|It sounds positively poetic in retrospect, a folk tale that could only be appreciated in contrast to the band's incredible success. lust after Guns N' Roses finalized their line-up in 1985, they set up a tour which was supposed to earn the band the princely sum of $250 a night. Without a private jet at their disposal, Guns N' Roses drove from Hollywood to the first gig in Seattle. When the car broke down, the band continued on foot, hitchhiking the rest of the way. The band made it to Seattle in time to discover that the tour had been cancelled and that they would only be receiving $50 for that night's performance. A lesser band would have been discouraged, but not Guns N' Roses.
The Gunners played anywhere and everywhere in the beginning and by the end of 1985, Guns N' Roses were headlining at venues like the Troubadour and the Whisky, L.A.'s most happening clubs and music industry hang-outs.
Going out as the opening act for The Cult and the Japanese metal band EZO, Guns N' Roses
got their first taste of the road. Next the band opened for Motley Crue, the reigning Hollywood bad boys who at first looked down at these impudent upstarts but later became their partners in crime. The band was then pencilled in on a tour with David Lee Roth but at the zero hour, Roth freaked and G N' R went out with Iron Maiden instead. After a period of clawing at every scrap tossed their way, the band was finally beginning to get the big breaks.
August, 1988, Guns N' Roses signed on as the opening act for Aerosmith's tour. Aerosmith, who had been a big influence on both G N' R's music and their reckless lifestyle, had recently cleaned up their own act, and so they insisted that G N' R confine their drinking to the dressing room.
Live, as on vinyl, Guns N' Roses continually proved their ability to appeal to a wide spectrum of rock fans, without having to resort to the kind of compromises that usually make for a mainstream act. The band's diversified sound helped them to secure opening slots with every kind of metal band imaginable. The only problem seemed to be that the headliners became threatened by Guns N' Roses' intensity.
Punk was a big influence on Guns N' Roses, particulary bass player Duff McKagen, who had been an important figure in the Seattle punk scene before moving to Hollywood. This was most apparent onstage. Where other bands were aloof, Guns N' Roses was a participatory experience that left audiences both sweaty and satiated.
Having developed their concept of what rock 'n' roll was all about from bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses wasted no time in becoming the scourge of hotel managers across the country.
The nadir of GN'R's tumultuous career came during Britain's ninth annual Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donnington when two fans were crushed to death during the band's set, a terrible tragedy which brough unfortunate parallels to the Rolling Stones' concert at Altamont. As volatile a rock band as had ever trod the boards, Guns N' Roses succeeded in making headlines wherever the band traveled, such as a stop-over in Atlanta when Axl was detained on assault charges.
Without the benefit of much in the way of vinyl to satisfy their hardcore following Guns N' Roses, relied on their live show to carry them through after the 1988 release of Appetite For Destruction, and fans were treated to constant sightings of the various members jamming with other musicians inbetween actual Guns N' Roses performances.
The band kicked off 1991 by headlining the Rock In Rio festival in January on a bill that also included Robert Plant, David Lee Roth and Megadeth. The summer finds Guns N' Roses back on the road as headliners, with Skid Row in the coveted support slot, playing new songs from the long awaited Use Your Illusion. Matt Sorum, who played briefly with the Cult, replaces Steven Adler behind the drumkit and Dizzy Reed has joined the band on keyboards.