Friday, November 14, 2008

RALLYING AROUND STEVEN ADLER

I guess we all have a little junkie in us. My addiction is "Celebrity Rehab" on VH1 where, to be quite frank, I've fallen for Steven Adler. Not in a romantic sense, mind you, but in the "heart is bleeding" sense. Growing up, Guns N Roses were like those older kids in high school that you wanted to roll with--the dangerous, sleazy, hard asses that col' wrecked a party. When Appetite hit, it just took you over. And Steven Adler, the engine pulling the band, was as nasty a drummer as you could find. But as the Tragedy of Rock was written: all that is will not be forever. From Wikipedia:

In late 1987, while Guns N' Roses was on tour, an intoxicated Adler broke his hand when he punched a streetlight after a barroom brawl. Fred Coury from the band Cinderella substituted on drums for several shows until Adler recovered. At the 1989 American Music Awards, where Guns N' Roses performed their latest single, "Patience," Don Henley filled in for Adler on drums. Officially, the absence was attributed to a case of the flu; it was later revealed that Adler had actually been in a drug rehabilitation program at the time.

Problems continued in 1990, as the band recorded "Civil War" for Nobody's Child, an album benefiting the Romanian Angel Appeal. Axl Rose has said in interviews that "Civil War was recorded a good 60 times" due to problems with Adler; Slash, in another article, stated that the band had to edit the drum track to "Civil War" simply to be able to play along with it. By Adler's own admission, he tried to play the song "20, maybe 30 times." During the recording of "Civil War" Adler was still trying to stop using drugs.

Adler was briefly fired from the band, but was reinstated after signing a contract promising to stop using drugs. In April 1990, he performed with Guns N' Roses at Farm Aid IV in Indiana. It would be his last appearance with the band. When problems in the studio continued, he was formally fired on June 11th, 1990, during the recording of the Use Your Illusion I and II albums, and replaced with Matt Sorum. The official reason for his departure, according to various members of the band, was his heavy substance abuse which impeded his ability to work. Geffen A&R rep Tom Zutaut, who worked with Guns N' Roses, corroborated this claim, stating in a 1999 interview, "Steven Adler would show up at the recording studio completely high. Recording sessions would abort for several days when he couldn't put it together."

According to Adler, his departure from the band was based on other reasons. In October 1991, he filed a lawsuit against his former Guns N' Roses bandmates, claiming that they were responsible for his drug addiction and that the contracts he had signed actually took away his financial interest in the band. In a 2005 interview he stated, "Doug Goldstein called me into the office about two weeks later. He wanted me to sign some contracts. I was told that every time I did heroin, the band would fine me $2,000. There was a whole stack of papers, with colored paper clips everywhere for my signatures. What these contracts actually said was that the band were paying me $2,000 to leave. They were taking my royalties, all my writing credits. They didn't like me anymore and just wanted me gone. That's why I filed the lawsuit - to get all those things back."

Ugh. Poor cat. Got stung by the addictions, couldn't even hold a drumstick. Blew his chance to record two of the greater rock records ever made and then hit a downward spiral he just couldn't shake. Slash, Duff and Matt (Adler's replacement) went on to form Velvet Revolver and enjoyed success. Izzy disappeared, but resurfaced for this awkward photo featuring Steven and Duff (middle). Axl went on to be an ugly woman with cornrows signing an exclusive deal with Best Buy to release an Axl and Buckethead record under the name Guns N Roses.
But poor Steven's challenges only mounted. To make his habits worse, like a habit he couldn't kick, he formed a Guns N Roses tribute band named "Hollywood Roses." Now, I'm not sure what the rules are about tribute bands, but I'm pretty sure forming a tribute band for a band you used to be in is an industry "no-no." In 2007, Steven's first project after GNR, "Adler's Appetite" played a show in which Duff and Izzy joined him on stage for several songs. Slash was in attendence. After the show, Steven was touting the experience as a "reunion" while all other denouced such. Seems it meant more to Steven than it did the others.
Well, it seems that Steven's downward spiral has landed him in rehab once again sitting across from Jeff Conway and his chronic back pains and Gary a-Busey. Steven's two strokes have cursed him with a weird speech impediment, but he hasn't lost his spirit.
I can't help watching this guy and hoping he turns it around. It's weird when you see dudes like this and you start thinking of all the guys who didn't get to play in the greatest band in the world. Did they go through lows or did they just stay normal? What about the guys from Enuff Z'Nuff?

Did they survive addiction? If not, did they survive rehab? Sometimes I think of what in the hell we're going to do with all of these aging rappers? Well, what did we do with all of the womanizing cokeheads from the early 80s? I guess, it's pretty much the same answer--it just works itself out. Except for Steven Adler. He's the fallout of that era. Anyway (raising mug of coffee), here's to Steven Adler. You're a badass. I'm rooting for you. You're a little creepy, but still dope.

Going to see Amos Lee with my lovely wife this weekend. The cat's pretty nice on record so I'm expecting good things. Still waiting on my copy of White Lightnin'. I could've just re-recorded "That's No Lie" by now. Once I get it, the De La Dead is done. Dude's straight slipping. He said he sent it on 11/11.

As you might have guessed, I'm up early. And I'm listening to Funkadelic's Uncle Jam Wants You. Your days are half lived.

Thanks to Q at Traffic for the huge box of goodies. I got some research to do. Along with KMD's Bl_ck B_st_rds and MF Doom's Operation Doomsday which were both repressed again, exhaustedly, he sent some Masta Ace side project, some Esoteric goodies, a killer comp of Yeshua, TUFF CREW (holy cow!) and some cats out of the mid-90's Boston hip hop scene...their name escapes me right now. I gotta say, I don't know what I'd do without Q's promos. They get me through sometimes.

Interscope pushed 50 Cent's new record to 2009 after touting it as the biggest record of the fourth quarter. I guess it doesn't really surprise me, but it just sucks at a time when the industry is looking for that hit to hang a hat on. Guess the hits just won't do it and dude's are gonna just have to hustle for that cash. Guess artists are just going to have to make quality records the way we used to. The industry's getting pinched hard right now. Every industry's getting it. Only the strong will survive. The weak will become the kindling the strong use to warm their green tea over. One thing has never changed: you never take anything for granted and you work your ass off for your keep. Ain't nothing handed to you.

Looks like my lovely wife and I are finally taking the plunge on a new TV as a Christmas gift to ourselves. I'm looking at the Sony 46". She likes the Sony 40". Eh. I'd be happy with either, but I'd be six inches happier with the 46". Wait, that didn't sound right. She blessed me passage to purchase it early in time to watch the Texas Tech game next weekend on the new TV. She's awesome. I also think the earlier the better because the 500 lb TV that we have right now is about to demolish the entertainment "center" it sits in. I'm serious, I can visually see the thing leaning from about eight feet away. I'm having nightmares of waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a rhino falling through our house and then coming out to discover that our TV finally won the battle and turned a piece of furniture into sawdust. The new TV would not even weigh 50 pounds. That's incredible. I bet this thing we have weighs 150 pounds. I won't even be able to sell it. I'll have to pay someone to haul it off like a 1980 Hyundai.

Still too early to throw my score out there on the Tech-Sooner game, but my father-in-law said that if it's dry, Tech will win. If there's weather, Tech will lose. Still wondering what that means aside from if you take the offenses out, maybe, that Sooners stand a better chance. I'm seeing a few more cats picking Tech to win this thing.

Whatever. About to hit the road in, wait, we're not going anywhere for another two hours. Man, I've been up forever.

3 comments:

sarahsmile3 said...

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Steven. Not so much for Rod Stewart's son. I think that dude is only in it for a little publicity. That model is friggen' gorgeous! I forget her name......

Anonymous said...

Certainly.

Robbie Miller said...

Great blog, very well written and completely agree.
How can you not have a soft spot for steven adler? Even with all the crap he still has a smile on his face.