Upset by negative press from certain music critics, Rose penned the song “Get in the Ring,” which appeared on the group’s 1991 album “Use Your Illusion II.” In the song, Rose challenged several people to fight by name, including Bob Guccione Jr., publisher of Spin magazine.
Though the others, at Hit Parader and Kerrang were only listed, Guccione was taunted by Rose, comparing him (unfavorably) to his father, Bob Guccione, the founder of the adult magazine Penthouse. Rose’s actual taunt is unprintable here, but Guccione Jr. did respond with a letter accepting Rose’s challenge. He told the Miami Herald years later, “He didn’t know that I studied full-contact karate for 10 years. . . . He wimped out.”
An earlier version of this caption incorrectly said the album was “Use Your Illusion I.”(Los Angeles Times / Kelly Jordan)
In 1991 concert near St. Louis, Rose, then 29, jumped into the audience to confiscate a fan’s unauthorized camera. He returned to the stage only to criticize security and then storm off. When the band did not return about 2,500 of the 19,000 fans stampeded the stage, destroying the band’s drums and amplifiers, tearing down chain-link fences and demolishing two large video screens, police said.
In an interview with The Times two days later, Rose blames lax security for his outburst. But he was up to the same tricks days later, throwing down his microphone at the start of an encore number in Costa Mesa and stomping off stage. This time he was apparently upset about technical difficulties. “Axl’s act is getting tired,” snapped one man in his mid-20s. (Left: Guns N Roses at a 1991 concert in Brazil. Credit: Ken Mazur / WireImage Right: Fans at a 1992 Guns N’ Roses and Metallica concert. Credit: Los Angeles Times)
Guns ‘N Roses and Metallica toured together in 1992. An accident on stage during Metallica’s performance in Montreal caused the band to cut their performance short. And when Rose also chose to cut Guns ‘N Roses’ performance short as well, fans rioted. Rose told the press that Hetfield was a racist for removing Ice-T’s Body Count group from the tour. Hetfield later said on VH1‘s “Behind the Music,” “We couldn’t relate to Axl and his attitude.” Other members of Metallica and Rose himself told MTV News that the two groups never really gelled on tour. (Associated Press / Los Angeles Times)
In 2006, after Guns N Roses played a set for Rosario Dawson’s birthday, the rocker went mano a mano with American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. But this time he was a gentleman. Hilfiger clocked Rose after he claimed that the rocker pushed him out of the way, saying it was in self-defense because of all of Rose’s intimidating rings. “He wears all this jewelry. [I’m thinking], if I get hit, it’s over. No teeth, no eye. So I hit him before he hit me. It was self-protection. Now we’re friends,” Hilfiger said. (Evan Agostini / Getty Images / Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Don’t confuse Axl Rose with Jon Bon Jovi. At a 1987 show opening for Alice Cooper, Axl Rose took the stage and let the fans know -- in language not suitable for a family newspaper -- that Bon Jovi could feast on one of his choice body parts. The speech has become known as Axl’s Blues. The Guns N’ Roses rocker was apparently airing out anger over an incident that occurred at a hotel the night before when an brawl resulted in his unnamed opponent calling him Bon Jovi. In 2006, Bon Jovi criticized the amount of media attention Rose still received because he “hadn’t made a record in 13 years,” calling him a “freak show” and “recluse.” (Left: Axl Rose. Credit: S.I.N. / Corbis. Right, Jon Bon Jovi. Credit: Paul Morse / For the Times)
In 2006, when Scott Weiland and Slash were in the midst of their Velvet Revolver collaboration, Weiland became a target of Axl Rose’s ire. After filing a lawsuit against Slash, Rose released a missive that knocked Weiland, as well as his former bandmates.
Weiland didn’t take it lying down. MTV reported that in a posting on Velvet Revolver’s website, Weiland wrote that Rose had an “unoriginal, uncreative little mind, the same mind that had to rely on its bandmates to write melodies and lyrics -- who’s the fraud now?” (Left: Axl Rose in 2006 at his first Southern California concert in a decade. Credit: Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times. Right: Scott Weiland and Slash perform in 2007. Credit: Los Angeles Times)
Though Rose and Slash were the two most prominent faces during Guns N’ Roses’ rise to the top, Slash left the band in 1996 after years of inactivity. After a news report of a possible reunion between Rose and Slash surfaced in the press in 2009, Rose responded, telling Billboard, “What’s clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is.” In his 2007 memoir, Slash explained that the split came from his frustration with Rose’s lack of respect toward his fans and his bandmates. (Stephen Chernin / AP / Los Angeles Times)