APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
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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

2023.05.26 - Yahoo! Entertainment - Sweet Brother of Mine [Jamie Adler]

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2023.05.26 - Yahoo! Entertainment - Sweet Brother of Mine [Jamie Adler] Empty 2023.05.26 - Yahoo! Entertainment - Sweet Brother of Mine [Jamie Adler]

Post by Soulmonster Fri May 26, 2023 9:13 pm

Sweet brother of mine: The wild, untold story of how Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler was kidnapped by his sibling to break heroin addiction
Jamie Adler recounts for the first time his felonious plot to abduct his drug-addicted rock-star brother and hold him hostage for 30 days in 2007.

This is the first installment of Yahoo's exclusive three-part series chronicling the previously untold true story of Jamie Adler and the extraordinary, family-shattering and most assuredly illegal measures he took to get his brother and Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler off heroin.

Part 1: Growing up Guns N' Roses
Part 2: An infamous GNR firing and the tumultuous aftermath
Part 3: The kidnapping of Steve Adler

Jamie Adler had no choice. He ran out of options. He felt beyond desperate. He was certain his brother was going to die. The doctors at a Las Vegas hospital were telling him as much.

His brother had been battling a debilitating heroin addiction for 30 years. The smack brought about countless trips to rehab. It put him in the hospital. He'd almost died. It destroyed his career.

That’s when Jamie took matters into his own hands.

On March 22, 2007, Jamie orchestrated a kidnapping. He had his brother picked up, drugged to sleep and transported across state lines to Los Angeles, where Jamie imprisoned him against his will for 30 days — that’s multiple felonies for those keeping score — all in a Hail Mary to finally force his older sibling off the drugs that were killing him.

Ultimately, Jamie’s actions would destroy his relationship with his famous brother, Steven Adler, the drummer who helped launch one of the most successful rock bands of all time, Guns N’ Roses. But today, Jamie is just glad Steven is still alive to resent him for it.

Part 1: Growing up Guns N' Roses
“I’ve got stories for f***ing days,” Jamie Adler says with an air of braggadocio. He watched Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain’s notorious fight at the 1992 VMA Awards from steps away. He rescued Randy Castillo’s snare drum from a looter as 600 rabid Ozzy Osbourne fans rushed the stage in Irvine. He saw Sam Kinison overdose at a celebrity baseball game. All by the time Jamie was 17.

This particular story, however, is about him and Steven Adler.

It’s one about brotherly love. It’s about hero worship. It’s about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It’s about addiction, and the devastating effects of it on both the diseased and their family. It’s about heartbreak. It’s about the dark side of fame. It’s about devotion. It’s about all these things at once.

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, Jamie lived out a movie-script fantasy. He was Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous with a bloodline. In junior high, he watched his older brother, his idol, the guy with the long blond locks, blue eyes and that unmistakable smile, become one of the biggest rock stars on the planet.

“I was just so proud of my brother, he was my hero,” Jamie, 47, tells us by Zoom from Sydney, Australia, where he has lived with his wife and three children since 2017. A veteran booking agent who has worked with Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Rakim, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, among others, Jamie speaks with both the swagger of a showbiz powerbroker and the humility of a man who has been through the grinder, found God and moved halfway around the world to escape his demons.

The Adlers were a middle-class Jewish-American family in Canoga Park in the 1980s, who, like many Valley families, came from somewhere else. They hailed from Cleveland, where Jamie’s mother, Deanna, had two sons, Kenny and Michael, with two different fathers. After splitting from Michael’s father, Deanna moved the family to L.A., where she married another Cleveland transplant, Melvin Adler, who adopted 10-year-old Kenny and 7-year-old Michael, who was renamed Steven. Three years later Jamie arrived.

“My father was a real street guy, he lived this crazy life,” Jamie says. “He would always tell me stories about Cleveland. … His friends being blown up in cars or murdered. I was like, ‘No way this is all true.’” (As an adult, Jamie was stunned by the release of the 2011 film Kill the Irishman, starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken: the crime thriller depicted many of his dad’s outrageous tales.) Melvin, Jamie says, was even present when future famed boxing promoter Don King shot and killed the man attempting to rob King’s gambling operation in 1954. In L.A., Melvin started at Southern Pacific Railroad but then continued as a bookie (“I was 12, 13 years old, answering phones and taking bets for him,” Jamie says) while Deanna worked as a waitress at the famed Jewish eatery Brent’s Deli in Northridge for 30 years.

Growing up, Jamie often felt like an only child. His half-brothers were both largely out of the house. Kenny (who now works in security) was 13 years older; Steven, who got in trouble so much as a teen that Melvin and Deanna sent him to live with his grandparents in Hollywood for long stretches, had a decade on Jamie. “He was always this wild, crazy guy,” Jamie says. “Never believed in rules. … He’d just stay out all hours of the night, partying and getting wasted. But my brother in my eyes could do no wrong. Whenever I saw him, he would give me the biggest hug.” Steven eventually moved back to the Valley for high school but never graduated — he was taken far more with drumming than studying.

“They're gonna be the biggest band in the world.”
During one of those stints with his grandparents in Hollywood, Steven befriended Saul Hudson, a guitar-slinging classmate in junior high. Later, in their late teens, Steven and Hudson, who would eventually adopt the stage name Slash, shared a grungy apartment near the Guitar Center in Hollywood. Deanna would drop off food and toiletries, Jamie in tow, as Steven and Slash tried to launch their band, Road Crew, with bassist Duff McKagan. While Road Crew fizzled, the trio was recruited by Axl Rose into his newly minted Guns N’ Roses — formed from the bones of the singer’s previous bands, L.A. Guns and Hollywood Roses — along with rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. A year later in 1986, after honing their deafening chops at Sunset Strip staples like Whiskey a Go Go and The Roxy, they signed to Geffen Records. Jamie couldn’t attend the group’s very first show at the 21+ Madam Wong's East in Chinatown; but he was there for the second, at the Troubadour, as a fifth grader. “I’m walking around these shows at the Roxy and the Rainbow Room,” Jamie recalls, “and there’s girls with high heels and their boobs popping out, and I’m 10 years old.”

The band recorded their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, the same studio responsible for rock classics like Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and REO Speedwagon’s Wheels Are Turnin’ — just two blocks from the Adler home and next door to the baseball card shop where Jamie worked at as a preteen. Jamie became a GNR mascot of sorts, pressing his face against the glass of the recording booth during sessions and visiting their houses. But there was one place that he feared to tread — Slash’s bathroom, where the guitarist kept his snakes in the bathtub. “I was petrified of snakes," Jamie says.

Jamie showed up for his first day at Lawrence Junior High School in Chatsworth wearing a hand-painted Guns N’ Roses jean jacket custom-made for him by Axl’s mother, Sharon. Almost immediately, another kid asked, “What in the world is Guns N’ Roses?” “It’s my brother’s band,” Jamie responded. “They’re gonna be the biggest band in the world.” His schoolmate was incredulous: “Yeah, right.”

Within a year Guns N’ Roses fulfilled little Jamie’s prophecy. Quietly released on July 21, 1987, Appetite for Destruction gradually found a fanbase through word of mouth, local radio airplay and the eventual national breakthrough of the singles “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Paradise City.” It would sell 30 million copies, still the benchmark for the best-selling debut album of all time, ranking as one of the top 10 albums ever. GNR “toured their f***ing asses off” promoting Appetite, as Slash would say. Between June 19, 1987 and April 7, 1990, over the course of 16 months and eight legs, the band played a staggering 176 shows — while dropping a second album, 1988’s abbreviated G N’ R Lies, right in the thick of it.

Jamie, meanwhile, became the most popular kid at school. “I would open up my locker and have notes from secret admirers,” he gushes. Jamie, like a chip off the block, turned his newfound fame into a side-hustle: He printed hundreds of autographed photos of the band and sold them for $10-$15 a pop. One day, word got out that Steven planned to pick Jamie up from school. The drummer arrived in a monster truck to 500 adoring preteens. He signed autographs. One girl fainted. “It was the coolest moment ever,” Jamie says. “I got to share my brother with all these kids.”

“But then by high school,” Jamie says wistfully a few moments later, “my brother got kicked out of Guns N’ Roses.”

Steven’s appetite for drugs had become so untenable it was threatening to bring about the band’s destruction.

"You never want to believe your brother’s in the bathroom for 30 minutes shooting heroin."
Jamie remembers the precise moment that he learned his brother had a drug problem.

GNR’s manager, Doug Goldstein, called the Adler parents shortly after the band returned from San Francisco, where they filmed a cameo in The Dead Pool, Clint Eastwood’s final Dirty Harry movie, in December 1987. Goldstein came over for dinner and told them, “He’s doing heroin. Last week I had to throw him over my shoulders and run him from the hotel to the hospital 'cause he overdosed with some girl in his room.” (This is why Steven and Axl only appear in the funeral scene but not later alongside Slash and bandmates at the docks; Steven was in the hospital, and Axl was staying there with him.)

Goldstein assured the family the band was getting Steven help, and he was checked into rehab for the first time soon thereafter. The Adlers planned to visit Steven in Arizona, but he bolted the rehab clinic only a few days later. Says Jamie, “I have at least 30 other stories just like that.”

(Steven Adler did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story. He wrote extensively about his addiction, however, in his 2010 autobiography, My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N' Roses, co-authored by Lawrence J. Spagnola.)

On the fifth leg of the Appetite for Destruction tour, as the band opened for Aerosmith, Steven spiraled into full-fledged cocaine and heroin abuse. “The guy was getting loaded, and we were in denial,” says Jamie. “'Cause you never want to believe that your brother’s in the bathroom for 30 minutes shooting heroin, or smoking heroin. But he’s doing it every couple hours, and you’re just watching TV. You don’t want to admit it.”

When GNR’s tour returned to Southern California in June 1988, Melvin and Deanna let Jamie skip school so that they could surprise Steven at his hotel before the band's gig at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Orange County. “We show up, I’m so excited, I haven’t seen Steven in months,” Jamie recalls. “Steven comes to the door and just starts yelling at us. ‘What the f*** are you guys doing here?! Why the f*** would you come knocking at my door?!’ They’d been partying for days, and were high as f***. He’s just screaming at my parents, and I’m petrified.”

Says Deanna, now 81, through tears: “He’s a wonderful guy, my son. He’s kind and he’s generous. He’s a good guy. Everybody loves him, because that’s the type of person he is. But when he got onto drugs, he was a different person. He’s not my son. He’s this stranger.”

"I was 14 and he's f***ing smoking heroin right in front of me."
As the Appetite for Destruction tour wound down, the band’s bus dropped off its members across L.A. “Steven had $5, $10 million in his bank account. And he had nowhere to go,” Jamie says. The drummer eventually bought a house in Laurel Canyon previously owned by MTV VJ Martha Quinn. “He basically never left the house for the next two years,” Jamie says. “Steven didn’t talk to us. He disowned us because he was in this downward spiral.”

It was the fall of 1988. Jamie was in eighth grade, and he was lying to all his friends. “Welcome to the Jungle” played in heavy rotation on the radio, and he couldn’t admit to his peers that his world-conquering, rock-star brother had shut out the family.

A year later, however, in September 1989, Steven reconciled with his family, invited them over, and broke the news that GNR would be opening for the Rolling Stones at L.A.’s Memorial Coliseum for four consecutive nights. Steven wanted the family there.

The Adlers attended the third and fourth shows. Steven sent them limos each night. They were not present on opening night, Oct. 18, 1989, when Axl Rose famously, and very publicly, called out his bandmates’ — Slash, Izzy and Steven’s — rampant heroin use. “I hate to do this on stage,” he lamented, one song into their set. “But I tried every other f***ing way. And unless certain people in this band get their s*** together, these will be the last Guns N' Roses shows you’ll f***ing ever see. 'Cause I’m tired of too many people in this organization dancing with Mr. Goddamn Brownstone.”

Months later, on Jan. 21, 1990, Steven was a celebrity player at MTV's First Annual Rock N' Jock Diamond Derby at USC’s Dedeaux Field, part of the Salamanders team with Kevin Costner, Tone Loc, Bruce Hornsby and Daryl Strawberry, coached by Sammy Hagar. They battled Bret Michaels, Mark McGwire, MC Hammer, Keanu Reeves and the Sam Kinison-coached Aardvarks. Jamie tagged along with his brother.

“I was smoking weed with Tone Loc in the dugout,” Jamie says. “I saw Sam Kinison overdose. He was literally on a table and they were pumping his stomach. They literally revived him right here. I was only a few feet away. It was really scary.” Kinison later stumbled right back into the game. “He continued coaching or whatever the f*** he was doing,” Jamie remembers. “I’m like, ‘How the f*** is he walking?’” (Kinison was killed in 1992, when his car was struck by another vehicle.)

Steven also brought his wife, Cheryl Swiderski, whom he’d married in Las Vegas in 1989 — and who became irate when Morganna, the famed “Kissing Bandit,” rushed the field and smooched Steven, with little resistance. “She flipped,” says Jamie, who was sitting next to Swiderski. “She jumped in a cab and took off.” (They divorced in 1990; Steven eventually married Carolina Ferreira in 2002. The family wasn’t invited to either ceremony.)

After the game, Steven and Jamie hopped into a limo. “We’re sitting there, and he had this little bag, this little hippie sack,” Jamie says. “And he pulls out tinfoil, this little balloon, and a lighter. And he starts smoking heroin. I was 14 and he's f***ing smoking heroin right in front of me. I'm like, ‘What the f*** are you doing, dude?’ He's like, ‘You don't understand what it's like to be me, to be a celebrity. … Man, it's just a lot of pressure.’ I'm like, ‘Bro, smoke f***ing weed.’ He says, ‘I wish it was that easy… But don't worry, I'm not addicted to this s***.’

“And then he started convincing me that it's not as bad as I think. But he also said, ‘Please don't tell mom. We're brothers. Whatever happens when we're together, that's just between us.’ I never told mom. But I was just so hurt.”

Then came Feb. 12, 1990. Deanna dropped off Jamie at Steven’s house so they could go see Mötley Crüe on their Dr. Feelgood tour. “There’s a big white limo in front of his house,” Jamie recalls. “I’m so excited. And I knew Steven would get invited up on stage.” Steven’s landline rings. Jamie picks it up. It’s Doug Goldstein, who insists Jamie fetch Steven.

Jamie watches them talk. “I don't hear what Doug says. … And then Steven looks at me and I could just see his face drop. There’s just overwhelming disappointment. He looks like a ghost. And he just hangs up the phone. … Then finally, he says, ‘We're not going to Mötley Crüe. They just kicked me out of the band.’

“He went in the bathroom and he stayed in there for hours.”

"Hell fell down, and after that he was done."
It was Sept. 6, 1990, the summer before Jamie began 10th grade at Chatsworth High School. The MTV Video Music Awards were airing live that night, but before the show, MTV News — still in its infancy — was airing excerpts from Kurt Loder’s Famous Last Words interview with Axl Rose. The interview followed weeks of rumors that Steven had quit the group.

While Steven was off detoxing, Deanna, Melvin and Jamie watched from their living room as Rose dropped a bombshell on viewers: “Steven didn’t quit the band. Steven was fired. … We gave him every ultimatum. We tried working with other drummers. We had Steven sign a contract saying if he went back to drugs, then he was out. He couldn’t leave his drugs.”

“Now look who’s calling the kettle black,” Deanna says angrily today. “Give me a break. ‘He’s not in the band anymore because of drugs.’ They’re all on drugs! I mean, come on. Everybody knew that. This wasn’t a secret.”

Gutted after the interview aired, Deanna took a walk around the block. When she returned, she told her husband she couldn’t go to work the next day. “What do you mean?” Melvin asked. “I said, ‘Because now everybody knows that my son is a drug addict and he’s not in the band anymore.’ See, most people, if they have a son or daughter that’s addicted to drugs, maybe 10 people know about it. With me, 50 million people now know my son’s a drug addict.”

Deanna breaks into tears, which seems to happen whenever she talks about Steven. “And that hurt.” She did go to work the next day. “And nobody said one word to me. And nobody there ever asked me about Steven again.” (Steven would later encourage Deanna to write her own book, Sweet Child of Mine: How I Lost My Son to Guns N’ Roses, released in 2017, and also co-authored by Spagnola.)

Jamie is more forgiving when it comes to GNR. “They tried everything that they could do,” he says. “You know, they did try to put him in rehab. And yeah, the guys were all getting loaded themselves. We all know that. They never denied that. But there's a difference when you're the drummer and you keep that beat. … That's the timing, that's the backbone of the band. All Steven needed to do was quit doing heroin. And he would've been back in the band.”

They gave him plenty of chances. Even that call from Goldstein on “Mötley Crüe Night,” as Jamie calls it, was a scare tactic. But Steven continued to struggle. There was the band’s disastrous outing at Farm Aid IV in Indianapolis’s Hoosier Dome on April 7, 1990. Guns N’ Roses was gearing up for their ambitious double release, 1991’s Use Your Illusion albums, and was growing increasingly frustrated with Steven's unreliability in the recording studio. The band hoped Farm Aid, a live television event, would be the kick in the face he needed.

But as Steven ran onto the stage that night, in front of a roaring crowd, he attempted to jump onto his drum kit riser, and awkwardly face-planted.

GNR was in full “meltdown-mode” onstage, with the band playing a couple songs Steven didn’t know, and Duff forced to clap the tempo to their drummer. “But everybody knows that Steven was f***ed up, that he fell down, and after that, he was done," Jamie says.

In his autobiography, Steven recounted the disastrous outing: “Their plan to get me out of the band was already in full motion. They weren’t cluing me in to new songs or even telling me what they were playing. I believe their strategy was to make my playing sound like this. I believe they wanted me to f** *up on live TV; that would be their evidence. By branding me as an ill-equipped, crappy drummer, they’d be armed with a sound reason for kicking me out.”

Slash, however, offered a counter in his self-titled memoir: “The truth was that if his playing had been fine, I don’t think anyone would have cared what he was doing to himself — at least I wouldn’t have… If you can handle both the music and the drugs, more power to you. We weren’t really concerned for Steven’s health as much as we were pissed off that his addiction was handicapping his performance, and therefore the rest of us.” (As of 2017, Steven maintained that he wasn’t kicked out of Guns N’ Roses because of drugs, but rather because Axl wanted “to take control of everything.”)

Jamie says Goldstein even called shortly after Farm Aid and offered Steven a return to the band to play Rock in Rio in January 1991. “All Steven needed to do was get off heroin,” he says. “But that’s how cunning and baffling this disease is. … They could offer you a billion dollars. You still can’t get off this s***. They were offering him his dream back. Everything he worked so hard for. And I know my brother tried. But he couldn’t do it.” Steven was replaced by Matt Sorum (“He’s saved the band’s life,” Rose told Loder during that highly publicized interview), and his firing led to a lengthy court battle against the band.

Jamie was 15 now. “And I remember telling his friends and other people around, ‘Let's go get Steven. Let's go tie him up, hold him hostage in some room some place and get him off these f***ing drugs. Let’s go kidnap him. But nobody would ever listen to me. Because everyone knew that if you went against Steven, you were out of the circle.”

Jamie would revisit that plan 16 years later.

“But from that point on,” he says of Steven’s GNR exit, “it was just really, really dark for years.”

"I became an agent because I wanted to help my brother."
A few years after Steven’s firing, Deanna got a call from Century City Hospital. Steven had overdosed. “They said, ‘Mrs. Adler, we have your son here,’” she remembers. ‘He's on life support. We need your permission to give dialysis. Otherwise he’s going to die within 24 hours.’ I said, ‘What the hell are you waiting for? Give him the dialysis.’ The next day I went to the hospital and he’s hooked up to all these tubes. I sat next to his bed and he opened one eye, and a tear came out his eye. Then he fell back asleep.”

Steven was in and out of rehab for well over a decade. Mostly out. Around 25 or 30 stints, depending who you ask. Jamie tried it his way, flying Steven to Maui and helping his brother through withdrawal. “He’s shivering, he’s spitting on walls, but he did it,” Jamie says proudly. The plan was to stay in Hawaii for a few weeks, but after only five days, Steven claimed he was sick and demanded they return to L.A. — where he quickly arranged a dealer to meet him. “The whole trip was a f***ing waste, man,” Jamie laments.

In 1996, after “pretending” to go to Arizona State University to appease his parents, Jamie returned to L.A. — at the behest of Steven, who was six months sober at the time — to manage him. “My brother shaped my whole life. And I shaped my whole career around my brother. I became an agent because I wanted to help my brother. I wanted to get him back to those glory days. … If I could learn this game, if I could figure this out, I could be the guy that gets him back on top.”

Together, they assembled the band Freaks in the Room, which included another ex-GNR’er, rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke, who had replaced Stradlin in 1991. Jamie booked Freaks as the house band of the popular Sunset Strip joint Billboard Live and scored an appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show. “I was by his side the whole time. You know, he's my brother, I love the guy to death,” Jamie told Stern. “We’re best friends.”

After only three nights of performances at Billboard, the Adler brothers went to an afterparty. Steven disappeared. Jamie tracked him down to a bathroom, kicked in the door and found Steven with two young women about to snort cocaine. A fight erupted. Jamie kicked Steven out of Freaks. He even threatened to replace him with Matt Sorum, “the worst thing I could have ever said to Steven,” Jamie says regretfully. The band was done.

Although Freaks flopped, Jamie found a music industry mentor in Todd Singerman, manager of metal acts Motörhead and Anthrax. Jamie had approached Singerman at a music conference and used his brother’s name to start a conversation. “People will always treat me differently because of who my brother is,” he says. “So I knew how to use that to my advantage. But at the end of the day, that only opens the door for you. It’s what I do when I walk in that door that really matters.”

Jamie set up shop at the Rainbow Room on Sunset, and by the early aughts had began working with BulletBoys, arranging the Hard Tour with them and Bang Tango, Enuff Z’nuff and Pretty Boy Floyd. He reunited '80s bands Wang Chung, Missing Persons, Ratt and Whitesnake. He became Warrant’s booking agent. “I’m not making any crazy money, but I’m starting to build a reputation,” he says. Singerman then gave him Motörhead, which in turn landed him a position at the high-profile booking firm the Agency Group at 26. He was working with Danzig and Black Label Society and started making real money — and started partying really hard. He began drinking excessively and gave in to the white lines he long resisted.

Jamie eventually quit his six-figure post at the Agency Group and, determined to answer the occasional hater who credited his success to Steven's name, shifted his focus from rock to hip-hop. Like Jerry Maguire, he recommenced with only one client: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, his favorite rap group as a kid and, like his parents, with Cleveland roots. The rap group was primed for a comeback with the release of their fourth album, Thug World Order, in 2002. Jamie booked them on their biggest tour in years. He added Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Guru, Westside Connection (Ice Cube, Mack 10 and WC) and DJ Quik to his client lineup. “From about 2002 to 2017, every major show involving West Coast gangsta artists, I was involved with in some way,” he says. “And nobody knew who my brother was in that world.”

“I was going broke, starving and s***,” DJ Quik says of his career in the early 2000s, when he was dropped by Arista Records despite massive success over the decade prior. “But Jamie got me and Bizzy Bone [from Bone Thugs] to the point where we were working consistently. He took us from House of Blues, the greatest venue of all time, to New Zealand and Australia and Hawaii. I never performed for bigger crowds than with Jamie because he understood our worth. He keeps me paid. And he’s just a good guy. Most of them are dirtbags.”

“He’s an incredible booking agent,” says Steve Lobel, the Grammy-winning veteran manager who got his start with Run-DMC and went on to work with 2Pac, Eazy-E, Fat Joe, Big Pun and Nipsey Hussle, and became a “mentor and O.G.” to Jamie in the hip-hop realm. “He was this young wild guy when I met him. You know, gambling, sniffing coke, running around with different girls. He was a real trainwreck sometimes. … But a great kid.” Quik called Jamie part of the “Sunset Mafia” due to his propensity to hang out on the Strip with the likes of David Faustino and Corey Feldman.

While his career blossomed, Jamie didn’t forget about Steven. In 2003, Jamie met John Sykes, the guitarist for Thin Lizzy — the Irish hard rock band that happened to be Steven’s all-time favorite group. Jamie starts working with the band, booking a 10-city American tour in early 2004. (“Why? So I could tell my brother that I’m the agent for Thin Lizzy, his favorite band ever.”) When their drummer wasn’t able to make it stateside for some shows, it felt kismet. Jamie suggested Steven — on a long sober stretch — fill in. The Thin Lizzy guys were thrilled, so was Steven. Their first rehearsal together was magical. “They’re f***ing loving Steven,” says Jamie who suddenly even envisioned his brother becoming Thin Lizzy’s new full-time percussionist.

But when Jamie went to pick up his brother for rehearsals the next day, "there’s Steven f***ing strung out on f***ing heroin. The guy hadn’t been high in a couple months. I think he got excited, and he was nervous. He was always self-destructing. … That’s his favorite band. He’s rehearsing with these guys, and then he f***ed it all up.”

Not long after Steven decamped to the Las Vegas Country Club, in the shadow of the towering Resorts World Hilton, not far from where his mother had relocated. (Melvin died in 2006.) “I’d walk the dog by his house and there were always strange cars in the driveway,” says Deanna. “They were always drug dealers.” One night she watched a guy hauling a drum set out of the garage. She knew Steven hocked it for drugs.

"We’re gonna go and literally kidnap this dude."
March 2007. Jamie receives a frantic call from Deanna. Doctors from Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas contacted her because Steven was in ghastly shape. He had abscesses all over his body from his shooting up and had developed a serious blood infection. There was talk they might need to remove his eye. “The doctors told him and my mom that he needs to take this medication for the next 30 days to clean out his blood. And if he doesn't do this, he will die,” Jamie recalls. He had no confidence Steven would take the meds.

“I said, ‘This is going to be my last hoorah with my brother. This is going to be the last time I'm going to be able to try to save this guy.’ … I needed to get him under our control.”

Jamie asked Lobel for help. They called Slash and said, “This is life or death.” Slash reached out to Eric Clapton, who offered to admit Steven at Crossroads, the recovery center Clapton opened in Antigua in 1997, free of charge. On March 19, 2007, Jamie, Lobel, Slash and an interventionist flew to Vegas to retrieve Steven. They let themselves into the house and Jamie ventured upstairs to Steven’s drug lair, where he found his brother in a dark room, TV on, completely strung out. “He just looked so bad. So frail and sickly and deathly.”

Jamie lured his brother downstairs with the promise of weed. Steven was shocked to see Slash for the first time in years (and who was now sober). “I think [Steven] went into the bathroom and threw up all over the place,” Jamie remembers. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help you, you’re my brother,” Slash told Steven during a two-hour intervention. “You’re the reason I’m like this,” Steven screamed back, blaming his habit on being kicked out of GNR. “And Slash just sat there and took it,” Jamie says. “I always loved Slash for that.”

Steven agreed to go to Crossroads, but stalled for hours as he “packed.” Says Lobel: “Steven just kept going back upstairs, coming down, going up, coming down.” They eventually got Steven out of the house and to the mansion of Jamal Rashid, the hip-hop producer otherwise known as Mally Mall. Steven was in such bad shape, Mall summoned his personal doctor to the compound. “He looked over Steven and determined he was in critical condition,” Jamie says. Jamie held down Steven as the doctor lanced the abscesses with a knife. “As soon as he made an incision, poison shot all over me. And all over the place. It shot up to the ceiling,” Jamie recalls with horror. “I threw up my milkshake, it was so disgusting,” says Lobel. The doctor sent Steven to the hospital to recover.

There, Jamie lied to the doctors and told them Steven was threatening suicide. “I knew that they would put him on a 72-hour hold, and that would be 72 hours we could be feeding him this medicine. And 72 hours to put together a plan on how we save this guy’s life.” Steven didn’t go down without a fight. “He’s swinging at the doctors,” Jamie recalls. “They brought in security.”

“I said, ‘F*** it. We’re gonna go and literally kidnap this dude,’” Jamie recounts. (While corroborating Jamie’s story, Lobel remains reticent to talk about many of its details: “I don’t want to incriminate nobody,” he says. “I know Jamie says we’re past the statute of limitations.”)

Three days later, Jamie arranged for his associates to pick up Steven at the hospital. They handed him a milkshake — Steven loved milkshakes. What the musician didn’t know was that the beverage was laced with Valium and Xanax. “There were enough pills in there,” Jamie says, “to kill a f***ing horse.”

By the time Steven woke up, he was in North Hollywood.

“I’m committing so many f***ing felonies at this point,” Jamie says. “But the one thing I did know is I had so many witnesses, so many people in our lives that would go to bat for me if, god forbid, the cops came for me. Because everybody around Steven knew that he was gonna die.”

Over the course of a month, they moved Steven among three residencies. Each was locked from the inside. Escape was impossible, but Steven tried every day. Jamie kept his distance, remotely calling the shots as two security guards, known as G and the Shadow, were on 24-hour duty, making sure Steven got his medication.

Jamie knew the risks. He knew his brother might disown him. But more urgently, Jamie knew guerrilla rehab could be extremely dangerous.

Steven fought his forced incarceration “tooth and nail the whole time.” There were days when he had to be physically restrained. At one point Steven managed to get hold of a phone and called his dealer in Vegas, who sent him crack hidden inside a microphone. When the FedEx package arrived, Jamie’s guards eyed it with suspicion, eventually screwing open the mic and finding the baggie of drugs.

Jamie eventually dispatched Drew Pinsky, aka Dr. Drew, to counsel Steven. (Jamie says Pinksy was aware of the abduction.) Other people came to talk to Steven, too, including Crips members and late L.A. rap legend Nipsey Hussle. “Everyone was trying to help my brother,” Jamie says. “I was a big part of saving that man’s life,” says Lobel, who eventually opened his own treatment facility, the holistic-based Heavenly Center in Studio City. “I think he's alive because of everything we all did collectively to help him.”

A month into the confinement, Jamie finally revealed himself to his brother. “You could keep me here for a week, a month, a year, 10 years,” Steven yelled at his brother. “As soon as I leave here, first thing I'm going to do is go get high. And there's nothing you could do about it.” Once Jamie released Steven, the drummer made good on his threat, returning to Vegas and his heroin abuse. But only a few months later, Steven determined he needed to get clean and contacted Lobel for help. A year after his abduction, in 2008, Steven became one of the most high-profile subjects on VH1’s popular reality series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and its spinoff Sober House (which also included relapses and even one arrest).

Their brotherly bond was irreparably damaged. Says Jamie now, mournfully: “It was so bad that to this day, we still don’t have a relationship.”

But Steven is alive.

"He was never a junkie again."
In the 16 years since the kidnapping, the brothers are “cool, and then they’re not cool,” Lobel remarks. It’s now stuck on cold.

Jamie hasn’t seen or talked to Steven in five years. “I could call my brother right now and he wouldn’t know my three kids’ names,” Jamie says. “That’s f***ing family, I guess.”

“The whole situation to me is very sad,” says Deanna. And while Steven supported his mother’s book release in 2017, he has since cut her off as well. When people ask her about Steven, “I have to lie,” she says. “You think I’m going to tell people my son doesn’t talk to me? I say, ‘He’s fine. Thanks for asking.’”

Jamie wasn’t there when Steven and the band were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2012 (neither was Axl). Jamie was shattered when he wasn't invited to Steven’s L.A. reunion with Guns N’ Roses at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 19, 2016. Jamie went anyway. “I don’t care what our relationship was, I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity,” he says. Jamie snuck into the show with a friend and wound up in the front row, where he proudly videoed Steven’s introduction.

“I'm literally standing there in tears,” Jamie says. “I thought, ‘This is the greatest moment of my f***ing life. I got my brother back on stage with f***ing Guns N’ Roses. And that's how I felt. The truth is Steven might have relapsed a couple times, but after we did what we did, he never was a junkie again. He never became a heroin addict again. He never became a meth addict. He never became a crackhead again. Still to this day. Because if all that s*** didn't happen, and I didn't scare Steven straight, if we didn't do what we did, he would've never been back on stage with Guns N’ Roses. That was the closure I needed.”

Steven has spoken openly about his addictions over the years, on Dr. Drew’s shows, in media appearances and in his biography. But he rarely discusses the kidnapping. He does briefly mention the incident in his book.

“F***ers knew that the only way they could keep an eye on me was to enlist a squadron of Jamie’s friends to help, and they all lived in L.A., not Vegas,” Steven writes, describing that “hell time” as a “guaranteed recipe for failure.” (During an appearance on Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast in 2017 where he was joined by Deanna and Jamie in support of her book, Steven said the abduction “just made it worse.” Says Jamie: “He would never want to admit his baby brother saved him. My brother is a very hard-headed person.”)

Steven continued in his autobiography: “I couldn’t blame Jamie and [his accomplices], though, because deep down, I knew that I hadn’t given them any other choice. Later, I wondered whether the way they had gotten me to L.A. could be viewed as a federal offense. I have no evidence, however, no way of proving that they had deceived me, kidnapped me, and taken me across state lines against my will. Besides, they were trying to help me, and what’s done is done.”

Jamie understands the resentment: “I literally held a guy hostage and made him kick drugs against his own will and subjected him to complete terror for over a month.”

“The life that Jamie’s led with his brother,” says Deanna, “I don’t wish it anybody. And as a mother, I don’t wish my life on anybody.”

In recent years Jamie has had his own awakening. “My entire life I never lived for me,” he says. “I always lived for my brother. My brother was my drug. It was time to start living for me.” That’s a large part of why Jamie relocated to Australia, where he focuses on his family (wife Rebecca and kids Lani Mae, 5; Tahlia, 4; and Jake, 2), his newfound Christian faith, his sobriety, his still-thriving booking agency Adler Music Group, and himself. “I never thought in a million years that would be Jamie,” Lobel says of his friend’s domestic ways.

While Jamie’s relationship with his brother may never be fully salvageable, Jamie still holds out hope.

2
Kevin Polowy
Kevin Polowy·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Fri, May 26, 2023 at 1:50 AM GMT+2·10 min read
Getty Images
Getty Images
This is the third installment of Yahoo's exclusive three-part series chronicling the story of Jamie Adler and the extraordinary, family-shattering and most assuredly illegal measures he took to get his brother and Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler off heroin.

Part 1: Growing up Guns N' Roses
Part 2: An infamous GNR firing and the tumultuous aftermath
Part 3: The kidnapping of Steve Adler


"We’re gonna go and literally kidnap this dude."
March 2007. Jamie receives a frantic call from Deanna. Doctors from Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas contacted her because Steven was in ghastly shape. He had abscesses all over his body from his shooting up and had developed a serious blood infection. There was talk they might need to remove his eye. “The doctors told him and my mom that he needs to take this medication for the next 30 days to clean out his blood. And if he doesn't do this, he will die,” Jamie recalls. He had no confidence Steven would take the meds.

“I said, ‘This is going to be my last hoorah with my brother. This is going to be the last time I'm going to be able to try to save this guy.’ … I needed to get him under our control.”

Jamie asked Lobel for help. They called Slash and said, “This is life or death.” Slash reached out to Eric Clapton, who offered to admit Steven at Crossroads, the recovery center Clapton opened in Antigua in 1997, free of charge. On March 19, 2007, Jamie, Lobel, Slash and an interventionist flew to Vegas to retrieve Steven. They let themselves into the house and Jamie ventured upstairs to Steven’s drug lair, where he found his brother in a dark room, TV on, completely strung out. “He just looked so bad. So frail and sickly and deathly.”

Jamie lured his brother downstairs with the promise of weed. Steven was shocked to see Slash for the first time in years (and who was now sober). “I think [Steven] went into the bathroom and threw up all over the place,” Jamie remembers. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help you, you’re my brother,” Slash told Steven during a two-hour intervention. “You’re the reason I’m like this,” Steven screamed back, blaming his habit on being kicked out of GNR. “And Slash just sat there and took it,” Jamie says. “I always loved Slash for that.”

Steven agreed to go to Crossroads, but stalled for hours as he “packed.” Says Lobel: “Steven just kept going back upstairs, coming down, going up, coming down.” They eventually got Steven out of the house and to the mansion of Jamal Rashid, the hip-hop producer otherwise known as Mally Mall. Steven was in such bad shape, Mall summoned his personal doctor to the compound. “He looked over Steven and determined he was in critical condition,” Jamie says. Jamie held down Steven as the doctor lanced the abscesses with a knife. “As soon as he made an incision, poison shot all over me. And all over the place. It shot up to the ceiling,” Jamie recalls with horror. “I threw up my milkshake, it was so disgusting,” says Lobel. The doctor sent Steven to the hospital to recover.

There, Jamie lied to the doctors and told them Steven was threatening suicide. “I knew that they would put him on a 72-hour hold, and that would be 72 hours we could be feeding him this medicine. And 72 hours to put together a plan on how we save this guy’s life.” Steven didn’t go down without a fight. “He’s swinging at the doctors,” Jamie recalls. “They brought in security.”

“I said, ‘F*** it. We’re gonna go and literally kidnap this dude,’” Jamie recounts. (While corroborating Jamie’s story, Lobel remains reticent to talk about many of its details: “I don’t want to incriminate nobody,” he says. “I know Jamie says we’re past the statute of limitations.”)

Scott Storch, Steve Lobel, Steven and Jamie Adler. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Adler)
Scott Storch, Steve Lobel, Steven and Jamie Adler. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Adler)
Three days later, Jamie arranged for his associates to pick up Steven at the hospital. They handed him a milkshake — Steven loved milkshakes. What the musician didn’t know was that the beverage was laced with Valium and Xanax. “There were enough pills in there,” Jamie says, “to kill a f***ing horse.”

By the time Steven woke up, he was in North Hollywood.

“I’m committing so many f***ing felonies at this point,” Jamie says. “But the one thing I did know is I had so many witnesses, so many people in our lives that would go to bat for me if, god forbid, the cops came for me. Because everybody around Steven knew that he was gonna die.”

Over the course of a month, they moved Steven among three residencies. Each was locked from the inside. Escape was impossible, but Steven tried every day. Jamie kept his distance, remotely calling the shots as two security guards, known as G and the Shadow, were on 24-hour duty, making sure Steven got his medication.

Jamie knew the risks. He knew his brother might disown him. But more urgently, Jamie knew guerrilla rehab could be extremely dangerous.

Steven fought his forced incarceration “tooth and nail the whole time.” There were days when he had to be physically restrained. At one point Steven managed to get hold of a phone and called his dealer in Vegas, who sent him crack hidden inside a microphone. When the FedEx package arrived, Jamie’s guards eyed it with suspicion, eventually screwing open the mic and finding the baggie of drugs.

Jamie eventually dispatched Drew Pinsky, aka Dr. Drew, to counsel Steven. (Jamie says Pinksy was aware of the abduction.) Other people came to talk to Steven, too, including Crips members and late L.A. rap legend Nipsey Hussle. “Everyone was trying to help my brother,” Jamie says. “I was a big part of saving that man’s life,” says Lobel, who eventually opened his own treatment facility, the holistic-based Heavenly Center in Studio City. “I think he's alive because of everything we all did collectively to help him.”

A month into the confinement, Jamie finally revealed himself to his brother. “You could keep me here for a week, a month, a year, 10 years,” Steven yelled at his brother. “As soon as I leave here, first thing I'm going to do is go get high. And there's nothing you could do about it.” Once Jamie released Steven, the drummer made good on his threat, returning to Vegas and his heroin abuse. But only a few months later, Steven determined he needed to get clean and contacted Lobel for help. A year after his abduction, in 2008, Steven became one of the most high-profile subjects on VH1’s popular reality series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and its spinoff Sober House (which also included relapses and even one arrest).

Their brotherly bond was irreparably damaged. Says Jamie now, mournfully: “It was so bad that to this day, we still don’t have a relationship.”

But Steven is alive.

"He was never a junkie again."
In the 16 years since the kidnapping, the brothers are “cool, and then they’re not cool,” Lobel remarks. It’s now stuck on cold.

Jamie hasn’t seen or talked to Steven in five years. “I could call my brother right now and he wouldn’t know my three kids’ names,” Jamie says. “That’s f***ing family, I guess.”

“The whole situation to me is very sad,” says Deanna. And while Steven supported his mother’s book release in 2017, he has since cut her off as well. When people ask her about Steven, “I have to lie,” she says. “You think I’m going to tell people my son doesn’t talk to me? I say, ‘He’s fine. Thanks for asking.’”

Jamie wasn’t there when Steven and the band were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2012 (neither was Axl). Jamie was shattered when he wasn't invited to Steven’s L.A. reunion with Guns N’ Roses at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 19, 2016. Jamie went anyway. “I don’t care what our relationship was, I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity,” he says. Jamie snuck into the show with a friend and wound up in the front row, where he proudly videoed Steven’s introduction.

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“I'm literally standing there in tears,” Jamie says. “I thought, ‘This is the greatest moment of my f***ing life. I got my brother back on stage with f***ing Guns N’ Roses. And that's how I felt. The truth is Steven might have relapsed a couple times, but after we did what we did, he never was a junkie again. He never became a heroin addict again. He never became a meth addict. He never became a crackhead again. Still to this day. Because if all that s*** didn't happen, and I didn't scare Steven straight, if we didn't do what we did, he would've never been back on stage with Guns N’ Roses. That was the closure I needed.”

Steven has spoken openly about his addictions over the years, on Dr. Drew’s shows, in media appearances and in his biography. But he rarely discusses the kidnapping. He does briefly mention the incident in his book.

“F***ers knew that the only way they could keep an eye on me was to enlist a squadron of Jamie’s friends to help, and they all lived in L.A., not Vegas,” Steven writes, describing that “hell time” as a “guaranteed recipe for failure.” (During an appearance on Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast in 2017 where he was joined by Deanna and Jamie in support of her book, Steven said the abduction “just made it worse.” Says Jamie: “He would never want to admit his baby brother saved him. My brother is a very hard-headed person.”)

Steven continued in his autobiography: “I couldn’t blame Jamie and [his accomplices], though, because deep down, I knew that I hadn’t given them any other choice. Later, I wondered whether the way they had gotten me to L.A. could be viewed as a federal offense. I have no evidence, however, no way of proving that they had deceived me, kidnapped me, and taken me across state lines against my will. Besides, they were trying to help me, and what’s done is done.”

Jamie understands the resentment: “I literally held a guy hostage and made him kick drugs against his own will and subjected him to complete terror for over a month.”

“The life that Jamie’s led with his brother,” says Deanna, “I don’t wish it anybody. And as a mother, I don’t wish my life on anybody.”

In recent years Jamie has had his own awakening. “My entire life I never lived for me,” he says. “I always lived for my brother. My brother was my drug. It was time to start living for me.” That’s a large part of why Jamie relocated to Australia, where he focuses on his family (wife Rebecca and kids Lani Mae, 5; Tahlia, 4; and Jake, 2), his newfound Christian faith, his sobriety, his still-thriving booking agency Adler Music Group, and himself. “I never thought in a million years that would be Jamie,” Lobel says of his friend’s domestic ways.

While Jamie’s relationship with his brother may never be fully salvageable, Jamie still holds out hope.

Steven and Jamie. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Adler)
Steven and Jamie. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Adler)
And after all those decades of tumult between them, Jamie keeps coming back to one moment.

In May 2017, 10 years after the abduction, the brothers met following the death of Mario Maglieri, the “king of the Sunset Strip” who owned the Whiskey and Rainbow Room, venues that helped launch GNR.

Steven was off hard drugs and looked healthier than he had in years. Jamie picks up the story: “I said, listen, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m also not sorry. I didn’t know what else to do. I literally thought you were gonna die.” Steven put his hand on Jamie’s leg. “He says, ‘I love you, little brother. I know exactly what you did, and thank you.’ In his clearest moment, he validated everything that I wanted. He gave me that credit and respect, and that’s all I ever wanted. So no matter whatever happened after that, I know that deep down inside, he knows that I did what I did out of love.

“And I know I did the right thing because my brother is still alive.”

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/sweet-brother-of-mine-guns-n-roses-steven-adler-kidnapping-heroin-addiction-jamie-appetite-for-destruction-234022783.html
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