Guns N’ Roses rode to massive popularity as part of a wave of L.A. ’80s bands that made a career of looking like degenerates. But GNR eclipsed their peers because they walked the walk down to a man. Axl Rose largely stopped doing hard drugs once the band was successful, but had enough experience with “Mr. Brownstone” to sing about it and clearly didn’t dial down his propensity for rage, drinking and insanity.
Slash kept at it; he once told GQ magazine that his smack habit amounted to; “However much I could get my hands on. If I finished a batch, I’d go hunting for it. It never stopped.” Entering Japan on tour and ordered by GNR’s tour manager to get rid of all drugs in his possession, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin swallowed his entire stash and ended up in a coma for 96 hours. Bassist Duff McKagan abused drugs so heavily that in the ’90s his pancreas exploded resulting in third-degree burns inside his body.
Yet, the worst drug casualty of GNR was surely Steven Adler, who was kicked out of the band for being too fucked up in 1990 (Stradlin later claimed Adler’s dismissal ruined the band’s sound) and in the 22 years since, has basically done nothing but occasionally show up in news stories about the band, always supposedly newly sober.
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