Iconic, talented and without question controversial, lead singer of Guns N’ Roses Axl Rose is one of the most polarising characters in rock n roll. Nobody can deny his incredible voice & charisma, but as you’re about to see, he certainly has a chequered past between his former bandmates and the law….
With that in mind, we present to you 30 Things You Didn’t Know About Axl Rose – prepare for a few surprises…
1. At the 1992 MTV Music Video Awards, Axl got into a fight with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, fearing that Love was trying to possess him.
2. Tommy Hilfiger and Axl Rose got into a brawl at Rosario Dawson’s 27th birthday party after Rose allegedly “wouldn’t stop smacking” Hilfiger.
3. Axl has a younger sister named Amy and a stepbrother named Stephen.
4. Izzy Stradlin, born Jeffrey Dean Isbell, met Axl Rose in high school when they started a garage band together.
5. Axl often travels with his own psychic, Sharon Maynard, who is known in his entourage as “Yoda.”
6. Axl believes that he and ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour were together in many of their past lives.
7. Slash’s nickname for Axl used to be “the Ayatollah.”
8. In a deposition, Axl’s ex-wife Erin Everly testified that Axl believed he was actually possessed by John Bonham.
9. Axl is a collector of Latin American religious artifacts, particularly crucifixes.
10. In the video for Guns N’ Roses’ “Don’t Cry,” the woman who plays Axl’s psychotherapist is his actual therapist, Suzzy London, who occasionally accompanied the band on the road.
11. Axl’s five favorite books are A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, The Stand by Stephen King,Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Zodiac by Neal Stephenson, and James Dean: The Mutant King by David Dalton.
12. The song “Chinese Democracy” was Axl’s emotional tribute to John Lennon’s death.
13. Axl is a night owl, and is habitually late for meetings. He once joked in a Rolling Stone interview that when he died, he would put in his will that his coffin should show up half an hour after the funeral began, with “SORRY I’M LATE” written in gold on the side.
14. His earliest conscious memory is of holding a toy gun in his hand.
15. The hidden track on GNR’s The Spaghetti Incident, “Look at Your Game, Girl,” was written by Charles Manson and included on the album at Rose’s insistence.
16. On his left arm, Axl has a tattoo of an Ottoman Empire emblem with the words “Victory or Death” printed below it.
17. Axl’s rider includes a provision that the dressing room must be all black and include bouquets of fresh roses, 18 red and 18 white.
18. In the early 1990s, Axl was a big N.W.A. fan, wearing a baseball cap of theirs while filming a promo for the video “You Could Be Mine.”
19. The album art for Appetite for Destruction was originally a painting by the same name by Robert Williams, showing a robot rapist. When stores refused to stock the album, Geffen replaced the art with the famous skull cross depicting the band members.
20. In the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Axl voices DJ Tommy “The Nightmare” Smith.
21. At GNR’s first gig in Seattle in 1985, the band’s bus broke down en route. They hitchhiked the rest of the way, only to find that the show had been canceled.
22. In Stockholm in 2006, Axl was arrested for biting a security guard on the leg.
23. The abandoned house in the video for Guns N’ Roses’ “Estranged” is Rose’s own Malibu mansion.
24. Axl and Slash’s ongoing feud is so heated that, in 2010, Rose sued the makers of Guitar Hero for including songs by Slash’s band Velvet Revolver alongside GNR tracks, thus emphasizing a connection between Slash and the band. “There’s zero possibility of me having anything to do with Slash other than by ambush, and that wouldn’t be pretty,” Rose explained in a 2009 interview.
25. An art broker sued Axl in 2006 after Rose backed out of a deal to buy an Andy Warhol portrait of John Lennon.
26. The video for “November Rain” is loosely based on the short story “Without You” by Axl’s friend Del James.
27. Axl is a huge Elton John fan, and made a presentation when John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The two also sang a duet of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness.
28. In the Clint Eastwood film The Dead Pool, Axl has a small uncredited part as a musician at a funeral.
29. When David Bowie visited the set of “It’s So Easy,” Axl found him flirting with then-girlfriend Erin Everly, punched Bowie, and threw him off the set.
30. After Izzy Stradlin left the band, GNR included several small tributes to him in their music videos. In the video for “Don’t Cry,” a sign that says “Where’s Izzy?” is visible for a second, and in the video for “Live and Let Die,” Izzy appears on a milk carton.