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T h e G u n s N Ro s e s E nc yc l o p a e d i a

by M i c k O S h ea

F i r s t E d i t i o n 2 008

Published by C h r o m e Dreams
P O B O X 2 3 0 , N e w M a l den, Surrey,
i n f o @ c h r o m e d r e a m

I S B N 9 7 8 1 8 4 2 4 0 423 2
Copyright 2 0 0 8 b y C h r ome Dreams

Edited by C a t h y J o hnstone
Cover Design S y l w i a G rzeszczuk
Layout Design M a r e k N iedziewicz

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without

the written permission of the publishers.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Printed and bound in Great Britain by William Clowes Ltd, Beccles, Suffolk
Guns N Roses


It was Saturday 31 August, 1991,

and there was an extra spring in
my motorbike-booted step as I
clambered into my mates car that
particular morning. For our des-
tination was Wembley Stadium,
and the concert ticket nestled in my
back pocket said Guns N Roses:
admit 1. And although I saw the
Gunners perform live on their sub-
sequent visits to our shores, this
is the show that stands out in my
memory. The afternoon was largely
spent avoiding being crushed by
a collapsing human pyramid or
ogling those girls sporting enough
to expose their breasts on the giant
video screens mounted at the side
of the stage, which was much more
appealing than Evil Dead II minus
the sound. Hell, now I think about
it, it was even more enjoyable than
the support acts, Nine Inch Nails
and Skid Row. Needless to say, the
72,000 crowd went ballistic when
Guns N Roses hit the stage albeit
eighty minutes later than advertised
and I dont think my feet touched
the ground during the opening
number Perfect Crime. I joyously
sang or more likely screeched
along to the songs taken from
Appetite and GNR Lies, and was
left slightly envious of those around
me who appeared familiar with the
Use Your Illusion numbers even
though neither album would be
released in the UK for another two
weeks. The atmosphere beneath the
twin towers was absolutely electric
throughout the Gunners entire two
hour+ set, but if I had to choose

a moment where I was at one with It has of course been impossible

the cosmos, then it would have to be to ignore the on-going shenanigans
when Slash clambered atop one of surrounding Chinese Democracy,
the stage monitors and began strok- and while the press has had a field
ing the opening, chiming chords to day over the albums never-ending,
Paradise City. impending release, the Greatest
I will readily admit that my having Hits album having occupied the
cut my musical teeth on punk rock coveted #1 slot on both sides of the
meant that I didnt get into Guns N Atlantic proved that Guns N Roses
Roses straight away. I had heard are still close to many a rockers
their name, but nothing of their heart. New rumours that the album
music and, believing them to be just was coming out (this time 11 Feb-
another bunch of long-haired L.A. ruary, 2008) surfaced whilst I was
thrash-metal merchants, paid them putting the finishing touches to the
scant attention. But, like every other first draft of this Guns N Roses A
incurable romantic on the block, I - Z, and although Im looking for-
couldnt help but be captivated by ward to finally hearing Axls grand
the sentimental lyrics of Sweet opus, lets just say Im not holding
Child O Mine, and if any further my breath...
evidence was required that I should
maybe check this band out, then it
came upon seeing the video to their Mick OShea
hard-rockin debut Welcome To (Still using my Illusion)
The Jungle.
Back in the day, everyone had
their favourite Gunner and as I was Professional thanks to Rob and
a rhythm guitarist in a band at the everyone at Chrome Dreams, and
time, mine was Izzy Stradlin. Izzy to Alan Parker for putting my
was just born to play guitar, and name in the frame.
was also the epitome of cool, but Personal thanks to my wife Jakki
little did I know that the Wembley for taking a back seat while Guns
show would be his last as a full- N Roses pervaded our everyday
time member of the band. By this life, Paul Young (not the singer),
time of course, the Gunners had Drezzy, Daz and George from
already parted company with drum-
Phrenic, the guys at Quantum
mer Stephen Adler, and, although
Finance, Steve Roadent Con-
the Illusion albums are both fan-
tastic, Izzys departure, closely nelly, Steve Diggle, and the rest
followed by the less-than-savoury of the Cambridge Circus Militia,
Spaghetti Incident? left me with a Andy, Dave, Jo, Amandine and
bad taste regarding all things G N everyone else connected with the
R . And believing the band had run Spice of Life pub.
its course, I barely raised an eye-
brow as Slash, Matt, and Duff all
subsequently followed Izzy out of
Axls revolving door.
Guns N Roses

and double-stroke roll technique,

has seen him credited by some as
having influenced a generation of
drummers in the early 1990s. He
was brought in by Axl in 1997
primarily to beef up the percus-
sion on Chinese Democracy and
was understandably overwhelmed
upon entering the complex where
Axl and the gang were housed,
and seeing the vast array of state-
of-the art equipment at their dis-
posal. You could hunt buffalo
Abbrusseze, Dave with his rig, he later recalled. It
had a lot of blinking lights, a lot
Dave Abbrusseze is the hard- of things that you stepped on. It
hitting, ex-Pearl Jam drummer sounded like a freight train that
who was brought in by Axl Rose was somehow playable.
to work on Chinese Democracy in Abbrusseze was born on 17
1997. May, 1968 in Stamford, Con-
necticut, but grew up in Mesquite,
Texas. As with his G N R pred-
ecessors, Steven Adler and Matt
Sorum, Abbrusseze honed his
drumming technique on a suc-
cession of ceramic and metallic
household objects before finally
mustering enough cash to pur-
chase his first drum kit. And
having decided that the academic
life was not for him he dropped
out of school and formed a band
Abbrusseze first came to promi- called Dr. Tongue, a three-piece
nence as the drummer with Pearl funk-orientated outfit that played
Jam. And he remained with Eddie in the Dallas area.
Veders band from 1991 through
to 1994, during which time he
recorded the albums Vs and Vitol-
ogy (although he would no longer Adlers Appetite
be in the band by the time of the
latter albums release in August, Adlers Appetite is an L.A.-based
1994). His trademark hard-hitting rock band which features ex-G N
style, heavy use of splash cymbals R drummer Steven Adler.


In January, 2003 Steven Adler lowing March to be replaced by

joined ex-L.A. Guns guitarist Sheldon Tarsha.
and one-time Slashs Snakepit Following on from the release
collaborator Keri Kellis occa- of their eponymously-titled EP in
sional band Suki Jones, which July, 2005, the band began col-
also included Faster Pussycat laborating with L.A. Guns front-
guitarist Brent Muscat, bassist man, Tracii Guns, with a view to
Robbie Crane and Jizzy Pearl on going over to Asia to perform as
lead vocals. The band then under- Guns N Roses Revisited. The
went an immediate name-change idea was swiftly abandoned, how-
to Adlers Appetite, which was ever, once Axl got wind of the
obviously aimed at gaining project and threatened the band
greater exposure having com- with swift and severe legal action.
bined the ex-G N R drummers In December, despite having
surname with the multi-platinum recorded an albums worth of
selling album with which he was material, Kelli, Crane and latest
widely associated. In the initial recruit, guitarist Craig Bradford,
stages, however, the line-up was were summarily dismissed and
extremely fluid owing to Mus- replaced by Michael Thomas
cats long-term commitment to (the guitarist who had filled in for
Faster Pussycat, and Kellis on- Kelli whilst the latter had been out
going touring commitments with on the road with Vince Neil), gui-
Mtley Cre frontman Vince tarist JT Longoria and ex-Enuff
Neils solo project. Muscat finally ZNuff bassist Chip ZNuff. But
left the band for good in October, by January, 2006 the in-house
2004 and Pearl departed the fol- friction between Steven and the

Guns N Roses

other members led to the band

announcing a split in the midst of
a European tour.
In May, 2006 it was revealed
that Adlers Appetite would be
supporting Muscats Faster Pussy-
cat on the latter bands latest tour.
Steven confirmed the news via
his website and also announced
that bassist Chip ZNuff would
be joining him for several of the
intended dates. And although the were still with the band, which
band did participate in the tour, would seem to suggest that they
the line-up was in a constant state and Steven have reached an ami-
of flux, with Steven even fail- cable understanding.
ing to appear at several of the In July, 2007, Adlers Appetite
venues. The situation was verging resurfaced with Steven on drums,
on crossing from the sublime to as well as ex-members Sheldon
the ridiculous when Kelli, Crane Tarsha, Michael Thomas and Chip
and Pearl revealed that they had ZNuff, along with new recruit,
formed a legally-binding partner- guitarist Kristy Majors.
ship with Steven which meant
they co-owned the bands name.
In the midst of all the legal wran-
gling, Steven further muddied the Adler, Steven
waters during an appearance on
a Mexican radio station when he Steven Adler was Guns N
asked to borrow the bemused DJs
Roses original drummer, and
phone so he could get in contact
remained with the band until his
with his one-time G N R buddy
dismissal in 1990.
Izzy Stradlin, as the guitarist had
The Gunners original stickman,
been working on a new Adlers
with a penchant for drums, girls,
Appetite album. Although there
is no way of establishing whether getting stoned (the first time he
Steven did manage to renew con- remembers getting wasted was
tact with Izzy, the aforementioned in his grandmothers bathroom
album has yet to see the light of with the old womans stash
day. That said, however, in April, when he was just eight years-old),
2007, the previously unreleased rock music, hockey and motorcy-
track Sadder Days was posted cles, was born in Cleveland, Ohio
on Stevens MySpace site. The in 1965 but waved goodbye to the
song, which was written by Shel- Buckeye State when his family
don Tarsha, had originally been moved to Los Angeles when he
recorded whilst Kelli and Crane was 7 years-old.


Having wanted to be a rock star sobriety contract promising to get

ever since he could remember, his shit together, only for him to
Steven started out as a guitarist, then fall off the wagon again.
but abandoned the six-string in Every rocker dreams of living
favour of the drums upon realis- the sex, drugs and rock n roll
ing L.A. was already awash with lifestyle, but Stevens capacity
wannabe axemen. As with Axl, for one was negating his capabil-
Izzy, and Slash, Stephen also suc- ity for the others, and with valu-
cumbed to the Dionysian allure able studio recording time also
of heroin, but unlike his fellow being wasted, the rest of the band
Gunners he seemed incapable of were forced into a decision and he
getting his act together and, fol- was out for good. Axl had once
lowing the bands initial success, told the inner circle that Steven
became something of a regular at would one day talk himself out of
the Betty Ford Clinic. One such the band, but if he thought hed
occasion led to him missing the heard the last from their erstwhile
bands performance at the 1989 drummer he was in for a surprise.
American Music Awards with Whilst the band had been out on
Don Henley being asked to take the road promoting the Use Your
the drum stool for the occasion. Illusion albums, Steven had been
The official excuse given for his consulting with his lawyers and
absence at the ceremony was filed a $2 million lawsuit against
that he was suffering from a bout the band accusing them of having
of flu. But nothing stays secret defrauded him, and of defam-
for long along Sunset Strip, and ing his character. He claimed the
rumours soon began to circulate others with the possible excep-
that the drummer had been placed tion of Duff had used him as
on probation by the rest of the their scapegoat. Not only had they
band. Despite repeated warnings, each partaken of heroin, but had
Stevens lapses were becoming actively encouraged him to take
more and more frequent, and with the drug, only to then toss him
rehearsals underway for what aside once his addiction started
would become the Use Your Illu- getting in the way of his 9 - 5.
sion albums the band was forced On 23 August, 1993 Axl and
to audition for a replacement Steven shared the spotlight
amongst those considered were together one last time when the
Pretenders stalwart Martin Cham- case was brought before the Los
bers, and Adam Maples from the Angeles Superior Court. Axl must
Sea Hags. Duff, however, found have thought the case was a no-
rehearsing without his rhythm brainer, but if so, he was in for
section buddy too much and a rude awakening. The sobriety
walked out of the session which contract he and the others had
saw Steven promptly reinstated, forced the drummer to sign wasnt
albeit on the proviso that he sign a worth the paper it was written on

Guns N Roses

as Steven hadnt had his lawyer would have gone away and put
present at the signing, which, in the rest of his life in order, but
effect, negated its contents. The before the year was out he over-
contract may have been worthless dosed so badly on heroin that he
in the legal sense but to Steven it suffered a stroke which left him
was worth a fortune. A $2.3 mil- partially paralysed.
lion fortune to be exact, which is Those closest to Steven must
the amount Guns N Roses paid have feared life was imitating art,
him in an out-of-court settlement for the drummers chronic drug
on 24 September. Steven also dependency made him a real-life
received $100,000 from past and candidate for the fictional dead
present managers Alan Niven pool from the 1988 movie of the
and Doug Goldstein. The fact same name starring Clint East-
that Axl is still smarting over the wood, in which he and the other
lawsuit some 13 years later leaves Gunners had a fleeting cameo
little chance of there being a rec- role. Indeed, Axl may have had
onciliation between the two let a side bet on how long Steven
alone their sharing the same stage. would last, but Slash wasnt pre-
Having finally received his dues, pared to stand by and wait to see
one might have thought Steven his friends name in the obituary


column. In his entertaining, yet now not-so-Toxic Twins, as Tyler

oft harrowing, eponymously- and Perry were once known on
titled autobiography, the guitarist the circuit, didnt want to appear
informs us he has been helping to churlish, their manager, Tim Col-
ween Steven off the smack, crack lins who two years earlier had
and Jgermeister, which was passed on the chance to manage
slowly, yet surely, killing him. the Gunners devised a plan
which saw the younger band
agreeing to restrict their drug
Aerosmith intake to the confines of their own
dressing room. Although getting
wasted was always high on the
Aerosmith, whose career has G N R agenda, all five members
spanned three decades, and have held Aerosmith in the highest
to date sold in excess of 150 mil- esteem and were looking forward
lion albums worldwide, invited to hanging with their heroes.
Guns N Roses to open for them So much so, that they were extra
on the US leg of their Permanent careful to observe the rules when-
Vacation tour in July, 1988. ever they found themselves in the
It is no secret that the pre-signed older groups company. The press
Gunners modelled themselves naturally had a field day with what
in both artistic and addictive they saw as Aerosmiths conde-
terms on their hard-rockin and scending attitude towards Guns
one-time hell-raisin heroes, Aer- N Roses, but nothing could have
osmith. Indeed, so high was their been further from the truth. Before
opinion of Messrs. Tyler, Perry, the opening show of the tour at
Whitford, Hamilton and Kramer, the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix,
that anyone not familiar with the Arizona, on 9 July, 1987 Tyler
Boston rockers sizeable back summoned Izzy, from whom he
catalogue was given exceedingly had occasionally bought his stash,
short shrift, as one not-so-savvy as well as Slash and Duff to his
female record company exec. dressing room to ensure they
found out to her cost whilst trying understood the reasoning behind
to tempt the Gunners to put pen the guidelines. And just to show
to paper. that he, Perry and the other guys
The decision to invite Guns N in the band were all well trav-
Roses onto the Permanent Vaca- elled on William Blakes road of
tion tour could have been a logis- excess, he handed out specially-
tical disaster as the guys from the made T-shirts, which instead of
Smith had recently cleaned up the customary tour dates; bore the
their act while the G N R boys names of the many rehab centres
were still happily sniffing, snort- they had each visited. Not to be
ing and smoking anything they outdone, when the tour drew to
could lay their hands on. As the a close, Collins and the rest of

Guns N Roses

Aerosmiths management team Aerosmith only to end up putting

presented the five itinerant Gun- Guns N Roses on the cover.
ners with brand-new aluminium Although Aerosmith are known
Halliburton travel cases. as the Bad Boys from Boston,
Apart from the odd slip-up, the none of the band members are
Gunners managed to keep their actually from the Bay States
nefarious activities out of sight capital. Indeed, only guitarist
and the two bands got along Joe Perry was born in Massachu-
famously. And it was a measure setts. Having signed to Columbia
of the older bands esteem for the in 1972, the band released their
group which many critics were eponymous blues-rock, double
touting as being usurpers of Aero- platinum-selling debut album
smiths throne, that they chose to which contained Mama Kin
watch the Gunners shows, with the following year. The 1974
Tyler and Perry often joining the follow-up album Get Your Wings
band onstage to perform Mama went one (1 million sales) better
Kin. Although Guns N Roses by achieving triple platinum
were simply happy to be playing status, but it was 1975s Toys In
with their heroes, and certainly The Attic, that featured the hit sin-
werent looking to topple them, gles Sweet Emotion and Walk
Appetite For Destruction was out- This Way, that helped catapult
selling Aerosmiths latest offering Aerosmith into the major league.
and later that same month finally The Smiths fourth album,
reached #1 on the Billboard chart. the raucous and deliciously raw
And if further confirmation was Rocks, which went platinum upon
needed that Guns N Roses had its release in 1976, and has since
surpassed their headlining heroes been cited as having been a major
then it surely came when Roll- inspiration on the glam-metal
ing Stone arrived to do a story on class of 86, brought even greater


acclaim and it seemed as though released in 1980, went multi-

the band could do no wrong. The platinum. This, however, proved
next album, 1977s Draw The to be a false dawn for, aside from
Line, which should have been losing rhythm guitarist Brad
called Snort The Line owing to Whitford in 1981, the bands sev-
the bands then voracious drug enth studio album Rock In A Hard
intake, however, proved the pro- Place (1982) was considered a
genitor of the bands fall from commercial failure having barely
grace. Although the album has scraped gold status. Aerosmith
since gone on to accrue sales in limped on through five unevent-
excess of two million, it wasnt ful and largely forgettable years
initially well received either by before undergoing what proved
the fans or the critics which in to be the first stage of their phoe-
turn led to in-house squabbling.
nix from the ashes rebirth when
And when 1979s aptly-named
having already signed to Geffen
Night In The Ruts failed to stop
Joe Perry and Brad Whitford
the rot, Joe Perry announced his
returned to the fold in April,
departure from the band.
1984. The second stage of the
Steve Tyler and the rest of the
group decided to continue with comeback came in 1986 courtesy
Jimmy Crespo drafted in as Per- of Run D.M.C whose latest album
rys replacement, and their deci- Raising Hell featured a cover of
sion to do so seemed justified Walk This Way. When the hip-
when the Greatest Hits album, hop kings decided to release the
song as a single they invited Tyler

Guns N Roses

and Perry into the studio. The rap- American Music Awards
rock collaboration reached #4 on
the Billboard Hot 100, and not
only helped cement rap into the The annual American Music
Awards, which is regarded as one
mainstream, but also helped intro-
of Americas Big Three music
duce Aerosmith to a whole new
award ceremonies, was created by
Emmy Award-winning American
Despite being relegated to
television and radio personality
yesteryear heroes status by the
Dick Clark in 1973 to compete
emergence of Guns N Roses,
with the Grammys.
Aerosmith have continued doing
On 30 January, 1989 Guns N
what they always did best, and Roses were invited to perform
their 1989 album Pump sold in live at that years awards, which
excess of seven million copies was being held at the Shrine
and spawned three Top 10 sin- Auditorium in Los Angeles.
gles: Janies Got A Gun; What Although the Gunners had won
It Takes and Love In An Eleva- the Favourite Rock/Pop Single
tor, while the equally-success- award for Sweet Child O Mine,
ful 1993 follow-up Get A Grip having staved off competition
gave the Smith their first US #1 from Britains Rick Astley and
album. Aerosmith have contin- Steve Winwood, they performed
ued recording and touring to the Patience, which was scheduled
present day and their fifteenth as for imminent release as the bands
yet unnamed studio album is next single. Stevens drug use was
slated for release in spring 2008 so chronic at this stage; however,
that former Eagles singer/drum-
mer Don Henley was drafted in


as a last-minute replacement. As although the networks director

the show would be going out live, hastily cut to a commercial break,
there was no backstage alcohol on the ABC switchboard lit up like
offer to the nominees other than the Las Vegas strip as hundreds
a few bottles of complementary of enraged viewers called in to log
wine. But unfortunately for the their complaints. Needless to say,
Geffen execs in attendance, Dick the story made the front pages of
Clark and the ABC network not several leading US newspapers
to mention the TV viewing audi- the following morning, including
ence Slash and Duff laid siege the Los Angeles Times and the
to the wine as though prohibition New York Times.
was about to be reintroduced. And
although it has never been estab-
lished how much the pair imbibed, Andreadis, Teddy
it must have been a considerable
amount as by the time they went
up on to the podium to receive the Teddy Zig Zag Andreadis is
award they could barely walk let a respected keyboardist and har-
alone speak in a coherent manner. monica player who appeared on
When one of the red-faced Geffen both Use Your Illusion albums,
execs later demanded an expla- and also went out on tour with
nation, Slash was heard to reply Guns N Roses.
It was only a little bit of wine, Andreadis was born to respecta-
to which the equally bleary-eyed ble Greek parents in Perth Amboy,
Duff rejoined Yes, but it was a New Jersey and music was the
very fine wine. centre of his existence almost
Slash was to prove the guiltier from the moment he could walk
culprit, however, and if Dick when his father bought him his
Clarks nerves were jangling first musical instrument, an accor-
when the guitarist uttered the dion. In the years that followed,
word shit, not-quite-as under his he also learnt keyboards, guitar
breath as hed thought, then the and harmonica, and his musi-
shows host was having palpita- cal versatility led to his jamming
tions when Slash began his thank and performing live with fellow
you speech: I want to thank New Jersey musicians Southside
fuckin oops But instead of Johnny and Bruce Springsteen.
smiling sheepishly and sloping By 1991 hed acquired world-
off back to his seat, Slash pressed wide recognition as a keyboardist
ahead with his must remember to and harmonica player, as well as a
thank list and only got as far as musical arranger, and was invited
expressing his gratitude towards to tour with Guns N Roses on the
Alan Niven and Doug Goldstein bands Use Your Illusion world
before uttering the dreaded F tour, and also appeared on both
word for a second time. And of the Use Your Illusion albums.

Guns N Roses

And having acquired a reputation

as a skilled cameraman through his
work on videos for Michael Jack-
sons Give In To Me and Carol
Kings In Concert album, he was
subsequently invited to work on
the G N R videos for November
Rain, Yesterdays, Garden Of
Eden and Estranged. His involve-
ment with G N R did not end there,
however, as he also lent his consid-
erable talents to the first Slashs
Snakepit album, as well as several
of Gilby Clarkes solo projects. His
own debut solo album, Innocent Screaming Cocktail Hour at the
Loser, which was released in 1996, citys legendary blues haunt The
features contributions from Slash, Baked Potato, which on occasion
Duff and Matt Sorum. features Gilby Clarke in its line-
In 1999, by which time hed up. Teddy still lives in Los Ange-
shared the stage with a diverse les with his wife Lisa Gioch, the
assortment of musical talent rang- one-time stand-up comedienne
ing from actors Bruce Willis and and co-host of the Marc Germain
Billy Bob Thornton, through to Show.
guitar legends Chuck Berry and
Bo Diddley, the Los Angeles
Music Awards voted Teddy Out- Appetite For Destruction
standing Keyboardist of the Year.
The multi-faceted Teddy has
also done TV commercial voice- Appetite For Destruction, Guns
over work for corporate giants N Roses debut album, was
such as McDonalds, Kelloggs, released worldwide on 31 July,
and Toyota as well as contribut- 1987 and hit #1 on both sides of
ing to several movie soundtracks the Atlantic. The twelve songs con-
including Tapeheads, Keenan tained on the album are as follows:
Ivory Wayans Im Gonna Get
You Sucka and Breakfast With Welcome To The Jungle (4:31);
Einstein. Its So Easy (3:21); Nightrain
Today, Teddy is something of (4:26); Out Ta Get Me (4:20); Mr.
an L.A. luminary, and not just Brownstone (3:46); Paradise City
for his having worked with West (6:46); My Michelle (3:39); Think
Hollywoods most-famous musi- About You (3:50); Sweet Child O
cal exponents, but also due to Mine (5:56); Youre Crazy (3:15);
his standing room only ad-hoc Anything Goes (3:25); Rocket
jam sessions with his band The Queen (6:13).


LP, CD & Cassette ing Pumpkins, back in 1987 one

Geffen Records, 1987. was more likely to run into Barry
Manilow shooting pool with
Having failed to procure the Kenny Rogers within the sedate
services of KISS Paul Stanley, setting of the studios Billiards
whod earlier expressed an inter- Room, which made it a strange
est in working with Guns N choice of studio for a rock band to
Roses before then crying off, as record their debut album.
well as legendary Canadian pro- One reason was that Rumbo
ducer Bob Ezrin, whod worked was relatively cheap compared
on eight albums with Alice to other L.A. studios such as Hit
Cooper, but proved reluctant to City, Conway, Cherokee or A
get in the ring with the Gunners, & M. Another was that it would
Geffens Tom Zutaut approached be more productive as the five
Mtley Cres Nikki Sixx. Sixx, band members would have to
however, although perhaps best live together close to the studio.
qualified to handle Geffens latest Within a matter of weeks, how-
acquisition, was at the time far too ever, Geffen was forced to find
preoccupied with exorcising his alternative accommodation fol-
drug demons to even consider the lowing the bands eviction from
idea, and in desperation Zutaut the place they were staying. Clink
turned to Baltimore-born Mike later recalled one incident of
Clink, who, at the time, was best which there were many when
known for his engineering work the five band members returned
with soft rock producer Ron to the apartment following yet
Nevison. another late-night drunkfest to
With Clink ready to take the find they had locked themselves
helm, Geffen booked the band out. Instead of calling Clink, or
into Rumbo Studios in the south- perhaps a locksmith, they instead
ern suburb of Canoga Park, Los put a rock through one of the win-
Angeles. The 10,000 square foot, dows trying to make it look like an
three room recording studio, which attempted robbery. Fortunately,
shares a parking lot with the Win- the put upon producer, who had
netka animal clinic, was originally already enforced a no drugs
designed, built, and until 2003, policy, was willing to ignore such
owned by the 1970s husband and boisterous behaviour as long as it
wife singing team Captain and didnt interfere with the album.
Tennille (Daryl Dragon and Toni Although Clink wasnt sure just
Tennille), perhaps best known for for how long the wayward and
their 1975 US hit Love Will Keep seemingly uncontrollable Gun-
Us Together. Although Rumbo ners would, or could, keep them-
has since welcomed the likes of selves together, he knew this was
Megadeth, Bad Religion, Rage his chance to step out from Nevi-
Against The Machine and Smash- sons shadow and strike out on his

Guns N Roses

own. He also knew Guns N Roses overdubs to an absolute mini-

would require a harder-edged mum. But Axl was anxious to
sound than the acts he and Nevi- explore every avenue, and sorely
son usually worked with, such as tested everyones patience by
Chicago, Heart and Survivor, and demanding endless retakes to
got the ball rolling by enquiring nail down each song exactly as
as to which records the individual he heard it inside his head. Axls
members were listening to. Duff tenacity wasnt Clinks only head-
was happy to go with the flow just ache, however, for although Izzy,
so long as the music kept the Gun- Steven and Duff laid down their
ners punky edge, while Izzy was respective parts with consummate
equally keen to ensure the band ease, Slash having hocked most
stuck to its Stones-esque garage of his equipment to score heroin
blues roots. Slash had happily was far from happy with his
rhymed off Aerosmiths back cat- three remaining guitars, or their
alogue, while Axl was looking for sound. The problem was solved
a production sound akin to that on by manager Alan Niven who not
Metallicas Ride The Lightning. only booked Slash into Take 1
The initial idea was to record studios to redo his guitar parts, he
each of the twelve tracks live in even provided the guitarist with
order to capture the Gunners a brand-new axe a hand-made
on-stage energy, and to keep the


1959 flame-top Les Paul replica to open the proceedings at the

with Seymour Duncan pickups. bands early shows, was Axls
Of the twelve tracks which scathing rant against the Indiana
arent listed elsewhere in the authorities back in his hometown
book, the first up is Its So Easy, of Lafayette, who in his eyes at
which was written by Duff and least always seemed out to give
West Arken, and released as him a hard time. The fact that the
Guns N Roses debut double A- teenage Axl got himself arrested
side UK single in June, 1987 to on four separate occasions for
coincide with the bands three- various misdemeanours would
night residency at The Marquee have been enough to see him a
in London that same month. The constant on the cops radar. While
ya-ya hippie song as Axl has Tippecanoe County Court records
since referred to its slower, more show that in the two year period
laid-back pre-album version, between July, 1980 and Septem-
received its first-known public ber, 1982, Axl spent a total of ten
airing at the Whisky A Go-Go on days in the County Jail on charges
16 March, 1987. Legend has it of public intoxication, criminal
that the song was inspired in part trespass, battery and contributing
by a car smash that Axl and the to the delinquency of a minor.
rest of the band witnessed whilst If the moral do-gooders over at
in New York, yet according to the the RIAA (Recording Industry
excellent Association of America) were
website, the band didnt actually worried that Nightrain might
play in the Big Apple until Octo- be encouraging substance abuse,
ber of that year. then the Izzy-penned Mr. Brown-
Next up is Nightrain, the Gun- stone, with its blatant references
ners paean to the cheap gut-rot to both the taking of heroin, and
red wine of the same name which the all-consuming need of a
ensured an evenings oblivion for heroin addict (Brownstone being
the princely sum of $1.25. Slash street slang for the highly-addic-
and Izzy came up with the initial tive drug), would have had Tipper
riff probably during an evening Gore beseeching her hubby Al,
imbibing on the stuff before Duff the then Senator for Tennes-
and Axl knocked it into a more rec- see and future Vice-President,
ognisable shape. It was released to nuke downtown Los Angeles.
as a single in 1989, but, unlike Think About You, another of
every other G N R release, didnt Axls odes to his then love Erin
have the luxury of an accompany- Everly, was an innocuous filler,
ing promo video, which probably and by the end of the year it had
accounts for its lowly #93 placing been scratched from the Gunners
on the Billboard 100. Out Ta Get set. In 2001, however, it resur-
Me, another autobiographical faced unexpectedly and has since
offering which was often used featured regularly on the on-going

Guns N Roses

Chinese Democracy tour set-list, ing by legendary L.A. fantasy

usually when Izzy joins the band artist Robert Williams, Appetite
on stage for the encore. The rather For Destruction went on world-
self-explanatory Youre Crazy wide release on 31 July, 1987.
was according to the liner notes Although both the band and Mike
on GNR Lies, where it appears in Clink believed they had excelled
its original, acoustic glory origi- themselves in the studio, the suits
nally written shortly after G N R over at Geffen including head
signed to Geffen Records, only honcho David Geffen himself
to be transformed both live, and were somewhat less enthused
in rehearsals, into the souped-up with the finished album, and
electric version which appears began braving themselves for a
on Appetite. And finally, Any- sizeable deficit against the Gun-
thing Goes, which aside from ners $750,000 advance. Despite
Think About You is perhaps the exertions of the labels promo-
the weakest offering on the album tions team, headed by the indomi-
and dates back to the days of Hol- table Al Coury, no TV or radio
lywood Rose when it was better station was willing to promote an
known as My Way Your Way. album which featured a futuris-
Having borrowed the title and tic rape scene on its front cover,
front cover artwork from a paint- brazenly championed drug use


and contained an unacceptable took to create the required buzz

number of expletives (the word and excited fans began bombard-
fuck features thirteen times). ing the channels switchboard
The total lack of media exposure demanding repeat plays. Within
and a lukewarm response from a matter of weeks the Welcome
the critics meant that only the G video was on heavy rotation and
N R cognoscenti were aware of sales figures for the parent album
the album and resulted in US sales doubled and then quadrupled, and
of around 200,000. still it carried on selling.
Although Geffen were mod- By the end of 1987, Appetite
erately happy with the sales fig- For Destruction had entered the
ures, they believed the record rarefied air of the Billboard 200s
had done all it was going to and Top 20, but Zutaut still had one
instructed Zutaut to concentrate more ace up his sleeve in Sweet
on the bands follow-up album. Child O Mine. Now that Ameri-
Zutaut, however, refused to con- cas mainstream record-buying
cede defeat. He still believed the public was finally attuned to the
album was a smouldering powder Gunners sound, it was sure to
keg, and that all it required was embrace Axls heartfelt paean to
for someone or something to light the transient nature of young love.
the fuse. Sensing that his words Zutaut was right, and on 23 July,
were falling on deaf ears within 1988 (Slashs 23rd birthday), with
Courys hard-pressed promotions the ballad storming up the charts,
department, Zutaut bypassed the Appetite For Destruction hit #1
normal Geffen chain of command on the Billboard 200, where it
and made his petition directly to remained for three weeks. That
David Geffen. Geffen was moved was merely a taster, however, for
by his chief A&R mans pleas one month later Sweet Child O
and agreed to help by calling in a Mine claimed the #1 slot on the
favour from MTVs chief execu- singles chart to send the parent
tive Tom Freston, to get the Wel- album back to the coveted top spot
come To The Jungle video aired where it remained for another five
on the worlds most famous and weeks. Within eighteen months
most-watched music channel. the album had sold around nine
Freston reluctantly agreed, but the million copies in the US alone,
deal was for a one-off showing and has gone on to sell 35 million
only, at midnight on the East coast, worldwide, making it one of the
3am in Los Angeles. Today, it is best-selling albums of all time.
unbelievable that Guns N Roses Needless to say, Appetite For
future 20 year-to-date career rested Destruction has accrued countless
on those five late-night minutes, accolades. In 1989, Rolling Stone,
but Zutaut knew the majority of which chose to ignore the album
Americas rock fans were night upon its release, ranked it as the
owls, and one showing was all it 27th best album of the 1980s, and

Guns N Roses

subsequently listed it as #61 on vocals on the title track as well as

their 500 Greatest Albums of All co-writing another track with Izzy.
Time. In 2003, VH1 placed it at Izzy and Duff are perhaps the two
#42 on their Greatest Albums list, Gunners most closely associ-
while in 2007 the rock monsters at ated with West as he co-wrote
Kerrang! made it #1 on their 100 two songs on Duffs solo album
Greatest Rock Albums Ever list. Believe In Me, and played bass on
In 1999, Axl surprised every- Izzys debut solo album Izzy Stra-
body by announcing hed brought dlin and the Ju-Ju Hounds. The
Appetite into the 21st century by three also collaborated together
re-recording the album using the on a side project aptly named
latest state-of-the-art technology. The Drunkfux.
But as the original version was still On 30 May, 1997 West was
shifting upwards of 10,000 copies found dead in his Los Angeles
per year, the record company was home. His management company
of the opinion that theres no need issued a statement stating that the
to oil what aint a squeakin. musicians death was the result
of an accidental opiate over-
dose whilst he was recuperating
from severe third degree burns
Arkeen, West which were the result of an acci-
dent when his barbecue exploded.
West Arkeen, who was a talented Some believe that the badly dis-
musician/songwriter, is often figured West had purposely taken
referred to as having been the sixth his own life.
member of Guns N Roses. His memory will live on, how-
He was born in Neuilly-sur- ever, as G N Rs Live Era 87
Seine, France on 18 June, 1960, 93 album was dedicated to him.
but grew up in San Diego, Cali-
fornia where he taught himself
to play guitar before moving to
Los Angeles aged 21 to pursue a
career in the music industry. It was
there that he befriended a bunch
of ragtag musicians called Guns
N Roses and would go on to co-
write Its So Easy, Patience,
Bad Obsession, The Garden
and Yesterdays with the band.
In 1995, West started his own
band, The Outpatience, and their
debut album Anxious Disease fea-
tured contributions from Slash,
Duff and Axl, who sang backing

It was whilst on a promotional

tour in support of Skid Rows
eponymously-entitled debut
album in 1989 that Bach suffered
a homophobe backlash similar
to the one experienced by Axl
over the lyrical content of One In
A Million, when he took to the
stage wearing a T-shirt bearing the
slogan AIDS Kills Fags Dead,
which parodied a well-known TV
ad slogan of the day. The success
of the Skid Row debut in con-
junction with Bachs pretty boy
Bach, Sebastian appeal led to his being invited
to join Axl, Slash and Duff, and
Metallicas James Hetfield and
Sebastian Bach is the ex-Skid Lars Ulrich, in an ad hoc combo
Row frontman and long-time which performed together as GAK
friend of Axl Rose. at RIP magazines birthday party
Sebastian Philip Bierk, despite celebrations held at the Hollywood
his Germanic-sounding name, Palladium on 9 November, 1990.
was born on 3 April, 1968 in This in turn led to Skid Row being
Freeport, Bahamas before relo- invited to accompany Guns N
cating to Canada with his family. Roses on the first US leg of the Use
He was raised in Peterborough, Your Illusion tour in 1991 as well
Ontario, where he, along with his as various European shows, includ-
two siblings, attended the nearby ing one at Wembley on 31 August,
Lakeside College School. Sebas- 1991 where the charismatic front-
tians brother Zac would find man memorably ended the bands
fame as a goaltender in the Cana- set by informing the crowd he was
dian National Hockey League, going to Have a smoke, a Jack n
while his sister Dylan became coke, and sit back and watch Guns
an actress. Having decided he N Fuckin Roses!
wanted to be a rock star, Sebas- Despite the release of two more
tian honed his singing skills in studio albums: Slave To The Grind
local no-hope bands such as Kid (1991) and Subhuman (1995),
Wikked, Madam X and one- mainstream success seemed des-
gig wonders VO5, before being tined to elude Skid Row, and it
offered the role in Skid Row in was Sebastian who paid the price
1987 after impressing the bands for said failure by being fired from
guitarist Dave Sabo whilst croon- the band in 1996.
ing at famed rock photographer That same year, Sebastian
Mark Weiss wedding. formed the Last Hard Men, which

Guns N Roses

was a rock supergroup of sorts as

it included Smashing Pumpkins
drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and
Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal.
The band recorded an album for
Atlantic Records who then, rather
surprisingly, opted not to release
it. (The record eventually came
out with little or no fanfare as a
limited pressing of 1000 copies in
1998 on Deals own label, Nice
In 2000, Sebastian, although still
playing regularly with his band New Zealand legs of their Chinese
Sebastian Bach and Friends, fol- Democracy tour.
lowed in his sisters thespian foot- As Sebastian had also contrib-
steps by appearing in Broadway uted vocals to the Chinese Democ-
productions of The Rocky Horror racy album he jokingly sent Axl
Show, in which he was cast as a text suggesting that he should
Riff Raff, as well as the title role return the favour by appearing on
in Jekyll & Hyde. And in October, his new solo EMI backed album
2002 he signed up to play Jesus Angel Down (his first solo offer-
in a national touring production
ing since 1999s Bring Em Bach
of Andrew Lloyd Webbers Jesus
Alive) which was scheduled for
Christ Superstar and garnered
US release in November, 2007. To
favourable reviews before being
his amazement Axl readily agreed
dismissed for alleged diva-like
and appears on three tracks. The
original idea had been for Axl to
In May, 2006, Sebastian, having
rekindled his friendship with Axl guest on the albums title track, but
Rose after some 13 years of not he subsequently changed his mind
speaking, joined the new G N R even though he believed it to be
incarnation on stage to perform a great rip-your-head-off song.
My Michelle at three of the bands The three tracks he does feature
four warm-up shows at New York on are: Love Is A Bitchslap, per-
Citys Hammerstein Ballroom. haps not surprisingly, earmarked
This also led to his being invited as the first single; Stuck Inside,
to accompany the band to Europe which Axl described on the G N
where he made several more guest R website as a kind of call and
appearances. In June, 2007, he put answer part and allowed him the
his own band together for a four- freedom to write his own words
date mini-tour of Japan before and melodies, while the third is
joining up with Guns N Roses to a cover-version of Aerosmiths
support them on the Australian and Back In The Saddle. Axl also


expressed his gratitude to his old work on Queens first six albums
friend Bas for the opportunity including the bands ground-
to get involved in the album. For breaking 1975 world-wide hit
me, he says on the website post- Bohemian Rhapsody.
ing, the three songs together are a
good package. They are all differ-
ent, with different approaches and Barber, Justin
styles from each other and from
material I have on the upcoming
Justin Barber was a finance ana-
Guns N Roses record. For me,
lyst who was said to have been
the timing couldnt be better and
inspired by the lyrical content of
Im quite surprised to be on one
Used To Love Her to murder his
song, let alone three!
wife in 2003.
When the 33-year-old stood trial
for his life in St. Augustine, Flor-
Baker, Roy Thomas ida, the prosecuting council sug-
gested it was his having listened
to the Guns N Roses track Used
The legendary British-born
To Love Her which drove him to
producer who has worked with a
murder 27 year-old April Barber.
diversity of bands ranging from
April, who was found dead on a
Dusty Springfield through to
remote stretch of beach near the
The Stranglers, was another pro-
family home, had been shot in the
ducer brought in by Axl to try
head at close range. In his defence
and make some sense of Chinese Barber claimed that he and his
Democracy. wife had been attacked by a
Although Bakers association mugger whilst taking an evening
with G N R was brief, he has stroll, and that the mugger had left
surely earned a lasting place in him for dead after shooting him
rock folklore for his production four times in the upper body.
In a surreal moment, the court-
house fell silent as forensic com-
puter analyst Christopher Hendry
who worked at the Florida
State Crime Laboratory, and had
found the G N R track amongst
the deleted files on Barbers hard
drive placed a laptop on the wit-
ness box and played the song for
the jury whilst the lyrics appeared
on a large poster board which had
been set up especially for that
purpose. Hendry, whilst under

Guns N Roses

Barbiero, Michael

Michael Barbiero was a New

York-based engineer who worked
on Appetite For Destruction.
Shortly after the 12 tracks slated
for Appetite For Destruction
were recorded, Slash accompa-
nied Alan Niven to New York to
meet up with Michael Barbiero
and his then long-term collabora-
tor Steve Thompson, who passed
questioning, stated he had found their audition by mixing Mr
further damning evidence on the Brownstone. According to Slash,
hard drive of Barbers company- Niven had also been hoping for a
issued laptop, including a Google shot at mixing the album, and had
search for trauma cases gun- recorded a mix of the song. Unfor-
shot tight chest and another on tunately for Niven, his effort was
Florida divorce. And although considered too hollow and linear,
the analyst had found some 1,700 while the New York duo had
songs contained on the hard drive rocked the house.
including November Rain Barbiero started out as a staff
Used To Love Her was the only producer at Paramount Records,
one found to have been deleted. where, aged just 23, he received
Under cross-examination, how- his first Grammy nomination for
ever, the analyst was forced to his production work on the sound-
concede that there was no way track album to the 1973 Al Pacino
of knowing whether Barber had movie Serpico. All told, the engi-
listened to that particular song on neer has received nine Grammy
the night of the murder. nominations, winning on three
Although it was never estab-
lished how many of the jurors
were fans of Guns N Roses or
indeed were familiar with the
bands work, they took less than
an hour to establish Barbers guilt
and an 8-4 majority recommenda-
tion for the death penalty. In what
was a rare legal move, however,
Judge Edward Hedstrum departed
from the jurys recommendation
and instead sentenced Barber to
life imprisonment


occasions. The first was in 1985 Barneys Beanery

for Cutting Crews Broadcast, the
second in 1994 for Blues Trav-
ellers Runaround, and lastly The famed West Hollywood res-
for Ziggy Marleys 1997 album taurant and bar located on the old
Route 66, now known as the Santa
Fallen Is Babylon.
Monica Freeway, where legend
During the disco era of the late-
70s and early-80s, Barbiero also has it that Alan Niven held a meet-
made a name for himself as a spe- ing with the latest and certainly
cialist re-mixer, and applied his the brashest addition to the
engineering skills to 12 remixes for Geffen roster, and proceeded to
legendary soul divas Aretha Frank- match the Gunners drink for drink
lin and Whitney Houston, as well whilst laying out his game plan.
as The Jacksons, Earth, Wind and Barneys was founded in 1920
Fire, Mick Jagger and Madonna. by John Barney Anthony, and
When he and Thompson decided to should not be confused with the
shift over from disco to mainstream one located on Santa Monicas
rock, one of the first projects was fashionable 3rd Street Promenade,
for Geffens recent acquisitions which, in the eyes of its cur-
City Kidd who would subsequently rent clientele including Stiff
change their name to Tesla. In Little Fingers guitarist Ian Stick
1995, Barbiero began working McCallum is little more than a
with Govt Mule for whom he has Disneyland for tourists. Almost
either produced or co-produced from its inception, Barneys
eleven separate projects includ- became a favourite watering hole
ing the bands awarding-winning for Hollywoods acting elite such
albums The Deepest End and Deja as Clara Bow, John Barrymore,
Voodoo. Aside from Guns N Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. And
Roses Barbiero has worked with the emergence of a burgeoning
a diverse range of revered artists music scene on the nearby Sunset
such as John Lennon, The Velvet Strip during the 60s led to rock
Underground, Alice Cooper and luminaries such as Jim Morrison
Cypress Hill. and Janice Joplin becoming regu-

Guns N Roses

lars. Indeed, it is said that Janice his way around a mixing desk.
spent her last evening on earth It was while he was working as
here, and her car was found parked a sound engineer at the Right
out back the following morning. Track Studio in downtown Cleve-
Ironically, given the future con- land in the late 80s that he met
troversy over the lyrical content Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent
of One In A Million, Anthony Reznor, whose daytime job was
fell foul of L.A.s homosexuals as the studios in-house producer.
for blatantly displaying a sign that As Reznor was familiar with Bea-
read FAGOTS STAY OUT vans capabilities, he asked him
(sic). It is believed the sign first to mix the demos for what would
appeared sometime during 1940 subsequently be NINs debut
and regardless of steadfast opposi- album Pretty Hate Machine, as
tion form the local gay community well as the follow-up, The Down-
and an article by Life Magazine, ward Spiral. Beavan also went out
was still on display at the time of on the road with the band to mix
Anthonys death in 1968. It would the sound for their live shows, and
take an organised picket by the the more successful NIN became,
Gay Liberation Front on 7 Febru- the more his reputation grew.
ary, 1970 before the new owners Through Reznor, he was invited to
agreed to take down the offending mix several tracks on future Goth
sign, and even then it reappeared God Marilyn Mansons debut
again on several occasions during
album Portrait Of An American
the 1970s before finally coming
Family (Would that be the Arnold
down for good.
family from TVs Wonder Years?)
This led to his mixing and co-pro-
ducing Mansons follow-up album
Beavan, Sean Antichrist Superstar, as well as
the opportunity to mix front of the
Beavan, the Cleveland-born pro- house on the Antichrist Superstar
ducer who is perhaps best known world tour.
for his work with Nine Inch Nails
and Marilyn Manson, has also
been involved in the production
on Chinese Democracy.
Beavan, however, has more than
one string to his bow, and other
than producing and mixing, he is
also a talented bass player (he col-
laborated with fellow Clevelander
Eric Carman on the song Hungry
Eyes for the Dirty Dancing
Soundtrack), and certainly knows


In 1997 Beavan moved into

Mansons home high up in the
Hollywood Hills to start produc-
tion on the artists third album,
Mechanical Animals. Once the
record was complete he remained
in Los Angeles to produce and mix
for artists as diverse as God Lives
Underwater, System of a Down,
Slayer and Kidneythieves. He also
worked on G N R bassist Tommy
Stinsons solo album, which in
turn led to his being invited to
work on Chinese Democracy.
Guns N Roses with the money to
Beavan also mixes and produces
record their first demos.
for his own band 8mm, which
Randy, born plain old Jon Morris
is proving very popular on the
on 5 January, 1952, fronted the
L.A. scene and includes his wife
L.A. avante-garde punk band
Juliette in the line-up. Their debut
Metro Squad during the late 1970s
album, Songs To Love And Die By
and early 80s, which at one time
was released in late 2006.
featured future Go-Go Belinda
Carlisle in its line-up. It is fair to
say that Metro Squad would prob-
Benedetti, Robert ably have been just another L.A.
band had it not been for Randys
Robert Benedetti was Guns N amusing and often controversial
Roses in-house tattooist during lyrics. Their first single, Trou-
their rise to stardom, and as a ble At The Cup, caused uproar
thank you was forever immortal- upon its release as the lyrics
ised within the sleeve notes on appear to advocate attacking the
Appetite For Destruction. Not police. But as with all Randys
surprisingly, this led to a steady songs, it was merely tongue-in-
increase in business at his Sunset cheek. The groups one and only
Strip parlour. album, Pass The Dust, I think Im
Bowie, which includes covers
of both James Browns Say It
Loud, Im Black and Im Proud,
Black Randy and Isaac Hayes theme tune from
the cult Blaxploitation film Shaft,
Black Randy was a Los Ange- was released on Dangerhouse
les-based musician who gener- Records, the label they themselves
ously provided the then unsigned had helped to establish.

Guns N Roses

Metro Squad shows had always

been regarded as chaotic affairs
owing to Randys predilection for
drink and drugs, but by 1980 his
intake was so great that he was
a shadow of his former self and
could only stagger about the stage
barely remembering the words
to his own songs. Although the
other musicians tried to salvage
the shows, the writing was on
the wall in stark lettering, and the
band finally imploded in 1980.
Although Randy remained an Coliseum. Whether he was aware
active presence on the L.A. scene of Erin and Axls relationship is
and championed up-and-coming a matter for conjecture, and while
bands such as Guns N Roses, he such behaviour would normally
did nothing to curb his wayward have resulted in the offender being
lifestyle and on 11 November, indelibly inked on Axls shit list,
1988 he succumbed to an AIDS this was not the case with Bowie.
related illness brought on by his Several months after the event, the
chronic drug use. two singers even went out for a
conciliatory meal, where, perhaps
not surprisingly, the main topic of
Bowie, David conversation was the music busi-
ness, and its potential pitfalls. Axl
was so impressed with Bowies
David Bowie, the multi-fac-
nous and know-how that he went
eted entertainer whose career has
spanned five decades fell foul of so far as call him sick, which, at
Axl Rose in 1989 for having paid the time, was apparently the high-
too much attention to Axls then est accolade the G N R frontman
girlfriend Erin Everly. could bestow.
Bowie, the self-styled Thin
White Duke and creator of the
androgynous 70s space-age Buckethead
superstar Ziggy Stardust, was
keen to see for himself whether
Guns N Roses justified their rep- The mysterious, inverted KFC
utation and called in at the Cat- bucket, and plastic facemask-wear-
house where the Gunners were ing oddball who describes him-
performing one of two warm up self as a guitar mutant virtuoso,
shows for the forthcoming Rolling joined Guns N Roses in 2000 and
Stones dates at the Los Angeles remained with the band until 2004.


The comics and Kung Fu flicks-

loving guitarist, who was born
plain-old Brian Carroll in South-
ern California in 1969, first came
to musical prominence in 1992
as a member of avant-funk outfit
Praxis. And aside from his four-
year tenure with G N R, has also
worked with Bootsy Collins, Tom
Waits and ex-Faith No More front-
man Mike Patton. Although he is
something of a multi-instrumen-
talist, having also mastered bass,
banjo and piano, it is the guitar
which has proved his forte. He is
also a prolific composer having
released 36 solo albums to date,
which cover a variety of musical top-hatted guitarist who went by
genres including thrash-metal, the name of Slash.
electronica, funk and jazz. As if taking to the stage sport-
Unlike most lead guitarists, ing a fried chicken receptacle on
Buckethead is something of an his head wasnt enough, Bucket-
introvert, often uncomfortable on head went on to develop a bizarre
stage, and it was this that led to him chicken fetish, which saw him
adopting his now trademark dis- claiming in subsequent interviews
guise. The white plastic facemask that he had been raised by chickens
was in homage to the boiler-suited in a coop. He also stated that his
psychopathic slasher, Michael long-term ambition was to bring
Myers from the Halloween horror attention to the on-going chicken
movie franchise, while the bucket- holocaust in fast-food outlets the
on-the-head idea came to him one world over, which explains why
night after eating fried chicken. two of his solo offerings, KFC
It is said that the original bucket Skin Piles (2001) and Enter The
came from the lesser known Deli Chicken (2005), are in homage to
Chicken chain, but the guitarist free-range poultry.
inevitably switched to KFC on The guitarists stage antics are
account of it being finger-pickin also left of centre as he is known
good. Like many of G N Rs old to intersperse his fretwork skills
school following, I was bemused with robotic break dance routines
upon learning the name of Axls and nunchaka displays the latter
idiosyncratic recruit. But then often conducted whilst continuing
again, back in the day there were to play. He also has a tendency to
quite a few eyebrows raised at the dish out small gifts and sweets to

Guns N Roses

the audience, and even claimed the stomach. Although it could

that his sole reason for accepting have simply been a coincidence,
Axls invitation to join Guns N Chinese Democracys release date
Roses was because the singer had was put back from June as pre-
presented him with a rare collec- viously touted by Doug Goldstein
tors edition of the Leatherface until the autumn, pending some
doll from The Texas Chainsaw fine-tuning. Rumours soon began
Massacre movie, which he took to fly, however, that the real reason
as a good omen. behind the tour cancellation was
The portents didnt appear quite Axls ire over the timing of the
so promising when G N Rs release of Bucketheads latest solo
2001 summer tour was pulled recording, Somewhere Over The
at the eleventh hour owing to Slaughterhouse (5 June), which
according to official sources he believed the guitarist would
the guitarist having been overtly promote whilst out on a tour
ordered to rest due to his suffer- intended to promote the yet again
ing internal haemorrhaging of delayed Guns N Roses album.


Although Buckethead toured able for sale at touring venues,

with G N R in 2002, and was before becoming widely available
also involved in the recording of in March, 2006. His follow-up
Chinese Democracy, he left the DVD Young Buckethead, which
band in May, 2004 shortly before features rare live footage of the
they were due to fly out to Lisbon, guitarist from 1990 and 1991, was
Portugal, to take part in the fourth released in November, 2006, while
Rock in Rio festival. The guitar- another album, Peppers Ghost,
ist gave no reason for his sudden was released in March, 2007.
departure, but Axl give his ver-
sion of events in the following
press release: Buckmaster, Paul
The band has been put in an
untenable position by guitar-
ist Buckethead and his untimely Paul Buckmaster, the British-
departure. During his tenure with born arranger and composer per-
the band Buckethead has been haps best known for his work with
inconsistent and erratic in both his David Bowie and Elton John, was
behaviour and his commitment, brought in by Axl Rose to work
despite being under contract, cre- on Chinese Democracy in 2004.
ating uncertainty and confusion After graduating from Londons
and making it virtually impossible Royal Academy of Music where
to move forward with recording, hed won a cello scholarship,
rehearsals and live plans with con- Buckmaster served as cellist and
fidence. His transient lifestyle has composer in several English jazz
made it near impossible for even and progressive groups before
his closest friends to have nearly a life-changing encounter with
any form of communications with legendary jazz trumpeter Miles
him whatsoever. There is not a Davis in 1969 which saw him
member of this camp that is not accompany Davis to New York
hurt, upset and ultimately disap- to study under the great man.
pointed by this event. Regardless He subsequently wrote several
of anyones opinions of me and arrangements and played electric
what I may or may not deserve, cello on Davis 1972 album On
clearly the fans, individuals in The Corner.
this band, management, crew and The following year he worked
our support group do not deserve on Elton Johns eponymously-
this type of treatment. On behalf titled second album, which has
of Guns N Roses and myself, I resulted in a collaboration stretch-
apologise to the fans who planned ing over Eltons four decade long
to see us at Rock in Rio. career. His CV also includes the
2005 saw the release of Bucket- Rolling Stones (having been cred-
heads first DVD, Secret Recipe, ited with the idea for a gospel
which was initially only avail- choir backing on the bands 1969

Guns N Roses

single You cant Always Get Thal, who was born 25 Sep-
what You Want), Grateful Dead, tember, 1969 in Brooklyn, New
Mott The Hoople, Harry Nilsson, York, supposedly received his
Carly Simon and the Backstreet less-than-savoury moniker, which
Boys. In 2001, he won a Grammy is the term for an inflammatory
Award for Best Arranger for his bacterial infection afflicting only
sweeping arrangement on Trains birds and rodents, whilst helping
second album Drops of Jupiter. his wife study for her veterinary
exams. His penchant for Vigier
Guitars led to the company pre-
Bumblefoot senting him with a custom-made
model shaped like a human foot
at the NAMM (National Associa-
tion of Music Merchants) conven-
tion in January, 1998. The guitar
also has a black and gold striped
finish, and decorative wings
which extended from the body
whenever the whammy bar was
Aside from his prowess on the
guitar, Thal is also a talented
songwriter and producer and has
recorded seven solo albums either
as Ron Thal: The Adventures
of Bumblefoot (1995); Hermit
(1997); Hands (1998); Uncool
(2000); 911 (2001), or as Bumble-
foot: Forgotten Anthology (2003)
and Normal (2005). He replaced
the departing Buckethead in May,
2006 and made his live debut with
the band that same month at the
Hammerstein Ballroom in New
York City. When he isnt tour-
ing with the Gunners, Thal can be
found in his studio in Princeton,
New Jersey, writing background
music for video games and reality
Ron Bumblefoot Thal, a suc- TV shows such as The Osbournes
cessful musician and producer in and The Real World.
his own right, is another to fill
the role of Guns N Roses lead
Guns N Roses

Billie Joe Armstrong, Billy Idol,

Dave Kushner, Izzy Stradlin,
Slash, Sebastian Bach and Steve
Jones to name but a few. Camp
Freddy also have their own two-
hour radio show which is broad-
cast every Saturday night on the
Los Angeles-based indie 103.1
where the musicians mostly
Navarro and Morrison play their
favourite tracks and discuss wide-
ranging topics.
Camp Freddys debut single a
cover-version of the Cheap Trick
Camp Freddy hit Surrender was released
in September, 2006 and also
features in the Jessica Simpson
Camp Freddy is a musical col- movie Employee Of The Month,
lective of well-known and estab- while the follow-up, a cover of
lished L.A-based musicians who Slades 1973 festive perennial,
took their name from Tony Beck- Merry Xmas Everybody was
leys character in the 1969 Michael only made available on iTunes
Caine movie, The Italian Job that same December. They are
which coincidentally features a currently working with producer
character called Bill Bailey. Mike Clink on an album which is
The collectives core mem- intended to mirror their live per-
bers are ex-Janes Addiction duo formances with guest musicians
Chris Chaney and Dave Navarro, being invited in to perform on
ex-Cult guitarist Billy Morrison, each track.
Donovan Leitch Jr. and Velvet
Revolvers Scott Weiland and
Mat Sorum, while guest musi-
cians range from Billy Duffy,
Cathouse The

The Cathouse or Cat Club, as

its sometimes referred to is the
West Hollywood venue where
Guns N Roses showcased the
four songs which appeared on
their Live?!*@Like a Suicide EP.
In October, 1986, in keeping
with the rise of the West Holly-
wood glam-metal scene, future
Headbangers Ball host Rikki


Rachtman approached the owner head, Megadeth, Black Crows,

of a rundown dance-music orien- Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains all
tated bar and, with the help of his clamouring to play. Faster Pus-
roommate, Faster Pussycat front- sycat, Alice Cooper and Mtley
man Taime Downe, and influen- Cre have even gone so far as to
tial KROQ DJ and record store name-check the venue in one of
owner, Joe Brookes (who tipped their songs. The Cathouse also
the wink to Tom Zutaut regard- featured in the movie Decline of
ing Guns N Roses), transformed Western Civilisation 2: the Metal
it into a decadent Tuesday night Years, and the clubs profile was
rock n roll hotspot. heightened even further when the
Despite the failure of the LA Times and LA Weekly began
newly-named Cathouses grand writing favourable features. And
opening to pull in the expected
crowds, Rachtman persevered,
and each week saw a few more
people walking through the door
including members of Mtley
Cre and Aerosmith. Needless to
say, when word got out that bands
were hanging out at the club, the
girls came in their droves, which
in turn brought in the guys.
In December, 1986, Rachtman
was approached by some friends
of his who happened to be in a
band, asking if they might use
the club to showcase some songs
intended for their first record. The
bands name was Guns N Roses.
Rachtman readily agreed, and two
days before Christmas the Cat-
house played host to the group, as the audience was predomi-
who performed an all-acoustic set, nantly female, the Cathouse also
with Downes Faster Pussycat, made the pages of Womens Wear
L.A. Guns, and another aspiring Daily and Californian Apparel
L.A. quartet called Jetboy provid- News.
ing support. By the time the Gun- Guns N Roses returned to the
ners next performed at the Cat- Cathouse in October, 1989 for
house on 21 January, 1988, which two warm-up shows performed
included a guest appearance from over consecutive evenings in
Mtley Cres Vince Neil, it was preparation for the bands forth-
regarded as the hottest venue in coming Coliseum dates support-
town with bands such as Motor- ing the Rolling Stones later that

Guns N Roses

month. The first of the shows, from agreeing to join Gilby on

on 10 October, included the video stage much to the delight of the
shoot for Its So Easy, which led 250 or so astonished punters the
to the now-famous incident when two sat chatting into the small
Axl took offence to David Bowie hours. But, despite several firm
having shown a little too much assurances that he would keep in
attention to Erin Everly and pro- touch, Gilby never saw nor heard
ceeded to chase the Thin White from Axl again.
Duke out of the club. Fortunately
for Bowie, the Cathouses strict no
cameras policy saved him from Chinese Democracy
potential tabloid humiliation.
The Cathouse hadnt seen the
last of Guns N Roses, however, Chinese Democracy is the title
for on 22 June, 2000, Axl, making of Guns N Roses long-awaited
his first public appearance in six sixth studio album.
years, joined the clubs house- Although there is no way of
band, The Starfuckers, which knowing what if ever the $13
included ex-G N R guitarist million+ albums final track-list-
Gilby Clarke and the venues ing will be, it is safe to assume
new proprietor, former Stray Cats that the following songs will
drummer, Slim Jim Phantom, on appear in one guise or another:
stage for impromptu renditions Chinese Democracy; Better; The
of two Rolling Stones numbers; Blues; I.R.S; Madagascar; Sorry
Wild Horses and Dead Flow- and There Was A Time, while
ers. The story goes that Slim Jim the remainder will most likely be
and Gilby, having spotted Axls culled from the following demos:
long-serving bodyguard, Earl, Oh My God; Today, Tomorrow,
standing at the bar, believed the Forever; Silk Worms; Hearts
thickset guy sporting a baseball Always Get Killed; Rhiad & The
cap pulled down low over his Bedouins; Cock-a-roach Soup;
eyes standing beside Earl vaguely This Life; Closing In On You;
resembled Axl. The pair duly Something Always; Catcher In the
went over to get a closer look with Rye; No Love Remains; Strange
Gilby even going to far as to tap Disease; Suckerpunched; Okla-
the guy on the shoulder. But just homa; Friend Or Foe; Never Had
as Gilby was turning away again, It; This I Love; Prostitute; Zip It.
convinced theyd made a mistake, Given the disappointing reac-
Axls pinched face split into a tion to The Spaghetti Incident?
huge grin and he greeted the gui- Geffen were naturally keen to get
tarist like a long-lost brother. the Gunners back into the studio
The lawsuit and counter law- at the earliest opportunity. But,
suits of six years earlier were although the rest of the band got
immediately forgotten, and aside to work on new ideas, Axl sat in


his Malibu ivory tower man- opinion that the past was a field
sion fixated with idea of deliver- already well-furrowed and he had
ing the greatest rock album ever no intention of picking up the
made, and rejected each one out plough. In his eyes the follow up
of hand. Slash and Duff may have album would need to supersede
yearned to get back to their hard- the Use Your Illusion double-
rockin roots, but Axl was of the albums in both form and content.

Guns N Roses

And it wasnt a subject to be held US Top 40. It also appeared

up for debate. on the soundtrack to Arnold
The music press which had had Schwarzeneggers movie End Of
a field day tearing into the band Days, but as with Arnie, Axls
for releasing an album consisting salad days were well behind him.
entirely of covers were naturally One new song especially one
eager to see whether the Gunners devoid of Guns N Roses trade-
had anything in their artistic arse- mark guitar sound was never
nal to wrestle the rock crown back going to turn many heads. And
from Nirvana, but found itself with the world inexorably creeping
reporting on the departures of first towards a new millennium, and the
Gilby, then incredibly Slash, Matt G N R bandwagon having seem-
and finally Duff. ingly lost direction, the by now
From here on in Axl would sail reclusive singer and his grand
the ship alone, albeit with an ever- opus were in danger of slipping
changing line-up that would each into sepia-tinged memory.
have their respective parts stripped It was only following Axls
from the mix following their own sudden re-emergence in June 2000
departures. It wasnt only guitar- that titbits began to filter through
ists and drummers that came and the music press indicating that the
went through the studios revolv- long-awaited album did actually
ing door, for a succession of exist. It also had a name: Chinese
highly-respected producers such Democracy. And in order to prove
as Roy Thomas Baker, Youth, the new songs existed outside of
Sean Beavan, and Moby, were Axls imagination, the singer
called in to occupy Mike Clinks ably accompanied by a line-
now-vacant hot seat, only to have up consisting entirely of session
their efforts and advice spurned in musicians and a guitarist sporting
equal measure. In 2006, however, an upturned fast-food receptacle
Axl appeared to have found his on his head went out on the
man in one time Faith No More road. But as to an actual release
producer Andy Wallace. Despite date, there was no word.
Wallace having worked for the In September, 2003, New York
enemy (Nirvana), as well as the DJ, Eddie Trunk announced on air
opposition (Velvet Revolver), that his studio guest, Oakland Ath-
both Axl and his Interscope pay- letics baseball star Mike Piazza,
masters were said to be delighted had brought along a CD bearing
with the results. a new Guns N Roses song called
The fans patience was finally I.R.S. Piazza, having been pre-
rewarded in 1999 with the release sented with the CD by his buddy
of Oh My God, but the songs Axl, wrongly assumed that it was
harsh industrial-rock sound failed his to do with whatever he chose.
to strike the right chord, and as He was wrong. And the day fol-
a result barely scraped into the lowing Trunks airing of the song,


the radio station received a polite

letter from Axls lawyers warning
them not to repeat their mistake.
These days the internet is awash
with links purporting to feature
the best versions of the songs
slated to appear on the as yet unre-
leased album. The last designated
release date was 6 March, 2007,
and although the album failed to
appear, four tracks There Was
A Time, The Blues, I.R.S
Roses first live performance since
and Better were played on the the final night of the Use Your Illu-
internet over the preceding week- sion world tour some seven-and-
end. As a result of this, I.R.S a-half years earlier, and the first
was added albeit briefly to the to feature none, save Axl, of the
rotation list of several US radio bands original line-up. Although
stations, which saw the song reach the two-hour 21-song set, which
#49 on the trade magazine Radio commenced with Welcome To
& Records Active Rock National The Jungle, and saw the reintro-
Airplay chart, before Axls law- duction of Think About You
yers again intervened. (which hadnt been performed
since 1986), relied heavily on
material from the G N R back cata-
Chinese Democracy logue, the 2,000 fans, that had paid
World Tour between $150 - $250 for their tick-
ets, were treated to six new songs
The Chinese Democracy tour, intended for the long-awaited new
which commenced on 1 January, album: Oh My God; The Blues;
2001 at the House of Blues in Las Oklahoma; the title track Chi-
Vegas, Nevada, was supposed to nese Democracy; Madagascar
promote Guns N Roses as yet and Silk Worms.
Next up was an appearance at the
unreleased studio album of the
third Rock In Rio extravaganza on
same name.
15 January, which saw Axl bring
First Leg: his housekeeper Beta out onto
1 January, 200131 December, 2001. the stage to act as his interpreter
US and Europe: while he addressed the matter of
4 dates played, 26 cancelled. what he termed the old band.
He informed the 150,000 crowd
The New Years day show at the that his former friends surely
compact 2,000 capacity House of a veiled reference to Slash and
Blues in Las Vegas was Guns N Duff had supposedly done their

Guns N Roses

utmost to prevent him from being new material since 1991. Follow-
there. He then singled out Paul ing the euphoria of Rock in Rio,
Huge for having worked through I jumped the gun and arranged a
the darkness underground for the European tour as our plan was to
last seven years, and that without have the new album out this year.
whom there would be no Guns N Unfortunately, Bucketheads ill-
Roses. After lauding Dizzy Reed ness not only stopped the tour but
for his being the only member of also slowed progress on Chinese
the old line-up to have remained Democracy. As a result, touring
loyal and hard-working, Axl gave right now is logistically impossi-
the cue for Live And Let Die. ble. I am very sorry to disappoint
As Chinese Democracy was due our fans, but I can assure them that
for a 5 June release and Guns its not what Axl wanted nor is it
N Roses were already scheduled Another page from the Howard
to appear at several European fes- Hughes book of rock as some of
tivals in the summer the band the media will no doubt portray it.
announced a 14-date European I made a plan and unfortunately it
tour, including four UK shows did not work out. The good news
in London, Manchester, Glasgow is that everyone is ecstatic with
and Birmingham. But, with tick- the album and we will be meet-
ets already on sale, the tour was ing with the label to schedule its
pulled just two weeks before the release, following which we will
opening date in Nuremburg on 1 announce the rescheduled dates
June. The official reason given to coincide. Guns N Roses look
for the cancellations was that forward to seeing everybody
Buckethead had been ordered to next year, and once again, please
rest having been diagnosed with accept my apologies for the way
internal haemorrhaging of the this has played out.
stomach. The 14 European dates To add to the confusion, Axl said
were rescheduled for December, that he hadnt even been aware of
only to then be cancelled indefi- the proposed tour, and had only
nitely in November by a some- found out about it having then
what embarrassed Doug Gold- been cancelled whilst surfing the
man, who sheepishly informed internet. The band had also pulled
an unbelieving world media that out of the European festivals, and
he had forgotten to tell Axl about the albums release date was put
the rearranged dates. Goldsteins back again until the autumn.
official statement read as follows: On 29 December, 2001, by
To ensure Guns N Roses fans which time the album was still
the album they deserve, Axl Rose sans release date, Guns N Roses
has spent every waking minute of returned to Las Vegas for a show
every day during the past five years at The Joint, the 1400 capacity
writing, recording, and producing venue housed within the Hard
Guns N Roses first album of all Rock Caf. This show, however,


was only intended as a warm-up by Goldstein that he wasnt

for the one held in the Hard Rock welcome, and that he would be
Caf itself two days later, on refused entry should he manage
New Years Eve. In 2000, Slash, to procure a ticket.
in response to the constant ques- As for the show itself, the band
tioning as to whether he would again relied on a set comprising
agree to a reunion of Guns N of the old standards interspersed
Roses original line-up, said that with new songs intended for the
in order for that to happen then album. Once again, the shows
all five members would need to climax came with Paradise City,
have straightened out their heads and as Axl and co. cavorted about
enough so they could get together the stage, a multitude of vivid
in the same room. So when the images of the Las Vegas strip
guitarist, who happened to be in flashed across the stage screens.
Las Vegas for the New Year cel- Despite Axls earlier praise for
ebrations, heard about the show, his old Lafayette buddy, Paul
he thought he might as well test Huge, it seemed that others within
the water by calling in on his erst- the G N R camp were somewhat
while buddy Axl, as well as check less enthused by the guitarists
out the new band. To his astonish- contributions and the Las Vegas
ment, however, he was informed show proved to be his last.

Guns N Roses

UK G N R show, Axl kept the

Second Leg: expectant 52,000+ Leeds crowd
14 26 August, 2002. waiting over an hour beyond the
Asia and Europe: allotted start time of 10pm before
22 dates played, 18 cancelled. taking to the stage his trade-
mark long flowing red hair intri-
On 14 August, 2002, Guns N
cately woven into braided plaits
Roses kick-started their six-date
against a swirling backdrop
Asia/Europe tour with a show at of flashing lights and scream-
Hong Kongs Convention and ing skulls. It may have been a
Exhibition Centre the bands different line-up with Classic
first ever show in China as part Rock magazine going so far as to
of the Summer Sonic Festival, describe the boys as the greatest
with former Psychedelic Furs and Guns N Roses tribute band in
Ben Folds Five guitarist Rich- the world but the songs defi-
ard Fortus having been drafted nitely remained the same. And so
in as Paul Huges replacement. what if there was no Slash, Duff,
Before playing the song Chinese Steven or Izzy on stage with Axl,
Democracy Axl took time out to the incumbents present were all
explain to the 2,000+ audience proficient enough on their respec-
the idea behind the title of the tive instruments to make the old
forthcoming album, whilst said classics sound identical if not
albums artwork was displayed better than how theyd sounded
on a giant screen mounted at the when first recorded some fifteen
rear of the stage. And as in Vegas years earlier. And if there were
at the start of the year, sweeping any romantics in the crowd yearn-
panoramic views of the neon-lit ing for a return to the bad old
city outside as well as Chinas days of yesteryear, then all they
national flag flashed across the needed to do was close their eyes
screens throughout the show. and it was as if the skulls from
Following on from Hong Kong, the instantly recognisable tattoo
the band flew to Japan, where adorning Axls right forearm had
they played two gigs in Chiba and magically sprung to life.
Osaka on the 17 and 18 August Although Axl gave no expla-
respectively, before then heading nation as to why Guns N Roses
to the UK, where they were sched- came on stage over an hour later
uled to perform two shows. The than scheduled, he took affront
first of these was on 24 August at when the events organisers began
the Carling Weekend Leeds Fes- calling for the band to curtail their
tival staged at the citys Temple set at the pre-designated hour. He
Newsham Park, while the second brought the proceedings to a halt
came two days later at Londons and informed the audience that
Docklands Arena. Although it had although he didnt want to get
been nine long years since the last arrested for inciting a riot and


nor did he want anyone else to get Welcome To The Jungle, Mada-
hurt or arrested he reckoned the gascar and Paradise City.
band still had another good seven Guns N Roses first US tour
or eight songs to play. He also since 1993 was due to commence
told them and the officials mill- on 22 November, 2002, with a
ing around at the side of the stage show across the border in Canada,
that he hadnt come all the way at Vancouvers General Motors
to England to be told to go back Place arena. And although Axl
home by some fucking asshole. had personally announced to fans
Thankfully, common sense pre- via the official G N R website
vailed, and the band was allowed that the tour was our tour, and
to complete their 16-song set. avowed that he and the rest of the
He also interrupted the London band would be there for better
Docklands show, again just before or worse, the events organisers
Chinese Democracy. This time, were forced to cancel the show
however, was to light-heart- at the eleventh hour following
edly inform the 12,500 capacity the singers failure to appear at
crowd that there seemed to be the 10,000 seater venue. In fact,
Axl wasnt even in the city at the
some concern amongst the bands
time he and the rest of the band
fans that, as they were repeat-
were due to appear owing to his
edly playing the same five or six
having delayed his departure from
new songs, then there couldnt
Los Angeles to the actual day of
be any other good tracks remain-
the show. An unforeseen delay to
ing. Au contraire, mon frere, he
his scheduled flight meant that he
told them with a reflective shake
was still 35,000 feet up in the air,
of the head, Were just playin somewhere above Canada when
the songs were not considering he should have been taking to the
putting out as singles or anything. stage at 9.30pm. The rest of the
So youll get eighteen songs, and group had made it to the venue
about ten extra tracks. And once but there seemed little point in
the record company feels that has going on without the star attrac-
run its course, then youll get it all tion, so they remained in the
over again. And by that time, he adjoining backstage area drink-
added with a chuckle, I should be ing beer in celebration of guitar-
done with the third album. ist Robin Fincks birthday. Buck-
The band then returned to the ethead later told one bemused
US for a surprise appearance at the reporter that, although he and the
MTV Video Music Awards held at rest of the band had been aware
the Radio City Music Hall in New Axls plane had been delayed and
York, where the band treated the he therefore wouldnt make the
gathered ensemble of ticket-hold- soundcheck, they had been under
ers, celebrities and music execu- the impression that Axl would
tives to a three-song medley of still arrive in time to do the show.

Guns N Roses

As to the ensuing riot, the guitarist a repeat of the St. Louis riot of
told that same reporter hed been eleven years earlier were taking
left shocked and dismayed, and no chances, and waded into the
that the first hed known about throng with attack dogs, and
the show being cancelled came wielded their batons with wanton
via an announcement over the abandon. They didnt even let up
PA system whilst fellow Gunners as the crowd began to disperse,
Dizzy Reed and Tommy Stinson
and continued to chase and hit
were being interviewed by MTVs
anyone unfortunate enough to
Kurt Loder.
stray into their path. One female
Needless to say, many of the
fan later told a local TV news
fans gathered outside the venue
having shelled-out $80 for tick- crew of how shed feared the cops
ets vented their frustrations by were going to kill someone. But
hurling rocks and bottles before a police spokeswoman told that
then ramming the metal security same reporter that the crowd had
barriers mounted outside through been out of control and described
the glass doors. The Canadian her colleagues response as a
cops no doubt anxious to avoid correct and proper use of force.


As the band was scheduled to riot had any significance, certain

appear in Tacoma, Washington, shows failed to sell out. There were
the following night, Axl gave no such problems for the 5 Decem-
his version of the previous days ber gig at New Yorks Madison
events live on air on Seattles Square Garden, however, as the
KISW radio. Instead of apologis- entire ticket allotment went within
ing, however, or even giving an hours of going on sale.
explanation as to why he chose to The next stop on the 34-date US
remain in L.A. until the day of the tour was to have been Philadel-
Vancouver show, he announced phias First Union Centre arena
that Guns N Roses fully intended the following evening, but the
to play the show, and would have show was cancelled at the last
done so had the organisers not minute following a telephone call
pulled the plug. He then went on to the 14,000-seat venue at around
to blame the venues manager for 11pm informing promoters CCE
making at least in his and the rest (Clear Channel Entertainment)
of the bands opinion a prema- that an unspecified band member
ture decision to cancel the show, had suddenly been taken ill. By
before informing the listeners that this time, however, the arena was
his legal team were looking into full, and a large number of angry
the situation. He then somewhat fans vented their frustrations by
sarcastically, given what had ripping out the seats and hurl-
occurred in his name brought ing them at the stage. The bands
the ten-minute interview to a close mixing desk was also trashed and
saying hed better get his ass down authorities fearing a repeat of
to the soundcheck before that the St. Louis riot of eleven years
nights show was also cancelled. earlier, and the far more recent
This as far as he was concerned Vancouver fiasco called in
was to be the last word on the armed police who managed to
Vancouver debacle. And although restore order without making any
G N Rs management team were arrests. When it later emerged that
subsequently approached by other the band member being taken
local radio stations, all such inter- ill story was bogus, and that the
views were to be pre-recorded for groups no show was due to Axl
Axls approval, as well as having having remained in New York to
to adhere to a pre-arranged list of watch a basketball game, Philly
questions, none of which touched radio station WMMR announced
on the Vancouver show. that unless Axl called in to apol-
Although there was no way of ogise on air then it intended to
knowing whether the decision implement a three-week boy-
to take the tour to out of the way cott of all Guns N Roses music
musical backwaters such as Nampa, including material from the new
Idaho, or Moline, Illinois, backfired album should it be released during
on the band, or if the Vancouver that time period.

Guns N Roses

This, however, was the least of song like a long-lost relative. Axl
the bands problems, for over the may have been a few years older
next few days subsequent shows and packing a few extra pounds
in Washington D.C., Albuquerque, beneath his black leather shirt
Phoenix, Sacramento and San but the New York shows proved
Jose were all cancelled. And when he could still deliver when it mat-
no one from the G N R manage- tered. Over the course of the four
ment team seemed willing to come near-identical shows, the group
forward to explain the reasoning were joined on stage each night
behind the cancellations, anxious by Sebastian Bach, who sang a
CCE promoters warned ticket- duet with Axl on My Michelle.
holders to expect more. And on 11 When Axl had first announced
December their fears were realised the New York shows on Eddie
when all remaining tour dates were, Trunks syndicated radio show
indeed, cancelled. one Saturday evening, he had
mischievously hinted that his old
Third Leg: buddy Izzy might be putting in
25 May, 2006 20 December, 2006. an appearance at one of the gigs.
Europe and North America: Needless to say, the Manhattan
74 dates played, 7 cancelled. rumour mill had gone into over-
drive, with many fans daring to
On 12 May, 2006, Guns N hope that Izzy would be making a
Roses returned to the live arena permanent return to the fold. And
with the first of four warm-up although such rumours proved
dates at New Yorks modest unfounded, on the final night, 17
2,000-capacity Hammerstein May, and much to the frenzied
Ballroom in preparation for a full delight of the 2,000 attendees, a
European tour due to commence beaming Izzy Stradlin sauntered
in Spain later that same month. onto the stage for a 3-song encore
The Hammerstein shows not of Think About You, Patience
only served as preparation for the and Nightrain. The tour brought
forthcoming tour, but also pro- about another reunion as Del
vided the band with the oppor- James had been brought in to
tunity to introduce new guitarist assist with the logistics.
Ron Bumblefoot Thal, whod Although the New York fans
been drafted in to replace Buck- had willingly embraced what had
ethead. And it was Bumblefoot essentially been a Guns N Roses
who got the proceedings under- comeback, the citys media was
way by stroking the by now rather less enthusiastic, with the
instantly recognisable intro to New York Times going so far as
Welcome To The Jungle. Once to question the bands relevance
again the set relied heavily on twenty years on from their initial
the old G N R standards, but the impact. The European and Brit-
ecstatic New Yorkers treated each ish press were equally harsh, with


The Times when reviewing the Donington to headline the festival

bands London Hammersmith where, eighteen years earlier, two
Apollo show of 7 June liken- fans had tragically died during
ing the dreadlocked Axl to a the bands debut performance.
cross between Metallicas James Although they went on stage at the
Hetfield and Simply Reds Mick appointed hour, the 59,000 strong
Hucknall. Axl may well have crowd was openly hostile from the
been older, but he seemed to be off and began pelting the stage with
no wiser, and he once again tested plastic water bottles one of which
the audiences patience by keep- struck bassist Tommy Stinson on
ing them waiting. And as it was a the side of the head. Instead of
midweek show, many disgruntled haranguing the leather and denim-
fans were forced to leave midway clad audience as many expected,
through the set in order to catch Axl seemed taken aback at the
the last train home. hostile reception, and threatened to
Three days later, on 10 June, curtail the show unless the barrack-
Guns N Roses returned to Castle ing ceased. Even the introduction

Guns N Roses

of Izzy, who would make similar into mayhem when the band still
guest appearances throughout the hadnt taken to the stage some
tour, failed to restore order, and it two hours after the allotted time.
was later reported that swaths of The next appearance, at Zurichs
people were streaming for the exits Hallenstadion on 21 June, needed
whilst the band was still on stage. to be hastily rescheduled for 1
The show was an unmitigated dis- July owing to drummer Bryan
aster, and as if one were needed Mantia returning to the US to be
the coup de grace came courtesy with his wife, who had gone into
of the one-time G N R espousing labour earlier than the doctors
Kerrang!, who gave the show 0/5 had expected. His stand-in, Frank
in a subsequent review. Ferrer, an old friend and musical
Next on the agenda were Prague collaborator of Richard Fortus,
and Warsaw where, yet again, flew out to Belgium in time for
the shows were blighted by the the bands appearance at the Gras-
bands tardiness. Even a return to pop Festival on 24 June.
Axls supposed favourite city, Next up was Stockholm on 26
Paris, failed to stop the rot, and June, where, sometime the fol-
the evening threatened to descend lowing morning, Axl was arrested


by police following an unsavoury many of the disgruntled photogra-

incident in the lobby of the Berns phers declined the singers ultima-
Hotel where the band were stay- tum and boycotted the show.
ing following the show at the Axls manager Merck Mercu-
Swedish capitals 13,000-capac- riadis, upon being informed that
ity Globe Arena. Stockholm the Swedish authorities took an
Police spokesperson, Tove Hgg, extremely dim view to anyone
informed the Associated Press threatening a police officer, hur-
that Rose, who was deemed too ried out to find a local lawyer. For
intoxicated to even be questioned if Axl were to refute the charges
straight away, had returned to and be found guilty at trial, then
the hotel after partying at one of he would face up to four years in
the citys nightclubs until dawn jail. But as Guns N Roses were
and got into an altercation with scheduled to appear in Oslo the
hotel staff, proceeding to cause an following evening, Axl reluc-
undisclosed amount of damage to tantly admitted the charges and
the lobbys fixtures and fittings was released that same evening
including a large decorative wall after agreeing to pay a fine of
mirror. When the hotels security 40,000 krona (about $3,000) and
guard who just happened to be a further 10,000 krona ($750) in
an off-duty cop tried to inter- damages to the security guard. In
vene, Axl had bitten him on the a subsequent press release, how-
leg. One of the arresting officers, ever, Mercuriadis insisted that Axl
Fredrik Nylen, told reporters that was innocent, and had only admit-
the rocker [Rose] had behaved so ted to the charges in order to avoid
aggressively towards the police having to cancel the remainder of
that he had to be restrained with the tour. And it seemed the Swed-
handcuffs. Axl himself later com- ish authorities had threatened the
mented: We had a great gig in singer with anything between five
Stockholm and I am not going days and three weeks behind bars
to let this incident spoil that. My without bail if hed refused to co-
assistant Beta and I were talking in operate. Mercuriadis claimed that
the lobby of the hotel when secu- the authorities were fully aware
rity started to give us a hard time. that millions of dollars were at
My only concern was to make sure stake, which made the whole
she was okay. experience tantamount to Axls
The friction had started at the being held to ransom.
venue prior to the show when Axl At the Oslo show Axl couldnt
upset the Swedish media by refus- resist having a dig at those same
ing to allow any pictures to be taken Swedish officials and introduced
during the show unless the photog- Patience to the Spektrum crowd
raphers were willing to first sign as a good song to sing when
away their copyright to the bands youre in jail after being arrested
management. Not surprisingly, by a cop. Perhaps not surpris-

Guns N Roses

ingly, he dedicated Out Ta Get On 18 July, the group returned

Me to the Swedish police, but to the UK for eight shows, the
his mood eventually lightened, first of which was at Sheffields
and before November Rain Hallam FM Arena, where Sebas-
he mused: Well, maybe I am a tian Bach once again opened the
fucking asshole, but Im a fucking proceedings. Next up was New-
rock n roll asshole! castles Metro Radio Arena, and,
On 2 July, following the rear- yet again, restless fans were left to
ranged Swiss gig, Guns N Roses their own devices for over an hour
flew on to Holland for a show at before the band finally graced the
Nijmegans Goffert Park where stage. During the 21 July show
Izzy joined the band on stage for at Glasgows SEC Centre, which
Think About You, Patience, had latter-day punksters Towers
Nightrain and perennial encore Of London as opening act, Axl
song Paradise City. After suc- took time out to banter with the
cessful appearances in Finland audience and mentioned that he
and a second date in Oslo, the himself was half-Scottish. After
band was supposed to then fly to a meandering jaunt across the
length and breadth of Britain with
Germany where they were due to
stop-offs in Manchester, Birming-
play two shows opening for the
ham and Nottingham, the G N R
Rolling Stones on the aging rock-
bandwagon rolled into London on
ers A Bigger Bang world tour, but
29 July for the first of two sell-
when those dates were cancelled,
out shows at Wembley Arena.
owing to Keith Richards having
Once again, however, the band
bizarrely injured himself falling
infuriated its audience by remain-
out of a coconut tree whilst vaca- ing cosseted within their dressing
tioning on Fiji, the band instead room for a full ninety minutes
flew on to Malakasa, Greece, after the last support act, Bullet
where they were booked to appear For My Valentine, had finished
at the Rockwave Festival, where, their set. When they did finally put
once again, Izzy joined the band in an appearance, Axl brought the
on stage for the encores. proceedings to a halt to inform the
On 14 July, Guns N Roses audience that the band was run-
headlined the Bilbao Live Festi- ning not one, but two competitions
val with a supporting cast which that evening. The first saw a hun-
included The Cult, Blue Oyster dred or so lucky punters whose
Cult, Placebo and Fun Lovin names were subsequently called
Criminals. And although the band out being invited to join the band
didnt go on stage until 11.20pm within the plush setting of the
some 80 minutes later than Cuckoo Club in upmarket Mayfair
scheduled they made amends by for an after-hours, intimate semi-
playing for over two-and-a-quar- acoustic show, while the second
ter hours. and even more mouth-watering


prize was an all expenses paid bley show was scheduled for
trip out to Devore, California for later that same day, the strain of
KROQs Inland Invasion Concert performing three shows in 48
on 23 September. It was only then hours proved too much for him,
that the audience understood why and Sebastian Bach was forced
each of them had been asked to to take over vocal duties for the
supply their name upon entering encore. Axl had started to feel
the venue. And in order to pro- unwell within a couple of hours
long the suspense, Axl introduced of finishing the 75 minute acous-
Izzy onto the stage for a medley tic show and a doctor was hur-
of covers consisting of the Rolling riedly summoned to the singers
Stones Sway, Rod Stewarts hotel suite at the Mandarin Ori-
Sailing and the Beatles Back ental hotel in Knightsbridge. The
In The USSR, whilst plucking doctor diagnosed Axl as suffering
out the names of the lucky win- from low blood pressure and low
ners in-between songs. blood sugar, and strongly advised
Although no one could ques- hospitalisation. This, of course,
tion Axls sincerity or generosity, would have meant cancelling the
the acoustic show at the Cuckoo second Wembley show, which, in
Club didnt get underway until years gone by, perhaps wouldnt
4am, and, as the second Wem- have overly concerned Axl. But

Guns N Roses

this was no longer an option as home in order to put the finishing

Sanctuary having finally lost touches to the album. Needless to
patience over the spiralling costs say, the record didnt surface on
of the still unreleased Chinese 21 November, and the resched-
Democracy album had severed uled shows were again cancelled.
financial support, which, coupled The 19-date US tour finally
with the fact that the tour hadnt got underway on 20 October at
been the financial success every- the Veterans Memorial Arena in
one had been hoping for despite Jacksonville, Florida. The choice
playing to over half-a-million of opening venue was rather apt
people meant the show would given that Axl was himself a vet-
have to go on. eran of some 20 years standing,
One month later, on 31 August, but, although Axl and many of
Axl appeared at that years MTV the bands inner circle were con-
Video Music Awards and informed fident that the tour would be a
those in attendance, as well as the resounding success especially
world-wide television audience, as the Madison Square Garden
that Guns N Roses would begin date on 11 November had again
an American tour on 24 October. sold out in a matter of hours the
The band were to begin with sev- other dates didnt fare quite so
eral warm-up shows commencing well. The harsh and inescapable
with two consecutive nights at truth was that by 2006 Guns N
The Joint in Las Vegas on 16 and Roses were no longer the most
17 September, followed by two dangerous band in the world, and
more at San Franciscos Warfield nor were they capable of filling
Theatre on 20 and 21 September, 50,000+ arenas. Axl may have
and culminating in the aforemen- surrounded himself with seasoned
tioned KROQ Inland Festival musicians who all knew their
two days later. Immediately fol- trade and could nail the riffs and
lowing the KROQ show, which keep the beat, but Messrs Fortus,
was again marred by the bands Finck, Stinson, Pitman, Ferrer and
tardiness, Axl threw a party at his Thal would never truly be able to
Malibu mansion, where much exorcise the ghosts of Adler, Izzy,
to their collective surprise the Duff and Slash. Those kids who
assembled guests were treated to had rushed out to buy Appetite
twelve or so songs intended for For Destruction back in 87 were
the Chinese Democracy album. now parents with kids of their
For once it seemed the rumours of own, and were far more likely to
a looming release date appeared slap on a DVD of their one-time
to be true (Rolling Stone claimed heroes than they were to attend
to have been tipped the wink to 21 a live show. And the latest gen-
November) as further Californian eration of teenage rabble-rousers
shows were rescheduled owing although happy to snag the old
to Axl wanting to remain close to mans dog-eared G N R albums


for an occasional spin needed for a show at Clevelands Quicken

musical heroes of their own, and Loans Arena, where Axl took
were therefore spending their exception to support act Eagles
allowances on Marilyn Manson, Of Death Metal. Much to bass-
Nine Inch Nails and Green Day. ist Tommy Stinsons vexation
If the sight of row upon row Tommy was friends with EODM,
of empty seats at certain venues and had recommended them
wasnt disconcerting enough to for the tour Axl informed the
the bands management, then bemused crowd that this would be
the subsequent scathing reviews the last time the Pigeons Of Shit
should have been enough to Metal would open for Guns N
set the alarm bells ringing. The Roses. Stinson was so incensed
Boston Heralds review of the 8 that he hurled his bass to the
November show at the nowhere floor and insulted the somewhat
near full DCU Centre in Worces- bemused Axl, before then storm-
ter, Massachusetts, cited Axls ing off stage; although he would
vocals as mediocre, and the sheepishly return to continue with
band as an octet of soulless virtu- the set after missing four songs.
osos, while Greg Kot of the Trib- EODMs singer Jesse Hughes
une uncharitably described Axl as was equally furious at Axls on-
the middle-aged mouthpiece for stage character assassination and
a bunch of pros doing what pros informed the assorted press that
do on six-figure retainers. J. P. Axl had no right to comment
Gorman, who was reviewing the on his bands performance that
Cleveland show for cinemablend. evening as he wasnt even at the
com was even less charitable, and, venue when they came off stage.
aside from citing the current line- EODM werent the only casual-
up as the most legitimate Guns ties on the tour, for by the time
N Roses cover band in America of the final date at the Gibson
today, he advised the bands Amphitheatre in Los Angeles
old-school fans to take the $100 on 20 December, Axl had parted
they were intending on using to company with Merck Mercuriadis
purchase a ticket and throw it owing to the never-ending Chi-
down the nearest sewer and then nese Democracy saga.
punch themselves in the stomach.
Having suitably recovered, they
should then return home, squeeze Fourth Leg:
into their faded denims and tie 2 June, 2007 21 July, 2007.
a bandana about their forehead, Mexico, Australasia and Japan
listen to Paradise City and cry
themselves to sleep remembering
the good old days of yesteryear. On 5 June, 2007, the now seem-
Following on from six Canadian ingly rudderless Guns N Roses
dates, the band returned to the US arrived at the Palace De Los

Guns N Roses

Deportes in Mexico City for the November Rain, and Dizzys

third of three sell-out Mexican piano spotlight solo of the Rolling
shows. 14 years had passed since Stones classic Angie. The band
the band had last performed at the ended their set, and their return
20,000 capacity stadium, which to Mexico, with a pyrotechnical
had staged the 1968 Olympics, but and special effects-laden Para-
unlike their American cousins, the dise City which left the jubilant
Mexicans cared little about who Mexicans baying for more.
was standing stage left of Axl. The opening Australasian date
They were here to worship at the at the Burswood Dome in Perth
G N R altar, and the two unfortu- which had Rose Tattoo and
nate local support bands, Nata and Sebastian Bach as opening acts,
Maligno, received extremely short and surprisingly got underway at
shrift, with the latter band forced the designated hour of 11pm was
to bring their set to an unsched- unfortunately marred by sound
uled halt after 20 minutes due to problems, both of the technical
incessant booing and catcalls. and vocal variety. The Burswood
Indeed, the anticipation had is well-known for its poor muddy
reached fever pitch by the time sound, which kind of defeats the
the lights dimmed at 11.45pm object of staging bands, but Axl
with one over-excited fan rushing was also struggling to reach his
from his seat and hurling his beer heyday best particularly the
at Axl as he walked on stage. The high notes and only sounded
crowd held its collective breath anywhere near his old self whilst
fearing and expecting the worst, seated at the piano for November
but Axl, dressed in a custom-made Rain. As was now the custom,
charro (traditional Mexican folk the band remained on stage for
costume), took the incident in his over two hours, but the fact that it
stride and slammed into Wel- was a Sunday show meant a large
come To The Jungle. During number of the audience faced an
Knockin On Heavens Door early start in the morning and the
another fan rushed forwards and arena was near half empty by the
hurled his countrys national flag time of the ticker-tape shrouded
up onto the stage, and the entire Paradise City finale.
stadium erupted as Axl picked it Following on from two con-
up and draped it across his shoul- secutive nights at Sydneys Acer
ders. Although new songs such as Arena on 23 and 24 June, the
Madagascar, I.R.S and The band flew on to New Zealand for
Blues were courteously received, another three shows, before then
it was the old classics that the heading to Japan, where they
crowd really wanted to hear par- were scheduled to play another
ticularly the ballads and the five gigs starting off with two
Mexicans sang along to every over consecutive nights at Chibas
word of Dont Cry, Patience Makuhari Messe on 14 and 15


July. Three nights later, Guns N

Roses made a triumphant return
to the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo
Civil War
the bands first appearance there
for nigh on two decades where
they were joined on stage by Civil War, which originally
Bubbles (Canadian actor, Mike featured on the 1990 fundraiser
Smith) from the hit Canadian TV album Nobodys Child, subse-
show Trailer Park Boys, for a quently appeared as the opening
rendition of Liquor & Whores. track on Use Your Illusion II, and
The final show or final show to reached #4 on the Billboard Hot
date of the Chinese Democracy 100 when it was released as a
tour came in Osaka the following single in 1993.
night, but as with London nearly Nobodys Child or The Roma-
twelve months earlier, the band nian Angel project to give it its
performed an after hours show at a
proper title was set up by ex-
private club in Osaka. Once again,
Beatle, George Harrison and his
they were joined by Bubbles, as
wife Olivia as a means of rais-
well as Japanese author Takay-
oshi Azuma, for a relaxed semi- ing funds for the children left
acoustic sing-a-long to several G orphaned by Romanias despot
N R numbers such as Patience leader Nicolae Ceausescu, whod
and Used To Love Her, as well recently been overthrown during
as Liquor & Whores, Led Zep- a military coup. The remorse-
pelins Whole Lotta Love, Kiss less dictator, along with his wife
Strutter, Cheap Tricks I Want Elena, was executed by a three-
You To Want me and Tom Jones man firing squad on 25 Decem-
Its Not Unusual. ber, 1989.

Guns N Roses

Although all five original mem- from a real-life experience, when,

bers of Guns N Roses were sup- as a four year-old, hed accompa-
posedly apolitical, Civil War is nied his mother on a peace march
a protest song worthy of ranking in 1969 at the height of the Viet-
alongside Dylans 1962 clas- nam War. Axl also chips in, with
sic Blowin In The Wind, John his earliest memory being hearing
Lennons Give Peace A Chance of Robert F. Kennedys assas-
(1969), and Rage Against The sination in the basement kitchen
Machines more up-to-date offer- of the Ambassador Hotel in Los
ing, Killing In The Name Of. Angeles on 5 June, 1968, which
Following a snippet of Strother goes some way to explaining why
Martins dialogue from the 1967 the band chose the Ambassador as
movie Cool Hand Luke, Civil the setting to shoot the video for
War is a lament to the seemingly Patience.
never-ending wastage of human Civil War received its first
public airing at Farm Aid IV,
which was staged at Indianapolis
Hoosier Dome on 7 April, 1990,
when the Gunners performed
alongside Elton John, Lou Reed
and event co-organisers Willie
Nelson, Neil Young and John
Cougar Mellencamp. When Axl
discovered the fourth benefit con-
cert to raise funds for Americas
family farmers was to be held in
his home state of Indiana, he con-
tacted the organisers and offered
life, and the suffering caused by the bands services. The show,
the civil wars which have stained which marked Dizzy Reeds live
the pages of history. In Septem- debut, would prove to be Steven
ber, 1993, at the time of the songs Adlers last with the band before
release as a single (the Gunners being ejected owing to his chronic
thirteenth to date), Duff, who had heroin addiction.
co-written the lyrics with Slash
and Axl, informed Rockline that
the idea for the song had basically
evolved from a riff the band had
Clarke, Gilby
been messing about with during
soundchecks. His own telling Gilby Clarke was a little known,
contribution: Did you wear a wannabe guitarist eking a living
black armband / When they shot playing in clubs along L.A.s
the man / Who said peace could Sunset Strip when the call came
last forever had apparently come through in November, 1991 offer-


ing him the chance to replace Izzy that it had been an oversight by
Stradlin in Guns N Roses. the Gunners accountants, and
It was Slash having been this did indeed appear to be the
struck by a similarity in style case when the payments resumed
between Gilby and Izzy whod as normal. But when the same
made the call, and although Gilby oversight occurred several times
couldnt believe his luck, his over the following weeks, he con-
elevation from virtual unknown sulted his lawyer Jeffrey Light.
to being in the most happening Light wrote a letter on behalf of
rock band in the world meant he his bemused client to the Gun-
had to hit the ground running, for ners then lawyer Laurie Soriano,
Izzys shock departure came in requesting that some light be shed
the midst of G N Rs colossal 28- on the situation and was sum-
month Use Your Illusion world marily informed, in no uncertain
tour. Having learnt and rush- terms, that his clients services
rehearsed some thirty songs in were no longer required. When
three weeks, Gilbys baptism of the expected royalty check for
fire came on 5 December, 1991 at his involvement on The Spaghetti
the Worcester Centrum Centre in Incident? failed to arrive, how-
Worcester, Massachusetts. Gilby ever, and still smarting from such
remained with Guns N Roses for shoddy treatment, he instructed
the next three years, and although Light to initiate legal proceed-
he didnt actually record any ings. At first, and much to Gil-
original material with the band, bys dismay, Soriano announced
he did appear on The Spaghetti he would fight the action, and
Incident? as well as the bands attempted to call Gilbys bluff
Live Era: 87 - 93 & Greatest by launching a ridiculous coun-
Hits albums. ter lawsuit against the guitarist
His fall from grace came in for having misappropriated his
March, 1994, shortly before the name, likeness, photograph, voice
band was due to enter the studio and performance. But, upon real-
to record a version of the Rolling ising Gilby was not the bluffing
Stones classic, Sympathy For kind and was intent on standing
The Devil for the Interview With his ground, Soriano dropped the
The Vampire movie soundtrack, countersuit and agreed to settle
when, with neither consultation, out of court, with Gilby receiving
nor explanation, he was replaced an undisclosed sum.
by Axls long-time friend Paul Although Gilby had inexplica-
Tobias. bly found himself on Axls shit
Gilbys first indication that list, he remained on good terms
all was not well came when his, with the other Gunners, and even
by now, customary weekly sti- appeared on Slashs Its Five
pend failed to appear in his bank OClock Somewhere solo album.
account. His initial thought was In a bizarre twist, a decade or so

Guns N Roses

on from his unceremonious and PolyGram label in 1984, were a

acrimonious dismissal from Guns power-pop quartet similar to The
N Roses, Gilby was brought in to Knack circa 1979, or Blondies
collaborate with Tracii Guns on perennial backline. Having tired
the album The Roots of Guns N of Candys pretentious pop-preen-
Roses. ing, however, Gilby crossed over
Gilby was born in Cleveland, to the glitzier side of the Strip
Ohio, on 17 August, 1962, and and joined Kill For Thrills, with
having spent his formative years whom he penned and recorded
jamming with friends in his par- most of the songs for the bands
ents garage instead of attending two albums Commercial Sui-
school, it came as no surprise to cide (1988), and Dynamite From
all concerned when, at 17 years Nightmareland (1989).
of age, he announced to friends In 1994, shortly after his sum-
and family that he and his trusty mary dismissal from the court
six-string were heading to neon- of King Axl, Gilby released his
lit Los Angeles to try and make a debut solo album, Pawnshop Gui-
name for himself in music. tars, much of which was recorded
His first paying gig came with whilst he was still in Guns N
a band called Candy, who, judg- Roses and features contributions
ing from their chosen attire on from Slash, Duff, Dizzy, Matt and
the cover of their one and only even Axl himself. Twelve months
album, Whatever Happened To later he released his second solo
Fun?, which was released on the offering, the Blooze EP on Virgin,


and has since gone on to release recruited Lukas Rossi, the recent
three more studio records: The winner of the American reality
Hangover (1997); Rubber (1998) CBS TV show Rockstar: Super-
and Swag (2002) as well as a nova. Unfortunately their choice
live album, aptly entitled 99 Live of name soon met with contro-
(1999) and a Best Of in 2007. versy when a Californian pop-
In 2001, Gilby collaborated with punk trio of the same name filed
ex-Stray Cats and onetime Britt- a federal lawsuit. In September,
banger Slim Jim Phantom in the 2006, San Diego Judge John Hou-
band Col. Parker, which resulted ston ruled in favour of the original
in the V2 album Rock N Roll band and granted their request for
Music. He is also an occasional a preliminary injunction pend-
member of the Cathouse house- ing a trial, which forced Messrs.
band, The Starfuckers, as well Lee, Clarke, Newsted and Rossi
as the Blues Mafia, which plies to rename their band Rock Star
its trade down at the legendary Supernova. The bands self-titled
Sunset Strip blues hangout, The debut album was released on 21
Baked Potato. November, 2006, but by this time,
When he wasnt busy gigging Newsted had been replaced by
with the likes of Nancy Sinatra ex-Black Crows bassist Johnny
and Heart, recording, or taking up Colt, owing to his having injured
column inches in Hot Bike Mag- both arms whilst trying to catch a
azine where he could be found falling bass amp and requiring a
purring over his Harley David- lengthy recuperation period fol-
son motorbikes, Gilby would be lowing surgery.
ensconced within his home studio As with most reality TV shows,
(Redrum Studios). His produc- however, Rockstar: Supernovas
ing credits thus far include L.A. viewing audience was only inter-
Guns 1999 album Shrinking ested whilst the show was on air,
Violet, on which he also makes a and were less enthused about part-
guest appearance, Rolling Stone ing with $20 to see the band play
Best Newcomers award recipi- live regardless of its stellar back-
ents The Bronxs eponymous line while equally poor reviews
debut offering in 2003, as well as meant that the album failed to
Girlsplayboys debut album From trouble the Billboard 100
Ritual to Romance (2006).
In 2006, following a solo
tour which took in the US and
Europe, Gilby teamed up with
Clink, Mike
Mtley Cres Tommy Lee,
and ex-Metallica bassist Jason Mike Clink is a successful pro-
Newsted in the supergroup Super- ducer who first cut his teeth on
nova. Rather than approach a Appetite For Destruction, and
known singer, however, the three went on to produce all five Guns

Guns N Roses

It is well documented that Clink

wasnt Geffens first, or indeed
even second or third choice for
the task, but Zutaut perhaps
sensing that patience would be a
vital attribute was confident he
had found his man. Clink was no
doubt aware of Geffens misgiv-
ings over his capabilities or lack
thereof but he was equally aware
of what was required. He knew the
Gunners would be after a rawer,
harder-edged sound than any of
the pop acts which appeared on
N Roses studio albums released his production resume, and, more
to date. importantly, he knew how to get it.
Baltimore-born Clink began Rather than waste precious studio
his career as an engineer at New time twiddling knobs in search of
Yorks Record Plant studios on an elusive sound, he simply asked
West 44th Street, working along- each band member to bring their
side the studios in-house soft favourite albums into the studio to
rock producer Ron Nevison on give him an idea of what sounds
recordings by the likes of Jeffer- were rocking the bands collec-
tive boat.
son Starship and Heart. The pair
The success of Appetite For
had also been responsible for pro-
Destruction, as well as GNR
ducing Survivors 1982 Rocky
Lies, saw Clink elevated to the
anthem, Eye Of The Tiger,
top of the production pile. He
but what really sold the idea to
was invited to work his magic
Guns N Roses of allowing Clink on Metallicas 1988 breakout
to oversee their debut was his album And Justice For All, but
involvement on UFOs 1977 stan- things didnt go according to plan
dout album Lights Out. and he was replaced by the bands
In 1986, Clink decided to strike in-house producer Flemming
out on his own and, having sev- Rasmussen. In 1990, Clink set to
ered the umbilical cord to Nevi- work on Guns N Roses mam-
son, moved out to Los Angeles, moth Use Your Illusion project,
where, after several less-than- but still found time to co-produce
successful production attempts Megadeths mega-selling Rust In
including Triumphs Sport Of Peace alongside the thrash-metal
Kings album he was approached bands frontman Dave Mustaine.
by Tom Zutaut to harness the In January, 2001, he was invited
manic sound of the then up-and- to mix the live half-time enter-
coming Guns N Roses. tainment as well as cheer on


his home state team, and eventual

winners, the Baltimore Ravens
at Super Bowl XXXV. The inter- Cobain, Kurt
lude featured performances by
Aerosmith, NSync, Nelly, Mary
J. Blige and Britney Spears. That Kurt Cobain, the undisputed
same year, he was also invited Guru of Grunge who single-hand-
to produce Pure Rubbishs debut edly inspired an entire musical
album Glamorous Youth. At the genre in the early-90s, rose to
time the Houston-based rockers fame as the frontman with Nir-
were signed to Ozzy Osbournes vana before allegedly blowing
Divine Recordings label, but the his brains out with a shotgun on 5
record has yet to receive an offi- April, 1994.
cial release. Cobain incurred Axls wrath
Although Clinks services have following his comments on both
not been called upon by Axl for Axl and Guns N Roses, which
Chinese Democracy, the producer appeared in the February, 1993
is still very much in demand. But issue of The Advocate. At that
it isnt only headline acts that particular juncture, Guns N
he is involved with, for in 2005, Roses and Nirvana were the two
he produced The Glitteratis biggest bands on the planet, and the
debut eponymously-titled album interviewer was therefore almost
for Atlantic Records. The band obliged to ask Cobain for his opin-
which at the time was being ion of G N Rs music. His response
compared to the early, pre-signed was acerbic to say the least. Having
Guns N Roses couldnt believe declared that he didnt even want to
their luck when they heard G N waste his time thinking about that
Rs legendary producer was inter- band, he went on to dismiss the
ested in working with them. And Gunners as a personal affront to his
in 2006, he not only produced
Phoenix-based high-energy rock-
ers Crusheds debut My Machine,
he also released it on his own No
Relief Records label.
Clink may well be out of favour
with Axl, and nor was he called
upon to produce either of the
Velvet Revolver albums, but he
hasnt quite severed all connec-
tions with Guns N Roses, since,
at the time of writing, he is cur-
rently working alongside Matt
Sorum to produce Camp Freddys
as yet unnamed debut album.

Guns N Roses

musical sensibilities, and branded the pavement to settle the matter

them pathetic, as well as untal- mano-a-mano.
ented. The interviewer sensing The ill-feeling if only on Axls
he was one question away from part came as a result of Cobain
lifting the lid to Pandoras Box having declined Axls invita-
asked Cobain about his recent spat tion for Nirvana to perform at
with Axl at the MTV Video Music his 30th birthday bash in Febru-
Awards on 9 September, 1992. ary, 1992. This, as far as Axl was
Guns N Roses had been booked concerned, was adding insult to
to perform November Rain live injury, as the Nirvana frontman
at the awards ceremony while had also recently spurned an invi-
Nirvana would open proceedings tation to support Guns N Roses
with a live version of Lithium. on the second US leg of their Use
Instead of playing the song as Your Illusion tour that same year.
expected, the studio bosses were Given that Nirvana was every
thrown into a panic when the mis- music critics flavour of the month
chievous Seattleites began play- throughout 1991-92, which had in
ing the opening bars of the then turn resulted in the bands two-
unreleased track Rape Me, and year monopoly of the airwaves, it
only segued into Lithium as the was perhaps understandable why
furious set director was about to Cobain didnt see any need to be
cut to an unscheduled commer- subservient to anybody, let alone
cial break. As he was leaving the Guns N Roses, a band he secretly
despised secretly until The Advo-
stage, Cobain is said to have spat
cate article hit the newsstands
on the keys of the piano Axl was
that is. But his having refused to
shortly due to use. The hostilities
help Axl celebrate thirty years on
didnt end there, however, for
planet earth was seen as one slight
when Cobains wife, Courtney
too many.
Love, spotted Axl making his way
through the backstage dining area,
she summoned the singer across to
their table to mockingly enquire if Collins, Tim
hed consent to being godfather
to their daughter, Frances Bean. Tim Collins is Aerosmiths
Although Courtney had no way long-standing manager, and was
of knowing it, she had chosen an invited by Tom Zutaut to manage
inopportune moment to deride Guns N Roses in 1986.
the irascible Axl, and before The invite came shortly after
either she or Cobain could react, Guns N Roses had signed to
Axl unleashed a torrent of abuse Geffen in March, 1986, whereby
during which he remonstrated Collins whod succeeded in get-
with Cobain to shut his bitch ting Aerosmiths Toxic Twins
up before he took him down to Steve Tyler and Joe Perry, and the


rest of his charges cleaned up Gunners had run up a $450 bar

was invited to a specially arranged tab in his absence and charged it
G N R showcase gig at the Roxy. to his room.
And although Collins was aware
of the Gunners predilections for
drink, drugs and debauchery, he Coma
nevertheless agreed to attend the
show in order to see for himself
whether the young upstarts were Coma, which appears as the
equal to the task of usurping final track on Use Your Illusion
Aerosmiths crown. Collins was I, and runs at 10 minutes 13 sec-
suitably impressed by the bands onds, is the longest song to date
brash performance, and even went written by Guns N Roses.
so far as to invite them and Zutaut The lengthy treatise that is
back to his hotel suite to discuss Coma, which, according to
Slash, who co-wrote the song with
Axl, contains 500 chord changes,
is believed to be a (semi-auto)
biographical account of a drug-
induced coma which Axl suppos-
edly endured yet lived to tell the
tale. And as a means of backing his
not-so-spurious claim, Axl by
way of a thank you invited Dr.
Michael Smolens, the very doctor
whod pulled him back from the
brink, into the studio to record a
voiceover. And to give the lyric
the matter further. But although added authenticity if any were
Zutaut was willing to talk shop, the needed the band added ECG
five wayward Gunners were intent (Electrocardiogram) beeps, and
on winding down the only way even hired a defibrillator, which
they knew by getting smashed under normal circumstances,
on whatever was available from would be used to restore natural
Collins mini-bar. Indeed, such rhythmical contractions following
was the post gig rumpus that Col- a heart attack. During the press
lins was forced to seek sanctuary debriefing which followed the
in an adjoining room in order to recording of the Use Your Illu-
get some peace and quiet. And if sion albums, Axl admitted that the
further evidence were needed that idea for Coma had been dancing
he should pass on Zutauts invita- around on the periphery of his
tion to manage the group, then it creative consciousness for the
surely came the following morn- past year, but had finally revealed
ing when he discovered the errant itself whilst he and the rest of the

Guns N Roses

band were in Rumbo Studios, Furnier, in Detroit, Michigan on

where the lyric had flowed effort- 4 February, 1948, served as front-
lessly from minds eye to paper. man. Having originally started
He also declared the songs final out in 1965 as The Spiders, the
segment, which starts with the band achieved its finest hour
line Got your mind in submission in 1972 with their international
/ Got your life on the line, to be hit Schools Out, which went
at least up to that point in time Top 10 in the US, and #1 in the
the best lyric hed ever written. UK. By 1974, however, Alices
Due to its considerable length theatrical onstage antics, which
not to mention the effect it might involved buckets of fake blood,
have on Axls voice Guns N fencing foils and snakes, meant
Roses have only ever performed that he was now the focal point
Coma live on four occasions, of the show and led to his adopt-
all of which occurred during the ing the name legally before then
bands Use Your Illusion world embarking on a solo career.
tour. The first airing came on 4 By the mid-80s, despite receiv-
June, 1991, when it surprisingly ing a Grammy nomination in 1984
served as the set-opener at the in the Best Long Form Music
Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Video category for The Night-
Ohio, as it did again, at the Tokyo mare, Alices brand of shock-
Dome on 19 February, 1992 rock was no longer in vogue,
(which subsequently featured on and he was released by his record
Live Era 87 93). The penulti- label, Warner Brothers, the fol-
mate airing came on 9 April, 1992 lowing year. In 1986, after a year-
at the Rosemont Horizon arena in long hiatus, during which time
Rosemont, Illinois, while its final Alice relocated back to Phoenix,
appearance on the Gunners set Arizona (where young Vincent
list came on 10 April, 1993 at the had spent his formative years), to
Omaha Civic Centre in Omaha, dry out, save his ailing marriage
Nebraska. and improve his golf swing, the
rejuvenated singer announced
his return to the main stage with
the self-produced album Con-
Cooper, Alice strictor, which featured the song
Hes Back (The Man Behind The
Alice Cooper is an American Mask), which was especially writ-
singer-songwriter best known for ten as the theme song for Friday
his outlandish stage performances the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The
which feature guillotines, electric following year saw Alice release
chairs and boa constrictors. the rockier-sounding Raise Your
Alice Cooper was actually the Fist And Yell, and in time-hon-
name of the band in which Alice, oured tradition he invited the then
born plain old Vincent Damon current hottest band on the block


which happened to be Guns N come and go, the song would

Roses onto the promotional always remain the same, probably
tour. The Gunners were some- saw something of his younger self
what surprised to receive the call in the mischievous Gunners and
as they were under the impression went out of his way to make the
theyd blown any chance of work- band including Axl welcome.
ing with Alice again on account of The tour, which got underway at
Axl having failed to turn up for a the Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas,
show opening for the moog-eyed Texas, on 4 December, 1987, may
one in Santa Barbara some twelve have been on a smaller scale to
months earlier. On that occasion, that which the Gunners had just
Slash and the equally-disgrun- undertaken opening for Mtley
tled Izzy, Duff and Steven had Cre, but a closer proximity to
been forced to go on without their their audience provided an extra
singer, which, needless to say, dynamic which was more suited
didnt make for a great show. to their style of play. Having spent
Alice, however, having been in several weeks on the road with
the business long enough to know the Cre, however, had resulted
that, although musicians would in a sizeable increase to their col-

Guns N Roses

lective, daily drug and alcohol By 1988, Alices career

intake. Indeed, said intake was so appeared to be in the doldrums
off the scale that Alice himself when his latest recording contract
no stranger to substance abuse and with MCA expired. But you cant
only recently free from freebas- keep a good man down for long,
ing was overheard expressing and the following year Alice
his fear that he wouldnt be sur- having signed to Epic was back
prised if one or more of the Gun- with a new album Trash, which
ners finished the tour in a coffin. spawned the US Top 10 hit single
An untimely death did indeed Poison. In 1990, whilst G N
R were recording the songs des-
bring the tour to an unscheduled
tined to appear on the Use Your
halt. But it was Alices father
Illusion double albums, some-
whod sadly passed away, which
one commented on how much
resulted in the remaining shows
Axl had sounded like Alice on
being cancelled. Steven took the The Garden. Rather than take
news almost as badly as Alice him- offence, Axl agreed with the com-
self, and vented his drink-fuelled parison and duly invited Alice,
frustrations by punching a street- who was conveniently staying in
lamp which saw him sidelined Los Angeles at the time, to record
for several weeks with a broken the song as a duet.
hand and resulted in Cinderellas Slash returned the favour by
Fred Coury being drafted in as a making a guest appearance on
temporary stand-in for the bands the title track of Alices 1991
immediate live commitments. album, Hey Stoopid. But whereas


Guns N Roses were big enough beat for a local band called Sun-
to withstand the recent Grunge jammer. His decision to devote
explosion, Alice was not so for- all his energies to the drums came
tunate, and the album failed to in 1980 upon witnessing Kenny
make any significant impact on Jones in action with The Who
the charts. at the CNE Stadium in Toronto.
Within five short years Coury
would return to the CNE with his
Coury, Fred band Cinderella.

Fred Coury, who is perhaps best

known as the drummer for glam
Cult, The
metal band Cinderella, served as a
temporary stand-in for Steven Adler The Cult is a British rock band
for four Guns N Roses shows at fronted by Jim Morrison acolyte
the Perkins Palace in Pasadena, Ian Astbury, whose most success-
California in December, 1987. ful period came during the mid-
Coury, who was born on 20 80s and early-90s.
October, 1966, in Johnson City, The Brixton-based rockers had
New York, was only 5 years-old originally started out in 1981 as
when he first began expressing Southern Death Cult, taking their
himself musically. And although name from a 15th century tribe of
it was the drums which would American Indians from the Mis-
prove to be his forte, it was the sissippi Delta, and made their live
violin which first caught his eye. debut in Bradford, West York-
Following two years studying at shire, on 29 October that same
the Beirut Conservatory of Music year. The band remained together
during which time he gave his for some 16 months, yet released
first public performance the 12- one solitary single: the double
year-old musical prodigy decided A-sided Moya, although a com-
to try his hand on drums and pilation album of sorts, which
within the year was providing the consisted of the two tracks from
the single, radio sessions and live
recordings, was posthumously
released on the indie label Beg-
gars Banquet.
In April, 1983, following the
arrival of Manchester-born gui-
tarist and his future long-time
collaborator, Billy Duffy Ast-
bury truncated the bands name
to Death Cult. They released the
single Gods Zoo that October

Guns N Roses

before embarking on a short UK when he caught one of the bands

tour which was followed by one of now legendary Marquee shows
Europe. In January, 1984, keen to and later confessed to Slash that
gain broader appeal and also anx- he knew they were going to be
ious to distance themselves from huge in the near future. And so,
the burgeoning UK Goth scene shortly after the release of Appe-
spearheaded by the Sisters of tite For Destruction, the Gunners
Mercy, Astbury and co. truncated headed out on a six-week tour of
their name further still to simply North American in support of The
The Cult, and in April that same Cult, who were promoting their
year released their debut single third long-player, Electric. And
Spiritwalker, which reached #1 Astbury who would reportedly
on the UK Indie chart. It was the spend more time in the Gunners
bands fourth single, She Sells dressing room during the tour
Sanctuary, released in March, than he did his own proved such
1985, which served to propel an ardent admirer of Guns N
The Cult into the major league. Roses that it eliminated the usual
Not only did it crack the UK Top headliner grabbing the glory
20, but also spent a very respect- bullshit scenario, where the main
able forty-one weeks on the chart, acts road crew would purposely
while the parent album Love went sabotage the opening acts sound
on to sell over 2.5 million copies to give their own performance
worldwide. far greater impact. The on-tour
Astburys introduction to Guns camaraderie saw long-standing
N Roses came in June, 1987 friendships develop especially


between respective singers and freezing dawn, and may well have
bassists. Indeed, Duffs friend- caught a chill had it not been for
ship with his Cult counterpart, his piss-soaked leather pants serv-
Stephen Haggis Harris, led ing as an impromptu insulator.
to the latter standing in for him In 1991, maverick director
during a subsequent G N R sup- Oliver Stone offered Ian Astbury
port tour with Iron Maiden. And the role of Jim Morrison in his
although much has been made of planned biopic, The Doors. Ast-
the parallels between Ian Astbury bury, however, who would later
and his hero Jim Morrison, it was front the reconstituted 21st Cen-
Axl who would emulate the self- tury Doors, turned the offer down,
styled Lizard King during a show having apparently disapproved
in Atlanta, when he was arrested of the way Morrison would be
on stage mid-set by local police portrayed in the movie. The role
for an earlier incident when the eventually went to Val Kilmer.
highly-volatile frontman attacked
a security guard prior to Guns
N Roses taking the stage. The
Crew, Todd
incident no doubt provided Axl
with plenty of kudos on the tour
bus, but left his bewildered band- Todd Crew was the bassist with
mates to carry out an impromptu L.A. rock band Jetboy, as well as
improvisation whereby Slash an occasional roadie for his G N
and Steven played fifteen and ten R drug buddies.
minute solos respectively; and Although Jetboy went on to
provided one of the roadies with enjoy a modicum of chart success
his Warholian fifteen minutes of with their 1988 debut album Feel
fame upon being deputised as The Shake, which featured three
Axls stand-in. songs that subsequently appeared
By Slashs own admission, he on the soundtrack to The Burbs
and Duff were the major instiga- starring Tom Hanks, back in 1987,
tors of chaos and mayhem on the they like every other L.A. wan-
tour. One night during the Cana- nabe band were left to wallow
dian leg, after yet another bout of in G N Rs sizable wake. Todds
drink and debauchery, the guitar- friendship with the Gunners,
ist, unable to find his way back especially Slash, however, meant
to his own hotel, not only passed that his own band could always
out on a sofa in the reception of count on an occasional support
the hotel where The Cult were slot, as well as being on hand to
staying, but humiliated himself provide high jinx and light relief
further still by wetting himself in whilst out on the road. Although
his sleep. As none of the hotels happy to play the fool, Todd was
staff appeared willing to assist well schooled, and as he was still
him, Slash staggered out into the in possession of the two round

Guns N Roses

trip tickets to Paris hed received Although it was only seven a.m.,
as a gift from his proud parents the bassist was well the worse for
upon graduating from college, he wear. Slash had several impor-
and fellow G N R associate Del tant meetings scheduled for the
James, used them to make the trip day ahead, but there was no way
to London to watch the Gunners he was going to leave his friend
three Marquee shows. alone at such a time and took him
Later that same year, whilst to each and every meeting. Trying
Slash was in New York oversee- to lead a dead weight around the
ing the art layout for Appetite busy streets of Manhattan was no
For Destruction, the guitarist mean feat, but somehow Slash
was roused from his slumber at managed to get Todd to his first
the Milford Plaza on 8th Avenue, appointment which happened to
where he was holed up with be at Geffens New York offices
porn star Lois Ayres, to discover where the bassist duly crashed
Todd was in the Big Apple, and out in reception.
apparently in need of a shoul- By mid-afternoon, Todd was
der to cry on. For not only had thankfully beginning to show
he been sacked from Jetboy and signs of life, and Slash with his
had all his equipment confiscated professional duties at an end
in the process, he had also split decided an afternoon spent chug-
up from his long-time girlfriend. ging a few beers in Central Park


would do them both the world of any lasting harm. During the
good. Just as they were about to course of the evening, however,
enter the park, however, they ran one of the new guys, who hap-
into three mutual muso acquaint- pened to be in possession of
ances from L.A., who were on something a little stronger, sur-
their way to Alphabet City to reptitiously slipped some of his
score heroin and invited Slash stash to the hapless Todd.
and Todd to join them. Todd, Slash only realised something
although relatively inexperienced was wrong when Todd collapsed.
in chasing the dragon, was all in But instead of helping, the others
favour of getting high to banish his fled the room and disappeared
worldly woes, whereas Slash had
just weaned himself off the drug
and was therefore in no particular
hurry to tread that dark path again
and instead suggested going for a
drink in a nearby bar. Although the
others reluctantly agreed, it wasnt
long before the conversation again
turned to smack. Once again Slash
tried to intervene, but having been
outvoted, decided to accompany
them down to the East Village if
only to keep an eye on Todd.
They managed to score from a
mutual acquaintance, and as the
heroin wasnt particularly potent,
Slash decided it was safe to par-
take in the illicit wares. After
spending a couple of hours holed
up in a dingy cinema on Times
Square, Slash decided it best to into the night leaving the guitar-
take Todd back to his hotel. Hed ist to do what he could. He man-
been hoping to put his friend to aged to drag Todd into the bath-
bed to sleep off his drunk, but no room and began frantically dous-
sooner had they stepped inside the ing his friend with cold water in
room when the three L.A. cronies an attempt to revive him. But,
showed up with more friends, although Todd briefly regained
more beer, and more drugs. Slash, consciousness, he slipped under
although pissed off at the unwar- again and died in Slashs arms.
ranted intrusion, wasnt overly He was just 21 years old.
concerned as the heroin was again Guns N Roses later dedicated
low grade, and nowhere near Live Era 8793 to Todds
strong enough to cause anyone memory.
Guns N Roses

claimed it would be the Gunners

original line-up taking to the
stage, or at least a line-up which
included Izzy and Matt Sorum
ensured that the 500 capacity
club was packed to the rafters.
Amongst those jostling for prime
vantage points was Rosarios
boyfriend, Sex And The City star
Jason Lewis, her Sin City co-star
Mickey Rourke, Kid Rock, who
had also made a guest appearance
at the Hammerstein Ballroom,
Dawson, Rosario Lenny Kravitz, Lindsay Lohan,
and 24s Eric Balfour.
The Plum show was supposed
The African-American actress to be a relaxed affair, but trouble
best known for her roles as Roxane seemed to follow Axl around like
in Oliver Stones epic Alexander a bad smell, and the singer had
(2004), and Gail in Frank Millers barely stepped through the doors
Sin City (2005). when he found himself embroiled
Youre probably wondering in an altercation with renowned
what possible connection Rosario fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.
Dawson could have with Guns N When asked for his version of
Roses except that her studded events on L.A. radio station
leather and fishnet Sin City char- KROQ the following day, Axl
acter Gail wouldnt have looked said hed been making his way to
out of place in one of the bands
videos. But it was at her 27th birth-
day bash on 18 May, 2006, (Rosa-
rios actual birthday fell on the 9th)
at a small two-storey club called
Plum, located at 124 Ludlow
Street on New Yorks Lower East
Side, that the Gunners performed
a secret acoustic show (acoustic
except for Robin Fincks semi-
acoustic Gibson guitar and Diz-
zys keyboards).
The unannounced show, which
came after G N Rs final concert
at the nearby Hammerstein Ball-
room, was supposed to be a secret,
but word of mouth which falsely

Guns N Roses

a private booth when Hilfiger took Dick, Nigel

objection to his having moved the
designers girlfriends drink so that
Nigel Dick is the English-born
it wouldnt get accidentally spilt
music video and film director who
as he passed. Hilfiger, however,
directed the Guns N Roses videos
painted a different picture and told
Welcome To the Jungle, Sweet
a New York Daily News reporter
Child O Mine, Paradise City
that the flare up occurred because
and Patience.
Axl was being rude and obnox-
Nigel Andrew Robertson Dick
ious towards him. Another reason
was born in Catterick, North
for the pairs antagonism is said to
Yorkshire on 21 March, 1953.
have been due to Axl having dated
Following a private education
Hilfigers brothers ex-wife, Diana
at the select Greshams School,
OConnor, whilst the group was Dick trained as an architect, and
staying in New York. before deciding to seek fame and
The band took up positions as fortune in the music business, the
best they could on the tiny stage, Old Greshamian tried his hand at
and as there was a giant movie several jobs, including working
screen-sized monitor behind them as an architectural draughtsman,
which displayed the lyrics to each cab driver, motorcycle messenger,
song in turn, Axl jokingly intro- waiter, and even served a short
duced the show as the Karaoke spell at the East Anglian Water
version of Guns N Roses. The Authoritys Sewage Division.
show lasted for over an hour, and His first step on the music ladder
the ecstatic crowd whooped and came in 1978 with Stiff Records, the
hollered en masse as Axl returned independent label founded by Dave
to the stage. This, however, would Robinson which was responsible
be no ordinary encore, for after for kick-starting the English punk
sheepishly admitting to have for- scene by signing The Damned,
gotten to do something because and releasing their debut single
he was a fuckin idiot he called New Rose (which Guns N Roses
Rosario up onto the stage and led
the audience in a raucous rendi-
tion of Happy Birthday to You.
Having Guns N Roses provide the
entertainment at her birthday party
wasnt Rosarios only link with the
band, however. For three years earlier,
she starred in the Peter Berg directed,
2003 movie, The Rundown, which,
when it was released in the UK and
Australia, was renamed Welcome To
The Jungle.


would later cover). Dick remained Donington

at Stiff for five years before leaving
in 1983 to begin a three-year stint
as a video director at Phonogram Donington Park, located near
Records, where, amongst others, the Leicestershire village of Don-
he directed the Band Aid video for ington Castle, has become syn-
Do They Know Its Christmas, onymous with the British heavy
which featured the then crme de metal music scene for having
la crme of the British pop charts played host to both the Monsters
including Boy George, George of Rock and Download festivals.
Michael, Duran Duran, Sting and On Saturday, 20 August, 1988,
David Bowie. Guns N Roses made their first
In 1986, the same year he co- appearance at the legendary Mon-
founded Propaganda Films, which sters of Rock festival. Despite
went on to become the hottest Appetite For Destruction and
commercial and video production Sweet Child O Mine both sitting
company in town (he later sold pretty at #1 on the US Billboard
his share of the company to his charts, which effectively made
one-time bosses at Phonogram), them the biggest rock band in the
Dick headed for the bright lights world, the Gunners were placed a
of Hollywood to direct his first lowly and somewhat insulting
full-length feature film P. I. Pri- fifth on the bill behind festival
vate Investigations, released the headliners Iron Maiden, Kiss,
following year and starring Ray David Lee Roth and Megadeth,
Sharkey and Martin Balsam. The with only event-openers Hellow-
film turned a tidy profit upon its een going on before them.
sale to MGM and has since gone Donington first came to promi-
on to achieve late-night cult status. nence in the 1930s when it began
Since then Dick has written eight staging motorcycle races as well
screenplays, directed more than as the British Grand Prix in 1937
a score of films and documenta- and 1938. The circuit was closed
ries, and over three hundred music for the duration of WWII and
videos for artists including Guns didnt resume staging races of
N Roses, ex-Beatle Paul McCa- any kind until 1977. The inaugu-
rtney, Oasis, Elton John, Ozzy ral Monsters of Rock festival had
Osbourne, Ricky Martin, Gloria been staged back in 1980, and by
Estafan, Il Divo and Britney 1988 it had become the largest,
Spears. Dicks talents as a film and therefore the most prestig-
and video director has earned him ious, outdoor event in the British
three MTV awards, two Billboard rock calendar.
Awards and three MVPA awards, Even without Guns N Roses,
a BRIT Award, and in 2000, the promoter Maurice Jones was
MVPA awarded him a Lifetime expecting a crowd in excess of
Achievement Award. 90,000, which would not only

Guns N Roses

smash the existing record of in true keeping with the inclement

66,500 from four years earlier, British weather, the ever-dark-
when Aussie rockers AC/DC had ening skies opened up the exact
headlined the event, but also guar- moment Helloween took to the
anteed a bumper payout for all stage. The sheeting rain contin-
concerned. The official attendance ued unabated throughout the Ger-
that day of 97,559 was indeed a manic rockers thirty-minute set,
festival record (outside sources while the accompanying gales
have put the number at nearer were severe enough to tear one
110,000), and many believe this of the giant 50 foot side-stage
was due to the Gunners elev- video screens from its moorings,
enth-hour inclusion. The fact that providing a chilling portent of the
35,000 extra tickets were sold tragedy waiting to unfold.
on the day of the festival itself By the time Guns N Roses went
is further evidence that Guns N on stage at 2pm, with Axl sport-
Roses popularity had increased ing a custom-made white leather
a hundred fold in the ten months G N R tour motorcycle jacket
since their last visit to Englands and matching cowboy boots, the
shores. attendance was probably only
The Gunners, having taken time around 50,000 strong, largely due
out from supporting Aerosmith on to the Maiden Faithful purposely
the latter bands Permanent Vaca- choosing to remain in the beer
tion US summer tour, merrily tents and ignore the young pre-
availed themselves of the in-flight tenders who were intent on appro-
privileges afforded to Concordes priating their home-grown heroes
Business Class passengers, before throne. By this time, the rain had
then boarding a connecting albeit temporarily subsided,
domestic flight from Heathrow up but several hours of near-incessant
to the East Midlands. With Axls downpours had transformed the
voice once again in fine mettle sloping field into a mud-bath. The
following time out to rid his vocal Gunners opener Its So Easy,
chords of the painful nodules was greeted with stilted applause,
which had forced the band to pull but the second and third numbers,
out midway through a tour sup- Mr Brownstone, and the slower-
porting headliners Iron Maiden tempo version of Youre Crazy,
earlier in the year, all five mem- were enough to crank up the atmos-
bers particularly Slash, whod phere several notches. Indeed, it
been born and raised in the British was during the latter song that the
Midlands were looking forward first indication of the catastrophe
to performing again in the UK. which lay in waiting first reared its
Indeed, the only dark cloud ugly head, when a disturbance in
threatening to spoil the party was the thronged crowd forced the band
of the meteorological variety, and to an unscheduled halt.


Confusion reigned whilst the airing. Next up was Sweet Child

venues hapless security staff O Mine, which understandably
attempted to restore order. And received the biggest cheer of the
after what seemed like an age, day so far. And Axl returned the
normal service was resumed when crowds gusto by thanking them
Slash began stroking the infec- for making it their first UK hit. As
tious opening riff to Paradise soon as the song ended the band
City. It wasnt long before the fled the stage, visibly relieved that
band was again forced to down the ordeal was over. There was no
tools, with Axl even going so far encore.
as to remonstrate with the tightly- Although there was no way of
massed ranks at the rear who determining just when the tragedy
were inadvertently causing some occurred, it wasnt until after the
of their leather-clad brethren to be Gunners had left the stage that
crushed up against the unyielding they learned two fans 20-year-
security barriers, mounted at the old Landon Siggers, and 18-year-
front of the stage. His heartfelt old Alan Dick had been tram-
plea, however, fell on deaf ears, pled to death in the crush. Siggers
and like the Danish King, Canute, had been so badly disfigured that
he failed to stem the tide. he was only identifiable from his
With the situation seemingly tiger and scorpion tattoos. Axl
under control again, the band later told reporters that he him-
launched into a shaky and some- self had seen the tragedy unfold:
what subdued version of Wel- I saw it go down, right from the
come To The Jungle. But with the stage. I saw these two faces go up,
slate-grey sky growing darker by and then go down. They came up
the minute the group attempted to again, and went back down, and
calm things down further still with then didnt come up again. Little
the aptly-named Patience, which could he have known as he left the
was receiving its first UK public stage that his parting shot of Have

Guns N Roses

a good fucking day and dont kill The subsequent coroners inquest
yourselves, would come back to sided with the polices findings
haunt him. and recorded an open verdict, con-
It is impossible to determine cluding that nothing more could
whether the two kids Axl saw were have been done by the organisers
indeed Dick and Siggers, simply to guarantee crowd safety.
due to the fact that their mangled No matter how much pre-plan-
bodies were rendered unidentifi- ning is put into such events, no
able. And if he did see what was one can predict how an audience
unfolding then why didnt he call especially one that is pumped up
an immediate halt to the show on alcohol, adrenaline and other
so that the St. Johns Ambulance substances will react when their
teams could be brought to the idols take to the stage. Blameless
fore? Slash also claimed to have the organisers may have been, but
witnessed the tradegy: It was Northwest Leicestershires district
real scary, he told one journalist council still insisted on placing a
from the backstage area immedi- restrictive 70,000 crowd capacity
ately following the performance. on future events. And it would be
It was kids piled on kids, piled two years before promoter Mau-
on kids, horizontal on the ground. rice Jones was granted another
They were unconscious, and more music license.
people kept falling on them. We
stopped the show a few times and
they finally pulled the last couple Dont Cry
of people out and I think they
were dead. I saw no life in those Alternate versions of the capti-
bodies at all. vating ballad Dont Cry appear
Regardless of the fact that West on each of the Use Your Illusion
Midlands Police Chief Super- albums. The song was also Guns
intendent, Dennis Clarke, went N Roses eighth single release.
on record to cite the crowds Dont Cry, which, along with
behaviour as otherwise superb November Rain and Estranged,
a statement backed up by the makes up Guns N Roses unoffi-
fact his officers made no arrests cial Illusions power ballad tril-
that day the following days ogy, was inspired in part by Del
Sunday tabloids went overboard James short story Without You.
with scurrilous, and woefully It was also the first song to be
inaccurate accusations. One of written by the band following the
which claimed the stage had col- name change from Hollywood
lapsed during Guns N Roses per- Rose to Guns N Roses.
formance, and that the band had Legend has it that Dont Cry
refused to stop playing even after was written about an unnamed girl
being informed of the fatalities. Izzy dated shortly after his arrival


in Los Angeles. Axl had subse- efforts. Although it was the first
quently succumbed to the girls of the so-called unofficial Illu-
charms, but the amorous vocalist sion trilogy to be released, there
was left heartbroken upon discov- is still much confusion amongst
ering his love was unrequited. Axl fans as to whether it is the first
had apparently been unable to con- or second segment of the trilogy.
tain himself and had broken down The general consensus, however,
in tears when the girl ended their is that Dont Cry is indeed the
brief dalliance outside The Roxy. first part, as it shows Axl and his
And it was her parting words of girl having relationship problems,
dont cry which inspired him which he subsequently laments
and Izzy to pen the heartfelt lyric in the second and third segments.
the following evening. The video shoot also proved to be
The original version of Dont an early indication as to the inter-
Cry appears on Use Your Illusion nal problems within the G N R
I, while the alternate take fea- camp, as Izzy failed to turn up for
tures on the sister album. There the filming, which features Slash
is also a third version of the song holding a hand-written card read-
which never made it beyond the ing: Wheres Izzy?
demo stage, having been recorded It is also interesting to note
during the Appetite For Destruc- Axls choice of headgear during
tion sessions in 1986. It was the the video. Firstly, a baseball cap
second single to be culled from bearing the Nirvana logo can be
the Illusion albums, and earned the seen by the side of his leg whilst
Gunners their fifth US Top 10 hit. he lies prostrate on the psychia-
The accompanying video which trists couch (the stunning psy-
centres upon Axl and his then chiatrist is played by his real-life
girlfriend, and future wife, Erin therapist Suzzy London), which
could have been a subliminal
Everly is widely regarded as one
dig at Kurt Cobains refusal to
of Guns N Roses best, possibly
accept Axls invitation for Nir-
due to it being far more cinematic
vana to appear on the second US
than any of the bands previous
leg of the Use Your Illusion tour.
Axl can also be seen wearing a
St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap
surely an equally-intentionally
veiled reference to the riot at the
citys Riverport Amphitheatre on
2 July, which the singer inadvert-
ently sparked following a fracas
with a member of the audience.

Guns N Roses

Axl poured his heart out to his

friend about the miserable state of
his stormy relationship with Erin.
Several months later, shortly after
Del had shown a rough draft of the
story to Axl, the singer called him
up again one night to tell him the
storyline fitted in with a song hed
been working on. Axl initially
intended to call the track Without
You, but by the time the Gun-
ners went into the studio to record
the Use Your Illusion albums, the
Estranged song had reverted back to its orig-
inal title, Estranged.
If it can be said that Del James
Estranged, which appears on short story has commemorated
Use Your Illusion II, and was also Axls doomed relationship with
released as a single in 1994, is the Erin Everly to print, then the
third and final segment of Guns lovelorn singers equally disas-
N Roses unofficial power- trous relationship with Stephanie
ballad trilogy. Seymour has been forever immor-
Of the three songs loosely based talised on film. We were first
on Del James short story With- introduced to the gorgeous Vic-
out You, it is Estranged which torias Secrets lingerie model in
encapsulates James tragic tale the promo video for Dont Cry,
of a drug-addled, fictional rock which was simply an extension
star called Mayne, who dreams to her off-camera role as Axls
of Elizabeth, a girl of breathtak- real-life girlfriend, and again as
ing beauty and innocent charm. the blushing (corpse) bride-to-be
The recurring dream, however, in the November Rain video.
always descends into a nightmare, By 1994, however, the couples
with the ethereal beauty commit- tumultuous relationship had
ting suicide by shooting herself come to an end, and so making
in the head whilst dancing to one the Estranged video, with its
of his songs. One only has to read underlying theme of isolation and
the story and James depiction abandonment, must have twisted
of Mayne with his long flowing Cupids arrow further into Axls
blond locks, tattoos, and scrag- tortured soul.
gly beard, to know the character The video, which had a reported
is based on Axl. Indeed, James budget of $4 million, opens with
has since admitted the inspira- a SWAT team complete with
tion for Without You came one surveillance helicopter assault
night in 1989, when a distraught on Axls ivory tower, where the

Guns N Roses

dent... well, Ive always said the

dude walks on water.
And there was no need to worry
about Axl after all. For the cavalry
arrives in the form of the SWAT
helicopter seen earlier, and all that
is lost to the oceans murky depths
is a sneaker bearing Axls name
on the heel to provide a sublimi-
nal hint to the pain and anguish he
was going through at the time.

singer is seen huddled atop a European Tour, 1987

wardrobe as the officers carry out
a torch-lit search of the seemingly In late September, 1987 Guns
otherwise empty abode. Between N Roses undertook their first
snatches of the Gunners perform- European tour, which included
ing the song on stage during the five UK dates.
Use Your Illusion tour, and Slash The original idea had been for
ripping through the solo on the a joint G N R/Aerosmith tour, but
sidewalk outside the Rainbow Bar when Aerosmith were forced to
& Grill, Axl can be found trawl- pull out at the eleventh hour, it was
ing the deck of a tanker far out L.A. glamsters, Faster Pussycat
to sea, no longer walking quite who got the call to pack a flight bag
so proud as once he did. Axl, and head down to LAX. The Euro-
sporting a Charlie Dont Surf pean tour which was Doug Gold-
T-Shirt, emblazoned with Charles steins first as G N R tour manager
Mansons murderous black-eyes, got underway on 29 September
at Hamburgs Markthalle, where
seems determined to end his
Axl engaged in a little audience
misery and throws himself over
participation by alternating verses
the side. Despite Gilbys and Diz-
on Knockin On Heavens Door
zys best efforts to save him, the
with the kids gathered at the front
singer slips silently beneath the of the stage. As the band had the
surface surrounded by circling luxury of a day off before head-
dolphins. While the viewer is left ing down to Dsseldorf for the
pondering the significance of the second and last German show, they
dolphins or indeed whether the decided to take in the seedy sights
clever cetacean creatures will of the citys notorious Reeperbahn.
save Axl Slash emerges from Although both bands were stay-
the shimmering depths, Poseidon- ing in the same hotel, their being
like and clasping his six-string tri- on tour together didnt necessarily


mean the five Gunners were will- Nebraska, whilst on tour promoting
ing to spend time with the guys the bands second album, Wake Me
from Faster Pussycat. The bands When Its Over, for naively trying
frontman, Taime Downe, and most to mail heroin to his hotel room.
of the Pussycat camp had picked Following a show at Amster-
up on the headliners stay away dams Paradiso on 2 October, the
vibe and sought their own enter- tour party made its way via cross-
tainment. So it came as something channel ferry to England where,
of a surprise when their drummer, despite largely excellent reviews
Mark Michals, announced he was not to mention the release of
going out for a night on the tiles Welcome To The Jungle as a
with Axl and co. promotional single Appetite For
Having availed themselves of Destruction was struggling in the
everything on offer along the Reep- lower reaches of the album chart.
erbahn, the five Gunners with The first of the five regional UK
Michals still in tow returned to dates was at Newcastles City Hall
their hotel where the Pussycats on 4 October, which, along with
drummer duly passed out on Duffs the show at Nottinghams Rock
bed. Slash was already lying pros- City the following night, was rap-
trate on his own bed, and so Izzy turously received. The overly-
sensing an opportunity for a little enthusiastic Nottingham fans were
fun before lights out launched so thrilled to have the Gunners
into a tirade against Michals for playing in their town they showed
having the audacity to crash on their appreciation by attempting
Duffs bed. And when Duffs to topple the tour bus. The tours
none-too-gentle bedside manner penultimate show, at Bristols Col-
failed to rouse Michals, it was ston Hall, was another resounding
Izzy who mischievously suggested success, and following on from this
stripping and binding the hapless they headed for London. The final
drummer and dumping him in the show was at the Hammersmith
elevator. Michals woke up just Odeon, which thanks to the likes
as the two were about to bundle of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden
him into the open elevator, but his had come to be regarded as the
pleas for help were quickly stifled Mecca of the British Metal scene.
with more gaffer tape and he was There were some metal purists
express-delivered down to recep- who believed Guns N Roses were
tion. The hotels staff didnt see the not yet ready to tread the Odeons
funny side in having their nocturnal illustrious stage, but such was the
tranquillity disturbed by a naked excitement surrounding the band
American, but reluctantly made the that the show was a paltry 200
necessary calls to reunite the drum- tickets shy of being a complete
mer with his band. Michals was sell-out, leading to both the band
thrown out of the group in 1989 and the music press hailing the tour
after being arrested in Omaha, an unqualified success. This, how-

Guns N Roses

ever, was not strictly true, as poor On one occasion Axl reportedly
ticket sales for the 2,000 capacity dragged a partially-dressed Erin
Manchester Apollo Theatre on 6 outside onto the street inflicting
October had forced the organisers several unsightly abrasions which
to cordon off the venues upstairs forced her to cancel a lucrative
balcony. lingerie shoot. While on another
occasion, Erins model friend
Taryn Portman was concerned
Everly, Erin enough to call the police out to the
couples apartment, only for Erin
to then protect Axl by pretending
Erin Invicta Everly is the daugh- the call had been a false alarm. And
ter of Don Everly, who, along- it seems Axls flare-ups were not
side brother Phil, was one half of confined to behind closed doors,
the successful early 1960s sing- because another of Erins friends,
ing pop duo The Everly Brothers, the independent TV producer Heidi
and actress and one time Miss Los Richman, told PEOPLE magazine
Angeles Press Club, Venetia Ste- that she witnessed Axl who was
venson. acting like a rabid dog beating
Erin, who was born on 8 Novem- Erin and dragging her by the hair
ber, 1965, and whose blue-sky eyes, at a mutual friends barbeque up in
and curly dark tresses provided the Hollywood Hills.
Axl with the inspiration for Guns As with countless other victims
N Roses biggest-selling single, of domestic violence, Erin was
Sweet Child O Mine, was work- living in denial and unable to leave
ing as a model for the Wilhelmina the person that was inflicting pain
Agency in New York when the on a daily basis; I always believed
pair met at a party in her native Los things would get better, she told
Angeles in 1986. Having fallen for one reporter. I thought I could
the then unknown Axls charms, make his [Axls] early childhood
she relocated back to California suffering all better. Perhaps the
and moved in with the errant singer song written in her honour should
shortly thereafter. have been renamed Nave Child
At the time, Guns N Roses was O Mine.
just another wannabe band barely On 27 April, 1990, by which time
making enough money to survive, Axl had moved out of their apart-
and so Erin continued modelling in ment and was living in a condo
order to pay the rent on their modest above Sunset Strip, the singer
West Hollywood apartment. As the arrived at Erins door unannounced
groups career took off, however, at 4am and told her that he had a
instead of assuaging Axls fiery gun stashed in the boot of his car
temper, the demands of being in and that he was going to shoot
a happening band only served to himself unless she agreed to marry
heighten the couples fighting. him. And so, the following day the


pair drove to Las Vegas and made his condo. But, despite assurances
their vows (one of which was that to the contrary, the domestic bliss
Axl wouldnt hit Erin ever again) proved short-lived as Axl who by
before God, and a low-rent min- this time was an extremely wealthy
ister, at the citys Cupid Wedding individual was refusing to give
Chapel. Less than a month after the his wife either cash or a front door
service, however, and with the ink key, and also forbade her to see
barely dry on marriage certificate her family and friends, whod all
C199803, it seemed Axls feel- repeatedly urged her to leave him
ings for Erin were on the wane, for good.
and friends on both sides were In September, 1990, it seemed
left shocked and stunned when everything in the garden would turn
he threatened to file for divorce. out rosy after all when Erin discov-
This was only one of several such ered she was pregnant. Axls ela-
threats. But there was little doubt tion quickly soured, however, and
the union was destined for the law he threw her out of his home and
courts when, two months later, also threatened to take the baby.
Axl beat Erin so badly that she Erin tragically suffered a miscar-
was hospitalised. It was while she riage in her third month, but at the
was recovering in hospital that Axl time when she needed her husband
attempted a reconciliation of sorts most, Axl refused to have any-
by moving Erins belongings into thing to do with her and she was

Guns N Roses

forced into selling her jeep in order Camp Freddy vocalist, and the fol-
to cover the medical expenses. It lowing year began dating the actor
was while Erin was recuperating David Arquette. Although Arquette
that Axl trashed his condo, caus- reportedly tried to get Erin to talk
ing an estimated $100,000 damage. publicly about her ordeal at Axls
The final straw for Erin came in hands, it wasnt until she was sub-
November 1990 when Axl flared poenaed by Stephanie Seymours
up over her having cleaned his CD lawyers in March, 1994 to testify
collection. I didnt think I could against Axl in the models own
survive mentally any longer, I was abuse case that she decided to file
dying inside. she told the same her multi-million dollar domes-
reporter. At the door, I stopped tic violence law suit against her
and turned around and told him I erstwhile husband. She even went
want you to take a good look at public with harrowing tales of Axls
me, because youre never going to mental and physical abuse towards
see me again, and he never has. her during their turbulent four-year
And although Axl initially refused relationship. This, of course, was
to comment on Erins accusations, long before the O.J. Simpson trial
he later claimed that if hed struck brought domestic violences hith-
Erin then he had done so in self erto unseen dirty washing out into
defence. (This is somewhat hard to the American public domain, and
believe if one stops to consider that, the two lawsuits were settled out of
at the time, the waiflike Erin was court with both women supposedly
56 to Axls 59 and weighed in receiving sizable settlements.
a substantial 41 lbs lighter.) Like Axl, Erin also endured a
The marriage was annulled two troubled childhood following her
months later in January, 1991. The parents separation in 1970 (the
annulment came at Axls behest couple eventually divorced two
since, under Californian law, any years later) when she and her sib-
marriage lasting less than two years lings were forced to give up their
can be annulled, which therefore upscale home in Studio City in
denied Erin any entitlement to a favour of a more modest rented
share of his sizeable fortune. That affair, as well as bid a fond farewell
said, however, Axl was not prepared to the privileges afforded to them
to move on, and constantly tried to at the exclusive Buckley private
renew contact with Erin by send- school following Don Everlys
ing letters, flowers and even caged refusal to pay child support. This
birds to her condo in the San Fern- must have been doubly difficult for
ando Valley. One day the phone Erin as she suffered from dyslexia
rang, and it was Axl, she told the and was regarded as something of
reporter. I moved the next day. a slow learner. She has since got
In 1992, Erin had a brief fling her life back on track by marrying
with Donovan Leitch, son of 60s Jack Portman, and in 1998 she gave
troubadour Donovan, and future birth to their son Easton.

Guns N Roses

tional, bands set list consisted of

short, sharp two-to-three minute
songs, which railed against all the
usual suspects of the day: govern-
mental and religious corruption,
racism, sexism, poverty et al, and,
in keeping with punks penchant
for silly names, singer Blaine
Cook rechristened himself Blaine
Fart, the bassist was Steve Fart,
while Duffs replacement on the
drum stool was fittingly known as
Loud Fart.
Fartz, The The band originally formed in
1981, and the release of their debut
vinyl offering, a 7 self-issued EP
The Fartz was a Seattle-based entitled Because This Fuckin
hardcore punk band which fea- World Stinks, helped establish
tured a pre-G N R Duff McKagan them as one of Seattles premiere
in its line-up. hardcore Punk bands.
In truth, The Fartz was just one The following year, the Fartz
of several punk bands which Duff released their debut album World
played with this time as the Full Of Hate on Dead Kennedys
drummer before making the frontman Jello Biafras Alternative
move from Seattle to Los Angeles. Tentacles label. The album sold
The outspoken, and oft confronta- moderately well in and around


the Pacific Northwest, even if it ways, leaving little more than a

was only to the bands small yet lingering smell in their wake.
devoted following although In 1998, however, and largely
having said that, one single due to Duffs association with
attracted enough overseas interest the band, Alternative Tentacles
to earn a place in the Top 10 in the issued a retrospective album enti-
NMEs alternative chart. Despite tled Because This Fuckin World
this moderate success, vocalist Still Stinks Compilation, while
Cook announced his departure, a second compilation album,
citing the time-honoured excuse Whats In A Name, appeared on
of irreconcilable musical dif- the same label in 2001.
ferences. Another reason could
have been that by 1982, punk
rock, both in the UK and New Fasano, Mike
York, had run to a fast and frenetic
conclusion, and wouldnt actually Mike The Sack Fasano is a
figure again in the US until 1991 renowned session drummer who
with the emergence of Nirvana, has at one time or another toured
and Sonic Youth, by which time and recorded with the likes of Eric
the Fartz had gone their separate Clapton, Warrant, Dads Porno

Guns N Roses

Mag, Roxie 77 and Gilby Clarkes have barely registered on the

post G N R solo projects. radar had it not been for its having
It was through his association briefly boasted Duff McKagan in
with Gilby Clarke that he guested the line-up.
on G N Rs cover-version of The Fastbacks formed way back
Nazareths Hair Of The Dog in 1979 when 18-year-old aspiring
which appeared on The Spaghetti songwriter/guitarist Kurt Bloch
Incident? In 1996, Fasano was teamed up with his old high school
also credited as a band tech on friends Lulu Gargiulo (guitar/
the liner notes to the Neurotic vocals), and aspiring Gaye Advert
Outsiders album. wannabe, bassist Kim Warnick.
And although these three would
remain a constant throughout the
bands existence, it is believed
Fastbacks, The that anywhere between twelve-
to-twenty different sticksmen
The Fastbacks was yet another including Duff occupied the
Seattle Punk band which, despite drum stool at one time or another;
enjoying a longevity lasting some the most famous apart from Duff
twenty-two years and taking them being Mudhoneys Dan Peters.
into the new millennium, would


and at 17,500 square feet was

Fenders Ballroom the largest banquet facility west
of Chicago. In 1985, its owner,
John Fender, announced plans
Fenders Ballroom was L.A.s to purchase the Lafayette, which
legendary punk venue where the had ceased operating as a hotel
pre-signed Guns N Roses played in 1967 to be converted into resi-
several chaotic shows in 1986. dential apartments, but fell foul
During the 80s, the now long- of Long Beachs Homeowners
defunct Fenders Ballroom in the Association over none payment
L.A. suburb of Long Beach, was of his monthly assessments on
what The Roxy was to London in the ballroom due to a long-stand-
1977, and CBGBs to New York ing dispute. In July the following
in the mid-to-late 70s. Indeed, year, a sports club, also owned by
any self-respecting punk or metal Fender, was closed down as part
band that came to, or spilled out of a city crackdown on the cocaine
of, Los Angeles was proud to strut rings operating in Long Beach.
their stuff on stage at the one- It was reported that undercover
storey converted car garage which officers had purchased cocaine
had once belonged to the adjoin- from five employees working at
ing five-storey Lafayette Hotel, the Players Sports Club on nearby
which in turn was subsequently Linden Avenue. Although Fender
renovated into luxury condos. narrowly avoided a custodial sen-
The International Ballroom as tence, and also survived a petition
it was previously known first filed by Lafayettes affluent put-
opened its doors at 521 East 1st upon residents, whod all long-
Street on Christmas Day, 1956, since tired of the excessive noise

Guns N Roses

and late-night drunken fights, the hours challenged the audience

writing was on the wall and the to remember the bands name,
ballroom closed its doors later which hed happily daubed on the
that same year. cramped dressing rooms graffiti-
Fenders concert promoter, and laden walls before taking to the
partner-in-crime, was one-time stage.
booking agent Ken Phebus, who, The group returned to Fenders
with his bandana, beard, and shades, eight days later on 29 March by
looked like an extra from Easy which time they had indeed put
Rider a look which Axl himself pen to paper with Geffen this
later adopted. The club may have time as special guests for Lords
been a shadow of its former glory Of The New Church, featuring
by the mid-80s, but the kids didnt another of their punk heroes, ex-
care about the shoddy dcor, nor Dead Boy, Stiv Bators. The Gun-
having the local police tease and ners would subsequently pay post-
torment them as they queued up humous homage to both Thunders
in the adjacent alley, as there was and Bators on The Spaghetti Inci-
2,500 square feet of dancefloor to dent? Indeed, it could be argued
leap about on. that said album was in homage
Guns N Roses made their debut to Fenders Ballroom as much
at Fenders on 21 March, 1986, as it was to punk rock, as six of
as special guests of one of their the twelve accredited bands fea-
idols, Johnny Thunders, the one- tured on the album performed at
time New York Doll whod hacked the venue at one time or another.
off his hair and traded in his lip L.A.s premiere punk band, Fear,
gloss and sling-backs to form the played there in 1985, as did both
unrelenting, and highly under- The Damned, and the UK Subs.
rated Heartbreakers to provide a In November, 1986, the Gunners
little Lower East Side swagger to took time out from recording their
the nascent UK punk scene. The debut album to play two shows
Gunners may have been top dogs at Fenders Ballroom. The first,
on the Strip and packing them in on 15 November, was as special
at the Troubadour, Roxy et al, and guests for a reconstituted Dead
were days away from signing to Boys, while the second came
Geffen, but they couldnt yet hope six days later opening for Cheap
to fill the spacious Long Beach Trick. The Illinois rockers 1979
venue on their own. The band record Live At Budokan had made
opened their set with Out Ta them a household name in Amer-
Get Me and as Slash picked out ica, but their latest studio album,
the intro to the next song, Wel- The Doctor, had recently stalled
come To The Jungle, a speed- at #115 on the Billboard 200. The
ing Axl who boasted of having show was a harmonious affair, but
been awake for the previous 48 in 1988, while the Gunners were


in Chicago on tour with Aero- invite came about owing to his

smith, Cheap Tricks Rick Nielson having already impressed during
sought to renew his acquaintance- his brief tenure with the band
ship with the Gunners by invit- when he stood in as an emer-
ing the band to his home, where gency substitute for Bryan Mantia
he foolishly challenged Slash a during their European summer
guy who was downing Jack Dan- tour of that same year.
iels as though it was sarsaparilla
to a drinking contest. Needless
to say, Slash proved the victor,
whereas Nielson proved a sore
Freddie Mercury Tribute
loser, and drunkenly assaulted the Concert 1992
band. The fight was brought to a
swift conclusion when Izzy felled The Freddie Mercury Tribute
the aging rocker with a swift kick Concert for AIDS Awareness was
to the balls. staged at Wembley Stadium on
Easter Monday, 20 April, 1992.
Following the flamboyant Queen
Ferrer, Frank frontmans untimely death from
AIDS on 24 November, 1991, the
Frank Ferrer, the highly three remaining band members,
respected session musician, occa- Brian May, Roger Taylor and
sional Psychedelic Furs and one- John Deacon along with their
time Love Split Love drummer, manager Jim Breach decided to
became an official member of the organise an open-air concert, not
ever-expanding Guns N Roses only as a means of celebrating
fraternity in October, 2006. The Freddies life and legacy, but also
to raise funds for AIDS research.
The first the world at large heard
about the event came in February,
1992 at the annual BRIT Awards
(British Record Industry Trust)
ceremony, where May and Taylor
announced plans for the Wem-
bley extravaganza. And somewhat
unbelievably, although none of the
acts that subsequently performed
at the show had been finalised by
the time the tickets went on sale
the following month, all 72,000
sold out in just two hours.
The first half of the show was
reserved for bands which openly

Guns N Roses

admitted to having been influ- sion tour, which would see them
enced by Queen, and first on stage perform to some seven million
was Metallica, who blasted their people worldwide, they walked
way through three tracks from out on stage slotted between
their new eponymously titled the side-splitting spoof rockers
album: Enter Sandman; Sad Spinal Tap, and Elizabeth Tay-
But True and Nothing Else Mat- lors impassioned AIDS preven-
ters. Next up came Extreme, who tion speech to an estimated tel-
treated the crowd to a Queen evised audience in excess of one
medley and two of their own billion and boy did they seize
songs, Love Of My Life and their the moment. With Axl sporting a
recent Billboard #1 hit single, and Union Jack emblazoned motorcy-
housewives favourite More Than cle jacket and a T-shirt bearing an
Words. Sheffields favourite sons, image of Jesus Christ above the
Def Leppard performed the hits slogan Kill Your Idols, the Gun-
Animal, and Lets Get Rocked, ners blasted into Paradise City,
before inviting Brian May onto which sent the already jubilant
the stage to perform Now Im Wembley audience into rapture.
Here from Queens Sheer Heart This was followed with the intro
Attack album. to Alice Coopers 1975 US hit
Although Guns N Roses had Only Women Bleed, which then
performed their own sell-out show segued into an extended version
beneath Wembleys twin towers of Knockin On Heavens Door,
less than eight months earlier, which, owing to time restraints
and were also currently engaged (possibly caused by Spinal Taps
in their mammoth Use Your Illu- set delays) resulted in the audi-


ence being denied the pleasure of Fortus, Richard

Sweet Child O Mine.
The second half of the show
Richard Fortus is a renowned
featured May, Taylor and Deacon
session guitarist who replaced
(who has only performed on stage
Paul Tobias in Guns N Roses in
once since that day) performing
hits from Queens extensive back
G N Rs incumbent rhythm gui-
catalogue with guest singers such
tarist was born on 17 November,
as aging rockers Roger Daltry,
1966, in St. Louise, Missouri. He
David Bowie and Robert Plant, as
first rose to prominence in the
well as contemporary solo artists
Midwest with his band The Eyes,
such as George Michael, Annie
which released the independent
Lennox, Paul Young and Seal.
album, Freedom In A Cage. It was
The occasion provided Axl with
the bands live shows, however,
the opportunity to fulfil a long-
that proved the more popular as
cherished ambition in performing their high-voltage set combined
a duet with his idol Elton John. original compositions along with
Their stunning rendition of Bohe- Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bau-
mian Rhapsody proved to be one haus covers. In keeping with their
of the shows highlights, and an dark image, the group first under-
ecstatic Axl also performed We went a name change to Pale Divine,
Will Rock You with Queens sur- and in order to promote their 1991
viving members. Slash got in on album, Straight To Goodbye, went
the action too by teaming up with out on tour in the US supporting
Def Leppard frontman, Joe Elliott, British 80s sax-punksters, Psych-
for a seat-shaking version of Tie edelic Furs, who were due to split
Your Mother Down, before he, immediately after the tour. The
Axl and Duff joined Liza Minnelli Furs were perhaps best known for
and the rest of the shows stellar their 1981 hit, Pretty In Pink,
cast for a rip-roaring encore of which subsequently appeared in
We Are The Champions to send the John Hughes 1986 movie of
Freddie off into the hereafter. the same name and starring Harry
For reasons which have never Dean Stanton, James Spader, and
been fully explained, when the Molly Ringwald, as well as being
concert was released on DVD adopted by Cingular Wireless for a
in April, 2002, to mark the 10th TV ad campaign for the Motorola
anniversary of the Mercury Phoe- Pink Razr mobile phone.
nix Trust, the entire first half of Fortus called time on Pale Divine
the show which included Guns to team up with Furs frontman
N Roses two-song set wasnt Richard Butler as well as future
included. G N R drummer Frank Ferrer
on what was initially intended
to be the latters debut solo album.

Guns N Roses

As the songs took shape, however, brother, and ex-Psychedelic Furs

Butler opted to expand the solo bassist Tim, was released on
project into a new band, Love Spit Imago Records in August, 1994.
Love (the name came from a 1991 The following year, Love Split
performance art exhibition in New Love were called upon to record
York which featured three naked a version of The Smiths How
couples of varying sexual orien- Soon Is Now for the soundtrack
tation openly engaged in sexual to the 1996 movie, The Craft star-
acts). The bands debut, self-titled ring Neve Campbell and Skeet
album, which features Butlers Ulrich, which was also released as


a single. Warner Bros. would also Death, Devo, and A Perfect Circle.
subsequently utilize the track for It is perhaps not surprising, given
its new TV series Charmed. The his father was the conductor in the
bands second album Trysome Disneyland Band and his mother
Eatone was released on Madon- was a classically-trained pian-
nas Maverick label in August, ist, that young Josh developed an
1997. After touring in support of interest in music. He first began
the record, Love Split Love went playing drums when he was eight-
into indefinite hiatus, and when years-old, and by the time he was
the Butler brothers decided to res- 12 he was following his fathers
urrect the Psychedelic Furs, both footsteps by playing profession-
Fortus and Ferrer went with them ally in Polo, a Top 40 Disneyland
as second guitarist and drummer band. By the age of 15, however,
respectively, and appeared on he had bid a fond farewell to
the bands live album Beautiful Mickey, Donald and Goofy et al,
Chaos: Greatest Hits Live. and began touring and recording
In 2002, after a stint with Nena with The Vandals. He has been the
of 99 Red Balloons fame, Fortus permanent drummer with electro-
replaced Paul Tobias in Guns N punk outfit Devo since 1995.
Roses, and his flamboyant style, His leap to centre stage came
as well as a talent for both rhythm in 1997 when he replaced Matt
and lead guitar, moved Axl to pay Sorum in Guns N Roses, sign-
him the ultimate compliment by ing a two-year contract with the
saying Richard is the guy that
band. He features on the record-
we [Guns N Roses] were always
ing of Oh My God for the End
looking for.
Of Days movie soundtrack, as
well as various bits and pieces
including a supposed co-wrote for
Freese, Josh the Chinese Democracy albums
title track before departing in
Josh Freese is a highly-respected 2000 to launch A Perfect Circle.
session drummer, percussionist, That same year, he released a solo
and songwriter who replaced Matt album, The Notorious One Man
Sorum as G N Rs resident drum- Orgy on Kung Fu Records, which
mer in 1997. includes several tracks from his
Although Freese was born in 1998 six-song EP, Destroy The
Orlando, Florida on 25 Decem- Earth As Soon As Possible, which
ber, 1972, he has lived in South- he released under the somewhat
ern California since he was 6 bizarre pseudonym Princess.
months old. Aside from occupy- Freese has also worked with the
ing the Gunners drum stool for likes of The Offspring, appearing
five years, he is also a permanent on the Californian punksters 2003
member of The Vandals, Viva album Splinter, and was a member

Guns N Roses

of Stings touring band for the ex- Jerome Dillon for the bands With
Police frontmans 2005 Broken Teeth tour, and also laid down the
Music Tour, which also included drum tracks for two songs on the
an appearance at the Live 8 con- bands Year Zero album. He con-
cert an experience which Josh tinued to tour with NIN through-
later cited as the greatest show of out 2006 and early 2007, but took
my life. time out to contribute drum tracks
Towards the end of 2005, he for Lost Prophets third album,
stepped in as a temporary replace- Liberation Transmission.
ment for Nine Inch Nails drummer,

rather than lose his job, Geffen

forged a letter and brazenly handed
it in to his bosses. Having risen
to the position of agent, Geffen
left WMA to set himself up as a
personal manager and achieved
immediate success with composer
and lyricist, Laura Nyro, and folk
rockers Crosby, Stills and Nash.
It was while he was trying to
procure a record deal for the bud-
ding singer/songwriter Jackson
Browne, however, that Atlantic
Geffen, David Records executive Ahmet Ertegn
suggested he should perhaps start
up his own record label.
David Lawrence Geffen, the In 1970, Geffen did as Ertegn
founder of both Asylum Records suggested and founded Asylum
and Geffen Records, is also a suc- Records, and after signing
cessful movie and theatrical pro- Browne to his fledgling label he
ducer. also procured the services of Cali-
David Geffen was born into fornian soft rockers The Eagles,
a respectable Jewish family in Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt,
Brooklyn, New York, on 21 Feb- and Bob Dylan. Asylums not
ruary, 1943. After graduating to mention Geffens reputation
from New Utrecht High School, quickly grew, and in 1972 Warner
he enrolled at the University of Communications acquired the
Texas in Austin, but dropped out
again soon after, and having no
desire to follow his older brother
Mitchell into law, set his sights
on a career in the entertainment
industry. Although his first job
was as a lowly clerk in the Wil-
liam Morris Agency mailroom, it
was the first rung on the ladder to
success. Incidentally, one of his
co-workers in the mailroom was
Elliot Roberts who would later
become his business partner.
One of the WMAs pre-requi-
sites, however, was that all its
employees provided proof of
having graduated college, and so

Guns N Roses

label and duly merged it with Ele-

ktra Records. Geffen was placed
in charge of the newly-formed
Elektra/Asylum Records but
resigned as director three years
later after having been told by his
doctors speciously as it turned
out that he had a malignant can-
cerous cyst. Despite living under
the storm cloud of a life-threat-
ening illness, Geffen continued
working as Vice-Chairman of
Warner Brothers film studios, as ate return to the music business
well as teaching business studies by striking a ten-year deal with
at Yale University, before retiring Warner Bros. Records, to create
in 1980. Upon discovering that the Geffen Records. The deal saw
earlier diagnosis was indeed erro- Warner providing 100% of the
neous, Geffen decided to return to required operational funding, and
work in the music industry and set overseeing total distribution of
up Geffen Records. product, while Geffen retained
Today David Geffen is believed 50% of the profits from sales.
to be the richest person within the The first artist to sign to Gef-
entertainment industry, with an fens label was disco diva Donna
estimated personal fortune of $4.7 Summer, with the resultant album
billion. The Wanderer achieving gold
status. Geffen followed on from
that success with the release of
John Lennons Double Fantasy,
Geffen Records which was the former Beatles first
album to contain all-new material
Geffen Records, which signed in several years. That alone would
Guns N Roses back in March, surely have provided Geffen with
1986, is owned by the Universal a hit record and a healthy profit
Music Group, and operates as margin, but this was chillingly
one third of UMGs Interscope- ensured when two days following
Geffen-A&M label. the albums release, a no-mark
Geffen Records was founded in called Mark Chapman callously
1980 by former Asylum Records gunned Lennon down outside his
head honcho David Geffen, who New York City apartment block.
had only stepped down as Asy- Geffen went from strength-to-
lums CEO after being diagnosed strength during the 1980s and
with cancer. Upon being told the procured music heavyweights
life-threatening cyst was, in fact, such as Elton John, Cher, Peter
benign, he sought an immedi- Gabriel, Joni Mitchell and Neil


Crazy Horse Young. It was

Geffens passion for rock music
coupled with an iron-clad guar-
antee that the band could operate
under its own steam without cor-
porate interference that resulted
in the label winning the battle for
Guns N Roses signatures. When
the time came for the Gunners to
put pen to paper, David Geffen
made a point of being present at
the meeting, but failed to recog-
nise the bands top-hatted, droopy-
eyed, Jack-slugging guitarist as
the polite fresh-faced youngster
who had regularly accompanied
his father Tony Hudson to these for five years. Following the sale,
very offices a decade or so ear- Geffen began operating as one of
lier. Indeed, the startling revela- Universals leading independently
tion only came when Geffen ran managed labels. When David
into Slashs mother, Ola whom Geffen finally stepped down in
he knew both socially and profes- 1995, he formed a business part-
sionally and innocently enquired nership with Jeffrey Katzenberg,
after her eldest boy. and Steven Spielberg to form
Acquiring the Gunners, David DreamWorks SKG which today is
Coverdales Whitesnake, and the a multi-billion multimedia empire
recently-rehabilitated Aerosmith, dealing in movies, TV, books
led to Geffen creating the sub- and music, with Geffen Records
sidiary label DGC (David Geffen acting as sole distributor for all
Company), which solely focused releases on the subsidiary Dream-
on alternative rock and became Works Records label.
home to Beck, Sonic Youth, Hole, Universal Music Groups acqui-
Counting Crows, Teenage Fan- sition of PolyGram in 1998 saw
club and the undisputed Kings of a corporate reorganisation which
Grunge, Nirvana. resulted in Geffen Records along
In 1990, with the expiration with another acquisition, A&M
of its agreement with Warner, Records being subsequently
David Geffen sold the label to merged into Interscope Records.
MCA Music Entertainment (later And although Geffen continued
renamed Universal Music Group) to exist as its own imprint, it was
for a reported $1 billion in cash dramatically reduced in both size
and stock, and an agreement and stature and DGC ceased all
whereby he would remain its head operations entirely.

Guns N Roses

By 2000, despite having been Ten Minute Warning with Duff

neutered by its corporate UMG McKagan, and accompanied the
master, Geffen continued to prove future Guns N Roses bassist to
itself a shrewd operator within Los Angeles in 1985. He is also
the music business. So much so the co-founder of the First World
in fact that by 2003, UMG had Music record label.
incorporated MCA Records into Greg was born in France on 3
Geffen, and although Geffen had January, 1962, but relocated to the
always been regarded within the US with his family while still a
industry as a pop-rock label, its toddler and grew up in the Seat-
assimilation of MCA provided tle area. Like most aspiring Seat-
it with a more diverse roster. It tle musicians in the late 70s and
was around this time that Dream- early 80s, Greg was enamoured
Works Records folded and was with punk rock, and played in sev-
also absorbed by Geffen. Geffens eral low-rent bands before taking
incorporation of MCA and Dream- the drum stool with psychedelic
Works has boosted its status and punksters, Ten Minute Warning.
seen it gain an equal footing with When his buddy Duff announced
Interscope, which has led to many he was striking out to make a
industry insiders predicting that it name for himself in Los Angeles,
may one day become a dominant Greg decided to tag along. The
force again. pair rented a cockroach infested
apartment in West Hollywood so
they could be close to the action
and began trawling the musicians
Gilmore, Greg wanted section in Music Connec-
tion, and also attended auditions.
Greg Gilmore is the Seattle- When Duff became temporarily
based drummer who played in involved with Road Crew, Greg


accompanied him to several audi- songs. Once the project was com-
tions, but would have quickly pleted, however, Cornell returned
realised that Slash and Steven to Soundgarden, and while Greg
came as a team. He was also on was yet again left to twiddle his
hand when Duff subsequently got sticks, Gossard and Ament went
involved with Axl and Izzy and on to enjoy worldwide fame with
one has to wonder why he didnt Eddie Veders Pearl Jam.
step up to the plate to replace Rob In the early 90s, Greg again
Gardner in the fledgling G N R teamed up with Jack Endino,
line-up. who, when he wasnt performing
With Duff firmly ensconced in or releasing his own solo efforts,
Guns N Roses, there was little to was a much sought-after engineer
keep Greg in the City of Angels and producer who had produced
and the drummer began pining Nirvanas Subpop debut, Bleach.
for the Pacific Northwest. He And although Greg continues to
returned to Seattle where he flit- collaborate with a wide variety
ted from band to band including of artists, including Steve Fisk,
a two-gig stint in Jack Endinos Doghead and Radio Chongqing,
Skin Yard before eventually he will surely always be known
teaming up with ex Malfunkshun as the drummer who could have
vocalist Andrew Wood, guitarists been.
Bruce Fairweather and Stone Gos-
sard and bassist Jeff Ament (who
had all played together in Green
River) in the critically acclaimed
Glover, Martin
yet tragically short-lived sem-
inal grunge outfit Mother Love Martin Youth Glover is a South
Bone. The bands promising African-born producer drafted in
career was cut short when Wood to work on Chinese Democracy.
who had a history of drug prob- Glover first came to prominence
lems succumbed to heroin in as bassist in the British post-punk
1990 just days before the release band Killing Joke who enjoyed a
of the bands debut album Apple. modicum of success in the late-
Woods roommate, and Sound- 70s and early-80s with hits such
garden frontman, Chris Cornell, as Wardance, Requiem, and
approached Gilmore and the Follow My Leaders. Following
others to see if theyd be willing to his departure from Killing Joke,
record two songs with him, writ- he set up the independent label
ten in tribute to Woods. The two- Butterfly Records which has pro-
song project evolved into an entire duced hits for the likes of Paul
album and was released under the McCartney, Tom Jones, and Maria
name Temple Of The Dog, which McKee, while his work as co-
theyd lifted from one of Woods producer on The Verves Urban

Guns N Roses

Hymns earned him a Producer of as help keep Guns N Roses in the

the Year Award in 1998. public eye while the band got on
with writing and recording songs
for the highly-important follow-
GNR Lies up album.
As well as the four songs fea-
tured on the Live?!*@ Like A
GNR Lies, the second Guns N Suicide EP, the mini-album con-
Roses album, released in the US tained the original slow-tempo
in November 1988, and the fol- version of Youre Crazy and
lowing month in the UK, has gone three brand-new acoustic num-
on to sell over 12million copies bers. Patience was Izzys lament
worldwide. to his lost love, Angela Nicoletti,
The track-listing is as follows: Used To Love Her, a tongue-
Reckless Life (3:20); Nice Boys in-cheek misogynistic ditty on
(Dont Play Rock N Roll) (3:02); uxoricide (murdering ones wife)
Move To The City (3:42); Mama which would come back to haunt
Kin (3:57); Patience (5:56); Used the band some five years later
To Love Her (3:13); Youre Crazy when the song bizarrely featured
(4:10); One In A Million (6:10) LP, in the Florida vs. Justin Barber
CD, Cassette Geffen Records, murder trial, while the final track,
1988. One In A Million, would prove
With Appetite For Destruction even more controversial. These
still riding high at #3 on the Bill- three new songs had been written
board 200, and shifting units by and recorded in a single afternoon
the wagon-load, Geffen were nat- session at Rumbo Studios which
urally keen to keep the momen- Mike Clink would later describe
tum going and decided upon a as one of those magical rock n
mini-album to satiate the fans roll history moments. Several
hunger for new product as well other songs, such as Duffs Corn-


shucker, and Crash Diet, were formed in rehearsal, and live, into
also recorded during the sessions, the version heard on Appetite For
but failed to make the albums Destruction. Now its been taken
final track-listing. back to its original pace, though
With the Live?!*@ A Sui- it has remained electric. None of
cide EP, a much sought-after which has been done for better
item amongst Guns N Roses or worse only for the sake of
fans and commanding a hefty something to do. (We do what we
price on the black market it want.)
made sense to re-release these Still smarting over the Brit-
songs, and with regard to why ish tabloid press scaremonger-
the previously-released Youre ing headlines and trashy tales of
Crazy also featured on the new drink, drugs and debauchery that
album, the band issued the fol- greeted the bands first visit to
lowing explanation on the album London the previous year not
cover: YOURE CRAZY: A song to mention the totally undeserved
originally written acoustically blame heaped upon them over the
right after the band was signed to Donington tragedy of four months
Geffen Records only to be trans- earlier the Gunners extracted

Guns N Roses

their revenge, albeit tongue-in-

cheek, by issuing the eight-track GAY VICAR IN GANGBANG
album housed in a foldout sleeve, HORROR, POP KILLED
parodying those same newspa- SEX BEAST, HEIR TO THE
pers front pages. To accompany THRONE CAUGHT WITH
the names of the four new acous- TROUSERS DOWN IN LURID
tic songs and vacuous headlines LUST PIT, AND DINKY DEN
such as IN THE PEN.

MAN SUES EX-WIFE: SHE The latter refers to the fictional

TOOK MY SPERM WITH- TV soap character Den Watts,
OUT PERMISSION, SUES the decidedly-dodgy womanising
TOES SHOT OFF BY SNATCH pub landlord played to perfection
GANG, and SEX, SEX, SEX IS by cabbie killer-cum-actor Leslie
THE SECRET BEHIND HER $6 Grantham in the BBCs then rela-
MILLION FACE, tively new flagship soap opera,
black and white images of all The front cover also features the
five Gunners feature on the eye- albums original title
grabbing front page, dated 6
December, 1988, which The Sun, GUNS N ROSES: LIES! THE
Daily Mirror, Daily Sport, and SEX, THE DRUGS, THE VIO-
their ilk would have been proud LENCE, THE SHOCKING
of. Axl is shown slumped against TRUTH,
a wall looking suitably mean and
moody, while a louche Slash, but Al Coury, who was head of
clutching a bottle of whatever, Geffens promotions team, fore-
peers out from beneath his cork- saw the logistical headaches that
screw curls in a Guns N Roses a lengthy title would undoubtedly
Picture Exclusive. The photo bring when trying to promote
of a be-shaded Izzy, shown non- the album, and Geffen therefore
chalantly strumming a guitar, opted for the truncated and far
accompanies yet another farcical snappier sounding GNR Lies.
headline Elephant Gives Birth To Despite the controversy and nega-
Midget, while the blonds in the tivity in certain quarters regarding
band, Duff and Steven (who is One In A Million, the new album
also sporting shades), both stare was soon flying off the shelves as
out from the front page like teen rapidly as its predecessor, and the
idols from 19, Honey, or My Guy. champagne corks were popping
The equally inane inside sleeve over at Geffen Records when the
features the obligatory page three Gunners became the first band
blonde accompanying risqu since the Beatles some fifteen
headlines such as years earlier to have two albums


sitting pretty in the Top 5 of the at the behest of Axl and on behalf
Billboard 100. of Guns N Roses, set up his own
management company, BFD (Big
Fuckin Deal).
Goldstein, Doug Suddenly finding himself the
man with his hand at the G N
R tiller must have been a dream
Doug Goldstein replaced Alan
come true for an ambitious
Niven as Guns N Roses manager
ladder-climber such as Goldstein,
in 1991 and remained in charge of
but although Guns N Roses cur-
the band until 2003.
rently had two double-albums
Goldstein, who started out as
a humble security guard, was being mixed ready for release,
brought in to assist Alan Niven in and about to undertake the larg-
managing the Gunners with duties est tour in rock n roll history, the
no more taxing than wet-nursing crux of the matter was that Guns
the individual band members, and N Roses had already reached
overseeing the occasional trip to their peak. And with the mega-
rehab. But his being more person- lomaniacal Axl now able to hold
able, and even-tempered than the the rest of the band to ransom
brusque Niven, paved the way to as he had shown by instigating
his being elevated to the manage- Alan Nivens dismissal Gold-
rial hot seat, following Nivens stein was manager in name only.
dismissal in May, 1991. He then, And little could the puppet gen-

Guns N Roses

eral have imagined as the G N R to sell Sanctuary his management

bandwagon rolled into East Troy, contract for a rumoured $8 mil-
Wisconsin, for the opening shows lion and headed off to play golf
of the Use Your Illusion tour, that under the Hawaiian sun.
he would be nothing more than a
helpless bystander watching on
from the wings, as the Gunners Greatest Hits
incumbent line-up would be whit-
tled down one by one, until only
Axl remained. Greatest Hits is the name of
Loyalty, however, was obvi- Guns N Roses compilation
album, released in 2004.
ously Goldsteins watchword. And
The albums track-listing is as
instead of taking flight as many
other managers would surely have
done, he stoically remained at
Welcome To The Jungle; Sweet
Axls side, permanently on hand
Child O Mine; Patience; Para-
to clean up after or carry the can
dise City; Knockin On Heavens
for his master, as he was called
Door; Civil War; You Could Be
upon to do in November 2001,
Mine; Dont Cry; November Rain;
following the cancellation of an
Live And Let Die; Yesterdays;
already rearranged European tour. Aint It Fun; Since I Dont Have
In a press release, which bor- You; Sympathy For The Devil
dered on the ridiculous, Goldstein Geffen Records, 2004.
firstly apologised to the fans for
yet another delay to the Chinese The Greatest Hits album was
Democracy album, before going released with little or no fanfare
on to admit culpability for having on 15 March, 2004. Yet despite a
in his words jumped the gun total lack of promotion from either
in arranging the European tour Axl, or any of the bands erstwhile
in order to promote said album, members, within a month of going
which Axl later admitted to only on sale it had sold over 3 million
having found out about whilst copies worldwide and claimed the
perusing the internet. number one spot in the UK as well
By the summer of 2003, how- as nine other European countries,
ever, Goldstein had finally reached while upon its release in the US
the end of his tormented tether, one week later, it quickly shifted
and instead of accepting the lofty 1.8 million copies and soared to #3
position of Co-President of Sanc- on the Billboard Hot 100. Great-
tuary Music Management, which est Hits went on to sell a massive
was offered to him when the Brit- 3 million copies in the US, and
ish-based company took control remained on the Billboard 200 for
of both Guns N Roses, and the 138 weeks, making it the bands
bands back-catalogue, he opted second-longest charting album


in the US, behind Appetite For N R product shouldnt denigrate

Destruction. what he was doing with the bands
Although Greatest Hits pack- new album and instructed Sanctu-
ages are usually seen as a bands ary to block the release. Sanctu-
final hurrah before the respective ary managed to persuade Inter-
members embark on solo careers scope to hold back on the idea by
or more likely gracefully disappear dangling the Chinese Democracy
off into the sunset, by 2004 Guns carrot and insisting it would be in
N Roses was still a viable asset, the shops in time for the Christ-
with a new album supposedly mas market. When Christmas
on the cusp of release. The idea came and went with no sign of the
to release a Greatest Hits record finished record, however, Inter-
was first mooted in August, 2003 scope finally lost patience and in
by Axls Interscope paymasters, February, 2004 wrote to inform
who were anxious to recoup some Axl that the company was no
of the eight-figure investment it longer prepared to continue fund-
had thus far poured into Chinese ing Chinese Democracy, and that
Democracy. Axl, however, was it was now his obligation to fund
equally anxious that any new G and complete the project.
Guns N Roses

claims to have first hooked up

with Axl and Izzy whilst she was
working as a booking agent with
Silverlining Entertainment, and
they were both involved with Hol-
lywood Rose. Axl had approached
Vicky who was also a successful
club promoter in the hope that
she could do for his band what she
had already achieved with Mtley
Cre and Poison, in getting both
bands much-needed publicity and
exposure. This in turn had led to
Hamilton, Vicky her becoming Guns N Roses
unofficial manager/benefactor,
which has a certain amount of
Vicky Hamilton was Guns N credence, in that she moved the
Roses unofficial manager from boys and their equipment into
their early days through to their her modest apartment. She also
signing to Geffen records in fed them, washed their clothes,
March, 1986. booked their shows, and touted
There are conflicting versions the band to record companies.
relating to the extent of Vicky The latter claim is backed up by
Hamiltons involvement with Slash, who stated in a subsequent
Guns N Roses. She, herself, interview that there was no record


label interest prior to Vickys nuance of the age-old expression

involvement. After the release of and sued the band for $1 million.
Appetite For Destruction, how- Part of this, she claimed, was
ever, and with Vicky no longer owed to her for out-of-pocket
around, Axl chose to paint a very expenses, while the rest was
different picture. Vicky basically what she felt she was owed for
had a monopoly on booking bands her efforts. Needless to say, the
at The Roxy and The Whisky, band viewed things somewhat
he told one reporter. We needed differently and initially refused to
those gigs, and we also needed a even acknowledge her existence
place to live. She offered us help let alone her contribution. The
and said shed get us $25,000, sorry saga was eventually settled
money we desperately needed for out of court with Vicky receiving
the proper equipment so we could $30,000, half of which was paid
start getting close to the sound we by the band, and the remainder by

Hell Tour

The Hell Tour is the name

Guns N Roses gave to their first
tour excursion in June, 1985.
The so-called Hell Tour may
have proved to be a logistical and
sanity-threatening nightmare, but
it was also pivotal in serving to
bond the newly-constituted Guns
wanted. But she never managed N Roses into a cohesive work-
the band, we Slash, Izzy, Steven, ing unit. It was Duff, being the
Duff and me we managed the outsider, so to speak, and eager
band. to make an impression, who was
Although the expression Hell responsible for booking the mini
hath no fury like a woman scorned tour, which consisted of several
is actually a misquote from Wil- dates across three states: Califor-
liam Congreves 17th century trag- nia, Oregon and his home state,
edy The Mourning Bride, every Washington.
man understands the malevolence The idea was to get out of Los
contained within, and Vicky, upon Angeles and temporarily leave
discovering there was no financial behind the misery of their day-
proviso for her within the Geffen to-day penny-pinching existence,
contract, invoked each and every but disaster struck when the trans-
portation their buddy, Dannys

Guns N Roses

dilapidated green Oldsmobile Having already missed three

broke down outside of Fresno, of the proposed shows, the Gun-
some 200 miles from Los Ange- ners arrived in a windswept Seat-
les. Most musicians might have tle with but a few hours to spare
cursed their luck not to men- before they were due on stage at
tion the vehicles owner before the citys aptly-named Rock The-
clambering aboard a Greyhound atre. The former cinema, located
Bus to take them back into the on an industrial wharf at the
city. But Axl, Izzy, Duff, Slash corner of 5th & Jackson, actually
and Steven were made of sterner contained two separate venues,
stuff, and, still dressed in their and the Gunners took to the stage
rock n roll finery, handed over in the Gorilla Gardens while local
their meagre cash supply to Danny heroes, No Means No were play-
to purchase the necessary spare ing in the adjoining room. Their
automobile parts, grabbed their tardy arrival meant theyd had no
guitars from the trunk, and set time to promote the show, and it
off along the baking asphalt with was only thanks to Duff calling
eyes peeled and thumbs extended. in a favour from Lulu Gargiulo,
And those thumbs would remain the singer/guitarist with Seattles
extended for several hours, with- premier punk band The Fastbacks
out so much as a state patrol car with whom hed once played
stopping by, before a speed freak that they were able to borrow
and were not talking miles-an- some amplifiers and a drum kit.
hour here pulled his truck over The bands late arrival and the
to the side of the road. Although rounding up of borrowed equip-
the boys were happy to avail them- ment, resulted in their putting in
selves of the miscreants sulphate a rushed and shoddy perform-
stash, they were less enamoured ance in front of an apathetic audi-
with the guys body odour, and ence. And the venues equally
his seemingly endless supply of disinterested owner was only
road stories were enough to put an willing to hand over $100 of the
insomniac to sleep. Having bailed pre-arranged $150. The Gunners,
out at the first available truck stop, however, refused to be down-
they spent several hours kicking hearted by their inauspicious
dust before being taken pity on start, and it is a measure of their
by two hippie chicks, who kindly new-found tenacity that they were
delivered them to the outskirts able to slap the face of adversity
of Portland feeding them hash and fulfil their outstanding com-
brownies along the way where mitments with subsequent shows
Duffs friends were waiting to give in Portland, and Eugene, Oregon,
them the bad news that Danny and for which they received payment
his Oldsmobile were heading back in beer and burgers. And thanks
to L.A. to another of Duffs connections,


they were able to make it back to Anything Goes, and Reckless

Los Angeles. Life would albeit with alterna-
tive lyrics subsequently appear
on Appetite For Destruction and
Hollywood Rose GNR Lies respectively. Rocker
and Killing Time were, perhaps
not surprisingly, consigned to the
Hollywood Rose was the pre- trash can, while Shadow Of Your
Guns N Roses band which fea- Love survived long enough to
tured Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin feature on early G N R set lists
in its line-up. as well as in the recording studio.
Although Guns N Roses went Steven Adler has since gone
on to become a musical institu- on record to say the latter track
tion, it is only thanks to the emer-
was his particular favourite song
gence of the 15-track album The
during the recording of Appetite
Roots of Guns N Roses in 2004,
and was disappointed that it didnt
that we can finally pass judgement
make it to the final mix. In 1998,
on the rough and ready delights of
the bands original guitarist, Chris
Hollywood Rose. The fact that the
Weber, launched a second lawsuit
album contains three previously
against Axl (the first was back in
unreleased tracks meant that it
1991) for not receiving a writing
would certainly appeal to G N R
credit for Shadow Of Your Love
fans, but, that said, it is something
and Back Off Bitch, which he
of a rip-off as it only contains five
claimed to have co-written before
songs in total, which are then rep-
licated twice over. The original sloping off into obscurity. Doug
five demos are Killing Time, Goldstein responded by inform-
Anything Goes, Rocker, ing the L.A. Daily News that Axl
Shadow Of Your Love, and and Izzy both venomously denied
Reckless Life with the remain- Weber had any involvement in
ing ten tracks being Gilby Clarke either song one of which was
and Fred Coury remixes. apparently written before Axl and
Weber had even met. Weber, how-
ever, was supposedly in posses-
sion of a video tape of Hollywood
Rose performing the song, and
had sent a copy to Axl. But Gef-
fens Bryn Bridenthal appeared
on MTV News and openly dis-
missed the guitarists claims as
nothing more than a nuisance suit.
Whenever a band sells millions
of records, he told the reporter,
you can count on frivolous pub-

Guns N Roses

lishing lawsuits following right Studio in West Hollywood, and

behind. Kreis was happy to oblige, as
For an interesting, and highly doing a spot of moonlighting
informative, history of Hollywood for other bands was a common
Rose, I recommend checking occurrence amongst L.A.s rock
out the bands drummer, Johnny fraternity. And as this was light
Kreis website, years away from Axls fixation for
where he reveals that he was play- perfection, there was no need for
ing in a Hollywood-based outfit Kreis to learn the songs arrange-
called Shire when he was first ments as there were none. In fact
approached by Izzy with a view Axls sole pre-requisite of Kreis
to laying down the drum tracks was that he play really fast, and
for some demos he was working pound away with a blues feel.
on with Axl (who just happened This, of course, was what Kreis
to be crashing in Shires garage did best, and he obviously did
rehearsal space at the time). it with aplomb, for his display
Although a quarter century has prompted Axl and Izzy to prise
since passed, Kreis remembers him away from Shire to join
his initial encounter with Izzy Hollywood Rose. The accompa-
with total clarity. Not because of nying photos on Kreis website
Axls and Izzys subsequent suc- show a wild-haired Axl sporting
cess in Guns N Roses, but rather the obligatory biker jacket with
due to Izzys proffered method bare chest underneath, while Izzy
of payment a six-pack of Bud- adopts a sedate Ronnie Wood
weiser and a medium-sized pizza. look, of open-necked white shirt
Izzy and Axl had booked a days with the sleeves rolled up above
recording at the Angry Samoans the elbows. Indeed, the bands


garish image a hybrid of punk city but a short time when he was
and glam metal bewildered approached at a party by future
audiences at The Troubadour, Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith,
Gazzarras, and Madame Wongs and guitarist Rogers Stevens, who
alike. Kreis is still in possession of were both sufficiently impressed
the original demo tape a sample with his vocal talents to invite him
of which can be heard on his site to join their number. After recruit-
but with 1985 fast approaching, ing guitarist Christopher Thorn
it was a case of New Year, New and drummer Glen Graham, the
Start as far as Axl and Izzy were five-piece outfit decided upon the
concerned and they called time on name Blind Melon, and, in 1991
Hollywood Rose with one final on the back of their self-produced
performance in San Pedro, Cali- four-track demo they signed a
fornia, on 31 December, 1984. $500,000 contract with Capitol
The bands eponymous debut
Hoon, Shannon album, which was produced by
Pearl Jams Rick Parashar, was
Richard Shannon Hoon, the late released the following year. But,
frontman with the band Blind despite garnering favourable
Melon, provided backing vocals reviews, the record initially failed
on several tracks that appear on to make much of an impact, and
the Use Your Illusion albums. it wasnt until they began tour-
Shannon was a native of Lafay- ing, supporting the likes of Ozzy
ette, Indiana, who, like Axl and Osbourne, Soundgarden, and
Izzy before him, relocated to Los Guns N Roses, that their stone
Angeles in search of rock n roll finally began to roll. Their 1993
stardom. Despite having shown album, No Rain, which features
great promise at football, as well the hit single of the same name,
as being an excellent athlete, achieved multi-platinum status.
immediately after graduating from As the bands success increased,
McCutcheon High School in 1985, however, so did the five musi-
Shannon turned his back on sports cians drug intake, with Shan-
in favour of music, and joined a non being the main offender.
local band called Styff Kytten. The world appeared to be their
But, also like Axl and Izzy, he proverbial oyster, but the band
soon realised his rock n roll aspi- was making headlines for all the
rations were never going to be ful- wrong reasons. In 1993, whilst on
filled in Lafayette, and so, armed tour to promote the new record,
with an acoustic guitar and a few Shannons behaviour became
bucks in his pocket, he clambered more and more erratic. In Vancou-
aboard a Greyhound bus bound ver he was arrested and charged
for L.A. He had only been in the with indecent exposure after strip-

Guns N Roses

ping naked onstage and urinating soon reared its ugly head, how-
on fans, and at Woodstock 94 the ever, and the counsellor was dis-
following year where he took to missed less than a month into the
the stage wearing his girlfriends tour. And once free from restraint,
dress he ended the bands set Shannons drug intake escalated
by hurling a set of conga drums beyond all control.
into the crowd. That same year he Following a particularly sham-
went on a drug-crazed rampage at bolic show in Houston on 20
the Billboard Music Awards and October, 1995, Blind Melon
attacked a security guard. headed for New Orleans, Louisi-
In 1995, Shannon became a ana, where they were scheduled to
father, but time which should appear that evening. Shannon had
have been spent with his new- spent the night berating his fellow
born daughter, was instead spent band members and binging on
in rehab. Thanks to considerable cocaine before passing out on the
pressure from the powers-that- tour bus. When one of the road-
be at Capitol Records, who were ies sent to summon him for the
anxious for the band to get out pre-requisite soundcheck failed
on the road to promote their new to rouse the singer, an ambulance
album Soup, Shannon was able was duly summoned, but the 28-
to negotiate an early release from year-old Shannon had breathed
his last and was pronounced dead
his detoxification programme;
at the scene. The coroners report
but only on the stipulation that
cited the cause of death as acci-
his counsellor accompany the
dental cocaine overdose.
band on the tour. Temptation

of stage charisma, but his replace-

ment, Dennis Wilcock who took
to the stage daubed in face paint
similar to that worn by his heroes
KISS also failed to bring about
a reversal of the bands fortunes,
and this led to Harris temporar-
ily calling time on the project. A
chance meeting in the bassists
Leytonstone local, however, led
to Paul DiAnno being invited to
take the microphone.
Despite having a full compliment
and a loyal if somewhat local
Iron Maiden fanbase, the future did not bode
well for Iron Maiden. The band
Iron Maiden, whose career has didnt actually record any material
spanned over three decades to date, until New Years Eve 1978. But,
are arguably the most successful when three songs from this ses-
exponents of the NWOBHM (New sion were subsequently released
Wave of British Heavy Metal). as the Soundhouse Tapes EP the
On 13 May, 1988, at the Monc- following November, all 5,000
ton Coliseum in Moncton, Canada, copies of the initial pressing
Guns N Roses opened for Iron which were only available via
Maiden on the North American leg mail order sold out in less than
of the British rockers tour to pro- a week. This brought them to the
mote their latest album, Seventh attention of the majors, and before
Son of a Seventh Son. At the time, the year was out Iron Maiden had
Maiden, who had enjoyed world- signed to EMI.
wide success with albums such Maidens debut single, Running
as Killers (1981), The Number of Free, which was culled from their
The Beast (1982), and Powerslave eponymous debut album, reached
(1984), had been together in one a respectable #34 on the UK sin-
form or another for thirteen years, gles chart, while the album itself
having been formed on Christ- which was released on 14 April,
mas Day, 1975 by the bands 1980, and featured their monster
incumbent bassist, Steve Harris. from the grave mascot, Eddie, on
Indeed, Harris is the sole survivor the cover reached #4 on the UK
from the bands festive founding album chart. The follow-up record,
line-up, although long-standing Killers, brought them serious
rhythm guitarist Dave Murray attention from across the Atlantic,
was recruited early on, in 1976. but by this time DiAnnos pro-
According to the bands Early pensity for cocaine was affecting
Days DVD, their original vocalist his performances and so he was
Paul Day was sacked due to a lack replaced by ex-Samson vocalist

Guns N Roses

Bruce Dickinson. The decision return to playing sell-out shows, it

proved an astute one when the has been suggested in some quar-
bands third album, The Number ters that there were those within
Of The Beast, went to #1 on the the G N R camp who viewed the
UK chart, and also achieved Top move as something of a backward
10 status in several other countries step. The indignation was suppos-
around the world. edly due to the cocksure Gunners
By 1988, however, and despite believing that the renewed inter-
still enjoying god-like status in est in the Maiden tour was solely
Europe particularly the UK down to their coming on board. It
where Seventh Son Of A Seventh has also been suggested that Duff
Son had gone to #1 on the album was so disillusioned at playing
chart the British rockers Ameri- second fiddle to the supposedly
can appeal appeared to be on the second rate British band that he
wane as the album stalled at #12. absconded midway through the
Their slip in the rock ratings was tour to marry long-term girlfriend
due to the emergence of Mtley Mandy Brixx, leaving his Cult
Cre and Guns N Roses, so rather buddy, Haggis, to stand in for him.
than risk losing face not to men- Yet, while such tales undoubtedly
tion thousands of dollars in rev- gave Guns N Roses muchos kudos
enue Maidens manager Rod amongst their West Hollywood
Smallwood swallowed his pride peers and elevated them higher
and called his G N R counterpart, up rocks dog-eat-dog food chain
Alan Niven. neither one quite rings true.
Although inviting rocks hot- My two best mates, renowned
test property onto the tour proved punk rock writer and fledgling
a shrewd move on Smallwoods director, Alan Parker, and Paul
part, as it guaranteed an immediate Young have both suffered with


callused knees through their Although its true that shortly

having worshipped at Eddies after the Gunners joined Maiden
altar, whereas my flag has always on tour Appetite For Destruction
been firmly planted in the Gun- achieved platinum status, the Brit-
ners corner, which is why I read- ish rockers latest offering had also
ily accepted such nepotistic tales accrued or was well on its way to
to be fact. Pauls fixation with all accruing the necessary one mil-
things Maiden came back in the lion sales to merit a platinum disc.
late-80s, and early-90s, which, And while Seventh Son Of A Sev-
owing to us living in the same enth Son only reached #12 on the
house at the time as well as Billboard chart, there were sev-
playing in a band together gave eral other gold and platinum discs
mounted on Rod Smallwoods
us ample opportunity to disagree.
office wall, which at that point in
And boy, did we disagree. He
time, served as pointed reminders
even spurned the chance to see
as to which band held the greater
the Gunners play Wembley Sta-
standing within Americas main-
dium in August 91 in favour of a stream rock fraternity. And it is
new tattoo. But I persevered with also highly unlikely that Duff
my crusade until he finally saw chose to bail out before the show
the light. Alan, however, remains at Calgarys Olympic Saddledome
impervious to my reasoning. And I on 27 May on a drunken, spur-of-
cant really blame him, given that, the-moment whim to get hitched.
at the time of writing, he is living According to Danny Sugarman,
out his fantasies by interview- in his excellent book The Days
ing Bruce, Steve, Nicko, et al, for Of Guns N Roses: Appetite For
Mick Walls forthcoming official Destruction, Duff was well aware
Iron Maiden biography, No Holds of the impending wedding date as
Barred (Mainstream). Mandy had been planning the cer-

Guns N Roses

emony for several weeks, and that

Duff, upon realising that the tour
wasnt going to be rescheduled
on his behalf, called on Haggis to
serve as a one-off gig stand-in.
Further rumours of unrest began
to circulate when L.A. Guns were
called in as a last-minute replace-
ment for Guns N Roses for the
first of two consecutive shows at
Irvine Meadows, California, on 8
June, due to problems with Axls
voice. And the rumour mill went and transvestites. And, as these
into overdrive the following night true-to-life subjects were in keep-
when it was announced the Gun- ing with the everyday lives of Axl,
ners would be leaving the tour Slash and co., it was therefore a
owing to their singers inability to perfect choice of cover song for
perform. There were those, how- the Gunners. Sabbaths attempt to
ever, who refused to accept the break away from their trademark
official explanation and insisted sinister sound by experimenting
that the real reason was the sing- with keyboards, synthesisers and
ers resentment at having to open orchestration, however, was not
for a band he now perceived to be appreciated by their fickle fans,
of a lesser standing than his own. and the album was something of
Their argument fell flat, however, a commercial failure.
when subsequent G N R shows Black Sabbaths version was
in Japan and Australia were also actually sung by the bands drum-
cancelled. mer, Bill Ward, owing to singer
Ozzy Osbourne having tempo-
rarily gone A.W.O.L. during the
recording sessions. Indeed, the
Its AlrighT absence of Ozzys vocals on the
track meant that many people
Its Alright is a Black Sabbath initially failed to recognise it as a
song that Guns N Roses per- Black Sabbath song. By the fol-
formed live on occasion during lowing year, Ozzys spiralling
the Use Your Illusion tour, and drug problems saw him stop turn-
features on Live Era 87 93. ing up for rehearsals altogether,
Its Alright appears on Black and, although he returned to the
Sabbaths 1976 album Technical fold in time for the recording
Ecstasy, which, unlike the Brum- of the bands follow-up album,
mie rockers previous doom and Never say Die, he was eventually
darkness records, contains songs asked to leave in 1979.
about drug dealing, prostitution
Guns N Roses

James, a long-time friend of Axl

Rose, and one-time resident of
North Gardner Street, was born
in Rochelle, in upstate New York,
but relocated to Los Angeles in
1985. Within days of his arrival
in Hollywood, he was befriended
by West Arkeen, as well as Axl
and the other members of the,
then, unsigned Guns N Roses.
His friendship with the band led
to his directing several of their
videos, and it was a short story of
his entitled Without You, (one of
James, Del a collection of horror stories that
appeared in his book The Lan-
guage Of Fear), that proved the
Del James, who was born Adel- inspiration behind G N Rs so-
berto V Mirando on 5 February, called unofficial power-ballad
1964 (sharing his birthday with trilogy of Dont Cry, Novem-
Duff) is a respected musician, ber Rain and Estranged. He
writer and journalist, whose fic- also co-wrote The Garden, and
tional short story, Without You Yesterdays with Arkeen, which
was the inspiration behind Guns feature on Use Your Illusion I &
N Roses unofficial power- II respectively. His songwriting
ballad trilogy. talents have also been utilized
by Testament, TNT, and The
Almighty, and aside from penning
songs and ghost stories, James is
a respected journalist, and even
served as senior editor at the now
defunct RIP Magazine, which, at
the time, was dedicated to cham-
pioning L.A.s metal scene.
James still lives in southern
California and, unlike many of
those that have entered Axls
circle, his friendship with the G
N R frontman has survived to
the present day and he is actively
involved with the bands current


John, Elton

Elton John, or Sir Elton Her-

cules John CBE, to give him
his proper title, whose five-time
Grammy Award-winning career
to date has spanned four dec-
ades, was born Reginald Kenneth
Dwight in Pinner, Middlesex on
24 March, 1947. In April, 1992
he and Axl Rose performed a duet
of the Queen classic Bohemian
Rhapsody at the Freddie Mercury
Tribute Concert.
According to Mick Walls unau-
thorised W. Axl Rose biogra-
phy, not only had the young and night of their four-date stint open-
highly-impressionable Bill Bailey ing for the Rolling Stones at the
held Elton John in the highest Los Angeles Coliseum in Octo-
esteem, the future G N R front- ber, 1989. And the friendship was
man has also cited the bespecta- still going strong in 1994 when
cled pianist as having been a major Axl put in an appearance his last
influence on his own songwriting one in public for six years as it
style. Indeed, during an interview turned out at the Rock N Roll
recorded back when the journalist Hall of Fame induction ceremony,
was on speaking terms with Axl, where Elton was one of that years
the singer had chosen Benny inductees.
And The Jets, from Eltons 1973 In April, 2005, Elton and Axl
double album, Goodbye Yellow became label mates when the
Brick Road, as one of the songs Sanctuary Group acquired 100%
which helped form his musical of the share capital in Eltons man-
taste; so to appear on the Wem- agement company, Twenty First
bley stage with his idol must have Artists, for a reported $16 mil-
been a dream come true. lion, which also resulted in Elton
It appeared the appreciation was acquiring Merck Mercuriadis as
mutual, for when Guns N Roses his manager. Although Elton was
and particularly Axl came keen to work with Merck, owing
under fire over the lyrical content to his having learnt his craft at
of One In A Million, Elton sent the feet of Sanctuarys founders,
flowers along with a message of Rod Smallwood and Andy Taylor,
defiance urging Axl not to let the his fiscal antennae told him all
bastards grind him down to the was not well at Sanctuary and he
bands dressing room on the first therefore insisted on having the

Guns N Roses

Axls hotel bill; and with pre-

cious little product to show for
their investment. Rather than risk
upsetting Elton, Axl and his free-
loading entourage were summar-
ily dispatched back to Los Ange-
les on the first available flight.

John, Robert

Robert John is a Los Angeles-

based photographer who was
Guns N Roses official lensman
from 1985 1993.
label audited before putting pen Robert John was born in Bir-
to paper. Despite thinking noth- mingham, Alabama on 10
ing of spending 293,000 over an November, 1961, but moved out
18 month period on flowers, Elton to California with his parents
was not one to see money espe- when he was just three-years-old.
cially his own being wasted. So His formative years were spent
when it came to light that Sanc- behind the wheel of his souped-
tuary were footing the bill while up car, but his dreams of a racing
his old buddy Axl Rose was living career were cruelly cut short fol-
the Manhattan high life instead of lowing an injury to his back.
putting the finishing touches to Having opted for a much safer
Chinese Democracy, he was none career in photography, John began
too impressed. It is said that Axl trawling the clubs along Sunset
along with his sizable entourage Strip snapping away at up-and-
had taken over an entire floor at
the mega-bucks-per-night Trump
Tower Hotel, where the singer
spent the long balmy summer eve-
nings quaffing champagne with
his celebrity friends.
Word has it said word being
supplied by an ex-Sanctuary
employee, who naturally wishes
to remain anonymous that even
Sanctuarys management team
were stunned at the number of
digits listed beside the $ sign on


coming unsigned bands, includ- The Photographic History, which

ing L.A. Guns, London and Hol- includes a foreword by Axl Rose,
lywood Rose. And his having kept and chronicles the bands rags-to-
a finger firmly affixed to West riches career, from their humble
Hollywoods rhythmic pulse, as beginnings in West Hollywood
well as a friendship with Izzy through to world domination on
Stradlin, meant he was in the per- the Use Your Illusion tour and
fect position to capture the emer- everything else in-between, was
gence of Guns N Roses. After published in 1993, and was subse-
shooting one of the bands earli- quently used as the title for a BBC
est Troubadour shows on 20 Sep- documentary. His close associa-
tember, 1985, he accompanied the tion with Guns N Roses also led
Gunners to Reseda the following to his making cameo appearances
month for a gig at Chuck Landis in several of the bands videos.
Country Club on 18 October. The A decade on from his publica-
band were obviously keen to see tion, however, John was forced
the results of Johns labours, and, to take legal action against his
having been warned by Izzy that old buddy, Axl, over the singers
Axl was a hard taskmaster, he refusal to honour an earlier con-
elected to show the photographs tract in which he had agreed to
on his slide projector. His work pay the photographer $80,000
received Axls seal of approval and for photos of which there were
he was then invited to do a group hundreds hed taken of the band
photo session that, in turn, led to over an eight year period since
his becoming the bands exclusive 1985. Axl had apparently been
lensman when they later signed in possession of said photos for
to Geffen in 1986. A book of his several months by the time of the
photographs: Guns N Roses: legal wrangling in May, 2003, and

Guns N Roses

had shown no inclination what- than excess baggage. Like the

soever of either stumping up the teenage Axl in Lafayette, Steve
cash, or returning the photos. was always knee-deep in trou-
Today Robert John is a highly ble with the local authorities. He
sought-after photographer whose even spent three months incarcer-
twenty-five-year-to-date port- ated in Ashford Remand Centre,
folio reads like a Whos Who which, although robbing him of
of rock, and, as well as Guns N his freedom, did at least provide
Roses, has seen him capture Alice him with three square meals a day
Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton a luxury seldom seen at home.
John, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Today, Steve will happily admit
Faith No More, Marilyn Manson, that the Sex Pistols saved him
Motorhead, Sepultura and Janes from a life of crime and the con-
Addiction in his lens. His photog- sequences that would surely have
raphy and artwork has also graced followed.
numerous album covers and It was whilst he was at the Chris-
liner sleeves, not to mention the topher Wren School on Shep-
front pages of every self-respect- herds Bushs run-down Worm-
ing music magazine, including holt Estate that he met his future
Rolling Stone, Kerrang!, Metal partner-in-crime, Paul Cook, and
Hammer and RIP. another wayward youth called
Warwick Wally Nightingale
who owned a guitar and encour-
Jones, Steve aged his fellow truants to form
a band. With this aim in mind,
Steve Jones was and still is Steve began channelling his thiev-
on occasion the guitarist with ing into acquiring musical equip-
the Sex Pistols, and was a one- ment, including an entire backline
time member of the now defunct complete with top-of-the-range
supergroup Neurotic Outsiders microphones from the Hammer-
alongside Duff McKagan and smith Odeon where David Bowie
Matt Sorum. was engaged on the final night of
Stephen Phillip Jones was born his Ziggy Stardust farewell tour.
in Shepherds Bush, London on Having procured the services
3 September, 1955, but relocated of a manager, the svengali-like
to nearby Hammersmith when his Malcolm McLaren, who gave the
father an amateur boxer named band its name, as well as a charis-
Don Jarvis fled the family matic singer in the form of Johnny
home. His mother remarried and Rotten, the Sex Pistols began play-
the family returned to Shepherds ing low-key dates at colleges, strip
Bush, but young Steve didnt clubs, prisons and anywhere else
get on with his stepfather, who that might have them. Although
looked upon him as little more the band was showing promise and


had attracted a small nucleus of man Phil Lynott, under the guise
disenfranchised kids who would of the Greedy Bastards, resulted
subsequently go off and form their in a surprise Christmas hit which
own bands, which, in effect, kick- saw Steve clowning around on
started the UK punk movement it Top Of The Pops. By this time,
is fair to say that the Sex Pistols Steve and Paul had put together
might never have expanded their The Professionals, but as with
horizons beyond London had it not most bands, the sum of the indi-
been for Steves four-letter verbal vidual parts was never going to be
spat with Today host Bill Grundy greater than the whole. Although
on 1 December, 1976. the singles Just Another Dream
When the Sex Pistols imploded and 1-2-3 sold reasonably well,
in San Francisco in January, 1978, the parent album, I Didnt See It
Steve, although barely able to Coming was shelved indefinitely
read and write, possessed enough by Virgin, and when Cook was
street smarts to know Malcolm involved in a serious car crash
was still holding the Pistols purs- midway through the bands US
estrings. And with this in mind, tour, they decided to call it a day.
he and Cook agreed to continue In 1981, following on from his
working with McLaren on his cin- cinematic debut in the Swindle,
ematic opus, The Great Rock N Steve, along with Paul Cook, the
Roll Swindle, which, although by Clashs Paul Simonon and Scum
and large a complete fabrication star Ray Winston, appeared in the
of the Sex Pistols story, did at least Lou Adler directed movie Ladies
provide Steve with a regular sti- And Gentlemen The Fabulous
pend and a Top 10 single in 1979 Stains, in which they played a
with Silly Thing. A one-off col- fictional band called The Looters.
laboration with Thin Lizzy front- The movie more or less disap-

Guns N Roses

peared without trace, but bootleg returned to the surviving mem-

copies can be found if you know bers, with Sids mother, Anne
where to look, and its well worth Beverley, being made executor for
a watch, if only to behold Ray her late sons estate.
Winstons Johnny Strummer In 1987, Steve released his first
performance. solo album, Mercy, on the MCA
In 1982, by which time Steve label, but it consisted entirely of
was residing in Los Angeles, dreary, ballad-esque love songs,
sporting a shaggy mane, and nur- and quickly sank without trace.
turing a heroin habit, he formed His second solo offering, how-
Chequered Past with Michael ever, the hard-rocking Fire And
Des Barres (the British-born Gasoline, saw a return to form
singer and actor best known for and Steve became something of
having once been married to uber a celebrity amongst the wannabe
groupie, Pamela Des Barres), but rockers plying their trade in West
the band only released one self- Hollywood. A mutual admiration
titled album before breaking up society between Steve and Guns
in 1985. In 1986, John Lydon (he N Roses led to numerous on-
had long-since reverted to using stage get-togethers, as well as a
his original name) successfully collaboration with Duff and Matt
sued his erstwhile manager, and (along with Duran Durans bass-
Steve along with Cook was ist, John Taylor) with the Neurotic
savvy enough to know which Outsiders. The project was never
way the wind was blowing and intended as a lasting venture, but
readily sided with Lydon. The things took a serious turn when
result was that all monies that had Madonnas Maverick label offered
been frozen seven years earlier, at the band an album deal. Although
the time of the original lawsuit, the ensuing record, released in


1995, garnered mainly positive Although Izzy had long since lost
reviews, Duff and Matt were still interest in G N Rs musical direc-
contracted to G N R, and Steve tion, and had also tired of Axls
would also find himself fully histrionics, he still wanted to make
occupied elsewhere. music and much to Axls con-
In 1996, the reconstituted Sex sternation, he even hired ex-G N
Pistols including original bass- R manager, Alan Niven to oversee
ist, Glen Matlock announced a his business affairs. Armed with a
world tour, for which Steve report- clutch of basic eight-track demos,
edly pocketed an estimated 1 Izzy recruited long-time friend
million, and meant he would no and ex-Broken Dreams bassist,
longer have to suffer the humili- Jimmy Ashhurst to help knock the
ation of opening for acts the Sex songs into shape. Jimmy, in turn,
Pistols had helped inspire. invited drummer Charlie Chalo
Today, although happy to strap Quintana onto the project, and
on his trusty Les Paul to play the ex-Georgia Satellites lead guitar-
odd Sex Pistols show, includ- ist, Rick Richards completed the
ing five November, 2007 sell-out line-up of what became the Ju-Ju
shows at Londons Brixton Acad- Hounds.
emy, Steve has found fame as the The resultant album, Izzy Strad-
host of Jonesys Jukebox: a two- lin and the Ju-Ju Hounds which
hour daily show between 12-2pm one critic cynically cited as being
on L.A.s Indie 103.1 FM, which the best Rolling Stones album
sees him play an eclectic range of since Tattoo You was recorded
songs from his personal CD col- at New Yorks Sterling Sound stu-
lection. Steve can also be found dios between February and July,
showing off his not-so-silky soccer 1992, and was released on the
skills for Hollywood United, a Geffen label on 12 October that
team of ex-pats which, on occa- same year. And such was Izzys
sion, includes former Wales inter- high profile that MTV paid a visit
national, and Leeds United mid- to the bands Chicago studio and
fielder turned actor Vinnie Jones, filmed the guys putting the finish-
and his one-time Fabulous Stains ing touches to the album; the crew
co-star, Ray Winston. was also treated to a new song
entitled Got Away, which sub-
sequently appeared as the b-side
on their debut single, Shuffle It
Ju-Ju Hounds, The All. As was to be expected, given
Izzys passion for stripped down,
The Ju-Ju Hounds was the name gutsy, punk-edged honky-tonk
of Izzy Stradlins short-lived blues, the albums 10 tracks com-
project following his departure prises of catchy, mid-tempo rock-
from Guns N Roses in 1991. ers such as Somebody Knockin,

Guns N Roses

and Train Tracks, as well as the loneliness of constantly being

bluesy ballads like the excel- out on the road, received moder-
lent How Will It Go and Come ate airplay, it failed to trouble the
On Now Inside which were far Billboard 100. By and large, the
removed from Guns N Roses majority of the critics were enthu-
post-Appetite multi-layered siastic about the album, but certain
epics. The record also features scribes couldnt help having a dig
a souped-up cover of Frederick at Izzys supposedly never-ending
Toots Hibbert and the Maytals genuflection at the Stones shrine.
1969 reggae hit, Pressure Drop Such comparisons were perhaps
as a subliminal nod to The Clash, inevitable, especially as Ronnie
who had also covered the track in Wood makes a guest appear-
1979. Incidentally, reggae toaster ance on his own song, Take A
Mikey Dread, who worked and Look At The Guy, and one-time
recorded with the Clash, most Stones session man, Nicky Hop-

notably on Rockers Galore kins laid down the piano track on

UK Tour which appeared as the Come On Now Inside, but Izzy
b-side on the Clashs 1980 hit, remained unfazed. Indeed, he not
Bankrobber, provided backing only admitted his musical debt to
vocals on the Ju-Ju Hounds ver- the Rolling Stones, but also paid
sion of Pressure Drop. Unfor- homage to the blues legends that
tunately for Izzy, however, the had influenced the Stones early
media machine was far more sound such as Muddy Waters,
interested in the on-going tour Willie Dixon and Howlin Wolf.
shenanigans of his former band- Somewhat surprisingly, given
mates than what he was doing. his supposed aversion to tour-
And, although the single Shuffle ing, Izzy chose to take the Ju-Ju
It All, Izzys melancholic take on Hounds out on the road. What was


even more surprising was his deci- US, Europe and Japan, where, on
sion to do so before the album was 19 September, 1992 almost one
released, which meant that many year to the day from their Chi-
of those gathered inside Chica- cago debut the band played its
gos Avalon theatre to witness the last ever show, at Tokyos Shibuya
bands stage debut on 22 Septem- Koukaido arena. Immediately fol-
ber, 1991 were unfamiliar with lowing the tour, they returned to
most of the original material, with the US and headed back into the
the possible exception of the three studio to supposedly begin work
tracks on the recently-released on songs for the follow-up album.
Pressure Drop EP. By way of Although several tracks were
compensation, the band supple- indeed recorded, they would never
mented their 17-song set with see the light of day, for, according
several covers, including The Sur- to Chalo Quintana, Izzy called a
faris Wipe Out, Howlin Wolfs time out during the recording to
Highway 49 and Bo Diddleys go out for cigarettes, and never
Pills, as well as a ripping version returned. Quintana, Ashhurst and
of Goodnight Tonight which had Richards, realising there was little
featured in Guns N Roses early future for the Ju-Ju Hounds with-
live repertoire. out Izzy Stradlin, slapped the pad-
The Ju-Ju Hounds then embarked lock on the studio door and went
on a promotional tour taking in the their separate ways.

Guns N Roses

Guns N Roses, who released it as

a single in 1992.
Guns N Roses first-known per-
formance of Knockin On Heav-
ens Door came at the soundcheck
to their first-ever UK show, at the
Marquee in London on 19 June,
1987. The band also performed
the song during the show, and
what better way to introduce them-
selves as the new gunslingers in
town than with a rockin cover of
Dylans haunting classic, which
Knockin On Heavens Door first appeared on the soundtrack
to Sam Peckinpahs 1973 homage
to the Wild West outlaw William
Knockin On Heavens Door is Bonney, Pat Garrett & Billy the
the classic Bob Dylan song which Kid, starring James Coburn and
has been covered and recorded Kris Kristofferson (Dylan also
by a plethora of artists, including appears in the movie, playing the


role of Alias, a minor member of and six years-old, and their teacher
Billys gang). Gwen Mayor who had grown
Despite the movies failure at up but a few short miles from
the box office, which was prob- my home town of Accrington.
ably due to the American publics Local musician, Ted Christopher
disenchantment with the stale- with Dylans consent wrote
mate over in Vietnam rather than an additional verse for the record-
the movie itself, Knockin On ing, which included the brothers
Heavens Door has stood the test and sisters of the victims singing
of time, and to date has been cov- on the chorus, and featured Dire
ered by over 150 bands and solo Straits frontman, Marc Knopfler,
artists, including The Grateful on guitar. The single went to #1 in
Dead, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Eric the UK with all proceeds going to
Clapton, Television and U2. Per- various childrens charities.
haps the most bizarre interpreta- The Marquee crowds enthused
tion of Dylans masterpiece came response to the Gunners souped-
on 20 September, 1976 on the up version of Dylans acoustic,
first night of the now legendary four-chord classic which can
100 Club Punk Festival, where be heard on the 12 version of
the fledgling line-up of Siouxsie Welcome To The Jungle led
and the Banshees (which included to the band adopting the song
future Sex Pistol, Sid Vicious on into their set, where it quickly
drums) proceeded to eviscerate became something of a mainstay
the song during their 20 minute and still features in G N Rs 2007
stage debut. Without doubt, the live shows. The band originally
most harrowing and heartfelt recorded the song for the 1991
recording of Knockin On Heav- movie, Days Of Thunder, starring
ens Door came in December, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman,
1996 when a revised version of and subsequently released it as a
the song was released in memory single the following year.
of the seventeen victims of the
Dunblane Massacre. Nine months
earlier, on 13 March, the world Kostabi, Mark
had been stunned to learn that an
unemployed local resident called
Thomas Hamilton had casually Mark Kostabi is the American
strolled into Dunblane Primary artist and composer who designed
Schools small gymnasium armed the sleeve cover for the Use Your
with two 9mm Browning HP pis- Illusion albums.
tols, two Smith and Wesson .357 Kostabi, who is of Estonian
revolvers and over 700 cartridges, descent, was born in Los Angeles
and callously gunned down 16 in 1962, and raised in Whittier,
schoolchildren aged between five California. After graduating from
the Californian State University

Guns N Roses

in 1982, he moved to New York The School of Athens (which can

City, where he soon became a be found in the Vatican Citys
prominent and respected figure Apostolic Palace) was chosen by
amongst the citys East Village Axl as the artwork for the cover
art community. Within five years of the Use Your Illusion albums.
his work was being exhibited in Kostabi had edited the original
art galleries throughout America, fresco by focusing on just two of
as well as Japan, West Germany, the ancient Greek philosophers.
Holland and Australia. In 1988, And, although the philosophers in
in a move which garnered exten- question a young boyish-look-
sive press coverage both at home ing individual (whom Kostabi has
and abroad, he founded Kostabi made the more prominent of the
World, which serves as a plat- two) is sat cross-legged putting his
form for up-and-coming artists as thoughts to paper, while the other
well as ideas people. (a much older man) leans over the
In 1991, Kostabis adaptation of boy, seemingly lost in thought
Renaissance artist Raphaels (Rap- are unnamed, in the original they
hael Sanzio: 1483 1520) fresco, are close in proximity to Plotinus
(205 270 ad), who is widely
regarded as the father of Neo-Pla-
tonism, a philosophical system
dominant in European thinking
until the 13th century.
By the late-90s, Kostabi had
stretched his wings and was divid-
ing his time between New York
and Rome, where his talents were
also greatly appreciated. In 2005,
he began producing a weekly
cable TV show called Name That
Painting, which invites art crit-
ics and celebrities such as John
Lennons one-time lover, Mai
Pang and author Victor Bockris,
to compete against each other to
complete the titles to his paintings
for cash prizes. In 1995, Kostabi
was called upon by the Ramones
to design the cover for their final
studio album, Adios Amigos.

Guns N Roses

alongside the American colonists

during the War of Independence.
The site upon which Lafayette
stands was originally inhabited by
a tribe of Miami Indians known
as the Quiatenon, and the name
Tippecanoe is derived from the
Indian word, Kethtippecanoogi
their name for the Succor Fish
People. In 1811 Tippecanoe lent
its name to the battle fought on 6
November of that year, between
the then Governor and future US
Lafayette President William Henry Har-
rison, and the legendary Indian
Lafayette, which has the distinc- chief, Tecumseh.
tion of being the 215th largest met- Today, as with most of Indiana,
ropolitan area within the United Lafayettes economy is dependant
States, is a city in Tippecanoe on the agricultural, manufactur-
County, Indiana, lying some 63 ing and transportation industries,
miles northwest of the state capi- but when the town was first plat-
tal, Indianapolis. ted in 1825 by river trader Wil-
Axl and Izzys hometown of liam Rigby, it was a vital shipping
Lafayette was named after Marie- centre on the Wabash River, which,
Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert within six months, had become the
du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, local seat for the newly-formed
1757 1834, the famous French Tippecanoe County. Its regional
general and statesman, who fought prominence was further cemented


with the opening of the Wabash train, in 1959 the US Postal Serv-
and Eerie Canal in the 1840s, and ice celebrated the centennial of
further still with the expansion Wises flight by issuing a 7 air-
of the railroads a decade later. mail commemorative stamp.
In 1717, the French established
Fort Quiatenon on the Wabash
River, some three miles south of L.A. Guns
present day Lafayette. The fort
quickly became a trading centre
L.A. Guns is a Los Angeles-
for fur trappers, merchants and
based rock band which once fea-
the Quiatenon Indians, and today
tured Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin
the locals celebrate their heritage
in its line-up.
with an annual re-enactment and
L.A. Guns was formed in the
festival known as The Feast of the early 80s and in its original
Hunters Moon. incarnation the line-up consisted
Lafayette can also lay claim to of guitarist Tracii Guns (born
being the site of the first official Tracy Ulrich on 20 January, 1966),
US air-mail delivery service. On singer Michael Jagosz, Danish-
17 August, 1859, local business- born bassist Ole Beich (who died
man John Wise set off from the in mysterious circumstances in
citys courthouse grounds in a hot- 1991, supposedly drowning in
air balloon, with a cargo of mail Copenhagens St. Jorgens Lake),
destined for New York. Although and drummer Rob Gardner. In
adverse weather conditions forced 1984, whilst Jagosz was in jail
Wise to abandon his flight before ruminating over the foolishness of
hed even cleared the state line, sending cocaine through the US
resulting in the mail making the Mail, Axl took temporary charge
rest of the inaugural journey by of vocal duties in L.A Guns

Guns N Roses

before handing the microphone lasted for one show at L.A.s

back to Jagosz to concentrate on Radio City on 11 April before
Hollywood Rose, once the latter Guns and Gardner were replaced
was again breathing free air. by Slash and Steven Adler.
Although Hollywood Rose would Although his pride had taken a
be in direct competition with L.A. hit, Tracii was now doubly deter-
Guns, Axl and Tracii remained mined to succeed and quickly
friends, and it was this friend- set about putting another band
ship which eventually led to their together. He would, however, have
joining forces to form Guns N to do so without Rob Gardner, who
Roses in 1985 (other names con- rode off into the sunset seemingly
sidered at the time of the collabo- content to become a footnote in
ration were AIDS and Heads of the history of Guns N Roses. For
Amazon). One has to wonder how the new L.A. Guns line-up, Tracii
Izzy, Duff or Rob Gardner could recruited ex-Mau Maus drum-
have believed there was room in mer, Paul Mars Black on vocals,
the band for two egocentric front- future Cramps drummer Nicky
men such as Axl and Guns. As Beat Alexander, ex-Faster Pus-
we now know, this line-up only sycat guitarist Mick Cripps, who


subsequently switched to bass,

and ex-Dogs DAmour frontman,
Rob Stoddard on rhythm guitar
and backing vocals. But by the
time of the release of the bands
eponymous debut album in 1988,
Black had departed, to be replaced
by ex-Girl frontman, Phil Lewis,
Cripps had reverted back to guitar
following Stoddards departure,
and ex-Faster Pussycat bassist
Kelly Nickels was brought in on
bass. During the subsequent pro-
Circle. Although Riley subse-
motional tour Nicky Alexander
quently returned to the fold for the
left, to be replaced by ex-W.A.S.P.
albums promotional tour, Vicious
drummer Steve Riley.
Circle failed to shift the prerequi-
The following year saw L.A.
site number of units and Polydor
Guns reach the apex of their
pulled the plug and dropped L.A
career with the release of their
Guns from their roster, which
second album, Cocked & Loaded, resulted in both Lewis and Cripps
containing the haunting radio and announcing their departures.
video hit single The Ballad Of In July, 1995, with new recruits,
Jayne, which helped the parent vocalist Chris Van Dahl and gui-
album accrue sales in excess of tarist Johnny Crypt, L.A Guns
500,000 as well as earning the headed into the recording studio
band their first gold record. And to begin work on their fifth album,
although their third album, Holly- American Hardcore. But less than
wood Vampires, released in 1991, six months into the sessions, Kelly
failed to live up to the success of Nickels announced his departure,
its predecessor, it did, however, and rather than risk interminable
spawn the moderate hit singles delays searching for a replace-
Kiss My Love Goodbye, and Its ment, Crypt simply stepped in
Over Now. But any despondency to fulfil both bass and guitaring
the band might have been feel- duties. Yet, despite heavy tour-
ing was dispelled with the news ing in support of the new record,
that their debut album had even- American Hardcore failed to trou-
tually achieved gold status. 1994 ble the Billboard 100. Van Dahl
promised to be another good year paid the ultimate price for the
for L.A. Guns, but the on-going calamity, and Tracii approached
friction between Steve Riley and Phil Lewis in the hope that return-
Phil Lewis led to the drummers ing their former frontman would
dismissal shortly after the release bring about a reversal in the bands
of their fourth album, Vicious fortunes. Lewis, however, refused,

Guns N Roses

and so Tracii brought in singer final hurrah with the band which
Ralph Saenz, who appeared on bore his name, as hed accepted
the six-track Wasted EP, released Nikki Sixxs invitation to join the
in September, 1998. By the time Cre bassists side project, Brides
of their sixth album Shrinking of Destruction.
Violet, released in June, 1999 and L.A. Guns decided to carry on,
produced by Gilby Clarke (who and with replacement guitarist,
also appears on the track Dream- Canadian-born Stacey Blades,
time), Saenz had been replaced went into the studio to record the
by ex-Love/Hate frontman Jizzy album Rip the Covers, which
Pearl. Cypt also jumped ship upon like Guns N Roses The Spaghetti
learning Tracii had again been in Incident? consisted entirely
negotiations with Lewis to mull of cover-versions. Unlike G N
over a greatest hits album and R, however, L.A. Guns offering
promotional tour. was warmly received, and their
This time Lewis had proved follow-up album, Tales From The
receptive, and following the Strip, was hailed a critical suc-
release of the greatest hits album: cess on both sides of the Atlan-
Greatest Hits and Black Beau- tic. By this time, the Brides of
ties, L.A. Guns classic line-up Destruction had self-destructed,
of Tracii Guns, Steve Riley, Phil following a less-than-enthusias-
Lewis, Kelly Nickels and Mick tic response to the bands second
Cripps embarked on a full-blown album that saw Tracii slip away
tour of the US, and their trium- to concentrate on his own solo
phant homecoming show at the project: the Tracii Guns Band.
Key Club on Sunset Strip on 7 As the line-up included ex-L.A.
October, 1999, was recorded for Gunners Paul Black and Nicky
the ensuing live album, Live: A Alexander, as well as Traciis
Night On The Strip. Any hopes the son Jeremy and with Tracii still
bands fans may have had about owning a 50% stake in the name
the reconstituted line-up becom- it was decided the band would
ing permanent were dashed when go out as L.A. Guns despite the
Cripps and Nickels proved reluc- fact that the original L.A Guns
tant to commit to further tours. In was still active.
August, 2000, with new guitarist
Brett Muscat and a bassist going
by the name of Muddy, L.A. Guns Live And Let Die
went into the studio to re-record
their second album, suitably re-
titled: Cocked & Re-Loaded. Live And Let Die, written by
Their seventh studio record, Paul and Linda McCartney as
Waking The Dead (2000), how- the theme tune to the 1973 James
ever, would prove to be Traciis Bond movie of the same name,
was recorded by Guns N Roses


and appeared on Use Your Illu-

sion I. It was also released as a
single in 1991.
Although Live And Let Die
earned Paul McCartney a second
Academy Award nomination for
Best Original Song (the ex-Beatle
unfortunately lost out to Barbara
Streisands The Way We Were),
it seemed a strange choice of cover
song for a rock band at the time
enjoying its status as the most
dangerous band in the world. standard fare, showing snippets
Axl told Headbangers Ball pre- of the band on stage at various
senter, Vanessa Warwick that the live shows from the Use Your
idea to cover the song came about Illusion tour to date, interspersed
whilst watching a video rental of with floating photos of each band
the movie late one night, shortly member taken when they were
before the Gunners were due to kids. In 1997 the Gunners version
go into the studio to begin work of the song featured in the John
on the new album(s). He also told
Cusack and Minnie Driver movie
Vanessa that hed grabbed up the
Grosse Point Blank.
phone and as this was before
keyboardist Dizzy joined the band
beseeched Slash to get out his
guitar and find the requisite notes Live Era 87 93
to match Linda McCartneys dis-
cordant piano at the songs bridge.
Live Era 87 93 is the sole
The top-hatted one duly obliged,
official live album to be released
and having added the song to
by Guns N Roses.
the set-list for their forthcoming
The track-listing for the 2xLP,
world tour, the band gave its first
performance of Live And Let 2xCD disc set is as follows: Disc
Die at San Franciscos Warfield 1: Nightrain; Mr. Brownstone; Its
Theatre on 9 May, 1991. So Easy; Welcome To The Jungle;
The promo video accompanying Dust N Bones; My Michelle;
the single upon its release other Youre Crazy; Used To Love Her;
than opening with home-movie Patience; Its Alright; Novem-
footage of a behatted Axl, aged ber Rain. Disc 2: Out Ta Get
three or four years old, poised at the Me; Pretty Tied Up; Yesterdays;
doorway of the Bailey homestead Move To The City; You Could Be
in downtown Lafayette, clutching Mine; Rocket Queen; Sweet Child
a toy gun was otherwise pretty O Mine; Knockin On Heavens

Guns N Roses

Door; Dont Cry; Paradise City fuse matters, the albums artwork
Geffen Records, 1999. comprises entirely of posters and
By the time Live Era 87 93 flyers advertising shows some
was released on 23 November, of which date back to Hollywood
1999, Axl Rose was the sole sur- Rose for the mid-to-late 80s at
viving member of Guns N Roses, the Troubadour, Whisky A Go-
and the band had ceased to exist Go, Radio City and the Roxy; even
in anything but name. Somewhat the dates and locations of the indi-
surprisingly, given that the liner vidual tracks are missing. The track

selection is equally puzzling as

notes boast the 22 songs contained Civil War and Live And Let Die,
on the double-CD were recorded which were not only both released
across the universe between 1987 as singles, but were also tour per-
and 1993, are widely accepted as ennials, are omitted in favour of
only coming from mixing desk Pretty Tied Up and Move To
recordings taken during the bands The City. And another conundrum
Use Your Illusion world tour of is why Coma only appears as a
1991 93. And to further con-


bonus track on the vinyl edition Live?!*@ Like A Suicide

and the Japanese CD.
Despite being a testament to
The 4-track Live?!*@ Like A
the Gunners in their heyday, the
Suicide EP was Guns N Roses
majority of the bands fans had
debut vinyl offering when it was
long-since become disillusioned
released on 24 December, 1986.
with the prolonged inactivity as
The tracks featured are: Reck-
well as Axls hirings and firings,
less Life (3:20); Nice Boys (Dont
and the album limped into the US
Play Rock N Roll) (3:02); Move
Billboard at a lowly #45. It didnt
To The City (3:42); Mama Kin
make much further headway in the
(3:57) Uzi Suicide 1986.
coming months and, despite all
The idea to release the 10,000
but one of the tracks the cover
limited edition EP came from
of Black Sabbaths Its Alright
Geffen, who saw it not only as a
having appeared on albums which
stop-gap offering to satisfy Guns
had gone multi-platinum, the live N Roses burgeoning L.A. fan-
offering failed even to accrue the base, but also as a means of capi-
requisite 500,000 sales to achieve talising on the rapidly-increasing
gold status a humiliation which momentum surrounding the band.
would have been unthinkable five The Gunners self-produced EP
years earlier. features four songs two origi-
The majority of the production nal compositions, as well as two
duties fell to Slash, who recruited cover-versions from the Gun-
one-time Faith No More pro- ners set list at the time, which
ducer, Andy Wallace to help him hadnt been selected for inclusion
remix the individual tracks. Duff on the forthcoming debut album.
also popped into the studio to lend The original compositions were
a hand, whereas Axl other than Reckless Life, written by Izzy,
publicly humiliating Matt Sorum Duff and Slash, and Move To The
by having the drummer who fea- City, penned by Izzy, Del James
tured on all the tracks listed as and Chris Weber, while the covers
an additional musician had were Aerosmiths Mama Kin,
little to do with the project and which features on the Boston
only communicated with Slash rockers 1973 self-titled debut
through their respective manag- album, and Rose Tattoos Nice
ers. There was one last sting in Boys (Dont Play Rock N Roll),
the tail regarding the Live Era which appears on the Australian
album when G N Rs manage- bands 1978 eponymously-titled
ment launched a $400,000 lawsuit debut long-player.
against Slash and Duff for repre- Following a roadies bellowed
sentation the company supposedly introduction of hey fuckers,
carried out on the duos behalf. suck on Guns N Fuckin Roses!,
Steven Adler opens the Gunners

Guns N Roses

four-song sonic salvo with the the same sentence as a huge com-
machine gun drum intro to Reck- pliment.
less Life, and within a heartbeat Crediting Axl and co. with
Slashs raging power chords have having self-produced the record
grabbed the listener by the balls. is something of a misnomer as
It is perhaps fitting that Reckless all they actually did was cull
Life was chosen as the opening the four selected songs from the
track as it also opened the proceed- mixing desk tape of their appear-
ings at many of the bands early ance at The Roxy back in January,
shows, while the other original and then re-record them with the
song, Move To the City Izzy, added audience backing. Given
Weber and James tri-angular that the EP was released on the
verdict on making the transition bands own Uzi Suicide label with
from their respective hometowns no advertising and very little in
to the sprawling metropolis of Los the way of promotion and there-
Angeles survived through to the fore relied heavily on word of
Use Your Illusion world tour and mouth it was a testament to the
also appeared on Live Era 87 bands popularity that all 10,000
93. Although the inclusion of the copies sold within four weeks of
lesser-known Nice Boys largely the release date. The EPs glossy
went unnoticed, the rock cogno- sleeve features a close-up stage
scenti quickly seized on Mama shot of Axl and Duff accompa-
Kin and openly compared Guns nied by the title and an early band
N Roses to a 1970s-era Aero- logo designed by Slash.
smith. If the critics were hoping to Geffen, as a means of combat-
somehow diminish the Gunners ing the EPs spiralling price on
flame with such comparisons then the black market, later included
they were in for a surprise. For the all four tracks on G N Rs second
band readily took any mention of album GNR Lies.
themselves and Aerosmith within


and recharged his energies, he put

Loaded Loaded together and the band hit
the road in May, 1999 for a one-
month West Coast tour. In keeping
Loaded was Duffs first post G with Duffs musical roots, Loaded
N R band and featured ex-Plexi
played at a fast and furious pace
guitarist Michael Barragan, ex-
with a punk edge, which certainly
Black Flag rhythm guitarist Dez
went down well with their audi-
Cadena and ex-Reverend Horton
ences. In fact, the reaction was so
Heat drummer Patrick Taz
overwhelming that immediately
The idea to get out on the road after the tour the band headed
again with a full band rather than back into the studio to work on
take the solo option and trade songs for their debut album Dark
on his name, came about due to Days, which was released later
Geffens announcement that his that year. The group also recorded
second solo album, Beautiful a live album, Episode 1999: Live,
Diseas, was to be shelved indefi- which was only available through
nitely, following its merger with their website.
Universal. Having spent the previ-
ous eighteen months working sol-
idly, six days a week, at his home London
studio in L.A. on the album, only
to one day receive a telephone
call telling him that his efforts had London was a Los Angeles-
been wasted, would have broken based glam rock band which fea-
many a musicians willpower to tured a pre-Guns N Roses Slash
carry on. But Duff was made of (albeit briefly), and Izzy Stradlin
sterner stuff, and having regrouped in its line-up.

Guns N Roses

Although bearing the same Rage joining shortly thereafter.

name as the short-lived British By the following year, however,
punk band featuring future Culture Lawless had departed to form
Club drummer Jon Moss, London W.A.S.P, but London regrouped
was an American glam-metal and aside from bringing in vocal-
group which, in 1985, included ist Henry Valentine, the band
both Izzy Stradlin and Slash in its looked to bolster its sound with
line-up. Indeed, the feeder band the addition of keyboardist John
also boasted future Mtley Cre St. John. Valentines tenure with
bassist Nikki Sixx, and soon-to- the band proved short-lived, and
be W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie he was replaced by ex-Mott front-
Lawless in its original line-up. A man, Nigel Benjamin. The band
song co-written by Sixx and Law- plodded on aimlessly without
less called Public Enemy No. 1, making any significant headway,
whilst still with London, would which resulted in Sixx and Ben-
subsequently appear on Mtley jamin calling time. And although
Cres debut album, Too Fast for Lawless briefly returned to the
Love. fold replacing Sixx on bass, the
London was formed in 1978 momentum had been lost and the
by Blackie Lawless (born Steven band disintegrated.
Edward Duren on 4 September, This, however, was not the last
1956 in New York), and ex-Tear the world would hear of London,
Garden guitarist Lizzy Grey, with for in 1984, Lizzie Grey hoping
Nikki Sixx and drummer Dane to cash in on the resurgence of


glam metal in West Hollywood Jones, but the rehearsal rooms

put together a new band consist- revolving door was set in motion
ing of ex-Ruby Slippers drum- again when Coury quit shortly
mer, Michael Itson, English-born after the albums release. His tem-
vocalist John Ward, and Donny porary replacement, Wailin Jen-
Cameron on bass. And having nings Morgan, was in turn replaced
decided to recruit a second gui- by Derek Shea, who stuck around
tarist, the band placed an ad in long enough to provide the chops
Music Connection. The suc- for the bands second album, Dont
cessful candidate was one Saul Cry Wolf , produced by legendary
Hudson more commonly known American producer Kim Fowley.
as Slash. Slashs residency proved By 1988, however, after ten years,
extremely brief and the guitarist two albums, a surfeit of ex-mem-
left London within a few weeks bers, and very little to show for a
of his joining to form Road Crew decade of constant upheaval, the
with his buddy Steven Adler. last of Londons founding fathers,
Slashs replacement although Lizzy Grey, finally called it a day.
neither guitarist was aware of Despite Greys departure,
London struggled on for another
each other at the time was none
two years, and even released a
other than Izzy Stradlin.
third album, Playa Del Rock in
By the following year, however,
1990, by which time the band had
Itson, Ward and Cameron had all
been re-branded DPriest. The
departed for pastures new to be
change in name did, briefly, bring
replaced by the exotic-sounding
about a reversal in fortune when
vocalist Nadir DPriest (Antonio
the accompanying video for the
Nadir), drummer Bobby Marks salaciously-titled single Ride You
and bassist Brian West. Grey Through The Night was flavour
was in the process of booking the of the month at MTV. Any hopes
band some shows when the newly that this would act as a spring-
installed rhythm section of West board to kick-start their career
and Marks quit to form their own sadly proved short-lived, and the
band. And although Grey brought band called it a day in 1991.
in future Cinderella sticksman, This, however, was not the end of
Fred Coury, Izzy announced his Londons story, for in the summer
own departure, to team up with of 2006 reports began circulat-
his old Lafayette buddy, Axl, in ing on the Hollywood grapevine
Hollywood Rose. that DPriest had put a new band
Despite Londons line-up seem- together, trading under the name
ingly in a never-ending state of DPriests New London and
flux, the band did at least manage had gone into the studio to record
to record their debut album, Non demos intended for a new album.
Stop Rock for Shrapnel Records.
Izzys replacement was Frankie

Guns N Roses

in L.A.s sprawling metropolis.

But, rather than devoting all his
energies to the drums, the savvy
blond, realising bassists were in
short supply, opted for that instru-
ment instead.
The fact that he was both tall
and lean like his punk heroes
Sid Vicious and Paul Simonon
meant he already had certain,
key characteristics required of
any budding bassist, and having
adopted Vicious swagger not
McKagan, Duff to mention his trademark padlock
and chain he set out in search
of some action. He didnt have
Duff McKagan was Guns N to wait long. Having responded
Roses bassist for twelve years to a bassist wanted ad in Music
before leaving the band in 1997. Connection, later that same day
He is currently a member of he headed along to Cantors Deli
Velvet Revolver. to meet up with potential band
Michael Duff Rose McKa- mates, and future G N R bud-
gan was born on 5 February, dies, Slash and Steven Adler.
1965 in Seattle, Washington. The The meeting didnt exactly go as
McKagan household was con- planned though, since Slash and
stantly filled with music of one Steven were both slightly inebri-
description or another and he and ated, and Duffs choice of attire,
his seven siblings were encour- which included combat boots and
aged by their father, Elmer who a full-length, red and black leather
had once sung in a barbershop trench coat despite the eighty-
quartet to take up an instru-
ment. Duff chose the guitar, and
also taught himself drums. But by
the time he was 19-years-old, and
having tired of aimlessly drifting
from one forgettable local band
to another, he packed his belong-
ings into the trunk of his battered
cherry-red Chevy Nova and with
buddy Greg Gilmour for company
headed down the coast to Los
Angeles. As with Steven Adler,
Duff quickly realised guitarists
were as common as palm trees


degree heat outside caused Rocket Queen. Although Slash

Slashs current squeeze, Yvonne, and Duff were totally committed
to enquire if he was gay. to the cause, Stevens work ethic
Having established his sexual apparently left a lot to be desired.
orientation, and his bass-playing And so when Slash announced he
credentials, Duff teamed up with was breaking up the band to try
Slash and Steven in the latter twos his luck elsewhere, Duff fell in with
band, Road Crew. It was during Izzy Stradlin who happened to be
their brief time together that the living across the street from him
trio wrote several tunes, one of and became the bassist in Hol-
which would later resurface as lywood Rose, which in turn led to

Guns N Roses

his becoming involved with Guns tion of a visiting friend who duly
N Roses a commitment which drove Duff to the nearest hospital,
would last for thirteen years. where he was pumped full of mor-
His commitment to long-time phine to counter the pain, given a
girlfriend Mandy Brixx, whom he dose of Librium to help with his
married on 28 May, 1988, how- chronic DTs, and rushed into
ever, wasnt quite as long-lived theatre for emergency surgery.
and the couple divorced in 1990. The surgery was successful, but
His second attempt at matrimo- the medical team warned him that
nial bliss, this time to Playboy if he didnt quit drinking hed be
Playmate, Linda Johnson, came dead before he reached 30. Need-
in September, 1992, but the mar- less to say, Duff hasnt touched a
riage lasted just three years and drop of alcohol since.
they divorced in September, 1995. It is a measure of Duffs loyalty
When it came to tying the knot, it that he stood by Axl as the origi-
was definitely a case of third time nal G N R line-up disintegrated
lucky for Duff as he is still very all around him, but he finally
much attached to his third wife, called it a day upon realising the
Susan, the model and swimwear band had become a dictatorship
designer whom he married on and no longer had anything to
28 August, 1999. The couple do with what he, Slash, Izzy and
have two daughters: ten-year-old Steven had helped create. Having
Grace, and seven-year-old Mai collaborated with Slash on the
Marie, named after his mother guitarists side project, Snakepit,
Alice Marie, who succumbed as well as teaming up with ex-
to Parkinsons disease in April, Sex Pistol, Steve Jones and Duran
1999. Duffs father, Elmer Mac Durans John Taylor in the Neu-
McKagan sadly passed away on rotic Outsiders, Duff began work
18 July, 2007. on his second solo record, Beauti-
Duffs adventures during his ful Disease. His debut solo album,
tenure with Guns N Roses are the punk-edged Believe In Me,
documented elsewhere in this which was released 1993, had
book, but the years of fast-living received favourable reviews, but
and hard-drinking inevitably took owing to the on-going merger
their toll. In early 1994, just a few between Geffen and Interscope,
weeks shy of his 30th birthday, the second was destined never to
Duffs pancreas actually burst. see the light of day; to add insult
His agony was such that it ren- to injury, Duff was also dropped
dered him unable to even reach from the label.
the telephone, despite it being on Although financially secure,
the night table next to his bed. The Duff was still itching to make
bassist might well have died had it music and went out on the road
not been for the timely interven- with his band Loaded, which


resulted in the live album, Epi- perfect his technique at the Per-
sode 1999: Live. He would sub- cussion Institute of Technology
sequently put together another in Los Angeles. In the mid-80s
version of the band in 2001 and he joined his first band, a San
recorded the studio album, Dark Francisco Bay Area funk-rock
Days. In between these junctures, outfit called Limbomaniacs, who
he teamed up with Izzy to help came and went before the decade
out on the guitarists third solo was out without causing much
album, Ride On. And in 2000, of a ripple. The outfit reformed
Duff formed Mad For Racket in 1990 and released the album
also known as The Racketeers Stinky Grooves before sliding into
with ex-MC5 guitarist, Wayne insignificance.
Kramer and one-time Damned Following on from that par-
guitarist, Brian James. In 2002, he ticular venture, Mantia honed his
got together with Slash and Matt skills further by playing with a
Sorum to form Velvet Revolver. variety of bands before then co-
To date, the band has released two forming funk-experimental outfit,
studio albums. Praxis with Parliament Funka-
delic stalwarts Bootsy Collins
and Bernie Worrell. Also included
Mantia, Bryan in the Praxis line-up were record
producer Bill Laswell and a pre-
Guns N Roses Buckethead, upon
Bryan Brain Mantia is a con-
whose insistence Mantia would
temporary rock drummer who
subsequently be invited to join G
joined Guns N Roses in 2000
N R. Indeed, Mantia worked with
and played every live show with
Buckethead both in and outside
the band until taking a temporary
of Praxis including two of the
leave of absence in June, 2006 to
masked guitarists solo albums,
spend time with his wife and baby
Colma, Giant Robot and Monsters
Mantia, who was born in the
South Bay city of Cupertino,
California, in 1964, didnt actu-
ally start playing drums until the
age of 16. And it was whilst he
was studiously applying himself
to his new vocation in the high
school band that he received the
nickname Brain due to his sup-
posed obsession with the complex
Anthony Cirone book, Portraits
in Rhythm. Following on from
high school, Mantia continued to

Guns N Roses

and Robots. Praxis most notable An Excuse released the following

releases during their time together year.
were Transmutation (Muta- Although he had already estab-
tis Mutandis) (1992), Metatron lished himself as a major player,
(1996), and Warszawa (1999). Mantias big break came in 2000
The late 90s also saw Mantia when he was invited largely at
reunited with funk-metal act, the behest of Buckethead to
Primus, having briefly been a replace Josh Freese in Guns N
member of the band in 1989, Roses. He was a member of the
before being forced to vacate the line-up for the bands sporadic
drum stool owing to a broken outings throughout 2001 and
foot. His second outing proved 2002, and also laid down drum
infinitely more satisfying than tracks for Chinese Democracy.
first time around, and not only did When Guns N Roses re-emerged
he tour extensively with the trio, from enforced hibernation in June,
he also recorded three albums 2006, it was Mantia who provided
in successive years: the Brown the beat at four warm-up shows in
Album in 1997, Rhinoplasty in New York City before then accom-
1998 and Antipop in 1999. During panying the band on a summer
that same period he also recorded tour of Europe. On 21 June of that
Songs of Love and Hate with the year, however, Mantia announced
band Godflesh, and the new mil- he would be taking an official
lennium saw him collaborate in temporary leave of absence from
a side-project called No Force- the band to spend time with his
field with Primus guitarist Larry wife in expectation of the arrival
LaLonde, which resulted in two of their baby daughter, who was
more long-players: Lees Orien- born a fortnight later on 4 July.
tal Massage in 2000, and God Is And although his stand-in, Frank


Ferrer was subsequently promoted 3rd in the adult diving champion-

to full time member of Guns N ships which denied him a place in
Roses which fuelled speculation Americas 1948 Olympic team.
that Mantias paternity leave had Having decided to try his hand
been extended indefinitely G N at acting, Strother headed out to
Rs management has stated that California where his swimming
both drummers are official band proficiency earned him several
members. bit parts in movies such as The
Damned Dont Cry, and The
Asphalt Jungle, and led to his
Martin, Strother becoming swimming coach to
Charlie Chaplins children and
Marion Davies, a leading Holly-
An American actor whose wood actress and long-time lover
tagline What we got here is of newspaper magnate William
failure to communicate lifted Randolph Hearst. It was through
from the 1967 movie, Cool Hand his television work for Sam Peck-
Luke, appears at the beginning of inpah a relationship which
Civil War. developed into a lifelong friend-
Strother Martin Jr. was born ship that Strother landed sig-
on 26 March, 1919, in Kokomo,
nificant roles in the John Wayne
Indiana, the youngest of three
classics, The Sons Of Katie Elder
children to Strother Douglas and
in 1965 and True Grit in 1969,
Ethel Dunlap Martin. Shortly after
as well as Peckinpahs own 1969
Strothers birth, the Martin family
classic western, The Wild Bunch,
relocated to San Antonio, Texas,
which made him one of the best
but their tenure in the Lone Star
known faces in Hollywood. In
State proved short-lived and they
1967 he appeared alongside Paul
returned to their native Indiana,
Newman for the first time as
setting up home in Indianapolis
Captain in Stuart Rosenbergs
before moving to Cloverdale when
Cool Hand Luke. His association
Strother was in his teens. Having
with Newman led to roles in Butch
proved his prowess as a swimmer
by winning the National Junior
Springboard Diving Champion-
ship aged 17, which earned him
the nickname T-Bone because
of his diving style, and a schol-
arship on the diving team at the
University of Michigan, Strother
went on to serve as a swimming
instructor in the US Navy during
WWII and it was only his failure
to secure a higher placing than

Guns N Roses

Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in dons rock cognoscenti ensured

1969, and Slapshot in 1977. that a queue was forming along
Strother appeared to be at the height Wardour Street by noon. The
of his career when, on 1August, 1980, album may not have been avail-
he died as the result of a sudden heart able but Geffen hedged their bets
attack whilst at his home in Thousand by releasing Its So Easy/Mr.
Oaks, California. Brownstone as a double A-sided
single the previous Monday.
The Marquee shows also hap-
Marquee Club pened to be the bands first live
appearances outside of America
and their burgeoning hedonis-
The Marquee Club, which was tic reputation had well and truly
located at 165 Oxford Street when preceded them. Britains tabloids,
it first opened its doors in 1958, never ones to miss out on an
is one of Londons most famous opportunity to jump on the char-
music venues. In June, 1987, by acter assassination bandwagon,
which time the club had long- went out of their way to exacer-
since relocated to its best-known bate the situation by declaring the
site, 90 Wardour Street, Guns N Gunners, prior to their arrival in
Roses made their UK live debut. the English capital, to be even
The Gunners were booked to nastier than the Beastie Boys.
play three shows, the first being The Daily Star, although happy
Friday 19 June, and although to assure the UKs Volkswagen
Appetite For Destruction was still owners that singer, Axl Rose,
a month or so away from release, had no interest in stealing car
word-of-mouth amongst Lon- logos, he did have an endearing


habit of butchering small dogs

particularly poodles. This was
clearly nothing more than an edi-
tors whimsical attempt to gener-
ate distrust and loathing amongst
the adult population of a country
which is, at heart, a nation of dog
lovers, and, of course, it counted
for nought amongst the teenag-
ers and twenty-somethings which
made up the Gunners rapidly
increasing UK fanbase.
Needless to say, the bands two-
week stay in London was not with-
out incident. Slash, thrilled to be
following in the footsteps of many
of his musical heroes by playing the hecklers directly. Although
the Marquee, got rat-arsed in the this along with a threat to leave
pubs of Soho, and also made a the stage did persuade many of
nuisance of himself at the launch those present to desist their puer-
party to celebrate the release of ile antics, there were still a certain
Hearts of Fire; a new movie star- number who were intent on spoil-
ring Bob Dylan, Rupert Everett ing the night for all concerned, in
and Ian Dury. And Axl almost got turn leading to the band receiving
himself arrested the night before lukewarm reviews in the music
the opening date following a fracas press. The second show came
with the security staff at Tower the following Monday (22nd), and
Records in Piccadilly. being a Monday meant the venue
The capacity Friday-night Mar- was relatively free of show-off
quee crowd, although not expect- power-drinkers, and was therefore
ing to see a wild-eyed Axl hunched of a much higher calibre. It was the
in front of the drum riser chowing third and final gig on Sunday 28
down on a poodle, were perhaps June, however, that would prove
expecting something larger than to be the high point of their visit
life. And when Guns N Roses to London. Axl, sporting a Fuck
were revealed to be mere mor- Dancing, Lets Fuck T-shirt, got
tals albeit extremely talented the proceedings underway by
mortals they unleashed a hail dedicating the opening song, Out
of gob and plastic beer glasses Ta Get Me to the critics languish-
towards the stage. When the bar- ing in the shadows at the back.
rage showed little sign of abat- Relaxed and finally able to get
ing, Axl was forced to call a halt down to what they did best, the
to the proceedings and challenge band treated the Marquee crowd to

Guns N Roses

a blistering set and finished off the

show with white-hot, finger-sear-
ing versions of AC/DCs Whole
Lotta Rosie and Knockin On
Heavens Door, which received
its first public airing that night
and subsequently appeared as a
bonus track on the 12 version of
the Gunners second single, Wel-
come To The Jungle.

Maynard, Sharon

Sharon Tanemura Maynard is be skilled at bridging Eastern and

a professional psychic who first Western viewpoints and integrat-
entered Axls world in 1992 during ing them into programmes for
Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion new ways of thinking and effec-
world tour and has remained in tive action. She also held an
close contact with the singer ever ARCT Degree from the Toronto
since. Royal Conservatory of Music,
Canadian-born Maynard, along but Axl was more interested in
with husband Elliott (who also her special aptitude for channel-
received a thank you credit on ling past lives, and her knowledge
the Use Your Illusion liner notes), on the power of crystals, than
is also the head of a non-profit her ability to recognise a catchy
organisation called the Arcos riff, fill or hook line. The singer
Cielos Corp (which translates even went so far as to arrange a
from Spanish as Sky Arcs) private backstage area for May-
which continues to operate out of nard and her entourage of assist-
Sedona, Arizona, an area noted ants, and before one of the Tokyo
for its unique combination of Dome shows, the good doctor
spectacular natural beauty, sunny insisted on collating information
climate, and peaceful solitude. about magnetic and atomic power
Today the corporations website sources that would be in existence
states that it was created for the whilst the band was on stage. The
development of New Paradigms rest of the group and crew were
in Science, Education, Fine Arts, somewhat less enthralled by the
Global Ecology, Human Potential diminutive, middle-aged woman
Development, and Future-Science in their midst and quickly dubbed
Technology. her Yoda, after the aged, green
Maynard, through her Japanese goblin-esque mystic from the Star
cultural background, claimed to Wars movies. They could poke


fun all they wanted behind Axls article in which it dubbed Chi-
back, but everybody no matter nese Democracy probably the
where they stood in the G N R most expensive recording never
food chain was forced to sign released. Merck was aware of
confidentiality agreements for- the article, having been contacted
bidding them from commenting several days earlier by Times
publicly on any aspect of the tour staffer Jeff Leeds, and had told the
without Axls permission. reporter in no uncertain terms that
Axls trust in Maynard is all he couldnt go ahead with his so-
encompassing, and the psychic called investigative story, as he
continues to be a major presence hadnt spoken with either himself,
in his life, and it is customary pro- Axl, or anyone else connected
cedure for her to vet all potential with Guns N Roses. After lam-
G N R employees by examining basting both the New York Times
photographs of each respective can- and Leeds for their spurious
didate, as well as their spouse and invective, he finished off the letter
offspring (if applicable), to weed by informing the papers readers
out those with bad auras which that Axl wasnt interested in fame,
might taint the singers life. money, popularity or what the
New York Times or indeed any
other newspaper thought of him,
Mercuriadis, Merck and that the singers sole interest
was in making Chinese Democ-
racy the best album possible.
Merck Mercuriadis was the So it is ironic that Mercks fall
Sanctuary Groups North Ameri- from grace in December, 2006
can CEO (Chief Executive should come following what he
Officer) when he took over from later insisted was nothing more
Doug Goldstein as Guns N Roses
manager in 2003.
As with the latter stages of his
predecessor, Goldsteins reign,
Mercks managerial duties largely
dealt with pandering to Axls
whims rather than overseeing
Guns N Roses per se. And as
there wasnt much going on in
terms of either touring or record-
ing, he remained in the shadows,
and only came out onto the para-
pet to defend his client. As he did
in March, 2005 when he sent an
all guns blazing open letter to the
New York Times over the papers

Guns N Roses

than a tongue-in-cheek comment Labour Day dates so that the band

made back in October about the could return to Los Angeles to
possibility that Chinese Democ- work on the final two or three days
racy just might appear on one of of recording that needed to be
the [then] thirteen remaining Tues- completed. Once again, however,
days (Tuesday being the official Axl failed to put in an appearance.
album release day in the US). On Mercuriadis concluded his missive
15 December, in response to Axls by expressing his disappointment
open letter posted on the G N R at Axls own letter, before then
website the previous day, in which declaring that, not only did the
the singer lambasted his erstwhile new Guns N Roses line-up kick
manager for making such flippant shit out of the old, but that when
remarks, Merck posted his own Chinese Democracy did finally hit
letter to give his side of the story. the streets, it would be one of the
He defended his thirteen Tues- best albums ever made.
days comment, but, while he
declared Axl to be a true artist,
and one of the greatest vocalists Metallica
of all time, he laid the blame for
the shambolic summer tour and
In 1992, thrash metal pioneers
albums latest setback squarely Metallica, who have gone on to
at the singers door: The reality sell over 90 million albums world-
is that all of this years touring wide, famously took time out
was planned and agreed between from their own Wherever We May
Axl and myself, with a view to the Roam tour to co-headline the 26-
album being in the stores before date third leg of Guns N Roses
31 December. We had planned the Use Your Illusion world tour.
tour in February, just after Axls When plans for a Guns N Roses/
[44th] birthday and we were sup- Metallica duel headline US tour
posed to finish the album in May, were first unveiled by Slash and
before it [the tour] started. Metallicas Danish-born drum-
Indeed, recording engineers mer, Lars Ulrich at a press confer-
were despatched to New York ence in May, 1992, their respec-
before the tour started, where, tive bands had recently shared the
according to Mercuriadis, they same stage at the Freddie Mer-
waited for over a month for the cury Tribute Concert. Like Guns
muse [Axl] to come but she never N Roses, Metallica hailed from
arrived. Sessions were then set Los Angeles, where they formed
up in London for August, follow- in 1981, and boasted a line-up
ing the G N R shows at Wem- forged courtesy of the musicians
bley Arena, but again, Axl failed wanted section in the local clas-
to show, at which point it was sifieds. The bands debut album
decided to postpone the proposed Kill Em All, released in 1983 on


the Megaforce label, sold three received the blessing of Burtons

million copies, yet failed to trou- family, they decided to carry on
ble the charts, stalling at #120 on and, as a means of testing out their
the Billboard 200. By the time of newly-constructed studio as well
their follow-up, Ride The Light- as the bass prowess of new recruit,
ning in 1984, they had signed to Jason Newsted recorded The
Elektra Records. Although the $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revis-
album sold in excess of five mil- ited, which consists entirely of
lion copies, it too failed to crack covers. In August 1988, the same
the US Top 100. As with so many month Appetite For Destruction
bands, it was the third record that claimed the coveted #1 spot in
was to prove pivotal. Even though the US, Metallica released their
Master Of Puppets, released in Grammy nominated album And
1986, only sold around one million Justice For All, which slammed
copies more than its predecessor, it into the Billboard Top 10, selling
broke the Billboard Top 40 barrier, eight million copies in the proc-
peaking at #29. ess. Despite narrowly missing
On 27 September, 1986, in the out on the Grammy Award for the
midst of the Damage Inc tour, newly-created Best Hard Rock/
tragedy struck when bassist Metal Performance category,
Cliff Burton was killed when the (having been pipped at the post
bands tour bus skidded from the by the decidedly non-Rock/Metal
ice-covered road near the town exponents, Jethro Tull), the band
of Ljungby, Sweden. The surviv- went away to lick their wounds
ing members seriously consid- and write new material for their
ered calling it a day, but, having 1991, eponymously-titled fifth

Guns N Roses

album which they co-produced G N R counterparts to a meeting

with Bob Rock. Metallica or the where it was decided their band
Black Album as its more com- would go on first. Slash and Duff
monly known brought the band were both painfully aware that
their first US #1, and sold a stag- Axls petulance was poisoning the
gering 15 million copies world- atmosphere backstage, but sought
wide. Their following three studio solace in vodka. Matters finally
albums: Load (1996), ReLoad came to a head at Montreals
(1997), and St. Anger (2003) all Olympic Stadium on 8 August,
followed suit by reaching #1 on where an onstage pyrotechnical
the Billboard 100, selling five fault left Metallicas James Het-
million, three million, and two field with third degree burns, forc-
million copies respectively. ing the band to abandon the stage
The Guns N Roses/Metallica midway through their set.
co-headline, sell-out tour got Upon hearing of the tragedy,
underway at the RFK Stadium Slash, Gilby, Duff and Matt called
in Washington D.C on 7 June, an impromptu meeting to work
1992. And with both bands at the out how best to extend their own
height of their fame as well as set so as to make up for Metal-
at the top of their game the tour lica having to curtail theirs. But
promised to live up to the hype. Axl not only failed to appear at
The tickets for the shows could the meeting, he didnt even show
have been sold three times over, up at the venue until some ninety
and although both promoters and minutes after Guns N Roses were
fans were drooling at the prospect supposed to go on. Almost four
of future collaborations between hours had passed since Hetfields
the two biggest rock bands of injury before Guns N Roses
their generation, the backslapping took to the stage, but ninety min-
inter-band bonhomie, which had utes into the set Axl stunned his
begun backstage at Donington fellow Gunners, and audience
four years earlier, soon began to alike, by storming off because
deteriorate. One of the key fac- he wasnt happy with the moni-
tors leading to the breakdown was tors. While the Canadians could
Axls woeful timekeeping. Metal- appreciate Metallicas reason for
lica were renowned through- curtailing their set, certain sec-
out the industry for their strong tions of the crowd felt theyd been
work ethic and were concerned short-changed by W. Axl Rose,
about Axls shoddy timekeeping. and vented their frustration by
Indeed Metallicas equally hard- running amok in the surrounding
working management team was streets. The rioters vandalised and
so concerned over Axls seem- set fire to cars, and looted nearby
ingly total disregard for time stores before the authorities finally
schedules, they summoned their brought the mob under control.


Although Guns N Roses released later that same year. Het-

couldnt be held directly respon- field had somehow gotten hold of
sible for Hetfields mishap in the Gunners tour rider, which he
Montreal, the Metallica front- proceeded to read out in a derisive
man obviously felt aggrieved, tone: Horrible truths, he sneered
and let his feelings towards Axl into the camera. The piddly
be known in the bands documen- wants and needs of certain folks
tary: A year And A half In the Life on the road. Axl Poses dress-
Of Metallica Part 2, which was ing room requirements abso-

Guns N Roses

lutely no substitutions. One cup

of cubed ham, its got to be cubed
so it can get down his little neck!
he snarled, before further deriding
Axls demand for assorted Prin-
gle chips, so he could grease his
hair back. But the culinary coup
de grace came with the honey,
which, Hetfield declared, adopt-
ing a mock falsetto to mimic Axl,
makes him SING LIKE THIS!
And after lambasting Axl one last
time over his request for Dom
Perignon champagne, he tossed
the rider sheet into the air before
stamping it into the ground.


Moby, who was born Richard duction on Chinese Democracy,

Melville Hall, in Harlem, New Mobys occupancy of the produc-
York, and received his literary tion chair proved both ineffective
nickname in honour of his great- and transitory largely due to
great-great-great uncle Herman his inability to fathom Axls way
Melville the nineteenth century of working. I found it difficult
novelist best known for his 1851 to chart a linear development of
seafaring fable, Moby Dick was the songs they were working on,
one of several renowned produc- he later recalled. They would
ers brought in to oversee produc- work on something; it would be
tion on Chinese Democracy.
a sketch for a while. And then
Aside from producing, Moby
theyd put it aside and go back
is a successful singer/songwriter
to it later. Having his motives
in his own right, and his ground-
questioned even by a producer
breaking 1999 album, Play sold
over nine million copies world- of Mobys stature was still dis-
wide (it was groundbreaking in the sention in the racks as far as the
sense that it was the first album in irascible Axl was concerned; and
history to have all the tracks com- one more name was added to the
mercially licensed). Although it projects already sizeable list of
was undoubtedly his avante garde ex-producers.
approach to music that led to him
being invited to oversee the pro-


Monroe, Michael starring Dan Aykroyd and Jane

Monroe also guested on G N
Michael Monroe, born Matti Rs Use Your Illusion I, provid-
Fagerholm on 17 June, 1962 in ing saxophone and harmonica
Helsinki, Finland, is the former on Bad Obsession, as well as
frontman for the L.A. rock band, backing vocals on the cover-ver-
Hanoi Rocks. sion, Aint It Fun, which would
Following the demise of Hanoi subsequently appear on The Spa-
Rocks in 1985, which was princi- ghetti Incident?.
pally due to the untimely death of In 2002, Monroe reformed
the bands drummer Razzle (born Hanoi Rocks with fellow original
Nicholas Dingley), who was member, guitarist Andy McCoy.
killed in a car crash the previous The following year he released his
December (Mtley Cres Vince final solo album, Whatcha Want?
Neil was at the wheel at the time
of the accident), Monroe opted for
a solo career and went on to record
eight albums. His 1989 offering,
Mr. Brownstone
Not Fakin It features a duet with
Axl Rose on the song Death, Jail Mr. Brownstone coupled
or Rock N Roll, which owing with Its So Easy as a double A-
to G N Rs popularity ensured side was Guns N Roses debut
the accompanying video received UK single when it was released
many an airing on primetime on 15 June, 1987. Both songs
MTV. He also recorded a version were set to feature on the soon-to-
of Steppenwolfs 1968 classic, be-released Appetite For Destruc-
Magic Carpet Ride with Slash tion, but Geffen Records decided
for the 1993 movie Coneheads, to rush-release the single in order
to coincide with the bands debut
UK appearances at Londons
Marquee Club.
I used to do a little but a little
wouldnt do/So the little got more
and more/I just keep tryin ta get
a little better/Said a little better
than before. So sang Axl, but as
the term Brownstone is Ameri-
can street-slang for heroin, the
song would perhaps have had
greater resonance if Izzy or Slash
had undertaken vocal duties. For,
although Axl had openly admitted
to experimenting with heroin, he

Guns N Roses

On 18 October, 1989, at the Los

Angeles Coliseum, where Guns
had done so whilst in total control N Roses were supporting veteran
of his faculties and never, at any rockers, the Rolling Stones on the
time, did he allow his penchant American leg of the latter bands
for the drug to get out of control. Steel Wheels tour, Axl brought
And nor would he have consid- the set to an unscheduled halt and
ered himself an addict, whilst Izzy stunned the audience by inform-
and Slash with whom, as well ing them that this would be the
as Steven Adler, he had co-written last Guns N Roses show unless
the tune were all liberal users; certain people in the band started
a disturbing dalliance which was getting their shit together. Im
threatening to compromise their sick and tired, he told the hushed
on-stage performances some- crowd, of too many people in
thing which wasnt going to be this organisation dancing with Mr.
tolerated by Axl. Although it was Brownstone.
no secret that heroin was rife in The only thing which appears
the G N R camp, it was he as to spread faster than the prover-
the bands frontman, and unof- bial wildfire, is word of mouth.
ficial spokesperson who often And although Guns N Roses had
found himself in the firing line finished their allotted set the pre-
over the groups supposed glam- vious night, those fans making
orisation of hard drug use.


their way to the Coliseum for the stage the previous night, when
second of the four scheduled L.A. the singer bemoaned the fact that
shows must have been pondering three out of the four musicians in
what would happen should Axl Guns N Roses had been smacked
carry out his threat if indeed out of their gourds for the opening
he hadnt done so already. Those show, and yet everyone thought he
fears quickly evaporated into the was the junkie. Whatever the rea-
ether when the Gunners took to soning behind Slashs impromptu
the stage on cue, but before a note anti-drug sermon, it served to
was played, a rather sheepish- dispel the black cloud hanging
looking Slash purposely sport- over the band, and he and Axl
ing a Betty Ford Clinic T-shirt embraced before launching into
for the occasion stepped up to Patience.
the microphone and delivered an
anti-drug speech, during which
he name-checked Elvis, Janis Music Connection
Joplin and Led Zeppelin drum-
mer, John Bonham, whose own
Music Connection, the bi-weekly
lives had been cut short through
trade magazine proudly devoted
drug abuse. The guitarist then
to bridging the gap between the
went on to explain how, as a kid, street and the elite and which in
hed stood in this very arena and 2007, celebrated three decades of
watched bands such as the Roll- catering to the Californian rock
ing Stones, Aerosmith, and Van community, played a significant
Halen, whilst dreaming of being role in the Guns N Roses story.
up on stage. The previous night The musicians bible is located,
he had indeed realised his dream, as it was back then, at 16130 Ven-
only to have woken in the morn- tura Boulevard, Encino, Califor-
ing with little or no recollection of nia, and contains the largest free
the show. He finished off by tell- classified ads section available in
ing the audience that no one in the any publication in the USA, and
band advocated the use of heroin. as with the thousands of other
And that Guns N Roses wouldnt aspiring rock n roll wannabes
be one of those weak bands that that clambered aboard a Grey-
fell apart because of it. hound bus bound for Los Angeles
Whether Slash was speaking Izzy, Axl and Duff would have
only for himself, or on behalf of made Music Connection their first
Izzy and Steven, no one was quite purchase upon arrival in L.A.
sure. But his decision to stop chas- Today, the magazines fea-
ing the dragon wasnt so much an tures editor proudly boasts that
epiphany, but rather due to his it wasnt only the future Gunners
having overheard Axls conversa- trio who found each other as
tion with David Lee Roth back- well as L.A. residents, Slash and

Guns N Roses

Steven through perusing the MC 1987, Music Connection took the

classifieds, but it had also helped bold and unprecedented step of
Mtley Cre, Joan Jett & The putting the then unsigned band on
Blackhearts and Billy Idol find their front cover. This, however,
like-minded musicians to com- proved to be an extremely presci-
plete their respective bands. Music ent piece of journalism, for by the
Connections standing within the time the magazine hit newsstands,
L.A. rock community means that bookstores, and 7-Elevens across
it has always been hip to what was the Golden State, the band had
happening on Sunset Strip, and signed to Geffen Records. Indeed,
the magazine began championing a perusal of the magazines web-
Guns N Roses almost from the site today reveals a Superstar
bands conception. And in July, Covers section which informs the


reader that Music Connection was in his own words, didnt really
also the first publication in the touch any basis of reality, he
world to feature Sebastian Bachs delivered an honest, true-to-life
Skid Row, Poison, The Offspring, vignette of Michelles then trou-
Nirvana, Madonna, and Alanis bled and drug-addled existence.
Morissette, on their front cover. The songs opening lines: Your
daddy works in porno/Now your
mummys not around/She used
My Michelle to love her heroin/But now shes
underground, were as candid as
they were accomplished. It was
My Michelle, which features no secret in and around West Hol-
on Appetite For Destruction, lywood that Michelles dad dis-
was written by Axl and Izzy and tributed porn movies for a living,
received its first documented while her free-spirited mother had
public airing at The Roxy in Los indeed tragically succumbed to a
Angeles on 18 January, 1986. drugs overdose several years ear-
My Michelle, which was lier.
arguably the best Guns N Roses Axl has subsequently stated that
song never to be released as a the rest of the band particularly
single, was Axls homage to an Slash and Steven were critical
old flame and old high school of the lines, believing that poor
acquaintance of Slash and Ste- little Michelle would freak out
vens called Michelle Young. at having her dirty laundry aired
As Michelle herself later testi- in public. The unexpected ani-
fied, she and Axl were driving to mosity served to put doubts in the
a gig one night when Elton Johns singers mind and he spent several
Your Song came on the radio. weeks deliberating over whether
The tender ballad, which, inciden- to show her the finished lyric. He
tally, features string arrangements neednt have worried, however, as
by Paul Buckmaster who would Michelle who received a thank
subsequently work on Chinese you on Appetite For Destructions
Democracy with Axl, had origi- liner notes, as well as making a
nally featured on the bespectacled fleeting cameo appearance in the
crooners 1970 eponymously- Welcome To The Jungle video
titled second album. was delighted that her one-
The song was a mutual favourite, time lover hadnt tried to mask
and Michelle albeit tongue-in- the darker and seedier aspects of
cheek expressed a desire to have her life, and happily told all and
someone write such a beautiful sundry that she was the songs
song about her. Axl duly took note subject matter.
and went off to put pen to paper.
But instead of presenting the band
with a saccharine-sweet ditty that,
Guns N Roses

a free agent following the demise

of Janes Addiction down to the
Gunners rehearsal studio. Come
the day of the meeting, however, it
was a case of no show Navarro,
which happened not once, but
on three separate occasions. Axl,
however, was still convinced he
was his man, and after speaking
with Navarro, convinced Slash of
his commitment and persuaded
him to arrange another meeting.
But when Navarro again failed to
Navarro, Dave show Slash washed his hands of
the proposal and instead went in
search of the guy hed originally
Dave Navarro, the ex-Janes thought of: Gilby Clarke.
Addiction and Red Hot Chili Pep- Slashs feelings towards Nav-
pers guitarist, played on the Guns arro obviously mellowed during
N Roses song, Oh My God that the intervening years, for both he
appears on the soundtrack to the and Duff were guests at the guitar-
Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, ists wedding to Baywatch Babe,
End Of Days. Carmen Elektra in 2003. The
This, however, wasnt the gui- tardy guitarist was also invited to
tarists first involvement with join Velvet Revolver in 2004, but
Guns N Roses, for when Izzy due to his aversion to touring he
announced he was quitting the declined the offer.
band back in August, 1991, Nav-
arro, who was born on 7 June,
1967 in Santa Monica, California,
was top of Axls list to replace
his old friend. Slash, on the other
hand, although appreciative of
Navarros ability, was rather less
enthused at the idea and believed
that in order to keep the dynamic,
the band needed a guitarist that
played in a similar style to Izzy;
his also being aware of Navarros
heroin addiction at the time was
another issue. But Axl refused
to budge on the subject and so
Slash finally relented and invited
Navarro who had just become


Neil, Vince his band, before heading off to

rejoin Izzy and a rather bemused
Tom Petty.
Vince Neil, the singer with leg- This, however, was not the end
endary L.A. hellraisers, Mtley
of the matter, for Vince was later
Cre, famously challenged Axl
quoted in a magazine saying I
Rose to a fight live on primetime
just punched that dick [Izzy] and
MTV in 1990.
broke his nose. Anybody who
The trouble between the two
beats up on a woman [Sharise]
frontmen started when Vinces
deserves to get the shit kicked out
second wife, Sharise, a former
of them. By way of an explana-
mud wrestler, whom he married in
tion for his actions he claimed his
April, 1988, began showing a little
unprovoked assault on Izzy was in
too much interest in Izzy during
retribution for his having suppos-
their first year of wedlock. And
edly struck Sharise sometime the
although Izzy spurned Sharises
previous year. Axl was steaming
advances, word got back to Vince,
who naturally took affront. But when he read Vinces comments
rather than blame Sharise which and summoned respected English
might have brought unwanted rock journo Mick Wall, who at the
attention to his supposed failure to time was working for Kerrang!
keep his wife of less than twelve Magazine, to his West Hollywood
months in line he instead chose apartment in early January, 1990
to take umbrage with Izzy. Vinces to give his version of what really
opportunity to gain revenge and went down at the awards cere-
also save face came at that years mony. Apparently Pettys security
MTV awards ceremony, where team had pounced on Vince and
he apparently emerged from the asked Izzy if he wanted to press
backstage darkness and smacked charges. Izzy had been content to
an unsuspecting Izzy who had mock Vince by likening the Cre
just walked off stage after he and frontmans punching power to
Axl had jammed with Tom Petty that of a girl, and so Pettys secu-
in the mouth, splitting his lip. As rity guys had let Vince go free.
Izzy was fully focused on fighting Axl was livid over Vinces com-
his drink and drug demons, he had ments, and informed the totally
no particular interest in squaring bewildered Wall that Vince was
up to Vince, whereas the volatile in sore need of a good ass-whip-
and quick-tempered Axl chased pin, and that he was just the guy
the Cre singer along the corridor. to do it. He also told Mick that he
But when Vince wheeled round wanted to smash his [Vinces]
with fists pumping with blood, plastic face in, which was a sar-
Axl apparently lost his appetite for castic reference to the recent, and
confrontation and merely ordered very hush-hush cosmetic surgery
Vince to stay the fuck away from the Cre singer had supposedly

Guns N Roses

had. He went on to say that unless calling Mick Wall a liar and
Vince was willing to admit in this was the journalist who had
public hed been lying, as well been championing Guns N Roses
as apologise to Kerrang! and its since witnessing their Manchester
readers, then he was willing to Apollo show in October, 1987!
face him anytime, anywhere, with However, in Mtley Cres official
guns, knives, or fists. eye-opening autobiography, The
Mick returned to the UK the fol- Dirt: Confessions of the Worlds
lowing day, and although he knew Most Notorious Rock Band, pub-
he was in possession of some lished by HarperCollins in 2001,
pretty inflammatory dialogue, Vince says that a meeting,
which was certain to feature on albeit one off-camera, was indeed
the front cover of the next avail- arranged between the two singers
able issue of Kerrang!, he was respective intermediaries, only for
savvy enough to call Axl to see Axl to subsequently chicken out.
whether the singer was willing This was a shame as far as Vince
to stand by his comments before was concerned, as the offer for Axl
sending the interview to his copy to go toe-to-toe with him still stood
editor. Axl, fully aware that Mick
ten years on. The only thing, he
was recording the conversation,
says in The Dirt, that would have
confirmed that although he might
given me more pleasure than a
not have necessarily made those
number one record was breaking
exact same comments, he was still
Axl Roses nose.
prepared to stand by them. When
Vincent Neil Wharton was born
Mick asked him what he might do
on 8 February, 1961, in Los Ange-
should Vince decide to take him
up on his offer, Axl replied that les, California, to itinerant parents
while he didnt really have time of Italian descent who moved
to worry about going after Vince, around Southern California from
if the Cre singer wanted to come town to town before finally set-
after him then he would happily tling in nearby Compton. Apart
clean up the floor with the moth- from growing up suffering albeit
erfucker. unknowingly from a mild form
Needless to say, when Vince got of dyslexia, which led to his get-
wind of Axls comments he was ting into fights with his fellow
not best pleased, and picked up pupils, and subsequently being
the gauntlet by openly challeng- thrown out of school, the teenage
ing Axl to a good old fashioned Vince had to learn to become street
square up, which should Axl smart at an early age as life in
prove willing could be broadcast Compton was not without its dan-
live on MTV. Axl has since pub- gers. He soon learned it was safer
licly denied ever having made the to run with a crowd than try to go
comments, which was effectively it alone, although this resulted in


his having his lower face slashed his stuff on stage with his band
by a rival gang member. Rock Candy at the Starwood Club
Vinces passion for rock n roll in West Hollywood, and having
led to his trying out as singer for been suitably impressed, offered
a succession of aspiring bands at Vince the gig. Vince, believing that
Royal Oak High School in Covina, his own band was going places,
California several of which initially declined the invitation,
included friend and future Cre but quickly underwent a change
collaborator Tommy Lee. Indeed, of heart upon realising that each
it was Tommys friendship with of his fellow band members were
Vince that proved instrumental in all involved in outside projects.
the latters decision to join Mtley Although Mtley Cre have
Cre in 1981. Cre guitarist Mick gone on to sell over 45 million
Mars had caught Vince strutting albums worldwide, their debut,

Guns N Roses

self-produced offering in 1981, 20 August, 1982. But the bands

Too Fast For Love, shifted less second album, Shout At the Devil,
than 20,000 units. On signing to which was released in September,
Elektra Records the following 1983 and contained a cover of The
year, however, it was decided the Beatles Helter Skelter, found a
album should be given a makeo- far more receptive audience and
reached #17 on the US Billboard
ver. Despite Queens producer,
100. Suddenly the Cres penchant
Roy Thomas Baker, being drafted
for hedonism and taking to the
in, the remixed version fared little stage dressed in womens cloth-
better when it was re-released on


ing and heavy make-up was in word on Sunset Strip was that
vogue with Americas teenagers. Guns N Roses were looking to
And the arrival of the new music usurp the Cre and steal their
medium, MTV the following year glam crown, when it came time to
propelled the video-friendly band go out on the road for a full US
into the major league. tour to promote the album, they
By the time of their third album, happily invited their rivals along
Theatre Of pain, which reached for the ride. It was during the tour
#6 on the US album chart and with G N R that bassist Nikki Sixx
includes a cover of Brownsville after partying hard with Slash
Stations 1973 hit, Smokin In and Steven Adler suffered a
The Boys Room, which provided near-fatal heroin overdose. Sixxs
Mtley Cre with their first US heart reportedly stopped beat-
Top 20 single, Vince had been ing for two minutes, which saw
charged and found guilty of DUI him being declared legally dead
(Driving whilst Under the Influ- during the ride to the hospital,
ence), and vehicular manslaugh- before he was eventually revived
ter. It was during one of the bands with two adrenaline shots to the
now legendary parties that Vince heart. Rather than amend his wild
foolishly volunteered to go out for ways, the bassist wrote the song
more booze. Sitting beside Vince Kickstart My Heart, which sub-
in the passenger seat of the sing- sequently appeared on the bands
ers 72 De Tomaso Pantera sports 1989 album, Dr. Feelgood. This
car that fateful night was his record would go one better then
friend and Hanoi Rocks drum- its predecessor by claiming the
mer, Nicholas Razzle Dingley. coveted #1 spot on the US Bill-
Razzle was killed when Vince board 200, as well as earning the
lost control of his Pantera and backcombed boys a second Top
smashed at high speed into an on- 20 US single. The planned 87
coming car, one of the passengers European tour was pulled by the
of which was left with permanent bands management team who
brain damage. Vince was subse- feared one or more of the band
quently sentenced to 30 days in members would be coming home
jail (of which he only actually in a body bag.
served 18), and ordered to pay By the early 1990s, however,
$2.5 million dollars in damages. Mtley Cres appeal appeared
Mtley Cres fourth album, to be on the wane. Guns N Roses
Girls, Girls, Girls, shot to #2 on may have still dominated the
the Billboard 200 shortly after its world stage, but the advent of
release in May, 1987, effectively Grunge had rendered every other
making the pouting, leather-clad metal band near obsolete. And
bad boys one of the biggest bands although the Cres 1994 epony-
on the planet. And although the mously-titled fifth album reached

Guns N Roses

#7 in the US album chart, it was In 1997, following a recon-

still viewed as something of a ciliatory meeting, Vince rejoined
commercial failure by the men in Mtley Cre and headed into the
suits over at Elektra. One reason studio to record their sixth album,
for this failure could have been Generation Swine. Although
Vinces departure from the band the record which proved to be
in February, 1992 to concentrate their last for Elektra fared better
on a solo career. And although than Mtley Cre, and reached a
his replacement, ex-Angora front- respectable #4 on the Billboard
man John Corabi, remained with 200, it too was viewed as a com-
Mtley Cre for five years, he was mercial failure by the label and
never truly accepted by the fans. led to a mutually agreed parting
In 1995, by which time Vince of the ways in 1998. The bands
had divorced Sharise and married future was thrown into further
former Playboy centrefold Heidi confusion the following year
Mark, the singer was left devas- when Tommy Lee left to pursue
tated when his daughter Skylar a solo career. He was replaced by
succumbed to cancer. He and ex- Ozzy Osbournes drummer Randy
wife Sharise launched a success- Castillo, who provided the beat
ful lawsuit against the company on the bands June, 2000 album,
Rocketdyne for having dumped New Tattoo, which sold less than
cancer-causing chemicals near the 150,000 copies and stalled at
couples Simi Valley home. Vince an embarrassing #41 on the US
and Heidi divorced in 2001, and album chart. When Castillo tragi-
two years later Vince tied the knot cally died of cancer in 2002 and
for the third time when he married Mick Mars had been diagnosed
Lia Gerardini. with a degenerative back condi-


tion called Anchylosis, the Cre Aside from Mtley Cres now
went into temporary hiatus. Nikki trademark onstage props, such
Sixx went off to form Brides of as Harleys, and flame-bursting
Destruction, while Vince per- pyrotechnics, the shows featured
formed solo shows albeit ones a variety of circus acts including
with a set-list comprising mainly semi-naked female acrobats, fire-
of Mtley Cre hits. breathers and midgets.
If there were any doubts regard- By September, 2007, however,
ing the Cres true standing in the old frictions had resurfaced,
American rock n roll folklore and Tommy Lee left the band as a
they were blown away with the result of a lawsuit which the other
release of The Dirt in 2001. The three members brought against his
bands hilarious yet oft-harrow- manager, Carl Stubner for having
ing autobiography spent ten contracted the drummer to appear
weeks on the New York Times on reality TV shows which they
best-seller list, which led many claimed had harmed their bad boy
fans to believe it was only a matter image.
of time before the band buried their Although still very committed to
differences and got back together. Mtley Cre, Vince continues to
Another three years would pass, perform with his solo band, and at
however, before the highly-antici- the time of writing he is working
pated reunion of the Cres origi- on a solo album with his in-house
nal line-up came to pass. In 2004, guitarist, Dana Strum, as well as
his autobiography with UK writer
the same year Vince appeared on
Alan Parker, which is due for pub-
TV in a one-hour special called
lication in 2009.
Remaking Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx
announced that he and Vince had
returned to the studio to work on
new material. And in February, Neurotic Outsiders
2005, the reconstituted Cre kick-
started their reunion by releasing The Neurotic Outsiders, or the
the compilation album Red, White Neurotic Boy Outsiders as they
and Crue, which features many were originally called, was an L.A.
of the band members particular supergroup of sorts featuring Duff
favourites, as well as three new McKagan and Matt Sorum, along
tracks. The album reached #6 on with ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones and
the Billboard 100, and has since Duran Durans John Taylor.
gone on to sell over one mil- The initial catalyst for what
lion copies and achieve platinum would become the Neurotic Out-
status. The group also embarked siders came on 28 June, 1995,
on an extensive worldwide tour when Matt and Duff, together
in support of the album, duly with Jones and Taylor, performed
dubbed the Carnival of Sins tour. a supposedly one-off benefit

Guns N Roses

show at the Viper Room in aid of side to the Pistols Pretty Vacant
a mutual friend who was suffer- single back in 1977). With Guns
ing from cancer. As Duff tended N Roses in temporary hiatus
to play guitar on non-G N R while Axl plotted the bands next
projects, Matt offered the gig to move, and with Steve and John
Taylor, as hed been impressed having plenty of spare time on
with the Duran Duran bassists their hands, the four decided to
playing on his own side-project, run with the ball and announced
The Power Station, and Duff further shows at the Viper Rooms,
knew Steve whod also recently where they were often joined on
collaborated with Taylor on the stage by the likes of ex-Stray Cat
latters solo album from moun- frontman Brian Setzer, Billy Idol
tain biking together in the Holly- and Simon Le Bon.
wood Hills. Having decided upon Buoyed by favourable reviews
the name Kings Of Chaos, and as well a positive response from
with just one rehearsal which their audiences the band began
took place on the afternoon of the playing further afield. In October
show itself the ad hoc combo 95 they undertook a three-date
treated the packed, celebrity-stud- mini-tour of the Eastern seaboard,
ded audience to a set consisting playing New York, Philadelphia
of cover-versions such as Roxy and Boston. By this time, how-
Musics Virginia Plain and The ever, they had undergone a name
Clashs Janie Jones. change to the Neurotic Boy Out-
Although the set didnt include siders, before truncating the name
any Guns N Roses songs, they possibly on account of their
did run through Duran Durans having a combined age of 142
debut single, Planet Earth and to the snappier-sounding Neurotic
the Sex Pistols Pretty Vacant, Outsiders.
as well as The Stooges No The band kicked off 1996 with
Fun(which also featured as the B- a show in Tucson, Arizona, on 4


January, where, aside from the and Matt to record a version of

punk and Duranie covers, they Alice Coopers Elated for the
performed several original num- Alice Cooper tribute album,
bers, including Nasty Ho, Jerk, Humanary Stew, released in early
Story Of My Life and Revolu- 1999.
tion, which would all subse- In April, 1999, by which time
quently appear on their epony- both Duff and Matt had left
mously-titled album released on Guns N Roses, the Neurotics
Madonnas Maverick label later briefly reunited for a month-long
that same year. These songs had Monday night residency at the
largely been culled from Steve Viper Rooms. For the final show,
and Johns solo vaults, which at on Monday, 26 April, they were
least in the case of Steves offer- joined on stage by The Cults Ian
ings proved a double-edged Astbury and Billy Duffy, and Mel
sword. For although they were Sporty Spice Chisholm, who
solid, rockin tunes with the gui- happened to be in town recording
tarists trademark chugging power her solo album. This, however,
chords and Sex Pistolian licks, a was not the last we would hear
limited vocabulary meant Steves from the Neurotics, as they reu-
lyrics were often sub-standard nited for a one-off show support-
moon in June rhyming couplets ing Camp Freddy at the Avalon
relating to the male and female Theatre in Los Angeles on 7
genitalia. Fortunately for all con- December, 2006.
cerned, a command of the Eng- As an amusing aside, let me
lish vernacular has never been a tell you about my one and only
pre-requisite in rock n roll, and encounter with John Duranie
1996 could have been the Neu- Taylor. It came at EMIs former
rotics year and may well have Manchester Square HQ way back
seen Duff and Matt leave Guns N in January, 1981, whilst I was
Roses sooner than they eventually serving in my unpaid capacity as
did had it not been for the Sex a roadie for the Blackburn-based
Pistols long-awaited and much- power-pop combo, The Stiffs,
vaunted reunion, which saw Steve who at the time were signed to
preoccupied elsewhere for much the label. Well, when I say roadie,
of the time. what I actually mean is that me
Indeed, a show at the Luxor in and my mates humped a few amps
Cologne, Germany, on 28 Sep- around in return for a free ride and
tember, which was one of several free admission. As the band had a
staged during Steves month-long few hours to kill before playing
break from the Pistols tour, would the Marquee later that evening,
prove to be their last live perform- they decided to call in at EMI to
ance for three years; although see their A&R man. Coincidently,
Steve did collaborate with Duff the Angelic Upstarts the second

Guns N Roses

generation Geordie punk band time, but I can honestly say I

that Duff came close to joining didnt hear anything special that
some four years later were also particular afternoon. So, as the
in attendance that afternoon. And Stiffs had completed their deal-
if my memory serves, they were ings and were ready to head off
having problems keeping hold of for their Soho soundcheck, I jok-
their drummers back then. ingly told the Duranies not to
As roadies especially lowly give up their day jobs, and to get
amp-luggers are rarely privy to their arses along to the Marquee
a record companys machinations, to hear some decent music. You
I was handed a plastic carrier bag can imagine my chagrin, then, as
and given free rein to carry out a I sat watching them performing
little post-Christmas shopping their debut single, Planet Earth
talk about being given the keys to on Top Of The Tops less than a
the sweet shop! Well, there I was month later.
merrily helping myself to white Well, I certainly backed the
label test pressings and promo wrong horse that day
singles the old-fashioned variety
with the large A stamped in the
middle when I spotted five lads, Niven, Alan
all trying to look suitably surly,
emerging from a side office iden- Alan Niven served as Guns N
tical to the one in which the Stiffs Roses manager from August,
were still holding court. One of 1986, through to May, 1991.
the secretaries from the typing When Tom Zutaut first
pool having decided to curtail approached Niven, the abrasive,
my ram-raid on the labels exten- blues-loving New Zealander was
sive record library invited us running his own management
all to join her and her colleagues company, Stravinsky Brothers,
on their afternoon tea-break. The which at the time included another
lads in question appeared friendly soon-to-be platinum L.A. act,
enough, and upon discovering Great White on its books. Nivens
they hailed from Birmingham involvement with Great White
and that their band was called stemmed from his having worked
Duran Duran (there was nary a for Enigma Records, then part
frilly shirt, nor eye-liner in sight, of Greenworld Distribution, the
I hasten to add), I set about cajol- independent import and distribu-
ing them into letting me listen to tion company which oversaw the
what I honestly believed was their release of the bands 1984 epony-
demo tape. mous debut (Greenworld had also
Now there can be no denying distributed Mtley Cres 1981,
that Duran Duran have written self-produced debut, Too Fast
some decent pop tunes in their For Love).


Having grown up with a passion Indeed, during the early days of

for all things rock n roll, Niven their relationship, Niven made no
learnt how to play guitar and bones about Great White remain-
began writing songs with a view to ing his first priority. Even Appetite
attracting like-minded musicians For Destruction failed to shift his
with whom to form a band. His perspective. On his initial hearing
strict disciplinarian father, how- of the Gunners debut album Niven
ever, had other ideas and believed a told anyone willing to listen that
career in the military would march the band would be lucky to shift
such frivolous notions out of his 200,000 units; and he positively
sons head. Rather than submit to scoffed at the idea of it containing
his fathers will or spend the rest a hit single.
of his life butting heads with the The band did, however, sense
old man, Niven packed a bag and a kindred spirit in Niven. They
headed for America, arriving in believed he would be sympathetic
Los Angeles in 1982. to their cause, and more impor-
Although Great White had a tantly, would take no prisoners
couple of accomplished songwrit- whilst protecting their best inter-
ers in singer Jack Russell and gui- ests. The deal was supposedly
tarist Mark Kendall, Niven was sealed at a showcase gig at the
anxious to be more than just their Whisky A Go-Go on 23 August,
manager and contributed on sev- 1986, where Axl allegedly tested
eral songs featured on the bands Nivens patience by purposely
second album, Shot In The Dark, turning up late, forcing the band
as well as the 1987 platinum-sell- to perform an impromptu jam.
ing, Once Bitten But according to G N R legend,
The Gunners initially met with the deal was instead sealed at Bar-
Niven at their new Hollywood neys Beanery, the well-known
Hills HQ, where, as Axl later West Hollywood watering hole,
recalled, their future manager where Niven proceeded to impress
arrived at the house bearing gifts, his future charges by matching
including several bottles of Jack them drink for drink.
Daniels No. 7, a couple of hard- Although the introduction of the
core porno mags and a large pizza. no-nonsense Niven was accept-
Although it is fair to say there able to both Geffen, and eventu-
was no immediate rush of affec- ally the rest of the band, the ice
tion towards Niven, possibly due never did quite thaw as far as Axl
to his having delivered his brash was concerned, which from the
sales pitch as though he was doing very outset, served to place an
the band a favour a fact which unnecessary strain on their work-
he subsequently admitted to Mick ing relationship. Niven, however,
Wall as well as to the Gunners was content to put business before
collective dislike for Great White. bad manners and believed if he

Guns N Roses

could maintain some semblance wasnt the end of Nivens associa-

of order and discipline within the tion with all things Guns N Roses,
G N R camp then the band could however, for when Izzy announced
go on to make a million dollars. his own departure from the fold
Yet, despite being on hand to take later that same year, he appointed
care of the day-to-day chaos Niven as his manager.
which seemed to follow Guns N
Roses around like a star-crossed
stalker Axl, or the red-headed North Gardner Street
dictator as Niven subsequently
referred to the Gunners auto-
cratic singer, was silently plotting Before Guns N Roses signed
a means of dispensing with the with Geffen, home was a ram-
managers services. shackle garage-cum-rehearsal
That opportunity came in May, space on North Gardner Street in
1991, shortly before the Gunners West Hollywood.
embarked on their mammoth Use Before Guns N Roses attained
Your Illusion world tour. Whilst stellar-stardom and were able to
Niven was fully occupied defend- buy their own palatial houses,
ing the bands decision to release the five struggling musicians
two double-albums, the knives as a means of cutting down on
were being sharpened in his unnecessary expenditure holed
absence. Axl simply delivered an up together in a dilapidated stor-
ultimatum to Geffen, whereby he age unit on North Gardner Street,
refused to continue laying down located just off Melrose Avenue.
his vocals for the new albums Slash, who along with Axl, was
unless Niven was removed from a full-time resident, would later
office. When subsequently called describe their makeshift abode as a
upon by Rolling Stone magazine very uncomfortable prison cell,
to explain his reasons for orches- which is pretty accurate given that
trating Nivens removal in favour it measured just 15 x 20 foot and
of Doug Goldstein, Axl gave the lacked every modern convenience
following perplexing response: known to man. The place was one
Everybody has a lot of good and of three identical units, each with
bad. And with Alan, I just got sick a corrugated aluminium roll-up
of his fucking combo platter. serving as a front opening, and
As Niven was forced to sign a a communal bathroom located
confidentiality agreement as part within a separate building. But
of the rumoured $3 million kiss- having acquired some wood to
off which prohibited him from erect a makeshift loft space above
discussing either Axl or Guns N Stevens drum kit, as well as
Roses in public, the matter was installing a portable charcoal grill,
deemed to be concluded. This the band renamed their abode the


Sunset and Garden Hotel and writer, Chris Heath, in his 1993
Villas. Pet Shop Boys biography Pet
Despite their less-than-salubri- Shop Boys versus America, Axl
ous surroundings, Slash readily Rose supposedly paid the synth-
admits that their living together pop duo a visit backstage during
in such cramped confines was not their 1991 North American tour
totally bereft of positives as the and admitted to having taken his
sound was pretty good. Axl was inspiration for November Rain
equally charitable about his time from their song, My October
on North Gardner, lamenting that, Symphony, which features on
in some ways, he and the rest of the duos 1990 album, Behav-
the band missed it, or if not the iour. This is surely artistic license
place itself, then at least the cama- on Heaths part, for according to
raderie; Every weekend, the big- Slash, the ballad was already fin-
gest party in L.A. was down at our ished long before this time, and
place. He later reminisced albeit was initially intended for inclusion
through rose-tinted spectacles. on Appetite For Destruction. The
Wed have five hundred people guitarists claim is backed up if
packed in an alley. And someone any backing up were needed by
was selling beers for a buck out Tracii Guns, who says that he and
of his trunk. It was like a bar and Axl were working on November
everyone had their whisky. Rain as early as 1983 whilst they
And so, as was the Cavern to were both in L.A. Guns.
the Beatles, and Denmark Street Despite a running time of 8:57,
to the Sex Pistols, North Gardner which is regarded as anathema to
Street has become synonymous the singles chart, November Rain
with the Gunners early history. was the Bohemian Rhapsody of
its day. It was also a no-brainer
for a single. And shame on those
November Rain radio stations who, back in 1992,
insisted on playing a truncated edit
of the song, which omitted a solo
November Rain, which appears
on Use Your Illusion I, as well as
reaching #3 on the Billboard 100
when it released as a single in
1992, became the most requested
video on MTV.
Although the band has never
confirmed as much, November
Rain is regarded by many fans as
the second song in G N Rs unof-
ficial Illusions power-ballad tril-
ogy. Yet according to the English

Guns N Roses

voted #6 in Guitar Worlds 100

Greatest Guitar Solos. Novem-
ber Rain is without doubt one of
rocks most enduring ballads, and
I can still remember being blown
away upon hearing the song
for the first time when the Gun-
ners played Wembley Stadium in
August, 1991.
Geffen, whose press release
described the song as a melodic,
mid-tempo ballad with a gorgeous
lead vocal and an elegiac guitar
lead, knew that November Rain
would appeal not just to the Gun-
ners burgeoning fan-base, but also
to the mainstream record-buying grand opus. Indeed, the singer
public who wouldnt ordinarily was so protective of the song that
rush out and buy a G N R record. hed warned those around him he
By 1992, sloppy rock ballads were would walk away from the music
two a penny, but although the rest business if it wasnt recorded to
of the band jokingly referred to it his complete satisfaction. Hed
as our Layla song, Axl, as with also been desperate for the one-
Sweet Child O Mine, was savvy time ELO leader and occasional
enough to avoid making the same Travelling Wilbury Jeff Lynne
mistake as (D)Eric Domino Clap- to produce the track, but the pro-
ton, or Barry Manilow (Mandy), posal came to nought.
Thin Lizzy (Sarah) etc and didnt The accompanying video,
put a girls name in the songs which subsequently won an MTV
title, thus ensuring it would strike Video Music Award for Best
a plaintive chord in the heart of Cinematography, and reportedly
every man. After all, there cant cost an estimated $1.5 million to
be many amongst us who havent shoot, proved as captivating as the
tried to banish the painful memo- song itself. The viewer is taken
ries of a doomed relationship or on an emotional rollercoaster
attempt to resolve affairs of the ride of life, love and loss, with
heart whilst taking a solitary late- the opening scene showing Axl
night stroll in the drizzling rain. downing pills to soften an, as yet
It is already well documented unexplained pain, through to his
that Slash and Duff were both marrying and burying his, then,
opposed to what they saw as a real-life true love, Stephanie Sey-
drift towards ballad-esque songs. mour, all of which is interspersed
But November Rain was Axls with footage of the Gunners per-


forming the song accompanied by across a pristine white tablecloth

a full orchestra. Stephanie looks an image that serves as a sub-
ravishingly radiant as she walks liminal precursor to the tragedy
down the aisle. But then again, she waiting to unfold.
should in a wedding dress costing Following a second tug-on-
a reported $50,000. the-heartstrings guitar solo from
Slash, who is the designated Slash perched atop Axls piano
best man, has mislaid the ring. the viewer is transported back to
But Duff, who has either filched, the church for Stephanies funeral
or found the ring, hands it over to service. Axl sits gazing forlornly
the relieved guitarist. Slash then at his dead bride lying within an
passes the ring to the bemused open casket. And with the service
priest before making his way at an end, the casket is then carried
outside the church, which has out into the rain-soaked church-
transformed from the ornate pil- yard for burial. The final scene
lared basilica to a cute colonial shows Axl lying on his bed. But
structure akin to that from Laura instead of waking from the night-
Ingalls Wilders Little House On mare, he is instead transported
The Prairie. The guitarist has also
back to the day of the wedding,
undergone a sartorial transforma-
where his dead bride, in the time-
tion and is now dressed in his more
honoured tradition, throws her
familiar leathers, and launches
bouquet to the assembled guests.
into his solo amid a swirling dust
The bouquet sails in slow-motion
cloud kicked-up by the circling
through the air before pitching
helicopter housing the film crew.
into her open grave and landing
The scene then switches back to
the wedding, with Stephanie and on the casket.
Axl clambering into the back of a Incidentally, the guitar Slash uses
white Bentley convertible parked in the video is a 1959 tobacco-sun-
at the kerb, and the brides ambig- burst Les Paul that once belonged
uous glance gives the viewer a to Aerosmiths Joe Perry. At the
first inkling that all is not well. time, Joe was much more inter-
And the storm clouds have quite ested in snorting his fortune than
literally gathered by the time of he was in composing music, and
the lavish reception complete his wife had sold the guitar in order
with five-tier wedding cake with to pay the bills. Slash willingly
the assembled guests (consisting paid an L.A. collector $8,000 for
of band members and friends) the guitar, which had greater sen-
dashing for cover and sending the timental value to him than having
food and drink-laden tables flying once belonged to one of his heroes
as the heavens open. One of the as hed grown up with a poster on
guests accidentally knocks over a his bedroom wall of Joe playing
bottle of red wine, which cascades that very same guitar.
Guns N Roses

Shaquille Rashaun ONeal, the

renowned American basketball
player who, in 2003, was ranked
#9 in Slam Magazines Top 75
NBC players of all time, is also a
successful rap artist and has con-
tributed to Chinese Democracy.
Aside from his prowess with the
basketball, the 7ft 1 inch colos-
sal, Shaq has released five rap
albums, the first of which, Shaq
Diesel, released in 1993, sold in
excess of three million copies,
ONeil, Shaquille and reached #25 on the Billboard
100. His involvement on Chinese
Democracy came about totally


by accident as he happened to be Roses, but understandably took

recording in the same studio and exception to the phrasing and sen-
headed over to say hello. As Axl timents contained within that par-
was a fan of Shaqs talents both ticular song. The following night,
on and off the court, he invited Reid interrupted Living Colours
him to freestyle over one of the thirty-minute set to voice those
tracks intended for the album. It same concerns from the Colise-
was the first time I ever performed ums stage. If you dont have
with a rock band, and it felt good. a problem with gay people, he
Shaq later admitted. Whether his informed the hushed audience,
vocal will survive to the finished then dont call them faggots.
mix, however, is anyones guess. And if you dont have a problem
with black people, then dont call
them niggers. He finished off
One In A Million his sermon by adding that in his
opinion, anyone who chose to call
somebody a nigger regardless of
One In A Million, which is
either the context, or the situation
the final track on GNR Lies,
was openly promoting racism
landed Guns N Roses and
and bigotry.
Axl in particular in hot water
following the albums release in According to Reid, Keith Rich-
November, 1988. ards made a point of shaking his
When Guns N Roses sup- hand backstage after their set,
ported the Rolling Stones at the whereas Axl seemed intent on
Los Angeles Coliseum in Octo- shaking anyone connected with
ber, 1989, the opening act on the Living Colour by the throat, and
bill was Living Colour. And as all challenged their bassist, Muzz
four band members were of Afro- Skillings, en route to the stage.
American decent, it was inevita- After informing Skillings that
ble they would be asked as to their hed heard Reids radio inter-
opinion on the G N R song which view and didnt take kindly
contained the words niggers and to his being perceived either
faggots. Indeed, it was they who racist or homophobic, Axl then
fired the opening salvo when the astounded anyone within earshot
bands frontman, Vernon Reid, by telling the bassist hed never
participated in a radio phone-in at thought of them as niggers. But
a local radio station the day before before anyone could react, Alan
the opening Coliseum date. When Niven came rushing across and
one caller asked Reid who was attempted to diffuse the situation
a prominent member of the Black by informing Living Colours
Rock Coalition for his verdict drummer, Will Calhoun, that Axl
on One In A Million, the guitar- was from Indiana and therefore
ist expressed a liking for Guns N didnt know any better. The fact

Guns N Roses

Vernon Reid

that Niven remained both upright affix their personal feelings to the
and in the bands employ was evi- words; that the words themselves
dence enough that Axl failed to should not be considered racist.
hear his cringe-worthy attempt to Although he readily admitted the
defend the singers comments. word nigger was offensive, he
And when Mick Wall ques- hadnt meant to denigrate the black
tioned Axl over the lyrical con- race per se. A claim backed up by
tent of One In A Million during the fact that Slash is of mixed race
an interview at the singers West himself and wouldnt have had
Hollywood apartment in January, anything to do with the song let
1990, he told the journalist that the alone record it if hed thought
inspiration for the lyric came from Axl had maliciously intended to be
his friend, West Arkeen, having insulting in that way.
been attacked and robbed by two It is interesting to note, however,
black guys whilst out busking one that despite their attempts to jus-
Christmas. He then went on to tify One In A Million, Guns N
defend his usage of such deroga- Roses havent performed the song
tory terms by arguing that the label live since GNR Lies was released
racist should only be applied to in November, 1988.
those individuals who chose to
Guns N Roses

and is downtown L.A., whilst

the infectious chorus of Take me
down to the paradise city/Where
the grass is green and the girls
are pretty refers to being back
in the Midwest or somewhere.
Knowing the bands penchant for
drugs, however, the phrase where
the grass is green could well be a
reference to weed, which is green
the world over. And when Slash
made a post G N R appearance
on the BBCs satirical late-night
Paradise City music show, Never Mind The
Buzzcocks, the guitarist jokingly
Paradise City is one of the stated the original chorus wasnt
stand-out tracks on Guns N about the girls being pretty but
Roses debut album, Appetite For rather their being fat and having
Destruction, and reached #4 on big titties.
the US Billboard 100 when it was The accompanying video is a
released as a single in 1989. colour/black n white montage of
According to legend, Slash first live and off-stage footage filmed
came up with the songs highly- during two separate shows: the
infectious and instantly recog- first being at the Giants Stadium
nisable riff, played over the G, in New Rutherford, New Jersey
F and D chords, whilst he and on 16 August, 1988 during G N
Steven Adler were still plough- Rs tenure opening for Aerosmith
ing a lone furrow in Road Crew. on the US leg of latter bands Per-
And little could the guitarist have manent Vacation tour, while the
imagined that he would one day be second show is the ill-feted Mon-
performing said riff as a climactic sters of Rock festival staged at
show-closer in front of hundreds Castle Donington two days later.
of thousands of adoring fans in The decision to use footage from
stadiums across the globe. Donington was the bands way of
It has been suggested in some paying a proper and lasting mark
quarters that the lyrics to Para- of respect to the two fans that died
dise City centre on the corruption during their set.
of late 80s Los Angeles. But Axl, Paradise City has gone on to
during a 1998 interview with Hit achieve near-legendary status
Parader magazine, shed some amongst metal fans the world
light on the matter by claiming over, and deservedly ranks #3
the songs verses actually relate in Total Guitar magazines 100
to being in the jungle that was greatest solos of all time, made


#21 on VH1s 40 Greatest Metal

Songs of All Time and came in
at #453 in Rolling Stones 500
Greatest Songs of All Time. It
also features on the soundtrack
to the 1998 movie, Cant Hardly
Wait, starring the delectable Jen-
nifer Love Hewitt.

the vocals. It is interesting to note
Patience, which features on given that the video was shot in
GNR Lies, became Guns N February, 1989 that hes reading
Roses fourth consecutive Top 10 the lyrics from a sheet of paper,
US hit when it was released as a yet the band first performed the
single in May, 1989. It also went song at the Cathouse on 21 Janu-
Top 10 in the UK. ary, 1988. As there is no call for
Although many G N R fans percussion in Izzys poignant
initially believed that Izzy took ballad, Steven is left to twiddle
his inspiration for Patience from his thumbs and idly toy with the
Axls turbulent relationship with props. The offstage footage was
his then girlfriend, Erin Everly, shot within the Ambassador Hotel
it has since come to light the gui- where, twenty years earlier, Sena-
tarists heartfelt lyric was actually tor Robert Kennedy the then
autobiographical and referred to Republican presidential nominee
his failed romance with model was assassinated following a
and aspiring actress, Angela speech to the party faithful and
Nicoletti (who subsequently went had recently closed its doors for
on to marry Hanoi Rocks flam- the last time.
boyant guitarist Andy McCoy). Dick seems to have drawn his
The accompanying promo video inspiration from Stephen Kings
which again was directed by fictional Overlook Hotel from the
Alan Dick features performance writers 1977 horror novel, The
footage shot at L.A.s Record Shining, as the band members are
Plant studios. Duff, clutching an the only constants while ephem-
acoustic guitar rather than his eral extras fade in and out of each
trusty bass, counts in the intro scene. The shy and retiring Izzy is
before he, Izzy, and Slash begin the only band member not to fea-
strumming the songs basic C, A, ture anywhere else in the video,
D chord pattern, while a sashay- whereas his axe partner, Slash is
ing Axl whistles along in accom- seen lying on a bed nonchalantly
paniment before kicking in with caressing his pet snakes one of

Guns N Roses

which is a six-foot red-tailed boa their number have fallen foul of the
constrictor that was a gift from local authorities there.
porn king, Larry Flints daughter On 30 August, 1989, whilst en
Lisa while a procession of scant- route from LAX to Indianapolis,
ily-clad girls slip silently between Izzy was arrested at Phoenixs
the sheets. Duff, sporting a white Sky Harbour airport for having
tuxedo like his hero Sid Vicious verbally abused a female flight
is seen carrying a breakfast tray attendant, refusing to adhere to
down to reception, where Steven the flights no-smoking policy
is sat with a bevy of beauties who, and urinating in the aisle. Izzy
like him, slowly fade away into the was so out of it that he didnt
ether. Although no one could have actually wake up until the follow-
known it at the time, Patience ing morning by which time he
would prove to be Stevens last was in custody with little or no
cinematic appearance with the recollection of what had occurred
band before his dismissal several or why he was in jail. Although
months later. Indeed, given that G N Rs management issued a
Izzy, Slash and Duff would sub- press statement blithely dismiss-
sequently follow the drummer out ing the charges as Izzys way of
of G N Rs revolving door, the expressing himself, the airlines
video has since taken on a whole authorities were understandably
new meaning owing to the final less accommodating. As Izzy had
scene showing a despondent-look- a prior conviction for possession,
ing Axl sat alone in a nondescript he was placed on probation and
hotel room watching the Gunners ordered to seek help for his spi-
Welcome To the Jungle promo ralling drug dependency includ-
video on TV. ing a 12-month period of random
Patience proved a favourite urine testing. This latest and
with fans, and remains in the Gun- most shameful altercation with
ners live set to this day. The ballad the law served as Izzys wake-up
was obviously a firm favourite of call. That was the point where
Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum as I said to myself this has got to
Velvet Revolver covered it during stop, a detoxed Izzy later admit-
their 2007 tour. ted. I didnt wanna wind up dead,
or worse, in prison,
The Arizona state capital was
also the setting for Slashs own
Phoenix heroin epiphany, which came sev-
eral months after the Izzy deba-
Arizonas state capital, Phoenix cle. The guitarist had followed
the fifth largest city in the US has Doug Goldstein to an exclusive
proved something of an accursed luxury resort just outside Phoe-
place for Guns N Roses as three of nix, where he was taking time


out for a little R n R away from out. Upon waking sometime the
the G N R maelstrom. As Slash following day, and undergoing
remembers it, Goldstein was what he describes as an interven-
working on improving his golf tion, the guitarist decided it was
handicap when a swarm of police time to seek professional help. His
officers came charging up the one and only venture into rehab
fairway to inform him they had proved short-lived, however, as
one of his charges in custody for three days into his programme he
having assaulted a maid. Slash decided he wasnt that fucked up,
who was stark naked at the time signed himself out, and flew to
of his capture had apparently Hawaii to dry out at his leisure.
gorged himself on a cornucopia Axl also fell foul of Phoenixs
of drugs and proceeded to trip finest whilst en route to Dr. Sharon
out whilst in the shower. Having Maynards Arizona research insti-
escaped from his watery prison by tute in February, 1998. The sing-
smashing through the glass parti- ers patience already tested by
tion, lacerating his body in several interminable flight delays was
places in the process, the guitar- further aggravated when a member
ist then proceeded to run amok of Phoenixs Sky Harbor airports
through the resort where, amongst security staff almost dropped a
other incongruities, he trampled hand-blown glass sphere intended
over a petrified maid. Unlike for Maynards psychic perusal.
Izzy, however, Slash somehow Having both abused and threat-
avoided being charged and imme- ened the bewildered staff member,
diately flew back to L.A., where Axl was arrested and spent several
he booked himself into a hotel hours in the local jail. When the
under an alias and duly passed case came to court some twelve

Guns N Roses

months later, he pleaded no con- in 1998 as a second keyboardist.

test to the misdemeanour charge He also orchestrates and plays
and was duly fined $500. synthesisers during the bands live
Chris was born on 25 February,
1976, in Independence, Missouri,
Pitman, Chris
and after finishing his schooling
which included studies at both the
Chris Pitman, the Los Angeles- Art Institute of Kansas City, and
based multi-instrumentalist and the University of Missouri began
songwriter, joined Guns N Roses collaborating with several artists,


including the rapper, Dr. Dre. He Missouri. 2003 saw him set up a
was involved in forming elec- similar project in Rio de Janeiro
tronic outfit ZAUM with Tools titled Mind/Land, but the ven-
Danny Carey, which subsequently ture has been put on hold while
led to his being invited to go out the Brazilian authorities issue the
on tour with Tool and contribut- pre-requisite visas and permits
ing to the track, Third Eye on the needed to import the necessary
bands 1996 album, AEnima. He materials into the country.
also played a major part in form-
ing The Replicants, who,like G
N R, released an album consist- P.M.R.C.
ing entirely of covers, as well as
psychedelic popsters Lusk, whose
1997 album, Free Mars, received The P.M.R.C., which stands
a Grammy Award nomination for the Parents Music Resource
in the Best Recording Package Centre, was set up sometime in
category. In 1996 he contributed early 1985 by Tipper Gore, the
keyboards on Blinker The Stars wife of Al Gore, former senator
album, Bourgeois Kitten, and co- for Tennessee, and the man who
wrote their 1998 single, Below allegedly had the 2004 US elec-
The Sliding Doors. tion stolen from him by George
Although having been drafted Dubya Bush.
into Guns N Roses in 1998, Chris Tipper, having taken offence
was still amenable to outside col- to the lyrical content on Princes
laborations, and in 2004 he played Purple Rain soundtrack album,
synthesiser on the Electric Com- which shed purchased that day,
pany album, Creative Playthings. decided to launch a crusade
In 2005, he again teamed up against what she saw as the slip-
with Carey for the experimental pery slope to moral turpitude.
project, Source of Uncertainty, Firstly, she garnered support from
which involved recording mate- her society friends, who also hap-
rial using only pre-1960s musical pened to be wives of highly prom-
devices. inent men in Washington, includ-
Away from music, Chris is the ing Susan Baker (wife of James),
co-founder of the Los Angeles- and formed the P.M.R.C. to alert
based conceptual art coalition, the general public to the growing
Priory of the North, which works trend in music towards lyrics that
primarily with Monotype Lithog-
raphy using oils and metal. He is
also actively involved with onsite
land/environment projects on
Midwest regional farmland sites
in Lafayette and Johnson City,

Guns N Roses

are sexually explicit, excessively Much has been made of the

violent, or glorify the use of drugs enmity between Guns N Roses
and alcohol. The P.M.R.C.s first and their mid-80s West Holly-
order of business was to call upon wood contemporaries. Indeed,
the R.I.A.A. (Recording Indus- the deep-seated animosity dates
try Association of America) to back to a time before Guns N
exercise voluntary self-restraint, Roses even existed, when Slash,
perhaps by developing guidelines having passed an audition to join
and/or a rating system, such as Poison, turned the gig down upon
that of the movie industry. discovering that hed be expected
This was just one of six direc- to dye his curls blond, wear satin
tives Gore and Baker were calling chic, and daub his face with heavy
for. The other five, according to make-up. Then, once G N R
a 1985 issue of the Washington were up and running, but prior to
Post, were as follows: print lyrics either band securing a record deal,
on album covers; keep explicit they would occasionally appear
covers under the counter; estab- together on the same bill at the
lish a ratings system for concerts; Troubadour or one of the other
reassess the contracts of perform- clubs on Sunset Strip. As neither
ers who engage in violence and band had any real following at
explicit sexual behaviour on stage the time, they would take turns at
and establish a citizen and record- headlining. But whereas the Gun-
company media watch that would ners were happy with the arrange-
pressure broadcasters not to air
ment, whenever it was Poisons
questionable talent. Guns N
turn to open, singer Bret Michaels
Roses response was to place stick-
would usually end the bands set
ers on their subsequent albums
by inviting the audience to a party.
which advised prospective buyers
Since the crowd consisted largely
that said albums contained lan-
of freeloaders who never needed
guage which some listeners may
a second invitation to a free bash,
find objectionable. And if so, they
the Gunners usually ended up
could always F?!* Off and buy
playing to a near-empty room.
something from the New Age sec-
The hostilities continued even
tion instead.
after both bands had secured their
coveted record deals and released
their respective debut albums.
Poison Poisons new guitarist, C.C. DeV-
ille (born Bruce Anthony Johan-
Poison are an American glam- nesson), who was only in the band
metal band who, during their 25 owing to Slashs refusal, took to
year-to-date career, have sold wearing a top hat on stage. Slash,
in excess of 25 million albums although happy to admit to Ker-
worldwide. rang! journalist Mick Wall that he


might not be the first rock n roller Rikki Rockett, all hailed from
to wear a top hat, he was certainly Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
the only one to be doing so at that The quixotic quartet formed in
particular juncture. Having caught 1984 as Paris, but elected for
up with DeVille at the Rainbow the rather more confrontational-
one evening, he proceeded to get sounding Poison after seeing the
said point across by threatening to name on a T-shirt worn by drum-
shoot the gullable guitarist. mer Mick Shrimpton in the side-
Poisons unbridled hostility splitting rockumentary This Is
towards Guns N Roses even Spinal Tap. They also decided on
extended beyond the bands mem-
a change of location and moved
bers and their inner-circle. In 1987
to Los Angeles, where their pen-
a female Geffen publicist success-
chant for make-up, garish stage
fully sued Michaels and bassist
Bobby Dall for assault for having costumes, and overblown hair-
dumped a bucket of ice water over dos fitted in perfectly with the
her in what appeared to have been L.A. music scene of the mid-to-
retaliation for various unsavoury late 1980s. But the rockers had
comments made about their band barely unpacked their hair bleach
by certain unnamed members of and curlers when Smith, who
Guns N Roses. was about to become a father for
Poisons founding line-up of the first time, quit the band and
Bret Michaels, Bobby Dall, gui- returned to Pennsylvania so he
tarist Matt Smith, and drummer, could be near his new-born child.

Guns N Roses

Having recruited C.C. Deville bands biggest hit, Every Rose

to replace Smith, the band signed Has Its Thorn.
to independent label, Enigma By the time of their third
Records and headed into the album, Flesh & Blood, which
studio to record their debut album, was released in June, 1990 and
Look What The Cat Dragged In, also went multi-platinum, Poison
which was released in May, 1986. had established themselves as the
And although their debut single, fourth best-selling hard rock act
Cry Tough, failed to chart, the of the previous decade, behind
subsequent releases, Talk Dirty Bon Jovi, Def Leopard, and their
To Me, I Want Action and I bitter rivals, Guns N Roses. The
Wont Forget You were all mas- record produced four gold-sell-
sive hits and contributed to the ing hit singles: Unskinny Bop;
album accruing sales in excess Ride The Wind; Something To
of two million. This, however, Believe In and the albums title
was small potatoes next to the track, Flesh & Blood (Sacri-
bands follow-up, Open Up And fice), which, despite the accom-
SayAhh!, which has sold over panying video being banned from
eight million copies worldwide MTV due to its explicit nature,
and also spawned four US Top 10
reached # 2 on the Billboard 100.
hits: Nothin But A Good Time;
This guaranteed the backcombed
Fallen Angel; a cover-version
boys a headlining world tour, and
of the Loggins and Messina hit,
saw them performing at the Don-
Your Mama Dont Dance and
ington Monsters of Rock festival
the ballad which would prove the
in August of that same year. A
number of shows were recorded
on the Flesh & Blood tour with the
best takes subsequently appear-
ing on the bands fourth (double)
album Swallow This Live, which
also includes four new studio
tracks tracks which proved to be
the last recordings the band would
make with C.C. in the line-up.
Despite Poisons success, DeV-
illes cocaine and alcohol intake
had become chronic and made
him something of a liability, and
the on-going conflict finally came
to a head with Michaels and DeV-
ille engaging in fisticuffs back-
stage at the 1991 MTV Video
Music Awards. Michaels having


finally lost patience when the status despite the lack of a promo-
erratic guitarist failed to remem- tional tour.
ber which song he was supposed It wasnt until the summer of
to be playing. 1999, by which time Michaels and
DeVilles replacement was 20 DeVille had ended their six-year
year-old Pennsylvanian-born, spat and brought the cleaned-up
Ritchie Kotzen, who was installed guitarist back into the fold at the
in time to record Poisons fifth expense of Saraceno, that Poison
album, Native Tongue, released finally went out on the road
in February, 1993. C.C.s depar- again, playing to ecstatic crowds
ture also called time on the bands including a sell-out 18,000 at
trademark anthemic party tunes Detroits Pine Knob Amphithea-
and although the album gener- tre and meriting an appearance
ally received favourable reviews on VH1s Behind the Music.
in the music press, it provided In March, 2000 Crack a Smile
just one solitary single, Stand, and More! finally saw the light
and accrued just one million sales of day, and later that same year
worldwide. Sometime during the Poison released their eighth
resulting promotional tour, Kotzen album, Power to the People,
was fired when it came to light which is a combination of both
that he had become romantically brand-new studio songs and live
involved with Rocketts fiance, tracks culled from recordings of
Deanna Eve. Kotzens replace- the bands 1999 and 2000 tours. A
ment was Blues Saraceno. ninth album, Hollywierd, which
In May, 1994, recording for what consists entirely of new material,
would be the bands sixth album, was released in May, 2002 but
Crack A Smile, was brought to an failed to impress either the crit-
abrupt halt when Michaels suf- ics or the fans, who were equally
fered multiple facial injuries and scathing in their appraisal of its
four broken fingers after losing inferior production quality.
control of his Ferrari. By the time In the summer of 2006, Poison
the singer was able to resume celebrated twenty years in the
recording, however, the indus- music business with their 20
try had undergone a swift shift Years Of Rock tour, with fellow
away from 80s hair-metal, aging L.A. rockers, Cinderella in
which, coupled with the result- support. It proved so successful
ing loss of interest and support that the band released an anni-
from their label, Capitol Records, versary, best-of album: The Best
saw the unfinished album shelved Of Poison: 20 years Of Rock the
indefinitely. In November, 1996, following April, which saw them
Capitol did, however, release the grace the Billboard Top 20 for the
Greatest Hits 1986-1996 compi- first time since 1993.
lation, which achieved platinum

Guns N Roses

John, Pete Townsend, the Jesus &

Price, Bill Mary Chain and Mick Jones post-
Clash outfit, Big Audio Dynamite,
and the 90s saw him colluding
The unassuming English-born with one-time Led Zeppelin front-
engineer, who is best known for man, Robert Plant, The Cult and,
his studio work with both the Sex of course, Guns N Roses.
Pistols and The Clash, worked Tom Zutaut had actually first
on both of the Use Your Illusion approached Price back in 1986
albums. with a view to his working on
Having gained a qualification Appetite For Destruction. Nego-
in electronics from working on
tiations were apparently well
missile guidance systems for
under way to bring the Gunners
Plessey, Price left the company
over to London to record the
in 1962 to embark on a record-
album at Wessex, when David
ing career at Decca Records West
Geffen had a change of heart and
Hampstead studios, where he was
insisted that all the recording was
called upon to apply his burgeon-
to be done in Los Angeles. The
ing talents to hits for the likes of
last-minute change in location,
Tom Jones and Engelbert Hump-
however, meant an alternative
erdinck. Although he was reason-
ably happy at Decca, Bill could producer would also have to be
not ignore the call from legendary found as Price had long-standing
Beatles producer, George Martin, commitments at Wessex and was
who lured him away by offering also reluctant to leave his young
him the position of chief engineer family.
at his newly-formed AIR Studios When the time came for Guns
in Londons West End, where, N Roses to begin work on what
amongst other things, he worked eventually became Use Your Illu-
on the score for the James Bond sion I & II, Geffen, realising that
movie, Live And Let Die, which the colossal 30+ song project was
was subsequently recorded by running behind schedule and
Guns N Roses and appears on over budget again came a-knock-
Use Your Illusion 1. It is, however, ing on Prices door, asking him to
the now-defunct Wessex Studio in team up with Mike Clink. This
North London with which Price time, however, although Price was
has become synonymous, for it willing to temporarily relocate to
was there that he worked on the Los Angeles, Guns N Roses was
Sex Pistols seminal album, Never now not only the most danger-
Mind The Bollocks as well as The ous band in the world, they were
Clashs double album master- also the biggest, and the producer
piece, London Calling. He was found himself having to audition
kept busy throughout the 80s for the job. As he was unfamiliar
working with the likes of Elton with all the new material, rather


than pick something compli- working on each new track as and

cated, Price chose the up-front, when it was ready. And as the
in-your-face rocker Right Next albums werent completed in time
Door To Hell, which he set about for the Use Your Illusion world
by making a heavily compressed tour, it was decided that Clink
mix of the backing track before would get the band into whatever
then adding Axls vocal on top. studio happened to be available
Both Geffen and the band were on one of their days off between
delighted with the finished prod- shows to record all the parts and
uct, and Price returned to London then send the rough mixes back to
to pack a larger suitcase. L.A. Once Price had worked his
With on-going support from magic, he would then jet out to
both Clink and in-house engineer, whichever city the band happened
Jim Mitchell, Price first worked to be playing in at the time and
his way through the twenty songs show them the finished results.
already down on tape before then
Guns N Roses

Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Neil

Diamond and Led Zeppelin could
all be found at their favourite
tables. And it was not unknown
for the King, Elvis Presley, to
drop by with his entourage at the
end of a days filming. By the late
80s, the L.A. music scene had
drifted towards heavy metal and
the Rainbow followed suit which
saw Lemmy from Mtorhead,
Mtley Cre and, of course, Guns
N Roses taking up semi-perma-
nent residence. Indeed, such was
Rainbow Bar and Grill the Gunners regard and affection
for the Rainbow that it features
in all three promo videos for the
The Rainbow Bar and Grill, bands unofficial power-ballad
which is located at 9015 Sunset, trilogy: Dont Cry; November
West Hollywood, is one of L.A.s Rain and Estranged.
most renowned watering holes The Rainbow was originally
and features in several Guns N owned by movie director, Vin-
Roses videos. cente Minnelli, father of Liza,
Although the Rainbow is a bar who at the time, was married to
and restaurant in the traditional Lizas mother, Judy Garland. This
sense and is typical of the eating soon led to it becoming some-
establishments dotted along thing of a favourite hangout for
Sunset Strip, the upstairs Over Hollywoods A-List and it was
The Rainbow room, which com- the setting for Joe DiMaggios
prises of a full bar, dancefloor and first date with his future wife,
DJ booth, has become the exclu- Marilyn Monroe. It is also where
sive reserve of prominent musi- John Jake Blue Belushi ate his
cians. During the 1970s, rock last meal (lentil Soup) before suc-
luminaries such as John Lennon, cumbing to a fatal drugs overdose
in the nearby Chateau Marmont.


Rapidfire was a Los Angeles-

based quartet which featured Axl
on vocals prior to his joining Hol-
lywood Rose.


On 25 May, 1983, the quartet

which, apart from Axl, featured Reunion
Kevin Lawrence on guitar, Mike
Hammernik on bass, and drum-
mer Chuck Gordon recorded an The will they, wont they?
8-track, 5-song demo: Ready To question surrounding a possible
reunion of the Guns N Roses
Rumble; All Night Long; The
classic line-up of Axl, Slash, Izzy,
Prowler; On The Run and Clo-
Duff, and Steven, is still the sub-
sure. As this is the earliest known
ject of much debate amongst the
recording featuring Axl Roses
bands fans.
vocal talents, which according
I, like the majority of Guns N
to Lawrence are reminiscent of Roses fans, have always believed
those of Judas Priests frontman, that a reconstitution of the bands
Rob Halford, there is much inter- original line-up is highly unlikely
est in the demo tape. Despite Axls to occur, largely owing to Izzy,
legal attempts to prevent him Slash and Duffs respective griev-
from doing so, Lawrence intends ances towards Axl. But, like many
to release the songs commercially others, I allowed myself to be
and the accompanying CD book- fooled into believing the impos-
let is set to contain several photo- sible might well come to pass
graphs of the then non-tattooed when snippets began circulating
future G N R frontman. in the music press on both sides of
the Atlantic as well as appear-

Guns N Roses

ing on various websites that And with the love and support I
all five original members would got from those guys (not to men-
come together to commemorate tion the $2.3 million in damages),
the 20th anniversary of the release I think we can reunite. Im gonna
of Appetite For Destruction. The leave it up to Axl. Thats gonna be
proposed date and setting for this Axls call. I love Axl, and I know
mouth-watering prospect was Sat- hell make the right call.
urday 28, July 2007, at West Hol-
lywoods Key Club, where Steven
Adlers new band, Adlers Appe- Reed, Dizzy
tite with L.A. Guns in support
was booked to perform.
Dizzy Reed, born Darren Arthur
Needless to say, Axl failed to
Reed on 18, June, 1963 in Hins-
put in an appearance, but Adlers
dale, Illinois, joined Guns N
Appetite was joined on stage by
Roses as keyboardist in 1990, and
Izzy and Duff for a thumping ren-
aside from Axl Rose, is the bands
dition of Mr. Brownstone (Izzy
longest-serving member.
also clambered back on stage
Having been taught the rudi-
for Mama Kin), while Slash
ments of the organ at an early
watched on from the wings before
age by his grandmother, Dizzy
departing for a prior commit- played in a succession of local
ment. Before leaving, the guitar- garage bands in Colorado, where
ist told reporters hed been inun- the family had relocated. But,
dated with calls and e-mails ever having decided to seek a profes-
since the reunion was first touted, sional career in music, he, like his
and that although he was happy to future G N R buddies Axl, Izzy
come along and support Steven, and Duff, made the move to Los
who had finally put his well-doc- Angeles in order to realise his
umented drug problems behind ambitions. Apart from knowing
him and was making music again, his way around a keyboard, Dizzy
hed purposely avoided getting was also a budding guitarist, and
up on stage in order to quash the shortly after arriving in L.A. he
mounting speculation that the replaced August Worchell in a
Gunners would indeed be getting band called Johnny Crash. But
back together. that particular venture proved
Steven, however, still remains exceedingly short-lived as the
hopeful that a full blow-out Guns band decided to split shortly after
N Roses reunion will take place his inclusion.
sometime in the future. I believe His introduction to the wonder-
I made it this far for a reason, he ful world of Guns N Roses came
told referring to his in 1985 when his group, The
aforementioned drug problems. I Wild, was rehearsing in a studio
want to finish what we started. adjacent to the one the Gunners


were using. A shared passion for promote the records, and would
keyboards and pianos soon led to therefore require a full-time key-
his striking up a friendship with boardist, Dizzy was brought in as
Axl, and the two kept in touch a permanent member. The induc-
even after G N Rs meteoric rise tion did not go smoothly, how-
to stardom. Whether Dizzy was ever, and Slash and Izzy have both
hoping anything would come of since gone on record to say that
his friendship with Axl is a matter none of the band with the excep-
of conjecture, but in 1990 he was tion of Axl, of course spoke to
invited to join Axl and the rest of Dizzy for at least two weeks after
G N R in the studio to add key- his joining.
boards to several songs the band They were not alone, as many of
was currently recording for the the bands ever-expanding legion
Use Your Illusion albums. And of fans also held strong reserva-
as the Gunners would be going tions about Dizzys inclusion in
out on a massive world tour to the G N R line-up. They felt the

Guns N Roses

introduction of keyboards was Today, beside performing with

taking the Gunners sound ever Guns N Roses, Dizzy also plays
further away from the rough and keyboards and guitar in his own
ready street sound so evident band, Hookers N Blow, which
on Appetite For Destruction and belts out standard rock classics
that had attracted them to the band as well as the occasional G N R
in the first place. But for every standard. His wife Lisa, although
detractor still clinging on to the a teacher by profession, is an
belief that keyboards had no place author by vocation, and her novel,
in rock music, there were scores Embers Flame, was published
in 2004 by Twenty First Century
of open-minded fans who appre-
ciated Dizzys skilful melodies on
songs such as November Rain,
Estranged and Civil War. And
rather than risk enraging the die- Richman, Josh
hards by drowning the bands back
catalogue with keyboards during Josh Richman is an actor, writer,
live shows, Dizzy chose to instead producer and director who wrote
provide back-up percussion. the additional [spoken] verse for
Of course, Slashs resentment Guns N Roses cover of Knockin
of keyboards and keyboardists On Heavens Door which appears
eventually mellowed and he sub- on Use Your Illusion II.
sequently invited Dizzy to play on Josh, who also goes by the name
the first Snakepit album. The key- 8 Ball, was born on 21 Novem-
boardist also guested on Duffs ber, 1962, in Los Angeles, Cali-
solo album, Believe In Me, as well fornia. His first acting job came
as Gilbys post G N R projects in 1983 with an un-credited guest
and current Gunners bassist, appearance in the American TV
science fiction series, V: Series 1,
Tommy Stinsons solo album, Vil-
alongside future Freddie Kruger
lage Gorilla Head. It isnt only
star, Robert Englund. A second
rock music which floats Dizzys
sci-fi role came in 1985 when he
boat, however, for he is an aficio-
appeared as a teachers aide in The
nado of Christian Music pioneer, Twilight Zone. His first signifi-
Larry Norman and appears on cant role came the following year
his 1998 Copper Wires album. in Rivers Edge, starring Keanu
He has also composed music for Reeves and Dennis Hopper. Fur-
the score to director Joel Milners ther roles followed in Thrashin,
movie, The Still Life, which was Modern Girls, and The Allnighter,
released in August, 2007, as well as well as the 1989 cult movie,
as appearing in Milners latest Heathers, starring Winona Ryder
movie, Celebrity Art Show, which and Christian Slater. Although these
is scheduled for release in 2008. werent exactly blink-and-youll-


The story goes that Kantor,

having finally tired of Axls now
near-incessant arguing with Erin
which was usually accompa-
nied by loud music blasting out
from the G N R singers stereo
confronted Axl in the hallway.
In a subsequent statement relating
to her argument with Axl, Kantor
claimed the singer had snatched
her car keys away from her and
thrown them from the twelfth-
miss-em roles, they werent going floor balcony of their apartment
to see him strolling up the red building into the bushes below,
carpet on Oscars night either. His
before then hitting her over the
latest role is in the 2007 movie, The
head with a wine bottle.
Education of Charlie Banks, which
Axls version of events is some-
was directed by Limp Bizkit front-
what different. According to his
man, Fred Durst.
statement, Kantor was a crazed,
At the time of writing, Rich-
over-zealous fan, and that the
man is the club promoter at The
fracas was just the latest episode
Roxy on Sunset Strip, and he also
in a long-standing feud between
manages a Los Angeles-based
the two which had been going on
rock band, Deadsy, whose video
ever since hed moved into his
for their single, The Key To
apartment. He also claimed it was
Gramercy Park, was also directed
Kantor who had been making a
by Fred Durst.
nuisance of herself and that he had
only gone out into the hallway to
tell her to shut the fuck up. He
Right Next Door To Hell later told MTVs Kurt Loder that
Erin had suffered a miscarriage the
Right Next Door To Hell, day prior to his fight with Kantor,
which opens the musical fare on which may have been the reason
G N Rs Use Your Illusion I, was for his less-than-tactful response.
written by Axl following an argu- Kantor, however, was not to know
ment with his next-door neigh- this and had retaliated by swing-
bour, Gabriella Kantor. ing the wine bottle she was carry-
In the early hours of Tuesday ing at him. Axl managed to prise
30 October, 1990, a squad car the bottle away from her, but as
from the nearby West Hollywood he went to close the door Kantor
Sheriffs station responded to a flung her car keys over his head
late-night call from Axls next- into his living area as a means of
door neighbour, Gabriella Kantor. gaining access to his apartment.

Guns N Roses

Axl stood firm and slammed the short period of time shortly after
door in Kantors face, and it was moving to Los Angeles.
while she was pounding away on Axl later told Hit Parader
the outside of his door that he des- magazine that at the time of their
patched the keys over the balcony relationship, the girl in question
before calling the Sheriffs office. was trying to put a band together
But as Axl had previously filed a which she intended to call Rocket
police harassment charge against Queen. He also revealed the song
that same Sheriffs office, it was was in homage to her, and that the
hardly surprising that no one ultimate verse, which contains the
responded to his call. Less than an lines Dont ever leave me/Say
hour later, however, two deputies youll always be there, was a per-
arrived in response to Kantors sonal message of hope and friend-
own call, and rather than accept ship.
the singers version of what had Rocket Queen has to be unique
occurred or his claim that any in the pantheon of rock n roll
bruises Kantor might have on her music in that it contains a recorded
person were self-inflicted owing sex act within the mix. Legend
to her having repeatedly thrown has it that Axl, having come up
herself against his front door the with the idea to add pornographic
bemused deputies arrested the sounds to the song, headed out
singer and bundled him off to jail. into West Hollywood and came
Axl was released sometime to some arrangement with a
the following day, after posting
hooker listed as Barbie (Rocket
$5,000 bail but the charges were
Queen) Von Grief on Appetites
subsequently dropped when he
acknowledgements brought her
passed a lie-detector test which
back to the studio and fucked her
indicated that he had been telling
under the mixing consol. Ms Von
the truth all along. Rather than risk
Grief was apparently well known
further altercations with his irate
amongst West Hollywoods rock
neighbour, however, Axl moved
fraternity for she also received a
out of the apartment building to
credit on L.A. Guns 1988 epony-
take up residence in a newly-pur-
mous debut album. Another arti-
chased house high up in the Hol-
lywood Hills. cle, however, which subsequently
appeared in Classic Rock maga-
zine, wilfully named and shamed
Adriana Smith at the time the
Rocket Queen on-off squeeze of the soon-to-be-
deposed Steven Adler, and also a
Rocket Queen, the rabble- close and intimate friend of Axls
rousing finale to Appetite For as the girl in question. Sources
Destruction, is Axls ode to a girl close to the Gunners, however,
he knew and possibly dated for a have since put the story of Smiths


involvement down to nothing citys colossal 200,000 capac-

more than apocryphal journalism. ity Maracana Stadium, Guns N
The somewhat bizarre scenario Roses were the biggest band on
of Axl going hell for leather with the planet and were the obvious
the hooker in keeping with the choice to co-headline the nine-
songs tempo was backed up by day event alongside Prince and
Rumbos in-house engineer, Steve George Michael.
Thompson. In an interview which As with the first event, each
can be found on www.heretoday- headline act was required to give, Thompson two performances, and the Gun-
confirms that the singer did indeed ners first appearance, on 20 Janu-
bring a woman of questionable ary, was their first live outing since
character into the studio, where
Farm Aid IV the previous April.
up to thirty minutes of grunting
Not only was this Matt Sorums
and groaning was captured on
first show since replacing Steven
tape and subsequently added to
Adler, it also served as a means of
the songs final mix.
introducing Dizzy Reed. Perhaps
not surprisingly, given that the
Use Your Illusion albums were
Rock in Rio currently being mixed back in
Los Angeles, the set-list featured
Rock in Rio, and Rock in Rio several of the songs scheduled to
Lisboa, is a series of rock festivals appear on the new records. This
organised by Brazilian entrepre- was by far the biggest audience
neur, Roberto Medina, three of the Gunners had yet faced, but
which have featured appearances instead of seizing the opportunity
by Guns N Roses. to justify the hype surrounding
Back in January, 1985, the year them, Axl brought the proceed-
of the inaugural Rock in Rio fes- ings to an untimely conclusion
tival, which featured a bill of both some twenty minutes sooner than
international and Brazilian artists scheduled simply because he
alongside headline acts including
Queen, Iron Maiden and AC/DC,
Axl and Izzy were preoccupied
honing their respective talents in
Hollywood Rose, while Slash and
Steven were likewise preoccupied
in Road Crew and Duff was still
in Seattle flitting from one dead-
end punk band to another. But by
the time of the second festival in
January 1991, which was again
staged in Rio de Janeiro, at the

Guns N Roses

didnt feel the audience was being drummer from the American
responsive enough. rock band Queensryche,whod
Controversy also reared its ugly appeared on that same stage ear-
head on the night of the Gunners lier in the evening, were forcibly
second headline show three days ejected from the side-stage area
later, on 23 January, when fellow by the Gunners security despite
rockers Judas Priest who were having earlier received permission
second on the bill were informed from Axl to watch the show.
some three hours before they were Despite Axls prima-donna
due to go on that Axl was refus- behaviour, Guns N Roses were
ing to perform that evening unless invited back to co-headline the
their band was prepared to con- third Rock in Rio festival in
sent to his demands. Not only January, 2001. By this time of
would the Brummie rockers have course, only the singer unless
to agree to refrain from using any one counts the long-serving
of their on-stage pyrotechnics, cut Dizzy Reed remained from the
their set by twenty minutes and bands original line-up, but the
conduct one encore only, singer 150,000 strong, largely Brazil-
Rob Halford wouldnt be allowed ian audience didnt seem to care
to take to the stage as he had and sang along to the old stand-
done for the past decade on the ards. Axl, however, still felt the
back of a motorcycle. And Judas need to explain the situation, and
Priest wasnt the only band to brought his Brazilian-born house-
suffer. Michael Wilton and Scott keeper, Beta Lebeis, out onto the
Rockenfield, the guitarist and stage to act as his translator while


he took time out during the two- with whom she would have two
and-a-half-hour show to castigate more children Amy and Stuart
his former bandmates for having her new husband kindly agreed
supposedly worked very hard to to legally adopt young Bill and
do everything they could to pre- gave him his surname. And as Axl
vent him from being there. And in would have been too young to
what was surely meant as a slap in form any memories of that period,
the face for Slash, Axl then lauded he grew up believing the strin-
the guitarists replacement, Paul gent reverend was his biological
Tobias, for having spent seven father.
years working through the dark- The Bailey household, however,
ness to save Guns N Roses. was rarely a scene of domestic
Bucketheads untimely depar- bliss, as the new patriarch was a
ture from Guns N Roses in April, deeply religious but often vio-
2004, meant the band were unable lent man, who Axl would later
to participate in the fourth Rock in claim had sexually and physically
Rio festival the following month, abused both himself and his two
which had inexplicably relocated siblings. His mother, despite her-
to Lisbon, Portugal. They did, self suffering both extreme mental
however, appear at the second and physical abuse at the hands
Lisbon RiR festival in May, 2006 of her new husband, refused to
where they headlined alongside leave Bailey, which, perhaps not
Roger Waters, Red Hot Chili Pep- surprisingly, led to the young
pers, The Darkness, and Kasa- and highly impressionable Bill
bian. accepting that domestic violence
was normal behaviour in every
American homestead. Indeed, in
Rose, W. Axl an interview with Rolling Stone in
1992, Axl even went so far as to
blame his step-fathers treatment
W. Axl Rose, who was born Wil-
liam Bruce Rose Jr in the small col-
lege town of Lafayette, Indiana, on
6 February, 1962, is the long-serv-
ing singer in Guns Roses.
William Jr, or Bill, as he was
known, was just 2-years-old when
his father, William Rose Snr, a
renowned rabble-rouser and bar-
room brawler, abandoned the
family, never to be seen again.
When his mother, Sharon, remar-
ried two years later to local Pente-
costal preacher, L. Stephen Bailey,

Guns N Roses

of his mother and her failure to he discovered the truth about his
intervene on her childrens behalf biological father. In a fit of pique,
for his own problems forming he re-adopted his birth name but
meaningful relationships with from that day on he would only
women. It wasnt until 1979, by refer to himself as W. Rose.
which time the 17-year-old Bill As with most victims of domes-
had let his bronze-coloured hair tic violence, Axl developed a reck-
grow out, and was singing in local less attitude towards authority, and
rock bands most notably Axl, his delinquent tendencies, such as
which subsequently provided him bunking school, public drunken-
with his lasting moniker that ness and brawling in the street,


soon brought him to the attention old, singing gospel songs (the
of the Lafayette police. He would only music allowed in the Bailey
later claim to have been arrested household) in the choir at the local
and thrown in jail on more than Pentecostal church, where he also
twenty occasions, whilst admit- performed at services with his sib-
ting to having only been guilty lings as the Bailey Trio. In addi-
of five of these incidents. Most of tion to singing in church, he also
the offences were public disorder participated in his school chorus
charges which warranted nothing class and began studying classi-
more than a slap on the wrist, or cal piano, which would serve him
at worst, a night in the slammer to well in later years. From 1980
sleep off a drunk. But by becom-
onwards, having tired of living
ing a repeat offender, he began
in Hicksville, USA, Axl began
to receive stiffer sentences, one
hitch-hiking out to L.A., where he
of which resulted in his spending
often hooked up with his old high
three months in jail following his
school friend, Jeff Isbelle, a.k.a
failure to pay a fine for an undis-
closed earlier offence. According Izzy Stradlin, whod fled Lafay-
to the Tippecanoe County Court ette immediately after graduation
records, from July, 1980 through in search of rock n roll stardom.
to September, 1982, Axl spent a (The scene was recreated in the
total of ten days in adult jail. As opening sequence to the Wel-
soon as Guns N Roses hit the big come To The Jungle video). On
time and the money began rolling 19 December, 1982, Axl, together
in, he hired a lawyer to clean up with on-off girlfriend, Gina Siler,
his dubious hometown past. who claims to have paid for his
Axls passion for singing first now-famous W. Axl Rose tattoo,
emerged when he was 5-years- made the move permanent, and

Guns N Roses

the pair set up home at 1921 Whit- Chris Weber and Tracii Guns, and
ley Avenue in Hollywood. as he and Tracii were both occu-
Somewhat surprisingly, given pied with their respective aspir-
that Izzy himself was fresh out ing bands, he introduced Axl to
of Lafayette, his new friends Weber in the hope the two might
looked upon Axl as a hapless hick get something going. This they
and tended to keep him at arms did, and having assembled like-
length. But the aspiring singer minded musicians, they formed
was determined to succeed in the band Rose (Axl did initially
the City of Angeles and began toy with the idea of resurrecting
scouring the musicians wanted his adopted moniker for the new
section of the local music press. venture before deciding on his
His first short-lived foray into surname instead). This in turn,
West Hollywoods burgeoning was extended to the far glitzier-
music scene came with Rapidfire sounding Hollywood Rose, by
in early 1983, who, if it hadnt which time Izzy had joined their
been for Axls subsequent suc- number, and the band set about
cess with Guns N Roses, would garnering attention by procuring
have long-since slipped into musi- any support slot available, as well
cal obscurity. That said, Rapidfire as playing the occasional headline
did at least provide Axl with the gig. Over the ensuing 12 months,
opportunity to flex his lungs in musicians would come and go
front of a discernable audience, without much ado, but Axl and
and emboldened him to perse- Izzy remained unfazed. And the
vere with his dream. When Izzy two finally sensed a sea change in
their fortunes when their new bass
first moved to L.A., hed been
player, Duff McKagan, brought
befriended by budding musicians,


in Slash and Stephen Adler and unlikely todays ipod generation

Guns N Roses was born. will spare much thought to the
The Gunners original five-piece ideals of a guy old enough to have
line-up would remain together for been at school with their parents.
the next five or so years, during
which time they broke both chart
and attendance records with con- Rose Tattoo
summate ease. But, as Axl himself
subsequently sang in November
Rain, nothing lasts forever, and Rose Tattoo is the Australian
the first indication of this sad yet rock band whose song, Nice Boys
(Dont Play Rock N Roll) was
perennial truth came with Ste-
covered by Guns N Roses and
vens dismissal in 1990. This was
appears on the GNR Lies album.
largely due to Axls escalating ego
Rose Tattoo was originally
coupled with a refusal to accept
formed in Sydney in 1976. While
criticism from the ranks. Yet this
the Aussie rockers recorded sev-
was but the first schism, and one
eral impressive albums, one of
by one Izzy, Slash and lastly Duff,
which, 1982s Scarred For Life,
followed Adler out of the door.
would have a significant impact
Instead of opting for a solo career
on Los Angeles burgeoning metal
which in hindsight might have scene, the band is largely remem-
been the lesser of two evils Axl bered thanks to Guns N Roses
believed he could prolong the life having covered one of their songs.
of Guns N Roses by bringing in Although it has to be said, their
a succession of musicians, who, singer, Angry Anderson, is also
despite their respective abilities, remembered for the saccharine-
were never truly going to replace soaked ballad Suddenly, which
their more illustrious, and much featured as the wedding theme for
lamented predecessors. the fictional TV marriage of Scott
Although Chinese Democracy and Charlene from the Aussie
will eventually see the light of day soap Neighbours. The popular-
if not in February 2008 as cur- ity of the soap in the UK, where
rently being touted, then at some it had been screened five days a
point in the near future fifteen week since 1986, saw the song
long years of relative obscu- reach #3 in the UK charts.
rity have passed since Axl last In 1992, although he had carved
released an album of any worth. out a successful solo career as
And although he is an astute and well as being something of a TV
talented musician who will have celebrity in his homeland, Ander-
no doubt kept his fickle finger on son received an offer he couldnt
rocks throbbing pulse which refuse when Guns N Roses
will at least ensure a highly- invited him to reform Rose Tattoo
polished, quality product it is in order to support them on the

Guns N Roses

Australian leg of their Use Your evard, West Hollywood, is one of

Illusion tour. Although the recon- L.A.s most famous music venues,
stituted band was well received, and in 1986 played host to the then
instead of using the G N R shows up-and-coming Guns N Roses.
as a springboard to greater things, The legendary venue first
once the tour was over the band opened its doors back in Septem-
members went their separate ber, 1973 when co-owners, Elmer
ways. Valentine and Lou Adler, along
1998, however, brought a col- with sleeping business partners
lective rethink and Rose tattoo Elliot Roberts, Peter Asher, and
reformed and found their niche David Geffen, took over the lease
touring around Australia and from the then occupier Chuck
Europe. In August, 2006, by which Landis who had run a strip club
time four of Rose Tattoos one- called The Largo on the premises.
time members had succumbed to The inaugural show featured Neil
various forms of cancer, the band Crazy Horse Young.
was inducted into the ARIA (Aus-
The following year saw the Roxy
tralian Recording Industry Asso-
play host to the debut American
ciation) Hall of Fame. Despite the
run of Richard OBriens side-
tragedies, the band continued per-
splitting and decidedly risqu
forming, and in 2007 they once
stage play, The Rocky Horror
again supported Guns N Roses,
Show. Indeed, it had been Adler
this time on the Australian leg of
their Chinese Democracy tour. who was responsible for bringing
the play to America. The show
was such a runaway success that
it was made into a movie the fol-
Roxy Theatre, The lowing year with Tim Curry in
the starring role of Dr. Frank-N-
The Roxy Theatre, which is Furter, the transsexual transvestite
located at 9009 West Sunset Boul- from Transylvania.


Thanks to the likes of Guns N shadow of its former, glorious

Roses, Mtley Cre, Poison et al, self, but fans can still get a feel for
by the mid-80s the Roxy had built those halcyon days thanks to the
up a reputation as the place to extensive array of photographs
play in L.A.. But it wasnt only that line the walls to serve as a
the local talent that plied their constant reminder of its heady,
trade here, for established artists decadent past. It wasnt only the
such as Bruce Springsteen, whose stage that saw plenty of rock n
1975 shows are still talked about roll debauchery, for the clubs
to this day, David Bowie, Nir- small upstairs bar, On The Rox,
vana, Tori Amos, Miles Davis, Al overlooking Sunset Strip, has
Stewart and Janes Addiction have earned a lasting place in L.A.
all trodden the boards of the ven- folklore as being where John
ues small stage. And it was here Belushi partied the night away
during December, 1973 that the before shuffling off his cocaine-
zany, and offbeat Frank Zappa and coated mortal coil. It was also a
his Mothers of Invention recorded regular hangout for John Lennon,
their celebrated album, Roxy and who spent a significant part of his
Elsewhere. legendary L.A. lost weekend of
Somewhat surprisingly, Guns N 1975 here in the company of Alice
Roses only performed at the Roxy Cooper, Harry Neilson and Keith
on three occasions. The first came Moon. In the 1980s the Roxy
on Saturday 18 January, 1986, played host to sordid sex parties
when their 17-song set featured hosted by shamed Hollywood
several covers, including early set Madame, Heidi Fleiss.
perennials Jumpin Jack Flash
and Mam Kin, as well as more
rarely performed versions of Elvis
Heartbreak Hotel and Wings
1979 hit Goodnight Tonight.
They returned to the venue two
months later on Friday 28 March
when they performed two sets, the
second of which saw Axl gyrating
on stage during Anything Goes
with a scantily-clad stripper. Their
third and final Roxy tear-up came
on Saturday 31 August, 1986,
when they advertised themselves
as Diamonds In The Rough.
Today, however, as with the
majority of the clubs dotted along
Sunset Strip, the Roxy is a mere
Guns N Roses

the harsh reality that the City of

Angels owed no one any favours,
regardless of their musical vir-
tuosity. Living a hand-to-mouth
existence and crashing on studio
couches in search of a paying gig
wasnt exactly how hed imagined
his life, and no one would have
blamed him had he gone home to
San Diego to fulfil his childhood
aspirations of becoming a coast
guard. Fortunately, Stevie perse-
Salas, Stevie vered, and his break came when
Funkadelic maestro George Clin-
ton who was in need of a gui-
Stevie Salas, the guitar prodigy
tarist wandered into the studio
and highly-successful solo artist,
where he was eking a living as
was brought in by Axl Rose to
work on Chinese Democracy. a session musician. This in turn
Stevie, who has since been rated led to his being offered a sizeable
one of the top fifty guitarists of recording contract with Island
all time, is of Native-American Records, and before the year was
descent (Mescalero Apache) and out he was touring with Stevie Vai
grew up in San Diego, California and Joe Satriani, and jet-setting
with a love of the ocean and no around the world with Rod Stew-
musical aspirations whatsoever. art and Mick Jagger.
But his life was set to change
when aged 15, he was given a
homemade guitar by his brother-
in-law. Within a matter of weeks
Stevie and his fledgling band were
playing high school dances and
local clubs, and having discov-
ered he was a natural on guitar, he
decided to embark upon a career
in music. Shortly after gradua-
tion, he left the comforts of home,
bound for Los Angeles.
At first, like Izzy and Axl before
him and countless other aspir-
ing musos whod relocated to
L.A. dreaming of hitting the big
time Stevie had to deal with


Whether Stevies licks will sur-

vive to the finished mix of Chi-
nese Democracy is solely down to
Axl, but many of you will already
be familiar with the guitarists
fretboard dexterity from the 1989
movie, Bill and Teds Excellent
Adventure. Remember the blis-
tering, demon riffs played by San
Demus 700-year-old resident,
Rufus (Played by George Carlin)? hosiery companies. Stephanies
Well, yes, that was Stevie Salas. curvy attributes hadnt gone
unnoticed by Elites CEO, John
Casablancas, who, despite being
married at the time, first wooed
Seymour, Stephanie her into his bed, and then into his
life. Their scandalous four-year
Stephanie Seymour is the ex- relationship had been manna from
supermodel who dated Axl Rose heaven as far as Americas gossip
for two years during the early 90s columnists were concerned. And
and appears in the promo videos for their poison pens were soon drip-
Dont Cry and November Rain. ping with scurrilous ink again
The stunning, blue-eyed, Amer- when she embarked on a tumul-
ican supermodel, who in 2000 tuous two-year relationship with
would be ranked #91 on lads mag Axl Rose in 1991, shortly after
FHMs 100 Sexiest Women, was walking away from a failed one-
born in San Diego, California, on year-old marriage to another musi-
23 July, 1968. Stephanie began cian; the lesser-known Tommy
her modelling career in 1982 Andrews, with whom she had a
working in a succession of home- son, Dylan Thomas Andrews.
town department stores, but her Some might view Stephanies
big break came the following year appearances in the G N R videos
when, aged 15, she won the Elite Dont Cry and November Rain,
Model Management Look of the in which she and Axl pose as a
Year contest. Her shapely, 510 bride and groom, as prenuptial
physique was ideally suited for nepotism. But such was the sing-
modelling swimwear and lingerie ers infatuation with his new girl
which led to numerous appear- he went so far as to pretend hed
ances in Sports Illustrated even hired a genuine minister to appear
making it onto the front cover. in the video, which meant they
She is also credited with help- were legally bound. The couple
ing the then little-known Victo- got engaged for real on 4 Febru-
rias Secrets grow into one of the ary, 1993, only to then break up
worlds best known lingerie and three weeks later following Axls

Guns N Roses

claims of Stephanies infidelity

with movie star and legendary Shamrock Studios
womaniser, Warren Beatty, whom
shed been seeing at the time of
encountering Axl. Shamrock Studios is or was
In October, 1993, Seymour filed located at 5634 Santa Monica
a counter-sue lawsuit against her Boulevard, and it was here on 31
estranged lover claiming he had August, 1984, that Hollywood
kicked and grabbed her at a party Rose performed a special after
hours show, taking to the stage
at their Mediterranean-style Malibu
at The crudely-sketched
home the previous Christmas. It
flyer used to promote the show
seems that Axl flew into a rage
featured cartoon-esque images of
when she decided to press ahead
Axl, Izzy and co, along with the
with the party when he had wanted
bands logo.
to cancel. She also claimed that as
soon as their red-faced guests had
fled the house, Axl set about smash-
ing bottles and glasses, before
dragging her barefoot through the
broken shards leaving her feet and
lower body covered in a myriad of
cuts and bruises.
Axl, however, had already fired
the first shot earlier in the year
when he filed a suit against the
model in August claiming she was
refusing to return $100,000 worth
of jewellery hed given to her as
gifts. The case as with the one
involving Erin Everly was set-
tled out of court, and it is rumoured
that Stephanie received a payment
of $400,000. Shortly after splitting
from Axl, she became involved Silly Killers
with Interview magazine publisher,
Peter Brant, and nine months later The Silly Killers was a Seattle-
gave birth to their first child, whom based punk band which briefly
they named Peter. The couple mar- featured a pre G N R Duff McKa-
ried in 1994 and a second son, gan in its line-up.
Harry, followed shortly thereafter, The Silly Killers was formed in
while daughter Lilly Margaret was 1982, and along with The Fartz
born in 2004. and Wad Squad, performed at the


very first punk gig in Tacoma, Gas Huffers cover version of

Washington that same summer. Knife Manual as the b-side to a
The show, which was staged in a split single with Mudhoney, but as
dingy basement, was brought to far as anyone can tell there dont
an unscheduled and unsavoury appear to be any plans to reissue
conclusion, however, when a the Silly Killers EP. That said,
dozen or so of Tacomas finest, however, Duff McKagans brief
dressed in full riot gear, stormed tenure with the band has ensured
the basement under the mistaken its name will live on, if only as a
assumption that an insurrection footnote in the Gunners illustri-
was taking place. ous history.
Later that same year by which
time Duff had departed the band,
but was on hand to provide back-
Sixx, Nikki
ing vocals on one of the tracks
the Silly Killers released their
one and only vinyl offering, the 4- Nikki Sixx is the bassist and
track Not That Time Again EP, main songwriter in American rock
on Seattles legendary punk label, band, Mtley Cre.
No Three Records. Not surpris- On the evening of 23 December,
ingly, the songs on offer Not 1987, shortly after coming off the
That Time Again, Social Bitch road opening for Alice Cooper,
(the song on which Duff provides Slash, along with some of the
backing vocals), Knife Manual guys from Megadeth, was stand-
and Sissie Faggots were deliv- ing within the ornate entrance of
ered in the typical 1-2-3-4 lets the Franklin Plaza Hotel where
go punk style of the period, with he and the rest of the Gunners
perhaps just the faint whiff of a were now staying, having finally
surf influence especially on the given up the rented apartment
opening riff to the title track. In awaiting the arrival of his favour-
1992, Empty Records released ite non-G NR drug-buddy, Nikki

Guns N Roses

Sixx. Slash was intent on having a Although Slash hadnt partaken

little festive fun chasing the Chi- in the Persian, hed knocked back
nese dragon up, over and beyond enough Jack Daniels to fell a buf-
the Hollywood hills before get- falo, and was therefore of little
ting back into the groove with use when his girlfriend Sally tried
four shows over five nights at the to rouse him after finding a drool-
Perkins Palace in Pasadena, com- ing Nikki lying comatose on the
mencing on Boxing Day. floor. Thankfully for Nikki, shed
Nikki, born Frank Carlton Ser- had the wherewithal to call 911,
afino Feranna Jr. on 11 December, otherwise the bassist might not be
1958 in San Jose, California, later with us today.
reminisced in Mtley Cres col- Nikki, of course, has no recol-
lective autobiography, The Dirt, lection of the paramedics bundling
some fifteen years later, that by the him into an ambulance and ferry-
time he and Ratt guitarist, Robbin ing him to the nearest hospital,
Crosby arrived at Slashs hotel in but does remember having what
a hired silver limousine, the pair he can only describe as an out-
had already gorged themselves of-body experience. He says he
on a gram of cocaine, causing the awoke to find himself floating
bassist to inadvertently throw-up around a brightly-lit emergency
over the beaver-haired top hat crash room, where two paramed-
intended as a Christmas gift for ics were frantically trying to save
Slash. Once Crosby had secured his sorry ass. Despite Nikkis
the narcotic necessaries from his heart having stopped for two full
dealer, the motley ensemble made minutes, one of the paramedics
a nuisance of themselves in the who Nikki says was a Cre fan
bars and clubs along Sunset Strip saved him by injecting two vials
before returning to the Franklin to of adrenaline into his failing heart.
continue the party in Slashs room. Several hours later, the hedonistic
They were somewhat surprised to bassist against medical advice
find Crosbys dealer waiting for signed himself out of the hos-
them with a stash of fine Persian pital, returned to his apartment
heroin secreted about his person. and administered a massive shot
Nikki, a latter-day Sid Vicious, in of heroin. This, the latest and
that he was well-known for using closest in a line of near misses,
his body as a portable chemis- was subsequently immortalised in
try set and was happy to inject, the song, Kickstart My Heart,
smoke or swallow anything in which appears on the bands Dr.
search of the ultimate high, was Feelgood album.
too wasted to find a vein himself This wasnt the first time Nikkis
and had readily rolled up a sleeve inability to just say no had pro-
and offered his outstretched arm vided Mtley Cre with a song.
to the dealer. On Valentines Day, 1986, follow-


ing a show at Londons Hammer- Glass which features on Girls,

smith Odeon, the wayward bassist Girls, Girls.
ended up OD-ing in a seedy West Another near-death incident
London opium den. In his eye- occurred during the Mtley Cre/
opening, best-selling book, The Guns N Roses November 87
Heroin Diaries: A Year In The tour, when Nikki, Slash and Steven
Life Of A Shattered Rock Star, Adler sidled off to Slash and Ste-
he tells of how the fretful dealer vens hotel room to shoot heroin.
believing Nikki was dead first The West Hollywood alliance saw
attempted to revive the bassist both bands drinking together on a
with a baseball bat before giving regular basis, but it was the toxic
up the ghost, carrying him outside trinity of Sixx, Slash, and Adler,
and dumping his body in a skip. who were responsible for the
The experience was subsequently majority of the madcap mayhem.
immortalised with the lyric Val- Mtley Cres irate manager, Doc
entines in London found me in the McGee, went so far as to warn
trash, in the song Dancing On Slash that the Gunners would

Guns N Roses

be thrown off the tour unless he Slash, fearing that McGee would
promised to stay away from both honour his earlier threat, dialled
heroin and Nikki. The enforced 911 while Steven dragged Nikkis
abstinence, however, lasted just unconscious form into the shower
two days cubicle and attempted to revive
As the story goes, Slash became him by dousing him with cold
concerned for his friend when water. When that failed, and with
Nikki who had told his com- no sound of an approaching siren,
padres that he was going to his the drummer desperately began
own room to fetch his bass for an slapping Nikki about the face to
impromptu jam failed to return. bring him round.
When Slash and Steven entered Nikki sought professional help
Nikkis room they found the lanky by entering rehab, but it wasnt
bassists blue-tinged body with the until the bands reunion in 2004,
damning evidence still protruding that the father of five was finally
from his tourniquet-clamped arm. able to declare himself sober. Fol-


lowing on from the short-lived fortune in rock n roll. His softly-

Brides of Destruction, Nikki co- spoken English father, Tony, was
wrote songs for the bands Saliva, a graphic design artist and album
and Raven, as well as one song, sleeve designer during the 1970s.
The Monster Is Loose, for Meat His most notable work came on
Loafs long-awaited Bat Out Of Joni Mitchells 1974, Court And
Hell III. Spark album, which reached #2
In September, 2007, Nikkis on the Billboard 100 and features
book, The Heroin Diaries was the single, Free Man In Paris,
released in the US and soon shot which the Canadian-born singer/
into the New York Times best-sell- songwriter wrote about her then
ers list. The book, which focuses housemate and Slashs future
on the bassists journal entries employer David Geffen. His
in the 12-month period between black, American-born mother,
Christmas 1986, and Christmas Ola, had been a moderately suc-
1987 (when his drug intake was cessful fashion designer for over
at its zenith), features present- a decade by the time she designed
day candid viewpoints from the the costumes for David Bowies
bassists fellow Mtleys, friends, 1976 cinematic debut in Nicho-
family, business associates and las Roegs, The Man Who Fell To
ex-lovers. Together with his cur- Earth. She had also designed the
rent side-project band, Sixx: A.M., outfits the pop chameleon wore
Nikki also produced a soundtrack on the cover of his 1975, Young
to accompany the book enti- Americans album, and in addi-
tled Life Is Beautiful which was tion had worked with Ringo Starr,
released on 21 August, 2007. John Lennon, Linda Ronstadt and
James Taylor.
Ola returned to the US shortly
Slash after Slash was born in order to
expand her business clientele,
which forced Tony and his infant
Slash, born Saul Hudson in son to move in with his parents,
Stoke-on-Trent, North Stafford- where they would spend the next
shire on 23 July, 1965, was Guns
N Roses lead guitarist from
the bands incarnation in 1985,
through to his untimely departure
in 1996 following one too many
fall-outs with Axl.
It was probably inevitable that
Slash, given that both his par-
ents made their living within the
entertainment industry, would
himself go on to find fame and

Guns N Roses

four years before following Ola Michael Flea Balzary, as well

out to Los Angeles. They settled as future musical collaborators
in Laurel Canyon, an elevated Dave Navarro, Dave Kushner and
suburb of Los Angeles, and it Lenny Kravitz, that Slash met life-
was there that Slashs younger long friend and confidant, Marc
brother, Albion was born in 1972. Cantor. Marcs family owned
By this time, however, the Hud- the famed L.A. institution Can-
sons marriage was in difficulty tors Deli, located on North Fair-
and the couple agreed to separate fax, which in later years became
the following year. Shortly after something of a surrogate home
the estrangement, Olas relation- to Slash, as well as a hangout for
ship with David Bowie extended the pre-signed Guns N Roses. It
beyond the professional and surely was also while he was at Fairfax
made young Saul the envy of his that he received his monosyllabic
classmates at Bancroft Junior High nickname. As Slash later recalled,
one of whom was future G N R he, and just about every other
collaborator, Steven Adler. Fairfax delinquent, tended to hang
It was at his next school, Fair- out and smoke pot at their buddy
fax High, which also served as Matt Cassels house. And it was
an alma mater to Red Hot Chili Matts father, Seymour the char-
Peppers duo, Anthony Kiedis and acter actor perhaps best known


for his role as Dusty in the 2001 Slashs interests lay in BMX
movie The Royal Tenanbaums biking. And such was his prow-
who labelled the corkscrew- ess that all around him believed
haired misfit Slash, supposedly he would have gone on to turn
on account of his always seeming professional had it not been for
to be in a hurry to orchestrate his his discovering the guitar. His first
latest scam or hustle. guitar which came courtesy of
Although he had accrued an his grandmother, with whom he
extensive knowledge of music, was living at the time was a bat-
thanks to his parents sizable tered flamenco one with only one
record collection, the teenage string. One string, however, was

Guns N Roses

all it took to captivate the teenag- Rocks album for the first time,
ers attention, and the old woman, whilst he was trying to get to third
perhaps sensing her grandsons base with an older girl. It hit me
embryonic talent for the instru- like a fucking tonne of bricks,
ment, went out and bought him he told the reporter. I sat there
an electric guitar. It mattered little listening to it over and over, and
that the Gibson Explorer copy totally blew off the girl. I remem-
was cheap and nasty and virtually ber riding my bike back to my
impossible to keep in tune and grandmas house knowing that
Slash devoted much of his spare my life had changed forever. Now
time to practicing, and developed I identified with something.
his style playing along to his As luck would have it, Steven
mothers record collection. had also been plotting a future
It soon became obvious to all in music and had been toying
who heard him play that young with the idea of taking up the
Slash was a natural, but he himself guitar. He quickly abandoned that
wasnt harbouring any thoughts of thought, however, upon realising
making it a career. He later told that he was never going to hold a
Rolling Stone that his epiphany candle to his buddy, and instead
came upon hearing Aerosmiths opted to take up the drums. The


pair formed the nucleus of what Roman Polanski, Slash hastily

eventually became Road Crew, gathered his friends about him
which introduced them to Duff for the short-lived project, Slashs
McKagan, who in turn invited Blues Ball, as well as guesting
them to join an embryonic Guns on albums by the likes of Alice
N Roses. Cooper, Cheap Trick, Rod Stew-
As with any band, its the art, Stevie Wonder and his old pal,
singer/lead guitar axis that tends Ronnie Wood. 2001, the same
to reap most of the plaudits and year he married girlfriend Perla
headlines, and Slash, with his Ferrar, (his five-year marriage to
trademark top hat (which hed first wife, Renee Suran ended in
purloined from a second-hand divorce in 1997) saw the revival
clothing store called Retro Slut), of his other side project, Snakepit,
and a bottle of Jack Daniels as a and the release of the platinum-
semi-constant companion, was selling album, Aint Life Grand.
the absolute embodiment of the The following year, Slash took
rock god guitarist and was pivotal to the stage with his old G N R
in G N Rs meteoric rise from buddies, Duff and Matt, for a
aspiring glam-metal hopefuls to benefit/tribute show in honour of
a global, multi-platinum selling ex-Ozzy Osbourne drummer and
mutual friend, Randy Castillo,
phenomenon. Another reason for
who had recently succumbed to
their success was undoubtedly
cancer. This in turn evolved into
the Gunners collective belief in
Velvet Revolver.
what they were trying to achieve,
When hes not performing or
as well as an indomitable spirit,
recording with Velvet Revolver,
which saw them laugh in the face
Slash can be found relaxing at
of early adversity. But 35 mil-
home with Perla, their two sons,
lion album sales coupled with
London Emilio and Cash Anthony,
a 26-month, sell-out world tour and an ever-expanding menagerie
will make a monster out of the
most unassuming ego, and Slash
found, to his dismay, that he and
Axl were no longer on the same
wavelength. So, on 30 October,
1996, the rock world was shocked
to learn of the guitarists departure
from Guns N Roses.
Instead of licking his wounds
or avoiding the publics gaze by
hiding away in his home high up
in the Hollywood Hills, which
had once belonged to movie
moguls Cecil B DeMille and

Guns N Roses

which includes fifty snakes, three Eric Dover was no longer avail-
cats and two iguanas. able and Gilby Clarke was busy
putting a new solo album together.
Although he had nothing to prove
Slashs Blues Ball to anyone, Slash, like any other
guitarist, needed to keep his fret
fingers busy. And so rather than sit
Slashs Blues Ball was the name around waiting to see if Axl was
given to Slashs two-year project gonna come to his senses, he set
which saw the guitarists blues about re-assembling the coterie
ensemble tour the US and Europe of blues freaks: G N R hired-
between 1996 and 1998, perform- hand Teddy Andreadis; drum-
ing classic blues to appreciative mer Alvino Bennet; saxophonist
audiences. Dave McClarem; rhythm guitar-
Although Slash announced his ist Bobby Schneck and bassist
departure from Guns N Roses and future Snakepit collaborator,
in October, 1996, at the time of Johnny Griparic, whod accompa-
doing so even he couldnt have nied him (as the makeshift Slashs
been sure whether his enforced Blues Ball) to headline that years
exodus was going to be short-term Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hun-
or something rather more perma- gary, for what, at the time, the
nent. One option would have been guitarist had intended as a one-off
to get on the phone and call up his side project. The annual festival
old Snakepit buddies, but vocalist was in its third year and drew an

Guns N Roses

audience of 206,000 and aside Clarke and Matt Sorum to play

from Slashs blues combo, the alongside Alice In Chains bassist,
line-up also included Iggy Pop, Mike Inez and ex-Jellyfish guitar-
Sonic Youth, Stone Roses and ist, Eric Dover, who provided the
Prodigy. vocals. Legend has it the result-
As the ad hoc combos set-list ant album, Its Five OClock
comprised of the strongest songs Somewhere, which was released
from Slashs recently-released in March, 1995, came about by
Snakepit album supplemented accident rather than design. Slash,
with traditional blues-rock clas- Matt, and Gilby, having set them-
sics such as Willie Dixons
selves up in Slashs home studio,
Hootchie Cootchie Man, Albert
known as The Snakepit owing
Kings Born Under A Bad Sign,
to its close some would say too
Led Zeppelins No Quarter, Jimi
close proximity to the guitarists
Hendrixs Stone Free and Bob
Dylans timeless classic and G glass-partitioned reptile house,
N R set perennial Knockin On began working on ideas for poten-
Heavens Door, they only needed tial new G N R songs. When
to re-familiarise themselves with the demos were subsequently
the Snakepit songs before head- presented to Axl, the singer dis-
ing out on a US tour which took missed the fast-paced rockers as
in both seaboards and several unsuitable for Guns N Roses and
states in-between. They also came rejected them out-of-hand. Slash,
over to the UK in late June, 1997, however, thought otherwise.
putting in two appearances over Although he accepted Axls deci-
consecutive nights at Londons sion, he wasnt prepared to let the
Docklands Arena. songs to go to waste and brought
in Inez and Dover with a view to
releasing a solo album. He had
Slashs Snakepit initially wanted to call the make-
shift group simply Snakepit, but
as Geffen would be funding the
Slashs Snakepit was originally
project, he reluctantly consented
intended as a one album side-
project, but the guitarist resur- to having his name added in order
rected the band to record a second to boost sales.
album following his departure Axl may have deemed the songs
from Guns N Roses in 1996. inferior, but G N Rs fans were
For the initial 1996 Snakepit rather more open-minded and the
which he had been keen to album, with its title taken from a
stress was nothing more than a passing comment made by a flight
side-project whilst Guns N Roses attendant and artwork provided
were in temporary hiatus Slash by the guitarists younger brother,
brought in fellow Gunners Gilby Ash (who was following in his


fathers creative footsteps), went Eric Dover were able to sign up

on to achieve platinum status. for the tour. Mike Inez was com-
Frustrated by the ever-expand- mitted to Alice In Chains, while
ing period of inactivity within the Matt had been forced to step aside
G N R camp and some gentle in order to placate an irate Axl,
persuasion from the powers-that- who, despite having dismissed
be at Geffen Slash agreed to Slashs offerings, was angered
take his makeshift band out on at the press and record company
the road for a six-month promo- attention being shown to his lead
tional tour. Of the five musicians guitarist. Their replacements were
that had recorded the album, how- future Megadeth bassist, James
ever, only Slash, Gilby who JLo Lomenzo and drummer,
was a free agent again, having Brian Tichy.
recently been unceremoniously In early 2000, by which time
sacked from G N R by Axl and Slash had long-since departed

Guns N Roses

from Guns N Roses, the guitarist the back of his beat-up 64 Ram-
resurrected Snakepit, albeit with a bler station wagon, and headed
completely different line-up con- for the bright lights of Los Ange-
sisting of vocalist Rod Jackson, les with just $40 in his pocket.
bassist Johnny Griparic, guitarist It was while he was jamming at
Ryan Roxie and drummer Matt the Central Club on Sunset Strip
Laug. The resulting album, Aint (now the Viper Room), that he
Life Grand, released in October hooked up with a guitarist called
that same year, was somewhat less Greg White and agreed to accom-
well received than its predecessor, pany him on a tour of the southern
which led to Slash calling time on states including shows at legen-
the project. dary New Orleans clubs such as
Jimmys, and Ol Man Rivers.
Upon his return to Los Angeles,
Sorum, Matt Matt began plying his trade in
earnest and his seemingly-effort-
less ability to juggle ten bands at
Matt Sorum was Steven Adlers
any one time whilst also working
replacement as drummer in Guns
as a session drummer for the likes
N Roses. He joined the band
of Shawn Cassidy, King Solo-
during the summer of 1990.
Matt, who is of English and mon Burke and Belinda Carlisle,
Norwegian descent, was born in meant he soon built up a solid
Long Beach, California, on 19 reputation. It was whilst he was
November, 1962. His mother, drumming for a now long-forgot-
Joanne being an opera-loving ten band at an airport hotel that
music teacher as well as a fan he encountered Tori Amos, who
of the Beatles meant Matt was was playing in the hotels piano
introduced to music at an early bar. The two struck up a conversa-
age. Having two older brothers tion which led to a two-year col-
who were both rock aficionados laboration on a project they called
also provided him with a good Y Kant Tori Amos. The duo also
grounding on the likes of Jimi secured a recording deal with
Hendrix, Cream and The Doors. Atlantic Records. But when Tori
Having decided on becoming a announced she wanted to strike
drummer, Matt formed his first out alone in 1987, Matt wished
band, Prophecy, while he was still her well and teamed up with the
in high school and by the time he Jeff Paris Band and recorded an
was 14 he was playing in clubs album for PolyGram Records.
such as The Starwood, Gazzarras Matts big break came in 1988,
and the legendary Whisky a Go- when, through a chance conversa-
Go. After graduating from school, tion, he learnt British goth-rock-
however, Matt called time on the ers, The Cult were on the lookout
band, packed his belongings into for a new drummer. He went along


to the auditions and having suf- solid rehearsals he accompanied

ficiently impressed Messrs. Ast- his new band into the recording
bury and Duffy, spent two thrill- studio to begin work on the Use
filled years on the road with the Your Illusion albums.
band, including lengthy US tours The first song Matt recorded
with both Metallica and Aero- with Guns N Roses was a cover of
smith. It was after a Cult show in the Bob Dylan classic, Knockin
Los Angeles during the summer
On Heavens Door, which had
of 1990 that Matt was approached
already been earmarked for the
by Slash and Duff and offered the
now-vacant drum stool in Guns N soundtrack to Tom Cruises latest
Roses. Needless to say, Matt leapt movie, Days Of Thunder. His live
at the chance, and after a month of debut as a fully-fledged Gunner
came on 20 January, 1991, at the

Guns N Roses

Rock in Rio II festival staged at point of view from Guns N

the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Roses following a heated debate
Janeiro in front of 140,000 scream- with Axl which saw him make
ing Brazilians. Over the next three several unsavoury comments
years Matt toured the world twice about the singers buddy, Paul
over with Guns N Roses on the Huge, whod recently replaced
bands massive Use Your Illu- Slash in the band. Although Axl
sion world tour. Although the tour took Matts derogatory comments
saw him perform alongside Elton about Huge (who was present at
John, Brian May, Jeff Beck and the time) in his stride, it was the
Ronnie Wood, the highlight, as far drummers stinging remark that
as he was concerned, came with he had to be smoking crack if
a four-night stint at The Forum in he thought Guns N Roses could
his hometown of Inglewood, Cali- continue without Slash that trig-
fornia. He also recorded The Spa- gered his departure.
ghetti Incident? and received two Aside from providing the beat
Grammy nominations, as well for the Neurotic Outsiders, Matt
as two MTV awards during his also helped out on the first Slashs
seven-year tenure with the band. Snakepit album, as well as con-
In 1997, Matt either left or was tributing to Duff and Gilbys solo
dismissed depending on ones albums. He also recorded with


the Buddy Rich Orchestra on experiences of life on the road,

the drumming legends Atlantic addictions, relationships, and his
releases, Burnin, and For Buddy, adopted home town of Los Ange-
which were both produced by les, as a very personal reflection of
Rush drummer, Neil Peart. In his two decades in rock n roll.
May, 1996, he was invited to per-
form at the grand opening of the
Hard Rock Hotel and occupied Stinson, Tommy
the drum stool in an ad hoc house-
band which included guitaring
greats B.B King and Bo Diddley. Tommy Stinson, who was born
Thomas Eugene Stinson on 6
Following his departure from
October, 1966, in Minneapolis,
Guns N Roses, Matt briefly
Minnesota, is Guns N Roses
worked with Sammy Hagar
incumbent bass player. He joined
before forming Orange Cur-
the band in 1998.
tain Productions with his friend
Stinson first made a name for
Larry Cordola to work on movie
himself in 1979, when, at just
scores. The duo has also notched
12-years-old, he helped form the
up several production credits for
legendary 1980s alternative rock
the likes of blues-legend, Little
outfit, The Replacements, and
Milton, Cypress Hills Sen-Dog he would remain in the line-up
and Ronnie Spectre. In 1999, Matt until the bands eventual demise
rejoined The Cult for a sell-out, in 1991. In 1993, when Guns N
summer US tour. He remained Roses were probably the most
with the band through to 2001, famous band on the planet, Stin-
during which time they recorded son formed the short-lived Bash
Beyond Good and Evil with leg- & Pop, but the resulting album,
endary producer Bob Rock and Friday Night Is Killing Me, failed
also undertook an extensive world to cause much of a stir. His next
tour to promote the album. equally short-lived musical
In 2003, by which time he was venture, Perfect, released the EP:
already involved in Dave Navar- When Squirrels Play Chicken in
ros side-project, Camp Freddy, 1996, but by the following year
Matt teamed up with his ex-G the bassists career appeared to
N R buddies Slash and Duff and have flatlined when the outfits
ex-Wasted Youth guitarist, Dave debut album, Seven Days A Week,
Kushner, to form Velvet Revolver. was unexpectedly shelved owing
On 1 June, 2004, his debut solo to problems with their record
album, Hollywood Zen on which label.
he sings, as well playing drums In 1998, however, Stinsons
and guitar was released on career was resuscitated when
Brash Records. He describes the he along with one-time Nir-
album, which chronicles his own vana drummer and Foo Fighters

Guns N Roses

frontman, Dave Grohl guested recommended as the Pigeons

on a rock remix of Puff Dad- of Shit Metal. He hurled his
dys Its All About The Ben- bass to the floor and insulted Axl,
jamins. That same year he was before storming off stage. While
invited to join Guns N Roses. he sheepishly returned after miss-
At the time of writing, Stinson is ing four songs, those present that
still an active member of G N R night would surely have kept an
a tenure which has lasted some eagle eye on G N Rs official
eight years and it is fair to say website in expectation of the
he will continue to do so for as official posting notifying them
long as his heart desires, for he of Stinsons departure from the
has stood within the eye of Axls band. Somewhat surprisingly, no
wrath and lived to tell the tale. such notice appeared. And when
On 24 November, 2006, during a radio silence was finally broken
Guns N Roses show in Cleveland, a week or so later, it was Stinson
Ohio, the bassist took exception who was doing the talking. In a
to Axl having referred to the sup- message posted on his MySpace
port band, Eagles of Death Metal website, the bassist admitted to
the band that he had personally an error of judgement over his


choice of opening act, before Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher and

then attempting to rationalise his Billy Connelly.
bass-throwing antics of eight days
earlier with the following state- Stradlin, Izzy
ment: In the past I have thrown
my bass, but I have never thrown
it at Axl or anyone else in the Izzy Stradlin, born Jeffrey Dean
band, nor have they thrown my Isbell on 8 April, 1962 in Lafay-
bass back at me yet. Axl has ette, Indiana, was Guns N Roses
been a dear friend to me for nine rhythm guitarist from the bands
years. We have no problem com- inception in June, 1985, through
to November, 1991.
municating, and wish that people
The young Jeff Isbell spent
would stay the fuck out of shit
his formative years smoking pot
they know nothing about.
with friends and listening to the
Away from Guns N Roses, Stin-
likes of Alice Cooper, the Rolling
son has released a solo album, Vil-
Stones and Led Zeppelin. Having
lage Gorilla Head (2004), which
decided to try his hand at music,
was well received by both fans and
he pestered his blue-collar parents
music press alike. And his return
into buying him a drum kit an
to the main stage with G N R
instrument he would stay with
paved the way, so to speak, for for several years before finally
the release of the shelved Perfect switching to guitar. The transi-
album which was re-titled Once, tion, which came in early 1983,
Twice, Three Times & Maybe. was due to it being much easier
In 2005, Stinson took time away to write songs with an acoustic
from Guns N Roses to team up guitar than it was with a high-hat
with his old high school buddy and snare drum. It was whilst he
and Soul Asylum frontman, Dave was recruiting like-minded souls
Pirner for a series of shows to at Jefferson High School that Jeff
pay tribute to the bands bassist first encountered the then shy and
Karl Mueller, whod recently suc- retiring William Bill Bailey,
cumbed to throat cancer. He also who was going by the name of
toured with the band in 2006. Axl. In high school you were
In the autumn of 2005, Stinson either a jock, or a stoner, Izzy
teamed up with fellow ex-Replace- later recalled. We werent jocks;
ments, Paul Westerberg and Chris we had long hair so we ended up
Mars, to record two new songs for hanging out together. Wed play
a proposed Replacements compi- covers in a friends garage. And
lation album, and in 2006, he and as there were no clubs in Lafay-
Westerberg also collaborated on ette, we never actually made it
the soundtrack to the computer- out of the garage. Axl was really
animated movie, Open Season shy about singing back then, but I
featuring the voices of Martin always knew he was a singer.

Guns N Roses

Having acquired the happy-go- tried his luck as a drummer with a

lucky nickname Izzy Stradlin, the couple of bands, one of which was
budding guitarist decided that if called The Atoms. But this venture
he was going to fulfil his musi- quickly came to nought, and after
cal aspirations then his future briefly trying his hand at bass,
lay elsewhere than Indiana. So, he made the permanent switch
immediately after graduating (the to guitar. He, like many of L.As
only original member of Guns N young Turks, began hanging out
Roses to do so), Izzy packed his on Sunset Strip particularly the
guitar and drum kit into the back Rainbow Bar & Grill. At the time,
of his car and hit the I65 heading Izzy was playing in another no-
for Los Angeles. Upon arrival in hope outfit called Little Women,
the West Coasts music capital but having struck up a friendship
during the summer of 1983, he with fellow Rainbow residents


and aspiring musos, Tracy Ulrich Destruction, however, saw the

(Tracii Guns) and Christopher band propelled into super-star-
Weber, the three decided to pool dom, and Izzys aversion to being
their talents. in so large a spotlight led to his
It was around this time that Izzy seeking solitude and solace in
was joined in L.A. by Axl, and as drugs and alcohol.
Izzy was hoping to get something In 1988, Kerrang! Journalist,
going with Ulrich, he introduced Mick Wall jokingly informed Slash
Axl to Weber in the hope that that the five members of Guns N
his Lafayette friend might do the Roses were all odds-on favourites
same. Within a matter of weeks, on the music magazines in-house
however, Izzy had thrown his lot list of rock fatalities. But whereas
in with Axl and Weber and the Slash and Steven continued
trio began recruiting like-minded with their respective habits, Izzy
musicians for their band, Rose, decided there had to be more to
which in turn became Hollywood life than getting obliterated every
Rose. 1984 proved to be a period day. He later cited that years US
of upheaval for Izzy as Hollywood summer tour with the rehabili-
Rose developed something of a tated Aerosmith as a major source
revolving membership; even Axl of inspiration to weaning himself
temporarily abdicated to team up off smack, but his epiphany didnt
with Tracii Guns in his new band, come until the following August,
L.A. Guns. Having become disil- when he was arrested at Phoenixs
lusioned with the whole scene, Sky Harbor airport, whilst en-
Izzy also jumped ship for a brief route to Indianapolis, for abusing
stint in the Sunset Strip staple a stewardess and urinating in the
band, London, only to then follow
Axls lead by returning to Holly-
wood Rose.
The transition from Hollywood
Rose to Guns N Roses was not
without its pitfalls, but suffice to
say, neither Izzy nor anyone else
connected with the band could
have expected G N R to become
so big so quickly. Indeed, Axl was
once quoted as saying Izzy would
have been happy for Guns N
Roses to reach a level of success
similar to that of the Ramones,
and play 2,000 capacity venues.
The overwhelming and unprec-
edented success of Appetite For

Guns N Roses

direction; and nor did he care for

playing in front of 50,000+ stadia
crowds. His last live performance
as a member of Guns N Roses
although he didnt officially
quit the band until 7 November
came on Saturday 31 August,
1991 at Londons Wembley Sta-
dium. There would be no fanfare,
no press release, and no inter-
views with the press to explain his
reasons. He simply packed up his
guitars and walked away.
Despite Izzys well-publicised
contempt for his home state he
was once quoted as saying Indiana
had no place being on his resume
aeroplanes galley. And the final it was here he retreated to fol-
straw came with his being sub- lowing his departure from Guns N
jected to random urine tests. Roses. The prodigal son returned
Izzys decision to clean up to Lafayette, not on a mule, or
meant he was forced to travel sep- donkey nor even a car but on a
arately from his fellow Gunners gleaming Harley Davidson. It was
with only his Swedish girlfriend, during his recuperation that he set
Annica and his dog, Treader for about penning the songs which
company during the Use Your would subsequently appear on his
Illusion world tour if he was to debut solo album, Izzy Stradlin
have any hope of resisting the and the Ju-Ju Hounds. The record
omnipresent toxic temptations. garnered favourable reviews upon
But the rest of the band, instead of its release in 1992 and, despite his
supporting Izzys attempt at absti- aversion to touring, Izzy took his
nence, thought him unsociable new band out on a promotional
and aloof. The endless hours on world tour. But in May, 1993, he
the road gave Izzy plenty of time briefly resumed his G N R duties
to consider his position, and these as a temporary stand-in for Gilby
petty and unwarranted grumblings Clark following the latters involve-
only served to enforce the guitar- ment in a motorcycle accident.
ists belief that life in Guns N Following on from the Ju-Ju
Roses was no longer fun. While Hounds tour, Izzy took a five-year
hed contributed more songs to sightseeing sabbatical which saw
the Use Your Illusion albums than him travel the world on his Harley,
any of the others, he didnt care but in 1998 having recharged his
for the bands new over-elaborated batteries he announced his return


to the scene with his second solo On, on the Universal Victor label,
offering, 117 Degrees. The album was only made available in Japan,
contains some of Izzys best work which did at least see him under-
to date, but his reluctance to pro- take a mini promotional tour of
mote the album meant it failed to the country.
trouble the Billboard 100; and the In 2002, by which time he had
knock-on effect from this saw him released two more solo albums,
fall foul of Geffens latest bout of River, and On Down The Road,
corporate restructuring and he Izzy was invited to link up with
was dropped from the label. His Slash, Duff and Matt for what
third solo release, 1999s Ride evolved into Velvet Revolver. But

Guns N Roses

although the guitarist had long-

since renewed his friendships with
both Slash and Duff, his aversion
to lead singers and touring saw
him decline the invitation. Instead,
he chose to persevere with his solo
career and went into the studio to
record Like A Dog, but the album,
his sixth solo effort, didnt appear
until 2005, and even then it was
another internet only release. May
2006 saw Izzy renew his friend-
ship with Axl when he made
a guest appearance at Guns N
Roses fourth and final warm-up
show at New Yorks Hammerstein
Ballroom the first time he and
Axl had shared the same stage in
thirteen years. Since then he has
gone on to make regular appear-
ances with the band on their on-
going Chinese Democracy world
tour, and in May, 2007, he released
his seventh solo album, Miami,
where to place his fingertips on
which was yet another exclusive
the fretboard that he was invited
iTunes only release.
to play on the song at all. Garys
published literary works include
Reasons To wake Up, A History
Sunshine, Gary of Plastic Slipcovers (his father
apparently made his living from
Gary Sunshine is an American cutting said slipcovers), Al Takes
playwright and television screen- A Bride and Five Ways In. And his
writer. He also teaches guitar, best-known work, What I Want
and it was his teaching Axl Rose My Words To Do To You which
that led to him being invited to he co-wrote, co-created and co-
appear on the G N R song, Oh produced won several awards,
My God. including the Sundance Film
The Brooklyn-born playwright Festivals Freedom of Expression
has neither interest in nor intention Award and the Heartland Film
of becoming a permanent member Festivals Audience Award.
of Guns N Roses and if truth Gary embarked on his writ-
be told, it was only through his ing career soon after graduating
showing his new best buddy, Axl from Princeton University, where


he majored in English and also because the new melody fitted in

received an MFA (Master of Fine perfectly with the gushing poem
Arts) from New York Universi- hed recently written in homage
tys Dramatic Writing Program. to his then girlfriend and sup-
In December, 2004, he took up posed soul mate Erin Everly.
residence at the Royal National Indeed, much has been made of
Theatre Studio in London and the the heartfelt emotion Axl placed
following year received the Helen within the lyric, which aside from
Merrill Award for Emerging Play- being an ode to the then love of
wrights. his life and future bride, contains
autobiographical references to the
childhood abuse he suffered at the
Sweet Child O Mine hands of his step-father.
The accompanying video, which
was designed to capture the Gun-
Sweet Child O Mine the ners in a relaxed rehearsal mode,
third single to be culled from surrounded by their girlfriends and
Appetite For Destruction was various hangers-on, was filmed at
released on 21 August, 1987 and Los Angeles Huntingdon Park
is, to date, Guns N Roses only Ballroom on 11 April, 1988. The
US number one. subsequent heavy rotation the
The song topped the American video received on MTV, as well as
Billboard Hot 100 Chart for two every other music video channel,
weeks in September, 1988, but, guaranteed its mainstream suc-
if Slash is to be believed, then cess. The outcome would surely
the instantly-recognisable E-flat- have been different, however, if
based intro to the song recently Axl had had his way. In 2006,
voted the #1 riff of all-time by the singer confided to New York
the readers of Total Guitar maga- DJ, Eddie Trunk that his concept
zine started out as nothing more for the promo video had not only
than a string skipping exercise he centred on drug-trafficking, but
would occasionally use to limber also featured a dead infant whose
up his fingers before getting down
to some serious fretwork. Indeed,
his so-called circus riff only came
to light when the top-hatted gui-
tarist decided to lighten the mood
during an ad hoc G N R jam ses-
sion. And he couldnt believe his
ears when the others insisted that
he keep on playing the infectious
riff while they found the requisite
chords and knocked it into shape.
Axl was particularly enthusiastic

Guns N Roses

lifeless body is found packed with N Roses full artistic license over
heroin. Given that the idea of a their material.
promo video is to maximise a Sweet Child O Mine has gone
singles sales potential, and that a on to be voted #196 on Rolling
video featuring dead babies stuffed Stones 500 Greatest Songs of
with highly-illegal substances All Time as well as featuring in
was sure to receive a media blan- the same magazines 40 Greatest
ket-ban, its little wonder Geffen Songs that Changed the World;
rejected the singers proposal. #6 on Q Magazines 100 Great-
In order to make Sweet Child est Guitar Tracks; #37 on Guitar
Worlds list of 100 Greatest Guitar
O Mine more radio-friendly,
Solos and #3 on Blenders 500
manager Alan Niven took it upon
Greatest Songs Since You Were
himself to edit the song down
Born. Yet even now, some twenty
from its original 5:56 to 4:20
years later, Slash still insists he
with much of Slashs intro being only played the riff as a joke. But
wiped. Although Niven had the if thats the case, theres many
bands best interests at heart, his an aspiring axe-man who would
actions drew indignation not only gladly give their left nut to share
from Slash, but also from Axl his sense of humour.
and no doubt played a part in his
being expunged from the bands
inner-circle. During a subsequent
Sympathy For The Devil
1989 Rolling Stone interview, the
singer admitted to having hated
the edit as the intro had been his Sympathy For The Devil is a
favourite part of the song. There Rolling Stones song which was
was no reason for it [the intro] to covered by Guns N Roses in
be missing. he ranted, Except 1994 for the Neil Jordon movie,
Interview With The Vampire star-
to create more space for commer-
ring Brad Pit and Tom Cruise.
cials so the radio station owners
Sympathy For The Devil,
can get more advertising dol-
which appears as the opening
lars. When you get the chopped-
track on the Rolling Stones clas-
down version of Paradise City, sic 1968 album, Beggars Banquet,
or half of Sweet Child O Mine was written by Mick Jagger and
or Patience cut, youre getting Keith Richards. In a 1995 Rolling
screwed! Axl had every right to Stone interview Jagger believed
be bitter about what he saw as the inspiration for the lyrics came
both a flagrant act of betrayal on from the writings of French poet,
Nivens part and Geffens willing- Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867),
ness to pander to corporate inter- but the songs opening line,
ests instead of adhering to their Please allow me to introduce
initial promise of allowing Guns myself/Im a man of wealth and


taste is strikingly similar to the it to be a monologue of atroci-

opening phrase in Mikhail Bulga- ties carried out by man in Gods
kovs 1967 novel, The Master and name, such as the Russian Revo-
Margarita: Please excuse me, he lution of 1917, World War II and
said, speaking correctly, but with the assassinations of John and
a foreign accent, for presuming Robert Kennedy. Indeed, Bobby
to speak to you without an intro- Kennedys assassination occurred
duction. while the Stones were in the studio
As the Stones previous long- recording the song, which brought
player was titled Their Satanic about a revision of the lyric from
Majesties Request, certain sec- who killed John Kennedy?
tions of the media instantly to who killed the Kennedys?
picked up on the title of the new Sympathy For The Devil is also
albums opening track and aided the title of a 1968 film by French
and abetted by overzealous reli- director Jean-Luc Godard. The
gious groups began spreading film, which is more of a documen-
ridiculous rumours that the bands tary loosely based on the late-60s
members were devil-worship- counter-culture movement, also
pers intent on corrupting Britains features the Stones recording the
youth. Yet a closer inspection of song in Londons Olympic Sound
the lyrics would have revealed Studios over 5/6 June. Jagger and

Guns N Roses

Richards (whose idea it was to add Speaking about the incident in

samba-style backing percussion) 2002 by which time Huge had
can be seen performing backing also departed Axl defended his
vocals, but the scene was staged actions by saying hed merely
for the directors benefit. brought Huge in as a means of
By the time G N R went into complementing Slashs style,
L.A.s Complex Studios to record but the sorry situation was best
the song for the Interview With The summed up by a friend of the band:
Vampire movie in August 94, Axls Huge was a nice enough guy, the
relationship with Slash was already friend recalled. But theyre Guns
in freefall. But the singers decision N Roses for Gods sake. Huge
to bring in his old Lafayette buddy, simply didnt have the chops.
Paul Tobias, a.k.a Paul Huge, as Symphony For The Devil was
Gilbys replacement proved the co-produced between the band
final nail in the G N R coffin as and Mike Clink and engineered
far as the guitarist was concerned. by Clinks long-standing sidekick,
Indeed, in his autobiography, Slash Jim Mitchell, with Bill Price once
cites Sympathy For The Devil as again called in to do the mixing.
Yet despite this array of engineer-
the one Guns N Roses song he
ing expertise, the song lacked the
never again wishes to hear again
G N R bite wed come to expect.
as its the sound of Guns N Roses
Even Slash, although begrudgingly
breaking up. The guitarist, despite
admitting that their version sorta
hating Jordans adaptation of Anne
sounded like Guns N Roses,
Rices novel, had arrived at the
thought it lacked spark and admit-
studio hoping that recording the
ted that if hed had any say in the
song might at least serve as a cata- matter then it wouldnt have been
lyst to bringing everyone back into released. Sympathy For The Devil
the fold. But his illusion was shat- is indeed a great song, but perhaps
tered the moment he entered the not one best suited to Guns N
studio to find the obnoxious Huge Roses. And one can only assume
unpacking his guitar. Although their involvement was solely down
he could understand Axl want- to the movie being a Geffen Pic-
ing to bring in someone known to tures production.
the band rather than an outsider, Sympathy For The Devil isnt
he couldnt believe the decision the only Rolling Stones song asso-
had seemingly been made without ciated with Guns N Roses. The
any consultation with himself and Gunners also performed the Eng-
Duff. In fact, his anguish was so lish rockers 1971 hit, Wild Horses
overwhelming he later admitted to during the Use Your Illusion world
contemplating killing himself; and tour, when Axl would use the song
might have done so if hed been as a means of introducing Gilby
able to lay his hands on a gun or a Clarke to audiences.
half-ounce of heroin.
Guns N Roses

Ten Minute Warning

Ten Minute Warning was a

Seattle-based hardcore punk band
which featured Duff McKagan in
its original line-up.
It was actually Duff, along with
ex-Fartz guitarist Paul Solger,
who formed Ten Minute Warn-
ing, perhaps the best-known of
the bassists hometown bands
before he abandoned the Pacific
Northwest in search of fame and
fortune. Having recruited vocalist,
Steve Verwolf and drummer Greg
Gilmore who would accompany
Duff to California before returning
to Seattle and eventually finding
a modicum of fame with Mother
Love Bone Ten Minute Warn-
Tegelman, Jussi ing adopted a style which was not
only of a much slower tempo than
Jussi Tagelman, the Finnish-born, that of the Fartz, but also dared to
Havana Black drummer, was a tem- introduce a psychedelic element
porary stand-in following Steven to their sound. Although such
Adlers dismissal from Guns N heretical leanings were anath-
Roses in 1989 and receives an ema to Seattles punk rock pur-
acknowledgement on both the Use ists, the band stuck to their guns
Your Illusion albums. and received critical acclaim from
fellow artists such as Black Flags
Henry Rollins, who dubbed them
A punk rock Hawkwind, while
Pearl Jam guitarist, Stone Gossard
has since credited Ten Minute
Warning as the band that inspired
him to pick up a guitar.
In early 1984, Ten Minute
Warning headed into the studio
and recorded an albums worth of
songs including a cover of Pink
Floyds The Nile Song but this
was before Nirvana or the ensuing
Grunge movement placed Seattle


on the musical map, and the lack however, proved short-lived, and
of an accommodating independ- on 22 August, 1998 Paul Solger
ent record label such as Sub Pop, already having quit the band
meant the album never saw the played their last ever show at the
light of day. With little prospect Roseland Theatre in Portland,
of their being picked up by one of Oregon.
the majors, the band gave one final
farewell performance at Seattles
Lincoln Arts Centre before going The Spaghetti Incident?
their separate ways.
In 1997, by which time Duff had
left Guns N Roses and returned The Spaghetti Incident?, released
to his native Seattle, Ten Minute in 1993, was Guns N Roses fifth
Warning announced they were studio album, and while consist-
reforming albeit without Duff ing entirely of cover-versions, at
or singer Verwolf, who was cur- the time of writing it is the latest
rently unavailable owing to his record released by the band. The
incarceration in Washingtons tracks featured are:
State Penitentiary. Legend has
it the bands decision to dust off Since I Dont Have You (4:19)
their guitars was due to Duffs (The Skyliners); New Rose
celebrity Grunge buddies having (2:38) (The Damned); Down
gushingly heaped praise on the On The Farm (3:28) (UK Subs);
bassists former outfit. The bands Human Being (6:48) (New
nine-track, self-titled album was York Dolls); Raw Power (3:11)
released the following year on the (Iggy & The Stooges); Aint It
Sub Pop label. The reformation, Fun (5:02) (Dead Boys); Buick

Guns N Roses

Makane (2:39) (T-Rex); Hair Of favourite punk tracks, the band

The Dog (3:54) (Nazareth); Atti- then recorded these songs along
tude (1:27) (The Misfits); Black with The Skyliners Since I
Leather (4:08) (Sex Pistols); You Dont Have You, T-Rexs Buick
Cant Put Your Arms Around A Makane and Nazareths Hair Of
Memory (3:35) (Johnny Thun- The Dog during the Use Your
ders); I Dont Care About You Illusion sessions, with a view to
(2:17) (Fear); Look At Your releasing an EP at a later date.
Game Girl (2:34) (Charles The later date came and went,
Manson). LP, CD, Cassette, and by the time the band came off
Geffen Records 1993 the Use Your Illusion tour in July,
1993, their ever-expanding legion
If the Use Your Illusions albums of fans were again clamouring for
can be said to have captured new product. Geffen, although
Guns N Roses at the height of doing very nicely from the recent
their creativity, then The Spa- release of Nirvanas follow-up
ghetti Incident? surely serves album, In Utero, were also keen
as the bands nadir. Having sat to get Guns N Roses back onto
down and chosen their respective the Billboard chart. But the idea


of releasing a punk rock karaoke rant, where Adler, as a means of

album at a time when Grunge was keeping himself and the rest of the
ruling the airwaves was commer- band out of trouble, had elected to
cial suicide. Indeed, the albums use spaghetti as the codeword for
obscure title and unimaginative his heroin stash. The only problem
artwork a staid photograph of was, he failed to let anyone other
tinned spaghetti seemed to show than Axl know of his cunning
a total lack of interest from both subterfuge. So when Duff woke
label and band alike. And although the following morning to find the
there were enough G N R com- highly-agitated drummer tearing
pletists around to ensure healthy the room apart searching for his
sales, it proved a monumental spaghetti, the bassist fell about
failure compared to the sales gen- in hysterics.
erated by any of its predecessors. As to the album itself which
Several stories all of which once again saw Mike Clink at the
involve Steven Adler have since consol the track selection is as
emerged in regard to the albums follows: Since I Dont Have You,
bizarre title. The first tale relates the song which Axl was forever
to an incident which occurred whistling at rehearsals, had origi-
whilst the Gunners were out on nally been recorded back in 1959
the road, when one of the band by Pittsburgh doo-woppers, The
surreptitiously ate the drum- Skyliners. The Gunners released
mers pasta-based evening meal. the song as a single in 1994, but
Another equally lame offering, it failed to trouble the charts,
tells of how the band had come to stalling at #69. Next up is the
a collective decision never to par- Damneds seminal punk offering,
take of spaghetti in Adlers com- New Rose, which is sung in true
pany on account of his having 76 punk spirit by Duff. Another
repeatedly agitated his parents by of Duffs selections was Down
smearing his face with the tomato On The Farm, which had origi-
sauce whilst eating it as a child. nally been recorded by second-
There is also the tale which tells generation punk outfit, UK Subs,
of a sordid sex act involving one and sees Axl inexplicably adopt
or more band members, a female a risible Dick Van Dyke Mock-
of dubious character, and a can of ney Poppins accent. It is diffi-
spaghetti. The most likely expla- cult enough trying to figure out
nation, however, comes from why the bassist selected the UK
Duff, who subsequently admitted Subs, let alone one of their more
in an interview that the spaghetti obscure songs. A safer bet would
incident occurred in 1987 whilst have been to cover a track by The
the band was in Chicago. Theyd Adverts, Buzzcocks, or even Stiff
been staying in a guesthouse Little Fingers Alternative Holly-
located above an Italian restau- wood/Alter Your Disneyland.

Guns N Roses

As all five band members were was again called to the fore for
huge fans of the New York Dolls, The Misfits Attitude, and as no
it was perhaps inevitable that one punk tribute album could be con-
of their songs would appear on sidered complete without a Sex
the album. And although the ver- Pistols song, the band blast their
sion of Human Being, which way through Black Leather.
appears as the ultimate track While the song is credited to the
on the Dolls second, and final, Sex Pistols, it is really more of
album, Too Much Too Soon, was a Professionals track The Pro-
a passable attempt, it doesnt hold fessionals being Steve Jones and
a candle to the original version. Paul Cooks first post-Pistols
Duff also both selected and sang project. Shortly after the release
Johnny Thunders lament to lost of the album, Slash encountered
love, You Cant Put Your Arms Jones at a mutual friends wed-
Around A Memory as a tribute ding. Steve was naturally curious
to the Dolls backcombed guitar- as to whether G N Rs version
ist and one-time Heartbreakers was better than The Runaways
frontman, who was found dead in 1978 offering, and was no doubt
a New Orleans hotel room on 23 surprised to be told it was also
April, 1991. better than the original.
One of the few highlights on the According to the track-listing,
album is the Gunners version of Fears I Dont Care About You
the Stooges Raw Power, which which appeared on the L.A.
was the title track of the Motor punksters 1982 debut album, The
City, Michigan bands third album Record, and was another personal
and has since been hailed as one favourite of Slashs is the final
of the progenitors of punk rock. song on the record. But if one
Another punk fatality, Stiv Bators, refrains from hitting the eject
who tragically died in his sleep in button, then the lilting sound of
Paris in 1990 after being struck by psychotic killer Charles Milles
a car earlier that same day, is also Mansons Look At Your Game
commemorated with the Dead Girl fills the air. The song appears
Boys track, Aint It Fun, which as the opening track on Mansons
sees Axl sharing vocal duties 1968 album, Lie, The Love &
with Michael Monroe. The next Terror Cult. Despite vociferous
two selections, T Rexs Buick protests from both his bandmates
Makane (the actual spelling was who refused to record the track
Buick Mackane), from the glam and his Geffen paymasters, Axl
bands 1972 Slider album, and was insistent that it should appear,
Nazareths Hair Of The Dog, albeit unaccredited, on the album.
the title track from the Scottish And many believe he did so as a
rockers 1975 album, both came dig at his ex-lover, Stephanie Sey-
from Slash. Duffs punk heritage mour. Taking to the stage sporting


a T-shirt bearing the image of the

man behind the infamous LaBi-
anca/Tate murders of August,
1969 was one thing, but record-
ing one of the convicted killers
songs was going beyond the pale.
The Gunners subsequently and
shamefacedly pledged to donate
royalties to the relatives of Man-
sons victims. In 2000, Axl, still
seething over what he saw as the
medias misinterpretation of his
interest in Manson, announced ital would prove to be his last
that the track was to be removed with G N R. The reason given for
from the albums reissued version. Tobias departure was his aversion
This, however, wasnt an admis- to touring, and he was replaced by
sion to his earlier foolishness, Richard Fortus.
but rather because, in his view, Tobias, aside from being a child-
the misunderstanding public no hood friend of Axls, has a long-
longer deserved to hear it. At standing connection with Guns N
the time of writing, however, the Roses which stretches back to the
track-listing remains unchanged. time of Hollywood Rose, when he
co-wrote Shadow Of Your Love
(which earned him a thanks in the
credits for Appetite For Destruc-
Tobias, Paul tion), and Back Off Bitch which
appears on Use Your Illusion 1.
Paul Tobias, a.k.a. Paul Huge, In 1994, Axl invited him to play
is a childhood friend of Axl Rose. on the Gunners cover of the Roll-
The Los Angeles-based guitar- ing Stones Symphony For The
ist was also an official member Devil, intended for the Inter-
of Guns N Roses from 1997 view With The Vampire movie
2002. soundtrack. Slash, although still
It was during Guns N Roses 1 smarting from Axls high-handed
January, 2001 show at Las Vegas show of nepotism in replacing
House of Blues their first live Gilby Clarke with his old buddy
performance for eight years that Tobias, was initially open to the
Axl lauded Tobias as the man idea of their working together. It
whod helped him keep Guns N didnt take long for Slash to real-
Roses together. Little could the ise things werent going to work
Axl exalted guitarist have known, out though, as aside from taking
however, that the bands next live an immediate and intense dislike
show, on 31 December, 2001 to the obnoxious and arrogant
again in Americas gambling cap- Tobias, he didnt even rate the

Guns N Roses

newcomers style or technique as Troubadour, The

worthy of Guns N Roses. Duff
and Matt had also taken a strong
dislike to Tobias, but Axl refused The Troubadour, located at 9081
to waiver. Indeed, it was Matts Santa Monica Boulevard, is one
derisive comments about Tobiass of the best known clubs on Sunset
Strip, and the place where Guns
shortcomings which led to his
N Roses cut their teeth and honed
dismissal from the band in 1997.
their sound.
By this time, of course, Slash had
Although Hollywood Rose
long-since departed and Tobias
played the Troubadour several
had officially been unveiled as his
times during 1984 and early 85,
replacement. Aside from Sym-
the night which has gone down
phony For The Devil, Tobias also
in L.A. folklore came on 6 June,
played on the Gunners follow-
1985, when the newly-consti-
up single, Oh My God, which
tuted Guns N Roses made their
appears on the soundtrack to
inaugural appearance. And seeing
Arnold Schwarzeneggers 1999
new boys Slash and Steven up
movie, End Of Days, as well as
on the stage might have caused
IRS, which is set to feature on
some confusion amongst those in
Chinese Democracy.
attendance that night because the
In September, 2002, by which
crudely-drawn flyer which cited
time Tobias had left Guns N
the event as a rock n roll bash
Roses, his former band, Mank
where everyones (sic) smashed
Rage sought to release an album
still bore images of the now-
consisting of material recorded
departed Tracii Guns and Rob
prior to the guitarists involvement
with G N R. The proposal was By the summer of 1985, the
shelved owing to record company Troubadour was the epicentre
indifference, but in 2006, three of of L.A.s rock scene, but when
the songs eventually surfaced on it first opened its doors back in
the bands MySpace site.


1957, the venue had served as a by the glut of glam-metal bands

safe haven for flowery folk acts currently plying their trade along
owing to owner, Doug Westons Sunset Strip. And the fact that
predilection for the genre. The these bands were all vying with
original venue was located on La each other for gigs, in conjunction
Cienega in West Hollywood, but with the local authorities recent
moved to its present location in decision to outlaw fly-postering,
1961, where it soon found a niche meant the club could rewrite the
hosting Monday night hootenan- rules. The days of bringing along
nies which provided budding folk thirty-to-forty friends to supply
singer-songwriters with an open the necessary ambience were
stage where they could try out their over. Now the bands were obliged
material on an appreciative and to sell their full quota of tickets
like-mined audience. The Troub, before being allowed to play.
as it became known to locals, also As Friday night was the dream
served as a springboard for the likes gig all the hopefuls aspired to, the
of Tom Waits, Emmylou Harris, Troubadour initiated a pecking
Jackson Browne and The Eagles. order system whereby each new
Even Elton John, who completed band would be given a Monday
a residency here in 1970, now cites or Tuesday night graveyard slot
the Troubadour as being pivotal in these being traditionally quiet
helping him achieve mainstream nights on the Strip and those
American success. who proved themselves capable
Six years on from Eltons now of shifting tickets were then pro-
famous tenure, however, the Trou- moted to a Wednesday or Thurs-
badours halcyon days were a day night slot before then finally
distant memory. And in 1976 the being given a shot at the title. Of
club closed its doors, seemingly all the bands that were in vogue
for the last time. Twelve months on the Strip during the mid-
later, however, the venue reopened 80s, Guns N Roses were sell-
for business, but rather than try to ing the most tickets and doing
breathe life into the now-decaying so most often. Before long they
folk corpse, Weston began book- were regarded as the Troubadour
ing local rock acts. He was even houseband.
willing to embrace punk, but a The Gunners final appearance
mini-riot during a performance at the venue which they cheek-
by local ragtag outfit, The Bags, ily advertised as their Farewell to
brought about an urgent rethink, Hollywood show came on 11
which saw both punk bands and July, 1986, and during the perform-
their disorderly audiences receiv- ance Axl took time out to person-
ing a lifetime ban. ally thank the audience for having
By the mid 1980s, the clubs albeit inadvertently helped in
modest stage had been taken over getting the band signed to Geffen.
Guns N Roses

Use Your Illusion 2

Civil War (7:42); 14 Years
(4:23); Yesterdays (3:14);
Knockin On Heavens Door
(5:36); Get In The Ring (5:29);
Shotgun Blues (3:23); Break-
down (7:03); Pretty Tied Up
(4:48); Locomotive (8:42); So
Fine (4:07); Estranged (9:23);
You Could Be Mine (5:42);
Dont Cry (alternative lyrics)
(4:45); My World (1:23).
2xLP, CD, Cassette
Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 Geffen Records, 1991

Appetite For Destruction and

The Use Your Illusion double GNR Lies had collectively sold
albums, which were released some 15 million copies and pro-
simultaneously in the US on 17 pelled Guns N Roses into rocks
September, 1991 and on 16 Sep- elite pantheon, but by the summer
tember in the UK and Europe, are
of 1989, the bands voracious fans
Guns N Roses third and fourth
were clamouring for new prod-
studio albums. Although Use
uct. And needless to say, David
Your Illusion 2 proved the more
Geffen and the rest of the labels
popular of the two by pipping its
sibling to #1 on the Billboard Hot execs were equally keen to get the
100, both albums went on to sell band into the studio. Indeed, they
over seven million copies. would probably have been con-
tent just to get the five musicians
Use Your Illusion 1 in the same room together as the
Right Next Door To Hell (2:58); Gunners appeared to be drifting
Dust N Bones (4:55); Live apart. Although no one was press-
And Let Die (2:59); Dont Cry ing the panic button, there were
(Original) (4:42); Perfect Crime a few furrowed brows pacing
(2:22); You Aint The First up and down Geffens corridors
(2:32); Bad Obsession (5:26); of power. Between December,
Back Off Bitch (5:01); Double 1988 and January, 1991, Guns N
Talkin Jive (3:19); November
Roses, a band which prided itself
Rain (8:53); The Garden (5:17);
on its live shows and had spent the
Garden Of Eden (2:36); Dont
Damn Me (5:15); Bad Apples previous two years constantly out
(4:25); Dead Horse (4:17); on the road aside from the odd
Coma (10:13). awards ceremony, guest appear-
2xLP, CD, Cassette ance, or warm-up show put in
Geffen Records, 1991 just four live appearances, and


these all came supporting the Roll- rock venue located on the out-
ing Stones in October, 1989. skirts of town. Slash, Duff and
It wasnt as reported in some Steven duly arrived for rehearsals
quarters a case of collective writ- the first week of July, 1989, but
ers block that was holding things Axl, whod decided to make the
up regarding new material. In 2000 mile journey from L.A. by
fact, the band already had the bare car, didnt put in an appearance
bones of several songs, includ- until the last week of the sched-
ing Civil War, You Could Be uled rehearsals, while Izzy failed
Mine, Estranged, Pretty Tied to show at all. The trio had formu-
Up and Dust N Bones in the lated several ideas for new songs,
can. To get these songs knocked but when Axl did finally show up,
into shape as well as get the he was only willing to work on
creative juices flowing again the Estranged. These non-rehearsals
decision was made to reconvene proved Stevens last involvement
in Chicago, where a three-month as a member of Guns N Roses, for
block-booking had been arranged by the time the band relocated to
at the Cabaret Metro, the famous West Hollywoods A&M Studios

Guns N Roses

at the end of September to begin began recording at six or seven in

writing in earnest, the drummer the evening and worked straight
had been replaced by Matt Sorum. through to the following morning.
With one druggie having been Once again Mike Clink was at the
shown the door and Slash and Izzy production helm, with award-win-
having kicked their own heroin ning engineer Bob Clearmoun-
habits, the Gunners were soon back tain brought in to assist. Halfway
to firing on all cylinders and laid through the mixing process, how-
down the backing tracks to over ever, the band decided they were
forty songs in less than a month, unhappy with Clearmountains
before then moving on to Record efforts, and started again from
Plant Studios to continue with the scratch with English engineer Bill
recording. The initial itinerary had Price. Although the studio was
called for work to begin at noon, supposedly off limits to anyone
but as musicians are like vampires outside the bands inner-circle,
in that they seem to do their best this rule didnt appear to apply to
work at night, the band quickly Axls new celebrity friends Naomi
settled into a regime where they Campbell, Johnny Depp, Sean


Penn, and Bruce Springsteen, ther inspiration. Geffen, realis-

which led Matt to jokingly liken ing Axl was holding all the aces,
the late-night, candlelit sessions to capitulated and agreed to releasing
being in a Fellini movie. two double-albums simultane-
The recording sessions proved ously. Axl even had a title for the
something of a mixed blessing as body of work: Use Your Illusion.
far as the Geffen execs were con- The singer had come across Amer-
cerned. For although they were ican artist Mark Kostabis painting
doubtless delighted at the bands of the same name in a Los Ange-
prolific output, they were rather les gallery and was so taken with
less enthralled with Axls insist- its thought-provoking imagery
ence that all the recorded material which Kostabi had lifted from
should be released simultaneously. Raphaels fresco, The School Of
The singers proposal to put out a Athens he had one of his people
quadruple box set was rejected out contact Kostabi to ask the artists
of hand, but Tom Zutaut came up permission to use it on the cover.
with a suitable compromise by Although each album fea-
suggesting the initial release of tures an epic ballad (November
one double-album, which could Rain on Use Your Illusion I, and
then be followed up in twelve Estranged on Use Your Illusion
months time with a single album II - as well as alternate versions
possibly together with one of the of Dont Cry), Use Your Illusion
covers EPs the band were keen to I, with titles such as Right Next
record and then finish off with a Door To Hell, Live And Let
live album once the Gunners had Die, Double Talkin Jive and
finished the accompanying world Dont Damn Me, is generally
tour. Axl, however, having already regarded as being the angry ying
won one battle in getting rid of to accompany the sister albums
Alan Niven, refused to waiver and bluesier yang. Aside from the
argued the thirty-odd songs in the songs which feature elsewhere in
can represented a particular period this book, the highlights of UYI I
of time in the bands history and include Dust N Bones, Izzys
could well lose all relevance and Stones-esque lament to mans
meaning in the intervening twelve threescore and ten, the highly
months. Indeed, several of the new underrated Perfect Crime, which
compositions, including Aint served as an occasional show-
Goin Down, which subsequently opening rocker and wouldnt have
appeared on a Guns N Roses sounded out of place on Appetite
pinball machine, Too Much Too For Destruction. Bad Obsession
Soon, Sentimental Movie, Just is Izzys ode to the darker side of
Another Sunday and Bring It drug addiction, while Back Off
Back Home, had already been dis- Bitch serves as Axls misogynistic
carded, and the ensuing tour would rant at women in general and ex-
surely provide the band with fur- wife Erin Everly in particular. The

Guns N Roses

self-explanatory Double Talkin Vince Neil, while the melancholic

Jive, which is driven along by mini-epic Breakdown, featur-
a masterful solo from Slash, is ing dialogue from Cleavon Littles
another of Izzys underrated UYI character Super Soul in the 1971
I gems, while Garden Of Eden movie Vanishing Point, is the sing-
lambastes organised religions for ers bitter-sweet introspection on
making a mockery of humanity. the inequities of this thing we call
Dead Horse, which sees Axl pro- life (Just because youre winning,
vide an autobiographical insight dont mean youre the lucky ones).
into his troubled childhood, begins Despite the wealth of great
with an acoustic intro played by material on the double albums,
the singer himself, and although the general consensus amongst
the track was never released as a G N R fans has always been that a
single, it does have an accompany- truncated, single Use Your Illusion
ing video. would have been a serious con-
Stand-out tracks on Use Your Illu- tender for greatest rock album of
sion II include 14 Years, which all time. In 1998, it seemed Geffen
provides Izzy with another oppor- had also come around to this way
tunity to show off his vocal prow- of thinking. But instead of select-
ess and the sentimentally-sweet ing killer tracks, the label released
Yesterdays, which was subse- a US only sanitised and expletive-
quently released as a single and is free 12-track album to satisfy the
the only song within G N Rs con- morality-mongers at the coun-
siderable canon that gives a writing trys leading chain-store outlets,
credit to three non-band members: Wal-Mart and Kmart, which both
West Arkeen, Del James, and Billy refused to stock any albums carry-
McCloud. Get In The Ring, with ing a parental advisory sticker.
its opening salvo: Why do you look As previously stated, the albums
at me when you hate me was aimed came out in the UK on 16 Septem-
at the bands critics and detractors, ber, which being a Monday, meant
while the slow-tempo ballad So I could only realistically afford to
Fine is Duffs mournful lament to purchase one or the other without
the passing of his punk hero Johnny skinting myself and going hungry
Thunders, whod died whilst the until payday. Id made my way
Gunners were in the studio. Pretty into town that particular morn-
Tied Up, another Izzy number ing believing Use Your Illusion I
which the guitarist introduces was the CD for me as it featured
with some subtle sitar playing November Rain, which had
tells the tale of a dominatrix he blown me away at the Gunners
knew operating from her home on Wembley show two weeks ear-
Melrose Avenue. Shotgun Blues, lier. But my mind was in turmoil
the only other UYI track to feature upon perusing the track-listing on
Axl on guitar, is supposedly a tirade Use Your Illusion II. And suffice
aimed at his Mtley Cre nemesis to say, I went hungry.


earmarked as the theme tune for

Arnies latest blockbuster, Termi-
Use Your Illusion World nator 2: Judgement Day. The only
downside to the evening came
Tour, 1991 1993 when Axl tumbled from one of
the onstage monitors injuring his
The colossal, eight-leg Use Your left ankle. The tours opening date
Illusion world tour which Guns was only a week away, and the
N Roses undertook between band not to mention the Geffen
May, 1991 and July, 1993, with hierarchy was anxious the tour
192 dates played to some seven should go ahead as scheduled.
million people in 27 countries With this aim in mind, experts
across the globe and grossing an from sports-shoe giants New Bal-
estimated $58 million, is the larg- ance were hurriedly brought in to
est rock tour in history. design a specially-crafted space-
In May, 1991, with the thirty age boot, which, although limit-
songs which would make up the ing Axls mobility, would at least
two Use Your Illusion double allow him to get about the stage.
albums currently being mastered
by George Marino at Sterling First Leg
Sound in New York, Guns N 24 May, 1991 9 April, 1992.
USA and Europe
Roses announced three warm-
up shows in preparation for the On 24 May, 1991, the tour got
mammoth world tour they were underway with the first of two sell-
about to undertake. The first two out shows at the Alpine Valley
shows, played at San Franciscos Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis-
compact Warfield Theatre and consin, with Sebastian Bachs
Los Angeles Pantages Theatre on Skid Row as support. Gone were
9 and 12 May, 1991 respectively, the days of borrowed cars and
were rapturously received. But cramped tour vans, the Gunners,
it was the bands third and final their management team and select
live rehearsal as Axl jokingly members of the bands inner circle
referred to the warm up shows flew to Wisconsin in a luxurious
at New Yorks Ritz Theatre on 16 747 jet owned and leased by the
May that really caught the Gun- MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
ners at their blistering best. Billed Their starting the tour in what
as An Evening With The Doors, was at least in musical terms a
the ecstatic audience was treated mid-western backwater, was due
to Appetites standards as well as to Axl having recently purchased
several new songs from the long- a sizeable plot of land in the area,
awaited album(s), including the where he not only intended to
forthcoming single, You Could build his dream home, but also be
Be Mine, which had already been buried he would subsequently

Guns N Roses

change his mind on both counts Axl was himself partly to blame
and sell the land. for having kept the audience wait-
The next show, at the 17,000 ing for two hours before going on
capacity Deer Creek Music Centre stage an occurrence that became
in Noblesville, Indiana, where something of a regularity as the
the band again performed two tour progressed he laid into the
sell-out shows over consecutive local authorities by comparing
nights, was even more personal to them to Hitlers Nazis. He also
Axl as it was a return to he and likened his subjugated audience
Izzys home state. It had been to inmates of the notorious Nazi
three years since Guns N Roses death camp, Auschwitz, which
last performed in Indiana and Axl brought unwanted and unneces-
wasnt about to let the occasion sary publicity, making headlines
pass without venting his pent-up across America. I just wanted
angst at those nameless, face- to tell them that they could break
less bureaucrats whod imposed away too, the despondent singer
a state-wide curfew requiring all told reporters.
outdoor public gatherings to be On 17 June, at a show at the
concluded by 10.30pm. Though Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale,


New York, Axl took his tardiness to ues in-house security teams
new extremes by keeping the audi- attention to an audience member
ence waiting until midnight. Mick who was harassing other fans and
Wall, in his unofficial Axl Rose preventing them from enjoying
biography, suggests this was done the show. The guy in question
in petty retribution for Slash having happened to be Stump, the leader
had the audacity to decline the of a local biker gang known as the
singers invitation to an impromptu Saddle Tramps, and as the secu-
party at a Manhattan restaurant the rity staff were either friends of
previous evening. Instead of chal- Stumps or were afraid of what-
lenging Axls adopted higher- ever retribution he and his biker
than-thou attitude, Slash and Duff crew might inflict on them once
preferred to seek solace in their Guns N Roses had left town,
respective drug de jour, while Izzy, they were reluctant to intervene.
although equally disillusioned with And to show he was untouch-
Axl, had never been one for con- able, the biker goaded Axl further
frontation and retreated deeper into by waving a video camera in his
his shell. His decision to clean up face. The bands contract specifi-
his act following the fracas over cally prohibited the use of cameras
Phoenix which had earned him and video recording equipment, so
the sobriquet Whizzy amongst when the security staff continued to
band and crew members alike ignore Axls pleas, the singer took
meant it was virtually impossi- matters into his own hands and
ble for him to spend time with his dived into the audience to confront
fellow Gunners who, with the pos- the biker. The security team now
sible exception of Axl, were drink- felt compelled to act, and during
ing copious amounts of alcohol as the ensuing scuffle Axl punched
well as dabbling in one or more one of their number and received
illegal substances. His decision to several blows in return before the
travel separately from the rest of bands roadies succeeded in pull-
the band wasnt meant as a slight to ing him back up onto the stage. Axl
the others, it was simply a means of was beside himself and informed
resisting the everyday temptations the bemused crowd that thanks to
and staying on the wagon. the lame-ass security he was going
On 2 July, the chickens well and home. The rest of the group con-
truly came home to roost during tinued playing for several minutes
a performance at the recently- before sidling from the stage once it
opened Riverport Performing became clear their singer wouldnt
Arts Centre, some fifteen miles be returning.
west of St. Louis in Maryland Axl later claimed hed fully
Heights, Missouri. The band were intended to continue with the
ninety minutes into the set when show, and had only left the stage
Axl brought the proceedings to a in order to replace a contact lens
premature halt to draw the ven- hed lost during the scuffle. The

Guns N Roses

audience, however, knew nothing the venues owners, file lawsuits

of what was going on backstage against Guns N Roses. Worse
and began expressing their dis- was to follow three days later
pleasure by barracking the band. when the St. Louis authorities
Instead of going back out to at issued a warrant for Axls arrest
least placate the audience, Axl on no less than five misdemean-
and co remained ensconced within our charges four of assault
their dressing room while the road and one of property damage.
crew went out to dismantle the The St Louis riot and the ensu-
equipment. This was the spark to ing adverse headlines, which fol-
ignite the powder keg, and certain lowed the band around like a bad
sections of the crowd began tear- smell, may have put a dampener
ing out seats and hurling them at on subsequent shows in Texas,
the hapless roadies, at which point Colorado, Utah and Washington,
the venues manager, realising he but the five saddle-sore Gunners
had a potential full-scale riot on found a renewed spring in their
his hands, called in the police. In cowboy-booted heels upon their
the ensuing carnage, which saw return to Los Angeles for four
every available police officer in sell-out shows at the Great West-
the St. Louis county area arrive in ern Forum. Indeed, such was the
full body armour and armed with demand for tickets for the local-
batons, fire hoses and cans of Cap- boys-done-good that the promoter
Stun (a cayenne pepper aerosol had offered the band eight shows.
similar to Mace), sixty fans were Eight days later, on 12 August,
injured and another sixteen were the band arrived in Helsinki, Fin-
arrested. The venue suffered dam- land, where they were scheduled
ages totalling some $200,000, and to perform two shows over con-
the band lost all their equipment. secutive nights at the Finnish
Slash, who watched the destruc- capitals Jahalli ice arena. Duff,
tion from the backstage area, later Slash, Matt and Dizzy as well as
bemoaned: I lost all my amps, the guys from Skid Row fought
and my guitar tech Adam [Day] off the jet lag and went to watch
got a bottle in the head. Some- the Black Crows performing at
one got knifed, and all our stage the nearby Tavastia Club. This
and video equipment and Axls was the Gunners first European
piano were trashed. I dont know. jaunt since the UK tour of four
It was a fluke. It shouldnt have years earlier and everyone was
happened but it did. The loss in good spirits. Yet it seemed Axl
of so much equipment forced the hadnt learned anything from the
band to cancel forthcoming shows St Louis debacle, for the irascible
in Kansas, and Chicago. singer stomped off stage midway
The following day saw the through Welcome To The Jungle
shows promoters, Contemporary leaving the rest of the band to con-
Productions, in conjunction with tinue the song as an instrumental.


With the song ended and with Axl that the singer had stopped off en
showing no sign of returning, Izzy route to watch the Vallenfestiva-
was summoned from the shad- len firework display. Worse was
owy periphery to sing 14 Years, to follow in the Danish capital,
which was followed by a drawn Copenhagen on 19 August, when
out, improvised drum solo from Axl again called a halt to the
Matt and an equally-protracted proceedings and challenged the
guitar solo from Slash, before idiotic fan whod thrown a fire-
Axl nonchalantly reappeared on work up onto the stage to come
stage behaving as though it was forward. When the culprit failed
all part of the act. If any doubt to comply, he led the group from
remained as to Axls scant regard the stage and didnt return for
for anyone other than himself, some twenty minutes. The singer
it came in Stockholm four days was so incensed by the firework
later, when he purposely chose to incident that he took his ire out
spend three hours playing roulette on the bands Norwegian fans
at the Sheraton Hotels casino by refusing to catch the flight to
before summoning the limo to the Oslo, where they were scheduled
Globen arena where the rest of to play on the 21st. Slash and Duff
the band were waiting. He didnt again chose to avoid confrontation
even arrive at the venue til gone and sank deeper into their respec-
midnight, and the rumour albeit tive oblivions, leaving a red-faced
an unsubstantiated one was Izzy to explain to the manager of

Guns N Roses

Oslos Spektrum arena that the well as the Live Aid extravaganza
show would probably have to of six years earlier. The tickets
be cancelled as indeed it was had sold out in a matter of hours.
since no one was quite sure of But not everyone was enthralled
Axls whereabouts. Later that with Guns N Roses return to the
evening, Axls personal assistant UK. Wembleys borough council,
phoned Doug Goldstein to inform in an attempt to keep the band on
him the singer was in Paris taking as tight a leash as possible, were
a much-needed break and insistent that Axl and co. should
would join up with the band in refrain from any unnecessary on-
Mannheim, Germany, where they stage obscenities during their per-
were scheduled to play in five formance. Needless to say, Axl
days time. didnt take kindly to being given
One week on from the Man- such high-handed orders and
nheim show, the band flew into retaliated in kind by ordering the
Londons Heathrow airport for Geffen representatives to buy up
the final European date a 72,000 every available inch of billboard
sell-out show at Wembley Sta- space within a five-mile radius of
dium on 31 August. All five the stadium and plaster them with
members especially Slash, being a poster which read: Guns N F--
English-born had been look- ---g Roses, Wembley F-----g Sta-
ing forward to playing Londons dium, Sold F-----g Out!!!.
illustrious, twin-towered dame This was the Gunners first UK
which was steeped in history, appearance since the ill-feted
having staged the 1948 Olympics Donington Festival of three years
and the 1966 World Cup Final, as earlier, and although no one knew


it at the time with the possible Rouge, Louisiana, and followed

exception of girlfriend Anneka this with several more US dates
the Wembley show would also before flying out to the far east
result in a casualty, as it proved to for three gigs in Japan, the last of
be Izzys last as a member of the which was recorded and subse-
band. The disillusioned guitarist quently released as the Use Your
had initially tended his resignation Illusion double video set. Fol-
shortly after the group returned lowing two shows at the Palacio
to L.A., only to then undergo a De Los Deportes in the Mexican
change of heart. But a month or so capital, Mexico City on 1 and 2
later, haunted by the prospect of April, they returned to the US to
having to go back out on the road, complete the first leg of the tour
he gave notice a second time. with shows in Oklahoma City,
Izzys departure from Guns N and Rosemont, Illinois.
Roses was officially announced
on 17 November. Second Leg
By the time they hit the road 16 May 2 July, 1992.
again in December, with Izzys Europe
replacement, ex-Kill For Thrills
guitarist Gilby Clarke primed The second leg got under-
and ready for action, the band way at the picturesque setting of
had been augmented by keyboard Dublins Slane Castle in front of
and harmonica player, Teddy 40,000 ecstatic Irish fans. The Irish
Andreadis, an all-girl trio of back- have long been renowned for their
ing singers and an all-girl, three- warm-hearted nature, and Slane
piece horn section dubbed the villages 1,200 inhabitants, instead
976-Horns. The Use Your Illusion of bemoaning their village being
albums were both sitting pretty invaded by an army of tattooed,
at the top of the Billboard 200, leather and denim-clad rockers,
as well as in every other music- welcomed the G N R army with
loving country in the world, and open arms. To add to the Irish fla-
it seemed that nothing not even vour, the Gunners invited local up-
the emergence of scuff-punk trio and-coming band, Little Funhouse
Nirvana, and the Seattle-based (a recent Geffen acquisition) to
Grunge movement could derail open the show. The band arrived at
the G N R juggernaut. And three the venue to find a crate of forty-
sell out shows at New Yorks year-old Blackbush Irish whiskey
Madison Square Garden on 9, 10 and a barrel of Guinness waiting
and 13 December merely served for them backstage, courtesy of Ire-
to confirm their status as the lands greatest musical export, U2.
biggest band on the planet. The The Gunners would get to thank the
group kick-stared 1992 with a Irish rockers in person when their
sell-out show on 3 January at the paths crossed in Vienna later in the
LSU Assembly Centre in Baton month. The Gaelic bonhomie even

Guns N Roses

extended to the local press, and On 6 June, the band arrived in

the previous days Irish Independ- Paris for a pay-per-view show at
ent carried a photo of a beaming the French capitals Hippodrome
Axl upon its front page. The local De Vincennes. During the set they
clergy, however, were concerned were joined on stage by Slashs
that the Emerald Isles respect- pal, Lenny Kravitz for a version
able Colleens might emulate their of Kravitzs hit, Always On the
American and English cousins by Run, as well as Aerosmiths
baring their breasts on the giant Steven Tyler and Joe Perry for an
video screens. Some 800 Garda extended encore of the Yardbirds
officers one tenth of Irelands classic, Train Kept A-Rollin
entire force were on duty that day, and their own Mama Kin. As
but apart from the expected drunk- the show was to be broadcast in
enness and minor drug offences, both the US and across Europe
the show passed trouble free. And via satellite uplinks, the various
Slash, who thoroughly enjoyed his TV and radio networks created a
time in the Irish capital, later com- media city larger than the Gun-
mented: I can always tell a drink- ners own sizeable compound. The
ing town when the locals get drunk initial idea had been for ex-Yard-
before I do. bird, Jeff Beck to join the band on
Following shows in Czechoslo- stage for Train Kept A-Rollin, but
vakia, where Vanessa Warwick, the the plan was scuppered when the
hostess of MTVs late-night rock guitar legend suffered a recurrence
show Headbangers Ball, caught of the tinnitus (an infection of the
up with the band, and Austria, middle or inner ear brought on by
where U2 who were due to play over-exposure to excessively loud
there the following night were noise) which had blighted his career.
Axls honoured guests, the Gunners Although Slash, who had idolised
arrived in Berlin for a 40,000 sell- Beck since first taking up the guitar,
out show at the German capitals was downhearted at the news, he
Olympic Stadium on 26 May. The was the first to acknowledge the
following night saw the band per- show wasnt worth his risking per-
form in front of the largest crowd manent damage to his hearing. Just
of the tour so far 75,000 people playing together during rehearsals
at Stuttgarts Cannstatter Wasen and bullshitting together off-stage
which was staging a rock concert was fucking great. It was an honour
for the first time. The final German just to be on the same stage as him.
date at Colognes Mngersdorfer he later gushed.
Stadion on 30 May was marred Before flying to Manchester for
by torrential downpours, but the the scheduled show at Manches-
band remained upbeat and Axl jok- ter Citys Maine Road football
ingly described the sodden crowd ground on 9 June, the band took
as the biggest wet T-shirt contest 48 hours out for a little downtime
in the world. in the French capital. Paris being


the city of love, Axl had hoped ling the Manchester show, yet the
his latest squeeze, Stephanie Sey- official announcement confirm-
mour, would be able to join him. ing said cancellation wasnt made
But when the model cried off until the day of the show, which
owing to previously unmentioned meant thousands of fans includ-
work commitments, the singer ing yours truly had already
flew into a rage believing she was taken time off work. In order to
seeing her former lover, the actor placate all concerned, the show
Warren Beatty. was rescheduled for that coming
The strain of performing and Sunday so as not to inconven-
travelling not to mention the ience the fans any further, while
mental anguish over what Steph- the now superfluous backstage
anie might be up to was begin- catering was donated to a local
ning to take its toll on Axl, and hospice. Before the rescheduled
the following evening a doctor Manchester show, however, the
was summoned to the sumptuous Gunners returned to Wembley on
five-star Hotel De Crillon where the Saturday for another 72,000
he and the rest of the band were sell-out gig which left both fans
staying and diagnosed the singer and critics breathless. For the first
as suffering from complete encore, the band was joined on
physical exhaustion. He recom- stage by Brian May for blistering
mended that Axl take an imme- versions of the Queen anthems
diate forty-eight hours rest. This Tie Your Mother Down and
would, of course, mean cancel- We Will Rock You.

Guns N Roses

Following the third and final a riot, but his words left little to
UK date at the 25,000 capacity the imagination. Thankfully, how-
Gateshead International Stadium, ever, common sense prevailed
the band returned to London for a and the powers-that-be agreed the
couple of days rest before flying band could play unencumbered by
out to Germany for a show at the time restrictions. Duff managed
Talavera-Mainweise airfield in to get through the show, but the
Wrzburg. As luck would have medication had worn off by the
it, the area suffered one of the time the band arrived back at their
worst electrical storms in recent hotel and a local doctor ordered
years. But despite the torren- the bassist to rest for 48 hours,
tial thunderstorms which were which unfortunately resulted in
even more spectacular than the the following nights show in Bel-
onstage pyrotechnics the band gium being cancelled.
completed their two-and-a-half- With an unexpected break
hour set. Another sell-out show before the next show, in Turin
followed in Basle, Switzerland, on 27 June, the band flew to the
but by this time Duff was feeling Italian fashion capital, Milan, but
the effects of having played out the entourage was so large they
in the elements, and doctors were were forced to book into two
called in when his condition dete- adjoining hotels as no single one
riorated. The tour was thrown into was big enough to hold them.
even greater jeopardy when Axl While Duff recuperated, Slash,
was found to be suffering from a Gilby and Teddy Andreadis flew
sore throat, and the flight to Rot- to Munich to appear in the video
terdam the next date on the itin- to Michael Jacksons Give In
erary was delayed so that both To Me. Axl, meanwhile, was in
Axl and Duff could receive medi- seventh heaven now that Steph-
cal treatment to get them through anie had finally joined him (she
the show. The subsequent delay would remain with her lover for
in getting to Rotterdam, however, the remainder of the tour), and the
resulted in the band arriving at couple probably at Stephanies
the venue two hours late and they behest visited the showrooms of
didnt take to the stage until gone top Italian designers such as Gianni
10pm. The Dutch authorities, Versace and Armani. Later that
although sympathetic to the Gun- same evening, he and Stephanie
ners plight, were only willing to dined with Donatella Versace, her
extend the 11pm curfew by thirty model husband Paul Beck, and
minutes. Axl informed the audi- supermodel Naomi Campbell.
ence theyd paid their money and Duff had fully recovered by the
were entitled to a full show, and time of the Turin gig and the band
had his blessing to express their treated the ecstatic 65,000 Italians
discontent any way they saw fit. inside the Della Alpi stadium to
Perhaps he wasnt exactly inciting one of the best shows of the entire


tour. As the next appearance was Guns N Roses performed at

in Seville in southern Spain, the Lisbons Alvalade Stadium. One
band travelled by coach to the Ital- might have expected the painful
ian port of San Remo, where they memories of twelve months earlier
celebrated Duffs engagement to to have ensured everything went
girlfriend and future wife Linda according to plan, but the Portu-
by renting a 180-foot luxury motor guese crowd was left standing for
cruiser for a two-day sightseeing five interminable hours before the
and water-sports cruise along the band finally appeared. The fans
Italian coastline. The Seville show, were far from happy and expressed
staged at the citys Estadio Benito their displeasure by pelting the
Villamarin on 30 June, was delayed stage with a hail of plastic water
until midnight so the crowd could bottles not all of them empty.
enjoy the full benefits of the spec- Axl, however, was in no mood to
tacular lightshow. play dodge ball and threatened to
History was in danger of repeat- leave the stage unless the barrage
ing itself, when on 2 July exactly stopped. It didnt, and he and the
one year on from the St. Louis riot rest of the band sloped off. They

Guns N Roses

returned some fifteen minutes in pacifying the audience by play-

later, but the disgruntled audi- ing the aptly-named Patience.
ence was in an unforgiving mood The 4 July Independence Day
and began hurling firecrackers show the last of the European
and lighters around the stadium, leg at Madrids Vicente Cal-
deron Stadium had to be can-
which resulted in the band down-
celled when it was discovered
ing instruments a second time.
the venues concrete construction
When a Portuguese officials plea was badly affected by aluminosis.
for calm failed to restore order it The crew had already begun work
seemed as though a repeat of 12 at the stadium and were placed
months earlier was unavoidable, on permanent standby should an
but thankfully the band succeeded alternative venue be found. When


none emerged, the show was of his life now that he had avoided
rescheduled and Slash and most serious jail time and reconnecting
of the others took advantage of the with Slash and Duff, Axl distanced
situation by flying back to the US himself even further by surround-
the following morning. Axl, how- ing himself with an even larger
ever, knowing a fugitive warrant coterie of helpers and professional
awaited his return, headed back hangers-on. Now, aside from the
to San Remo with Stephanie and usual retinue of bodyguards, per-
spent the next few days getting sonal assistants and his brother
reacquainted. The couple eventu- Stuart and sister Amy, whod both
ally returned to the US on 12 July, come along for the ride, the singer
and sure enough Axl, had barely brought in his psychiatrist Suzzy
cleared customs at New Yorks London, a stunning brunette who
JFK airport when he was arrested also appears in the Dont Cry
over the outstanding charges relat- video, and a rather less attractive
ing to the St. Louis riot. Two days professional psychic by the name
later, the singer appeared before of Sharon Maynard.
a judge in Clayton, Missouri, When the G N R/Metallica
where he pleaded innocent to all double-header (with Faith No
five counts. The judge, however, More opening the proceedings at
thought otherwise and a court the majority of the shows) was
date was set for 13 October. This first announced back in May, the
would have meant interrupting the prospect of seeing Americas two
next leg of the tour, but the judge biggest and best rock acts on the
was happy to allow the band to same stage had left fans drool-
proceed on condition they placed ing, and each of the 25 dates sold
a $100,000 bond, which Axl put out in no time. Indeed, several
up himself. Axl was subsequently did so within hours of the tickets
found guilty on all counts, but going on sale, and the gigs at the
instead of the four-and-a-half Giants Stadium in New Jersey (18
year jail term the St Louis pros- July), and Pasadenas Rose Bowl
ecutor Robert McCulloch had (3 October) both sold-out in less
been pressing for, the singer got than an hour. The tour was not
off with two years probation, and without incident, however, for
was ordered to donate $50,000 to during the encore at the second
local community groups. of two sets at the aforementioned
Giants Stadium on 29 July, Axl
Third Leg was struck in the genitals by a
17 July 6 October, 1992. low-flying cigarette lighter and
25-date US Stadium tour with Metallica had to vacate the stage in agony,
leaving Duff to take over vocal
When the tour reconvened at the duties. Although the singer would
RFK Stadium in Washington DC subsequently make light of the
on 17 July, instead of taking stock matter by saying hed been hit

Guns N Roses

in the dick by a bic, the tour was been on the road for 14 gruelling
forced into temporary hiatus with months, but whereas Metallica
the next three shows (Boston, who were earning the same fees
South Carolina, and Minneapolis) kept expenses to a minimum,
being rescheduled for Septem- the union dues incurred owing
ber when he was diagnosed as to Axls terrible timekeeping and
having sustained severe damage the singers insistence on throw-
to his vocal chords a condition ing lavish after show themed par-
even professional vocal coach ties which saw band and crew
Ron Anderson couldnt alleviate. gorge themselves on lobster and
Axls sore throat and swollen nads champagne suppers whilst scant-
paled into significance compared ily-clad girls gyrated to a musical
to the injury which befell Metal- backdrop of Motrhead, Aero-
licas frontman, James Hetfield at smith and Sex Pistols had sig-
Montreals Stade Du Parc Olym- nificantly eaten into the bands
pique on 8 August. A misunder- profit margin.
standing over the on-stage pyro-
technics led to Hetfield suffering
severe burns to his left arm, bring- Fourth Leg
ing Metallicas set to an immedi- 25 November 13 December, 1992.
ate halt. Seven dates would have A nine-date tour of South America
to be rescheduled while Hetfield
recovered from his injuries, and The extended itinerary kicked
even when he did return, Metal off with a show in front of 45,000
Churchs John Marshall filled in ecstatic fans at the Poliedro de
on guitar while he sang. Instead Caracas in Venezuela Guns N
of going on earlier than scheduled Roses first headline tour of South
to compensate the Canadian fans America. The absence of a suit-
as arranged, Axl brought another ably-sized venue, however, meant
evening to a premature close the show which was the largest
claiming he couldnt hear himself ever held in the country was
through the on-stage monitors. actually staged in the parking lot
And although he informed the outside the arena. The perform-
disgruntled crowd their money ance passed without incident, but
would be refunded, more than unbeknownst to anyone espe-
2000 of their number ran amok cially the band the Venezuelan
in the surrounding streets and air force was plotting a military
clashed with local police. coup to seize control of the coun-
The final G N R/Metallica try. The coup failed, but although
show which, according to Slash the band managed to escape the
should have been the final date of following day, the majority of their
the Use Your Illusion tour came equipment along with several
on 6 October in Duffs home- anxious crew members was left
town of Seattle. The Gunners had stranded at the airport. The next


stop on the tour was the Colum- while an ever-increasing number

bian capital, Bogot, where the of fans occupied themselves in
Gunners were scheduled to per- erecting makeshift encampments
form two shows over consecutive outside the stadium, the 80-strong
nights at the citys 60,000 capacity crew worked through the night
El Campin Stadium. But with the to erect the 200 x 80 foot stage
vast majority of their equipment in time for the following nights
still stranded in Venezuela, cou- show. This was just one of three
pled with the logistical nightmare separate stages which piggy-
of attempting to ferry in new gear backed from venue to venue so
from the US, it was decided the each one was utilised every third
two shows should be rolled into gig. The crews already Her-
one. The band did offer to re-jig culean task was not made any
their itinerary and make Sundays easier by the torrential rain, and
tickets valid for the Monday, but disaster struck when the stages
the promoters decided against this six-tonne roof, complete with
as the majority of those with tick- lighting rig, came crashing to the
ets for the Sunday show would ground. (A subsequent inspection
have travelled long distances and revealed that the locally-supplied
couldnt afford the added cost of base structure had been unable to
remaining in the capital for an cope with the additional weight
extra night. of the accumulating rainwater).
The stranded equipment didnt The sound of buckling metal gave
arrive at the venue until around the stagehands ample warning to
7pm on the Saturday evening, so flee the scene, but with no time

Guns N Roses

to rebuild the roof, the set was in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first
hastily redesigned with the lights performance at the citys Esta-
repositioned on the sets side cionamento Do Anhembi stadium
walls. This was but one exam- went ahead despite incessant tor-
ple of the crews dedication and rential rain. But when the deluge
determination to get the job done, continued into the next morning
which saw the US trade magazine flooding both the venue and sur-
Performance, name them 1991s rounding area the local officials
Crew of the Year. insisted on cancelling the second
The bands 55,000 sell-out show nights show. The final appear-
in Santiago, Chile on 2 December ance of the South American tour
was marred by the Chilean medias was staged at Rio de Janeiros
scurrilous and unfounded enormous Autodromo stadium
reports that Axl had been drunk on 13 December before band
for the performance; and that a and crew returned to the US for a
quantity of drugs had been found month-long festive break.
in the bands rooms at the Shera-
ton San Cristobel hotel. Although
Fifth Leg
12 January 6 February, 1993.
both Doug Goldstein and the hotel Japan and Australasia
manager vehemently denied the
allegations, Goldstein did admit The final six of the 30-month
representatives of the CDI (Chil- world tour got underway on 12
ean Department of Investigation) January, 1993 with the first of
had paid an unannounced late- three sell-out shows at the futur-
night visit to the hotel to conduct istic Tokyo Dome. Although Axl
a fruitless search of several of the still insisted on being accompanied
bands rooms including Axls. by his support team and assorted
Following two capacity shows at suck-ups, cost-cutting forced
Buenos Aires Estadio River Plate the band to dispense with Teddy
in Argentina over the weekend of Andreadis, the backing singers
5/6 December, the band arrived and horn section. The first Tokyo


set went without a hitch, with even returned to the US, where, owing
Axl making it onto the stage at the to the difference in time zones,
appointed hour. But by the second they arrived at LAX three hours
show the singer had reverted to before they left New Zealand.
type and kept the audience waiting
for ninety minutes. For the third Sixth Leg
and final Tokyo gig Ronnie Wood 23 February 13 July, 1993.
joined the band for an extended USA
version of Knockin On Heavens
Door. The Stones guitarist had The sixth leg of the world tour
performed a solo show in the Japa- dubbed the Skin and Bones
nese capital the previous evening tour kicked-off at the 17,000
and had invited the Gunners to his seater Frank Erwin Centre in
aftershow party at the Lexington Austin, Texas on 23 February.
Queen nightclub. Although the set predominantly
The band flew out to Australia remained the same, the audience
the following morning but took was treated to a mid-show acous-
a two-week sightseeing break tic easy hour, which saw the
before performing at Sydneys relaxed Gunners gather around a
Eastern Creek Raceway, which sofa and coffee table placed in the
was the largest musical event centre of the stage to perform sev-
staged in Australia. Next up was eral acoustic numbers including
Melbournes vast Calder Park three of the four acoustic tracks
Raceway stadium on 1 Febru- from GNR Lies: Used To Love
ary, which, despite torrential rain, Her; Patience and Youre
broke national attendance records. Crazy. Not surprisingly, One In
The tour then moved on to New A Million remained hidden away
Zealand where band and crew in the G N R locker. The next
spent the evening before the show show, in Birmingham, Alabama
in a plush restaurant overlooking went according to schedule, but
Auckland harbour helping Axl the following four, in Ohio, North
and Duff along with tour invet- Carolina, New York and Rhode
erate Del James celebrate their Island had to be rescheduled
respective birthdays. And as the owing to adverse weather condi-
show at the citys Mount Smart tions. Water also effected the 3
Stadium fell on Axls 31st birth- April show at Sacramentos Arco
day, the crew brought proceedings Arena when Duff was rendered
to an unscheduled stop midway unconscious by a flying plastic
through the set to present the water bottle, while the show at
singer with an enormous candle-lit Atlantas 17,000 Omni Arena was
birthday cake while Slash led the cancelled when Axl discovered it
audience in a heart-warming rendi- was the same venue where hed
tion of Happy Birthday. Following been arrested six years earlier,
a day spent sightseeing, the band following a scuffle with an over-

Guns N Roses

zealous security guard during the Moses T-shirt. Following shows

Mtley Cre tour of 1987. The in Greece and Turkey, the band
singer was still technically on arrived in the UK for two gigs at
parole over the St. Louis incident the Milton Keynes National Bowl
and was also all-too-familiar with over the weekend of 29/30 May,
the heavy-handed tactics of Geor- where Axls friend, Shannon
gias State Police. Hoons band Blind Melon was
The tour which had already one of the support acts. Unfor-
seen cancellations (enforced or tunately for all concerned, the
otherwise), injuries, riots and English weather was true to form
drug-raids took another bizarre and the near-incessant downpour
twist at the end of April when turned the open-air amphitheatre
Izzy returned to the fold albeit into a quagmire. The second show
on a temporary basis as stand-in proved to be Izzys last, as by this
for his replacement, Gilby Clarke. time Gilbys wrist had healed well
Gilby had broken his left wrist enough for the guitarist to grasp
whilst practicing for a celebrity a fret board. During the now-
charity motorcycle race which familiar mid-set acoustic session,
saw the four remaining US dates the band was joined on stage by
cancelled. But rather than cancel Gilby, ex-Hanoi Rocks frontman
the forthcoming European festival and Axl acolyte Michael Monroe
shows, and with no time to break in and Ronnie Wood. Izzy, although
a new guitarist, Axl asked a favour, having enjoyed the opportunity
which made perfect sense given to absorb the culture of ancient
Izzys familiarity with the songs. cities such as Athens and Istanbul,
hadnt enjoyed any other aspect
Seventh Leg of the G N R travelling circus
22 May 13 July, 1993. and was happy to be on his way.
Europe He later admitted he didnt bother
to say farewell to any of the guys
With Izzy (now sporting dread- as with the possible exception of
locks) once again prowling the Axl who was now a devoted exer-
shadowy no-mans land at the ciser and had replaced alcohol and
rear of the stage, the Gunners drugs with bottled mineral water
opened the penultimate leg of the and high-protein vitamin shakes
tour dubbed the Get In the Ring theyd been too fucked up to
Motherfucker Round II at Hay- notice his return.
arkon Park in Tel Aviv, which Gilbys first full show came
saw more than 40,000 fans turn on 2 June at Viennas Praters-
up for what was later declared tadion and the guitarist took no
the largest music concert ever chances by having a specialist
staged in Israel. Axl was in fine flown in from the US to over-
form and took to the stage sport- see his on-going recovery; and
ing a custom-made Guns N to help reduce the swelling, he


packed his left arm in ice before, a fraction of those in attendance

during and after the show. Fol- understood English.
lowing dates in Holland and Den- The highlights of the June 16
mark, the band played another show at the St. Jakub Fussball-
sell-out gig at Oslos Valle Hovin stadion in Basle, Switzerland was
stadium. Before the show each the inclusion of the Rolling Stones
member of the band was presented song Dead Flowers, which sub-
with a platinum disc for having sequently appeared on Gilbys
sold more than 300,000 records in debut solo album, Pawnshop Gui-
tars, and a naked Shannon Hoon
Norway, which was something of
arriving on stage to deliver a pizza
an achievement given Norways
during the acoustic set. The Gun-
entire population is little more than
ners then headed across the border
four million. The next concert, at into Germany for five shows, the
Stockholms Olympic Stadium on first of which, at Bremens Weser-
12 June, was marred by incessant stadion on 18 June, coincided with
rain, and as the band was leaving Dizzys 30th birthday. The second,
the stage Slash jokingly invited at the 50,000 capacity Wildpark-
the sodden Swedish audience to an stadion in Karlsruhe, descended
aftershow party at Dizzys room into chaos when it came to light
back at the Sheraton Hotel. For- that opening act, Suicidal Tenden-
tunately for the keyboardist, only cies, had been double-booked and

Guns N Roses

the band was in Italy touring with Eighth Leg

Metallica. To add to the confu- 16 17 July, 1993.
sion, Brian May, who was also on Argentina
the bill, arrived late owing to traf-
fic congestion in the city, but the The final two dates of Guns N
guitarist did at least agree to play Roses mammoth 30-month tour
a longer set to compensate. And to were staged in Argentina, at the
cap the evening off Guns N Roses citys 70,000 capacity Estadio
also arrived at the venue some 40 River Plate on 16 and 17 July.
minutes late owing to their heli- Friday nights show was delayed
copter pilot somehow deviating some 75 minutes, however, owing
off course on what should have to a visit to the bands hotel by 50
been a routine 20 minute flight. officers belonging to the citys
Following on from two storm- narcotics division. The officers
ing sets in Modena, Italy on 29 had apparently been tipped off
and 30 June, the band took time that the band was carrying a large
out to recharge their batteries amount of cocaine. But the allega-
before flying on to Spain. The tions proved unfounded and their
first Spanish show was staged at two-hour search failed to yield
Barcelonas spectacular 60,000 anything untoward. A simultane-
Estadi Olympic, where Del James ous and equally fruitless search
donned the Dominos Pizza uni- of the bands equipment was also
form to deliver the mid-set pizza carried out at the stadium.
before then grabbing up the congas As Saturday nights show was
and joining in on Used To Love being broadcast live on TV in
Her. After a relatively incident- Argentina and neighbouring Uru-
free show at Madrids Vicente guay, proceedings got underway
Calderon Stadium on 6 July, the at the appointed hour. The Gun-
Gunners flew to Nancy in north- ners ended their twenty-song set
eastern France for the first of three and the 30-month tour with
French performances at the citys Paradise City, and although the
Zenith de Nancy arena. The final ecstatic Argentineans clamoured
show of the European leg came for more, the proverbial fat lady
in Paris at the French capitals was the only one left singing. The
Omnisports de Bercy stadium. band headed straight back to their
And as the band were due to fly hotel and took up residence in the
straight to Buenos Aires early the bar, where they remained until
following morning, immediately dawn, doubtlessly reminiscing
after the two-hour show they on the highs and lows of the tour.
returned to their hotel, the Royal And little could Slash, Duff or
Monceau, and took up residence Matt have known at the time, that
in the bar until it was time to leave the second Buenos Aires show
for the airport. would be the last time they would
share a stage with Axl.

first time in six years at a benefit

concert for their friend and fellow
musician Randy Castillo, whod
tragically succumbed to cancer
in March of that year. Although
Slash had recently contributed to
albums by Michael Jackson, Iggy
Pop and Carole King, the guitarist
was at something of a loose end; as
were Duff and Matt following the
demise of the Neurotic Outsiders.
While the Key Club benefit show
was only intended as a one-off, it
Velvet Revolver reignited Slashs passion for rock
n roll, and upon learning Duff
and Matt had been equally invig-
Velvet Revolver is the name of orated, the three decided to take
the Grammy Award-winning group things a stage further by inviting
featuring ex G N R stalwarts Slash, Izzy to join their, as yet, unnamed
Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. project. But although Izzy had
In 2002 Velvet Revolver rebuilt many bridges in the inter-
emerged like a phoenix from the vening decade since hed pulled
rock n roll wreckage that was the emergency break on the G
Guns N Roses following a reun- N R juggernaut, his aversion to
ion, of sorts, when Slash, Duff, and being part of a band any band
Matt along with rappers B Real remained as strong as ever. He
and Sen Dog from Cypress Hill was happy to jam with his old
appeared on stage together for the buddies and share war stories, but

Guns N Roses

he was unwilling to commit to the Pilots were having their problems,

cause. Disappointed, but far from they were still an on-going band
disheartened, the trio turned to and Scott felt obliged to stick
ex-Wasted Youth guitarist, Dave with them. Slash, Duff and Matt
Kushner, whod recently collabo- went back to trawling through the
rated with Duff on the bassists mountain of demo tapes gather-
Loaded project. ing dust at the rehearsal studio,
The news that three ex-members but several months later news
of Guns N Roses were putting a filtered through that the Stone
new band together hit 6.8 on the Temple Pilots had broken up and
Richter scale and had every music Scott was in. And having decided
channel and magazine clamour- on the name Velvet Revolver, the
ing for more information with five-piece played its first gig at
VH1 even going so far as to send L.A.s El Rey club in June, 2003.
a camera crew to West Holly- By the time the band headed into
wood to film their search for a the studio to record their debut
singer. Amongst those invited to album, Contraband in Decem-
audition were an English vocalist ber, one of their songs, Set Me
called Steve, one-time Faith No Free had already appeared on
More frontman Mike Patton, the the soundtrack for Ang Lees
Cults Ian Astbury and Buckcher- movie The Hulk, while their ver-
rys Josh Todd. But perhaps not sion of Pink Floyds Money had
surprisingly given his past his- featured in that years remake of
tory with Guns N Roses it was The Italian Job starring Scarlett
ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Johansson and Mark Wahlberg.
Bach who ended up hogging the The finished album was released
limelight on the VH1 special. on 8 June, 2004, and such was
Bach had just signed up to appear the enthusiasm amongst G N R
as Jesus in Andrew Lloyd Web- fans who were desperate to hear
bers Jesus Christ Superstar, and new product from their heroes
although he was willing to shed regardless of the fact they were no
his false beard and halo, the three longer active members of Guns N
ex-Gunners felt his similarity in Roses it entered at #1 on the US
style to a certain W. Axl Rose Billboard chart and at a respect-
would prove too heavy a cross able #11 on its UK counterpart.
to bear. One name that had con- Contraband would go on to sell
stantly come up in conversation close to three million copies in
during the fruitless auditions was the US alone, making it the best-
Stone Temple Pilots frontman, ever debut by a rock act, while the
Scott Weiland. Scott was flat- accompanying single, Slither
tered and had also been suitably won the 2005 Grammy for Best
impressed with the demos Slash Hard Rock Performance. The
had dropped off at his apartment, album spawned another two sin-
but although the Stone Temple gles: the hard-rocking Dirty


Little Thing and the hauntingly ration proved short-lived, how-

exquisite ballad Fall To Pieces, ever, with Rubin being replaced
which Axl would surely have by former Stone Temple Pilots
been proud to call his own. The producer, Brendan OBrien. The
bands fourth single, Come On, switch brought untimely delays,
Come In features on the sound- but the band placated their fans by
track to the 2005 movie Fantastic releasing the 5-track EP Melody
Four starring Jessica Alba. and Tyranny which features
Of course Slash, Duff and Matt a cover of the Talking Heads
couldnt hope to shake their G N classic, Psycho Killer on 6
R past, but all three were keen to June, 2007. The 12-track album
stress Velvet Revolver was a new also features a 10-minute video
band looking forward to entering a documentary called Re-Evolu-
new era. A new beginning it may tion: The Making of Libertad
have been, but certain hatchets directed by Rocco Guarino, and
remained unburied and the band came out four weeks later, on 3
declined an invitation to tour with July. Although Libertad debuted
KISS when it came to light their at #5 on the Billboard 100, sell-
old adversaries Poison would also ing 92,000 copies in its first week
be on the bill. In August, 2005, the of release, a surprising lack of
group participated in Live 8, but, promotion saw the album slip
while they performed a three-song quickly from the charts. To date
set, only Fall To Pieces made two singles have been lifted from
it to the commemorative DVD. the album: She Builds Quick
Despite the resounding success Machines and The Last Fight,
of Contraband, Velvet Revolver which were released in May and
was not a band content to rest on August 2007 respectively. But of
its laurels, and in late 2005 they the two, only the former found
announced that their follow-up its way onto the Billboard chart,
album, Libertad, was under pro- and even then it failed to make the
duction with renowned rock pro- 100, stalling at #104.
ducer Rick Rubin. This collabo-

Guns N Roses

band, Nine Inch Nails. Vrenna

Vrenna, Chris would remain with the industrial
rock progenitors through to 1997,
but during that same period he
Chris Vrenna is a Grammy-win- also went out on tour with indus-
ning producer, sound engineer trial outfit KMFDM.
and one time Nine Inch Nails Following his departure from
drummer who briefly worked on Nine Inch Nails, Vrenna teamed
Chinese Democracy in 1997. up with the Smashing Pumpkins,
Vrenna was born on 23 Febru- and it was while he was out on the
ary, 1967 in Erie, Pennsylvania, road with Billy Corgans outfit in
but as Erie was devoid of a music May, 1997 that he received the
scene, the multi-talented musician call from Axl Rose inviting him
moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the to participate on Chinese Democ-
early 80s, where he played in a racy. Vrenna was a man very
band called the Exotic Birds with much in demand, having collabo-
future Nine Inch Nails frontman, rated with the likes of Green Day,
Trent Reznor. Having decided David Bowie, U2, Rob Zombie
the Exotic Birds werent going and Marilyn Manson with
to realise his musical aspirations, whom he is still involved as a live
he relocated again, this time to keyboardist. So sitting around the
Chicago, where his production, studio from 10pm to 6am each
mixing and engineering talents and every night, twiddling noth-
saw him become an active figure ing other than his thumbs with
on the windy citys industrial whoever else happened to be in
music scene. While he was in the G N R line-up at the time,
Chicago, Vrenna again hooked whilst waiting for Axl to grace
up with Reznor, which in turn led them with an appearance was
to his being invited to take up the never going to sit well, and he left
drum stool with Reznors new after two weeks. It was going to
be a long commitment, he said
following his departure to work
on his own projects. There was
no firm line-up. Axl had a definite
direction he ultimately wanted to
head toward, but at the time there
wasnt even a song.
To date Vrenna has released two
solo albums: The Attraction To
All Things Uncertain (2001) and
2am Wake Up Call (2004), both
of which were released under the
pseudonym Tweaker.

As Micks relocation to Los

Angeles happened to coincide
with the Gunners meteoric rise
to stardom, it was inevitable their
paths would cross on both a pro-
fessional and social basis. Indeed,
Mick eventually began to view the
five members as friends particu-
larly Slash and Duff, with whom
he counted down the chimes
ushering in the 1990s but little
could he have known at the time
that his expulsion from the court
Wall, Mick of King Axl would come just a
few months into the new decade.
Mick Wall is a renowned writer In January 1991, having received
who first cut his teeth reporting a late-night call from a highly-
on the nascent UK punk scene agitated Axl, Mick clambered
for Sounds back in 1977, before into his car and headed across
going on to help establish heavy town to the singers West Holly-
metal magazine, Kerrang! wood apartment. Hed struggled
Mick first entered G N Rs to keep awake during the drive
orbit backstage at the Manchester but became instantly fully alert
Apollo on 6 October, 1987 whilst upon witnessing the singers feral
covering their five-date return to rage over Mtley Cre frontman,
the UK for Kerrang!, which at Vince Neils disparaging remarks
the time was the only magazine about Izzy in a recent Kerrang!
giving any column inches to the article.
group he would later dub the
most dangerous band in the world
in his 1991 book of the same
name. Kerrang!s championing of
Guns N Roses saw Mick warmly
received into the Gunners camp,
and his willingness to pen only
favourable articles and reviews
subsequently provided him with
access to the groups inner sanc-
tum which might otherwise have
been denied. The band rewarded
his efforts by presenting him with
a gold disc bearing his name for
GNR Lies.

Guns N Roses

Mick could hardly contain Run DMC/Aerosmith collabora-

himself as he activated his tape tion Walk This Way, it was his
recorder and sat back while the engineering on Nirvanas seminal
wild-eyed Axl not only set the 1991 debut, Nevermind which
record straight about what really had the likes of Rage Against The
happened during Vinces sup- Machine, Bad Religion, Faith No
posed confrontation with Izzy More, System Of A Down and
at last years MTV awards, but Slipknot all clamouring for his
also openly challenged Vince to services. His Grammy Award for
a showdown involving knives Best Engineered Album, Non-
or guns. These are the situations Classical, which he shared with
journalists live for. And since Hed Tchad Blake and Trina Shoe-
taken the precautionary measure maker, came in 1999 for his work
of validating the inflammatory on Sheryl Crows album, The
quotes with the G N R frontman Globe Sessions.
before going to press with the News of Wallaces involvement
article (which hit the newsstands on Chinese Democracy came in
that April), Mick was left flab-
October, 2006, as part of a Rolling
bergasted not to mention deeply
Stone feature on the long-awaited
hurt when Axl not only denied
and highly anticipated forthcom-
having made the comments, but
ing Guns N Roses album. The
even went so far as to accuse him
article not only mentioned Wal-
of having fabricated the entire arti-
lace was serving as both co-pro-
cle. Axls newfound contempt for
ducer and mixing engineer, but
Mick did not end there, however,
for he was one of several scribes that the G N R management team
or punks in the press as the were said to be delighted with
singer forever immortalised them the results.
caustically castigated on Get In This wasnt Wallaces first col-
The Ring which appears on Use laboration with the G N R fra-
Your Illusion 2. ternity, however, as in 2004 he
was called upon to mix Velvet
Revolvers debut long-player,
Wallace, Andy

Andy Wallace is a Grammy Wayne Neutron

Award-winning studio engineer
who, in 2006, was invited to work
alongside Axl Rose on Chinese Wayne Neutron was the name
Democracy. used by Duff McKagan and Matt
Although Wallace first came to Sorum for a one-off show staged
prominence in 1986, thanks to his at The Joint in Las Vegas on 10
innovative production skills on the March, 1995.


For the Vegas show, Duff and Welcome To The Jungle

Matt, along with guitarists Eric
Mesmerize and Steve Stevens,
whod provided the licks to many Welcome To The Jungle,
of Billy Idols mid-80s hits, which ranks #2 on VH1s 40
were joined on stage by Billy Greatest Metal Songs, is the open-
himself for a lip-quivering cover ing track on Appetite For Destruc-
of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates tion, and was also Guns N Roses
Shakin All Over and his own first US single release in 1987.
1986 hit Rebel Yell. Iggy Pop Do you know where you are?
was also on hand to treat the Youre in the jungle, baby, youre
celebrity-studded audience, which gonna die
included blues guitar legends BB Today, the opening lyric to
King and Bo Diddley as well as Welcome To The Jungle is
singers Sheryl Crow and Seal, to instantly recognisable wherever
raucous versions of Raw Power music is played and is also used
and I Wanna Be Your Dog, on as a chilling portent to psyche
which he was suitably aided and out opponents at sports stadia
abetted by Steve Jones who also throughout America. As with the
ran through the Sex Pistols ditty, Sex Pistols and their 1976 debut
Black Leather. It was this infor- offering, Anarchy In the UK,
mal gathering which led to Duff, Welcome To The Jungle served
Matt and Steve joining forces to as G N Rs call to arms, and it was
form the Neurotic Outsiders. little wonder Geffen selected it as
the bands debut US single. The
Gunners themselves were also
hip to the impact the song had on
their audiences, and subsequently
began using it to open their set.
During a 1988 interview with
Hit Parader magazine, Axl said
he wrote the songs lyric whilst
the band was in Seattle during
the so-called Hell Tour of three
years earlier, and had done so as a
means of differentiating between
a big city such as Seattle, and the
sheer sprawling, vast metropolis
that is modern-day Los Angeles.
Its a big city, he said of the
Evergreen States capital. But at
the same time its still a small city
compared to L.A., and the things
that youre gonna learn. It seemed

Guns N Roses

a lot more rural up there [Seattle]. wood to set up the cameras, with
I just wrote how it looked to me. the on-stage footage shot at the
And speaking of his adopted city nearby Whisky A Go-Go.
he added, I just wrote how L.A. In keeping with the songs
looked to me. If someone comes to autobiographical theme, the
town and they want to find some- video opens with Axl looking
thing, they can find whatever they every inch the wide-eyed, Mid-
want. Plus, I had just been to New west country hick, complete with
York and its like, I love L.A., I dilapidated string-wrapped suit-
just know a lot of people there and case and a blade of straw jutting
I know where everythings at. from his mouth stepping off
The inspiration behind the the Greyhound bus where Izzy,
songs opening line, however, portraying the stereotypical L.A.
supposedly comes from an earlier drug dealer, is waiting ready to
incident when Axl along with pounce. Slash also features in the
an unnamed companion ran opening scene, playing a hapless
away to New York, where they wino swigging from a concealed
were confronted by a homeless bottle whilst Axl stands staring at
black guy whod stumbled upon the bank of TV screens in a store
them whilst they were sleeping window showing a demented,
rough in a fenced-in schoolyard straitjacketed figure played by
in Johnny Thunders old stomp- himself writhing about in an
ing ground of Queens. Some writ- electric chair. The TV screens
ers have stated that Axl and Slash flick through a montage of war
wrote the song whilst both were imagery and other scenes of mans
in the band London, but this isnt destructive force, which serve to
possible if, as Axl says, he wrote brainwash Axl and transform him
it about Seattle, since he didnt into the streetwise rocker he ulti-
set foot in Duffs home town mately becomes.
until August 1985, by which time As predicted, MTV refused to
both he and Slash were in Guns play the video and only relented
N Roses. as a result of David Geffen per-
Although the lyrical content of sonally calling in a favour from
Welcome To The Jungle was the music channels chief execu-
unlikely to win many support- tive, Tom Freston. And even then,
ers on mainstream TV, Geffen the channel was only willing to
decided to go with an accompa- air the video once at 3:00 am EST
nying promo video. And so on (Standard Eastern Time), and
Saturday 1 August, 1987, the midnight in Los Angeles. One
day after the worldwide release airing, however, was all it took for
of Appetite For Destruction, the the MTV switchboard to light up
band together with British-born like Times Square as rock fans on
director Nigel Dick headed both seaboards called in demand-
down to La Brea in West Holly- ing repeat plays. It seemed no


Eastwoods 1988 Dirty Harry

movie, The Dead Pool, star-
ring Clint, Liam Neeson and Jim
Carrey. It seemed that Clints son,
Kyle, who was already a huge
fan of the band, was the one who
put their name forward. The five
band members were also invited
to appear in the movie, whose sto-
ryline has a film crew forming a
betting circle whereby each crew
member chooses ten (fictional)
celebrities they believe will go
to meet their maker much sooner
than their allotted threescore and
one could get enough of this new,
ten. Although it was obvious
exciting band that was breathing
Clint knew nothing about Guns
life back into rocks decaying
N Roses, or the song itself, their
corpse, and within days Wel-
cameo survived to the final edit;
come To The Jungle was the
and they also got to meet an all-
channels most requested video.
American hero.
Today, MTV is happy to bask
in the glory of having been the In December, 1989, Welcome
first music channel to champion To The Jungle, made the news
Guns N Roses, but Tom Zutauts when it along with Van Halens
former A&R (Artist and Reper- Panama and The Clashs Rock
toire) partner, Teresa Ensenat, The Casbah was used as part
remembers things somewhat of Operation Just Cause, which
differently. It took about six was the codename for the US inva-
months of consistent lobbying to sion of Panama to oust the Central
get anybody at MTV to play that American countrys military dic-
video, she told Danny Sugarman tator, General Manuel Antonio
for his 1992 tome, Appetite For Noriega. Although the recently-
Destruction: The Days Of Guns deposed dictator had escaped cap-
N Roses. Now they show ads ture by seeking sanctuary in the
saying You saw em here first. Apostolic Nunciature (the Holy
They resisted to the very last inch. Sees embassy in Panama), the
It was ridiculous what that chan- building was quickly surrounded
nel put us through to get them to by US troops who subjected
play this band. Noriega as well as anyone else
Another vehicle which helped within earshot to an endless bar-
push the song into the wider rage of non-stop, loud rock music.
public arena was its featur- The psychological warfare only
ing on the soundtrack to Clint ceased following an intervention

Guns N Roses

from the Vatican to the then US Jimi Hendrix was also a regular
President George H.W. Bush. attendee who needed no encour-
agement to get up on stage and
jam with whoever happened to be
Whisky A Go-Go playing at the time.
The Whisky first opened its
doors on 11 January, 1964. Its
The Whisky A Go-Go is another owners, Elmer Valentine and
legendary L.A. hotspot which his tough, no-nonsense, ex-Chi-
played host to the then emerging cago cop partner Mario Maglieri,
Guns N Roses in 1987. whose former occupation saw
By the time of G N Rs emer- him offering counsel to Joplin and
gence during the mid-to-late- Morrison on the perils of drink
80s, the Whisky A Go-Go, the and drugs, had taken their inspira-
three-storey former bank located tion for their new venture from the
at 8901 Sunset and Clark, had racy Parisian discothques theyd
already achieved a lasting place frequented on a recent trip to
in rock folklore for having staged Europe. The seductive interior
shows by Janis Joplin, Smokey complete with beautiful, scantily-
Robinson and the Miracles, the clad young ladies gyrating to the
Beach Boys, Buffalo Spring- beat from within cages suspended
field and The Doors, who served above the dance floor soon estab-
their apprenticeship as the clubs lished the Whisky as the number
resident house band. An up-and- one club on Sunset Strip. The first
coming guitarist by the name of act to tread its famous boards was


a young Southern rocker called Was The Last Time You Saw A
Johnny Rivers, whose perform- Real Rock N Roll Band At
ance was subsequently released The Whisky A Go-Go?, served
on the live album: Johnny Rivers as a statement of intent. And it
Live at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. was here, on 8 January, 1987, that
Legend has it that the 150 or so the Gunners shot the live footage
punters in attendance that night for the promo video to Welcome
dutifully made their way to the To The Jungle.
recording studio a fortnight later The venue also embraced
to redub and enhance the live Grunge, and played host to Nir-
ambience. The album was pro- vana and other Seattle bands such
duced by Lou Adler (no relation as Soundgarden and Mudhoney.
to Steven), who subsequently But by this time, the Whiskys
became an equal partner in the glory days were little more than
Whisky alongside Valentine and sepia-toned memories, despite its
Maglieri, and the three-man coali- owners attempts to recapture the
tion has since taken ownership of magic, first by turning the club
The Rainbow Bar & Grill and The into a records only disco, and
Roxy. In 1971, by which time the then again as a live venue. The
Whiskys itinerant triumvirate of days of big, named acts tread-
Joplin, Morrison and Hendrix had ing the Whiskys boards are now
each shuffled off their respective long gone as the venue has since
mortal coil, the club was forced adopted a policy whereby it leases
to close following a $100,000 fire out to local promoters, who then
supposedly caused by a careless charge up-and-coming bands for
smoker. The revamped Whisky, the chance to play and gain some
now featuring a large portrait of exposure.
Lizard King, Jim Morrison hang-
ing behind the bar, and a bathroom
door reportedly from the Doors
old recording studio, re-opened
White Trash Wins Lotto
its doors several months later.
And while it may have lost its White Trash Wins Lotto is a
original dcor, the flames hadnt Broadway-style, satirical musical
robbed the club of its stature as with a central character loosely-
the Strips premiere venue, and based on Axl Rose.
it soon regained its prominence White Trash Wins Lotto, writ-
by staging shows by Anglo rock ten by one-time mortuary attend-
luminaries such as Led Zeppelin, ant and ex-Wall Of Voodoo front-
Cream and Traffic. man Andy Prieboy, has been cited
Guns N Roses made their live as the West Coast equivalent of
debut at the Whisky on Saturday 5 Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It
April, 1986, and the promo flyer, was first performed at Los Ange-
which provocatively asked: When les trendy dinner-theatre venue,

Guns N Roses

the band; and how they might

make Axl Rose acceptable to the
Broadway stage. With the open-
ing lines I wanna be in a metal
band/please let me sing for you
dancing around inside his head,
Prieboy put pen to paper.
Although the shows central
character played brilliantly by
Brian Beacock is Axl Rose in
that hes a Midwest hick who
rises to rock superstardom before
retreating into a hermit-like exist-
ence, Prieboy is quick to point out
that it isnt a show about Guns N
Roses per se. Against a backdrop
Largo in 1997 and was also staged
of guitar-free music, which almost
at Guns N Roses old stomping
gives it a Gilbert and Sullivan feel,
ground, The Roxy for three sold-
Prieboy masterfully narrates the
out weekend-long engagements.
story which follows the backward
At the time, Prieboy had recently
baseball cap wearing hero from
been dropped by MCA who
Nebraska to Los Angeles, and
released his debut solo offering, then through various locales, such
Upon My Wicked Son and he as Jumbos Clown Room where
retreated to his studio to lick his would-be rock stars mingle with
wounds. It was whilst he was aspiring starlets, backstage with
trying to pen a hit song to resus- the Rolling Stones and then on to
citate his ailing career that he hit Jim Morrisons grave in Pere La
upon the idea for a stage play Chaise celebrity cemetery in Paris
lampooning Americas clichd (a pilgrimage which Axl himself
rock scene. As Prieboy tells it, the made in January 1990).
(unseen) musicians in the adjoin- Prieboy, who was born and
ing studio spent every hour of the raised in East Chicago, Indiana,
day hammering away at the piano and a mere 100 miles from Axls
trying to come up with suitable hometown of Lafayette, was keen
show tunes for whatever project to stress that, as a fellow musician,
they were working on. It was he appreciated just how difficult
whilst listening to the budding it would have been for someone
Rogers and Hammerstein duo that like Axl Rose to rise from obscu-
the idea flashed through his mind rity to the top of the rock pile. He
of what might happen if someone even invited the reclusive G N R
were to accidentally stumble upon singer to attend performances on
the Guns N Roses story without several occasions, but Axl report-
actually knowing anything about edly refused to even acknowledge


the shows existence and is said Eyes, which was slower in tempo
to have taken it as an insult to his than Rosie and featured alter-
hard-earned achievements. nate lyrics as well as a different
chord progression on the chorus.
Guns N Roses, whose raucous
Whole Lotta Rosie sound was similar to that of the
Bon Scott era AC/DC, adopted
the song as a staple encore to their
Whole Lotta Rosie is a well- early repertoire, and the blister-
known AC/DC song which was ing version lifted from the bands
covered by Guns N Roses in third and final Marquee show
their pre-Appetite For Destruc- on Saturday 28 June, 1987 sub-
tion days. sequently appeared on the now
Whole Lotta Rosie first long-deleted Japanese-only EP,
appeared as the last track on Live From The Jungle.
Aussie rockers AC/DCs fourth
studio album, Let There Be Rock,
which came out in 1977, before
subsequently being released as a
Williams, Robert
single the following year. Indeed,
the song has become so synony- Robert Williams is the renowned
mous with AC/DC that it has fea- and controversial painter and
tured on all six of the bands offi- founder of Juxtapoz Art & Culture
cial live albums to date. The song Magazine, who achieved lasting
is said to be about an obese woman recognition within the rock world
a Tasmanian, 19-stone she-devil when his painting, Appetite For
named Rosie with whom the
bands original singer, Bon Scott,
supposedly had a relationship.
Scott subsequently died due to
acute alcohol poisoning in London
on 19 February, 1980 whilst the
band was on a UK tour, and it was
Whole Lotta Rosie (along with
Ike & Tina Turners Nutbush City
Limits) that his successor, ex-
Geordie frontman Brian Johnson
sang at his audition.
The songs now instantly-recog-
nisable riff which saw it placed
at #16 on Q Magazines Top 100
Greatest Guitar Tracks in March,
2005 originally featured on an
earlier recording entitled Dirty

Guns N Roses

Destruction was chosen as the US and the UK, as well as many

artwork and title of Guns N other countries around the globe.
Roses debut album. Needless to say and despite Gef-
Fantasy artist Williams created fens claim to the contrary the
Juxtapoz Art & Culture Maga- furore surrounding the sleeve was
zine in 1994, at the age of 43, to a publicists dream, for it only
celebrate the genius of lowbrow served to draw more attention to
art, and was already no stranger the album, which in turn accrued
to controversy, as he along with more sales. But mounting pressure
fellow underground contempo- from the PRMC eventually forced
raries Robert Crumb and Gilbert Geffen into withdrawing the
Shelton had cut his teeth as albums still bearing the offending
part of the Zap Comix Collec- sleeve, which was moved to the
tive during the late 60s. But, as inside cover and replaced with the
he put the finishing touches to deaths-head crucifix tattoo design
Appetite For Destruction, little inked upon Axls right forearm.
could he have imagined the hul-
labaloo that lay in store for him.
The painting depicts a rape scene Wood, Ronnie
where a human-sized robotic
creature leers over a semi-con-
scious young saleswoman whilst Ronnie Wood, the legendary
destroying a quantity of her quirky Rolling Stones guitarist and suc-
Mr Mini-Mite robotic gadgets. cessful artist, has featured one way
The girl is slumped on the ground or another in Slashs life since the
with her uniform salaciously latter was 15 years-old.
ripped open to reveal one of her Ronald Ronnie David Wood
breasts, while her white panties was born on 1 June, 1947 in Hil-
are provocatively poised below lingdon, London, and was the first
her knees. The despicable robots member of his gypsy family to be
end appears nigh, however, for a
monstrous, mechanical, blood-red
nightmare is set to pounce whilst
shedding skull and cross-boned
minions like so much confetti.
Had Williams design been placed
on display within the confines of a
stuffy museum, it would no doubt
have been considered art by the
cognoscenti. But its application
to a rock n roll album sleeve
where it would be in the public
realm somehow rendered it
obscene and caused uproar in the


born on land. He began his four His expertise on both slide and
decade-and-counting musical pedal steel guitar has led to col-
career as the bassist in The Birds laborations with the likes of
(not to be confused with L.A. Prince, David Bowie, Eric Clap-
band, The Byrds). Following a ton, Bo Diddley and Bob Dylan.
brief spell with The Creation he Ronnies most-memorable non-
along with the then unknown Rod Stones performance surely came
Stewart joined The Jeff Beck at the stateside Live Aid show
Group, but the ex-Yardbird called in Philadelphia on 6 July, 1985,
time on his eponymous outfit whilst he and fellow Stone, Keith
in 1969 after recording just one Richards, were accompanying
album. Ronnie then accompanied Dylan on Blowin In The Wind.
his new best mate Rod into the The trio were halfway into the
Small Faces, who, having trun- song when Dylan broke a string,
cated their name to simply The but rather than bring a halt to the
Faces, went on to rival the Roll- performance, Ronnie handed the
ing Stones in popularity before bemused Dylan his own instru-
splitting in 1975. By this time of ment and switched to air guitar
course, Ronnie had already left until a roadie brought him a solid-
the Faces to replace Mick Taylor bodied replacement. Aside from
in the Rolling Stones. his guitar prowess, Ronnie is also

Guns N Roses

an accomplished painter, having

trained at the Ealing College of
Art before opting for a career in
music. His paintings, prints and
drawings, which feature his fellow
Stones and musical contemporar-
ies as well as other icons of popu-
lar culture, have been displayed
all across the globe, and sales of
his work have earned him an esti-
mated $10 million.
Slash was first introduced to
Ronnie back in 1980 at his friend
Matt Cassels house. The then Rose made their live debut on
15 year-old had accompanied Friday 16 March, 1984.
Matt to a Stones gig at the L.A. Esther Wong was born in
Coliseum, and little could he have Shanghai, China on 13 August,
known as the pair walked back 1917, and after many years travel-
to Matts place, each humming a ling around the world helping her
Stones classic, that there was still father with his import business,
one more encore to be played out. in 1949 she emigrated to the US
Matts father, the actor Seymour in order to escape Chinas harsh
Cassel and the man whod given Communist regime. She settled
Slash his one-syllable moniker in Los Angeles and spent the next
was renowned for throwing the twenty years working as a clerk
best parties in town, and Ronnie for a shipping company before she
and the other Stones turned up for and her husband, George, opened
an after after show. Although Madame Wongs East at 949 Sun
Slash was still only in his teens, Man Way in the citys Chinatown
there was something about the district in 1970. The restaurant ini-
corkscrew-haired, coloured kid tially featured Polynesian bands,
which appealed to the eternally but when her clientele began to
free-spirited Ronnie, and the pair dwindle, she reluctantly agreed
developed a friendship that sur- to put on rock acts in an attempt
vives to this day. to resuscitate her ailing business.
With groups such as the Ram-
ones, The Knack, The Motels and
UK reggae punksters, The Police
Wong, Esther regularly treading the boards, the
restaurant began drawing crowds
Esther Wong was a music pro- in excess of 300, which saw the
moter and owner of Madame colourful and oft-controversial
Wongs East, where Hollywood Esther being given the nickname


Godmother of Punk. Although The mercurial Esther stunned

willing to accept the new form of her clientele by announcing the
music, Esther was a strictly no- closure of Madame Wongs East
nonsense business woman and in the summer of 1985, just as the
once brought a Ramones show to L.A. metal scene was growing
an unscheduled halt so that two in stature. Her alternative venue,
Madame Wongs West located
of its red-faced members could
in Santa Monica, and where Hol-
slope off to the bathroom to erase
lywood Rose put in a solitary
the graffiti theyd written on the appearance on 16 June, 1984
walls. remained in operation for thirteen
Although the flyers for Holly- years from 1978 1991. Esther
wood Roses debut appearance died at home on 14 August, 2005
at Madame Wongs East which following a long battle against
show Axl and Izzy striking suit- lung cancer and emphysema.
able rock poses state Hollywood
Rose, at this particular juncture in
the bands career, they were in Wylde, Zakk
fact still trading as Rose. What
these flyers do, however, is serve Zakk Wylde, the singer/song-
as a clear indication that Axl was writer best known for his role as
intent on augmenting as well as founding member of Black Label
glamorising the bands name. Society, was drafted in as a hired
Although when they returned to gun by Axl to work on Chinese
the venue the following month, Democracy.
on 20 April, said augmentation Zakk was born Jeffrey Phil-
had yet to take place. lip Wiedlandt in Bayonne, New

Guns N Roses

Jersey, on 14 January, 1967. He wife Sharon called to inform him

grew up in nearby Jackson, where she was sending him a plane ticket
he reportedly spent every waking to fly out to Los Angeles for an
hour practicing on his guitar. His audition.
first musical ventures with local Today, Slash believes Axl
bands didnt look like amount- brought in Zakk as a means of
ing to anything, but Zakk perse- placating him over Paul Huges
vered and was rewarded for his toil largely unwanted presence at
in 1987, when the then unknown rehearsals during the summer of
20-year-old landed the coveted 1996. Slash and Zakk had been
role of lead guitarist with Ozzy friends for nigh on a decade by
Osbourne a collaboration which this time, and although Slash
lasts to this day. The story goes that respected Zakks guitar skills, he
Wyldes then girlfriend and now was used to working with and
wife Barbaranne, was listening to playing off low-key rhythm play-
Howard Stern on the radio when ers such as Izzy and Gilby, and
couldnt really see what his friend
the shock-jock announced on air
an equally consummate lead
that Ozzy was on the lookout for a
guitarist could possibly bring to
new guitarist to replace the outgo-
the party. For his part, Zakk was
ing Jake E. Lee. Zakk, whod been
willing to give the G N R dual
working as a gas attendant at the
lead idea a go, but told Slash in
time, was encouraged to send an
no uncertain terms that he and Axl
audition tape to Ozzy by a local would need to sort out their differ-
photographer. Though he surely ences if they were ever going to
never expected anything to come take the band forward.
of it, he was stunned when Ozzys

planet, it made perfect business

sense to incorporate the track and
provide the movie with even more
kudos. Aside from accompany-
ing the closing credits, the song
also appears in the movie itself in
the scenes where Earths future
saviour the teenage rapscallion,
John Connor (played by Edward
Furlong) is seen tearing around
town on his motorbike, and also
during the high-speed chase scenes
between Arnie and the T-1000 ter-
You Could Be Mine minator, played by Robert Patrick.
The band receives another plug
albeit subliminal when Arnie
You Could Be Mine was Guns pulls a secreted shotgun from a gift
N Roses seventh single release, box containing red roses.
and the first to be culled from the The accompanying promo video
bands Use Your Illusion albums. features Schwarzenegger moving
You Could Be Mine was origi- through the audience at a Guns N
nally intended for inclusion on Roses show while the band is play-
Appetite For Destruction, and the ing the song on stage (the video also
songs killer chorus line: With includes brief clips from other G
your bitch slap rappin and your N R live performances). With the
cocaine tongue/you get nothin gig over, the band conspicuously
done, features as a footnote on minus Izzy emerge through the
the debut albums liner notes. And backstage door onto the deserted
contrary to popular belief, the song parking lot to find Arnie waiting for
was never intended to be the offi- them. The terminator assesses the
cial theme tune for James Cam- threat potential of each member in
erons 1991 Oscar-winning, block- turn particularly Axl, who is then
buster movie sequel, Terminator deemed to be a waste of ammuni-
2: Judgement Day, starring Arnold tion. Such was the hype around
Schwarzenegger (who would sub- both the movie and Guns N Roses
sequently befriend Axl and express that You Could Be Mine became
his love for the Gunners music one of the most requested videos
in promotional interviews) and of the summer. Sadly for G N R
the directors then lover, Linda fans, owing to the video containing
Hamilton. Indeed, Camerons several clips from the movie, legal
original script called for I Wanna machinations prevented it from
Be Sedated by the Ramones, but being included on the Welcome To
with Guns N Roses being the big- The Videos DVD.
gest and baddest rock band on the

Guns N Roses

Joke bassist Paul Raven, Danzig

drummer Joey Castillo and a pro-
grammer known only as I.N.A.
The band, which will probably
only be remembered for its select
choice of guest musicians, such
as Duff, Ian Astbury, Dave Kush-
ner and Steve Jones (who had
recruited McVeigh for The Pro-
fessionals) was ready to release
its debut long-player 3.2.1, on the
Avex Trax label when it suffered
a fatal setback with the sudden
Zilch demise of Hide Matsumoto.
Although the rest of the line-
up staggered on with a little help
Zilch was an alternative-indus- from their friends and released
trial rock band which occasion- two further albums: Bastard Eyes
ally featured Duff McKagan as a (1999), which was a remix based
guest musician. on the original debut album, and
Zilch was formed in Los Ange- Mimizuzero (2001) as well as the
les, California in 1998 by ex-X single, Skyjin, the band never
Japan frontman Hideto Hide recovered from Hides death and
Matsumoto, former Professionals called it a day in 2002.
guitarist Ray McVeigh, ex-Killing


Zutaut, Tom

Tom Zutaut was the man chiefly

responsible for Guns N Roses
signing to Geffen Records on 25
March, 1986.
It had been Zutaut, whilst in his
capacity as a junior A&R man at
Elektra Records, whod discov- discovered, but one name on eve-
ered, developed and subsequently ryones lips: Guns N Roses. And
transformed Mtley Cre into the so the following Friday evening he
West Coasts if not Americas followed the crowd to the Trouba-
premiere rock outfit. One might dour to see for himself.
have thought his having unearthed The Gunners were barely into
the Cre would have secured their third song when Zutaut sur-
Zoot as the then 22-year-old, prised his fellow A&R execs by
cherubic, blond-haired surf dude heading for the exit. He even
was affectionately known through- stopped off to make some dispar-
out the American music industry aging remark about the bands
a job for life. But sadly this was shortfalls. But this was merely
not the case, and as soon as David smoke and mirrors, as hed known
Geffen who had once served as from the moment hed heard Axl in
president of Elektras sister com- full rant that Guns N Roses were
pany, Asylum Records heard going to be massive. He could
on the corporate grapevine that barely contain his excitement
Zutaut was available, he stepped over the weekend, and first thing
in. Geffen, fresh from his decade- Monday morning he put his case
long sabbatical and eager to re- to David Geffen in person. Having
establish his credentials within the won over the sceptical Geffen, who
music business, gave Zutaut but gave him the go-ahead to approach
one objective: to find him a raw, the band with a $750,000 offer,
rough-and-ready rock act to chal- Zutaut purposely chose to make
lenge Mtley Cres supremacy. his pitch to Axl in person later that
Geffen didnt have long to wait, same day.
for Zutaut, rather than sit around Hed come away from the meet-
clutching a rosary and praying for ing believing he had his band, but
lightning to strike twice, simply two days later Axl called him at his
wandered into Vinyl Fetish, the office to sheepishly explain how
trendy record store on Melrose hed offered Zutauts female coun-
Avenue which specialised in hard terpart at Chrysalis a deal whereby
rock, and asked owner Joe Brookes the Gunners would sign with her
for the low-down on the hottest label if she was willing to walk
groups currently strutting their stuff naked from Chrysalis office to the
along Sunset Strip. There was, he nearby Tower Records. As it hap-

Guns N Roses

pened, Chrysalis office stood on

the same stretch of Sunset Boule- Suggested reading
vard as Geffens HQ with its front
entrance directly facing Zutauts Danny Sugarman: Appetite For
office window. And although Destruction: The Days Of Guns
his partner, Teresa Ensenat, was N Roses (Century) 1991
dedicated to the Geffen cause and
equally keen to procure the bands Mick Wall: The Most Danger-
signatures, she wasnt prepared to ous Band In The World (Sidg-
bare her all on a city sidewalk. As wick & Jackson) 1991
Zutaut had arranged for the con-
tractual signing to take place in
Paul Stenning: The Band That
David Geffens office that coming
Time Forgot (Chrome Dreams)
Friday at 6pm, he spent an anxious
couple of days watching out of 2004
his window to see if the Chrysa-
lis chick would take Axl up on his Mick Wall: W. Axl Rose: The
offer. Needless to say, she didnt Unofficial Biography (Sidg-
and Zutaut won the day. wick & Jackson) 2007
Zutaut remained with Geffen/
Interscope through to January, Slash (with Anthony Bozza):
1999, when he, along with a hun- Slash (Harper Collins) 2007
dred or so other employees, were
made redundant as part of the
restructuring of the label by its
corporate paymaster, Seagram.
He was, however, subsequently Helpful Guns N Roses
rehired in 2001 as part of the related websites
labels attempt to coerce Axl into
delivering Chinese Democracy
before the year was out. Axl was
initially thrilled to have an old and
trusted friend back on the team, but
his enthusiasm cooled somewhat
upon discovering Zutaut had been
offered a substantial bonus if the And thanks to
album was indeed completed. But for factual information: dates,
by the time Guns N Roses were faces, places etc.
taking to the stage at the Hard Rock
Hotel in Las Vegas on 31 Decem-
ber, 2001, the finished album was
still nowhere to be seen, and the
only thing at an end was Zutauts
involvement on the project.