Inside Axl Rose and Slash's feud

Inside Axl Rose and Slash's feud

Guns N' Roses is one of the most iconic bands from the '80s hard rock scene. They had everything from the music to the hair to the "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" attitude. Many of their singles now evoke a sense of nostalgia within their listeners, and provide plenty of great sing-along moments reminiscent of the "Sweet Child O' Mine" scene in Step Brothers. But they had more than that. They had their personalities.

It's hard to say which of the two most well-known bandmates was the more famous. Slash could (and still can) shred the guitar in ways that most people couldn't imagine, even if they had a couple of extra hands to help them out. Not to mention, he's got the look, with his signature top hat, flowing hair, and sunglasses. For his part, Axl Rose has the voice and an attitude that has put fans into a sort of love-hate relationship with him over the years.

As it turns out, Rose and Slash had a love-hate relationship of their own at times, prompting a feud that lasted for decades.

The feud traces back to Axl's childhood trauma

Oddly enough, the feud between Guns N' Roses' Slash and Axl Rose involves a big screen TV. The first to break the silence on the feud wasn't either of the former bandmates involved but, instead, the band's former manager, when he spoke to Rolling Stone Brazil. The feud, as it turns out, began when Slash decided to work with Michael Jackson in the early 1990s. At the time, if you remember, all of the alleged Michael Jackson child molestation stuff was just coming out, and Rose was in the "Michael Jackson probably does uncouth stuff with young boys" camp.

"I told him not to do it because Axl was molested by his father when he was two and he believed the charges against Michael Jackson," former Guns N' Roses manager Doug Goldstein tells Rolling Stone. When Goldstein asked Slash what he was being paid to work with Jackson — Eddie Van Halen had recently been paid $1 million for a similar gig — Slash told him all he was getting was a big-screen TV.

"He [Axl Rose] was devastated. He thought that Slash would support it and would be against all the abuse. From the point of view of Axl, that was the only problem. He could ignore the drugs and alcohol but could never ignore child abuse," Goldstein says. Slash continued on the project with the king of pop and left Guns N' Roses in 1993.

What happened to Rose

The trauma from Axl Rose's past, the same molestation event that led to their feud, remains unproven. Rose claimed in a 1992 interview with Rolling Stone that his father violently molested him when he was only two years old. At the time of the interview, his father wasn't an easy guy to track down, believed by his relatives to be dead.

Due to regression therapy, from which Rose believes he can remember his life nearly to the point of conception, Rose claims to have memories of his abduction and sexual abuse by his father, when Axl was a toddler. "... He kidnapped me, because someone wasn't watching me," Rose tells Rolling Stone. "I remember a needle. I remember getting a shot. And I remember being sexually abused by this man and watching something horrible happen to my mother when she came to get me. I don't know all the details."

Something that horrific can have serious effects that follow the victims for the rest of their lives. In this case, it went on to taint Rose and Slash's relationship when Slash decided to work with someone who was an alleged child abuser.

Don't worry, the feud has been put to rest

Though the feud lasted 20 years, it was put to rest when Axl called Slash and reached out in the mid-2010s. Slash then joined Guns N' Roses for a tour in 2016. He also came forward around the same time to talk about his feelings, now that the feud was over.

"It was nice that it happened [the phone call]. I don't know if I would have had the wherewithal to call him, just because I'm introverted and it might have been hard for me," Slash told USA Today. "Not during that initial phone call, but after that, it was really good to be able to get rid of some of the negative baggage that we'd been carrying around for a long time." He added, "It'd been 20 years of not talking and letting this bad blood continue to be perpetuated by the media. It turned into something way bigger than what was really going on, so it was good to get past that."

He explained the feud a little further in a 2019 interview with The Guardian: "When Axl and I first got back together again and started talking about the issues that we had, the origins of them really went out to other people. It wasn't just because we were passing the buck; there were other entities involved that created a lot of havoc."