Axl Rose’s Volatile Nature and Fiery Feuds

Rockstars are known to be loud and proud and whatnot. But Axl Rose is on a whole other level. According to Slash, the Guns n’ Roses frontman is the kind of guy to “shove a toothbrush down his throat” simply because it’s defective.

Axle Rose and Slash / Axl Rose / Axl Rose / Guns n’ Roses
Source: Getty Images

So, what’s the deal? Well, unsurprisingly, Axl’s story is one of trauma and abuse. Religion was shoved down his throat as a kid by his stepdad who consistently beat him and his sister. While this doesn’t justify his actions, it does explain his behavior.

There’s a lot of pain behind the frontman’s snarly and explosive voice… a lot of bottled-up anger behind his furious scream.

But before we get to that, let’s go over some infamous moments when he completely lost his temper.

The Story Behind the Epic Diss Track

In 1991, Guns ‘N’ Roses released the song, “Get in the Ring,” as part of the band’s 1991 album “Use Your Illusion II.” In the song, Rose challenges a number of people to a fight, including the publisher of Spin magazine, Bob Guccione Jr.

Bob Guccione Jr. / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

Axl Rose taunts Guccione by comparing him (in an unfavorable manner) to his dad, Bob Guccione, the man responsible for the adult magazine Penthouse. After the song’s release, Guccione Jr. published a letter in which he accepted Rose’s challenge. Years later, Bob told The Miami Herald, “He didn’t know that I studied full-contact karate for 10 years… He wimped out.”

Spin Magazine Called the Band a Pain in the A**

The reason Axl Rose was pissed at Bob Guccione Jr. and his magazine was because of a piece they released about him and his band. They slammed the group’s presence on stage, claiming that “the band has sucked sh*t more often than not.”

A group shot of Guns N’ Roses.
Photo by Ross Marino/Getty Images

The article also called them out for being “being “drug-addicted, paranoid, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, ruthless, violent, a threat to the liberty of the press, and a pain in the ass to almost everyone.” Ultimately, nothing came out of this lame feud.

He Went Batshit on a Fan

In 1991, during a concert near St. Louis, a 29-year-old Axl Rose plunged into the audience to confiscate some crazy fan’s unauthorized camera. Upon returning to the stage, Rose lashed out at security and then stormed off again.

Axl Rose of the rock band
Photo by Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The band stopped the show mid-concert, and, according to police, around 2,500 angry fans ran onto the stage and destroyed the group’s drums and amplifiers and smashed two large video screens. Clearly, Axl needed to take some anger management classes.

“Axl’s Act Is Tiring”

Axl Rose blamed the incident in St. Louis on lax security. However, a few days later, it happened again – Rose stormed off stage right after throwing his microphone at a crowd in Costa Mesa. This time, he was reportedly angry about some technical blunders.

Axl Rose performs on stage.
Photo by Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Images

By this point, both fans and law enforcement were getting sick of his cry-babyish behavior. Fans demanded their money back, and people started thinking twice about whether to get a ticket to see the boys live. “Axl’s act is getting tired,” snapped one fan in his mid-20s.

He Called Hetfield a Racist

In 1992, Guns ‘N Roses and Metallica toured together. All was well until an on-stage accident during one of Metallica’s performances in Montreal forced them to cut their show short. James Hetfield was terribly injured in a scary pyrotechnics mishap that gave him second and third-degree burns.

James Hetfield / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

Guns ‘N’ Roses then took center stage, but Axl ditched the stage shortly after, claiming that he had throat problems and couldn’t go on. Understandably, the fans weren’t happy about it. Tensions rose and the whole situation heated up between the two bands.

The Two Groups Never Really Got Along

James Hetfield later stated on VH1‘s docu-series Behind the Music that “We couldn’t relate to Axl and his attitude.” Metallica’s other bandmates as well as Rose himself admitted that the two bands never really got along on tour.

Axl Rose performs on stage.
Photo by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

In general, there was always some competition between the two. “Axl’s intention was to rule the world and wasn’t afraid to say it. Then, Lars Ulrich came along, and he wanted to rule the world,” drummer Matt Sorum later revealed. “They were very competitive.”

Tommy Hilfiger

In 2006, Guns N’ Roses played a show for Rosario Dawson’s birthday. After the performance, Axl Rose got into a fight with American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. This time, however, he acted like a true gentleman. Hilfiger hit Rose in the face after the rocker reportedly pushed him out of the way.

Tommy Hilfiger and Axl rose are being separated at a party.
Source: Twitter

Hilfiger claimed it was in self-defense because of all of the rocker’s intimidating rings on his hands. “He wears all this jewelry, [and] I’m thinking, if I get hit, it’s over. No teeth, no eye. So, I hit him before he hit me. It was self-protection. Now we’re friends,” he claimed.

Don’t Call Him Bon Jovi

Whatever you do, don’t confuse Axl Rose with Jon Bon Jovi. During an opening show for Alice Cooper in 1987, Axl Rose went on stage and let the crowd know that Bon Jovi could basically suck on one of his body parts.

Jon Bon Jovi / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

This infamous speech has become known as “Axl’s Blues.” The rocker was apparently responding to a run-in that happened the night before at the hotel he was staying in when a fight resulted in his opponent calling him Bon Jovi.

“Better Removed and Avoided”

Axl’s biggest feud is clearly with Slash. Rose has stated that the guitarist is “cancer, better removed and avoided.” Ouch. According to several reports, the bad blood began in the mid-’90s, after Rose replaced Slash’s guitar track with that of his childhood buddy Paul Tobias.

Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N' Roses perform onstage during the 'Not In This Lifetime' Tour.
Photo by Mark Horton/Getty Images

When Rose first added Tobias to the group, he intended on having his childhood friend work alongside Slash to create new music. But Slash wasn’t happy with the new addition. He eventually lost his cool and left the band.

Why Did He Sue Slash?

Even though Rose and Slash were the two most famous faces during Guns N’ Roses’ heyday, in 1996, Slash quit the band after years of inactivity. Then, in 2009, after rumors began to surface of a possible reunion between him and Rose, Rose quickly dismissed them:

Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N' Roses perform together.
Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

“What’s clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly, or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is.” In Slash’s 2007 memoir, he explained that the two parted ways due to Rose’s disrespectful behavior toward his fans and bandmates.

“An Uncreative Little Mind”

In 2006, after Scott Weiland and Slash’s Velvet Revolver collaboration took off, Scott Weiland was targeted by Axl Rose. Rose was already up against Slash and filed a lawsuit against him. But now, he wanted to knock Weiland down as well.

Scott Weiland and Slash during Smashbox LA Fashion Week.
Photo by Chris Weeks/FilmMagic/Getty Images

But Weiland didn’t back down. At the time, Wieland posted on Velvet Revolver’s website that Rose had an “unoriginal, uncreative little mind, the same mind that had to rely on its bandmates to write melodies and lyrics — who’s the fraud now?”

Vince Neil and Mötley Crüe

A brawl between Axl Rose and Vince Neil broke out after Neil attacked the former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist, Izzy Stradlin. The fight was a continuation of an incident that began the night before when Stradlin allegedly assaulted Neil’s wife.

Vince Neil / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

Neil was reportedly confronted by Axl Rose. “Axl came snarling after us like an overdressed Doberman,” Neil later stated. “‘Come on, mother*cker; I’m going to f*cking kill you!’ he yelled at our backs.” Axl claimed he “threw a punch like a powder-puff” at Neil.

Dexter Holland and The Offspring

In 2003, on April Fool’s Day, The Offspring’s Dexter Holland pulled a prank by jokingly letting fans know that his album Splinter (which was then unnamed) would be titled Chinese Democrazy – You Snooze You Lose.

Dexter Holland / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

Years before the prank, Guns ‘N’ Roses were busy working on a project they called Chinese Democracy, which unfortunately never came to fruition because of lineup changes and issues with recording. Eventually, Chinese Democracy became somewhat of a meme.

He Didn’t Find the Joke Funny

Apparently, Axl Rose didn’t find Dexter’s joke too funny and sent his lawyers to sue The Offspring member. Holland explained that it was a simple joke and laughed over the fact that as soon as they called their album Chinese Democrazy, they stopped recording.

A xl Rose performs on stage.
Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

The Offspring ended up calling their album Splinter, not Chinese Democrazy. “I don’t think we ever seriously considered using that name,” Holland later revealed. “But we could have if we wanted because you can’t copyright or trademark an album title or a song title.”

Eagles of Death Metal

In 2006, Eagles of Death Metal were chosen by Tommy Stinson to be the opening act for Guns ‘N Roses. After stepping on stage (30 minutes late), Axl Rose didn’t think twice and called his opening act “Pigeons of Shit Metal”.

Axl Rose and Tommy Stinson are performing live on stage.
Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

After hearing that, Tommy Stinson responded with a classy “f*ck you, that’s it.” Rose then grabbed Tommy’s bass and tossed it at him. He also hit a few people in the crowd. Why did all that happen in the first place?

Fans Were Sick of Waiting

The way Axl saw the situation was like this: He kicked Eagles of Death out of their tour because the band “sucked” and was poorly received by the Guns ‘N’ Roses fans. But according to Jesse Hughes, the Eagles’ lead, the fans were upset because they were sick of waiting for Axl to show up.

Axl Rose performs in front of screaming fans.
Photo by Barry Brecheisen/WireImage/Getty Images

“When we first walked out there, the crowd were jeering, but it was because we weren’t Axl Rose,” he argued. “These kids had been waiting there since seven o’clock for the second coming of Christ and Axl wasn’t there yet. So, a bunch of happy-go-lucky, sincere and real-deal rock and rollers came out and started playing. The jeers only went on for a little bit. By the end of the set, we’d won those f*ckers over.”

Kurt Cobain (and Courtney Love)

In the early 1990s, Axl Rose asked Kurt Cobain if his band Nirvana could open for Guns N’ Roses. Kurt rejected his offer and Rose never forgave it for him. At the MTV VMAs in 1992, Courtney Love asked the Guns ‘N’ Roses member if he wanted to be Frances Bean’s godfather.

Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and baby Frances Bean are attending the MTV Music Video Awards.
Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

Rose told Cobain to tell his “bitch to shut up.” Kurt went along with him and teased him right back, annoying the rockstar even more. He then challenged the Nirvana frontman to a fight, threatening that he would whoop his butt. When Rose lashed out at Cobain, Cobain was holding baby Frances in his arms.

It Escalated Quickly

Rose and Cobain’s feud escalated pretty quickly when the Guns ‘N’ Roses member lashed out at Cobain and Love, mocking their infamous heroin addiction and stating that they would be the ones to blame if their baby girl were born “deformed.”

Kurt Cobain / Axl Rose
Source: Getty Images

He even stated that they should go to prison for their behavior. The Nirvana frontman later stated that Rose walked up to him and Courtney and yelled:

“‘You better keep your wife shut or I’m gonna take you to the pavement!’… I [Kurt] was shaking, I went, ‘What? What are you going to do? Beat me up?’ And he said, ‘You better keep your wife’s mouth shut.’”

He Tried to Cause Bad Blood Between Slash and Weiland

In 2006, Axl Rose was sued by his former bandmates, Slash and Duff McKagan, over publishing and songwriting credits. They accused Rose of changing the publishers of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ songs without their approval and secretly pocketing all of the royalties.

Scott Weiland and Slash pose together.
Photo by KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Axl then countersued Slash. Rose’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, later claimed that Slash had arrived at Rose’s house and badmouthed his Velvet Revolver bandmates. According to Howard’s statement, “Slash told Rose that McKagan was spineless” and that “Weiland was a fraud.”

Slash Denied the Claims

Even though Slash denied the accusations, he did admit in his 2007 memoir that he showed up at Axl’s home to make peace with him; however, he didn’t get a chance to speak to his former bandmate. Unlike Slash, who took it easy on Rose, Weiland’s response to the accusations was a bit harsher.

A portrait of Slash.
Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Scott slammed Axl, calling the frontman a “fat, Botox-faced, and wing wearing f*ck,” and questioned how he dared to call their bass player spineless. “[Axl Rose]is a frightened little man who once thought he was king,” Scott stated.

Rock’s Favorite Bad Boy

So, what do we know about rock’s favorite bad boy?

For one (and this won’t come as a surprise), he got into his fair share of trouble as a kid. He was one of the brightest kids in his school, but his behavior eventually caused him to drop out.

A photo of a young Axl Rose.
Source: Twitter

“On the placement tests in school, I was always in the top 3 percent,” the frontman told Rolling Stone magazine. “I dropped out in the eleventh grade, went back as a senior, then dropped out again.” According to the singer, he wasn’t too excited about the school’s curriculum.

He Studied Music in Secret

Axl found school to be boring, so he granted himself a permanent hall pass to study topics of greater interest, or what he called “Axl’s school of subjects that I wanted to learn about.” One thing led to another, and he took up music as a hobby.

Axl’s high school yearbook photo.
Source: Pinterest

He did so in private because of his stepdad’s religious beliefs. He wasn’t really allowed to crank his stereo or tear his eardrums with headphones. “I remember once my friend Dave called me and played Supertramp over the phone,” Rose told the LA Times. “I just acted like I was talking to him so no one would know.”

Indiana’s Cops Hate Him

Growing up in Lafayette, Indiana, Rose became known as an annoying little troublemaker. “[Me and my friends] got in trouble for fun,” the singer told Rolling Stone back in 1989. “It finally reached a point where I realized I was going to end up in jail because I kept f*cking with the system.”

Axl Rose is being arrested.
Source: YouTube

Rose told the magazine the story of a fight he once got into with some guy from town. Following their clash, Axl Rose spent three months in jail before he finally got out. “But once you’ve pissed off a detective, it’s a vengeance rap back there,” Rose explained.

The Harassment Continued

Axl Rose was pretty much blacklisted in Indiana, and the police were after him. They arrested the soon-to-be singer for underage drinking, even though it happened in his own backyard. (The charge was eventually dropped).

An 18-year-old Axl Rose posed for the Indiana police mug shot
Photo courtesy Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images

After years of going back and forth with the police, Axl Rose left Indiana to start a new life in California. But even after becoming famous, Rose was still hesitant to return. “Now when I go back to see my family, I avoid the police there,” he once stated. “I try to avoid all police in general.”

Family Secrets

“My real father was a pretty f*cked-up individual,” Axl shared in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 1992. The identity of his biological dad was more or less hidden from him until late in his adolescence when he came upon some documents.

A teenage Axl Rose sits in the back seat of the car.
Source: Pinterest

“I wasn’t told I had a real father until I was 17,” he revealed. “My real father was my stepdad, as far as I knew.” However, he stumbled upon some insurance papers and other documents that revealed the truth.

Kidnapped by His Birth Father

When Axl was just two years old, his parents split, which, according to the singer, led to his being kidnapped by his biological dad. Years later, he underwent therapy, in which he managed to recall a chilling incident.

A baby Axl Rose is being held in his mother’s arms.
Source: Tumblr

“I remember a needle. I remember getting a shot. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and watching something horrible happen to my mother when she came to get me,” he revealed. Because of the horrible nature of the abuse, Axl suppressed the incident for years only to have it crop back up as an adult.

Threatened by Women

Axl Rose’s mom married his dad while she was still a young high school student. Due to their tender age, Axl claims he was well aware that his birth was unwanted. “My mom’s pregnancy wasn’t a welcome thing,” the singer told Rolling Stone.

Sharon Bailey / Axl Rose
Source: YouTube

“My mom got a lot of problems out of it, and I was aware of those problems.” His mom worked through her problems in a, to put it simply, less than favorable way. “She’s picked my stepfather over me ever since he was around and watched me get beaten by him… She wasn’t there for me.”

Brainwashed by His Stepdad

Axl Rose’s stepfather was a very religious Pentecostal preacher who brainwashed his stepson into viewing women and sexuality as something dangerous and taboo. “Whenever there was any form of sex, like a kissing scene, on TV, we weren’t allowed to look,” the singer explained.

A portrait of Axl Rose.
Source: Pinterest

He had to turn his head whenever a racy scene would pop up on screen. Rose’s mom, afraid of her husband’s bullying, stood by and did nothing to guard her son. According to the singer, she was too insecure to stand up to him but even more insecure to leave him.

He Constantly Beat Them

The abuse Axl claims he received at the hands of his stepdad wasn’t just about the television. “This person basically tried to control me and discipline me because of the problems he’d had in his childhood,” Axl told Rolling Stone.

An angry Axl Rose performs on stage.
Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Then, when his mom and his stepdad welcomed their daughter into the family, she was molested by him for nearly two decades. “[He] beat us. Beat me consistently. I thought these things were normal,” Axl confessed.

“One of the Most Dangerous Human Beings I’ve Ever Met”

By the time Axl Rose sat down with Rolling Stone and shared the atrocities of his past, he had long since distanced himself from the man he called “one of the most dangerous human beings” he has ever met. “It’s very important that he’s not in my life anymore, or in my sister’s,” he explained.

Axl Rose of Guns n' Roses performs on stage at Wembley Stadium.
Photo by Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Imges

“We may be able to forgive, but we can’t allow it to happen again,” he continued. In true big-brother fashion, Rose became ultra-protective of his little sister, Amy Bailey, even in adulthood. She later became Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Fan Club manager and even accompanied the group on the road.

He Witnessed a Lot of Hypocrisy in His Religious Surroundings

Axl’s stepdad adhered to the tenets of his religious faith strictly and insisted that his family follow in his footsteps. Years later, the singer claimed that he wasn’t necessarily against churches or religion, but that he did believe that most monotheistic religions “make a mockery of humanity.”

Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses during Guns N' Roses in Concert.
Photo by Phillip Massey/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Rose was particularly angered by the hypocrisy he witnessed in Pentecostal churches. “These were people who were finding God but still living with their damage from their own childhoods and inflicting it upon their children,” he explained.

The Bible Was Shoved Down His Throat

Forced to go to church “anywhere from three to eight times a week,” Axl was also confused about what the community considered to be evil. The unsettling confusion trickled into the walls of their family home. “We’d have televisions one week, then my stepdad would throw them out because they were satanic,” he recalled.

Axl Rose of the rock band 'Guns n' Roses' performs onstage at the Country Club.
Photo by Marc S Canter/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

All in all, Axl’s religious upbringing ended up having the opposite effect of what his stepdad had intended. “The Bible was shoved down my throat, and it really distorted my point of view,” the singer confessed, “we were taught ‘You must fear God.’ I don’t think that’s healthy at all.”

More Guns Than Roses

Given the singer’s traumatic, complex, and eerie childhood, Axl developed some serious attachment issues, leading to unhealthy relationships with the women in his life. “I’ve been hell on the women in my life,” the singer told Rolling Stone, “and the women in my life have been hell on me.”

Erin Everly and Axl Rose pose together.
Source: YouTube

This unfortunate reality cost him his marriage to Erin Everly, the woman who inspired Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine. Rose described her as his best friend, but despite their best efforts, they ended up “[f*cking] each other’s lives completely up.”

He Channeled His Anger Into His Songwriting

Axl’s other relationships weren’t any better. His high-profile love affair with model Stephanie Seymour was plagued with trouble, trouble and more trouble. Rose even mourned her “Death” in the group’s music video for November Rain.

Stephanie Seymour and Axl Rose arrive at an event.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Rose eventually found a way to work through his problems and channeled his bottled-up anger into his songwriting. No wonder his lyrics were viewed as problematic, misogynistic, murderous and mean-spirited. But the singer always claimed that his music wasn’t supposed to scare people. On the contrary, it was supposed to let the listener know that they were allowed to feel certain ways.

A Cause for Real Destruction

When Rose’s rage got to him, anything standing in his path could be at serious risk. When Rolling Stone magazine paid a visit to him in 1989, they reported that his condo “looked like the aftermath of a battle between Chuck Norris and Godzilla.”

Axl Rose is seen yelling at someone during an event.
Photo by Phillip Massey/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“One guitar has been destroyed, a mirrored wall shattered, several platinum albums broken beyond repair and the telephone dropped off a twelfth-story balcony. Apparently … Axl Rose had to get something out of his system,” the magazine reported.

He’s Pulled Razor Blades on Himself

Rose wouldn’t tell the Rolling Stone reporter what upset him, but he did share what it was like living with regular tantrums. “When I get stressed, I get violent and take it out on myself,” he explained. “I’ve pulled razor blades on myself but then realized that having a scar is more detrimental than not having a stereo. I’d rather kick in my stereo than cut my arm.”

A portrait of Axl Rose.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Years later, Slash told the magazine, “Axl is like a magnet for problems.” After multiple tours and recording sessions with the singer, Slash concluded that he had never met anybody like him. “He’s the kind of guy that would get a toothbrush stuck down his throat because that particular toothbrush happened to be defective.”

His Behavior Had Massive Consequences

Axl Rose may have taken the anger out on himself in some instances, but a lot of his tantrums carried with them some serious consequences, and the decisions he made heavily affected his relationships with his band members as well as with his fans.

Axl Rose perform onstage at BB&T Center in 2016.
Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

In the early ’00s, Rose just stopped showing up at scheduled Guns N’ Roses concerts, which caused uproars and riots and lootings and just a whole tornado of chaos, leading some professionals to stop booking the band.

He Began Therapy

By now, it’s pretty clear that Axl is one troubled guy. After years of outbursts and tantrums, he began regression therapy, in the hopes of identifying the source of his tumultuous nature and discovering ways to work through it.

Axl Rose performs on stage.
Photo by Francesco Castaldo/Archivio Francesco Castaldo/Mondadori/Getty Images

“It’s finding some way to break the chain,” Rose told Rolling Stone Magazine, “I’m trying to fix myself and turn around and help others. You can’t really save anyone. You can support them, but they have to save themselves.”

He Began Grieving Over His Two-Year-Old Self

Regression therapy involves recovering “lost” memories. And while the mind is a fragile and often unreliable source, Axl still claims that the sessions have helped him. “My life still has its ups and downs,” he explained, “but it’s a lot better because of this work.”

xl Rose lets out a yell while on stage.
Photo by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

According to Rose, therapy is about grieving and coming to some understanding of why he behaves a certain way. He discovered that his growth stopped when he was two years old. “When they talk about Axl Rose being a screaming 2-year-old, they’re right,” he noted. “There’s a screaming 2-year-old who’s real pissed off and hides and won’t show himself that often, even to me.”