... Lines n' Noses? Wine n' Poses? No, GUNS n' ROSES, the rude and tattooed (and major label backed) beat boyz at the forefront of the post Hanoi explosion currently hitting Los Angeles. 'A cocktail of Aerosmith, the Pistols, early Stones, Ramones and the New York Dolls', sez SYLVIE SIMMONS, toxic as rock 'n' roll was always meant to be'. Two Marquee shows and an imminent debut album should see the five (here it comes) giving it their best shot!
"K NOW WHAT I want to do' Really want to do? Go over to Japan and pollute It I'm not talking about drugs, I'm talking about teenage sex, bring over some crazy porn magazines and drop them from the tops of tall buildings. There's no beaver shots in Japan . . ."
Guns n' Roses, born in a bottle and spilled into the streets of Los Angeles. A cocktail of Aerosmith, the Pistols, early Stones, Ramones and the New York Dolls; the worm at the bottom's their own. The nearest thing to a street band in a city where there's nothing but boulevards and freeways and if you sit in the gutter long enough a mobile lavatory-brush truck will come along and suck you up to kingdom come.
"There's a picture of Lemmy in some magazine, opening a bottle of Jack Daniels. He's so cool! Lemmy's cool! Lemmy reminds me of someone who'd, like, crawl right out of someone's asshole and take a shower and then make it really big and have the last laugh..."
Guns n 'Roses, Lines n' Noses, Wine n' Poses, "The only real rock 'n' roll band to came out of LA in the last ten years" (Axel). "The sleaziest to come out of Smog Angeles since Crue's `Too Fast For Love"' (Xavier R.) Delinquent, delicious, decadent, Excess All Areas rock. Guns n' Roses stalk through your every silk scarf fantasy and rub you raw like Piranhas in a jacuzzi.
"I watch MTV and it's hard not to throw shit at the TV set because it's so f * `king boring. Even the bands around here in LA are the same way, the whole music industry. It's new to us, this business, and we meet these people and they say, 'do this, do that'. And we go, `f* *k it, f* *k you! Because it's just not us. We do whatever we want to. ."
W E PULL up in the parking lot by the Winnetka Animal Clinic: Rumbo Studios, home of Captain and Tennille. The band's already here, sitting in a back room all in a row like Hitchcock's birds, by a table layered with bottles and frozen food: Steven Adler, drums and Duff McKagan, bass, beachbum rhythm section with bleach-blond hair and easy smiles; Izzy Stradlin and Slash, guitars, Izzy looking like a rock 'n' roller, sharp and languid all at the same time, Slash a mean mop of hair, only the lips move, killer pout and faraway eyes. Axel, vocalist, salt-rubber into the wound of rock 'n' roll, joins in later.
In the other room, Mike Clink is leaning over a control-board and looking slightly anxious. Ron Nevison's engineer on several projects and veteran of bands like Triumph, UFO, Airplane, he's producing Guns n' Roses' debut Geffen album and follow-up to the delirious, indie EP 'Live - Like A Suicide', a greasy, lemon-squeezy slice of smirking, strutting vinyl. The album 'Appetite For Destruction has every indication of being kill. When it's out (soon) they're coming over to play the Marquee (the first date will be June 19 with one other to follow).
"Everyone's from everywhere: Indiana, Ohio, Seattle. Slash was born in England somewhere" - Stoke-on-Trent has the honour - "and moved here when he was a little kid. Duff's from up north. Axel and I," says Izzy, "are from the Midwest." Indiana. A place I've been to twice and can't remember, a place whose' jails they know only too well -- the wrong drinks at the wrong time , in the wrong places. But LA's, well, where you end up.
"When you watch the news and you see what's going on everywhere else, it is f**king Paradise, this place. You can get away with murder here. I'm just waiting for this place to selfdestruct and the record companies to drop off into the ocean and everything;" says Slash, "will mean nothing."
LA, like Heaven, is a place - , , where nothing much ever happens; LA, like Heaven, is a place where it helps if you're, dead. LA is a good place for record companies. Izzy, Axel, Duff, Steven and Slash came for the big deal; they've been in "lots" of bands, but this is the only one they'd go all the way for.
"Everybody's been through the wringer," says Duff, who came out uncreased, "You go through a lot of bands when you start playing at 15, and in the beginning you don't really know what you want to do. You just want to play. Eventually, you into each other and the chemistry is just right".
"And the first thing we did ' when we got together is we hit the road to Seattle." Izzy grins a wicked grin.
"The Treacherous journey," says Slash.
"The car we were driving busted down," says Izzy. "So we said, 'f * *k it!' and grabbed our guitars and jumped out and hitched a ride."
"And we were dressed to the f* *king hilt," says Slash, "on the highway, man, with our guitar cases!"
A truck-driver picked them up, dumped them off on the side of the road 20 hours north, "and then two ex-hippy girls from San Francisco picked us up - they passed us and then they remembered back in the hippy days when nobody would pick them up, so they came around and we piled in" and they fed them some "radical potbrownies" and "it was cool, we
hadn't rehearsed that much, and we went out and played using the other band's equipment. And to me," Izzy, "that was the whole spirit of it.
"And it just took off from there. There was just like a 'f**k it' attitude. Not 'f* *k it, in a negative way, just 'f* *k it, we're going to play, we're going to do what we're going to do'. After that, you get back to the city and it's like, 'This is a piece of cake"
"A lot of guys who might have been in the band at the time would have wimped out," says Steven, "gotten on the plane home before we were halfway there."
"No-one died, no-one fainted, we all survived," says Slash. - "And we've been pushing ourselves that way ever since."
AT THAT time -- this is when Motley Crüe's first album came out and everyone was in leather and studs Izzy and I, "says Axel, "walked into the Roxy one of our first times and I remember Vince (Neil) and Nikki (Sixx) leaning over a rail trying to figure out who the f"*k we were! It took three years to start getting accepted in LA."
Just what the town needed; another band with radical hair and a '70s album collection.
"I remember for two years standing at the Troubadour and people wouldn't talk to me; I didn't know what to say to them, so you just watched and learned for a long, long time."
They lived off girls and drugs and scams, "you drifted around," says Axel, you stayed in friends' garages, cars, "stayed one step ahead of the sheriffs."
They lived with a woman who tried managing them and "destroyed her apartment. It was like five bags of garbage - all of us in one room and the girls coming over. There was eight people living there, and dog. It got really crazy, really crazy, It got," Axel laughs, "really rude. These two girls were like guy-crazy and bandcrazy and there was no way any guy in any band was going to be caught dead with either of them, especially," a dirty laugh, "us. So Slash would milk that for everything it was worth - free drinks, free food, everything without ever having to do anything. Which eventually caused big problems!"
rd tell you but I can't afford the lawsuits!
They moved into a studio next: "No showers, no food, nothing," says Slash. "A very uncomfortable prison cell. But God, did we sound good in there! We're a really loud band and we don't compromise the volume for anything! We'd bash away with a couple of Marshalls in this tiny room, and it was cool because all the losers from Sunset and all the bands would come over and hang out there every night. We used to rehearse in there and sleep in there. It got hectic. But at least we didn't get fat and lazy.
"Basically, it's just down to a poverty thing, that's where that kind of 'f**k you' attitude comes from, because you're not showering, you're not getting food or nothing, you do what you have to survive."
That's how the buzz started. Getting it loud enough to be heard in the Ivegotnoidea Towers of the record biz took more legwork, having thousands of flyers made ("We still owe the flyer place tons of money") and walking and hitching from Hollywood to the Valley, shirtless with a staplegun and a bottle for company, desecrating trees and spreading the word.
"We just kept playing," says Izzy, "and we made so much noise in the city, there were so many things happening around us, that the labels started to come to us. They came to us! They would come over to the studio and come in the alley and see drunks - there was this drunk with a bottle of Thunderbird," vicious, "on top of his head - and next thing you know we're going to their office! We made them take us all out for dinner for like a week or two and we started eating good! We'd order all this food and drink and say, 'OK, talk!'"
"The buzz got out", says Slash "and we kept getting invited down to see these idiots. One
label - I swear - we were talking to, I was saying, 'It kind of sounds like Steven Tyler'; and the chick said, `Steven who?' And all of us just looked at each other and said, 'Can we have another one of those drinks?' And we started eating good and 'none of our clothes would fit us any more!"
Before, Guns n' Roses looked like any other LA flash merchants you care to name. When Izzy and Axel ran an ad in The Recycler to find Slash they asked for 'a Heavy Punk Metal Glam guitarist'. They wanted, says Axel, "someone who wore make-up and put their hair up. That was the first glam ad I think I ever saw. And then we quickly got rid of that but it stuck."
"We're a lot more down-to-earth now," says Slash, who looks positively seedy. "They still try and label us as a glam band but I don't give a shit because we're not."
"We don't want to associate ourselves with glam and the main reason," says Axel, "is because that's what Poison associates themselves with." They don't like Poison. "I've told those guys personally that they can lock me in a room with all of them and I'll be the only one who walks out! They used to come to our shows before they ever played a gig. Everybody copying them? Sorry I don't see it. Poison came out in an article saying they started glam - I don't know where they were in the '70s," Axel laughs. "The only reason I put my hair up is because Izzy had these pictures of Hanoi Rocks and they were cool, and because we hung out with this guy who studied Vogue magazine hairstyles and was really into doing hair..."
ARE GUNS n' Roses personal crusaders for the return of sleaze?
"No," laughs Axel. "That's just a by-product. I think a lot of other bands are really wimpy."
"I don't know what people expect from us," says Slash.
"We don't really care," says Izzy. "We never set out to do anything buy play."
"Metal stems from sexual frustration," murmurs Slash. "We come from an amazing background of repression, stifled childhoods. . ."
Slash, you said in an interview that the only two bands in Metal that are worthwhile are Metallica and WASP. Justify WASP.
"I can't!" The eyes narrow. "I never said that, I hate WASP! I might have said Megadeth maybe and I might have said Metallica but I didn't say WASP! They're f**king ugly, man! That's really in there? God, that's f * *ked!"
What records do they all have in their collections, then?
"We've all got 'Never Mind The Bollocks' and Aerosmith's 'Rocks' and right now," says Axel, "we listen to Exile On Main Street a lot. The Ramones - back in '78 Izzy and I had all the tapes and learnt all the songs. Duff is a real big Johnny Thunders fanatic." They all like the Beastie Boys and Motorhead. As for Guns n Roses . . .
"We have pieces of everything in our band," says Axel, "and we try and find a way to bring it all out rather than limit ourselves into one frame. You don't see a lot of that any more - Queen used to do it, and Zeppelin, but nowadays people tend to stay in one vein.
"With our record right now - it's like there's a lot of barriers that need to be broken down because people have got used to what they're supposed to hear. A lot of bands -- look, even Judas Priest did it, they decide, okay, we're going to try selling out and see if that works, they toned their music down and tried to appease somebody else besides themselves and it cost them. But the public is conditioned on what they're allowed to like, and if something's too far out of the norm, even if it's cool, they won't - we want people to realise man, just play whatever the f* *k you want to play, not what someone else thinks you should play, so that's what we've done.
"I sing in about five or six different voices - that are all part of me, it's not contrived - and there's a ballad, there's one song that's kind of like Black Sabbath goes to Ireland, there's two guitar players that play very different from each other - one plays an '80s blues electric guitar and the other guy's completely into Andy McCoy and Keith Richards - and they've figured out a way to fit it together."
"I think it's going to kick ass," says Izzy, "listening to the playback. It's against the - mainstream grain. It's definitely a case of you'll either love it or hate it - which is good, as long as you notice it."
"You couldn't really hate us," says Slash, "because the band's real. Regardless of whether you like us or not, we're going to go on and still do what we do."
What they want us to do is:
"We want to tour, travel, continue the big Guns n' Roses adventure, And indulge ourselves. And f**k a lot!"
And while you're waiting for them to get here with their album, check out the EP. Rawer than a whore's thighs, and toxic as rock 'n' roll was always meant to be.
From the same magazine:
VIEW FROM THE BAR:
WELL, THOSE well-known new age hellraizers Lines N' Noses (aka Guns N' Roses) recently had trouble obtaining a suitable work permit from the UK authorities which would allow them to play their proposed date at The Marquee Club on June 19.
Apparently, it wasn't their overgrowing reputation for mayhem, destruction and debauchery that baulked the stiff upper lip brigade, but rather a new ruling whereby any rock band keen to play on these shores has to apply for the relevant documentation months ahead of schedule rather than merely weeks, as was the norm in the past.
Thus, the first application from the Lines N' Noses camp was rejected and they only scraped into England on their second plea. Now, there's a word of warning for all foreign acts planning to descend on our sceptered isle. In fact, VFTB is given to believe that it was this very ruling that precluded Poison from performing live whilst here on a recent promotional tour.
Talking of Lines N' Noses, it seems that one particular member of the band is keen to get a T-shirt made up with the following legend printed across it: 'Join Guns N' Roses And Destroy All You See'. Sounds like fun to us!
Thanks to Brendan for the scans.