Disturbing Behavior (E-G)
The following list continues our multi-part look at instances of outrageous occurrences in the exhibitionist environment of rock. Part three examines disturbing behavior from E to G.
California. Home to a very spooky Hotel. A haunting song from 1976 chronicled the very narcissistic lifestyle of southern California excess. The band which crafted the monumental piece, “Hotel California,” was noted for its own indulgent excesses. The four founding members of the Eagles — Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, and Don Henley, (none of them California natives) — along with their future bandmates Joe Walsh, Don Felder, and Timothy B. Schmit, arguably defined FM American rock in the ‘70s and topped the charts with numerous albums and singles. They also were surrounded by, and displayed their very own style of, curious behavior.
Although the sounds of the group moved initially from country-rock to mostly middle-of-the-road rock, any sign of mellowness behind the scenes was practically nowhere to be found. Glenn Frey once captured the essence of his band’s history. “(We) went on the road, got crazy, got drunk, got high, had girls, played music, and made money.” Well, that actually sums up the profession as a whole. The Eagles were notorious for their wild parties, which they dubbed their ‘third encore’ after concerts, and they consisted of the band, music hangers-on and executives, and as Frey puts it, “as many beautiful girls as we’d meet from the airport to the hotel.”
While most of the bandmates comforted themselves with the benefits reaped by the aforementioned pleasures, guitarist Joe Walsh was inclined to spend some occasional time redecorating. Basically, Joe followed in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin and especially, the master of trashings, Keith Moon of The Who, and put his own brand of mayhem to the lodging industry’s tolerance test. Don Henley dismissed Joe’s proclivities as being inflated in a Spin Magazine interview. “Most of his legend looms larger than it actually was.” But he went on to say, “Frey and I made him stop that s**t eventually. There weren’t any f**king hotels we could stay in. We were gonna have to start camping out, and I thought it was pretty childish.” Exactly, what did Joe do?
He told Bam magazine in 1981 how it all would start. “So, I’ll be sitting in a hotel room wide awake, buzzin’ with the energy of the concert, thinkin’ ‘hey, where’d everybody go?” So, I would break things and smash things, have a great time, kind of blowing off steam, so I can relax and go to sleep. And I get mad, or sometimes I just enjoy it. If I’m in a Holiday Inn or a Howard Johnsons, why not break everything? They’re all cheap anyway. And it’s fun – you ought to try it sometime.” Irving Azoff, Joe’s manager, as well as the manager for The Eagles, told Hits magazine of a time when he and Walsh were at a Holiday Inn in New Haven, Connecticut. “Walsh was having an insomnia attack. He had his electric chainsaw along. He was next door, but there was no adjoining door, so I made one. Marshall Tucker was also on the bill (touring with The Eagles), and Toy Caldwell (Tucker’s lead guitarist) and some other folks were walking around the circular Holiday Inn with mike stands, punching holes in the ceiling. It was horrible, what with the police and everything.” Azoff went on to relate his favorite Walsh trashing. “He once pushed a piano out of…(a) top floor suite at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention. It was the Astor Towers in Chicago. They pushed a grand piano through a plate glass window…That sucker flew 22 floors and landed on the manager of the hotel’s Cadillac. What was amazing was seeing them knock out all those plate glass windows to get that piano out. And it was all because they wouldn’t let Walsh in the restaurant without a tie.”
Walsh revealed to Bam magazine his own favorite moment of demolition, which also occurred in Chicago. “It was the end of a tour, and I was mad at the record company. A vice president had come out (of his hotel room), so I trashed his whole suite. It had wallpaper like this (referring to the tacky foil-face kind), and I couldn’t stand it, so I took all the pictures down, tore all the wallpaper off, then hung the paintings back up. I said, ‘Hey, it isn’t my room – I didn’t do nothing’…He was crying and s**t – it was wonderful.”
Around the time The Eagles released their chart-topping album “One Of These Nights” in 1975, guitarist Bernie Leadon was sharing his life with live-in partner Patti Davis, daughter of former California governor and future President Ronald Reagan. A track from the LP, “I Wish You Peace” was credited to both Leadon and Davis. Patti must have thought she was an integral member of the band because she told a few friends she was now writing for the group. She exclaimed to the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, “I was very lucky. I made quite a lot of money, and I still get royalties.” Drummer Don Henley became miffed at her bragging rights, a rather harmless claim-to-fame in hindsight. He felt compelled to respond to her article, writing a letter stating that Bernie Leadon was responsible for most of the song and that Patti’s contribution was minimal at best, just a few words. Okay, Don, take it easy. Wait, he wanted to deflate her some more. Henley alluded that he considered the song to be “smarmy cocktail music and certainly not something The Eagles are proud of.” Touchy, touchy Donald. Needless to say, Bernie didn’t quite warm to Henley’s chest-beating counterpoints. Henley later said, “There was a lot of tension in the band at that point.”
In fact, the strain really hit its breaking point after the success of the “Hotel California” album. Eagerly encouraged to come up with another smash success by Elektra, their record company, The Eagles, having replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner with Timothy B. Schmit, holed up in a Florida studio and proceeded to spend a lot of money tinkering with tunes. Frey and Henley had written most of the band’s huge hits, and had been allies, living in their big mansion in the Hollywood Hills, but by the time they started to craft “The Long Run” album, their relationship was crumbling. Frey and guitarist Don Felder were practically frothing at the mouth to tear each other apart. Henley turned his accusatory finger at Walsh, branding him a troublemaker. As the months dragged on, Elektra sent the band a rhyming dictionary to not-so-subtly help with jumpstarting their songwriting. Henley, at one point, spent time meticulously typing up a long-winded memo to the recording studio’s manager on the proper spindle direction for unrolling the toilet paper in the lavatory. He argued that, instead of dispensing from the bottom of the roll, the paper should come from the top of it, otherwise the manufacturers would have printed the little pink flowers on the underside of the sheets. (Did we say millions of dollars were being spent for this album?) Henley later claimed in Rolling Stone magazine that it was a joke, yet he was quick to counter, “Don’t you think it should come off the top?” 18 months later, the recording was complete. Frey later said to the Los Angeles Times, “I knew the Eagles were over about halfway through the “Long Run” album. I told myself I’d never go through this again. I could give you 30 reasons why, but let me be concise about it. I started the band. I got tired of it, and I quit.”
Before that happened, the band toured in support of their new album. During their final 1980 performance in Long Beach, California, Glenn Frey told the London Times, “we were onstage, and Felder looks back at me and says, ‘Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal.’ And I’m saying, ‘Great, I can’t wait.’ We were singing ‘Best Of My Love,’ but inside both of us were thinking, ‘As soon as this is over, I’m going to kill him.”
The Eagles were kaput. Each member splintered off to pursue their solo careers. Joe Walsh modestly submitted his 1980 nomination for the office of The President of the United States. (Think of the potential destruction to the Lincoln Bedroom!) Of the bunch, Mr. Henley scored the most media for his disturbing antics after the break-up. He was very fond of cocaine, prostitutes, and partying, not necessarily in that order. One memorable night which involved 5 of Henley’s ho’s, mounds of coke, and a sex toy was documented in the tell-all book “You’ll Never Make Love In This Town Again.” The merriment was shattered during his farewell-to-The-Eagles party in November 1980, when one of Don’s hookers turned out to be 16 years old. She also turned out to suffer from a massive overdose. The cops were summoned, and Donald was arrested on possession charges of marijuana, cocaine, Quaaludes, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was fined, given 2 years probation, and ordered to attend drug counseling. He later said, “I had no idea how old she was, and I had no idea she was doing that many drugs. I didn’t have sex with her. Yes, she was a hooker. Yes, I called a madam.” So, perhaps, she was there to fill in on a game of bridge?
Everyone was adament that the band would never re-form. Glenn Frey was the most outspoken. He told Oui magazine in 1983, “I don’t want to be 39 years old with a beer belly singing “Take It Easy” because I need the money. I just think there’s a time and a place for everything, and nine years was fun, but it’s enough.” When prodded that maybe in his 40s they would reunite, Frey replied, “Never. They say, ‘Never say never.’ Well, you can print it. It will never happen.” On April 25, 1994, when the full band reunited to perform on an MTV “Unplugged” program, Frey was 45 years old. We’re not sure if it could be quantified as to whether he had a beer belly or not.
Bass player Randy Meisner was on the receiving end of disturbing behavior throughout the ‘90s. It seems one Lewis Morgan of Atlanta, Georgia had jumped bail in Las Vegas and had begun a cross-country spree of theft, both monetarily and in identity. He was effectively passing himself off as Meisner, wooing women to spend thousands on him, absconding with their credit cards, and moving on to the next town. He was extremely knowledgeable about the music industry. Meisner and his attorneys spent the better part of the decade trying to nail the twerp. Randy told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1997, “God, I want to get this guy. It’s been eight years of this.” Strange women were contacting Meisner, accusing him of wronging them, and one went so far as to show up at one of his concerts armed with an ice pick.
While it seems The Eagles have now put away much of their rivalries and bickering, they haven’t curtailed all of their eccentric ways. A small, non-profit organization known as the National Foundation to Protect America’s Eagles operated their business out of Tennessee. Dolly Parton had adopted a few eagles and placed them in her Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Sadly, two of them, named after Eagles songs, Desperado and Best Of My Love died of hydration in their nests in July 1995. Don Henley even adopted an eagle from the preservation group. So, when these devotees of our feathered friends decided to start a web page, they naturally thought to list it under an eagle URL. They registered as www.eagles.org. Well, as silly as it sounds, The Eagles actually felt threatened by this action, citing copyright infringement, and sued the tiny foundation for wrongfully using their name. The preservation group’s founder said, “It’s so obvious to anybody – even a child, I think – that the reason we use the word ‘eagle’ is because that’s what we do. What other word can we use?” For the toilet-paper-memo-writing indulgences of a supergroup, you ought to have a better answer than that, mister! Happily, we can report that the foundation still retains the website. As for The Eagles, they still retain a distinctive identity as the pioneering pirates of ‘70s southern California rock.
He’s a Grammy winner, a chart-topper, a MTV Video Music Award recipient and a potential felon. In a nutshell, he’s your average millennial superstar rapper. Carrying on the incendiary traditions of NWA, Tupac, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard into the 21st century, Eminem, nee Marshall Mathers III, has fueled legal fires while his platinum-selling album “The Marshall Mathers LP” enjoys a ride at number one in America.
For Eminem, a poor kid raised around the Detroit area, life has always been confrontational. This could explain the disturbing reaction he had during a weekend in June 2000. As a result of an argument, he was charged with allegedly pulling a 9mm semiautomatic gun on Douglas Dail, an employee of rival Detroit rappers, Insane Clown Posse, outside of a car audio shop. His spree continued into the wee hours that night when he showed up at the Hot Rocks Café in Warren, Michigan, to check in on his wife, Kim. He spotted her kissing bar patron, John Guerra, in the parking lot and reportedly pulled the gun again, this time pistol-whipping a baffled Guerra, who managed to run away.
While he was released pending trial, which could land him a five-year prison sentence, Eminem faced a $25,000 lawsuit filed by victim Guerra. Eminem’s own mother, Deborah Mathers-Briggs, already had a pending lawsuit against her son, claiming he defamed her, characterizing her, among other things, as being a drug abuser, in interviews with Rolling Stone magazine, The Source magazine, and on the Howard Stern Radio Show.
On the home front, things weren’t terribly hunky-dory. Kim subsequently slit her wrists in a suicide attempt on July 9, 2000. Eminem decided enough was enough, and to tenderly cop a chorus line from his wonderfully-artistic song “Kim,” he said, “So long bitch” and filed divorce papers in mid-August. Kim responded with a countersuit, seeking sole custody of their 4-year old daughter and $10 million, claiming she suffered from emotional distress. Among her reasons, songs like the aforementioned “Kim” and “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” tended to make her, well, feel a little insecure. Both songs feature Eminem talking about driving a dead or soon-to-be-dead Kim to a remote location and disposing of her body.
Sample “Kim” lyrics: “Don’t you get it bitch, no one can hear you. Now shut the f*** up and get what’s comin’ to you…you were supposed to love me! (sounds of ‘Kim’ choking) Now bleed, bitch, bleed…bleed, bitch, bleed…bleed!”
Sample “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” lyrics (in which Eminem takes his daughter, Hallie Jade out on this excursion, with her mother already dead in the trunk): “Da-da made a nice bed for mommy at the bottom of the lake/Here, you wanna help Da-da tie a rope around this rock?”
Kim also cited Eminem’s penchant for beating up a ‘Kim’ doll, during his stage performances, as giving her additional emotional distress. The couple eventually settled their differences by the end of August 2000, with Kim receiving an undisclosed dollar amount and physical custody of Hallie Jade.
But hey, not to worry. Sales figures and accolades from music industry wags seem to suggest that Eminem’s just a little misunderstood, and he’s actually a stable, loving guy. For Eminem’s part, he calls his lyrical alter-ego, Slim Shady, “the evil side of me, the sarcastic, foul-mouthed side of me.” Oh, now we understand it. Say, honey, which Eminem tune did you have in mind for the first dance at the wedding reception? “Bitch” or “Just Don’t Give A F***?”
The Everly Brothers
Their two-part harmonies cut cleanly through every hit single they performed. The Everly Brothers’ voices were their silky-smooth distinguishing factor in such notable songs as “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” These early rock ‘n’ rollers had the right bop in their stylings, that all the kids at the hop had to have their records. From 1957 to 1959, the brothers scored seven top-ten singles on the pop charts. Many of them were written by the tunesmith team of Felice and Beaudleaux Bryant, but their biggest hit ever, “Cathy’s Clown,” in 1960 was written by the two talented boys from Brownie, Kentucky. At the end of 1961, the siblings were drafted into the United States Marine Reserve, and they served a six-month stint for the Red, White, and Blue. It was all downhill from there.
When they returned to the stage, constant pressures of touring and achieving another hit song, sent them both on an unprescribed pill-popping frenzy for speed. Don Everly, the older Everly, seemed to be affected more adversely than his bro. While they were rehearsing for an upcoming European tour in Britain, Don collapsed onstage. Phil Everly was forced to perform their gig at London’s East Ham Granada theatre alone. The official statement on Don’s condition was that he suffered from food poisoning and exhaustion. Actually, he’d had a nervous breakdown and twice had tried to commit suicide by drug overdose in a 48 hour time period. Phil went on to complete the tour alone. Don spiraled into a heady drug addiction through the ‘60s. The two of them began entering into more serious disagreements with one another.
As their hits declined and fan base receded, so did their fortunes. By the early 1970s, the pair were being booked on the dinner theatre circuit. The brothers’ saddest instance of disturbing behavior occurred on July 14, 1973, as they played at the John Wayne Theater at the Knotts Berry Farm theme park in Los Angeles, California. Scheduled to play three different sets that day, the brothers were in the middle of their second show, when a drunken Don insulted Phil. Phil became irate and smashed his Gibson guitar onstage and then stormed off. Don stood for a moment before turning to the audience, saying, “The Everly Brothers died ten years ago.” Entertainment manager Bill Hollinghead then stopped the show. The Everly Brothers had publicly given their resignation. Phil vowed offstage, “I will never get on a stage with that man again.”
For the next 10 years, the press reported that the brothers did not see each other, except for a brief moment at their father’s funeral. Time began to heal wounds, however, and on June 30, 1983, the Everlys announced their plans for a reunion concert. On September 23rd, the boys stood before the audience at the Royal Albert Hall in London and hugged. The crowd cheered and many eyes misted. The Everly Brothers went on to be inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, and have toured successfully singing those distinctive harmonies ever since.
Entertainer is a word Farrell seems to take to heart in a kind of twisted way. Certainly his music with Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros was all-encompassing, mixing everything from hard rock to punk, folk and a smattering of jazz. Notable for organizing the Lollapalooza events of the early-to-mid-‘90s, Farrell made sure that a carnival of oddities, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, accompanied the tour, highlighted by Mr. Lifto, a guy who could carry weights around with his penis.
Nudity has never been a problem with Farrell. When he first hit Los Angeles in the early 1980s, he was an exotic dancer, lip-synching songs for horny women. One of Jane’s Addiction’s first videos for MTV, “Mountain Song,” was banned for its nudity quotient. The covers of both Jane’s Addiction albums “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual De Lo Habitual” featured artwork of naked women — the latter had likenesses of Farrell, his wife Casey and a heroin-abusing friend, Xiola Blue, all together in a naked menage a trois. This album cover was subsequently covered up with plain paper wrapping for sale in stores. For Addiction’s final performance before their breakup in 1992, Perry performed nude at a show in Hawaii.
Around the time of Jane’s Addiction’s breakup, a short film that had been funded by their record company, Warner Bros., was being completed. Entitled “The Gift,” its standout scenes featured a Mexican Santeria blood-sharing ceremony, and Casey overdosing on heroin. The one moment where Warner Bros. was a bit gunshy in releasing the film occurs when Farrell has sex with his dead wife. Ya gotta draw the line somewhere. On October 16, 1991, Perry was busted after a maid at his hotel alerted authorities about the syringes and crack pipes she discovered in Farrell’s room. The wild man later supposedly swore of booze and drugs in 1998 when he became a father.
While the long road to success can be littered with an occasional ‘falling-out’ amongst bandmates, Fleetwood Mac certainly took the term ‘falling-out’ to great heights. The band went through over a dozen personnel changes in its first decade alone. Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, essentially the rhythm section, have been the steadiest members keeping the beat going in excess of 30 years.
The band’s core members suffered a connect-the-dots relationship charting over their heyday in the 1970s. Mick Fleetwood found his wife Jenny getting cozy with group guitarist Bob Weston, so Weston was sacked. Guitarist Lindsay Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks were an item upon entry into the band, but soon, Stevie had a thing for Mick. John and keyboardist Christine McVie were a cozy couple for the first part of the 1970s, that is, until Christine fancied a bedhop with the band’s lighting director, Curry Grant.
But the disturbing behavior award goes to the band’s early string of guitarists. Founder Peter Green, born Peter Greenbaum in London’s East End, was a sensitive lad prone to crying crocodile tears anytime he heard music from Disney’s “Bambi” because he hated reliving the moment the young deer lost its mother. Later, he was just as keen to cry while watching the evening news. As the band took off to early success in England in the late 1960s, Green was heralded as a guitar genius, among the likes of Eric Clapton and B.B. King. But he began to feel that the group should donate all of their earnings to charity. Just after the band’s tour of the United States in April 1970, Green suddenly wanted to quit, citing, “I don’t want to be a part of the conditioned world, and as much as possible, I’m getting out of it.”
Christine McVie told Rolling Stone magazine that while in Germany, Green had met some “jet-setters” who were into the occult, and they turned him onto acid. Green later found God, but the hallucinogenic use caused him to become mentally unstable. He was homeless for spells at a time, took up menial jobs like gravedigging, and occasionally was hospitalized in mental institutions. His band royalties still came to about 30,000 pounds a year. But at the beginning of 1977, when the band’s accountant, Clifford Adams, showed up with one of those royalty checks, Green allegedly brandished a .22 pump action shotgun, screaming that he wanted the money stopped. Green was subsequently sentenced to spend time at The Priory, a private English mental institution.
The next year, he married a woman named Jane Samuels and moved to Los Angeles. With the help of Mick Fleetwood, Warner Bros. was willing to advance Green $400,000 for a three-record deal. But on the day he went to sign the papers, he wigged out, claiming it was the devil’s money, and the deal fell through. Green wrestled with his mental demons for the better part of two decades. He released over a half-dozen solo albums during this period, yet still required electroshock therapy now and again. By the late 1990s, he was back again, touring with a small band to nostalgic acclaim. Asked by Guitar Shop magazine whether, when he was ill, he remembered how bad it was, Green replied, “No, I don’t remember at all. I was just…destroyed. I think it was someone doing it to me – I’ll never accept that it was just me. I’ve always known that someone made it happen to me, someone mucking about with me.”
Unseen forces seemed to have also affected the life of the band’s next guitarist who took Green’s place, Jeremy Spencer. In 1971, during a tour of the United States, Spencer left his hotel room and never came back. The band’s crew alerted authorities like the FBI and Interpol. After two days, it was discovered that Spencer had simply boarded a Children of God bus, a strict religious sect who later were named The Family, and was now shorn of his hair, travelling the world to spread the sect’s word. Journalist Cameron Crowe later spotted Spencer on a London street corner, “blank-eyed and selling Children of God books.” Spencer released an album, “Jeremy Spencer and The Children” with his brethren in 1972, followed it up with another band-oriented effort in 1977, then virtually disappeared for about 20 years until resurfacing in the late ‘90s, making more music.
Ironically, Peter Green jumped in to fill the void left by Spencer during that 1971 tour, but refused to play any of his old Fleetwood Mac hits. Instead the band took to the stage and just jammed, while Green reportedly cackled in the microphone screaming at the American audience, “Yankee bastards!”
Guitarist Danny Kirwan finally settled into the lead guitar role, but he, too, couldn’t handle the pressure. Five minutes before a show in 1972, he got into an argument with band member Bob Welch about tuning, when suddenly Kirwan bashed his own head against a bathroom wall, to a bloody mess, and then smashed his guitar to bits. The band went onstage, while Kirwan sat with the sound engineer, loudly critiquing the Macs. He was fired immediately. After three attempts at solo excursions, Kirwan drifted away from the music scene by the start of the 1980s, oftentimes reported to be homeless.
Okay, so maybe you don’t know this Frenchman’s work, but trust us, ol’ Serge was quite the prolific musical genius of the 20th century, as well as a rapscallion extraordinaire. He just didn’t become all that famous in the United States. In France, his native country, and to the rest of Europe, he was both vilified and praised. His music spanned from jazz to folk to reggae to pop to rock over 40 years. His crusty, audacious manner seemed to span just as long of a period.
Famously stating that for him, “provocation is oxygen,” Gainsbourg set out deliberately to cater to the enlightened fans of the Left Bank and stick it to the prudes of French upper society. While hooked up with lover Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, the duo released a string of extremely popular bubble-gum songs like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Harley Davidson.” When he penned the landmark “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus,” (I Love You…Nor Do I), Bardot felt the song was too racy. Gainsbourg instead got actress Jane Birkin to do the extremely breathy, moaning, orgasmic sounds in this classic which far out-classed, erotically-speaking, any climax-driven groans Donna Summer tried to muster in her early disco ditties. For audiences of 1969, it proved to be controversial and instantly collectible. The BBC banned it, but it went to number 1 all over Europe. Gainsbourg and Birkin’s other single, “Soixante Neuf Annee Erotique,” (’69 The Erotic Year), proved just as groundbreaking with its not-so-subtle references to the pleasures of oral sex.
In the mid-‘70s, Gainsbourg caused more scandal, after being one of the first Europeans to dabble in Jamaican reggae, when he turned the French anthem, “La Marseillaise,” into a rasta-dance tune. His tour with the Wailers as back-up in 1979 led to former soldiers menacing fans at concerts. A bomb threat, along with 400 paratroopers vowing violence in Strasbourg led to the Wailers bowing out of the performance that night.
If anything, by the 1980s, Gainsbourg sought to up the ‘disturbance’ factor with his adoring audience and his harsh critics. His 1980 novel, “Evguenie Sokolov” concerned a painter who farted nonstop, until the one day, after a fart causes a brush stroke to be so inventive, so lauded, he becomes a hero in the art world. Unfortunately, Sokolov gets a kind of “farter’s block” after that, never able to duplicate his ingenious style. In 1985, Gainsbourg really shook things up when he appeared in a music video for his song “Lemon Incest” with his 13-year old daughter Charlotte. The two rolled around in bed, half-naked, while the lyrics, “Papa, the love which we make together is the rarest, the most disturbing, the purest, the most intoxicating,” played gently over the clip. For many disgusted with his antics, Gainsbourg seemingly encapsulated his blunt manner while in the presence of pop star Whitney Houston in 1986, when both artists were appearing on a French talk show. He laconically uttered in English, “I want to f*** her.” It is assumed Houston didn’t fall for this particular charm, and the drawling raconteur left his shock tactics behind when he passed away from a heart attack on March 2, 1991.
Big hair, gaudy jumpsuits, and of course, the glitter were the trademark stage personifications of Paul Gadd, an English entertainer who began fronting his own bands as early as 1958. Running through namesakes like Paul Raven and Paul Monday, the cheery glam-boy settled on the moniker Gary Glitter in 1971, after rejecting possibilities like Terry Tinsel, Stanley Sparkle and Vicky Vomit.
It was during the period of this image makeover that he conceived his 15-minute dance opus, “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” His record label split it in half for the single which was released in 1972, and “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Pt. 2)” became one of the most renowned sporting event anthems the world over. Its syncopated, hard-driving beat, coupled with the enthusiastic shouts of “Yeah!,” have gotten the most apathetic of spectators fired up. The single ultimately went to number 7 in the U.S. and up to number 2 on the U.K. chart.
Gary scored a string of number 1 and 2 hits in the U.K. throughout 1973 to 1975. In fact, his first 11 singles reached the U.K. top ten, a record The Beatles themselves had never achieved. But by 1977, he had fallen way out of fashion and had settled into the familiar rock star trappings of overspending and excessive use of drugs and booze. By November 1980, Gary Glitter was bankrupt. Touring mostly universities and small clubs throughout the ‘80s, he had an ‘accidental’ overdose of legal tablets in March 1986. After three drunk-driving charges, his license was taken away for 15 years.
Glitter seemed to live a fairly quiet existence in the 1990s, playing a successful Christmas concert each year, but a disturbing side of his personality reared its ugly head on November 18, 1997, when he was arrested and questioned by authorities for four hours at a Bristol, England police station. It seems a computer he dropped off for repair at a nearby PC World store was found to have several downloaded images of kiddie porn stuck to its hard drive. Management alerted the cops, who, in turn, searched Glitter’s two homes.
After his arrest, a woman who alleged Gary had abused her when she was underage came forward. Allison Brown claimed that Glitter had befriended her when she was a mere 11-years old and “nurtured” her, taking her virginity when she turned 14. Gary countered by saying she had been age 16, the year of consent in Britain, when they first had sex. Glitter had already been seen through the years in the company of author Roald Dahl’s 17-year old daughter Tessa and with 16-year old TV actress Denise Van Outen. Glitter remained free on bail for two years until his trial date finally came up.
Whatever small endeavors Glitter had slated to resuscitate his career were promptly scuttled. An appearance in the movie “Spice World,” in which he sang his song “I’m The Leader of the Gang” with the Spice Girls, was immediately snipped from the print and left on the cutting room floor. A planned performance at the BBC’s “Children In Need” benefit was cancelled as well.
On November 9, 1999, his trial officially began. Gary chose to remain silent during the examination of the charges leveled by Brown – four for indecent assault and four for sexual assault – but in the end, the jury found him not guilty anyway, mainly because she had sold interviews to tabloids. One tabloid had offered her an additional incentive of 25,000 pounds if Glitter had been found guilty.
When the 54 counts of making indecent photos of underage children, namely those 4,000 or so images found digitized on his computer, were brought before the court, Glitter chose to plead guilty. He was sentenced to 4 months, in a segregated division of Bristol’s Horfield Prison. While incarcerated, a former inmate, Matthew Gallagher, told Q Magazine that Glitter’s insatiable taste for porno was not extinguished, as he had begged other inmates to try to have friends smuggle in hardcore magazines for his viewing pleasure.
When it was announced Glitter would be released after serving two months on January 11, 2000, death threats were rampant, and prison officials chose to secretly drive him off the premises in a darkened van. Later that day, Glitter gave a brief announcement to the press assembled in Regents Park. “I deeply regret doing what I was sent to prison for. I’ve served my time. I want to put it all behind me and live my life.”
Life will probably never be the same for Glitter. His own son, Paul Gadd, Jr., said that Glitter was not welcome at his home anymore in South Devon, England. In April 2000, the World Entertainment News Network reported that the 55-year old glam-rocker had fled to Cuba to be with his 26-year old girlfriend, Yudenia Sosa Martinez. The average Cuban salary being approximately $15 a month means that Glitter could live the rich lifestyle there. But apparently the world won’t let him forget his transgressions so easily. When he returned to his London home briefly in August 2000, his house was surrounded by an angry mob who, subsequently, became so unruly the local police needed to intervene. The glitter has definitely gone out of Gary’s life.
Their music just doesn’t even begin to reveal the tawdry trappings these five junkie-jokers fell into behind the scenes. Arguably the closest any female group has ever come to aping the shenanigans of a ‘guy’ band, The Go-Gos may have been perky, squeaky-clean pop stars on your MTV, but their real personas consisted of really trashed-out, messed-up pussycats.
Having formed in the hardcore Los Angeles punk scene in the early ‘80s, the band got its initial start at the infamous Masque club in Hollywood. Frontwoman Belinda Carlisle will be the first to confess that they had sex anywhere and everywhere inside that club. As their first album, “Beauty and the Beat” shot up the charts in 1982, the band rocketed into their own ‘feel-good’ orbit. “I was 21, single, with no responsibilities, with more money than you can ever imagine and taking more drugs than you can ever imagine,” Belinda told New Musical Express Magazine. “Of course, it was a complete blast!”
Most guy fans were too intimidated to approach the girls backstage, so they’d oftentimes find themselves surrounded by forward lesbians wanting to get a little action. Most of the girls rebuffed the advances, Carlisle told NME. Instead the band’s road crew were used and discarded by the gals as sex playmates. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin said, “We spent hours trying to drive our road manager crazy. We would take pictures of our crotches, then slip them underneath his hotel room door and write, ‘Guess whose is whose?”
All of the gals picked up serious alcohol and cocaine addiction problems. During their heyday, Belinda was with a boyfriend who had no idea she was hooked. “I used to do drugs in my walk-in closet without him knowing. There were a few times in there when I thought for sure I was having a heart attack, but I couldn’t say anything.” Guitarist Charlotte Caffey upped the ante by diving into a full-blown hunger for heroin.
The most disturbing behavior instance in not just the annals of The Go-Gos history, but perhaps in the disturbing behavior Hall of Fame, occurred while the quintet toured the long roads across America. Let’s allow drummer Gina Schock explain: “The most disgusting thing we got up to was the ‘Corner Cleaners.’ Kathy (Valentine, the band’s bassist) started this thing where we would go into rest stops on the freeway and say, ‘Let’s be corner cleaners,’ which involved getting into the corners and sucking up the filth with your mouth. It was always in dirty bathrooms with s*** everywhere. Just repulsive.” Gives one a whole new image for the term “s***-eating grin,” no?
By 1984, after the poor reception of the band’s third album, “Talk Show,” ego blasts and drug stashes propelled the group to a break-up. Of the five members, singer Carlisle obtained the most successful post-Go-Gos career. It didn’t come, however, with its own brand of disturbing behavior, namely that of stalkers. During her solo years, Belinda had no less than 32 dangerous predators come out of the woodwork after her. “There was one guy who lived half an hour away from me who wanted to kill my husband because I belonged to him,” she told NME. “And I had one guy who came to my show in Reno, Nevada, with a gun – and they wanted me to go onstage wearing a bulletproof vest so they could capture him! I was like, ‘No way!”
The girls are all apparently clean now. Valentine and Coffey don’t touch alcohol at all. Having reunited on several occasions, Jane Wiedlin wistfully says of their new life on the road, “If you’re not going to spend money on drugs, you might as well spend it on a massage.”
California punks guitarist Billie Joe and bassist Mike Dirnt, along with drumming assistance from German-born Tre Cool, formed their tight-knit unit, named after their favorite pastime, smoking pot, in the early 1990s. Addressing standard punk topics like lethargy, anarchy, malaise, masturbation, and of course, toking the spleef, the band always managed to put a cheerful spin on their lyrics, even when they sang about killing themselves and snuffing out an entire neighborhood in the process, as they did on the 1993 song, “Having a Blast.”
As standard-issue punks, they were expected to put on the usual sneering bravado, which usually leads to injury. But Green Day’s list of reckless assaults seemed to be more self-inflicted than having been a result of skirmishes with other attacking punkers. Just look at Billie Joe’s litany of incidents during the band’s 1994 tour. “Mike broke his teeth at Woodstock (II) and had to have emergency oral surgery. I tore ligaments in my ankle, so I’m in a brace right now. Tre was drunk and got in a motorcycle accident in Spain. I walked into a pole and sliced open my face. Mike got in a pillow fight with his girlfriend and broke both his arms and had whiplash and 6 stitches in his head. Tre was drunk and fell out of a van in San Diego. Mike broke his finger…It never ceases to amaze me…”
In 1998, this whimsical self-inflicted propensity was witnessed on television, when the band played on MTV’s “Live at the 10 Spot” from San Francisco. During the song, “She,” Mike jumped up in the air and smacked his own nose with his bass guitar. He stumbled offstage bleeding profusely as the band played on. Dirst rejoined his bandmates a few songs later, his nose still a bloody mess.
Disturbing behavior of a different, albeit expected kind, occurred when Green Day trashed a Tower Records outlet in Manhattan on November 11, 1997. Strolling in for a scheduled, in-store, appearance, Billie Joe spray-painted walls, fixtures, and the storefront windows with words starting with the letters F and Y. He then hurled Tre’s bass drum from the second floor landing into a display containing hundreds of CDs on the first floor. The 500 or so fans in attendance went on to perform a little mayhem themselves. The final damage estimate was reportedly as high as $50,000, and the band’s record label, Warner Bros., were dismally stuck with the tab.
Green Day caused a disturbance with another band on June 20, 1998, when they appeared at L.A.’s KROQ radio’s outdoor “Weenie Roast.” While Green Day performed their set, Third Eye Blind’s bassist, Arion Salazar, strode up behind Mike Dirst and gave him a bear hug. Security guards then tackled Salazar, and Dirst began kicking him. Backstage, the two got into a more serious scuffle, and this time Dirst was beaned on the head with a beer bottle, which resulted in his having to be rushed to a hospital with a skull fracture. While Green Day pinned the blame of the errant projectile on Salazar, Third Eye Blind claimed the bottle was lobbed by a concerned fan. Green Day actually went on to hire a private investigator to look into the matter. It took almost a year for the feud to be settled, when Dirst and Third Eye Blind guitarist Kevin Cadogan bumped into each other at a florist shop in Berkeley, California. Cadogan was buying a card for a kid who had been stabbed in the face in his old neighborhood. Dirst was so moved by the story, he not only let bygones-be-bygones, but he signed the ‘get well’ card to the kid. Awww, isn’t that a sweet outcome to one of rock’s many hooligan episodes?
Guns N’ Roses
Where can one possibly begin in documenting the late-‘80s/early-‘90s biggest, sleaziest example of exasperating excess? Probably just showcase all the high points, which, in the case of Guns N’ Roses describes the cognizant state of mind they were in for pretty much the expanse of this period.
Admittedly, it seems Axl Rose, formerly Bill Bailey and William Rose, had a rough upbringing in the farmland communities of Indiana. Regressive memory techniques have helped him to remember instances in which his stepfather abused him. One would think that “making it” beyond one’s wildest dreams in the world of music could help simmer the anger and confusion Rose dragged with him up the ladder of success. But, if anything, his personal demons ultimately led him to isolation and mired eccentricity.
The Tippercanoe County Court Records in Indiana indicate that Axl spent several days in jail off and on over a period of two years just after high school graduation. His rap sheet showed charges of battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, public intoxication, criminal trespass and mischief. The young punker with big dreams of making it big in the recording industry was primed to excel in further debauchery once he hit the West Coast.
After Rose and his fellow bandmates – guitarist Slash, guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler – had busted their chops in the decadent LA metal scene in the mid-‘80s while living together in a dilapidated studio apartment, several record company A&R execs were eager to sign them to their labels. Tom Zutaut with Geffen Records caught the band at the famous Troubadour club and was ready to make them an offer. Chrysalis Records’ Susan Collins also was interested in a deal. Basically, the band told Collins if she would walk down Sunset Boulevard naked for a few blocks in broad daylight, they’d sign with her. Guns N’ Roses wound up on the Geffen label in 1986.
As the band set about recording their landmark album “Appetite for Destruction,” the title seemed to ape their unspoken credo. In May 1987, Axl got into an altercation with a Los Angeles policeman and was later taken to the intensive care unit at a local hospital where he was allegedly given electro-shock treatment. In November 1987, while on a plane ride over for their first major-venue tour of the United Kingdom, Slash wound up setting fire to a seat with his cigarette. Touring Britain over a five-day period, drummer Steven Adler managed to get into a barroom brawl and broke his fist. Cinderella drummer, Fred Coury, also touring in Britain, replaced him for a spell.
By the time “Appetite For Destruction” rose to the top of the charts in the middle of 1988, it was a well-known fact that the five party boys openly partook of all kinds of uncontrollable substances. Axl told RIP magazine, he had a handle on it all though. “I have a different physical condition and different mindset about drugs than anybody I’ve known in Hollywood, because I don’t abstain from doing drugs, but I won’t allow myself to have a f*****’ habit. I won’t allow it.”
Rose’s track record with women was not perceived as outstandingly tender over the years. He began seeing Erin Everly, the daughter of rocker Don Everly, around 1986, and their relationship would subsequently be dragged before the courts in a messy lawsuit by the mid-‘90s. Basically, Erin portrayed her life with Rose as being one of living hell. She claimed he would regularly smack her around. She told a reporter that Axl beat her when he didn’t like the way she arranged his collection of CDs in the apartment. She further asserted that he threatened her with firearms, smashed her precious antiques, and kept a tight watch on her, refusing to give her money or keys to their home. He supposedly once removed all the interior doors in the apartment so he could keep an eye on her at all times. A former roommate testified that Axl kicked Erin with his boots and dragged her around by the hair, threw a TV at her and finally spat on her. Axl touchingly wrote the multi-million-selling hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in honor of his sweetheart.
Surprisingly, the two lovebirds made their knockabout romance official and married on April 28, 1990 in a tumultuous union that lasted all of eight months. Rose was granted an annulment in January 1991. The height of abuse during their marriage, as testified by Everly, came when Axl allegedly hogtied, gagged and very forcibly raped her.
Rose went on to date supermodel Stephanie Seymour, whom he had pursued after spotting in a Cosmopolitan Magazine. He cast her in the Guns N’ Roses music video “November Rain,” and things seemed hunky-dory, until one December night in 1992, when Stephanie claims Axl freaked. She charged, in a lawsuit, that after an argument in the couple’s Malibu kitchen, Rose shattered some bottles on the floor, grabbed Seymour by the throat, put her in a headlock, and dragged her bare feet through shards, while repeatedly hitting her in the head and upper torso. Axl later contended she had spurred the altercation by initially grabbing him by his nuggets.
Erin Everly testified that the New-Age-harmonic-convergence-reincarnation-believing, Rose had stated that he thought she and Seymour were sisters in a past life and “were trying to kill him.” Everly said, “Axl had told me that in a past life we were Indians and that I killed our children, and that’s why he was so mean to me in this life.” The defense rests, your honor. Both of these women in his life filed a civil lawsuit for their abuse, but did not lodge criminal charges. Each of the two civil cases were eventually settled.
But enough about connubial bliss, back to the boys circa the late ‘80s…
The mayhem continued, as the band sat in a Chicago hotel bar while on tour. A nearby patron allegedly commented that Axl looked like nice-guy rocker Jon Bon Jovi. Rose duly noted the observation by punching the man out. He was promptly arrested and put in jail. After springing Rose on bail, the band’s road manager went back to the bar and found Slash passed out. He slung the drunken guitarist over his shoulder, taking him up to his hotel room, and the frizzy-haired waste-case silently thanked the manager by relieving himself all over the good Samaritan. Slash subsequently hired a special bodyguard to carry him for those future occasions when he would pass out.
As far as bladder restraint goes, Izzy Stradlin didn’t fare much better. The band’s continually-inebriated rhythm guitarist, who once said, “There’s nothing like throwing up out a bus door going 65 miles an hour,” took to the skies and let loose one fine afternoon on August 20, 1989. While on board a US Air flight headed west back to Los Angeles, Stradlin’s wasted demeanor was such that he verbally harangued a stewardess, smoked in a non-smoking section, and well, felt the need to drain himself in the aisle near the kitchen area. He was arrested when the plane touched down in Arizona for a stopover and charged with public disturbance. In October, he was ordered to get counseling and fined $3,000, $1,000 of which went to cover the plane’s cleaning costs.
Slash also became a public enemy of the skies when he was caught smoking by a stewardess in a plane bathroom, after an alarm went off. He cited his court appearance as one of the few times he actually dressed up for an occasion. An incident before a gig in Phoenix saw Slash dress down quite a bit. Buzzing high as a kite on cocaine, he trashed his hotel room and ran naked through the halls of the establishment. After being subdued by police and taken to a local hospital, Slash, of course, could later not recall the incident had ever happened.
By September 1989, the group was the musical darling of critics and had sold millions of records. That month, during the MTV Music Video Awards, after Izzy finished a set onstage with Tom Petty, he was temporarily caught off guard when he stepped into the wings. Axl told Kerrang! Magazine, “(Izzy’s) momentarily blinded, as always happens when you come offstage, by coming from the stark stage-lights straight into the total darkness side-stage. Suddenly, Vince (Neil, lead singer for Motley Crue) pops up out of nowhere and lays one on Izzy. Tom Petty’s security people jump on him and ask Alan Niven, our manager, who had his arm ‘round Izzy’s shoulders when Vince bopped him, if he wants to press charges. He asks Izzy and Izzy says, ‘Naw, it was only like bein’ hit by a girl!’ Neil felt he had scored a better shot and told Kerrang! his side of the story. “I just punched that d*** and broke his f****** nose! Anybody who beats up on a woman deserves to get the s*** kicked out of them. Izzy hit my wife, a year before I hit him.” Axl responded, “Izzy never touched that chick! If anybody tried to hit on anything, it was her trying to hit on Izzy when Vince wasn’t around. Only Izzy didn’t buy it. So that’s what that’s all about.” Rose later challenged Vince Neil to a fight, anywhere, anytime, guns, knives or fists.
Axl, himself, had already taken a few swings at a celebrity. While shooting the music video for “It’s So Easy” in Los Angeles, David Bowie stopped in to see the proceedings. Axl’s girlfriend at the time, Erin Everly, was featured in the video as a dominatrix-clad beauty. When Bowie stepped out of line with Erin, at least in Axl’s eyes, the quick-tempered Gunner tried to pop the pop star with a few punches. He had Bowie thrown off the set. Bowie, ever the dapper gentleman, later profusely apologized, and all was forgiven. (In light of Erin’s abuse lawsuit, Rose tried his best to dispose of copies of the video because with her prominently featured onscreen while Rose sang, “See me hit you, you fall down,” it seemed maybe a wee bit incriminating).
Stumbling into the ‘90s, the band didn’t let up in its disturbing behavior. Slash and Duff kicked off the month of January with an utterly intoxicated, profanity-laced acceptance speech at the 17th American Music Awards. Meanwhile, Axl wasn’t extremely neighborly in his West Hollywood digs. Noisy disturbances brought 13 deputies to his door with batons drawn on July 31, 1990. Rose felt their response was such an over-reaction, he filed a complaint against the sheriff’s department. Later, in October 1990, he was arrested for allegedly hitting a neighbor, Gabriela Kantor, on the head with a bottle, after she contacted police complaining about Rose’s loud music. Rose was released on $5,000 bail and dryly commented, “Frankly, if I was going to hit her with a wine bottle, she wouldn’t have gotten up.”
While band members, Axl, Slash, and Izzy seemed to continually snare the spotlight in the excessive demeanor department, apparently Duff McKagan wasn’t immune to some questionable judgement. According to New Musical Express magazine, Duff, one afternoon, became convinced that drummer Steven Adler had been kidnapped by some drug dealers to whom he owed money to. McKagan enlisted the help of a friend to track down Adler. Stopping by Duff’s house momentarily, the friend watched in amazement as Duff stumbled back to the car with a shotgun, which he proceeded to carry with him in the front seat, waving in plain view. The duo drove to LA’s San Fernando Valley, cruising through the many side streets, when, suddenly, Duff called out, “There, that’s the one!” Pulling up to a small tract house, he leapt from the car and pounded on the home’s front door. A man in his 80s answered and nearly had a heart attack at the sight of crazed Duff with a shotgun. The determined bassist brushed passed the codger and searched the house. No Adler on the premises. Back in the car, cruising, and Duff pointed to another home. Banging on this front door, an equally-shocked Vietnamese woman watched as Duff again brushed past and tossed her home. The friend wised-up at this point, placating the catatonic homeowner, and calmly collected Duff, placing him back in the car. McKagan tossed the gun in the backseat, uttering, “F*** it. Let’s get a beer.”
Insinuating drummer Steven Adler couldn’t control his narcotics habit (!), the group let their sticks man go in April 1990. Adler commented on his bandmates’ suspect reasoning: “They said it was drugs…I call that the pot calling the kettle black.”
Sensing the press was not really their friend, and wanting to exercise rock star “control,” the band started to make journalists sign a very restrictive contract obligating their pieces meet with final approval by Guns N’ Roses. Otherwise, a reporter refusing to sign wouldn’t gain access to the group.
On tour during the summer of 1991, Guns N’ Roses irritatingly kept many concertgoers waiting two to three hours before appearing onstage. A pivotal gig at the Riverport Amphitheater outside St. Louis, Missouri on July 2, 1991 was the biggest example of Axl’s need for “control.” On stage, Axl noticed that a fan was capturing shots of the band with his camera in the first few rows. Slash told RIP magazine, “This guy was shooting pictures the whole show. He’d been doing it, and probably having a good laugh. I saw Axl tell the security guard, ‘Stop that f*****’ guy!,’ and the security’s watching the band. So Axl went in, and that’s when it started.” Diving into the crowd himself, Rose tried to get at the offending shutterbug. He made his way back to the stage and said, “Thanks to the lame-ass security, I’m going home.” The band ambled off, and the crowd went nuts.
The venue was thoroughly trashed. Slash said to RIP, “The kids had a field day. I lost all my amps, my guitar tech got a bottle in the head, someone got knifed, our stage and video equipment and Axl’s piano were trashed.” Axl told Rolling Stone Magazine, “Whether I jumped off the stage for a camera or not, that’s not a good enough reason to tear the place down. It was announced that we would come back onstage, and they were more into the riot than even the band playing.” Nevertheless, St. Louis authorities held Rose personally accountable. More than 50 people, including 15 police officers, were injured in the melee and over $200,000 in damages were incurred at the location.
Fans and amphitheater management filed suits against the band. Axl was later found guilty of property damage and assault as a result of the riot. He was placed on 2 years’ probation and ordered to pay $50,000 in donations to local social-service organizations in the St. Louis area.
Rose continued, however, to be the control freak prima donna. During a concert a week later in Colorado, he stopped the show and demanded that security guards remove a heckler from the audience. He caused disturbances a year later, when he simply halted a show in Montreal, Canada after 15 minutes of playing, which resulted in normally-passive French-Canadians taking to the streets smashing storefronts and overturning cars.
Izzy was perhaps dizzy by all the madness, and in November 1991, he decided to leave the band.
Slash was still managing to create disturbing scenarios on his own. Adult film actress Savannah had dated many rock stars by the time she set her sights on Rose and Slash in the early ‘90s. She told a tabloid that Axl rated only a “1” on a scale of “1 to 10” in the sack. But Slash was said to be the love of her life. The pair caused a scandal when they walked into the Scrap Bar in Greenwich Village, New York on April 3, 1992. Ordering a drink was nothing out of the ordinary, but several eyewitnesses, including the bar’s owner, alleged that Savannah quenched another need of Slash’s by inviting his pride and joy to come out and conduct a tonsil probe on her in full view of seen-it-all patrons. Unfortunately, the Lewinsky tactics were not enough to keep Slash interested, and she was heartbroken when he married model Renee Suran in September 1992. Savannah later committed suicide after being injured in a car accident.
When the MTV Music Video Awards rolled around again in 1992, Guns N’ Roses had yet another brusque brush backstage. This time it was Axl who exploded. Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, and his brash wife, Courtney Love, spotted Rose, and as a joke, Courtney asked Axl to be the godparent to their daughter Frances Bean. Cobain later said, “These were his (Rose’s) words, ‘You shut your bitch up, or I’m taking you down to the pavement.’ Courtney later retorted that Rose “should be exterminated.” According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Axl told a friend that Love was trying to possess him. The friend said, “He believes people are always trying to find a window through to control his energy.”
Axl’s childish anger never seemed to dissipate. When he finally had enough money to move into a multi-million dollar, luxurious mansion, he later related, “I’m standing in this house going, ‘This house doesn’t mean anything to me. This is not what I wanted. I didn’t work forever to have this lonely house on the hill that I live in because I’m a rich rock star.” So he did what every wealthy person does when faced with a future filled with good fortune, monumental achievements, and a relatively worry-free lifestyle. He shoved his grand piano right through the massive sliding glass windows of the home in disgust causing $100,000 in damages.
After the release of 1993’s “The Spaghetti Incident,” Guns N’ Roses pretty much dissipated. Duff’s pancreas burst in 1994, due to his excessive drinking, and he was told that one more drink could terminate his life. He’s assumed to be sober now. Slash went on to front another band, as did Izzy.
Steven Adler didn’t fare too well in the latter part of the ‘90s. In February 1997, he was arrested and subsequently convicted on a domestic violence charge that he had committed on his live-in girlfriend. He pled no contest to disturbing the peace, served four days in jail, and was put on a three-year probation. But trouble brewed again on January 27, 1998, when he got into an argument with a 43-year old woman at his North Hollywood apartment over his drug abuse. He allegedly threw her against walls and furniture. When the police arrived, Adler had fled the scene. He was later found in the spring of that year, living in a condominium in Century City, California. He was arrested, charged with battery and violating his probation, yet, he subsequently posted bail.
Spiraling still out of control, Adler allegedly attacked yet another woman at his Century City condo when he supposedly pushed her head into a wall and threw her clothes off a balcony during an argument. By September 24, 1998, the law set down its punishment, when Adler pled no contest to two counts of battery and violation of the probation from the 1997 conviction. He was sentenced to 150 days in jail.
Axl Rose sealed himself in his mansion and in the studio, trying to make sense out of hundreds of unfinished tracks for a new Guns N’ Roses album which has still yet to have materialized. With only a little help from his former bandmates, Rose has plowed through numerous musicians and producers in a fickle 6+ years of recording. One producer, techno wiz Moby, who dropped in for a brief period to assist Axl, told Rolling Stone Magazine in May 2000, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the record never came out, they’ve been working on it for such a long time.”
Slash and Axl no longer communicate with each other. What few friends he has left suggest he still pines for Stephanie Seymour. In a Rolling Stone expose, it was reported that Axl has had a decades’ long friendship with a New Age guru in Sedona, Arizona. It is presumed he had just visited this woman on February 10, 1998 when he was stopped at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix by security personnel. An officer asked to see his carry-on luggage. The temperamental Axl Rose raised his voice in snarly defiance, just like he would have in the old days. “I’ll punch your lights out right here and right now…I don’t give a f*** who you are. You are all little people on a power trip. I don’t give a f***. Just put me in f*****’ jail.” It is alleged the bag only just contained a very legal, non-threatening, rather large crystal. All the same, the man who had displayed a lifetime’s worth of disturbing behavior in a matter of a decade or so, opted to be put behind bars for a few hours. He later pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace and paid a $500 fine. Welcome to the jungle, baby.
(Note: Unfortunately my stint writing for the website ended around the time of this article, so subsequent exposes on disturbing behavior from H-Z never materialized).
© 2001 Ned Truslow