There’s no way to list all of GN’R’s antics. Here’s a rundown of their more notable public faux pas and legal entanglements, providing still more reasons why it takes so long for this band to get around to actually making albums:
The group’s debut record Appetite for Destruction aroused the wrath of feminists offended by its cover — a painting by noted artist Robert Williams that featured a woman who, its opponents charged, looked as if she’d just been raped. Geffen Records replaced the cover with something cleaner.
In a European hotel during a 1987 tour, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan bound the drummer of the hard-rock group Faster Pussycat with duct tape, stuck him in an elevator headed for the lobby — and then traded punches with him when he failed to see the humor in the prank.
In his lyrics to ”One in a Million” from GN’R Lies, Axl Rose took potshots at ”niggers,” ”faggots,” and ”immigrants.” When Guns N’ Roses opened for the Rolling Stones at the L.A. Coliseum in 1989, Rose told the audience of 70,000 that he wasn’t racist, and that not all ”black men are niggers.” That didn’t go down wonderfully with the black hard-rock group Living Colour, also on the bill. GN’R lead guitarist Slash — himself half black — later insisted that Rose’s use of the N-word ”wasn’t malicious.” For calling gays ”faggots,” the band got dropped from an AIDS benefit concert in New York.
At the same show, Rose fell off the stage during a song, hinted that heroin-using band mates needed to modify their behavior — then angrily announced that the performance would be his last with the group.
In 1989, Stradlin was arrested for publicly urinating on an airliner’s galley floor. His probation now prohibits him from flying on public or private aircraft, an odd stipulation that explains why he’s making his tour rounds on a private bus.
Stradlin got punched by Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil backstage at the 1989 MTV Video Awards, reportedly for making a pass at Neil’s wife. Rose later called Neil a ”wimp.” Animosity between the groups continues: Neil just challenged Rose to a boxing match to settle their feud ”man to man.”
”F—” said Slash, twice, when he appeared on live TV with McKagan at the 1990 American Music Awards. The offending word was suppressed on a delayed feed to the West Coast.
Rose was arrested last October after a neighbor complained he’d hit her over the head with a wine bottle. Charges were filed but later dropped, and a spokesperson for the band denies that Rose ever struck the woman. Details are promised on the eternally upcoming Use Your Illusion, on a track called ”Right Next Door to Hell.”
Journalists at last winter’s Rock in Rio festival were asked to sign contracts that gave the band complete control of interviews with them and mandated stiff fines for writers who violated the agreement. Geffen’s Bryn Bridenthal says the contracts were never intended for U.S. media.
Former drummer Steven Adler filed a lawsuit last month claiming he was fired from Guns N’ Roses because he stopped using heroin, even though other members of the band were still using drugs. Adler also contends he was coerced into signing the financially damaging agreement that terminated his membership.