It’s been about 5 years since Axl Rose has granted an interview (and over a decade since his last televised interview). He broke his streak over the weekend by speaking with Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson, and Jim Florentine on VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show. He showed up exercises. In fact, he tells the interviewers, “I do a lot of cardio when I can or force myself to.”
We bet he does.
In fairness, he does look trimmer than he did when the Fat Axl meme started. In unfairness, refer to all the pictures in this article. (Thanks to commenter Spazmodic for the banner and to TheSmokingJacket for the others.)
Rose gave one condition for the interview: he wouldn’t talk about a reunion with the original members of the band. Other than that, he opened up about quite a number of things. He says his habit for showing up late started in 1991, when he says three things forced him into the ’91 tour: “my manager had booked a tour without authorization… then, I’m gonna be sued for it. He was also telling me if Slash dies of heroin, or whatever, it’s my fault. And lastly Slash pushing me. I should have not agreed to do that tour, but didn’t know how to get out of it.”
He also says the debut album of Guns N’ Roses nearly used a national tragedy as its cover art. Rose spoke about the original album cover art on “Appetite For Destruction”, and it turns out they almost went with something even more controversial than the Robert Williams painting many stores refused to stock:
David Geffen gave me a lecture about the wrong cover and that’s why I’m not selling records, but all that was kind of planned to sell records. […] But the original cover that we never made was going to be the Challenger exploding. I figured, if it’s on the cover of Time, then we should be allowed to use it, too. It wasn’t meant derogatory, but I just wanted our record to be — that photograph just blew my mind. But they went, “Oh, this is in bad taste. You can’t.” So I was like, “Okay, well what about this one?” And I just kinda threw this postcard out and walked away.
They also spoke about the verse in “Get in the Ring” where Rose names “punks in the press … printin’ lies” including Andy Secher, Circus Magazine, Mick Wall, and Bob Guccione Junior. Rose says the verse was actually the idea of Duff McKagan and former Guns N’ Roses A&R rep Tom Zutaut, but he took the blame for it:
There was this blank space in the song, and they [McKagan and Zutaut] were like, “Why don’t you go in and go off on Andy Secher and Bob Guccione Jr, and eventually I did and everybody was happy with it, but when it hit the fan, everybody disappeared. And I was naive and didn’t realize the political wars going on between the different publicists at the record labels their relationship with Rolling Stone or Spin or whatever, so I got set up but then no one stepped forward to say anything. It is that ugly, sorry.
It wasn’t all as dark and serious as that. My favorite part of the interview came when Rose was asked what he likes to do when he’s not fronting the band or making music: “I have this mirror, and I do the Silence of the Lambs dance.” OMG, we have so much in common!
The full interview is below. If you want to see Axl sing, that’s in the last two minutes of the second video, the first two minutes of the third video, and minute eight of the third video. If you want to see Axl dancing to “Goodbye Horses”, you’re on your own there, Skipper.
UPDATE: The videos are being pulled all over the place, but one of these may still work: