Monday, March 26, 2007

Johnny Yen vs. Axl Rose

Okay, I've been promising/threatening this-- the story about Axl Rose trying to pick a fight with me.

In 1988, the group Guns N' Roses broke out worldwide on the strength of their 1987 album "Appetite For Destruction." Their song "Welcome to the Jungle" appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie "The Dead Pool," which helped it along.

They toured the summer of 1988, opening for a newly clean and rejuvenated Aerosmith. They became huge.

They'd been part of a typical sex and drugs and rock and roll scene in L.A. As success-- and money-- hit, they apparently felt the need to get away from it all. In order to prepare for their next tour, they spent the summer of 1989 in Chicago. They rented out the Caberet Metro, a great rock venue-- a place I've seen Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Naked Raygun, the Dead Milkmen, Fetchin' Bones, Smashing Pumpkins (before they were big-- they sucked!) and a bunch of other groups. They would play and rehearse during the day-- and as we would find out, hang out at the Smart Bar, the bar downstairs.

The reason for this was that they wanted to get away from the drug scene in L.A. Anyone who hung there knew how damned funny that was-- the Smart Bar was a maelstrom of substance sales and use. I never had any interest in that-- I liked the music and some of the people (and that they were open until 4 am and near my home-- I was in full-blown slacker mode in those days) but everyone knew that this was the place for particular substances.

One night I was out with my friend Diana, one of my friends from college, and her boyfriend, and I met their friend Dana. Dana and I hit it off as friends immediately-- she was, like me, an unabashed liberal.

Conversation among us all turned to the rumor (at that point) that Guns N' Roses were hanging out there. I'd seen Slash floating around there one night, two monsterous bodyguards in tow, but none of the other guys.

Dana then told me to look over a few feet away. There was Axl Rose staring at me like a panther about to spring on its prey. I brushed it off at first. But every time I looked up, he was staring at me. Where I come from, that's usually an invitation to a fight.

He had two enormous goons right behind him. I mean, the only guys I'd ever met that were this big were the professional football players who did their summer training at Eastern Illinois University (the old St. Louis Cardinals, now the Arizona Cardinals) when I was in college. They-- and the alchohol he was consuming-- seemed to greatly increase his courage and ferocity.

I was having a great time drinking and talking to my friends. Axl stared for the better part of an hour. I ignored him.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he just had a crush on me.

4 comments:

Danielle said...

That was one strange experience. If that had happened to me I think I would have started rolling on the floor, strange. You twist one hella yarn, the scenes are as clear as day.
I'm glad I found you through Natalie, now I wish I could find cool bloggers in Las Vegas, everyone lives in Chicago.

Keep on keeping on

Mob said...

Ya gotta love the courage a couple behemoth body guards gives a scrawny razor thin kinda guy.

I'd have to wonder what the bodyguards think of their jobs.

"Aw, shit, here we go again..."

deadspot said...

That was nearly as anticlimactic as my story about the time I almost pushed Dave Lovering down a flight of stairs.

theideaofprogress said...

Now we all know who "Sweet Child o' Mine" is really about.