Jump to content

WC - 10 Most Infamous Guns N' Roses Moments

Guest NGOG

Recommended Posts



The most dangerous band in the world. It’s hard to imagine now just how much trouble five young “runaways” would inflict upon the International music scene in such a short space of time. Living for the moment and sometimes moments from living this band were the definition of flying too close to the sun. Guns N’ Roses exploded onto the music scene in 1987 with their debut album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ – mixing the raw attitude of Punk with the aggression and musical styling of anything between Jimi Hendrix, Queen and The Rolling Stones. In a few short summers the band had imploded, into a mixture of myth and mystery, before front man W. Axl Rose emerged at the turn of a new Millennium with a cryptic video about cleanliness and earning the nickname “the Howard Hughes of Rock N’ Roll”

Today Guns N’ Roses tours and performs around the world – Axl Rose is still firmly at the helm, while his former bandmates (numbering between 3 and 30 depending on whose accounts you believe) attempt to forge their own solo careers. Bands like Slash’s Snakepit, Loaded, Velvet Revolver, Rockstar Supernova and Adler’s Appetite only find global success because of the links and connections they have to the Guns N’ Roses name. Talent simply doesn’t outshine infamy.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, and that’s not like me at all, neither is it like Guns N’ Roses. For your “appetite” I present the 10 Most Infamous Moments of Guns N’ Roses, providing an insight into this bands makeup, their personal members habits and feelings and maybe answering that Universal question – just what makes them so damn special? Welcome to the Jungle.

Honorable Mention – Celebrity Deathmatch 1999; Axl Rose vs. Slash

Although it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the actual history of Guns N’ Roses, or the infamy, this special occasion is worth an honourable mention. For those of you old enough to remember (you’d be surprised just how much I’m saying that these days) there was a time when MTV contained more than just celebrity rehab, bad Journalism (because the public has a right to know!) and Jackass clones.

Celebrity Deathmatch, a claymation show in which superstars were pitted against each other in a battle of blood and carnage, was one of the last “proper” shows to run on the network. Ironically, both CD and Beavis and Butthead (another incredible programme of that era) were relaunched and returned to MTV years later, casting a pale shadow over their former glories. If you think your youth died the day you turned 25 then think how I felt when I first saw Beavis and Butthead review a Katy Perry video! But I digress. Again.

Basically, this match see’s Axl face Slash in an old fan versus new fan’s dream, featuring some interesting quotations from the era (Slash asks Axl to stop using the GNR name on all his crappy albums – which Axl, as of 2013, has only done once) and Axl berates Slash for appearing on Hollywood Squares. Something I’d love to see. Referee Miles Lane get’s the best line though, saying that while Guns are absolutely forbidden, Roses would brighten things up a bit. Classic.

10. Warren Beatty Gets Abused (Paris, 1992)

Hell hath’ no fury like a woman scorned. But I don’t think the person who uttered this statement ever considered Axl Rose.

Guns N’ Roses toured for almost three years straight on the mammoth Use Your Illusion tour between 1991 and 1993 – with 1992 providing the most active year of touring that any band would do for nearly 20 years afterward. In the Summer of 92′ the band agreed to perform in Paris, with US management companies eager to bring in revenue from the audiences back home, who were still hungry for more following the bands US touring in 1991. A PPV event was proposed, with the event professionally shot and broadcast live, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Aerosmith and Jeff Beck.

On doctor’s orders, Beck had to pull out after his rehearsal, which isn’t the only thing that would put on a spoiler on the event. Management were concerned for Rose, who had a habit of going onstage late, having to negotiate that the event would have to start on time. Despite doing so Rose’s personal life was affecting backstage tensions within the band and he spent a few moments of each set abusing those he felt had given him the hardest time.

Before ‘Double Talkin’ Jive’ – a song written by former guitarist Izzy Stradlin (who Rose had been “dedicating” the song too in a mocking fashion since his departure the year previous) there was time for a quick speech. However, considering his massive PPV audience and the thousands in attendance, Rose attacked actor Warren Beatty – the man who was rumoured to be having an affair (on his new wife Annette) with Axl’s former partner Stephanie Seymour.

As Rose accuses Beatty of infidelity and calls him a number of extraordinarily rude (and unrepeatable) words he dedicates the performance to him while the other members of Guns N’ Roses look embarrassed to be there and just hope they won’t be sued. In the end Axl also mentions Madonna, who Beatty used to date, making light of the fact that if he taught Madonna would kick his arse he hasn’t seen what his new wife will do once she hears this. The “feud” between the two men didn’t last much longer and Rose is supposed to have sent Seymour flowers immediately following the Paris performance as an apology. That’s one way to deal with stress I guess.

9. Guns N’ Roses Bottled Offstage in September (Dublin, 2010)

All other items in this list are well and fine, don’t get me wrong, but this is a particularly special link for me because I was actually present in the audience for this one.

Guns N’ Roses first performance in Ireland since 2006 is delayed by over 90 minutes while the audience is subjected to an extended set from support act Danko Jones. Knowing that GNR hit the stage on time in Belfast the night previously, the crowd are becoming increasingly restless, with many already about to walk when Axl finally comes onstage close to 10.20pm

As the opening chords of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ echo through the arena the crowd is already engaging in a chorus of boo’s – certainly not the best welcome for the band – who struggle to perform their opening number ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ before the song is stopped and Axl informs the audience that if another bottle is thrown they’ll go home. Of course, the Irish take this challenge and accept it, a few songs later a bottle does actually make it onstage (close to bassist Tommy Stinson’s head) and the frontman walks off.

What follows is a lengthy conversation between MCD Promotions CEO Dominic Desmond and Axl Rose down Dublin’s Quayside (witnessed by several hundred fans leaving the concert disappointed as the stage lights have been turned up and security is quietly asking people to exit). Desmond comes onstage briefly, itself an incredible event, to tell the crowd that they’re working to get Axl to come back and they should have a little ‘Patience’ – whether Desmond understands his words or not, the audience start singing this GNR song back to him – which only further infuriates the situation.

Eventually, GNR come back onstage, but not before 40% of the audience have already left to catch the last bus and trains home. Guns N’ Roses perform a lacklusture set in which Rose doesn’t utter a single optional word, abridges songs to avoid audience participation and doesn’t perform an encore. Media frenzy in Ireland demands MCD refund patrons for the performance and MCD refuse, stating that GNR performed that evening so their contract has been settled and justifies the near £60 a ticket. Media outlets make programmes about the incident and Journalists spend days writing about it – slow news or not, the band return in 2012 and perform a fantastic show in the same venue that goes off without a problem.

Featured on this list because, let’s face it, it could only happen at a GNR show. Couldn’t it?

8. Guns N’ Roses vs. Nirvana

In 1992 Guns N’ Roses toured with Metallica on a collaborative US stadium tour that was billed as one of the biggest events to ever occur in popular music at that time. Realising that their fan bases were often made up of similar fans, or even the same fans, neither band wanted to risk clashing with each other in terms of preventing fans from seeing either band due to location or finance.

Much speculation was given to who the opening band would be, a position that would eventually go to the equally talented Faith No More, who (having recently recruited vocalist Mike Patton) were themselves about to find superstar status in their own right. However, they were not the first choice, since Axl Rose had extended a personal invite to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in the hopes of getting the band to open for them.

Cobain had refused on the basis that he felt Rose was homophobic and racist. This was due, in part, to the song ‘One In A Million’ from GNR Lies. He’d also refused because he simply didn’t like Guns N’ Roses music, in a commercial sense, feeling the tour would take them away from the kind of venues and audiences Cobain wished to play for. Rose took offence to this and made a few comments about Nirvana through his onstage ‘rants’ before attacking Cobain’s wife Courtney Love. This led to arguments and altercations (in bars, mostly) between fans of both bands – a sort of Internet argument before blog sites and Facebook came along.

The feud came to a head in 1992, at the MTV Video Music Awards, were both Kurt Cobain (and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic) both made comments about Rose onstage. This prompted Rose to go backstage, with a film crew, demanding to know what the band were attempting to imply. There was also some suggestion that Courtney Love had jokingly asked Rose to be godfather to the pair’s newly born daughter. Love attempted to bring the feud up again, in the mid 90s, when her band Hole would perform ‘Paradise City’ as a ‘tribute’ to GNR. But just like her career, nobody cared once Cobain was gone.

7. Guns N’ Roses 2002 US Riots (Vancouver and Philadelphia)

Following revived interest in the band at the turn of the millennium, Rose emerged with a new band and a considerably new wardrobe in Las Vegas. Promising a new album, entitled ‘Chinese Democracy’, the band made only a handful of appearances (and cancelled a major European tour in 2001) before appearing at the MTV VMA’s 2002 – celebrating the 10th anniversary of their most infamous appearance. At the event Rose looked in top form and performed a medley of tracks, including ‘Madagascar’, which would later go on to become a song from the new album.

Talk of the band’s appearance was a major media coup in the US and meant that, in order to take advantage, a US tour was needed. The tour was booked as somewhat of a homecoming and dates were extended to LA in January 2003. On November 7th, the night of the first show, Axl was reported to have been an hour late landing in the city due to the plane’s mechanical troubles – promoters got word that the band wouldn’t be leaving until after the support acts had started and cancelled the show. Subsequently, a riot ensued, which resulted in destruction of property and several arrests. Rose readily appeared on a radio programme to quell concerned concertgoers, saying the matter had nothing to do with him and he was sorry a compromise couldn’t have been found.

A few weeks later and the band were scheduled to perform in Philadelphia over two nights. On the first night both support acts (Mixmaster Mike and CKY) had performed their sets and there was no sign of Guns N’ Roses. The show was cancelled at 11pm – the time it was originally meant to end anyway – with some fans having waited hours in line to see the group since that morning. As stories of Rose feasting on a lamb dinner and refusing to leave his hotel room until a basketball game had ended began circulating among the crowd, more civil unrest and disturbance occurred. Another riot broke out and this one led to the cancellation of all remaining dates and any GNR performances in the US until 2006.

The original announcement in the arena that night was that the performance was being cancelled for ‘Health Issues’ with Axl later telling reporters (several years later) that he had cancelled the original show at 6am that morning due to health reasons but his then manager hadn’t taken him seriously. Clear Channel, the tour’s promoters, were also rumoured to be having financial trouble within their company and couldn’t pay the insurance on any such incidence of destruction.

Who knows what to believe?

6. Axl Rose Arrested, 1990

No doubt Axl Rose has seen his day in court. Original reports of his younger exploits lead sources to suggest he was arrested 19 times before originally leaving Layette, Indiana, for LA and that on the occasion he did leave he was skipping bail. But it was his arrest in early 1990 which provided for the most colourful of inspirations.

Rose had an altercation with a neighbour, Gabriella Kantor, who claimed the singer hit her with a wine bottle and threw her keys from his apartment – forcing her to suffer serious headaches since the incident. Rose was arrested, as a matter of precaution, later being released on bail after Kantor called the police. What made this incident even more unusual is that Rose later spoke to People Magazine about it, ”Frankly,” he says, “if I was going to hit her with a wine bottle, she wouldn’t have gotten up. I would have become a criminal at that point, wondering what I was going to do next to not get busted over the quivering body in my hallway.”

Rose dismissed Kantor’s claims as absurd, but it did lead him to write the lyrics for ‘Right Next Door To Hell’, a particularly hate filled track that opened the bands Use Your Illusion 1 album. A lot of this was also fuelled by the fact that Rose’s then wife, Erin Everly, had recently suffered a miscarriage and Kantor was accused of stalking the singer and demanding his time. Rose later said that he would file a civil action suit against his neighbour and told Rolling Stone he’d spent his time in jail signing autographs for guards and talking to one older officer about when he’d attended Woodstock.

Inspiration can come from anywhere really.

5. Guns N' Roses Destroy The 'Headbanger's Ball' Set

If you’re having some remodelling done and you don’t care what happens, why not get Guns N’ Roses to come in and help with the dismantling?

Guns had their very first interview on MTV ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ in October 1987, just a few months after the release of their debut album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ – being compared to the Rolling Stones in the very opening of the piece. The interview covered the bands current touring plans, which included an opening act for Iron Maiden, before discussing their future methods of world domination. Steven Adler sits in the corner during his interview constantly rearranging his hat, without really saying anything, leading one to assume that the band have been busy partying before arriving. As Axl attempts to answer questions seriously, note the moment where Slash flips off the cameraman, mentioning in his autobiography years later that it was this moment of corporate defiance he remains most proud of.

After the presenter had finished talking with the guys that evening he encouraged them to help in the remodelling by dismantling the set. GNR were all too happy to oblige and the band members (most of whom looked as though they’d gone a few rounds already) proceeded to break and smash everything in sight as the confused host wondered how good of an idea his suggestion had really been.

It may have been staged, or tailored, but the moment helped firmly cemented Guns N’ Roses as a dangerous band and worth watching – especially to the youth of America.

4. Dancing With Mr Brownstone (October 1989)

In 1989 Guns N’ Roses had been living on the road for the better part of three years, dealing with the impact that fame and success had brought to their music, as well as the individual turmoils the band members were facing. Money and success had brought the band everything they could have ever wanted, which in the case of drug addiction, was almost as self destructive as their marketed image. In October the band were invited to open for the Rolling Stones in LA, across four shows, this being a major coup for the band and cementing their short (but heavily documented) journey from complete unknowns to the biggest band of their generation.

During the first night’s performance, Rose announced that the shows would be their last if certain members of the band did not stop “dancing with Mr. Brownstone,” a reference to their song of the same name about heroin and also a direct attack on Duff, Slash and Steven Adler’s well documented addictions with the drug. Depending on who you believe, Rose either quit Guns N’ Roses for a few days following these performances, before rejoining or decided instead to take major inspiration from Mick Jagger. Rose commented years later, in interview, that he was extremely impressed about Jagger’s knowledge of the entire tour and how everything went on – taking stock of financials and understanding the mechanics and mainframes. It’s unclear how much of this Rose wanted to emulate personally but he made measures to legally attain the rights to the Guns N’ Roses name in exchange for large cash advantages.

With the Guns N’ Roses name in hold it was Rose who then orchestrated the reshuffle of the band and within a few years old faces had been replaced by newer ones, who were then replaced again. This moment and these dates with the Rolling Stones brought the 80s to an end for Guns N’ Roses and also brought the band, in it’s most original form, to an end as well.

3. The 1992 Montreal Riot

The aforementioned Summer Stadium Tour between Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, featuring Faith No More as the opening act, provided some of the most interesting and diverse live music to hit America during that Summer. But in hindsight the tour is probably more well known now for the event’s that took place during the Montreal gig on August 8th 1992

With the band’s deciding their running order between factions it was Metallica who were picked to follow Faith No More that evening while Guns N’ Roses set up. Unbeknownst to Metallica frontman James Hetfield, who displayed a rather particular venom for Rose, Axl had spent that day visiting a personal physic who had warned him not to perform in cities beginning with the letter ‘M’ – something which Axl later said made him particularly unbalanced about going onstage that evening. Metallica’s set began as planned and things were going well until the song ‘Fade to Black’ where bassist Jason Newsted noticed James Hetfield was standing in the wrong location. Before he could warn him, the pyro’s were ignited and Hetfield suffered serious second degree burns to his hands and face.

The show was immediately stopped and Guns N’ Roses were prepped for going on a little earlier so the crowd could be calmed. GNR had their moment to be the heroes of the evening and help save the moment. You’re probably right to guess if it’s on this list, and placed so high, that this isn’t what happened.

According to then guitarist Gilby Clarke, Axl took to the stage and complained about the sound quality almost immediately, which Gilby himself agreed with later in interview. Three songs in, with the sound quality apparently making Axl unable to hear himself or the other band members clearly enough, he left the stage - stating that the performance couldn’t continue. After a few moments the house lights came up and the audience were told that it was time to go home, which sparked a lot of angry Metallica fans (believing Rose had shown disrespect to their favourite band) and Guns N Roses fans (upset that Rose had left after just three songs) joining together in order to cause physical and emotional damage to the venue and people of Montreal. Windows were smashed, cars overturned, fires started and a street lamp was even uprooted. It could have even been the worst riot associated with Guns N’ Roses career – if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s still more infamy to come.

2. Axl Rose On Eddie Trunk 2006

Picture the scene. Eddie Trunk is hosting his popular Friday night radio show live from New York with guest host, and wrestler/musician, Chris Jericho. His guests that evening are Anthrax’s Scott Ian and singer Sebastian Bach, both of whom are there to talk about a new VH1 reality series they’ve just completed filming, focusing on the lives of five metal musicians working together in a super group. Since Trunk and Bach have already been filming some material for VH1 classics the night beforehand, Bach has been telling everyone that Axl Rose is sending him text messages, the first time he’s heard from the singer (whom he claims was a good friend and touring buddy) in 14 years.

About an hour into the programme, Bach gets a text, which supposedly comes from Axl – asking if he’s on the air right now….Bach phones back, live on air, getting Axl’s permission for the studio to call him. As Jericho, Ian and Eddie Trunk laugh in disbelief it is in fact Axl Rose who then appears on the phone and speaks about auditions for the bands forthcoming New York residency over four nights at the Hammerstein. He then says that if someone passes them the address he’ll be happy to come on down to the studio and say hello.

When the phone goes down, the men are overjoyed, they don’t know whether it’s real or whether it’s part of something both Bach and Rose have conspired on. Bach swears he hasn’t seen Rose in almost a decade and a half and that he only heard from him for the first time, via text, earlier this week. As Jericho jokes about Axl actually turning up and what that would mean the show continues. Trunk gets permission from the station to allow the show to remain on air for as long as needed if Rose walks in before the show ends, and sure enough, Rose walks in to stunned silence with an hour of broadcasting left. Radio silence mixed with stunned disbelief means the group are literally speechless as Rose sits at the table and answers candid questions on his whereabouts, the upcoming shows and the (then forthcoming) album ‘Chinese Democracy’. Sadly Rose doesn’t accept calls when the idea is presented but this is probably a good thing on reflection.

Any possibility this moment was scripted or planted is completely dis-proven when Rose walks into the room. The men are literally stunned and Bach stands up to give his friend a hug while the microphone literally goes dead for a few moments. Truck composes himself enough to describe the scene and slowly thousands of people tune in from around the globe as news of this event spreads, with Internet servers in the station actually collapsing towards the end of the broadcast because of Rose’s appearance. Although Axl appeared, via phone interview, on a US radio station in 2002 this is the first time that he has given an in person interview to a media source (at this point) since 1994. If you ever have a free evening to sit and listen to the most colourful radio broadcast of your life, I encourage you to listen to this show, a show which quite seriously proves the majesty of Axl Rose and which honestly makes you have such faith in live radio in the 21st century. The spontaneity and the moments in that room can never be recreated, doubtless they ever will be, with such an incredible experience for both the participants and the fans.

1. The St Louis Incident – July 2nd 1991

Ask ANY Guns N’ Roses fan, new or old, they’d tell you that this is the one single incident that deserves to top this list. An incident so infamous that it is still fresh in the minds of fans today. On July 2, 1991 16,000 St. Louis Concert goers attended the Guns N’ Roses show at the newly constructed Riverport Amphitheatre, 15 miles west of St. Louis in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The band took the stage to a standing room crowd thrilled to see the band after it’s three-year absence from the city. Guns N’ Roses performed several cuts from its début, Appetite for Destruction, as well as numerous tracks from its forthcoming Use Your Illusion twin albums.

An hour-and-a-half into the show, during the track ‘Rocket Queen’, Axl Rose could be heard to shout ”Take that… take that… take that away from him!” to the security guards along the front of the stage. When he realized either nobody was listening or nobody understand what he was saying, he uttered the now infamous response ”Then I’ll take it from him” and jumped into the crowd. The performance, which was being professionally filmed by the bands crew for a planned home video release (this, by the way, never happened and the band filmed in Paris and Tokyo instead – though that’s why such professional quality footage exists) was halted slightly as Rose dove into the crowd and physically attacked someone he believed to be obtaining visual imagery without his consent. Seconds later, Rose was returned to the stage by Guns N’ Roses’ own security crew. He motioned for the band to stop playing and announced over the microphone that due to the poor security, “I’m outta here.”

A full twenty minutes later, with many of the crowd believing this to be some stage act (before Internet of course there was little speculation or report on particulars from the nights previous gig in another city and this gig was very much at the start of the touring cycle) the house lights were raised and it was announced the performance was over. But the display of emotion from fans was certainly far from over as the crowd began throwing bottles and hurling abuse towards the road crew. With one of Guns N Roses security attempting to tell the fans if they relented the band would return onstage, it seemed it was too little too late and a full blown riot erupted.

In the aftermath of the riot Axl Rose was held responsible by law enforcement officials and charged with four separate assault charges, but they had to wait almost a year, before they could fully charge and bring the singer to court. The case was proceeded over in late 1992 and the Judge dismissed the most serious charge against Axl (which carried some heavy prison time) saying that Rose did not personally incite the riot. His behavior, naturally, didn’t help although there was still a suspended probation order given to Rose and various media reports printed at the time slammed the venue for selling alcohol against licensing laws at the dry venue. Guns N Roses were also banned from St. Louis for life and Rose was given a $50,000 personal fine. During their introduction at the MTV VMA’s later that year the band were introduced with the tagline “here between court dates, Guns N’ Roses”

Of course you might say Axl had the last laugh. Use Your Illusion I and II’s artwork featured a hidden message midst the Thank You section of the album insert: “F**k You, St. Louis!” – lovely!

Edited by NGOG
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...