Axl Rose, Slash And Duff McKagan Were The New Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young, A&R Exec States

According to A&R exec Tom Zutaut, Guns N’ Roses members Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan were like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

During a recent conversation on the X5 Podcast, Zutaut said GNR first caught his eye when he saw a poster of them at Fairfax and Sunset Boulevard. Then, he decided to go and watch the band perform live. Still, GNR had already left the stage but the A&R executive got to see Rose sing with another band.

Rose Influenced Zutaut With His Performance

He thought Axl was a great frontman and wanted to watch the rest of the band at The Troubadour a week later. Zutaut shared what he told Rose before:

“I said to Axl, ‘I’m going to come to that show. I’m going to come early and hang out with you guys before the show. I’m only gonna stay for a couple of songs’ because I already knew what I needed to know. If his band sucked, I’d put a band together around him.”

Then, Tom recalled his reaction to the live performance of the whole band:

“So, I go to The Troubadour, and they hit ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Night Train’, and maybe half of ‘Paradise City’. It was the loudest thing I’d ever been to in my life… It was ear-splitting loud. I learned that Slash wrote this song, Axl wrote this, Duff [McKagan] wrote that one, Izzy [Stradlin] wrote that… I’m like, ‘Damn, ‘This is like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’…”

Tom Thinks Axl Cares About Artistic Effort

In 2005, Zutaut wrote a letter to the New York Times about Axl and talked about his work ethic with the following words:

“Axl Rose was one of the only artists I ever worked with who was never motivated by money. He consistently put the quality of his artistic output above all. Whether you consider him to be a musical genius on hold, a poster child for the misunderstood, or a narcissist, all of his actions are motivated by a pure desire to make every recording count as a true reflection of his own high standards.”

Zutaut also saved GNR’s debut album, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ from failure. The band toured for months with low sales, and Geffen considered pulling the plug. When Tom later got the band on MTV, it changed everything. After just one airing of their video, it received 10,000 calls to MTV and launched the group’s success.

You can watch Zutaut’s full interview below.