Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with original GUNS N' ROSES and current ADLER'S APPETITE drummer Steven Adler. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: As you're recalling and reliving these moments in [your newly released tell-all] book, you must have gone through some agonizing pain.
Adler: Well, of course; there's a lot of tears involved. But, like I said, it was day after day of believing and never doubting myself and working out my problems. Not everybody gets to write a book to get their inner demons out for them to be able to heal themselves. But you can take a piece of paper and write it down. All I can say to everybody out there who has these feelings stuffed down inside of them is "Get them out; talk to somebody. Write it down." It's so important; it's sometimes a sort of freedom in your soul. So I'm very happy. People can take it anyway they want; I lived a beautiful [life.] I mean I've known some wonderful talented [people] since I was 11, 12 years old. I got to hang with these people; I had a great childhood and as a teenager it was great. It wasn't until I got over-praised [for music] and over-indulged in drugs and lost perspective on my life and what was important and what wasn't.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Certainly you weren't the only crazy guy in GUNS N' ROSES.
Adler: Between the five of us in the GN'R day? I was the mellow one when it came to doing drugs. It wasn't until after all the excitement and the publicity and all the "yes" people; that's when things started changing. Then I lost perspective on my life and it's the easiest thing to do when you're doing the drugs. Or drinking or smoking cigarettes even. Anything.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Your most recent re-connection with the GUNS thing was when you played on the "Baby Can't Drive" track on Slash's solo record. In an interview with Slash, he told me, "Steven was amazing. The thing about Steven is that sound is such a recognizable part of the whole 'Appetite For Destruction' experience; a lot of it was driven by the drums. I haven't played with him in so long so when he got behind his kit, it just revisited that whole thing. So it's very cool. And he played great; he's been getting his shit together for a while. So I've sort of been with him while he's getting clean and I told him if he stayed clean for long enough, he can play on the record."
Adler: I'm finally starting to get the recognition and the respect that I so rightfully deserve to have. And it feels so great. And getting it from Slash, I want more than anything to have Slash's respect. Because we grew up together and he's a very respectable person and a very credible person and has helped me and said to me, "Steven, I'll do anything for you; I want to play music with you more often. All I need from you is to be reliable," and I strive to be reliable. Not just with him but with everything; in any kind of project that comes into my life. No more flaking; flaking is unacceptable.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Can you talk about the "Appetite" sessions? You talk about that in your book but how well rehearsed were you when you were recording your drum tracks? Was it simply locking in with Duff [McKagan, bass] in the studio or did it take some time to come up with those rhythm tracks?
Adler: Duff and myself would always go in an hour or two hours before the rest of the guys in the band would come in. And Axl [Rose, vocals], I can count on two hands out of two years of rehearsals, that he actually went to. So basically we were working on the music and me and Duff, we'd come in an hour or two hours early, and we would work on our parts. And it's such a rare thing that there are bands like like QUEEN and AEROSMITH where five guys can actually get in one room and all have the same idea and the same wants and the same beliefs and the same goals. There are millions, millions of guitar players, bass players, drummers, but it's the hardest thing in the world to get three, four or five guys that all could click. That's why there's so many bands out there but they're not big because three, four or five guys in that band just don't click together.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: When you were booted out of GN'R, the band was never the same.
Adler: The day it happened with GN'R and they kicked me out of the band, the whole chemistry changed. It didn't get better. There are bands like IRON MAIDEN where Bruce Dickinson came in the band, he took over somebody's spot, and the band got better but it's so rare. Like with Chip Z'Nuff, my bass player in ADLER'S APPETITE? I know what he's gonna do before he's gonna do it; and he knows what I'm gonna do before I'm gonna do it. And that's what you want. That's how you get close.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: When you heard what Matt Sorum ended up playing on the "Use Your Illusion" records, were you thinking, "Oh, shit, I should have been playing on those songs"?
Adler: Oh, yeah. His were just half-assed, crappy versions. Nothing personal against the guy, but he's like a goddamn drum machine. He's got no heart; he's got no soul; he's got no feel. And as life and the years have shown, obviously, I'm not the easiest drummer to replace. All I know is, "Use Your Illusion" would have been bigger than "Appetite".
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you really think so?
Adler: I know so and that's hard to come by. "Appetite" sold like 85 million records around the world; "Use Your Illusion" would have been bigger.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: But you've finally been able to come to terms with being thrown out of GUNS N' ROSES?
Adler: I started getting sober which is a growing and learning process everyday. Once I started working with Dr. Drew [Pinsky] on "Celebrity Rehab", I told Dr. Drew, "I don't think I can do this to the best of my ability if I don't talk with Slash." So he hooked up a meeting for me to talk to Slash and Slash came down to meet me and I apologized to him. See, I blamed him for 20 years for my misfortune and my downfall and it wasn't his fault; I did all of this to myself. But I kept it built up inside of me as we were talking about keeping things built up. I apologized to him and said, "I'm sorry that I blamed you for everything."
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How did that feel after you said those things to Slash?
Adler: The next day I woke up and my whole chest, my arms, my whole body hurt like when you don't workout for a long time and then you workout too much. That pain? I let this big, huge weight off my shoulder and I was able to do my recovery to the best of my ability and I'm still workin' on it. It's been two years now, two-and-a-half years. And I've relapsed a few times. Shit, that's part of recovery. You can't expect somebody who's done such damage and lived a certain way for so many years, for so many decades [to just change.] It was like going to the bathroom. "I've gotta go pee. Oh, I gotta go smoke drugs." It was kind of like that and it takes time to learn a new way of thinking. And being able to get that off my chest and out of my system and apologizing to Slash made everything so much easier and I was a much more likeable person [laughs.]
Ultimate-Guitar.com: In "My Appetite For Destruction", you talked about suing the band after they tried to take away your royalties.
Adler: I sued them because they wanted to give me $2,000 and just throw me out on the street as if I never existed. So then my accountant got me a lawyer and I sued the band and that was devastating because then I had to go to fuckin' court everyday and I had to look at their faces. Every day. And "I'm more fucked up than they are; they're more fucked up [than I am."] It was just terrible; it was very devastating. I went even farther off the deep end. All I know is the last 20 years I've tried to kill myself and I obviously keep failing because there's something more important and special for myself and a lot more happiness in my life to go through. And I'm going through that; I'm going through the positive part. I've gotta think positive.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Is there any chance for the original GUNS N' ROSES to get back together?
Adler: I would love that more than anything, but it's an Axl thing; it's up to him if he wants to do it. Put it this way, it's the stupidest thing in the world for us not to do it. If any band is wanted by the fans to do a tour, that the rock fans want to see? It would be GN'R. Shit, I would buy the ticket for my own show.
Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.