We got The First 50 Gigs team together to recap the first five episodes of Season One and the Appetite lineup origin story. In this episode, Marc Canter, Jason Porath, and host Mina McNair fill in the gaps as we spin our way through the incestuous revolving door of bands and musicians leading up to the Appetite for Destruction lineup of Guns N' Roses.
We got The First 50 Gigs team together to recap the first five episodes of the First 50 Gigs and the Appetite lineup origin story. In this episode, Marc Canter, Jason Porath, and host Mina McNair fill in the gaps as we spin our way through the incestuous revolving doors of bands and musicians that ultimately led to Guns N' Roses. From Slash's garage bands Tidus Sloan and Roadcrew to Rose and the New Hollywood Rose, we talk about what we learned from our guests, take you behind the scenes of our production, share new stories and preview what's to come for the rest of Season One.
In this episode, you'll:
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1:47 - What does the rest of Season 1 look like in terms of content? Jason gives us an in-depth look at the remaining episodes
3:41 - They say it takes a village to raise a child, the same phrase applies to gathering facts for a podcast; hear about how the team gathered extra information for the show
5:21 - Schools in session! Listen to Jason and Marc talk about the many musicians that came from Fairfax High School
7:40 - Slash auditioned for KISS?! Hear what actually happened from Marc
12:47 - Does the instrument make the musician? Marc explores Slash’s sound and the guitars he’s used over the years
16:10 - Revisit the start of the “incestuous revolving door of musicians” as Adam Greenberg and his role is discussed
18:55 - Izzy Stradlin and John Lennon - one and the same? Marc makes an interesting comparison
22:43 - Delve deeper into Slash and Steven’s early years together in Hollywood
27:53 - Hear about the late Ronnie Schneider and why he was so important to include in the podcast
30:03 - Why were there 2 episodes that had nothing to do with GNR? Marc, Jason, and Mina discuss the importance of including the Sunset Strip history
34:53 - Chris Weber’s episode was a team favorite, hear more about his time with Hollywood Rose and the demo they created
38:24 - Steve Darrow was technically in the Appetite for Destruction lineup... for a moment. The team revisits his story and expands on it more
42:11 - Listen to Marc and Jason dive into why Hell Tour was so important in solidifying the AFD lineup
44:16 - The New Hollywood Rose breaks up, what does that mean for Slash and Steven? (Hint - a tall, blonde bassist arrives in L.A.)
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Jason Porath, Marc Canter, Mina McNair
Mina McNair 00:06
Welcome to the First 50 Gigs, Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction midseason recap. My name is Mina McNair and I'm your host today. I'm joined by Jason and Marc, thank you both for being here.
Jason Porath 00:19
Marc Canter 00:20
Thanks. Glad to be here.
Mina McNair 00:22
Jason, do you want to explain why we're doing this recap and also give fans a look behind the curtain as to what we've been up to for the last month?
Jason Porath 00:30
Sure, of course. We've been building a new website, working on syndicating the show to Spotify and Apple and Google podcasts. We've been designing merchandise, and we're about to launch some really great pieces from Marc's archive and some original stuff for the first 50 Gigs. Today as a creator, it's not just about creating the content. We wish it was because we'd love to put all of our energy into creating this great content, making it as good as we can.
Mina McNair 00:57
Right? Yes, it's very multifaceted. Rather than just sitting down and recording an episode, there's another layer We wish it was that easy. We wish it were, yes, but there are about ten other layers at least to get through.
Jason Porath 01:12
It's no different than bands. You used to be able to go into the studio and lay down your tracks and then you're done. And the studio would basically take care of the rest. That's not the case anymore. Musicians have to know all of the Pro Tools, they have to do their own marketing, they've got to have their social media game on. It's no different than that.
Mina McNair 01:34
That's a really great comparison. Well, what can fans expect to see moving forward? We left off on our last episode was Steve Darrow talking to us about the new Hollywood Rose.
Jason Porath 01:47
This is a great point to take a break and talk about what we've heard from this narrative so far, because once Hollywood Rose breaks up, then a whole new series of events and sliding doors and revolving doors of bands and musicians take us to a whole new level. So we're going to hear Rob Gardner talk about the formation of L.A. Guns with Tracii Guns, how Axl became a part of L.A. Guns -- at that time, he was recruited in. We're going to talk about how Guns N' Roses was started, the actual origin of that band. And then we're going to talk about Duff coming into the fold. We're going to talk about the fact that he planned this Northwest tour that became Hell Tour, and we're going to talk about some last-minute switching that happened that led to the Appetite lineup. That revolving door spins for the final time. And then we're going to come back and talk about what happened on Hell Tour and why that was such a significant turning point in the story of this band. And we're going to talk about that iconic shot at Canters of them sitting in the booth, having come back from Hell Tour. They left as five guys and they came back as a band, they came back as a gang. And then we're going to recap the whole season. We're going to preview Season Two. We're now beginning to release full galleries of Marc's cutting room stuff and this is stuff that's never been seen before. And now we're able to publish those; this great archive and really open up Marc's vault more than we even anticipated. So anybody who's [on Patreon] is going to be seeing those gallery drops.
Mina McNair 03:18
Okay, perfect. So to all the Spotify fans, move over to Patreon to get the exclusive content. We keep mentioning, and we've driven the point home many times that we've been following five individuals, but we're coming up on the moment of them becoming a single unit and the story is going to become clearer and more linear. How insane was that, to keep the chronology straight?
Jason Porath 03:42
Marc wasn't in five places at the same time, he was only in one place, yet we're trying to tell a story in a visual way of how all the guys came together to form the Appetite lineup of Guns N' Roses. I think we've done a pretty good job interviewing people who were in a variety of these different bands with the individual members of the Appetite lineup before they were together. But there are gaps. Part of this midseason recap is to fill those gaps as best we can. Everybody remembers the story a little bit differently, whether that's intentional, or whether they just can't remember. To be honest, there was a lot of movement, so it's understandable that people couldn't keep it straight. It's really up to us as the storytellers and the editors here to filter all the different voices we've heard: Slashes biography, Duff's biography and Steven Adler's biography, contributions from fans around the timeline. I think there's something called "a-4-d" that did a great job of trying to bring together all these different articles and quoted a lot of stuff from Reckless Road. It's our job to filter all that and try to present the most truthful interpretation of how this all came together.
Mina McNair 04:54
I do want to move more towards talking about the actual episodes. We started out this season focusing on Slash's early years his friendship with Marc and his garage bands. Other than Marc, our first guest was Adam Greenberg from Tidus Sloan and Roadcrew. But, Slash and Adam weren't the only guys at Fairfax high school who had bands, right?
Jason Porath 05:21
Fairfax High School is pretty unique. Marc, I think you can speak to this since you were there. Tracii Guns had Pyrrus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- all the band members came out of there. There was a lot going on at Fairfax. Marc, do you want to talk a little bit about some of that, and maybe the rivalry.
Marc Canter 05:38
Fairfax also had Anthem, which is a band with Alan Johannes, who's still around now and members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in his band, too. So, there's really a good handful of really great musicians that came out of Fairfax High School between 1980 and 1983. It was happening, whether you're involved with it, or you just watched it, it was there.
Jason Porath 06:03
So, that's where we are in time. Just so everybody knows, the Adam Greenberg episode is [around] 1982/1983.
Mina McNair 06:04
It was also during this time that while Adam and Slash were doing Tidus Sloan and Roadcrew, Izzy and Axl are reuniting in L.A. from Indiana and they were experimenting with their own bands Rapidfire, Shire and Duff was up in Seattle in his own bands as well. So everyone was doing music, but not together quite yet.
Jason Porath 06:37
This is a great example of covering this early part of Slash's career with his garage bands, but not being able to really cover Izzy, Axl and Duff. Even Steven comes into Slash's story at the end of Adam Greenberg's episode. I believe Izzy came out first in 1981. Axl followed and Duff doesn't come out until later. At this time in 1983, he is in Seattle and he cycles in and out of a variety of bands, as well. Marc, is there anything that you wanted to contribute to the story you might know from either Izzy or Axl about them coming out, even before they met Slash?
Marc Canter 07:16
Not really. I didn't really pay too much attention to that. I've heard bits and pieces of it. In your research, you probably know more than I do. Although there's a story from 1982 that didn't get told yet in these episodes. We kind of sort of missed it. And it's his small addition for KISS. Since we're in '82, now would be a good time to probably shoot it out. It's a quick little story. Slash was working at a Hollywood music store, which is now Ghengis Kahn right off of Fairfax and Melrose which is actually about 50 feet north of Centerfold Newsstand, which is a place that Slash used to work at in 1985 and was fired for doing band business on company time. But it all kinds of brings us back to the Fairfax district because he went to school at Fairfax High School, which is right across the street from that. He worked at Canters for a little bit, which is two blocks south from that. But anyway, in between customers and nothing going on, Slash would plug a guitar into an amp and doodle around and the owner of that store was a Japanese guy, his name was Hero. He could clearly see that Slash knew what was going on with the guitar and since he was in the industry, he got word that KISS was looking for a new guitar player. The public didn't know it yet, but Ace was out. So, he recommended Slash for the job. There was a phone call set up between Slash and Paul Stanley. The phone call came in the afternoon. I was actually there with Slash. I couldn't hear Paul Stanley, but I could hear Slash's answers. After they hung up the phone, it was like, "What did he say?" Slash said, "[Paul] asked if I'd be able to tour? Yeah, I could do that. How about the record? Yeah, I could pull that off. Were my parents cool with it? Yeah, they're cool with that." The only problem is Slash was 17 years old. I think that was a big concern for Paul Stanley to take on that kind of liability with a young guitar player; someone under age The audition never made it to a studio or summer rehearsal. It was just an interview on the phone. But had Paul Stanley actually taken a closer look at Slash and the way Slash moved around and the way he dressed and certainly the way he played -- you know, learn three songs and come jam them -- I'm pretty sure that Paul Stanley would have found a way to make that happen. There are child rock and roll stars that do it all the time. There was probably a way around [the age issue], he just probably thought it was more convenient to find someone over 18. Had that happened, KISS would have been a better band and Guns N' Roses might have not actually happened. It's kind of an important thing. The joke of it is, Paul Stanley then came around in 1986 when Guns N' Roses got signed and wanted to produce them. But nobody told Paul Stanley that he had a chance of actually getting Slash in 1982. Paul Stanley to this day does not know that he passed up on Slash. Slash, himself, has very little memory of it. I told that story once, in an interview I did together with Slash and he looked at me like he was a little confused. He actually doesn't even remember it. I said, " No, it happened." It was brief. It was an almost moment and it happened. If [Slash] went to an actual audition, he would have remembered it a lot clearer. But it was a phone interview and it was Paul Stanley.
Jason Porath 10:39
As we learned from the bonus episode about his audition with Poison he wasn't really down with kind of dressing up as much as they were and so much of the hair metal act. [KISS] almost kind of pushed it to a clown act and he really wasn't down for that. I can't imagine that he would be down for all the makeup and the kind of theatrics that KISS had.
Marc Canter 11:06
That's true. Poison is one thing. It's a Troubadour band that might sell out the Troubadour or maybe they had a record contract. They're certainly weren't on the radio at that time. KISS was the biggest one of the biggest bands in the world as far as how they marketed themselves and all the toys. They were cool. If nothing else, it's a stepping stone. It's like Stevie Ray Vaughan being in David Bowie's band for five minutes. It got him noticed and he went out on his own after that. So if nothing else KISS was more of a blues-rock band and Poison was more like bubblegum rock. I'm not sure how you really call that, but KISS was -- even though it wasn't exactly what Slash had in mind...
Mina McNair 11:59
It would have been a better stone.
Marc Canter 12:03
It would have been a really big stepping stone. You're in KISS...Hello?
Mina McNair 12:09
Don't get any bigger than that.
Marc Canter 12:10
You're in KISS. That's all. You're not gonna pass that up.
Mina McNair 12:14
During this period of [Slash] getting these auditions, he was really developing his sound and style and starting to find a groove with other musicians. But, he didn't always play with a Les Paul. I think the equipment that he used and the guitars he cycled through was certainly part of him finding his iconic sound and style. Marc, do you want to talk a little bit about all the guitars he used?
Marc Canter 12:48
You're making a good point, although it really is the fingers and this person, more so than it is the guitar. The Les Paul certainly was the cherry on the top of that cake. But the cake was already there. He was playing a B.C. Rich Mockingbird and he had a very thick sound coming out that. It didn't sound like a Les Paul, but it was certainly thick and rich and and it had quality to it. The Les Paul was more of an image. It actually changed his image a little bit. Jimmy Page was known for the Les Paul. Joe Perry did a lot of Les Paul. Jeff Beck was on the Les Paul. We know the Les Paul looks cool. We know it sounds cool. Toys in the Attic was recorded with Les Pauls. The Les Paul sounds good. Jimmy Page didn't always record with the Les Paul. He used a lot of Telecaster and other things. The Les Paul was Slash's finishing touch on his image. He played the Kibitz Room once -- the Kibitiz Room was a bar inside of Canters Deli -- and probably this was in 1992. [Slash] showed up there and picked up a guitar that was on stage that was actually a Strat that was a piece of crap that somebody brought. It sounded like Slash playing a Les Paul. He instantly can make any guitar sound like him, the way he sounds. The Les Paul was more of an image thing. Sure, he sounds better with it, but a little different. It's really more about the Les Paul was the image. I mean, it's just so cool. It sounds good. It looks good. The playing is good. So he's got you three ways.
Mina McNair 14:32
Exactly. Yeah, that that sound is definitely his own. But the Les Paul just adds to the overall aesthetic.
Marc Canter 14:40
Right? I mean, he was in Guitar Hero. So there you go.
Jason Porath 14:44
He's the brand ambassador now for Gibson. The Les Paul definitely worked for him for many years.
Marc Canter 14:51
Put it this way. Gibson sold more les Pauls and probably would have been out of business without Slash coming around and the mid-80s at and catapulting that.
Mina McNair 15:04
Well, I'm sure they have a big thank you for him whenever they see him.
Jason Porath 15:10
Yeah, bold statement by Marc. (laughter)
Mina McNair 15:17
This is Marc's own opinion, not the First 50 Gigs.
Marc Canter 15:23
It is my opinion. But it's also fact!
Jason Porath 15:30
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Mina McNair 15:47
Throughout this whole season, we see so many different people come in and out of these bands. It's constant changes, and even Slash said in his book that it was an incestuous revolving door of bands and musicians. With Adam, that was kind of the start of it, wouldn't you say?
Marc Canter 16:09
With Adam, that was Slash's first band that he was in. That was the beginning of it as Slash was good enough to now be in a band. So they put together a garage band. But, like Adam said, everyone knew that slash was ten times better musically than they were and that it would only be a matter of time before the bird flew out of the nest. He wasn't only a bird, it was an eagle. He's soared out of that nest and he's still soaring. Just because he soared out of that band, didn't mean now he's made it. He still had to go through a bunch of other incarnations with some of the members that ended up in the final five. He had to get to the next level, start playing clubs, songwriting, melodies, and everything that goes with that. And in that process, you had basically two or three bands interchanging musicians constantly, back and forth. Until finally, it took.
Jason Porath 17:15
I personally love this idea of this incestuous revolving door of bands and musicians. It's just so interesting to think about chemistry. It's also interesting to think about who's bringing what songs when they cycle in and out of different bands. You have different alliances, so that helps to spin that door, as well. In many ways, Axl and Izzy were a team, even if they weren't in the same band together. Slash and Steven were a team, even though they weren't in the same band together, Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner were a team, even if they weren't, at some point, in the same band. Then there's opportunity. There there are people there were musicians, at that time, individuals who thought that they could make it faster if they cycled out of a band into another one. Sometimes that worked; most of the times it didn't. And then you've got musical preferences. Some people wanted to play harder metal than others, some people felt drawn to punk some felt drawn to bubblegum rock, as Marc called it. It's fascinating, this idea of this revolving door, which I think makes the story of how this band came together more interesting. Once they go on Hell Tour and come back; the fact that they were able to stay together after that moment, says a lot about that moment in time and we can't wait to tell that story in a couple of episodes.
Mina McNair 18:45
Yes. Don't give away too much now. That's coming.
Marc Canter 18:48
I was watching the Beatles documentary. We just finished part three last night and I saw something in John Lennon that reminded me a lot of Izzy and I think it was in the song, "Don't Let Me Down," the little parts that [Lennon] was playing. It reminded me of Izzy's style of his songwriting. He's not really a lead guitar player and he's not playing chords, he's playing notes. He's playing things that could be a guitar solo, but not really. They're structured and part of the song and it just made me realize that Izzy was so unique that I've never really seen anyone do that other than John Lennon. You think [The Beatles] are this perfect band and the songs just magically appeared. But in that documentary, you get to watch how they come together and how they're writing. And it just it really reminded me of how Slash and Izzy used to work together and why it works so well between them. Slash is that dominant lead guitar player and he could come up with some riffs. But Izzy was able to come up with things that influenced Slash or that Slash ended up changing and together they were able to be an absolute perfect fit for what they were doing back in '85, '86. So I just thought I'd throw that in there.
Mina McNair 20:14
I've never heard that comparison of Izzy to John Lennon or anyone in GNR to The Beatles. You just picture those bands so opposite in your mind sometimes.
Marc Canter 20:26
Izzy made little mistakes, too. He wasn't a perfect guitar player, but he knew what he was looking for. He would make little mistakes with it. He was doing something and it just worked. John Lennon is not really a lead guitar player. He never was going to be a lead guitar player, but he's not a rhythm guitar player either. Sure he wrote songs, and he could play songs and come up with the greatest things ever. But, it was little parts that he attempted to do, what could be considered little bits of leads. Izzy is the only other person I've seen do something like that. And it kind of fits into this song. If you listen to a lot of the Guns N' Roses songs like on headphones, where it separates [the tracks]. You can hear Izzy's parts, and they just stand out for what they are.
Jason Porath 21:21
It seems to me that it's really described as texture. He's giving the songs a lot of texture. I saw that documentary, as well -- and you're right --I never put the two together, but John Lennon was riffing off of Paul's ideas and then adding this beautiful texture to the songs through those notes and through the instrumentation. And you're right, Izzy has done the same thing with Guns N' Roses.
Marc Canter 21:46
Exactly. That's it. I didn't realize it unitl last night. I knew Izzy was always unique with what he did. You can't really compare him to anyone else until. like I said, last night, I finally figured it out that. It's in that same John Lennon way of adding texture to the song that makes it really stands out. And without Izzy, it just wouldn't be as good.
Mina McNair 22:14
The songs wouldn't be the same at all. Nothing would really be the same. Now, Jason, I do want to circle back to what you were talking about before about people kind of pairing up into teams, like Steven and Slash. We haven't touched that much on their friendship in the series, but it's well documented in Slash's book of everything they did together. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?
Jason Porath 22:43
I'm going to defer to Marc on this, but I wanted to say a couple of things about it. We were not able to cover that aspect of the narrative in the interviews that we did with Adam. But I think it's really important to understand that Slash and Steven met when they were in junior high school. It was Steven who pulled Slash into this idea of playing music. I think Steven started with a guitar. Steven's grandmother had a one-string flamenco guitar in a closet that Slash took out and plucked and was already taken in. I think he started playing bass and then switch to the guitar. There's just a lot of stuff that happened with Steven and Slash that wasn't covered. And they hung out all the time. They were hanging out on the Strip, sneaking into the Rainbow, using fake ideas. Marc told the story of Slash dressing up as a girl to get into g"Girls Night." [Steven and Slash] had this real kinship. That's really all I wanted to mention about it. They spent their days wandering Hollywood with their head in the clouds talking about music and hustling money and starting a band. And I think Steven's influence on Slash at that time weighed heavily in the direction he ultimately pursued, and what we are all the beneficiaries of -- and that is Slash becoming the guitarist he became in joining forces with the Appetite lineup. I just wanted to mention that and, Marc, I don't know if you wanted to add anything about their friendship.
Mina McNair 23:34
Dressing in drag!
Marc Canter 24:24
Here's the interesting thing. When Slash was going to John Burroughs with me, somewhere around the eighth grade he got kicked out of John Burroughs and went to Bancroft. When he went to Bancroft, I lost touch with him for about a year or so. But he instantly made friends with Steven. Steven was like the guy he hung out with when we weren't hanging out for a little while. When I found Slash again, he was no longer hanging out with Steven. Steven had moved to the valley, but he had a relationship with Steven, so, when I met Steven it was like in a Joe Perry concert in 1982 at the Country Club in Reseda. And I thought he was a little drunk, and a little bit annoying. Slash a talk about, "my friend, Steven," and I'm like, "This guy's a Nimrod." I didn't think much of him. I thought he was very annoying and he was good at it. He was looking for Slash again and when he met up with Slash, at Curley Joe's Studio, on New Year's Eve of 1983, he saw that Slash had really gotten that guitar. He got light-years better from just strumming the one string. [Steven] desperately needed to work with Slash and convince Slash to replace Adam with him, so he could take Adam's place in the band. Like I said in the past, there was nothing wrong with Adam. [Slash] wasn't looking to get rid of Adam. But, Steven was so adamant about it that he sold those double bass drums to Slash. The fact that they had a connection -- like you were saying that he influenced slash in the first place to play guitar -- they had a friendship for a year in junior high school. And now he's living, in Hollywood and he knows that Slash is the one you want to play with. The only issue is that I wasn't around when they had their early history. I was with the new history. My history with Steven begins when he joins Roadcrew. Steven was the David Lee Roth of them. He would go out and he hookup with a girl and disappear and eat all the food out of the frigerator, shower and eat all day and watch MTV. Then he was off the next day, doing the same thing again. Steven the type of person that throws a bunch of shit on the wall and something's gonna stick. He just kept trying. Whatever he didn't do, right, He got an "A" for trying to do it. He just put himself out there. He really was loud and put himself out there.
Jason Porath 27:21
To preview the full experience of the First 50 Gigs video podcast that includes exclusive photos and videos from Marc's archive, check out the First 50 Gigs YouTube channel. You'll find the link right here in our episode show notes.
Mina McNair 27:40
Jason, did you want to talk about Ronnie Schneider? He was a very interesting guest to have on the show and hear his perspective. Jason, do you want to talk about why you wanted his voice so badly in this project?
Jason Porath 27:53
Ronnie passed away in 2011. We thought it was important to include his perspective. Luckily, I did an interview with him in 2007 for Reckless Road. He had a unique perspective on how Titus Sloan and Roadcrew came together. He had a unique perspective on how Adam was pushed out in favor of Steven. You know, It was respectful of us to include him in the story. I know that he was loved by all. He went on to be a roadie and tech for for GNR. Marc had a very close relationship [with him]. So to me, it was important to have him included in this narrative.
Marc Canter 28:34
The thing with Ronnie was -- and we found this out at his memorial service, which we had at Canters when he passed away, and there was like 300 people there with just a couple of days notice -- everyone kept coming up to me saying, "You don't understand Ronnie was my best friend." I laughed at him saying, "You don't understand. Ronnie was everybody's best friend." When you met Ronnie, he became a part of you. He lived on my couch for six months at a time out of every year. Ronnie was like a part of you. If you watched a movie without Ronnie, you didn't get the movie, right? He was almost the bass player in Hollywood Rose, except for the fact that he was a little bit too metal-ish for Axl's taste. There was a lot of history there. He was there. If he wasn't in the band, he was at the gig, he was hanging out backstage, he was at the party. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, Ronnie was there. Ronnie was there because everybody loved Ronnie, including Axl? Even though he wasn't in the band -- Axl didn't want him in the band -- Axl considered him one of his best friends. Anything that comes out of Ronnie's mouth is good knowledge.
Mina McNair 30:02
Two of our episodes this season were not a part of the GNR narrative at all, but they were extremely important to the story as a whole. And I think that's because we dive into the Sunset Strip history and we're able to get a broader picture of how important the Sunset Strip is; not just for Hollywood, but also for music history. Why did we decide to pull away from the narrative?
Jason Porath 30:33
I'll throw that back at you. LeMina. As a GNR fan, what was your initial reaction to suddenly seeing two episodes that were a deviation from this narrative and that had nothing to do with GNR, but was an attempt to set the stage for what's coming later? What was your initial reaction?
Mina McNair 30:53
A little bit of confusion as to what's going on. But, once you start watching those episodes, it's just mind blowing how much history is there and how everything seems to tie into itself. That every club on the strip was a club before that, and there's just a rich amount of history there. It was amazing. I'm very glad we have those episodes.
Jason Porath 31:22
Our intention was to set the stage and to help people understand where we were in time and how we got to that place. There's a continuity, there's a history that Guns N' Roses were part of and I really don't think you're telling the whole story without hearing those two episodes and how the Sunset Strip, as a character in the story, came to be. Marc, this was not a part of your story. What did you think of these two episodes when you saw that we were doing this?
Marc Canter 31:52
The Laurie Jacobson episode just blew me away because I had no idea how it went back that far and why people could drink and drive and not get arrested. Just the whole history of how that started, and how everything turned into Vegas, later on in the 50s and 60s. It was really on the Sunset Strip. I had zero idea of this, so it really made the story. I thought you were just having some fun with making sure no stones were unturned and getting a little bit more of the of the story behind; adding a little texture. After I saw the episodes, I was just like, "wow," because it really sets the stage for where the Sunset Strip came from. And everyone's goal was to get to the Sunset Strip in the 80s, to make it and get signed with all the record companies that were on Sunset Boulevard and in Hollywood. I was really an interesting piece of history. That in and of itself is a documentary?
Jason Porath 33:07
I love how in those two episodes, what you find is the convergence of Hollywood, the counterculture movements, the civil rights fight and the electrification of rock n' roll. You have the center of gravity shifting from New York to Los Angeles and you have people from all over the country wanting to live the dream and play music together. The one quote from both episodes that sticks out for me the most is when Larry Jacobson says, "When Axl's on stage at the Whisky belting his heart out, [the ghost of] Jim Morrison is there in the rafters looking down on him. I just thought that was exactly what we were trying to capture. Guns N' Roses is part of a continuum that dates back all the way to the 1920s with Hollywood stars and performers. I don't think we need to talk too much about that, but I did really want to give that to the fans to help them identify with Sunset Strip as as a character where this all takes place.
Marc Canter 34:14
Eddie Trunk was very impressed with that.
Mina McNair 34:17
Yes, he was and as a fan. I'm very glad you did it and I think we all are. It was great. Let's switch gears a little bit, back to our actual interviews with people from the GNR narrative. Chris Weber was, by far, one of our best interviews and we really started to identify and bring together the story threads we're tracing the formation of the Appetite lineup of GNR. Do you want to talk about his interview?
Jason Porath 34:53
Yes, this this gets us back to the the narrative of how the Appetite lineup of GNR comes together. Chris represents one of the main story threads along that journey. I think it was important to call out that he was a contributor to some of these great songs, and to make sure he was recognized for that. It was also Chris's parents that put up the money for Hollywood Rose to make a demo. That demo was then used to get in and try to get bookings on the Strip. That's the same demo that Cleopatra Records remastered and produced nad put out as the "Roots of Guns N' Roses." I think it's important that Chris got recognition, but I think the most interesting part of Chris was his coming of age in Rose, and in Hollywood Rose and the influence that Axl and Izzy had on him as a player, and the contribution from him that you hear on Appetite for Destruction. I think for those reasons, Chris was a really important guest to have on the show.
Mina McNair 35:59
What you said about the demos, it stuck out to me that he mentioned that the sound that you hear on that demo is so close to what you'd eventually hear three years later on Appetite.
Jason Porath 36:12
I don't think it's so close, but you can hear the sound coming together, right? Because they would speed it up and slow it down. And by the time it got into Mike Clink's hands, it became unique to his ear. But you can certainly hear the sound coming together. You can hear Axl finding his voice. Chris was instrumental in organizing and creating riffs for some of those early songs,
Marc Canter 36:43
"Anything Goes" went through different tempos and three or four lyric changes. I actually liked the original one the best, and I got used to it and then when they changed it I wasn't really happy with it, and then they changed it again. And then it got changed again. Chris Weber was just a kid. He was like, 16 years old at the time. He was good enough at that age to work with Izzy and Axl and get that going. When Slash came into the picture, Axl realized that Slash was the stepping stone from Chris Weber. To get to the next level was working with Slash. I think Chris Weber would have still been in the band, until whatever may have came of it. It was the same situation with Adam Greenberg and Steven Adler. Slash was the Steven Adler that came poking around looking for a singer and a guitar player. Axl said, "Well, okay, let's go this direction." And that was the end of Chris Weber, not because he couldn't cut it, because Slash was just that much different or better, or more amusing and it was the next level. It was just the next step in the process.
Mina McNair 38:01
[Slash] helped them reach that next plateau. I will say that out of all of the guests we've had, and all of the people who have played with the members of Guns N' Roses, Steve Darrow is arguably the person who flew closest to the sun in terms of being in the Appetite lineup. Wouldn't you say?
Jason Porath 38:24
I think what's interesting about Steve Darrow is that he had known Axl and Izzy before. He started playing drums, but I don't think he made the cut, in their opinion. But then he switched to bass, started Kerry Doll and got pretty good. I think Axl and Izzy saw his dedication to the music and for lack of a better word., he was kind of in the back pocket. Hollywood Rose breaks up and the the New Hollywood Rose starts and Steve Darrow comes into the fold, and actually Slash comes into the fold and Steven. So now you have Axl, you have Izzy, you have Slash, you have Steven, and you have Steve Darrow. Now, the five of them only made made it to one or two rehearsals, at which point in time Izzy did not want to play with with another guitar player. So he didn't want to play with Slash and he takes his shot at the revolving door and spins out to London. So now it's the four of them. It's Axl, Slash, Steven Adler and Steve Darrow. They do pretty well together. Marc you captured a lot of these gigs. I think they they booked probably five gigs together. The New Hollywood Rose was getting pretty good. Marc, what's your recollection of New Hollywood Rose?
Marc Canter 39:49
Steve Darrow coming into Hollywood Rose at the same time as Slash coming into Hollywood Rose and Steven,created an almost Appetite for Destruction lineup moment He's there instead of Duff. Had Izzy not quit and joined London and stuck around -- it's a kind of a two parter -- it was Izzy or Duff that figured out later to take away one of Steve's bass drums. Duff wasn't there yet, but if Izzy he had figured it out with somebody else in the band and hidden one of Steven's bass drums at that moment in time,, that right there could have been your Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction lineup, with the only difference between Steve Darrow versus Duff. That didn't happen, but what did happen was Hollywood Rose played like four or five gigs together and stayed together for three months. Then it fell apart. Right before it fell apart, Steve Darrow was gone and there was a new bass player -- I believe his name was DJ -- that was in for one gig, which I was not at, because I went to go see Aerosmith, probably in Fresno or somewhere like that. I missed that gig anyways, but I believe it was August 25 1984. But, he might not have made the cut anyway. So it looked like [DJ] was out even before they broke up. It didn't matter because [DJ] was there for at least one rehearsal with the other four members of the Appetite for Destruction lineup. So it was an almost moment.
Jason Porath 41:33
I think another very interesting part of this period of time with the New Hollywood Rose is that it's the first time that Axl and Slash play together. It's the first time that they bond. Part of the breakup of the New Hollywood Rose comes out of this explosive moment with Axl and Slash. They have a disagreement. It came out of Axl staying at Slash's grandmother's apartment or something. It's not important. But what's important is that this this establishes that relationship. Marc, I think there's a third element you mentioned too. I think the third element that needed to be present to solidify this band is Hell Tour. [The New Hollywood Rose] didn't have anything like a Hell Tour. Hell Tour was a unique experience that the five Appetite guys did go through and if they hadn't gone through that together, they may not have been together.
Marc Canter 42:24
If Duff wasn't in the band, there wouldn't have been a Hell Tour. If there wasn't a Hell Tour, even though they knew they were good musicians, it might not have stuck and Hell Tour helped make them not only musicians, but like blood brothers that have each other's backs after that. They suffered a little bit together. This was something that put them together, so without Duff, you wouldn't have that. But then again, Duff's style of his punk rockness really funked up and really punked up Guns N' Roses. Imagine Appetite for Destruction without "It's So Easy." Still good, but you need "It's So Easy" in there. Obviously, it all worked out because they came back together a year later and somehow those musicians found each other again. And this time they had Duff. Duff was briefly in Roadcrew for a week in the fall of '84, so there was a connection that Slash already had [with him]. Duff knew that Slash was a good guitar player, but he didn't stick around with him long enough, because he wanted to move on because [Roadcrew] had no singer. There was too much work that needed to be done. When he came across Slash the second time, he was like, "Oh, yeah, I know this guy."
Jason Porath 43:49
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Mina McNair 44:05
So Jason, to start wrapping up the midseason recap, what's significant about the breaking up of the New Hollywood Rows?
Jason Porath 44:16
What's interesting about the end of the New Hollywood Rose is that these four guys scatter, Axl gets recruited into L.A. Guns, Steven and Slash spin out and want to start up Roadcrew again. So again, you're seeing these teams; the Slash and Steven team start Roadcrew and what do they do? They put an ad in the Recycler and who answers the ad, but Duff who has just literally arrived in Los Angeles in September of 1984. So [Duff] finds that ad, calls them up and they decide to meet at Canters, of course. I heard a couple of great stories about that [moment] that is documented in both Slash's biography and Duff's biography about the actual meeting. Duff came dressed pretty crazy and it seemed to be a mismatch on the surface but ended up being a really significant meeting of hearts and minds. Slash and Steven had their girlfriends with them and they were witnesses to that. But Marc, you were there. Tell us how this played out.
Marc Canter 45:25
I was there and we didn't know what Duff looked like but they told him to meet us at Canters and it's a good neutral place to meet. The funny thing is, I scouted out where we should sit so we could wait and see who comes in the door. And it turned out many, many years later, that same booth was used for President Obama to sit at because the Secret Service did the same scouting report that I did and we both came up with the same booth. That booth gave you a perfect view of what's coming in through the front door, so we ended up in what is now the Obama booth, hanging out. When people walked in, we'd say, "Okay, could that be Duff?" Then Duff actually did walk in and we said, "Okay, that's got to be Duff." They were probably sitting and eating and I went and got [Duff] and brought him to the table. Right away Slash's girlfriend started asking him questions, "Are you gay? Are you...okay, we'll find your girlfriend..." Just making him feel at home. I got him a bowl of Barley Bean soup, which is very comforting. We welcomed him in and he was a nice guy. They started working together on Roadcrew and [Duff] joined them working together. He was there for about a week. They actually worked on what might have become Rocket Queen later on. But Duff didn't stick around because there wasn't a singer, they weren't playing clubs yet, and it was just Slash and Steven. It wasn't enough. Duff was looking to join a band and start doing gigs. He wasn't looking to build one from scratch. So he was just briefly [in Roadcrew]. We all know later on [they] come back and we'll get to that, but that's how we met Duff.
Mina McNair 47:31
I want to thank you both, again for being here with me today. This was an absolute blast. And I think we're all looking forward to seeing the last half of the season.
Jason Porath 47:44
What we have up next is Rob Gardner. So Rob Gardner is going to pick up where we left off at this point. The New Hollywood breaks up, Slash, Steven and Duff meet, Izzy is still with London. Rob Gardner is going to guide us through this next story. I think it's also interesting to mention that around this time, so maybe a couple of months down the road, Izzy and Duff end up living across the street from each other and start bumping into each other and form a friendship. So we're excited to share those stories with you.
Marc Canter 48:14
One little bit of other information...after Izzy left London and Slash and Steven failed to put Roadcrew back together because Duff didn't stick around, [Slash and Steven] both ended up in London for about three weeks.
Mina McNair 48:29
Alright, guys. Thank you for being here today and doing this midseason recap. This has been fantastic.
Jason Porath 48:42
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