Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler is a real chatterbox


By Steve Newton

Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler called from L.A. to promote his upcoming gig at Vancouver’s Venue on August 25, and once he started talking, he didn’t want to stop. He chatted about everything from the tuna salad sandwich he’d just had for lunch in the company of current Kiss skinbasher Eric Singer to, well, see for yourself.

On whether he’s totally off drugs now: “Well, yeah, yeah. You don’t have a future on drugs, and for 20 years I had no future. Now I’m starting to have a future. There’s only one person who’s had a future on drugs, and that’s Keith Richards. And that’s Keith Richards, okay. I keep waking up as Steven Adler every morning—not Keith Richards, but me. I take medication, but it’s prescribed medication. I mean for so many years of abusing myself and my mind, I made myself chemically imbalanced.

So now I take prescriptions that don’t get me high or anything—occasionally I wish they would, I’m still an addict—but they don’t. They’re basically just to put back the things that I smoked and shot outta me. So they’re good medication. I’m feeling wonderful. Things have been just fabulous. Hey, if I woulda known I would have been this happy 20 years ago, I would have got off drugs 20 years ago.”

On rockers who die young and “The 27 Club”: “It makes me think that the whole thing with the devil—about making a deal with the devil to be successful—is even more true. I came up this theory. Certain people make a deal with the devil, and the devil says: ‘I’ll make you successful, I’ll give you everything, but right before you’re gonna be able to enjoy it and appreciate it I’m gonna take you.’ And that age, it just seems to be throughout history, is 27.

And that’s usually the age, if you’re successful, that you start to enjoy and appreciate it. I mean most people are successful are in their late teens or their early 20s, and you work your ass of for four or five years, and then you start to enjoy the fruits of your labour. So that whole thing with the devil just makes more and more sense to me. That, and I do believe in aliens.”

On what he thinks of Axl Rose: “I love him, he’s a very important person in my life. In the past he’s been important to me, and he’s still important to me, because of what we achieved together. All four of those goofballs [from Guns N’ Roses] are. And they are knuckleheads!

On whether he blames Guns N’ Roses for firing him in 1990: “No, no. I don’t blame nobody for nothing. I did everything to myself. I made mistakes. If I was the only one who’s ever made a mistake I would really really feel bad. But I’m not.”

On the possibility of a Guns N’ Roses reunion: “I mean I personally would do it for nothing! I’m not going to, but I would, for nothing. For two reasons: 1) we owe it to the fans. 2) I just want to finish what I started with those guys. I cut myself short. For 20 years I was saying to myself that they cut me short, but once I started workin’ with Dr. Drew and took responsibility for my life and my actions, I realized I threw that away.

So I just want to finish what I started with them. I want to go to heaven, and I don’t want to come back. I don’t wanna come back and be a baby, and be a teenager again. Oh my god, no! No, I don’t want to be a teenager again. It’s too awkward. When you were a teenager you’d get a boner and you’re ashamed to walk around. Nowadays I realize, dude, if I woulda realized what I know now, then, I woulda walked around with my boner straight out, and rubbed it against every girl. But these are things I realize now. So forget it.”

On touring with Iron Maiden in the late ’80s and not checking out their drummer: “I can’t believe we toured with Iron Maiden back then and I never went on stage and watched them or went behind Nicko McBrain who—besides Roger Meddows Taylor from Queen—is the most amazing drummer. I can’t believe I didn’t even take time when we were touring with them to stand behind them and watch them play. I could have learned so much, I kick myself in the ass. I’m doin’ it right now ’cause you made me think about it. Or I made myself think about it. No, you did. I blame you!”

On dealing with fans: “I feel like I’m getting the recognition and the love for what I did do, and it feels wonderful, and I appreciate it. And firstly I am a big hugger, so I love meeting fans and I give each and every one a hug—even the hairy ones, and you know who I’m talking about, that don’t wear T-shirts to book-signings, okay? You had no business wearing a tank-top. In fact, the person who sold him this tank-top had no business selling this guy the tank-top, okay? And I hugged him!”

On how it’s not “special” to be in a rock band any more: “It used to be somethin’ special to be in a rock band, and to pay your dues and to work hard and rehearse and work for that record deal. That was like the goal, to be the best so you can get a record deal. Nowadays people are just making records in their bedrooms; it’s not special any more. And the world needs a new rock and roll band. Like every ten years a hard-rock band comes along. I know that band Buck Cherry that came out after GN’R, they tried to be that band, they gave a good effort at trying to be, after ten years, the next rock and roll band. But it looks like God kept me on this earth for a reason, and I’m gonna put that band together.”

On recording the song “Baby Can’t Drive” with Slash last year: “Besides performing with Slash again, it was really special of course because Alice Cooper was a part of it. But that Flea was playing bass, that he was a part of it. ‘Cause Flea—well, his name is Michael Balzary—Michael and myself and Slash, we all grew up in the same neighbourhood. Me and Slash and our friends used to play football in the street, and Flea would play trumpet for my grandmother on the front porch. And even Demi Moore—she was around, okay!

So it was really cool bein’ able to hang out and revisit memories of good times we had. Because you know when you were young you were carefree—well, I still am carefree—but you’re carefree, and life’s a little easier. It was really nice to just reminisce with those guys about those times. And it made it extra special of course ’cause we got to record a song together.”

On whether he still does Thin Lizzy’s “Hollywood” in his current set: “Aw—you know what! I love that song! I love Thin Lizzy and that’s one of my favourite songs too. But no. I would love to, but the other guys”¦. Right now we’re just doing ‘Stardog’ and ‘Alive’, that’s in the set, and we do the GN’R songs that I played with the guys on Appetite. And we do ‘Civil War’. And it’s a lot of fun. And what makes it exciting for me, playing these songs, because more than anything when I’m on stage playing with these guys, with my band now, I’m just thinking: ‘Goddamnit, why can’t I just be on stage playin’ it with the guys I wrote this shit with!’

But on the other hand, when I’m performing these GN’R songs with my new band, it reminds me of back in the day, when we were playing clubs, and first starting out, that anything goes kinda rock ‘n’ roll attitude. And it’s a lot of fun. And I feel sorry for anybody who goes on after us. The word of this year is ‘incendiary’, and we put on an incendiary rock show. We’ve done shows with—well not the greatest of bands—but like with Dokken and Great White and L.A. Guns, and they wouldn’t have us play with them anymore.”

On how he responds when someone ends an interviewing by teasing him a bit and suggesting that he’s led a charmed life after all: “Charmed, yeah. Is that what they call pain now? Is ‘charmed’ a new word for painful? Nah–you know what, you know what? I saw this show on the, whaddya call it, the Medical Channel, of these two young girls that were attached at the head. And they were so happy and content. I mean they would talk, they would say the same thing at the same time-and they were just happy and content.

And I saw that and I thought about my life and I said: ‘I got nothing to kvetch about!’. And if you don’t know what kvetching means, it means complain! I got nothing to complain about! “I’m so thankful—I’m alive! And pretty healthy! You know, I’m still walkin’ and talkin’. Still rockin’ and rollin’. So I got that goin’ for me.”

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