Let’s pay tribute to this classic celebrity who is celebrating a birthday on February 6, 2022
Axl Rose was born William Bruce Rose Jr. on February 6, 1962, in Lafayette, Indiana. His mother was 16, and his father, William Bruce Rose Sr., was 20. Rose Sr. left when his son was a toddler. Rose’s mother later married Stephen Bailey and changed her son’s name to William Bruce Bailey. Rose grew up believing that Bailey was his biological father until, at 17, he discovered the existence of his father while going through papers at his parents’ house. He began using Rose as his last name.
Rose was frequently in trouble with the police and spent time in jail on charges of public intoxication and battery. When the police threatened to charge him as a career criminal, he moved to Los Angeles in 1982. Shortly after, he joined the band AXL. The experience was so all-consuming that he legally changed his name to W. Axl Rose.
Rose worked odd jobs to support himself while playing in bands such as Rapid Fire, L.A. Guns, and Hollywood Rose. He eventually formed Guns N’ Roses, with the band releasing a 1986 EP followed by their 1987 debut album, Appetite for Destruction, on Geffen.
The band was successful, and Rose quickly became both a lauded and controversial figure. Though hailed as one of the most charismatic and successful lead singers of all time, he was frequently late for performances and shows often started several hours behind schedule. When the band released G N’ R Lies in 1988, he was accused of being racist and homophobic, based on lyrics in “One in a Million.”
After two people died while slam-dancing to GNR’s “It’s So Easy” during the Monsters of Rock concert, Rose became known for stopping shows to deal with unruly fans. At a concert in St. Louis in 1991, he dove into the crowd to retrieve a fan’s video camera, which was banned. Back onstage, he denounced the security personnel and walked offstage. A riot ensued and caused $200,000 worth of damages, and Guns N’ Roses was banned from the city. On the Use Your Illusion Tour, in support of the double album of the same name, Rose’s ranting and raving from the stage became more frequent, as did walk-offs and riots. After their last Use Your Illusion performance, on July 17, 1993, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the band went dormant.
Although Guns N’ Roses didn’t officially break up, lead guitarist Slash left in 1996, Matt Sorum was fired in 1997 and bassist Duff McKagan quit later that year. Rose became a recluse, sequestered away at his home in Malibu. He reappeared in 2004 with a host of new bandmates and toured sporadically in North America, Europe, and Asia for several years. In 2008, the long-rumored album Chinese Democracy was released. However, Rose disappeared for two months. When the singer resurfaced, he said that he hadn’t received adequate support from his record label.
Guns N’ Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, but Rose did not attend. However, four years later, in March 2016, it was announced that GNR would be reuniting for a 21-city North American tour, with shows in Las Vegas, at Coachella and in Mexico City scheduled as a lead up to the highly anticipated event.
It turned out that fans were more than eager to see longtime band members Rose, Slash and McKagan reunite for the Not in This Lifetime… Tour. The tour sold 4.3 million tickets in 2017, pushing it into third place among the highest-grossing tours since 1990, according to Billboard.
Rose’s personal life has been as rocky as his professional one. In 1990 he married Erin Everly, who later claimed that Rose had shown up at her house, threatening to kill himself with a gun in his car if she wouldn’t marry him. The marriage was annulled in early 1991.
That same year he began dating supermodel Stephanie Seymour. They got engaged in 1993 but broke up soon after. Rose sued Seymour, claiming she assaulted him, and Seymour counter-sued, saying he attacked her and she grabbed him in self-defense. The case dragged on, but Rose ultimately settled out of court. Everly was called to testify during the case and filed her own suit against Rose for assault and sexual battery. Rose settled this case out of court as well.
Early in his life, Rose was diagnosed as manic-depressive and prescribed lithium, which he has since refused to take. He says he believes in homeopathic medicine and past-life regression. Rose has stated that his past-life regression therapy helped him recover memories of being sexually abused by his biological father at age two.