Guns N’ Roses were one of the most popular bands in the world during the beginning of the 1990s. They were known as one of the craziest and most unexpected bands in the industry, having sold millions of CDs, and headlined arenas all over the world.
That achievement has a cost. There was a lot of pressure to release new songs frequently, go on tour, and keep up an image. And that price was too much for certain Guns N’ Roses members. Slash, the band’s guitarist, said in a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times that he had “totally sold his soul” to the group, although not everyone in the group shared this sentiment.
Izzy Stradlin, the band’s original guitarist, departed the group because he was unwilling to put in the effort necessary to keep it together. While Stradlin’s departure had an effect on the band’s success, Slash was happy that there would be no more misunderstandings among the band members. The band’s creative process suffered after Stradlin’s departure since he was a crucial songwriter.
Despite their difficulties, Guns N’ Roses’ surviving members grew closer and more committed. They eliminated misunderstandings and improved communication. The relationship between Slash and the band’s lead singer, Axl Rose, got stronger as they depended on one another more. The band’s reputation was a problem as well, and Slash had learned to avoid reading the news since it exaggerated the panic that didn’t apply to their everyday experiences.
Stradlin was a great figure, and here is what Slash had to say about his departure. “I love the guy dearly, so I don’t want to belittle his character by saying anything about him. But he just got sick and tired of dealing with everything. I think more than anything he didn’t want to do the amount of work that Guns N’ Roses has to do to keep it together. I totally sold my soul to this thing, but Izzy wasn’t that way. He didn’t want to do videos or spend all those hours in the studio, and slowly but surely, he started to drop out.”
He was also asked if he was angry, but he said that was not the case. He replied, “Not at all. In fact, I was really happy because I could never understand what was going on with him. Like even on stage, he would just sort of stand there–and that was the only time I’d see him on the road because he traveled separately. When he finally left, it was like a relief because there had been no communication at all.”
Further explaining the band’s future after Stradlin quit, he said.
“It made us all closer. I had always been close to Duff [McKagan], but the changes made me and Axl [Rose] a lot closer than we had been. We had always been friends, but there is really a bond there now. What used to happen is we’d misunderstand each other. We’d have fights because of something I was supposed to have said about him in the press or something he was supposed to have said about me.
All these problems have pushed us closer together so that we communicate better and avoid the misunderstandings. The last fight we had was four years ago, and that stemmed from the fact I cut myself off by being completely loaded. At this point, I really have it together, so he can lean on me, and I can lean on him. He has opened up more. He’s not like a firecracker anymore, who just explodes.
As far as image, it’s hard to get that across to people when you have 5,000 publications trying to tell you what they want about Axl and the band. One thing I’ve learned to do is avoid reading our press anymore because that’s where you get a lot of the hype and sense of hysteria. We don’t live that way or feel that way on a daily basis, but when you pick up the magazines, it makes you think you’re some big deal and screws up your focus.”
Guns N’ Roses’ internal conflicts at the time are typical of the difficulties that many rock bands deal with. It may be quite stressful to continually create new work, uphold a reputation, and travel. Different people are not willing to make the same sacrifices, and this can lead to disputes and miscommunications. Slash subsequently departed the group in 1996 as well, expressing his displeasure with Axl Rose’s actions and the band’s course. It appears that the peaceful time after Stradlin’s departure was brief.
Being in a rock band ultimately needs more than just musical ability. Slash has demonstrated a willingness to work hard and make sacrifices as well as a devotion to the band and its mission. Even though Guns N’ Roses experienced difficulties in the early 1990s, they showed that they had what it required to succeed. Their narrative serves as a reminder that even when confronted with obstacles that appear insurmountable, passion and perseverance may result in greatness.