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Vintage: Doug Goldstein's hilarious letter to Axl ~2009


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The notion that Axl was controlled under Niven and uncontrollable under Goldstein, is a bit imprecise. Axl was quite a problem to the band throughout both periods, but seems to have gradually become w

This is so GNR it isnt even funny. 

Given the recent Goldstein/Niven talk, here's a gem from the archives.  Presumably dated from 2009, delivered in hands to Beta: Axl, I implore you to read this. First and foremost, I thank you

21 hours ago, SilverMachine said:

Goldstein's track record with seminal bands isn't great.

The Stone Roses - the epitome of a "last gang in town group", imploded while under his wing.

Wasn't Slash rumoured to join Stone Roses in 96? Isn't that funny? Slash claims that one of the reasons of the GNR breakup was the way Doug managed the band and try to join a band that ended up being managed by Goldstein...

:lol::lol:

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3 hours ago, Euchre said:

I think this is revisionist history - there wouldn't be the success of the "multi-million business" without the other 4 + Niven.

As far as having to deal with people 24/7, Axl was the most regular one to either screw things up or attempt to screw things up. Without the other 4 and a strong manager in Niven around, we would never have heard of GN'R.

I think Axl was fired something like 3 times in the 80's. He wasn't as essential as people like to now believe. He also threatened to quit once, which of course he was never going to follow through with, for the same reason CD was released under the GNR name - he knows he is nothing without it. Even with the brand name, he managed to completely run things into the ground to the point where he had to bring Slash/Duff back to lift things again.

Here is a quick list of Axl incidents that could have caused major issues for the original band :

* band gets signed. Axl throws tantrum on the day of signing and goes missing - band/Vicky save the day

* club band plays one of first shows with International act, Alice Cooper, Axl fails to show - band/Niven save the day

* Appetite recorded, set for release - Axl overdoses and ends up in a coma - Doctors save him

* 2nd tour with major act is again with Alice Cooper and again Axl doesn't show up for the first show - band saves the day

* Ritz being recorded for MTV, Niven piggy backs of Great White to even get this to happen - Axl refuses to go onstage as he doesn't have a bandanna, MTV crew threatening to pack up - management / possibly Adler saves the day. This show on MTV is a huge factor in their success.

* Headlining shows in Phoenix early '88- Axl fails to show, band goes into major meltdown, almost splits

* SCOM Video shoot - Axl upset about something and fails to show for first 1 or 2 days of attempted shooting. This is their breakout video.

* Iron Maiden tour - Axl upset about something, causes major issues between the bands eventually quits the tour citing 'voice issues'

* Aerosmith tour - most critical tour for the band, Axl doesn't want to do it. Niven saves the day, Axl participates against his will. This is the tour that puts them over the top.

* Paradise City video shoot - Duff, Slash & Steve show up for the NY shoot - where are Axl & Izzy ?

* Axl insists on the lyrics for OIAM and it being on Lies against the advice of the remainder of the band. Kicks off one of the biggest controversies for the band.

* Rehearsals for follow up to Appetite in Chicago - Slash, Steve, Duff there rehearsing in another city at Axls insistance. Axl (Izzy also) doesn't show up for weeks. Causes a major rift in the band.

* Rolling Stones shows - biggest show of the bands career and he threatens not to show up. Niven saves the day and then Axl quits on stage - severely undermining the band

 

In fact the only major things for the band he didn't fuck up in the 80's was : Cult Tour, Motley Tour & WTTJ & Patience Video shoots - and even then who knows - even the Cult tour I think he got arrested trying to take contraband across the Canadian border. (He also missed at least 1 show for being arrested)

That is not a good record, he was the most problematic to work with of them all, no one else had issues that extensive - and like I said upfront once he got in a situation where he had control and there was no one to save him from himself things went to shit pretty quickly - which is exactly what they would have done if he had that same control in the 80's.

 

100% agree. None of the others caused issues like this, and if these things didn't happen then things would've gone a lot more smoothly. Personally I can't understand how they managed to put up with him for so long.

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4 hours ago, Euchre said:

I think Axl was fired something like 3 times in the 80's. He wasn't as essential as people like to now believe.

it's not like the band managed to actually replace him with a different frontman and there was zero chance for that to happen even if it wasn't just an empty threat. He was/is essential. Can't have Gn'R without Axl. It's as simple as that.

his voice is iconic and his personality is a big part of Gn'R.

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44 minutes ago, The Holographic Universe said:

I know. What a goofball idea. That idea alone shows fucked up Doug is 

It’s a goofball idea and then you hear the execution. “We’ll approach Metallica to headline the first night” So the first night headliner will be twice as popular as the namesake band of the festival in 2010? Also, I have a feeling Metallica would have gone nowhere near a Doug Goldstein production.

I also thought this idea revealed a lot about Axl though. Doug did know him well and came up with a grand idea for Axl to make money in the music business doing nothing. If you think about that, the CD delays, late show starts, and general inactivity make perfect sense. Axl didn’t really want to be doing any of this shit.

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7 hours ago, Rovim said:

it's not like the band managed to actually replace him with a different frontman and there was zero chance for that to happen even if it wasn't just an empty threat. He was/is essential. Can't have Gn'R without Axl. It's as simple as that.

his voice is iconic and his personality is a big part of Gn'R.

Again I think this is revisionist - I agree Axl was an integral part and I agree they didn't take any concrete steps to replace him.

However to say you can't have GN'R without Axl - well it might seem this way today as he has owned the name and had the control and was the only member still in the band for 20 years. When they first came out though there were a lot of GN'R fans, but I also knew a lot of people who like the music but hated his voice. His behaviour didn't help things either - a lot just thought he was a dick. These sentiments grew in the Illusion era.

 

Personally, these days the only post 1991 GNR thing that I might occasionally pull up on Youtube (ie listen to at all), is SCOM from the HoF. Axl ain't there and to me it sounds more like GNR to me than anything else from the 2000's. Every year or so I think recent era can't be as bad as I remembered and pull up a random clip and last about 10 seconds before going it really is.

 

Speculation is one thing, evidence from the horses mouth is another - by his own admission he himself was worried enough about being fired that he said it was one of the reasons he made the play to get control of the band name......

 

So he is either paranoid and delusional or there was a real risk one day the band would say enough's enough. 

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8 hours ago, Rovim said:

it's not like the band managed to actually replace him with a different frontman and there was zero chance for that to happen even if it wasn't just an empty threat. He was/is essential. Can't have Gn'R without Axl. It's as simple as that.

his voice is iconic and his personality is a big part of Gn'R.

Lmao you don't just "replace" Axl Rose especially in the 80s .... 

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If Doug can get Izzy to perform some of his solo catalog at this Rose Festival I'm all for it :lol:

The name is a bit shit, but I actually love the idea in theory. Would be cool to see folk like Izzy, Tommy, Bucket, BBF, Gilby, Adler etc do some solo sets throughout the day, and then get various GN'R lineups to do the GNR songs on the main/closing set.

It'd be like Vegas 2016 all over again in my opinion :)

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43 minutes ago, downliner said:

Would be cool to see folk like Izzy, Tommy, Bucket, BBF, Gilby, Adler etc do some solo sets throughout the day, and then get various GN'R lineups to do the GNR songs on the main/closing set.

That would be interesting to see - I wonder if a band has ever done anything like that before - the closest I can think of is the Metallica 30th Anniversary shows, but they didn't do the various members non-Metallica stuff (Then again aside from Mustaine there isn't really any non-Metallica stuff from the originals.)

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3 minutes ago, Euchre said:

That would be interesting to see - I wonder if a band has ever done anything like that before - the closest I can think of is the Metallica 30th Anniversary shows, but they didn't do the various members non-Metallica stuff (Then again aside from Mustaine there isn't really any non-Metallica stuff from the originals.)

Id love something like this. With all of the offshoots from the various GNR members other bands they could easily fill a day or two to make it a "GNR festival".

Tommy alone could do multiple sets if he did Replacements, Bash n Pop, Perfect or his solo material; same with most of the other GNR members. They don't necessarily need the original lineup of these bands either, most of us would be happy enough just to hear these bands "hits" in my opinion, even if it was Tommy singing instead of Paul Westerberg during the Replacements songs etc. I dunno, I think it'd be pretty unique and would be cool for us diehards at least :) Casuals would be happy just to hear Sweet Child performed by the AFD5 at the end of the day :D

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3 hours ago, Euchre said:

Again I think this is revisionist - I agree Axl was an integral part and I agree they didn't take any concrete steps to replace him.

However to say you can't have GN'R without Axl - well it might seem this way today as he has owned the name and had the control and was the only member still in the band for 20 years. When they first came out though there were a lot of GN'R fans, but I also knew a lot of people who like the music but hated his voice. His behaviour didn't help things either - a lot just thought he was a dick. These sentiments grew in the Illusion era.

 

Personally, these days the only post 1991 GNR thing that I might occasionally pull up on Youtube (ie listen to at all), is SCOM from the HoF. Axl ain't there and to me it sounds more like GNR to me than anything else from the 2000's. Every year or so I think recent era can't be as bad as I remembered and pull up a random clip and last about 10 seconds before going it really is.

 

Speculation is one thing, evidence from the horses mouth is another - by his own admission he himself was worried enough about being fired that he said it was one of the reasons he made the play to get control of the band name......

 

So he is either paranoid and delusional or there was a real risk one day the band would say enough's enough. 

some bands fall apart cause they lose their musical identity as soon as you try to replace the frontman. Even Skid Row are not Skid Row without Bach.

as far as Gn'R go, it has nothing to do with today or the fact that Axl was the only classic member in the band for 20 years. Even if you mostly like Gn'R elements that have nothing to do with Axl, like the lead guitar or Adler's cowbell, Axl is still an essential part of Gn'R. You take him out of the equation, and it's not Gn'R anymore.

your SCOM rock n' roll HOF comment is very telling. That wasn't Gn'R just like VR wasn't Gn'R. Sounded like a good cover band. It's more than just the math of how many classic members are in the band.

and let me say it again: even if they did fire Axl, which would have been a very stupid thing to do, it would have ceased to be Gn'R.

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4 minutes ago, Rovim said:

some bands fall apart cause they lose their musical identity as soon as you try to replace the frontman. 

Some do some don't. Roth would have seemed irreplaceable in VH in '85, biggest front man in the world fronting the biggest band in the world at that time and they pulled it off. AC/DC did it, Iron Maiden did it, FNM did it, RATM became Audioslave, like you mention VR did pretty well, which was basically that outcome.

 

Quote

your SCOM rock n' roll HOF comment is very telling. That wasn't Gn'R just like VR wasn't Gn'R. Sounded like a good cover band. 

Cover band because technically it didn't own rights to the GNR name ? Sounded more like classic GNR to me than anything the band with the name GNR has done this century. A rose by any other name.....

 

Quote

Axl is still an essential part of Gn'R. You take him out of the equation, and it's not Gn'R anymore.

even if they did fire Axl, which would have been a very stupid thing to do, it would have ceased to be Gn'R

Well in some ways I agree with you, GNR is AFD5 as far as I'm concerned, including Axl.

But I am saying in my view Axl was the weakest link and hence the most replaceable, and what I'm trying to understand is why people think losing him would be more damaging that losing any other band members ? As I've pointed out with a long list of incidents if he had the control back in the 80's like he does now GNR wouldn't have got off the ground anywhere near the way it did.

It's easy to say Axl is essential, I haven't heard anyone give any evidence based reasons why. In fact all the evidence I see is the opposite - VR is a blue print for what could have been - Axl has done next to nothing without the others around him even while owning the most important asset in the brand name.

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28 minutes ago, Euchre said:

Some do some don't. Roth would have seemed irreplaceable in VH in '85, biggest front man in the world fronting the biggest band in the world at that time and they pulled it off. AC/DC did it, Iron Maiden did it, FNM did it, RATM became Audioslave, like you mention VR did pretty well, which was basically that outcome.

 

Cover band because technically it didn't own rights to the GNR name ? Sounded more like classic GNR to me than anything the band with the name GNR has done this century. A rose by any other name.....

 

Well in some ways I agree with you, GNR is AFD5 as far as I'm concerned, including Axl.

But I am saying in my view Axl was the weakest link and hence the most replaceable, and what I'm trying to understand is why people think losing him would be more damaging that losing any other band members ? As I've pointed out with a long list of incidents if he had the control back in the 80's like he does now GNR wouldn't have got off the ground anywhere near the way it did.

It's easy to say Axl is essential, I haven't heard anyone give any evidence based reasons why. In fact all the evidence I see is the opposite - VR is a blue print for what could have been - Axl has done next to nothing without the others around him even while owning the most important asset in the brand name.

Gn'R is one of those bands that I personally believe would lose too much of what makes it what it is if Axl got replaced. Yes, there is the occasional band that pulls it off, but when you specifically look at this band like a classic recipe, I think there are some ingredients that are more important than others.

All the ingredients are important and are there for a reason, but if you remove Adler for example it wouldn't be as different, at least for me, as it would be if you replaced Slash for example.

and most fans accepted it as Gn'R even when Izzy was gone but a lot of them didn't when Slash was no longer a part of it. Some even accepted it as Gn'R when only Axl was there.

how many would have accepted Gn'R without Axl? my guess is much less than the amount of fans that accepted new Gn'R, no matter how great the replacement would have been and I think it's not just about who are you favorite members and who you blame for the failures.

It's also about the amount of unique talent and personality that is injected into the formula. So Steven is amazing, but what he brings to it, no matter how glorious it is (like he proved when he joined them for a couple of tunes) could never be as important as what Slash for example brings to it imo and I'm one of those that feel that drums are extremely important to the identity of a band but it's all relative.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Euchre said:

Some do some don't. Roth would have seemed irreplaceable in VH in '85, biggest front man in the world fronting the biggest band in the world at that time and they pulled it off. AC/DC did it, Iron Maiden did it, FNM did it, RATM became Audioslave, like you mention VR did pretty well, which was basically that outcome.

 

Cover band because technically it didn't own rights to the GNR name ? Sounded more like classic GNR to me than anything the band with the name GNR has done this century. A rose by any other name.....

 

Well in some ways I agree with you, GNR is AFD5 as far as I'm concerned, including Axl.

But I am saying in my view Axl was the weakest link and hence the most replaceable, and what I'm trying to understand is why people think losing him would be more damaging that losing any other band members ? As I've pointed out with a long list of incidents if he had the control back in the 80's like he does now GNR wouldn't have got off the ground anywhere near the way it did.

It's easy to say Axl is essential, I haven't heard anyone give any evidence based reasons why. In fact all the evidence I see is the opposite - VR is a blue print for what could have been - Axl has done next to nothing without the others around him even while owning the most important asset in the brand name.

The thing about GN’R is that no matter how much some things have been screwed up or done inadequately in the past, this is a very unique band and can’t really be compared to others. Sure, AC/DC handled it, so have Deep Purple etc. But Axl is somehow more essential as a frontman to the band than the singers in those other cases. Both in terms of his unique voice and his presence on the stage, as well as other things. The Don’t Cry – November Rain – Estranged trilogy is about his life. This stuff was written by him. The origin of the most famous songs is legendary now, and it’s entwined with his presence forever. The texts are very personal. He was the one who was the rock star icon in the early 90s. He was all around TV back then, both in the US and Europe (and the rest of the world, I presume). In fact, it’s almost something like running a band called “Queen” without Freddie, which is what Brian May has done (maybe he still does, I don’t follow it). It’s just ridiculous. Instead, he should have created something like “Brian May Band” or “Brian May with Friends”, where he could play his new songs as well as old Queen songs, but without the unnecessary burden of dragging along the legendary name, which will always induce all these pointless comparisons etc. 

Some singers/frontmen are just irreplaceable, and Axl is one of them. I’d think the same situation would ensue with Nirvana. Axl could exist as GN’R without the other boys (we can see it worked, but the situation was fucked up by the problems surrounding CD and the associated line-up changes, which, however, is a different thing), but the guys couldn’t have existed as GN’R without Axl. That’s how it is. He’s just too iconic for the band to exist without him. Plus, the band only has like two or three major albums, not like the others where you have e.g. 15 records and a change of such magnitude could be more... diluted. Not everything is comparable. In fact, a very few things are. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 10:22 AM, MildlyArtistic said:

Doug quoting the Eminem song 'Stan' without a single hint of irony regarding the subject matter of the song honestly makes this letter for me.

 

Also, has GNR ever had a manager that isn't either a complete wingnut or a prick cruising by on nepotism?

These are the people Axl chooses. His to blame.

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1 hour ago, jamillos said:

The thing about GN’R is that no matter how much some things have been screwed up or done inadequately in the past, this is a very unique band and can’t really be compared to others. Sure, AC/DC handled it, so have Deep Purple etc. But Axl is somehow more essential as a frontman to the band than the singers in those other cases. Both in terms of his unique voice and his presence on the stage, as well as other things. The Don’t Cry – November Rain – Estranged trilogy is about his life. This stuff was written by him. The origin of the most famous songs is legendary now, and it’s entwined with his presence forever. The texts are very personal. He was the one who was the rock star icon in the early 90s. He was all around TV back then, both in the US and Europe (and the rest of the world, I presume). In fact, it’s almost something like running a band called “Queen” without Freddie, which is what Brian May has done (maybe he still does, I don’t follow it). It’s just ridiculous. Instead, he should have created something like “Brian May Band” or “Brian May with Friends”, where he could play his new songs as well as old Queen songs, but without the unnecessary burden of dragging along the legendary name, which will always induce all these pointless comparisons etc. 

Some singers/frontmen are just irreplaceable, and Axl is one of them. I’d think the same situation would ensue with Nirvana. Axl could exist as GN’R without the other boys (we can see it worked, but the situation was fucked up by the problems surrounding CD and the associated line-up changes, which, however, is a different thing), but the guys couldn’t have existed as GN’R without Axl. That’s how it is. He’s just too iconic for the band to exist without him. Plus, the band only has like two or three major albums, not like the others where you have e.g. 15 records and a change of such magnitude could be more... diluted. Not everything is comparable. In fact, a very few things are. 

with Queen it is well established that it is fundamentally a tribute band that "celebrates" Freddie with Adam Lambert. Everybody knows it's not really Queen. They're making money while making a lot of people happy. I think it's alright even if it's not my thing.

but you nailed it with the Freddie and Kurt examples. Too unique to replace. Just like Axl imo.

and it's not just the frontman. Zeppelin made a decision to not continue without Bonham. The Who lost Moon and Pete said they should have called it a day years later.

sometimes the band survives and even enjoys great success like Genesis or Van Halen but for me those incarnations of these bands are so different compared to what they were that it proves it's not black or white: sometimes it's recognizable enough musically to continue but it's definitely not nearly as good as what it was with all the original parts or it's great, but it doesn't give you the same kind of high cause it's just too different of a band which is how I categorize new Gn'R and what Axl achieved with Chinese.

to me it showed just how unique Gn'R was, every classic member was perfect. The chemistry was perfect so I get why and how they pulled off something like AFD and no wonder they couldn't sustain that level of greatness. Too volatile so I believe they could have never achieved Stones levels of longevity. The breakup was probably inevitable like Lars said.

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48 minutes ago, Rovim said:

with Queen it is well established that it is fundamentally a tribute band that "celebrates" Freddie with Adam Lambert. Everybody knows it's not really Queen. They're making money while making a lot of people happy. I think it's alright even if it's not my thing.

but you nailed it with the Freddie and Kurt examples. Too unique to replace. Just like Axl imo.

and it's not just the frontman. Zeppelin made a decision to not continue without Bonham. The Who lost Moon and Pete said they should have called it a day years later.

sometimes the band survives and even enjoys great success like Genesis or Van Halen but for me those incarnations of these bands are so different compared to what they were that it proves it's not black or white: sometimes it's recognizable enough musically to continue but it's definitely not nearly as good as what it was with all the original parts or it's great, but it doesn't give you the same kind of high cause it's just too different of a band which is how I categorize new Gn'R and what Axl achieved with Chinese.

to me it showed just how unique Gn'R was, every classic member was perfect. The chemistry was perfect so I get why and how they pulled off something like AFD and no wonder they couldn't sustain that level of greatness. Too volatile so I believe they could have never achieved Stones levels of longevity. The breakup was probably inevitable like Lars said.

I admit I didn’t know much about the “Queen” project; however the principle remains the same for me. What would be the point in going there if there’s no Freddie? I’d rather watch a DVD or a bootleg. 
And the same situation would be if “GN’R” played without Axl. Tell you what – even if the original 5 minus Axl got together and played the AfD/UYI stuff without him (which I don’t think could ever happen), I wouldn’t go. There’s just no point for me. 
Like I said, regarding Axl, the span and the amount of records was too small – in terms of the old Guns – to compare it with bands like AC/DC or Rush, who have released numerous albums over decades. Plus the other, “iconic” aspect I’ve mentioned before. 

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46 minutes ago, jamillos said:

I admit I didn’t know much about the “Queen” project; however the principle remains the same for me. What would be the point in going there if there’s no Freddie? I’d rather watch a DVD or a bootleg. 
And the same situation would be if “GN’R” played without Axl. Tell you what – even if the original 5 minus Axl got together and played the AfD/UYI stuff without him (which I don’t think could ever happen), I wouldn’t go. There’s just no point for me. 
Like I said, regarding Axl, the span and the amount of records was too small – in terms of the old Guns – to compare it with bands like AC/DC or Rush, who have released numerous albums over decades. Plus the other, “iconic” aspect I’ve mentioned before. 

I think the point about Queen with Adam Lambert is that a lot of Queen fans, those who got to see the real deal back in the day and new fans that never got the chance to see it, still see the value in experiencing these songs live, even if the heart of it is not there anymore (Freddie) it's better than nothing.

not the same with Gn'R simply cause they're all still alive thankfully. So it would be very ridiculous to try and play AFD/UYI without Axl. Way more than the Queen situation imo. They've got good reason to do it cause there is a demand for it and he died.

I agree about the quantity of albums and it being an important factor when it comes to acceptance of a lineup.

do you think Axl should have just released Chinese as a solo artist? or even released a different album maybe? I think he tried to kinda reverse engineer the Gn'R sound cause he didn't have Slash and Izzy anymore so on some level it was valid I suppose, but personally I believe that had he tried to just write an album with no harsh quality standard, or at least not as harsh as the Gn'R standard, I would have probably really liked it just as an Axl fan and maybe there were enough Axl fans out there that would have given it a chance and he could have found a nice following but maybe that wasn't enough for him and he didn't think there was a good reason to walk away from Gn'R, a band that seem to be such an important part of his life.

 

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