Did Michael Jackson Break Up Guns N Roses?

April 2, 2015

According to GNR’s former manager, Jackson played a significant role in the breaking up of Axl Rose’s original band lineup.

Slash MJ

In an interview with Rolling Stone Brazil the Gunners’ former manager Doug Goldstein suggests that Axl and Slash’s in-band-tension reach it’s boiling point when Slash agreed to play guitar on stage with Michael Jackson.

 “In 1991, we were on the road, and Slash went to my office and said ‘I’ll be leaving tomorrow to play with Michael Jackson on a tribute concert,’” Goldstein reflected. “I told him not to do it because Axl was molested by his father when he was two and he believed the charges against Michael Jackson.”

Goldstein says he discouraged Slash from playing the show because he felt that Jackson’s compensation (Slash’s paycheque) wasn’t fair.

“Everyone knew Eddie Van Halen received $1 million to play in ‘Beat It.’ (unverified, see the Ed Van Halen quote below, too), so I asked Slash, ‘how much are you receiving?  He said, ‘I’ll just receive a big screen television.’ When Axl found out Slash was gonna play with Michael Jackson and that the payment was a big screen TV he was devastated. He thought Slash would support him and be against all abuse. From Axl’s point of view, that was the only problem. He could ignore the drugs and the alcohol, but never the child abuse.”

Goldstein believes that Rose and Slash’s friendship could still be mended with an apology.   “Slash would have to apologize for the Michael Jackson episode … and I really believe that for the much that I love the band, I’d be the manager to reunite them, I don’t think anyone else could do it.”

The concert in question appears to have been Jackson’s performance the song “Black and White” during which there was also tension – between Michael and Slash (video below).


Meanwhile, from CNN comes this Eddie VH quote about payment for ‘Beat It’.

CNN: I believe Quincy (Jones) has said he paid you in two six packs of beer.

Van Halen: Yeah, something like that. Actually, I brought my own, if I remember right.

I don’t even think I’m credited on the record. It just says, “Guitar solo: Question Mark” or “Guitar solo: Frankenstein” (the name of his guitar).

CNN: Did you ever hear from Quincy again?

Van Halen: At the very end, Quincy wrote me a letter thanking me. It was signed, “The F-ing Blah Blah Blah,” which I still have. It’s very funny.