Steven Adler. A True Survivor. 27 Years After He Plays His Final Show As A Member Of Guns N’ Roses.
April 7, 1990. This date would be the very last time the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses would perform together at the Farm Aid IV benefit concert. Just a few months after this sloppy performance original drummer Steven Adler would be fired from the band due to his drug use. Just months earlier Steven was given an ultimatum to either clean up, or be fired. He even had to sign a contract stating that he would remain clean or be terminated. The final straw for Adler was the song “Civil War”, the very last studio track he played drums on with the band. Producer Mike Clink had to splice together a drum track out of Adler’s twenty five to thirty takes. Soon after that session he would be fired on July 11, 1990.
According to Axl Rose there was more to firing Steven than just being a drug addict. He mainly was fired because he was now involved with some shady individuals. Whether that’s true or not, it was Axl who actually held out the longest on letting him go. Both Slash, and especially Duff wanted him gone, and now that Izzy Stradlin was himself clean and sober, he too felt it was best to let him go. (Izzy would leave the band a year later). It would be the way they let Steven go though that would be the most controversial thing off all. Basically firing him, and leaving him with nothing. Either not knowing it, or being too naive without good legal representation Steven had signed away not only his ownership in the band, but also his future royalties worth millions of dollars.
As Steven would mention in a interview earlier this year, it was like he went to having everything to absolutely nothing overnight. When he was first fired from Gn’R he almost ended up replacing Phil Rudd in AC/DC, but one Malcolm and Angus Young were made aware of his drug use they would go in a different direction. In mid-1991 just months before the release of the “Illusion” records Adler would file a lawsuit against his former bandmates for wrongful termination, which he would end up winning, giving him a settlement of 2.2 million dollars, and given back 15% of the royalties on all songs he helped to write and record. After all this though he still wasn’t clean, and actually now had money to buy drugs again. In 1996, Adler would suffer a stroke after taking a speedball. He would recover, but now had s speech impediment, and had trouble being able to play the drums.
All through the 1990s into the 2000’s Steven continued to struggle with drugs, yet he also has become like an underdog all fans want to root for. He’s very respectful to his fans, never has a problem to answer questions and stories about the glory days. He also had pushed for a reunion of the Guns N’ Roses original lineup, even making you tube videos proving to both fans, and his former bandmates that he still can play those classic songs. When it was announced last year that the original Gn’R lineup was reuniting for a tour, fans both hoped, and were worried for him. Fans wanted to see him included, and also hoped he wouldn’t be devastated if the band went in another direction. In the end Steven was able to take part playing a couple of songs at a few shows. Not that it was the reunion he was hoping for, (especially since Izzy wasn’t there either) but it did give him some closure for now also.
It’s good to know in 2017 that Steven Adler has come full circle. The man has been through a lot, and through it all he’s a survivor. As he stated in an interview just about a month ago, he’s found peace with his past in Guns N’ Roses. Seeing him on stage again smiling from ear to ear while watching him behind the drum kit playing for thousands of people in Stadiums, even if it was only for two songs gives him back his self respect, and dignity of being in one of the biggest bands in history. The truth is Steven Adler does matter. His drumming on the classic Appetite For Destruction still stands up all these years later. The band’s style and sound was never the same once he left. Hopefully his future will be much more enjoyable, and peaceful than his past. He deserves it for all he’s been though.