Music video director recounts shooting 'Appetite for Destruction' videos with Guns n' Roses - Rolling Stone
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Guns N’ Roses Video History: Behind the Scenes of the ‘Appetite’ Clips

“Welcome to the Jungle”:

“I came up with the idea of stealing from three movies: Midnight Cowboy, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Clockwork Orange,” GN’R’s then-manager Alan Niven says of the “Welcome To the Jungle” video. On the set, all hell broke loose. “Slash got completely out of it and tried to steal the motor home that we were shooting,” director Nigel Dick says. “Suddenly the motor home took off and lurched across the street and made a U-turn and came scrunching to a halt. Slash sort of kidnapped the vehicle. The next day, I said, ‘All right, we’ll have no drink on set, we’ve got to be together.’ The first person to come up to me is Slash, and he’s apologizing. He says, ‘I’m sorry I took the motor home up into the hills, I hope I didn’t damage it too much.’ I remember thinking, ‘He crashed the motor home? Fuck!’ He hadn’t — this was part of his vision of the night before. He said to me, ‘So I understand we can’t have drinks on the set. Can I have a beer, man, please? I can’t remember what my response was, but I’m sure he got his way.”

“Sweet Child of Mine”:

Dick also remembers that Axl’s Sunset Strip-style bling nearly encumbered an otherwise classic performance. “[Rose] did this thing halfway through the song where he took his leather jacket off. He said, ‘Is this cool?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, as long as you try and remember and do it the same way every time.’ Well, we never got beyond halfway through the song for the first five, six takes, because he had so much metalwork around his wrists that the jacket kept getting caught on the metal stuff, and I remember this one shot of him like a windmill, just flailing his arm, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s going to get pissed off, he’s going to leave the set,’ which he didn’t, thank God.”

“Paradise City”:

Dick explains why working with someone as charismatic and unpredictable as Axl Rose is a blessing and a curse. “Your concern at the time is, ‘Is he going to stay?’ You’re thinking I’ve got to get some stuff of Axl on film. Slash and the other guys [will] hang around, because there’s some girls and some booze here, so they’re fine. But with Axl, it’s much more complex than that. I became, for a while, the go-to guy for that kind of band, and I’d get all these awful band managers coming up to me, ‘The job you did for that band was amazing, man, so you’ve got to do for my band what you did for Guns N’ Roses’ and you just go, ‘Oh my God.’ If the guy ain’t Axl, he ain’t Axl. You can be the best video director in the world, but if the lead singer doesn’t have his oats together, you’re fucked.”


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