Steven Adler Just Proved He Can Drum a Full Guns N’ Roses Set

Steven Adler: The man can still play.
Steven Adler: The man can still play.
Daniel Kohn

The reinvention of former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler began on July 6, in Cincinnati, when he joined his former bandmates to play two songs, "My Michelle" and "Out Ta Get Me" off Appetite for Destruction. Since then, Adler has joined the band onstage in Nashville, Los Angeles and, most recently, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For most of that time, Adler has been silent. He hasn't done media interviews to discuss the reunion, or his injured back, which reportedly prevented him from joining GNR at their April 1st reunion show at the Troubadour. Quietly, however, Adler has been appearing in online videos showing him drumming songs off Use Your Illusion, an album on which Adler's only credit is on the track "Civil War," a song some critics don't think he can nail live. Well, they're wrong.

Farm Aid 1990 was the last time Adler shared a stage with GNR before the band fired him for a drug habit that had, according to his former bandmates, begun to impair his ability to keep a beat. At Farm Aid, GNR would premiere "Civil War," a ballad that would appear on Use Your Illusion II, which many believe Adler could never execute with the same skill level as his replacement, Matt Sorum. Sorum's reputation as a more technically gifted drummer meant that most fans assumed Adler would never be tight (or sober) enough to play the demanding songs off Use Your Illusion.

That was before last month, as videos began to surface on Gunner forums of Adler playing a full set of GNR songs in Buenos Aires at a club called The Roxy Live!, following the band's gig in the Argentinean capital earlier that night. The videos show Adler drumming behind a group of musicians from several local bands, who play "Back Off Bitch," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," "You Could Be Mine" and other GNR classics. (Video clips below.)

The performance took place on Nov. 5, at an after-show following GNR's set at River Plate Stadium. Adler played for nearly two hours. It's worth noting that the three aforementioned tracks are off Use Your Illusion.

"For all the people that don't think I'm capable of playing songs off of Use You Illusion, here you go. Thank you for your concerns," Adler privately told music journalist Mitch Lafon earlier today, who shared the note with the L.A. Weekly. It's now obvious that Adler is ready to play more shows with GNR — maybe even a few tracks off Use Your Illusion. The fans want to see him play "Civil War" again, in that messy, slightly more punk way that made Appetite for Destruction so much more danceable than Use Your Illusion.


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