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SoulMonster
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

1988.01.DD - Concert Shorts - Hollywood Street Kings (Axl, Slash, Duff)

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Post by Soulmonster Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:37 pm

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HOLLYWOOD STREET KINGS


Guns N' Roses recalls the band's struggle for survival and talks about the future on the streets of Hollywood.
By FabioTesta


They are one of the many bands to move to L.A. with nothing more than a good dose of hope and determination. They are a quintet whose history, made up of hardships and hunger, is indelibly stamped on the bandmembers' faces. Their adventures would be well-suited for the truest movie on the life of the typical struggling rock band. A struggle for survival fought to the last box of macaroni and cheese.

They made Hollywood their home, but their Hollywood isn't the glamorous one. Rather, it is the one filled with prostitutes and the homeless. They are the most streetwise of the Hollywood street bands, exactly the type parents wouldn't want their daughters to get close to.

They are real. They are what they appear to be. They live the life they sing about. They don't play metal. Or glam. Or hard rock. Or corporate, or roots rock. They are the Stones-20 years later. Aerosmith-10 years later. Guns N' Roses—today.

CS: In LA's rock circles, you were the talk of the town way before your debut album came out. Why?

AXL :When we were looking for a deal we approached every label we could think of, from the smallest to the biggest, in a period of a few weeks, and we had 'em all meet at this one show. We were going to sign backstage with whoever had the best deal.

SLASH: Actually, we ended up signing with Geffen two days before the show, because we got what we want-ed and we figured nobody could beat that deal and that combination.

DUFF: We had invited 200 people, and before the show we came out and we announced that we were a Geffen recording artist. It blew their fuckin' minds! People had flown from New York... even England!

CS: Why didn't you wait?

AXL: Because all of a sudden, we got a huge check and a huge offer in front of us, and it was already a huge amount to pay back. It was all we could have asked for from any label.

SLASH: The HR guy who signed us was Tom Zutaut. He's the same guy who's signed Dokken and Motley Crue, and now has bands like Tesla and the Japanese guy Kitaro, so we felt we were in the best hands.

CS: Did you negotiate the deal yourselves?

SLASH: It was definitely first-person.

AXL: We made the initial deal, then our lawyer handled things up to a certain point, and when we had major issues we'd go in with the vice president and work out what we wanted. But even in the end we did the actual negotiating for the amounts of the advance and the recording ourselves.

CS: How are you living this particular moment of your life, your "official" beginning as a band?

AXL: Well, we had already released an EP through Warner Bros., so I don't really see this as our debut.

SLASH: But now the feeling is much more exciting and intense. There's no more time to backtrack.

CS: In case of failure, beginners are hardly ever given a second chance. Did you ever worry about that while recording the album?

SLASH: It felt, and it still feels, like a definite moment of truth.

AXL: I just wanted to lay down the tracks! We worked really hard on the songs; we worked 'em all out and we were confident. We had plenty of artillery for that moment of truth!

DUFF: Worry? We were looking forward to doing a full album!

CS: New bands have a whole lifetime to prepare their first album, and little time to prepare their second one. That's why often they end up making weak follow-ups. How will you tackle this problem?

SLASH: Fortunately, we are quite prolific. There are plenty of songs we haven't used on this first record. We had about 40 songs to choose from!

AXL: We already have some songs planned out and set aside for our third record! We've already planned a certain progression of style. We introduced it no we'll go with a stronger sense of it later, and an even stronger one on our third record.

CS: All your texts represent slices of downtown Hollywood life. Is there one you feel particularly close to?

SLASH: I guess the most intense one is "Welcome to the Jungle," which also happens to be sort of our anthem. It deals with life on the streets of Hollywood. I also like "Out to Get You" which talks about some of our "encounters" with the cops.

AXL: I should say "Paradise City?' It's an ironic title inspired by the many nights I had to sleep in a pick-up truck of a friend of mine because I had no place to go. Well, at least it was parked in a parking lot! [Laughs.]

CS: How did you go about choosing the cover for your record?

SLASH: That's a drawing of a contemporary painter which we saw by chance reproduced on a postcard. We had to put a lot of pressure on the record label to get it printed, because they said it was a bit too controversial. Of course the meaning of it shouldn't be taken too seriously.

CS: What about the title of the album?

SLASH: Initially we had thought of calling it simply Guns N' Roses, but then we decided to give it the drawing's name, which is Appetite for Destruction.

CS: An important detail. Your band's name is constantly spelled in different ways: With "and," with "&," with one "n" and two apostrophes, with one apostrophe only... Which one is the official spelling?

DUFF: There's a bit of confusion. The "approved" version should be Guns N' Roses, but it really doesn't matter that much.

CS: What is the goal of the group?

SLASH: One of our definite main goals is to travel worldwide.

AXL: I'm a fan of the band Nazareth, which doesn't give a flying fuck about anything but their music. They play in more countries than any other band in the world, they get to see so many places and to have a much wider variety of experiences than other people. VW want to be a bit like that.

CS: Is it true that the guitarist of Nazareth was supposed to produce you?

DUFF: Yeah, but then we realized he really didn't have a grasp on what we were doing, so we decided to work with this young guy called Mike Clink who's both a producer and a sound engineer. He has collaborated many times with Ron Nevison, who's produced bands like Heart, Bad Company, Survivor, Ozzy, Kiss, and many others.

CS: None of you guys is originally from LA. How did you all meet?

SLASH: We all come from different places: I was born in England, Duff comes from Seattle, the others from Cleveland, Indiana... Our story is a bit complex, because even though we've all met here in LA. about three years ago, we had already played together in a lot of bands in different combinations.

CS: After moving to L.A., you settled down in Hollywood. Do you now feel like a real Hollywood band?

AXL: We're more of a Hollywood street band than any Hollywood street band I've ever seen or heard of. We walked the streets of Hollywood countless nights, from West Hollywood to deep Hollywood. Where we're at is where the musk scene is. I was quite willing to move to New York, but there is more happening here.

DUFF: Yeah, there's quite a bit of inspiration here.

CS: Now, however, you've moved to the much calmer area of West Hollywood.

AXL: Well, it was about time! We lived on the streets for five fucking years. Literally, I'd stay up two nights before each show sleeping on a bus bench outside somebody's apartment. Then we got this one studio where all five of us lived. It was as big as this table: All our equipment barely fit in and we had this much space [holds up thumb and index fingers], so we built a loft and slept on top of it. We lived there for months before we got signed.

DUFF: It was only after we got the record deal that we moved to different places. Now we don't live together anymore. Some of us live with our girlfriends, some in our own apartments.

CS: Sounds like the band is already splitting up!

AXL: No, no... It's just that we've always been very independent, but we've always stayed together during rough times. One time there were seven of us sleeping in one room at this one house. There were also nine cats, four snakes, one Great Dane and even a chicken!

CS: And you ate the chicken to make it through another day.

DUFF: No, we ate the snakes and made boots out of them. See, this is where our boots came from. (All bandmembers are wearing boots at this point.)

CS: Back then, what kind of jobs did you have in order to survive?

SLASH: Jobs?

AXL: For me it was hard to find a job because of the long hair and the tattoos. For a while I worked as a shift manager at Tower Video, but the place didn't like to hire kids in bands. They know you have to devote so much time to your band to play the clubs, while they would want you to be their doorman for 20 years.

CS: So you knew you didn't have a choice: You just had to make it in music!

SLASH: Right. We knew the only way out of the little studio was to get a deal.

CS: Lately there has been a bidding war in the music industry to sign a few LA-based groups.

DUFF: We're very glad for Jet Boy and Faster Pussycat, which just got signed to Elektra. They're good friends of ours and we've played with them many many times, although our kind of music is completely different from theirs. Also Jane's Addiction just got signed, and the LA. Guns seem to be close to it too.

CS: You seem to have brought some fresh air on the scene. Before you, it was all glam and metal.

SLASH: Yeah, I think the scene lacked straight rock & roll bands, and that's what we brought back. Gutsy, basic rock & roll. Kids relate to the energy we put out, and they know we're not kidding around.

CS: This type of musk was always present in you. You didn't "choose" to play this as opposed to something else.

DUFF: That's it! Our music is us, that's why we had such a hard time with different bands in the beginning. It took a while to find each other and to get all our directions working in a single one.

CS: Do you live your life in the true sex & drugs & rock & roll spirit?

AXL: I think we're one of the bands that brought it back! Yeah, the scene died for a couple of years after Crue got signed, so we had to bring it back even harder!

CS: Who influenced you the most in your music?

AXL: God, it's such a wide spectrum. In the last month I must have bought 100 tapes. I listen to everything from George Michaels to Metallica to Russian opera to country musk.

DUFF: Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, even the Beatles!

CS: What about the Stones? They would seem to be your biggest influence!

SLASH: Oh, they go without saying. Anyone who can stay around that long and still kick ass has got to be great. If it wasn't for them I don't think any of us would be here today. Nor would a lot of other bands. ❑


Last edited by Soulmonster on Mon Feb 07, 2022 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Soulmonster Mon Feb 07, 2022 4:01 pm

Excellent interview, of course. Maybe not hugely interesting to casual readers, but plenty of information here to add to the history section.

Also cool to see Axl's vision regarding the band's next two albums already back here at the end of 1987.
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Post by Soulmonster Mon Feb 07, 2022 6:03 pm

One time there were seven of us sleeping in one room at this one house. There were also nine cats, four snakes, one Great Dane and even a chicken!


Hmm, where would this be? Hamilton's apartment?
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