10 highlights from our new Guns N' Roses Bumper Special Edition
We've produced a one-off bookazine devoted entirely to telling the story of Guns N' Roses, collecting Classic Rock’s coverage together in one place for the first time...
Guns N' Roses: The Complete Story follows the band from their humble beginnings to the biggest and most outrageous stars of the 80s and 90s. The inside story, as told by the people who were there, from Appetite For Destruction to Chinese Democracy and the reunion. Expect sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.
It's 148 pages long, and it's guaranteed to feature 100% more fights, feuds and f*cking than any other magazine you'll read this year. Here's 10 highlights...
Strippers played a vital role in the band's early years
Hollywood wasn’t short of strippers, many of whom were befriended by the band. Performances would be enhanced by dancers who were in various states of undress. The girls had another use, too. Some of them would take band members under their wings, and sometimes into their beds. Given that your average stripper earned far more than most struggling musicians, it guaranteed them a warm meal and a hot shower alongside any other perks that may have, ahem, arisen. "Strippers were our sustenance for the longest time," says Slash.
That first live EP wasn't really live at all
While Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide is ostensibly live, but it was actually done at Pasha Studios in Hollywood, with crowd noises added. Supposedly, the audience comes from a Texxas Jam show in the 70s. In drummer Steven Adler’s book My Appetite For Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N’ Roses, he says that Geffen engineers told him “it would cost too much to actually record a live record”.
The Rocket Queen sex tape was three and a half hours long
Adriana Smith was Steven Adler's girlfriend until she had sex with Axl Rose for the recording of Rocket Queen. "I made them turn out the lights,"she says. "Me and Axl got to it, had sex on the floor of the voice room. Apparently there was, like, three and a half hours of audio on the reel to reel. We just kinda laid down and did it. I was having fun and Axl would be like: 'C’mon Adriana, quit fucking faking it!' It was probably a comedy of errors for the most part. I told them to destroy the tape."
One UK tabloid thought Axl was a killer of dogs
Guns N’ Roses’ reputation preceded them. On June 6, 1987, The Daily Star warned of the imminent arrival in the UK of these ‘booze-crazed rockers’ and branded Axl a ‘dog killer’! “I have a personal disgust for poodles,” Axl had said, tongue-in-cheek. “Everything about them means I must kill them.” But the joke was lost on The Star.
Duff McKagan once swapped a Corvette for a shirt
"We were playing three nights at the Tokyo dome," remembers Duff. "I kinda figured out how much I was making from those shows – and it was a lot. Anyway, I’d bought a Corvette a couple of years before, which had always been my dream car. It was great. A convertible black Corvette. Beautiful. So after this show in Tokyo, Gilby was wandering around in this shirt that I really liked. I said, ‘Tell your wife to go to my house in LA and get the keys to my Corvette. I’ll trade it for your shirt.’ He said, ‘You’re fucking kidding me!’ This car was worth over $30,000! But I didn’t care, I just bought another one straight away. Do I still have the shirt? I do. It’s a nice shirt.”
Guns N' Roses built Buckethead a chicken coop to record in
It was A&R man Tom Zetaut who figured out how to get the best out of Buckethead: build him a chicken coop in the studio. "It’s totally Buckethead’s world," he says. "It’s like Halloween in the chicken coop: part chicken coop, part horror movie. We built the coop and then he brought in all his props and toys and put straw on the floor! You could almost smell the chickens. "
Duff & Slash got drunk with Arnold Schwarzenegger
"That guy was awesome," says Duff. "He had Slash and I over to his house after we’d met him when we did You Could Be Mine for Terminator 2. He was drinking with us and we were all really drunk. Then he broke out this Austrian version of Everclear [a potent grain alcohol]. Slash and I could drink anyone under the table, but he was a challenge. And he was smoking and swearing all the time.
There's more than one version of Chinese Democracy
The world's most expensive album finally came out in November 2008, but other versions had already leaked. Nine of the 14 tracks that appeared antiquie.com in June of that year are believed to come from a 14-track CD that was, effectively, a ‘finished’ version of the album circa 2006. And Classic Rock has heard the majority of another ‘finished’ version of the album dating from the early 2000s.
Even Steven Adler can't explain Axl Rose
“He’s probably a misunderstood genius," says Adler. "I don’t know. He’s definitely a great lyricist. But the thing people forget is that Slash, Duff, Izzy and I wrote the music – sometimes Axl wasn’t even at rehearsal. For the longest time I had no clue what he was singing on our first EP.”
And then there's this...
We can't even begin to tell this story, so we've done it as a comic strip. Suffice to say, it features Izzy Stradlin keeping a cheque for $750,000 in his sock, violence in a New Orleans bar, a WWE wrestler, a Denver Bronco, a marine and several more of the "biggest motherfuckers in America."
Guns N' Roses - The Complete Story is available in good newsagents now, and can be ordered online.