Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
W. Axl Rose (born February 6, 1962) is an American hard rock singer and songwriter, born as William Bruce Rose in Lafayette, Indiana. According to his account, he had a deeply troubled family life, with abuse at the hands of his father and stepfather. His biological father, William Rose, left the family when Axl was two. His mother later married Stephen Bailey, and his surname was changed to Bailey. The strict discipline and religious education he underwent as a child was followed by numerous brushes with law enforcement as an adolescent. He had a strong interest in music and as a teenager is said to have formed a band named Axl. Around the age of 17 Rose made two important choices. First, he changed his name to W. Rose (Axl was later added; "Axl Rose" is also an anagram for "oral sex"). Second, he left home and eventually ended up in Los Angeles, California, where he joined childhood friend Izzy Stradlin (born Jeff Isabelle) to pursue a rock music career.
The music scene in Los Angeles during the early 1980s featured both punk and "hair metal"/heavy metal bands. Rose wanted to meld the two styles into a unique musical form. Along with Stradlin, Rose moved through a number of bands, including Hollywood Rose. Then, after bringing in Tracii Guns of LA Guns (who was soon replaced by Slash), Rose formed Guns N' Roses around 1985. With Rose (vocals), Stradlin (guitar), Slash (real name Saul Hudson/lead guitar) Duff McKagan (bass), and Steven Adler (drums), Guns N' Roses signed a recording contract with Geffen Records in 1986. The band released its first full-length album, Appetite for Destruction, in 1987. Mixing blazing power chords with Rose's shrieking vocals, the album represented a new musical style that took some time to catch on. But catch on it did, and by 1988 Guns N' Roses shot to the top of rock music, helped by the massive popularity (as radio singles and as MTV videos) of the songs "Welcome to the Jungle, "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine." 'Child' was written for his then girlfriend (later ex-wife) Erin Everly , daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers; she also featured in the video for the song.
Famous first for its music, the band soon gained notoriety for a wild lifestyle fueled by prodigious use of drugs. Instability followed, with concert cancellations and rumors of a breakup. In 1988, the band released G N' R Lies, which also was hugely popular. But criticism also came for the song "One in a Million ," which was interpreted as insulting to gays, blacks, and immigrants. After a string of delays, the group released a two-disc album called Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II in 1991. This album was also a huge hit, but the band soon ran into trouble. Rose jumped off stage to attack a fan in St. Louis, Missouri and sparked a riot. Another riot was spawned on October 8, 1991 at the Montreal Stade Olympique when Rose, late for the band's stage appearance, walked out after playing only a couple songs. These incidents, along with the appearance of a new stripped-down musical style known as grunge, led to a growing impression of Guns N' Roses as a self-indulgent and out-of-date act. Rose himself came to be seen as erratic and strange when he caused long performance delays and challenged Kurt Cobain to fight during the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, after Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, egged him on. Axl Rose was a huge Nirvana fan and asked Cobain to have Nirvana open up for GN'R. Kurt turned Axl down and taunted him in the press. This hurt Axl a great deal. In 1993 Guns N' Roses issued an album of cover tunes, The Spaghetti Incident, which received mixed reviews.
After this point, most original members of the band quit or were fired by Rose. He dropped out of sight until 1999, when he put together a new Guns N' Roses lineup and released a song, "Oh My God" for the End of Days movie soundtrack. Rose also at this time revealed the title to the album of new material the new band was working on, Chinese Democracy. After several rumored release dates, the album has yet to see the light of day. In 2002 at the MTV VMA`s, Axl unveiled the new lineup of GNR. Musically, this lineup showed their immense musical talent, but Axl did not have his best performance vocally. A North American Tour followed, but fell apart halfway through in December of 2002 due to Axl not showing up at the show in Philadelphia. As of this writing, Rose and his new GNR lineup is rumored to be putting on the finishing touches on Chinese Democracy, an album costing $13 million and 9 years in the making.
Many consider Rose one of rock and roll's three greatest frontmen, along with Freddie Mercury and David Lee Roth. Whereas Mercury is noted for his operatic voice and crowd-rousing, and Roth is famed for his charisma and showmanship, Rose will be remembered for his electric, ineffable presence.
Axl plays the voice of Tommy Smith, radio DJ of K-DST in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
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