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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.


2011.05.02 - Big Wheel Magazine - Interview with Steven

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2011.05.02 - Big Wheel Magazine - Interview with Steven Empty 2011.05.02 - Big Wheel Magazine - Interview with Steven

Post by Blackstar Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:24 pm

Interview With Steven Adler

Interview by: Louie B.

Original drummer of GN’R, has 28 Million albums sold under his belt, recently out of Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab, and about to hit the road with his current project Adlers Appetite, Big Wheel sat down with Steven at Canters Deli, his favorite restaurant to discuss the long road traveled from Guns N’ Roses to sobriety and how good it is to be alive in 2011.

Thanks for having us Steven, as a life long fan of your drumming, it’s great to meet you!

Well thank you!

So what are you up to as of May 2011?

Well the newest thing I’m up to is I’m over at Canters Deli, and umm I’m waiting for my cup of chicken noodle soup! (Laughs)
So that’s about the newest thing, but besides that… In real life, I’ve got new members in my band! And were about to go on tour!

Oh right on! Where bout’s are you playing?

The dates are May 5th thru July 3rd, its gonna be 2 months, all over the US!

That’s pretty a extensive tour!

Yeah! To us it’s a good one, we like it. To the average person on the streets that’s like doing 2 months in jail (laughs) but we love playing and touring.

So you’ve recently had some lineup changes, who is currently in Adler's Appetite?

Well we’ve now got Patrick Stone of Aces & Eights on vocals, we got Lonny Paul on rhythm guitar, and of course Chip Z'Nuff and Michael Thomas. Were gonna be doing stuff with the new singer, and or some special guests, there will be some special edition release, some rarities! Were looking forward to touring with the new lineup.

You’ve recently had a book come out as well too?

Yes! It’s called “My Appetite for Destruction”. It’s coming out on paperback May 17th, though the originally hard cover has been out since last summer. I’m really excited about it; ya know my book actually got to the point where it’s a paperback. From what I hear not every book gets past its original hardcover format, so if it does good then it gets paperback! True story, about a month ago I was here at Canters and some young lady comes up to me and says “Hey Steven, I’m reading your book!” She then shows me her cell phone, she was reading my book on her cell phone, technology, ahh I love it! Wow, so now I know I’ve made it (laughs)! It’s kinda like when we went gold with GN’R, then platinum, wow we felt like we had made it. Well actually just getting a record deal felt like making it, and now for a second time in my like with my book, I get to say I’ve made it!

Yeah man that’s great! There were a lot of bands from Los Angeles trying to make it big around that time (Just watch Decline of the Western Civilization Pt. 2) who were convinced they were gonna make it big, but only a small hand full of bands from LA did.

Yeah oh man, we made it, and in my book I get to tell all the tales of how we got there and the scars, lessons, tattoos and what it was like to live a life of 24/7 rock n roll. Man I burned the candle with superstars, and survived to tell the story! I emphasize on the word “survive“; a lot of people didn’t make it out alive. (Right around this time the server brings Steven his dinner. His smile is now even larger as he is transfixed on the chicken noodle soup right in front of him)

I had recently spoke to someone from the early New York punk scene, and they had mentioned that a lot of their friends from the day didn’t make it into the 80’s (Sid Vicious), many died in the 90’s (Stiv Bators, Johnny Thunders, Wendy O Williams), and many of them had passed in the 2000’s (Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee Ramone), It’s a shame some died so young, it would have been great if they’d lived longer, they too could have written great books on their lives.

They all could have written great books, hell of a books! All those guys! Yeah they were more of the late 70’s scene, where we came of age in the 80’s in LA along the Sunset Strip. And half of those guys we ran with in the 80’s didn’t make it past their 20’s; I’ve made it to 46, man I feel like I’ve made it!

So when you began to write your book, were you ever concerned with how you were to tell stories involving old friends who may not want to be associated with the things they’d done when they were young and living lives of excess?

The main thing I wanted to do with my book was to get the truth out and not hurt anybody! In my book I take full responsibility for all my actions, for everything that happened. For 20 years I wasted my life, blaming and being angry with Slash, Duff, Izzy and Axl thinking they let me down. Unfortunately it took 20 years and to have to start working with Dr. Drew to realize that they didn’t let me down, I let them down. They counted on me and I messed up. It was a special time in my life, where it taught me growth, from being a teenager to being a man. I got to say I was sorry to each of them, I apologized for blaming them for everything that happened to me and everything I did to throw the band out of whack, my actions threw a wrench into the machine and changed the destiny of the band. Forever I blamed them, and I couldn’t grow as a human being.

It was a very personal enlightenment for you… a huge healing process…

Definitely, it helped me grow up as a person, I needed to stop hurting myself everyday. I would wake up, well I would come to every morning and would basically step into the ring with say Manny Pacquiao, and say go ahead, kick my ass. Doing drugs was like going in the ring and getting your ass kicked time after time again. It took a lot of time to heal from that. I beat myself up for decades, but now I can finally grow.

Do you feel now, after becoming sober that you are drumming better than you were in your 20’s?

A year and half ago I started taking drum lessons, man I had never taken a drum lesson in my life! Man I was in a band that went on to sell 100 million records, but never once had I taken a drum lesson (all the table laughs)

Dude, that’s rad, very Punk rock!

So yeah I started taking lessons to improve as a performer and player, I love playing drums and of course I only wanted to get better, so yeah lessons certainly helped me to get where I am now, I’m the best I can be.

At the time of Appetite (86/87) the majority of hard rock or metal drummers had drum kits that were rather massive, rack toms, cymbals and floor toms galore. Your approach to drumming seemed quite opposite, though your sound and playing was huge and ultimately worked best for those songs… What was the reason?

I had a basic drum set up for Appetite, it was 3 drums, 3 cymbals and a cowbell!

That’s awesome you did so much with so little! It seems everyone had moved to LA, tried M.I. thought they were virtuosos and tried to be as fancy as could be, but ultimately ended up looking and sounding like clowns, they were tappers, you were a hard hitter, your style was different, would it be fair to say you had a Punk rock approach to your drumming?

Yes! I did, a punk and jazz approach man! I always looked up to Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor, The Who’s Keith Moon, Peter Criss of Kiss. What I brought was a groove, I loved to groove. When Matt Sorum came in, I didn’t care for his playing, but once I got to meet him and know him I thought he was a great guy, a really lovely person.

So lets fast forward, Adler's Appetite man.

Adler means Eagle, and Appetite means I’m hungry, hungry to rock! I’m like a hungry eagle, and unstoppable.

What has been your greatest success in the new millennium, be it musically or personally..?

Well personally to just be playing and alive! It’s great. Man you gotta play your heart out to make it to Carnegie Hall, and well I did make it to Carnegie Hall, I was there with Ace Frehley of Kiss, D of Run DMC, and Henry Rollins, Lemmy too!

Those guys are all rad! So in the past you had health issues, you suffered a stroke, how did that affect your life and or playing?

I had a mild stroke, thankfully it was only mild, doing drugs fucked up my body and caused that. I had to take speech lessons to learn how to just speak properly again, I’ve got the scars from teeth being knocked out! Drugs are fucked up, ya know I wasn’t planning on living, doing drugs made me depressed, I didn’t care, I wanted to die in a way, but my body took a lot of bullshit. Its actually a rarity to OD on heroin, the body can withstand a lot!

I’ve read in books and other interviews over the years other musicians, namely Dave Gahan and Nikki Sixx who have fooled around with drugs… even mixing heroin and cocaine, overdosing, clinically dying for a few minutes, being brought back to life and going back to doing drugs again a just few hours afterwards, constantly downward spiraling out of control, going past rock bottom.

Speedball, yea I’ve been there, done that. I’ve died! Its ugly, it sucks, that shit will fuck you up, I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize all of that. It’s good to be alive and living in 2011!

How did all of that affect with your drumming?

Well I’m a better player now because I’ve taken lessons and I play all the time to keep my chops up. After my stroke, the doctors said I wasn’t gonna be able to use the left side of my body, but thankfully that didn’t happen! I can play great now. My last show with Guns N’ Roses compared to my drumming now is just so day and night. The last show I ever did with them was Live Aid 1990. If you watch that video, I eat shit as I walk up to my drum kit, I was so out of it, though that fall woke me up, I guess that was good, cos we did a great job. The last song I ever played with Guns N Roses was Down on the Farm (UK. Subs) I improvised that whole song.
How do you feel about the legacy of Appetite For Destruction, is it your proudest achievement?

I’m still so excited, the 5 of us had a goal, had a dream, and accomplished our dream! We were working really hard, and as far as we were concerned it was gonna be our only chance to get to make a record, so we had to make the best record possible. We wanted it to be like an album that could live forever, so that’s what we did, I’m always gonna be happy about that, there are times in my life where I wasn’t happy because of drugs, but aside from that I’ve always had that achievement to look back on. It’s the best selling debut album of all time. Now that I’m clean and living sober, I WANT TO LIVE IT UP, I'M GONNA LIVE IT UP! Look at Izzy, he lives life right, he was the first to get clean.

So pretty much you were thrown into this rock and roll world of full time touring and nonstop partying at what age?

19-20-21, it all happened at such a young age, to a lot of people they say its overwhelming, but for me, and the band it all seemed so natural, its what we wanted to do and we were doing it bigger than we dreamed of or were told we could be. We went from playing clubs to doing stadium concerts with Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, our heroes, our favorite bands, the biggest bands in the world, at 21 we were already there! Ya know I’m still the same person I was at that age; but I’m no longer getting high. Guns N’ Roses were a gang, we had rival gangs, our friend’s band, it was competition, but we knew we could be better, we gave it 111% full time. Los Angeles was different back then, Hollywood Sunset Strip especially, it was fun back then, it used to be exciting. Now everything is pay to play, we just wanted out friends to come to our shows, we basically got everybody to come to our shows, we built that the real way.

The music industry sure has changed for the worse…

Yeah right! My band is here to give rock n roll a kick in the ass, we’ve got steel toe boots on and were ready to kick and make things exciting again. I’m glad to have worked with Dr. Drew and to be fully recovered now, it feels great, I’ve made a whole 180 degree turn in my life. Rehab is one of the hardest thing to do, to get thru that, it takes a hell of a lot, I came out a better person. If I can get thru this, then I can get thru anything in life, that’s what I said and that’s what I did. This is who I was, but now this is who I am, I’m here and ready to do it, live my life. It’s good to be alive!

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