When Michael Jackson Caused A Feud Between Axl Rose And Slash

Every Guns N’ Roses fan knows that Axl Rose has a long history of feuds with other musicians. The rocker built a reputation as one of the most controversial artists in the rock scene with his notoriously sharp tongue. From Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain to Bon Jovi founder Jon Bon Jovi, the frontman seems unable to stop himself from starting disputes.

The singer’s unapologetic attitude isn’t just towards others, as his guitarist Slash had experienced his share of Axl Rose’s temper in the past. The bandmates also had multiple fights throughout their time in GN’R, one of which was because of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The initiation of this dispute traces back to Rose’s childhood, and we’re here to break it to you.

Slash Worked With Michael Jackson

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash has worked with countless legendary musicians throughout his music career that spans over four decades. The list includes artists such as Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, Brian May, and many more with whom he appeared on stage or albums.

Since he’s regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Michael Jackson also wanted to work with Slash. The duo went down to the Record Plant in Hollywood, where they recorded the debut single of Jackson’s eighth studio album, ‘Dangerous.’

The Guns N’ Roses icon appeared on ‘Give In To Me‘ and the King of Pop’s last studio album, ‘Invincible,‘ released on October 30, 2001. In addition to playing on his records, Slash was spotted performing with Michael Jackson on stage during his shows, including the ‘Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special,’ which was their last show together.

Michael Jackson And Slash’s Collaboration Devastated Axl Rose

After a decade working with Guns N’ Roses, Slash announced in October 1996 that he was no longer a band member. His decision was fueled by his personal and creative differences with Axl Rose, but he didn’t give more details.

According to the band’s former manager Doug Goldstein, their feud started when Slash worked with Michael Jackson. In his own words, during a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Axl Rose said the King of Pop was a pedophile when rumors started swirling around.

Since his father abused Axl during his childhood, his bandmate’s decision to work with a musician accused of pedophilia hurt Rose’s feelings. If you ask Goldstein, the frontman could’ve ignored anything but child abuse, and thus, Slash’s decision created the first crack in their relationship.

According to Rolling Stone, Goldstein said:

“In 1991, we were on the road, and Slash went to my office and said, ‘I’ll be leaving tomorrow to play with Michael Jackson on a tribute concert.’ I told him not to do it because Axl was molested by his father when he was two, and he believed the charges against Michael Jackson. Everyone knew Eddie Van Halen received $1 million to play in ‘Beat It.’ So, I asked Slash, ‘How much are you receiving?’ and he said, ‘I’ll just get a big-screen TV.’

When Axl found out Slash was going to play with Michael Jackson and that the payment was a big screen TV, he was devastated. He thought Slash would support him and be against all abuse. From the point of view of Axl, that was the only problem. He could ignore the drugs and the alcohol, but could never the child abuse.”

Though the feud lasted for 20 years, Axl Rose and Slash made amends when the guitarist called his former bandmate to talk things through. Slash then rejoined Guns N’ Roses to headline at Coachella 2016 and performed with the band for the first time in 23 years.