Recently we ran an excerpt about Van Halen from the new memoir Backstage Past, by Barry Fey, a legendary Denver concert promoter. That piece dealt with why Van Halen refused the brown M&Ms on their tour rider. But Fey wasn't done yet; in his interview with our sister paper Denver Westword, he talked with music editor Dave Herrera about the time he (allegedly) held a gun to Axl Rose's head.
Ahead of Guns N' Roses' show at The Forum tomorrow night, Dec. 21, peep this account, in which Fey shows Axl who's the boss. Oh, and keep reading for the details of Slash's bachelor party, where they handed out blue tickets if you wanted a blow job.
Dave Herrera: So what's your favorite story [from Backstage Past]?
Barry Fey: I guess my favorite story... oh, God, that's hard. Dave, that's really hard -- and I'm not being cool - but the one I had most fun with is debunking the story that's not true.
The Axl Rose story, as told by Lars Ulrich. You've heard about that one, right? That story is, I guess, the most famous of the stories. We had Guns and Metallica at Mile High [Stadium]. And there was 48-49,000 people there. It was a big tour, and they alternated closing. One night, one band would close, and the other night the other one.
This one, Metallica opened, and... the whole story's in the book, but I'll tell you... Metallica opened, and I went out - it was a great set - I went backstage for the opening number of Guns. I went out, and they played "Welcome to the Jungle." I'm walking out - I'm going to give you the language, and you clean it up however you want; I'm just telling you how it happened - I'm walking backstage, and this guy comes running out and says, "Barry, Axl just left."
I said, "'The fuck are you talking about, 'Axl left'?" So I ran backstage, and I found out that he had come down off the stage, got into the limousine and left the site. So I said to... I went up to - his name was Big John; he was the guy who ran the limo company - and I said, 'You don't work for him; you work for me.' I said, 'You ever want to see another fucking dime of this company's money, you get that car back here.' And he said, "What?" I said, "Yeah. The only way he gets out of that car is if he jumps out. And if he jumps out, you leave him in the street. But you get that car back here."
So he gets on his little telephone. People are getting a little pissed by this time. Guns is up there just jamming, right? They played "Welcome to the Jungle," and then they didn't do anything; they were just jamming, and people were getting a little pissed off. In fact, I found out that they were taking their Guns N' Roses T-shirts back to the concession stand and throwing them at them and saying, "Give me a Metallica shirt."