Understanding Axl

Axl Rose is a relatively easy target to make fun of, with his performance tardiness, general diva-ish behavior, taking 16 years to make an album, etc.

But, how often do we consider the guy’s history? His upbringing? His experiences? All of the things that shape each and every one of us. Yes, personal responsibility has to kick in at some point, but be careful until you know more (or all) of the full context (see Michael Jackson).

From Mick Wall’s book, W.A.R.; The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose

“‘I was brainwashed in a Pentecostal church,’ Axl would later tell his friend Del James. He was not ‘against churches or religion,’ he said, but his particular church which ‘was filled with self-righteous hypocrites who were child abusers and child molesters. These were people who’d been damaged in their own childhoods and in their lives. These were people who were finding God but still living with their damage and inflicting it upon their children.’

And from another section of the same book,

“That same month (April 1992), in a new interview with Kim Neely, in Rolling Stone, Axl was quoted announcing that his recent therapy sessions had helped him recover memories of the sexual abuse he’d suffered as a very small child at the hands of his birth-father, William Rose, as well as helping him to come to terms with the strict upbringing he went on to endure under the tutelage of his stepfather.”

There is plenty more to the story, but you get the idea.

Maybe stories like this aren’t so different from ones close to you, but how many of those people go on to have one of the biggest, fastest-selling debut albums as a rock star, in the middle of 1980s musical hedonism?


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