Monday, September 6, 2010
Chapter 17: Marriage and Divorce
Unauthorized excerpt from My Appetite for Destruction: Sex & Drugs & Guns N' Roses by Steven Adler with Lawrence J. Spagnola
DOWN THE AISLE
After the softball game my natural defenses kicked in again and I backed off the hard stuff for a while to regain a certain degree of clarity. In fact, I soon felt sharp enough and smart enough to plot a way back to feeling 100 percent better. I realized Cheryl had been amazing through the whole ordeal of putting up with me while I was using heavily, and through it all she never abandoned me. She never nagged me, she let me do my thing, and whether it was making lunch or making love she was totally there for me.
So I asked Cheryl to marry me. When I proposed, she couldn't have been more thrilled. I booked a flight to Vegas, and we decided to fly out and get hitched. Just like that. I called Dougie and told him the great news. "Oh, no, you're not," he said. "Listen, Stevie, you don't know what the hell you're getting yourself into."
I didn't care what he said. I told him, "I love her, Dougie."
Doug shot back, "Well, wait just a few hours. Please. I've got to bring some papers over for you to sign anyway." That afternoon, he brought over a prenuptial agreement that Cheryl had absolutely no problem with. I knew that would be her reaction. We were in love, and she was the most sincere, honest girl I had ever known.
We arrived in Vegas and got married the same day. No bachelor party, no bridesmaids or ushers, no reception, just Cheryl and me down the aisle. I remember looking at the marriage certificate and was amused by the date. Totally randomly we wed on "6/7/89." How sweet is that? Even I can remember my anniversary.
A CLOSER FAMILY
A week later we returned home and I received a call from my mother. She was beyond upset. "Steven. Why didn't you tell me? I was in line at the grocery store and there on the cover of the National Enquirer was the news that my son had married!" She read the headline to me: "Guns N' Roses drummer weds. Wife signs agreement allowing him to cheat." I thought that was so funny, I made the mistake of laughing out loud into the phone. Mom didn't see the humor.
Of course the headline wasn't true. "This was not the way to find out about the things you're doing, Steven. I want us to be a loving family. Your getting married should have been one of the proudest moments in my life. Instead it's brought me pain and humiliation." I honestly didn't feel that bad about what I had done. But deep down it must have bothered me because I brought Cheryl over to meet Mom and Dad that same evening. It was strained company at first, but after a few toasts, and Cheryl's loving manner with Mel and Ma, things got very nice. I gave Mom a big long hug before leaving, and to my surprise, I was the one with the misty eyes.
After that, I made a conscious effort to be more in touch with my family. I would even pick my little brother up from school from time to time, something Jamie really loved. I would drive my Mercedes to school, or the new black Ford Bronco that I had just gotten. I bought it from Andrew Ridgely, who was famous for being in Wham!, the band he shared with George Michael.
I'd tell Jamie I'd be picking him up at the parking lot by the school football field. Lots of kids would be waiting for me there, and at times it seemed like the entire student body had turned out. I'd hang out and sign autographs for everyone. Finally I'd say, "Okay, bro, we gotta get going." He'd hop in, and we'd take off. The smile on Jamie's face said it all. I could occasionally be a great brother; I just couldn't always be a good brother.
On his sixteenth birthday, I took him to buy a car. I said, "Get whatever you want." I recommended a truck to him, but he ultimately decided on a brand-new Chevy Camaro Z28, all tricked out with a great sound system, special rims, leather interior, and the "racing package," which added about a hundred horsepower to an already powerful engine. Hey, it felt great just to see the look in his eyes when they rolled it out. Looking back, I realize that as the band and I grew more distant, my family became more important to me.
In September 1989, Dougie called to tell me that the band would be opening for the Rolling Stones at the Los Angeles Coliseum next month. I was so stoked. Maybe my fears were unfounded, because all my dreams were still coming true.
We were to do five shows with the Stones in late September and then go back to a place called Mates Rehearsal in North Hollywood to rehearse for the Use Your Illusion tracks. I felt wonderful after hanging up with Dougie. Everything was going great again. And maybe all this concern about my being marginalized by the band was just baseless worry.
During this time, Living Colour was growing in popularity as a black metal/rock act with a hit called "Cult of Personality." Their guitarist, Vernon Reid, was an outspoken black activist and publicly took offense to the lyrics in "One in a Million." His music career must have trumped his personal beliefs, because Living Colour agreed to open for us during the Stones shows.
Axl had a limo pick him up from home and take him to the shows. Slash, Duff, Izzy, and I were put up across from the Coliseum. Cheryl and I stayed there, and I would walk over to Slash's room to hang out and party. Unfortunately, every dealer on the West Coast was buzzing around for the concert, and I fell to temptation again. At this point, Slash hadn't let up at all and was getting sucked deeper into hard drugs. Heroin came packaged in rubber balloons, and that night, after we checked in, I bought six of those balloons and went to Slash's room. I walked in and I saw Slash in the bathroom, and he had like twenty of these same balloons lying around, already opened and used. He was just sitting on the toilet, staring down at the tiles, all stoned out. He was going to be no fun, so I just spun around and left.
THE GREATEST ROCK BAND IN THE WORLD
We got to meet our heroes the first night before our performance. I was surprised by Mick Jagger's appearance. I thought he was a little skinny guy from all those videos, but when he walked in the room, he had the presence of a giant, and he was in great shape, buffer than buff. I mean, he was cut. Life magazine once ran an article about Mick prepping for Stones tours, how he would get on a strict diet, run every morning, and lift weights like a boxer prepping for fight night. It looked like he was still devoted to that routine.
The whole band was there but Slash, who missed out because he was getting high. In fact, he just made it to the stage for our show. We were all partying pretty hard those days. As I neared the stage, I could hear the fans. As I rounded the corner, I could see the multitudes screaming their heads off.
The sound of that crowd was so powerful that it actually gave me an incredible buzz. When the audience caught sight of us, they all bolted upright. It was like one giant wave of energy, intensely stimulating. We were the proud prodigy, the bastard sons of the Rolling Stones, and we killed that night. We were there to show the world that rock was alive and bigger than ever, and we succeeded in every way.
WAG THE FINGER
But at a time when we should have been rejoicing beyond all measure, Axl instead chose to wag his finger. He had become aware of the out-of-control partying that was happening within the band and he made a long rambling statement during the second show. "If some people in this organization don't get their shit together and stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone, this is going to be the last Guns N' Roses show. Ever!"
Axl went on and on, threatening to shut us down if the runaway abuse continued. Maybe it was done for publicity, maybe out of genuine concern, I don't know, but it was way over the top. Disbanding GN'R for drug abuse was like grounding a bird for flying.
So we all had to snicker when the Stones took the stage and Jagger decided to bust Axl's balls for his little lecture. He stood up there, smiled, and grabbed the mike like he owned the whole fucking world. He strutted to the very front of the platform, leaned out over everyone, and waved his arm, asking the crowd if they had "heard enough of Axl's bullshit" and were ready to rock 'n' roll. Of course the crowd's response was a deafening affirmative.
Axl's statements made national entertainment news the following day, and no one said a goddamn thing about it. I had learned my lesson, so I wasn't about to be the one to start. But sadly, no one else did either.
For the most part, Axl had been ignoring me during this period. But that was my fault too. I never took the initiative to talk with him and find out what was simmering in that brain pan of his. I wish I had insisted on making the time to sit him down and sort things out to clear the air.
In addition to our rooms across the street, each of us was given our own trailer on the Coliseum backstage lot to hang out in before the show. MTV was making a rockumentary about us and visited each of us in our personal trailers for interviews. I was hanging out with Cheryl, Ronnie, and David Lee Roth. David Lee was just being DLR, the legendary front man and incredibly funny friend.
My family was extremely excited about the event so I made sure to have Dougie take care of them. He sent limos for them every night. I saw them only briefly, however, because when I was performing, particularly in something this momentous, I was in my own separate world.
On the night of the last show, a unique thing happened. At the end of our set we put our arms around one another, and as a group, we took a bow. We had never done that before. It felt kind of awkward but appropriate. In my mind, that show was the last real Guns N' Roses concert ever. Immediately following that bow, we once again went our own separate ego-inflated ways.
KNIFE IN THE BACK
In early 1990 the band agreed to appear at a benefit at the famous Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis called Farm Aid. It was huge, tens of thousands of fans cheering nonstop, with millions more watching on TV. While it was an important event, we didn't even bother to rehearse for it. I flew out there expecting to have a great time, but Duff and Slash continued to distance themselves from me. They seemed locked into their private little clique. Izzy was off on his own, but that was typical.
So I found myself hanging out exclusively with Dougie. No one else was talking to me. I felt very isolated. After that Stones show everyone kind of withdrew from me again, and the excitement I had felt during the event evaporated.
When we were introduced at the Farm Aid concert, I was so excited that I sprinted out to the drums, and as I leaped up, I caught my foot on the flange that ran around the border of the riser. I tripped and fell right on my ass. I might have been a little buzzed, but let me tell you, there's nothing like wiping out in front of all those fans to sober your ass right up. I was bummed — "Shit, I'm on live TV." But I quickly scrambled right back up, smiled broadly, and grabbed my sticks, ready to rock. I assumed we'd be playing a couple of our hits, like "Paradise City" or "Welcome to the Jungle."
Axl announced, "This is something new we got, called 'Civil War.'"
Huh? Although I knew the song, I didn't know that would be the title. So I looked at Duff and I was like, "Dude. What's goin' on?" He was kind of being a dick, maybe disgusted with my wipeout on the stage, so I just sat there, and when I heard Slash play the opening riff, I caught on. Although we didn't even have that song completely down and had never rehearsed it with Axl, it played pretty well. I kind of sighed with relief to have gotten over that hurdle, but the damn surprises kept coming.
Next Axl says, "This is by a punk band called the UK Subs. And this song really rocks; it's called 'Down on the Farm.'"
I'm like, "What the fuck?" I yell over to Duff, "Dude! How does it go?" He just claps his hands, providing me with a tempo, and then walks away. So I just played the tempo with my bass drum and winged it. I'd never once heard that song before. But I kicked ass, and that made me feel proud, not mad.
Looking back, I realize that this may have been proof positive that their plan to get me out of the band was already in full motion. They weren't cluing me in to new songs or even telling me what they were playing. I believe their strategy was to make my playing sound like shit. I believe they wanted me to fuck up on live TV; that would be their evidence. By branding me as an ill-prepared, crappy drummer, they'd be armed with a sound reason for kicking me out.
GETTING OFF THE STUFF
When we came back to L.A., we again went our own ways. I had gotten to another one of those junctions where my body was warning me to stop partying. I hit the brakes for about a week, then I suddenly became very ill. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had been smoking heroin regularly and I was giving it an indefinite break. Now, I was shaking all over, feeling very hollow and cold. I was experiencing the full-on blunt force of withdrawal, as my body ached like it never had before. I lived in the bathroom, constantly having to throw up.
I called Dougie and told him what I was going through. He told me he wanted to take me to the doctor right away, and I immediately calmed down, thinking, "Good ol' Dougie, looking out for me." So we went to a medical facility at Olympic and Fairfax. The doctor there broke off about a quarter of a small pill and had me take it with water. He explained that it was an opiate blocker and told me, "This will make you feel better, because even if you try to cheat and take heroin, you won't feel a thing." What they didn't tell me (and what the fucking MD didn't bother to check out first) was that you needed to be completely clean to take it. Patients needed to detox fully in order for the drug to work properly. If you had opiates in your system when you took it, it would fuck you up. God, did I discover that the hard way.
Within hours after returning home, I became deathly ill, even worse than before. I called Dougie and told him, "Whatever the fuck they gave me isn't working. I'm sicker than I've ever been in my life!" He sent a registered nurse over who was qualified to examine me. After she left, I remember sitting down, momentarily relieved that I'd be okay now. But as the sweat began to pour down over my face, I suddenly became incredibly scared and honestly thought I was going to die. This feeling lasted an eternity, because as I said, I hadn't completely detoxed. You'd think they'd ask you your status before giving you pills and injections. I was terribly sick for weeks. Then came the deathblow: Slash called me and told me that we were going into the studio to record "Civil War."
"Dude, haven't you talked to Dougie? I'm sick as hell."
Slash didn't want to hear it. His voice was strangely detached, zero emotion. "We can't waste any more money," he replied.
Was I really hearing this shit? From my dearest friend, the guy I was instrumental in getting into GN'R, for fuck's sake? Where was the loyalty, the compassion? "Fuck that, Slash. Listen to me. We both know someone in the band who's wasted a helluva lot more time and money than it would cost to postpone this one lousy recording session. It would just be for the week or so that it would take for me to get better." We hadn't done shit in over a year and now they wanted to record one damn song, and they couldn't wait for me to feel better. It was such bullshit, and I could only hope that it was someone else pushing their buttons. I didn't want to believe that Slash really had it in for me.
DUMPED FROM GN'R
With no alternative, I attempted to do my job. I literally pulled my head out of a toilet, showered up, and got to the studio on time. I sat on the stool, staring at my drums, but another wave of nausea hit me and I was suddenly sick as hell, doubled over in pain. The guys looked at me, and there was no mercy in their faces. Nothing.
Instead, they were annoyed with me, and no one said a thing. I tried to play but my timing was off. The guys in the sound booth asked for take after take, and finally I couldn't take the tension. "Guys, I'm fucked up. But I'm sick, not high. I'm just ill and that's all." I asked Dougie to clear the matter up for me. "Dougie, tell them. Tell them how sick this medication is making me."
But like a waking nightmare, Dougie looked away. I pleaded with him: "You've got to tell them that even if I was partying, the medicine they're making me take would block it." Dougie didn't say a word. My last buddy abandoned me. There was no love; he just turned and left the room. I had been set up, through my own stupid actions, and they wanted the absolute worst for me.
I never thought this could happen to me. It was always the five of us united, an inseparable team. But the Guns N' Roses machine had become massive, and I could feel it shoving me aside. I couldn't stand the idea of being pushed out of the band. I desperately didn't want this to end, and I honestly thought I had done nothing to deserve having it taken away from me. I just did what we all were doing, living the rock star life.
I seemed to be suffering under an unfair double standard. Christ, we open for the Rolling Stones, and Axl falls off the fucking stage while singing "Out to Get Me." The whole thing's treated like no big deal. But I misjudge the drum riser during Farm Aid and the response is total outrage; "Look at Stevie, that drugged-out waste of an irresponsible fuckup."
We had all worked so hard to get to the mountaintop and were just beginning to reap the rewards. In my worst nightmares, I never imagined that it could all be taken away from me.
I counted on Dougie to keep me in the loop. He had me believe that he had my back, that he cared for and loved me. Well, he fooled the hell out of me. I had been lured into having total trust in him and didn't want to believe some conspiracy was actually going down.
The day after the "Civil War" recording session, Doug called me and asked me to come down to the office to sign some papers. He offered no explanation for his behavior the previous day, and I didn't try to lay on any guilt. I just told him I was still very ill. There was a long silence on the phone, then Dougie told me that the matter was very important and wouldn't take long. He told me he had been instructed by the GN'R attorneys to tell me that my presence was absolutely required. In spite of what had gone down, I still wanted to believe that Dougie was my caring wingman, and when he promised I would be in and out of there quickly, I decided to rally. I cared more for his situation than my own. I could hear the stress in Doug's voice and I didn't want to bust his balls, so I got myself together and Cheryl drove me. When I walked in, Dougie and one of our lawyers, a professional-looking middle-aged woman, had a stack of papers for me to read.
Read!? I couldn't even see. They told me all I had to do was sign at the bottom of all the pages with the colored paper clips attached. I asked what this was all about. Dougie told me, "It's nothing to worry about." In my condition, I wasn't about to read all this shit, but I was a little freaked and my jaw just dropped. In essence, I thought I was agreeing not to party and not to screw up on any band-related activities for the next four weeks. If I fucked up, they would fine me $2,000. I thought, "What the hell, no problem. The band doesn't even have anything scheduled during the next month, and even so, what's two grand?" I signed everything. I just wanted to get out of there, go home, and lie down.
I discovered later that what I had actually signed away was my life. What the legal papers actually stated was that they were going to give me $2,000 for my contribution to Guns N' Roses. Everything else, my royalties, my partnership in the band, my rights, was gone! Of course, I didn't know this at the time. I'm sure with all these papers I naively signed, they thought they had my fate sealed. They had a signed, ironclad deal against me.
The next afternoon, I received another call from Doug. "The guys don't want you to be on the next record. They are going to use someone else."
I was still feeling like shit, and at this point I guess I saw it coming. "Yeah, whatever." I just hung up the phone and started crying. I'd had enough, but I couldn't help but be depressed. I didn't even bother calling Slash. What was the point?
To blunt the pain, I went on a party binge, smoking weed, drinking Jagermeister, and popping whatever pills I could find. Cheryl was there with me, and she would never say anything to upset me. She was there by my side, but I didn't care and wasn't even aware of her. I just locked myself away in my room.
Cheryl didn't fully understand what was happening. And with all this heavy shit going down around us, I couldn't handle it, wouldn't handle it. She wasn't prepared to deal with all the crap either, and every day she cried a lot because she knew something horrible was occurring.
And I'm standin' at the crossroads,
I believe I'm sinkin' down.
-"CROSS ROAD BLUES," ROBERT JOHNSON
I felt I had sold my soul for rock 'n' roll, and the devil had just stopped by to stamp me "Paid in Full." A couple of days of partying only put me in worse condition, and I came out of my stupor so depressed, I tried to kill myself. I slashed my wrists, suddenly became very light-headed, and collapsed onto the hard floor. My face must have hit a chair or a coffee table as I fell because Cheryl raced in to find me badly bruised, with my lip split wide open. The cuts to my wrists weren't nearly what was required to do the job properly, but they left ugly scars that still remind me of this dark time.
I believe I was crying out for help more than actually trying to die. Cheryl called Doug and told him that I was very fucked up and had tried to kill myself. That afternoon, Doug, Slash, and a security guy named Ron came to my home. When I opened the door and saw them, I panicked for some reason and just took off trying to run away from them in my own house. I know that coke eventually makes you very paranoid, but there was no reason for me to be scared of these guys. In an even dumber move, Ron went chasing after me. I don't know what he was planning to do when he caught me. I hopped out an upstairs window and ran along the roof to the top of the garage. They were yelling up to me: "Steven, come down. Come on, man, come down."
"No. Fuck you, fuck everything!" Then I just dropped onto the roof, crying like a baby.
I heard a noise and realized they were going to climb up and get me. This gave me an even worse panic attack so I jumped off the roof of the garage. I plummeted into the cab of Slash's black truck. Everyone was shocked and just stood there as I bounced, unhurt, then rolled off to the ground, a total mess.
The security guy was a supreme asshole. He dismissed the whole matter like I was a piece of shit, not worth the time. "The hell with him, let's go." It was as if they were looking for any reason to leave, so on Ron's remark, they split.
The next evening, Slash phoned. Inwardly my heart thumped, and I 'felt like here was my old friend, reaching out. But no, he was actually pissed. "Dude, you dove on my truck, and it's fucking dented. You dented my truck, and you're paying for it."
I was numb. "Whatever. Sure, I'll pay for it. No problem, buddy. Take it out of my two thousand dollars, you heartless piece of shit." But at that point, all I heard was a dial tone.
Fame puts you there when things are hollow ...
-"FAME," DAVID BOWIE
DEATH BY DEGREES
Looking back, I still cringe at this dark, torturous time in my life.
Up to this moment, I had been high practically all the time and it at made me careless, among other things. But in all honesty, I was the only member of the band who was held accountable for that carelessness. And now my situation was hopeless. I achieved the dream of a lifetime, and just as it was about to blossom fully, they stomped on it. I was riding high; the group that I had formed with my friends just five years before had become the biggest rock band in the world.
It seemed everyone wanted to know me, and I was very touched by the way I was treated by our fans. Everyone was so affectionate, and I tried to return that love in spades.
I really felt blessed and thanked God for my good fortune. People said, "Enjoy this. Take it in as it's happening. Try to live in the moment." That's all I ever did. It was the way I welcomed each day naturally. I didn't have to remind myself to try to live in the moment because that was simply the way I had always experienced my life.
There's abundant proof of this. Look at the videos of me playing, I'm the only guy in the band smiling, loving every minute of it like no one else. I was constantly aware of God's grace and was thankful for it. I hugged everyone who wanted an autograph, sat and talked with anyone, and freely reached out to the people who approached us. From anyone's perspective, I honestly believe that it's clear I was the one who truly savored our success the most.
When girls would say I was the cutest or the sexiest or the nicest boy in the band, I would just laugh. And I'd always be sure to spread it around, telling them Slash was much sexier, Duff was much nicer, Izzy was much cooler, and Axl was smarter.
Ronnie Schneider and I went out one evening to a club called Bordello. This was just before news of my getting kicked out of GN’R was made public. Bordello was a popular hot spot located at Santa Monica and Fairfax. As with any trendy spot, there was a line with dozens of people waiting to get in. We got there and stood in line with everyone else. I noticed the door guy peer over the line in my direction. He walked over to us and said, "Steven Adler. Guns N' Roses! What are you doing here? You don't have to wait in line!" He put his arm around my shoulder, walked us to the front, and opened the door as if we had been buddies for years. I thanked him, shook his hand, and entered the club. Fact is, I hadn't minded waiting in line. I enjoyed talking to everyone but was of course thrilled to get in. Ronnie and I had a great time that night.
By the end of the week, the news hit the world that I was no longer in the band. To add insult to injury, I was portrayed in the news as the consummate loser. "Band that glorifies drug use fires drummer for being out of control on drugs." If that doesn't make me sound like the most pathetic person on earth, I don't know what would.
I felt that familiar chill cut through my heart again, that emotional emptiness that meant my family had abandoned me. And GN'R was my family. Izzy, Axl, Duff, and Slash were my brothers; we loved and cared for each other, had each other's back, and fought like hell to succeed together. Now, I was no longer welcome in my own family. Again!
God had given me a second chance and I blew it big-time. I desperately needed to be numb, to just take away the pain. By the end of that week, all I could do was sit in my house smoking coke and heroin. Eventually, Ronnie, remembering the great time I had at Bordello a few weeks earlier, thought it would be nice to get out of the house and go to a place where I could feel wanted. Again there was a line at the door. Confident, I walked up to the doorman, the same guy, and greeted him enthusiastically. "How are you?" I asked.
He looked at me and seemed annoyed. I stood there for a second. "What do you think you're doing? You gotta stand in line just like everyone else." He pointed toward the end of the line, making a scene for all to see. I was shocked but waved him off and walked away. A block down the road, my emotions got the best of me. I had just been treated like a piece of shit, and that's how I felt. It was harsh. I walked home with Ronnie and continued the assault on my pain.
RAY OF HOPE
Shortly after, I stopped going out altogether. All I wanted was to be alone and even refused the love of my wife. Cheryl was having difficulty dealing with me and the entire situation as a whole. I feel horrible to this very day; putting her through so much drama was not fair at all. One of us, I think it was probably Cheryl, decided that it would be best for her to take a break for a few days and visit her family.
Just when I couldn't have been more numb or depressed, hope appeared on the horizon. One of my lawyers called and told me that AC/DC was auditioning for a new drummer. "They are considering you, Steven. I am going to get you this gig."
"Do it!" I shouted. I was so happy; at last, a chance at redemption.
But the stars were not lined up for me. That same fucking night, an interview with Axl aired on MTV. He spoke of how GN’R was so much more than he ever expected. Then the topic of the former drummer came up, and Axl stuck a spike in my heart. "Steven is so fucked up on drugs. He can't even play anymore. He's someone I used to know." My head was spinning; this was on MTV, national TV. Axl, the most popular rock star at the time, had just told the world I was a fuckup. It was unbelievably bad timing. I never heard another word about the AC/DC gig.
After a couple of weeks, Cheryl returned, taking a cab from the airport. She yelled and screamed at me when I answered the door: "I tried calling you. You can't answer the goddamn phone? I thought you were dead!"
I could barely mutter, "Sorry, honey." In fact, I hadn't thought of her in days. She could have been gone a week, a month, and I wouldn't have known because time no longer had any meaning. I was beginning to sink even farther downward, carving out a routine that would become my degenerate way of life for a major portion of the next ten years.
THE WRATH OF AXL
My fate was sealed when an unforeseen run-in with Axl sent my entire existence into a permanent tailspin. Right after Cheryl returned, I found out that Andy McCoy had moved in just down the street from us. Andy was the guitarist for the band Hanoi Rocks. I was introduced to their sound through Axl and Izzy and instantly fell in love with their brand of hard-driving rock. In fact, Guns N' Roses' own label, Uzi Suicide, had just released Hanoi's entire back catalog on CD for the first time. They were the only other band to be released on GN'R's label. I was disappointed, however, to learn that Andy had married Laura, Izzy's ex-girlfriend. I hated this woman. She was attractive enough but such a bitch that I considered her repulsive. Desperate to keep the music in my life, Andy and I started to hang out and jam. I hired the guy who remodeled my bedroom to turn the tool shed into a small studio. He soundproofed the walls and really did a great job. It was a bit cramped but it didn't matter. Andy and I worked on new songs and jammed out on some classics. Andy knew I disliked his wife, but it had no effect on our friendship. I just told him I didn't want her around, and that was cool with him. But I guess we were getting along so well that eventually he decided it would be no big deal. One day, while I was in my yard, I could see the two of them walking down the hill, clearly on their way to my place. I just stood there, giving them both two high and mighty middle fingers. Andy caught my gesture, but not Laura. Andy never broke stride and just walked in with her as if it was a nonissue. What could I do? It's no secret I'm a softie at heart.
Before long, Laura was dropping in regularly and getting on my nerves like she had in the past. One day, she pulled the most fucked-up stunt ever. Andy and I were jamming in the shed when we heard a pounding at the door. I opened it, and there was Laura with Axl's fiancée, Erin Everly.
Erin was completely out of it and could barely stand up. I asked, "What the fuck is she on?"
Laura said, "Nothing. She and Axl had a fight. Can you give her something?"
"What? I ain't giving her shit," I yelled, and grabbed Erin, who was swaying back and forth, eyes closed. "Erin, are you okay? You better—"
Laura interrupted. "C'mon, Steven, just give her something."
"What is she on? What did you give her?" I yelled at Laura.
She said, "Steven, she and Axl went at it, so I gave her some Valium."
I screamed, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Erin could barely stand so I carried her into my bedroom and set her down. "Erin, are you okay?"
Her eyes opened slightly. "Axl and I had a fight."
Laura came in. "Steven, chill. I just gave her a few pills," she repeated, not the least bit concerned.
"How many?" I yelled.
Erin was starting to go out and I panicked. I wasn't taking any chances with this. I called an ambulance and tried not to freak the fuck out. I did not need to be involved in this situation. She was Axl's bride-to-be for chrissakes. The paramedics arrived, checked her vitals, and told me they would have to induce vomiting. Before they whisked her away, they assured me that her pulse was strong and she would probably be okay.
Later I discovered that Erin already had heroin in her system. When questioned, they said that I was the one who had given it to her. Axl called and threatened me: "I'm coming over there and I'm going to fucking kill you!"
I yelled, "I didn't give her shit."
"Bullshit!" he said.
I was livid and screamed back, "I didn't. Fuck you!" I hung up the phone.
My heart raced, and I truly believed that Axl was furious enough to want to kill me. I began to fear for Cheryl's and my well-being, so we rounded up the dogs and took off for Palm Springs. Axl told the press that I shot Erin up, and no one had any reason to believe otherwise. Not that it could do any more damage, but the guys in the band thought I was an even bigger asshole than before.
I would never shoot heroin, or any drug, into Erin. I always adored her, and probably helped to save her life that day, but it didn't mean shit. I couldn't fucking stand it. I was completely miserable and my existence became even more unbearable, if that was possible.
posted 6:00 PM