When I found out that I was going to be interviewing one Mr. Steven Adler, I have to say I was a little bit taken aback. This was Steven “Fucking” Adler! This was the drummer that was pounding the skins for Appetite for Destruction, quite possibly the greatest hard rock record of all time. Who can forget the opening beats to “Paradise City”, this album was as close to perfect as you’ll ever get.
Guns and Roses were a big part of the soundtrack of my youth. I embraced this new band way before they exploded into the mainstream and watched them self destruct slowly but surely. Steven’s ousting from the band being the first wheel to come off the machine and truly the band was never the same. The magic of Appetite for Destruction and those five guys was over, Guns and Roses from that moment on was quite simply, broken.
|All live shots courtesy of Bill Cairns|
To me Steven always seemed to be the happy guy in the band, he is perpetually smiling in every photo I see. I always loved that about him. After interviewing him, I reflected on a guy who seems so truly thankful to be alive and have a second chance to go out and rock for the world. Personally I am rooting for him and can’t wait for the chance to see this band live! Remember Toronto Steven!
Steven: Hey Wallyworld! Norton it’s Steven and Lonny our guitar player is here too, how are you?
DBG: (laughing) I am doing great!
Steven: Well thank you so much for giving us this time.
DBG: Oh my, this is my pleasure. We do this because we are fans first and foremost, this is indeed a thrill for me. I have been a Guns and Roses fan since your music was first played here in Canada. Music is my passion so this is truly a blast.
Steven: Excellent dude, I love how you say it’s your passion, there’s nothing that’s more of a buzz than doing something that you love.
DBG: Alright then, I guess we will just jump right in.
Steven: Let’s jump baby! (laughing)
DBG: So it seems you are back, Back From The Dead you might say, tell us about this new band?
Steven: It feels good coming back, the second time around. No forget good, it feels great! You know my favourite thing has always been to be part of a team and it really feels good to have that again. Having great team mates, all with the same goal to be the best band we can be, you know? Our new record was so much fun and exciting to do, we are all hoping that everyone who hears it will hear the excitement and passion.
DBG: When I first sat down to listen to the album, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but when it kicked in I was smiling ear to ear. This is one hell of a rock n roll record
Steven: Thank you brother, you know that’s a musicians dream to be able to write music that people enjoy and get off on. So dreams are coming true then, and it’s only the first day!
DBG: One thing I noticed as I was listening to it was the lyrical content and a lot of the songs really focusing on addiction. My Own Worst Enemy, Habit, are these as more “personal” stories to you than just rock songs?
Steven: Oh it’s all personal stories and not just mine, all of our stories come through on the album Lonny and Jacob and Johnny, these songs are all our lives you know?, Lonny and Jacob are the true masterminds, I am able to write off them but they are such musicians and I provide plenty of great stories. I am so thankful for them, I want you to chat with Lonny for a moment.
DBG: I am doing great. I have to say that there is some killer guitar on the new album.
Lonny: Thank you so much.
DBG: Going back to Steven’s sobriety battles, they were certainly public and in fact played out on television, was wondering how things were going for you now.
Lonny: Steven just went to the other room to grab something but I can tell you that Steven and I work out every morning, he is clean and sober and couldn’t be happier.
DBG: Two albums released this year that production wise really sound incredible is the
new T&N album “Slave to the Empire” and this new Adler record, how did you guys to get to work with Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) as your producer on this?
Lonny: He is an amazing producer. I was actually at a Christmas party with him last year and as I was leaving, I gave him a hug goodbye and said “Oh by the way Steven and I are putting this project together and we were wondering if you’d like to maybe play bass on a couple of tracks”. Well one thing led to another and not only did he end up playing bass on all the tracks but he ended up producing it too.
DBG: One of the songs that really jumped out at me was “Your Diamonds”, really a beautifully melodic song. What inspired that track?
Lonny: Well towards the end of the record, Steven called up Jacob and said I really want a Journey type sounding song on the album. The very next day Jacob comes in with “Your Diamonds” and it kicked ass.
DBG: So you unveiled the new band live in a rather interesting way, out at sea with the Kiss Army. How was the Kiss Kruise?
Lonny: It was the perfect way to introduce the band. The weather was fantastic, we all had balconies in our room and we got to sleep to the sounds of the ocean, it was beautiful. The response was fantastic and we all got to see KISS perform
DBG: I love how the album kind of flows through almost like a concept album in a way. Was this intended
Steven: We went in with the goal, we worked with Jeff Pilson who played bass on the whole record and a big part of it. This record really came together because of Jeff but we wanted to do a concept record. We felt that we haven’t heard a record in 20 years where the songs told good, cool, interesting stories.
DBG: Well that’s exactly what I felt about Appetite back in the day. Not so much that is was a concept record but it was 12 great songs and I feel that way about this new record.
Steven: Excellent, well I had a big part of Appetite of Destruction and I took that same mentality that we had then which came naturally and brought it into this. I don’t think there’s a band that has been in the recording studio and are giving each other high fives and having so much fun as we did. And the songs Jeff would say “OK, roll it” and I would count it off “1, 2, 3,..5!” and that’s what your hearing on the record just like we did with Appetite, it’s live. I would love to see anybody take a metronome and try to play these songs, won’t happen because it’s natural rock n roll just like on Appetite.
John 5 recorded “Welcome to the Jungle” on one of his records and I said, “how did you record that?, we never used a metronome on Appetite, it was all by feel” and he looked at me and said “I KNOW!” (laughing) It’s just live Rock n Roll, I think the world needs a new rock n roll band and some new rock super heroes and we are just the band to provide that.
DBG: I remember reading your book and one story jumped out at me that I am sure the Decibel Geeks might enjoy. That was the story of the first concert you ever went to.
Steven: My first concert I ever went to was KISS at Magic Mountain when they were filming The Phantom of the Park. It was amazing, my cousin Karen won tickets from 93 KHA and you know before that concert I wanted to be a professional football player. I went to that concert and Gene Simmons came up and sat on one of the PA monitors right in front of me and he looked like he was 40 feet tall and I said right there, “that’s what I want to do”. Funny all these years later I get to play with him (Gene) on a cruise. (laughing)
DBG: So what’s next for the band? The album is out, what is the next plan?
Steven: Our bags are packed and we are just ready for it to pick us up. We want to get out there and play our songs for the world, for the whole universe!
DBG: Now I did hear something about some shows with you and Duff’s band.
Steven: YEAH! I think in March we will be playing some shows together in Japan. We are very excited about that. I had called up Duff to ask him some advice on something and he said “Why don’t you and your wife come have dinner with my wife and I”? So we went for dinner, I didn’t make a spectacle of myself (laughing) and he enjoyed spending time with us. So he said, “why don’t we play some shows together?” I was ecstatic and Snake (Dave Szabo) from Skid Row manages Duff and he put it together. Obviously in God’s will and we couldn’t be happier that it all came together.
DBG: Ok I know the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame questions have all been asked but I have one question for you. When Green Day brought you guys onstage, Duff went to the microphone first. Meanwhile you and Slash were having a conversation behind him. Would you let us in on that conversation?
Steven: Yeah, I said “Dude do you remember when we first started playing together and when we met and look how far we got. We achieved our goals, our dream came true”. “And I just wish those two other assholes would have been with us.” That’s what we were saying and we said we loved each other and how great this whole thing was (laughing).
DBG: Before I get to my last question, was there anything else you would like to ad?
DBG: Ok what is the one song that you wish you wrote?
Steven: hmmmm? well I helped write Welcome to the Jungle, and I helped write Sweet Child of Mine, so I will have to say “We Will Rock You” by Queen or maybe “YMCA” by the Village People. (laughing)