At the end of glam metal’s reign came a band whose esthetics fit perfectly with the standards of fashion. Moreover, they had a purer and less artificial musical concept. With hints that reminded of Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Hanoi Rocks, Guns N’ Roses debuted with the mightiest and most outstanding album of hard rock’s history: Appetite for Destruction. “Welcome to the Jungle” was their first single, released in December 1987 on MTV. With it, the five members of this band of promising rock stars became living legends. As expected, they immediately saw themselves surrounded by rumors, drugs, and worldwide success.
Within the band, all members played an important role. Izzy Stradlin was the brains behind the music. Duff McKagan was the negotiator and Steven Adler gave the band a kind perspective. However, the duo created by Axl Rose and Slash was the one that gave Guns N’ Roses fame and world recognition. Soon, they reached the first places of popularity thanks to their innovative singles. The most popular music shows of the time would constantly reproduce “Sweet Child O’Mine” or “Paradise City”.
They traveled the world thanks to this album that Rolling Stone Magazine cataloged as the best debut album of rock history. Thanks to the promotional singles that positioned them on the first places, they became the opening act for bands like Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith, and Motörhead. Soon they became headliners in important festivals and tours. Naturally, this fame came with excesses, of which they were already victims before reaching global success.
Before recording their album, these five young musicians would gather at the apartment they were renting together to smoke pot and write songs. Those were the origins of “Welcome to the Jungle”. Then, they would start consuming cocaine to let their imagination run free and continue their creative process. They would also get a couple of heroine shots to be on the same page. Weirdly enough, using drugs seemed to work for the band, at least at the beginning. “Mr. Brownstone” is, in fact, an ode to this time and to heroine, the substance that kept them happy and attuned.
Once they became famous, the band was determined to conquer the world with their music. Unfortunately, drugs were a fundamental part of their lives, and with them, alcohol became Slash’s best boost to overcome his bashfulness. Being the lead guitarist of the band, he had to catch the attention of the audience with his riffs, which would become models for future guitar players. The guy with the top hat was shy and hated being in front of thousands watching all his movements. Alcohol gave him an outgoing personality that turned him into an agile musician.
Additionally, Axl Rose was an athletic young man with long straight hair that stole the hearts of many women. With an outstanding voice and a characteristic falsetto, he shined in every song. As it was to be expected, these features made hundreds of groupies chase the blond musician. But he wasn’t the only one fans drooled after; it became a common scene to see girls wearing provocative outfits to draw the band’s attention.
Each night, after the show, they would select a few fans who were thoroughly inspected by the musicians. Once they got the approval of the band, they would be sent backstage or to the hotel they were staying at. It’s said that Rose kept a close eye on Slash’s conquests and then would steal them from him. The singer once stated to Rolling Stone Spain that: “It was great because he would pass out and piss his pants, and then I would get to be with the girl. So I always followed Slash because I knew he would pass out and I would get the girl. The next day he would just ignore it. […] it happened every time, all the time.”
Axl revealed all these uncomfortable anecdotes about Slash in several interviews. In his autobiography, Slash claims that the incident happened only once and that Axl had taken advantage of the situation to steal that night’s conquest. The guitarist was so drunk that he doesn’t even remember what really happened. The truth is that his incontinence is something really believable; he has mentioned that sometimes they were so hammered that getting to the bathroom was a huge quest. Moreover, they’d rather just pee on empty bottles, so groupies or even the band members themselves, would drink from the bottle.
During the mid-nineties, only three of the original members remained in the band, and one of them was about to abandon the ship. In order to accelerate Slash’s departure, Rose spread more rumors causing his fast abandonment of Guns N’ Roses. Nowadays, after their reconciliation and reunion tour, the singer still tells the story with a huge smile on his face. Likewise, Slash doesn’t show any sign of anger anymore. On the contrary, he laughs at the anecdote and blushes about how he was when he entered the wild world of rock n’ roll.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
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