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


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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

23 hours ago, Sydney Fan said:

Was Yoda still around axl at this stage?.

Yes she was. Dave worked with the band in 1997 while Duff was still in the band. The next year Axl got arrested at the airport after visiting Sharon Maynard(Yoda) and her husband. The 'dark lord' stuff fits right in that wacky episode isn't it.

Edited by Master Of Reality
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I found the new age stuff more compelling too.

... like they created a fake indie label to appear to be what some still believe them to be. They then released a fake live album on their fake indie label. :lol: There’s no mystery to be explored on that topic.

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18 hours 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:

 

He's certainly entertaining, but some of his stories seem a bit stretched! 

I don't believe the 'A label put GNR together' thing, that to me sounds like absolute nonsense! If there was any truth to it, that story would have been far more mainstream by now! You can't keep a secret like that hid.

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3 minutes ago, Tom2112 said:

He's certainly entertaining, but some of his stories seem a bit stretched! 

I don't believe the 'A label put GNR together' thing, that to me sounds like absolute nonsense! If there was any truth to it, that story would have been far more mainstream by now! You can't keep a secret like that hid.

AllI did was do us all a favour by transcribing it - last time I offer that thankless service! :lol: (nah, I did add a bit of commentary)

David certainly got some facts wrong. But I dont think hes entirely wrong - I dont think hes lying per se.

Because I dont think it is a secret that the scene was 100% about getting signed, playing the game and swapping out members on a weekly basis to get signed. Slash auditions for Poison and states clearly when he "saw" CC he knew CC would get the gig because he had the "look."

I dont think that a label exec just randomly threw them together. I think Guns knew what was expected. They met how many A&R people - they'd be getting direction the entire time.

Just my two cents of course.

I was more gobsmacked that Axl wanted this dude to be in charge of anything :lol: He gets booted from PJ over his drinking and spends time in this interview talking about Timothy Leary. Like Daivd himself knew he wasnt suited for the task. But axl was like "youre in charge, see in in a few months!"

I picture a stoned David telling Duff "Like, lets make this all like, Guns N Roses, y'know man hehehe. Riiiiiiiiigght, man?? Like lets like rock it like Guns, man" :lol:

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19 hours ago, soon said:

- 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:

I assume the source of this is probably just hearsay from retrospective shit talking among certain circles of the Seattle scene.

Greg Gilmore was - sort of - in the picture during the formative days of GN'R, long before record labels were involved. He and Duff played together in 10 Minute Warning in Seattle. Here is an interview with Duff and Gilmore from 1983 by a Seattle fanzine:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t93-duff-mckagan#19900

When Duff left Seattle, Gilmore joined him in L.A. for a while and jammed with Slash, but then decided to go back to Seattle. From the book "Everybody Loves Our Town. An Oral History of Grunge":

GREG GILMORE: We (=Gilmore and Duff) met Slash and Steven Adler through an ad in The Recycler. Slash and I, just the two of us, went and jammed one evening, and that was cool. But by that time I was not really digging it. Those guys all drank quite a bit, and I did not really. I couldn’t hang. But the Guns N’ Roses that we all came to know was two years later. All those wild tales of debauchery and excess weren’t happening yet.

I wasn’t asked to join Guns N’ Roses. Not explicitly, anyway. I remember being there when they were brainstorming about vocalists and Slash brings up his buddy Axl.

But that’s the same time that I was already winding down there. There was just a lot of emphasis on the business of making it. Not that I had a problem with that. I just didn’t really get it. I came back up to Seattle for the holidays, and I decided that was it for me.

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18 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

I assume the source of this is probably just hearsay from retrospective shit talking among certain circles of the Seattle scene.

Greg Gilmore was - sort of - in the picture during the formative days of GN'R, long before record labels were involved. He and Duff played together in 10 Minute Warning in Seattle. Here is an interview with Duff and Gilmore from 1983 by a Seattle fanzine:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t93-duff-mckagan#19900

When Duff left Seattle, Gilmore joined him in L.A. for a while and jammed with Slash, but then decided to go back to Seattle. From the book "Everybody Loves Our Town. An Oral History of Grunge":

GREG GILMORE: We (=Gilmore and Duff) met Slash and Steven Adler through an ad in The Recycler. Slash and I, just the two of us, went and jammed one evening, and that was cool. But by that time I was not really digging it. Those guys all drank quite a bit, and I did not really. I couldn’t hang. But the Guns N’ Roses that we all came to know was two years later. All those wild tales of debauchery and excess weren’t happening yet.

I wasn’t asked to join Guns N’ Roses. Not explicitly, anyway. I remember being there when they were brainstorming about vocalists and Slash brings up his buddy Axl.

But that’s the same time that I was already winding down there. There was just a lot of emphasis on the business of making it. Not that I had a problem with that. I just didn’t really get it. I came back up to Seattle for the holidays, and I decided that was it for me.

Could be the Seatlle rumour mill, thats true. Equally it could be from his months of phone calls with Axl abut joining up. For example, if David were concerned that Axl is just pulling in various people without an eye for chemistry, Axl could say 'Well, Guns was originally about a number of factors and our lineup wasnt only based on chemistry...' (In the interview David seems to be connecting this sentiment to Duff - buts its very fuzzy what hes trying to say on that specifically)

I note that Gilmore is quoted here talking about Slash and co being very focoused on "making it." And that follows him speaking about them brainstorming singers (presumably with 'making it' guiding that decision too?)

Do we know when the first member of Guns had their first contact with an A&R person? Seems likely and possible it could be before label interest in Guns N Roses AFD lineup?

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Other than that, there are some new and really interesting bits of information about the period Abbruzzese was involved (so he knows first-hand). That was a fluid period with various people in various "roles" coming and going.

I don't know what to make of the part about Axl supposedly wanting to put Abbruzzese "in charge" of the band - it sounds a bit of a stretch. I suppose the part about the lawsuits is true and I wonder what kind of lawsuits Axl was dealing with at that time. 

I find it interesting that Axl had kept touch with Kim Neely. This suggests a longstanding relationship (maybe to this day?)

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8 minutes ago, soon said:

Could be the Seatlle rumour mill, thats true. Equally it could be from his months of phone calls with Axl abut joining up. For example, if David were concerned that Axl is just pulling in various people without an eye for chemistry, Axl could say 'Well, Guns was originally about a number of factors and our lineup wasnt only based on chemistry...' (In the interview David seems to be connecting this sentiment to Duff - buts its very fuzzy what hes trying to say on that specifically)

I note that Gilmore is quoted here talking about Slash and co being very focoused on "making it." And that follows him speaking about them brainstorming singers (presumably with 'making it' guiding that decision too?)

Do we know when the first member of Guns had their first contact with an A&R person? Seems likely and possible it could be before label interest in Guns N Roses AFD lineup?

Gilmore is seemingly talking about the Road Crew period, so even before Slash joined Hollywood Rose. I guess there was ambition (mostly on Slash's part) but it was too far off then, since Road Crew didn't even have songs with lyrics (and a singer/lyricist yet) - I don't think a label would be interested.

There's nothing about contacts with labels before the AFD lineup. The first offer the AFD lineup got was from a local indie label.

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2 hours ago, Blackstar said:

Other than that, there are some new and really interesting bits of information about the period Abbruzzese was involved (so he knows first-hand). That was a fluid period with various people in various "roles" coming and going.

I don't know what to make of the part about Axl supposedly wanting to put Abbruzzese "in charge" of the band - it sounds a bit of a stretch. I suppose the part about the lawsuits is true and I wonder what kind of lawsuits Axl was dealing with at that time. 

I find it interesting that Axl had kept touch with Kim Neely. This suggests a longstanding relationship (maybe to this day?)

With Dave Abbruzzese it seems a bit out there. But thinking about it, Dave was part of the biggest rock band in the world after Guns left the stage. He was fired suddenly and for unclear reasons even to this day. His stock was still high then.

It seemed also he and Axl hit it off on the phone although even Dave thought he seemed to not be ready to step into that situation.

IIRC they eventually got Chris Vrenna from NIN to fill that role.

Edited by mystery
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4 hours ago, soon said:

I was more gobsmacked that Axl wanted this dude to be in charge of anything :lol:He gets booted from PJ over his drinking and spends time in this interview talking about Timothy Leary. Like Daivd himself knew he wasnt suited for the task. But axl was like "youre in charge, see in in a few months!"

I picture a stoned David telling Duff "Like, lets make this all like, Guns N Roses, y'know man hehehe. Riiiiiiiiigght, man?? Like lets like rock it like Guns, man" :lol:

Why are you presenting the bolded as as a stated fact?

Edited by Spiritual_Chaos
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29 minutes ago, mystery said:

With Dave Abbruzzese it seems a bit out there. But thinking about it, Dave was part of the biggest rock band in the world after Guns left the stage. He was fired suddenly and for unclear reasons even to this day. His stock was still high then.

It seemed also he and Axl hit it off on the phone although even Dave thought he seemed to not be ready to step into that situation.

IIRC they eventually got Chris Vrenna from NIN to fill that role.

Dave Abbruzzese and Chris Vrenna were there at the same time (probably Vrenna came in a little earlier and left a bit later, and it seems they both came in while Matt's status was still unclear). Axl was toying with the idea of having two drummers. 

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6 minutes ago, Spiritual_Chaos said:

Why are you presenting the bolded as as a stated fact?

Shoot - I think I blended him with another former pj drummer Krusen. Krusen was let go while he was drinking heavily. Thanks for this note.

To my lager point about Aburzzesse - he worked at a head shop as the homegrow weed expert prior to PJ.

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23 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

Dave Abbruzzese and Chris Vrenna were there at the same time (probably Vrenna came in a little earlier and left a bit later, and it seems they both came in while Matt's status was still unclear). Axl was toying with the idea of having two drummers. 

Didn't know that. It's odd then. I remember at that point there were basically 2 different bands within Guns N' Roses at that time.

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18 minutes ago, mystery said:

Didn't know that. It's odd then. I remember at that point there were basically 2 different bands within Guns N' Roses at that time.

Axl has mentioned that about the two drummers:

Axl: The rehearsals with [Dave] Abbruzzese and Pod [=Chris Vrenna] as a duo were really cool; it was a shame then that it didn't work out but seemed for the best once we found Josh. [Spinner, Feb. 27, 2009].

There weren't really two different bands. At one point in 1995, two Dizzy's friends and bandmates, Krys Baratto and Sid Riggs were brought in to help in the studio and record bass and drums respectively on demos while Duff and Matt were busy with the Neurotic Outsiders. They were involved until about the time Dave Abbruzzese and Chris Vrenna came in in 1997. For more details:

https://www.a-4-d.com/t5018-19-december-1994-october-1996-axl-and-slash-fights-slash-quits#20209

So those guys were never really an "alternative" lineup.

But during the transitional period between Slash's departure and the formation of the first actual CD lineup in 1998 there wasn't really a lineup. It was all very fluid.

 

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are we clear the "manufactured band" is about 1985 GNR?  seems to me that if it was, they would have had more of a glam look and hair metal sound.

 

I assume that statement refers to 1997 in which I can totally see a record label worried about the bands image, etc.  although I remember when I saw the 2002 VMAs i was like "what the fuck?  theres a guy with a bucket, a guy that looks like a goth zombie, Axl looks like he just discovered the NFL and a guy still in his pajamas"  who approved that look?

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1 hour ago, Chester 524 said:

are we clear the "manufactured band" is about 1985 GNR?  seems to me that if it was, they would have had more of a glam look and hair metal sound.

I assume that statement refers to 1997 in which I can totally see a record label worried about the bands image, etc.  although I remember when I saw the 2002 VMAs i was like "what the fuck?  theres a guy with a bucket, a guy that looks like a goth zombie, Axl looks like he just discovered the NFL and a guy still in his pajamas"  who approved that look?

The context he's referring to in that specific part of the interview is clearly the 1985 band. And he thinks the 1997 band could have been a real organic band - I haven't finished watching it yet, but it sounds like the point he's getting at is that it would have been possible if Axl had freed himself from the burden of the GN'R name and fully embraced the new musical direction that band (with Abbruzzese, Vrenna, Finck and Duff) was heading at.

Edited by Blackstar
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13 hours ago, Master Of Reality said:

Yes she was. Dave worked with the band in 1997 while Duff was still in the band. The next year Axl got arrested on the airport after visiting Sharon Maynard(Yoda) and her husband. The 'dark lord' stuff fits right in that wacky episode isn't it.

Yes it does.:facepalm:

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12 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

The context he's referring to in that specific part of the interview is clearly the 1985 band. And he thinks the 1997 band could have been a real organic band - I haven't finished watching it yet, but it sounds like the point he's getting at is that it would have been possible if Axl had freed himself from the burden of the GN'R name and fully embraced the new musical direction that band (with Abbruzzese, Vrenna, Finck and Duff) was heading at.

I agree.

I would like to know why axl wanted to have a 3 guitar lineup in 95/6 and then a 2 drummers around the 97 era. What was axls musical vision he wanted to acheive with this sort of a lineup ill never undrrstand.

If Axl got rid of the GNR name to do this project under, it would have all been a potentially a much inspiring , and potentially easier process.

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6 minutes ago, Sydney Fan said:

I agree.

I would like to know why axl wanted to have a 3 guitar lineup in 95/6 and then a 2 drummers around the 97 era. What was axls musical vision he wanted to acheive with this sort of a lineup ill never undrrstand.

There is no indication that Axl had a concept of a three guitar lineup in the mid 90s similar to what it ended up being in 2000. What seems to be the case is that he brought up the "three guitarists" idea only in 1994, when Gilby was still in the band, as a kind of a compromise, with the concept being to keep Gilby as a "side guy" and bring someone else - Huge/Tobias, I guess - as a studio writer.

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7 minutes ago, Blackstar said:

There is no indication that Axl had a concept of a three guitar lineup in the mid 90s similar to what it ended up being in 2000. What seems to be the case is that he brought up the "three guitarists" idea only in 1994, when Gilby was still in the band, as a kind of a compromise, with the concept being to keep Gilby as a "side guy" and bring someone else - Huge/Tobias, I guess - as a studio writer.

So how did zakk wylde come into the picture?.

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