Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Singer Haley Reinhart, musician Myles Kennedy and recording artist Slash perform onstage at the Keep Memory Alive foundation's "Power of Love Gala" celebrating Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena February 18, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event benefits the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center.
This is a moving rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses." Beautiful stuff.
posted 6:24 AM
Monday, February 27, 2012
GN'R have announced a seven-date UK arena tour.
The band will start the concerts in Nottingham on 19 May.
They will then play dates in Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester before finishing at London's O2 Arena on 31 May.
The original members of Guns N' Roses are due to appear together on the same stage in April as the band is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Guns N' Roses last performed together in the UK in 2010.
They were bottled off stage at a concert in Dublin after they arrived on stage nearly an hour late and their set was cut short after they played past their curfew at Reading that year.
The band say they are working on new material at the moment.
Their last album, 2008's Chinese Democracy, made it to number two in the UK album chart.
The UK tour dates are as follows:
Nottingham Capital FM Arena - 19 May
Liverpool Echo Arena - 20
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena - 23
Glasgow SECC - 25
Birmingham LG Arena - 26
Manchester Evening News Arena - 29
London O2 Arena - 31
Tickets for the tour go on sale on Friday 3 March at 9am.
Discuss this article with other Guns N' Roses fans here.
posted 6:48 AM
Thursday, February 23, 2012
It's a great time to be a Slash fan.
The iconic guitarist has been working non-stop ever since he re-emerged as a solo artist, and there's more music coming this Spring.
Two years ago, he released his first solo record - SLASH - featuring an all-star roster of guest vocalists; He embarked on a mammoth world tour with a great band featuring frontman and SLASH contributor Myles Kennedy; Last year's Made in Stoke 24/7/11 live album and DVD, captured the show that got rave reviews from fans on every corner of the globe.
Now the band - "Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators" - are ready to release their first studio album together - APOCALYPTIC LOVE.
This is reason to celebrate. Fans know what to expect from a Slash album -- a bunch of great new rock songs full of killer riffs and classic solos.
And once again, Classic Rock is offering an exclusive fan pack edition of Slash's new album that includes the CD + bonus tracks and a collectible magazine.
The Slash Fan Pack is currently available for pre-order from Classic Rock Magazine. This pack includes Slash's brilliant new album (13 tracks + 2 bonus tracks) plus a collectible 132-page magazine devoted to the album. Pre-order your fan pack here and you will also receive an official Slash metal keyring.
To celebrate this landmark release, GunsNFNRoses.com is giving away three copies of Classic Rock's Slash Fan Pack. To enter, simply leave a comment here telling us why you're looking forward to Slash's new album. You can enter a second time by following us on Twitter and then tweeting a similar message. Let us know by including both "@gunsnfnroses" AND "#fanpack" in your tweet. We’ll give you a third chance to grab one of the packs by "liking" us and leaving a message on our Facebook wall. Be creative. Once the contest entry period closes we’ll tally all the entries from our forum, Facebook and Twitter and pick three winners at random.
Here’s the fine print ...
To enter the contest, leave a comment here telling us why you're excited for Slash's new album.
You can enter a second time by "liking" us and leaving a similar comment on the wall of the Gunsnfnroses Facebook Page
You can enter a third time by following @gunsnfnroses and then tweeting a similar message to us, including both “@gunsnfnroses” AND “#fanpack″ in your tweet
Your comment(s) must be left by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on May 20
Anybody entering more than once a piece on Facebook, Twitter and here will be disqualified, drawn and quartered
Three winners will be selected at random from all entries
GunsNFNRoses staff members are not eligible to win
posted 2:23 PM
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
When it was announced that Guns N' Roses were to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame back in December, a kind of hush went all over the world as everyone pondered whether or not lead singer Axl Rose and former lead guitarist Slash would share a stage, or even a podium together.
This was after everyone cried into their mugs of Moosehead after realizing Rush and the Smiths were snubbed yet again.
But according to some sources, it may happen. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed, the lone holdout from the Use Your Illusion days revealed that the original members of the classic GN'R lineup -- Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, and Adler's replacement Matt Sorum -- will all attend the awards show in April. Now, if this means there will be a solemn nod and handshake when they receive the honor, or a balls-out onstage reunion the likes of which will liquefy the world's faces remains to be seen.
Of course, this would be a great coup for rock fans the world over, and if Slash and Axl, -- who have helped cultivate the best odd-couple tale in the history of the music industry -- could put animosity from their twenties aside and weave together again, then there is hope for everyone: Ex-wives and ex-husbands of the world, Morrissey and the rest of the Smiths. Maybe even the Gallagher brothers of Oasis, Liam and Noel, could hug and reunite, if only for one night of ecstasy.
The rest of the band -- Adler, McKagan, and Stradlin -- have all seemed to have made peace with Rose since the '90s blow-up, even playing with the singer's new GN'R touring lineup.
But does the rock world really want Axl and the Top Hat to get along again? It seems better for business that they don't, and it propels the band's image of this angry organism of miscreants and artists that could only get shit together for a few years before imploding.
I have always had this fantasy that behind closed doors they are still the best of friends, and text and email each other when they can and have crazy Google Talk sessions like I have with my friends on the regular, and they both laugh at their own mythology.
"Did you hear what Rolling Stone said I thought about you? LOL!" Slash would type, to which Axl would reply with that clip of the monkey putting a finger up his ass, smelling it, and falling out of a tree. Standard music industry talk.
Let's all wait with bated breath for the April 14 induction ceremony to see what happens. Personally, I am praying for a wicked pissah version of "Welcome to the Jungle" with a sweaty Axl and Slash hug at the end.
posted 6:27 AM
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Interview with Taz Bentley (Izzy Stradlin's drummer) from the Dallas Observer.
Did you ever play any shows with Izzy Stradlin?
Yeah, we toured Japan once. About once every year we go out and do an album. He doesn't believe in "the machine" at all. He hates the industry, so initially he licensed the albums overseas and wouldn't tell anyone in America. He's a really big fan of the Internet. Now we'll go record and he'll slap it up on iTunes. That's been a hoot. Duff's on most of them. There was a time when Slash, Izzy, Duff and I got together a few times and recorded some stuff. I think it was Duff who called it Four Wheels, No Axl. But none of that stuff ever got released. It's kind of fun to sit around, be a fly on the wall, playing the drums with these guys and say, "How did I get here?"
Izzy has become one of my very, very best friends. When The Burden Brothers stopped touring, Zack quit because he and his wife wanted to start a family, and then Rizzo took that cue to leave as well. So the three of us had the wind taken out of our sails. Towards the end of that last album, touring was really sparse, it was hard and we weren't drawing because nothing was on the radio. What had been on the radio had run its course. That was a real stinker. We have been on hiatus for about four or five years now.
But that first phone call was to Izzy and I said, "I'm done." I was fucking furious. He goes, "No, no, no, just write it down on a guitar." I said, "You're not listening to me, I'm done." He goes, "You have a guitar?" And I go, "Yeah, I have a guitar, but I'm done, I don't want to play music. I don't want to hear music. I'm gonna throw every radio in my house out the window." But he knew exactly what was going on, and he had been through this, obviously in a much bigger arena. In that moment, I really found how close we had become. He really helped me get through this. About a week after that initial conversation, I come home and there's a brand new acoustic guitar on my front porch with a note that says, "Write it down." I started writing and that's the music you heard at my show.
Full interview here.
posted 7:20 AM
Monday, February 20, 2012
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution - a new book by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, collects interviews with over 400 key people from MTV's Golden Age. In one interview, (MTV's) Peter Baron, (director) Nigel Dick, (manager) Alan Niven and (drummer) Steven Adler reminisce about the shoot for GN'R's "Patience" video.
Said MTV exec Peter Baron, "The first Guns N' Roses video I commissioned was 'Patience.' Alan Niven sort of co-directed those early videos with Nigel Dick. We shot the conceptual part at the Ambassador Hotel, and the performance in Hollywood. Of course Axl showed up about seven hours late. And Izzy was screwed up. Coke was dripping out of his nose, but he didn't realize it because his whole face was numb."
"Izzy," said Alan Niven, "was in the depths of a cocaine habit that was destroying him, sat in a dark corner while we were filming. When we looked at the footage, Nigel and I agreed to minimize Izzy in the video, because he looked wretched. He got sober not long thereafter, but that video represents the nadir of Izzy's cocaine habit. There were other moments when Slash was in dire condition, and moments when Steven was in dire condition. Those were the three that had the biggest problems with excess."
"I was sitting there rolling joints," says Steven Adler. "That was my whole gig in that video: light incense and roll joints. As for Izzy, if you look at the cover of Rolling Stone when we were on it in 1988, he's sitting on the ground, and if you look at his wrists, you can see the track marks. He was doing drugs longer than anybody, but he ended up getting it together better than anybody, and then he left the band because he got clean and couldn't be around us."
Director Nigel Dick adds "Mostly what I remember about that video is a shitload of chicks and coke."
"It was like Spinal Tap with money"
posted 7:55 AM
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Guitarist: 'I still have my name on the marquee and everything, but I’m just not a dictator'
Slash has announced his second solo album, the follow-up to 2010's Slash, will drop May 22nd. The as-yet-untitled record finds the guitarist performing with a new band that features Myles Kennedy on vocals, Brent Fitz on drums and Todd Kerns on bass. Rolling Stone visited Slash late last year to discuss the making of the album, why he is a "band guy" and the importance of jamming with other musicians to stay humble.
So at this point is this a full band, now?
I’m a band guy. Everything I touch I turn into a fucking band. I still have my name on the marquee and everything, but I’m just not a dictator, I don’t want to rule anything. I like to hear what other people’s ideas are and so on and so forth. But the guys, like Brent and Todd, aren’t looking for any kind of glorified credit other than what it is that they do. Some people are stumbling over themselves trying to write even though they’re not inspired to do anything, but just to get their thing in there, which I deal with a lot in other situations. So I just write music, Myles writes his lyrics and his melodies, and he helps me get all that together with the music. And if anybody has any input on anything, it’s open season.
When did you realize you were a band guy?
I realized I was a band guy when I was 15 when I only knew like four licks and two chords and I started a band. I like working in a band atmosphere, I think something about that camaraderie. I do not want to do it all by myself. I’m like that with everything else, I don’t want to do that with music. I’m very much a loner in most respects, but when it comes to working with music, whether I’m leading it or not, the last record was very collaborative. It was just a lot of different people. But this is just one group of guys, which is really cool for me at this point after having done the last record and going in with Chris Chaney and Josh Freese and going, “Here’s the demo, let’s learn it real quick.” Then we record it and bring the vocal in, that’s how every song went. This is more my style of recording where we rehearse the shit out of it until it feels second nature and then go and bang it out in the studio.
Are the songs being done primarily live then in the studio?
The most live I’ve ever done it. This time, instead of rerecording my guitar tracks in the control room, we built a big iso booth that I have huge monitors in in the studio room where the drums and the bass are. So I just play live along with them, but I’m isolated, but I can see. Really it’s got a certain live, raw feel to it.
Who’s producing the album?
Eric Valentine. It was a good experience and got great sounds with Eric and I love working with him and everybody loves him.
How do you balance everything you and Myles have going on?
We rehearsed, we did pre-production for about three weeks to a month to get those 17 or so songs together. And we just went in everyday from two o’clock to eight, nine o’clock everyday and bashed it out. Then Myles came back and he took off and we went in and recorded three songs just to have something to use. So I knew early on, we worked it out between our managers when his schedule is going and so on and so forth. So his last run with Alter Bridge [was] this European tour, then I’ve got him for a year. Poor guy hasn’t rested since he met me.
When was the last time you rested?
Yeah, but I don’t sing. I don’t rest easy. I took a couple weeks' vacation in Ibiza when I renewed my vows, and that’s a test of wills for me. Even then I’m tinkering with shit the whole time. My mind never stops. I took a guitar and a laptop.
And Perla let you do that?
Yeah, I’m getting good at it, having to juggle it all. I would go out and party with her all fucking night and then during the day when everybody is asleep is when I would get shit done. Or I wouldn’t go out and I would just stay in when they went out. It gets sorted out.
When was the last time you went someplace on vacation as opposed to being on the road on tour?
Before the last U.K. leg I went and met Perla in Ibiza once again for 10 days, and then took off to go play with B.B. King during the middle of that. It’s hard to nail me down for any length of time because there’s too much to do. And since I’m pretty much solely responsible for my own fucking destiny at this point I can’t rely on other people to do it. I have really great management, but I work toe-to-toe with them on everything. So someone’s gotta be here.
You have that flexibility to do what you want, pick up that guitar, and if B.B. King says, “Jam with me,” take off and play with him.
I started doing that as soon as I was welcome to do that by my sometimes peers and also some heroes. As soon as that started coming in I took off and started doing it. And that was in the very early Nineties or even late Eighties, like ’89 to ’90.
Do you remember who the first band was to welcome you on stage?
I think I have always needed that, where you go up and just stay completely humbled and fucking learn to work with other people cause you can get in such a bubble being in a rock & roll band that’s arrogant and fucking does its thing and is probably one of the best bands around doing it. And you just become isolated into that little island, and it’s very limited. I would jam in bars even. That’s always kept me grounded and always kept me learning as a player and keep me seeing how really great other musicians are that are better than me all over the place (laughs). One of the first recording sessions I started going in and doing was Alice Cooper, Lenny Kravitz was early on, Iggy Pop was early, Insane Clown Posse. There were a few sessions in there, but those pop out as really early on, especially the Alice Cooper one, that “Hey Stupid” song.
Now in this group you are the senior member, correct?
I’m the oldest out of the bunch, but they’re not that far behind me.
But in experience you have a good leg up.
I realize hanging out with those guys I got a fucking story for everything.
Do those stories help keep them humbled and being the senior member and leader of the band are you in a bit of a mentor role?
Those guys are all really, really professional, so they don’t need any schooling in any way, shape or form. And fucking Brent and Todd are both from Canada so they’re polite as hell and Myles is a very genteel individual himself. When it comes down to it they all do it as much as I’ve ever done it, maybe not as long, but they’re in the thick of it so there’s no mentoring going on.
Was it important to you starting a band this time that it was just all guys that were professional and you feel comfortable with?
Well, that’s food for thought. Professionalism, for me, has always been a key thing. I think that’s something that I admire and respect, a good work ethic and people who, no matter it is they do in their free time, show up and do their job. So I’ve always wanted to be that guy and I think I always focused in that direction, even if it was subconscious. And so I expect that from the guys that I work with and I appreciate being in that kind of environment. I cannot stand working in a situation where people are so arrogant that they just are really inconsiderate or can’t get their shit together or whatever it is that keeps them from functioning properly. And I’m deathly afraid of being that guy.
Did you write at all this time thinking about what this band is capable of and playing to those strengths?
The thing about this band is, and I really have not sat down and analyzed it in any way, shape or form, everybody is such great rock ‘n’ roll players. They can play pretty much everything, but there’s that spirit of people who grew up in it, they’ve learned from Kiss to Ramones to whatever and everything in between, there’s Zeppelin, some Rush, whatever, they know everything, but they really love it. They have really great influences, so I can pretty much do anything with them and so that’s one of the reasons I just wrote whatever I felt like and didn’t think about whether they can play it or not and I just made it up. When I played it for them we were off and running every single song.
posted 7:44 AM
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Whether the group plays together or not remains to be seen, but it appears there will be some sort of reunion of Guns N' Roses' original lineup at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 14 in Cleveland.
"I know that all the original band is going to be there," keyboardist Dizzy Reed, the longest-standing member of the current GN'R and an inductee that night, tells Billboard.com. "I don't know exactly what's going to go down. It's one of those things I'm sure will all come together and be really cool. I'm just going to go in with a good attitude and a clear head and a grateful heart."
Fans have been abuzz about whether the GNR crew -- which will also include continuing frontman Axl Rose, guitarists Slash, Izzy Stradlin and Gilby Clarke, bassist Duff McKagen and drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum -- would put aside well-publicized differences at the ceremony and pick up their instruments together. Nobody has said for sure what will happen, and Adler has even expressed open doubts about the possibility. Reed, meanwhile, says it's not even been a topic of conversation between he and Rose since the Rock Hall's class of 2012 was announced in December.
"Honestly, we haven't spoken about it," Reed says. "I don't know when or why or how to bring it up. It's not an every day sort of thing. So we haven't really talked about it -- but I'm sure we'll have to at some point."
Reed calls the Rock Hall honor "pretty cool...especially when you think about all the people who are already in and helped make rock 'n' roll what it is. It's a real who's who of great musicians." The keyboardist adds that he's also excited "for the people that have supported Guns 'N Roses over the years. It's really cool for them more than anyone else. To me, that's the most important thing."
The current GN'R, meanwhile, is playing more than celebrating. Following an arena swing in 2011, the group is playing seven club and theater shows, including three in New York City and in Chicago, Detroit, Silver Spring, Md. and Atlantic City. At the group's Feb. 10 show at New York's Roseland Ballroom, Rose and co. tore through a 150-minute set that included their Appetite for Destruction hits and some deep cuts from Chinese Democracy, leaving the small crowd delighted.
"It's always cool to change things up like that and be a little more intimate with the crowd," Reed says. "Obviously we have to scale things down a little bit. The stage won't be quite as big. Hopefully there won't be as much pyro -- I always feel safer when there's not."
GN'R will return to bigger spaces in mid-May, when it begins a European tour of arenas and festivals -- including the Gods Of Metal weekend in Milan, Italy -- although Reed notes that "if they throw in some club shows here and there, I've got no complaints. I'm totally into it."
And how about for work on a follow-up to 2008's Chinese Democracy? "There are some clamoring and rumors that we might be getting some material together here after we do this little (theater) run, so we'll see what happens," Reed says. "I just go with the flow. I'm always recording and stuff. If it happens it will be really fun and cool. I love creating stuff with all the guys. And there was so much material that didn't make it onto (Chinese Democracy). From what I remember there were a lot of really cool songs; I can only hope that some of that stuff does resurface and get worked out."
posted 4:04 PM
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution - a new book by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, collects interviews with over 400 key people from MTV's Golden Age. In one excerpt, "Estranged" director Andy Morahan talks about the making of the video.
Says Morahan "By the time we got to 'Estranged,' Axl had split up with Stephanie Seymour, and he said, 'I never want a girl in a video again. I'd rather go out with a dolphin.' Which is why I put dolphins all over the video. I've been asked by students about the metaphorical imagery in those videos, and I'm like, 'Fuck if I know.'
"I Want My MTV" Interviews [Part 2]
posted 3:18 PM
Friday, February 17, 2012
According to a recent tweet from Steven Adler, his mother, Deanna Adler, has signed a deal for her long-awaited tell-all book, Sweet Child Of Mine: How I Lost My Son to Guns N' Roses (formerly No Bed Of Roses). The book, which was previously expected to arrive late last year via HarperCollins, is now due in April.
During the last quarter century, Deanna Adler kept her diaries, journals, and personal letters, as well as a dozen scrapbooks and hundreds of photographs, putting them aside for safekeeping. Sweet Child Of Mine is her stunning book about raising her son, Steven Adler, and the travails of keeping him alive and herself sane.
Deanna's son has had a turbulent life in GN'R and afterward; he struggled with drug addiction, financial ruin after being kicked out of Guns N' Roses, and health problems that almost claimed his life several times — two heart attacks, a suicide attempt, and a debilitating stroke. Now, he appears to have finally beaten his epic twenty-year addiction to crack and heroin. But through it all, his mother was by his side. Deanna offers a window into the world of rock'n'roll and addiction while at the same time providing deep insights into her son's tortured years.
posted 6:41 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2012
As they prepare for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Guns N’ Roses have launched a new website.
Fans can also find 14 of the band’s music videos, and links to all of their albums.
Previously a few fan run sites were doing the job for the band, who’s official page had been a victim of neglect. In addition to the free content, Guns N’ Roses is now offering two levels of membership privileges. For $29.99 one gets access to the digital community, fan club pre-sale tickets, an exclusive bandana and official laminate. Spend $20 more and you get a fan club t-shirt.
posted 6:53 AM
Monday, February 13, 2012
Manager and producer Alan Niven is currently telling his side of the Guns N’ Roses story in a three-part interview with Metal Sludge.
In Part 2 of the interview, Niven talks about the band’s big breakthrough, which came on the back of a strong live reputation and a few late night MTV plays. “MTV put the band on overnight, when you had to use an alarm clock to see the videos,” Niven said. “But even in overnight, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ got a reaction, so MTV started moving it up. By March of ’88, it had gone gold. Then on April 7, 1988, it went platinum.”
Niven also opened up about talking Axl Rose through his stage fright, which threatened to cripple the crucial tour with Aerosmith that proved to be a key turning point for the band. “He’s a singer, and singers who have to go out there three, four or five times a week, they invest their spirit in what they’re singing,” Niven said. “The guitar players have something in their hands. They’re not naked. The singer is out there naked, and sometimes that’s hard to do. Obviously, Axl still has problems with it because he’s still late.”
Niven, who also managed Great White, is currently working with guitarist Chris Buck – who Niven said is the best guitarist he’s ever worked with – and Arizona band Storm of Perception.
MTV Interviews: "It was like Spinal Tap with money"
posted 8:52 AM
Friday, February 10, 2012
GN'R will play the first of seven intimate small club shows and the first of three shows in New York tonight at Roseland Ballroom.
We'll keep you updated here with the latest developments as they ... develop.
February 10 - Roseland Ballroom - New York, NY
February 12 - Terminal 6 - New York, NY
February 15 - The Ritz (Webster Hall) - New York, NY
February 16 - Hiro Ballroom - New York, NY
February 19 - House of Blues - Chicago, IL
February 21 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI
February 23 - The Fillmore - Silver Spring, MD
February 24 - House of Blues - Atlantic City, NJ
February 27 - The Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
February 29 - Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theatre - Miami, FL
March 3 - House of Blues - Lake Buena Vista, FL
February 24 - House of Blues - Atlantic City, NJ
posted 9:29 PM
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Slash — the iconic, Grammy-winning rock guitarist and songwriter — is currently in a Los Angeles studio putting the finishing touches on his second solo album. The as-yet-untitled disc is due out May 22 on Slash's own label Dik Hayd International distributed through EMI and will follow his 2010 debut album, Slash, and his November 2011 first-ever live solo album, the two-CD/DVD set Made In Stoke 24/7/11. Notably, the Slash album debuted on The Billboard 200 chart at #3 (#1 on the Rock chart, #1 on the Independent chart, and #1 on the Hard Music chart). Digitally, the album also became the #1 overall digital album and hit #1 on iTunes in 13 countries. Internationally, the disc achieved Top 5 chart positions in over a dozen major territories, hitting #1 in both Japan and New Zealand.
For the new album, Slash — along with and his bandmates Myles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass) — teamed with producer Eric Valentine, who also produced the Slash disc. All the songs were written together by Slash and Kennedy, and cameras have been rolling throughout the entire making of the album. Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes footage airing weekly beginning today.
YOU CAN PRE-ORDER THE CLASSIC ROCK FAN PACK EDITION OF SLASH'S NEW ALBUM HERE.
A question-and-answer session with Slash about the new album follows below.
Q: Looking at all your Twitter updates, you sound really pumped about the new disc. This time around, you and Myles wrote all the songs and he sings lead on all the tracks. What inspired this scenario since your debut solo album featured multiple vocalists (including Myles on two songs)?
Slash: Well, having Myles sing on the first record inspired me to take him on the road, then taking him on the road inspired me to have him sing on the whole record. So yeah, the tour last year definitely inspired the decision for him to sing on the new record. He has a really broad range. He is just very musical as far as his melodic style is concerned and he's also very lyrical and just a really powerful singer. There's a lot of positives about the way he sings.
Q: Perhaps you want to talk a bit here about your other bandmates and what they each bring to the sound?
Slash: There's Brent who is probably one of the best drummers I've ever played with — he has a great way of playing very powerful rock n roll while still being able to keep it behind the beat and sexy. And then Todd has got to be one of the most overall talented musicians I've worked with, just a really great bass player. Todd's very quick in the studio, a quick learner and creative as a writer; on top of that, he's also a great singer.
Q: Beyond you and Myles writing all the songs and Myles singing all the leads, in what other ways is the new album perhaps different from your debut solo album?
Slash: Myles and I basically collaborated on the new material. The main thing is we wrote these songs together which is a big difference from the last album where I wrote each song with all of the different collaborators. The whole creative nucleus is between Myles and me. On top of this, the whole rhythm section of Brent and Todd brings something to the table and changes the dynamic completely from the last record — it's much more cohesive.
Q: With your record company Dik Hayd Records, you remain an independent artist and work with major companies for distribution. Can you talk about how you as an artist benefit by this scenario in these interesting times for the music industry?
Slash: It puts me more in the driver's seat of how I want to market the record, but even more importantly than that, I'm not giving half of everything that comes in on the album to the record company.
Q: Eric Valentine returns as producer for the new disc. What do you feel he brings as a producer to these songs and the overall approach?
Slash: The first thing we always talk about with Eric is he's an extremely gifted musician, but he is basically as talented an engineer, so it makes for a great combination as a producer. As a person he's easy to work with — he's very patient and he lives and breathes what he does. That's a lot like how I am, we're similar; I can call him at any moment and ask him a question or share an idea I have with him. He's always in his element and it's something that I can appreciate.
Q: You toured the world seven times with the last album. What are your tour plans for the new album?
Slash: Right now we're starting off with radio shows in the states and then we'll do as much of Europe as possible. We'll also tour in Asia and Australia, and try to hit South Africa this year as well as India and a couple other spots. Trying to just broaden our horizons a bit.
Slash 2012 Tour Dates
SLASH: New Album (2012)
posted 2:11 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution - Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum's new book collects interviews with over 400 key people from MTV's Golden Age. In the following excerpt (part 2 of 2), Steven Adler, Sebastian Bach, Nigel Dick, Doug Goldstein, Dave Grohl, Courtney Love, Alan Niven, Tom Petty, Riki Rachtman and more dish even more dirt on Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion video trilogy, their spats with Vince Neil and Kurt Cobain, and the beginning of the end ...
TOM PETTY: I played the VMAs with Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin from Guns N Roses — we did "Free Fallin" and "Heartbreak Hotel." I thought it was kind of a shaky performance. We didn't get a lot of rehearsal time, because Cher was doing a big production number and there wasn't much time for us.
As we finished "Heartbreak Hotel" and walked offstage, Vince Neil from Motley Crüe came running out of the wings and decked Izzy, hit him right in the face. Our sound guy, Jim Lenahan, was walking off the stage with us, and Lenahan was like, "I don't even know this Izzy kid, but he's with us," so he decked Vince Neil. Izzy was getting a lot of black eyes those days. I think he already had a black eye before Vince hit him.
SEBASTIAN BACH: I was on the side of the stage when Vince punched Izzy. Vince's gold bracelet flew off his wrist as he cracked Izzy. It was a big chunk of gold. Vince was huffing and puffing, and I was like, "Dude, I've got your bracelet." He's like, "You can have it, man." In the day, if somebody said something bad about your band, you were obliged to punch him. It was considered totally appropriate.
ALAN NIVEN: Izzy and I were walking offstage when Vince came out of the darkness and whomped Izzy on the face, at which point I threw Vince to the floor and put my left hand around his throat. I cocked up my right arm to bury in his nose, and had a moment of lucidity where I looked at his rhinoplasty, said, "That's too expensive," and let him up. Then Axl ran all over the building, trying to find Motley and extend the dialogue further. It was very timely that Nikki had jumped into a limo and fled the scene.
RIKI RACHTMAN: Put it this way, if you said "Riki Rachtman," you thought Guns N' Roses. If you said "Adam Curry," you thought Bon Jovi. You wouldn't picture Adam waking up in a gutter, but you knew I did. You wouldn't picture Adam getting arrested, but I did. I was living the rock n' roll lifestyle without ever picking up an instrument. I opened a club called the Cathouse in September 1986, a mile or two from the Sunset Strip in LA. I hate saying it, because I'm patting myself on the back, but it was the most important rock club of that era. Everyone played there: Guns N' Roses, Faster Pussycat, Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains. I didn't see Headbangers Ball, because the chances of me being home on a Saturday night were nil. On Saturday, we got hammered.
I was with Guns N' Roses when they got their record deal, all the way up to recording Appetite for Destruction, when all of a sudden they became the biggest rock band in the world. We'd see Adam Curry, and it didn't make sense for him to be on Headbangers Ball. So Axl said, "Do you want to be a VJ on MTV? I'll make a call." I walked into my audition with Axl. Would I have gotten the VJ job without him? I doubt it. I had no TV experience — I had drinking experience, that's all I had. I started hosting in January 1990 — I wore a Motorhead shirt and a studded leather jacket with a blue circle for the Germs, because I wanted to hold on to my punk roots. I still don't feel comfortable saying the word, but that show made me kind of famous.
TONY DiSANTO: When Guns N' Roses started getting some fame, we shot interviews with them at the Chelsea Hotel, and their energy was so I-don't-give-afuck, so punk rock. When Use Your Illusion came out, the next set of interviews was with Kurt Loder in Axl's beautiful LA backyard. His hair was blow-dried, his teeth were all perfect, and he looked like an angel. I was like, "Wow, they've sure changed."
ANDY MORAHAN: Two of Axl's favorite artists were Elton John and George Michael. Which was bizarre. As a matter of fact, he hated most other rock bands. If you spoke to him about Van Halen or Nirvana, he'd be spitting feathers, but when it came time to talk about Elton John, he'd go all misty-eyed. One of his favorite videos was George Michael's "Father Figure," and he wanted to make some big, epic narrative-driven videos.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: After Axl fired Alan Niven, I walked into Eddie Rosenblatt's office and said, "We're gonna make an expensive video." And he said, "Doug, we're out of the video business with you. You pay for your own videos. We'll front the money, but we'll take it back, and then you guys own the rights to your videos."
ALAN NIVEN: The videos that were done under my watch totaled something like $500,000, of which half went into "Paradise City." I was told it cost $1.25 million to shoot "November Rain," which to me is a preposterous waste of money.
STEVEN ADLER: I think that video would have been better if I was a part of it. But I'd been kicked out of the band for partying — and the biggest irony is, I was partying with the guys in the band.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: The videos caused tension in the band. Axl would just not show up for a day of shooting, so it doubled the cost. He did that on every video. Everybody else in the band was upset about it, and Slash was the only one who spoke up.
DAVE GROHL: When a musician starts to use the phrase "mini-movie" to describe a video, it's time to quit. Some videos I enjoyed just because they were train wrecks, like "November Rain." I looked forward to seeing that on TV because I didn't need those nine minutes of my life anymore.
DANIEL PEARL: Axl was as unreliable a person as you could possibly imagine, but at the same time he was a good benefactor. I did three big videos with Andy Morahan for Guns N' Roses — "Don't Cry," "November Rain," and "Estranged" — and each one cost over a million dollars, God bless 'em.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: Oh fuck. To be honest, I blank on the Use Your Illusion videos, because they all seem like the same video to me.
ANDY MORAHAN: Axl had written a trilogy of videos based around a short story by his friend Del James. We made "Don't Cry" the first video. Axl was undergoing regressive therapy, he'd gone through bouts of severe depression and wanting to blow his brains out, and his personal madness became part of the video's story line. Izzy Stradlin had left the band, and the cracks were starting to appear — the trilogy was Axl's way of saying, "I'm gonna take control here." Before we started those videos, Use Your Illusion was up to about 8 or 9 million in sales. After those videos, it went up to 22 million.
If I wanted to do a daylight scene, I'd have to keep the band up all night and shoot it first thing in the morning. They were like vampires. I had a day set aside for the graveyard scene. I had half of the LA County cemetery closed down, and a cortege and two hundred extras and four rain machines, and Axl didn't show up until it was dark. That's why the graveyard scene is at night.
PETER BARON: Andy Morahan shot part of "Don't Cry" on the top of the Transamerica Center in downtown LA. We had two helicopters. It was mayhem. We got in a lot of trouble from the city because we completely stalled traffic on a Friday night.
ANDY MORAHAN: Stephanie Seymour and Axl were lovey-dovey on the first video. Stephanie had no shame in cuddling up to Axl in front of me and saying, "Hey Axl, why don't you work with some really big Hollywood directors?" Thanks, Steph. Love you, too.
PETER BARON: When the "Don't Cry" shoot finally ended, I got on the freight elevator by myself to go down to my car. I press the button, and just as the doors start to close, who walks in but Axl and Stephanie Seymour. And they proceed to make out. I'm not going to say he was dry humping her, but he was dry humping her. He just did not care that there was someone else in the elevator. He was a rock star, and he was having a rock star moment.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: Their relationship was tumultuous. Axl loved that girl to death. I'd say Stephanie was the unstable one in that relationship. The first time I met her, she opened the door naked. She goes, "No, you can come in." Sorry, gotta go.
ANDY MORAHAN: We couldn't figure out what we were going to do with Slash in "November Rain." I said to him, "Wouldn't it be cool if you walked out of the church into a completely different environment?" And he said, "Yeah, let's go to New Mexico and do that." So we did. Weirdly enough, Anton Corbijn was staying in the same hotel as us in New Mexico. I'd known Anton for a while, and I invited him to come to the shoot. After about a half hour he said to me, "Andy, this is incredible. You've got five cameras, cranes, helicopter, this big crew. Is this the whole video?" I said, "No, it's about twenty-seven seconds of it."
I've had calls from Sofia Coppola's people over the years asking to buy the original storyboards from "November Rain."
All three songs — "Don't Cry," "November Rain," and "Estranged" — are overblown power ballads. And all three videos are crazy. It was like Spinal Tap with money. I still don't know to this day why, in "November Rain," you see only half of Stephanie Seymour's face in the coffin.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: Axl jumping off the oil tanker in "Estranged," that's got to be the most extravagant thing I've ever seen.
BILL BENNETT, record executive: I got a notice at work one day that Sunset Boulevard was going to be closed all afternoon for a video, and thought, Who the fuck would close down Sunset? Guns N' Roses, that's who, for "Estranged." Their videos were late, bloated, and expensive. The band was so big, they did whatever they wanted.
ANDY MORAHAN: By the time we got to "Estranged," Axl had split up with Stephanie Seymour, and he said, "I never want a girl in a video again. I'd rather go out with a dolphin." Which is why I put dolphins all over the video. I've been asked by students about the metaphorical imagery in those videos, and I'm like, "Fuck if I know."
ANDY MORAHAN: I wanted to cry when I saw "Teen Spirit." I thought it was perfect. In a way, Guns N' Roses, myself, we became the dinosaurs, the kind of artists punk rockers hated. We'd become overblown and indulgent and kind of stupid, and then Nirvana happened and suddenly everything was grunge and cheap, and thank god for it, you know?
COURTNEY LOVE: We're sitting backstage at the VMAs. Everybody in the world is in this big tent, and there's a Guns N' Roses camp and there's a Nirvana camp. Literally, our roadies and their roadies are getting in fights. We stayed in our trailer most of the time because Kurt was sick, but we got bored, probably because there weren't any drugs to do, except coke, and we wouldn't have noticed that. So Kurt and I wander out to the main trailer with Frances, and Axl Rose comes over and he looks nervous. Everyone was watching us. I said something to him, I can't remember what, and he said to Kurt, "Get your bitch to shut up or I'll take you to the pavement." Kurt was holding Frances, and in a moment of pure brilliance he said to me, "Shut up, bitch," in the most deadpan possible voice. The whole room laughed at Axl. It was like your worst Freudian nightmare of a whole room laughing at you. I knew it would be a story I'd be telling many years later. Then Stephanie Seymour thought she'd be clever, and said to me, "Aren't you a model?" And I said, "No, aren't you a nuclear physicist?" At that moment, the world was definitely on our side.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: I'd love to straighten out the story about Axl and Kurt Cobain. Axl loved Kurt's music, but Kurt used to say not very nice things about Axl. And Axl could never understand why.
So we're walking along, it's me and Stephanie and Axl, and all of a sudden I hear this voice: "It's Asshole Rose. It's Asshole Rose." It was Courtney. Axl said, "Fuck off," and kept walking. She said, "Asshole. What are you doing, Asshole?" So finally, Axl was pissed off and he walked over to Kurt and said, "Look, if you can't shut that bitch's trap, maybe I should shut yours." The instigator in this situation was Courtney.
AMY FINNERTY: Courtney was obviously trying to rile Axl. He said to Kurt, "You better get a handle on your woman." So Kurt screamed at Courtney, "Woman! You better listen to me!" At which point we all cracked up. But when Axl walked away, Kurt quietly said, "Honestly, that was really scary."
DAVE GROHL: That was a really weird night. It felt like I was back in high school, and that's one of the reasons I'd dropped out in the first place.
AMY FINNERTY: After the show I went back to Nirvana's trailer. As I got there, I saw Duff McKagan and a couple of the guys from the Guns N' Roses camp rocking the trailer back and forth, trying to tip it over. They were trying to get back at Kurt for his comments. I started screaming at them, "The baby's in there, the baby's in there!" They stopped, but it was ugly for a second.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution
posted 12:51 PM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution - Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum's new book collects interviews with over 400 key people from MTV's Golden Age. In the following excerpt (part 1 of 2), Steven Adler, Sebastian Bach, Nigel Dick, Doug Goldstein, Dave Grohl, Courtney Love, Alan Niven, Tom Petty, Riki Rachtman and more dish the dirt on Guns N' Roses and their meteoric rise during the late 1980s ...
-- "WE'VE ALWAYS LOVED GUNS N' ROSES" -- CHICKS AND A SNAKE, HEADBANGERS BALL, AND THE RETURN OF HARD ROCK
No one was a bigger underdog than Guns N' Roses, five scuzzballs from LA whose caustic notion of hard rock had little to do with Poison or Bon Jovi. As with rap, MTV was afraid of the band. The network relented only under pressure from David Geffen, one of the titans of the record business, and ironically, Guns eventually became so prominent on MTV — in his memoir, guitarist Slash called MTV "a channel that helped us out, but that we didn't care for" — that the network hired a new VJ mostly because he came recommended by the band.
JOHN CANNELLI: I was taking a ride through Central Park on my ten-speed, and I put the Guns N' Roses cassette on my Walkman. When I heard "Welcome to the Jungle," I almost fell off my bike.
SAM KAISER: I had two right arms in the department. One was Rick Krim and the other was John Cannelli. John maybe had the best eyes and ears in the place. He was soft-spoken and dry, but he had a knack for picking stuff. When John spoke up, you listened. He brought us a video by Guns N' Roses, "Welcome to the Jungle," and I fell out of my chair.
TABITHA SOREN: The news department was a less important area in the scheme of the channel. MTV was just discovering Guns N' Roses, and they traded exclusive access to some A-list video for an interview with the band at CBGB. Nobody wanted to do it, so they sent me, with a crew. I was nineteen, and Axl aid, "Are you even old enough to be in here?" It was so exciting. Then I went home to my dorm room and went to sleep.
NIGEL DICK: I was strictly known as a pop guy. But I was a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Bad Company, and Free, so getting to direct a Great White video was a breakthrough for me. And I was on my second Great White video when Alan,Niven, their manager, said, "I've got this new band called Guns N' Roses. They're hugely difficult, they don't want to work with anybody, nobody wants to work with them. Would you do their video?" I turned him down. A week later, Alan said, "Look, I can't find anybody to do it. You have to do me a favor." So I thought, What the heck, I'll make some extra money. I shot the second Great White video on, say, a Thursday and Friday, and shot "Welcome to he Jungle" on Saturday and Sunday. I honestly preferred Great White's music.
STEVEN ADLER: Guns N' Roses, At the time, nobody wanted to have anything to do with us. They were afraid one of us was gonna die, or kill somebody. Even recording Appetite for Destruction, we had ten different producers who said, "No way, I already heard about those guys." And then, of course, they all regretted it.
ALAN NIVEN: The budget that Geffen afforded for "Jungle" was insufficient for us to realize the storyboard we wanted, so we piggybacked it onto a Great White shoot, so we could have a four-day rental in equipment and staff.
NIGEL DICK: The video for "Welcome to the Jungle" was Alan Niven's idea. He told me, "Axl will step off a bus, then he'll be sitting in a chair watching TV, and there will be all this horrible footage on the TV." The hardest part of a Guns N' Roses video was waiting for Axl to show up. He was always late. He had to be in he right vibe, and you couldn't get too pushy. You were always worried he'd have a tantrum and leave. After we did the close-up of him on a stage, he hid in he dressing room for two hours. He couldn't handle the shiny boards and the ights and the bounce cards. Suddenly, instead of a bunch of hot girls at his feet when he's singing, there were a bunch of aged film people with light meters. It freaked him out.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN, manager: Nigel was quiet and soft-spoken. If Axl was running two and a half hours late, Nigel was like, "Well, he'll get here when he gets here."
ALAN NIVEN: Everything of worth in a video is stolen from somewhere, so I stole from some cool movies. Axl's character is a corollary to Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy, who comes to a city that's a cauldron of false dreams. That plays beautifully into the scene from The Man Who Fell to Earth where David Bowie is in a motel out in the desert with a pile of TVs, trying to absorb information about the planet he's landed on. Then there's the scene from A Clockwork Orange, when they're made to watch all these insane images on TV.
STEVEN ADLER: Believe it or not, we couldn't find any girls to be in the video It was one night out of forever when no girls were around. So I called my roommate — her name was Julie, I couldn't tell you her last name — and she's the girl laying in bed with me while Axl watches the TVs. There was an X-rated part where I was making out with the girl, rubbing and licking her neck, her boobs were out and everything. When we went to Japan, I saw the video and they didn't cut out that scene. It was so great!
TOM HUNTER: When they submitted "Welcome to the Jungle," we accepted it for Headbangers Ball, which was typically what we'd do with a video that extreme. Axl was twitching in an electric chair!
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: MTV wasn't interested. Their response was "We'll play it two times overnight and see how it goes."
ALAN NIVEN: MTV didn't give a damn. Didn't care.
NIGEL DICK: Initially, they wanted to play it only once or twice after midnight Then we had to re-edit it, because there was a brief moment when a red soda machine appeared, and MTV said it could have been perceived as a Coca-Cola sign.
JOHN CANNELLI: There was controversy over how much to play "Welcome to the Jungle." Our GM, Lee Masters, thought we were playing too much hard rock. Lee and Tom Hunter, the guys with radio backgrounds, were afraid of the video. Tom got some pressure from Geffen, so we put it on the overnights, and all of a sudden we started getting requests. Then we played it in the afternoon, and from there it went through the roof. And I became GN'R's guy at the network. We did one of Axl's first MTV interviews at my apartment in Chelsea.
EDDIE ROSENBLATT: We had sold a couple hundred thousand albums and they still wouldn't play the video. I sent my weekly sales report on the album to Lee Masters, and I got on the phone and made him read it with me.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: The interesting thing nobody knows is that we'd been touring for a year and three months and had sold 150,000 units. Eddie Rosenblatt took Alan Niven to lunch and said, "Great first album, it's time to record another one." But Alan begged for the money to make the "Sweet Child O' Mine" video.
ALAN NIVEN: I looked at Eddie with total disbelief and said, "What do you think might happen if we got MTV's support?"
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: Axl was frustrated that "Jungle" wasn't getting played. He and Cannelli were great friends, so he couldn't understand why they wouldn't play it. He knew that, in order to be one of the biggest bands in the world, they'd have to be played on MTV. Axl loved Cannelli. He didn't care John was gay, that didn't bother him at all.
GARY GERSH: David Geffen and Eddie Rosenblatt didn't spend much time lisening to people bitch about what they weren't getting done. We all courted MTV, from David on down. It was different at Geffen — we didn't have a central video promotion person. It was like, "Get your fucking ass in there if you want your video played."
TOM FRESTON: The programming group decided to put "Welcome to the Jungle" on Headbangers Ball for starters. Not in regular rotation. It was getting played a couple of times a week. David Geffen called me and said, "Every time you guys play this thing at 3 A.M., our sales light up. Please leave it on." Normally, I would never tell the programming guys what to put into rotation. But this was David Geffen. And the song kicked ass. Guns N' Roses broke out.
TOM HUNTER: Freston called me and said we had to play "Welcome to the Jungle" in regular rotation. I said, "Have you seen the video?" He said, "One of the pieces of advice I got from Pittman was: When David Geffen calls, pay attention. And Geffen called me."
ALAN NIVEN: I love the euphemistic quality of that statement. In other words, David is an incredibly powerful person, don't piss him off.
TOM HUNTER: If we added it into regular rotation, we'd get shit from other managers and labels whose hard rock videos we wouldn't play. So I handwrote it into the programming log — that way, the add wouldn't appear in trade magazines. I gave it two plays a day in regular rotation. It got an amazing number of calls right out of the box.
NIGEL DICK: On the second Guns N' Roses video, "Sweet Child O' Mine," all the girls from the Geffen office wanted to be in the video. There's a scene with a guy on a dolly, pulling focus or something. He worked at MTV. Alan said we needed to put him in the video because he was part of the team that could make sure the video got played.
There'd been two previous attempts to shoot "Sweet Child O' Mine." We had the location and the crew booked, but the band was unable to appear because they were "ill." I was quite happy, because I got paid each time.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: Axl left some of the best of 'em waiting. He left the Rolling Stones waiting for a sound check. In late '89, Niven took Axl to do a pay-perview show in Atlantic City and he kept banging on Axl's door. Axl said, "The longer you pound, the longer I'm gonna take." Two hours later, Axl walks onstage and Mick Jagger is staring at him. And Keith Richards says, "I slept inside of a chandelier last night. What's your excuse?"
JOHN CANNELLI: I'm in the "Sweet Child O' Mine" video. I was there when they shot it, and they asked me to be in it. I'm like, "I can't be in your video. People already accuse me of being on your payroll." So they put me on a dolly and shot me so you can't see my face. I have a clear recollection: It was the same day we shot Cher for the final "I Want My MTV" ad campaign, and she won the Oscar for Moonstruck.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: "Sweet Child O' Mine" is about Erin Everly, so it was important to Axl to have her in the video. He didn't want to cause any shit with the rest of the guys by excluding their girlfriends: Angie, who was Izzy's girlfriend; Cindy, who was married to Duff; and Cheryl Swiderski, Steven's wife, are also in the video.
STEVEN ADLER: The girlfriends and wives, they didn't demand to be in the video, but it was something that wasn't said and had to be done. Everybody's got a wife or a girlfriend in the video — except Izzy, who's there with his dog. Or maybe that was his girlfriend.
NIGEL DICK: The idea for "Sweet Child O' Mine" was simple. After the first coule of takes, I thought, God, this is awful. It's so dull. Some execs from Geffen sere standing behind me, going, "This is so fucking cool." I'm thinking, I'm hooting a bunch of guys playing guitar. What's special about this? But for whatever reason, people thought it was the hottest thing in the world. There's nothng remarkable about the video at all, except, of course, for the band. Which is exactly how it should be.
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: MTV liked "Sweet Child O' Mine" a lot. Cannelli was on-site, which he seemed to be for most of our videos in the early days. He said, "It's a great video, Doug. We're going to play it." And the label relaunched "Jungle" after that. So they had two songs being played regularly on MTV. And it just took off.
NIGEL DICK: Soon everyone at MTV was like, "Yeah, we've always loved Guns N' Roses!"
ALAN NIVEN: On the first video, Axl didn't have confidence in his ideas or how hey could be applied. But once he'd done "Jungle," now he was David Lean. For Sweet Child," he had an incredibly involved story line that he wanted to apply ith his microscopic sense of myopic detail. So I asked Nigel Dick to give me a thumbnail budget, and he said it would be at least $250,000. I told Axl and said, By the way, we've got $35,000."
Nigel came up with a brilliant idea. Anyone on the set who had a spare five minutes could grab a windup Bolex camera and shoot B-roll. He had one of his staff sit there all night long, loading the Bolexes with 16mm film. Then we did two different edits of the video, so when "Sweet Child" toók off and the first video reached burnout stage, I dropped version number two to Cannelli and extended the life of the song at MTV. The first version was a mix of color and black-and-white, and the second was entirely black-and-white except for the final shot, when Axl fades into color.
JOHN CANNELLI: There was an element of danger with Guns N' Roses. They seemed fragile; there always seemed to be a crisis. But God, when you saw them perform ... I booked them for a concert called Live at the Ritz, and the show was amazing.
STEVE BACKER: Guns N' Roses gave MTV a second wind. Dana Marshall produced a live show with Guns N' Roses from the Ritz. I went to MTV and there must have been twenty people hunched into her office, just to watch her edit raw footage of Guns N' Roses.
ALAN NIVEN: MTV had a conflicted relationship with mainstream America. They were club-dwelling, Manhattan-living aficionados who were more comfortable with music coming out of London than with what played in Peoria or Birmingham. They played hard rock only because they wanted to pay the bills. It was selling records hand over fist at the time.
NIGEL DICK: "Paradise City" was the biggest video I'd ever done. It cost $200,000, $45,000 of which was a payment to the unions at Giants Stadium. They got $45,000 for carrying a hundred camera cases thirty yards from a parking lot into the stadium.
ALAN NIVEN: We went from $35,000 to a $250,000 budget, shooting with six cameras at Giants Stadium in front of 77,000 people. I wanted to show the scale of the band's phenomenon. I needed the audience. And Axl is resplendent in his brand-new white leather jacket.
PETER BARON: There's an "It's So Easy" video we never released. It had Erin Everly, Axl's wife, in bondage. She had a ball-gag in her mouth. It was a bad look for them.
STEVEN ADLER: I never saw that, but I'd like to. Erin was a fox.
RIKI RACHTMAN: Sometimes you can find it on YouTube. It was a great video, filmed at the Cathouse in black-and-white, with Erin shaking her butt. I have no idea why it wasn't released. Maybe it was the ball-gag.
PETER BARON: The first Guns N' Roses video I commissioned was "Patience." Alan Niven sort of co-directed those early videos with Nigel Dick. We shot the conceptual part at the Ambassador Hotel, and the performance in Hollywood. Of course Axl showed up about seven hours late. And Izzy was screwed up. Coke was dripping out of his nose, but he didn't realize it because his whole face was numb.
NIGEL DICK: Mostly what I remember about that video is a shitload of chicks and coke.
ALAN NIVEN: Izzy, who was in the depths of a cocaine habit that was destroying him, sat in a dark corner while we were filming. When we looked at the footage, Nigel and I agreed to minimize Izzy in the video, because he looked wretched. He got sober not long thereafter, but that video represents the nadir of Izzy's cocaine habit. There were other moments when Slash was in dire condition, and moments when Steven was in dire condition. Those were the three that had the biggest problems with excess.
STEVEN ADLER: I was sitting there rolling joints. That was my whole gig in that video: light incense and roll joints. As for Izzy, if you look at the cover of Rolling Stone when we were on it in 1988, he's sitting on the ground, and if you look at his wrists, you can see the track marks. He was doing drugs longer than anybody, but he ended up getting it together better than anybody, and then he left the band because he got clean and couldn't be around us.
JOHN CANNELLI: One night, I was hanging out with Slash and his girlfriend in their hotel room. It was late, we'd been drinking, and she asked if I wanted to end the night with them. I'm pretty sure she meant more than just sleep on the couch. Now, as far as I know, she was speaking only for herself. There's no reason to think Slash was in on the offer. But I said, "Gee, thanks very much, but think I gotta go now."
DOUG GOLDSTEIN: When you're dealing with two heroin addicts, a cocaine addict, and a bipolar lead singer, every day is mayhem. Well, three heroin addicts, actually: Izzy, too. But Izzy cleaned up midway through the Appetite tour. Rehab wasn't working for some of the other guys, so I decided to sit in a hotel room for two weeks with Steven and give him sleeping pills, and clean up his puke and excrement. We went to the Orange Tree Resort in Arizona, and Steven is doing good, he's about four days clean and sleeping until 4 P.M. because of the pills. I decide to go golfing, and when I get back to the hotel, there's four ambulances, two fire engines, about fifteen cop cars, and three hundred people standing in a circle. Slash is there, naked. And bleeding. He'd come in overnight, to bring Steven heroin, I think. I told my security guy, "Earl, go to my room and get my briefcase." I used to carry between $30,000 and $50,000 at all times, just for situations like this.
So I go, "Did anybody see anything here?" And a guy goes, "Yeah, I did." So I walk away with him and he goes, "I saw him throw a maid to the ground." I'm thinking, Okay, this is not good. I said, "I notice you got a little blood on your shirt. That's, what, a $2,000 custom shirt?" He goes, "No, no." I said, "Trust me, I know clothing. That's a $2,000 shirt." I bring out $2,000 and give it to him. "Think you're okay going on with your day?" He said, "Yeah."
The cops are cracking up because they can see I'm paying people off. I grabbed the hotel manager and said, "Give the maid $1,000 and an apology from us, please. What about the damage to the hotel?" He goes, "I'd say it was $700." I said, "So another $2,000 will take care of that. Do you feel like pressing charges?" He goes, "No."
This whole time, Steven is on his balcony, yelling at Slash: "You stupid heroin addict!" We got in the car as quick as we could and boogied. It probably cost $10,000, but I kept 'em out of jail.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution
posted 12:57 AM