Axl Rose Wasn’t Aware Of The Slash-Related Trap To End His Solo Career

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In a recent conversation with Songfacts, former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese uncovered a potential setback linked to Slash that could have derailed Axl Rose’s solo career.

A few years after departing from Pearl Jam in 1994, Abbruzzese found himself on the verge of becoming the drummer for Guns N’ Roses. This was during a tumultuous period for the band, marked by numerous lineup changes, a lack of new music, and a hiatus from touring. When reflecting on his experiences collaborating with GNR, Dave shared:

“The Guns thing was challenging. Axl [Rose] and I got acquainted through nightly phone calls for months before actually meeting and making music together. It was a tough time for me due to some soul poisoning from how my manager handled my exit from Pearl Jam. I was hesitant about reentering the big machine because of it. Things were going well until I spoke to GNR management about my belief that the new music might be better suited for an Axl solo album rather than a GNR album.”

Recounting discussions with GNR management, he continued:

“Doug Smith [David probably means Doug Goldstein], the Guns’ manager at the time, informed me that the plan was to let the album we were making be the catalyst for reuniting Axl with Slash. The strategy was to let him fail, with the hope that this failure would prompt him to reunite with Slash and get the big train back on track. When I heard this, I faced the choice of informing Axl or stepping back. I felt that revealing their plan would shatter what little faith he had in the machine.”

Prioritizing Axl’s Creative Independence Over Friendship

Abbruzzese concluded by revealing his decision not to disclose the plan:

“So, I chose to take one on the chin and sacrifice my newfound friendship for the sake of Axl’s ability to continue being a creative force. It was a tough call but ultimately one I’m glad I made. I care about that guy, and I didn’t want to be responsible for jeopardizing the chance for him and the band to keep making music for fans who had patiently awaited G n’ R’s return for so long.”

During that era, Rose auditioned various potential members for Guns N’ Roses, including multi-instrumentalist Chris Vrenna and guitarist Zakk Wylde. Drummers who tried out included Abbruzzese, Michael Bland, Joey Castillo, and Kellii Scott from Failure.

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