Have you talked to anyone yet?
I've gone to one child-abuse center. When I went, the woman said that there was a little boy who wasn't able to accept things that had happened to him and to deal with it, no matter how many children were around him who'd had the same problems. And apparently he saw something about me and childhood problems, and he said, "Well, Axl had problems, and he's doing okay." He started opening up, and he's doing all right. And that's more important to me than Guns n' Roses, more important to me than anything I've done so far. Because I can relate to that more than anything. I've had such hatred for my father, for women, for...
Yeah. Myself. And it's just made me crazy. I'm working on getting past those things, and the world doesn't seem to be too tolerant of me doing that in public. It's like "Oh, you got a problem? You go away and take care of it." All these relatives knew little pieces of this puzzle, and nobody helped me with shit.I'm angry about that. I can't sit and think about Uncle So-and-So and enjoy it much. And if you're talking with any of these people, they try to get you to just tolerate it and take things back to the way they were: "Let's not get it public." My family did everything they could, thinking they were doing what was right, to bury it all. My stepfather was just adamant that he was going to protect Mom and himself: "Your real father does not get brought up." And he was also trying to cover his own tracks for what he did.
Why are you talking about this publicly?
One reason is for safety's sake. My stepfather is one of the most dangerous human beings I've ever met. It's very important that he's not in my life anymore or in my sister's. We may be able to forgive, but we can't allow it to happen again. There's a lot of reasons for me to talk about it publicly. Everybody wants to know "Why is Axl so fucked up?" and where those things are coming from. There's a really good chance that by going public I'm gonna get attacked. They'll think I'm jumping on a bandwagon. But then it's just gonna be obvious who's an asshole and who's not. There are probably people that are jumping on a bandwagon. But I think it's time. Things are changing, and things are coming out.
It's only been in the last few years that people have really been talking about what constitutes abuse. I'm not talking about molestation but emotional abuse.
All parents are going to abuse their children in some way. You can't be perfect. But you can help your child heal, if he's able to talk to you. Then he can say, "You know, when I was five, I saw this." I wear a shirt onstage sometimes that says, tell your kids the truth. People don't really know what that's about. Up until early this year, I was denied what happened to me, who I was, where I came from. I was denied my own existence, and I've been fighting for it ever since. Not that myself is the greatest thing on earth. But you have a right to fight for yourself.
If you don't have a sense of your own identity, everything's going to seem like a losing battle.
My growth was stopped at two years old. And when they talk about Axl Rose being a screaming two-year-old, they're right. There's a screaming two-year-old who's real pissed off and hides and won't show himself that often, even to me.Because I couldn't protect him. And the world didn't protect him. And women didn't protect him and basically thought he should be put out of existence. A lot of people out there think so now. It's a real strange thing to deal with on a consistent basis. I'm around a three-year-old baby now and then, and sometimes after a few days it's just too overwhelming for me. My head is spinning because of the changes it's putting me through.
You mean Stephanie's son?
Yeah. Stephanie [Seymour, Rose's girlfriend] has been very supportive in helping me deal with all this. People write all kinds of things about our relationship, but the most important thing in our relationship is that we maintain our friendship. The romance is a plus. We want to maintain our friendship and be really protective of how our relationship affects Dylan. Dylan gets priority over us, because he could be greatly damaged, and I don't want that to happen.
You were talking about Dylan last night.
Oh, man, they jump off things and stuff. It scares me. It's like they could break at any time. It scares the shit out of me. I've been with Dylan and he'll be upset about something, and I'm trying to help him, and he gets mad at me, and I've been offended. I've thought, "The only way I can deal with this is 'Okay, he's just being a jerk right now.'" But it was pointed out to me that he's not being a jerk, he doesn't know. What he needs is love. I thought about it, and I was like "Yeah, because I was told that, too." About my music, which is pure expression and honest emotion and feeling. I mean, I'll be singing something and know "Man, they're not gonna like this" and "This isn't right." But it's how I feel. The way I've been attacked has been strange. The press has actually helped me get my head more together. You know, my stepfather helped me, too. I learned a lot of things. That doesn't mean he wasn't also being an asshole. It's not quite fair to bring a two-year-old into the realities of who's an asshole and who's not. There's a part of me that's still two and getting a little better every day.
That would explain a lot.
One thing I want to say is, these aren't excuses. I'm not trying to get out of something. The bottom line is, each person is responsible for what they say and what they do. And I'm responsible for everything I've said and everything I've done, whether I want to be or not. So these aren't excuses. They're just facts, and they're things I'm dealing with. And if you've got a real problem with it, don't come to the show. If you gotta be home at fucking midnight, don't bother. Do yourself a favor. I'm not telling you to come – I don't think that I'd want to. If you've got a problem with me trying to deal with my shit and doing the show the best I can, then just don't come, man. It's not a problem. Just stay the fuck away. Because you're getting something out of it, but I'm also there for myself. I've got a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do. I've done about seven years' worth of therapy in a year, but it takes a lot of energy. And Guns n' Roses takes a lot of energy. It's a weird pressure to try to deal with both at the same time. And I'm gonna do it the best I can when I can and how I can. And I'm the judge of that – not anybody in the crowd.
How do you think all of this will affect your songwriting?
I really think that the next official Guns n' Roses record, or the next thing I do, at least, will take some dramatic turns that people didn't expect and show the growth. I don't want to be the twenty-three-year-old misfit that I was. I don't want to be that person.
Who do you want to be?
I guess I like who I am now. I'd like to have a little more internal peace. I'm sure everybody would.
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