The Time Axl Rose and Steven Adler Nearly Killed Each Other
Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman comes out today.
Janiss Garza Axl Rose performing with G N' R at Music Machine in Santa Monica on September 13, 1986
It's an amazing account of the four-decades-old genre -- more than 700 pages long, with hundreds of interviews, many of them with essential players.
It gets into everything from the murder of Pantera's Dimebag Darrell to the, um, cannibalism in the Norwegian death metal scene.
There's also plenty on L.A. metal, and a really fun chapter on the glam scene, part of which is excerpted below.
It focuses on the early days of Guns N' Roses, before they had a record deal. When they weren't being wined and dined by labels, they were causing absolute mayhem and, in the case of Axl Rose and drummer Steven Adler, beating the shit out of each other.
From Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal:
Early on, one of Guns N' Roses' favorite haunts was the weekly rock club Cathouse.
RIKI RACHTMAN (DJ, VJ, Cathouse nightclub founder): The very first live performance at Cathouse was Guns N' Roses, Jet Boy, LA Guns, and Faster Pussycat, all taking turns playing acoustic; nobody had record deals. We probably had five hundred people there. Nobody knew Guns N' Roses would become the biggest band in the world.
VICKY HAMILTON (ex-Geffen A&R, manager): [GN'R] ended up living with me because Slash called one day and said, "The police are looking for Axl [on rape charges]. Can he come sleep on your couch for a couple of days?" This was before I was their manager. Axl moved in, then a few days later they were, like, "The police are still coming around. Can we move in?" So the rest of Guns is living with me, with the exception of Duff, who always lived with his girlfriend. I felt like I was having a heart attack every day because there was always something going on--the cops were beating at my door, or whatever. At one point, Howie Hubberman, who backed me on Poison and Guns N' Roses financially, said, "Here's a few hundred dollars. You and [roommate and concert promoter] Jennifer [Perry] need to go check in a hotel. I think you're gonna have a nervous breakdown and die." [The rape charges against Rose were ultimately dropped.]
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STEVEN ADLER: We lived there for three months; the five of us and Vicky and Jennifer. We destroyed this apartment. The last day we were there, Axl and I got into a fight and he pushed me into this fire extinguisher outside the front door. The glass broke and then I grabbed him in the living room, because he pushed me out the door. I pushed him on this coffee table; everything was destroyed.
VICKY HAMILTON: The building we lived in was the first apartment building on Clark Street, across from the Whisky. I wasn't present when that fight happened, but I did return to the broken window and my apartment being even more trashed than when I left. Once Steven was trying to help me pick up empty Jack Daniel's bottles and beer cans while Axl was sleeping on the couch. We woke him up and he was so mad he picked up the heavy wood coffee table (which I still have, complete with cigarette burns and water rings) and heaved it at Steven with everything on it. Then he started punching him. It was the day before a showcase and I said, "Great, you want to kill your drummer the day before an industry showcase. Perfect!"