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edge staff writer


A conversation with ex-GNR drummer Steven Adler

February 27, 2018
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A conversation with ex-GNR drummer Steven Adler (AP file photo/Tony Dejak)

Former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler says he's confident that his appetite for self-destruction is behind him.

Fired from his old band in 1990 due to heroin addiction, Adler says his seemingly bottomless capacity for chemical-induced mayhem came to a close nearly five years ago, when he entered a rehab facility for help to stop drinking.

"I feel great today," Adler told me during a phone interview. "I'm working on a book and my band will tour later this year."

The book Adler speaks of is one that he's asking his fans to help him write.

Tentatively titled "Steven Adler: The S--- My Friends Remember I Did," the book will include stories of Adler-related havoc submitted by friends and fans. He started a website – – as a way to keep track of the many "memorable, hilarious or downright wild" tales of yore.

Adler's band - Adler's Appetite - plans to hit the road for a tour later this year to play Guns N' Roses' landmark 1987 debut "Appetite For Destruction" in its entirety.

When Guns N' Roses launched the "Not in This Lifetime...Tour" in 2016, they invited Adler to rejoin the fold for select shows, most recently on November 4, 2016, when the band rocked 125,000 fans during two shows in Buenos Aires.

"It was really cool," Adler recalled. "I love you Argentina. I bought three soccer balls and a soccer jersey from the team there. We signed them and they were auctioned for charity to raise money for organizations who work with greyhounds, horses and other animals that are mistreated."

Adler explains how one of the autographed soccer balls didn't make it to the auction.

"I saw the ball on the stage and gave it a kick into the crowd," the drummer remembered, saying he hadn't kicked a soccer ball since the sixth grade.

"I dropped it, kicked it, and it went rolling across the stage, hit a monitor, flies straight up in the air, and came down on a security guard's head," Adler said with a laugh. "I didn't know it would be so difficult. The guy put it back on the corner of the stage and we took a bow. I saw the ball again and gave it one more big kick. The crowd went nuts. Somebody took home a ball signed by me, Slash and Duff (McKagan – bassist)."

According to Adler, the reunion was fairly businesslike but enjoyable nonetheless.

"It was really exciting to be with them. We didn't get to hang out much but it was cool," he said. "I missed having Izzy there (guitarist Izzy Stradlin), but it was great."

Guns N' Roses' "Not in This Lifetime...Tour" is currently the fourth highest-earning concert tour of all time, with a gross of more than $480 million as of December 2017. The ninth leg of the tour is scheduled to resume in Europe on June 3 of this year.

Recalling the band's 1980s halcyon days, Adler says there was undeniable magic whenever the original five members of Guns N' Roses performed.

"We could do no wrong," said Adler. "Even on the first day when we got together in the studio, it was magic. Even our worst shows were great. Unless Axl threw down the microphone during the first song and walked off. Then that really wasn't a show."

Adler added that he's looking forward to taking part in AXS TV's new classic rock countdown series "The Top Ten Revealed," airing Sundays at 9:30 p.m.

The program features a different topic each week, with a rotating panel of music icons and experts, sharing insight into rock's most memorable moments.

The most recent episode of "Top Ten Revealed" included Adler's take on some of rock's biggest love songs, including 1988's "Patience" by his former band.

"'Patience' is more of a country love song and probably the closest thing to a ballad that we did," Adler said.

I asked Adler if he welcomed the occasional slow love song in a concert setting as a way to cool off in the drummer's seat.

"I'm always cool," he responded with a laugh. "As a drummer, you've got to be the coolest. The coolest get laid the most. But obviously I wasn't cool enough for my old band. I'm doing the two fingers in the air right now as I say that (laughing)."

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