Originally Answered: Someone who SPEAKS ENGLISH to help me with this video?! (I'm spanish)?
When the band first got together, Duff, who had been in a prior band and he came from Seattle, his earlier band had a gig, a few gigs up north in Seattle. And these were paying gigs, I mean, they were supposed to get about a couple of hundred bucks, 250 bucks a gig. And so he figured since his old band no longer existed, his new band, they could all hit the road, go up to Seattle and make a few bucks, and play, you know, sounds cool. Well, on the way there, they all go -- on the way there, of course, they had this old -- I don't know if it was a car or a van but it was old, it was rotten, it was breaking down, and indeed it broke down before they ever got to where they were supposed to be. They managed to get into town either hitchhiking, or grabbing rides, I think they even abandoned the vehicle, and started doing these shows. What they discovered are two things that every artist knows nowadays. You're not going to have any people in the house if you don't promote it. Well, none of the venues promoted the shows, they didn't even know Guns & Roses was coming, they thought it was the other band and so when Guns & Roses started playing, they were lucky if there were ten people watching them. And of course, that just made the venue owners and managers very angry, and they -- I think they might have made 50 bucks, maybe 100 bucks off that whole tour, because many of them refused to pay them at all. And they managed to scrape enough to get back to LA, but -- and Slash used to say, Slash said, you know, that tour almost killed us. But what it did is, it made them more of a unit because they suffered through it, that tour was really great for them, it really was.
Returning to LA, the band moved in with Vicky Hamilton, who was now their manager.
When I lived with Guns & Roses we lived on Clark Street, which is kind of catty-corner to the Whisky a GoGo. You know, it was like me and Jennifer Perry shared the bedroom and all the guys lived in the living room, and it was just always a mess, there was like beer cans and you know, they lived on McDonald's and French fries all over the floor and sleeping bags, and abs, and -- just hideous, really!
And even when they lived with Vicky, one of the first articles that was ever written about Guns & Roses, and in fact the first cover they ever had was in Music Connection. And in that article the writer describes the place, and it's Vicky's apartment, it's not their place, it's Vicky's apartment, and how trashed it was. I mean, you know, these are young rock and roll guys, and the last thing they're thinking about is picking up after themselves. And so hygiene left a lot to be desired.
During the remainder of 1985, Axel and Guns & Roses became regulars on the LA club scene. As their audience began to grow, so too did the interest from record companies.
Guns & Roses became popular the old-fashioned way. They didn't manufacture anything, it was all word of mouth. People couldn't stop talking about them. If someone had seen the show, they'd tell their friend, they'd bring another friend to the next show, that friend brought another friend, and it almost seemed like overnight, although I'm sure it took a little while but you know, during those days, it seemed, God, this is happening fast. Because in the first shows when you saw them, you know, you were lucky to have 20, 30, 40 people there. But within a very short period of time, this band started bringing hundreds of people, until there were lines of hundreds of people outside who couldn't get in the venue.
They just -- the crowd just started building and building and building, and I just -- they're just a rock band, you know? They had a lot of fans, there was -- you know. The music scene back then, there were a lot of bands out there. They were growing the most.
When you went to a live performance, Axel was one of those lead men who was not only charismatic, he was also volatile, and the whole man/band felt dangerous. That danger is part of rock and roll.
The way he acted on stage was the way he was feeling. There were shows when he would be running around, in your face, trying to piss you off, wanting something like what the hell was that? But there was days he would just stand, and shows he would just stand there, and just be like, be more mellow, it was either the drugs he did, or if he got a warrant that week, if he was sad, if he was happy, you could see that on stage. And then with this band just backing him up it was always this incredible, and just this sound you would hear, and I can recall sometimes where his vocal wasn't high enough so it was blurred out, but it didn't matter because his movement just said it all, it's like he wanted to piss you off but in a good way, and he knew that you would go home and talk about him and his band.
It soon became impossible for the labels to ignore Guns & Roses and before long, several majors were interested.
Well, they were being seen by quite a few labels. I know Vicky initially had Electra out to see them, and I'm sure she had a slew of others, I don't know how many others saw them. But Geffen had hired -- the A&R guy who found Guns & Roses by the name of [Tom Zutal] from Electra, because he had signed Motley Crü, and Gethin wanted another Motley Crü, so they hired the A&R dude, right? So he's there, and he gets to the show --
They all came to this Troubadour show, I remember that there was like 20 A&R people out on the sidewalk before they signed with Geffen. And [Tubsy Tub] said to me out on the kerb, because it was so loud inside, they were all outside, and he said to me, he's like: if that guy can really sing, I'll sign them. And I handed him the demo, and he was like get them in my office tomorrow. So I brought them in. The next night they went over to Tom's house and played Aerosmith records all night long, and the next day, they were just like, we're signing with Geffen.
According to them, they liked him the best because the first thing he said to them, is that they were the loudest band he's ever heard, and that impressed them. They sort of liked that. Because they felt they were the loudest band anyone's ever heard.
And it's funny though, the day that we were supposed to sign the contract we were like two hours late. Axel couldn't find his contact lenses and he was like flipped out and just left the house, and I was like: oh my God. Me and Slash looked at each other, like, we've got to find the contact lenses, you know? So we went through his pants' pockets, we found them in a pair of pants that he'd had on a couple of days prior and then we couldn't find him, we're like oh my God, you know, [Eddie Rose and Black David and Tubsy Tub], all waiting for us at Geffen, you know? And Slash goes, come here, look at this! And I look outside, and Axel's sitting on top of the Whisky A GoGo kind of in a meditative stance, we were like: oh my God! So we coaxed him down, went down and signed the contract, and the rest is history!
Having signed to Geffen in August 1986, Guns & Roses went into the studio to record what would become Appetite for Destruction. However, it proved difficult to find a suitable producer for the album until they met Mike Clink.
They had gone through a couple of producers who just couldn't handle the guys. They had -- Guns & Roses had a very, very definite vision. They knew they wanted, what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to do it, they knew how they wanted to sound. And all too often you will find with new bands that seasoned producers will come in and try to imprint their style and their sound and their voice into the recording rather than allowing the artist to do it, especially when they're new. Because these seasoned producers think they know better. Well, when you're dealing with a band like Guns & Roses they're not going to put up with that. Well, Mike Clink obviously gave them enough leeway that they could work together, but one of the funny stories he had was one of the first times he met with them when they started recording, he said their equipment was so old he didn't think Slash had ever changed the strings on his guitar. He had to go out and buy new strings and buy some new equipment because their stuff was all beat up and he didn't know how Slash ever stayed in tune.
When they were in the studio they were extremely professional. It wasn't like a big party like everybody probably thinks and everything, Slash would go in, lay down his tracks, it was just them going in and recording.
By December 1986 the band had begun to mix Appetite for Destruction. But with the album not slated for release until July the following year, Geffen were eager to introduce their new band ahead of schedule. It was decided that Guns & Roses' debut release was to be the EP Live Like a Suicide.