How Axl Rose Forced Guns N’ Roses To Pursue Perfection

Although there are bands that democratically handle things, many of them leave the decision-making to the frontman. In those music acts, the lead not only sings the songs and performs in the spotlight but also says the last word about the band’s creative direction.

In KISS, it was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, whereas, in Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and David Gilmour were the ones who led the way. For Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose was the person who dwelled upon the band’s next moves. Rose also had them shoot for the stars during the band’s career.

Axl Rose Pushed His Bandmates For Excellence

In a 1987 interview with Steve Harris, Axl Rose remembered when he stood outside the studio GN’R was working in for their material. He listened to them play ‘Nightrain,’ ‘Rocket Queen,’ and ‘My Michelle’ for the first time in rehearsal. According to Rose, the performance was eye-watering, and the outcome pleased him.

Axl Rose then revealed that when Izzy Stradlin came out of the studio, he approached him and said he now saw what Rose had been trying to make him understand. Saying that people don’t know their true potential, Rose argued that he is good at seeing what a person is capable of regarding music.

The GN’R icon then revealed he always pushes Stradlin and others for more because he knows they have potential. According to Rose, especially Stradlin was glad he did such a thing, and they didn’t argue about music material because his bandmates respected him for his directions.

As reported by The Tapes Archive, Steve Harris asked Axl Rose the following:

“Have you ever had to argue with the guys to get them to go in your direction?”

Axl Rose then responded:

“Well, I’ll give you an example about that. We were practicing in a one-room studio, and I was standing outside because there was no PA. I stood outside to listen clearly, in a parking lot, and I heard ‘Nightrain,’ ‘Rocket Queen,’ and ‘My Michelle’ coming together for the first time in rehearsal. These guys were all okay. They were on top of it. My eyes were watering, and I had chills, and I was like, ‘We finally got the songs I’ve been looking for.’

Izzy told me when he got out of rehearsal, ‘Now I see what the f*ck you’ve been talking about for the last three years.’ It’s hard to convince someone. They don’t know what they had. I’m really good at seeing a person’s potential. Sometimes so much so that it costs me problems because I see the potential in this person, and I put so much belief in them, but they don’t have the guts to dig for what I see inside of them.”

He then continued:

“So, sometimes, there have been problems. But other times, like with Izzy, I was always pushing him with songs because I knew it was there, and now he’s really glad I did, and it worked out well for the both of us. So now, we don’t argue so much about material because everybody has good respect for each other, and those guys have a lot more respect for my direction and stuff.”

So, thanks to Axl Rose, his Guns N’ Roses bandmates realized their true potential and created way better musical material. Moreover, with Rose’s direction and the belief he put in them, they gave their audience many rock classics to listen to, even many years after being released.