Rose talks candidly about poor timekeeping, classic-era regrets.. and jokes about what he does when he’s not working on music
Axl Rose says he takes all the negative stories about him personally, and it takes him a long time to get over each one.
He admits he’s suffered from poor-timekeeping all his life, and regrets touring with Guns n’Roses in 1991 as the classic lineup began to disintegrate.
But in a candid interview with US TV host Eddie Trunk he finds time to laugh at himself and joke about what he does in his downtime.
Rose says on That Metal Show: “It’s like two decades of people talking and most of the time they’re talking about things somebody who had a bias started. They could have said them jokingly.
“‘Axl’s a dictator’ – I know exactly where that started. It started with a woman who was interviewing us and Izzy called me ‘the Ayatollah’ in the interview. It just rolled from there. It didn’t hit me I should nip this in the bud.”
Asked how he manages not to take things personally he says: ” I think I have, then I have to work at getting over it. It takes a really long time.
“A lot of people think I sue everybody. The reality is I get sued a lot and I don’t really sue anybody back.” Then he adds with a laugh: “Not half as many as I’d like to, or have time to.”
The singer wishes he hadn’t toured with GnR in 1991, and it hadn’t been his idea to do so: “I should not have been on tour. My manager had booked a tour without authorisation; and I’m going to get sued for it. If Slash dies of heroin or whatever it’s my fault, and Slash is pushing me…
“I should not have agreed to that tour. It was a violent crowd – they wanted you to succeed or tear you apart.”
Rose says he and his current band are very happy with the way their Chinese Democracy album and tour has been going, and hope it continues.
But he admits he’s never been able to focus on doing things on schedule, and the only thing which made him even take the issue seriously was when he realised it was hurting his roadies.
“The crew were very supportive of me and they weren’t getting enough sleep,” he explains.
“Not to complain or being a wuss, or whatever… Things start going wrong. People are making mistakes. You’re making mistakes, they’re making mistakes, and nobody even knows why.
“Everybody gets hit by ADD or whatever. Trying to sort through that and get yourself in the right headspace and physical… it’s more like sports, playing a big game.”
Then Rose reflects: “I lived right behind my school and I couldn’t make it to the classroom. I had a job at the grocery store down the street and I’m running down the street with wet hair trying to tie my tie with a sandwich in one hand. It’s a lifelong thing.”
When bandmate DJ Ashba jokes the frontman is “super-disciplined” Rose replies: “No. Absolutely not – no, no.”
But the thinks GnR are “doing better as far as that goes” and explains: “There was a long period of time; I don’t think it was a wrong thing, but back in the early days our crowds were much more violent and rowdy. There was a sense of fighting for the songs.
“I was thinking, they’re their songs, their memories. I want to put as much into it as I can for them. It makes them feel good about whatever experiences they have.
“You gotta get your wind up and get your head in the right place to do it.”
When asked what he does while he’s taking a break from work Rose jokes: “I have this mirror and I do the Silence of the Lambs dance.”