Steven Adler to Slash. “Hay Babe Slash, It’s Steve How Are You.”

adler1.jpg014A heart felt hand written note on lined paper from Steven Adler to his close friend Slash. You can feel his pain as he describes how he misses Slash and thinks of him as family. He mentions he’s still practicing every day. 

Screen shot 2015-07-19 at 10.23.26 AM

Slash makes a nice pillow. Photo copyright David Plastik.

In June 1985, Adler joined Guns N’ Roses, which was newly founded by Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, and several members of L.A. Guns. His former Road Crew band mates Slash and Duff McKagan completed the line-up. They played nightclubs—such as the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy, and The Troubadour—and opened for larger acts throughout 1985 and 1986. After being scouted by several major record labels, the band signed with Geffen Records in March 1986.

In July 1987, Guns N’ Roses released its debut album, Appetite for Destruction, which to date has sold over 28 million copies worldwide, 18 million of which in the United States, making it the best-selling debut album of all time in the US. In December, during a tour with Alice Cooper, an intoxicated Adler broke his hand when he punched a streetlight after a barroom brawl; Fred Coury of Cinderella was brought in as his substitute for several shows until he recovered. In November 1988, Guns N’ Roses released G N’ R Lies, which sold over five million copies in the US alone, despite containing only eight tracks, four of which were included on the previously released EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide.

Adler was again absent during a performance at the American Music Awards in January 1989; Don Henley filled in for him on drums. His absence was originally attributed to a case of the flu, but it was later revealed that Adler had been in a drug rehabilitation program at the time. The following October, during a show as opening act for the Rolling Stones, Axl Rose threatened to leave the band if certain members of the band didn’t stop “dancing with Mr. Brownstone,” a reference to their song of the same name about heroin use. Adler was among those who promised to clean up, but he continued to struggle with his addiction.

Adler was briefly fired from the band over his drug use in early 1990, but he was reinstated after signing a contract in which he vowed to stop taking drugs. However, by the time the band entered the studio to record the song “Civil War“, his addiction had become so severe that he was unable to perform. By Adler’s own admission, he tried to play the song “20, maybe 30 times.” The song’s drum track had to be heavily edited just for his band mates to be able to play along with it. When problems in the studio continued, causing recording sessions to abort for several days at a time, Adler was formally fired from Guns N’ Roses on July 11, 1990. He had played his final show with the band on April 7 at Farm Aid IV.

Izzy Stradlin, who left the band in November 1991, later stated that replacing Adler with Matt Sorum of The Cult had a big impact on the band’s sound. In response to an interviewer’s suggestion that the line–up change had turned Guns N’ Roses from a rock ‘n’ roll band into a heavy metal one, Stradlin said, “Yeah, a big musical difference. … [Our songs] were written with Steve playing the drums and his sense of swing was the push and pull that give the songs their feel. When that was gone, it was just…unbelievable, weird. Nothing worked. I would have preferred to continue with Steve, but we’d had two years off and we couldn’t wait any longer.”

Screen shot 2015-07-19 at 9.45.59 AMPhoto by Marc Canter taken backstage in Santa Monica August 30, 1986.

 

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