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The Rolling Stone Interview: Axl Rose

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How about the use of the word "faggots"?
I've had some very bad experiences with homosexuals. When I was first coming to Los Angeles, I was about eighteen or nineteen. On my first hitchhiking ride, this guy told me I could crash at his hotel. I went to sleep and woke up while this guy was trying to rape me. I threw him on the floor. He came at me again. I went running for the door. He came at me. I pinned him between the door and the wall. I had a straight razor, and I pulled the razor and said, "Don't ever touch me! Don't ever think about touching me! Don't touch yourself and think about me! Nothing!" Then I grabbed my stuff and split with no place to go, no sleep, in the middle of nowhere outside of St. Louis. That's why I have the attitude I have.

Are you antihomosexual then?
I'm proheterosexual. I can't get enough of women, and I don't see the same thing that other men can see in men. I'm not into gay or bisexual experiences. But that's hypocritical of me, because I'd rather see two women together than just about anything else. That happens to be my personal, favorite thing.

How about gay-bashing? Have you ever beaten up somebody simply because of their sexual preference?
]No! I never have. The most I do is, like, on the way to the Troubador in "Boystown," on Santa Monica Boulevard, I'll yell out the car window, "Why don't you guys like pussy?" 'Cause I'm confused. I don't understand it. Antihomosexual? I'm not against them doing what they want to do as long as it's not hurting anybody else and they're not forcing it upon me. I don't need them in my face or, pardon the pun, up my ass about it.

The "One in a Million" lyrics about "faggots" who "spread some fuckin' disease" got G n' R bounced from an AIDS benefit in New York by the Gay Men's Health Crisis, one of the groups that was involved with putting on the show. How did you feel about that?
We're in no way associated with the Gay Men's Health Crisis, except that David Geffen is on the board of directors for the concert and he's the owner of our record company. We were asked to do this, and we wanted to contribute some money to help stop a deadly disease that's killing humans of all kinds. A friend of mine who's homosexual and was largely responsible for the record companies taking notice of us was upset about it because we didn't even get a chance to clear ourselves, to make good.

AIDS is something very scary. The concert was something we wanted to do and felt it was important to do, but we were denied the opportunity. We were even denied the opportunity to say anything about it. It was just publicly announced that we weren't allowed to do it because the Gay Men's Health Crisis wouldn't let us. I don't feel they have the right to deny the money and attention they would have gotten from us playing. It's pride, it's ignorant, and it's childish.

Women seem to be one of the more popular subjects with Guns n' Roses. Are you a romantic kind of guy?
I'm a person that has a lot of different relationships. It's really hard to maintain a one-on-one relationship if the other person is not going to allow me to be with other people. I have a real open, hedonistic, sexual attitude. Just 'cause you're not totally in love with a person doesn't mean you don't like them. You can think they're attractive, and you want to touch them, have a great time with them. Maybe at that moment you are in love. I think love and lust go hand in hand, like good and evil. One without the other is not complete. But I don't tell someone I'm in love with them if I'm not. I never have.

You'd describe yourself as promiscuous then?
I have sex as often as possible.

Don't you ever think about contracting AIDS?
Yeah, but I also live in a city that's supposed to get the big quake any day. You can get killed on the freeway in a drive-by shooting, the food's irradiated, there's a million ways to go out. A lot of times, sexual situations are very spontaneous, but I try not to be overly careless.

So you practice safe sex?
Practicing safe sex . . . I like the word practice. It means keep doing it, keep repeating the process, get it right. Practice makes perfect. I don't know if it'll get perfect, but you can get a lot better. Just keep practicing.

What about drugs? Everyone and their mother seems to have a G n' R story involving junkie debauchery . . .
I'm not, and have never been, a junkie. The last interview in RIP Magazine got taken out of context about me talking openly about my drug use. That was over two years ago and was only for a few weeks when there was nothing to do. I was also very safe about it. That doesn't mean that at some point I won't get really sick of life and choose to OD. Then people will go, "He was always a junkie." That's not the case, but you can believe what you want, I don't give a fuck. No one's really gonna believe anything I say anyway as far as what I do or don't do with drugs, 'cause it's such a taboo subject.

Lately I've been drinking champagne for fun, a few beers, you know. Right now drugs get in the way of my dreams and goals. I really don't want drugs around me now. I'm not necessarily against the use of drugs, they just don't fit in my life right now. Then again, I could be out on tour for six months and a blast might be what cheers me up that night.

Do you think these excesses might hurt other members of the group?
I don't want to see drugs tear up this band. I'm against when it goes too far. Right now, for me, a line of coke is too far. A line of coke puts my voice out of commission for a week. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I did lots of stuff before. Maybe it's guilt and it's relocated in my throat. All I know is it's not healthy for me right now. And if somebody goes, "Oh, man, he's not a partyer anymore," hey, fuck you! Do you want a record or not?

With all the misconceptions floating around about G n' R, the biggest misconceptions seem to come from magazine interviews you've granted.
There's been a lot of sensationalism. People out there don't know what's real or not. Things are always going to get changed or taken out of context, but some magazines will make up an interview just to sell issues. One's written that Slash said I run over dogs. I've never run over any dogs. I think it sucks when a kid has three bucks and he buys a candy bar, a soda and a magazine because he's really into Guns n' Roses, and he gets bad photos and an interview that's not true. It's not fair. Unfortunately, it probably will never change.

Some schools have banned G n' R T-shirts, and organizations like the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) have objected to what they feel is the band's glorification of a degenerate lifestyle. When you sing to a younger audience, do you think you have any responsibility as their idol?
It's just a record . . . I don't know. You have to go through your own changes and growth. I'm not trying to influence anybody in a negative way. Also, I'm not raising your kid. You're the parent. The PMRC? Who are they? A TV show, like AM/PM?

If you had a young son, say Axl Rose II, how would you feel if he brought home an album with lyrics about "niggers" and "faggots"?
Right now I don't want to have a child, because I can't give it enough time. But I'd want him to talk about what he listened to with me, and have him show me new things, and me show him new things. He could play me the Screaming Banshees From Hell, and I could play him Jimi Hendrix or something. We could talk about the music. We'd talk about things together. I think it's a parent's job to raise their child. My father likes "Welcome to the Jungle." Ten years ago, if a song like that was caught in our house, man, it was over. But I can't hold how he once felt against him.

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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