Gary James' Interview With Steven Adler Of
Guns 'n' Roses
From 1985 to 1990, Steven Adler played drums for Guns 'n' Roses. These days he performs with his own group, Adler's Appetite. Steven Adler has just written his autobiography titled My Appetite For Destruction. Sex, Drugs And Guns 'n' Roses. (It Books, Harper - Collins Books) and what a story it is!
Steven Adler talked with us about his autobiography, his time with Guns 'n' Roses and his new band, Adler's Appetite.
Q - Steven, I've been reading this autobiography of yours. If I was a kid thinking of being a Rock musician, I might have second thoughts. I'd probably run in the opposite direction.
A - Yeah. (laughs) It's definitely something you gotta watch what you wish for.
Q - Does everyone more or less go through the same experience you've gone through?
A - Well, I would say more or less, yes. And not just musicians or entertainers. Everyday people. I'm just a guy who had a dream of being a drummer in a Rock band and so many things come along with it. Just like life, the sexual abuse part, the drug abuse part, I'm just learning why I was doing all those things to myself. Doing this book has been very mentally and emotionally healing for me. To be able to get all these things that I had stuffed inside my body and soul, to be able to get them out and say it, it's very healing for me.
Q - I would guess that because you were sexually abused, it set the stage for everything else that followed.
A - I'm sure that's what happened unconsciously. I got into the drugs just like pretty much every other person does. I was young. I smoked pot for the first time and I liked it. Of all the things I've experienced in my life, unconsciously I was doing the drugs mainly not just because; hey, that's what people in Rock 'n' Roll do, they didn't have Behind The Music when I was growing up. You had magazines - Hit Parader, Circus, Rolling Stone. When you read these interviews, it seemed like the band, the guys you got to read about, we're having a party. It was exciting. There's girls. There's money. You didn't read about the part where the guys are throwing up blood and shitting blood and not being able to get onstage, passing out onstage. So much craziness involved.
Q - So, when Nancy Reagan came along in the mid-1980s and was asked about the drug problem, she said "Just say no." That didn't make much of an impression on you.
A - (laughs) Of course. We're a generation of people that you tell us not to do something, we're gonna do it! You know? (laughs) The rebellious youth in you.
Q - What's strange is, if you really wanted to be a rebel and everybody around you is taking drugs and drinking, you shouldn't take drugs and drink. Then you're a real rebel, right?
A - Yes, of course. That makes so much sense. Yeah, do the opposite. It's just like everybody was getting tattoos. So to be a rebel, don't get a tattoo. Be original.
Q - Right.
A - By not doing anything, you're original.
Q - You have so many stories in this book of yours about sex. This isn't an exaggeration is it? This is true?
A - Yeah, of course it's true.
Q - So, how did you remember all these details? Were you keeping some kind of journal?
A - Believe it or not, it came from memories and from the girls and people themselves. I would go to them and say "I know something crazy happened." Basically the people who the stories are about, I would go to them and say "Tell me what happened."
Q - How different do you think your life would have been if your mother had not moved from Ohio to California?
A - I'm sure I would never have met Slash and meeting Slash was one of the best things that ever happened to me. One of the best things that ever happened to me. I don't think my life would have been as fulfilling and as interesting if I didn't move from Cleveland to Hollywood when I was younger.
Q - Do you think you still would've played drums but in a local band?
A - Probably. I'm sure I would've done something. I wanted to be a professional football player and then I wanted to be a stuntman. But because I had an injury to my foot, I couldn't do those things. Then I went to a KISS concert. That was it. I want to be a part of this.
Q - KISS was and is a very exciting group to watch and listen to.
A - When I saw them, there was only 2,000 people (in the audience) and I'll never forget it. They looked like they were 20 feet tall. It was such a huge show and they just seemed so huge. So much excitement.
Q - Your book has been out how long now? A couple of weeks?
A - It hits the stores July 27th (2010). I'll be doing Howard Stern the same day. The band has a new single called "Alive". It's good to be alive, so we'll be playing that on Howard Stern too. I guess the first few weeks, you buy the book you get a free single or a download to get the single.
Q - I was going to ask you what people are saying about your book, but if it hasn't been released yet, I can't ask that question.
A - You know what? One of the news ladies at Fox News, I guess she read the book. She got a copy of it. Every morning on the Fox News she's been talking how wonderful it is. She says how intriguing and interesting it is. So, some people got it and I've gotten great response from it. And as I said in the beginning of this interview, it's been so healing for me. It's helped me to be able to move on and it's helped me from relapsing back on drugs. I'll get a few months going I'll relapse and I never understood why. I wouldn't enjoy it, but I would do it. Now I realize I kept everything stuffed inside me and now getting it out is so wonderful to me, for me.
Q - I can see a mini-movie or a movie of the week being made from your book.
A - That would be wonderful. That would be great if people like it that much. I think people will like it because even though I've had the success that I've had, I'm still an everyday person. I'm just a guy who wakes up every morning and goes to the bathroom and does everything that anybody else does. The underdogs are going to relate to this book. I'm definitely a part of the underdogs.
Q - You had an older brother, Kenny.
A - Well, I still do. (laughs)
Q - What does he do for a living?
A - He's a security guard at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Q - So, I take it he wants no part of the Rock 'n' Roll business.
A - No, not at all. Now my little brother has become a well known agent for bands. He's doing really well.
Q - What agency does he work for?
A - Adler Entertainment. He's got his own company now, So my little brother's doing real good.
Q - Have you ever seen a Guns 'n' Roses tribute band? I interviewed a guy in a band like that called
Appetite For Destruction.
A - Really? Yeah. You know, I did in Las Vegas. I saw a band and went up and played with them. The singer was a girl and she looked just like Axl and sounded like him, but it was a girl. It was amazing. I've seen a couple good tribute bands.
Q - I see that when Guns 'n' Roses signed with Geffen Records, each guy got an advance of $7,500. Were the guys expected to buy your equipment from that advance?
A - The money was for equipment. We got an apartment. It was for anything. We spent most of it on drugs. (laughs) But it was money to get into a decent house and get some decent equipment, and none of us got anything. I think I bought one snare drum. (laughs) That was it. None of us had that much money before.
Q - I'm also reading the autobiography of Joey Kramer, the drummer for Aerosmith. Drummers are wild and crazy guys!
A - Our job is to beat on things. (laughs) We get to hit things for a living. It's wonderful.
Q - Then when you go offstage, you beat yourself up! That's the problem.
A - Oh, I beat myself up like I owed myself money. (laughs)
Q - So, this tour of yours takes you across the U.S.?
A - Oh, yeah. We've still got 45 shows to go.
Q - How many dates were you booked?
A - I think 55 shows. Go to my website,
www.AdlersAppetiteOnLine.com and everybody can check out the shows, the dates, pictures, everything that's been going on, on this tour.
Q - How long do you play onstage with your band?
A - Maybe 90 minutes. It's a great set. It's a strong set. It's been really great on this tour. We finally have our own single and our own music to play. I love playing the GNR stuff. It's such great music and it's so strong and it goes over so well. Finally now that we have our own single, we're becoming our own band in our own right. That part is very exciting.
Q - It is so great to see you onstage doing your own thing, and alive!
A - That's the name of the song - "Alive". (laughs)
© Gary James. All rights reserved.