Axl Rose’s Embarrassing Alice Cooper Moment, as Recalled by Steve Darrow

Steve Darrow, bassist for Hollywood Rose, recently spoke with Andrew DiCecco of VWMusic and recalled the time Axl Rose arrived nearly an hour late to an Alice Cooper opening show. Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, and Chris Weber formed Hollywood Rose in 1983 before Guns N’ Roses. Steve Darrow also joined them on stage during live performances to play bass. However, the band was unable to remain together for an extended period of time due to the constant lineup changes. However, they laid the foundation for Guns N’ Roses’ massive future success. Several Hollywood Rose songs were included on later albums recorded by the band.

After launching their musical career in 1985, Guns N’ Roses began to make a name for themselves on the Hollywood club scene by performing in renowned bars. It did not take long for them to attract the attention of major record labels, and in March of 1986, they signed with Geffen Records. Later that year, the band also began performing as opening acts. In October 1986, they served as the opening act for Alice Cooper in Santa Barbara, which did not go well. In a recent interview, Steve Darrow described that opening performance as a disaster because Axl Rose did not appear on time. Thus, their roadie Ronnie and Izzy Stradlin attempted to save the show by singing a few songs, but the band’s experience was still embarrassing. The band members were asked to leave the stage, so they were unable to capitalize on a crucial opportunity to advance their careers.

Darrow recalled that everyone assumed Guns N’ Roses wouldn’t be able to recover from such a disastrous performance, during which their lead singer never took the stage. The bassist believes they could have recovered more quickly if they were in a later stage of their musical journey, but it was a rare opportunity for them at that time in their career. Contrary to popular belief, it was not the end for the band, given the immense success they would achieve in the following years. Steve Darrow, referring to Guns N’ Roses as Alice Cooper’s opening act:

“I attended the 1986 Alice Cooper concert in Santa Barbara, which GN’R opened for. That was a catastrophe for them. Axl decided to arrive nearly an hour late. Later in his career, he could get away with such behavior. They were fortunate to be asked to perform with Alice in a large concert hall at this point. It turned out to be quite embarrassing. Axl never even went on stage. Their roadie, Ronnie, came out and attempted to sing a few songs, and I believe Izzy also attempted to sing, but it was quite embarrassing for them. After a handful of songs, they were asked to leave the stage. Everyone believed that was likely their final moment on earth. However, it was not true, and they had the last laugh.” Guns N’ Roses released their highly successful debut album, ‘Appetite for Destruction,’ one year after this unsuccessful performance. During their extensive tour in support of the ground-breaking album, the band once again had the opportunity to open for Alice Cooper in North America.

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