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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.


2018.03.DD - GN'R Central - Interview with Raz Cue

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2018.03.DD - GN'R Central - Interview with Raz Cue Empty 2018.03.DD - GN'R Central - Interview with Raz Cue

Post by Blackstar Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:44 pm


Sid: Alright, so we're live everybody. This is a special podcast. We got Raz Cue joining us. Raz Cue, I will - for those of you who don't know - we'll talk to Raz here in a bit about his story and he's got a book that came out too, The Days of Guns and Raz'es, right? Did I get the whole title correct.

Raz: It's good and you got it.

Sid: How long ago did the book come out, Raz, for people who put in-

Raz: Last summer, July of 2017, I guess it was like 30 years of the day, like Appetite for Destruction came out, man.

Sid: Cool. So I'll hand it over to Kevin, because you know what, Kevin is the one who told me said, "You guys, you gotta go talk to Raz Cue." And you know, we talked last week and like, you were super quick to get back to us. So I really appreciate that being able to have you on so quickly."

Raz: Oh yeah it's good, yeah. Right.

Sid: So Kevin, you can take it from here.

Kevin: Awesome Raz, great to talk to you. Good to see you guys again. So I wanted to just start, take us a little bit of through a little bit of the history of growing up. So you grew up in California, right? Down in Orange County where I live here in California.

Raz: Yeah. You you live close to where I was born.

Kevin: That's great. And so at what point, I mean, did you have aspirations of being a musician or was it just sort of by faith that you met the guys? With L.A. Guns and.... Take us from how it all started with the guys.

Raz: Yeah, you know, as a child I wanted to be like the biggest rock star in the world. But I had guess I just had to meet one instead.

Kevin: That's cool. Did you meet Tracii first? Or did you meet Axl? Or did you meet them all around the same time?

Raz: I met Tracii probably like a year or year and a half, maybe even 2 years, before I met Axl. Cuz me and Tracii went to high school together.

Sid: Did you guys go to Fairfax High School?

Raz: Yeah.

Sid: Same one as Slash and... What's with the Fairfax high school [?]

Raz: Steven went there.

Sid: Lenny Kravitz.

Raz: What?

Sid: Yeah, didn't Lenny Kravitz go to Fairfax?

Raz: Yeah, I think I just found that out last year or two. Yeah, everybody went there. Chris Weber. Led Zeppelin went there, I think.


Raz: He's in the yearbook. There's a picture of him in the yearbook.

Kevin: Yeah. So with the history of L.A. Guns, as I understand it, started out with Michael Jagosz and who was the singer for, it was Pyrrhus, right? That was the first band before L.A. Guns?

Raz: Yep. He was actually the first one I met. Me and him became friends and then he wanted me to check out his band, which is Pyrrhus. Then I saw Tracii and I thought he was a rock star. So I was a fan pretty much, you know, like, right away.

Kevin: And then after Michael left, is that when things sort of transitioned to when Axl was in the band too briefly?

Raz: You know, I had seen Axl like with Hollywood Rose, actually just Rose, him and Izzy. And I always thought that guy was great, like right from the get go. And I always thought, like, if him and Tracii would jam together, that'd be awesome. He knew Tracii already, and Tracii and Izzy were pretty tight. Then, you know, when Tracii started L.A. Guns, he didn't have a singer at first. Pyrrhus kind of broke up, even though the same band kind of got together that became L.A. Guns later, they had broken up. You know, like after high school was over and Tracii wanted to like be professional and the band was still kind of like, you know, high school band with Mike just wanting to party and not really taking it like serious like business. Like, Tracii's all about business. I think that's why the band broke up. He wanted to grow up, do it right, play the scene, be among the group-

Jeff: So Pyrrhus during their teenage years, their high school years,-

Raz: Their high school band basically.

Sid: So was Pyrrhus to sound like? I think I read somewhere like the Scorpions, sort of?

Raz: I don't know, yeah, maybe. Mike had that wailing metal voice, you know, that Euro metal. Tracii was kind of into that stuff for a while, you know. And then he got into the whole, you know, more punkish stuff in New York Dolls and that. You know, he liked Aerosmith and, you know, all the Mötley Crüe. Yeah, he was a huge Crue fan.

Kevin: So you were pretty key in the early days with kind of bringing these guys together, you know, the combination of Axl and Izzy from Hollywood Rose and then Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner from L.A. Guns, right? And they kind of merged into Guns N' Roses. You were kind of there from the very, very start?

Raz: Yeah, right there, right where it all began. So Axl singing with L.A. Guns. And then eventually, you know, I had some money from a settlement, I broke my neck, and then when I was 15, I got some settlement money. I decided I was gonna be like a music mogul. Like, threw money around everywhere.

Kevin: So something that, really - there's very little information out there about this - how did Ole Beich come to be part of that Guns N' Roses? Because he was not.... Well, he was with L.A. Guns, wasn't he for a short time?

Raz: Yeah. Well, he was with L.A. Guns like the whole time. He was L.A. Guns' only bass player.

Kevin: Okay.

Raz: Before that, the high school, we had Pyrrhus, they had a guy named Dany Tull, who was another high school classmate of ours. And he like, I don't know, he just quit playing, like, I just heard it at the time that he, you know, did something else, whatever, like giving up music or going to do like meditation or physics or something, I don't know, something other. And then they had a guy named Rick Mars. When Rick Mars came in - he played with Hollywood Rose for a while too. He was a cool looking Rudy Sarzo-dude, that's kind of when they were [?]. That was when like Pyrrhus became like club-worthy. I mean, Dany was great, don't get me wrong. It's just like, Rick Marsh, he looked like a rock star, man. He was cool. And Dany, like, I don't know, for some reason I went to the next rehearsal and there was Ole. And Ole was just like a rock god, you know, like night and day. It was just like, "Man, these guys are great now." Now it's still with Mike and then that lasted for about 6 months and then Pyrrhus broke up.

Kevin: Right. As far as we can see from the flyers it seems like the first Guns N' Roses show was in March of '85. Was that right after the radio interview?

Raz: Yeah, it was the same week.

Kevin: So Duff came into the picture before that first show. Ole Beich, did he play any shows with Guns N' Roses?

Raz: No, he didn't play any shows.

Kevin: Because he's in a lot of the pictures.

Raz: Yeah, you know, you make flyers in a couple weeks out and then, you know, things change. And then the guy that plays the show isn't the guy on the flyer. I mean, there's albums out there with pictures of dudes that, you know, didn't play in the...

Kevin: Exactly. So tell us a little bit about that radio interview. For those of you that haven't seen it, the link is through Raz's website, But did you set up that interview Raz or how did that come to be?

Raz: Izzy set it up. Izzy, when L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses got together, Izzy was kind of like the big star of our town because he was in a band called London. It was kind of like a big draw and everything like. So L.A. Guns were like wannabes at the time. L.A. Guns had a draw but London was established. And Izzy was part of London and then people liked Izzy and then he just had the whole Melrose connection. So I think, like, if memory serves correct, that lady that was the DJ in that interview, she had some kind of ties to the Vinyl Fetish record store. Izzy knew her from down there or maybe they knew her and they said, "Hey Izzy, you could get your band on here."

Jeff: Is Vinyl Fetish where Slash lifted his top hat?

Raz: No, Vinyl Fetish was the record store. There was other like closed doors-

Sid: That's Retail Slut you're thinking of?

Jeff: My bad, my bad. Okay, my bad.

Kevin: Retail Slut on Melrose, yeah. So did you actually, were you involved in booking the shows, like the Radio City and Dancing Waters, those early shows in March and April of '85?

Raz: Yeah, I booked, say.... I didn't book Dancing Waters. That was a Rose connection that got them in there. But the Radio City, and then with the Timbers Ballroom and the Troubadour. Yeah, I booked all those shows, like the first couple of times they played there.

Kevin: I'm just curious because, you know, I live here in Orange County, Radio City is in Anaheim, a little bit of ways off from the Sunset Strip. Do you remember, what was it... just, did you have a connection there or why Orange County for one of their first shows?

Raz: Well, you know, that was just kind of in LA Guns little... it was a cool club, man. It's just, you know, we just liked to play, the guys liked to play wherever, you know, and, like, go party and play and you would get paid. You can't just... the Troubadour will book you like every month and a half month and a week or whatever, it's not enough shows, you know. So you do an Orange County, you know, you do like, and even Glendora, Fenders Ballroom that's kind of [?]. That's a bump up, Glendora, you know. You know, you just kind of did the little circuit, you know. That was LA Guns' style. But Guns N' Roses, man, they started playing like they all had connections. They started playing like, I think four or five shows, six shows a month, and then. man, they just started hitting it like playing two or three a week if they could get a gig.

Sid: So one question I had, like when they were playing those early gigs, like what were some of the songs that were being played at those gigs?

Raz: You know, most of that stuff, you know, like with that Roots of Guns N' Roses record. And then... Was Move To The City on that record? I don't think... So Move To The City added to that and then Don't Cry. Back Off Bitch is on the Roots one.

Kevin: I think that some of the L.A. Guns songs were practiced by the early band? Is this true? But they never played it. Like there was one called Bloodshot Eyes that was an LA Guns song.

Raz: Yeah. Axl did... Some of the songs on that LA Guns EP that Mike Jagosz sang on Axl had written lyrics and melodies for when he was in LA Guns. So one of those was Bloodshot Eyes. Another was a song called Cold Hard Cash. I don't know if that ever ended up on anything.

Kevin: I don't think it's official, but that was back with Chris Weber too, I think. Right?

Raz: Oh, okay. Maybe I got that wrong, maybe they just played that with La Guns. They played that with L.A. Guns. And I know I remember liking that song.

Sid: And so, Raz, you mentioned, they played like Don't Cry. So did that arrangement of Don't Cry change a whole lot from like the final version we heard on the Illusions records with Slash-?

Raz: Of course. Everything changed. Their songs evolved like tremendously. They were always really good songs and they went to like excellent songs and then they went to great songs. It was kind of like a year and a half evolution. I mean, it didn't take them long to restructure everything. From the time they formed until the time Appetite came out was like, what, barely two, 2 1/2 years or something like that, a little less. So two years and three months or something, right. That ain't nothing, you know.

Kevin: The radio interview, there was a clip of Don't Cry and that was during one of the... You said it was their first rehearsal with Duff and it was well arranged but the guitar solo with Tracii is completely different, right?

Raz: That's crazy, huh? I think that's like the best solo that Tracii ever did right there.

Jeff: That was cool.

Sid: Sorry, one thing I wanted to ask was like, how did Duff get in the picture? Like did he just find the guys through like, the Recycler?

Raz: No, Duff lived across the street from Izzy.

Jeff: Is that when they were living behind Grauman's Chinese Theater?

Raz: They're like Orange Grove Street or something like that, yeah. So right by basically Chinese Theater.

Jeff: Yeah.

Raz: And then Duff was living across street, Izzy knew his roommate, Duff came down. I guess there was some guy that was in a band called Christian Death or whatever. So Duff was living there and then Izzy's like, "Hey, [?]" See, like, bass players were in short supply and then, like... I guess Ole just... It's weird, maybe he thought his position like nothing was going to happen or he thought it was secure because, you know, everybody needed a bass player. And so he was kind of shocked when I told him that he wasn't in the band anymore.

Kevin: Yeah, I was gonna ask because a lot of the fans have been wanting to know, like, so you did the flyers and it was with Ole and then you booked the shows and then Duff came into the picture. Was there an artistic difference or just they got along better with Duff? Or do you remember anything about how Ole left?

Raz: I remember exactly what happened. There was a rehearsal and it was like, "Okay," you know, with Ole, and then the word was like, "In a couple of days we're gonna have another rehearsal." The next day Izzy says, "Hey, we got this radio interview set up, this radio interview, and we need to have a rehearsal tonight. So get everybody together." Ole had a new girlfriend, nobody could get ahold of him. So they weren't able to record. They were going to record with Ole, they just wanted to throw a rehearsal together and get Ole to do that tape for KPFK. Then Izzy said, you know, "If Ole doesn't want to be in this band then I know a guy," and then the next night he just brought Duff down and then they recorded that night during rehearsal, like 9-10 o'clock at night, and then went on the air and did the interview at like 2:00 in the morning or something like that at KPFK.

Kevin: Wow. And was that, most of those recordings you mentioned, Willies studio out in North Hollywood? Is that where those rehearsals were done?

Raz: Yep, over at Wilpower Studios and Willie was working the board. So it was basically off the board onto like a cassette deck. [?] They did a couple of takes of each song, so they got it them the way they liked them.

Kevin: And have you [?] for most of those rehearsals and shows?

Raz: Oh yeah, yeah. For sure.

Kevin: That's incredible.

Raz: Yeah, right there. Like I probably went to every rehearsal till maybe Slash's second show. It might be one or two here or there, whatever, but I think, I mean, they practiced like three or four days a week whenever they had the cash or whatever. And then after Slash and Steven joined, they moved to another rehearsal space. It was closer to Hollywood. And I just didn't go over there. My brother was their road manager and I kind of had a falling out with him, so I didn't want to see him, so I didn't go.

Kevin: So from March to May was the early, you know, the original band with Tracii and Rob Gardner, right, from March to May, and then sometime around the end of May or June is when they went up north to Seattle and did that [?]. Were you still at that point? The Hell tour?

Raz: Okay, that was June, right? I was supposed to go. But I got the flu and like basically like about 12 hours before they left. That was one of the... so Izzy or a couple of the guys, Axl and Izzy or whatever, like two or three guys, were gonna ride in my car. But they got a U-Haul and they put it on Danny, Danny the roadie. They hooked into his mom's car. They hooked the U-Haul on and then they all had to get in one car. So it's like kind of like the whole band and then two road crew, JoJo and Danny. So it was like 7 guys and one car with a trailer going up the Grapevine a 100°. So yeah, I flipped out. Like I kept thinking I was going to be able to make it until like, you know, they kind of waited around my house like an hour and a half and I was just like, "Sorry man, guys, I can't go, man. I got like a fever and...." And yeah, they had fun, man. I missed it. I fucking missed it.

Jeff: So you're saying that you would have dreaded having eight people in your car once the other one broke down?

Raz: No, I don't think it would have [?].

Jeff: You take less weight because there are other people would have been in your car?

Raz: Yeah. Plus, I think they were a little behind schedule because like they kind of waited extra hour and a half to leave and [?] Yeah, like they were supposed to leave in the morning, maybe leave till like noon or 12:30 or whatever, but they probably wouldn't have left till late anyway because everybody was all just like getting in my house too[?], so who knows.

Jeff: When they got back from that tour, could you see like a bigger and even more solid bond between all five of the original members?

Raz: Oh hell, yeah, it was night and day. They were like bros when they came back, like they just... it's what they went through. So I heard, I think, I forget who told me they said that... So the word out there is that they only played one show up there and at the time I remember they played three shows and that JoJo and Danny got the car working like a couple hours later cuz it was just an overheated transmission and they caught up with them and then they only played one show in Seattle because I think the same club-

Jeff: [?] amount of money.

Raz: This is all hearsay though, but the club in Seattle didn't wanna pay them, right? So they didn't do another show, they were supposed to do two up there and they had to get out of Dodge. But I thought they played in the Bay Area, like in California. But you know, that's all hearsay. Like whatever they say, I really take their word on it, but that's just what I heard at the time.

Kevin: So the story, you know, the history, says that basically everything I've read, says that Rob and Tracii just, they just weren't up for going up north and doing the big trip without, you know, just to go up on a whim. Is that kind of what happened, that Slash and Steve were willing to take that trip and Rob and Tracii weren't?

Raz: Tracii was out. Axl just had problems with Tracii. So, like, there was a show at Joshua's Parlor, like at the end of May, whatever, 1985, that was Tracii's last show and then Axl fired him the next morning.

Jeff: Over what?

Raz: He just thought Tracii was... Like, Tracii was like, at the Timbers Ballroom show, Tracii was just, he said Tracii was just standing behind his Mashall amps the whole time and playing like way louder than everybody else, he wouldn't even like come out to the front of the stage and everything like that. And then he's like, he's gonna fire him, then he's like he waited till after that Joshua Parlor's show and then Slash is going to be in the band. But they thought that Robbie was gonna stay on drums. But then as soon as Slash came in, like they wanted Robbie to be on drugs, they were leaving in like two days to go to Seattle. And so Robbie's like, "I'm not going up there." So Steven knew the songs and they just took him up there and then when they came back there was no talk about, like, trying to get Robbie back in the bank. They always kind of wanted Robbie to like stay even when Steven was like willing to do it, they wanted Robbie. But Robbie would, you know, with Tracii, they were a team.

Jeff: So why do you think they maybe didn't pursue Robbie after Steven's departure? Was Robbie just more like onto a different path?

Raz: Oh, you mean like in the 90s?

Jeff: Correct.

Raz: Yeah, I just think, like, at that point they could choose whatever drummer they wanted. Back then, Robbie was just like the best available and he knew all their songs and they wouldn't have missed a beat. I didn't mean... See what I did there by accident?

Kevin: So that show in May, Raz, was that Tracii and Robbie's last show then at Joshua's Parlor?

Raz: Yeah, Joshua's Parlor, Westminster, CA. It was a little bikini bar, man, that was fun. Yeah, like [?] kamikazes [?], everything over there was great.

Kevin: That only about 10 miles from where I live.

Raz: Uh, it's good, yeah.

Kevin: So, you know, it's kind of funny. People want to know when did Izzy change his name? I guess it was Izzy Stranded and then he changed.... When did he change it to Stradlin, you know?

Raz: Yeah, right around there. I think that was like the last time. I think like in that interview you can hear he said Izzy Stranded? And then he realized he had changed his name already and that's why he kind of pauses for a second, like, I think he already changed his name. But yeah, when he was in London, I think he was Izzy Stranded in London.

Kevin: Yeah, well, that was an interesting interview. But Duff wasn't in the interview, was he? Was he there for the interview?

Raz: No, he just did the rehearsal and then he went home and he had a nine to five or so. He went home and went to bed and went to work the next day.

Kevin: So how long did you stay involved? You said you were there for a couple of the first shows with Slash and Steven in the summer and then at what point did you... Did you ever think, you know, "Hey, this is"... You know, you said you saw how good it connected with the band, did you ever think maybe you could like be their manager moving forward to try to get a record deal or why did you end up moving away from the band?

Raz: You know, it's funny because I had a little issue with my brother and him and Axl were tight. My brother was the stage manager. I had been with L.A. Guns and we had everything to a point where it was ready to break, or at least break whatever level we were gonna, you know, do. We had the record out, everything. And then it all fell apart because nobody really cared about, like, taking it....whatever. Nobody cared about the time or effort that I put into it at that... So I just saw the same thing happen. I'm like, "Man, if I work with this band, they could just decide like three or four months from now they're all going to break up and I would have put all my time and effort into it." And I just figured they were gonna break up again and I didn't want to be dealing with it. And then I remember Slash called me, like I didn't go to the show, like after I got in a fight with my brother, like, I didn't go because me and my brother weren't talking. So Slash called me up, like, "What happened?" you know, and I was like, "Yeah, I kind of got mad at,", you know, "JoJo and Axl yesterday and then booted them out of my house and all this stuff, but I'm cool, you know, so I'm cool with the band." And he's like, "Hey, you should manage us, man." Still, I'm like, "No, dude, if you guys stay together for a year, I'll manage you." So yeah, they were already signed by the time the year came by. I offered them again like a year later, I was like, "Yeah, I'll manage you guys now" [laughs].

Sid: Is this something you ever regret like looking back?

Raz: Oh, not at all. Because I don't think, like, if I would have managed the band the whole time that anything would have happened, like when they got signed I just would have been out the door anyway and then there would have been animosity. At that point, like I just got to go to their shows and party and hang out and be friends and you know, do the whole rock star thing, you know, it's like that wouldn't have happened if I, like, if I would have managed them until they got signed and then we didn't like work together after that. I wouldn't have seen any of the Appetite for Destruction Tour. I wouldn't, you know, I wouldn't have talked to the guys. You know, any of that. I'm one of those spiteful fuckers man. I would have been gone, you know.

Kevin: I was going to mention it, in the radio interview, I think it was Izzy, mentioned that they were going to be releasing an EP. Did they ever record that?

Raz: I think they figured maybe they might or something like that. And Axl at that point still thought I had the L.A. Guns tape of Heartbreak Hotel but we had recorded over his vocals after he left and everything, we just needed the tape back then. I think it was like $200 for a 2 inch tape or something like that and we needed to get Mike's songs on there. So we recorded over Axl. And then Mike Jagosz could not pull off the version of Heartbreak Hotel as it was arranged and recorded.

Kevin: Yeah, I was gonna ask you about Mike because there was an interview he did about five or six years ago online that he was really critical of Axl. And do you know, was it just, like.... Can you comment on what went on there? Did those guys know each other or was it kind of rivalry between the two?

Raz: Yeah, I think Axl and Mike didn't really like each other. Probably got that out of that little interview. I mean, Axl doesn't waste time even saying anything about Mike because what's the point, right. So, yeah, Michael always... man, he was bitter about Axl, right, he never liked Axl before I even saw Axl sing. But maybe it was just because like all the accolades. I mean when people saw Axl, they would comment and like, "Hey, that guy's pretty good," or whatever, you know, and I think Mike [?]  "Well, I've been trained operatic, I can hit like," you know, "all these notes, I can sing like," you have, "Dio," you know, and he's just like Bon Scott and Mike didn't like AC/DC at all. So those kind of singers it's like, "That's not a singer."

Kevin: So do you know did Axl record with L.A. Guns? Did they do any like demos? Because the L.A. Guns EP of course is not with Axl, but are there other recordings that you think might exist of Axl doing songs like Bloodshot Eyes and those other ones?

Raz: Yeah, isn't there's some stuff on YouTube where like little pieces of the L.A. Guns and with Axl singing at the Troubadour or something like that?

Kevin: Yeah. I think that Mark Canter went to one show in October '84 and he recorded - October 5th, '84 -  the show live. But any demos or rehearsals that you-?

Raz: I don't have any.

Kevin: Right. So fast forward 30 years. I mean are you, does it surprise you the amount of stardom and success that particularly Axl and Slash and Duff, I mean, are you surprised by it? Are you shocked by it? Or did you see that in them that was different than anybody else at that time?

Raz, Yeah, you know, the fact that they could come out and like haven't played in like 20 years or so and in stadiums, that's like kind of like unheard of, that's pretty shocking. I mean, think about all the band that have put out albums like every two years for like 20 years, and they were playing arenas and they might hit stadiums for a minute and then back to arenas, and now they're playing like, you know, large theaters or whatever. You know, like, they're like, "Man, these guys did nothing for 20 years and they're playing stadiums and have the biggest tour in the world, you know, what did we do wrong?" I mean, Motley Crue, like, they kind of dwindled away and they were huge back then. I mean, I'd say Mötley Crüe and Guns N' Roses were on the same level at some point, like in the 80s.

Jeff: How surprised were you when it was announced that Axl, Slash and Duff were getting back together?

Raz: I really... there was a part of my book where I predicted that it would never happen and I had to edit that out.


Sid: So I guess getting to the book, you wrote a book that came out last summer. How long were you writing the book for? And like, when did you decide that I want to write a book?

Raz: Well, I was gonna write a book.... I started writing a book back in the 90s. And then kind of got like two chapters and then didn't do nothing. And so basically, in earnest, about four years ago. I had to learn how to write. So I wrote a novel first called Bud's Love Bus, it's a story about these guys making a 1972 Volkswagen bus run on weeds. So that one I wrote. And then so I learned just, you know, just writing. Because I went to college when I was in my 30s, got a history degree and I just wrote academically and it was real boring. But just had to like, man, I had to give that style that I used now for conversational kind of flip it and whatever, you know, whatever you do, people describe my style as sarcastic. I had to learn how to, like have my own voice and I didn't have it. And so once I got that down and it kind of took me about a year and a half after I learned all the little trade secrets.

Sid: Was it hard to remember all that stuff because it happened like almost 30 years ago?

Raz: Yeah, you know it's weird. Like I was telling my friend last night, I always just remember that stuff. And I'm one of those people. I just remember details and I remember stuff. And now that I'm done with the book, man, I'm like forgetting that stuff. Like it's already like, "Okay, I documented it and I don't have to remember this anymore. I'm going to remember other stuff."

Kevin: I always wanted to ask, at the time that this was going on where the band members themselves, like Axl and Izzy, were they interested in documenting it? Like would they ask you, "Oh come", you know, would they want you to take pictures and record the rehearsals or was that not something that was on their mind?

Raz: Yeah, I wonder... It was never like expressed, you know, like, "Hey, we should save flyers and..." I think all the flyers you see out there and like any kind of recordings you hear, like, it's just kind of like somebody else had it. There's plenty of people around LA, they just collect flyers and magazine and whatever they did at the time. You were going to a club and there would be like seven magazines and a bunch of flyers and they'd take stacks of them. There's probably great hordes around the greater Los Angeles and Hollywood area yet to be discovered.

Kevin: Like a gold mine, right?

Raz: Yeah. Something, somewhere.

Jeff: Fingers crossed.

Raz: It's out there, it's out there.

Kevin: So did you find the radio interview recently or did you just have that in the vault for 30 years and you just decided this was the time to release it?

Raz: Yeah, I just had it. I had it on a cassette and I did a weird transfer like, you know, like nine years ago and the levels were so low, it was terrible. And then like just did it again, like two years ago, I bought like a different way to transfer, like USB transfer. It's really kind of a low quality transfer that I did to my computer anyway. I could probably get some better sound out of that if I just did it like, you know, like a better tape deck and do a better, you know, set up all the sound parameters before I transferred it. I didn't do any of that. I just like put some little $15 Amazon cassette player USB into my computer and recorded like that.

Kevin: Have you thought about doing any book appearances or any like promotions for the book like any book signings or?

Raz: I got some stuff in the works right now. It's like it's weird like, I've been plugging away trying to sell these books and getting a little bit of interest here, a little bit of interest there, but just in the last couple of weeks there's been like, I got, you know, like you guys and the Appetite for Distortion Podcast. And then I might be doing some print interviews, but I haven't finalized it yet so I don't want to say what the names are. Yeah, it's going good, I'm getting like a lot of people contact me through Facebook. And it's weird that it's that one picture that I put out of like the early... the Guns N' Roses rehearsal they found in the video, too. I put that out and then Tracii Guns retweeted it, or not tweeted, Instagrammed it, and then everything kind of.... I got a lot of interest from people once I did that, you know. Of all the people, man, that it's he helping me out, I'm[?] kind of mad.

Kevin: Do you still talk to any of the former members of L.A. Guns? You've talked to Robbie, right?

Raz: Yeah, Robbie. Me and Robbie, it was a couple years, we hung out. Drink some tequila.

Sid: Are you still in touch with any members of Guns N' Roses?

Raz: You know, the last one that I hung out with regularly was Dizzy Reed. I don't know if that counts, but that hasn't been for a while. It was like 10 or 12 years or whatever, just because I moved away and he was doing all this stuff. But we're friends on Facebook. So yeah, nobody else. I didn't go to any of the shows or anything this time.

Sid: So did you know Dizzy back in the day? Because like his band, The Wild was like rehearsing, I guess, next to Guns N' Roses and he lived like in the same area as these guys from Guns.

Raz: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, I knew Dizzy before... I think maybe before the Guns N' Roses knew Dizzy[?]. I used to go over there. It's a weird story, like Ole Beich was over there at the Gardner Studios, where Guns N' Roses ended up, and The Wild were there and I saw Ole walking down the streets... Oh no, he was working at upholstery shop right there so I went to get him to smoke pot with him and take him lunch or something, and he introduced me to one of the members of The Wild and they were in the studio that L.A. Guns had been in, the Gardner, the big one. And then Guns N' Roses ended up in the studio next door, like a couple months later. So I already knew the Wild guys for awhile.

Kevin: Did you hang out with the current band that we know of, with Slash and Duff and Axl? Did you ever see them at the Gardner Studios or Silver Lake studios when they were doing the rehearsals?

Raz: Oh hell yeah. Like, you know, like daily.

Kevin: Because didn't they also... Wasn't there a studio? It's called Silver Lake Studios?

Raz: That was Nickey's Love Palace and it was right by like Fletcher and Riverside. Right by Dodger Stadium, basically. So that's where they... So after Willie Basse's placed, they went over to Nickey's Love Palace which is Nickey Beat, the drummer for L.A. Guns. He played their first record. That was his little studio. So what happened was GN'R was there at that studio, Nickey's Love Palace, and then Jet Boy was there. And then Nickey started up again with Tracii Guns and they started up L.A. Guns. So Nickey started getting all the prime, like, spots [?] this little one room studio. He lived there and everything. So Guns N' Roses had to kind of like, man, if they wanted to practice all the time, then they went and said, "Well, we got money now," just playing shows where, you know, they're making like 1,000-2,000 or whatever, like, "we can afford a lockout now." So they got the lockout and that was Gardner's. You know, you guys know the lockout? It's where you like leave your gear set up and you have you have 24 hour access and everything. So Nickey was running an hourly place so you can get like a three hour block. It's kind of good, like once you're getting stuff together, but once you become a band and you guys are all tight, you go and you lock out. You get monthly and just work it out.

Kevin: So did the band with Rob Gardner and Tracii ever rehearse at Gardner street or at the Nickey studio, or was it always at the Willie studio?

Raz: So yeah, Tracii and and Rob and Ole version was at Willie Basse's Wilpower Studios.

Kevin: Got it. Lot of history. It's a lot of things that's really unknown up to this point. So you've really contributed a lot to this early story, I mean, even just sort of documenting the transition, you know where Duff came in and everything. I didn't realize that they had played - what, how many shows was it with the... ? You've got the flyers from like, March to May. It looks like it was about 8 or 10 shows, right, that they played before Duff came in?

Raz: Yeah. Oh no, before Slash... Duff played all the early shows.

Kevin: Yeah, that's what I meant. Before Slash and Steve came in, yeah.

Raz: Yeah, there you go.

Sid: So, one thing I want to ask you, Raz, to like, so after Appetite, did you still stay in touch with the guys from the band?

Raz: Yeah, I went on the road with them and the couple of shows out in the New York and, like, whenever they played here, like, I would just, you know, like, I'd drive Axl around after the show. So like, everything was good, man, I don't know what happened.

Sid: So then did you hang out with them at all, like during the Use Your Illusion days as well? Or did things kind of change after that?

Raz: No, you know, after... You know, the Paradise City video they shot that at Giants Stadium, that show with the Aerosmith and Deep Purple, right? That was the last time, yeah, I hung out with them and then they went to Boston the next day and then... Oh, they went to Donington and did the rest of that Paradise City video. And then, yeah, I never really talked to... I mean, I've run into Axl a couple times after that, but he never called me after that. Or like that's when I went home from the New York stuff. I don't know, maybe I did something to piss people off. I kind of got a mouth on me. So I don't know, maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Sid: So did you ever run into - because this is the thing that's always like a thing of interest to a lot of fans - like did you ever run into Axl between like these really specific between like 1994 and like 2000, like we call them "the wilderness years" because he was kind of like keeping low or kept a low profile around that time.

Raz: Yeah, because I used to go to... Like, we used to have a Fantasy Football League at Dizzy's [?] like some of the guys from The Wild, other guys [?] and some just, you know, some, some people like twelve of them [?]. So I think Axl's brother was in that and had a team and so we would have our little first week of, you know, party over at Dizzy's house, like a BBQ. We'd have the draft at my rehearsal studio. And then, yeah, Axl would be a those. I ran into him a couple times at Dizzy's house.

Sid: So Axl's is like a pretty big football guy then, I guess?

Raz: I guess, you know, like he never came to the draft. Like, Stuart, like, I think his brother one year, Stuart, like, drafted the team for him. Yeah, but his team sucked, Axl don't know how to pick any [?].

Kevin: You mentioned Del James was and Robbie said that he knew Dl back in the days in New York. Was Del James and like West Arkeen, were they around in those early days when they were playing the first shows with Tracii and Robbie?

Raz: You know, I don't remember meeting Del until, like, right at the end of the Gardner Studios. So for all I know, because I know Wes and Del, like, they lived next door to JoJo and they all worked at... I think they worked at - my mom was a cab driver - there was a cab company called United Taxi, United Independent Taxi, whatever it was called, and a lot of the guy, my brother would get people jobs answering phone for the cab company, because it was like a job you could work in the middle of night, you can work part time. But I think when they all worked together, I think he got Wes his job. But like when I say they worked together I think those guys only worked there for like 3 or 4 days, man, I don't think they like the grind of it.

Sid: So you you talked about Axl, did you ever like run into Slash or Duff or Izzy after like the Giant Stadium gig?

Raz: You know, it's funny. Yeah, I saw Izzy... Actually, I went... After the Giants stadium, so I still went to shows and everything was good, and so, you know, like I went to the, they played at the Cathouse and then I got in there. I didn't have a problem getting tickets or anything like that. And then they played at the RIP Anniversary Party, I with to that. And then they played with the Rolling Stones, like four or five shows. I think four. I went to like three of those. But the Stones were the last one I went to. The last time that I actually saw Izzy is funny, me and Mike Jagosz we're going to the Troubadour and I used to take [?] little backstreet for parking place for free and there was Izzy was walking across the street. So I like honked at him and I was like, "Guns N' Roses sucks!" And he like just stuck his middle finger up in the air from behind, like if he had his back pain, and he kept walking and he took like three steps and he's like, "Raz!" And he turns around and yes, we hung out all that night, man, he took me to clubs and they were buying him drinks because be was Izzy from Guns N' Roses. [?] We just hung out like pretty much all night that night.

Jeff: Right on. I got a quick question. You mentioned a little bit ago, Jet Boy, man. Not to bring up some old memories or sad memories, but can you confirm that the steering wheel at the bottom of Axl's mic stand, is that from Todd's old motorcycle or like? Like ratt rod or something like that?

Raz: I have no idea about that. I don't even know which mic stand you're talking about.

Sid: So he used to have this mic strand-

Jeff:. -at the bar at the bottom of Axl's mic stand.

Sid: So if you look at like any of the Illusion tours that, you know, the tour dates they played, Axl have this like circular base of his mic stand. I know Jeff's brought it up a couple of times.

Jeff: It's the steering wheel from something.

Raz: Yeah, I don't know.

Sid: So when was the last time you ran into Slash? Was like around the same time you saw Izzy?

Raz: No. You know, I actually saw Slash at the Rainbow like in the early 2000s. He was across the room and then like four or five tables down. If I was there... Man, I'm trying to think I was with J.J. Bolt and he was a guitar player for The Wild. So we were just hanging out and then have pizza - because the Rainbow Bar and Grill has the best pizza ever. But, with that being said, so yeah, Slash's over there and everybody was kind of mobbing him and he was like kind of like hidden move[?] through the crowd and I was like, "Man," I didn't want to say nothing, I was like, "Man," I hadn't seen the guy forever and whatever. And then he, like, he just looked and said, "Raz!" and he just came over and chatted at our table, man, we hung out, Him and J.J. were buddies, obviously, because, you know, fellow guitar players and, you know, they bands liked each other. Hung out for like 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Buyed me a cup of drinks.

Sid: So when you put your book out, did you end up hearing from anybody in the Guns camp?

Raz: No, no, I'm really, you know, I kind of just put it out there and let's see what happens. I didn't ask anybody. I didn't tell anybody. I mean, I was thinking that maybe I should send Del, you know - me and Del James are friends on Facebook too and Instagram, follow me on Instagram - so I thought... But they were, you know, in the middle of the tour and everything, like, this guy is probably getting like hundreds of like messages a day or, you know, dozens, and I'm not gonna bug him. I don't care. If they like it, they like it, and if they don't, they don't.

Kevin: You talked to Steven or have any contact with Steven Adler?

Raz: Yes, Steven, the last time I saw Steven was at my studio. Like, I had a rehearsal studio in North Hollywood and in early 1998 I got robbed. And so I just told [?], I got robbed for like the second time in like 6 months and I was like tired of being a sitting duck right there. But the last band that night was a band Steven had booked - I hadn't seen Steven and he was getting back together and he jammed the night before I closed, you know? And then the next night he booked and the band showed up and he never showed up and they had a different drummer. And they were jamming when I was getting robbed. So basically you have the last band that ever rehearsed there is a band that Steven Adler booked into my studio. Which is kind of a weird thing.

Sid: Yeah, absolutely.


Raz: I know who robbed me, it was somebody completely not associated with that act.

Jeff: [?] crooks.

Raz: They were just like, if they wouldn't have been there, I wouldn't got robbed because there wouldn't have been anybody there. Like, they did an extra hour and that extra hour... But, yeah, they had nothing to do with the guy that robbed me. I know who the guy who robbed me and you know, he just got out of jail last last summer, right around the time my book came out, which is another weird coincidence.

Kevin: I just was wondering, going back to the early days again. Did you know any of the guys from Rapid Fire? Did you ever see that band or did ever Axl talk about that being his first band? When he came out here before Hollywood Rose?

Raz: You know, he used to refer to being in a band, but I never like asked him. I always assumed... I realize now that was Rapid Fire, like I didn't hear about Rapid Fire until this year, like when John Miller like, contacted me. So yeah, Axl used to talk about a band he was in and he would talk about the guitar player, which I know now is Kevin. And so, yeah, it's weird. I always assume it was an Indiana band. I just assumed, like I had no idea because he would talk about all the bands that he was in LA with Izzy and all the variations of Rose and Hollywood Rose. And it was actually for a time, one version of Rose was called AXL for just a minute. So that was all the bands I heard about, so I just whenever he talked about like that other band, that guitar player dude... Like, he liked Kevin. Like, he really didn't - I'm assuming it was Kevin - he didn't really think like he was the greatest player in the world, but he thought he had the best guitar tone. He just loved that dude's guitar tone. But it might not be Kevin. It could be somebody from Indiana, you know, so.

Kevin: You mentioned you saw them playing with Hollywood Rose. Did you know any of the other basses like Steve Darrow or Andre Trox? Wasn't there a guy named Andre that was played bass also?

Raz: Yeah, Andre was great, man. I love that kid, man. Yeah he died a couple years ago but, yeah, he was one of those guys who was just fun, man. He always had a smile on his face, always happy to see you kind of guy. Just a fun guy, man. Really friendly and, you know, just [?].

Kevin: Did you know Marc Canter back in the day? Was he around with those early shows too?

Raz: Yeah, you know, Marc went to the shows and we were like cordial, friendly and, you know, he knows me, I know him, but we weren't like super tied or nothing like that. Like I couldn't go into Canter's and get like a roast beef, corned beef sandwich or nothing for free.


Kevin: Because he recorded a lot of the shows, obviously we know from the book, but that was after Slash cameinto the picture. But were any of the shows recorded? Any of the live shows from the days with Rob Gardner and Tracii Gunns, the original band lineup?

Raz: There's gotta be. But you know, who knows? Maybe he didn't go, because maybe he just went to the ones Slash. Like, maybe he [?] with L.A. Guns that Axl recorded and he's like, "Okay, I'm a Slash guy, I love Axel, [?], I don't have to show up again." [?] and then Slash going it was like he for sure recorded. So yeah, he might not have done any like, you know, I can't tell. I'm sorry, I rambled. But yeah, I don't know.

Sid: One thing I want to ask you, Raz, was so you released that really great interview. It was like the first ever interview with Guns N' Roses. Do you plan on releasing any more stuff in the future?

Raz: Yeah, I might. I might. See what happens. I don't know what I got, what I'm allowed to put out or what I can't. I got some stuff that I don't think, you know, I don't have as clear as direct ties to it as I have with that, you know, with the KPFK interview, that was kind of clear cut. Like that was kind of on me. Like I'm the host[?]. I might be stepping on some toes with some other stuff. So we'll see. We'll see how this goes, how the blowback is. If there isn't any blowback, that's cool. But if it puts me in contact with people where I can clear things up with. I'm not talking about Guns N' Roses, I'm just talking about other people, behind the scenes that might, might or might not have something that I have too. This is issues like ownership or whatever and stuff, you know. I kind of believe, like, I got some right to it just because like it was kind of my deal back at the time. But I don't know.

Kevin: A lot of those pictures are great, of the original band, because prior to you releasing these, there's only... I've seen only one picture that's in Marc Canter's book. It's a small picture and with Ole and Robbie and Tracii, but you have like a whole set of pictures that have never, never been seen anyway.

Raz: Yeah, when L.A. Guns was doing their thing with Axl, the theory was just to keep it kind of mysterious, we just put the logo up everywhere. So, the first night with Guns N' Roses Izzy's like, "We need pictures." Cuz everybody did pictures, so it's like, "Okay." [?] They did them that night that we took pictures and that's it. I guess I'm the only one who had them. The one that's in Marc's book was a scan that I did for Robbie, like, you know, 7-8-9 years ago or whatever. He came over to my house and I was like, "Oh, I got something scanned," and I gave one picture and just it's all over the place now, right?

Kevin: Some of those pictures, it looks like they're standing... it looks like it's in the Troubadour with the wood balcony.

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2018.03.DD - GN'R Central - Interview with Raz Cue Empty Re: 2018.03.DD - GN'R Central - Interview with Raz Cue

Post by Soulmonster Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:05 pm

Raz: That's Willie's place. Wilpower's there. So there's the ones with the high angle shooting downward, that's from the loft and that's the stage they're standing, like there's a PA tower and they're standing next to that. And then, on the stairs, the stairs to the loft inside the studio. My brother JoJo took those pictures. So he was on the stage and taking a picture towards the stairs and then the other one was the exterior of the same building.

Kevin: So I was always curious, you may know one of the flyers, I think it's from April 24th at the Troubadour. It has a photo of a drummer but it has a question mark on it. And then, do you know anything about that, why there's a question mark on that early flyer from April 24th?

Raz: Yeah, I can't. That's one thing. Like somebody showed me that, I hadn't seen that flyer until like last year. I saw it and I kind of remember like a semblance of a story. But I don't know. Yeah man, I don't want to say because it's kind of cheesy if what happened is what I think happened. But I don't know, man. I don't know for sure. I don't want to, like, name any names or any things. So I kind of that flyer jogged my memory and I was like, "Oh!" But yeah, I can't. I can't. Sometimes people have issues, you know, with each other. I mean, obviously, I guess Robbie had issues because he wasn't in the band later, right, so maybe there was a precursor that might have led to why maybe Robbie decided later, like at the point where they wanted him to stay, "Okay, well you guys put a fucking flyer out with a question mark over the drummer," and like, "How loyal are you?"

Kevin: Cause the photo says the Photo Credit is for Chris Amouroux. Was he around? Was he like the first photographer that was taking pictures of them?

Naz: No, that's a girl, Chris Amouroux. She was a kind of like a.... She took some Guns N' Roses pictures too. There's a couple out there, like...  Is there no photos on the Internet? Like I have a couple of her photos in my stuff. I should ask her if I could put those out, huh?

Sid: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Naz: Yeah, there's some. I got a couple, like four of her pictures, like she stamped on the back, you know, Chris Amouroux Photography, or whatever. She was like one of those people, like, she was really helpful and she would take photos and help people make flyers and everything like that, sewed some clothes for people, like this designer type person who is creative, helpful music lover. She did a lot of LA Guns stuff later when they reformed with Paul Black stuff. There's a lot of photos that she did with that them so I'm assuming maybe she was a Tracii person or whatever, and then once Tracy was gone, she didn't do any more GN'R stuff. I don't know. But she was around so everybody knew her. She's one of those.

Kevin: Great. Well, hopefully we can see and hear some more recordings. You know if anybody has any video recordings from this time period?

Raz: Yeah, you know, video cameras were pretty rare back then. They're like two pieces of machine and everything like that. Yeah, so I don't know, man, like, it was kind of a whole bigger[?], like the fact that Marc had, Marc Canter, had one that was like kind of like, "Man, that dude's got it all, man, you got like a little video camera." I mean, even in the 90s, like, you know, it was rare for people to have have like, you know... It's weird because I was watching the Twisted Sister documentary and they had like all kinds of video, everything, but they were big for like five years around the New York area. But it's trippy[?], it's like, "Man, too bad [?] all that Guns N' Roses stuff." They just blew up so fast, man. I really think when they started and they were doing clubs and everything like that, it's just... The template of the time back there was like you played for a couple years and then you start maybe getting record deals, you make money in clubs and you make a living doing that and then you put the EP out, maybe, and see how that goes. And they just, you know, within a year, man, they just had a huge record deal. Obviously, you know, somebody at the record company knew what they were doing. Otherwise, you know.

Kevin: Did the members ever live with you in any point? Did they ever stay over with you in the early days?

Raz: Yeah, you know. I mean, Steven and me would hang out. He crashed over there all the time. Tracii Guns like had a room, rented a room for a couple of months at the house when Guns N' Roses formed. And then Axl would stay over there quite often. And then once Tracii moved out, my brother JoJo, the road manager for Guns N' Roses, rented Tracii's room. And then Axl started staying there all the time. But he didn't officially live there, but he was there all the time, you know.

Sid: So was Axl.... Like, I've read this before that he's like a pretty clean roommate. Like he wasn't like the other guys in Guns?

Raz: Yeah, you know, his thing... He's cool, like he kept to himself, there was like a little covered patio on the back, he stood out there and listened to records or write or whatever. That house was cool because there wasn't enough space for everybody to go if they needed just to get away from each other. So it was more of a financial thing like, I'm like, you know... Like, my brother was like, "Okay, dude, I rented you the room, but you can't have this guy over here all the time," you know? It's like, "He's cool and everything but give me some money."

Geoff: Were you around for the years of the Hell house?

Raz: Yeah, see, I'm in a wheelchair and there's stairs over there. So yeah, I knew of it. And I'd like go there, drop people off and pick people up, you know, and that was kind of-

Geoff: Do you have any what 'the fuck moments' from that house?

Raz: No, because, you know, that was like, you know, right after they got signed and then before like Appetite came out, that place. That would all be secondhand story, so you probably hear better versions of what I could tell you.

Sid: So you've mentioned that Axl kind of kept to himself. Like, was he a pretty shy guy or was he a guy you could just easily have a conversation with?

Raz: No, he was cool, man. We would like, you know, rock out and smoke a little pot or whatever. My biggest issue was the house only had one bathroom and there was four dudes living there. I just wanted the fucking bathroom. Like, if you're gonna, like, block me out of the bathroom for like an hour, pay some rent, or whatever. But I didn't really have a big issue with him with rent. Basically I was kind of just irritated at my brother for putting me in the situation to having to choose like be a dick to Axl because, you know, am I part little bit of star [?], I knew the guy was talented, I knew he was gonna be some sort of success, and I didn't want him to hate me because I was like trying to get, you know, $100 out of him to stay in my house, or whatever. I thought it was kind of a dicky move from my brother to put me in that spot. But then when I blew up at my brother, like there was some gear that went missing. Like my gear, like expensive shit and it was missing for like days and my brother was kind of blocking like, you know, he was like, "Oh, it's over at Izzy's house, I'll get it." And then I put my foot down like, "If I don't get my fucking gear right now," right? So then they're like, "Oh, it's been missing." Turns out there was a roadie named Carlos and he fucking stole the shit and sold it. But I didn't know that at the time and I would have liked to have found out right away that my [?] of $1000 worth of gear is missing. So I just blew up at my brother and, "Get the fuck out of my house," and that was it, man, we didn't talk for like three or four months. He was with Guns N' Roses, like, he was their stage manager and it was like, "Okay, man, I'm not going to go to their shows, either." So that was just it, you know. But this was all bullshit and we started talking again. You know, brothers.

Kevin: Well, I was gonna ask, during this period, around the time of the radio interview in March, April '85, did Axl and Izzy, I mean, did they have jobs? Were they working or were they just kind of hanging out? Or were they like working at Tower Records? I know at one point actually worked at Tower Records.

Raz: Actually, Axl worked at Tower Video.

Sid: Tower Video, yeah.

Raz: But Axl was working there. Yeah, because I gave him rides to work once in a while. But so yeah, he didn't, like, I make it sound like he was staying at my house all the time, he was really only there for like three or four days a week because he had like a girl that he'd hang out with over there on the line[?] work days, he'd mostly like stay over there, work for a couple of days. But, you know, he became manager of that place, I forgot.

Sid: Yeah, and wouldn't he hire like a lot of his friends to come work there too?

Raz: So this was the [?], like the what they would do was, they would do the inventory afterwards because in the video store you had to put everything manually back into, like, you had to go pick it all out and was like, so it was actually a couple hours of work after the store closed to get everything ready for the next day. So there was a liquor store right across the street, Terner's Liquor, it's right next to where the Viper Room is now, it's still there, Terner's Liquor. So they would take a collection. They would get a bunch of booze and then we get all smashed while they were putting the videos back in and somebody reported them for that, like some other thing. So it's like, you know, what a fucking buzzkill. You get to get paid to get smashed and do your work.

Geoff: I heard that there was a rumor that Axl was actually cool about all the like, rewind charges. Like he always like, never charged people like, omitted it. And he was cool about that. I don't know.

Raz: I could just see that he wouldn't charge people for the rewind. Because they have machines that do that. It's like, "Why are we charging people when we do these?" I think they just rewind them anyway, like automatically, like it was just kind of a thing to do, you know.

Geoff: Right, if you could find a video store [laughs].

Kevin: You posted a video or a picture of Axl with his tattoo, the Rose tattoo. Can you just share any stories? Did you take them down to get their tattoos or?

Raz: No, I never went to tattoo... Me and Tracii went to the Tattoo Parlour a couple... Tracii Guns. But Axl kind of did this tattoo stuff on his own. And I just remember when he got that, he had that Thin Lizzy Black Rose record cover, album cover, whatever, that rose from that. And I think it was kind of a not so good version. And when he got a little money, he got it updated and when he got it updated, that's when he took that picture, right. I believe it was Sunset Tattoo across from the Comedy Store at Hyatt House or whatever. I believe that's where that that picture was taken.

Kevin: Did you take that picture?

Raz: No, it's just he... You know, I have a bunch of little stuff of Axl, like from when he lived, you know, just around. Like I have like some artwork he did and maybe like at least 7 or 8 pages worth of like lyrics like, you know, all or part of like songs, or whatever, that I don't think they're in anything else. So yeah, that's probably worth something.

Geoff: Hello eBay.

Kevin: I think there might be a couple crazy collectors you may know that may be interested in that.

Geoff: What is your favorite Guns song?

Raz: You know, I really like that song It's So Easy. I think that's great. And there's, I think, what's that song? One In A Million? I like that. My favorite line that he ever wrote from that song is like, "I don't need no religion, I don't watch that much TV." I love that lyric, man. It's every time I hear that I was like, "Man, that's...." I mean, he's a great lyricist. So I mean, I love like is there, so it's hard to pick-

Geoff: Were you present when any of the songs were being written? Where you like there when they were like, "Let's arrange it this way," and like, "I witnessed Sweet Child being written," or anything like that? Where you present for anything like that?

Raz: Yeah, a lot. You know, like, from the get go like when they first started and then when Slash. I went to a couple rehearsals at Nickey's Love House [?] lockout over there at Gardner Studios. Yeah, a bunch, man. I was over there all the time, like at least every day. And like I was sitting there rehearsals [?]. It was a little space, it couldn't have been more than like 250 square feet. And I would sit right there. You know, and they didn't have a PA. So I remember like once, like, right when the song My Michelle started, I heard them playing that, and before Axl showed up and we were talking out front, I was like, "Man, I really like" - I called it their AC/DC song - it's like, "Oh, I really like that," you know, and he went and got the lyrics he showed me, I was like, "Oh, it's pretty cool man." And then when they were ready for him he went in to like working it out with them and I was right there. You know, Slash's like about, you know, a foot and a half away and Axl came up and they started playing the song and he just sang straight into my ear.

Sid: So when you were there for rehearsals, did you ever hear them, like rehearsing November Rain or did it Axl ever talk about the song with you?

Raz: You know, that's the thing, like, JoJo, you know, my brother, used to talk about this song, they had November Rain. It was like this mythical song, "This is going to be like their greatest epic song ever." Yeah, I never heard it until the Illusions albums came. I never heard that song and I'd heard like of it and you know, like Del's part in it and everything like that. No... Is that the one that Del like from the short story, right?

Sid: Yes. Yeah, Without You. So when you brought up-

Raz: -like Axl talked about that song, it's like, "Del, man, like comes up with this great stuff" so yeah man, it was weird. Kind of lives up to its billing, doesn't it?

Sid: Yes. So when you went to some of these rehearsal studios where Guns was practicing, was there ever like a video camera around, you know, recording this stuff or was it just them hanging out just between the five of them rehearsing?

Raz: Well, yeah, I don't think. There was never, I don't know, anybody that had a video camera back then. And the whole boom box thing that would be like if they were working on a song, like, I think Izzy would bring in a song to play on the boom box, but I don't remember them like actually recording a rehearsal. Like, "Okay, let's see how it sounds." That wasn't anything that was a priority. It was just like...

Sid: So did you know Robert John at all? Like the bands photographer around that time?

Raz: Yeah. Robert's a cool dude. He's great.

Sid: I don't know, Kevin, do you have any more questions?

Kevin: No, I'm just taking it all in.

Sid: I just try to take it all in, too.

Geoff: There's so many gaps that have been filled by you, Raz. Raz, I really appreciate it. Like, you know, now it's all starting to make sense.

Kevin: I mean, I think we can say that you were really their first manager in a way, right. Because you, I mean, you helped book the early shows. I mean, did you ever kind of consider yourself their first manager?

Raz: Yeah, I mean, I think technically I was. I mean, they referred to me as their manager for, you know, at least a couple of months. And I kind of had this notion that, like, I had just come out of the LA Guns thing and I had learned like, I kind of learned like business training, like, on the fly. And I realized that bands didn't really need managers until they had something to manage. And you know, you just need some shows. And so, yeah, they didn't really need a manager and so once-

Geoff: Did you ever work-

Raz: I was LA Guns' manager that became Guns and Roses and then soon I was no longer the manager because they didn't need a manager and I didn't want to put the time into it or the love or the effort.

Geoff: So you never worked hand in hand with Vicky?

Raz: So I don't think Vicky ever was their manager. Like, I really, I knew Vicky and I knew of her. And I ran into her. And here's the story. So the day when when I got mad at my brother and him and and Axl split from my house, that night I went to the Troubadour and I knew - there was this lady, Vicky Hamilton... Oh, Jennifer Perry, me and her were pretty tight and, you know, friendly and everything like that and she would book shows and everything. She was good friends with Vicky Hamilton. So I ran into them at the Troubadour in the front bar. And Vicky sees me and she's like, "Hey, I'm not Poison's manager anymore." This is the same day like I quit working, like officially was no longer involved with Guns N' Roses the same day Vicky says, "Hey, I'm no longer like working with Poison," and I was like, "Oh, congratulations." So I'm like, "Hey, I'm not working with Guns N' Roses anymore," and she's like, "Why?" and I said, "Because I can't get along with my brother and they need a stage manager more than they need a regular manager." So I go, "You should manage Guns N' Roses," right? I told her that, like an hour or two hours after, or five hours after, like, I was [?]. So I told her, like, "You should manage Guns N' Roses," and she's like, "Hah, no way!" And then like six months later, she's like trying to get them to ink paper or whatever, you know. I told them what happened. I told the Guns N' roses guys what happened, you know, like, you know, "She could have been managing you guys six months ago when you guys needed management, now you guys are going to get a deal." You know, but I don't know. I don't think they ever planned to... I think she just promoted clubs and they needed to be friendly with her and like she offered them like, "You can sleep on my couch if you don't have anywhere else to go," and like a professional contact. But I don't think, I mean, even up to like the time they got signed, I don't think they ever signed anything with her. And I've heard like Axl and Del, everything, say the same thing. But, you know, then there's Steven and Slash who would say that she was their manager, so.

Kevin: From your perspective, you never really intended for her to be their manager. She was just helping them book shows-

Raz: She was trying to be their manager. She saw what was going to happen. She wanted that deal.

Sid: So, Raz, like looking back at the time you spent with Guns, like, were they an easy band to manage? Looking back?

Raz: Hah. You know the answer to that question.


Kevin: Did you ever see any of the, I mean obviously, we know about Axl showing up late to shows and having angry episodes. I mean, did you ever see any of that or was he always pretty, you know, punctual and different when you knew him back in the day and when he performed back in '85-'86?

Raz: Oh, he's a volatile personality, man. Or was, you know, so yeah. All the above, man. It's like he didn't change. He didn't like one day like, "I'm a rock star, I'm gonna start acting like a rock star." He was just always [?], you know. But I just think, like, if you're a boring person and, you know, nobody's gonna care what you do like, it's part of the baggage of being like, you know, like an artist or whatever. I don't think Axl's any different, I mean, I was in the music business for 20 years and I've see plenty of guys that have to do the same way and act the same way and stick to their guns like he does and have a vision and a focus and it's like, you know, "Damn you if you get in my way of me trying to achieve what I need to do," right? There was plenty of guys that kind of have that same personality that are talented or whatever, they're selling records or whatever. It's weird that Axl gets all the press for doing like pretty much the same thing like I've seen a lot of guys do, you know?

Geoff: Right.

Sid: Yeah, absolutely. So one other question I had like when you were managing Guns N' Roses was, was Axl there and Everly at that point in time or was did that come afterwards?

Raz: That was after the Gardner Studios.

Kevin: Did you Gina Siler, who was with Axl in the early days?

Raz: Is that the one from Indiana?

Kevin: Yeah.

Sid: Yeah. She came in when he was in LA Guns, she came to stay for about a week or two during the summer. They stayed in my house. She's cool, man, I like her. Has she talked bad about her[?]? Should I say I don't like her? I don't know-

Sid: No, no, no, no, no, no, we don't know-

Raz: I like her, it doesn't matter what anyone else says-

Kevin: Did you ever know a lady named Kim Borden? Do you know that name?

Raz: Sounds familiar, but I'm not sure.

Kevin: Okay, she was a friend of mine that knew the band in the really early days around this period, so I thought... Marc knows who she was, but I thought maybe you would know her.

Sid: So you guys have anymore questions for Raz?

Geoff: You mentioned you said you haven't gone to any of these Not In This Lifetime tour shows, is that correct?

Raz: Right.

Geoff: Is that just because it's not the original five or you think it's too expensive or you just don't want to see it?

Raz: No, you know, I don't know. You know, like I think about going. I think I could like, you know, like, if I get Axl like a hold of copy of my book and take a picture of that would be awesome. I don't know, man. You know the main reason it's weird, like, is I don't want to see, like, I don't want to see a 3 1/2 hour show, man. Sorry man, I can't take it. I think that I could, if I reached out, I could probably go. I don't think there's any animosity. I don't think anybody hates me or there's bad blood or anything like that. It is what it is, you know, it's like, it's over, man. For me, like, it's like, I don't even go to.... I went and saw a band last night and it was like boring. Now I was just bored.

Sid: So after Guns N' Roses, like where did what did you end up? Did you said you wanted to get away from managing. So what did you find yourself doing after Guns N' Roses?

Raz: Oh, man, I did even worse, man, I opened a rehearsal studio and I had to deal with like, you know, like, 60 idiot a day.

Sid: So have you, have you always been known as Raz or how did you get that nickname?

Raz: Well, it's my initials. So when I was in fifth grade or sixth grade, my mom for Christmas she gave me like a Britannic[?], like jeans jacket, you know, 70s player pig lapels[?] and like tails and everything and she put my initials on the back, and everybody just started saying, "Hey, Raz!" That's how I got it. So it was kind of like, you know, by high school, like, right around the time I finished high school, they kind of just stopped, yeah, I was Raz.

Kevin: So what's the best place that people can go to find your book?

Raz: Well, it's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, you know, it's like hardcover and ebook and you can get it to my side. I think I'm gonna put some autograph copies on my site. I just finally got all my license and business license and stuff where I can like sell the stuff, you know, take payment.

Geoff: We'll put not only the recent interview that you guys put, you put up on YouTube, and the link description for the interview, but we'll also put up your website to order it so we can cut out the middleman. And probably, if you can, send them[?] autographed copies and we'll put the link right in the description so everybody can get their copy.

Raz: That's awesome, man. Let's throw that up on my page.

Sid: Yeah, absolutely. So, So yeah, one question I have for you. So when you were writing your book, did you have a lot of leeway in what you could write about or was a book publisher kind of like wanting you to steer one way or the other?

Raz: No, you know, I'm kind of like all on my own, man. It's all me. Like, I wrote the book and the manuscript was out there and people were like, "Man, you gotta get an agent, you gotta do this is great." So I did some query letters and I started to talk with agents. And then they were doing that. They kind of point me into like, "Oh, do this and do that," you know, or whatever, maybe like I think my memoirs like 30 pages longer than like, "Oh, you need to cut out like 30 pages," like just arbitrarily. And I was like, "Man, I don't know where there's 30 pages I could cut out, it's kind of all tied together." And then I asked people like, "What's my writing group?" And I had a couple of people reading, like, "What part can I cut out? They want me to cut out 30 pages." And they're like, "Don't do that. Just stick to your guns." And I was like, you know, "I'm just going to publish this myself." You know, I self published my first book and I made some money doing that. But I figured with Guns N' Roses I could get a major deal on my book and I was like, I just never took that next step. I was like, "Forget it, I'm just going to do this. I know how to self publish. I did it already and I'm not going to take 30 pages. I can't find 30 pages to take out." I was gonna lie, actually, my first thing was to resubmit it and then, like, job[?] the page numbers, like, make the, you know, like change the margins and the footer and header and could out like you know, but I was like, "Oh man, they're probably gonna notice. They're probably just look at the word count or something," you know?

Geoff: Was there any part of the book that you were like, "Maybe I shouldn't include this," but were like, "Fuck it, I am anyways."

Raz: I took that out before. No, there's nothing in there. I wrote a lot, like I'm one of those people, I overwrite. So yeah, that's why I couldn't take 30. I'm pretty good at editing myself. I literally took like from what I originally wrote like 30 or 40% out already. So that was why, "Man, I can't." I mean, people like it the way it is. And, you know, like of all the people that have read it, that liked it, I was like, "Man, I'll tell them a story, but they want me to take something out." They're like, "I can't see where you could take anything out." Okay, so basically the books about me and how Guns N' Roses' travel[?] comes through in my life. So the book is 60% Guns N' Roses? I don't know if you guys read it or whatever, you got through it yet? So it's like 40% of my life or whatever. So it's kinda.... Yeah. So I'm a long winded guy aren't I?

Sid: No-

Geoff: Appreciate it.

Sid: We love details.

Kevin: Yeah, a lot of good GN'R history.

Geoff: Like I said, you filled in a lot of gaps. I appreciate it.

Raz: Thanks guys. I appreciate your time and help me out with the... Maybe I'll sell two or three more books.

Geoff: It's our pleasure if we can help in any way, shape or form.

Sid: Yes, so that basically is it for me. Kevin, you have anything else?

Kevin: Maybe a few things off the record if Raz can stay on for a minute.

Raz: Yeah, I'll give you a couple more minutes. I gotta give my buddy a ride, though.

Sid: All right, Geoff, you have anything else?

Geoff: No. I appreciate Raz' time. And rock on guns.

Sid: Raz, thanks so much for coming out. If you guys are interested, [?] book, the link is down in the description box and there's also a link to that awesome interview he posted, a Guns N' Roses first ever interview from 1985. You can go check that out as well.

Geoff: Subscribe to his channel, man.

Sid: Yeah, subscribe to channel, and a blog, too. I was reading some of your other blog posts. Pretty interesting.

Geoff: Absolutely.
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Finished with this.
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