Twenty years ago this month, Guns ‘N Roses released "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II," the band's third and fourth albums, respectively.
It was all downhill from there.
In commemoration of the anniversary, and in celebration of GNR's upcoming tour (a local date has yet to be announced) and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination , Click Track has assembled a list of 20 interesting things you might not have known (and possibly never wanted to know) about the albums.
20. "II" sold more than "I," both during their first week of release and ever since.
19. The song "Right Next Door to Hell" (which appears on "I") was written about Rose's battles with then-neighbor Garbriella Kantor, who claimed frontman Axl Rose hit her with "a really good bottle" of Chardonnay. Rose denied it (he was later arrested). "Frankly," he told People magazine at the time, "if I was going to hit her with a wine bottle, she wouldn't have gotten up."
18. According to unauthorized Rose biographer Mick Wall, the "Sharon Maynard" thanked in the liner notes was Rose's professional psychic. Nicknamed "Yoda" by GNR insiders, she heavily influenced the band's decisions.
17. Wall was one of many journalists named in "Get in the Ring," the Axl vs. everyone else diatribe ("I don't like you/I just hate you") that was once a song by bassist Duff McKagan called "Why Do You Look at Me When You Hate Me."
16. The discs were reportedly plagued by delays, something Rose denied to Rolling Stone at the time. "People want something, and they want it as soon as they can get it," he told the magazine. "Needy people."
15. Shannon Hoon, the late Blind Melon frontman, sang backup on several tracks and appeared in the "Don't Cry" video.
14. The "November Rain" video reportedly cost over $1.5 million (a cost apparently footed by the band themselves). $8,000 of that apparently went to Stephanie Seymour's custom-made coffin.
13. Amount the band would have saved by using a Kiss Kasket: $3,500.00. At least.
12. Rose is reported to have wanted the discs to be released as two two-volume sets, to his record label's dismay, though accounts have varied throughout the years.
11. The vinyl versions of "I" and "II," at 16 and 14 songs respectively, were released as double albums.
10. The "Illusion" tour was music's longest at the time, with 190+ dates stretching over three calendar years, with grosses around $57 million and at least two riots.
9. Among the tour's openers: Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Skid Row, Smashing Pumpkins and Body Count (remember them? They were that metal band Ice-T had?).
8. In response to claims that songs like "Back Off [Expletive]" and "Locomotive" were misogynistic, Rose explained to an interviewer, "I've been doing a lot of work and found out I've had a lot of hatred for women."
7. In his autobiography, guitarist Slash remembers the early "Illusion" sessions as the first time GNR began to seem like a job. "That was the harshest reality for us to come to terms with," he wrote. Things were fine once the sessions started rolling, but "….everything along the way was a complete [expletive] chore."
6. GNR began to splinter in a big way in the time surrounding the discs' recording and release. Guitarist Izzy Stradlin, drummer Steven Adler and the band's manager all left.
5. Adler, who had gotten hooked on heroin, was replaced during the recording when he couldn't handle the complicated drum parts. "[We'd say] 'this is gonna be bigger than [expletive] ‘Appetite,’" Adler lamented to a writer for Classic Rock. "And it would have been. But because of my [screwup], we didn't finish what we started."
4. Rose asked Jane's Addiction virtuoso Dave Navarro to replace Stradlin. "But back in those days, I was simply too intoxicated to show up to anything," Navarro later explained to a reporter.
3. According to legendary sound engineer Bob Clearmountain, Rose ''would threaten to quit the band three times a week."
2. At one point or another, almost everyone in Guns ‘N Roses has been fired or has fired someone else, and this includes the other bandmates reportedly firing Axl at least once. We're not sure if this has anything to do with "Use Your Illusion," but it's still really interesting.
1. "For me, when I hear certain things on ["Illusion" ]…I can hear a band dying," Rose once said.