Known as The World’s Most Dangerous Band, Guns N’ Roses blasted onto the L.A. rock scene in 1985, unleashing their debut album, Appetite For Destruction. It set the stage for a decade and beyond of destruction, hard-hitting rock and roll and lawsuits. Recently there has been talk of a reunion that may include the original members Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler. Although it is still just a rumor at this point, the fact that Axl and Slash are not denying it makes it intriguing and possible.
If you have ever followed Guns N’ Roses, you probably used the word “shocking” more than “interesting” in describing their antics and decision making. The band never seemed to take the easy road; specifically lead singer Axl Rose.
Events that didn’t make the list (honorable mentions) include the time Axl stopped a show in Buenos Aires after a fan threw a bottle his way. Given the language difference, Axl brought an interpreter on stage, threatening to cancel the show if it happened again. There was also the first “tour” now famously referred to as the “Hell Tour” where the band got into a wicked car accident that almost ended Guns N’ Roses before they were known.
This list has stories of missing contact lenses, fighting and of course, drugs. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the band Guns N’ Roses:
10. The Den of Sin
In the summer of 1985, the band lived just off Sunset Strip. In the back of their house was a parking lot called “Lot Number 619” by Los Angeles officials. This is where a lot of Guns N’ Roses’ early parties were held. It was also a place known for a variety of questionable activities. Of course it’s not like the band members spent all their time in the lot; sometimes they went inside their house. Izzy Stradlin had a room that faced the alley where he sold drugs out of the window. Selling narcotics was Guns N’ Roses version of fast-food drive thru.
9. Steven Adler Loses a Bass Drum
We’ve all heard the phrase “too much cowbell,” but what about too much bass drum? Everything about the band’s debut album was perfect, and that included Steven Adler’s drums. However, that may not have been the case had Adler had his way. During an early tryout, Adler left the band to use the restroom, and when he came back something was different. Izzy and Duff had taken (and hid) one of his bass drums as well as others, simplifying Adler’s drum set. He actually didn’t fully realize until he went to play the next song. Adler would go on to play without the extra drums and become part of history.
8. Axl Rose Loses His Contact Lenses
Drama always seemed to follow Axl and that’s putting it nicely. One particular day, a special day for the band (signing day with Geffen Records), Axl lost his contacts and instead of asking for help, stormed out of his home. Believing someone had stolen them, it made him unable to read the contract. They were found by Slash and the band’s manager, who went to go search for him. Where do you find dramatic Axl? On top of the famous Whisky A Go Go of course, sitting cross-legged for hours. Somehow, no one got angry at Rose being so difficult. In the end Axl was able to see and the contract was signed.
7. Sex Sounds to Rocket Queen
Adriana Smith was dating Adler and he cheated on her. To get her revenge she made nasty comments and broke up with Adler. Just kidding! Instead, she participated in the recording of “Rocket Queen” by sexual moaning while Axl Rose had sex with her. She was drunk and at the time was really into Axl. Rose did express concern, but not because he was nailing his drummer’s girl; instead, he was concerned that Smith’s sounds were fake and not real enough. Apparently there were regrets and Smith believes this incident contributed to her addiction problems with drugs and alcohol. Now she is an addiction counselor, so yeah, happy endings all around.
6. Don’t Call Axl “Bon Jovi”
Many of the eighties rock gods had rivalries, and Axl was in the center of more than one. Rose was not a fan of Jon Bon Jovi and when a fan compared Rose to him in 1987, well, Axl freaked out. Inside a hotel lobby in Chicago, Rose launched at the fan with his fist and started a brawl. Guns N’ Roses were in Chicago opening for Alice Cooper, the next night when Rose took the stage he stated “Bon Jovi can suck my d–k.” Was it that Bon Jovi had more holes in his jeans? We’ll never know what fueled this jealous rivalry. Jon patiently waited his turn though, in 2006 he was quoted as saying Rose shouldn’t receive so much press given it’s been so long since he made music.
5. Steven Adler Saves Nikki Sixx’s Life
Slash, Adler and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue walk into a bar. Ok, actually they’re snorting a ton of cocaine in a hotel room. Yeah, that’s more eighties (and more realistic). Anyway, how the story goes is that Adler leaves the hotel room to go shoot up heroin (because it would be rude to shoot heroin while others are only doing coke?), and when he returns, Slash has left and Sixx is unconscious, turning purple. It’s okay, though, because it’s Dr. Adler to the rescue. Luckily he had a cast on so that after he dragged Sixx to the bath tub he could smack him in the face with it until he regained consciousness. Waking up in the hospital the next day, Sixx didn’t remember anything and asked Adler why his face hurt so much.
4. Axl Rose Punches David Bowie
To say Axl has (had) a short fuse is an understatement of the year. There was a run of time when it seemed like every week Rose was involved in a fight. During the taping of “It’s So Easy” David Bowie visited and was flirting with Erin Everly, Axl’s model girlfriend at the time. Immediately, Rose stormed Bowie and punched him. Obviously he also kicked Bowie from the set. Eventually they patched things up and then went out drinking at the China Club. After several drinks Axl punched Bowie again. Okay, that never happened, but it’s so believable, isn’t it?
3. Axl Threatens to Quit While Opening For The Rolling Stones
Axl loved to use an introduction to a song as an opportunity to rant and blast others. There’s even a song “Get In The Ring” where Rose goes after different media outlets. Typically, he didn’t attack other members of the band. This changed when Guns N’ Roses opened four shows for The Rolling Stones. During the first show, Rose decided to stop the set and go on a rant about his band mates’ use of “Mr. Brownstone,” a reference to heroin. He said that if it didn’t stop there would be no more Guns N’ Roses shows. Slash was super strung out at the time and took the remarks to be directed at him personally. He would later say he hated Axl for that moment.
2. Tommy Hilfiger Punched Axl Rose
I probably should have just done a list of top 10 times Axl Rose punched or got punched. In 2010, Rose was seen often in Manhattan, partying it up with lots of celebrities. This was during the time of his braided hair, wig, or whatever that was. One particular night he was at a party for Rosario Dawson and he moved Tommy Hilfiger’s girlfriend’s drink. That was enough to set off the fashion designer, someone who apparently has a shorter fuse than Rose. His defense was that the situation was escalating and he noticed Rose was wearing a large ring and didn’t want to be hit first so he figured the best defense is a good offense.
1. The Spaghetti Incident
Count me as one that was always curious of the title of Guns N’ Roses covers album in 1993. Some thought it had to do with a food fight that occurred between Adler and Rose. Nope. In classic Guns style, it refers to drugs. Specifically it was Adler who stored his cocaine in the refrigerator next to Italian takeout. He even used “spaghetti” as his code word for his cocaine. The reference came up in court during a court deposition years later when Adler was blaming his addiction on the band. A lawyer asked Duff McKagan to “tell us about the spaghetti incident.” The rest is history.