Axl Rose caused some controversy by physically confronting fans who had smuggled cameras to his concerts. He had previously heard that some underground gay magazines had printed surreptiously photographed close-up images of his crotch.
Now with his new
Born William Rose in Lafayette, Indiana on February 6th, 1962, Axl was brought up in a fanatically religious Pentecostal family. He had a deeply troubled childhood, suffering s--ual abuse at the hands of his biological father, William Rose, who left the family when Axl was two years old, and physical and mental abuse at the hands of his stepfather, Stephen Bailey.
Growing up, Axl thought Bailey was his biological
father; Axl's name had been "Bill Bailey" since his
father had left. At age seventeen, he learned of his
biological father's existence and readopted his
birth name, William Rose. He would only refer to
himself as "W. Rose", however, as he did not wish to
share a name with his biological father. The strict
discipline and Pentecostal education he endured as a
child led to his rebellion as an adolescent against
both Indiana and society in general.
Because of his turbulent upbringing and his mother's reluctance to leave the abusive Bailey, Axl is said to have issues with women. He himself claimed in a Rolling Stone Interview in 1992 that during his childhood he was made to believe that women and s--uality was evil and that due to the violent treatment of his mother by his stepfather he witnessed as an impressionable child, he had been led to think that domestic violence was the normal way of things.
Axl Rose showed strong interest in music and as a teenager and formed a band called Axl. He kept the band's name as his own, and adopted the name Axl as his own legal name.
Throughout his youth, Axl was in trouble numerous times with the police and was arrested over twenty times on charges such as Public Drunkenness and Assault. In his late teenage years Lafayette authorities attempted to have him locked up as a Habitual Criminal and on the advice of his lawyer, he left Indiana with a close childhood friend, Izzy Stradlin and headed to Los Angeles in the early 1980s to pursue a rock music career.
The early 1980s music scene in Los Angeles featured both punk and hair metal/heavy metal bands. Axl wanted to meld the two styles into a unique musical form. Rose moved through a number of bands, including Hollywood Rose, L.A. Guns, Rapidfire, Axl, and Rose. Then, after bringing in his former L.A. Guns bandmates, Tracii Guns (who was soon replaced by Slash, real name Saul Hudson) and Rob Gardner (who was soon replaced by Steven Adler), Guns N' Roses were formed in the summer of 1985.
Desperately poor, the fledgling band struggled to survive in the streets of LA. From their own admission, Rose and Stradlin even sold drugs for petty cash. According to Rose, they manipulated women for their money, an example being at a party at an unnamed woman's house and while one band member had s-- with the woman, the others would raid her wallet for the little cash they could salvage.
They eventually rented a small apartment, dubbed the Hell House, which quickly became a den for s--, drugs and rock n' roll. LA Hair Metal promoter Vicky Hamilton alledgedly managed the band and got them their first gigs.
With Axl Rose (vocals), Izzy Stradlin (rhythm guitar), Slash (lead guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), and Steven Adler (drums), Guns N' Roses signed a recording contract with Geffen Records in 1986. The band released its first full-length album, Appetite for Destruction, in 1987. Mixing blazing power chords with Rose's shrieking vocals, the album was not an immediate success, but soon grew in popularity with the release of several singles from the album. By 1988, Guns N' Roses shot to the top of rock music, helped by the massive popularity of the songs "Welcome to the Jungle", "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine". "Sweet Child O' Mine" was written for a then girlfriend of Rose.
Axl Rose performing with Guns N' Roses in the early 90s.Axl and Guns N Roses began to become extremely popular, and Axl's life was as always crazy. Throughout the mid eighties and to the early nineties, Axl was involved in a turbulent relationship with Erin Everly, the daughter of singer Don Everly. He eventually married Everly in 1990, but the next month Rose filed for a divorce. The couple reconciled for some time, during which Everly became pregnant but sadly suffered a miscarriage in October 1990, which deeply affected Axl, who had wanted to have children of his own. The day after Everly's miscarriage, Axl was arrested after supposedly assaulting a neighbor with a wine bottle after the neighbor threatened to call the police on him because of his loud music. The marriage between Everly and Rose was eventually annulled in January 1991. He later got involved with a beautiful young model named Stephanie Seymour in mid 1991, and from accounts Rose was crazy about Seymour and considered her to be the one and he became deeply attached to Seymour's son, Dylan and tried his hardest to be a good father figure for the child, something that had been missing in Rose's own life. Seymour and Rose also parted ways in 1993, and Axl fell into a deep depression. Everly and Seymour would both later sue Axl claiming spousal abuse and marital rape and Rose counter sued. The charges were eventually dismissed.
Although famous first for its music, Guns N Roses soon gained notoriety for a wild lifestyle fueled by heavy use of recreational drugs. Instability followed, with concert cancellations and rumors of a breakup. In 1988, the band released G N' R Lies, which also was hugely popular. But criticism also came for the song "One in a Million", which was interpreted as insulting to gays, blacks, and immigrants. Axl was labelled racist and homophobic due to the lyrics of this song, charges he heavily denied. He claimed he used the word N---ers as offense not towards African Americans as a whole, but to the select few 'gangster' type of African Americans. His statements got the support of popular Los Angeles rappers, Eazy E of N.W.A and Ice T, both of whom offered to musically collaborate with Rose. As for the homophobic allegations, Rose claimed he had had bad experiences with homos--uals, and as he did not understand their way of life. In a surprising move, Rose performed "November Rain" with Elton John at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. He claimed John was a big influence on his musical and lyrical outlook, and this claim is supported by many of the more operatic songs of the Use Your Illusion albums. He also paid tribute to Freddie Mercury, another huge influence, at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, where he again performed with John.
After a string of delays, the group released two albums called Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II in 1991. These albums were also huge hits, but the band soon ran into trouble, with Rose's increasingly erractic behaviour. In July 1991, Rose jumped off stage during a concert in St. Louis, to attack a fan, and then left the stage, which sparked an intense riot during the 28 month long Use Your Illusion Tour, for which he was later arrested in 1992. Another riot was spawned on August 8, 1992 at the Montreal Stade Olympique during a summer concert co-headlining tour with Metallica, when Rose, already late for the band's stage appearance, walked off stage and left the stadium after playing only a few songs. (That same night, James Hetfield was burned in a pyrotechnics accident.)
These incidents, along with the appearance of a new stripped-down musical style known as grunge, led to a growing impression of Guns N' Roses as a self-indulgent and out-of-date act. Rose himself came to be seen as strange and aggressive when he caused long performance delays and challenged Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain to a fight during the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, after instigation by Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love. For months there had been an intense rivalry between Rose and Cobain and among both band's fans. Axl had been a big fan of Nirvana and asked Cobain to have Nirvana be openers for Guns N' Roses during the Use Your Illusion Tour, to which Cobain declined. After declining Rose's offer, Cobain began to talk about Guns N Roses and Axl to numerous media sources, claiming that he felt Guns N Roses was untalented and that Axl was a homophobic loser, to which Axl said of Nirvana, "They would rather sit home and shoot heroin with their f***ing bitch wives then tour with us." In an interview with Michael Azerrad in the unofficial biography Come As You Are, Cobain explained what he saw as the philosophical difference between Guns N' Roses and Nirvana: "They f**k things up and then they sit back and look at what they f***ed up and then try to figure out how they can fix it, whereas we f**k things up and just dwell on it and make it even worse." Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan was one of the last people to see Kurt Cobain alive before his suicide in 1994. Fans of both groups continue to heatedly dispute the undocumented events that transpired between Cobain and Rose.
In another short lived feud, Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil and Rose traded insults and challenges for confrontations for a number of months. The animosity stemmed from another unseen and controversial incident, where Izzy Stradlin allegedy assaulted Sharice Neil, Vince's wife, leading Vince to literally run off stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to confront him. Axl helped break up the fight and later publicly challenged Vince to a one-on-one brawl. Vince did not back down, publicly accepting the offer, and naming a time and place that Axl did not show up for. The same pattern continued for months, each man using any chance to get a challenge or insult in, such as Vince's highly visible "F**K AXL" shirt. The lyrics to the GNR song 'Shotgun Blues' are allegedly written about Neil.
In 1993, Guns N' Roses issued an album of cover tunes, The Spaghetti Incident?, which received mixed reviews. The album sparked a minor controversy due to the inclusion of a hidden track, "Look At Your Game, Girl” that was written by Charles Manson.
In 1994, Axl Rose fired guitarist Gilby Clarke and hired old friend Paul Tobias. Together with the rest of the band (at this point: Slash, McKagan and Sorum), Rose and Tobias recorded a cover of the song "Sympathy for the Devil" for the Interview with the Vampire movie soundtrack. Unbeknownst to Slash (at the time), Rose had Tobias re-record some of his guitar parts. When Slash found out, he was quite upset; this was part of what fuelled his desire to leave the band.
The band returned to the studio and allegedly recorded 13 tracks for a new album (which may still exist today but have never been released). The "new album" (the recording process of which was documented in a few rare articles from the mid-'90s) was claimed by Duff McKagan to feature some soft ballads and acoustic-style songs. These rumors were dispelled in a 1996 (?) interview, where Duff said, "No ballads." However, due to tensions, Slash left the band before its release, followed by Sorum and McKagan in 1997 so the band could never finish it. The lost Guns N' Roses album was never released by GN'R, but many of the songs were released on the Slash's Snakepit album "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere". It remains something of a mystery amongst die-hard fans to this day. (Some claim it will be released as a "Beatles Anthology"-type gift set in the future, while others are more skeptical.)
1999 passed without a new album, and the original title of "Chinese Democracy", "2000 Intentions", lost its relevance at the turn of the millennium.
In 2001, the new incarnation of GN'R appeared at Las Vegas and Rio de Janeiro, where Axl and his new band played in front of 250,000 fans at Rock In Rio III. It was here that he introduced new songs "Chinese Democracy", "Madagascar", "The Blues", "Silkworms" and "Rhiad And The Bedouins", as well as playing the band's earlier hits.
In August 2002, the revamped Guns N' Roses did six shows (Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka Japan, London and Leeds England and Pukkelpop festival in Belgium), and Axl made a special surprise appearance at the 2002 Video Music Awards, officially unveiling the new line-up of Guns N' Roses. It was one of the highest rated musical performances in MTV history, and Ozzy Osbourne said that in terms of the energy alone, it was one of the greatest performances ever. However, many viewers noticed Axl was often singing off-key, which he later attributed to earphone malfunctions, which left him unable to hear his own voice during the performance.
A North American tour including 16 shows followed, but it fell apart halfway through in December of 2002 when Axl did not appear for shows in Vancouver (first show of the tour) and Philadelphia, resulting in riots.
Guns N' Roses were scheduled to show at Rock In Rio Lisbon festival in early 2004, but this appearance was cancelled in official message by Axl Rose, who apologized to the fans blaming guitarist Buckethead because of his departure.
On April 1, 2005, a new GN'R track, titled "I.R.S.," was leaked onto the internet by an anonymous source. It was described as being an authentic poor quality demo tape, obtained through the radio program, Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk, a New York City-based program airing on Q104.3. It was on this program where the song originally had aired earlier. Trunk had received a copy of the track from his close friend Mike Piazza, who had received it anonymously in the mail. Piazza is allegedly a friend of Axl Rose, which led some fans to believe Rose had given him the album himself.
In September 2005, an internet rumour surfaced that Axl met fans in Malibu and told them the album would be out by early 2006 and a song would be featured on the soundtrack for the Tom Hanks/Ron Howard movie The Da Vinci Code. Although this rumor was never verified, GN'R manager Merck refused to say if it was true or false. Also, as of December 2005, there are unconfirmed rumors that Sanctuary Music Publishing was beginning to take the early steps of release for the album and was planning on spreading news to reintroduce the band to the world.
Axl Rose at a KoRn launch party on January 13thMost recently, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash said of Chinese Democracy in a radio interview that "it definitely sounds like it's coming out in March."
On January 13th, 2006 (Black Friday), Axl Rose was photographed for the first time in over three years at a KoRn launch party. He is currently sporting a beard and still has braids.
"We're working on thirty-two songs, and twenty-six are nearly done," he said at the party in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. Thirteen of these will be included on the first album, and the rest on two subsequent "sequels." According to Rolling Stone, Rose's favorites so far are "Better," "There Was a Time" and "The Blues."
"People will hear music this year," he said.
Also this year, Axl was spotted at an early Valentines party in New York City. To get the whole story, click here
On Febuary 15, 2006, a higher quality version of I.R.S. was released, as well as a 1:20 second long demo version of "Better". Just a few hours later, an extended version of "Better" was leaked along with another track "There Was A Time". The band's management has tried to prevent the tracks from being posted or traded on the internet.
On February 20, 2006, Guns N' Roses were confirmed to be headlining "Nova Rock", a festival in Austria from June 15 to 17th of this year. Guns N' Roses have also been confirmed to play at Rock In Rio 2006, at Lisbon. They play May 27. Also, Guns N Roses have also been confirmed to play at the "Gods of metal" festival which takes place in Bologna Italy from the 3rd to 4th June of this year. They are now confirmed to play at Download Festival, UK on the weekend of 9th - 11th June this year. Alongside Metallica headlining on Saturday.
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