During an appearance on Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, early Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven, who managed the band between 1987 and 1991, looked back on GN’R being offered to open for The Rolling Stones on tour back in 1989, and how they ultimately only played at the trek’s opening in Los Angeles, CA.
“Guns N’ Roses were offered the entire [1989’s] ‘Steel Wheels’ tour, but for reasons that you can research – I felt that that would be a disaster and passed on it, but we did end up getting an offer from Mr. Jagger to open in LA at two shows at the Coliseum.
“We ended up selling four shows at the Coliseum and doing that and getting paid a very handsome salary. The best part of it all was how Axl [Rose] arrived for the first show. Because he locked himself in his apartment, and we were half an hour from stage time, and he still hadn’t shown up at the gig.
“I talked to Michael, the production manager for The Rolling Stones – he was a really cool and level-headed guy, as you’d expect around that class of band – I said, ‘Do you have a friend in the LAPD who will do something without asking questions?’
“He said, ‘Yes, and I don’t know what you want to ask him, so I’m going to leave the room.’ And this guy came in, and I gave him specific instructions.
“I told him where Axl is, gave him the address, and I said, ‘You send two uniforms right there in a black and white right now, and if they have to kick the door down and put him in handcuffs…’
“That’s what they did. They put him in back in black and white, and they brought him as fast as possible, right now. And that’s how Axl arrived to the first show opening for The Rolling Stones: in the back of a police car under the threat of handcuffs.”
Initially, The Stones offered GN’R $50,000 per show to open four shows in LA. The Stones then offered $500,000 for four shows, and Niven ultimately reached the deal by seeking $1 million.
However, the performance was pretty rough and it saw Axl air the band’s dirty laundry onstage, saying mid-show:
“I hate to do this on stage, but I tried every other f*cking way. And unless certain people in this band get their sh*t together, these will be the last Guns N’ Roses shows you’ll f*cking ever see. ‘Cause I’m tired of too many people in this organization dancing with Mr. Goddamn Brownstone.”