Marc Canter had a front row seat and a backstage pass to the rise of “The World’s Most Dangerous Band” a.k.a. Guns N’ Roses. The band attended his wedding and Slash played at his son’s bar mitzvah. If you’ve read Slash or Steven’s books you’ve probably already heard about how Marc, Slash’s old BMX buddy, created a astonishing backlog flyers, notes, setlists, video and audio of his old pals rise to the top. Talk to Steven or Slash and they will tell you that THEIR jaw dropped when they finally saw the scope of the photos and the “you are there” nature of Marc’s fantastic book, RECKLESS ROAD. It’s over 300 pages of pure kickass, it’s that friggin good. Marc Canter also runs the world famous, historic Canter’s Deli in L.A. and if you ever run into him be aware that he may just have better GNR stories than the guys themselves so make sure to pick up a copy of his book along with having a bite to eat. We were spellbound by Marc’s recollections of the band, his thoughts on the legacy of the guys and the magic he witnessed from the very first day.
LRI: Do you think when Izzy went back to Indiana and got sober that it really changed the band relationship?
Marc: No, no, simply because Izzy just doesn’t change. I mean he got clean and everything but he was still the same old Izzy. He STILL is. Izzy is the same guy he was in 1985. In fact, a lot of people aren’t aware of this but for about two weeks in 1996 the guys got back together in the Illusions lineup and I remember telling Axl, “Don’t fuck it up. Just go in a room like the Traveling Wilburys and sit on crates, no girlfriends, no managers just your guitars and a tape recorder and grab whatever magic occurs as a result of you all being together and playing, just make music for each other and with each other not for the world and its magnifying glass. Make believe that someone is offering you 100 million dollars to write 12 songs. These are songs that will never have to be heard but they have to be complete and you won’t get paid unless you can prove that you actually hammered out these ideas, these songs.” Of course that was all for not because two weeks later that reunion fell apart but from what I understand Izzy had a tape of like 50 songs that he was gonna bring to these sessions that never happened. I don’t know if Axl heard Izzy’s stuff and thought it to be a little primitive or something but I know that Slash had a good dozen or so as well and Axl was into at least three of them and maybe four but then Slash got big headed and just took them all and said “Fine, I’m gonna go do Snake Pit with them”. I know that Axl was really upset that Slash quit and that Slash took those particular songs because those were songs that were written explicitly for Guns N’ Roses. Just because Axl didn’t want all of them didn’t mean he didn’t wanna work with some of them. I mean, at that point Slash was a little big headed after being out on the road and playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people it starts to go to your head. It was real similar to Joe Perry leaving Aerosmith and thinking he was going to go somewhere and he went nowhere. After three records Joe came back. It was sort of that kind of a thing but Axl pretty much never forgave him for leaving and he’s still very angry about that. He’s also angry about some things Slash said in the wake of leaving and about some things said regarding signing the name of the band over. It’s really a story of miscommunication more than anything because they’re both really, honestly telling the truth but unfortunately there’s two different stories and therefore two different truths. That’s partly because there’s middle men involved that people really don’t know. For instance, if you read Slash’s book, in regards to signing over the name he says that the manager told him that he and Duff had to sign the paper or Axl wouldn’t go onstage and there would be a riot. Now, if you ask Axl he’ll say “100 % false. I never said that, I never said I wouldn’t go on”. You know what? Because of Doug Goldstein, their manager being that middle man they are both telling the truth. Axl didn’t say that, Doug said that and pushed that on Duff and Slash in order to get Axl off his back, and they bought it. I’m not even sure what was said or when it was said but it might have been along the lines of Doug saying “Come on guys, just sign it. You know Axl, if you don’t deliver this signed he won’t go on and there’s going to be a riot tonight.” Axl maintains that yes, he did want them to sign it, he wanted that control in case something bad like a death should ever happen so that control of the band would not go into the hands of wives or girlfriends but he never, ever stated he would not go onstage. Slash maintains, as does Duff, that it happened so I am sure that it did, Doug said that but Axl is upset that Slash went to the media and everyone else and spun it that he wouldn’t go on if he didn’t sign away the name or that he pressured or tricked them because he didn’t. Like I said, in a way they are both telling the truth, it just comes down to Axl being unable to forgive Slash for spinning it that way and saying that he tried to blackmail them. Axl called Slash a liar but in his mind Slash is not lying, that’s really what he was told by management because if you talk to Duff he will tell you the exact same thing. The really odd thing is that Axl will talk to Duff and doesn’t call Duff a liar. My question is, if Duff and Slash are saying the exact same thing and both wrote books saying the exact same thing then what does that mean that Axl is not angry with Duff but is angry with Slash? That means there is some misdirected communication, there’s two sides to every story and if you don’t sit down and get both sides to figure out what went wrong you can never work through it. All they really need is some good therapy with a good marriage counselor and they can probably work out at least 80% of their problems. The other 20 percent may be water under the bridge or comments in the press that can’t be forgiven or worked out but 80 percent is a good start.