Welcome to episode one of the First 50 Gigs, Guns N' Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction, an eye-witness account of the origin story of Guns N' Roses, their rise on the Sunset Strip, and the making of Appetite for Destruction. In this first episode, we're going back to the beginning, when Marc and Slash become friends in elementary school and bond over their love of Aerosmith and dirt bikes. As their friendship developed, Slash found his calling with a guitar and Marc found his with a camera, borrowed from friend and photographer Jack Lue. Slash invited Marc to a rehearsal of his new band Tidus Sloan and the journey of the first 50 gigs began. Also on this episode, we interview Adam Greenberg, one of the founding members of Tidus Sloan and Roadcrew. Adam and Slash went to Fairfax high school together, forming the band with Adam on drums, Slash on guitar, and Ron Schneider on bass. It was in Adam's garage that the three musicians played covers of Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Aerosmith, eventually, they added a singer to what would become Roadcrew.
Yes, we became friends back in 1976 and we hung out on bikes and made havoc in the neighborhood. But then we got separated by junior high school, we switched schools and I kind of lost touch with him for about a year, maybe a year and a half. And when we met back up, it was the summer of 1981. We found each other and we were catching up on the time we had lost and he told me he was playing guitar now in a rock band. I actually knew Adam Greenberg and he told me he was in the band, so I knew instinctively that this was going to be good. That day I went with him to his rehearsal and was blown away by what I saw and what I heard and it gave me goosebumps. I knew that this was going to be something special. But at some point, Jack Lue was taking the photos when we go to concerts. Jack wasn't able to make it, gave me his camera, showed me how to work it and I shot a roll of film and I was blown away by the pictures. I actually ended up taking my sister's Canon AE 1 that was sitting in her closet from high school. She had it, maybe she had a photo class or something like that. The first time I shot Slash was at Fairfax High School and Tidus Sloan played there on June 4, 1982. And that was a very easy show to shoot because it was daylight. We didn't have to worry about that it was too dark or if we had the wrong color lighting. The only mistake I made was I brought one roll of film which I shot off in one song. I really was happy with the results of that too. And that was the end of that! I just started documenting everything they did from that point on. I followed Axl a little bit because I'd made friends with him when he was in Hollywood Rose through L.A. Guns and I met Duff when he was in Roadcrew briefly. The first time I met Steven Adler was actually at a Joe Perry concert in 1982, the summer of 1982. All I knew is that he was a friend of Slash's from high school, but had moved to the Valley. He didn't show up again until like somewhere in 1984. To me, it was just like a bunch of my friends playing rock n' roll and having fun and doing a good job at it. So I was happy to document it because I took pride in taking pictures and seeing the results and being I was a collector of Aerosmith, I knew as a collector how important that was to grab the ticket or save the flyer because one day somebody might want to know about that. It's just kind of like a scrapbook. That's what I was doing, was putting together a scrapbook.
Photography to me was more of a hobby because I wasn't just photographing Slash, I was photographing rock n' roll bands that came through; whatever came through our town. Every show after 1982 that I went to I brought my camera and shot it. That's including anything that Slash was doing. Even sometimes rehearsals I would shoot. So that goes to show you that, why am I shooting the rehearsal if it's not really a show Because, I just knew that just to document it. Something instinctively told me to document what's going on. It didn't matter what band he was in. Any one of those bands could have made it one way or the other. It was just something I knew I wanted to do on my own. But at the same time, I knew that what I was doing was like someone should have done for Led Zeppelin when they first started.
I don't think there's any band who had the good fortune to have somebody like you, who was documenting everything that was done, everything that led up to even the Appetite version of Guns N' Roses, and somebody who, over time, invested so much in the success of those individual players in that band. I think they're very fortunate to have somebody like that, who had their back and who was documenting them.
I think that's a really interesting moment, right You're there, and you're like, \"Slash got to have a backup.\" And he was probably like, \"No, no, I got this.\" You have the backup and he needed it. I think that's a really good metaphor for how you supported the band over time. You just had their back, right You were there prepared for them, in case anything happened, or they needed anything over time.
Everybody knew he was special. Everybody liked Tidus Sloan. For the most part we were a cover band with some originals sprinkled in. I believe we were rehearsing two or three times a week. The first time I played with Slash again was in my mom's hallway. And that was with Albert Gozale. We did a few rehearsals with Albert. And then we brought in Ronnie Schneider. And that was it. That was the incarnation. Then we moved from my mom's hallway to her garage. We started playing in the garage and slowly we just started. As we got more equipment, and we needed more room to work on the show, we just kind of took over more and more space.
They came up with a bunch of new originals working with the vocalists, so that was another stepping stone to getting from the garage to the stage. And you can't just be a garage band and play the Troubadour. It's not going to happen. You need a vocalist. So that was the next step into the journey of making something happen.
Well, Ronnie was interested in doing more heavy metal. He always had an inkling for that. And we were listening to harder bands like Motorhead. We were becoming influenced by that. Things just kind of started to fray a little bit and then Steven Adler came into the picture.
Adam, you mentioned that the direction of the band was starting to change that Ronnie had some heavy metal influence that he wanted to bring in. Maybe Chris Torres was bringing in something that he wanted to do, but who was really kind of setting the direction of the band at that time
Actually, as far as the lyrics go, Chris was writing the lyrics, but there were some things, some parts that Slash wanted to add in. And Ronnie might have had some input on that too. But as far as the direction of the band, I think what happened was, at that New Year's Eve party, Steven Adler showed up and he was freaking out. I'm trying to take pictures and he's pointing his finger right at Slash, like one inch away from where Slash was picking. \"Look how fast his fingers are moving!\" Shortly after that Steven somehow wanted to show Slash how good he got on his double bass drums. And somehow Steven convinced Slash to change the direction of where he was, how he was heading. There were no issues with Adam. Adam was great and what he was doing, but I think Slash wanted really wanted to incorporate those double bass drums and I think Ronnie had...it's not like Ronnie wanted Adam out either, but I think Ronnie probably had a grin on his face. \"Now we get to have speed metal.\" I don't know what was going on exactly but that's what I can remember from my perspective. That's what I saw happening. Ronnie was in the band with Steven and Slash, and just about that same time that happened, Chris was out. There was a double switch. Adam and Chris were both out within a week apart somehow, maybe two weeks apart. And then it was just Ronnie, Slash and Steven.
I had met Steven earlier on and then he came back around for the New Year's Eve show. And after that, he was around quite a bit. And Steve and I, we became more friendly. He would come to my house and he would play a song for me. I would play a song for him. We'd take turns playing in front of each other, trading fills and whatever. So all that was kind of going on right after that Curly Joe's New Year's Eve party. And Steven got this massive drum set. It was a Tama drum set; double bass, lots of toms, lots of cymbals, and he was really getting into double bass. And at that time Motley Crue was pretty big. He was doing the Cozy Powell thing, the Tommy Lee thing. He was really a good double bass drummer. He's a good drummer anyway, but he had the double bass thing going on. My background on drumming is a little different than his. He kind of grew into that metal thing. And I think that that was a big draw for Ronnie and Steven, they kind of approached Slash and said, let's give this a try. We were driving up to school, to Fairfax high, and I saw Ronnie walking on Fairfax. So I said to Shawn, I said, \"Hey, there's Ronnie. Let me out and I'll walk the rest of the way.\" So I got out of the car. I said, \"Hey, Ronnie,\" and Ronnie, like, jumped up. He's like, \"I'm sorry, man. It wasn't my decision. I didn't know it.\" And he was just totally frantic and panicked and apologetic and I'm like, \"What are you talking about What\" And he's like, \"Oh, you didn't know\" And I'm like, \"No.\" So the burden was on him to tell me in and it was emotional. It was hard because we were friends. Never feels good, but that's a lot of bands. It's revolving doors of musicians until you find that correct mix, that recipe. Or not! Fortunately, this evolved into what would ultimately become Guns N' Roses. Everything happened for a reason. I remember that night, Slash had called me up and he was very somber and it was a very bittersweet conversation. He was very apologetic, and I knew he felt bad. I didn't have words and it was an awkward conversation between a couple of good friends and musicians that played together Thank God it happened because we got Guns N' Roses. So it's all good. 59ce067264