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Dave Abbruzzese talks about his stint as GnR drummer and friendship with Axl


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Finally got my account registered. Tried to register and post this when the first set of interviews came out. Stumble upon this being a Pearl Jam fan.

Never seen or heard anything about Dave's involvement in GnR other than "Dave A worked with GnR for a moment in the late 90s".

But he opens up about it here. Mostly in the last one from a few days ago. Some insight into the mid to late 90s GnR.

Ep. 4 - David Abbruzzese: From Eddie Vedder to Axl Rose
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5HgrNPjprE

Ep. 21 - David Abbruzzese: Axl Rose Trusted Me to Steer the Ship
https://youtu.be/NqHSyuYN29Q

Edited by Spiritual_Chaos
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Well, that was the most interesting GnR related interview in a long time.  For anyone interested, I have transcribed it all here: https://www.a-4-d.com/t5240-2020-10-18-12-20-2020-d-podcast-

He mentioned Greg being approached as 'the first drummer' and Izzy writing 'great songs' for the band. It sounds like he meant the band was created as a product based on marketing and business ideas,

Finally got my account registered. Tried to register and post this when the first set of interviews came out. Stumble upon this being a Pearl Jam fan. Never seen or heard anything about Dave's invo

Abbruzzese is a fantastic drummer. Pearl Jam’s sound  changed drastically when they got rid of him. 

Would've been interesting to see what he did in GN’R. 

I look forward to listening to this! 

Edited by metallex78
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5 minutes ago, metallex78 said:

Abbruzzese is a fantastic drummer. Pearl Jam’s sound  changed drastically when they got rid of him. 

Even though I liked Jack Irons too, they've never been quite the same with Matt Cameron. Too bad they kicked Abbruzzese out for personal reasons, because musically speaking he was a great fit.

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4 minutes ago, EvanG said:

Even though I liked Jack Irons too, they've never been quite the same with Matt Cameron. Too bad they kicked Abbruzzese out for personal reasons, because musically speaking he was a great fit.

Matt is a fabulous drummer. But he plays too much on the beat for PJ, like he's rushing the song. PJ need a more sleazy / pocket drummer but with skill, like Dave. Having said that I love Binaural and 2006's self titled. The more recent stuff has been harder work.

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1 minute ago, ToonGuns said:

Matt is a fabulous drummer. But he plays too much on the beat for PJ, like he's rushing the song. PJ need a more sleazy / pocket drummer but with skill, like Dave. Having said that I love Binaural and 2006's self titled. The more recent stuff has been harder work.

I agree, he's a great fit for Soundgarden, just not for Pearl Jam.

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Dave sure was impressed with Robin. He talks about Axl fondly, having developed some good rapport over several months on the phone, before Dave even played with the band. Other than that, he talks about how Axl wanted to go "under the deck" in '97, to focus on the lawsuits around the band. Meanwhile, Dave was to lead the Robin/Paul/Duff/Chris Vrenna (Pod)/Dizzy crew in his stead, to keep CD's preproduction humming.

Dave balked at the responsibility and sent Ax a fax, just to be sure his sentiments were worded correctly. A few hours later, Kim Neely from Rolling Stone calls in to check if Dave's alright, saying she'd just got off the phone with Axl. (Neely wrote the 1992 RS article about Axl, wherein he talked about regressional therapy and other esoteric things). Dave's phone rings again, and sure enough, this time it's Axl. He goes on a two-hour scream rant, in which Dave "was a Dark Lord, sent to keep him [Axl] from bringing light to the world..."

Dave put the phone on the table and finally pushed 'off' on the dial. Axl obviously took it well. "I heard he pushed a couple of thousand gallon fish tank over."

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This is pretty juicy so far! And this is just some of whats said in that 7 minute stretch in part 2!

- 29:30 - Dave basically describes being tasked with the role of 'the general' whilst Duff was still in the band. Says Duff had already sold his shares in band but Dave still figured that Duff was wondering "What the Fuck?". He says that the takeover of the brand wasn't all bad, because the brand had "like 14 000 law suits against." Which is a really neat - maybe new - take on why that deal made sense to all three parties.

- 32:00 - Says that when he stepped back from the project and shared concerns about being the general/musical director that Axl called and screamed at him for 2 hours, and Axl called him,

Quote

"A dark lord sent to keep him from bringing light to the world" 

- 37:00 - Brace yourselves fans of the myth - Dave says of Guns early formation,

Quote

"The band was put together. Greg Gilmore from Mother Love Bone was approached to be the first drummer, but he didn't have the look that the label and people (wanted). They weren't, you know, they didn't meet in high school and put it together - they (Guns) were a product band. They were built by an idea and a marketing strategy. And Izzy Stradlin wrote a bunch of great songs. Yada, yada, yada. Craziness."

:wow:

 

Edited by soon
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14 minutes ago, soon said:

This is pretty juicy so far! And this is just some of whats said in that 7 minute stretch in part 2!

- 29:30 - Dave basically describes being tasked with the role of 'the general' whilst Duff was still in the band. Says Duff had already sold his shares in band but Dave still figured that Duff was wondering "What the Fuck?". He says that the takeover of the brand wasn't all bad, because the brand had "like 14 000 law suits against." Which is a really neat - maybe new - take on why that deal made sense to all three parties.

- 32:00 - Says that when he stepped back from the project and shared concerns about being the general/musical director that Axl called and screamed at him for 2 hours, and Axl called him,

- 37:00 - Brace yourselves fans of the myth - Dave says of Guns early formation,

:wow:

 

Eh???? What is he gibbering about regarding the origins?????

Id like to think if they were ‘manufactured’ it would have come out by now!!! 

Edited by DTJ80
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2 minutes ago, DTJ80 said:

Eh???? What is he gibbering about regarding the origins?????

Well, hes factually incorrect about the high school part as Axl and Izzy did meet in high school. Slash and Adler even earlier.

But I dont think the rest should just be tossed out and ignored...

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10 minutes ago, soon said:

Well, hes factually incorrect about the high school part as Axl and Izzy did meet in high school. Slash and Adler even earlier.

But I dont think the rest should just be tossed out and ignored...

I mean - i just find it almost impossible that there has been no comment or accusation of ‘manufacture’ over the last 35 years by reporters/other bands etc.

Can a label etc pass details of drummers etc if struggling to find someone....totally and that might happen a fair bit in the business but this sounds like it’s WAY more. If there had been rumour etc over the years but this is the first I have ever heard about something like this!

Edited by DTJ80
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2 minutes ago, DTJ80 said:

I mean - i just find it almost impossible that there has been no comment or accusation of ‘manufacture’ over the last 35 years by reporters/other bands etc.

Can a label etc pass details of drummers etc if struggling to find someone....totally and that might happen a fair bit in the business but this sounds like it’s WAY more. If there had been rumour etc over the years but this is the first I have ever heard about something like this!

Who knows?

We do know that they shuffled players enough that they had a mans name in their bands name, who wasnt even still in the band!

Im sure lots of communication from the top down was mostly implied and given as friendly suggestions. You know all those times they 'went to lunch with execs and ran up the tab with no intention of signing...' ? Those are times that an A&R man shares what is and what isn't working towards landing them a deal.

As far as meeting in school as a bond - Axl had stints without Izzy and Slash and Alder were in and out sometimes at different times. They all seem happy with out their highschool friends now?

It was a very incesteous scene. Slash tried out for Poison - and like in Davids account, Slash knew he lost the audition when he saw CCs "look." Slash knew David Bowie(!) Kiss asked about Slash joining Kiss before Guns and before Stanley wanted to produce them. Izzy threw rocks at Areosmith.

They were all players who were "word on the street" with the labels well before the label signed them.

 

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7 minutes ago, soon said:

Who knows?

We do know that they shuffled players enough that they had a mans name in their bands name, who wasnt even still in the band!

Im sure lots of communication from the top down was mostly implied and given as friendly suggestions. You know all those times they 'went to lunch with execs and ran up the tab with no intention of signing...' ? Those are times that an A&R man shares what is and what isn't working towards landing them a deal.

As far as meeting in school as a bond - Axl had stints without Izzy and Slash and Alder were in and out sometimes at different times. They all seem happy with out their highschool friends now?

It was a very incesteous scene. Slash tried out for Poison - and like in Davids account, Slash knew he lost the audition when he saw CCs "look." Slash knew David Bowie(!) Kiss asked about Slash joining Kiss before Guns and before Stanley wanted to produce them. Izzy threw rocks at Areosmith.

They were all players who were "word on the street" with the labels well before the label signed them.

 

Ultimately yeah - who really knows. The above situation is more in line with how I’d expect ‘the business’ to have worked. But ‘they (Guns) were a product band. They were built by an idea and a marketing strategy.’ makes it sound like it was a Simon Cowell-type who put the band together.

 

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I'd really love more stories from this period. It seems like Axl was still into that new age stuff with negative energy and presence to say that to Dave. I'd also like to know more about the lawsuits Axl was on about. Seems like they went on for years. At the same time he seemed to use them as a crutch for why not much was getting done with the band.

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49 minutes ago, MaskingApathy said:

Maybe he means it was a product band after Slash and Duff left, when they were trying to find new players?

I think Guns N' Roses had an image by that point that the record label wanted to maintain. Greg Gilmore didn't seem to have that classic rock star look they might have wanted.

Same as how the label rejected the first version of Chinese Democracy probably for not sounding like a Guns N' Roses album.

They probably gave up on the image thing by 99/00 when Robin Finck and Buckethead were in the band.

 

Edit: My mistake. I didn't realize he was talking about Greg at the beginning of the band. There were so many people coming and going that I thought he was referring to 97.

Edited by mystery
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9 minutes ago, Live Like a Suicide said:

He mentioned Greg being approached as 'the first drummer' and Izzy writing 'great songs' for the band. It sounds like he meant the band was created as a product based on marketing and business ideas, which i think is bullshit, at least if we're talking on behalf of the label.

Is it possible that Axl had marketing ideas about the early band, particularly with using the name "Guns N' Roses" after merging with LA Guns? Sure, i think that's believable. Is it possible that Axl was interested in selectively scouting particular people according to qualities like looks and ability after Tracii Guns and others left? Sure, but we know the period between then and the entrance of Slash etc was very small, and that was years before the band was signed by any record label.

Guns itself wasn't signed until after March 1986, and by that time, we all know they were well and truly established. Interestingly, the GN'R Wikipedia page even says: 

They had turned down an offer from Chrysalis Records that was nearly double Geffen's, due to Chrysalis wanting to change the band's image and sound and Geffen offering full artistic freedom

I think it's safe to say the argument that Guns was a product band is bullshit.

Axl was the only member who had vision for the band. 

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I dunno, the whole product band thing as some kind of label masterplan doesn't really jive.  

They obviously had a look and a vibe they were going for, they were clearly image conscious... but the west coast tour, Slash and Steven / Izzy and Axl's friendships prior, living behind guitar center in a storage unit... 

 

All I get from "built around an idea and a marketing strategy" is they wanted to be huge and they knew how to make headlines. 

Edited by Ant
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9 hours ago, The Holographic Universe said:

“Dark lord”. What a laugh. Axl really takes himself seriously sometimes.

I know right. No wonder TB cannot say the ‘No’ word to Axl or he would call them Stormtroopers of hell or something dramatic!

just keep saying ‘yes’ TB 🤣

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