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Alan Niven One Time Only Answers Your Comments

Alan Niven reached out to us again saying he would like to answer some to the statements being made online. We are happy to share his words with all of you. If you haven’t yet viewed his video clips I suggest you do, it will help with the context of his response.

Alan Niven Answers Your QuestionsFROM ALAN NIVEN:

OK … I have done that which I don’t ever do … which is to follow some threads on GnR sites.

My friend Ron, of Little Caesar, suggested, however, this a worthwhile thing to do, and that he answers questions in such situations. He says ya gotta put it out there …

So for one time and one time only I will grab a few of the comments and answer them … against my better judgement – there’s so much prejudice and ugly posturing between the fractured camps.

OK …. so lets start with the motive for doing the interviews with DTN…

1/. I was asked by them …
I did not ask them.
Would be somewhat graceless not to do it – I did not select the questions or set the agenda – until the third session … and was so prompted by yet another Axl bitch ….
but I could care less about seeing my name in print …
I learned the value of anonymity a long time ago.
I live in the desert for a reason.
I came here to get away from the LA bullshit and figure out what my experiences really amounted to … the visions realised beyond wild dreaming – and yet, perhaps it was only one set of problems replaced by a different set of problems – could it be that ‘success’ is only the figment of the envious mind?
There’s no free lunch in this world – there’s always a bill.

2/. For years, and back in the day, when I was constantly asked, I never did interviews. I left it for the music and the bands to speak for themselves. Now I have another motivation … to talk of the past, which in my case is not limited to Guns n Roses, allows for a quid pro quo – I get the chance to talk of contemporary bands I care about … its a trade I am happy to be given. Storm of Perception btw make GnR sound dainty …

3/. For years Ax has said this and said that in public and complained. And complained. And complained. Whatever …

In the interview I clearly made the point that none of us are perfect … but that it would be nice if Axl showed, just once, a modicum of appreciation. After all he wasn’t in very good position when we started out together …. the band were about to be dropped. But they had their hands firmly on the prize once we parted ways …

4/. I am not motivated by material reward exclusively – ask Little Caesar – done things for them recently purely out of the respect I have for their grit and the love I have for their latest record. Ask Razer – who I am also helping out for free. Again this topic was more than adequately addressed in the interview. BUT – nota bene – I never charged back my expenses, for example, and I paid Goldstein’s salary while he was GnR’s tour manager … which was their bill to pay. That was over a million in 33 months. I also bought him a Mercedes. Axl said that “it was cool to be a part of that.” I paid for the car. Axl didn’t … but now you see how imperious his thought process is.
Furthermore …
I never saw a dime from The Angels or Havana Black. The Brewster Brothers went so far as to rip me off
[I won a court case a while ago on that matter] … whatever … I make, and own, my own decisions, and their consequences … However we really play the game because we love to play the game. I love making records and seeing the shows that follow in that process. The ref can call the fouls, the accountants can pick up the checks, but I wanna see the scoreboard at full time.

5/. I am not a bad manager for not booking more than one Wembley in 1991.
To the person who said that I’d point out that whilst I had the show put up I was fired just before the tickets went on sale … whoever took over is at fault for not booking further Wembley shows … and they may have had their reasons – or been so directed by Axl. I don’t know. What I would say to this person is that they should know what they are talking about before they make statements like that. Good rule of thumb all round actually.

6/. As regards boarding school etc … my personal experience was a hell, and at a very young age, and thats as far as I will go with that … and I did not go to Eton. If you actually listen to what I said I used a ‘Downton Abbey’ character to allude to that experience. My point, I think, is we all have shit to deal with. As Don Henley said – get fuckin’ over it … move on.

I could be wrong here and I certainly never made light to Axl of his traumas – but I just have the sense that now and then he uses his traumas as an excuse for certain things he’s done.

7/. As for what he did … there are those of us that were there, lived it, day by day, and we know the truth … or at least our perspective of the experience … and thats another whatever … [these events occurred in the last century for God’s sake! Yet Axl’s the one we still hear complaining –  contemporary Adelaide interview – which was printed before the last interview session.]

But anyways … I like to believe in the brotherhood of a band, and as a manager I encourage that, and try to avoid the circumstances of dischord – fighting  over shares of money etc … I love bands that share equally and who try to maintain the brotherhood … who try to live the myth. Thats heroic.

And I have learned first hand what destroys bands – therefor my encouragement to share and employ a degree of equality. The one agreement I had drawn up by Peter Paterno, then the band’s lawyer, that was never activated, was a partnership agreement that Axl refused to sign, after the others had done so – it called for equal ownership of the name, an equal share of the revenues, except for composing royalties – which Axl wanted a greater share of, and was granted.

And btw I came up with the name Great White – but I’ve never made a claim on it. For Axl to lay claim to the name GnR is not in the spirit of the history of the band.

Both Russell and Rose have presented themselves exclusively under the name of former bands … it is my personal opinion that Russell does this because he has proven in the past he cannot sell tickets bannered by his own name alone. Axl would not have that same problem … but it is also my opinion that he wouldn’t sell nearly as many tickets on the strength of his name as opposed to using Guns n’Roses – and therein is a powerful motive to hold and use the name exclusively  – money honey.

Another question I’d ask you all – how many Eagles songs do you think Henley would perform when touring as a solo artist? On the average he does five, two of those being in the encore …. and he plays @ 15/16 songs.  So three out of fourteen in the set are from his former band. How does that ratio compare to a GnR/Chinese Democracy set? I dunno – just asking …

But to get back on point, if you were to ask me, I would again say that Axl has every right to pursue his muse, destiny and fate. It would, however, be cool if he did it with integrity. Thats all …

Be brave. Be on the up n’ up. Be Axl Rose – he certainly has talent enough to do that. He was genuinely brilliant on Appetite. Gave some brilliant ‘live’ performances. But he isn’t, alone and himself, GnR. That entity played its final show on April 7th 1990. And thats just my opinion. My sense of the experience.

Now my dear little trolls I bid you adieu for the next thirty years .. and to those who were there – my eternal thanks – despite the daily crisis and the stress, there were incredible magical moments in those hectic and sometimes very difficult years – and it was a privelege to have those experiences.

In some ways GnR was my life too for a while … as were Great White, Clarence Clemons, Motley Crue, The Angels, The Brewster Brothers, Berlin, Dokken, Havana Black, MTB, WINZ, Virgin and Enigma etc etc … some of it bad, as with all things, but the most of it really good.

I am having an amazing ride, as a manager, a producer, a composer, a player, an executive and even as a disc jockey …

and remember – we’re all of us on a journey here – figure it the fuck out.

Love always and always Imagine


PS …it is irresistible to comment on the Forum’s themselves – the commentary on one makes my herd of pet javalinas look entirely decent and well behaved. Sadly most of the vicious and obnoxious comments come from the extreme Axl acolytes – no surprise there I suppose – but they don’t do Red any favours … and he, in my experience, made an effort to be a gentleman – most of the time. Of course hitting people with wine bottles, throwing others downstairs, hurling chairs from balconies and spitting at others, were among the unfortunate momentary lapses in reason. As said before – no one amongst us is perfect – but the world turns more easily with a careful and kind word. If you dare to judge, judge people for their best … you don’t walk in our shoes and few, if any of you, have contributed as we have.  AN

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