Axl Rose Wasn’t Aware Of The Slash-Related Trap To End His Solo Career
Recently speaking to Songfacts, former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese exposed trap linked to Slash that could have ended Axl Rose’s solo career.
A few years later, after leaving Pearl Jam in 1994, the musician almost became the drummer for Guns N’ Roses. This was during a confusing time for the group, with many members coming and going and the band not releasing new music or going on tours for several years. When asked about his memories of the time he spent collaborating with GNR, Dave responded:
“The Guns thing was tough. Axl [Rose] and I became familiar with one another through nightly phone calls for months before we actually met and played music together. It was a tough time for me because I had quite a bit of soul poisoning from the way my manager handled my termination from Pearl Jam. I was leery of entering the big machine again because of it. Things were moving along well until I spoke to the GNR management regarding my opinion that the new music might be better suited to an Axl solo album rather than a GNR album.”
Management’s Plan And Abbruzzese’s Dilemma
Recalling having phone conversations with the GNR management, he continued:
“Doug Smith [David probably means Doug Goldstein], the Guns’ manager at the time, told me that the management and the label had a plan of letting the album we were making be the catalyst for getting Axl to reunite with Slash. The plan was to let him fail, and the hope was that this failure would inspire him to reunite with Slash and get the big train back on the tracks. When I heard this, I was forced to choose between informing Axl about it or just bowing out. I felt that if I told him of their plan, it would destroy what little faith he had in the machine.”
Prioritizing Axl’s Creative Independence Over Friendship
Abbruzzese lastly added, revealing how he chose not to disclose the plan:
“So I opted to take one on the chin and sacrifice my new friendship for the sake of Axl’s ability to continue to be a creative force. It was a difficult decision but ultimately one that I am glad I made. I love that guy, and I didn’t want to be responsible for ruining the chance of him and the band continuing to make music for their fans that had waited so patiently for so long for G n’ R to get back to it.”
During that period, Rose tried out several potential members for Guns N’ Roses, including multi-instrumentalist Chris Vrenna and guitarist Zakk Wylde. Drummers who auditioned included Abbruzzese, Michael Bland, Joey Castillo, and Kellii Scott from Failure.