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The Spaghetti Incident


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Guest Len B'stard

Something to do with a court case and Stevie Adler and a case of assault by way of spaghetti or something.

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" Album title

The title is an inside joke referring to a food fight between Axl Rose and Steven Adler involving spaghetti. Much was made of this food fight during Adler's resolution lawsuit with the band in 1993, in which Adler's attorney referred to it as "the Spaghetti Incident". The meaning was explained by drummer Matt Sorum in a 1994 interview with Much Music and confirmed by Slash in his autobiography, Slash.

During a discussion between Rose, Slash and the album's cover designer in the "Making of Estranged" video, it is made clear that the correct form of the title is within quotation marks and with a question mark."


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I always wanted more details on that food fight. Must have been one hell of a food fight to bring it up in court.

And I'm curious if the food fight happened during that photo shoot.

Edited by Dariablue
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There's also this one:


“It’s a very silly story,” warned Duff McKagan (formerly the bassist for Guns N’ Roses, now a member of Velvet Revolver) when I asked. The title originates from the summer of 1989, when singer Axl Rose wanted the band to relocate to Chicago. “The idea was Axl was from over the border in Indiana and he wanted to be close to home. So we got two condos and rehearsed above the Metro, and Axl never showed up.”

While McKagan, guitarist Slash, and drummer Steven Adler were waiting for Rose, they wrote a bunch of songs for Use Your Illusion, and ate a lot of Italian takeout. “And Steven was doing a lot of crack cocaine at this point, and he’d keep his blow in the refrigerator. So his code word for his stash was ‘spaghetti’,” McKagan told me. “Steven spiraled out of control. We said, Steven, we’re fucked-up individuals and we’re telling you that you gotta shape up, so you must be really fucked up.” Adler was fired in July 1990, the first member of the group to get canned (placing him years ahead of the GN’R curve).

Adler then sued the band under the novel premise that his drug addiction was their fault. Giving a deposition for the 1993 trial, McKagan was asked to cite instances of Adler’s bad behavior, and mentioned the Chicago drug stash. “So then I’m in court, with a jury and the whole thing, and this fuckin’ lawyer gets up, and with a straight face says, ‘Mr. McKagan, tell us about the spaghetti incident.’ And I started laughing.” The band ultimately settled out of court, writing Adler a check for 2.5 million dollars. When McKagan read through the trial transcripts, he was struck by the straight-faced absurdity of the phrase “the spaghetti incident,” which is how it ended up as an album title (complete with quotation marks) later that year.

You may have also wondered about the small semaphore message on the bottom of “The Spaghetti Incident?”‘s cover. McKagan never even noticed it was there; Slash peered at it and then told me, “It does have a meaning, but I’ve forgotten what.” Only Axl Rose knows what it means now, and he’s not talking.

Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.

I think how it got the quotes and the question mark was GNR's response in the trial to Adler's lawyer calling it the "Spaghetti Incident", and "The Spaghetti Incident?" is a WTF response from the band. Or this is just urban legend stuff made for people to question what it means. There was also a small David Bowie movie called "The Linguini Incident" that was out in '91.

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