In a recent conversation with VWMusic, renowned band manager Alan Niven opened up about his experience with Guns N’ Roses during their pinnacle days. He credits Izzy Stradlin as the driving force behind the band’s massive success.
Niven candidly shared about his challenging tenure with Guns N’ Roses, noting that the overwhelming pride and resistance to the guidance of the band members made him doubtful about profiting from their album, Appetite For Destruction.
“Becoming a father around that time, we found ourselves in a staggering $365,000 debt to Geffen because of the album. And we still had to cover expenses for videos and tours,” he said. “Sleep eluded me during this period. The joy was replaced with anxiety, tension, and the relentless burden. I genuinely questioned if I had embarked on the worst decision of my professional journey.”
Niven believed that the overwhelming hubris within the band overshadowed the genuine talent they possessed.
Commenting on the individual members, he remarked, “Steven Adler had consistency issues in his playing. Slash, while a phenomenal guitarist with an innate understanding of music, lacked songwriting skills. Duff’s self-assessment was a tad inflated. As for Axl Rose, back in the day, his reputation wasn’t the best. He was the rock ‘n’ roll version of Tonya Harding to me – possessing undeniable talent but notorious for entirely different reasons.”
Despite his initial doubts about Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion’s success, Niven is firm in his belief that without rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, the band might’ve disintegrated. Elaborating on his association with Stradlin, Niven stated:
“In my eyes, the band belonged to Izzy. He embodied the essence of cool and had an undeniable flair for authentic street slang. Combine that with his unmatched rhythm guitar skills, and there you have the true soul of rock ‘n’ roll. He was always the go-to guy for any discussions or deliberations. In contrast, Axl was more withdrawn, while Slash and Duff were often in their own worlds.”