Read My Appetite For Destruction Online

Authors: Steven Adler

Tags: #Non-Fiction, #Memoir, #Biography, #Autobiography

My Appetite For Destruction

BOOK: My Appetite For Destruction
5.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

To my grandmother “Big Lilly,”

my grandfather “Stormin’ Norman,”

and to my beloved wife, Carolina, whose

love and support made this book possible.

To the millions of faithful Guns N’ Roses

fans all over the world,

I thank you for your eternal devotion.

Special thanks to:

the Adler family,

the Ferreira family,

the Hudson family,

the Canter family,

Steve Sprite,

Dr. Drew Pinsky,

Dr. Charles Sophy,

Bob Forrest,

Ronald “Ronnie My Boy” Schneider,

Chris Green,

Robert Espinoza,

James Vanderweilen, and

Brad Server.

And lastly to my dogs

Shadow, Midnight, and Chichi.

Their unconditional love saw me through.

Author’s Note

h my God, this is the highest I’ve ever been in my life. I can barely hold on. Sweat is pouring out of me, my eyes sting like hell, and my gut is jumping. I’m completely soaked, my arms and legs flail, my head shakes, and my heart is thumping out of my chest. I am flying, and I love it. I desperately want this feeling to go on forever. I’m Steven Adler, the drummer for Guns N’ Roses, and tonight we opened for the Rolling Stones. It’s October 18, 1989, and after a brutal but amazing journey, this should be the happiest moment in my life. But as we explode into our last song, “Paradise City,” I’m already terrified of leaving the stage and losing this incredible buzz. Just like the “pre-high” addicts get right after they score but before they use, I’m experiencing a devastating “pre-crash” and I fucking hate it. If only I could find some way to maintain this intense natural high, I would never need drugs, never want drugs again.

Guns N’ Roses gets a standing ovation, but as the Stones take the stage with “Start Me Up,” I’m already alone, tucked away in my trailer on the backstage lot with the door locked tight. Why? Because I’m the undisputed all-time booze-chugging, pill-gobbling, drug-shooting, Katrina-caliber fuckup. Throughout my wretched life there isn’t a friend, family member, or fantastic opportunity that I haven’t shoved into a blender and mutilated.

But people love train wrecks. They just can’t look away from the ODs, lawsuits, prison terms, rehabs, reality shows, meltdowns, and more ODs. So before one or all of the above happens again, I want to set the record straight. And I’m finally sober enough and angry enough to do it right.


hile part of this comes from a deep desire to come clean with my family, friends, and fans, another part is fueled by an inner rage to represent. From Chuck Berry to Janis Joplin, from Hendrix to Cobain, many beloved, gifted musicians have had a lot of totally false, negative crap written about them. It turned them into bitter, reclusive artists and may have pushed some into an early grave. But I don’t need the media to bury me; I’ll do that on my own.

The bastards who write the lies about us do it because they think rock fans are gossip-starved, tabloid-trained morons who will swallow anything. They figure the more bullshit they pile up, the more fans will be eager to roll around in it. And they’re always sure they can get away with the most outrageous lies because they know if we hire a bunch of lawyers to go after them, they’ll just get more free publicity and rake in more cash. You’ve got to admire Carol Burnett, Kate Hudson, and others who brought suit, hung in there, and won judgments against these bloodsuckers.

The truth is I’m healthier and happier than I’ve been in twenty years and I refuse to be destroyed by all the negative news about Steven Adler. I’ve made it way too easy for these jerks to write me off as just another has-been junkie asshole.

And hey, I admit it. I am a has-been junkie asshole. But there’s a lot more to this drummer boy. With the help of Dr. Drew, and a lot of other dedicated professionals, I’ve begun to live again and love my family, friends, and music again. I know I’ve let them down, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to get back up and make things right.


xl, Duff, Izzy, and Slash, I pray you’ll respect my desire to go on the record and tell everyone what actually happened. My goal here is to dig deep and, to the best of my knowledge, tell the whole truth and nothing but.

Now, that’s not to say those guys don’t recall different things, or things differently. But when it comes to writing about my life as a rock musician, Axl, Duff, Izzy, and Slash will be the first to tell you that I’ve been my own worst enemy. And I’ll be the first to agree. This isn’t about laying blame, it’s about accepting it. And in spite of all the fuckups I’ve had, the love is still there.
A lot of it
. I still love every one of those guys, and I hope they know it.

One of the things Slash writes in the closing pages of his memoir
is that he’s truly happy that “Steven Adler is doing better.” I got very emotional when I read that. Slash and I have been through
so much.
Since we were thirteen! The fact is Slash has had a lot to do with my seeking help and letting the light back in my life. Thanks, Slash!

There is still so much affection there, so much shared pain and joy. You can’t ever take that away. Not from me and Slash. And not from me and Duff, Izzy, or Axl. The only way to make these pages matter to me and you and everyone who has loved or hated me over the past forty years is to make the whole truth the price of admission—and Adler’s admitting everything.

for the

Now it’s a mighty long way down rock ’n’ roll

As your name gets hot, your heart grows cold . . .


hose lyrics are from Ian Hunter, lead vocalist for one of my favorite bands, Mott the Hoople. And it kind of sums up what we went through with
. The bigger we got the more stuck-up and out of touch we became. Hunter also wrote one of the greatest books ever about life on the road, called
Diary of a Rock ’n’ Roll Star.
It takes all the shine off the glamorous rock star image and puts it in its proper unfiltered light. It is a frank, many times joyless account of what rock ’n’ roll is like from the inside looking out.

Hunter was determined to get it all down in his personal account of Mott’s five-week American tour in November and December of 1972. It should be required reading for all kids before they start smoking cigs, skipping school, and jamming in garages. Hunter talks about Mott’s equipment getting stolen, concerts being canceled, and fans being abusive. Believe me, fifteen years later, when
toured the world for eighteen months straight, not much had changed.

Ian leaves nothing out because he knows that’s the only way to offer the story. If you’re going to tell it, tell it all. I want to thank Ian, Mick, Overend, Phally, and Buffin for inspiring me to give my readers the truest, most unflinching account of rock ’n’ roll since Ian penned his masterpiece. If I can get close to the honesty and guts on those pages, then this will be a great book. And I will owe it all to you guys. You are and forever will be the Dudes, the original lineup, the first and the best.


reat rock music, whether it’s Mott or Mötley, has helped me crawl out of a hole where I’ve been living a permanent nightmare. For two decades I’ve been haunted by a shady, drug-addled past that sucks any desire to face life right out of me. But in the past year, leading right up to November 2009, when I performed with Slash, Duff, and David Navarro in a sold-out show at the Palace in L.A., the music’s inspired me more than ever. It’s lifted my spirits and made me want to live again so I can create music with my band, Adler’s Appetite. I want to get back together with the faithful companion that never betrayed me, my drums.

Now, understand that many of the interviews I granted during and after Guns N’ Roses are a lot of garbage. I tended to treat them like a game, varying what I said to dick around with whoever was interviewing me and drinking heavily before and during them, because a lot of interviews were tedious and repetitive.

Being sober changes everything. The light is harsh at first, and there’s a lot more I’d rather forget than remember. But I’ve fought hard for the opportunity to come clean here and that means everything to me. Although it’s terrifying to revisit how things got so twisted, it’s also the only true way to get my life back. So let’s start this journey at the beginning, so we can understand how things began to unravel until they got so
fucked up.

Chapter 1
from the

was born in Cleveland in 1965, during a time when my father had sunk to physically threatening and beating my mother. Things had really deteriorated between the two of them over the six months before I was born, and Mom was already plotting her escape from this monster by the time I arrived. I was named Michael after my biological father. Poor Mom probably battled a gag reflex every time she said my name. My older brother by three years was named Tony. This was to honor the Italian tradition of naming the firstborn son after the paternal grandfather in the family. The second son gets either the maternal grandfather’s name or, as in my case, the father’s name.

I guess this goes on in other cultures, which is why Bobby Kennedy named his first son Joe, after his father, and his second son Bobby Jr. But the tradition doesn’t fly with Jewish families, where you absolutely
do not
name your kids after anyone who is living. I’m sure my Jewish mother never confronted my Catholic dad with that fact, because she probably wasn’t eager for another beating.

My pop, Mike Coletti, was sadly just an Italian gangster-wannabe with a bad gambling problem and a worse temper. He and my mother, Deanna, married very young, before they were fitted with brains. A short time after they wed, he became verbally abusive with her, and it just kept getting worse. In fact, the last time my parents were together was the day he beat the hell out of my mom and left her bloody and unconscious on the front lawn of my grandmother’s house.

Now, I know I was too young to remember that day. And most doctors would probably agree that such behavior wouldn’t leave any lasting psychological scars on a newborn. But Mom said that unlike my older brother, I used to cry all the time, day and night. Even that used to piss off my dad, who was too cheap to pay the $30-a-week child support ordered by the judge after they split up. We never saw Dad again. My older brother did a Web search for him recently, finding out that he passed away in 2004. I honestly believe that I sensed there was no love between my mom and dad right out of the womb.


o Mom left Dad and now, twenty-four, with two little kids, realized she had nowhere to go. She was in desperate need of help. Her relationship with her mother was nonexistent, but with absolutely no alternative, she asked her parents for assistance.

My grandmother, “Big Lilly,” as I knew her, came to America from Warsaw in late 1939. She arrived in the United States just
before Hitler’s armies invaded Poland. Big Lilly lost her entire family to Nazi butchers during the Holocaust. This experience forged her into a fiercely independent woman. Our Jewish heritage was her raison d’être. It formed the basis for everything she held sacred in life. My grandmother’s faith ran so deeply, it was the foundation of her very existence. And Judaism was the one solid rock my grandmother and grandfather could stand on when everything else was threatened. If they ran out of money, if their little bakery business failed, if they were sick, cold, or hungry, they were still the Chosen People with God on their side. They had the Jewish faith and that would get them through anything.

My mom pretty much pissed on that whole belief system.
Screw the Jews, I’m marrying a capicola Catholic. I’m in love outside the faith, and to hell with everything you’ve tried to beat into me over the past twenty years.
When Mom did this, the family’s rabbi interpreted it as the most vicious attack on everything the Jews stood for and everything they sacrificed during the Holocaust. Big Lilly thought this could not be her child, because no one she raised could be that irreverent, that disrespectful. Imagine how humiliating it was for my grandmother to face the other Jews in her neighborhood, particularly at synagogue.

So Big Lilly believed she had no choice but to disown her daughter. I am torn because my mother was very young and married out of love, which is often so blind. But I guess if love is blind then marriage is an eye-opener.

BOOK: My Appetite For Destruction
5.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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