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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!
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2010.10.15 - Crawdaddy! Magazine - The Ballad Of Steven Adler

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2010.10.15 - Crawdaddy! Magazine - The Ballad Of Steven Adler Empty 2010.10.15 - Crawdaddy! Magazine - The Ballad Of Steven Adler

Post by Blackstar Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:08 am

The Ballad Of Steven Adler: On Recovery, GN’R Reunion Rumors, and Eating Well

By Andrew Lau

History has been a cruel mistress for former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler. Getting booted from one of the most drug-fueled bands of the 1980s for doing too many drugs isn’t a great way to highlight a career. There’s more to his story than that and the highly publicized recovery from addiction, however, and he tackles it head-on in his newly published autobiography, My Appetite For Destruction. Nothing is left to the imagination; it’s a candid story of epic proportions with equal parts humor and horror.

The ballad of Steven Adler began the moment he attended his first rock concert—Kiss in 1978—and from that moment on all he wanted was to play in the biggest rock band in the world and live the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. After a lot of false starts and hard work, his wishes were granted. Along with his Southern California (via Cleveland, Ohio) good looks, an easygoing, life-of-the-party personality, and adept drumming skills, Adler was also cursed with the inability to stop from overindulging. The other drug fiends in the band had the gift to pull back from the abyss when needed. As GN’R guitarist Slash pointed out in his own autobiography, if Adler was able to do the drugs and keep up his musicianship, then it wouldn’t have been as much of an issue. But that wasn’t the case, and his drumming was damaged by the time the group began writing their second record, G N’ R Lies. Before he knew it, his tenure with the band he helped create and define was suddenly over.

From then on, it was a rapid slide into further addiction for the next 20 years as he went through the typically horrid cycle of kicking, re-lapsing, kicking, and re-lapsing. His hard-won rehabilitation has been well-documented, and while Adler is now sober, the struggle continues on a day-to-day basis.

Adler’s dependency on drugs wasn’t the only reason for his ousting; he was the first band member to fall prey to Axl Rose’s quest for total control of Guns N’ Roses. Being the only member of the group to repeatedly confront Rose about his erratic behavior on and off the stage put a target on his back. Eventually, the other four original members of what some people call one of the greatest rock band of the ‘80s would suffer the same fate, leaving Rose in sole command, a position the singer had been vying for from the beginning. In retrospect, Adler’s ousting came at the perfect moment, when Guns N’ Roses changed from a beautifully ragged, anything-can-happen rock band to another slick, overproduced stadium machine with the singer storming off stage in a huff over the slightest problem and leaving audiences frustrated and sometimes rioting.

It happens all the time—remove even one ingredient from a successful band and the whole chemistry changes. Adler’s contribution to the group was surprisingly subtle for a drummer; in fact, few even noticed until he had been replaced. It’s often said a musician’s style is an extension of his personality, and in Adler’s case, that is especially true. With his laidback, behind-the-beat technique, he drives the songs with a perfect intensity without overdoing it. Locking in with the even more unobtrusive bass work of Duff McKagan, the two became one of the most underrated rhythm sections of hard rock.

For this reporter’s money, the essence of Adler’s drumming can be encapsulated on one track. “It’s So Easy”, from GN’R’s 1987 smash debut Appetite for Destruction, has three major rhythm shifts: The rat-a-tat stomp of the opening (lifted from “Bodies” by Sex Pistols), the aggressive swagger of the song’s main body, and the laidback groove which makes up the bridge. He pulls off each technique effortlessly and with finesse. Adler wastes nothing, and using a jazz idiom, he’s one of the few drummers of the genre who “swings.” As Slash wrote in his book: “The feel and energy of Appetite was largely due to him; he had an inimitable style that couldn’t really be replaced.”

Then there’s that… smile. Adler displays an emotion not often shown in the hard rock world: Happiness. Back when he was playing with GN’R, the rest of the band vacillated between a brooding coolness and a bubbling anger while he beamed onto the audience acknowledging and appreciating their presence. “I couldn’t stand musicians who looked serious up on the stage,” he writes in his memoir, “playing music is a pleasure and a privilege.”

This contagious, outgoing nature remains fully intact today. When we spoke, he had just come off a hectic national tour with his current band, Adler’s Appetite, and was just beginning press for the book. What would be grueling formalities for some, Adler, after years of aimlessness, embraces the work with unbridled enthusiasm. Charming and boyish, his eagerness to talk is infectious, making me feel as if the two of us were old friends.

Crawdaddy!: So your first concert wasn’t just Kiss, but the show where they filmed the performance sequence for their movie Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park. What was that like?

Steven Adler: Holy shit. I was 13 years old, it was so exciting; not only did we get to see Kiss—there were only 2,000 people, it was at [Los Angeles amusement park] Magic Mountain—but we got to go on all the rides for free. It was just a really exciting time for me. It put in my mind and heart what I wanted to do with my life.

Crawdaddy!: And that one experience fueled your passion for wanting to be in a rock band?

Adler: At first, I wanted to be a professional football player, but I hurt my foot—I got it caught in the spokes of my brother’s bicycle. So that ruined the football thing. Then I wanted to be a stuntman, but you had to be really good at gymnastics, so you had to go to school to do that. But I didn’t want to go to school [laughs], so that did it for gymnastics. So I went to the Kiss concert and said, “That’s what I want to do.”

Crawdaddy!: One of my favorite parts of your book was reading about how you taught yourself how to play drums.

Adler: I would practice at different parks; there’s a dog park up on Mulholland and Laurel Canyon, I’d go up and set my drums up there. I’d play with anybody, anywhere. I just knew every time I hit that drum, I got that much better. That’s all I cared about. I’m here to show all the underdogs you can survive and you can succeed—you just gotta believe in yourself.

Crawdaddy!: And you used to go to a club and watch other drummers…

Adler: When I was 11 or 12, I was hanging out at a club called the Starwood. The staircase went up to the dressing room, and if you stood at the top of the staircase and looked down you’d see right behind the drummer. I learned from watching what they were doing. “Oh, that’s what they did to make that beat.” Actually, about eight months ago, I started taking drum lessons, ‘cause I want to be better. It was great doing what I did and getting away with it [laughs], but now I want to be thought of as not just a one-trick pony. I am a musician, I am a drummer, and have heart and soul.

Crawdaddy!: After you left GN”R they added keyboards, backup singers, and a horn section. Was that a direction you would’ve been okay with had you still been in the group?

Adler: No, that would’ve never happened, so they’re lucky they did kick me out. I would’ve okayed the one keyboard player, but it wouldn’t have been that jackoff [Axl’s] got. It would’ve been a friend of ours named Howard; that was the whole plan, anyway, that was the only change we were going to make. But it was going to be kinda like the Aerosmith keyboard player, off to the side. Put a mask on him or something [laughs].

Crawdaddy!: Does it makes things any easier for you knowing the band started to go downhill after you left?

Adler: No, it didn’t, because I wanted them to succeed. Because Axl did this record, Chinese Democracy, he didn’t call it what he should’ve called it which was “W-A-R.”—W. Axl Rose, not Guns N’ Roses. It would’ve’ been much better for him. Look at Sting, when he does his solo stuff, he doesn’t call it the Police. Phil Collins doesn’t call it Genesis. That’s how you’re supposed to do it. He’s being a total baby, fuckin’ grow up already. For me personally, I want to finish what I started with those assholes. If it wasn’t for all these fans who still love us 20 years later, we wouldn’t have lived the way we lived, and it’s not fair for Axl to keep it from them. All they want is to see the five of us assholes play. Together. I just got off 56 shows in 62 days and had the best time ever traveling around America meeting wonderful people, and all they keep saying is: “Appetite For Destruction is the soundtrack to my life, you guys gotta do a reunion.” No kidding, if it was up to me it would happen. I know we owe it to the fans.

Crawdaddy!: What have you found to be more difficult: Cleaning up and staying sober or being in a band with Axl Rose?

Adler: "Wow. Quitting cigarettes. I'm having a harder time with quitting cigarettes than with that asshole and those assholes. [laughs] The reason, I'm telling you right now, the reason he started going off the wall like he [did] was because there wasn't someone there to focus him and bring him down to earth. If he would throw the microphone and leave the stage after the first song, I would go to him, "Dude, remember when we were kids and we wanted to go see our favorite rock bands? Remember how long and how hard we had to work to save up the money to go see them? That's what these people did to see us. You can't do that." He'd be, "You're right, Steven," and it would bring him back down to earth."

Crawdaddy!: A lot of bands lose sight of that.

Adler: He talked some pretty goofy fuckin' shit, you gotta admit. He can't deny it, but he's also done a lot of wonderful things, and those things don't get any press. People want to hear the negative.

Crawdaddy!: He was the only one there when you woke up from your overdose [in 1988]?

Adler: He was there many times, but then again, he was there kicking me in the balls for no reason. The little fella's angry.

Crawdaddy!: Who's to say he won't act the same way if you guys have a reunion?

Adler: Let's cross that line when we get to it. If the five of us got together in a room, there wouldn't be fighting, it'd be hugging. Everybody'll get a little teary-eyed, and I think we'd mold back together again. It would never be where we hang out with each other constantly like we used to, but I think we'd be able to work with each other. I believe that. I'm no fool, I'd love to get the money that we would have from doing that, but I wanna do it because my heart desires it, my soul fuckin' needs it, I need to finish what I started. I'm not going to wait for it to happen like I used to. I used to get high out of my mind and wait for it to happen. No, I'm going to do my shit. I got a new band, a new record, I'm on tour. I'm living the dream. [laughs] I'm here to show all the underdogs you can survive and you can succeed. When I got off tour, I built a big fire in my fireplace and threw my book in there because that's the past -- fuck it! Maybe in another 10, 15 years I'll write another book, but right now I'm leaving my past behind.


Last edited by Blackstar on Mon Nov 08, 2021 7:30 am; edited 3 times in total
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2010.10.15 - Crawdaddy! Magazine - The Ballad Of Steven Adler Empty Re: 2010.10.15 - Crawdaddy! Magazine - The Ballad Of Steven Adler

Post by Blackstar Tue Nov 02, 2021 2:08 am

The interview is incomplete, as webarchive hasn't saved the second page.
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Post by Blackstar Mon Nov 08, 2021 7:31 am

And I found the rest of this one at the HTGTH forum, too. I have added the missing part (in bold).
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