Rock’s baddest boys are right now in the middle of the North American leg of their ‘Not in This Lifetime…’ world tour, and if you have been lucky enough to catch any of their gigs so far, you will know that they still have the raw energy and carefree attitude which makes them such a crowd pleaser. Axl Rose and the boys have now been making great rock for 32 years, which is pretty mind-blowing considering the kind of extreme hedonism they packed into their early days. In celebration of these musical legends, and in awe of how much damage their bodies have managed to withstand, we have uncovered 5 things you probably didn’t know about Guns N’Roses.
- Axl Rose should be called Mr. Charity
You might not think it when you see him screaming into his mike like a crazy person, but singer Axl Rose is a big softie, and will go out of his way to help anyone or anything in trouble. He wrote to the President of Indonesia in 2015 to demand clemency for nine people sentenced to death for alleged drug smuggling. The year before that, he penned a thoughtful and really quite touching letter to Copenhagen Zoo condemning their slaughter of a giraffe. And whenever time allows, Rose is known to visit children’s hospitals in each city the band are touring, offering much-needed support and encouragement to the most vulnerable in society. Sweet Child of Mine, indeed.
- Slash stole his first top hat
Just before they made it big in 1987, British-born lead guitarist Slash was rummaging around a now-defunct clothes shop called Retail Slut in downtown Los Angeles. Here he first saw the Top Hat which he later became so well-known for. Presumably due to lack of funds, he stole it from the shop, along with a belt, which he wrapped around the hat. His look was complete, and a year later, their debut album Appetite for Destruction became a hit around the world. We don’t know if he ever went back to Retail Slut and made amends.
- Bassist Duff McKagan’s pancreas once grew to be the size of a football
In the early 90’s, the band undertook their famous Use Your Illusion tour, one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries. The mammoth tour has now become infamous for hard drinking and drug taking, riots, late starts, cancellations and some crazy onstage rants from Axl Rose. The tour had a bad effect on each band member’s health, but none more so than on bassist Duff McKagan, whose pancreas swelled to the size of a football, and leaked digestive acid into his body which caused third-degree burns. Originally given just one month to live, McKagan managed to recover, and now is teetotal, cycling every day.
- They have their own Vegas-style slot machine
You can catch Guns N’ Roses in Las Vegas on November 17th when they will pack out the T-Mobile Arena for one night only, and If you are in Sin City for the gig then you may as well take advantage of the free lobster buffets and try your luck on the slot machines. Speaking of which, these bad boys of rock are still so popular that they recently had an official online slot game dedicated to them. If you want to enjoy a few sneaky spins while listening to hits such as Welcome to the Jungle and November Rain, Netentcasino has a list of casinos which currently feature the game.
- Slash has died 5 times
Apart from his signature headgear, Slash is also known for his shock of curls, low-slung guitar and perfectly-positioned cigarette (although Cher helped him to quit in 2009). But this fascinating character might just be the perfect person to ask about the afterlife, given that he has visited it no less than 5 times! Like Game of Thrones’s Beric Dondarrion, rock’s most stylish chord strummer has been brought back to life each time, although never by a Lord of Lady of the Light. During the Use Your Illusion tour, GNR manager Doug Goldstein carried a Pulp Fiction-style Narcan around with himat all times, and frequently had to give Slash a shot of naloxone to bring him back from an early grave.