In an extensive interview with VWMusic, Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven shared more details on the classic GnR album and their potential as band members.
On the initial impression of the band, Niven replied:
“F*ck-ups. But that meant they weren’t your typical, calculating L.A. wannabes who had more ambition than talent. Y’know, throw a demo together, shop it, not get signed, all change, join other musicians. Every three months.
“A band is something that must be forged in the fire of adversity. Stay together and allow personal chemistry to percolate. Take on impossible odds. F*ck ’em all; it’s us against them. That was Mötley. That was Great White. That was Guns. Us against everything. One for all and all for one…
“Keith Richards told Slash he could never leave the band. Keith understood this to the marrow. He may have hated Sir Mick at certain points and thought the knighthood a betrayal of the blue-collar rock ‘n’ roll spirit, but he was Keith’s knight of the realm. So, f*ck ya all.”
Asked whether he feared that “Appetite for Destruction” might not be a success, he replied:
“I had just become a parent; the album put us $365,000 in debt to Geffen. Now would come the costs of video and tour on top of that. I figured I’d never see a goddamn penny.
“I acquired insomnia at this point in my life. It was no longer fun. It was stress, worry, and pressure from there out. I wondered if I had made the biggest mistake of my career. In some ways, I had.”
Asked about his earlier claims how Slash and bassist Duff McKagan weren’t exactly brilliant songwriters, Niven said:
“Just look at their ‘output’ post ‘Appetite for Destruction. Slash – a great player, extremely empathetic to a composition’s feel – but cannot write a song…
“Duff is not quite as brilliant as he thinks he is.”
Concerning Steven Alder, the band’s former manager said:
“Stevie couldn’t play anything the same way twice. We persevered way past the point when the obvious was apparent. Had he been able to, our only issue would have been keeping him alive.”
With Izzy Stradlin, however, it seems to be a different story. Alan said:
“As far as I was concerned, it was his band – he had the cool disposition and the unimpeachable street vernacular. Add to that the syncopation of his right rhythm hand, and you have a personification of rock ‘n’ roll right there.
“He was always the one who was always available for conference, for discussion. Axl was insular. Slash and Duff were mostly f*cked up.”