ADLER’s Steven Adler, Lonny Paul and Jacob Bunton talk Rock Hall of Fame, GNR and their new recordings
Steven Adler always wanted to be a rock star and in the process found all the girls, fame, money and yes, drugs that come with that job description. He can add one more notation to that legendary resume now as he is most definitely NOT declining the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame like his former Guns N’ Roses bandmate Axl Rose. In fact if you talk to those closest to him or spend a few minutes chatting with Steven himself it’s more likely that he’s had a hotel reservation in Cleveland for QUITE some time. He knows that it’s a bummer for fans that the guys can’t all get on the same page but appreciates the fact that every single one of the gunners, even Axl, are still alive and still making noise. Steven has a NEW band, simply called ADLER, and has been recording a great new album with producers Jay Ruston (Anthrax) and Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner). He called up LRI along with his guitarist (Lonny Paul) and new singer (Jacob Bunton) to talk about their new music, the Hall Of Fame, Paul Stanley, Dr. Drew and a bunch of other topics. Read on……
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hey guys. This is kind of a new thing for us having all three of you on the line at the same time but thanks for talking to us!! Steven Friggin Adler….how the hell are you?
Steven Adler: I’m great John. Never been better. Where are you at?
LRI: Rockford, Illinois area….a.k.a. Cheap Trickville, Illinois.
Steven: Ohhhhh man…..I LOVE Cheap Trick, LOVE them. I have loved those guys as long as I can remember!!
Lonny Paul: Definitely. Much respect to those guys.
Jacob Bunton: Yeah, we all agree on that one for sure. Thanks for talking to us John.
LRI: Thank YOU. I wanna start by asking you a very simple but obvious question Steven…..Has it sunk in yet about the Hall of Fame? I know you’ve been a rock star for a long time but was this induction something you ever even considered??
Steven: No, but it’s like everything that we dreamed about and believed in and it’s something I am proud to notch off on my belt. We accomplished every fuckin thing that I dreamed about doing, even the DRUGS, I WANTED to do drugs. I mean, all of my idols did drugs, I’m only saying it because it’s the TRUTH. Most of my idols made albums, toured around the world, fucked girls and yes, did drugs and drank too much. I did every single thing I wanted to do and got every single thing I wanted except I NEVER wanted to get kicked out of Guns N’ Roses. I always and STILL think we should be together like Aerosmith or the Stones. We should have been a band that lasted 30 or 40 years like that, that’s what my dream was. That part of the dream just didn’t happen, first it was me, then Izzy, then Slash and Duff but I still love those guys, even Axl, they’re my brothers. We accomplished so many of our dreams and to be able to all be out there still working and creating and more than anything, anything to still have our connections with the fans. We are blessed.
LRI: Well, I think it’s pretty cool that you, Duff and Slash are at least respectful of how cool of a moment it is for the FANS. Speaking of that, I read your Metal Sludge interview Jacob and I know you are a huuuge fan of all of this music. What’s it like looking over to your left in the studio and seeing Slash playing guitar on your new album and looking over to your right and seeing Steven and Jeff Pilson of Dokken??? That’s like a metal kid’s fantasy.
Jacob: It was pretty goddamn cool John, it was amazing, I’m not going to lie (laughs). I mean, first of all I’m in the vocal booth and am literally pinching myself while I’m singing and thinking “Everybody on the other side of that glass was hanging on my bedroom wall”. It was surreal, almost like that movie “Rock Star” with Markie Mark.
Steven: That’s not really Markie Mark, that’s Mili from STEELHEART!!! (laughs).
LRI: Okay, you’re right on that one sir, it was Mili from Steelheart (laughs).
Steven: You’re goddamn right. That guy is fuckin AMAZING, he is the real rock star. (Starts singing….) “STAND UP AND SHOUT!!!”
Jacob: Slash and Steven were so nice to us too. I mean it still seems hard for me to believe it happened but it did. To feel the vibe in the room between these two guys from the original Guns N’ Roses is just unreal. These guys, Slash and Steven have been best friends since they were 12 years old and the chemistry is undeniable. I am not lying or exaggerating to say that there is a real energy and love that can be felt when these guys are together and as an outsider, as a fan of the original GNR, it is dynamite to see. Then to get to work with Jay producing when I’ve ALWAYS loved Anthrax and really love their last album that he worked on and also Jeff Pilson of Dokken who was another idol…..It was goosebumps time.
Lonny: It was awesome. It really was. I’m also a huge fan of John 5 who was also cool enough to come and play on the record.
Steven: John 5 is a guitar hero, a phenomenal artist….period point blank and Slash is the Eric Clapton of our generation. I am so honored that they played on our record because them doing that is really them giving us their blessing. They didn’t HAVE to. They don’t just play for anyone but they thought enough of what we’re doing with the new album and how far I’ve come personally, with my progress with getting my shit together and also these new guys in our new band Adler. Make no mistake about the name, this is a BAND in the truest sense of the word and to have guys like Slash and John 5 basically give their stamp of approval to what we are doing means the world to us. They liked our music and were as excited about what they heard as we are.
LRI: Lonny, you were a part of Steven’s last band, Adler’s Appetite. How is this band different beyond Jacob and Johnny obviously being the new guys?
Lonny: Well, it’s kind of been a real natural progression. I was in the old band and we were out touring and I was always writing my own stuff. I mean it was fun of course playing the GNR stuff but I was always busy on the bus and in my down time writing for my own stuff. I played Steven some of my stuff and it was really cool because the stuff he heard got him excited enough that he wanted to go back home after the tour and get started from scratch on a new band and use some of these ideas I had as a starting point. We met up with Jacob through our mutual friend and our producer Jay Ruston and suddenly we had our new singer really it all just fell into place.
LRI: I can’t wait to hear the entire new album as well as Slash’s. It might be a while before we hear the sequel to Chinese Democracy. Steven, we recently interviewed your old managers Alan Niven and Vicky Hamilton as well as you and Slash’s longtime friend and author Marc Canter. The Niven one is already up and the others are coming and I was struck by how NICE everyone was in their descriptions of what you brought to the band. We all sort of agreed that in many ways the band was never the same after you and Izzy were gone.
Steven: Man….thank you John. Thank all of you…I love Marc and Vicky. You talked to Marc? I LOVE Marc. I love that man. Marc was huge to Guns N’ Fuckin Roses. Huge. Aside from feeding us and having the best Deli in town he and Jack Lue took all of our early pictures that mattered. Have you seen the book RECKLESS ROAD? It’s a friggin work of art that book. It’s genius and it’s that good and that comprehensive because Marc was there for EVERYTHING. What’s truly, truly amazing is that as long as Slash and I have known the guy he has never asked us for anything. Nothing. He was just a wonderful person to all five of us and that’s a fact. I need him. I’ll always need him and he knows it but he has never done anything because there was something in it for him and that just blows my mind. I mean every time I call him or his son I need a favor (laughs). I love Marc and I love his entire family because everything they have ever done was done out of a love for the music, the band and their friends Slash and Steven. When you come out to the coast and meet Marc be sure and look at his ear. Ever since we’ve known him, ever since we were in junior high, Marc Canter has had a little tiny pencil above his ear. He knows all and sees all!!
LRI: I believe it! Marc gave us a really long interview, in fact, I’m still typing it! I thought to myself, he might know more about GNR than any of you (laughs). He was really hoping that Duff could somehow be the voice of reason and broker a meeting of the minds between AXL and SLASH but….he seems to think that it’s all just one big misunderstanding.
Steven: Axl doesn’t believe in any of us. I have a feeling if he would’ve shown up it would only be to perform with his band of scabs. I’m sorry Lonny, sorry Jacob. I promised them I’d shut up (laughs). Those guys are great players, they’re great performers but they’re not Guns N’ Roses. They’re just not. I just wanted the same thing all of the fans want which is to show up and play together. It’s only rock and roll, it’s not that hard, just show up, put the fans first and be a rock and roll band if only for their sake. It’s the fucking LEAST we could do after everything the fans have given us. The fans have given us our careers for all these years. The fans were there then and they’re still the reason we can play music and have careers. They love the five of us and they’d STILL love us and I don’t understand why he can’t see that. I’m not saying this out of pride or whatever, I’m saying it because it’s the TRUTH, there is not one rock and roll band that the fans have wanted to see a reunion of more than Guns N’ Roses. Duff is a smart, smart man. You would have hoped that he could do that like Marc said, somehow make sense of it all to Izzy and Axl but all I know is Axl and Izzy can still no-show if that’s what they want and by all indications that’s the case. Maybe Slash, Duff and I can still play with a couple other guys and rock and roll. Hell, I will personally guarantee you John that if nothing else I will go up onstage with my drums and play to a cd of Appetite because the fans DESERVE it. I can’t speak for Izzy and Axl but I love and respect the fans, GNR has the best fans in the world, the most loyal and sweet fans in the world and it would be a slap in the face to them to not do SOMETHING. It’s one thing to get inducted in the Hall of Fame but what I want, what I really want more than anything is just the chance to finish what I started with those assholes (laughs). I’d like to notch that off on my belt that we could get up onstage just once and finish what we fuckin started in that little studio in Silverlake.
LRI: Sorry to go so far back but who knows when I will be talking to a member of GNR again….Is it true that you were really affected by the guys dissing Paul Stanley around the time he was offering to produce you?
Steven: I knew deep down that Paul wasn’t the right guy for the job but I just thought the guys could be respectful or professional and listen to him or meet with him because he’s fuckin Paul Stanley of KISS. I mean, I know I turned Slash onto them but the rest of the guys were just not as big of KISS fans as I was. Slash was more from an Aerosmith place and I knew that but I worshiped KISS and was just blown away that he would even THINK of working with us. I said, “That’s an honor, that’s Paul Stanley and he is a rock god” but they just didn’t get it.
LRI: You’ve had plenty of time to think about what you’re gonna say in Cleveland at the Hall Of Fame and plenty of time to think about all the crazy business shit involved with the disintegration of GNR. What did Vicky Hamilton do to really set the table for Guns N Roses??
Steven: What didn’t she do?? (laughs). I love Vicky Hamilton. There are probably four or five people tops that I will be mentioning by name at the Hall of Fame and they are certainly among the people who TRULY DESERVE to be thanked. I love Vicky and Marc so much because they truly, truly believed in our band and put their own asses on the line for us. The Vicky thing was devastating to me personally. It was just like this reunion bullshit with Axl in that I had no say in it whatsoever. I didn’t want to see Vicky leave as our manager, not at ALL, but a couple, a couple of the other guys did. They were concerned and saying “Well, she’s a woman and people are thinking she’s not doing as good of a job as a man could do”. I did not feel that way and I was very hurt when we could not take her with us as our career went forward.
LRI: Were you there when Kim Fowley was with Axl and the others and was suggesting that Vicky was too “pretty” to be a manager?
Steven: Yes I was and while Kim Fowley might not have been that big of an influence personally on Axl, he was an influence as far as what he had accomplished in the business. Axl agreed with Kim and I didn’t. I knew that she was great and she still is. It was beyond ridiculous to say that a woman couldn’t have impact on our careers because as I knew full well that Teresa Ensenat and Vicky Hamilton were every bit as important as Tom Zutaut to our success. Axl was all worried about having women involved in our careers when two of the three main people involved in us making it WERE WOMEN!!!! It made no fucking sense to me that he couldn’t see that while some women were crazy as fuck some of them are freakin geniuses. Vicky Hamilton is not only crafty but smart as a whip and knew better than anyone how to guide our career.
LRI: You’ve mentioned that the fact that SLASH has stayed alive and stayed sober for so many years now has been a big inspiration to you. Does it still give you a lot of hope?
Steven: Absolutely John. I mean it really truly is. He knows I am making an effort too and Slash cares enough about me that he really played on our album not because he’s been my friend since we were kids but because of all the work I’ve done. It’s been WORK with Dr. Drew and Bob Forrest and all the effort we’re making and he sees that and appreciates the new music and new guys I’ve started working with. These guys are doing as much as I am in this band. It’s their band too. If I was making new music with other people I would NOT be as far along as I am now.
LRI: I’m going to school to be an addictions counselor and I have read Dr.Drew’s books and enjoyed them as much as the GNR guys books. So many people slag him and say he’s only out for fame and no one can really get sober on a TV show. Do you hear that shit from people?
Steven: There are always going to be people who talk shit but I can honestly tell you that is NOT true about Drew or Bob and that pisses me off when people attack him. He honestly cares about anyone who is dealing with this shit whether they are famous or not. If you need help they are there for you and they will help you if you show the slightest, even the littlest amount of effort. They will help you turn that effort into recovery. Dr. Drew is not taking advantage of anyone in the entertainment business, he is just giving them an opportunity to get their lives and careers together. The guy is a fantastic doctor and a fantastic person and he’s made a huge difference in my life.
LRI: I liked the Adler’s Appetite EP with Jizzy and the singles you’ve put out since you started working because they really were good and it was something you could do live besides just that classic era Guns stuff. That said, it’s gotta be a whole new feeling being able to have solid producers and a full album to go out and tour on. I mean there’s plenty of guys just doing the nostalgia thing and they don’t really feel any need to put anything out even if the fans would like them to. Are you writing all the time with these guys? Is that something that is really, really important to you?
Steven: We’ve got 13 songs but we are still writing constantly. We’ll keep writing even after it’s released and we’re touring. That’s what real bands do and that’s what we’re doing all the time. No more wasting time and not being productive.
Jacob: That sounds good to me.
Lonny: We will always, always love playing the original GNR stuff but it is nothing short of amazing to be able to do that and mix in the new stuff. If you’ve heard the new single “The One You Hated” you can tell how it’s got a lot of spirit and energy.
Steven: We’ve been having a really fun time in the studio and out of that has come a fun record. Of course it is amazing that it’s come together and that we are going to be able to go out there as a real band and play these songs right alongside those songs and it finally all makes sense to me. This is fun just like the beginning of Guns was fun. That’s how music and rock and roll should be and this has been the most fun I’ve had in the studio and in general since Appetite For Destruction. If you really stick to it, believe in what you’re doin and get through all of the shit and can manage to have fun again it’s possible to actually enjoy the music business even all these years later with all new guys. I’m living proof.
Stream the new song from Adler, “The One You Hated” right here:
GUNS N’ ROSES photos courtesy of MARC CANTER, check out the Facebook page for his amazing book RECKLESS ROAD here: https://www.facebook.com/recklessroadbook