Rock and Roll…the history, the people, the personal stories and the music made by only those who walk where angels fear to tread. When you think of great songs; the songs that make you stand still and the hair on the back of your neck rise; those songs…who do you think of? Many of us would agree, especially when we hear that certain riff and that drum beat, where we were when we first heard, Sweet Child O Mine.
Steven Adler kept the beat for Guns N’ Roses, for many years and is honored to be one of the original members of Guns N’ Roses inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on Saturday, April 14, 2012. It would be something special to see the original members play together one more time. Adler feels bad but he knows it won’t happen. You can’t keep Adler down though; with a smile and chuckle, he states, “Well…it’s another accomplishment I can knock off the belt of life. The only thing that I haven’t accomplished yet…you know I ask God…’God what’s gonna happen? Gimme some kind of clue what’s going to happen on April 14th at the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame?’ And he doesn’t know. I asked Satan, and Satan doesn’t even know what’s goin’ on! So if both these guys don’t know what’s goin’ on, I don’t know.”
“For me, the most important thing…of course it’s a huge honor; but the honor would be for the original five guys to perform….you know for our fans. I mean I’ve never heard of a rock band that the fans have wanted to hear and see…together [more than Guns N' Roses]….I want to perform. So, I mean I’m just going to go out there and play the drums to the CD of Appetite cause I love and respect the fans. I get to watch Family Guy and American Dad all night long on the couch because of the fans! And all they want us to do is play for them. We’re just a rock n’ roll band, my God….I mean what ever happened with Axl and Slash was twenty years ago. I mean you don’t even have to look at each other….just play for the fans. I mean my grandmother always said, ‘time heals all wounds’ and I know nothing that could have happened that time couldn’t heal after 20 friggin’ years.”
Obviously 20 friggin’ years weren’t long enough for Axl Rose. He wrote a long open letter, stating why he couldn’t come to the induction, which went viral on all the music entertainment sites within a few minutes and was posted to all the online newspapers as well. “Though unfortunately I’m sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I’ll have to contend with the fallout),” wrote Rose, “I certainly don’t intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision.”
He couldn’t have been more right.
Regardless of whether it was irreflective or not, people have taken offense and fans are disappointed and it’s all over the band’s Facebook page. The reactions range from contemptuous to angry.
“I get love and respect everywhere I’ve been around the world,” says Adler, “and all these people want is to see the original five guys play the music for ‘em and that means sooo much. I’m dedicating my award to all the bands that should be in there like KISS and Nazareth and Journey….is Aerosmith even in there? I mean if it wasn’t for all these bands that aren’t in there, there would never be a Guns N Roses. So I dedicate my award to them cause we’ve taken everything from all the other separate bands. The five of us had five different music influences and we just put them all together.”
“Most young musicians want to be a part of a band to get girls, do drugs and party and all that but we really weren’t out for just that…of course being young we all wanted girls drugs and to party but we believed if we had a great record, and a great band, all that other stuff would come naturally…which it did. I mean we were really into wanting to be a special band. And we accomplished our dreams and it’s a huge blessing and honor being a part of that and I’m thankful. You know I’ll go out with a friend and people will stop us and ask, ‘What band were you in?’ and my friend will give the name and they’ll go, ‘Ohhhh’…then they ask me and I say, ‘Guns N Roses’ and they go, ‘WHOA! I know you!!!’ So it’s pretty cool being a part of a really cool band! Yeah…the rock and roll hall of fame is a wonderful honor.”
As with the other band members, Adler has gone on to other projects over the years; most notably his newest baby and namesake, ADLER. The smiles and laughter in the room from drummer Steven Adler, singer/songwriter Jacob Bunton and guitarist Lonnie Paul is contagious to say the least. Lonnie Paul and Adler met last summer while touring for Adler’s Appetite. Paul played a few of his original songs for Adler and the two decided when they got back into town to start a new project. “Yeah, so Steven and I were looking for a singer and I’m giving you the condensed version,” says Paul,” I was out one night at the Key Club and ran into a mutual friend of Jacob’s and mine, Jay Ruston, who produced Anthrax and Madonna…he’s mixing our record…well he asks me what I was up to and I told him Steven and I are looking to start this new band but we need a killer singer and he said, ‘Oh I know the perfect guy.’ That night he introduced me to Jacob. I got home and texted Steven, I found the guy….and a day or two later I introduced the two of them and after they met, I was in the lobby with Steven and I said, ‘Well, isn’t he a star?’ and Steven says, ‘No, he’s a superstar.’ And of course that says it all.”
“Yeah…we actually met at Jani Lane’s memorial at the Key Club in August,” States Bunton. “Jani was a good friend of mine. We used to write songs together and we kind of joked around that he kind of brought this band together cause we wouldn’t have known each other if it wasn’t for Jani…you know….”
“I’ve got a great group here, you know,” says Adler, “Jacob is quite accomplished; tell ‘em Jacob.” “I’ve been playing music my whole life,” says Bunton, “I grew up with Guns N Roses. I started out with a band called, Mars Electric, on Columbia Records several years ago. The last project was a band, called LYNAM…we had a record out on Universal, a record out on Megaforce and a record out on Island/Def Jam…we kind of bounced around a lot…but I’m primarily a songwriter and singer these days and we all got together to form this band, through a mutual friend of ours, Jay Ruston…and that’s my story!”
“Jesus Christ a life story in thirty seconds what kind of life is fuckin’ that?” laughs Adler. “Jacob’s got more songs on the radio…tell them about all the songs you wrote, you got more songs on the radio…than the Eagles!” “Yeah… I’ve been writing top 40 music for a long time and also the rock stuff,” says Bunton.
The band has been in anticipation for the release of their debut, ADLER. With all the musical history and backgrounds within these three, not to mention guest appearances by Slash and John5, and producer Jeff Pilson, the music sounds promising and exciting. So then, what do we expect from ADLER? The namesake chimes in, “We’re all very excited….I’m personally excited,” says Adler, “this record that we’ve been doing, which will hopefully be coming out soon; Jacob will talk to you about that, but… I feel it’s kind of like an Appetite For Destruction…right now the world needs a new rock and roll band and we’re just the guys to do it….we’re very excited about getting out there and showing the world what it’s all about…again.”
“Our music is straight ahead ROCK N ROLL!” says Bunton. “It’s a mixture of all our influences obviously; the second you hear the drums you know it’s Steven Adler…Steven has that sound….that recognizable sound…kind of like when a Van Halen song comes on the radio….you know it’s Alex Van Halen, when a Fleetwood Mac song comes on you know it’s Mick Fleetwood…Steven’s got his thing…his sound…undeniably recognizable…so the sound of our music is straight ahead rock n roll…it’s got all the elements of danger, love, lust, life and what I feel are elements that have been missing in rock n roll for quite some time so we’re really, really excited for everybody to hear us. We wear our influences on our sleeves and you’ll hear it in the music. And I will tell you as far as this project goes, it’s absolutely crazy cause like I was telling you, growing up, I was a huge Guns N Roses fan…you know Motley Crue, KISS, Aerosmith and all of that…and the whole time we’ve been making the record…it’s kind of like the movie, Rockstar…who Jeff Pilson, the guy who’s been producing and playing the bass, he was actually in that movie but it’s kind of like that movie cause I’ll be in the vocal booth, you know singing the songs and on the other side of the glass…I’m literally pinching myself because the people in the room over there…Slash, Steven and Jeff…they were all hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. It’s very surreal.”
ADLER’s debut single, The One That You Hated, which can be heard on Youtube.com and bought on iTunes and Amazon, has the feel of all the right ingredients to please the masses; the song rocks. “It’s coming out all over the world digitally,” says Bunton, “it will be on iTunes, Amazon….yeah, the name of the song is called, The One That You Hated and that is the introduction of ADLER to the world. We’re really excited about it and the video for it was done in Los Angeles. “It’s one of the first songs that me and Lonny actually co-wrote together but it’s one of the last songs we ended up recording for the record. I had the music and versus laying around for a while but didn’t have a good solid chorus and one day I picked up Lonnie’s acoustic guitar in his house and said, ‘Hey man tell me what you think of this, I don’t have a chorus’ and started playing it and by the time we got around to the chorus Lonnie just belted out ‘I’m the one that you hated,’ and we had our chorus.”
“The lyrics are about two people who are basically no good for each other,” explains Bunton, “but for what ever reason won’t break up and everybody’s seen it a million times over the years….maybe it’s the sex, maybe it’s the convenience, maybe people are just too scared to move on and start over…but people do seem to be attracted to people they hate. I was reading a science blog, ’cause I’m a nerd like that and they were talking about love and hate being intimately linked with the human brain…the same circuitry goes into both and scientists proved that…and it just seems to work with the subject matter of the song so that’s where The One That You Hated, came from.”
The recording process can sometimes drag on but Bunton, who is no stranger to the process itself, loved his time in the studio. “The whole recording process has been nothing short of amazing,” States Bunton, “every day we wake up, we go eat breakfast somewhere then we head over to the studio and we record all day and the project has just been amazing. You know Jeff Pilson makes the strongest best coffee; we call it the ‘Jeff Pilson 7-second grind/4 minute coffee!’ Steven keeps talking about, ‘Man I’m so excited after we leave the studio I can’t sleep because I just can’t wait to get back to the studio tomorrow to create more music’ and what it is man is this coffee!”
One might think that since Pilson played bass on all the recordings, he might have been an unofficial member but Bunton says no. “Jeff’s role is he’s producing and also playing bass on the record. His main gig is Foreigner; he’s been in Foreigner since 2002, I think? Somewhere around there…yeah that’s his main gig so it’s just the three of us; myself, Lonnie and Steven. The chemistry is amazing and we will eventually get a bass player but the chemistry has to be amazing likes it’s been since the beginning with us three…it just has to click.” (Bassist, Johnny Martin has since joined the band.)
The question still hanging out there is the condition of Adler’s health and his addictions. “Yeah, everything is cool man,” says Adler. “My health is wonderful and if I wasn’t feeling good and doing well I would never be in the position I am right now. Ya know, Slash and John5 are not two guys who come out for just anything or anybody so I have to be doing something good in God’s eyes to make them come out and want to be a part of this with us.” And to his fans he has this warning, ” Thank you to all the fans…we’re coming for ya!!!”