The Reason Axl Rose Dropped Out Of School

Guns n' Roses frontman Axl Rose is well-known for his short temper, shrieking, powerful vocals, and propensity for living as if he has a literal appetite for destruction. In a 1989 Rolling Stone interview, Rose, at the height of his then-brand-new fame and fortune, discussed his early years growing up in Lafayette, Indiana. Admitting that when he was growing up he "was never really popular" and "always starving," Rose remembered that he had "escaped from one group where I was looked down on for being a poor kid that doesn't know s***."

Rose says his unhappy school days contributed to his band's success, noting, "none of us were popular kids in school — we were all outcasts who got together and pooled our talents." Despite placement tests that ranked him in the top three percent of his classmates, Rose dropped out of school in the 11th grade, returned, and eventually dropped out again in his senior year, failing to graduate from high school.

Axl's school of subjects

Rose told Rolling Stone that he left school "'cause I couldn't make school work for me. I was having to read books, sing songs, draw pictures of things that didn't stimulate or excite me." Choosing to educate himself, Rose took up painting and drawing on his own, presumably finally focusing on subjects he found stimulating and exciting, and spending time at the local library, calling this "putting myself through Axl's school of subjects that I wanted to learn about."

Unfortunately, this also left plenty of time for Rose to "[get] in trouble for fun," to the point where he spent three months in jail. Eventually he left Indiana for California to be a rock star. Despite his lack of formal education, Rose advised "any high school kid" to take business classes: "I don't care what else your gonna do ... You can say 'Well, I don't want to get commercial,' but if you do anything to make any money, you're doing something commercial." Spoken like a true smart kid.