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Former Guns N' Roses Manager Speaks Out
Talks Axl Rose's stage fright and much more...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 14 Feb 2012
With Guns N' Roses set to return to Dublin two years after their controversial show at The O2 which saw the band arrive on stage late only to storm off when met with a flurry of plastic bottles, ex-G N' R manager Alan Niven has spoken out about his time with Axl Rose and co.
Having been fired personally by Rose in 1991, Niven recalls the band in their infancy, just as they were set to become a global phenomenon. In an in-depth interview with metalsludge.tv, he detailed his first impressions of the band.
"My initial impression of the band was they were very powerful, a very impressive underground rock and roll band. I had doubts about radio airplay because they were so powerful and raw. You’ve got to remember, things like Bad Company, that was on the airwaves. I mean, Great White in those days looked edgy. So with Guns N’ Roses, to make this work we needed to do so through touring and press. I didn’t think we’d get much help from radio, and again, that proved accurate.
"I think their personalities are well known and evident," he continued. "The only comment I can make on that is that money and success magnify your personal traits. Axl was always Axl. The only one whose personality changed was Duff. When I first got to know him, he was very much a fan of punk, but he is actually very soft once you know him. But Duff was one of those guys, if I ever got into trouble with a guy at a bar, I would want him at my shoulder."
Speaking of how Axl wanted to cancel a huge co-headliner tour with Aerosmith due to stage fright, Niven revealed how he took inspiration from cult book The Dice Man and let chance decide.
"I had been in Vegas for a Great White show the previous weekend, and I brought some dice home from the Aladdin... I gathered everyone in the office together, and I said, “Look, I’m going to throw these dice. I’m going to weight it in Axl’s favor, so a one-through-10, he does not do the tour and we cancel.
I threw an 11.
So the next thing I did, I had the rest of the band fly out to Detroit for the first date, all our gear, everything. Axl had no choice, he had to do it. He was really mad at me. He didn’t talk to me for a long time after that."