIN DRUMMER!! My main goal, I got my best friend back, now I just wanna finish what we started. I mean it’s a shame I missed out on all the other records and all the people he’s played with. Because of my drug addiction I missed out on so many things, I’m grateful to be alive and to have the opportunity to be able to get back together with him.

The best part of my life so far is being friends with Slash again. He's such a superstar. And it's funny because I've known him since we were 11 years old. It's so cool to see where we started out and where we went. It's really cool because for 18 years we didn't talk. Oh, yeah, and he's working on his solo album and he said he had a song particularly for me to play drums on. That's all I asked — just give me one chance, one song to prove myself to him. [...] I'm very excited about doing it.

He also tried to keep in touch with Izzy and Duff:

Izzy is like the hardest person to find because he’s a jet setter, everywhere, anywhere. And Duff I’m going to be running into next week for the Vh1 Rock Camp.

In November 2009, Steven would play with Slash and Duff at the LAYN Benefit show:

When Steven came to rehearsal last Friday for that benefit show, the scars of his hard-lived life faded instantly, replaced by his kid-like grin. The drugs over the years had done every diabolical trick they could, but they did not steal his talent and backbeat. It was a pleasure and an honor to play with my brother again after a 20-year absence. He absolutely killed it last Sunday night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. I pulled for him. Slash pulled for him. The whole audience pulled for him.

I have not felt so comfortable in over 20 years. It was surreal. Like we have never stopped playing together. Like no time had passed and we had never been apart. Those guys are family.

And in 2010 he would say he had stopped blaming his former band mates for his struggles:

It's an honor that we're [=Steven and Slash] still friends. I love him more than anything. With Slash, I called him up when I started doing Dr. Drew "Celebrity Rehab." I told Dr. Drew I don't think I'd be able to accomplish and achieve the goals that I have if I didn't have an opportunity to talk to Slash and apologize to him. I apologized to all the guys. For 20 years, I blamed them for my downfall. And they had nothing really to do with it.

And he would talk more about his friendship witt Slash:

I’m finally starting to get the recognition and the respect that I so rightfully deserve to have. And it feels so great. And getting it from Slash, I want more than anything to have Slash’s respect. Because we grew up together and he’s a very respectable person and a very credible person and has helped me and said to me, “Steven, I’ll do anything for you; I want to play music with you more often. All I need from you is to be reliable and I strive to be reliable. Not just with him but with everything; in any kind of project that comes into my life. No more flaking; flaking is unacceptable.

And mention that apologizing to Slash had been part of his sobering process:

I started getting sober which is a growing and learning process everyday. Once I started working with Dr. Drew [Pinksky] on Celebrity Rehab, I told Dr. Drew, “I don’t think I can do this to the best of my ability if I don’t talk with Slash.” So he hooked up a meeting for me to talk to Slash and Slash came down to meet me and I apologized to him. See, I blamed him for 20 years for my misfortune and my downfall and it wasn’t his fault; I did all of this to myself. But I kept it built up inside of me as we were talking about keeping things built up. I apologized to him and said, “I’m sorry that I blamed you for everything.”


The next day I woke up and my whole chest, my arms, my whole body hurt like when you don’t workout for a long time and then you workout too much. That pain? I let this big, huge weight off my shoulder and I was able to do my recovery to the best of my ability and I’m still workin’ on it. It’s been two years now, two-and-a-half years. And I’ve relapsed a few times. Shit, that’s part of recovery. You can’t expect somebody who’s done such damage and lived a certain way for so many years, for so many decades [to just change.] It was like going to the bathroom. “I’ve gotta go pee. Oh, I gotta go smoke drugs.” It was kind of like that and it takes time to learn a new way of thinking. And being able to get that off my chest and out of my system and apologizing to Slash made everything so much easier and I was a much more likeable person [laughs.]

When I first started working with Dr. Drew, he wanted me to do the season before the season that I did. And I talked to them and I said, "No, I'm not ready. I'm not through beating myself up." So a year went by and he called me up again and he gave me another opportunity, and I felt different about things. But I said to him, "Doc, if I don't talk with Slash, I don't think I can do this to the best of my ability."

So he hooked up a meeting with me and Slash - no cameras, nothing. It was just me and him - actually Jerry Cantrell was there too. He was like the mediator, but he didn't say a word. But once I got in a room with Slash I got to apologize to him, and tell him how I'm sorry I blamed him for all my downfalls and things, you know, all the bad things that happened to me. Then he apologized to me for not sticking up for me more. I mean, at the time I was thinking, man, Rick Allen [of Def Leppard] lost his arm and they didn't kick him out of that band. But he wasn't all messed up on drugs. He just got back on his feet.

There was four of them and one of me. The golden rule of drums is hands clapping and feet tapping, and when you are in and out of consciousness, you can't do that to best of your ability. For 20 years, I beat myself up and beat my body up. But I've been working with Dr. Drew. At first, I went to Drew's 'Celebrity Rehab' and he asked me if I wanted to do the season before the season that I actually did. I wasn't finished beating myself up. A year went by, he asked me again and I felt differently about it. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I want to give this a shot. I don't think I can do this to the best of my ability if I don't talk with Slash.

He hooked up a meeting with Slash and myself, with no cameras. We got in the room, and I had the opportunity to apologize for all my downfalls, my job in the band, all the drugs. I got to apologize to him for blaming him. I got to say, "It wasn't you, it was me." It was such a weight off my shoulders. I was able to start moving on with my life.

Before I started “Celebrity Rehab,” I told them I don’t think I could do it to the best of my ability and get the most out of it if I don’t get to talk to Slash. Like I said, I blamed them. I thought they let me down. So we had a meeting. No cameras. Nothing … I got to apologize to Slash and he apologized to me. I said, it was really me who let him down. Just being able to apologize … the next morning when I woke up my whole body was so sore. Like when you work out too much. I was so sore from the weight, pressure, and pain I let off my body by apologizing to him.

In addition to apologizing to Slash, Steven would also apologize to the entire band and accept he was at fault for how it had ended:

You see the whole thing with me was for twenty years I wasted my life, blaming them, blaming Slash and Duff and Izzy and Axl - especially Slash since we go back so far and have such a history together. I blamed them and the whole thing was I shouldn't be blaming them. I thought they let me down. But you know what? It wasn't them who let me down - I was the one who let them down.

I'm the one that got too messed up on drugs. I'm the one who took it too far. They didn't put a needle in my arm, you know, unless I asked them to. I did it. And doing this, I want to show all the underdogs in the world that you can get out of a bad situation, and you can survive and you can succeed. My life has been a rollercoaster but I accept all the consequences.

I'm just glad I have a relationship with Slash. We don't talk that often because he's Mr. Texter. I got to apologize for blaming him for getting kicked out of the band, and for all the downfalls that I had after that: the drugs, jail, institutions. But he didn't let me down. It was me. I wasn't there for them. My job is to play drums and the role of the drummer is to keep the hands clapping and the feet tapping.

On February 28, 2011, Duff joined Adler's Appetite on stage in London for My Michelle and It's So Easy [Blabbermouth, February 28, 2011].

Slash would play on one song of Steven's 'Adler' debut album, and Steven would praise their friendship:

It was wonderful [working with Slash again]. Just to have him be proud enough and believe in me enough again after all of the things that have happened. I have to prove myself every second of every day and it got to where I’ve proved myself enough for Slash to be happy and want to be a part of this record. It feels great that we have such a history together. I really care about what he thinks and feels about me.

It was the best way to start this new chapter of my life. [Slash] wouldn’t let me watch him record…once he got there, we said hi, and he said, “Get out!” (laughing) But I didn’t get out. I was hiding in the laundry room, right next to him. I was right next to his room! It was great. It made me feel good because he’s very particular about who he works with. He wouldn’t work with me in the past because of my addiction problems, and he just doesn’t want to be around it. So for me, to have got myself to a place in my life where he’s willing to come around me and wanting to be around me, I couldn’t be happier and more proud. Things have changed. I’ll tell you, the biggest change was when Dr. Drew got a hold of Slash and I got the opportunity to apologize to Slash for blaming him for everything that happened in my life. Once I took responsibility for my own actions and started making amends, everything in my life became so much easier. Of course, I still have issues but that’s to be expected; I did drugs for thirty-five years! It’s like going in the ring with Manny Pacquiao; it’s gonna take some time to heal after they kick you out of the ring. (laughing) It’s just nice that I got to the point of my healing where Slash is wanting to be a part of my life again, and to have him work with me is a plus.

When reunion rumours were spreading in 2015, Steven would talk about how Slash and Duff didn't like him:

I love those guys, and I always will, but Duff, he doesn't think I'm cool. He doesn't think I'm a cool guy. This is what people tell me. And he doesn't think I'm cool and that I'm not that great of a drummer. And Slash, he doesn't believe that I have 21 months and 21 days sober. He doesn't believe it. I don't know why, but they forget that at one time in their life, they were doing drugs and drinking and they were fucking up. They forget that they were like that too. Duff has got 20 years sober or more, Slash has got, like, 11 or 12 years sober, and I've got a year, nine months and 21 days. So everybody gets it at a different time. I'm just thankful I got it.

They don't think I'm cool and they don't think I can play drums that great and they don't think I'm sober. Duff, he has a right, in a way, but, like I said, he forgets where he came from too. But we did do some shows [together] in Japan [in 2013], and Duff invited ADLER to come down, and I was still drinking then. And the second I got to the airport, I made a beeline for the bar, and I just started doing shots of Jäger. And the whole trip I was sick and I was just a mess. And, you know, Duff's sober and he's very judgmental and forgetful of where he came from. And he was just so bummed and pissed at me. I mean, the playing part, the shows when we actually were performing, that went all right, but everything else… So I kind of ruined it and gave him the excuse to be able to say, 'Well, he's not cool and he's not that good.' But I stopped doing that. They stopped doing that. Just because they stopped doing it before I did doesn't make them any better. We're all people who have addiction problems. I was just able to get a grip on it later on in life than they did.

Steven had also tried to meet Slash:

I'm always trying to get [Slash] to go to Crossroads, this vegan restaurant. I [tell him], 'Get your girlfriend and come meet me and my wife over… And John 5. I say, meet me and John 5 and Rita over at Crossroads for brunch or dinner.' [And he writes back] 'Ehh, I can't. I'm working.' I'm going, 'You've gotta be home way more than that. Just come meet with me. Let's go have a cup of coffee.'


In February 1997 was involved in a domestic violence case, but failed to turn up in court for sentencing, resulting in a warrant for his arrest [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. As a result of this, Steven was sentenced to 4 days in jail, to attend 52 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and was placed on a three-year summary probation [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

In 1998 he violated this probation when he again committed domestic violence, against two different women [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. These two incidents happened on January 27 and June 7, 1998 [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. The January incident happened as a result of a fight with a 43-year old women over Steven's drug use [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. Steven fled the scene and wasn't found until the spring, living in a condominium in Century City, California [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. The June incident happened while Steven was awaiting his trial for the January incident [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. In this incident Steven was fighting with a woman over money and pushed her head into a wall and threw her clothes off a balcony [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

Steven pled no contest and was sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years of summary probation including one year of domestic violence counseling and a ban on drugs [MTV News, September 24, 1998]. In addition, both victims of the attacks received protective orders [MTV News, September 24, 1998].

In October 1998 Steven started serving his sentence at L.A.'s county jail [MTV News, December 8, 1998]. After some time he was moved into a minimum security lock-up, but when he failed to show up again after a doctor's appointment, he was returned to county jail [MTV News, December 8, 1998].

I went to jail. Some girl said I beat her up, some crazy psycho girl wanted to go out with me, she lived in my building, she asked me over to eat, now I might not be big, but I eat like a pig, I'm not gonna say no. She beat her leg up, she had a little charlie horse on the right side of her leg, this was just when OJ did all that stuff and the cops were so ridiculous. If I was going to hit somebody on the side of the legs 50 fucking times- who's going to stand still? I did 3 months and I cried every single day.


In early 1999, Steven would be sued by his former lawyer, Peter Paterno [Allmusic, February 12, 1999]. After Steven was fired from Guns N' Roses, Steven sued Paterno's law firm for "legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary obligation, fraud and misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation", but lost [Allmusic, February 12, 1999]. Paterno was now suing Steven for "compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages in the $25,000 range" [Allmusic, February 12, 1999].


I'm 35 now, he reflects, and I'd love to have kids, I loved my wife, and I miss her more than anything, I've got a new girlfriend now and I love her very much too. And just about 4 or 5 months ago I found out that I have a little girl, she's 12 years old, I knew her mother in LA and she was a very beautiful girl, she was only 18 and she put the girl up for adoption, but I've never met my daughter, and I'd never try to let her know who I am, I could never go up to her and tell her I'm her father, I'm glad she's just happy.

It makes me sad though. Kids are the greatest thing apart from playing music, Hey, I'm the smiling drummer, though, I'm a rocker man...and a roller too...


There was no love lost between Matt and Steven:

I didn’t even think about him when I came into the band. The only time I ever think about him is when I see his face in magazines still, after almost two years. To me, he was just a drummer that blew it and I was there to step in. I hope he gets something else going, but it doesn’t seem like he can. [...] I'm trying to forget him, to be honest with you. I am the drummer and I don’t need to hear about that guy. I did two records that were probably four times the magnitude of Appetite. Even though Appetite was a great record, I just feel that the past is the past and we’re looking toward the future now.

I said to him, if it wasn't me it would be someone else. You know? That's basically the truth. Unfortunately, it did not work out for him.

Later Steven would take the high road:

I met him a couple times, and he's totally a nice guy, but he knows that I'm the man. He got to sit in the seat that the real man started. He says "I'm better then you, I play more than you" and the live album he's all, "I play on all the songs" and I say, yeah, but I helped write all those songs! So it was always back and forth like who was better than who, but it's ridiculous. He's a nice fella, I want the best for him. He's a great timepiece.

And after seeing Velvet Revolver live, Steven was almost gracious:

I love Slash and Duff. They’ve got such a presence. Scott [Weiland, singer], the snake boy, is a great performer as well. I don’t know Matt Sorum. He didn’t fire me, so I don’t hate him. I don’t even know him. Until he screws me over he’s fine with me!

In January 2006, Metal Sludge would ask Steven to rate various famous drummers on a scale of 1 to 10. Steven gave everyone a 10 except Tommy Lee ("fucking amazing!"), Alex Van Halen ("Ten Thousand!"), Neil Peart ("Umm…I don’t think the number is high enough"), Carmine Appice ("Is God!"), Terry Bozzio ("he’s in the Ten thousands too!"), and Matt Sorum:

Can kiss my ass. Sorum, I’ll give him a five. Cause he don’t do nothing special. And I have nothing against him because he took my, you know, he was hired to do my job. But, it wasn’t his fault; you know it’s just a gig to him. But he ruined all those songs that I wrote, cause Use Your Illusion, me and Slash and Duff wrote all that fucking shit.

In 2007, Steven would again complain about Matt:

[...] he took over my life, practically. Everything I worked for, Slash and the guys just gave it to him. [...] The crowd wasn’t excited about him [when playing in South America]. They were excited about still seeing Slash, Duff, Izzy and Axl performing. He was just in the background. They were just missing something.

After Matt had suggested a possible GN'R reunion should include both he and Steven, Steven was asked about this and responded:

He said they should have him and me? [...] Well, what I heard, I heard yesterday the same thing, but what I heard was that he said the only drummer for Guns N' Roses is me. And I was very happy to hear that, because he's right. I've recently become friends with him and I think somebody heard it wrong, because I heard the opposite. If it is what you said, I'm calling him up and saying, "Excuse me?" (Laughs)

Then in July 2009, Steven and Matt would hang out at Slash's birthday bash:

I'm hanging out w/Steven Adler & Matt Sorum, who would have thought?

And although he still believed he was a better drummer for GN'R than Matt, in 2010 he would be less negative:

The last song I recorded with Guns 'n' Roses was “Civil War.” And when we're doing those demo tapes in the studio, we'd go into the board room with the producer, he'd play them back, we'd look at each other and say, 'This is gonna be ever better than fuckin' Appetite.' But after you hear “Civil War” on the album [Use Your Illusion II], it's a completely different band. Matt Sorum is a good drummer, but he's got no heart, no soul, no feel. He's got no swing. And I'm all about swing. Don't get me wrong. I like the guy. He likes dogs, and I like that, because I love my dogs.

Not long after this, Steven would publicly apologize to Matt for what he had said in interviews:

I need to apologize to Matt Sorum. I'm sorry about what I said in those interviews. The words just came out wrong. I think you're amazing and I love you, man. Sorry about that

But he would still steadfastly insist Use Your Illusions had been better with him on drums:

When we were doing 'Appetite' ['For Destruction'], after we would record a song, we would go into the soundroom, the mixing room, and then play it, and all we would do is look at each other and just smile and say, 'We're gonna have the greatest fucking record ever. This is the greatest song.' And when we did the demos for 'Use Your Illusion', we did the same thing — we were laughing and smiling and hugging each other, going, 'This is gonna be even bigger than 'Appetite'.' And it wasn't. 'Civil War' is the only song I got to record on the album — I did all the demo tapes, but for the album 'Use Your Illusion', 'Civil War' is the only song. You hear that song and when that song is over, you could tell it was a different band . . . And I would love more than anything if I could just do that whole record over again — just take all of Matt Sorum's drum tracks out and put my tracks in the way they're supposed to be. That would rule. [Laughs]

At New Year party in 2010, Steven would play Paradise City with Camp Freddy, with Matt introducing him before the song [Blabbermouth, January 3, 2011].

And after the band was formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Steven would continue to be gracious towards Matt:

When it comes to after I left, I do believe that Matt Sorum and Dizzy Reed both have every right to be inducted too. Dizzy did play on Use Your Illusion, and he's been with Axl longer than anybody. He deserves it. Matt Sorum also played on Use Your Illusion. I think that the seven of us deserve it. I was just texting Matt Sorum in Australia. I'm going to play with him at The Roxy next week with Camp Freddy. He invited me to come down and play. He's a great guy.

While Matt would appear amused by their friendship:

I got this random text from Steven Adler [one] morning. We're now friends, which is cool. If you could imagine, when I joined Guns N' Roses, for Steven I was like the guy who shagged his girlfriend. You wanna just kill the dude. [Laughs] But, really, it's the girlfriend's fault. She's the one who shagged the dude. It's not his fault. He was just happy to be there. And she is a chick. And what dudes do when chicks wanna shag? Get busy. So now we're cool after all these years. It's kind of calmed down quite a bit.

In connection with the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Matt would talk kindly about Steven:

And at the same time, I would like to see [original Guns N' Roses drummer] Steven Adler up there. . . We are getting along now, which is great, because there was a lot of years where, I think — and I’ve said this in the press before — I was sort of like the guy who was having sex with his ex-girlfriend, you know what I mean?! It’s like, you don’t like the guy at all if you don’t know him, but it still pisses you off. It’s like, ‘He’s with my old lady’ kind of thing. But I think once he got to know me, he realized that I wasn’t there to [screw] him over or whatever, and if it wouldn’t have been me, it would have been some other guy. It’s like he was out of the band. I think people maybe that are GN’R fans of the original lineup have to kind of look at it that way.

Guns N’ Roses would have either imploded completely after Steven, or someone would have come and replaced him. There was about three or four guys they tried out before me, and luckily, I was the guy that sort of stepped into that position. After a lot of years and a lot of healing for Steven, he was able to accept the fact that that was the situation. And I have always supported him in the fact that, I said in the press a few times, if Guns N’ Roses ever got back together, it would be cool if I played the ‘Use Your Illusion’ stuff and he played the ‘Appetite’ stuff, and if he was healthy enough to do that, I would support him on that. To me, it’s not about the money, ’cause if it does come down, which, I don’t wanna tell you what the offers have been, but I know they’re in the multi-, multi-million-dollar range. Yeah, if I was asked, what would I say? Probably yes. But Steven’s in line for that before I am.

As far as GN’R and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, me and him are gonna go there together; I said I’d meet him there. It’s part of our lives, it’s part of what we’ve done and what we accomplished. And he was there for the beginning and I was the guy that came in and, basically, went out there and helped send the GN’R message to the rest of the world.

Talking about having harbored a grudge:

I held a grudge against Matt Sorum. The grudge was I was just jealous. Those guys were my brothers and they took me out and brought in a stranger into our family. I was with them from the beginning, they threw me out on the streets like I never existed and brought some stranger to take over my life. I thought, ‘You don’t even know this guy, I’ve had your back, I fought for you a**holes.’ So I held a grudge. But if it wasn’t Matt, it would have been somebody else.

When I didn't like Matt, I didn't know him. I was jealous and hurt, and I was like, 'Who's this guy who's taking my job away?' But I didn't even know him. Then I got to meet him, and I realized that he's a wonderful guy and a great drummer. He's so smart, and he's an amazing storyteller. Sure, I was mad at first, but you know, if it weren't him, it would've been somebody else. He's a wonderful guy. He didn't do anything to me; I did it to me. It took a lot of growing up for me to see that.

I have nothing against Matt. He didn't do nothing. I had resentments with him, but I talked with him and I worked everything out. Everything. I would love to share a tour bus with him.

Matt being asked if he met Steven when he joined Guns N' Roses:

I didn’t meet Steven right away because that wasn’t a good break for them. We had some tumultuous times over the years and things were said in the press but years later we’ve finally been able to come to terms with it, but I always said to him, “Look Steven, if it wasn’t me it would have been somebody else because you were out and somebody was gonna be in.” But we went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame together and that was great and I felt really good about that. So it was a time being there with him and he was very gracious and I played one of his songs, ‘[Mr.] Brownstone’. And I was able to give him a little dig when I did my speech because he fucked with me for so many years.

And explaining Steven's bitterness towards him:

It’s like somebody’s fucking your ex-girlfriend. You know what I mean? It’s like the same kind of feeling. You don’t like it but you meet the guy and you go, “Hey, he’s not a bad guy.” It’s always been my counterpoint to it. You have a preconceived notion of someone until you meet someone and talk to them.

In 2015, when rumours were spreading about a reunion tour, Steven would be asked how he would react if he had to share drumming duties with Matt:

That's fine. I don't care. I love Matt. He's great. It would be cool.

And talk about their differences as drummer:

See, with Matt and me, the difference is… He is the perfect drummer. It's just so amazing. If he went in the studio to record a song, he's gonna do it on the first take, but it's gonna sound like a machine. Me, I might not do it on the first take, but it's gonna have feeling to it and soul to it. It's gonna swing.

In 2017, Steven would talk nicely about Matt:

Sorum was great, he fit in really great for that. The band obviously changed when I left, and then when Izzy left. But Sorum is a great drummer, he did a good job. I did all the demo tapes for at least 80% of the songs on Use Your Illusions, and for his style of playing, he came up with some great stuff, because he’s a really great player, really solid. If you want a drummer to come into the recording studio, and all you want is one or two takes, Sorum is the guy to do it.


On January 23, 2002, Steven would marry his girlfriend Carolina [, March 4, 2002].


In late 2004, Steven would take a break from working with Adler's Appetite to tour with the Bad Boys of Metal, also featuring Kevin DuBrow and Bang Tango [Glam Metal, August 18, 2004].

Yeah. Myself, Kevin DuBrow [of Quiet Riot], Jani Lane [ex-of Warrant] and Joe LeSté [Bang Tango / Beautiful Creatures] with a house band. We’d go on and play half a dozen songs each with them. It was 27 shows in 31 days, which was pretty insane.

When confronted with DuBrow referring to the tour as the most "untogether and unpleasant" he'd ever experienced, slamming Steven for "buffoonery", drunkenness and even the cancellation of one particular show [Classic Rock, April 2005], Steven responded:

I wasn’t fucked up. I know what really annoyed Kevin. At first, he was headlining. I was happy with that; I wanted to go on second or third anyway. But after I was done, pretty much everybody would leave. He’d end up singing for bartenders and waitresses and a handful of fans. After the third show, he wanted me to go on last and I refused. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Kevin, who’s a very nice guy.


[The US press is] Disrespectful. [...]  American people are very spoiled and have to have it their own way. And people hate to see other people progress, get successful, and doing something that they wanted to be doing. American people are like, if they can't do it, then nobody should do it. That's the kind of attitude I feel when I go to America. [...] And usually they [the American press] don't even know about the person's personal life. [...] It's things that they make up. I, like, have this bad reputation, because of press in America, because of what happened with Guns N' Roses in the '90s, that I'm, like, this super-fucked-up person and this, and I'm on drugs… I didn't invent drugs. I'm not the only one who's ever done drugs. And I’m sure I’m not gonna be the last person to have done drugs. It’s just a reputation, let’s say what people want to hear. People just wanna bring me down in America. Like I said, if they can't do it, nobody can do it. And it's wrong.


In July 2009, a restraining order prohibiting Lisa Jill Martin-Cahn from contacting Steven or Slash would be issued [TMZ, July 29, 2009]. Martin-Cahn had stalked Steven for quite some time and allegedly hired three separate private detectives to try to hunt him down [TMZ, July 29, 2009]. In her efforts to get in contact with Steven she had pestered Slash, which was the reason for that restraining order [TMZ, July 29, 2009].

In August, 2009, Martin-Cahn was jailed for violating the restraining order against Steven when she sent letters to Steven's lawyer [TMZ, August 13, 2009]. The "letters" were copies of the restraining order where she had scribbled on the back side[ TMZ, August 13, 2009]. In the letters she wrote that she believed Steven wanted to communicate with her this way, and that she was his "runaway kitty cat" [TMZ, August 13, 2009].


In 2009 it would be reported that Steven would play the role of Stevie in the upcoming comedy-horror movie "Dahmer vs Gacy" [Blabbermouth, February 24, 2009].

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Post by Soulmonster Wed Aug 10, 2022 6:47 pm



When 'Live Era' was released in 1999, Matt was listed as "additional musician":

That hurt. It was the biggest dig he ever took at me. But Axl said he wouldn't release the album if it was changed. That's how spiteful he got. I didn't mean what I said badly. I felt sorry for him.

I mean the reason why I was listed as additional musician is because me and Axl were not getting along. He made that call.

And on talking to Axl:

I've phoned Axl 4 times to let him know I'm still here, but Axl, he's a...private...person.

In 2002 Axl would mention that he didn't consider Matt an important past member of the band:

For me Matt doesn't figure into the equation and for as much as I was a friend to him he was incapable of reciprocating and life is much better without such an obvious albatross. [...]  And for the record I'm referring to Slash and Matt in regards to their actions and behavior, Duff played more of a supporting role (for reasons I've never understood). For the fans to attempt to condemn me to relationships even only professional with any of these men is a prison sentence and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'd say my parole is nearly over. I'm practically a free man and if you don't like it you'll have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

After Velvet Revolver started Matt would get more questions about Axl, and also about his new looks:

I'm not feeling it. And I don't know what's going on with the hair.

Axl Rose was a training ground for everything that you could possibly ever imagine to test your patience.

I didn’t make the money Slash and Duff made with Guns–Axl’s done everything in his power to fuck me out of royalties.

Yet, Matt would not deny Axl's greatness:

We had Axl Rose, one of the greatest frontman ever - Not just of the early-'80s and the early-'90s, ever! It's like Freddy Mercury, fucking Ozzy -

What [Axl, Ian Astbury, and Scott Weiland] all have in common is a great ability to entertain a crowd. They each bring a different passion to the songs that they perform, and each one realizes that it is a rock show, not just a songfest. It's pretty amazing when I consider that I have been blessed to play drums behind three of the greatest front men of all time.

But say he didn't like him:

It was such a wild ride with Guns, that it was really hard to hold on, it was just fucking endless reckless abandon. There was so much drama, and there were so many people with their hand in the cookie jar, and in that situation I felt so out of control - My destiny was appointed by a guy that I didn't really like. It was like that guy was controlling my life and, now, I actually have something to say in [Velvet Revolver].

In April, 2006, Matt met Axl in New York and they seem to have squared up:

Then last night I went to a club called 6 and 8s.
While getting out of the cab I run into Sean Lennon who was leaving and when inside there was AXL ROSE. Oh my God.
I hadn't seen him in at least 6 years.
I walked over and said Hello.
We shoke hands.
And it was pleasant.
Later that evening I ended up in a loft somewhere in the East Village.
Where Axl was again.
We spoke for quite sometime. And it was nice to clear somethings up.
I told him how great of a frontman he was while I was in the band and no hard feelings from me at all.
It was an all around
Good vibe I think.

After the party ended. Axl gave me a
Ride back to my hotel
In his suburban.

I told the story last week that I ran into him [Rose] in New York and actually talked to him, and it was fairly pleasant. It was very pleasant, actually, but we were both drunk, so that helped. [Laughs]

Well, I ran into Axl in New York and... you know, you know. There's still a lot of tension between us.

In may 2008, after Scott Weiland had left Velvet Revolver to return to Stone Temple Pilots, Matt would favorably compare the two frontmen:

I actually have a newfound liking and love for Axl Rose (laughs). You can print that (laughs). I've said a couple of bad things about Axl, and I think they've come back to bite me in the ass. The one thing I know about Axl Rose, as much as a d--k as he was at times, the stadium was usually sold out (laughs)! A little difference between those two guys. I'm talking 50,000 not 5,000 (laughs). I could deal with that. A jet, I'm not talking just a Jet, a 727, my own limo and a guy to carry my s--t (laughs).


I became sucked into the glamour. I don't have a family and I took advantage of everything on offer. Music became minimal importance to me. The fact that Axl Rose started acting like a total moron to everyone in the band didn't help either.

Aw, man. The whole thing was a big blur. I always tell people, my Guns N’ Roses experience was like watching somebody else’s movie. If I was to make that movie myself and watch it — I still wouldn’t believe it (laughs). Was I really there? Or was it some sort of warped dream? The whole thing was surreal.

I felt like I really had no control where I was going. I was being taken on this adventure. It was scary at times. Super highs, super lows. I look at all of that, and I’m just happy we’re all still alive.


No. You mean with Axl? [Laughter] Nuh huh. Nononononono. No.

Matt would also reveal Velvet Revolver had been offered an opening slot for Guns N' Roses in Lisbon, Portugal:

Actually we were offered a gig in Lisbon, Portugal opening for Guns 'N Roses [Laughter]. The NOW Guns 'N Roses, whatever that consists of, but we actually said okay. We'd love to be there. It'd be very exciting. I think it would be quite a spectacle. Sure. Why not?

In 2008, Matt would say he was certain Guns N' Roses would reunite, but that he was also certain he wouldn't be involved:

I'm sure it'll happen eventually. [...] They could be having meetings about it right now. They could be in a bomb shelter, with Axl and Slash and Duff. And Izzy! Maybe Steven Adler - I don't know. I'd probably be the very, very, very last guy to get the call.

And in 2009 he would suggest if there was to be a reunion, both he and Steven should be involved:

If it's me on drums or Steven or whatever, if it happened, it'd be great, you know. I would actually say to them, 'Hey, bring both of us back,' you know. Let me play the other stuff. We'll have two drum kits. I don't care. If Appetite (For Destruction, the band's debut) sounds better with Steven playing it, have both guys up there. They can afford it.

In late 2011, Matt would joke about doing it for the right amount of money but that it wasn't important to him:

If the number was high enough [laughs]. No, you know what: I just love creating music. When I left Guns N’ Roses I thought I was starting to lose my soul. Why did I get into this business in the first place? Because I love music, and I want to make some music. I don’t want to sit around and get caught up in a bunch of drama. If I’m going to feel uncomfortable and spiritually not well, what’s the point? It’s like, “Let’s make some music, man.” One thing I do care about is the fans. And the one thing I learned later on in life is that a lot of people got a lot of joy from that. So if that’s the only reason to do it, I think that’s a great reason. If everyone could just put all their differences aside. But if that time will ever come, I’m not sure. I’m cool with whatever.

In 2012, after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inclusion, Matt was still interested:

Why not? I’d have to talk about the situation because I like to be in bed by midnight, I don’t want to go on stage at midnight! I get tired man, I don’t know how Axl keeps that up!

And also in 2014 when asked if he would do a show with GN'R if Axl called:

Yeah, sure, I got no problems with any of that, you know? Life’s too short, it’s getting shorter too.


In April 2012, it would be speculated that Matt had plans of writing a Guns N' Rose screenplay after he made the following comments:

I've talked about doing a screenplay and that's actually something that I'm in talks about with a couple of pretty big people. The only problem with that is figuring out how to work out the music situation. But if you look at rock and roll movies, they've never been done right. The only ones that I actually thought were decent was The Doors movie I thought was decent and I liked the Johnny Cash film. If you look at any of those other kind of traditional rock flicks like Mark Wahlberg and 'Rock Star' and all those, they're all kind of dumb, like '80s, butt-rock, Sunset Strip. [...] If there was a film about Guns N' Roses, the thing about Guns N' Roses that was different than all the butt rock bands in Hollywood was that it was down and dirty and punk rock and real," he said. "As much as anyone wants to say they want to try to lump it in with hair metal, it never was because it was a different kind of energy even though it came out of that hair metal period. The energy was on the undersurface. There was a much sort of more street, dark undercurrent happening that could be great on film.

Last edited by Soulmonster on Fri May 05, 2023 7:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by Soulmonster Sat Aug 27, 2022 8:30 am


Dizzy would befriend the Christian musician Larry Norman and eventually be featured on at least two of Norman's albums, A Moment In Time (1994) and Copper Wires (1998).

Talking about his collaboration with Norman:

his younger brother, Charles Norman is a very dear friend of mine and we have met many years ago in Hollywood. He was playing bass for the time for a band called Jetboy. We met out of the club one night and we just kind of hit it off, and we started recording, you know, listening to Larry, they lived in LA at the time, they had a studio and we started just writing and they told me that Larry played some, you know, some gospel rock'n'roll and had like a bit of a following when he was younger, he kind of downplayed it. But then we went to a... I started bringing up his name in conversations and a lot of people would just start freaking out, "You know Larry?" "Yeah." It was, you know, it was a great experience just to write with him and just see, you know, how he does his thing, everything, and he was a wonderful man and just it was always great to to be around, I had a good time. [...] And I'm very honored that I was able to experience that in my life. [...] He was funny and he was [?]. He was a big Axl, a big Guns N' Roses fan. He came to a few shows. He was really, really impressed. So, yeah, I'm just, you know, I still talk to Charles, sometimes [?]. [?] a museum out here to honor Larry and my wife and I attended, and I [?] devastated [?]. So we miss him and yeah it was very, very cool to be able to work with Larry.
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Post by Soulmonster Mon Jan 08, 2024 4:20 am


After leaving Guns N' Roses, Matt played jazz with The Buddy Rich Orchestra, did a one-off Christmas performance with Billy Idol, produced a record for Candlebox, and collaborated on Poe's hits, "Angry Johnny" and "Hello" [Lawrence Journal World, June 28, 2001]. He formed a production company called Orange Curtains Productions with his partner Larry Cordola, but eventually quit:

I said, ‘I’m tired of this band business.’ It was getting too political. So I got into making music with people.

I paused for thought, dabbled in production (including the first Poe album). I felt I'd had enough of being in a band, but soon realised that production is a lot like babysitting and I'm not a babysitter.

In November 1997 it would be reported that Matt would have a role in an indie movie called "The Sound Man" [MTV News, November 25, 1997] and together with Slash, Duff and Joh Taylor, Matt would make the soundtrack for the movie [Lawrence Journal World, June 28, 2001].


In April 2000, Matt would rejoin with Billy Duff and Ian Astbury from The Cult at a Neurotic Outsiders show at The Viper Room in Hollywood [Music News Of The World, April 6, 1999]. They would play three Cult songs together [Music News Of The World, April 6, 1999].

Billy Duffy came and stayed at my house in the summer of '98. I had a gig down at The Viper Room (in Los Angeles), and I invited Billy and Ian to come up onstage with us. We played a couple of Cult songs and the room went freaky and loved it and we said, 'Why don't we put the band together?' So we booked a tour around the country and we did 25 almost-sold out dates. It was very cool and it felt very good. We had a good lineup and the band was rockin'. We did seven nights at the House of Blues in L.A. All the celebrities were showing up and it felt real exciting; it felt like people really wanted us back.

We took a year and a half to make the record because we were searching for the new sound of the band. We wanted to be viable now. We didn't want to be the retro-Cult. We didn't want to be a band reforming for the sake of getting back together. Ian refers to it as unfinished business. It's modern, you know? It'll compete against anything that's out there ? Any Limp Bizkit, but we don't want to be Limp Bizkit, we never were. It's heavy and it's a rock 'n' roll album, and I think what I sense from people out on the street is that there's a lack of it. There's a lot of attitude-rock and a lot of soft (expletive), but there's nothing in the middle. Aerosmith is more of a pop band now. There's Stone Temple Pilots, but their new album is even a bit soft. There's not that many.

I ran into The Cult guys again. They asked me to go out on the road. We put a jam together and played at The Viper Room when Billy Duffy [guitarist] came into town. Then we called Ian [Astbury, singer] who came down and sang with us and the crowd went nuts. We decided to book a tour last summer and it sold out everywhere. Then the labels started coming around and we got signeed. The album itself took quite a while to make. We finished it up this spring. The drums were cut pretty quickly - a couple of weeks. I cut four or five takes, and they edit them together, which is how a lot of people do it these days.

The Cult

In 2002, The Cult had been dropped by their label:

Getting dropped is part of life as a musician. We could see the whole thing coming. Ian and Billy put themselves under a lot of pressure to resist external meddling and write the album themselves, but ultimately they came up with more of a dark, trippy record than a pop record.

Ian and Billy are the same old guys, really, maybe a bit lazier. Some of the old issues came back to me and there was a bit of patchin’ up to do. There was some ego adjustment to being a drummer in a rock 'n' roll band from the drummer in the world's biggest rock 'n' roll band. It started out as, 'Let's get the best Cult lineup together’ and ended up being just about Ian and Billy. I found the whole corporate thing hard to deal with, too. It was a more personal journey for me this time. I mean, it's okay not to get hammered your bandmates every night, as I used to, and do more stuff during the day.

We got back together for a reunion tour, had an awesome time, and then a bunch of labels had a bidding war. We made a record with Bob Rock, Beyond Good and Evil, which came out on the Lava/Atlantic label, and did a big tour around that. It was very fun, but Ian (Astbury) and Billy (Duffy) really didn’t like the radio business and that kind of stuff. Times have changed, you have to kiss a lot more ass, and we weren’t willing to do it. [...] The record sold 200,000 copies, which isn’t bad, but not much in this day and age. We opened for Aerosmith and did some arenas, which is where I feel at home – I love that stuff. But then there was a lot of stuff happening with the record company. It got bought out by AOL Time Warner, and any band that hadn’t sold enough units was let go. We were let go.


In 2000 he would guest with the supergroup Wonder Girls which featured among others Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland [Loudside, April 9, 2000].


The new record is coming out through Earthlink and cost $20,000 to record.  If we can sell 20,000 copies then we are laughing, and we did it without anyone telling us what to do, which is cool.


From May 2002, Matt would be playing in the cover band Camp Freddy together with Dave Navarro and others [Blabbermouth, September 17, 2002]. The band would have a lineup of five members but feature many different guests [Blabbermouth, September 17, 2002]. On June 14, 2002, Camp Freddy played a show at the Moomba and Slash and Moby would guest [, June 16. 2002].

In October 2003, it would be reported that Camp Freddy had signed with Sanctuary Records [Blabbermouth, October 8, 2003] and in January 2004 they were working on their debut album [Blabbermouth, January 28, 2004].

In February 2006, Matt would announce that Scott Weiland had been added as a member in Camp Freddy [Blabbermouth, February 16, 2006; originally from ABC News Radio].

[Weiland] loves it, man. He comes and plays with us, and we do Bowie, and we, you know, he does some Iggy Pop maybe, whatever he wants to do. And he has the best time because it's not stressful at all. There's no real, like, corporate thing behind it. And it's not like you have to come up with the goods — you just do it, you know.
Blabbermouth, February 16, 2006; originally from ABC News Radio


In 2001 Matt been working on a solo album called Hollywood Zen:

Like a lot of other drummers, I sometimes feel I'm not getting enough input in a band situation. I've found that I've got other talents and I can take those talents into other forums. Like the film work that I'm doing, for instance. It's been really fun and there are a lot of cool things I can do with percussion and film, plus I play other instruments, which is helpful. I've scored about five films, and the latest is one for Dreamworks. I've been able to do some very percussive scores and use some Native American instruments, which was fun. Anyway, my solo album happened because I wrote some songs for this Cult album that didn't get on there. So a friend of mine gave someone from Conspiracy Music a tape of my songs and they called me and asked me to do a CD for them because they love my style. It's called Hollywood Zen and it will be out later this year.

While I was waiting for The Cult record to finish up with guitars and vocals, I wrote a few songs. Then a friend of mine gave my tunes to a label called Conspiracy Records, and they called and asked me to do a record for them. It's called Hollywood Zen, and it's coming out shortly. It's about my experiences. There's a song called "3% Solution," which is real jazzy. There's a drum solo at the end over a chord progression. There's a tune called "Sunset Blvd," which is really mellow. I play super light on that one, and I padded up the snare drum with a wallet, like Ringo. I did all the drumming, sang, played guitar, and wrote the songs - kind of a Dave Grohl/Phil Collins approach.

I'm known for being a rock drummer, but I'm trying to diversify. I'm looking for other avenues for my drumming, like the film scores I've done. I'm studying more world music and other aspects of music. I'm constantly listening to a lot of new music. So I'm focused on the new, but with one foot in the old.

It's a personal album; it's about my experiences living in Hollywood. I've been living there 21 years. So it's sort of coming to the terms living there.

[Talking about how his drumming had changed after leaving Guns N' Roses]: I gotta tell you, I backed off on some of my big stadium moves. It was hard at first, because when you play with Guns it's such a big thing. A lot of what I did on the drums got very big and grandiose. I pulled back and got rid of a lot of my antics and tightened up my drumming again.

With Guns I was more on top of the beat, more aggressive, and punkier. The Cult has more of a pocket, more groove, especially the older stuff. The newer stuff is more agressive, but on the older stuff I have to emulate drummers like Mark Brzezicki and Mickey Curry, who played on those early records. I have to take all the different styles from the music The Cult has done and mesh them into a middle ground.

He also planned on turning it into a band and play live:

I want it to be a real band and I'm talking to a girl drummer who's pretty famous. I will be fronting the project - playing guitar and singing. I think all of us drummers are frustrating guitarists [laughs]. But now I have newfound respect for singers after trying it myself. That is really hard.

On June 1, 2004, the record was finally released.

Hollywood Zen
June 1, 2004

It’s called Hollywood Zen and it was produced by Lanny Cordola, who I’ve worked with on various soundtracks and things before. It’s really not a ‘solo drum record’ at all. It’s about songs and I sing and play guitar on it. Slash plays guitar on a track too, which is cool.

I’ve always been aware of playing around vocal phrasing - accenting certain phrases or leaving space for lyrics to come through. But I’m so much more switched on to that stuff now having been through the experience of making this record. Because I’m playing drums and singing, I know exactly where all the space needs to be, and I’ll be taking the lessons learned on it into everything I do.


Matt summarizing his past up to 2004:

I got into The Cult in 1988, joined Guns in 1990, left Guns in 1996, did a shitload of drugs, drank a lot of alcohol, went into rehab, got cleaned up...[laughs] After I got cleaned up, here’s The Cult again... Okay, now you’re not in The Cult any more... Hey, there’s Slash and Duff! Now I get to do this again. But this time, do it right. Make the right decisions, stay together, be positive, don’t f**k it up - all those kind of things came into my head. There was a lot of gratitude.

Velvet Revolver is discussed elsewhere.


In late 2008 it would be reported that Matt was playing with Stevie Salas [Fazer, November 26, 2008]. Salas had previously auditioned for Guns N' Roses [see previous chapter].

Yeah, we met a recording studio years ago. [Salas] was working with George Clinton on the other side of the studio and we ran into each other in the hallway. I think we were both in our early twenties at that point, and over the years we’ve crossed paths. But recently we got more musically involved. I have a recording studio, and he came over and was working with some other artists and ended up recording a lot of his last record there. I just happened to be in the backyard, because it was out back of my last house, and he said, “Hey, what are you doing?” So, I went in and played a couple of drum tracks and it was just really cool. The vibe there at my studio was just about making music, no time restraints really. So, it was really casual, and I think that when you’re making music, if the vibe is good then it’s going to come out on record as being good.


In 2009, Matt would also tour with Motörhead after their drummer, Mikkey Dee, was busy taking part in his country’s version of TV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

I was absolutely blown away and was very honoured to get the call. I got a text from [Motörhead bassist/vocalist] Lemmy and called him back right away and said: ‘Why are you calling me?’ [laughs]. I was at home by the pool, rubbing lotion on my lovely girlfriend, and now here I am. I manned up!

Matt was right up for it immediately. That’s really rare, a lot of guys wouldn’t do it on short notice.

It’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It’s the best tour I’ve ever done: I’ve lost a few pounds and got about 25 blisters, which is great!

Being asked how it came about:

I have no idea…[laughs] No, I just happened to be at the Rainbow, [laughs]. No, I have played with Lemmy a few times out in L.A. guess he liked the way I played “Ace of Spades.” So he figured I could play the rest of the stuff [laughs]. He called me up, well he texted me first cause he does not do email, and he asked would I be up to coming out and playing. I thought that was a real honor you know, so I called him back right away, asked when can we get together and rehearse.

Looking back at having played with Motorhead:

I did 13 shows [with Motorhead]. Which was a perfect number. Because I had many blisters on my fingers. I got to tell you man, it was probably one of the greatest tours of my life. I had so much fun with those guys. Lemmy called me up - and I said this at his memorial. He actually texted me, and I could hear his voice through the text, [mimicking Lemmy’s voice] “Matt, I need you to play drums”, you know? And I actually texted him back. I wrote, “Why me?” (laughs) It's like, I don't know why I said that. And he wrote back, “Dave Grohl's not available”. [...] I was like… You know, Lemmy wasn't a guy that minced words. He'd tell you the truth. I love that about him. And then I texted, “When are we rehearsing?” And he wrote back, “We aren't”. And I got a DVD from Wacken Festival. It came in the mail, like the next day, FedEx. And he said, “Learn the Wacken show”. And I learned it. And then I met them at the 930 Club in Washington, D.C., we soundchecked and I played that night. The night you saw me at Roseland was my second show. [...] And it was amazing. For a drummer though, it was like, I had to remember which song was booga baga booga baga booga, or boom baga booga baga booga, or booga baga booga. Right? So, it got confusing, you know, because there's a lot of Motorhead songs that have that sort of thunderous rock beat happening underneath and I just needed to kind of decipher that. But, obviously, playing Overkill and Ace of Spades, and then I had to learn the newer stuff that Mickey did like Tragedy, which some of that stuff was like, wow. But yeah, it was one of the greatest experiences that I ever had and… yeah. So I did it and I’m happy to say that I was- [...] you know, when Lemmy came out and he said, “We're Motorhead and we play rock and roll”, he wasn't joking. You know? (laughs) And it was a very energetic, high energy set. And I loved it. And I still remember it like yesterday. It was one of the greatest experiences, especially being on the bus with Lemmy. You know, he's just got great stories, especially about - he knew everything there was to know about every civil war. We'd be driving down the highway through the Midwest or like, you know, in the south where they had, like, battlefields, and he'd point and he'd go, “Over there was the battle of…”, you know, whatever. And he knew everything about not only, you know, the Second World War, First World War, but American Civil War. So a history buff, wow. […]


In 2010, Matt would talk about setting up a show with the band The darling Stilettos, fronted by his girlfriend Ace Harper, in Las Vegas:

We have a Vegas show called Rock N Roll A Go-Go, which is what you see at the Viper Room. The big vision is an over-the-top rock and roll experience in Vegas, and the original group, Darling Stilettos, is part of that.

It’s four girl dancers and the interesting thing is that it’s never really been done in the rock world. I took it out for GODSMACK at Sturgis as an experiment to see if we were going to get killed or not (laughs). No one threw anything at us. [...] I wanted to put a dance element and a rock n’ roll show together. It’s something very different to see and it’s very entertaining. There are synthesizers and all kinds of shit… it’s just completely different than anything you’ve seen before...

Explaining the dance element:

Completely choreographed modern dance. It’s not sleazy and it’s not cheap. It’s not ‘butt-rock’. It’s kind of like the Pussycat Dolls, but there are elements that are more like Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop versus Britney Spears for instance. It’s got more swagger than that. You just have to see it. The lead singer, she looks like a cross between a young Deborah Harry and David Bowie circa 1970. Basically, I created a show call Rock N’ Roll A Go-Go which is kind of a West Side Story dance thing that takes you through classic rock to glam rock to The Ramones to David Bowie, T-Rex, Queen… We’ve been building the show for Vegas. I’m very excited about it. I go to those shows out there and it’s a very appealing visual world and if you tap into it… It can be really exciting. So, I started working on this the last couple of years and there’s also a lot of original music. We’ve been focusing on getting a record deal. We’ve gotten offers and we’re very close. It’s the kind of group that could tour with Pink or Aerosmith. It crosses genres. It’s heavier than Pink and not as pop, but it’s got guitar. It’s a young band and I play drums for them occasionally. There’s a lot of track going on. It’s a little bit like Marilyn Manson… Synthesizers, visuals, but the guitar player is a guy named Nick Maybury. He’s a great young guitarist. I think he’s going to be heard of. He’s that good.

Discussing why he formed the Darling Stilettos:

Well I have always thought rock and roll has been a male dominated sport, with the exception of the great female performers like The Runaways, Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Chrissie Hynde, Courtney Love, there have only been a few. Taking that idea [and] adding beautiful girls that dance and bring an entertaining twist to a style of music that hasn’t been done before. [...] These girls are pros! We’ve gone through a few girls, getting the right ones. But I am so happy with them. It’s that way with bands too… Coming up in the early days, there was always one guy in the band that was a bummer. And being in a group is like a relationship; there are things you have to except about certain individuals. But I have to say the girls have been the best ever.

And being asked if they planned to record and album and tour:

All of that…this is a vision, and much more than just a band. It’s a lifestyle of an art form that is constantly being pushed aside for pop, rap and other genres of music. We have seven original tunes and are writing more as we speak. Also, touring of course.

And if it is difficult to work so closely with his girlfriend:

A lot of people don’t mix business with pleasure. But this partnership has not only brought us closer together, we [also] have a common goal. I have tasted success a few times, so it’s cool that I can help Ace avoid the pitfalls of a very tough business. She has grown immensely through this process.


In 2011, Matt would launch a new band called Diamond Baby that he referred to as "electro-rock" and his new character to go with it, Baron Von Storm [Rolling Stone, July 21, 2011]. Ace Harper, now his wife, would also be part of Diamond Baby under the name Ace of Diamonds:

She's a tried and true rock star. She can handle the stage like no one's business. I wouldn't have done Diamond Baby if I didn't believe in her. [...] Ace is the epitome of someone who lives the rock lifestyle. Her style, her whole vibe – it's the complete package. I've felt that from the day I met her. She gets up in the morning dressed like Marianne Faithfull to get her coffee [laughs]. She is the music and she's hungry. I love working with her.

Talking about the music:

When I would go see bands like Muse and Depeche Mode, I would think to myself, "F---, this is heavy!" They had the electronic thing happening, but it rocked. That's what I wanted Diamond Baby to be. I can't wait for people to see us live. We've got the rock edge, but with the synth-bass and dance thing happening. The sound is fat, like Nine Inch Nails. We'll also have all of the lights and cool stage look.

In July, Matt would release a video for the song The Last Rockstar featuring Glee‘s Jane Lynch, actress Juliette Lewis, Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and actor Verne Troyer:

I called Verne Troyer and Lemmy and Juliette Lewis and Jane Lynch is my next-door neighbor, so I asked her to do it. She’s so busy, she’s such a huge actress now, but then she said she’d love to do it because she’s never done a rock video or a music video. And when I told her she was going to play my butler, she was cool.

About his new name:

My former name and my former musical background I probably couldn’t do as much. I wanted to kind of dabble in a different music area. So the rock side of me is the other name – I really felt like more of a Ziggy Stardust kind of character with this.


In January 2013, it was reported Matt was working on a solo album:

Drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult) has entered the studio to begin recording his new solo album. He says: "My new solo record will not be a rock record and I am not playing drums on it. singing and [playing] acoustic [guitar] mainly, [and] using another drummer [for the recording sessions]."

According to Sorum, the material that is being laid down for his upcoming solo CD can best be described as "a cross between Doors, Pink Floyd, Wilco, David Gray, Peter Murphy and Portishead." Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "The Sea", "What Ziggy Says", "Killers N' Lovers", "Ode To Nick Drake", "Blue Josephine", "Gone", "Lady Of The Stone" and "Land Of The Pure", the latter of which is "about children of Pakistan," says Sorum.

Matt's solo debut, "Hollywood Zen", came out in 2003.

Matt would talk about the record:

My album is very kind of scaled down, I play acoustic on it and I play piano on a couple of songs, and there’s orchestration. The closest comparison I would say is that is a cross between Wilco and The Doors. I’m the kind of guy that likes to do a lot of different styles of music. I’m a musician and a fan of great music and to me there are two types of music, there’s good music and there’s bad music.

I play piano, bass, I sing. I just finished a solo record so I’ll be putting that out somewhere after I do some touring with Kings of Chaos, so I’m gonna do some stuff on my own as well. When I write and sing though I like to do more mellow stuff. I’m into like Wilco and Tom Petty. I don’t rock as hard when I’m doing my vocal thing, my guitar thing, just because my voice has a certain style. I kind of write around my voice, you know?

[...] in retrospect I somehow subliminally took on a lot of that [classical] upbringing in my life and was able to put a lot of that on my solo album. I have orchestration and piano on my new album. I wrote two songs on piano so I love a lot of that now. As I’ve gotten a little older I look back and when I was a younger guy I just wanted to rock, I just wanted to go out and throw down and get out that sort of angst that I had as a kid, you know?

It’s much more introspective than my usual heavy rock stuff. It’s more of a singer-songwriter thing. I play acoustic guitar, and it’s a little mellower kind of album.

I want to give people another side to Matt Sorum. I'm not just this rock drummer guy. I've done a lot of other things, like producing Poe and Tori Amos and others. There's a lot of styles that I work in, and so it's time to bring that out.

I started writing it within the last couple of years. I went out to the desert because of Gram Parsons and all those guys - you know, the Joshua Tree, Palm Springs area - and I had an amazing time working there. I went to a trippy old hotel and wrote eight songs in five days. A lot of people don't know me as a songwriter, but I've always been a guitar player. I like to dabble with the acoustic. The stuff that I've written for Velvet Revolver - like Set Me Free, and Spectacle and a few on the first record - those were done on an acoustic.

I made a record with another guy called Hollywood Zen, and that was my first attempt to do my own thing. I was a bit nervous, though, so I can't really say that it was my record - it's a collaboration. My main goal on this record is to write everything myself.

What's been happening with me is, I'm getting older, and I'm a different guy… I'm not on drugs and alcohol anymore. [Laughs] I'm more spiritual. I'm thinking about the planet and caring about other people more, and I've got a charity… And that sparked a lot of lyrics. I have a song called Lady Of The Stone, which is about Mother Nature's perspective on what's happening to the planet. What would she say if she was watching?

I wrote another song called Land Of The Pure. I was very struck by what happened with the girl Malala [Yousafza] from Pakistan. I wrote it about the girls in Pakistan - young girls all over the world - who are not being allowed to be educated. I'm going to have a singer named Atif Aslam, who's from Pakistan, sing on it. That's very eclectic. There's going to be a lot of percussion and orchestration. People are going to trip to it.

For the second part of my trip, I hung out on the beach. I stayed at a little hotel called the Surf and Sand Hotel - I used to go there in the early '70s with my grandparents. While there, I wrote a song called The Sea. I remembered how much I loved the beach as a kid. Nothing seems to matter when you're on the beach.

I wrote another song there called Blue. I was thinking, Why does the word 'blue' always mean sadness? I wrote it as a positive thing - the sky, the water. It's a Tom Petty meets David Gray kind of song. It's pretty cool.

And I wrote a song called Josephine, which is my grandmother's name. She and my grandfather were married for 69 years. The song is about him being in the orchestra pit, he was in the band, and her being a ballerina. They met in the 1920s. My grandmother just turned 100. The song is going to be all orchestra and piano. It's an ode to them.

Explaining why he is not drumming on the record:

I feel like it's not right for this record. I want to have a producer's perspective, so I don't want to sit there and analyze my drumming. I've been rehearsing the band, I put a great band together. I've got a drummer named Brian MacLeod, who's played with everyone from Sheryl Crow to Linda Perry - he's been on tons of records. He's got more of that gift. I'm a rock drummer, but I can play other styles. He can play more organic, singer-songwriter stuff. As light as I play, I have a sound that might be more rock.

Talking about the rest of the band:

I've got Brian, and then I hired a percussionist named Scott Breadman - he's played with Jose Feliciano and Lindsey Buckingham. He's fantastic. And I also hired an incredible bass player, Paul Ill. He's played with Linda Perry, Christina Aguilera - he's one of the most underrated guys out there. The guitar player is a guy named Randy Mitchell, who's also worked with Linda Perry a lot. He's one of those guys who, if you go, 'Can you make it more Neil Young,' he'll go, 'OK, cool.'

Being asked if he is a confident singer:

Well, I've always sung. As long as I can remember, I've always been on stage singing. My mother was a vocal teacher and a classical pianist. My grandfather was a Professor of Music at Long Beach State University. So I grew up in a classical background, took vocal lessons and was in the choir. When I got in bands, I ended up singing harmonies. If you listen to the Guns N' Roses records that I'm on, I did most of the harmonies. And Velvet Revolver - I always sang on stage with them.

Vocals set the tone for me. If you ask a lot of drummers, like Ringo Starr, for example, he'd say that he listens to the vocals. That's where the tempo of the song is. If you play a song too fast, a singer can't work with it. I've always been that kind of guy - I play to the song.

On March 11, 2014, Matt Sorum's Fierce Joy released the album titled Stratosphere [Press Release, February 19, 2014].

March 11, 2014

I'm known as a rock guy, but I've always loved so many diverse artists. I was a huge Joni Mitchell fan; I remember listening to a lot of her records back to back. Neil Young, Tom Petty, the Beatles of course, and I was a huge Bowie fan. I was also into progressive stuff, like early Genesis, Peter Gabriel era. You can hear that influence on the new album; there are a couple of songs that have some interesting time changes.

I've always dabbled on the acoustic guitar, and I wrote a couple songs for Velvet Revolver. In Guns N' Roses, Axl and Slash looked to me for arrangements. I wasn't the predominant songwriter, but I've always been involved in the process. When I put Stratosphere together, I actually had a lot of it on cassette. I'd been writing the songs over the years, and I wanted to do an album that was just coming from me, regardless of anyone's expectations.

Over the years, I've been influenced by my surroundings and sometimes that hasn't always been for the better. But after years of soul searching, I organically fell into a different state of mind. With many lessons learned along the way, it seemed like the perfect time to do a record in my own voice, if you will. It's as real and exposed as anything I've ever offered my in my career, and I hope you enjoy it.

Well, I had been writing songs for a couple of years. I was really getting into a different headspace than with some of the stuff I had been playing for most of my career. I've always written songs although I didn't contribute a great deal of writing for Guns N' Roses. I did help with arrangements and then wrote a couple of things for Velvet Revolver. So for this, some songs started to come together and I started thinking about putting together a solo thing. For a couple of months I went off to the desert to Joshua Tree to do some writing and took my acoustic and things started coming out. I recorded things on my little cassette recorder, believe it or not (laugh).

Then for a change, I went down to the ocean and started getting into a whole other vibe there. I've played a lot of hard rock in my career but I've also done a bunch of other stuff and I've always been a big fan of singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell. Considering the subject matter of a lot of these songs, I wanted the framework to better reflect what I was feeling and let you really hear what I'm talking about. So the songs are really diverse but generally they're a lot different to what most people have heard from the stuff I've been most famously connected with.

[...] I think this album is really my album and it’s much more my voice than my first solo album (2004’s Hollywood Zen). I think I was a little nervous going into that first record and just not knowing how I would be able to fare on my own so it ended that I had a lot more collaboration on that effort. This record has a lot more to do with me going through a lot more in terms of personal things and revelations and things like that when it came time to write this album. This record was really a product of good timing for me spiritually and it felt good making it.

Well, I’ve always sang backing vocals in every band I’ve been in, for the big bands that I’ve been in starting with the Cult. I sang all the high harmonies. And when I joined Guns N Roses I sang a lot of the harmonies on the records, and I sang a lot live too, with Duff and Izzy, we would share harmonies. I’ve always loved to sing and play [simultaneously]. My mother was a vocal teacher as well as a classical pianist, so I took choir as a kid and you know, it wasn’t the coolest thing to do. You’re in the choir! It was a little weird.

Talking about why he released a second solo album:

I’ve been feeling that I’ve wanted to say something, and the only real way I know how to say something is through music. It just started calling me, and I had a real need to do it, and I had time. I’ve always been a drummer in a band. And my position in those bands is different than this: in the bands, I’m a drummer, I’m a team player. I think it was time to move on. I needed to say some things. I’m at a point in my life where I think it’s okay to do whatever I feel like.

Being asked if he intended to tour the album:

We're going to tour, but it isn't going to be a typical rock show. If I'm going to front a band, I can't see myself, at my age, jumping up and playing rock and roll the way Dave Grohl does. Dave pulls it off, running around the stage with an electric guitar. But would that feel right for me? How can I make this feel natural, a natural progression, growing into the man that I finally feel that I am, and saying what I want to say now?

Talking about the musicians in Fierce Joy:

The musicians in Fierce Joy are all great friends of mine. One thing about the music business, there are great musicians who've never seen the light of day; the business is the hardest part of being a musician.

When I formed Fierce Joy, I wanted to put a great band together with guys that I love. They've all played on big records. Randy Ray Mitchell, I've known him for 20 years, he played slide guitar. I can say to him, "Hey man, play slide on this song kinda like David Linley, a Jackson Browne kind of vibe," and he'll say, "OK, no problem". The bass player, Paul Ill, is one of my favorite bass players in the world. Damon Fox is an amazing organ player. He's got all the old vintage instruments.

All the instruments on the album are from the '60s and '70s. All the guitars are old, all classic. We recorded the whole album live, played it live. We rehearsed it together as a band and cut the album in three days.

When I wanted to add an orchestra, I hired a friend of mine, a cello player named Cameron Stone who played with Tracy Chapman. He put together the string section for me. After I left Guns, I did about six film scores, so the orchestration has a very cinematic feel to it.

Everybody thought I was going to call all of my famous friends to appear on the record with me. But I didn't want to go that route. All of the people I have are all people that I have really admired for a long time and they're all just amazing at what they do. Paul Ill is one of my favorite bass players and he's played with a lot of people. Cameron Stone plays cello and he also put together a small string section for me. Lilli Haydn who has worked with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant plays violin. Randy Ray Mitchell does a great slide guitar on the record as well. Really tasty stuff. Damon Fox plays keyboards and he has all these vintage instruments that I really like such as mellotron and the like. In fact, most of the instruments on the record are classic instruments from the '60s and '70s. And I play guitar and piano and the vocals.

Being asked how it was to not play the drums:

It was really cool to not play drums because I’m not really precious about that. It’s not like I have to play drums. This particular guy that I picked, Brian McCloud, he came from that singer/songwriter school, he worked with Sheryl Crow and Linda Perry and a lot of people like that. So he was the perfect guy to bring in. I didn’t really tell him what to play.

And the name of the band:

I was the drummer for Motorhead a few years ago on a tour when Mikkey wasn't able to tour. It was so much fun to hang out with my good buddy Lemmy Kilmister. We were talking one night and he was just so appreciative about getting to play music for a living. One night he says to me (adopts British accent), "I have such a fierce joy about playing. I mean, I could be digging ditches. But instead I'm able to do this." (laughs) That phrase really struck me so later when I was thinking of names, I called him up and said "Remember when you said that "fierce joy" thing when we were on tour? I was thinking of using that for a name. Is that cool with you?" And he says, "Yeah, you can use that." So the name actually came from Lemmy.

Excerpt of review in antiMusic:

Matt's new record, Stratosphere, coming out under the name of Matt Sorum's Fierce Joy, will hit shelves on March 11 and I'm here to tell you that it is a gorgeous, fantastic, engaging piece of work. Matt steps out from behind the kit to play guitar and piano and handle lead vocals on 13 songs that will take you on a real journey.

The songs (all written by him) are all quite different from each other and Matt's voice is the real buried treasure here. It emanates a lush, soothing feeling that is like having a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato poured in your ears (OK, that's kind of stupid but you get what I'm trying to describe).


I might do a completely different thing next time. I might do something electronic. I got some synthesizers I’ve been playing around with. I like that music, too. I’ve been recording my wife’s band and they’re like MGMT meets Killers, they’ve got some synths going, it’s got a bit of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs flavor to it. I love all music, I love listening to Arcade Fire. How many bands can get away with putting out a song like “Reflektor,” it’s like eight minutes long. It’s badass.


In 2015, Matt would join the celebrity band Hollywood Vampires together with among others Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry.

Talking about touring with the band:

We had a great time getting to know each other more. I’ve known Johnny Depp for 25 years but hadn’t seen him much because of our busy schedules. And it’s the same with Joe Perry and Alice Cooper — I’ve known both guys but it’s cool to share the stage with them. I had never played with Robert Deleo — he’s an amazing bass player and very cool guy. Tommy and Bruce are super cool and great musicians as well. There is talk about trying to record some stuff at JD’s house when time permits.

By 2018, Matt was finished with the band:

I'm not going to be doing the Vampires this year, because I felt like I needed to get back into my own driver's seat. That was fun. I like hanging out with those guys and Alice Cooper is a hero of mine, so is Joe Perry and I've known Johnny Depp since the '80s so it was great to get back and talk and hang out with him. He's just a really great guy, super cool and intelligent, and good hanging out. That was fun and that's going to be a nice little memory and piece of my life.


In 2018, Matt formed Deadland Ritual with Frankie Perez, Geezer Butler, and Steve Stevens:

[I] remained friends with Frankie, loved his voice, kept playing with him in different situations. And when the situation came around, I have a charity for kids here in L.A. called Adopt the Arts. And we did a big benefit. And Geezer, I called Geezer because I’d just played with him with Alice Cooper in the Hollywood Vampires. We did a gig here at the Roxy and Geezer got up and we played. I think we played a Hendrix tune, Manic Depression, and it was just great. And then I think I got his number, “Hey, Geezer, could I have your number?” (laughs) So then I called, and we went up for my Adopt the Arts thing and we played War Pigs, because he knows that one. And we all know it as well. We love it. So we said, “Can we please play that song?” And he obliged and said yes. And it was Steve, Frankie, and myself playing that night. And I remember it just felt explosive. It was like, just we all looked at each other and we were like, “That was really cool”. And at that point, time went on and we started talking about doing a project. And I called Geezer and I sent him a demo that we had, another song that we haven't put out yet that's great. And he liked it and that was pretty much how it started. And then we got together and started writing songs.
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Post by Soulmonster Tue Apr 09, 2024 12:42 pm


As discussed in previous chapters, Axl had at different times considered releasing a solo album. Why then did he decide to continue with Guns N' Roses when the personell had changed so significantly since Appetite For Destruction and the Use Your Illusions?

Chris Vrenna would talk about discussing this with Axl after Matt left and state that Axl explained the reasons by not wanting to throw away a valuable brand that he had managed to establish:

After [Matt] left I even had a talk with Axl one time like, "You know, you're changing the sound of the band and it's really just you and we're all new dudes and we all come from cool places. But have you ever thought of just saying, f--- Guns N Roses. That name is dead. The band is over. We are now called 'blank.'"

And he goes, "Yeah you're not the first person who's told me I should probably do that. But Guns N' Roses is an international brand name, and to start over when I can just use the brand name that everybody knows, I can't sacrifice the branding that's already been established."

And I got his argument for not changing the name. But I also firmly believed in what I was saying. If Axl Rose came out and said, "Look, man. Everybody's quit the band. If I call this Guns N' Roses you guys are going to laugh at me," which a lot of people did. Because it's not what we know as Guns N Roses, so call it something new. You're Axl Rose, it will be big and people will know that new logo and that new name and that new whatever.

Moby would be clear that Axl didn't consider Guns N' Roses his solo band, but wanted the entire band to contribute:

I don't think this new music is just a vehicle for him as a solo performer. He wants this to be a band where everyone contributes. On the music I've heard, you can hear everyone's distinctive voice coming through. Honestly, they're the nicest bunch of people I've ever worked with.

And an anonymous source "close to the band":

You were talking about the way Axl tarnished his image. I think it's consistently the more interesting figures in music, or in cultural in general - they tend to be ambiguous. They're creative people who want to explore other elements of themselves. Sometimes they make mistakes. But I'd much rather a public figure make mistakes than just end up making Phil Collins-type records one after another.

Axl's decision to continue Guns N' Roses would also come in the face of harsh critique from the media:

While rumors of a new Guns N' Roses album coming sometime this year abound, fans can only speculate what the Big Return will be like. Right now, the album exists only in Axl Rose's bony cerebral orb, and considering the amount of gray matter taken up by his ego and advanced dementia, it will be a major miracle if we see a new Guns N' Roses album by the time the last bottle of champagne celebrating the new millennium has been uncorked.

In late 1999, Axl would finally shed some lights on the process, and remark that a change in lineup was overdue and imply that other band members hadn't been interested in figuring out how a modern GN'R record should sound:

So once it was really understood by me that I'm really not going to be able to make the right old-style Guns N' Roses record, and if I try to take into consideration what Guns did on "Appetite," which was to kind of be a melting pot of a lot things that were going on, plus use past influences, I could make the right record if I used my influences from what I've been listening to that everybody else is listening to out there. So in that sense, I think it is like old Guns N' Roses as far as, like, the spirit and the attempt to throw all kinds of different styles together.


To be honest, it was a long time for me since Guns N' Roses as the old lineup had been fun, and the new guys have been a breath of fresh air. People are really excited about what we got. They're really proud of it, and it was, again, it was just time. I'm not trying to put the other guys down. It's like, I think people really wanted to do different things other than try to figure out the right record here for Guns N' Roses. But at the same time, Guns N' Roses was a big thing. How do you walk away from that? It's a very complicated thing, I think, for everybody involved.

After having talked to Axl in June 2000, Gilby would indicate that this could be the case:

[Axl] talked about the new record and the new band. He was very excited. He said he's making the record he's always wanted to make and it sounds phenomenal.

Axl would also imply he felt obligated to keep the band going:

What we're trying to do is build Guns N`Roses back into something. This wasn't Guns N`Roses, but I feel it is Guns N`Roses now. […] It is something I lived by before these guys were in it. And there were other people in Guns N`Roses before them, you know. I contemplated letting go of that, but it doesn't feel right in any way. I am not the person who chose to try to kill it and walk away.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

It is the old story that you are told when you're a kid: 'Don't buy a car with your friends.' Nobody could get the wheel. Everybody had the wheel. And when you have a bunch of guys, I'm telling you, you are driving the car off the cliff. The reality is, go buy those guys' solo records. There are neat ideas and parts there, but they wouldn't have worked for a Guns N' Roses record.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

[being asked if he ever thought about playing under his own name and not Guns N' Roses]: Sometimes. But it’s more important to do the Guns N’ Roses band, and I felt that, you know, Guns N’ Roses has an important place in many fans’ hearts and I personally want to be able to try to live up to that for them. And I’m lucky to find people who wanted to help me do that.

Axl would also express being hurt with people who didn't have any faith in him continuing with the band:

There is the desire definitely to do it, to get over some of the hump of the people that are trying to keep you in the past. There are people that I thought I was friends with who are all of a sudden in the magazines, going, 'They'll never get anywhere without Slash.' Thanks a lot. Like I made this happen, you know. I basically figured out a way to save my own ass. There was only one way out, and I found it. Otherwise, you know, I believe my career was just going down the toilet. I figured out how to save my ass and then tried to bring everybody with me.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999

In 2002 he would go in more detail:

If one were to say well then why not do it now [either work on the material written while Slash was in the band or reunite with previous band members] there are several reasons.1) My band, too much time, too much effort and hardship. Confidence in our material. Excitement in watching this grow and being a part of the whole experience. 2) Money. You get what you play for and nothing's free. Can you cover the cost of this venture and its financial potential that I am just supposed to walk away from and for what? To where? I do not believe in any true effort or potential regarding most of my past relationship from the other party or parties, creatively or emotionally. Without that the money from a reunion doesn't mean much and though I'm sure the alumni is up for it for me it would be as or more lacking than it was during our attempts to work together previously. As a friend and former friend of Slash said to me in regards to working with Slash, "you can only do so many pull ups." This is my shot and you can root for me to fail all you want, but there is simply way too much put into this to cater to someone else's selfish needs and destroy peoples dreams I truly care about including my own. Not too mention that though I've fought what feels like the heart of the nature of this entire industry, my own people would probably eat me alive if I opted for a lesser course. 3) Slash has lied about nearly everything and anything to nearly everyone and anyone. It's who he is. It's what he does. Duff's support for the man though understandable in one sense in regard to his circumstances, is inexcusable, and furthers my distance from the two of them. For me Matt doesn't figure into the equation and for as much as I was a friend to him he was incapable of reciprocating and life is much better without such an obvious albatross. Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking anything away from the alumni in regard to their prior performances on record or touring to support the albums. I know how I was treated and more importantly I know how they treated others during both of these things, it's not a way anyone should be forced or even asked to work. And for the record I'm referring to Slash and Matt in regards to their actions and behavior, Duff played more of a supporting role (for reasons I've never understood). For the fans to attempt to condemn me to relationships even only professional with any of these men is a prison sentence and something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'd say my parole is nearly over. I'm practically a free man and if you don't like it you'll have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

In 2008, Axl would talk more on this issue:

Why keep the name? I’m literally the last man standing. Not bragging, not proud. It’s been a fucking nightmare but I didn’t leave Guns and I didn’t drive others out. With Slash it’s been nothing more than pure strategy and saving face while manipulating the public like he used to me. I earned the right to protect my efforts and to be able to take advantage of our contract I’d worked hard for where Slash’s exact words were that he didn’t care. I get that some like a different version or lineup the same way some like a specific team line up or a particular year of a specific car but because you and I are getting played I’m supposed to throw the baby out with the bath water?

There’s been a lot of pressure to go with using my name (all external) but that never felt right to me for this band and the parameters in regard to this music have lots more to do with the mindset of Guns than something else.

As far as a new name…this is who I am not whatever else someone else thinks of. I don’t see myself as solely Guns but I do see myself as the only one from the past making the effort to take it forward whether anyone approves or not and giving beyond what many would or fight for to do so. The name helped the music more than you could ever know and I’m not talking in regards to studios or budgets I mean it as in being pushed by something and having to get the music to a place where I can find my peace regardless of what anyone says. And that wasn’t fully achieved until the last round of mastering and swapping out a version of a track at the pressing plant that had gotten inadvertently changed at the last minute.

Alan Niven would scornfully comment on this:

Everyone has the right to make the music they want to with whomever they wish. But just be up ’n’ up about it. All this ‘last man standing’ stuff from Axl is horseshit. He wore us all out. Drove us all off. And for a personality like Axl, only solo work makes sense. If he wants to be Elton Rose then more power to him. He has the talent. But don’t pretend that one person alone represents the idea of Guns N’ Roses. That band, in my opinion, played its last show on April 7, 1990. Farm Aid, Indianapolis.

In addition to these personal reasons, Axl would also point out that the industry expected him to release music under the Guns N' Roses name:

Also the name was what the industry wanted as well and the burden of keeping it was something to endure in order to make the record. After the monies invested by old Geffen (that were decisions made that have worked out for me but I'm on record as having opposed) dropping the name became suicide.

I wasn't legally obligated [to continue with Guns N' Roses] but we probably would have gotten dropped [by Geffen] and I would have been driven into bankruptcy.

And that he wouldn't buckle because of any public demand caused by a former band member's lies (extremely likely to be Slash he is referring to):

That said because someone leaves the shop I started in which I still legally have the rights to the name I started it with… makes up a bunch of nonsense to win public and legal support in an effort to get whatever it is they want at mine and the public’s expense… I don’t feel any reason whatsoever I should have to throw what I’ve not only worked for but fought and suffered for away because some hurt, angry, betrayed, misguided and lied to people with a lynch mob mentality, joined by others who could care less (especially in the media), enjoying the controversy and hate, choose one over the other regardless of what’s right because they want what they want. And you can still prefer then as opposed to now and no one’s arguing your right to do so.

And that he hadn't any other choice:

It wasn’t so much that it was a good course or that if looking back I could do something differently it’s that for better or worse it was the only course and had I not done this Slash would have succeeded in destroying me publicly much more than he, others or myself have so far and I would have gone bankrupt.

One man forced me to work with others. One man forced me to work with others to survive. And I can't say what would have happened on different terms. I say yes because it was agreed from day one. You have to realize we were on the street. It wasn't the first band. Whoever thought of the name kept the name unless he gave it up or moved on. Everyone was always having a new version of whatever their band name was. I wouldn't have thought of using L.A. GUNS or any of Slash's band names. We all knew that we could break up the next week. You had to have that stuff somewhat sorted between each other going in. It was a deal that we made. The issue becomes the value or perceived value now and the fans attachment and or acceptance. Really weren't things we consciously considered even during the breakup.

And talk about his commitment to the band:

As for selling more records it’d be nice to be in a position to possibly do so at some point but that’s never been my base reasoning. I would think it fits into not feeling I shouldn’t be forced to throw away possible opportunities in a hostile attempted takeover. I believe I should fight for Guns in a patriotic sense or sense of loyalty or honor. Not just my vision or direction for Guns as those things can evolve and you can make forward moving positive compromises by what others bring to the table but I mean more as in what principles I feel were important to Guns in regard to an overall commitment to the music.

And what "Guns N' Roses" means to him:

I don't exactly know what GUNS N' ROSES is, but I know it's my job in the sense of an obligation and I'm good with that.

He would also mention that with the name came responsibilities and public expectations that made them work harder:

It helped us get here but most of that was with Universal and the positives of that wore off years ago until recently and after the initial run it’ll be about the music and us. Then it’s about touring and there’s not a question the name’s helped at most everywhere but not so much the states. With that it comes down to the strength or quality of the performance. Having the name kicks your ass every night as it’s not some side project or something u can fuck off in. You don’t deliver u get your ass handed to u. So it makes us work much harder than I feel we would outside of it and it hasn’t been too ugly yet.

Keeping the band name alive was very important. Not out of ego and I don't know exactly why in the sense of putting into words, but I think it has something to do with the global effect it has and how GUNS surviving in some way is sometimes inspiring to others around the world and in that there's a sense of obligation.

I don't regret keeping the name though I wish more were supportive or at least not as aggressively opposed.

As for what could make him change the name of the band:

As to what would possibly make me change the name would be some form of evolving that I don’t feel we’ve reached yet and not in any way consciously trying to at this time. It’s really hard to say. I’d have to feel it was right for me and those involved and whatever we’re doing at that time.
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