Axl Rose stories are the stuff of rock and roll legend. The lead singer of Guns N' Roses has led such a colorful life even his roadies got in on the action, as evidenced by Axl Rose roadie stories circling the globe. Whether he's starting random fights, walking off stage in the middle of concerts, felling winged creatures with shotguns, or showing up hours late for commitments, all the crazy Axl Rose stories you've heard are true, and completely insane.
Guns N' Roses shot to stardom during the spandex-and-glitter nightmare carnival of hair metal, in 1987, and offered a dirty, rough, violent antidote to the empty calories of glam sleeze's nonsense confections. Like many bands of the era, they were known for hard partying, their days and nights saturated with alcohol, drugs, women, and excess.
Frontman Axl Rose, who was born William Bruce Rose on February 6, 1962 in Lafayette, Indiana, announced himself as a volatile presence as soon as GnR's worldwide dominance began; a new bizarre Axl Rose scandal seemed to emerge every week. The volatility of the band as a whole, and its individual members, added to the excitement of their music and shows. The self-destructive energy Axl channeled into his music led him to the top, and kept him from staying there.
The Axl Rose weird stories on this list demonstrate his unpredictable mood swings; several tales of Axl Rose fights pit him against other celebrities. Even true fans may be surprised at these crazy stories about one very wild rock star.
Axl frequently delayed the start of GnR shows with a ridiculous excuses, so when he made a special order food request minutes before he was supposed to go on stage before a crowd of 80,000 in Buenos Aires in July 1993, his assistant, Craig Duswalt, panicked, but wasn't surprised. The rest of the band was already at the venue. Rose was at his hotel, craving chili and cheese, which wasn't on the room service menu.
Duswalt knew the show would never go on if Rose didn't get what he wanted, so he explained, as best he could, to the hotel kitchen staff exactly what Axl wanted. An hour later, a platter was delivered to the room containing a chunk of cheese with a few chili peppers. Duswalt smashed the dish against the wall to distract Rose, and blamed the hotel for screwing up the order. Rose forgot his craving, and the show went on.
When stories about an artist's legendary feats of insanity make their rounds among the world's roadies, the tale is probably pretty crazy. When roadies turn a story into a verb, it must be an epic to rival the tales of Homer. Such is the case with "yellow-jacketing," a term used by roadies that began with Axl Rose.
Interviewing real roadies before his catastrophic foray into television (Roadies), filmmaker Cameron Crowe discovered the origins of the term, as well as a brand new crazy account for the Axl Rose record books. As Crowe tells it:
I heard some roadies talking about how something had to be "yellow-jacketed" and I [asked] "What is yellow-jacketing?" They said, "There was a guy that worked with Guns N’ Roses, and there was a show and Axl Rose needed a yellow jacket that he’d left in England before he would perform. So a roadie was given the job to get on a plane as fast as possible, go to London, find Axl Rose’s yellow jacket, and come back so he could play the show."
Among the many things Axl Rose is known for is tardiness. He likes showing up late, sometimes hours so. A DJ from Tampa, Florida, witnessed this punctuality problem firsthand in 1991, while working as an assistant to a venue owner. As the witness tells it:
When the owner asked why Axl was being late for the thousandth time, he said: "Axl’s management said he was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and that Axl’s attention was 100% on the movie and couldn't be bothered."
Here's a video of Vanilla Ice performing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, if you need a refresher on that cinematic masterpiece.
Guns N' Roses was scheduled to sign to Geffen Records in July, 1986. The label shot the band to stardom with the release of Appetite for Destruction in 1987, but the contract almost wasn't signed, thanks to Axl's eccentric behavior. The morning of the meeting, Rose was unable to find his contact lenses and decided someone had stolen them.
Axl refused to attend the meeting, threw a tantrum, and stormed off while the other members of the band frantically searched for the missing lenses. Manager Vicky Hamilton recalls, "What was going through Axl's head was 'Who took my contact lenses so I can't read the contract?'"
Slash eventually located the lenses, which were conveniently stored in a a pair of Rose's pants, then tracked down the singer, who was hiding out on the roof of the Whisky A Go Go. The band was about four hours late to the meeting, but some of the record executives were still there waiting for them.