Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler was a recent guest on Eddie’s Sirius/XM show, Trunk Nation. Highlights from the interview below (as transcribed by blabbermouth.net).

On reuniting with his former bandmates Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan for guest appearances at several shows during Guns N’ Roses’ 2016 Not In This Lifetime tour:

Adler: “Last year was just so fabulous, because I wanted this… Everybody knows that I’ve been praying for this for twenty-five years for us to have a reunion. It was something that was so magical, and I’m so proud of what we did, and I’m so proud of the guys. It was just too hard last year, ’cause they’d have me come down and do just one or two songs, and it’s, like, I’m standing on the side of the stage and I’m watching Frank [Ferrer, current Guns N’ Roses drummer], who’s a wonderful guy and a great drummer, play my songs when I’m standing right there. I’m going, ‘Dude, why don’t you f–king let me play? I’m right here! Let me play the songs.’ And it was just too hard to do that. And then the South American thing, flying fifteen thousand miles for just one song each night. It was just too much. But the great part about that trip was after the second show, I put on a private show at a club called Roxy in Argentina, and we played from two to five in the morning. We had all these guitar players and different great musicians come up. We played all of Appetite [For Destruction], we did You Could Be Mine, Don’t Cry… a couple of the songs that I [was] a part of writing but didn’t get to play on it.”

Talking about when he was first approached about being involved with the reunion tour:

Adler: “Well, it was January 2nd, 2016, and Slash and Duff both texted me and said that they wanted to get together and talk to me. So I went down to Duff’s house and we had a nice little talk. They had me sign some contract thing and whatnot just so they could talk to me, which is cool; I don’t care. Then in March I came down to rehearsal, and the second rehearsal, I got a pinched nerve in my L4 in my lower back. But I was only out for ten days. By the time they did The Troubadour show, I was ready to go. I called Duff up and I said, ‘Dude, I’m ready to rock. Can I do these shows?’ They had The Troubadour and they had, like, seven other shows. And he said, ‘No, you’re not gonna be part of this.’ I was, like, ‘F–k you!’ and I hung up on him. And I called him back and I said, ‘I’m sorry. I was just angry at myself. I feel like I ruined it for myself, and I was just saying mean things to you because that’s how I felt about me.’ You know, I [was] trying to move forward. And so one day, I think, like, July 3rd or July 4th, they called me and said, ‘You wanna come down to Cincinnati and Nashville?’ And I said, ‘Yeah. When?’ And they said, ‘Tomorrow.’ So, of course, I got on a plane, I went, I got to jam with them, and it was great. It’s just not the same. I was thinking it was gonna be the same as it was twenty-five years ago, but not having Izzy [Stradlin, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist] there, and just playing one or two songs, it was very hurtful and heartbreaking for me. And Richard [Fortus, current Guns N’ Roses guitarist] is a phenomenal guitar player — he’s a great guitar player — and the crazy thing is, from ten feet away, he f–king looks like Izzy. And they asked me to go to… they said either Japan or Australia or Thailand, and I said I’m not gonna fly twenty thousand miles to play one or two songs. It’s just too much.”

Was he paid for his guest appearance?:

Adler: “Oh, yeah. They gave me a couple of bucks. They’re good guys with that. But still, to be on the side of the stage and to watch somebody else play the songs, it’s heartbreaking.”

On why he thinks he wasn’t allowed to play more songs and at more shows:

Adler: “Dude, I was in Argentina. Why would they let me play [only] one song? I have no idea. And out of respect for Fernando [Lebeis, who is part of Guns N’ Roses’ management team], I have nothing negative to say, ’cause I was just so glad to be able to do it. And even though it wasn’t what it could be and should be, I got closure. And I feel so much better — like there’s a billion-ton weight lifted off of me, where I can move forward again. I can play with other people, I can do other things, and it’s the greatest thing. I’ve been practicing the four agreements [essential steps on the path to personal freedom] for the last three years, and it’s changed my life. I’m a totally happier person. I’m the person when I was young, a teenager, and excited, and had dreams and goals and wanted to do things. And I like it. Before, all I wanted to do was do a fucking reunion. And I got to do what I got to do, and I’m thankful for that.”

Did he ever ask the GN’R management team why he couldn’t play more songs?:

Adler: “Of course! I’d start playing another f–king song, and they’d tell me to get off. They’d say, ‘Okay, you’re done.’ And I’d start playing another song, and they’d just turned the sound of. ‘Beat it. You’re done.’ I was, like, ‘Okay, cool.’ I got to do that. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, and I got to rock with those guys. And I love Slash and Duff and Axl, and I got to meet some great people that are working with them. And Fernando, who is GN’R’s main guy, he’s got some good ideas for hopefully this summer, for the thirtieth anniversary [of Appetite For Destruction] in July, something for the fans. I don’t know what it is, but he’s a good guy, and I think he’s gonna do the right thing… And there never will be an explanation [for why I can’t play more songs with them]. It is what it is, and that’s that.”

On what it was like seeing Axl Rose for the first time after he came down to play with Guns N’ Roses in Cincinnati last July:

Adler: “I only talked to Axl for literally ten seconds. The first night I played with them in Cincinnati, I got a fistbump and a little smile, and that was good enough for me. And then at Dodger Stadium [in Los Angeles], I got to give him a little hug and shake his hand and say I love him and he f–king rules and ‘thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. I had the greatest time.’ And he walked on his way. And I went on with my life. And I’ve been enjoying it ever since. He’s Axl. He does his show and he gets so passionate and such emotion that he really just needs to relax and come down for at least an hour, ’cause he is a monster on stage. And he puts out so much feeling that he becomes those songs. And he’s been fabulous at it. And Slash and Duff are so much fun. When we’re together at soundheck, the crew was all, ‘Jesus Christ! You’ve gotta come down more, ’cause the only time these guys ever smile or have fun is when you’re here.’ And I was saying, ‘I would love to.’ But it is what it is.”

Discussing why he thinks Izzy Straddling decided not to get involved in the reunion:

Adler: “Because he wants to do it like me — the right way or not at all. And the reason I did it and needed to do it was because I got kicked out of the band for reasons I still don’t know. To say that I’m a drug addict in that band and getting kicked out for drugs is ridiculous. They were doing drugs way more than me, so it’s like calling the kettle black. But it was different stuff. Axl wanted more control of the thing. Then he wanted control of Izzy, and then he wanted control of Slash and Duff, and so one at a time everybody left until it was the Axl Rose band. But he still called it Guns N’ Roses. And I don’t blame him — I would too, ’cause that name is worth billions. So I’d use it if I could myself. [Laughs] I’d get Steven Tyler to sing though. [Laughs] Like I said, [Izzy] wants to do it the right way, with the five of us, and I needed to do it, because I neeed closure. I got kicked out, and all of a sudden… I had a road crew, I had management, I had accountants, I had stage people, I had a band, and then one day, literally in one afternoon, I had nobody — I was all alone. And I was scared shitless. I didn’t know what to do. What do I do? All I knew was what I was doing. And then I was left all alone. So being able to at least play the one or two songs at the five shows I did was severe closure for me.”

Talking about whether he had any interaction with the other guys and gals in the band — Dizzy Reed (keyboards), Melissa Reese (keyboards) and Richard — before he walked out on stage with GUNS N’ ROSES in Cincinnati:

Adler: “Oh, dude. The reason they fit perfect in that band is ’cause they’re like f–king ghosts. ‘Cause Axl doesn’t wanna see nobody. I would walk into the studio, I’d say hi to them, and then I’d turn around, and they’d be gone. And then when I was done playing, all of a sudden, [they’d be there] again. And I’m, like, ‘Where did you go?’ Very nice people — very quiet, just the way Axl likes it: nice and quiet.”

11 Responses

  1. The long and short of it is, Steve was the 1st person, years ago, that was serious about a reunion, not even for the money but for the fans. To have him on the side lines was, and is, disgusting!

  2. I am sure when the guys (Slash and Duff) went out to visit him in January 2016 when he got a pinch nerve playing drums had something to do with it. From watching him I think they felt he could not do it for a full tour. Even Stephen says he blew it. That was his audition and he did not pass.

  3. I agree with DR. There are two sides to every story. Plus he couldn’t even get through rehearsal without injury. And I’m sure Axl spoke to him. Come on now.

  4. While I feel bad for Steven and Izzy, I don’t blame the rest of the band for moving on without them. I truly hope that Steven has completely kicked the drugs, but the damage that has been done is real. And, from what I have heard, Izzy decided that he didn’t want to participate in the reunion for what the rest of the band was offering him. Sad to say, but for many people, G&R is really just Axl and Slash (and to a lesser extent, Duff). The financial results of the current reunion tour bears this out! We can all say that it would be better if the whole band was involved, but when you look at it from a business perspective, why screw up a good thing?

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