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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2010.08.05 - SuicideGirls - Steven Adler: My Appetite For Destruction

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2010.08.05 - SuicideGirls - Steven Adler: My Appetite For Destruction Empty 2010.08.05 - SuicideGirls - Steven Adler: My Appetite For Destruction

Post by Blackstar Tue Aug 24, 2021 5:55 am

Steven Adler: My Appetite For Destruction

In 1988 when Guns N' Roses debut album, Appetite For Destruction, topped the Billboard 200 chart and the band's seminal single "Sweet Child O' Mine" did the same on Billboard's Hot 100, being a member of the hard rocking Los Angeles band should have been a dream come true. But for the band's drummer, Steven Adler, his fantasy reality was already turning into a nightmare. Guns N' Roses muse, "Mr. Brownstone," a.k.a. heroin had moved in, and by 1990 it had robbed Adler of his career, health and wealth.

But the seeds of Adler's destruction were sown long before Guns N' Roses was born. A quintessential problem child, Adler was thrown out of his home by his mom and step-dad when he was just 11-years old. Lack of proper parental supervision aided and abetted his underage activities at the clubs that gave him his music education. It also facilitated sexual abuse at age 14 - something Adler was unable to deal with or verbalize for the next three decades.

Having served his apprenticeship on the Sunset Strip, Adler and his childhood friend Slash hooked up with Axl Rose in 1985. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan completed what is now considered the classic Guns N' Roses lineup. Under the stewardship of manager Vicki Hamilton, Guns N' Roses signed a marquee deal with Geffen Records, which was also home to the band's idols Aerosmith.

With the release of their first studio album, Guns N' Roses transcended the record sales of their heroes. Appetite For Destruction went on to become the best-selling debut album of all-time worldwide, selling over 28 million copies around the globe. The quintet followed up with G N' R Lies in 1988. It would be the last complete Guns N' Roses album Adler would perform on. He was conspicuous by his absence during Guns N' Roses' 1989 American Music Awards performance (for which Don Henley subbed). A disastrous appearance at Farm Aid the following year would prove to be Adler's last with the band. He recorded one final track, "Civil War," which was included on Guns N' Roses' fourth studio album Use Your Illusion II (which was released as a companion their third, Use Your Illusion I in 1991).

Adler was fired by his Guns N' Roses' bandmates in 1990. With the absence of a reason to get up in the morning, his substance abuse spiraled. Adler's life was punctuated by a series of car crashes, accidental ODs, and suicide attempts. In 1996 one such incident led to a stay in hospital during which Adler slipped into a coma. He awoke to find one side of his face paralyzed due to a suspected stroke, which resulted in a permanent speech impediment. However, unfazed by his near-death experience, Adler continued on his path of destruction.

Adler credits Dr. Drew Pinsky with changing the direction of his life. He appeared on the second season of VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Though he's succumbed to several, perhaps inevitable, relapses - most notably while appearing on the Celebrity Rehab spin-off series Sober House - Adler nevertheless is proud of his progress.

In order to move forward, Adler has spent a lot of time coming to terms with his past, which he has chronicled in a new memoir entitled My Appetite For Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N' Roses. In the book, Adler is upfront about the part he played in his own downfall, but also makes it clear when and how he thinks those around him may have given him an added push. SuicideGirls called up Adler to find out more.

Nicole Powers: Congratulations on the book. It's a riveting read.

Steven Adler: You read it then?

NP: Absolutely. Cover to cover.

SA: I thank you for enjoying it. You know, I show that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I wasn't out to bash anybody or hurt anybody's feelings. All the people that I talk about, I love them. I'm so thankful that they're a part of my life, [they're] just wonderful people. I was doing interviews this weekend and a lot of people have been asking me, "If you had an opportunity, you know, to put Axl in his place..." And there's no place to put Axl. The only place I want to put Axl is in my arms and give him a hug. He's been so generous and loving to me.

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.

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.

NP: It really shows that addiction can be a worse handicap than any physical one. When you don't have your mind, you don't have anything.

SA: You have nothing. I was on the top of the world...I lost everything because of drugs but that doesn't mean I can't get everything back, and that's what I'm doing now. I've got a great new band, Adler's Appetite, and we have a new single, "It's Good To Be Alive." I'm touring now. It just shows, me giving a little effort to take care of myself, I can do anything again.

NP: The last time we saw you was on VH1's Sober House when you'd very much relapsed. How did you get back from that?

SA: Well, as you recall, I got arrested on the show. I went back the next day and they showed me the film of how I looked and acted. I was devastated. It crushed me that I looked so terrible and that I was such an asshole. And it's all because of the drugs. It made me see. I think everybody who has somebody in their lives that has a problem with drugs or alcohol, they should videotape them and show it to them the next day. I guarantee you'll change your mind on what you're doing with your life. I was devastated. I don't want to ever look like that again.

NP: Did that give you a new perspective on how you must have appeared to the other members of Guns N' Roses back in the day?

SA: Exactly. Exactly. Working with Dr. Drew I learned so much about myself and about life. It's been nothing but a pleasure and an honor having him in my life. Also, in recovery there are relapses. I relapsed a couple of times in the last two or three years. The last time I relapsed was five months ago. I had to start all over again five months ago.

Out of all the drugs that I've done in my life, I never did that OxyContin stuff. And I was at the wrong place accidentally at the wrong time and somebody gave me a couple of those, and then three weeks later my wife shows me a picture of me passed out in the hallway of the house. I saw that and it reminded me, it brought me right back to Sober House. I called Dr. Drew and Slash up and I said, "I got myself into this predicament and I need some help. Can you do something for me?" He said, "When can you go into detox?" And I said, "Right now!" And see me, just showing an effort to take care of myself, I have everybody backing me.

NP: You have a good team around you these days?

SA: Yes. But you know why I have a good team? Because they're seeing that I care and that I'm trying. You know, if I put in one percent of the effort [I put] into getting and doing the drugs [into my career], Donald Trump would be working for me. It's such a waste of life.

NP: What prompted you to write the book?

SA: Well, I hail Dr. Drew, because he has opened my eyes to things. What I wanted to do with this book, I wrote [about] everything in my life that bothered me and hurt me, and when I get off tour in two months I'm going to build a bonfire and I'll take the book and I'm going to throw it in the fire and I'm going to leave the past behind. Maybe in fifteen years from now I'll write a new book. Maybe I'll have a crazy interesting life again. But for now, I want to keep that in the past. I can't change the past. And with the band, we're brothers. We're always going to be brothers. And what do brothers do? They fight with each other.

NP: You hurt the people closest to you.

SA: You might not like each other all the time, but you're always going to love each other. And what the five of us have, no one - not even Axl and his lawyers - can take away. We have something special, and if we got into a room together again I would hug all those guys and tell them how much I love them. I'm hoping that Slash and Axl and Duff and Izzy read this book, but I want especially Axl to read it because I want him to see, maybe it'll open his eyes to what a special thing we do have. More than anything I would love to do something with those guys because I feel like I want to finish what I started with them. We could be bigger than ever.

NP: The Guns N' Roses legacy shouldn't end with Chinese Democracy.

SA: That's not Guns N' Roses. He should have called that W, dash, A, dash, R. W-Axl-Rose, W-A-R. I think it would have worked out much better for him. Because Guns N' Roses is five guys. The last song I recorded was "Civil War" and tell me if I'm wrong, but I know I'm not, after that song it's a completely different band.

NP: Right.

SA: It is so hard to find four or five people that you can get in one room and everybody has the same feeling, the same direction, the same love, the same desire. Where everybody knows what everybody is going to do before they're going to do it. That's what makes something special. There's millions of great musicians, millions of bands, but there's only those rare few that are special. There the Pink Floyds, there's the Led Zeppelins, there's the Queens, the Aerosmiths, Guns N' Roses.

NP: That's the tragedy of it. When four or five guys get in a room and something special happens it often happens when they're so young, and it seems so easy - because when it's right it is easy - and they don't realize what they had until they don't have it anymore.

SA: Exactly, and that's the shame of life - but that's life. I try to learn from others, but being on drugs you can't learn nothing. It's such a haze and a fog, and reality's gone. There's no reality. But I wish I'd have known then what I know now.

NP: When did you last see Axl?

SA: About three years ago in Las Vegas. He was doing a show there so I wanted to come and maybe, hopefully try to get to see him. So I went to the show. It was at the Hard Rock. I walk in and a hundred people realized I was there and came and wanted autographs. So Axl's manager, he comes over and says, "I don't want Axl to get upset. I think maybe you should leave." I said, "No problem. Tell Axl that I love him, and that I miss him, and that he looks great."

So I go back home, I'm opening my door and my phone's ringing. I answer and it's [Axl's manager]. He says, "Stevie, I'm so sorry. Come back. Axl wants to talk to you." So we hung out 'til six in the morning drinking a three thousand dollar bottle of tequila. We talked and we apologized, we made amends with each other. It was great. Nobody blamed anybody.

NP: But it seems like it's time for another meeting because a lot has happened since then. You've been through Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, and you've written the book, so you've made a huge mental progression in those three years.

SA: I've grown. I've grown so much and matured so much in the last three years. And maybe it wasn't time for us to get back together then, but now is now, then is then. And yes, you are right, we are way overdue. If I could trick the four other guys to just get them in one room, I know we would never separate again.

NP: And Chinese Democracy must have been a humbling experience, so I would imagine that Axl is in a very different place now than he was three years ago.

SA: Well I hope so. Because if that was my record that I took fourteen years to make and it didn't do anything, I would be real devastated. And like I say, I really want him to read my book. I mean, did you realize what a special thing we have?

NP: You know, I did. Ironically, when I first got to LA, my first landlady was your old manager, Vicki Hamilton.

SA: Oh, no way! I love Vicki. Man, I was so upset and hurt that the guys did that to her. And the reason they did it to her was because - well it was Alan Niven [the personal band manager assigned by Geffen] - but the guys in the band were all, "Well she's a girl. She can't do the same thing a guy can do." I was like, "That's bullshit. That's bullshit." Look at Sharon Osbourne. I mean they're rare, but [Vicki's] the one that got us the record deal. How could you say that she can't do stuff for us, when she's the one that got us the record deal? And a great record deal. Not just a here's a couple of hundred bucks record deal, a you guys can have a career if you want record deal. I think it was a shame.

NP: I wonder if your career would have been different if she'd continued to have been involved. Because she wasn't one of the sycophantic guys, she was a mother type, and she would have told you how it was and bitch-slapped you for getting into shit you shouldn't have been getting into.

SA: Exactly. I believe that too, I believe that too. I wish the best for her, I want the best for her and I love her very much. I'm so thankful that she was a part of my life.

I just want to make sure, because I'm on the inside looking out and you're on the outside looking in, what did you get out of the book?

NP: Well everyone buys into the rock & roll dream, but your story is a rock & roll nightmare. Obviously you guys had this wonderful moment, when Guns N' Roses was Guns N' Roses, but for the five years of light you've had 20 years of darkness. It's a book that everyone needs to read before they join a band - or before they destroy a band.

SA: Or themselves and their careers. Thank you. I'm glad you got that out of it. I achieved my goal.

NP: You wrote the book with Lawrence J. Spagnola. How long did it take and how did you work together?

SA: Not long at all. We had probably ten meetings. I would have him meet me, we'd go for lunch and we'd talk just like me and you.

NP: I would imagine they were long lunches.

SA: No, no. I'm a pretty simple kind of guy. I just laid it all out.

NP: Was anyone else involved? Did Lawrence talk to any friends or members of your family?

SA: Well my friend Steve Sprite, somebody who I've known for twenty-five years, a wonderful gentleman [was involved]. One rare person who never took anything from me, or wanted anything from me. He was my friend. He was there to help me. He was with me through so many experiences, through so many rehabs and jails and car accidents. He wasn't doing drugs with me, he was kind of just there watching because he cared about me...So he has a lot of the memories that reminded me of those times, so I can remember them and tell them how I saw them. Or during those times when I was passed out on the street and had no idea what was going on...he was there to remind me.

NP: What's the reaction been from the people featured in the book?

SA: I haven't heard nothing from anybody.

NP: That's surprising.

SA: It's still early. It's only been out for four days. But I'm really happy that you took the time to talk to me and you got what you got out of the book. I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to do.

NP: I know that you've been doing motivational work with some of Dr. Drew's patients, but I also think that you should do that with kids who are wanting to start bands.

SA: Well actually that's in the making right now. I did a book signing in New York the other day and a principle from a school came down and brought his daughter...He came up to me and he said, "I would love for you to come down to the school and talk to the kids." And I said, "I would love to." That was an honor that he thought I could help somebody. And that's also what recovery is about, helping other people - it helps me.

NP: Because addiction is a very selfish disease.

SA: Yep.

NP: I think it's so important that as part of the recovery process people reach out and help others, and realize that there are a lot of people that are a lot worse off.

SA: Than I am. Oh yeah. But you don't think that because you're in your own little world. You're the most unhappiest person and nobody is born unhappier than you. But like at the beginning of the book where I talk about the sexual abuse when I was a young teenager...

NP: I was going to ask you about that. You kind of just brushed through it in the book. It must have been such a devastating thing for you to have carried with you. You didn't even bring it up on Celebrity Rehab, which is very telling, because it's often not what you say but what you don't say.

SA: Because I wasn't capable to say it out loud yet when I was doing that show. My home base is doing Celebrity Rehab, starting that. Then I grew, and the more I gave myself time to rest my body and to feed myself. I gained thirty pounds doing that show. I was that skinny and that beat up. You can't take thirty-five years of drug and alcohol abuse and think your body is going to be cured in a week. That's why when I got arrested, much as I hated that girl for doing it, it was the best thing that happened to me. Because I had to stay in rehab or I was going to go to jail for a year. And I've been to jail, and it ain't a good place. I wouldn't want to go back.

I was forced to have my body rest, and eat and let my brain and my body heal. The body is very powerful. I tried to kill myself many times and it is difficult to kill yourself. It's easier to cripple yourself. I got a stroke out of it - it's hard to kill yourself. But all your body needs to heal is rest and food, and that's all rehab really is. Don't get me wrong, it's easier said than done. When you're all whacked out on the drugs and you go into some place, you don't want to be there. The whole thing with recovery is you've just got to give yourself time. Anybody who reads this who has a problem, just go to rehab. Just go in and do detox. Just give yourself a chance. Go in, sleep, that's all you have to do. Sleep and eat and listen to a few wise words of wisdom.

NP: It's kind of like having the mom you didn't have as a kid. Having someone to cook you dinners, make sure you sleep and give you some tough love and wisdom.

SA: Yes. That's all positive stuff right there. Because when I was doing drugs, and I know I can't speak for everyone, I always have to speak for myself, but you don't eat. When I was doing coke I ate Ding Dongs, tacos, crap, candy, soda. You don't eat vegetables and pasta and chicken or steak, you eat crap. Like I said, I gained thirty pounds in four weeks. Now I'm finally at the weight I'm supposed to be. I am still healing. It takes time. Thirty-five years of beating yourself up, it takes time to heal.

NP: Much of your recovery process in Celebrity Rehab was about learning to deal with your relationship with your mother. Where are you at with that right now?

SA: I love my mother and I love my family. I took care of them and supported them, but right now I have to focus on me. I have to take care of myself. Then maybe in the future we can get together and have a relationship. But I'm forty-five years old and I need to get my stuff together.

NP: Towards the end of the book you say, "Right now I hate the fucking bitch. I am furious with the way she's treated me, but that's another chapter - maybe a whole other book."

SA: Well I've grown since then. I've grown up mentally and spiritually since then. I've had a wonderful life. There's been some dark times but I've brought it on myself. Nobody brought it onto me. Everything that happens in anybody's life, you have to blame yourself. You have to praise yourself for the good things that you did, and you've got to blame yourself for the bad things that you did.

I don't blame that older teenager or that older guy who sexually abused me, but like you say, you didn't hear me talk about it on the show because I wasn't ready to. But I've grown since then. I thought if I said those words out loud - that I was sexually abused by two older guys - that I would feel worse than I felt and that people would think bad of me. But it's the complete opposite. Once I said it out loud, working with Dr. Drew and Dr. [Charles] Sophy and talking about it, and talking with people who had the same experience, I realized I'm not the only one. Just saying the words out loud to somebody was such a relief to get it out of my system. Now it's in my past. I'm moving on. I told you, that book of mine is going to light a fire. I got a new chapter in my life to deal with, and I'm thankful for what I had.

https://www.suicidegirls.com/girls/nicole_powers/blog/2680265/steven-adler-my-appetite-for-destruction/
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