Okay, when I posted the excerpts from the Adler biography, I copy/pasted the relevant sections as I was reading it. I never did that this time, so I can't be arsed going back though it again, I'll just operate from memory.
First off, whilst Duff is critical of Axl at times, he makes it clear that axl can be a very caring guy, evidenced by [as with Adler] Axl was the only member of Guns to make an effort to communicate with Duff when he was hospitalised.
Whilst refusing to go into specifics, Duff claims that he remembers parts of Slash's book 'differently.'
He claims that when Axl made his infamous 'too many people are dancing with mr brownstone' comment when opening for the stones, was the beginning of the end for the band. He was pissed off with the way the statement was made [in public/onstage] as opposed to Axl's comments, but with hindsight he can also understand Axl's concerns and frustration.
On the whole 'Axl said he wouldn't go onstage unless we signed' issue, Duff states that is was actually management who "hinted" at that. In fact, Duff makes it plainly clear that a lot of the blame for the break up of the band, also lies with management, whom he feels were manipulative, agenda driven and not acting with the best interests of the band at heart.
We've all heard that Axl, rejected Slash's material; Axl actualy thought it was too 'southern rock' and not a Guns album and Duff agreed with Axl on that.
One entertaining anecdote [not GN'R related] was a meeting that took place between a label exec' and VR. The same exec' had dropped Duff from Geffen in '99 without even giving him so much as a phone call. At the meeting Scott reeled him in and got assurances from the exec' that he'd never act in such a manner, before saying something along the lines of 'that's funny, because see this guy here? you did exactly that to him,' before telling the exec' to fuck off, which was the sole purpose of the meeting in the bands eyes.
I'll finish with one excerpt about Axl and Duff in London 2010.
As we walked into the hotel lobby, the manager met us to ask how our trip had gone. Exceptional service is one of the reasons I stay at this hotel whenever I come to London, I thought to myself, but they’ve really outdone themselves this time. But then I remembered: Susan and I were staying in an unusually big room, a suite—in fact, the hotel’s biggest suite. I’m by no means in the habit of staying in extravagant hotel rooms, however, and there was a simple explanation behind our staying in one now. My financial partner had booked the suite, which would also serve as headquarters and conference room for the week’s business and was being paid for accordingly. Since it was such a lavish space, it seemed perfectly normal when the manager offered to personally escort us up to the room.
As we glided upward in the elevator, the manager said to me, “So, sir, you are playing a concert this evening?”
“No, no, I’m not here for a concert this time. I’m here on other business.”
“Are you quite sure you’re not playing this evening, sir?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m not playing at all this entire trip.”
A slightly pained look flashed across his face.
“Well, sir, in that case I feel compelled to tell you that a Mr. Axl Rose is staying in the room adjoining yours. But I’m sure you are already aware.”
“Uh, no … I can’t say that I was aware of that. But thanks.”
Though it wasn’t something that gnawed at me over the years, I realized as soon as the hotel manager said Axl’s name that I did have this one last unresolved connection to the past. Thirteen years is a long time not to talk to someone with whom you went through a formative phase of your life. And if I’m completely honest with myself, there was an element of personal doubt involved in it—I guess I wondered whether lingering resentment or just plain anger would emerge from somewhere deep inside of me when I finally, inevitably, saw Axl again.
Time was a luxury I was short on that day, however, so I didn’t have a chance to dwell on this strange coincidence or mull the situation over just then. I had to shower fast and have a final brushup with Andy before we started our interview sessions—Andy and I had worked for a year solid to get us to this point. The first two meetings went great. I was getting my feet underneath me and sort of hitting my stride. During the third meeting, shortly after 6 p.m., the phone rang in what was serving as our conference room. I apologized to the gentlemen in the room, then answered.
“Duff McKagan!” I heard.
It was Axl’s manager.
Okay, I guess the word was out that I was staying in the same hotel. I told him that I was in the middle of a meeting and asked him what room he was in; I would call him back.
After finishing that last interview of the day, Andy and I went over our notes and had a discussion about the three candidates we had met. Only after that did I start to think about my neighbor on the other side of the wall.
Though it had been thirteen years since we’d last spoken, I had always assumed Axl and I would one day meet again. I didn’t know how it would happen, I just held out hope of perhaps rekindling a relationship of some sort, at some time. These days our only relationship, if you could call it that, consisted of being CC’d on the same emails about various business and legal affairs. Often vitriolic, caustic, or unpleasant emails. This type of language, I’ve found, keeps the clients angry and the lawyers employed.
Now here I was, a forty-six-year-old father of two girls Axl had never met. Grace provided a real-time gauge of how long it had been since Axl and I had spoken, since my departure from GN’R coincided with her birth.
In the end I just went to the door of his hotel room. People from his entourage stopped me in the hallway.
“You can’t go in right now, man,” said one. “He’s about to get in the shower to get ready for the show tonight.”
“I’ve seen him naked before,” I said.
The door to Axl’s room opened a crack.
“I thought I heard your voice out here,” said Axl.
He wasn’t naked.
He motioned with his head and said, “Come on in.”
And so, for the first time in much too long. Axl and I finally met again face-to-face. Any doubts I had about what might happen melted instantly.
From then on, there was no awkwardness at all. It turned out it wasn’t a big deal for either one of us, I don’t think. It was just cool. After so much time gone and lost, we both seemed eager to mend a personal fence, to bridge a gap between us that had felt wider the longer we had gone without meeting. Time apart had done some damage in the form of the aforementioned legal wrangling, but time had also allowed me to figure out some major shit that had happened in my life. With Axl, or really anyone from my past, I tend to look at how I might handle a similar relationship now. What I did back then remains in the past. I don’t necessarily forget those things, but I only bring them out of my memory from time to time to help me better deal with things today. So was I still harboring resentment or anger? To my relief, the answer, I now knew, was a resounding no.
The O2 Arena, where Axl’s gig was that night, sits at the tip of a thumb of land at a bend in the Thames River. Rather than go there by limo, Axl had a boat ferry him to the venue, and he invited me and Susan to go along. He and I told jokes and old war stories as we cruised through central London on the river. He reminded me that I once tried to burn down Gorilla Gardens in Seattle when the club owner withheld our payment. And now Susan knew I had once tried to burn down Gorilla Gardens, too. That must have been one from the vault that I’d forgotten to tell her.
Susan just laughed.
I showed him pictures of my daughters and he had a chance to get to know Susan a little bit, now that he had helped her learn something about me.
When we arrived at the O2 Arena, everyone there made us feel welcome, and that went a long way toward making it an enjoyable experience. I had always wondered what it would be like to see this band called Guns N’ Roses from anywhere but the stage. The guys in Axl’s current band are great players and good fucking guys. I’d had a chance to hang out with a few of them in other contexts over the years. And I’d been a fan of the guy who replaced me on bass—Tommy Stinson—for decades. He was an original member of the legendary Replacements, underground heroes of the 1980s. I must say I had a blast watching them all at the O2 Arena—and the band played awesome.
Then, during the encore, they hauled me out to play “You Could Be Mine,” a song I hadn’t played since the Use Your Illusion tour. I heard the crowd of 14,000 gasp and then go crazy when I emerged from the side of the stage and Tommy handed me his bass. Then I kind of forgot about one of the bridges in the song. Oops. At least Axl sounded good.
A little later I had a chance to go back out onstage and play along with “Patience.” And though I didn’t count the song in, it still felt as if doors were opening. Or perhaps reopening. Given this serendipitous chance to reunite with my old friend, I didn’t want to let it be a one-and-done chance meeting and leave it at that. I decided I would make an effort to remain a friend now.
Axl invited me and Susan to dinner a few nights later, which timed well with my meetings. This was a much more leisurely evening, and one without questions hanging in the air. Axl and I could let down our guard. We both now knew: things were fine.
When the waiter came to take our drink orders, Axl looked up at him, paused, glanced at me, and then said, “I’ll have a virgin mojito, please.”