Thursday, 31 July 2008

46. Holding Court At The Bar

My greatest lyric?

“I see you standing,
You think you’re so cool,
Why don’t you just,
Fuck off?”

‘It’s So Easy’.

Hands down.


Are you two chicks
or something?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

45. Album Release Party Guest List.

G n' F n' R / July 21 1987

Traci Lords + 1
Robert Downey Jr + 1
Alan Niven +1
Bob Rock + 1
Charlie Sheen + 1
Ron Jeremy + 1
Eddie Van Halen + 1
Kelly LeBrock + 1
Phil Spector + 1
Judd Nelson + 1
Kenny G + 1
Hugh Hefner +12
Slash’s Mom + 1
Axl’s shrink
Adler’s dealer
Izzy’ dealer
String Vest + 1
David Geffen
Roy Thomas Baker
A&R Geffen +1
A&R Universal +1
A&R Sony +1
Tom Zutaut +2
40 Oz
Robert Williams + 1
Ben Fong-Torres
Ian Astbury
Billy Duffy
Cynthia Plaster Caster

Pat Smear
Taime Downe
Ole Beich + 1
Steven Tyler + 2
Tony Danza
Ted Nugent
Annie Sprinkle
Larry Mullen Jr +1
John Cougar Mellencamp
Michael Monroe +1
Ebony +1
Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Seb Bach + 2
Jeff Koons
Amber Sunrise +1
Robin Zander

Al Jourgensen
Beastie Boys x 3
Rik Ocasek
Corey Feldman
Michael Azerrad +1
Pamela des Barres
Downtown Julie Brown
Kevin Seal

Note from management:

under no circumstance
should Vince Neil
of Motley Crue
(plus entourage)
be allowed entrance.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

44. Adler’s Tour Anecdotes III

It was on that tour that Axl gave me the nickname Popcorn.
To this day I have no clue what it means, but it kinda stuck.

Monday, 28 July 2008

43. The Journalist

Somewhere in the swirl of smoke
stands a man entirely devoid of style
bad teeth cheap haircut unshaven

old enough to have seen Hanoi in the
very same venue, back before glam slithered
west to the coast and corrupted itself

and now five figures are on stage, each one as pretty
or as ugly, depending upon your preferences, as the
next one, each a killer in drag – who’s your favourite?

This, he thinks, is so fucking ridiculous
it can only be the future; this he writes
down shakily in a notepad, errant elbows

slopping watery lager down his skirt,
his cigarette stubbed into someone’s back
as the throngs shift and sways to the bombast

that’s emanating from the stage. No – wait -
he crosses it out and instead writes: this is

the now because there is no future.

He can’t pin-point it, doesn’t want to pin-point it
knows that the best bands can’t be described
because they are a feeling, a force, an erection of the soul.

Later this style-less man with bad teeth, halitosis
cheap haircut, unshaven, arse-side of his jeans
hanging over fleshless buttocks will leave alone.

He’ll leave alone and he’ll take the night bus home
to Hackney and there he will announce the future in his
most purple prose, fountains of hyperbole spewing forth.

He’ll smoke a cigarette, the ringing still in his ears
file his copy, then retire to bed, having just created
another career, lifted five more sweet souls from the gutter.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

42. The Marquee Club

June 19, 1987 -
dank, Dickensian

hollow and

in the heart
of Soho;
and savage

draped in chiffon
rigid with hairspray
be-decked in bullet belts
and Kohl-dusted

here we
our international

Friday, 25 July 2008

41. Finally...

Sometimes you cannot describe the indescribable -

no poet, critic or therapist can come close

things just happen; chemical compounds mix
with a hiss and a puff a little magic occurs

maybe it’s the universe aligning itself, maybe
it’s the benevolent Gods looking down

maybe it’s karma or kismet or happenstance,
destiny or the proverbial carpe diem

maybe it’s dark magick, voodoo or mojo,
the relinquishing of souls at 3am

maybe it’s astrology or astronomy or
something to do with mystical crystals

maybe it’s the black dog, the muse
or the moment, the realization

that this second will never pass again
maybe it music, maybe it’s magic

Or maybe things just happen…

Thursday, 24 July 2008

40. 'Live ?!'@ Like A Suicide'

In the meantime
the suits have an idea
(they have many ideas)
“we need to ramp it up”
“refine your reputation”

“create an illusion of independence”
“blitzkrieg the demographic”

Their plan is to release a live EP
of songs from the LA club circuit
which has to be just about the worst way
to launch a career
but they give us ten grand
and shoo us away
“leave it up to us...”

six weeks later
copies of
Live ?!'@ Like A Suicide
released on the non-existent Uzi Suicide label
they set up in our honour
are in our hands and already I know
tell its the biggest piece of pointless shit
ever committed to plastic.

They put it on the Geffen stereo and I
immediately flip out when I hear
the sounds of the crowd over-dubbed on afterwards
an inferior version of ‘Mama Kin’
and see a logo I didn’t give approval of;
only the cover of me and Duff
up-lit in red looks rad.

It’s nowhere near enough to placate me so
I start making threats: “Over my dead
body will Guns debut with this hunk o’ junk.
We want complete artistic freedom.
We’d sooner take it to Sony, right guys?”
I look around me; the band have their
chins burrowed in their chests.

So I smash a Wang Chung gold disc, storm out,
and hit The Strip for some placatory drink and sex.
The EP is released the following Monday
and sells out its 10,000 pressing
within days, becomes a cult on export
Everyone’s happy, apart from me.
I still think it sucks.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

39. Making The Album

I show up first, around five
enjoy the silence
with a coffee.

Duff follows soon after
a little drunk
but enthusiastic.

Adler arrives around nine
with a couple of skanks
but no kit.

I ball him out
and he flees
to the nearest dealer.

Izzy shows at midnight
corpse white and
on the nod.

Duff is re-stringing
his bass
and Adler’s still gone.

Slash turns up around two,
whispers conspiratorially
to Iz

and they disappear
to the bathroom
for an hour.

Duff is still re-stringing
his bass, stumbling about
breaking shit.

Port wine bottles. A painting
on the wall. This cool little amp
they used on Pet Sounds.

Slash and Iz return
“Are we ready yet or what?”
but Adler’s still gone

I launch a balalaika at their heads,
taking Slash’s top hat off;
hair spills down like a black waterfall.

Iz mumbles something incoherent
Slash retrieves his hat
Duff looks up: “We need more wine.”

It’s five AM
the sun is coming up
and so far

we have a bass with two strings
various comedowns
and a vortex opening up ahead.

The producer shows up at nine.
Turns out we were a day early anyway.
That’ll never happen again.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

38. Blackout

Only shards of the previous night remain

embedded in my flesh as bleak reminders:

the perfectly circular Germs burn from
an errant cigarette, like we’re back in ‘81

the scratch marks across my back
the bruises to shins, arms and elbows

knuckles all twisted and busted like the keys of
a piano that’s fallen from a twelve story window.

Throat hoarse, nasal passages burning dirty
gums bleeding and distended tongue sore and

swollen from eating the pussy of that girl in the
Toys In The Attic T-shirt and pixie boots

the taste of her dirty hole rotting in my mouth
like a skip rat that crawled in there and died.

Kidneys trying to box their way out from the inside
heart thumping irregular; lungs like a rusted cheese grate

a chipped front tooth from a beer bottle that
actually makes me look pretty fucking cute

and finally, a foreskin that looks like the shed skin
of a snake that slithered off into the undergrowth

My self-administered autopsy over, I stand slowly
and glide to the shower, stopping briefly in the kitchen

to find – yes! – a couple of cold ones left in the fridge.
I crack one open and drink it down, cold jets to my temples.

Monday, 21 July 2008

37. Signing To Geffen, August 86.

We turn up late, separately.
We sign on the dotted line.
We shake some hands.
We get our pictures taken.
We get loaded.
We go home with $75,000.
We wake up with $69,000
Some girls.
And some loose change.

36. Hometown Anomaly

I mean:

name me one other major city in America
whose river is main entirely from concrete.

Friday, 18 July 2008

35. Let’s Get Tattoos!

So yeah I’m just sitting there
working on some new designs

when I get a call from some guy
says he ‘looks after’ the Gunners

and the guys wanna come down
for ink. I’m like, yeah, whatever.

But sure enough an hour later all
five of them mooch into the store.

They’re drunk, or high, or maybe
drunk and high and even though

I have a sign on the wall saying “the
mgmt. reserves the right to refuse to

tattoo anyone who it believes to be
intoxicated”, I make an exception.

Besides, everyone on The Strip is drunk or
high and if I turned them all away, I’d go bust.

So I spent all day working on those guys and
it was a cast-iron blast, a dream come true.

Truthfully, it was pretty standard stuff, easy
work - the usual array of skulls and flowers.

Axl went for this logo he designed himself
with the slogan ‘Victory or Death’ beneath it.

Slash had a caricature of his own face on his
right bicep; a mop of hair wearing a top hat.

Duff opted for some sort of barbed wire arm band
and Steven had some tangled rose and dagger thing.

Izzy just that there blank-faced, silent, smoking
and going to the bathroom every five minutes.

The guys were real cool though. They took a real interest
in the art form, gave me a few bumps of blow, then left.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

34. Anonymous A&R Man (Name Withheld Upon Request)

You gotta understand, LA in the mid 80s was nothing, man.
MTV ruled the airwaves and shit like Go-Go was the big thing.

Everyone dressing up like Molly Ringwald, or dressing down
like that spoiled little asshole Darby Crash. Reaganomics reigned.

Then you had the surf jocks coming in from the coastal towns or the
preppie Bret Easton Ellis kids or streets brats like the Chili Peppers.

But really they were all poseurs. Same with classic rock. It was
dead dead dead - or as good as. It needed young blood, new danger.

Fifty gigs in, Gunners were that band, but no-one would touch them.
Labels never like to sign junkies and they were, like, at least 60% addicted

and 100% unwashed. Axl has these yellow teeth, Slash spent his days
drooling behind that fringe, Izzy was a cadaver…and the smell. Hoo-wee!

The smell when all five members were in the same room was something
else – like skunk spray or a tramp’s butt-hole or a week-old Big Mac.

It’s because they never washed man, they just kept piling on the hair-spray
and the hippie juice. One time I saw Adler splash whisky behind his ears.

It’s all good and well, but how can you do business with a band who make
you wretch, who would – and did – steal the last dollar from your wallet?

Fuck, I loved those guys though. You really had a sense that it was death
or glory (or maybe death row glory?) for all five of them, like they knew

that this was it, their one shot, their one hope. And you have to give them
credit. They took it and ran with it, all the fucking way man, all the way.

As for me, my bosses couldn’t see it. They wanted the next Springsteen,
the next Cyndi Lauper. I quit in disgust. Set up a label. Got high. Went bust.

33. Flyer For The Troubadour Show, Jan 1986

Get Yourself Together
drink Till You Drop,
Forget About Tomorrow,
Have Another Shot.

Happy New Year!

From the boys who
brought you
the most chaotic
shows of 1985.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

32. Adler’s Early Tour Anecdotes II

Oh, and also this one time in
Toronto this chick puked while
giving me head under the bleachers. Or maybe it was Winnipeg.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

31. Adler's Early Tour Anecdotes

I remember screwing a girl who looked a lot like Billy Idol
but I don’t remember anything else except maybe her crying.

Monday, 14 July 2008

30. Set List, Fall 1985

Welcome To Jungle
Reckless Life
Mama Kin
Don’t Cry
Heartbreak Hotel
It’s So Easy
(blues jam – Slash solo)

Paradise City
Jumpin ‘ Jack Flash

Friday, 11 July 2008

29. Dawn Breaks In The Roach Motel

Four bedrooms

five egos

six-packs half drunk

but still held together
by those circular plastic bands

that have doubled up
as handcuffs
on occasion.

The obligatory malfunctioning Frigidaire
containing the obligatory week-old Domino’s
a selection of Bud, JD, cheap wine, stale biscuits
and natural yoghurt for those fungal foes
and nothing else.

The living room is the centrepiece, obligatorily
smashed to smithereens and splinters
ashtrays like frozen fountains
dead ash in gun metal stasis
frozen on every silent surface
a sofa smiling with slash marks made
by one of four possible Puerto Rican dealers
a little slice of east side barrio life
transposed to Hollywood by a man
with a do-rag, a vest and a knife

spray-can calligraphy on all four walls
the ceiling and floors:
with the ‘A’s encircled, naturally.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

28. 'The Hell Tour', June '85.

I hitched all the way

to LA to make my millions
and here I am broke and
hitching north to Seattle.

Still can’t afford the fucking
Greyhound, can barely afford
some medication to smooth
out the ride I’m already regretting.

Duff used his Seattle connections
to get us some shows up there.
Decent guarantee. Rider. Cool beans.
But this is Guns and nothing goes smooth.

Hundred miles north of LA and
Slash’s friend White Mike’s borrowed car
grinds to a slow death in the middle
of the fucking freeway.

So there’s the five of us plus gear
plus attitude, plus hangovers at
the road-side, trying not to get pissy
checking our watches, thumbs aloft.

It takes fucking hours to get us on
our way, split across various rigs,
cars and, in Adler’s case, the back of
some sweet Angel’s greasy hog.

We arrive too late for soundcheck
Adler’s covered in dirt, Slash drunk,
Izzy wasted on something I don’t have,
Duff holding it together for reputation’s sake.

We walk out to six bored jerk-offs
and give them aural hell. By the time
we’re done the crowd has more than
doubled to an unlucky-for-some thirteen.

Then – of course – the promoter reneges,
pays us $50 instead of the agreed $250
and I’m too depressed to break his jaw
too embarrassed by the turn-out to break sweat.

The rest of Duff’s contacts fall through
or the others promoter get wind of tonight,
or our reputation precedes us, whatever
the rest of the string of shows is cancelled.

We travel back to LA by Greyhound
dejected, stinking, none of us speaking.
The funny thing is I’m finally on a Greyhound
and I feel like a piece of shit right now.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

27. Axl's Wardrobe Run-down

"OK, listen up,
so the Do’s are:

denim jeans (black, blue or bleach only)
leather pants
biker jackets
jean jackets
shirts (black, white or leopard print only)
old band T’s (must be approved my management)
booze logo T’s
cowboy boots
biker boots
baseball sneakers
pixie boots
Ray Bans
buckle belts
bullet belts
cowboy hats
top hats (Slash only)
peaked soldier hat
baseball caps (Axl only)
chiffon scarves
leather gloves
dog tags and rosary beads
skull rings
ear rings

the Don't's


Tuesday, 8 July 2008

26. The Night Stalker

Right around when we started out
after rehearsals each night,
just as the rest of the guys were off chipping,
I used to like nothing better than getting in my car
and just driving.

LA is perfect for cruising, it’s all freeway.
Out on the tarmac there’s no interaction
just reflection in chrome and glass.
I guess that’s why I
took to touring to so well.

This one night I was prowling aimlessly
deliberately going nowhere slow,
which is harder than you’d think when
every road leads somewhere;
just me, a cigarette and

the tape deck loaded with
all my driving greats: Highway To Hell

Back In Black, Zep, early Sabbath, Priest
doing nothing but driving and singing,
smoking and practicing my scales.

It was somewhere off Inglewood
that I heard the strangulated whoop
of the blue siren and the lights flashing to
pull me over; fucking pigs, I thought,
why now?

The did the whole loud-hailer bit:
step out the vehicle
turn around slowly
get you hands where I can see them
now drop to your knees

I complied, silently cursing them
but glad I was clean
just a good tax-paying
(on cigarettes, anyway)
citizen who can’t sleep nights

They eyed me suspiciously
ran their checks
searched my motor
spoke like I wasn’t there, then said:
“It’s not him. This skinny fuck

couldn’t kill a rabbit”
and laughed.
“Are you a faggot, son?” said one
waving the AC/DC cassette at me
“No,” I said, emotionless.

“Then why you listening to faggot music?”
Then before I could answer: “You ever heard
of the Night Prowler?”
What was this – a trick question?
“Sure. I’ve heard of the song. AC/DC.”

“Yeah, well, in case you hadn’t noticed
some sick fuck is stalking Cali girls
and killing them. Word is he
likes faggot music too. How do we
know you’re not The Night Stalker?”

“Prowler. Because I’m not, that’s why.”
“What do you think, Steve?” one said
“Nah. This ain’t him. This faggot’s
too white for our guy. Then they laughed;
they drove off.

About a week later they caught
some fruit called Richard Ramirez

America’s latest Serial Asshole
‘The Night Stalker’
I laughed when I saw his picture;
that guy was too ugly to be me.

Monday, 7 July 2008

25. The Cathouse

Power lines buried deep beneath
feed energy to twisted strips
of neon; close up they are a jumble
of abstractions, but step back to the
bar beneath the icy air-con curtain
and the lurid letters spell out two
words in gaudy, suggestive italics:
The Cathouse.

Here the cats totter on heels like
sabre toothed tusks, wrap
boa legs round polished poles
and thrust poodle-trimmed pussies
with pelvic precision from floor
to mirrorball sky and back again
for men with crooked teeth and
pudgy fingers and alligator wives

laid languidly in condo homes.
The cats are creatures of rare talent,
re-born with names like fine wines
or cheap paintings or pawned gemstones:
Ebony, Chardonnay,
Crystal Clear, Amber Sunrise,
Little Magenta, Silicone Sally,
Aqua Surprise.

And in the midst of this menagerie
I sit, slumped upon my drink
dreamily feeding folded notes
into the hip-side slot between
thong and flesh, a little drunk,
a little jaded but perfectly at home
in this corrupted crèche, this playground
of strays, fugitives, chimeras, runaways.

Friday, 4 July 2008

24. Leather Pants

Duff had these pants
brown leather
epaulettes on
the hips
lace-tied on
the gusset.

Said he found them
in a
garbage can.

I wanted those pants
wanted them real bad
coveted those pants
until they turned green
beneath my envious gaze.

Then one day
the fucker gave
them away
to Slash
without him
even asking.

I could have
that drunk fool
there and then
knowing what
he knew
and doing what
he did and
the repercussions.

Two weeks later
Slash caught a dose
of crabs from
those brown
leather pants
and even I had to laugh
like a hyena
like dirty water
down a storm drain

I recorded that laugh
sampled it
looped it
created a
symphony of hate
avarice envy
and revenge.

I’m saving it
for the box-set.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

23. The Competition

When we weren’t
chasing tail
or playing out
we’d be checking on
the competition.

Never in the history
of music has there
been as competitive
a scene as Los Angeles
in the mid 1980s

and never before
have so many
produced so little
for so many
kids on drugs.

98.7% of
the bands
were crud.

We checked out
Ratt and Kix
and all that fake glam shit
then moved onto
the punks

at least Circle Jerks,
The Vandals and Bad Religion
didn’t pretend they were any good,
didn’t care about record sales.

In fact, the hardcore shows
were semi-cool
because heads always got busted
or the cops would show up
and the dope was always good.

But soon enough it got dull;
suburban kids in store-bought uniforms
going through the motions
until MTV moved in
to re-brand it.

Funk-rock was by far the worst though
asshole music for asshole surfers
in asshole clothes. I’m talking about
you Anthony Kiedis
in your tie-dye T-shirt.

I’m talking about white brats
pretending to be black
sewer rats on skateboards
with in Hi-Tops
and new wave haircuts.

Of course some of these kids
went on to define the 90s
with their half-baked music;
ambassadors of nothing but
their own declarations of brilliance.

And the rest drifted away
from the clubs and the drugs
moved to Encino, Alhambra and OC
became Republicans
and now run the country.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

22. Eye In The Sky

Blades cut the night
as the mechanical
sky bird tilts
to the earth curve -

sirens spark below like
a shimmering sea-bed
of phosphorescence
lost in the land at night;

slipped stars seek homes
beneath freeway flyovers.
They cower there, cold, lost,
never to return to that distant cosmos.

Fissures and conduits
arteries and veins
turnpikes and tar pits
canyons and cracks

all scar the face of
a silent Saturday
movie matinee
idol in repose.

She’s laid bare for you,
her folds and lines
pulsing audibly
as she draws a dying breath.

The ventricles
of a broken heart
stoically metronomic
within this chaos

that stretches from Topanga Canyon
down to Marina del Rey,
across to the scrub-lands
and no-go warrens of East LA.

And down the wires a voice crackles
one more gasp for the collective death rattle
silently stalking all, an unblinking eye
adrift and isolated in a red velvet sky.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008