The Tragic True Story of Axl Rose - Grunge (2023)

The Tragic True Story of Axl Rose - Grunge (1)

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VonRob SmithYBrian Boone/Updated Aug 30, 2022 at 9:56am EST

One of the aspects of Guns N' Roses' music that fans love most is its sheer ferocity. Who can read "Welcome to the Jungle," "Could You Be Mine," "Garden of Eden," "Mr. Brownstone" or a few dozen other tunes without recognizing that growl, that explosiveness, that wild energy? Yes, the The band's instrumental nexus, built around Slash's guitar and Duff McKagan's bass, delivers music that illuminates the danger expressed in vocalist Axl Rose's lyrics, but Rose's delivery will have you believe every word he sings.

Rose's fleeting persona fuels her songs and persona onstage and on record; When she expresses this volatility in the "real world," she has caused real damage, the kind that causes real damage, breaks real relationships, and calls on real authorities to take legal action against her. And though he currently leads Guns N' Roses on a virtually uneventful year-long successful reunion tour, the 30-year mark he's left behind may still raise the question of why he did what he did, what Axl has in his past. . What made Rose's appetite for destruction so real and dangerous?

He was a good student but a dropout

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While Axl Rose certainly had his share of problems as a kid (and his share and that of the person sitting next to him), he wasn't short on intellect. However, his zero-tolerance policy towards the authorities became problematic. "I was always in the top 3 percent on placement tests in school," he says.Rolling Stone. However, "he dropped out in the 11th grade, went back to high school, and then dropped out again." He was apparently not "stimulated" or "thrilled" by the curriculum, so he took a permanent hall pass to pursue topics of greater interest, or what he called "Axl's school of topics he wanted to learn about", a day that led him to Authorship of the Immortal couplet "Found a head and arm in the dump / I don't know why I'm here."

He also "studied" music, although he had to do it in secret due to his stepfather's religious beliefs. While most kids her age could turn up the volume on her stereo or destroy her hearing with headphones, Rose had to trust MaBell. "I remember my friend Dave called me one time and put Supertramp on the phone," she said.The Los Angeles Times, "I was just pretending to talk to him so no one would notice."

Indiana cops didn't like it.

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Looking back at Axl Rose over the years, listening to his music, and adding up the paperwork that resulted from his arrests and trials, it's easy to conclude that he had a rebellious streak growing up in Lafayette, Indiana. "[My friends and I] got into trouble for fun," he said.Rolling Stone1989. "I finally got to a point where I realized I was going to go to jail for continuing to fuck with the system." As an example, he cited a fight he had with a young man who eventually befriended Rose and wanted the charges dropped. "The state continued to file charges...they tried others," Rose explained. “I spent three months in prison and I finally got out.

The alleged abuse went on for a time and included an arrest for underage drinking, albeit in his own backyard (the charges were eventually dropped from court). Eventually, Rose left Indiana to find her fortune in California, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two years after she rose to fame, she was still reluctant to come back. "Now when I go back to see my family, I avoid the police there," she said. "I try to avoid the police in general."

He accuses his biological father of horrific abuse

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"My real dad was a pretty fucked up person," Rose said.Rolling Stonein 1992. The existence of his biological father was kept from him until the end of his childhood. "They didn't tell me it was me.hada real father until I was 17," Rose said. "My real father was my stepfather, as far as I knew." Eventually, she came across some insurance papers and other documents that revealed the truth, adding even more confusion and pain to a life she didn't need anymore.

When Rose was 2 years old, her parents separated, which Rose says led to her being kidnapped by her biological father. While in therapy, Rose recalled a horrible incident. "I remember a needle. I remember being given an injection. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and seeing something horrible happen to my mother when she came looking for me." Due to her age and the horrifying nature of the alleged abuse, Rose buried the incident in her mind, only to have it resurface as she grew older and became more confused about the relationship between sex and power, a confusion she wrestled with. during years.

A childhood trauma made him feel threatened by women

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Axl Rose's mother married his biological father while he was still in high school, and Rose knew early on that he wasn't desirable. "My mother's pregnancy was not a welcome thing," he said.Rolling Stone. “My mother had a lot of problems with that, and I was aware of those problems.” Those issues manifested themselves in a number of ways, including her mother's choice of a second husband. "She chose my stepdad over me because he was there and he saw him hit me. ... She wasn't there for me."

Rose's stepfather was a Pentecostal preacher, and in addition to allegedly physically abusing Rose, he also went to great lengths to indoctrinate the boy into his narrow view of women and sexuality. "Anytime any form of sex was shown on TV, like a kissing scene, we weren't allowed to watch," Rose said.REST IN PEACE. “Every time something like this happened, we had to turn our heads. [My stepfather] brainwashed us so much that we started spinning in our heads. We insulted each other." Her mother, intimidated by her husband's intimidation, did nothing; She was, in Rose's opinion, too insecure to face her husband or leave him.

He claims to have been abused by his stepfather.

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The abuse that Rose suffered from her stepfather was not limited to being bullied in front of the television. "This person was basically trying to control me and discipline me because of the problems he had growing up," Rose said.Rolling Stone. “And then my mother had a daughter. And my stepfather abused her for about 20 years. And beat us. hit me all the time. I thought these things were normal." When Rose made these revelations in 1992, she had long since parted ways with the man she called "one of the most dangerous people I've ever met."

"It's very important that he's not in my life or my sister's anymore," Rose said. "We can forgive, but we must not allow it to happen again." Rose too, in true Big Brother fashion, had become very protective of her sister, even as an adult. She became the manager of the Guns N' Roses fan club and accompanied them.Bandaon the street, allowing him to see his brother howling in anger over his childhood in front of tens of thousands of people at onceEvening.

He claimed to have been "brainwashed" by religion

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Rose's stepfather adhered strictly to the tenets of his Pentecostal faith and insisted that his family do the same, a situation that left Rose feeling "brainwashed". Talk toREST IN PEACEHe said: "I'm not against churches or religion, but I do believe, as I said in 'The Garden of Eden,' that most organized religions make a mockery of humanity." He was particularly upset by the hypocrisy that was prevalent in Pentecostal churches and how emotional damage was passed down from generation to generation. "These were people who found God but still live with [their own childhood] damage from him and inflict it on his children," he said.

Forced to attend services "three to eight times a week", Rose was also confused by the fluctuations of what the church considered to be evil. The confusion that arose within the walls of her church was exacerbated when she got home. "We had televisions for a week, then my stepfather threw them away because they were satanic," Rose recalled. In general, all of her childhood religious experience had the opposite effect on Rose to what her stepfather intended. "The Bible was shoved down my throat and it really distorted my perspective," Rose said.REST IN PEACE. “They taught us: 'You must fear God.' I don't think it's healthy."

His romantic life was more guns than roses.

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Given Axl Rose's struggles as an adult, it's not hard to predict that he would have problems in his relationships with women as an adult. "I've been hell with the women in my life," he said.Rolling Stone, "and the women in my life gave me hell." This was especially true of his brief marriage to Erin Everly (inspiration for theGuns N Roseshit "Sweet Child O' Mine"), which Rose affectionately dubbed her "best friend," also saying, "Other times... we completely screw up our lives." High-profile relationship with model and actress Stephanie Seymour was also fraught with problems; she even mourned the "death of her" of her in the November Rain video, and those were the good times.

However, as a celebrity, Rose was forced to process her issues publicly, leading to unwanted complications. He channeled his frustrations into his songwriting, which could also be problematic, especially when lyrics were considered mean ("My Michelle") or misogynistic ("Back Off, B****") or even murderous in jest ("My Michelle"). "Got them loved"). Rose tried to explain her reasoning.Rolling Stone: "Anger and emotions and stuff scare people... I don't think our music encourages you to feel that way... We say you're allowed to have certain feelings."

Its volatility could wreak real havoc

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If Rose vented her anger, everything in her path could be in jeopardy. YeahRolling StoneWhen I visited him in 1989, his apartment looked like the result of a fight between Chuck Norris and Godzilla (with Norris winning, of course). "A guitar was destroyed," the magazine reported, "a wall of mirrors shattered, several platinum albums shattered beyond repair, and a phone fell off a twelfth-floor balcony. Apparently... Axl Rose He needed to get something out of his system. Rose didn't want to tell the reporter what had upset him, but he explained his typical tantrum: "When I'm stressed, I get violent and take it out," he said himself, but then I realized that a scar is more damaging than not having a stereo. I'd rather kick my stereo than cut my arm off."

"Axl is like a magnet for trouble," Slash said.Rolling StoneYears later, having endured multiple tours and recording sessions with the singer. "I've never met anyone like him. He's the kind of guy who gets a toothbrush stuck down his throat because that particular toothbrush was faulty."

left riot

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Rose's volatility may have been self-directed in some cases, but the decisions she made based on her anger or her contempt for others have occasionally had massive consequences. RespectivelyRolling Stone, Rose left a show in St. Louis in early 1991 after becoming angry with his security team for failing to properly handle a on-camera bystander. After the ringside brawl, Rose walked out of the concert, and soon after, a riot began, resulting in 60 injuries, 16 arrests, and $200,000 in damage to the facility.

Similarly, Metallica frontman James Hetfield was severely burned in a fireworks accident at a double concert with Metallica in August 1992 in Montreal, interrupting his performance. Rose later finished the Guns N' Roses set early, complaining of a sore throat. This caused an uproar, with concertgoers yellingNew York Times, "they smashed stadium windows with a torn off streetlight, looted a souvenir shop, burned a sports car and Guns N' Roses T-shirts, and started dozens of small fires." Guns N' Roses shows, uh, sparked riots in a few places (most famously in Vancouver, as reported byThe guard) and caused some promoters to stop booking the band.

Therapy helped him process his problems.

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Early in his career as the leader of Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose sought treatment for long-standing mental health issues. "I went to a clinic because I thought it would help my mood," he told RIP magazine (via theLos Angeles Times) in 1989. Doctors told Rose he had bipolar disorder, which was then called manic-depressive disorder, though it didn't solve everything for the singer. "The drug doesn't help me deal with stress. It keeps people away from me."

pink saysRolling Stonethat he began controversial regression therapy in February 1991 in the hope of identifying the source of his erratic nature and treating it proactively. "It's about finding a way to break the chain," she explained. "I'm trying to fix myself and turn around and help others. You can't reallysave to computerall. You can support them, but they must save themselves." Much of this type of therapy is concerned with recovering "lost" memories, which can sometimes be unreliable. However, Rose claims that the practice has helped him. "My life still has its ups and downs," she said, "but it's so much better because of this job."

The result of these efforts was not forgiveness or simply "handling" the problem and walking away. It was about grieving, evaluating, and coming to understand the main reasons why he sometimes behaved the way he did. "My growth stopped at the age of 2," she said. "And when they say Axl Rose is a screaming two-year-old, they're right..There's a screaming 2-year-old who's really mad and hides and doesn't show himself that often, not even to me." Hoping he's found some peace.

Two fans died at a Guns N' Roses concert

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Back in 1988, Guns N' Roses were probably the hottest and most popular band in the world, having just released the blockbuster "Appetite for Destruction" and as such were a major draw on this year's iteration of Monsters of Rock, an annual hard rock event. and heavy metal multi-act festival show at Castle Donington in England. According to the documentary "Guns N' Roses: Breaking the Band" (viaonline radar) organizers did not set any capacity rules or crowd control, which combined with torrential rain created a restless crowd of some 120,000 who rushed to the front of the stage and put dangerous pressure on those in front. It all resulted in the deaths of two fans suffocating and being trampled to death.

Neither Axl Rose nor other members of Guns N' Roses were aware of the tragic events until hours after the show. "I met our tour manager at the bar and he was crying," guitarist Slash said.One more time!"That's when I found out that two children had been trampled to death."

Axl Rose has been arrested multiple times for violent crimes

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Axl Rose was frequently in trouble with the law and was arrested several times for violent outbursts against neighbors, security forces and authority figures. Out loud during a 1987 concert in AtlantaGeier, Rose punched an Atlanta police officer. The promoter made an agreement that if Rose apologized to the police, they would not arrest the singer. After writing an apology, Rose used various profanities on the officer and was arrested. 1990, byLos Angeles Times, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrested Rose for assault with a deadly weapon. During an argument with her neighbor from her apartment complex, she snatched a bottle of wine, emptied it, and used it to hit the woman over the head after she complained that she was playing the music too loud. .

Before a flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in 1998, a strongmtv newsRose reportedly became so angry with an airport security officer checking her luggage that she threatened to punch the man while shaking her fists. And in 2006, afterHoyNorwegian police arrested Rose after he was accused of drunkenly assaulting and biting a hotel guard.

Axl Rose often has health problems at concerts

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Gary Miller/Getty Images

During a concert in New York City in 1991 as a prelude to his year-long Use Your Illusion tour.ultimate classic rock, Axl Rose attempted a powerful jump during "You Could Be Mine" and landed badly, injuring his foot and leaving it in a cast for a handful of concerts. RespectivelyFold, preventing the singer from performing his signature dance move. Fifteen years later, so theSan Diego Union Tribune, and while saying "Mr. Brownstone" during the first show of a Guns N' Roses reunion tour, Rose slipped onstage and broke a bone in her foot so badly that she required realignment surgery.

ProNMEIn 2018, Guns N' Roses had to end a concert early when Rose's stomach ache got too bad. "I've been throwing up for the last five hours," she told the crowd at the start of the show, adding that she has gotten stronger, albeit temporarily, with intravenous and injected medications. A very similar turn of events occurred at a concert in Chicago in 2021. "I came to the show feeling great but got sick pretty early on," Rose said on her band's Twitter page. "It got to where I was throwing up and I got dizzy."

Axl Rose and Slash have publicly feuded for years

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Images by Paul Rovere/Getty

Until 1997 according toultimate classic rock, infighting and creative tensions led to the departure of all members of Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction", including the guitarist.slash. Axl Rose and his former bandmate waged a war of words and lawsuits for the next two decades.

The relationship began to seriously deteriorate in 1991 when Slash left a Guns N' Roses tour to work with Michael Jackson.rolling stone brazil(aboveNME), who disliked and mistrusted Rose, a survivor of child abuse, over similar allegations leveled against the pop singer. In 2005 bybillboard, Slash (and Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan) sued Rose for allegedly freezing their share of royalties of around half a million dollars a year. Months later, Rose responded (viamtv news) and his management group called Slash an "opportunist and manipulator". Three years later, Rose called Slash "a cancer" to Spinner (viaNME) and Slash saidRolling Stonebefore being inducted into the GNR Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the rose eventuallyrefusedto point out that his former bandmate "hates him to death".

"One of us is going to die before we meet again, and no matter how sad or ugly or unhappy someone sees it, it is what it is," Rose said.billboard2009. Still, Rose and Slash are happy in 2018togetherunder the name Guns N' Roses.

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