Steven Adler Talks Guns N’ Roses Rock Hall Induction, New Project, Drug Use + More
Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler talks about Guns N’ Roses’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, his new project, ‘Adler,’ being on Celebrity Rehab and Sober House with Dr. Drew and how despite quitting alcohol and drugs, he still makes room for a bit of the “sweet leaf.”
Our recent interview with Steven Adler stirred up some controversy when he referred to the current Guns N’ Roses lineup as “hacks.” After sending out and apology to the band, which was happily accepted by guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Adler corrected his mistake by claiming that he meant to call the new Guns members “scabs” instead of “hacks.”
Now, we’re posting the full interview with Steven Adler and Jacob Bunton, the vocalist for Adler’s new project. Both musicians took us into the depths of recording the new album, collaborating with Slash, pizza, drugs and much more.
What can fans expect from this new album?
Steven Adler: Who the hell is on my phone? I’m trying to order a goddamn pizza. I just want a deep dish pepperoni delivered, please.
[Laughs] I’ll give it to you if you can tell me what fans can expect from the new album.
Adler: [Laughs] They can expect in-your-face rock’ n’ roll, something that the world needs. The world hasn’t had a great rock’ n’ roll band since what the Foo Fighters ’95. The world needs a good rock ‘n‘ roll band and we’re just the guys to give it to them. We are gonna crush souls and destroy dreams [Laughs].
That sounds good to me.
Jacob Bunton: Real quick, I will tell you as soon as you ran Slash’s piece with him saying he would reunite at the Hall of Fame, we got so many Twitter hits and Facebook hits as soon as that ran. That was pretty amazing.
Adler: If it was up to me we would’ve been playing for the fans a long time ago. Unfortunately, I have no say in it. As many prayers as I put into God and Satan, I’m behind it 100 percent — 111 percent! I’m behind it and it’s not just show.
Put it this way, if we don’t get to play — if the five original guys don’t get to play — I’m going up there with just a drum set playing a couple songs to the CD. I’ll play a couple songs to the ‘Appetite For Destruction’ CD. I mean, we owe it to the fans. To me it’s just a rock ‘n’ roll band but it’s a rock ‘n’ roll band that I have gotten so much love and respect from all around the world. In every language you can imagine I’ve had people say ‘Appetite For Destruction’ is the soundtrack to their lives. I don’t think you could say something nicer to an entertainer or performer — can’t get more respectful.
There’s not many albums that can connect with people in the way that ‘Appetite’ did.
Adler: I don’t even think ‘Off the Wall’ from Michael Jackson [connected with] that many people, and that record was huge! [Laughs]
Have you gotten the chance to actually speak with Slash since he-
Adler: Oh yeah, Slash came into Jeff Pilson’s studio and –
Bunton: played on the record.
Adler: And played a guitar solo on one of our songs, what dong did he perform on?
Bunton: ‘Just Don’t Ask’
You haven’t been able to speak to him this week since he made that big announcement that he’d be okay playing at the Rock Hall?
Adler: I knew he was going to be okay. What are you kidding me? I don’t need to hear any announcement — he’s my brother. I know he’s up for it, he wants to do it, I want to do it.
I just feel ‘cause of the love and respect I’ve gotten from being a part of that record and that band, we owe it to the fans. Like my grandmother said, “Time heals all wounds.” I don’t even have a clue, I’ll give it two minutes before we actually walk onstage for anything to know if anything’s definitely going to happen. That’s how crazy this whole Guns N’ Roses thing is. Down to 30 seconds, “Okay we’re all playin.’” It could go either way. All I know is I put my prayers in. I’m not sure who’s running the show down here, I’m prayin’ to Satan and God, one of ‘em got to hear the prayer. I just want to finish what I started with those a—holes.
So Jacob, I’m sure you must have grown up being a Guns N’ Roses fan.
Bunton: Absolutely. It’s like I’ve been telling everybody all day long, it’s kind of like the movie ‘Rockstar’ where Marky Mark’s character is standing in the studio being in the vocal booth singing. You can look through the glass and [I] sit there pinching myself as I’m singing. Everybody in that room across from me – there’s Slash, there’s Steven Adler, there’s Jeff Pilson — every one of those guys were hangin’ on my wall when I was a kid. I was literally just pinching myself. Huge, huge Guns N’ Roses fan. When we were talking earlier about ‘Appetite for Destruction’ being the soundtrack to people’s lives, it was absolutely the soundtrack to mine, that’s my favorite album of all time.
Wow, that must be a surreal experience to be in the studio with Steven and Slash.
Yep, it is — and being in the studio with Lonnie Paul — he’s such a great songwriter and great dude. We got a connection like we hit it off immediately.
What can you guys tell me about the recording process of this new Adler album?
Bunton: We’re making it the way a rock ‘n’ roll record should be made. We’re going in [and] we’re not relying on machines and autotune and computers to fix everything. If we make a mistake while we’re playing, we leave it in because that’s the human element, it’s the human factor. We’re just trying to make an honest… we’re not trying, we did. We made an honest sounding rock ‘n’ roll record played by human beings, not machines, and we’re all so proud. We couldn’t be prouder of the record that we’ve just made.
I share that sentiment. I like hearing little clicks and pops or any tiny mistakes in the album.
Bunton: Exactly, because that’s what gives it the human element — that’s what makes it real. When you take out every breath… you know there’s a lot of producers out there, when the singers are singing they take out all the breaths in between and it ends up sounding like a robot. One of my favorite things, when you’re listening to… take David Coverdale for example on a Whitesnake record. Listen to the 1987 ‘Whitesnake’ record or any record he’s ever done. He breathes so heavily in between parts, in between lines or whatever, but it’s cool. Sometimes it’s not about what you’re actually singing or saying, it’s about what you’re doing in between those notes.
Do you guys have any plans for any touring anytime soon?
Bunton: Yes, absolutely. We’re going to do a tour. We got great management right now and of course our focus at the moment is April 10 — our release date of the single titled, ‘The One That You Hated.’ Then after that we got all these press days set up and some TV stuff set up, but as soon as that happens management is planning on bookin’ a tour and us hittin’ the road. I don’t know exactly when that will be, but I’m sure that will be sooner than later.
When you were recording with Slash in the studio, can you describe what his playing what like. What kind of part did he play in this album?
Bunton: Yeah, it sounded like Slash. Slash, no matter what he picks up, no matter what amp he plugs in, no matter what he does, he’s still Slash. He’s got a definable guitar sound — you just know its him as soon as he starts playing. The magic in the room was just… when he walked in, from me and Lonnie’s point of view being fans growing up, you’ve got two original members of Guns N’ Roses in the room.
The energy’s incredible more than anything. You can feel the love that those two have for one another. You feel the love — those two have been friends since they were 12 years old, best friends since they were 12 years old. They have that genuine love for one another, all hugs and laughs and stories that me and Lonnie are just punchin’ each other going, “Man, we’re just privy to this s–t, this is amazing.” You hear them talk about old road stories. Surreal is the only word I can use to describe it.
If I could ask Steven another question, I’d like to ask about the ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and ‘Sober House’. What is the process of actually filming those shows like?
Adler: Well let me tell you, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life working with Dr. Drew and that whole crew. Like anything in life, if you show and give the most little amount of effort, people will do anything for you to help you. Dr. Drew gave me an opportunity to help myself and they give it to everybody. They all have an opportunity to change their lives around. It’s up to them. You just show an effort and I gave an effort and I still talk to Dr. Drew and he’s still my doctor. Dr. Sophie and Dr. Drew — I still deal with them and they help me for one reason ‘cause I show an effort. It’s so important to care, to give a s–t and to show an effort, you got to give a little somethin’. You want somethin’ you got to give a little somethin’ somethin’ [Laughs]. It was the greatest experience of my life.
A lot of people have criticized Dr. Drew in the past — questioning his real intentions –whether or not he really wants to help people or if he just enjoys being a celebrity.
SA: It’s funny you say that. Sebastian [Bach] says to me “Dr. Drew says he has a glass of wine sometimes at night,” and I said, “Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that. Dr. Drew doesn’t have a glass of wine then try to beat up his bass player after.” [Laughs] People could say what they want, it’s all what you give, you get what you give, you give what you get. I don’t know, you know what I mean? That’s how it is.
They change your life and let me tell you Slash or John 5 would not have come down and worked on my record — our record — if they didn’t see me giving an effort ‘cause those guys are superstars. Slash is a guitar hero of rock and John 5 is the Eric Clapton of the 21st Century — they’re superstars. F— man, when I go see Jesus, I’m gonna say, “Thanks brother.” First I might kick his ass. “Do unto others what you want done to you.” Sure, sure. Then I’m going to say, “That’s cool you let them come down, Slash and John 5 worked on my record.” I’m trying to be funnier, I’m sorry [Laughs].
Since your last stint with Dr. Drew, have you been able to maintain your sobriety?
Adler: I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, but I do burn wood. No, that doesn’t mean blowjobs, Lonnie. Lonnie’s always like, “You got to stop saying that, it sounds like you suck d—.“ That’s not what I’m saying [Laughs]. Exclusive on Loudwire, I’m a smoker and a toker and a midnight joker. Lonnie’s okay with that.
Bunton: I like that better. “Exclusive on Loudwire. Steven Adler: “I don’t suck c–k.””
Adler: I’m a smoker, toker, midnight joker — not a morning wood smoker. [Laughs]
Stay tuned for Adler’s new single, ‘The One That You Hated,’ out on April 10.