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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.


2020.10.18 - 2020'd Podcast - Interview with David Abbruzzese

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2020.10.18 - 2020'd Podcast - Interview with David Abbruzzese Empty 2020.10.18 - 2020'd Podcast - Interview with David Abbruzzese

Post by Blackstar Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:11 am

Transcription of the GN'R related parts:


Benny Goodman: So I gotta ask you, I’m sure it’s a trigger point. I feel like this is fight club, because I know multiple people that have played in the band Guns N’ Roses.

David Abbruzzese: Oh yeah.

Goodman: And you played with them for, I want to say what, a half decade or whatever. And there’s nothing. There’s nothing - other than lots of internet tapes or whatever, I’m sure - to show what the fuck was going on with Guns, Axl Rose... What the heck happened?

Abbruzzese: It was fascinating, man. I’ll actually... I’ll tell you.

Goodman: Oh my God. Thank you.

Abbruzzese: My lawyer and his lawyer were the same lawyer, blah blah blah... He had his guru looking at my pictures for a few years, I guess the time was right, so he asked my lawyer to ask me if I was interested in coming out. Then we spoke on the phone four or five nights a week for a couple of hours at a pop.

Goodman: What’s a phone call like with Axl Rose? What does he talk about?

Abbruzzese: We did that for months on end.

Goodman: But what’s that like? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand it at all.

Abbruzzese: It was cool. I mean, actually I considered him a friend. He was a fascinating dude, fun to talk to on the phone. I don’t think he did it very often back then - I don’t know if he does now. But it was cool. It was interesting. I felt good enough about it and excited about what he wanted to do with Guns N’ Roses. It was real intriguing and incredibly challenging, because he wanted the band to be bigger than it was, and it was like, “Wow. Okay. It’s gonna take some work.” But the band that was there when I showed up, like my audition - I just thought, you know, I’d heard these songs enough on the radio. I didn’t really like them that much – just like the Pearl Jam stuff; if I weren’t in the band I wouldn’t have listened to it. But I just figured I’d get it because, you know, as soon as that guitar part (?) - and I’m like, “Okay, great.” I bought a cowbell and everything.    

Goodman: “It needs more cowbell, David!” (laughs)

Abbruzzese: I got there and Axl came in late, and then he just said – you know, this after we’d gotten to know each other fairly well. He came and told some jokes and then he-

Goodman: Wait, what’s an Axl Rose joke? Do you remember an Axl Rose joke? Like, how does he break the ice?

Abbruzzese: No, I just remember that he was looking at me like this and he said, “I noticed you laughed at all my jokes.” The room got silent like the air left the room, the huge room. And I just said, “I don’t want to get fired.”


Siobhan Cronin: So honest. I love it.

Abbruzzese: That broke the ice and then he said, “So why don’t you and Duff run down these songs?” Oh shit! “Just bass and drums.”

Goodman: (Laughs) Oh God.

Abbruzzese: So we played and it was cool. But yeah, I expected to hear some of those guitar parts that were telling me what to do. But it worked out. It was really good. Then we started writing music that was nothing like Guns N’ Roses. It was me and Pod Boy doing a double drum thing, and guitarist from Nine Inch Nails, Robin Finck... Yeah, I mean the band was insane, but it certainly wouldn’t have been Guns N’ Roses.  

Goodman: You gathered like 600 hours of tape of this that one day could surface? Like, when Axl is not here anymore it could be like a Prince situation?

Abbruzzese: No, there’s no way in hell that Axl would ever let anything I was a part of surface.

Goodman: No, I’m saying, like, when it’s all over. Like a Prince situation, where Prince goes...

Abbruzzese: No, no, no. I bet if you mentioned my name you’d probably get fired.

Goodman: Why? So wait a minute. Is he triggered by you? Because most people - if you, say, talk to Bumblefoot about Guns N’ Roses, he’s just-

Abbruzzese: I don’t know. I hope he’s not triggered by me. I mean, I wish our relationship would have continued. But it was just where I was at the time, having gone through... You know, it was a really intense thing having my manager in the band getting fired; that was so weird. And then-

Goodman: So wait a minute. Your manager got fired? Like, wait-

Abbruzzese: No. When I got fired from Pearl Jam, my manager just disappeared. You know, it was like this huge wall came up.  

Goodman: Oh. Yeah.

Abbruzzese: And so, thinking about entering back into that arena - like, okay, the other biggest band in the world - first thing is talking to the manager and him telling me “Well, you can’t talk to Axl. You’ve got to talk to me, and then I talk to Axl and he tells me, and then I talk...” and I was like, “eww”. So I got Axl’s phone number and I called him up. That was really funny.


Goodman: Well, can we relive that moment? Like, ring-ring, David is calling Axl. “Hi, Axl Rose here. What’s going on? Who is this?”

Abbruzzese: Well, that wasn’t it (laughs). Not even close.

Goodman: How the fuck you got his number?

Abbruzzese: His personal assistant - well, I got the number and, you know, good luck from the manager. Then I called and his assistant answered. I said, “Hi, it’s Dave Abbruzzese calling for Axl.” And it was just silence. She stuttered a little bit and said “Uh, hold on.” So I waited, you know, five minutes, ten minutes or so (laughs). And then it was like [in anxious deep voice] “Hello!" like, "Why are you calling me?!” (laughs). I said, “Hey Axl, it’s Dave. I wanted to see what was up. So are you gonna play some music?” And it was about 20 minutes later that it felt like he eased up and he wasn’t afraid anymore.

Goodman: So do you think he had appreciation for the fact that nobody ever says anything to him and maybe, like, you just busted his balls a little bit, like, “Give me that motherfucker’s number!”

Abbruzzese: Yeah. I was friendlier than that, but yeah, I think at first he was like, okay. But I think we just got along so well. You know, it was easy. Then one day he told me that he trusted me to - he was the captain of the ship and he wanted to go down below and go to sleep, and he wanted me to take the boat. (?)

Goodman (talks over): So is he really a vampire? Is that what he’s saying? That, like, he goes to sleep? Does he sleep in like a vampire coffin and then you go right into the iceberg like the Titanic?

Abbruzzese: All I know is he gets pissed and yells at people on the phone.


Abbruzzese: But he started asking me about white leather, if I’d be into it, and then... (laughs).


Cory Paza: You look like you have strong opinions about white leather.

Abbruzzese: Well, I was just thinking maybe we’d make a record before we decided what I was going to be fucking wearing. You know what I mean?

Siobhan Cronin: So interesting.

Abbruzzese: Plus I wasn’t that interested in what he wanted me to wear, actually (laughs).

Siobhan Cronin: It was interesting that you mentioned he said he wanted to make the band bigger than what it was. What do you think he meant by that? You know, in terms of image or, like, reaching a different audience, or the type of music. I think that’s interesting.

Abbruzzese: I think he wanted to make a record and have an experience where he could look to the other guys and just go, “Pooh.” You know, “See, I told you I could.”

Siobhan Cronin: Uh-hah. It’s so interesting what drives people.

Abbruzzese: Yeah, it was interesting. It was a trip. But he was really trying hard and he was at the rehearsals... yeah. But it was really a strange way of doing things, that whole trip. He wanted to just go down to Rio and, you know, “We could just go and play for a week, and make”-

Goodman: Wait, you played the Rock in Rio festival?

Abbruzzese: “... and go make 25 million.” It didn’t matter. We could just go play as Guns N’ Roses for a week and that’s when I started thinking “hmm”.

Goodman: I think I have that bootleg. I gotta go back and listen to it. That’s you that played in the first Rock in Rio?

Abbruzzese: No, no, no. No, I’m saying he was saying we could just go down and do that.

Goodman: Oh. Yeah, yeah.

Abbruzzese: And it just started hitting me really weird. Then the manager told me just to hang in there, because eventually he would be tired of it and hire the rest of the guys back, and it would be my end. That’s when I said I had to go.

Siobhan Cronin: Interesting. So you feel like he was motivated more by fame, maybe, than the music at the time?

Abbruzzese: No. Axl is just Axl. He’s a star. He’s who he is. I think that just the whole behind-the-scenes, how his manager told me just to hang in there, because Axl’s gonna burn out of this idea and then get Slash and everybody back, and that will be my end, and just like that kind of... It just hit me wrong. You know, when Pearl Jam - when we were first going through, it was like a really close-knit team, the crew and everybody. And yeah, I just can’t.

Goodman: When did you start getting a strange-

Abbruzzese: I can’t see doing it in any other way.


Goodman: Was [Eddie Vedder] stage two or stage three lead singer’s disease when you got fired?

Abbruzzese: (Laughs) Last time I saw him-

Goodman: And where was Axl Rose, by the way, when you saw him? Was he stage 4b by the time?  

Abbruzzese: Axl... No, he was – he didn’t have his hair plucked yet, so...


Goodman: So he was in remission.

Abbruzzese: He was in remission. He was in his dungaree jacket phase.


Cory Paza: It’s a good phase.

Abbruzzese: It’s amazing. There’s so many amazing things, like the guy who Axl hired to put together this unbelievable guitar rig, because he decided he wanted to play guitar or something. It was Billy, who gave me a cassette and he’s like, “These are my songs. I’m trying to put together this thing, it’s called A Perfect Circle,” blah blah blah. So all these, like, it was really an interesting time, all the stuff that came out of that little Guns N’ Roses camp thing. Because, you know, when I left, Josh Freese came in and then Josh started working with Billy, and then the Perfect Circle thing formed and... Really cool stuff came out of all that. Then you go, “Oh, oh, oh.”

Goodman: And then Chinese Democracy.


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